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SWEET 16 POWER RANKINGS: Where every team stands heading into the second weekend of March Madness


After a wild first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, four days worth of March Madness has whittled the field down to 16 teams that remain to compete for the national championship.

There's not a weak team in the field, and with numerous powerhouses already taken down in surprising fashion, it indeed is anyone's title to win. That said, the dominant programs that have experience making deep runs in the tournament hold a clear advantage over teams that haven't made as many Sweet 16 trips.

Below we break down which teams are in the best position to take home the 2018 national championship, and which teams are going to need a little help to keep their Cinderella stories going.

16. Syracuse

Syracuse beat the Michigan State Spartans despite being out-rebounded by 20 and making just one three-pointer. The Orange needed poor shooting from the Spartans to prevail, a gift they're not likely to get in their Sweet 16 matchup against Duke. That said, Boeheim's 2-3 zone defense is the great equalizer here — we've seen it take down many teams in March.

FiveThirtyEight chances to win title: <1%

15. Loyola-Chicago

With the UMBC Retrievers out of the tournament, Loyola-Chicago is the most loved Cinderella story left in March Madness. Team chaplain Sister Jean has become an international sensation, and the Ramblers have proven that they can hang with the best teams in college basketball, taking down both Miami and Tennessee en route to the Sweet 16. They're the lowest seed remaining in the tournament, but with the South region wide open, they still have a shot at the Final Four.

FiveThirtyEight chances to win title: <1%

14. Florida State

After starting the season 9-0, the Seminoles have been up and down since December, with impressive wins over the likes of UNC and Clemson, along with head-scratching losses against Boston College and Wake Forest. They can play up for any one game, but can't afford to cool off for a game now that the field has narrowed.

FiveThirtyEight chances to win title: 1%

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Actor Jim Carrey dumped his Facebook stock at exactly the right time (FB)


  • Actor Jim Carrey tweeted on February 6 that he was dumping his Facebook shares because the company profited from Russian interference in US elections.
  • Facebook shares have fallen more than 9% over the past two sessions after news surfaced that Cambridge Analytica accessed data to more than 50 million users without their permission.
  • Follow Facebook's stock in real time here.

Actor Jim Carrey dumped his Facebook shares at exactly the right time. 

"I’m dumping my @facebook stock and deleting my page because @facebook profited from Russian interference in our elections and they’re still not doing enough to stop it," Carrey tweeted on February 6. "I encourage all other investors who care about our future to do the same. #unfriendfacebook."

Facebook shares closed at $185.31 on February 6, but have fallen more than 9% this week to their lowest since September following news out this past weekend that Cambridge Analytica accessed data from 50 million users without their permission. The stock closed at $168.15 Tuesday. 

The selloff in Facebook shares has been fast and furious. They've shed 9% in just two days, and erased roughly $50 billion in market cap. During the selloff, Facebook has slipped one place in the rankings of the most valuable US companies, falling from fifth to sixth, and is now behind Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

Facebook shares are down another 1.35% ahead of Wednesday's opening bell. 


SEE ALSO: A bubble you didn't even know existed could be bursting

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The Fed is set to raise interest rates again — here's how it happens and why it matters

jerome powell

  • The Federal Reserve is set to raise its benchmark interest rate again on Wednesday.
  • The Fed adjusts the interest rates that banks charge to borrow from one another, which is eventually passed on to consumers.

Banks give out money all the time — for a fee.

When we borrow and then pay back with interest, it's how banks make money.

The cost of borrowing — interest rates — makes a big difference in which credit card you choose or whether you get one at all.

If your bank wants to make it more expensive to borrow, it's not as simple as just slapping on a new rate, as a grocer would with milk. That's something controlled higher up, by the Federal Reserve, America's central bank.

Why does the Fed care about interest rates£

In 1977, Congress gave the Fed two main tasks: keep the prices of things Americans buy stable, and create labor-market conditions that provide jobs for all the people who want them.

The Fed has developed a toolkit to achieve these goals of inflation and maximum employment. But interest-rate changes make the most headlines, perhaps because they have a swift effect on how much we pay for credit cards and other short-term loans.

From Washington, the Fed adjusts interest rates to spur all sorts of other changes in the economy. If it wants to encourage consumers to borrow so spending can increase, which should help the economy, it cuts rates and makes borrowing cheap. To do the opposite and cool the economy, it raises rates so that an extra credit card seems less and less desirable.

The Fed often adjusts rates in response to inflation — the increase in prices that happens when people borrow so much that they have more to spend than what's available to buy.

For most of this economic recovery, inflation hasn't really picked up. That's expected to soon change, thanks to a jolt from the federal government in the form of tax cuts. Inflation even gave investors reason to panic last month when the jobs report showed the fastest growth in average hourly earnings since 2008.

The data was later revised lower, showing that inflation isn't accelerating as quickly as feared.

So for now, the Fed is not exactly raising rates to fight inflation, though it expects prices to rise. That's why the big question for Wednesday's decision is whether Fed officials would add one more rate hike to their projection for the year, bringing the total to four.

So how do rates go up or down£

Banks don't lend only to consumers, but to one another as well.

That's because at the end of every day, they need to have a certain amount of capital in their reserves. As we spend money, that balance fluctuates, so a bank may need to borrow overnight to meet the minimum capital requirement.

And just as they charge you for a loan, they charge one another.

The Fed tries to influence that charge — called the federal funds rate — and it's what they're targeting when they raise or cut rates.

When the fed funds rate rises, banks also hike the rates they charge consumers, so borrowing costs increase across the economy.

Floor and ceiling

After the Great Recession, the Fed bought an unprecedented amount in Treasuries to inject cash into banks' accounts. There's now over $2 trillion in excess reserves parked at the Fed. (There was less than $500 billion in 2008.)

It figured that one way to pare down these Treasuries was to lend some to money-market mutual funds and other dealers. It does this in transactions known as reverse repurchase operations, which involve selling the Treasuries and agreeing to buy them back the next day.

The Fed sets a lower "floor" rate on these so-called repos.

Then it sets a higher rate that controls how much it pays banks to hold their cash, known as interest on excess reserves, or IOER. This acts as a ceiling, since banks won't want to lend to one another at a rate lower than what the Fed is paying them — at least in theory.

In July, the last time the Fed raised rates, it set the repo rate at 1.25% and the IOER at 1.50%. With the 25 basis-point increase expected on Wednesday, the new floor repo rate would become 1.50% and the ceiling 1.75%.

The effective fed funds rate, which is what banks use to lend to one another, would then float between 1.50% and 1.75%.

When the Fed raises rates, banks are less incentivized to lend, since they are earning more to park their cash in reserves. That reduces the supply of money and raises its price.

fed funds rate

But I'm not a bank

After the Fed lifts the fed funds rate, the baton is passed to banks.

Banks first raise the rate they charge their most creditworthy clients — such as large corporations — known as the prime rate. Usually, banks announce this hike a few days after the Fed's announcement.

Things like mortgages and credit-card rates are then benchmarked against the prime rate.

"The effect of a rate hike is going to be felt most immediately on credit cards and home-equity lines of credit, where the quarter-point rate hike will show up typically within 60 days," said Greg McBride, the chief financial analyst at

Higher rates have already hit the housing market. Mortgage rates, though still low by historical standards, are on rise at a time when the inventory of affordable houses is low.

But there's potentially good news for savers as banks start to raise deposit rates

SEE ALSO: Wall Street is watching one key level in the bond market

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Workers at Starbucks and McDonald's are facing down a revolution that's transforming fast food (SBUX, MCD)

Starbucks barista

  • Mobile ordering is on the rise. The number of orders being placed via mobile apps went up by 50% in US restaurants in 2017. 
  • While mobile orders can boost sales for restaurant chains, they can also cause behind-the-scenes problems and spark worker revolts.
  • Some Starbucks employees say they're losing out on tips due to the growth of mobile orders, while McDonald's workers complain about the confusion mobile ordering causes. 

