Advertisements



Ahead of ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ announcement, content-starved fans feel snubbed

Frustrated Animal Crossing fans have a laundry list of long-anticipated updates they hope Nintendo will announce this week......»»

Category: topSource: washpostOct 13th, 2021

"Foreign Is Dangerous" - China"s Censors Are Banning Hollywood Films From Domestic Market

"Foreign Is Dangerous" - China's Censors Are Banning Hollywood Films From Domestic Market Just like American political leaders and financial giants, Hollywood has also misjudged China's intentions. After Dalian Wanda's takeover of the American production company Legendary Entertainment, some warned that Beijing was trying to subvert American audiences' opinion of China by injecting subtle Chinese propaganda into American films. But it turns out, Beijing and President Xi had no intentions of embracing Hollywood: instead, it appears they're trying to keep Chinese consumers from absorbing Hollywood's decadent cultural values. Which is why American films have been increasingly blocked from being shown in the Chinese entertainment market in recent years. According to a report by Nikkei, while Hollywood studios hoped China would be a major growth market for blockbuster films, China's censors have been extremely selective about which films they allow to be screened in the world's second-largest economy, whose box office revenues surpassed America's in 20202 (thanks, in major part, to the pandemic). Source: Nikkei Just like NBA players, who need to watch what they say about sensitive issues like Hong Kong, Hollywood actors need to be careful about touching a nerve. When John Cena accidentally referred to Taiwan as "a country" in a promotional clip for "Fast & Furious 9", he nearly cost the studio more than $200MM. It ended with him begging for the CCP's forgiveness for his honest mistake. Although unpredictable, China has been a major factor in decision-making for American studios. Film productions sometimes tweak scenes to get access to China. A trailer for the sequel to the 1986 blockbuster "Top Gun" suggested that Japanese and Taiwanese flags on the leather jacket of the main character, Maverick, had been removed to avoid touching a nerve with Chinese regulators. In June, "Fast & Furious 9"' star John Cena apologized to Chinese fans for referring to Taiwan as a "country" in a promotional video for the movie. "Fast & Furious 9" made nearly $204 million in China and $173 million in the U.S. Sometimes, anticipating how the Chinese audience will react to a film can be difficult. Take "Shang-Chi", which was widely praised for its all-Asian cast. The movie was widely criticized in China, despite taking in hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide. Studios and stars often find themselves drawn into controversy on Chinese social media. With a nearly all-Asian cast, "Shang-Chi" was well reviewed, widely appreciated and lucrative: Its U.S. box office had topped $200 million and it had brought in $388 million worldwide as of Oct. 5, according to Box Office Mojo. But as it was being promoted overseas, China's netizens criticized the stars, Simu Liu and Awkwafina, for failing to conform to traditional Chinese beauty standards, and also the villain, the Mandarin, for being a stereotype. Some reviewers in the U.S. had similar criticisms of the Mandarin -- a heavily reworked version of the Marvel comic strips' Fu Manchu -- but Chinese actor Tony Leung received particularly heavy criticism on Chinese social media for the role before the film was released. And while Marvel movies have been hugely popular in China, some fear the upcoming "Eternals" movie may be blocked by Chinese censors. Some suspect the upcoming "Eternals" faces difficulty securing a release date because its director, Oscar-winning China native Chloe Zhao, was criticized for making an unflattering comment about her homeland during an interview several years ago. The announcement of her Oscar victory was blocked on the Chinese internet as well. It remains unclear if Chinese moviegoers will be able to watch "Eternals" this year. "If I was an investor, I would be very concerned about a strategy at this point that depended on access to the Chinese market and the good graces of Chinese film regulators," said Aynne Kokas, the author of "Hollywood Made in China" and a media studies professor at the University of Virginia. "To make very expensive films in anticipation of being able to deliver them to the Chinese market and then not being certain that's possible is actually a much more financially irresponsible strategy from my perspective." China's censors only allow a quota of 34 foreign films to be released in mainland China each year. Despite years of negotiations between regulators in Hollywood and China's censors, Beijing has refused to change the quota. Beijing also has caps on foreign content on the country's streaming services. What's more, Beijing's recent crackdown on its own entertainment industry (banning depictions of "sissy" men while erasing one of the country's most popular actresses from the Chinese Internet) further supports the fact that Beijing has a very clear idea of what entertainment should be permitted and what should not. "You look at all of the criticisms of the so-called sissy boys, the closing down of the K-pop fan clubs, closing down of tutoring services that taught English, English not included in school final exams...It's the atmosphere right now that foreign is dangerous, and Hollywood is subject to that as well," said Stanley Rosen, a political science professor who specializes in Chinese politics and society at the University of Southern California. And while Hollywood has so far depended on China for growth, Beijing doesn't need Hollywood for anything. Already, homemade patriotic blockbusters have proven to be major hits in China, and abroad. For the past six years, domestic films have led the Chinese box office in revenue. But if Hollywood still needs China, it is an open question whether China needs Hollywood. In the first half of 2021, China's box office reached roughly $3.9 billion, according to the tracking app Dengta, and although the highest-grossing films used to be Hollywood blockbusters, domestic films have taken the crown for the past six years. "Hi, Mom," a heartwarming Chinese movie about a woman going back in time in an attempt to make her mother's life better, has the highest box office of 2021 worldwide so far, at $822 million. Patriotic Chinese blockbusters have generated much revenue as well. "The Battle at Lake Changjin" raked in $203.2 million over the National Day weekend in China, according to Box Office Mojo. So, American studios now have a difficult choice to make. They can start being more sensitive to the demands of the Chinese market. But such a "craven" approach would likely elicit a backlash at home, as politicians accuse Hollywood of putting profits over human rights. Tyler Durden Sat, 10/16/2021 - 21:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge7 hr. 57 min. ago

I flew JetBlue between New York and London and found the food in economy class to be surprisingly tastier than in business class

JetBlue is offering a culinary experience in both cabins but those paying more for a business class seat might want to request an economy class meal. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider JetBlue Airways has brought in-flight dining to both cabins of service on its new London flights. Dig is crafting the economy class menu while Delicious Hospitality Group is tasked with catering in Mint business class. Italian food was a big focus on my flights with options like meatballs, cavatelli, and chicken Milanese offered. JetBlue is offering more than cheap fares on its London routes, it's also offering a full culinary experience. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider Travelers in both economy and business classes receive complimentary hot meals on European flights. It's the first time in economy class that JetBlue flyers receive any meals. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider Here's what flying on JetBlue's first-ever flight to London was like in economy class.  The choice to provide meals aligns JetBlue with all the current airlines flying between the US and London. Meals are standard in economy on transatlantic flights to the UK and the offering shows that JetBlue isn't taking the budget carrier route of charging extra for meals. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider The meal service is an important part of any flight as it passes the time, entertains, and breaks up the boredom of a long-haul flight. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider I flew JetBlue to London in economy class and back in business class. Here's what dining on the airline was like in both cabins. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider My restaurant for the outbound flight to London was the economy class cabin onboard JetBlue's first Airbus A321neoLR, and I even scored a table near the window. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider Here's why JetBlue flies one of the best aircraft between New York and London, despite its small size.  Instead of perusing a paper menu, however, all meals are on display through the seat-back entertainment screen. I was immediately brought back to the times of Virgin America, which had a similar ordering style. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider JetBlue chose Dig, a New York City-based eatery with an emphasis on healthy farm-to-table dining, to cater the economy class meals. I hadn't yet tried Dig's offering, despite working in New York City, and was eager to sample it. Eliza McKelvey/Business Insider "Dig has earned a big following in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, where customers love the fresh ingredients and customizable concept," Jayne O'Brien, JetBlue's head of marketing and loyalty, said in a statement. "We wanted customers in the air to have the same freedom to design their own meal, just like they would if they were dining at a Dig restaurant." Madeline Stone / Business Insider Ordering was quite simple and intuitive, starting with the main. Three options were available from which to choose only one, with two meat/poultry options and a vegetable option. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider Each choice, to my surprise, had a list of the ingredients and a short description. I don't think I've ever seen that level of detail on an economy class food menu. On offer for the dinner service was charred chicken with brown rice in a lime juice with herbs…. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider Beef and chicken meatballs in a tomato ragu with farro and basil... Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider And spiced eggplant with turmeric cauliflower rice and toasted quinoa. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider Next came the list of sides to accompany the main. Two sides could be selected from three choices available. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider The options included a Dig Acres tomato salad with soft farm cheese, pickled onions, and mint… Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider Chilled sheet tray carrots with garlic, herbs, and a lemon peel… Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider And mac and cheese in a three-cheese blend with whole-wheat pasta and crispy panko breadcrumbs. To be honest, it was hard to pick since all three seemed ideal to accompany the main. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider But just like that, I had the perfect meal queued up and ready to go. There was nothing more I had to do or say, and the anticipation was already building before takeoff. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider The empty middle seat in my row also presented another opportunity: use the screen to order an additional meal. My rowmate, a JetBlue employee, and I decided to test out the system and ordered an additional meal to the empty seat. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider I also took a look at the interactive drink menu that listed all the beverages available on our flight. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider JetBlue offers complimentary soft drinks, beers, wines, and liquors in economy class. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider The in-flight service began once the mood lighting in the cabin turned pink. Two flight attendants geared with service trolleys walked up and down the aisle to serve the cabin. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider I opted for the traditional gin and tonic in honor of JetBlue's first flight to London. The classic drink consisted of Bombay Sapphire gin and Canada Dry tonic water. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider Next came the part we were all waiting for, the meal service. Flight attendants once again started at both ends of the cabin, making their way towards the middle. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider A large black insulator case on top of the service trolley served to keep all the meals warn. It reminded me of a pizza delivery box but it did the trick. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider The presentation was also unlike anything I had seen in economy, with the food served in small reusable containers. It was certainly presented better than the traditional microwaveable dinner-style packaging to which I'm accustomed on other airlines. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider Here's what dining was like on an American Airlines flight from New York to Madrid, Spain was like in August.  Also on the meal tray was a water bottle and two sauce cups containing sriracha and garlic mayonnaise. This differs from, say, the dinner roll, small side salad, cheese and crackers, and perhaps a dessert that other airlines will pack onto the tray. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider I opened the lids, however, and found more than enough food to satisfy, and everything looked delicious. I quickly dug in, no pun intended, and effectively cleaned my plate. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider The highlight was the mac and cheese which was the perfect comfort food for a long flight. I didn't love the cold carrots and was surprised by their temperature in comparison with the hot food but it was still tasty. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider Next came the meatball main and while the presentation was similarly delightful, I do have to say that I didn't love the meatballs. They were alright but as someone that takes joy in making meatballs from scratch, I thought I could have made a better meatball. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider The tomato salad, however, was incredibly fresh and delightful. It was a perfectly healthy option for the flight. I was too full to clean the tray but I made sure to enjoy the second serving of mac and cheese. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider An ice cream cookiewhich capped off the evening meal service, which was the highlight of the meal. And with that, it was off to bed for the rest of the transatlantic crossing. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider For those still hungry, though, the JetBlue "pantry" was open for business with a selection of the carrier's signature snacks. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider I was woken up just a few hours later by a JetBlue flight attendant, at my request, during the morning meal service. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider There weren't any choices this time around and all passengers were given the same box of breakfast goods, including a pain au chocolate served warm and fruit salad. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider Once again, the light meal hit the spot and prepared me to take on the day in London. Chocolate bread is also a personal favorite when in Europe and I'm glad JetBlue thought it would be ideal for London flights. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider Landing in London completed the culinary journey that accompanied the flight, and the next few days were spent enjoying the local UK cuisine. Eating at Nando's in London, UK. Thomas Pallini/Insider Here's what it was like eating at Nando's, the South African chicken chain that's popular in the UK. Soon enough, though, it was time to head back to New York on JetBlue. This time, I'd be flying in the Mint business class cabin for a taste, quite literally, of how the other half lives. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider Read the full report here from the Mint business class flight home to New York. JetBlue has been working with the Delicious Hospitality Group to cater Mint business class flights since November. Any traveler that's flown Mint since then has had the opportunity to test out its culinary offering. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider Here's how JetBlue overhauled its Mint business class offering in November.  DHC under chef Ryan Hardy is known for its New York City restaurants including Pasquale Jones, Legacy Records, and Charlie Bird. Each restaurant has its turn onboard and Pasquale Jones was up for my flight to New York. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider Ordering meals in business class is slightly different than in economy, and traditional menus were left on each seat. Dinner was served on the 2:05 p.m. flight to New York, with five options from which to choose including baby greens, roasted carrots, shrimp curry, chicken Milanese, and cavatelli. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider Before the meal, however, a blood orange mimosa was served for the pre-departure beverage. It was quite refreshing and set a positive tone for the flight ahead. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider A beverage menu also listed which cocktails, beers, and liquors were available to order. Traditional cocktails were on offer including an old fashioned, margarita, and a dirty martini, as well as JetBlue concoctions. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider The meal service began shortly after takeoff with a tasting trio of olives, cashews, and anchovies. I'm not an anchovy fan but I can't hold that against JetBlue, especially as the other two snacks were delightful. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider I also ordered a "mint condition," consisting of gin or vodka with ginger, lime, cucumber, and mint. It reminded me of a mojito and I very much enjoyed it. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider Next came the main course, with four plates and a lot of food. Travelers can choose three of the five main course choices and I opted for the chicken Milanese, cavatelli, and baby greens. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider The baby greens served as the salad for the meal and included sweet potato and buttermilk dressing. It was light, fresh, and delicious. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider The chicken Milanese was basically a plain chicken cutlet, a dish I've eaten since I was a kid, accompanied with lemon and some greens. It was quite tasty but a bit bland without any sauce or cheese. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider I was the most nervous about the cavatelli since I've never had a great experience with tomato sauces on airplanes. It wasn't my favorite dish on the tray but it was quite the Sunday gravy with a full bowl of pasta with sausage ragu with pecorino romano on top. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider And finally, a dinner roll was served on the side with an "emergency kit," as chef Ryan Hardy calls it, of olive oil, spicy olive oil, and salt. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider "I think we can really fix just about anything. If we have great salts, great olive oil, some hot pepper, and some lemon," Hardy said when debuting the new Mint offering in November, "because those are critical to the cooking that we do in our restaurants." Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider Dessert immediately followed dinner and flight attendants rolled the desert cart down the aisle. On offer were a cheese plate and vanilla gelato with blackberries and almond crunch. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider A cheese plate, in my opinion, is the best way to end a meal and I'm glad to see that JetBlue recognizes that. My only complaint was that there weren't enough crackers to accompany the delicious cheeses. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider While certainly tasty and well-presented, I can't say it was among the best in-flight meals I've ever had. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider A selection of coffee and English tea was also available but I was fully content after the meal. The next few hours were spent working and resting. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider The good food continued as we crossed the Atlantic with flight attendants passing around a selection of snacks, including Walker's shortbread cookies. I was glad to see it wasn't JetBlue traditional snack basket and had premium brands. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider I also tested out the dirty martini and found it a little too dirty for my taste. But I did appreciate the odd number of olives in the drink. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider The pre-landing "supper small plates" were served just under an hour before landing as we approached New York. A selection of three choices was provided, from which I could select two, including Italian clam soup, panzanella, and a panini. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider I opted for the panzanella and panini, which were accompanied by a pretzel roll. It was a surprisingly good amount of food and I didn't even think I was hungry enough to eat again. But I was and I did. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider Flight attendants also brought over the before-landing snack from economy, purely for demonstration purposes, consisting of a warm pretzel and fruit salad. I didn't indulge but both definitely would've sufficed had I been in the back. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider Landing in New York came all too soon and it was safe to say that I didn't need to have dinner that night at home. But if I had to choose between the two JetBlue meals I had, I think I'd choose the meal I had on the flight I took in economy class. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nyt21 hr. 45 min. ago

3 Secrets to Quick Profits this Earnings Season

Earnings season is about to heat up, so now is the perfect time to align your portfolio for the weeks ahead. The best mornings are the ones where you wake up to a positive earnings surprise and big profits.The worst mornings are the ones where you wake up to an earnings miss and heavy losses. Finally, it’s beginning to feel like the world has COVID-19 on the ropes. The fight is not over, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The threat of the pandemic has lingered over the stock market like a cloud for months. As the clouds move aside, yet another threat is apparent on the horizon…inflation and tapering from the Fed.We are already dealing with supply chain constraints, a lack of semiconductor chips, and labor shortages. That means we’ve got a delicate balance of risk and reward heading into this quarter’s round of earnings.With so much riding on this quarter’s round of reports, one thing is evident:Nothing can move a stock faster, up or down, than an earnings announcement. This is especially true today with the stock market coming down from all-time highs and approaching key technical levels. Over the last quarter, Energy stocks have come back en vogue, with double digit returns while Basic Materials have struggled, giving back over 6%.Any stocks unfortunate enough to hiccup this earnings season, and not meet the lofty expectations of investors will be severely punished. This will lead to devastating losses for those unlucky shareholders. However, the owners of stocks with positive surprises will be richly rewarded. So now is the perfect time to align your portfolio to profit in the month ahead.You should already know Zacks Investment Research specializes in the coverage of corporate earnings. And more importantly, how to profit from this information. So, today I'm going to share with you 3 proven secrets to profit from earnings announcements.(Hint: Be sure to read to the end as the 3rd strategy is by far the most profitable) Secret 1: Target 4 Leading Indicators of Positive Earnings Surprises The most obvious strategy is the reason we are all here. The 4 leading indicators I refer to are the 4 factors of the Zacks Rank. Before you skip this section, let me share some information with you that you may not have known.In the mid-1970s Len Zacks took his mathematical skills to Wall Street where his job was to discover stock picking strategies that would beat the market. He had a simple theory that was the precursor to what became the Zacks Rank.Len focused his research on finding stocks that were more likely to have a positive earnings surprise and jump on the news. The journey led him to what we know as the 4 factors of the Zacks Rank. Each individually increases the odds of owning stocks that will enjoy a positive earnings surprise.However, when you combine them together inside the Zacks Rank it becomes an almost obscene advantage for investors.Continued . . .------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Buy These Stocks BEFORE They Report EarningsNext week 301 companies are set to report earnings. What if you could know in advance which few look to rock Wall Street and pop in price?Now you can.Zacks' proprietary "ESP" formula predicts positive earnings surprises with unthinkable 80.70% accuracy. This has led to recent closed gains of +77.9%, +70.9%, +55.9%, and even +114.4% in as little as 5 days.¹Your chance for access closes at midnight Sunday, October 17.See Surprise Stocks Today >>------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Secret 2: Stop the Bleeding This second secret is simple, yet hard for most investors to do. So, I'm going to repeat it again and again...until I wear out the words!Sell All Companies with a Negative Earnings Surprise! Yes. Immediately. Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200. Sell! Even after it falls at the open. Even if it is for a substantial loss. Why? Better to take a 5-10% loss in the short run than a 20 to 40% loss in the long run.Keep in mind how earnings estimates are created. Both company executives and brokerage analysts do their best to create conservative estimates that the company should easily beat. It's all about lowering the bar. So when a company falls short of those watered-down estimates it points to one of two serious problems:• Industry conditions have deteriorated and thus they missed their forecasts. This problem most likely will not correct itself in the near-term, leading to further disappointment.• Management is incompetent. Meaning that they are clueless when it comes to estimating their own earnings. Or growth strategies are simply ineffective.Either reason is enough cause to abandon the stock immediately and move on to greener pastures.Secret 3: Harness Real "Earnings Whispers"Consider the following chain of logic:• Wall Street analysts create earnings estimates.• These analysts are highly motivated to create conservative estimates that can easily be beat. Why? If they have a Buy rating on a stock, and the estimates are too high, then the stock is more likely to disappoint. This would send the stock price lower and the performance on their stock ratings would be poor (leading to lower compensation for the analysts).• The closer to earnings season we get, the more accurate the information the analyst has at their disposal to put into the estimate since there is less time left to estimate performance.Add it all up and no analyst would increase estimates close to the date of the earnings report unless there was a DARN GOOD REASON. Focusing on those estimates closest to the earnings announcement is where we've found the "whisper that becomes a scream." ...a clear indication from the analyst community of stocks more likely to beat earnings by a wide margin. And most importantly, rise on that news.The Easy Way to Apply These Secrets   The problem is that in each earnings season, including now, there are hundreds of stocks that are likely to achieve positive surprises.That is why our Zacks research team created a special strategy that uses additional filters to narrow down the lists. It detects rare companies that are most likely to both beat earnings and jump in price.This drives the portfolio I am managing called the Zacks Surprise Trader.I can't share all the details of the secret formula with you, but our system relies on two under-utilized signals coming from the brokerage analyst community. These two whispers are then layered on top of other time-tested elements such as the Zacks Rank and Zacks Industry Rank to find only the best stocks... in the best industries... with the best chances of beating earnings and quickly rising in price.If you would like to receive our precise whisper trading signals through the heart of this earnings season, I invite you to look inside our Surprise Trader portfolio ASAP.Now is the absolute best time to do it. Right now, "Positive Surprise" signals are flashing for 5 select companies that are reporting earnings starting this coming week. Here's the timeline:• Deadline to get into the portfolio is midnight Sunday, October 17.• 4 surprise stocks were recently posted that have yet to report.• 1 more yet-to-report company will be posted Monday morning.• Those 5 companies will start reporting earnings on Tuesday after market close.So don't miss your chance to beat Wall Street to the punch and make the most of the potential double-digit price pops. Our signals predict big positive surprises and they've been right a remarkably consistent 80.70% of the time!They’ve led us to many recent gains like +114.4%, +77.9%, +55.9%, and +70.9% in as little as 5 days.¹Bonus: Another reason to look into this right away is that you are also invited to download our just-released "Early Warning Alert" report. It reveals Stocks to Sell BEFORE They Report Earnings in the Coming Weeks. Our strategy works both ways, and you can use this report to avoid companies that are more likely to report negative surprises from October 18-29.See our Surprise Trader stocks and “Early Warning Alert” now >>Wishing you great financial success,Good Investing,DaveDave Bartosiak is Zacks' resident earnings surprise expert. He selects stocks and delivers daily commentary for our Surprise Trader portfolio.¹ The results listed above are not (or may not be) representative of the performance of all selections made by Zacks Investment Research's newsletter editors and may represent the partial close of a position.  Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 15th, 2021

