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North Korea wants to give candies to kids for Kim Jong Un's birthday, but it's making its citizens pay to produce them: report

Tue, 12/07/2021 - 2:31am
A worker stands before a machine on a production line for "Taeha" brand cakes at the Unha Taesong Foodstuff Factory in Pyongyang on April 6, 2021.
  • North Korea is making residents pay for sweets to give children on Kim Jong Un's birthday, RFA reported.
  • Surging prices amid a food shortage this year led officials to impose a tax on candy ingredients.
  • The sweets are a long-time tradition for the Kims' birthdays.

Local governments in North Korea are requiring that citizens pay for candy ingredients as the country rushes to manufacture sweets in time for dictator Kim Jong Un's birthday, Radio Free Asia reported, citing two unnamed local sources.

Officials in some areas have imposed a tax on each household so their governments can buy raw confectionary ingredients, such as flour and sugar, one source from North Pyongan Province told RFA. 

The source said that families in some regions have also been asked to donate an egg to the candy-making effort, resulting in egg shortages in markets.

North Koreans are not happy about being asked to chip in, a source told RFA.

"Residents are angry that the authorities are wiping out the pockets of the people at a time like this to make candy for children, supposedly from Kim Jong Un for his birthday," they said.

Each province is responsible for producing and distributing the sweets, the outlet reported.

The "birthday candy" tradition dates back to the rule of Kim Il Sung, the regime's first dictator and Kim's grandfather, who died in 1994, according to DailyNK. Children receive candy on April 15, Kim Il Sung's birthday, and Kim Jong Il's birthday on February 16. Kim Jong Un's birthday falls on January 8 (though there is dispute about what year).

This past April, families started selling the gifted treats they received for Kim Il Sung's birthday, per Daily NK, as the country faces a devastating food crisis that even Kim admitted is "tense."

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Elon Musk says there are "not enough people" and that the falling birthrate could threaten human civilization

Tue, 12/07/2021 - 2:06am
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
  • "If people don't have more children, civilization is going to crumble, mark my words," said Elon Musk.
  • Musk was responding to a question about how the Tesla Bot could solve some labor issues.
  • The global birthrate has been steadily declining since the 1960s, according to the World Bank.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said there are "not enough people," which could threaten human civilization.

"I think one of the biggest risks to civilization is the low birth rate and the rapidly declining birthrate," said the father of six at the Wall Street Journal's annual CEO Council.

"And yet, so many people, including smart people, think that there are too many people in the world and think that the population is growing out of control. It's completely the opposite. Please look at the numbers — if people don't have more children, civilization is going to crumble, mark my words," he said.

Musk was responding to a question about how the Tesla Bot could solve some labor issues. The Tesla Bot is Musk's planned "humanoid robot" that he says will be built using Tesla's self-driving car artificial intelligence. The Bot, said Musk during a Tesla AI event in August, would be capable of deadlifting up to 150 pounds and traveling at around 5 m.p.h.

Musk told the CEO Council the Tesla Bot could be a "generalized substitute for human labor over time."

According to the World Bank, the global birthrate has been steadily declining since 1960, 

Musk also responded to the issue of aging at the same event, saying he doesn't think people should "try to live for a super long time."

"I think it is important for us to die because most of the times, people don't change their mind, they just die. If they live forever, then we might become a very ossified society where new ideas cannot succeed," he said. 

"I'm not poking fun at aging. I just am saying if we've got people in very important positions that have to make decisions that are critical to the security of the country, then they need to have sufficient presence of mind and cognitive ability to make those decisions well — because the whole country is depending on them," Musk added.

Last week, he suggested on Twitter that anyone over 70 years old should be barred from running for political office. 

—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 2, 2021

He elaborated on this in a reply on Twitter today.

—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 7, 2021

 

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Mark Meadows accuses former Defense Secretary Mark Esper of being 'the culprit' in major leaks to the press

Tue, 12/07/2021 - 2:00am
Former US Defence Secretary Mark Esper.
  • Mark Meadows, Trump's former WH Chief of Staff, addresses leaks in his new book.
  • He describes the Trump White House as "worse than the whispers and leaks had suggested."
  • Meadows accuses former Defense Secretary Mark Esper as "the culprit" behind major leaks.

In his new book, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows accuses former Defense Secretary Mark Esper as the source of several major leaks from inside the administration.

"In the months to come, I would find out that the situation in the White House was worse than the whispers and leaks had suggested," Meadows writes in "The Chief's Chief," released on Tuesday. "There was covert insubordination and a stunning lack of coordination—not to mention that every few hours, there seemed to be a major leak to the press."

Meadows — who has described revelations in his own book regarding Trump's COVID diagnosis as "fake news" — writes at length about his distrust of top military officials, and describes Esper as a leaker shortly after introducing him in the early stages.

"No matter what anyone said, generals were politicians at heart, and the generals around President Trump were clearly swinging toward the radical left," Meadows writes. "I had been in several meetings where secret details had leaked to the press, and it was clear that Mark Esper was the culprit."

Meadows does not specify what kind of "secret" information he believes Esper leaked, or if it was classified. He also doesn't present any evidence to back up his claims.

Under the Espionage Act 0f 1917, leaking classified information is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Representatives for Epirus, an aerospace technology company where Esper is a board member, did not return Insider's request for comment ahead of publication.

Instead of elaborating on Esper's alleged leaking or providing any further details, Meadows uses his introduction of Esper and other top military officials for a segue on "woke" generals.

"But there was another battle coming between President Trump and his newly 'woke' military advisors, and it had nothing to do with funding," Meadows writes, alluding to the military operating as a so-called deep state thwarting Trump's will.

Esper, for his part, also wrote a tell-all book about his time in the Trump administration. In it, he recounts preventing Trump from sending the National Guard "with rifles and bayonets" from cracking down on anti-racism protests across the country in the summer of 2020.

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Veteran courtroom sketch artist says Ghislaine Maxwell has been her 'sketching buddy' during the trial

Tue, 12/07/2021 - 12:51am
Defense lawyer Laura Menninger questions witness "Jane" during the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the Jeffrey Epstein associate accused of sex trafficking, in a courtroom sketch in New York City, U.S., December 1, 2021.
  • Jane Rosenberg has worked as a courtroom sketch artist for more than four decades.
  • While sketching the Ghislaine Maxwell trial, Rosenberg noticed Maxwell had sketched her back.
  • Rosenberg obscures the facial features of anonymous witnesses and juries at trials.

For 41 years, New York City-based courtroom sketch artist Jane Rosenberg has captured the likeness of plaintiffs, defendants, lawyers, witnesses, judges, and juries in a flurry of pricey pastels, New York Magazine's Intelligencer reported.

She wakes up at 4 a.m. to nab a seat with an unobstructed view of the courtroom and employs her prescription binoculars in proceedings with limited seating, Rosenberg told Intelligencer.

When drawing anonymous juries or witnesses, such as "Jane" and "Matt" in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial, Rosenberg dilutes their facial features to obscure their likeness, the outlet reported. She has covered a number of high-profile cases – including the trials of Bill Cosby, R. Kelly, and Harvey Weinstein – that have sharpened her ability to draw faceless subjects.

Witness "Jane" testifies during Ghislaine Maxwell's trial on charges of sex trafficking, in a courtroom sketch in New York City, US, November 30, 2021.

A sketch that Rosenberg did of Maxwell, who has been charged with sex trafficking minors, went viral on Twitter after users noticed that the British socialite had simultaneously drawn the courtroom artist. 

"She sketched me a few times in a row. Then she started nodding at me and waving at me. She even spoke to me once. It's really great for me. I'm not going to wreck it. I'm going to keep it going. I need to see her face," Rosenberg told Intelligencer. "It's like a photographer — they wait for that moment and say someone's name and they turn to them."

When asked if she intended to depict Maxwell as malevolent, Rosenberg said that wasn't her intention: "...I'm not going to say anything malevolent right now. I have this thing going! She's my sketching buddy."

—Jello Bea Arthur (@DJWillMartin) December 2, 2021

Other defendants, including Eddie Murphy, have also drawn Rosenberg during past court proceedings, Intelligencer reported.

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A Trump Christmas card is making its rounds on the internet, but fact-checkers say it's fake and likely an altered photo of his visit to the UK

Tue, 12/07/2021 - 12:35am
US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Britain's Queen Elizabeth, Britain's Charles, the Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall are seen at the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in London, Britain June 3, 2019.
  • A purported Christmas card featuring Donald Trump has spread among thousands of social media users.
  • People on social media noted that the outline of his tuxedo in the card looked phallic.
  • But fact-checkers say it's likely a doctored version of a photo taken during his UK visit in 2019.

A fake Christmas card of former President Donald Trump that's spreading on Twitter and Facebook is likely using an altered version of a photo taken during his 2019 visit to Buckingham Palace, according to fact-checkers at Reuters.

The card features a pixelated, black-and-white image of Trump clad in a tuxedo with a stern expression on his face. Behind him is a low-resolution image of what appears to be a nativity scene, a forest of Christmas trees, and an outline of reindeer pulling a Santa Claus sleigh in the night sky.

People who shared the doctored image on social media noted that the outline of his tuxedo (in the fabricated card) appeared phallic.

—Victoria Brownworth

LAPD Chief Michel Moore's security detail is under investigation for wrongfully detaining a man during a trip to France

Tue, 12/07/2021 - 12:27am
In this Aug. 26, 2020, file photo, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore speaks during a news conference outside LAPD headquarters in Los Angeles.
  • Los Angeles Police Department officers were in France last month to discuss Olympic security.
  • While there, a security detail for LAPD Chief Michel Moore wrongfully detained a man in Marseille.
  • Moore announced that an LAPD internal investigation has been launched into the incident.

During a trip last month to France, two members of Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore's security detail detained a man on the streets of Marseille who they wrongfully accused of stealing the cellphone of a high-ranking LAPD commander's wife, the Los Angeles Times reported.

From November 13-20, the group was in France to discuss security preparations for the Summer Olympics, which will be hosted by French cities in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028, according to the Times.

The incident, which prompted an internal investigation by the department's Professional Standards Bureau, occurred when Moore, LAPD Assistant Chief Robert Marino, their wives, a security detail, and a French National Police attaché were leaving a restaurant in Marseille, according to the Times.

A man on the street bumped into Marino's wife, who believed her phone had been stolen, and was consequently detained by the security detail, officials told the Times. Once it was determined the man had not stolen any property, the French police attaché took complaints from the man and others he was with about their treatment, the Times reported.

Because members of the detail attempted to detain an individual outside of their jurisdiction, the US Consulate and local police were notified of the incident, LAPD told the Times.

Insider has reached out to the French National Police for comment. LAPD declined to comment on the incident.

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A GOP senator said he's 'perfectly comfortable' with criminalizing abortion amid what could be a groundbreaking SCOTUS challenge to Roe v. Wade

Tue, 12/07/2021 - 12:18am
Protesters, demonstrators and activists gather in front of the Supreme Court as justices hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, a case about a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks.
  • Indiana Sen. Mike Braun said on Sunday he was "perfectly comfortable" with criminalizing abortion.
  • Braun gave the caveat that this applied to state-level laws, not federal-level legislation.
  • His comments come as the SCOTUS hears what may be a groundbreaking challenge to Roe v. Wade.

A GOP senator said on Sunday that he would be "perfectly comfortable" if abortion were criminalized at the state level, arguing that the states should decide abortion laws. 

On Sunday, MSNBC host Chuck Todd asked Republican Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana whether he would criminalize abortions.

 "I'm perfectly comfortable with doing it. Just not at the level where everybody's gotta live with the same thing," he said.

"When you talk about criminalizing it, then all you're doing is taking this to a logical extreme that you'll never get to anyway," he continued. "We just need to take it off of where it is. Send it back to the states. Let's find that right way to address it. And this applies to many other issues as well." 

Earlier in the interview, Braun said that because he believed in the "sanctity of life," he wanted abortions to be "eliminated from the landscape" if possible.

"Whatever one's opinion is, whatever you're trying to do politically, why try to do it at the national level? We generally don't do things well here anyway," Braun said. "It'd be practical and not political to send it back to the states and let every state do what they want to do, and live with it. And if you don't like it, then go to work within those legislatures." 

Braun was elected to the US Senate in 2018. He previously expressed his support for state's rights, moving in November to challenge Biden's vaccine mandate for private businesses, calling it "federal overreach."

Braun's comments come as the Supreme Court contemplates what may be the most substantial challenge to Roe v. Wade in decades — a case brought by Mississippi that is attempting to overturn the 1973 landmark ruling.

The SCOTUS has signaled that it may be open to Mississippi's position that abortion should be banned after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

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China's middle class is starting to look a lot like America's, and that's not a good thing

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 11:50pm
In both China and the US, it's now hard for the middle class to do better than their parents.
  • Housing is increasingly unaffordable for China's middle class, and household debt levels are rising.
  • China's middle class faces the real possibility of not being able to do better than their parents.
  • In other words, China's middle class is starting to look a lot like America's.

China's middle class has grown explosively in the past twenty years.

In 2000, roughly 3% of the country's population was classified as middle class. By 2018, more than half of China's population — 707 million people — had entered the country's middle-income bracket, according to calculations from the Center for Strategic and International Studies that defined the middle class as those spending between $10 and $50 a day.

As China's middle class has expanded, it has in many ways also started to look like America's. In its most recent middle-class analysis, the Pew Research Center in 2016 classified 52% of the US population as middle class. (Methodology for defining the middle class varies, but many experts — including Pew — define the middle class globally as those who live on $10.01 to $20 a day per person, which straddles the poverty line in the US.)

And while the growth of China's middle class is a good thing — those 707 million people have risen out of poverty, after all — some of the similarities it now shares with the US are distinctly less positive.

Max Zenglein, chief economist for the Berlin-based Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS), told Insider China's middle class will soon face very similar challenges to the US and European middle classes: "Wage growth is not strong enough to make it easy for them to afford their dreams."

"It's very difficult to move upward, but there is a risk for them to move down, and that's something new," Zenglein said of China. "They might be hitting a ceiling."

Priced out of the housing market and increasingly relying on personal lending networks

In China and the US alike, housing prices are rising. 

