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The latest news from Business Insider

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    Jim Webb Vietnam

    • Former Democratic presidential candidate Jim Webb is rumored to be under consideration to become President Donald Trump's next defense secretary, according to The New York Times.
    • During a presidential debate in 2015, he gave a memorable answer to a question about the enemy he was proudest to have made.
    • The Vietnam War veteran said his enemy of choice was the "soldier that threw their grenade that wounded me." He then added: "But he's not around right now to talk to."
    • Webb earned the Navy Cross, the second-highest military decoration that is awarded to Navy and Marine Corps members, because of an incident in 1969.

    Jim Webb, a former senator and Democratic presidential candidate who is rumored to be under consideration for the defense secretary job in President Donald Trump's Cabinet, made a memorable impression at a debate in 2015 with his answer to a question asking which enemy he was proudest to have made.

    The Vietnam War veteran said his enemy of choice was the "soldier that threw their grenade that wounded me." He then added: "But he's not around right now to talk to."

    Webb was most likely referring to the incident in 1969 that earned him the Navy Cross, the second-highest military decoration that is awarded to Navy and Marine Corps members.

    When Webb received the honor, this is how that incident was described, according to the Military Times (emphasis added):

    When the hostile soldiers failed to answer him and threw a grenade which detonated dangerously close to him, First Lieutenant Webb detonated a claymore mine in the bunker aperture, accounting for two enemy casualties and disclosing the entrance to a tunnel.

    Despite the smoke and debris from the explosion and the possibility of enemy soldiers hiding in the tunnel, he then conducted a thorough search which yielded several items of equipment and numerous documents containing valuable intelligence data.

    Continuing the assault, he approached a third bunker and was preparing to fire into it when the enemy threw another grenade. Observing the grenade land dangerously close to his companion, First Lieutenant Webb simultaneously fired his weapon at the enemy, pushed the Marine away from the grenade, and shielded him from the explosion with his own body. Although sustaining painful fragmentation wounds from the explosion, he managed to throw a grenade into the aperture and completely destroy the remaining bunker. 

    The Washington Post highlighted a 2007 Rolling Stone story that expands on the incident:

    Webb was leading his platoon toward what he thought was an empty complex of bunkers. As he and his men approached, three Viet Cong soldiers jumped out. Webb grabbed one and drew his .45 on the other two, capturing all three. Webb and another soldier moved on to a second bunker; this time, a grenade sprayed him with shrapnel, but he detonated a claymore at the bunker's entrance, killing two Viet Cong. Webb kept going, approaching a third bunker, where another grenade detonated. Webb shot the Viet Cong who threw it and hurled himself in front of his Marine, absorbing the brunt of the blast. Even then he kept fighting, lobbing another grenade into the bunker, killing the last of his enemies.

    In his mind, it was the compression of his past into a moment of perfect, unthinking violence, redeeming all the history that had put him opposite a stranger and a grenade on the opposite side of the world.

    Time pointed out that Webb was the only combat veteran in the 2016 presidential race.

    Webb told Time after the debate: "I understand foreign policy and defense policy. I've worked on it every possible way you could do it. I grew up in the military I served in combat. My son served in combat. I spent five years in the Pentagon. I served as a military planner in the region."

    Webb dropped out of the Democratic presidential primary race in October 2015.

    SEE ALSO: Democratic candidates were asked to name their biggest enemies — and one gave an unexpected answer

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This US president would become 'irrational' and 'pass out' after one or two drinks


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    Ryan Zinke

    • Former Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, who just left his post, is now being investigated for potentially lying to his agency's inspector general.
    • Zinke, who resigned in December and left on Wednesday, was facing two inspector general inquiries when he left — one looking into his real estate dealings in Montana and one into his involvement in a proposed casino project by Native American tribes in Connecticut. 
    • According to the Washington Post, inspector general investigators have come to believe that the former secretary lied to them. They have now alerted the Justice Department. 

    Ryan Zinke just left the Trump administration, but he's already being accused of potentially lying to investigators.

    Zinke, who served as Secretary of the Interior for two years before leaving on Wednesday, was facing two inspector general inquiries, one into his real estate dealing in Montana (his home state), and one into his involvement in a proposed casino project by Native American tribes in Connecticut. On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that investigators in both cases seem to believe Zinke lied to them, prompting them to alert the Justice Department to consider whether the former secretary violated any laws. 

    According to the Post, the department's public integrity section is now exploring the case. The inspector general has already interviewed witnesses in an attempt to scrutinize Zinke's testimony. A spokesman for Zinke told the Post that the former secretary voluntarily participated in two interviews with the inspector general about the tribal matter in Connecticut, saying that "to the best of his knowledge ... [Zinke] answered all questions truthfully."

    In his farewell letter to staff, Zinke made no mention of the ethics allegations. 

    The Post reported Zinke was pressured to step down due to probes into his conduct and his tense relationship with Trump. Zinke reportedly lost Trump's favor after not running against Montana Senator John Tester in last year's election. The former secretary also did not consult the White House when he and then-Florida Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida would be exempted from offshore drilling. 

    Read more:Here are the top contenders to replace Ryan Zinke as interior secretary

    According to the Post, it is not clear what Zinke allegedly lied about but sources said it wasn't about a land deal he struck with the chairman of the oil company Halliburton in Montana. 

    The tribal matter in which Zinke appears to have become entangled involves a feud over the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes' attempt to jointly operate a casino in Connecticut. This sparked what the Post referred to as "intense lobbying," since the new facility would affect the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars in gaming revenue. According to the Post, the tribes allege that Zinke did not grant their application due to political pressures. 

