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College reopenings could be to blame for 3,000 new coronavirus cases per day in the US

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 7:33pm
Empty cups and cans litter a lawn after a college graduation party near Indiana University on May 9, 2020.
  • College reopenings appear to be fueling the recent uptick in US coronavirus cases.
  • According to new estimates, which are still awaiting peer review, reopening colleges for in-person classes has added more than 3,000 new daily cases to the US tally.
  • Overall, cases have spiked dramatically among people in their 20s, according to a new CDC report.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Once again, the hopeful trend in the US's coronavirus outbreak didn't last. Although the country's weekly average of coronavirus cases began dropping in July, new daily cases have risen by nearly 15% over the past week, according to data from Pantheon Macroeconomics.

The uptick isn't surprising, experts say. Many US colleges welcomed students back in late August. Even before classes officially started, outbreaks were recorded among student athletes, linked to fraternity parties, and traced to crowded local bars near campuses.

New research attempts to quantify the link between college reopenings and the recent uptick in the country's COVID-19 cases. According to that math, resuming in-person classes at colleges has added more than 3,000 new coronavirus cases per day to the US tally since July.

The study, which was released as a preprint and isn't yet peer reviewed, traced cell-phone activity across nearly 780 counties with college campuses from July 15 to September 13. The researchers then compared that data to confirmed COVID-19 cases during that time period.

"Colleges are bringing people together from all over the country and that's creating this mixing environment," Martin Andersen, a coauthor of the new study, told Business Insider. "Whenever you have mixing or this increase in flow, you would expect to see a potential for increased disease transmission."

Classrooms probably aren't the main culprit  Kam's bar, which serves many students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, sells to-go drinks on May 15, 2020.

Public-health experts say it often takes about two weeks for a coronavirus case to become part of the official total, since infections take five days to manifest in symptoms, on average. Then people usually wait a bit time before getting tested, and the results usually take at least three business days to come back.

That explains why college outbreaks are being reflected in the data we see now, but didn't immediately lead to a bump in the first days after classes resumed. 

"It takes a little while for these effects to show up," Andersen said. "It's not like a campus reopens and immediately there's a spike in COVID-19 cases."

Andersen's research found that in the two weeks after college classes started, the average number of cell phones on a given campus rose by 47% compared to the two weeks prior. The increase in the number of cell phones was higher on campuses that resumed in-person classes: around 56%. Campuses that continued primarily with online learning only saw a 33% jump in the number of cell phones — probably because some students still returned to the dorms or local apartments, and teaching staff may have returned to campus as well.    

But the researchers don't think classrooms are the epicenter of transmission on college campuses. Instead, they think colleges that resumed in-person classes are probably also less likely to require masks, and perhaps more likely to allow fraternity parties or fans at sporting events.

"Sitting in a classroom with a mask and instructor in a mask — we don't think that's a big opportunity for COVID-19 to be spread," Andersen said. "So it's probably these other things that are happening, you know, the college parties, the dorms, et cetera."

He noted, however, that his current data doesn't prove that yet. 

'Do not send them home,' Fauci says of infected college students Anthony Fauci

Other data supports the theory that colleges are driving recent coronavirus transmission in the US.

More than 81,000 coronavirus cases were recorded at colleges from late July to mid-September, according to data from The New York Times. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also found that people in their 20s accounted for 20% of all COVID-19 cases from June to August — the highest of any age group. That's a jump from May, when people in their 20s accounted for only 15% of cases.

Andersen said his study doesn't mean that reopening a college inevitably leads to an outbreak, though.

"Where you draw students from matters a lot," he said. "Counties with schools that draw students from higher-risk places or places where the incidence of COVID-19 is going up have disproportionately larger increases in case counts."

That means colleges should be able to reasonably assess the risks they take when bringing students back. 

"They know where their students are coming from," Andersen said. "They can do the math better than we can about the profile of their incoming class and how risky that is."

If students are getting sick on campus, public-health experts say, colleges should not ask them to return home, since that could lead them to infect others.

"They should be able to accommodate the students in a facility, maybe a separate dorm or a separate floor, so they don't spread among the student body," Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at a Senate hearing on Wednesday. "But do not send them home to their community."

Read the original article on Business Insider

Ex-Trump administration officials all seem to agree on one thing: Their former boss is a walking disaster.

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 7:31pm
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump looks on during the Presidential Debate at Hofstra University on September 26, 2016 in Hempstead, New York.
  • Ex-Trump administration officials tend to agree on one thing: Their former boss is a walking disaster. 
  • Whether they're four star generals, energy company CEOs, or career civil servants, they paint a frightening picture of an unstable ignoramus in the White House.
  • Trump, naturally, calls them bitter liars. Who are you going to believe? 
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A common theme has emerged from comments made  by ex-Trump administration officials. Whether they were four star generals, energy company CEOs, or career civil servants, they all say their former boss is dangerously ignorant, inexcusably incompetent, and frighteningly unstable. 

In the face of this consistent and specific criticism from a slew of highly qualified people he hired, Trump's response has been to call them liars, cowards, bitter or "dumb as a rock."

The president would have the American people believe that all of these former subordinates — most of them loyal, lifelong Republicans — have got it all wrong. Only he has it right. 

The question that Trump supporters or Trump-sympathetic voters need to ask themselves is: Who are you going to believe? 

A brief list of ex-Trump administration officials' testimonials for the president 

There's far too many to recount, so let's recall just a few of the more high-profile veterans of the Trump White House:

  • Trump's former National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, a former president and chief operating officer for Goldman Sachs, reportedly called Trump a "professional liar."
  • Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who prior to joining the Trump administration was the CEO of ExxonMobil, in a meeting at the Pentagon reportedly called Trump a "f**king moron."
  • Former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who previously served as an ambassador to the UN and has worked in three Republican presidential administrations, in his memoir called Trump "erratic" and "stunningly uninformed."
  • Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a four star US Marine Corps general who commanded troops in three wars, in a statement in June said Trump "tries to divide us," that he makes "a mockery of the Constitution" and that "we are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership." He also told veteran journalist Bob Woodward: "The president has no moral compass." 
  • Former White House Chief of Staff and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, also a four star US Marine Corps general, has been the tightest-lipped about his time working for Trump. But he did say he agrees with Mattis' assessment of Trump, and he publicly disputed Trump's claim that he fired Mattis. That means Kelly effectively called Trump a liar
Every ex-Trump administration official can't be a secret Democrat 

Nobody circles the wagons, moves the goalposts or changes the subject quite like hardcore Trump supporters. 

When audio recordings of Trump bragging that he grabs women he just by their genitals, Trumpists whatabouted their way into Bill Clinton's sordid past. 

When White House advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump — the president's son-in-law and daughter — were revealed to have used private email accounts to conduct government business, the same people screaming at Trump rallies to lock Hillary Clinton up simply yawned. 

When reports emerged of Trump disparaging fallen members of the military as "suckers," they dismissed the anonymous sourcing out of hand. Never mind the fact that disparaging military personnel is nothing new for Trump, who has himself been an anonymous source in the media for decades.

It will never matter to Trump's base that the people who have worked intimately with the president at the highest levels of the administration think he's a dangerous, dishonest buffoon. 

Theirs is a cult of personality. 

As long as Trump continues to "trigger the libs," they'll abide every easily disprovable lie, every deranged conspiracy theory, and every just plain stupid thing that dribbles out of his mouth. 

But the reluctant 2016 Trump voters and Never Democrat voters ought to consider the words of the Trump former administration officials. They're not secret Democratic activists. They're staunch conservatives, or in the case of the generals, devout patriots who felt it their national duty to accept the president's offers.  

They've all seen Trump's leadership in action. And they've told us it is a horrifying thing to behold. Trump says they're all liars. 

Who are you going to believe?

Read the original article on Business Insider

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The players from the Dwight Howard trade that rocked the NBA and sent the Lakers and Magic into tailspins

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 6:06pm

Dwight Howard's Lakers tenure didn't go as planned.

  • The Los Angeles Lakers' trade for Dwight Howard was a four-team trade and one of the biggest blockbuster deals in NBA history.
  • The trade didn't help any franchise involved, as Howard's one-year stint in Los Angeles didn't work out, and the rebuild set the Orlando Magic back several seasons.
  • The deal included 12 players and five picks — here's where everyone involved is today.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories

The Dwight Howard trade to the Los Angeles Lakers was one of the biggest blockbusters in NBA history and, ultimately, a deal that didn't seem to benefit anyone.

Howard was one of the NBA's best players when the Magic shipped him to the Lakers in 2012 in a four-team trade that included the Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets.

Howard's one-year stint on the Lakers was a disaster, as he battled injury and chemistry issues on the star-studded squad. Meanwhile, the Magic's attempt at a rebuild after losing their star came well short. The Magic broke a six-year playoff drought in 2019 and have made the postseason the last two years, but have a long way to go to championship contention.

The 76ers took a swing in the trade by landing Andrew Bynum and missed, while the Nuggets may have actually gotten the best end of the deal by landing just one player — Andre Iguodala.

Eight years later, here's where all of the players and the draft picks involved in the trade ended up.

The trade centered on Dwight Howard, who was one of the NBA's best players at the time. His time in LA was a bust, however, as he battled injuries and chemistry issues. He left for the Houston Rockets in the summer of 2013. Howard hopped around the NBA after his season with the Lakers, playing for four teams over six years. After nearly falling out of the NBA, he is back with the Lakers this season. The Lakers also received Chris Duhon from the Magic. Duhon's lone season with the Lakers was his last in the NBA. He is now an assistant coach on the Illinois State basketball team. Earl Clark, a fourth-year forward, also joined the Lakers in the trade. Clark showed some promise in his NBA career but struggled with consistency. He last played in the NBA in 2015 and now plays overseas. The Magic got a haul in return, receiving players from the Lakers, 76ers, and Nuggets. The 76ers sent second-year center Nikola Vucevic to the Magic. Vucevic is still with the Magic. He has averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds for his career and was an All-Star in 2018-19. The Magic received Arron Afflalo from the Nuggets. Afflalo bounced around the league after the trade, playing for the Nuggets (again), Blazers, Knicks, Kings, and Magic (again). He last played in the NBA in 2018. He is now reportedly part of a group trying to purchase the Minnesota Timberwolves Al Harrington, a scoring forward from the Nuggets, also landed with the Magic in the trade. Harrington played two more seasons, finishing his NBA career with the Wizards in 2014. He has since played in the Big 3 and is an advocate for legal marijuana and an investor in marijuana companies.

Source: GQ

The 76ers sent the Magic rookie forward Moe Harkless, who hadn't yet played an NBA game. Harkless has since played for the Blazers and Clippers and is currently on the Knicks. He has career averages of 7.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. The Lakers traded Josh McRoberts to the Magic. McRoberts last spent a brief stint with the Mavericks in the 2017-18 season. Christian Eyenga was traded from the Lakers to the Magic. Eyenga never played in the regular season for the Magic and hasn't played in the NBA since. He now plays overseas. The Magic got several draft picks back in the trade, too. A 2013 second-round draft pick from the Nuggets became Romero Osby. Osby never played in the NBA. He played overseas until 2015 and now appears to be involved in real estate.

Source: Twitter

The Nuggets also traded the Magic a 2014 first-round pick. The Magic later sent it to the 76ers in a trade for Elfrid Payton. That pick eventually became Croatian forward Dario Saric. Saric is now on the Phoenix Suns. He averaged 10 points and 6 rebounds per game in 2019-20. The Magic received a 2017 first-round pick from the 76ers. That pick was sent back to the Sixers in the Elfrid Payton trade, then later sent to the Kings. The Kings used it to draft De'Aaron Fox. Fox is still with the Kings and looks like one of the NBA's bright, young stars. The Lakers sent a protected draft pick to the Magic that later turned into two second-round picks. The Magic used the first pick to draft Wesley Iwundu in 2017. Iwundu has played three years with the Magic, averaging 5 points and 2 rebounds per game. The Magic sent the second of those second-round picks to the Raptors, who then traded it to the Nets in another deal. The Nets used it to draft Rodions Kurucs in 2018. Kurucs has played two years with the Nets, averaging 6 points and 3 rebounds per game. The 76ers got a big piece in the trade — Lakers All-Star center Andrew Bynum. Bynum's career petered out after the trade as he played just 26 total games after the deal, none with the Sixers. He hasn't played since 2014. He attempted a comeback in 2018, but was unsuccessful. The 76ers received veteran guard Jason Richardson from the Magic in the deal. Richardson played two years with the Sixers and retired in 2015 with career averages of 17 points and 5 rebounds per game. He now plays in the Big 3. The Nuggets received Andre Iguodala from the 76ers. In the end, the Nuggets may have gotten best player in the entire deal. Iguodala played one season with the Nuggets before joining the Warriors where he became a big part of their three championships and five Finals appearances. He now plays on the Heat. Now, check out why Nikola Jokic has become an international sensation... Why the NBA world loves Nikola Jokic — the Nuggets' goofy, 7-foot Serbian star who's been compared to Tom Brady and is dominating the playoffs > Read the original article on Business Insider

Hearst faces an age and gender discrimination lawsuit

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 5:52pm

Hi! Welcome to the Insider Advertising daily for September 25. I'm Lauren Johnson, a senior advertising reporter at Business Insider. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every weekday. Send me feedback or tips at ljohnson@businessinsider.com.