The rise in US home prices has been especially pronounced during the pandemic. In April, home prices rose by 14.6%, the biggest price spike in 30 years. And housing prices, which kept hitting new highs throughout 2021, could surge another 16% in 2022, Goldman Sachs said in October.

In this environment, Ben Winck recently wrote for Insider, middle-class homebuyers are out of luck: The US is running out of starter homes, and, on the coasts especially, contractors are prioritizing expensive homes that are out of reach for middle-income earners.

In China, real estate prices have has also been climbing over the past two or three decades. From 2003 to 2013, for example, housing prices in tier 1 cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen saw an average annual growth rate of 13.1%. Recently, amid market concerns sparked by real-estate giant Evergrande's debt woes, that trend has seen a reversal: In October, home prices in China started falling for the first time in six years.

Despite the massive growth in China's home prices over the past decades, nearly 80% of households in China are homeowners (compared to 65% in the US). So while housing in and of itself is not out of reach (the country certainly has no shortage of homes), the price of houses is. That's why homebuyers, and younger generations of homebuyers in particular, are increasingly turning to personal lending networks to be able to pay the required 30% down payment on a home.

"It's not a problem of housing availability," Logan Wright, director of China markets research for research group Rhodium Group, told Insider. "It's a problem of price relative to income, especially in desirable places to live."

Cities like Shenzhen, pictured, are homes to a middle class that's starting to look ever more like America's.Rising levels of household debt

Largely because of the rising cost of housing, household debt in both the US and China has increased.

Total household debt in the US exceeded $15 trillion in Q3 2021, according to the Federal Reserve. That's $1 trillion higher than it was at the end of 2019. The typical American household has roughly $145,000 in debt, per the US Department of Housing and Urban Development — nearly $100,000 more than it did in 2000. That's also significantly higher than the median household income in the US, which is currently $79,000.

Meanwhile, China's household debt is lower than in many developed countries — but has been steadily on the rise since the financial crisis, Bernard Aw, an economist overseeing the Asia Pacific for Coface, previously told Insider.

In 2020, China's household debt rose to 128% of income, according to a Rhodium Group report. And at the end of October, China's total household debt hit 70 trillion yuan (US $10.98 trillion), Wright said, citing data from the People's Bank of China.

"Household debt has increased rapidly, so they're leveraged. It's a combination of high leverage, weaker economic growth, and lower income growth," Zenglein said of China's middle class. "So something's gotta give."

At risk of falling out of the middle class

Something is giving: In both China and the US, it's increasingly difficult for the middle class to do better than their parents.

The US middle class is shrinking, and it's struggling. From 1979 to 2017, household income growth for the middle class grew more slowly than incomes in both the top and bottom 20% of American earners. And as middle-class wages stagnated, the cost of living in the US soared.

While 61% of American adults were classified as middle class in 1971, that number shrank to 50% by 2005, according to data from the Pew Research Center. And per a paper from nonprofit research group Rand Corporation, 2.7 million Americans fell out of the middle class from 2007 to 2017.

In China, the difficulty of remaining in the middle class is a new predicament.

"For younger generations, they are coming from parents who came from the dark times in China's development and who improved every year significantly in wealth," Zenglein said. "For the new generation, they can no longer take for granted that they will be better off as a whole."

Zenglein clarified that there's a wealth divide within the trend, too: "This is probably less relevant for the lower-income groups, like migrant workers. Even though inequality is rising, it'll be easier for their kids to have a better life than for those who are coming from the middle class."

Notably, the plight of the middle class extends beyond China and the US; on a global scale, 54 million people fell out of the middle class last year amid the pandemic.

Not a mirror reflection

To be sure, for all their similarities, the two countries' middle classes have their differences.

For one, America's middle class is more established. For decades, it was the richest middle class in the world (it lost the title to Canada in 2019).

While real estate is important for wealth-building in both the US and China, the role homeownership plays in each country is not comparable. "The role of real estate for wealth and social standing in China is significantly different than it is in the US. If you don't have a house, you're not going to get a wife," Zenglein said of China. In China, 70-80% of household assets are tied to real estate, which is higher than it just about any other developed country. 

The US-China similarities are also not uniform throughout China; instead, they're prominent mostly in China's developed, urban centers — cities like Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Beijing. As Zenglein put it, it's "the biggest winners of China's economic success that are starting to look more like the US middle class."

That said, the resemblance between the two is strong, and it's stronger than it's been before.

Wright said there are growing risks to the economy and standards of living in China if the property sector starts to weaken considerably: "If housing is still people's primary asset, even if they're borrowing in order to engage in the housing market, that's going to have an implication for whether people feel or act like middle class as well."

"It's not a one-to-one match," Zenglein said of the US and China middle classes, "but it's getting into an area where the similarities are increasing."

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A new report offers more evidence that the Omicron variant may cause mild illness but authors say it's still too early to be sure

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 10:54pm
A healthcare worker conducts a COVID-19 test on a traveller at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on November 28, 2021,
  • A study in South Africa showed the Omicron variant may only lead to mild illness. 
  • However, the study has not been peer-reviewed and looked at only a small sample. 
  • Researchers caution against using it to predict the overall severity of the new variant. 

A study from doctors at the Steve Biko/Tshwane District Hospital Complex in Pretoria, South Africa, suggests that the Omicron variant may only cause mild illness, but the head of the study said it's too early to be too hopeful. 

The report looked at 42 COVID-19 patients in the hospital on December 2. The doctors involved in the report said they don't know if the patients had the Omicron variant, but added it's likely given the spread of the variant in South Africa. 

Dr. Fareed Abdullah, director of the Office of AIDS and TB Research at the South African Medical Research Council and the head of the report, told The New York Times that the findings are preliminary and only sampled a small group of patients.

Of the 42 patients, 70% did not need supplemental oxygen. Of the 13 patients who were using supplemental oxygen, four were in need of it for reasons besides COVID-19. 

The doctors wrote that in previous COVID-19 waves, it was uncommon to have that high of a percentage of people not in need of oxygen. 

"The COVID ward was recognizable by the majority of patients being on some form of oxygen supplementation with the incessant sound of high flow nasal oxygen machines, or beeping ventilator alarms," the doctors wrote. 

Additionally, the report said most of the people were 'incidental COVID admissions,' meaning they were admitted to the hospital for other reasons and were only discovered to have the coronavirus through routine testing. 

Abdullah told the Times that out of the 166 COVID-19 patients that were admitted to the Biko/Tshwane hospital between November 14 and November 29, the average time they stayed was less than three days – far below the average 8.5 days for a COVID-19 patient throughout the rest of the pandemic. 

Also, only 7% of patients in the hospital died, compared to 17% of patients who died throughout the rest of the pandemic, the Times reported. 

In the past 28 days, South Africa has had 107,738 COVID-19 cases and 891 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Throughout the entire pandemic, more than 3 million South Africans have been infected and close to 90,000 have died. 

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Elon Musk unloads on Biden's big social and climate spending bill: 'I would just can this whole bill. Don't pass it'

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 9:57pm
Elon Musk on August 13, 2021 at a press event on the grounds of the Tesla Gigafactory near Berlin.
  • Billionaire CEO Elon Musk had a scathing assessment of the Democratic social and climate bill.
  • He urged Democrats to "can" the legislation.
  • He specifically targeted a provision that would authorize a tax credit if Americans bought an electric vehicle assembled by unionized workers with batteries constructed in the US.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk assailed a $2 trillion social and climate spending bill, saying he's in favor of scrapping the entire package.

"Honestly, I would just can this whole bill. Don't pass it," Musk said at the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council, which he appeared at virtually. "That's my recommendation."

He swung at a specific provision within the legislation that would authorize a tax credit up to $12,500 for Americans if they bought an electric vehicle assembled by unionized workers with batteries constructed in the US.

"I am literally saying get rid of all subsidies," he said.

Congressional Democrats are aiming to put the bill on President Joe Biden's desk sometime before the end of the year. The sprawling measure contains the bulk of his economic agenda.

The House-approved legislation would set up universal pre-K for three- and four-year-olds and renew monthly cash payments to the vast majority of American families for another year. It would expand Medicare to cover hearing services, enact four weeks of paid family and medical leave, and fight the climate emergency. Democrats want to pay for it with tax hikes on the rich and large corporations.

Musk, who said he generally believes that the government should "get out of the way," has already criticized and mocked Democrats for their legislation, sometimes using vulgar terms. He stepped up his attacks as they assembled a new tax proposal targeting billionaires. That's fallen out of the bill due to centrist opposition.

The Tesla chief executive also criticized the widening budget deficit, or the gap between what the government spends and ultimately collects in tax revenue every year. He called it "insane" and said that "zeroing out" all of the billionaires still wouldn't fix the deficit. 

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Trump has endorsed David Perdue for Georgia governor, calling Brian Kemp a 'RINO' and 'very weak'

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 9:39pm
Former President Donald Trump has thrown his weight behind former Sen. David Perdue, who is challenging Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in the upcoming gubernatorial race.
  • Donald Trump has announced his endorsement of former Sen. David Perdue.
  • Perdue is challenging Gov. Brian Kemp in Georgia's GOP gubernatorial primary.
  • In his endorsement, Trump backed Perdue and insulted Kemp, calling him a "RINO" and "very weak."

Former President Donald Trump has endorsed former Sen. David Perdue, in a primary against current Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp

Trump announced that he was backing Perdue in a primary against the sitting GOP governor in a statement released on Monday via his spokeswoman, Liz Harrington. In the statement, Trump called Perdue a "Conservative fighter who isn't afraid of the Radical Left." 

Trump's endorsement followed an earlier statement he made on Monday, where he accused Kemp of being a "RINO" (an acronym for "Republican-in-name-only") and for hurting "election integrity" in Georgia. 

"Kemp has been a very weak Governor — the liberals and RINOs have run all over him on Election integrity and more. Most importantly, he can't win because the MAGA base — which is enormous — will never vote for him," Trump wrote.

The former president added that he thought Perdue and Herschel Walker, who is currently angling for a Senate seat, would make an "unstoppable team." 

"Trump supporters will turn out to vote for these great leaders in big numbers. David Perdue has my Complete and Total Endorsement. He will not let you down!" Trump wrote. 

Trump is backing Perdue, a one-term senator who lost to Democratic lawmaker Jon Ossoff in a Senate runoff election earlier this year, after a highly-publicized rift between himself and Kemp. 

The two men saw their relationship fracture after Kemp broke with Trump and said he would "continue to follow the law" despite Trump's baseless claims of nationwide voter fraud. In return, the former president lashed out at Kemp, saying that he did "absolutely nothing," to help Trump contest the 2020 presidential election and he was "ashamed" of endorsing Kemp when he ran for governor in 2018. 

Kemp's representatives did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

This past June, Trump also said at a rally that he would rather have Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams be Georgia's governor instead of Kemp.

"Having her, I think, might be better than having your existing governor, if you want to know what I think," Trump said at the rally, per CNN. "Stacey, would you like to take his place? It's OK with me."

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Trump ally Steve Bannon can be prosecuted in a single day, DOJ says

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 9:38pm
Prosecutors said Monday they expect their "case in chief" against Steve Bannon to last only a day.
  • Federal prosecutors see the Steve Bannon case as "very straightforward" and want a trial date soon.
  • DOJ thinks it will only take a day of testimony to present the contempt of Congress case.
  • Bannon's defense team wants a more drawn-out pace for the criminal proceedings.

Federal prosecutors expect to need just one day to make their case against former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, the Justice Department said Monday in a court filing that pushed for the Trump ally to stand trial soon on criminal contempt of Congress charges.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment last month against Bannon over his defiance of a congressional subpoena demanding that he testify and turn over documents as part of the House investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol. At an early court hearing, prosecutor Amanda Vaughn described the case as "very straightforward" as Bannon's defense team resisted the Justice Department's push to set a trial date.

In Monday's filing, prosecutors predicted that their "case-in-chief will consist of one day of testimony." Bannon's defense lawyers said their "best estimate" was that the trial would last about 10 days.

Prosecutors also asked for the trial to begin no later than April 15. Bannon's defense team suggested a date six months later, October 17, asserting that the "average life of a criminal case" in the District of Columbia's federal trial court is about one year.

"In our view, this is not the average criminal case on the docket – because it will take more time to obtain discovery, and more time to fully brief the issues," Bannon's defense lawyers said.

The court filing further illuminated the divide between Bannon's defense and prosecutors over the pace of the proceedings, in a prosecution that House lawmakers hope will deter would-be recalcitrant witnesses from snubbing the select committee investigating the Capitol attack and buildup to January 6. The brief came a day before a second hearing before Judge Carl Nichols, a 2019 appointee to the federal trial court in Washington, DC, who was randomly assigned Bannon's case.

The Justice Department had gone decades without bringing a contempt of Congress prosecution. But the department ended that years-long drought with Bannon, who asserted executive privilege even though he hadn't served in the Trump administration since 2017.

In announcing Bannon's indictment, Attorney General Merrick Garland stressed that it was not motivated by politics, saying the Justice Department "adheres to the rule of law, follows the facts and the law and pursues equal justice under the law."

Last week, the nine-member committee voted unanimously to recommend criminal contempt charges against Jeffrey Clark, a former top Trump appointee at the Justice Department, over his refusal to cooperate with the investigation. The House committee moved forward with the vote a day after Clark came back and communicated, through his lawyer, that he would be invoking his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Clark's 11th-hour move has staved off, at least for now, a full House vote to hold him in contempt and refer him to the Justice Department for potential prosecution. 

"As with Mr. Bannon, the Select Committee has no desire to be placed in this situation but Mr. Clark has left us no other choice," said Rep. Bennie Thompson, chair of the January 6 committee, at a meeting last week. "He chose this path. He knew what consequences he might face if he did so."

Clark was initially scheduled to appear before the committee on Saturday to formally assert his 5th Amendment claim. But the hearing was postponed to December 16 after Clark's attorney told lawmakers his client had a medical condition precluding his appearance.

Trump, for his part, has repeatedly urged his associates not to comply with the select committee's investigation. He also filed a lawsuit to prevent the National Archives from turning records over to the House committee.