    The tribes were planning on opening the commercial casino on land off of their reservations after reaching an agreement with the state, according to the Post. MGM Resorts International objected to the casino since it would compete with its gaming complex in Springfield, Massachussetts, and would hurt its plants to open a casino in Connecticut. The Post reported Interior officials were planning on approving the tribes' plan last summer but later changed their minds. The Mashantucket Pequot tribe sued and has continued pressing its case, according to the Post.

    SEE ALSO: Embattled Interior Department secretary Ryan Zinke is stepping down

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Anthony Scaramucci claims Trump isn't a nationalist: 'He likes saying that because it irks these intellectual elitists'


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    kim kardashian

    • Kim Kardashian has over 124 million followers on Instagram.
    • Kim's Instagram is filled with a variety of photos of herself, her products, and her family.
    • Her Instagram features photos with a lot of colorful, grainy, and monochrome filters.

    Kim Kardashian is arguably the queen of Instagram and selfies. Along with publishing a book that is a collection of her selfies, she and the rest of the Kardashianshave some of the most popular Instagram accounts out there.

    From photos of her children to selfies with cool filters, her Instagram has quite a variety of photos. And with over 124 million followers, she seems to be doing something right. 

    Here are what appear to be some of Kim Kardashian's keys to success and how you can use them when posting on your personal Instagram. 

    Kim appears to use lots of different filters and effects on her photos 

    Everything!!! 🥰

    A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Dec 14, 2018 at 6:16am PST on

    It seems like Kim uses quite a few photo editing techniques to achieve the retro look on her photos. Apps like Perfect365, VSCO, and Huji Cam are a few photo editing and photo filter apps that you might want to use to help you add Kim Kardashian-esque effects to your photos. 

    VSCO has several filters you can also add to a photo to give it a nostalgic vibe. For the most part, when editing, you'll want to increase the "grain" of your photo to give it more of a vintage feel. To mimic the effect on some of Kim's photos, adjust the contrast to draw out the darkest colors in the photo.

    She is always switching up her photo effects

    🔫 super soaker 🔫

    A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Sep 9, 2018 at 9:15pm PDT on

    Lomograph is another free app that can help you give your photos cool effects similar to the ones Kim oftentimes uses. Something as simple as a light leak or lens flare can give your photo a Kim flare. 

    She shares candid moments about people she cares about

    Happy Father’s Day babe. Thanks for being such a good dad to our babies! Shout out to all of the amazing dads out there! 💕

    A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Jun 17, 2018 at 7:07am PDT on

    Kim posts a lot of personal photos of her kids and family and she also posts childhood photos that almost make you feel like you're a part of her life. By sharing a photo something near and dear to you, like your favorite pet or you and your siblings as kids,  you give followers a peek into your life, just like Kim does.

    Kim posts a lot of photos that are (or appear to be) candid

    Cupcake Kimmy

    A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Aug 25, 2018 at 6:17pm PDT on

    Many of Kim K's photos are captured in the moment, or at least appear to be. All you need is a really great photographer and a bit of practice posing to look like you're not posing. 

    Many of her photos show her looking away from the viewer

    Watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians tonight 😂

    A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Sep 23, 2018 at 3:53pm PDT on

    In a lot of Kim's photos, she's looking away from the camera or hiding her face, which can add a bit of mystery to the photo. Posting photos where you're looking at something else or are facing away from the camera might make followers wonder what you're doing, thereby creating more mystery than a regular photo where you're staring directly at the camera would.

    Kim has a variety of photos that show a different aspect of her personality and aesthetic

    💋

    A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Dec 28, 2018 at 7:59am PST on

    With photos of so many different places, things, and people, Kim's Instagram is almost like an extension of herself. It can be rewarding to make sure each photo says something about yourself, so don't be afraid to show off photos that are a bit silly or unplanned — not everything is about the perfect aesthetic. 

    She shows off her outfits and style often

    If there's anything to envy about Kim's Instagram, it might just be the glamorous outfits she wears. To make your Instagram have a flair of Kim style, you might want to share photos that show off your best or most daring outfits, even if you're still in the dressing room.

    Kim oftentimes switches up her poses

    Kanye dressed me up like a doll 🎼

    A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Dec 1, 2018 at 8:54pm PST on

    The Kardashians are known for their photo poses, like the Barbie pose, which can add a lot to a photo. And if you scroll through Kim's Instagram, you'll notice she switches up her poses fairly often.  

    And, of course, she uses flash when taking her popular mirror selfies

    I need a spray tan

    A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Dec 19, 2018 at 7:52pm PST on

    Getting the perfect "selfie face" can be hard at first (and may involve taking hundreds of photos to find one good one), but one of the key components to Kim's Instagrams are her mirror selfies, typically taken using the flash on her phone camera. 

    Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The world's largest cruise ship just landed in Miami — here's what it's like on board


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    Ringed seal

    • Climate change is changing our environment and ecosystems, and it's impacting many aquatic animals. 
    • Rising ocean temperatures, pollution, and the disappearance of low-lying beaches are altering the lives and safety of these aquatic animals. In 100 years, many species could go extinct or be highly endangered. 
    • Krill, blue whales, hawksbill turtles, and ringed seals, among others, are at risk of extinction in the next century as their food and habitats disappear.

    Climate change is already impacting a variety of ecosystems and environments around the world, putting vulnerable animals in danger of extinction or putting already endangered animals at even higher risk. There's still hope that these animals won't be wiped out completely by climate change-related impacts, but we'll need to curb our emissions of greenhouse gases and ramp up conservation efforts.

    Here are eight aquatic species that may no longer exist in 100 years due to climate change. 

    SEE ALSO: The most irreplaceable sites on Earth

    Pteropods may cease to exist in certain areas.

    The increased acidification of our oceans — which is happening as the water absorbs carbon dioxide — is already affecting shellfish. In some areas of the Pacific Ocean, the changing pH levels mean the shells of pteropods can no longer form properly.

