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Friday, January 31, 2020

Business News, Updates

Business News, Updates


The 50 best video games of all time, according to critics

Posted: 31 Jan 2020 10:49 AM PST

Nintendo

  • The 50 best games of all time are a surprisingly diverse list of games spanning decades of consoles.
  • There are iconic household names, cult classics, and forgotten gems.
  • Did your favorite game make the list? Let's find out.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

There are dozens of ways you could put together a list of the best video games ever made.

You could look to classics, like "Super Mario Bros." You could look at impact on the medium, or highest sales. You could write down your personal favorites on pieces of paper, then throw them into the air. Where the pieces land? That's your list!

But what we've got here is something slightly more scientific. Reviews aggregation site Metacritic compiles all reviews of games, then it averages those scores into an overall average. What you'll find below is the top 50 highest-rated games of all time, based on the averages obtained by Metacritic.

One quick disclaimer!

Nintendo

We made one small change: Since there are a handful of duplicates on the list (multiple versions of the same game, released on multiple platforms), we're using the highest-ranked version of the game to make room for a handful of games that wouldn't have otherwise made the list.

Without further ado, these are the 50 best video games of all time:



50. "God of War"

Sony

Critic score: 94/100

User score: 9.1/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): "His vengeance against the gods of Olympus far behind him, Kratos now lives as a man in the lands of Norse Gods and monsters. It is in this harsh, unforgiving world that he must fight to survive … and teach his son to do the same. As mentor and protector to a son determined to earn his respect, Kratos is faced with an unexpected opportunity to master the rage that has long defined him. Questioning the dark lineage he's passed on to his son, he hopes to make amends for the shortcomings of his past. Set within the untamed forests, mountains, and realms of Norse lore, 'God of War' features a distinctly new setting with its own pantheon of creatures, monsters, and gods."

Platforms: PlayStation 4

Buy it here >>



49. "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2"

Activision

Critic score: 94/100

User score: 6.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): "'Modern Warfare 2' continues the gripping and heart-racing action as players face off against a new threat dedicated to bringing the world to the brink of collapse. An entirely new gameplay mode which supports 2-player co-operative play online that is unique from the single player story campaign. Special Ops pits players into a gauntlet of time-trial and objective-based missions. Rank-up as players unlock new Special Ops missions, each more difficult. Missions include highlights from the single player campaign, fan favorites from 'Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare' and all new, exclusive missions. Setting a new bar for online multiplayer, 'Modern Warfare 2' multiplayer delivers new capabilities, customization, game states and modes, including: Create-a-Class Evolved. Secondary Weapons - Machine Pistols, Shotguns, Handguns, Launchers. Riot Shields. Equipment - Throwing Knives, Blast Shield, Tactical Insertion. Perk Upgrades. Bling (Dual Attachments). Customizable Killstreaks - AC130, Sentry Gun, Predator Missile, Counter-UAV, Care Package. Accolades (Post match reports)."

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, OS X

Buy it here >>




See the rest of the story at Business Insider

See Also:

SEE ALSO: The 50 best movies of all time, according to critics on Metacritic

I swore I'd never take on debt for a car, but I was surprised by how well my first auto loan fit into my financial plan

Posted: 31 Jan 2020 10:44 AM PST

couple buying a carDon Mason/Getty Images

  • I swore I'd never take on debt for a depreciating asset, like a car. My husband and I have always saved to buy cars in cash so an auto loan was never necessary.
  • But when our transmission died unexpectedly and we didn't have enough saved to buy a decent car, my husband suggested an auto loan.
  • We looked for a good interest rate and settled on a loan with a 4.05% APR and bought a good-quality car. I learned an important lesson about being flexible with my finances.
  • Looking for a car loan? Autos.com can help you secure the best rate » 

In the community of personal finance writers and experts that I belong to, following certain rules is paramount. Never spend more than you earn. Always have an emergency fund. Never raid your retirement fund. Always contribute enough to get the employer match for your 401(k). The list goes on.

But what happens when you find yourself in a situation where the rules don't apply? That's what my husband and I found out when the transmission on our vehicle died before we could afford to buy a replacement.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

NOW WATCH: Taylor Swift is the world's highest-paid celebrity. Here's how she makes and spends her $360 million.

