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missouri hyperloop map

  • An upcoming study will determine the feasibility of a Hyperloop system in Missouri that would connect St. Louis, Columbia, and Kansas City.
  • The study would be conducted by a combination of public and private organizations, including Virgin Hyperloop One.
  • Hyperloop is a high-speed transportation system in the early stages of development that would allow passengers to travel in pods through tubes at speeds exceeding 500 mph.

Most proposals for the high-speed Hyperloop transportation system have focused on big cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, DC. But an upcoming study will determine the feasibility of a Hyperloop system in Missouri that would connect St. Louis, Columbia, and Kansas City.

The study will examine the technical alignment and potential economic benefits of the Hyperloop system, and will be conducted by a combination of public and private organizations, including Black & Veatch, the University of Missouri System, and Virgin Hyperloop One. The proposed 240-mile route could allow passengers to travel between Kansas City and St. Louis in less than 30 minutes.

Virgin Group invested in Hyperloop One in October 2017. The startup has successfully tested its Hyperloop system twice on a 500-meter track in Nevada. It reached a top speed of 192 mph during the tests.

Hyperloop is a high-speed transportation system that was first proposed by Elon Musk in a 2013 white paper. While the system is still in the early stages of development, it could one day allow passengers to travel in pods through tubes at speeds exceeding 500 mph.

Musk`s Boring Company is attempting to create the tunnel infrastructure that could make Hyperloop possible, but it has faced resistance from local governments. Two of Musk`s other companies, SpaceX and Tesla, tested a Hyperloop pod in 2015 that reached a top speed of 220 mph, which is the fasted recorded time to date.

SEE ALSO: Amtrak CEO slams Elon Musk`s Hyperloop plan as unrealistic

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NOW WATCH: How to screenshot and screen record on an iPhone, iPad, and Mac

AMD headquarters

  • AMD is falling after a fourth-quarter earnings beat, reporting earnings of 0.08 per share vs. 0.05 per share expected on revenue of 1.48 billion vs. 1.408 billion expected.
  • Investors will be looking for the company to comment on the Spectre and Meltdown security flaws that have impacted central processing unit manufacturers this year.
  • Watch the stock trade in real time here.

AMD is rising after reporting a beat on earnings and revenue in the fourth quarter.

The company reported earnings of 0.08 per share vs. 0.05 per share expected. AMD reported revenue of 1.48 billion vs 1.408 billion expected. Shares are down more than 6% immediately following the report but have since settled about 1.94% higher at 13.12 in after-hours trading.

The company reported its second-straight quarter of GAAP profitability, boosted by a 60% year-over-year increase in computing and graphics sales.

"2017 marked a key inflection point for AMD as we re-shaped our product portfolio, delivered 25 percent annual
revenue growth, expanded gross margin and achieved full-year profitability," said AMD CEO Lisa Su, in the release.

The company guided to revenue of 1.55 billion in the first quarter of 2018, which would be a 32% increase over the same period last year. AMD said it will be adjusting the way it reports revenue in the future, but doesn`t see a material impact from the change for 2018.

Wall Street was mostly neutral on the stock ahead of the report, with 14 of the 28 analysts tracked by Bloomberg rating the company as a "hold."

Investors will be looking for the company to comment on the Spectre and Meltdown security flaws that have impacted every major central processing unit manufacturer. Industry patches to solve the problem have been buggy, and it`s still unknown how the final fixes will affect performance. Systems could take as much as a 30% hit to performance because of the patches, according to some estimates.

The company will also likely address the impact of the cryptocurrency boom on sales of its graphics processing units. Cryptocurrency miners have been buying the cards en masse to capitalize on a boom in crypto prices. Computer gamers, the traditional market for AMD`s cards, have expressed frustration at the higher prices and limited supply.

John Pitzer, an analyst at Credit Suisse, said before the report that the crypto boom will likely outweigh any negative effects from the Spectre and Meltdown flaws. Last week, Intel, one of AMD`s main rivals in the CPU space, said the flaws would not materially affect sales. Pitzer thinks AMD will also be safe from any fallout from the flaws as well.

AMD shares are up about 16% this year.

Read more about what Wall Street and millennial investors are watching out for ahead of earnings.

amd stock price

SEE ALSO: AMD is slipping ahead of earnings

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NOW WATCH: Microsoft President Brad Smith says the US shouldn`t get `too isolationist`

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - A Syrian peace conference in Russia ended on Tuesday with a statement calling for democratic elections but ignoring key opposition demands after a day marred by squabbles and heckling of the Russian foreign minister.
ANKARA (Reuters) - One person was killed and two more were wounded in a roadside bomb attack on a Turkish military convoy in Syria`s Idlib on Tuesday, the Turkish army said.
AMMAN (Reuters) - At least 15 people were killed on Tuesday when suspected Russian warplanes struck a crowded market in the rebel-held city of Ariha in the second such strike on a shopping area in opposition-held Idlib within 24 hours, residents and rescuers said.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of Russia`s foreign intelligence service, who is under U.S. sanctions, met last week outside Washington with American intelligence officials, two U.S. sources familiar with the matter said, even as relations between the U.S. and Russia have been at their iciest since the Cold War over a slew of issues.

Waymo minivan

  • Waymo announced it will buy thousands of self-driving Chrysler minivans in 2018 as it prepares to launch an autonomous car service in multiple U.S. cities.
  • Waymo is battling Uber, which announced last year it also plans to buy thousands of self-driving cars from Volvo.
  • Waymo has a complicated relationship with its rivals through investments and partnerships.

Waymo, the self-driving car company owned by Google`s parent, is shifting its ride-hailing business plans into high gear.

The company announced on Tuesday that it`s buying "thousands" of autonomous minivans from Chrysler this year as it prepares to launch its own version of a driverless, ride-hailing service in multiple U.S. cities. 

The move marks a significant expansion of Waymo`s ride-hailing efforts, and highlights a growing arms race between Waymo and Uber to dominate the transportation services of the future. 

Waymo has been testing its self-driving technology in Phoenix since last year with a limited group of users, who have been able to hitch rides around town for free in the autonomous cars. Waymo said on Tuesday that it plans to open the Phoenix ride-hailing service to the public sometime this year. And the company said it would expand the ride-hailing service to several other U.S. cities using the thousands of Chrysler minivans it is purchasing.

The news is similar to Uber`s announcement last year that it will buy up to 24,000 self-driving Volvo cars as it seeks to expand its autonomous service outside closed trials in Arizona and Pittsburgh. 

What happens next

Google has invested more than a billion dollars into developing Waymo`s self-driving technology, which it has said could be used for a variety of purposes, including trucking, logistics, licensing, ride-sharing and personal cars.

But until now its self-driving ride-hailing efforts have been limited to the test in Phoenix, and it`s not been clear whether the test was a beachhead for a bigger push to build a commercial ride-hailing service, or simply a way for the company to gauge the public`s appetite for self-driving vehicles. 

Waymo`s announcement on Tuesday was light on details about the forthcoming ride-hailing service. And a company spokesperson declined to say which cities it planned to launch the service in, or when. The company was also mum on the price it would charge passengers to use the self-driving ride hailing service. 

Self-driving technology still suffers from many technical and regulatory limitations. The sensors that the cars rely on to "see" their whereabouts do not perform well in rain or snow. And federal and state governments are still grappling with how to create rules around where and how the cars can be used, as well as thorny liability issues.

A web of alliances in a booming market

Dara Khosrowshahi smile 2It`s possible that Waymo still envisions its promised ride-hailing service as more of a proof of concept for autonomous vehicles than a full-fledged business opportunity to capitalize on.

But by ratcheting up its ride-hailing operations, Waymo has an opening into a booming market that will put it on a crash course with Uber and Lyft, the two largest self-driving car services in the U.S. And it comes at a time when both Uber and Lyft are considered top candidates for highly-anticipated IPOs. 

To complicate matters, Waymo`s parent company Alphabet also has financial ties to both Uber and Lyft. 

CapitalG, the investment arm of Alphabet, led a 1 billion investment in Lyft in October.

Lyft has also announced a partnership with Waymo on self-driving technology and opened its own self-driving center to work on the technology.

Waymo has an even more complicated relationship with Uber. Waymo`s sister company Google Ventures (known as GV) invested about 258 million in Uber in 2013. But now Waymo is suing Uber, alleging one of its former executives stole key self-driving technology when he left Google.

SEE ALSO: The HomePod seems great, but Apple missed a much bigger opportunity

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NOW WATCH: You`ve never seen a bridge like this before

USS Blue Ridge

  • The US Department of Defense released footage showing the USS Blue Ridge command ship leaving dry dock in Yokosuka, Japan.
  • Dry dock is an area where water can be drained so as to allow maintenance, construction, and cleaning of a ship or other water vessel.
  • It takes the USS Blue Ridge two days to get out of dry dock.

The USS Blue Ridge is the lead ship of her class and the oldest deployable warship in the US Navy. 