Mobile ordering is on the rise — and it's creating a wave of new problems for fast-food workers. 

The number of orders being placed via mobile apps skyrocketed by 50% in US restaurants in 2017, according to data from the NPD Group. Business Insider Intelligence predicts that by 2020, mobile order-ahead will account for 10.7% of all quick-service restaurants (QSR) sales. 

However, while restaurants are increasingly banking on mobile orders to grow sales, there are behind-the-scenes conflicts that need to be addressed. 

Workers at chains such as Starbucks and McDonald's say that the rise of mobile ordering is hurting their tips and complicating their jobs. And, at a time when turnover is higher than ever in the industry, that could create some major problems. 

Starbucks' mobile-order chaos

starbucks mobile

Last year, Starbucks witnessed the dangers associated with too many people placing mobile orders. In January 2017, the company reported that transactions — an important measure of customer traffic — dropped by 2% in part because of problems, such as bottlenecks and overcrowding, that were caused by mobile ordering. 

Starbucks has addressed the issues for the most part, adding pick-up shelves for mobile orders and changing some workers' roles to focus on mobile-related tasks during busy hours. In late February, Starbucks launched its first national effort in roughly five years to change how many employees should be working at different times of day and what exactly their tasks should be. 

However, some workers say that one big problem remains. Apparently, more mobile orders can often mean fewer tips. 

Jaime Prater, a shift supervisor at a Starbucks in California, Jaime Prater, told Business Insider that tips were "in steady decline" due to the rise of mobile order and pay. 

"As far as I can tell," Prater said, "Starbucks corporate has not done anything to improve tipping ... with the exception of the frequency of pay raises, which I believe is a direct answer to the decrease in tips, nationally."

A Starbucks spokeswoman said that the company encourages customers to tip baristas to show their appreciation. 

"Each store tracks their own tips, so we don't have specifics to share, but customers are prompted to tip when using Mobile Order & Pay or when they pay on the Starbucks mobile app at the register," the spokeswoman said in an email. "Cash tips in stores are also a great option if you want to thank your barista." 

A dangerous lack of unity

mcDonalds worker

Tips aside, Starbucks is further along than other chains in the process of dealing with the practical issues that mobile ordering can cause for workers.

Now, other companies seem to be facing the problems that Starbucks faced in early 2017. 

Bloomberg reported earlier in March that some McDonald's workers are being driven away from the chain due to issues related to mobile ordering.

"They added a lot of complicated things," ex-McDonald's employee Dudley Dickerson said to Bloomberg. "It makes it harder for the workers." 

While McDonald's said that the chain's turnover hadn't increased, turnover across the fast-food industry has reached 150%, the highest figures since industry tracker People Report began collecting data in 1995. In other words, 2018 is not the right time to be provoking workers with attempts to boost mobile-order figures. 

In October 2017, The Wall Street Journal detailed mobile-order issues including overcrowding and drive-thru confusion at chains including McAlister's Deli and Taco Bell. 

Part of the problem is that most chains haven't yet introduced a unified system as technology has become more important. It's a common problem across the retail industry. A recent report from Deloitte and Salesforce found that the average company uses 39 disparate front-end systems to manage consumer engagement, including point-of-sales, mobile, social media, and more.  

While the report focused primarily on retailers, Robert Garf, vice president of industry strategy and insights at Salesforce Commerce Cloud, told Business Insider that the restaurant industry could draw similar conclusions about the need to connect various aspects of tech with workers' existing roles. 

"There is no clear consensus on who owns the consumer experience," within companies, Garf said. "There needs to be some responsibility." 

Garf's concerns about unity echoes similar theories from Panera's Blaine Hurst. Hurst, who was heavily involved in the development of Panera 2.0 and was promoted to CEO earlier in 2018, said there's a tendency for restaurants to view introducing mobile as an easy boost, without considering its impact on employees. 

"It's about a systemic solve," Hurst told Business Insider last March. "A lot of people say, 'Let's just do this, let's just do that.' I believe you have to look at the whole system — or it will break."

SEE ALSO: Starbucks has a new take on the Unicorn Frappuccino — and baristas are already freaking out

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THE US SMART HOME MARKET REPORT: Systems, apps, and devices leading to home automation

smart home voice assistant benefits

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.

The US smart home market has still yet to meet the expectations many observers had in the early part of this decade.

The same issues BI Intelligence first identified back in 2015 still plague the space — persistently high prices, technological fragmentation, and consumers' lack of a perceived benefit from the devices.

But the newfound popularity of smart home voice control has revolutionized smart home ecosystems across the country, and convinces more consumers to equip their homes with smart devices on a daily basis. The Amazon Echo, released in 2014, has become immensely popular and capable, awakening users to the utility of both voice control and smart home devices. This has prompted companies to rush to release competing devices and integrate voice control into their smart home ecosystems.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we examine the overall state of the US smart home market — both the professionally and self-installed markets. We analyze the factors driving demand for smart home devices and smart home voice speakers, and discuss the future of voice control in the home.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Voice control is becoming a key remote interface within the home, a trend that began with the introduction of the Amazon Echo in 2014. Since then, Google, Samsung, and Apple have all integrated voice control into their smart home ecosystems.
  • While progress has been made, prices are still too high and consumers still have yet to show strong demand for smart home devices.
  • The US smart home market is only now entering the mass market phase of consumer adoption and overcoming the chasm that it sat in back in 2015.

In full, the report:

  • Analyzes current consumer demand for smart home devices based off results from BI Intelligence's proprietary survey.
  • Forecasts future growth in the number of smart home devices installed in American homes.
  • Analyzes the factors influencing the proliferation of voice control devices in the homes.
  • Identifies and analyzes the market strategies of various companies that have integrated voice control into their smart home ecosystems.

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
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These 10 countries are the most welcoming places in the world for expats

New Taipei City, Taiwan

Moving to a new country can be exciting, but settling down and finding new friends can also be daunting.

That's why InterNations, the world's largest network for expats, 13,000 people from 166 countries for their insights on moving to new places. 

The final ranking is based on how friendly locals are to expats, how easy new arrivals find it to make local friends, and how much people want to stay in their new home forever.

Scroll down to see what these countries are.

10. Canada — where 27% of expat respondents said they were mainly friends with locals. A French expat called Canadians "open-minded, tolerant, and benevolent."

9. Vietnam — more than half of the expats here said they plan to stay in the country for up to five years. Most expats living here said it was easy to settle down in the country, and described locals as welcoming.

8. Colombia — expats here are most likely to be mainly friends with locals. An expat from the US said Colombians were "open, warm, and friendly," and a Dutch national said they were "always willing to help."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
A doctor told us that rowing on a machine will get you 'more bang for your buck' than running on a treadmill — here’s why


  • Rowing is enjoying a resurgence in popularity in the fitness world.
  • Business Insider spoke to former Olympic rower Dr. Cameron Nichol.
  • He talked us through an experiment he conducted on a Channel 4 TV show that compared the impact of rowing on a machine vs. running on a treadmill.
  • He believes rowing gives you more 'bang for your buck' as it activates more muscle groups.
  • It works both the upper and lower body, the heart, and the lungs.

Rowing is having its moment in the fitness world, and the rise of the indoor group rowing class was one of the big fitness trends predicted for 2018.

It might not have a glamorous reputation, and it may not look like the easiest exercise to get to grips with. Still, the next time you're queueing for the treadmill, there could be good reason to consider a stint on the rower instead.

That's according to Dr. Cameron Nichol, a doctor, former Olympic rower, and two-time world silver medalist who says that rowing is the "most time efficient total body workout" out there.

Despite this, it's taken a while for the sport to become part of the latest fitness boom. For many, the rowing machine is a piece of gym equipment that's been collecting dust in their parent's garage since the 80s. 

"As a rowing industry we’ve known for decades that we’re responsible for not communicating how to row well," Nichol told Business Insider. "It's a really valuable movement, but the problem is we don't grow up with it, whereas we do running and cycling."