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A 20-minute walk may have the same energizing effect on your brain as a cup of coffee, without the side effects

Posted: 31 Jan 2020 10:44 AM PST

drinking hot chocolate coffeeShutterstock

  • A quick session of aerobic exercise can improve your focus as much as a cup of coffee, according to a new study.
  • Researchers found that 20 minutes of brisk walking on a treadmill improved participants' working memory as much as a dose of caffeine. 
  • This was true for both coffee drinkers and non-drinkers alike, suggesting exercise could benefit people regardless of whether they typically rely on caffeine to keep them alert. 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Many people can't imagine starting their day without a morning cup of coffee. But new research suggests a bit of morning exercise could be a good, and even a better, alternative, particularly for people who want to avoid a caffeine crash later in the day.

Around 20 minutes of brisk walking on a treadmill could boost your brain's focus and alertness as much as your daily brew, according to a study published in December 2019 in Nature Scientific Reports.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

NOW WATCH: Here's what the maximum amount of caffeine you should be drinking in a day looks like

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Watch the terrifyingly silent new trailer for 'A Quiet Place II'

Posted: 31 Jan 2020 10:43 AM PST

a quiet place 2 emily bluntParamount Pictures

  • A new trailer for "A Quiet Place II" was recently released, and it seems like the upcoming sequel will address a lot of questions that remained unanswered at the end of the 2018 horror film, directed by John Krasinski. 
  • The new trailer shows the Abbott family as they leave their destroyed farm and journey into the wilderness to continue their fight for survival. 
  • Flashbacks of the monsters' arrival (and the ensuing devastation caused as they hunt down humans through sounds) and of the Abbotts' escape are also shown. A beloved character who was killed off at the end of the original movie will also appear in the sequel, ostensibly in the flashbacks, too. 
  • The surviving Abbotts are shown having several near-misses with the monsters, and even encountering another group of survivors, who don't seem too optimistic about their odds. 
  • "There are people out there worth saving," Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) says to the new group. 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
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NOW WATCH: A 45-year-long study discovered trends in successful hyper-intelligent children

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LIVE: Senate reconvenes for Trump's impeachment trial after key GOP senator announces she will vote against calling new witnesses

Posted: 31 Jan 2020 10:43 AM PST

John Bolton Andrew Harnik/AP

  • The Senate reconvened Friday to debate whether to call additional witnesses forward in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial.
  • House impeachment managers have been pushing hard to call new witnesses, like former national security adviser John Bolton, who could share firsthand knowledge of Trump's pressure campaign in Ukraine that hasn't yet come to light.
  • Friday's proceedings come after The New York Times reported on yet another bombshell claim from Bolton's upcoming book, in which Bolton says Trump personally directed him to pressure Ukraine to cave to his political demands.
  • Shortly before the trial, a key Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski, announced she will vote against calling new witnesses, dealing a final blow to the push to call witnesses.
  • Scroll down to watch the trial and follow Insider's live coverage.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Senate reconvened on Friday to debate whether to call new witnesses forward in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial. After the debate, there will be a vote on witnesses and bringing forward new evidence, but it's unclear how long Friday's session will last and how long the debate will be.

Friday's proceedings also come after The New York Times reported on another bombshell claim from former national security adviser John Bolton's upcoming book, in which Bolton claims Trump personally asked him to help pressure Ukraine to cave to his personal demands.

The House of Representatives impeached Trump last month for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The two articles of impeachment relate to the president's efforts to strong-arm Ukraine to deliver politically motivated investigations targeting his rivals.

While doing so, Trump withheld $391 million in military aid to Ukraine and dangled a White House meeting that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky desperately sought and still hasn't gotten.

The House Intelligence Committee, which spearheaded the impeachment inquiry, heard from 17 witnesses who testified to Trump's efforts to bully Ukraine into acceding to his personal demands. But House managers are pressing the Senate to call additional witnesses, like Bolton, who can provide firsthand knowledge of Trump's pressure campaign.

Fifty-one senators need to vote in favor of calling witnesses for the motion to pass. There are currently 45 Democrats, two independents who caucus with Democrats, and 53 Republicans in the Senate.

That means four Republican senators need to side with the Democratic caucus for the Senate to call witnesses.

In the Republican caucus, only Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine have publicly indicated they would vote in favor of calling witnesses to testify.

Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, once considered a possible pro-witness Republican, announced Thursday night that he would not vote in favor of witnesses. 

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, another closely-watched potential swing vote on the matter, confirmed Friday afternoon that she will also vote against calling more witnesses.

Watch the trial below:

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Scroll down to follow Insider's live coverage of the trial.

