Posts tagged with "Business Insider"

Now Moms can ‘Rent the Runway’ for their budding fashionistas

April 8, 2019

Is your child a budding fashionista or influencer? Does she have a unique sense or style? Or are the clothing trends that are popular at your child’s school just too rich for your wallet?

Now, there’s a solution that won’t break your bank account: On March 28, Rent the Runway—an online service that has been successfully offering designer dress and accessory rentals to women since 2009—announced that it has added kids’ items to its website, suitable for Vogue Bambini.

Rent the Runway CEO Jennifer Hyman, who is a mother herself, told Business Insider recently that this was a natural extension of the business. Many of the service’s 11 million members have children, and these women are deciding what their children wear, she said.

Kids are constantly growing out of their clothes, so there is an economic and environmental advantage in not having to buy lots of new clothes. But, it also means that mothers can dress their kids in fancy clothes without worrying about those items being ruined.

“Kids are messy,” Hyman said. “With this launch, you’ll never have to worry about a stain or a spill because Rent the Runway handles everything.”

The new offering will function as an extension of the monthly subscription services Unlimited and Reserve. Members will be able to include kids’ items in the four pieces of clothing or accessories they are able to rent via the unlimited service or add on items for an extra fee.

The brands on offer include Chloe Kids, Fendi Kids, and Stella McCartney Kids, with a mix of special occasion and everyday wear.

“Nothing is off the table for Rent the Runway,” Hyman said when asked about the likelihood of offering menswear or home decor items in the future.

Research contact: @businessinsider

House Democrats say they will subpoena the full, unredacted Mueller report

April 2, 2019

House Democrats say they intend to vote this week to subpoena Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s complete, 300-page report, as well as underlying evidence, and other materials—rejecting as insufficient Attorney General William Barr’s promise to provide a redacted version of the report “by mid-April,”  Mother Jones reported on April 1.

According to a story by posted in late March by Business Insider, Barr is taking the peculiar and unheard-of step of giving precedence to the sitting president to review and redact a document summarizing an investigation into his own administration’s culpability in Russian interference into the U.S. elections and obstruction of justice.

The president is expected to invoke executive privilege on parts of the report. Barr also has said that the report will be scrubbed to exclude grand jury testimony; information that could compromise intelligence “sources and methods”; material that could affect ongoing Justice Department investigations; and information that might “infringe on the personal privacy” or reputation of “peripheral third parties,” Mother Jones noted.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-New York.) announced on Monday that the panel will meet Wednesday morning to consider a resolution that would authorize the subpoenas. Democrats say they need to review the entire report as part of their own investigation into Trump’s Russian ties and alleged obstruction of justice.

Nadler and other Democrats set an April 2 deadline for Barr to turn over the whole report—without redactions—and to start handing over underlying evidence. It is extremely doubtful that they would meet that target date,

According to Mother Jones, Nadler, who has not said when he may issue subpoenas the committee okays on Wednesday, also said he will also seek authorization to subpoena documents from a number of ex-White House aides: former senior adviser Steven Bannon; former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks; former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus; former White House Counsel Don McGahn; and Ann Donaldson, McGahn’s former deputy. Nadler said those people “may have received documents from the White House relevant to the Special Counsel investigation, or their outside counsel may have, waiving applicable privileges under the law.” 

Research contact: dfriedman@motherjones.com

Fitbit offers a low-cost version of its Versa smartwatch

March 7, 2019

San Francisco-based Fitbitwhich has sold nearly 14 million of its wearable activity trackers worldwide since 2007—has introduced the Versa Lite, a less expensive version of its flagship smartwatch, Business Insider reports.

The new smartwatch—which offers not only activity and sleep-stage tracking, but heart rate and blood oxygen sensors, a connected GPS, and assorted notifications and apps—launches in mid-March and is available for preorder at a suggested retail price of $159.95 starting now.

That’s about $40 less than the $200 Fitbit Versa smartwatch; and about $240 less than the Apple Watch Series 4, which starts at $399.