Today's news: Former Esquire exec sues Hearst, layoffs at Kantar, and a former Pinterest and Facebook exec speaks out against Facebook.

A former Esquire exec is suing Hearst, alleging age and gender discriminationRead the full story here. Bain Capital research and consulting firm Kantar plans to cut 10% of US staff. Here's what we know so far.Read the full story here. Facebook's former director of monetization says Facebook intentionally made its product as addictive as cigarettes — and now he fears it could cause 'civil war'Read the full story here.More stories we're reading:

Thanks for reading and see you on Monday! You can reach me in the meantime at ljohnson@businessinsider.com and subscribe to this daily email here.

— Lauren

Read the original article on Business Insider

A GOP attack ad focuses on a Democratic candidate's arm tattoos. They cover scars from when the Taliban shot down her helicopter.

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 5:50pm
The photo of Democrat MJ Hegar featured in the conservative political action committee's website.
  • A Texas Democrat running for Congress fired back at a conservative political action committee after it created an advertisement using an image that prominently featured her tattoos.
  • The photo of former US Air Force helicopter pilot MJ Hegar, a Democrat running against Republican Sen. John Cornyn, likened her to a "radical liberal."
  • "Texans see right through this BS," Hegar told Insider.
  • Hegar commissioned the tattoos to cover up her injuries after her Pave Hawk helicopter was shot down by Taliban insurgents during a deployment to Afghanistan in 2009.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A Texas Democrat running for Congress fired back at a conservative political action committee after it created an advertisement using an image that prominently featured her tattoos.

The Texans for a Conservative Majority, a political action committee that supported other Republican super PACs, superimposed a photo of Democrat MJ Hegar on a dark background with the caption, "HARD LEFT HEGAR." The photo, which was noticeably featured at the top of the group's website, shows the tattoos on her right arm and accuses her of being a "radical liberal."

"M.J. Hegar is a radical liberal who lacks the judgment Texans need in the Senate," a caption to the photo said, adding on its website that, "M.J. Hegar is too extreme for Texas."

Hegar, who served in the US Air Force as a combat search-and-rescue pilot, commissioned the tattoos to cover up her injuries after her HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter was shot down by Taliban insurgents during a deployment to Afghanistan in 2009.

The enemy bullet fragmented across her arm and leg, causing the scars and tissue damage in those areas. Those scars, Hegar told Insider, were always a stark reminder of the shooting. Hegar received a Purple Heart for her injuries and became one of the few women to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross with a valor device.

"Every time I went down to pick up my son, I saw my scars and had flashbacks of that trauma," Hegar told Insider. "So I did what I always do — I sought to make my scars more beautiful."

"That's why I'm running for the Senate too," Hegar added. "It's just an inherent drive in me to go out and fix the problems I see. I chose cherry blossoms for the tattoo as a reminder of my time stationed in the military in Japan, and I smile with pride when I catch a glimpse of my arm as I pick up my kids."

Asked about the photo, Hegar said she embraced the imagery and that "Texans see right through this BS."

"I'm damn proud of my tattoos because they're a mark of my service to our country," Hegar said.

Hegar, is running against incumbent Republican Sen. John Cornyn, a three-term lawmaker. Several polls indicate Cornyn has a healthy lead against Hegar, including a recent Quinnipiac University poll that showed him with an 8-percentage point lead. The same poll found President Donald Trump leading former Vice President Joe Biden by 5-percentage points.

Read the original article on Business Insider

NASA has narrowed the source of an elusive leak on the space station to 2 Russian modules — one of which provides crucial life support

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 5:47pm
  • NASA is hunting for the source of a leak on the International Space Station.
  • The agency has tested most of the station but still hasn't found the source.
  • That means the leak is probably in one of the two sections crew members stayed while performing the tests.
  • One of those, the Zvezda Service Module, provides life support for the station's Russian side.
  • Engineers are looking into how they might test the remaining sections.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The International Space Station has been leaking for more than a year. 

While the station is perpetually losing some air, officials first noticed an increase in that airflow last September. At the time, the leak wasn't major, but this summer, officials noticed an uptick in that already higher-than-usual rate.

So in late August, the three crew members aboard the station — NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner — hunkered down in one module of the station and sealed off the others. After closing the hatches, they conducted leak tests on each section.

But their data didn't reveal leaks in those sections.

That leaves only two modules that could be leaking: the ones the crew didn't test because they were inside them while monitoring the rest of the station. One is the Zvezda Service Module, which provides life support for the station's Russian side. The other is the Poisk Mini-Research Module 2, which serves as a port for docking spaceships and a place crew members prepare for spacewalks.

"With the crew living and working in these modules, it was impossible to achieve the proper environmental conditions necessary for this test," NASA spokesman Daniel Huot told Business Insider.

NASA and Roscosmos, Russia's space agency, are working to identify a "window of opportunity" to test those remaining modules for leaks, he added – either by finding a way for crew members to safely isolate the untested modules, or by using specialized detectors that wouldn't require sealing the sections off.

In the meantime, Huot said, "the crew is in no danger and the space station has ample consumables onboard to manage and maintain the nominal environment." 

Consumables, in this case, refers to breathable air.

Zvezda isn't the only life-support module on the station

NASA didn't consider the leak it detected a year ago to be major. Plus, other priorities, like spacewalks and crew exchanges, kept the agency and ISS crew too busy to collect enough data about the problem.

But once the leak rate increased, the agency decided it was time to do something about it, since if the leak were to quickly grow even bigger, the pressurized air-supply tanks that NASA sends up to the ISS on resupply missions might not be enough.

The Zvezda module, which launched in July 2000, was the first livable part of the space station in orbit. It provides the Russian half of the station with oxygen and drinkable water, and it's equipped with a machine that scrubs carbon dioxide from the air. The module also contains the section's sleeping quarters, dining room, refrigerator-freezer, and bathroom. 

A diagram of the International Space Station, with the Zvezda Service Module highlighted.

Zvezda isn't the only section of the orbiting laboratory that provides life support, however. The US side of the station has its own separate, fully functioning life-support system, including oxygen generators, a kitchen, and drinkable-water systems. So theoretically, crew members could stay on the US side while conducting further tests.

The problem, though, is that Zvezda connects directly to the Soyuz spacecraft that's currently sitting attached to the ISS. That's the ship the astronauts and cosmonauts need to use to get back to Earth. Closing the module's hatches and testing it for leaks would therefore make it tough for Ivanishin, Cassidy, and Vagner to access the Soyuz quickly in case of an emergency, should they have to make a quick getaway.

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly inside a Soyuz simulator at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, March 4, 2015.

However, there's a slim chance that earlier leak tests missed something. So on Thursday, crew members used an ultra-sonic leak detector to examine several windows, valves, and seals within previously tested modules, just in case. 

The tool measures noise caused by "turbulent airflow" — in this case, an air leak that's too quiet for humans to hear. 

The crew tested windows in the Kibo section on the US side, as well as several other windows on the Russian side. Engineers on Earth will then analyze the data in the coming days. 

Not the first leak on the International Space Station 

Left: A hole that appears drilled into part of a Soyuz spacecraft at the International Space Station. Right: A patch made by the crew using epoxy.

This isn't the first leak found on the space station's Russian side, nor the most frightening. In August 2018, crew members discovered a 2-millimeter drill hole in part of a Russian Soyuz MS-09 spaceship that was docked to the station at the time.

That hole seemed to indicate a manufacturing defect — it appeared someone on Earth had attempted to plug the hole with paint, but that paint broke off after the Soyuz reached the space station.

So in December 2018, two cosmonauts donned spacesuits and floated to the outside of the Soyuz ship to study the hole in detail. They spent nearly eight hours hacking away at the insulation with a knife to find and document it. 

After that, the crew successfully patched up the hole with an epoxy sealant.

Roscosmos has stayed fairly quiet about that incident ever since.

"We know exactly what happened, but we will not tell you anything," Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin said at a youth science conference in September 2019, according to the Russian state news agency Ria Novosti.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Forget rooftop pools and private yoga rooms — the most important new luxury home amenity is a state-of-the-art air filtration system

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 5:36pm
  • Real estate agents in California have seen a surge of requests from clients for homes that come with high-quality air filtration, reports The Los Angeles Times' Sean Dean.
  • California has been battling historic wildfires that have severely worsened air quality. 
  • The country also continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, and as people are spending more time in their homes, the wealthy want to ensure that the air inside is as clean as it can be.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Luxury air filtration systems have become the latest must-have amenity among the wealthy, according to the Los Angeles Times' Sam Dean.

The surge of interest is especially apparent in California, as the state battles some of the most devastating wildfires in its history. These fires are further polluting an already polluted sky, leading to unhealthy air quality, the Times previously reported.

The pandemic, in addition to the polluted air, has led some wealthy homebuyers to begin specifically requesting to view homes that come with "clean air" or "air filtration" as an amenity — similar to the way one would previously request a hot tub or an in-home gym.

"Suddenly it's a topic of conversation," Carl Gambino, a Los Angeles-based real estate agent, told the Times. Gambino said he recently sold a $14.1 million and a $23.5 million house in the area, each of which had deluxe air filtration as a key selling point.

Real-estate developer and investor Gregory Malin told the Times that he'd begun marketing filtered air as a wellness amenity over a decade ago, recently adding a nearly $200,000 ventilation system to a 12,000-square-foot Bay Area home project he worked on.

Cleaner, more filtered air isn't just a draw in single-family residences. Luxury apartment buildings are also taking note of the interest and adjusting offerings accordingly.

Candace Jackson at Town and Country reported in August that developers, real estate agents, and architects were betting on "hospital-grade HVAC systems and germ-zapping UV filers" to lure in clients as the pandemic continues to take hold. 

"Before, these systems were something that was a want," Adam Sires, a Beverly Hills broker, told the publication. "Now they're becoming something that's a need."

Eco-friendly and wellness amenities have been among the biggest trends in high-end housing for the last several years, Business Insider's Lina Batarags and Katie Warren each previously reported. But amid the pandemic, high-quality air filtration systems have suddenly become a lot more vital to some buyers than rooftop running tracks and resident-only meditation rooms.

Read the original article on Business Insider

What Senate Republicans are saying about Trump refusing to commit to a peaceful transition of power

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 5:32pm
Sen. Lindsey Graham.

On Capitol Hill Thursday, top Republicans tried to thread the needle between reassuring the American public that a peaceful transition of power would happen, while avoiding any appearance of undermining President Donald Trump, who refused to commit to such a power transfer on Wednesday.

GOP lawmakers deployed a variety of rhetorical techniques when approached by reporters, but the common theme was that they tried to avoid rebuking Trump too strongly, while insisting one of the key tenets of democracy wouldn't be thrown out if the president refused to concede the race after November 3.

But Trump appeared to double down on his comments later on Thursday.

"We want to make sure the election is honest, and I'm not sure that it can be," the president said. "I don't know that it can be with this whole situation, unsolicited ballots. They're unsolicited — millions being sent to everybody. And we'll see."

Insider has a breakdown of why Trump's claims of rampant fraud and the potential for election interference in mail-in voting are largely baseless.

Here's what the GOP brass had to say: 

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

"I think there will be a peaceful transfer of power, and I think the real concern in terms of the election is that Joe Biden has been explicit that if he doesn't win on Election Day, he intends to challenge the legitimacy of the election," Cruz told reporters.