House impeachment managers dig in on calling witnesses after Murkowski deals a fatal blow to the motion

Screenshot via C-SPAN 2/Senate TV

House manager Val Demings displayed the graphic above as she emphasized that the Senate had called witnesses in every one of the 15 previous impeachment trials in US history.



Murkowski explains her decision to vote against calling witnesses: 'Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate'

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Here's her statement:

"I worked for a fair, honest, and transparent process, modeled after the Clinton trial, to provide ample time for both sides to present their cases, ask thoughtful questions, and determine whether we need more.

"The House chose to send articles of impeachment that are rushed and flawed. I carefully considered the need for additional witnesses and documents, to cure the shortcomings of its process, but ultimately decided that I will vote against considering motions to subpoena.

"Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate. I don't believe the continuation of this process will change anything. It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed. 

"It has also become clear some of my colleagues intend to further politicize this process, and drag the Supreme Court into the fray, while attacking the Chief Justice. I will not stand for nor support that effort. We have already degraded this institution for partisan political benefit, and I will not enable those who wish to pull down another.

"We are sadly at a low point of division in this country."



Here's what Bolton says in his upcoming book

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

According to The Times, Trump asked Bolton during a meeting in May — shortly after Zelensky was elected — to call Zelensky to ensure he would meet with Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer.

At the time, Giuliani was planning a trip to Ukraine to push Zelensky to deliver two politically motivated investigations that Trump wanted. The first targeted former Vice President Joe Biden, who had recently launched his 2020 campaign, and his son, Hunter, related to Hunter Biden's employment on the board of the Ukrainian natural-gas company Burisma Holdings.

The second was an investigation into a bogus conspiracy theory, pushed by Russia, that suggested Ukraine interfered in the 2016 US election.

Bolton claims Giuliani, the acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and the White House counsel Pat Cipollone were present at the meeting when Trump asked him to call Zelensky.

Cipollone is currently leading Trump's defense in his Senate impeachment trial, raising the possibility that the president's chief defense lawyer is also now a potential witness to his alleged misconduct.



See Also:

I used credit card points to stay at $1,000-a-night luxury hotel for free. Here's exactly how I did it.

Posted: 31 Jan 2020 10:41 AM PST

miravalarizonafbMiraval Arizona Resort & Spa (Facebook)

I've been prone to burnout most of my adult life. I take in a lot of information, push myself hard, and am horrible at resting. Over the years, I've gotten better at managing stress and taking time off work to travel. But being away from home comes with its own kind of depletion for me. It's a vacation for my spirit, but more taxing for my nervous system than the stresses of normal, day-to-day life and work.

There are only two times in my life where I've really given my nervous system a break: when I went on a 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat, and last year, when I took a five-day vacation at the paradisaical Miraval Resort in Arizona. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

NOW WATCH: Taylor Swift is the world's highest-paid celebrity. Here's how she makes and spends her $360 million.

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Nike's controversial Vaporfly shoes just avoided a ban. But future running shoes will face new regulations.

Posted: 31 Jan 2020 10:40 AM PST

Nike Sneakers Shoes VaporflyCrystal Cox/Business Insider

Nike's controversial Vaporfly shoes have avoided a ban ahead of this summer's Tokyo Olympics.

World Athletics, the organization that governs most international track-and-field events, announced new shoe regulations on Friday. The ruling places an immediate, indefinite ban on shoes with more than one plate or with soles thicker than 40 millimeters. (The Vaporfly sole is exactly 40 millimeters in thickness, according to Runner's World.) Shoes with spikes attached by an additional plate must have a sole thickness of 30 millimeters or less.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

NOW WATCH: 4 terrible things that happen to your body when you run a marathon

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10 of the most enlightening documentaries about celebrities that you can stream right now

Posted: 31 Jan 2020 10:36 AM PST

demi lovato taylor swift beyonce documentariesYouTube/Netflix

  • Taylor Swift's new Netflix documentary, "Miss Americana," tracks the singer's public political awakening and is the latest of many celebrity documentaries to reveal new sides of their well-known subjects.
  • Artists like Beyoncé and Lady Gaga have also released Netflix documentaries about their careers and personal lives, while other stars such as Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers have documentaries available to stream on YouTube and Amazon Prime.
  • Here are 10 enlightening celebrity documentaries that you can stream right now.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

In recent years, ever-present internet fandoms and social media have made A-list celebrities open to scrutiny in a way they've never been before, so it makes sense that many of these stars choose to hide their private lives and retreat behind carefully curated public personas.