Nichol is on a mission to spread the word on rowing and has even founded Rowing WOD to help do so.

Here's a video of him rowing really fast — it's pretty impressive.

The secret to unlocking frightening speed on the machine is movement. The more you move, the faster you go. Simple. In this video you'll notice a few things. The first is that I'm establishing high volumes of body movement within the stroke, with virtually no movement of the handle. This is imperative to going fast on the machine. I know it looks difficult but don't worry, I've done this before. The real gem in this clip is the recovery. By sliding my body under the handle, I create a recoil that helps get me up the slide faster so I can take a stroke sooner. In other words, I'm nailing the recovery to go faster. Also notice how far back I'm pulling the handle - virtually nowhere near my torso. This helps keep the stroke compact and powerful. Mega gains. The most important thing after movement is facial expression. Rowing is a serious business and so should NEVER be fun. Make sure your face tells onlookers just that and always have your 'sad face' on. A miserable face is a fast face, that's what Steve Redgrave used to always say. Give these tips a go this weekend and see how you get on. 💪😎👍 #europeiscoming #AprilFools @blitzcrossfit @innerfight @weightlifting_101 @thetrainingplan @ifms7 @benjyblake @crossfitbathbox @crossfit_heartandbeauty @in2crossfit

A post shared by Dr. Cam Nichol (@cameronnicholgb) on Mar 31, 2016 at 10:36pm PDT on

As a former Olympic rower and all-round rowing enthusiast, he may be slightly biased, but Nichol said one of the reasons it's such an effective workout is that it uses virtually every muscle in the body — and he proved this in a recent experiment.

Putting rowing to the test

On Channel 4's How to get Fit Fast TV show, Nichol conducted a small experiment at the University of Roehampton that compared the impact of running on a treadmill to rowing on a machine.

Athletes of a similar level of fitness performed 20 minutes of each exercise, and a number of output measurements were taken using electrodes.

results rowing channel 4

First was calorie expenditure, the way that many people measure their workouts — and in these terms, running won.

The subject on the treadmill burnt 350 calories, while the person on the rowing machine expended 300 — but Nichol says you shouldn't just think about calories.

He pointed to another measurement — muscle activation — to prove the effectiveness of the workout. The electrodes showed how much electricity was going through each muscle group during the workout, which means "how hard and how fast those muscles are working," according to Nichol.

The results showed that rowing activated more muscle groups than running.

Rowing activates nine muscle groups and 85% of the body's musculature, according to Nichol. It will work your upper and lower body, tone your arms, and strengthen your back.

He concludes that you'll get more "bang for your buck" working out on the rowing machine than on the treadmill.

Plus, he added, there's the additional bonus that the machine is usually free.

SEE ALSO: A personal trainer says there are 3 secrets to the perfect push-up — and using your knees will never get you there

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We took a scientific look at whether non-fat or full-fat foods are worse for you — here's the verdict


  • Fat can play a key role in a balanced diet: it keeps people full and energized and helps their bodies absorb more vitamins and minerals. 
  • Some recent research suggests that eating dairy fats may help stave off obesity. 
  • But certain fats (especially trans fat) should be avoided.
  • Moderation is key — nutrition experts say focusing too much on specific nutrients misses the main point of healthy eating. 

Fat has taken turns as both a villain and a hero for healthy eaters.

In the 1990s, the US Department of Agriculture put fats and oils with sweets at the top of its food pyramid, suggesting Americans should generally avoid them. But more recent research revealed that telling Americans not to consume fat, while paying less attention to their intake of sugar and processed carbohydrates, steered waistlines in the wrong direction.

Fat is a stable source of energy, and, unlike sugar, it won't necessarily make you fat. It keeps people full and helps the body absorb vitamins and minerals. Plus, it helps nerves and cells stay healthy. There’s some evidence that certain fats may even keep us from getting fat: recently, full-fat dairy products were found to potentially help prevent obesity.

But fat's recent reputation boost has created some confusion for consumers. Is it alright to put cream in your coffee and fill the fridge with butter and other full-fat products£ 


Unfortunately, there's no one-fat-fits-all answer to that question, and more conclusive research on dairy is needed. But when you're choosing which foods to buy at the store, here are the important points to know:

Dairy fat isn't inherently good or bad for you

Many nutrition experts agree that focusing on specific fat, calorie, or protein numbers instead of prioritizing whole foods and healthy eating patterns can miss the larger point of nutrition science. 

Dairy fat isn't inherently good or bad, but it can serve an important function in a balanced diet. Fatty foods take longer to break down inside your stomach, so products with some natural fat will likely keep you full for longer.

Yale nutrition expert David Katz said that when people ask him whether they should pick low-fat versus non-fat products, he gives a shrug.

"My preferred answer is: Who cares£" Katz told Knowable Magazine last year. "The fat amount doesn’t seem to make a difference. What really matters: Are the foods wholesome, are they arranged sensibly, and is there a balance£ You can achieve all of that with high- or low-fat intakes."

Registered dietitian Sharon Palmer, author of "The Plant-Powered Diet," told Business Insider that recent scientific findings on the benefits of fat aren't a good reason to throw caution to the wind. Palmer said people should not overindulge in rich dairy treats, especially any with added syrups or sugar. 

"Research on dairy fat has gotten people confused, and they think that it’s 'better' to eat these indulgent dairy products," Palmer said in an email. "Excess calories lead to weight gain, which leads to health problems. We must keep this in mind."  

Still, a 2015 review of 53 studies found that among more than 68,000 dieters, those who tried low-fat diets weren't as good at keeping weight off for periods longer than a year. The researchers warned, however, that their findings did not indicate that adding fat into your diet is the answer to lasting weight maintenance. 

"We need to look beyond the ratios of calories from fat, carbs, and protein to a discussion of healthy eating patterns, whole foods, and portion sizes," author Dierdre Tobias said when the meta-study came out

As is the case with most types of food, not all fats are created equal

Here's what the latest research shows:

  • You're probably eating more than enough fat, but it may not be the best kind for your body. A 2016 Pew Research Center study showed that Americans have almost doubled the amount of fat and oil in their diets since the 1970s. In fact, we're eating more of almost every kind of food these days, with the notable exceptions of healthy veggies and eggs.
  • Trans fats are hyper-processed oils that should be avoided. Solid-state vegetable oils are laboratory-heated to prevent spoilage (they often show up in nutrition labels as "partially hydrogenated oil"). These types of fats were once commonly used in deep-fryer oils, margarines, and packaged foods from frozen pizzas to cookies. But manufacturers are starting to avoid them, since trans fats raise our bad LDL cholesterol levels while lowering the good kind of HDL cholesterol. Researchers estimated that during the heyday of trans fats in the 1990s, they led to roughly 50,000 preventable deaths every year in the US. The FDA is in the process of rolling out a ban: companies have until June 18, 2018 to stop using trans fats.
  • It's good to limit saturated fats from things like red meat, coconut oil, and cheese. Some cardiologists have suggested that saturated fat isn't the artery clogger it was once thought to be, but research suggests most people are still better off nibbling limited doses of these foods. 
  • There are some very good fats out there. Avocados, nuts, fish, and olive oils all have high levels of monounsaturated fats, which can actively lower your cholesterol. They're also staples of the Mediterranean diet, which is increasingly touted as one of the best for staying healthy. 
  • "Everything in moderation" is still good advice. According to Palmer: "We must keep in mind that fat is very concentrated. Just one tablespoon of oil provides about 120 calories." Those calories can add up quickly and contribute to weight gain if you're not mindful of portion sizes, she said. 
  • It's fine to have fat in your diet as long as you don't use it as an excuse to eat sugar. "If you really love a higher-fat yogurt and you have a healthy weight, then I think you can easily fit this in a healthful, balanced diet," Palmer said. "But you might want to keep an eye on sugar levels, which we should be limiting."

salmon lunch salad food vegetables healthy yum egg meal plate

Finding a healthy, balanced diet is key

The best fats come from whole, nutrient-rich foods, and are just one part of a sustainable healthy diet. Most researchers agree that the trick to good eating can't be summed up as an eat-this-not-that rule. 

