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I tried keeping a notebook to organize my thoughts and ideas just like Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Sheryl Sandberg do. One of them uses a method that was easily the best.

Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Cheryl Sandberg have different approaches to note-taking, but I found one worked best for me in organizing my ideas. JP Yim / Getty Images / Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images / Alex Wong / Getty Images / Ana Pelisson / Business Insider Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Sheryl Sandberg have been known to carry notebooks around with them. They jot down ideas as they think of them and make daily to-do lists to tear out once completed. I tried their different note-taking styles and had varying degrees of success with each method. Every year, a lot of people make a New Year's resolution to get more organized. There are plenty of tips and tricks out there for this purpose, and I recently decided to put one to the test.Business figures like Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, and Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg swear by a surprisingly low-tech hack to keep their thoughts and ideas organized: They all carry around notebooks.Gates and Branson scribble down ideas as they come to them throughout the day, so they don't forget them. Sandberg notes down what she needs to do for the day and tears out pages once everything on them is complete. I tested out their different note-taking methods for a week and found one worked best by a long shot.During this experiment, I tried taking my notes on paper, as Gates, Branson, and Sandberg do, but I also tried jotting things down on my laptop on some days.I started with Gates' and Branson's approach.I usually only write down ideas with the most potential and mentally file away the others. This meant that, this week, I sometimes needed to consciously remind myself to write down every idea that came to mind, no matter how small.When I did, I found some smaller ideas were actually pretty promising once I gave them more thought and research, and I was thankful I'd written them down, or else I might have forgotten them.The downside to this method for me was that, given my personal tendencies, taking notes on paper sometimes created extra work. For example, I like to keep all of my article ideas in a spreadsheet on my laptop, so they're all in one place. This meant I was jotting down ideas on paper, only to have to type them into a file later.Next, I tried Sandberg's note-taking method — I thought this was the most constructive use of physical note-taking for two reasons.First, there's some satisfaction in ripping out a page once everything on it is finished. It gave me a sense of achievement for that day and some motivation for the next.Second, these were notes I only needed for one day. There was no need to transfer them to my laptop, as I had to do while following Gates' and Branson's method since those notes were for longer-term matters.At the end of the week, I found taking notes on my laptop was preferable to writing them on paper. This was partly because of my personal habits and preferences, since I prefer to consolidate my work essentials on my laptop when possible. I see how people who don't share this tendency might prefer physical note-taking, but it just wasn't as useful for me.My current work circumstances were also a factor. Since I'm working remotely, I'm near my laptop more often than I'd otherwise be, so it isn't difficult to just write notes there since it's on hand anyway. Under more normal circumstances, I'd be out more, so keeping a notepad might be more useful, since it'd be more likely an idea would strike while I'm away from my laptop.Going forward, I'll keep writing out tasks and to-do lists on paper since Sandberg's technique reigned supreme for me.For ideas, I'll stick with digital note-taking, but following Gates' and Branson's method reinforced to me the significance of writing down ideas as soon as they spring up, even if they seem inconsequential.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 15th, 2022

31 cheap tech gifts under $25, from Bluetooth speakers to smart light bulbs

These are the best cheap tech gifts under $25, including speakers, cables, keyboards, accessories, and more. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. There are plenty of great tech gifts available for under $25. Alyssa Powell/Business Insider Tech gifts can be expensive, but there are affordable options out there for shoppers on a budget. Some items under $25 include the Tile Mate Bluetooth Tracker, Echo Dot (3rd Gen), and more. For more recommendations, check out all of our gift guides. Tech products make great gifts, but finding one for the right price can be tricky. Though high-end gear gets pricey, there are plenty of gadgets and accessories available in the $25 and under range.These affordable items are often designed to solve little problems or complement other products, making them easier to use. Better yet, they're usually things that friends and relatives never think about getting for themselves, making them excellent gift ideas.For under $25, you can find all sorts of fun, useful, entertaining, and creative tech gifts. Regardless of whom you're shopping for, we think we've found at least one budget-friendly product that would serve that loved one in your life well without running up your credit card bill. You'll probably find a little something for yourself in here, too. A budget-friendly smart speaker Best Buy Echo Dot (3rd Gen), available on Amazon, $24.99Amazon's third-generation Echo Dot is on sale for just under $25 during the holiday shopping season. There is a newer fourth-gen model with a more modern, spherical design, but that one costs double the price. This older version has all the same Alexa features, making it a full-fledged smart speaker that you can gift on a budget.If your giftee prefers Google's ecosystem, you can also find the Google Nest Mini on sale for just right $25. Both devices are reliable, compact speakers with hands-free controls and helpful digital assistants.  A high-speed HDMI cable ready for next-gen gaming Amazon Amazon Basics 48Gbps HDMI cable (6 feet), available on Amazon, $9.99If there's one thing home entertainment fans can never have too many of, it's HDMI cables. Between streaming boxes, video game consoles, Blu-ray players, AV receivers, and computers, there's never a shortage of devices we need to plug into a TV or monitor. HDMI cables always come in handy, and this Amazon Basics high-speed model is rated for all the latest and greatest video specifications. With a bandwidth capability of 48Gbps, you can rest easy that this cable will properly transmit 4K and HDR content, even at 120Hz. This makes it a great fit for next-gen gaming consoles like the PS5 or Xbox Series X.  A plug-in for more Wi-Fi coverage Amazon TP-Link N300 Wi-Fi Extender, available on Amazon, $14.99Wi-Fi signals can sometimes struggle to reach every corner of large living spaces. This can be especially challenging if you're working from home. The TP-Link N300 WiFi Extender can plug into most common outlets and add up to 800 square feet to your home Wi-Fi coverage. After you hit the WPS button on your home router, you'll have to hit the range extender on your TP-Link device. After that you'll be able to get speeds of up to 300 Mbps in otherwise difficult-to-reach areas in your home. A charger without the hassle of untangling wires Amazon Yootech Wireless Charger, available on Amazon, $13.99The Yootech Wireless Charger covers a number of bases. It supports a 7.5W charging mode for select iPhones, a 10W charging mode to cover select Samsung Galaxy Notes, and a 5W charging mode for Google Pixel models and other Qi-chargeable phones.As long as these types of phones have a case less or equal to 4 mm, the charger should be able to charge them And aside from smartphones, the charger will let you charge AirPods and AirPods Pro as well. An all-in-one speaker with lights, music, and an alarm Amazon Tranesca Bluetooth Speaker with Lights, available on Amazon, $24.95This speaker from Tranesca acts as both a night-light and a home listening experience. After you connect your music device to the speaker via Bluetooth or an aux cable, you'll be able to hear your favorite songs. One charge will let you listen to music for up to four and a half hours. You can also switch the speaker to an alarm clock mode, making it a versatile product to place by your bedside. A fun phone case Case Mate Case-Mate Phone Cases for iPhone and Samsung, available on Amazon, from $24.95For the colorful types out there, Case-Mate has a wide range of cases for iPhones and Samsung phones, including ones that are iridescent, full of glitter, or covered in real pressed flowers. Colorful, shiny, and glittery isn't everyone's style, and Case-Mate has a selection of more reserved and sleek cases, including leather cases, clear cases, and stylish plastic cases that offer protection for that person who simply won't get a case for themselves.Keep in mind, however, that while Case-Mate offers several models in the $25 and under range, some of its cases do exceed that budget, including its new iPhone 13 lineup. A ring light to upgrade your Zoom calls Amazon LED Ring Light with Tripod Stand & Phone Holder from UBeeSize, $17.59Now that working from home has become more common, we're relying on video calls more than ever — often in less than ideal lighting conditions. This ring light can help improve the quality of your daily Zoom calls with three different lighting modes, a tripod for your phone, and a Bluetooth remote so that you can control your phone while it's in the stand. Give AirPods a protective home Insignia / Best Buy Insignia Case for Apple AirPods Pro, $12.49This AirPods Pro case by Insignia is a super easy and inexpensive gift that AirPod owners will appreciate. The case is made of protective silicone that not only prevents scratches and damage from drops and impacts, but reduces the amount of dirt and dust that can make its way into an AirPods charging case. The carabiner is a great little touch that lets the user attach their AirPods case to anything they often carry out with them. It's a nice solution to keep AirPods where you know they'll always be found. The case is available in a variety of different colors, too. A desk stand for your phone that doubles as a charger Amazon Anker Wireless Charger, available on Amazon, $19.49Smartphones are our daily companions — from displaying recipes in the kitchen to playing music, hosting our social gatherings over Zoom, and serving as a TV you can take to any room. This desk stand from Anker makes it easy to prop up your phone on any surface and wirelessly charges it at the same time. A PopSocket Grip PopSocket PopSocket Grip, available on PopSocket, from $8PopSocket grips stick on the back of any phone or tablet to provide a comfortable grip, but they can also be used as a stand. The thing that makes PopSockets so giftable is their affordability and sheer usefulness — people love them, as they help devices keep more secure in your hands and help prevent accidental drops. That, and they come in so many different styles. You can give your loved one a PopSocket with their favorite sports team, pop culture fandom, or animal on it.PopSockets can also be re-applied a few times to reposition or transfer to a different phone or tablet. They can be attached on bare phone or tablet surfaces, or on most smooth and flat cases. They pop in when not in use, but even then they offer some support.  A smart light bulb that can add some color to your living room Amazon TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Bulb, available on B&H, $14.99You don't need to spend a lot of time or money to add some smart lighting to your living room. This color-changing smart light bulb from TP-Link could make a great gift for anyone looking to spice up their home lighting with different color and brightness options to fit the mood. It also doesn't require any extra equipment like a hub or a bridge; just connect it to your home Wi-Fi, download the Kasa app, and you're good to go. It works with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant, too. A compact Bluetooth speaker for everywhere Anker / Walmart Anker SoundCore Mini Bluetooth Speaker, available at Amazon, $24.99I have a small, portable, battery-powered Bluetooth wireless speaker just like the Anker SoundCore mini, and it's one of the most used devices at my home. It brings better sound and louder volume than my phone can ever deliver, and it's perfect for listening to podcasts and music in the shower, in the kitchen, chilling outside, and on camping trips. The SoundCore mini has a 15-hour battery life, a 66-foot Bluetooth range, and 5W of sound. It doesn't have water resistance, but it'll still work just fine in a bathroom. It's pricier than some other similar compact Bluetooth speakers out there, but most of them in the $25 range come from brands we've never heard of before, and you can't go wrong with Anker. Replacing those lost headphone dongles for iPhones Hollis Johnson/Business Insider Apple Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Adapter dongle, available on Amazon, $7.99Apple's iPhones used to come with a headphone adapter but new models no longer include one. This is one of those items that shoppers ache to buy for themselves because it shouldn't cost you an extra $10 to use your wired headphones. This makes the dongle an excellent gift, however, as many iPhone owners can make good use of it.The dongle can be found for $8 on Amazon and Target compared to Apple's $9 price.  Tech-friendly touchscreen gloves Amazon Achiou Winter Knit Touchscreen Gloves, available on Amazon, from $8.49Anyone who lives in a place where it gets cold in winter knows that you have to remove gloves to use a smartphone outdoors. Essentially, a phone's screen doesn't register a finger's touch through a standard glove's material. It's not the worst problem in the world, and it may not warrant someone to get a pair of these touchscreen gloves themselves, thus leaving you the perfect opportunity to give them a pair. Aichou's bestselling winter gloves have special pads on the thumb, forefinger, and middle finger that can be registered by your phone's screen, letting the wearer keep the gloves on when it's freezing outside.   A next-level screen cleaning kit Amazon Whoosh! Screen Cleaner Kit, available on Amazon, $14.99The Whoosh! Screen Cleaner Kit is an alcohol and ammonia-free screen cleaner that's safe on phone screens, and unlike harsher cleaners, it won't strip screens from the factory coatings, namely the oleophobic coatings that prevent screen from getting all gummed up with finger oils. Coming with a pocket-sized bottle of cleaning spray and two cloths, this kit will also clean tablets, e-readers, TVs, Kindles, and anything else with a display. Even glasses can be wiped clean with this kit. The company even claims that Apple uses Whoosh cleaner in the Apple stores to keep display devices clean worldwide.We should note that Whoosh doesn't claim that its cleaner kills bacteria or viruses.  An iPhone tassel cable with charging Amazon Oneenjoy Tassel Cable for iPhone, available on Amazon, $10.99This handy leather tassel keychain includes a hidden USB-to-Lightning cable for charging an Apple device on the go with an external battery or with a charging brick.  A water-resistant smartphone armband Amazon Tribe Water Resistant Cell Phone Armband Case, available on Amazon, from $14.98A great gift for runners and fitness enthusiasts, the Tribe cell phone armband case secures your phone to your arm in a case that repels rain. The arm band is fully adjustable elastic, and it comes in three sizes that can accommodate pretty much any phone size. Your phone retains full touchscreen functionality while it's in the case, and the band also includes a handy key holder and headphone jack.  A tabletop Burger Time machine My Arcade My Arcade Micro Burger Time Cabinet, available at Amazon, $23.99For the retro game fan in your life, give them the gift of digital burgers at their desk with a miniaturized version of the original Burger Time cabinet. The Burger Time game was released in the US in 1982 as a large arcade cabinet, but this modern reproduction is small enough to hold in one hand, and can be placed on any flat surface like a desk. The tiny arcade cabinet has a 2.75-inch screen with original Burger Time artwork on the exterior, and it comes with speaker and a headphone jack. It's powered either by four double-A batteries, or with a microUSB cable. Grips for the Nintendo Switch's Joy Con controllers Amazon / Fyoung Fyoung Controller Grips for Nintendo Switch Joy Con, available on Amazon, from $9.99These Joy Con controller grips by Fyoung give players a better and more comfortable traditional console-style grip on the small Switch Joy Con controllers. They have full-size left and right bumper buttons, and they stay in place, even when you move them and shake them around for certain games. For less than $10, these are a no-brainer for Switch-owning friends and family. They come in a variety of colors to match controller colors, too.  An adjustable phone stand Amazon Lamicall Adjustable Phone stand, available on Amazon, from $9.99The Lamicall Phone Stand lets you (or your loved ones) mount your phone at an adjustable angle, which works great when you don't want to hold or touch your phone and frees up your hands for hands-free usage. Think streaming a video while you cook or sitting at a table, holding a video call with friends or family, or keeping a recipe visible while cooking (just remember to adjust your screen's timeout to keep your phone's screen on). It fits any phone and can accommodate most cases, but thicker cases may not fit in the stand's lower arms. It's also easy to adjust, and can flip between portrait and landscape modes. The stand is made of metal and comes in a variety of colors, too. A headphone holder for their desk Amazon Brainwavz Hengja Headphone Hanger, available on Amazon, $13.99The Brainwavz Hengja is an essential gift for a friend who has on-ear or over-ear headphones. This adjustable headphone hanger clamps horizontally or vertically onto a table, shelf, or even a thin wall. The clamp is tightened onto a surface with a flat piece of metal that you can screw to tighten with the included tool.It's made entirely of metal, so it's quite sturdy and will fit and support pretty much any headphone size. It only comes in a black color option.  A Wi-Fi smart plug for smart homes Amazon Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini (2-pack), available on Amazon, $14.69You can connect any device to the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini, from lamps to fans and air conditioners, to make it a smart device that you can control from a phone via the Kasa app, or via a smart assistant like Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant. Some of the "smart" things you can do with the Kasa smart plug includes adding routines to turn your plugged-in devices on or off. You can also check up and turn on or off those electrical devices remotely via the Kasa app, which works great to give you peace of mind when you're away from home.  Glasses with a blue-light filter Amazon Cyxus Vintage Retro Blue Light Filter Glasses, available on Amazon, $19.99It seems every day, more and more research is coming out about the dangers of over-exposure to blue light from phone and computer screens. A 2018 study showed that too much blue light can increase your risk of blindness.The Cyxus Vintage Retro Blue Light Filter Glasses filter out 90% of the blue light emitted from screens and barely affects the image. Blue light filters prevent eye dryness and general fatigue from staring at a screen too long, and these glasses are a good, affordable gift for anyone who you know to work in front of a computer screen for long hours. A cheap but effective laptop bag Amazon AmazonBasics Laptop Bag, available on Amazon, $13.49Amazon is full of laptop bags of all prices, but the AmazonBasics Laptop Bag is one of the top-rated, and it gets the job done for an affordable price. It comes in 10-, 11.6-, 14-, 15.6-, and 17.3-inch models to accommodate different laptop sizes, as well as a smaller version for tablets. Plus, it has extra pockets for mice, cell phones, pens, and other small gadgets you might be carrying.  A long USB-A to Lightning charging cable Amazon Anker Powerline+ II Lightning Cable, available on Amazon, $22.99For a stocking stuffer or gift exchange, you can never go wrong with a charging cable — no one ever has enough charging cables for their iPhones or iPads. Plus, the longer cables like this 10-foot model makes it easier and more comfortable to use your iPhone or iPad while it's charging, as the included 3-foot cables don't let you get very far from the charging brick.You don't want to go cheap with cables, and one way to avoid cheap cables is to go with a well-known brand that's proven its reliability over the years. The Anker 10-foot Powerline+ is a proven, reliable, and long-lasting cable that also comes in a variety of colors.  A solid wireless keyboard and mouse combo from Logitech Logitech / Best Buy Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse, available on Best Buy, $24.99A full wireless keyboard and wireless mouse combo from Logitech for $25 is a great deal and an easy gift for someone you know who needs one. There's no other combo we'd recommend to get someone who needs a mouse and keyboard up and running. There's nothing fancy here, apart from the value. The keyboard is powered by two triple-A batteries, while the wireless mouse is powered by a single double-A battery. The keyboard and mouse communicate with your computer with a tiny USB adapter, and it doesn't need pairing because it doesn't use Bluetooth.  An effective gaming mouse Walmart Logitech G300s Optical Gaming Mouse, available on Amazon, $22.35The Logitech G300s is a great gift for someone who enjoys gaming, but doesn't yet have a top-notch gaming mouse. It has a comfortable ambidextrous grip and six programmable buttons you can adjust with Logitech's gaming software. And, for under $25, it's been praised by multiple reviewers as the best budget gaming mouse you can buy. Don't let the price tag fool you: The G300s isn't a bad mouse; it's just an older model.The G300 comes with a gaming-grade optical sensor for better accuracy and tracking than standard mice, and some sleek and modest lighting strips that accent the all-black matte plastic G300s. It plugs into a computer's standard USB port.  An big, wide mouse pad for work or gaming Walmart / Corsair Corsair MM100 Cloth Gaming Mouse Pad, available at Walmart, $12.96A mouse pad seems strange as a gift, but this one is large and well made — it's one of those things that can make a surprisingly significant improvement to comfort and efficiency while using a mouse for gaming, work, or general use. The Corsair MM100 mouse pad is larger than standard office mouse pads at 14.5 x 10.6 inches (370mm x 270mm) with 3mm thickness, making for greater surface area. That means fewer mouse lifts as you're moving the cursor around the screen. And, of course, it's great for gaming, which is this mouse pad's primary intention.  An effective dashboard phone holder Amazon iOttie Easy One Touch Phone Holder, available on Amazon, $16.06If you know anyone who is still using an ancient GPS to navigate, have mercy on them and give them the iOttie Easy One Touch Phone Holder. This car mount has a one-touch release mechanism for easily inserting and removing your phone, and its arm can pivot 225 degrees to ensure a comfortable viewing angle.The Phone Holder stays on a car's dashboard via a suction cup, which sticks to an included dashboard pad that sticks firmly on a car's dash. You can simply use the suction cup on a car's windshield if the driver would rather not use the dashboard pad that sticks onto the dash.    A Tile Bluetooth item tracker Amazon / Tile Tile Mate, available on Amazon, $24.99Attach the Tile Mate to your keys, luggage, backpack, briefcase, or any other valuable possession to ensure you never lose that item again. If you misplace the object that includes your tracker, just check the Tile app to see its location in seconds. As a bonus, if you lose your phone, you can squeeze your Tile Mate to make it ring. The Tile Mate has 200-foot range (60m) and it's water-resistant, making it an actual realistic option to track your pets, too. If items with the Tile Mate are out of range, there's a chance that the someone else with a Tile can pick it up and relay its location back to you via the Tile Network and Tile app. The Tile Mate has a one-year battery life that can be replaced by the user.  A subscription to a popular streaming service Hulu/Alyssa Powell/Business Insider Hulu gift card, available on Amazon, from $25This recommendation technically breaks our under $25 threshold, but it's such a convenient gift that it's hard not to include. Hulu is one of our favorite streaming services thanks to its affordable price and big selection of network shows, original series, and entertaining movies. Though the platform doesn't sell annual gift subscriptions, you can buy Hulu gift cards. A $25 card will cover three and a half months of Hulu's ad-supported plan ($7/month), or just under two months of Hulu's ad-free plan ($13/month).Once your recipient's gift credit expires, they must provide another payment method to continue their Hulu subscription. Similar gift cards are also available for Netflix and Paramount Plus. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 29th, 2021

Doug Casey Reveals 3 Ways You Can Opt-Out Of The Rising Insanity

Doug Casey Reveals 3 Ways You Can Opt-Out Of The Rising Insanity Authored by Doug Casey via InternationalMan.com, International Man: Ever since the outbreak of the Covid hysteria, government control over everyday life has reached unprecedented levels. Petty bureaucrats now exercise control over who can open their businesses, whether you can go to a restaurant, and even whether children can go to school. Where is this all going? Doug Casey: There are basically two types of people in the world—people that like to manipulate the physical universe and create things and people who like to manipulate other people and control them. The people who go into government, whether they’re Democrats or Republicans, are the latter. They’re dangerous. The problem is that the average citizen in every country around the world has come to think that the government is the most important entity in society. It’s not; it’s a coercive fiction, a parasite that produces nothing. The wrong kinds of people are being given even more control. Once people with a certain psychological mindset—that second type of person I just mentioned—take control, things inevitably get worse. In Washington, DC, as well as in many state and local governments, we now have genuine Bolsheviks and Jacobins in control. That’s not to say that they’re necessarily believers in those philosophies, but they’re exactly the same psychological types. In other words, they’re exactly the kind of people who once destroyed France and Russia, reincarnated in today’s America. Once these types get control of the machinery of the State, they won’t give it up. Power—the ability to coerce and control others—is central to their very beings. They’ll try to cement themselves in place now that they feel they can get away with it. They’ll use their power aggressively, installing counterproductive and destructive policies. The worse things get, the more the public will look to the government to save them. It’s a self-reinforcing feedback loop. The chances of getting a genuine lunatic as the president are very high. I’m very pessimistic because trends in motion tend to stay in motion—and this trend is accelerating rapidly. International Man: As a result of this trend, more parents than ever have opted for homeschooling. What’s your take on this? Doug Casey: It’s cause for optimism. First of all, education is something that you provide for yourself. It’s not something that somebody—certainly not the State—gives you. The value—and the original purpose—of public schooling was basically to teach the three Rs: reading, writing, and arithmetic. With those essentials and the ability to use a library or the Internet, which places all of the world’s knowledge at your fingertips—you don’t need anything else beyond that. The basics can be picked up in the first six or seven years of grade school—for anybody, even slow learners. Beyond that, school just bores most kids and is actually counterproductive. It not only wastes their time and money but actually makes them dislike learning. Homeschooling allows them to make the world their oyster while teaching individual responsibility. Secondly, most schooling today—certainly once you get into high school and absolutely once you get into college—is little more than indoctrination. Schools are places where your kids pick up bad ideas from the educators and bad habits from other young yahoos they’re surrounded by. Schools do not teach critical thinking—if indeed they ever did—at least since Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum. Critical thinking is the habit of questioning all assertions and examining everything that we think we know in the light of knowledge, logic, the scientific method, and your own research. That doesn’t exist anymore in schools. In fact, the government and the establishment don’t want schools to turn out critical thinkers and free thinkers. To the contrary, they want obedient, indoctrinated serfs who will do as they’re told and act as cogs in the wheel. I think it’s irresponsible on the part of parents not to properly educate their kids. And that doesn’t mean just sending them off eight hours a day where they sit behind a desk and listen to government employees lecture them. It costs an average of about $12,000 per pupil per year—we’re talking a nine-month year with long vacations—to babysit and corrupt kids. That’s an outrageous amount. College, often over $50,000, can only be described as a scam. Nobody has more of an interest in making education available to kids than their parents do; certainly not members of the teachers union. If the public schools vanished, it would be a good thing. That $12,000 per pupil could stay in society so that people that wanted to educate their kids properly wouldn’t have to pay the toll twice. A couple families could easily get together and hire full-time, first-rate tutors to teach their kids one-on-one, as opposed to sending them off to a government factory to be indoctrinated. The school system has become very corrupt from what it once was. Schools and universities are grossly overweight with grossly overpaid administrators. Ninety percent of these phony “educators” should be fired. Furthermore, most teachers now are overtly Marxist, and the rest are dim, but sympathetic to Marxist ideas. Schoolhouses at all levels should be intellectually cleaned, then fumigated, if they can’t be abolished. I’m glad many people are dissatisfied with schools and some are doing something about it. It’s one of the few good things to come out of the Covid hysteria. International Man: What other ways can people opt out and regain more control over their lives? Doug Casey: The ideal solution is to become a PT—a permanent traveler or prior taxpayer—but that’s not easy for most people. As I mentioned last week, even if you don’t want to internationalize, the next best thing is to quit your job and become self-employed. But beyond that, in order to have control of your life, you need capital, which gives you flexibility and room to run. So how do you get that capital? If you’re not in a position to quit your job and become self-employed, then take a second job— part-time. The advantage of that is your income will go up and your expenses, in the way of consuming, will go down. Put that money aside. The key is to cut your spending to the bone and save. That means don’t buy that new car or trade up to a larger house. Don’t go out and get a new wardrobe. Build capital while the economy and the currency are still held together. Capital will allow you to take advantage of opportunities in the future, as opposed to getting deeper in debt like a serf. International Man: All the governments around the world are inflating away their currencies and taxing their citizens at ever-increasing levels. How can the average person opt out or at least limit the government’s theft of their savings? Doug Casey: You want to save, but saving in fiat puts you on a treadmill. If you leave your money in US dollars or other currencies, you’re going to lose everything or almost everything. You really have to learn to invest and speculate. Unfortunately, investing in the kind of chaotic, government-controlled economy we’re moving into is hard and becoming harder. On the bright side, the distortions the government is creating offer lots of avenues for speculation. I’ve discussed the differences between saving, investing, speculating, and gambling in the past. But unless you study economics and the markets, if you try to speculate, you’ll probably wind up gambling—which is very different. The key is to educate yourself on the ins and outs of the markets—including crypto, currency, and commodity markets, not just the stock, bond, and real estate markets. Right now, commodity markets are particularly interesting. For example, I’m of the opinion that natural gas, which is traded on the futures market, is currently around $5.00 per Mcf. I believe it could go much higher. I’ve personally sold naked puts to capture the premiums, and I’ve bought long-term bull call spreads. If you’re not familiar with these things, then don’t take my advice. But try to become familiar with these things. One of the reasons I’m bullish on commodities is that with the Bolsheviks in office in Washington, DC, and actual communists in control of a lot of countries around the world, commodity production of all kinds is being made harder. At the same time, all the money they’re printing is creating artificial demand, and all the regulations they’re passing are artificially restricting supply. Commodities are about the only cheap things left; their prices are going a lot higher. You can capitalize on this as a speculator if you know what you’re doing. But be careful because you can easily wipe yourself out. Any savings that you have should be in small gold and silver coins, not in fiat currencies. I don’t see gold as a good speculation at $1800. It is, however, ideal for saving. In addition to providing long-term upside, gold and silver coins are far more private than keeping US dollars in a bank account, which the government can monitor. Lastly, if you’re going to keep your house and stay in the same place, you might want to save by buying things like cigarettes, whiskey, instant coffee, ammunition, and the like. If times get tough, all of those things are going to be hard to come by. They’ll be in high demand—and they’re an alternative to fiat. International Man: Today, what we buy, who we interact with, and what we say are more easily tracked. Everyone’s private information is under assault by a private-public partnership of governments and big corporations. Where is this all going, and what do you suggest people do about it? Doug Casey: As much as possible, keep a low electronic profile. Get off Facebook and other social media platforms. I have a Facebook account, but I never use it or access it in any way for anything personal. It’s strictly a business tool—the same for LinkedIn and the rest of them. Everybody should realize that social media is the primary way that they track you, learn what you think, and discover who you are. It’s just not good for that information to be in the hands of the bad guys. Of course, everybody has a cell phone today; they’re tracking devices. Entirely apart from that, the things are a nuisance, and most people are addicted to them. I have one, but I never use it except when I’m traveling or at a conference. I understand the value of apps for navigating and such. It might be good, however, to have two cell phones. The one you use for talking should be a flip phone. The other can be used selectively for whatever apps you need. On a personal level, speak up about these things whenever possible. Even though it’s pretty hard to turn back the tidal wave of statism and collectivism that’s washing over society, everyone should do what they can. You might want to start by going to LiveandLetLive.org, run by my friend Marc Victor, for practical thoughts on what you can do. We just taped a videocast that’s pretty good, in my opinion. It will be released shortly. I’m afraid the US and most advanced countries in the world are well on their way to combining the worst traits of George Orwell’s 1984 with those of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. *  *  * The months and years ahead will be politically, economically, and socially volatile. What you do to prepare could mean the difference between suffering crippling losses and coming out ahead. That’s precisely why, legendary investor and NY Times best-selling author Doug Casey just released this urgent report on how to survive and thrive. Click here to download the PDF now. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/30/2021 - 21:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 30th, 2021

