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9 ways to get Amazon discounts and rewards year-round

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 7:20pm  |  Clusterstock



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

For anywhere that you frequently shop, coupons and promo codes can feel like free money. So, coupons for Amazon, with its seemingly endless library of options, feel a lot like everything you need in life going on sale.

The site only hosts meaningful sitewide sales for Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday annually, but it frequently offers other incentives and discounts, particularly around its newest and least-utilized services. To help you get the most out of your experience shopping online, we've compiled a few ways you can save on Amazon right now.

A few of them apply only to Prime members, so if you don't have a membership and want one for its many benefits, or just to take part in some of the deals, you can start a free 30-day trial here

How to get discounts and rewards on Amazon: Get 5% back on purchases from Amazon and Whole Foods Apply for an Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Prime members with an Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card can earn 5% back at and Whole Foods Market every day. They also get 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, as well as 1% back on other purchases. There's no annual credit card fee or foreign transaction fees.

Get 5% back and an instant $10 Amazon Gift Card upon approval Apply for an Store Card

If you have an Amazon Prime Store Card, you can earn 5% back on your purchases while you have a Prime membership too. Each month, it can be issued as a statement credit or redeemed for millions of items on Amazon. You'll also see exclusive offers on select items. There's no annual fee, either. 

Right now, Amazon is also offering an instant $10 Gift Card upon approval.

Get a 2% bonus every time you reload a gift card Set up 2% rewards when re-loading gift cards

Prime members earn a 2% bonus on every reload of a gift card when using a designated debit card. When setting up Prime Reload, you will be asked to select a debit card for rewards. It'll be added to your gift card balance at the same time you reload.

Prime member-exclusive deals Shop exclusive deals for Prime members

There are a lot of reasons to get a Prime membership, but one of the most notable is that it gets you access to millions of deals on Prime Day so you can save where it really matters.

Get a $5 Amazon Credit when you add $20 in Amazon Cash Find a location to add Amazon Cash

Amazon Cash lets you shop Amazon without a debit or credit card by adding cash at participating locations. First-time Amazon Cash customers can get a $5 Amazon credit when they add $20 in Amazon Cash.

Save up to 20% on family essentials like diapers and baby food Browse Amazon Family subscriptions

Prime members can save up to 20% off diapers, baby food, and more when they have five or more subscriptions arriving. There are also Amazon Family coupons you can browse and redeem here

Subscribe and save up to 15% and receive free shipping on thousands of products Shop the Amazon Subscribe & Save store

If you've got a few usual suspects like pet food, batteries, or laundry detergent that you regularly buy and replace on Amazon, it pays to set up regularly scheduled deliveries (ie. Subscribe & Save). You can unlock extra savings on eligible subscriptions when you subscribe to five or more products at one address on your monthly delivery day. 

There's no commitment once you subscribe, so you only have to do it as long as it helps you out.

To get started, just choose which products you'd like from thousands of eligible products in the Subscribe & Save store and select your delivery frequency and create your subscription. You can skip deliveries or cancel at any time. 

Choose free no-rush shipping and get discounts or earn rewards Learn more about free no-rush shipping

Prime members can get a little extra something when they choose no-rush shipping at checkout. If you can afford to skip the customary two-day shipping range, select free no-rush shipping at checkout and Amazon will either apply a discount immediately to your current order or automatically apply a reward to your account once your order ships.

By No-Rush, Amazon means within six business days. So, it's not like no-rush means an open-ended "whenever you get around to it." If you're not in a hurry, this is a great way to rack up discounts and rewards. 

Shop the bargain bin where everything is 50% off or more Shop the Bargain Bin

If you're looking for something specific, or you just want to peruse and see if anything jogs your memory of something you might need, Amazon's Bargain Bin is a good place to go. Everything is 50% off or more, and it's the site's "final chance" to shop through already reduced items. 

You can pick up screen protectors, toys, records, baby clothes, and a lot more for half their original price.

Read all of our Prime Day 2020 coverage hereFind the best deals across all categories of Prime Day 2020 here Read the original article on Business Insider

The best Labor Day 2020 sales you can still take advantage of this week

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 6:52pm  |  Clusterstock

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

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky  The best overall Labor Day sales of 2020

Best Buy: Save on both major and small appliances through September 16

Home Depot: Save on tools, appliances and more through September 16

Lowe's: Smart home tech, appliances, tools, and more are discounted from Lowe's — end dates vary per item

Burrow: During Burrow's Labor Day sale, furniture shoppers will save more the more they buy. Starting August 29 and ending September 13, use the code LDW to save 10% on purchases up to $1,799, $200 off $1,800+, $250 off $2,200+, $300 off $2,600+, $400 off $3,000+, and $500 off $4,000+

Clarks: Save an additional 50% off on-sale styles through September 10 with the code SALE50

JCPenney: Save 50% on select Instant Pots from September 6 through 14

Leesa: Insider Reviews readers can take 20% off any Leesa Hybrid or Legend mattress with our exclusive discount code INSIDER

Purple: Save up to $350 off mattresses and sleep bundles and up to $150 off select mattresses 

Serta: Save up to $400 on iComfort mattresses through September 15

Labor Day sales from big-box stores

Best Buy: Save on both major and small appliances through September 16

Home Depot: Save on tools, appliances and more through September 16

Lowe's: Smart home tech, appliances, tools, and more are discounted from Lowe's — end dates vary per item

Labor Day mattress and bedding sales

Bloomingdale's: Save an extra 50% on clearance products and 30–60% off regular-price items through September 9 

Burrow: During Burrow's Labor Day sale, furniture shoppers will save more the more they buy. Starting August 29 and ending September 13, use the code LDW to save 10% on purchases up to $1,799, $200 off $1,800+, $250 off $2,200+, $300 off $2,600+, $400 off $3,000+, and $500 off $4,000+

Casper: Save 10% on Casper's line of beds, sheets, and more

Helix: Save $100 when you spend $600 or more on a new mattress, plus a free set of Dream pillows, with the code LDS100. Alternatively, save $150 on purchases over $1,250 or $200 on purchases over $1,750 with the coupons LDS150 and LDS200 respectively through September 13

Leesa: Insider Reviews readers can take 20% off any Leesa Hybrid or Legend mattress with our exclusive discount code INSIDER

Nectar: $100 off the Nectar Mattress + 2 free pillows now through September 9

Purple: Save up to $350 off mattresses and sleep bundles and up to $150 off select mattresses 

Serta: Save up to $400 on iComfort mattresses through September 15

Labor Day furniture and kitchen sales

Best Buy: Save on both major and small appliances through September 16

Burrow: During Burrow's Labor Day sale, shoppers will save more the more they buy. Starting August 29 and ending September 13, use the code LDW to save 10% on purchases up to $1,799, $200 off $1,800+, $250 off $2,200+, $300 off $2,600+, $400 off $3,000+, and $500 off $4,000+

JCPenney: Save 50% on select Instant Pots from September 6 through 14

Labor Day clothing sales

Adidas Outdoor: Save up to 50% on select products

Clarks: Save an additional 50% off on-sale styles through September 10 with the code SALE50

Cotopaxi: Save an additional 20% off already-discounted products with the promo code GEARGRAB20

Lensabl: Save 15% off all lenses with code SEE15 and 15% on contact lenses with code CONTACT15

Labor Day 2020 FAQs When do Labor Day sales start in 2020?

Labor Day sales typically start the week before Labor Day, which falls on Monday, September 7 this year. Most sales run through the weekend, but some continue to run for a couple of days afterward, giving shoppers a full week or more in some cases to take advantage of deals.

What types of deals will I find over Labor Day weekend?

Most online retailers offer discounts for Labor Day. Shoppers can expect big discounts on tech, clothes, mattresses, furniture and home goods, outdoor gear, and more during the week leading up to and following Labor Day weekend.

Labor Day weekend is one of the best times in the year to shop online for furniture, appliances, and outdoor gear. 

If you're shopping for fall-friendly attire, it's also a solid time to refresh your wardrobe. Check out our buying guides to the best women's cashmere sweaters, men's cashmere sweaters, women's winter coats, men's winter coats, women's slippers, and men's slippers for inspiration.

All of our additional coverage related to the Labor Day sales A full rundown of all the Labor Day sales happening in 2020

We highlighted 16 of the best Labor Day sales to shop this weekend, but there are plenty more. For a full rundown, check out this list with even more deals, broken down by category.  

REI's Labor Day sale is going on now through September 7 — here are 10 great deals from Klean Kanteen, Arc'teryx, Osprey, and moreSave up to 40% on brands like Klean Kanteen, Arc'teryx, Osprey, and more during REI's Labor Day sale, running from August 28 through September 7.25+ Labor Day mattress sales from Casper, Leesa, Purple, and more

Labor Day weekend is one of the best times to shop for mattresses, and this year is no exception. Starting this week, shoppers can save hundreds of dollars on select mattresses from some of our favorite brands.

The best Labor Day furniture sales to shop this weekend

Ahead of Labor Day, shoppers can take advantage of discounts from companies like WayfairBurrow, and West Elm. Whether you're looking to upgrade your home office or want to replace your couch, this is a good time to shop.

Wayfair's huge Labor Day sale has discounts up to 70% on furniture, bedding, decor, and more

Wayfair is having a huge Labor Day sale with discounts up to 70% on everything you need from the giant home goods and furniture storefront. Highlights include markdowns on office furnituredecormattresses, and bedroom furniture

The best Labor Day deals from Home Depot, including tools, home appliances, furniture, and more

Home Depot's Labor Day sale includes major brand home and garden essentials discounted through September 16.

The best deals from Lowe's this Labor Day 2020— including home decor, tools, and appliances

Save on home appliances, smart home tech, tools, and more with Lowe's this Labor Day. Deadlines vary for each item.

The best TV deals for Labor Day 2020 include $1,200 off LG's flagship CX OLED TV

To celebrate Labor Day on September 7, many retailers have launched sales on several TVs, including HD, 4K, and even 8K models. We'll be updating this list with new discounts as they are revealed.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Bubble Goods, an online marketplace for healthy foods, is our favorite place to discover new snacks

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 5:56pm  |  Clusterstock

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

  • We recently bought natural snacks and drinks from Bubble Goods, a website that curates up-and-coming healthy food brands. 
  • All products sold on Bubble are free from artificial ingredients, preservatives, and trans fats. 
  • It's the perfect place to discover natural food products you can trust, from creamy sesame butter to crunchy chili sauce
  • See also: Thrive Market review

Bubble Goods calls itself "The Most Transparent Food Marketplace." Like your local natural health food grocer, it's a place where you can trust that the products on the shelves are made with natural ingredients — and where you can almost certainly expect to stumble upon something new, interesting, and delicious. 

It's easy to browse by category, search products directly, and take your time looking at ingredient labels. Then, your order is shipped quickly to your door. 

We recently took a closer look at this cool site to show you what to expect and some of the best things to buy. 

What you can buy at Bubble Goods 

Like competitors such as Thrive Market, Bubble Goods is pretty tightly curated.

First, it only sells food, drinks, and vitamins and supplements. Every single product goes through a strict approval process where the ingredient list goes under a microscope.

Bubble has a list of allowed and restricted ingredients; on the "nice" list are things like coconut oil, agave nectar, and monk fruit, in addition to whole fruits, grains, vinegars, probiotics, nuts, and seeds. On the "naughty" list are artificial and refined sugars and sweeteners, artificial dyes, flavor enhancers, bulking agents, preservatives, trans fats, and more. 

Only after the brand passes the ingredients guidelines, taste tests, and checks for ethical, sustainable sourcing can it be sold on Bubble. 

The result is a small but strong collection of innovative, creative, and healthy food products. There are snacks, baked goods, sauces and condiments, pasta and rice, tea, coffee, and more. Within each category, you can filter by dietary choices such as paleo or gluten-free, taste, health benefits, and values (e.g. female-founded, BIPOC-founded). 

A few intriguing finds we came across: spirulina popcorn, spicy cashew cheese sauce, and hickory smoked biltong. These are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the variety of Bubble's offerings.

While I recognized a few brands, like my favorite granola, gr8nola, I was exposed to many more names that I had never seen before, so it was fun to explore all of them on the site. 

Recognizing that natural foods are often pricey, Bubble has a whole under-$10 section for options that are both delicious and affordable. On the other side of the spectrum, if you want to treat yourself or a loved one to a gift basket of healthy treats, you can check the gift section for themed bundles. 

How shipping works 

Keep in mind that Bubble is a marketplace, not a retailer. That means individual brands are shipping their products to you and Bubble is merely streamlining the browsing experience. If you buy products from five different brands, you'll be receiving five separate shipments rather than one master shipment with all your orders. 

We found it somewhat annoying to receive multiple email notifications and several cardboard packages, but on the bright side, you do only pay one shipping fee (for two-day standard shipping, prices vary based on your delivery address) for the whole order. 

The bottom line

Despite the shipping process, we still had a great experience with Bubble Goods. You may be able to find the same products on other sites like Amazon, but Bubble makes it easy, not to mention exciting, to discover new favorites. Its product transparency, ease of browsing, and eye for up-and-coming food brands will keep us coming back for more. 

Bubble provided me and editor Caitlin Petreycik with promo codes to order from the site. Here's what we got and what we thought. 

Our favorite products from Bubble Goods:  Coffee you can make anywhere as long as you have hot water and a cup Dripkit Colombia El Mirador Light (5-Pack) 

I've heard about Dripkit from social media and coffee lovers, so I was excited to see its coffee was available on Bubble. I'm more of a casual coffee drinker so I opted for the light roast, which turned out to be slightly sweet (just how I like it) and aromatic.

While it looks like Bubble offers many intriguing coffee options, from mushroom-infused organic coffee to adaptogenic coffee, Dripkit stood out because of its eye-catching branding and clever and portable pourover design. All you have to do is open the sturdy filter and latch it onto your cup, then pour hot water in to create a fresh brew. —Connie Chen, senior reporter 

A tasty, nut-free alternative to peanut butter Seedible Creamy Sesame Butter

I went through a big almond butter phase in college, a natural peanut butter phase afterward, and now, it looks like sesame butter is my latest obsession. If you're trying to go nut-free or just want a unique and delicious change for your PB&J sandwiches, oatmeal, and snacks, this sesame butter is the perfect alternative. 

