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The EPA wants to regulate hazardous 'forever chemicals,' which are found in items like pizza boxes, nonstick pans, and cleaning products

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 8:47pm
  • Forever chemicals can't break down and linger in the soil, water, and air.
  • Many household items contain forever chemicals, including nonstick cookware and cleaning products.
  • EPA Administrator Michael Regan outlined the government's plan to combat PFAS through 2024.

The Biden administration and the Environmental Protection Agency announced a widespread federal effort Monday to protect Americans from perfluoroalkyls and polyfluoroalkyl compounds, a group of manmade chemicals that have been linked to severe health problems like cancer and thyroid disease, The New York Times reported.

Used in industry and consumer products worldwide, PFAS are commonly referred to as "forever chemicals" due to their inability to break down, which causes them to linger in the environment and migrate into soil, water, and air, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

"To safeguard public health and protect the environment, the efforts being announced will help prevent PFAS from being released into the air, drinking systems, and food supply, and the actions will expand cleanup efforts to remediate the impacts of these harmful pollutants," a White House fact sheet said.

ATSDR lists a variety of household items that contain forever chemicals, including:

  • Some grease-resistant paper, fast food containers and wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes, and candy wrappers
  • Nonstick cookware
  • Stain resistant coatings used on carpets, upholstery, and other fabrics
  • Water resistant clothing
  • Cleaning products
  • Personal care products (shampoo, dental floss) and cosmetics (nail polish, eye makeup)
  • Paints, varnishes, and sealants

As part of the announcement, the EPA Administrator Michael Regan outlined actions that the federal government will take to to mitigate the effects of PFAS, such as holding polluters accountable, preventing further contamination, and investing in more scientific research on the chemicals' effects.

"We can only make progress if we work in close collaboration with Tribes, states, localities, and stakeholders to enact solutions that follow the science and stand the test of time. To affect meaningful change, engagement, transparency, and accountability will be critical as we move forward," Regan said in the PFAS Strategic Roadmap.

Other federal bodies involved with efforts to regulate and limit exposure to PFAS include the Department of Defense, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Agriculture, Department of Homeland Security, White House Council on Environmental Quality, and the Department of Health and Human Services, according to a White House fact sheet.

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Lawyers for Donald Trump claim he never defamed Summer Zervos, who accused him of sexual assault in 2016

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 8:12pm
In this combination photo, President Donald Trump, left, listens during a meeting at the White House, on March 13, 2017 in Washington and Summer Zervos, a former contestant on "The Apprentice" appears at a news conference in Los Angeles on Oct. 14, 2016.
  • In 2017, Zervos filed a lawsuit against Trump after he denied her accusation of sexual assault.
  • Attorneys for Trump argued she started the litigation to inhibit his freedom of speech.
  • A New York State court said in October that Trump must give a deposition by December 23.

Lawyers representing Donald Trump argued that Summer Zervos cannot sue him for defamation because she is lying about being sexually assaulted by the former president, according to a counterclaim filed on Monday.

Zervos filed the defamation lawsuit against Trump in 2017 when he publicly denied her accusation of sexual assault and accused her and other accusers of being "liars" who were trying to sabotage him. After appearing on NBC's "The Apprentice," Zervos claimed Trump kissed her against her will in 2007 in New York and later groped her in a California hotel.

Attorneys for Trump argued in the counterclaim that Zervos initiated the litigation for the "sole purpose of harassing, intimidating, punishing, or otherwise maliciously inhibiting" his rights, including freedom of speech.

"[Zervos] knew when she asserted her defamation claim that the statements at issue in the claim were truthful and not defamatory," the counterclaim said.

Two months prior, the New York State Judge Jennifer Schechter instructed lawyers for both Trump and Zervos to complete the factual discovery phase by December 23, 2021, which would require Trump to sit for a deposition.

"Mr. Trump's baseless counterclaim against Ms. Zervos is a desperate reaction to the court's order that he and his associates be deposed by December 23. We look forward to taking Mr. Trump's deposition and zealously fighting his unwarranted attacks against our client," Beth Wilkinson and Moira Penza, who represent Zervos, said in an email.

Alina Habba, the attorney representing Trump in the case, argued in the counterclaim that Zervos' claim is barred under New York's new anti-SLAPP law, which is meant to deter frivolous lawsuits.

Insider has reached out to Habba for comment.

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At least 5 Capitol riot defendants are representing themselves, including one who sent a billing schedule to the court

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 7:57pm
Brandon Fellows in the US Capitol on January 6. Fellows is representing himself.
  • At least five Capitol riot defendants are representing themselves, despite no legal training.
  • One New York man who is defending himself admitted to two new felonies while testifying last week.
  • Judges have offered warnings to those requesting to represent themselves about possible consequences.

Several Capitol riot defendants are betting on themselves as they head to trial, despite a lack of legal expertise and warnings from judges, both implicit and explicit.

At least five people charged in relation to the January 6 Capitol attack have waived their right to a formally-trained attorney in favor of defending themselves, according to The Associated Press.

  1. Alan Hostetter charged with conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting, knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds, knowingly engaged in disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds
  2. Brandon Fellows charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds, violent entry or disorderly conduct
  3. Pauline Bauer charged with obstruction of justice/Congress, knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds, knowingly engaged in disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds
  4. Eric Bochene charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds, violent entry or disorderly conduct
  5. Brian Christopher Mock charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers, knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, acts of physical violence in any of the Capitol buildings or grounds

Just last week, US District Judge Royce Lamberth advised former California police chief Alan Hostetter that he had never before seen someone successfully represent him or herself since he was appointed to the bench in 1987. Lamberth approved Hostetter's request to represent himself, but warned that those who do so have "a fool for a client."

The choice to represent oneself is a Constitutional right, and the judge's warning did not stop Hostetter, or others who received similar judicial guidance, from going it alone in their legal defense.

One Capitol riot defendant made a massive blunder while representing himself in court earlier this month. Brandon Fellows, a New York man facing a litany of charges stemming from the Capitol riot, not only failed to win his release in a recent bond hearing, but also likely admitted to two new felonies in the process of defending himself, a federal judge said last week.

Ahead of the hearing, US District Judge Trevor McFadden issued Fellows a warning similar to the one Hostetter received, but Fellows told the court he had spent two weeks studying in DC Jail's law library and felt confident in his approach.

Fellows took the stand during the hearing and admitted to climbing into the Capitol through a broken window without permission from authorities, as well as previously using a judge's wife's phone number to get a new judge in a past case.

Hostetter, meanwhile, told the court he wanted the chance to represent himself in order to expose what he believes is far-reaching "corruption" within the FBI investigation into the Capitol attack.

Pauline Bauer of Pennsylvania has also opted to represent herself. Judge McFadden jailed the restaurant owner, who is accused of threatening to hang House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and who made headlines earlier this year for mounting an unusual defense against the Capitol riot charges, claiming she was "divinely immune" from the court's laws.

Pauline Bauer in the Capitol Rotunda on January 6.

In a July hearing, Bauer demanded the removal of "any and all" defense attorneys on her behalf, arguing that she didn't want "any lawyering from the bench."

In perhaps the most brazen move by a self-represented defendant yet, Eric Bochene of New York submitted a "fee schedule," in which he attempted to collect payment from the court for working on his own case, The AP reported.

Bochene wanted to charge up to $250,000 for up to two hours in court if he is feeling under "duress," and $50,000 for showing up voluntarily, the outlet reported. Should the court force him to give any bodily fluids, Bochene attempted to demand a payment of $5 million under the billing schedule.

US District Judge Randolph Moss, who ruled last month that Bochene could represent himself, denied the defendant's request for payment, according to The AP.

Brian Christopher Mock, a Minnesota man, is the fifth defendant to begin representing himself last month, the outlet reported. Court records allege that Mock bragged about assaulting police officers at the Capitol following the insurrection.

Nearly 700 people have been charged in the Capitol riot thus far, and nearly 100 have pleaded guilty.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 3 best humidifiers we tested in 2021

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 6:41pm

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

  • Low humidity in your home can cause dry skin and activate asthma symptoms.
  • A good humidifier should increase humidity levels efficiently and be easy to use and clean.
  • Our top choice is the Honeywell Designer Series since it's simple and effective.
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

A good humidifier efficiently adds moisture back into your home throughout the day or overnight (depending on your preference) to raise moisture levels to the EPA-recommended 30% to 60%. Proper home humidity levels can have serious health benefits, from improving allergy symptoms to warding off bloody noses.

"Dry air can make allergies and asthma worse by drying our airways and thickening mucus," said Purvi Parikh, MD, an adult and pediatric allergist and immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network. "A humidifier keeps moisture in the air so that does not occur."

Skincare enthusiasts also tout the benefits of humidifiers. "Hydration is important for general skincare because when our skin is chapped or cracked, it is not a proper protective barrier," said Jeanine Downie, MD, director, image Dermatology PC. "If our skin is not a proper barrier, then superficial skin infections can occur. If your skin is hydrated, it will not be red, itchy, and otherwise reactive." Downie noted that she personally uses a humidifier "pretty much from November 1 until May 1" every year.

For more information on proper home humidity levels and what to look for when choosing a humidifier, jump to the bottom of this guide.

Here are the best humidifiers Best humidifier overall

The Honeywell Designer Series Cool Mist Humidifier is easy to use, long-lasting, and humidifies extremely quickly and efficiently. 

  • Raised humidity level by: 30% in 4 hours
  • Run time between refills: 24 hours
  • Dimensions: 8.8 x 8.8 x 13.2 inches 
  • Color options: White and black

Pros: Adjustable settings, extremely efficient, easy to set up and clean, lasts 24 hours on one tank, no filter to change

Cons: Occasional dripping noise, no smart settings, essential oil function is so-so, doesn't disperse humidity as evenly in large rooms 

The Honeywell Designer Series Cool Mist Humidifier worked so quickly and efficiently on its highest setting in my smaller bedroom and office spaces that I actually worried about over-humidifying my home.

In fact, it raised the humidity levels in my office by 30% in just four hours, a feat many of the other humidifiers I tested couldn't even do after eight hours. Luckily, the settings are highly adjustable via an easy-to-use scroll knob so you can set the humidifier to a lower level once your desired humidity has been reached.

The Honeywell is incredibly easy to use; setup took mere minutes. It has a simple and wide removable tank that you fill up and then slip back in. Plug it in, and you're ready to go. The humidifier also alerts you with a refill light when the water levels are low, and it automatically shuts off when it's empty. On the lowest settings, it can last for a full day on one tank.    

There is an occasional dripping noise, though I didn't find it too distracting, and it's quiet enough that you won't hear it over a fan or some background music. While it worked more than well enough on its own in smaller spaces, you may also want to use a fan near it for bigger rooms to help better disperse the vapor stream.  

It has a small pullout tray where you can add essential oils, but this is not a diffuser. I did get a whiff of a pleasant aroma when I used that option, but if your main goal is to have your room smell nice instead of humidifying, you're better off getting an actual diffuser.

There's no filter that needs changing, and it was easy and quick to clean. As a bonus, its sleek look is far more aesthetically pleasing than many other humidifiers on the market, and it can easily fit on most desks, nightstands, and shelves.

Designer Series Cool Mist Humidifier (button) Best humidifier on a budget

The TaoTronics Space-Saving Filterless Humidifier is an elegant, no-fuss option that gets the job done.