Futures Surge As Banks Report Stellar Earnings; PPI On Deck

Futures Surge As Banks Report Stellar Earnings; PPI On Deck US equity futures, already sharply higher overnight, jumped this morning as a risk-on mood inspired by stellar bank earnings, overshadowed concern that supply snarls. a China property crunch, a tapering Fed and stagflation will weigh on the global recovery. Nasdaq futures jumped 1%, just ahead of the S&P 500 which was up 0.9%. 10-year Treasury yields ticked lower to about 1.5%, and with the dollar lower as well, oil jumped. Bitcoin and the broader crypto space continued to rise. Shares in Morgan Stanley, Citi and Bank of America jumped as their deal-making units rode a record wave of M&A. On the other end, Boeing shares fell more than 1% after a Dow Jones report said the plane maker is dealing with a new defect on its 787 Dreamliner. Here are some of the biggest other U.S. movers today: Occidental (OXY US) rises 1.6% in U.S. premarket trading after it agreed to sell its interests in two Ghana offshore fields for $750m to Kosmos Energy and Ghana National Petroleum Plug Power (PLUG US) rises 3.3% premarket, extending gains from Wednesday, when it announced partnership with Airbus SE and Phillips 66 to find ways to harness hydrogen to power airplanes, vehicles and industry Esports Entertainment (GMBL US) shares rise 16% in U.S. premarket trading after the online gambling company reported its FY21 results and reaffirmed its FY22 guidance Perrigo  (PRGO US) gains 2.8% in premarket trading after Raymond James upgrades to outperform following acquisition of HRA Pharma and recent settlement of Irish tax dispute AT&T (T US) ticks higher in premarket trading after KeyBanc writes upgrades to sector weight from underweight, saying it seems harder to justify further downside from here Avis Budget (CAR US) may be active after getting its only negative rating among analysts as Morgan Stanley cuts to underweight with risk/reward seen pointing toward downside OrthoPediatrics (KIDS US) dipped 2% Wednesday postmarket after it said 3Q revenue was hurt by the surge in cases of Covid-19 delta variant and RSV within children’s hospitals combined with staff shortage Investors continue to evaluate the resilience of economic reopening to supply chain disruptions, a jump in energy prices and the prospect of reduced central bank support. In the earnings season so far, executives at S&P 500 companies mentioned the phrase “supply chain” about 3,000 times on investor calls as of Tuesday -- far higher than last year’s then-record figure. “Our constructive outlook for growth means that our asset allocation remains broadly pro-risk and we continue to be modestly overweight global equities,” according to Michael Grady, head of investment strategy and chief economist at Aviva Investors. “However, we have scaled back that position marginally because of growing pains which could impact sales and margins.” Europe's Stoxx 600 index reached its highest level in almost three weeks, boosted by gains in tech shares and miners. The Euro Stoxx 50 rose over 1% to best levels for the week. FTSE 100 rises 0.75%, underperforming at the margin. Miners and tech names are the strongest sectors with only healthcare stocks in small negative territory. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: THG shares advance as much as 10%, snapping a four-day losing streak, after a non-executive director bought stock while analysts at Goldman Sachs and Liberum defended their buy recommendations. Steico gains as much as 9.9%, the most since Jan., after the insulation manufacturer reported record quarterly revenue, which Warburg says “leaves no doubt” about underlying market momentum. Banco BPM climbs as much as 3.6% and is the day’s best performer on the FTSE MIB benchmark index; bank initiated at buy at Jefferies as broker says opportunity to internalize insurance business offers 9%-16% possible upside to 2023 consensus EPS and is not priced in by the market. Hays rises as much as 4.3% after the recruiter posted a jump in comparable net fees for the first quarter. Publicis jumps as much as 3.7%, the stock’s best day since July, with JPMorgan saying the advertising company’s results show a “strong” third quarter, though there are risks ahead. Kesko shares rise as much as 6.1%. The timing of this year’s third guidance upgrade was a surprise, Inderes says. Ubisoft shares fall as much as 5.5% after JPMorgan Cazenove (overweight) opened a negative catalyst watch, citing short-term downside risk to earnings ahead of results. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks advanced, boosted by a rebound in technology shares as traders focused on the ongoing earnings season and assessed economic-reopening prospects in the region. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained as much as 0.7%, as a sub-gauge of tech stocks rose, halting a three-day slide. Tokyo Electron contributed the most to the measure’s climb, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. closed up 0.4% ahead of its earnings release. India’s tech stocks rose following better-than-expected earnings for three leading firms in the sector. Philippine stocks were among Asia’s best performers as Manila began easing virus restrictions, which will allow more businesses in the capital to reopen this weekend. Indonesia’s stock benchmark rallied for a third-straight day, as the government prepared to reopen Bali to tourists. READ: Commodities Boom, Tourism Hopes Fuel Southeast Asia Stock Rally Ilya Spivak, head of Greater Asia at DailyFX, said FOMC minutes released overnight provided Asian markets with little direction, which may offer some opportunity for recouping recent losses. The report showed officials broadly agreed last month they should start reducing pandemic-era stimulus in mid-November or mid-December. U.S. 10-year Treasury yields stayed below 1.6%, providing support for tech stocks.  “Markets seemed to conclude the near-term narrative is on pause until further evidence,” Spivak said. Shares in mainland China fell as the country reported factory-gate prices grew at the fastest pace in almost 26 years in September. Singapore’s stock benchmark pared initial losses as the country’s central bank unexpectedly tightened policy. Hong Kong’s equity market was closed for a holiday In rates, Treasuries were steady to a tad higher, underperforming Bunds which advanced, led by the long end.  Fixed income is mixed: gilts bull steepen with short dates richening ~2.5bps, offering only a muted reaction to dovish commentary from BOE’s Tenreyro. Bunds rise with 10y futures breaching 169. USTs are relatively quiet with 5s30s unable to crack 100bps to the upside. Peripheral spreads widen slightly. In FX, the Turkish lira was again the overnight standout as it weakened to a record low after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired three central bankers. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell and the greenback slipped against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen, with risk-sensitive and resource-based currencies leading gains; the euro rose to trade above $1.16 for the first time in a week.  The pound rose to more than a two-week high amid dollar weakness as traders wait for a raft of Bank of England policy makers to speak. Sweden’s krona temporarily came off an almost eight-month high against the euro after inflation fell short of estimates. The euro dropped to the lowest since November against the Swiss franc as banks targeted large option barriers and leveraged sell-stops under 1.0700, traders said; Currency traders are responding to stagflation risks by turning to the Swiss franc. The Aussie advanced to a five-week high versus the greenback even as a monthly jobs report showed employment fell in September; the jobless rate rose less than economists forecast. The kiwi was a among the top performers; RBNZ Deputy Governor Geoff Bascand said inflation pressures were becoming more persistent China’s yuan declined from a four-month high after the central bank signaled discomfort with recent gains by setting a weaker-than-expected reference rate. In commodities, crude futures extend Asia’s gains with WTI up ~$1 before stalling near $81.50. Brent regains a $84-handle. Spot gold drifts through Wednesday’s highs, adding $4 to print just shy of the $1,800/oz mark. Base metals are well bid with LME copper and aluminum gaining as much as 3%.  Looking at the day ahead, we’ve got central bank speakers including the Fed’s Bullard, Bostic, Barkin, Daly and Harker, the ECB’s Elderson and Knot, along with the BoE’s Deputy Governor Cunliffe, Tenreyro and Mann. Data releases from the US include the September PPI reading along with the weekly initial jobless claims. Lastly, earnings releases will include UnitedHealth, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, US Bancorp and Walgreens Boots Alliance. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.6% to 4,382.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.9% to 464.38 MXAP up 0.7% to 196.12 MXAPJ up 0.6% to 642.66 Nikkei up 1.5% to 28,550.93 Topix up 0.7% to 1,986.97 Hang Seng Index down 1.4% to 24,962.59 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,558.28 Sensex up 0.7% to 61,190.63 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.5% to 7,311.73 Kospi up 1.5% to 2,988.64 Brent Futures up 1.0% to $83.98/bbl Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,796.13 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.25% to 93.84 German 10Y yield fell 1.5 bps to -0.143% Euro little changed at $1.1615 Brent Futures up 1.0% to $84.13/bbl Top Overnight News from Bloomberg A flattening Treasury yield curve signals increasing concern Federal Reserve efforts to keep inflation in check will derail the recovery in the world’s largest economy China’s factory-gate prices grew at the fastest pace in almost 26 years in September, potentially adding to global inflation pressure if local businesses start passing on higher costs to consumers. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired monetary policy makers wary of cutting interest rates further, driving the lira to record lows against the dollar with his midnight decree Singapore’s central bank unexpectedly tightened its monetary policy settings, strengthening the local dollar, as the city-state joins policymakers globally concerned about risks of persistent inflation Shortages of natural gas in Europe and Asia are boosting demand for oil, deepening what was already a sizable supply deficit in crude markets, the International Energy Agency said A tropical storm that’s lashing southern China mixed with Covid-related supply chain snarls is causing a ship backlog from Shenzhen to Singapore, intensifying fears retail shelves may look rather empty come Christmas A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk A constructive mood was seen across Asia-Pac stocks with the region building on the mild positive bias stateside where the Nasdaq outperformed as tech and growth stocks benefitted from the curve flattening, with global risk appetite unfazed by the firmer US CPI data and FOMC Minutes that suggested the start of tapering in either mid-November of mid-December. The ASX 200 (+0.5%) traded higher as tech stocks found inspiration from the outperformance of US counterparts and with the mining sector buoyed by gains in underlying commodity prices. The Nikkei 225 (+1.5%) was the biggest gainer amid currency-related tailwinds and with the latest securities flow data showing a substantial shift by foreign investors to net purchases of Japanese stocks during the prior week. The KOSPI (+1.5%) conformed to the brightening picture amid signs of a slowdown in weekly infections, while the Singapore’s Straits Times Index (+0.3%) lagged for most of the session following weaker than expected Q3 GDP data, and after the MAS surprisingly tightened its FX-based policy by slightly raising the slope of the SGD nominal effective exchange rate (NEER). The Shanghai Comp. (U/C) was initially kept afloat but with gains capped after slightly softer than expected loans and financing data from China and with participants digesting mixed inflation numbers in which CPI printed below estimates but PPI topped forecasts for a record increase in factory gate prices, while there was also an absence of Stock Connect flows with participants in Hong Kong away for holiday. Finally, 10yr JGBs were higher after the recent curve flattening stateside and rebound in T-notes with the US longer-end also helped by a solid 30yr auction, although gains for JGBs were capped amid the outperformance in Tokyo stocks and mostly weaker metrics at the 5yr JGB auction. Top Asian News Chinese Developer Shares Fall on Debt Crisis: Evergrande Update Japan’s Yamagiwa Says Abenomics Fell Short at Spreading Wealth China Seen Rolling Over Policy Loans to Keep Liquidity Abundant Malaysia’s 2020 Fertility Rate Falls to Lowest in Four Decades Bourses in Europe have modestly extended on the upside seen at the European cash open (Euro Stoxx 50 +1.1%; Stoxx 600 +0.9%) in a continuation of the firm sentiment experienced overnight. US equity futures have also conformed to the broader upbeat tone, with gains seen across the ES (+0.7%), NQ (+0.8%), RTY (+0.8%) and YM (+0.7%). The upside comes despite a lack of overly pertinent newsflow, with participants looking ahead to a plethora of central bank speakers. The major indices in Europe also see a broad-based performance, but the periphery narrowly outperforms, whilst the SMI (Unch) lags amid the sectorial underperformance seen in Healthcare. Overall, the sectors portray somewhat of a cyclical tilt. The Basic Resources sector is the clear winner and is closely followed by Tech and Financial Services. Individual moves are scarce as price action is largely dictated by the macro picture, but the tech sector is led higher by gains in chip names after the world's largest contract chipmaker TSMC (+3.1% pre-market) reported strong earnings and upgraded its revenue guidance. Top European News German 2021 Economic Growth Forecast Slashed on Supply Crunch U.K. Gas Shipper Stops Supplies in Another Blow to Power Firms Christmas Toy Shortages Loom as Cargo Clogs a Major U.K. Port Putin Is Back to Building Financial Fortress as Reserves Grow In FX, the Dollar and index by default have retreated further from Tuesday’s 2021 peak for the latter as US Treasury yields continue to soften and the curve realign in wake of yesterday’s broadly in line CPI data and FOMC minutes that set the schedule for tapering, but maintained a clear differential between scaling down the pace of asset purchases and the timing of rate normalisation. Hence, the Buck is losing bullish momentum with the DXY now eying bids and downside technical support under 94.000 having slipped beneath an early October low (93.804 from the 5th of the month vs 93.675 a day earlier) and the 21 DMA that comes in at 93.770 today between 94.090-93.754 parameters before the next IJC update, PPI data and a heavy slate of Fed speakers. NZD/AUD - No real surprise that the Kiwi has been given a new lease of life given that the RBNZ has already taken its first tightening step and put physical distance between the OCR and the US FFR, not to mention that the move sparked a major ‘sell fact’ after ‘buy rumour’ reaction. However, Nzd/Usd is back on the 0.7000 handle with additional impetus via favourable tailwinds down under as the Aud/Nzd cross is now nearer 1.0550 than 1.0600 even though the Aussie is also taking advantage of the Greenback’s fall from grace to reclaim 0.7400+ status. Note, Aud/Usd may be lagging somewhat on the back of a somewhat labour report overnight as the employment tally fell slightly short of expectations and participation dipped, but the jobless rate fell and full time jobs rose. Moreover, RBA Deputy Governor Debelle repeated that circumstances are different for Australia compared to countries where policy is tightening, adding that employment is positive overall, but there is not much improvement on the wage front. CAD/GBP/CHF - The next best majors in terms of reclaiming losses vs their US counterpart, with the Loonie also encouraged by a firm bounce in oil prices and other commodities in keeping with a general recovery in risk appetite. Usd/Cad is under 1.2400, while Cable is now over 1.3700 having clearly breached Fib resistance around 1.3663 and the Franc is probing 0.9200 for a big figure-plus turnaround from recent lows irrespective of mixed Swiss import and producer prices. EUR/JPY - Relative laggards, but the Euro has finally hurdled chart obstacles standing in the way of 1.1600 and gradually gathering impetus to pull away from decent option expiry interest at the round number and just above (1.5 bn and 1 bn 1.1610-20), and the Yen regrouping around the 113.50 axis regardless of dovish BoJ rhetoric. In short, board member Noguchi conceded that the Bank may have little choice but to extend pandemic relief support unless it becomes clear that the economy has returned to a pre-pandemic state, adding that more easing may be necessary if the jobs market does not improve from pent-up demand, though he doesn't see and immediate need to top up stimulus or big stagflation risk. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are continuing the grind higher seen since the European close yesterday as the risk tone remains supportive and in the aftermath of an overall bullish IEA oil market report. The IEA upgraded its 2021 and 2022 oil demand forecasts by 170k and 210k BPD respectively, which contrasts the EIA STEO and the OPEC MOMR – with the former upping its 2021 but cutting 2022 forecast, whilst the OPEC MOMR saw the 2021 demand forecast cut and 2022 was maintained. The IEA report however noted that the ongoing energy crisis could boost oil demand by 500k BPD, and oil demand could exceed pre-pandemic levels in 2022. On this, China has asked Russia to double electricity supply between November-December. The morning saw commentary from various energy ministers, but perhaps the most telling from the Russian Deputy PM Novak who suggested Russia will produce 9.9mln BPD of oil in October (in-line with the quota), but that Russia has no problem in increasing oil output which can go to 11.3mln BPD (Russia’s capacity) and even more than that, but output will depend on market situation. Long story short, Russia can ramp up output but is currently caged by the OPEC+ pact. WTI Nov extended on gain about USD 81/bbl to a current high of USD 81.41/bbl (vs 80.41/bbl low) while its Brent counter topped USD 84.00/bbl to a USD 84.24/bbl high (vs 83.18/bbl low). As a reminder, the weekly DoEs will be released at 16:00BST/11:00EDT on account of the Columbus Day holiday. Gas prices have also moved higher in intraday, with the UK Nat Gas future +5.5% at the time of writing. Returning to the Russian Deputy PM Novak who noted that Nord Stream 2 will be ready for work in the next few days, still expects certification to occur and commercial supplies of gas via Nord Stream 2 could start following certification. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver have been drifting higher as the Buck wanes, with spot gold topping its 200 DMA (1,7995/oz) and in striking distance of its 100 DMA (1,799/oz) ahead of the USD 1,800/oz mark. Over to base metals, LME copper is again on a firmer footing, owing to the overall constructive tone across the market. Dalian iron ore meanwhile fell for a second straight day in a continuation of the downside seen as Beijing imposed tougher steel output controls for winter. World Steel Association also cut its global steel demand forecast to +4.5% in 2021 (prev. forecast +5.8%); +2.2% in 2022 (prev. forecast 2.7%). US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. PPI Final Demand MoM, est. 0.6%, prior 0.7%; YoY, est. 8.6%, prior 8.3% 8:30am: Sept. PPI Ex Food and Energy MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.6%; YoY, est. 7.1%, prior 6.7% 8:30am: Sept. PPI Ex Food, Energy, Trade MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.3%; YoY, est. 6.5%, prior 6.3% 8:30am: Oct. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 320,000, prior 326,000; Continuing Claims, est. 2.67m, prior 2.71m 9:45am: Oct. Langer Consumer Comfort, prior 53.4 Central Banks 8:35am: Fed’s Bullard Takes Part in Virtual Discussion 9:45am: Fed’s Bostic Takes Part in Panel on Inclusive Growth 12pm: New York Fed’s Logan Gives Speech on Policy Implementation 1pm: Fed’s Barkin Gives Speech 1pm: Fed’s Daly Speaks at Conference on Small Business Credit 6pm: Fed’s Harker Discusses the Economic Outlook DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Inflation dominated the conversation yet again for markets yesterday, after another upside surprise from the US CPI data led to the increasing realisation that we’ll still be talking about the topic for some time yet. Equities were pretty subdued as they looked forward to the upcoming earnings season, but investor jitters were evident as the classic inflation hedge of gold (+1.87%) posted its strongest daily performance since March, whilst the US dollar (-0.46%) ended the session as the worst performer among the G10 currencies. Running through the details of that release, headline US consumer prices were up by +0.4% on a monthly basis in September (vs. +0.3% expected), marking the 5th time in the last 7 months that the figure has come in above the median estimate on Bloomberg, though core prices were in line with consensus at +0.2% month-over-month. There were a number of drivers behind the faster pace, but food inflation (+0.93%) saw its biggest monthly increase since April 2020. Whilst some pandemic-sensitive sectors registered soft readings, housing-related prices were much firmer. Rent of primary residence grew +0.45%, its fastest pace since May 2001 and owners’ equivalent rent increased +0.43%, its strongest since June 2006. These housing gauges are something that Fed officials have signposted as having the potential to provide more durable upward pressure on inflation. The CPI release only added to speculation that the Fed would be forced to hike rates earlier than previously anticipated, and investors are now pricing in almost 4 hikes by the end of 2023, which is over a full hike more than they were pricing in just a month earlier. In response, the Treasury yield curve continued the previous day’s flattening, with the prospect of tighter monetary policy seeing the 2yr yield up +2.0bps to a post-pandemic high of 0.358%, whilst the 10yr decreased -4.0bps to 1.537%. That move lower in the 10yr yield was entirely down to lower real rates, however, which were down -7.4bps, suggesting investors were increasingly concerned about long-term growth prospects, whereas the 10yr inflation breakeven was up +3.3bps to 2.525%, its highest level since May. Meanwhile in Europe, 10yr sovereign bond yields took a turn lower alongside Treasuries, with those on bunds (-4.2bps), OATs (-4.0bps) and BTPs (-2.3bps) all falling. Recent inflation dynamics and issues on the supply-side are something that politicians have become increasingly attuned to, and President Biden gave remarks last night where he outlined efforts to address the supply-chain bottlenecks. This followed headlines earlier in the session that major ports in southern California would move to a 24/7 schedule to unclog delivery backlogs, and Mr. Biden also used the opportunity to push for the passage of the infrastructure plan. That comes as it’s also been reported by Reuters that the White House has been speaking with US oil and gas producers to see how prices can be brought lower. We should hear from Mr. Biden again today, who’s due to give an update on the Covid-19 response. On the topic of institutions that care about inflation, the September FOMC minutes suggested staff still remained optimistic that inflationary pressures would prove transitory, although Committee members themselves were predictably more split on the matter. Several participants pointed out that pandemic-sensitive prices were driving most of the gains, while some expressed concerns that high rates of inflation would feed into longer-term inflation expectations. Otherwise, the minutes all but confirmed DB’s US economists’ call for a November taper announcement, with monthly reductions in the pace of asset purchases of $10 billion for Treasuries and $5 billion for MBS. Markets took the news in their stride immediately following the release, reflecting how the build-up to this move has been gradually telegraphed through the year. Turning to equities, the S&P 500 managed to end its 3-day losing streak, gaining +0.30% by the close. Megacap technology stocks led the way, with the FANG+ index up +1.13% as the NASDAQ added +0.73%. On the other hand, cyclicals such as financials (-0.64%) lagged behind the broader index following flatter yield curve, and JPMorgan Chase (-2.64%) sold off as the company’s Q3 earnings release showed muted loan growth. Separately, Delta Air Lines (-5.76%) also sold off along with the broader S&P 500 airlines index (-3.51%), as they warned that rising fuel costs would threaten earnings over the current quarter. European indices posted a more solid performance than the US, with the STOXX 600 up +0.71%, though the sectoral balance was similar with tech stocks outperforming whilst the STOXX Banks index (-2.05%) fell back from its 2-year high the previous session. Overnight in Asia equities have put in a mixed performance, with the KOSPI (+1.17%) and the Nikkei (+1.01%) moving higher whilst the Shanghai Composite (-0.25%) and the CSI (-0.62%) have lost ground. Those moves follow the release of Chinese inflation data for September, which showed producer price inflation hit its highest in nearly 26 years, at +10.7% (vs. +10.5% expected), driven mostly by higher coal prices and energy-sensitive categories. On the other hand, the CPI measure for September came in slightly below consensus at +0.7% (vs. +0.8% expected), indicating that higher factory gate prices have not yet translated into consumer prices. Meanwhile, equity markets in the US are pointing to a positive start later on with S&P 500 futures up +0.32%. Of course, one of the drivers behind the renewal of inflation jitters has been the recent surge in commodity prices across the board, and we’ve seen further gains yesterday and this morning that will only add to the concerns about inflation readings yet to come. Oil prices have advanced yet again, with Brent Crude up +0.69% this morning to be on track to close at a 3-year high as it stands. That comes in spite of OPEC’s monthly oil market report revising down their forecast for world oil demand this year to 5.8mb/d, having been at 5.96mb/d last month. Elsewhere, European natural gas prices were up +9.24% as they continued to pare back some of the declines from last week, and a further two energy suppliers in the UK collapsed, Pure Planet and Colorado Energy, who supply quarter of a million customers between them. Otherwise, copper (+4.4x%) hit a 2-month high yesterday, and it up a further +1.01% this morning, Turning to Brexit, yesterday saw the European Commission put forward a set of adjustments to the Northern Ireland Protocol, which is a part of the Brexit deal that’s caused a significant dispute between the UK and the EU. The proposals from Commission Vice President Šefčovič would see an 80% reduction in checks on animal and plant-based products, as well as a 50% reduction in paperwork by reducing the documentation needed for goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It follows a speech by the UK’s David Frost on Tuesday, in which he said that Article 16 of the Protocol, which allows either side to take unilateral safeguard measures, could be used “if necessary”. Mr. Frost is due to meet with Šefčovič in Brussels tomorrow. Running through yesterday’s other data, UK GDP grew by +0.4% in August (vs. +0.5% expected), and the July number was revised down to show a -0.1% contraction (vs. +0.1% growth previously). The release means that GDP in August was still -0.8% beneath its pre-pandemic level back in February 2020. To the day ahead now, and on the calendar we’ve got central bank speakers including the Fed’s Bullard, Bostic, Barkin, Daly and Harker, the ECB’s Elderson and Knot, along with the BoE’s Deputy Governor Cunliffe, Tenreyro and Mann. Data releases from the US include the September PPI reading along with the weekly initial jobless claims. Lastly, earnings releases will include UnitedHealth, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, US Bancorp and Walgreens Boots Alliance. Tyler Durden Thu, 10/14/2021 - 08:29.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 14th, 2021

Futures Reverse Losses Ahead Of Key CPI Report

Futures Reverse Losses Ahead Of Key CPI Report For the second day in a row, an overnight slump in equity futures sparked by concerns about iPhone sales (with Bloomberg reporting at the close on Tuesday that iPhone 13 production target may be cut by 10mm units due to chip shortages) and driven be more weakness out of China was rescued thanks to aggressive buying around the European open. At 800 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 35 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 10.25 points, or 0.24%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 58.50 points, or 0.4% ahead of the CPI report due at 830am ET. 10Y yields dipped to 1.566%, the dollar was lower and Brent crude dropped below $83. JPMorgan rose as much as 0.8% in premarket trading after the firm’s merger advisory business reported its best quarterly profit. On the other end, Apple dropped 1% lower in premarket trading, a day after Bloomberg reported that the technology giant is likely to slash its projected iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by as many as 10 million units due to prolonged chip shortages. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Suppliers Skyworks Solutions (SWKS US), Qorvo (ORVO) and Cirrus Logic (CRUS US) slipped Tuesday postmarket Koss (KOSS US) shares jump 23% in U.S. premarket trading in an extension of Tuesday’s surge after tech giant Apple was rebuffed in two patent challenges against the headphones and speakers firm Qualcomm (QCOM US) shares were up 2.7% in U.S. premarket trading after it announced a $10.0 billion stock buyback International Paper (IP US) in focus after its board authorized a program to acquire up to $2b of the company’s common stock; cut quarterly dividend by 5c per share Smart Global (SGH US) shares rose 2% Tuesday postmarket after it reported adjusted earnings per share for the fourth quarter that beat the average analyst estimate Wayfair (W US) shares slide 1.8% in thin premarket trading after the stock gets tactical downgrade to hold at Jefferies Plug Power (PLUG US) gains 4.9% in premarket trading after Morgan Stanley upgrades the fuel cell systems company to overweight, saying in note that it’s “particularly well positioned” to be a leader in the hydrogen economy Wall Street ended lower in choppy trading on Tuesday, as investors grew jittery in the run-up to earnings amid worries about supply chain problems and higher prices affecting businesses emerging from the pandemic. As we noted last night, the S&P 500 has gone 27 straight days without rallying to a fresh high, the longest such stretch since last September, signaling some fatigue in the dip-buying that pushed the market up from drops earlier this year. Focus now turn to inflation data, due at 0830 a.m. ET, which will cement the imminent arrival of the Fed's taper.  "A strong inflation will only reinforce the expectation that the Fed would start tapering its bond purchases by next month, that's already priced in," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank. "Yet, a too strong figure could boost expectations of an earlier rate hike from the Fed and that is not necessarily fully priced in." The minutes of the Federal Reserve's September policy meeting, due later in the day, will also be scrutinized for signals that the days of crisis-era policy were numbered. Most European equities reverse small opening losses and were last up about 0.5%, as news that German software giant SAP increased its revenue forecast led tech stocks higher. DAX gained 0.7% with tech, retail and travel names leading. FTSE 100, FTSE MIB and IBEX remained in the red. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Entra shares gain as much as 10% after Balder increases its stake and says it intends to submit a mandatory offer. Spie jumps as much as 10%, the biggest intraday gain in more than a year, after the French company pulled out of the process to buy Engie’s Equans services unit. Man Group rises as much as 8.3% after the world’s largest publicly traded hedge fund announced quarterly record inflows. 3Q21 net inflows were a “clear beat” and confirm pipeline strength, Morgan Stanley said in a note. Barratt Developments climbs as much as 6.3%, with analysts saying the U.K. homebuilder’s update shows current trading is improving. Recticel climbs 15% to its highest level in more than 20 years as the stock resumes trading after the company announced plans to sell its foams unit to Carpenter Co. Bossard Holding rises as much as 9.1% to a record high after the company reported 3Q earnings that ZKB said show strong growth. Sartorius gains as much as 5.9% after Kepler Cheuvreux upgrades to hold from sell and raises its price target, saying it expects “impressive earnings growth” to continue for the lab equipment company. SAP jumps as much as 5% after the German software giant increased its revenue forecast owing to accelerating cloud sales. Just Eat Takeaway slides as much as 5.8% in Amsterdam to the lowest since March 2020 after a 3Q trading update. Analysts flagged disappointing orders as pandemic restrictions eased, and an underwhelming performance in the online food delivery firm’s U.S. market. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks posted a modest advance as investors awaited key inflation data out of the U.S. and Hong Kong closed its equity market because of typhoon Kompasu. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.2% after fluctuating between gains and losses, with chip and electronics manufacturers sliding amid concerns over memory chip supply-chain issues and Apple’s iPhone 13 production targets. Hong Kong’s $6.3 trillion market was shut as strong winds and rain hit the financial hub.  “Broader supply tightness continues to be a real issue across a number of end markets,” Morgan Stanley analysts including Katy L. Huberty wrote in a note. The most significant iPhone production bottleneck stems from a “shortage of camera modules for the iPhone 13 Pro/Pro Max due to low utilization rates at a Sharp factory in southern Vietnam,” they added. Wednesday’s direction-less trading illustrated the uncertainty in Asian markets as traders reassess earnings forecasts to factor in inflation and supply chain concerns. U.S. consumer price index figures and FOMC minutes due overnight may move shares. Southeast Asian indexes rose thanks to their cyclical exposure. Singapore’s stock gauge was the top performer in the region, rising to its highest in about two months, before the the nation’s central bank decides on monetary policy on Thursday. Japanese stocks fell for a second day as electronics makers declined amid worries about memory chip supply-chain issues and concerns over Apple’s iPhone 13 production targets.  The Topix index fell 0.4% to 1,973.83 at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 declined 0.3% to 28,140.28. Toyota Motor Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s loss, decreasing 1.3%. Out of 2,181 shares in the index, 608 rose and 1,489 fell, while 84 were unchanged. Japanese Apple suppliers such as TDK, Murata and Taiyo Yuden slid. The U.S. company is likely to slash its projected iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by as many as 10 million units as prolonged chip shortages hit its flagship product, according to people with knowledge of the matter Australian stocks closed lower as banks and miners weighed on the index. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.1% to close at 7,272.50, dragged down by banks and miners as iron ore extended its decline. All other subgauges edged higher. a2 Milk surged after its peer Bubs Australia reported growing China sales and pointed to a better outlook for daigou channels. Bank of Queensland tumbled after its earnings release. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.2% to 13,025.18. In rates, Treasuries extended Tuesday’s bull-flattening gains, led by gilts and, to a lesser extent, bunds. Treasuries were richer by ~2bps across the long-end of the curve, flattening 5s30s by about that much; U.K. 30-year yield is down nearly 7bp, with same curve flatter by ~6bp. Long-end gilts outperform in a broad-based bull flattening move that pushed 30y gilt yields down ~7bps back near 1.38%. Peripheral spreads widen slightly to Germany. Cash USTs bull flatten but trade cheaper by ~2bps across the back end to both bunds and gilt ahead of today’s CPI release. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell by as much as 0.2% and the greenback weakened against all of its Group-of-10 peers; the Treasury curve flattened, mainly via falling yields in the long- end, The euro advanced to trade at around $1.1550 and the Bund yield curve flattened, with German bonds outperforming Treasuries. The euro’s volatility skew versus the dollar shows investors remain bearish the common currency as policy divergence between the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank remains for now. The pound advanced with traders shrugging off the U.K.’s weaker-than-expected economic growth performance in August. Australia’s sovereign yield curve flattened for a second day while the currency underperformed its New Zealand peer amid a drop in iron ore prices. The yen steadied after four days of declines. In commodities, crude futures hold a narrow range with WTI near $80, Brent dipping slightly below $83. Spot gold pops back toward Tuesday’s best levels near $1,770/oz. Base metals are in the green with most of the complex up at least 1%. To the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the aforementioned US CPI reading for September, while today will also see the most recent FOMC meeting minutes released. Other data releases include UK GDP for August and Euro Area industrial production for August. Central bank speakers include BoE Deputy Governor Cunliffe, the ECB’s Visco and the Fed’s Brainard. Finally, earnings releases include JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock and Delta Air Lines. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.1% to 4,346.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.4% to 459.04 MXAP up 0.2% to 194.60 MXAPJ up 0.4% to 638.16 Nikkei down 0.3% to 28,140.28 Topix down 0.4% to 1,973.83 Hang Seng Index down 1.4% to 24,962.59 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,561.76 Sensex up 0.8% to 60,782.71 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.1% to 7,272.54 Kospi up 1.0% to 2,944.41 Brent Futures down 0.4% to $83.12/bbl Gold spot up 0.5% to $1,768.13 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.23% to 94.30 German 10Y yield fell 4.2 bps to -0.127% Euro little changed at $1.1553 Brent Futures down 0.4% to $83.12/bbl Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Vladimir Putin wants to press the EU to rewrite some of the rules of its gas market after years of ignoring Moscow’s concerns, to tilt them away from spot-pricing toward long-term contracts favored by Russia’s state run Gazprom, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. Russia is also seeking rapid certification of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany to boost gas deliveries, they said. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles will be removed from his role as the main watchdog of Wall Street lenders after his title officially expires this week. The EU will offer a new package of concessions to the U.K. that would ease trade barriers in Northern Ireland, as the two sides prepare for a new round of contentious Brexit negotiations. U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is on course to raise taxes and cut spending to control the budget deficit, while BoE Governor Andrew Bailey has warned interest rates are likely to rise in the coming months to curb a rapid surge in prices. Together, those moves would mark a simultaneous major tightening of both policy levers just months after the biggest recession in a century -- an unprecedented move since the BoE gained independence in 1997. Peter Kazimir, a member of the ECB’s Governing Council, was charged with bribery in Slovakia. Kazimir, who heads the country’s central bank, rejected the allegations A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were mixed following the choppy performance stateside with global risk appetite cautious amid the rate hike bets in US and heading into key events including US CPI and FOMC Minutes, while there were also mild headwinds for US equity futures after the closing bell on reports that Apple is set to reduce output of iPhones by 10mln from what was initially planned amid the chip shortage. ASX 200 (unch.) was little changed as gains in gold miners, energy and tech were offset by losses in financials and the broader mining sector, with softer Westpac Consumer Confidence also limiting upside in the index. Nikkei 225 (-0.3%) was pressured at the open as participants digested mixed Machinery Orders data which showed the largest M/M contraction since February 2018 and prompted the government to cut its assessment on machinery orders, although the benchmark index gradually retraced most its losses after finding support around the 28k level and amid the recent favourable currency moves. Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) also declined as participants digested mixed Chinese trade data in which exports topped estimates but imports disappointed and with Hong Kong markets kept shut due to a typhoon warning. Finally, 10yr JGBs were steady with price action contained after the curve flattening stateside and tentative mood heading to upcoming risk events, although prices were kept afloat amid the BoJ’s purchases in the market for around JPY 1tln of JGBs predominantly focused on 1-3yr and 5-10yr maturities. Top Asian News Gold Edges Higher on Weaker Dollar Before U.S. Inflation Report RBA Rate Hike Expectations Too Aggressive, TD Ameritrade Says LG Electronics Has Series of Stock-Target Cuts After Profit Miss The mood across European stocks has improved from the subdued cash open (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.5%; Stoxx 600 +0.3%) despite a distinct lack of newsflow and heading into the official start of US earnings season, US CPI and FOMC minutes. US equity futures have also nursed earlier losses and trade in modest positive territory across the board, with the NQ (+0.5%) narrowly outperforming owing to the intraday fall in yields, alongside the sectorial outperformance seen in European tech amid tech giant SAP (+4.7%) upgrading its full FY outlook, reflecting the strong business performance which is expected to continue to accelerate cloud revenue growth. As such, the DAX 40 (+0.7%) outperformed since the cash open, whilst the FTSE 100 (-0.2%) is weighed on by underperformance in its heavyweight Banking and Basic Resources sectors amid a decline in yields and hefty losses in iron ore prices. Elsewhere, the CAC 40 (+0.3%) is buoyed by LMVH (+2.0%) after the luxury name topped revenue forecasts and subsequently lifted the Retail sector in tandem. Overall, sectors are mixed with no clear bias. In terms of individual movers, Volkswagen (+3.5%) was bolstered amid Handelsblatt reports in which the Co was said to be cutting some 30k jobs as costs are too high vs competitors, whilst separate sources suggested the automaker is said to be mulling spinning off its Battery Cell and charging unit. Chipmakers meanwhile see mixed fortunes in the aftermath of sources which suggested Apple (-0.7% pre-market) is said to be slashing output amid the chip crunch. Top European News The Hut Shares Swing as Strategy Day Feeds Investor Concern U.K. Economy Grows Less Than Expected as Services Disappoint Man Group Gets $5.3 Billion to Lift Assets to Another Record Jeff Ubben and Singapore’s GIC Back $830 Million Fertiglobe IPO In FX, the Dollar looks somewhat deflated or jaded after yesterday’s exertions when it carved out several fresh 2021 highs against rival currencies and a new record peak vs the increasingly beleaguered Turkish Lira. In index terms, a bout of profit taking, consolidation and position paring seems to have prompted a pull-back from 94.563 into a marginally lower 94.533-246 range awaiting potentially pivotal US inflation data, more Fed rhetoric and FOMC minutes from the last policy meeting that may provide more clues or clarity about prospects for near term tapering. NZD/GBP - Both taking advantage of the Greenback’s aforementioned loss of momentum, but also deriving impetus from favourable crosswinds closer to home as the Kiwi briefly revisited 0.6950+ terrain and Aud/Nzd retreats quite sharply from 1.0600+, while Cable has rebounded through 1.3600 again as Eur/Gbp retests support south of 0.8480 yet again, or 1.1800 as a reciprocal. From a fundamental perspective, Nzd/Usd may also be gleaning leverage from the more forward-looking Activity Outlook component of ANZ’s preliminary business survey for October rather than a decline in sentiment, and Sterling could be content with reported concessions from the EU on NI customs in an effort to resolve the Protocol impasse. EUR/CAD/AUD/CHF - Also reclaiming some lost ground against the Buck, with the Euro rebounding from around 1.1525 to circa 1.1560, though not technically stable until closer to 1.1600 having faded ahead of the round number on several occasions in the last week. Meanwhile, the Loonie is straddling 1.2450 in keeping with WTI crude on the Usd 80/brl handle, the Aussie is pivoting 0.7350, but capped in wake of a dip in Westpac consumer confidence, and the Franc is rotating either side of 0.9300. JPY - The Yen seems rather reluctant to get too carried away by the Dollar’s demise or join the broad retracement given so many false dawns of late before further depreciation and a continuation of its losing streak. Indeed, the latest recovery has stalled around 113.35 and Usd/Jpy appears firmly underpinned following significantly weaker than expected Japanese m/m machinery orders overnight. SCANDI/EM - Not much upside in the Sek via firmer Swedish money market inflation expectations and perhaps due to the fact that actual CPI data preceded the latest survey and topped consensus, but the Cnh and Cny are firmer on the back of China’s much wider than forecast trade surplus that was bloated by exports exceeding estimates by some distance in contrast to imports. Elsewhere, further hawkish guidance for the Czk as CNB’s Benda contends that high inflation warrants relatively rapid tightening, but the Try has not derived a lot of support from reports that Turkey is in talks to secure extra gas supplies to meet demand this winter, according to a Minister, and perhaps due to more sabre-rattling from the Foreign Ministry over Syria with accusations aimed at the US and Russia. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures see another choppy session within recent and elevated levels – with the former around USD 80.50/bbl (80.79-79.87/bbl) and the latter around 83.35/bbl (83.50-82.65/bbl range). The complex saw some downside in conjunction with jawboning from the Iraqi Energy Minster, who state oil price is unlikely to increase further, whilst at the same time, the Gazprom CEO suggested that the oil market is overheated. Nonetheless, prices saw a rebound from those lows heading into the US inflation figure, whilst the OPEC MOMR is scheduled for 12:00BST/07:00EDT. Although the release will not likely sway prices amidst the myriad of risk events on the docket, it will offer a peek into OPEC's current thinking on the market. As a reminder, the weekly Private Inventory report will be released tonight, with the DoE's slated for tomorrow on account of Monday's Columbus Day holiday. Gas prices, meanwhile, are relatively stable. Russia's Kremlin noted gas supplies have increased to their maximum possible levels, whilst Gazprom is sticking to its contractual obligations, and there can be no gas supplies beyond those obligations. Over to metals, spot gold and silver move in tandem with the receding Buck, with spot gold inching closer towards its 50 DMA at 1,776/oz (vs low 1,759.50/oz). In terms of base metals, LME copper has regained a footing above USD 9,500/t as stocks grind higher. Conversely, iron ore and rebar futures overnight fell some 6%, with overnight headlines suggesting that China has required steel mills to cut winter output. Further from the supply side, Nyrstar is to limit European smelter output by up to 50% due to energy costs. Nyrstar has a market-leading position in zinc and lead. LME zinc hit the highest levels since March 2018 following the headlines US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. CPI YoY, est. 5.3%, prior 5.3%; MoM, est. 0.3%, prior 0.3% 8:30am: Sept. CPI Ex Food and Energy YoY, est. 4.0%, prior 4.0%; MoM, est. 0.2%, prior 0.1% 8:30am: Sept. Real Avg Weekly Earnings YoY, prior -0.9%, revised -1.4% 2pm: Sept. FOMC Meeting Minutes DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap So tonight it’s my first ever “live” parents evening and then James Bond via Wagamama. Given my daughter (6) is the eldest in her year and the twins (4) the youngest (plus additional youth for being premature), I’m expecting my daughter to be at least above average but for my boys to only just about be vaguely aware of what’s going on around them. Poor things. For those reading yesterday, the Cameo video of Nadia Comanenci went down a storm, especially when she mentioned our kids’ names, but the fact that there was no birthday cake wasn’t as popular. So I played a very complicated, defence splitting 80 yard through ball but missed an open goal. Anyway ahead of Bond tonight, with all this inflation about I’m half expecting him to be known as 008 going forward. The next installment of the US prices saga will be seen today with US CPI at 13:30 London time. This is an important one, since it’s the last CPI number the Fed will have ahead of their next policy decision just 3 weeks from now, where investors are awaiting a potential announcement on tapering asset purchases. Interestingly the August reading last month was the first time so far this year that the month-on-month measure was actually beneath the consensus expectation on Bloomberg, with the +0.3% growth being the slowest since January. Famous last words but this report might not be the most interesting since it may be a bit backward looking given WTI oil is up c.7.5% in October alone. In addition, used cars were up +5.4% in September after falling in late summer. So given the 2-3 month lag for this to filter through into the CPI we won’t be getting the full picture today. I loved the fact from his speech last night that the Fed’s Bostic has introduced a “transitory” swear jar in his office. More on the Fedspeak later. In terms of what to expect this time around though, our US economists are forecasting month-on-month growth of +0.41% in the headline CPI, and +0.27% for core, which would take the year-on-year rates to +5.4% for headline and +4.1% for core. Ahead of this, inflation expectations softened late in the day as Fed officials were on the hawkish side. The US 10yr breakeven dropped -1.9bps to 2.49% after trading at 2.527% earlier in the session. This is still the 3rd highest closing level since May, and remains only 7bps off its post-2013 closing high. Earlier, inflation expectations continued to climb in Europe, where the 5y5y forward inflation swap hit a post-2015 high of 1.84%. Also on inflation, the New York Fed released their latest Survey of Consumer Expectations later in the European session, which showed that 1-year ahead inflation expectations were now at +5.3%, which is the highest level since the survey began in 2013, whilst 3-year ahead expectations were now at +4.2%, which was also a high for the series. The late rally in US breakevens, coupled with lower real yields (-1.6bps) meant that the 10yr Treasury yield ended the session down -3.5bps at 1.577% - their biggest one day drop in just over 3 weeks. There was a decent flattening of the yield curve, with the 2yr yield up +2.0bps to 0.34%, its highest level since the pandemic began as the market priced in more near-term Fed rate hikes. In the Euro Area it was a very different story however, with 10yr yields rising to their highest level in months, including among bunds (+3.5bps), OATs (+2.9bps) and BTPs (+1.0bps). That rise in the 10yr bund yield left it at -0.09%, taking it above its recent peak earlier this year to its highest closing level since May 2019. Interestingly gilts (-4.0bps) massively out-performed after having aggressively sold off for the last week or so. Against this backdrop, equity markets struggled for direction as they awaited the CPI reading and the start of the US Q3 earnings season today. By the close of trade, the S&P 500 (-0.24%) and the STOXX 600 (-0.07%) had both posted modest losses as they awaited the next catalyst. Defensive sectors were the outperformers on both sides of the Atlantic. Real estate (+1.34%) and utilities (+0.67%) were among the best performing US stocks, though some notable “reopening” industries outperformed as well including airlines (+0.83%), hotels & leisure (+0.51%). News came out after the US close regarding the global chip shortage, with Bloomberg reporting that Apple, who are one of the largest buyers of chips, would revise down their iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by 10 million units. Recent rumblings from chip producers suggest that the problems are expected to persist, which will make central bank decisions even more complicated over the coming weeks as they grapple with increasing supply-side constraints that push up inflation whilst threatening to undermine the recovery. Speaking of central bankers, Vice Chair Clarida echoed his previous remarks and other communications from the so-called “core” of the FOMC that the current bout of inflation would prove largely transitory and that underlying trend inflation was hovering close to 2%, while admitting that risks were tilted towards higher inflation. Atlanta Fed President Bostic took a much harder line though, noting that price pressures were expanding beyond the pandemic-impacted sectors, and measures of inflation expectations were creeping higher. Specifically, he said, “it is becoming increasingly clear that the feature of this episode that has animated price pressures — mainly the intense and widespread supply-chain disruptions — will not be brief.” His ‘transitory swear word jar’ for his office was considerably more full by the end of his speech. As highlighted above, while President Bostic spoke US 10yr breakevens dropped -2bps and then continued declining through the New York afternoon. In what is likely to be Clarida’s last consequential decision on monetary policy before his term expires, he noted it may soon be time to start a tapering program that ends in the middle of next year, in line with our US economics team’s call for a November taper announcement. In that vein, our US economists have updated their forecasts for rate hikes yesterday, and now see liftoff taking place in December 2022, followed by 3 rate increases in each of 2023 and 2024. That comes in light of supply disruptions lifting inflation, a likely rise in inflation expectations (which are sensitive to oil prices), and measures of labour market slack continuing to outperform. For those interested, you can read a more in-depth discussion of this here. Turning to commodities, yesterday saw a stabilisation in prices after the rapid gains on Monday, with WTI (+0.15%) and Brent Crude (-0.27%) oil prices seeing only modest movements either way, whilst iron ore prices in Singapore were down -3.45%. That said it wasn’t entirely bad news for the asset class, with Chinese coal futures (+4.45%) hitting fresh records, just as aluminium prices on the London Metal Exchange (+0.13%) eked out another gain to hit a new post-2008 high. Overnight in Asia, equity markets are seeing a mixed performance with the KOSPI (+1.24%) posting decent gains, whereas the CSI (-0.06%), Nikkei (-0.22%) and Shanghai Composite (-0.69%) have all lost ground. The KOSPI’s strength came about on the back of a decent jobs report, with South Korea adding +671k relative to a year earlier, the most since March 2014. The Hong Kong Exchange is closed however due to the impact of typhoon Kompasu. Separately, coal futures in China are up another +8.00% this morning, so no sign of those price pressures abating just yet following recent floods. Meanwhile, US equity futures are pointing to little change later on, with those on the S&P 500 down -0.12%. Here in Europe, we had some fresh Brexit headlines after the UK’s Brexit minister, David Frost, said that the Northern Ireland Protocol “is not working” and was not protecting the Good Friday Agreement. He said that he was sharing a new amended Protocol with the EU, which comes ahead of the release of the EU’s own proposals on the issue today. But Frost also said that “if we are going to get a solution we must, collectively, deliver significant change”, and that Article 16 which allows either side to take unilateral safeguard measures could be used “if necessary”. Elsewhere yesterday, the IMF marginally downgraded their global growth forecast for this year, now seeing +5.9% growth in 2021 (vs. +6.0% in July), whilst their 2022 forecast was maintained at +4.9%. This masked some serious differences between countries however, with the US downgraded to +6.0% in 2021 (vs. +7.0% in July), whereas Italy’s was upgraded to +5.8% (vs. +4.9% in July). On inflation they said that risks were skewed to the upside, and upgraded their forecasts for the advanced economies to +2.8% in 2021, and to +2.3% in 2022. Looking at yesterday’s data, US job openings declined in August for the first time this year, falling to 10.439m (vs. 10.954m expected). But the quits rate hit a record of 2.9%, well above its pre-Covid levels of 2.3-2.4%. Here in the UK, data showed the number of payroll employees rose by +207k in September, while the unemployment rate for the three months to August fell to 4.5%, in line with expectations. And in a further sign of supply-side issues, the number of job vacancies in the three months to September hit a record high of 1.102m. Separately in Germany, the ZEW survey results came in beneath expectations, with the current situation declining to 21.6 (vs. 28.0 expected), whilst expectations fell to 22.3 (vs. 23.5 expected), its lowest level since March 2020. To the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the aforementioned US CPI reading for September, while today will also see the most recent FOMC meeting minutes released. Other data releases include UK GDP for August and Euro Area industrial production for August. Central bank speakers include BoE Deputy Governor Cunliffe, the ECB’s Visco and the Fed’s Brainard. Finally, earnings releases include JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock and Delta Air Lines. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 08:13.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021

