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Bill Gates just revealed his 2 favorite books of 2018 so far

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 02:15 PM PST

Bill Gates

  • Bill Gates just revealed his favorite books of 2018.
  • The first is from one of his all-time favorite author, Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker.
  • The other is being published in April posthumously by a Swedish physician. 
  • They're both extremely hopeful reads.

Bill Gates has never been able to pick just one book.

So during an AMA session on Reddit Tuesday, when a questioner asked Gates about the best book he'd read so far this year, Gates named two: 

"There are two amazing books. One is Enlightenment Now by [Steven] Pinker and another is Factfulness by [Hans] Rosling," Gates wrote. "They are both very readable and explain that the world is getting better."

Pinker has been a Gates favorite for years. In Pinker's book, which was released earlier this month, he argues that people are happier, healthier, wealthier, and safer than they've ever been. He says that's not just true in the US; it holds up around the world. 

Gates actually de-throned his old favorite book of all time, "Better Angels" — another Pinker book — to make room for Pinker's new "Enlightenment Now" at the top of Gates' all-time favorite books list. 

Here's what Gates had to say in praise of his new #1 book, on his blog

"Enlightenment Now" takes the approach [Pinker] uses in 'Better Angels' to track violence throughout history and applies it to 15 different measures of progress (like quality of life, knowledge, and safety). The result is a holistic picture of how and why the world is getting better. It’s like 'Better Angels' on steroids."

The other book Gates is recommending comes from Swedish doctor Hans Rosling, who was an advisor to the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Rosling also helped set up Médecins sans Frontières in Sweden.

Roslin died in February 2017 at 68 years old, but his children finished up the final chapters of his book for him, and it's set to be released this April. It's called "Factfulness" and details ten of the most common ways we're wrong about the world.

"This book is my last battle in my life-long mission to fight devastating ignorance," Rosling said in 2017, days before he died. 

Gates called it "an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world" and his wife Melinda echoed the praise: "Hans Rosling tells the story of 'the secret silent miracle of human progress' as only he can," she wrote in her review.  

Bill and Melinda Gates were good friends of Rosling's, and before he died, he had one last request, which the couple detailed on Bill Gates' blog last February. 

"He simply hoped that we would promise to keep spreading the message he was so passionate about: that the world is making progress, and that policy decisions should be grounded in data," they wrote.

Both Gates picks fulfill that dying wish. They are extremely hopeful books — both suggest, in their own way, that we're living in the best moment humans have experienced yet on Earth.

It's a trend that Gates, in his characteristically optimistic way, expects will continue. To aid that trend, Gates funnels billions of dollars toward fighting some of the world's most desperate problems, like advancing child and maternal health, improving education and working on eradicating extreme poverty.

SEE ALSO: Switzerland has a stunningly high rate of gun ownership — here's why it doesn't have mass shootings

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How Bill Gates makes and spends his billions

'Guardians of the Galaxy' director James Gunn dropped a shocking revelation about Baby Groot on Twitter

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 01:50 PM PST

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 Disney

  • Turns out Baby Groot is the son of the grown Groot that was in the first "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie.
  • Director James Gunn revealed this on Twitter Tuesday.

Hold on for this one!

"Guardians of the Galaxy" franchise director James Gunn has always been heavily involved in the social media chatter surrounding his contribution to the Marvel Studios empire. So it wasn't a surprise when he jumped into the conversation when a tweet asking you to choose between saving Groot, one of the characters from "Guardians," or a Porg, the lovable creatures in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," started making the rounds on Tuesday.

Gunn launched into a back-and-forth on this with "Entertainment Tonight" producer and host Ash Crossan, who was on the side of saving the Porg. Gunn made the case that Groot is an "advanced lifeform" while Porgs are just animals (or, as he later put it, "penguins").

Then later in the thread, Gunn tweeted this bombshell: Baby Groot, featured in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," is not the same Groot from the first movie, who sacrificed himself to save his friends in the ending.

Baby Groot is his son!

We look forward to more explanation by Gunn, because the fans of Marvel are not going to rest until he clarifies this tweet.

Many people, including the team at Business Insider, believed that Baby Groot was a piece of Groot from the first movie, and was just growing in size all over again. At the end of "Vol. 2," Baby Groot had grown up to become Teen Groot. We'll see what size he is when he appears in "Avengers: Infinity War" in May with the rest of the Guardians.

SEE ALSO: The director of last year's infamous Oscars telecast looks back on the "La La Land"-"Moonlight" mix up that ended up winning him an Oscar

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: You can connect all 9 Best Picture Oscar nominees with actors they have in common — here's how

Bill Gates says he supports a controversial ingredient — here's why

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 01:38 PM PST

Bill Gates

  • In a Reddit AMA on Tuesday, Bill Gates called GMOs "perfectly healthy."
  • Gates also said he sees the breeding technique as an important tool in the fight to end world hunger and malnutrition.
  • Although it may seem controversial, Gates' stance is in line with the majority of scientists who study the topic.

Bill Gates has a message for anti-GMO advocates: I'm disappointed.

In a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" on Tuesday, Gates said that he not only views GMO foods as "perfectly healthy," but also that he sees them as a promising tool in a wider array of resources in the fight to reduce world hunger.

Here he is in full:

"GMO foods are perfectly healthy and the technique has the possibility to reduce starvation and malnutrition when it is reviewed in the right way," Gates wrote. "I don’t stay away from non-GMO foods but it is disappointing that people view it as better."

Gates' view may strike some as controversial. Many people believe genetically modified foods are dangerous. In recent years, companies have submitted more than 35,000 products to the Non-GMO Project, an organization that certifies products that don't contain genetically modified ingredients. And sales of GMO-free products are skyrocketing: Today, they represent roughly $16 billion in yearly sales.

But Gates's stance also puts him in line with a majority of scientists who study the topic.

eating healthyOrganizations like the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the European Commission have publicly proclaimed GMO foods to be safe to eat. A large 2013 study on GMOs found no "significant hazards directly connected with the use of genetically engineered crops."