Documentaries, however, can give audiences a peek behind the curtain (often coinciding with the release of a major new project) and are an increasingly popular mode of celebrity revelation — providing a look into their everyday lives and artistic processes, while generally promoting their work and shaping their star narratives as they see fit.

The latest of these movies, Lana Wilson's "Miss Americana," explores Taylor Swift's public political awakening and was released on Netflix on Friday.

To commemorate the release, here are 10 enlightening celebrity documentaries available to stream right now.

Beyoncé's 2019 concert documentary "Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé" gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at her historic "Beychella" shows.

Netflix

Where to watch: Netflix

Beyoncé made history when she became the first black woman to headline Coachella 22 years after its inception, and "Homecoming" seamlessly intercuts between the singer's two 2018 performances there.

"Homecoming" gives audiences brief glimpses of the singer's personal life to which general viewers usually aren't privy. Beyoncé served as writer, director, and executive producer for the film, personally approving the dancers, lighting, choreography, and more. It's an impressive feat for any performer, let alone one who gave birth to twins less than a year earlier.

Like her previous films (such as 2016's "Lemonade"), she presents her intricate artistry in conversation with black American history — particularly through her celebration of historically black colleges and universities throughout the show.

"Above all, 'Homecoming' is about Beyoncé asserting, yet again, her power and control," wrote Aisha Harris for The New York Times. "It's Beyoncé exactly as she wants us to see her and has always wanted us to see her: as a perfectionist, and as the hardest-working person in show business." 



Netflix's new Taylor Swift documentary "Miss Americana" tracks the pop star's public political awakening, and the development of her album "Lover."

Netflix

Where to watch: Netflix

One of the first things that Taylor Swift tells audiences in Emmy-winning director Lana Wilson's "Miss Americana" is that she feels a need to be liked, thanks to the "good girl" persona that she's felt pressured to maintain since the singer shot to fame at 16 —and how events unfathomable to the general public, like feeling as if she was getting booed when Kanye West interrupted her 2009 VMAs acceptance speech, felt devastating for a young Swift.

"Miss Americana" tracks the artist's emerging political advocacy (including her denouncement of Tennessee senator Marsha Blackburn in 2018), reveals her history with an eating disorder and briefly touches on her private relationship with Joe Alwyn. By mixing personal, "relatable" footage with sobering reminders of Swift's staggering public persona, Wilson paints a portrait of a 30-year-old woman just beginning to reconcile with her reputation.

"'Miss Americana' emerges, ultimately, as a chronicle of Swift letting go of that need for approval, and growing into a woman more confident in her own voice," wrote Angie Han for Mashable



HBO's 2016 documentary "Bright Lights" centers on the relationship between mother-daughter duo Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher.

HBO

Where to watch: HBO

For decades, Hollywood superstars Debbie Reynolds and her daughter, "Star Wars" actress Carrie Fisher, had a symbiotic, bickering bond that lasted until the pair unexpectedly and suddenly passed away in December 2016.

Originally conceived by Fisher to pay tribute to Reynolds' long-lasting career, "Bright Lights" focuses on preserving the mother and daughter's legacies, taking viewers into the eccentric home they share together. Fisher's brash sense of humor is on full display, and she continues to be candid about her experiences with mental illness and addiction in the documentary.

"'Bright Lights' plucks [Fisher's] star and that of her mother down from distant heights and lets us gently hold them for a time, reassuring us that their brilliance and humanity was real, their mutual endearment unbreakable," wrote Melanie McFarland for Salon.




See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Everything we know so far about 'A Quiet Place II'

Posted: 31 Jan 2020 10:35 AM PST

a quiet place 2Paramount Pictures

  • "The Office" star John Krasinski wrote and directed the 2018 horror film "A Quiet Place," which followed the lives of the Abbott family as they try to survive after their town is invaded by monsters. 
  • But the ending of the critically-acclaimed film left some questions unanswered. 
  • It seems that "A Quiet Place II," the sequel to the 2018 original, will answer those questions — including how the monsters arrived, and what the aftermath was like.
  • It will also continue the story of the surviving Abbott family members. 
  • Warning: Major spoilers ahead if you haven't seen the original "A Quiet Place" film. 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

John Krasinski's 2018 horror film "A Quiet Place" focused on the resilient Abbott family as they fought to survive after their town was invaded by monsters who hunt based on sound. 