32 cheap tech gifts under $25, from smart bulbs to wireless earbuds

These are the best cheap tech gifts under $25, including speakers, earbuds, cables, wireless keyboards, accessories, and more. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.There are plenty of great tech gifts available for under $25.Alyssa Powell/Business Insider Tech gifts can be expensive, but there are tons of affordable options out there for shoppers on a budget. Some gift ideas under $25 include the Tile Mate Bluetooth Tracker, Fire TV Stick, and more. For more recommendations, check out all of our gift guides. Tech products make great gifts, as there are plenty of cool gadgets and accessories available in the $25 and under range.These affordable items are often designed to solve little problems or complement other products, making them easier to use. Better yet, they're usually things that friends and relatives never think about getting for themselves, making them excellent gift ideas.For under $25, you can find all sorts of fun, useful, entertaining, and creative tech gifts. With different needs in mind, we rounded up several budget-friendly products perfect for that special tech fan in your life. You'll probably find a little something for yourself in here, too.A streaming device to bring popular apps to any TVAmazonAmazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, available at Amazon, $19.99This inexpensive media device brings access to apps like Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and many more to any TV with an HDMI port. It can also make an older smart TV that's become sluggish feel snappy again.The Fire TV Stick plugs right into your TV's HDMI input and includes an Alexa voice remote. This model maxes out at HD quality, though, so you'll need to pay more for a device that can stream in 4K.A pair of wireless earbudsBest BuyJlab Go Air Pop True Wireless Earbuds, available at Best Buy, $14.99There's no need to spend big to ditch the wires and get on the popular wireless earbuds train. The Jlab Go Air Pop may lack premium features like noise cancellation, but they do a great job focusing on the basics and punch way above their price tag in sound quality. Jlab says the earbuds get a total of 32 hours of music playback, with the case's charge included. We also love the built-in USB charging cable that means you'll never have to fish for a cable when you're out and about. More storage for their Nintendo SwitchAmazonSanDisk 128GB microSDXC Card for Nintendo Switch, $20.95Nintendo's standard Switch model comes with a paltry 32GB of storage space, which can easily become full with just a few games. This SanDisk 128GB microSDXC card quadruples the console's storage space, and it has all the proper standards so you know it'll work with any Nintendo Switch. A high-speed HDMI cable ready for next-gen gamingAmazonAmazon Basics 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 cable (6 feet), available on Amazon, $9.74Between streaming boxes, video game consoles, Blu-ray players, AV receivers, and computers, there's never a shortage of devices we need to plug into a TV or monitor. HDMI cables always come in handy, and this Amazon Basics high-speed model is rated for all the latest and greatest video specifications. With a bandwidth capability of 48Gbps, this HDMI 2.1 cable will properly transmit 4K and HDR content, even at 120Hz. This makes it a great fit for next-gen gaming consoles like the PS5 or Xbox Series X. A plug-in for more Wi-Fi coverageAmazonTP-Link AC750 Wi-Fi Extender, available on Amazon, $23.99Wi-Fi signals can sometimes struggle to reach every corner of large living spaces. This can be especially challenging if you're working from home. The TP-Link AC750 WiFi Extender can plug into most common outlets to cover up to 1,500 square feet in your home. After you hit the WPS button on your home router, you'll have to hit the range extender on your TP-Link device. After that you'll be able to get dual-band speeds of up to 750 Mbps in otherwise difficult-to-reach areas in your home.A charger without the hassle of untangling wiresAmazonYootech Wireless Charger, available on Amazon, $12.99The Yootech Wireless Charger covers a number of bases. It supports a 7.5W charging mode for select iPhones, a 10W charging mode to cover select Samsung Galaxy Notes, and a 5W charging mode for Google Pixel models and other Qi-chargeable phones.As long as these types of phones have a case less or equal to 4 mm, the charger should be able to charge them. And aside from smartphones, the charger will let you charge AirPods and AirPods Pro as well.A fun phone caseCase MateCase-Mate Phone Cases for iPhone and Samsung, available on Amazon, from $19.95For the colorful types out there, Case-Mate has a wide range of cases for iPhones and Samsung phones, including ones that are iridescent, full of glitter, or covered in real pressed flowers. Colorful, shiny, and glittery isn't everyone's style, and Case-Mate has a selection of more reserved and sleek cases, including leather cases, clear cases, and stylish plastic cases that offer protection for that person who simply won't get a case for themselves.Keep in mind, however, that while Case-Mate offers several models in the $25 and under range, some of its cases do exceed that budget, including some of its new iPhone 13 models.A ring light to upgrade your Zoom callsAmazonLED Ring Light with Tripod Stand & Phone Holder from UBeeSize, $21.99Now that working from home has become more common, we're relying on video calls more than ever — often in less than ideal lighting conditions. This ring light can help improve the quality of your daily Zoom calls with three different lighting modes, a tripod for your phone, and a Bluetooth remote so that you can control your phone while it's in the stand.Give AirPods a protective homeInsignia / Best BuyInsignia Case for Apple AirPods Pro, starting at $11.99This AirPods Pro case by Insignia is a super easy and inexpensive gift that AirPod owners will appreciate. The case is made of protective silicone that not only prevents scratches and damage from drops and impacts, but reduces the amount of dirt and dust that can make its way into an AirPods charging case. The carabiner is a great little touch that lets the user attach their AirPods case to anything they often carry out with them. It's a nice solution to keep AirPods where you know they'll always be found. The case is available in a variety of different colors, too.A desk stand for your phone that doubles as a chargerAmazonAnker Wireless Charger, available on Amazon, $19.99This desk stand from Anker makes it easy to prop up your phone on any surface and wirelessly charge it at the same time. It can charge Android phones at up to 10W charging speeds, and iPhones up to 7.5W. A PopSocket gripPopSocketPopSocket Grip, available on PopSocket, from $8PopSocket grips stick on the back of any phone or tablet to provide a comfortable grip, but they can also be used as a stand. The thing that makes PopSockets so giftable is their affordability and sheer usefulness — people love them, as they help devices keep more secure in your hands and help prevent accidental drops. That, and they come in so many different styles. You can give your loved one a PopSocket with their favorite sports team, pop culture fandom, or animal on it.A smart light bulb that can add some color to your living roomAmazonTP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Bulb, available on B&H, $9.99You don't need to spend a lot of time or money to add some smart lighting to your living room. This color-changing smart light bulb from TP-Link could make a great gift for anyone looking to spice up their home lighting with different color and brightness options to fit the mood. It also doesn't require any extra equipment like a hub or a bridge; just connect it to your home Wi-Fi, download the Kasa app, and you're good to go. It works with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant, too.A compact Bluetooth speaker for everywhereAnker / WalmartAnker SoundCore Mini Bluetooth Speaker, available at Amazon, $24.99The SoundCore mini is a compact wireless speaker with a 15-hour battery life, a 66-foot Bluetooth range, and 5W of sound. It doesn't have water resistance, but it'll still work just fine in a bathroom. It brings better sound and louder volume than a phone can deliver, and it's perfect for listening to podcasts and music around the house, chilling outside, and on camping trips.  Replacing those lost headphone dongles for iPhonesHollis Johnson/Business InsiderApple Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Adapter dongle, available on Amazon, $7.20Apple's iPhones used to come with a headphone adapter but new models no longer include one. This is one of those items that shoppers ache to buy for themselves because it shouldn't cost you an extra $10 to use your wired headphones. This makes the dongle an excellent gift, however, as many iPhone owners can make good use of it.Tech-friendly touchscreen glovesAmazonAchiou Winter Knit Touchscreen Gloves, available on Amazon, from $10.99Anyone who lives in a place where it gets cold in winter knows that you have to remove gloves to use a smartphone outdoors. Essentially, a phone's screen doesn't register a finger's touch through a standard glove's material. But Aichou's bestselling winter gloves have special pads on the thumb, forefinger, and middle finger that can be registered by your phone's screen, letting the wearer keep the gloves on when it's freezing outside.  A next-level screen cleaning kitAmazonWhoosh! Screen Cleaner Kit, available on Amazon, $17.50The Whoosh! Screen Cleaner Kit is an alcohol and ammonia-free screen cleaner that's safe on phone screens. Unlike harsher cleaners, it won't strip screens from the factory coatings, namely the oleophobic coatings that prevent screens from getting all gummed up with finger oils. Coming with a pocket-sized bottle of cleaning spray and two cloths, this kit will also clean tablets, e-readers, TVs, Kindles, and almost anything else with a display. We should note, however, that Whoosh doesn't claim that its cleaner kills bacteria or viruses. Also, we've had mixed results with the Whoosh cleaner on MacBook screens, so you may want to avoid using it with Apple laptops.An iPhone tassel cable with chargingAmazonOneenjoy Tassel Cable for iPhone, available on Amazon, $11.59This handy leather tassel keychain includes a hidden USB-to-Lightning cable for charging an Apple device on the go with an external battery or with a charging brick. A water-resistant smartphone armbandAmazonTribe Water Resistant Cell Phone Armband Case, available on Amazon, from $14.98A great gift for runners and fitness enthusiasts, the Tribe cell phone armband case secures your phone to your arm in a case that repels rain. The arm band is fully adjustable elastic, and it comes in three sizes that can accommodate pretty much any phone size. Your phone retains full touchscreen functionality while it's in the case, and the band also includes a handy key holder and headphone jack. A charging brick to quickly power phonesAmazonAnker 20W Nano Pro USB-C charger, available at Amazon, $19.99Anker's USB-C 20W Wall Adapter will charge iPhones and most Android phones at their top capable speeds. Anyone who has a newer iPhone will appreciate being able to take advantage of faster charging speeds. Just note, this item does not include a cable.Grips for the Nintendo Switch's Joy Con controllersAmazon / FyoungFyoung Controller Grips for Nintendo Switch Joy Con, available on Amazon, from $10.99These Joy Con controller grips by Fyoung give players a better and more comfortable traditional console-style grip on the small Switch Joy Con controllers. They have full-size left and right bumper buttons, and they stay in place, even when you move them and shake them around for certain games. These are a no-brainer for Switch-owning friends and family. They come in a variety of colors to match controller colors, too. An adjustable phone standAmazonLamicall Adjustable Phone stand, available on Amazon, from $9.99The Lamicall Phone Stand lets you (or your loved ones) mount your phone at an adjustable angle, which works great when you don't want to hold or touch your phone. Think streaming a video while you cook or sitting at a table, holding a video call with friends or family, or keeping a recipe visible while cooking. It fits any phone and can accommodate most cases, but thicker cases may not fit in the stand's lower arms. It's also easy to adjust, and can flip between portrait and landscape modes. The stand is made of metal and comes in a variety of colors, too.A headphone holder for their deskAmazonBrainwavz Hengja Headphone Hanger, available on Amazon, $14.99The Brainwavz Hengja is an essential gift for a friend who has on-ear or over-ear headphones. This adjustable headphone hanger clamps horizontally or vertically onto a table, shelf, or even a thin wall. The clamp is tightened onto a surface with a flat piece of metal that you can screw to tighten with the included tool.It's made entirely of metal, so it's quite sturdy and will fit and support pretty much any headphone size. It only comes in a black color option. A Wi-Fi smart plug for smart homesAmazonKasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini (2-pack), available on Amazon, $17.99You can connect any device to the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini, from lamps to fans and air conditioners, to make it a smart device that you can control from a phone via the Kasa app, or via a smart assistant like Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant. Some of the "smart" things you can do with the Kasa smart plug includes adding routines to turn your plugged-in devices on or off. You can also check up and turn on or off those electrical devices remotely via the Kasa app, which works great to give you peace of mind when you're away from home. Glasses with a blue-light filterAmazonCyxus Vintage Retro Blue Light Filter Glasses, available on Amazon, $19.99It seems every day, more and more research is coming out about the dangers of over-exposure to blue light from phone and computer screens. A 2018 study showed that too much blue light can increase your risk of blindness.The Cyxus Vintage Retro Blue Light Filter Glasses filter out 90% of the blue light emitted from screens and barely affects the image. Blue light filters prevent eye dryness and general fatigue from staring at a screen too long, and these glasses are a good, affordable gift for anyone who you know to work in front of a computer screen for long hours.A cheap but effective laptop bagAmazonAmazonBasics Laptop Bag, available on Amazon, $13.15Amazon is full of laptop bags of all prices, but the AmazonBasics Laptop Bag is one of the top-rated, and it gets the job done for an affordable price. It comes in 10-, 11.6-, 14-, 15.6-, and 17.3-inch models to accommodate different laptop sizes, as well as a smaller version for tablets. Plus, it has extra pockets for mice, cell phones, pens, and other small gadgets you might be carrying. A long USB-A to Lightning charging cableAmazonAnker Powerline+ II Lightning Cable, available on Amazon, $19.54No one ever has enough charging cables for their iPhones or iPads. Plus, longer cables like this 10-foot model make it easier and more comfortable to use your iPhone or iPad while it's charging, as the included 3-foot cables don't let you get very far from the charging brick.You don't want to go cheap with cables, and one way to avoid cheap cables is to go with a well-known brand that's proven its reliability over the years. The Anker 10-foot Powerline+ is a proven, reliable, and long-lasting cable that also comes in a variety of colors. A solid wireless keyboard and mouse combo from LogitechLogitech / Best BuyLogitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse, available at Target, $19.99A full wireless keyboard and wireless mouse combo from Logitech for under $25 is a great deal and an easy gift for someone you know who needs one. There's no other combo we'd recommend to get someone who needs a mouse and keyboard up and running. There's nothing fancy here, apart from the value. The keyboard is powered by two triple-A batteries, while the wireless mouse is powered by a single double-A battery. The keyboard and mouse communicate with your computer with a tiny USB adapter, and it doesn't need pairing because it doesn't use Bluetooth. An effective gaming mouseWalmartLogitech G300s Optical Gaming Mouse, available on Amazon, $21.99The Logitech G300s is a great gift for someone who enjoys gaming, but doesn't yet have a top-notch gaming mouse. It has a comfortable ambidextrous grip and six programmable buttons you can adjust with Logitech's gaming software. And, for under $25, it's been praised by multiple reviewers as the best budget gaming mouse you can buy. Don't let the price tag fool you: The G300s isn't a bad mouse; it's just an older model.The G300 comes with a gaming-grade optical sensor for better accuracy and tracking than standard mice, and some sleek and modest lighting strips that accent the all-black matte plastic G300s. It plugs into a computer's standard USB port. An big, wide mouse pad for work or gamingWalmart / CorsairCorsair MM100 Cloth Gaming Mouse Pad, available at Walmart, $12.99A mouse pad seems strange as a gift, but this one is large and well made — it's one of those things that can make a surprisingly significant improvement to comfort and efficiency while using a mouse for gaming, work, or general use. The Corsair MM100 mouse pad is larger than standard office mouse pads at 14.5 x 10.6 inches (370mm x 270mm) with 3mm thickness, making for greater surface area. That means fewer mouse lifts as you're moving the cursor around the screen. And, of course, it's great for gaming, which is this mouse pad's primary intention. An effective dashboard phone holderAmazoniOttie Easy One Touch Phone Holder, available on Amazon, $22.95If you know anyone who is still using an ancient GPS to navigate, have mercy on them and give them the iOttie Easy One Touch Phone Holder. This car mount has a one-touch release mechanism for easily inserting and removing your phone, and its arm can pivot 225 degrees to ensure a comfortable viewing angle.The Phone Holder stays on a car's dashboard via a suction cup, which sticks to an included dashboard pad that sticks firmly on a car's dash. You can simply use the suction cup on a car's windshield if the driver would rather not use the dashboard pad that sticks onto the dash.  A Tile Bluetooth item trackerAmazonTile Mate, available on Amazon, $24.88Attach the Tile Mate to your keys, luggage, backpack, briefcase, or any other valuable possession to ensure you never lose that item again. If you misplace the object that includes your tracker, just check the Tile app to see its location in seconds. As a bonus, if you lose your phone, you can press your Tile Mate to make it ring. The Tile Mate has 250-foot range and it's water-resistant, making it an actual realistic option to track your pets, too. If items with the Tile Mate are out of range, there's a chance that the someone else with a Tile can pick it up and relay its location back to you via the Tile Network and Tile app. The Tile Mate supports up to three years of battery life. A subscription to a popular streaming serviceHulu/Alyssa Powell/Business InsiderHulu gift card, available on Amazon, from $25This recommendation technically breaks our under $25 threshold, but it's such a convenient gift that it's hard not to include. Hulu is one of our favorite streaming services thanks to its affordable price and big selection of network shows, original series, and entertaining movies. Though the platform doesn't sell annual gift subscriptions, you can buy Hulu gift cards. A $25 card will cover three and a half months of Hulu's ad-supported plan ($7/month), or just under two months of Hulu's ad-free plan ($13/month).Once your recipient's gift credit expires, they must provide another payment method to continue their Hulu subscription. Similar gift cards are also available for Netflix and Paramount Plus.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 21st, 2022

34 fun and useful gift ideas for women, from luxurious silk pajamas to a self-cleaning water bottle