There's also this fact: Nearly all the food we eat today has been genetically modified in some way. Dozens of crops, from corn to watermelon, have been selectively bred for thousands of years to give us the traits we find desirable, like large amounts of sweet, edible flesh or small seeds.

Dozens of other products — some of them life-saving — may not exist without genetically modified ingredients.

All insulin, the medication that people with diabetes depend on to regulate their blood sugar, is made with genetically-modified ingredients. The cotton used to make the T-shirt you're wearing was most likely genetically modified.

Several experts maintain that the label "GMO" does the products made with the ingredients a disservice. The process of genetic modification is a breeding method — much like the other advances that have been made recently in the field of agriculture.

"What are we labeling here, DNA?," Alison Van Eenennaam, a professor of animal genomics at the University of California at Davis, recently told Business Insider. "There’s DNA in everything, so good luck with that."

SEE ALSO: A Cornell scientist saved an $11-million industry — and ignited the GMO wars

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Watch SpaceX launch a Tesla Roadster to Mars on the Falcon Heavy rocket — and why it matters

Comcast's $30.7 billion bid for Sky is a bet on the past just as Disney chases the future

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 01:31 PM PST

Brian roberts

  • Disney wants to buy much of Fox's content assets to bolster its attack on Netflix.
  • Now Comcast may throw a wrench into things by trying to snag the UK-based pay TV service Sky, which Fox has long been after.
  • There's a lot of uncertainty regarding these potential deals. But what's clear is that these media giants are using two very different strategies when it comes to facing the challenge presented by streaming and Netflix.

Remember that shocker of an announcement a few months ago that Disney was set to buy a chunk of 21st Century Fox's assets for over $50 billion? That's already old news as media 'Game of Thrones' escalates.

Comcast on Tuesday jumped in with a bid to buy the UK pay TV service Sky – which is supposed to be part of Disney's acquisition. And it's a better deal for Sky on paper, with Comcast offering a higher price.

What's going on here? Isn't the media industry trying to combat cord-cutting and looking to take on Netflix? Isn't the future about streaming and not satellite TV?

That's where all the consumer trends are pointing. The number of cable homes is shrinking. Netflix keeps adding subscribers. That's why the two diverging strategies of these media goliaths are striking:

  • Disney seems to have come to grips with the reality that the media business will never go back to the way it was, so it's making the riskier move of disrupting its own business. That's why it's trying to stock up on content for a direct-to-consumer streaming service that bypasses the cable model.
  • Meanwhile, Comcast seems to be buying time, by trying to ring every dollar it can out of the legacy pay TV model, while hoping that model hangs on a bit longer.

Sky helps Comcast hold on to the cable cash cow longer

"The Comcast Sky deal is about protecting your existing property, while buying more subscribers and all the carriage and subs fees that go with that," said Elgin Thompson, managing director at Digital Capital Advisors. "It's a bit of an old world mentality."

For the time being, owning Sky would get Comcast into markets it isn't very strong in, like say Italy, and would help it lock up key sports rights – since Sky recently inked a deal to broadcast Premier League soccer by spending less than had been anticipated.

That's short term insurance against cord-cutting, which is occurring less rapidly in Europe, said Alice Enders, head of research at the UK-based media research firm Enders Analysis.  "So Comcast has estimated that, 'If we get Sky, we can say that 25% of our revenue is now international.' Their story becomes one of international diversification, and getting  away from relying on the US." 

"Sky helps them get more international, and gets them into more sports beyond the big three or four in the US," said Thompson. "So there's some logic there."

AT&T/Time Warner kick started this mania. And it's uncertainty hangs over everything

AT&T's proposed acquisition of Time Warner was supposed to reset the media industry's chess board. But now the deal is being held up in federal court and may not be decided until halfway through 2018.

What happens with AT&T likely effects every other potential move yet to play out in the radically reshaping industry. 

"Most companies in this space made money in the traditional way," said Jeff Green, CEO of the ad tech firm The Trade Desk. "They sold shows and networks to distributors and they sold ads. And that system has run TV for 75 years." 

Selling shows to Netflix became a nice way for TV companies to make extra money. Then it got too big too fast, and became a threat.

"So these companies said, 'Let’s not do that anymore.' Now everybody is trying to own distribution. That's what AT&T started. And what the Sky deal represents is Comcast wanting to be even closer to distribution."

Black Panther

For Disney, it's all about Netflix

Disney's interest in Fox is all about building up its content library to bolster its coming Netflix killer – a direct-to-consumer streaming service that should feature the best of Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, and all of Fox Studios content (X-Men, Avatar, and so-on).

"The core deal logic in Fox is for Disney to get studio its assets," said Enders. "That’s what they really want. Fox wants Disney more than Sky."

Thompson is less than bullish on Disney's attempt to blunt Netflix. "They are so far ahead that no one is going to catch them," he said. "In the meantime, they can simply find all the disgruntled talent and wait for their contracts to end."

Comcast and Sky is easier for the regulators to swallow

As Enders noted, Fox has been trying to purchase the remainder of Sky that it doesn't own for some time. And the deal is being held up – not for competitive reasons, but political ones, with the small matter of the phone hacking scandal that rocked the UK a few years ago hanging over the deal. 

"Fox can’t do whatever it feels like," she said. "So the question is how far Disney is prepared to go to get Sky." She theorized that both deals could happen in some fashion: Comcast could end up with Sky, while Disney could take home a smaller pile of Fox assets. Or Disney could step up its bid for Fox and/or Sky.

It's not out of the question that down the road, she said, that Comcast could try to buy Time Warner if AT&T ends up losing its bid. Or, as Thompson suggested, Comcast could try its own Netflix competitor using all of NBCUniversal's assets.

"There's a lot more reel left in this movie," Enders said. "In the meantime, chaos will probably ensue."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's what might happen if North Korea launched a nuclear weapon

Inside the world's largest plane, which has a wingspan longer than a football field and will debut in 2019

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 01:30 PM PST


  • The Stratolaunch is the world's largest aircraft.
  • Its 385-foot wingspan is longer than a football field.
  • The aircraft recently completed a runway test in anticipation of its debut flight, which is planned for 2019.