Assigned to the United States Seventh Fleet based in Yokosuka, Japan, the Blue Ridge is one of the US Navy`s two command ships.

When the US Navy`s ships are in port and undergoing maintenance, they are put in dry dock — a narrow basin that a ship can sail into and then have all of the water in it drained. This enables workers to access the ships underside, and enable stability during construction and upgrading operations.

Footage released by the Department of Defense shows that it takes the USS Blue Ridge two days to get out of dry dock.

See the time-lapse video here:

Wanna see something cool? Check out this #timelapse video of #USSBlueRidge as the vessel exits dry dock in #Yokosuka, #Japan. 🚢 pic.twitter.com/A67XFDrpXS

— U.S. Dept of Defense (@DeptofDefense) January 29, 2018

SEE ALSO: Insane video shows a Russian military jet flying within 5 feet of a US Navy plane

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NOW WATCH: Here`s how easy it is for the US president to launch a nuclear weapon


  • Snowflake just raised 263.5 million at a 1.5 billion valuation in one of the biggest funding rounds of 2018.
  • The growing cloud startup has impressed the VC world with its ability to bridge old school data warehouses with the cloud storage that companies want. 
  • Now, Snowflake CEO Bob Muglia says the company is looking to expand its global footprint, and could go public in the next few years.  


Snowflake only left stealth mode in 2014, but you wouldn`t know it from the amount of money the company has raised.

The San Mateo-based cloud-computing startup just hit unicorn status with 263.5 million in funding led by ICONIQ Capital, Altimeter Capital, and newcomer Sequoia Capital. That brings its total growth funding up to 480 million, with a valuation of 1.5 billion. 

The rapidly growing company, which sells data warehouses for the cloud, now has around 1,000 customers including Adobe, Capital One, Sony Pictures, and Instacart.

These enterprises use Snowflake to bridge the gap between old school data storage systems that have been used for decades by large companies, and the more efficient forms of storage that are enabled by cloud computing. Snowflake essentially eases the transition to the cloud for companies that work with ginormous loads of data.

Now, with a hot technology and Microsoft veteran Bob Muglia as CEO, Snowflake is just a few years out from going public. Business Insider checked in with Muglia to find out more about his plans for the company and what it takes to raise a mega round and a unicorn valuation.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Becky Peterson: Your team just raised 263.5 million. What do you plan to use it for?

Bob Muglia: We`re going to use the money to expand our sales and services organization globally to bring the product to customers all around the world, and we`re going to continue to invest in the team that [co-founder and chief technology officer Benoit Dageville] built.

We feel that we have a really substantive product and head start compared to anyone else. I think we`re pulling further ahead and we`re going to continue to invest.

Peterson: Are you already international?

Muglia: Yes, we have about 40 people in Europe right now, and five people in Australia. Both of those are new within the last year.

A year ago we were just bringing on board our first folks in Europe. And now we have over 40 people there. In fall we started hiring in Australia. We`ll look toward Asia in the coming 12 to 18 months. Probably expanding into the Singapore region and Japan and Korea. Maybe someday China, but that`s further out.

Peterson: Why wait on China?

Muglia: China`s a tough market for any American company. If you look at where you want to expand, China is toward the tail end.

What we`ll probably do is go where our customers want us to go. I know we have some large, multi-national companies that do a fair amount of business in China. And they have to keep data in China. So that`s probably what will push us to that market.

Peterson: At 263.5 million, this funding round is large by any measure. From a business perspective, what is the advantage of having such a large funding round?

Muglia: Companies are moving actively and aggressively to the cloud. This funding allows us to take the technology and this service to market to all of our customers around the world and give them support the way they need it. We`ll be investing in resources in sales and service to do that, and we`ll be building our R&D team around it.

Why do we need so much money? It`s a global world, there are a lot of customers out there. 

Frankly, we`re competing against some of the largest companies on the planet. Companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Oracle. And although 263 million is a lot of money, it`s a lot less money than they have.

Frankly, we`re competing against some of the largest companies on the planet...And although 263 million is a lot of money, it`s a lot less money than they have.

We`re competing with extremely well-funded companies with extremely strong cash positions, and this provides us with the financial resources and the capital we need to expand the product and compete in this global world.

Peterson: As a CEO and partial owner in the company, is there a disadvantage for you in taking such a large sum?

Muglia: You always worry about how much money you should take and in what period of time. But on the balance, whatever disadvantages exist are far outweighed by the ability to expand the company. In today`s world, the way to succeed in technology is to have a product that is very broadly used, and to get out there. And this money provides us the ability to do that.

Peterson: How did this fundraising round compare to smaller rounds?

Muglia: This is my fourth time. I joined Snowflake in 2014. My first fundraising round was 2015, and it was great. It was a really successful round. At the time, our valuation expanded to 300 million. That was a huge increase.

The next year, we needed to raise a bit more money. This was the first half of 2016, and nobody was giving out any money. 

I literally was up and down Sand Hill Road, my cup in hand. I talked to about 24 different VC firms, and all 24 of them said no. Fortunately, my existing investors stepped in and funded us a flat round. So we were able to continue to grow and hire world class people. And then last year we were able to do another round.

In this round, we`re thrilled to have Sequoia join us as our newest partner.

Peterson: Was Sequoia one of the companies that said no to you in 2016?

Muglia: They sure were! At the time everybody was saying no to everything. It wasn`t just us.

Peterson: Is this the first step in moving toward an initial public offering (IPO)?

Muglia: It is certainly a step in moving toward an IPO. That is where we are hoping to go in the next few years. It`s not a near-term thing, but it`s something we are looking towards. This funding basically provides us with sufficient capital we think to bridge ourselves to an IPO.

I wouldn`t rule out us doing another round of private funding. But at this moment we think it`s possible to move directly into an IPO in the future.

I wouldn`t rule out us doing another round of private funding. But at this moment we think it`s possible to move directly into an IPO in the future.

Peterson: Do you have a sense of how long it will be until you`re profitable?

Muglia: It will be a few years — two to three years at least.

That`s always the trade-off you make. When you`re growing as fast as a company like Snowflake is, you want to invest as much of your revenue as you can, particularly into your sales.

Right now, my board is much more focused on growth than it is on profitability, but as the company shifts toward a public posture that obviously changes. We`re taking steps to prepare.

The fundamentals are there with Snowflake to grow a profitable business. It`s really a question of when do you take that revenue we have that we`re currently investing into growth, and when do we put it back on the balance sheet and give it to our shareholders.

Peterson: Let`s move on to the wider cloud industry. Are there any trends that you see looking forward?

Muglia: The one that`s most apparent is that the cloud is happening aggressively with companies in every industry, as well as the federal government.

Another thing we see is that it is a multi-cloud world. Amazon is obviously the strong leader. I anticipate that they will maintain a leadership position. They`ve been a great partner to us. But we do see customers going to other clouds like Microsoft Azure, sometimes Google.

And we`re customer centric, so we`re watching that and you can expect us to respond to that customer request to work on multiple clouds.

SEE ALSO: How ex-Microsoft exec Bob Muglia triumphed over 2 humiliating demotions to become CEO of the hot startup Snowflake

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NOW WATCH: North Korea`s leader Kim Jong Un is 34 — here`s how he became one of the world`s scariest dictators

sleep insomnia

  • A new study found that people whose sleep is fragmented and who don`t have a consistent sleep cycle are significantly more likely to have early signs of Alzheimer`s disease in the brain.
  • This isn`t the first study to connect bad sleep with the buildup of proteins known as amyloid plaques, which can be indications of Alzheimer`s and dementia.
  • We still don`t know whether sleeping poorly causes the buildup or whether the buildup makes it harder to sleep, but it`s possible both are true.

Fragmented sleep, marked by repeated wake-ups during the night and a need to nap during the day, could be an early sign of Alzheimer`s disease, according to new research. 

A study recently published in the journal JAMA Neurology found that adults with healthy memories who had disrupted circadian rhythms — also known as sleep cycles — had protein buildups of a substance called amyloid plaque, which can serve as an early sign of Alzheimer`s.

The damage that causes Alzheimer`s-associated memory loss can begin 15 or 20 years before symptoms of the disease become evident. Other studies have shown that there`s a connection between poor sleep and Alzheimer`s or dementia as well. This new study provides more evidence of that link, and indicates that sleep disruption might be a very early warning sign of future neurodegenerative disease.

The findings also suggest that working to treat sleep issues early may help protect brain health down the road — though more research is needed to find out.

brain alzheimer`s beta-amyloid plaques

A growing body of evidence

For the new study, researchers tracked the sleep cycles of 189 cognitively healthy adults with an average age of 66. They also analyzed their brains to look for Alzheimer`s-related proteins and plaques.

Most of the participants had relatively normal sleep cycles, and 139 had no signs of amyloid protein buildup. Some of those people had sleep problems, but they could mostly be explained by age, sleep apnea, or other causes.