A federal judge rejected Trump's bid to block the Biden administration from handing over the records. Trump's lawyers challenged the ruling to the US Court of Appeals for the DC, where a three-judge panel seemed equally skeptical of his claim that he can invoke executive privilege post-presidency and overrule the decision of the incumbent.

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A suspected Capitol rioter with a 'fuck you' tattoo down his middle finger was arrested on charges of assaulting police

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 9:37pm
Rioters outside the US Capitol on January 6.
  • Internet sleuths helped identify a Capitol riot suspect accused of assaulting police with a baton.
  • Justin Jersey, 31, was arrested in Michigan last week and faces six charges related to the attack.
  • Investigators noted an identifying tattoo on Jersey's middle finger, which reads "fuck you."

A Capitol riot suspect accused of assaulting police officers during the January 6 insurrection was arrested last week, identified, in part, by a University of Michigan sweatshirt and an explicit phrase tattooed on his middle finger.

In a federal indictment, prosecutors said Justin Jersey, 31, of Flint, Michigan, used a baton to assault officers outside the Capitol.

Jersey faces six charges stemming from his alleged participation in the Capitol siege, including assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers and inflicting bodily injury, civil disorder, and entering and remaining in a restricted building with a deadly or dangerous weapon.

Internet sleuths spent months searching for Jersey, who appeared in several photos and videos from the Capitol attack. The online community known as "Sedition Hunters" nicknamed the mystery man #Fingerman — a moniker inspired by a heavily-circulated photo of him giving the middle finger to US Capitol Police officers during the attack.

To match his graphic hand gesture, Jersey has the phrase "fuck you" tattooed down his middle finger, which helped investigators eventually confirm his identity, according to HuffPost. The online detectives found an Instagram picture of Jersey that revealed the tattoo on his left finger and matched it with images of the man swinging a stick at authorities during the siege, the outlet reported. 

While searching for the man in the photos, online investigators also noted the suspect's University of Michigan sweatshirt, which helped pinpoint his general location, according to the publication. 

—Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) December 2, 2021

 

One of the internet sleuths who played a role in finding the suspect told HuffPost reporter Ryan J. Reilly that Jersey's suspected identity was sent to the FBI in August, nearly one month after the bureau released a video asking for the public's help in identifying the man seen attacking officers. 

The "Sedition Hunters" community noted that, despite Jersey maintaining a low profile on social media, his girlfriend posted multiple photos and updates about the couple's participation in the siege at the time on her Facebook account, even tagging Jersey in one online post.

—Michigan Tea (@MichiganTea) December 2, 2021

 

The couple attended the riot with their friend, Trevor Brown, who was arrested in July, HuffPost reported.

Jersey, who was arrested in Flint on Thursday, was charged in a superseding indictment that names eight other Capitol riot defendants who have already been charged in the attack, including Jeffrey Sabol; Peter Francis Stager; Michael John Lopatic Sr.; Clayton Ray Mullins; Jack Wade Whitton; Logan James Barnhart; Ronald Colton McAbee; and one other defendant whose name is redacted. 

According to The Detroit News, which was first to report Jersey's arrest, the defendant made a brief appearance in court on Thursday and is being held without bond until he can be transferred to federal court in Washington, DC.

Jersey had no current attorney listed as of Monday evening. 

More than 700 people have been charged in connection to the deadly attack and more than 100 have pleaded guilty.

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Trump's blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19, according to a new report

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 8:01pm
Former President Donald Trump leaving the White House for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after testing positive for COVID-19 on October 2, 2020.
  • Donald Trump's blood oxygen levels dipped lower than previously known when he contracted COVID-19 in October 2020.
  • Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows revealed the detail in his book, "The Chief's Chief."
  • Meadows said doctors "decided to put the president on oxygen in the residence and hope for the best."

Former President Donald Trump's blood oxygen level plunged to a dangerous low when he had COVID-19 last year, The New York Times reported.

Mark Meadows, former White House chief of staff, revealed the detail in his new book titled "The Chief's Chief."

It comes in stark contradiction to Trump's denial that his bout with COVID-19 in October 2020 was not as bad as it seemed.

"That morning, Dr. Conley pulled me aside and delivered some bad news," Meadows wrote in the book, referring to Dr. Sean P. Conley, who headed Trump's medical team. "Although the president's condition had improved slightly overnight, his oxygen levels had now dipped down to about 86 percent and could be trending lower, a dangerously low level for someone his age."

The doctors "had decided to put the president on oxygen in the residence and hope for the best," Meadows added.

According to The Times, Meadows described in the book visiting a bedridden Trump prior to the Walter Reed check-in, and the former president was wearing a T-shirt with disheveled hair and red streaks in his eyes "from the hours he'd spent getting Regeneron in bed."

Meadows added that in arriving at Walter Reed, Trump had lost so much strength that he dropped and couldn't carry his briefcase, which Meadows claimed weighed around ten pounds.

Trump initially promoted Meadows' book but later backtracked his support of the book in light of the book's bombshell revelations about the Trump White House.

"'The Chief's Chief' would make an incredible Christmas present, and with United States supply lines totally dead, and with thousands of ships having no way of unloading because of incompetent leadership, you will have no other thing you can buy anyway," Trump said in a statement on October 13. "Seriously, it's a fantastic book, and Mark Meadows and his wonderful wife Debbie are great people."

Meadows also disclosed that Trump tested positive for COVID-19 on September 26, three days before his first presidential debate against Joe Biden, a detail that Trump lashed out about after his early promotion of the book. 

"The story of me having COVID prior to, or during, the first debate is Fake News," Trump said in a statement in response to a story about the book from The Guardian. "In fact, a test revealed that I did not have COVID prior to the debate."

Representatives for Trump did not immediately return Insider's request for comment. Representatives at the Conservative Partnership Institute, where Meadows serves as a senior partner, also did not immediately respond to Insider's emails.

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California warehouse fire leached chemicals into a nearby channel, releasing a 'rotten egg' smell that some residents say is making them sick

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 7:16pm
Carson City Council Member Jawane Hilton, Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes, and California State Sen. Steven Bradford discuss the foul odor at a press conference on October 25, 2021.
  • Carson, California, smelled like rotten eggs for two months due to elevated hydrogen sulfide levels.
  • The stench likely originated with a September fire that leached chemicals into a nearby waterway.
  • Local residents attribute headaches, nausea, and trouble breathing to the noxious fumes.

The putrid stench that wafted across Carson, California — just south of downtown Los Angeles — for nearly two months is no longer a mystery.

A local air pollution agency recently traced the fumes to a September warehouse fire, which leached chemicals from wellness and beauty products into the Dominguez Channel, a 15.7-mile river that empties into the ocean at the Port of Los Angeles. Exposure to the chemicals prompted the channel's vegetation and marine life to decay and release hydrogen sulfide, a colorless gas that smells like rotten eggs.

The air pollution agency investigating the smell, South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD), issued violations on Friday against four companies affiliated with the warehouse, including two companies that stored their products there: Virgin Scent and Day to Day Imports. The other two entities that received violations, Liberty Properties Limited Partnership, and its parent company, Prologis Inc., own the warehouse property.

South Coast AQMD also issued a fifth violation on Friday against Los Angeles County, which is responsible for maintaining the Dominguez Channel. Violations may come with civil penalties, such as fines, or ultimately lead to a civil lawsuit. Eight Carson residents have already filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that debris from a warehouse fire entered the channel, resulting in a noxious scent. 

Virgin Scent and Day to Day Imports did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. Prologis told Insider that it "will continue to work with the Los Angeles County Fire Department in safeguarding the property against storm water runoff and cleaning up the fire debris."

In a statement to Insider, LA County Public Public Works Director Mark Pestrella said the county was "glad to see that Prologis, Inc. and Liberty Properties, LP — the parties the county believes are responsible for the anaerobic conditions that led to the release of hydrogen sulfide gas within the channel — are being held accountable."

Pestrella added that the county was working with state and federal regulators to investigate the incident. He did not directly address the violation issued against LA County.

Hydrogen sulfide can cause headaches, nausea, coughs, shortness of breath, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat at low concentrations. High concentrations, far higher than those detected at the Dominguez Channel, could potentially result in coma or death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some Carson residents experienced headaches and nausea from the fumes, Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly Mitchell said in an October statement. Other residents told The Guardian and the Los Angeles Times they experienced respiratory problems, like coughing and trouble breathing.

Monique Alvarez, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, told The New York Times that her three children broke out in welts after the hydrogen sulfide release. While the fumes recently subsided, she said, her kids still get bloody noses on occasion.

"People in our area are still getting sick," Alvarez said. "The symptoms are still here and our bodies are still saying something is wrong."

Levels of hydrogen sulfide were 230 times higher than California's public nuisance standardRichard Mootry looks out at the Dominguez Channel, the source of a foul odor in Carson, California, on October 11, 2021.

The warehouse fire broke out on September 30. At the time, Sean Ferguson, an LA County fire inspector, told KTLA that the flames tore through crates of rubbing alcohol wipes. Pestrella also told The New York Times on Sunday that the warehouse contained hand wipes, bottles of hand sanitizer, and large vats of ethanol.

But it took roughly two months for investigators to associate the fire with the rotten egg smell. Local officials initially posited that a leaking pipeline had emitted the hydrogen sulfide, or that a September earthquake may have released the gas from a local refinery or chemical plant. 

South Coast AQMD now alleges that the warehouse fire violated a California code, which prohibits the release of air contaminants that create a public nuisance. Offensive smells or public health hazards that affect an entire community or neighborhood are considered public nuisances in California.

The hydrogen sulfide levels in Carson reached upward of 7,000 parts per billion (ppb) — about 230 times the state nuisance standard. Hydrogen sulfide doesn't pose a risk of permanent health problems until people are exposed to 27,000 ppb for one hour, or 17,000 ppb for eight hours, The Guardian reported.

South Coast AQMD said in a press release that it has responded to more than 4,600 odor complaints from Carson and nearby areas since October 3. Residents described the smell as unbearable in posts on Facebook and Twitter, comparing it to vomit, body odor, and "the stench of death."

Since October, thousands of people have temporarily relocated to hotels to avoid the smell, with LA County reimbursing the cost of the rooms. Meanwhile, county officials have worked to eliminate the odor by spraying a biodegradable deodorizer and pumping oxygen into the channel — a process that inhibits the release of hydrogen sulfide.

Kerjon Lee, a spokesman for the county's public works department, told The New York Times that emergency work to get rid of the smell had already cost the county $54 million as of last week. Pestrella added that it could take up to two years to restore the channel's water conditions.

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Mike Pence staffer who Trump banned from the White House is cooperating with January 6 committee: CNN

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 6:55pm
Vice President Mike Pence, joined at left by chief of staff Marc Short, finishes a swearing-in ceremony for senators in the Old Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021.
  • The January 6 committee is getting "significant cooperation with Team Pence," CNN reported.
  • Marc Short, former Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, is complying with a subpoena.
  • Trump banned Short from the White House after the January 6 insurrection.

The congressional panel looking into the January 6 insurrection is getting "significant cooperation from Team Pence," a source told CNN on Monday, with the former vice president's ex-chief of staff reportedly complying with the committee's investigation.

Marc Short, the Pence aide, could provide key testimony concerning both the lead-up to the attack on the US Capitol and events on January 6 itself to the committee, which is led by Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, and Rep. Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican.

As Insider previously reported, Short was critical of the legally dubious effort, spearheaded by right-wing attorney John Eastman, to have Pence block the certification of President Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election.

One constitutional law expert described the plan as a "proposed coup cloaked in legal language." Short himself called it "boneheaded analysis."

Eastman, by contrast, has refused to comply with the investigation by the House select committee, recently invoking his 5th Amendment right to remain silent.

Short was with Pence on January 6 when a mob of former President Donald Trump's supporters ransacked Congress in an effort to block Biden's victory, some of them demanding that Pence be executed for declining to do so himself.

After the attack, Trump barred Short from the White House.

A spokesperson for the committee did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 6 best disinfecting cleaners and wipes in 2021

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 6:33pm

Prices are accurate at the time of publication.

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

To help combat the spread of measles, the flu, colds, and other viruses and bacteria, you should always keep a quality disinfectant on hand. 

"A disinfectant is a product that can kill the germs that cause sickness or illness," said Brian Sansoni, SVP of Communication at the American Cleaning Institute. "Disinfectants contain antimicrobial ingredients that kill germs if surfaces are free from heavy soil, and disinfectant or antibacterial cleaners [also] contain ingredients for removing soil." 

There's an endless selection of sprays, wipes, and other cleaning solutions on the market, so you want to look for the US Environmental Protection Agency registration number that ensures the product has met requirements for killing germs on hard, nonporous surfaces. All of the products in this guide are EPA approved.

Aside from checking EPA labels, the CDC recommends disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily, particularly countertops, desks, doorknobs, faucets, handles, keyboards, light switches, phones, sinks, tables, and toilets. Make sure to clean dirty surfaces with soap and water prior to disinfection. 

See our disinfecting cleaner recommendations below, and for more detail on disinfecting products and household cleaning, check out our in-depth FAQ.

Here are the best disinfecting cleaners in 2021Best disinfecting cleaner for hard surfaces

With Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Spray, you can kill foodborne-illness-causing bacteria with one swipe and no rinsing.

  • EPA registration number: 84368-1-84150

Pros: No rinsing needed, safe to use around food, kills 99.9% of bacteria, no harsh chemicals, fresh citrus scent, helps to reduce the risk of cross-contamination

Cons: Not readily available in many mass-market stores

Disinfectant sprays are especially helpful in the kitchen, where food-dwelling bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli can spread. While all EPA-registered disinfectants will kill those bacteria if used properly, they require an extra step of rinsing after spraying when used around food preparation areas. Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Spray, however, eliminates the need to rinse and is safe to touch nearly instantly.

That being said, we should mention that rinsing any surface after applying disinfectant is currently recommended in the most recent CDC guidelines for protecting yourself against COVID-19. 

Though it won't completely deep-clean your kitchen, this product can be used on sealed granite, glass, laminate, stainless steel, or plastic surfaces. It only takes 30 seconds to kill over 40 organisms, including the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, norovirus, MRSA, and strep.