He added: "Hillary Clinton told him under no circumstances said should Joe Biden concede. And I think that threat to challenge the election is one of the real reasons why it is so important that we confirm the Supreme Court nominee so that there's a full Supreme Court on the bench to resolve any election challenge."

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina Graham.

When Graham was asked by a reporter if Trump should "tone down his language," he demurred.

"Well I think I don't know what it — I don't know what the question was, but we will have a peaceful transfer of power," Graham said.

Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah Sen. Mitt Romney.

Romney was asked what would happen if Trump didn't step aside if he lost.

"I don't think there's any scenario of that nature that's realistic," Romney said. "And I am absolutely confident that there will be a peaceful transition if there's a new president, or if not, why, we'll have a continuation."

When he was asked if fellow Republicans should step up if Trump still insisted he wouldn't concede the office to Biden, Romney replied, "There's no question but that all the people who had sworn to support the Constitution would assure that there would be a peaceful transition of power, including the president."

Sen. Rick Scott of Florida  Sen. Rick Scott.

"I have no concern," Scott said of whether there would be a peaceful transfer of power.

"Why not?" a reporter followed up.

"There will be a peaceful transfer — transition of power," Scott replied. "It's happened forever. It's going to happen in November, or January."

"But if it's happened forever, why couldn't the president just come out and say that?" a reporter asked.

"You should ask him," Scott said. "I'm very, I'm very comfortable there will be a peaceful transition of power. There'll be no way in the world that's not going to happen."

Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado  Sen. Cory Gardner.

"That's something I've talked about in speeches from my very first days when Nancy Pelosi peacefully handed the gavel over to John Boehner," Gardner said. "It's a hallmark of our democracy. And I've spoken at length about it in the past about the continued need to use that as a symbol of democracy."

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley.

"I would have the same concern when Hillary Clinton advised Biden not to concede the election," Grassley told reporters.

"We have a Constitution and the Constitution says when the presidency ends," he added. "You ask me just from the standpoint of what the president said: It isn't very good advice from Hillary Clinton to advise Biden about that."

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine Sen. Susan Collins.

"The peaceful transfer of power is a fundamental tenet of our democracy," Collins said. "And I am confident that we will see it occur once again.

"I don't know what his thinking was, but we have always had a controlled transition between administrations. And I'm certain that if there's a change in administrations, that we have the calmness as well. It's fundamental to our democracy."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"Did you see my tweet?" McConnell asked reporters. "That pretty well sums it up."

—Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) September 24, 2020

Update: This story had an incorrect transcript of Sen. Susan Collins' quote. It has been updated.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Watch the new, 1,100-horsepower Tesla Model S Plaid tear around the Laguna Seca racetrack in a new video

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 5:29pm
Elon Musk announced the Model S Plaid at Tesla's "Battery Day" event on Tuesday.

During Tuesday's much-anticipated "Battery Day" presentation, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced, among other, more chemical thingsthe Model S Plaid — a new tri-motor version of the company's flagship sedan that will allegedly boast a 0-to-60 time of under two seconds, a top speed of 200 mph, and a 520-mile range. And while it generally takes quite some time for Musk's claims to bear fruit, Tesla proved some of the Plaid's chops in a video it posted to Twitter on Wednesday. 

At the event, Musk claimed the Plaid had clocked a lap time of 90 seconds at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Northern California, which would place it among the fastest production cars ever to hit that track. And on Wednesday, Tesla posted an in-cabin video of the Plaid whirring around the track in 1:30.3. 

For reference, that's just a hair quicker than the McLaren P1 hypercar and around three seconds slower than the newer McLaren Senna — both seven-figure supercars, compared to the Model S Plaid's $134,490 starting price. Musk, for his part, claims that the Plaid can do even better, and that it "will achieve the best track time of any production vehicle ever. Of any kind, two door or otherwise."

It's worth noting that at most race tracks, official lap records can only be achieved during actual races, so we have to take Tesla — or any other manufacturer, for that matter — at its word when it boasts about lap times. Not to mention, there's no guarantee that the Model S Plaid that set the time will be mechanically identical to the one that will hit the market late next year. Or that you, dear driver, will have anything near the skills of the expert who took it around Laguna Seca.

See the video for yourself below:

—Tesla (@Tesla) September 23, 2020

 

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A trucking giant is paying over $90,000 a year and offering $10,000 signing bonuses as a driver hiring battle heats up

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 5:19pm
  • Schneider National, the fifth largest trucking company in the US, is increasing its pay rate for team truck drivers and lavishing the with signing bonuses.
  • It shows how trucking companies are struggling to find drivers amid the pandemic. 
  • Truck drivers who drive with one other person, which means the truck is almost always moving, saw a pay increase in late August. 
  • Team truck drivers new to Schneider are eligible for a $10,000 bonus. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Desperate to keep its 18-wheelers on the road, America's fifth-largest trucking company is promising major cash for truck drivers. 

Schneider National said Monday that team truck drivers, the term for those who drive with one other person, received a pay bump of two to four cents per mile last month. It may seem puny, but Schneider says its team drivers average 5,000 to 6,000 miles a week — so it works out to a pay increase of up to $6,240 a year per driver.

That has pushed annual pay for many Schneider drivers above $90,000, the company said. 

Team truck drivers ensure the truck — and the goods they're moving across the country — is always moving. When one driver reaches the federal limit on how long they can spend at the wheel, their partner swaps in.

Such service is especially key as trucking companies prepare for an unusual holiday shopping season. Some retailers are planning Black Friday-like sales for as early as October, Reuters reported. Many expect online orders to break records. That means increased pressure on the trucking companies who make sure your local and online retailers are stocked. 

Schneider, which is partnered with some of the country's biggest retailers, including Walmart, is responding to that. Along with the permanent pay increases, it's offering bonuses around the holiday season for drivers to team up.

Schneider is now offering its solo drivers $5,000 to team up with another driver. Team drivers new to Schneider can snag bonuses of up to $10,000 per person. Through mid-January, the company's offering team drivers an $200 extra per month.

Trucking giants nationwide are scrambling to find new drivers

Schneider's pay bumps reveal how even major trucking companies are struggling to staff up. 

A trucking recession last year and this spring forced tens of thousands of truck drivers to leave the industry, many of them opting for retirement. But now that loads are increasing — a sign that the economy's creeping back to some level of normalcy — their former employers are feeling their absence. 

"The trucking industry had a slow period for a while — then, all the sudden, boom," Cathy Roberson, the founder of research firm Logistics Trends & Insights, told Business Insider last week

Trucking rates in the spot market, where loads are picked up in real-time without a contract, are especially high right now. Truckstop.com chief relationship officer Brent Hutto told Business Insider earlier this month that market has gone "ballistic." Those rates have pulled many away from their regular customers, exacerbating the driver shortage. 

That's forcing companies like Amazon to take unprecedented moves to make sure your Prime packages show up on time, as Business Insider reported last week. And it means big truckers like Schneider are ready to pay cold hard cash to make sure its trucks — and your stuff — are still moving.

 

 

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Are you a truck driver with an opinion on the hiring surge? Email rpremack@businessinsider.com.

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The AeroGarden Harvest is a countertop planter that doesn't require soil — I use it to grow basil, dill, tomatoes, and more in my kitchen

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 5:11pm

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The AeroGarden Harvest is compact enough for even the smallest of kitchenettes.

I'm the type of home cook who feels pretty accomplished after adding eggs, herbs, and vegetables to instant ramen. That's largely due to the fact that my AeroGarden Harvest produces a jungle of fresh herbs and vegetables that I can "pick" every time I need them.

I received the Aerogarden as a holiday gift, and even more than a year later, it's been the gift that keeps on giving. I mean, look at these basil leaves my husband and I was able to grow within three or four months of setting up the planter. 

These Genovese basil leaves are literally the size of my palm.

What is an Aerogarden Harvest?

The Harvest is a hydroponic indoor garden that uses water — and only water — to grow herbs, vegetables, and even flowers. Most Aerogardens come with a starter pack of seed pods and a bottle of nutrients, which ours did. Our starter pack came with seeds for herbs and we've bought other packs that include seeds for vegetables like tomatoes.

It can take a few months for the seeds to germinate and grow into herbs and vegetables you can use for dishes, but it's oddly satisfying to know they came straight from your kitchen counter. We've had the Aerogarden for more than a year and have used it twice to grow herbs and tomatoes. I wouldn't say it saved so much money that the unit paid for itself, but it's definitely a fun and useful gadget to have in the kitchen.

Set up 

The main unit is basically a large water reservoir with holes for seed pods, and an extendable grow light hood. Included with this base are six pre-planted pods, six plastic lids, and a bottle of nutritious plant food that smells like vinegar but is highly effective. There's also a basic programmable LCD screen on the base that shows you the time and reminds you to add water and nutrient solution — this has come in super handy since the herbs drink up a ton of water.

The whole thing measures 7.5 x 10.75 x 17 inches at the tallest height. Low kitchen cabinets might not be able to accommodate the Harvest when the light hood is fully extended, which ours didn't, so we put the unit on the corner of our kitchen table by a window. 

The reservoir lid has six holes for the seed pods and a small opening for water, which I found to be too small because our table would suddenly turn into a kiddie pool when I'd have to water the garden. The seed pods are pre-seeded to grow mint, dill, thyme, curly parsley, and two types of basil (Genovese and Thai). The pods are labeled with the name of the herb, germination time, and the best area to place them within the base unit's grow area (front, middle, or back) depending on how tall they can get.  

You almost don't need to read the instructions because it's intuitive, and doing the steps out of order didn't really make a difference in my haste to start growing our herb garden.

The correct way to do it, though, is to set the reservoir onto the base, plug the unit into an outlet, fill the reservoir with water, plop on the pods and lids accordingly, and then add the nutrient solution. After that's all done, set the time so the system can start self-watering every five minutes and count the number of days your pods have been planted and how many until the next nutrient feeding.

Review of the AeroGarden Harvest

The dill grew nearly three feet with just water.

The first few days after I set up our Aerogarden, I found myself staring at it as if the herbs would magically grow before my eyes (they didn't) and picking up the pods to see if roots had started appearing (they also didn't). Patience is a virtue that I obviously do not possess. 

I never thought I'd say this but being able to grow your own food (even if it's just herbs) is kind of cool. I like that the unit is self-contained and doesn't require any soil, so it's great for small spaces and people who don't want to deal with bugs and soil. 

I also don't know what was in that nutrient water but it was like steroids for the herbs, especially the basil and dill. I purposely took the photo of the Harvest above next to a bottle of wine to show how ridiculously tall the dill was. For additional context, the dill measures 35 inches from the top of the water reservoir to the top of the plant, which also has started to flower at the very top. 

We've also used it these past few months to grow tomatoes. They're on the smaller side, each just slightly wider than a quarter, but they're still plump and delicious. 

Our tomatoes were small but delicious. Cons to consider

The biggest issue I had with the Harvest was the pod kit that came free with the unit. You only get to choose between a variety pack of herbs, flowers, salad greens, or vegetables. There's no option to choose only the herbs or flowers you want unless you buy a pod kit separately. 

The starter pod pack that came with our unit had six different types of herbs, but we really only liked the two types of basil. Despite how cool it looked, the dill was a waste of space for us.

One of the pods also didn't germinate and instead grew white mold, which we later found out was actually normal, but had already thrown out. 

The watering slot is also quite small. I'm only able to fill up the reservoir without making a mess on the table with a wine bottle because of its small opening.

The bottom line 

The AeroGarden Harvest is a fun indoor garden that anyone can appreciate — it's easy to use and being able to say you grew the herbs that you're eating is cool. The unit isn't cheap, but the price can be justified because you're growing things that you would've bought otherwise. It won't save you enough to pay for the initial cost of the AeroGarden itself unless you use the same herbs on a daily basis, but I can see it coming in handy nonetheless. 

I also like that it's compact and self-contained so it won't overwhelm even the tiniest of kitchenettes. I might've experienced a little bit of beginner's luck with my herbs and tomatoes, but I'm super excited to see if I can ride this wave and grow even more with the AeroGarden Harvest.