It has a nutty, toasty flavor and has just a bit of grit to it to remind you this is not your typical, overly processed spread. Yes, it's a bit expensive at $10 a jar, but as an occasional treat and pick-me-up, it does the trick for health-minded gourmands. —Connie Chen, senior reporter 

Sichuan chili sauce you'll want to put on everything — even ice cream Fly by Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp

Fly by Jing's complex, savory Sichuan Chili Crisp is highly addictive, thanks to its blend of fried chilis, tribute pepper, sesame oil, mushrooms, ginger, seaweed, and more. Yes, it'll burn your tongue like your standard chili sauce, but its multi-layered flavors mean the comedown tastes different every time.

So far, I've stirred a spoonful into a bowl of ramen, drizzled it over pizza, and used it to punch up egg sandwiches, and while I haven't added it to ice cream as Bubble suggests, I'm not ruling it out. Pro tip: make sure to dig deep with your spoon to get the chili flakes and spices hiding at the bottom of the jar. —Caitlin Petreycik, editor 

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to add cities to the built-in Weather app on an iPhone, and delete or rearrange them

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 5:55pm  |  Clusterstock
It's easy to add multiple cities to the Weather app on your iPhone.
  • You can add cities to the Weather app on an iPhone and flip through forecasts for different cities with a quick swipe.
  • The iPhone Weather app pulls data from The Weather Channel.
  • You can add, delete, and rearrange cities on the Weather app with just a few taps and swipes.
  • Visit Business Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

Whether you're planning a trip or just like to keep tabs on the weather in other places, your iPhone's default Weather app allows you to bookmark multiple cities so you can flip through forecasts with just a few swipes. Here's how to add, delete, and rearrange cities in the app.

How to add a city on the iPhone Weather app

1. Open the Weather app.

2. Tap the list icon on the bottom right of the screen.

Select the list icon.

3. Tap the plus icon on the bottom right of the screen.

Hit the plus icon in the bottom right.

4. Enter the city, zip code, or airport you're looking for.

Enter a location into the search bar.

5. Tap the name of the place you'd like to add. It should now appear in your lineup of cities. 

How to delete a city on the iPhone Weather app

1. Open the Weather app.

2. Tap the list icon on the bottom right of the screen.

3. Swipe left on the city you'd like to delete.

Swipe to the left to delete a city.

4. Tap "Delete."

How to rearrange cities on the iPhone Weather app

When you're on the Weather app, you can swipe left and right to see the forecasts for your bookmarked cities. 

1. Open the Weather app.

2. Tap the list icon on the bottom right of the screen.

3. Hold your finger down on the city you'd like to move up or down the list until it pops out.

4. Drag your finger up or down and lift your finger when the city is in the desired spot on the list.

Related coverage from Tech Reference:Read the original article on Business Insider

How billionaire Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk went from getting bullied as a child to becoming one of the most successful and controversial men in tech

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 5:30pm  |  Clusterstock
Elon Musk.
  • Elon Musk has had a tumultuous yet successful life. 
  • He was bullied as a child but ultimately attended an Ivy League university before going on to become the CEO of two companies, Tesla and SpaceX, and the founder of three more.
  • He's also been married three times and has triplets and twins. He just had another baby with his girlfriend, the musician Grimes. 
  • But Musk also courts controversy, especially on Twitter. The tech billionaire has been outspoken about the coronavirus crisis, questioning the severity of the outbreak and urging for business to resume.
  • Now, Musk has hit a new milestone: his net worth has skyrocketed to over $82 billion as Tesla's stock surged.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

It seems like there's nothing Elon Musk can't do. 

As CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, founder of The Boring Company, and cofounder of OpenAI and Neuralink, Musk seems to be everywhere all at once, pushing all kinds of futuristic technologies. He's said he won't be happy until we've escaped Earth and colonized Mars.

Between space rockets, electric cars, solar batteries, and the billions he's made along the way, Musk is basically a real-life Tony Stark — which is why he served as an inspiration for Marvel's 2008 "Iron Man" film.

But it hasn't always been smooth sailing for Musk. Here's how he went from getting bullied in school to becoming a small-time entrepreneur and eventually the CEO of two major companies that seem like they're straight out of science fiction — and how he almost went broke along the way. 

This is an update to an article originally published in August 2016. Katie Canales contributed to an earlier version of this story. 

Elon Musk was born on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa. A general view of the Union Building is seen in Pretoria, South Africa. Musk's mother, Maye, is a professional dietitian and model. She has appeared on boxes of Special K cereal and the cover of Time magazine. In 2017, at the age of 69, she landed a contract with CoverGirl. Elon and Maye Musk.

Source: The New York Times

After their parents divorced in 1979, the 9-year-old Musk and his younger brother, Kimbal, decided to live with their father. It wasn't until after the move was made that his notoriously troubled relationship with his dad began to emerge. "It was not a good idea," Musk said in a Rolling Stone interview about moving in with his father. Musk's brother, Kimbal.

Source: Rolling Stone

In 1983, at the age of 12, Musk sold a simple game called "Blastar" to a computer magazine for $500. Musk described it as "a trivial game ... but better than Flappy Bird."

Source: WaitButWhy

Still, Musk's school days weren't easy — he was once hospitalized after being beaten by bullies. The bullies threw Musk down a set of stairs and beat him until he blacked out.

Source: "Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future"

After graduating from high school, Musk moved to Canada with his mother Maye, his sister Tosca, and his brother Kimbal, and spent two years studying at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.

Source: Queen's University

But he finished his studies at the University of Pennsylvania, earning degrees in physics and economics. Musk at Caltech in 2012, where he gave a commencement speech. While studying at the University of Pennsylvania, Musk and a classmate rented out a 10-bedroom frat house and turned it into a nightclub. The move, which Musk undertook with Adeo Ressi, was one of his first entrepreneurial experiments. The Penn State University Kappa Delta Rho fraternity house in State College, Pennsylvania.

Source: Vogue

After graduation, Musk traveled to Stanford University to study for his PhD — but he barely started the program before leaving it. He deferred his admission after only two days in California, deciding to test his luck in the dot-com boom that was just getting underway. He never returned to finish his studies at Stanford.

Source: Forbes

With his brother, Kimbal, Musk launched Zip2. A cluster of Silicon Valley investors helped to fund the company, which provided city travel guides to newspapers like The New York Times and Chicago Tribune. Kimbal Musk.

Source: Rolling Stone

While Zip2 got off the ground, Musk literally lived in the office and showered at a local YMCA. The hard work paid off when Compaq bought Zip2 in a deal worth $341 million in cash and stock, earning Musk $22 million.

Source: Stanford

Musk next started, an online banking company. He launched the company in 1999 using $10 million of the money he got from the Zip2 sale. About a year later, merged with Confinity, a financial startup cofounded by Peter Thiel, to form PayPal. Peter Thiel (left) and Musk

Source: Investopedia

Musk was named the CEO of the newly minted PayPal — but it wouldn't last long. In October 2000, he started a huge fight among the PayPal cofounders by pushing for them to move its servers from the free Unix operating system to Microsoft Windows. PayPal cofounder and then CTO Max Levchin pushed back, hard. Max Levchin (left), the former chief technology officer of PayPal.

Source: Fortune

While Musk was en route to Australia for a much-needed vacation, PayPal's board fired him and made Thiel the new CEO. "That's the problem with vacations," Musk told Fortune years later about his ill-fated trip in late 2000.

Source: Fortune

But things worked out for Musk — he made another windfall when eBay bought PayPal in late 2002. As PayPal's single biggest shareholder, he netted $165 million of the $1.5 billion price eBay paid.

Source: Money

Even before the PayPal sale, Musk was dreaming up his next move, including a wild plan to send mice or plants to Mars. In early 2002, Musk founded the company that would be known as Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, with $100 million of the money received from the PayPal sale. Musk's goal was to make spaceflight cheaper by a factor of 10.

Source: Rolling Stone

Another early vehicle was named after the song "Puff the Magic Dragon." The name of the spacecraft, the Dragon, was Musk's jab at skeptics who told him SpaceX would never be able to put vehicles into space. Space X's Dragon spacecraft.

Source: Elon Musk/Twitter

SpaceX's long-term goal is to make colonizing Mars affordable. Musk has said that SpaceX won't file for an initial public offering until what Musk calls the "Mars Colonial Transporter" is flying regularly.

Source: Forbes

Musk has also been keeping plenty busy here on Earth, particularly with Tesla Motors. In 2004, Musk made the first of what would be $70 million of total investments in Tesla, an electric car company cofounded by veteran startup exec Martin Eberhard.

Source: Wired

Musk took an active product role at Tesla, helping develop its first car, the Roadster. The all-electric Roadster debuted in 2006, when Musk was serving as Tesla's chairman. He's now also its CEO. Tesla Roadster.

Source: Business Insider

As if that wasn't enough, Musk came up with the idea for SolarCity, a solar energy company. Musk gave his cousins Peter and Lyndon Rive the working capital to get SolarCity off the ground in 2006. (In late 2016, Tesla bought SolarCity in a $2.6 billion deal.) SolarCity cofounder Lyndon Rive (left) and Musk.

Source: VentureBeat, Business Insider

In 2007, Musk staged a boardroom coup at Tesla, first ousting Eberhard from his CEO seat and then from the company's board and executive suites entirely.

Source: Wired

In 2008, with the financial crisis seriously limiting his options, Musk personally saved Tesla from bankruptcy. Musk invested $40 million in Tesla and loaned the company $40 million more. Not coincidentally, he was named the company's CEO the same year.

Source: Business Insider

But between SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity, Musk nearly went broke. He describes 2008 as "the worst year of my life." Tesla kept losing money, and SpaceX was having trouble launching its Falcon 1 rocket. By 2009, Musk was living off personal loans just to survive. Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk stands on the podium as he attends a forum on startups in Hong Kong, China January 26, 2016.

Source: VentureBeat

Musk's personal life was in upheaval too: Musk and his wife Justine, a Canadian author, got divorced in 2008. The couple got married in 2000 — their first son, Nevada, died of SIDS at 10 weeks old (the Musks later went on to have twin and triplet boys). Justine Musk.

Source: Marie Claire

Musk started dating actress Talulah Riley later that year. They went on to get married in 2010, then divorced in 2012. In July 2013, they remarried. In December 2014, Musk filed for a divorce but withdrew the paperwork. In March 2016, Riley filed for divorce; that divorce was finalized in October. Talulah Riley (left) with Musk.

Source: Vanity Fair

Right around Christmas 2008, Musk got two pieces of good news: SpaceX had landed a $1.5 billion contract with NASA to deliver supplies into space, and Tesla finally found more outside investors.

Source: Ars Technica

By June 2010, Tesla held a successful initial public offering. The company raised $226 million in the IPO, becoming the first car company to go public since Ford in 1956. To get his finances back on track, Musk sold shares worth about $15 million in the offering. CEO of Tesla Motors Elon Musk waves after ringing the opening bell at the NASDAQ market in celebration of his company's initial public offering in New York June 29, 2010.

Source: Wired

Musk's extraordinary career was starting to get noticed in other circles, too, most notably in Hollywood. Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of Tony Stark in the "Iron Man" movies is at least partially based on Musk. Musk even had a cameo in "Iron Man 2."

Source: Vox

By the end of 2015, SpaceX had made 24 launches on assignments like resupplying the International Space Station, setting lots of records along the way. In 2016, the SpaceX Falcon 9 made the first successful ocean landing of a reusable orbital rocket.

Source: The Verge

The Falcon Heavy, the successor to the Falcon 9 and the most powerful rocket SpaceX has built to date, completed a successful maiden launch in February 2018. The Falcon Heavy carried a unique payload: a dummy dubbed "Starman," and Musk's personal cherry red Tesla Roadster, which were launched toward Martian orbit.

Source: SpaceX, Business Insider

Musk can't stop coming up with new ideas, either, like the Hyperloop. A super-high-speed train that travels in a vacuum tube, the Hyperloop could theoretically transport passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes.

Source: SpaceX, Business Insider

In a similar vein, Musk started another company in 2016 — The Boring Company, which has a mission to dig a network of tunnels under and around cities for high-speed, no-traffic driving.

Source: Business Insider

And in late 2015, Musk cofounded OpenAI, a nonprofit dedicated to researching artificial intelligence and ensuring it doesn't destroy humanity.

Musk has expressed concern that the race for better AI could end up sparking a third world war.

More recently, Musk announced he was stepping down from the board of OpenAI in February 2018 to avoid any potential conflicts of interest with Tesla, which has made strides into artificial intelligence for its self-driving car technology.

Source: Business Insider

Musk founded one more company, this one in 2017: Neuralink, which is trying to build devices that can be implanted inside the human brain. Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks before unveiling the Model Y in 2019.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Musk started dating "Aquaman" actress Amber Heard, but the two broke up in 2017 after a year of dating. Musk later said in an interview with Rolling Stone that the breakup was very hard on him.

Source: Rolling Stone

The year was a bit rocky from a political standpoint as well. Musk joined President Trump's business advisory council, a move which caused a huge public backlash. He initially defended the move, but he quit after Trump pulled the US out of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Musk said he tried to convince Trump not to withdraw. Musk (center) with Steve Bannon (left), the former White House Chief Strategist, and President Donald Trump

Source: Business Insider

In the spring of 2018, there was a new development in Musk's personal life — he and the musician Grimes struck up a relationship. They reportedly hit it off after they both made the same nerdy joke about artificial intelligence. Elon Musk and Grimes attend the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018.

Source: Business Insider

Musk ran into some trouble in 2018 when he sent a tweet declaring he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 per share and had already secured funding. Just a few days later, the SEC sent Tesla subpoenas about the company's plans to go private and Musk's comments.

By September, the SEC had formally filed a lawsuit against Musk, accusing him of making "false and misleading statements." Musk settled with the SEC, which resulted in both him and Tesla paying a $20 million fine and Musk agreeing to step down as chairman of Tesla's board. 

Additionally, Tesla was required to appoint a committee to oversee Musk's communications. 

Source: Business Insider

In November 2019, Musk debuted a new Tesla vehicle: the Cybertruck, Tesla's first — and very highly anticipated — pickup truck. Since the unveiling, Musk has been spotted a few times cruising around in the truck, including on a night out to dinner at Nobu with Grimes. News: Tesla Cybertruck

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider

One month later, Musk won a victory in court when a jury ruled he was not guilty of defaming the British diver Vernon Unsworth. Unsworth had filed a defamation lawsuit in 2018 after Musk called him a "pedo guy" on Twitter. Cave diver Vernon Unsworth lost his defamation case against Elon Musk.

In the summer of 2018, Unsworth took part in the rescue operation of 12 boys and their soccer coach who were trapped in a cave in Thailand. Musk had offered his help with the rescue mission in the form of a "minisub," which Unsworth called a "PR stunt," leading Musk to insult him on Twitter. 