  • Raised humidity level by: 28% in 8 hours
  • Run time between refills: 20 hours
  • Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 3
  • Color options: White, black, and light blue

Pros: Good price, 360-degree nozzle, lightweight, lasts all day or night on one tank

Cons: Not good for bigger rooms, doesn't humidify rooms as evenly as other picks, no extra features or settings

The TaoTronics Space-Saving Filterless Humidifier doesn't come with any fancy features, but you don't necessarily need any. It's lightweight, easy to fill and clean, adjusts with a simple dial knob, is small enough to fit on nightstands and desks, and has a 360-degree nozzle so you can better aim the stream in specific directions.

Most importantly, it raised the humidity levels next to my bed by 28% when used overnight, taking my sleeping quarters from desert-levels of dryness to a noticeably nicer climate. 

However, it didn't disperse the humidity as evenly as other options I tested; across my small bedroom, the humidity was about 5% less than right next to the humidifier, making this pick best for smaller spaces or for placing directly near where you sleep or sit. 

While it does make a low gurgling noise on the highest settings, it's overall pretty quiet. Its sleek, tapered look also means it's not an eyesore. Cleaning was relatively easy, and it comes with a little brush for scrubbing the base.

TaoTronics TT-AH026 Small Humidifier (button) Best humidifier with an air purifier

The Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool is a three-in-one smart humidifier, air purifier, and fan that automatically reads and adjusts levels on its own.

  • Raised humidity level by: 16% in 2 hours and automatically held the new level
  • Run time between refills: 36+ hours
  • Dimensions: 36.5 x 11 x 6 inches 
  • Color options: White/silver, black/nickel

Pros: Smart automatic features, works with an app, reads home and outside air levels, easy cleaning mode, three-in-one machine 

Cons: Takes up a lot of space, very expensive 

There's no getting around the fact that the Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool is expensive. But as a three-in-one machine that's also an air purifier and a fan, you can make the case that it's more convenient and potentially cheaper just to get the Dyson rather than buy those three devices separately. 

While the Dyson has a smaller footprint than three machines would separately, it's going to take up some floor space. That said, for those in the market for a smart humidifier and air purifier option that does all the thinking for you, the Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool is an excellent choice. 

You connect the Dyson to the Dyson Link app, and from there you can check your current home humidity and air quality levels. The machine can be controlled with a remote, the app, and via voice control with Alexa and Siri.

Though you can change the humidity and fan levels yourself, you can also set it to auto, and it will decide the best levels for you based on local weather data and your Air Quality Index score. When I used the auto feature, it raised my humidity levels to a nice 50% and kept it there even throughout my larger open-concept kitchen and living room area.

The one-gallon tank also lasts a long time. Dyson claims it lasts for 36 hours even on high settings, and though I didn't time it down to the exact hour, one tank was easily able to last me a few days.

The fact that it's also a fan makes this a nice year-round option, as it can easily switch between adding extra humidity during winter months to circulating cool air on sticky summer nights. While the fan is very loud on its highest settings, it's nice and quiet on settings of four and under, and it does have a night-mode feature that will keep everything automatic but at the quietest levels possible. 

Additionally, for anyone who worries about potential bacteria from humidifiers, the Dyson uses UV light to kill bacteria before expelling the (invisible) water vapor into the air. It alerts you when it needs cleaning and comes with citrus powder packets for that purpose (you can also buy your own). Fill up the water tank, add a packet, and hit the self-clean button.

I haven't needed to change the HEPA filter yet, but be aware those will cost you an additional $80 each time.

Pure Humidify + Cool (button) What else we tested

We tested nine humidifiers for this guide. These are the ones that missed the cut.

What else we recommend and why:

Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier: This humidifier worked perfectly fine and is another good relatively low-cost option that's easy and effective. However, the TaoTronics Space-Saving Filterless Humidifier slightly outperformed it in terms of how much it raised humidity levels. Additionally, while this has a high/low option, the TaoTronics gives you more control over the vapor output via its dial knob. 

Levoit Evaport Ultrasonic Top-Fill Cool Mist 2-in-1 Humidifier & Diffuser: I owned this humidifier for a year and absolutely loved it except for one huge drawback: It's extremely hard to clean. You have to take out tiny parts to give it a proper scrub, and getting them to go back in was like a puzzle that could easily take me 30 minutes or more. However, both the actual humidifier and diffuser functions worked very well. 

What we don't recommend and why:

TaoTronics 4L Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier: While this TaoTronics machine did work well for raising humidity levels, there was some leakage around the machine when I used it. Additionally, while it has more buttons and options than the simpler TaoTronics Space-Saving Filterless Humidifier recommended above, I didn't find them particularly intuitive or useful and actually preferred the ease of the simpler model.

Canopy Humidifier: Canopy is a buzzy new brand that boasts anti-mold technology, invisible vapor, an essential oil diffuser puck, and the ease of being able to clean it by running it through the dishwasher. I was probably most excited to try out this humidifier. Unfortunately, it did not perform well. It raised humidity levels by a measly 5% after a full eight hours, was extremely loud on the highest settings, and the essential oil function didn't work at all (though the Open Spaces aroma kit it came with did smell fantastic on its own).  

Aishna Colorful Cool Mini Humidifier and Essential Oil Diffuser: Cheap and small, I also tested this as a potential portable option. However, it needs to be plugged in to work, which limits how portable it really is and where you can use it. It also didn't raise the humidity levels much, even around my small desk space, and I found the intermittent spray mode distracting.

Our testing methodology

I researched thoroughly to shortlist and test a total of nine humidifiers for this guide. What you need out of a humidifier will depend on the size of your space, how frequently you want to use it, and what your main goal for humidifying is. However, some universal factors make for a good humidifier. Here's what we looked for while testing and choosing our top picks:

Raised humidity levels: This is the most obvious and most important factor. If a humidifier doesn't actually raise the humidity levels of your space to the EPA-recommended 30% to 60%, it doesn't serve its main function. I used a hygrometer to definitively test the humidity levels of my home before, during, and after using each humidifier. I tested the levels right near the humidifiers, as well as across rooms of various sizes.    

Ease of set-up and use: If a humidifier is hard to figure out, a pain to fill up, or doesn't last a full day or night on one tank fill, chances are you're not going to want to use it very often. All of our top picks take five minutes or less to initially set up, are easy to fill, and last at least 10 hours on one tank. Some can even last days on a single tank.

Ease of cleaning: I've personally gotten rid of a humidifier because it was such a pain to clean, so I know first-hand how important that is. Without proper cleaning, humidifiers can grow mold or bacteria that can then be dispersed into your home. I did a deep clean of every humidifier we chose and found it to be an easy process for all. 

Extra features: Some humidifiers come with fancy extras that range from simple night light settings to app and voice control. These extras were taken into account to discern if they actually provided additional value and ease of use.   

Longevity: I've been testing most of these humidifiers for about two months and have not run into any issues with my top choices. However, I will be continuing to test to ensure they hold up over time and no serious issues arise, such as mold growth.

What we look forward to testing

We're always testing new humidifiers and retesting our top picks to determine the best ones. Here's what we're looking forward to testing for potential inclusion in this guide:

Levoit 6L Humidifier for Large Room: The company notes that this humidifier is especially good for big rooms. It features options for both warm and cool mist, a built-in humidity sensor, timer settings, the ability to add essential oils, and a remote to control it all. 

Air Innovations Cool Mist Digital Humidifier: Featuring a unique and slick design, this humidifier boasts a permanent ceramic filter, antimicrobial tank, aromatherapy tray, a smart display screen, and a lengthy 96-hour run time. 

Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier: This humidifier stands out because of its optional night light and long 5-year warranty. We like that you can easily see into the reservoir to gauge whether it needs more water to last through the night.

Humidifier FAQs What to consider when buying a humidifier

There's a wide spectrum of humidifier functions out there, not to mention a variety of design options. You'll need to consider the following when choosing the right humidifier for your needs:

Room size: The first step you should always take is knowing the room's square footage you want to primarily humidify. Then read up on the humidifier you're considering and whether the brand recommends it for small, medium, or large spaces. 

"If you buy a model that is designed for a larger space, the room will be uncomfortably humid and create an environment that could encourage mold and mildew growth," says Sydney Rexroad of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. "If the model is too small, it won't generate adequate humidity for the space."

Filter vs filter-free models: This one is a personal preference based on a few factors. "Filtered humidifiers are evaporative and use a fan to humidify the air. Filter-free models will put a mist directly into the air," says Rexroad. Additionally, filter-free models can carry a higher risk of bacteria or allergens getting in the air, so be sure you're willing to commit to cleaning it well once a week.

On the other hand, filters need to be replaced and add an additional cost you may not want to pay. Filter models are also often noisier.

Cold mist vs warm mist: According to all three experts we spoke with, this is entirely based on personal preference. Depending on what your main use for the humidifier is, you may want to ask your healthcare provider before making a choice.

Additional features: First and foremost, humidifiers have one main function. If you want a humidifier that performs more than one service, you'll need to look for a model that states it was made to do so. With essential oils in particular, you should never add them to a machine that is not explicitly made for that dual purpose. "Essential oils, medications, or other substances can damage the humidifier's mechanical parts," says Rexroad.  

How humid should your house be?

According to the EPA, "Indoor relative humidity (RH) should be kept below 60% -- ideally between 30% and 50%, if possible."

While low humidity can cause health issues ranging from dry skin and bloody noses to making asthma worse, over humidifying your home can come with adverse effects too, such as creating condensation that can ruin appliances and mold growth that can present health problems. A too-humid home can even attract unwanted insects. 

How to clean a humidifier

Cleaning your humidifier is vital. Purvi Parikh, MD, notes that humidifiers can be a double-edged sword if not properly taken care of. "If you are prone to dust mite or mold allergies, humidifiers can grow these allergens if not properly cleaned and thus make your symptoms worse."

Jeanine Downie, MD, also notes that if not properly maintained, humidifiers can blow out mold spores. She recommends thoroughly cleaning your humidifier at least once a week. 

You should always refer to your specific humidifiers manual and instructions for proper cleaning. However, for a simple and effective way to clean many standard humidifiers, Downie recommends that you "place a half a cup of bleach inside of a gallon of water and add that to your humidifier." 

If you have a filter model, you should also be replacing the filter regularly. Read up on how often your specific model recommends changing the filter.

Check out our other home heating and cooling guides

Jen Gushue contributed reporting.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Colin Powell, who died on Monday from COVID-19, had a blood-cell cancer that likely weakened his immune system

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 6:38pm
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
  • Colin Powell, former US secretary of state, died on Monday from COVID-19 complications.
  • Powell was vaccinated but was being treated for cancer, so he was likely immunocompromised.
  • Immunocompromised people should take precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, the CDC says.

Colin Powell, former US secretary of state, died on Monday from COVID-19 complications, according to a statement from the Powell family.

Powell, who was 84, was treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and was fully vaccinated, according to his family. He also had multiple myeloma, a white blood cell cancer, according to the New York Times. Cancer, as well as the drugs that treat the disease, can suppress the immune system. So both the disease and old age are risk factors for COVID-19 complications and death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Multiple myeloma patients may be especially at risk, according to a small study published in Nature in July, which found that a third of patients with that diagnosis developed no immune response after the COVID-19 vaccine.

