Advertisements


Elon Musk Leads By Example, Says He Coughed Up $8 For His Twitter Blue Check Mark

Twitter CEO Elon Musk said Sunday that he was paying the $8 fee for the company’s “verified” blue badge. read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaNov 27th, 2022

While Elon Musk said "comedy is now legal" following his acquisition of Twitter, jokes about the new owner and criticism over his takeover are getting users blocked and suspended

A slew of accounts impersonating the billionaire prompted Musk to tweet that similar accounts posting without a parody label will be "permanently suspended." Tesla founder Elon Musk attends Offshore Northern Seas 2022 in Stavanger, Norway August 29, 2022.NTB/Carina Johansen via REUTERS The day after he purchased Twitter, billionaire Elon Musk posted "comedy is now legal" on the platform. In the days since, parody accounts impersonating Musk and joking about the acquisition have been removed. Musk tweeted on Sunday that unlabeled parody accounts will be "permanently suspended" without warning. While comedy might be "legal" on Twitter following Elon Musk's $44 billion acquisition, parody accounts could receive a "permanent suspension" with "no warning," Musk tweeted on Sunday — which several users told Insider has happened to their accounts after joking about the billionaire.The day after he purchased Twitter, Musk posted a tweet saying "comedy is now legal" on the platform, but in the days since his takeover, parody accounts impersonating Musk have cropped up across the site, riffing about the new owner, and getting banned in the process. Fake Elons suspended"There is nothing better than waking up and enjoying a fresh, steaming cup of my own urine," Former NFL punter Chris Kluwe tweeted from his verified account after changing his account details — including photo, name, and bio —  to match Musk's profile. "Such a tangy way to start the day, and it's scientifically proven to help brain cells grow. If you want to be like me, drink your pee." —Kate Aurthur (@KateAurthur) November 4, 2022 "Okay, time to employ plan b since they're MAKING me keep twitter," read one of a series of tweets by actor Rich Sommer of "Mad Men" fame, parodying Musk: "Does anyone know any advertisers who are, like, kind of 'into' racism NOT ACTUAL RACISTS!! just ad ppl who are, y'know, curious about what it's all about (racism).""The remaining staff at twitter are actively bullying me now," cartoonist Jeph Jacques tweeted from his verified account, which featured a profile photo of Musk from his PayPal era prior to suspected hair transplant surgery. "Jed from accounting called me 'little baby bitchboy' to my face and nobody even said anything. I mean obviously I fired him and I'm having my goons break his wife's legs, but still. it hurts :("Since posting the joking tweets, each of the verified accounts — as well as others, including the account of comedian Kathy Griffin — have been restricted on Twitter or removed entirely.—Jesse Hawken (@jessehawken) November 4, 2022 "I had absolutely, let me be very clear, no intention of anyone truly believing that I was Elon Musk," Sommer told Insider. "I wanted to, I guess go down in flames. I knew I was headed for the exit door probably. But I also, just while I had that blue check, wanted to show that anyone could say they were anyone." The future of parody accountsMusk, who has described himself as a "free speech absolutist" with intentions to make Twitter akin to a digital town square that allows all constitutionally protected speech, on Sunday modified his previous comments to include only posts clearly designated as parody. "Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying 'parody' will be permanently suspended," Musk tweeted. "Previously, we issued a warning before suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning. This will be clearly identified as a condition for signing up to Twitter Blue."Musk added that going forward, any change in name at all from a verified account would result in a "temporary loss of verified checkmark." His tweets came after accounts like Kluwe's, Sommer's, and Jacques' were suspended without warning.—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 6, 2022 "That is like just trying to put a band-aid on a forest fire, essentially," Kluwe told Insider about the plan to prevent abuse of the verification system. Kluwe said he aimed to draw attention to how easy it is to abuse the verified check mark by impersonating Musk and encouraged other verified users to do the same."It's especially rich coming from him, the 'champion of free speech' that he is," Kluwe added. "Like, if they're cracking down on parody then that actually would be a violation of free speech if this was a governmental public forum." Verified impersonatorsThe existing Twitter policy on parody, commentary, and fan accounts specifically prohibits users from using language like "real" or "official" on accounts not associated with the person or organization they are parodying, but accounts that specify they are parodies are not an inherent violation of Twitter's existing impersonation policy. "You may not impersonate individuals, groups, or organizations to mislead, confuse, or deceive others, nor use a fake identity in a manner that disrupts the experience of others on Twitter," the existing parody account policy reads.In discussions with Insider, Kluwe, Sommer, and Jacques each clearly indicated they knew their posts were in violation of Twitter terms of service and each anticipated a warning or suspension of some kind, but wanted to prove a point about the potential for abusing the verification badge to fool other users, especially in light of planned changes to the process."Really the whole point was that I knew I was breaking the terms of service — like if they're perfectly within their rights to kick me off because you're not allowed to impersonate people, it's bad for disinformation — but under this new plan of trying to monetize the verified status, that's exactly what's going to happen," Kluwe told Insider, adding that scammers using verified accounts could post links to malware or scam sites while impersonating others."All it takes is one person clicking on that link and then falling for it," Kluwe said. "From the scammer's perspective, it's a huge return on investment."Musk last week announced planned changes to the verification system, including an $8 monthly subscription to Twitter Blue to unlock verified status, which critics — including Kluwe, Sommer, and Jacques — worry will lead to scammers paying for verification only to pose as a more credible person to take advantage of others."One of the things the email [about my suspension] says is that 'significant changes to a verified profile can lead to confusion and erode the meaning of the badge,'" Jacques told Insider, adding that he believes Musk is a "chronic bullshit artist." "I'm thinking reading this email, like 'Yes the badge that you're going to be selling for $8 to anybody. That definitely has a lot of meaning.' It has been very funny. Elon has reacted exactly as I would have expected. And I'm very proud of everybody who took part in this amazing sequence of events," Jacques said.Musk and representatives for Twitter did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 7th, 2022

Elon Musk reportedly tells Twitter teams to find ways to slash infrastructure costs by $1 billion a year as part of a "Deep Cuts Plan"

Twitter is losing around $3 million a day, according to an internal document viewed by Reuters. Elon Musk wants to change that. Elon Musk wants Twitter to slash its infrastructure costs by $1 billion a year.Carina Johansen/Getty Images Elon Musk wants Twitter to slash its infrastructure costs by $1 billion a year, Reuters reports.   The directive is reportedly part of Twitter's "Deep Cuts Plan" to reduce spending. Twitter is currently losing $3 million a day, per internal documents viewed by Reuters. Elon Musk wants Twitter to find ways to slash its infrastructure costs by $1 billion a year, according to a Thursday night report from Reuters.  The directive is part of a "Deep Cuts Plan," according to an internal company message on Slack viewed by Reuters. The reported goal of the plan is for teams across Twitter to find ways to reduce spending by $1.5 million to $3 million a day on the company's data servers and cloud services.The cost-cutting project comes in response to Twitter currently losing around $3 million a day, according to an internal document Reuters obtained, and highlights how Musk is looking to identify ways to make the company leaner.But some within Twitter are worried that the cost-saving plan risks server disruptions and potential website or app crashes during busy news events such as the US midterm elections, sources at the company told Reuters.Twitter has suffered outages in the past. In July, Twitter suffered a global outage for about an hour due to a spike in user traffic, according to The New York Post.A Twitter spokesperson didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment ahead of publication.The reported plan to cut costs follows a memo that Musk sent Twitter employees on Thursday night confirming that a portion of the workforce will be laid off. Twitter has since started notifying impacted employees.Meanwhile, Musk is looking to add to Twitter's revenue by overhauling its Twitter Blue subscription offering. Musk has said that Twitter will charge $8 a month for Twitter Blue, which will include a verified blue check mark for members along with other features, like priority placement in twitter replies.Twitter has previously made most of its revenue from advertising, but has been facing headwinds, according to Musk.—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 4, 2022 "Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists," Musk tweeted on Friday morning. "Extremely messed up! They're trying to destroy free speech in America."Twitter teams are expected to come up with a cost-savings plan by November 7, according to Reuters.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 4th, 2022

How the trans alpaca ranchers of Custer County, Colorado, are forging a new frontier

The Tenacious Unicorn Ranch is refuge for armed transgender anarchists. The reception in conservative Custer County hasn't been entirely welcoming. The main turnoff toward the Tenacious Unicorn Ranch in Custer County, Colorado.Adam Andres Pawlikiewicz Mesa for InsiderWestcliffe, Colorado — As a sea of stars, stripes, and "Make America Great Again" hats made its way up Main Street this July 4, the festivities gave the illusion of a respite from the tensions that have been building here since Independence Day two years ago. A vehicle representing the Custer County Republican Party elicited lively cheers, and was followed by a woman waving a huge flag of the Three Percenters, the far-right militia. At the rear, a column of smiling men and women marched forward with rifles strapped to their shoulders.George Gramlich, the editor of the town's far-right newspaper, the Sangre de Cristo Sentinel, stood watching the parade from the paper's office on Main Street.  "Where else would you see 100 people with guns on the street and, hey, it's not Beirut?" said Gramlich, who's in his 70s and moved here from upstate New York a little over a decade ago.Nearby, a "Trump Won" sign had been planted on the paper's lawn."It's there to annoy the liberals," Gramlich said with a smirk. He added that he doesn't personally believe the lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.The Sangre de Cristo Sentinel office on Main Street in Westcliffe, Colorado.Adam Andres Pawlikiewicz Mesa for InsiderA "Trump Won" sign outside the Sangre de Cristo Sentinel office. "It's there to annoy the liberals," said the paper's editor.Adam Andres Pawlikiewicz Mesa for InsiderSome 125 yards away, at Peregrine's Coffee Roasters, Penny Logue was holding court over iced chai lattes, avoiding the parade. Perched on a sun recliner in the cafe's gated garden, a rifle resting on her shoulder, Logue is wearing in a pink t-shirt with a heart containing the colors of the trans flag, along with paint-stained cargo pants and black boots. Like Gramlich, she's a relative newcomer to this rural farming community of little over 4,500 people. In March 2020, Logue was part of a collective that bought land in Westcliffe and co-founded the Tenacious Unicorn Ranch — an alpaca farm and refuge for transgender women. Before coming to Westcliffe, Logue and the others had leased a ranch in northern Colorado, close to the Wyoming border and not far from where Logue, who's 41, grew up. But they wanted to buy, and land in Custer County was relatively cheap. According to the Denver Post, Colorado's recent push for trans-inclusive policies has helped draw people from other states. Changing your name and gender on state documents is relatively easy here, and Colorado was the first state to require that certain private insurance plans cover gender-affirming care.A few months after their move, Custer County's Independence Day parade was canceled due to COVID-19. Gramlich's Sentinel organized an informal, open-carry parade of their own.Logue went on Twitter and called it a "Nazi propaganda parade." (As a trans woman whose grandparents survived the Armenian genocide, Logue said she's acutely tuned into fascism in America and eager to call it out.) At a small counter-protest, some of the Tenacious Unicorn ranchers hurled insults at the Independence Day marchers. "They took it badly," Logue says. Penny Logue moves a herd of alpacas.Adam Andres Pawlikiewicz Mesa for InsiderThis year, they decided to stay away, and instead hold their usual Monday meet-up at the cafe to discuss leftist politics with like-minded people.Logue doesn't regret the confrontation of 2020 and even seems to relish it. She's thinking of organizing an LGBTQ pride event in the town next year. That will "really piss people off," remarked J Stanley, who also lives at the ranch. The Sentinel's staff, however, are still furious. They say that being called "Nazis" and "fascists" helped set the tone for their relationship with the ranch. Beyond the Westcliffe town line, the Fourth of July clash inflamed hostilities toward the Tenacious Unicorn Ranch, and Logue says that probably helped set the stage for the events of the following March — an incident the ranchers call "the siege." The Wild West 2.0Across the 35 acres of the Tenacious Unicorn Ranch, 200 alpacas roam freely, nibbling on bales of hay and taking a curious interest in the other animals on the property. There are huacaya, and suri alpacas, each with different types of fleece, which the ranchers shear and sell on to suppliers. It's not hugely profitable, but it keeps the ranch afloat. The ranchers also take on the odd construction job at nearby ranches, and sell meat and eggs to locals.The ranch was created as a place where trans women could live freely and safely. Those who call it home share more than just their transness, but also a commitment to a certain worldview. They identify as anarchist leftists, have plenty of guns, and want to be left alone to operate in a collective, community-based fashion. They aren't fans of either President Joe Biden or the progressive Squad, who Logue scoffs are actually "center-right."    Penny Logue, front and center, at the Tenacious Unicorn Ranch. Behind her (from left to right): Kat Gibes, Jen Radford, and J Stanley.Adam Andres Pawlikiewicz Mesa for InsiderFour people live here permanently. The guests who regularly cycle through help with the animals and maintain the property in exchange for accommodation and communal meals. There are also several chickens, a couple of cats, and 8 dogs —  two of them, Gadget and Gizmo, were recently adopted from a nearby wolf sanctuary. "We're a shelter in the storm," says Logue.It's been a few hours since they returned from their meet-up at the coffee shop, and a few of the residents are relaxing in the ranch's cluttered living room before heading to their next event, the "not July 4th" party. Nonbinary, agender, and lesbian pride flags have been tacked onto the walls of the dome-shaped ranch house. A rifle is resting on an end table, beside the couch. Stanley, who's 28, is sitting at the dining table, while Logue searches for a coffee cup from a pile of unwashed dishes.They begin to tell the story of what happened here on March 6, 2021, when their little haven came under attack. "To be honest, it's all kind of a blur," says Stanley, pensively.Penny Logue, center, chats with Kat Gibes, left, and Jen Radford, right, in the ranch house.Adam Andres Pawlikiewicz Mesa for InsiderJ Stanley walks down the stairs of the ranch house.Adam Andres Pawlikiewicz Mesa for InsiderAt 3 or 4 in the morning, they say, a volunteer rancher acting as a guard found two intruders armed with rifles on the property. The intruders, wearing body armor, had come up the dirt road and tampered with the locks of the ranch's main gate, before crossing over a fence and onto the property. The guard, who spotted them some 100 feet away, threatened to shoot. The intruders ran off the property so quickly they dropped their guns in the mud, and then scampered back to retrieve them.Stanley says they did not report the incident to the police because they didn't have faith that they would do anything about it. (Indeed, there's no police record of the incident, and Custer County Sheriff's Department did not respond to Insider's request for information.) They've also declined to name the rancher who was there, so as not to jeopardize the person's health and security, they say. "We don't call the cops for anything we do, ever," says Logue. "If this was a different world where cops were trustworthy and kind to queer people, maybe we would have called the cops."The incident did reach the press, and a wave of stories appeared that profiled the gun-toting, trans alpaca farmers who had opened the Tenacious Unicorn Ranch in this conservative bastion of Colorado. Since the siege, the ranchers haven't had any intruders but the harassment has taken on a new form — much of it via Kiwi Farms.Kiwi Farms is an internet forum dedicated to doxing and trolling so-called "lolcows" a portmanteau of "lol" and "cows" which has become a niche meme used to describe people who can be "milked" for laughs. One particular thread dedicated to the Tenacious Unicorn Ranch goes on for more than 800 pages. Kiwi Farms' anonymous users post daily, bestowing offensive nicknames on the ranchers, ridiculing their appearances, and accusing them of animal abuse. They pull images from social media videos and Google Earth and, at least once, a drone was flown over the property. Comments range from petty mockery to violent fantasies. The ranchers don't keep track of the comments themselves. Friends of theirs occasionally monitor it for potential threats of violence, helping the ranchers to determine if they need to step up their security.The ranch now has 10 security cameras around the property. They carry guns, and guests provide visitors with bulletproof vests. They do a nightly patrol of the premises to check for possible intruders."We're always keeping an eye out," says Stanley."It's the Wild West 2.0," says Logue. "But this time with automatics."Logue, who has two children from previous relationships, is the matriarch of the ranch. Those living there depend on her for guidance and support. She exudes warmth, but can snap into moments of sternness — perhaps a remnant from her time serving in the military."There's a lot of people that are very welcoming here," she says. "It's just the extremist right-wingers that we're constantly in conflict with."Stanley grew up in a white, conservative military family in Texas. When she could no longer stomach her parent's opposition to Black Lives Matter protests, she said, she left home. Once a Bernie Sanders supporter, she says her ideology is now more in line with the militant politics of the Black Panthers.Eventually, she heard about the ranch through friends. Living here has given her the space to develop and voice her own views and, she says, to begin her gender transition free from the judgment of her parents.The goal here is self-sufficiency — to create their own little island here in Custer County. "Giving away your power to representatives will never end well for you," Stanley says. The conversation ends. It's time to go. Stanley walks outside and whistles to her favorite alpaca, Mocha, who got his name from his brown "teddy bear" huacaya fleece. He is an intrepid explorer, regularly wandering off by himself to explore the property's boundaries.The herd appears, with Mocha coming in behind. Behind them, Stanley double-locked the gates. Four ranchers pack into a truck and head off to the "not July 4th" party.J Stanley hugs an alpaca.Adam Andres Pawlikiewicz Mesa for InsiderThe 'Not July 4th' PartyWhen the ranchers arrive, a lesbian couple is adding the red, white, and blue icing to their middle-finger-shaped "fuck you" cookies. The couple, who recently moved back to Colorado after spending years living in New Zealand, has invited the members of the Tenacious Unicorn Ranch to their picturesque ranch to mark Independence Day in their own style. There's a surplus of food; jalapeno beef burgers, pretzels and dip, and a cheese board. Guests are helping themselves to beers and making themselves cosmopolitan cocktails at a minibar in a renovated shack.Inside, a blond woman with a beaming smile is sitting on a camping chair. A paper plate with cookies is balanced on one knee, and a political campaign leaflet, with her name in bold letters, rests on the other. She introduces herself as Deb Adams, the chairperson of Custer County's tourism board. She says she's running for the Board of County Commissioners. "Is everyone here registered to vote?" she asks. Stanley furrows her brow, not thrilled by the direction the night has taken them. How, she asks pointedly, would Adams differ from other politicians?Adams is running as an unaffiliated candidate, she tells them. She rejects labels.Adams settled in Colorado in 2017. Before that, she lived in Santa Barbara, California for 25 years. She supports the Second Amendment, as well as a "safe gun ownership" culture. She's unimpressed by both Biden and former President Donald Trump, saying that they are "too old" to run again. The Sentinel ("the voice of conservative Colorado") recently described her as a "really hard, hardcore lefty."The conversation gets more animated as Stanley and Logue suggest to the room that perhaps armed resistance is more effective than voting. Wasn't Malcolm X more impactful than today's career politicians? The debate peters out. Adams seems unfazed and continues to smile and socialize. (She later says she felt as though their reaction had been favorable.) The Tenacious Unicorn ranchers step away and confer about where to go next. Stanley's mood has visibly soured, and she whispers to Logue that it's time to go home, rather than to the flag-burning party they'd originally planned to hit next. "Not to worry, we can do that any day of the week," Logue says, while packing up her stuff.As they drive their Ford Explorer back to the ranch, Stanley continues to lay out her disagreements with Logue."The system isn't working," she says, in part because politicians aren't made to say where they really stand on things. She says she doesn't trust the government to deal with the issues that worry her most — climate collapse, "trans genocide," a possible civil war, protecting people like her.J Stanley, standing outside the ranch house, pets two dogs.Adam Andres Pawlikiewicz Mesa for InsiderAlpacas roam freely across the 35 acres of the Tenacious Unicorn Ranch.Adam Andres Pawlikiewicz Mesa for InsiderAll this leads back to the ranch, and the need for them to become self-sufficient.Logue nods her head. "The main way to undermine the state is to become self-sufficient," she says.'It's 1950s America here'If the events of July 4 left the members of the Tenacious Unicorn Ranch feeling frustrated, Gramlich, the Sangre de Cristo Sentinel's editor, was jubilant. The turnout at the parade was bigger than it had been in years, and Gramlich was thrilled.Gramlich is standing in the Sentinel's Main Street office, which wouldn't be out of place in a Spaghetti Western movie if it wasn't for the lifesize cutout of former President Donald Trump that dominates the room. In one dusty nook, there's a sort of memorial-cum-minibar, where antique weapons from the Vietnam War are laid out beside a half-empty bottles of whiskey. Among the plaques on the wall, one reads: "Warning: Does not play well with liberals."Rifles are seemingly everywhere in this town, and one sits atop one of the room's wooden tables. When Gramlich turns, his handgun, nestled in a hostler, is in clear view."We are unabashedly and totally conservatives," Gramlich says. "Hyperpartisan partisans." Conservatism runs deep in Custer County, and often comes with a Christian and libertarian bent. Gramlich says the prospect of existing in what felt like a bygone era was part of what drew him to the area 12 years ago. "It's 1950s America here," he remarks. "It's the old America. There are real cowboys here."Before all this, Gramlich had been a cattle rancher in upstate New York, but he became fed up with Democrats "ruining" the state with liberal politics. He and his wife arrived in Colorado as "basically political and Second Amendment refugees," he said in a podcast interview. On Main Street in Westcliffe, various buildings are reminiscent of the town's gold mining era.Adam Andres Pawlikiewicz Mesa for InsiderCuster County has voted Republican in every presidential election for the last 58 years, and has only voted for a Democratic governor once — Richard Lamm in 1982. The county also has a penchant for electing members of Congress who are keen to take the fight to Washington. Representative Lauren Boebert, who has parroted QAnon conspiracy theories and reportedly sought permission to carry her Glock pistol on Capitol grounds, won this district with 76% of the vote.In April, she suggested that Americans in the LGBTQ+ community should be 21 before they can make "life-altering decisions about their sexuality and identity." And since then, she has implied that monkeypox is a conspiracy designed to help Democrats win the midterm, Venezuelans eat dogs' because they don't have guns, and has blamed same-sex marriage for "undermining masculinity." Boebert, who's given positive coverage by the Sentinel, has been described by the publication as a "purveyor of the Constitution" and an "overnight sensation."But Gramlich was disappointed that his new neighbors seemed to be dispirited and jaded about politics. Shortly after President Barack Obama's second election victory in 2012, Gramlich held talks with members of the local Tea Party and the decision was made to set up a local, right-wing newspaper. For a newspaper representing a rural farming community, there's a significant amount of commentary on national political issues in the pages of the Sentinel. Recent editions feature articles criticizing "Soros-aligned" politicians, gun control laws, and gender reassignment procedures for teens. The Tenacious Unicorn Ranch is a frequent target. After a story in High County News portrayed the ranchers as queer trailblazers, Gramlich published an annotated version of the article. In it, he accused the ranchers of "left-wing fascism" and urged readers to pray for their "lost, lost souls.'' "Who are the intolerant ones? Who is doing the hating? They use the classic progressive vehicle, 'accuse your opponents of doing exactly what you are doing' to attack us," he wrote. A vision for the futureLogue doesn't engage much with the Sentinel, which she sees as peddling hate. "We're out here talking about building communities," she said. Logue's hope is that self-sustaining, queer-inclusive communities like the Tenacious Unicorn Ranch will rise up around the nation. "Our vision is having one of these ranches in every state, so that we can network with each other and make it possible for people with limited funds to get to them," she said. An alpaca shows its teeth on the grounds of the ranch. The creatures' teeth can grow quite long and typically require trimming for the animal to feed efficiently.Adam Andres Pawlikiewicz Mesa for InsiderThey're in talks with some people in Texas that want to start one, Logue says, and there is a tentative plan for another in Oregon.And right now, they're helping a group of indigenous queer people find land to buy in Arizona. Once they find an affordable property, the ranchers intend to co-sign on it, provide a herd of alpaca, and help them develop a detailed plan for success. Part of that plan, Logue said, outlines how to avoid being targeted by right-wing agitators. "Because I don't see a future where we're not dealing with that kind of thing constantly," she said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderAug 19th, 2022