$14.00 FROM AMAZONOriginally $15.15 | Save 8%Best disinfecting cleaner for laundry

If you're looking for a bleach-free product that will sanitize your laundry without damaging your clothes, Lysol Laundry Sanitizer Additive is your best bet.

  • EPA registration number: 777-128

Pros: Kills 99.9% of bacteria on fabric, can be used in any water temperature, can be used with any detergent, safe with any washable fabric, bleach-free

Cons: Those with sensitive skin may react to dyes or scents

According to the American Cleaning Institute's new laundry guidelines, sanitizing laundry is important if someone in your home is ill or has a compromised immune system.

While chlorine bleach effectively kills bacteria, it damages colorful clothes and synthetic fabrics. Lysol Laundry Sanitizer Additive contains a phenolic disinfectant that's safe to use at any water temperature, in both standard and high-efficiency machines, with any detergent, and on any washable fabric. Its crisp linen fragrance is an added bonus.

For the best results, the product and water must be in contact with the fabric for 16 minutes.

$9.97 FROM AMAZONOriginally $10.99 | Save 9%$9.97 FROM WALMART$9.97 FROM HOME DEPOT$10.99 FROM TARGETBest disinfecting cleaner for non-washable goods

Available in a dozen scents, Lysol Disinfectant Spray kills 99.9% of bacteria on fabrics and hard surfaces.

  • EPA registration number: 777-99

Pros: Kills 99.9% of bacteria, available in many fragrances

Cons: Surfaces used for food preparation and children's toys must be rinsed with water before use

Lysol Disinfecting Spray isn't just an air freshener: It's a powerful disinfectant that kills bacteria but is safe to use on hard, non-porous surfaces; soft surfaces; and fabrics. For best results, pre-clean your surface, hold the can six to eight inches away, and spray for three to four seconds. Lysol will typically take three minutes to disinfect, but to eradicate traces of the Norovirus, it's best to leave it on for 10.

If crisp linen is not your thing, there are many other scents to choose from, including lavender and waterfall. You can also use the spray to deodorize items like gym bags, shoes, and carpets.

$5.70 FROM AMAZONOriginally $10.53 | Save 46%$5.99 FROM TARGET$8.28 FROM CVS$5.48 FROM WALMARTBest disinfecting wipes

Clorox's Disinfecting Wipes not only kill almost 100% of germs, they also absorb greasy messes and help erase embedded stains.

  • EPA registration number: 5813-79

Pros: Kills 99.9% of bacteria in 10 seconds; deodorizes; breaks down grease, soap scum, and grime

Cons: Not available in an unscented formula, must rinse down surfaces when used in food preparation areas, wipes dry out if you use them too long

Disinfecting wipes offer a simple, mess-free way to clean surfaces without the use of liquid disinfectants and cleaning tools.

While all Clorox wipes contain ingredients that kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria on hard nonporous surfaces like acrylic, glass, and vinyl, Clorox Disinfecting Wipes also absorb greasy messes and gently scrub away dried-on stains, soap scum, and grime.

We should mention that the wipes tend to dry out after a few minutes. If you're cleaning a bathroom, you'll typically use one wipe for the sink area, another for the toilet, and a third (or third and fourth) for the shower.

After wiping an area down, allow it to air dry to thoroughly disinfect against viruses and bacteria. It takes about 10 seconds to eliminate cold and flu viruses, E. coli, Salmonella, strep, MRSA, and the organism that can cause whooping cough.

$2.58 FROM AMAZON$3.29 FROM TARGET$5.24 FROM QUILLBest disinfecting cleaner for toilet bowls

Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Bleach allows you to clean and disinfect your bowl in a single step.

  • EPA registration number: 5813-89

Pros: Removes toilet bowl stains, kills 99.9% of bacteria, angled nozzle for reaching under the bowl rim, fresh scent

Cons: Not safe to use near children or pets

Cleaning your toilet bowl is essential for proper hygiene and, while many cleaners effectively remove watermarks and stains, they may not properly disinfect. Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Bleach disinfects, deodorizes with its fresh scent, and kills 99.9% of toilet bowl germs.

The disinfectant's powerful clinging gel will eradicate tough stains, and the angled nozzle is perfect for giving your bowl a deep clean. It's non-abrasive and septic-safe, though children and pets shouldn't be near your toilet bowl while cleaning.

$4.28 FROM HOME DEPOTBest disinfecting cleaner for pet messes

Clorox Pet Solutions Stain & Odor Remover is tough on deep-rooted stains but gentle and safe to use around dogs, cats, and other household pets.

  • EPA registration number: 5813-110

Pros: Effectively removes stains, safe to use around pets, bleach and fragrance-free, helps to prevent re-soiling

Cons: Must purchase a spray bottle, not recommended for brass or natural marble surfaces

Clorox Pet Solutions Stain & Odor Remover is effective at removing tough pet messes like drool, feces, urine, and vomit, and it's safe to use around your furry friends (as long as you take a few precautions). "It's fine to use a regular disinfectant or bleach on bowls or pet toys with hard surfaces — you'll just want to rinse the surfaces with water after they've dried," Sansoni said. For more information on pet-safe products, check out our FAQ.

Simply pour the solution into a reusable spray bottle to clean pet bedding, carpets, clothing, flooring, furniture, travel crates, and upholstery. Then allow it to sit for five to 10 minutes before rinsing or wiping the area down with a clean, damp cloth. It's bleach- and fragrance-free and wonderful at eliminating odors that tend to stubbornly linger. Regularly using this disinfectant may help your pet remember not to go back to re-soil the same spot.

$32.99 FROM PETCODisinfecting cleaner FAQs

Brian Sansoni, SVP of Communication at the American Cleaning Institute, gave us some helpful information on assessing the quality of a disinfectant.

What ingredients should I look for in a disinfectant?

Sansoni said that some of the more active ingredients found within disinfectant cleaners include sodium hypochlorite, ethanol, pine oil, hydrogen peroxide, citric acid, and quats, otherwise known as quaternary ammonium compounds.

For efficacy, be sure to visit the manufacturer's website, look for the product in SmartLabel (a digital shopping tool where you can find detailed info that won't fit on your standard cleaning product's packaging), and check out the American Cleaning Institute's guide on how to read a product label.

In addition to the ingredients listed above, your disinfectant of choice may include a combination of surfactants, builders, solvents, enzymes, fragrances, preservatives, pH adjusters, and thickeners or foam enhancers.

Do disinfecting cleaners kill the coronavirus? 

There are a number of disinfectant products that can be effective against the coronavirus on hard, nonporous surfaces, in accordance with the EPA Viral Emerging Pathogen Policy. Visit EPA-registered disinfectant products to use against Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) for more information.

Will alcohol kill germs? 

Alcohol solutions need to contain at least 70% alcohol to be effective on hard surfaces against the coronavirus. Read the labels on alcohol-based products, and be sure to reach for isopropyl alcohol and not ethanol, which is used in cocktails and other alcoholic beverages. 

You'll want to pre-clean the surface with soap and water. Then, apply the alcohol solution to the surface — without diluting it — and let it air dry for at least 30 seconds before wiping. 

It's important to never mix isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol — which is typically 70% isopropyl alcohol and 30% water — with bleach since it will create chloroform, which is toxic.

What surfaces can I use rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol on?

Rubbing alcohol and isopropyl alcohol can liquify and damage finished surfaces since isopropyl alcohol is a solvent. Sansoni advises against using either on painted, shellacked, lacquered, or varnished surfaces, including treated wood.

However, rubbing alcohol can be a great stain treatment for certain fabrics and can remove ink, grass, grease, or sap. While it's good for carpet, Sansoni doesn't recommend rubbing alcohol on materials like acetate, rayon, wool, and silk.

Do all-purpose cleaners kill germs?

A traditional all-purpose cleaner is designed to lift dirt off surfaces, but it won't completely disinfect the area you're cleaning. Stick with a disinfectant designed to kill bacteria and germs. Keep in mind, however, that disinfectants won't make surfaces shine like an all-purpose cleaner. Popular all-purpose cleaners that aren't disinfectants include Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Multi-Surface Cleaner and Everspring's Lemon & Mint All-Purpose Cleaner.

Will hydrogen peroxide kill germs?

Some registered disinfectants contain hydrogen peroxide as the active ingredient. The typical 3% hydrogen peroxide concentration found at drugstores can be used to disinfect surfaces. Pre-clean the surface before applying the liquid, and then let it air dry for at least a minute before wiping.

If you're using a cleaner that contains hydrogen peroxide, check the product label for instructions on how long the cleaner needs to sit on the surface before wiping. Never mix hydrogen peroxide with vinegar, bleach, or other cleaners.

Will vinegar kill germs?

While vinegar has bacteria-killing properties, it is not listed as an EPA-approved disinfectant.

Do "eco-friendly" or "natural" cleaners work as well as ones with more "powerful" chemicals?

"Eco-friendly" and "natural" are, more often than not, marketing terms rather than scientific ones. It all comes down to how the product is formulated, what ingredients it contains, and preference. When a product is labeled as "natural," it typically means that it's void of harmful chemicals.

What makes a cleaning product "pet-safe"? 

According to Sansoni, products that are labeled as "pet-safe" are usually formulated with ingredients that are less harmful when unintentionally ingested. 

It's important to note that cleaning products are safe for people and pets when used as intended. However, because pets have a habit of putting their mouths on things they're not supposed to, the added step of rinsing any leftover product off surfaces can be helpful.

What is an odor eliminator?

An odor eliminator can either cover up an odor, absorb it, or kill odor-causing germs. Fragrances that cover an odor may be used in tandem with an odor absorber or a product that kills odor-causing bacteria. Some odor-eliminating sprays use compounds called cyclodextrins to trap odor molecules.

We've rounded up the best odor eliminators for your home.

Are wipes better than sprays?

This is a matter of preference. Some spray products may be available in a wipe version or vice versa, with some customers finding that one product is able to reach the space they want to clean better than the other. Sansoni mentioned there isn't a benefit for letting a disinfectant stay on surfaces longer than recommended, and you should always follow the instructions on the label.

Check out our other cleaning guidesRead the original article on Business Insider

The US ups its multimillion-dollar rewards for 2 Sinaloa cartel leaders as another war brews for control of the cartel

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 6:19pm
Mexican Federal Police outside Puente Grande prison in Zapotlanejo, Jalisco state, August 9, 2013.
  • Conflict is brewing within the Sinaloa cartel.
  • The US recently increased its rewards for two major cartel figures, and another was quietly released from jail earlier this year.
  • Reports indicate that fighting between them has already begun in some parts of Mexico.

Culiacán, Sinaloa - In the middle of the night on September 1, Jesús Alfredo Beltrán Guzmán was freed from a Mexican prison without fanfare after serving five years of a 10-year sentence for drug trafficking.

Beltrán Guzmán is the son of Alfredo Beltrán Leyva, aka "El Mochomo," a longtime Sinaloa Cartel associate who broke away in the late 2000s and formed the rival Beltrán Leyva Organization.

Beltrán Guzmán, known as "El Mochomito," is also the nephew of jailed kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera, and his release adds to the list of players thought to be battling for control of the Sinaloa Cartel.

El Chapo's brother, his sons, his nephew, and his shadowy former peer in the cartel, Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, are fighting over what's generally considered to be one of the most powerful criminal groups in the world.

US authorities also recently increased the reward for two of those men: $5 million is now on offer for El Chapo's brother, Aureliano Guzmán Loera, aka "El Guano," and $15 million is being offered for Zambada.

Old rivalries, new fightingAlfredo Beltrán Leyva, known as "El Mochomo," is escorted at Mexico City's airport, January 21, 2008.

The Beltrán Leyva Organization was run by Alfredo and his brothers, Arturo, Héctor, and Carlos. They began their criminal careers alongside El Chapo, first as an armed wing of the Sinaloa Cartel and later on their own.

Alfredo was arrested in Culiacán, the capital of Sinaloa, in January 2008. Arturo was killed by Mexican marines in the city of Cuernavaca in December 2009. A few days after Arturo's death, Carlos was also captured in Culiacán. Hector was captured in the state of Guanajuato in October 2014.

After the arrest of the Beltran Leyva Organization's top bosses, Beltrán Guzmán stepped up as the new boss. He then declared war on the Sinaloa Cartel.

Beltrán Guzmán was arrested on December 9, 2016, in the city Zapopan in the state of Jalisco while fleeing a military operation to capture him. He is allegedly responsible for kidnapping two of El Chapo's sons, Jesús Alfredo and Iván Guzmán Salazar, from a restaurant in Puerto Vallarta, also in Jalisco.

Shortly before fleeing to Jalisco in 2016, Beltrán Guzman led about 50 armed men into a shootout near La Tuna, a rural town in Sinaloa, where they robbed El Chapo's mother's home. They were reportedly looking to kill El Chapo's brother, Aureliano.

According to a Sinaloa Cartel operative who asked for anonymity to avoid reprisal, Aureliano has an old vendetta against El Mochomito.

"These people never forget. What El Mochomito did before being arrested, and the fact that the Guzmán Loeras firmly believe they were betrayed by the Beltráns, is an old problem that has not been solved," he said.

The US recently increased its reward for Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada to $15 million.

The operative said Guzmán, Beltrán Guzmán, three of the Guzmán Salazar brothers, and Zambada, are all still in Sinaloa, but only the Guzmán Salazars, who are El Chapo's sons, live in Culiacán.

"Everything is in a tense calm. I personally know El Mochomito, and the morning he got out he returned to one of his ranches here in Sinaloa. The government returned everything they seized during his arrest," the operative added.

Mexican authorities were not able to confirm or deny these allegations.

Aureliano "El Guano" Guzmán has kept a low profile, remaining outside the Sinaloa Cartel until very recently when the US put out a $5 million reward for him. A 2020 DEA report describes Aureliano as a "notable" Sinaloa Cartel commander and as responsible for shipping "large quantities of fentanyl" from contacts in China.

Aureliano is known for being "much more violent than his brother," shown when "he killed Ernesto Guzmán, Mochomito's grandfather, for being considered as unreliable," two official sources told Insider.

The fighting may remain between members of the Guzmán family, according to Mike Vigil, former chief of the DEA's Mexico bureau.

"Mayo Zambada has a stronghold in the Sinaloa Cartel. He is too strong and too respected for someone like Aureliano, Mochomito, or Los Chapitos to fight him," he said, using a nickname for El Chapo's sons.