"He was over the age of 80, he had cancer, and a treatment for his cancer made him vulnerable," Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a CNN medical analyst and professor of medicine at George Washington University, told CNN. Powell, he added, "represented our most vulnerable population in this country."

Secretary of State Colin Powell, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Commerce Secretary Don Evans, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, and Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Border and Transportation Security Asa Hutchinson applaud President George W. Bush on January 7, 2004. Some public figures left out key context when reporting on Powell's death

Not all public figures mentioned those crucial details about Powell's health when reacting to his death Monday.

"The fact that Colin Powell died from a breakthrough COVID infection raises new concerns about how effective vaccines are long-term," Fox News anchor John Roberts wrote on Twitter.

Roberts has since deleted the Tweet.

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz went a step further, telling his Twitter followers, "Post-vaccine breakthrough infection kills more people than Iraq's WMD's ever did."

"Powell's death should not be used to either explicitly or inadvertently push vaccine hesitancy," John Whitehouse, news director at Media Matters, wrote in a piece published Monday. "And more broadly it can serve as a reminder that the pandemic is certainly not over - and that loved ones across the country are still vulnerable."

Whitehouse also pointed out that the initial stories and Tweets published by the Associated Press and New York Times about Powell's death mentioned that he was fully vaccinated and had died of COVID-19, but not that Powell had cancer. Both organizations have since added context about Powell's multiple myeloma diagnosis.

Vials of the Pfizer (left) and Moderna (right) COVID-19 vaccines. COVID vaccines work well, but vulnerable people remain at risk

Data released by the CDC last week indicates that the three COVID-19 vaccines widely available in the US remain incredibly effective, even against the Delta variant.

As of August, unvaccinated people had a six-fold higher chance of testing positive for COVID-19 and an 11-fold greater chance of dying from the disease than those who got the shots. COVID-19 hospitalizations are about 12 times higher in unvaccinated adults than in vaccinated ones, the agency found.

But breakthrough cases do happen. Powell's death offers anecdotal evidence that vulnerable people, including older adults and those with compromised immune systems, may not mount a robust immune response to the vaccines so are therefore still at high risk.

"They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, until advised otherwise by their healthcare professional," the CDC notes on its website, recommending as well that "moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive an additional dose of vaccine."

Read the original article on Business Insider

The FDA plans to allow people to 'mix-and-match' their COVID-19 booster shots, a new report says

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 6:21pm
The federal government has provided COVID-19 relief in numerous forms, from free vaccines to economic programs.
  • The FDA is expected to allow a "mix-and-match" approach for COVID-19 booster shots, The New York Times reported.
  • The authorization will allow Americans to get a different brand booster than what they initially received.
  • It will not recommend one brand over another but may mention it is preferable to receive the same brand, The Times reported.

The Food and Drug Administration is set to authorize a "mix-and-match" approach for Americans seeking booster shots, allowing Americans to receive a different brand of COVID-19 vaccine as a booster than the one they initially received, The New York Times reported Monday.

People familiar with the planning told The Times that the agency will not recommend one brand over another when announcing the new approach, though it may mention that getting the same brand for the booster shot is preferable, according to The Times report.

Last month, the FDA authorized booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months after the second dose. The agency is expected to authorize booster shots of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines by Wednesday evening, according to The Times report.

The FDA's expected authorization comes after the first major US study was released last week to test using different boosters of Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 shot than the one initially received.

Results showed the "mix-and-match" method could be safely done. Boosting J&J with Moderna or Pfizer may initially prompt a stronger immune response, Insider's Hilary Brueck and Andrew Dunn reported.

"What the study shows is that regardless of what an individual received originally, getting boosted with one of the three vaccines that we evaluated, the one from Moderna, the one from Janssen, the one from Pfizer, led to good antibody responses in each of the groups," lead study author Dr. Robert Atmar from Baylor College of Medicine told Insider.

During an advisory committee meeting on October 15, Dr. Amanda Cohn, a representative from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said she doesn't think there's "any need" to have a preference of brand for mixing or matching.

"From a public health perspective, there's a clear need in some situations for individuals to receive a different vaccine," Cohn said.

Cohn added that mixing and matching booster shots could benefit those who received the one-shot dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

"Many of those individuals may not have access to a second dose of J&J, so if there's not any allowable language in the FDA fact sheets or EUA authorization, then those individuals are left behind," she continued.

Dr Michael Kurilla, an immunologist at the National Institutes of Health, said the "safety data is great," referring to the results of the "mix-and-match" study.

"I think we may end up in a situation not too dissimilar to influenza," Kurilla said during the October 15 meeting. "No one talks about what influenza vaccine did you get last year, because we don't have an EUA or an approval for a particular booster for you if you got a certain vaccine."

Representatives for the FDA did not immediately return Insider's request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Mexico's powerful Jalisco cartel is flexing its muscles at opposite ends of Latin America

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 6:15pm
Mexican soldiers on patrol in Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco state, November 22, 2019.
  • Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación is widely seen as Mexico's asendent cartel, rivaled only by the Sinaloa Cartel.
  • But the group's ambitions are not limited to controling the drug trade in Mexico.
  • According to sources and documents, the CJNG is stretching its empire into Central and South America with alliances and threats.

Mexico City, MEXICO - Mexico's ruthless Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) is stretching its criminal empire south into Central and South America by making alliances, threatening authorities, and appropriating drug routes, according to documents and sources who spoke to Insider.

Originally based in the central Mexican state of Jalisco, CJNG has spread operations to almost every state in Mexico and most recently to countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Chile.

Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación has been described by US officials as the "best armed" criminal organization in Mexico and "one of the most dangerous transnational criminal organizations in the world."

US authorities have said the organization is attempting to operate in the US through local gangs, but CJNG is looking to own the drug routes and the supply chain throughout Latin America.

A recent report from Chile's Attorney General's Office describes how CJNG is trying to establish operations inside the country for "large-scale production of high-concentration marihuana."

Chilean police arrange packs of confiscated marijuana in a display for the media in Vina del Mar city, November 26, 2009.

Chilean Attorney General Jorge Abbott addressed the issue at a recent press conference, saying Chile had gone from being a transit country for drugs heading north "to be a country where very well known Mexican cartels are looking to settle."

The cartel's expanding operations are also troubling Guatemala, where its members recently threatened Guatemala's National Police for "stealing" a load of drugs belonging to the leader of CJNG, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, known as "El Mencho," for whom US authorities are offering $5 million.

In a video posted online in early September, supposed members of the CJNG threatened several Guatemalan police officers.

"No one messes with Señor Nemesio's people. Those things have an owner, and the owner is Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación," an unidentified man said in the video.

Guatemalan police later confirmed the identity of the officers mentioned in the video and detailed the seizure of a drug load that could have been what the video was referring to.

An operative with the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación detailed the areas of operation in Guatemala for Insider.

The man, who asked not to be identified to avoid retaliation, said CJNG is currently fighting in Central and South America against the Sinaloa Cartel, specifically "Los Chapitos" and "Los Mayos" factions, linked to "El Chapo" Guzmán's sons and to the alleged active leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada.

"We are mostly concentrated in Sinaloa's plazas, like all the Pacific coast of Guatemala, San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Santa Rosa, Jutiapa, but also Petén, Melchor De Mencos, Alta Verapaz, and Huehuetenango," the operative said.

Anti-narcotics and military police officers prepare to incinerate more than 200 kilos of cocaine seized in Honduras near the border with Nicaragua, August 5, 2016.

An active member of the Nicaraguan military also confirmed to Insider the presence of Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación in Honduras and Nicaragua.

The military member, speaking anonymously because they did not have authorization to talk to the media, said they have found bases of operation and "training camps" mostly in the region near the Nicaraguan and Honduran border.

"The Fonseca Gulf is widely used by the CJNG to operate, but also Puerto Lempira in Honduras [and] Corinto, Puerto Sandino and the Caribbean side of Nicaragua," the military member said.

The Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación is allied with several gangs involved in shipping cocaine to Europe, according to the operative.

"The Sinaloa Cartel used to have a strong hold of the ports in Nicaragua, but lately we have found many operations and arrested some of them [CJNG], which leads us to think they now have more control over drug trafficking than the Sinaloas," the Nicaraguan military member said.

The Sinaloa Cartel and now Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación are posing new threats to all of the region, according to Sergio Guzmán, director of Colombia Risk Analysis, a Colombia-based security and risk-analysis firm.

"These Mexican organizations used to be partners with other criminal organizations in South and Central America, but during the past few years they have been playing a more active role, to the point where they are now making decisions in many other countries," Guzman said.

Mexican criminal organizations have had a growing presence in Colombia since the late 1990s, when major Colombian groups like the Medellín and Cali cartels fell from power.

A farmer sprinkles cement over mulched coca leaves to prepare them to make coca paste at a small makeshift lab in the mountains of Antioquia, Colombia, January 7, 2016.

In the DEA's first formal investigation of the CJNG, done in 2007, the agency accused "El Mencho" of shipping cocaine from Colombia through Guatemala to the US. In August this year, Colombian authorities arrested Néstor Tarazona Enciso, an alleged member of the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación accused of money laundering, indicating that the cartel has an active physical presence in Colombia.

Guzmán also detailed how the alliance between Mexican criminal organizations and the Clan del Golfo in Colombia, which is now in charge of the cocaine trade from Colombia to the US, could soon change.

"These two organizations, Cartel de Sinaloa and Cartel Jalisco [Nueva Generación] are trying to get closer to the chain of supply, specifically cocaine," he said.

In 2019, Colombia's anti-narcotics chief said Mexican criminal groups were shipping an unrefined form of the drug called coca base out of Colombia in and processing it in Mexico, reflecting those efforts to control more of the cocaine supply chain.

Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación's exponential growth is a direct threat to all of Latin America and should be addressed "by all countries involved," Guzmán said.

"I see a dangerous gap in the collaboration between countries where these criminal enterprises operate. There is no coordination, and that is what these groups are exploiting to their own benefit," he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Jenny Han says Netflix's upcoming 'To All The Boys' spinoff series 'XO, Kitty,' set in Korea, will see Lara Jean's little sister 'come into her own'

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 6:00pm
"To All the Boys I've Loved Before" author Jenny Han says spinoff series "XO, Kitty" will tell "stories that I would have written if I was going to continue with the books."
  • "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" author Jenny Han will be co-showrunner on spinoff series "XO, Kitty."
  • The series will see Kitty, played by Anna Cathcart, move from Portland to Seoul in pursuit of love.
  • Netflix said 70% of the original movie trilogy's viewership came from outside the US.

One of the breakout stars of Netflix's "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" film trilogy, the self-assured, sassy Kitty Song Covey (played by Anna Cathcart) is getting her own show.

The 10-episode series consists of "basically the stories that I would have written if I was going to continue with the books," said Jenny Han, the author of the "To All the Boys" books, who will serve as co-showrunner alongside Sascha Rothchild, with Awesomeness Studios producing.

Per the logline, Cathcart's character moves from Portland to Seoul: "​​Teen matchmaker Kitty Song Covey thinks she knows everything there is to know about love. But when she moves halfway across the world to reunite with her long-distance boyfriend, she'll soon realize that relationships are a lot more complicated when it's your own heart on the line."

Han says Kitty will be the same age as older sister and "To All the Boys" protagonist Lara Jean was when the movie trilogy began.

