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NASA just fired an old space shuttle engine at '113% thrust' — and plans to use it on a new mega-rocket

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 01:38 PM PST

rs 25 space shuttle rocket engine test space launch system sls nasa

  • NASA is building the most powerful rocket in history, called Space Launch System (SLS).
  • The new rocket will use retrofitted space shuttle engines to send people to the moon, Mars, and beyond.
  • NASA recently test-fired one modified RS-25 space shuttle engine at "113% thrust" to observe its behavior for SLS.
  • The first SLS mission is supposed to fly a space capsule around the moon, but the program is behind schedule and ballooning in cost.

NASA fired up a rocket engine pulled from a space shuttle on Wednesday — then cranked the power up to 11.

But this hot fire, as such rocket engine tests are known, wasn't done out of nostalgia for the space shuttle program, which retired in July 2011.

The purpose was to see how the engine, known as an RS-25, behaved after NASA modified it to power a brand-new mega-rocket called the Space Launch System (SLS).

rs 25 space shuttle sls rocket engine scale nasa 25402049704_ff6c106d96_kSLS is a 321-foot-tall rocket that will outperform the Saturn V rockets that sent Apollo astronauts on the first lunar missions. SLS may take astronauts to the moon, Mars, and beyond.

Four RS-25 engines — each 14 feet tall and weighing 3.9 tons — will line the base of the rocket's core boosters. Combined with two side boosters, the engines will help make SLS the most powerful rocket ever built.

For the Feb. 21 test at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, the engines were outfitted with new 3D-printed parts to reach "113 percent thrust level" — 13% beyond what the engines were designed to achieve some 40 years ago.

"Increased engine performance is crucial for enabling SLS missions to deep space as the rocket evolves to be larger and carry astronauts and heavy cargo on a single flight," NASA wrote in a story about the hot-fire test.

Funding a maiden flight and astronaut-less lunar voyage

illustration space launch system sls rocket launching clouds nasa msfc

NASA is working toward a maiden flight with SLS called "Exploration Mission 1." While that test mission won't launch any people, it will rocket NASA's Orion space capsule around the moon and back to Earth on a roughly three-week voyage, according to the space agency.

The SLS rocket for the mission is designed to haul nearly 29 tons out to the moon, or about two school buses' worth of mass. The final version of SLS could lift as much as 50 tons on a lunar mission.

Exploration Mission 1 (also known as EM-1) was originally planned to lift off in December 2017, but NASA has delayed the mission multiple times. This is primarily due to the program's multi-billion-dollar cost and a flat NASA budget, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

The space agency faces a $200 million annual budget cut if President Donald Trump's proposed $19.1-billion request is enacted. However, a Senate-led NASA funding bill that Trump signed into law in March 2017 calls for $19.5 billion — a $200 million increase in space-agency funding. (Congressional appropriators will ultimately have to reconcile the difference.)

NASA recently said it expects to launch the rocket for the first time in 2020 at the earliest.

spacex falcon heavy rocket launch florida american us flag dave mosher business insiderBy the end of 2018, NASA will have spent about $23 billion on the SLS program, according to an April 2017 report by NASA's Office of Inspector General. Part of that cost is sunk into retrofitting a mobile launch tower originally built for NASA's cancelled Ares rocket program.

By the time the tower gets used for EM-1, NASA will have spent eight years and $912 million on it. Even then, as Ars Technica reported, it will only be good for one launch because it's leaning.

To reach Mars, NASA will need more than $210 billion in funding, according to the Office of Inspector General. And that's not even to set foot on the planet's surface — just orbit it. (Though the first Mars astronauts might explore the moon Phobos.)

Meanwhile, private companies like Elon Musk's SpaceX, Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, ULA, and others are working on colossal new launch systems that may come close to rivaling SLS. Their launch power may even exceed it, and for far less money.

But rockets are not easy to design, build, and make safe to launch, so the major players are still emerging in what's quickly becoming a new space race.

SEE ALSO: SpaceX's biggest rival has a 'genius' plan to cut its rocket launch costs more than 70%

DON'T MISS: SpaceX just launched the first 2 of nearly 12,000 satellites to blanket Earth in high-speed internet

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NOW WATCH: There's a place at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean where hundreds of giant spacecraft go to die

The newest ‘Metal Gear’ game has been poisoned by the controversy surrounding Konami and Hideo Kojima — here’s what’s going on

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 01:34 PM PST

You might think a major new game in the long-running "Metal Gear" franchise would elicit a ton of hype.

The last major "Metal Gear" game, "Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain," was a blockbuster phenomenon — just like every major "Metal Gear" release before it.

But things are quite the contrary in the case of "Metal Gear Survive," the latest major "Metal Gear" game. 

Metal Gear Survive

Though I personally enjoyed the game, much of the talk surrounding it has been focused on "Metal Gear" franchise creator Hideo Kojima, who either left Konami or was forced out of the company, depending on who you ask. Is he or isn't he officially thanked in the game's credits? Does this image from the game contain a secret message from employees loyal to Kojima?

So, what in the world is going on with "Metal Gear Survive"? Here's the deal:

SEE ALSO: No one is talking about the latest game in the blockbuster 'Metal Gear' franchise — but it's actually pretty great

First and foremost: What is "Metal Gear Survive"?

"Metal Gear Survive" is a super, super weird game.

It's set in the same timeline as the last major "Metal Gear" game, "Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain." But instead of continuing that game's story, it branches into an alternate, paranormal version of events.

The game's main character — one you've molded in the game's character creation tool, and named something silly — is one of dozens of random soldiers involved in a paranormal incident. A wormhole in the sky opens over the base you're stationed at, and you're swept into an alternate dimension: a bizarro version of Earth named "Dite" (dee-tay) that's full of horrific, zombie-like creatures.

And thus your journey begins: You're a soldier trying to survive in a parallel dimension that's full of zombies.

"Metal Gear" is a franchise with seriously passionate, loyal fans. And those fans are mad as hell that franchise creator and longtime director Hideo Kojima left/was forced out of his role at Japanese game company Konami.

Since "Survive" is the first "Metal Gear" game without Kojima, fans of the series and of Kojima himself are looking at "Metal Gear Survive" with extra scrutiny. And so is Kojima himself.

When asked about the game, Kojima noted that he had nothing to do with its creation.

"That’s nothing to do with me," he told an audience at the 2016 Tokyo Game Show, reports IGN. "The 'Metal Gear' games are about political fiction and espionage. Where do zombies fit in with that?"