Pros: Easy to set up, fun to use, edible results 

Cons: Basic unit can feel flimsy, expensive for a novelty item, free starter pod kit can't be customized 

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The Justice Department released a 'bizarre' statement saying it's investigating 'potential issues with mail-in ballots' in Pennsylvania, and no one knows what it means

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 5:10pm
Trump has made a flurry of baseless attacks on voting by mail.
  • The Department of Justice released two statements on Thursday announcing an investigation into "potential issues with mail-in ballots" in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.
  • The first statement said a "small number of military ballots were discarded," investigators had "recovered nine ballots at this time," and "all nine ballots were cast for presidential candidate Donald Trump."
  • That statement was deleted from the DOJ's website, and a revised statement that was released shortly afterward said seven of the nine ballots were cast for Trump and that it was unknown whom the remaining two were cast for.
  • Both statements set off alarm bells with election experts and DOJ veterans who said they likely violated the department's policy and appeared to be politically motivated in light of Trump's baseless attacks on voting by mail.
  • It was unclear whether the ballots the statement said were "discarded" were cast as part of the primary or general election, and experts said it was also highly unusual for the statement to disclose whom voters cast their ballots for.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Department of Justice on Thursday released a statement saying it was investigating "reports of potential issues with mail-in ballots" in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.

Initially, the department announced a "small number of military ballots were discarded" and that investigators had "recovered nine ballots at this time." It added that "all nine ballots were cast for presidential candidate Donald Trump."

However, the statement was deleted from the DOJ's website shortly afterward and a revised statement was released.

—Philip Bump (@pbump) September 24, 2020

The second statement said "of the nine ballots that were discarded and then recovered, 7 were cast for presidential candidate Donald Trump. Two of the discarded ballots had been resealed inside their appropriate envelopes by Luzerne elections staff prior to recovery by the FBI and the contents of those 2 ballots are unknown."

The revised statement said the FBI's field office in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, began investigating the matter on Monday along with the US Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. It said the inquiry was launched at the request of Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis and focused on "reports of potential issues with a small number of mail-in ballots at the Luzerne County Board of Elections."

The statement said FBI agents working with the Pennsylvania State Police had since conducted "numerous interviews and recovered certain physical evidence" and that Luzerne County election officials "have been cooperative."

"Our inquiry remains ongoing and we expect later today to share our up to date findings with officials in Luzerne County," the statement added.

Both statements raised red flags with election experts and DOJ veterans who said they appeared to be politically motivated and may have violated department policy. It was also unclear what the statements meant when they said the ballots had been "discarded" and whether the ballots in question were primary or general-election ballots.

A DOJ spokesperson did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

"This is both bizarre and disturbing — US Attorney's Offices don't issue reports on pending investigations — and certainly not reports so blatantly contrived to provide political ballast for a sitting President's campaign narrative," David Laufman, a former senior official in the DOJ's national security division, wrote on Twitter.

Indeed, shortly after the DOJ released its initial statement on the investigation, Matt Wolking, a deputy communications director for the Trump campaign, tweeted that the announcement was proof "Democrats are trying to steal the election."

Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, also pointed to the first statement, tweeting, "Nine military mail-in ballots — ALL cast for President @realDonaldTrump — were found discarded in Pennsylvania! DOJ confirms."

Trump and congressional Republicans have made a flurry of baseless attacks on voting by mail and mail-in ballots in recent months. The president has suggested without evidence that an increase in mail-in ballots amid the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to widespread voter fraud and a "rigged" general election.

Nonpartisan experts and multiple studies have found no evidence of widespread voter fraud, and millions of Americans vote by mail every year. Trump and many of his top staff and family members have also voted by mail or tried to in recent years. And the president's campaign and Republican officials are quietly encouraging absentee and mail-in voting amid fears that Trump's claims will hurt Republicans by depressing turnout among his own voters, The Associated Press reported in May.

Elie Honig, a former longtime federal prosecutor from the Southern District of New York, told Business Insider that it was not only unusual for the DOJ to issue such a statement about an ongoing investigation but also "against DOJ's own stated policy."

Moreover, he said, "The fact that the purportedly discarded ballots were cast for Trump is entirely irrelevant to any criminal investigation. It's fodder for a political talking point."

Rick Hasen, a professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine, and an election-security expert, wrote on Twitter that it was "shocking" for the DOJ to announce who voters cast their ballots for. "The release of that information seems to be for political reasons," he wrote.

David Becker, a former voting-rights attorney at the DOJ, echoed that view and highlighted a number of other irregularities in the DOJ's statement.

"Even more unexplainable is the fact that DOJ has already revised the statement," he tweeted. "Now it's only 7 votes, and no explanation of how these were discarded or found, or why they were opened, nor why they disclosed Pres vote at all, violating secrecy, and not other races."

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I hadn't flown in over 4 months, but The Gant Aspen lured me to Colorado with condo-style rooms, outdoor activities, and reassuring COVID-19 policies

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 5:03pm

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As a professional travel and lifestyle writer, the pandemic hit me hard. While I've been incredibly cautious about travel, after four months of lockdown at home, a trip to the mountains was enough to entice me to get on a plane. 

And while I typically tend to take international trips, after being cooped up for so long, a getaway to Aspen seemed as exotic and exciting as going to Europe. After reading up on whether flying was safe, I felt confident enough to travel by plane from New York to Aspen, armed with plenty of masks and hand sanitizer. 

However, I also wanted to make sure that once I arrived, the resort I would be staying in would have COVID-19 policies in place.  

The Gant set itself apart thanks to its location, condo-style rooms with full kitchens, and new COVID-19 policies. Located at the base of Aspen Mountain, The Gant is optimally located in downtown Aspen and surrounded by the White River National Forest and the verdant Elk Mountain Range. It's tucked away near residential, single-family homes and condos, yet is still within easy walking distance to popular attractions, including the Silver Queen Gondola, which in the summer and fall allows access to disc golf, hiking trails, and mountaintop yoga. Additionally, at the top of The Gant's homepage, they had an easy-to-find COVID-19 update, which outlined everything from cleanliness initiatives to cancellation policies.

In addition to its stunning setting, the property itself has plenty of amenities to keep guests busy, including a pool, multiple hot tubs, complimentary bikes, and a complimentary shuttle to and from the mountain for easy access to all the outdoor offerings, of which there are many. Aspen is a destination for year-round recreation, including mountain biking, hiking, mountaintop meditation, and water sports in the summer months. Of course, skiing and snowboarding Aspen Mountain are ever-popular activities in the winter.

And while my stay in a Standard Aspen Condo was comped for review purposes, the starting rate of a one-bedroom for $199 per night makes the 140-room condo resort far more wallet-friendly than many more expensive options in town. 

My pickiness paid off. I ended up feeling very safe throughout my stay, and was able to take full advantage of the outdoor setting. Here's what it was like.

Read on to see why I was so impressed with The Gant Aspen. The resort offers a complimentary shuttle to and from the airport.

After a quick 15-minute ride from Aspen Airport to The Gant, the complimentary resort shuttle (called "Gant Vans") stopped at the roundabout in front of the wooden overhang that led to the lobby. I was the only passenger on the roomy shuttle and it was nice not to have to touch any handles getting off thanks to the automatic doors. 

Upon entering the hotel, immediately to my left was a free mask station with two options: standard blue masks, as well as cloth fabric neck gaiters with The Gant logo. The extra attention to detail with the mask station made me feel safe right off the bat, and the neck gaiter was an appropriate souvenir (and essential) for travel during the pandemic.

As I approached the front check-in desk, there were two attendants standing behind a thick plastic shield, both wearing masks properly over their nose and mouths. There were also a few pump hand sanitizer bottles for guests to use as they were checking in. A nice touch was two separate and clearly labeled jars for "clean pens" versus "used pens" so guests were able to differentiate between the two as an extra measure of safety.

While there was a small sitting area with gray leather armchairs, there was no line at check-in so I quickly received my room key. The bellman showed me the way to my room while wearing a PPE mask over his face. All of the staff that I saw from arrival onwards were wearing masks at all times.

Rooms feature cozy fireplaces and private decks.

The Gant accommodations range from one- to four-bedrooms, and since I was traveling with a friend, we reserved a Standard Two-Bedroom Aspen Condo, which starts at $215.

The room was plenty spacious for two people and would even work well for families. The furnishings evoked a mountain-chic vibe, with a beautiful wood-accented dining table, wood paneling, and a full sitting area with a comfy couch. 

My friend and I were especially pleased that each bedroom came with its own en-suite bathroom so we could both have our own space. Each bathroom included tubs and rain showers that were especially nice after a long day outdoors. 

The real wood-burning fireplace was a cozy touch (even if it was just pretty to look at in the summer). An ample private deck off the living room came furnished with two lounge chairs with a side table and was an idyllic place to watch the sunrise while having tea in the morning. 

The kitchen was fully stocked with all the cooking essentials from pots and pans to silverware.

Having access to a full kitchen was nice for two reasons. First, we quickly realized that food was not cheap in Aspen, and it provided us the option to heat up leftovers.

We also liked that we could buy food from the grocery store and cook meals ourselves, which was especially relevant for guests who may not feel comfortable eating at restaurants just yet. The room came fully stocked with all the cooking essentials like pots, plates, and silverware.

Since I am an avid tea drinker, the tea kettle, along with a paper bag full of tea, coffee, and condiments was the icing on the cake. I usually travel with loose teas but forgot to pack mine. Luckily, the housekeeping staff refreshed our coffee and tea on a daily basis. However, in keeping with updated protocols, the staff was careful to only come in the room when we were out.

After living in New York City for years and having to truck my dirty clothes several blocks away to the laundromat, The Gant's stacked laundry unit in the room was perhaps my favorite amenity. There were two complimentary Tide pods provided, so I even washed items that barely needed it so I wouldn't have any laundry to do when I got back home.

I enjoyed a good night's sleep on the bed, which was medium firmness with a warm comforter and there was also an extra blanket in the closet in case I got chilly from the AC.

Our two-bedroom condo was just right for our purposes, though families or groups may want to take full advantage of the three- and four-bedroom options, which start at $370. Similarly, couples and solo travelers who still want access to a kitchen and a separate sitting area would have more than enough space in a one-bedroom, which can come in at $199 in slower seasons and offer a serious deal when compared with many other hotel options in the area.

The Standard was one of three levels of interiors we could have booked, followed by Deluxe or Premier condominiums. Those looking for chicer, high-end finishings may want to consider the recently renovated Premiere Condos and Deluxe Condos. The newer rooms are professionally decorated and include nicer touches like new appliances, stone fireplaces, marble countertops, and more modern decor. That said, beyond being newer, they don't offer much else in terms of additional space or amenities and start at $280 for a one-bedroom. While a little more dated, I found my Standard Condo to be more than sufficient and the better value.

However, keep in mind that the best savings are found in the summer and fall low season. Once the winter ski season gets into full swing, the starting price of a room like ours quickly surges to $529. That said, in Aspen, it's not uncommon for popular ritzy resort rooms to go for upwards of $1,000 per night, so, The Gant still offers a strong value despite the higher winter price tag.

Compare room types and prices for The Gant I tried a different smoothie every morning from Pepperjack's Cafe.

There is a resort fee of 5% per night per room. However, with multiple pools, tennis courts, complimentary bikes, and a handy free shuttle available, it feels justified.

All of the on-site amenities were open during my stay but were altered slightly to address COVID-19 safety concerns.

The on-site restaurant, Pepperjack's Café, had signage at the front entrance to make sure people were wearing masks upon entry. I enjoyed the breakfast offerings and had fun trying out a different smoothie combo each day.

I also enjoyed a scenic outdoor breakfast on the Ute Rooftop Terrace, which was completely empty except for a woman tending the beautiful plants that were placed along the perimeter. 

There are two heated outdoor pools and three hot tubs for guests to take advantage of.

The property includes two heated outdoor pools and three hot tubs with jets, which are all currently open to guests. The hotel is following state protocols and pools are operating at 50% capacity, while hot tubs are limited to four people traveling in the same party. The chaise lounge chairs and towel cabinets are sanitized several times throughout the day.

While the surrounding wooded mountains offer a serene setting, one downside for couples or those looking for a more tranquil atmosphere is that neither pool is adults-only and there were always kids splashing about in both pools when I was there.

The gym isn't huge but includes treadmills, elliptical, free weights, and spin bikes.

Since I am big on health, wellness, and outdoor sports, it was important that the place I stayed in Aspen had relevant amenities. I was impressed that The Gant had five tennis courts, including three clay courts, and a WE-Cycle bike share station. I also took advantage of the gym, which was generally pretty quiet and felt plenty clean and safe. I did wear my mask the entire time I worked out, as was required.