Instead, science suggests that your best bet is to eat a variety of fiber-rich veggies, digestion-aiding whole grains, and, yes, some fats. 

Study after study has revealed the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, which encourages eating fatty fish like salmon as well as nuts, olive oil, beans, lots of vegetables, and lean proteins. 

Cardiologist Aseem Malhotra said in a BMJ podcast last year that adopting a Mediterranean diet that's high in fat and low in refined carbs is part of a 3-pronged health approach that's “more powerful than any drug.”

The other two components: a solid daily dose of movement or exercise, and keeping your stress in check.

SEE ALSO: The grueling diet Instagrammers love has 5 big problems that make it almost impossible to stick to

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Thousands of visitors to next month's Commonwealth Games could have their Facebook data mined in exchange for fast WiFi

Usain Bolt, 2014

  • Visitors at the Commonwealth Games in Australia will have to give up Facebook data to access fast free WiFi.
  • The tournament runs a two-tier system, where visitors who won't give up their data get slower internet speeds.
  • The games are looming as the use of Facebook data has become headline news.
  • Revelations about Cambridge Analytica have unleashed a new wave of scrutiny on how personal information is deployed.


Thousands visitors to next month's Commonwealth Games in Australia could have their Facebook data mined in exchange for faster internet.

Roughly 100,000 fans visiting the Gold Coast in Queensland for the contest will be told they can only access fast wireless internet at athletics venues in exchange for giving up their Facebook data.

Signing over access will give fans faster internet speeds than those who refuse. Their data will then be harvested by the Gold Coast council for marketing purposes, according to The Guardian.

The news comes as data privacy looms large in the headlines, after the revelation that Cambridge Analytica harvested the Facebook data of 50 million US voters and used it build software program that could influence voters with personalised political advertising.

Unlike with Cambridge Analytica's work, there is no suggestion of illegality or rule-breaking on behalf of the games organisers.

The XXI Commonwealth Games in Australia pits athletes from 70 participating nations against each other in 275 medal events across a variety of sports including athletics, aquatics, and gymnastics.

The events will be broadcast to approximately 1.5 billion people around the world, with 100,000 spectators expected in person.

A Gold Coast city spokeswoman told The Guardian that the data would not be shared with "other agencies." She added: "The most important information is about country of origin, to better understand the use by overseas tourists, who are one of the primary target groups for the service.

Commonwealth Games village

"The city will be able to understand patterns of demand and use, including how many people are accessing the service, times of day and the amounts of data used. It will also be very useful for understanding numbers during events and seasonal effects."

Sydney University data privacy expert associate professor Uri Gal believes the council could access a huge swathe of personal data on each user's Facebook page.

"Depending on how we define our privacy settings on Facebook, they might be able to gain information on our Facebook friends, how many friends we have, who our friends are, the likes we have on Facebook, photos we have on Facebook and so on," Gal told ABC News.

"The very core of Facebook's business model revolves around the collection, analysis, distribution and reselling of user data, that is how they make their money."

SEE ALSO: Everything you need to know about Christopher Wylie, the 28-year-old who blew the lid off a huge Facebook data breach

SEE ALSO: Facebook had an emergency meeting to talk about the Cambridge Analytica scandal — but Mark Zuckerberg wasn't there

SEE ALSO: The billionaire cofounder of WhatsApp, which Facebook acquired for $19 billion, just tweeted 'deletefacebook'

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A 32-year-old Instagram star and blogger faked a trip to Disneyland to prove an important point about deception on social media

  • 32-year-old Carolyn Stritch is a freelance photographer and lifestyle blogger behind The Slow Traveler.
  • She conducted an experiment in which she attempts to show people how easy it is to fake 'perfection' on Instagram.
  • She used heavily filtered selfies and Photoshopped her '22-year-old perfect self' on a trip to Disneyland.

"Question everything," is Instagram influencer and blogger Carolyn Stritch’s latest message to her followers. And to encourage people to do just that, she conducted an experiment to show people just  how easy it is to fake "perfection" on the photo sharing platform.

Stritch, who is from the UK, is the 32-year-old lifestyle blogger and freelance photographer behind The Slow Traveler. She has amassed a 190,000-strong following on her Instagram account @theslowtraveler through sharing perfectly poised photos of cosy-looking settings involving copious cups of coffee and stacks of books, like the one below, which been liked more than 50,ooo times.

But, as we should all know by now, not everything is always as it seems on Instagram.

In a post entitled "Why I hacked my own Instagram account," Stritch reveals how she fooled people into believing she'd taken a trip to Disneyland with a series of photos.

The story was inspired by a selfie she took with face transformation tool FaceApp, after which Stritch said she was shocked by how much it changed her face.

"[M]y face changes quickly and dramatically, fine lines flatten, wrinkles smooth out, blemishes unblemish, dark circles disappear, cheekbones rise, eyes brighten, lips get bigger, nose gets smaller," she wrote.

"My face is gone. Staring back at me, wearing my clothes, sitting in my bed, is a stranger. Or, perhaps more accurately: it’s my perfect self."

She posted the selfie to Facebook and says that no one questioned the enhanced image, not even her own family.

"I came up with a story: my FaceApped perfect self, who’s ten years younger than I am, flies off to Disneyland for the day, and somehow manages to photograph herself all alone in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.

"I manipulated images, captioned them with a fictional narrative, and presented them as real-life."

The caption on her first post above read: "Tomorrow, I'm going to be 22! I'm treating myself with a trip to Californ-I-ay: I'm off to Disneyland to Instagram the hell out of Sleeping Beauty's Castle.

"I'll be putting myself to bed nice and early tonight: I'm flying tomorrow and coming home Monday (need a magic carpet, not an aeroplane). I'll be by myself, but so what£ It'll be my very own fairytale. Human possibilities vastly exceed our imagination!"

Next, she posted: "I've taken myself off to California. There I am in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle – my crazy, self-indulgent 22nd birthday present to myself. Tomorrow I'll be back home and it'll be like it never even happened! I keep saying to myself: it's kind of fun to do the impossible. Life is what you make it!"

Stritch says that she doesn't usually use filters like FaceApp, but admits she does make the odd tweak in a nod to the "aspirational" side of the photo sharing platform.

She also admits that despite what her account might suggest, she never reads books by her window. "Those windows, beautiful as they are, make my flat freezing cold," she asaid.

She continued: "Sometimes that coffee cup I’m holding is empty. I suck in my stomach. I rearrange the furniture. I photoshop out dirty marks made by bashing furniture off the walls."

She added that with this project, she crossed a line, "went way, way over it so I could work backwards and figure out how far I can reasonably go and still make work that’s both responsible and good."

Stritch says she's using the project as research for her photography degree.

SEE ALSO: 25 under-the-radar places in Latin America to visit in your lifetime, according to the world’s top travel experts

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NOW WATCH: What would happen if humans tried to land on Jupiter

The eSports competitive video gaming market continues to grow revenues & attract investors

eSports Advertising and Sponsorships

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.

What is eSports£ History & Rise of Video Game Tournaments

Years ago, eSports was a community of video gamers who would gather at conventions to play Counter Strike, Call of Duty, or League of Legends.

These multiplayer video game competitions would determine League of Legends champions, the greatest shooters in Call of Duty, the cream of the crop of Street Fighter players, the elite Dota 2 competitors, and more.