Vigil — who infiltrated the Guadalajara federation before it broke into competing cartels, including the Sinaloa cartel, in the late 1980s — said Zambada's leaders had kept the Sinaloa Cartel "as the biggest cartel in the world."

"Zambada is an intelligent man, keeping his low profile but at the same time keeping a pyramidal organization in the Sinaloa cartel," he said.

War on and in cartelsA Mexican marine looks at the body of a gunman after a shootout between marines and armed men in Culiacan, February 7, 2017.

Mexican media reported in late 2020 that more than 17 factions of the Sinaloa Cartel were fighting for control of the cartel, and another source within the cartel told Insider that the Guzmán Loera family's fight against El Mayo has already started in some parts of Mexico.

According to the source, the state of Durango is today where Aureliano's, Zambada's, and Mochomito's factions are fighting over the cartel.

"El viejón [Zambada] has his people fighting for Durango. They are called Fuerzas Especiales Barrera, and very recently they were attacked by Los Guanos, an armed group by El Guano," the source said.

"They can't fight inside Sinaloa, [which] is a sacred territory where the order and the agreement is to keep things calm," the source added.

The Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel remain the largest and most powerful in Mexico, but the country has more than 400 gangs operating inside it. Their proliferation is a consequence of the "war against cartels" started by right-wing Mexican President Felipe Calderon in 2006.

"The current Mexican security policy approach of 'hugs not gunshots' is clearly not working. Mexico needs more cooperation with the US and to have a frontal strategy against criminal groups," Vigil said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

3 ways to tell if you've been blocked on Snapchat

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 5:58pm
You can confirm a potential blocker's Snapchat account still exists by asking a friend to search their username.
  • If you've been blocked on Snapchat, you won't be notified, but there are ways to check.
  • If you suspect someone has blocked you, search for their username, check your conversations, or try to message them via Snapchat.
  • If all else fails, searching for their name from another account can confirm if you've been blocked.
  • Visit Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

Being blocked on social media can be a confusing experience. One day you're messaging someone, and the next, you can't find your chat history or send them a message. 

As with most social media companies, if you've been blocked by someone on Snapchat, you won't get an alert or message that this is the case. But there are ways to check if that's happened.

Here's how to get it done.

1. Search their username or full name

If you've been blocked on Snapchat by someone, their account won't show up when you search for it. To check this, open Snapchat and tap the magnifying glass icon, located toward the top-left corner of the screen. Then enter their name or username.

Tap the magnifying glass icon to search for their name or username.

If their name doesn't come up, it isn't necessarily confirmation that they've blocked you. They may have deleted their account. So you'll have to investigate further to find out what's happened.

Quick tip: If their name does show up during this process, it may be that instead of blocking you, they've removed you from their friends list.

2. Check recent conversations

If you suspect someone has blocked you on Snapchat, and you've had conversations with them in the app, you may be able to tell for sure by going into your chat history. 

To check, open Snapchat and log in to your account, if needed. Then tap the speech bubble icon, located at the bottom of the screen to the left of the capture tab, to go into your chats. If they don't show up in your chat history, that's a clue that they may have blocked you.

Tap the speech bubble icon to go into your chats.

If you do see their name in your chat history, tap their name and try to send them a message. If you get an automated response that reads something like, Failed to send your message – Tap to try again, you might have been blocked. 

However, it could also be a connection issue, so you should also check your WiFi strength, just in case. If it instead says Pending, you've likely been deleted from their contacts list on Snapchat.

3. Search their name from a different account

If the person's name didn't show up when you searched for it on Snapchat, that may mean you've been blocked — but it may not. 

Asking a friend to search for the potential blocker's username can help you get confirmation if their account still exists. If it does, that means you've been blocked. 

Note: You can also sign out of your account and create a new one to check this.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best mattress in 2021 for every sleeping preference and budget

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 5:54pm

Prices are accurate at the time of publication.

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

  • A great mattress should offer an excellent balance of comfort, support, and motion isolation.
  • The DreamCloud Premier Hybrid performed well in every category we test and is our best overall pick.
  • We also outlined picks for different sleep styles, body types, and preferences.
  • Find out more about how Insider Reviews tests and reviews home products.

Your mattress is the most important part of your sleep setup, so finding the right one is critical to your sleep quality and comfort.

That's why I tested more than two dozen mattresses for this guide and relied on the reviews of colleagues. I also consulted with Michael Breus, PhD, a board-certified psychologist in clinical sleep disorders who is known as "The Sleep Doctor," and Dr. Luis Javier Peña-Hernández, a lung and sleep health specialist at the Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Disorders Institute of South Florida.

Every one of our picks below performed well in our tests, has a long risk-free home trial, is easy to unbox and set up, and can be returned — although some brands will deduct certain fees.

For context, I'm a side and stomach sleeper and my wife is a back sleeper; between the two of us, we've got all the major sleeping styles covered. You can find out how we tested, more models we tested that missed the cut, and how to shop for a mattress further down.

Here are the best mattresses of 2021
Best mattresses by sleep style and body type
Best mattresses by type
Best mattresses by comfort Best mattress overall

For being in the middle of the pack price-wise, the DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress offers an impressive array of features, including excellent support, a firmness that will appeal to most sleepers, and a long trial period and warranty.

Overview of the DreamCloud Premier Hybrid MattressCategoryProduct InformationBest forSide and back sleepersAvailable sizesTwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal kingMattress typeHybridFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)5Motion isolation (1 awful to 10 best)7Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)6Edge support (1 awful to 10 best)8Trial period365 nightsWarrantyLifetimeWeight99 lbs.Thickness15 in.Shipping and returnsFree shipping and returns White-glove delivery and mattress removalUnavailable due to pandemicShowroom availabilityYes, nationwideOur review of the DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress

Pros: Impressive 365-night trial period, lifetime warranty, made with CertiPUR-US certified foams, good heat dissipation, great motion transfer, excellent edge support, easy to move with side handles

Cons: Could maybe be more supportive for stomach sleepers

We think the DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress is the best mattress you can buy. It's also our top pick for the best hybrid/innerspring mattress and a tremendous mid-priced pick, coming in at $1,399 for a Queen.

Along with the Birch Mattress by Helix, the DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress was one of the only beds we tested to do well in every category we assessed. The unboxing process was seamless. Though the mattress is on the heavier side, it's easy to move since it has handles sewn into the left and right sides and doesn't flop around.

The DreamCloud had the most significant raw temperature drop in our heat dissipation tests. The motion isolation and edge support are splendid for couples sharing a bed, even if they have different sleeping styles, since the mattress' average firmness will appeal to most sleepers. And, the Premier Hybrid is made of high-quality materials, including CertiPUR-US certified foams.

Lastly, but importantly, if you don't like the mattress in your first year of ownership, you can return it for a full refund. If you keep it, the bed is covered for life.

Maria Del Russo, a senior editor for Insider Reviews, has slept on the mattress for two months. After a short break-in period, she found the DreamCloud Premier molded perfectly to her body. She also liked that it kept her cool.

Read our full DreamCloud Hybrid Premier Mattress review.

$1399.00 FROM DREAMCLOUDOriginally $1599.00 | Save 13%

Best budget mattress

Back and stomach sleepers looking for a budget-friendly bed should strongly consider the Zinus Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattress.

Overview of the Zinus Cooling Gel Memory Foam MattressCategoryProduct InformationBest forBack and stomach sleepers, hot sleepersAvailable sizesTwin, twin XL, full, short queen, queen, king, Cal kingMattress typeFoamFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)7Motion isolation (1 awful to 10 best)8Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)8Edge support (1 awful to 10 best)3Trial period100 nightsWarranty10 yearsWeight42.3, 51.9, 59.9, or 70.2 lbs. depending on thicknessThickness8, 10, 12, and 14-in. optionsShipping and returnsFree shipping and returns White-glove delivery and mattress removalNoShowroom availabilityNoOur review of the Zinus Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattress

Pros: Affordable, 100-night trial, 10-year warranty, made of cooling gel memory foam, excellent motion isolation, four thickness options, great for back and stomach sleepers

Cons: Took a week to expand to full size, poor edge support

The Zinus Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattress features one of my favorite materials to sleep on: gel memory foam. I've found this material does an outstanding job of keeping my hot-sleeping body cool through the night, and the Zinus mattress was no exception.

The memory foam sinks in to comfort the contours of your body while still providing firmer-than-average support. Because of this, I felt better sleeping on my stomach during testing rather than on my side. Back sleepers may also like the firmness of this model.

The mattress passed my motion transfer tests with flying colors. When I was sleeping on it, my wife and dog could sneak into bed without jostling or waking me.

The mattress comes in four thickness options — 8, 10, 12, and 14 inches. I tested the 14-inch Queen. In general, I've found that mattresses that are 10 inches or thinner aren't as supportive, so you should consider the thicker styles.

At under $500, you would expect compromises, and there are a few, but they are easy to look past if you want to save a few dollars. First, the edge support is awful. It's hard to lie on the edges and not fall off. The mattress also took a week to expand to its full size. Out of the box, it was about half its full thickness. The directions suggest it will only take 72 hours to expand, but that was not my experience. It also had an initial odor, but that went away quickly.

At 70 pounds, the mattress is easy to move around, especially since it is firmer and doesn't flop around.

$559.00 FROM ZINUS

Best luxury mattress

When price is no object, the Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Hybrid is your best bet with its contouring, supportive, and cooling combination of foam and springs delivered and set up in your bedroom.

Overview of the Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Hybrid MattressCategoryProduct InformationBest forHot sleepers, all sleeping stylesAvailable sizesTwin long, full, queen, king, split king, Cal king, split Cal kingMattress typeHybridFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)6Motion isolation (1 awful to 10 best)10Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)7Edge support (1 awful to 10 best)3Trial period90 nightsWarranty10 yearsWeight123 lbs.Thickness12 in.Shipping and returnsFree shipping, $175 return fee White-glove delivery and mattress removalFree on mattresses, foundations, and power basesShowroom availabilityYes, nationwideOur review of the Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Hybrid Mattress

Pros: Medium firmness that suits an array of sleeping styles, excellent motion transfer dampening, sleeps cool, 10-year warranty, white-glove delivery

Cons: Heavy, subpar edge support, expensive, shipping deducted from refund if you choose to return the mattress during the trial period

If you want to spend top dollar on a mattress that you'll spend a third of your life on for the next 10+ years, then the Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Hybrid is your best bet. The patented Tempur material has similar body contouring to memory foam but with added support and pressure relief without the sinking feeling, which is why it's also our top pick for back sleepers. 

The PRObreeze mattress is different from other Tempur-Pedic mattresses in that it is designed with a focus on cooling. Tempur-Pedic also offers a similar mattress in the series, called the LUXEbreeze, that provides an even cooler sleep at an even heftier price tag (currently $4,999). However, I haven't personally tested it yet.

The PRObreeze is my main mattress when I'm not testing other models. I appreciate the luxury feel and how it cradles my body while keeping me from overheating. And, I don't notice when my dog jumps in the bed thanks to the impressive motion isolation. 

If you're looking to splurge, I recommend pairing the PRObreeze with the Tempur-Ergo Smart Base, which features a sleep tracker to monitor your sleep and makes recommendations for improved rest.

Read our full Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Hybrid with Ergo Smart Base review

$3999.00 FROM TEMPUR-PEDICOriginally $4299.00 | Save 7%

Best mattress for back pain

The Leesa Hybrid Mattress has great edge support and motion isolation. The mix of memory foam and pocket springs leads to an average firmness that makes it an outstanding solution for back pain sufferers of any sleeping style.

Overview of the Leesa Hybrid MattressCategoryProduct InformationBest forAll sleeping stylesAvailable sizesTwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal kingMattress typeHybridFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)5Motion isolation (1 awful to 10 best)7Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)7Edge support (1 awful to 10 best)7Trial period100 nightsWarranty10 yearsWeight115 lbs.Thickness11 in.Shipping and returnsFree shipping and returnsWhite-glove delivery and mattress removalYes, $150Showroom availabilityYes, nationwideOur review of the Leesa Hybrid Mattress

Pros: Average firmness that will appeal to a broad range of sleepers, edge support and motion isolation are ideal for couples, 100-night risk-free home trial, made of foam and pocket springs for support and breathability, 10-year warranty

Cons: Heavy, hard to move around

For about a year, the Leesa Hybrid was the main mattress I slept on when I wasn't testing others. 

The bed features five layers: a cooling premium foam top layer, a contouring memory foam layer, and 14.5-gauge pocket springs that help with breathability sandwiched by two core foam support layers.

My wife and I appreciated that its average firmness suited our backs, stomachs, and sides, and I was incredibly impressed with its motion isolation — I rarely noticed when my wife got up in the night. The edge support is also great, thanks to the innerspring coils that go all the way to the very edge of the bed. 

When I tested the Leesa Hybrid, I never woke up with back pain, though I have a history of pain back issues. When I wrenched my back trying to put a standing desk together, the mattress provided the pressure relief and comfort I needed to get restful sleep and facilitate the healing process. 

However, this is based on my personal experience. If you suffer from back pain, you should always consult your doctor before purchasing a new mattress.

I also encourage you to have someone else set up this bed if you have back pain. I tempted fate and tackled the task on my own. I tested a King mattress for this guide, and it weighed 142 pounds. I set up the bed on my own, but I relied on white-glove mattress removal once I was done with it. 

Save 15% on the Leesa Hybrid when using the Insider-exclusive promo code INSIDER15 at checkout.

Read our full Leesa Hybrid Mattress review

$1614.15 FROM LEESA Originally $1899.00 | Save 15%

Best mattress for side sleepers

The Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress is ideal for side sleepers looking for a plush-comfort bed with great heat dissipation.

