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A Chicago suburb with cheap housing is banking on becoming the next millennial destination

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 01:52 PM PDT

CarCard_Homewood_Strip_3_FINAL 1

  • The Chicago suburb of Homewood, Illinois has launched an ad campaign targeted at millennials.
  • The comic-style campaign by illustrator Marc Alan Fishman bills Homewood as diverse, affordable, and community-oriented.
  • A growing number of Americans under 30 may be ditching the city for the suburbs. However, other urbanism experts refute the trend.

Several recent surveys suggest that American millennials — commonly defined as those born between 1981 and 1996 — are ditching city life for a more quiet existence in the suburbs. While other experts contest whether that's actually true, some suburbs are nevertheless attempting to attract more residents in their 20s and early 30s.

Homewood, Illinois, a suburb about 25 miles south of downtown Chicago, just launched a comic-style ad campaign that tries to do just that. Called "Think Homewood," the campaign bills the town as a neighborly, diverse, and affordable place for millennials to live. It was designed by illustrator and Homewood resident Marc Alan Fishman, and was first spotted by sociologist John Joe Schlichtman who recently wrote about the suburb in The Chicago Tribune

In one comic, a Chicago dad stuck in traffic realizes he forgot avocados for taco night, and exclaims "Frak!" The next panel then shows a Homewood dad (also planning a taco night) who remembers he can just jump in his car and make a quick trip back to the grocery store to retrieve the avocados.

suburb 2

The campaign's characters, like Homewood's residents, are also racially diverse.

Another comic strip features a young group of friends, half of whom live in Homewood. A black woman, sporting a rainbow t-shirt emblazoned with the phrase #LoveGoals, boasts that she can walk to brunch at a farm-to-table restaurant that recently opened near her house. Another woman, who is white, talks about her new spacious house with a yard, a garage, and chickens.

"We've even got one of those crazy things we used to only dream about," she says, with the other woman replying, "A savings account!" They all burst into laughter.

suburb 3

As a millennial, I find the campaign clever and tongue-in-cheek, even though it does employ some cringeworthy stereotypes of my generation, like our supposed love for kombucha, avocados, and art galleries. The comics hint at what American millennials may be looking for in their neighborhoods as they age, suggesting that suburbs of the future may look more urban.

Compared to Chicago, Homewood currently has a much lower percentage of residents in their 20s (18% versus 9%), according to the most recent Census. But campaigns like this one may persuade more Chicago-area millennials to make the move to the 'burbs.

SEE ALSO: Amazon's HQ2 is expected to bring soaring housing prices — here are the cities that could be hit hardest

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A neuroscientist explains why reality may just be a hallucination

SpaceX's president revealed a key element that has made Elon Musk's rocket company so successful

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 01:49 PM PDT

Gwynne Shotwell TED

  • SpaceX, Elon Musk's rocket company, has achieved remarkable success after only a decade.
  • Gwynne Shotwell, the company's president and COO, said at the TED 2018 Conference that part of SpaceX's success has been its ability to design rockets from a "clean sheet of paper."
  • "We really were able to let physics drive the design of these systems," Shotwell said. 

SpaceX is quite literally flying high following the success (and publicity) of its launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket, which is now most powerful operational rocket on Earth. 

At the 2018 TED Conference in Vancouver, Gwynne Shotwell, the president and chief operating officer of SpaceX, took the stage to elaborate on the remarkable feats Elon Musk's rocket company has achieved. 

A key component of SpaceX's success, she said, has been the freedom that engineers there have to design rockets without having to build upon or integrate antiquated systems. As Shotwell described it, rocket scientists have created and constructed their enormous vehicles from a "clean sheet of paper." 

Unlike rocket scientists at NASA and companies like Boeing, SpaceX's engineers didn't have any pre-designed technology that they "had to include" in their rockets, according to Shotwell, who is a mechanical engineer by training.

She went on to explain that SpaceX engineers got to look at the development of the rocket industry to date and pick only the "best ideas and leverage them," without having to design around "legacy components that maybe weren't the most reliable, or were particularly expensive." 

falcon heavy

"We really were able to let physics drive the design of these systems," Shotwell said. "And we got to make decisions that we wanted to make."

As an example, she used the architecture of Falcon Heavy's fuel tanks. "It's a common dome design, basically it's like two beer cans stuck together," she said.

One of the tanks is filled with liquid oxygen, and one with a type of kerosene-based rocket fuel called RP -1. When mixed, the oxygen causes the RP-1 to combust, generating enough power to launch the rockets into space.

The innovative tank design shaved a lot of weight off the system. "It allowed us to basically take more payload for the same design," Shotwell said. 

She was quick to acknowledge, however, that none of SpaceX's success would have been possible without the ability to study the illustrious history of rocket engineering. 

"We're kind of standing on the shoulders of giants," Shotwell said.

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk says SpaceX has 'done everything you can think of' to prepare Falcon Heavy for launch today

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The surprising reason we boil lobsters alive

8 photos of the Tu-160M2, the new long-range super bomber that Russia's answer to the B-1B Lancer

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 01:40 PM PDT

Russia Tu 160M2

Russia announced in late March that it will completely overhaul its entire Tu-160 long-range super bomber fleet by 2030. 

"We are going to purchase the entire fleet of our strategic Tu-160 bombers in their new version and carry out heavy upgrade of operational aircraft where only the fuselage will remain while all the onboard radio-electronic equipment and engines will be replaced," Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said, according to The National Interest

Russia unveiled its new Tu-160M2 Blackjack long-range super bomber in November, which "is a new bomber in all but name," Russian media said at the time, according to The Aviationist.

The new Blackjack is expected to go into mass production in 2021, and therefore its full capabilities are still unknown. 

But here's what we know so far:

SEE ALSO: 13 photos of the Su-57, Russia's first stealth fighter that can outmaneuver the F-22 Raptor

Russia unveiled the new Tu-160M2 White Swan — codenamed Blackjack by NATO — in November 2017.

Source: airforce-technology.com, The Drive


It's an upgrade to the Tu-160M, seen below, which entered Russian service in 2014.

The original Tu-160 below first entered Soviet service in 1987.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A revolutionary veggie burger that sizzles, bleeds, and tastes like real beef is coming to White Castle

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 01:29 PM PDT

White Castle 3

  • White Castle has just introduced the Impossible Slider — a veggie burger that looks and tastes like real beef.
  • The burger patty is made by Silicon Valley startup Impossible Foods, which is on a mission to create a plant-based burger that even meat-lovers enjoy.
  • White Castle's Impossible Slider sizzles on the grill, smells like real beef, and bleeds juices when eaters sink their teeth into it.


A Silicon Valley startup has stormed White Castle.

On Thursday, White Castle will start selling the Impossible Slider — a burger made from plants that "bleeds" and tastes like real beef — in 140 locations across New York, New Jersey, and Illinois.

The veggie burger, which does look and smell like meat, is a product of startup Impossible Foods. Founded in 2011, the venture-backed company wants to reduce the world's dependence on animal agriculture by making a plant-based burger that even meat-lovers want to eat.

The 97-year-old burger chain is the first fast food chain to offer the Impossible Burger. That expansion shows how quickly Impossible Foods is scaling up and the way in which it is capturing more customers outside its progressive base in the San Francisco Bay Area.

While a mushroom or black-bean patty probably won't fool anyone into thinking it's real meat, the Impossible Slider might. It sizzles on the grill and bleeds juices when you sink your teeth into it. The secret ingredient is heme, a molecule found in most living things that gives blood its color, turns meat pink, and lends a beef burger its slightly metallic flavor and savory aroma.