The new watch is swim-proof and should last for more than four days on a single charge.

What doesn’t it have that the more expensive version includes? It probably doesn’t track a woman’s monthly period, like the original Versa; provide on-screen workouts; offer guided breathing sessions; offer a credit or debit payment option;  or store and play more than 300 songs.

But if you can get along without that stuff, if offers a comparable exercise experience at a cost that won’t make your heart rate double.

Research contact: leadicicco@businessinsider.com

Home Depot ‘guts’ exterior installation workforce nationwide

February 8, 2019

Home Depot is laying off installation workers at its stores nationwide, the company confirmed to Business Insider on January 6.

The retailer says that its cutbacks will affect fewer than 1,000 people. However, if you are looking to buy and install new gutters, you may find yourself putting the work off rather than putting the new system in.

“After reviewing the installation business, we’ve decided it’s right to wind down our roofing, siding, insulation and gutters installation programs,” a Home Depot spokesperson told the business news outlet. “We’re only exiting these four installation programs, so we’ll continue to offer dozens of other installation services.

Home Depot’s website describes its installation services team as a group of professional installers who work in partnership with the company. The blurb also says the team has “a critical role within home services” and requires talent with “top-notch skills” and “a drive for quality and customer service.”

Listed responsibilities for the installation services team include negotiating contracts, contributing to the company’s growth, and working with management.

“Going forward, we’ll focus our efforts on categories that enable us to deliver the best customer experience, while simplifying processes and business structure for our stores and sales team. This does impact some of our associates in our installation business, and our first priority is to take care of them, as well as customers. It’s an extremely small percentage of our overall workforce, and we’re working to identify potential positions for them in our stores and other parts of the company.”

As the news broke, Home Depot employees took to TheLayoff.com to voice their dismay.

“The layoffs are happening at the wrong end of the spectrum,” one anonymous poster wrote on the message board. “Should have been a top down changeover.”

Another commented, “So sad to hear from my current/previous HDE brothers and sisters. I am from Los Angeles and they have hollowed out the work force here from salesmen to management to installers. I now truly believe that they see us as a body count and could care less about how many lives they have [affected]. The worst part is they tried to spin it like it was going to be better for us lol. How dumb do they think we are?”

Research contact: acain@businessinsider.com

Bark once for food and twice for toys: Amazon’s Super Bowl ad features ‘failed’ Alexa apps

February 4, 2019

Does your dog like Alexa better than you? The Amazon home virtual assistant now is making life easier in millions of homes nationwide and, according to Top Dog Tips, it does almost as much for canines as it does for its human customers.

Alexa will play calming music when you command, “Relax my dog;” it will connect you with a licensed veterinarian when you upload the app, MyPetDoc; and it can tape your dog when you are not at home through a Furbo HD Treat Tossing Camera. It offers pet trivia, dog training lessons, and much, much more.

And, if Alexa has her limits, that’s not what actor Harrison Ford finds out in a wacky Amazon Super Bowl commercial that will air on Sunday, February 3.

According to a preview by the website Bustle, the Alexa ”smart collar app” for dog-walking is just one of the many funny, but feeble, products featured in the commercial—which begins with an Amazon employee remarking, “We’re putting Alexa in a lot of things now. But trust me, there are a lot of fails.”

In the commercial, Ford looks super-frustrated when his pup keeps barking its food orders at Alexa. He becomes even more cantankerous when a delivery truck filled with doggie treats shows up at the curb.

Another faux failed product featured in the ad is an Alexa toothbrush, used by Forest Whitaker.  But even more outrageous is the Alexa hot tub—a jacuzzi that shoots water from its jets, in time with the tempo of a song. Poor Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson get ejected from the tub when the water hits them with fire-hydrant strength during a jazzed-up tune.

It’s all for fun, ratings, and product promotion at the annual football fracas—when the ads attract as much attention as the action on the field.