    Pteropods are a type of small sea snail that fish like salmon and herring depend on for food. 

    A 2014 study published in the journal "Proceedings of the Royal Society B" found that in certain areas off the US West Coast, the water has become corrosive to pteropod shells. As a result, pteropods, especially juvenile ones, could see their entire shell dissolve, which can be fatal.

    "By 2100, 50% of the oceans would no longer be viable for pteropods," Dr. Richard Freely, the study's co-author, told Vice



    The population of Hawaiian monk seal has been declining for quite some time.

    As ocean water warms, it expands. This is partially why sea levels are rising around the world — and projected to continue doing so throughout this century. Higher sea levels can lead some beaches to disappear.

    The Hawaiian Monk Seal has been severely affected by this loss of beach, as it spends about one-third of its time on land. The creatures are also suffering from a disease called toxoplasmosis, which originates in cats.

    The monk seal population is reportedly declining at 4% annually; it is estimated that fewer than 1,200 individual Hawaiian Monk Seals exist. Biologists predict the number willdip below 1,000 in the next three to four years, placing this species among the world's most endangered.



    The number of hawksbill turtles is also dwindling.

    Thehawksbill turtle is one of the most endangered sea turtles in the world. In addition to being threatened by the now-illegal tortoiseshell trade and boat strikes, climate change also puts this species at risk of extinction.

    In particular, the species could lose their habitat in areas where coral reef bleaching is occurring, likeAustralia, Indonesia, and the Maldives. As coral reefs continue to die, that eliminates some of the hawkbill's habitat, which means the turtle could be headed toward extinction. 

     



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    ray dalio

    • In a post on LinkedIn, billionaire hedge-fund manager Ray Dalio argued the US should continue to invest in China's growth, even though its "culture" is increasingly antithetical to ours.
    • What Dalio calls "culture" is actually a creeping authoritarianism that has only led China into a world of pain and is an affront to American democracy.

    For years Ray Dalio — the founder of Bridgewater, the world's biggest hedge fund — has used his master of the universe soap box to wax philosophical about the Chinese economy and its epic growth story.

    It's time to stop listening.

    In a recent LinkedIn post, Dalio argued that investors should look past the US-China trade war and the volatility it has caused markets, and instead focus on managing the two countries' diverging cultures in a productive, beneficial way.

    The US, he writes, is a culture of individual liberty where as China is this ...

    From the post:

    "One of China's leaders who explained this concept to me told that the word "country" consists of two characters, state and family, which influences how they view their role in looking after their state/family. One might say that the Chinese government is paternal.

    For example, it regulates what types of video games are watched by children and how many hours a day they play them. As a broad generalization, when the interest of the country (like the family) is at odds with the interest of the individual, the interest of the country (like the interest of the family) should be favored over the interest of the individual. 

    Individuals are parts of a greater machine. As a result of this perspective, the system seeks to develop, promote and reward good character and good citizenship. For example it gives people a social credit score that rates the quality of their citizenship. And each person is expected to view themselves as parts of the greater whole."

    He goes on: "I'm not saying which system is better."

    Dalio argues that this cultural mindset is what has made China so successful for so long. Never mind that the Chinese Communist experiment as we know it is only a few decades old, decades that were preceded by some of the bloodiest terror the world has ever seen, by Mao Zedong's brutal reeducation camps, by civil war, and by economic ruin.

    And never mind that the Chinese surveillance state is a product of President Xi Jinping's growing power — just like his anti-corruption drive, just like the removal of his term limits. It is not a kind of cultural fait acompli. It is a political choice that crept up on a world that (perhaps) naively expected Xi to follow in his predecessors' footsteps and continue to open up the country.

    That's what makes Dalio difficult to follow. On the one hand in this essay, he argues that China's openness has made it a miracle. At the same time he argues that this authoritarian bent is part of its culture that we must accept.

    Either way China, as he describes it, is not the China it was when he first encountered it 34 years ago. 

    An example: Xi is presiding over the creation of a digital-surveillance state so powerful that it faces a shortage of low-wage workers to find forbidden internet content in China's "censorship factories."

    You see, these workers have been such good citizens that they don't even know what content to censor (Tiananmen Square, for example). They have to learn the truth first, then they can make sure none of their countrymen stumble on it by accident.

    The digital-surveillance state is not an essential part of Chinese "culture." China (through Dalio and any of its other willing friends in the US) is merely taking a page out of an old authoritarian playbook. It is reinterpreting culture at its convenience and using it as an excuse to explain away a form of state control that makes Americans incredibly uncomfortable and makes the country incredibly dangerous. (As I write this, the US has just increased its travel warning for citizens going to China).

    Chinese culture, with authoritarian characteristics

    Americans should be uncomfortable with this interpretation of Chinese culture. There's a reason why Google employees rebelled against creating a censored Chinese search engine, for example. We are a country that believes in the concept of negative liberty, as philosopher Isaiah Berlin explained it. When we're being out best selves, we believe that individuals should have freedom from harm, from surveillance, from being taken advantage of, from being discriminated against, things like that.

    Other than that, do what you want.

    China's government is now creating a structure based on the opposite concept — positive liberty. With positive liberty you're free to do x, y, and z — and  you cannot deviate.

    For example, in China you're free to be part of the Communist Party — but that's it. You're allowed to be culturally Chinese — and that's it. You certainly cannot be a Muslim living in Xinjiang, because that gets you sent to a reeducation camp. The government dictates what you can and should be in China. This is how authoritarians exercise their control — it is not a culture, it is a power structure.

    And as China edits its list of things you can and cannot be under President Xi's regime, the victors of China's economic rise have had cause for worry. Even before Xi Jinping's corruption drive — which critics insisted was a vehicle for purging his enemies — private-sector entrepreneurs knew that power hungry state-owned enterprises and a lack of rule of law could spell disaster for them.