The free Gant Vans operate a loop from The Gant to Gondola Plaza (Aspen Mountain's Silver Queen Gondola) and to the bus station for transfers to the other ski mountains.  There is on-demand transportation anywhere within Aspen from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

During the ski season, there are on-site ski butlers for ski rental and boot fitting convenience. The hotel also offers complimentary ski valet and overnight storage, overnight ski tuning, and ski and snowboard lesson arrangements through the concierge.

This year, the hotel is partnering with top outfitters to offer guests the chance to set up paid private winter experiences from dog sledding to guided snowshoe tours.

 

 

  Hiking trails, mountaintop yoga, mountain biking, and many popular downtown attractions were all easily accessible from The Gant.

When staying at The Gant there is no need to rent a car. Located in the downtown area, you can walk off the property and within a couple of blocks be surrounded by art galleries, shopping, and delicious restaurants like Bosq, where I had dinner one night on the outdoor terrace.

The Aspen Museum and Aspen Mountain's Silver Queen Gondola are big attractions that are also conveniently walkable from the property. I also took the free shuttle to various places in the downtown area, including the entrance to the Red Butte trail, which was a beautiful hike to do in the morning.

I was even able to take off my mask during parts of the hike and fully enjoy the fresh mountain air! At the top, I was greeted with gorgeous views and an overlook of downtown Aspen. The location of the Gant also made it easy for me to enjoy other outdoor activities including mountaintop yoga and mountain biking.

Although the Silver Queen Gondola is a 10-minute walk, during the ski season, you can take your skis or snowboard aboard the Gant Van to the gondola for easy and efficient mountain access.

Check flight prices to Aspen on Expedia

The Gant is ranked 5 out of 34 hotels in Aspen on Trip Advisor.

Some past guests praise the staff and say they can tell they want to come to work every day, while others gush about the close proximity to town at only .25 miles. The Gant is also ranked 9.1 out of 10 on Booking.com and people similarly rave about the location and the service.

Only 15 people on Trip Advisor rated the property as "poor," compared to 965 as "excellent." However, a few reviewers noted that the Standard rooms weren't particularly modern and that some rooms could use a refresh. If you're looking for elevated luxury, you may be disappointed.

Read reviews, compare prices, and book The Gant on TripAdvisor

Who stays here: The condo-style accommodations adjacent to the downtown Aspen area make this property popular with a mix of friends, families, couples, and business travelers.

Are guests adhering to COVID policies?: Yes. Although I frequently see people in New York and New Jersey walking around in public without masks, it was reassuring to see that most people in Aspen were wearing masks in public spaces both indoors and outdoors, in compliance with Colorado's current executive order. The staff at the hotel were all wearing proper PPE throughout my stay too.

We like: The breakfast at Pepperjack's Café was healthy and gave me a kick start to my day. The solitude of eating on the rooftop above the restaurant offered beautiful views while enjoying the meal.

We love (don't miss this feature!): The complimentary Gant Van shuttle to the airport, gondola, and downtown locations. It's highly convenient to not need a car and would be an especially great perk when trekking around heavy skis or snowboards in the winter. 

We think you should know: Neither outdoor pool is adults only. There will be kids in there happily splashing around. Also, if you're looking for a truly luxurious stay that is often typical of the Aspen area, you may be best suited to a different property. 

We'd do this differently next time: Many of the restaurants in downtown Aspen fill up quickly for dinner and I had trouble walking in. Therefore, I would recommend making a reservation ahead of time if you plan to eat off-property. 

The Gant has new protocols and a COVID-19 update that guests can read online. The property also follows Colorado's Executive Order D 2020 138 that requires people to wear a face-covering over their noses and mouths when entering or moving within any public indoor space. 

New policies in place include:

  • Enhanced cleaning standards and signage throughout the property, including guest rooms, meeting spaces, public common areas, and back-of-house employee spaces.
  • Complimentary face coverings available for all guests, including choice of standard mask or a gaiter with The Gant logo.
  • Superior, locally sourced, cleaning products in accordance with CDC guidelines.
  • Access to certain guest amenities such as the pools, hot tubs, fitness center, and Pepperjack's Café guided by state and local health guidelines with reduced capacity.

I also spoke with the Director of Marketing & Sales for The Gant about additional new safety precautions and was told the hotel is waiting two days between guests when booking rooms to help guests feel safer during turnover. 

I saw first-hand that The Gant is providing complimentary face coverings in the lobby, so if you forget your mask or its dirty, you have a backup. At check-in, there were also partitions up at the counter and extra touches like having a "clean" and "used" pen jar. I felt safe moving around the property and the staff was always wearing masks and consistently social distancing as much as possible.

Thanks to condo-style rooms, The Gant is an excellent choice for a wide range of travelers from families and groups of friends to business travelers seeking some extra space. The full kitchens, en-suite laundry, and private decks allow guests to be self-sufficient while on vacation, which is especially nice in the new social distancing era.  

While it's not one of the ritzy resorts Aspen is often known for, and may not satisfy those looking for a high-end luxury hotel, The Gant offers a more affordable stay that still comes with plenty of appealing amenities.

The on-site offerings are extensive, with two pools, four hot tubs, and several tennis courts. The property is also ideally situated to take advantage of the Aspen area, too, and is within easy walking distance to area attractions, restaurants, hiking trails, and the ski gondola. The free shuttle to and from the airport and to top attractions means there's virtually no reason to rent a car.

Finally, the property is taking COVID-19 policies seriously, from free masks and neck gaiters at the entrance, to waiting two days between guest bookings in all rooms. I felt very safe throughout my stay and found The Gant to be a blissful home base for enjoying Aspen and its ample outdoor offerings.

Book a room at The Gant starting at $199 per night Read the original article on Business Insider

The Kong Wobbler is a food-dispensing toy that keeps my dog from scarfing down his meals

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 4:55pm

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The Kong Wobbler is an excellent alternative to a traditional dog food bowl.

  • My German shepherd needs a lot of mental stimulation, so he uses the Kong Wobbler for all of his meals.
  • The Kong Wobbler is a dog food and treat-dispensing toy that comes in two sizes.
  • The Wobbler keeps my dog occupied and slows him down when he eats so he doesn't scarf his whole meal down in 30 seconds.

When my German shepherd, Silas, was a puppy, he had endless energy. He could walk for miles and play fetch for hours, and he would still be chomping at the bit for more. I did everything I could to tire him out mentally and physically, and I was constantly looking for products that would entertain him (and that he wouldn't destroy in a matter of minutes). 

I also learned that feeding your dog their meal from a food-dispensing toy provides mental stimulation and is a good outlet for their extra energy, so I started feeding Silas with the Kong Wobbler. Now that Silas is 5 years old, he still eats every single meal out of his Kong Wobbler. He hasn't had a traditional food bowl for years.  

How the Kong Wobbler works

We've affectionately named the Wobbler the "rolly-polly" in our house because Silas rolls it all around the floor every time he eats. The Wobbler, which is shaped like the beloved Kong Classic dog toy, is filled with sand on the bottom to help it stay upright. Silas pushes it around the floor with his nose, making it wobble back and forth to get his food out.  

The Wobbler comes in two sizes: small and large. The large size is perfect for my 95-pound dog, and the small size works well for my in-laws' 20-pound dog. 

To fill the Wobbler, you simply unscrew the bottom and put food or treats inside. The large Wobbler holds about 3 cups of Silas' kibble when completely full. There is a small opening on one side just big enough for one piece of kibble to come out at a time. 

It takes Silas about 10 to 15 minutes to eat a meal, and those 10 to 15 minutes were some of the most relaxing minutes of the day when he was younger and wanted to play 24/7. I would give him the Wobbler and sit back and relax while he ate. 

The Wobbler is made of hard plastic that is very durable and easy to hand-wash or put in the dishwasher. There are very few toys we can give Silas that don't get destroyed instantly, but he's been using the same Wobbler for years, and it's still in great condition. 

The sturdy plastic dog food dispenser comes in two pieces that are dishwasher safe.

The biggest perk

The Wobbler stimulates Silas' brain and keeps him occupied, but I also love that it slows him down while he eats. Many dog owners face the problem of their dogs scarfing their food down too quickly. If I set a bowl of food in front of Silas, he'll eat it all right away, but with the Wobbler, he can only eat a few pieces at a time. This dramatically slows down his eating, which can also help reduce the risk of bloat, a condition that German shepherds and other large breed dogs are prone to. 

Not all dogs love the Wobbler though

It can be hard to tell if your dog will actually use the Wobbler to get their food. There have been enthusiastically reviewed products I've tried with Silas that he has hated, so you just never know. My in-laws' dog has the small version of the Wobbler and he uses it occasionally, but he doesn't enjoy it as much as Silas. This product likely works best for dogs that are highly motivated to get their food or those that enjoy a challenge. 

Dogs, especially those with strong jaws, are notorious for being able to destroy pretty much anything. While Silas doesn't try to chew the Wobbler, I imagine very strong jaws would be able to penetrate the hard plastic. 

The bottom line

Silas hasn't eaten his food out of a regular bowl in years, and I don't see him starting anytime soon. Whenever he is hungry, he simply paws at the Wobbler to let us know he needs more food.

We use the Wobbler for every single one of Silas' meals, but it can also be used simply for treats. This would be a great option for dogs that are less motivated to eat their regular meals but could use some mental stimulation.

If you're not sure how your dog will feel about having to work that hard for their food, you could also try a stationary slow feeder. On the other hand, if your dog needs even more mental stimulation, try working their mind with a food puzzle filled with treats.

 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best hiking socks

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 4:52pm
  • Hiking socks are a critical part of your outdoor kit and should be chosen with the same level of care while shopping as you would with base layers, rain shells, or hiking boots. 
  • The best hiking socks offer enough support and comfort for long days on the trail, keep you warm when temperatures drop, and are built for durability.
  • Our top pick, Darn Tough's Merino Wool Hiker Boot Socks, are extremely comfortable, offer a snug yet flexible fit, and are tough enough to last for hundreds of miles of hiking.

When I was sixteen, I spent three weeks trekking across much of northern Spain. It was a formative experience that cemented a lifelong love for hiking and the outdoors. Among the wisdom I gained during that long-ago journey was a gem I keep with me today: Don't be cheap when it comes to buying hiking socks.

Within the first few days of my trek, my feet developed multiple blisters caused by the abrasion of my boots rubbing through thin socks. My feet were covered in open sores in just my first week and every step was agonizing — it was difficult to push on. It was then that I learned (the absolute hardest way) of the benefits of a reliable hiking sock. 

In the nearly two decades since that trip, I've logged hundreds of miles over mountains, across trails, on roadsides, and elsewhere — and I've bought and tested many pairs of hiking socks. Finding the right pair of hiking socks not only means choosing a pair that's comfortable and fits properly, but you'll also want to consider the materials, construction, and conditions beyond your feet.

How to shop for hiking socks

There are a few general notes about materials to keep in mind while shopping. First, avoid 100% cotton socks whenever possible. Stick to blended options containing some combination of wool or acrylic. I also recommend avoiding socks made of any one single material. Though people swear by wool or acrylic, blends were created to get the best out of both. 

In cold weather, wool helps keep your feet warm, especially if you don't own a pair of winter-specific boots. In wetter conditions, a good percentage of acrylic keeps you drier and many artificial fibers, such as PrimaLoft, keep you warm even when wet. In any condition, you want something with stretch material to keep the sock fitting snugly without causing any hot spots or chafing.

To help narrow down which pair of hiking socks is right for you, we've compiled the following list of our favorites currently available from brands like Darn Tough, Bombas, and Smartwool. 

Editor's note: Click here for insight into our testing methodology.

Here are the best hiking socks:

Updated on 9/24/2020 by Rick Stella: Updated the section on how to shop for hiking socks, included a rundown of how we tested each pair, checked the availability of all recommended socks, and updated the prices and links where necessary. 

The best hiking socks overall The Darn Tough Merino Wool Hiker Boot Socks offer unmatched support and cushioning to increase comfort and prevent soreness and injury during long treks.

The Darn Tough Merino Wool Hiker Boot Socks for men and for women were specifically designed to stabilize, cushion, and hug all parts of your foot, ankle, and shin. The idea is to provide ample support against stresses and strains caused by repetitive, heavy footfalls that come with a good hike.