The world's largest plane is so big, it needs two fuselages with separate cockpits.

It's called the Stratolaunch, and it's designed to launch rockets into space in what is known as low-Earth orbit, which means the spacecraft is between 99 and 1,200 miles above the Earth's surface. (Most space flights, as well as satellites and the International Space Station, are in low-Earth orbit.)

Since it was unveiled in June 2017, the Stratolaunch has undergone a series of tests before it makes its first flight in 2019. On Monday, the Stratolaunch YouTube page posted a video of runway tests that saw the aircraft reach a top speed of 46 mph.

Here's a look at the Stratolaunch, and why businesses might want to use it.

SEE ALSO: Trump strikes $3.9 billion deal for two presidential Boeing 747s — here's a look back at the incredible history of Air Force One

Stratolaunch Systems is owned by Paul Allen, who cofounded Microsoft.

Allen's goal for the company and its namesake aircraft is to "provide convenient, reliable, and routine access to low-Earth orbit."

It would do so by launching rockets toward space from mid-air, which the company hopes will be less expensive than current, commercial space launch options.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Massive companies like Apple and Amazon are exploring new ways to care for the health of their employees — and it could upend the way healthcare’s done

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 01:21 PM PST

Tim Cook

  • Apple is launching health clinics  where its employees can get care in the spring, CNBC reported on Tuesday.  
  • Employers, especially those acting as their employee's health insurers like Apple does, are starting to take a more active role in healthcare. 
  • The move, along with the news that JPMorgan, Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway are forming a new independent nonprofit venture aimed at lowering healthcare costs for their employees, has people looking at employer-sponsored health plans in a new light.

Companies like Apple are starting to take a more active role in their employees' healthcare. 

That includes confronting the rising cost of healthcare, along with attempts to try and improve the quality of the care their employees receive.

One way to pull that off is by building healthcare clinics built solely for employees. Clinics located in or near company headquarters have traditionally been a benefit at certain companies, including banks, and of course hospitals.

Now, Apple's joining in. 

Apple's clinics, called AC Wellness Networks, will be run independently from Apple but will be exclusively for its employees, CNBC first reported on Tuesday. Apple employs about 25,000 people in the Bay Area in California, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal

"AC Wellness Network believes that having trusting, accessible relationships with our patients, enabled by technology, promotes high-quality care and a unique patient experience," wrote on one of its job listings. AC Wellness is expected to launch in the spring, according to its website

According to the clinic's website, Apple's hiring everything from exercise coaches to primary care doctors and blood-testing experts.

The goal of having healthcare facilities onsite or near where employees spend most of their day is that they might have better access to healthcare with fewer excuses not to go to the doctor's office for routine check-ups or when they're feeling under the weather. That way, you might be able to prevent more costlier visits down the line, which companies like Apple would be on the hook for covering. 

Employers are putting pressure on the healthcare system

The move, along with news that JPMorgan, Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway are forming a new independent nonprofit venture aimed at lowering healthcare costs for their employees, has people looking at employer-sponsored health plans in a new light.

The insurance companies are there in the middle to handle the logistics of getting the claim from one place to another, which means you might not realize your employer's footing the entire bill on the other end. Employers pay insurance companies for their services on a per member, per month basis. More than half of the non-elderly population is covered by an employer-sponsored plan, and almost 80% of large companies are self-insured.

"I tell people, JPMorgan Chase already buys a $1.5 billion of medical, and we self-insure," JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon told Business Insider. It's why his company, along with Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway, two other massive self-insured employers, are looking for new options. "Think of this, we're already the insurance company, we're already making these decisions, and we simply want do a better job," Dimon said.

But, in order to make an impact that extends massive employers like Apple, JPMorgan, Amazon, and Berkshire Hathaway, it'll take new initiatives that don't just focus on cutting a few costs. 

"It isn't difficult to shave a little bit off here," Warren Buffett said on Monday. "The question is whether we can come up with something better. I'm hopeful, but don't expect any miracles."

Because the companies cover so many people, they might have the negotiating power to make that happen, at least in one of a number of ways, like negotiating better prices or building out better plans of their own

SEE ALSO: There's a clear playbook for how Amazon could upend the healthcare business — along with an obvious victim

DON'T MISS: A bunch of people are betting that a 70-year-old health system could hold the key to fixing out-of-control healthcare costs

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How compression pants work and why they are so popular

Amazon is acquiring doorbell videocamera startup Ring, a 'Shark Tank' reject that turned into a massive success story (AMZN)

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 12:46 PM PST

jeff bezos

  • Amazon is acquiring smart doorbell maker Ring.
  • The financial terms of the deal are unclear, though Axios says Ring was in the process of raising cash at a $1 billion valuation. 
  • Ring got its start on the TV show "Shark Tank" in 2013.

Amazon is acquiring Ring, a startup that makes a popular line of video camera doorbells, in a deal that could help Amazon enmesh itself further into consumer homes and lay the framework for a high-tech pipeline that delivers retail goods and groceries straight to consumers.

The deal, which Amazon and Ring representatives confirmed to Business Insider on Tuesday, supplements the retail giant's growing selection of smart home appliances, epitomized by Amazon's Echo line of smart speakers.

Ring's video doorbells, which range in price from $179 to $500, beam an image of whoever is at the door to a homeowner's smartphone.

It's unclear how much Amazon paid to acquire Ring, a Santa Monica, California, though a report in Axios, citing anonymous sources pegged the price at more than $1 billion, making it Amazon's second largest deal ever, behind its $13.7 billion acquisition of grocery chain Whole Foods in August 2017.

"Ring’s home security products and services have delighted customers since day one. We’re excited to work with this talented team and help them in their mission to keep homes safe and secure," Amazon told Business Insider in an emailed statement.

The acquisition is likely to ratchet up the competition with Google, which launched a similar doorbell video camera last year through its Nest brand. 