The 5 best kitchen knives we tested in 2021

These knives are the only ones you need in your kitchen. Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky Putting your knife set together piecemeal is the best way to go, and a quality chef's knife is absolutely essential. The Wusthof Classic Ikon 8" Chef's Knife is our favorite, but we also like Victorinox, Shun, and more. There may be no more important tool in your kitchen than your chef's knife. It is the one-stop-shop for all of your slicing, chopping, dicing, and trimming needs. Sure, there are other kitchen knives well worth their steel, but we can't stress this enough: if you're going to put your money into any one knife, or if you're considering buying a knife set, think about a single, high-quality chef's knife to start.While we do offer a guide to the best knife sets - and recommend some budget-friendly options like the Victorinox Fibrox Pro set (a staple in many commercial kitchens) - you can end up with a lot of filler pieces if you go the pre-packaged route. Everyone we've spoken with on the matter, from famed butcher Pat LaFrieda to late gourmand and chef Anthony Bourdain, has been quick to the point: most knife sets are a waste of money. And having knocked around enough commercial bars and kitchens myself, I can't agree more. Rarely do you see a chef, sous chef, or line cook, fiddling with anything but a chef's knife.For this guide, we focused on chef's knives for the reasons above, but we also ran through dozens of paring, boning, utility, and bread knives to recommend one of each of those as well. Here are the best kitchen knives of 2021Best overall: Wusthof Classic Ikon 8" Chef's KnifeBest budget: Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8" Chef's KnifeBest paring: Victorinox 3.25" Straight Paring KnifeBest bread: Victorinox Fibrox Pro 10.25" Serrated Curved Bread KnifeBest utility/boning: Shun Sora 6" The best chef's knife overall Owen Burke/Insider Hefty but balanced, The traditional German design of Wüsthof's Classic Ikon 8" Chef's Knife suits most hands and stands up to just about every kitchen task.Length: 6", 8", 10"Blade: High-carbon stainless steelHRC: 58Handle: Polyoxymethylene (POM)Pros: Great for chopping and dicing, agreeable handle for most, rust- and chip-resistantCons: Requires regular sharpeningThe Wüsthof Classic Ikon Chef's Knife is the most traditional western knife there is: It's big, it's heavy, and it's made with relatively soft, rust-, and chip-resistant stainless steel. As far as quality knives go, this is the knife we've found to handle the most difficult tasks while also still offering agility and precision.Before we go further, we should mention one caveat: Ahead of investing in a chef's knife, know that of all the kitchen knives you might purchase, it is the most personal choice you're going to have to make.No matter which knife you choose, your chef's knife is the one you'll rely upon most. It offers the most surface area for larger chopping and slicing jobs, and it also handles the most force for hardier root vegetables, meat, and poultry. Different designs might favor chopping and dicing over slicing (and vice-versa), but we like the only slightly rounded belly of the Wüsthof Classic Ikon, which strikes a happy medium for the two tasks.We also like the modified handle of the Ikon series knives in general, which isn't quite German, but not quite Japanese, either. It seems to be a hybrid of the two and fits most hands comfortably (we placed our top pick in several different palms).All in all, this is a great knife for the average household in which kitchen knives aren't generally taken care of, and no matter who gets a hold of this thing or what they do with or to it, you'll be able to bring it back up to snuff. That and the fact that it's a relatively thin and agile blade as far as German knives go make it the best all-around pick based on our testing. The best budget chef's knife Owen Burke/Insider Popular in busy commercial kitchens and homes alike, Victorinox's Fibrox has a highly ergonomic handle and stands up to rough use like few others.Length: 7.9"Blade: High-carbon stainless steelHRC: 55Handle: Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE)Pros: Maneuverable, comfortable handle, decent edge retentionCons: Not razor-sharp straight out of the factory, takes some work to sharpen, not perfectly balanced Victorinox's entire Fibrox line is a favorite in commercial kitchens because its knives are among the few that can pass through numerous line cooks' hands and accidental trips through the dishwasher unscathed. The Fibrox Chef's Knife is budget-friendly, but it's also perfect for short-term rentals, first apartments, and more generally, people who don't necessarily want to spend time taking care of their kitchen tools. My kitchen sees a lot of "chefs," and for that reason, I have my knives squirreled away separately from the communal kitchen knives, which are entirely from Victorinox. This way, I don't have to worry about someone slicing a lemon and leaving an expensive knife on the counter, not only wet but coated in citric acid, or trying to pry open a lid via a Japanese blade, which is horrific to think about. And even though the Fibrox Chef's Knife has withstood the abuse mentioned above (and more), there's neither a single stain nor chip on it. Sure, it's a bit scratched (coarse sponges are terrible for stainless steel, but more on care below), but all I do is give it a sharpening every couple of months, which with diligence gets it sharper than it was from the factory, and it performs impressively.We also find it to be a little on the safer side thanks to the ultra-grippy Fibrox handle, which is easy to hold even when wet or greasy.Read more about the Fibrox line in our guide to the best knife sets (even though we generally don't recommend sets, this one is an exception). The best paring knife Owen Burke/Insider A paring knife is a simple tool for lighter tasks, and Victorinox's 3.25" Straight Paring Knife offers everything you need of it and nothing you don't.Length: 3.25"Blade: 440 stainless steelHRC: 58-60Handle: Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE)Pros: Resilient, relatively rust-proof, dishwasher-safeCons: Very lightweight, requires regular sharpeningYou really, really don't need to spend a fortune on a paring knife. We think Victorinox's 3.25" Straight Paring Knife does the job about as well as anything because it's not the blade you're going to rely on for heavier-duty tasks.  Hulling strawberries, slicing a small bit of garlic, and peeling and seeding fruit is about all you're going to use it for, and while they're not the most demanding tasks, this knife handles them every bit as well as you'd hope anything would. Sure, you can spend a lot more and get a weightier paring knife, but it's far from necessary.And while, again, it's about as cheap as any kitchen knife gets, it's also much more resilient than pricier picks. Years ago, one of our testers admitted to running it through the dishwasher regularly, and has found only one small speck of rust since. The only other issue that arises with this knife is that you'll have to sharpen it as regularly as our budget pick for a chef's knife. Depending upon how often you put it to work, that could range from every month to every few months. Otherwise, keep this knife clean and dry like any other and it will work and last like any other. The best bread knife Owen Burke/Insider A long, thin blade with shallow serrations makes the surprisingly affordable Victorinox Fibrox 10" Bread Knife a precise tool for slicing bread and more.Length: 10.25"Blade: 440 stainless steelHRC: 55Handle: Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE)Pros: Nicely weighted (for a budget-friendly knife), great gripCons: Not as heavy as top-of-the-line bread knives, not as sharp out of the factoryIt's debatable whether you want to spend much on a bread knife depending on how often you'll be using it, but Victorinox's Fibrox Bread Knife is a quality tool at a reasonable price. It withstands the same amount of rough use as the rest of our recommendations from that line, but thanks to the larger handle and longer blade it carries a little more weight than the more budget-friendly options we considered. In our tests, which involved slicing less-than-forgiving, homemade, no-knead bread, it fared as well as everything we tried until we reached the $200 range, which is an absurd price for a bread knife for most people. That pretty much settled it. We also can't lend enough praise to the Fibrox handles in general, which everyone seems to appreciate, and apart from their ergonomic qualities, instill a sense of security with their non-slip grips.Because this blade is not only thin but also only shallowly serrated, you won't have as much trouble sharpening it on your own as you would with, say, a deep-scalloped one that doesn't take to a simple pull-through sharpener as well. It also turns out that this knife isn't bad for slicing softer fruits and carving meat and poultry.If you're looking for something a little more on the affordable side, our previous pick (which we retested against this one) is the Mercer Culinary Millennia Wavy Edge 10-inch Wide Bread Knife. It has a slightly thicker blade and a deeper serration, so it's not going to be as precise, but it's got a similar handle and costs half the price. The best utility knife Owen Burke/Insider With VG Max steel wrapped in layered Damascus steel, Shun's Classic 6" Utility Knife is sharper and retains a better edge than most German-style knives, and is perfect for trimming and more precise cuts.Length: 6"Blade: VG-Max Damascus steelHRC: 62Handle: Pakka (plastic and wood composite)Pros: Extremely sharp, great edge retention, rust-resistant, very well-balancedCons: Slightly brittle and easier to chip than German steel, small, D-shaped handle favors right-handersA utility knife needs to be extra sharp for more precise cuts and trimming without tearing foods, and Shun's Classic 6" Utility Knife uses VG-Max Damascus steel, effectively offering the best of both worlds between Japanese-style and German-style blades.Damascus steel is made by forging and hammering carbon-rich steel (in this case, VG-Max) at a low temperature, cranking up the heat, and then cooling it abruptly. The material is known for its flexibility and corrosion resistance, not to mention its signature swirly "damask" pattern that tends to woo one and all. While its beauty is something to behold, the important takeaway is that you get a knife that holds a stronger edge than carbon steel but flexes better than stainless steel. While we veered away from Japanese steel for our chef's knife top pick, and didn't recommend a Damascus or VG Max steel option because of the cost, a smaller utility knife from Shun makes that type of pricier steel more affordable.Apart from being remarkably more rust-resistant than other Japanese and Japanese-style knives we tried, this knife isn't so brittle that we've had trouble with chipping or dinging. Still, you'll want to keep it away from harder foods and surfaces, and especially bones. Where this knife shines is with smaller, in-between tasks where a chef's knife is overkill and a paring knife is painfully laborious. Think slicing tomatoes or dicing shallots. It's not a necessary knife for everyone, but behind those two knives and a bread knife, it's the next most important one for most kitchens. On that note, it did offer enough flexibility for me to not necessarily fillet, but skin and trim boneless meat. Shun's knives are made with a material known as Pakka wood, which is really a wood-and-plastic composite that looks an awful lot like walnut. Purists might cringe, but it gives the look without bringing along the worry of the handle splitting.If you're really averse to owning a Japanese knife for one reason or another (either the handle or the extra care required), look to the utility knife version of our top-recommended chef's knife, the 6" Wüsthof Ikon. What else we tested Owen Burke/Insider Shun: Probably the most popular Japanese knife in the US, Shun offers relatively affordable VG- and Damascus-steel knives. Apart from recommending the brand's utility knife, one of my personal favorite knives is the 8" Chef's knife.Korin: Another mid-range Japanese knife similar to Shun, Korin is a favorite of Pat LaFrieda and Andrew Zimmern, and is competitive with Mac.J.A. Henckels: One of the veritable classics in German knives, J.A. Henckels' knives were a little thicker in the blade than our other picks, but you really can't go wrong here.Dexter-Russell: Similar to Victorinox's Fibrox series, Dexter-Russell offers a line of similarly iconic white-handled knives at a great price point, and which you'll find in commercial kitchens all over. We just found that the handles on the Fibrox knives are much grippier.Mac: This company makes an outstanding chef's knife, especially for the price. The only reason we couldn't recommend this as an overall pick was its delicacy. At the hands of most people, this knife isn't going to stay in great shape for long. If you care for your knives, on the other hand, we can't recommend it enough.Made In: These, like many other DTC-brand knives, are made with X50CrMoV15 steel and are a great deal for the price. Like the others, they didn't exactly wow us, but we found nothing really wrong with them, either. The rounded handle seems to work well with many hands.Material: These knives are made with "high-carbon" steel, but we wouldn't call it high-quality. They have a hybrid handle that should suit most hands, and they're easy enough to sharpen and perfectly serviceable knives.Misen: More X50CrMoV15 steel and a great deal for the price. These are extremely popular for a reason, and we like them plenty, too.Our Place: Another DTC brand making X50CrMoV15 steel blades, Our Place's knives are more than satisfactory. We liked the hybrid handle, but not as much as others. If the handle looks like it'll suit you, these are nicely designed and balanced knives.Steelport Knife Co.: This is a much fancier, carbon-steel option for someone who wants to invest in a gorgeous and impossibly sharp blade. We love it, but we also recognize that it requires care.  Our methodology Owen Burke/Insider We finely sliced tomatoes and onions with chef's knives, minced garlic and shallots with utility and paring knives, hulled strawberries with paring knives, and sliced hard-crusted no-knead bread with serrated slicing knives. We then dulled each blade by rapping them repeatedly on a glass cutting board (word to the wise, never use one of these) and returned to each knife's respective task to note any dulling or chipping.We also made sure to put each knife into as many different hands as possible, ranging from professional cooks to hobbyists.Lastly, we consulted a series of chefs, butchers, and metallurgists, including Chef Shola Olunloyo of Studio Kitchen, Pat LaFrieda, and Michael J Tarkanian, a professor of metallurgy at MIT.A word on Japanese knivesWe took Japanese knives out of the running for our top chef's knife pick. While they're a personal favorite, they're notoriously difficult to maintain, and therefore not suited for most kitchens. Simply put, if you're starting to invest in your kitchen knives, we don't want to recommend a fine knife that will easily be misused."High-carbon stainless steel" is a bit of a buzzword in reaction to the popularity of Japanese-style knives, which can attain notoriously sharper edges than their German-style counterparts. The delicacy of Japanese knives has to do with the hardness of the standard high-carbon stainless steel, which allows for a finer and sharper but proportionally brittler edge.Still, if you're the type of person who takes particularly good care of your tools (and aren't sharing a kitchen with someone who won't), you may prefer a Japanese knife. But know that they require meticulous cleaning and drying, as well as careful storage, or they'll end up with rusted and/or chipped blades.Other considerations:Edge retention: Our knife-testing process involved slicing fresh tomatoes and taking note of the ease with which each chef's knife handled the task. After we had sufficient data, we took each chef's knife to a glass cutting board and ran it over the surface 200 times. Some knives held their edge, others not so much. We looked at the edges after running the knives and noted if there were any visible changes. We then returned to the tomatoes, cutting a few more and seeing how much resistance we felt compared with the performance of the knives straight out of the packaging. Knives that held their edges passed on to further rounds of consideration.Alloy, and the HRC (hardness rating): We consulted several experts in the field, but the most informative source we encountered was Michael J Tarkanian, a professor of metallurgy at MIT. With his help, we were able to cut through the marketing and the scientific terminology behind different alloys and what allows a knife to retain an edge.We looked for a hardness rating of around 60 HRC, which offers great edge retention while still allowing for an edge of around 15 degrees (though up to 20 degrees, which is duller than 15, was still considered sufficient).Ergonomics: For a knife to work well, you have to be able to hold it comfortably in your hand. We asked several people to pick up knives and decide which ones were the easiest to grip; across the board, they went for the ones with heavier, rounded, almost bulbous handles.Balance: The weight of the handle and the blade is also somewhat critical. Pricier knives almost always offer better balance because that extra cost goes into using denser and often more desirable materials, like layered Damascus steel. A well-balanced knife with a good blade will cut through vegetables with minimal pressure, like our top pick from Wusthof. A not-so-well-balanced knife will take a little force to get started. What we look forward to testing Owen Burke/Insider We're looking forward to testing Santoku knives and more Japanese chef's knives for our next update. While they're superior in certain ways, they don't stand up to the rough handling that they'll endure at the hands of the average home cook, so we'll have separate picks coming soon. Until then, we're big fans of Shun, Global, Korin, and MAC. Just know that while you might not have to sharpen them as much as softer-steeled German blades, they're slightly more prone to rust (due to higher carbon levels) and chipping (due to their increased hardness).We're also going to recommend a boning knife for those who need to trim and debone meat but in the meantime, Victorinox's Fibrox Pro is an affordable option, and the Wüsthof Classic Ikon is a pricier step up which we like so far. FAQs Owen Burke/Insider How to choose a knifeThe most important thing about a knife, and especially a chef's knife, is how it fits in your hand. So long as you spend at least $50 on a chef's knife, it's going to be sharp (and sharpenable) enough to get most any job done. Decide what kind of handle you want first. German-style knives are generally more molded to the palm with a pronounced butt end, while Japanese-style knives are almost uniformly cylindrical and smaller. Both designs work for everyone; it just depends on the feel you prefer and, to some degree, how you hold the knife.The type of steel you choose should be based on the kind of care you're (realistically) going to give your knife. If you don't envision yourself sharpening and perfectly drying and storing your knife after every use, German stainless steel (e.g., 440, 420) is going to be much more forgiving, though softer and quicker to dull.If you are a tool fanatic and know that you'll take good care of your knives and are also confident that they won't find their way into the wrong hands, carbon steel is a great pick because it's incredibly sharp. Just know that it's likely to rust and chip more easily.In between, you have VG-10 and VG-Max (proprietary to Shun, but about the same as VG-10), which have added alloys (tungsten, vanadium) that make them a little more stain-resistant and less brittle. They're great for those who want a Japanese-style knife without having to care so devoutly for it.Then there's Damascus steel, which is made by forging and hammering carbon-rich steel at a low temperature, cranking up the heat, and then cooling it abruptly. Damascus steel is known for its flexibility and corrosion resistance, and we recommend it, but be wary of too-good-to-be-true deals. A lot of manufacturers will etch the mesmerizing swirls into a blade without performing the time-consuming and expensive hammering process.Why (or why not) buy a knife setIn general, things that come in sets tend to involve compromised quality, and often contain filler pieces. In the case of knife sets, you're probably going to receive a bunch of knives and other gadgets (including a large woodblock) that you may never use. A lot of newer (and older) DTC brands recognize that consumers are growing wiser and learning that sets are generally a ripoff. As a result, there are lots of two- to five-piece sets on the market. If you're looking in the budget range, we're all for them, and we've pretty much tried them all. The steel is almost always the same quality, so choose based on the handle style you like.Otherwise, though, sets don't make a lot of sense for most people. Invest in a chef's knife, first and foremost, with which, by the way, you can tackle all of your kitchen tasks, minus maybe slicing bread. Next, a paring knife is probably the most sensible purchase, but since it's not doing a lot of the heavy work, we say go cheap. That said, feel free to spend what you'd like; there is something to be said for a weightier, sharper blade in the case of every knife.A slicing and/or bread knife may or may not be important to you depending upon whether or not you consume much bread or slice much meat. You can find one that does the job for as little as $20, or, again, the sky's the limit. For most people, we like the $40-$60 range.Beyond the above, you're getting into specific tasks most people don't really take on at home. Fillet knives, boning knives, santoku knives, and shears are all further considerations. Even if you want all of those knives, you're still likely better off purchasing them piecemeal. It'll be more affordable, and you'll also be able to budget so that you can put your money where it counts. Glossary Owen Burke/Insider Heal: The corner of the blade where the edge meets the bolster.Edge: The sharpened, business side of the blade.Tang: The part of the blade that runs to or through the handle. "Full-tang" is a common term, which means the blade steel is a single piece of steel that runs through the handle.Rivets: The pins holding the handle together (more common in German handles).Bolster: Above the heel, a spacer where the blade meets the handle, and an area to grab or choke up on when performing finer tasks.Tip: The pointy, or front end of the knife opposite the handle.High-carbon steel: Steel with at least 0.55% carbon content.Stainless steel: An alloy of iron, chromium, and sometimes other metals. This is a very general term, but it's the basic steel with which German knives are made.VG10, VG-Max: A high-carbon steel blended with tungsten and vanadium, and sometimes other metals to lend flexibility and rust resistance.Damascus Steel: A two-plus-millennia-old process, Damascus steel is made by forging and hammering carbon-rich steel at a low temperature, cranking up the heat, and then cooling it abruptly, repeatedly (generally dozens of times). Damascus steel is known for its flexibility and corrosion resistance while still retaining a superior edge, which is why it is traditionally (and famously) used for samurai swords. Check out more related guides Too many knives. Owen Burke/Insider The best knife setsThe best knife sharpenersThe best cutting boardsThe best knife blocksThe best bushcraft and survival knives Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 11th, 2021

The 85 truly unique gifts for your girlfriend that she will actually love, from personalized jewelry to unique subscription boxes

