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The latest news from Business Insider
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    By 2050, the world's population is expected to swell to 9.6 billion, with around 66% living in urban areas. This projection is leaving many cities wondering how they will feed all those people.

    A Swedish food-tech company called Plantagon is proposing that cities consider building what it calls "plantscrapers"— office towers that contain giant indoor farms. Plantagon is constructing its first plantscraper in Linköping, Sweden.

    Called The World Food Building, the tower will operate hydroponically, meaning vegetables (mostly greens) will grow without soil in a nutrient-rich, water-based solution. The farm will largely be automated, Plantagon CEO Hans Hassle told Business Insider.

    Construction of the $40 million building began in 2012, and it's set to open by early 2020.

    Check out the plans below.

    SEE ALSO: This futuristic complex in Cairo will feature indoor 'mega-trees' and 1,000 luxury apartments

    The World Food Building will produce approximately 550 tons of vegetables annually — enough to feed around 5,500 people each year.

    Source: Helgi Analytics

    The front of the 16-story tower will include the farm, while the back will include the offices.

    About two-thirds of the building will be devoted to offices, while the other third will include a huge indoor farm.

    Companies are now signing leases to move in when it's complete.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    finding your roots

    • Host of PBS' hit series "Finding Your Roots" Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. helps different celebrities trace their family tree.
    • Dr. Gates has helped trace the family trees of celebrities like Scarlet Johansen, and Larry David.


    When Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. isn't teaching classes at Harvard University, he's spending his nights and weekends working on his wildly popular PBS series "Finding Your Roots."

    The self-proclaimed "genealogy Santa Claus" creates family trees for celebrities like Scarlett Johansen and Larry David on his series, which has now entered its fourth season.

    Dr. Gates spoke to Business Insider, about the work that goes into crafting a family tree on "Finding Your Roots," how he learned that Larry David and Bernie Sanders are related, and why he thinks people are so fascinated with their ancestry.

    Dr. Gates says it can take anywhere from a couple of months to a year to trace someone's family tree on the series, and that the process is a combined effort.

    The "Finding Your Roots" production research staff combs through records and public documents, while the famous Broad Institute at Harvard analyzes DNA independently.

    And it was through DNA analysis that Dr. Gates made one of his most striking discoveries on the series: comedian Larry David and politician Bernie Sanders are related.

    "We're sitting there fantasizing, going, 'Wouldn't it be wild if we found out they were related?' And everybody goes, 'Man that would be too much.' And then we found out they were," Dr. Gates said about the discovery.

    The promotional clip of David and Sanders shocked to learn that they're genetic cousins went viral at the beginning of October - in large part because David has recently become known for his spot on Sanders impersonation on "Saturday Night Live."

    The diligent work of Dr. Gates and his staff is one of the primary reasons that "Finding Your Roots" now has an expansive list of celebrities dying to be on it.

    People are intrigued by the past, and according to Dr. Gates no one really knows much about their own.

    But beyond curiosity, Dr. Gates finds that anxiety about the future often propels people to look into their past.

    "People have so much anxiety about the future, so they want to anchor themselves in the past, and not by taking a course in world history, or American history, but in taking the course of their own family history," Dr. Gates said.

    Although it's unclear if Dr. Gates' guests on "Finding Your Roots" are able to quell their anxieties about the future, Dr. Gates said that they almost always end up having a far more comprehensive understanding of the struggles their ancestors endured.

    SEE ALSO: Watch Paul Rudd discuss the real reason his Jewish ancestors changed their last name

    SEE ALSO: Watch Larry David and Bernie Sanders react to the news that they're actually cousins

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This South Korean boy band is taking over the music world

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    old car

    • Wall Street has been worried about the subprime-auto-loan market for some time.
    • New research from the New York Federal Reserve found a spike in the delinquency rate for subprime loans originated by auto finance companies.
    • "Although the impact on the larger financial sector may be muted, there are over 23 million consumers who hold subprime auto loans," the report said.

    The New York Federal Reserve is flagging some concerns about a $200 billion auto loan market.

    In a post out Tuesday, researchers led by Andrew Haughwout highlighted the nearly doubling of the rate of delinquencies in subprime auto loans originated by auto finance companies since 2011.

    "Since 2011, the overall delinquency rate of loans originated by auto finance companies has significantly deteriorated," the report said.

    The 90-plus-day delinquent rate for subprime auto loans originated by auto finance companies is up more than 2 percentage points since 2014 and now stands at close to 10%, according to the report. That's higher than the highest rate after the dot-com crash and close to the highs in 2009 after the financial crisis.

    In contrast, the delinquency rate on bank auto loans has been steadily improving.

    "The overall delinquency rate for auto loans — published in our Quarterly Report — shows only a very slow increase masking the sharp rise in subprime delinquency, which is diluted by the increase in prime loans with better performance," the report said.

    The Fed isn't the first to express alarm over the subprime auto loan market. Early this year, it was the topic du jour on Wall Street, with a cluster of firms expressing concern about the market's direction.

    At the time, Fitch Ratings highlighted how auto finance companies were affecting the market.

    "Deteriorating credit performance will be more acute in the subprime segment, driven to some extent by the expansion of less-tenured independent auto finance companies that have demonstrated higher-risk appetites and less underwriting discipline," it said.

    While these auto finance companies pose less of a risk than banks might, the effect on consumers is still significant. The Fed in its latest report said:

    "Although the impact on the larger financial sector may be muted, there are over 23 million consumers who hold subprime auto loans. These consumers may find their credit reports further damaged after a default or encounter further financial difficulties after experiencing a car repossession."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here are your chances of winning at popular casino games

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    hardrock 100

    Marathons, triathlons, and adventure races are extreme tests that force participants to push themselves in new ways physically and mentally.