Need some gifts ideas for the women in your life? No matter her style or your budget, we have you covered with 34 gifts she'll love. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Westend61/Getty Images You've likely landed on this guide in search of the perfect gifts for the women in your life. Whether it's for a birthday, anniversary, or just to say thanks, we've found 34 great options. From cooking classes to chocolates from Goldbelly, there's a gift for every woman in your life. Check out all of our gift guides for even more inspiration. When it comes to gifts for women, you can always go the functional route with tech gadgets and cookware, or you can celebrate them with fun gifts like an instant mini camera and skincare mini-fridge.There are countless gifts for women to sift through, but we're here to help you choose the perfect ones for every woman on your list. Though you can never go wrong with flowers and a thoughtful card, we've also included some more unique gift ideas, like a swan-shaped ring holder and a painting kit.Check out all 34 gifts for women:Style and Beauty Gifts for HerA skincare mini fridgeBeauty SpyMini Fridge, available at the Beauty Spy, $69This adorable mini fridge was made to keep beauty products cool in order to maintain their benefits. Give her the chance to indulge in this beauty fridge and have her skin feel more refreshed.A watch that nails the minimalist aestheticLinjerLinjer Petite Watch, available at Linjer, $199With smartwatches and phones that act like appendages, it might seem like the classic analog watch is disposable. Yet, there's something about the timeless style of an analog watch that no piece of modern tech can match. This watch is well made and dainty, with a small face that is prominent without being obtrusive, making it her next great accessory.Read our full review here.A serum that holds up to its nameMaeloveMaelove Glow Maker Serum, available at Maelove, $29.95There are a lot of serums out there, making lofty claims about how much they'll improve skin, but Maelove's Glow Maker really lives up to the hype. If the fact that it was developed by MIT scientists is not enough, it also costs less than $30, and it really will get her skin glowing in no time.Read our full review here.Washable silk pajamas for a more comfortable night's sleepLunyaLunya Washable Silk Set, available at Lunya, $178In addition to their luxe feel, Lunya's bestselling washable silk pajamas help her sleep more comfortably thanks to their thermoregulating properties. This gift-worthy set is available in five core neutral colors, five limited-edition jewel tones, and a size range of XS-2X.A trio of bestselling sunscreensNordstromSupergoop! SPF Bestsellers Starter Set, available at Nordstrom, $25Safe sun practices don't end with the summertime — help her stay healthy year-round with these Supergoop! sunscreens that feel more like high-end skincare than traditional sticky SPF formulas. The Glow Screen in particular is a favorite with Insider Reviews editors.Custom haircare made just for herFunction of BeautyFunction of Beauty custom haircare, available at Function of Beauty, from $50Function of Beauty is revolutionizing haircare with custom shampoo and conditioner that's formulated for everyone's individual hair needs. After taking a quiz, she'll receive a set made just for her. The ability to choose the color and scent make this gift feel even more special.A set of silk hair scrunchiesShopbopSlip Pure Silk Scrunchie Set, available at Sephora, $39These silk scrunchies create less friction than cotton ones, which means less breakage and frizz for her strands. If she wouldn't likely splurge on these for herself, she'll appreciate receiving them as a gift. A fresh take on classic pearl earringsCatbirdCatbird Baby Pearl Hoops Pair, available at Catbird, $88Gift a Catbird E-Gift Card, from $25Pearl earrings are a classic gift for women who love extra feminine touches in their jewelry. This pair blends the timeless style with a modern touch, with little pearls wrapped around a small, ear-hugging hoop that's great for everyday wear and special occasions.A face mask fanatic's dream setSephoraLa Mer Treatment Lotion Hydrating Mask, available at Sephora, from $35 A luxurious face mask from La Mer will give her everything she needs to achieve a radiant glow and smoother skin. The women in your life, and their skin, will thank you for this self-care gift.A little box of cute trinketsGreetablGreetabl Custom Gift Box, available at Greetabl, from $15Customize a little box for her full of cute trinkets and sweet messages. Pick the print of the box, what little gifts you'd like to put inside, then fill in your own message and pictures you want to be included. It's a small but sweet gift that works for just about anything.Read our full review here.A set of great makeup bagsLeatherologyLeatherology Clamshell Makeup Bag Set, available at Leatherology, $85Every woman needs a nice bag to hold her makeup and toiletries, whether for traveling or keeping on her dresser. This leather set comes with two sizes, one smaller and one larger, and can even be monogrammed if you want to make this gift for her even more special.A dainty jewelry holderCatbirdCatbird Swan Ring Holder, available at Catbird, $32A jewelry holder is always a good gift idea for any woman who wants to organize their jewelry. This pretty little swan will look great on her nightstand or dresser. It's a small, but beautiful piece of decor, and super practical in that it can hold rings, necklaces, and more.A stylish and comfortable pair of shoesAllbirdsAllbirds Wool Runners, available at Allbirds, $98Popular shoe startup Allbirds is equal parts cool and comfortable. You can't go wrong with any of its styles, but if she's already got a pair of the original Wool Runners, try the Wool Runners Mizzle or Tree Runners, both styles that we love around here at Insider Reviews. Read our full reviews of the Wool Runners, Wool Runner Mizzles, and Tree Runners here.Home & Kitchen Gifts for HerA high-tech water bottle that sanitizes itselfAmazonLARQ PureVis Self-Cleaning Water Bottle, available at Amazon, $118In addition to keeping drinks cool, the LARQ water bottle offers peace of mind with its award-winning, self-cleaning design. With the press of a button, the cap uses UV-C LED technology to neutralize bacteria in 60 seconds. The bottle also activates itself every two hours to keep water fresh and interior surfaces clean. A succulent that'll spruce up her desk spaceLula's GardenLula's Garden Bliss Garden, available at Lula's Garden, $28If her workspace could use a little pick-me-up, this succulent is just the trick. It comes ready to gift in a bow-topped box and lasts much longer than a bouquet of flowers. Plus, each purchase supports Water.org, which helps provide access to clean, safe water around the world.Virtual cooking classes for the aspiring chefSur la TableSur La Table Online Cooking Classes, available at Sur La Table, starting at $29 per householdGifting a full experience to the women in your life is perhaps one of the best ways to spend time with them. Led by expert chefs, these virtual cooking classes will have her running around the kitchen and having fun all at once. The lessons last for 90 to 120 minutes and cover tons of dishes and beverages.A cold brew coffee maker for her morningsAmazonOXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker, available at Williams Sonoma, $51.95If she always craves cold brew, give her the tools to make it herself from the comfort of her own kitchen. This device is super easy to use and can make a cup that rivals the cold brew from the coffee shop since she can use her favorite grounds.A really good mug she can take camping or into the officeYetiYeti Rambler 14 oz. Mug, available at Yeti and Backcountry, from $29.95With a vacuum-insulated interior and secure top, this mug works for just about any occasion. Whether she wants to tote her hot oatmeal to the office or enjoy some chili while camping, this is what she'll want to use. A calming weighted blanketCasperCasper Weighted Blanket, available at Casper, from $152.10Weighted blankets are filled with pounds of microbeads that provide constant pressure. The result is a hug-like sensation that soothes, relieves anxiety and stress, and makes going to bed super comfortable. Cups of healthy food she can take on the goDaily HarvestDaily Harvest 9-Cup Gift Box, available at Daily Harvest, $75If she's always trying to find new ways to prioritize health into her busy schedule, help her out with some Daily Harvest cups. You can prepay for nine cups, which she can redeem and pick out herself. She can choose from smoothies, oat bowls, soups, and other bowls of healthy food that are super easy to take on the go. A piece of cast iron cookware she'll use to make all of her favorite dishesLe CreusetLe Creuset Cast Iron Braiser, available at Le Creuset, from $200Unlike most cooking tools, a cast iron pan actually gets better with time. This braiser from Le Creuset is loved by Insider Reviews editors, comes in a bunch of different colors, and is the perfect size for the kinds of one-pot, saucy pasta dishes we make all the time.It's wide enough and deep enough that she won't have to worry about adding too much liquid and having the contents spill over the sides. It's also great for cooking meats and veggies since there's plenty of surface area, so everything has room to get nice and crispy.Read our full review here.Tech Gifts for HerA sleek, leather AirPod case with her initialsThe Daily EditedSaffiano AirPod Case, available at The Daily Edited, $40The tech guru in your life will enjoy having a sophisticated home for her AirPods. You can customize everything from the font, text, and font size to the font color, text position, and greeting card. There's an array of neutral colors for the AirPods and AirPods Pro available in either pebbled leather or saffiano leather.The latest Apple AirPodsAmazon3rd Generation Apple AirPods, available at Amazon, $139.99Speaking of AirPods, Apple recently dropped the 3rd generation of its popular wireless earbuds. The latest version includes a more compact design, longer battery life, and spatial audio that delivers a 3D listening experience. Plus, the earbuds will easily and instantly connect to all of her Apple products.A Polaroid camera for instant snapshotsFujifilmFujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Camera, available at Urban Outfitters, $69In a world where most of our pictures stay on our smartphones, having an instant camera makes snapping life's everyday moments a little more exciting. Waiting for pictures to develop is always exciting, but what she'll love even more is actually getting to hold onto them.A small smart speakerGoogleGoogle Home Mini (2nd Generation), available at Best Buy, $24.99This little Google Assistant speaker is loaded with smart features. She can play music, check the weather, and control the rest of her smart home system with just her voice. A Kindle so she can read literally anything, anywhereAmazonAmazon Kindle Paperwhite, available at Amazon, $139.99While there's no denying that flipping through real, paper pages is a great feeling, an ebook reader is a great option for travelers and commuters (when it's time to do these things again). She can access her entire library of ebooks on this thing, which makes it easy to always dive into a new book. We're partial to Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite with its glare-free display and waterproofing, which allows you to read literally anywhere.Read our full review here.A powerful wireless speakerBest BuySonos One (Gen 2), available at Best Buy, $219.99Sleek and minimal, the Sonos One won't overwhelm or distract from her existing decor. It can play music and podcasts via Bluetooth so there won't be unsightly cords to deal with either.Leisure Gifts for HerAn easy-to-use painting setUncommon GoodsSpringtime Paint-by-Number Kit, available at Uncommon Goods, $35Painting isn't only for those who do art on the regular. This kit is a straightforward gift for any woman, regardless of experience level. Creating her work of art will take between three and five hours, but she'll end up with a frame-worthy masterpiece.A yoga mat for the fitness enthusiastMandukaProLite Yoga Mat, available at Manduka or Backcountry, from $99For the one who doubles as a yogi, this mat has just the right amount of padding, is made of eco-friendly materials, and has a no-slip grip texture. It's a top pick, even earning a spot as the best overall in our guide to the best yoga mats.A year-long MasterClass membership to learn new thingsMasterClassAnnual Membership, available at MasterClass, from $180/yearMasterClass, unlike many competitors, follows a format that feels like a one-sided conversation with your favorite icons rather than a traditional academic setting. It's interesting, and you can go as deep (into reading materials) or shallow (listening to their insight while running errands) as you like to. An Unlimited Membership gives them access to all the site's classes for the year.The site hosts classes taught by well-known celebrities and industry leaders — from Neil deGrasse Tyson teaching Scientific Thinking and Communication to Malcolm Gladwell on Writing, Shonda Rhimes on Writing for Television, and Bob Iger on Business Strategy and Leadership.Read our full review here.A sleek suitcase that'll be her travel go-toParavelParavel Aviator Carry-On, available at Paravel, from $275If she's trying to live a more sustainable life, try this carry-on spinner from Paravel. The hard polycarbonate exterior, interior lining, aluminum handle, and zippers are all made with recycled materials, and the sleek detailing on the body is made with vegan leather. It's a gorgeous and thoughtful gift that she'll love using when it's time to travel again.A cult-favorite candleNordstromDiptyque Baies Candle, available at Bloomingdale's, from $38Gifting candles is an art and Diptyque is one that works every time. She'll swoon over the chic French aesthetic and the aromatic blend of rose petals and blackcurrant leaves. The brand is even mentioned in our guide to the best candle brands. A luxurious box of trufflesGoldbellyVosges Haut-Chocolat Exotic Truffle Collection - 32 Pieces, available at Goldbelly, $94Take her all around the world with this set of truffles. Each flavor is inspired by global flavors, with ones like Dulce de Leche, Balsamico, and Sveta Sofia. It doesn't get any better than a box of chocolates when it comes to gifts for the women in your life. Read our full review of Goldbelly here.A cute and challenging puzzleAnthropologieFull Moon Puzzle, available at Anthropologie, $24.95A puzzle is a fun way to pass the time and putting together this 500-piece one, with its gradient pattern, will definitely be a challenge. The whimsical design will look nice splayed out on any table. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 14th, 2022

I"m an avid concert-goer who"s frustrated by Ticketmaster"s shady practices. It"s time the company was held accountable.

"The stress and anxiety stem from one question: How will Ticketmaster screw me over this time?" says a writer about trying to buy tickets to see BTS. The author (right) with a friend at the BTS concert in Los Angeles on November 28.Courtesy of Yati Sanghvi Yati Sanghvi experienced a lot of challenges while buying tickets for a BTS concert on Ticketmaster. She argues it's just one example of the live-entertainment company taking advantage of its monopoly. Some Congress members are taking steps toward correcting it. This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author. On September 27, South Korean boyband BTS announced a series of four concerts in Los Angeles — their first live in-person shows in more than two years. As a huge fan and someone who'd had tickets to their canceled 2020 tour before getting reimbursed, I was thrilled. But getting tickets to see one of the biggest boy bands in the world is not an easy task. For me, the stress and anxiety stem from one question: How will Ticketmaster screw me over this time? Ticketmaster is notorious for making live-entertainment ticketing an absolute nightmare. The company has a long history of monopolistic practices, acquiring its rival Ticketron in 1991 and merging with Live Nation in 2010 despite the objections of several lawmakers. As of 2018, the company was ticketing 80 of the top 100 arenas in the country.Such outsized control means Ticketmaster is often fans' only avenue for snagging tickets to see their favorite stars perform, leading to a frustrating experience I've faced many times. But trying to secure tickets for the BTS stadium shows was by far my worst experience yet.Due to high demand, ticketing for BTS's concerts took place over the course of 5 days The first four days were tiered presales for fans who had tickets to their canceled 2020 tour, members of BTS' paid "Army Membership" fanclub, and Ticketmaster's Verified Fans. The final day was the general public sale. On October 6 at 5:30 p.m., I anxiously logged into Ticketmaster and waited to enter the queue for day two of the ticketing schedule. I felt hopeful about getting a pair of floor seats for at least one of the concert days. According to many fans on Twitter, by the end of day one of sales almost all the best seats — including VIP, floor, and the 100 level — were booked. On day two, when I began ticketing, we were told VIP soundcheck seats wouldn't be available.The notification Ticketmaster sent to buyers in the queue.Courtesy of Yati SanghviAfter spending more than two hours in a queue, I made it to a seat selection page, only to be shown error messages. I was able to get around the glitch by reentering the queue altogether — a troubleshooting method I learned thanks to Twitter.Nearly three hours after I first joined the ticketing queues, I finally landed a pair of 400-level seats.I thought I'd try for better tickets during the next day's presaleInstead, I received an email saying I had to sit out because Ticketmaster was "unable to validate" my information. Screenshot from the email I received before the third presale.Courtesy of Yati SanghviMeanwhile, I was astonished to see fans reporting tens of thousands of seats at every level, including VIP, still available to buy — seats I and those who ticketed with me never had access to the day before. Ticketmaster eventually canceled the general public onsale altogether, announcing on Twitter that the shows were sold out. Meanwhile, according to Twitter, countless tickets were already popping up for outrageous prices on resale websites used by scalpers.By the end of the week, I felt fortunate that I managed to get any tickets at all. I bought a pair for the November 28 show and was able to snag another two tickets for the November 27 show from a fan whose plans had changed. Many fans didn't get so lucky. "sorry but Ticketmaster had two years to figure out how to improve their ticketing system knowing when concerts come back the demand was gonna double. Especially BTS ticketing has always been insane and they knew, I can't believe how messy and unprofessional it was handled," one fan tweeted.—ivanna⁷ (@inlovejhs) October 9, 2021BTS fans' awful ticketing experience is one of many Earlier this year, fans of Lorde criticized Ticketmaster's endless queues and website crashing as they tried to secure tickets to the singer's "Solar Power" tour. This month, fans of Adele complained about Ticketmaster's "Verified Fan" presale system and outrageous resale prices, while Olivia Rodrigo fans were outraged by multiple technical difficulties.When tickets went on sale for the US leg of Harry Styles' "Love On Tour," which was postponed from 2020 to 2021 due to COVID-19, fans on Twitter were especially vocal about Official Platinum Seats, which are tickets sold at flexible prices by event organizers in order to enable "market-based pricing," according to Ticketmaster's website. Fans like me, however, see them as an excuse to hike up prices.—Sandra Donda (@Sandra_Donda) November 5, 2021"Ticketmaster can only get away with such exorbitant 'scalping' behavior because it has a 70% market share and no meaningful competition," Mark Perry, economist and professor at the University of Michigan, told me.In a recent oped for The Hill, Perry wrote that Ticketmaster can also hold back tickets to create a false sense of scarcity. The method leaves consumers in the dark about the true supply of tickets and whether more tickets will be released later, causing a purchasing frenzy. This, I believe, is exactly what BTS fans experienced.With the resurgence of live events, economists and lawmakers are calling on the government to address Ticketmaster's monopoly on the live-entertainment marketIn 1994, the band Pearl Jam tried to retaliate against the company in the hopes of keeping ticket prices low and looking out for fans. The US Department of Justice investigated Pearl Jam's claims but the band ultimately lost, with the DOJ concluding Ticketmaster didn't breach antitrust laws.When it came time for Pearl Jam's next tour, they were forced to use Ticketmaster just like everyone else. "This was a battle in which not even the biggest band in the world had a chance," the Independent's Ed Power wrote in 2019. But times are changing. In April, five members of Congress signed a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Federal Trade Commission acting chair Rebecca Slaughter urging strong antitrust regulation enforcement against Live Nation Entertainment "to protect consumers' future access to live events."Two years ago, Congressman Pascrell also reintroduced the BOSS Act to Congress, which would further regulate the live-event ticketing industry by requiring transparency about the volume and pricing of tickets."The BOSS Act is the best way to restore a pro-consumer ticket market by challenging Ticketmaster's anticompetitive monopoly position," Perry said, adding that the bill is now being reconsidered in Congress.If passed, it would also mean some relief for people like me. Not only would it take away some of the stress and pressure associated with ticket purchases, it would also create a more equitable system for all music fans.Ticketmaster did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 27th, 2021

Check out 30 pitch decks from fintechs disrupting trading, banking, and lending that helped them raise millions

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech VC  funding hit a fresh quarterly record of $22.8 billion in the first three months of 2021, according to CB Insights data. While mega-rounds helped propel overall funding, new cash was spread across 614 deals. Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. A trading app for activismAntoine Argouges, CEO and founder of Tulipshare.TulipshareAn up-and-coming fintech is taking aim at some of the world's largest corporations by empowering retail investors to push for social and environmental change by pooling their shareholder rights.London-based Tulipshare lets individuals in the UK invest as little as one pound in publicly-traded company stocks. The upstart combines individuals' shareholder rights with other like-minded investors to advocate for environmental, social, and corporate governance change at firms like JPMorgan, Apple, and Amazon.The goal is to achieve a higher number of shares to maximize the number of votes that can be submitted at shareholder meetings. Already a regulated broker-dealer in the UK, Tulipshare recently applied for registration as a broker-dealer in the US. "If you ask your friends and family if they've ever voted on shareholder resolutions, the answer will probably be close to zero," CEO and founder Antoine Argouges told Insider. "I started Tulipshare to utilize shareholder rights to bring about positive corporate change that has an impact on people's lives and our planet — what's more powerful than money to change the system we live in?"Check out the 14-page pitch deck from Tulipshare, a trading app that lets users pool their shareholder votes for activism campaignsThe back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionPrivate market data on the blockchainPat O'Meara, CEO of Inveniam.InveniamFor investors in publicly-traded stocks, there's typically no shortage of company data to guide investment decisions. Company financials are easily accessible and vetted by teams of regulators, lawyers, and accountants.But in the private markets — which encompass assets that range from real estate to private credit and private equity — that isn't always the case. Within real estate, for example, valuations of a specific slice of property are often the product of heavily-worked Excel models and a lot of institutional knowledge, leaving them susceptible to manual error at many points along the way.Inveniam, founded in 2017, is a software company that tokenizes the business data of private companies on the blockchain. Using a distributed ledger allows Inveniam to keep track of who is touching the data and what they are doing to it. Check out the 16-page pitch deck for Inveniam, a blockchain-based startup looking to be the Refinitiv of private-market dataHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in funding Shopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy Vo.ProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series AReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPO.AgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundCheckout made easyBolt's Ryan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DHelping small banks lendCollateralEdge's Joel Radtke, cofounder, COO, and president, and Joe Beard, cofounder and CEO.CollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed round Quantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders.NowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder.LadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote team.HighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lenderDaniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor.TricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team.TomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg.Hum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi.QoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize.SecuritizeSecuritize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs.Spring LabsA blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round.  So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot.FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 21st, 2021

‘Tis the Season: Tips for Staying in Touch

Holidays are a great time to reach out to your contacts, but besides the ubiquitous Christmas card, finding original ways to check in with your contact list can be tough. At the same time, different traditions and schedules can make the holiday season a difficult time to successfully connect with a large audience. But that […] The post ‘Tis the Season: Tips for Staying in Touch appeared first on RISMedia. Holidays are a great time to reach out to your contacts, but besides the ubiquitous Christmas card, finding original ways to check in with your contact list can be tough. At the same time, different traditions and schedules can make the holiday season a difficult time to successfully connect with a large audience. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to be both memorable and inclusive! Try these three unique ideas to help you become top of mind for your contacts this winter season: Winter Recipes From bubbling soups to warm cookies and sizzling dumplings, food is something everyone can appreciate during the cold winter months. Rather than mailing or handing out the generic Christmas cookie or hot cocoa packets, try sending recipe cards that people can use or modify as they wish based on diet or allergies. The recipe can be your own for a personal touch or borrowed from any number of sources, and recipe cards themselves are cheap and relatively easy to produce, either digitally or on paper. A ‘Sneaky Cards’ Challenge A game popular in schools called Sneaky Cards asks people to do silly, fun and helpful things with friends, neighbors or even strangers before passing on the challenge by way of a special card. This challenge can be anything from trying a new food to recommending a local business. Cards can also be tracked by unique serial numbers so you know just how far your challenge goes! Try sending one of these to your mailing list (after, of course, completing the challenge yourself) and letting your community pay it forward. A version of the game is available free on the developer’s website. Start a Pinterest Board Pinterest, which allows a large number of participants to share photos, text and ideas on themed “boards” is an under-used social networking tool for real estate agents. But the winter season is a great time to get started! You can create a theme as broad or as specific as you want, and ask your contacts to share all things winter-related, or specific thoughts, feelings or ideas about their town. You can also start by adding a bunch of your own photos or ask people to fill the board themselves—either way, a great method of connection and learning about people in your area. With these ideas, you can make sure your name and brand sticks with people in your sphere, all while keeping a light and inclusive spirit for the holiday season! Jesse Williams is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to jwilliams@rismedia.com. The post ‘Tis the Season: Tips for Staying in Touch appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaDec 19th, 2021

Here are 29 pitch decks from fintechs disrupting trading, banking, and lending that helped them raise millions

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech VC  funding hit a fresh quarterly record of $22.8 billion in the first three months of 2021, according to CB Insights data. While mega-rounds helped propel overall funding, new cash was spread across 614 deals. Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. The back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionPrivate market data on the blockchainPat O'Meara, CEO of Inveniam.InveniamFor investors in publicly-traded stocks, there's typically no shortage of company data to guide investment decisions. Company financials are easily accessible and vetted by teams of regulators, lawyers, and accountants.But in the private markets — which encompass assets that range from real estate to private credit and private equity — that isn't always the case. Within real estate, for example, valuations of a specific slice of property are often the product of heavily-worked Excel models and a lot of institutional knowledge, leaving them susceptible to manual error at many points along the way.Inveniam, founded in 2017, is a software company that tokenizes the business data of private companies on the blockchain. Using a distributed ledger allows Inveniam to keep track of who is touching the data and what they are doing to it. Check out the 16-page pitch deck for Inveniam, a blockchain-based startup looking to be the Refinitiv of private-market dataHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in funding Shopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy Vo.ProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series AReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPO.AgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundCheckout made easyBolt's Ryan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DHelping small banks lendCollateralEdge's Joel Radtke, cofounder, COO, and president, and Joe Beard, cofounder and CEO.CollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed round Quantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders.NowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder.LadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote team.HighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lenderDaniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor.TricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team.TomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg.Hum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi.QoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize.SecuritizeSecuritize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs.Spring LabsA blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round.  So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot.FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 16th, 2021

16 unexpected gifts for writers, from creative prompts to an encouraging mug

Celebrate the writer in your life with a gift they'll be excited about, from a book of writing prompts to a "future best-selling author" mug. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Celebrate the writer in your life with a gift they'll be excited about, from a book of writing prompts to a "future best-selling author" mug.MintChocolateDesigns/Etsy Writers are some of the most creative people, so finding a unique gift can be tough. We put together 16 gifts for writers that are clever and motivating, from journals to fun mugs. Still looking for a gift? Check out our list of the All-Time Best products we've ever tested. It's nearly impossible to get through the day without writing. From professional authors to grocery list creators, we all rely on writing to bring the thoughts inside our heads into action. If there's a writer in your life, they'd almost certainly appreciate a gift that lets them fuel their favorite hobby. No matter their process or interest, these gifts for writers are sure to please even the pickiest wordsmiths. 16 unique gifts for writers that will spark their creativityA stack of creativity cards when they're stuckAmazonWriter Emergency Pack, $15.99, available at AmazonUnderdeveloped characters? Painful plot points? Just plain writer's block? Whatever their sticking point is, these creativity cards can help them push past it. A candle that evokes the smell of booksAmazonBook Club Homesick Candle, from $34, available at Amazon and HomesickA writer's environment has the power to completely shape what they're creating. Help them get into their best headspace with scents reminiscent of the smell of old books. A memoir by one of the all-best best writersAmazon"On Writing" by Stephen King, from $12.99, available at Amazon and BookshopGive them a sneak peek into legendary horror author Stephen King's writing process in this memoir-lecture hybrid of a story. If they're a fan of Stephen King's work, you can pair this with one of his bestselling books.Non-prescription glasses that help with eye strainZenniBluelight Glasses (no prescription), from $9.95, available at ZenniStaring at the computer all day isn't the best for their eyes or their brain, but blue-light-blocking glasses provide a healthier approach to screen time.A subtle nod to their greatest passionUncommon GoodsTypewriter Key Necklace, $70, available at Uncommon GoodsThis subtle and sweet necklace will provide them with a more understated way to show their love for writing. Even for non-writers, this personalized initial necklace is a great and simple option to elevate nearly any look. A monthly book subscriptionBook of the Month; Alyssa Powell/InsiderBook of the Month Membership, from $49.99, available at Book of the MonthThe best writers are often the best readers, and if their reading list is ever-growing, they'll appreciate you effectively gifting them a library at their doorstep. Book of the Month takes much of the decision fatigue out of book shopping, giving them a small but diverse selection of books to select from each month. You can read more about the subscription service here.A paper-saving way to organizeWalmartU Brands Magnetic Dry Erase Calendar Board, $9.96, available at WalmartJuggling multiple projects can be difficult without staying organized. This whiteboard is divided up into a monthly calendar and blank notes section, so they can keep track of upcoming tasks while keeping a zoomed-out look of what's on the horizon. I've owned a version of this whiteboard for over a year and it's definitely helped with organization and time management. A comfy seat wherever they goAmazonSeat Cushion, $35, available at PurpleThis portable seat cushion will help them find a comfortable place to write wherever they go. Gone are the days of stiff coffee shop stools and worn-in library seats. A journal filled with creative promptsBarnes and NoblePiccadilly 300 Writing Prompts Journal, $7.32, available at WalmartJournaling is an excellent way to make sense of overwhelming thoughts — and journals specifically designed with writing prompts can serve the same purpose for authors. This one has 300 prompts that focus more on fostering creativity than specific writing skills. A mug that always reminds them of their missionCelebrate the writer in your life with a gift they'll be excited about, from a book of writing prompts to a "future best-selling author" mug.MintChocolateDesigns/EtsyFuture Bestselling Author Mug, $14.99, available at EtsySet the tone for their day of writing by reminding them of their purpose before they finish their morning coffee. Plus, you can personalize it by adding their name on the back for no extra charge.A fun story creation gameAmazonThe Storymatic Classic, $29.95, available at Amazon Help them to create a story from scratch with this set of over 500 cards that will practically do the work for them. Great for non-writers and writers alike, this is also a great gift for game night or the next dinner party. A planner focused self-careDash of PepKick Today in the Butt Planner, $25 available at Dash of PepThis planner can keep them on track with an extra dose of compassion. It's dateless for customization, helps organize tasks by priority, and has built-in prompts specifically with self-care in mind.A gift card to their favorite music streaming serviceBest BuySend them a gift card to Spotify, Apple Music, or Amazon Music Unlimited Everyone focuses differently: Some need to dive deep into their favorite podcast, others just need any kind of background music, and some need a welcome distraction after writing in silence. Whatever their taste, they're likely to appreciate a gift from their favorite music streaming service. A set of funny writing pencilsbluestiggy/EtsyWriting Pencil Gift Set, from $9.69 available at EtsyFor writers that prefer a notebook and pencil to a computer, these pencils come with humorous and inspiring phrases that will keep them going. You can purchase this in a bundle with a notebook or as the pencils alone.A library of their ownAmazonKnock Knock Personal Library Kit, $21.58 available at AmazonWriters are readers — and whether they're sharing drafts of their own work or lending out their favorite book, this library kit is a cute, custom way for them to keep track of all of their shared stories. Much like a real library, it includes adhesive book pockets, checkout cards, a date stamp, and a pencil. A humorous wink to writer's blockBLOCKSetc/EtsyWriter's Block, $22.50, available at EtsyThis wooden writer's block brings an element of silliness to a typically frustrating process. Writer's block can be challenging to break through, but at the very least, they'll be able to think of you each time they get stuck. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 8th, 2021