With Ring, Amazon gets a popular product that could allow the company to expand its push to marry technology with its delivery services. In October Amazon introduced Amazon Key, which relies on a home security camera and a smart lock to recognize delivery couriers and let them enter the house to deliver a package when no one is home. 

Amazon was already an investor in Ring, which according to Axios was in the process of raising more cash at a $1 billion valuation.

The deal marks a remarkable success story for the Santa Monica, California-based Ring, which made its debut in an inauspicious start on the TV show 'Shark Tank.' The startup, then known as DoorBot, failed to impress most of the judges on the show, but went on to rebrand itself and quickly catch on with consumers.

News of the acquisition was first reported on Tuesday by Geekwire.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: I've used the iPhone for 10 years and these are my favorite tips and tricks

Anti-NRA activists are calling for a boycott of Amazon, Apple, and FedEx — and it could be huge

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 12:45 PM PST

gun control

  • Activists are organizing a 24-hour boycott of Amazon, Apple, and FedEx, due to their ties to the NRA, on March 1.
  • FedEx says it will continue its discount program for NRA members, while Amazon and Apple have stayed silent about their whether they will remove the NRA's TV channel from their streaming options.
  • The protest organizers argue that NRAtv and NRA discount programs give money to the gun-rights group and foster gun violence in the United States.

Calls to boycott companies with economic ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA) are getting louder after the recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Several activists and celebrities are calling for a 24-hour boycott of Amazon, Apple, and FedEx, on March 1. This week, Amazon and Apple have come under fire from gun control activists because the two companies offer the NRA's TV channel as part of their streaming services. FedEx, meanwhile, has a discount program for NRA members. 

Among those promoting the boycott are actors Alyssa Milano and Debra Messing; actor and producer Justine Bateman; and Shannon Coulter (the woman behind the "Grab Your Wallet" boycott of retailers that carry Trump products). They are asking participants to refrain from buying products from Amazon and Apple, and to avoid shipping items via FedEx.

The boycott could be huge. In just five hours, a tweet from Alyssa Milano announcing the boycott was retweeted over 6,000 times. The hashtag #March1NRABoycott has also gained approximately 6.8 million impressions.

On Monday, FedEx told Business Insider that it will continue its perk program that gives up to 26% discounts to NRA members. The company added that it does not agree with the NRA's gun-policy positions.

The company then reiterated its decision on Tuesday afternoon, shifting its focus to its biggest rival, UPS.

"The NRA uses UPS and not FedEx" for shipping from its online store, FedEx said in a statement to BI. 

Amazon and Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Since the recent mass shootingmore than a dozen companies have distanced themselves from the NRA, including Hertz, United, and Delta. 

On February 24, Daniel Reed, the father of a Parkland student survivor, launched a petition asking Amazon to drop NRAtv. The petition has surpassed its goal of 200,000 signatures, and will now be sent to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Launched in 2016, NRAtv includes 22 programs, all aimed at disseminating a pro-gun-rights message. One segment, for example, argues that it should be easier for Americans to buy AR-15s, a type of semi-automatic rifle that gunman Nikolas Cruz used in Parkland.

The NRAtv's producers call themselves "America's Most Patriotic Team on a Mission to Take Back The Truth." In addition to Amazon Fire and AppleTV, NRAtv is also available through Roku, SiriusXM, iHeartRadio, YouTube, iTunes, and Google Chromecast.

In the past several decades, the NRA has become a strong political force due to its political donations and millions of members. One big way that the NRA retains its members is through discounts on everything from car insurance to hotel rooms. More than a dozen American companies have partnered with the NRA to offer special perks to members.

The NRA membership benefits page points out "access to hundreds of dollars in savings" as a reason to join the organization.

SEE ALSO: A Parkland survivor's father is turning up the heat on Amazon to cut ties with the NRA

Join the conversation about this story »

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Most people only see part of a flight attendants' job — here are the behind-the-scenes secrets you never knew

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 12:45 PM PST

Day in the life of a flight attendant 2

  • Many flight attendant jobs happen behind the scenes and when you're not paying particular attention.
  • Business Insider shadowed Robert "Bingo" Bingochea, a Denver-based flight attendant for United Airlines, for a day to see what we're missing.
  • Take a look at what United flight attendants have to do to help get the plane in the air.


The next time you fly, try and take notice of what your flight attendants are up to. I guarantee you what you see isn't even half of it.

A flight attendant's job isn't simply showing you where to put your bags, giving safety demonstrations, and pushing beverage carts up and down the aisle.

In fact, much of a flight attendant's job happens before you even board the plane.

While every day on the job is different, there are a number of things flight attendants have to do behind the scenes to help get the plane off the ground and keep everything humming along smoothly throughout the flight.

To find out just what's going on that we don't get to see, Business Insider shadowed Robert "Bingo" Bingochea, a Denver-based flight attendant for United Airlines, who's been flying with the company for seven years, on his trip from Denver to Houston and back.

Here are some of the things you probably don't realize flight attendants are doing behind the scenes.

SEE ALSO: A day in the life of a United Airlines flight attendant, who woke up before 3 a.m. and ran circles around me for 9 hours

DON'T MISS: 11 insider facts most flight attendants know — and you probably don't

As a passenger, you won't ever see United's operations station, home of United's conference rooms, HR and IT departments, and Inflight Services, in Denver International Airport. We meet there to begin our journey together.

During check-in with Inflight Services, Bingochea lets the staff know he's physically there and ready to go. "They cover their bases because the plane has to be out," he says. "You can't be late. You can't be looking for coffee. You have to be there on time."

He can also find out more about his trip at check-in. But Bingochea says he never looks to see what crew members he's flying with. "I never do, because I'll fly with anybody. And a lot of people say, 'Well, I don't want to fly with so and so.' To me, that's just too much work," he says.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Bill Gates says he's not running for president but thinks that people expect too much from the government

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 12:38 PM PST

bill gates

  • In an AMA on Reddit, Bill Gates confirmed that he will not be running for president.
  • While Gates is troubled by the current administration, he believes that people put too much faith in the government when it comes to issues like education and poverty.
  • Gates believes that the onus of providing aid in the fields of education and healthcare should be left to smaller, localized groups. 