    Last February, Zhang Wenzhong, the 56-year-old founder of Wumart Stores, one of the country’s biggest retailers, told a forum of entrepreneurs that he still fears for the future of China's private sector. Zhang had just finished serving seven years in prison for fraud, bribery, and embezzlement.

    "Without outside intervention or influence, no law enforcement agency – police, prosecutors or courts – would have reached such a verdict against me under normal circumstances, creating a case so unjust that it is now easily judged as a mistake," he told the annual gathering in northeastern Heilongjiang in February, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

    As SCMP pointed out, entrepreneurs at the very top of Chinese society worry their "original sin"— the way they became rich — will suddenly fall out of favor with Xi's new government. Xi has committed the party to his interpretation of Chinese Communist purity with vigor. Academics who once found the space to be critical of China are leaving the country. This is something Ray Dalio would have us ignore.

    Things are changing in China, and not in the direction that makes it a good business partner or investment. It is changing in a way that tests the bounds of American pluralism — our ability to accept and recognize systems and values that are not like ours — and perhaps breaks them.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 6 airline industry secrets that will help you fly like a pro this holiday season


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    This is a preview of a detailed slide deck from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service.Click here to learn more. Current subscribers can view the deck here.

    Rising smartphone penetration, regulations pushing users away from cash, and globalization demanding faster and new ways to transact are leading to a swell in noncash payments, which Business Insider Intelligence expects to grow to 841 billion transactions by 2023.

    The Future of Payments 2018

    This shift has created a greenfield opportunity in the space. Legacy providers are working to leverage their scale as they update their infrastructure and adapt their business models. But at the same time, upstarts are using their strengths in user experience to try to disintermediate or beat out those at the forefront of the space — a dichotomy that’s creating crowding and competition.

    Digitization and crowding in the payments space will force companies that want to emerge atop the ecosystem to undergo four critical digital transformations: diversification, consolidation and collaboration, data protection, and automation. Those that do this effectively, and use these shifts as a means of achieving scale without eroding the user experience, will be in the best position to use ongoing digitization in their payments space to their advantage.

    In The Future Of Payments 2018, Business Insider Intelligence takes a look at some of the biggest problems digitization and crowding are causing for payments firms, outlines the key transformations players can make going forward to resolve them, and explores areas where firms have already begun to use these transformations to their advantage.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Ho Chi Minh City

    It might be less than a week into 2019, but it's never too early to start mapping out your travel plans for the new year. And don't worry if you're unsure of where to go.

    Travel website Kayak recently shared its list of the top trending travel destinations for 2019. The search engine analyzed more than 1.5 billion annual travel searches to find its data, and then compiled everything from hotel prices to weather statistics for each location.

    Spanning the globe from Mexico to Indonesia, these are the 10 trendiest travel spots of 2019, according to Kayak.

    10. Munich, Germany, will trend among tourists who love to view historic sights in the daytime, and indulge in fast-paced nightlife in the evening.

    Popular art galleries like SPERLING and Deborah Schamoni are likely to thank for the recent 34% increase in searches for Munich.



    9. Known for its beautiful beaches and daring hiking trails, Maui, Hawaii, has something for every type of traveler.

    If you're hoping to travel from the island's resorts to its museums and beaches, Kayak recommends renting a car. Of course, the island is large, and seeing Maui in its entirety might be difficult, but doing so will help you understand why searches for the spot have increased by 35%.

     



    8. Rome, Italy, has seen a 39% increase in searches, likely thanks to its rich history and opportunities for sightseeing.

    If you choose Rome as your destination of choice this year, don't be surprised to find a "service tax" on your receipt when dining. Tipping is not customary in Italy, so the fee is added in its place, according to Kayak.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    Enameled Colander

    Williams Sonoma has just added hundreds of items to its semi-annual sale, so you can save on cooking tools you'll use on a regular basis.

    The sale covers everything from a basic rolling pin to a Le Creuset Dutch Oven, so there's definitely something for everyone and every budget. Best of all, most orders are eligible for free standard shipping if you use the promo code "FREESHIP" at checkout.

    To save you time, we looked through the whole sale and rounded up 20 deals that are actually worth checking out.

    And while Williams Sonoma is known for stocking high-end kitchen tools, a majority of the items below are available for less than $50, so you won't have to break the bank to give yourself a major kitchen upgrade this year.

    Keep reading for 20 great deals on kitchen essentials at Williams Sonoma's semi annual sale:

    SEE ALSO: 28 useful kitchen gadgets you can get under $25

    Cole & Mason Ardingly Faux Marble Salt & Pepper Mill

    $38.99 (originally $49.95) [You save $10.96]



    Rocket Ship Cocktail Shaker

    $39.95 (originally $59.99) [You save $20.04]



    Linen Double Hemstitch Table Runner

    $29.99 (originally $59.95) [You save $29.94]



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    GettyImages 1076709050

    • The most diverse Congress in US history was sworn in on January 3, 2019. 
    • New Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi led the swear-in ceremony for House members. Vice President Mike Pence led the ceremony at the Senate. 
    • More than 100 women were sworn in as members of Congress today, a historic record. 

    SEE ALSO: What to watch for as the new Congress begins

    Nancy Pelosi was handed back the gavel by House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.



    She then administered the oath to the members of the 116th Congress.



    Pelosi received 220 votes and reassumed her role as Speaker.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    L Train subway car crowded

    • After announcing the closure of New York City's L train subway line in 2016, Governor Andrew Cuomo walked back his plan on Thursday, months before the shutdown was set to happen. 
    • Cuomo said the L train, which was damaged during Hurricane Sandy, would no longer be shuttered for 15 months, but would instead rely on night and weekend repairs.
    • Cornell and Columbia engineers are looking into a European technique for tunnel construction that would allow the train to stay open on weekdays. The technique has never been used in the US.
    • While Cuomo's plan is music to the ears of some New Yorkers, it represents an unfortunate conclusion to an already-disastrous scenario.