This member of Congress wants everyone to know about the "dark money scheme" that"s "captured" the Supreme Court

"Democrats have been overlooking the Supreme Court for a long time and are now getting a wake-up call," Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) speaks as Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the third day of her Supreme Court confirmation hearing on October 14, 2020.Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is fighting to end the "dark money" that he says is plaguing the Supreme Court. The Rhode Island Democrat is referring to private groups using anonymous donations to advance their interests at the highest court. Whitehouse spoke with Insider in a recent interview to discuss his views.  For the ninth time this year, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse gave a speech this week blasting right-wing anonymous donors whom he believes have "captured" the Supreme Court and "built" its current 6-3 conservative majority."Our Supreme Court is awash in dark money influence," the Rhode Island Democrat said on the Senate floor on Tuesday. "The American people may not be able to see all of the rot, but they can see enough to know that something is rotten over there across First Street at that court."Unlike some members of his party, Whitehouse has steered clear of reform ideas such as adding more seats to the bench or setting term limits for justices. Instead, the three-term senator has been vehemently pushing for financial transparency in the third branch of government to expose how it's been influenced by a far-right conservative agenda. Whitehouse, who chairs a key panel on the Senate Judiciary Committee, calls it a three-fold "scheme" — private groups use anonymous donations to groom Supreme Court candidates, promote and defend these nominees with political ad campaigns and later try to influence these justices in legal briefs filed without any financial disclosures. "If it's the same people who paid for all of it, particularly if they're the same people who are funding politicians, then it becomes not just a problem, but potentially toxic," Whitehouse, 66, said in a recent interview with Insider.According to the senator's findings, the effect of this operation is being played out during Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts' tenure, which has handed down at least 80 partisan decisions that advance conservative interests."It's a terrible record," Whitehouse said.'The scheme'When Whitehouse began investigating the matter years ago, he "had a general sense that things had gone off the rails" at the Supreme Court and wanted to do research to show "how big, special interests hiding behind dark money had been able to exert their power," he told Insider.In a report published last year by the Harvard Journal on Legislation, Whitehouse laid out his evidence of the dark money trail by pointing to major Supreme Court decisions that delivered wins to conservatives. Those rulings included allowing unlimited corporate spending on political campaigns, reversing the rights of labor unions, and weakening voting rights. The U.S. Supreme Court on September 25, 2021.Stefani Reynolds/Getty ImagesThe trend is only continuing, according to Whitehouse. What he finds most troubling is an increase in the number of legal briefs, known as amicus briefs, that are filed without any financial disclosure to convince the justices to rule a certain way."The rule of the court purports to say that you can't hide behind a front group. There's almost no other situation in court where somebody is allowed to come in and not identify themselves, and yet there is conspicuous non-enforcement of that rule, and it deprives the public of seeing the coordination among the phony front groups," Whitehouse said, adding that he doesn't "understand why the court doesn't clean that up itself."In the current term, hundreds of briefs tied to a slew of contentious cases have been filed to the Supreme Court. One highly-watched case, concerning a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, has attracted dozens of briefs that express support for or opposition to the law."We're seeing in real time this vector of anonymous influence deploying in enormous numbers on these political cases and that's just a rotten site for a court to present to the country," Whitehouse said.Democrats have glossed over the Supreme CourtHow conservatives have come to have greater control over the Supreme Court, and the federal judiciary as a whole, comes years in the making, experts say.For decades, Republicans have eyed the courts as a method to uphold their political power, building a conservative  lawyers and judges and empowering conservative groups like the Federalist Society. Using this backbone, former President Donald Trump filled more than 200 court seats with conservatives."They focused on the least democratic branch, the one that doesn't respond to voters, the one that could impose its will from behind ropes, as the vehicle for getting their ideology imposed on the American people," according to Whitehouse.Still, Whitehouse acknowledges that at the same time Republicans cultivated this strategy, Democrats just weren't paying enough attention."Democrats have been overlooking the Supreme Court for a long time and are now getting a wake-up call," he said.Though the senator claims the court is presently fueled by conservative dark money groups, anonymous political donations indeed go both ways. Democrats actually drew in more funding from dark money than Republicans in the 2020 election cycle, according to OpenSecrets.And now Democrats, who are in the majority, have control over the judicial confirmation process. So far in his tenure, President Joe Biden has appointed 28 federal judges.Justice Amy Coney Barrett was President Donald Trump's third appointment to the Supreme Court.Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty ImagesWhitehouse weighed in on the partisan reality and told Insider that ultimately, "whatever rule we should impose to clean up this mess should apply completely irrespective of party or point of view."Americans have caught sight of the politics that surround the Supreme Court and have formed negative impressions of the institution. A new Quinnipiac University poll released Friday found that more than 6 in 10 Americans say the Supreme Court is motivated primarily by politics. That comes on the heels of all-time low public approval ratings of the Supreme Court with some justices speaking publicly in recent months to try and restore the public's faith."It's one of the things that really tears at me because on the one hand, the best thing for this country would be a United States Supreme Court that everybody had confidence in and was proud of, and that was seen to be staying in its proper lanes," Whitehouse said. "But on the other hand, once it becomes evident, as it is to me, that the emperor has no clothes here, it's just as important to call it out because a court that is masquerading as a regular court, but is actually a captured vehicle for big, special interests, is the most dangerous."'They're just trying to shut me up'Whitehouse has been pursuing multiple avenues to overhaul the system. He's attempted to advance legislation that would enhance financial transparency in the government and the courts, yet little progress has been made. A bill he wrote to tackle the issue was included in the Democrats' voting and elections legislation, but Republicans blocked it last month. Besides Congress, Whitehouse has also called on the White House to examine the role of dark money at the Supreme Court. This week, he and three Democratic lawmakers wrote a letter to Biden's Supreme Court commission to do just that, after the group released a draft report last month that failed to touch on the topic. "It just doesn't make any sense," Whitehouse said. "The fact that they couldn't even grapple with that issue was hard to accept."There are also some areas that the Supreme Court can easily address itself, including establishing ethics codes for the justices, providing financial disclosures of amicus briefs, and reporting about gifts and hospitality the justices receive, according to Whitehouse.Critics have slammed Whitehouse's views on the nation's highest court as disrespectful and mistaken, with some condemning them as conspiracy theories or myths. Others have said that Whitehouse just wants to rewrite the rules because the court is not making decisions to his liking. The Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote in March that Whitehouse's quest has been "undermining judicial independence and restricting the First Amendment rights of private citizens to influence their government."During testimony at a committee hearing chaired by Whitehouse that same month, a legal expert reiterated those points, and argued that the recent trend of Supreme Court decisions aren't a consequence of right-wing influence, but a consequence of the justices' judicial philosophies. "Rather than address the substance of their decisions on the merits or, where applicable, seek reform of the relevant laws at issue in contested court decisions, the Supreme Court's critics prefer to demonize the justices and imply nefarious motivations," Jonathan Adler, law professor at Case Western Reserve University, said. Often the lone member of Congress regularly vocalizing the "scheme," Whitehouse stands firm in his beliefs and vows to continue to promote and fight for them. "The issue that I have with a lot of the counterattack is that it's just name-calling that fails to address the problems that I've identified," Whitehouse said. "When I see that, that really only confirms my view that they can't defend what they've done. They're just trying to shut me up.""Why would they want to do that if they weren't trying to protect a court that they'd captured?" he added.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 20th, 2021

A New Generation of Nuclear Reactors Could Hold the Key to a Green Future

On a conference-room whiteboard in the heart of Silicon Valley, Jacob DeWitte sketches his startup’s first product. In red marker, it looks like a beer can in a Koozie, stuck with a crazy straw. In real life, it will be about the size of a hot tub, and made from an array of exotic materials,… On a conference-room whiteboard in the heart of Silicon Valley, Jacob DeWitte sketches his startup’s first product. In red marker, it looks like a beer can in a Koozie, stuck with a crazy straw. In real life, it will be about the size of a hot tub, and made from an array of exotic materials, like zirconium and uranium. Under carefully controlled conditions, they will interact to produce heat, which in turn will make electricity—1.5 megawatts’ worth, enough to power a neighborhood or a factory. DeWitte’s little power plant will run for a decade without refueling and, amazingly, will emit no carbon. ”It’s a metallic thermal battery,” he says, coyly. But more often DeWitte calls it by another name: a nuclear reactor. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Fission isn’t for the faint of heart. Building a working reactor—even a very small one—requires precise and painstaking efforts of both engineering and paper pushing. Regulations are understandably exhaustive. Fuel is hard to come by—they don’t sell uranium at the Gas-N-Sip. But DeWitte plans to flip the switch on his first reactor around 2023, a mere decade after co-founding his company, Oklo. After that, they want to do for neighborhood nukes what Tesla has done for electric cars: use a niche and expensive first version as a stepping stone toward cheaper, bigger, higher-volume products. In Oklo’s case, that means starting with a “microreactor” designed for remote communities, like Alaskan villages, currently dependent on diesel fuel trucked, barged or even flown in, at an exorbitant expense. Then building more and incrementally larger reactors until their zero-carbon energy source might meaningfully contribute to the global effort to reduce fossil-fuel emissions. At global climate summits, in the corridors of Congress and at statehouses around the U.S., nuclear power has become the contentious keystone of carbon reduction plans. Everyone knows they need it. But no one is really sure they want it, given its history of accidents. Or even if they can get it in time to reach urgent climate goals, given how long it takes to build. Oklo is one of a growing handful of companies working to solve those problems by putting reactors inside safer, easier-to-build and smaller packages. None of them are quite ready to scale to market-level production, but given the investments being made into the technology right now, along with an increasing realization that we won’t be able to shift away from fossil fuels without nuclear power, it’s a good bet that at least one of them becomes a game changer. If existing plants are the energy equivalent of a 2-liter soda bottle, with giant, 1,000-megawatt-plus reactors, Oklo’s strategy is to make reactors by the can. The per-megawatt construction costs might be higher, at least at first. But producing units in a factory would give the company a chance to improve its processes and to lower costs. Oklo would pioneer a new model. Nuclear plants need no longer be bet-the-company big, even for giant utilities. Venture capitalists can get behind the potential to scale to a global market. And climate hawks should fawn over a zero-carbon energy option that complements burgeoning supplies of wind and solar power. Unlike today’s plants, which run most efficiently at full blast, making it challenging for them to adapt to a grid increasingly powered by variable sources (not every day is sunny, or windy), the next generation of nuclear technology wants to be more flexible, able to respond quickly to ups and downs in supply and demand. Engineering these innovations is hard. Oklo’s 30 employees are busy untangling the knots of safety and complexity that sent the cost of building nuclear plants to the stratosphere and all but halted their construction in the U.S. ”If this technology was brand-‘new’—like if fission was a recent breakthrough out of a lab, 10 or 15 years ago—we’d be talking about building our 30th reactor,” DeWitte says. But fission is an old, and fraught, technology, and utility companies are scrambling now to keep their existing gargantuan nuclear plants open. Economically, they struggle to compete with cheap natural gas, along with wind and solar, often subsidized by governments. Yet climate-focused nations like France and the U.K. that had planned to phase out nuclear are instead doubling down. (In October, French President Emmanuel Macron backed off plans to close 14 reactors, and in November, he announced the country would instead start building new ones.) At the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, the U.S. announced its support for Poland, Kenya, Ukraine, Brazil, Romania and Indonesia to develop their own new nuclear plants—while European negotiators assured that nuclear energy counts as “green.” All the while, Democrats and Republicans are (to everyone’s surprise) often aligned on nuclear’s benefits—and, in many cases, putting their powers of the purse behind it, both to keep old plants open in the U.S. and speed up new technologies domestically and overseas. It makes for a decidedly odd moment in the life of a technology that already altered the course of one century, and now wants to make a difference in another. There are 93 operating nuclear reactors in the U.S.; combined, they supply 20% of U.S. electricity, and 50% of its carbon-free electricity. Nuclear should be a climate solution, satisfying both technical and economic needs. But while the existing plants finally operate with enviable efficiency (after 40 years of working out the kinks), the next generation of designs is still a decade away from being more than a niche player in our energy supply. Everyone wants a steady supply of electricity, without relying on coal. Nuclear is paradoxically right at hand, and out of reach. For that to change, “new nuclear” has to emerge before the old nuclear plants recede. It has to keep pace with technological improvements in other realms, like long-term energy storage, where each incremental improvement increases the potential for renewables to supply more of our electricity. It has to be cheaper than carbon-capture technologies, which would allow flexible gas plants to operate without climate impacts (but are still too expensive to build at scale). And finally it has to arrive before we give up—before the spectre of climate catastrophe creates a collective “doomerism,” and we stop trying to change. Not everyone thinks nuclear can reinvent itself in time. “When it comes to averting the imminent effects of climate change, even the cutting edge of nuclear technology will prove to be too little, too late,” predicts Allison Macfarlane, former chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)—the government agency singularly responsible for permitting new plants. Can a stable, safe, known source of energy rise to the occasion, or will nuclear be cast aside as too expensive, too risky and too late? J R Eyerman—The LIFE Picture Collection/ShutterstockLaboratory personnel developing a fusion device in Project Sherwood at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, 1958 Trying Again Nuclear began in a rush. In 1942, in the lowest mire of World War II, the U.S. began the Manhattan Project, the vast effort to develop atomic weapons. It employed 130,000 people at secret sites across the country, the most famous of which was Los Alamos Laboratory, near Albuquerque, N.M., where Robert Oppenheimer led the design and construction of the first atomic bombs. DeWitte, 36, grew up nearby. Even as a child of the ’90s, he was steeped in the state’s nuclear history, and preoccupied with the terrifying success of its engineering and the power of its materials. “It’s so incredibly energy dense,” says DeWitte. “A golf ball of uranium would power your entire life!” DeWitte has taken that bromide almost literally. He co-founded Oklo in 2013 with Caroline Cochran, while both were graduate students in nuclear engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. When they arrived in Cambridge, Mass., in 2007 and 2008, the nuclear industry was on a precipice. Then presidential candidate Barack Obama espoused a new eagerness to address climate change by reducing carbon emissions—which at the time meant less coal, and more nuclear. (Wind and solar energy were still a blip.) It was an easy sell. In competitive power markets, nuclear plants were profitable. The 104 operating reactors in the U.S. at the time were running smoothly. There hadn’t been a major accident since Chernobyl, in 1986. The industry excitedly prepared for a “nuclear renaissance.” At the peak of interest, the NRC had applications for 30 new reactors in the U.S. Only two would be built. The cheap natural gas of the fracking boom began to drive down electricity prices, razing nuclear’s profits. Newly subsidized renewables, like wind and solar, added even more electricity generation, further saturating the markets. When on March 11, 2011, an earthquake and subsequent tsunami rolled over Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, leading to the meltdown of all three of its reactors and the evacuation of 154,000 people, the industry’s coffin was fully nailed. Not only would there be no renaissance in the U.S, but the existing plants had to justify their safety. Japan shut down 46 of its 50 operating reactors. Germany closed 11 of its 17. The U.S. fleet held on politically, but struggled to compete economically. Since Fukushima, 12 U.S. reactors have begun decommissioning, with three more planned. At MIT, Cochran and DeWitte—who were teaching assistants together for a nuclear reactor class in 2009, and married in 2011—were frustrated by the setback. ”It was like, There’re all these cool technologies out there. Let’s do something with it,” says Cochran. But the nuclear industry has never been an easy place for innovators. In the U.S., its operational ranks have long been dominated by “ring knockers”—the officer corps of the Navy’s nuclear fleet, properly trained in the way things are done, but less interested in doing them differently. Governments had always kept a tight grip on nuclear; for decades, the technology was under shrouds. The personal computing revolution, and then the wild rise of the Internet, further drained engineering talent. From DeWitte and Cochran’s perspective, the nuclear-energy industry had already ossified by the time Fukushima and fracking totally brought things to a halt. “You eventually got to the point where it’s like, we have to try something different,” DeWitte says. He and Cochran began to discreetly convene their MIT classmates for brainstorming sessions. Nuclear folks tend to be dogmatic about their favorite method of splitting atoms, but they stayed agnostic. “I didn’t start thinking we had to do everything differently,” says DeWitte. Rather, they had a hunch that marginal improvements might yield major results, if they could be spread across all of the industry’s usual snags—whether regulatory approaches, business models, the engineering of the systems themselves, or the challenge of actually constructing them. In 2013, Cochran and DeWitte began to rent out the spare room in their Cambridge home on Airbnb. Their first guests were a pair of teachers from Alaska. The remote communities they taught in were dependent on diesel fuel for electricity, brought in at enormous cost. That energy scarcity created an opportunity: in such an environment, even a very expensive nuclear reactor might still be cheaper than the current system. The duo targeted a price of $100 per megawatt hour, more than double typical energy costs. They imagined using this high-cost early market as a pathway to scale their manufacturing. They realized that to make it work economically, they wouldn’t have to reinvent the reactor technology, only the production and sales processes. They decided to own their reactors and supply electricity, rather than supply the reactors themselves—operating more like today’s solar or wind developers. “It’s less about the technology being different,” says DeWitte, “than it is about approaching the entire process differently.” That maverick streak raised eyebrows among nuclear veterans—and cash from Silicon Valley venture capitalists, including a boost from Y Combinator, where companies like Airbnb and Instacart got their start. In the eight years since, Oklo has distinguished itself from the competition by thinking smaller and moving faster. There are others competing in this space: NuScale, based in Oregon, is working to commercialize a reactor similar in design to existing nuclear plants, but constructed in 60-megawatt modules. TerraPower, founded by Bill Gates in 2006, has plans for a novel technology that uses its heat for energy storage, rather than to spin a turbine, which makes it an even more flexible option for electric grids that increasingly need that pliability. And X-energy, a Maryland-based firm that has received substantial funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, is developing 80-megawatt reactors that can also be grouped into “four-packs,” bringing them closer in size to today’s plants. Yet all are still years—and a billion dollars—away from their first installations. Oklo brags that its NRC application is 20 times shorter than NuScale’s, and its proposal cost 100 times less to develop. (Oklo’s proposed reactor would produce one-fortieth the power of NuScale’s.) NRC accepted Oklo’s application for review in March 2020, and regulations guarantee that process will be complete within three years. Oklo plans to power on around 2023, at a site at the Idaho National Laboratory, one of the U.S.’s oldest nuclear-research sites, and so already approved for such efforts. Then comes the hard part: doing it again and again, booking enough orders to justify building a factory to make many more reactors, driving costs down, and hoping politicians and activists worry more about the menace of greenhouse gases than the hazards of splitting atoms. Nuclear-industry veterans remain wary. They have seen this all before. Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactor, first approved by the NRC in 2005, was touted as the flagship technology of Obama’s nuclear renaissance. It promised to be safer and simpler, using gravity rather than electricity-driven pumps to cool the reactor in case of an emergency—in theory, this would mitigate the danger of power outages, like the one that led to the Fukushima disaster. Its components could be constructed at a centralized location, and then shipped in giant pieces for assembly. But all that was easier said than done. Westinghouse and its contractors struggled to manufacture the components according to nuclear’s mega-exacting requirements and in the end, only one AP1000 project in the U.S. actually happened: the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Georgia. Approved in 2012, its two reactors were expected at the time to cost $14 billion and be completed in 2016 and 2017, but costs have ballooned to $25 billion. The first will open, finally, next year. Oklo and its competitors insist things are different this time, but they have yet to prove it. “Because we haven’t built one of them yet, we can promise that they’re not going to be a problem to build,” quips Gregory Jaczko, a former NRC chair who has since become the technology’s most biting critic. “So there’s no evidence of our failure.” Georg Zinsler—Anzenberger/Redu​xA guided tour in the control room of reactor No. 2 inside the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant The Challenge The cooling tower of the Hope Creek nuclear plant rises 50 stories above Artificial Island, New Jersey, built up on the marshy edge of the Delaware River. The three reactors here—one belonging to Hope Creek, and two run by the Salem Generating Station, which shares the site—generate an astonishing 3,465 megawatts of electricity, or roughly 40% of New Jersey’s total supply. Construction began in 1968, and was completed in 1986. Their closest human neighbors are across the river in Delaware. Otherwise the plant is surrounded by protected marshlands, pocked with radiation sensors and the occasional guard booth. Of the 1,500 people working here, around 100 are licensed reactor operators—a special designation given by the NRC, and held by fewer than 4,000 people in the country. Among the newest in their ranks is Judy Rodriguez, an Elizabeth, N.J., native and another MIT grad. “Do I have your permission to enter?” she asks the operator on duty in the control room for the Salem Two reactor, which came online in 1981 and is capable of generating 1,200 megawatts of power. The operator opens a retractable belt barrier, like at an airport, and we step across a thick red line in the carpet. A horseshoe-shaped gray cabinet holds hundreds of buttons, glowing indicators and blinking lights, but a red LED counter at the center of the wall shows the most important number in the room: 944 megawatts, the amount of power the Salem Two reactor was generating that afternoon in September. Beside it is a circular pattern of square indicator lights showing the uranium fuel assemblies inside the core, deep inside the concrete domed containment building a couple hundred yards away. Salem Two has 764 of these constructions; each is about 6 inches sq and 15 ft. tall. They contain the source of the reactor’s energy, which are among the most guarded and controlled materials on earth. To make sure no one working there forgets that fact, a phrase is painted on walls all around the plant: “Line of Sight to the Reactor.” As the epitome of critical infrastructure, this station has been buffeted by the crises the U.S. has suffered in the past few decades. After 9/11, the three reactors here absorbed nearly $100 million in security upgrades. Everyone entering the plant passes through metal- and explosives detectors, and radiation detectors on the way out. Walking between the buildings entails crossing a concrete expanse beneath high bullet resistant enclosures (BREs). The plant has a guard corp that has more members than any in New Jersey besides the state police, and federal NRC rules mean that they don’t have to abide by state limitations on automatic weapons. The scale and complexity of the operation is staggering—and expensive. ”The place you’re sitting at right now costs us about $1.5 million to $2 million a day to run,” says Ralph Izzo, president and CEO of PSEG, New Jersey’s public utility company, which owns and operates the plants. “If those plants aren’t getting that in market, that’s a rough pill to swallow.” In 2019, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities agreed to $300 million in annual subsidies to keep the three reactors running. The justification is simple: if the state wants to meet its carbon-reduction goals, keeping the plants online is essential, given that they supply 90% of the state’s zero-carbon energy. In September, the Illinois legislature came to the same conclusion as New Jersey, approving almost $700 million over five years to keep two existing nuclear plants open. The bipartisan infrastructure bill includes $6 billion in additional support (along with nearly $10 billion for development of future reactors). Even more is expected in the broader Build Back Better bill. These subsidies—framed in both states as “carbon mitigation credits”—acknowledge the reality that nuclear plants cannot, on their own terms, compete economically with natural gas or coal. “There has always been a perception of this technology that never was matched by reality,” says Jaczko. The subsidies also show how climate change has altered the equation, but not decisively enough to guarantee nuclear’s future. Lawmakers and energy companies are coming to terms with nuclear’s new identity as clean power, deserving of the same economic incentives as solar and wind. Operators of existing plants want to be compensated for producing enormous amounts of carbon free energy, according to Josh Freed, of Third Way, a Washington, D.C., think tank that champions nuclear power as a climate solution. “There’s an inherent benefit to providing that, and it should be paid for.” For the moment, that has brought some assurance to U.S. nuclear operators of their future prospects. “A megawatt of zero-carbon electricity that’s leaving the grid is no different from a new megawatt of zero carbon electricity coming onto the grid,” says Kathleen Barrón, senior vice president of government and regulatory affairs and public policy at Exelon, the nation’s largest operator of nuclear reactors. Globally, nations are struggling with the same equation. Germany and Japan both shuttered many of their plants after the Fukushima disaster, and saw their progress at reducing carbon emissions suffer. Germany has not built new renewables fast enough to meet its electricity needs, and has made up the gap with dirty coal and natural gas imported from Russia. Japan, under international pressure to move more aggressively to meet its carbon targets, announced in October that it would work to restart its reactors. “Nuclear power is indispensable when we think about how we can ensure a stable and affordable electricity supply while addressing climate change,” said Koichi Hagiuda, Japan’s minister of economy, trade and industry, at an October news conference. China is building more new nuclear reactors than any other country, with plans for as many as 150 by the 2030s, at an estimated cost of nearly half a trillion dollars. Long before that, in this decade, China will overtake the U.S. as the operator of the world’s largest nuclear-energy system. Francesca Todde—contrasto/Redux Civaux nuclear power plant, in Civaux, France, May 2018 The future won’t be decided by choosing between nuclear or solar power. Rather, it’s a technically and economically complicated balance of adding as much renewable energy as possible while ensuring a steady supply of electricity. At the moment, that’s easy. “There is enough opportunity to build renewables before achieving penetration levels that we’re worried about the grid having stability,” says PSEG’s Izzo. New Jersey, for its part, is aiming to add 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035—or about the equivalent of six new Salem-sized reactors. The technology to do that is readily at hand—Kansas alone has about that much wind power installed already. The challenge comes when renewables make up a greater proportion of the electricity supply—or when the wind stops blowing. The need for “firm” generation becomes more crucial. “You cannot run our grid solely on the basis of renewable supply,” says Izzo. “One needs an interseasonal storage solution, and no one has come up with an economic interseasonal storage solution.” Existing nuclear’s best pitch—aside from the very fact it exists already—is its “capacity factor,” the industry term for how often a plant meets its full energy making potential. For decades, nuclear plants struggled with outages and long maintenance periods. Today, improvements in management and technology make them more likely to run continuously—or “breaker to breaker”—between planned refuelings, which usually occur every 18 months, and take about a month. At Salem and Hope Creek, PSEG hangs banners in the hallways to celebrate each new record run without a maintenance breakdown. That improvement stretches across the industry. “If you took our performance back in the mid-’70s, and then look at our performance today, it’s equivalent to having built 30 new reactors,” says Maria Korsnick, president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry’s main lobbying organization. That improved reliability has become its major calling card today. Over the next 20 years, nuclear plants will need to develop new tricks. “One of the new words in our vocabulary is flexibility,” says Marilyn Kray, vice president of nuclear strategy and development at Exelon, which operates 21 reactors. “Flexibility not only in the existing plants, but in the designs of the emerging ones, to make them even more flexible and adaptable to complement renewables.” Smaller plants can adapt more easily to the grid, but they can also serve new customers, like providing energy directly to factories, steel mills or desalination plants. Bringing those small plants into operation could be worth it, but it won’t be easy.”You can’t just excuse away the thing that’s at the center of all of it, which is it’s just a hard technology to build,” says Jaczko, the former NRC chair. “It’s difficult to make these plants, it’s difficult to design them, it’s difficult to engineer them, it’s difficult to construct them. At some point, that’s got to be the obvious conclusion to this technology.” But the equally obvious conclusion is we can no longer live without it. “The reality is, you have to really squint to see how you get to net zero without nuclear,” says Third Way’s Freed. “There’s a lot of wishful thinking, a lot of fingers crossed.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 16th, 2021