Successful startup founder tells Elon Musk he"d pay $100 to get old Twitter back

Nikita Bier, whose startups have been acquired by Discord and Facebook, isn't a fan of the product changes Elon Musk has made with Twitter. tbh founder Nikita BierSteve Jennings/Getty Images Nikita Bier, cofounder of social-media startup Gas, isn't a fan of Twitter's product changes. He tweeted at Elon Musk on Tuesday saying he'd pay $100 for the option to reverse the changes. He had previously tweeted at Musk to make him Twitter's head of product. Nikita Bier, cofounder of social-media startups Gas and tbh, isn't a fan of Elon Musk's Twitter product changes.Bier tweeted at Musk on Tuesday, saying: "Monetization idea: I would pay $100 to revert all product changes back what it was before you acquired Twitter."—Nikita Bier (@nikitabier) January 24, 2023Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider. Bier did not immediately respond to a request for further comment ahead of publication.This isn't the first time Bier, whose startups have been acquired by Discord and Facebook, has tweeted at Musk about Twitter. He tweeted in April and October for Musk to hire him to lead product at the company."I think the role would be exciting — but Gas is fully occupying my time right now," Bier told Insider via Twitter DM in October.Gas is an anonymous social-media app aimed at teenagers, in which users vote in hourly polls after syncing the app with their location. It ranked as the No. 1 social-media app on the App Store after launching last year.Musk has made drastic changes to Twitter since buying the company in October for $44 billion that have ruffled some feathers. For instance, in an effort to find new revenue streams, Musk relaunched Twitter's subscription platform, Twitter Blue, including offering users to pay a monthly fee to get a blue check mark — previously exclusive to verified accounts of public figures to prove they were real.More recently, he made changes to Twitter's newsfeed, including the "For You" feed that shows recommended tweets, though he's since announced changes to that after some users complained.Since taking over, Musk has also ousted several top execs, including former head of product, Jay Sullivan.Musk reportedly emailed Twitter staff earlier this month saying: "We are going to agonize until we achieve as close to the perfect product as possible."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 24th, 2023

2023: The ABCs Of CBDC, The Great Reset(s), & More Centralized Control

2023: The ABCs Of CBDC, The Great Reset(s), & More Centralized Control Authored by Matthew Piepenburg via GoldSwitzerland.com, If you want to understand modern CBDC, it may be worth considering the context of history, the philosophy of man, the math of debt and the geology of gold. Broke Countries Do Bad Things When broken, debt-soaked “developed economies” suffering from years of fantasy money printing to “solve” fatally rising debt levels collide with history-blind and economically-ignorant policy makers, the end result is always the same: Liberty sinks, currencies die and control rises. This is not sensationalism, but the toxic evolution of economic, political and psychological patterns seen throughout time. Sadly, our “times” (as well as the global abundance/convergence of weak leadership) are no exception. Or stated more simply, inept financial and political leadership leads to even more dangerous financial opportunists and tyrannical policies masquerading as efficient solutions. Toward this end, the evidence is literally everywhere—left, right and center. The Inevitable Klaus Schwab-Type Nowhere is such will-to-power opportunism and fantasy (i.e., centralized) solutions more exemplified than in the so-called “Great Reset” authored by the head of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab. Like all opportunists and historical as well as current “types,” Schwab (like the IMF, the BIS, the Fed, the White House, the European or British Parliament etc.) is exploiting a crisis to enhance control while appearing humanitarian and visionary. We’ve seen this demagogue movie before in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Yugoslavia, Cuba, China, Russia etc. In each example (from the 1780’s to the 1960’s to now), leaders who promised miracle solutions to financial disaster brought only centralization and disorder while erecting statues (or book deals and Parisian shopping sprees) to themselves. Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste And what better crisis to exploit than the bat-made narrative of the Covid pandemic with its case fatality rate of less than 2%? Post-Covid, it is now patently obvious to anyone who has taken the time to look unemotionally at the science, math and data (including courageous British journalists like Matt Ridely, well-spoken celebrities like Russell Brand, dark horses like Bret Weinstein or the non-political [and hence more honest] scientists convening at Great Barrington) that COVID most likely came from a lab and that the policy reaction of a global shut down and forced vaccine was a moral, scientific, economic and political disaster for the record books. Despite the fact that history has seen (and stoically survived) far greater per-capita death tolls in the form of cholera, the bubonic plague, small pox, or influenza, our policy makers, with the embarrassingly complicit support of a Pravda-like and politically-influenced main stream media, would have us believe they care so much about you and I. So, they locked us down, went trillions more into debt (and a hidden, second market bailout) for our sake. In fact, the IMF in 2020 compared the war on Covid to the Second World War and its 85 million deaths. That’s an insult to history. As an equally courageous Christine Anderson declared from the European Parliament during the height of the Covid hysteria (mandates, restrictions, masks etc.): Covid politics were not about concern for the masses. Despite such sober honesty and macabre math, Klaus Schwab, along with just about every other global leader, was taking a more dramatic and opportunistic approach, declaring that, “the Corona Virus pandemic has no parallel in history. It is our defining moment.” Huh? What he really meant in this classic Freudian slip was that Covid was his defining moment. Namely, the perfect crisis to exploit global fear and promote his new “Great Reset” vision as the leader of a better tomorrow, akin to Lenin’s losing-war promise/bribe of simple “bread and peace” in 1917… And what is Schwab’s (and others like him) vision of a better tomorrow? What is the “Great Reset”? Like most politically and financially bad ideas (from Quantitative Easing to the Patriot Act), the Great Reset envisioned by Schwab has a seductive title and facade—namely “Stakeholder Capitalism.” Unlike current shareholder capitalism, his concept of stakeholder capitalism aims to infuse global corporate board seats with a higher percentage of special interest representation (i.e., labor, environmental, social justice etc.). In the USA, Elizabeth Warren has a similar, and indeed superficially noble, and more inclusive agenda. China, whose leader-for-life (Xi Jinping) is a Schwab favorite and Davos keynote speaker, takes this autocratic vision one step further by simply inserting governmental agents into every Chinese boardroom. For many, including myself, one can understand a desire to improve corrupt financial/banking systems and fractured social structures. One can understand more inclusion and less corporate greed. Toward that end, I don’t think Schwab is a transhumanist creature of a dark global conspiracy to depopulate the world and rule as supreme leader of a one-world government. I actually feel he believes he can help himself (and others) at the same time. And as for the current version of capitalism in which central banks like the Fed (and derivative-sick commercial bankslike Credit Suisse) have become THE driving/liquidity force of supply and demand, I’ve written and spoken countless times on my view that true capitalism died long ago. But what we are being told by folks like Schwab is hardly better; in fact, it’s much worse. Schwab’s Flawed Premise: Institutional Faith Like China’s Xi Jinping, Schwab’s Great Reset is based upon the notion that systemic risks like inflation, pandemics and geopolitical as well as economic distortion can be better managed by a global “coordination” of wise centralized and institutional players. Like Xi, Schwab believes “giant ships survive storms, whereas small boats sink.” But such faith (and premise) that massive and globally coordinated institutional wisdom is somehow safer and superior to individual freedom ignores the titanic example, of well…the Titanic. In short: Big ships sink too—and usually with higher casualty rates. Schwab’s vision of a “coordinated economy” and the redefining of the “social contract” to tackle real or exaggerated (pick your view) crises like climate change or future pandemics is based upon an inherently flawed premise that enlightened yet increasingly CENTRALIZED institutions or even governments (like China?) can save us. But what folks like Schwab (or for that matter Biden, Trudeau, Macron, Scholz, Johnson and just about every other embarrassing but modern national leader) failed to confess is that not once in the entire history of homo sapiens has a centralized system (fascist, Bolshevik, communist or socialist) ever brought an ounce of sustainable good to the world. (Though such centralization certainly brought a lot of temporary luxury, wealth and power to folks like Castro, Lenin, Mussolini and Robespierre…) The simple, tragic yet historically and (psychologically) confirmed reality is this: “Efficient” safety via central planning at the expense of individual freedoms NEVER works. America’s Brief & Shining Moment That is why the founding fathers of the greatest constitutional and democratic (yet now failed) experiment in history declared (via Ben Franklin) that “those willing to give up their freedoms for greater security deserve neither.” For a brief and shining moment in 18th century Philadelphia, a document and vision of individual freedoms and constitutional protections declared the priority of the individual over the “security” of centralized tyranny as the cornerstone of its national vision. America’s Flawed Premise: Faith in Human Nature? Perhaps, however, these founding fathers under-estimated the human-all-too-human (nod to Nietzsche) susceptibility to self-interest and a desire for more personal and political control—i.e., the common extroverted psychopathy of most politicians—even those posing under a democratic flag. That is why the same Ben Franklin casually (though sadly) remarked to a passer-by on the very day of America’s Declaration of Independence that “eventually all democracies die, and usually by suicide.” This suicide has been gradual but undeniable, marked by such slow-drip turning points toward increasing centralization as exemplified by: 1) the 1913 birth of the Federal (Central) Reserve (against which Thomas Jefferson warned in 1806); 2) the now increasingly obvious and centralized (coup d’état) murder of a sitting president in 1963; 3) the imperialist drift toward false flag wars of expansion (from “remember the Maine” of 1898, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964 or the 2003 WMD fiction in Iraq) to 4) the exploitation of cataclysmic crises to slowly eradicate personal liberties in the name of “national security” under such euphemistically-titled legislation like the post-9/11 “Patriot Act.” In short, given that all systems and experiments, be they liberty-based or centralized, are envisioned and then managed by human systems, the age-old (Hobbes/Locke) debate as to whether humans are intrinsically in a state of war or a state of peace (i.e., good or bad) remains the core dilemma and question. The Modern Flawed Premise: Faith in Technology This timeless dilemma, of course, has taken an entirely new course in a smart-phone era of increasing faith in a technological, virtual and even robotic solutions to man’s quest for a better, freer tomorrow. There are many who believe that we can replace corrupt institutions (from Davos to Brussels, DC to Beijing) with wiser technologies, which can and sometimes do allow a freer and more decentralized flow of information (as evidenced by non-main-stream platforms like this one) and even money (as evidenced by the thirst for decentralized, encrypted currencies like BTC). Rapidly evolving technologies, for example, allow more people to leave crime-infested (and police defunded) cities for more work-at-home personal freedoms or income and even more personal expression. As technology advances, many rightly or wrongly believe that civilization will experience more freedoms and hence more of the “happy accidents” (nod to F.A. Hayek) which only freedom-based (rather than centralized) systems allow. For them, technology offers a “great escape” from the dangers of the “great reset.” This feels promising at first glance, but it too ignores the human-all-too-human reality that even advanced technologies are still steered by un-advanced humans, as the recent debacle at FTX easily reminds. In short, like faith in human nature or faith in institutions, faith in technology is no cure all. Enter CBDC—The Latest Lie from Above As we now see in the slow yet inevitable evolution of Central Bank Digital Currencies, technology can in fact be used to further diminish rather than enhance human liberties. It seems that in 2022 and now 2023, everyone is suddenly asking about CBDC. And they should be. But what is it? To begin with, CBDC is not a new currency, it’s a new payment system—one that is digital and encrypted rather than paper-based. Instead of dollars, yen, lira and euros, we’ll soon have e-dollars, e-yen, e-liras and e-euros etc. In short, more crappy fiat money—just in digital form. Furthermore, CBDCs are not cryptos. Yes, they are digital, encrypted and kept in a ledger, but they do not involve blockchain. In essence, and much like a Visa or Mastercard service, CBDC involves a similar ledger technology, but in this new and twisted case it’s a controlled (rather than distributed) ledger of encrypted digital currencies managed by central banks. In this new payment system, we hold digital money accessed by apps on our smart phones with an account directly linked to a central bank with (as the policy makers remind us) far greater speed and less intermediary costs (otherwise typical to credit cards). All good, right? Not so fast… The CBDC Official Narrative: Only Half the Story Like all dangerous, centralized and controlling ideas, CBDC was snuck in with consoling words during times of crisis. But CBDC is far more than just an evolving and technological “eureka” moment. CBDCs were first openly announced by the IMF at the onset of the Covid Crisis, which the IMF used as a convenient pretext to excuse decades of their own and other central-bank-driven (and historically unprecedented) debt sins. Crises always boost the power of the state, and the Covid crisis boosted the power of the IMF to create new ways to promote bad ideas while centralizing more power. Although ignored by the media in 2020, I immediately warned of this in 2020. Then came the BIS in 2021. Like the IMF, the BIS telegraphed all the warm and fuzzy good news in a calm little video of CBDC “efficiencies,” “safety,” and “speed.” The BIS took credit for leading the technological CBDC charge alongside 4 other key central banks (i.e., the Fed, the ECB etc.) and a select handful of 20 other “participants” (i.e., the same disastrous commercial banks who gave us the GFC in 2008) to eliminate certain “pain points and friction” in hitherto inefficient cross border settlements and FX transactions. Then came Powell. In the midst of a global inflationary crisis, gyrating markets and an avoidable yet disastrous war in the Ukraine, the Fed stepped in with its own one-sided puff piece as the world was distracted by bigger headlines. With a calm expression and forked-tongue, Powell causally announced that the US will have a CBDC as the Fed plays a “leading role” in its development. According to Powell, “the Fed is charged with the safety and efficiency of payment systems,” and that by “embracing innovation,” we good citizens can help the Fed in this historical process as the modern world evolves from telegraph wires and clearing houses to the new “Fed Now Service” driven by CBDC to ensure “safer financial transactions.” Powell kindly reminds us that distributed ledgers of cryptos are not safe, as their swings in value prove. Despite admitting that stable coins (directly linked to currencies) are better, he said they too are riddled with risks and thus not nearly as safe as digital currencies under “the same regulatory measures as our banking and financial firms.” (Apparently, Powell thinks the public has forgotten Bear Stearns, Lehman, AIG, Long Term Capital Management and other “regulated” enterprises of this corrupted ilk…) Powell closed this blue-pill video by saying that the Fed’s focus with a CBDC is to improve on an already safe system—as a compliment to, not a replacement of cash. He further promised to take into consideration issues of law and privacy, and warmly announced that, “we look forward to hearing your thoughts on this important topic.” All warm and fuzzy, safe, innovative and democratic, right? Again: Not so fast. CBDC’s Other Story: One Big Lie of Many Omissions There are many obvious yet omitted dangers (and motives) behind CBDC (as lies of omission are the most common symptom of benevolent tyranny). What neither the IMF, the BIS nor Powell discussed are likely the most honest motives behind CBDC. 1. Kill the Crypto Competition As I’ve argued almost from the onset of the crypto mania, the success of cryptos would eventually become their ultimate undoing, as the concept of alternative digital currencies outside of the banking system was a direct threat to sovereign power. If forced to choose a “winner” in a war between the power of a blockchain BTC and a corrupt banking system (tied to the hip of sovereign power), my bet (sadly) was always on the corrupt. CBDC, in short, is a direct assault on the growing (and in many ways free and admirable) crypto narrative. 2. Debt “Reset:” Impose Negative Rates & Screw the People As I’ve also argued for years, all debt-soaked regimes need negative rates to climb out of the bottomless debt hole they alone created. By forcing citizens into a CBDC system, banks like the Fed can “efficiently and quickly” impose negative rates (i.e., where you pay banks to hold your money rather than receive positive interest for your deposits). This already happened in Europe. Furthermore, given that all major nations are suffering debt to GDP ratios well past the fatal 100% level,  with capital to asset levels surpassing the 200:1 mark, it’s now patently obvious in a rising rate and declining tax-revenue environment that nations like the U.S. can’t afford to pay even the interest on their unprecedented debt piles. In this sickening backdrop, CBDC systems allow indebted nations to better control, and hence steel from, their citizens. When currencies are “reset” (like Germany in 48), the government can “convert” your old money to the new money while simultaneously (due to a “crisis”) keeping a percentage for themselves as a clever way to pay their debts via digital hold-backs (i.e., theft). And given that the entire world is over $300T in debt, one can bet that a massive debt restructuring (akin to a global bankruptcy declaration) is inevitable. CBDCs are thus being rolled out beforehand to make this intra-bank and cross border restructuring (theft) more “efficient.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to controlling citizen money and freedoms. 3. A Cashless Control State Despite Powell’s words to the contrary (as unreliable as his transitory inflation promise), the longer-term aim and practice of a forced digital currency system is to take cash out of the system. Under a CBDC regime, citizen money can be digitally monitored, withheld, frozen, taxed, penalized or otherwise controlled should such a citizen (or collection of citizens) challenge or threaten the state—rightfully or wrongly. I’m thinking of those truckers in Canada… But as Mussolini himself said: “Fascism is the perfect marriage of corporations and the state.” CBDC is a giant leap in that sadly familiar direction. In short, financial and personal privacy slowly but surely disappears under a CBDC system, and you can be assured that if the Mad King George had access to CBDC in 1776, folks with poor social credit scores like Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington or James Madison would have been monitored, frozen and made financially impotent long before they ever had a chance to freely assemble near the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. Thus, even if Powell promises legal and privacy rights today, what happens tomorrow when we inevitably (if not already) fall under another mad king? Stated bluntly, CBDC is not about freedom, individual rights or privacy. It is pure control masquerading as a safer payment system and faster trans-national currency settlements. But which would you prefer? What is more important– personal liberty or “efficient payment systems”? Powell said he was “looking forward” to our thoughts. Well, now he has mine. Frankly: Shame on him. Gold, CBDC and a Shortage of Easy Answers Given the case made above that no easy answers to our current global nightmare (political, financial or ethical) can rest solely upon a faith in institutions, individual leaders or even technologies, as each of these “solutions” is vulnerable to the human element of corruption and ignorance—what will save us? Do I have an answer to these manifold and increasingly troubling signs and times? I do not. Gold, of course, can not solve the laundry list of fracturing faiths, economies, politics, societies, currencies, borders and systems making the headlines of each passing day. That’s a human, or even spiritual question which I will not pretend to answer/solve here. Nor can I fully predict the precise timing, measures and misuses of CBDC near-term or long term. Will gold-backed SDR’s come? Will banking systems and credit card systems change immediately or slowly? When will gold free-float? When will derivative markets implode? What will trigger the next banking crisis? Again: I can’t say or time. No one can. What I can say, sadly, is that political and monetary corruption, from ancient China to modern DC, or from Roman coins or crappy paper dollars to “advanced” CBDCs is nothing new under the sun. But gold (sourced from the periodic table rather than a periodic printer) has never been corrupted by the sun’s rays nor man’s mechanizations. It can’t be printed, mouse-clicked or digitalized. Alas: It’s harder for governments and banks to control. Without exception, physical gold has always been the only form of real money that has survived the death of one system and currency after the next, be they debased by ancient metallurgists, modern money printers or digital cons. As history continues its sad and desperate pattern of more control, more debasement and more double-speak, I can only place portions of my faith and wealth in the one asset—the only asset—that has always preserved citizen wealth in a world where its leaders have consistently destroyed it (from coins, cash and digital) for thousands and thousands of years. Tyler Durden Fri, 01/06/2023 - 07:20.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 6th, 2023

A columnist easily tricked Elon Musk"s new Twitter verification system by posing as a US senator