Since Kojima is so deeply entwined with the "Metal Gear" franchise, many fans see "Metal Gear Survive" as a trick of sorts from the game's publisher, Konami — slapping the "Metal Gear" name on something that isn't truly a "Metal Gear" game (whatever that means).

Kojima was treated terribly by Konami, according to reports.

It's not clear exactly what caused the rift between Konami and Kojima — Kojima worked at the Japanese game publisher for over 20 years — but it's resulted in some seriously scorched earth.

The origin of the issues apparently goes all the way back to 2010, according to Nikkei, when a Konami game named "Dragon Collection" became a hit. The game was big in the mobile game market, and Konami reportedly had a strong reaction to seeing a game earn loads of cash that cost little to make.

Dragon Collection

As the company's corporate overlords shifted interest toward mobile and social games — games that often cost little to make and can reap massive profits — Konami began looking more shrewdly at its division that made massive, expensive, blockbuster games: specifically, Kojima Productions.

To put an even finer point on it, Kojima is known for being an auteur. His games are routinely delayed while he labors over every detail. This, among other things, leads to his games often costing tens of millions of dollars to make. Though they're often wildly successful, the production process is a scary and risky one.

But, instead of firing Kojima and moving toward mobile development, Konami reportedly instituted bizarre oversight methods to Kojima's production team. Those methods reportedly included cutting off the internet and installing cameras to watch staffers closely. Since Kojima's fans are so loyal, Konami has become a villain in the ongoing controversy.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Parents in the US are worried about their children's use of smartphones

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 01:31 PM PST

In a recent study by non-profit Common Sense Media, nearly half of the adults surveyed said that their children exhibited addictive behavior in their use of a smartphone. But parents were split on whether or not new technologies are actually harming the mental health of children. As this chart by Statista shows, 50% of the parents surveyed were worried about their child's smartphone use and its effect on their mental health.
However, parents were far more in agreement when it came to determining whose responsibility it is to curb a child's cellphone use: 89% said that it was up to parents to decide when their kids have spent enough time on a device. 
Chart of the day

SEE ALSO: Apple and Samsung have very different philosophies when it comes to courting smartphone customers Apple and Samsung have very different philosophies when it comes to courting smartphone customers

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Elon Musk's The Boring Company sold out of these $500 flamethrowers

'They seem to actually care if we make money': Media companies are falling back in love with Twitter

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 01:13 PM PST

Screen Shot 2018 02 26 at 4.10.18 PM

  • In light of Facebook's algorithm shift, media companies increasingly see Twitter as a more attractive distribution partner.
  • Not only is Twitter well suited to news content, but it's seen as a rare tech platform that seeks equitable deals with publishers and understands their business.
  • Still, media executives are somewhat concerned that their Twitter champion – former COO Anthony Noto – has departed. They're hoping his pro-media strategy remains.

As many media and marketing executives were in the midst of navigating their way home from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month, the news broke. Facebook was dropping the hammer on publishers, by de-emphasizing what it considered "passive" content.

Almost immediately, some publishers heard from senior Twitter leadership. Their message: we're there for you.

Like an overlooked but secretly beautiful best friend in a 1980s teen movie, media companies, particularly news brands, are starting to realize that even as they've chased Facebook's love, Twitter's been right their under their noses the whole time.

And while every digital platform has its strengths and weaknesses, Twitter is seen as a rare Silicon Valley company that understands, and even – gasp – likes the media and advertising business. 

Increasingly, media companies say that Twitter has found a sweet spot as a true programmer with a unique strength in live video. And more importantly, it's a reliable revenue producer known for making balanced, high upside revenue deals. That stands in stark contrast with Facebook, which has angered many in the media industry by constantly jerking around partners – or failing to treat content companies as partners at all.

While some in the media industry worry that they've just lost their top champion at Twitter in recently departed COO Anthony Noto, who was named CEO of the digital bank Sofi just after CES, most are cautiously optimistic, while still eyeing most overtures from tech platforms with a wary eye.

Starting to build a sizable web video lineup

Last spring, Twitter delivered a big sales presentation during the Newfronts, an annual week-plus long parade of pitches from web video content companies seeking advertisers, for the first time. It's meant to be digital media's answer to the broadcast networks' yearly rollout of their fall shows for the ad community.

When Twitter's name popped up on the Newfront schedule, some snickered. Does that mean the NewFronts are over?

Yet Twitter's video output and list of partners continues to surge. Yes, there are plenty of random live feeds from professional lacrosse games and the like. But over the past few months the company has inked deals with Time Inc. (now part of Meredith Corp) to host PeopleTV, as well as Bloomberg's ambitious live news channel TicToc. According to Digiday that network is already pulling in 750,000 viewers a day.

Those projects join the likes of fast growing business network Cheddar – a Twitter stalwart– as well as BuzzFeed's daily morning show AM to DM. "They know they have something with live," said one media source. "It plays to their strengths."

Overall, Twitter says it streamed over 1,100 live events during the fourth quarter of last year, while announcing 22 new live streaming deals. Already this year, the company has launched or announced 20 more such partnerships, said Matt Derella, Twitter's vice president of global revenue and operations. "The quarter's only half over, so that really signals the momentum we have," he told Business Insider.

'They seem to care if we actually make money'

Amongst a sea of content deals with giant platforms that don't always feel favorable to those that make content, Twitter's approach stands out for being deliberately equitable – particularly compared to Facebook's take-it-or-leave it negotiating style and string of fits and starts (see: Facebook Live really matters. No it doesn't).

Of course, every content deal between media companies and tech platforms is different. As insiders explained, some content pacts resemble TV in their structure, in that the tech company pays a set per-episode fee upfront.

This theoretically allows a media company to aim for a higher level of production – but the profit margins are thin and the upside limited (especially if the platform secures ownership of the show), insiders say.

On the other end of the spectrum, say media executives, are revenue share deals without any guarantees. These arrangements have been common on Facebook, which has cycled through various ad initiatives for video (from 'suggested videos' to mid-roll ads on Facebook Watch). 

"It's basically cross your fingers and hope the model kicks in," said one digital media veteran.

Twitter has found a solid hybrid model. The company will partially fund some projects upfront, say insiders, so that media partners can aim high in terms of quality.

But then, media firms can make a lot more money if their shows succeed, since they often control future ad sales. "There is still plenty of upside," said a top media executive.

As one media executive put it, "They seem to care if we actually make money." Not to mention that the media and ads business is still driven by relationships, which Twitter seems to care about.