We rounded up 85 thoughtful gifts to give your girlfriend, from keepsake jewelry under $100 to helpful tech and fitness accessories. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Give your girlfriend a thoughtful, custom keepsake. Framebridge Giving your girlfriend a meaningful gift doesn't have to require hours of research. Below is a list of thoughtful gifts for your girlfriend, from accessories and tech to home decor. Still looking for gifts? Find more gift guides broken down by interest, budget, and occasion here. Giving gifts as a couple can be a lot of fun. You know your partner: What they love, what rituals they enjoy, what small daily annoyances you could possibly solve with a thoughtful gift. You also know how much they'll appreciate the gift coming from you.Odds are you want to give them something wonderful - whatever your price range is. All most of us need is a little direction and a few great options to pick from, so we put together a list of our favorite gift ideas for girlfriends of all personalities to help guide you, below.Check out all 85 gifts for your girlfriend:This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by Vuori. It also meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.* Earrings made with her birthstone Mejuri Amethyst Flat Sphere Studs, available on Mejuri, $180If your girlfriend wears jewelry, birthstone earrings that she can keep forever are a thoughtful, personalized gift she'll wear often.   Delicious sweets from a famous NYC bakery Milk Bar Milk Bar Treats, from $22If your girlfriend has a sweet tooth, send her Milk Bar — the company delivers its iconic and decadent cakes, cookies, and truffles to her doorstep. A pass to get into a bunch of boutique fitness classes Classpass ClassPass Gift Card, from $15Boutique fitness classes are expensive, which can make trying new workouts — either for variety or to figure out what we like — less appealing. ClassPass solves both issues. It's relatively affordable, and members can access a neverending catalog of great workouts with small class sizes. If your partner is getting back into fitness after over a year of at-home workouts, we'd highly recommend a gift card here for whenever they're ready to use it. Leggings fit for workouts and lounge sessions Vuori Vuori Daily Legging, from $59Vuori is known for its smooth, soft fabrics and flattering fits — and the Daily Legging is no exception. Combining the leisure and comfort of a jogger with the function and stretch of a legging, your girlfriend can wear these for both workouts and weekend lounging. *Sponsored by Vuori A disposable camera that doesn't take you out of the moment Gamesgamer024 The gamer/YouTube Disposable camera, $45Interested in preserving memories without taking yourself out of them? A good disposable camera or a film camera can take the pressure away from perfection so you and your girlfriend can focus on just savoring experiences together. The best electric toothbrush Colgate Electric toothbrush, $39.99If your girlfriend is more interested in gifts she needs as well as wants, an electric toothbrush is a good option. We've tested our fair share of electric toothbrushes, and we think Colgate's Hum is the best value. It cleans thoroughly and offers advanced features and modern design for $70 — which is considerably more affordable than options with fancy features you may not use enough.  A planned trip for the two of you to take together Airbnb Airbnb Gift Card, available at Airbnb, from $25If you want to gift an experience you and your girlfriend can enjoy together, grab a card, a gift card to Airbnb, and come up with a few location ideas to choose from. You can also book a hotel in your city on Booking.com or Expedia for a sweet staycation. *This gift can be saved and used at a later date. A versatile Exercise Dress Outdoor Voices The Exercise Dress, available on Outdoor Voices, $100Given the popularity of the Exercise Dress, we wouldn't be surprised if this was on your girlfriend's wish list. The Exercise Dress is comfortable, versatile, and cute — which has made it a cult-favorite item. If she's a fan of dresses, outdoor voices, or clothes she can wear all day long, this may be a good option.  Her favorite specialty food straight from the source Goldbelly/Instagram Order her favorite specialty foods using Goldbelly, from $28Goldbelly makes it possible to satisfy your girlfriend's most specific and nostalgic cravings no matter where they live in the US — a cheesecake from Junior's, deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati, and more. Browse the iconic gifts section for inspiration.  A streaming bundle that checks off all the boxes Hulu/Disney+/ESPN+/Business Insider Hulu, Disney+ ESPN+ Bundle, available at Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu, from $13.99 per monthIf canceled sporting events or trips to Disney have you feeling down, you can gift Disney+, ESPN, and Hulu together to ensure the next few months include plenty of entertainment options. If your partner is not too fond of ads, this bundle can also be purchased with the ad-free version of Hulu. A small skincare tool that removes 99.5% of dirt, oil, and makeup residue Amazon Foreo Luna Play Plus 2, available at Foreo, $59In the category of things your girlfriend may love but hasn't asked for yet: Foreo facial brushes. Our team swears by these gentle yet effective cleansing devices. They have hygienic silicone bristles and come in five different models for different skin types. The Luna is small enough to bring on the go, so your partner can maintain their skincare routine while traveling.  A thoughtful book she'll love Amazon "Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar" by Cheryl Strayed, available on Amazon, $12.42Pick up one of your all-time favorite books that you think she'd like, or browse some of the books we love to gift. This collection of Dear Sugar advice columns is a heartfelt favorite. Its topics are diverse, its letters to Dear Sugar are intimate and relatable, and Cheryl Strayed's responses are both witty and extraordinarily compassionate. A membership to a huge outdoor co-op REI REI Co-Op Lifetime Membership, $20, available at REIAn REI membership offers a lifetime of benefits for a one-time purchase. That includes 10%-back dividends, special offers, access to in-store REI Garage sales, and special pricing on REI classes and events. If your girlfriend loves the outdoors, this is an option she can enjoy solo and with you.  A Dutch oven to elevate their bread game Lodge mfg Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, available at Walmart, $79.90Did your girlfriend get into baking bread and, miraculously, stay committed to it? If so, a really nice Dutch oven can help elevate her experience. You can get something great for under $100, or you can splurge on a beautiful Le Creuset. Other meaningful upgrades include a cooling rack, according to the famous baker Apollonia Poilâne. A subscription that sends her a six-month world tour of teas Atlas Tea Club Atlas Tea Club 6 Month Subscription, available on Atlas Tea Club, $109This subscription sends your girlfriend single-origin teas from the best tea-growing regions in the world for six months. She'll get two delicious options sent to her home each month. Festive matching underwear from one of the internet's favorite startups MeUndies Matching Underwear, available at MeUndies, $42Get yourself and your girlfriend festive matching underwear — which also happen to be some of the most comfortable pairs we've ever found. MeUndies gives you the options to create your own personalized set — two styles listed for women, two styles listed for men, a mix, and whichever length or cut you and your partner prefer.  A standing desk for a home office upgrade Fully Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk, available at Fully, from $569If she's working from home, your girlfriend might love a home office upgrade the most. We ranked the Fully Jarvis the best standing desk; it provides the right blend of features and reliable performance. Its customizations for style, height, and accessories make it adaptable to pretty much any need.  A framed keepsake of a favorite memory Framebridge Framed photo, available at Framebridge, from $45Gift Card, available at Framebridge, from $25Framebridge makes custom framing a bit more affordable. You can print or paint something on your own and have it framed, or have them print and frame it, and you can take advantage of the team of designers for help deciding what frame to get.  The best socks she'll ever wear Bombas Bombas Women's Performance Running Ankle Sock 3-Pack, $49.50Bombas makes the best socks we've ever tried, and they're a gift we find ourselves giving every year to loved ones. They're lightweight, moisture-wicking, and built to circumvent annoyances like uncomfortable seams and heel slipping. A powerful, customizable massage gun Theragun Theragun PRO, available at Therabody, $599This is the best massage gun we've tested — though it's also on the higher end of what you would expect to pay. We loved it in part due to its two-year warranty, adjustable massage arm, customizable speeds, 60 lbs of no-stall force, six different heads, an extra battery, and how easy it is to use. If you can't give your girlfriend an unlimited pass to professional massages, this is a nice in-between option.  A nice gold vermeil and sapphire zodiac sign necklace Mejuri Aquarius Necklace, available at Mejuri, $395Mejuri is a Canadian startup created in 2015 to make fine jewelry affordable to buy — and it has racked up waitlists with more than 40,000 people before. Their popular Zodiac Necklace is cool, minimalist, and something she can wear every day. It's made in gold vermeil with AAA quality white sapphires. Mejuri's affordable pricing means the estimated traditional retail price of the same necklace elsewhere would be closer to $235.   The best bathrobe that money can buy Snowe Bathrobe, available at Snowe, $100Snowe's unisex bathrobe has been called the best and most absorbent terry robe on the market, and I'm just one more fervent believer. The cotton fiber traps air for extra absorbency and is soft and plush, and the unisex sizing means it will feel like a blanket-turned-robe. Perfect functionality, and extra points for coziness. A tracker for finding cell phones and wallets quickly Amazon Tile Pro, available at Amazon, $34.99When your girlfriend can't find her phone, all she has to do is click the Tile button to make her phone ring, even if it's on silent. We've found them especially useful lately.  A monogrammed jewelry case from a minimalist fashion startup Cuyana Leather Jewelry Case, available at Cuyana, $85 (+ $15 for monogram)Keeping track of tiny and delicate jewelry is difficult — but jewelry cases are a pretty and useful solution. This is a thoughtful and personalized gift, especially if you've gotten your girlfriend jewelry in the past, or plan to in the future. It's made from premium leather, comes in many colors, and can be monogrammed with her initials. Cuyana is a cool leather bag startup she may have already heard of.  A pair of blue light-blocking glasses that look good enough to wear outside of the house Felix Gray Faraday Glasses, available at Felix Gray, from $95If she's ever complained about strain from constant screens, you can help mitigate it with a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses. They might even help with sleep. The convenience of Apple AirPods Hollis Johnson/Business Insider Apple AirPods, available at Best Buy, $129.99When it comes to convenience, truly wireless earbuds are the best. And Apple's AirPods are very popular with iPhone and Android users alike. They look subtle compared to other bigger options, and they're easy to use. For the latest option, you can pick up AirPods Pro for $199.99 on Best Buy too.  A 215-piece art kit for creative projects Amazon Art 101 215-Piece Wood Art Set, available at Amazon, $49.99If your girlfriend loves to create art, this 215-Piece art kit includes everything she'll need for projects: crayons, colored pencils, oil pastels, fine line markers, watercolor cakes, and acrylic paint. A year-long MasterClass membership to learn about things she's passionate about MasterClass Annual Membership, available at MasterClass, from $180/yearIf your dinner table conversations often include talk of photography, or tennis, or screenwriting, or another passion, consider getting your girlfriend a gift that helps her spend time with her hobbies. We love MasterClass because it kind of feels like entertainment. Classes are short, there's no homework, and she can listen to the audio like its a podcast or watch the videos. The site hosts classes taught by well-known celebrities and industry leaders — from Neil deGrasse Tyson teaching Scientific Thinking and Communication to Malcolm Gladwell on Writing, Shonda Rhimes on Writing for Television, and Bob Iger on Business Strategy and Leadership. You can read our full review here. A one-size-fits-all lid that instantly declutters the cabinets Made In Silicone Universal Lid Kit, available at Made In, $59This was one of the gifts that professional chefs recommended to us for avid home cooks. If your girlfriend loves to cook and has a plethora of differently sized pots and pans with all the corresponding lids, having one universal lid can declutter and streamline their space in one move.  A convenient phone sanitizer PhoneSoap PhoneSoap 3 Smartphone UV Sanitizer, available at PhoneSoap, $79.95This small, easy-to-use device uses UV-C light to sanitize a phone, killing 99.9% of common household germs. A bottle (or two) of wine McBride Sisters McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Wine, starting at $19.99As the largest black-owned wine company in the United States, the McBride Sisters Collection is the perfect place to find a wine gift for your girlfriend. The Black Girl Magic collection in particular is inspired by the resilience of black women and includes varieties from Rosé to Merlot.  The new Sonos Move portable speaker Amazon Sonos Move, available at Best Buy, $399.99The Sonos Move is one of the best speakers on the market. It's powerful, can be controlled by voice or an app, and has Amazon Alexa built-in so on WiFi you can play music, check the news, set alarms, get your questions answered, and more, without much effort. 16 highly-rated sheet masks Amazon/Business Insider Sheet Mask Set, available at Amazon, $22.99Grab 39 sheet masks to make it easier for your girlfriend to have a frequent and well-deserved "treat yourself" day. These are highly-rated and have both vitamin E and collagen included for healthy, happy skin.    A weighted blanket for better rest Amazon YnM Weighted Blanket, available at YnM, from $39.50Weighted blankets help create more restful sleep by "grounding" the body, and YnM makes some of the most popular and affordable weighted blankets on the internet. There are multiple sizes and weights for the ideal fit and width (they recommend picking whichever is about 10% of your body weight), and the segmented design allows you to move around without displacing all the weighted beads inside.  A mini multipurpose tool Amazon Mini Multitool Knife 12 in 1, available on Amazon, $8.99This lightweight multitool has a knife, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, scissors, and a bottle opener — so it's nine times as many opportunities for being useful as your average gift.  A sleek fitness tracker that includes heart rate monitoring Fitbit Fitbit Inspire 2, available at Best Buy, $99.95Fitbit's affordable Inspire 2 tracker has no shortage of useful features to keep someone informed about their physical activity — tracking calorie burn, resting heart rate, and heart rate zones. An 8-in-1 pan that helps to declutter your home Our Place Always Pan, available at Our Place, $115If you're spending more time at home cooking together — or re-organizing the kitchen — she may appreciate a good 8-in-1 cookware hack.The Always Pan from startup Our Place is a frying pan, saute pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest in the space of a single pan. In other words, a clever generalist that's extremely convenient for small spaces or minimalist cooks. You can read our review here. A video message from someone she loves almost as much as you Cameo/Business Insider Cameo Video Messages, available at Cameo, from $15Whether it's your girlfriend's favorite actor, comedian, or athlete, you're likely to find someone she admires on Cameo. Cameo allows celebrities to send custom video messages to recipients for nearly any occasion, and a personalized video is a gift that she'll never forget.  Personalized cartoon couple mugs Shelley Klein Personalized Family Mugs, available at Uncommon Goods, from $30These cute mugs can be personalized for what you're like as a couple, making for a special weekend morning coffee routine or just a nice reminder in the kitchen cabinet. On the back, you can add a family name and the year the couple was established if you'd like.  Silky, breathable leggings Everlane Everlane Leggings, $68Everlane's Perform Leggings are some of our all-time favorites — they're breathable and silky, like a slightly less expensive version of Alo leggings. You can read a full review of the Everlane Perform Leggings and see pictures of them here. Beautiful candles from a cool startup Otherland Otherland Candles, available at Otherland, $36Otherland is a candle company started by Abigail Cook Stone, a former art buyer for Ralph Lauren. If you want to give your girlfriend a candle that burns for 55 hours, looks beautiful, and comes from a startup that she's probably seen (or coveted) before, this is a great option. Find our full review here. The last weekend bag you'll ever need to buy her Rothy's Rothy's The Weekender, available at Rothy's, $550With its large, padded top handles and roomy interior, Rothy's The Weekender might be the last overnight bag your partner ever needs. It's got multiple pockets and a sturdy insert that helps it maintain its shape. You'll be shocked by how much you can fit in this bag — definitely enough for a long weekend. It's made of recycled plastic pulled from the ocean and is machine washable.   The "world's most comfortable shoes" Allbirds Women's Wool Runners, available at Allbirds, $98The classic Wool Runners make a great gift for the uninitiated, though we'd also highly recommend the brand's casual cup sole Wool Piper for everyday wear if that's more your partner's style. You can find our full review of the Runners here, and the Wool Pipers here. A customized map of her favorite place Grafomap Custom Map Poster, available at Grafomap, from $49Grafomap lets you design custom maps of anywhere in the world — like the first place you met, the best trip you ever took together, or the hometown she couldn't wait to show you. It's unique, thoughtful, and pretty inexpensive.  You can find our full review here. A gift card to a popular wine subscription club Winc Gift Card, available at Winc, from $29.95Winc is a personalized wine club — and we think it's the best one you can belong to overall. Members take a wine palate profile quiz and then choose from the personalized wine suggestions. Each bottle has extensive tasting notes and serving recommendations online, and makes it easy to discover similar bottles. Gift her a Winc gift card, and she can take a wine palate profile quiz and get started with her own customized suggestions.  An exercise bike for staying active indoors NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle, available at NordicTrack, $1,999If money is of no object and your partner is trying to figure out how to exercise while staying indoors, an exercise bike is a particularly thoughtful and useful gift right now. We like the NordicTrack option the most overall, but we also like and recommend options that are under $200.  A large print on fine art paper of a favorite memory Artifact Uprising/Business Insider Large Format Prints, available at Artifact Uprising, from $22Artifact Uprising makes luxury prints at accessible prices — and they make especially thoughtful gifts that look like they should cost much more. Get one of their favorite photos printed on archival fine art paper for $20 and up, or thoughtful cards for as little as $1 per custom card. You can also make a color series photo book for $22, a set of prints for $9, and a personalized calendar on a handcrafted wood clipboard for $30. A mug that keeps hot drinks hot for up to six hours straight Hydro Flask Hydro Flask Mug, 12 oz, available at Hydro Flask, from $24.95This mug is a common desk companion for the Insider Reviews team. The 12-ounce coffee mug has the company's proprietary TempShield insulation that made its water bottles famous. This mug will keep hot drinks hot for up to six hours, and cold drinks cold up to 24 hours. Read our full review of it here. A gift card for delicious, healthy meals she can make in about 30 seconds Daily Harvest Gift Card, available at Daily Harvest, from $50Daily Harvest is a food startup that makes it possible to eat healthy, delicious meals for less than $10 each even if you only have 30 seconds to spare for prep time. Meals are pre-portioned, delicious, and designed by both a chef and a nutritionist to make sure they're tasty and good for you. It addressed most of my healthy eating roadblocks.  The best hair dryer ever invented Dyson/Facebook Dyson Blow Dryer, available at Ulta, $399.99This gift may seem inexplicably expensive, but the Dyson blow dryer is lauded as the best one ever invented, making it a cult favorite. It prevents hair damage by measuring air temperature 20 times per second, has a specially designed Dyson motor for fast drying, and reduces static, breakage, and makes hair look smooth and shiny. Comfy, high-end sheets at the best price on the market Brooklinen Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle, available at Brooklinen, from $240Brooklinen is one of our favorite companies, point-blank. We think they make the best high-end sheets at the best price on the market, and most of the Insider Reviews team uses Brooklinen on their own beds.The Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle comes in plenty of colors and patterns, and you can mix and match them to suit your taste. Grab a gift card if you want to give her more freedom. If you opt for a sheet bundle, she'll receive a core sheet set (fitted, flat, two pillowcases), duvet cover, and two extra pillowcases in soft, smooth 480-thread-count weave. This cozy loungewear set that she'll never want to take off Knix Knix Cozzzy Track Pants, available at Knix, $46.75Cozy and warm, the Cozzzy Track Pants from Knix are comfortable enough to wear around the house while also being cute enough to wear to the market. The ultra-soft fabric feels like the softest terry cloth washcloth you've ever used, and its slouchy fit is modern and luxe. She'll love the joggers with cuffed legs that are sleek without being overly tight. Comes in cream and gray. The internet's favorite olive oil Brightland Awake Olive Oil, available at Brightland, $37Brightland's olive oils make great gifts for cooks and anyone else who loves to entertain. The white bottles protect the EVOO from light damage and look nice displayed on a countertop. Find a full review here.  A comfortable cable-knit sweater United By Blue United By Blue Recycled Cotton Fisherman Sweater, $99.99A cable-knit or fisherman's sweater is a wardrobe staple that'll last for years. United By Blue's take on the classic piece is made from recycled cotton and is super soft, so your girlfriend has a feel-good cozy staple. A high-tech towel that keeps her from slipping around during yoga classes Manduka Manduka Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel, from $58Manduka is known for making the best yoga products, and their Yogitoes towel is one of the most loved. It has tiny 100% silicone nubs on one side that grab yoga mats and keep yogis from slipping around during the exercise. Having a good towel can make a big difference. It also comes in 19 great colors and gets eco-friendly points. Each Yogitoes towel is made from eight recycled plastic water bottles, and made with dyes free of azo, lead, or heavy metal.  A card game that's meant to deepen personal connections Urban Outfitters We're Not Really Strangers Card Game, available at Urban Outfitters, $30This card game, from the popular Instagram account We're Not Really Strangers, is designed to enhance connections between people with different levels: perceptions, connection, and reflection. Not only is it a card game you haven't played before, but it's also a thoughtful activity you can enjoy with your girlfriend. A cooking class from one of the nation's top chefs Cozymeal/Instagram Gift Card, available at Cozymeal, from $50With a Cozymeal class, you and your girlfriend can learn how to make anything from fresh pasta to Argentinian staple dishes from the nation's top chefs. In addition to cooking classes, Cozymeal offers food tours in various cities (when it's safe to do so).  A satin-lined beanie Andrea Bossi / Business Insider Kink & Coil Satin-Lined Beanie, $37Most people with naturally curly hair avoid wearing hats to reduce frizz, but Kink and Coil's satin-lined beanie solves that issue. Just like a silk pillowcase or a bonnet, the inside of the beanie is designed to protect your hair from frizz and damage. On top of that, the pom-pom can be removed, if she'd prefer to wear the hat without it.We spoke with a trichologist to learn more about how satin- and silk-lined beanies can benefit anyone with curly or high-porosity hair.  Rihanna's bestselling Fenty skincare set Fenty Beauty Fenty Skin Start'rs Full-Size Bundle, $75Rihanna's bestselling skincare bundle from her brand Fenty includes everything she'll need to maintain healthy skin. The kit includes a facial cleanser, toner, and two-in-one sunscreen moisturizer. Read our full review of the Fenty skincare set here. A cashmere crew from Everlane that she'll own forever Everlane The Cashmere Crew, available at Everlane, from $120For a closet staple she'll own for years to come, Everlane's $120 Cashmere Crew (available in various colors) is about the safest choice you can make. Everlane has plenty of great gifts (you can find the Everlane basics we wear repeatedly here), so you can't really go wrong.  A small cold brew coffee maker Amazon Airtight Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker, available at Walmart, $37.55This small cold brew maker (available in 1-liter and 1.5-liter options) makes coffee's less acidic, smoother cousin cold brew in 12 hours in the fridge, so there's minimal hassle and always a treat ready in the morning on your girlfriend's way out the door to work.  A stylish leather makeup pouch that's thoughtful and easy to travel with Dagne Dover Hunter Toiletry Bag, available at Dagne Dover, from $40Dagne Dover is quickly becoming one of the best women's handbag companies to know, and its toiletry pouches are a great and relatively affordable gift. The small size holds a handful of go-to toiletries, and the large should have enough space for all of the grooming essentials. A comfy zip-up for the months ahead Patagonia Better Sweater, available at Patagonia, from $139Patagonia makes our favorite athleisure options overall, and that definitely includes the Better Sweater. It works in pretty much any environment — in the office, at home, on a hike, or on a casual night out — and has zippered pockets to keep hands warm in the cold months. We're also big fans of the 1/4 Zip option. A new waterproof Kindle Paperwhite for reading anywhere Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, available at Amazon, $84.99If your girlfriend is a reader, we'd suggest looking at Amazon's new Kindle Paperwhite; it's the company's thinnest and lightest yet, with double the storage. Perhaps the best features are that it's waterproof and has a built-in adjustable light for the perfect reading environment indoors or outdoors, day or night. If she loves a nice, relaxing bath, pair this with a caddy, bath bombs, and a glass of wine for a relaxing night in that you've already taken care of. A cult-favorite hair towel that reduces damage and cuts drying time by 50% Aquis Aquis Rapid Dry Hair Towel, available at Anthropologie, from $30Aquis' cult-favorite hair towels can cut the amount of time it takes for her hair to dry in half — a claim we're happy to report holds up. The proprietary fabric also means there's less damage to wet hair while it dries.  A fun, unique local date Airbnb/Business Insider Airbnb Experiences, available at Airbnb, from $10Airbnb started offering experience programming online. You can book from thousands of experiences that range from workouts with Olympic athletes over Zoom to cooking classes with chefs you'd normally have to hop on a flight to meet. We tested a a tango class and a Moroccan cooking class.It's also an under-utilized part of Airbnb, making it a thoughtful and unusual gift — and one you may keep using with your girlfriend for out-of-the-box date nights in the future. As states and countries slowly begin reopening, Airbnb listings and in-person activities are becoming options again, but you can still participate in online activities from home if you're not ready to travel yet or just want a fun activity.  A houseplant that arrives already potted and is easy to care for Leon & George Silver Evergreen, available at Leon & George, from $149Leon & George is a San Francisco startup that will send beautiful plants — potted in stylish, minimalist pots — to your girlfriend's door. All she has to do is to occasionally add water. Flowers are wonderful, but houseplants have a much longer shelf life, and most of Leon & George's options are very easy to care for. We'd also recommend checking out Bloomscape for small plant trios under $70.   Beautiful earrings she'll own forever Stone and Strand Sparkle Diamond Cluster Huggies, available at Stone and Strand, $395They're solid gold, conflict-free, and made locally. Plus, the style is versatile enough that your girlfriend can wear them every day. A membership to a popular skincare and makeup subscription that sends new, cool, and bestselling products once per month Connie Chen/Business Insider Birchbox Gift Subscription, available at Birchbox, from $45Birchbox is a skincare and makeup subscription that sends tons of samples of new and cult-favorite products to subscribers so they can find products they love without much commitment or cost upfront. Makeup and skincare products can be expensive, so this is a particularly helpful service.  A funny and unique card LoveFromCo/Etsy You Take My Breath Away, available at Etsy, from $4.19You can pick up a card from Walgreens on your way to exchange gifts, but it'll mean more if you think just a few days ahead. Etsy has great options for cheap, unique, handmade gifts that are cool and thoughtful. This one is perfect for a couple who appreciates a "The Office" deep cut.  A leather wallet from the same manufacturer as Prada for a fraction of the price Italic Brynn Zip Around Wallet, available at Italic, $50Italic is a startup that makes unbranded luxury goods from the same factories that produce designs for brands like Givenchy or scents for Le Labo — minus the markup. The Zip-Around Wallet is made from soft, calfskin leather and comes in four classic colors.It comes from the same manufacturer as Celine and Prada, and Italic estimates it would cost $295-$300 in traditional retail. It's also good to note that the company plants one tree for every order. You can find a full review of the company's leather goods here, and of their candles here.  A streaming stick that gives you access to hundreds of thousands of movies and TV episodes Amazon Roku Streaming Stick +, available at Best Buy, $44.99Roku's Streaming Stick+ is exceptional for its 4K, HDR, and HD streaming, and long-range wireless receiver. Installing it is an easy process and starts by plugging the stick into his TV. A great foam roller TB12 Vibrating Pliability Roller, available on TB12, $160If your girlfriend is very physically active, a foam roller is a nice gift to aid in her workout recovery and soreness. This one is our favorite because it has four levels of vibration, a pattern that targets muscle groups, and a durable exterior. But, if your budget doesn't fit a $160 foam roller, never fear — we like some under-$20 options too.  A subscription to a book club that sends her great hardcovers once per month Book of the Month Instagram 3-Month Subscription, available at Book of the Month, $49.99If she's a bookworm, Book of the Month is an especially thoughtful and unique gift — it's a book club that has been around since 1926, and it's credited with discovering some of the most beloved books of all time ("Gone with the Wind" and "Catcher in the Rye" to name a couple). If you gift her a subscription, she'll receive a hardcover book delivered to her door once a month. Books are selected by a team of experts and celebrity guest judges.If she's really more into audiobooks or e-reading now rather than hardcovers, check out a gift subscription to Scribd (full review here). Fancy popcorn and a movie night Williams Sonoma Amish Popcorn Gift Set, available at Williams Sonoma, $29.95Make a reservation at a nice outdoor restaurant, stock up on your girlfriend's favorite movie candy and some fun drinks ahead of time (wrap them for an extra wow-factor), and create your own in-house cinema experience. Or, perhaps even better, order a bunch of take-out from your favorite local restaurants. A gift set of a dozen decadent bath bombs Amazon Bath Bomb Gift Set, available at Walmart, $40.01This bath bomb gift set comes with 12 handcrafted bath bombs that range from mango-papaya to lavender in scent, and some of which include flower petals. They're a great addition to a long bath, as is a bamboo bathtub tray.  A subscription to a coffee service that sends coffees specifically for her taste preferences Driftaway Facebook 3-Month Subscription, available at Driftaway Coffee, from $75If your girlfriend loves coffee, she'll probably love to try Driftaway. It's a gourmet coffee subscription that gets smarter the longer you use it, remembering your preferences and steering you towards increasingly accurate brews for your specific tastes. The first shipment will be a tasting kit with four coffee profiles, which she'll rate online or in the app to start getting personalized options. A book of love letters written by history's great men Amazon Love Letters of Great Men, available at Amazon, $13.95It can be hard to do yourself justice in words — whether they're spoken or written in a card. This compilation of love letters written by great men can help you say it without actually technically saying it. Bonus points if you write your own, or mark the ones in the book that most closely resemble your own feelings.   A beautiful diamond necklace she'll have forever AUrate Diamond Bezel Necklace, available at AUrate, from $320A diamond necklace doesn't have to be thousands of dollars, as fine jewelry startups like AUrate are proving. This necklace is something she can keep and wear forever, and both the solid gold and conflict-free diamonds are of the highest quality.  Lush, subtly scented body wash Necessaire Necessaire — The Body Wash, available at Sephora, $25New startup Necessaire formulates its body care products with nourishing vitamins and clean ingredients. The subtly scented Body Wash will leave her skin feeling clean, soft, and nourished.  Hand sanitizer that smells good Touchland Touchland Power Mist Hand Sanitizer, available at Touchland, $9Many of us are using hand sanitizer a lot these days. Why not pick one they'd enjoy using? This version from Touchland is a little moisturizing and doesn't smell like alcohol or make hands sticky. Read our full review here. A stylish weekender to keep her organized on the go Caraa Sport Caraa Studio Tote Large, available at Caraa, $250Caraa Sport makes some of the most functional and best-looking gym bags on the market. This one can transition from tote to backpack by adding straps. It also has a hidden shoe compartment and a waterproof and antimicrobial lining. An award-winning at-home facial Sephora Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, available at Sephora, $80This is an award-winning mask with a big following in the beauty and skincare community. It's $80, but it's an at-home pro-quality facial your girlfriend can use anytime — which is a fraction of the price required for regular facials. Kitchen towels that rate wines by how well they pair with certain foods Uncommon Goods Wine Pairing Towel, available at Wolf & Badger, $20If your girlfriend loves having a nice glass of wine and/or cooking, she'll appreciate the thought behind this unique wine pairing towel. Grab a bottle and some corresponding ingredients for a fun night in for the two of you. A stylish, savvy carry-on with an external battery pack Away Carry-On, available at Away, from $225Away's hyper-popular suitcases deserve their hype. Their hard shell is lightweight but durable, their 360° spinner wheels make for seamless traveling, and the external (and ejectable and TSA-compliant) battery pack included can charge a smartphone five times over so she never has to sit behind a trash can at the airport for access to an outlet again. It's also guaranteed for life by Away. Find our full review here. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 11th, 2021

Blue Tower Asset Management 3Q21 Commentary: Nihon Falcom

Blue Tower Asset Management commentary for the third quarter ended September 2021, providing an investment theses on Nihon Falcom Corporation (TYO:3723). Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more The Blue Tower Global Value strategy registered a decline in Q3 of -4.89% net of fees (-4.61% gross). Fears over Covid variants, including the Delta variant, […] Blue Tower Asset Management commentary for the third quarter ended September 2021, providing an investment theses on Nihon Falcom Corporation (TYO:3723). .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more The Blue Tower Global Value strategy registered a decline in Q3 of -4.89% net of fees (-4.61% gross). Fears over Covid variants, including the Delta variant, were negatively affecting consumer and investor sentiment. Additional factors were persistent supply chain issues, energy price increases in Europe and Asia, and inflation pressures and labor shortages in the US. One type of company that is able to deal with inflation pressures better than most are entertainment media businesses such as video game developers. The value of their intellectual property assets is unaffected by inflation and as long as they have captured the interest of their target customer base, they don’t have to worry as much about price competition as companies in more commoditized industries. One video gaming company recently added to our portfolio is the Nihon Falcom Corporation. Executive Summary Nihon Falcom is a Japanese video game developer focused on producing roleplaying games (RPGs). Founded in Tokyo in March 1981 by Masayuki Kato, Nihon Falcom is one of the oldest continuously active video game companies in the world. The company played a seminal role in the development of the action RPG genre and the Japanese video game industry in general1. While previously video game software was a fickle industry with boom-and-bust cycles, the industry has been evolving to become more predictable and high quality due to the increasing importance of online distribution and cross-platform licensing. Companies are also able to monetize their IP through sales of branded product merchandise and licensing the soundtracks of games. Today, Falcom’s most valuable gaming intellectual property are two game franchise series, the Trails series (a subset of their larger Legend of Heroes franchise) and the Ys series. Falcom, perhaps due to its small size, has flown under the radar of many investors and trades at a deep discount to peers despite the high quality of their intellectual property. The video game industry is also an attractive market as the value of their IP is inherently protected from commoditization. Game developers have pricing power and should not be as susceptible to harm by an inflationary environment as other industries. Furthermore, games are relatively cheap per hour of entertainment compared to other forms of entertainment. Investment Thesis: Nihon Falcom The video game industry is well into a transition towards digital distribution in lieu of distribution through physical media. This can be seen in the sales of Playstation software where Sony reported that 65% of their Playstation game sales in fiscal year 2020 were through online downloads as compared to 19% in 2015. Publishers generate far larger margins from the sales of digital software than they do from physical media. A game publisher can expect to collect 40%2 of the retail cost of a game sold in a brick-and-mortar store while online platforms such as Steam give them 70-80% of the gross revenue from their games. Additionally, game publishers can practice price discrimination among their users by offering optional downloadable content (DLC) that gives additional features or experiences within the game than enhance the base game. This allows a much greater amount of total profit to be generated from a game as they can more fully exploit each individual player’s propensity to spend. These DLC sales allow games to enjoy a continuous revenue trail even years after the initial sale of the game. While Nihon Falcom was an early player in the Japanese video game industry, they are relatively obscure outside of Japan when compared to other Japanese video game developers such as Konami and Square-Enix. Their lack of international growth is partly due to a decision in the 1990s to continue developing their games for the Japanese PC market rather than developing them for consoles such as the Playstation and Xbox. Falcom has since corrected course and now produces console games as their main market for video game sales. The digital downloads have improved the margins and decreased the cyclicality of sales for the video game development industry, greatly increasing the business quality of game developers. Falcom has managed to take full advantage of the changing industry dynamics as evidenced by the increase of their operating profit margin over the last 10 years. The music of Falcom games is one of the selling points of the franchise to their userbase. They have been able to monetize this through the sale of soundtracks through digital downloads such as the iTunes store. They have also used their music as a promotional tool by offering free licensing of the music for noncommercial use and held online music concerts as part of their release announcements for new games. Digital sales of music are reported in their general licensing segment which also includes foreign language translations of games, ports of games to other consoles, and all other licensing of Falcom IP for merchandise not produced by Falcom. Therefore, it is difficult to determine if music sales or merchandise licensing are a material source of revenue for the overall company. Falcom is unable to compete with larger developers on the visual effects, rendered cutscenes, or graphics of their games. However, they more than make up with it in their attention to the storylines, gameplay mechanics, and music in their products. The games in their series have cross-references to each other and characters from previous games make cameo appearances. These inside references and continuing story arcs keep fans locked into the franchise and waiting for future installments, allow for a more predictable future demand for games. Fans and critics alike have been impressed with the quality of Falcom’s games as their online reviews reveal. Metacritic is an aggregator of critical reviews for entertainment media (similar to Rotten Tomatoes). The average Metacritic metascore for Falcom’s games from 2005-2021 is a 78, an extremely high developer average for that site. On the Steam online store for their PC platform ports, the user reviews for their games are overwhelmingly positive. The positive word of mouth about Falcom may lead to increased demand for their games in North American and European markets. Currently, sales for Falcom games come almost entirely from the Japanese market. Their games are increasing in popularity on international markets which give them a very long runway of potential growth. Risks There are two main risks that Falcom faces in their game development: The quality of their future games and franchise storylines could decrease leading to shrinking customer base. In the 90s, Falcom suffered immensely from the departure of several important employees to other companies. As a small company, each lost employee has a bigger impact on the business than it would for a larger developer. Therefore, another mass departure of employees could imperil their development prospects. Valuation In considering the value one should place on the shares of Falcom, consideration must be given to their large net cash position of ¥7 billion, almost equal to half the market capitalization of the stock. The founder of Nihon Falcom is still the chairman of the company and a major shareholder. Owner-operators tend to be more cautious with deploying the business’ capital and Masayuki Kato has been no exception. Even though Toshihiro Kondo has taken over as the company’s president, frugality and conservative capital allocation is still in the DNA of the company. Therefore, we have elected to use the average enterprise-value-to-earnings-before-interest-andtaxes of a selection of major US and Japanese game developers as the target EV/EBIT of Falcom. EV/EBIT normalizes for leverage and capital structure between companies. Holding EBIT and net cash constant, if Nihon Falcom was trading at the same EV/EBIT multiple of the selected peer group, their share price would be at ¥4234. To demonstrate that this is not merely an effect of their large cash position, using a free cash flow multiple gives an even higher share price. At the same P/FCF as the peer group, their share price would be ¥5700. Nihon Falcom may not converge with their peer group multiples in the near term. Microcap stocks in Japan have a demonstrated ability to trade at depressed multiples for many years. In the case of Nihon Falcom, the high free cash flow yield and significant organic growth should give investors an adequate rate of return even with no rerating of the stock to a higher multiple. I enjoy whenever I receive questions from investors, so please feel free to reach out. Best regards, Andrew Oskoui, CFA Portfolio Manager Blue Tower Asset Management Updated on Oct 11, 2021, 2:50 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 11th, 2021