Facebook"s deceptive announcement about an end to their use of facial recognition technology is a reminder that lawmakers need to crack down on invasive tech

Facebook could still use facial recognition technology on its other platforms - a reminder that Congress must crack down on this privacy nightmare. Facial recognition technology is invasive and often problematic. Canon Information Technology Facebook's decision to stop using facial recognition tech on its flagship platform reveals how problematic this tech really is. Facial recognition technology is a threat to our core constitutional rights. We need strong, enforceable privacy laws that prohibit companies from using biometric identification tech without our knowledge and consent. Kate Ruane is a senior legislative counsel with the ACLU. This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author. Last week, Facebook - or Meta, or whatever we're supposed to call it now - announced that the company will cease using facial recognition technology (FRT) on Facebook, its flagship platform, and that it will delete all of its existing face scan data. The company cited privacy and societal concerns as its reason for ending some of its current use of the technology. The decision is estimated to affect about 1 billion people.But there's a catch.Facebook is still keeping its facial recognition system. It has not promised to not use it again. It has reserved the right to deploy facial recognition on future products. And it has not said what this means for its many other properties, including Instagram.In fact, it's abundantly clear that Facebook is planning to find new ways to use facial recognition technology, which raises even larger concerns. For instance, Facebook and RayBan recently teamed up to create "Stories" sunglasses, a new line of eyewear that can take photos, record videos, answer phone calls, and play music and podcasts. The glasses could eventually be equipped to use FRT in real time in the real world without the knowledge or consent of the people out in public that wearers of Stories might look at. Facebook is also exploring technology that would help you "remember everything" by recording your every move and allowing you to play it back to yourself. The ways in which FRT could be used are endless and endlessly terrifying for those of us who value our personal privacy and autonomy. Facial recognition tech is racist and problematicFor years now, we at the ACLU have said facial recognition technology is a threat to our core constitutional rights and has a disturbing record of racial bias and inaccuracy that endangers people of color and other marginalized groups. False matches can have real, harmful consequences. For example, a skating rink in Michigan kicked out a 14-year old Black girl because its FRT system mismatched her with a different person who had been disruptive in the rink. Correct matches can have devastating impacts too. Emerging FRT apps like PimEyes allow users to search for the identity of literally any person they meet if they are able to snap a picture of them. This feature could easily be used by domestic abusers to track survivors to new addresses or learn names that survivors may have changed to evade abuse. Facebook's decision reveals how problematic face recognition technology really is. That is why, while we should celebrate the purging of so many faceprints from the world, Facebook's news should not distract us from the goal. We need strong, enforceable privacy rules that prohibit companies like Facebook, Amazon, Google, or Clearview AI from using FRT and other biometric identification technologies - such as voice recognition - on us without our knowledge and affirmative consent. And we need Congress and our state governments to quickly enact those rules. Study after study reveals the flaws of FRT. In 2018, an MIT research team led by doctoral candidate Joy Buolamwini found alarming racial and gender disparities in commercial face classification systems, including Amazon's Rekognition software. While the systems were relatively accurate when analyzing the faces of white men, they failed up to one in three times when classifying the faces of Black women. Subsequent studies confirmed these findings. A study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology also found that FRT performs more poorly on people of color, women, and other marginalized groups. Not even members of Congress are safe - when the ACLU ran a test on Rekognition, it falsely matched 28 members of Congress with a mug-shot database, with false matches disproportionately affecting lawmakers of color. We need legal protections nowThe good news is that states have already begun to create common sense solutions to these problems. And they're working. In Illinois, under the Biometric Information Privacy Act, companies cannot collect or use biometric identifiers, including faceprints, without the affirmative written consent of those to whom the identifier pertains. A record $650 million settlement against Facebook for violating that law surely contributed to its decision to shut down its current facial recognition system. There are protections in Texas and Washington, as well, but those can only be enforced by the state attorney general, not by individuals directly harmed by violations of the law. That's why only Illinois' law protecting biometric privacy has been robustly enforced, including by the ACLU in our suit against Clearview AI. In 2021, 24 other states have introduced similar legislation, but none were enacted, and few would have given residents the ability to take companies to court, a provision critical to ensuring meaningful enforcement. Active legislation in Massachusetts, Washington, New York and elsewhere would provide strong protections, but haven't moved forward. Meanwhile in Congress, Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon previously introduced the National Biometric Information Privacy Act, but the bill never advanced and has not been reintroduced.Facebook's decision is further proof that the harms of FRT are clear and growing. We know the right solution to the problem: preventing companies from collecting and using our biometric identifiers without our consent. We also need to make sure people are able to take companies that violate these basic protections to court. It is past time for a wave of legislation protecting our biometric privacy to sweep this country. And if Facebook is serious about recognizing those harms, it must join with the growing coalition of privacy, racial justice, and consumer protection organizations in pushing lawmakers to impose strong, enforceable protections.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 15th, 2021

How Does Your Personality Type Affect Your Income?

How Does Your Personality Type Affect Your Income? You’ve just finished giving a presentation at work, and an outspoken coworker challenges your ideas. Do you: a) Engage in a friendly debate about the merits of each argument, or b) Avoid a conflict by agreeing or changing the subject? As Visual Capitalist's Jenna Ross details below, the way you approach this type of situation may influence how much money you earn. Today’s infographic comes to us from Truity, and it outlines the potential relationship between personality type and income. Through the Myers-Briggs Lens The Myers-Briggs personality test serves as a robust framework for analyzing the connection between personality and income, in a way that is easily understood and familiar to many people. The theory outlines four personality dimensions that are described using opposing traits. Extraversion vs. Introversion: Extroverts gain energy by interacting with others, while introverts draw energy from spending time alone. Sensing vs. Intuition: Sensors prefer concrete and factual information, while intuitive types use their imagination or wider patterns to interpret information. Thinking vs. Feeling: Thinkers make rational decisions based on logic, while feelers make empathetic decisions considering the needs of others. Judging vs. Perceiving: Judging types organize their life in a structured manner, while perceiving types are more flexible and spontaneous. For example, someone who aligns with extraversion, sensing, thinking, and judging would be described as an ESTJ type. The researchers surveyed over 72,000 people to measure these four personality preferences, as well as 23 unique facets of personality, income levels, and career-related data. Traits With the Highest Earning Potential Based on the above four dimensions, extroverts, sensors, thinkers, and judgers tend to be the most financially successful. Diving into specific personality characteristics, certain traits are more closely correlated with higher income.   For instance, extroverts are much more likely to have higher incomes if they are quick to share thoughts, have high energy, and like being in the public eye. Thinkers also score high on income potential, especially if they enjoy debates, make rational decisions, and moderate their emotions.   The Top Earners Which personality types earn the highest incomes of all? Extroverted thinking types dominate the ranks again. Source: Truity The one exception is INTJs, with 10% earning an annual salary of $150K or more in their peak earning years. Personality and the Gender Pay Gap With all these factors in mind, the researchers analyzed whether personality differences would affect the gender pay gap. When the average salaries were separated for men and women, the results were clear: men of almost all personality types earn more than the average income for the sample overall, while all but two personality types of women earned less than the average. Source: Truity In fact, women with high-earning personality types still earn less than men who do not possess those traits. For example, extroverted women earn about $55,000 annually, while introverted men earn an average of over $64,000. Maximizing Your Potential Are the introverted personalities of the world doomed to lower salaries? Not necessarily—while personality does play a role, many other factors contribute to income levels: Level of education Years of experience Local job market Type of industry The particular career Not only that, anyone can work on the two specific personality traits most aligned with higher incomes: set ambitious goals, and face conflict head-on to ensure your voice is heard. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/09/2021 - 21:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 9th, 2021

33 cool tech gifts for teens, from Bluetooth speakers to gaming controllers

Teens love tech, so we've rounded up the best gadget gifts out there. From smart speakers to bike helmets and cameras, there's something for everyone. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Amazon; Best Buy; Gilbert Espinoza/Business Insider We rounded up the best tech gifts for teens with something for every budget. From headphones to cameras, we have gift ideas for all interests. Shopping for someone else? Check out our best tech gifts for women and our best picks under $25. Finding exciting gifts for a teenager can be difficult as they develop their own style, but new technology can encourage them to build new skills or just make their life easier as they continue to grow.Whether the teen on your shopping list is into video games, photography, music, or fitness, there's a tech gift on this list for everyone. Our tech gift recommendations also cover a variety of budgets, with some picks costing less than $15. A subscription service with access to thousands of digital comic books Marvel Marvel Unlimited, $10 a month or $70 a yearComixology Unlimited, $6 a monthIf your teen is a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or superheroes in general, you can give them access to thousands of comic books with a subscription to Marvel Unlimited. The digital service offers more than 29,000 comics, spanning from the classic origin stories of characters like Spider-Man and the X-Men, to recent comic book events like "Venom: King in Black." You can access Marvel Unlimited on iPhone, Android, iPad, and your web browser, and download books for offline viewing. If your teen is a more adventurous reader, you can get them a subscription to Comixology Unlimited, an Amazon owned comic reading service that features a wider range of content, including DC Comics like "Batman" and Image Comics like "The Walking Dead." Comixology Unlimited costs $6 a month making it cheaper than Marvel Unlimited, but it offers fewer complete series. Comixology Unlimited subscribers also receive up to 15% off Marvel, DC, Image, and Dark Horse comic book purchases, making it easier to build a personal collection. A customized gaming controller This is just a small selection of the colors available in the Xbox Design Lab. Microsoft Xbox design Lab Custom Controller, available at Microsoft, $69.99Microsoft's Xbox controller has a classic design and is compatible with a wide range of devices, including iPhone, iPad, Android products, Mac, and PC. But people might not be aware of Microsoft's Xbox Design Lab, which lets you customize the colors on every part of the controller and add a laser engraving. The custom controller will arrive within 28 days, usually taking about two weeks.If you're worried about choosing a design for your teen, you can give them an $80 Xbox gift card and let them choose between a custom design, or just buying a new game with the store credit. A webcam perfect for streaming your own videos Logitech Logitech c920x, available at Amazon, $60This webcam is one of the most recommended for people getting started with YouTube videos or Twitch livestreams, and it's become even more popular with professionals working from home.While lots of laptops come with built-in cameras, the Logitech c920 offers better video quality with resolutions up to 1080p, a wide viewing angle, streaming at 60 frames per second at 720p, and an adjustable base that can be easily attached to tripods and other stands. A streaming subscription for music lovers An Android smartphone with the Spotify Music logo visible on screen, alongside a pair of earphones. Olly Curtis/Future via Getty Images Spotify Premium Subscription, available at Spotify, $9.99 a monthTeens love listening to music, and streaming services offer unlimited access to their favorite tunes. Spotify offers a huge music library and is compatible with Apple, Android, and Windows devices.  The premium subscription gets rid of ads, allows  your teen  to download songs for offline listening, and lets them skip songs as they please. Plans start at $10 per month and are a great way to satisfy the music lover in your family. Wireless earbuds that easily pair with an iPhone Crystal Cox/Business Insider Apple AirPods Pro,  available at Amazon, $190Apple's AirPods Pro offer a great way for your teen to listen to music, take calls, and tune out the world. These true wireless earbuds feature seamless pairing with Apple devices, active noise cancellation, and a transparency mode so they can still hear you when you remind them to do their homework. They come with three sizes of removable eartips for a perfect fit, and boast up to 24 hours of listening time with multiple charges in the included wireless charging case. A subscription that's like Netflix for video games Microsoft Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, $37.99 for 3 months Playstation Plus Subscription, $24.99 for 3 monthsWhy buy just one game when you can get dozens? That's the premise behind Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, Microsoft's Netflix-style subscription gaming service.  Microsoft offers over 100 games, including blockbusters like "Grand Theft Auto V," "Destiny 2," and "FIFA 21" among many others.  Game Pass Ultimate isn't cheap – it costs around $40 for three months – but offers a tremendous value considering that one new game costs $60. For Playstation fans there's Playstation Plus, which is cheaper than Microsoft's service at $25 for three months, but offers far fewer games. Subscribers get access to a handful of titles each month that they can download and keep as long as they remain a member of the service.The service also comes with other perks like online gameplay and discounts. Which subscription you should get depends on the console your teen owns, but they'll appreciate either one. A gaming headset with audiophile-level sound Amazon SteelSeries Arctis Pro, available at Amazon, from $149.84If you're going to get your PC gamer a gaming headset, you might as well invest in one that produces audiophile-level sound. That way, they can listen to music and watch movies without having to switch to a different pair of headphones.The SteelSeries Arctis Pro is a good choice for gamers who care about top-notch audio, as it comes with several input options, virtual surround sound, and a bass that can be pushed. Plus, teens will love the fact that they can customize its look with SteelSeries' range of headbands and ear cups.If you're willing to splurge, the $329.99 wireless version makes it easier for your teen to seamlessly transition between playing games on their PC and taking a call on their phone. An Instax printer to print all those selfies on Amazon Fujifilm Instax Mini Link Smartphone Printer, available at Best Buy, $99.99Instant cameras are so yesterday! With most teens relying on their camera phones to take photos, a mobile photo printer that lets them print all those friend selfies saved on their phone on 1.81 x 2.44 Instax film is just what the fun doctor ordered. Pair that with the photo clip fairy string lights as a stocking stuffer, and you might just inspire your teen to decorate and declutter their room to make it visitor-friendly. A unique electronic musical instrument that's big in Japan Amazon Otamatone Deluxe Electronic Musical Instrument, available at Amazon, $79.99Music is one of the biggest outlets teens turn to channel their creativity and angst, and this musical synthesizer lets your budding musician create music in a fun and quirky way. Pressing the middle part of the Otamatone and sliding your fingers up and down it will produce higher and lower tones while opening and closing its mouth creates a "wah" sound. It can even connect to speakers, amps, and (preferably to the rest of your household) headphones.  A 3D pen with plastic refills in 15 different colors Facebook 3Doodler Create + 3D Printing Pen, available at Amazon, $79.99Today's 3D printers may be pricey, but that doesn't mean that your artistic teen can't enjoy and master the art. With this 3D pen, they can even do so in a more analog way, stirring their creativity and allowing them to appreciate the value of working with one's hands. Plug this pen into a wall outlet, load up the plastic color, and once the pen heats the plastic, your teen is ready to create. It comes with an app with interactive step-by-step instructions on custom art projects. A smartwatch that tracks activity and fitness goals Lisa Eadicicco/Business Insider Apple Watch SE, available at Amazon, $279.00Your athletic or health-conscious teen will definitely appreciate the Apple Watch SE. This smartwatch can do most of the things Apple's flagship smartwatch can, while keeping things more affordable. It's still on the pricey side, but it's worth it to keep teens on the healthy, active path. As for the fun factor, your teen can customize it with different faces, bands and memojis, as well as use it to play music and stay in touch with friends via iMessage, social media apps, and phone capabilities. Bluetooth trackers that keep your teen from losing their, well, everything Tile Tile Limited Edition Bluetooth trackers, available at Tile, starting at $23.99You want to be able to entrust them with important things, from necessities like house and car keys to devices that cost money like laptops. But, let's face it: teenagers are basically bigger versions of kids, and they still tend to lose their stuff. This is why Tile's Bluetooth trackers are super handy. Attach one to their keys or wallet, connect it with their phone, and that's one last question you'll have to field. With their range of Limited Edition trackers that come in several fun designs, they'll be proud to show these off to friends.If your teen owns an iPhone, you can also consider purchasing AirTags, Apple's official tracking device that works with the Find My app. They're a bit more expensive than Tile trackers at $29 each, but offer more features for iPhone users. They also come with a free engraving for personalization. A handheld gaming system with multiplayer capabilities Nintendo Nintendo Switch Lite, available at Best Buy, $199.00If you're on a limited budget (times have been tough, after all) but want to reward your teen with a handheld gaming console, you cannot go wrong with a Nintendo Switch Lite. This pocket-friendly device may not be able to connect to the TV, but it's got a few advantages over the standard Switch beyond the price. It plays all but a few of the same games while being more portable. And, for color-loving teens, it comes in three fun shades plus gray. A PC gaming controller with wireless connectivity Amazon Logitech Gamepad F310, available at Target, $14.99This is a must-have for any teen who enjoys PC and console gaming. With the Logitech Gamepad F310, they can play their favorite Steam and other PC games from the comfort of a couch without the need for a mouse or keyboard — partly thanks to the 6-foot long cable. This will give them better control and a more seamless gaming experience during long sessions as well. If your teen hasn't experienced PC gaming from the couch, this will be a game-changer. A mini projector with a built-in speaker system Amazon Elephas Mini Movie Projector, available at Amazon, $79.99Kids today are moving away from classic television and toward the versatility and convenience of projectors. The Elephas Mini Movie Projector turns any wall into a TV or computer monitor. This allows your teen to watch movies, sports, video games, and more just about anywhere, including their room for their much-needed privacy. Help them create a comfy floor setup with pillows and blankets, and it's a fun slumber party with friends. Also, Elephas offers a lifetime warranty. Affordable wireless earbuds Amazon JLab Audio JBuds Air, available at Amazon, $24.49These true wireless earbuds don't boast the same feature set as Apple's AirPods but they do have Bluetooth 5.0, quality sound, a microphone for calls, and basic water resistance. The battery lasts for six hours, and the case holds an additional 18 hours of charge, giving them comparable battery life to AirPods. A drone with high-quality video capabilities Amazon DJI Mini SE, available at Amazon, $299Whether you've got a future influencer or a budding content creator in the family, you've got an ace gift in this mini drone from DJI. This is an impressive drone for the price point, with a battery life of 30 minutes and a camera touting great stabilization and 2.7K Quad HD video capability. This drone even has automatic motion presets and a smooth motion mode, allowing beginner videographers such as your teen to utilize pro-level shooting techniques effortlessly. Just remember to teach them proper drone etiquette before they let their new toy fly. Winter gloves with touchscreen-capable fingertips Amazon Achiou Winter Knit Gloves, available at Amazon, from $7.99Teens aren't going to stop using their phones just because it's freezing outside. They need to stay in touch, and a lot of the time, they'll take off their gloves so they can rub and tap on a touchscreen. With these gloves, they can protect their digits while catching up on social media. And, at this price, you might want to buy a few pairs – and in different colors, if you want – for when they inevitably lose them. A build-your-own computer kit for beginners Amazon CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Starter MAX Kit, available at Amazon, $124.99If your teen likes to take things apart and put them back together again, this is the perfect gift. Raspberry Pi has taught basic computer science in developing countries and schools since 2012, and Pi 4 is the latest version. The kit comes with an easy-to-follow quick start guide. The computer doesn't come with accessories, such as a monitor, mouse, keyboard, or cooling fan so you may want to pick those components up as well. A portable Bluetooth speaker with a hardshell carrying case Amazon JBL Flip 5 Portable Speaker, available at Amazon, $129.99Teens love blasting music away, and this speaker from JBL will let them do so wherever they are — including at the beach or even while floating in the pool. To keep things portable, it boasts up to 12 hours of playtime and comes with a gSport Deluxe Hardshell Case. Best of all, it features IPX7 waterproof protection so it can go in up to three feet of water. With this, they'll have something to look forward to next summer. A power bank with enough juice to charge a phone 2 times Amazon Anker Portable Charger, available at Amazon, $22 It's not surprising for a teen to spend all day and night draining their phone's battery, but if their phone is frequently dying while they're out, consider buying them a portable charger to provide some extra juice on the go. Anker's PowerCore Slim portable charger holds more than two full charges for the latest iPhone, and should work with any USB device. If you're willing to spend a bit more, you can buy a portable battery with wireless charging, to eliminate the need for cords. A handheld gimbal for shooting cinematic videos with friends Amazon Zhiyun Smooth 4 Handheld Smartphone Gimbal, available at Amazon, $99.00Whether it's for shooting TikTok content to making full-fledged YouTube videos, a handheld gimbal will let your teen produce better, smoother-looking content. But, while many options out there will set you back more than $100, this gimbal from Zhiyun costs less, which makes it the perfect gift for teens. And, while most teens seem to be naturally tech savvy, this one is especially effortless to figure out, complete with different shooting modes and pro-level shooting techniques turned automated. A beanie with headphones that pair with their phone Amazon SoundBot SB210 Bluetooth Smart Beanie Headset, available on Amazon, $17.99We all agree – beanies are some of the comfiest accessories out there. But, this nifty one from SoundBot takes it to a new level, with built-in speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, and up to five hours of music listening. Now, your teen can stay warm and listen to music at the same time, without having to wear or carry two things at once. Best yet, it comes in several different colors, some even with poms, so you can get it in their favorite color or design. A smart light strip that changes colors Philips Philips Hue White & Color Ambiance LightStrip Plus, available at Philips-Hue, $79.99Fairy or string lights are among the top accessories teens love to decorate their rooms with, and Hue's light strip takes that to a new level with its smart light capabilities, ability to display 16 million colors, and Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility. It's terrific for sprucing up every teen's room, whether they're gamers, Bohemians, nature-lovers, or those with an eclectic taste. They can even change the colors depending on their mood, what they're into, or what they're currently doing. A subscription to the best audiobook service Amazon Audible Subscription, available at Amazon, $15 a monthGive teens the gift of knowledge with this audiobook subscription. This gives them an audiobook and two Audible originals each month. They will also get 30% off any other audiobooks they choose to buy, which they will own even after their subscription expires. This is an excellent solution for students who learn better by listening than reading. An alarm clock that doubles as a Bluetooth speaker Amazon Anker Soundcore Wakey Bluetooth Speakers with Alarm Clock, available at Amazon, $89.99This alarm clock is packed full of features. It pairs with your teen's phone via Bluetooth and plays audio from any of the apps, as well as FM radio or any combination of the 10 sleep-inducing ambient sounds. There are 10 different alarm sounds, and it wirelessly charges Qi-compatible devices as well. A Bluetooth speaker that teens can use in the shower Amazon iFox iF012 Bluetooth Shower Speaker, available at Amazon, $34.90Teens need to have their music everywhere at all times – that's right, even in the shower. Sure, the JBL Flip 5 mentioned above will work in the shower. For a quarter of the price, however, you can get your teen a dedicated shower speaker, one with a 33-foot range and up to 10 hours of battery life. iFox backs this with a 12-month, no-risk, money-back guarantee. What have you got to lose? A microphone that plugs into a USB port Amazon Blue Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone, available at Amazon, $40We bet you haven't considered giving your teen a microphone before. It is a bit of an unconventional holiday gift, but one that teens will love whether they have their own Twitch or YouTube channel, or produce their own podcast. It's an outstanding plug-and-play microphone solution that delivers crystal clear audio to your recordings, all while looking cool and retro. An action camera that will record their adventures Les Shu/Insider GoPro Hero 10 Black, available at B&H, $450Teens, especially active and adventurous ones, are always up to something new and exciting, whether it's taking an electric skateboard out for a spin or taking on the latest TikTok trends. And, a GoPro action camera will let them record those exploits with friends hands-free. This latest one is obviously the best with 5.3K Ultra HD recording, 23MP still images, and improved HyperSmooth stabilization. A bike helmet with built-in turn signals Amazon Lumos Smart Bike Helmet, available at Amazon, from $199.95This is the perfect helmet for a bike and, most importantly, to protect your teen's head. The helmet pairs with the Lumos app as well as the wireless handlebar remote so you can let drivers know when you're turning. Finally, it has auto brake lights. All these features help keep teens even safer while they're out on the streets. A smart speaker that helps keep them organized Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen), available at Amazon, $34.99 With the help of Alexa, this mini smart speaker is capable of doing a host of things, from playing your teen's favorite tunes on Spotify or Amazon Music to controlling other smart devices and setting reminders and schedules hands-free. It'll even tell jokes and play trivia games. Teens have a lot going on in their lives, and this gadget is among the best tools they can use to stay organized. A smart outlet plug with support for voice control Amazon Gosund Multi Wi-Fi Smart Outlet, available on Walmart, $18.99Today's smart plugs are like the Clapper on steroids. Teens can control their lights, fans, and more from anywhere with the free app that works on both iOS and Android devices – or with an Amazon Echo device. This is another one that parents will also like since it might make a dent on the steep electricity bill. A laptop with great durability and battery life Apple Apple MacBook Air with Apple M1 Chip, available at Amazon, $899.00If you're looking to splurge on your kid, then the latest MacBook Air will go a long way. This thin and light 13-inch comes with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage, as well as Apple's M1 chip, should get them through daily homework, projects and papers, while letting them play games and enjoy some streaming post-school work. And, since Apple's laptops are practically built like a tank, you'll have the peace of mind that it'll survive some beatings. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 5th, 2021