Bill Gates does not want to be president.

On Tuesday, the Microsoft founder confirmed that he has no plans to run for office in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit. While Gates has taken issue with the current presidential administration in the past, he's too committed to his work with his wife, Melinda, overseeing their multi-billion dollar philanthropic fund, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

"I won't be running for President because I am super committed to the work Melinda and I are doing at the Foundation and outside the Foundation," Gates explained on Reddit. "I agree it is important to have a President who thinks long term about the US role in the world and the research to solve disease burdens and costs and to tackle climate change and improve education."

Regardless of who is in the White House though, Gates said Americans may be overestimating the government's ability to improve education and fight poverty. 

"I do think people are expecting too much from Government," he continued. "Yes Government can do better but local groups can do a lot that government can't - helping out in schools, reaching out to people in poverty."

Gates says that providing aid through smaller, localized groups is a vision he'd like to see not just in the US, but worldwide as well.

"This is also true internationally," he said. "I would like to see this civil society sector step up a lot more. Some issues like abortion or even immigration we may never get a consensus on but there are things like better health and better education that we can achieve."

SEE ALSO: Bill Gates says cryptocurrency is 'a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way'

Join the conversation about this story »

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What it's like to have the best job in America right now

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 12:32 PM PST

glassdoor data science

  • Once again, data scientist ranks as the best job in America, according to employees.
  • Business Insider interviewed a data science manager at Glassdoor to learn what it's like to have the best job in America right now.
  • Data scientists not only command high salaries, but play a huge role in influencing company decision-making.

For the third year in a row, data scientist has been ranked the best job in America.

According to rankings by job site Glassdoor, the data scientist position has the highest overall job score of 4.8 out of a possible 5.

To determine its job rankings, Glassdoor takes into account the average salary of positions listed, the number of open positions, and the average job satisfaction of employees in these roles.

According to Glassdoor, data scientists have an average compensation of $120,000 per year, there are 4,524 job openings, and overall job satisfaction in the position scores a 4.2 out of 5.

To find out what it's really like to have the best job in the country, Business Insider interviewed Ling Cheng, a Data Science Manager at Glassdoor.

SEE ALSO: The 50 best jobs in America in 2018

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Why data scientist is the best job this year

Aside from the great pay and ample job opportunity, data scientists help steer their companies in the right direction.

"I think that it's a really exciting field," Cheng told Business Insider. "More and more companies are starting to realize the potential they have in their data. A data scientist who's answering questions for you does their own delving in and serves as the detective.

"You have to be open to what comes out of the data. What is it telling you versus what you believe in? This can happen when we look at A/B tests, when we look at products, and it can be in strategy, where we find what's working and what's not." 


What being a data scientist actually looks like

Data scientists can impact the decisions that managers make, with respect to product management and operational efficiency.

"It varies by company, but overall, it could be generating insights for high-level decisions, product decisions, business decisions, or strategy decisions," Cheng said. 

The job can also include building dashboards to display data in a more visually clear way. A single dashboard can include several charts and graphs containing different information.

"So, in Glassdoor's case, it could be building salary estimates, looking at how to return results for job search," Cheng said. "I think those are kind of the big areas. Insights, dashboards, and building products."

The main difference between a data scientist and a data engineer

Although there is quite a lot of overlap between data scientists and data engineers, their roles are not to be confused.

"A data engineer is responsible for making sure that data scientists have all the data that we need and that we get it in a timely manner," said Cheng.

As Vik Paruchuri wrote on DataQuest, "Data engineers are responsible for constructing data pipelines and often have to use complex tools and techniques to handle data at scale." He continued: "Unlike [data science], data engineering leans a lot more towards a software development skill set."

Data scientists really depend on data engineers, Cheng told Business Insider, "because we need the data processed, and we need it available in a way that we can get to it without waiting hours. So they build tools and process the data in a way that allows us to do that."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Director and writer Kevin Smith posted an emotional video to Facebook after suffering a massive heart attack

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 12:20 PM PST

Kevin Smith

  • Writer and director Kevin Smith suffered a massive heart attack Sunday night.
  • On Tuesday, he went live on Facebook from his hospital room with an update.
  • Smith got emotional in the video, saying he didn't want to die in that moment, but was "content."


Writer and director Kevin Smith, of "Clerks" fame, suffered a massive heart attack Sunday night after filming an episode of his AMC show, "Comic Book Men."

On Tuesday afternoon, Smith went live on Facebook with an emotional update for fans from his hospital room, in which he described his symptoms, what the emergency room was like, and addressed the Chris Pratt "prayer" controversy.

After Smith's heart attack, actor Chris Pratt tweeted that he was praying his "a-- off" for Smith because he "believes in the healing power of prayer."


Some mocked and criticized Pratt on Twitter for his "prayer" tweet, a few connecting it to what certain politicians have said after mass shootings, but Smith came to Pratt's defense in his video.

"Poor Chris Pratt, one of my favorite actors of all time, put up a nice tweet ... and apparently some people were like 'f--- your prayers,'" Smith said. "Please don't fight over stuff like that, it's a waste of time. Whether you're religious or not, somebody praying for you is with good intentions."

Smith said he experienced nausea and lost his breath, but didn't feel like he was in pain. Even though his father died from a heart attack, Smith said, he didn't think it was a heart attack.

"Honestly, I just thought it was mucus," he said. He also mentioned that he thought it was just "bad milk" because he threw up.

When first responders came, Smith said that they were "very patient with a guy who was deathly afraid to lift his shirt up." 

Aside from his shirt, Smith said once he was in the emergency room, he was "literally dying," but his biggest concern was "people seeing his d--k." "Never wanted to go to a doctor for that reason," Smith said. 

By the end of the video, though, Smith got emotional, and said that while he didn't want to die, he felt "content" during the scary experience. 