"When we first meet [Kitty] in the first film, I believe she was 11 or so 12," said Han. "And then we got to grow up with her a bit through the years. So it is very special to see her come into her own and pick up the mantle."

With both of her older sisters off to college, Kitty is now on her own. "She is probably the most self-possessed of the three girls," said Han. "You know, she's the kind of person who is very sure of herself and strong-willed and confident in the decisions she makes. The show will be about seeing her make a few stumbles and really grow into her own."

Han is still at work on an adaptation of one of her other novels, "The Summer I Turned Pretty," for Amazon Studios, after which she will turn her attention fully to "XO, Kitty," which will have a writers room of about seven or eight scribes.

When asked if she ever thinks about expanding the "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" cinematic universe, Han laughed.

"I mean, never say never," she said. "All I can do is focus on what I have in front of me, which is this show."

And as for whether we'll see Lana Condor and Noah Centineo reprise their roles as Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky in "XO, Kitty"?

"That would be like a dream to see them again," said Han. "But we'll have to wait and see."

Read more about "XO, Kitty" and Netflix's investment in YA programming to expand global audiences.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to watch Major League Baseball - the top 4 teams battle for a spot in the 2021 World Series

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 5:51pm

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Enrique Hernandez of the Boston Red Sox hits a single during the seventh inning of game four of the 2021 ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park.
  • The 2021 MLB Playoffs continue with the ALCS and NLCS to decide this year's World Series matchup.
  • Remaining playoff games are broadcast nationally by Fox, Fox Sports, and TBS.
  • The 2021 World Series will air on Fox starting October 26.
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

The 2021 MLB Playoffs are in full swing with the American League Championship Series (ALCS) and National League Championship Series (NLCS). The winners of the ALCS and NLCS will then go up against each other in the 2021 World Series on October 26.

In the American League, the Red Sox eliminated the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays on their way to the ALCS, while the Astros defeated the White Sox to earn a chance at the World Series. In the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Francisco Giants in a tight NLDS series, and the Atlanta Braves beat the Milwaukee Brewers to reach the NLCS.

Every remaining MLB playoff game will be broadcast nationally by Fox, Fox Sports 1, or TBS. To stream each game, you'll need to subscribe to a cable provider or live TV streaming service like YouTube TV, SlingTV, or DirecTV Stream. The 2021 World Series will be broadcast entirely on Fox, but you'll still need a subscription if you want to stream it instead of watch it on local TV.

MLB Championship Series schedule

Teams in the Championship Series will play a first-to-four wins format, meaning each series can last for up to seven games. The World Series also uses a first-to-four win format, allowing for a seven game series.

TeamsDate and timeNational broadcast/streamHouston Astros at Boston Red Sox (Game 3)October 18, 8:08 p.m. ETFox Sports 1Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers (Game 3)October 19, 5:08 p.m. ETTBSHouston Astros at Boston Red Sox (Game 4)October 19, 8:08 p.m. ETFox Sports 1Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox (Game 5)October 20, 5:08 p.m. ETFox Sports 1Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers (Game 4)October 20, 8:08 p.m. ETTBSAtlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers (Game 5 if needed)October 21, 8:08 p.m. ETTBSBoston Red Sox at Houston Astros (Game 6 if needed)October 22, 8:08 p.m. ETFox Sports 1Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves (Game 6 if needed)October 23, 5:08 p.m. ETTBSBoston Red Sox at Houston Astros (Game 7 if needed)October 23, 8:08 p.m. ETFox, Fox Sports 1Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves (Game 7 if needed)October 24, 7:38 p.m. ETTBSWorld Series Game 1October 26, TBDFoxWhere to watch MLB playoff streams

MLB playoff games are spread across channels like TBS, MLB Network, ESPN, FS1, and Fox. The World Series will be shown only on Fox. If you don't have cable you can stream these stations with a subscription to a live TV streaming service.

To help narrow down your options, we compiled the best streaming services you can use to watch the MLB playoffs live.

DirecTV Stream

DirecTV Stream features Fox, MLB Network, TBS, FS1, and ESPN in most of its plans. The cheapest plan with all five channels is the DirecTV Stream Choice plan for $85 a month. The Choice plan also gives you access to several regional sports networks for local regular season games that aren't broadcast nationally.

DirecTV Stream provides local coverage for 20 of MLB's 30 teams, according to a spokesperson from the service. You can check to see if DirecTV Stream covers your regional sports network with this lookup tool.

TV (small)YouTube TV

One of the most comprehensive options for streaming MLB games is YouTube TV. The service costs $65 a month and includes Fox, FS1, ESPN, TBS,and MLB Network, as well as some regional sports networks depending on your area.

YouTube TV also includes an option to watch out-of-market games via the MLB TV add-on for an extra fee. This means you can watch a mix of local games, nationally televised games, and out-of-market games all in one place.

TV (small)Sling TV

Another option for MLB games is Sling TV. Sling Blue ($35/month) includes access to Fox (in select markets), FS1, and TBS. Sling Orange ($35/month), on the other hand, offers live access to ESPN and TBS. You can combine both Sling Blue and Sling Orange for $50 a month. You can also add MLB Network via Sling's Sports Extra package for an additional $15 a month.

This combo will get you Fox, FS1, ESPN, TBS, and MLB Network for $65 a month. Please note that Fox only airs in select markets, primarily in major US cities, via Sling TV.

TV (small)Hulu + Live TV

Hulu + Live features several channels with MLB games, including ESPN, Fox, FS1, and TBS. The service costs $65/month ($55/month for your first three months) and includes access to Hulu's entire on-demand library. That said, Hulu + Live TV is missing MLB Network.

+ Live TV (small)Fubo TV

Fubo TV also offers a package that will get you most of the channels you need for national MLB games. The streaming service's Starter plan ($65/month) has over 100 channels, including Fox, FS1, and ESPN. Fubo TV also offers access to MLB Network with its Sports Plus with NFL RedZone add-on for $11 a month. There's also a few regional sports networks in select areas. On the downside, Fubo TV is missing TBS.

TV (small)Read the original article on Business Insider

What is ROI? This simple metric can offer greater insight into the profitability of the assets in your portfolio

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 5:49pm
Return on investment, or ROI, is a widely used financial ratio that measures the profit or loss from an investment relative to the amount of money initially put into it.
  • Return on investment (ROI) is a metric used to assess the performance of a particular investment.
  • ROI is expressed as a percentage and can be calculated using a simple ROI or annualized ROI equation.
  • Looking at ROI doesn't take into account risk tolerance or time and may not show all costs.
  • Visit Insider's Investing Reference library for more stories.

Return on investment (ROI) is a financial ratio that's used to measure the profitability of an investment relative to its costs and is expressed as a percentage. When you consider investing in anything, you often hear about getting a "return on investment" but may wonder what that really means and how it works. Here's what to consider with ROI.

Why ROI matters

When you invest, whether in the stock market or in your business, your goal is to earn money and get a return on your investment. You put up cash anticipating that what you put in offers an even greater ROI.

"ROI is expressed as a percentage and is calculated by subtracting the cost of an investment from its current value and then dividing by the cost," explains Nicole Tanenbaum, partner and chief investment strategist at Chequers Financial Management in San Francisco. "It is a simple and straightforward formula that can be easily used to calculate the rough profitability of nearly any investment, from stock investments to business projects to real estate transactions."

As an investor, it's important to assess ROI as a financial metric to see how your particular investments are doing. In basic terms, are you getting more out than you put in? Or are your investments costing you, in the form of negative returns?

ROI goes hand in hand with risk and reward, meaning that with greater risks comes the potential for even higher rewards.

According to Investor.gov, a website run by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), for many decades stocks have had the highest average rate of return but also tend to come with the highest risk.

ROI matters because it's an easy-to-use metric to evaluate an investment's performance. Expressed as a percentage, the higher the number, the greater the return.

If an investment doesn't have a solid ROI, it may be a good time to rebalance your portfolio and sell off some assets that aren't doing well. However, it's important to consider any transaction costs and affects on your overall returns in the long run.

How to calculate ROI

In order to calculate ROI, you can use the following formula:

Let's break down the pieces of the ROI formula.

  • Net investment gain refers to the net return you get with an investment, after considering costs already put in.
  • The cost of investment is the total amount of money you've put in a particular investment.

To calculate ROI, you take the net investment gain and divide it by the cost of investment and multiply it by 100 (this converts it to a percentage).

For example, let's say you put an initial investment of $10,000 into a company's stock. Then you decide to sell your shares three years later for $12,000.

Here's the simple ROI formula in this case:

ROI = ($12,000 - $10,000) / $10,000

In other words, you take the final sale of $12,000 and subtract the initial investment of $10,000 which gets you a net investment gain of $2,000.

You then take that number and divide by the cost of investment.

ROI = $2,000/$10,000 = 0.2

The last part of the equation is to multiply the decimal by 100 to get the percentage.

0.2 X 100 = 20%.

This simple ROI formula is pretty standard when evaluating returns. But the drawback is that it doesn't take into account the amount of time you held the investments or any opportunity cost.

Annualized ROI can offer more nuance in regards to how long you've held an investment and offer a more accurate ROI. Here's the annualized ROI formula for our example:

A= (12,000/$10,000) (⅓) -1

A= (1.2) (⅓) -1

A= 1.063-1

A= 0.063

A= 6.3%

As you can see, the simple ROI vs annualized ROI numbers are quite different. Looking at the annualized ROI can offer greater insight into an investment's performance if you've held it for a good chunk of time.

It's also important to note the difference between a realized gain and unrealized gain.

  • A realized gain is the total you gain or profit from an investment that you actually sell. In that case, you'd want to use net income as part of the net investment gain and include any transaction costs, fees, etc.
  • An unrealized gain is a gain "on paper." In other words, it reflects an increase in value but since it's not actually sold, it's unrealized. In this scenario, you'd take what your current investment is worth to calculate the net investment gain.

Quick tip: While you can calculate the simple ROI or annualized ROI by hand, you can also use an online calculator as well to do the work for you.

Pros and cons of ROI

While evaluating ROI is a good way to measure performance, there are some limitations, especially when it comes to the simple ROI formula. Here are pros and cons of ROI:

ProsCons
  • It's an easy-to-use calculation to evaluate performance of an investment
  • ROI can help you decide to stick with an investment or sell
  • A standardized way to compare investments
  • Simple ROI doesn't include the time you held the investments
  • ROI doesn't consider risk tolerance or your age, two crucial aspects when coming up with an investing strategy
  • May not consider the true cost, depending on the formula (such as looking at transaction costs, fees, taxes, etc.)

You want to evaluate the pros and cons and know where the ROI metric can fall short.

"ROI can be a useful tool in comparing performance across multiple investments. However, it is important to understand that ROI does not take into account the overall time frame of an investment, or how long it took to generate the overall profit from initial purchase to eventual sale," explains Tanenbaum.

Time is a key consideration when evaluating the true ROI of a particular investment.

"Time is a factor which should always be considered when evaluating and comparing relative performance across investments," says Tanenbaum. "Even if an investment earns a higher profit based on its ROI, the longer the time to realization, the less efficient the investment. Therefore, ROI should be used in tandem with other performance metrics such as the rate of return, which takes time and efficiency into consideration."

Average ROI in the stock market

The reason investing is better than keeping money in a savings account is that the possibility for a higher return is much greater. Savings interest rates have been abysmally low, but the stock market historically has offered good returns over time.