    Anyone who's taken the L train on a weekday morning knows what a grueling experience it can be — even by New York City transportation standards.

    At my stop at First Avenue in Manhattan, it's rare to catch the train on the first go-round. I'm often left waiting for two or three cars before I can find room inside. When I finally make it onto the train, I'm sandwiched between frustrated commuters. 

    Read more:New York Gov. Cuomo axes plan to shut down the L Train, saves Brooklynites from commuting hell

    It's been hard to imagine how the city would accommodate these riders under New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed shutdown, which was scheduled to begin in April and last 15 months.

    The closure, announced in 2016, was part of a plan to fix issues resulting from Hurricane Sandy. The hurricane damaged the train's two tunnels beneath the East River, tarnishing signals and other electrical equipment. According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the subway, the Canarsie Tunnel's bench walls needed to be replaced "to protect the structural integrity" of the train.

    Now, the shutdown has been scrapped. Cuomo recently announced that the train will no longer close for 15 months, but will instead rely on a new European design method that involves night and weekend repairs. 

    For the governor to suggest this now — mere months away from the now-defunct L-pocalyse — implies a previous negligence and throws years of careful planning by residents, landlords, and business owners into turmoil.

    New Yorkers planned for the shutdown

    In the wake of Cuomo's original shutdown announcement, New Yorkers were told that there would be new bus and protected bike lanes in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and that improvements were being made to the J, M, and Z subway stations, which would have expanded services

    That didn't stop the panic from setting in among the L train-dependent, some of whom moved in preparation for the closure. By August, rents in Williamsburg — which has many residents that are frequent L train riders — continued to drop, and landlords began offering discounts to people who renewed their leases.

    I weighed the decision to renew my lease in Manhattan based solely on the fact that I would lose access to my main form of transportation. 

    Still, I understood why the repairs were necessary. I wasn't about to complain about having to walk an extra mile to the nearest subway if the trade-off was my own safety.

    Cuomo's decision comes far too late

    New Yorkers seemed to share my sentiment. 

    "When they announced the closure, the explanation was clear, both on the challenges riders would face and on the need to do it," Kate Slevin, a senior vice president at the Regional Plan Association, told CityLab in August. "People got it."

    We knew it was a lose-lose scenario, but we were left in the dark about how the city actually planned to handle the influx of 25,000 displaced commuters each day. 

    Those concerns were apparently well-founded. 

    "The simple fact is you have roughly 250,000 people who would need another way to get to work, have a tremendous impact on traffic," Cuomo said at a press conference on Thursday. "15 months sounds like a really short period of time, but it's not if you're doing it one day at a time trying to get to work."

    That's something many of us understood in 2016, but it seems confusing now.

    If a European method of tunnel construction was possible, why didn't Cuomo entertain it before?

    As New York Magazine's Josh Barro wrote earlier on Twitter, "If Cuomo is right that a closure is unnecessary, then he's admitting he's been asleep at the switch for three years."

    New Yorkers are right to be frustrated

    New Yorkers have a right to be frustrated that a plan they'd come to accept — and even prepare for — will no longer come to pass.

    Minutes after the decision was announced on Thursday, Twitter flooded with angry commentary from people who had made major life decisions based on the shutdown, or worried the new plan wouldn't adequately protect riders.

    "We moved our cool Greenpoint office to Manhattan in anticipation of the L train shutdown ... All for naught. It's too bad this study wasn't done earlier,"one user wrote

    New York City council member Keith Powers, who represents the First Avenue stop, also lamented the decision.

    "The previous plan came after careful planning and extensive community outreach, in addition to months of disruption to my constituents," he said in a press release. "Today's announcement comes after individuals have made life-altering decisions about where to live, residents have been impacted by confusing parking changes, and New Yorkers have had taxpayer dollars spent on a design that has become obsolete."

    A few locals and politicians have pointed to the benefits of a canceled shutdown.

    New York State Senator Brad Hoylman noted that a functioning L train would mean fewer diesel buses on the roads, which would prevent additional air pollution. Others simply delighted in the fact that they wouldn't have to give up their beloved subway line.

    As a rider myself, I have to acknowledge the silver lining. But these celebrations ignore the fact we've been led down a long, winding road of false promises and questionable assertions. 

    For years we've been told that it was necessary to disrupt our lives to ensure our safety, only to find that there was a way out, a compromise we never knew existed. 

    If Cuomo was really concerned about offering New Yorkers the best solution to their transportation woes, he might have considered pursuing all avenues from the very start.

    As it stands, he's created a disastrous conclusion to an already-difficult transit scenario.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's how many children you can have in a lifetime


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    iphone environment UI

    • Former Apple engineer Bob Burrough spent seven years working "under both Steve [Jobs] and Tim [Cook]."
    • Burrough uploaded a new video to his YouTube channel on Tuesday, where he introduces a new kind of iPhone interface that responds to your environment.
    • Apple — or any other phone manufacturer, for that matter — would be keen to try something like this for their own phone software, as it's a very cool visual effect. 

    To ring in the new year, former Apple engineer Bob Burrough uploaded a new video to his fledgling YouTube channel to show off a new idea he has for a smartphone interface.

    Burrough's "Project Erasmus" is a user interface (UI) implementation that renders the lighting in your immediate environment to light, shade, and reflect on the software elements in the device. The result is an incredible, immersive visual effect that will make you want to use your phone even more (as if that's possible).

    Take a look.

    SEE ALSO: This guy made physical flip-flops out of Trump's contradictory tweets — and he sold out his entire inventory in less than a month

    Burrough created a small screen application to show how Project Erasmus works.