25 Secret Santa gifts under $25 they"ll actually want to keep

If you're doing Secret Santa, do it right. Check out our list of Secret Santa gifts that won't get regifted, all under $25. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Uncommon Goods You don't have to spend a lot on Secret Santa gifts to find something that's still special. We rounded up 25 fun gifts under $25 that they'll actually really like. Check out all of our gift guides for even more inspiration, including White Elephant gift ideas. Sign up for Insider Reviews' weekly newsletter for more buying advice and great deals In theory, Secret Santa is a great idea. In practice, it can be a little underwhelming. You could end up with that cozy scarf your best friend knew you wanted - or, you could end up with lackluster socks from your neighbor that will definitely end up in your re-gift pile.Whether you're responsible for getting a gift for someone you know really well or someone you barely do, get them a gift they won't relegate to the storage closet. If you're spending money, make it count with something they'll actually want. Don't worry, we already did the grunge work and found 25 gifts that your secret Santa recipient will love. We've got everything from the more generically-appealing, like chocolate for your sweet coworker, to the more personal, like a portable cheese melter for your cheese-obsessed friend. Plus, they're all $25 or less, so scroll with abandon.Most of these items are available with expedited shipping, and some should arrive within a few days' time, so don't stress too hard if you've left it to the last minute - just remember that the sooner you order, the better your chances of a timely arrival.Keep reading for all 25 Secret Santa gifts under $25: A LED ring light for video calls and pictures Amazon UBeezie 10" LED Ring Light with Tripod, available at Amazon, $21.99Secure the best lighting for your friend that always needs to be camera-ready. This luminous ring light is the perfect solution for getting the best angles whether it's video calls or content creation posts. The ten-inch ring light comes with a desk tripod stand, 360 degrees of adjustable phone angles, and three lighting modes with 11 brightness levels. A healthy popcorn maker Best Buy Bella 12-Cup Hot Air Popcorn Maker, available at Best Buy, $14.99This popcorn maker makes movie night at home much more easier and enjoyable as they never have to leave their spot. This must-have item pops 12 tasty cups of healthy, homemade popcorn with no oil required. A reusable bag that's cute and sustainable Baggu Standard Baggu, available at Baggu, $12If they hate single-use plastic, they'll love this cute, reusable bag. It comes in a variety of fun colors and patterns and the simple style makes it a go-to choice for bringing to the gym, grocery shopping, or even to use like a purse. Lip balm inspired by "Schitt's Creek" Beekman 1802 Rose Apothecary Tinted Lip Balm, available at Beekman 1802, $8Any fan of "Schitt's Creek" will love getting to feel like they shopped at David's chic general store, Rose Apothecary. Part of a limited edition collection, this tinted lip balm is made from natural goat milk and botanicals, and fittingly scented with the signature Beekman 1802  fragrance, Heirloom Rose.  A portable cheese melter Amazon Boska Holland Partyclette Melting Pan, available at Amazon, $16.99Melted cheese can make pretty much every meal better. If you don't believe us, check out this video to see the gooey goodness in action.  A small speaker they can fit in their pocket Amazon Rokono Bass + Mini Speaker, available at Amazon, $19.22 This speaker isn't the best in the world audio-wise (for that you'll have to spend a bit more), but for less than $20 it's a great choice. Give it the friend that values convenience, since this thing is so small they fit it in their pocket and can literally take it anywhere.  A healing Himalayan salt lamp Amazon Mineralamp Glow Salt Lamp, available at Amazon, $19.97Himalayan salt lamps have recently become a big trend in home decor, but they're also said to have healing properties that can potentially help purify the air around them. Whether they believe in the health benefits or not, anyone can enjoy the warm glow and aesthetic appeal of this hand-carved, 100% pure Himalayan salt lamp. A set of reusable straws Crate & Barrel Stainless Steel Drinking Straws, available at Sur la Table, $14.95 (set of 6)For those trying to make a positive impact on the planet, give them these reusable straws so they never have to rely on the wasteful plastic ones again. Use these for cocktails, lemonade, frozen coffee drinks, smoothies, and more. A carry-on cocktail kit to make flights a little more bearable Uncommon Goods Old Fashioned Carry-On Cocktail Kit, available at W&P, $24This kit fits right in their carry-on bag and has all of the fixings for two Old Fashioned cocktails. All they need to do is add whiskey or rye. This cocktail kit can be enjoyed at any altitude, but it will most definitely make for a fun flight activity, and help inspire future travels when the time is right.  A five-year journal that asks the big questions - and little ones, too Urban Outfitters One Question a Day Journal, available at Amazon, $14.59A gift for your ambitious friend who's always asking where you see yourself in five years. Help them answer this question for themselves, with a daily journal that poses a new question each day for five years. A letter board they can leave fun messages on Amazon Felt Letter Board, available at Amazon, $20.99This is a fun message board and a great piece of home decor all in one. They'll love using this to display mantras, messages for roommates, or just to show off some random thoughts. It comes in plenty of colors, so you're sure to find one that fits their space and aesthetic.  A french press coffee maker for their morning brew Amazon OXO Good Grips Shatterproof French Press, available at Amazon, $20.99A French press makes it easy to enjoy delicious, rich coffee every morning. It's not as quick as a Keurig (you have to let the grounds steep for a few minutes), but the results are worth the wait. Plus, they'll love that they can fill it with their favorite beans.  A face mask that calms red and irritated skin Nordstrom Mario Badescu Azulene Calming Mask, available at Amazon, $18This light, refreshing face mask is made with botanical ingredients that calm irritated skin. It's delicate on skin and will leave it looking more hydrated, even, and refreshed.  A spice set for rescuing bland pizzas Uncommon Goods Pizza Rescue Kit, available at Etsy, $15All pizza is not created equal. That's why the pizza aficionado in your life deserves this pizza rescue kit. With three flavorful spices, this set will transform even the most "meh" slices to something delicious. If you're not sold, it was made by New Yorkers — and they know good pizza.  A best-selling book for foodies Amazon "Salt Fat Acid Heat," available at Amazon, $16.67Home cooks will love honing in on their craft with this book. Don't expect just a recipe book, though. The vivid illustrations in this one help explain how to master cooking techniques by looking at those four important elements that are in everything we cook and eat.  A diary for sports, music, or movie lovers Uncommon Goods Ticket Stub Diary, available at Uncommon Goods, $14A great gift for anyone who is constantly attending shows, concerts, or sports games — and never throws away their tickets. Instead of keeping them hidden in a shoe box or desk drawer, they can use this diary, which has plastic sleeves to fit all different kinds of tickets as well as open margins on the sides where they can scribble notes to remind them of each event.  A tracker for keys, wallets, bags or any other important items they’re prone to lose Amazon Tile Mate, available at Tile, from $24.99Your forgetful friends and family will be so thankful for this gift. They can place this tracker in their wallet, purse, or phone case to make sure they never lose their things, because if they do, the Tile app makes it easy to retrace.  A cute set of planters Amazon Mkono Modern Succulent Planters, available at Amazon, $21.99 for threeHelp them add some greenery to their space with these cool concrete planters. Add some small plants if you want to complete the gift.  A mini, portable pinball machine Urban Outfitters Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, available at Amazon, $21.99This pint-sized pinball machine brings all of the fun and nostalgia of their favorite retro arcade game. It even comes with a keychain, so they can take it with them wherever they go. A cozy beanie for impending chilly days Urban Outfitters Loose Knit Beanie, available at Urban Oufitters, $15It's that time of year when everyone needs a cozy hat. With a classic cable knit, this one is as cool as it is comfortable. A cheese-making kit for chefs and foodies Thrive Market Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheese Making Kit, available at Thrive Market, $24.99The only thing better than cheese is cheese that you made with your own two hands. Cheese fiends will love the chance to make their own favorite Italian cheeses. Plus, once they learn they'll be armed with cheese-making knowledge to last a lifetime — now that's a gift that keeps on giving. A mini waffle maker for the cutest breakfast ever Urban Outfitters Dash Mini Waffle Maker, available at Target, $12.99This miniature waffle maker is adorably small and will look super cute in their kitchen. Plus, it makes for a delicious, easy breakfast. A unique hot sauce blend for an adventurous eater Uncommon Goods Gochujang Sriracha, available at Sur La Table, $9.95Give them a gift to take their hot-sauce habit to the next level. The blend of Thai sriracha and Korean gochujang is sweet, spicy, and unlike anything they've ever tasted before. A shower beer holder for mid-rinse brews Uncommon Goods Shower Beer Holder, available at Uncommon Goods, $15Shower time might not seem like the most opportune moment to crack open a cold one — that is, until now. This silicone beer holder sticks to tile (or any other glossy surface), so they can always have their favorite brew by their side, whatever time it is.  A catch-all inspired by their favorite animal West Elm Llama Trinket Dish, available at West Elm, $23.40Everyone could use a catch-all to collect the small odds and ends around the house. Llama lovers will love using this cute trinket dish modeled after their favorite animal. A set of cool coasters that's worthy of Instagram Society6 Blue Aqua Agate Coaster, $12.79 (set of 4), available at Society6Let's be real — nobody wants water stains and rings on their nice tables, but admittedly, telling guests to put down coasters first isn't the coolest move. These agate-style coasters are practical, but also add a nice aesthetic, so you'll actually want to leave them out to be used. A history lesson with their cup of tea Uncommon Goods Tea Leaf Reading Set, $23, available at Uncommon GoodsGive tea lovers the chance to try something new every day with this tea leaf reading kit. It comes with a mug, loose leaf tea, and of course a lesson that explains how to read different symbols. A convenient phone grip for texting on the go Amazon PopSockets Grip, starting at $9.97, available at AmazonThey might seem unnecessary at first, but PopSocket Grips are extremely useful. They can use them as a kickstand to prop up their tablet and to comfortably hold their phone while reading on the subway. It's a very useful way to spend $10 (or less.) An adult card game that will make parties a lot more interesting Amazon Cards Against Humanity, $25, available at AmazonIf they don't already own Cards Against Humanity, you owe it to them. It's a fun party game that always leaves everyone cackling, and I'm not the only one that thinks this — the game has over 29,000 5-star reviews on Amazon. A cute mug that lets them track their travels Uncommon Goods Color Map Mugs, $25, available at Uncommon GoodsNo matter what they're sipping on, they'll love doing so in this mug that they can completely customize. With the included markers they can color in the destinations they've been to or want to go to, for a map of the world that's unique to them.  A scratch-off bucket list to spur their next adventure Uncommon Goods 100 Things To Do Scratch Off Poster, $15, available at Uncommon GoodsThis bucket list suggests 100 unique activities to look forward to once they're safe again — from little things like "take a cooking class" to big ones like "see the Northern Lights." They can scratch each box off after they complete it to reveal a colorful image. It's a cool poster to have hanging and a definite conversation starter. A faux plant desk organizer for much needed greenery and tidiness Amazon Kikkerland Potted Pen Phone Stand, $12, available at AmazonIf they're stuck inside an office all day, they could benefit from the sight of something green. This plastic plant isn't as good as the real deal, but it adds some much-needed color and works as desk decor, plus it functions as a phone stand and organizational tool. A stylish cheese and pastry board Amazon mDesign Modern Marble Round Pastry Board, $21.99, available at AmazonFor the entertainer, this elegant marble cheese or pastry serving board will make for a great addition the next time they host a wine and cheese night. To complement the board, you can also pick up a matching wine bottle chiller. A hilarious coffee table book Uncommon Goods "F in Exams," from $7.93, available at Uncommon Goods or AmazonThis is a great gift for the person who can laugh at the little things in life, or for anyone who works as a teacher. It's a collection of hilarious wrong test answers that is sure to keep them laughing. A bestselling body moisturizer Nordstrom Kiehl's Creme de Corps, 2.5-ounce, from $11.90, available at NordstromHelp them treat their skin right with Kiehl's beloved, and super-hydrating Creme de Corps, another one of our favorite remedies for dryness. A sweet snack they'll enjoy eating Uncommon Goods Decadent Chocolate Fondue, $24, available at Uncommon GoodsSweeten up their holiday season with this incredibly easy-to-make chocolate fondue. All they have to do is heat up the stoneware containers (which are pre-filled with chocolate) and find some fruit for dipping. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 11th, 2021

The 21 best horror books to read for Halloween, from Stephen King classics to psychological thrillers

Whether you want another creepy Stephen King book or a scary, psychological horror novel, these horror books are perfect for Halloween. These are some of the best horror books to read for Halloween. Amazon; Alyssa Powell/Insider Horror fiction scares its readers, using anything from psychological thrills to creepy imagery. The horror books in this list range from Stephen King classics to modern murder mysteries. Some classic horror books include "It," "Bird Box," "The Exorcist," "Dracula," and "The Shining." Great novels can introduce us to so many amazing things: Passionate romances, unforgettable plot twists, or fantastical beasts that feel vibrantly real within our imaginations. And for those readers who find mini-adrenaline rushes and skin-crawling scenes irresistible, carefully crafted horror books can delightfully keep us up at night, chill us to the bone, and frighten us beyond our nightmares. Whether you've already blown through most of Stephen King's books or are just dipping your toe into the genre, the books on this list are sure to have you leaving the lights on until you're done - making them a perfect way to celebrate Halloween all month long.The 21 best horror books to read in 2021: A Stephen King staple Amazon "It" by Stephen KingThis well-known horror book is about seven adults returning to their hometown to face an evil they first discovered as teenagers: An unnamed, shape-shifting terror they call "It." If you read other Stephen King novels, the town of Derry, Maine appears again and again but it all began with "It." "It" is also a monster of a book — its many, many pages build to a must-read, terrifying masterpiece.Fear factor:  A sadistic, killer clown. A thrill-packed serial killer novel Amazon "Stillhouse Lake" by Rachel CaineGina was completely normal — an average housewife with a husband and two kids. But when a car accident revealed her husband's secret life as a serial killer, she moved with her children to a home on a lake, far away from her husband's secrets and the stalkers who think she was part of it all. But when a body appears in the lake and threatening letters start to arrive, Gina — now a prime suspect — must protect herself and her kids from a killer who's tormenting her family. This is a horror story full of grotesque depictions and racing thrills that'll have you tearing through the pages.Fear factor: The rapid twists and cliffhangers. A highly praised haunted house book Amazon "Hell House" by Richard MathesonStephen King called this book "the scariest haunted house novel ever written," so you know it's terrifying. Rolf Rudolph Deutsch is about to die, so he offers to pay a physicist and two mediums $100,000 each to find out what happens after death. The three of them travel to the Belasco house — more commonly referred to as the "Hell House" — for one night to learn how it earned its nickname. Fear factor: The abandoned house full of horrifying secrets. A horrifying dystopian world Amazon "Tender Is the Flesh" by Agustina BazterricaMost accurately described as "skin-crawling," this book centers on Marcos, who keeps his eyes on his work and away from the pain in his life. He works at the local processing plant, slaughtering humans — though, no one calls them that anymore. Since the government initiated "the Transition" after a sweeping virus made animal meat poisonous to humans, eating human meat — "special meat" — is legal, and having personal contact with the specimens is punishable by death. This book is alarming, a little deranged, and lives up to its horrifying title.Fear factor:  Legal, widespread cannibalism. A disturbing, double-timeline tale Amazon "The Sun Down Motel" by Simone St. JamesIf you want to feel the rush of knowing something terrible is coming, this paranormal horror story is for you. In 1982, Carly's Aunt Viv took a job at the Sun Down Motel, trying to save enough money to move to New York City. Now, Carly's working the front desk to discover what mysteries could have led to her aunt's disappearance. The entire book is suspenseful and mysterious but the horror scenes are next-level. I had to rush to finish this one before it got dark. Fear factor: The demonic hauntings that lay just out of sight. A twisted murder story Amazon "The Chestnut Man" by Soren SveistrupThis description sounds like a thriller, but the terror in these pages absolutely lands this book into the horror category. The Chestnut Man is a serial killer who leaves a handmade doll made of matchsticks and chestnuts at every crime scene. When a forensic team discovers a bloody fingerprint belonging to a government official's daughter who had been kidnapped and murdered a year ago, the detectives must follow the murderer's twisted clues before someone else ends up dead. This book is dark and unnerving, and you will likely find yourself unwilling to turn the next page, fearing what lies ahead. Fear factor: An absolutely terrifying killer. A supernatural, Christmas-themed horror story Amazon "NOS4A2" by Joe HillYou'll get chills just from reading the description of this book — and the story itself is even wilder than the summary lets on. Victoria, a young girl with a talent for finding things, stumbles upon a bridge that can take her anywhere. She runs into Charlie Manx, who lures kids into a car that transports them to a horrifying playground called Christmasland. Victoria is the only child to ever escape Christmasland. Years later, Charlie hasn't forgotten about her — and is ready to take his revenge.Fear factor: Darkened versions of all your favorite Christmas tropes. The terrifying tale of an unraveling world Amazon "Bird Box" by Josh MalermanIn a world created by Josh Malerman, there's something out there that, once seen, drives a person to deadly violence. Malorie is one of only a handful of survivors left after the mysterious thing took over the world. She needs to flee with her children, relying on their wit and hearing to stay alive. This is a horror story that will have you closing your curtains and hiding in your house until you get to the end. Fear factor: Frightening creatures that feel so close, yet just out of reach. The first Hannibal Lecter book Amazon "Red Dragon" by Thomas HarrisYou may be more familiar with the second book in the Hannibal Lecter series "The Silence of the Lambs," but if you're looking to read the whole story, you should start here. When a serial killer attacks families, the FBI turns to William Graham, one of the greatest profilers, who retired after the horrors he witnessed in capturing Hannibal Lecter. To solve this case, William finds he must turn to Lector for help. The violent point of view of the antagonist brings on the horror in full force — while demonstrating that the "good guy" isn't always the hero. Fear factor: The prequel to one of the most iconic horror characters. A mind-bending thrill ride Amazon "Lock Every Door" by Riley SagerRiley Sager has written four suspenseful novels, each one balanced between thriller, mystery, and horror, but this one leans the most towards "horror" of the bunch. Jules' new job as an apartment sitter in one of Manhattan's most private and mysterious buildings comes with three rules: No visitors, no nights away from the apartment, and no disturbing the other residents. But the building is not what it seems to be — a dark history is rising within, summoning a race to find the truth before someone else goes missing. It's super suspenseful, and I found it best to force myself through the fear to the end so the secrets would stop haunting me.Fear factor: Severely limited time to solve the mysteries. A Bigfoot horror story Amazon "Devolution" by Max BrooksAs the dust from Mount Rainier's eruption settles, Kate Holland's harrowing journals are found, revealing an account of the unnoticed Greenloop massacre and the legendary beasts behind it. From the author of "World War Z," this ominous horror story is action-packed, mind-bending, and utterly chaotic.Fear factor: The horrible beasts beyond our imagination. A classic, paranormal horror book Amazon "The Exorcist" by William Peter BlattyAdapted into one of the scariest films of all time, "The Exorcist" is about a mother and two priests who fight to free the soul of a young girl controlled by an evil and violent spirit. The deeper details of this novel are what make already scary scenes even scarier. Even if you've already seen the movie, the story has even more frightening information that heightens the fear.Fear factor:  The paranormal, unyielding elements. A famous and highly quotable horror story Amazon "The Shining" by Stephen KingJack Torrance is looking for a fresh start with his new job at the Overlook Hotel, where he can reconnect with his family and work on his writing in his free time. As winter sets in, Jack's days at the hotel get stranger and stranger, and the only one who notices is Danny, Jack's unique five-year-old son. Full of fleshed-out characters, this slower-paced book doesn't drag — it only builds up the fear to an unforgettable conclusion.Fear factor: The slow progression to madness. The original vampire book Amazon "Dracula" by Bram StokerWe all know the famous "Dracula" persona — the one we mimic every Halloween with plastic fangs and upturned coat collars. But it doesn't really capture the 1897 classic gothic horror story, which depicts Dracula's move to England as he attempts to find new blood, spreading his undead curse along the way. The story is far more horrifying and twisted than you might anticipate, and will definitely change how you view the more heroic portrayals of modern-day vampires. Fear factor: The relentless bloodlust. A Southern-set vampire story Goodreads "The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires" by Grady HendrixSet in 1990s Charleston, this novel is centered around a book club and the strange happenings around a newcomer who was brought into the club after one of the members was horribly attacked on her way home. This book has all of the southern charm, '90s nostalgia, and savagery that you might expect from the title alone. Fear factor: The realistic setting that makes the horrors hit too close to home. A twisted, psychological horror Amazon "The Other" by Thomas TryonThis novel is hailed for Tryon's amazing writing style, one that transcends the horror genre and makes this story worth so much more than its creepy scenes. Holland and Niles are twins, close enough to nearly read each other's thoughts but entirely different in personality. Their family is gathered for the summer to mourn their father's passing. With the boys' mother still locked in her room, Holland's pranks are growing more and more sinister and Niles isn't sure how much longer he can make excuses for his brother. Fear factor: The irresistible "evil twin" plotline. A waking nightmare of a story Amazon "Imaginary Friend" by Stephen ChboskyBest read with the lights on, "Imaginary Friend" is a haunting story where a young boy named Christopher goes missing in the town to which he and his mother just fled. Six days later, Christopher emerges from the woods with a voice in his head telling him to do one thing: Build a treehouse in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same. Fear factor: The poetic writing ramping up the horror. A multidimensional horror novel Amazon "The Hollow Places" by T. Kingfisher"The Hollow Places" is initially misleading. It starts off cute and funny, but quickly devolves into a terrifying novel with scenes so vibrantly written, they'll be sure to haunt readers long after they close the book. Kara finds a hole in the wall of her uncle's house that leads to a series of alternate realities, riddled with unsettling creatures that feed on fear. The world-building in this book is remarkable — Kingfisher creates something we couldn't previously fathom and yet something we so easily fear.Fear factor: The expert world-building that brings all the creepy fantasies to life. A vengeful, terrifying book Amazon "The Only Good Indians" by Stephen Graham JonesThis follows four Indigenous men who are being tracked and haunted by an entity that lingers from a crime committed a decade prior. It's a horror story of revenge and identity as the men find they can't outrun the culture they left behind. This eerie story will continually shock you, yet ends so perfectly, you'll almost forgive the brutal scenes you endured to reach the end. Fear factor: The sentimental hope accompanied by chilling revenge. A 1967 classic paranormal horror story Amazon "Rosemary's Baby" by Ira LevinIn this classic horror story, Rosemary and Guy are a young couple settling into their New York apartment where it seems the neighbors are taking too keen of an interest in them, especially once Rosemary gets pregnant. The suspense in this novel is palpable, a waking nightmare that walks a thin line between unbelievable and yet completely real. This book is unnerving and sinister, one of the original horror novels that helped popularize the genre. Fear factor:  The increasingly ominous foreshadowing. A suspenseful horror story with a slow burn Amazon "The Burning Girls" by C. J. TudorReverend Jack Brooks arrives at Chapel Croft looking for a fresh start, yet is welcomed with an exorcism kit and a warning. Horrible things have happened at the church — protestant martyrs were burned centuries back, two teenage girls disappeared 30 years ago, and just a week prior, the vicar hung himself. This is a deeply woven and haunting ghost story, with strange and deadly mysteries throughout. Fear factor: The multiple narratives and shocking twists. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 11th, 2021

Industry Unbound: Friendly Academics And Performing Accountability

Excerpted from Industry Unbound: The Inside Story of Privacy, Data, and Corporate Power by Ari Ezra Waldman. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Industry Unbound: Friendly Academics The information industry also launders its arguments through seemingly independent academic research. The best example of this is in the field of AI and automated decision-making […] Excerpted from Industry Unbound: The Inside Story of Privacy, Data, and Corporate Power by Ari Ezra Waldman. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Industry Unbound: Friendly Academics The information industry also launders its arguments through seemingly independent academic research. The best example of this is in the field of AI and automated decision-making systems. AI is an umbrella term often imprecisely used to refer to set of technologies “best understood as a set of techniques aimed at approximating some aspect of human or animal cognition using machines.” For AI systems to work as promised (which they rarely do), their developers require enormous tranches of data for the purposes of training and improving accuracy. AI policy, therefore, is inextricably linked to privacy: the less regulation around the collection and use of personal data, the easier it will be to design, market, and deploy AI; the fewer guardrails around the use of AI, the more companies will extract our data. Scholars in law and the social sciences are interrogating AI and its use in social policy decisions. They have highlighted problems of bias, lack of accountability, structural injustice, and invasions of privacy. Other researchers, however, have become apologists for industry’s AI-related data grabs. The MIT Media Lab, for example, not only cozied up to Silicon Valley billionaires to build potential funding streams, but also allegedly aligned some of its policy recommendations on data collection and AI with Big Tech’s antiregulatory posture. In the AI space, the information industry prefers a light (or no) touch approach to tweaking AI’s bias problem; they have co-opted the notion of “AI ethics” as a means of replacing public governance with their own internal structures. Industry also invests millions to create a narrative about bias, data privacy, and the role of government. They funded MIT Media Lab research that was eventually cited in reports published by Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), IBM (NYSE:IBM), Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) calling for self-regulation. In response to industry pressure, Media Lab executives allegedly “water[ed] down” AI law and policy recommendations to the California legislature that were at odds with the research done by its own experts on the ground. Amazon paid scholars at Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University to push their favored discourses. After the antitrust scholar Lina Khan wrote an article targeting Amazon as anticompetitive and calling for reinvigorating antitrust law to take on the internet giant, Amazon paid pro-corporate scholars to write an article lauding Amazon’s monopolistic practices as good for consumers. It’s hard to know how often this happens. But even when scholars acknowledge their corporate funding streams in footnotes, the discursive damage remains. There is more to this story than a few grants, even if those grants add up to a several millions of dollars. Many scholars who receive Google, Facebook, or other Big Tech funds insist that the money doesn’t influence their writing. And for many, that is true. Merely receiving money from a target of research does not necessarily prove bias. But we also have evidence that the nonprofits that receive those funds make personnel and substantive decisions that accord with the views of their biggest tech donors. In 2017, for example, the entire competition team at a Google-funded think tank was fired after its leader pushed for more rigorous antitrust enforcement against Google. The information industry is also far more subtle as it seeks influence over academic discourse about privacy, law, and technology. For instance, company representatives will often only speak with independent researchers about already public documents and reports and then only on “deep background,” thus limiting what academics can learn. This happened to me during research for another project, where a Google attorney and several colleagues were only willing to discuss Google Play’s published guidelines and only without attribution. I ended the call. Five academic colleagues experienced the same tactic, including one who was interested in Facebook content moderation who was told “only on the condition that you can’t quote anything we say.” This tactic may sound counterproductive to building friendly discourses in academia; not talking is a bad inculcative strategy. According to a former member of Google’s policy shop, the deep background strategy “gives us an opportunity to share our side of the story without pinning a quote on one person because quotes can always be misleading and edited to make us look bad. Several companies incentivize friendly coverage by dangling research funds in front of junior scholars. Young researchers and PhD students are particularly susceptible to corporate influence because of the need to pay for their fellowships, publish to get tenure, the possibility that access will translate into undiscovered research, and the small stipends they receive from their institutions. The Facebook Fellowship, for example, includes full tuition and a $42,000 annual stipend, paid visits to Facebook, and all expenses paid participation in the annual Fellowship summit. Undoubtedly, merely participating in this program does mean that these junior scholars are unduly influenced by Facebook. But much of the Fellows’ already published research fits neatly within privacy-ascontrol ‘s logic of power. Among thirty-six Facebook Fellows in 2020, six classify their work in some way related to privacy. Along with several co-authors, these fellows have published academic articles arguing that the tool Mark Zuckerberg plans to use to create a “privacy-focused” Facebook – end-to-end encryption – is the “best way to protect” privacy on social media. In another article, researchers used studies to buttress the feasibility of privacy self-governance and argued users of messaging services are willing to trade security for convenience. Other Fellows researching AI and fairness issues have published articles proposing changes that companies can make themselves, perpetuating, even inadvertently, the self-regulatory ethos. I am not suggesting that all of these promising young scholars are part of a cabal of researchers plotting to spread pro-Facebook messages throughout academia. Switch it around: Facebook is choosing to provide ample support for research that perpetuates privacy-as-control’s logic and using its soft power to create friendly relationships among promising future academics. To my knowledge and based on the experience of several academics in law, surveillance studies, and sociology, Facebook and Google often, though not always, require preapproval of all quotes and related text before an academic publishes scholarship based on interviews with company representatives, a grant from the company, or pursuant to officially sanctioned field work. This is a particularly pernicious tactic. One colleague I interviewed for this projecthas saved email conversations with Facebook in which company representatives required articles to be embargoed and precleared before submission. I did not get that farwith Facebook,which refused to participate in this research. Another colleague reported that some Facebook and Google grants they received had “no strings attached, it was money for a conference or a project or whatever, but they just gave it,” but “research money always came with questions and invitations and, ultimately, they wanted to know what my conclusions would be. I gave back the remaining funds much to [my university’s] chagrin.” Corporate-friendly academic research makes its way back into the information industry, inculcating the rank and file along the way, because corporate researchers, public policy teams, and other lawyers and privacy professionals are encouraged to cite and refer to it in their work. Several privacy professionals and lawyers outside Silicon Valley showed me internal documents focusing both on the benefits ofprivacy notice, choice, and control and how to improve it, and they all rely on research from Facebook Fellows, Google-funded research projects, and encryption-centered work at Microsoft Research. Of course, independent academics are cited as well. But, often, those academics are cited for background; their proregulatory proposals are ignored. For example, Facebook cited work from Lorrie Cranor, Aleecia McDonald, Helen Nissenbaum, and me, among others, in its public report on improving notice and transparency. But when it came time to thinking about solutions, Facebook touted its own solutions, as if to suggest that the problem can be solved without the law getting involved. Performing Accountability Another common tactic I observed during my interviews is what Julie Cohen has called performing accountability, or doing something “designed to express a generic commitment to accountability without ... meaningful scrutiny of the underlying process.” Magicians use the word “misdirection” to describe a related phenomenon: while we’re distracted by some of the information industry ‘s cynical trappings of accountability, tech companies are busy undermining our privacy. A paradigmatic example of this strategy comes from the related context of content moderation. Content moderation refers to how platforms regulate the material available on their sites. Sarah Roberts has called content moderation “a powerful mechanism of control” that has “grown up alongside, and in service to” private companies in the information industry. Platforms moderate content in order to achieve optimal engagement. Platforms develop their own rules for what is and what is not allowed to be posted and they apply those rules using both humans and algorithms. Content moderation at Facebook has garnered outsized attention in the media, among policy makers, and among academics. Many high-profile content moderation controversies at Facebook have caused such a crisis of confidence that the company announced, with significant fanfare, that it was creating an oversight board to hear appeals of moderation decisions from the front lines. The idea is that an independent board would routinize, rationalize, and publicize content moderation decisions, generating trust and confidence. Per a search on Lexis Nexis, 2,210 newspaper and magazine articles have been written about the Oversight Board between November 2018, when the board was announced, and May 18, 2020. Over 565 days, that’s an average of nearly four articles per day! Facebook pitched many of these stories to both leading outlets like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, as well as to general interest blogs and tech-focused news outlets. During this time, 189 law review and journal articles at least mentioning the board have been published. And that doesn’t even include the many hundreds that are being written, under submission, and soon-to-be published at this book went to press. A May 18, 2020, Google search for any content with the exact phrase “Facebook Oversight Board” yielded 236,000 results; millions more have all of those terms. Facebook has pushed out several reports and issued press releases dutifully picked up by news outlets and commentators. The company’s representatives have given countless talks at universities, as well as public and private fora, from Princeton University to the Aspen Institute. This onslaught was evidently intentional, but the attention paid to the board is disproportionate to its power. The board says it will focus on “the most challenging content issues for Facebook, including ... hate speech, harassment, and protecting people’s privacy.” But, as the media scholar Siva Vaidhyanathan notes, “only in the narrowest and most trivial of ways does this board have any such power. The new Facebook review board will have no influence over anything that really matters in the world.” A quick look at the board’s Charter proves he’s correct. The board can only hear appeals for content that has been removed, not the misleading and harmful content that remains. Nor can the board make binding decisions about the fate of specific pieces of content on a case-by-case basis. It is supposed to make its decisions within ninety days of a filed appeal, but can expedite certain decisions within thirty days. Its decisions have zero precedential value. It has no binding impact on policy, even on policies about content moderation! It cannot change the way Facebook is run or materially change how Facebook makes decisions about content. It won’t be able to address the fact that Facebook’s failure to remove misleading “deep fake” videos or “fake news” can sway an election. It can’t do much about the rampant hate speech and human rights violations that persist. It has absolutely no voice in Facebook’s continued misuse of user data. And it will play no role in corralling misinformation and harmful conspiracies rampant throughout the platform. The last two points are rather ironic: the board’s announcement came in reaction to a New York Times report about how Facebook publicly lied, deflected blame, and tried to cover up both its failure to recognize and police Russia’s use of the platform to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election and its flagrant misuse of user data in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Why, then, has the board received so much media and scholarly attention? The strategy is intentional, meant to distract us from everything Facebook isn’t doing. Joan Donovan, the research director of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center and an expert on media manipulation, called the board a distraction from “what really needs to happen, which is to design technology that doesn’t allow for the expansive amplification of disinformation and health misinformation.” Facebook isn’t changing its business. It isn’t taking down fake videos or limiting the lies from right-wing politicians. Nor is it changing the very financial model that makes it in the company’s interest to extract our data, leave up conspiracy theories, fake news, deep fakes, and other sensationalized content. Dipayan Ghosh, a fellow at Harvard and former Facebook executive, wrote that the board is “a commercial thing of convenience for the company both in its name and its function; it gives the impression that the board will provide true oversight by graduating the responsibility of determining what should constitute hate speech to an external party with public credibility, allowing the company to skate over the threat of a more rigorous regulatory policy that might emerge from relatively aggressive legislatures that might wish to target the firm’s business model itself.” The board’s impotence, then, is real, but its discursive effect is not. Facebook engaged in an aggressive strategy involving earned media and friendly academics to make a lot of noise about something that will barely be a blip on the screen of Facebook’s vast problems. Its full court press is nothing short of a concerted strategy to redirect us from its other failures. The same strategy has been deployed to inculcate the values of privacy-as-control as obvious, common sense, and normatively good. Privacy self-regulation, notice-and-consent, and privacy policies are “commercial things of convenience,” as well: privacy policies give the impression that the information industry is doing something to protect our data and small, marginal changes after privacy scandals facilitate an escape from greater regulatory oversight. This misdirection has been so successful at inculcating a perception of accountability among members of the public that many people think a company with a privacy policy is promising to keep our data private! Whenever I questioned the privacy-invasive designs of several companies’ products, the usual response was to redirect my attention to the company’s cybersecurity work. We saw this in Chapter 1, where both privacy professionals and software engineers touted their encryption and state-of-the-art security techniques as proof that they cared about privacy. The privacy lawyers I interviewed highlighted their work improving transparency. In several instances, these lawyers would note that “no one is perfect” and that “we’re doing better” by showing how they have redesigned their notices to be more readable. These are, at their core, misdirections. Improving notice and strengthening cybersecurity are not bad ideas. But they don’t speak to design. Nor do they serve any purpose outside the privacy-as-control framework. Asking us to focus on notice not only perpetuates its legitimacy as a privacy practice, but it also keeps the rank and file focused on performances of privacy rather than pulling back the curtain on the industry’s legal and discursive crusades against it. Updated on Oct 8, 2021, 11:33 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 8th, 2021