Source: Business Insider

Grimes dropped a bombshell in January 2020 when she posted a photo of herself where she appeared pregnant. The musician later confirmed that she was expecting a baby with Musk.

Source: Business Insider

Musk has been outspoken about the coronavirus crisis in the US since early March, when he first tweeted that panic over the virus was "dumb."

Since then, Musk has gone on to promote a malaria drug as a potential treatment for COVID-19 patients despite a lack of scientific proof, has caused confusion over his promise to deliver ventilators to hospitals, and has promoted misinformation, such as a tweet that said "kids are essentially immune" from the virus. 

Musk has also called US shelter-in-place orders "fascist" and has defied local lockdown orders, reopening the Tesla plant in Fremont, California. "If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me," Musk said in early May. (Local officials later allowed Tesla to reopen its operations.)

Source: Business Insider


Despite having a substantial real estate portfolio, Musk recently said that he "will own no house" and would sell almost all of his physical possessions. He has since listed two of his Bel Air homes and five more properties worth over $100 million.

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider

On May 4, Grimes gave birth to a baby boy who the couple has said is named X Æ A-Xii Musk, or "X Ash A-12 Musk."

Source: Business Insider

Now, thanks to Tesla's stock surging in 2020, Musk is the seventh-richest person in the world with a net worth of $82.2 billion. Musk's wealth has surpassed Larry Page, Larry Ellison, and Sergey Brin, according to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index.

Source: Bloomberg, Business Insider

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Toledo, Spain, has been a sword-making hotbed for 2,500 years — now just 2 artisans are keeping the tradition alive

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 5:29pm  |  Clusterstock
José Ramón Moreno learned the art of sword-making when he was 16 years old, at a time when there were hundreds of bladesmiths in Toledo, Spain.
  • Toledo, Spain, has been a hotbed for sword-making since the 5th century BC.
  • But the art of sword-making is dying in Toledo, with just two artisans keeping the ancient tradition alive.
  • Mass-produced swords from foreign competitors have made it difficult to stay in business.
  • View more episodes of Business Insider Today on Facebook.

The swords forged in Toledo, Spain, were once considered the finest in the world.

Blacksmiths here have been making fine steel weapons by hand since the 5th century BC, furnishing armies throughout history.

But almost 40 years later, the art of sword making is dying in Toledo, and the city's forges are in danger of shuttering for good.

"The future of sword making is like coal — dark," sword-maker José Ramón Moreno told Business Insider Today. "If things don't change, Toledo's sword making will become a legend. There is no one to follow us nor is there much more business to continue. This is all going to disappear within a few years."

Moreno learned the craft from his father when he was 16 years old. Back then, in the 1980s, there were a few hundred bladesmiths in Toledo.

Now, Moreno is one of two artisan sword-makers still in business in Toledo. Now, only Mariano Zamorano joins Moreno in trying to keep the tradition alive. They own the last two workshops in Toledo where swords are still made by hand.

"Right now, we are talking about a craft that is about to go extinct because there is no demand," Zamorano said.

In Moreno and Zamorano's workshops, the process begins in the furnace, where they heat a piece of steel to around 1,000 degrees Celsius. The metal is typically 60% to 80% carbon, and Moreno said master sword-makers can tell the quality of the steel by banging it against the anvil.

From there, the masters stretch and shape the metal to the right size and thickness, dunk the blade into a cask of oil, and put it back in the furnace at a lower temperature. They then hammer the blade, polish and refine the edges, and attach a hilt.

The time-intensive process dictates the steep prices for artisan swords.

"There are swords, for example, that take approximately 12 to 14 hours to manufacture," Zamorano said. "These swords sell for 200-something euros. Then there are swords that don't have straight blades, they have ornaments, the pommel is no longer round, so it takes between 16 and 17 hours. And the cost is 400."

But the coronavirus pandemic has struck a blow to their businesses. With tourism coming to a standstill during lockdown, the main market for their decorative swords disappeared. It's caused the 69-year-old Zamorano to consider retirement.

Toledo sword-maker Mariano Zamorano is considering retiring because of the business slowdown caused by the coronavirus.

And better days may not be on the horizon, as few young people have shown interest in learning the craft of sword making.

Meanwhile, foreign competition is endangering the nature of the business. Mass-produced swords that come mainly from China can be found in Toledo shops for half the price or less of handmade ones.

"Nowadays everyone can make a sword," Moreno said. "Because you take a big, beautiful oven that indicates at so many degrees you have to heat, at so many degrees it has to cool down, and that is something anyone can do from a computer."

But to be able to make a sword just on instincts alone — by looking at the color of the steel, hearing how it sounds — takes talent.

"You have to know how to forge from whatever is given to you. This is the art of knowing how to forge."

Read the original article on Business Insider

When Microsoft's ambitious 'Netflix of gaming' service launches next week, it won't arrive on Apple devices — here's why

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 5:28pm  |  Clusterstock
Microsoft's Project xCloud game streaming service in action at E3 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
  • On September, Microsoft's Xbox-based game streaming service is scheduled to launch.
  • The service enables users to play dozens of Xbox games via the cloud, on smartphones and tablets. Any progress made on those games will be reflected on the Xbox when you pick it up there.
  • Better yet: The service is paired with a large library of games that are streamable, similar to how services like Netflix have large libraries of TV shows and movies to watch.
  • But when it launches, the service won't be available on Apple's iPhone and iPad — and that's due to Apple's App Store policies.
  • Apple announced a change to those policies on Friday intended to accommodate video game streaming services, but the changes do little to fix the messy situation.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

On September 15, Microsoft plans to launch a major coup in the video game business: The world's first game streaming service with a built-in library, Netflix-style.

For $15 a month, you'll be able to stream over 100 games to smartphones and tablets — but it won't be available on Apple's ubiquitous iPhone and iPad.

The reason, an Apple spokesperson said in early August, is because Apple isn't able to review each game that's available through Game Pass.

"The App Store was created to be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for all developers," an Apple spokesperson told Business Insider at the time. "Before they go on our store, all apps are reviewed against the same set of guidelines that are intended to protect customers and provide a fair and level playing field to developers."

Given that Microsoft's service operates like Netflix or Spotify, with subscribers getting access to a built-in library, submitting each game in that library to Apple's review process is prohibitively time consuming. It would also require each of those games to enable in-app purchases through Apple's payment systems, and each game to be ranked on the App Store charts, among other features. Each developer would need a paid Apple developer account.

In short, it would be a tremendously cumbersome process, akin to Netflix having to seek Apple's approval for every movie and show on its service.

On Friday, Apple codified those standards into its App Store guidelines.

"Streaming games are permitted so long as they adhere to all guidelines — for example, each game update must be submitted for review, developers must provide appropriate metadata for search, games must use in-app purchase to unlock features or functionality, etc.," the Apple developer page says.

Microsoft could publish its video game streaming service, Apple said, but the main app would have to link out to each game individually on the App Store.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is Microsoft's video game membership service that acts like a Netflix for gaming.

"Streaming game services may offer a catalog app on the App Store to help users sign up for the service and find the games on the App Store, provided that the app adheres to all guidelines, including offering users the option to pay for a subscription with in-app purchase and use Sign in with Apple. All the games included in the catalog app must link to an individual App Store product page," Apple's developer page says.

Microsoft responded to the changes in a statement on Friday afternoon.

"This remains a bad experience for customers," the statement said. "Gamers want to jump directly into a game from their curated catalog within one app just like they do with movies or songs, and not be forced to download over 100 apps to play individual games from the cloud." 

Company representatives had similarly strong words back in August. "Apple stands alone as the only general purpose platform to deny consumers from cloud gaming and game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass," Microsoft said in a statement sent to Business Insider in early August. "It consistently treats gaming apps differently, applying more lenient rules to non-gaming apps even when they include interactive content."

Given that Apple allows services like Netflix and Spotify without reviewing every piece of content, why not allow a similar service for gaming? The difference boils down to the medium, according to Apple: Games are interactive, unlike music and film, and there are consumer expectations baked into the App Store related to gaming.

No in-app payment through Apple's built-in services, for instance, and no App Store rating, among a variety of other things.

Microsoft's popular subscription service, Xbox Game Pass, started with the ability to download games from a large library directly to your console and PC.

On September 15, Microsoft is combining Xbox Game Pass with its "Project xCloud" streaming service — a combination years in the making. Instead of just being able to download games from the Game Pass library to your console and PC, they will also be streamable to smartphones and tablets.

With Xbox Game Pass "Ultimate," Microsoft says over 100 games can be streamed directly to your smartphone or tablet for $15 per month. You can then resume those games on an Xbox console right where you left off.

When it arrives next week, the service will be available through a variety of Android smartphones.

Got a tip? Contact Business Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (, or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Leesa's more affordable Studio mattress has surprisingly impressive motion isolation and pressure-relieving comfort for side sleepers like me

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 5:23pm  |  Clusterstock

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Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Over the years, we've tested and reviewed countless mattresses from dozens of brands, but Leesa has remained one of our favorites. We ranked its Hybrid mattress as the best mattress, the best hybrid mattress, and the best spring mattress for hot sleepers — it's just that versatile and comfortable. Here are reviews of everything we've tested — and there are a lot.

Earlier this spring, it launched a value-oriented mattress called Studio by Leesa, which starts at $599 for a Twin. I slept on Queen-sized Studio for 100 nights to see if it'd deliver on its promise of comfort at a low cost.


The Studio is Leesa's new budget-friendly option and a Queen mattress (which is the most popular size for adults) costs $799 — $200 less than a Queen Leesa Original, previously the brand's least expensive mattress, at $999.

The Studio is 10 inches thick and has three layers of foam — core support foam, pressure-relieving transitional foam, and a contouring memory foam top to specifically relieve stress on hips and shoulders. Missing from the Studio is the Original's top layer of cooling foam, though both models have identical core support and contouring foam foundations

Leesa says the Studio is a medium-firmness and describes it as ideal for back, side, and stomach sleepers. It's also aesthetically identical to Leesa's other models, featuring a quilted soft twill cover with a turquoise tag bearing the Leesa logo and model name.

Delivery, set-up, and first impressions

I returned from running errands one Saturday to find a tall, white box with Leesa's signature blue logo sitting on my doorstep. Even at just under four feet tall and weighing around 70 pounds, I needed help to bring it inside my house and into my bedroom for setup.

On the top flaps of the box are directions for the best way to set up your new mattress, which will look more like a giant log out of the box. This entails rolling the vacuum-sealed mattress onto your bed frame, then unrolling the deflated mass of rectangular foam to fit the base. Besides needing help to tug the mattress out of the box, I was able to unroll and set up everything myself, which took about 10 minutes.

After it was on the frame, I released the mattress from its plastic covering and watched it inflate almost instantaneously. 

As the mattress filled out and expanded, I found myself admiring the heathered gray-blue cover as many mattresses are white or cream. I was also pleasantly surprised at how sturdy and solid the foam construction seemed — especially for something that arrived in a compact cardboard box.

Leesa advises using a firm, flat, and sturdy surface like a solid platform, box spring, or slatted base for your bed. My Studio sat nicely on my bed frame with wooden slats, and I didn't need to make any adjustments throughout my testing period. While the initial new bed smell was definitely apparent, it dissipated within the first three or four days testing. 

Review of the Studio by Leesa mattress

Memory foam mattresses are often too hot for some people as air can't pass through the foam as easily as coils and mattresses, in general, are an expensive investment. The Studio tackles the "too expensive" complaint right off the bat with a twin-size mattress starting at $599 and regular sales to help you save even more. Leesa also has a generous 100-day trial to decide whether the bed is right for you, or you get your money back.  

In terms of the"too hot" concern, I felt that the mattress trapped more heat on a few hotter summer days but was overall extremely comfortable throughout the nights that reached moderate temperatures. If you're a hot sleeper, I wouldn't suggest this bed as it may be too warm.

In my experience, the Studio lived up to its "medium-firm" firmness and as a religious side-sleeper, I appreciated how the memory foam hugged and supported my body. Prior to testing the Studio, I slept on firm coil mattresses with a plush topper if needed because too-firm mattresses wreak havoc on my neck but at the same time, I'm not a fan of feeling like I've spent the night sleeping on a marshmallow.

The Studio reached a just-right equilibrium for me that was firm yet soft, making my sleep more enjoyable. As someone who's suffered chronic back and joint pain, I found the bed's contouring quality efficient in relieving pressure and I woke up with none of the discomfort I had experienced the night before. If you're in a similar situation, I'd suggest talking to your doctor first before considering a mattress switch.

The Studio also has excellent motion transfer, which I tested by placing a bottle of water in the middle of the mattress and bouncing a 50-pound weight along the sides. Even with shaking the weight on each corner as well as the four sides, the bottle remained upright and the water inside stayed perfectly level.

However, one area where the Studio doesn't excel is edge support. True to its all-foam composition, the mattress sagged significantly when I sat on the edge though I did feel secure when laying down and rolling around from side to side.

As a young professional, this bed is a good option for anyone new to the workforce and moving into their own space, or for anyone who needs a mattress for guests. Furnishing an apartment can get expensive and Leesa's quick delivery, easy setup, and competitive pricing make the Studio a contender for the best quality at the best value. That being said, one feature that would make the Studio even more appealing to renters is if it had side handles for easier transportation. 

Cons to consider

The edge support on the Studio isn't the best but I'd consider it good for an all-foam mattress. Though the bed sags when you sit on its edges, I was able to roll on the bed from side to side without falling off. Also missing from the Studio is the Original's added top layer of cooling foam, but unless you live in a hot climate or are a particularly hot sleeper, I don't think it's necessary and would happily pocket the extra $200. 


From a cost perspective, the Tuft & Needle Original costs $595 for a Queen. It's another foam mattress option that's reasonably-priced and features multi-layered construction. We tested the Casper Element, which is also another good value at $595 for a Queen. It's better for those who sleep cool or want a softer feel. Like the Studio, both mattresses feature 100-night sleep trials, free returns, and 10-year warranties.

The bottom line

With the Studio, Leesa delivers on a quality foam mattress at an accessible price. I enjoyed sleeping on the Studio and was impressed by how it supported my side-sleeping style. The bed's construction — firm but comfortable and soft — made me look forward to sleeping on the mattress instead of just sleeping in general.

If you're moving into your first apartment or simply on a budget, this mattress is a great value option. With fast delivery, quick and easy set up, plus top-notch construction, the Studio is worth taking a chance.