White Castle is serving the slider on a brioche bun and topping it with smoked cheddar cheese, pickles, and onions. A single slider sells for $1.99, and it can be ordered as part of a meal.

"Part of its brand is they're willing to innovate," David Lee, COO of Impossible Foods, said of White Castle.

In 2017, White Castle began serving a seasonal seafood crab cake slider in order to appeal to pescatarians and entice meat-eaters to try a meatless alternative. 

impossible foods burger 0410

The Impossible Slider's debut suggests White Castle is trying to get ahead of a rapidly evolving industry.

Fake meat is a fast-rising food category that could change the way people eat. The world's population is expected to top 9 billion by 2050 — a figure that has some experts worried there won't be enough resources on the planet to support animal agriculture at that scale.

Global sales of plant-based meat grew 6% between late 2016 and late 2017, according to a Nielsen report. Both Whole Foods and Pinterest said in their 2018 food trends reports that plant-based dishes will continue to go mainstream this year.

Silicon Valley startups have sprung up to try to develop meatless foods that people will actually want to eat — such as "chicken" made of soy and pea protein, "eggs" from mung beans, and "tuna" from tomatoes. 

Impossible Foods opened its first large-scale production facility in September, which will eventually allow it to produce 4 million burgers per month. Beyond White Castle, the company's products are available in about 1,300 restaurants nationwide, including "better burger" concepts Fatburger and Umami Burger.

Fast-food giants are likely paying close attention to companies like Impossible Foods, as America's appetite for plant-based meat increases. When asked if consumers could expect to find the Impossible Burger at the In-N-Out burger chain anytime soon, Lee joked that he was optimistic.

"Soon enough, I hope," he said.

SEE ALSO: Generation Z is creating a $5 billion market for fake meat and seafood

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The healthiest things you can get at McDonald's

China's 'bullet train' network is the largest in the world — and it's about to get even bigger

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 12:47 PM PDT

Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link 2

Stretching 15,500 miles, China's "bullet train" network is already the largest in the world. By comparison, the second biggest high-speed rail network — in Spain — measures just 1,926 miles.

But by the end of 2018, China's will get even longer.

China Railway Corp, the country’s government-owned train operator, will soon finish the last phase of the Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link, a high-speed rail line spanning more than 80 miles.

Construction is near complete in Hong Kong, where China is building a 4 million-square-foot station for the new trains, as reported by The Hong Kong Free Press.

While the seven-year, $10.7 billion project is certainly impressive, it has faced much controversy surrounding its cost, its construction delays, and how it could affect Hong Kong's political autonomy.

Take a look below.

SEE ALSO: Trump Tower and other skyscrapers across New York City have a critical design flaw that makes them more dangerous during fires

When complete, the Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link will stretch 88.2 miles and connect Beijing, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen.

Construction began in 2011, and the majority of the line is already in operation. The last phase in Hong Kong will measure about 16 miles long, according to China Daily.

The trains, named the Vibrant Express, can go up to 217 mph. They are equipped with power outlets and wi-fi.

Source: The Hong Free Press

Traveling from Hong Kong to Guangzhou will take under an hour. On China's current intercity trains, the same trip lasts around two hours.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

'There's other s--- in the vial': Bombshell lawsuit claims no one knows exactly what's in a drug that's cost the government over $1 billion

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 12:46 PM PDT

doctor vial

  • Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals' blockbuster drug Acthar has been one of the biggest drug-related expenses for the government's Medicare program. In 2015 alone Medicare spent $500 million on it. 
  • The drug is primarily indicated to treat infantile spasms. Medicare is a program for the elderly.
  • One whistleblower claims that Mallinckrodt has engaged in an elaborate scheme to push the drug on payers, and hide the fact that no one at the company actually knows what's in it.
  • What's more, says the whistleblower, Mallinckrodt couldn't have done it without the help of the biggest pharmacy benefit manager in the country.
  • Mallinckrodt said in a statement: "The company vehemently disagrees with the allegations made in the complaint and intends to vigorously defend itself in this matter."

What if I told you that the government has been shelling out hundreds of millions for a drug for years and no one knows exactly what's in it?

A new lawsuit from a former employee at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals claims exactly that. The drug in question is called Acthar. It costs about $40,000 and is mainly used to treat infantile spasms. 

Somehow, though, the drug has become one of the biggest drug-related expenditures for Medicare, a government health insurance program for old people. In 2015, Medicare spent $500 million on the drug.

The company claims that the drug can be used in 18 other issues, and since Acthar is so old its approval was grandfathered in.

How exactly it came to be such a big spend for the government, though, has been the subject of a ton of inquiry on Wall Street. Short sellers like Kynikos Associates' Jim Chanos and Citron Research's Andrew Left have both bashed Mallinckrodt — Left once challenged the company to test Acthar publicly.

And yet, the price of the drug keeps climbing, government sales continue, and doctors continue to prescribe the drug.

Now, former Mallinckrodt Associate Director Rasvinder Dhaliwal, in a whistleblower lawsuit, claims that is all because of an elaborate scheme perpetrated by Mallinckrodt and Accredo Pharmacy, a mail order pharmacy owned by Express Scripts.

Medicare spending on HP Acthar

The problem with payers

Dhaliwal joined the company in 2014 and was eventually pushed out in 2018. During that period she alleges that senior executives at the firm didn't know what was actually in Acthar.

From the lawsuit (emphasis added):

On October 10, 2014, during a call with Director Niewoehner, he conceded to Ms. Dhaliwal that Acthar is not highly purified ACTH 1-39 as represented to the public.

Director Niewoehner, stated: “So it’s not only ACTH 1-39, there’s these other small ACTH 1-14, ACTH 1-17, ACTH 1-9 all these other smaller fragments of ACTH which we believe helps give Acthar its potency and physiological effects... For your own knowledge, there’s other shit in the vial.”

Dhaliwal's claim is that Mallinckrodt could not answer payers' questions about the drug's efficacy and composition, and it would not share data confirming its efficacy for the 18 — "off-label" — uses that it encourages doctors to prescribe the drug for. 

More from the suit about how little executives knew about the drug (emphasis added):

Executive Director Foster also stated at the September 4th Meeting that if the FDA knew that no one at the Company had information pertaining to the actual ingredients for the drug, the agency could open up the label for review and request that information, indicating that if that were to happen Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals would be shut down.

Further, Executive Director Foster stated at the September 4th Meeting that when Questcor sold the Company to Mallinckrodt, they were provided with the ingredients/recipe in a file that is locked up and can't even be open, due to all of the protections in the file. Executive Director Foster also stated that David Medeiros was the only person who had this information, and was the one that provided the file in this manner. According to Executive Director Foster, if the FDA questioned Mallinckrodt about this information, they would not have an answer, as they would not be able to open the file.

Supervisors at the company allegedly instructed Dhaliwal to "to misrepresent the actual clinical data concerning Acthar in order to alleviate the reimbursement hurdle by government payors to improperly increase Acthar sales, essentially causing the submission of false or fraudulent claims for payment or approval."

Mallinckrodt said in a statement: “The company vehemently disagrees with the allegations made in the complaint and intends to vigorously defend itself in this matter.”

Dhaliwal's supervisors tried to get her to tell payers that Mallinckrodt didn't have the clinical data, and to use a doctor on Mallinckrodt's payroll to craft a statement in support of the drug instead. 