"What I've found from Twitter, especially through launching TicToc, is that there is an openness at the senior level to work with us, collaborate with us to do something bold," said M. Scott Havens, global head of digital, Bloomberg Media. "There was support throughout the entire process and an openness to create and build a product that is mutually beneficial for both sides." 

unnamed 3

Twitter's Derella said that approach comes from working with content partners on ad revenue deals for over five years, starting with ad-supported college football highlights delivered to Twitter via ESPN in 2012.

"We are very much in tune with what their needs are," said Derella of media partners. "We want to help them grow their reach and help them build their business. We are laser-focused on that."

Last week, Twitter announced that payouts to publishers on Twitter were up 60% in 2017.

Over time, "we've aimed to be fair and rational in our deals," he added. "That's served us incredibly well."

There are plenty of other options, and lots of uncertainty

Of course, Twitter is far from the only game in town. And it's user base, while sizable at 300 million monthly users, has seemingly plateaued, and is not nearly at large as Facebook, YouTube, or even Instagram.

If anything is certain when it comes to which tech giant is viewed as best catering to media companies, it's that things change fast. For example, on Friday, Bloomberg reported that YouTube was sending mixed signals about its original content strategy. Meanwhile, Snap is ramping up its video series output.

Regardless, the fallout from Facebook's algorithm shift has been evident. Witness Vox Media's decision to lay off 50 staffers last week, which was driven by a shift away from news feed video.

At the same time, while Facebook's vacillations have infuriated many, it continues to ink programming deals for Facebook Watch. And digital publishing executives rave about Instagram's potential for content.

What's helping Twitter right now, in the eyes of media executives, is that it's made for news. While it hasn't been spared by trolls or fake news, its audience is generally there to read and watch, not see baby pictures.

"It's a better place for content in the first place," said one media veteran.

Discovery is a obstacle

Here's a challenge nearly every Twitter media partner brings up: discovery. With all these original live shows flooding people's already noisy Twitter feeds, it's not easy for people to discover these shows. Of course, the same could be said for finding shows on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or anyplace else on the web.

Media partners and Twitter both have to work to make sure that consumers make watching live shows a habit, and not a happenstance.

One key tactic so far, according to media executives: featuring people with big social media followings on your show. It's a strategy you see BuzzFeed and Cheddar employing all the time.


Derella said that Twitter is actively working on helping people find live videos by promoting them in prominent sections of the Twitter product, including its "Happening Now" feature, which showcases prominent tweets about events like the Olympics, and also it Explore tab.

Over time, the hope is that each individual sees more of the kind of shows he or she will be interested in, rather than everyone getting the same flood of videos. "We wanted to develop a very personalized experience," he said. "That's the organizing principle."

What happens after Noto?

Former COO Noto was seen as Twitter's big dealmaker. He'd personally connect with media company CEOs and business development executives. And he'd show his face at major industry events like CES and the Cannes advertising festival.

Now that he's gone, media executives are hoping that Twitter's strategy stays intact. While it's hard to get a read on CEO Jack Dorsey – who most ad industry executives don't know – insiders are cautiously optimistic.

"That team is still intact," said a partner.

Todd Swidler, who leads Twitter's live video team, is well regarded. When Noto announced his move, the company said that Derella will continue to lead Twitter's ad sales efforts while Kay Madati, who Noto hired last year, is in place to oversee content deals. Both should be in contact with media partners regularly.

Either way, Twitter's place in the web video ecosystem appears solid. The company should have lots to talk about at its second NewFront event in May.

"It's not perfect," said a partner. "But it's worth it. You feel like you're in it together [when you work with Twitter] and the opportunity is much bigger because of it."

"There is a lot of money there."

Join the conversation about this story »

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Two of the most powerful people in media are building a case against Facebook and Google — and a war is brewing (FB, GOOG)

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 01:10 PM PST

jeff zucker

  • The heads of CNN and News Corp have both spoken out against the power Facebook and Google have over digital media.
  • On Monday, CNN president Jeff Zuckerberg said the government should look at Facebook and Google's monopoly power. News Corp executive chairman Rupert Murdoch said in January that Facebook should pay media companies for content they post to the site.
  • The comments hint at a war brewing between the interests of Big Media and Big Tech.

If CNN President Jeff Zucker's comments on Monday are anything to go by, Big Media is taking on Big Tech.

Over the last few years, smaller, digital-native companies have had to grapple with the changing whims of Big Tech platforms run by Facebook and Google. Small adjustments in the Facebook News Feed or Google search algorithms can have an outsized, disastrous impact on those smaller firms. 

For example: Just last week, Vox Media, which publishes sites like Racked, The Verge, and SB Nation, laid off 50 staffers, mostly from departments working on native social media. It was the latest sign of turmoil as digital media companies grapple with big, tech-driven shifts in the industry.

But this year, traditional media companies have started to wake up to the power and influence of the Big Tech platforms as they try to transition to digital. Speaking at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) event in Barcelona on Monday, CNN President Jeff Zucker said the government should look into the monopoly power Google and Facebook have over certain industries.

“Everyone is looking at whether these combinations of AT&T and Time Warner or Fox and Disney pass government approval and muster. The fact is nobody for some reason is looking at these monopolies that are Google and Facebook. That’s where the government should be looking, and helping to make sure everyone else survives. I think that’s probably the biggest issue facing the growth of journalism in the years ahead," Zucker said during his MWC speech, according to Variety.

(AT&T is currently in a legal battle with the DOJ over its acquisition of Time Warner, which owns CNN. Disney is in the process of buying most of 21st Century Fox.)

Zucker's comments mirrored those made by News Corp executive chairman Rupert Murdoch last month. In a statement, Murdoch said Facebook should adopt a model that pays content producers, just like cable companies pay networks to carry their content. Murdoch's statement also blasted Facebook's fake news problem.

"Facebook and Google have popularized scurrilous news sources through algorithms that are profitable for these platforms but inherently unreliable," Murdoch said.

The comments from Zucker and Murdoch this year are the clearest signs yet that large media organizations are building a case against digital giants like Facebook and Google, which take in the vast majority of digital advertising dollars.

The defensive statements come with good reason. It turns out they're no more immune to Big Tech's influence on media than their small, digital-only counterparts — and they're starting to feel the ill effects. Earlier this month, CNN laid off a few dozen staffers and restructured its digital business. CNN's media correspondent wrote that the layoffs were "symptomatic of problems throughout the digital media marketplace."

That digital marketplace is dominated by Facebook and Google, with little room for established Big Media players like CNN and Fox News to break through.

It's happening slowly, but it is starting to sound like a war is brewing between media and tech.