According to the SEC, the stock market has provided annual returns of about 10%, or 6% to 7% when adjusting for the impact of inflation.

Some returns are much greater depending on the type of investment and the timeframe.

"On average, the S&P 500 Stock Index has generated an ROI of about 10% per year over time, but when looking at ROI across industries, they can vary greatly, with higher growth segments generating average an ROI that's well above 10%, and more defensive industries generating single digits or in some cases, negative ROI," notes Tanenbaum.

Aside from evaluating ROI, remember to account for "realized" vs. "unrealized" gains as well. This is also important for losses, too. So if the stock market is tanking, you don't necessarily need to take any action because the loss is "unrealized" until you sell. If you sell at a loss, that's final. But if you stay in the game, you could recover in the long-term.

Quick tip: When selling an investment at a profit, consider your capital gains tax rate and how much you may need to pay.

The financial takeaway

Return on investment is a commonly used metric to evaluate investments and business decisions. Ideally, your ROI will be positive and growing over time, however it's possible to get negative returns as well.

ROI can help you decide where to invest and whether you should sell or hold onto assets you already own.While the ROI percentage is useful, it's important to understand its limitations when evaluating overall risk and time horizon.

Additionally, it's important to understand the nuances between simple ROI vs. annualized ROI. You also want to be clear on total costs such as transaction fees, taxes, and more, so you're getting a clearer picture on your actual return on investment.

Investing for income: 7 money-generating assets for your portfolio and how to get startedNet income: A key metric used to assess the financial health and revenue of a business403(b) vs. 401(k): What's the difference?What is a shareholder? Understanding the rights that come with owning stock of a companyRead the original article on Business Insider

Purported hacker claims they defaced Trump's campaign website to protest Joe Biden's stance on Turkey

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 5:40pm
Former President Donald Trump's campaign website was hacked for several hours on Monday, October 18, 2021.
  • A subdomain of former President Donald Trump's website appeared to be hacked Monday.
  • The website remained defaced as of Monday evening.
  • Hackers using the same name defaced a Biden campaign website in 2020.

Hackers appeared to deface a portion of former President Donald Trump's campaign website on Monday, replacing it was an Islamic message and video featuring Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

In November 2020, hackers using the same name defaced a campaign website for President Joe Biden, using it to promote "Turkish nationalist themes," as detailed in a report from the US National Intelligence Council.

Monday's hack included links to Facebook and Instagram accounts for the purported hackers, who identify as "RootAyyildiz."

A person claiming to be the hacker told Insider, in a Facebook message, that they carried out Monday's attack because they had "hacked Joe Biden before and now he is Trump," asserting that the current US president is "anti-Turkey and anti-Islam." They claimed to be a supporter of Erdogan but not an agent of the Turkish government.

Facebook did not respond to a request for comment on whether it intends to remove the accounts.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump files lawsuit against Jan 6 Committee and National Archives to block subpoenas for White House records

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 5:31pm
Former US President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in Manhattan on July 19, 2021.
  • Lawyers for Donald Trump sued on Monday to block congressional subpoenas related to January 6.
  • Trump claimed that he intended to use 'executive privelege' to reject subpoenas.
  • The lawsuit calls the subpoenas by congress unconstitutional and illegal.

Attorneys for Donald Trump filed a lawsuit in a Washington, DC, federal court on Monday in an attempt to block the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the US Capitol from obtaining White House records.

-Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) October 18, 2021

The lawsuit alleges the committee's subpoenas are "invalid and unenforceable through the Constitution and the laws of the United States."

In early October, Trump's legal team instructed former aides subpoenaed by the committee, including Steve Bannon, not to comply with congressional subpoenas issued in September.

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that the White House counsel sent a letter to Bannon's attorney saying that "at this point we are not aware of any basis for your client's refusal to appear for a deposition," and that Trump's claim of executive privilege did not shield the former adviser from his deposition.

"President Biden's determination that an assertion of privilege is not justified with respect to these subjects applies to your client's deposition testimony and to any documents your client may possess concerning either subject," White House Deputy Counsel Jonathan Su wrote to Bannon's lawyer, according to the AP.

The report added that former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former White House and national security aide Kashyap Patel are currently working with the committee, but Dan Scavino has not complied yet.

T​​rump's lawsuit again claimed that the former president intended to use executive privilege to reject the subpoenas.

The suit called the Biden administration's move to waive executive privilege for White House records, "a myopic, political maneuver designed to maintain the support of its political rivals," according to NBC News.

Trump's lawyer Jesse Binall argued that Congress can only seek records in order to legislate and not to investigate. Binnall has represented Trump in four lawsuits related to the January 6 insurrection, as well as in Trump's unsuccessful effort to overturn an election loss in Nevada.

Last week, the White House counsel asked the National Archives to quickly turn over Trump-related documents to the committee, NBC News' White House correspondent reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Apple sells 3 earbud-style AirPods - the differences come down to battery life, design, and audio features

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 5:26pm

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Apple Airpods 3

Apple announced its third-generation AirPods on October 18. The AirPods (3rd Gen) offer a few key upgrades over the previously released AirPods (2nd Gen), including better battery life, spatial audio support, IPX4 sweat resistance, and a new MagSafe charger.

The revised AirPods lineup now includes three earbud-style models: the entry-level AirPods (2nd Gen) ($129), the new mid-range AirPods (3rd Gen) ($179), and the high-end AirPods Pro ($249). Apple also sells an over-ear AirPods model, called the AirPods Max ($549), with premium sound geared toward audiophiles.

All three earbud-style AirPods use Apple's H1 chip and are designed to offer true wireless audio with Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity and seamless pairing with Apple devices. That said, there are some notable differences between each model.

To help you decide which AirPods are right for you, we broke down key features for every earbud-style model, below.

Apple AirPods 2 vs. AirPods 3 vs. AirPods Pro AirPods (2nd Gen)AirPods (3rd Gen)AirPods ProFull retail price$129$179$249Ear tipsNo silicone ear tipsNo silicone ear tipsThree silicone ear tip sizesBatteryUp to five hoursUp to six hoursUp to five hours (ANC off)Charging caseWired charging caseWireless MagSafe charging caseWireless MagSafe charging caseSweat and water resistanceNoIPX4IPX4Spatial AudioNoYesYesAdaptive EQNoYesYesActive noise cancellation (ANC)NoNoYesWhich AirPods model should you buy?

Each AirPods model is geared toward a slightly different buyer.

The AirPods (2nd Gen) are a good fit for shoppers on a budget who don't need wireless charging, noise cancellation, water/sweat resistance, or spatial audio. They're good for basic listening, but aren't ideal for workouts or audiophiles who want to hear music with surround sound-like effects.

We haven't tested the new third-generation AirPods yet, but the updated specifications should make them a good option for buyers who want an upgraded audio experience with IPX4 water resistance. That said, they lack noise cancellation and do not use silicone ear tips.

Buyers who don't mind paying extra for the best AirPods experience should opt for the AirPods Pro. They add active noise cancellation and the ability to use three different ear tip sizes for a better fit. They're pricey at $249, but they're regularly on sale for $179 to $199 during the holiday shopping season.

AirPods Pro (small)AirPods 3 (small)Airpods with Wired Charging Case (newest model) (small)Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump answered questions for 4 hours in a deposition for a lawsuit alleging his bodyguards beat up protesters outside Trump Tower

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 5:23pm
Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower in Manhattan on October 17, 2021 in New York City.
  • Former President Donald Trump sat for a long-delayed deposition on Monday.
  • He was deposed in a lawsuit accusing his guards of beating up protesters at a September 2015 rally.
  • Trump answered most questions posed to him over the course of four hours, the plaintiffs' lawyer told Insider.

Former President Donald Trump sat for a deposition Monday in Manhattan's Trump Tower, answering questions for four hours as part of a lawsuit brought over an altercation between his security guards and protesters, according to the plaintiffs' attorney.

"We expect to present Donald Trump's deposition testimony to a jury at trial, and we think that today's proceeding is a good example for the public of how our institutions remain intact and that no one is above the law," Benjamin Dictor, who represents the protesters and questioned Trump for the deposition, told Insider.

A group of protesters filed the lawsuit in New York state court in 2015, saying Trump Organization guards attacked them at a rally outside of Trump Tower in September 2015. They named the security guards as defendants, as well as the Trump Organization and the Trump campaign.

The lawsuit moved slowly through the courts during Trump's presidency as he argued he should receive immunity from testifying in the case.

The issue was ruled moot once he left office in January. Earlier in October, State Supreme Court Justice Doris Gonzalez ordered Trump to sit for a deposition, a video of which may be used in a jury trial.

Trump answered most of the questions posed to him, according to Dictor, who is also an attorney for the NewsGuild of New York, which represents Insider Union members. Dictor said he expects to ask Gonzalez to force Trump to answer only "a handful" of questions that he didn't answer in the deposition.

"We were able to complete our examination of Mr. Trump and there are only a handful of questions that we may submit to the court for a ruling as to whether or not they need to be answered," Dictor said.

The protesters' lawsuit is one of many civil actions against Trump now making their way through the courts.

Another New York state judge has ordered Trump to sit for a deposition before Christmas in a lawsuit brought by former "Apprentice" contender Summer Zervos, who alleges the former president sexually assaulted her in 2007, then defamed her by saying she lied about it.

Read the original article on Business Insider

What to know about the income statement: An important financial documents that shows the revenue and expenses of a company

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 5:17pm
When reviewing income statements, there are two primary methods that are used: vertical analysis and horizontal analysis. Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky
  • An income statement is a financial document that details the revenue and expenses of a company.
  • Some investors and analysts use income statements to make investing decisions.
  • The income statement along with additional financial documents are required to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
  • Visit Insider's Investing Reference library for more stories.

An income statement tells you whether or not a company made a profit or loss during the reporting period. It is one of three major financial statements used to evaluate the health of a company with the balance sheet and cash flow statement.

The income statement, sometimes referred to simply as the profit and loss statement or just "P & L" begins with the amount of money the company made and deducts expenses made during the reporting period ending with either a net profit or net loss. "Income statements are important because it can show how well a company is being managed and can give historical data to develop trends to help a company run better," says Camari Ellis, EA, a former portfolio manager and founder of The Philly Tax Team.

Quick tip: A reporting period is the length of time covered on a financial report. These are usually annual, covering transactions that occurred within a year or quarterly, which only covers the previous three months.

Understanding how income statements work

The income statement is important for different parties. Investor's may use income statements, along with other financial statements to make investing decisions and determine the financial health of a company. "The income statement should be used by anyone trying to understand the business conducted as well as the profitability of a company,"says Patrick Badolato, PhD, CPA, and a senior lecturer in the accounting department at the McCombs School of Business.

An increasing amount of sales from year-to-year might be attractive for a potential investor and can be found in the first line of an income statement. Conversely, if costs are rising this can also be seen on the income statement and may lead an investor to ask more questions about the long term profitability of the company. Investors and financial analysts also use the income statement to derive popular financial ratios like Earnings Per Share (EPS).

Earnings per share is a measure that compares a company's net income compared to the outstanding shares. The price-to-earnings ratio, or P/E ratio, is another commonly used metric that factors in the company's stock price in relation to EPS. When comparing companies, EPS and the P/E ratio can help differentiate two companies in the same category and help an investor make a more sound investing decision but both use the information given through the income statement.