“I’ve used this tactic successfully at Allergan and I believe we should implement it at Questcor," said one executive, according to the suit. "This is a strategy to help us overcome the ‘lack of data’ issue/challenge we are experiencing with payers, especially with Medicare and increase our reimbursement rates."

Mallinckrodt acquired Questcor in 2014.

We should note here that Allergan ended up paying a $600 million fine for promoting Botox for off-label uses. It's something Dhaliwal tried to bring to the attention of her supervisors, and they were not interested.


According to Dhaliwal, Mallinckrodt did not do this alone. Acthar is sold almost exclusively through Accredo Pharmacy, a specialty mail-order pharmacy owned by Express Scripts, the country's largest pharmacy benefit manager.

Dhaliwal claims that Accredo found ways for patients to get around paying their co-pays (illegal for Medicare patients) and that she got complaints that Accredo was stealing client data from other pharmacies. We should note here that Express Scripts is currently being sued by a handful of small pharmacies that accuse it of "stealing" customer information and prescription data with the goal of luring those customers over to Express Scripts' mail-order pharmacy business. The plaintiffs say it has generated "billions of dollars in illegal profits" by doing this.

According to company emails, Accredo was in charge of projecting Acthar sales.

From the lawsuit:

While reviewing various reports for Acthar with Analyst Terhardt, Ms. Dhaliwal inquired how the Company determined “projected vials” for Acthar.

In response, Analyst Terhardt, stated, “so projected vials, we make projections based on information we have about paid referrals. Again, as far as I know we do not have information on all accounts, but on those who go through, if I remember correctly, Accredo, we have this information. So, based on treatment algorithm or diagnosis and patient type there is a formula and David [Okimoto] is still working on this how to make it more accurate, so we project vials because we know that one referral in a, for a certain therapeutic area or disease can generate vials in let’s say current month or prospective month.”

Express Scripts didn't immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment. The company has bashed Acthar's efficacy to investors, but it hasn't stopped selling the drug entirely though it's unclear how much Accredo/Express Scripts could make off of selling Acthar.

Doctors have also bashed the drug. A study conducted by Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine and Oregon State published in the Journal of American Medicine bolsters Dhaliwal's allegation that the company uses paid doctors as cover for its like of data.

The study found that a surge in government spending — ultimately a tenfold increase — on the drug was driven in part by a relatively small group of doctors who were prescribing it heavily (both with more prescriptions per person and with a spike in people being treated with it). And, the study notes, this can't just be explained away by the fact that it may be used on more "severely ill" patients.

"I was shocked for my profession," said Dr. Dennis Bourdette, one of the authors and a professor and chair of neurology at OHSU, told Business Insider following the publication of the findings in JAMA. There's an accompanying — and scathing — editorial, written by Saate Shakil, a doctor at the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine.

"I hold physicians to a higher standard," Bourdette said, noting that some alternatives to Acthar cost 1/50th of the drug's price. "It's a mystery to me why someone would be prescribing the drug."

If what Dhaliwal claims is accurate, then we've solved a big part of the mystery.

Acthar, made of who knows what that does very little, is sold thanks to an elaborate scheme masterminded by individuals at Mallinckrodt, Accredo/Express Scripts, and a few greedy doctors.

Brutal, if true.

SEE ALSO: The biggest healthcare mergers of the year shouldn't happen — period

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How all-you-can-eat restaurants don't go bankrupt

Even one night of bad sleep causes dangerous changes in your brain, a new study found

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 12:44 PM PDT

sleep insomnia brain

  • During the day, mental activity causes brain cells to release beta-amyloid proteins, which are basically waste byproducts. Sleep cleanses the human brain of these toxins.
  • The buildup of these proteins is considered a sign of Alzheimer's Disease.
  • One night of bad sleep can cause these Alzheimer's-related proteins to build up in the human brain, a new study found.

One of the most important things that happens when we drift off at night is a cleansing process: sleep helps remove toxins from the human brain.

Scientists recently found that even one night of sleep deprivation causes the buildup of a kind of protein that's known to make up the plaque that surrounds nerve cells associated with Alzheimer's in the brain.

A new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences demonstrated this effect in the human brain for the first time. The results indicate just how serious chronic sleep deprivation might be over time.

While researchers don't know the exact cause of Alzheimer's disease, they have found that the brains of people with Alzheimer's generally have higher concentrations of beta-amyloid proteins. The proteins make up a plaque that's associated with the disease and is thought to interfere with signaling between brain cells.

In the recent study, the beta-amyloid proteins built up in sleep-deprived participants regardless of whether they had a variant of a gene that's associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer's. That indicates a lack of sleep could play a role independent of genetic risk.

brain scan, human connectome project, fibers

The cleansing effect of sleep

Beta-amyloid proteins are basically waste byproducts from the mental activity brain cells do during the day.

The researchers behind the recent study tested 20 healthy subjects (10 women and 10 men between the ages of 22 and 72) after a good night's rest and after a night of sleep deprivation. They used a technique called positron emission tomography (PET), which is capable of measuring beta-amyloid accumulation in the brain.

The scientists found that even that one night of bad sleep was enough to cause beta-amyloid to collect in some parts of the brain where Alzheimer's biomarkers are known to show up. That happened in subjects regardless of their age or gender.

Unsurprisingly, the researchers also found that sleep deprivation put the participants in a bad mood.

While the number of participants in this study was very small, the results were enough to demonstrate a biological effect. Scientists had previously shown a similar effect in mice and in the cerebrospinal fluid of humans, but it had not been observed in a real human brain until now.

The researchers can't rule out the possibility that the higher levels of beta-amyloid proteins in people's brains were there because they continued to build up as study participants were awake (as opposed to being higher because they hadn't been cleared while asleep). But the net effect is the same: higher levels of Alzheimer's-related proteins in areas of the brain where dangerous plaque is known to build up between cells.

It's almost certainly the case that by getting good sleep, it's possible to make up for the occasional poor night's rest. But chronic bad sleep could potentially cause a bigger problem, since high levels of beta-amyloid plaque amongst brain cells have been shown to make it harder for people to sleep.

That negative spiral could potentially be a cause of Alzheimer's.

There's more to learn here about exactly how the accumulation of beta-amyloid could cause Alzheimer's (and about how well we can clear that protein out). But for now, the researchers suggest that improving your sleep could be a good way to protect brain function and prevent the degenerative brain condition.

SEE ALSO: Bill Gates says it would be a 'tragedy' to pass up a controversial gene-editing tool that can fight diseases and keep people from starving

Join the conversation about this story »

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Costco is inspiring tech CEOs like Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg in one key way (COST)

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 12:36 PM PDT

Costco shopper happy

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's notes for testifying in front of Congress quote a line from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about companies that "work hard to charge you less." 
  • Amazon's strategy of working hard to charge less was reportedly inspired by a 2001 meeting between Bezos and Costco's co-founder. 
  • While tech CEOs have adopted the strategy (and the "Jeffism"), few companies cut prices with greater efficiency than Costco.


Mark Zuckerberg took a note straight out of Costco's playbook while testifying in front of Congress this week.

When photographers managed to capture a photo of the Facebook CEO and founder's private notes on Tuesday, viewers with particularly sharp eyes may have caught a reference to Costco — by way of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. 

"Bezos: 'Companies that work hard to charge you more and companies that work hard to charge you less,'" one of Zuckerberg's bullets reads. 

zuckerberg notes

"At FB, we try hard to charge you less," the following bullet reads. "In fact, we're free." 