According to Business Insider, the ad slots won’t come cheap this year: CBS is charging north of $5 million for a 30-second spot. Among the brands that have bought in are newbies such as beauty brand Olay, dating app Bumble, and Kraft’s frozen-food brand Devour; along with regulars including Anheuser-Busch InBev, Doritos, Pepsi,  Avocados From Mexico, and Kia.

Research contact: @Bustle

Top of the line: The price and profile of the new Allbirds sneaker are slightly higher

November 15, 2018

Consumers nationwide have been swept off their feet by Allbirds, the well-crafted, snuggly sneakers made from sustainable materials. And now the San Francisco-based direct-to-consumer startup—reportedly valued at more than $1 billion —has expanded its footwear line beyond its sneaker, loafer, and skipper silhouettes to offer a snappy new style.

Called the Tree Topper and priced at $115, it’s described by the company as “a refreshingly simple evolution of the classic hightop, perfect for cruising beneath the skyline.”

According to a report by Business Insider, the new sneaker is the first to incorporate all of the company’s sustainable materials—including its new “Sweetfoam” outer soles made out of EVA foam derived from sugar; its proprietary Merino wool blend padded insoles; and a stretchy, mesh knit upper fabric made from eucalyptus tree pulp. Even the laces are made of post-consumer recycled polyester derived from old plastic bottles.

The new sole foam was introduced in Allbirds’ limited-run flip-flop in August, and the company estimated that it would roll out to the rest of Allbirds’ line by the end of the year.

“The Tree Topper is a true representation of our approach to design and sustainability,” Jamie McLellan, Allbirds’ head of design, said in a prepared statement. “With just the right amount of nothing and comfort as a non-negotiable, the Tree Topper is a playful canvas for showcasing our three hero materials.”

Research contact: dgreen@businessinsider.com

Amazon’s minimum wage hike will deprive workers of bonuses and stock awards

October 8, 2018

Amazon announced on October 2 that it would increase the minimum wage of its full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal workers nationwide to $15 an hour starting November 1.

The new Amazon$15 minimum wage will benefit more than 250,000 Amazon employees, as well as over 100,000 seasonal employees who will be hired at Amazon warehouse sites across the country to ship holiday purchases.

However, It appears the changes came with a caveat: Bloomberg  reported on October 3 that, even as its workers enjoy higher salaries, Amazon will remove their bonuses and stock awards.

In other words, the Internet giant will balance the scales—and fund its new largess—by eliminating other monetary perks. Bloomberg, which spoke with two unnamed sources at Amazon, noted that, in past years, the company’s workers have seen bonuses that amounted to hundreds of dollars.

Still, the company says it’s not all a wash. In a statement, Amazon told Bloomberg that the workers still will see their overall compensation increase, despite losing bonuses.

“In addition, because it’s no longer incentive-based, the compensation will be more immediate and predictable,” Amazon said, according to the business news outlet.

But Amazon easily could have afforded to both pay its workers and provide incentives.

Over the past few years, workers have intense pressure to produce, especially at the online retailer’s warehouses. “It is modern slavery,” a worker told Business Insider last May. “Jeff Bezos has become the richest man in the world off the backs of people so desperate for work that we tolerate the abuse.”

Research contact: nsmith150@bloomberg.netnimu

As good as their word(s)? How presidents have changed the American lexicon

September 6, 2018

When the U.S. president talks, most Americans listen. So it’s no surprise that our chiefs of state have had a huge impact on the English language Business Insider reported on September 5.

You’d be surprised at the words in common usage today that first were spoken by a U.S. president. Perhaps the most prolific were Theodore Roosevelt and Warren G. Harding, who came up with five and three, respectively.