The 5 best standalone freezers of 2021

A standalone freezer can give you more storage for everything from frozen produce to pizza to meat. Here are the best ones you can buy. Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky A standalone freezer allows you to cut down on grocery trips and save money by buying in bulk. We chose the GE FUF17DLRWW as our best overall freezer. It's reasonably priced, with a straightforward, functional design. Learn more about how Insider Reviews evaluates home products. If you have the space and the budget, buying a standalone freezer can be a great investment. Whether you have a large family who wants to stock up on regular food items; aren't satisfied with your refrigerator's freezer section; or just want to be prepared in the event of an emergency, there are a variety of freezers to choose from.When choosing a freezer, the first thing to consider is which type fits best with your household. Upright and chest freezers both have considerable benefits and drawbacks to keep in mind. You can read more about the differences here.My family owned both chest and upright freezers growing up, and I have had hands-on experience using both manual and frost-free styles. I've used this experience, extensive online research, and consulted an expert to assemble this list. Editor's note: Due to supply-chain issues, major appliances, including freezers, have been having stock issues. Here are our top picks for the best freezerBest freezer overall: GE FUF17DLRWW 17.3-Cubic Foot Frost-Free Upright FreezerBest compact freezer: Frigidaire FFFU06M1TW 5.8-Cubic Foot Upright FreezerBest budget freezer: GE FCM7SKWW 7.0-Cubic Foot. Manual Defrost Chest FreezerBest extra-large freezer: GE FCM22DLWW 21.7-Cubic Foot Chest FreezerBest heavy-duty freezer: Gladiator GAFZ30FDGB 17.8-Cubic Foot Upright Rolling Garage Freezer Best freezer overall GE The GE FUF17DLRWW 17.3-Cubic Foot Frost-Free Upright Freezer is large enough to comfortably support a large family, and its basic, straightforward design makes for a nice balance of convenience and functionality.Dimensions: 32.875 x 31.375 x 64.75 inchesCapacity: 17.3 cubic feetDefrost type: Frost freeOrganizational features: 4 glass (2 adjustable), 4 door bins, 3 drawersTemperature alarm: YesEnergy Star certified? YesPros: Door lock, stylish handle, Turbo Freeze cooling systemCons: Does not include an ice maker, door cannot be reversedThe GE FUF17DLRWW Upright Freezer is on the larger end of the size spectrum, so you should be able to pack it with food. It's easy to keep all that food organized thanks to door storage bins, large pull-out drawers on the bottom, and another adjustable drawer up top. This drawer is similar to the deli-drawer you find in a typical refrigerator, though you won't usually find it in standalone freezers.The bright LED lighting makes the GE Frost-Free a great choice for dark basements and garages, allowing you to easily find what you're looking for. This lighting, combined with the convenient storage options, minimizes the time the door is open, thus requiring less energy to keep the unit cool.  The bright digital readout on the front of the GE FUF17DLRWW lets you keep an eye on the current temperature at all times, and a safety alarm ensures that you'll know if something goes wrong.  This model functions within a range of outside temperatures, between 0℉ and 110℉  (-17.7℃ to 43.3℃).   Best compact freezer Frigidaire Its small footprint makes the Frigidaire FFFU06M1TW 5.8-Cubic Foot Upright Freezer a great option for those with limited space who still want the benefits of additional freezer storage. Dimensions: 21.75 x 22.8125 x 56.8125 inchesCapacity: 6 cubic feetDefrost type: ManualOrganizational features: 5 wire shelvesTemperature alarm: NoEnergy Star certified? NoPros: Adjustable leveling legs, lightweight Cons: No interior light, no water drainThere are a few reasons the Frigidaire FFFU06M1TW is our pick for tight areas. A reversible door makes it more likely to fit anywhere, allowing you to choose which direction it swings open. Plus, its pocket handle saves you a few inches on the front of the unit. This design does require you to reach the top of the door to open it, so this feature can be less convenient for shorter people.Its small size also makes the manual defrosting process more manageable. By defrosting more quickly, your food will spend less time out of the freezer, and that's always a good thing. Since it will be easier to keep it packed tight, you'll need to defrost it less frequently. Even though the Frigidaire Upright Freezer is a compact model, its interior shelf dimensions still provide a good amount of storage room. However, these shelves are fixed and cannot be adjusted to create more height. This is because the freezer coils that cool the unit run underneath each shelf. This rigid design could be a deal-breaker for anyone looking to store larger items like turkeys or extra-large pizza boxes. The Frigidaire FFFU06M1TW doesn't have the door storage of other upright models, but essentially you're sacrificing that to keep the entire unit compact.  Best budget freezer GE The GE FCM7SKWW 7.0-Cubic Foot. Manual Defrost Chest Freezer is a mid-size model that won't break the bank and still delivers many of the features and benefits you would find in more expensive options. Dimensions: 73.25 x 33 x 33.375 inchesCapacity: 21.7 cubic feetDefrost type: ManualOrganizational features: 5 basketsPower-failure alarm: YesEnergy Star certified? YesPros: Power-on lightCons: No lock, no interior light At 37 inches wide, the GE FCM7SKWW 7.0-Cubic Foot. Manual Defrost Chest Freezer can still fit into tight areas. Plus, its 7.0 cubic feet of storage can handle a fair amount of food. Two lift-out storage baskets allow you to store the items you use most regularly on top so you spend less time searching through the freezer with the door open. These baskets slide horizontally across the top of the unit, so you can scoot them around to access the main cavity.The water drain is located on the front of the unit, making it more convenient when defrosting. In my experience, when this drain is located anywhere else, it's always more of a hassle and results in uncomfortable shifting and lifting of the unit itself. The temperature control knob is located on the front of the freezer as well, allowing you to make temperature adjustments without opening the door. Though the freezer's power-on light is useful, the fact that it's located near the bottom of the unit makes it a bit less convenient. If your freezer is in your garage, for example, the power light can be blocked by vehicles or furniture.As someone who has moved several heavy freezers up and down basement stairs, I always appreciate a lightweight model. At only 75 pounds, the GE FCM7SKWW is manageable, and two strong adults should be able to move it around. Best extra-large freezer GE The massive storage capacity of the GE FCM22DLWW 21.7-Cubic Foot Chest Freezer makes it an ideal choice for large families or anyone looking to keep a lot of frozen items organized.Dimensions: 73.25 x 33 x 33.375 inchesCapacity: 21.7 cubic feetDefrost type: ManualOrganizational features: 5 basketsPower-failure alarm: YesEnergy Star certified? YesPros: Lots of storage options Cons: No digital temperature display, manual defrostThe primary factor that separates the GE FCM22DLWW 21.7-Cubic Foot Chest Freezer from similar models is that it, even as a chest freezer, is designed with organization in mind. Its five lift-out storage baskets slide back and forth across upper and lower rails, and the four dividers below allow you to customize the main cavity as you like.  This kind of organization is especially important with larger freezers. The faster you grab what you need and get the door closed, the less cold air escapes. A nice, bright LED light automatically activates when the door opens, allowing you to get in and out quickly.Security is important with a freezer of this size. The GE chest freezer has a bright green power light that lets you know power status, as well as an audible temperature alarm that immediately alerts you if the temperature rises. The door lock will keep away any nosy intruders and safeguard against small children climbing inside. I really appreciate simple, low-tech features, and the handy guide sticker on this freezer is a great example. It provides the recommended shelf life of a variety of food items in an easy-to-read visual, making it easy to date and organize your foods. One drawback is that the GE FCM22DLWW is a manual defrost model. A larger unit like this one will take some time to empty, defrost, and refill. Best heavy-duty freezer Gladiator The Gladiator GAFZ30FDGB 17.8-Cubic Foot Upright Rolling Garage Freezer combines a rugged exterior built for garages with strong, heavy-duty interior shelving.Dimensions: 30.25 x 32.38 x 72.25 inchesCapacity: 17.8 cubic feetDefrost type: Frost freeOrganizational features: 3 shelves, 2 wire baskets, 6 door binsPower-failure alarm: Energy Star certified? NoPros: Reversible door, interior lights Cons: Limited to one color, no lock, no door alarm Even though it's our heavy-duty pick, the Gladiator GAFZ30FDGB 17.8-Cubic Foot Upright Rolling Garage Freezer is surprisingly stylish. Recessed pocket handles give it a cleaner look, and the black matte finish matches much better with the toolboxes and hardware often found in garages.  The Gladiator freezer provides a nice variety of door storage and includes two space-saving wire racks for sliding in narrow items like frozen pizzas. Its two adjustable shelves allow you to customize the top half of the fridge, while two wire drawers keep the bottom organized.My favorite element of the Gladiator is its stainless steel foot pedal, a feature that I've never seen before in a freezer. By stepping on the steel tread plate, you can easily open the door hands-free. This pedal can come in handy in the garage, where there typically isn't a ton of counter space to set things down. The rolling casters make the Gladiator garage freezer great for a busy garage, allowing you to relocate it when projects come along that require floor space. The front wheels lock in place, preventing it from any accidental rolling.  The main drawback of the Gladiator GAFZ30FDGB is the fact that you must assemble both the foot pedal and the casters. They require you to lay the unit on its side to do so, which might be too much trouble for some customers.  Research methodology To assemble this guide, I researched brands based on their reliability. I narrowed down the options based on features, size, and price. Because some people would rather pay less, I didn't discount manual defrost models, despite their inconvenience. In addition to my research and experience with chest and upright freezers, I spoke with Micah Sparacio of Cove Creek Farm. As the co-owner of a farm that sells beef and pork, Sparacio is familiar with the qualities that make a freezer best for food storage. Freezer FAQs GE What's the difference between an upright freezer and a chest freezer?Upright freezers stand vertically, like a typical refrigerator. Their small footprint makes them popular choices for those who don't have a lot of room to spare. Upright freezers also provide organizational options that most chest freezers don't, like door storage, vertical shelving, and pull-out drawers. This makes them convenient for households that need to store a variety of food sizes and shapes, like soft bags of peas that aren't easily stacked. These models tend to have more air flowing around the food, which makes them less efficient and can cause freezer burn. Chest freezers are more like a cooler, with a door on top that flips up. They take up more floorspace than upright models, but their lower height allows you to put them in otherwise unusable areas, like underneath basement stairs. This design also allows them more storage capacity than upright freezers, simply because you don't have to worry about anything falling out when you open the door. This also makes it easier to fill and pack tightly.Micah Sparacio of Cove Creek Farm recommends chest freezes over upright freezers "because the cold air stays more contained when you open it," he said. Sparacio also stressed the importance of maintaining organization. "It is very easy for things to get buried, cluttered, and lost in a chest freezer, so having compartments to separate and store different types of food will help you avoid having to go on a complicated treasure hunt every time you want to grab something," he said.What size freezer do I need?Determining what size freezer to purchase can be a tricky process. You want to make sure that your choice is big enough to fulfill your storage needs, but you also don't want to get one that's so big you'll have trouble filling it up. Freezers with a lot of unused space are less efficient than those filled with food since warm air fills empty spaces when you open the door. A packed freezer is much more likely to retain its temperature and require less energy to keep cool. Home Depot recommends 1.5 cubic feet of space per person, so a four-person family would need at least six cubic feet of freezer space to meet their needs. This formula is not a hard and fast rule and should be used as a jumping-off point. Do I need to defrost my standalone freezer?Regardless of the size and type of freezer you choose, it will eventually build up frost on the inside, which will need to be removed. This can either be done manually, or you can opt for a self-defrosting model that handles it for you.What's a self-defrost or frost-free freezer?These freezers eliminate frost by periodically raising the temperature inside the freezer, melting the frost and preventing buildup. These self-defrosting models may be convenient, but their additional components also add more parts that can potentially break down over time. Plus, the gradual warming and cooling, even though it's minimal, can increase the chances of freezer burn and drying out your food. They also tend to use more energy as well. What's manual defrost?Unlike frost-free models, manual defrost freezers require you to remove the frost buildup yourself. You'll need to take everything out of the freezer during this process. If you live in a hot or humid climate, you might want to stick with a frost-free model. It might sound like a hassle, but if you're diligent about keeping the freezer door closed and minimizing humidity that creates frost, you can extend the time between defrosting sessions. How do you defrost a freezer?Remove everything from the unit, unplug it, melt the frost, drain the water, and put everything back in. You might be tempted to chip away at the frost to speed things up, but the risk of damaging the inside of your freezer isn't worth it. Use a hairdryer if you want to expedite the process, but just be aware that the heat can potentially damage plastic parts. GE recommends that you defrost your unit when frost builds up to 0.25 to 0.5 inches.How can I tell if the temperature rose too high on my freezer?It can be easy for a freezer to lose power then refreeze again without you knowing about it. This might mean your food spoiled if the power was out for too long. Some models have alarms that sound when the temperature gets too warm, including when the power goes out. A low-tech backup mechanism can alert you to refreezing if you don't have an alarm. Place a cup half-filled with frozen water in the freezer, and place a quarter on top. If the freezer fails, the water will melt, and the quarter will sink to the bottom before it refreezes. If you see this, you'll know what happened. Check out more storage guides The Container Store Instagram The best clothes hangersThe best storage containersHome organization ideas for under $50 Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 21st, 2021

Silver, The Edge Over Gold

When discussing wealth preservation or any form of a conservative hedge, the word gold comes easily to the forefront. The shiny metal has a substantial history of having saved a civilization or two. The lesser obvious choice is silver, but this precious metal is in a unique situation right now that any speculator that seeks […] When discussing wealth preservation or any form of a conservative hedge, the word gold comes easily to the forefront. The shiny metal has a substantial history of having saved a civilization or two. The lesser obvious choice is silver, but this precious metal is in a unique situation right now that any speculator that seeks out a hedge against inflation should be aware of. Silver, the edge over gold. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more It isn’t just a good bet to hedge exuberant market risk right now. It is massively undervalued and, as such, a pristine play in itself. Silver In US-Dollar, Monthly Chart, Still At Average Prices: Silver in US-Dollar, monthly chart as of October 15th, 2021. A look at the monthly chart over the last forty years, back to 1980 when the US also was confronted with a crisis, silver prices skyrocketed. Overall, though, prices right now reflect averages like averages of that time. Gold In US-Dollar, Monthly Chart, Trending Up: Gold in US-Dollar, monthly chart as of October 15th, 2021. In comparison to the monthly gold chart, we can see what’s out of whack. Gold since then from its averages at the time has appreciated nearly 300%. We see no fundamental reasons that substantiate such a divergence between the two. With silver being that grossly undervalued, it has tremendous additional potential once it is forced to catch up. This is partially reflected in the stretch between the spot price and the actual value of physical silver that can be acquired. A nearly 20% spread can be seen now for almost two years. It would come as no surprise that a supply shortage might bring fuel to an up move. Silver In US-Dollar, Daily Chart, Minimizing Entry Risk: Silver in US-Dollar, daily chart as of October 15th, 2021. It isn’t only the long-term profit probability that makes silver attractive. Silver also has an edge from the perspective of execution. Low-risk entries and exits are fundamental elements for high probability win ratios. We want to share some edges with the reader on how to engage with silver from an execution standpoint. We picked the daily time frame since daily charts do have a significant position for most market speculators. Daily time frame charts are typically used for smaller time frame position traders as setup time frames. Larger time frame players who have their setups either on weekly or monthly charts still use daily time frames to time their entries to mitigate execution risk. We circled in the daily chart above two sets of supportive methods on how to find low-risk entries that provide not only higher likely turning points, but a way to set tighter stops than usual. White circles show how meaningful the “mean” (blue line) is to silver traders. Yellow circles show when the price meets the 200 simple moving average (purple line), another point of interest to traders. A low-risk entry point marks when multiple edges appear simultaneously like in scenario “one,” a low-risk entry point is located. In our example, a short entry with support from a two-hundred simple moving average, the mean, and a distribution zone defined by a fractal volume analysis (histogram to the right of the chart.) Silver In US-Dollar, Monthly Chart, Getting Ready: Silver in US-Dollar, monthly chart as of October 14th, 2021. From a long-term investment perspective, we would be interested in looking for a daily low-risk entry point once October (very right bar on monthly chart above) closes in the green. In addition, we would like the price to be lower than the October’s candle closing price after the first four trading days of November. Silver, The Edge Over Gold: We do not believe in extremes, quite the contrary. While typically diversification means more like throwing stuff against the wall and hoping something sticks, when it comes to wealth preservation, diversification is a good thing. We aren’t living in times to aim to make a killing. Right now, risk control supersedes exuberant market play for profits. We find gold and bitcoin very much suitable to protect your wealth. The steep percentage factor of inflation also warrants for a more aggressive wealth preservation play. That is where silver comes in. Silver with the potential to see triple-digit prices in the near future allows for keeping inflation risk in check. Feel free to join us in our free Telegram channel for daily real time data and a great community. If you like to get regular updates on our gold model, precious metals and cryptocurrencies you can also subscribe to our free newsletter. This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone. They do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Midas Touch Consulting. Article By Korbinian Koller, Midas Touch About the Author: Korbinian Koller Outstanding abstract reasoning ability and ability to think creatively and originally has led over the last 25 years to extract new principles and a unique way to view the markets resulting in a multitude of various time frame systems, generating high hit rates and outstanding risk reward ratios. Over 20 years of coaching traders with heart & passion, assessing complex situations, troubleshoot and solve problems principle based has led to experience and a professional history of success. Skilled natural teacher and exceptional developer of talent.Avid learner guided by a plan with ability to suppress ego and empower students to share ideas and best practices and to apply principle-based technical/conceptual knowledge to maximize efficiency. 25+ year execution experience (50.000+ trades executed) Trading multiple personal accounts (long and short-and combinations of the two). Amazing market feel complementing mechanical systems discipline for precise and extreme low risk entries while objectively seeing the whole picture. Ability to notice and separate emotional responses from the decision-making process and to stand outside oneself and one’s concerns about images in order to function in terms of larger objectives. Developed exit strategies that compensate both for maximizing profits and psychological ease to allow for continuous flow throughout the whole trading day. In depth knowledge of money management strategies with the experience of multiple 6 sigma events in various markets (futures, stocks, commodities, currencies, bonds) embedded in extreme low risk statistical probability models with smooth equity curves and extensive risk management as well as extensive disaster risk allow for my natural capacity for risk-taking. Updated on Oct 15, 2021, 2:41 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 15th, 2021

Visa (V) Expands Into BNPL Market Via Partnerships in Australia

Visa (V) ties up with ANZ and Quest to expand its reach in the BNPL market of Australia. Visa Inc. V has announced the extension of its Visa Installments in Australia. This will be possible through its partnership with ANZ, one of the country’s largest financial institutions, and the merchant payment provider Quest.This alliance will allow Visa to expand its buy now pay later (BNPL) solutions in the Australia market. Shoppers will be able to avail this financing option via their existing ANZ credit cards during checkout and without any extra steps.BNPL is a kind of financing option, which enables customers to make payments for their purchases in instalments according to the terms of the offer. This arrangement works in favor of merchants as well as shoppers. While the former can afford high value purchases by splitting payments, the latter gains from high sales.Visa Installments was first launched as a pilot in 2019. Gradually, the solution expanded to the United States, Canada, Malaysia, Russia and now Australia.This solution from Visa will allow participating lenders to offer a more flexible range of repayment plans from three months to 24 months with no interest in some cases to their customers.The service is expected to take off easily in the country as a recent Visa survey found that 90% participants showed a high likelihood of using an installment option from their issuing bank and 85% confirmed that installments will improve their relationship with their card provider.BNPL services have been a huge attraction among buyers to date, especially post COVID-19, which brought financial distress. Moreover, BNPL is favored over credit cards by the users looking to avoid steep costs and those who do not qualify for credit cards.The BNPL is an exploding space and even though the installment payment facility has been in existence since a long time, it was earlier structured in a traditional way, carrying an interest, late payment and other additional charges. The BNPL trend got accelerated owing to trust issues in legacy financial institutions.The new-age customers, mainly the Gen Z and the millennials, look for payment options that are easy, transparent, interest-free and dispersed via a digital medium and mobile phones. And the BNPL fits the bill to the tee.The BNPL market is expanding rapidly. Per Worldpay’s 2020 Global Payments report, “buy now pay later” is the fastest growing e-commerce payment method, globally. In North America, the BNPL market share is expected to triple to 3% of the e-commerce payments market by 2023. In other regions, such as EMEA, “buy now pay later” already accounts for almost 6% of the e-commerce payment market and is expected to grow to almost 10% by 2023.This vast market opportunity is attracting players and heating up competition. The same is underscored by the recent deals announced. The payments company PayPal Holdings, Inc. PYPL is also dipping its toes in the sector. Another company Square, Inc. SQ recently announced a $29-billion acquisition of the Australian firm Afterpay, a rival of Affirm. The major company in the BNPL space is the Swedish startup named Klarna, which holds the number one spot, followed by AfterPay and Affirm.Recently Mastercard Inc. MA announced its BNPL service named Mastercard Installments.Visa is investing in the domain keeping an eye on the future. The company is progressing in the openbanking and crypto currency space. Embracing new technological changes in the industry is imperative to stay relevant in the same. Visa is ticking the right boxes to fuel growth over the long term.Visa currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and has gained 3.6% year to date against the industry’s decline of 16.4%. Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchYou can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.   Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>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 Mastercard Incorporated (MA): Free Stock Analysis Report Visa Inc. (V): Free Stock Analysis Report PayPal Holdings, Inc. (PYPL): Free Stock Analysis Report Square, Inc. (SQ): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 8th, 2021