    But the most extreme endurance races in the world take that to another level.

    These competitions test the absolute limits of the human body and mind.

    In some cases, participants subject themselves to crossing more than 100 miles of desert, mountains, or ocean. In others, racers plan to go days with almost no sleep, reaching the point of hallucination and breakdown. There are even some races in which participants don't even know when the race will start or what sorts of obstacles they'll have to endure.

    But they know it'll be brutal.

    These are the most extreme endurance competitions in the world. Finish one of these and you can say you've truly challenged the limits of what's possible.

    SEE ALSO: The most extreme daredevils alive reveal how they know they're ready for a terrifying feat

    The Brutal might be the hardest triathlon in the world.

    Picking a single "hardest" triathlon is almost impossible, as each present unique challenges. Competitors need to be able to swim, bike, and run under extreme conditions.

    But the double-Ironman-distance Brutal is up there. Located in Wales, it involves a 4.8-mile swim, then a 224-mile bike ride, followed by a 52-mile run.

    If that doesn't sound intense enough, the "triple" Ironman version is rumored to return in 2019.

    "If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough," the race website says.

    Only 15 people have finished the Barkley Marathons race since it began in 1986.

    The Barkley Marathons has no website — the way to enter the ultramarathon is a secret.

    The race begins an hour after a conch shell is blown by founder Gary "Lazarus Lake" Cantrell — which can happen anytime between midnight and noon on race day. The course is said to snake 100 miles through brutal terrain in the mountains in Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee (though some say it's closer to 130 miles long). Racers have 60 hours to finish.

    The course is unknown to racers until the day before the race and is mostly off any sort of trail — many participants get lost for hours.

    Up to 40 people are allowed to compete every year, though more than 200 might apply. The pool includes winners of some of the other toughest ultra-races in the world.

    Yet only 15 people have ever finished the race within the time limit.

    Impressively, course-record-holder Brett Maune has completed it twice (his record time is 52 hours, 3 minutes, and 8 seconds). And a racer named Jared Campbell has finished the course three times.

    Fun fact: If you’ve completed the course before and want to try again, your entry fee is just a pack of Camel cigarettes.

    No one who has done the Patagonia Expedition Race can tell future competitors what to expect.

    Every Patagonia Expedition Race follows a unique route. Racers form teams of four and cross glaciers, rivers, mountains, forests, and plains.

    They might kayak, mountain bike, or rock climb, potentially traveling hundreds of miles over multiple days.

    "Why are we here time and again? What invisible force attracts all of us here?," Race Director Stjepan Pavicic asked during the 2016 closing ceremony held in Puerto Natales, Chile.

    The answer: "The place, the challenge, and the human endurance experience … sometimes we need to return to our original home in the wild, to reconnect with where we’ve come from."

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    GleasonsTour (20 of 39)

    • Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, New York is arguably the world's most famous boxing gym, having trained everyone from Muhammad Ali to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
    • Anyone can train at Gleason's Gym — most of the members today are regular New Yorkers learning how to box
    • Gleason's is one of New York City's "last true melting pots," according to owner Bruce Silverglade


    To call Gleason's Gym in New York City a "mecca" of boxing is an understatement. 

    Nearly every major boxer over the last half-century either learned how to box at Gleason's or trained there in advance of one fight or another. Legendary fighters like Muhammad Ali, Roberto Duran, and Mike Tyson — along with current boxing star Floyd Mayweather Jr. — have all trained at Gleason's.

    Since the gym opened in 1937, Gleason's has helped 134 world champions reach their peak.  In 2016, the gym moved a few blocks from its long-time home at 77 Front Street in Brooklyn's DUMBO neighborhood to a new location.

    We visited recently to see if it's still full of the sweat and grime that has long marked the gym as a true New York landmark.

    Gleason's Gym is located at 130 Water Street in Brooklyn's trendy DUMBO neighborhood. The gym first moved to the neighborhood in 1985. It was a ghost town at the time.

    Gleason's may be in a new building with fresh coats of its signature red paint, but it has retained its gritty vibe. "Boxing is a sport of the underclass, a sport of the underdog," according to owner Bruce Silverglade.

    Head into the back and you'll find Silverglade's office. He has helped run the business since 1983. The original owner was Peter Robert Gagliardi, an Italian boxer who wanted to open a gym in an Irish section of the Bronx.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Welcome to Digital Health Briefing, a new morning email providing the latest news, data, and insight on how digital technology is disrupting the healthcare ecosystem, produced by BI Intelligence.

    Sign up and receive Digital Health Briefing free to your inbox.

    Have feedback? We'd like to hear from you. Write me at:

    AMAZON COULD SOON BEGIN SHIPPING MEDICAL DEVICES, SUPPLIES: Over the past year, Amazon obtained several wholesale pharmacy licenses in a number of US states, leading to speculation that the company may enter the pharmaceutical market. However, earlier this week, correspondence between the company and regulators in Tennessee and Indiana revealed that Amazon will not be using the licenses to sell and store prescription drugs, according to investment firm Jeffries. Instead, the company will likely begin shipping medical devices and supplies in its Indiana fulfillment center. 

    Shipping devices and supplies is the path of least resistance for Amazon as it dips its toes in the pharmaceutical industry. The prescription drug market presents a lucrative opportunity for the company, however, it’s riddled with regulatory hurdles. Amazon’s decision is likely in part to avoid the red tape associated with the Wholesale Drug Distribution Act, Jefferies notes. 