The following words, which first were heard wafting from the White House, according to the business news outlet and History.com, are now part of the American lexicon:

  • Administration – George Washington: Our first president set the standard for all US presidents to come—and was instrumental in establishing the language we use to describe our government. Although the word, “administration,” has been in use since the 14th century, it was Washington who first chose it to refer to a leader’s time in office. According to History.com, Washington’s original use of the word came in his 1796 farewell address when he said, “In reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error.”
  • Belittle – Thomas Jefferson:  America’s third president introduced the word “belittle,” meaning to make someone or something seem unimportant. The earliest use of the word seems to be a 1781 note of Jefferson’s in which he said of the American people, “The Count de Buffon believes that nature belittles her productions on this side of the Atlantic.”
  • Squatter – James Madison: In a 1788 letter to Washington, James Madison delineated several factions who might be opposed to the newly drafted U.S. Constitution, including a group of representatives from Maine who occupied land owned by others and to which they had no legal title. “Many of them and their constituents are only squatters upon other people’s land, and they are afraid of being brought to account,” wrote Madison.
  • OK – Martin Van Buren: The word, “OK,” has a rich history, and eighth president Martin Van Buren played a major role in ensuring its lasting popularity. There are a few explanations of how “OK” came about, but the most popular one pegs it to an 1839 edition of the Boston Morning Post. Van Buren then popularized the word during his 1840 election campaign, as a rallying cry. At that time, OK stood for “oll korrect,” as in, “all correct.” Apparently, it was a popular fad among educated elites to deliberately misspell their slang words. Other abbreviations of the era included NC for “nuff ced” and KG for “know go.”
  • First Lady – Zachary Taylor: During the first few administrations, the president’s wife was commonly referred to as the “presidentress”—quite a mouthful. Not until Zachary Taylor eulogized Dolley Madison in 1849 did that begin to change. “She will never be forgotten because she was truly our First Lady for a half-century,” the 12th president wrote of the widow of the fourth president.
  • Sugarcoat – Abraham Lincoln: Not only did Abraham Lincoln pioneer the use of “sugarcoat” in the sense of making something bad seem more attractive or pleasant, but he stirred up a minor controversy with the word, too. In 1861, four months after he was inaugurated, Lincoln wrote a letter to Congress as Southern states were threatening to secede from the Union. “With rebellion thus sugar-coated they have been drugging the public mind of their section for more than 30 years, until at length they have brought many good men to a willingness to take up arms against the government,” Lincoln wrote.
  • Lunatic fringe—Theodore Roosevelt : America’s 26th president—whose contributions to the popular lexicon included “bully pulpit,” “muckraker,” “loose cannon” and “pack rat”—was the most masterful president at coining new phrases. “Even beyond his presidency, Roosevelt added to his linguistic legacy when in his review of the avant-garde Armory Show in 1913 the unimpressed former president wrote, “The lunatic fringe was fully in evidence, especially in the rooms devoted to the Cubists and the Futurists, or Near-Impressionists.” The term soon crossed over from the art world to the political arena to characterize those with beliefs well outside the mainstream.
  • Bloviate – Warren G. Harding: Warren Harding also had a way with words. He popularized the terms, “Founding Fathers” and “Normalcy.” But, if you thought that the term, “Bloviator,” came from the TV shows, “Saturday Night Live” and “The Simpsons,” you would be wrong. To bloviate is to speak pompously and long-windedly—something Harding readily acknowledged that he did frequently. The president once described bloviation as “the art of speaking for as long as the occasion warrants, and saying nothing.” His usage was sourced from the more common word, “blowhard.”
  • Iffy – Franklin D. Roosevelt: FDR began using the word “iffy” early in his presidency, and by virtually all accounts, he was the first known person to have used it. That’s according to Paul Dickson, the author of the book, Words from the White House, which tracked the influence that U.S. presidents have wielded on the English language. When dismissing hypothetical questions from the press, FDR would say, “That’s an iffy question.”
  • Fake news – Donald Trump: While fake news traditionally refers to disinformation or falsehoods presented as real news, Trump’s repeated use of the term has given way to a new definition: “actual news that is claimed to be untrue.” Trump’s reimagining of fake news became so widespread in his first year as president that the American Dialect Society declared it the Word of the Year in 2017.

Research contact: @HISTORY

What’s your poison? It could be coconut oil.