But the 50 subjects in the study whose brains had Alzheimer`s-related proteins all had disrupted body clocks.

"It wasn`t that the people in the study were sleep-deprived," lead study author Dr. Erik Musiek said in a press release. "But their sleep tended to be fragmented. Sleeping for eight hours at night is very different from getting eight hours of sleep in one-hour increments during daytime naps."

The researchers also disrupted the sleep rhythms of mice in another study and found that doing so led to a buildup of amyloid plaque in their brains.

Other recent research has shown that people who report sleeping poorly show more signs of Alzheimer`s. One recent study found that even disrupting someone`s sleep for a night could lead to a spike in Alzheimer`s-related proteins.

To be clear, that doesn`t mean that one night of bad sleep leads to Alzheimer`s. But it does make sleep trouble even more disturbing than the tired feeling that lingers after a restless night — which is good motivation to fix poor sleeping habits.

human brain neuroscience brain exhibit

The issue of causation 

The big question that remains is whether bad sleep causes the protein buildup that`s linked to Alzheimer`s, or whether people whose brains are already changing have more trouble sleeping.

It`s quite possible that both are true.

Some research has indicated that any sleep disruption seems to lead to brain changes (in mice and people). We know that sleep has a cleansing function and that in deep sleep our brain washes away some proteins that regularly build up.

But we also know that once these buildups exist, people have a harder time getting that cleansing deep sleep. In other words, regular poor sleep could lead to a vicious cycle that makes it harder to get the rest the brain needs.

The upside of all this is that it could mean that intervening to fix sleep problems early could lead to improved brain health down the road. There are plenty of reasons to try to get a good night`s sleep — this seems to be an especially good one.

SEE ALSO: A young boy in Oregon died from flesh-eating bacteria after crashing his bike — here`s what to look out for

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NOW WATCH: A sleep scientist reveals the 15-minute daily ritual that will improve your sleep

Quantum cryptography has never been possible over long distances. But the first quantum communications satellite is rewriting the record books.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The director of Russia`s foreign intelligence service visited the United States for consultations with his U.S. counterparts, Russia`s embassy in Washington said in a tweet on Tuesday, citing a report in the state-controlled Tass news agency.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - A group of foreign investors expressed concern on Tuesday at the U.S. Treasury`s publication of a list of Russian businessmen allegedly close to the Kremlin, saying it could affect the interests of European investors and increase uncertainty in Russia`s business environment.

lunar eclipse oct. 2014

  • A total lunar eclipse, or blood moon, is happening early in the morning on Wednesday.
  • The eclipse will coincide with a slightly larger full moon (a "supermoon") and the second full moon in a month (a "blue moon").
  • The US East Coast and Europe will have trouble seeing the "super blue blood moon" of 2018, but anyone can watch via a YouTube Live webcast hosted by a company called Slooh.

The world is about to witness a "super blue blood moon" on Wednesday morning, the first since September 2015.

During this astronomical event, the full moon will appear to turn red (a "blood moon") as it travels through the ruddy shadow of Earth. The total lunar eclipse will look slightly larger than normal (a "supermoon"), since the moon is in the part of its orbit that brings it closest to our planet. It also happens to be the second full moon in a month (often called a "blue moon").

But those who live in the eastern US, Europe, and other regions may have trouble seeing the eclipse at its greatest moment, at least in person.

That`s because the event begins at around 5:51 a.m. ET with a partial eclipse, which is when the moon starts to pass into Earth`s penumbral or outermost shadow. It will slide deeper into Earth`s umbral or innermost shadow over the next couple of hours, peaking at its reddest color around 8:31 a.m. ET. The super blue blood moon will wrap up with a second partial eclipse that ends at 11:08 a.m. ET. 

For most of that time on the East Coast, the sun will be in the sky. 


So if you won`t be able to see the moon due to strong daylight, bad weather, or other issues, fret not: You can watch the whole thing online via a special YouTube Live webcast.

Slooh, a company that airs live views of space, will host the broadcast and plans to have telescopes trained on the moon as it`s eclipsed by Earth. During their live show, which is packed with astronomy buffs, you`ll also learn a great deal about the history and science of lunar eclipses.

"It has been almost seven years since the moon entered Earth`s umbral shadow as deeply as this one," Paul Cox, an astronomer at Slooh, said in a press release.

You can tune in starting at 5:45 a.m. ET, with Slooh`s panel of experts joining in at 7:00 a.m. ET. The eclipse`s reddest phase will begin a little after 7:50 a.m. ET.

SEE ALSO: An Apollo astronaut explains what riding aboard SpaceX`s first moon mission might be like

DON`T MISS: `The Martian` author Andy Weir says there`s a great reason to colonize the moon — but not Mars

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NOW WATCH: There`s a place at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean where hundreds of giant spacecraft go to die

Jeff Bezos

  • Amazon has repeatedly showed an uncanny ability to disrupt entire segments of the stock market with corporate announcements.
  • The most recent example is Amazon`s collaboration with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan, which spurred selling in healthcare stocks, but it`s a dynamic that`s happened repeatedly in recent months.

Amazon`s newly announced collaboration with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan may have rocked the healthcare sector, but it`s far from the first time Jeff Bezos & Co. have imposed their will on the market.

The company has made a habit out of crushing competitor market values with even the most basic of announcements, and their healthcare team-up is just the latest example of that.

The reasoning is simple — Amazon has a ton of cash and an unparalleled logistical network, and when it looks poised to enter a market, traders get scared and bail out of existing positions in other companies.

Amazon has done this so regularly, in fact, that it can be difficult to keep all the instances straight. That`s where we come in.

Below you`ll find a list summarizing recent examples of companies getting "Amazon`d" —  the Business Insider-coined term for when a stock finds itself at the whim of the ever-expanding juggernaut.

January 2018 — Healthcare stocks tumble after Amazon, JPMorgan, and Berkshire Hathaway announce collaboration to reduce costs for US workers

While the three companies weren`t specific about what kind of enterprise they aim to create, noting only that they wanted to improve employee satisfaction while reducing costs, the announcement reverberated through the stock market.

Managed care and pharmacy providers absorbed the brunt of the selling, with companies including MetLife, Express Scripts, and UnitedHealth seeing large share drops that accounted for billions of dollars in lost value.

June 2017 — Grocery stocks slide after Amazon announces 13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods ... and then again two months later after price cuts are announced

Amazon hit grocery stocks with a double-whammy of weakness in this particular instance, causing an initial drop after announcing its mega-acquisition of Whole Foods, then reigniting selling two months later after cutting prices.

The companies affected included KrogerSprouts Farmers MarketTarget, and Walmart, which fell anywhere from 2% to 8% on the various reports.

June 2017 — Athletic apparel retailers slide after report that Amazon was going to partner with Nike

In June 2017, Goldman Sachs published a report speculating that Nike was "close" to commencing a direct relationship selling product on Amazon.com. That caused selling in both athletic apparel manufacturers, as well as retail chains.

The companies affected included Dick`s Sporting Goods, Under Armour, and Foot Locker.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

mike germano vice

  • Vice Media has fired Mike Germano, the cofounder and CEO of its digital advertising agency Carrot Creative.
  • Germano was put on leave after the New York Times reported on harassment allegations against him and Vice Media president Andrew Creighton.
  • The company is also planning to fold Carrot Creative into its creative agency Virtue.

Vice Media has fired Mike Germano, the cofounder and CEO of its digital agency Carrot Creative, according to reports. 

The Wrap first reported Germano`s ouster. Vice Media did not immediately respond to request for comment.

The news comes less than a month after Germano was put on a leave of absence as the company investigated harassment allegations against him and Vice Media president Andrew Creighton, reported in a story by The New York Times.

Vice is also planning to fold Carrot Creative into its creative agency Virtue. The merger had been in the works since January 2017 when Vice announced plans to integrate its various ad operations into a single division – Virtue Worldwide. The two agencies had continued to operate separately until now.

Both Germano`s ouster and the merger were announced by Vice COO and CFO, Sarah Broderick, in a memo sent to employees Tuesday, according to Digiday.

Vice Media has come under fire since The Times` described its culture and workplace environment as "degrading and uncomfortable for women." Germano was specifically called out by two former employees, Amanda Rue and Gabrielle Schaeffer.

Since then, a number of clients including Unilever and Ally Financial, have set up meetings with Vice to discuss their concerns, according to Ad Age. 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: These inventions will help save the earth

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian youth during a confrontation in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, a Palestinian official said.

nigri jessica

  • Jessica Nigri, one of the top cosplayers in the world, has a new documentary with Rooster Teeth about her life.
  • Nigri has millions of social-media followers, and is one of the few people to make cosplay her full-time job.
  • Nigri said that she and other top cosplayers have seen their reach on Facebook dramatically decrease in recent months, in line with what online publishers have seen.