"What a ride it's been," he said. "There was calm ... I was always afraid that I'd be terrified of dying ... I've seen people die. I like life, life worked out for me and I don't ever want to let it go. But in that moment, even though I was 47, I was like 'that'll do pig.' I felt like Babe."

He ended the video by saying that the doctor cleared him to go home.

Watch the full video below:



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Google Shopping bans searches for 'water guns' and 'Guns N Roses' — but you can still look for 'bombs' and 'poison' (GOOGL)

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 12:16 PM PST

water guns

  • Google Shopping has policies against allowing shoppers to search for firearms or other dangerous products.  
  • But, that means the shopping platform also doesn't allow users to search for anything with "gun" in the search term, including "water gun," "Guns N Roses," and "Sex Pistols." 
  • Google told Business Insider the company was "working to address this issue." 


Google is trying to crack down on people shopping for firearms on its website — with some bizarre results. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, Google Shopping does not allow customers to search for "guns" in any form. 

That means searches for things like "water guns" and "Guns N Roses" merchandise result in a notification that the search "did not match any shopping results." 

Screen Shot 2018 02 27 at 1.52.00 PM

"Bubble guns," "glue guns," and "Sex Pistols" also did not produce results when Business Insider searched with those terms. Searches for things such as "gun cabinet," "gun cleaning kit," and "gun holsters" also did not produce results. 

"We are experiencing an error in our Shopping results and we are working to address this issue," a Google representative said in an email to Business Insider. The company said it is not making any changes to its Google Shopping policy. 

People have taken to social media to poke fun at the search giant for the bizarre qualifications. 

Some of Google's recent changes seem to already be in effect. 

Some Twitter users took issue with searches for "Gundam" — an anime series — not yielding results on Tuesday morning. By Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m. ET, the search results included action figures and other merchandise. 

On Tuesday, The Telegraph reported that users couldn't search for products with "gun" in the name, including Burgundy wine. A search by Business Insider on Tuesday afternoon revealed that Google had resolved the issue. 

Screen Shot 2018 02 27 at 2.06.14 PM

Google has been working to fix issues regarding what customers can and cannot buy via Google Shopping in recent months. Over the weekend, Google announced it was removing AR-15 bump stocks from Google Shopping results after customers complained. 

"This was a mistake and should not have happened," the company said in a tweet. "Due to a human error, a handful of Shopping results for bump stock appeared. We immediately removed those results as they violate our policy."

Google Shopping has banned guns from search results since 2012. The company does not promote ads for "dangerous products or services," including explosives, guns, and other weapons.  

Screen Shot 2018 02 27 at 2.18.00 PM

The search engine has managed to fine tune how it treats searches for products such as bombs and poison.

Searching for "bombs," for example, primarily results in Google Shopping listings for bath bombs. However, searching for "arsenic" can give shoppers the opportunity to purchase the poisonous chemical. 

SEE ALSO: 'The NRA uses UPS': FedEx doubles down on its NRA ties by shifting focus to one of its biggest rivals

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Bill Gates says cryptocurrency is 'a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way'

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 11:46 AM PST

bill gates

  • Billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said no technology has "caused deaths in a fairly direct way" to the extent that cryptocurrencies have.
  • He said that the ease with which people can anonymously buy drugs is a major problem, and suggested that cryptocurrencies are used to launder money and fund terrorist organizations.
  • Gates also added that "the speculative wave" around initial coin offerings and cryptocurrencies is "super risky."

Bill Gates does not seem to be a fan of cryptocurrencies. 

In a Reddit AMA on Tuesday, the Microsoft cofounder expressed his belief that the anonymity behind cryptocurrencies is not "a good thing," adding that society benefits when governments can identify money launderers, tax evaders, and the people funding terrorists.  

"The main feature of cryptocurrencies is their anonymity. I don't think this is a good thing. The Governments [sic] ability to find money laundering and tax evasion and terrorist funding is a good thing," Gates wrote.

Gates also said that cryptocurrency has "caused deaths in a fairly direct way," noting the ease with which drugs can be bought online using digital currencies. 

"Right now cryptocurrencies are used for buying Fentanyl and other drugs so it is a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way. I think the speculative wave around ICOs and cryptocurrencies is super risky for those who go long," he said. 

When one Reddit user responded to say that you can buy Fentanyl with cash, Gates defended his initial assertion.

"Yes — anonymous cash is used for these kinds of things but you have to be physically present to transfer it which makes things like kidnapping payments more difficult," he said. 

It should be noted that fans of cryptocurrencies believe that low-cost global money transfers and decentralization of power are actually some of the more compelling features of cryptocurrencies. This means that Gates' remarks are likely to be met with resistance from the cryptocurrency world.

Gates' full, original comment:

"The main feature of crypto currencies is their anonymity. I don't think this is a good thing. The Governments ability to find money laundering and tax evasion and terrorist funding is a good thing. Right now crypto currencies are used for buying fentanyl and other drugs so it is a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way. I think the speculative wave around ICOs and crypto currencies is super risky for those who go long."

Read the full Reddit AMA with Bill Gates here.



SEE ALSO: Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak said he was scammed out of $70,000 in bitcoin

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March is stacked with new video games — here are the 10 biggest releases coming next month

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 11:44 AM PST

Can you feel it? The wave is coming.

With March, the first huge wave of game releases is about to crash. Prepare yourself!

Sea of Thieves (art)

Between a major new entry in the blockbuster "Far Cry" series — set in the United States for the first-time ever, no less — and a huge new entry in the Nintendo's beloved "Kirby" franchise, March is stacked with video game releases. 

And that's before we start talking about the hotly-anticipated "Sea of Thieves," a rare Xbox One and PC exclusive game, or the PlayStation 4 exclusive "MLB The Show 18."