SEE ALSO: There's one way to hold tech companies hostage and fix the spread of hoaxes, conspiracy theories, and misinformation

Join the conversation about this story »

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The way you think about your job interview could be sabotaging your chances right from the start

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 12:44 PM PST

job interview questions

  • You don't have to fear difficult job-interview questions.
  • It's possible to re-frame the question and provide an anecdote that showcases your strengths. 
  • Great questions to reframe include past challenges with clients and what your last boss might have to say about you. 

If you're worried about "hard" questions in your next job interview, don't be.

Instead, career expert and resume writer Andrea Gerson says you should think about the job interview as a chance to tell the story you want to tell. She told Business Insider that you can bend the interviewer's questions to suit your purposes by preparing ahead of time, instead of stressing about which questions will come your way.

"Most people think that they go into the interview and that they are at the mercy of whatever question the interviewer throws at them, so they feel like they have to answer the question as it is posed or framed," said Gerson.

"But really, what I advise to my clients is that each interview question is a chance for them to tell a story that highlights an accomplishment or a strength that they have," she said.

You do this by providing an anecdote that not only offers the insight you want to convey, but also answers the question being asked. 

Questions such as "Who's the most challenging client you've had to work with?" and "What would your last boss say about you?" provide you with the perfect opportunity to demonstrate your strengths with a personal story. 

These questions "become the perfect canvas for narrative examples that showcase a winning moment in a person's career, while minimizing the need to think on one's feet," said Gerson.

Other common interview questions that could potentially be re-framed include:

  • Why do you want to leave your current company?
  • What can you offer us that someone else cannot?
  • Why should we hire you?

Gerson advises her clients to brainstorm various anecdotes in order to make the most of these questions. In fact, she will help them come up with a list of about five solid stories that can highlight where a person either succeeded or developed. 

"That way, once they have some solid answers, they can practice tweaking each answer to each particular question," she said.

However, showcasing your strengths is different from spinning your answers. Interviewers want to get to know the real you — and it does neither of you a favor to misrepresent your interests, talents, and accomplishments.

Janelle Gale, VP of Human Resources at Facebook, told Business Insider's Aine Cain that she isn't interested in know-it-alls, and asks specific questions to weed out people who think they're the smartest in the room, such as "What would you have done differently?" or "What did you learn in the process?"

"If someone hesitates for a really long time and can't come up with an answer, or if they spin it so that what they learned actually makes them look good, that tells me that they are closed off to learning," Gale said.

In an interview, she told Business Insider, she wants to hear about some difficulties, and she wants to see "a level of vulnerability and reflection, as well as a strong demonstration of intellectual curiosity."

In other words, she isn't looking for you to be perfect — she's looking for you to want to get better.

SEE ALSO: The best question to ask in a job interview can tell you more than you think

DON'T MISS: The biggest résumé mistake makes recruiters cringe and hiring managers dismiss you immediately

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The secret to Steve Jobs' and Elon Musk's success, according to a former Apple and Tesla executive

One of the best incentives to buy a Tesla will start to disappear this year (TSLA)

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 12:22 PM PST

Tesla Model 3

  • In an SEC report filed on Friday, Tesla said it expects to deliver its 200,000th vehicle in the US this year, which means the federal government will start phasing out a tax credit the company's customers receive when they buy the vehicle. 
  • The federal government gives people who buy electric vehicles a tax credit between $2,500 and $7,500, but once a company sells 200,000 electric vehicles in the US, the tax credit begins to phase out.
  • The loss of the tax credit will hurt demand for Tesla's Model 3, which was designed to appeal to consumers who can't afford the company's Model S sedan and Model X SUV.

Tesla expects to deliver its 200,000th vehicle in the US this year, which means the federal government will start phasing out a tax credit the company's customers receive.

The federal government gives people who buy electric vehicles a tax credit between $2,500 and $7,500, depending on the vehicle's size and battery capacity. As Tesla wrote in an annual report filed with the US Securities and Exchange Committee on Friday, its customers get the full $7,500. But once a company sells 200,000 electric vehicles in the US, the tax credit begins to phase out.

For the six months following the quarter in which the 200,000th vehicle is sold, customers are eligible for 50% of the credit. That falls to 25% during the six months after that. Once the second six-month period ends, the company's customers are no longer eligible for that tax credit.

No company has had the tax credit phased out yet, so Tesla could be the first if its projections are correct. In the filing, the company said it expects to reach 200,000 vehicle deliveries to US customers in 2018. 

Losing the tax credit will hurt demand for the Model 3

Since customers don't get to access the tax credit until they receive their vehicle, the vast majority of those responsible for the Model 3's roughly 400,000 pre-orders won't be eligible for it. That could lead some potential customers to decide they don't want the vehicle and ask for a refund on their $1,000 deposit. 

The Model 3 is Tesla's least expensive vehicle to date (it starts at $35,000), so many of its potential customers are more price-sensitive than those who could afford to pay upwards of $100,000 for a Model S sedan or Model X SUV. Losing a $7,500 discount is significant for the average consumer, and combined with the fact that Tesla hasn't come close to its production targets for the Model 3, some potential customers who would have bought the vehicle with the tax credit and a somewhat timely delivery will do the math and look elsewhere.

The number of consumers who make that decision will go a long way toward determining whether Tesla can transition from a luxury automaker to a mass-market one.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

SEE ALSO: One of Tesla's biggest advantages could become its biggest problem

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's what Apple's battery-slowing controversy means for iPhone sales

6 reasons you should buy last year's Galaxy S8 instead of the new Galaxy S9

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 11:33 AM PST

Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy S9

The Galaxy S9 is officially here — and it's not much different from last year's Galaxy S8.

Samsung's newest flagship phone was announced Sunday and will arrive in stores March 16.

The Galaxy S9 features some exciting upgrades — notably a powerful, innovative camera and a faster processor — but it's not a major upgrade from last year's model. In fact, the Galaxy S8 is still an excellent phone that may even be worth buying instead of the S9.

Here are six reasons to consider the Galaxy S8 over the newer Galaxy S9.

SEE ALSO: The Echo Spot is the only Amazon device with a tiny, round screen — and that's both the best and worst thing about using it

1. The Galaxy S9 Plus is more expensive.

It's slightly cheaper to buy the new Galaxy S9 through Samsung compared with last year's Galaxy S8. The S9 starts at $720, whereas the S8 starts at $725.

That said, if you want the larger "plus" model of the phone, it's the other way around. The Galaxy S9 Plus starts at $840, while the S8 Plus starts at $825.

For that extra money, you're getting an upgraded camera, increased RAM, and a slightly bigger battery (which should equate to more battery life, though we haven't tested the device yet). It's not a huge difference in price, but you can save a bit and get a nearly identical experience by going with last year's model.