58 thoughtful gifts to give your friends under $100

Buying gifts for friends is a thoughtful way to show them how much you care. Here are 58 gift ideas for your friend, all for less than $100. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Getty Images Whether it's your friend's birthday or you simply want to say thank you, they deserve the best. We rounded up 58 gifts, each under $100, that your special friend will treasure. Still looking for gift ideas? Check out all Insider Reviews gift guides here. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyFriends are the ones you rely upon, confide in, and plague with everything from menu choices to whether or not you should move across the country for a new job. So when those gifting occasions roll around, it can be difficult to find something adequately thoughtful to give to that important person - especially within the relatively affordable under-$100 range.To make things easier for you, we put together a list of unique, thoughtful gifts that your friend would love to receive - all for less than $100.Below are 58 gifts under $100 that your friend will actually want: A set of friendship lights Urban Outfitters Brookstone Friendship Lamp Set, available at Urban Outfitters, $89.95If your close friend lives far away, let them know you're always thinking of them with this friendship light. Your friend will know you haven't forgotten them by tapping your light to instantly activate their twin light. A luxurious lavender scent perfume Nordstrom Yves Saint Laurent Libre Fragrance, available at Nordstrom, from $25.50A designer perfume like this Saint Laurent fragrance is a fitting gift for a friend who enjoys luxurious items. The floral fragrance's bold lavender scent appeals to the confident friend who's daring and always lives true to herself. A gold bracelet with her favorite football team Baublebar NFL x Baublebar Gold Pisa Bracelet, available at Baublebar, $30Even if you don't share in friend's enthusiasm for sports, this sports team bracelet shows you get them. Match the bracelet with their favorite team to help her be prepared for the next game day outfit. A relaxing weighted blanket Amazon Luna Weight Blanket, available at Amazon, $76.99For the friend who's constantly working or just needs a chance to unwind, a weighted blanket can make all the difference. We love this one because it's wallet-friendly but still made from quality materials like Oeko-Tex-certified cotton and natural glass beads.  A scent tied to a favorite place Amazon Homesick candle, available at Uncommon Goods, $34For your old college roommate or your friend who's taken a job across the country, this candle is a sweet reminder of home. A planner to help them stay organized Rifle Paper Co. 2022 17-Month Large Planner, available at Rifle Paper Co., $36Your Type A friend will thank you for this planner and its neat, detailed layout. The 17-month design means they can finish out this year and be set for the new year. Plus, two pages of colorful stickers can help liven up the notes, weekly, and monthly planning pages. A neoprene makeup bag from a cool startup they'll love Dagne Dover Hunter Toiletry Bag, available at Dagne Dover, from $40Dagne Dover is one of our all-time favorite handbag companies, and most of that has to do with quality, style, and unmatched attention to detail. The Hunter bag comes in six colors of water-resistant neoprene. It has helpful features like elastic lip gloss loops, slip pockets and a removable zipper pouch for compacts and shadows, and a smooth lining that's easily cleaned. Zipper tabs can be unsnapped to adjust the shape, too.  A playful earbud pouch for that one forgetful friend Baggu Puffy Earbuds Case, available at Baggu, $14If you have a friend who tends to lose their AirPods or earbuds all too often, this unique case attaches straight onto their keyring. Plus, it's quilted, padded, and machine washable. The pouch fastens with velcro and comes in fun colors and patterns like leopard print and stripe. A phone case and wallet all-in-one Nomad Rugged Folio, available at Nomad, $69.95You might have a friend who doesn't like carrying around bulky wallets and would rather keep it simple and sleek. This leather folio case sports three card slots and one cash slot, and also has a new internal shock absorption bumper that protects against 10-foot drops. Best of all, it's made of Horween leather, which ages and appears more rugged as time passes.  A Fitbit for the activity tracker newcomer Fitbit Fitbit Inspire 2, available at Walmart, $87.99If they're contemplating joining the Fitbit bandwagon, they'll appreciate this uncomplicated activity tracker that monitors their exercise, sleep, and heart rate. It's slimmer than its counterparts, but still lasts for 10 days, has 20+ different exercise modes, and receives basic smartphone notifications. A high-tech towel that's better for their hair AQUIS Aquis Lisse Luxe Long Hair Towel, available at Anthropologie, $30Aquis' cult-favorite hair towels have inspired a slew of rave reviews online, including one from our own team of 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. It also prevents hygral fatigue — the stretching and swelling of wet hair that makes it vulnerable to frizz and damage — by cutting the hair's drying time by 50%. Their favorite specialty food straight from the source Goldbelly/Instagram Order their favorite specialty foods using Goldbelly, from $28Goldbelly makes it possible to satisfy their most specific and nostalgic cravings no matter where they live in the US — a cheesecake from Junior's, deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati, and more. Browse the iconic gifts section for inspiration.  A book of witty, quirky postcards Amazon/Business Insider 'Friendship Maintenance: 30 Postcards to Say How Much You Freaking Care,' available at Amazon, $8.34"Friendship Maintenance" adds a more personal touch to the frequent check-ins you're probably already having with one another. The witty postcards weave in themes of friendship in a hilariously relatable way. A tie-dye kit Amazon/Business Insider Just My Style Tie Dye Kit, available at Amazon, $7.03Tie-dye has made a resurgence: It's a socially distant (or virtual) activity that friends can enjoy together. They'll appreciate this affordable tie-dye kit that will provide them with enough dye for up to 12 projects. A gift card to a popular wine subscription club Winc Gift Card, available at Winc, from $60Winc is a personalized wine club — and we think the best one you can belong to overall. Members take a wine palate profile quiz and then choose from the personalized wine suggestions. Each bottle has extensive tasting notes and serving recommendations online, and makes it easy to discover similar bottles. Gift her a Winc gift card, and she can take a wine palate profile quiz and get started with her own customized suggestions.  A custom note with a surprise inside Greetabl/Business Insider Greetabl Gift Box, available at Greetabl, from $14Greetabl is one of the Insider Reviews team's favorite modes of checking in on those we love. The customizable box includes a fun print, a spot for a personal message, and the selection of a small gift like Sugarfina treats or quirky pins.  An upgrade to the classic travel pillow Amazon/Business Insider Trtl Pillow Super Soft Neck Support Travel Pillow, available at Amazon, $29.99One of the best gifts for frequent travelers is a genuinely supportive neck pillow. The super-soft fleece of the Trtl holds the neck and head in an ergonomic position during flight, and it's lightweight — weighing only about a half a pound — so it won't weigh them down too much. Read our full review of the pillow here. There's also a newer, slightly more expensive version that we like too.  A hilarious collection of Tinder exchanges that, altogether, become one modern horror story Amazon/Business Insider "Tinder Nightmares," available on Amazon, $14.95"Tinder Nightmares" is a modern horror story of Tinder exchanges organized by theme, with chapters such as Bad English, Broetry, Strange Requests, Sneak Attacks, and more. The Instagram account of the same name has nearly 2 million followers. But beware — like Tinder, this book is not for the faint of heart.  A set of the best socks they'll ever wear Bombas Women's Ankle Sock, 4-Pair Box, available at Bombas, $47.50Men's Original Ankle Sock, 4-Pair Box, available at Bombas, from $47.50Bombas' ankle socks have extra blister tabs to prevent chafing, a honeycomb arch-support system to cradle the foot's arch, and a seamless toe that gets rid of the annoying bump that runs across the toes of most socks.  A three-month subscription to the book club that put "Gone with the Wind" on the map Book of the Month Three Month Subscription, available at Book of the Month, $49.99This subscription gift was handcrafted for bookworms. Book of the Month has been around since 1926, and it's credited with the discovery of titles like "Gone with the Wind" and "Catcher in the Rye." A team of experts and celebrity guest judges curate must-read books — usually new releases, hot topics, and debut authors — and send them to the subscriber's doorstep.If they're more into audiobooks or e-reading, check out a gift subscription to Scribd (full review here). A makeup and skincare subscription Birchbox Three Month Subscription, available at Birchbox, $30-$45Birchbox is a skincare and makeup subscription that sends tons of samples of new and cult-favorite products so subscribers can find products they love without committing to buying full-sized anything in the meantime. It's also a monthly excuse for them to treat themselves. An insulated stainless steel water bottle that keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 6 hours Amazon Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Travel Mug (12 oz), available at Amazon, from $24.44This double-wall, vacuum insulated stainless steel mug is especially perfect for commuters who would rather drink hot coffee than room-temperature for the 45 minutes on the subway — or any other time. We're big fans, and it does a pretty incredible job of keeping cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to six hours.  A gimmicky-seeming nail polish holder they'll actually wind up using Amazon/Business Insider Tweexy Wearable Nail Polish Holder, available on Amazon, $9.99Finding a convenient spot to place an open bottle of sticky, vibrant, and fast-drying liquid while you paint your nails is not easy. This $10 nail polish holder looks gimmicky, but it's actually pretty useful.  A funny adult coloring book Amazon Wine Life: A Snarky Adult Coloring Book, available at Amazon, $6.99Adult coloring has had a resurgence in recent years as a great de-stressor (even Kate Middleton is a fan). It turns out, though, that adult coloring is even more fun with adult beverages. Here's one that combines both.  A brass and wood display box that's a bit cooler than the average picture frame Artifact Uprising Brass & Wood Display Box, available at Artifact Uprising, $55Artifact Uprising's brass and hardwood Display Box is a bit more aesthetically pleasing than the traditional picture frame. They can showcase their favorite picture by sliding it into the front of the box, and the box itself can hold up to 50 five-inch by five-inch Square Prints inside.If you're just looking for prints, you can find those starting at $9 here. A silk pillowcase for smoother hair and less breakage Amazon Celestial Silk 100% Silk Pillowcase, available at Amazon, $40.99This Celestial Silk pillowcase is one of the internet's hidden gems. It's nearly $40 on Amazon, but it gives you more silk per square inch than options twice the price at Sephora. It's made out of 100% Mulberry silk — one of the highest quality silks you can buy — and comes in more than 25 colors and three sizes: standard, queen, and king. It's the one I personally own, and it makes a big difference for frizzy hair.  A poetry book that has become a phenomenon Urban Outfitters/Business Insider Milk and Honey, available at Target, from $7.38Rupi Kaur's "Milk and Honey" is a New York Times bestseller and a small cultural phenomenon. It's a collection of poetry and prose dealing with love, loss, femininity, and survival. If they already have this, you may want to look into Cleo Wade's "Where to Begin" here. A yoga mat towel with skid-less technology made by a trusted company Amazon Manduka Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel, available at Amazon, from $45.39Manduka consistently makes some of the best yoga gear on the market, and their cult-favorite Yogitoes mat towels aren't an exception — they'd probably be the main response if you asked around yoga studios for a mat towel recommendation. They have patented skid-less technology that uses 100% silicone nubs, and it makes a big difference. Each Yogitoes towel is also made from at least eight recycled plastic water bottles, and the dyes used to make it are free of azo, lead, or heavy metal. A vitamin C serum developed by MIT scientists that keeps selling out Maelove Glow Maker, available at Maelove, $27.95Maelove is a skincare company founded by a team of MIT grads (skincare obsessives, brain and cancer researchers, and chemical engineers) to make affordable, high-quality skincare accessible. The entire under-$30 line is supposedly great, but this $28 vitamin C serum (which people have likened to the multi-award-winning $166 C E Ferulic Serum) is the real showstopper — and it keeps selling out. I've tried it, and it does a great job of reducing hyperpigmentation, hydrating, and adding a "glow" to the skin.Read our full Maelove review here.  A monogrammed leather passport case Leatherology Standard Passport Cover, available at Leatherology, from $50For the world traveler, adventure companion, or person who has a lot of places left to see before they're satisfied, this leather passport cover is one of the best mixes of quality for price you're bound to find. You can also personalize your gift further with a monogram (starting as an extra $10). Every time they use it, they'll think of you.  A design service that can help them figure out their decor or new apartment layout Modsy Premium Package, available at Modsy, $159Whether they're moving, always talking about redecorating, or would love a gallery wall but don't want to expend the necessary brain power, they'll appreciate a Modsy gift. The service makes an exact 3D, digital replica of their room and fills it with actual pieces of furniture from well-known brands that they can buy on the spot. A super soft $75 cashmere sweater from a sustainable startup Naadam The Essential Cashmere Sweater, available at Naadam, $75This $75 cashmere sweater is one of the best I've worn, and it took me by surprise for $75. You can get it in either crew-neck or v-neck styles, unisex sizing, and 20 colors. In person, the cashmere is one of the softest I've felt.Plus, Naadam is a sustainable startup. They avoid toxic chemicals, invest in sustainable grazing practices, fund better vaccination programs for healthier goats, and use 100% clean energy to power production facilities. By cutting out middlemen, they pay nomadic herders about 50% more and charge about 50% less to customers without changing quality. A new book by the co-creator of "Broad City" Amazon/Business Insider I Might Regret This: Essays, Drawings, Vulnerabilities, and Other Stuff, available at Amazon, $10.64This book by Abbi Jacobson, co-creator of "Broad City", deals with love, loss, work, comedy, and identity.  A soft, durable pair of slippers they'll want to live in Nordstrom UGG Ansley Water Resistant Slipper, available at Nordstrom, from $99.95They're not a new name, but UGG slippers have stuck around for a very good reason: they're incredibly soft, durable, and made really well. The sole is sturdy enough to withstand walks to the mailbox, and the water-resistant material can take a little gross winter slush on the way there.If you're looking for a cheaper alternative, check out Minnetonka — we're big fans of their mix of price and quality, too. An award-winning at-home facial Sephora Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, available at Sephora, $80This now-legendary AHA and BHA at-home "facial" gently resurfaces the skin to remove built-up dead skin cells and reveal brighter, more even skin underneath. It's also won multiple notable beauty awards, including a Best of Beauty from Allure and Reader's Choice from InStyle in 2017. For more skincare products, check out the best luxury skincare on Amazon and best gifts from Sephora here. Popular leggings they can wear anywhere Outdoor Voices Outdoor Voices Core 3/4 Leggings, available at Outdoor Voices, $88It seems like everyone and their best friend is talking about Outdoor Voices leggings, and these are the company's most sweat-friendly option.  A card game to play with other friends to rehash favorite stories and learn some new ones Amazon/Business Insider The Voting Game Adult Card Game, available at Target, $19.99The Voting Game is basically a card game that gives you a funny prompt and invites you to anonymously answer "Who's the most likely to..." out of your friends. It's a great way to rehash your favorite memories and learn new stories. A vase and smartphone stand handmade from glazed stoneware Uncommon Goods Bedside Smartphone Vase, available at Uncommon Goods, $32These smartphone stands are handmade out of glazed stoneware, and they double as vases so their owner can have the benefit of convenience without totally giving into the sterility of tons of tech devices. A mug with a "coffee reading" tarot-inspired theme Society6/Business Insider Coffee Reading, available at Society6, $13.59Perfect for the avid coffee drinker or casual fan of the occult, this ceramic mug made by the independent artists of Society6 is a fun — and useful — gift. They've also got pretty much every mug pattern you could want. A cocktail recipe book that pairs music with good drinks Amazon/Business Insider Booze & Vinyl: A Spirited Guide to Great Music and Mixed Drinks, available at Amazon, $21.99Have a friend that loves music and a nice cocktail? This pairs both for a perfect combination every time. The guide includes music from 70 albums, ranging from the '50s to the '00s, with an accompanying A-side and B-side cocktail for each — all organized by mood.  A tiny waffle maker Amazon/Business Insider Dash Mini Waffle Maker, available at Target, $12.99This mini waffle maker may seem more gimmick than substance, but it didn't garner 1,800+ reviews just for being pretty cute. It's compact for small kitchens and people who only want to make three waffles rather than buffet quantities, and it's really easy to clean. A screw-on top that turns a wine bottle into a glass Amazon/Business Insider Guzzle Buddy Wine Bottle Glass, available on Amazon, $15.06If they're more of a "one bottle per person" vino drinker, why not cut out the middleman with this twist-on bottle-to-glass helper?  The personal diary of icon Frida Kahlo Amazon "The Diary of Friday Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait", available at Amazon, $21.94In the last 10 years of her life, Friday Kahlo kept a journal full of thoughts, poems, illustrations, and dreams. This is it, and it's a particularly perfect gift for an artistic or feminist friend.  Machine-washable sneakers they'll wear all the time Allbirds Wool Runners, available at Allbirds, $98Soft, lightweight, breathable shoes that wick away moisture and can be tossed in a machine washer when they get dirty — what's not to love?  A guard to keep away hot, messy splatter Amazon/Business Insider Frywall 10 Splatter Guard, available at Sur La Table, $13.99A splatter guard gives you the benefit of an uncovered pan, minus the countertop cleaning and dodging of hot, popping oil. An elegant, unobtrusive diffuser that smells great Snowe Diffuser, available at Snowe, $40Snowe's Diffuser has the advantage of looking more like home decor than a diffuser, but it also fills the room with a wonderful smell. Plus, the bottles of scent tend to last for months. Pick it up for a friend in five scent options that range from Speak Easy (leather, bitters, burnt cedar) to Pillow Talk (sandalwood, ginger, lavender).  A beautiful candle that smells amazing Otherland Manor House Weekend Candle, available at Otherland, $36Otherland is a candle company started by Ralph Lauren's former art buyer, Abigail Cook Stone. If you want to give your friend a candle that burns for 55 hours, looks beautiful, and comes from an up-and-coming startup that they've probably seen (or coveted) before, this is a great option.Read our full Otherland review here. A Tile with a replaceable battery to help them find missing keys and wallets Amazon Tile Pro with Replaceable Battery, 2 Pack, available at Target, $59.99Few gifts are going to be as useful as a Tile Pro with a replaceable battery. It'll help them find missing items like keys and wallets. An app on their phone can trigger the Tile to ring out so they can locate where they accidentally left their belongings.  A rechargeable battery Amazon Anker PowerCore 10000, available at Amazon, $31.99Anker's PowerCore is a powerful, compact external battery that can provide nearly three and a half iPhone 8 charges or two and a half Galaxy S8 charges.  Luxurious bodycare products Necessarie Nécessaire The Body Wash, available at Sephora, $25Nécessaire is a new line of bodycare products that use vitamins and plant-based oils. It was founded by Randi Christiansen, a former Estée Lauder vice president, and Nick Axelrod, a co-founder of Into the Gloss, the editorial site that preceded Glossier. Read our full Nécessaire review here. A cute plant in a ceramic pot delivered to their door The Sill Shop plants and accessories at The Sill, from $5A plant from The Sill will come in a small ceramic pot with a drainage hole and its own saucer. It comes potted in the company's potting mix and will be delivered to their doorstep.  A renewing honey mask that warms up while it's on their face Sephora Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask, available at Sephora, from $38This intensely hydrating mask from beauty brand Farmacy is infused with antioxidants to leave the skin looking glowy and plump. It also physically warms up while on the face, so the self care feels a bit more tangible.  A subscription to K-beauty sheet masks Facetory/Instagram/Business Insider Facetory Gift Subscription Plan, available at Facetory, from $19.90Facetory is an affordable monthly subscription to various K-beauty sheet masks. You can opt to pay for one, three, six, nine, or 12 months at a time.  A cult-favorite sleeping lip mask Sephora Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, available at Sephora, $22Laneige's hyper-popular overnight lip mask smooths and moisturizes with vitamin C and antioxidants. Currently, it has over 13,000 reviews and a rating of 4.4-stars on Sephora.  A pretty leather wrap for taking chargers and cables on the go Mark & Graham Leather Charger Roll Up, available at Mark & Graham, from $22.99Mark & 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 box of gourmet artisan milk and dark chocolate Amazon Chuao Chocolatier Share the Love 36-Piece Gift Set, available at Amazon, $39.95A box stuffed full of chocolate needs no introduction, but this one is a pretty good deal. The box comes with 36 mini bars of gourmet artisan milk and dark chocolate, all made in small batches and free of artificial flavors. The 14 flavors range from sweet to savory, and each bar is only 60 calories.  A ClassPass gift card Class Pass Gift Card, available at ClassPass, choose your amountStart heading to more (virtual or socially distant) boutique fitness classes with your friend by making them easier and cheaper to attend. ClassPass lets you drop in to different specialized studios for $15 or less per class. A class or experience for you to take together Airbnb Experiences Check out local Airbnb ExperiencesCheck out local GrouponsOnce it's safe to do so, book an experience like a pasta-making class, brewery tour, or local tour that the two of you can enjoy together. Plus, you can buy this gift as last-minute as you like. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 6th, 2021

A Litany Of Absurdity

A Litany Of Absurdity Via The Brownstone Institute, Allison Pearson writing for the Telegraph recounts her anti-lockdown views from early on, and how so many people who implemented draconian policies are now running from them and their own responsibility. In the course of her column, she provides a list of absurdities imposed on the British people. This column is excerpted below. At the end of the Second World War, Gaullists and Communists insisted that the majority of the French people had played a part in the Resistance. Actual figures for those who actively opposed the Nazis vary between 400,000 and 75,000. Something not entirely dissimilar is happening now as the Government prepares to lift Plan B restrictions next week, and fervent advocates of lockdown try to distance themselves from its dire consequences. Scientists whose mathematical models persuaded anxious ministers to impose drastic restrictions on human freedom not even seen during the Blitz are suddenly keen to emphasise that these were merely worst-case “scenarios”, not something on which you’d want to base actual policy. Did they mention that at the time, I wonder? Or has the Eddie-the-Eagle reliability of their predictions given rise to a certain hasty revisionism? Sorry, that’s unfair. Eddie the Eagle never predicted up to 6,000 Covid deaths a day this winter (actual number: 250). Michael Gove, the Cabinet’s most hawkish lockdown supporter, admitted last week to the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs that he was a “bedwetter” who got things badly wrong (unlike Boris) when he called for further restrictions over Christmas. Wes Streeting, the shadow Health Secretary, now says that we must never lock down again without explaining why the useless, No-opposition Opposition party not only failed to challenge any of the destructive rules, but continually called for them to be stricter. Cracks are even opening up in the wonkish façade of the Behavioural Insights Team, the so-called Nudge Unit, which bears much of the responsibility for terrifying the British people into complying with measures so cruel that I predict future generations will refuse to believe we ever allowed them to happen. Simon Ruda, co-founder of the team, told Unherd: “In my mind, the most egregious and far-reaching mistake made in responding to the pandemic has been the level of fear willingly conveyed on the public.” Eh? It’s a bit like the kid who drops a banger in the tin of fireworks, claiming he never meant to start a fire. Honest, guv! For those who were part of the lockdown Resistance, it is gratifying, but also oddly unbearable, to see the people who attacked us admitting that the “misinformation” we were accused of spreading 18 months ago turns out to be remarkably close to the truth. I am not a particularly rebellious person, and certainly not a brave one, but if I encounter any kind of injustice, my inner Welsh dragon starts breathing fire. I can’t help it. During the lockdowns, Idris the Pearson dragon seldom stopped fuming at the thousands of harrowing stories which readers shared with me. Like the lecturer who emailed about one of his students, a glorious young man, who fell to his death after hiding on the roof when police raided his house because a small party there breached lockdown regulations and the lad didn’t want to get into trouble. He paid with his young life for the stupid rules that were made – and repeatedly broken, as we now know – by middle-aged men in Westminster. When the Resistance dared to suggest that some lockdown measures were disproportionate, crazy and unsupported by science, let alone common sense, we were reviled. That is no exaggeration. I regret to say your columnist was called, in no particular order, a Covid denier (I nursed my entire family through the virus), a granny killer (I didn’t see my own mother for 18 months) and a spreader of disinformation. When I protested on social media that putting padlocks on the gates of playgrounds was a terrible idea, back came a fusillade of vicious accusations: “You want people to die!” To question the official narrative that nothing mattered except keeping people safe from Covid was heresy. Witches like me had to be burnt at the stake before we could spread our subversive ideas to all Sage-fearing people. Funny how things turn out, isn’t it? It is now widely acknowledged that the NHS was never overwhelmed (that’s why the Nightingales were shut without being used). And even those prophets of doom at the BBC finally acknowledged this week that half of “Covid deaths” since Christmas are not actually “from” Covid but “with” Covid. That is not to deny that some of us came up with occasional wrong answers. I certainly did, although I will be proud for the rest of my life that my Planet Normal co-pilot, Liam Halligan, and I had the guts to keep asking the questions. Admittedly, the lockdown tragedy did have its moments of unintentional comedy. Who can forget the immortal exchange between Sky News’s Kay Burley and the then Health Secretary, Matt Hancock? Burley: “How long will the ban on casual sex last?” Hancock [serious face]: “Sex is OK in an established relationship, but people need to be careful.” Careful, unless you were the Secretary of State for Health, of course, in which case sex outside your established relationship was fine and dandy because, well, it was with a colleague. What No 10 would doubtless call a “work event”. How did we listen to that bonkers, ahem, advice with a straight face? With the UK set to be one of the first countries to come out of the pandemic, I thought it was worth starting to compile a list of the most lunatic measures. Lest we forget. Some of my followers on Twitter offered these. I’m sure you will have your own. 1. “Church yesterday. Wafer but no wine for communion. Service followed by wine and biscuits to mark the vicar’s retirement.” 2. “The one where you could work in a control room with multiple people for 12 hours then be breaking the law if you sat on a bench drinking coffee with one of them.” 3. “Forming a socially distanced queue at the airport before being sardined into a packed plane with the same people, two hours later.” 4. “Swings in our local park put into quarantine or removed – even though children were barely at risk from Covid as swings were outside.” 5. “No butterfly stroke allowed while swimming.” 6. “Pubs with no volume on the TV.” 7. “Not allowing people to sit on a park bench. My elderly aunt kept fit by walking her dog every day, but she needed to rest. Since that rule, she stopped going out. She went downhill and died last April.” 8. “I got thrown out of a McDonald’s for refusing to stand on a yellow circle. I was the only customer.” 9. “Yellow and black hazard tape across public seats and benches outdoors.” 10. “I’m stuck in the infant in-patient ward with my nine-day-old sick baby, post C-section, unable to look after him. My husband (same household) is not allowed to be here with us. I’m having panic attacks, which is preventing me from producing milk for the baby.” 11. “I was advised by a council worker to keep my dog on a lead because people might stop to pet her and congregate too closely.” 12. “My bed-ridden mother-in-law with dementia in a care home where only ‘window visits’ were allowed. Mum was on the first floor. Had to wait for someone to die on the ground floor so she could be moved down there and finally seen by her family. After 12 months.” 13. “Two people allowed to go for a walk on a golf course. If they took clubs and balls, it was a criminal offence.” 14. “The one-way system in my local pub, which meant that to visit the loo you had to make a circular journey through the building, ensuring you passed every table.” 15. “My dad was failing in his care home. We weren’t allowed to visit him until the doctor judged he was end-of-life care because of one positive case in the home. We had 24 hours with him before he passed.” 16. “People falling down the escalator on the Underground because they were frightened of touching the handrails – even though you couldn’t get Covid from surfaces.” 17. “Rule of Six. My wife and I have three children so we could meet either my wife’s mum or her dad, but not both at the same time.” 18. “Nobody solved an airborne virus transmission with a one-way system in Tesco.” 19. “How about not being allowed for several months – by law – to play tennis outdoors with my own wife? We’d have been further apart from each other on court than in our own home.” 20. “On two occasions, I was stopped and questioned while taking flowers to my mother’s grave. One time, a police officer even asked for my mum’s name. No idea what he would have done with that information.” 21. “Birmingham City Council cutting the grass in two-metre strips – so the weeds could social-distance?” 22. “Northampton police checking supermarket baskets for non-essential items.” 23. “All the children at school were asked to bring in a favourite book, but it had to be quarantined for two days before being ‘exposed’ to the rest of the class.” 24. “Dr Hilary on Good Morning Britain advising people to wear masks on the beach – and that it would be a good idea to swim in the sea with one on, too.” 25. “Gyms and exercise classes forced to close, but fast-food outlets remained open.” 26. “They taped off every other urinal in my workplace.” 27. “Sign on the inside of work bathroom door: close toilet lid before flushing to prevent plumes of Covid-19.” 28. “We held our carol service in a local park, but had to send out invitations by word of mouth, rather than email, so we’d have plausible deniability if stopped by police.” 29. “Having to wear a disposable apron and gloves while visiting my mother in a care home, while she was on the other side of a floor-to-ceiling Perspex wall.” 30. “Scotch eggs. You couldn’t drink in a pub unless you also had a ‘substantial’ meal.” 31. “Testing of totally healthy people and making them stop work based on a questionable positive test result, when they have no symptoms, creating NHS staff shortages, cancelled operations. Things that, you know, actually kill people…” 32. “My son works in the NHS on the Covid ward and could go to the local Sainsbury’s for his lunch. But when we were ill and isolating at home, he had to isolate as well – for 10 days.” 33. “My eight-year-old granddaughter telling me they weren’t allowed to sing Happy Birthday at school for her friend’s ninth birthday.” 34. “It was illegal to see your parents in their back garden, but legal to meet them in a pub garden with lots of other people.” 35.  “I had to abandon my weekly choir practice – but my husband was allowed to sing as a spectator at a football match.” 36. “They removed all the bins in Regent’s Park and Hampstead Heath.” 37. “Having a flask of tea or coffee on a walk meant it was classified as a picnic – and thus verboten.” 38. “Bring your own biro to a dental appointment to fill in a form declaring you do not have Covid.” 39. “My neighbour refused to hang the washing out to dry – they thought the sheets might catch Covid and infect them.” 40. “My 12-year-old had to sit alone at her grandfather’s funeral – her first experience of one – even though we drove there together and hugged outside. There were three officials watching us all to ensure we didn’t break the rules.” 41. “We could only go outdoors once a day for exercise.” 42. “In pubs, wearing a mask to get from the door to the table, and the table to the toilet – but not wearing a mask while sitting down.” 43. “People in a Tier 3 area walking two minutes down the road for a pint in Tier 2.” 44. “In Wales, supermarkets were allowed to stay open, but the aisles containing children’s clothing and books were taped off.Because buying a baby’s jumper is so much more perilous than picking up a pint of milk.” 45. “The pallbearers all but threw my mother’s coffin in the grave and ran away. They had her down as a Covid death, but she died of cancer.” 46. “The one-way systems around supermarkets that led to people being forced into parts they didn’t want to be in, making them spend more time in the shop – while Covid simply circulated over the top of the shelves.” 47. “Children abandoned by social services and left in the clutches of terrible parents.” 48. “Police breaking into our student house and pinning my girlfriend by the neck up against the wall. I said: ‘This is England – you’re not allowed to do that.’” 49. “Residents of care homes forgetting who they were during the long months when family were not allowed to visit them.” 50. “Dying alone. How many died alone? How many?” Tyler Durden Sat, 01/22/2022 - 23:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 23rd, 2022