From the first time Jessica Nigri tried cosplay — the practice of dressing up as a character from movies, video games, or another fictional universe — she seemed destined to be a star.

In 2009, a friend of Nigri`s bought her a ticket to attend Comic-Con, the massive convention held every year in San Diego. Nigri did a quick Google search of the event and saw that some people dressed up as their favorite characters to attend, she told Business Insider. She decided to give it a go, and dressed as Pikachu from Pokémon.

Nigri expected to have a good time, and said when she got there she looked around and thought, “These are my people.” But she didn’t expect a photo of her at the convention to go viral, flooding her Facebook and Myspace with friend requests from people she’d never met.

There were a few reasons for that. First, Nigri wasn’t just dressed as Pikachu, but rather “Sexy Pikachu,” sporting a barely-there outfit that generated quite a bit of buzz. Second, in one picture she had a badge with her name on it, so that allowed random people to find her online.

Getting that kind of intense internet reaction from strangers might have terrified some people, but not Nigri.

“It was like an immediate addiction,” Nigri said of her first cosplay experience.

Now Nigri is one of the most popular cosplayers in the world, with beautiful and insanely intricate costumes she makes herself. She has 4.7 million Facebook followers, 2.8 million on Instagram, 1.2 million on YouTube, and even 3,500 on Patreon, who support her with monthly monetary subscriptions.

And the 28 year old has recently made a documentary with digital-media powerhouse Rooster Teeth, "Becoming Jessica Nigri," that looks inside the day-to-day realities of making a living off of cosplay.

jessica nigri working

Turning a hobby into a job

Nigri said the first time she thought of cosplay as a real business was when she got a call from her job at Trader Joe’s asking if she was still coming in for the 6 a.m. shift. At the time she was actually in Japan, where it was well into the night. She was doing promotion for a video game company and dressed as Juliet Starling, the zombie-hunting cheerleader and protagonist of “Lollipop Chainsaw.” She wasn’t going to make it to her shift.

There are a variety of ways to make money doing cosplay, though the vast majority of people in the community do it just as a hobby.

Nigri listed them off: You can sell prints of photos or other merch from an online store, do appearances for video game companies, make costumes or props for others, get ad money from a YouTube channel, utilize Patreon, and so on. But there isn`t one overarching revenue stream that dwarfs the others. If you want to cosplay professionally, you have to cobble sources of revenue together, Nigri said.

But while the ways of making money can change, what is constant is that to become a prominent cosplayer you have to be both authentically connected to the community, and good at cultivating a fan base. Nigri described it as a mixture of personality, genuineness, and craftsmanship in your costumes (“builds”).

“If someone is doing cosplay for the wrong reasons it’s blatantly obvious,” Nigri said. And indeed it would seem extremely difficult for Nigri to fake her enthusiasm for the art given the vast amount of tutorial and behind-the-scenes video content she makes (not to mention the new documentary).

But there are still people who send online hate Nigri’s way, especially given the revealing nature of many of her costumes.

“Honestly I used to really get hurt by it,” Nigri said of some of the negative energy. But she said now she realizes that it usually comes from a place of sadness, of people not feeling 100% adequate themselves. “It’s never a personal thing, I never take it personally,” she said.

nigri cosplay

Facebook reach has been `decimated`

While preparing for (and going to) live events is the bedrock of Nigri’s cosplaying, her ability to maintain a following on social media is also a key to the business side of things.

In this realm, while Facebook has put up bigger numbers, YouTube has been the more stable partner. Like many creators and online publishers, Nigri has felt the pain of Facebook’s algorithm shifts over the last year.

“Facebook’s reach has been decimated,” she said, before adding that though she has 4.7 million followers, she has moved away from the platform lately. A lot of other cosplayers have seen decreased reach too, she said, with external links they post not getting the numbers they used to.

When Facebook put an emphasis on video last year, that worked for awhile, then began to fall off. “I have noticed that videos in general are receiving less reach than usual,” she said. “It`s concerning because a lot of people depend on social media to showcase their work and reach new audiences."

Now she fears the same thing is happening with Instagram, and said she feels that Instagram is starting to restrict reach.

But no matter what, Nigri is happy to have her day job be making incredible pieces and recapturing the flicker of childhood that`s still there.

“We actually just got back from doing a photo shoot with a bunch of wolves,” she said excitedly. For a cosplayer like Nigri, it doesn’t get much cooler than that.

jessica nigri hands

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NOW WATCH: The surprising reason some countries drive on the left side of the road

Screen Shot 2018 01 30 at 1.18.29 PM

Bitcoin has slumped more than 11% in the last 24 hours, falling below 10,000 per coin for the second time in less than two weeks as reports of cryptocurrency exchanges Bitfinex and Tether being subpoenaed by US regulators dragged down prices. 

The flagship digital coin now makes up just 33.6% of the world’s total cryptocurrency market value, according to CoinMarketCap.com.

Last year, bitcoin’s price was on path that seemed to have just one direction: up. However, news of crackdowns in the US as well as crypto-centric countries like Russia, China, and South Korea have reinjected violent price swings into the marketplace.

Bitcoin previously fell below 10,000 less than two weeks ago, when what was dubbed a cryptocurrency ‘bloodbath’ wiped out hundreds of billions of dollars worth of value from cryptocurrencies in a matter of days.

The 10,000 benchmark was first crossed in November 2017, as bitcoin’s price skyrocketed to almost 20,000. It eventually peaked just below, at 19,843, according to Markets Insider data.

You can track the price of bitcoin in real-time here>>

SEE ALSO: Sign up to get the most important updates on all things crypto delivered straight to your inbox.

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NOW WATCH: Microsoft President Brad Smith says the US shouldn`t get `too isolationist`


Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and it can kill. Yet scientists know surprisingly little about why it happens and how best to treat it. 

We do know that talking seems to help — especially under the guidance of a licensed mental health professional. But therapy is expensive, inconvenient, and often hard to approach. A recent estimate suggests that of the roughly one in five Americans who have a mental illness, close to two-thirds have gone at least a year without treatment.

Several Silicon Valley-style approaches to the problem have emerged: There are apps that replace the traditional psychiatry office with texting, and chat rooms where you can discuss your problems anonymously online.

The newest of these tech-based treatments is Woebot, an artificially intelligent chatbot (and recently launched app) that uses the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT — one of the most heavily researched clinical approaches to treating depression.

I spent two weeks using the tool. Here`s how it went.

SEE ALSO: A Stanford researcher is pioneering a dramatic shift in how we treat depression — and you can try her new tool right now

The first message appeared around 6 p.m., while I was on the bus. I cupped a hand around my phone and stole a furtive glance at the gray bubble on the screen.

Woebot, which is designed to help people cope with feelings of depression and anxiety, launched as a stand-alone iOS app earlier this month.

Trying it out was my latest jaunt into the new and mostly uncharted territory of digital mental-health care.

Alison Darcy, a clinical psychologist at Stanford University, created Woebot based on cognitive-behavioral therapy, which encourages people to examine how they react to challenging situations.

Woebot isn`t a replacement for an in-person therapist, Darcy says, nor will it help you find one.

Instead, the tool is part of a widening array of approaches to mental health. It`s fundamentally different from any other form of therapy.

In one of my first interactions with Woebot, I told it about a time I had felt nervous about not being good or smart enough.

Woebot pointed out that I was engaging in a common practice called distorted thinking.

Then it had me re-write the thought in terms that would better reflect reality. In reality, I felt "not good enough" because I was anxious about a presentation I was giving the next day.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

View of Alexandria from the Western harbor. Photo Credit: Samir Shalabi/Egyptian Streets

In a noisy café in downtown Alexandria built in the early 1920s, Mohamed Gohar, a cultural heritage preservation activist and practicing architect, attentively gazes around the spacious room while sipping on a small cup of sweet Turkish coffee. If you mingle in Alexandria’s cultural circles, you likely know Gohar, and chances are, he knows you as well.

Before we begin our conversation, someone approaches him to express their appreciation for his work in documenting the city’s architecture. “I just wanted to say that I really like what you upload on your page,” a young woman in her twenties says. Letting out a humble smile, Gohar thanks her, and sits back down again at the dark-brown wooden table across from me.

Architecture in Alexandria has been attracting attention in recent years. A spotlight has particularly been directed towards the numerous demolitions of historical buildings that have occurred here, which have made way for lucrative housing development schemes, led by contractors and investors.

Mohamed Gohar has gained local notoriety for his efforts to document the architectural and cultural legacy of Alexandria through an arguably creative method. By way of sparsely-colored sketching, he captures snippets of buildings and other aspects of the built environment as a means to safeguard the un-matched value he argues they bear.

“There is a famous quote that says ‘if you have no history you have no future’ which means that architectural heritage is an asset you cannot neglect,” Gohar says, highlighting how the history and culture of cities especially can be utilized to attract tourists.

Sketch of the Alexandria Court House. Credit: Mohamed Gohar.