Pros: Accessible price, 10 inches thick with three pressure-relieving foam layers, great for side sleepers, easy set-up, 100-night trial, free returns, long warranty

Cons: Poor edge support, not the best for hot sleepers

Read the original article on Business Insider

Insider Retail: The rise and fall of McDonald's CEO, Peloton's pandemic sales skyrocket, and Whole Foods worker protest a new policy

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 5:15pm  |  Clusterstock

Happy Friday! 

It's been a busy week as always on the retail team. If this is your first time reading Insider Retail, welcome to Business Insider's weekly round-up of everything that's happening in restaurants and retail. If you haven't already subscribed, you can do so here to get this newsletter — from me, Kate Taylor, and my colleague, Shoshy Ciment — in your inbox every Friday. 

Now, if you will let me write a bit about a story that I have been obsessed with for the last month... 

The rise and fall of McDonald's ex-CEO

I spent the last few weeks digging into the rise and fall of former McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook, who is currently being sued by the company. What I found is essentially a fast-food soap opera, complete with sex scandals, cover-ups, and office politics that are comparable to "the court of Henry VIII," as one source put it. 

A few tidbits: 

  • McDonald's filed a lawsuit against Easterbrook in August, alleging he covered up sexual relationships with three employees when the company investigated his relationship with another McDonald's employee back in 2019. Some insiders wonder why the first investigation fell short. "The very lawsuit against Mr. Easterbrook places the integrity of that first investigation into some question," an attorney specializing in executive misconduct cases said.
  • Denise Paleothodoros, Easterbrook's ex-girlfriend, told me their relationship eroded as he began to socialize more frequently with a group of men within the McDonald's system after he became CEO. An ex-McDonald's employee told me Easterbrook and his crew were known for hanging out in the so-called Viagra Triangle, a neighborhood filled with bars where older wealthy men pick up younger women. 
  • McDonald's recently revealed its former head of HR was fired shortly after Easterbrook's termination for making women uncomfortable. "We just thought he was a sad man who drank too much and weirdly didn't have friends outside of people who worked for him," an employee on the global HR team told me.
  • McDonald's new CEO Chris Kempczinski is all about values. His reputation is so squeaky clean that a source told me that he was internally referred to by some as the human version of the McDonald's vanilla ice cream cone. But, some insiders still don't trust him. 

My coworkers have listened to me talk about this drama for weeks, but you can just read the full story here instead! 

Peloton thrives in the pandemic 

Peloton had a big week, and Bethany was all over the news.

On Tuesday, the company announced it was launching a cheaper version of its treadmill and a new premium stationary bike. The cost of the original Peloton is dropping to $1,895, down from $2,245. 

On Thursday, Peloton reported a whopping 172% year-over-year sales increase in the most recent quarter. But, massive demand has also fueled supply chain problems. CEO John Foley said the company plans to start selling used bikes and may offer rental options. 

"While we had expected demand to moderate, the unexpected resurgence of COVID-19 cases in many states has perpetuated the imbalance of supply and demand," Foley wrote in a letter to shareholders. 

Read the full story here.

A beer giant is betting on probiotic seltzer and barley milk

Catherine and Alex got the exclusive on Molson Coors Beverage Company announcing a new slate of four premium non-alcoholic products which they've developed in partnership with L.A. Libations. 

"Forty percent of the growth in the beverage industry is coming from brands in categories that didn't exist five years ago," Danny Stepper, CEO and co-founder of L.A. Libations said. "Consumers are definitely reaching for new things. They want to explore, they want to treasure hunt."

Get all the details here.

Whole Foods workers call a new policy a "slap in the face"  A Whole Foods Market worker moves grocery carts in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, April 15, 2020.

Hayley spoke with Whole Foods workers who are infuriated by a policy at the grocery chain that uses a point system to track attendance. While these points normally are supposed to expire, the company extended the expiration date for points that were earned before the pandemic, according to interviews with four Whole Foods employees and internal documents.

"It's a slap in the face to everyone who showed up during the height of the pandemic," said an employee of a Philadelphia Whole Foods store, who spoke to Business Insider on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. "To say those hours we came in didn't count — it's completely cruel."

Read the full story here. 

Everything else you need to know

Read the original article on Business Insider

SCOTT GALLOWAY: It's only a matter of time before colleges have to close again — and reopening in the first place was little more than a money grab

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 5:13pm  |  Clusterstock
Galloway believes schools that reopened are the new superspreaders.
  • Scott Galloway is a bestselling author and professor of marketing at NYU Stern.
  • The following is his recent blog post and video, republished with permission. It originally ran on his blog, "No Mercy / No Malice."
  • Galloway says that colleges reopening for in-person classes this fall will become the new superspreaders of the coronavirus.
  • Only weeks into the semester, he says it's not a matter of if these universities will have to close, but when.
  • He says some colleges' insistence on reopening, knowing that they'll have to shut down before long and send students back home all around the country, is little more than a money grab.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Spent much of the week thinking and writing about Palantir. But my thoughts kept turning to higher ed and teaching. Next Tuesday, 9/22, my brand strategy course at NYU Stern (280 students) kicks off. This Tuesday, 9/15, our Section4 Brand Sprint (500 participants) also begins. Both courses will be all remote. A cast of dozens — tech, course design, creative — are working not just to replace, but to best the traditional higher ed experience.

Scott Galloway.

I believe when we look back on this crisis, the decision to reopen campuses, instead of conducting all classes remotely, will reflect poorly on university leadership. Dr. Fauci said this week that superspreaders aren't individuals (singers), but environments (choir). I believe universities that reopened their campuses are the superspreaders of this phase of the pandemic. They need to close — it's not if but when.

I had difficulty capturing the right tone in writing — judgmental, profane (i.e., me), so I grabbed my iPhone.

READ MORE: Popular NYU professor Scott Galloway has a new course on business strategy anyone can sign up to take — I took away MBA-like insights for way less money than going to business school

Read the original article on Business Insider

HBO's new mystery series, 'The Third Day,' will feature a unique live episode — here's how to watch on HBO Max

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 5:12pm  |  Clusterstock

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

  • "The Third Day" will premiere on the HBO network and HBO Max streaming service on September 14 at 9 p.m. ET.
  • The six-episode miniseries is separated into two main parts, "Summer" and "Winter," with three episodes in each. 
  • A live "Fall" episode will be produced as an additional immersive theatre event in between the airings of "Summer" and "Winter."
  • An HBO Max subscription costs $14.99 a month, and new members can get a free one-week trial.

HBO's new limited series, "The Third Day," will debut on September 14. The drama features a unique structure, with two distinct parts consisting of three episodes each, and a special live episode that's set to air in between both parts. 

"The Third Day" focuses on a man, Sam (Jude Law), and a woman, Helen (Naomie Harris), who both travel to a mysterious British island at separate times. The locals on the island appear to be hiding a dark secret and wish to hold onto their traditions no matter the cost. The first part, starring Law, is titled "Summer," while the third part, starring Harris, is titled "Winter." 

Unlike parts one and three, the second part of the series won't consist of three episodes. Instead, the special "Fall" installment will actually take the form of an immersive theatre event set to be filmed and broadcast live from London in one continuous take with no cuts. 

"The Third Day" also stars Katherine Waterston, Emily Watson, and Paddy Considine. The show is created by Dennis Kelly and Felix Barrett. Kelly is best known as the creator of the conspiracy thriller "Utopia," while Barrett is the Artistic Director of the British theatre company Punchdrunk. 

Early reviews for "The Third Day" have been mostly positive. The show currently holds a "70% Fresh" rating on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes.

How to watch "The Third Day"

To watch "The Third Day" when it debuts on September 14, you'll need a subscription to the HBO cable channel or HBO Max streaming service. New episodes will debut every Monday night at 9 p.m ET through October 19. 

It's not yet clear when the live "Fall" episode will air, but HBO's press materials state that the production will be shown online. We'll update this article when a day and time are confirmed. 

The HBO network is available through numerous pay-TV cable and satellite packages. HBO Max is a standalone streaming service with all of HBO's movies and shows, plus a ton of extra WarnerMedia titles.

HBO Max costs $14.99 per month. You can sign up for the service through the HBO Max website. HBO Max is also offered as a paid add-on to other streaming platforms, including Hulu, Apple TV, and YouTube TV. No matter how you sign up, new HBO Max customers can receive a free one-week trial.

The HBO Max app is available on several connected devices, including Apple TV, Android, PlayStation, Xbox, Chromecast, and Samsung smart TVs. Unfortunately, Roku and Fire TV products do not currently include access to the HBO Max app. 

Outside of the US, "The Third Day" will be broadcast on Sky Atlantic in the UK. 

What other shows and movies are on HBO Max?

In addition to "The Third Day," HBO Max offers a large library of films and series, including HBO's entire catalog of movies and original shows. 

HBO Max also features new exclusive titles, like the sci-fi show "Raised by Wolves," the Anna Kendrick-led anthology series "Love Life," and the Seth Rogen comedy "An American Pickle." 

Subscribers to HBO Max can also watch a growing selection of additional WarnerMedia shows and movies not found on the regular HBO channel, including content from DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Cartoon Network, Criterion Collection, Studio Ghibli, Adult Swim, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes, and Warner Bros.

For more detailed thoughts on HBO Max, be sure to read our full review of the service here.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to limit replies to your Twitter posts, so that no account or only certain accounts can reply

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 5:10pm  |  Clusterstock
On Twitter, you can now limit who can reply to your tweets.
  • You can limit replies to your tweets on Twitter so that only those you follow, or only those you mention in the tweet, can respond.
  • Before this new feature, users could only limit who could reply to their tweets by putting privacy settings on their entire account.
  • Visit Business Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

Twitter has added a new feature that allows you to limit replies to only those you follow, or only people you mention in the tweet — for each individual tweet.

This feature is useful if you want to limit your notifications, or if you just don't want a flood of arguments or advice that you know a certain tweet will bring. Now you can have more control over how you interact with online communities. 

How to limit replies to your tweets on Twitter

The process to limit your tweet replies is the same on both the mobile app and the Twitter desktop website.

1. Type your tweet. Underneath your text, you'll see a globe icon next to the words "Everyone can reply." Tap that icon, or the text, to open the limit options.

Tap the globe icon or the words "Everyone can reply."

2. A list labeled "Who can reply?" will pop up. Select the option that sounds best to you from the list ("Everyone," "People you follow," or "Only people you mention").

Select the option you prefer from the list, then send your tweet.

3. Then, click the blue "Tweet" button to finish your post.

Related coverage from Tech Reference:Read the original article on Business Insider

Amazon is producing a TV series based on the star of Netflix's 'Tiger King' with Nicolas Cage as Joe Exotic

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 5:01pm  |  Clusterstock
Nicolas Cage.
  • Amazon Studios has picked up a scripted TV drama series based on the story of convicted felon and zoo operator Joe Exotic, with Nicolas Cage starring as the infamous big cat breeder.
  • The story of Joe Exotic caught traction with millions when Netflix's "Tiger King" was released in March.
  • A release date for the Amazon series is unclear.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Amazon Studios confirmed on Thursday that it is picking up an eight-episode drama series featuring the real-life story behind Netflix's uber-popular "Tiger King" show, per a CNET report.

The new scripted show will star Nicolas Cage in the role of Joe Exotic, a move that was previously announced back in May. Amazon did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

Netflix's "Tiger King" captured the hearts of viewers everywhere when it launched on the streaming service back in March as the COVID-19 pandemic began to take hold of the world. It tells the real-life story of zoo operator Joseph Maldonado-Passage, otherwise known as Joe Exotic, who is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence for his involvement in a murder-for-hire plot to take down his rival, as well as for the killing of tigers.

It has inspired multiple productions, including an NBC project starring Saturday Night Live member Kate McKinnon as Joe Exotic's rival, Carole Baskin, who also happens to be a star in the upcoming season of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars." Amazon's TV series will be based on a Texas Monthly article featuring Maldonado-Passage's story that was published in June 2019.

Cage has made a name for himself in films including "National Treasure," "Moonstruck," "Leaving Las Vegas," and "Ghost Rider." This will be Cage's first foray into television, according to CNET.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Peloton's surge in popularity tripled its founder's wealth, making him the latest billionaire minted amid the pandemic

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 4:55pm  |  Clusterstock
Peloton CEO John Foley
  • Peloton's founder and CEO is now worth $1.3 billion as the company's stock continues to surge.
  • Demand for the luxury bikes and online workout classes has spiked amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Other "work from home" stocks, like Zoom, have seen similar gains in their share price and founders' wealth in recent months.  
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


The pandemic has been good for sales of Peloton's luxury bikes.

That success, as people around the world were forced to search for ways to exercise without a gym or spin classes, has also been good news for company founder John Foley's wallet.

The former Barnes & Noble executive has seen his wealth rise in-step with Peloton's stock price in recent months as the company continues to report massive sales growth. And on Thursday, it reported its first-ever profit thanks to a 172% surge in new memberships to its monthly subscription workout class program that accompanies its bikes. 

Investors have piled into the stock, sending it to an all-time high of $98.61 this week, up 183% for the year. With a 3% stake and another 5% tied to options, that's propelled Foley's wealth to $1.3 billion, according to Bloomberg calculations.

He's the latest billionaire to be newly minted as the stock market remains largely un-reflective of severe economic pain that's swept across wide swaths of the United States and its 13.6 million unemployed workers.

Zoom, another so-called "stay at home" stock, has also seen gains that outpace broader markets, helping its founder's wealth eclipse the $12 billion mark in recent weeks. Across the board, most US stock gains this year have been in large-cap tech companies, where executives are notorious for large ownership stakes.

As far as Peloton is concerned, the demand appears to be sticking around for a while.

"Given where we are in the quarter plus our significant backlog of bike delivery, we have a solid view into our first quarter results," CFO Jill Woodworth told investors this week.

The company's also begun to lower the entry price for many products, including its flagship bike. That original model now starts at $1,895, down from $2,245, while a new, smaller treadmill now costs $2,495, down from the previous model's $4,295.

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The best treadmills for your home gym

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 4:49pm  |  Clusterstock
  • A quality treadmill allows you to get some cardio exercise from the comfort of your home and is a great addition to any at-home gym setup. 
  • Though a treadmill's features vary depending on specific makes and models, the most important qualities are power, reliability, and comfort.
  • Our top pick, the ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill, is great for racers and casual runners alike, offering interactive workouts from iFit that stream to its 7-inch onboard monitor, a specially-cushioned tread to reduce impact, and an easy fold-up design. 