Using Twitter Blue, a Washington Post columnist bought a fake Ed Markey account, despite Elon Musk's promise for a better verification system. A Washington Post columnist said he easily created a fake verified account on Twitter for Senator Ed Markey.AP Photo/Alex Brandon. Washington Post columnist Geoffrey Fowler successfully tricked Twitter's new verification system. Posing as US Senator Ed Markey, he paid $8 for a Twitter Blue account. Elon Musk had halted and rebooted the service, wanting to be confident it could weed out impostors. Washington Post columnist Geoffrey Fowler has once again tricked Elon Musk's Twitter, creating a fake verified account for Democratic Senator Ed Markey. Twitter has since suspended the account.Fowler wrote that his experiment, done with Massachusetts Sen. Markey's approval, showed how easy it is to dupe the site and its users, even under Twitter's apparently new-and-improved verification service.The columnist used a coworker's dormant account, tying it to a phone number and shelling out $7.99 for a monthly Twitter Blue subscription, he wrote. He added that he never had to show any kind of ID or proof that he was who he claimed to be. "After seven days, a blue check mark appeared on the faux Markey account, no questions asked," Fowler wrote. Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.When Elon Musk took over Twitter in October, he sought to replace the verification process that gave accounts of celebrities, government officials, and established news outlets and journalists verified checkmarks. Instead, he wanted users to be able to pay for verification through Twitter Blue.The move led to confusion and hijinks. In November, multiple fake accounts posing as Insulin maker Eli Lilly made claims about the cost of the  the diabetes treatment. The drugmaker's stock fell about 4.4% the day after.At that time, Fowler created his first fake verified Markey account, saying it took mere "minutes." In November, Twitter put Twitter Blue on hold, with Musk saying the platform needed more time to safeguard against impersonation with "high confidence."Last month, the company rebooted the service, saying it had fixed the kind of gatekeeping deficiencies that led to chaotic episodes on the platform. To help ensure the credibility of paid users, Twitter now asks them to connect a phone number to their accounts, among other requirements. Markey described the ongoing verification issues as an "absolute joke," in a statement to Insider."Twitter's current leadership has failed to safeguard the platform from misinformation, failed to provide answers to my simple questions regarding their anti-fraud protocols, and failed to demonstrate an appreciation for the role that their platform plays in our democracy," he said in the statement. "It's easier to get a blue check mark than it is to get a straight answer from Elon Musk."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 5th, 2023

Life at Wall Street headhunting firm Durlston Partners appeared picturesque, but some insiders say that wasn"t the reality

Wall Street headhunting firm Durlston Partners presented a public image of a fast-moving, fun firm. But insiders painted a different picture. It's almost Friday. Dan DeFrancesco checking in from NYC. I'd like to personally thank Steve Cohen, or "Uncle Stevie" to us Mets fans, for all-star Carlos Correa, the latest in a string of signings for the Mets this offseason that have totaled more than $800 million.For more on how Cohen went from hedge fund shark to beloved sports owner (at least among his own fanbase), check out our profile. Today, we've got stories on book recommendations that make a perfect last-minute gift for the Wall Streeter in your life, why some hedge funds are feeling generous with their clients, and what to do if you get bumped from your flight home over the holidays. But first, inside a headhunter's rapid ascent. If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. Download Insider's app here.Source; Marianne Ayala/Insider1. Life at Durlston Partners.Insider's Alex Morrell has a gripping report on life at Durlston Partners, a headhunting firm that places talent at some of Wall Street's biggest buy-side firms.Durlston Partners, or "DP" as it was known within the company, promoted an unbeatable culture. But some employees who worked there allege CEO Vax Bahram also created a culture of fear.Sometimes you just need to let the story (and the text messages) speak for itself.Click here to read more about life inside Durlston Partners and allegations about the leadership of Bahram.In other news:Celebrities made their mark on TikTok in 2022.TikTok: @henry.winkler, Henry Winkler, @lizzo, Lizzo, @megangrass12, Megan Grass2. These books don't suck. If you're still scrambling to sort out some last-minute holiday gifts, we've got you covered. We asked our past few classes of Wall Street rising stars to recommend books. Here are the 35 they picked that'll be the perfect stocking stuffer for the banker or trader in your life. (And if I might add a personal suggestion, "Going Public" by Insider's own Dakin Campbell is a terrific read as well.)3. Top hedge funds are up so big they're sharing the wealth with clients. While bankers aren't sure if they'll even get a bonus, hedge funds are doing so well they're planning to return some profits to their clients, The Wall Street Journal reports. Here are the funds who are feeling generous after a banner year. 4. What to expect in healthcare in 2023. We asked 7 bankers and investors to make some predictions about the space next year. From big bets being placed on AI to a rise in direct-to-consumer startups, here's how they see 2023 shaking out.5. JPDimon. Jamie Dimon's 17-year tenure on the top of JPMorgan has made him the face of Wall Street. But, as this profile from Bloomberg digs into, who will take the throne at the bank when Dimon finally decides to step down? Here's more on JPMorgan's succession plan. 6. SBF arrives in the US to face fraud charges. The FTX founder was extradited on suspicion of committing "one of the biggest financial frauds in American history," authorities said. Meanwhile, US attorneys say two of Bankman-Fried's top associates, Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang, plead guilty to fraud and are cooperating with authorities. Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda Research, is facing up to 110 years in prison.7. Learning TikTok dances could help you close some deals. Consolidation is coming to the creator economy, which means more dealmaking (and fees!). Here are a rundown of the 22 deals this year, along with top trends set to define the space in 2023, according to experts. 8. The secret to your success could be a parasite in your brain that's found in cat poop. The microorganism Toxoplasma gondii, or Toxo, leads to an elevated appetite for risk in its host. More on why this brain parasite could be what causes some people to start their own companies. 9. Your best investment might be the one on your wrist. Rolex watches have outperformed gold, real estate, and stocks over the past decade. Here's why a luxury watch is still a good bet in 2023. 10. In case your travel plans hit a snare, here's how you can get some money back. We break down how much money you're entitled to if your airline bumps you from an overbooked flight. Don't settle for a penny less.Curated by Dan DeFrancesco in New York. Feedback or tips? Email ddefrancesco@insider.com, tweet @dandefrancesco, or connect on LinkedIn. Edited by Jeffrey Cane (tweet @jeffrey_cane) in New York and Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 22nd, 2022

86 creative gift ideas under $100 — including last-minute options if you"re pressed for time

From a personalized photo book to a sunrise alarm clock, here are 86 gift ideas under $100 for every type of person on your gift list. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.MoMA Store/Artifact UprisingGift-giving should be fun, but more often than not, it becomes stressful — doubly so if you're working with a budget. The good news is, a gift doesn't have to be super expensive to be meaningful to someone or last a long time.To take the guesswork out of holiday shopping, we've curated the best gifts under $100 that you can buy on your own (or split to cost with someone else). From luxury skincare products to affordable kitchen appliances, there are plenty of thoughtful, special gifts you can give within a reasonable price range.*This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by AncestryDNA. It also meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.A fun board game spin on an internet sensationWordle: The Party GameThe Toy InsiderWordle: The Pary Game, available at Amazon and Target from $19.82Best for: The committed gamerIf they love Wordle, this new board game version is sure to please. 2-4 players can play against each other or in teams as they try to guess the five-letter mystery word.A DNA kit to learn more about your family historyAmazonAncestryDNA kit, available at Ancestry, $59 (originally $99)Best for: Anyone interested in family heritageCurious about family history? This AncestryDNA test tells you more about genetic ethnicity — and opens up rich conversations about family heritage and personal stories. We like Ancestry because it surveys an extensive population and links you with relatives.*Sponsored by Ancestry.A travel photo albumArtifacts UprisingHardcover Travel Photo Book, available at Artifact Uprising, from $61.20Best for: The vacation photographerThis customizable photo book takes them back to every travel adventure so they'll never forget it. Whether it's a week trip or an extended stay, the travel photo album captures every excursion with charming designs on up to 210 pages.A memorable date night optionEatwith/InstagramGift card, available at Eatwith, from $30Best for: The adventurous dinerEatwith offers cool dining experiences that bring together delicious menus, professional chefs, and interesting guests. Typically held in person, in major cities like New York, Paris, and London, Eatwith is now offering online classes you can take from anywhere that bring unique cooking experiences right into your kitchen. In addition to experiences led by professional chefs from around the world, Eatwith has recently added classes taught by MasterChef contestants.A bag made for hosting mini picnicsAmazonPicnic at Ascot Insulated Wine and Cheese Cooler Bag, available at Amazon, $49.95Best for: The picnicker Our pick for the best picnic basket for carrying bottles, this insulated bag is a great gift for those who want to have a small picnic complete with their favorite drinks and small snacks.An art-inspired chess setMoMa Design StoreKeith Haring Colorful Chess Set, available at MoMA Design Store, $55Best for: The artsy gamerThe Keith Haring Colorful Chess Set doubles as a fun leisure activity and stunning display piece. The chess pieces are inspired by Haring's favorite artworks, from the barking dog to his trademark figures.A fun and educational online cooking classCozymeal/InstagramGift card, available at Cozymeal, from $50Best for: The aspirational chefGifting experiences is on the rise. With a Cozymeal class, they'll learn how to make anything from fresh pasta to beautiful charcuterie boards. In addition to cooking classes, Cozymeal offers online mixology classes and virtual wine tastings.A game that tests their penchant for punsAmazonPun Intended Game, available at Amazon, $19.99Best for: The game night hostIt's a battle of who can devise the most clever puns in this family-friendly card game that requires a quick mind and even quicker writing skills. Game on. The outdoor game you see everyone playing at the parkAmazonSpikeball Game Set, available at Dick's Sporting Goods, $69.99Best for: The bored beach-goerIt's a gorgeous day out and you can't help but notice a few groups having fun while playing some kind of new ball game. Chances are it's Spikeball, the volleyball-esque game that your recipient can set up in any large outdoor space. It takes just 10 minutes to learn the rules. A sunrise alarm clockAmazonPhilips SmartSleep Sunrise Alarm Clock, available at Amazon, $79.95Best for: The aspirational early birdSunrise alarm clocks can help turn typically groggy wake-ups into a softer, more calm way to get out of bed, and the SmartSleep from Philips is one of our favorites. Aside from its calming alarms and beautiful sunrise effect, it also doesn't require the use of an app. An e-book reader that stores thousands of booksAmazonAmazon Kindle, available at Amazon, $99.99Best for: The traveling bookwormA Kindle brings them an easier reading experience, especially when traveling. The Kindle has 8 GB of storage, weeks of battery life, and a vast selection of books to enjoy leisurely wherever, whenever. A TV streaming stickAmazonRoku Streaming Stick +, available at Amazon, $48.88Best for: The TV fanaticRoku'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 the TV. A convenient wireless charging padAmazonAnker PowerWave Wireless Charging Pad, available on Amazon, $15.99Best for: The one who's always low on phone batteryA wireless charger is a great gift for anyone with a glass-backed smartphone that supports the feature. Our reviewer called this one "the perfect wireless charging pad." It charges quickly, looks nice, and can even accommodate thick phone cases.A waterproof outdoor speakerAmazonUltimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker, available at Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart, from $79.99Best for: The outdoor entertainerThe surprisingly powerful speaker fits in the palm of their hand and can go swimming with them in the pool or ocean. It's also dustproof and therefore suitable for hikes and other outdoor adventures. A stylish accessory with a hidden chargerMark & GrahamPower Up Lightning to USB Tassel Keychain, available at Mark & Graham, from $34.99Best for: The sleek utilitarian The leather keychain is as functional as it is attractive: it has an iPhone lightning input and USB stick so they can charge their phone in their bag. Some colors include free monogramming while others have a $10 monogram fee. A set of trackers for lost itemsCrystal Cox/InsiderTile Pro, available at Amazon, Target, and Walmart, $24.99Best for: The person always losing their keysWhen 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. A case that sanitizes dirty phonesPhone SoapPhoneSoap 3 Smartphone Sanitizer, available at PhoneSoap, $49.95Best for: The neat freakMost of us carry our phones with us everywhere — and we mean, everywhere. PhoneSoap kills 99.9% of common household germs, including bacteria that lead to E.Coli, Salmonella, Staph, the flu, and the common cold. Especially with the pandemic, your recipient will love knowing that their phone is squeaky clean. Their favorite specialty meals from across the countryGoldbellyMeal Kits, available at Goldbelly, from $39.95Best for: The foodieGoldbelly 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 savory seasoning starter packMomofukuPantry Starter Pack, available at Momofuku, $60Best for: The spice rack re-stockerSpice up their pantry with this flavorful seasoning set. The starter pack includes spicy seasoned salts, restaurant-grade soy and tamari sauces, and chili crunch. Momofuku's site also includes several recipes to make using the ingredients from the set.A set of cocktail mixersWilliams SonomaCasamigos Cocktail Gift Set, available at Williams Sonoma, $56.95Best for: The cocktail connoisseurCo-founded by actor George Clooney, Casamigos is a favorite brand of many tequila lovers. The company's newest addition is a cocktail gift set of uniquely flavored mixers and rimmers. The mixers are exclusively available at Williams Sonoma and include blackberry basil and citrus flavors.The internet's favorite olive oilBrightland/InstagramAwake Olive Oil, available at Brightland, $37Best for: The quality EVOO enthusiastBrightland's olive oils make great gifts for cooks and anyone who loves to entertain. The white bottles protect the EVOO from light damage and look nice displayed on a countertop. International coffee delivered every monthAtlas Coffee Club/Instagram3-Month Gift Subscription, available at Atlas Coffee Club, $50Best for: The coffee loverIt's a worldwide coffee tour without the expense of airplane tickets. Atlas Coffee Club delivers single-origin coffee and always includes a postcard from the country, brewing tips, and flavor notes with each month's shipment. A delicious and unique hot sauceTruff/InstagramTruff White Truffle Hot Sauce, available at Amazon, $25.59Best for: The hot sauce collectorThis hot sauce is infused with white truffle, packing a sweet heat you'll want to add to burritos, pizza, wings, or any other dish you want to make a little more interesting. A gift card from Hello FreshHello FreshGift card, available at Hello Fresh, from $75Best for: The exhausted home cookThe best gifts are for items or services your recipient wouldn't think to purchase for themselves. A gift card from Hello Fresh checks all of these boxes, as it offers a welcome reprieve from grocery shopping and meal planning. Choose from four amounts based on your recipient's household size and needs. We also wrote a full guide to Hello Fresh that includes a breakdown of its special features, how to get started with an account, and more.Sweet treats they won't be able to stop eatingMilk BarThe Chocolatey Classic, available at Milk Bar, $89Best for: The chocolate loverInstead of the usual box of chocolates, gift some of the best-known and most delicious treats from Milk Bar. The set contains 12 soft and chewy cake truffles and an adorable mini birthday cake. Premium distilled whiskeyUncle Nearest WhiskeyUncle Nearest Whiskey, available at ReserveBar, from $60.99Best for: The old-fashioned fanFounded in Tennessee, Uncle Nearest is an award-winning, Black-owned whiskey brand that was inspired by the first known African-American master distiller, Nathan "Nearest" Green. If you're shopping for someone who enjoys a quality glass of whiskey or a whiskey-based cocktail every now and then, a bottle of Uncle Nearest won't disappoint.A flavorful seasoning collectionArtifact UprisingThe Grill & Roast Collection, available at Spicewalla, $19.99Best for: The backyard grillerA set of tasty seasonings is key to making delicious foods, especially during BBQ season. They can use the spices in this collection to add flavor to meats, seafood, vegetables, and even rice.A device that turns plain water into a sparkling beverageAmazonSodaStream Sparkling Water Maker, available at Amazon, $89.99Best for: The fizzy water fanA SodaStream is an amazing gift for anyone who's a fan of fizzy beverages. With this gadget, they can make sparkling water in seconds and add flavors if they want to spice things up.Ready-to-prepare meals that save them timeDaily HarvestCustom Gift Box, available at Daily Harvest, $85Best for: The healthy eaterYour recipient will be able to fill a box with smoothies (including protein smoothies for gym rats), harvest bowls, soup, and more meals that are ready to take on the go. Daily Harvest's healthy offerings are perfect for the busy, wellness-minded people in your life. A chai samplerAmazonVadham Chai Tea Reserve Set, available at Amazon, $23.99Best for: The tea drinkerThis set of loose-leaf teas made it into Oprah's Favorite Things back in 2018. It's filled with three variations of chai that any tea lover will appreciate. A box that lets them explore the exciting world of sakeTippsySake Gift Box, available at Tippsy, $59Best for: The sake drinkerWhile online wine clubs abound, Tippsy is quietly cultivating a community of sake lovers. It offers an abundance of knowledge and premium sake options to anyone who's interested in exploring this underrated alcohol further.  A chic lamp that warms candles without lighting themCrystal Cox/InsiderCandle Warming Lamp, available at Amazon, $54.99Best for: The candle preserver Aside from looking cute, this TikTok-famous lamp warms candles up without lighting them. It helps your giftee enjoy their candles' scents whenever she wants without worrying about smoke or accidentally forgetting to put them out.A custom pet portraitWest & WillowCustom Pet Portrait, available at West & Willow, from $67Best for: The pet parent If their fur baby is their best friend, they'll go crazy for this custom pet portrait from West & Willow. Upload a photo of their pet, then choose the portrait style, size, frame, add their pet's name, and get ready to make their day with this A+ gift.A mini fireplaceFood52Personal Concrete Fireplace, available at Food52 and Amazon, from $78.40Best for: The fireplace fanKeep them warm and entertained this summer with this small personal fireplace, which is safe for use indoors and for cooking fun treats like s'mores. A whimsical candle from a new brandOtherland/Instagram3-Candle Set, available at Otherland, $89Best for: The fancy candle fanAs our candle-loving editor points out, "Does the world really need another fancy candle brand?" Otherland's candles are so creative and interesting that you won't be able to resist gifting at least a few. A set of monogrammed hand towelsWeeziePiped Edge Washcloths (Set of 2), available at Weezie, $36Best for: The monogram loverThe extra time and thought put into a personalized gift are worth it. You can add custom embroidery (+$10 per towel) to Weezie's fluffy and absorbent towels. A succulent to spruce up their spaceLula's GardenBliss Garden, available at Lula's Garden, $30Best for: The plant parentA small succulent is a perfect way to brighten up their desk, bookshelf, or windowsill. We love this one from Lula's Garden because it's wrapped in a ready-to-gift box. Plus, when you buy one, you support water.org, an organization that helps people all over the world get access to safe, clean water. A wine gift setAmazonIvation Wine Lovers Set with Opener and Preserver, available at Amazon, $49.98Best for: The wine appreciator Help elevate your recipient's wine experience by gifting this wine lover's set. The included wine preserver is a great gift for those that live alone or like to take their time with their wines. The sleek charging base and modern design make this a gift your recipient will be proud to display on their kitchen counter.A sleek knife blockMaterial KitchenThe Stand, available at Material Kitchen, $90Best for: The practical chefWe're big fans of Material Kitchen's minimalist approach to kitchen essentials — like this magnetic, angled knife block made from heavy-duty wood. A fresh flower bouquetUrbanStemsFlower bouquets, available at UrbanStems, from $35Best for: Any fan of flowersIf you don't know what to gift, flowers are always appreciated. A beautiful bouquet delivered right to them is the kindest way to say congrats and show you're thinking of them.A set of sustainable coastersJoanna BuchananRuffle Edge Straw Coasters, available at Joanna Buchanan, $48Best for: The meticulous table setterAdd a pop of color to their indoor and outdoor eating spaces with these colorful straw coasters. The coasters come in a set of four, are handwoven in the Philippines, and are made of sustainable materials.A compact and lightweight hand mixerAmazonKitchenaid 5-Speed Ultra Power Hand Mixer, available at Target, $44.99Best for: The bakerNot all baking tasks require a full stand mixer. KitchenAid's hand mixer doesn't take up a lot of space but gets a variety of jobs done by offering five-speed options. You'll also have fun picking out a unique color for your recipient. The perfect pillow for side sleepersCasperOriginal Casper Pillow, available at Casper, Amazon, and Target, $65Best for: The restless side sleeperThe Original Casper Pillow will help your favorite side sleeper align their neck with their spine while sleeping. We named this pillow the best for side sleepers in our guide to the best pillows. You can customize the pillow even more by choosing its size and height.A cool drink accessory worth celebratingBrumate12oz Insulated Champagne Flute, available at BrüMate, $24.99Best for: The beachside celebratorBrumate's insulated flute prevents the disappointment of bubbly that has gone warm and flat. It holds almost half a bottle of champagne and comes in 30 pretty colors.  A digital photo frameAmazonNIX 8-Inch USB Digital Photo Frame, available at Amazon, $69.99Best for: The modern nostalgistPro-tip: Include a USB stick of your favorite photo memories together with this gift. The high-tech photo frame will shuffle through and display crisp photos and videos, and it can also be mounted on a wall. If you can stretch your budget, the more popular WiFi version is the same idea but more convenient to use because it works right from your phone's gallery. A custom map of a special locationGrafomapCustom Map Poster, available at Grafomap, from $19Best for: The one who always mentions their favorite city Grafomap is the site where you can commemorate important places, be it their hometown, college town, or the city where you two met. The custom design function is easy to use and you can choose to get the final map poster framed or printed on canvas. An everyday stainless steel frying panMade InStainless Clad Frying Pan, available at Made In, $76Best for: The one who is constantly cookingPros like Tom Colicchio trust Made In's cookware to perform in some of the country's top kitchens, so rest assured it's good enough for your recipient. The quickly growing startup is behind a couple of our favorite pieces of cookware. A beautiful piece of handmade drinkwareJFR GlassAntique Silver Glass, available at JFR Glass, $45Best for: The fan of truly unique giftsEach hand-blown glass from JFR Glass is unique. The glasses aren't just pretty — they're also functional and sturdy. They're also dishwasher-safe and UV-resistant, so your recipient can enjoy the pieces forever. A cold brew coffee makerAmazonTakeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker, available at Amazon and Target, $27.99Best for: The daily cold brew consumerHelp your favorite coffee-lover stay caffeinated with this easy-to-use cold brew coffee maker. All they need to do is fill the filter with coffee, add water to the carafe, give it all a shake, and pop it in the fridge. In 12 hours, they will have a delicious cold brew that will have them reconsidering their daily trips to their favorite coffee shop.An affordable cashmere sweaterNaadamMen's and Women's The Essential Cashmere Sweater, available at Naadam, $75Best for: The one with impeccable style No wardrobe is complete without a great cashmere sweater. This one from Naadam is made of heavenly-soft 100% Mongolian cashmere and comes in over 25 colors, so there's truly a shade for everyone.A box of the best socksBombasWomen's Holiday Snowflake Ankle Sock 4-Pack Gift Box, available at Bombas, $66Best for: The appreciator of practical giftsBombas socks are some of our favorites for their arch support and durability. This box set (also available in men's and kid's sizes) features a set of subtly holiday-themed socks they'll wear all year round.A funky pair of shadesCrap EyewearThe Lucid Blur, available at Crap Eyewear, $89Best for: The trendsetterA great pair of sunglasses is a seasonless gift. Even on cold winter days, a pair of sunglasses is needed to block out the sun's glare and keep them looking stylish. If you're looking to snag them a unique pair of sunglasses, check out Crap Eyewear. The styles are fun, affordable, and totally on trend. An artistic watchMoMA Design StoreSwatch x MoMa watch, available at Moma Design Store, from $80Best for: The art enthusiastWhat better way to show off their love of art than a watch inspired by famous paintings? Swatch collaborated with New York's Museum of Modern Art to create these unique watches that resemble artworks from MoMa's collection.A pair of cozy slippersZapposUGG Scuffette II Slippers, available at Zappos, Amazon, and Nordstrom, from $94.95Best for: The comfort appreciator Help them keep their feet warm while working from home with these fuzzy slippers. These high-quality slippers are made of suede and have a sheepskin collar, making them a very useful gift that your recipient may not think to purchase for themselves.A gold bracelet that displays their zodiac signAurateZodiac Bracelet, available at Aurate, $90Best for: The chic astrology enthusiastThe delicate gold vermeil bracelet is a piece they'll want to wear every day. Aurate's beautiful gold jewelry is not only more affordable than traditional fine jewelry, but it's also ethically sourced, representing a new wave of jewelry brands to know about. A sturdy walletAmazonBellroy Slim Sleeve Leather Wallet, available at Bellroy, Amazon, and Nordstrom, $79Best for: The fan of practical giftsReplace their tired and tattered wallet with this slim leather billfold from Insider Reviews' favorite wallet brand Bellroy. It's made with ethically sourced leather that will age wonderfully and last many years.A pair of comfortable wool shoesAllbirdsWool Runners, available at Allbirds, $110Best for: The constant walkerWhile Allbirds has hinted that it's on track to become more than just a shoe brand, we'll always be partial to its original sneakers made from merino wool. We've been wearing and loving the comfortable style for more than two years, and you can't go wrong gifting a pair of these shoes. A reusable bag featuring a fun printBagguStandard Baggu, available at Baggu, $14Best for: The sustainable shopperThere are plenty of reusable nylon shopping bag options out there, but where Baggu really stands out from the crowd is its variety of quirky and colorful prints. These useful bags are the perfect gift for everyone in your life.A pretty leather travel wrap for chargersMark & GrahamLeather Charger Roll Up, available on Mark & Graham, $49Best for: The efficient packerMark & Graham's Leather Charger Roll Up is made from soft, supple leather and has three separate pockets to stash cables and chargers on the go. Get it monogrammed for free.A pair of sparkly hoopsMejuriSapphire Hoops, available at Mejuri, $58Best for: The lover of subtle jewelryTraditional hoops get an embellishment of white sapphire in this affordable piece from Mejuri. Extremely comfortable, flattering lounge pantsMeUndiesLounge Pants, available at MeUndies, $68Best for: The serious loungerThese are some of the best lounge pants we've ever tried. If they're spending more time in casual wear, they'll spend an inordinate amount of time in these. We also appreciate that the silky MicroModal and sleek cut make them perfectly acceptable for wearing in public to grab the mail.A high-quality leather band for an Apple WatchAmazonBullstrap Full-Grain Italian Leather Watch Band, available at Amazon, $95Best for: The stylish watch wearerBullstrap's Italian Leather Watch Bands are the perfect way to add some elegance to an Apple Watch. They come in several colors of leather and are compatible with all generations of the Apple Watch.A mini duffel crossbody with a distinctive lookDagne DoverExtra Small Landon Carryall, available at Dagne Dover, $93.75Best for: The one who's always on the goDagne Dover excels at making functional and versatile bags like work totes and this extra small version of its popular neoprene duffel. Inside, they'll find a compartment just large enough for the day's essentials, pockets to keep them organized, and a detachable key leash. Premium underwear that's worth every pennyTommy JohnMen's Second Skin Boxer Brief (3-Pack), available at Tommy John, $86Best for: The person who'd appreciate good underwearIt's not an exaggeration to say Tommy John could be the most comfortable boxers your recipient has ever worn. The Second Skin, in particular, is a standout — smooth, soft, stretchy, and breathable. The coziest moccasins we've ever wornL.L.BeanWomen's Wicked Good Moccasins, available at L.L.Bean, $89Best for: The winter cabin weekenderCan you practically feel the soft fluffiness of these slippers through your screen? L.L.Bean supposedly sells a pair of these cushioned sheepskin shoes every seven seconds during December, proving that they are worth the purchase.A pair of blue light-blocking glasses that look good enough to wear outside of the houseMVMTIngram Crystal Everscroll Glasses, available at MVMT, $78Best for: The one who works in front of a screen all dayHelp them protect their eyes from harsh screens with a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses. Their eyes won't feel as strained, and they might be able to drift off to sleep more quickly. A simple but luxurious body washNecessaireNecessaire The Body Wash, available at Sephora, $25Best for: The person who appreciates a good showerNew startup Necessaire formulates its body care products with vitamins A, B3, C, E, and omega-6 and omega-9. The subtly scented Body Wash will leave their skin feeling clean, soft, and nourished. A glamorous nail kitOlive and JuneThe Mani System Box, available at Olive and June, $85Best for: The DIY nail artistFrom shimmery to matte polish options, gift them this game-changing nail kit. It includes six different shades you can pick yourself, a topcoat, nail polish remover, nail tools, and even a latte mug.A hair towel that cuts drying time in halfAmazonAquis Rapid Dry Lisse Hair Towel, available at Anthropologie and Bergdorf Goodman, $30Best for: The one who takes hair care seriouslyAquis' cult-favorite hair towels have inspired a slew of rave reviews online, including one from our own team of product reviewers. The towels are made from a proprietary fabric called Aquitex that's composed of ultra-fine fibers (finer than silk) that work to reduce the amount of friction the hair experiences while in its weakest state. A silky hand creamLa Mer/InstagramLa Mer Hand Treatment, available at Nordstrom, $90Best for: The fan of smooth handsOf all La Mer's premium skincare products, the Hand Treatment is a brand favorite. This creamy formula is the perfect texture to help heal dry hands.A small skincare tool that removes 99.5% of dirt, oil, and makeup residueAmazonForeo Luna Facial Cleansing Brush, available at Amazon and Ulta, from $83.40Best for: The skincare enthusiastOur team swears by these gentle yet effective cleaning 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 your recipient can maintain their skincare routine no matter where they are.An easy-to-use trimmerPhilips NorelcoPhilips Norelco OneBlade Face + Body Trimmer, available at Amazon, Target, and Walmart, from $39.96Best for: The person who prefers a close shaveWhat separates the Philips Norelco OneBlade from other trimmers and shavers is the unique blade. It uses a fast-moving OneBlade cutter with a protection system on both sides of the blade to prevent knicks. The base of the blade will contour to his face, allowing for a comfortable shave or trim without irritation — and it works for wet or dry shaving.A solution to their back painBest BuyUpright Go 2 Posture Trainer, available at Best Buy, $79.99Best for: The person working on their postureThis gift is for anyone who is always complaining about their back pain or poor posture. Upright Go is an innovative and discreet device that sticks to the top of their back and helps them improve their posture, day by day. A sleep mask made with high-quality mulberry silkNordstromSlip Pure Silk Sleep Mask, available at Nordstrom, $50Best for: The person who takes sleep seriouslyFew things are more luxurious than sleeping with a silk mask. Thanks to its all silk construction, your recipient's face will feel cool all night long. An electric toothbrush they won't want to hide awayGobyMoonstone Electric Toothbrush, available at Goby, $95Best for: The dental-care obsessedIn addition to its sleek design, the Goby Toothbrush stands out for its soft brush head, normal and sensitive brushing speeds, and convenient USB charging shell. A cult-favorite fragranceLe Labo/InstagramLe Labo AnOther 13 Eau de Parfum, available at Nordstrom, from $90Best for: The daily perfume userLe Labo is famous for its distinctive packaging and subtle yet inviting scents. The AnOther is musky and woodsy, but it's balanced out with ingredients like jasmine petals. A planner designed for setting goalsCrystal Cox/InsiderBestSelf Co. Self Journal, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and BestSelf, from $31.99 Best for: The goal-setterThe Self Journal is an undated, 13-week planner that's designed for daily use and quarterly planning. We love it because it helps break projects and goals into manageable chunks. If your giftee is working towards a big goal, this could be a really thoughtful resource — especially if it involves forming new habits in a short period of time.A high-quality yoga matMandukaManduka PROlite Yoga Mat, available at Amazon, Manduka, and REI, $99Best for: The yogi Make their sweat sessions better with the addition of a great yoga mat. The Manduka PROlite boasts supportive, dense cushioning and a no-slip grip, but it's still super lightweight for easy carrying.An instant cameraFujifilmFujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Camera, available at Amazon, Walmart, and Urban Outfitters, from $73.25Best for: The memory makerSure, they can snap photos on their iPhone all night long, but these days there's something particularly special about having tangible photographs. An instant camera is the perfect gift for the one who loves documenting life in photos.A gift card from BookshopCrystal Cox/InsiderGift Card, available at Bookshop, from $10Best for: The bookstore browserBookshop allows readers to support small bookstores online. The retailer sells gift cards that your recipient will be able to use to shop online from their favorite indie bookstore. The gift cards never expire and can be bought in increments from $10 to $1000.An at-home pottery kitSculpdPottery Kit, available at Sculpd, $65Best for: The crafterThis pottery kit offers a unique activity to do with your loved ones. Each kit comes with enough supplies for two people, with add-on supplies also available for purchase so that more can participate. It also includes a step-by-step instructional booklet.A sleek fitness trackerFitbitFitbit Inspire 2, available at Best Buy, Target, and Fitbit, $79.95Best for: The avid athleteFitbit'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.Membership to a popular nationwide book clubBook of the Month6-Month Subscription, available at Book of the Month, $99.99Best for: The avid readerIf they prefer the incomparable feel of a hardcover book, set them up with a Book of the Month membership. It offers five curated titles, mainly from up-and-coming authors, to choose from every month. A bike horn that can honk as loud as a carPriority BicyclesPriority High Power Horn, available at Priority Bicycles, $29.99Best for: The bike commuterBorn out of a research project between Priority Bicycles and Toyota, this bike horn can get as loud as the one in a car. This is an excellent safety accessory for bikers.A gorgeous coffee table book that helps cure their travel bugAmazon"1,000 Places to See Before You Die (Deluxe Edition): The World as You've Never Seen It Before" by Patricia Schultz, available at Barnes & Noble, $50.99Best for: The aspirational travelerPatricia Schultz's original "1,000 Places" captured imaginations with its compelling curation of experiences all over the world. The newly released deluxe edition features a beautiful gold-embellished cover and more than 1,000 new photographs. An interactive state park mapUncommonGoodsState Parks Explorer Map, available at UncommonGoods, $28Best for: The hikerThis state park map is sure to come in handy whenever they venture into the outdoors. Choose from 10 maps that each list over 30 parks in states such as New York, California, and Connecticut. The map includes a sheet of gold stickers so they can mark their progress after each park visit.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 15th, 2022