The note appears to reference a well-known line from an Amazon earnings call in 2001, first spotted by The Puget Sound Business Journal.

The full quote is: "There are two kinds of retailers: there are those folks who work to figure how to charge more, and there are companies that work to figure out how to charge less, and we are going to be the second, full-stop."

Bezos' line of thinking was apparently inspired by a meeting with Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal in 2001. According to Brad Stone's "The Everything Store," Bezos' meeting with Sinegal inspired the CEO to change Amazon's "incoherent" pricing strategy to match retailers like Walmart and Costco's prices — all the time.

In July, reportedly as a result of the meeting, Amazon announced it would cut prices of books, music, and videos by 20 to 30%. In the earnings call announcing the change, Bezos dropped his "two kinds of retailers" line — a "new Jeffism," Stone writes, "to be repeated over and over ad nauseam for years." 

Zuckerberg has become one of the many Bezos devotees repeating the "Jeffism." 

Mark Zuckerberg Congress

"I thought Jeff Bezos had an excellent saying on this in one of his Kindle launches a number of years back," Zuckerberg said in an interview with Vox's Ezra Klein earlier in April.

"He said, 'There are companies that work hard to charge you more, and there are companies that work hard to charge you less,'" Zuckerberg continued. "And at Facebook, we are squarely in the camp of the companies that work hard to charge you less and provide a free service that everyone can use." 

While tech CEOs have adopted the strategy, few companies "figure out how to charge less" with greater dedication than Costco. The bulk retailer has some of the lowest markups in the business. Fortune reports that Costco's average markup — essentially the profit it makes on each item — is 11%, compared to Walmart's nearly 24%, most supermarkets' 30%, and Home Depot's 35%.

Costco has a long list of ways to keep prices extremely low.

Unlike most rivals, the retailer doesn't advertise. It provides many types of products, but only a limited selection of each one — 3,700 products in a warehouse, compared with 140,000 at a Walmart superstore, according to Fortune. And, its membership model helps offset costs and keeps loyal customers returning to warehouses for everything they need. 

SEE ALSO: America's 'permanent underclass' isn't going anywhere — and that's great news for stores like Dollar General and Dollar Tree

Join the conversation about this story »

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There could be a $35 billion market to treat NASH, a ‘silent disease’ millions are living with — and the competition’s starting to heat up

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 12:26 PM PDT

Liver transplant

  • NASH, short for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, is a type of liver disease in which liver fat builds up in people.
  • It affects an estimated 16 million Americans, but many don't know it until it leads to more serious problems like liver failure and cirrhosis. 
  • Work's being done to pinpoint how to treat the condition — both early and later as the disease progresses — as well as research that's being used to better understand the genetics and other factors associated with NASH. 

Millions of people are living with a disease they've likely never heard of.

NASH, short for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, is a type of liver disease in which liver fat builds up in people. NASH has become more common in recent years, and it's estimated to affect about 16 million Americans.

It's often called a "silent" disease because most people don't know they have it until it leads to problems like cirrhosis and liver failure.

While the term NASH was coined in 1980, research into it didn't ramp up right away, partly because the disease was regarded as a mild one. It's a disease inextricably linked with our eating habits, or at least exacerbated by them. Although you might not know someone officially diagnosed, people with obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and insulin resistance have an elevated risk of developing the disease. Its links to other conditions have researchers specializing in everything from the liver to diabetes and obesity interested in seeing if there are ways to treat the condition earlier. 

NASH is set to surpass hepatitis as the biggest reason for liver transplants by 2020, and the eventual size of the market for treating the disease is expected to be anywhere between $20 billion and $35 billion.

In the meantime, the competition is heating up to see who can find a way to treat it, with companies taking a range of approaches to treat it at different stages, varying based on the specialties of the scientists looking into the treatments.

"It's like everybody's feeling a different part of the elephant," Morrie Birnbaum, senior vice president and chief scientific officer of internal medicine at Pfizer told Business Insider. 

Why it's so hard to diagnose

The biggest hurdle to treating NASH, other than finding a drug, is diagnosing it in patients.

Most people in early stages aren't symptomatic, and to know conclusively if a person has NASH requires a liver biopsy — which involves sticking a small needle into your liver and extracting a few cells. Even if they do have it, some might not want to know, since there's no way to treat it.

Researchers are working on imaging and blood tests that could either determine whether people need to take the next step and get a liver biopsy, but those can pick up only certain levels of fibrosis, or tissue scarring.

That means there's no simple blood test to track how the drugs are doing, as there is with cholesterol-lowering medications or diabetes medications.

Even with the hurdle to find patients, the looming issue has led to a rush to develop new treatments, and a hot area for biotech investments, from smaller biotechs like Madrigal, Genfit and Intercept to major drugmakers like Novo Nordisk, Gilead, Novartis, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Allergan, and Pfizer. The farthest along drugs are expected to have late-stage trial results in 2019. 

Hopes to treat it early

Pfizer built out its NASH program with Birnbaum's help out of a diabetes program that hadn't been panning out. So the team started to look at whether the targets they were going after for diabetes could work instead for NASH. 

Pfizer's approach is to treat the condition early by clearing out fat that's accumulated in the liver. Birnbaum said the company may have a way to look instead at fat accumulation in the liver via MRI — a much less invasive way than the biopsy — to determine who to treat. Pfizer's farthest along program — a drug known as an acetyl CoA-carboxylase inhibitor — is in a phase 2 trial

Starting earlier can be trickier to prove in clinical trials though, where you need to show benefit that the drug is improving the patient's disease over a set period of time, Dr. Scott Friedman, dean for therapeutic discovery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, told Business Insider. If it's possible that some people in the placebo group will spontaneously get better, it could lead to a failed trial. 

It poses a tricky question: "When in the course of NASH does it stop being a biomarker and start being a disease?" Birnbaum said.

And there's another challenge: If it's used earlier by a bigger group of people who at the time don't have many symptoms, like drugs to lower cholesterol, it'll have to be really safe. 

"For a metabolic unit like our unit here that historically has developed drugs for diabetes, that has no change for us. We’re used to that high bar of safety," Birnbaum said. "If you were a liver group working on hepatitis C, the bar for safety would be very different."

Genetic and microbial factors

One thing that might help Pfizer and others looking to treat the disease earlier: finding people with a genetic link to NASH.

It's something researchers are starting to get a better picture of. Mutations in the PNPLA3 gene, particularly in Hispanic populations, have been associated with an increased risk of NASH and fatty liver disease. And in March, biotech giant Regeneron said it found a variant on the HSD17B13 gene associated with protection from liver disease and a reduced risk of NASH. Regeneron's plan is to partner with Alnylam to find potential drugs that can do something similar in people who don't have the variant.  

Another factor people are looking to crack, Friedman said, is the microbiome, or the collection of bugs that live in and on you. When it comes to our genes, they haven't changed all that much — at least not to the point where NASH has ramped up so suddenly. What has changed, on the other hand, is our diets and our use of antibiotics, both of which impact our microbiome. 

"To me, that’s the most compelling," Friedman said. 

Already, companies have tapped into this. Second Genome, a company focusing on microbiome-based therapies, has a treatment for NASH that's based on the microbiome that's expected to get into phase 2 trials in 2018.