But today, as the history of eSports continue to unfold, media giants such as ESPN and Turner are broadcasting eSports tournaments and competitions. And in 2014, Amazon acquired Twitch, the live streaming video platform that has been and continues to be the leader in online gaming broadcasts. And YouTube also wanted to jump on the live streaming gaming community with the creation of YouTube Gaming.

eSports Market Growth Booming

To put in perspective how big eSports is becoming, a Google search for "lol" does not produce "laughing out loud" as the top result. Instead, it points to League of Legends, one of the most popular competitive games in existence. The game has spawned a worldwide community called the League of Legends Championship Series, more commonly known as LCS or LOL eSports.

What started as friends gathering in each other's homes to host LAN parties and play into the night has become an official network of pro gaming tournaments and leagues with legitimate teams, some of which are even sponsored and have international reach. Organizations such as Denial, AHQ, and MLG have multiple eSports leagues.

And to really understand the scope of all this, consider that the prize pool for the latest Dota 2 tournament was more than $20 million.

Websites even exist for eSports live scores to let people track the competitions in real time if they are unable to watch. There are even fantasy eSports leagues similar to fantasy football, along with the large and growing scene of eSports betting and gambling.

So it's understandable why traditional media companies would want to capitalize on this growing trend just before it floods into the mainstream. Approximately 300 million people worldwide tune in to eSports today, and that number is growing rapidly. By 2020, that number will be closer to 500 million.

eSports Industry Analysis - The Future of the Competitive Gaming Market

Financial institutions are starting to take notice. Goldman Sachs valued eSports at $500 million in 2016 and expects the market will grow at 22% annually compounded over the next three years into a more than $1 billion opportunity.

And industry statistics are already backing this valuation and demonstrating the potential for massive earnings. To illustrate the market value, market growth, and potential earnings for eSports, consider Swedish media company Modern Times Group's $87 million acquisition of Turtle Entertainment, the holding company for ESL. YouTube has made its biggest eSports investment to date by signing a multiyear broadcasting deal with Faceit to stream the latter's Esports Championship Series. And the NBA will launch its own eSports league in 2018.

Of course, as with any growing phenomenon, the question becomes: How do advertisers capitalize£ This is especially tricky for eSports because of its audience demographics, which is young, passionate, male-dominated, and digital-first. They live online and on social media, are avid ad-blockers, and don't watch traditional TV or respond to conventional advertising.

So what will the future of eSports look like£ How high can it climb£ Could it reach the mainstream popularity of baseball or football£ How will advertisers be able to reach an audience that does its best to shield itself from advertising£

Robert Elder, research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has compiled an unparalleled report on the eSports ecosystem that dissects the growing market for competitive gaming. This comprehensive, industry-defining report contains more than 30 charts and figures that forecast audience growth, average revenue per user, and revenue growth.

Companies and organizations mentioned in the report include: NFL, NBA, English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, NHL, Paris Saint-Germain, Ligue 1, Ligue de Football, Twitch, Amazon, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, ESPN, Electronic Arts, EA Sports, Valve, Riot Games, Activision Blizzard, ESL, Turtle Entertainment, Dreamhack, Modern Times Group, Turner Broadcasting, TBS Network, Vivendi, Canal Plus, Dailymotion, Disney, BAMTech, Intel, Coca Cola, Red Bull, HTC, Mikonet

Here are some eSports industry facts and statistics from the report:

  • eSports is a still nascent industry filled with commercial opportunity.
  • There are a variety of revenue streams that companies can tap into.
  • The market is presently undervalued and has significant room to grow.
  • The dynamism of this market distinguishes it from traditional sports.
  • The audience is high-value and global, and its numbers are rising.
  • Brands can prosper in eSports by following the appropriate game plan.
  • Game publishers approach their Esport ecosystems in different ways.  
  • Successful esport games are comprised of the same basic ingredients.
  • Digital streaming platforms are spearheading the popularity of eSports.
  • Legacy media are investing into eSports, and seeing encouraging results.
  • Traditional sports franchises have a clear opportunity to seize in eSports.
  • Virtual and augmented reality firms also stand to benefit from eSports.  

In full, the report illuminates the business of eSports from four angles:

  • The gaming nucleus of eSports, including an overview of popular esport genres and games; the influence of game publishers, and the spectrum of strategies they adopt toward their respective esport scenes; the role of eSports event producers and the tournaments they operate.
  • The eSports audience profile, its size, global reach, and demographic, psychographic, and behavioral attributes; the underlying factors driving its growth; why they are an attractive target for brands and broadcasters; and the significant audience and commercial crossover with traditional sports.
  • eSports media broadcasters, including digital avant-garde like Twitch and YouTube, newer digital entrants like Facebook and traditional media outlets like Turner’s TBS Network, ESPN, and Canal Plus; their strategies and successes in this space; and the virtual reality opportunity.
  • eSports market economics, with a market sizing, growth forecasts, and regional analyses; an evaluation of the eSports spectacle and its revenue generators, some of which are idiosyncratic to this industry; strategic planning for brand marketers, with case studies; and an exploration of the infinite dynamism and immense potential of the eSports economy.

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. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT

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A Facebook investor decided to 'quarantine' the company amid the Cambridge Analytica data scandal

Mark Zuckerberg facebook red

  • Facebook investor Nordea will not invest further in the company, which is struggling with a data scandal involving Cambridge Analytica.
  • Facebook shares have declined 10% since Friday to $168.15.

LONDON — Nordea, one of the biggest banks in the Nordics, will not invest any more money in Facebook, amid a public backlash against the company for its involvement with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

Sasja Beslik, head of group sustainable finance at Nordea, said in a tweet on Wednesday that the firm would "quarantine" its investments in Facebook "for the time being."

Here's the tweet:

Beslik said in a follow-up tweet: “Given the high-level revelations and the turmoil surrounding the company with a strong public backlash, coupled with the overhanging threat of increasing regulation of the platforms and the EU GDPR on the horizon, we choose to quarantine Facebook.”

Last week a whistleblower from Cambridge Analytica said that the consultancy took data from Facebook users to target voters and influence democratic votes.

The personal information of around 50 million Facebook users was used to build "psychographic" profiles of voters and to target them with manipulative ads in support of its clients, including Donald Trump.

Facebook says that it was duped by CA, which promised to delete the data after Facebook discovered its activities in 2015.

Facebook's stock has slid 10% since the news surfaced and the #deletefacebook hashtag has been trending among some users, upset about the privacy violation.

SEE ALSO: As much as $5 billion in Facebook ad revenue is 'at risk' from the Cambridge Analytica crisis

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NOW WATCH: Henry Blodget: This could be exactly what the start of a major correction looks like

Police say suspect in Austin package bombings killed himself in confrontation with authorities

Austin Texas bombings

  • Local police officers and federal law-enforcement officials say the suspect in a string of deadly bombings in Austin, Texas, has been killed.
  • Authorities identified the suspect, whom they believe to be responsible for all of the recent bombings, as a 24-year-old white man.
  • President Donald Trump tweeted to congratulate law enforcement on the suspect's death.

The suspect in a string of deadly bombings in Austin, Texas, was killed early Wednesday during an encounter with law enforcement, according to the Austin Police Department.

The suspect, identified only as a 24-year-old white man, killed himself with a bomb as law-enforcement officials including FBI agents and a SWAT team approached his vehicle outside a hotel in Round Rock, just north of Austin, the police said.

The police apparently identified a vehicle being used by the suspect with help from surveillance footage at a FedEx facility near San Antonio where a package bomb exploded early Tuesday morning.

The police found the vehicle and followed it to a roadside hotel where the suspect detonated an explosive device, killing himself, as officers approached his car, law-enforcement officials told the press on Wednesday.

One police officer was hurt while approaching the suspect's vehicle, according to the police.

"AUSTIN BOMBING SUSPECT IS DEAD. Great job by law enforcement and all concerned!" President Donald Trump tweeted in response to the news. The White House on Tuesday said it had been monitoring the investigation.

The police remain unsure of a motive but believe the suspect was behind all five of the bombings that left two people dead and several others injured this month.

Authorities warned that additional explosive devices could remain and that people in the area needed to remain vigilant.

The police previously said they believed the incidents were all related "because of the specific contents of these devices."