I perform vasectomies in Texas. I"ve had a huge increase in patients post-Roe — and a lot of them are young and childless.

"The blame and responsibility has been on the partner who can get pregnant for too long," urologist Luke Machen says. "Men stepping up is a positive." Luke Machen.Micciche Photography Urologist Luke Machen performs vasectomies in Texas, where abortions are banned. Machen's requests began to increase with the Supreme Court leak that showed Roe v. Wade might be overturned. "For too long, I feel like all the blame and responsibility has been shoved onto the partner who can get pregnant," Machen said.  This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Luke Machen, a urologist based in Austin, Texas, where abortions are banned. This piece has been edited for length and clarity.Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade earlier this year, there's been an uptick in the number of vasectomy requests at my clinic. I usually perform 45 to 50 vasectomies a month. In the two days immediately following the overturning of Roe, we received 150 vasectomy appointment requests.Originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I'm a urologist at Austin Fertility and have been in practice there for three years. I have additional training in reproductive urology and andrology, which is a branch of medicine that deals with diseases and conditions specific to male health. I'm 35, married, and have two young children — a 2-year-old and an 8-month-old.While Austinites may be slightly less blue than they think they are, Austin is certainly a blue enclave in a red state.Our practice has been around for more than 30 yearsA few years ago, the clinic decided to track how many requests for vasectomies we receive each day and how many vasectomies we actually perform. We were averaging five or six electronic appointment requests for vasectomy consultations per day before the overturning of Roe.Typically, our patients were 36- to 37-year-olds who had around two children. Our practice does about 90 to 100 vasectomies a month. The consultations are dispersed between myself and another urologist who has the same training as me. Historically, most of our vasectomy patients come in because they're done having childrenIn fact, the three most common reasons patients schedule an appointment are: they just had a scare; they meant to get a vasectomy a year ago and now they have baby No. 3; or their partner doesn't respond well to birth control and they're looking for other options. I'll probably do one or two procedures a month on patients in their 50s. Oftentimes, it'll be because they have a new partner who's a little younger and they want to be safe. On the other hand, I have patients in their early 20s who are adamant that they don't want any children in the future.Our increase in requests started with the Supreme Court leak in May that showed Roe v. Wade might be overturnedWe went from probably six requests a day to 20 to 30 requests. And then, after the actual decision, we increased to 75 a day.We've remained well above that five or six mark, but in those first few days following the decision, we had 150 electronic requests for vasectomy consultations. In June, we had 59 consultations for vasectomies with 18 of those coming right after the decision. That continued into July, when we had double our usual consultation rate.In terms of the people who are getting vasectomies post-Roe, I don't have any specific data yet. I will say, anecdotally, that we're seeing a lot more people who have zero children and they're skewing a little bit younger, in their 20s and early 30s.I've been asking most of my patients if the Roe ruling had any effect on their decision, and many have said yesIt's about seven or eight out of every 10 patients. It's something we're actively studying. Most of those patients say they've been thinking about having this procedure for a year or two, and the decision was just a big push to get it done.I don't think I've talked to anybody who says, "This wasn't on my radar at all, but now I want to get it done." Most of them say, "I've been thinking about this for a long time and this was the push I needed."As for their political affiliations, I don't know officially. We have a TV on the ceiling that patients can watch while I'm doing the procedure. If there's a certain news story on, they'll comment on it, so it's mostly indirect.No one is saying, "I'm a Republican, I'm a Democrat." It's normally what I infer from a conversation. Based on that, though, I wouldn't say one side is coming in more for vasectomies than the other.A vasectomy is literally blocking off the vas deferensOne way of thinking about it is we're basically just shutting down the road from the sperm factory to the sperm warehouse. It doesn't affect your testicular function or your sexual function. It doesn't affect your erections in any way either. It's all internal. Your testicles look the same. Your penis looks the same. You can't tell the difference, and neither can your partner.How we do the actual procedure is a common question, too. I do one side at a time. I make a very small puncture in the upper side of the scrotum, and that's where the needle is inserted to numb things up.There's a very real mental component to the procedureI tell my patients that you could be a Navy SEAL, but the anxiety is just different when it's a procedure on your scrotum. Being nervous is very normal.I routinely offer patients valium beforehand if they can provide a driver. Typically, I tell patients that the shot is the worst part.Vasectomies are much less invasive than it is for someone to get their tubes tiedDental work may be the closest comparison because it involves a shot of numbing medicine in a sensitive area. The shot starts working pretty much instantaneously. It's not uncommon to feel some pulling and weirdness for a minute or two, but by the time we're working on the vas deferens, you really shouldn't be feeling anything at all.A vasectomy takes around 15 minutes and it's typically done in a doctor's office, whereas to get your tubes tied, there's typically general anesthesia and you're operating near vital organs.For the most part, medically speaking, the only reason to get a vasectomy is for reproductive reasonsThey're to prevent your partner from getting pregnant, and they're 99.75% effective. That's the number that I quote to patients. I also tell them that there are two different failure types. One, I call an "early failure." This is when, for whatever reason, the procedure just doesn't work. However, we're able to detect this ahead of time. One of the key steps is an appointment after the vasectomy where we check the semen sample to make sure the vasectomy worked. This is how we would detect that early failure rate which is about one in 500.The second failure I call a "late failure." This is when you have a successful procedure, but a pregnancy still occurs down the road. The rate that I quote for this is about one in 2,000.I have a couple of theories about why this happens. The leading theory is recanalization. We're hardwired to reproduce, and just somehow, the ends find a way to recanalize. But, the honest answer is that we don't know why. The other thing I suspect is that these patients just didn't get that post-surgery check-up or test to prove that it worked.I tell my patients that the vasectomy is meant to be permanent sterilizationWhile I love doing reversals, they're not 100%. It's a very cool operation — you're using a microscope and a very small sutures to re-approximate the two ends — and in ideal circumstances, the success rates can be upward of 95%.But, if you wait a really long time to get a reversal done, the success rates drop closer to 50%. A "long time" is probably 15 or more years. Recently, I had a young guy and his partner come in. They didn't want to get pregnant for three to five years, and they just were kind of evaluating all of their options. They wanted to have kids eventually, and they wanted to do the responsible thing.I typically recommend against a vasectomy for a patient like that. But, I also say, "You're an adult, and ultimately, this is your decision." Statistically, half a million vasectomies are done each year in the United States.Every year, a ballpark 5% will eventually opt to get a reversal.I think vasectomies are fertility medicineThis is a procedure that I like to do and I think I'm good at. There's also a large chunk of my practice that sees couples that want to have children but are struggling.For too long, I feel like all the blame and responsibility has been shoved onto the partner who can get pregnant. I think some of this is increased awareness by men about what they can do. I think more men stepping up is definitely a positive thing.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 13th, 2022

Elon Musk launched Twitter Blue for a second time after pulling it for issues, introducing new gold check marks for verified business accounts

Twitter Blue is back, with account reviews and a new gold check mark for businesses after rampant impersonations previously led Elon Musk to pause it. Chesnot/Getty Images Twitter Blue has relaunched, featuring a new, gold check mark for verified businesses. Elon Musk pulled the subscription after it was used to impersonate official accounts for companies and influential figures, including Musk. Users must now register a phone number before they get a blue checkmark, and they'll temporarily lose verification when changing their handle, photo, or display name until another review. Twitter Blue is back, and the revamped version features yet another check mark to signal account verification.The subscription service relaunched on Monday with a new gold check mark to designate verified accounts for businesses. Twitter Blue still has blue check marks for verified individual user accounts and gray check marks for verified government and multilateral accounts.TwitterThe return of Twitter Blue is weeks in the making. The service, which allows users to buy verification on the platform, was put on pause last month after people used it to impersonate accounts of companies, politicians, and even Musk himself. Musk said at the time that he was waiting to relaunch Twitter Blue "until there is high confidence of stopping impersonation," adding that varied check mark colors would be used to differentiate the accounts of organizations versus individual users.To crack down on the rampant impersonation, the relaunch will require Twitter Blue users to register a phone number before they can get a blue check mark, and subscribers who change their handles, display names, or profile photos will temporarily lose the symbol until their accounts are reviewed again, Twitter said this weekend.The new Twitter Blue also comes with a price hike for app users on iOS. People using the Twitter app on their iPhones will pay $11 per month. Musk has frequently criticized Apple for taking a 30% cut from most App Store purchases, once tweeting that the fee is "literally 10 times higher than it should be."The price of Twitter Blue will remain $8 per month for those who subscribe on web. Besides the blue check mark, the subscription also comes with the ability to edit tweets, upload videos in 1080p resolution, and view tweets in reader mode.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 12th, 2022

3 members of Twitter"s Trust and Safety Council quit: "Red lines have been crossed"

They grew worried about the rise in hate speech under Musk, mass cuts to Twitter's content moderation team, and the ability to be verified for $8. Muhammed Selim Korkutata / Anadolu Agency Three members of Twitter's Trust and Safety Council resigned this week. Under Musk's ownership, Twitter has seen a drastic rise in hate speech, two watchdog groups found. "Contrary to claims by Elon Musk, the safety and wellbeing of Twitter's users are on the decline," the three departing members said in a release. Twitter's exodus continues, with three members of its Trust and Safety Council becoming the latest to leave.Twitter's Trust and Safety Council, formed in 2016, consists of several dozen people and independent organizations that Twitter says help "advocate for safety and advise us as we develop our products, programs, and rules." The departing members are Anne Collier, founder and executive director of The Net Safety Collaborative; Eirliani Abdul Rahman, co-founder of Youth, Adult Survivors & Kin In Need (YAKIN); and Lesley Podesta, an advisor to the Young and Resilient Research Center at Western Sydney University. "We are announcing our resignation from Twitter's Trust and Safety Council because it is clear from research evidence that, contrary to claims by Elon Musk, the safety and wellbeing of Twitter's users are on the decline," they wrote in a press release shared by Collier on Thursday.They're referring to research from two watchdogs, the Center for Countering Digital Hate and the Anti-Defamation League, that recently reported a sharp increase in hate speech — including slurs against Black people and gay men, as well as antisemitic posts — on Twitter since Musk bought the platform. "The question has been on our minds: Should Musk be allowed to define digital safety as he has freedom of expression? Our answer is a categorical 'no,'" the departing council members' release continued. "A Twitter ruled by diktat is not a place for us."Musk has called himself a "free speech absolutist," which experts and advocates say could weaken Twitter's ability to effectively address hate speech, misinformation, and harassment.Council members have been "mystified by the lack of communication" since Musk took charge, according to Collier. She adds that several changes Musk has made since taking over have raised alarm for the assurance of safety on Twitter, including his slashing of the company's outsourced content moderator positions. Twitter's new head of trust and safety, Ella Irwin, told Reuters earlier this week that the company has gotten rid of some manual reviews for content moderation, instead relying heavily on automation."You really need human review on a lot of abuse reports because they can be very nuanced and highly contextual to offline life, and the platforms don't really have that context," Collier said. "So it's really hard for machine learning algorithms to detect all of it or make decisions on all of it."Of course, there's also Musk's new Twitter Blue subscription model, which allows people to buy verification on the platform for $8 a month. Previously, Twitter verified users' identities before giving them a blue check mark."Verification on Twitter was supposed to be about credibility and accountability, and that's usually not something you can buy. So if you just let people buy verification or credibility, you have no credibility," Collier said. "So if someone is seeing a little blue check mark or really any sort of badge of approval, the user doesn't know what that means and can't count on it."Collier told Insider she would consider returning to the council if a Musk-owned Twitter improves its commitment to safety on the platform. But for now, as Abdul Rahman and Podesta echo in the release, they believe that vow has been broken."I have watched with, dare I say, trepidation, the negotiations over Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter," Abdul Rahman said in the release. "I had written down some commitments to myself at the time. Should Musk step over those thresholds, I told myself I would resign. Those red lines have been crossed."In a statement to Insider, Podesta said, "The safety and protection of all users was always paramount. Having policy in place was always critical - it meant that everyone knew how decisions on moderation would be assessed. That careful process seems to have broken down now. I'm deeply saddened to see the rise in racist, violent and hate speech in recent months."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 9th, 2022