86 gifts for your girlfriend that show you truly know her, from personalized jewelry to unique subscription boxes

We rounded up 86 thoughtful gifts to give your girlfriend, from keepsake jewelry under $100 to helpful tech and fitness accessories. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. If you're looking to wow, plan an activity or staycation on Airbnb. Airbnb Giving your girlfriend a meaningful gift doesn't have to require hours of research. Below is a list of thoughtful gifts for your girlfriend, from accessories and tech to home decor. Still looking for gifts? Find more gift guides broken down by interest, budget, and occasion here. Giving gifts as a couple can be a lot of fun. You know your partner: What they love, what rituals they enjoy, what small daily annoyances you could possibly solve with a thoughtful gift. You also know how much they'll appreciate the gift coming from you.Odds are you want to give them something wonderful - whatever your price range is. All most of us need is a little direction and a few great options to pick from, so we put together a list of our favorite gift ideas for girlfriends of all personalities to help guide you, below.Check out all 86 gifts for your girlfriend:This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by Vuori. It also meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.* Earrings made with her birthstone Mejuri Amethyst Flat Sphere Studs, available on Mejuri, $180If she wears jewelry, birthstone earrings that she can keep forever are a thoughtful, personalized gift she can use often.  Delicious sweets from a famous NYC bakery Milk Bar Milk Bar Treats, from $22Milk Bar delivers its decadent cakes, cookies, and truffles to your doorstep. A pass to get into a bunch of boutique fitness classes classpass ClassPass Gift Card, from $15Boutique fitness classes are expensive, which can make trying new workouts — either for variety or to figure out what we like — less appealing. ClassPass solves both issues. It's relatively affordable, and members can access a neverending catalog of great workouts with small class sizes. If your partner is getting back into fitness after over a year of at-home workouts, we'd highly recommend a gift card here for whenever they're ready to use it. Leggings fit for workouts and lounge sessions Vuori Vuori Daily Legging, from $59Vuori is known for its smooth, soft fabrics and flattering fits — and the Daily Legging is no exception. Combining the leisure and comfort of a jogger with the function and stretch of a legging, they'll be reaching for these for both workouts and weekend lounging. *Sponsored by Vuori A disposable camera that doesn't take you out of the moment Gamesgamer024 The gamer/YouTube Disposable camera, $45Interested in preserving memories without taking yourself out of them? A good disposable camera or a film camera can take the pressure away from perfection and editing so you can savor your experiences together. The best electric toothbrush Colgate Electric toothbrush, $39.99We've tested our fair share of electric toothbrushes, and we think Colgate's Hum is the best value. It cleans thoroughly and offers advanced features and modern design for $70 — which is considerably more affordable than options with fancy features you may not use enough.  A planned trip for the two of you to take together If you're looking to wow, plan an activity or staycation on Airbnb. Airbnb Airbnb Gift Card, available at Airbnb, from $25If you want to gift an experience for the two of you to enjoy together, grab a birthday card, a gift card to Airbnb, and come up with a few location ideas to choose from. You can also book a hotel in your city on Booking.com or Expedia for a sweet staycation. *This gift can be saved and used at a later date. A versatile Exercise Dress Outdoor Voices The Exercise Dress, available on Outdoor Voices, $100Given the popularity of the Exercise Dress, we wouldn't be surprised if this was on her wish list. The Exercise Dress is comfortable, versatile, and cute — which has made it a cult-favorite item. If she's a fan of dresses, outdoor voices, or clothes she can wear all day long, this may be a good option.  Her favorite specialty food straight from the source Goldbelly/Instagram Order her favorite specialty foods using Goldbelly, from $28Goldbelly makes it possible to satisfy their most specific and nostalgic cravings no matter where they live in the US — a cheesecake from Junior's, deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati, and more. Browse the iconic gifts section for inspiration.  A streaming bundle that checks off all the boxes Hulu/Disney+/ESPN+/Business Insider Hulu, Disney+ ESPN+ Bundle, available at Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu, from $13.99 per monthIf canceled sporting events or trips to Disney have you feeling down, you can gift Disney+, ESPN, and Hulu together to ensure the next few months include plenty of entertainment options. If your partner is not too fond of ads, this bundle can also be purchased with the ad-free version of Hulu. A small skincare tool that removes 99.5% of dirt, oil, and makeup residue Amazon Foreo Luna Play Plus 2, available at Foreo, $59Our team swears by these gentle yet effective cleansing brushes. They have hygienic silicone bristles and come in five different models for different skin types. The Luna is small enough to bring on the go, so they can maintain their skincare routine while traveling.  A thoughtful book she'll love Amazon "Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar" by Cheryl Strayed, available on Amazon, $12.42Pick up one of your favorites that you think she'd like, or browse some of the books we love to gift. This collection of Dear Sugar advice columns is a heartfelt favorite. Its topics are diverse, its letters to Dear Sugar are intimate and relatable, and Cheryl Strayed's responses are both witty and extraordinarily compassionate.  A membership to a huge outdoor co-op REI REI Co-Op Lifetime Membership, $20, available at REIAn REI membership offers a lifetime of benefits for a one-time purchase. That includes 10%-back dividends, special offers, access to in-store REI Garage sales, and special pricing on REI classes and events. Find out more here. A Dutch oven to elevate their bread game Lodge mfg Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, available at Walmart, $79.90Did they get into baking bread and, miraculously, stay committed to it? If so, a really nice Dutch oven can help elevate their game. You can get something great for under $100, or you can splurge on a beautiful Le Creuset. Other meaningful upgrades include a cooling rack, according to the famous baker Apollonia Poilâne. A subscription that sends her a six-month world tour of teas Atlas Tea Club Atlas Tea Club 6 Month Subscription, available on Atlas Tea Club, $109This subscription sends her single-origin teas from the best tea-growing regions in the world for six months. She'll get two delicious options sent to her home each month. Festive matching underwear from one of the internet's favorite startups MeUndies Matching Underwear, available at MeUndies, $42Get yourself and your girlfriend festive matching underwear — which also happen to be some of the most comfortable pairs we've ever found. MeUndies gives you the options to create your own personalized set — two styles listed for women, two styles listed for men, a mix, and whichever length or cut you and your partner prefer.  A standing desk for a home office upgrade Fully Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk, available at Fully, from $569If they're working from home, they might love a home office upgrade the most. We ranked the Fully Jarvis the best standing desk; it provides the right blend of features and reliable performance. Its customizations for style, height, and accessories make it adaptable to pretty much any need.  A framed keepsake of a favorite memory Framebridge Framed photo, available at Framebridge, from $45Gift Card, available at Framebridge, from $25Framebridge makes custom framing for not-custom-framing prices. You can print or paint something on your own and have it framed, or have them print and frame it, and you can take advantage of the team of designers for help deciding what frame to get.  The best socks she'll ever wear Bombas Bombas Women's Performance Running Ankle Sock 3-Pack, $49.50Bombas makes the best socks we've ever tried, and they're a gift we find ourselves giving every year to loved ones. They're lightweight, moisture-wicking, and built to circumvent annoyances like uncomfortable seams and heel slipping. A powerful, customizable massage gun Theragun Theragun PRO, available at Therabody, $599This is the best massage gun we've tested — though it's also on the higher end of what you would expect to pay. We loved it in part due to its two-year warranty, adjustable massage arm, customizable speeds, 60 lbs of no-stall force, six different heads, an extra battery, and how easy it is to use. A nice gold vermeil and sapphire zodiac sign necklace Mejuri Aquarius Necklace, available at Mejuri, $395Mejuri is a Canadian startup created in 2015 to make fine jewelry affordable to buy — and it has racked up waitlists with more than 40,000 people before. Their popular Zodiac Necklace is cool, minimalist, and something she can wear every day. It's made in gold vermeil with AAA quality white sapphires. Mejuri's affordable pricing means the estimated traditional retail price of the same necklace elsewhere would be closer to $235.   The best bathrobe that money can buy Snowe Bathrobe, available at Snowe, $100Snowe's unisex bathrobe has been called the best and most absorbent terry robe on the market, and I'm just one more fervent believer. The cotton fiber traps air for extra absorbency, is soft and plush, and the unisex sizing means it will feel like a blanket-turned-robe. Perfect functionality, and extra points for coziness. A tracker for finding cell phones and wallets quickly Amazon Tile Pro, available at Amazon, $34.99When they can't find their phone, all they have to do is click their Tile button to make their phone ring, even if it's on silent. We've found them especially useful lately.  A monogrammed jewelry case from a minimalist fashion startup Cuyana Leather Jewelry Case, available at Cuyana, $85 (+ $15 for monogram)Keeping track of tiny and delicate jewelry is difficult — but jewelry cases are a pretty and useful solution. This is a thoughtful and personalized gift, especially if you've gotten her jewelry in the past, or plan to in the future. It's made from premium leather, comes in six colors, and can be monogrammed with her initials. Cuyana is a cool leather bag startup she may have already heard of.  A pair of blue light-blocking glasses that look good enough to wear outside of the house Felix Gray Faraday Glasses, available at Felix Gray, from $95Help mitigate some of the strain from constant screens with a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses. They might even help with their sleep. The convenience of Apple AirPods Hollis Johnson/Business Insider Apple AirPods, available at Best Buy, $129.99When it comes to convenience, truly wireless earbuds are the best. And Apple's AirPods are very popular with iPhone and Android users alike. They look subtle compared to other bigger options, and they're incredibly easy to use. For the latest option, you can pick up AirPods Pro for $199.99 on Best Buy too.  A 215-piece art kit for creative projects Amazon Art 101 215-Piece Wood Art Set, available at Amazon, $49.99This 215-Piece art kit includes crayons, colored pencils, oil pastels, fine line markers, watercolor cakes, and acrylic paint for endless art projects.  A year-long MasterClass membership to learn about things she's passionate about MasterClass Annual Membership, available at MasterClass, from $180/yearIf your dinner table conversations often include talk of photography, or tennis, or screenwriting, or another passion, consider getting her a gift that helps her spend time in that hobby. We love MasterClass because it kind of feels like entertainment. Classes are short, there's no homework, and she can listen to the audio like its a podcast or watch the videos. The site hosts classes taught by well-known celebrities and industry leaders — from Neil deGrasse Tyson teaching Scientific Thinking and Communication to Malcolm Gladwell on Writing, Shonda Rhimes on Writing for Television, and Bob Iger on Business Strategy and Leadership. You can read our full review here. A one-size-fits-all lid that instantly declutters the cabinets Made In Silicone Universal Lid Kit, available at Made In, $59This was one of the gifts that professional chefs recommended to us for avid home cooks. If they love to cook and have a plethora of differently sized pots and pans with all the corresponding lids, having one universal lid can declutter and streamline their space in one move.  A convenient phone sanitizer PhoneSoap PhoneSoap 3 Smartphone UV Sanitizer, available at PhoneSoap, $79.95This small device uses UV-C light to sanitize a phone, killing 99.9% of common household germs. It's easy to use, and it could help give you and your partner a bit more peace of mind. The new Sonos Move portable speaker Amazon Sonos Move, available at Best Buy, $399.99The Sonos Move is one of the best speakers on the market. It's powerful, can be controlled by your voice or an app, and has Amazon Alexa built-in so on WiFi you can play music, check the news, set alarms, get your questions answered, and more, without much effort. 16 highly-rated sheet masks Amazon/Business Insider Sheet Mask Set, available at Amazon, $22.99Grab them 39 sheet masks to make it easier for them to have a frequent and well-deserved "treat yourself" day. These are highly-rated and have both vitamin E and collagen included for healthy, happy skin.    A weighted blanket for better rest Amazon YnM Weighted Blanket, available at YnM, from $39.50Weighted blankets help create more restful sleep by "grounding" the body, and YnM makes some of the most popular and affordable weighted blankets on the internet. There are multiple sizes and weights for the ideal fit and width (they recommend picking whichever is about 10% of your body weight), and the segmented design allows you to move around without displacing all the weighted beads inside.  A mini multipurpose tool Amazon Mini Multitool Knife 12 in 1, available on Amazon, $8.99This lightweight multitool has a knife, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, scissors, and a bottle opener — so it's nine times as many opportunities for being useful as your average gift.  A sleek fitness tracker that includes heart rate monitoring Fitbit Fitbit Inspire 2, available at Best Buy, $99.95Fitbit's affordable Inspire 2 tracker has no shortage of useful features to keep them informed about their physical activity. The heart rate monitor lets them be more strategic about their workouts by tracking calorie burn, resting heart rate, and heart rate zones. An 8-in-1 pan that helps to declutter your home Our Place Always Pan, available at Our Place, $115If you're spending more time at home cooking together — or re-organizing the kitchen — they can definitely appreciate a beautiful 8-in-1 cookware hack.The Always Pan from startup Our Place is a frying pan, saute pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest in the space of a single pan. In other words, a clever generalist that's extremely convenient for small spaces or minimalist cooks. You can read our review here. A video message from someone she loves almost as much as you Cameo/Business Insider Cameo Video Messages, available at Cameo, from $15Whether it's her favorite actor, comedian, or athlete, you're likely to find someone she admires on Cameo. Cameo allows celebrities to send custom video messages to recipients for nearly any occasion, and a personalized video is a gift that she'll never forget.  Silky, breathable leggings Everlane Everlane Leggings, $68Everlane's Perform Leggings are some of our all-time favorites — they're breathable and silky, like a slightly less expensive version of Alo leggings. You can read a full review of the Everlane Perform Leggings and see pictures of them here. Beautiful candles from a cool startup Otherland Otherland Candles, available at Otherland, $36Otherland is a candle company started by Abigail Cook Stone, a former art buyer for Ralph Lauren. If you want to give your girlfriend a candle that burns for 55 hours, looks beautiful, and comes from a startup that she's probably seen (or coveted) before, this is a great option. Find our full review here. The last weekend bag you'll ever need to buy her Rothy's Rothy's The Weekender, available at Rothy's, $550With its large, padded top handles and roomy interior, Rothy's The Weekender might be the last overnight bag your partner ever needs. It's got multiple pockets and a sturdy insert that helps it maintain its shape. You'll be shocked by how much you can fit in this bag — definitely enough for a long weekend. It's made of recycled plastic pulled from the ocean and is machine washable.   The "world's most comfortable shoes" Allbirds Women's Wool Runners, available at Allbirds, $98The classic Wool Runners make a great gift for the uninitiated, though we'd also highly recommend the brand's casual cup sole Wool Piper for everyday wear if that's more your partner's style. You can find our full review of the Runners here, and the Wool Pipers here. A customized map of her favorite place Grafomap Custom Map Poster, available at Grafomap, from $49Grafomap lets you design custom maps of anywhere in the world — like the first place you met, the best trip you ever took together, or the hometown she couldn't wait to show you. It's unique, thoughtful, and pretty inexpensive.  You can find our full review here. A gift card to a popular wine subscription club Winc Gift Card, available at Winc, from $29.95Winc is a personalized wine club — and we think it's the best one you can belong to overall. Members take a wine palate profile quiz and then choose from the personalized wine suggestions. Each bottle has extensive tasting notes and serving recommendations online, and makes it easy to discover similar bottles. Gift her a Winc gift card, and she can take a wine palate profile quiz and get started with her own customized suggestions.  An exercise bike for staying active indoors NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle, available at NordicTrack, $1,999If money is of no object and your partner is trying to figure out how to exercise while staying indoors, an exercise bike is a particularly thoughtful and useful gift right now. We like the NordicTrack option the most overall, but we also like and recommend options that are under $200.  A large print on fine art paper of a favorite memory Artifact Uprising/Business Insider Large Format Prints, available at Artifact Uprising, from $22Artifact Uprising makes luxury prints at accessible prices — and they make especially thoughtful gifts that look like they should cost much more. Get one of their favorite photos printed on archival fine art paper for $20 and up, or thoughtful cards for as little as $1 per custom card. You can also make a color series photo book for $22, a set of prints for $9, and a personalized calendar on a handcrafted wood clipboard for $30. A mug that keeps hot drinks hot for up to six hours straight Hydro Flask Hydro Flask Mug, 12 oz, available at Hydro Flask, from $24.95This mug is a common desk companion for the Insider Reviews team. The 12-ounce coffee mug has the company's proprietary TempShield insulation that made its water bottles famous. This mug will keep hot drinks hot for up to six hours, and cold drinks cold up to 24 hours. Read our full review of it here. A gift card for delicious, healthy meals she can make in about 30 seconds Daily Harvest Gift Card, available at Daily Harvest, from $50Daily Harvest is a food startup that makes it possible to eat healthy, delicious meals for less than $10 each even if you only have 30 seconds to spare for prep time. Meals are pre-portioned, delicious, and designed by both a chef and a nutritionist to make sure they're tasty and good for you. It addressed all my healthy eating roadblocks.  The best hair dryer ever invented Dyson/Facebook Dyson Blow Dryer, available at Ulta, $399.99This gift may seem inexplicably expensive, but the Dyson blow dryer is lauded as the best one ever invented, making it a cult favorite. It prevents hair damage by measuring air temperature 20 times per second, has a specially designed Dyson motor for fast drying, and reduces static, breakage, and makes hair look smooth and shiny. Comfy, high-end sheets at the best price on the market Brooklinen Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle, available at Brooklinen, from $240Brooklinen is one of our favorite companies, point-blank. We think they make the best high-end sheets at the best price on the market, and most of the Insider Reviews team uses Brooklinen on their own beds.The Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle comes in 14 colors and patterns, and you can mix and match them to suit your taste. Grab a gift card if you want to give her more freedom. If you opt for a sheet bundle, she'll receive a core sheet set (fitted, flat, two pillowcases), duvet cover, and two extra pillowcases in soft, smooth 480-thread-count weave. This cozy loungewear set that she'll never want to take off Knix Knix Cozzzy Track Pants, available at Knix, $46.75Cozy and warm, the Cozzzy Track Pants from Knix are comfortable enough to wear around the house while also being cute enough to wear to the market. The ultra-soft fabric feels like the softest terry cloth washcloth you've ever used, and its slouchy fit is modern and luxe. She'll love the joggers with cuffed legs that are sleek without being overly tight. Comes in cream and gray. The internet's favorite olive oil Brightland Awake Olive Oil, available at Brightland, $37Brightland's olive oils make great gifts for cooks and anyone else who loves to entertain. The white bottles protect the EVOO from light damage and look nice displayed on a countertop. Find a full review here.  A bottle (or two) of wine McBride Sisters McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Wine, starting at $19.99As the largest black-owned wine company in the United States, the McBride Sisters Collection is the perfect place to find a gift for the wine lover on your list. The Black Girl Magic collection in particular is inspired by the resilience of black women and includes varieties from Rosé to Merlot.  A comfortable cable-knit sweater United By Blue United By Blue Recycled Cotton Fisherman Sweater, $99.99A cable-knit or fisherman's sweater is a wardrobe staple that'll last for years. United By Blue's take on the classic piece is made from recycled cotton and is super soft. A high-tech towel that keeps her from slipping around during yoga classes Manduka Manduka Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel, from $58Manduka is known for making the best yoga products, and their Yogitoes towel is one of the most loved. It has tiny 100% silicone nubs on one side that grab yoga mats and keep yogis from slipping around during the exercise. Having a good towel can make a big difference. It also comes in 19 great colors and gets eco-friendly points. Each Yogitoes towel is made from eight recycled plastic water bottles, and made with dyes free of azo, lead, or heavy metal.  A card game that's meant to deepen personal connections Urban Outfitters We're Not Really Strangers Card Game, available at Urban Outfitters, $30This card game, from the popular Instagram account We're Not Really Strangers, is designed to enhance connections between people with different levels: perceptions, connection, and reflection. Not only is it a card game you haven't played before, but it's also a thoughtful activity you can enjoy together. A satin-lined beanie Andrea Bossi / Business Insider Kink & Coil Satin-Lined Beanie, $37Most people with naturally curly hair avoid wearing hats to reduce frizz, but Kink and Coil's satin-lined beanie solves that issue. Just like a silk pillowcase or a bonnet, the inside of the beanie is designed to protect your hair from frizz and damage. On top of that, the pom-pom can be removed, if she'd prefer to wear the hat without it.We spoke with a trichologist to learn more about how satin- and silk-lined beanies can benefit anyone with curly or high-porosity hair.  Rihanna's bestselling Fenty skincare set Fenty Beauty Fenty Skin Start'rs Full-Size Bundle, $75Rihanna's bestselling skincare bundle from her brand Fenty includes everything you'll need to maintain healthy skin. The kit includes a facial cleanser, toner, and two-in-one sunscreen moisturizer. Read our full review of the Fenty skincare set here. A cashmere crew from Everlane that she'll own forever Everlane The Cashmere Crew, available at Everlane, from $120For a closet staple she'll own for years to come, Everlane's $120 Cashmere Crew (available in various colors) is about the safest choice you can make. Everlane has plenty of great gifts (you can find the Everlane basics we wear repeatedly here), so you can't really go wrong.  A small cold brew coffee maker Amazon Airtight Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker, available at Walmart, $37.55This small cold brew maker (available in 1-liter and 1.5-liter options) makes coffee's less acidic, smoother cousin cold brew in 12 hours in the fridge, so there's minimal hassle and always a treat ready in the morning on her way out the door to work.  A stylish leather makeup pouch that's thoughtful and easy to travel with Dagne Dover Hunter Toiletry Bag, available at Dagne Dover, from $40Dagne Dover is quickly becoming one of the best women's handbag companies to know, and its toiletry pouches are a great and relatively affordable gift. The small size holds a handful of go-to toiletries, and the large should have enough space for all of the grooming essentials. A comfy zip-up for the months ahead Patagonia Better Sweater, available at Patagonia, from $139Patagonia makes our favorite athleisure options overall, and that definitely includes the Better Sweater. It works in pretty much any environment — in the office, at home, on a hike, or on a casual night out — and has zippered pockets to keep hands warm in the cold months. We're also big fans of the 1/4 Zip option. A new waterproof Kindle Paperwhite for reading anywhere Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, available at Amazon, $84.99Amazon's new Kindle Paperwhite is its thinnest and lightest yet, with double the storage. Perhaps the best features are that it's waterproof and has a built-in adjustable light for the perfect reading environment indoors or outdoors, day or night. If she loves a nice, relaxing bath, pair this with a caddy, bath bombs, and a glass of wine for a relaxing night in that you've already taken care of. A cult-favorite hair towel that reduces damage and cuts drying time by 50% Aquis Aquis Rapid Dry Hair Towel, available at Anthropologie, from $30Aquis' cult-favorite hair towels can cut the amount of time it takes your hair to dry in half — a claim we're happy to report holds up. The proprietary fabric also means there's less damage to wet hair while it dries.  A fun, unique local date Airbnb/Business Insider Airbnb Experiences, available at Airbnb, from $10Airbnb started offering experience programming online. You can book from thousands of experiences that range from workouts with Olympic athletes over Zoom to cooking classes with chefs you'd normally have to hop on a flight to meet. We tested a a tango class and a Moroccan cooking class.It's also an under-utilized part of Airbnb, making it a thoughtful and unusual gift — and one you may keep using yourselves for out-of-the-box date nights in the future. As states and countries slowly begin reopening, Airbnb listings and in-person activities are becoming options again, but you can still participate in online activities from home if you're not ready to travel yet or just want a fun activity.  A 100% silk pillowcase that reduces frizz and keeps skin hydrated overnight Walmart 100% Mulberry Silk Pillowcase, available at Walmart, from $22.32Silk pillowcases reduce frizz and damage to hair and make it look shiny and healthy. It also reduces the likelihood of wrinkles and keeps skin hydrated overnight by absorbing less of the moisture in the skin. A houseplant that arrives already potted and is easy to care for Leon & George Silver Evergreen, available at Leon & George, from $149Leon & George is a San Francisco startup that will send beautiful plants — potted in stylish, minimalist pots — to her door. All she has to do is to occasionally add water. Flowers are wonderful, but houseplants have a much longer shelf life, and most of Leon & George's options are very easy to care for. We'd also recommend checking out Bloomscape for small plant trios under $70.   Beautiful earrings she'll own forever Stone and Strand Sparkle Diamond Cluster Huggies, available at Stone and Strand, $395They're solid gold, conflict-free, and made locally. Plus, the style is versatile enough that she can wear them every day. A membership to a popular skincare and makeup subscription that sends new, cool, and bestselling products once per month Connie Chen/Business Insider Birchbox Gift Subscription, available at Birchbox, from $45Birchbox is a skincare and makeup subscription that sends tons of samples of new and cult-favorite products to subscribers so they can find products they love without much commitment or cost upfront. Makeup and skincare products can be expensive, so this is a particularly helpful service.  A funny and unique card LoveFromCo/Etsy You Take My Breath Away, available at Etsy, from $4.19You can pick up a card from Walgreens on your way to exchange gifts, but it'll mean more if you think just a few days ahead. Etsy has great options for cheap, unique, handmade gifts that are cool and thoughtful. This one is perfect for a couple who appreciates a "The Office" deep cut.  A leather wallet from the same manufacturer as Prada for a fraction of the price Italic Brynn Zip Around Wallet, available at Italic, $50Italic is a startup that makes unbranded luxury goods from the same factories that produce designs for brands like Givenchy or scents for Le Labo — minus the markup. The Zip-Around Wallet is made from soft, calfskin leather and comes in four classic colors.It comes from the same manufacturer as Celine and Prada, and Italic estimates it would cost $295-$300 in traditional retail. It's also good to note that the company plants one tree for every order. You can find a full review of the company's leather goods here, and of their candles here.  A streaming stick that gives you access to hundreds of thousands of movies and TV episodes Amazon Roku Streaming Stick +, available at Best Buy, $44.99Roku's Streaming Stick+ is exceptional for its 4K, HDR, and HD streaming, and long-range wireless receiver. Installing it is an easy process and starts by plugging the stick into his TV. A great foam roller TB12 Vibrating Pliability Roller, available on TB12, $160If your girlfriend is very physically active, a foam roller is a nice gift to aid in her workout recovery and soreness. This one is our favorite because it has four levels of vibration, a pattern that targets muscle groups, and a durable exterior. But, if your budget doesn't fit a $160 foam roller, never fear — we like some under-$20 options too.  A subscription to a book club that sends her great hardcovers once per month Book of the Month Instagram 3-Month Subscription, available at Book of the Month, $49.99If she loves books, Book of the Month is an especially thoughtful and unique gift — it's a book club that has been around since 1926, and it's credited with discovering some of the most beloved books of all time ("Gone with the Wind" and "Catcher in the Rye" to name a couple). If you gift her a subscription, she'll receive a hardcover book delivered to her door once a month. Books are selected by a team of experts and celebrity guest judges.If she's really more into audiobooks or e-reading now rather than hardcovers, check out a gift subscription to Scribd (full review here). Fancy popcorn and a movie night Williams Sonoma Amish Popcorn Gift Set, available at Williams Sonoma, $29.95Make a reservation at a nice outdoor restaurant, stock up on her favorite movie candy and some fun drinks ahead of time (wrap them for an extra wow-factor), and create your own in-house cinema experience. Or, perhaps even better, order a bunch of take-out from your favorite local restaurants. A gift set of a dozen decadent bath bombs Amazon Bath Bomb Gift Set, available at Walmart, $40.01This bath bomb gift set comes with 12 handcrafted bath bombs that range from mango-papaya to lavender in scent, and some of which include flower petals. They're a great addition to a long bath, as is a bamboo bathtub tray.  A subscription to a coffee service that sends coffees specifically for her taste preferences Driftaway Facebook 3-Month Subscription, available at Driftaway Coffee, from $75If she loves coffee, she'll probably love to try Driftaway. It's a gourmet coffee subscription that gets smarter the longer you use it, remembering your preferences and steering you towards increasingly accurate brews for your specific tastes. The first shipment will be a tasting kit with four coffee profiles, which she'll rate online or in the app to start getting personalized options. A book of love letters written by history's great men Amazon Love Letters of Great Men, available at Amazon, $13.95It can be hard to do yourself justice in words — whether they're spoken or written in a card. This compilation of love letters written by great men can help you say it without actually technically saying it. Bonus points if you write your own, or mark the ones in the book that most closely resemble your own feelings.   A beautiful diamond necklace she'll have forever AUrate Diamond Bezel Necklace, available at AUrate, from $320A diamond necklace doesn't have to be thousands of dollars, as fine jewelry startups like AUrate are proving. This necklace is something she can keep and wear forever, and both the solid gold and conflict-free diamonds are of the highest quality.  Personalized cartoon couple mugs Shelley Klein Personalized Family Mugs, available at Uncommon Goods, from $30These cute mugs can be personalized for what you're like as a couple, making for a special weekend morning coffee routine or just a nice reminder in the kitchen cabinet. On the back, you can add a family name and the year the couple was established.  Lush, subtly scented body wash Necessaire Necessaire — The Body Wash, available at Sephora, $25New startup Necessaire formulates its body care products with nourishing vitamins and clean ingredients. The subtly scented Body Wash will leave their skin feeling clean, soft, and nourished.  Hand sanitizer that smells good Touchland Touchland Power Mist Hand Sanitizer, available at Touchland, $9We're using hand sanitizer a lot these days. Why not pick one they'd enjoy using? This version from Touchland is a little moisturizing and doesn't smell like alcohol or make your hands sticky. Read our full review here. A stylish weekender to keep her organized on the go Caraa Sport Caraa Studio Tote Large, available at Caraa, $250Caraa Sport makes some of the most functional and best-looking gym bags on the market. This one can transition from tote to backpack by adding straps. It also has a hidden shoe compartment and a waterproof and antimicrobial lining. An award-winning at-home facial Sephora Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, available at Sephora, $80This is an award-winning mask with a big following in the beauty and skincare community. It's $80, but it's an at-home pro-quality facial she can use anytime — which is a fraction of the price required for regular facials. Kitchen towels that rate wines by how well they pair with certain foods Uncommon Goods Wine Pairing Towel, available at Wolf & Badger, $20If she loves having a nice glass of wine and/or cooking, she'll appreciate the thought behind this unique wine pairing towel. Grab a bottle and some corresponding ingredients for a fun night in for the two of you. A stylish, savvy carry-on with an external battery pack Away Carry-On, available at Away, from $225Away's hyper-popular suitcases deserve their hype. Their hard shell is lightweight but durable, their 360° spinner wheels make for seamless traveling, and the external (and ejectable and TSA-compliant) battery pack included can charge a smartphone five times over so she never has to sit behind a trash can at the airport for access to an outlet again. It's also guaranteed for life by Away. Find our full review here. A cooking class from one of the nation's top chefs Cozymeal/Instagram Gift Card, available at Cozymeal, from $50With a Cozymeal class, they'll learn how to make anything from fresh pasta to Argentinian staple dishes from the nation's top chefs. In addition to cooking classes, Cozymeal offers food tours in various cities (when it's safe to do so).  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 7th, 2021