Taut elastic wraps under your arches provide support for this sensitive, critical part of the foot. Extra cushioning pads your heels and toes, helping reduce the impact during each part of a step. There's also generous ribbing above the ankle providing compression to your shins, reducing the likelihood of shin splints.

Made with a blend of wool, nylon, and spandex, these socks are warm and wicking. As the brand name promises, they are indeed darn tough, lasting for many miles more than most competitors — which is good, because they cost a bit more, too.

Buy the women's version here.

Pros: Excellent support, durable construction, warm and wicking

Cons: Expensive

The best hiking socks for cold weather The Fox River Cold Weather Explorer Socks are designed to keep your feet warm when the temperature drops.

With the Fox River Cold Weather Explorer Socks, cold feet can be a thing of the past. These socks keep your feet warm thanks to a blend of acrylic, wool, nylon, and spandex fabrics. Fox River used a generous amount of fabric in its construction, too, making the socks extremely thick. They also feature a "thermalined wool" design that keeps this naturally warm fiber close to your skin.

The lining and the exterior fabric blend work in concert to draw moisture away from your foot, keeping you drier and therefore warmer — this also makes it less likely you'll develop blisters.

These can be a bit bulky for some hikers' preference, so keep this in mind when shopping for these. If your preferred hiking boots are already snug, these might not be the most comfortable option. 

Pros: Great for cold weather, wool lining provides comfort, affordable price point

Cons: Too bulky for comfort in some boots

The best stylish hiking socks A pair of Bombas Hiking Socks keep your feet supported and cool during hours on the trail, and look great when you put your feet up back at the lodge.

When it comes to form versus function, the merits of a pair of hiking socks should be judged entirely by the latter. Frankly, the looks of your hiking socks shouldn't matter so long as they keep your feet warm when it's cold, cool when it's hot, and dry and protected at all times. But if you find a pair of hiking socks that cover the basics while also looking good, why not indulge?

Each pair of the Bombas Hiking Socks use a pleasing blend of colors woven into a natural-looking pattern that's subtle enough not to draw attention yet fashionable enough for admiration when noticed. But of course, these socks wouldn't be on the list if they didn't also perform. The Insider Reviews team tested a few pairs out and, by and large, liked them.

Bombas Hiking Socks have a reinforced heel and toe and use a system of honeycomb stitching to add arch support. They allow for decent breathability and wick away sweat. Do note that due to the 62% cotton used in the blend, they'll lose much of their thermal properties if soaked through. They may even slightly shrink after washing but do stretch out again after you work them onto your foot.

Buy the women's version here.

Pros: Stylish appearance, good arch support, Bombas makes a charitable donation with each sale

Cons: Cotton fibers reduce insulation properties when wet

The best hiking socks for warm weather Smartwool's PhD Outdoor Light Hiking Crew socks feature a mesh ventilating system designed to keep your feet cool during warm weather hikes. 

Though wool is synonymous with warmth, it also excels at keeping you cool by absorbing and repelling moisture (i.e. sweat). Smartwool's PhD (which stands for Performance in the Highest Degree) line of hiking socks goes a step further by offering a ventilation system that makes the sock ultra-breathable. This helps keep your feet dry and comfortable no matter how hot it gets outside. 

The socks also feature the brand's performance-specific fit which produces a snug fit and helps them avoid creeping down while hiking. Padding in the heel and the ball of the foot provide support in high-use areas and work to prevent blisters or hot spots. 

Hiking socks often take a beating but Smartwool's PhDs are built for durability and are capable of standing up to everything from 15-mile day hikes to multi-day backpacking trips without showing significant signs of wear. The fact its wool features a natural odor blocker is much appreciated, too. 

Pros: Breathable, mesh design keeps feet cool in hot weather, wool helps block odors, features a snug fit that won't fall down

Cons: Tend to run smaller, so sizing up is recommended

The best odor-blocking hiking sock You know that stink coming off your feet after you kick off your hiking boots following a ten-mile trek? You won't smell it if you're wearing the ScentLok Elite Sport Crew socks.

I'd recommend the ScentLok Elite Sport Crew socks for hikers even if it weren't for the unique silver alloy infused into the fibers. Silver particles prevent bacterial growth, which therefore prevents the development of stinky feet — a must-have for anyone trekking multiple miles. 

Even beyond the odor-blocking, these are an excellent pair of activewear socks. They have a supportive bridge and arch compression zone, a cushioned sole and heel, and they wick moisture as well as any decent hiking sock. There is also a seamless toe pocket which reduces the chance of irritation and blisters.

I own two pairs of ScentLok sports socks and both have held up well during regular use. I also happen to have several pairs of the brand's more casual, everyday socks, and these have also proven comfortable and durable when worn around town or just around the house.

If you consistently battle foot funk, you'll want to add a pair of ScentLok's Elite Sport Crew socks to your hiking kit immediately.

Pros: Help prevent food odor, good mid-foot support, durable construction

Cons: Rise too high for some hikers' preference

The best compression hiking sock Swiftwick's Flite XT Five socks are supremely grippy with support around the ankle to provide stability and comfort no matter how long you're on the trail. 

Swiftwick specializes in compression socks that aid in a variety of ways, be it to promote blood flow or soothe sore muscles. Though these aren't necessarily things on the mind of hikers getting ready to hit the trail, they're still incredibly important to be aware of.

Our favorite compression sock to hike in from Swiftwick is the brand's crew cut Flite XT Five socks. Made of 66% nylon, 7% polyester, 14% olefin, and 3% spandex, the Flite socks offer just enough compression without feeling too snug and are able to move as you move over rocks, logs, or whatever you come across outside. 

Swiftwick outfit these socks with special fibers that add grip inside your shoes (or boots, rather) which helps improve stability and control. The olefin in the fabric also helps wick away excess moisture and goes a long way in helping your feet stay dry. Their $24 price tag is a little on the steep side but it's hard to find this come of compression quality without paying a premium.

Pros: Compression promotes blood flow and helps keep your feet feeling good for miles on end, the sock's fibers add extra grip inside your hiking boot, and the olefin in the fabric helps wick away sweat. 

Cons: Expensive, not everyone will feel comfortable in a compression sock

How we test

Each pair of hiking socks featured in this guide went through a series of on-foot tests to see how well they held up across these four categories: Comfort, durability, features, and value. Specifically, here's how each category factored into which pairs of hiking socks we ultimately featured:

  • Comfort: Perhaps the most important of the four categories we considered, how comfortable a hiking sock feels (as well as how it fits) when worn is a vital detail. And hiking socks should keep comfortable no matter how many miles you decide to hike, be it a short day hike or a multi-day, tens of miles per day backpacking trip. We looked for all facets of comfort, too: On-foot feel, how it felt at the end of a long day, and how it held up during sweltering hikes, freezing hikes, and everything in between. 
  • Durability: Holes or tears developing in socks is nearly inevitable, though it's ideal for this not to occur until you've quite literally worn through the pair. This means that we stress-tested the socks over more than just a hike or two — we lived in them. 
  • Features: A fancy category for something as basic as a hiking sock but added features do contribute to why one pair might better than the other. The most notable features are sweat-wicking capability, arch support, odor-resistant, and compression. Some features are more well-suited to specific terrain or even a specific wearer, so not everyone will need a hiking sock packed to the gills with each one of these — though a sock with at least two or three of them should be on your radar, and something we kept in mind while testing. 
  • Value: A hiking sock's value is essentially a combination of the three categories above, as well as a true assessment of its sticker price and worth. Of course, it'd be ideal not to spend a large amount of money on a simple pair of socks but we're of the thinking that it's better to spend a little more to invest in a premium product than to spend less more often. Now, this doesn't mean we only featured socks with high price tags but more so that a sock's value isn't just confined to what it'll cost. 

 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Inside a tiny-home village of abandoned streetcars that once existed in San Francisco in 1900 where the city's bohemians and artists lived

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 4:44pm
Carville was an early 1900s bohemian neighborhood in the city's Sunset District — until developers came knocking.
  • A neighborhood of abandoned streetcars turned into homes and businesses once existed in early-20th-century San Francisco.
  • Carville, or Carville-by-the-Sea or Cartown, was built when the city sold its outdated horse-drawn trolley cars for under $20, which is about $600 in today's dollars, and their new owners set them up in the city's Sunset District.
  • The village became an epicenter of San Francisco bohemia until developers and realtors came hunting for more housing space.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

 

San Francisco's neighborhoods have long been turned inside out, seeing transformation after transformation as housing demand in the region increased each passing decade.

That might go back further than we think — around 1900, a neighborhood called Carville existed, constructed out of the city's outdated and discarded horse-drawn trolley cars.

There were restaurants, clubhouses, homes, and more in the tiny-home village, and it became an epicenter for bohemians of early-20th-century San Francisco.

But then a problem that the modern-day tech hub of San Francisco knows all too well began to encroach on the free-loving, streetcar neighborhood: The city needed more space to build more housing, and developers turned their eyes to Carville.

Here's what it was like in Carville before the neighborhood gradually faded away.

The California Gold Rush ushered thousands of eager gold miners into San Francisco between 1848 and 1849. Montgomery Street in 1850.

Source: History

The bustling economy transformed the city and its many neighborhoods. At the time, horse-drawn trolley cars ferried people around the city. San Francisco cable car at Market, Post and Montgomery Streets in 1880.

Source: Outside Lands

But eventually San Francisco's now-iconic electric and cable street cars hit the city scene, which meant that the Market Street Railway Company needed to get rid of the horse-drawn carriages. A cable car in San Francisco in 1873. So the railway company ran newspaper ads for the outdated cars in the late 19th century, offering them up for $20 a pop, and $10 if they didn't have seats. That's about $600 and $300 in today's dollars. San Franciscans made use of the cars across the city, from North Beach to Bernal Heights, but most of them ended up in a makeshift neighborhood near Ocean Beach. Abandoned trolley cars in the Sunset sometime between 1895 and 1913. Ocean Beach sits on the opposite side of the city's bustling city center. In addition to Ocean Beach, the western area consists of neighborhoods like the Richmond and Sunset Districts.

Source: SF Gate

Sand dunes were the area's biggest feature. It was somewhat lovingly referred to as "the Sahara of San Francisco" or "Outside Lands."

Source: SF Gate

After other parts of San Francisco got a Gold Rush-induced makeover, this part of the 49-square-mile area remained largely uninhabited and un-travelled. The Outer Sunset in 1910. It wasn't until 1883, when a transit route was put into place running from the east side of Golden Gate Park around to the west, that Ocean Beach became a popular spot for people looking for a leisurely Sunday at the beach. Carville in the distance and bathers at Ocean Beach in 1895.

Source: Outside Lands

The then-mayor Adolph Sutro also hoped to attract wealthy buyers to Ocean Beach, envisioning grand mansions populating the sand-dune expanse. The Cliff House restaurant at Ocean Beach in 1898.

Source: Outside Lands

But that's not exactly what happened — a friend of Sutro's named Colonel Dailey used some of the abandoned cars to build a coffee shop, and he found eager customers in beachgoers.

Source: Outside Lands

Dailey's converted coffee shop became a hit with the city's bohemian community. Others began following suit, acquiring the discarded horsecars and setting them up in Ocean Beach. Carville in 1910. Some cars were stand-alone establishments, and some were stacked on top of each other in creative architectural configurations. Carville in 1905. And thus Carville neighborhood was born. There were all kinds of tenants, both residents and businesses. One car was rented by a city judge and another by a ladies' bicycle club called the Falcons, who ended up renting even more of the cars over the years. Miss Gunn's Home Cooking Restaurant in Carville.

Source: Found SF

The Falcons would use the abandoned cars to take naps after long rides and would host dinners and parties at a table befit for as many as 28 people. They'd also go for swims in the ocean "when no one was looking."

Source: Found SF

Another car belonged to the "Fuzzy Bunch," a group of San Franciscan bohemian writers like Jack London, Ina Coolbrith, and George Sterling. Not necessarily the car belonging to the "Fuzzy Bunch."

Source: Found SF and San Francisco Chronicle

And Dailey's coffee shop car later found a new life as a clubhouse to a group of jovial, professional musicians, who dubbed their space "La Boheme" after the iconic Italian opera that debuted in 1896. They used their car for nights full of drinking and swimming in the water.

Source: Found SF and SF Gate

Families looking for more permanent homes started moving in, too. By 1901, there were about 100 streetcars in Carville housing around 50 families.