"The equation driving the Income Statement is: Revenues - Expenses + Gains - Losses = Net Income," says Patrick Badolato, PhD, CPA

Income statements are also important to regulators. All public companies are required to file a Form 10-K each year with the SEC and Form 10-Q each quarter which include the income statement and other financial documents and disclosures.

Quick tip: You can find documents like the Form 10-K and Form 10-Q on the SEC website. It can also be found on the company's website, usually under investor relations.

The income statement is broken down into several key components to help understand how the company manages its income.

  • Revenue: This is the amount of money the company brought in during the reporting period. With revenue, it may be important to note any trends to determine whether the company is making more money over time or if sales are slowing down.
  • Expenses: This line details how much the company has spent. Similar to revenue, it may be important to note trends to see if the company is spending more or if they're becoming more efficient over time. When looking at expenses, "We should consider whether the expenses grow in proportion to revenue and the drivers of these expenses," Badolato says.
  • Cost of goods sold (COGS): The amount spent on the production of the products or services sold. For a company like Apple it would include the glass to make the phone screen or the chips that go into the iPhone.
  • Gross profit: This is the amount of money made, less the cost of goods sold. This will usually be calculated on the income statement by subtracting revenue minus cost of goods sold.
  • Operating and non-operating expenses: Operating expenses are the cost to bring the product to the market. This could include things like marketing, payroll, and overhead expenses, such as insurance and rent. Non-operating expenses could include things that do not directly relate to core business functions. It may include things like contributions to pension plans or dividends to shareholders.
  • Income before taxes: This is the total income before accounting for taxes paid.
  • Depreciation: This is an accounting measure to account for the cost in the loss of value for tangible assets of the company.
  • Earnings Before Interest,Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA): This is a measure that's sometimes used instead of net income to gauge how profitable a company is.
  • Net income: Net income (or loss) is known as the company's bottom line due to its position on the income statement. Simply put, this is the money that the company made or lost.
Income statement analysis

When analyzing income statements, there are two primary methods that are used: vertical analysis and horizontal analysis.

Vertical analysis shows each item on a financial statement as a percentage. An example of this would be the CIGS expressed as 35% of the total revenue. This type of analysis can be useful when comparing with other companies in the industry.

Horizontal analysis is used to review a company's performance over two or more periods by stacking each line item directly next to each other from the previous period. Instead of looking at one income statement at a time from different periods, horizontal analysis compares them side-by-side in one view.

How to read an income statement

Below is the 2021 quarterly income statement from Ford's Form 10-Q. One of the first things that you will notice is that the report is using horizontal analysis. This is because the report is comparing the second quarter of 2020 to the second quarter of 2021 as well as the first half of 2020 and the first half of 2021.

In the first section under Revenues, you'll see each of Ford's major revenue streams, including car sales under Automotive, Ford Credit, and Mobility. In the notes section of the 10-Q, the Mobility line refers to Ford's autonomous vehicles and related business as well as its equity stake in Argo AI.

Quick tip: For more details on what's included in certain lines of any financial statement, it's important to check the notes section of the report.

Next in the Cost and expenses section, you'll notice where Ford is spending its cash. The bulk of those expenses fall under cost of sales, which is another name for the cost of goods sold. You can also see that costs have increased from the second quarter of 2020 to the second quarter of 2021 resulting in a net income of $561 million during the second quarter and $3.8B during the first half of 2021 in the final column on the right.

Income statement vs. balance sheet

Both income statements and balance sheets provide important details about how a company uses its cash and other assets but there are a few key differences between the two. Think of an income statement like a financial timeline, whereas a balance sheet is a snapshot at one point in time. This is because income statements provide details on the amount of money made and spent during a period. The income statement essentially answers the following questions: How much money did the company make? How was that money spent? Did the company make a profit?

The balance sheet on the other hand tells you how much the company has in assets, liabilities and shareholder's equity. The balance sheet follows a simple formula:

Asset = Liabilities + Shareholder's equity

Like the name mentions, the figures on the balance sheet must match as any increases or decreases must be offset. Unlike the income statement it does not provide information on how much money the company has made or lost, it only provides the amount of debt, cash and other assets that the company owns at that point in time.

While these financial statements are different, both the income statement and balance sheet along with the cash flow statement are still linked and should be used together to determine a more holistic financial picture of a company.

Income statementBalance sheet
  • Covers transactions over a period of time
  • Tells you whether or not the company is profitable
  • Tells you how much money the company made during the period
  • Provides a snapshot of the company's total debt and assets
  • Must be "balanced" where the amount in assets must match the amount of liabilities + shareholder's equity
The financial takeaway

The income statement is a good entry point to understand and evaluate a company's revenue and costs, but it's important to keep in mind that it's not a document that can tell the full story. "Financial statements are designed to work as a system and not as stand-alone statements," adds Badolato. "The Income Statement is only one piece in understanding the financial performance of a business. Using one financial statement without the others and other publicly available information - such as the footnotes in a financial filing - would be similar to betting before looking at one's cards."

Market capitalization tells you how much a company is worth, and whether buying its stock suits your overall investing strategyA comprehensive guide to investing in stocks for beginnersWhat is return on equity? How to calculate ROE to evaluate a company's profitabilityStock screeners: How to use them to find the right stocks for your investment strategyRead the original article on Business Insider

Conservative radio host Dennis Prager announces he tested positive for COVID-19, which he said he was intentionally trying to contract 'the entire time'

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 5:13pm
Charlie Kirk and Dennis Prager.
  • Conservative radio host Dennis Prager has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • He claimed to be unvaccinated and on a mix of drugs including Ivermectin.
  • He also claimed he wanted to contract COVID-19 to achieve "natural immunity."

Conservative radio host Dennis Prager announced on Monday he tested positive for COVID-19, which he said he was intentionally trying to contract "the entire time."

Broadcasting "The Dennis Prager Show," from his home, he said "at no point was I in danger of hospitalization," according to Media Matters.

"I have received monoclonal antibodies, that's Regeneron. I have, of course, for years - a year and a half, not years - been taking hydroxychloroquine from the beginning, with zinc. I've taken z-pack, azithromycin, as the Zelenko protocol would have it. I have taken ivermectin," Prager said.

"I have done what a person should do if one is not going to get vaccinated," he added, claiming he has not been vaccinated and that he attempted to gain "natural immunity," by contracting the virus - a move the CDC has said is far less effective than gaining a level of immunity from available vaccines.

-Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) October 18, 2021

Prager said on his show that he also wanted to get COVID-19, and this was all part of his plan.

"Hence, so, I have engaged with strangers, constantly hugging them, taking photos with them knowing that I was making myself very susceptible to getting COVID. Which is, indeed, as bizarre as it sounded, what I wanted, in the hope I would achieve natural immunity and be taken care of by therapeutics," Prager said.

The firebrand host said that now that he has the disease, he has, "walked the walk," and pushed conspiracies about CDC opposition to therapeutics, as well as pharmaceutical companies.

Read the original article on Business Insider

States spent at least $89 million on COVID-19 vaccine lotteries. None of them worked, new research suggests.

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 5:11pm
Heidi Russell, of Aurora, Colorado, was the fifth and final $1 million winner in the state's vaccine lottery.
  • States' vaccine lotteries did not raise COVID-19 vaccination rates, new research suggests.
  • The tens of millions of dollars spent on those lotteries were not a good use of funds, economists say.
  • The finding could inform plans for future public-health emergencies.

In the spring, when Ohio announced it was holding a $1 million lottery to encourage residents to get vaccinated for COVID-19, many governors' ears perked up. Could incentivizing people to get shots - rather than mandating them - actually work?

At first, the answer seemed to be yes. In Ohio, the vaccination rate spiked 33% in May, with 119,394 people age 16 and up receiving the vaccine in the week after the lottery was announced. That's compared to 89,464 shots given the week prior, an Associated Press analysis found.

Before long, more than a dozen states had announced their own versions of Ohio's "Vax-a-Million," including "VaxCash" in Maryland and "Vax and Scratch" in New York.

But that early trend didn't seem to hold. Research published in JAMA Health Forum on Friday suggests that none of the states' lotteries were effective at raising vaccination rates.

To reach that conclusion, researchers analyzed state-level COVID-19 vaccination data between April and July 2021, when shots were widely available and while 19 states were running vaccine lotteries. Their results indicated that the association between those states' announcements and their respective vaccination rates was "very small in magnitude and statistically indistinguishable from zero."

"There's a lot of hype around these programs, and we can't find any evidence that they helped," Andrew Friedson, a coauthor of the research and associate professor of economics at University of Colorado Denver, told Insider.

That's despite huge sums spent on these programs.

"Each state's doing several drawings, and these drawings are around a $1 million a pop, although some of them are less. With 19 states, you're looking at a large amount of money that's been spent on this," Friedson said.

The researchers only included cash lotteries in their analysis, leaving out non-cash items like drawings to win a hunting license, which was a vaccine prize in Arkansas. They also didn't take into account private sweepstakes, such as the $1 million cash prizes that Kroger awarded to five people who got vaccinated in Kroger supermarkets.

A man walks by signs for Ohio's COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic at Cleveland State University on May 25, 2021.

Nor did the paper calculate exactly how much money states cumulatively spent on lottery programs. So Insider combined Friedman's estimate of lottery spending in 11 states ($50 million) with data provided by six additional state health departments ($39.4 million).

The rough grand total: At least $89.4 million.

Two states - Massachusetts and Maine - not included in Friedman's estimate did not respond to Insider's request, so that total is likely an underestimation. Additionally, a spokesperson for North Carolina's health department pointed out that the state's lottery money came from federal coronavirus relief funding.

"No state funds have been used to pay for the prizes," she told Insider.

In response to Insider's reporting, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis' press secretary, Conor Cahill, similarly stressed that the state's lottery used federal funds.

"We will review this study and its methodology. It's easy to be an arm-chair critic and there will probably be other studies in the years ahead that show the opposite findings," Cahill told Insider in an email.

'This may not be the first innovation we want to reach for'

Friedson called the results of the paper disappointing, since many people were rooting for these programs.

"There's an opportunity cost to spending money. Every dollar that you're spending on a lottery, you could have been spending on something else. That's the really economist-y answer," he said, adding, "so to the extent that we have policies that could have helped people, that we could have been spending money on, these were not a great use of funds."

Still, it's a learning opportunity, Friedson said: "Sadly, this is not gonna be the last time we're going to have a national public-health campaign."

Whenever the next public-health emergency arrives, whether it's a campaign for COVID-19 booster shots or another pandemic, it's important to know what doesn't work as well as what does.

"With regard to policies to try to raise vaccination rates, this may not be the first innovation we want to reach for," Friedson said.

Staff Sgt. Travis Snyder receives the Pfizer vaccine at Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state on December 16, 2020. So which incentives, if any, do work?

As an economist, Friedson said, suggesting an alternative approach that would work is beyond his purview. For the scientists focused on that, it's a process of experimentation.

"The short answer is, we don't know until we try these things," Friedson said.

Previous research may hint at an answer.

A review of scientific literature about interventions to address vaccine hesitancy, published prior to the pandemic, did not find strong evidence that monetary rewards have much effect on vaccination rates. But those campaigns largely focused on children, not adults.

That said, Nichole Lighthall, an assistant psychology professor at the University of Central Florida, told ABC News in May that guaranteed cash rewards, such as the $100 savings bonds that West Virginia offered residents for getting vaccinated, may work better than lotteries.