Editor's note: Due to high demand, some of the selections are either limited in stock or back-ordered. We will update this piece with new picks or purchase options as best we can. 

When building a home gym, you'll find plenty of strange equipment on the market. There are at-home personal trainers masquerading as mirrors and interactive punching bags that turn your living room into a boxing gym. Some even replicate the physical gym experience in your living room. 

But few options have endured the changing landscape of at-home fitness quite like the treadmill. It's easy to see why, too. They're great for maintaining cardio fitness, preparing for road races like 2-milers or 5Ks, or serving as a complement to your weekly workout routine — especially for anyone who doesn't have time to always run outside. 

Compared to other types of machines, treadmills are also incredibly simple to use. You just run or walk on the belt, and a motor moves it under your feet at whatever speed you select. But treadmills offer a whole host of different features that'll help you gain exactly the kinds of training and health benefits you need. Some treadmills are advanced, offering high-tech features like touchscreen displays and live-streamed classes, while others are more basic.

We've included a variety of treadmill types at a number of price points to help you find the best option for your needs. Be aware, though, treadmills are expensive and cheaper models don't always last as long or work as well in the long run.

Here are the best treadmills: 

Updated on 9/11/2020 by Rick Stella: Added the Cubii Pro as the best under desk treadmill, updated the section on how to shop for a treadmill, checked the availability of each recommended treadmill, changed the copy to reflect Peloton's new product name of the Tread+, and updated the prices and links where necessary. 

How to shop for a treadmill Types of treadmills

According to Consumer Reports, treadmills fit into three basic categories based on the type of workouts they handle.

  • Basic: The most basic type of treadmill only works for walkers. They will have simple tracking features, such as speed, distance, and time. Most basic units will have a short bed that works better for a walker's stride than for running. And you'll find limited shock absorption features here, which isn't great for runners. Such treadmills will fold up for easy storage (although some more expensive treadmills also can fold up for storage).
  • Mid-range: These treadmills will work for walkers or runners. For walkers, a mid-range treadmill should have longer support arms, allowing you to balance yourself easier. The belt bed will be a bit longer than the basic treadmill, but those with long running strides may still struggle. You'll see better tech features in this price range, including a heart rate monitor worn on the chest or pre-set training programs.
  • Top-end: The highest quality of treadmills will contain long belt beds with good shock absorption, making them perfect for runners. To gain these features, such treadmills rarely will fold up for storage, meaning they require a lot of free space. They will deliver greater maximum speed levels and greater levels of incline, too. These treadmills will consist of the highest-quality materials. You'll receive Wi-Fi connectivity and extensive pre-set exercise programs with these models.
Key features of treadmills

As treadmills evolved, companies began adding a suite of high-tech features. However, don't focus entirely on the bells and whistles of expensive treadmills. Pay attention to its physical parts, too, to find the best possible unit for your needs.

  • Exercise programs: Treadmills may have pre-programmed workouts that can help you with weight loss, cardiovascular performance, speed workouts, or hills training. These programs will allow you to set the length of exercise time, but they will automatically change the speed of the treadmill and the incline to match the parameters of the pre-programmed workout.
  • Horsepower: Any treadmill motor with a continuous duty measurement of at least 2.0 should be sufficient for most people, says Precor. Smaller motors will work better for walkers and larger motors work better for runners.
  • Incline and decline: To help with training for running on hills or for additional calorie burn, the treadmill needs to offer an incline. Most treadmills can reach at least a 12% incline grade. Some treadmills even give you a simulation of running downhill with a decline grade of around 3%.
  • Length: Runners need a treadmill belt bed of roughly 55-60 inches long, while walkers can use one closer to 45-50 inches long. Taller people will need an even longer belt bed. Remember that the length of the treadmill isn't the same as the length of the bed. The treadmill length (and width, for that matter) must accommodate the base portion of the unit that doesn't move, as well as the bed's motor housing at the front of the unit.
  • Safety line: Treadmills will contain a safety line that hooks into the unit. You'll clip the safety line to your shirt. Should you stumble, the safety line will disconnect from the treadmill, causing it to shut down immediately. This is a nice safety feature, and it prevents those common TV and movie gags where the person using the treadmill falls and gets launched into a wall. Trust us, this gag looks funny, but it also really, really hurts, so the safety line will save you some pain.
  • Speed: The speed with which the bed rotates on the treadmill is measured in miles per hour. Most people don't need anything over 10 mph, but those seeking heavy-duty interval workouts can find speeds up to 15 mph in a top-end treadmill.
  • Support rails: A treadmill made for walkers, especially elderly walkers, should have long support rails on the sides that you can grip while using the treadmill to steady yourself.
  • Touch screen controls: You should be able to adjust the incline, speed, and program in use through the touchscreen monitor. The screen also gives you information on the time elapsed, calories burned, distanced traveled, your heart rate, and more. 
  • Weight limit: Based on the size of the motor and on the shock absorption capabilities, a treadmill may give you a maximum user weight recommendation. 
  • Wi-Fi connection: Through a Wi-Fi connection, you can gain access to simulated video workouts. Or you can play streaming movies on the display screen, giving you some entertainment as you're workout out on the treadmill.
  • Width: A treadmill belt bed should be at least 22 inches wide for runners which provides plenty of space in case you have a misstep. Walkers can successfully use a narrower bed than runners, such as 18 or 20 inches.
The best treadmill overall The ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill is a race-trainers dream that's versatile enough for the casual runner, too. 

Runners looking for a treadmill with good all-around training capabilities and host of useful features will like the reasonably-priced ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill

It has a 3.5-horsepower motor, which allows it to stand up to daily use, and it boasts a belt deck that measures 22 by 60 inches, which is perfect for most runners. When you're training for races with hills, you'll appreciate this treadmill's ability to reach a 15% incline and a 3% decline, which better simulates hills than most other treadmills. 

The ProForm treadmill also has a number of techy features, including a 7-inch screen that's compatible with iFit workouts, a music port for iPods, and many workout apps. It also has ProShox Cushioning to lessen the impact for runners. 

Pros: Good motor, large running belt of 22 by 60 inches, includes both an incline and a decline setting, offers good interval training features

Cons: Customer service may be disappointing if you have problems, very heavy treadmill

The best treadmill for quiet workouts The 3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill delivers excellent performance and runs quieter than most treadmills.

Few treadmills made for use at home will deliver the kind of quiet performance that the 3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill delivers. It's made for tall or heavy runners looking a tough workout, but you'll pay more than $3,000 for the kind of quality that this 3G Cardio unit delivers.

It has an Ortho Flex Shock suspension system to minimize the stress of impact for runners, and the 22 by 62-inch platform is perfect for running.

The 3G Cardio comes with many pre-programmed workouts and a fitness level test. You have access to speed and elevation settings, heart rate control, and workout customization.  This treadmill also has a 4.0 horsepower motor and 3-inch rollers for great performance.

As you would expect with a treadmill with such a high price point, the 3G Cardio Elite consists of thick steel tubing in the frame. It's also rather expensive, so this is really only for serious runners who want a treadmill that will last a lifetime.

Pros: Strong steel frame that will support a lot of weight, unit runs quieter than most treadmills, large treadmill belt area for tall runners, includes a large motor to compare favorably to gym treadmills

Cons: Extremely high price point, very heavy equipment that is difficult to move around

The best high-end treadmill The Peloton Tread+ has a steep price tag but offers the same high-quality daily workout classes and a deep well of content fans of its popular stationary bike have come to expect.

Peloton's made its name by peddling (and quite literally pedaling) its popular stationary bike and companion workout classes for the last several years. With the Tread+, the company used that same tried-and-true formula to deliver a high-quality treadmill experience. 

Where the Tread+ differs from traditional treadmills is both with its intuitive design and built-in display. On either arm of the unit are two dials, one to increase or decrease speed and another to increase or decrease the incline angle. Each dial turns smoothly enough that you're able to easily adjust either metric with the speed or incline quickly following suit. 

Peloton's thoughtful design also extends to its low-impact slat belt that works well to absorb shock while also not being terribly loud as you run. This also means that it allows for a much smoother and comfortable run experience.

A Peloton workout unit wouldn't be complete without a massive display sitting front and center, and the Tread+ is no different, sporting a gorgeous 32-inch touchscreen monitor. The display is where the Peloton magic happens, as it's able to stream the live and pre-recorded classes, shows your in-class stats such as time and distance ran, and is your navigation tool for Peloton's content library. There's even a 20-watt built-in soundbar that flanks the bottom of the screen capable of pumping out impressive quality sound. 

Then there's the price. Starting at $4,295 for the basic package, the Tread+ is no drop in the bucket. Factor in the recurring $39 subscription package for access to Peloton's content and you end up with quite the investment. Still, if you're able to afford it, the quality of the Tread, as well as the benefit of its workout and wide range of content, make it one of our favorite treadmills on the market. 

Pros: Intuitive design, easy-to-use speed and incline dials, beautiful 32-inch touchscreen display with built-in soundbar, and access to Peloton's deep library of workout content

Cons: Expensive initial investment and recurring subscription fee

The best budget treadmill Compared to other budget fold-up treadmills, the Horizon Fitness T101-04 Treadmill has nice features and good performance.

Saving space with a fold-up treadmill is a great idea for a lot of people. However, most fold-up treadmills don't offer a lot of power.

So understanding some of the natural limitations of fold-up treadmills, you'll like the Horizon Fitness T101-04 Treadmill, which works well for walkers and people on a budget. However, this model really isn't made for runners looking for high-end workouts.

It has a 55-inch belt length, a maximum 10 mph speed, and a 2.25-horsepower motor, which is good for walkers. The T101-04 treadmill is easy to fold up for storage and is a great value for those who need basic features for walking or light running.

Pros: Very good price point for an entry-level treadmill, will save space with a fold-up design, runs quieter than most budget-priced treadmills, works better for walkers and light runners

Cons: Only a 55-inch belt length, not really made for high-end running workouts, longevity is questionable

The best shock-absorbing treadmill The LifeSpan TR3000i uses an extensive shock absorption system to take some pressure off your joints while running.

Some people dislike working out on a treadmill because of the pressure it places on their joints. The LifeSpan TR3000i attempts to alleviate some of this pressure by using a shock absorption system in the treadmill's deck.

It has a 20 x 56-inch running surface, 15 incline levels, and a 6-inch LCD screen that shows your time, calories, distance, steps, heart rate, speed, and incline. The eight shock absorber elements in the deck ensure that it's very stable and comfortable to run on. 

Beyond its shock-absorbing capabilities, the TR3000i has a number of fun features to give you variety in your workouts, including a tablet holder, a USB charging port, and compatibility with iPods.

Pros: Good price for a mid-range treadmill, unit folds up to save storage space, extensive shock absorption system, good feature set versus other models in this price range

Cons: Not really designed for high-end workouts, build quality of treadmill is questionable

The best under desk treadmill The Cubii Pro is an easy-to-use, under desk exercise machine that's more of an elliptical than a treadmill but still allows you to log some quality cardio no matter if you're sitting down for lunch or powering through a backlog of emails. 

Though the Cubii Pro isn't exactly a treadmill in the traditional sense (and is more of an elliptical style machine than anything else), it's unobtrusive nature makes it a convenient addition to anyone's home gym. The machine simply sits on the floor, be it under a desk, next to a coffee table, or literally anywhere around the house, and lets you pedal away for as long as you like. 

The machine delivers low impact cardio that may benefit those unable to run on a treadmill due to sore joints, and it's quiet operation even allows it to be used while watching TV, talking on the phone, or listening to music. With eight different levels of resistance, it affords as easy or as difficult a workout as you like, too. 

A companion smartphone application lets you keep track of all your logged workouts and lets you set weekly and monthly goals or share your progress with friends. The app is also compatible with services like Fitbit or Apple HealthKit, so if you prefer the interface of those, all workout data can easily sync to them.

At $349, it's certainly not a drop in the bucket but it is far cheaper than even the budget model on this list. For convenient, low impact cardio exercise, the Cubii Pro is as versatile and easy-to-use as it gets. 

Pros: Small, easy-to-use machine that delivers an effective cardio workout, has up to eight different resistance settings, offers companion app support

Cons: Not strictly a treadmill, might not be as intense for hardcore fitness buffs


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The best meal kit delivery services

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 4:48pm  |  Clusterstock
  • Why spend yet another dinner eating the same takeout when you can impress yourself with your culinary abilities?
  • We tested a variety of meal kits and found Blue Apron to be the overall winner because of its creative, healthy, generously-portioned, and well-seasoned meals — not to mention its optional companion wine subscription service. 
  • That being said, if you tend to prioritize all-organic ingredients, a plant-based lifestyle, or fast prep time, you may prefer another meal kit service that caters to those specific preferences. 
  • If you want to save yourself even more time and effort while still eating right, check out our guide to the best pre-made meal delivery services.

Note: As of 3/17/20, the FDA announced there is no evidence that food produced in the US and imported foods can transmit COVID-19. There is also no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19.

We've included updates, where available, from meal kit delivery services that have confirmed shipping delays or increased production plans as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Maybe it's not the cooking you're unwilling to do. It's the recipe planning, the ingredient sourcing, and the shopping for difficult-to-find spices and cuts of meat that's keeping you from your kitchen. But with the right meal kit, you'll be able to (re)discover your inner chef and save yourself from ordering the same takeout meal for the fifth night in a row.

While the meal kit space seems more crowded than ever these days, there are certainly a few standouts. Of course, there are various factors that you should keep in mind before deciding which service is best for you, including dietary preferences and restrictions, eco-friendliness, and portion size. 

Here are the best meal kits we've tried:

Prices and links are accurate as of 9/11/2020. We've updated information related to delivery, stock, and donation options for all the companies in light of the novel coronavirus. 

The best meal kit overall If you're looking for creative recipes, thoughtful kit design, and the inspiration necessary to start cooking more for yourself, Blue Apron is the way to go. 

Note: As of 9/11/20, Blue Apron is not experiencing any delivery delays, but in an earlier statement, it said it may discontinue some recipes in order to maintain quality and order fulfillment. You may also experience longer than usual response times from its Customer Experience team. In addition to donating food through existing food bank partners like City Harvest, Blue Apron is accepting donations for Feeding America. 

One of my primary complaints about many meal kits is that they often seem to be about two-thirds of a full meal. But with Blue Apron, this isn't the case. For folks looking for a well-composed, classic, yet creative take on dinner, there are few meal kits that fit the bill better than this popular (and heavily advertised) option.