    Although Amazon may not be looking to store or ship drugs now, that doesn’t mean it won’t in the future. And while the small margins for brick-and-mortar pharmacies forced some companies like Target to sell their offerings, Amazon could leverage the position to become an intermediary between the pharmacies and health plan providers — what is known as a pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) — to begin negotiating with drug makers and pharmacies to reduce prices, effectively undercutting incumbent PBMs.

    The PBM industry is ripe for disruption, presenting a significant opportunity for Amazon.

    • The PBM industry is a hugely valuable and heavily consolidated. The three largest PBMs in the US, Express Scripts, CVS, and Optum Rx, control roughly two-thirds of the $423 billion market
    • Moreover, PBMs have recently suffered a bout of negative press exposing their hand in the inflating cost of drugs in the US. This was caused, in large part, by the opacity of the PBM industry, which allowed the companies to recommend exorbitant prices for prescription medication and then collect a large percentage of the spread for themselves. 
    • Drug makers and health plan providers looking for better revenue cuts could welcome the competition Amazon would introduce. Amazon’s entry could bring more efficiency to the process, Takeda Pharmaceutical CEO Christopher Weber told Bloomberg.

    bii top 3 pbm annual revenueFDA APPROVES MARKETING FOR THE FIRST DEVICE TO TREAT OPIOID WITHDRAWALS: Opioids are notoriously addictive, and withdrawal symptoms are a massive hurdle to overcoming addiction that’s not only draining on the US healthcare system, but on employers and businesses. In 2013, prescription opioid dependence, abuse, and overdose cost the US more than $78 billion — $29 billion of which was due to increased healthcare and substance abuse treatment costs, according to the CDC. On Wednesday, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the marketing of a wearable that can electronically treat the symptoms of opioid withdrawals such as sweating, tremors, nausea, joint pain, and anxiety. The device, called the “NSS-2 Bridge,” is placed behind patient’s ears and sends electronic pulses to specific cranial nerves to treat some withdrawal symptoms. This can help opioid-dependent patients with the process of weaning themselves off pain medication. In a clinical trial of 73 patients, the Bridge helped all participants drop at least 31% on the clinical opiate withdrawal scale (COWS) within 30 minutes of use. Electronic wearables are showing promise as a form of chronic pain management, and this latest FDA-approved device could pave the way for a range of devices that diminish patients’ heavy dependence on prescription medication. The FDA had approved the Bridge device’s predecessor in 2014 for use in acupuncture. 

    CLINICAL CONNECTED WEARABLE PATCHES TO TAKE OFF: Shipments of connected wearable patches will grow rapidly in the coming years, topping 35 million annual units by 2022, according to a new report from Tractica. The growth of this wearable category will be driven primarily by clinical applications, making up 80% of total wearable shipments. Connected wearable patches feature wireless connectivity that allows a sensor to be affixed to a patient’s skin and record data for a period of days or weeks before they’re removed. These types of devices allow real-time data collection to let patients and physicians track medical conditions. For example. Abilify’s MyCite, the first FDA-approved “digital pill,” pairs a sensor-equipped pill with an external patch that collects data from the pill in order to help doctors monitor medication adherence. The market for these types of devices is set to generate $7.9 billion by 2022. bii wearables forecast 2

    AUSTRALIAN PATIENT RECRUITMENT APP WINS $25K: HealthMatch, an Australian startup that makes clinical trials more accessible to patients, received the first prize of $25,000 at TechCrunch Battlefield Australia on Thursday. In Australia, thousands of clinical trials are conducted each year. Recruiting for trials is a difficult process for drug and treatment trials sponsors, who will often turn to costly contract recruitment organizations (CRO) to find patients. For context, in the US, patient recruitment is the largest chunk of the $2.6 billion it costs to bring a new drug to market. At the same time, for patients, finding the appropriate study can be tedious and time-consuming. The HealthMatch mobile app, which is connected to the Australian government database of clinical trials, uses machine learning (ML) to match patients with eligible trials, simultaneously broadening the reach and recruitment of these trials, while cutting down on the resources it takes to find them. A further benefit is that clinical trials will likely see a larger pool of patients to select from — that could improve the accuracy and rate of completion of the trials. The service is free for patients and charges trial sponsors on a per-client basis or on an annual license.


    • Health IQ, a medical InsurTech startup that offers a 4% discount on life insurance for passing a “health quiz,” raised more than $34 million in its Series C funding, led by Andreessen Horowitz, according to TechCrunch.
    • The chief information officer (CIO) is increasingly becoming the healthcare systems "utility player,” largely because of the impact IT is having on healthcare and healthcare regulations, HIMSS CEO Hal Wolf told FierceHealthcare.
    • Google-affiliated Onduo and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) have joined forces to offer more personalized diabetes care to BCBSA members. The program aims to match members to appropriate diabetes interventions, such as wireless glucose monitors.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's what those white marks on your nails say about your health

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    R2D2 and Luke Skywalker in The Force Awakens

    • The educational toy company littleBits is trying to roll out the hot new toy for the holidays.
    • Its 'Droid Inventor Kit' lets kids build their own versions of R2D2 from "Star Wars" while letting parents feel like their children are learning to code.
    • The company may be writing the new playbook for a kids media strategy, as it eschews TV for YouTube and kid influencers.

    LittleBits, a startup that makes toys that combine elements of Lego-like building and electronics and coding, is trying to turn its new product into the must-have toy for the holiday shopping season: the Droid Inventor Kit. The kit lets kids build their own tricked-out R2D2 droid from the Star Wars movies.

    "We see this as Lego for the 21st century," said founder and CEO Ayah Bdeir. She's describing the company's products, but might as well be referring to how littleBits is going about marketing the toy. 