Elon Musk’s Twitter Plans Show He’s Lost Focus on What Got Him This Far

A year after being named TIME's Person of the Year, the richest person in the world has retreated into an online world. Last year, Elon Musk seemed to have escaped the force of gravity. Stock prices for carmaker Tesla, which accounts for the lion’s share of his wealth, hit all-time highs in November, while earlier, in April, SpaceX landed an exclusive NASA contract to put astronauts on the moon for the first time in decades. It was, as my colleagues and I wrote in TIME’s 2021 Person of the Year profile, “the year of Elon Unbound.” But such radical success comes with its own perils—hurtling through space, one risks falling into the orbit of something else. Musk has spent an increasing share of his time on Twitter in recent years. The allure is understandable, as the platform provided an endless font of validation from his followers. But such seductions can change a person, often without them even noticing. Over the past year, Musk has seemed to lose focus on the electric vehicles and spacecraft that built his fortune to instead concern himself with the affairs of the online world, an obsession that perhaps explains his decision this spring to offer to buy Twitter for $44 billion, proposing to run the platform based on the principles of “free speech”—at least, as he defined it. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Musk had formerly found success on the leading edge of technological change. Twitter, though, was an aging empire, and the revolution that Musk proposed was not based on innovation, but on politics. Musk’s free speech line has proved to align with the agenda of an American Right incensed by social media platforms banning some of their most influential figures—most notably former President Donald Trump, who was booted from Twitter in the aftermath of his supporters assaulting the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Until recently, Musk was regarded as an apolitical figure: his politics are “not on the traditional left-right spectrum,” one observer said in our profile of Musk last year. But his online base has an apparent rightward tilt, and after Musk finally gave up trying to get out of his bloated acquisition offer, it became clear just how much that following had influenced him. In the past month, Musk has reinstated once banned conservative accounts like Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and psychologist Jordan Peterson, bantered agreeably with far-right figures, and even appeared to take direction from right-wing commentator Andy Ngo over which left-wing accounts to remove from Twitter under the pretense of halting leftist violence. Musk says he will build the platform into something better than it was when he bought it. To do so, he’s tried to turn Twitter into an organization more resembling his other businesses, notably by purging the company of all employees not “extremely hardcore” in service of his vision. But at Twitter those measures seem to have had the opposite effect, cutting core engineering talent to the bone and costing the company many of the content moderators who who helped assuage advertisers’ fears over toxic content Perhaps the most crucially self-sabotaging change was Musk’s attempt to create a new policy around verification, which allowed users to purchase a blue check mark for $7.99. Musk backtracked after the policy resulted in a tide of impersonation accounts. One user, for instance, wiped out $15 billion in value for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly after tweeting from a verified account that insulin would be given away for free. Twitter’s skeleton staff took six hours to remove the tweet, and Eli Lilly subsequently halted all advertising spending on the site. As of Nov. 22, half of the platform’s top 100 advertisers had left, according to progressive watchdog group Media Matters for America. That’s a loss amounting to billions of dollars in revenue. Musk’s crown jewel, Tesla, has been dragged down as well—the car and battery company has lost more than half its value since the beginning of the year, in part due to investors’ skittishness over Musk’s erraticism in running Twitter, according to financial-services giant Morgan Stanley. Observers might point out that Musk’s impetuousness is what brought him success in the first place. But his brashness has formerly been checked and channeled by other forces—among them, a coterie of former NASA and aerospace-industry engineers at SpaceX, who commanded a certain degree of deference from Musk, and at Tesla, the engineering mastermind JB Straubel, who as CTO was known for insulating subordinates from Musk’s ever shifting demands. In one case, when Musk tried to kill the company’s now enviable energy-storage division back in 2014, Straubel told engineers to keep working on the project anyway, saying he would take the fall if Musk found out. But there don’t appear to be any Straubels among those surrounding Musk at Twitter—he has lots of friends, but perhaps not the kind he needs. He may yet remake the world’s information universe as he sees fit—and tough luck for the rest of us. More likely, this is Musk’s white whale, his Russian campaign. To grow, one must have an understanding of one’s own limitations. Wandering in an online echo chamber, a hall of digital mirrors, Musk appears to have lost sight of his......»»

Category: topSource: timeDec 9th, 2022

84 creative gift ideas for absolutely every person in your life — all under $100

From a personalized photo book to a sunrise alarm clock, here are 84 gift ideas under $100 for every type of person on your gift list. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.MoMA Store/Artifact UprisingGift-giving should be fun. But more often than not, it becomes stressful, especially if you're working with a budget. The good news is, a gift doesn't have to be super expensive to be meaningful or last a long time.To take the guesswork out of holiday gifting, we've curated the best gifts under $100 that you can buy on your own (or split with someone else). From luxury skincare to affordable kitchen appliances, there are plenty of thoughtful, special gifts you can give within a reasonable price range.*This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by AncestryDNA. It also meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.Gifts for couples, families, or groupsTech giftsFood giftsHome giftsStyle giftsBeauty and self-care giftsFitness, outdoor, and hobby giftsGifts for couples, families, or groupsA fun board game spin on an internet sensationWordle: The Party GameThe Toy InsiderWordle: The Pary Game, available at Amazon and Target from $19.82Best for: The committed gamerIf they love Wordle, this new board game version is sure to please. 2-4 players can play against each other or in teams as they try to guess the five-letter mystery word.A DNA kit to learn more about your family historyAmazonAncestryDNA kit, available at Ancestry, $59 (originally $99)Best for: Anyone interested in family heritageCurious about family history? This AncestryDNA test tells you more about genetic ethnicity — and opens up rich conversations about family heritage and personal stories. We like Ancestry because it surveys an extensive population and links you with relatives.*Sponsored by Ancestry.A travel photo albumArtifacts UprisingHardcover Travel Photo Book, available at Artifact Uprising, from $61.20Best for: The vacation photographerThis customizable photo book takes them back to every travel adventure so they'll never forget it. Whether it's a week trip or an extended stay, the travel photo album captures every excursion with charming designs on up to 210 pages.A memorable date night optionEatwith/InstagramGift card, available at Eatwith, from $30Best for: The adventurous dinerEatwith offers cool dining experiences that bring together delicious menus, professional chefs, and interesting guests. Typically held in person, in major cities like New York, Paris, and London, Eatwith is now offering online classes you can take from anywhere that bring unique cooking experiences right into your kitchen. In addition to experiences led by professional chefs from around the world, Eatwith has recently added classes taught by MasterChef contestants.A bag made for hosting mini picnicsAmazonPicnic at Ascot Insulated Wine and Cheese Cooler Bag, available at Amazon, $49.95Best for: The picnicker Our pick for the best picnic basket for carrying bottles, this insulated bag is a great gift for those who want to have a small picnic complete with their favorite drinks and small snacks.An art-inspired chess setMoMa Design StoreKeith Haring Colorful Chess Set, available at MoMA Design Store, $55Best for: The artsy gamerThe Keith Haring Colorful Chess Set doubles as a fun leisure activity and stunning display piece. The chess pieces are inspired by Haring's favorite artworks, from the barking dog to his trademark figures.A fun and educational online cooking classCozymeal/InstagramGift card, available at Cozymeal, from $50Best for: The aspirational chefGifting experiences is on the rise. With a Cozymeal class, they'll learn how to make anything from fresh pasta to beautiful charcuterie boards. In addition to cooking classes, Cozymeal offers online mixology classes and virtual wine tastings.A game that tests their penchant for punsAmazonPun Intended Game, available at Amazon, $19.99Best for: The game night hostIt's a battle of who can devise the most clever puns in this family-friendly card game that requires a quick mind and even quicker writing skills. Game on. The outdoor game you see everyone playing at the parkAmazonSpikeball Game Set, available at Dick's Sporting Goods, $69.99Best for: The bored beach-goerIt's a gorgeous day out and you can't help but notice a few groups having fun while playing some kind of new ball game. Chances are it's Spikeball, the volleyball-esque game that your recipient can set up in any large outdoor space. It takes just 10 minutes to learn the rules. Tech giftsA sunrise alarm clockAmazonPhilips SmartSleep Sunrise Alarm Clock, available at Amazon, $79.95Best for: The aspirational early birdSunrise alarm clocks can help turn typically groggy wake-ups into a softer, more calm way to get out of bed, and the SmartSleep from Philips is one of our favorites. Aside from its calming alarms and beautiful sunrise effect, it also doesn't require the use of an app. An e-book reader that stores thousands of booksAmazonAmazon Kindle, available at Amazon, $99.99Best for: The traveling bookwormA Kindle brings them an easier reading experience, especially when traveling. The Kindle has 8 GB of storage, weeks of battery life, and a vast selection of books to enjoy leisurely wherever, whenever. A TV streaming stickAmazonRoku Streaming Stick +, available at Amazon, $48.88Best for: The TV fanaticRoku'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 the TV. A convenient wireless charging padAmazonAnker PowerWave Wireless Charging Pad, available on Amazon, $15.99Best for: The one who's always low on phone batteryA wireless charger is a great gift for anyone with a glass-backed smartphone that supports the feature. Our reviewer called this one "the perfect wireless charging pad." It charges quickly, looks nice, and can even accommodate thick phone cases.A waterproof outdoor speakerAmazonUltimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker, available at Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart, from $79.99Best for: The outdoor entertainerThe surprisingly powerful speaker fits in the palm of their hand and can go swimming with them in the pool or ocean. It's also dustproof and therefore suitable for hikes and other outdoor adventures. A stylish accessory with a hidden chargerMark & GrahamPower Up Lightning to USB Tassel Keychain, available at Mark & Graham, from $34.99Best for: The sleek utilitarian The leather keychain is as functional as it is attractive: it has an iPhone lightning input and USB stick so they can charge their phone in their bag. Some colors include free monogramming while others have a $10 monogram fee. A set of trackers for lost itemsCrystal Cox/InsiderTile Pro, available at Amazon, Target, and Walmart, $24.99Best for: The person always losing their keysWhen 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. A case that sanitizes dirty phonesPhone SoapPhoneSoap 3 Smartphone Sanitizer, available at PhoneSoap, $49.95Best for: The neat freakMost of us carry our phones with us everywhere — and we mean, everywhere. PhoneSoap kills 99.9% of common household germs, including bacteria that lead to E.Coli, Salmonella, Staph, the flu, and the common cold. Especially with the pandemic, your recipient will love knowing that their phone is squeaky clean. Food giftsTheir favorite specialty meals from across the countryGoldbellyMeal Kits, available at Goldbelly, from $39.95Best for: The foodieGoldbelly 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 savory seasoning starter packMomofukuPantry Starter Pack, available at Momofuku, $60Best for: The spice rack re-stockerSpice up their pantry with this flavorful seasoning set. The starter pack includes spicy seasoned salts, restaurant-grade soy and tamari sauces, and chili crunch. Momofuku's site also includes several recipes to make using the ingredients from the set.A set of cocktail mixersWilliams SonomaCasamigos Cocktail Gift Set, available at Williams Sonoma, $56.95Best for: The cocktail connoisseurCo-founded by actor George Clooney, Casamigos is a favorite brand of many tequila lovers. The company's newest addition is a cocktail gift set of uniquely flavored mixers and rimmers. The mixers are exclusively available at Williams Sonoma and include blackberry basil and citrus flavors.The internet's favorite olive oilBrightland/InstagramAwake Olive Oil, available at Brightland, $37Best for: The quality EVOO enthusiastBrightland's olive oils make great gifts for cooks and anyone who loves to entertain. The white bottles protect the EVOO from light damage and look nice displayed on a countertop. International coffee delivered every monthAtlas Coffee Club/Instagram3-Month Gift Subscription, available at Atlas Coffee Club, $50Best for: The coffee loverIt's a worldwide coffee tour without the expense of airplane tickets. Atlas Coffee Club delivers single-origin coffee and always includes a postcard from the country, brewing tips, and flavor notes with each month's shipment. A delicious and unique hot sauceTruff/InstagramTruff White Truffle Hot Sauce, available at Amazon, $25.59Best for: The hot sauce collectorThis hot sauce is infused with white truffle, packing a sweet heat you'll want to add to burritos, pizza, wings, or any other dish you want to make a little more interesting. A gift card from Hello FreshHello FreshGift card, available at Hello Fresh, from $75Best for: The exhausted home cookThe best gifts are for items or services your recipient wouldn't think to purchase for themselves. A gift card from Hello Fresh checks all of these boxes, as it offers a welcome reprieve from grocery shopping and meal planning. Choose from four amounts based on your recipient's household size and needs. We also wrote a full guide to Hello Fresh that includes a breakdown of its special features, how to get started with an account, and more.Sweet treats they won't be able to stop eatingMilk BarThe Chocolatey Classic, available at Milk Bar, $89Best for: The chocolate loverInstead of the usual box of chocolates, gift some of the best-known and most delicious treats from Milk Bar. The set contains 12 soft and chewy cake truffles and an adorable mini birthday cake. Premium distilled whiskeyUncle Nearest WhiskeyUncle Nearest Whiskey, available at ReserveBar, from $60.99Best for: The old-fashioned fanFounded in Tennessee, Uncle Nearest is an award-winning, Black-owned whiskey brand that was inspired by the first known African-American master distiller, Nathan "Nearest" Green. If you're shopping for someone who enjoys a quality glass of whiskey or a whiskey-based cocktail every now and then, a bottle of Uncle Nearest won't disappoint.A flavorful seasoning collectionArtifact UprisingThe Grill & Roast Collection, available at Spicewalla, $19.99Best for: The backyard grillerA set of tasty seasonings is key to making delicious foods, especially during BBQ season. They can use the spices in this collection to add flavor to meats, seafood, vegetables, and even rice.A device that turns plain water into a sparkling beverageAmazonSodaStream Sparkling Water Maker, available at Amazon, $89.99Best for: The fizzy water fanA SodaStream is an amazing gift for anyone who's a fan of fizzy beverages. With this gadget, they can make sparkling water in seconds and add flavors if they want to spice things up.Ready-to-prepare meals that save them timeDaily HarvestCustom Gift Box, available at Daily Harvest, $85Best for: The healthy eaterYour recipient will be able to fill a box with smoothies (including protein smoothies for gym rats), harvest bowls, soup, and more meals that are ready to take on the go. Daily Harvest's healthy offerings are perfect for the busy, wellness-minded people in your life. A chai samplerAmazonVadham Chai Tea Reserve Set, available at Amazon, $23.99Best for: The tea drinkerThis set of loose-leaf teas made it into Oprah's Favorite Things back in 2018. It's filled with three variations of chai that any tea lover will appreciate. A box that lets them explore the exciting world of sakeTippsySake Gift Box, available at Tippsy, $59Best for: The sake drinkerWhile online wine clubs abound, Tippsy is quietly cultivating a community of sake lovers. It offers an abundance of knowledge and premium sake options to anyone who's interested in exploring this underrated alcohol further.  Home giftsA mini fireplaceFood52Personal Concrete Fireplace, available at Food52 and Amazon, from $78.40Best for: The fireplace fanKeep them warm and entertained this summer with this small personal fireplace, which is safe for use indoors and for cooking fun treats like s'mores. A custom pet portraitWest & WillowCustom Pet Portrait, available at West & Willow, from $67Best for: The pet parent If their fur baby is their best friend, they'll go crazy for this custom pet portrait from West & Willow. Upload a photo of their pet, then choose the portrait style, size, frame, add their pet's name, and get ready to make their day with this A+ gift.A whimsical candle from a new brandOtherland/Instagram3-Candle Set, available at Otherland, $89Best for: The fancy candle fanAs our candle-loving editor points out, "Does the world really need another fancy candle brand?" Otherland's candles are so creative and interesting that you won't be able to resist gifting at least a few. A succulent to spruce up their spaceLula's GardenBliss Garden, available at Lula's Garden, $30Best for: The plant parentA small succulent is a perfect way to brighten up their desk, bookshelf, or windowsill. We love this one from Lula's Garden because it's wrapped in a ready-to-gift box. Plus, when you buy one, you support water.org, an organization that helps people all over the world get access to safe, clean water. A wine gift setAmazonIvation Wine Lovers Set with Opener and Preserver, available at Amazon, $49.98Best for: The wine appreciator Help elevate your recipient's wine experience by gifting this wine lover's set. The included wine preserver is a great gift for those that live alone or like to take their time with their wines. The sleek charging base and modern design make this a gift your recipient will be proud to display on their kitchen counter.A sleek knife blockMaterial KitchenThe Stand, available at Material Kitchen, $90Best for: The practical chefWe're big fans of Material Kitchen's minimalist approach to kitchen essentials — like this magnetic, angled knife block made from heavy-duty wood. A fresh flower bouquetUrbanStemsFlower bouquets, available at UrbanStems, from $35Best for: Any fan of flowersIf you don't know what to gift, flowers are always appreciated. A beautiful bouquet delivered right to them is the kindest way to say congrats and show you're thinking of them.A set of sustainable coastersJoanna BuchananRuffle Edge Straw Coasters, available at Joanna Buchanan, $48Best for: The meticulous table setterAdd a pop of color to their indoor and outdoor eating spaces with these colorful straw coasters. The coasters come in a set of four, are handwoven in the Philippines, and are made of sustainable materials.A set of monogrammed hand towelsWeeziePiped Edge Washcloths (Set of 2), available at Weezie, $36Best for: The monogram loverThe extra time and thought put into a personalized gift are worth it. You can add custom embroidery (+$15 per towel) to Weezie's fluffy and absorbent towels. A compact and lightweight hand mixerAmazonKitchenaid 5-Speed Ultra Power Hand Mixer, available at Target, $44.99Best for: The bakerNot all baking tasks require a full stand mixer. KitchenAid's hand mixer doesn't take up a lot of space but gets a variety of jobs done by offering five-speed options. You'll also have fun picking out a unique color for your recipient. The perfect pillow for side sleepersCasperOriginal Casper Pillow, available at Casper, Amazon, and Target, $65Best for: The restless side sleeperThe Original Casper Pillow will help your favorite side sleeper align their neck with their spine while sleeping. We named this pillow the best for side sleepers in our guide to the best pillows. You can customize the pillow even more by choosing its size and height.A cool drink accessory worth celebratingBrumate12oz Insulated Champagne Flute, available at BrüMate, $24.99Best for: The beachside celebratorBrumate's insulated flute prevents the disappointment of bubbly that has gone warm and flat. It holds almost half a bottle of champagne and comes in 30 pretty colors.  A digital photo frameAmazonNIX 8-Inch USB Digital Photo Frame, available at Amazon, $69.99Best for: The modern nostalgistPro-tip: Include a USB stick of your favorite photo memories together with this gift. The high-tech photo frame will shuffle through and display crisp photos and videos, and it can also be mounted on a wall. If you can stretch your budget, the more popular WiFi version is the same idea but more convenient to use because it works right from your phone's gallery. A custom map of a special locationGrafomapCustom Map Poster, available at Grafomap, from $19Best for: The one who always mentions their favorite city Grafomap is the site where you can commemorate important places, be it their hometown, college town, or the city where you two met. The custom design function is easy to use and you can choose to get the final map poster framed or printed on canvas. An everyday stainless steel frying panMade InStainless Clad Frying Pan, available at Made In, $76Best for: The one who is constantly cookingPros like Tom Colicchio trust Made In's cookware to perform in some of the country's top kitchens, so rest assured it's good enough for your recipient. The quickly growing startup is behind a couple of our favorite pieces of cookware. A beautiful piece of handmade drinkwareJFR GlassAntique Silver Glass, available at JFR Glass, $45Best for: The fan of truly unique giftsEach hand-blown glass from JFR Glass is unique. The glasses aren't just pretty — they're also functional and sturdy. They're also dishwasher-safe and UV-resistant, so your recipient can enjoy the pieces forever. A cold brew coffee makerAmazonTakeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker, available at Amazon and Target, $27.99Best for: The daily cold brew consumerHelp your favorite coffee-lover stay caffeinated with this easy-to-use cold brew coffee maker. All they need to do is fill the filter with coffee, add water to the carafe, give it all a shake, and pop it in the fridge. In 12 hours, they will have a delicious cold brew that will have them reconsidering their daily trips to their favorite coffee shop.Style giftsAn affordable cashmere sweaterNaadamMen's and Women's The Essential Cashmere Sweater, available at Naadam, $75Best for: The one with impeccable style No wardrobe is complete without a great cashmere sweater. This one from Naadam is made of heavenly-soft 100% Mongolian cashmere and comes in over 25 colors, so there's truly a shade for everyone.A box of the best socksBombasWomen's Holiday Snowflake Ankle Sock 4-Pack Gift Box, available at Bombas, $66Best for: The appreciator of practical giftsBombas socks are some of our favorites for their arch support and durability. This box set (also available in men's and kid's sizes) features a set of subtly holiday-themed socks they'll wear all year round.A funky pair of shadesCrap EyewearThe Lucid Blur, available at Crap Eyewear, $89Best for: The trendsetterA great pair of sunglasses is a seasonless gift. Even on cold winter days, a pair of sunglasses is needed to block out the sun's glare and keep them looking stylish. If you're looking to snag them a unique pair of sunglasses, check out Crap Eyewear. The styles are fun, affordable, and totally on trend. An artistic watchMoMA Design StoreSwatch x MoMa watch, available at Moma Design Store, from $80Best for: The art enthusiastWhat better way to show off their love of art than a watch inspired by famous paintings? Swatch collaborated with New York's Museum of Modern Art to create these unique watches that resemble artworks from MoMa's collection.A pair of cozy slippersZapposUGG Scuffette II Slippers, available at Zappos, Amazon, and Nordstrom, from $94.95Best for: The comfort appreciator Help them keep their feet warm while working from home with these fuzzy slippers. These high-quality slippers are made of suede and have a sheepskin collar, making them a very useful gift that your recipient may not think to purchase for themselves.A gold bracelet that displays their zodiac signAurateZodiac Bracelet, available at Aurate, $90Best for: The chic astrology enthusiastThe delicate gold vermeil bracelet is a piece they'll want to wear every day. Aurate's beautiful gold jewelry is not only more affordable than traditional fine jewelry, but it's also ethically sourced, representing a new wave of jewelry brands to know about. A sturdy walletAmazonBellroy Slim Sleeve Leather Wallet, available at Bellroy, Amazon, and Nordstrom, $79Best for: The fan of practical giftsReplace their tired and tattered wallet with this slim leather billfold from Insider Reviews' favorite wallet brand Bellroy. It's made with ethically sourced leather that will age wonderfully and last many years.A pair of comfortable wool shoesAllbirdsWool Runners, available at Allbirds, $110Best for: The constant walkerWhile Allbirds has hinted that it's on track to become more than just a shoe brand, we'll always be partial to its original sneakers made from merino wool. We've been wearing and loving the comfortable style for more than two years, and you can't go wrong gifting a pair of these shoes. A reusable bag featuring a fun printBagguStandard Baggu, available at Baggu, $14Best for: The sustainable shopperThere are plenty of reusable nylon shopping bag options out there, but where Baggu really stands out from the crowd is its variety of quirky and colorful prints. These useful bags are the perfect gift for everyone in your life.A pretty leather travel wrap for chargersMark & GrahamLeather Charger Roll Up, available on Mark & Graham, $49Best for: The efficient packerMark & Graham's Leather Charger Roll Up is made from soft, supple leather and has three separate pockets to stash cables and chargers on the go. Get it monogrammed for free.A pair of sparkly hoopsMejuriSapphire Hoops, available at Mejuri, $58Best for: The lover of subtle jewelryTraditional hoops get an embellishment of white sapphire in this affordable piece from Mejuri. Extremely comfortable, flattering lounge pantsMeUndiesLounge Pants, available at MeUndies, $68Best for: The serious loungerThese are some of the best lounge pants we've ever tried. If they're spending more time in casual wear, they'll spend an inordinate amount of time in these. We also appreciate that the silky MicroModal and sleek cut make them perfectly acceptable for wearing in public to grab the mail.A high-quality leather band for an Apple WatchAmazonBullstrap Full-Grain Italian Leather Watch Band, available at Amazon, $95Best for: The stylish watch wearerBullstrap's Italian Leather Watch Bands are the perfect way to add some elegance to an Apple Watch. They come in several colors of leather and are compatible with all generations of the Apple Watch.A mini duffel crossbody with a distinctive lookDagne DoverExtra Small Landon Carryall, available at Dagne Dover, $93.75Best for: The one who's always on the goDagne Dover excels at making functional and versatile bags like work totes and this extra small version of its popular neoprene duffel. Inside, they'll find a compartment just large enough for the day's essentials, pockets to keep them organized, and a detachable key leash. Premium underwear that's worth every pennyTommy JohnMen's Second Skin Boxer Brief (3-Pack), available at Tommy John, $86Best for: The person who'd appreciate good underwearIt's not an exaggeration to say Tommy John could be the most comfortable boxers your recipient has ever worn. The Second Skin, in particular, is a standout — smooth, soft, stretchy, and breathable. The coziest moccasins we've ever wornL.L.BeanWomen's Wicked Good Moccasins, available at L.L.Bean, $89Best for: The winter cabin weekenderCan you practically feel the soft fluffiness of these slippers through your screen? L.L.Bean supposedly sells a pair of these cushioned sheepskin shoes every seven seconds during December, proving that they are worth the purchase.A pair of blue light-blocking glasses that look good enough to wear outside of the houseMVMTIngram Crystal Everscroll Glasses, available at MVMT, $78Best for: The one who works in front of a screen all dayHelp them protect their eyes from harsh screens with a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses. Their eyes won't feel as strained, and they might be able to drift off to sleep more quickly. Beauty and self-care giftsA simple but luxurious body washNecessaireNecessaire The Body Wash, available at Sephora, $25Best for: The person who appreciates a good showerNew startup Necessaire formulates its body care products with vitamins A, B3, C, E, and omega-6 and omega-9. The subtly scented Body Wash will leave their skin feeling clean, soft, and nourished. A glamorous nail kitOlive and JuneThe Mani System Box, available at Olive and June, $85Best for: The DIY nail artistFrom shimmery to matte polish options, gift them this game-changing nail kit. It includes six different shades you can pick yourself, a topcoat, nail polish remover, nail tools, and even a latte mug.A hair towel that cuts drying time in halfAmazonAquis Rapid Dry Lisse Hair Towel, available at Anthropologie and Bergdorf Goodman, $30Best for: The one who takes hair care seriouslyAquis' cult-favorite hair towels have inspired a slew of rave reviews online, including one from our own team of product reviewers. The towels are made from a proprietary fabric called Aquitex that's composed of ultra-fine fibers (finer than silk) that work to reduce the amount of friction the hair experiences while in its weakest state. A silky hand creamLa Mer/InstagramLa Mer Hand Treatment, available at Nordstrom, $90Best for: The fan of smooth handsOf all La Mer's premium skincare products, the Hand Treatment is a brand favorite. This creamy formula is the perfect texture to help heal dry hands.A small skincare tool that removes 99.5% of dirt, oil, and makeup residueAmazonForeo Luna Facial Cleansing Brush, available at Amazon and Ulta, from $83.40Best for: The skincare enthusiastOur team swears by these gentle yet effective cleaning 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 your recipient can maintain their skincare routine no matter where they are.An easy-to-use trimmerPhilips NorelcoPhilips Norelco OneBlade Face + Body Trimmer, available at Amazon, Target, and Walmart, from $39.96Best for: The person who prefers a close shaveWhat separates the Philips Norelco OneBlade from other trimmers and shavers is the unique blade. It uses a fast-moving OneBlade cutter with a protection system on both sides of the blade to prevent knicks. The base of the blade will contour to his face, allowing for a comfortable shave or trim without irritation — and it works for wet or dry shaving.A solution to their back painBest BuyUpright Go 2 Posture Trainer, available at Best Buy, $79.99Best for: The person working on their postureThis gift is for anyone who is always complaining about their back pain or poor posture. Upright Go is an innovative and discreet device that sticks to the top of their back and helps them improve their posture, day by day. A sleep mask made with high-quality mulberry silkNordstromSlip Pure Silk Sleep Mask, available at Nordstrom, $50Best for: The person who takes sleep seriouslyFew things are more luxurious than sleeping with a silk mask. Thanks to its all silk construction, your recipient's face will feel cool all night long. An electric toothbrush they won't want to hide awayGobyMoonstone Electric Toothbrush, available at Goby, $95Best for: The dental-care obsessedIn addition to its sleek design, the Goby Toothbrush stands out for its soft brush head, normal and sensitive brushing speeds, and convenient USB charging shell. A cult-favorite fragranceLe Labo/InstagramLe Labo AnOther 13 Eau de Parfum, available at Nordstrom, from $90Best for: The daily perfume userLe Labo is famous for its distinctive packaging and subtle yet inviting scents. The AnOther is musky and woodsy, but it's balanced out with ingredients like jasmine petals. Fitness, outdoor, and hobby giftsA high-quality yoga matMandukaManduka PROlite Yoga Mat, available at Amazon, Manduka, and REI, $99Best for: The yogi Make their sweat sessions better with the addition of a great yoga mat. The Manduka PROlite boasts supportive, dense cushioning and a no-slip grip, but it's still super lightweight for easy carrying.An instant cameraFujifilmFujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Camera, available at Amazon, Walmart, and Urban Outfitters, from $73.25Best for: The memory makerSure, they can snap photos on their iPhone all night long, but these days there's something particularly special about having tangible photographs. An instant camera is the perfect gift for the one who loves documenting life in photos.A gift card from BookshopCrystal Cox/InsiderGift Card, available at Bookshop, from $10Best for: The bookstore browserBookshop allows readers to support small bookstores online. The retailer sells gift cards that your recipient will be able to use to shop online from their favorite indie bookstore. The gift cards never expire and can be bought in increments from $10 to $1000.An at-home pottery kitSculpdPottery Kit, available at Sculpd, $65Best for: The crafterThis pottery kit offers a unique activity to do with your loved ones. Each kit comes with enough supplies for two people, with add-on supplies also available for purchase so that more can participate. It also includes a step-by-step instructional booklet.A sleek fitness trackerFitbitFitbit Inspire 2, available at Best Buy, Target, and Fitbit, $79.95Best for: The avid athleteFitbit'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.Membership to a popular nationwide book clubBook of the Month6-Month Subscription, available at Book of the Month, $99.99Best for: The avid readerIf they prefer the incomparable feel of a hardcover book, set them up with a Book of the Month membership. It offers five curated titles, mainly from up-and-coming authors, to choose from every month. A bike horn that can honk as loud as a carPriority BicyclesPriority High Power Horn, available at Priority Bicycles, $29.99Best for: The bike commuterBorn out of a research project between Priority Bicycles and Toyota, this bike horn can get as loud as the one in a car. This is an excellent safety accessory for bikers.A gorgeous coffee table book that helps cure their travel bugAmazon"1,000 Places to See Before You Die (Deluxe Edition): The World as You've Never Seen It Before" by Patricia Schultz, available at Barnes & Noble, $50.99Best for: The aspirational travelerPatricia Schultz's original "1,000 Places" captured imaginations with its compelling curation of experiences all over the world. The newly released deluxe edition features a beautiful gold-embellished cover and more than 1,000 new photographs. An interactive state park mapUncommonGoodsState Parks Explorer Map, available at UncommonGoods, $28Best for: The hikerThis state park map is sure to come in handy whenever they venture into the outdoors. Choose from 10 maps that each list over 30 parks in states such as New York, California, and Connecticut. The map includes a sheet of gold stickers so they can mark their progress after each park visit.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 5th, 2022