SEE ALSO: The microbiome has been called the forgotten organ — and it could hold the 'next paradigm shift in science and medicine'

DON'T MISS: The search for new Alzheimer's treatments just faced another setback — and now everything hinges on an approach that's already run into trouble

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Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook collects data on non-users for ‘security’ — here's the whole story (FB)

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 12:26 PM PDT

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hearing Congress Senate

  • Mark Zuckerberg told Congress on Wednesday that Facebook collects data on people who don't use the social network for "security purposes."
  • Zuckerberg says that Facebook likes to keep track of people who repeatedly try to access its services, to detect when someone is trying to improperly gather user data. 
  • Facebook also targets non-users with ads, even if they never consented to the practice.

One of Facebook's little-known, highly controversial practices is in the spotlight: The fact that it collects data on people who have never signed up for the social network.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified to the US Congress on Wednesday for his second day of grilling by lawmakers following a string of scandals for the company. The 33-year-old CEO has been questioned on everything from Cambridge Analytica's misappropriation of up to 87 million users' data, to allegations of anti-conservative bias at his company.

Representative Ben Luján (D-NM) drilled down on Facebook's privacy practices, asking Zuckerberg how many data points the social network collects on each user, citing reports that it could be up to 29,000. The 33-year-old executive's answered that he didn't know.

Luján then asked how many data points Facebook collects on non-users. Again, Zuckerberg had no answer. When asked specifically about whether Facebook has "detailed profiles on people who have never signed up for Facebook," Zuckerberg responded that it was primarily about security.

"In general we collect data on people who have not signed up for Facebook for security purposes to prevent the kind of scraping you were just referring to," he said.

Though he didn't mention it in front of Congress, Facebook also targets people with ads on other websites even if they don't have an account. "For non-Facebook members, previously we didn't use [Facebook's Audience Network ad service]," exec Brian Bosworth said in 2016. "Now we'll use it to better understand how to target those people."

Luján then asked Zuckerberg if users could opt-out of having Facebook build these profiles of them. The CEO responded that "Anyone can turn off and opt out of any data collection for ads, whether they use our services or not," but suggested Facebook still needed to collect some kind of data on non-users for security reasons.

"In order to prevent people from scraping public information […] we need to know when someone is repeatedly trying to access our services," he said.

SEE ALSO: How to get Facebook to stop showing you creepy ads like Mark Zuckerberg promises you can do

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NOW WATCH: How to stop your Facebook friends from giving away your data

Mark Zuckerberg referenced 'The Social Network' during his testimony — but quickly added that the movie was of 'unclear truth'

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 12:12 PM PDT

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hearing Congress Senate

  • Mark Zuckerberg mentioned the movie about him, "The Social Network," during his second day of testifying in front of lawmakers on Wednesday.
  • Zuckerberg mentioned the film when asked about "FaceMash" — the prank website he created in college before Facebook.
  • Zuckerberg has criticized the film in the past, so the fact he would mention it at all was unusual. 


During Mark Zuckerberg's second day of testifying in front of lawmakers on Wednesday, he referenced the movie based on the founding of Facebook, "The Social Network" — an unexpected move considering Zuckerberg has slammed the movie in the past for alleged inaccuracies.

Zuckerberg, who is testifying on Facebook's handling of personal information and Russian meddling in the 2016 election, didn't mention the 2010 David Fincher-directed film by name.

But when Congressman Billy Long asked Zuckerberg about "FaceMash," the Facebook founder seemed to imply that Long should just watch the movie to answer his own question.

"What was FaceMash and is it still up and running?" Long asked Zuckerberg.

"No, Congressman, FaceMash was a prank website that I launched in college in my dorm room before I started Facebook," Zuckerberg responded.

He went on to mention the film: "There was a movie about this, or it said it was about this."

But then he paused, as if his first instinct was to mention "The Social Network," but then he realized he wasn't a fan.

"It was of unclear truth," he said of the movie.

Zuckerberg and Long then got into a back-and-forth about whether FaceMash at all led to the development of Facebook.

The entire back-and-forth is odd, but even stranger is that Zuckerberg even acknowledged the film. He rarely speaks of it, and has been known to be critical of how it portrays him and the creation of Facebook.

In a 2014 public Q&A session, Zuckerberg said, "I think the reality is that writing code and then building a product and building a company is not a glamorous enough thing to make a movie about, so you can imagine that a lot of this stuff they had to embellish or make up."

He also said that the movie, "Just kind of made up a bunch of stuff that I found kind of hurtful."

SEE ALSO: Jim Carrey continues to attack Mark Zuckerberg with a drawing of him as an alien who's come to destroy Earth

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NOW WATCH: Facebook can still track you even if you delete your account — here's how to stop it

Netflix hits back at Cannes by saying it won't screen any movies at the festival (NFLX)

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 11:54 AM PDT


  • Ted Sarandos said in an interview with Variety that no Netflix titles would be screened at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
  • This follows the fest's rule change last year that no movies would be allowed to screen in competition going forward if they were not released theatrically in France.
  • Netflix had two films in competition last year.

Netflix head of content Ted Sarandos is pulling Netflix completely out of the Cannes Film Festival after a long fight with movie traditionalists.

After the streaming giant caused controversy last year, when it had two films in competition at the festival, the most powerful film fest in the world made a rule change that movies without theatrical distribution in France were no longer eligible to play in competition.

Sarandos said on Wednesday, to Variety, that because of the rule change he would not be bringing any titles to Cannes, even to play out of competition.

Emma Thompson Dustin Hoffman Ben Stiller Noah Baumbach Adam Sandler The Meyerowitz Stories Getty"We want our films to be on fair ground with every other filmmaker,” Sarandos told the trade. “There’s a risk in us going in this way and having our films and filmmakers treated disrespectfully at the festival. They’ve set the tone. I don’t think it would be good for us to be there.”

At Cannes last year, Netflix had two titles playing in competition: Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja” and Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories.” But because of Netflix's model of showing its movies day-and-date (meaning its titles show on its streaming service at the same time they are in theaters — if the titles get a theatrical release at all), theater owners in France were outraged over the prime position the titles received. Like US theaters, movie houses in France are against Netflix's model and want titles to play exclusively in theaters for a certain amount of time before being available to stream. This led to the rule change by Cannes.

However, Sarandos said he's not against Netflix buying one of the films in competition at Cannes this year that is seeking distribution.

Netflix has found success on the festival circuit over the years, specifically at the Sundance Film Festival, where it's premiered movies that are soon available on the site in the weeks after the festival, like "I Don't Feel at Home In This World Anymore" and "A Futile and Stupid Gesture." It's also made big acquisitions at Sundance, like "Mudbound" in 2017 for $12.5 million.

But Netflix, as well as its rival Amazon Studios, scaled back big time at Sundance this year on acquisitions. And this latest move by Sarandos may be a hint that Netflix isn't that interested in what's going on in the South of France either. 

SEE ALSO: The 32 movies coming out this summer you can't miss

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'A lot of people are going to be scrambling': Experts say too many brands are sleeping on Europe’s looming privacy law

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 11:43 AM PDT

data center

  • GDPR, a monster European consumer privacy regulation designed to protect people's web data, is coming soon. And many big marketers aren't ready, say ad experts.
  • While some data-versed marketers are investing to make sure they are compliant with the law, others seem paralyzed or over confident.
  • The law's implications are often seen as a bigger challenge for ad tech firms or publishers.
  • When it comes to using data for digital marketing, "no one’s fine," said one high ranking ad executive.

GDPR is coming, and many big brands are treating it the same way college kids treat finals: I'll cram the night before.