And while the first film ended with the survival of most of the Abbott family — at the expense of Krasinski's father character, Lee, who sacrificed himself for his family — there were still numerous questions left unanswered, including how the sound-sensitive monsters arrived and the number of people who managed to survive the attacks. 

"A Quiet Place II," the sequel to the 2018 original, seems like it will answer all of those questions and more, and will also continue to follow the surviving members of the Abbott family as they escape their destroyed home. 

Here's everything we know so far about "A Quiet Place II." 

John Krasinski wrote the script for the sequel and will return as director. His character will also appear in the second movie, likely through flashbacks.

Paramount

Krasinski, who most fans know as Jim Halpert from "The Office," proved he was also a talented horror writer and director with 2018's "A Quiet Place."

Luckily for fans of the original, the actor will be just as involved with the sequel — and a new trailer, released on Friday ahead of the Super Bowl, reveals that Krasinski will also reprise his role as Lee Abbott (likely through flashbacks, since Lee sacrificed himself to the monsters to save his family at the end of the first "Quiet Place" film). 



"A Quiet Place II" will see the Abbott family leave the safety of their farm and venture out into the unknown.

Paramount

According to Krasinski, the sequel "picks up right where 'A Quiet Place 1' left off. The idea of these kids and this family dealing with their safety net being taken from them." 

Fans of the first film will remember that Krasinski's character Lee sacrifices himself to the monsters in order to save his children (including a newborn baby) and his wife Evelyn, played by Krasinski's real-life wife Emily Blunt. Because the family's farm was destroyed by the events of "A Quiet Place," they must now venture out into the wilderness. 

"They are forced to go out into the world and see how other people live, so they literally leave the path of safety and go into the unknown," Krasinski said



Actors like Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou will join Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe onscreen.

Paramount Pictures

Murphy and Hounsou appear to play survivors who encounter the Abbott family after they flee their destroyed home, although their exact intentions are still unclear. 

"I don't know why you came all the way up here. There's nothing left," Murphy's character tells Evelyn (Blunt) in a trailer for the film. Later in the clip, Evelyn tells him, "There are people out there worth saving." 

Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe will return as the eldest Abbott children, Reagon and Marcus, respectively.




See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Sen. Lisa Murkowski announces she's voting no on witnesses, appearing to secure Trump's acquittal in the impeachment trial

Posted: 31 Jan 2020 10:33 AM PST

Lisa Murkowski gun controlAP

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, announced Friday that she'll vote with the majority of her party to block witnesses from testifying in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial. 
  • The news appeared to secure Trump's acquittal after months of testimony and debate over his campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. 
  • Murkowski, a moderate, had indicated she may be willing to hear witnesses as late as Thursday. 
  • Just two Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah, have announced that they'll vote "yes" on the motion to call witnesses.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, announced Friday that she'll vote with the majority of her party to block witnesses from testifying in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial. 

The news appeared to secure Trump's acquittal after months of testimony and debate over his campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

NOW WATCH: Extremists turned a frog meme into a hate symbol, but Hong Kong protesters revived it as an emblem of hope

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SEE ALSO: Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski get the cover they need to vote for witnesses in Trump's impeachment trial

I ate chicken wings from 5 major chains, and a little-known newcomer beat out all the classics

Posted: 31 Jan 2020 10:32 AM PST

Hooters wingsIrene Jiang / Business Insider

  • Chicken wings are always in season.
  • I tried the wings at Buffalo Wild Wings, Hooters, TGI Fridays, Bonchon Chicken, and Wingstop to see who had the best chicken wings.
  • Turns out the Korean import Bonchon had the best chicken wings: immaculately crispy and bursting with flavor.
  • However, Hooters was a close second place, offering the best chicken wings with a more traditional American flavor profile.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Chicken wings are never out of season.

There are enough sports seasons to make them relevant year-round. Football season? Wings. Baseball season? Wings. Basketball? Wings. Just craving wings? Wings.

As Business Insider's resident taste-tester, I had a sacred duty to try all the wing chains within a reasonable travel distance from our office to find the best chicken wings.

Over a week, I ate wings from Buffalo Wild Wings, Hooters, TGI Fridays, Bonchon Chicken, and Wingstop to see who had the crispiest, sauciest, juiciest chicken.

I never want to smell another chicken wing again. But my sacrifice was not for naught: After dozens of wings, dreadful and delicious, I found the holy grail of chain-restaurant wings.