AmEx (AXP) Unveils Platform to Simplify Digital B2B Payments

American Express (AXP) launches Amex Business Link to enable its network participants extend seamless B2B payments to their business clients, thus saving time and costs. American Express Company AXP recently introduced a business-to-business (B2B) payments solution named Amex Business Link, which is presently used by more than 500 business clients across five countries.The digital platform is powered by reporting and reconciliation tools. It can also establish links with API-enabled customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.American Express’ platform aims to aid third-party issuing and acquiring participants in its network as they cater to their business clients. Network participants are relieved from the previously incurred costs related to the digital onboarding of buyers and suppliers.Further, the participants can extend lending solutions that enables them to avail working capital by buyers and suppliers. The platform also offers network participants access to a greater number of commercial clients across American Express' network.The Amex Business Link also promises to benefit buyers and suppliers, irrespective of their scale of business. Seamless buying and selling coupled with easy management of domestic and cross-border payments are some of the benefits of the newly launched platform. Moreover, it also empowers buyers and suppliers to accept payments made through diversified modes such as card, wire and check.The new platform is indicative of American Express’ continuous efforts to bring about speedier B2B payments. It also marks yet another investment of AXP as part of its customer acquisition, engagement and retention initiatives. An extremely useful platform like the Amex Business Link might intrigue customers to avail the solution and thereby, bolster AXP’s customer base.  In an evolving digital era wherein businesses are compelled to infuse digitization into their operations, the decision to roll out Amex Business Link is aptly timed.  American Express is not content with simply launching digital payment solutions. Simultaneously, the company also has effective fraud prevention services in place that have been developed with the help of partnerships and investments. Digitization, inspite of its comfort and ease, leads to considerable cybercrimes. Thereby, AXP has secured payment rails boasting the lowest fraud rates for its network participants.  Shares of American Express have inched up 1% in a year against the industry’s decline of 16.7%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks Rank & Key PicksAXP currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the Finance space are Amalgamated Financial Corp. AMAL, Cathay General Bancorp CATY and First Reliance Bancshares, Inc. FSRL. While Amalgamated Financial sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Cathay General and First Reliance Bancshares carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Amalgamated Financial’s earnings surpassed estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, the average beat being 19.41%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for AMAL’s 2022 earnings suggests an improvement of 51.7%, while the same for revenues suggests growth of 31.1% from the corresponding year-ago reported figures. The consensus mark for AMAL’s 2022 earnings has moved 5.2% north in the past 30 days.The bottom line of Cathay General beat estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 4.29%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for CATY’s 2022 earnings suggests an improvement of 29.2%, while the same for revenues suggests growth of 22% from the corresponding year-ago reported figures. The consensus mark for CATY’s 2022 earnings has moved 4.2% north in the past 60 days.First Reliance Bancshares’ earnings outpaced estimates in two of the last four quarters, missed the mark once and met the same on the other occasion, the average surprise being 9.31%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for FSRL’s 2022 earnings suggests an improvement of 18.5%, while the same for revenues suggests growth of 0.5% from the corresponding year-ago reported figures. The consensus mark for FSRL’s 2022 earnings has moved 13.2% north in the past 30 days.Shares of Amalgamated Financial and Cathay General have gained 58.9% and 8.5%, respectively, in a year. However, First Reliance Bancshares stock has lost 11.2% in the same time frame. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>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 American Express Company (AXP): Free Stock Analysis Report Cathay General Bancorp (CATY): Free Stock Analysis Report First Reliance Bancshares Inc. (FSRL): Free Stock Analysis Report Amalgamated Financial Corp. (AMAL): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 3rd, 2022

FTX Post Mortem Part 2 Of 3: How Did We Get Here?