The 34-year old architect, who currently works at a consultancy firm as a designer, is also the founder of a heritage preservation project called Description of Alexandria. The project aims to document the city of Alexandria through sketching, while also seeking to raise the public’s awareness of threats to the built environment by providing historical descriptions of the buildings that are recorded.

The results are continually published on the project’s website and Facebook page. Gohar has also founded a journal with the same name, which so far has been published in five issues.


Sketch of Villa Saba Pasha. Credit: Mohamed Gohar.

Having graduated from Alexandria University in 2005, Gohar has more than 13 years of experience working as an architect. After graduation, he moved to Dubai where he witnessed the upswing in architectural development that was taking place there at the time.

“There was an architectural boom happening there; it was a dream for every architect to experience. But after one and a half years, I discovered it was not my world, I couldn’t live there because, for me, it was too perfect, it lacked history and layers of culture, so I decided to come back to Alexandria, even if it was not the perfect situation,” Gohar explains.

Disconcerted about the approach Dubai-based architects were following, he says they were trying to construct buildings that aimed to express a well-grounded history and culture, which in reality, he exhorts, were non-existent.

“[Architects in Dubai were] trying to apply traditional Arabic architecture to a modern city without any grounded roots. They just took the essence and the external image of the Arabic traditional architecture […] that had no relation to the people living there.”

The Alexandria tram. Credit: Mohamed Gohar.

Repeatedly stressing the importance of taking into consideration the interaction between buildings and a city’s residents when designing new structures, Gohar points to the lack of vision that characterizes contemporary Alexandrian architecture and urban development.

“We don’t produce any architecture in Alexandria, not at all […] and we don’t have a vision for the city,” he says, adding “we just build some blocks to contain some people, that’s it, it’s totally functional thinking”. He takes the example of a recently-built bridge on the seaside corniche. When the city administration decided to build it to ease traffic congestion, it didn’t initiate a dialogue with the people inhabiting the area, nor professional architects and planners. “They built it and just thought about the investors,” Gohar says with an apprehensive tone.

Bulkeley tram station. Credit: Mohamed Gohar.

The architect first became interested in heritage documentation during his master’s studies. He was doing research in the poor al-Max fishing village located along the Mahmoudiya Canal in the western parts of the city. When he finished the research, he went back to the village to show the residents what he had produced; a set of drawings and sketches of the village and improvements that could be made. “That was the very beginning of trying to document what we have without neglecting the old and [instead] starting building from scratch”.

Al-Qaed Ibrahim mosque. Credit: Mohamed Gohar.

The power vacuum that emerged with the eruption of the 2011 revolt meant that the country’s building codes and regulations could be overlooked; something that was vigorously exploited. “After the revolution, due to the lack of rules and police implementing the rules, people looking for quick investments [could] demolish old buildings and build new ones. The people I’m talking about are mainly contractors working without plans or visions, they are only driven by personal interest,” he explains.

Through his documentation project, Gohar aims to engage both the public and fellow architects alike about the rich cultural and architectural heritage of Alexandria. “When you lose a building you don’t only lose some walls and bricks; you lose their historical content, and that is why I believe we have to fight to keep them alive not because they’re special in themselves, but because of the connection [that exists] between the city and the people.”

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations on Tuesday condemned a recent wave of air strikes on medical centers in rebel-held parts of Syria including one that put a hospital serving 50,000 people out of action.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump`s decision not to impose sanctions on Russia for now, under a law overwhelmingly passed by Congress, represents a missed opportunity to deter the Kremlin`s aggressive behavior, former U.S. officials and Russia specialists said on Tuesday.

Trading screens.

  • The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has reportedly issued subpoenas to cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex and Tether, the company behind a digital coin that claims to track the US dollar. 
  • Recently, Tether severed its relationship with its auditors. 
  • Both Bitfinex and Tether, which share a CEO, have come under fire for alleged foul play. 

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission has reportedly issued subpoenas to cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex and Tether, the company behind a digital coin that claims to track the US dollar. 

The financial regulator sent out the subpeonas last week to the two firms, which share a CEO, according to a report by Bloomberg News` Matthew Leising, citing a person familiar with the situation. 

The news follows an announcement by Tether that it severed its relationship with its auditors.

"Given the excruciatingly detailed procedures Friedman was undertaking for the relatively simple balance sheet of Tether, it became clear that an audit would be unattainable in a reasonable time frame," Tether said in the statement.

The ending of the audit has fueled more criticism of the cryptocurrency. 

Tether`s cryptocurrency, called USDT, is pegged to — and supposedly backed by — the dollar. It is meant to function as a "stablecoin" — a cryptocurrency that allows you to avoid the volatility of bitcoin but still have the operability of a cryptocurrency.

The cryptocurrency has been controversial. The New York Times reported shortly after the company experienced a hack in November: "One persistent online critic, going by the screen name Bitfinex’ed, has written several very detailed essays on Medium arguing that Bitfinex appears to be creating Tether coins out of thin air and then using them to buy Bitcoin and push the price up."

The CFTC declined to comment to Bloomberg. 

“We routinely receive legal process from law enforcement agents and regulators conducting investigations,” Bitfinex and Tether said in an email to Bloomberg. “It is our policy not to comment on any such requests.”

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Microsoft President Brad Smith says the US shouldn`t get `too isolationist`

bitmoji deluxe

  • Snap on Tuesday added a new feature to Bitmoji called "Bitmoji Deluxe."
  • Bitmoji are customizable avatars that you can add to your Snaps or use outside of the app — you can add them to messages or use them on desktop.  
  • The new Bitmoji will be more customizable, with new skin tone, hair color, and facial feature options. You`ll also be able to take a selfie to help customize your Bitmoji. 

Bitmoji is the best part about Snapchat. 

It`s a controversial stance, I know — Snapchat is great for a lot of other purposes, like documenting your life, sending ephemeral messages, putting a puppy face on top of your own face, and even, for some people, getting news and information. 

But Bitmoji — which Snap acquired in 2016 for 64 million — still lives independently of Snapchat, and that`s what makes it great. You can add Bitmojis to your keyboard and send them in iMessage, or post your Bitmoji to Twitter. You can get the Bitmoji Chrome extension and, if you`re feeling sassy, include your Bitmoji in an email. 

You can even add Bitmojis to the real world. Within the Snapchat app, you can have your Bitmoji do yoga, make dinner, or even walk the red carpet — all while appearing in your real-life environment. 

Plus, it looks like you. My Bitmoji is my cartoon twin, down to her penchant for pancakes:


I`m not the only one who loves Bitmoji — the app remains wildly popular in its own right. Since 2015, Bitmoji has seen a 5,210% increase in unique visitors over 18, according to measurement and analytics firm comScore. 

Bitmoji is also consistently among the top 10 free apps in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

Snap hasn`t made many changes to Bitmoji since it acquired the company, though. Snap adds new outfits for your Bitmoji to wear, and lets you Bitmoji do things like appear on its maps feature, but Bitmoji`s customization engine is limited. For a lot of people, the options don`t line up with what they actually look like, and this can make using Bitmoji a lot less fun. 

That`s why Snap`s new Bitmoji update is actually exciting. Called Bitmoji Deluxe, the update includes "hundreds of new ways to customize your Bitmoji," Snap says. 

This means you`ll now be able to choose from more skin tones, hair colors and styles, accessories, and facial features. Snap says you`ll also be able to take a selfie to "inspire your Bitmoji creation," but it`s not clear if that means the Bitmoji app will be able to automatically generate a Bitmoji for you. 

To check out the new Bitmoji Deluxe, open the Bitmoji app and go to settings, then "change avatar style." The update may not be available on everyone`s Bitmoji app just yet, but it will be coming soon. 

SEE ALSO: These renders show what Apple might have planned for the next iPad

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NOW WATCH: These inventions will help save the earth

A trailer for the new movie, starring Jon Hamm, has been the subject of scathing criticism. Detractors say it stereotypes and dehumanizes Arabs.
RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia`s government has arranged to seize more than 100 billion through financial settlements with businessmen and officials detained in its crackdown on corruption, the attorney general said on Tuesday.
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico is in talks with the United States on whether to allow U.S. federal air marshals to travel with Taser stun guns on cross-border flights with U.S. airlines, National Security Commissioner Renato Sales said in a TV interview on Tuesday.

erin and dax outside IMG_1463.JPG

I`m no stranger to fitness apps, having tried everything from an app that promises the benefits of a trip to the gym in seven minutes to a tool that lets you track and share your runs with other users.

But when I first heard about Sweatcoin, an app that pays you in cryptocurrency to reach your fitness goals, I was intrigued.

Naturally, I had to give it a shot. Here`s how it went.

SEE ALSO: I tried the science-backed 7-minute routine that was one of 2017`s hottest workouts, and it actually works

The first thing I learned about Sweatcoin after installing it on my iPhone is that it doesn`t actually pay you to walk around — at least not in the conventional sense of the term.