BUFFALO WILD WINGS — A small order of traditional wings cost me $12 plus tax at the Brooklyn location I went to. I got two kinds of sauce: Buffalo wild, and spicy garlic.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I couldn't tell which flavor was which just by looking at them. The wings kind of looked the same.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I picked up one at random and sniffed it. I never thought I could be disgusted by garlic, but this spicy-garlic sauce smelled as if it had been made with blended dried garlic. It was pungent yet lifeless.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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SEE ALSO: I tried every item on Wendy's new breakfast menu that is rolling out nationwide, and it blew me away

I toured Amazon's massive warehouse in New York City, and these are the 6 most fascinating details I saw (AMZN)

Posted: 31 Jan 2020 10:32 AM PST

Amazon fulfillment center, Staten IslandBen Gilbert/Business Insider

  • Amazon's first major warehouse in New York City opened in September 2018 in the borough of Staten Island.
  • The massive "fulfillment center" could hold 18 football fields within its hundreds of thousands of square feet, and more than 3,000 people are employed there.
  • I visited the facility in September 2019 for a tour, and was overwhelmed by all the incredible little details.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

You've no doubt heard as much before: Amazon's shipping warehouses, the so-called "fulfillment centers," are massive structures.

And while that aspect was certainly impressive, a recent tour of Amazon's first-ever New York City fulfillment center opened my eyes to the many other tiny details that enable the retail giant to deliver such a vast array of products at such a rapid clip.

From a ballet of robots to a brilliantly simple sorting system to a timeless technology, here are the most impressive and unexpected little details I saw inside the Amazon facility that services one of America's largest markets: New York City.

1. Non-perishable items, 18-inches or under.

Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

Whether you need protein powder, a Roku streaming stick, or some batteries, Amazon's got you covered.

This much you knew already, of course. But it turns out that a lot of items are in the same product category that is inexplicably very specific and very broad all at once: Nonperishable items that are under 18 inches.

The entire facility in Staten Island is dedicated to that category of product, which includes millions of products.

"Generally speaking, most of our items are under 25 pounds." general manager Chris Colvin said. "The computer won't even let us put in anything above 49 pounds."



2. There are real people using their judgment when packaging your stuff.

Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

Major portions of Amazon's fulfillment center are automated — large sections where robots whisk hundreds of pounds of products at high speeds across vast swaths of space, where boxed products stream down chutes to expectant conveyor belts, and few (if any) people are involved.

But some products at this Amazon fulfillment center, which serves the New York City metro area, still get hand-packed. 

As one packer named Peter said, "I like to make sure the boxes are done the way I would like to receive a box." 



3. The robot ballet really is something to see.

Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

It's impossible to see in a still image, of course, but you'll have to take my word for it: The robot ballet, seen above, is mesmerizing.

Some evidence of what's happening can be seen on the floor, where their dance moves are laid bare in a series of geometrically perfect tracks. After so many turns around the floor since this facility opened in late September 2018, the marks on the floor are evidence of the work they've been doing: hauling hundreds of pounds of products here and there, in an endless series of calculations involving an array of constantly shifting factors.

Simply speaking, these robots serve as the product categorization system for the entire facility.

Each of the compartments in the yellow stack holds various products that have been inventoried and stored by a person in stowing, and each stack can weigh up to 1,500 pounds in total per robot. When a customer orders an item, the whole stack is brought to another person who removes the item from its holding place and ships it to your home. 

Now multiply that series of actions by millions of people ordering millions of different things that are all going millions of different places, and you get the complex dance of robots above.

It's a system known within Amazon as "random stow," and it's been in place for years — but now it's automated.

 




See the rest of the story at Business Insider

See Also:

SEE ALSO: We got inside New York City's first Amazon fulfillment center, where thousands of people work in a building large enough for 18 football fields

I never understood why Patagonia had such a cult following until I tried this sweater — now I'm a loyal fan

Posted: 31 Jan 2020 10:28 AM PST

Patagonia quilt snap-t sweaterSally Kaplan/Business Insider

  • I never really got why people love Patagonia clothing so much. It just seemed like expensive outdoor gear to me.
  • Then I tried this $149 Organic Cotton Quilt Snap-T Pullover, and it clicked.
  • Patagonia's clothing is made from supremely high-quality materials, and its items are made to last. My Snap-T looks as good now as it did almost two years ago when I got it.
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I used to not understand why Patagonia had such a cult following. If I'm being honest, I always thought it was just an expensive outdoor gear company.