    Whereas Lego and most other industry giants continue to rely on TV ads to spur kids to nagging moms and dads about putting their toys on their lists for Santa, littleBits is eschewing TV ads on kiddie cartoons entirely.

    Instead, it's opting for a heavy dose of YouTube ads, social media posts, and videos created by kid influencers. The media strategy is recognition of the rapidly changing media landscape, where the rules of marketing are constantly being upended 

    Here's how littleBits plans to break out during the cluttered holiday toy wish list bonanza.


    Forget Nickelodeon and Saturday Morning Cartoons

    Even as kids become heavy consumers of digital media, many toy makers have kept their ad budgets anchored to 30-second ads on TV– as there's a general skittishness about marketing to kids on the web.

    LittleBits says the only way to tell its story was on social media. 

    "TV wouldn't be my first choice," said Peter Dille, head of marketing, who joined littleBits over the summer from Sony. "Kids are not watching the same ways they used to."

    Go long on digital

    LittleBits on Wednesday is debuting out a new cinematic, two-minute ad on YouTube, featuring kids cast deliberately to look like Star Wars characters like Rey meeting for an underground building rebellion:

     "Next to the toy giants, we have to be really smart," said Trevor Guthrie, founder of the marketing agency Giant Spoon, which oversaw the littleBits holiday ad plan. "For this product, we knew we had to show kids at play. In a 30-second spot, there would be too much going on."

    Get kid influencers

    LittleBits worked with the web video firm Fullscreen to broker deals with child YouTube stars like EvanTube, who's known for unboxing toy videos. Since August, this clip has generated over 700,000 views.

     LittleBits has released several other kid influencer videos to date – including What's Inside and Kyle's Toy's and Games, with a handful more planned before the holidays.

    "This allows you to have this great moment with kids and parents," said Guthrie. "It's not just an ad in front of content, you actually become the content.

    A few years ago, for a different product, littleBits planned out an influencer campaign featuring the likes of comic YouTubers such as Magic of Rahat and – PewDiePie (who was thrust into the spotlight earlier this year after making a series of very questionable videos). "We looked at the buy and pulled out the night before," said Bdeir. "There was a lot of misogynist content out there."

    This year, the company stuck with squeaky clean kid influencers.


    Even though kids don't use Facebook and Instagram, their parents do. So use them. 


    Something is happening. In every town. In every street. A Droid Inventor movement is brewing... link in bio! #InventorsWanted #StarWars #ForceFridayII

    A post shared by littleBits (@littlebits) on Sep 1, 2017 at 6:47am PDT on

     There's also content on sites like Fatherly and even ads on podcasts. And of course, where the parents shop: The droid kit is being promoted at Walmart and on It's landed the coveted number 2 spot on Amazon's holiday toy list. 

    And of course, blend a 40-year old iconic brand with a massive parenting trend

    Not only did littleBits land a licensing deal for Star Wars months before the much anticipated "The Last Jedi" hits theaters, but littleBits toys are promoting themselves as being good for kids' coding skills when every parent is obsessed with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics)

    "This is really in the sweet spot of millennial parents," said Guthrie.  

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's why we call it 'Black Friday'

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    lavar ball

    • LaVar Ball downplayed President Donald Trump's role in getting three UCLA basketball players home after they were arrested on charges of shoplifting in China.
    • Trump reportedly made a plea to President Xi Jinping to get the Chinese government involved in the case.
    • The players thanked Trump upon returning home.

    LaVar Ball on Friday downplayed US President Donald Trump's role in helping three UCLA basketball players return home after being arrested on charges of shoplifting in China.

    Trump, while on a trip to Asia, reportedly made a personal plea to President Xi Jinping for the Chinese government to get involved in the case, which included LaVar's son LiAngelo, Rich Hill, and Cody Riley.

    LaVar, however, minimized Trump's role to ESPN's Arash Markazi.

    "Who?" Ball said of Trump's involvement. "What was he over there for? Don't tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out."

    When the players returned to the US, Trump wondered in a tweet if the players would thank him. After a press conference later on, the players did thank for Trump for his involvement.

    Trump said in his tweet that the players were facing up to 10 years in jail. ESPN previously reported that people familiar with the case believed it would be settled in one to two weeks. The players were kept in the team's hotel during questioning from the police.

    "As long as my boy's back here, I'm fine," Ball told ESPN. "I'm happy with how things were handled. A lot of people like to say a lot of things that they thought happened over there. Like I told him, 'They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes.' I'm from L.A. I've seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses. My son has built up enough character that one bad decision doesn't define him."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside the Texas Longhorns' amazing $7 million locker room

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    party celebration confetti

    • Bank of America Merrill Lynch's fund-manager survey shows that a record number of participants are taking on higher-than-normal levels of risk.
    • A large number of investors acknowledge that markets are overvalued, while cash levels are still falling, which signals overconfidence.

    In markets, it's common knowledge that when things are going well, overconfidence can come back and bite you.

    And that, in turn, poses one of the great existential dilemmas of investing: Do you take a more measured approach, knowing that your hubris could eventually be your undoing? Or do you push aside those lingering doubts and forge ahead in blind pursuit of further returns?

    According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch's latest monthly fund-manager survey, which includes 206 panelists who manage $610 billion, investors are opting for the latter.

    The firm finds that a record number of survey responders are taking higher-than-normal risk. That comes at a time when US stock market valuations are sitting close to their highest in history, creating a precarious situation in which investors are feeling emboldened at a time when they should be exhibiting caution.