Blue Apron is probably one of the most recognizable names in the meal kit world, and for good reason. The ingredients that I received were neatly packaged and high quality and the recipes were easy to follow. They also included clever little boxes for you to check off things that you had done, though this probably isn't quite so necessary for the more advanced chef.

Perhaps one of my favorite things about Blue Apron's recipe cards, however, has nothing to do with the instructions or the ingredients — rather, it's the wine pairings. Blue Apron has a companion wine subscription service, which we've previously reviewed, and the meal kits are paired directly with a Blue Apron wine.

As far as the meals themselves, I found Blue Apron to be simple yet creative. Za'atar chicken was precisely what you might expect from a chicken dish, with a well-cooked protein, roasted vegetables, and a fluffy couscous base. But what saved it from boredom was the truly delightful Za'atar spice. I often complain about foods being under-spiced, this certainly wasn't the case.

Blue Apron is also customizable, as it provides options for both two-person and four-person meals. Although some delivery services seem to provide rather small portions, with Blue Apron, I always felt as though there was sufficient food for two full-grown adults with hearty appetites, and didn't feel like I was missing out on my vegetables or skimping on my protein — everything felt well-balanced and thoughtfully put together.

In the spirit of actually making people better chefs, which is what meal kits ought to be about, Blue Apron is actually teaching us to fish, metaphorically speaking. Blue Apron has its own online cookbook, which features detailed recipes of their dishes, organized by date and season.

So if you want to buy the ingredients needed for Crispy Catfish with Coconut-Lime Curry & Kale, you can easily recreate a Blue Apron meal without ever getting anything shipped to your front door. The digital recipe cards also feature the estimated preparation time, nutrition facts, and suggested wine pairings. 

Some meals seemed more expensive through Blue Apron than if I'd just bought the ingredients at the grocery store. This complaint can be justified by the overall convenience of the service and the ease of making the meals, but it's something to note if budget is on your mind. —Lulu Chang 

Pros: Familiar recipes with a twist, wine pairing suggestions, easy-to-follow directions, options for both two and four-person families

Cons: Some recipes may not justify the price point, given that ingredients are quite straightforward and easy to find in your local supermarket

Read our full review of Blue Apron's Mediterranean diet recipes  The best organic meal kit Sun Basket impresses from start to finish, from its sourcing of organic produce to its attention to detail when it comes to oft-neglected meal components like flavorful sauces. 

Note: As of 9/11/20, Sun Basket is not experiencing any delivery issues. 

One of Sun Basket's primary talking points is its use of organic produce and clean ingredients.

Over 99% of its produce from the USDA-certified organic company is organic, and it takes seasonality seriously when developing its recipes. In addition, it provides responsibly raised meats and poultry, focusing on antibiotic- and hormone-free meats, pasture-raised or grass-fed animals, and wild-caught seafood. Sun Basket will impress anyone who takes sourcing seriously and wants to eat more responsibly and sustainably. 

The environmentally-conscious ethos also translates into the packaging. Almost all the company's packaging materials are recyclable, and even the ice pack can be composted and recycled. You can reuse things like the sauce jars for your own meal prep.

Speaking of sauce, Insider Reviews contributor Lulu Chang calls Sun Basket's mastery of sauces a major highlight. She says, "The California-based company has long hung its hat on its health-conscious recipes that can accommodate just about any diet, but really, all they need to do is have you taste their romesco or have a spoonful of their pesto. The availability of the sauces also makes Sun Basket meals very straightforward when it comes to preparation. After all, much of the flavor of your meal comes in a little jar, which you can simply spoon on at the end (or throughout the recipe)." 

Sun Basket is much more than an organic meal kit-only service. It provides add-on options like egg bites, yogurt drinks, and granola from vetted brands that tend to be paleo, gluten-free, vegan, and/or Non-GMO Project Certified. Right now, it's also a great place to stock up on protein that may difficult to find in stores: steaks, chicken breast, salmon, and more. 

When it comes to the actual cooking process, Sun Basket looks to make things as easy as possible and takes care of some of the more tedious components for you. For example, butternut squash will come to you pre-cut, and cauliflower rice comes pre-ground so you don't have to pull out your food processor. Some recipes are designated 20-minute meals, and Sun Basket lives up to this promise. —Connie Chen

Pros: Organic ingredients and responsible sourcing, health-conscious recipes that take many dietary restrictions into account, tasty sauces 

Cons: Slightly pricier than competitors due to ingredient sourcing 

Read our full review of Sun Basket The best meal kit for variety Home Chef makes dinner more interesting without the complication. Its weekly rotating menu has more than a dozen recipes, which include customization options, easy-prep meals, and protein packs. 

Note: As of 9/11/20, Home Chef customers may experience delivery delays or cancellations as the coronavirus situation evolves, and will receive notifications from the customer support team. Home Chef has created a COVID-19 Response Fund in partnership with Feeding America to donate meals to those in need.

Omnivores who love eating anything and everything can appreciate Home Chef's large and diverse menus. It's almost difficult choosing just a few dishes each week because of the range in cuisine and ingredients.

I know I had trouble, but it's not like I suffered — every recipe I tried turned out to be fresh, delicious, and easy to make. There are indulgent options, like Cajun Chicken Thigh Cornbread Pie, as well as lighter meals like Cashew Tofu.

Although there are ways to make the recipes vegetarian, Home Chef isn't the best for people with certain dietary restrictions, but it does work well with everyone from couples to large families (you can order up to eight servings) who enjoy exploring all types of food. 

The online experience feels streamlined and intuitive, so even newcomers to the meal kit world will feel immediately at ease. You can skip meals and add or substitute protein options without any trouble, plus filter recipes of cook time and meal type. 

In addition to the online directory of recipes, you'll get a binder to store all your physical recipe cards so you can easily refer to them later. On the recipe cards, Home Chef offers many customization options such as protein substitutions. 

All in all, Home Chef is simply a consistent and enjoyable meal kit experience. It doesn't have extra frills like snacks, breakfast, or wine, but you never feel like you're sold short in terms of recipe variety. 

Home Chef also offers a 10% discount to first responders, doctors, nurses, hospital employees, teachers, and military personnel. You can verify your status on the website to receive the discount. —Connie Chen

Pros: Well-designed recipes and website, customization opportunities, large menu, large serving size option

Cons: Not ideal for those with dietary restrictions, lacks extras like snacks or wine

Read our full review of Home Chef The best meal kit for quick dishes If you're looking for a no-fuss dinner that is quick and easy to prepare, HelloFresh's meals come together in 20 to 30 minutes. 

Note: As of 9/11/20, HelloFresh says there are no major disruptions to its service and any unscheduled changes to your delivery will be communicated. You'll receive a full refund if it's unable to deliver your box. HelloFresh has donated $180,000 worth of meals to City Harvest to feed New Yorkers in need. 

The whole point of meal kits is to make cooking at home easier, and no one does this better than HelloFresh. If you're looking for a way to make your own dinner without breaking a sweat, breaking the bank, or standing over a hot stove for more than 30 minutes, then say hello to HelloFresh.

Of the many meal kits I tested, few were as true to the estimated preparation time as HelloFresh. This is likely because there are fewer ingredients associated with these meal kits — there's little pretension and little complexity involved. But that's not a bad thing, and it doesn't mean that its meals are any less tasty.

In fact, for folks who are looking for something just a little more high brow, HelloFresh does have a few new premium options available every week in their recipe selection. I opted for the Pan-Seared Duck Breast, a well-composed meal that also featured duck fat fried potatoes, sauteed asparagus, and grape tomatoes.

Whenever duck is on the menu, I temporarily forego my pescatarian tendencies, and I was certainly glad to have done so. While duck may seem like a rather unapproachable ingredient, HelloFresh's straightforward recipe made the protein easy to work with and decidedly delicious.

This seems to be the mentality behind most of HelloFresh's recipes: prove that even without bells and whistles, food can be delicious. For example, the Tuscan Shrimp and Orzo was easy to prepare, requiring nothing but shrimp, orzo pasta, and roasted tomatoes, but was still a flavorful meal that took about half an hour to prepare (the duck, by the way, was similarly speedy).

Like Blue Apron, HelloFresh also offers a companion wine subscription service, and while Blue Apron offers smaller 500 mL bottles, you can get full-sized bottles from HelloFresh to go along with your meal.

HelloFresh similarly boasts a recipe archive where you can get the instructions for all your favorite meals (not just the ones that are on the docket this week). And if you have dietary restrictions, HelloFresh lets you select a veggie-friendly menu right from the get-go, helping to avoid sifting through recipes that you won't be able to eat. —Lulu Chang

Pros: Simple, straightforward recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, all while being quite tasty

Cons: While the premium meals are an exception, most of HelloFresh's meals might otherwise seem too simple for folks looking to go on a culinary adventure

The best meal kit for simple dishes Dinnerly may just be the best meal kit on the market for fans of simplicity and classic comfort food.

Note: As of 9/11/20, Dinnerly is not experiencing any delivery issues.

At less than $5 per serving, it's hard to beat Dinnerly when it comes to price, and that's even the case if you think about doing your own shopping at a grocery market. The meal kit is part of the Marley Spoon universe, also known as Martha Stewart's meal kit service. But instead of charging you an extra premium for having someone so well-versed in recipe creation on your side, Dinnerly makes it easy to cook homemade, tasty food.

While some meal kits want to turn you into a gourmand, Dinnerly is perhaps more approachable for folks just starting out in the kitchen. There will be no fancy techniques and no difficult-to-source ingredients. Just straightforward recipes that could quickly become staples.

Generally speaking, the meals that you'll be making with Dinnerly consist of five ingredients. They're neither intimidating nor confusing, and meal prep is the easiest I've ever experienced with a meal kit.

But this isn't to say that I'm conflating lack of complexity with lack of enjoyability. Rather, I've found that Dinnerly consistently provides comforting, approachable food that you'll want to make, eat, and serve.

With Dinnerly, I've made meals like their one pan potato, kale, egg, and cheddar cheese hash — the perfect fall dinner. Preparing the whole thing took effectively no time. I needed only to cut up the potatoes and kale, season them with the included paprika and add some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then throw everything in the oven. And since making it with Dinnerly for the first time, I've often returned to the same recipe, adding some variations of my own to keep things interesting.

There was also delicious pizza, which was made even better by Dinnerly's inclusion of a still-rising crust — seriously, when a company sends you fresh pizza dough, take it as a gift. And why order out when you can just make one at home, and add all the toppings you want and none of the ones you don't?

I'll also commend Dinnerly on being more eco-friendly than most meal kits. The boxes are smaller, there's less packaging, and rather than sending you recipe cards, you'll receive a PDF of all the meals you're slated to enjoy so that you can save some trees. —Lulu Chang

Pros: Few ingredients, approachable food, eco-friendly, extremely affordable

Cons: if you're a more advanced chef, Dinnerly's options may be a bit too basic for your tastes

The best vegan meal kit As plant-based diets become more popular, Purple Carrot steps in with delicious and hearty meals that never compromise nutrition, taste, and creativity. 

Note: As of 9/11/20, due to increased demand, Purple Carrot says to expect changes like ingredient substitutions and shifts in delivery days. It's donating a percentage of sales from all boxes to Feeding America. 

It's easy to join the plant-based lifestyle, thanks to all the new brands cropping up and services like Purple Carrot that cater to these specific needs. Plant-based diets are healthy and better for the planet because it requires less water and produces fewer carbon emissions to grow ingredients than to raise cows. 

Purple Carrot is especially great for people who are transitioning to a more plant-based diet or aren't sure how to cook meat or dairy. It shows you how there are always creative workarounds and flavor combinations with all the plants on this planet, resulting in filling, delicious recipes like Warm Japanese Yam & Shiitake Salad and Parmesan Gnocchi with Melted Summer Squash & Basil.

Plus, most of its non-produce items are organic, though all other ingredients can vary on organic or non-GMO status. 

Changing your eating habits is never easy, but Purple Carrot makes the shift just a little more manageable. I'm not strictly plant-based, but I am trying to eat less meat, and Purple Carrot gave me nice inspiration for how I could continue eating this type of diet, even if I don't personally continue the subscription. 

Compared to other meal kits I've tested, I noticed Purple Carrot does use blenders and food processors often to make its sauces, so make sure you have these appliances on hand and are prepared for a little extra cleanup afterward. 

If you so choose, it also has breakfasts, lunches, and snacks covered with healthy options. 

Pros: Delicious and filling recipes for people who are on plant-based diets or who are interested in starting one 

Cons: Slightly pricier than competitors due to ingredient sourcing, requires more kitchen tools 

What else we considered

Gobble: Gobble says its meals can be made in 15 minutes or less, though in my testing, it took more like 25 — which is still quite quick. There was a good variety of dishes but not a way to filter them much by dietary restrictions. You can add on extra protein, snacks, and sides, which was a great perk and helped dishes feel less like they came from a meal kit and more like homecooked dishes. Read our full reviews here and here.


Read the original article on Business Insider

The top 9 movies on Netflix this week, from 'The Social Dilemma' to 'Due Date'

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 4:43pm  |  Clusterstock
"Due Date"
  • "Due Date" and "Love, Guaranteed" were some of Netflix's most popular movies this week. 
  • Netflix introduced daily top lists of the most popular titles on the streaming service in February.
  • Streaming search engine Reelgood keeps track of the lists and provides Business Insider with a rundown of the week's most popular movies on Netflix every Friday.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

"Due Date," the 2010 comedy from "The Hangover" and "Joker" director Todd Phillips, climbed up Netflix's popularity rankings this week. 

But the list also includes a large amount of new Netflix originals, from the critically acclaimed documentary "Social Dilemma" to the horror movie "#Alive."

Netflix introduced daily top 10 lists of its most viewed movies and TV shows in February (it counts a view if an account watches at least two minutes of a title).

Every week, the streaming search engine Reelgood compiles for Business Insider a list of which movies have been most prominent on Netflix's daily lists that week. On Reelgood, users can browse Netflix's entire movie library and sort by IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes ratings.