"People like to gamble, but people love to get money for sure even more," she said.

There's a possibility, though, that Americans' beliefs about COVID-19 vaccines are too deeply rooted for a reward to be effective, in larger part because of the way some leaders and groups politicized them.

"If you buy into the idea that vaccines are dangerous - and I can't stress enough that that this idea is wrong - but if you believe that there's something sinister going on with this vaccine, it's unlikely that a payment is going to convince you, regardless of how big it is," Friedson said.

This story has been updated with new information. It was originally published on October 16, 2021.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 7 best fitness trackers we tested in 2021

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 4:58pm
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky
  • Fitness trackers do more than log workout data; they provide wearers in-depth analysis of their overall health.
  • Today's trackers offer everything from sleep and recovery tracking to advanced training feedback.
  • Our top pick, the Suunto 7, is a full-featured smartwatch and fitness tracker that tracks over 70 activities.

Fitness trackers have come a long way since Fitbit introduced its first clip-on wearable in 2009. Although it was mostly a glorified pedometer, it pales in comparison to today's wearables, which are like full-on personal trainers strapped to your wrist; they count steps, track burned calories, and log a variety of indoor and outdoor activities.

That advanced utility of modern fitness trackers has made them increasingly popular, even going so far as to replace some people's everyday watch - and it makes sense. Why not wear a single wearable that tracks your daily activity and provides insight into your health profile while also reliably telling time?

But the real question people should ask themselves isn't whether they should wear one but rather, which they should wear. As the fitness editor for Insider Reviews, I've worn just about every wearable currently available and used them to track everything from running and cycling to lifting weights and snowboarding.

This means I've spent years learning everything about modern fitness trackers, all in the name of finding those worth owning. To help you figure out which best fits your lifestyle and fitness preference, I've compiled my seven favorites below. I've also included answers to a few FAQs, as well as insight into how I tested each of the trackers featured.

Here are the best fitness trackers: Best fitness tracker overall

The Suunto 7 is a robust fitness tracker that offers support for more than 70 activities, has basic smartwatch features, and provides highly useful workout feedback.  

Pros: Activity tracking for over 70 activities, including everything from running and cycling to snowboarding and hiking, in-depth fitness tracking, offers workout feedback, accurate GPS, lets you download maps for offline use

Cons: App experience is clunky, expensive

Though Suunto isn't the first name to come to mind when talking about fitness trackers, its 7 smartwatch slash tracker is one of the most impressive wearables I've ever tested. Suunto only released the 7 in 2020 but it's spent almost that entire time on my wrist (when I'm not testing other trackers for this guide), and routinely impresses me and provides exactly what I want out of a fitness tracker: in-depth feedback, accurate activity tracking, and a wide variety of use cases. 

Not only am I able to track any run or bike ride I go on, but it also offers support for other activities like snowboarding, hiking, swimming, or even just walking (among literally so many others). The user's manual states that it covers more than 70 activities, but do take that with a grain of salt; some of the activities it tracks just account for length of activity and your heart rate. That means it's not actually tracking advanced stats for things like tennis or basketball.

Even if you aren't a multisport athlete, the 7 still offers plenty to take advantage of. Its GPS function (even one year later) is highly accurate and reliable, both while I run through my neighborhood in Brooklyn or bike longer distances across the entire NYC area. It offers offline map support for those who like to ditch their smartphone and head into the backcountry (and make it out safe) and also has smartwatch capability by offering smartphone notification support. 

And although its price tag may shock at first glance ($400 is a lot to spend on a mere wearable), it more than makes up for that investment with everything it offers. Because it can be utilized and benefited from by such a wide range of active users makes it one of the most versatile fitness trackers available — and one I plan on continuing to wear for many years.

Best multisport fitness tracker

The Apex from Coros is a multisport athlete's dream: It offers in-depth support for a range of activities, it has excellent battery life and a comfortable fit that almost makes you forget you're wearing it.

Pros: Long battery life, even while using GPS, multisport functionality that goes beyond just tracking heart rate, comfortable design, great app experience, perfect for triathletes, built-in GPS

Cons: The screen can be too dim at times, easy to accidentally press the dials to change modes

If you spend much of your active time doing something different from the day before, then the Coros Apex is the fitness tracker you need. It's especially adept at tracking running, biking, and swimming, making it perfect for the budding or seasoned triathlete. 

But that's not only who the Apex is for; Coros consistently updates the watch's software to add new activities and modes, including sports like snowboarding, gym cardio, and hiking. This only adds to its versatility and the newly added modes do a good job of being accessible and easy to use as soon as they're available. 

The Apex truly proves its worth for ultrarunners. Thanks to excellent battery life, highly accurate GPS, and a dedicated trail running mode, it's the watch a grab for when I know I'm going to be out for a long run that won't just consist of running on the sidewalk or through my local park. Its comfortable design makes it easy to wear for long periods of time, too, without irritating my wrist or becoming a drag on my running form. 

Though these are its high points, the Apex does also offer basic fitness tracking capability in the form of heart rate, steps, calories, and so on, so it's not just for advanced athletes. Rather, it's great for anyone looking to spend more time running, biking, or cycling, and who has an inclination to try new activities.

Its $300 price point puts it solidly in the middle in terms of other watches featured in this guide but its incredible capability makes it highly worth the expense. 

Best Fitbit fitness tracker

Fitbit's Versa 3 combines the brand's excellent fitness tracking tech with in-depth smartwatch capability, unique sleep tracking, and a clean design reminiscent of the Apple Watch

Pros: Automatic activity tracking, built-in GPS, in-depth sleep tracking and exercise data, great battery life, offers unique mindful minutes feature, and is water-resistant up to 50 meters

Cons: Doesn't always automatically sync

Fitbit's line of Versa watches ushered in the brand's first foray into smartwatch territory, and the resulting products (from the original Versa to today's Versa 3) have been a triumph. Each combines the in-depth and reliable fitness tracking Fitbit's built its name on with functional smartwatch features and a clean, stylish (and recognizable) design. 

Not only is the Versa 3 the latest in this new-ish product category for Fitbit, but it's also the brand's best. It has built-in (and accurate) GPS, is water-resistant up to 50 meters, and offers excellent battery life, meaning you won't have to worry about throwing it on its charger each night.

That last part is an important distinction, too, as the Versa 3 provides wearers with in-depth sleep tracking, including how much REM sleep you get, how much you toss and turn, and when you're sleeping lightly. During my tests, I was amazed at how tumultuous my night of sleep can be — and the data allowed me to try to fix certain things about how I sleep, or when to start winding down to give myself the best chance for solid rest. Though this is starting to pop up on more fitness trackers today, I've found the Versa 3 to provide one of the better, more insightful experiences. 

From a tracking perspective, the Versa 3 shines. I really enjoyed the automatic tracking function, which allowed me to immediately start running after I put my shoes on instead of navigating a menu just to hit Start. This may seem a minor feature but I ended up using it far more than I thought I would.

The other major component of the Versa 3 is its smartwatch capability. Though the features won't blow you away, I found that it did still function exactly as I needed, providing me quick glances at notifications without having to pull my phone out of my pocket (or locate it in my apartment). Android users get more features, like voice-to-text responses, but it still functioned well, albeit quite basic, with my iPhone. 

Best fitness tracker smartwatch

The latest Apple Watch (the Series 6) continues the tech company's dominance in the smartwatch space, offering wearers a versatile fitness tracker that's full-featured, easy to use, and incredibly powerful.

Pros: Wide range of accurate activity tracking, clean, stylish design, great for iPhone users, easy-to-read always-on touchscreen display, music integration

Cons: Battery life isn't that great (you'll be recharging it almost every day)

You can't have a guide to the best fitness trackers without the appearance of the Apple Watch — it's that good. And aside from its quality, the Apple Watch is also one of the most important fitness wearables thanks to its ability to seamlessly blend fitness tracking and smartwatch capability. Other trackers in this guide offer something similar but Apple's wearable is by far and away the best to do it. 

From a fitness tracking perspective, it has a deep offering of trackable activities but excels with your basics like running, swimming, and cycling. There's even a Nike version of the watch that comes with the Nike Run Club app pre-installed, so you know Apple intends for this to be on the wrist of a runner.

It works really well in practice, too. The watch was always quite comfortable on my wrist, even on longer runs or bike rides, and the screen is really easy to read mid-activity. Its GPS isn't as quick as the Suunto 7 but it wasn't as fussy as my experience with Fitbit's Charge 4. When it does finally sync, it's quite accurate and routinely produced that same accuracy over days and weeks of testing. 

The Series 6 is rounded out by both its smartwatch offerings and advanced health analytics. There's sleep tracking, a blood oxygen sensor, an ECG reader, and even handwash tracking. I didn't find myself using everything all the time but it was nice knowing I had access to some of the more in-depth features whenever I wanted. Being able to respond to text messages and use it as a true smartwatch made it that much more valuable to me (especially as an iPhone user). 

Best budget fitness tracker

The Forerunner 35 utilizes so much of what makes Garmin one of the best fitness tracker brands on the market, including accurate GPS, reliable activity tracking, and a sleek, comfortable design.

Pros: Great battery life, plenty of functionality despite its basic design, lightweight, waterproof, built-in GPS

Cons: No swimming mode despite its waterproof design, GPS signal can be slow to lock on

Often when you see the words "budget" and "fitness tracker" next to each other, you find a wearable offering the most basic of function and tracking capability. Then there's the Garmin Forerunner 35. Though vanilla in design, the Forerunner 35 is anything but "budget" in what it offers yet still has a very reasonable price tag of less than $100.

If you've ever used a Garmin fitness tracker or smartwatch before, you know just how capable its ecosystem is — and the 35, though inexpensive, is no different. It features 24/7 heart rate monitoring, accurate GPS tracking, and compatibility with running and cycling (among a few others). 

What I liked best about the 35 during my tests was its attention to running features that more expensive watches just don't have, specifically its running cadence analysis and an interval training mode. With the run cadence feature, I was able to have a more in-depth look into my mechanics and could make more informed adjustments. For advanced runners, this data is invaluable. 

Navigation-wise, the Forerunner 35 is a breeze. Just a few buttons flank the bezel, each of which is straightforward in allowing you to access the watch's suite of features. It won't wow you in terms of design but this is one of the best bang-for-buck fitness trackers on the market. 

Best basic fitness tracker

If exercising is part of your routine, you'll love being able to track your workout in real-time on the bright, easy-to-read screen of the Fitbit Charge 4

Pros: Comfortable design, easy to read display, built-in heart rate monitor, in-depth sleep tracking, advanced workout features, real-time workout tracking on-screen, long battery life, user-friendly app

Cons: No music storage, basic black & white display

The Fitbit Charge 4 is the successor to the Fitbit Charge 3 (our previous recommendation as the best fitness tracker for workouts), with a handful of features that set it apart from past versions.

Specifically, it now features a built-in GPS. I did find the GPS to not be as accurate as others in this guide (even its Fitbit kin, the Versa 3) but it did function well enough that it's worth having on the watch.  

In addition to counting steps like any good fitness tracker should, the Charge 4 also measures stairs climbed, calories burned, resting, and active heart rate, and offers in-depth sleep tracking. It even shows which type of sleep you're in, be it light, deep, or REM. You can also see how your habits stack up against those of other people your age via the app. 