FTX Post Mortem Part 2 Of 3: How Did We Get Here? Authored by Scott Hill via BombThrower.com, Last week we covered the collapse of FTX as it happened but there’s a lot more to the story. How did FTX grow from a tiny Hong Kong bucket shop into a top three Crypto exchange over the course of just a few years? What was Alameda research and were they ever legitimate? Most importantly, how exactly does an exchange lose track of up to $10 billion worth of customer deposits? Most of this material is still an educated guess, but the guessers are out there putting together clues from private discussions which have been leaked, the bankruptcy proceedings and first hand dealings shared on Crypto Twitter. It’s worth noting that there is a whole deep state angle to this story. I won’t go into it in this article because so little is known (see endnote) What we do know is mostly confined to the fact that FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) was the second largest donor to Democrat political campaigns since 2019. His Co-CEO for part of the FTX Empire, Ryan Salame, was a top 10 donor to the Republican party in the same period. Sam Bankman-Fried met with SEC Chairman Gary Gensler seeking a “no action” letter on an enforcement matter in April, shortly before SBF began pushing the DCCPA, a bill which the Crypto industry mainly saw as a subtle crackdown on DeFi wrapped in a reasonable sounding regulatory framework. The biggest question mark is the identity of FTX CTO and co-founder Garry Wang. The man is a ghost with very little online presence and only a handful of photos. Famed short seller Marc Cohodes is under the impression that Wang is a state actor for the CCP. These questions are important and interesting, but they don’t make for a useful article because of the complete absence of detail. Alameda Research Alameda Research, the market maker or crypto hedge fund founded by SBF in Hong Kong during the bull run of 2017 is the start of the rot. The official story is that the firm was formed from a team of young hotshots who learned to trade at Jane Street, a notoriously secretive global market maker which trades more than $10 trillion in securities volume each year. In January 2018 as Bitcoin was collapsing, Alameda research were performing the Japan arbitrage trade. They purchased Bitcoin in the US, moved it onto Japanese exchanges and cashed in on the gap between markets. The spread was often as wide as 10%. SBF claimed the firm made $10M on the arbitrage over the course of several weeks. This was a complicated trade. Japanese capital controls are strict with only Japanese nationals allowed to hold bank accounts, making it extremely difficult to get the money out of Japan and requiring a reasonable level of sophistication and corporate legitimacy to pull off. Following the Japan arbitrage, Alameda went after the “Kimchi Premium”. This was the same type of arbitrage trade, with Bitcoin on South Korean exchanges worth up to 20% more than Bitcoin on US exchanges. The capital controls were tighter, the ability to set up corporate infrastructure in the nation was more restricted and Bitcoin was in the middle of collapsing making trading the asset much more risky. Some people are suggesting that Alameda lost $10 million on the Kimchi Premium trade, but no one really knows whether any of this story is even true. I’m deeply skeptical of this entire backstory given what we have now seen about how careful SBF is with his public image. It’s entirely possible that this whole story was a fabrication to paint the picture of a boy genius trader with a Jane Street pedigree striking out on his own in Crypto land. Completely Absurd Fundraising In early 2018, Alameda Research established headquarters in Hong Kong. While SBF was a complete unknown to Crypto insiders at the time, Alameda Research was making a name for itself, frequently up the top of the Bitmex trading leaderboard. Crypto markets in 2018 were very different to the last few years. While 2017 had seen a burst of activity during Bitcoin’s bull run, volumes were still tiny and there were very few professional firms taking the asset class seriously. It’s completely plausible that in the absence of professional market makers, Alameda Research could have done very well. It also seems likely that the edge that such a small team had would have disappeared quickly as the market became more professional. Alameda Research only had a handful of employees. Nowhere near enough to build and execute a sophistical algorithmic market making strategy, such as those employed at Jane Street. In December 2019 an investment pitch deck for Alameda Research circulated among Crypto insiders. The firm was seeking to raise $200 million in debt funding and was offering 15% payments on the debt. The pitch itself made ridiculous claims about the firm’s edge and was riddled with red flags. “High Returns with no risk – These loans have no downside” Insiders that viewed the pitch deck were confused. The whispers within the industry were that this firm was highly profitable yet they seemed desperate to raise $200 million. Most stayed away and it’s unclear whether or not the fundraising was successful. Launch of FTX FTX was founded in May 2019 but had very little volume until the following year when they established the regulatory status to allow US customers to trade. FTX later acquired Blockfolio to obtain additional US licensing and the bones of a trading app. Even with this boost in volume, FTX was considered an unfavorable exchange to make markets for among established industry participants. The presumption was that Alameda Research was an embedded market maker that was given an unfair advantage on the platform and rival firms stayed clear. At the time SBF was still the CEO of both companies. There were claims of a separation of the firms, but it was known that they both operated out of the same offices in Hong Kong. It was rumored that Alameda had full access to customer position data and would hunt for liquidations. FTX was seen as a shady offshore bucket shop. By early 2021 little had changed in the industry perception of FTX, but volume was growing. In January SBF was busy arguing on Twitter, leading to the infamous “I’ll buy as much Solana as  you have, right now, at $3” tweet. He was not taken seriously until later that year when this huge Solana bet seemed to pay off. FTX gains Legitimacy By the middle of 2021, with Crypto in a raging bull market and FTX capturing significant market share, the exchange became too large to ignore. A big part of the story was China putting in place another round of Crypto bans in September which forced many major Crypto traders and market makers to find new venues to trade. Zhu Su, founder of disgraced Crypto Hedge fund Three Arrows Capital said recently that he had moved his fund’s trading from Huobi and Okex to FTX and Binance in the wake of the China ban. FTX gave them extremely favorable terms. A big reason that firms began to feel comfortable with FTX was the splashy fundraising FTX was able to pull off. Market participants assumed that among the billions of dollars of venture capital money that had been invested in FTX, someone had done basic due diligence on the firm. We now know that during these heady days of free money SBF was demanding investment commitments quickly from VCs or he would move on to the next phone call. There was a giant line of VCs desperate to get into an FTX round. The July fundraising list was a who’s who of Silicon Valley VC. Led by Sequoia, the round included Softbank, Temasek and VanEck. Apparently none of these firms insisted on even the most basic corporate controls, like installing a board of directors. A later round included a strategic investment from Blackrock. FTX was a blue ribbon investment. They all needed Crypto exposure now and FTX was the hottest Crypto startup in town. The other piece of the puzzle was that trading firms were now making money on FTX, when before they were simply getting their positions hunted by Alameda. Leverage was handed out in ample servings. Compliance was lax. Payouts were quick. It seemed to most that FTX had moved on from its shady beginnings to become a legitimate venue for market makers to use. Tokens A giant part of understanding exactly what went down at FTX is understanding the Tokens they had launched or partnered with. In 2019 FTX launched FTT, an Ethereum ecosystem token which represented a cut of exchange fees and offered discounts to traders for holding it. It was the same model that Binance launched their token with in 2017. Tokens would be bought out of the market with a portion of exchange profits on a regular basis, delivering a return to investors. A huge portion of FTT tokens were held on the FTX balance sheet as an asset. Even more egregious were the Solana ecosystem tokens which FTX helped launch. The leaked balance sheet showed that FTX had large holdings of Serum, Maps and Oxy. It showed Serum tokens marked as a $2.2 billion asset. Available market cap at the time was less than $500 million. We don’t know for sure, but it seems likely that loans were taken out backed by FTT and other minor tokens. Essentially, it seems that SBF invented his own currency from this air and then took out US dollar loans against it from anyone that would offer.  We haven’t heard from any major Crypto lender about whether or not they took FTT as collateral. We may never hear an admission on that point. What we do know is that Solana DeFi, where SBF had significant influence, largely took these minor tokens as collateral for loans on much more generous terms than seems reasonable now. And why wouldn’t Crypto lenders offer loans to FTX on whatever collateral was offered? FTX was the fastest growing exchange in industry history. It had prestigious investors. Its CEO was throwing around cash on advertising and political donations. Surely FTX was profitable enough to service their loans. So what happened to the money? When FTX blew up there was a balance sheet hole of somewhere between $6-10 billion. It was reported as “missing customer funds” but judging from recent public comments made by SBF it seems more likely that there was a complex web of loans and cross company funding arrangements than just straight up theft of customer assets. An underreported part of this story which fills in a key gap is that the offshore FTX entity apparently didn’t have its own bank account. Wires to the offshore exchange would go directly into a bank account held by Alameda Research. It seems that FTX didn’t secretly transfer customer funds to its associated hedge fund, it probably didn’t even make loans between companies. The most likely explanation is that Alameda Research just had direct access to customer funds  which were wired to them. While shocking, it wouldn’t be as egregious if the FTX terms didn’t explicitly say that assets were held on trust for customers. FTX wasn’t supposed to touch customer funds once they were deposited. Maybe that’s the whole point, that SBF was relying on some bizarre technicality or legal fiction to convince himself that he had the right to deal with customer assets. Did I mention that both of his parents are compliance lawyers, with one a leading expert on tax havens. If there’s anyone that could access the advice to set up a complex piece of legal fiction entitling him to pilfer customer funds in a defensible way, it’s SBF. Liquidations That only explains how Alameda Research got access to customer funds, but how did they lose the funds? Alameda Research is a market maker primarily and was the key integrated market maker on FTX. Among other things that gave Alameda the ability to purchase liquidated positions of customers, likely at a huge discount. In a bull market this is a hugely advantaged position to be in. Say Bitcoin drops 5% in an hour and longs get liquidated, Alameda was able to purchase those long Bitcoin positions and then resell them later, after the liquidation cascade was over and price had recovered. Alameda was exempt from liquidation on FTX, so they could hold underwater positions for as long as they wanted without being forced to close them. In a bear market, Alameda would likely accumulate underwater positions that they couldn’t get out of without incurring a large loss. Other market makers will generally sell a liquidated position off as soon as possible, to avoid being liquidated themselves. This doesn’t appear to be a check and balance that was in place for Alameda’s operations on FTX. Another key feature of the leverage trading offered at FTX was cross asset collateral. Essentially this means that leverage was offered on the entire portfolio of a customer. There wasn’t a segregation of collateral, users could simply offer up a mixed list of tokens and take margin loans against the whole pie. This included FTT and Serum at much more generous collateral ratios than other exchanges offered. Whatever low quality collateral you had, FTX would take it, and it seems that it would end up on Alameda’s books when a customer was liquidated. Luna Eclipse In a collapsing market, this lack of controls over Alameda is potentially disastrous. Luna had the most high profile collapse in the history of Crypto tokens in May this year, losing 99.7% of its value in a week before getting as close to absolute zero as possible. FTX and Binance were the major venues for trading the Luna collapse. Traders bought the dip on leverage all the way down. It seems likely that Alameda took all of those liquidated positions onto their own balance sheet. Luna started its collapse at around $90. The following week it was at essentially zero. There is no way that Alameda could have sold off all of those liquidated customer positions as the token collapsed. This type of liquidation transaction is known as “toxic flow” and is a surefire way to bankrupt a market maker. If FTX’s famously specialized liquidation engine simply meant that customer positions were shunted onto the Alameda balance sheet to be cleared at a later date, then the amount of toxic flow from junk tokens in the last year would build up quickly. This seems to be the only way the size of the hole makes any sense. Other Problems If we assume that Luna blew a giant hole in the balance sheets within the FTX empire then what happened next makes a whole lot more sense. SBF went on a buying spree as Crypto lenders collapsed, backstopping insolvent firms and being proclaimed as Crypto’s JP Morgan. In the cold light of day a more likely explanation than wanting to save the industry is wanting to save himself. If insolvent Crypto lenders like Voyager and Celsius had given loans to FTX, taking FTT and other minor tokens as collateral then those tokens would be seized and sold into the market during a bankruptcy, cratering the price and liquidating FTX loans with other lenders. Don’t forget, for tokens like Serum, FTX held and likely pledged as collateral more than the entire free float on the market. All of this isn’t to say that funds didn’t go missing in other ways though. According to the Bankruptcy filings, FTX had loaned more than $1 billion to SBF individually and $2.3 billion to his investment company, Paper Bird Inc. There were also 9 figure loans to other executives and Bahamas real estate purchased by SBF’s parents and associates worth $300 million. There are even suggestions that the $420 million meme fundraise in October 2021 basically just ended up in the pocket of SBF, rather than productively invested in the company. It seems like the FTX balance sheet was used as a slush fund for SBF. None of this in any way can add up to $6-10 billion in stolen customer funds and it’s unlikely that the mechanism was brazen theft. The scenario outlined above, poor trading controls at Alameda creating bad debt within the corporate structure and a CEO that was scrambling to keep the empire afloat, is far more likely. This also casts a new light on the “generous terms” offered to other major market participants in 2021. Taking VC money What if Alameda’s goal wasn’t to make money, but to lose money to other traders in a perverse growth hack used to attract the next round of “smart money” investors? After all, at best Alameda had been making a few hundred million from trading over the course of its existence and likely much less than that. As spreads closed with more market makers flooding into the asset class it’s much easier to take money from Sequoia and Softbank than it is to make money trading. Running an unprofitable casino is a terrible business, but selling an unprofitable casino that looks extremely busy to a private investor is a fantastic business. This part of the story seems like the inevitable end state of the 2010s dominance of Venture Capital and private investing. After a decade of easy money, low interest loans and an insatiable appetite for tech investments we were bound to see someone game the system. In 2021 VCs were not doing diligence, they were shoving newly raised funds into startups as fast as possible. Venture capital firms invested $643 billion in 2021. Almost double the pace of 2020 and five times as much as was committed in 2012. For context, noted scam company Theranos raised $1.4 billion over 13 years. FTX raised $1.8 billion in only 3 years. The entire story of the growth of FTX is a story of the driving forces of tech stock investing being applied to Crypto and fintech. The problem is that when a social media company blows up, users just lose their photos and social graph. When a fintech or Crypto company blows up, customers lose their funds and lives are ruined. A big part of the problem with FTX was that tech growth hacking and the infinite pot of VC money was applied to financial services with little regard for the safety of users. No one did the diligence. The regulators were asleep at the wheel. “Grow fast and break things” isn’t an appropriate model for the financial sector. We Have Questions… This article mostly dealt with how FTX managed to grow so fast and then blow up so spectacularly but it didn’t touch on the why. As stated in the introduction, there are some major question marks about state entanglement, potential involvement of intelligence operatives and the corruption of captured regulators are all major open questions that I just don’t have answers to. Was FTX a plant to bring down the Crypto industry and justify tighter regulation? Was FTX a front for money flowing from Crypto traders and Tech VCs into Democrat coffers? Why is the mainstream media reporting on this event as if SBF is just a failed entrepreneur who dreamed too big, rather than a fraud who appropriated customer funds? Who was behind the success of FTX? Who is Gary Wang? We likely won’t ever get satisfactory answers to these questions. The family political links between major characters in this story are deeply suspicious. As one Crypto Twitter account that has been covering the news relentlessly said: “This FTX fiasco is *really* doing its best to confirm every single conspiracy theory anyone has ever had about anything.” Next week in the conclusion of this three part article I’ll cover some of the fallout surrounding the FTX collapse that is important to understand and the lessons being learned by the industry in its attempt to rebuild. [A good place to start down the deep state rabbit hole in all this is Mathew Crawford’s  ‘A Grand Unified Theory of FTX’ – which I printed off to read and it clocks in around 65 pages – markjr] *  *  * Today’s post is from contributing analyst Scott Hill. To receive further updates of this series and our overall investment thesis for digital assets (even in this climate), subscribe to the Bombthrower mailing list.  Tyler Durden Sun, 11/27/2022 - 20:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 28th, 2022

Elon Musk says Stephen King is "one of most creative people on Earth" despite the author calling him a "terrible fit" for Twitter

The writer previously had a tiff with the billionaire over his verification plans for Twitter, saying he would leave the platform if he had to pay. Elon Musk and Stephen King have complimented each other on Twitter.Getty Images Elon Musk tweeted on Sunday that Stephen King is "one of the most creative people on Earth." It followed King's tweet commending Musk's Tesla work but calling him a "terrible fit" for Twitter. Musk went on to tweet he would welcome suggestions from the author on running Twitter. Elon Musk complimented bestselling writer Stephen King in a tweet on Sunday morning, calling him "one of most creative people on Earth."The pair previously feuded over the new verification process on Twitter when Musk was teasing that users would have to pay as much as $20 a month to stay verified on the platform. The horror writer said he'd be "gone like Enron" if the policy was instituted.But the tone of the discussion between the two appears to have shifted. King tweeted on Saturday: "I think Elon Musk is a visionary. Almost singlehandedly, he's changed the way Americans think about automobiles. I have a Tesla and love it."He added: "That said, he's been a terrible fit for Twitter. He appears to be making it up as he goes along."Musk responded, saying he welcomed the author's suggestions. The following day, podcast host Graham Allen told Musk over Twitter to ignore King. The billionaire responded in the early hours on Sunday that, while he may not agree with everything King says, "I do actually want to hear it."—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 27, 2022Charging for a blue check mark is one of several controversies that cropped up after Musk took ownership of Twitter. Its prominence is the result of fears it could drive big names, such as King, away from Twitter and allow fake accounts to impersonate government officials, journalists, and celebrities on the site.Comedian Kathy Griffin was among those who attempted to prove a point by impersonating the billionaire. Her account was suspended for a while.Musk is now coming under fire for reinstating the account of former president Donald Trump after polling users on whether he should do so. He also said he is reinstating all the previously suspended accounts starting next week.Twitter didn't immediately respond to a request for comment by Insider.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 27th, 2022

See the slides Elon Musk used for his company talk on Twitter 2.0, including graphs saying signups and active minutes are at an all-time high

The slides listed features Musk has planned for Twitter 2.0, including long-form tweets, encrypted DMs, and "advertising as entertainment." Twitter laid off nearly half of its workforce on Friday.Getty Images Elon Musk on Saturday shared slides he said were from a Twitter company talk he delivered. The slides included graphs that showed Twitter downloads and usage were at record highs. They also noted features Musk plans to implement, including long-form tweets and encrypted DMs. Elon Musk on Saturday said Twitter signups and active minutes are at an all-time high as he continues to roll out his 2.0 version of the platform.Musk shared a series of slides he said were from a Twitter company talk he delivered. The slides included graphs as well as features he plans to include in Twitter 2.0, a term he's used to refer to his vision for the social media site.Graphs shared by Musk showed signups reached a seven-day average of 2 million per day as of November 16, representing an increase of 66% from the same week a year prior. User active minutes reached a seven-day average of 8 billion per day, a 30% increase from the year prior.Both figures were record highs, according to the slides, which cited internal company data.Another graph shared by Musk showed hate speech impressions appeared to be slightly lower than a year prior, despite spiking around the time Musk took over the company. Reports previously said hate speech and the use of racial slurs skyrocketed immediately after the takeover.The slides also listed features and goals Musk has for Twitter 2.0, including long-form tweets, encrypted DMs, and "advertising as entertainment."One graph showed reported impersonations on Twitter dramatically spiked around the launch of Twitter Blue, or the $8 blue check mark, but then fell to a level closer to the same time last year. The slides noted plans to "relaunch Blue Verified," which was suspended after accounts with blue checks used their verified status to impersonate and troll famous people and brands.—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 27, 2022Twitter is also recruiting, according to the slides, after mass layoffs and resignations transformed the company's workforce.Musk and Twitter did not respond to requests for comment or additional details about the company talk he said the slides were used for.The Tesla and SpaceX billionaire has dramatically shaken up the social media platform since taking over on October 27. He previously shared some details of his vision for Twitter 2.0, which he described as "extremely hardcore," Insider's Kali Hays reported.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 27th, 2022

The Twitter Blue relaunch is on hold until the platform can sort out impersonation issues with "high confidence," Elon Musk says

The billionaire also tweeted that the new Twitter Blue will "probably" use different color checks to distinguish individuals from organizations. Elon Musk’s Twitter account is displayed on the screen of an iPhone on April 26, 2022 in Paris, France.Chesnot/Getty Images Elon Musk says Twitter Blue's relaunch is on hold until it can deal with impersonation issues. He said Twitter would need to safeguard against impersonation with "high confidence." The new system will likely use different color checks for individuals and organizations, he added.  The launch of Twitter's reworked verification system is on hold until the platform has "high confidence" that it can stop impersonation, new CEO Elon Musk said."Holding off relaunch of Blue Verified until there is high confidence of stopping impersonation," Musk tweeted late on Monday. The new system will also likely use different color checks to distinguish individuals from organizations, he said.—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 22, 2022 Musk's announcement comes after the social media platform halted its relaunch of Twitter Blue — which gives users a blue tick if they pay $8 a month — due to widespread impersonation issues.The billionaire's latest update also supersedes his earlier announcement that Twitter Blue would return on November 29.Musk's haphazard launch of Twitter's paid verification began on November 5. That day, several celebrities such as actor Valerie Bertinelli and comedian Kathy Griffin began impersonating Musk to make a point about his new system.On November 6, Musk tweeted that Twitter would permanently suspend impersonators and parody accounts with "no warning."On November 8, the platform said it would use a blue check to denote paid verification users and gray checks to mark "official" verified accounts of news outlets, celebrities, politicians, and other figures and organizations. Two days later, Musk announced that he had killed the feature.Scammers and pranksters began to flood Twitter, impersonating figures such as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Lebron James. Parody accounts for brands emerged too, with one user pretending to be pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and announcing that "insulin is free now," causing the firm's stock to plummet.Twitter suspended its verification relaunch on November 11, and started focusing on solving impersonation issues, per Platformer's Zoe Schiffer, who cited an internal note.Musk did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 21st, 2022

What is Hive Social? A guide to the viral Twitter alternative that has no algorithms

Hive Social is a mobile-only social media app that lets you post messages, videos, polls, and more to a chronological feed of followers. Hive Social, also known just as "Hive," is blowing up in popularity.Hive Social Hive Social is a mobile-only social media app that's become a popular Twitter alternative. Like Twitter, Hive Social lets you post messages, videos, polls, and more to a chronological feed of followers. You can join Hive Social using your email address, phone number, or a Google or Apple account. Twitter has had a tumultuous year, and users are starting to seek other options. One of the most popular Twitter alternatives to crop up lately is Hive Social.Hive Social is a mobile-only platform that's trying to recreate Twitter without any of the algorithms. Although it's been around for a few years, it took until late November 2022 for it to explode in popularity.Here's how to sign up for Hive Social and how it works.What is Hive Social?At first glance, Hive Social doesn't do anything particularly special. You can follow other users, and post messages or pictures. It's incredibly similar to Twitter.The biggest difference between the two is that Hive Social claims to have no algorithms deciding which posts you see. In other words, your feed shows you posts exclusively in the order that they were posted — it's totally chronological. This is in contrast to other platforms like Twitter, which analyze your interests and daily schedule to prioritize posts the app thinks you'll like.There aren't any blue checkmarks, and users can't pay to boost their posts. It's just about when the posts go up. You can also Repost others' content to your own feed, or Like posts to save them for later.Your Hive Social feed is sorted in chronological order.Hive SocialYou can also customize your Hive profile in a few cool ways. Like Twitter, you can add a profile picture and cover photo. But you can also pick a color theme that all of your profile's buttons will match, and a song that'll play when people visit — it's a real MySpace throwback.This is in addition to pronoun badges, astrology signs, and more coming in future updates. You can also post NSFW content, as long as it's tagged correctly.Who owns Hive Social?As of this writing, Hive Social is owned, built, and operated by only two people. However, their identities are a secret.Hive Social's website says that the platform was created by someone named "Raluca," and is currently run by her and an unnamed developer. In an interview from 2021, a woman named Kassandra Pop claimed that she founded the app, meaning that she might be Raluca. But it's all pretty unclear right now.How to join Hive SocialUnlike most social media platforms, you can only use Hive on your phone. The developers claim that a website will launch eventually, but right now, you'll need to download the Hive Social app on your iPhone or Android.Launch the app and tap Create an Account, then choose how you want to sign up. You can use your Google account, Apple account (if you're using an iPhone), your email address, or phone number. If you choose your email address or phone number, you'll also need to confirm your identity using a verification link or code.Whichever option you choose, you'll then need to pick a display name and username. Your display name is what will appear the biggest on all your posts, while your username is a unique @ handle.Note: Some Android users have reported bugs when signing up for a Hive account. If the app constantly tells you that the username you want is taken, no matter what you've entered, close the app and try again later.Lastly, the app will ask you to choose some interests. Although your feed is chronological, these interests affect what suggestions you're shown on the app's Discover page.You'll need to choose at least three interests.Hive Social; William Antonelli/InsiderYou've now got free reign to use Hive Social however you like.To get started, check out the five icons at the bottom of the app's screen.The far-left icon that looks like a beehive is your Feed. This is where posts from the people you follow will show up.The magnifying glass icon is the Discover page, which lets you search for posts and other users.The middle icon that looks like a plus sign is for making new posts.The bell icon is your Notifications page.The far-right icon shows your profile picture, and will take you to your profile page.Your posts have no character limit, and you can add pictures, videos, GIFs, and polls. And if you tap the three dots above your phone's keyboard, you can mark the post as NSFW or choose who can see it.You can change your post's privacy settings from this menu.Hive Social; William Antonelli/InsiderRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 21st, 2022