How Facebook Forced a Reckoning by Shutting Down the Team That Put People Ahead of Profits

Facebook's civic-integrity team, where whistle-blower Frances Haugen worked, pledged to put people ahead of profits. Facebook shut it down, but some former members are still honoring their promise. Facebook’s civic-integrity team was always different from all the other teams that the social media company employed to combat misinformation and hate speech. For starters, every team member subscribed to an informal oath, vowing to “serve the people’s interest first, not Facebook’s.” The “civic oath,” according to five former employees, charged team members to understand Facebook’s impact on the world, keep people safe and defuse angry polarization. Samidh Chakrabarti, the team’s leader, regularly referred to this oath—which has not been previously reported—as a set of guiding principles behind the team’s work, according to the sources. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Chakrabarti’s team was effective in fixing some of the problems endemic to the platform, former employees and Facebook itself have said. But, just a month after the 2020 U.S. election, Facebook dissolved the civic-integrity team, and Chakrabarti took a leave of absence. Facebook said employees were assigned to other teams to help share the group’s experience across the company. But for many of the Facebook employees who had worked on the team, including a veteran product manager from Iowa named Frances Haugen, the message was clear: Facebook no longer wanted to concentrate power in a team whose priority was to put people ahead of profits. Illustration by TIME (Source photo: Getty Images) Five weeks later, supporters of Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol—after some of them organized on Facebook and used the platform to spread the lie that the election had been stolen. The civic-integrity team’s dissolution made it harder for the platform to respond effectively to Jan. 6, one former team member, who left Facebook this year, told TIME. “A lot of people left the company. The teams that did remain had significantly less power to implement change, and that loss of focus was a pretty big deal,” said the person. “Facebook did take its eye off the ball in dissolving the team, in terms of being able to actually respond to what happened on Jan. 6.” The former employee, along with several others TIME interviewed, spoke on the condition of anonymity, for fear that being named would ruin their career. Paul Morris—Bloomberg/Getty ImagesSamidh Chakrabarti, head of Facebook’s civic-integrity team, stands beside Katie Harbath, a Facebook director of public policy, in Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on Oct. 17, 2018.   Enter Frances Haugen Haugen revealed her identity on Oct. 3 as the whistle-blower behind the most significant leak of internal research in the company’s 17-year history. In a bombshell testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security two days later, Haugen said the civic-integrity team’s dissolution was the final event in a long series that convinced her of the need to blow the whistle. “I think the moment which I realized we needed to get help from the outside—that the only way these problems would be solved is by solving them together, not solving them alone—was when civic-integrity was dissolved following the 2020 election,” she said. “It really felt like a betrayal of the promises Facebook had made to people who had sacrificed a great deal to keep the election safe, by basically dissolving our community.” Read more: The Facebook Whistleblower Revealed Herself on 60 Minutes. Here’s What You Need to Know In a statement provided to TIME, Facebook’s vice president for integrity Guy Rosen denied the civic-integrity team had been disbanded. “We did not disband Civic Integrity,” Rosen said. “We integrated it into a larger Central Integrity team so that the incredible work pioneered for elections could be applied even further, for example, across health-related issues. Their work continues to this day.” (Facebook did not make Rosen available for an interview for this story.) Impacts of Civic Technology Conference 2016The defining values of the civic-integrity team, as described in a 2016 presentation given by Samidh Chakrabarti and Winter Mason. Civic-integrity team members were expected to adhere to this list of values, which was referred to internally as the “civic oath”. Haugen left the company in May. Before she departed, she trawled Facebook’s internal employee forum for documents posted by integrity researchers about their work. Much of the research was not related to her job, but was accessible to all Facebook employees. What she found surprised her. Some of the documents detailed an internal study that found that Instagram, its photo-sharing app, made 32% of teen girls feel worse about their bodies. Others showed how a change to Facebook’s algorithm in 2018, touted as a way to increase “meaningful social interactions” on the platform, actually incentivized divisive posts and misinformation. They also revealed that Facebook spends almost all of its budget for keeping the platform safe only on English-language content. In September, the Wall Street Journal published a damning series of articles based on some of the documents that Haugen had leaked to the paper. Haugen also gave copies of the documents to Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The documents, Haugen testified Oct. 5, “prove that Facebook has repeatedly misled the public about what its own research reveals about the safety of children, the efficacy of its artificial intelligence systems, and its role in spreading divisive and extreme messages.” She told Senators that the failings revealed by the documents were all linked by one deep, underlying truth about how the company operates. “This is not simply a matter of certain social media users being angry or unstable, or about one side being radicalized against the other; it is about Facebook choosing to grow at all costs, becoming an almost trillion-dollar company by buying its profits with our safety,” she said. Facebook’s focus on increasing user engagement, which ultimately drives ad revenue and staves off competition, she argued, may keep users coming back to the site day after day—but also systematically boosts content that is polarizing, misinformative and angry, and which can send users down dark rabbit holes of political extremism or, in the case of teen girls, body dysmorphia and eating disorders. “The company’s leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer, but won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people,” Haugen said. (In 2020, the company reported $29 billion in net income—up 58% from a year earlier. This year, it briefly surpassed $1 trillion in total market value, though Haugen’s leaks have since knocked the company down to around $940 billion.) Asked if executives adhered to the same set of values as the civic-integrity team, including putting the public’s interests before Facebook’s, a company spokesperson told TIME it was “safe to say everyone at Facebook is committed to understanding our impact, keeping people safe and reducing polarization.” In the same week that an unrelated systems outage took Facebook’s services offline for hours and revealed just how much the world relies on the company’s suite of products—including WhatsApp and Instagram—the revelations sparked a new round of national soul-searching. It led some to question how one company can have such a profound impact on both democracy and the mental health of hundreds of millions of people. Haugen’s documents are the basis for at least eight new SEC investigations into the company for potentially misleading its investors. And they have prompted senior lawmakers from both parties to call for stringent new regulations. Read more: Here’s How to Fix Facebook, According to Former Employees and Leading Critics Haugen urged Congress to pass laws that would make Facebook and other social media platforms legally liable for decisions about how they choose to rank content in users’ feeds, and force companies to make their internal data available to independent researchers. She also urged lawmakers to find ways to loosen CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s iron grip on Facebook; he controls more than half of voting shares on its board, meaning he can veto any proposals for change from within. “I came forward at great personal risk because I believe we still have time to act,” Haugen told lawmakers. “But we must act now.” Potentially even more worryingly for Facebook, other experts it hired to keep the platform safe, now alienated by the company’s actions, are growing increasingly critical of their former employer. They experienced first hand Facebook’s unwillingness to change, and they know where the bodies are buried. Now, on the outside, some of them are still honoring their pledge to put the public’s interests ahead of Facebook’s. Inside Facebook’s civic-integrity team Chakrabarti, the head of the civic-integrity team, was hired by Facebook in 2015 from Google, where he had worked on improving how the search engine communicated information about lawmakers and elections to its users. A polymath described by one person who worked under him as a “Renaissance man,” Chakrabarti holds master’s degrees from MIT, Oxford and Cambridge, in artificial intelligence engineering, modern history and public policy, respectively, according to his LinkedIn profile. Although he was not in charge of Facebook’s company-wide “integrity” efforts (led by Rosen), Chakrabarti, who did not respond to requests to comment for this article, was widely seen by employees as the spiritual leader of the push to make sure the platform had a positive influence on democracy and user safety, according to multiple former employees. “He was a very inspirational figure to us, and he really embodied those values [enshrined in the civic oath] and took them quite seriously,” a former member of the team told TIME. “The team prioritized societal good over Facebook good. It was a team that really cared about the ways to address societal problems first and foremost. It was not a team that was dedicated to contributing to Facebook’s bottom line.” Chakrabarti began work on the team by questioning how Facebook could encourage people to be more engaged with their elected representatives on the platform, several of his former team members said. An early move was to suggest tweaks to Facebook’s “more pages you may like” feature that the team hoped might make users feel more like they could have an impact on politics. After the chaos of the 2016 election, which prompted Zuckerberg himself to admit that Facebook didn’t do enough to stop misinformation, the team evolved. It moved into Facebook’s wider “integrity” product group, which employs thousands of researchers and engineers to focus on fixing Facebook’s problems of misinformation, hate speech, foreign interference and harassment. It changed its name from “civic engagement” to “civic integrity,” and began tackling the platform’s most difficult problems head-on. Shortly before the midterm elections in 2018, Chakrabarti gave a talk at a conference in which he said he had “never been told to sacrifice people’s safety in order to chase a profit.” His team was hard at work making sure the midterm elections did not suffer the same failures as in 2016, in an effort that was generally seen as a success, both inside the company and externally. “To see the way that the company has mobilized to make this happen has made me feel very good about what we’re doing here,” Chakrabarti told reporters at the time. But behind closed doors, integrity employees on Chakrabarti’s team and others were increasingly getting into disagreements with Facebook leadership, former employees said. It was the beginning of the process that would eventually motivate Haugen to blow the whistle. Drew Angerer—Getty ImagesFormer Facebook employee Frances Haugen testifies during a Senate hearing entitled ‘Protecting Kids Online: Testimony from a Facebook Whistleblower’ in Washington, D.C., Oct. 5, 2021. In 2019, the year Haugen joined the company, researchers on the civic-integrity team proposed ending the use of an approved list of thousands of political accounts that were exempt from Facebook’s fact-checking program, according to tech news site The Information. Their research had found that the exemptions worsened the site’s misinformation problem because users were more likely to believe false information if it were shared by a politician. But Facebook executives rejected the proposal. The pattern repeated time and time again, as proposals to tweak the platform to down-rank misinformation or abuse were rejected or watered down by executives concerned with engagement or worried that changes might disproportionately impact one political party more than another, according to multiple reports in the press and several former employees. One cynical joke among members of the civic-integrity team was that they spent 10% of their time coding and the other 90% arguing that the code they wrote should be allowed to run, one former employee told TIME. “You write code that does exactly what it’s supposed to do, and then you had to argue with execs who didn’t want to think about integrity, had no training in it and were mad that you were hurting their product, so they shut you down,” the person said. Sometimes the civic-integrity team would also come into conflict with Facebook’s policy teams, which share the dual role of setting the rules of the platform while also lobbying politicians on Facebook’s behalf. “I found many times that there were tensions [in meetings] because the civic-integrity team was like, ‘We’re operating off this oath; this is our mission and our goal,’” says Katie Harbath, a long-serving public-policy director at the company’s Washington, D.C., office who quit in March 2021. “And then you get into decisionmaking meetings, and all of a sudden things are going another way, because the rest of the company and leadership are not basing their decisions off those principles.” Harbath admitted not always seeing eye to eye with Chakrabarti on matters of company policy, but praised his character. “Samidh is a man of integrity, to use the word,” she told TIME. “I personally saw times when he was like, ‘How can I run an integrity team if I’m not upholding integrity as a person?’” Do you work at Facebook or another social media platform? TIME would love to hear from you. You can reach out to billy.perrigo@time.com Years before the 2020 election, research by integrity teams had shown Facebook’s group recommendations feature was radicalizing users by driving them toward polarizing political groups, according to the Journal. The company declined integrity teams’ requests to turn off the feature, BuzzFeed News reported. Then, just weeks before the vote, Facebook executives changed their minds and agreed to freeze political group recommendations. The company also tweaked its News Feed to make it less likely that users would see content that algorithms flagged as potential misinformation, part of temporary emergency “break glass” measures designed by integrity teams in the run-up to the vote. “Facebook changed those safety defaults in the run-up to the election because they knew they were dangerous,” Haugen testified to Senators on Tuesday. But they didn’t keep those safety measures in place long, she added. “Because they wanted that growth back, they wanted the acceleration on the platform back after the election, they returned to their original defaults. And the fact that they had to break the glass on Jan. 6, and turn them back on, I think that’s deeply problematic.” In a statement, Facebook spokesperson Tom Reynolds rejected the idea that the company’s actions contributed to the events of Jan. 6. “In phasing in and then adjusting additional measures before, during and after the election, we took into account specific on-platforms signals and information from our ongoing, regular engagement with law enforcement,” he said. “When those signals changed, so did the measures. It is wrong to claim that these steps were the reason for Jan. 6—the measures we did need remained in place through February, and some like not recommending new, civic or political groups remain in place to this day. These were all part of a much longer and larger strategy to protect the election on our platform—and we are proud of that work.” Read more: 4 Big Takeaways From the Facebook Whistleblower Congressional Hearing Soon after the civic-integrity team was dissolved in December 2020, Chakrabarti took a leave of absence from Facebook. In August, he announced he was leaving for good. Other employees who had spent years working on platform-safety issues had begun leaving, too. In her testimony, Haugen said that several of her colleagues from civic integrity left Facebook in the same six-week period as her, after losing faith in the company’s pledge to spread their influence around the company. “Six months after the reorganization, we had clearly lost faith that those changes were coming,” she said. After Haugen’s Senate testimony, Facebook’s director of policy communications Lena Pietsch suggested that Haugen’s criticisms were invalid because she “worked at the company for less than two years, had no direct reports, never attended a decision-point meeting with C-level executives—and testified more than six times to not working on the subject matter in question.” On Twitter, Chakrabarti said he was not supportive of company leaks but spoke out in support of the points Haugen raised at the hearing. “I was there for over 6 years, had numerous direct reports, and led many decision meetings with C-level execs, and I find the perspectives shared on the need for algorithmic regulation, research transparency, and independent oversight to be entirely valid for debate,” he wrote. “The public deserves better.” Can Facebook’s latest moves protect the company? Two months after disbanding the civic-integrity team, Facebook announced a sharp directional shift: it would begin testing ways to reduce the amount of political content in users’ News Feeds altogether. In August, the company said early testing of such a change among a small percentage of U.S. users was successful, and that it would expand the tests to several other countries. Facebook declined to provide TIME with further information about how its proposed down-ranking system for political content would work. Many former employees who worked on integrity issues at the company are skeptical of the idea. “You’re saying that you’re going to define for people what political content is, and what it isn’t,” James Barnes, a former product manager on the civic-integrity team, said in an interview. “I cannot even begin to imagine all of the downstream consequences that nobody understands from doing that.” Another former civic-integrity team member said that the amount of work required to design algorithms that could detect any political content in all the languages and countries in the world—and keeping those algorithms updated to accurately map the shifting tides of political debate—would be a task that even Facebook does not have the resources to achieve fairly and equitably. Attempting to do so would almost certainly result in some content deemed political being demoted while other posts thrived, the former employee cautioned. It could also incentivize certain groups to try to game those algorithms by talking about politics in nonpolitical language, creating an arms race for engagement that would privilege the actors with enough resources to work out how to win, the same person added. Graeme Jennings—Bloomberg/Getty ImagesMark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook, speaks via video conference during a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., on, July 29, 2020. When Zuckerberg was hauled to testify in front of lawmakers after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal in 2018, Senators were roundly mocked on social media for asking basic questions such as how Facebook makes money if its services are free to users. (“Senator, we run ads” was Zuckerberg’s reply.) In 2021, that dynamic has changed. “The questions asked are a lot more informed,” says Sophie Zhang, a former Facebook employee who was fired in 2020 after she criticized Facebook for turning a blind eye to platform manipulation by political actors around the world. “The sentiment is increasingly bipartisan” in Congress, Zhang adds. In the past, Facebook hearings have been used by lawmakers to grandstand on polarizing subjects like whether social media platforms are censoring conservatives, but this week they were united in their condemnation of the company. “Facebook has to stop covering up what it knows, and must change its practices, but there has to be government accountability because Facebook can no longer be trusted,” Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, chair of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, told TIME ahead of the hearing. His Republican counterpart Marsha Blackburn agreed, saying during the hearing that regulation was coming “sooner rather than later” and that lawmakers were “close to bipartisan agreement.” As Facebook reels from the revelations of the past few days, it already appears to be reassessing product decisions. It has begun conducting reputational reviews of new products to assess whether the company could be criticized or its features could negatively affect children, the Journal reported Wednesday. It last week paused its Instagram Kids product amid the furor. Whatever the future direction of Facebook, it is clear that discontent has been brewing internally. Haugen’s document leak and testimony have already sparked calls for stricter regulation and improved the quality of public debate about social media’s influence. In a post addressing Facebook staff on Wednesday, Zuckerberg put the onus on lawmakers to update Internet regulations, particularly relating to “elections, harmful content, privacy and competition.” But the real drivers of change may be current and former employees, who have a better understanding of the inner workings of the company than anyone—and the most potential to damage the business. —With reporting by Eloise Barry/London and Chad de Guzman/Hong Kong.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 7th, 2021

Netflix (NFLX) Rides on Squid Game Success, Offers Merchandise

Netflix (NFLX) launches Squid Game merchandise ahead of Halloween to cash in on the immense popularity of the South Korean action-drama as the stock reaches an all-time high. Netflix NFLX recently rolled out the official merchandise for Squid Game on its owned-and-operated online retail outlet, Netflix.shop, to capitalize on the unexpected success of the South Korean survival thriller.Per Variety, which cited Ted Sarandos, co-CEO and chief content officer, the survival drama, which was launched on Sep 17, currently ranks as the #1 non-English show worldwide on the service.The pastel colors used in the setup, striking costumes and the impressive metal mask for the Front Man are all sensational. With Squid Game on its way to becoming Netflix’s most popular original series of all time, viewers are expected to purchase the goodies to dress up for Halloween.The Squid Game merchandise currently available from the streamer includes t-shirts with the show’s logo and key images from the series ($34.95), a shirt that lets users pick a custom player number ($39.95), and a customizable hoodie with options to pick a square, triangle or circle icon — which represent the three different guard ranks — along with the show logo in English or Korean ($49.95).Shares of Netflix went up more than 4% in the last week and touched $640.3 per share Oct 5, which marks an all-time high for the streaming giant. Recent share price gains have been fueled by the return or debut of well-known titles, including new seasons of The Witcher and the sitcom Seinfeld. But the latest push has come from Squid Game, whose massive popularity appears to be an early indicator of stronger user trends.Netflix, Inc. Price and Consensus Netflix, Inc. price-consensus-chart | Netflix, Inc. QuoteForay Into E-Commerce and Video Gaming to Retain SubscribersNetflix’s expansion into direct e-commerce and video gaming is expected to be a game-changer for the streaming giant in the long haul.The company launched Netflix.shop in June, stocked with a curated, limited-edition collection aimed at generating a buzz for its original productions among fans. The site also sells products for Sex Education, The Witcher, Lupin, and anime series such as Yasuke and Eden.Moreover, Netflix.shop allows the company to further capitalize on viewer interest in merchandise to help make up for the lack of advertising revenues as the streaming site, unlike many of its competitors including Hulu and HBO Max, doesn’t run ads.Besides, Netflix is set to acquire videogame company, Night School Studio to provide games from Night School and other developers to subscribers without any additional charge, and without ads or in-game purchases.This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company also released casual mobile games such as Shooting Hoops, Teeter Up and Card Blast, along with Stranger Things: 1984, and Stranger Things 3: The Game for subscribers in Italy and Spain. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.The appointment of former EA and Facebook gaming executive, Mike Verdu is expected to prioritize Netflix’s video game development endeavors, thereby opening up a new source of revenues. This could be the additional content driver that Netflix needs to propel its decelerating global subscription growth back into overdrive.Netflix expects third-quarter 2021 revenues to be $7.47 billion, suggesting growth of 16.2% year over year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenues stands at $7.48 billion.The streaming giant is facing intensifying competition in the streaming space from The Walt Disney DIS, Amazon AMZN, Comcast CMCSA, AT&T, ViacomCBS, Discovery and Apple. Nevertheless, it is riding on a strong content portfolio, thanks to which the company won 44 Emmys in total this year.The company also recently launched its Play Something shuffle mode for Android users. This feature will play another movie or show that Netflix believes a viewer may like, based on their interests and prior viewing behavior. This mode had been officially launched for worldwide users on Netflix’s TV app back in April. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN): Free Stock Analysis Report Comcast Corporation (CMCSA): Free Stock Analysis Report Netflix, Inc. (NFLX): Free Stock Analysis Report The Walt Disney Company (DIS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 6th, 2021

Comcast"s (CMCSA) Xfinity Drops MSG Network Over Fees Dispute

Comcast's (CMCSA) Xfinity cable TV service sheds Madison Square Garden Entertainment's (MSGE) MSG Network from its bouquet of channels over a fees discrepancy. Comcast Inc.’s CMCSA shares have returned 8.4% in the year-to-date period compared with the Zacks Cable Television industry’s rally of 10.1% as it persistently suffers video-subscriber attrition due to cord cutting.The company’s Xfinity cable TV service recently dropped Madison Square Garden Entertainment’s (MSGE) MSG Network from its channel lineup as it disapproved proposals related to the current deals offered by the channel authorities.According to Comcast, MSG is demanding formidable fees for some of the sports content, which has low viewership in the country.The company might be able to reduce its costs by dropping less-viewed feed from its lineup but it stands the risk of losing sports viewership on its platform. This is because New Jersey and Connecticut sports fans will be deprived of the live coverage of sports matches of franchises like New York Knicks, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers and New York Islanders of National Basketball Association and National Hockey League, respectively.   Comcast Corporation Price and Consensus Comcast Corporation price-consensus-chart | Comcast Corporation QuoteComcast’s Growing Efforts to Win Flex, Xfinity X1 CustomersComcast made an announcement for the launch of XiOne, the wireless streaming device in the United States for the existing customers of Xfinity Flex (internet television service of Comcast), which is already available in Italy and Germany to Sky Q consumers.This will be available for the subscribers of Comcast’s Xfinity, Sky services and also its service partners, provided with WiFi 6, 4K UHD, HDR, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos systems and a voice control remote, for a convenient content search.Moreover, through XiOne, new streaming products will get launched in the market, which in turn, will strengthen the company’s content base.  Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable launched an opportunity for service providers to advertise their content through Xfinity X1 (digital video streaming device) of Comcast. Effectv clients will be able to reach their intended audience across the United States with various brand contents on offer.The primary purpose of this opportunity is to expand the OTT TV content and viewership. The Effectv clients will produce long-term and short-term content for the viewers and showcase it through Xfinity X1.Moreover, the currently Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company recorded $28.55 billion revenues in the second quarter of 2021, up 20.4% from $ 23.71 billion registered in the second quarter of 2020, which is likely to grow in the near term too owing to its strong content lineup from networks and studios like NBC, Bravo, USA Network, CNBC, Golf Channel, Universal Kids, CBS, available on the Peacock streaming service despite stiff competition from the likes of Netflix NFLX, Disney's DIS Diseny+ and Apple's AAPL Apple TV+ among others. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Apple Inc. (AAPL): Free Stock Analysis Report Comcast Corporation (CMCSA): Free Stock Analysis Report Netflix, Inc. (NFLX): Free Stock Analysis Report The Walt Disney Company (DIS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 6th, 2021

Bull of the Day: Square, Inc. (SQ)

SQ shares soared for roughly 12 months straight off the coronavirus lows and its recent underperformance presents a relatively enticing buying opportunity, especially with a big acquisition set to close in early 2022. Square SQ started over a decade ago by selling technology to help tiny businesses process credit card transactions from their smart devices. Today the company is at the forefront of the ever-growing financial tech or fintech industry and its sights are set on becoming an all-encompassing app and ecosystem for sellers and consumers.SQ shares soared for roughly 12 months straight off the coronavirus lows and its recent underperformance presents a relatively enticing buying opportunity, especially with a big acquisition set to close in early 2022.Growing Fintech Portfolio Square is light-years beyond the firm that mostly sold small smartphone and tablet-connected credit card readers geared toward small businesses and the self-employed. Its expanding portfolio includes a range of point-of-sale offerings, broader payment software and infrastructure, business loans, peer-to-peer payments, bitcoin transactions, and beyond.  SQ aims to be comprehensive financial services firm for both sellers and consumers. This includes its relatively new Square Banking offerings for U.S. sellers that includes savings and checking accounts, loans, and more. The company also offers a variety of POS systems for in-store transactions and various back-end and online payment technology.Square’s business-focused fintech is catching on with larger sellers amid the continued e-commerce revolution as businesses, entrepreneurs, artists, and everyone in between turn to SQ and the likes of Shopify SHOP and Etsy ETSY to succeed.Last quarter, SQ processed $43 billion in gross payment volume, up 88% from the year-ago period, with 65% coming from larger sellers (over $125K in annualized GPV). These bigger sellers accounted for 57% of GPV in Q2 FY20.Wall Street also loves its ability to attract more consumers to its P2P platform the Cash App, as it competes against PayPal PYPL and JPMorgan Chase JPM. The app reached 40 million monthly transacting active customers in June and millions of customers are now directly depositing checks to digitally pay friends and family and do much more.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchPlus, the Cash App allows users to buy and sell bitcoin, as well as stocks and ETFs. Square’s ability to attract a younger generation of investors and compete against the likes of Robinhood HOOD offers huge upside potential. The firm said roughly 4.5 million customers held a stock or ETF in Q2 up more than “3x from a year ago.”Square is clearly well on its way to becoming a holistic financial services firm where both consumers and businesses keep, spend, and invest their money. The company in early August announced its entry into the fast-growing “buy now, pay later” area of digital commerce with its planned acquisition of Afterpay. The all-stock deal valued at $29 billion is expected to close in the first quarter of calendar year 2022,Afterpay is one of the leaders in short installment payment options for e-commerce shoppers and the purchase is part of a broader plan to integrate Square’s seller business and its Cash App. Afterpay boasts around 16 million consumers and nearly 100,000 merchants globally. The BNPL space is booming and various fintech firms offer buyers the ability to make smaller payments everywhere from Nike to Home Depot.Square hopes its integration will help “even the smallest of merchants to offer BNPL at checkout, give Afterpay consumers the ability to manage their installment payments directly in Cash App, and give Cash App customers the ability to discover merchants and BNPL offers directly within the app.”SQ then at the end of September announced a partnership with social media standout and Instagram FB competitor TikTok that “enables sellers to send fans directly from TikTok videos, ads, and shopping tabs on their profiles to products available in their existing Square Online store.”Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchRecent Growth and Outlook Square steadily expanded its revenue since its late 2015 IPO and 2020, driven by the nearly overnight need for digital payments and e-commerce, was its best showing as sales skyrocketed 102% to $9.50 billion.More recently, its Q2 revenue soared 143%, and 87% excluding bitcoin revenue. Its transaction-based revenue climbed 80% and subscription and services sales came in 98% higher. And its adjusted earnings surged from $0.18 to $0.66 a share to blow away our Zacks estimateSQ’s adjusted Q3 EPS are projected to climb 15% on 51% higher revenue, based on Zacks consensus estimates. Peeking further ahead, the company’s FY21 sales are set to soar another 99% to reach a whopping $18.89 billion—up from $4.7 billion in FY19. Meanwhile, its adjusted earnings are projected to climb nearly 120% to $1.84 a share.The company is then set to follow up back-to-back years of 100% growth with another 12% higher revenue in FY22, pulling in $2.3 billion more, or what amounts to its total FY17 revenue. And its adjusted 2022 earnings are projected to climb another 23% higher.Square’s positive earnings revisions help it land a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) right now, alongside its “A” grade for Momentum in our Style Scores system. The fintech firm has also crushed our bottom-line estimates by an average of 111% in the trailing four periods. Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchBottom Line SQ shares are up 1,900% in the past five years and 275% in the last two years to outpace its industry’s 70% average. Luckily, it’s cooled off in 2021, up around 8% to lag its industry and the S&P 500. At roughly $235 a share, Square trades around 18% below its records, which could be a nice entry point.Some recent selling pushed it below its 50-day and 200-day moving averages. This is a place it’s rarely stayed for too long. SQ popped during regular hours Tuesday after it came close to falling below oversold RSI levels (30 or under), with it now at 38.The recent downturn has improved its valuation picture, with it trading near its year-long lows at 5.0X forward 12-month sales. It’s worth pointing out that it still trades at sky-high forward earnings multiples. But investors have been willing to pay up for the futuristic financial services firm.  Wall Street remains largely high on Square, with 16 of the 29 brokerage recommendations Zacks has at “Strong Buys,” three “Buys,” and only one below a “Hold.” Therefore, investors with longer-term horizons might want to consider buying Square even if the market experiences more selling pressure and volatility in the fourth quarter.SQ is set to release its Q3 financial results in early November. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM): Free Stock Analysis Report Facebook, Inc. (FB): Free Stock Analysis Report Etsy, Inc. (ETSY): Free Stock Analysis Report PayPal Holdings, Inc. (PYPL): Free Stock Analysis Report Shopify Inc. (SHOP): Free Stock Analysis Report Square, Inc. (SQ): Free Stock Analysis Report Robinhood Markets, Inc. (HOOD): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 6th, 2021