Source: SF Gate

And after the 1906 earthquake and fire, refugees filed to the bohemian beachside neighborhood in search of a new place to live. About 2,000 people were living in Carville in 1908. St. Andrew by the Sea Protestant Episcopal Church on 47th Ave. in 1908.

Source: Found SF

But then a problem that the modern-day tech hub of San Francisco knows all too well began to encroach on the free-loving, streetcar neighborhood: The city needed more space to build more housing, and developers turned their eyes to Carville.

Source: Outside Lands

And they weren't too keen on the neighborhood's abandoned streetcars and bohemian lifestyle. Realtors aimed to transform the area "From Carville to Real Homes," and preferred Oceanside instead of Carville as the district's moniker. A home in Carville decked out in Victorian decor.

Source: Outside Lands

Part of their objective was to take the "car out of Carville."

Source: SF Gate

On July 4, 1913, a group called the Oceanside Improvement Club ceremoniously set fire to one of the street cars, the tenant of which had already moved out, with an accompanying cluster of fireworks to celebrate the July 4th holiday. St. Andrew by the Sea Protestant Episcopal Church on 47th Ave. in 1910.

Source: SF Gate

Most of the street-car homes were gradually destroyed, but some of their shells were built into new homes that went up as part of a real-estate boom in the 1930s. Carville sometime between 1915 and 1920.

Source: Outside Lands

Sometimes a remodeling project would result in finding bits and pieces of them, like wheels underneath floors.

Source: Outside Lands

And there is one last remaining home consisting of street cars, though you could never tell from the street. The home at 1632 Great Highway was made from two old cable cars and a horsecar. According to public records, it last sold for $280,000 in 1995. The one remaining known Carville house, photographed in February 2018.

Source: Trulia

Nowadays, the relatively affordable Sunset District is home to families, retirees, and students at San Francisco State and UCSF. The Sunset District in 2017.

Source: SF Gate

It's also popular with surfers in the city, who opt for the neighborhood for its proximity to the ocean. And young artists have also apparently increasingly begun to call the Sunset home. Surfers at Ocean Beach on June 21, 2011.

Source: SF Gate

Perhaps Carville's legacy lives on in them. Read the original article on Business Insider

Russian 'bullying' in a European hotspot stirs Cold War memories for the region's former top US Navy officer

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 4:41pm
US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Porter in the Black Sea with the Romanian Frigate Regina Maria, April 13, 2020.
  • The Black Sea has become a hotspot for military activity by the Russian and NATO militaries.
  • That increasing presence has led to close encounters between Russia and its NATO and non-NATO neighbors — events that are reminders of Cold War collisions, according to retired Adm. James Foggo.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Aggressive Russian behavior in the Black Sea region is a reminder of similar actions during the Cold War, the former top Navy officer in the region, now-retired Adm. James Foggo, said this week.

While the Black Sea has become a hotspot for military activity in recent years, there's a longer history of worrisome Russian actions, Foggo said during an event hosted by the Center for European Policy Analysis on Tuesday.

The 2008 invasion of Georgia was a surprise for US military leaders, as was the incursion in Ukraine in 2014, though "it probably shouldn't have been," Foggo said, adding that assassinations and poisonings in Europe further "indicate that Russia cannot be trusted."

"What bothers me is the recurrence of bullying that occurs in the Black Sea region," Foggo said, pointing specifically to the Sea of Azov, which is separated from the rest of the Black Sea by the Kerch Strait.

The road-and-rail bridge connecting mainland Russia with the Crimean Peninsula across the Kerch Strait, April 25, 2018.

Russia has built a bridge over that strait, which Putin inaugurated with a train ride across. It not only connects mainland Russia to Crimea but is part of an effort to cut off Ukrainian territory on the Sea of Azov from the rest of the Black Sea, Foggo said.

"My worry is that that Sea of Azov model ... can be exported to the rest of the Black Sea," Foggo said in reference to a November 2018 incident in which Russian ships fired on and rammed Ukrainian ships sailing into the Sea of Azov.

Russia claimed the ships illegally entered its waters, but its actions were seen as a violation of both maritime law and an agreement on passage through the strait. The Ukrainian sailors were held until September 2019 — "a complete violation of Geneva Convention," Foggo said — and their ships weren't returned until November that year.

"So the Russians represent a threat," Foggo said, "and this isn't just something that happened overnight."

Foggo pointed to a February 1988 incident between US and Soviet ships as the US ships sailed through what the Soviet Union claimed as territorial waters near Crimea.

US Navy cruiser USS Yorktown is rammed by the Soviet frigate Bezzavetniy in the Black Sea, February 12, 1988.

"The American ships had entered the 12-mile limit claimed by the Soviet Union as part of a Navy policy of occasionally asserting the right of passage in waters exceeding the 3-mile territorial limit recognized by the United States," The New York Times reported at the time.

Anonymous officials cited by The Times also said the operation was meant to collect intelligence on Soviet defenses.

The Soviet vessels warned the Navy ships, the cruiser Yorktown and the destroyer Caron, that they would be bumped if they didn't return to international waters, the Navy said. The US ships didn't comply, and the Soviets followed through, causing minor damage to the US ships.

"That was somewhat of a seminal event," Foggo said Tuesday. "When I saw the Sea of Azov occur again on smaller scale ... it brought back those memories."

"They really have not changed. They've not embraced international organizations, institutions, standards, and norms," Foggo said of the Russians. "I find that they are dangerous, and they need be checked."

The future of Europe Ukrainian navy ships during exercise Sea Breeze 2020 in the Black Sea, July 21, 2020.

Russia and Ukraine remain locked in a "frozen conflict," Foggo said, and tensions between Russia and NATO have only escalated since 2014. While there are legal limits on ships from non-Black Sea countries being in the sea, the US and NATO have made it a point to be present.

"I did everything in my power ... to put ships in the Black Sea either under a US hat with allies and partners bilaterally or, my favorite thing to do, multilaterally with NATO," said Foggo, who commanded US Naval Forces Europe-Africa and Allied Joint Force Command from October 2017 until mid-July 2020.

"I think it's necessary we maintain a very high presence" to "quell the tides" created by Russia there, Foggo added.

That presence hasn't slacked with Foggo's retirement. Days after he departed, Sea Breeze, a Ukrainian-US exercise with other Black Sea and NATO nations, kicked off with a number of maritime drills and training with US aircraft.

Close encounters between US and NATO aircraft and Russian fighter jets have also become common in the region, with the US often criticizing what it deems "unsafe and unprofessional" behavior by Russian pilots.

The Black Sea region's strategic importance for Russia and NATO means local developments can have geopolitical significance for the region and the continent.

"The Black Sea region is, in our assessment, the central locus of the competition between Russia and the West for the future of Europe," Stephen J. Flanagan, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, said this summer.

Read the original article on Business Insider

UFC Fight Island will hold 5 events from a private 'bubble' in the United Arab Emirates — here's the full schedule and how to watch

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 4:35pm

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

A general view of the Octagon at Yas Beach ahead of the UFC Fight Island series of events in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
  • UFC is running a series of five events at a private island campus in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, dubbed UFC Fight Island.
  • Holding the events at a private destination enables UFC to implement ideal safety measures against COVID-19 and allows international fighters to circumvent travel restrictions and visa issues.
  • UFC 253 will kick off the return to Fight Island with a middleweight championship match between Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa.
  • You can stream all UFC Fight Island matches live on ESPN+, and some of the action will also be available on the ESPN cable channel.

UFC has returned to Yas Island, a tourist destination in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for another month-long series of events at the private campus the organization has dubbed "UFC Fight Island."

While COVID-19 has forced UFC to hold most of its events at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, hosting events at UFC Fight Island helps international fighters circumvent travel and visa restrictions imposed by the pandemic. The UFC successfully held four events on Fight Island in July, including a welterweight championship bout between Jorge Masvidal and Kamaru Usman.

The UFC Fight Island campus spans six square miles and includes training and medical facilities for fighters and staff. Fans will not be in attendance for UFC 253 or any other UFC Fight Island events due to the pandemic. According to the AP, about 2,000 people are working under UFC's Fight Island quarantine bubble.

In July, UFC President Dana White shared a video showing a map of the facility and the precautions needed to get Fight Island up and running. UFC has implemented at least 18 different safety precautions during the pandemic, including advanced medical screenings, regular testing, temperature checks, and social distancing guidelines.

All five UFC Fight Island events will be streamed live on ESPN+, which costs $5.99 per month or $49.99 per year. The main cards of UFC 253 and UFC 254, which feature Fight Island's most high profile matches, cost an additional $64.99 to watch.

You can access the ESPN+ app on all major mobile devices and smart TVs, including Amazon Fire, Apple, Android, Chromecast, PS4, Xbox One, Roku, Samsung products, and more.

Below, we've detailed all of the events happening on UFC Fight Island in September and October, and how you can watch.

Updated on 9/24/2020 by Kevin Webb: We've completely revised this article to include UFC's September and October events in Abu Dhabi.

September 26 — UFC 253: Adesanya vs. Costa Israel Adesanya takes a taunting stance against Anderson Silva.

Undefeated fighters Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa will battle for UFC's middleweight championship in the main event of UFC 253.

Adesanya established himself as one of UFC's most dominant champions in 2019, defeating UFC legends Anderson Silva and Robert Whittaker to claim the belt. Costa has a reputation as one of UFC's most powerful fighters, earning knockouts in 11 of his 13 career matches.

UFC 253 will stream exclusively via ESPN+ with the main card starting at 10 p.m. ET and early prelims beginning at 7 p.m. ET.

October 3 — UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Aldana Holly Holm (in white) is perhaps best known for knocking out former UFC champion Ronda Rousey.

Holly Holm and Irene Aldana were originally scheduled to meet at an August UFC Fight Night, but their match will now headline an event on Fight Island. Aldana tested positive for the coronavirus in July, leading to the fight being postponed until October.

Aldana earned Performance of the Night honors for her first-round knockout of Ketlen Vieira at UFC 245; while Holm won a unanimous decision against Raquel Pennington at UFC 246.

October 10 — UFC Fight Night: Moraes vs. Sandhagen Marlon Moraes is in great shape, but he still suffered from symptoms of the coronavirus.

Top-ranked bantamweight fighter Marlon Moraes contracted the coronavirus in July but that won't stop him from competing at UFC Fight Island in October. Moraes' last fight was in December 2019, a win over former featherweight champion José Aldo.

Cory Sandhagen had a seven-fight win streak before suffering a first round submission loss to Aljamain Sterling at UFC 250 in June. He remains the fourth-ranked fighter in the division and could challenge for the championship if he defeats Moraes in October.

October 17 — UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. Jung Chan Sung Jung has earned the nickname "The Korean Zombie" for his ability to take big blows and keep moving.

Brian Ortega and Chan Sung Jung will meet in the main event of this UFC Fight Night event nine months after they were originally scheduled to fight in Jung's home country of South Korea.

Time hasn't cooled the rivalry between the two fighters though; Ortega was kicked out of UFC 248 in March after he hit Jung's translator and friend Jay Park in the face during the event. Ortega, Park, and Jung were all attending UFC 248 as spectators, and it's unclear what sparked Ortega's attack on Park.

Ortega hasn't fought since losing against Max Holloway in a featherweight championship fight in December 2018. 

October 24 — UFC 254: Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje Khabib Nurmagomedov remains undefeated with 28 wins.

The main event of UFC 254 is a unification bout between UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Interim Lightweight Champion Justin Gaethje. Gaethje claimed the title with a victory over Tony Ferguson in May after travel restrictions prevented Nurmagomedov from competing.

The main event marks UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov's first match of 2020.

How to watch UFC 253: Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya faces undefeated challenger Paulo CostaESPN+: All your questions answered about ESPN's streaming serviceGermany's premier soccer league, the Bundesliga, will begin its new season on September 18 — here's how to watch live on ESPN+How to get the Disney Plus bundle with ESPN+ and the different versions of HuluRead the original article on Business Insider

This $20 moisturizer from La Roche-Posay is a steal considering how well it works for my sensitive, acne-prone skin

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 4:25pm

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  • Moisturizers with powerful ingredients like hyaluronic acid that actually improve your skin's health can often get pricey, but La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer costs only $20.
  • This moisturizer doesn't contain synthetic fragrances, parabens, or oil so it doesn't irritate my sensitive skin. Instead, it has hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and more to hydrate.
  • I liked the moisturizer's formula so much that I also bought the daytime version with SPF as well as the facial cleanser — both were less than $20 each.