History of the Austin package bombings

austin bombing Brian Manley

The bombings began March 2 when a package left on the front porch of a home overnight exploded, killing Anthony Stephan House, 39.

On March 12, another two package bombs exploded at homes around Austin, killing Draylen Mason, 17; injuring his 40-year-old mother; and injuring a 75-year-old woman named Esperanza Morena Herrera.

On March 15, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told the press it was possible that the bombings may be motivated by hate because all of the victims at the time were people of color.

Three days later, however, two white males were injured by a trip-wire explosive placed on the side of the road, which Manley said showed "a higher level of sophistication" and skill than authorities initially expected from the bomber.

Then, early Tuesday morning, a package exploded on a conveyor belt in a FedEx facility in Schertz, Texas, about 65 miles southwest of Austin, near San Antonio. One person was hurt but was treated at the scene.

Texas bombings_03.20.2018 Update

The package discovered Tuesday was believed to be the first mailed device in the string of bombings.

This story is developing. Click here to read the latest version.

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The Cambridge Analytica leaker said he never meant to tank Facebook's share price — and denied being 'on a crusade' against it (FB)

Chris Wylie Frontline Club London

  • Facebook stock is down around $50 billion since details emerged of 50 million accounts having been harvested for data by Cambridge Analytica.
  • The source of the story was former Cambridge Analytica employee Chris Wylie.
  • At a talk in London on Tuesday he said he didn't see the financial backlash coming.
  • Wylie said Facebook had brought most of the losses upon itself by handling the story poorly.
  • He said the network deserves scrutiny, but said he isn't "on a crusade" against it.

Chris Wylie, the ex-employee who blew the whistle on the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, said that he did not anticipate the catastrophic effect on Facebook's share price, and is not "on a crusade" against the company.

Wylie was discussing the background to the complex story, which broke over the weekend, at a talk in London attended by Business Insider.

He addressed the precipitous fall in Facebook's share price after being prompted by Peter Jukes, who was interviewing Wylie in front of an audience at the Frontline Club, a talking shop for journalists.

Jukes estimated the losses to Facebook's market capitalisation as "about $50 billion."

Wylie responded: "That was not my intention, and, I'll put it this way: I think that it is Facebook's behaviour that has caused that knock in share price, I don't think it's me."

He said that since going public Facebook has "tried to turn the story against me" and in the process "made it a lot worse for themselves."

Wylie continued: "The frustrating thing for me is this story has really spiralled into Facebook's bizarre reaction to it rather than what the original story was meant to be about. And that's not necessarily an entirely bad thing.

"I think Facebook deserves a certain level of scrutiny, but that wasn't what I set out to do. I'm not on a crusade against Facebook."

He is far from the only one to criticise Facebook over its reaction to the scandal.

A grassroots backlash has seen "#deleteFacebook" trending on social media, while members of the US Senate, UK Parliament, investors, and Facebook's own employees have also made their feelings on the company known.

Business Insider attempted to speak with Wylie after the talk, but he was ushered away by a group of minders. Further requests were also turned down.

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NOW WATCH: How to stop your Facebook friends from giving away your data

10 things you need to know before the opening bell (SPY, SPX, QQQ, DIA, AMZN, FB)

Xi Jinping

Here is what you need to know.

Here comes the Fed. Jerome Powell is leading his first policy meeting as Federal Reserve chairman, and the central bank is widely expected to raise interest rates on Wednesday.

UK unemployment falls back near record lows. UK unemployment slipped to 4.3% from November to January, according to data released by the Office for National Statistics.

Citing 2 major reasons, Morgan Stanley says the stock market has already seen its 2018 peak. Based on stock-index trading and sentiment shifts over the past few months, Morgan Stanley says the equity market has probably already peaked for 2018.

Facebook has shed almost $50 billion of market cap in the past 2 days. Shares of the social-media giant have fallen 9.5% this week on news that the research firm Cambridge Analytica accessed data from 50 million users without their permission.

Amazon is now the 2nd most valuable company in the US. Amazon finished Tuesday's trading session with a market capitalization of $768 billion, trailing only Apple ($889 billion) as the most valuable company in the US.

Salesforce is buying MuleSoft. Salesforce will buy the cloud-service provider MuleSoft for $36 a share in cash and 0.0711 shares of Salesforce common stock per MuleSoft Class A and Class B common share, which amounts to $44.89 a share, or a 36% premium to Monday’s closing price.

Spotify's CEO can sell a bunch of shares in the company's direct listing. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek can sell 15.8 million shares of the company, an amount worth up to $2 billion, in the company's direct listing, Reuters says, citing a filing.

A feature on Robinhood's new web platform raises questions about the strength of its user base. Robinhood, the brokerage startup known for pioneering free stock trading, claims to have 4 million registered users, but a new feature listing the most owned stocks shows Apple is the most popular stock with just 140,818 Robinhood users (3.5% of users) owning shares.

Stock markets around the world are mostly lower. Japan's Nikkei (-0.47%) lagged in Asia, and Britain's FTSE (-0.48%) trails in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open little changed near 2,719.

US economic data is light. Existing-home sales will be released at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is down 1 basis point at 2.89%.

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Silicon Valley could help the last people you'd expect — and Elon Musk has given $15 million to a contest that will prove it

elon musk

  • Elon Musk has set aside $15 million for an XPRIZE contest for entrepreneurs who can find the most effective way to use software to teach illiterate children living in extreme poverty.
  • Peter Diamandis is the founder of XPRIZE, which is built on the idea that inspiring business competition is one of the most effective ways to fuel societal progress.
  • Diamandis believes that rapid technological progress will benefit everyone over the next few decades, not just the top of the upper class.
  • This post is part of Business Insider's ongoing series on Better Capitalism.

One of the greatest insights Peter Diamandis ever had was that one of the best ways to inspire people to create societal progress is through a contest with a cash prize.

Peter Diamandis

Diamandis is the serial entrepreneur founder of the XPRIZE Foundation, and he recently spoke with us for Business Insider's podcast "Success! How I Did It."

It was 1993 and he was reading Charles A. Lindbergh's autobiography "The Spirit of St. Louis" during a visit to his parents' house. He learned that Lindbergh was motivated to become the first aviator to cross the Atlantic by a $25,000 prize. "And Lindbergh, the most unlikely guy, pulls it off and becomes massively famous — and opens up aviation, more importantly," Diamandis said.

It inspired him to set out on a journey to inspire a similar path to launching the first private manned flight into space, a feat he saw realized in 2004. Since then, the XPRIZE Foundation has had seven successful contests and eight current ones, inspiring several businesses to tackle "moonshots" that companies would otherwise find too risky to be worth the attempt.

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been funding one of the current contests, the $15 million Global Learning XPRIZE, since 2014, and its winner will be announced in April 2019. Diamandis explained to us that it is an ideal example of how the private sector can tackle some of the world's greatest challenges, like the prize's goal of finding an elegantly simple and cost-effective way of wiping out illiteracy, a condition that Musk called "the wellspring of poverty." 

You can subscribe to the podcast and listen to the episode below:

In 2014, 700 teams submitted their plans for developing Android applications for tablets that could provide children living in extreme poverty with clear lessons on how to read, write, and do basic math. The XPRIZE team selected five semifinalists and gave them each $1 million to pursue their plan and test it in communities in Tanzania. Google provided 800 tablets for the initiative.

xprizeThe winner will win $10 million to scale its program, and all semifinalists will be open sourced, available to any developers who want to build off them. XPRIZE has stated that it intends to help the winner reach 250 million children around the world with its winning software.

"So when I speak about this, I talk about, we're going from a world of have and have-nots, to a world of haves — and yes, there'll be super-haves," Diamandis said. "But I believe we're heading toward a world where every man, woman, and child will have access to the best education, the best healthcare, water, food, energy."