The app lets you earn "Sweatcoins," a cryptocurrency based on the number of steps you take in a day, which you can then use to buy a limited number of specific goods that Sweatcoin has made available — like a Fitbit tracker, fitness classes, or subscriptions to apps designed to help you eat healthier.

The irony of the fact that my Sweatcoins could only be used to purchase fitness equipment and classes was not lost on me. Nevertheless, I kept the app running in the background of my phone, thinking perhaps it would spur me to move more.

Although I was feeling slightly less enthusiastic about my potential purchases with Sweatcoins after learning how they could be spent, I kept the app running in the background of my phone. If you hard quit the app (or swipe up when you`re not using it), Sweatcoin will stop tracking your steps. 

I also learned that Sweatcoin doesn`t track all of your steps — only those the app believes are completed outdoors.

Because the app is constantly running on your phone — something that many users have complained drains their battery — it is able to use GPS to roughly determine when you`re inside and outside. The only steps that count towards your Sweatcoin earnings are those you take outdoors. Also, the app doesn`t sync with Fitbits or other fitness trackers. Instead, it relies on your phone`s step tracking software.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

LG G6 and Q6 Colors

Two of LG`s 2017 smartphones, the LG G6 and LG Q6, will soon be available in new color options. 

LG will release the new color options for the G6 and Q6 in February starting in Korea. There is no word on if or when the color options will be available in the US, but the G6 and Q6 are already available in five colors: Astro Black, Ice Platinum, Mystic White, Terra Gold, and Marine Blue.

Take a look at the new colors coming to the LG G6 and Q6 smartphones: 

SEE ALSO: REVIEW: There`s only one reason you should buy LG`s latest smartphone — and plenty of reasons not to

The LG G6 gets three new color options.

The high-end LG G6 released in March 2017. It`s currently available in the US, where it sells for about 600 unlocked. The phone`s new color options include Moroccan Blue, Lavender Violet, and Raspberry Rose.

The LG Q6 gets two new color options.

The mid-range LG Q6 released in July 2017. It`s currently available in the U.S., where it sells for about 300 unlocked. The phone`s new color options include Moroccan Blue and Lavender Violet.

LG decided to add new colors for the LG G6 after the Raspberry Rose LG V30 was so well-received at CES 2018.

LG showcased the Raspberry Rose LG V30 at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January. The color was reportedly a favorite among attendees of the technology convention, which likely prompted LG to expand its availability to other devices.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican on Tuesday rebuked a senior cardinal who said its diplomats were "selling out" Chinese Catholics loyal to the pope as part of a deal aimed at normalizing ties with Beijing`s communist government.
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany must increase its military spending and take a more active role in conflicts to avoid being seen as one of the world`s biggest freeloaders, an influential diplomat said on Wednesday.
HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam listed a U.S.-based group still loyal to the now defunct state of South Vietnam as a terrorist organization on Tuesday, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) said.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. secretaries of state and defense on Tuesday called on all sides in the dispute between Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to calm tensions among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members.

US Air Force KC-46 Pegasus refueling tanker

  • The Pentagon`s office of operational test and evaluation says the Air Force`s new KC-46A Pegasus tanker may not be fully resistant to an electromagnetic pulse.
  • The Air Force and Boeing should conduct more tests to determine the survivability of the tanker`s systems, the office says.
  • The Air Force and Boeing have said the aircraft passed EMP testing as mandated by the established KC-46 testing plan.

The Air Force`s and Boeing`s development of the new KC-46A Pegasus tanker has been waylaid by cost overruns and operational issues over the past several years.

Officials from the Air Force and Boeing have said that significant lingering problems, like contact between the KC-46`s refueling boom and the receiving aircraft during refueling, are expected to be resolved this year, ahead of Boeing`s October deadline to deliver 18 of the new tankers.

However, a report from the Pentagon`s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation has cautioned that while the KC-46`s most important systems could operate under EMP conditions, its operational capabilities in such a scenario have not been fully tested.

"While testing indicated the KC-46A flight-critical systems and boom refueling systems are likely survivable to the 6 decibel (dB) contractual requirement, the Program Office approved verification plan did not demonstrate the residual KC-46A mission systems capability during such an event," according to the report, which covers fiscal year 2017 and was released last week.

"The program uninstalled or deactivated multiple mission critical systems prior to testing and, therefore, their EMP tolerance was not tested on an aircraft in a mission-representative configuration," the DOT&E report said. "The program pre-deployed the refueling boom with hydraulics deactivated for the EMP test and therefore the capability to deliver fuel during or immediately following the EMP event was not tested."

US Air Force KC-46 Pegasus refueling tanker A-10 Thunderbolt Warthog

The KC-46 underwent EMP testing in July at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland and at Edwards Air Force Base in California. During the testing in Maryland, the plane received pulses from "a large coil/transformer" above the aircraft, designed to evaluate its "ability to safely operate through electromagnetic fields ... under mission conditions," Boeing said at the time.

The DOE&T report said no tests were conducted with all flight and mission systems activated — a step required to fully test the aircraft under EMP conditions. But representatives from the Air Force and Boeing said the KC-46 had proven its EMP functionality as mandated by its test plan.

Air Force spokesman Maj. Emily Grabowski told Inside Defense that mission-critical systems has passed testing and that the systems the DOT&E report highlighted are "non-critical." Grabowski added that, overall, the KC-46 met system specifications and that the Air Force was working with DOT&E to "reconcile" concerns raised in the report.

Charles Ramsey, a spokesman for Boeing, said EMP testing was conducted according to the Air Force`s test plan and that systems designated critical by that plan showed their functionality on a subsequent flight. "There are no EMP issues on the KC-46," he told Inside Defense.

The Air Force is planning two tests related to nuclear threats during fiscal year 2018, which began in October and ends in September. One will evaluate the KC-46s ability to launch and fly a safe distance from a simulated nuclear attack on its base, and the other will test the tanker`s "inherent nuclear hardness" to blast, radiation, flash, thermal, and EMP effects, according to the DOT&E report.

The DOT&E report also notes that the KC-46 contract was awarded with a six-decibel threshold for the aircraft — a standard that the aircraft met during testing in July. However, after the contract was signed, the US military imposed a new 20-decibel standard tanker aircraft.

Without further testing, the report says, the Air Force and US Strategic Command will not know if the tanker meets that new requirement. "The Air Force should re-test the KC-46A in an operationally representative condition to determine the actual EMP design margin," the report concludes.

`They`re going to clear out pretty quick`

US Air Force Boeing KC-46 Boeing refueling tanker

In December, the FAA granted Boeing an amended type certificate for the Boeing 767-2C, which is the baseline aircraft for the KC-46. The firm still needs to get an FAA supplemental type certificates for the military and aerial-refueling systems needed so the 767-2C can function as a KC-46. Additional tests are expected during the final review process.

The Air Force currently expects to receive the first operational KC-46s by late spring. Air Force Gen. Carlton Everhart, chief of Air Mobility Command, told Air Force Times in December that once testing is finished and the new tankers star arriving, he expects "they’re going to clear out pretty quick" to Air Force bases.

Boeing won the KC-46 program contract 2011, and the Air Force plans to buy 179 KC-46s under the 44.5 billion program. As a part of the contract, Boeing is responsible for costs beyond the Air Force`s 4.82 billion commitment, and as of late 2017, the defense contractor had taken on about 2.9 billion in pretax costs.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has had limited involvement in Pentagon weapons programs, but he issued a stark warning to acquisition officials in November, saying he was "unwilling (totally)" to accept flawed KC-46 tankers.

SEE ALSO: The Air Force expects the first delivery from its struggling tanker program this year — but major defects still aren`t fixed

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NOW WATCH: Here`s how the US military refuels B-52 warplanes in midair

jeff bezos happy

  • Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan are teaming up to form an independent, nonprofit venture that`ll be focused on healthcare for their US employees. 
  • Exactly what this new company looks like remains to be seen. 
  • This isn`t the first time large employers have banded together to form healthcare companies that take on the rising cost of healthcare.

Three massive employers are forming a new company to take on the "hungry tapeworm" that is healthcare costs in the US. 

On Tuesday, Amazon, Warren Buffett`s Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan said they plan to form the new venture, which will be focused on building technology solutions that will provide "simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost" to US-based employees and their families. 

Based on how few details were in the release about what this company looks like, the stock market`s reaction looks quite dramatic. The news sent healthcare stocks plummeting on Tuesday morning, especially health insurers and members of the pharmaceutical supply chain. 

Piper Jaffray health services analyst Sarah James wrote that she didn’t expect this new company to have a big impact on healthcare, especially given how past efforts haven’t made many waves. “Many have tried, but few have succeeded," she said. "We do not expect this JV to be a meaningful disruptor to the industry, despite the stock reaction indicating that it is.”