69 gifts under $50 perfect for any occasion or holiday

We found great gift ideas under $50 that prove you don't have to spend a fortune to get just the right gift for any occasion. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Hollis Johnson/Crystal Cox/Alyssa Powell/Business Insider You don't need to spend a fortune to find a thoughtful gift they'll love.  We found 69 of the best gifts under $50 to suit the interests and tastes of everyone on your list. Still looking for a gift? Check out our list of the All-Time Best products we've ever tested. With best friends' birthdays, anniversaries with your significant other (or Valentine's Day), celebratory moments with coworkers, or even just to tell a loved one you're thinking about them,  it's easy for your gifting list to fill up quickly. But you don't have to spend a fortune to get everyone on your list a gift that feels made for them. There are plenty of great gift ideas under $50 to be found if you know where to look.We've done the hard work for you and sifted through hundreds of options to find affordable gifts to suit a wide range of tastes and interests.Our picks for the best gifts under $50 still feel unique and personal. And whether these gifts are complements to a bigger present or are the star of the show, we know your recipient will love them.Keep reading for 69 gifts under $50 that work for anyone on your list.This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by Under Armour. It also meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.*A bluetooth microphone to make events more funAmazonBonaok Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone, available at Amazon, $30.99This Bluetooth karaoke microphone is the perfect accessory to gift the one who's the life of the party. They can sing along to their favorite songs with this gift that offers premium sound and noise reduction. A cozy knit beanieAsosStormlock Rip Knit Cap, available at Jack Wolfskin, $29.95Cold-weather accessories make a great gift for anyone braving the cold this winter and the Jack Wolfskin's Stormlock Rip Knit Cap is exactly what they need. Built of a blend of wool and acrylic, this beanie also features Stormlock fleece which just about guarantees a warm noggin. It's even available in two different colors to match a variety of outfits.  A set of spa-worthy shower bombsAmazonEuka Wellness Shower Bombs 6-Pack, available at Amazon, $18No bathtub? No problem. With these shower bombs, anyone can transform their bathroom into a makeshift spa, and they don't even need a bathtub to do it. These come in a variety of options including Calm, Detox, Breathe, and Happy (and come 6 in a pack). A sampler box of wineVineboxBe Mine... Wine, available at Vinebox, $45Who doesn't love a sample pack of wine? With the Be Mine... Wine box from Vinebox, you can gift the special person in your life a selection of wine that'll tickle their tastebuds. The box includes three different tubes of wine, two reds and one white, each from a vineyard in Europe. A tracker for lost itemsAppleAirTag, available at Apple, from $29Whether you lose track of your keys or a bag, Apple's AirTag is a sure way to find any lost item. This water-resistant tracker plays a sound or uses its precise distance findings to lead you straight to the item regardless of the distance on the Find My app.An at-home tie dye kitNordstromRit x Thompson Street Studio Dye at Home Upcycling Kit, available at Nordstrom, $11.4oInstead of buying something new, this dye kit can refurbish old clothes from your wardrobe with playful prints. The Dye-at-home kit includes power dyes rubber bands gloves, and an instruction booklet to begin making your closet more sustainable.A pair of stylish wearable weightsBandierBala Bangles, available at Amazon, from $49Incorporate fitness into your daily life with these wearable weights that fit on your wrist or ankles. At one to two pounds, these stylish weights intensify any movement and build strength whether it's a workout or running errands.A hatch decanter to sophisticatedly store alcoholCrate & BarrelHatch Decanter, available at Crate & Barrel, $44.95If their barware collection bares a sophisticated flair, they'll appreciate this elegant hatch decanter. This 32oz decanter is a more affordable price than others thanks to its beautiful molded diamond pattern that resembles cut crystal.A spice and herb kit packed with international flavorsUncommon GoodsGourmet Oil Dipping Spice Kit, available at Uncommon Goods, $42Whether it's a dash of Italian oregano or za'atar from the Middle East, any cook will appreciate this international spice kit that lets them cook with various tastes of the world. A skincare set for combination and oily skin typesSephoraClinique Great Skin, Great Deal Set, available at Sephora, $32.50This Clinique set for combination and oily skin types is a great addition to any skincare routine. This three-step regimen includes a facial soap, an exfoliating lotion, and a moisturizing gel make this three-step routine an easy and quick way for a fresh face.A DIY recipe bookAmazonMy Recipes Cookbook, available at Amazon, $8.99Whether they're a huge foodie or want to preserve a favorite family meal, this DIY cookbook offers 120 blank pages to fill with their favorite recipes. The notebook's table of contents and additional note space at the end will help keep them extra organized.Taking the time to add in your own savory vodka sauce pasta dish or having their loved ones fill in grandma's homemade sweets recipe will make this gift feel extra special.Snacks for movie nightKnackPopcorn Snack Medley, available at Knack, $40.99Help them take their next Netflix marathon to the next level with this popcorn mix set. The mix includes two microwavable Pop on The Cob popcorn cobs, toffee pretzels, dark chocolate-covered cherries, and Virginia peanuts. If they have a particular favorite treat, each snack can also be added in extra quantities at an additional cost.A carafe that helps preserve wineGrommetGlass Wine Saver Carafe, available at Grommet, $42.95Wine lovers will surely appreciate this elegant gift that will allow them to savor and sip their favorite bottle for longer. This glass carafe preserves non-sparkling wine in the refrigerator for up to one week. Simply, pour wine into the carafe, insert the float at an angle, then seal it with the top and serve.Farm-to-skin lip balmsEtsyBeekman 1802 Ten Piece Lip Balm Set, available at Uncommon Goods, $48This farm-to-skin lip balm set is just right for the green beauty obsessive. All 10 lip balms are made from natural goat's milk and essential oils. Beautifully packaged and scented, the fragrances include Ylang Ylang and Tuberose, Orange Blossom, Fig Leaf, Sweet Grass, Grapefruit, Oak Moss, Apricot and Honey, Vanilla, and an unscented balm.A monogrammed clutchMark & GrahamPalm Leaf Rounded Clutch, available at Mark and Graham, from $34.99You can get your giftees initials embroidered on this cute roll-up clutch for a personal touch. The bag is woven from natural palm leaves for a beachy vibe, and the blue and white striped interior adds to the fun coastal feel.A sand-free, quick-dry towelSand CloudSand Cloud towel, available at Sand Cloud, from $28Not only are these thin towels easy to roll up and throw in your beach bag or picnic basket, but they also easily shake off sand and dry three times faster than classic beach and pool towels. Choose from a wide array of vibrant patterns and colors, from a navy blue whale shark print to tie-dye options.An easy way to make their own bubble teaUncommon GoodsBubble Tea Kit, available at Uncommon Goods, $40For the bubble tea lover in your life, this kit comes with two flavors of loose-leaf tea, tapioca pearls, and two reusable stainless steel straws. All they'll have to do is add a little milk (if they like!) and sip on this delicious brew.A personalized video message from their favorite celebrityCameoCameo video, available on Cameo, from $1Whether they have a favorite musician, reality TV star, comedian, or actor, there's a good chance their favorite celebrity is on Cameo. You can even choose from pre-recorded video messages with a personal shoutout, or opt to give them a super special one-on-one video call. Of course, the price will depend on who the star is.Notepads chock full of affirmationsAmazonKnock Knock Notepads, available at Amazon, from $5.25Whether you want to give them a quick pep talk or celebrate them just because, these notepads from Knock Knock provide a creative and encouraging way of doing so. Each comes with 50 sheets, so they'll make plenty of use of these witty notes.A small but mighty smart assistantGoogleGoogle Nest Mini (2nd Generation), available at Best Buy, $24.99Give the gift of a virtual helper. Currently on sale for under $25, the Google Nest Mini offers a compact, affordable smart speaker with Google Assistant built-in. Friends and family members will love being able to dim lights, control the volume on their TV, check the weather, and more, all with just the sound of their voice.Read our full review of the Google Nest Mini here.A face mask designed for working outUnder ArmourUA Sportmask, available at Under Armour, $25Under Armour's Sportmask was designed with athletes in mind, as reflected in its breathability, water resistance, and UPF 50+ sun protection. Thanks to the Sportsmask, they won't have to sacrifice their workout routine or their comfort.*Sponsored by Under ArmourA 52-piece art kitAmazon51-Piece Watercolor Art Set, available at Amazon, $21.98Encourage them to pick up a new hobby (or take advantage of an existing one) with this watercolor set that's built for both beginners and experts. The set includes various cakes and paints, watercolor pencils, paintbrushes, a paint palette, an eraser, and a pencil sharpener — all within a pre-packaged case that can save you the pain of gift wrapping. A streaming stick that turns any TV into a smart oneAmazonRoku Streaming Stick +, available at Amazon, $34.99Upgrade their Netflix binge marathons without actually buying them a whole new TV. The Roku Streaming Stick + offers 4K, HD, and HDR streaming in a portable package and affordable price. A meal kit from their favorite restaurantGoldbelly/FacebookGoldbelly Restaurant Meal Kits, available at Goldbelly, from $25Bring a bit of their favorite restaurant right to their door. From bagels to barbeque, Goldbelly ships food gifts nationwide from iconic eateries in major cities. A Disney+ subscriptionAlyssa Powell/Business InsiderOne-year gift subscription to Disney Plus, $79.99It gives them unlimited access to movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox, and costs just $7.99 a month or $79.99 a year after a free seven-day trial. Read everything there is to know about Disney+ over here.And if you need some binge-spiration, here are all the new movies available to stream.A set of loose-leaf teas that even Oprah lovesAmazonVadham Chai Tea Reserve Set, available at Amazon, $24.99This classy set of loose-leaf teas made it into Oprah's Favorite Things back in 2018. It's filled with three variations of chai tea that any tea lover will appreciate. A smooth olive oil that'll instantly elevate any dishBrightlandAlive Olive Oil, available at Brightland, $37If they spend a lot of time in the kitchen, they probably already know the merits of high-quality olive oil. A drizzle of Alive from Brightland adds a vibrant, zesty flavor to any dish, plus the beautiful bottle will look great on display in their kitchen. An affordable electric toothbrush subscriptionQuipToothbrush Starter Set, available at Quip, from $25Help them upgrade their oral care routine with a Quip toothbrush. Not only is it a great electric toothbrush at a reasonable price, but Quip will send them a refill every three months with a new brush head and toothbrush. Delicious mini cupcakesBaked by Melissa FacebookCupcake Gift Boxes, available at Baked by Melissa, from $32Who doesn't love getting a sweet surprise? With delicious flavors ranging from Cookie Dough to Pink Frosted Donut, these bite-size treats are sure to please. You can also add a special gift box to complete the gift. A head-to-toe mini care kitSephoraDrunk Elephant The Littles Head to Toe, available at Sephora, $49Give this mini set for head-to-toe care they can take on the road or just to test out some new products. The set is packed with Drunk Elephant minis, including a glossing shampoo, cream conditioner, scalp scrub, detangler, body cleanser, lotion, deodorant, and a comb. It also comes neatly packaged in a fun, neon bag.An at-home spa kitUncommon GoodsEucalyptus Spa Gift Set, available at Uncommon Goods, $40Let's face it, 2020 has been a hard year. Give them the gift of soothing relaxation with this at-home kit that includes pampering botanical bath salts and natural jute body scrubber. The recipient will also be able to grow their own eucalyptus in the bamboo pot so they can continue to breathe deep and say ahh.A set of magnets that are fun to play with and can boost concentrationSpeksSpeks Magnet Balls, available at Speks, $34.95Almost everyone on the Insider Reviews team has a set of Speks at their desk. The little magnetic balls can be mashed, molded, and built into fun shapes and are a fun fidget toy that even adults will love. A personalized pillow of their favorite fur babyaurespaces/EtsyCustom Pet Pillow, available at Etsy, from $29.99If there's nothing they love more than their cat or dog, this pillow — featuring a blown-up picture of their pet — is sure to make them smile. A cute kitchen gadget that makes breakfast in a flashAmazonDash Mini Waffle Maker, available at Target, $10This compact waffle maker makes a great addition to any college dorm or small kitchen. All they have to do is plug it in and they can make their favorite breakfast treat in a flash.A sugary and fun snackNeiman MarcusSugarfina Champagne Bears, available at Neiman Marcus, $20Elevate their next sugar fix with these fun champagne gummy bears. Don't worry if they're under 21, despite the name and flavor, these gummies are non-alcoholic. They also have rosé options too.    A taste of Japan by way of snacksBokksuBokksu Tasting Gift, 3-month box, available at Bokksu, $44.95Adventurous foodies will love the chance to taste test a curated box of gourmet Japanese snacks. In this Bokksu box, they can expect to find between 10-14 snacks, a tea pairing, and an in-depth guide that details every product included.A best-selling face mask for clear skinAztec SecretAztec Secret Indian Healing Mask, available at Target, $9.99Anyone in on the latest skincare trends will know about this mask. Many claim it has helped clear their skin, and it has over 12,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. The best part is that this powerful facial is just $10.A soft pair of socks made from sustainable fabricUnited by BlueSoftHemp Socks 2 Pack, available at United by Blue, $30With cold weather approaching, there's nothing better than slipping on cozy socks. Made from soft, sustainable hemp fabric, these are sure to do the trick (and why not get them two pairs?).A luxurious exfoliator to keep skin smoothNecessaireNecessaire The Body Exfoliator, available at Sephora, $30Necessaire's clean beauty products come in beautiful, minimalist packaging that looks as good in their bathroom as it feels on their skin. This gentle exfoliator will help them slough off dry winter skin for good.Cruelty-free nail polish in a range of fun colorsSmith & CultNail Polish, available at Smith & Cult, $18Smith & Cult's polish is vegan, cruelty-free, and chip-resistant. With 46 fun colors to choose from, you're sure to find one (or two, or three) they'll love. A sheet mask that'll hydrate dry, stressed skinSephoraDr. Jart+ Soothing Hydra Solution, available at Sephora, $6Fall and winter skin tends to be dry and dull. While you can't change the weather, you can throw on a hydrating face mask to stay moisturized. This one will add lots of soothing hydration to their skin to keep it feeling fresh.Makeup towels that make washing their face less of a choreWeezieMakeup Towels, available at Weezie, $40If they've never thought of washcloths as anything special, Weezie towels will change their minds. The adorable towels are embroidered with either hearts, winky eyelids, or the words "stain me." Plus, the dark navy blue color will conceal makeup stains.A silky-smooth sleep mask to block lightNordstromSlip Pink Marble Sleep Mask, available at Nordstrom, $50If there's nothing they appreciate more than a good night's sleep, they'll love Slip's silk sleep mask. It's made from 100% pure Mulberry silk for a luxe, light feel on their skin. A lip gloss that has all the benefits of a balmSephoraTower28 Beauty Jelly Lip Gloss, available at Sephora, $14This clean-beauty favorite delivers the glossy sheen they'd expect from a lip gloss, but it's loaded with nourishing oils to keep lips hydrated, too. A beautiful way to store olive oilUncommon GoodsHandblown Glass Olive Oil Pourer, available at Uncommon Goods, $45These stunning handmade jars can hold up to 12 ounces of olive oil or vinegar. Plus, they look beautiful sitting out on the kitchen counter.Useful cable clipsAmazonShintop Cable Clips (six-pack), available at Amazon, $5.59Whether their phone charger is always falling under their desk or they simply have too many cables to keep track of, these affordable and efficient clips will allow them to simplify their workspace. Plus, the pink, orange, and green shades contribute a fun pop of color.A bold lip color that'll last all day longSephoraLancome L'Absolu Rouge Lipstick, available at Sephora, $32Whether it's a pale peach or a deep-red look they crave, they'll love this long-lasting lipstick with its saturated colors and hydrating formula.A set of playing cards inspired by music's greatsAmazonMusic Genius Playing Cards, available at Uncommon Goods, $10Whether they love game night, music, or are equal fans of both, they'll surely get a kick out of these playing cards. The pack features illustrations of all the big names in pop, rock, country, and R&B.A spray that any sneakerhead needs in their collectionAmazonJason Markk Repel, available at Amazon, $17If they love shoes, they should have the right products to take care of their favorite footwear. This spray protects shoes from stains caused by water and oil, and there are multiple people on our team who swear by it for every new pair of shoes they get.A set of colorful silicone straws that reduce plastic wasteFood52Five Two Silicone Straws Single Pack, available at Food52, $25Bendable, sustainable, and portable (thanks to the set of carrying cases), these fun straws are the accessory any eco-conscious person should have.A book subscriptionBook of the MonthBook of the Month 3-month plan, available at Book of the Month, $49.99A subscription box that sends them an exciting new read catered to their tastes each month is the perfect gift for a bookworm.A unique case that protects their phoneCasetifyCasetify phone case, available at Casetify, starting from $40Our phones are our lifelines these days and if you know someone who's always glued to theirs, consider giving them a unique case that's as protective as it is pretty thanks to being drop-tested and shock-absorbent. They have options ranging from watercolor forest scenes to cute sayings to cuddly animals. You can even do a customized option and put their initials on it.  A coffee mug that keeps their drinks hot or cold for hoursAmazonHydro Flask Travel Coffee Mug, available at Hydro Flask, $24.95Hydro Flask's Travel Coffee Mug is a team favorite. It combines the classic shape of a mug with Hydro Flask's TempShield insulation to keep beverages hot, or cold, for hours— a great gift for the coffee or tea lover who's always on the move. Unisex House SlippersEtsyUnisex Comfy Linen Slippers Slides, available at Etsy, $27.46Clean space enthusiasts who enjoy a no outdoor shoe policy at their homes will appreciate these unisex house slippers. The waffle cloth pattern, platform bottom, and cushioned sole makes for a cute and cozy fit. These snug slippers are available in yellow, pink, gray, or green colors. A cute reusable tote that can fit tons of stuffBAGGUStandard Baggu, available at Baggu, $12It's no wonder these bags are bestsellers — they can hold up to 50 pounds of stuff and come in a range of fun colors and patterns. Plus, at just $12, they're a great deal. A portable straw that makes water drinkableAmazonLifeStraw Personal Water Filter, available at Amazon, $12.99This portable, personal water filter was one of the bestselling products on Prime Day. It filters water from creeks and rivers, making it perfect for hiking, camping, and travel.A classy carrying case to stash chargersMark & GrahamLeather Charger Roll-Up, available at Mark & Graham, from $39After they fill the three pockets with cables and chargers, all they have do is roll everything up and they're good to go. The soft, supple leather comes in a variety of fun colors and patterns. A cult-favorite cast-iron skilletAmazonLodge 12-inch Cast-Iron Skillet and Handle Holder, available at Amazon, $29.99Every cook needs a cast-iron skillet in their kitchen. Lodge makes some of the best out there, but at prices that won't break the bank. A fitting vehicle for their post-run brewsUncommon GoodsEtched Marathon Pint Glass, available at Uncommon Goods, $20If they like to celebrate a long run with a big pint, they'll appreciate these pint glasses etched with famous marathon routes. A candle that reminds them of their favorite placeAmazonHomesick Scented Candle, available at Amazon, $34This is a great gift that's sure to make anyone sentimental. Whether it's their hometown, college town, or favorite spot to vacation, a Homesick candle, with scents inspired by all sorts of locations, will bring them back to that favorite place. A cold brew coffee maker to keep up with their iced coffee habitAmazonTakeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker, available at Amazon, $19.99If their morning ritual includes a cup of cold brew, they'll appreciate this convenient cold brew maker. All they have to do is fill it with their favorite coffee grinds, add water, let it sit, and they've got a glass of delicious cold brew on the way. A rocks glass etched with a city mapUncommon GoodsUrban Map Glass, available at Uncommon Goods, $18Whether you want to bring back fond memories of a place you visited together or just want a gift that highlights their favorite stomping grounds, you can cheers to these rocks glasses intricately etched with a city map and interspersed street names. Over 30 major US cities are available to choose from.To really up the ante, consider pairing the glass with a nice bottle of bourbon. A dainty pair of gold hoops that go with everythingMejuriMidi Hoops, available at Mejuri, $50Jewelry always makes a great gift, though it's typically pricey. These dainty hoops from Mejuri are the perfect pair for every day, and they're only $50.An apron loaded with plenty of clever featuresFood52Five Two Ultimate Apron, available at Food52, from $25Anyone who spends a good amount of time in the kitchen will appreciate this durable apron with its sturdy fabric, clever pockets made to hold the essentials, and pot-holders built right in. A lifetime of perks with an REI membershipREIREI Membership, available at REI, $20A one-time, $20 payment will get them lifetime access to REI's membership program. The outdoorsy types in your life will appreciate the special offers, 10% back on purchases, member-pricing on REI classes and events, and the host of other membership perks. Learn more about the REI membership program here. A simple and elegant photo calendarArtifact UprisingWalnut Desktop Photo Calendar, available at Artifact Uprising, from $35All of Artifact Uprising's customized photo gifts are simple, beautiful, and made from eco-friendly materials. This simple calendar is an easy choice for anyone on your list. Just pick 12 photos (one for each month) of the people and places they love most to add a special sentiment to their desk setup.A simple necklace that reminds them of their intentionsBandoGood Intentions Necklace, available at Amazon, $38A sweet necklace with an even sweeter mission. Choose from a selection of positive intentions like "optimism," "strength," or "gratitude," which they can carry with them throughout the day. For every necklace sold, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the non-profit Girls Inc.A cult-favorite candleOtherlandOtherland Candles, available at Otherland, $36We love Otherland's candles, whether seasonally inspired or from the classic collection. Notable scent combinations such as champagne, saffron, and leather, gorgeous packaging, and a 55 hour burn time have deemed Otherland's candles as a foolproof gift among the Insider Reviews team.An elevated hand sanitizer that fends off germsTouchlandPower Mist Hand Sanitizer, available at Touchland, $9A lightweight, spray formula and refreshing scents make Touchland's hand sanitizer one they'll actually want to use. It dries quickly and doesn't leave residue or stickiness behind.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 21st, 2022