August 23, 2018

We are what we eat—which is why the conflicting news we receive on a regular basis about nutrition is making it increasingly difficult to decide which foodstuffs are beneficial and which are just plain bad.

 Now, coconuts—and specifically, coconut oil—which once were recommended as a “superfood’ and a remedy for everything from gum disease to Alzheimer’s, are being reviled. Both the American Heart Association and a professor at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health are saying that the oil is high-fat and high-risk.

Indeed, Karin Michels, the director of the Institute for Prevention and Tumor Epidemiology at the University of Freiburg in Germany and a professor at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has caused a bit of a stir online. In a lecture posted on YouTube that has gotten nearly one million hits, Michels calls coconut oil “pure poison” and identifies it as “one of the worst foods you can eat,” Business Insider reported on August 20.

Her 50-minute German-language lecture, entitled Coconut Oil and other Nutritional Errors, has become a viral hit .

There’s no study showing significant health benefits to coconut-oil consumption. And, according to Michels, coconut oil is more dangerous than lard because it almost exclusively contains saturated fatty acids—ones that can clog the coronary arteries, Business Insider reported.

Based on the fact that they contain a lot of unsaturated fatty acids, experts recommend olive or rapeseed oil as an alternative, and while it can’t be used for cooking, flaxseed oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and is just as good for the body.

While Michels doesn’t describe other superfoods like acai, chia seeds, or matcha as harmful, at most she considers them ineffective because, in most cases, the nutrients they’re touted for are available just as readily in other foods that are more easily accessible such as carrots, cherries, and apricots.

“We are well and sufficiently supplied,” she said.

According to Statista, Americans consumers 443 tons of coconut oil during 2017. The global production volume of coconut oil was 376 million tons.

Research contact: k.michels@ucla.edu

Giuliani: ‘Collusion is not a crime’

July 31, 2018

Rudy Giuliani, attorney and spokesperson for President Donald Trump, said in a pair of July 30 interviews that he was at a loss for how colluding with the Russians would be categorized as a crime, Business Insider reported.

The comment—all but an admission that the POTUS had, indeed, colluded with a hostile foreign power—came shortly after Trump’s former personal lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen claimed to CNN on July 26 that he was with his then-boss and several other Trump Organization executives in 2016 when Donald Trump, Jr., told his father he could “get dirt” on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton from the Russians.

Instead of denying that there was any collusion, as Trump has been doing since he took office, Giuliani shifted the conversation by noting that the president did not “pay them for hacking,” which he said was the real offense.

Speaking with the hosts of the Fox and Friends morning show, Giuliani said he has “been sitting here looking in the federal code trying to find collusion as a crime.

“Collusion is not a crime,” he said, adding that the president is “absolutely innocent.”

Then in a discussion with CNN’s New Day, Giuliani said if you “start analyzing the crime, the hacking is the crime.”

“The president didn’t hack,” Giuliani said. “He didn’t pay them for hacking. If you got the hacked information from the Russians here at CNN and you played it, would you be in jeopardy of going to jail? Of course not.”

Giuliani’s comments came a day after Trump took to Twitter to again attack Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is tasked with investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Trump tweeted that there was “No Collusion!” and added that Mueller’s “rigged witch hunt” was “an illegal Scam!”

During his Monday interviews, Giuliani questioned Cohen’s credibility and said the president “did not participate” in the meeting with the Russians, Business Insider said..

Giuliani told CNN he was “happy to tell” Mueller that Trump “wasn’t at the meeting.” Giuliani added that other individuals who could corroborate Cohen’s account would not do so—charging that Cohen is making these claims now because he feels the criminal investigation closing in on him.

Based on the findings of a July 24 Quinnipiac University poll, American voters believe 51% versus 35% “that the Russian government has compromising information about President Trump.” A total of 68% of American voters are “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about President Trump’s relationship with Russia, while 32% are “not so concerned” or “not concerned at all.”

Research contact: brown@quinnipiac.edu