Some are even acting as if the looming European consumer privacy law called General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) doesn't even really apply to them. Regardless, GDRP goes into effect on May 25. And digital ad experts say that among marketers, the level of preparedness is all over the map.

Some are taking every precaution to make sure they've got all the permissions they need from consumers to use their data for marketing purposes, according to ad executives versed in GDRP's impact. And they're also taking measures to make sure it's easy for consumers to opt out of data collection.

But according to experts, a good number of marketers are either frozen like deers in headlights, putting off dealing with GDPR until the last minute, or simply feeling too confident, seeing the law somebody else's problem (think publishers or ad tech firms).

This seems particularly true among marketers who collect "first party data" from consumers, such as brands who sell items to consumers and gather basic information like people's shipping address to marketers who collect info from people whenever they mail someone a prize or a sample for participating in a survey or promotional sweepstakes.

unnamed 28"We meet with executive teams [at big marketing firms], and you get a range of responses," said Adrian Newby, chief technology officer at Crownpeak, which provides web management technology for brands such as HP and Unilever. 

"[They go] from, 'this doesn't really effect us,' to 'does that effect us?'"

That's because these brands, generally speaking, ask for, and get permission for, consumer data. When people voluntarily sign up for an offering from a big marketer – whether that's an email newsletter promoting sales, or a chance to win a trip by mailing in a number of cereal box tops - that marketers often sees that consumer data as theirs. So many assume they are automatically GDPR compliant.

But it might not be so simple. 

GDPR is really complicated. So it's easy to put off dealing with it.

Let's review what's going on with GDRP. Basically, any company that does business with European citizens will have to get consent from people to use their data, and make it very clear and easy to opt out of data collection.

Since most big digital media and ad tech companies and brands operate globally, they need to think about GDPR.

As Newby explained, GDPR puts companies into two buckets: you're either a "controller" or a "processor." AdExchanger breaks this down in great detail here.

  • A controller is essentially the party that actually decides what data is collected and what is done with it.
  • A processor may use data for marketing purposes, but only within the limits of the controller’s instructions. An example might be a payroll processing company that works with a big brand, according to this detailed GDPR Medium explainer.

It seems as though ad agencies would prefer to consider themselves processors. It's safer to be a processor, because controllers are the ones with primary responsibility and likely to get hit with big fines.

"Processors may only act on the controller’s instructions," said Newby. "The penalties fall on the controller. But the processor has obligations too. Both parties need to put in contracts what does and doesn't fall on them. GDPR says there has to be consent or some other lawful basis for collecting personal data. A processor can land a controller in hot water if they go beyond their mandate and try and hide behind their status."

Here's where it can be challenging: sometime consumers have a relationship with a controller (like a website they visit), but their data is really in the hands of a processor (like a company delivering ads to that site that is using data to target that person). 

"There is a tension in that relationship," said Newby. "A processor can screw over a controller, especially if they are a large organization trying to stick to their own business model. So both sides are trying to hedge their risk."

Recent ad industry news may give some marketers a false sense of GDPR security. Or they just have expensive lawyers. 

Case in point: The ad tech company Drawbridge recently pulled its business out of Europe because of GDPR. That's how serious the law is for tech firms that rely on consumer data.

Yet contrast that with recent headlines such as Marketers don’t expect the sky to fall with GDPR and Brands that respect consumer data needn't be fazed by GDPR.

The truth is, "no one’s fine," said one high ranking ad executive.

If that's true, there's a lot of money at stake, as fines for potential GDPR violations are no joke: they start at 10 million euros and go up to 4% of profits.

Thus, the digital data-focused startup mParticle has been actively looking to get brands up to speed in recent months.

"Some brands are absolutely committed to staying ahead of this issue, and investing in the tech infrastructure," said mParticle CEO Michael Katz. "And some brands don’t have their customer data strategy in order, including the tech to execute that strategy, but are going policy heavy and legaling up."

Newby said he's seeing a similar pattern. Many brands are blissfully ignorant when it comes to GDPR. And many others have hired lots of lawyers to cover themselves. Or at least make them feel covered.

"There are a couple of camps we are seeing," he said. "Some brands are thinking, 'getting consent is impractical, so I'll make a legal case for how I already operate. What can I get away with and build a case that I'm doing something?'"

Still other brands are simply crossing their fingers. "I'll be happy if someone else gets hit first," said Newby.

To be sure, companies like mParticle and Crownpeak would seem to have a vested interest in saying that GDPR requires lots of attention, since they peddle services designed to help digital media players get prepped. 

The online ad industry has a long history of vendors - like say anti fraud tech firms - talking up just how big the problem is that only they can solve.

But given how complicated GDPR is (it has 99 articles), and the scrutiny in the marketing world over consumer data (see: Facebook) the law seems sure to have some impact.

la law nbc

Some brands seem to think they don't have to worry

As the high ranking ad executive explained, some brands are on top of this, because consumer data is so central to their business. Think airlines with frequent flier programs, and banks. "They are taking it very seriously," he said.

But then there are marketers who have collected lots of consumer information for pure marketing programs. "They think, 'Well, we’ve got 100 million records from corn flake packages or whatever, and we've got permission from those consumers.'"


Permission is fuzzy though.

"Regarding brands, once you have consent, it's not a free ride," said Newby. "Users can withdraw consent at any time."

Beyond fickle consumers, when marketers get information from consumers, sometimes they'll use that data in all sort of ways. But GDPR limits that. For example, "a bank may have your log in data," said Newby. "It doesn't mean they can use your credit card info and sell it to other companies."

What's a brand to do about GDPR?

Another big challenge for brands: large companies often have multiple divisions compiling consumer data at different times and in different ways. So even if the marketing group is thinking proactively about GDPR, that doesn't meant there's any centralized, coordinated effort in play.

Katz argues for companies to invest in tech to help pull all this together, and get out in front of the issue. "If your [organization's] policy doesn’t have the supporting tech, you can’t actually enforce anything....a lot still treat data reactively."

On the flip side, companies that get organized about consumer data may unlock new opportunities, Katz argued. 

Regardless, the time is now to do something. "It’s coming fast," Katz said. "A lot of people are going to be scrambling those last few days, and if that’s the situation you are finding yourself in, you’re going to have massive exposure."

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New York City is getting a 1,296-foot-tall skyscraper with the highest observation deck in the Western Hemisphere — see the incredible views

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 11:32 AM PDT

Hudson Yards Ob Deck Journey   Steel Raise   11   courtesy of Joe Woolhead.JPG

Costing an estimated $25 billion, Manhattan's Hudson Yards neighborhood is already the largest real-estate development in American history.

And soon, the neighborhood will break another record. 30 Hudson Yards, a skyscraper under construction on the island's far west side, will feature the highest outdoor observation deck in New York City and the Western Hemisphere.

A construction crew began installing the 765,000-pound, steel deck on Tuesday. When complete, it will jut out from the tower 1,100 feet in the air.

Take a look below.

SEE ALSO: Amazon's HQ2 is expected to bring soaring housing prices — here are the cities that could be hit hardest

The skyscraper, dubbed 30 Hudson Yards, is located along the Hudson River at the southwest corner of 33rd Street in Manhattan.

Spanning around 28 acres, Hudson Yards broke ground in late 2012, and construction is expected to wrap up in 2024.

Measuring 1,296-feet-tall, the steel-and-glass skyscraper will feature offices, a restaurant, a bar, an event space, and shops. It will also connect directly to the subway's 7 line.