2. The Galaxy S9 has the same screen as the Galaxy S8 in terms of size and resolution.

When it comes to the screen on the Galaxy S9, you're not getting an upgrade in size or resolution.

Just like the Galaxy S8, the Galaxy S9 has a 5.8-inch Amoled display and an 18:9 aspect ratio. The Galaxy S9 Plus has a 6.2-inch Amoled display and an 18:9 aspect ratio, same as the S8 Plus.

Visually, you'll experience no difference between these phones.

3. The Galaxy S9's design is nearly identical to the Galaxy S8's.

There aren't many major design differences between the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S9.

Both phones feature a reflective glass back, an aluminum strip along the edge, and a rear fingerprint sensor — though Samsung shifted the S9's sensor to below the camera rather than next to it, which should be slightly more intuitive and comfortable.

There are, however, a few slight changes in size and weight. The Galaxy S9 is heavier than the Galaxy S8 (163 grams versus 155 grams) as well as a bit shorter and wider.

Otherwise, the two phones are almost exactly the same from the outside.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

These are the 11 types of Russian military jets and planes known to be stationed in Syria

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 11:32 AM PST

Su-24 Russia

Israeli satellites on Saturday revealed two Russian Su-57s at its Hmeimim air base in Syria. 

A Russian official said the Su-57s were deployed to the war-torn country as a deterrent "for aircraft from neighboring states, which periodically fly into Syrian airspace uninvited."

Additional satellite images from July 2017 also showed 10 other kinds of Russian jets and planes, 33 aircraft altogether, stationed at its air base in Latakia.

There's probably, however, more than 33, as some jets and aircraft could have been conducting sorties or flying elsewhere when the images were taken.

Moscow first sent fighter jets to Syria in 2015 to help the Assad government, which is a large purchaser of Russian arms. In the last few months, Russia and the Syrian regime have increased bombing runs in Idlib and Eastern Ghouta, killing, injuring and displacing thousands of civilians. 

Here are the 11 kinds of military jets and planes Russia has in Syria now:

SEE ALSO: Russia just got a new batch of Su-34 fighter jets — here's what they can do

NOW READ: 15 photos of the MiG-31, the Russian fighter jet that can chase away SR-71 Blackbirds

1. Su-57

The Israeli satellite images showed two Su-57s at Hmeimim air base.

The Su-57 is Russia's first fifth-generation stealth jet, but they are only fitted with the AL-41F1 engines, the same engine on the Su-35, and not the Izdelie-30 engine, which is still undergoing testing. 

2. Su-24

The satellite images from July showed 11 Su-24 Fencers, but that number might now be 10, since one Fencer crashed in October, killing both pilots.

The Su-24 is one of Russia's older aircraft and will eventually be replaced by the Su-34, but it can still carry air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, as well as laser-guided bombs.


3. Su-25

The July satellite images showed three Su-25 Frogfoots.

The Frogfoot is another of Russia's older attack aircraft. It's designed to make low-flying attack runs and is comparable to the US's legendary A-10 Warthog. 

Su-25s had flown more than 1,600 sorties and dropped more than 6,000 bombs by March 2016, just six months after their arrival in Syria.  

One Su-25 was also shot down by Syrian rebels and shot the pilot before he blew himself up with a grenade in early February 2017.


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Canon’s newest camera solves one of the biggest problems with standalone cameras in the age of smartphones

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 11:16 AM PST

Canon M50

  • Canon just released the M50, its newest mirrorless camera (and the first one to shoot video in 4K) with a number of user-friendly features. 
  • One of those features lets users stream photos directly to their phones without prompting the transfer or relying on a WiFi network.
  • This new feature is Canon's attempt to make standalone cameras more appealing in the age of smartphones.


Standalone cameras have had a hard time staying relevant as smartphones keep getting better and better, especially at producing professional-looking photos and videos.

Smartphone cameras may have fewer capabilities and produce lower-quality images than standalone cameras (for now), but phones make it incredibly easy to edit and share your photos on social media or messaging applications just moments after you take them.

The M50, Canon's latest mirrorless camera and the first one to shoot video in 4K, addresses this disconnect between smartphone cameras and standalone cameras by instantly streaming photos to users' phones via the Canon app.

Previously, the app could only pull pictures from the camera one at a time, and only when both devices (camera and phone) were connected to WiFi. The limited capabilities made for a pretty archaic experience, which was terribly frustrating for anyone who wanted to experiment with the the added benefits of a standalone camera — a higher megapixel count, stronger zoom, minimal glare — and then quickly share those results on Instagram or Facebook. 

For the average photographer, it became easier to rely on, say, an iPhone camera, than Canon's superior cameras (like its mirrorless 24.2-megapixel M5 camera it released in 2016), even if some quality or control was lost in the process. But with the new M50 camera, standalone camera owners can roam around with lenses on their necks without the headache of transferring images to be shared later.

Nikon actually beat Canon to the punch in 2016 when it released SnapBridge on its D500. SnapBridge allowed for automatic uploads between Nikon cameras and Bluetooth-supported devices they were connected to, but it wasn't a perfect experience at launch (a "2.0" version has since released). Hopefully both Nikon and Canon continue to enhance their apps, and keep standalone cameras alive by making the user experience easier for hobbyists. 

SEE ALSO: RED announced its $1,200 smartphone is coming this summer — take a look at all its futuristic technologies

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THE CHATBOT MONETIZATION REPORT: Sizing the market, key strategies, and how to navigate the chatbot opportunity (FB, AAPL, GOOG)

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 11:03 AM PST

bii chatbots_users

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Improving artificial intelligence (AI) technology and the proliferation of messaging apps — which enable users and businesses to interact through a variety of mediums, including text, voice, image, video, and file sharing — are fueling the popularity of chatbots.

These software programs use messaging as an interface through which to carry out various tasks, like checking the weather or scheduling a meeting. Bots are still nascent and monetization models have yet to be established for the tech, but there are a number of existing strategies — like "as-a-service" or affiliate marketing — that will likely prove successful for bots used as a tool within messaging apps.

Chatbots can also provide brands with value adds — services that don't directly generate revenue, but help increase the ability of brands and businesses to better target and serve customers, and increase productivity. These include bots used for research, lead generation, and customer service.

A new report from BI Intelligence investigates how brands can monetize their chatbots by tailoring existing models. It also explores various ways chatbots can be used to cut businesses' operational costs. And finally, it highlights the slew of barriers that brands need to overcome in order to tap into the potentially lucrative market. 