Here are all the biggest video games coming in March 2018:

SEE ALSO: The hottest 30 video games you shouldn't miss in 2018

1. "Final Fantasy XV: Royal Edition"

Didn't "Final Fantasy XV" already come out awhile back? Yes, yes it did. In the case of "Final Fantasy XV: Royal Edition," you're getting the full original game plus a gaggle of new stuff. There's a new dungeon, a bunch of bonus items, and new areas to explore that previously were unexplorable. Think of it like the "Game of the Year" version, or the "Complete Edition" — it's a re-release that costs $50 and comes with a bunch of bonus content. 

Better still, on March 6 the "Windows Edition" of "Final Fantasy XV" finally launches. That means that, finally, PC game players can get in on the open-world epic that is "Final Fantasy XV."

Release date: March 6

Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

2. "Scribblenauts Showdown"

"Scribblenauts" is a zany franchise that encourages silliness and creativity at every step. By typing in various words, you're able to conjure stuff out of thin air — type in "chainsaw," and you'll get a chainsaw.

Traditionally, the games were focused on single-player, linear progression — and they were all on Nintendo handheld consoles. In the case of "Scribblenauts Showdown," you're using the same magical conjuring mechanism to face off against friends in minigames. And instead of playing it on Nintendo's 3DS, it's coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. 

Release date: March 6

Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

3. "Kirby Star Allies"

"Kirby Star Allies" is another fresh take on a classic franchise from Nintendo. The focus here is on co-operative play, with up to four players at a time floating around.

The game otherwise features classic "Kirby" gameplay, with relatively simplistic platforming and combat that's focused on Kirby's main ability: consuming enemies and absorbing their power, like some sort of pink necromancer.

Release date: March 16

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

We climbed into an Apache helicopter's cockpit and saw why it's one of the most difficult aircrafts to fly

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 11:41 AM PST

Apache helicopter

FORT BLISS, Texas — It was a bright, warm day when I walked onto Biggs Army Airfield, surrounded by desert mountains.

But it was also loud. 

I saw Chinook, Blackhawk, and Apache helicopters sprawled across the airfield, many of which were on the ground and being worked on, while a few periodically hovered above.  

I then met Chief Warrant Officer Zachary Eichhorn, and he walked me over to the AH-64 Delta Longbow attack chopper pictured above.

Although I only had about 30 minutes to see everything, Eichhorn gave me a tour of all the weapons systems and even the cockpit.

Here's what I saw:

SEE ALSO: We got an up-close look at an M1 Abrams tank — the king of the battlefield

The AH-64 Delta Longbow was first delivered to the US Army in 1997.

It has a maximum speed of 227 mph and a range of 300 miles.

It's powered by two T700-GE-701C turboshaft engines.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Tiny organisms discovered in Earth's driest desert raise hopes that life could be lurking in the soil of Mars

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 11:37 AM PST

Atacama Desert like Mars

  • The Atacama Desert in Chile is one of the driest places on Earth and is comparable to the dry surface of Mars.
  • Researchers recently discovered that when it rains in the Atacama, microbial communities that lay dormant for decades or even thousands of years spring back to life.
  • It's possible that similar life could have evolved on Mars and may persist in subsurface niches where there's moisture.

Long ago, small oceans and lakes dotted the surface of Mars.

Microbial life could have thrived in the waters of the now hyperarid red planet. Currently, there are only traces of this past environment — water hides frozen in the soil, and potential nighttime snowfalls dust the dry surface.

It might be easy to assume that the loss of atmosphere and liquid water would have killed off all traces of life on our neighboring planet. But a new study of one of the most Mars-like environments on Earth, the Atacama Desert in Chile, reveals that life may persist, lurking beneath Martian soil and waiting a chance to re-emerge.

Researchers found that in the extremely rare occasions when rain falls on the Atacama, there's an explosion of microbial life. This is the first thriving life that has been observed in this desert, the driest non-polar environment on the planet. 

In the rare rainy conditions, long dormant bacteria below the surface wake and reproduce until the area starts to dry out again and they revert to a dormant state, leaving behind traces of DNA and decaying material.

"We believe these microbial communities can lay dormant for hundreds or even thousands of years in conditions very similar to what you would find on a planet like Mars and then come back to life when it rains," Washington State University planetary scientist Dirk Schulze-Makuch, who led the study, said in a news release.

Atacama Large Millimeter submillimeter Array ALMA telescope

Life in extreme environments

This discovery comes thanks to a stroke of luck. It happened to rain while the research team was in the desert in 2015. (It's so dry in the region that there are weather stations in the desert that have never seen rain).

That rainfall allowed the team to see that even this extreme environment can be habitable. The creatures that live there only become metabolically active after an increase in moisture.

This remarkable finding suggests that similar forms of life could persist on Mars in some subsurface niche that gets periodically exposed to moisture, the authors wrote in the study.

The team plans to continue their analysis of life in extreme environments. They will return to the Atacama in March and Schulze-Makuch said he'd also like to examine the Don Juan Pond in Antarctica, a pool so salty that it remains liquid even at a Martian-like -58 degrees Fahrenheit.

"It has always fascinated me to go to the places where people don't think anything could possibly survive and discover that life has somehow found a way to make it work," Schulze-Makuch said. "Jurassic Park references aside, our research tell us that if life can persist in Earth’s driest environment there is a good chance it could be hanging in there on Mars in a similar fashion."

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NASA's new planetary protection officer says she doesn't want 'another red Roadster up there in orbit'

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 11:35 AM PST

starman spacesuit tesla roadster car earth space last image elon musk spacex instagram

  • NASA has a new planetary protection officer: astrobiologist Lisa Pratt.
  • She's tasked with protecting the Earth from alien invaders, and protecting the solar system from Earth's trash.
  • Protecting the Earth from aliens is less about keeping away "little green men" and more about making sure that foreign microbes don't contaminate our planet.
  • Pratt has a "leave no trace" ethic when it comes to the solar system, and she isn't happy about the idea of red sports cars floating around aimlessly in space.

There's one person at NASA responsible for making sure aliens don't invade the Earth. 

It's a lofty task, so when the position, NASA's "Planetary Protection Officer," became available last year, it generated a lot of buzz. 