"It"s Just Not True" - Zuckerberg Responds To Claims Facebook Puts "Profits Over People"

"It's Just Not True" - Zuckerberg Responds To Claims Facebook Puts 'Profits Over People' Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, who revealed herself as 'the Facebook whistleblower' in an interview with '60 Minutes' that ran Sunday night before appearing before Sen. Dick Blumenthal's powerful Commerce subcommittee, has managed to catalyze the biggest scandal in Facebook's brief history - even bigger than the whole data privacy/Cambridge Analytica that led to a series of Congressional hearings back in 2018. The information Haugen leaked to WSJ clearly show Facebook was fully aware of the drawbacks and risks related to its various platforms. So, as clips of her performance play on repeat across America's cable news channels, Facebook CEO/Founder Mark Zuckerberg is speaking up to respond. In a note sent to Facebook employees before being posted publicly, Zuckerberg insisted that Haugen's main criticism - that Facebook routinely puts profits ahead of socially-responsible behavior - is a "false narrative" and "just not true." "It’s difficult to see coverage that misrepresents our work and our motives. At the most basic level, I think most of us just don’t recognize the false picture of the company that is being painted," Zuck said in the note. "At the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritize profit over safety and well-being. That's just not true." In the statement, Zuck said he was particularly bothered by the implication that Facebook disregards the safety of children, particularly teen girls. "When it comes to young people’s health or well-being, every negative experience matters,” the CEO wrote. “We have worked for years on industry-leading efforts to help people in these moments and I’m proud of the work we’ve done.” Zuck concluded by thanking Facebook employees for their hard work and expressing his gratitude during this difficult time. Hopefully - for Zuck's sake - employees won't be motivated to leak more embarrassing internal research to the press. During yesterday's testimony, Sen. Blumenthal accused Facebook of being "morally bankrupt", and demanded that Zuckerberg return to the Hill once again to testify in person, something Zuckerberg is loathed to do (which is probably why the company already sent its 'head of safety'' Antigone Davis to rebut the allegations and answer questions from lawmakers during a hearing last week). Ironically, Facebook suffered one of its longest and biggest outages yet yesterday, with its services cut off to the world for a large chunk of the day. As for Zuck's statement, Edward Snowden tweeted early Wednesday that Zuck's 1,300-word post was "on brand, really" as the CEO once again tried to frame his company as the real victim here. Zuckerberg responds to a global outage and national scandal by claiming @Facebook is the real victim here, and modestly proposing Congress consider: A) legally restricting teen use of internet services B) identify verification mandates C) limiting teen privacy On-brand, really. pic.twitter.com/0hMRf5HpKf — Edward Snowden (@Snowden) October 6, 2021 Readers can find Zuck's complete note below: * * * I wanted to share a note I wrote to everyone at our company. Hey everyone: it's been quite a week, and I wanted to share some thoughts with all of you. First, the SEV that took down all our services yesterday was the worst outage we've had in years. We've spent the past 24 hours debriefing how we can strengthen our systems against this kind of failure. This was also a reminder of how much our work matters to people. The deeper concern with an outage like this isn't how many people switch to competitive services or how much money we lose, but what it means for the people who rely on our services to communicate with loved ones, run their businesses, or support their communities. Second, now that today's testimony is over, I wanted to reflect on the public debate we're in. I'm sure many of you have found the recent coverage hard to read because it just doesn't reflect the company we know. We care deeply about issues like safety, well-being and mental health. It's difficult to see coverage that misrepresents our work and our motives. At the most basic level, I think most of us just don't recognize the false picture of the company that is being painted. Many of the claims don't make any sense. If we wanted to ignore research, why would we create an industry-leading research program to understand these important issues in the first place? If we didn't care about fighting harmful content, then why would we employ so many more people dedicated to this than any other company in our space -- even ones larger than us? If we wanted to hide our results, why would we have established an industry-leading standard for transparency and reporting on what we're doing? And if social media were as responsible for polarizing society as some people claim, then why are we seeing polarization increase in the US while it stays flat or declines in many countries with just as heavy use of social media around the world? At the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritize profit over safety and well-being. That's just not true. For example, one move that has been called into question is when we introduced the Meaningful Social Interactions change to News Feed. This change showed fewer viral videos and more content from friends and family -- which we did knowing it would mean people spent less time on Facebook, but that research suggested it was the right thing for people's well-being. Is that something a company focused on profits over people would do? The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical. We make money from ads, and advertisers consistently tell us they don't want their ads next to harmful or angry content. And I don't know any tech company that sets out to build products that make people angry or depressed. The moral, business and product incentives all point in the opposite direction. But of everything published, I'm particularly focused on the questions raised about our work with kids. I've spent a lot of time reflecting on the kinds of experiences I want my kids and others to have online, and it's very important to me that everything we build is safe and good for kids. The reality is that young people use technology. Think about how many school-age kids have phones. Rather than ignoring this, technology companies should build experiences that meet their needs while also keeping them safe. We're deeply committed to doing industry-leading work in this area. A good example of this work is Messenger Kids, which is widely recognized as better and safer than alternatives. We've also worked on bringing this kind of age-appropriate experience with parental controls for Instagram too. But given all the questions about whether this would actually be better for kids, we've paused that project to take more time to engage with experts and make sure anything we do would be helpful. Like many of you, I found it difficult to read the mischaracterization of the research into how Instagram affects young people. As we wrote in our Newsroom post explaining this: "The research actually demonstrated that many teens we heard from feel that using Instagram helps them when they are struggling with the kinds of hard moments and issues teenagers have always faced. In fact, in 11 of 12 areas on the slide referenced by the Journal -- including serious areas like loneliness, anxiety, sadness and eating issues -- more teenage girls who said they struggled with that issue also said Instagram made those difficult times better rather than worse." But when it comes to young people's health or well-being, every negative experience matters. It is incredibly sad to think of a young person in a moment of distress who, instead of being comforted, has their experience made worse. We have worked for years on industry-leading efforts to help people in these moments and I'm proud of the work we've done. We constantly use our research to improve this work further. Similar to balancing other social issues, I don't believe private companies should make all of the decisions on their own. That's why we have advocated for updated internet regulations for several years now. I have testified in Congress multiple times and asked them to update these regulations. I've written op-eds outlining the areas of regulation we think are most important related to elections, harmful content, privacy, and competition. We're committed to doing the best work we can, but at some level the right body to assess tradeoffs between social equities is our democratically elected Congress. For example, what is the right age for teens to be able to use internet services? How should internet services verify people's ages? And how should companies balance teens' privacy while giving parents visibility into their activity? If we're going to have an informed conversation about the effects of social media on young people, it's important to start with a full picture. We're committed to doing more research ourselves and making more research publicly available. That said, I'm worried about the incentives that are being set here. We have an industry-leading research program so that we can identify important issues and work on them. It's disheartening to see that work taken out of context and used to construct a false narrative that we don't care. If we attack organizations making an effort to study their impact on the world, we're effectively sending the message that it's safer not to look at all, in case you find something that could be held against you. That's the conclusion other companies seem to have reached, and I think that leads to a place that would be far worse for society. Even though it might be easier for us to follow that path, we're going to keep doing research because it's the right thing to do. I know it's frustrating to see the good work we do get mischaracterized, especially for those of you who are making important contributions across safety, integrity, research and product. But I believe that over the long term if we keep trying to do what's right and delivering experiences that improve people's lives, it will be better for our community and our business. I've asked leaders across the company to do deep dives on our work across many areas over the next few days so you can see everything that we're doing to get there. When I reflect on our work, I think about the real impact we have on the world -- the people who can now stay in touch with their loved ones, create opportunities to support themselves, and find community. This is why billions of people love our products. I'm proud of everything we do to keep building the best social products in the world and grateful to all of you for the work you do here every day. * * * Source: Facebook Tyler Durden Wed, 10/06/2021 - 08:27.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 6th, 2021

51 Christmas gifts for mom that cost $50 or less

You don't need to blow your budget to get Mom something she'll truly appreciate. We did the research and found 51 Christmas gifts for mom under $50. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Book of the Month Instagram With all she does for you, Mom deserves to be treated to something nice. You don't have to spend a lot to make her feel special. We found plenty of Christmas gifts for mom that all come in under $50. Check out more great gift ideas for her here. She's your confidante, rock, mentor, and built-in best friend. She's been there through it all, and now she deserves something special. But coming up with gift ideas for Mom can be one of the hardest tasks. After all, what do you give someone who literally gave you life?The good news is that the perfect gift for mom is out there, and, best of all, it doesn't have to break the bank to be special. When it comes to Christmas gifts for mom, whether you want to go with something big or small, thoughtfulness is key. That's why we scoured the web and collected unique gifts that show your mom you care, all for under $50.Pick a gift that embraces nostalgia, mom's favorite hobbies, or some quality time with you - whatever you give, Mom will love it. Keep reading for 51 Christmas gifts for Mom under $50: A sweet floral tea set for one Anthropologie Annie Tea-For-One-Set, available at Anthropologie, $38A sip from this adorable floral print teapot is as enjoyable as it is soothing. The stackable teapot lets you savor each taste for longer with the teapot included with a teacup. A cozy robe to keep warm Target Stars Above Cozy Plush Robe, available at Target, $30There's no better sleepwear to relax in than this plush, velvet robe for the breezy evenings or mornings. This cozy polyester robe brings extreme comfort and warmth whether you're layering or covering up. A personalized video message from her favorite celebrity Cameo Personalized video message, starting at $1, available at CameoWhen trying to think of a unique gift for Mom, one that might not immediately come to mind is Cameo. The online service has tons of famous people she might want a personalized video message from. Whether it's for her birthday, Mother's Day, or a different milestone, there's something for everyone on Cameo, with prices as low as $1. You can get Jay Jackson from "Parks and Recreation" or James Cosmo from "Game of Thrones," each for $50 or less. Read more about Cameo and how to use Cameo. A meal from mom's favorite restaurant Goldbelly Goldbelly Restaurant Meal Kits, available at Goldbelly, from $25Though dining out at restaurants is harder right now due to COVID-19, you can still treat mom to her favorite restaurant foods delivered right to her door. From lobster rolls to bagels, Goldbelly ships food gifts from famous eateries nationwide.  A dainty jewelry holder Catbird Catbird Swan Ring Holder, $32, available at CatbirdThis dainty piece of decor is as pretty as it is practical. It can hold rings, necklaces, and any other small trinkets.  A cool, minimalist puzzle Food52 Areaware Gradient Puzzle, $35, available at Food52This 1,000-piece puzzle has an aesthetically pleasing gradient pattern that's nice to look at, but hard to put together. If mom loves a challenge, she'll enjoy trying to get this one right.  A luxe body lotion Nécessaire Nécessaire The Body Lotion, $25, available at NordstromWe love this super hydrating, skin-smoothing body lotion. It's filled with nourishing, clean ingredients that will keep dry skin at bay. The sleek packaging and skin-soothing formula are sure to upgrade her post-shower routine.  A streaming stick to up mom's binge-watching experience Amazon Roku Streaming Stick +, available at Amazon, $39Upgrade mom's next Netflix marathon without needing to splurge on a new TV. The Roku Streaming Stick + features 4K, HD, and HDR streaming in a small but mighty package. A cute set of washcloths that'll hide stains Weezie Makeup Towels (Pair), $40, available at WeezieThese gentle and fluffy towels were made to help her wash off the day's makeup with ease, and the dark navy color hides stains. Choose from three different embroidery options, all of which are adorable. A box filled with Japanese treats Bokksu Bokksu Classic Gift Box, from $39.95, available at BokksuShe may not be able to travel the world, but a Bokksu Box can give Mom a fun cultural experience from the comfort of her own kitchen. The classic gift box is filled with a selection of 20-25 unique Japanese snacks, sourced directly from family-run businesses in Japan, so she can get a little more adventurous at snack time.  A high-end manicure mom can give herself Amazon The Starter Set, $28, available at Olive & JuneFor many of us, achieving a salon-quality manicure at home feels impossible. Olive & June is trying to change that. The Poppy is an innovative bottle handle that makes it easy to apply your polish smoothly and evenly. This set has everything Mom needs for an easy, at-home mani: The Poppy, a top coat, and a bottle of Olive & June polish in a sheer shade.  An organic facial steam Amazon Belier Handmade Organic Facial Steam, $12, available at EtsyWhen there's no time for a trip to the spa, this facial steam will upgrade her typical skincare routine. All she has to do is boil some water, steep the dried leaves, and hold her face over the steaming herbs — it'll enhance blood flow and open her pores, so her skin will easily absorb whatever product she puts on next.  A book subscription service for an exciting new read every month Book of the Month Instagram Book of the Month Membership, starting at $49.99 for 3 monthsIf she's always asking you for new book recommendations, she's going to love this service that curates great books and sends them to subscribers once a month. Each monthly delivery will be an exciting surprise as she discovers a new read she might not have found otherwise. Our editor tried the service herself and loved it. Refreshing and decadent bubble bath L'Occitane L'Occitane Lavender Foaming Bath, $39, available at SephoraA little luxury goes a long way. Aid your mom in getting some true relaxation with this rich bubble bath made with fresh, calming lavender.  A fancy bottle of olive oil Brightland Alive Olive Oil, available at Brightland, $37A bottle of high-quality olive oil is the perfect gift for any mom who enjoys cooking, or just eating great food. Alive from Brightland adds a vibrant, zesty flavor to any dish, and she'll appreciate the beautiful bottle.  A Disney+ subscription Alyssa Powell/Business Insider Subscribe to Disney+, $6.99/month or $69.99/year, available at Disney+Give Mom unlimited access to movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox. She'll have more than enough great content for movie marathons at home. Learn everything there is to know about Disney+ over here. And if you need some binge-spiration, here are all the new movies available to stream. Flavor-infused cubes for mom's next brunch Uncommon Goods Minute Mimosa Sugar Cube Trio, $30, available at Uncommon GoodsMom will love these flavor-infused cubes that turn any glass of champagne into an elevated mimosa or bellini. To take it to the next level, add a bottle of bubbly to your gift. A practical and chic multipurpose pouch Nordstrom Rack Madewell Leather Pouch Clutch, $49.50, available at MadewellA bag that multitasks as well as she does makes for a great gift. This pouch will keep her little things organized in her purse during the day but can pull double-duty as a clutch come nighttime.  Tea with some extra love Uncommon Goods Heart-Shaped Tea Bags, $30, available at Uncommon GoodsThis gift for mom lets her enjoy a good cuppa while also showing her some extra love. Each set contains five English Breakfast, five Earl Grey, and five White Berry teabags.   A smart speaker mom will get a kick out of talking to Amazon Echo Dot (4th gen), $49.99, available at Best BuyWhether she's a smart home wizard or completely inept at tech, Mom will love this smart speaker that she can control with her own voice.  A T-shirt that shows off her values Everlane 100% Human Tees, $25, available at EverlaneGive mom a shirt she can feel good about wearing. When you buy a tee from this collection, Everlane will make a donation to the ACLU — an organization promoting equal rights for all. A heart-shaped succulent The Sill Hoya Heart Plant, $32, available at The SillBring some life to their space with this adorable heart-shaped succulent. With little attention needed, it's a great gift for amateur plant parents and experienced ones alike. A silk eye mask for when mom really needs some sleep Ahalife Silk Sleep Eye Mask, $50, available at SephoraMom seriously deserves some quality sleep. Make it a little easier for her to get it with this comfortable, silky smooth eye mask. A map that reminds mom of her favorite place Grafomap Custom Map, starting at $49, available at GrafomapSome things just breed nostalgia. Grafomap will make a custom map of a location of your choice — you can even add personalized labels. Choose the place she grew up, a place where you have fond memories together, or a family favorite vacation spot. It's a great piece of home decor that means something to her, too.  Textured planters that mom can fill with her favorite plants CB2 3-Piece White Loom Planter Set, $12.99, available at CB2After all those years taking care of you, caring for her plants is nothing. These planters, which can stay indoors or outdoors, are a pretty and practical way to hold some greenery.  A set of soaps that smell like a bouquet of fresh flowers Uncommon Goods Box of Flowers Soaps, $30, available at Uncommon GoodsThere's something so wonderful about the smell of fresh flowers. That mood-lifting smell, combined with all-natural, soothing ingredients, make these soaps a unique and welcomed addition to her bathroom.  A framed photo she’ll always cherish Framebridge The Aiden Frame, $39, available at FramebridgeNothing can compare to a gift that she can keep hung up forever as a reminder of the great memories you've shared together — that's what makes this framed photo so special. A candle that smells like mom's favorite place Amazon Homesick Candles, from $34, available at HomesickTake her back to her favorite place with these nostalgia-inducing candles. Whether it's the scents of spring in New York City like flowers, concrete, and fine department store fragrances, or the salty seaweed, morning coffee, and ocean air of the beach cottage she frequented as a child — these Homesick candles are sure to bring back fond memories. A cookbook from a home cook icon Amazon "Cook Like a Pro" by Ina Garten, $17.46, available at AmazonIna Garten, the icon of home cooks everywhere, just released a new cookbook — and you know your mom will want to add this one to her shelf. With new recipes and techniques, you might even get to benefit from what she learns with a delicious meal.   A set of wines she’s probably never tried before Wine.com Italian Wine Gift Set, $39.99, available at Wine.comIf she loves to try new wines, make it easy with this trio of three Italian varietals. It's no trip to Tuscany, but it still tastes pretty darn good.  A personalized T-shirt she’ll love to show off Known Supply Personalized Women's Fitted Crew, $32 + $10 for customization, available at Known SupplyMom, Mommy, Mama — whatever you call her, make it official with this personalized crew-neck T-shirt.  A vintage-looking indoor herb garden Uncommon Goods Mason Jar Indoor Herb Garden, $22, available at Uncommon GoodsThese mason jar make growing fresh herbs easy. All she has to do is plant the seeds, add water, place the jars in a sunny spot, and let the herbs grow. It takes little effort on her part, but having fresh herbs will make all the difference in adding flavor to her favorite dishes. A mortar and pestle to up mom's guac game Crate & Barrel Molcajete 8-Inch, $34.95, available at Crate & BarrelMom's guac game just got a lot stronger with this molcajete. The mortar and pestle are made of volcanic stone to grind out everything to the perfect texture — so she can claim the title of best dip on the table.  A pair of plush slippers she can wear in and out of the house Pottery Barn Minnetonka Chesney Scuff Slippers, $49.95, available at ZapposLet her treat her feet right with these slippers. They're cozy and cute, so she'll love lounging in them all day long. A spiralizer that’ll help her get inventive with cooking vegetables Amazon Mueller Multi-Blade Spiralizer, $19.97, available at AmazonChances are, she was the one telling you to eat your vegetables growing up — but that doesn't mean you can't share the same sentiment for her with this spiralizer, which can grate, slice, spiralize, and shred her favorite vegetables for all different kinds of uses.  Adorable animals to hold her rings Wayfair Umbra Origami 3-Pack Ring Holder, $20, available at UmbraWhether she wants to show her rings off or make sure she doesn't lose them, these little animals do the trick. They look super cute as a piece of decor, but are undoubtedly practical. You could even pair these with a cute ring to start. A bath caddy with room for everything she might need Amazon Luxury Bathtub Caddy Tray, from $49.97, available at AmazonThe only thing that could make a bath more relaxing than some luxurious bubbles is this bathtub caddy. It can hold everything she needs — a device so she can watch her favorite show, a glass full of her favorite drink, and even a candle she can light for ambiance.  A fitting diffuser for the tastemaker of your house Snowe Tastemaker Diffuser, $40, available at SnoweWith scents of shiso leaf, wild mint, and meyer lemon, this diffuser will look and smell great anywhere in the house. A stylish water bottle that will become her go-to S'well S'well Stainless Steel Bottle, $35, available at AmazonWith a variety of shapes and sizes, S'well vacuum insulated water bottles do a great job of keeping all kinds of beverages hot (for 12 hours) or cold (for 24 hours). They come in a bunch of fun colors and patterns, which makes using a reusable water bottle a lot more fun.  A bouquet of fresh flowers to liven up her space The Bouqs Instagram Floral Bouquets, starting at $39, available at The BouqsThere's a reason flowers are a classic — bursting with color and lovely scents, they bring life to every space. The Bouqs is one of our favorite places to order flowers online for their wide variety of vibrant, fresh arrangements to choose from. A cozy throw she’ll love to cuddle up in Kohl's Madison Park Ruched Faux Fur Throw, $44.99, available at Kohl'sThis cozy throw is something she'll want to snuggle up with all winter long, and then some. It's not too heavy, so it's great for all times of year, but this super plush faux fur is just what she needs for your family movie marathons over the holidays. Bookends that also function as flower vases PortlandHomeGoods/Etsy Vase Bookends, $24.97, available at EtsyPretty and practical — what could be better? Mom will love keeping her favorite books sandwiched between these sturdy concrete vases which she can fill with her favorite flowers. A fun game that your whole family will crack up playing Amazon What Do You Meme?, $29.99, available at Target and WalmartShe might not even know what a meme is, but there's no doubt she'll be laughing for hours creating funny memes with this card game. It's perfect for a family game night, but if you family members who err on the much younger side, go for something a little more PG. A decorative way to repurpose her old wine corks Uncommon Goods Wine Cork States, $35, available at Uncommon GoodsShe insists on keeping the corks from some of her favorite wines, so give her somewhere to actually show them off. This state-shaped display board turns her keepsake wine corks into a piece of art worthy of being seen.  A dainty necklace with meaningful initials KESTJewelry/Etsy Custom Initial Necklace, starting at $27, available at EtsyWhether it's her own initials, you and your siblings' first names, or any other combinations of letters that matter to her — this necklace is a little but thoughtful way to keep those important to her close. A cool tote bag she'll use everyday Baggu Duck Bag, from $34, available at BagguFrom a grocery bag to a work bag, this canvas tote can do it all. It can fit a 15-inch laptop and has adjustable straps so she'll be comfortable carrying it around all day.  A subscription that lets her discover new beauty products Birchbox/Instagram Birchbox three month subscription gift, $45, available at BirchboxBirchbox is a subscription service that sends a box full of five makeup and skincare samples for her to use each month. It's easy to buy full-size versions on the site, in case she falls in love with any one product and wants more. Plus, it'll be exciting for her to receive the beauty surprises each month.  A convenient charging port for her most-used devices Amazon Elago 3-in-1 Charging Hub, $26.99, available at AmazonShe has an iPad, Air Pods, and Apple Watch — it might seem like there's nothing else you could get your Apple-loving mom. This is a great gift for loyal Apple fans — it's a three-in-one charging hub that looks much nicer than an average extension cord, and it'll fit all of her devices perfectly.  A custom phone case made with a collage of family photos Casetify Custom Phone Case, starting at $45 (prices vary depending on your device), available at CasetifyThere's nothing she loves more than family, so let her show it off every day with a personalized phone case. Upload some of your favorite family photos to put on this super cute case — there are plenty of options for different layouts and cases for all kinds of smartphones. A customizable and challenging puzzle Uncommon Goods New York Times Custom Front Page Puzzle, $49.95, available at Uncommon GoodsWork Mom's brain with this sentimental and interactive gift. Pick a special date (birthday, anniversary, etc.), and it'll be turned into a puzzle made of the actual front page of The New York Times from that day.  A chic mug to brighten up her morning routine Nordstrom Anthropologie Bistro Monogram Mug, $14, available at AnthropologieThis chic mug will instantly transport Mom to her favorite cafe, sipping on a cappuccino while trying to figure out how to rotate her camera as she's FaceTiming you. Choose the first letter of her name, or better yet, choose yours.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 5th, 2021

The most important moments from the Facebook whistleblower"s testimony: "The buck stops with Mark"

Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen will tell officials that "congressional action is needed" against the firm during a hearing Tuesday. Former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen arrives to testify before a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, in Washington. Drew Angerer/Pool via AP Former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before Congress Tuesday. The hearing comes after she leaked internal documents showing the company's controversial practices. She testified that Facebook prioritized profits over stopping extremism and division. See more stories on Insider's business page. Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before a Senate committee on Tuesday after leaking internal documents shedding new light on many of the social media giant's controversial business practices.Haugen shared the documents with the Wall Street Journal that in part showed Facebook knew Instagram negatively impacted the mental health of its young users, especially teenage girls. It also showed employees were worried that a 2018 algorithm change further promoted sensationalistic and divisive content to users.She stressed the need for a regulatory body within the federal government to oversee Facebook and other platforms but also said she is against breaking the company up. Senators have called her an "American hero" and a "catalyst" for change.Facebook consistently resolves conflicts "in favor of its own profits," Haugen said in her opening remarks. "The result has been more division, more harm, more lies, more threats, and more combat."Haugen referenced Monday's sweeping Facebook outageIn her opening remarks, Haugen said she doesn't know why the services went down. "But I know that for more than five hours, Facebook wasn't used to deepened divides destabilize democracies and make young girls and women feel bad about their bodies," she said."It also means the millions of small businesses, weren't able to reach potential customers, and countless photos of new babies weren't joyously celebrated by family and friends around the world," she said. 'The buck stops with Mark'Haugen said CEO Mark Zuckerberg holds more than half of all voting shares for Facebook, giving him unilateral control over the company. In that sense, "the buck stops with" him when making major decisions at Facebook."There is no one currently holding Mark accountable but himself," Haugen told Congress. She suggested a regulatory agency within the federal government to help keep Facebook and other technology platforms in check. She also said that regulatory oversight "might actually make Facebook a more profitable company five or 10 years from now," and the platform could be even "kinder, friendlier, and more collaborative.""It's in everyone's interest," Haugen said Tuesday. She said she's against breaking up the company though."These systems will continue to exist and be dangerous even if broken up," Haugen said.Facebook responded in real-timeFacebook's communications lead responded to Haugen publicly for the first time as the hearing was in progress, claiming in response to her comments about child safety for children on the platform and related research that she "did not work on child safety or Instagram."-Andy Stone (@andymstone) October 5, 2021Shortly after, another spokesman disputed Haugen's claims that Facebook removed controls it added around the election and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, while claiming she did not work on such efforts."We left a number of the measures on through Jan 6, added additional measures following the violence at the Capitol, and made some of the changes-like not recommending political groups-permanent."Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn referenced Stone's tweets during the hearing and invited the company to testify itself before Congress.Instagram Kids is expected to come out, eventuallyHaugen and the Senate committee members expressed doubt that Facebook's announcement that it was "pausing" the development of an Instagram for children under 13 years old would last long or result in a permanent scrapping of plans for such a platform."I'd be sincerely surprised if they don't continue working on Instagram Kids," Haugen said. "I'd be amazed if a year from now we're not having this conversation again." "Facebook understands that if they want to continue to grow, they have to find new users and that the next generation is just as engaged as the current one," Haugen added. "And they'll do that by making sure they have habits before they have good self-regulation -- by hooking kids."Haugen previously said on 60 Minutes Sunday that Facebook's own research found that Instagram contributes to eating disorders, including anorexia, in teenage girls."There are going to be women walking around this planet in 60 years with brittle bones because of choices that Facebook made around emphasizing profit today," Haugen told Congress Tuesday.Mark Zuckerberg rejected suggested 'soft interventions' Haugen said in April of last year, in the runup to the U.S. presidential election, Mark Zuckerberg "was directly presented with a list of soft interventions," so options to tamp down potentially harmful content, but chose not to because it would impact the platform's MSI, or the rates at which content is engaged with and shared."Mark Zuckerberg was directly presented with a list of soft interventions and chose to not remove downstream MSI in April of 2020, even in isolated and at-risk countries, if it had any impact on the overall MSI," Haugen said.She said her "best theory" for this reasoning is because "people's bonuses are based on MSI. If you hurt MSI, a bunch of people wouldn't get their bonuses."Haugen said Facebook can't stop vaccine misinformation "I don't believe Facebook as it's currently structured has the ability to stop vaccine misinformation" because it relies too heavily on AI to sift through content.Facebook's heavy reliance on machines to police posts was a central theme in Tuesday's hearing.An 'American hero'Sen. Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, called Haugen "A 21st-century American hero.""We owe you a huge debt of gratitude for what you're doing here today," he said.Echoing Markey, Sen. Klobuchar told Haugen: "I think the time has come for action, and I think you are the catalyst for that action." And Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Haugen coming forward sets an example for our nation and "that one person can really make a difference."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 5th, 2021

The most important moments from the Facebook whistleblower"s testimony

Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen will tell officials that "congressional action is needed" against the firm during a hearing Tuesday. Former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen arrives to testify before a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, in Washington. Drew Angerer/Pool via AP Former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen will testify before Congress Tuesday. The hearing comes after she leaked internal documents showing the company's controversial practices. She's expected to testify that Facebook prioritized profits over stopping extremism and division. See more stories on Insider's business page. Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before a Senate committee on Tuesday after leaking internal documents shedding new light on many of the social media giant's controversial business practices.Haugen shared the documents with the Wall Street Journal that in part showed Facebook knew Instagram negatively impacted the mental health of its young users, especially teenage girls. It also showed employees were worried that a 2018 algorithm change further promoted sensationalistic and divisive content to users.Facebook consistently resolves conflicts "in favor of its own profits," Haugen said in her opening remarks. "The result has been more division, more harm, more lies, more threats, and more combat."Haugen referenced Monday's sweeping Facebook outageIn her opening remarks, Haugen said she doesn't know why the services went down. "But I know that for more than five hours, Facebook wasn't used to deepened divides destabilize democracies and make young girls and women feel bad about their bodies," she said."It also means the millions of small businesses, weren't able to reach potential customers, and countless photos of new babies weren't joyously celebrated by family and friends around the world," she said. 'The buck stops with Mark'Haugen said CEO Mark Zuckerberg holds more than half of all voting shares for Facebook, giving him unilateral control over the company. In that sense, "the buck stops with" him when making major decisions at Facebook."There is no one currently holding Mark accountable but himself," Haugen told Congress. She suggested a regulatory agency within the federal government to help keep Facebook and other technology platforms in check. Facebook respondsFacebook's communications lead responded to Haugen publicly for the first time as the hearing was in progress, claiming in response to her comments about child safety for children on the platform and related research that she "did not work on child safety or Instagram."-Andy Stone (@andymstone) October 5, 2021Shortly after, another spokesman disputed Haugen's claims that Facebook removed controls it added around the election and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, while claiming she did not work on such efforts.We left a number of the measures on through Jan 6, added additional measures following the violence at the Capitol, and made some of the changes-like not recommending political groups-permanent."Instagram Kids is expected to come out, eventuallyHaugen and the Senate committee members expressed doubt that Facebook's announcement that it was "pausing" the development of an Instagram for children under 13 years old would last long or result in a permanent scrapping of plans for such a platform."I'd be sincerely surprised if they don't continue working on Instagram Kids," Haugen said. "I'd be amazed if a year from now we're not having this conversation again." "Facebook understands that if they want to continue to grow, they have to find new users and that the next generation is just as engaged as the current one," Haugen added. "And they'll do that by making sure they have habits before they have good self-regulation -- by hooking kids."Mark Zuckerberg rejected suggested 'soft interventions' Haugen said in April of last year, in the run up to the U.S. presidential election, Mark Zuckerberg "was directly presented with a list of soft interventions," so options to tamp down potentialy harmful content, but chose not to because it would impact the platform's MSI, or the rates at which content is engaged with and shared."Mark Zuckerberg was directly presented with a list of soft interventions and chose to not remove downstream MSI in April of 2020, even in isolated and at-risk countries, if it had any impact on the overall MSI," Haugen said.She said her "best theory" for this reasoning is "People's bonuses are based on MSI. If you hurt MSI, a bunch of people wouldn't get their bonuses."An 'American hero'Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, called Haugen "A 21st century American hero.""We owe you a huge debt of gratitude for what you're doing here today," he said.The committee went into recess around 11:45 a.m. ETThis story is developing. Check back for updates. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 5th, 2021