    When he moves the phone around in the air, the buttons and elements on the screen react to the lighting of the room he's in, complete with shading and highlights.

     



    "It looks like the user interface elements are physical objects that reside just beneath the surface of the screen, like you could reach in and touch them," Burrough says in the video.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Cocaine in Panama City

    • An Army Special Forces veteran pleaded guilty to two drug trafficking conspiracy counts, admitting he attempted to smuggle nearly 90 pounds of cocaine from Colombia. 
    • Master Sgt. Daniel Gould was charged in August after officials at the US Embassy in Bogota discovered cocaine in gutted-out punching bags.
    • An X-ray scan revealed the cocaine stash in the bags before they were loaded on a military aircraft bound for Florida.
    • According to a US Attorney's statement, Gould had previously smuggled 10 kilograms of cocaine into the US, then reinvested money from the first transaction to purchase the larger load.

    A highly decorated Army Special Forces veteran pleaded guilty to charges of drug trafficking conspiracy, admitting he attempted to smuggle nearly 90 pounds of cocaine from Colombia to Florida aboard a military aircraft in August 2018.

    Master Sgt. Daniel Gould first smuggled 10 kilograms of the narcotic in early 2018, according to the US Attorney's statement. A co-defendant in the trial traveled to Colombia with the payment for the first load, which Gould then placed in a gutted-out punching bag.

    According to a report by the Panama City News Herald, Gould had a driver transport the cocaine to Bogota, where it was placed on a military aircraft and transported to the US. The cocaine was then distributed in northwest Florida, according to the US Attorney's statement. Gould was assigned to 7th Special Forces Group, an Army command garrisoned at Eglin Air Force Base in the same region.

    The conspirators reinvested the money from the first load, sending about $65,000 back to Colombia on another military aircraft. Then, in early August, Gould returned to Colombia to retrieve the second load of cocaine.

    Using the same method, Gould hid 40 kilograms — nearly 90 pounds with a street value over $1 million, according to US attorneys — in the punching bags. The cocaine was discovered at the US Embassy in Bogota on August 13, 2018, when the bags went through an X-ray. Gould had already departed Colombia when the drugs were discovered, and was waiting in Florida to retrieve them. 

    Gould was administratively separated from the Army in early December. The Green Beret received the Silver Star, the nation's third-highest military award for valor, for combat action in Afghanistan in 2008. 

    One of Gould's co-defendants, 35-year-old Henry Royer, pleaded not guilty to the same charges of drug trafficking, according to the Herald. A third man, Colombian national Gustavo Pareja, has also been indicted. 

    Gould will be sentenced on March 12; he faces 10 years to life on each count of conspiracy. 

    SEE ALSO: 2 Navy SEALs may face court-martial in last year's strangling death of an Army Green Beret

    SEE ALSO: Watch the Fox News interview that launched the murder investigation of an Army hero

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    NOW WATCH: Bernie Madoff was arrested 10 years ago today — here's what his life is like in prison


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    msc zoe 4

    • One of the world's largest container ships, the MSC Zoe, lost nearly 300 containers in a storm off the coast of the northwest coast of Germany late January 1 into early January 2.
    • Dozens of the containers have since landed on beaches in the Netherlands, where beachcombers have been taking home the loot — including TVs, My Little Pony dolls, and down jackets.
    • Officials in both Germany and the Netherlands have warned treasure hunters to stay away from the containers, since three of them contain hazardous materials and they haven't been located yet.

    A storm off the northwest coast of Germany caused one of the world's largest container ships to lose nearly 300 containers overnight on Tuesday.

    Since then, dozens of the containers have floated southwest and landed on beaches on nearby Dutch islands, where local laws allow locals to take the loot home.

    Beachcombers have been posting images of the treasure that washed ashore, which include IKEA furniture, My Little Pony dolls, and TVs.

    Photos of the beachcombing efforts are incredible.

    One of the world's largest container ships, the MSC Zoe, encountered a storm while sailing in the North Sea, near the German Island of Borkum, the night of January 1 and the morning of January 2.

    Source: Reuters



    Overnight, the rough waters caused the ship to lose up to 270 containers.

    Source: Kustwacht Nederland



    Dozens of the containers then floated southwest, washing ashore on the Frisian Islands (also called the Wadden Islands), a chain that protects the coast of the Netherlands.

    Source: Reuters



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Marijuana

    • A new report from Quest Diagnostics found that more people are testing positive for marijuana in workplace drug tests, with marijuana use increasing to 2.6% in the general workforce in 2017.

    • States that recently legalized recreational marijuana saw the greatest uptick in workforce marijuana use: 43% of Nevada's workforce tested positive, 14% of Massachusetts' workforce tested positive, and 11% of California's workforce tested positive for marijuana use.
    • People who work in safety-sensitive jobs, like pilots, bus drivers, and other federal workers, also had an increased marijuana positivity rate on drug tests.
    • This could potentially harm the public due to marijuana's negative side effects, like loss of coordination and decreased reaction times.

    As more states legalize medicinal and recreational marijuana, more people are using the substance. In fact, a new report from Quest Diagnostics found that more people are testing positive for marijuana in workplace drug tests, with 2017 being the fifth year in a row for increased marijuana detection in urine drug tests. In 2017, 2.6% of the general workforce tested positive for marijuana use.

    States that recently legalized recreational marijuana saw the greatest uptick in workforce marijuana use: 43% of Nevada's workforce tested positive, 14% of Massachusetts' workforce tested positive, and 11% and California's workforce tested positive for marijuana use.

    "While it is too early to tell if this is a trend, our data suggests that the recreational use of marijuana is spilling into the workforce, including among individuals most responsible for keeping our communities safe," Barry Sample, PhD, the senior director of science and technology for Quest Diagnostics said in a statement.