The interplanetary job posting even caught the eye of nine-year-old Jack Davis, who wrote the space agency a handwritten letter asking to be considered for the job.

"I am young, so I can learn to think like an alien," Davis reasoned in his penciled, 1-page note. 

Despite his enthusiasm, Davis didn't get the six figure job (pay ranges from $124,406 to $187,000 a year). Instead, a more seasoned astrobiologist, Lisa Pratt, stepped into the Planetary Protection Officer role earlier this month.

Pratt says she's deeply concerned with how to "safely and ethically" look for life on Mars, without accidentally killing any extraterrestrial life that might be lurking out there. 

Don't dump your Earth trash on Mars

Pratt isn't thrilled with what Elon Musk did earlier this month, when he sent a Tesla roadster sports car into space while testing out his reusable Falcon Heavy rocket.

As commercial companies like SpaceX become budget-friendly ways to explore the solar system, Pratt wants to make sure they're doing so in a sustainable way, and helping the solar system stay clean

"We have to figure out how to work closely, how to move forward in a collaborative posture so we don’t have another red Roadster up there in orbit," she said to NASA scientists in off-the-cuff remarks, as Space News reported.

The idea of extraterrestrial life is not something that only 9-year-olds get excited about — scientists like Pratt are also intrigued by the idea that life may still live, hidden on Mars.

"I fully expect we will encounter life in our solar system," she said.

There might still be life on Mars, and Pratt doesn't want us to kill it

Pratt's used to looking for life in really harsh places. A professor emeritus at Indiana University, she has been studying how microorganisms adapt to extreme hot and cold for more than 3 decades.

NASA planetary protection officer Lisa Pratt

She's wandered into active gold mines in South Africa to discover what happens in super-hot waters flowing deep below the Earth's surface. She's also ventured to freezing cold mines in the Canadian Arctic to see how life might survive under the ice and snow. Now, she's setting her sights on Mars, where winter temperatures can dip to below -240 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pratt wants to make sure that while we're discovering more about other planets like Mars, we're not dumping a ton of Earth trash into that space. In 2020, a NASA rover is set to land and collect samples from the red planet. And it'll be her job to make sure that the mission doesn't make a big mess on Martian soil.

She says any bits of Earthly trash that get deposited could mess up our chances of a human future on Mars.

There's a chance that we might bring "bits and pieces or intact spores of Earth organisms to Mars and inadvertently inoculate a habitable planet," Pratt said on video earlier this month.

"Mars is relatively clean, so let's try to find the answers before we change the conditions forever," she said. 

SEE ALSO: A 9-year-old asked NASA for a job defending Earth from aliens — and the space agency personally responded

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Wait times for replacement iPhone batteries are actually getting longer (AAPL)

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 11:22 AM PST

Tim Cook

  • Apple stores are offering iPhone battery replacements for $29. 
  • Most stores currently have a multiple-week waitlist for many iPhone battery models. 
  • Barclays says the wait times aren't going down. 

Apple stores are currently dealing with a massive influx of customers who want new iPhone batteries. 

Apple started offering replacement iPhone batteries for a discounted rate of $29 after a scandal where it had to apologize for artificially slowing down the processor on some older phones.

A new battery, Apple said, fixes slower older iPhones, including the iPhone 6, iPhone 6S, and iPhone 7.

The only catch is you might have to wait a few weeks for a new battery — and wait times aren't improving, according to Barclays analysts.

They write in a Tuesday note for clients that the average wait time for a new battery at an Apple store has increased to 2.7 weeks, up from 2.3 weeks at the beginning of January. 

The battery shortage means that instead of replacing the battery on the same day, store employees must order batteries and contact customers when they arrive weeks later. 

In January, Apple sent a memo to stores that outlined two-week waits for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S Plus batteries, with a particular shortage for iPhone 6 Plus batteries, which weren't expected to be delivered until March or April. Barclays notes that iPhone 7 batteries are often in stock at Apple stores. 

Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz writes: 

1) the slight increase in wait time likely indicates demand for battery replacement, especially IP6 and 6 Plus, remains very strong.

2) The battery supplies are not improving as we expected two weeks ago, despite Apple’s claim that it is working everything it can to increase supplies.

3) As wait time is still within the 2-3 week range, we expect an increasing cross-section of consumers to take advantage of the $29 offer instead of purchasing a new iPhone.

The $10 billion battery

iPhone BatteryInvestors are wondering if the battery replacement program might hurt iPhone sales.

If a customer replaces his battery and finds the newly upgraded performance to be acceptable, they might not buy a new iPhone.

Barclays previously modeled a scenario where Apple could lose $10.29 billion in iPhone sales if 16 million people decide not to upgrade thanks to the battery replacement deal.

Apple retail employees previously told Business Insider that many people replacing their batteries don't need a new one according to diagnostic tests. 

"While this is the right thing for Apple to do, it should continue to negatively impact iPhone [sales] for 2018," Moskowitz wrote in Tuesday's note. 

SEE ALSO: Barclays says that the Apple battery scandal could have a big hit on iPhone sales

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Barbra Streisand says she successfully cloned her pet dog — twice

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 11:20 AM PST

Barbra streisand

  • Barbra Streisand told Variety that she successfully made two clones of her Coton de Tulear dog, which died in 2017.
  • She said the new dogs had different personalities.

Barbra Streisand said in a new interview with Variety that she successfully made two clones of her pet dog. 

The singer said two of her Coton de Tulear dogs were cloned from cells taken from the mouth and stomach of her dog Samantha, who died last year at 14 years old. 

"They have different personalities," Streisand said of the two clones, Miss Scarlet and Miss Violet. "I'm waiting for them to get older so I can see if they have her brown eyes and seriousness."

Streisand added that she owned a third dog of the same breed, Miss Fanny (pictured in the Instagram post above), who she said was a distant cousin of the original dog.

In 2015, Tech Insider profiled the South Korean lab Sooam Biotech, which took up the practice of cloning dogs for $100,000 each.

Read Variety's profile of Streisand.

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