Barclays analysts said they didn`t view "the consortium approach as the right one when we look at technology disrupting an incumbent sector," but added that "we are never dismissive of anything disruptive that Amazon is involved in."

And RBC Capital Markets analyst George Hill said in a note: "At first glance this initiative seems to have little market clout with respect to impacting healthcare costs and would not seem to have the capability to displace established players."

For one, this isn`t the first time employers have banded together in the name of lowering healthcare costs.

For example, 20 companies that cover about 4 million people formed the Health Transformation Alliance in 2016. The group has since swelled to more than 40 companies, covering 6 million lives, including Coca-Cola, American Express, and Macy`s. 

The intent behind forming the alliance was similar to Amazon/Berkshire Hathaway/JPMorgan`s: "To improve the way corporations provide health care benefits in an effort to create better health care outcomes for their employees."

So far, that`s meant a few key projects for the alliance. In March 2017, HTA announced that it was setting up a new partnership around prescription drug benefits, working with pharmacy benefit managers (companies that help negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs) to help come up with a plan that suited the alliance members. The HTA also said it`d be working to build new medical networks and using data — in partnership with IBM Watson Health — that would ideally help lower costs and improve outcomes. 

Redrawing the lines of healthcare

The boundaries of the healthcare business have been changing. Instead of growing by acquiring other companies in the same business, companies have started to move into new lines of business, with no two combinations looking exactly the same. 

CVS`s acquisition of Aetna, for example, sent a big shockwave through the healthcare industry. The move combined the largest pharmacy in the US with the third-largest insurer in what was the biggest deal of 2017. 

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini took the new venture created by JPMorgan, Amazon, and Berkshire Hathaway as a step in a similar direction. 

“There is an unmet consumer need in health care. Individuals and families want a simple, affordable and high-quality experience that helps them stay well," Bertolini said in a statement on Tuesday. "Our combination with CVS Health will help address those needs at the local level, and I am encouraged to see other companies working toward the same goal.” 

And in January, a group of hospitals, including Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare, Ascension, SSM Health, and Trinity Health, along with the Department of Veterans Affairs health administration (a group that in total represents 450 hospitals) announced their plans to create a nonprofit generic drug company

Their rationale? For years, health systems have been on the hook for skyrocketing drug prices for injections or drugs delivered through IV solutions, medications that have also been at the heart of drug shortages. The two challenges have made it harder to treat patients the way doctors want. 

It`s possible that the new company created by JPMorgan, Amazon, and Berkshire Hathaway will similarly redefine the way we think about healthcare, though it`ll likely take a few more details to entirely figure it out. Analysts on Tuesday met the news with skepticism. 

"While we find the combination of these companies as intriguing, we do not see how the companies disrupt the healthcare status quo immediately," RBC`s Hill said.  "We believe that the power to drive change at a rapid pace resides only in Washington, where we see little chance of regulatory directed change emerging in the near term."

SEE ALSO: Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan are creating a new healthcare company to tackle the `hungry tapeworm` of rising costs

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Netflix is headed for a huge profit milestone in 2018

Arise Bank boxer endorsement website ICO scam

  • The US Securities and Exchange Commission said on Tuesday it has shut down an alleged initial coin offering scam by AriseBank.
  • AriseBank which is not registered with any banking or securities regulators, appears to have fabricated agreements with banks that do not exist. 

The United States’ top securities regulator has shut down an initial coin offering by AriseBank in Dallas, Texas.

AriseBank allegedly used celebrity endorsers — including boxer Evander Holyfield — and social media to swindle retail investors out of 600 million of the firm’s 1 billion goal for “AriseCoin," the SEC said on Tuesday. 

"We allege that AriseBank and its principals sought to raise hundreds of millions from investors by misrepresenting the company as a first-of-its-kind decentralized bank offering its own cryptocurrency to be used for a broad range of customer products and services," the SEC’s co-chair of enforcement said in a press release. "This is the first time the Commission has sought the appointment of a receiver in connection with an ICO fraud."

The halt and seizure of assets comes less than a week after the Texas Department of Banking sent a cease-and-desist letter to the company on January 26 and barred its cryptocurrency banking platform in the state.

According to the bank’s website, which was offline Tuesday morning, AriseBank is working on "the first ever decentralized banking platform," and lists several transfer products with whimsical tech-infused names like aiExchanger, aTransfer, and aEx, and celebrity endorsements. 

Screen Shot 2018 01 30 at 10.28.22 AM

AriseBank could not be reached for comment, but the firm published a blog post on Medium when discussions that it may be a scam first started appearing online in early January. 

“AriseBank isn’t a scam,” the brief essay reads. "It’s a victim of libel and slander." The post goes on to share the contact info of co-founder and CEO Jared Rice on messaging app Telegram. Rice has not responded to Markets Insider`s request for comment.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Rice is simultaneously CEO of Dallas marketing firm Dotoji. However many links on the company’s homepage, including those to supposed contact information, point to offline pages. Dotoji’s registered business address is a home in a residential section of Dallas.

Jared Rice Arise Bank LinkedIn

On January 18, AriseBank blasted out a press release saying it had acquired an Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insured bank holding company. However, neither Arise Bank nor KFMC Bank Holding Company appear to be registered with regulators including the Texas Secretary of State nor the FDIC.

TPGB, another bank Arise says it has acquired a 25% stake in, does not appear to exist in any capacity.

AriseBank is far from the first ICO to be accused of fraud. Consulting firm Ernst & Young estimates that more than 400 million of the 3.7 billion raised through ICOs so far has been stolen by hackers, with phishing siphoning off up to 1.5 million each month.

In December, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton had harsh words for ICOs after the agency shut down an offering. Clayton said in a blog post that despite claims of not being subject to regulation, many of the digital coins were in fact securities and thus subject to the agency’s authority.

"I believe that initial coin offerings – whether they represent offerings of securities or not – can be effective ways for entrepreneurs and others to raise funding, including for innovative projects," he said.

"However, any such activity that involves an offering of securities must be accompanied by the important disclosures, processes and other investor protections that our securities laws require."

This post will be updated if AriseBank or its executives respond to requests for comment.

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NOW WATCH: Microsoft President Brad Smith says the US shouldn`t get `too isolationist`

zume pizza

  • Zume Pizza has robots and humans working together to make pizza.
  • The Silicon Valley company plans to increase its workforce 7X this year.
  • Zume offers opportunities for entry-level employees to learn new skills and advance their careers, so they don`t risk being replaced by robots.


A pizza delivery company based in Silicon Valley is expanding its robot and human workforce as it moves toward its goal of making better-tasting pizza faster.

Founded in 2015, Zume Pizza uses robots and artificial intelligence to automate parts of the pizza-making process. Machines press mounds of dough, squirt and spread sauce, and lift pizzas into the oven — in a fraction of the time it would take human workers to do the same.

Zume has grown from a modest three-person operation to a workforce of 150, and it plans to hire another 900 employees in 2018 as it looks to scale outside the San Francisco Bay Area. Ron Storn, former Vice President of People at Lyft, has joined Zume to oversee its expansion.

Storn has the novel task of running human resources at a company where humans and machines work side-by-side. Automation threatens to take 800 million jobs globally by 2030, and Zume wants to show that it can actually promote job growth by putting robots to work.

zume pizza robot 0218

Zume uses robots with swinging appendages and spouts to automate parts of the pizza-making process that humans are bad at, like spreading sauce evenly or taking dough off a wooden pallet. Robots also do the dangerous stuff, like putting a pizza in a 800-degree industrial oven.

When routine tasks are eliminated by automation, it frees up individuals such as pizza chefs to learn new skills, do more high-level work, and even advance their career, according to Storn.

"People — humans — are very sacred to us," Storn told Business Insider.

"The people who are working here in the culinary organization, they see how the automation is helping them improve and making them more efficient," he added.

In 2016, Zume`s cofounder and president Julia Collins told Business Insider that she makes a promise to every employee: No one who works at Zume risks being replaced by a robot.

Zume provides tuition subsidies for entry-level employees who want to take classes in coding, graphic design, or English as a second language. A former Zume delivery driver attended a coding bootcamp and now oversees the customer support team, while a former pizza chef was promoted to culinary administrator, responsible for the upkeep and operation of Zume`s bots.

zume pizza robot

"What we want to do is actually let people have the opportunity to keep growing. I think where the fast food industry falls short is exactly that," Collins said. "It`s not typical for somebody to be able to start at a fast food restaurant and get sponsorship to go to a coding academy."

Storn will be tasked with scaling these programs as the company grows its workforce from 150 employees to about 1,050 in 2018. Zume raised 48 million in venture funding last fall.

The pizza industry is a 44 billion business, and an increasing number of customers are ditching legacy brands like Domino`s and Pizza Hut for fast-casual chains. In 2016, three out of the top five fastest-growing restaurant chains in America were fast-casual pizza concepts. Their sales accounted for over a third of US fast-casual spending that year.