Tenants of the tower — designed by architect Kohn Pederson Fox Associates and developed by Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group — will include include DNB Bank, Time Warner Inc., and Wells Fargo.

When complete, the tower's outdoor observation deck will be the highest in the Western Hemisphere and the fifth highest in the world.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Mark Zuckerberg tells Congress it's a 'conspiracy theory' that Facebook uses your microphone to spy on you

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 11:32 AM PDT

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hearing Congress Senate

  • During Mark Zuckerberg's testimony for a Senate committee on Tuesday, the Facebook CEO denied—again—that the app eavesdrops on user conversations via the smartphone's microphone.
  • Senator Gary Peters asked Zuckerberg to put this conspiracy theory to rest, saying he has heard from members of his own staff that believe Facebook is "mining audio" to gather personal information about users. 

For years, Facebook users have publicly speculated the the app might be spying on them through their smartphone's microphone, using their conversations to target unbelievably specific ads. 

"My understanding is that a lot of these cases that you’re talking about are a coincidence," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Congress on Wednesday. He said that Facebook does not listen to unauthorized audio, and claimed that he isn't aware of any similar tech company that does.

It was actually the second time that Zuckerberg had to deny the practice in as many days: On Tuesday, Zuckerberg told a joint session of the Senate that it was a "conspiracy theory," and denied the practice with a flat "no." 

Facebook itself has regularly denied it does this since at least 2014.

Congressman Larry Bucshon pushed Zuckerberg on the matter on Wednesday, and shared instances from his person life in which he or his family members had been served ads that he felt were suspiciously based on verbal conversations they had offline. Zuckerberg said that there was a more innocent explanation. 

"Someone might be talking about something, but then they also go to a website or interact with it on Facebook because they were talking about it, and maybe they’ll see the ad because of that," Zuckerberg explained.

The only time Facebook records audio, Zuckerberg said on Tuesday, is when a user records a video. And that audio is not used for targeting ads, he says. 

More on Zuckerberg's blockbuster hearing:

SEE ALSO: People think Facebook's app is secretly listening to their conversations

DON'T MISS: Zuckerberg survived 5 hours of relentless questioning from Congress — here's what you need to know

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We drove a $54,000 Audi A4 and a $46,000 Acura TLX A-Spec to see which luxury sedan we liked better — here's the verdict

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 11:30 AM PDT

Audi A4 22

  • The Audi A4 2.0T quattro and the Acura TLX A-Spec SH-AWD are two of our favorite compact luxury sedans.
  • Both cars nearly won the Business Insider Car of the Year award.
  • However, we found the Audi A4 to be the better of the two.

With the rise of the crossover SUV, the market for compact luxury sedans isn't what it once was. Even as the segment shrinks, competition within it remains red hot. Of all the cars we've driven from this segment over the past couple of years, the Audi A4 2.oT quattro and the Acura TLX A-Spec SH-AWD stand out as two of our favorites.

The A4 was the runner-up for Business Insider's 2016 Car of the Year award while TLX A-Spec nearly finished in the top five of our 2017 awards.

The current, fifth-generation A4 was all-new for the 2017 model year. It's the latest in a long line of success compact luxury sedan from the Ingolstadt, Germany-based automaker. 

The Acura TLX debuted in 2014 as a replacement for the compact TSX and the midsize TL sedans. In 2017, Acura gave the sedan a mid-cycle refresh which included a brand new front end, updated infotainment, and the addition of a performance-oriented A-Spec trim level.

We recognize that the TLX A-Spec is a performance trim with V6 power while the A4 2.0T is Audi's mainstream trim level with a turbo four-cylinder engine. However, both vehicles are similarly priced and with similar capabilities.

So, which one is better? Let's find out.

SEE ALSO: We drove a $58,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit and a $65,000 Land Rover Discovery HSE Luxury to see which SUV we liked better — here's the verdict

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First up is the Audi A4. The Audi A4 starts at $36,000 while our top-spec Prestige model carries a starting price of $45,500. A heavy dose of optional goodies pushed our all-wheel-drive test car $54,275.

Styling-wise, the new A4 is elegantly understated. It's the latest evolution of the modern design language that has come to define the brand in recent years.

Up front, Audi's trademark hexagonal "Singleframe" grille has grown in magnitude to become even more prominent. It's flanked by a pair of Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lamps.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Why Apple makes it so hard to get a new iPhone battery

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 11:18 AM PDT

Apple recently announced that it was intentionally slowing down older iPhone models in order to preserve battery life. This had been a long-standing conspiracy theory floating around the internet. Apple lowered its battery replacement fee to $29 in response. However, many people have found it difficult to get Apple to change their batteries. We went to an Apple store to see what would happen when we tried to have the battery on an iPhone 6 replaced. Apple recommended that we keep the original battery. Following is a transcript of the video.

Steve Kovach: Has this ever happened to you? What about this?

That could be because your iPhone battery is old. Luckily, you can swap it out for a new one for just $29 and that will solve most of your problems. But Apple doesn't always make it easy.

Apple and other smartphone makers use a technology called lithium ion for their batteries. It's the best kind of battery for mobile devices, but it gets a little worse over time. After two years or so, your iPhone battery can only hold about 80% of its original charge. Apple decided to manage this problem by intentionally slowing down older iPhones so they would draw less power and avoid random shutdowns. But there was one problem, Apple never told anyone it was doing this. So while users noticed better battery life, they also noticed worse performance.

This has been a longstanding conspiracy theory about iPhones. Apple intentionally slows it down to encourage you to buy a new one. And it turns out, that conspiracy theory was mostly true. A site called Geekbench noticed that some older iPhone models were running slower than they should be. Apple finally admitted to what it was doing and apologized. It also changed its battery replacement program, dropping the price from $79 to just $29. But it's not that simple.

Since Apple announced its new battery replacement program, customers have complained that they've gone to get their batteries tested and Apple tells them everything is fine. My colleague Jen was having issues with her iPhone 6 battery life, so we made an appointment at an Apple Store here in New York City.

Employee: So as far as the battery goes, it's able to hold 93% of its charged capacity. Now that's all fine and good. I can tell you that the top two reasons why the phone would turn off is either battery or full storage.

Kovach: So why was she having bad battery life? In Jen's case, Apple said it was likely due to the fact that she was using up most of the storage on her iPhone.

Employee: My advice, don't worry about the battery. You got the phone in July of 2017, that battery should be fine. The issue that you're having is strictly an issue with storage.

Kovach: Okay, great.

After that visit, Apple added a new feature to iOS that lets users check the health of their batteries on their own phones. We tried it and got a slightly better reading. 

When we went back to the Apple Store, they said some apps were running in the background, causing the battery to drain faster. They suggested deleting those apps and redownloading them. 

This is another problem. Apple's battery tests may say everything is fine, but that doesn't show up in what the user is experiencing. Between those two visits, Apple Geniuses couldn't pinpoint the exact cause.

The good news, Apple told Jen she could still get her battery replaced for just $29. The bad news, she'd have to wait several weeks for that battery replacement to come in.

It's in Apple's best interest to make sure customers are upgrading to new $700 iPhones instead of extending the life of their current devices with a new $29 battery. About 2/3 of Apple's revenue comes from iPhone sales and Wall Street judges the company on how many iPhones it sells each quarter. On top of this, Apple has been giving customers fewer reasons to upgrade the iPhone each year. New iPhone models have looked the same pretty much since 2014 and the iPhone 8 doesn't have a lot in there to convince people to upgrade from the iPhone 7. And the iPhone X's $1000 price tag has turned a lot of people off from upgrading.