    Screen Shot 2017 11 14 at 10.22.39 AM

    In addition to their unprecedented risk threshold, 48% of survey participants also said they saw equity valuations at a record high. And BAML notes that all of this is happening as surveyed cash levels dwindle to 4.4% of overall holdings, their lowest since October 2013. The firm also said in July its private client cash was at a record low as a percentage of total assets.

    "Net percentage saying equities are overvalued is at a record high, yet cash levels are falling," BAML's chief investment strategist, Michael Hartnett, wrote in a note. "This is a sign of 'irrational exuberance.'"

    Harnett also says expectations around a "Goldilocks" economy — one characterized by high growth and low inflation — are at an all-time high. He sees this trend continuing as the GOP tries to implement its tax plan, which a handful strategists across Wall Street see underpinning further gains in stocks through 2018.

    With all of that in mind, it's important to note that BAML has been sounding the alarm about unstable market conditions for months. Back in July, Hartnett warned that central-bank tightening could pop what he described as a bubble in risk assets. He even went as far as to coin the term "Icarus trade" to describe the "melt up" in stocks and commodities since 2016.

    The findings in the latest fund-manager survey have done little to dissuade Hartnett from thinking investors are flying too close to the sun. And while many alarm signals are going off, the market has proved adept at avoiding catastrophe as US equities stretch into the ninth year of their historic bull run. At a certain point, something's got to give.

    SEE ALSO: Tech stocks once again look unstoppable

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How the iPhone X could make Apple a $1 trillion company

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    Consumer Demand for Digital Channels

    This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

    Weighed down by a sluggish global economy, turbulent capital markets, and heavier regulation after the 2008 financial crisis, many big banks have scrimped on innovation.

    In doing so, they've failed to keep up with customers' embrace of and demand for all things digital and mobile. That's opened the door to a new breed of banks dedicated to delivering an optimal digital customer experience: digital-only "challenger banks," or "neobanks."

    These players' agile, modular, wholly digital systems let them adapt quickly to changing consumer demands and expectations, threatening incumbents. However, the big banks still have the edge in consumer trust. This gives legacy firms a window of opportunity to launch digital subsidiaries of their own to fend off the upstarts.

    In a new report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, we look at the features that make neobanks a distinct new competitor, the range of models they're adopting, and the regions in which neobanks are particularly flourishing. We also discuss the challenges neobanks still face, and the opportunity these obstacles present for incumbents to get ahead in the transition to digital banking.

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • Digital-only challenger banks, also called neobanks, focus on digital delivery channels, either online or mobile. They are dedicated to improving on incumbent retail banks’ weakest point — customer experience.
    • Now that customers have more options focused on a better user experience, incumbents are being forced to raise their game. Challenger banks are finding ways to deliver cutting-edge banking services to consumers, meaning incumbents no longer set the terms.
    • Neobanks' biggest challenge — winning consumer trust and users — is also incumbents’ best chance to fight back. They can use their brand recognition and trust to promote their own digital subsidiaries.
    • Challenger banks' emergence is about banking moving over to digital. The only question is who will win in the race to transition to this new landscape: independent players or incumbents’ digital subsidiaries.

    In full, the report:

    • Looks at the different business models neobanks are adopting to compete with incumbents.
    • Gives an overview of the neobank scene in different geographies.
    • Explains the biggest obstacles neobanks still face, and how they can navigate them.
    • Examines the opportunity big banks have to win the race to digital.
    • Discusses what the banking scene of the future will look like, and who might come out on top.

    Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

    1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
    2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    working tired sad worker employee office calling computer

    The number of hours Americans work has gone down over the last several decades, according to data from the OECD, while leisure time has gone up. But that's hardly the perception for many working people.

    How come?

    The psychologist Adam Alter offered one reason in his 2017 TED talk "Why our screens make us less happy." He says that screen-based devices eat up what precious free time we have left.

    But that may only be part of the story when it comes to the lack of leisure time. Here's why it feels like you have no free time anymore.

    SEE ALSO: Meet the first-ever robot citizen — a humanoid named Sophia that once said it would 'destroy humans'

    Our view of free time has changed.

    Now that Americans have left the Industrial Age for the Information Age, the way people think about the value of time has changed.

    Psychologists have found people do actually equate time with its monetary value (i.e. "Time is money."). At the same time, people have more opportunities than ever for multi-tasking. The result is time not spent working feels like a waste.

    "Multi-tasking is what makes us feel pressed for time," Elizabeth Dunn, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia, told the Economist.

    People are working from home more often.

    A 2017 Gallup survey of 15,000 American workers found that 43% of people spent at least some of their time working remotely — an increase of four percentage points since 2012.

    They're also doing it more often: While the share of people who said they work remotely one day a week or less has fallen since 2012, the share of people who do it four or five times a week has risen, from 24% to 31%.

    On the one hand, more flexibility in where to work has made it easier for parents and people who travel a lot to get their work done. But it's also had the side effect of getting people comfortable with working at home, at times they'd normally be relaxing.

    We are spending longer hours in the office.

    A 2011 survey of more than 300 companies in the US and Canada found nearly two-thirds of employers were demanding longer hours of their employees than they did three years prior.

    Roughly half said they expected the longer hours to get even longer over the next three years.

    According to additional survey results, the attitude may be due to the fact employers weren't aware that workers felt their mental health had suffered due to the longer hours.


    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Bronchial thermoplasty could one day be used to treat severe asthma. The process involves putting a flexible tube in a patient's nose or mouth, and using a heatable electrode array to help decrease the amount of excess muscle tissue restricting air flow. Here's how it would all work.