Overview of the Casper Nova Hybrid MattressCategoryProduct InformationBest forSide sleepersAvailable sizesTwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal kingMattress typeHybridFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)4Motion isolation (1 awful to 10 best)3Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)8Edge support (1 awful to 10 best)6Trial period100 nightsWarranty10 yearsWeight89 lbs.Thickness12 in.Shipping and returnsFree shipping and returnsWhite-glove delivery and mattress removalYes, $149Showroom availabilityYes, nationwideOur review of the Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress

Pros: Made with eco-friendly materials, 100-night risk-free trial, good edge support, excellent heat dissipation, the plush comfort is ideal for side sleepers

Cons: Held on to its new bed smell, not the best for stomach or back sleepers, failed motion transfer tests

The Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress is also our pick for the best soft mattress, an attribute that makes it ideal for side sleepers, who usually find a bed with some give to be the most comfortable. (Read more: the best mattresses for side sleepers.) Additionally, we think it's a good solution for petite sleepers and older individuals who may not have as much natural cushioning as they once did and could benefit from the soothing comfort of a soft mattress.

Side sleepers will appreciate the zoned pressure relief built into the foam layers of the Nova Hybrid. The second foam layer has three ergonomic zones that are firmer around the waist, hips, and lower back and softer under the shoulders. The following foam layer features contoured cuts designed to reinforce the second layer. And, the hybrid's springs ensure your body is adequately supported while adding a level of durability. A firm border of foam helps the bed's edge support. 

I tend to overheat in bed, but I never felt hot when sleeping on the Nova Hybrid, which is impressive since I tested the mattress in the summer. When I used the bathroom in the night, the spot where I was sleeping was cooler when I returned, which helped me get back to sleep faster. 

Casper recently introduced the Nova Hybrid Snow, which costs $450 more than the Nova Hybrid but is supposed to have better cooling capabilities. I just wrapped up testing it, and I still think the Nova Hybrid is the better mattress. It has better edge support, and if the Snow has better heat dissipation, it's a minimal improvement.

Read our full Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress review.

$1885.50 FROM CASPEROriginally $2095.00 | Save 10%

Best mattress for back sleepers

The medium firmness and cradling comfort of the Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Mattress make it ideal for back sleepers, especially if you tend to overheat at night.

Overview of the Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Hybrid MattressCategoryProduct InformationBest forHot sleepers, all sleeping stylesAvailable sizesTwin long, full, queen, king, split king, Cal king, split Cal kingMattress typeHybridFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)6Motion isolation (1 awful to 10 best)10Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)7Edge support (1 awful to 10 best)3Trial period90 nightsWarranty10 yearsWeight123 lbs.Thickness12 in.Shipping and returnsFree shipping, $175 return fee White-glove delivery and mattress removalFree on mattresses, foundations, and power basesShowroom availabilityYes, nationwideOur review of the Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Hybrid Mattress

Pros: Medium firmness that suits an array of sleeping styles, excellent motion transfer dampening, sleeps cool, 10-year warranty, white-glove delivery

Cons: Heavy, subpar edge support, expensive, shipping deducted from refund if you choose to return the mattress during the trial period

Back sleepers benefit from medium-firm mattresses, though this can vary based on body type and personal preferences. It also helps if there is zoned support with extra cushioning around the hips and shoulders. Based on these factors and our subjective testing, the Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Mattress is the best option for back sleepers.

The Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Hybrid Mattress is designed for cool sleeping and provides outstanding cradling comfort. There's an outer cover that you can unzip and toss in the wash for easy cleaning and three layers of foam geared toward absorbing excessive heat and improving breathability. The base's 1,000+ spring coils and supportive foam border provide support, durability, and breathability. 

The PRObreeze is the mattress that my wife and I sleep on when I'm not testing other alternatives. As a hot sleeper, I've found it does an excellent job of keeping me from overheating. 

We exhibit just about every sleeping style between my wife and me, and we both find this slightly firm mattress works well for our bodies. I also don't feel when my wife or dog are moving around during the night — the motion dampening abilities are outstanding. However, the edge support could use some work. When sitting or lying on the edge, it sinks significantly.

The mattress is heavy and hard to move around. Fortunately, Tempur-Pedic includes white-glove delivery with the purchase of the PRObreeze. Professionals showed up at my house and set up the new mattress in under an hour. My lower back appreciated the break from heavy lifting.

Read our full Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Hybrid review

$3999.00 FROM TEMPUR-PEDICOriginally $4299.00 | Save 7%

Best mattress for stomach sleepers

With its plush Euro-top and supportive feel, the Awara Organic Luxury Hybrid Mattress supplies the ideal balance of comfort and support for stomach sleepers to get a good night's sleep.

Overview of the Awara Organic Luxury Hybrid MattressCategoryProduct InformationBest forBack and stomach sleepersAvailable sizesTwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal kingMattress typeHybridFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)6Motion isolation (1 awful to 10 best)5Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)6Edge support (1 awful to 10 best)5Trial period365 nightsWarrantyLifetimeWeight129 lbs.Thickness13 in.Shipping and returnsFree shipping and returns White-glove delivery and mattress removalUnavailable due to pandemicShowroom availabilityNoOur review of the Awara Organic Luxury Hybrid Mattress

Pros: 365-night risk-free trial, lifetime warranty, great for stomach sleepers, good heat dissipation, made of eco-friendly materials, all four sides have two handles

Cons: Not ideal for side sleepers, heavy, sinks significantly when sitting on the side

Stomach sleepers generally prefer the firmest mattresses, though this will vary based on personal preference and body type. A firmer mattress supports stomach sleepers by keeping your spine aligned, protecting you from back pain. 

The Awara Organic Luxury Hybrid Mattress gives you a slightly firm, comfortable support along with one of the longest trial periods and warranties in the industry.

The firm feel is balanced by a plush Euro-top made of organic wool. Next is a layer of Rainforest Alliance-certified Dunlop latex, and the support core contains individually wrapped coils.

The cotton blend mattress cover has two handles sewn into all four sides for easy movability. This feature is a must since the Awara is one of the heaviest mattresses in our guide. Despite the heft, I set it up without help in about five minutes. The mattress had a strong initial odor that dissipated within a few hours.

As a combination side and stomach sleeper, I preferred stomach sleeping on the Awara. During the testing period, I didn't have any trouble falling asleep, and each morning I awoke feeling refreshed. I also didn't experience any soreness, a common issue for stomach sleepers.

Both the edge support and motion isolation were middle of the road. When sitting on the edge of the bed, I didn't feel like I sunk much, but when I was lying on the edge, I felt uncomfortable, like I might fall off. The Awara also failed the objective motion transfer tests each time, but the mattress is quite bouncy, which some people may like.

$1199.00 FROM AWARA SLEEPOriginally $1399.00 | Save 14%

Best mattress for heavy people

The Big Fig Mattress is constructed for heavier individuals, with firm support and a high weight capacity for the bed and the included foundation.

Overview of the Big Fig MattressCategoryProduct InformationBest forHeavy individuals, back and stomach sleepersAvailable sizesTwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal kingMattress typeHybridFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)7Motion isolation (1 awful to 10 best)6Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)6Edge support (1 awful to 10 best)10Trial period120 nightsWarranty20 yearsWeight116 lbs.Thickness13 in.Shipping and returnsFree shipping and returns White-glove delivery and mattress removal$199 + $50 for mattress removalShowroom availabilityNoOur review of the Big Fig Mattress

Pros: Above-average firmness, 1,100-pound weight capacity, good motion isolation, good heat dissipation, exceptional edge support, 20-year warranty

Cons: Hard to move around, may not be comfortable for side sleepers or petite individuals

The Big Fig Mattress is unique because it can support two sleepers with a combined weight of 1,100 pounds and comes with a 1,200-pound-capacity foundation. Factor in the firmer-than-average support, and you have the ideal mattress for heavier individuals.

The Big Fig weighs more than most mattresses, so setup took a little more effort, but I had it unboxed and ready to use in 10 minutes. An initial odor took a day to dissipate, so air the bed out before you sleep on it.

The cover is made of a cooling material. Below are three CertiPUR-US certified foam layers that promote airflow, edge support, and durability. The individually wrapped coils add more support and durability. Lastly, 16 tufts hold the materials in place to prevent shifting over time. 

I usually sleep on my side, but with the firm feel of the Big Fig, I was more comfortable on my stomach and back. Still, I recognized the bed's dynamic feel, and I slept well during testing, even if I wasn't in my preferred position. I may not be the target market for the mattress. Heavier side sleepers will likely be more comfortable since they will sink into the mattress more, which will keep their spine aligned.

As a hot sleeper, I didn't overheat while testing the Big Fig. It did an above-average job of dissipating heat and staying cool.

The edge support of the Big Fig is among the best I've experienced. I felt just as comfortable on the edge as I did in the middle, and there was a slight sag when I sat on the side. 

I rarely find good motion isolation and bounce in the same mattress. The Big Fig came close. It failed our bowling ball test, but in my subjective experience, the mattress's motion dampening was pretty good. The impressive bounce could facilitate intimate activities.

$1899.00 FROM BIG FIG

$1899.00 FROM BIG FIGBest foam mattress

The Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress features contouring foam that cradles sleepers of all body types and sleeping styles while offering outstanding pressure relief and heat dissipation.

Overview of the Tempur-Pedic Cloud MattressCategoryProduct InformationBest forAll sleeping stylesAvailable sizesTwin, twin long, full, queen, king, Cal kingMattress typeFoamFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)6Motion isolation (1 awful to 10 best)7Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)9Edge support (1 awful to 10 best)3Trial period90 nightsWarranty10 yearsWeight58 lbs.Thickness10 in.Shipping and returnsFree shipping, $175 return fee White-glove delivery and mattress removalFree on mattresses, foundations, or power basesShowroom availabilityYes, nationwideOur review of the Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress

Pros: Great heat dissipation, outstanding motion isolation, 90-night trial, 10 inches thick with three layers of supportive and comforting Tempur foam that caters to all sleeping types

Cons: A shipping charge is deducted from your refund if you choose to return your bed, unimpressive edge support, no white-glove delivery

The Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress arrives in a box now like many other brands; you open the box, remove the mattress, cut through the plastic, and unroll. Like many foam mattresses, it had an odor that dissipated after a few hours. 

There are three foam layers: a soft and responsive comfort top layer, a firmer support layer, and finally, a supportive and durable base. The polyester-blend stretch cover is moisture-wicking and breathes well. 

I was struck by how the patented foam contoured to my body and offered impressive pressure relief. I was comfortable on my stomach and side, and my wife, a back sleeper, also enjoyed the feel. During testing, I fell asleep within minutes of lying down.

Unlike most all-foam mattresses, the Cloud didn't overheat. When I got up at night, the heat dissipated, making it cool enough to fall right back asleep when I got back in bed. The Cloud also passed my objective motion isolation tests, and when my rambunctious dog jumped onto the bed in the morning, I barely noticed.

The Cloud also supported my back well. I suffer from lower back pain that flares up when I sleep on an unsupportive mattress. While testing the bed, I didn't experience any back aggravation.

The biggest negative is the Cloud's poor edge support. I noticed significant sinking when I sat or laid on the edge of the bed. This isn't a deal-breaker; however, couples may want a King for more space without feeling uncomfortable on the edges. 

Read our full Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress review

$1399.30 FROM TEMPUR-PEDICOriginally $1999.00 | Save 30%

Best hybrid mattress

The DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress performed well in all of the tests we put it through, making it ideal for most sleeping types, couples, and people who tend to overheat at night.

Overview of the DreamCloud Premier Hybrid MattressCategoryProduct InformationBest forSide and back sleepersAvailable sizesTwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal kingMattress typeHybridFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)5Motion isolation (1 awful to 10 best)7Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)6Edge support (1 awful to 10 best)8Trial period365 nightsWarrantyLifetimeWeight99 lbs.Thickness15 in.Shipping and returnsFree shipping and returns White-glove delivery and mattress removalUnavailable due to pandemicShowroom availabilityYes, nationwideOur review of the DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress

Pros: Impressive 365-night trial period, lifetime warranty, made with CertiPUR-US certified foams, good heat dissipation, great motion transfer, excellent edge support, easy to move with side handles

Cons: Lacks support for stomach sleepers

We chose to combine hybrid and innerspring mattresses for this update because the line between the two categories has blurred so much in recent years.

As with most hybrids, the DreamCloud Premier consists of a combination of individually wrapped coils and foam. The bed's top layer is high-loft memory foam covered by quilted cashmere. From top to bottom, the other layers are high-density gel memory foam, supportive foam, coils, and a porous foam base.

Despite its heft, the DreamCloud is easy to maneuver thanks to handles on the long sides of the bed. Removing the mattress from the box and setting it up took about five minutes. While there was a new bed smell initially, the odor dissipated by bedtime.

The DreamCloud Premier scored well in every performance test. It particularly excelled in heat dissipation: within two minutes of getting out of bed, the surface temperature of the bed dropped by 14 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The edge support and motion isolation were excellent, making this a smart option for couples. When sharing the bed with my wife, I didn't notice her shifting position in the night. When lying on the edge of the bed, I still felt supported.

Though the DreamCloud Premier is billed as a "luxury firm," I found the mattress soft and preferred sleeping on my side rather than my stomach. Still, I was comfortable enough on my stomach; I just didn't feel supported. My wife appreciated the cushy feel while sleeping on her back.

What's particularly unique about DreamCloud is its 365-night trial period and lifetime warranty, which is among the most generous of the mattresses I've tested. 

Read our full DreamCloud Hybrid Premier Mattress review

$1399.00 FROM DREAMCLOUDOriginally $1599.00 | Save 13%

Best adjustable bed

Suppose you and your partner just can't agree on mattress firmness. In that case, the Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed allows you to customize each side to your perfect firmness, and the bed automatically makes adjustments based on your body's position.

Overview of the Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart BedCategoryProduct InformationBest forAll sleeping stylesAvailable sizesTwin long, full, queen, king, split king, flextop king, Cal king, split Cal king, flextop Cal kingMattress typeAdjustable airFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)20 firmness levelsMotion isolation (1 awful to 10 best)3Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)3Edge support (1 awful to 10 best)6Trial period100 nightsWarranty15 yearsWeight80 lbs.Thickness12 in.Shipping and returnsFree shipping but return shipping fees applyWhite-glove delivery and mattress removalFree with purchase of mattress and baseShowroom availabilityYes, nationwideOur review of the Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed

Pros: 20 firmness options make it ideal for all sleeping styles, good edge support, white glove delivery included with purchase, built-in sleep tracker, automatic air adjustments based on sleeping position

Cons: Hard to move, terrible motion isolation, may not be ideal for hot sleepers

Your mattress should last you for at least 10 years. In that time, a lot can happen to change your firmness preferences. For example, when I lost significant weight, I developed a liking for softer mattresses. Also, if you share a bed with someone, the odds are pretty small that you'll find the same firmness comfortable. These scenarios demonstrate why an airbed with adjustable firmness is a good investment.

The Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed is the best adjustable airbed I've tested. Two features set it apart. First, it has an automatic function that, when engaged, will adjust the firmness of the mattress as you shift positions in the night. Second, the bed tracks your sleeping and offers custom recommendations in the app (available for iOS and Android).

While I found the adjustable air feature was a game-changer and significantly improved my sleep, the sleep tracking was nowhere near as accurate as my Garmin Forerunner 945 watch. However, even during the month I tested the mattress, Sleep Number made improvements to the app. A representative for the company said a team is constantly making tweaks to make it more useful.

I appreciated that I didn't have to lift a finger to unbox the mattress. Two Sleep Number delivery people set up the dual adjustable bed frames and King-size mattress in about 45 minutes and made sure the bed connected to my phone and worked correctly.

The separate firmness level settings for each side and good edge support make it a smart choice for couples. However, the mattress failed my motion transfer tests each time, and my wife remarked that the bed felt like a waterbed with how noticeable the motion was. Another negative is how hard it is to move the mattress. It's attached securely to the base, so if you want to move it, you need to bring the base with you or figure out how to detach the mattress. Both methods require significantly more effort than your standard mattress.

Read our full Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed review

$3299.00 FROM SLEEP NUMBEROriginally $3799.00 | Save 13%

Best latex mattress

The Birch Mattress by Helix is made of sustainable, environmentally-friendly materials and offers firm and soft comfort options to accommodate several preferences.

Overview of the Birch Mattress by HelixCategoryProduct InformationBest forAll sleeping stylesAvailable sizesTwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal kingMattress typeHybridFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)7Motion isolation (1 awful to 10 best)10Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)5Edge support (1 awful to 10 best)10Trial period100 nightsWarranty25 yearsWeight114 lbs.Thickness11 in.Shipping and returnsFree shipping and returns White-glove delivery and mattress removalUnavailable due to pandemicShowroom availabilityOnly in NYC and inaccessible during the pandemicOur review of the Birch Mattress by Helix

Pros: Above-average firmness, soft topper available for an extra cost, excellent motion isolation, made of natural materials, Greenguard Gold certified

Cons: Pillow top is slightly smaller than the mattress and doesn't attach to it, not ideal for side sleepers without the pillow top, no white-glove delivery

From the cover to the latex and the wool, the Birch Mattress by Helix is made of eco-friendly materials. The mattress is Greenguard Gold-certified to be free of harsh chemicals, and it's handmade in the US. The top layer is made of a fire-retardant layer of natural wool fibers with rayon, followed by an organic wool layer for temperature regulation and comfort. The middle layers are made of natural Talalay latex certified by several environmental organizations, including OEKO-Tex, and individually-wrapped coils for support and limited motion transfer. The base is organic wool batting for durability and stability, and the cover is made of GOTS-certified organic cotton.

When I unboxed the Birch, I found these materials proved hefty. Though it didn't come with special tools or instructions, it was a standard unboxing — remove the bed from the box and cut through the layers of plastic. Within five minutes, the mattress was resting on the bed frame. There was a slight initial odor, though it dissipated within hours. 

The Birch Mattress by Helix on its own is firm, but for an extra cost, you can add a plush organic mattress topper to make the bed softer. I tested the mattress with the topper since I prefer a softer feel, and I was much more comfortable than laying on the base mattress alone, especially when sleeping on my side. Though, if you like a firmer feel, you might want to skip the topper. 

Thanks to its outstanding edge support and motion isolation, the Birch Mattress is an excellent solution for couples. I performed my motion transfer test on the bed four times, and it only failed once. When I sat on the side of the bed, I felt supported, and when I laid on the very edge, I didn't feel like I was going to fall.

After testing the mattress, I gave it to my 6-foot-5 teenager. He deals with joint pain from constantly growing, and he said the bed helped soothe his aches. We both sleep hot, and the Birch did an adequate job of dissipating heat. However, on hotter nights, he reports the mattress is uncomfortably hot.

$1299.00 FROM BIRCHOriginally $1699.00 | Save 24%

Best mattress for hot sleepers

The Purple Premier Hybrid Mattress not only has outstanding heat dissipation, but the patented Purple Grid offers pressure relief to all sleeping styles.

Overview of the Purple Premier Hybrid MattressCategoryProduct InformationBest forAll sleeping stylesAvailable sizesTwin XL, full, queen, king, Cal King, split kingMattress typeHybridFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)5Motion isolation (1 awful to 10 best)3Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)10Edge support (1 awful to 10 best)5Trial period100 nightsWarranty10 yearsWeight145 lbs.Thickness12 in.Shipping and returnsFree shipping and returnsWhite-glove delivery and mattress removalFreeShowroom availabilityYes, nationwideOur review of the Purple Premier Hybrid Mattress

Pros: Excellent heat dissipation, great for all sleeping types, free white-glove delivery, outstanding pressure relief, bouncy

Cons: Poor motion isolation, heavy

I use a laser thermometer to measure heat dissipation and consider how hot a mattress gets and how quickly it returns to its starting temperatures. 

The Purple Premier Hybrid is our top pick for a cooling mattress because, based on our temperature tests, it builds up the least amount of heat of any mattress we tried and quickly releases any remaining heat within two minutes of getting out of bed. In my tests, the Purple mattress returned to within three degrees of the ambient temperature in those two minutes. It was almost as if no one had been sleeping on it at all.

The Purple Hybrid Premier mattress is so heavy I needed help unboxing it. Once released from the packaging, we carried the bed to the foundation. I strongly recommend taking advantage of Purple's free white glove delivery of the Hybrid Premier.

What sets Purple beds apart from other brands is the "Purple Grid," which is made up of hyper-elastic gel polymer "grid lines" with one-inch-square open spaces between. You can choose how thick you want your grid: two, three, or four inches. I chose the three-inch thickness option, sometimes called the Purple 3. 

Below the grid is a CertiPUR-US certified polyurethane foam layer, and below that is 7.5-inch pocketed springs. The cover is soft and breathable.

When you first lay down on the Purple, the feel of the grid is noticeable since it's located right under the cover. It's a unique feel that can take some getting used to. 

I preferred to sleep on my side when testing the Premier Hybrid, but I was also comfortable on my stomach. I like the responsiveness of the grid, which immediately relieves pressure where you need it to most. 

While the Premier Hybrid failed our objective motion isolation tests spectacularly, my subjective experience wasn't so bad. On occasion, my dog could sneak onto the mattress without me noticing. Also, I noticed the so-so motion isolation was likely due to the exceptional bounce of the bed, which couples may appreciate.

$2299.00 FROM PURPLEOriginally $2699.00 | Save 15%

Best firm mattress

The Airweave Mattress has a breathable and non-toxic polyethylene core that offers ultra-firm support to all parts of the bed, even the very edges.

Overview of the Airweave MattressCategoryProduct InformationBest forBack and stomach sleepersAvailable sizesTwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal kingMattress typeFoamFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)10 (9 with insert)Motion isolation (1 awful to 10 best)7Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)7Edge support (1 awful to 10 best)10Trial period100 nightsWarranty10 yearsWeight71.5 lbs.Thickness8 in.Shipping and returnsFree shipping and returns within the contiguous USWhite-glove delivery and mattress removal$40 for white-glove delivery, $125 for all non-California mattress removals, $0 for California-based removalsShowroom availabilityOnly in Brooklyn, NYOur review of the Airweave Mattress

Pros: Features a soft insert to transform the bed from incredibly firm to just firm, great heat dissipation, outstanding edge support, decent motion isolation, 100-night sleep trial, machine-washable cover

Cons: Some assembly required, hard to move around, not recommended for side sleepers

The Airweave Mattress is one of the most unique beds I've ever tested — it's modular and requires more assembly than most mattresses. The polyethylene core is broken into three blocks. You place these on the bottom half of the cover, seal up an inner cover, add the soft polyester layer, and zip on the top of the cover. With this level of assembly, white-glove delivery would be an attractive option. Unfortunately, Airweave does not currently offer this service.

I like that there's a soft layer insert that you can easily remove if you'd prefer an ultra-firm mattress rather than just firm. Even with the soft layer, the bed was firmer than I'd like, and sleeping on my side was out of the question. I mainly slept on my stomach and a little on my back when testing this mattress, and I was surprisingly comfortable in these positions. I appreciated how cool the bed slept, thanks to the breathable core.

In my experience, mattresses less than 10 inches thick are not supportive enough, but at 8 inches thick, the Airweave surprisingly offered plenty of support. With its short stature and light weight — the Queen only weighs 71.5 pounds — you might assume the mattress would be easy to move around, but it's a beast. The blocks cause the bed to flop, which adds to the difficulty.

The Airweave is an excellent solution for anyone who loves firm mattresses. The edge support is terrific on all sides, and the bed performed well in my motion transfer tests. When I dropped the bowling ball, the soda can rarely fell over on the first impact, but the bed was incredibly bouncy, and the can would sometimes fall over on the second bounce.

$1950.00 FROM AIRWEAVE

Best soft mattress

The Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress is the brand's softest mattress and offers cushiony support for folks who like a "sinking in" feeling to their mattress.

Overview of the Casper Nova Hybrid MattressCategoryProduct InformationBest forSide sleepersAvailable sizesTwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal kingMattress typeHybridFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)4Motion isolation (1 awful to 10 best)3Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)8Edge support (1 awful to 10 best)6Trial period100 nightsWarranty10 yearsWeight89 lbs.Thickness12 in.Shipping and returnsFree shipping and returnsWhite-glove delivery and mattress removalYes, $149Showroom availabilityYes, nationwideOur review of the Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress

Pros: Made with eco-friendly materials, 100-night risk-free trial, good edge support, excellent heat dissipation, the plush comfort is ideal for side sleepers

Cons: Held on to its new bed smell, not the best for stomach or back sleepers, failed motion transfer tests

The Nova Hybrid is one of Casper's newest and softest mattresses, ideal for my side-sleeping body. When my muscles and joints were aching after exercising, the Nova Hybrid cradled my body and offered pressure relief in all the right areas. This is thanks to the supportive foam layers with ergonomic zones that are firmer around the lower back, waist, and hips, and softer under the shoulders to help align your spine.

The mattress is made of CertiPUR-US certified foam, and the cover is partially composed of recycled bottles, making it an eco-friendly alternative. There are two layers of Casper's proprietary "Airscape" foam to help with the airflow, and the topmost layer has small perforations for breathability.

With all of the layers of foam and springs, the Nova Hybrid is heavy and flops around as you move it. Fortunately, it comes with handles sewn into each corner to make it more manageable. 

The motion-dampening properties, however, leave much to be desired. The Nova Hybrid failed my motion transfer tests, and when sharing the bed with my wife and dog, I could feel when either of them moved.

I found the Nova Hybrid cradled my body just right, especially when my muscles were screaming after strenuous workouts. I appreciated how my body would wake up refreshed and ready for more punishment.

I just finished testing the new Nova Hybrid Snow upgrade, designed to offer better heat dissipation for an extra $450. It had the same comfy soft feel but wasn't significantly cooler than the Nova Hybrid and appeared to have worse edge support. We still prefer the Nova Hybrid.

Read our full Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress review.

$1885.50 FROM CASPEROriginally $2095.00 | Save 10%

What else we tested

We've tested dozens of mattresses over the years, and there are none that we outright don't recommend. Every mattress we've tested could potentially be a good fit for the right individual. However, here are a few that missed the cut for our guide but are worth considering.

What else we recommend and why

Under $1,000

Nest Bedding Robin Flippable Hybrid: Formerly known as the "Flip Double-Sided Hybrid," this affordable bed is unique in that you can flip it. One side has a medium firmness, and the other is firmer. The medium side is the best budget option for side sleepers since our budget pick is best for back and stomach sleepers. I was impressed with the excellent edge support, how easy it is to move around, and that it's made of CertiPUR-US foam. The most significant negative was the poor motion isolation. 

Bear Original: The Bear Original does a good job of cooling, is made in the US of CertiPUR-US certified foams, has great edge support, and is easy to set up and move around. However, it's on the firmer side, so it was uncomfortable for side sleeping. Also, the motion isolation was poor, so it may not be the ideal option for couples.

Nectar Memory Foam: There's a lot to like about Nectar's flagship mattress. It just wasn't the best in any specific category. I like that you can try it risk-free with a 365-night trial, and if you keep it, it's backed by a lifetime warranty. I found it was softer than average, which was comfortable for my side sleeping. It also has great heat dissipation, excellent motion isolation, and average edge support. However, I would be hesitant to recommend it for back and stomach sleepers because it's so soft.

Bear Pro: Despite feeling a little softer than average, I was comfortable on my stomach and side while sleeping on the Bear Pro, and I think its all-foam construction will appeal to all sleeping types. The copper-infused foam, gel-infused foam, and breathable Celliant cover give the bed impressive heat dissipation. The main negatives are it offers poor edge support, and it's a bit pricey for an all-foam mattress. Read our full review

Allswell Supreme Hybrid: This is one of the best mattresses you will find under $1,000. It features a combination of copper and graphite gel-infused memory foam and pocket coils, which give it a medium firmness that will appeal to many different types of sleepers. The edge support is great, but it sleeps hot and is quite heavy. Also, it's only available online and not in showrooms.

Casper Original: The Casper Original was our previous pick for the best all-foam mattress, and we still recommend it. We like the Casper Original because it works well for a wide array of sleeping styles, is made of eco-friendly materials, has excellent heat dissipation, and exhibits great motion dampening. However, it does not have good edge support. Read our full review.

Under $2,000

Brooklyn Bedding Sedona Hybrid: The Sedona Hybrid is a luxury mattress made of CertiPUR-US certified foams and up to 1,000 coils. You can test it out for 120 nights risk-free. I liked how hassle-free the unboxing was and how the mattress has handles for easy movability. The average firmness should appeal to a broad audience, but I just could not get comfortable no matter what position I was in. And, while the heat dissipation and edge support are average, the mattress failed my motion transfer tests every time.