Zume has only a sliver of the pie. It currently delivers in Mountain View and Palo Alto. But the expected growth spurt could help Zume reach its goal of serving the entire Bay Area by 2019.

"In a co-bot type of environment, you can do things that have never been done before," Storn said.

SEE ALSO: This robot-made pizza in Silicon Valley should terrify Domino`s and Pizza Hut

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Featured in Ripley`s Believe It or Not!

blotterbarn mark mccloud

Blotter Art

Mark McCloud’s San Francisco home is filled with tens of thousands of LSD tabs known as blotters. Blotters are sheets of paper that have either been soaked in LSD or had the psychedelic dripped onto them.

blotter art

10 doses on perforated blotter paper.

Acid may have been invented in the 1930s, but it was the 1960s-counterculture movement that ingrained the drug into human culture. While the CIA and Army tried to use LSD to control minds and neutralize enemy combatants, the drug saw use by medical and psychiatric professionals in the treatment of addiction and PTSD.

On October 6, 1966—called the Day of the Beast in the psychedelic community—California banned the possession of LSD, and the Federal government followed two years later. Since then, almost the entire Western world has banned the substance.

albert hoffman

Blotter art honoring Albert Hofmann, the scientist who discovered LSD.

Despite multiple raids by the DEA, McCloud has managed to stay out of jail for one reason: the acid on his tabs is expired. LSD breaks down quickly in the presence of light and heat, and McCloud’s tabs are too old to give anyone ingesting them a trip. Instead, he keeps the tabs for their artwork.

Institute of Illegal Images

mark mccloud

Blotter art helps identify the small crystals on the paper and is often perforated to measure dosage, but Mark says it also adds excitement to the experience, comparing it to the impression of religious symbols on the host in Catholicism.

communion wafers

Communion wafers with imprints.

McCloud began collecting early on but found that he kept eating them. Eventually, he framed the sheets.

“It kept me from eating it if it was framed on the wall.”

He kept collecting and quickly became an expert on the short history of acid. He explains that the art is two-fold. You have the graphic, but also the art it represented when people ingested the LSD.

blotter art

The Blotterbarn

Today, his house is a museum, open free for people to come in and see. Though he does get the occasional DEA agent coming in, posing as a visitor, most people find the art fascinating.

“The greatest thrill is when a family comes in and it’s the first time they’ve gotten to talk about drugs without stress.”

People who come into the museum often recognize some of the tabs themselves and have visible flashbacks of trips they’ve had.

blotter art

In spite of constant badgering from federal law enforcement, McCloud says his local community has been fantastic. His neighbors don’t seem to mind having a blotter-filled house next door, and he even trades visitors with the museum across the street. His motto is to kill them with kindness, and insists being polite has been the secret to his success. He believes LSD will one day be recognized for its benefits, seeing himself as a historian during the “dark period.”

Source: The San Francisco House Filled with 33,000 Tabs of LSD

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia`s elite on Tuesday shrugged off U.S. publication of a sweeping list of oligarchs close to the Kremlin as simply a "telephone directory" of the rich, though a Kremlin spokesman said it could even harm the image of Russia`s political leaders.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Police in Russia detained two of opposition leader Alexei Navalny`s allies after they landed at a Moscow airport on Tuesday and accused them of inciting unlawful protests.
LONDON (Reuters) - Instead of blaming others Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei should take responsibility for Iran`s economic and political shortcomings, an opposition leader under house arrest said in a letter published on Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea`s nuclear program has made some strides in recent months, but the country has not yet demonstrated all the components of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), including a survivable re-entry vehicle, the vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Abadi is a national hero, but in Iraq’s tricky sectarian system, that doesn’t mean he will win the election.

LG G6 and Q6 Colors

Two of LG`s 2017 smartphones, the LG G6 and LG Q6, will soon be available in a host of new colors including Moroccan Blue, Lavender Violet, and Raspberry Rose.

LG is releasing the new color options after they were well-received on the LG V30 smartphone, which released in September 2017. 

Here are some more details on the smartphones: 

SEE ALSO: REVIEW: There`s only one reason you should buy LG`s latest smartphone — and plenty of reasons not to

The LG G6 gets three new color options

The high-end LG G6 released in March 2017. It`s currently available in the US, where it sells for about 600 unlocked. The phone`s new color options include Moroccan Blue, Lavender Violet, and Raspberry Rose.

LG will release the new color options for the LG G6 in February starting in Korea, with plans to expand the new colors to additional markets at a later time. There is no word on whether the color options will be available in the US, but the LG G6 is already available in Astro Black, Ice Platinum, Mystic White, Terra Gold, and Marine Blue colors.

The LG Q6 gets two new color options

The mid-range LG Q6 released in July 2017. It`s currently available in the U.S., where it sells for about 300 unlocked. The phone`s new color options include Moroccan Blue and Lavender Violet.

LG will release the new color options for the LG Q6 in February starting in Korea, with plans to expand the new colors to additional markets at a later time. There is no word on whether the color options will be available in the US, but the LG Q6 is already available in Astro Black, Ice Platinum, Mystic White, Terra Gold, and Marine Blue colors.

LG decided to add new colors for the LG G6 after the Raspberry Rose LG V30 was so well-received at CES 2018.

LG showcased the Raspberry Rose LG V30 at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January. The color was reportedly a favorite among attendees of the technology convention, which likely prompted LG to expand its availability to other devices.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Huawei consumer CEO Richard Yu Huawei Mate 10 Pro

  •  Verizon is reportedly cancelling its plans to offer the Huawei Mate 10 Pro amid an ongoing investigation of Chinese-made telecom equipment.
  • AT&T also dropped its deal with Huawei to offer the Mate 10 Pro due to political pressure in January 8.
  • The US government`s concern is over the Mate 10 Pro`s 5G capabilities and Huawei`s alleged ties to the Chinese government. 


Verizon is following AT&T`s lead and cancelling plans to sell Huawei`s Mate 10 Pro smartphone that boasts support for the upcoming super-fast 5G network, according to a Bloomberg report on Tuesday.

Verizon`s decision is reportedly based on political pressure from the US government, which is seeing a reinvigorated fear of spying from China as US regulators urged an investigation of Chinese-made telecom equipment in December 2017. It`s the same reason AT&T dropped its deal with Huawei to offer the Mate 10 Pro on January 8.

Huawei`s Mate 10 Pro with 5G networking capabilities seemingly falls under the category of Chinese-made telecom equipment under investigation, as the company has been accused of having ties with the Chinese government.

huawei mate 10 pro

Previous Huawei devices have been sold by AT&T and Verizon in the past, but those devices didn`t support the 5G network. And it`s the 5G capabilities that the US government is concerned about. A phone with Chinese 5G networking equipment could feasibly allow a backdoor to US network activity for the Chinese government. 

5G is the upcoming evolution of the current 4G LTE network that most mobile devices use to send and receive data. 5G will be used for far more than simple mobile data, as it will offer the speed and bandwidth required for more complex communications for autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence.

Despite two major US carriers dropping the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, the device still appears as "Coming Soon" on electronics retailers like Best Buy. Verizon and Huawei were not immediately available for comment.

SEE ALSO: `Consumers don`t have the best choice`: Huawei`s CEO went off-script and gave an impassioned speech after AT&T killed its phone deal

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CAIRO – 30 January 2018: The United Religions Initiative (URI) has granted the 2018 Africa Peace Prize to the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) in Vienna for its efforts to enhance interreligious dialogue, SPA reported on Tuesday.

The statement added that the prize is in recognition of the center’s contribution to the revival of the African Union Forum for Interfaith Dialogue in partnership with the African Union.

Ambassador Mussie Hailu, the regional director of URI-Africa and consultant at the Economic and Social Council of the U.N., also announced that the prize is for the center’s efforts in promoting dialogue between religious and cultures in Africa and around the world.

He added that the prize is also for managing differences, approximating distances, and activating the roles of individuals and religious institutions alongside policies.

On the other hand, the secretary-general of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Center for Dialogue among Religions and Cultures, Faisal bin Muammar, expressed his pride in the status of the center for winning the 2018 African Peace Prize, saying, “We are proud and happy to receive this international award, which reflects the center’s prestigious international status and its achievements in implementing successful interreligious and intercultural dialogue initiatives, and promoting the role of international organizations and their partnerships with the center.”

Muammar stressed that the comprehensive achievements achieved by the center are due to the support provided by the founding countries of the center, especially Saudi Arabia, Austria, Spain and the Vatican, and support of its members representing diverse religions and cultures.

He said that this international award is a strong incentive for the center`s programs and its platforms spread across four regions, including Central Africa, Nigeria, the Arab region and Myanmar.

Through 204 member organizations in 31 African countries, the URI seeks to promote peaceful co-existence among the various followers of religions and cultures by involving members of societies in overcoming religious and cultural differences through dialogue and promoting coexistence among all groups of society to build peace, security and stability.
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