If you're feeling stressed, this tracker also offers breathing exercises to help you relax. And, diving into more of the workout features, the Charge 4 has dedicated functions for recording a wide range of activities, including running, cycling, cardio, and strength training. There's even a timer option for HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training). It also lets you pause and resume workouts, and if you do forget to tell it you're starting an activity or workout it can automatically detect a session and start monitoring it.

Best fitness tracker for recommended workouts

The Forerunner 745 is the perfect representation of the power of Garmin's ecosystem, offering wearers fine-tuned workout recommendations and valuable fitness insight in an easy-to-use package.  

Pros: Huge variety of trackable activities, built-in pulse oximeter, and accurate heart-rate monitor, motivating recommended workouts and detailed accuracy as you wear it more, offers valuable fitness insight, excellent battery life

Cons: The menu system can be clunky, expensive

Garmin's long-made highly advanced fitness trackers that have always done well to satiate the needs of hardcore athletes. With the Forerunner 745, it brings that in-depth approach to a wider audience, providing highly valuable fitness insight and feedback to anyone, regardless of how active they are. 

The beauty of this watch rests with the advanced data it provides. During workouts, the 745 displays everything from time active and heart rate to distance covered and pace. Each of which is highly useful in the moment if you're interval training or aiming for a certain time on a run or bike ride. It's also quite easy to customize this screen so you have exactly what you want when you want it. 

Though that in-the-moment date is great, it's what the watch offers after the activity (or between workouts) that's even better. This includes challenging workout recommendations that adapt to your output, the ideal amount of rest you need between activities (which is highly important), and customized training plans. Neither of these is just tacked-on, too, and I found myself gravitating toward them more and more as I tested the watch even though I've always preferred my own workouts to anything pre-written for me. 

Its tracking accuracy is also highly precise, and I found it to be similar to that of Suunto's 7 and the Apple Watch Series 6. It syncs with GPS rather quickly and would consistently produce very similar metrics (both in terms of distance and pace) no matter if I was cycling or running. 

If there was something to nitpick about the Forerunner 745, it'd be its clunky menu system. Like most Garmin watches, the OS isn't exactly intuitive, though it does get easier the more you use it (as would anything). It's not enough to be a dealbreaker, especially considering how much else this watch does that's superior to most fitness trackers currently available. 

How we test fitness trackers

Each of the fitness trackers included in this guide went through a series of tests to determine how well they performed across these four categories: Fit & comfort, tracking accuracy, added features, and value. Here's how we considered each category while testing:

Fit & comfort: If a fitness tracker isn't comfortable or doesn't fit well, you'll be far less likely to want to wear it very often — and if you don't wear it often, what's the point? Tracker manufacturers also know this, for the most part, so many of the best active wearables feature bands that not only stay comfortable for long periods of time but don't chafe or become bothersome while you sweat. When testing, I looked at everything from how they felt the moment we put them on to whether we noticed any discomfort throughout short and long workout sessions. 

Tracking accuracy: Testing a fitness tracker's accuracy isn't always straightforward; you can literally wear two different watches and get different GPS readings, pace readings, and so on. So, instead of using a second tracker to test a wearable's accuracy, I would map out how far an exact mile was from my house before running it a few times wearing the same watch. The trackers that ultimately made the cut all produced results that were within no more than .1 miles off. 

Added features: Testing for this category was straightforward: Did the tracker have any supplemental features outside of just tracking steps, calories burned, or heart rate? This could be anything from extra activities it's capable of logging, the ability to act like a smartwatch and get smartphone notifications, etc. This wasn't a dealbreaker category, however, as trackers aren't defined by their added features — but it is still a nice touch and something that can separate a good tracker from a great one. 

Value: The value of a fitness tracker isn't just its sticker price but also how valuable it is from a function standpoint to the user. Does it have the features you need? Will it track and compile the data you want it to? Can it actually serve as something that benefits your fitness as opposed to detracting from it? These are all questions you want to consider when shopping to find a tracker's true value. This becomes more of a subjective category when viewed that way but when testing, I still was able to judge how well the tracker's held up across each of the above categories — and still considered how much they cost, as well. 

FAQs

Is it worth getting a fitness tracker?

Yes, so long as you actually use the tracker, and the data it collects, to inform your fitness goals. This means understanding what the fitness tracker you buy offers, and opting for one that offers insight into what you specifically need. For instance, if you just need something to motivate you to increase your daily activity, you shouldn't buy a full-featured watch like the Coros Apex or Suutno 7. Something like the Apple Watch or Fitbit's Versa 3 would be better suited to your lifestyle.

And although there's nothing wrong with wearing a fitness tracker to only keep tabs on your daily steps or calories burned, that information it accrues can be vital for anyone who wants to develop a daily, weekly, or monthly fitness routine.

The term "worth" as it applies to fitness wearables is relative to how exactly that information is used and who is using it. You first need to decide how you intend to use a fitness watch to truly determine how worthwhile it can be. 

What do fitness trackers do?

Fitness trackers monitor and accrue a variety of activity data such as the number of steps a wearer takes each day, how many calories they've burned, and the flights of stairs they've climbed, among many others.

Basic fitness trackers often offer tracking for just those listed above while more advanced wearables, and fitness smartwatches, provide a slew of advanced features such as workout tracking (running, cycling, weight lifting, etc.), heart beat monitoring, smartphone notifications, and more. 

Some trackers even have compatible smartphone apps that centralize the data it collects, allowing users to chart their progress over time via a dashboard or activity calendar. 

What are the pros and cons of fitness trackers?

Deciding whether the pros of a fitness tracker outweigh its cons ultimately comes down to how you intend to use it. If you plan on being routinely active and using the data it collects to develop and maintain a fitness routine, then it can be extremely beneficial. 

However, if you don't ever look at the amassed data or buy a watch that has too many features you'll never use, then it will surely become an expensive digital timepiece that tracks fitness data for no reason. 

Fitness trackers are powerful tools that can offer deep insight into one's health profile — but they can also be quite expensive. This is why it's important to not only figure out how you want to use the watch before you buy one but to research which watch is best fit for your lifestyle and your goals. 

What should I look for in a fitness tracker?

Those looking for a device dedicated to tracking daily activity, workouts, and sleep have a vast number of choices even without including members of the smartwatch family. Here's what to consider:

Comfort and design: Since you'll wear the tracker daily (even to bed for sleep tracking), comfort is a high priority. If it's not comfortable, you won't want to wear it; plain and simple. The same goes for design. If you have a small wrist, you may want a tracker with a sleek, understated look. Fitness trackers come in all shapes and sizes, so you'll be able to find one that suits your style.

Features: If you're looking for a no-frills fitness tracker, then one that only tracks steps and your sleep habits may suffice. However, if you work out often or want insight into how your activity impacts your overall health, a more advanced tracker with a heart rate monitor or built-in GPS may be the one for you.

You should also consider the types of workouts you like to do. For example, if you're a swimmer, waterproofing is a must. If you're just starting a new fitness routine, then a device that coaches you and gives you goals to work towards may provide the extra motivation you need.

App experience: Most fitness trackers are designed to work in tandem with your smartphone, syncing the data collected with a downloaded application. This allows you to gain even more insight into your health and save the information collected to track your progress over time.

Unfortunately, not all companion apps are that effective and you may find there are some experiences you prefer over others. It's important to choose a fitness tracker that gives you a good app experience. Easy navigation and compatibility with your phone's operating system are a must.

The best deals on fitness trackers from this guide

Fitness trackers help you keep track of your body's activities — from sleep to intense workouts. Depending on your specific needs, a good tracker can cost you over $150; luckily, we see discounts for them all of the time. Brands like Garmin and Fitbit are popular during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with the Fitbit Charge 3 dropping as low as $80 last year. Our other picks also saw similar discounts.

Here are the best deals on our favorite fitness trackers:

Watch Series 6 (40mm, GPS) (medium, Preferred: Walmart)Forerunner 35 (medium)

Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Janet Yellen says the recent debt ceiling hike will only cover the government's bills through December 3

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 4:55pm
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Congress has until December 3 before the US defaults on its debt.
  • Until then, Yellen said the government will be using "extraordinary measures" to stay funded.
  • The House recently passed a two-month debt ceiling hike that every GOP member voted against.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Congress on Monday the recent debt ceiling hike will only keep the government funded through December 3.

Yellen wrote a letter to congressional leadership saying that Congress' recent two-month debt ceiling hike presented a "temporary reprieve," but since it is only a short-term solution, the Treasury is employing "extraordinary measures" to allow the government to pay its bills during this time. Last week, the House approved the debt-limit extension - which every Republican member voted against - buying Congress more time to devise a longer-term solution before the US defaults on its debt.

The Treasury Secretary wrote that "it is imperative that Congress act to increase or suspend the debt limit in a way that provides longer-term certainty that the government will satisfy all its obligations."

Democrats managed to pass a debt-limit extension six days before October 18, when Yellen previously warned Congress the US would default on its debt without any action. As Insider has previously reported, raising the debt limit has been a highly partisan process, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell remaining adamant that raising the limit is something the majority party must do on their own.

After the House temporarily raised the limit, McConnell made clear to President Joe Biden that Republicans will not be stepping in come December.

"I will not be a party to any future effort to mitigate the consequences of Democratic mismanagement," McConnell wrote in a scathing letter to Biden last week. "Your lieutenants on Capitol Hill now have the time they claimed they lacked to address the debt ceiling."

The US has never defaulted on its debt, and a growing number of lawmakers are calling for congressional action to completely eliminate the debt ceiling. In the mean time, some have floated the idea of minting a $1 trillion platinum coin to pay the government's bills.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Apple stopped selling Intel-based laptops just moments after it announced the new MacBook Pros

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 4:36pm

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  • After announcing the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, Apple stopped selling its Intel-based MacBook Pro models.
  • The new 14-inch and 16-inch models run on Apple's new M1 Pro and M1 Max processors, with prices starting at $1,999 and $2,499 respectively.
  • You can still purchase the 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro running on the original M1 processor from Apple.

Apple announced new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops that run on new versions of the company's M1 series of processors.

These new processors are more powerful iterations of the standard M1 processor that was released in 2020, called the M1 Pro and the M1 Max. The company promises that the M1 Pro and M1 Max deliver significantly faster performance than the standard M1.

Along with new M1 processors, the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros come with new designs, major screen improvements, and the return of common ports like HDMI, an SD card slot, and even the return of the beloved MagSafe charging port. Apple also ditched the divisive Touch Bar in the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros for traditional Function keys.

The announcement also notably marks the end of Apple's traditional Intel-based laptops, as all the MacBook laptops Apple offers now run on one version or the other of the M1 processor.

Discontinued Apple MacBook Pro models
  • 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro running on Intel processors
  • 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro running on Intel processors

If you're looking for an Intel-based MacBook Pro, your best bets are going to be Apple's own refurbished Mac store and retailers like Best Buy and B&H.

MacBook Pro models currently available for purchase

The new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros come with heftier price tags than ever - $1,999 for the base 14-inch and $2,499 for the base 16-inch model.

Luckily for buyers looking for a MacBook Pro with amazing performance for a lower price tag, Apple is still selling the 13-inch MacBook Pro that runs on the standard M1 processor that was released in 2020. Albeit, Apple hasn't dropped the 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro's price and kept it at $1,299.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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