Over $2,000

Amerisleep AS5 Hybrid: Amerisleep offers five mattresses, AS1 through AS5, each with a specific benefit. I've tested the AS3, the company's best-selling bed, but I much prefer its softer, luxury mattress, the AS5. Due to its soft feel, it's an outstanding solution for anyone who likes softer beds. Since it sleeps hot, people who get too cold at night may prefer this mattress. Also, it has poor edge support and failed my motion isolation tests, so it's better suited for people who sleep alone. Overall, though, I like how it cradled my body.

Saatva Solaire Adjustable Mattress: The Saatva Solaire has a built-in air pump controlled by a corded controller that allows you to pick from 50 firmness options for your ideal comfort level. I found it worked great, but the motion isolation left a lot to be desired. Plus, you can't find the mattress in showrooms to test it out before buying. Fortunately, there's a 120-night home trial period. Read our full review.

Intellibed Matrix Grand: The Intellibed Matrix Grand is the height of luxury and features seven layers of high-quality materials, including two gel layers that flex to provide localized pressure relief and help align the spine. However, at 196 pounds, it's the heaviest mattress I've tested, and at 17 inches thick, it's hard to find fitted sheets that are deep enough to stay on the bed. I didn't find it exceptionally comfortable no matter what position I was in, the motion isolation is poor, and the return policy has questionable stipulations.

Our mattress testing methodology

I've been testing mattresses for more than four years to determine the best and personally tested all of the beds in our guide. Unless noted otherwise, each mattress I tried was a queen because it's the most popular size.

In addition to sleeping on each mattress for at least two weeks, there are many objective tests I put each model through. The most important factors I consider are comfort, edge support, and motion isolation.

Here are some of the test results for the main attributes we tested:AttributeDreamCloud Premier HybridZinus Cooling Gel Memory FoamTempur-PRObreeze HybridLeesa HybridCasper Nova HybridAwara Organic Luxury HybridBig FigBirch by HelixTempur-CloudSleep Number 360 i8 Smart BedPurple Premier HybridAirweaveFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)57654677620 levels510 (9 with insert)Motion Isolation (1 awful to 10 best)78107356107337Edge Support (1 awful to 10 best)833765101036510Heat Dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)6877866593107Trial Period365 days100 nights90 nights100 nights100 nights100 nights120 nights90 nights90 nights100 nights100 nights100 nightsWarrantyLifetime10 years10 years10 years10 years25 years20 years10 years10 years15 years10 years10 yearsHere are the main attributes we look for and how we test them:

Comfort: This is a reasonably subjective characteristic based on the firmness of a mattress, how hot it sleeps, and how supportive it feels. My firmness measurement is based on testing dozens of beds and developing a feel for soft, average, and firm mattresses. I also consider heat dissipation, which I gauge using a laser thermometer to measure the temperature before I lay in the bed for at least one hour, immediately after I get up, and two minutes after I get up. 

Motion isolation: If you've ever spent the night with someone who moves around a lot in their sleep, you know how vital motion isolation is. Without it, your sleeping partner's movements will jostle you awake throughout the night. To test motion isolation, I place a 12-ounce can of soda pop in the middle of the mattress. Then I drop a 15-pound bowling ball from four feet above the bed, so it lands 12 inches from the can. If the can falls over time and time again, the motion isolation is not very good. If the can stays upright, the bed does an excellent job of dampening motion transfer.

Edge support: To test edge support, I lay on the very edge of the bed and slowly roll off — literally. If I can roll a fair amount before actually falling, then the bed has good edge support. If I fall easily, then the edge support is not very good. I also sit on the side to put on my socks and shoes to assess how much the edge sinks. I am currently developing an objective measurement that I'll "roll" out in future guides as I collect more data.

Portability: Unless you're constantly relocating or redecorating, it's unlikely you'll need to move your mattress often, so this category doesn't weigh heavily in our assessment. Still, it's nice if you can easily rotate your mattress, a task that's important for your bed's longevity. And depending on how your bed is positioned, you may need to move the mattress to put on fitted sheets. I move each mattress several times to see how heavy it feels and if it flops around, making it harder to move.

Trial and warranty: I look at the details of the warranty and home trial period, whether the mattress is available in showrooms, and whether there's white-glove delivery. The only way to know if a bed is right for you is to sleep on it for several nights, so we looked for loopholes in the fine print of the return policy and let you know about them.

Setup: I timed how long it took me to unbox and set up each mattress on my own. Also, I noted any peculiarities to the process. My nose tracks any new bed odor initially and when I go to bed, usually 10+ hours later. Lastly, I look at whether white-glove service is offered and how much it costs.

How to shop for a mattress

Buying a mattress no longer requires heading to a showroom and having a salesperson lurk over you as you lie on a bed for 10 minutes to decide if it will suit you for the next decade. We put together a handy guide of what to expect if you're shopping for a mattress online at nine popular brands.

To help you shop for a mattress, we spoke with Dr. Luis Javier Peña-Hernández, a lung and sleep health specialist at PCSI.

Consider your medical conditions

Peña-Hernández first suggests considering your medical history. "The right mattress is the most comfortable one for each person. However, consumers should consider their medical history, like respiratory diseases, allergies, scoliosis, or sleep apnea, when purchasing a mattress," Peña-Hernández said. "Patients with COPD may benefit from mattresses that are designed for adjustable beds because elevating the head of the bed can sometimes facilitate easier breathing." 

Know your sleep position

After talking to your doctor, assess your sleeping style and preferred firmness level.

"The most common mattress problem that people report is the lack of comfortability which can result in fatigue or excessive sleepiness," Peña-Hernández said. "It's hard to keep up with the day-to-day when you're not well-rested, and ultimately, it can affect your quality of life. Chronic fatigue can even have implications for your immunity and your health. A good mattress meets the criteria for the specific person's needs and promotes healthy, well-rested rest."

Though every person's preferences are different, there are some patterns that certain body types and sleeping styles seem to prefer, according to Peña-Hernández.

Side sleepers: "Vast research exists to support side sleepers benefit from medium-firm mattresses to support pressure point relief," said Peña-Hernández. "Side sleepers can experience shoulder and lower back pain if the mattress is too unsupportive."

Back sleepers: Peña-Hernández recommends medium firmness for back sleepers. "Back sleepers should strive to maintain the natural S-curvature of the spine, so the best mattress for back sleepers provides spinal support. A medium-firm mattress will help achieve this by redistributing weight and promoting healthy alignment but still contours to the body to provide cushioning where it is needed."

Stomach sleepers: Firmer mattresses tend to benefit stomach sleepers as well as heavier folks.

Consider body size and preferences

In addition to the above, you should also consider bodyweight and heat dissipation.

"Individuals concerned about their weight and weight-related complications should speak to their medical provider when considering a mattress, said Peña-Hernández. "Overweight individuals should consider a thicker mattress of at least 12 inches thick or more. Thinner mattresses won't provide you with the support you need. Coil mattresses also provide a more durable construction."

Softer mattresses are generally better for petite individuals since lighter individuals (under 130 pounds) don't sink into beds as far. Breus also notes that as people get older, they benefit from a softer mattress to address pain issues. "As we age, our skin gets thinner, which means less cushion."

Firm mattresses aren't necessarily more supportive. Instead, support is based on how well the bed cradles your body and allows your spine to relax. Since different parts of your body push down more on a mattress, such as the hips and shoulders, mattresses that offer zoned support in these areas tend to be more comfortable to a broader range of individuals. These beds also tend to cost more as the construction is more specialized.

If you overheat at night, you'll want a mattress and even bedding that does an outstanding job of dissipating heat. "Hot sleepers should consider sheets and materials made of natural fibers for their breathability," said Peña-Hernández. "Bamboo, cotton, linen, and hemp are good options as well as cooling sheets, especially sheets designed to wick moisture."

Mattress FAQsWhat kind of mattress should you buy?

There are a handful of popular mattress types to choose from.

  • Memory foam: When most people think of a bed-in-a-box, they think of memory foam mattresses. These are mattresses with multiple layers of foam that support and contour your body. However, all-foam mattresses tend to trap heat due to the construction.
  • Latex foam: This is usually preferred by people looking for an eco-friendly, cooler, and more responsive foam than traditional memory foam.
  • Hybrid: These beds combine one of the above foams with spring coils. The coils help with motion transfer and edge support, making them an excellent option for couples. The coils also help with airflow for a cooler sleep.
  • Spring: These are your more traditional beds, also called innerspring or coil mattresses. Due to the responsive coils, they offer good support, edge support, cooling, and durability. However, they are generally more expensive and primarily found in showrooms and not online.
  • Pillow-top: Pillow-tops are usually associated with innerspring mattresses but can be found on any above options. This is the smart solution for those who like a soft, cushy feel.
  • Adjustable or air beds: These beds use an air pump to adjust the firmness of your mattress to suit your needs. They are among the most expensive options but may be an ideal long-term solution since your firmness needs change with time. Couples with drastically different firmness needs would also benefit from an adjustable air bed.
What size bed should you buy?

There are six standard bed sizes. In order from smallest to largest (and usually the least to most expensive), they are:

  • Twin: If you are a smaller individual who sleeps alone, a twin (38 inches wide by 75 inches long) will serve you well.
  • Twin XL: This is the same width (38 inches) as the twin but 5 inches longer, making it better for tall people who sleep alone.
  • Full: With the same length (75 inches) as the twin but 16 inches wider, the full is designed for larger folks or anyone who just wants a bit more space
  • Queen: The queen is 80 inches long by 60 inches wide and is meant for smaller couples.
  • King: The king is 16 inches wider than the queen and better for larger couples. I recommend it if you choose a mattress with subpar edge support and are concerned about feeling uncomfortable near the edges.
  • California king: The Cal king is four inches longer but four inches narrower than the King, so it's an intelligent alternative for taller couples.

For context, my wife and I are slightly taller and heavier than average, and we share a bed with a dog and a full-body pillow. Queen mattresses are too small and uncomfortable for us, though queen is the size we test as it's the most popular. We've found king is ideal for our needs.

What's the best way to clean a mattress?

Based on expert interviews, my colleague L. Daniela Alvarez put together an excellent guide on cleaning a mattress. The experts in her article recommend deep cleaning your mattress with baking soda and a vacuum every three to six months. However, you should treat stains as quickly as possible using a disinfectant wipe. For harder stains, you may need to use a mixture of dishwashing liquid and hydrogen peroxide. 

Some mattresses have removable covers. Check with the manufacturer before removing the cover and attempting to clean it. Some brands may state that their covers are machine washable. If that is the case with your mattress, we recommend that option only as a last resort, and make sure you follow the cleaning instructions carefully.

Do I need a mattress protector?

When purchasing a new mattress, you should protect your investment by also buying a mattress protector. We regularly update our guide to the best mattress protectors and encourage you to check out our latest recommendations.

When is the best time to buy a mattress?

Though mattress makers have sales throughout the year, you can usually find the best deals during holiday weekends, like Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Black Friday/Cyber Monday.  

Also, manufacturers tend to start marking down their mattress prices in the spring as they prepare to launch a new line in June. In March, you'll usually find the widest selection with the smallest discounts. But, as you get into May, the discounts increase while the inventory becomes sparse. We keep a running list of all mattress deals and sales updated monthly and features many Insider-exclusive discounts.

What's the best mattress for back pain?

Amit Jain, MD, chief of minimally invasive spinal surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital and an associate professor of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said a medium-firm mattress is best for those with or without back pain. This was based on a 2015 study.

Tamara Huff, MD, a Georgia-based board-certified orthopedic surgeon and health disparities advocate, pointed out that it's hard to pinpoint what "medium-firm" is. She recommends avoiding the firmest mattress if you suffer from back pain. Instead, choose one that feels medium-firm to you.

I recommend looking for a mattress with zoned support. These offer more pressure relief around the hips, lower back, and shoulders. And they can do a better job of keeping your spine aligned.

Take full advantage of the home trials offered by all companies in our guide. After all, the only way to know if a mattress is right for your back is to sleep on it.

We rate the Leesa Hybrid as the best mattress for back pain, but check out our complete guide to the best mattresses for back pain for more options.

How much should you spend on a mattress?

We outlined picks at various price points, but time and again, experts have told us to think of a mattress as an investment in your health and well-being. You spend about a third of your life on your bed and should expect to spend at least $1,000 on a quality mattress. While the upfront cost may seem high, a good mattress should last you about 10 years. Below, you'll find a chart outlining the average costs of a bed. For more in-depth information, see our guide on mattress pricing

Type of mattressBudgetMid-pricedLuxuryFoam mattress$450 or lessFrom $1,000From $1,300Innerspring mattress$600 or lessFrom $1,000From $1,200Hybrid mattress$1,100 or lessFrom $1,500From $2,200Latex mattress$1,200 or lessFrom $2,000From $2,500Mattress glossary

There are plenty of terms tossed around in the mattress industry. But, what do they even mean? Here are a few common terms defined:

Edge support: This refers to how well a mattress maintains its integrity to its sides without sagging or sinking. So, a bed with good edge support will feel just as supportive on the edges as it does in the center of the mattress. On the other hand, if you feel like you're going to fall off the bed when you lay near the edge, that's a sure sign of poor edge support.

Euro top: This type of pillow top is sewn into the mattress cover to provide a plush yet supportive feel. It's commonly found on hybrid and innerspring mattresses and made of fiberfill, wool, or foam.

Innersprings: Also referred to as coils or just springs, these are corkscrew-shaped pieces of metal, usually steel, that make up the core of many of today's mattresses, including hybrid and innerspring styles. Many modern beds use "pocket coils," which are wrapped coils that help limit noise and motion transfer.

Motion isolation/motion transfer: These terms are two sides of the same coin. Motion isolation describes how well a mattress dampens the feel of movement. For example, a bed with sound motion isolation keeps you from being jostled as your partner shifts positions in the night. A mattress with good motion isolation will have minimal motion transfer. A bed with excessive motion transfer has bad motion isolation, meaning you can feel your partner's every move.

Check out our other mattress guidesRead more about Insider Reviews' top mattress reviewsRead the original article on Business Insider


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