Here are some of the key takeaways: Screen Shot 2016 11 22 at 5.26.40 pm

  • Chatbot adoption has already taken off in the US with more than half of US users between the ages of 18 and 55 having used them, according to exclusive BI Intelligence survey data.
  • Chatbots boast a number of distinct features that make them a perfect vehicle for brands to reach consumers. These include a global presence, high retention rates, and an ability to appeal to a younger demographic.
  • Businesses and brands are looking to capitalize on the potential to monetize the software. BI Intelligence identifies four existing models that can be successfully tailored for chatbots. These models include Bots-as-a-Service, native content, affiliate marketing, and retail sales.
  • Chatbots can also provide brands with value adds, or services that don't directly generate revenue. Bots used for research, lead generation, and customer service can cut down on companies' operational costs.
  • There are several benchmarks chatbots must reach, and barriers they must overcome, before becoming successful revenue generators. 

In full, the report:

  • Explains the different ways businesses can access, utilize, and distribute content via chatbots.
  • Breaks down the pros and cons of each chatbot monetization model.
  • Identifies the additional value chatbots can provide businesses outside of direct monetization.
  • Looks at the potential barriers that could limit the growth, adoption, and use of chatbots and therefore their earning potential.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are several ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
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The 20 cities where Americans work the hardest

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 10:58 AM PST

New York city workaholic hardest working multitasking cities

Americans work a lot.

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Americans logged an average 1,783 hours of work in 2016. That's at least 100 more hours a year than the average worker in other OECD countries like the UK, France, Germany, or Sweden.

And when looking at US census data, that number could be higher, since the average working American logs almost 40 hours a week.

So where do people work the hardest?

To find out, personal-finance site WalletHub recently analyzed and ranked 116 of the most populated cities based on nine metrics related directly or indirectly to work, including average workweek hours, average commute time, and average leisure time per day. To read more about the study's methodology, check out the full report here.

Here's where some of the hardest-working Americans live:

SEE ALSO: The 16 highest-paying jobs for people who want to work less than 40 hours a week

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20. Fort Worth, Texas

Average hours worked per week: 26.8

Average minutes spent commuting to work: 39.9

Average minutes of leisure time in a day: 308

19. Denver

Average hours worked per week: 25.1

Average minutes spent commuting to work: 39.4

Average minutes of leisure time in a day: 318

18. Arlington, Texas

Average hours worked per week: 26.8

Average minutes spent commuting to work: 39.3

Average minutes of leisure time in a day: 308

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

An influential group of doctors says all teens should get screened for depression — here are some of the questions they ask

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 10:57 AM PST

man silhouette alone sunrise sunset

  • In new guidelines released Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all young people over age 12 get screened for depression.
  • Many people, including adults, are not properly diagnosed with depression or other psychiatric diseases.
  • If you believe you or someone you know is suffering from depression, seeing a medical professional should be your first step.

The teens are not alright.

That's the premise behind a new recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics, one of the largest groups of doctors of its kind. In its new guidelines, released Monday and published in the journal Pediatrics, the group says all young people over the age of 12 should be screened for depression every year — potentially as part of their annual check-up.

The statistics suggest that the group is onto something important.

Only about half of all young people who have depression are diagnosed before they become adults, and as many as two-thirds of adolescents with depression do not get treated. Those numbers are not that different for adults: Of the roughly one in five Americans with anxiety, depression, or another psychiatric disease, close to two-thirds are estimated to have gone at least a year without treatment.

"It's a huge problem," psychiatrist Rachel Zuckerbrot, the lead author behind the guidelines and an associate professor at Columbia University, told National Public Radio.

And it appears to be getting worse.

Between 2010 and 2015, the number of American teens who frequently experienced high levels of depressive symptoms like joylessness rose 33%, according to a 2017 study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science. The same study suggested that deaths by suicide among teenagers went up 31%.

In 2011, for the first time in more than two decades, suicide began killing more teenagers than homicide.

The new guidelines emphasize the need to identify young people who are at higher risk of developing depression than their peers. These are adolescents who may have experiences of trauma or substance abuse, have experienced depression previously, or have a family member with a history of depression or another psychiatric disease.

The best way to identify someone with depression typically involves asking them a series of questions, which are usually given either on paper or electronically on a tablet.

But many people — not just teens — have trouble identifying that they are depressed. So the questions are often designed to get at symptoms of depression, which can include trouble sleeping, a lack of appetite, or a disinterest in doing things that once brought the person pleasure (like hanging out with friends, going to a regular fitness class, or cooking).

Here's an example of some of the questions featured on one of the most widely used depression screenings, which you can access via the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Many questions assess how frequently a person experiences potential symptoms  — from "not at all" to "nearly every day."

depression screening questions

Importantly, these questions aren't exhaustive.

Even with these surveys, some people without depression are wrongly diagnosed and given medications they don't need. Other times people with depression go undiagnosed and don't get the right treatment (this appears to be the predominant issue).

If you're concerned that you or a young person in your life may have depression or another psychiatric disease, going to a physician or doctor should be the first step.

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SEE ALSO: Psychedelic drugs could tackle depression in a way that antidepressants can't

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A Goldman Sachs-backed tech company just bought a major crypto exchange for a reported $400 million

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 10:57 AM PST


  • Fintech company Circle announced it bought cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex. 
  • The company plans to scale the exchange and host a platform for all sorts of tokenized assets. 

Boston-based financial-technology company Circle just dove deeper into the nascent digital-coin market by scooping up cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex, the company announced Monday. 

The acquisition, which is reportedly worth $400 million according to Fortune's Robert Hackett, appears to be a natural move for the five-year-old company, which already facilitates cryptocurrency trades worth upwards of a couple hundred million dollars via its market-making arm Circle Trade.

The deal likely makes Circle a unicorn (if it wasn't already). In July 2016 - before the bitcoin boom of 2017 - Circle was valued at $480 million. A unicorn is a private company worth more than a $1 billion. Notably, Circle counts investment bank Goldman Sachs as a a strategic backer. 

Circle plans to build out Poloniex, a crypto exchange that sees $150 million worth of crypto change hands each day.

Circle's cofounders - Sean Neville and Jeremy Allaire - said in a blog post the firm plans to bring the exchange to new markets, add the number of coins on its platform, and enable fiat-to-crypto transactions.

Also in the works, is Circle Invest, a mobile application built specifically for new crypto investors. 

Circle's first priority, however, will be scaling the exchange. That includes tackling customers support requests and technical issues. Neville said the company will do this "while the train is running" and expects zero down time. 