Maybe it's because I grew up in Florida where my "outdoor gear" included flip flops, bathing suits, bug spray, and loose T-shirts that kept me cool in the scorching heat. I never really had to consider the need for warm performance clothing, even when camping. All that mattered was keeping the mosquitoes and love bugs from flying into my mouth while I searched for shark teeth in the creek.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Home startup Parachute sells more than sheets and towels — you can now buy handwoven, responsibly made rugs starting at $89

Posted: 31 Jan 2020 10:26 AM PST

 

parachute rugs

In 2014, online home startup Parachute launched with an assortment of luxury sheets that would change the way we sleep. In its short history, it has rapidly introduced more products to improve how we make and live in our homes, including fluffy, absorbent towels, table linens, soft baby sheets, and at the beginning of last year, the ambitious endeavor of an eco-friendly mattress

Its most recent new collection continues this steady revival of home products. Parachute now sells handwoven rugs made by Fair Trade-certified manufacturers in four styles, each available in three to five sizes and ranging in price from $89 to $1,349. 

After a months-long search, the company found its ideal rug manufacturer in an 80-year-old heritage textiles maker in Panipat, India, otherwise known as "The City of Weavers" and "Textile City." There, rugs craftsmanship isn't just a trade — it's woven into the very culture of its people. 

parachute rugs 5

Read more: The best sheets you can buy for your bed

Each of the rugs made for Parachute can take three to four weeks to handcraft. The process includes hand-separating, dyeing, and spinning the wool, then hand-weaving cotton and wool into a rug using traditional looms. The rugs are made with 100% natural fibers and without chemicals or synthetic materials, as with all Parachute products. 

With this small collection, the company highlights the value of responsible production— in both the social and environmental sense of the word — and reminds you of the care you should take in shopping for your home.

A rug can seem like just another home accessory to check off your list, which is why many people often end up with cheap rugs that neither look good nor last very long. But like your sheets, towel, or mattress, it's something that will add immediate as well as long-term value to the place you return to each night. 

By offering sustainably made rugs in a variety of styles to suit your interior design aesthetic, Parachute is making the process of rug shopping simple and transparent. Rather than buy an overpriced or shoddy rug from a source you don't know you can trust, you can get a beautiful, durable, and well-priced one from a company with a proven track record.

Each rug comes with a 90-day trial, free shipping, and free returns, and you can pair it with its Nonslip Eco Rug Pad ($29-$119). 

Learn more about Parachute's new rugs below, or shop them all directly here

Textured Wool Rug

Parachute

Textured Wool Rug, $129-$1,299, available at Parachute

Add some texture contrast to the room with this tufted line style. It's 85% wool, so you'll experience fluffy softness you wouldn't expect from a rug that looks so sophisticated. 



Striped Flatweave Rug

Parachute

Striped Flatweave Rug, $89-$849, available at Parachute

Dusky, versatile shades of pink and blue mean this patterned rug will match with nearly any other furniture and decor in the room. It's best for low-maintenance types since it doesn't shed much and is easy to vacuum. 



Medallion Wool Kilim

Parachute

Medallion Wool Kilim, $89-$429, available at Parachute

This bold, geometric rug looks great as a runner (2.5' x 9') in your hallway or in any other room that could do with a subtle pop. 




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John Bolton confirmed Fiona Hill's testimony about his objections to Trump's 'drug deal' in Ukraine

Posted: 31 Jan 2020 10:24 AM PST

Trump BoltonChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

  • John Bolton wrote in his forthcoming book that he objected early on to President Donald Trump's campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. 
  • Bolton confirmed former National Security Council official Fiona Hill's testimony regarding Bolton's objections to the campaign, which is at the center of Trump's impeachment. 
  • In her congressional testimony last fall, the NSC's former senior director for Russian and Eurasian affairs testified that Bolton told her to report the pressure campaign to the NSC's top lawyer. 
  • Hill said Bolton told her that Giuliani was "a hand grenade who's going to blow everybody up" and that he was "not part of whatever drug deal [the president's aides] are cooking up."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

John Bolton, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, wrote in his forthcoming book that he objected early on to Trump's campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals in exchange for a White House meeting and $391 million in US military aid, according to a Friday New York Times report.

In his book, Bolton confirmed former National Security Council official Fiona Hill's testimony regarding Bolton's objections to the campaign, which is at the center of Trump's impeachment. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Dispensed: One Medical's stock market debut, a playbook for the gene therapy business, and a startup quietly powering the companies that ship prescriptions to your door

Posted: 31 Jan 2020 10:21 AM PST

This app has all the up-to-date information you need to know about the Wuhan coronavirus

Posted: 31 Jan 2020 10:14 AM PST

 

The death toll of the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, has killed over 200, and the virus has infected more than 9,700 people. On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared it a global health emergency.