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    anti-Mugabe march in Zimbabwe

    Tens of thousands of protesters have reportedly taken to the streets of Harare in Zimbabwe to call for the resignation of president Robert Mugabe.

    Protesters sang songs, hugged soldiers, and waved banners, placades, and the national flag as Zimbabweans added their voices to the political changes this week.

    On Wednesday, the military took over the country's state broadcaster and blocked access to the country's parliament and courts.

    The military said it was determined to weed out "criminals" and wanted to "pacify a degenerating political, social, and economic situation."

    The military added that it would only return power once it had achieved it's goal.

    On Saturday, the military sanctioned a march in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. Here are some of the best photographs.

    Tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets of Harare, according to The Guardian, as people began to march toward the home of president Robert Mugabe.

    Demonstrators carried signs that said "Mugabe must go," waved the Zimbabwe flag, and stopped occasionally to embrace with soldiers.

    Earlier this week it was reported in South Africa that Mugabe had been placed under house arrest. He made a public appearance at a graduation ceremony on Friday, but appeared to fall asleep in a chair.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Tesla Roadster

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk surprised everyone and unveiled a new Roadster on Thursday evening. 

    After unveiling the company's first big-rig, Tesla had its new Roadster driven out of the back of the semi-trailer. 

    The sports car will be able to go from 0 to 60 mph in just 1.9 seconds, making it the fastest production car ever made, Musk said. 

    Here's a closer look at the newest Tesla vehicle. 

    SEE ALSO: Tesla just unveiled its first electric semi — and it looks like a spaceship

    Musk said the car would have a top speed of about 250 mph.

    It will feature Plaid mode, which will enable it to do 0 to 60 mph in just 1.9 seconds.

    What's more, it will do a quarter-mile in 8.9 seconds and ...

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Best Buy employees

    On Black Friday — the most hectic day in retail — there are plenty of things store associates would love to tell shoppers.

    But, whether it's because there's just no time or for fear of repercussions, there are some things they can't tell you.

    And some of these things, while perhaps controversial, could end up being a service to shoppers or the workers themselves, if only someone would just say something.

    So we asked a number of Black Friday workers to weigh in on the one thing they'd love to tell customers but can't.

    We've anonymously included some of the more constructive thoughts here:

    SEE ALSO: Here's what it's really like to work retail on Black Friday

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    The deals are usually the same all day

    "You're stupid if you think waiting in line at midnight means you're going to get a better price than waiting a few hours and coming later." 

    And they tend not to be that great

    "Honestly, none of the discounts are worthwhile. A majority of the time, sale electronics are last year's or older models."

    Consider what your time is worth

    "The time you spend waiting in line could have been used to work and pay the extra cash for the item you want."

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Retailers and BrexitThis is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

    Cross-border e-commerce is widely expected to be a key growth engine for the global e-commerce industry in the coming years, thanks to a convergence of consumer and market trends.

    Major retailers are already expanding their cross-border shipping options, and cross-border online purchases — those between consumers and merchants based in different countries — are set to grow twice as fast as domestic ones through 2020, according to a study released earlier this year by DHL. 

    BI Intelligence estimates that, with current policies in place, global cross-border e-commerce will generate more than $1 trillion in sales for retailers by 2021.

    However, over the past year, two key global events — the presidential election in the US and the Brexit vote in the UK — have cast uncertainty over the cross-border e-commerce market in the form of protectionist trade policies that could restrict the flow of goods between different countries. Growing economic nationalism in Western democracies — a phenomenon brought on by negative perceptions of the trade liberalization and globalization that these countries have experienced since the end of the Cold War — fueled both of these political upheavals.

    In a new report, BI Intelligence details the the potential impact of the rise of economic nationalism in Western democracies on the global cross-border e-commerce market. Brexit, NAFTA's renegotiation, and potential disruptions to US-China trade relations could dramatically impact cross-border e-commerce between the UK and EU, and the US and China, Mexico, and Canada. These cross-border e-commerce corridors together make up around 20% of global cross-border e-commerce, and generate tens of billions in online sales for merchants today. 

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • Cross-border e-commerce — defined as any online purchase made from a business located in another country — will grow to more than $1 trillion by 2021 under current global trade policies.
    • However, protectionist trade policies could disrupt several major cross-border e-commerce corridors by placing tariffs and new customs restrictions on goods moving between countries, and, in some cases, severely limiting online retailers' ability to reach consumers in other markets. 
    • Donald Trump's election in the US has raised the possibility of trade relations between the US and China deteriorating. This would threaten the most valuable cross-border e-commerce corridor in the world, as US retailers have found a massive market for their wares among China's online shoppers.
    • The renegotiation of NAFTA will begin later this year, with cross-border e-commerce between the US, Canada, and Mexico hanging in the balance. US online retailers already garner billions in sales from Canadian consumers every year, and are making more inroads to Mexico as well. 
    • Brexit negotiations could impact tens of billions of dollars in e-commerce sales between UK consumers and EU merchants and vice versa. Though these merchants and consumers have long-standing ties, a "hard" Brexit would add new costs and complexities to transactions between them.

     In full, the report:

    • Forecasts the growth of cross-border e-commerce globally, as well as growth in the specific corridors that could be impacted by Brexit, NAFTA renegotiations, and US-China trade relations.
    • Examines trends and challenges in cross-border e-commerce between the UK and EU, as well as between the US and Canada, Mexico, and China.
    • Analyzes the impact that different scenarios — including a "hard" vs. "soft" Brexit, or targeted tariffs imposed on US-China trade — could have on cross-border e-commerce between the countries involved.
    • Provides insight into the likelihood of these scenarios, helping online retailers adjust their plans for international expansion and sales.  