    The biggest increase in marijuana use was in people with "safety-sensitive" jobs

    For the general United States workforce, Quest Diagnostics found that marijuana positivity in drug tests went from 2.5% in 2016 to 2.6% in 2017. In the safety-sensitive workforce, however, marijuana positivity increased in a year's time, from 0.78% in 2016 to 0.84% in 2017.

    cannabis weed marijuana

    Safety-sensitive jobs are defined as federal agency jobs that "perform public safety and national security roles," according to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), so people who work for the Department of Transportation, Department of Defense, and Federal Railroad Administration, among others, may be held to higher drug test standards than members of the general workforce.

    Read more:Canada has officially legalized marijuana for all adults

    The concern is that as more people test positive for marijuana, including some of these government employees, the safety of the public could be at risk.

    Marijuana can distort a person's sense of time and throw off their balance, making it dangerous in certain workplaces

    While supporters praise marijuana for its ability to relieve chronic pain, control epileptic seizures, and lessen anxiety, the substance also has detrimental effects, INSIDER previously reported. Anecdotal evidence and limited research, for example, have shown that many who use marijuana experience altered blood flow to the brain which could cause someone to either think time is moving more quickly or slowly than it actually is.

    What's more, marijuana's effects on the brain can slow down a person's reaction time, worsen their coordination, and throw off their balance. If displayed on the job, all of these potential effects could create major risks and put people's lives in danger, especially if done by a person who operates a motor vehicle or other machinery.

    As marijuana becomes increasingly legal in the United States, Quest Diagnostics is urging researchers to determine whether a correlation exists between legalization and workforce drug use, since it could harm the public in a number of ways.

    Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The reason some men can't grow full beards, according to a dermatologist


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    Marie Kondo is the queen of organization. Her book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing," reveals her instructions for organizing your space in one sitting, and then never having to do it again. 

    Her methods have garnered a significant social media following with the hashtag #konmarimethod, and also landed her a spot on Time's 2015 "Top 100 Influential People" list. Here's how she does it. 

    Produced by Justin Gmoser and Megan Willett. Special thanks to Caroline Moss, Julie Zeveloff, Sam Rega, and Alana Kakoyiannis

    EDITOR'S NOTE: This video was originally published on January 1, 2016.

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    Tesla Model 3

    • Tesla is close to receiving approval to sell its Model 3 sedan in Europe, Bloomberg reports.
    • The automaker is reportedly on track to begin delivering the Model 3 to European customers in February.
    • Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

     

    Tesla is close to receiving approval to sell its Model 3 sedan in Europe, Bloomberg reports. The automaker is reportedly on track to begin delivering the Model 3 to European customers in February.

    Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Read more: Tesla's stock could drop another 27% after Wednesday's sell-off: JPMorgan

    The automaker has reportedly received approval for safety, noise, environmental, and production requirements through the Dutch regulator RDW. The agency will likely approve the Model 3 soon, Bloomberg reports. If an automaker receives approval to sell a vehicle from one European Union nation, it is able to sell that vehicle throughout the EU.

    The RDW did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment, though the agency told Bloomberg it does not comment on its approval process.

    The European and Chinese markets are expected to be important sources of growth for Model 3 sales. During Tesla's third-quarter earnings call in October, the automaker's CEO, Elon Musk, cited the prospect of European and Chinese deliveries as a reason why he did not anticipate the gradual expiration of a federal tax credit for electric vehicles to have a significant impact on Model 3 sales. Musk said at the time that he expected Tesla to produce a "significant" number of Model 3s for European customers in January.

    Musk has said that he expects Model 3 deliveries to China to begin in March or April.

    Tesla cut the price of each of its vehicles by $2,000 after a $7,500 federal tax credit for US customers was reduced to $3,750 on January 1. The credit will be cut to $1,875 in July and expire in 2020. The reduction was set in motion when Tesla sold its 200,000th vehicle in 2018.

    Have a Tesla news tip? Contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

    SEE ALSO: New York's governor called Tesla to see if the company could help fix NYC's subway system

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    NOW WATCH: This spray paint lights up at the flip of a switch, but it's not glow-in-the-dark


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    Pelosi JFK

    Despite first running for office at age 47, House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has managed to become the most powerful woman in Washington. 

    It's been a long road, but with staggering fundraising skills and a political sixth-sense, Pelosi has managed to break gender barriers and force her way into the notorious Old Boys Club on Capitol Hill. 

    Here's how a San Francisco housewife became part of the Washington elite. 

    SEE ALSO: Who's in and who's out of House committee leadership positions

    Pelosi grew up in Baltimore, the daughter of the Democratic Mayor Thomas D'Alesandro. As a young girl, she manager her father's book of who owed him political favors.

    Source: U.S. NewsNancy Pelosi Biography



    She attended her first Democratic National Convention at age 12. Here she is at age 20 with JFK at his inaugural ball.

    Source: Nancy Pelosi Biography



    Pelosi met her husband Paul at Georgetown. She was a mother of five by 1969, when the family moved to San Francisco. Paul worked as a banker, while Nancy raised their children and started a Democratic Party club at her home.

    Source: U.S. News



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    aldi cheese

    • Aldi is selling four new cheese varieties to celebrate Valentine's Day this year.
    • Two of the new cheeses are heart-shaped and covered with red wax and the two round varieties come in cinnamon and cranberry flavors, each retails for $3.99. 
    • Aldi is also selling a variety of limited edition Valentine's Day-themed products like chocolate wine and heart-shaped brioche bread. 
    • All of these limited edition Valentine's Day items will be on sale January 30 in select Aldi locations. 

    Many people are just now beginning to unwind their holiday twinkle lights and make their resolutions for the new year, but Aldi is already looking ahead to the next holiday celebration.