An easily-searchable, interactive app created by two French expats living in Taiwan shows real-time updates on the coronavirus. It's a one-stop shop for everything you need to know about the Wuhan coronavirus, pulling data from the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among other sources, creator Maxime Michel told Business Insider. Kevin Basset and Michel worked together on the app. Michel also said that they crosscheck that reports are corroborated by multiple sources before including them. The information matches up with the tracking dashboard created by Johns Hopkins researchers using CDC and WHO data, indicating that the app is reliable.

Michel said that they made the app during the Chinese New Year festival, because they were concerned about the epidemic and wanted a transparent way to share information after witnessing what Michel called "growing psychosis" in Taiwan. 

Find the app here.

Here's how it works. 

The app prominently displays current numbers of infected people, along with known deaths and recoveries. It also says when it was last updated.

Coronavirus app

The app defaults to showing the number of known infections of the coronavirus, broken down by region. Circles indicate how many infections are in a particular area, corresponding to the size of the circles. Hovering over a region will also bring up the exact number.

Coronavirus app

Alternatively, searching for an area will bring up the same information.

Coronavirus app


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USA Gymnastics offered to pay Larry Nassar survivors an estimated $250,000 each — their attorney says the settlement is 'DOA'

Posted: 31 Jan 2020 10:13 AM PST

larry nassar gymnast doctor victims sexual assaultAP Photo/Paul Sancya

  • On Thursday, USA Gymnastics offered to pay Larry Nassar survivors $215 million as a part of a plan to emerge out of bankruptcy. 
  • The USA Gymnastics settlement offer would amount to an estimated $250,000 for each survivor suing the athletic organization. 
  • Attorneys representing survivors told Insider they plan to reject the settlement, saying the offer is a "punch in the gut." 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

On Thursday, USA Gymnastics offered to pay athletes abused by former physician Larry Nassar $215 million to settle all the lawsuits against the athletic organization.

Attorneys representing the athletes, who estimate the settlement would amount to $250,000 for each survivor, scoffed at the proposed plan, which they say is "dead on arrival." 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Journalist Carlos Maza who feuded with YouTube over anti-gay harassment and free speech is rejoining the platform to 'flood its airwaves with leftist propaganda'

Posted: 31 Jan 2020 10:11 AM PST

Carlos MazaCarlos Maza/YouTube

  • Carlos Maza, the former host of Strikethrough on Vox, announced he was leaving the company to make solo videos on YouTube. 
  • In 2019, Maza criticized YouTube for its policies after it refused to remove Steven Crowder's videos that repeatedly featured jokes about Maza's sexuality and race. 
  • "It's a sh*ty company that exploits its creators and doesn't deserve to exist, but while it does I might as well flood its airwaves with leftist propaganda – use the master's tools to take down the master's house, or whatever," Maza said in a video posted Friday. 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Carlos Maza, the journalist who in June 2019 accused YouTube of refusing to act after popular right-wing creator Steven Crowder posted videos featuring jokes about his race and sexuality, announced Friday he had left Vox to produce his own video series on the platform he once protested. 

Maza announced the move in a video posted to his new YouTube channel on Friday, January 31.  

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Trump's lead attorney in the impeachment trial could also be a witness, according to Bolton's book

Posted: 31 Jan 2020 10:11 AM PST

White House counsel Pat Cipollone departs at the end of the day as the impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump continues in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2020.      REUTERS/Joshua RobertsReuters

  • The president's lead attorney in the impeachment trial is also a potential witness, according to John Bolton's unpublished book. 
  • Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, was reportedly at a meeting in which President Donald Trump asked Bolton to help with his effort to pressure Ukraine into helping him dig up dirt on his political rivals. 
  • Cipollone is spearheading President Donald Trump's defefense team in the Senate impeachment trial. 
  • This report raises ethical questions, and House impeachment managers are now demanding Cipollone disclose any firsthand evidence.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The lead attorney in President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial has firsthand knowledge of the effort to pressure Ukraine into digging up dirt on Trump's political rivals, according to former national security adviser John Bolton's forthcoming book.

Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, has been leading Trump's defense team in the impeachment trial. He could also be a potential witness, according to a report from the New York Times on Friday, which is based on Bolton's unpublished manuscript.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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