    To get the full report, subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND more than 250 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> Learn More Now

    You can also purchase and download the report from our research store.

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    cohn mnuchin

    • A little-known provision of the GOP tax plan would make investors sell out of positions using an accounting method that would cost them flexibility.
    • Large investment managers like Vanguard are worried that the measure could cost their clients millions of dollars.

    America's biggest investment managers aren't thrilled with the GOP tax bill.

    Under a little-publicized provision of the bill, clients would be forced to sell their oldest shares first when cashing out of positions, according to a report from Laura Saunders of the Wall Street Journal. That would reduce flexibility in terms of minimizing taxes, something that investment firms fear could end up costing clients loads of money.

    The provision would make investors selling partial positions offload them on a "first in, first out" (FIFO) basis, rather than allow them to selectively liquidate shares bought at different prices.

    Saunders received a statement from a spokeswoman at $4.4 trillion money manager Vanguard, who said that the firm is concerned the provision will "most likely increase significantly the amount of taxable distributions made to investors every year."

    One popular method that would take a hit is the so-called "harvesting" of losses, which investors implement when they want to cut the cord on a failed trade, in order to get some tax relief. Under the new plan, if those same investors also have an older holding in the same security, that's the one that would get sold, regardless of whether it has a more beneficial tax profile.

    With that said, it's still possible that the oldest holdings would also be the most favorably priced from a tax perspective. What's troubling to investment firms is the lack of flexibility.

    As posed at present time, the change would take effect for sales in 2018, and it's estimated to raise $2.7 billion over 10 years. With that type of windfall, it's not particularly surprising that the GOP would try to include the provision. But there's no denying that the measure comes at the expense of investor optionality.

    Thomas Faust, the chief executive of Eaton Vance, a firm that manages more than $400 million, has a broader take on the provision. And it's not great for market efficiency.

    "Markets will work less well," he told Saunders. "Our fund managers will have their hands tied, and our shareholders will owe more in taxes."

    Read the Wall Street Journal article here.

    SEE ALSO: 'Irrational exuberance' could spell disaster for markets

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    reading in airport

    Flying offers the opportunity to disconnect from the internet — unless you pay for it — and turn your mind off from the constant barrage of phone notifications.

    Why not spend that time getting smarter on a topic you've always wanted to learn more about.

    With that in mind, Business Insider found seven smart books you can finish over the course of a single plane ride. They are short, visually stimulating, or both. For this list we selected an array of lengths, from a 64-page book that's perfect for your hour-long flight, to a 320-page book that would fit the bill if you fly coast-to-coast.

    Below we've listed them in order of length, from shortest to longest.

    So grab one, or a few, for your next flight, and get smarter by the time you've deplaned.

    SEE ALSO: The most exciting city in every state — and the most boring one you can probably skip

    'Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words' by Randall Munroe

    'Thing Explainer' is intentionally short and simple to understand. The 64-page book uses drawings and the 1,000 most common words to give readers simple explanations for different complicated subjects.

    Buy it here »

    'We should all be feminists' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    MacArthur Genius Grant winner Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie expanded on a popular TED talk by the same name to write her 64-page book. She provides a modern-day definition of feminism, and explores the sexual politics at work in society today.

    Buy it here »

    'The War of Independence' by John Fiske

    Originally published in 1890, this 115-page book provides a historical perspective on the American Revolution 100 years following the war, rather than today's more than 230 years. It was written by a historian and scholar who graduated from Harvard Law School.

    Buy it here »

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    BI Graphics_The most dominant college football programs_2x1

    When it comes to college football, there are powerhouses and then there's everyone else.

    Business Insider has compiled a list of the schools that have run the most dominating football programs over the last 15 years.

    To create the ranking we used a formula based on factors such as games and championships won in the last 15 years across all levels (with recent championships weighted more heavily), appearances in the biggest bowl games during that stretch, NFL players produced, and revenue generated by the football team.

    Here are the 30 most dominant college football programs.

    30. Houston

    Football revenue, last 3 years: $36.9 million

    BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 1

    Conference championships: 2

    BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 0

    National championships: 0

    Players in the NFL: 13

    One thing to know: Houston has proven in recent years to be one of the top and most consistent teams in FCS. They have been ranked in the top 10 at different points in three of the six seasons prior to this year and reached a New Year's Six bowl in 2015 under Tom Herman when they beat Florida State.

    Data is is for the 2002-16 seasons across FBS, FCS, Division II, and Division III. Championships were weighted by division and years since title.

    29. Louisville

    Football revenue, last 3 years: $103.5 million

    BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 2

    Conference championships: 4

    BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 0

    National championships: 0

    Players in the NFL: 24

    One thing to know: In 2007, head coach Bobby Petrino left Louisville just months after signing a 10-year contract extension, accepting the head coaching job for the Atlanta Falcons. Prior to the 2016 season, he signed a new 7-year deal that has him under contract at Louisville through the 2023 season. Louisville won at least nine games in six of Petrino's first seven seasons at the school.

    28. Northern Illinois

    Football revenue, last 3 years: $25.8 million

    BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 1

    Conference championships: 3

    BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 0

    National championships: 0

    Players in the NFL: 4

    One thing to know: Northern Illinois won at least 11 games every season from 2010 through 2014. They also played in eight straight bowl games — including the 2012 Orange Bowl — a streak that only ended last season.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Jeff Bezos

    • Mergers-and-acquisitions transactions worth over $10 billion are surging back after a largely dormant first half of the year.
    • Wall Street bankers say an improving global economy and confidence in the regulatory environment are playing a role.
    • The looming threat of supercorporations like Amazon has many large companies evaluating whether they can be an endgame winner — and whether they need to strike a deal to get there.