Even though this process sounds annoying, it's actually better than a lot of Apple's competitors. Samsung, HTC, Motorola, and several other companies have said they don't intentionally slow down their devices to preserve battery life but they also don't make it easy to replace it. It's not like there's a Samsung store you can walk into and get your battery replaced. You have to mail it in.

I used to tell people to upgrade their iPhone every two years or so. But with this battery replacement program, you can extend the life by another two years. My advice? If you're having bad battery life and performance, go into the Apple Store, pay that $29, get a new battery and you'll feel like you have a brand new iPhone.

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How to get Facebook to stop showing you creepy ads like Mark Zuckerberg promises you can do (FB)

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 11:14 AM PDT

Zuckerberg Facebook Privacy Hearing GETTY

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg insists you can control the data Facebook shares about you with advertisers and with the world.
  • I love using Facebook and don't want to quit it. So I've taken Zuckerberg up on his promise and severely limited the ads Facebook will show me.
  • It doesn't solve the crux of the problem, but does limit the financial reward I provide to Facebook for collecting so much data about me.

In two days of public grilling, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has stated repeatedly that if you use Facebook, you can control the data Facebook shares about you with its advertisers and with the world.

I love Facebook and don't want to delete it. When I signed up, I made a deal with Facebook and I was OK with it: I get to use it for free and in exchange I willingly share some info about me to let Facebook serve me relevant ads. Sure, Facebook, go ahead and send me all the ads you want about things I want to buy: bicycles, skiing, fitness, fashion, travel, pets, movies, books and so on. It sounded great.

But as Facebook's data privacy scandal has embroiled the company, I've grown increasing disgusted. 

Back in 2014, Facebook began watching people as we wander across the internet. At that time, it instituted privacy controls that seemed to put me in control, to tell Facebook which people can see my posts, friends or the public.

But that's only half of the story.

Zuckerberg also repeatedly told Congress that Facebook doesn't share my info directly with advertisers, nor does it sell my data. It uses data on me to decide which ads to show to which people.

But it's harder to tell Facebook which data on me to use for its ads. And Facebook is still tracking more information about me for this purpose than I want. For instance, the Facebook Audience Network is used by mobile apps serves ads in a mobile apps and analyzes what people do with a mobile app.

Ad blocker AdGuard recently analyzed 2,556 popular apps and found 41% of them use Facebook Audience Network. That means, even if you don't use Facebook, these apps could be sharing data about you with Facebook. 

By the way, Google does this on an even bigger scale. 65% of the apps that AdGuard analyzes used one of Google's tracking services.

On top of that, if I visit a website that is using the Facebook Pixel, Facebook knows I've been to that website and can show me an ad for the company in my newsfeed. That's creepy and annoying. Pixel is a popular tool used by website owners to track and analyze what you do on their websites. 

Now, Zuckerberg insisted many times in his congressional testimony that I can control the ads I see.

It's not easy to do that, but through its Ad Preferences page,  I can opt out of seeing ads based on how Facebook is monitoring my internet use by clicking on "no" "no" and "no one" in the settings.

Facebook ad settings

I also adjusted what Facebook thinks it knows about me. This requires sifting through the list of stuff it tracks on me, one by one, and deleting.

I started with the "Your categories" setting.

Facebook Ad

Next up, I went through the "Your interests" settings: what Facebook thinks it knows about me in terms of business, hobbies, sports, travel, etc.. I had to delete them one-by-one, including the ones listed in "more."

Facebook your interests

I started to do the same for the section marked "Advertisers you've interacted with." But after 15 minutes, with no way to know how close I was to the end, I gave up for now. I will come back to it and delete more each day.

This was perhaps the most shocking section, as it involves lists shared with Facebook where my name appears, even though I have no idea who some of these companies are, or how they wound up identified with my Facebook profile. It was also filled with politicians (like Doug Robinson, below), most of whom I didn't know. 

Advertisers interacted with

But because Facebook is ad-supported, it warns that I will still see ads.

Again, I'm A-OK with that, especially ads on topics of interest to me. But I don't get to choose. The advertiser, who is paying the bill, gets to choose. 

Facebook says that, even if I limit my interests, it will still show me ads based on the following:

  • "Your age, gender or location.
  • The content in the app or website you're using.
  • Your activity off of the Facebook Companies."

That last bit, "Facebook Companies" is particularly worrisome.

In addition to the Facebook Pixel and Facebook Audience Network, Facebook owns a company, Atlas that puts a bit of code on your browser to watch what you do on the internet. Facebook also owns "Moves," a fitness tracking app that monitors your location, if you use that app. And it owns Onovo, a security app that was the subject of another privacy scandal for its policy of sharing data with Facebook. 

In other words, while you can control the ads you see, you can't really control the information that Facebook gathers on you.

So, if the nation wants more control over how our lives are being watched, we'll need to push, and probably regulate, Facebook and the whole internet ad industry.

In the meantime, for people like me, that don't want to quit Facebook, we can limit the ads Facebook shows us through its internet spying practices, limiting the financial reward it gets for such creepy behavior.

If you are an ad industry employee with information about surprising or unethical ways internet companies gather and use data, we want to hear it. jbort@businessinsider.com or DM me @Julie188 on Twitter.

SEE ALSO: Zuckerberg claims no knowledge of Palantir's involvement with the Facebook, Cambridge Analytica scandal

SEE ALSO: Facebook tracks a scary number of details about you — here's how to find out everything it knows

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NOW WATCH: Facebook can still track you even if you delete your account — here's how to stop it

The best jokes on Twitter about Zuck's congressional testimony (FB)

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 11:09 AM PDT

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hearing Congress Senate

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is on his second day of Congressional grilling.
  • The internet has done what it does, spitting out memes making fun of Zuck and lawmakers alike.
  • For the most part, they consist of likening Zuck to a robot. Congress' lack of tech savvy was also fair game.

The internet is having way too much fun with Mark Zuckerberg's Congressional testimony, now in its second day.

The Facebook CEO is sitting in the hot seat, answering non-stop questions from lawmakers about privacy, trust, and the Cambridge Analytica scandal — where as many as 87 million users had their personal information miused in political ad targeting.

It's serious stuff, but people are having fun with it. We've rounded up some of the best memes and jokes Twitter users have cooked up, most of which revolved around Zuckerberg's sometimes-robotic public speaking skills. Even comedian Jim Carrey got involved.

Take a look:


SEE ALSO: Mark Zuckerberg survived 5 hours of relentless questioning from Congress — here's what you need to know

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CRYPTO INSIDER: Another Wall Street veteran has left for crypto

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 11:05 AM PDT

trader red screen

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.

Credit Suisse trader Nelson Minier has left for the cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, Business Insider's Frank Chaparro reports. He'll be joining a former Jefferies senior vice president on the Kraken's trading desk as the wave of Wall Streeters defecting to crypto firms continues. 

Here are the current crypto prices:

bitcoin price today

What's happening:

New to Crypto Insider? Business Insider has a ton of articles to get you caught up to speed, including:

What other questions do you have about crypto? Ask them in Business Insider's Crypto Insider Facebook group today to discuss with readers from all over the world, as well as BI editorial staff. 

SEE ALSO: BARCLAYS: Crypto is facing 4 huge hurdles before it can be truly mainstream

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