He said the predicted commercialization of what he and Musk are doing with the Global Learning XPRIZE will be more beneficial than pure charity, in a way. "These devices, these tablets, will eventually be free. Because someone will want their data, or will want you to buy on their Amazon device," he said.

"I think the human race and society — how we govern, how we raise our kids, how we think, how we communicate — is going to fundamentally change well within the next 30 years," Diamandis told us, and his role will be fostering entrepreneurs who drive this change. "And so being part of that transformation, it's what I think about; it's what guides and what drives me."

SEE ALSO: One of tech's most prolific entrepreneurs reveals how he and Elon Musk are trying to eliminate illiteracy, and why he thinks human placentas may hold a key toward 'an indefinite human life span'

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NOW WATCH: What Silicon Valley is doing to make humans live longer

The suspect behind the wave of package bombs in Texas has been killed — here’s what’s happened so far

austin bombing

A serial bomber suspected of targeting neighborhoods around Austin, Texas, has died, officials confirmed on Wednesday morning.

Local law enforcement officials tracked down the suspect with the help of state and federal officials.

Since March 2, five bombs have gone off in and around the Austin. A sixth unexploded bomb was found at a FedEx facility in Austin.

The bombs have killed two people and injured four others. Police said they believe the incidents are all related "because of the specific contents of these devices."

In light of the explosions, which have so far followed a similar pattern in areas surrounding Austin, law enforcement officials said people should not handle any unexpected or suspicious packages, and instead call 911.

Here's a timeline of all the suspicious packages and bombs that have been discovered, and the death of the suspect:

March 2, 6:55 a.m: A package left on the front porch of a home overnight explodes, killing 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House.

House's death was initially deemed "suspicious." It was later classified as a homicide.

Source: Fox News

March 12, 6:44 a.m: Another package explodes inside a home about 12 miles away from the first bomb.

Seventeen-year-old Draylen Mason was killed, and his 40-year-old mother was injured in the blast.

Mason, a gifted musician, reportedly brought the package to the kitchen to open it when it exploded. He was transported to the hospital where he later died from his injuries.

Source: WSOC-TV

March 12, 11:50 a.m: Hours later, another package bomb explodes, injuring 75-year-old Esperanza Morena Herrera.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
THE SHIP-FROM-STORE REPORT: Why legacy retailers need to rethink the purpose of their brick-and-mortar stores

us dept store

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.

Digital is dismantling the retail industry brick by brick. The most successful retailers are the ones with thriving digital businesses, while physical stores are becoming more liabilities than assets. 

However, e-commerce isn't without its challenges. In contrast to waning demand for in-store retail, rising demand for online retail has created a bottleneck at the fulfillment stage, whereby carriers and retailers are struggling to manage the increasing volume of online orders. This is presenting an opportunity for legacy retailers to leverage their gluttony of physical retail space to help fulfill these sales.

Ship-from-store — a fulfillment process where retailers use stock from their store's estate to fulfill orders — can help brick-and-mortars evolve and avoid stagnation. This method is an essential strategy for legacy retailers because it can help them survive digital disruption and remain competitive with e-commerce giants like Amazon. 

In a new report, BI Intelligence explains how retail stores have become a liability and assesses the opportunity to use stores as distribution points for online orders. It also breaks down how the ship-from-store method works, and examines its benefits, the steps needed to implement it, the retailers best positioned to use it, and the implications it presents for the industry at large. 

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • E-commerce is cruising with no indication of slowing down. BI Intelligence forecasts that digital retail sales will reach $632 billion by 2020. This means online sales will continue to eat into in-store purchasing, placing pressure on brick-and-mortars to remain profitable. 
  • Digital is moving to the core of retailers' strategies, and existing real estate can be leveraged to support a digital business. Large retailers' stores are densely distributed, providing an opportunity for them to serve multiple purposes.
  • Ship-from-store has proven to be beneficial for retailers that have tested it. The results retailers have seen include higher sales, faster delivery times, easier inventory forecasting, improved margins, and lower costs.
  • Large retailers with densely distributed stores and low-turnover inventory are in the best position to test the ship-from-store model. Retailers need ample square footage to turn existing aisles or backrooms into storage for online orders, and slower turnover in order to convert excess inventory to online orders. 

In full, the report:

  • Explains how legacy retailers can leverage their physical space to support distribution for e-commerce channels. 
  • Details the steps that retailers have to take in order to implement a successful ship-from-store model.
  • Discusses the characteristics that make a retailer well positioned to benefit from turning its stores into distribution centers. 
  • Provides insight on how the ship-from-store model can augment the retail industry at large.

 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
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The power players behind Cambridge Analytica have set up a mysterious new data company

Rebekah Mercer

  • The power players behind Cambridge Analytica have set up a new company — and the daughters of Donald Trump-supporting billionaire Robert Mercer have just joined as directors.
  • Rebekah and Jennifer Mercer joined Emerdata on March 16, but it is shrouded in mystery.
  • Alexander Nix, the suspended CEO of Cambridge Analytica, is also a director, as well as other executives from parent firm SCL Group.
  • Emerdata also lists Johnson Chun Shun Ko, a Chinese executive from Frontier Services Group, the military firm chaired by prominent Trump supporter Erik Prince.
  • Cambridge Analytica is under scrutiny for the role it played in the US election after The Observer revealed the firm had illegitimately hoovered up Facebook user data.

Rebekah and Jennifer Mercer, daughters of hedge fund tycoon Robert Mercer, have just joined the board of a mysterious new company set up by executives at scandal-hit political research firm Cambridge Analytica.

According to public filings at Britain's Companies House, Emerdata was incorporated in August 2017 and the Mercers were appointed to its board on March 16 this year.


Cambridge Analytica's now-suspended chief executive, Alexander Nix, is also listed as a director, as is Julian Wheatland, chairman of Cambridge Analytica parent firm SCL Group.

The filings show Wheatland set up Emerdata along with Cambridge Analytica's chief data officer, Alexander Tayler.

Nix's role in Emerdata is unclear given he has been suspended from Cambridge Analytica. A spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

It isn't clear what Emerdata does, though the company is listed under "data processing, hosting, and related activities." It shares an address in Canary Wharf with Cambridge Analytica's parent, SCL Group.

Emerdata is connected to controversial Trump supporter Erik Prince

Another notable company director is Johnson Chun Shun Ko, the deputy chairman of Frontier Services Group.

Frontier is a private security firm which mostly operates in Africa and is currently chaired by US businessman and prominent Trump supporter Erik Prince. Prince is best known for founding private military group Blackwater US and is the brother of US education secretary Betsy DeVos.

Erik Prince

Prince also donated to the Make America Number 1 PAC, a Mercer-funded group that supported Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

Make America Number 1 paid Cambridge Analytica $1.5 million in 2015 and 2016. During undercover filming by Britain's Channel 4 News, CA executives revealed how Make America Number 1 was used to seed online attack ads against Hillary Clinton.

The appointments indicate the strong ties between the Mercer family and Cambridge Analytica.

Robert Mercer is the primary funder for Cambridge Analytica, and was also a major backer of Donald Trump's presidential campaign through the Make America Number 1 PAC.

He's also the major funder behind controversial right-wing news site Breitbart. Breitbart's former executive chairman and former White House advisor, Steve Bannon, once sat on the board of Cambridge Analytica.

Trump's team once appointed Cambridge Analytica to run its digital campaign — something the firm boasted about in secret recordings taken by Channel 4.

According to Politico, the Trump camp is now trying to distance itself from the company following revelations that it misused millions of Facebook users' information, plus incriminating undercover recordings which show the executives boasting of their ability to manipulate elections and even blackmail political opponents.

Nix was suspended from his role late on Tuesday after the recordings aired on Channel 4.