As for Circle's long-term vision for Poloniex, the company expects to create a diverse marketplace, hosting tokens representing assets from art to real estate to futures. Already, the company hosts close to one hundred "alt-coins," or alternative cryptos, in addition to more popular ones like bitcoin, ether, and litecoin

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Apple confirms that it's a Google Cloud customer — and it's a big victory for Google cloud boss Diane Greene (MSFT, GOOG, GOOGL, AAPL)

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 10:48 AM PST

Diane Greene

  • Buried deep in a document intended for developers and IT professionals, Apple has publicly acknowledged that it uses Google Cloud Platform.
  • It's been widely known since 2016 that Apple uses both Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud to power its iCloud service. Apple has never confirmed it publicly, though. 
  • This is a sweet moment for Google's cloud boss Diane Greene, who has been trying to show the world how many big customers Google has nabbed for its cloud.

Apple has finally admitted to the world that it uses services from Google Cloud to power iCloud, its cloud backup and storage system for iPad, iPhone, and Mac. This is a sweet victory for Google's cloud boss, Diane Greene.

The admission came as a single reference to the Google Cloud Platform, buried deep in a document, written by Apple that outlines the security features of iOS 11 for developers and IT professionals. The reference to Google was first spotted by CNBC's Jordan Novet.

News that Apple turned to Google to help it with its massive cloud storage needs originally broke back in 2016, though Apple had never publicly confirmed the news. At the time, some analysts estimated that Apple was spending $1 billion a year with Amazon, and that Apple's contract with Google was likely between $400 million and $600 million a year.

The revelatory document is regularly updated. The newest iteration, published in January, says that Apple iCloud uses Google Cloud Platform, as well as Amazon Web Service's S3 storage service, to store encrypted chunks of an iPhone or iPad's backed-up files, like contacts, calendars, photos, documents, and more.

In other words, all the stuff that people backup to iCloud is really being sent to Amazon's and Google's clouds. (Side note: Apple couldn't bring itself to mention "Amazon" in the document. It merely mentions "S3," but Apple couldn't get away without mentioning Google's cloud, because the product's official name is Google Cloud Platform.)

Another thing that Novet points out: Microsoft Azure is now missing in this document from the list of cloud services that Apple uses, though it had been mentioned in the past. Microsoft declined to comment on the document, or if Apple remains a customer.

Given the heated smartphone competition between Apple iOS and Google's Android, we imagine that Apple must grit its teeth when writing that check to Google every month.

On the other hand, Google's Greene has been handed a gift with this public acknowledgement.

She has for years been insisting that Google has been winning big customers, even if the search giant can't always disclose them publicy. Moreover, she's said, her team wins lots of cloud deals over Amazon and Microsoft. Google, too, has invested in technology to make its cloud work nicely with Amazon's and Microsoft's.

Still, Apple loves secrecy, so she's never been able to tout up this deal — until now.

This is such a sweet win for Google that it has already inspired a Internet meme making the rounds.

Apple Google Cloud Scooby Doo

SEE ALSO: Employees at $93 billion Qualcomm brace for layoffs after Apple sparks a boardroom battle — it's straight out of 'Game of Thrones'

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Netflix hits a record high — and it's the best performing FAANG stock this year (NFLX)

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:49 AM PST

netflix ceo reed hastings

  • Netflix hit a record high Monday.
  • Netflix is part of the 'FAANG' stocks, which are outperforming the S&P this year.
  • Netflix is outperforming the FAANGs.

Netflix hit a record high above $295 a share Monday, giving the company a market cap of about $127 billion.

Shares of the video-streaming company have gained momentum following a solid fourth-quarter earnings report  and the announcement of a $300 million deal with "Glee "and "American Horror Story" producer Ryan Murphy

The company's negative free cash flow also doesn't seem to be a concern for investors as Netflix's subscriber base and revenue growth continue to impress. Investors are expecting positive cash flow to come soon. 

FAANG stocks, of which Netflix is a member, have been outperforming the broader market this year. They have yielded a return of more than 18% in 2018, far better than the S&P 500's 2.8% gain, according to Bespoke Investment Group. 

While FAANG members Alphabet and Facebook are down slightly after the stock market's correction, Netflix shares have rallied 6%. 

Netflix is the top-performing FAANG stock in 2018, having gained 45.45% year-to-date. Meanwhile, Amazon (+27.96%) is the only other member of the group currently sporting a double-digit percentage gain this year, but Alphabet (+5.39%), Apple (+3.64%) and Facebook (+1.49%) are all trading higher. 


Screen Shot 2018 02 26 at 12.12.54 PM


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Chrissy Teigen jokingly flew with an 'emotional support casserole' and made a point about how bizarre the debate over support animals on planes has become (AAL)

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:38 AM PST

chrissy teigen

  • Chrissy Teigen brought an "emotional support casserole" on an American Airlines flight on Saturday.
  • Teigen documented herself cooking the casserole, asking American and TSA if she could bring it on her flight, and carrying it through airport security.
  • Teigen has written a cookbook, Cravings, and is working on its sequel.

Airline carry-on rules can be confusing, so Chrissy Teigen went on Twitter this weekend to ask if she could bring her "emotional support casserole" on an American Airlines flight. After checking with the Twitter accounts for American and the Transportation Security Administration, she received permission.

Chrissy Teigen

"If I don’t have a carry-on, can I bring a large ceramic casserole dish of scalloped potatoes on the plane? I am not kidding, is this okay? Is it too blunt/heavy an object? I’ll cry if they throw it away," she wrote on Twitter.

chrissy teigen emotional support casserole

"That's a good question, Christine! Scalloped potatoes are allowed in carry-on and checked bags. You can place them in a ceramic casserole dish," the TSA's customer service account replied.


Teigen documented herself cooking the casserole, asking if she could bring it on her flight, and carrying it through airport security.

"We made it!" she wrote after the casserole made its way through security. 


While Teigen gained fame as a model, she has written a cookbook, Cravings, and is working on its sequel. She has posted dishes she's made and shared cooking tips on her Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Teigan jokingly bringing an "emotional support casserole" comes at a time when airlines have faced controversy around how they handle emotional support animals

Delta and United Airlines have introduced revised policies, but recent incidents, including a dog that bit a passenger, an emotional support peacock that was denied boarding, and a customer who claimed she was encouraged to flush her hamster down the toilet, have shown how quickly an emotional support animal can become a public-relations disaster.

So while Teigen's request didn't involve an animal, her use of the words "emotional support" to describe her casserole may have put American Airlines on edge. 