Below are Netflix's 9 most popular movies of the week in the US:

9. "The Social Dilemma" (2020, Netflix original)

Description: "This documentary-drama hybrid explores the dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 92%

What critics said: "What the film tells us doesn't constitute breaking news, but its value lies in pulling together some alarming if abstract concepts into a genuinely scary whole." — Wall Street Journal


8. "Freaks — You're One of Us" (2020, Netflix original)

Description: "Tipped by a mysterious tramp, a meek fry cook discovers she has superpowers — and kindred spirits — and uncovers an unsavory, widespread conspiracy."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: N/A

What critics said: "Wants to be a scrappy underdog of the superhero genre, but it lacks the imagination to pull it off." — Decider

7. "Boss Baby: Get That Baby!" (2020, Netflix original)

Description: "Think you've got what it takes to be the boss? This interactive special puts your skills to the test and matches you up with one of 16 jobs at Baby Corp."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: N/A

What critics said: N/A

6. "Anaconda" (1997)

Description: "A documentary film crew on a boat in the Amazon picks up a mysterious stranger who dupes them into pursuing a monstrous and deadly 40-foot-long snake."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 38%

What critics said: "Anaconda, directed by Luis Llosa with all of the subtlety of a snake-oil salesman, is in the great tradition of cinematic cheese, as processed as Kraft Singles slices." — Entertainment Weekly

5. "#Alive" (2020, Netflix original)

Description: "As a grisly virus rampages a city, a lone man stays locked inside his apartment, digitally cut off from seeking help and desperate to find a way out."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 89%

What critics said: "'#Alive' is a nifty little thriller that proves that you can always find signs of life in the most undead of genres." — New York Times

4. "Puss in Boots" (2011)

Description: "The fabled feline heads to the Land of Giants with friends Humpty Dumpty and Kitty Softpaws on a quest to nab its greatest treasure: the Golden Goose."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 86%

What critics said: "It's all amiable stuff, with a perfectly decent script, and the feline hero lapping his milk gets an indulgent laugh." — Guardian

3. "Due Date" (2010)

Description: "Days before his pregnant wife's due date, Peter lands on the 'no-fly' list, forcing him to drive across the country with an irritating slacker."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 39%

What critics said: "As in the most useless sitcoms, the laffs depend entirely on someone behaving as ridiculously as possible, in uninteresting ways devised by the dullest minds." — New York Post

2. "The Smurfs" (2011)

Description: "When evil Gargamel tries to capture them, the Smurfs flee their woodland home, pass through a magic portal and find themselves stranded in New York."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 21%

What critics said: "There are a handful of genuinely sweet scenes in Smurfs promptly undone by adult actors and filmmakers, who must believe that the little blue troublemakers couldn't maintain a film on their own." — USA Today

1. "Love, Guaranteed" (2020, Netflix original)

Description: "Sparks fly when a crusading but cash-strapped attorney takes on a charming client looking to sue a dating site that guarantees its users will find love."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 52%

What critics said: "It is sufficiently harmless and blandly cozy, like a Hallmark Channel movie that somehow broke loose and found its way to Netflix." —

Read the original article on Business Insider

Coursera's new annual subscription, Coursera Plus, grants members unlimited access to over 90% of its online classes for $399 a year

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 4:43pm  |  Clusterstock

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  • Coursera Plus is a $399 annual subscription that grants members unlimited access to over 90% of the e-learning platform's online courses (over 3,000 classes) for a year.
  • Members can earn unlimited professional certificates, which they can add to their résumé and LinkedIn profile. 
  • If you're planning to take multiple online courses throughout the year, the upfront investment could be worth it. 
  • If you purchase Coursera Plus and change your mind, you can get a full refund within 14 days of your payment.
  • Sign up for Insider Reviews' weekly newsletter for more buying advice and great deals

Coursera, a popular e-learning platform with thousands of online courses, now offers an annual subscription called Coursera Plus.

Users pay an upfront annual fee of $399, and they get access to thousands of courses. For anyone looking to learn a new skill, take multiple classes per year, or earn a certificate they can add to their LinkedIn profile, it could be a good value.

The new subscription is technically a pilot for the company. However, if Coursera decides to end it, it has already guaranteed that members will be notified and will still have access to their subscription until the end of their first year.

What is Coursera Plus, and what's included with the subscription?

Coursera Plus is Coursera's unlimited annual subscription. It's $399 for the year and gives members unlimited access to over 90% of the platform's course catalog. You can access more than 3,000 classes taught by top instructors of prestigious universities (Columbia, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Penn, Princeton, Yale) and companies (Google Cloud, Goldman Sachs, VMware). Specializations and professional certificates are also included for everything from data science and business to health and personal development.

Once you're a member, you'll see a badge that says Coursera Plus on all the classes included in your subscription. You can browse a few of Coursera's most popular courses here, or skim the list of classes included with membership here.

Coursera Plus does not include degrees or MasterTrack certificates, and some professional certificates are excluded, like those offered by Amazon Web Services and IBM.

How many certificates can you earn with Coursera Plus?

According to the company, you earn a certificate for every course, specialization, or professional certificate you complete. You can share your certificate on your LinkedIn profile, with your employer, and on your CV and résumé.

Does Coursera Plus save you money?

It depends. Anyone can audit Coursera's courses for free, but you don't get access to all of a class' features, like graded homework and verified certificates of completion that you can add to your CV, résumé, or LinkedIn profile.

If you plan on paying for full access to multiple courses, Coursera Plus may save you money depending on what they are and how much each one costs. But, if you only take one or two paid courses per year, you're probably better off without it.

If you're enrolling in a specialization, which is essentially a bundle of related courses designed to help you master a specific topic, then Coursera Plus may save you money — especially if you take longer to complete your specialization than its estimated time frame (which is three months on average) or plan to enroll in multiple specializations and/or other classes in the same year. 

Most Coursera specializations are subscriptions, so you pay a monthly fee for access to all of the courses in your specialization until you've completed every course or you've canceled the subscription, rather than a one-time fee for a year of access. When you pay for a specialization and finish it, you get a specialization certificate as well as course certificates for each course you completed within it.

Comparative price breakdown: Coursera Plus subscription vs. specialization subscriptions

A Coursera Plus subscription is $399 for the year, which breaks down to $33.25 a month. On average, a specialization ranges from $49-$79 a month and takes three months to complete, according to Coursera. The average cost is $147-$237 for a specialization without Coursera Plus; you'd pay $99.75 over the same time frame with Plus. 

But, if you don't plan on taking other courses and complete the specialization's courses in three months, you may save money by doing it a la carte. If you want to take your time completing it, are going to take multiple courses throughout the year, or are interested in a specialization subscription with a longer time frame (some can take up to a year to complete), you are a good candidate for Coursera Plus. 

What happens to any specialization subscriptions you're already enrolled in when you subscribe to Coursera Plus?

You'll need to cancel those subscriptions so you aren't charged twice; they won't be automatically canceled. Find step-by-step instructions to canceling an existing subscription here

According to the company, none of your progress will be impacted by canceling previous subscriptions.

Can you get a refund? 

You can receive a full refund within 14 days of your payment, but if you earned a certificate using Plus during those 14 days, it would be revoked.

To get a refund, visit your My Purchases page within 14 days of purchase and submit a refund request. The company says your refund will be processed immediately and without questions.

Can you ask your employer to reimburse your Coursera Plus fee?

If your employer offers educational reimbursements that include online-learning programs, you should be able to. You'll receive an email receipt that you can submit to your employer for reimbursement. But, you should check with your employer before purchasing to be sure. 

Sign up for Coursera Plus here for $399 per yearRead the original article on Business Insider

10 of the best off-season hotel deals to take advantage of this fall and winter

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 4:41pm  |  Clusterstock

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Summer may be coming to a close, but this year that doesn't necessarily mean the end of vacation time. With more people working from home and many kids able to learn from just about anywhere with virtual school programs, some travelers are looking to extend the usual vacation season into the fall and winter.

The good news is that areas that typically see an influx of tourists in the summer months often have great savings on hotels in the low season. Plus, the fall and winter months frequently see fewer crowds, which is a huge plus for social distancing. 

If you're wondering if hotels are safe to stay in right now, consider that experts have noted it's largely about how many other people you come into contact with. While vacation rentals may be the safest option right now due to no interaction with other guests, many hotels have updated their cleaning and safety protocols to give travelers peace of mind. We've included updated policies for each hotel on our list below, but it's also wise to read up on individual procedures yourself, as well as cancellation policies, before booking.  

It's also vital to keep in mind that without a vaccine, there's no guarantee of safety when it comes to travel right now. We always recommend following CDC guidelines, wearing a mask in public areas, washing your hands, and practicing social distancing. You should also read up on state and local guidelines and be extra wary and cautious if you're traveling from out of state, particularly to or from a hotspot area.

With all that in mind, if you are looking to snag a great hotel rate, look to places like beach towns and less touristy cities to get exceptional savings throughout the fall and winter. We've rounded up some of the best off-season hotel deals across the US, with savings of up to $600 per night when compared to high season rates for the same rooms.  

Read on for 10 of the best off-season hotel deals for fall and winter, priced from low to high. The Asbury - Asbury Park, New Jersey Book The Asbury starting at $145 per night (save $150)

Asbury Park, a booming Jersey beach town known for where Bruce Springsteen got his start, serves as a cultural hub with plenty of live music and a burgeoning restaurant scene no matter the season. The Asbury hotel has plenty to offer travelers beyond the beach in the fall and winter. 

Those who visit in low season will experience fewer crowds and have better luck getting into culinary hot spots like Porta, Cubacan, and Pascale & Sabine. Plus, holiday visitors have the chance to see the area transform into a winter wonderland, with outdoor ice skating and more.

In any season, guests of The Asbury can enjoy the vibrant rainbow-hued lobby, live music, and sunset cocktails on the roof. The small, but thoughtfully designed rooms include old photographs of the area adorning the walls, plush linens, rain showers, and high-end bath amenities.  

Starting price of a standard room in off season: $145

Starting price of a standard room in high season: $295

Pros: A colorful hotel with a lively scene including live music in the lobby and DJ rooftop parties.  

Cons: The pool is only open in the summer.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 1 of 7 hotels in Asbury Park Rating: 8.4 out of 10

COVID-19 policies: This hotel is currently open. It is following CDC protocols, including implementing enhanced antiviral housekeeping protocols and comprehensive employee training. our response has been rapid and thorough. Some amenities, such as the bowling alley, are currently closed. See more info here

Newport Harbor Hotel & Marina - Newport, Rhode Island Book Newport Harbor Hotel & Marina starting at $169 per night (save $90)

Set among cobblestone streets and the city's famed yacht scene, The Newport Harbor Hotel & Marina is in close proximity to the best Newport has to offer vacationers. While the boats may be gone in the fall and winter, there's plenty else to enjoy. 

Cozy up by the fire pits and take in an early sunset over the harbor, enjoy the local nightlife just outside your door, stroll down to the Narragansett Bay waterfront, or work up a sweat with an onsite, outdoor workout class with WAVE Cycle Studio.

Though, with views of Bowen's Wharf, balconies or private Adirondack chairs outside each room, and Newport Vineyard's local wine available to order to your room, you'd be forgiven for just putting up your feet and staying in.   

Starting price of a standard room in off season: $169

Starting price of a standard room in high season: $259

Pros: Close to all the action of Newport with harbor views, highlights of the hotel include private balconies or Adirondack chairs and outdoor cycling classes

Cons: While the location is excellent, the rooms are fairly standard in terms of design and amenities.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 9 of 24 hotels in Newport Rating: 8.3 out of 10 

COVID-19 policies: This hotel is currently open. However, they have not outlined full details on updated cleaning policies or procedures. We will update this listing as new information becomes available.

The Nines - Portland, Oregon Book The Nines starting at $179 per night (save $221)

For those seeking an escape in the Pacific Northwest, The Nines welcomes guests with its soaring, seven-story atrium. The eco-conscious hotel features modern interiors with a nod to vintage charms and the building's roots as a former department store.

The hotel has unique touches like an extensive and commissioned collection of original works from top-tier local artists, including paintings, sculptures, and installations. Just off the atrium, The Library is a relaxing retreat with a custom pool table and floor-to-ceiling books provided by Powell's Books, a local icon and the world's largest independent purveyor of new and used books.

Foodies won't want to miss dining at Urban Farmer, the onsite restaurant that uses ingredients from the rooftop garden, including honey from beehives on the roof. 

Starting price of a standard room in off season: $179

Starting price of a standard room in high season: $400 

Pros: An eco-conscious luxury hotel with unique touches from a collection of original works by local artists to a large library of curated books.

Cons: Guests can choose from Atrium or City View rooms, but some reviewers have noted that not all City View rooms actually have great views, so the extra price may not be worth it.  

Trip Advisor Ranking: 34 of 155 hotels in Portland Rating: 8.8 out of 10

COVID-19 policies: This hotel is currently open. As part of Marriott's Luxury Collection, it will follow Marriott's new protocols, including:

  • New cleaning technologies that include electrostatic sprayers that allow for touchless disinfecting capabilities and cleaning processes, along with and new regimen changes.
  • Hospital-grade disinfectants used and increased cleaning frequency.
  • In guest rooms, Marriott has added detailed cleaning practices, requiring all surfaces be thoroughly cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectants. The company will also be placing disinfecting wipes in each room for guests' personal use.
  • More hand sanitizing stations around Marriott's hotels particularly near the entrances and front desks, elevator banks, fitness areas, and meeting spaces.
  • See more info here.
Hewing Hotel - Minneapolis, Minnesota Book the Hewing Hotel starting at $179 (save of $50)

The North Loop is the fastest-growing neighborhood in Minneapolis. Home to entrepreneurs, artists, and professionals, the loop is one of the best shopping districts in the Twin Cities, featuring numerous boutiques. 

For a nearby stay tied to the rich history of Minneapolis, travelers should look no further than Hewing Hotel. The hotel provides a nice mix of historic architectural details and luxurious modern amenities. Here, exposed brick, industrial elements, and soaring ceilings thanks to the building's warehouse past mingle among rain showers, flatscreen TVs, and curated literature collections.   

Fall is a particularly great time for a visit to Minneapolis. In addition to savings, travelers can enjoy taking in the changing foliage with a bike ride along the Mississippi River or with a stroll through Boom Island Park. 

Starting price of a standard room in off season: $179

Starting price of a standard room in high season: $229

Pros: Located in an excellent area, the Hewing has just the right mix of historical elements and modern luxuries.

Cons: Some guests have noted that the walls are not well soundproofed and you can hear noise from nearby rooms.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 3 of 57 hotels in Minneapolis Rating: 9.1 out of 10

COVID-19 policies: This hotel is currently open with new policies in place including:

  • Hand sanitizer machines at entry.
  • Sanitizer kits available at check-in.
  • Plexiglass shields at front desk along with associates wearing masks at all times.
  • Housekeeping services are upon request only.
  • See more info here.
Estancia La Jolla Resort & Spa - La Jolla, California Book Estancia La Jolla Resort & Spa starting at $189 per night (save $130)

There's almost no better place to visit to escape chilly fall and winter temps than sunny San Diego. Best of all, while the temperatures are still warm, the crowds have generally subsided by November. 