I have combination, acne- and redness-prone skin that's very sensitive — it's a real trip shopping for skincare products that won't irritate it even more. 

My current routine involves a cleanser and brightening vitamin C serum in the mornings, and a cleanser and a combo of alpha and beta hydroxy acids to target any acne and dead skin at night. I needed a moisturizer that would target dryness, make my skin feel bouncy instead of tight, and ultimately, not cause pimples or more redness — all without breaking the bank. 

So I went to the beauty mecca that is Ulta and found La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer. It's the best no-BS moisturizer I've tried, and it all comes down to the clean ingredients and $20 price tag— it was as if someone figured out all the things that would make me want to try it.

I was immediately sold when I saw all the benefits: hydrating ingredients, no synthetic fragrances or parabens, and suitable for sensitive skin. We've all been told to look out for certain ingredients in a moisturizer — like niacinamide, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid. Because these are such powerhouses that hydrate, strengthen, and repair skin, some moisturizers containing these ingredients can get crazy expensive, and worse, they can also contain irritating ingredients like synthetic fragrance.

The formula leaves out questionable ingredients like petrolatum, parabens, and synthetic fragrances. Petrolatum is a refined derivative of petroleum, which is technically safe, but since the US beauty industry is not regulated, it can be contaminated and irritate skin. Petrolatum feels smooth and thick, like jelly, so it can make your face feel soft as if it moisturized, but it can also clog pores and prevent skin from breathing. Parabens are preservatives that can also irritate skin and mess with hormones, and synthetic fragrance — you guessed it — can also irritate skin.

Read more: This startup helps you replace your skincare routine with clean beauty products using a simple quiz — I tried everything it recommended

La Roche Posay's moisturizer doesn't contain these ingredients, so it's a dream for my sensitive skin. And while it leaves out a lot of the bad stuff, it also contains beneficial ingredients as well. Like ceramides, which help restore your skin's moisture barrier so moisture doesn't evaporate. There's also niacinamide, or vitamin B5, to help with redness and the appearance of pore size; hyaluronic acid, which keeps helps skin retain up to 1,000 times its weight in water; and prebiotic thermal water, which definitely sounds like it's from a fairy tale, but actually keeps more of the good bacteria on your skin to help fight the bad bacteria that can cause acne.

I use the daytime and night time versions of this moisturizer, since the daytime one has SPF to protect my face daily. And for good measure, I picked up the cleanser from the same Toleriane line as well.

Both the cleanser and moisturizers feel creamy, but not heavy. The cleanser is a clear-ish gel that you rub in and wash off. Since it's not made with sulfates, it doesn't lather up or strip my face of natural oils. Instead, my skin just feels really soft and clean.

I have to blend the daytime moisturizer into my face for about 20 seconds because the mineral sunscreen can leave a really white cast if it's not blended well. The nighttime moisturizer is also an opaque white like the daytime version and has a thicker consistency, though neither is due to the sunscreen. My skin never feels tacky or sticky after using either of these creams.

Read more: 22 clean skincare and makeup products that have the 'Clean at Sephora' seal of approval

I was so happy to try a cleanser and moisturizer that didn't try to mask themselves with heavy fragrance either. I love perfume, but I don't need a bouquet of flowers on my face. 

Over time, what I've noticed is that my skin feels moisturized and not tight. More importantly, my skin hasn't felt red, or itchy, or blotchy, and my acne hasn't gotten worse after using. I also love that it's only around $20, which my wallet definitely appreciates as a good moisturizer with clean, hydrating ingredients can get pretty expensive. I've been able to find this moisturizer at drugstores like CVS and online Dermstore, so the wide availability is an added bonus.

If you're looking for a workhorse moisturizer with hydrating ingredients you want — and without the irritating ones — this is a great one to pick up.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Amazon announced 13 new devices — here's everything you need to know about the new Echo, Ring, Eero, and more

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 4:24pm

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  • Amazon launched several new Echo devices as well as products in other categories, such as Ring, Eero, and even a new game streaming service and controller, during a virtual press event on September 24.
  • The so-named "All-new" Echo speaker costs $99.99 and includes a brand-new, spherical design enabling Dolby stereo sound as well as a built-in ZigBee smart hub.
  • Here's everything you need to know about all the new Amazon devices, and how to buy them.
  • For more Amazon device event coverage, check out our guides to the new Ring devices and the new Echo smart speakers.

The literally-named "All-new" Amazon Echo speaker devices are here for 2020, announced on September 24, starting with the All-new Echo, which combines the audio oomph of the Echo Plus speakers with Amazon's mainstream device into one product. Naturally, this Echo is priced just like it has been before, at $99.99.

Amazon also announced an All-new Echo Dot, an All-new Echo Dot with Clock, and an All-new Echo Dot Kids Edition during its online press briefing. This cost similarly to last year's models: $49.99, $59.99, and $59.99, respectively.

An All-new Echo Show 10 smart speaker was also announced, which features a screen that can fully pivot, following you during video calls around a room, and now supports Netflix for $249.99.

To support these with the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology, Amazon also announced brand-new Eero 6 and Eero Pro 6 mesh router systems, which will go for $129.99 and $229.99, respectively. 

Here are some more details on every device and service Amazon announced for 2020: The all-new Amazon Echo

Amazon's latest Echo is said to combine the best bits of the mainstream Echo speakers with that of the Echo Plus line (e.g. a 3-inch woofer and dual-firing tweeters) into a single product for $99.99 — the same price as last year's Echo.

The speaker takes on a new spherical shape with Dolby stereo sound inside, and it features a ZigBee smart hub to connect all of your smart home devices to, as well as Sidewalk Bridge, a peer-to-peer smart home networking tool to build secure, neighborhood-level networks among Ring and Alexa devices.

This All-new Echo is available for pre-order right now at $99.99 and will officially arrive on October 22 in Charcoal, Glacier White, and Twilight Blue colors.

The all-new Echo Dot, Echo Dot with Clock, and Echo Dot Kids Edition

The new Echo Dots come with the same spherical design refresh as the standard Echo and come in three different models, including the regular Echo Dot, Echo Dot with Clock, and Echo Dot Kids Edition. 

The new $50 Echo Dot has a 1.6-inch front-firing speaker that Amazon says can fill a room with sound. It's available for preorder now and will released on October 22 in Charcoal, Glacier White, and Twilight Blue.

The $60 Echo Dot with Clock has the same LED clock display from the original Echo Dot with Clock that tells you the time, temperature, timers, and alarms. The Clock version is available for preorder now and will be released on November 5 in Glacier White and Twilight Blue.

The $60 Echo Dot Kids Edition comes with a panda or tiger design and incorporates Alexa's kids' mode that makes for a kid-friendly and safe experience when interacting with Alex for its various uses, like calling approved friends and family and asking questions. The Kids Edition is also enhanced to better recognize kids' voices to shift Alexa to kids' profiles where parental controls are enabled. The Kids Edition comes with a one-year Amazon Kids+ subscription. The Kids Edition is available for preorder now, with the Tiger version releasing on Ocotber 22 and the Panda version on December 9.

 

The new Echo Show 10

The new Echo Show 10 is a big upgrade over previous versions. 

It has a 10-inch adaptive HD display that can rotate and follow you as you move around a room while you interact with Alexa, watch a video, or when you're on a video call. The 13-megapixel wide-angle camera pans and zooms in unison with the rotating screen to keep you at the center of the frame. Amazon seemingly wanted to make it clear that the new Show 10 doesn't make any noise as it spins around to follow you.  

It can even act like a home security camera by panning around a room periodically and alerting you if it detects any movement with the newly announced Amazon Alexa Guard.

The new Echo Show 10 has dual front-firing tweeters for mids and treble, and a woofer for bass. 

The new Echo Show 10 isn't available for preorder or to buy yet. When it does go on sale, it'll cost $250 and be available in Charcoal and Glacier White.

The new Ring Always Home Cam

The Ring Always Home Cam is, essentially, a surveillance drone for your home. 

It's intended to help users keep tabs on their home without having to install multiple cameras, the company said. Users can set a predetermined path for the Always Home Cam, and the camera can check for disturbances if a Ring Alarm is triggered. 

The camera is designed to follow a path that the owner sets by carrying it around the house. The camera and drone has a battery life, or flight time, of approximately five minutes.

The device is only capable of recording while in flight, according to Ring. When it's not zipping around the house, the Always Home Cam sits in its dock where the camera is blocked. The flying camera will also make a sound when it flight to alert that it's recording.

The Ring Always Home Cam will be available for $250 on Ring's website and Amazon starting in 2021, the company said. 

New Ring devices for your car

Ring is expanding outside the home and into cars with the Ring Car Alarm and Ring Car Cam. Ring is also becoming an option to be built-into cars by manufacturers, starting with Tesla cars. 

The Ring Car Alarm is a simple device that plugs into a car's OBD-II port and sends alerts to your phone with the Ring app of "bumps, break-ins, tows, and more," the company said. The alerts can be sent to other Ring or Alexa devices, too. 

The Ring Car Alarm is $60 and will be released in 2021, the company said. 

The Ring Car Cam is a car version of a Ring home monitoring camera. The Car Cam actively monitors for break-ins and bumps when your car is parked and sends alerts to your phone. With the Ring app, you can see what the camera sees, at least if your car is within Wi-Fi range, or over LTE with a connectivity plan for the Car Cam. 

The Ring Car Cam will cost $200 when it's released in 2021. 

The new Eero 6 and Eero 6 Pro mesh Wi-Fi systems

The new Eero 6 and Eero Pro 6 are Amazon's mesh Wi-Fi routers that are designed to be placed throughout a home, especially in dead zones, and deliver strong and fast Wi-Fi signals. It's like using an extender, but better and easier to set up and use. 

The main new thing in the Eero 6 series is the addition of Wi-Fi 6 support — the latest standard of W-Fi. 

The Eero 6 is a dual-band system with two Ethernet ports and a ZigBee smart home hub built-in. Amazon says the standard Eero 6 is designed for internet connections up to 500Mbps. A single Eero 6 covers 1,500 square feet.

The Eero Pro 6 is a tri-band system, which makes for a stronger and faster connection between each Eero 6 satellite router, and is more likely to deliver your full internet speeds throughout your home, even in dead zones. It includes two Ethernet ports and a built-in ZigBee smart home hub. It's designed for Gigiabit speeds, Amazon says, and a single Eero 6 Pro covers up to 2,000 square feet.  

The Eero 6 series area available for preorder today and will be released on November 2.

New Fire TV Sticks with upgrades

Amazon's newest Fire TV Stick is a 1080p streaming model priced at $40. Amazon boasts that the new Fire TV Stick is 50% faster than the previous generation released in 2016, and it comes with HDR support for better colors and contrast, as well as Dolby Atmos support for better sound. The remote has a built-in microphone so you can ask Alexa to look for movies or TV shows.

The new Fire TV Stick Lite is a slightly pared-down version of the standard Fire TV Stick above. It's also 1080p, and also comes with the 50% faster claim as the standard Fire TV Stick. It only misses out on Dolby Atmos support and certain buttons on the remote, like TV power, volume, and mute buttons.

The Fire TV Stick is available for preorder now for $40 and will be fully released on September 30. 

The Fire TV Stick Lite is also available for preorder for $30 and will also be released on September 30. 

Amazon's game streaming service and gaming controller!

Luna+ is Amazon's own game streaming service that works on Fire TV, PC, Mac, iOS (through a web app), and Android soon. 

Luna is in the early access stage at the moment, so you'll have to request an invitation from Amazon here. Early access costs $6 per month, with the ability to play on two devices at the same time, and resolution up to 4K at a smooth 60 frames-per-second. 

During early access, Amazon said games like "Resident Evil 7," "Control," "Panzer Dragoon," "A Plague Tale: Innocence," "The Surge 2," "Yooka-Laylee," "The Impossible Lair," "Iconoclasts," "GRID," "ABZU," and "Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons" will be available to play. 

Amazon also announced its own Luna Controller, a Bluetooth game controller that connects directly to the cloud where games are streamed from, which makes for as little lag as possible when you press buttons and move the joystick. Luna+ games can also be played with keyboard and mouse on PC. 

Read the original article on Business Insider


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