SEE ALSO: Airlines want to start charging customers based on who they are — and it means everyone could be paying drastically different prices

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CRYPTO INSIDER: Wall Street is terrified of cryptocurrencies

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:03 AM PST

Fearless Girl

Welcome to Crypto Insider, Business Insider’s roundup of all the bitcoin and cryptocurrency news you need to know today. Sign up here to get this email delivered direct to your inbox.

Wall Street is terrified of cryptocurrencies, and Bank of America's latest regulatory filing shows just how scared they are. The bank mentioned cryptocurrencies three times in the risks section of its prospectus, saying it could undermine many of the firm's core businesses if it can't keep up with innovation.

Here are the current crypto prices:

Crypto prices today

In the news:

SEE ALSO: South Korea's defense ministry is taking steps to keep soldiers from getting caught up in the cryptocurrency frenzy

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Move over, Prada: Millennials can't get enough of Koio, an Italian sneaker company that sells luxury shoes for a fraction of the cost

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 09:02 AM PST


What do millennials want from their footwear?

It's a question that Johannes Quodt and Chris Wichert have explored ever since they booked a one-way ticket to Italy in 2014 with the quest of creating a shoe tailored to the taste of today's up-and-comers.

Millennials, Quodt and Wichert know, are discerning shoppers. They demand quality from the brands they buy from, but they're also drawn to companies that deliver up authenticity in their business practices and in their products.

In other words, you can't make it on the luxury-sneaker market in the internet age by faking it.

Quodt and Wichert are the extremely German, extremely tall, extremely business-savvy duo behind Koio, a new luxury line of sneakers that's selling premium footwear at a discount. A pair of Koios will run you about $250. For reference, a similar quality of shoe from a designer like Gucci or Prada might cost between $500 and $1,000.

Here's how Koio can sell a premium product at a marginal price and still turn a profit.

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Although the brand recently debuted its first brick-and-mortar location in downtown Manhattan, Koio was created with the express intent of attracting an online following.

In an interview with Business Insider, Johannes Quodt described the importance of embarking on a brand that connects with its customers in the online marketplace.

"It was important for us to start online," Quodt said. "We saw ourselves as 'online first.' We perceived that there's a community of people who value the things we value. People want an attention to detail in design, they want ethical manufacturing. People are looking for a brand that speaks to them."

By cutting out high-priced rents and avoiding wholesale retail, Koio says it is able to offer high-quality shoes at a competitive price.

Try on a pair of Koio shoes, and you'll be impressed by the quality of materials. The brand manufactures its entire line from an exclusive leather-goods maker in Italy.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

If you loved 'Black Panther,' prepare to be disappointed by the rest of 2018's superhero movies

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 08:29 AM PST

black panther

  • "Black Panther" has become a major hit with both audiences and critics.
  • It's different from other superhero movies before it, which may pose challenges for those to come after it.
  • "Black Panther" introduces a unique world with compelling characters. Coming superhero movies seem small by comparison.

The success of Marvel's "Black Panther" means many things for the movie industry: a more balanced release calendar and the possibility that studios will invest more in diverse heroes on-screen, for starters.

It could also spell peril for the rest of the year's still-to-be-released superhero films, as "Black Panther" has raised the bar. If you loved "Black Panther," prepare to be disappointed by coming comic book movies.

There's no doubt that the superhero genre has become oversaturated in the decade since Marvel spearheaded the "cinematic universe" movement and others, like DC and Warner Bros., attempted to follow suit. Just this year we still have "Avengers: Infinity War," "Ant-Man and the Wasp," "Deadpool 2," "X-Men: Dark Phoenix," and "Aquaman" coming.

"Black Panther" poses a challenge for these movies, even the Marvel Studios films that share the same universe. That's not to say these films won't be enjoyable, or that other highly regarded superhero movies from recent years that broke with the genre's norms — like "Logan" and "Deadpool" — are now irrelevant.

But if you loved "Black Panther" for introducing a complex world with prominent nonwhite characters, then it will be hard to feel satisfied with the rest of 2018's offerings.


"Avengers: Infinity War," coming in May, is the culmination of 10 years of buildup. Even the Black Panther himself is featured — but among 20 other major characters. One of the reasons "Black Panther" is so great is its dynamic, fleshed-out supporting cast. Even if "Infinity War" successfully manages to balance its characters, we won't get the same feeling we had while watching "Black Panther."

"Infinity War" is what many people have been waiting for, but it also represents everything that "Black Panther" isn't: a bunch of characters we've seen plenty of times before facing off against a villain who just wants to conquer the universe.

Another underdeveloped mad titan of a villain like Thanos feels especially small compared with the main "Black Panther" villain, Erik Killmonger. As a villain, Killmonger is sympathetic with a crucial backstory and a real purpose that may be morally questionable in execution but thought-provoking in theory. He is such a compelling villain that he prompts the hero's perspective to change by the end of the film. In a post-"Black Panther" Marvel universe, Thanos may not cut it.

The same can be said of another Marvel Cinematic Universe entry this year, "Ant-Man and the Wasp," a movie that now feels as small as its hero compared with "Black Panther." The first "Ant-Man" had the lowest opening gross of any of the MCU movies. With "Black Panther" breaking records, and "Infinity War" coming before it, something tells me the "Ant-Man" sequel will be an afterthought even before it's released.

aquaman justice league

December's "Aquaman" will be the first movie out of the DC extended superhero universe since "Justice League" bombed with both critics and audiences. Aquaman has always been a joke of a character, and it wasn't until recent years that he started being "cool" — but that's only if you read comic books. To general audiences, the only knowledge people have of Aquaman is what they've seen from "Justice League," which drastically underperformed commercially. There's little reason for moviegoers to be excited for his solo outing at this point.

"X-Men: Dark Phoenix" will be the latest film in a franchise with a convoluted timeline that no longer makes any sense. Not to mention, the Dark Phoenix storyline is one that was done just 12 years ago in "X-Men: The Last Stand," albeit poorly. Compared with "Black Panther," it offers nothing unique to look forward to.

As successful as the first film was, "Deadpool 2" is still a sequel. And the first "Deadpool" ignored superhero norms, but it didn't revolutionize the genre. Neither will its sequel.

Not since 2008's "The Dark Knight" has the superhero genre been energized the way it has been for "Black Panther." And not since that film has a superhero movie sparked so much intelligent discussion.

Studios should take the lessons they learned from "The Dark Knight" a decade ago, when Spider-Man and Superman were revamped in darker tones. They should look at what "Black Panther" has taught us about current audience appetite: creativity and diversity win the game.

SEE ALSO: There's a new dilemma in modern romance: What to do if your date doesn't have MoviePass

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