Particularly ideal for social distancing, Estancia La Jolla Resort & Spa is a hacienda haven with nine acres of sprawling gardens for guests to enjoy the property safely and at a better price during the low season. Some rooms even come with private patios and balconies overlooking the lush grounds.

Resort amenities include yoga in the garden, a heated saltwater pool, outdoor dining in the garden lounge, a spa that offers CBD enrichment massages, and more. 

Starting price of a standard room in off season: $189 

Starting price of a standard room in high season: $319 

Pros: A hacienda-style retreat that is especially good for social distancing thanks to its sprawling grounds and rooms with private patios and balconies.

Cons: While La Jolla is an excellent area full of its own charms, you won't be right downtown in San Diego.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 9 of 24 hotels in La Jolla Rating: 8.6 out of 10

COVID-19 policies: This hotel is currently open. As Meritage Collection property, it has new practices in place that include:

  • Increased frequency in cleaning of rooms with a new dedicated cleaning team and with attention to high-touch areas.
  • Communal areas cleaned regularly and more as needed. All tables and chairs at food and beverage outlets and banquet areas cleaned after each use.
  • Hand sanitizer is available to guests at entrances and high traffic areas.
  • QR-codes for touchless hotel information and menus in the restaurant.
  • Pools have fewer chairs and the crowds are being monitored to ensure social distancing. 
  • See more info here.

Editor's Note: California is currently experiencing extreme wildfires affecting much of the state and the air quality. Travelers should call ahead to lodging providers and visitors' bureaus at their intended destinations. Find out more info here

Archer Hotel Napa - Napa Valley, California Book Archer Hotel starting at $206 per night (save $141)

There's never a bad time to visit wine country, but starting in November you'll be able to sip your way through the region for less. 

The Archer Hotel is a boutique stay conveniently located in the heart of downtown Napa. The hotel boasts 183 well-appointed guest rooms, including 39 balcony-clad suites with gorgeous vista views. Even if you don't opt for a suite, you can cheers the valley scenery with a cocktail or glass of wine in hand at the rooftop bar. Or, as an overnight guest, enjoy exclusive access to the Sky Terrace and cool off at the water deck, a tranquil spot with 360-degree views.

Celebrated chef Charlie Palmer even has an onsite steakhouse. The menu is currently available for to-go orders and room service rather than in the usual dining room.

Starting price of a standard room in off season: $206

Starting price of a standard room in high season: $347

Pros: A boutique hotel in the center of downtown Napa with panoramic valley vista views from the rooftop bar and Sky Terrace.

Cons: Standard rooms are thoughtfully designed, but small at just 285 square feet.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 5 of 30 hotels in Napa Rating: 9.1 out of 10

COVID-19 policies: This hotel has reopened with new practices in place that include:

  • enhanced cleaning and sanitation throughout the day, paying extra attention to such high-touch areas.
  • Housekeeping may be suspended upon request.
  • The fitness studio and spa are currently closed.
  • The water deck is open with social distancing monitoring.
  •  Restaurants are available for to-go orders and are open for limited hours.
  • See more info here.

Editor's Note: California is currently experiencing extreme wildfires affecting much of the state and the air quality. Travelers should call ahead to lodging providers and visitors' bureaus at their intended destinations. Find out more info here

Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach - Clearwater, Florida Book Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach starting at $295 per night (save $105)

Just 30 minutes from Tampa and steps away from the crystal clear waters of a beach that's frequently named one of the best in the US, you'll find the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach. The hotel is a Floridian retreat where guests can enjoy R&R and sunshine all year. But you'll find the best prices in the fall if you can sneak in a trip between the popular summer vacation season and the winter when people flock to the area to escape the cold. 

The resort includes 343 guest rooms with views of the Gulf of Mexico and the Intracoastal Waterway. Guests love the proximity to the white-sand beach, the numerous onsite restaurant options, and favorite local attractions, which include The Gulp Coast (Clearwater's lauded craft brew trail), boating excursions, The Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the iconic Pier 60, and more.

Starting price of a standard room in off season: $295

Starting price of a standard room in high season: $400 

Pros: Steps from one of the best beaches in America, the Florida hotel is close to all that Tampa and St. Pete have to offer, while still being far enough from the bustle to be a relaxing retreat.  

Cons: The large size of the resort and number of rooms could mean more interactions with other guests in elevators, lobbies, and pools than at smaller properties. 

Trip Advisor Ranking: 10 of 97 hotels in Clearwater Rating: 8.9 out of 10

COVID-19 policies: This hotel is currently open. As a Wyndham property, it will follow the brand's new protocols, including:

  • Partnering with third parties including Ecolab to provide hotels with access to industry-standard cleaning and disinfectant supplies.
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers placed at key guest and employee entrances and contact areas, including lobby reception areas, restaurant entrances, meeting spaces, pools, exercise areas, and more.
  • Public spaces and communal areas are cleaned and disinfected multiple times per day, with an emphasis on hard non-porous surfaces such as guest elevator button panels.
  • See more info here.
Ko'a Kea Resort & Spa - Kauai, Hawaii Book Ko'a Kea Resort & Spa starting at $319 per night (save $280)

If Hawaii has long been atop your bucket list, but high prices have kept you from pulling the trigger, opt for a trip from mid-September to mid-December to snag better deals. In fact, you'll find almost 50 percent savings at tropical paradise Ko'a Kea Resort & Spa in Kauai. 

The hotel is set to reopen to mainland travelers in early October. An ideal setting for complete relaxation, the resort rests directly on Poipu Beach. Guests can enjoy nightly tiki torch rituals, two pools, onsite watersport rentals, and rooms with ocean or garden views.    

The low season sees still-warm weather, fewer crowds, and fewer families, making it a particularly great spot for couples looking for a more affordable romantic getaway.  

Starting price of a standard room in off season: $319 

Starting price of a standard room in high season: $599 

Pros: A lush, beachfront hotel that makes for a relaxing and romantic retreat for couples in the off season.

Cons: Rooms are on the smaller side and while they are more than comfortable, if you're looking for a truly luxe resort this is not the spot. 

Trip Advisor Ranking: 4 of 7 hotels in Poipu Rating: 9.0 out of 10

COVID-19 policies: This hotel is closed but accepting new reservations for October 2020. As Meritage Collection property, it will have new practices in place that include:

  • Increased frequency in cleaning of rooms with a new dedicated cleaning team and with attention to high-touch areas.
  • Communal areas cleaned regularly and more as needed. All tables and chairs at food and beverage outlets and banquet areas cleaned after each use.
  • Hand sanitizer is available to guests at entrances and high traffic areas.
  • QR-codes for touchless hotel information and menus in the restaurant.
  • Pools have less chairs and the crowds are being monitored to ensure social distancing.
  • See more info here.
Life House - Nantucket, Massachusetts Book Life House starting at $339 per night (save $211)

The newly reopened Life House is housed in the historic Century House, which dates back to 1833. Once the home of a whaler, it was later turned into a luxury bed and breakfast and is the oldest continually operating inn on Nantucket. Most recently, it got a major overhaul from Blue Flag Partners and is now a 14-room coastal retreat that seeks to bring guests back to the joys of simpler times. 

That said, the property is firmly modern and includes digital room keys connected to the hotel's app, Le Labo bath products, and an optional social network for guests looking to connect with fellow guests and locals (whether virtually or at a safe distance). 

Additional highlights are a garden terrace with chic wicker egg chairs, fire pits, and an eclectic mix of furnishings from golden velvet armchairs to fun tiger carpeting on the stairway. The rooms follow suit, with raffia writing desks, crown molding, and fireplaces. 

Look to September to get the best prices here.

Starting price of a standard room in off season: $339

Starting price of a standard room in high season: $550

Pros: Set in the historic Century House dating back to 1833, the newly overhauled inn boasts eclectic furnishings that harken back to the property's roots with plenty of modern upgrades for a comfortable stay.

Cons: The communal kitchen is not an ideal hangout in the COVID era.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 7 of 34 B&Bs/Inns in Nantucket Rating: Not yet rated

COVID-19 policies: This hotel is currently open. All Life House properties have new policies in place that include:

  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of rooms, with particular attention paid to high-touch items. 
  • Housekeeping is available upon request only. 
  • Contactless iPads for check-in are available and cleaned frequently. 
  • Hand sanitizers are located throughout and sanitizers are refilled and checked regularly.
  • Use of disinfecting products that are approved by the EPA.
  • See more info here.
Chatham Bars Inn - Cape Cod, Massachusetts Book Chatham Bars Inn starting at $400 per night (save $600)

While $400 per night is still a splurge, I speak from experience when I say this hotel is worth it for a truly luxurious getaway. While it runs well outside most vacationers' budgets in the summer, discerning travelers can enjoy the Cape's "second summer" throughout September and October and experience this coastal sanctuary at a steep discount. 

One of Cape Cod's most iconic and storied destinations for everything from family vacations, to romantic getaways to wellness retreats, the property first opened as a hunting lodge in 1914. Today, you'll find individually decorated rooms and suites with sumptuous details including ocean views, fine linens, marble vanities, and private decks and balconies.

Rooms are found in over 30 separate buildings spread throughout the inn's 25-acre estate, including cottages with private entrances. The hotel also has its own quarter-mile private beach and the historic town of Chatham is just a short stroll away.  

Starting rates of a standard room in off season: $400

Starting rates of a standard room in high season: $1,000

Pros: An iconic Cape Cod luxury stay set on 25 acres with a private beach, impeccable service, new socially distant offerings like private dinners on the lawn, and an excellent craft cocktail program.     

Cons: Even in the off season this hotel is a serious splurge.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 6 of 9 hotels in Chatham Rating: 8.7 out of 10

COVID-19 policies: This hotel is currently open with a new 'Well Being Plan' that includes:

  • Amenity kits featuring disinfecting gel, nitrile rubber gloves, and masks will be provided for guests.
  • Guests have the option of self-parking or valet parking. Valet team members will wear masks and gloves and sanitize each vehicle and keys after valet parking.
  •  Curbside check-in will be available as a check-in option.
  • Industry-leading cleaning and sanitizing protocols are used to clean guest rooms, with particular attention paid to high-touch items. Guests have a choice of housekeeping frequency.
  • New dining options include Dinner on the Lawn, Picnic Lunch Baskets, and In-Room White Glove Service.
  • See more info here.
Read the original article on Business Insider

A veteran DOJ prosecutor has resigned amid reported concerns that Attorney General Barr is trying to force the release of a politically charged report ahead of the election

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 4:40pm  |  Clusterstock
Attorney General William Barr.
  • A veteran prosecutor working on Attorney General William Barr's investigation into the origins of the Russia probe resigned from the Justice Department on Thursday, the Hartford Courant reported.
  • The prosecutor, Nora Dannehy, reportedly resigned amid concerns that Barr was exerting inappropriate political pressure on investigators to release their findings before the November election, even though their work is not yet done.
  • Dannehy's colleagues told the Courant that she did not support President Donald Trump and had been concerned for weeks by Barr's actions.
  • The attorney general has repeatedly cast doubt on the origins of the Russia probe, suggesting the FBI should not have launched the investigation and that it was inappropriately "spying" on Trump's 2016 campaign.
  • An independent investigation into the matter by the Justice Department's inspector general found no evidence of illegal spying and also concluded that the bureau had an "authorized purpose" in launching the Russia probe.
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A prosecutor who was working on the Department of Justice's investigation into the origins of the FBI's Russia probe has resigned from the department, the Hartford Courant reported on Friday.

The prosecutor, Nora Dannehy, resigned amid concerns that Attorney General William Barr was pressuring investigators to produce a final report before the election, even though their work is not done, her colleagues told the Courant.

The department, under Barr's leadership, opened an investigation into the Russia probe's origins last year, shortly after he was confirmed as attorney general. Barr is overseeing the inquiry and appointed John Durham, the US attorney in Connecticut, to determine whether prosecutors or senior DOJ and FBI officials broke the law while conducting the Russia investigation.

According to the Courant, Dannehy worked with Durham for decades and is a veteran prosecutor who's highly respected by her colleagues. She initially left the department over 10 years ago but came back when Durham asked her to work on his investigation. She announced her resignation from the DOJ in a brief email to colleagues on Thursday evening, according to the Courant.

Dannehy's colleagues told the Courant that she did not support Trump and had been concerned for weeks by what she viewed as political pressure from Barr for Durham's team to produce a report on its investigation before the November general election.

Barr has repeatedly cast doubts on the origins of the investigation, which examined Russian interference in the 2016 US election and whether members of President Donald Trump's campaign conspired with the Russian government to tilt the race in his favor.

He falsely claimed last year that the FBI was inappropriately "spying" on the Trump campaign — a talking point the president and his allies have also widely circulated — and suggested that the investigation was part of an effort to undermine Trump.

An independent probe into the matter by the Justice Department's inspector general, Michael Horowitz, uncovered no evidence that the bureau illegally spied on the Trump campaign. It also concluded that the FBI had an "authorized purpose" in launching the Russia probe, though it did find "significant inaccuracies and omissions" in the bureau's application for a warrant to surveil a Trump campaign aide.

Shortly after Horowitz's report was released, Barr and Durham publicly voiced their disagreement with its findings and said the FBI was not justified in opening the investigation into Russia's interference and the Trump campaign in 2016.

"The FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a US presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken," Barr said in a statement. He added that law-enforcement officials overstepped their boundaries when they investigated Trump and the president did nothing wrong.

The attorney general also released a misleading letter to the public in March 2019 summarizing the findings of the FBI's Russia probe, which was spearheaded by the special counsel Robert Mueller. Barr said Mueller found "no collusion" between the Trump campaign and Russia, and he also concluded that Trump did not obstruct justice in Mueller's probe.

Mueller's final report contradicted both of Barr's claims. "Collusion" is not a legal term, and Mueller's report determined that there was not sufficient evidence to charge anyone associated with the Trump campaign for conspiring with the Russian government. Legal scholars pointed out that saying there was not "sufficient evidence" did not mean there was no evidence.

On obstruction, Mueller's team wrote that it declined to make a "traditional prosecutorial judgment" on whether the president sought to thwart the Russia inquiry. But it emphasized that this finding "does not exonerate" Trump, adding that if they "had confidence" that "the president did not commit a crime," they would have said so.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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