Futures Flat As War Threat Fades

Futures Flat As War Threat Fades US equity futures were flat, having traded in a narrow range on either side of unchanged, as investors braced for the latest retail sales data, assessed the easing path of inflation and remained calm in the face of rising geopolitical concerns resulting from a NATO attempt to paint rocket a Ukraine strike on a Polish village as Russian, in hopes of dramatically escalating the war. Russia now promotes a conspiracy theory that it was allegedly a missile of Ukrainian air defense that fell on the Polish theory. Which is not true. No one should buy Russian propaganda or amplify its messages. This lesson should have been long learnt since the downing of #MH17. — Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) November 15, 2022 Luckily, video evidence refuted the false flag, and overnight NATO was forced to admit that the ":Explosion in Poland was Likely Due to Ukraine Air Defense" Even so, the Western pro-war alliance still blamed Russia with  NATO's Secretary General saying the blast in Poland was likely caused by a Ukrainian air defence missile but that Russia was ultimately responsible because it started the war. "They are responsible for the war that has caused this situation.” Propaganda aside, fears of an immediate spillover from the conflict were soothed, knocking the yen and dollar lower, as demand for safe-haven assets gradually faded.   “It’s a reminder that the risk of escalation is in the background. It’s something we need to watch for, because any escalation of military action and additional impact on energy supply could seriously disrupt markets,” said Kiran Ganesh, managing director at UBS Global Wealth Management. Failed Gulf of Tonkin 2.0 aside, contracts on the Nasdaq 100 were down 0.1% and the S&P 500 was flat as of 7:30 a.m. in New York, erasing modest earlier losses and gains; the dollar dropped and the euro and the Polish zloty recouped earlier knee-jerk losses. 10Y yields traded near session lows at 3.758%.  In premarket trading, stocks linked to Donald Trump, including blank check company Digital World Acquisition Corp., surged after the former president officially entered the 2024 presidential race. Meanwhile, suppliers to Apple could be active, following a report about the iPhone maker preparing to begin sourcing chips for its devices from a plant under construction in Arizona. Here are the other notable premarket movers: Carnival (CCL US) shares fall 13% after a private offering of $1 billion of convertible senior notes. Ginkgo Bioworks (DNA US) shares dropped as much as 7.5% after the cell-programming platform provider launched a share sale, with the company planning to use the net proceeds to offset the cash used to finance the acquisition of assets and liabilities of Bayer CropScience, and for other general corporate purposes. Tattooed Chef (TTCF US) slides as much as 15% after the plant-based food company said it intends to raise additional debt or equity capital in the “near future.” Advance Auto (AAP US) shares dive as much as 14% set for its biggest drop since March 2020, with analysts saying that the car parts retailer’s results were underwhelming and a surprise with earnings per share missing estimates and the firm nudging down its guidance. Analysts also flagged a negative impact from currency and higher expenses. Lulu’s Fashion Lounge (LVLU US) fell 26% after its revenue forecast for 2022 fell short of the average analyst estimate. The company also said Chief Financial Officer Crystal Landsem will succeed David McCreight as chief executive officer, effective March 6. US stocks rose Tuesday as fresh data added to evidence that inflation may have peaked, strengthening the case for the Federal Reserve to moderate the pace of interest-rate hikes. “Investors’ euphoria is understandable given the first small signs of easing on the inflation front, but we wonder whether it isn’t also a bit overdone,” said Marko Behring, head of asset management at Fuerst Fugger Privatbank. “The current recovery moves, which are overshooting a bit, could trigger exactly what many market participants no longer have on their radar: a US central bank that might have to act more aggressively again, precisely because of the burgeoning euphoria.” Colin Asher, senior economist at Mizuho Bank Ltd. sees the moves as overdone, and predicted more volatility ahead. US retail sales and housing market data due later on Wednesday may offer more clues on the state of the US economy. “I am more in the dollar-plateau versus the dollar-peak camp,” he said. “Inflation may have peaked but that doesn’t mean it’s coming down rapidly. We have probably seen the peak for the dollar but it wouldn’t surprise me if we go back into a period of softer equities.” In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped as geopolitical developments weigh on sentiment; risk was dragged down by real estate, autos and retail. Energy outperformed. The FTSE 100 outperforms, adding 0.2%, IBEX lags, dropping 0.9%. There were signs of overheating in the region after a 19% rally since Sept. 29 for euro-area blue chips, which reached their most overbought level in nearly 23 years. UK inflation data for October was higher than expected, increasing pressure on the Bank of England to keep raising interest rates. Here are the biggest European movers: Siemens Energy rises as much as 7.8% to its highest since Aug. 31 after the energy development company reported a “solid finish” to FY22 with the growth and margin outlook looking strong, according to Jefferies. Sage Group jumps as much as 7.1%, with analysts saying the software maker’s annualized recurring revenue growth of 12% and FY23 outlook are bright spots of its full-year results. Alstom climbs as much as 6.3% after the French rail equipment maker reported first-half results, with orders beating expectations. Prosus gains as much as 4.8% after Chinese online giant Tencent reported better-than-expected profit and said it will distribute the majority of its shares in food delivery firm Meituan to investors. Swedish landlord Balder falls as much as 8.1% on reports it may face a credit downgrade by S&P, pulling local peers lower. Mercedes-Benz falls as much as 6.2%, the most intraday since Sept. 5 and the worst performer in the Stoxx 600 Automobiles & Parts Index; the German carmaker cut prices on two EV models in China, with Oddo saying the move is “new evidence of tough competition” in the country. Evotec falls as much as 6.2% after Deutsche Bank downgrades to hold from buy, with the broker seeing risks to the German pharma firm’s 2022 guidance and saying its ability to meet 2023 consensus estimates is “ambitious.” SGS shares drop as much as 5.9%, the most since March 2020, after an unscheduled trading update from the Swiss industrial that Morgan Stanley said could drive downgrades in the mid single-digits. Asian stocks fell as traders weighed rising geopolitical tensions and surging Covid cases in China. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell as much as 1.1% before paring to 0.4%. Key gauges in China and Hong Kong led declines, with most national benchmarks in the red. Risk-off sentiment returned after a Russian-made missile struck Poland, though US President Joe Biden said it was unlikely to have been fired from Russia. A jump in China’s daily virus tally further fueled investor caution, casting doubt over a potential exit from its Covid Zero policy. Signs that the Federal Reserve is slowing its pace of monetary tightening have lifted markets this month, with a slew of Fed speakers indicating a readiness to moderate the size of their rates hikes. The Asian stock benchmark is up 13% so far in November, poised for its best monthly performance since 1998. “The Fed has garnered more catalysts to slow its pace of hikes, which also provides further support to the equity market rally,” said Jessica Amir, market strategist at Saxo Capital Markets. The next important data sets the Fed will be watching are due early next month, including US jobs and CPI, she added. Japanese stocks closed mixed as US President Joe Biden and key European leaders urged caution after a rocket struck a Polish village just over the border from Ukraine. The Topix closed little changed at 1,963.29, while the Nikkei advanced 0.1% to 28,028.30. The yen weakened against the dollar, erasing earlier gains. Out of 2,165 stocks in the index, 1,076 rose and 966 fell, while 123 were unchanged. “There is a bit of a risk-off mood after news that a Russian missile landed in Poland,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management. “In an extreme case, if NATO were to move, the market would become more risk averse in general.” In FX, the Bloomberg dollar spot index falls 0.2%. JPY and GBP are the weakest performers in G-10 FX, EUR and DKK outperform. The euro led G-10 gains and rose for a second day versus the dollar, but remained within yesterday’s range. The common currency’s volatility skew shifted lower this week, urging caution to those long the euro in the spot market. The pound held its ground against a broadly weaker dollar, but underperformed most major currencies after data showed UK inflation rose; UK CPI rose to 11.1% from a year ago in October, the highest in 41-years. That was more than the central bank’s peak forecast for 10.9% and the 10.7% median that economists had expected. Focus turns to Bank of England officials’ testimony to lawmakers later and then the fiscal statement Thursday. Gilt yields were 1bp lower to 2bps higher. The Aussie trades near its strongest level in more than two months as the nation’s relationship with China appears to be stabilizing and on the back of a weaker greenback from easing concerns over geopolitical tensions in eastern Europe. The nation’s wages climbed 1% in the three months through September from the prior quarter, the fastest pace since early 2012, for an annual gain of 3.1% In rates, Treasuries were narrowly mixed after paring losses, with 2s10s curve flatter; bunds and gilts outperformed during London morning. 20-year new-issue auction is a focal point of US session, along with retail sales and three scheduled Fed speakers. 10-year TSY yields dropped to 3.76% vs day’s high 3.84%, lagging bunds and gilts in the sector by ~3bp; front-end underperformance flattens 2s10s by ~1bp to -59bp, within 3bp of cycle low reached Nov. 4. There is a $15 billion 20-year TSY bond auction at 1pm which has a WI yield ~4.160%, around 23.5bp richer than October’s result, a 2.5bp tail. In Europe, Bunds were steady, while Italian bonds advanced, led by the long end, and outperforming euro-area peers. In commodities, crude benchmarks began the session a touch softer, with participants digesting the multiple updates around the Poland missile incident and the Druzhba pipeline. However, the complex then spiked on the below reports of an oil tanker being attacked near Oman; sending WTI and Brent to USD 87.51/bbl and USD 94.79/bbl peaks. Defense Official says that an oil tanker has been struck in an exploding drone attack off Oman, amid heightened tensions with Iran, via AP's Miller. The attack happened Tuesday night off the coast of Oman, according to the official. Spot gold is modestly firmer given the aforementioned geopolitical concerns and as the DXY languishes below 106.00; albeit, the yellow metal is yet to surpass Tuesday's USD 1786/oz peak. To the day ahead now, and data releases include UK and Canadian CPI for October, as well as US retail sales, industrial production and capacity utilisation for October, and the NAHB housing market index for November. Central bank speakers include BoE Governor Bailey, ECB President Lagarde, the ECB’s Muller, Centeno, Villeroy and Panetta, and the Fed’s Williams, Barr and Waller. Finally, earnings releases include Nvidia, Cisco Systems, Lowe’s, TJX Companies and Target. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.2% to 4,006.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.7% to 431.49 German 10Y yield up 0.3% to 2.11% Euro up 0.6% to $1.0411 MXAP down 0.4% to 154.12 MXAPJ down 0.4% to 500.16 Nikkei up 0.1% to 28,028.30 Topix little changed at 1,963.29 Hang Seng Index down 0.5% to 18,256.48 Shanghai Composite down 0.4% to 3,119.98 Sensex up 0.2% to 62,005.19 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 7,122.24 Kospi down 0.1% to 2,477.45 Brent Futures up 0.8% to $94.57/bbl Gold spot up 0.1% to $1,780.53 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.23% to 106.16 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg US President Joe Biden said a rocket that struck a village in Poland near the Ukraine border was unlikely to have been fired from Russia, comments that may limit the risk of a major escalation in tensions over the incident. The cost-of-living squeeze is hurting people’s ability to service debts, while Europe’s worsening growth prospects threaten corporate profits, the ECB said Wednesday in its Financial Stability Review Things are finally looking up for China’s economy, and with that traders are ditching government bonds for riskier bets. Yields on benchmark 10-year debt jumped as much as four basis points to 2.85% on Wednesday, the highest since December A world-beating rally across Asian markets is starting to look precarious as some analysts caution China reopening euphoria will give way to the sober reality of a looming global recession A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk APAC stocks traded lower throughout the session but climbed off session lows as markets juggled the US PPI data with the latest geopolitical development. ASX 200 was pressured by its heavyweight Financials sector, with losses also seen across gold miners. Nikkei 225 briefly fell back under the 28k mark but losses were cushioned by the weaker JPY, whilst machinery names were after the Japanese government cutting its machinery orders assessment. KOSPI conformed to the downbeat tone across the region with the heaviest losses seen across the electronics and construction sectors. Top Asian News China's state planner said growth stabilisation policies will take effect in Q4, will actively expand effective investment and speed up consumption recovery in key sectors, via Reuters. China reported 1,623 (prev. 1,661) new coronavirus cases in the mainland for Nov 15 China's Beijing reported 197 new local symptomatic cases (vs 303 the prior day) Shanghai Disney said parts of the resort will resume operations on Nov 17th; Disneyland Park will remain closed until further notice, via Reuters. Xinjiang's Yining announced on Tue life & production will return to normal, after successfully curbing the latest COVID 19 spread, according to Global Times. PBoC injected CNY 71bln via 7-day reverse repos at a maintained rate of 2.00% for a CNY 63bln net injection. PBoC Governor Yi said talks with US Treasury Secretary Yellen were candid and constructive, via Bloomberg.    US Treasury Secretary Yellen and PBoC Governor Yi discussed macroeconomic and financial developments, high and volatile commodity prices, the sides exchanged macroeconomic views outlooks of US and China. Yellen noted that she looks forward to future engagements with the Chinese side, according to the Treasury Department. European bourses have spent much of the morning fairly contained but with a gradually increasing negative bias, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.5%, as the recent rally pauses amid numerous geopolitical developments. US futures are marginally firmer, ES +0.1%, but similarly contained as the ES clings onto the 4k mark ahead of numerous metrics and more Fed speak. Amazon's (AMZN) retail business is reportedly bracing for a tough holiday season by "sellers for lump sums of cash and limiting inventory", according to Business Insider. Lowe's Companies Inc (LOW) Q3 2023 (USD): Adj. EPS 3.27 (exp. 3.10), Revenue 23.5bln (exp. 23.13bln); raises FY22 outlook Top European News UK Inflation Hits 41-Year High on Soaring Energy Prices Carnival Drops After $1b Convertible Senior Notes Offering Air France-KLM Falls on Convertible Bond Offer, Strike Plans Inflation Is Peaking ‘Right Now,’ World’s Top Cement Maker Says Druzhba Pipe May Resume Soon as Market on Edge: Energy Latest UK Braces for ‘Austerity on Steroids’ With Little Left to Cut Central Banks Fed's George (voter) says Fed should continue raising rates, but Fed should slow pace of hikes, WSJ reports. Bringing inflation down without a recession might not be feasible. Inflation is at risk of growing entrenched in the economy due to an overheated job market, and that will make it increasingly difficult for the Federal Reserve to bring inflation down without a recession. ECB's Muller says both 50bps and 75bps rate hikes are 'substantial', adding that he favours a 'substantial' rate hike in December. ECB's Visco says price growth could return to target by the end of 2024; ECB needs to continue with restrictive policy. ECB's de Guindos says it is difficult to have financial stability without price stability. ECB Euro Zone Financial Stability Review: Risks are increasing and banks may need to build up provisions. FX DXY once again on the backfoot and sub-106.00 to the modest benefit of peers, ex-JPY. EUR/USD is the current outperformer given the soft USD with specific developments limited aside from numerous ECB speakers though largely on financial stability; currently, holding above 1.04. Cable briefly spiked on the hot UK CPI release, to a 1.1942 high; however, this proved shortlived given the overarching headwind of a bleak domestic outlook. As mentioned, JPY is the G10 laggard, with USD/JPY briefly rising as high as 140.29 though it has since managed to move back below 140.00. PBoC sets USD/CNY mid-point at 7.0363 vs exp. 7.0409 (prev. 7.0421) Commodities Crude benchmarks began the session a touch softer, with participants digesting the multiple updates around the Poland missile incident and the Druzhba pipeline. However, the complex then spiked on the below reports of an oil tanker being attacked near Oman; sending WTI and Brent to USD 87.51/bbl and USD 94.79/bbl peaks. Defense Official says that an oil tanker has been struck in an exploding drone attack off Oman, amid heightened tensions with Iran, via AP's Miller. The attack happened Tuesday night off the coast of Oman, according to the official. US Private Energy Inventories (bbls): Crude -5.8mln (exp. -0.4mln), Cushing -0.8mln, Gasoline +1.69mln (exp. +0.3mln), and Distillate +0.9mln (exp. -0.5mln). Russian Kremlin says hard work continues on reviving the grain deal, if necessary President Putin and Turkish President Erdogan will coordinate within hours; Russian Finance Minister says supported an extension of the grain deal at the G20 summit, via Reuters. Spot gold is modestly firmer given the aforementioned geopolitical concerns and as the DXY languishes below 106.00; albeit, the yellow metal is yet to surpass Tuesday's USD 1786/oz peak. Central Banks Fed's George (voter) says Fed should continue raising rates, but Fed should slow pace of hikes, WSJ reports. Bringing inflation down without a recession might not be feasible. Inflation is at risk of growing entrenched in the economy due to an overheated job market, and that will make it increasingly difficult for the Federal Reserve to bring inflation down without a recession. ECB's Muller says both 50bps and 75bps rate hikes are 'substantial', adding that he favours a 'substantial' rate hike in December. ECB's Visco says price growth could return to target by the end of 2024; ECB needs to continue with restrictive policy. ECB's de Guindos says it is difficult to have financial stability without price stability. ECB Euro Zone Financial Stability Review: Risks are increasing and banks may need to build up provisions. Geopolitics Polish Foreign Ministry said a "Russian-made" rocket landed in a Polish village at 15:40 local time; Poland has summoned the Russian ambassador, via Reuters. US officials said initial findings suggest the missile that hit Poland was fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian missile, according to AP US President Biden said the missile that hit a Polish village near the border with Ukraine was probably not launched from Russian territory, citing information on the rocket's trajectory, via dpa. US President Biden said leaders will determine the next steps after finding out what happened in Poland, and added that Russia continues to escalate its attacks in Ukraine. Polish President said there is no definitive evidence of who fired the rocket that fell onto the village, and added that what happened was a one-off incident and there are no indications that it will happen again, via Reuters. Local Polish media reports citing sources said what hit Przewowo is most likely the remains of a rocket shot down by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, via Radio Zet. Polish PM said they are working to establish the cause of the explosion in the village near the border with Ukraine, and decided to increase monitoring of air space, according to Reuters. Kremlin spokesperson said he has no information on the incident in Poland, via Reuters. Ukraine's President Zelenskiy said Russian missiles have struck Poland; strikes on NATO territory a significant escalation and action is required, via Reuters. Polish President said it is very likely that Poland will activate Article 4 of the NATO Treaty on Wednesday at the NATO meeting, via Reuters. Subsequently, reports via local press indicate that Poland will not request the Article 4 activation. A view the Polish PM has since intimated as well. NATO ambassadors to meet on Wednesday at Poland's request on the alliance's Article 4, according to European diplomats cited by Reuters. NATO SecGen to brief at 11:30GMT/06:30ET. US President Biden told the G7/NATO that the Poland blast was caused by Ukrainian air defence missile, via Reuters citing a NATO source. US Event Calendar   DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap The good news for markets has continued over the last 24 hours, despite headlines after Europe closed of Russian rockets landing in Poland injecting a fresh bout of uncertainty and intraday volatility. This dented sentiment but we recovered around half of the earlier gains by the US close as the general conclusion was that it was more likely to be accidental than an enormous escalation. As we go to press an AP reporter has suggested that US officials’ initial investigations suggest it was in fact a Ukrainian rocket fired at incoming Russian missles. This follows Biden's earlier overnight remarks that it was unlikely the rocket was fired from Russia. More on that later, but all told, bonds and equities managed to hold onto their post-data surge after US producer price inflation eased by more than expected. That follows on the heels of last Thursday’s downside surprise in consumer price inflation, and added to the narrative that we’re past the worst on inflation and that the Fed will soon be able to slow down its rate hikes. The S&P 500 (+0.87%) just about erased the previous day’s losses even though they came off their +1.80% highs earlier in the session. The index did briefly go negative on the Poland headlines. The S&P’s gains over the last 4 sessions now stand at +6.49%, just shy of the largest 4-day gain for the index in over two years. In terms of the details of that PPI release, monthly headline inflation surprised to the downside with a +0.2% reading (vs. +0.4% expected). And as with the CPI reading, core PPI also came in beneath expectations with an unchanged reading (vs. +0.3% expected), thus cementing the idea that this downshift could prove more durable. In turn, those weaker-than-expected inflation readings took the year-on-year numbers to their lowest in some time, with headline PPI down to +8.0% (vs. +8.3% expected), which is the lowest since July 2021. The big test now will be whether these very positive numbers from October can be sustained, or whether it’s a repeat of July’s downside surprise that was then followed by more negative prints once again. More on the Poland story now and the spike down in risk occurred as reports indicated Russian rockets landed in Poland, a NATO member, and killing two people. The initial reaction was understandable given that any deliberate strike on a NATO member would mark an enormous escalatory step. It soon became apparent that this was highly unlikely to be a direct attack, and the overnight comments mentioned at the top suggest a rapid deescation. As such markets can go back to focusing on the positives, which was given further momentum by some decent corporate news from Walmart (+6.66%). The company raised their full-year outlook, and now see adjusted EPS declining by 6-7% rather than 9-11% as previously suggested, and also approved a new $20bn share buyback plan. This collection of good news meant that there was a very broad-based advance for equities, with every sector group bar two rising on the day, and even those two sectors just missed, with health care down -0.07% and materials -0.11% lower. Tech stocks saw a particular outperformance, with the NASDAQ up +1.45%, which brings its own 4-day rally to an even bigger +9.71%. This strength was echoed among sovereign bonds, with 10yr Treasury yields down -8.4bps yesterday to a new one-month low of 3.77%. However, the declines were smaller at the front end of the curve, which led the 2s10s curve to flatten another -3.3bps to -57.5bps, making it the most inverted the curve has been since 1982, which is alarming when you consider its record as a recessionary indicator, having inverted prior to all of the last 10 US recessions. The 3m10yr curve also moved even deeper into inversion, falling another -15.7bps to -45.5bps, which is something we haven’t seen since September 2019. While the Fed’s preferred yield curve measure (18m3m – 3m) fell deeper into inflationary territory, falling -8.7bps to -11.4bps. Meanwhile, this morning in Asia, yields on 10yr USTs (+5bps) have pushed back up, trading at 3.82% as we go to press. 2yr yields are +3bps. Watch out for UK CPI just after we hit your email boxes. Over in Europe, sovereign bonds also rallied yesterday with trading done before the stray rocket news, with yields on 10yr bunds (-3.8bps), OATs (-5.7bps) and BTPs (-12.2bps) all moving lower. And that came in spite of a further uptick in natural gas prices yesterday, which gained +6.9% to €122 per megawatt-hour. Meanwhile, equities similarly rallied in line with their US counterparts, with the STOXX 600 (+0.37%) advancing for the 7th time in the last 8 sessions, taking it to its highest level in nearly 3 months. This morning equity markets in Asia are mixed but with China risk weaker again after a very strong run. Across the region, the Hang Seng (-1.4%) is leading losses, with the Shanghai Composite (-0.47%) also lower. Elsewhere the KOSPI (-0.2%) is also lower but the Nikkei 225 (+0.14%) is trading up, reversing its opening losses. Markets have got a small spike since the AP report mentioned in the first paragraph. US stock futures are flat but European futures are still down around half a percent. Early morning data showed that Japan’s core machine orders in September unexpectedly slid -4.6% m/m (v/s +0.7% expected) following the -5.8% contraction in August. Moving to China, Covid cases continue to climb with cases surging to almost 20,000 yesterday, the highest level since late-April when Shanghai (the country’s financial hub) was in the middle of a two-month lockdown. The outbreaks are a major test for authorities after the country’s leaders relaxed some of its strict Covid Zero measures. Overnight we also heard from former US President Donald Trump, who has confirmed he’s running in the 2024 presidential election. So far he’s the only major contender from either party to announce his candidacy, with the election still almost two years away. His hope will be that this effectively clears the Republican primary field and the party coalesces behind him over the months ahead. If he succeeds, he would become just the second president to serve non-consecutive terms in the White House, after Grover Cleveland in the 19th century. In other news yesterday, the Republicans remain just one seat away from winning control of the House of Representative. The latest count from the Associated Press gives the Republicans 217 seats, with the Democrats on 205. So it would require the Democrats to sweep every outstanding seat now in order to keep the House, including a number in which they’re behind in the current vote count. Here in the UK, attention is turning towards tomorrow’s Autumn Statement from the government, but ahead of that we had a mixed set of data releases on the labour market. On the one hand there was some positive news, with the number of payrolled employees up by +74k in October (vs. +44k expected), with positive revisions to the previous month as well. However, the unemployment rate in the three months to September unexpectedly picked up a tenth to 3.6%, and the economic inactivity rate among the working-age population also rose by two-tenths to 21.6% over the same period. All eyes will be on the October CPI release this morning, where our economist is expecting it to rise to a fresh 40-year high of +10.9%. In the meantime though, sterling (+0.93%) strengthened to $1.187 yesterday, marking its strongest level since mid-August. The dollar index rebounded from its morning lows when it appeared that the pivot was gaining steam following the rocket news. It ultimately finished just -0.24% lower. Looking at yesterday’s other data, there were some positive developments in the German ZEW survey for November, where the expectations component rose to -36.7 (vs. -51.0 expected), and the current situation reading rose to -64.5 (vs. -69.3 expected). Otherwise, the US Empire State manufacturing survey rose to 4.5 in November (vs. -6.0 expected), which is its highest level since July. To the day ahead now, and data releases include UK and Canadian CPI for October, as well as US retail sales, industrial production and capacity utilisation for October, and the NAHB housing market index for November. Central bank speakers include BoE Governor Bailey, ECB President Lagarde, the ECB’s Muller, Centeno, Villeroy and Panetta, and the Fed’s Williams, Barr and Waller. Finally, earnings releases include Nvidia, Cisco Systems, Lowe’s, TJX Companies and Target. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/16/2022 - 08:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 16th, 2022