    On Thursday, Emerson Electric upped its takeover bid for Rockwell Automation to $29 billion — 5% higher than the $27.6 billion bid Rockwell rejected last month.

    Only days before, Qualcomm rebuffed the $130 billion overture by Broadcom in what would be the largest tech tie-up in history.

    And rumors that the asset manager Brookfield Property Partners was eyeing up the shopping-mall investor GGP also came to fruition this week in the form of a $27.9 billion bid, one of the largest real-estate deals of all time.

    Is the megadeal back?

    The year started off in a frigid climate for large mergers and acquisitions. Only five M&A transactions valued at north of $10 billion were announced in the first half of the year, with a combined transaction value of $84 billion, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters.

    But boardrooms of the US's largest companies have worked up an appetite for megadeals in the back half of 2017. Eight deals or attempted deals valued at more than $10 billion apiece — and a combined value of $245 billion — were announced from July through early November, already dwarfing the front half of the year with seven weeks to go.

    While megadeals are still well off the firecracker pace from recent years, the rebound of late is a sign of increasing confidence in global economic conditions and a favorable regulatory environment. But it also highlights the rapidly dawning realization that technological disruption poses an existential threat even to industry giants.

    The specter of a global supercorporation like Amazon, Google, or Walmart entering a new industry at a whim has previously fearsome conglomerates with market capitalizations in the tens of billions feeling rather small and acknowledging that maintaining the status quo is now a risky bet.

    Wall Street M&A chart_02

    "If you're not acting proactively, aggressively, to evolve your business and change your business, you're likely falling behind — and that realization is happening at a greater pace," Chris Ventresca, the global cohead of M&A at JPMorgan, told Business Insider. "Therefore, people are more willing to consider deals that they may not have considered in years past."

    The cool-off

    Why did mega-deal making cool off so much at the beginning of the year?

    Small M&A activity — deals worth less than $10 billion — remained strong, with $490 billion across 6,900 transactions, according to Thomson Reuters. That eclipsed small-deal volume in the first half of 2015 and 2016.

    It was the large deals that lagged behind.

    One explanation for the hesitancy was the nascent administration of President Donald Trump, who had made a habit after his election of tweet-shaming companies that made strategic moves likely to result in fewer jobs for Americans.

    How would his regulators respond to large mergers that stood to benefit from synergies and cost cutting?

    Such concerns began to ebb by summer. The president's ability to smack stock prices with a single tweet quickly waned, and his social-media salvos shifted toward focusing on concerns such as the Russia investigation, the healthcare debate, and North Korea's "Little Rocket Man."

    More important, big deals started to trickle through without arousing attention from the Department of Justice.

    In April, the medical-devices company Becton Dickinson bought the surgical-supplies manufacturer C.R. Bard for $24.2 billion. In June, Amazon sent tremors through corporate boardrooms when it swooped in to buy Whole Foods for $13.6 billion. In July, Discovery Communications announced a $14.6 billion takeover of the fellow media company Scripps Networks Interactive.

    The consolidations went uncontested, and more followed.

    "Over the summer there was a number of big, strategic combinations, and they didn't seem to meet with a lot of regulatory or political resistance," Mark McMaster, the vice chairman of investment banking at Lazard, told Business Insider.

    "It appears we're in a regulatory environment where Washington is going to allow pure-play companies to continue to get larger," he added.

    The $85 billion merger between AT&T and Time Warner — announced in 2016 before Trump was elected — may be the exception, with regulators suggesting they'd file suit to block the deal. Reports have been mixed about whether the DOJ demanded the sale of Turner Broadcasting, the division that owns CNN.

    BI Graphics_2H Mega Deals

    By summer, CEOs also grew more confident that global economies were in sync and robust growth would continue.

    With stock markets setting record highs and equity valuations soaring, this helped make the math on mergers more palatable.

    Multiples may be elevated, but the premium is more justifiable with an upward-sloping global economy.

    "Things that may have felt expensive suddenly feel less expensive when you model in an improving global economy," said Ventresca of JPMorgan, noting that optimism on this front had improved from even six to nine months ago.

    Deals also seem more palatable if a company can tap the low-interest debt markets or use its own inflated equity to finance a deal.

    If companies swap shares in a deal, the fact that stock prices are inflated can be neutralized, McMaster noted.

    The Amazon effect

    Aside from giving investors and business leaders some confidence on the regulatory front, the Amazon takeover of Whole Foods more importantly served as a wake-up call.

    Mark McMaster Lazard

    Grocery stocks plummeted after the deal was announced, and pharmacy stocks took a hit as well.

    Even companies with tens of billions of dollars in market capitalization began to confront the possibility that supercorporations like Amazon could wake up on a given day and upend their industry.

    This forced firms to frankly assess their deficiencies and evaluate whether they had enough to be an endgame winner in their sector.

    That's why you're seeing more megadeals that establish a firmer footing within an industry.

    That may be why Disney— facing threats from Netflix and Amazon — isn't certain it can win purely by growing within. The company was reportedly discussing a bid that could be in the neighborhood of $40 billion to acquire most of 21st Century Fox earlier this month, which would give the company a major leg up. And CVS Health's reported $66 billion takeover plans for Aetna have everything to do with staying one step ahead of Amazon.

    "Companies are feeling the pressure of creating endgame winners within their various sectors and are willing to take a longer-term view of whether they have the pieces of the puzzle to be that endgame winner," Ventresca said. "And they're acknowledging that if they don't, they might not have the luxury of time and building it on an organic, greenfield basis."

    Join the conversation about this story »

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