    The supermarket will be selling new, seasonal Happy Farms cheeses for Valentine's Day, with four new varieties fit to complete any holiday charcuterie board. Each of these cheeses will retail for just $3.99.

    Happy Farms Preferred Valentines Day Cheese (Wensleydale Raspberries WhiteChocolate)

     

    There are two heart-shaped cheeses that will be available at select locations — Happy Farms Preferred Mature Cheddar Classic English Cheese and Happy Farms Preferred Wensleydale with Raspberries and White Chocolate. Both are wrapped with a classic (and festive) red wax coating and they look every bit as romantic as a box of chocolates.Happy Farms Preferred Valentines Day Cheese (Wensleydale Cranberries)

    Aldi is also dropping two more limited edition types of cheese in its Happy Farms Preferred Valentine's Day cheese line, though they aren't heart-shaped: the Happy Farms Preferred Wensleydale with Cranberries and the Happy Farms Preferred Creamy Cinnamon Cheese with Raisins and Diced Apple.

    Happy Farms Preferred Valentines Day Cheese (Creamy Cinnamon)This isn't the first time Aldi has released special seasonal cheeses. Last year, the supermarket sold a cheese advent calendar last month with 24 pieces of imported cheeses, one for each day leading up to Christmas.

    Aldi is also releasing other limited edition heart-shaped and chocolate-flavored products

    aldi Brioche Heart

    Aldi will also be releasing Specially Selected Heart-Shaped Chocolate Chip Brioche that retails for $4.99. In addition, they'll be stocking shelves in select locations with The Chocolate Cellar Chocolate Red Wine, which retails for just $7.99 and heart-shaped Reggano Valentine’s Day Pasta, which retails for $1.99

    These cheeses and other specialty products are on sale starting January 30 and they will only be available for a limited time.

    For more great stories, head to INSIDER's homepage.

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    NOW WATCH: 6 airline industry secrets that will help you fly like a pro this holiday season


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    • The Asian arowana, also known as the dragon fish, is the most expensive aquarium fish in the world.
    • The fish is considered a valuable commodity for its red and gold colors — one was rumored to have sold for $300,000 in 2009.
    • Most people who buy dragon fish are middle-class Chinese men, who collect the fish as status symbols.

    As far as fish go, the Asian arowana is one of the most expensive aquarium species sold in the pet trade. It is a freshwater fish that has people paying in the tens of thousands of dollars for the most sought after colorations.

    Narrator: What would you rather have, a new car, or this fish? Turns out they cost around the same. A single dragon fish can go for tens of thousands of dollars. So, what's so special about it? Well, it might not look it, but this endangered fish is so coveted, people have actually gone to prison over it.

    The dragon fish gets its nickname for how it resembles a dragon in flight as it swims. However, its real name is the Asian arowana. It's a freshwater fish native to Southeast Asia, and it has taken the aquarium market by storm. Today, these fish are so prized that some have their own motorcades, and breeders protect their stock with layers of concrete walls, complete with guard dogs and watchmen. There's even a market for cosmetic surgery to help subpar fish who need eye lifts or chin tucks. And that may sound like overkill, but it's really not.

    Emily Voigt: It's a very valuable commodity, and that had driven a tremendous amount of crime around the areas where it's bred.

    Narrator: That's Emily Voigt, who explores this world for her book, "The Dragon Behind the Glass." We're talking murder and midnight fish-napping. This wasn't always the case, however.

    Up until the second half of the 20th century, these fish weren't flaunted. They were filleted and eaten by locals. Then, in 1967, an aquarium trader traveling through northern Malaysia saw a dead arowana at a food market and found it so attractive that he sought one out to keep as a pet. By the 1980s, arowanas had turned up in Taiwan, and eventually people all over Asia wanted one. In particular, the red and gold varieties of arowana came to symbolize luck and wealth in several Asian cultures.

    Voigt: All that has led to a whole mythology about the fish. It's supposed to bring good luck and prosperity, even to jump out of its tank to save its owner.

    Narrator: Nowadays, breeding for new color combinations is all the rage. Like this fish, called the chili red, which you can get for around $1,400 each. Or the emerald violet fusion super red, which goes for about $12,000 each. But no fish is more rare and valuable than the albino. In 2009, one of these supposedly set a record, selling for $300,000 to an anonymous high ranking official in the Chinese government. In fact, most people who buy dragon fish are middle-class Chinese men, who'll collect the fish as a status symbol.

    Voigt: So keeping this fish is very much a macho hobby. There's not a lot of women that do it. And it's almost like collecting cars or something like that.

    Narrator: So in the mid-90s, when dragon fish were successfully bred in captivity on certified farms, it was a big deal, because they were becoming rare in the wild due to overfishing and harvesting for the pet trade. Since then, more demand has led to breeding operations all over Southeast Asia. And while it's perfectly legal to buy a dragon fish in the area, it may not be in other non-Asian countries. In the US, for example, you can only find the Asian arowana on the black market. And in fact, you can't bring it into the country legally, because it's banned by the US Endangered Species Act. People have actually gone to prison for trafficking this fish. So if you have an itch to have a dragon-like pet, maybe you should stick to something safer, like bearded dragons.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    The Next Smartphone

    The smartphone is an essential part of our everyday lives.

    But as with all technology, things change. So the question becomes: What will be the next smartphone?

    Will it be the connected car? Or the smart speaker? What about the smartwatch?

    Find out which device, if any, will take over the smartphone's role with this brand new slide deck from Business Insider Intelligence called The Next Smartphone.

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • Smartphones are the fastest adopted tech in the U.S.
    • Whichever device becomes the next smartphone needs to go everywhere
    • Consumer expectations around the smartphone are changing
    • And much more

    To get your copy of this FREE slide deck, simply click here.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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