SEE ALSO: Everyone is talking about Cambridge Analytica, the Trump-linked data firm that harvested 50 million Facebook profiles — here’s what’s going on

SEE ALSO: A developer built a Facebook app as a 'thought experiment' to see how much data people would give up — and got 2 million users

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NOW WATCH: Here's why the death penalty and longer prison sentences don't really deter crime

One of the market's favorite scapegoats is actually shockingly helpful, UBS' US equity chief says

Keith Parker Wells Fargo

  • Keith Parker, chief US equity strategist at UBS, says one of the elements that worsened the stock market's 10% correction earlier this year was simply doing it's job.
  • In a wide-ranging discussion, Parker broke down the main catalysts for his bullish 2018 forecast, opined on President Donald Trump's newly announced tariffs and the prospect of a trade war, outlined his biggest fear for the market, and broke down his sector picks.

When the stock market melted down in early February, blame was spread far and wide. But even then, everyone seemed to agree on one aspect of it: the shorting of volatility made everything worse.

The evidence was largely indisputable, and everyone carried on as price swings normalized once again, much wiser about the exacerbating effect of such volatility strategies.

Keith Parker, the chief US equity strategist at UBS, has a unique view on the whole debate. He argues the much-maligned volatility-targeting strategies fulfilled their role as "natural rebalancing mechanisms," even though the resulting selling pressure was jarring. As an extension of that, he views the 10% correction as a healthy reset for the market, and sees greener pastures ahead for stocks.

In an interview with Business Insider, Parker broke down the main catalysts for his bullish 2018 forecast, opined on President Donald Trump's newly announced tariffs and the prospect of a trade war, outlined his biggest fear for the market, and broke down his sector picks.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Joe Ciolli: Your recent research suggests that you view the stock meltdown in early February as healthy for the overall market. Why is that£

Keith Parker: Getting these bouts of worry as fundamentals remain solid helps to lengthen the cycle for equities. We would still get later-cycle type behavior from investors, but February is a reminder that a lot of volatility-targeting products are natural rebalancing mechanisms to keep the market from really moving into that overexuberant stage. They’re keeping the market from a level that could spell a more menacing correction.

Ciolli: So the correction wasn't that big of a deal£

Parker: In terms of order of magnitude, 10% down in 10 days isn’t that extreme, historically speaking. You saw net US equity fund outflows of $43 billion, and a record unwind in futures and options, and we saw ETF short interest go up $30 billion. When you add that up, it's tremendous, and the order of magnitude was even bigger. It wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been.

10% down in 10 days isn't that extreme, historically speaking ... It wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been.

Ciolli: On a broader basis, you're on the record as constructive on US equities. What's been helping the equity recovery, and what will drive stocks higher in the future£

Parker: There’s pent-up demand on the M&A front, because deal activity fell off a bit going into the tax debate, around policy uncertainty. Now there's something like a $2 trillion annual pace for announced deals on US public targets — about 7% of total market cap — and that's just mind-boggling. 

Meanwhile, buybacks are a form of return of cash flow of earnings. To the extent that we have earnings growth of 15%-plus this year, that should mean buybacks and corporate bid activities remain pretty solid.

Also, the ability of companies to bring back cash and profit that was previously trapped abroad is a big deal. When you take down the wall that is the US tax code for bringing back profits, that’s an incremental positive to the return-of-capital story.

Ciolli: So which one is most likely to lead the charge higher£

Parker: We have five pillars: consumer, corporate spending, margin upside, corporate bid, and the ability for rates to normalize and equity multiples to sustain high levels. The biggest driver, given the market cap of tech and industrials, would be the corporate spending theme. Higher profit growth and weaker productivity — that really necessitates corporates having to spend to generate that incremental growth. 

Ciolli: What’s your take on the tariff / trade war scenario£ Is it truly a force to be reckoned with£

Parker: At first steel and aluminum tariffs were broad, and then there were some carve-outs for Mexico and Canada, which was a positive.

After steel and aluminum, the next incremental risk is around China action, following the intellectual property investigation. We do see rising risk of trade actions. And when you have US imports of China products at $500 billion, the headline risk is considerable. That includes cell phones, computers, apparel and other consumer goods.

I see multi-nationals at risk over the next few months.

The other risk is around retaliation. Those companies with high revenue exposure to China could be at risk, and the market typically discounts speculation like that before anything happens. I see multi-nationals at risk over the next few months.

Ciolli: What are your thoughts on the economic landscape£ It seems like there have been some mixed signals lately.

Parker: With inflation, you’re reaching a point in the cycle where it becomes more difficult to generate non-inflationary growth.

In terms of the crosscurrents, there are two points. Number one, you’re going from low inflation back towards target, which is possibly reflective of solid demand. Second, the wage inflation seen in early February really triggered part of the equity selloff and rise in rates. When you have that risk, investors remain worried.

The fact that after-tax paychecks, given the tax cut for the consumer, are going up 2-4%, should see consumption growth remain solid in the months going ahead. That should be an important offset.

Ciolli: Is there an economic sweet spot, and are we in it£

Parker: For markets, we are. The speed limit is such that people aren’t going too fast, and traffic is reasonable. Accidents happen when people are driving too fast, and there are lots of cars on the road. Later-cycle behavior tends to happen when you get things moving in a positive direction all at once — also known as overexuberance.

Ciolli: There's been speculation that hedges haven't been working as well lately, on a cross-asset basis. Do you buy that£

Parker: Typically, in the later cycle, when inflation and cash rates are rising, the correlation between bonds and equities turns less negative. That's because cash starts to become more attractive, so investors move out of those areas.

Inflation becomes a key driver of why some of those hedges — whether it’s fixed-income, utilities, REITs, or staples — may be underperforming during a volatility spike. Those rate proxies don’t work as well in a selloff that’s driven by inflation and rate worries.

Ciolli: So what can investors expect going forward£

Parker: When you have an environment where the correlation between bonds and equities makes it so there’s no natural hedge, it moves portfolio-wide volatility up. Fed rate uncertainty also creates volatility that affects every asset class. The combination of that drives some portfolio de-risking, like we’ve been seeing.

Fed rate uncertainty creates volatility that affects every asset class.

Ciolli: Are there any sectors you favor£ Ones you don't like£

Parker: We’re long consumer discretionary over staples, on the view that this consumption boost from the tax plan will start taking effect, and lead to higher top-line growth over the coming months. Discretionary is relatively cheap versus the market, relative to history.

In terms of the corporate spending theme, we like tech and industrials over bond proxies like REITs and utilities. As rates move up, companies need to invest to make labor more productive.

As for our defensive preference, we like healthcare shares at this point in the cycle. We’re still cautious on the yield proxies. We do like the banks within financials as rates move higher, and as the Fed’s path of hikes gets a bit steeper.

Ciolli: What's your biggest fear for the market right now£

Parker: For better or worse, we’re in a backdrop that’s shifted to worrying about inflation and rates. In an environment where growth expectations are still solid, to the extent you have a weakening consumer that persists, that can keep markets afloat. Changing the narrative to higher rates, higher inflation, and weakening growth — that would be the biggest risk to the market. The consumer is key.

For better or worse, we’re in a backdrop that’s shifted to worrying about inflation and rates.

Ciolli: What's the best advice you can give to a young investor, or someone starting out in investment management£

Parker: Save when you’re young. The benefits of annual compounding interest when you don’t need the money now is tremendous.

Investing early, and investing in growth assets like equities is recommended. Diversify exposure as well, possibly looking outside the US into something like emerging markets. Equity valuations aren’t cheap, but over the long-run you have corporate in a strong growth backdrop, and you have a government doing pro-business policies.

Stay with secular themes. Over the long run, certain sectors and industries have defensible business positions — in technology, healthcare, and industrials — will outperform during this.

For better or worse, we’re all functions of our own experiences and biases. The younger millennial generation has witnessed a financial crisis, housing collapse, and stock market collapse — all very recently. There’s temptation to believe that could continue happening again. It’s getting over that inherent cognitive dissonance with investing that allows you to put money to work. And over the long run, it does pan out.

SEE ALSO: Here's the only strategy you'll need if a trade war breaks out, says Barclays

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