Sunday, September 30, 2018

0 Clock ticks down on potential Sunday NAFTA deadline

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Talks NAFTA 20180129

Negotiations for a new North American Free Trade Agreement are again at a critical point as the clock ticks down on Sunday night's U.S. deadline to file the text of a bilateral deal with Mexico.

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0 'Not a get-out-of-jail-free pass': Indigenous healing lodges defended in wake of McClintic transfer

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Claire Carefoot

In the wake of outrage over the relocation of convicted murderer Terri-Lynne McClintic to a healing lodge, the head of a women's healing lodge in Edmonton is defending both the safety and effectiveness of Canada's nine Indigenous healing lodges.

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0 I'm a financial planner, and I repeatedly watch smart people make the same investing mistake

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wealthy anonymous

  • Successful investing isn't about timing the market, it's about time in the market.
  • Financial advisor Eric Roberge says he hears frequently from clients who fear that the market is going to crash soon, so they would prefer to wait to invest their cash. 
  • This investing strategy might seem reasonable based on the current status of the market, however, while it has to crash eventually, it could be years before it actually happens. 
  • Even if you think investing right before a market crash is a bad idea, if you're goal is long-term growth, it's better to be in the market a long time than it is to time it. 

Plenty of smart, successful people with cash to invest are currently refusing to invest it.

As a financial advisor, I see this all the time. I have clients come to me and say, "You know, I have this cash sitting in my savings account and I know how important it is to invest so I can take advantage of compound returns...but the market is going to crash soon, so I'm going to wait."

This approach is called 'timing the market,' and it's one of the fundamental mistakes even experienced investors make that causes them to miss opportunities  — or worse, lose money.

The trouble with market timing

On the surface, this train of thought seems pretty reasonable based on some basic facts about the current market:

  • It's been one of the longest bull markets in history
  • It just keeps going up.
  • It can't go up forever.

A rational decision-making process would take true facts about the market into consideration. The problem, however, is when you throw in one final statement to that list: "It's going to crash soon."

This is not a fact.

The belief or assertion that the market will crash in the very near future is just that: a belief. To be more accurate, it's speculation.

Absolutely no one can predict what the stock market will do next. It's worth repeating: anyone who thinks they can do it is speculating, guessing, or forecasting.

Yes, the market must crash eventually… but no one knows exactly when 'eventually' is

Again, it's pretty reasonable to think "what goes up must come down" when it comes to the stock market. You're right: It will crash — eventually.

It could happen tomorrow, or it could happen in two years. Maybe it won't happen for another five. The point is that we don't know exactly when, and he fear that "eventually" means "tomorrow" keeps many from taking action. The aversion to loss prevents them from simply taking the cash they have sitting on the sidelines and investing it.

But what if it does take two more years before we see a market correction? If that's the case, these people will just be sitting on cash, and potentially incurring massive opportunity costs because of two missed years of potential market growth. When they do buy in, they'll be buying at an even bigger peak than they thought they were avoiding.

This isn't just a hypothetical scenario. Just take a look at this Marketwatch article from March 2015. It includes lines like this: "the Crash of 2016, one that promises in the end to become bigger and badder and far more dangerous than 2008, 1999 and 1929 combined.."

This writer was so confident in a market crash that he began the article by saying, "It's time to start the countdown to the crash of 2016. No, this is not a prediction of a minor correction. Plan on a 50% crash."

I don't know if you can remember back to 2016, but the S&P 500 returned 11.9% that year. Not exactly what I'd call a crash… and much less a loss of 50% of the stock market's value.

And yet today, we still see articles showing how 58% of investors think the bull market is on its last legs and 2018 is the peak.

Those investors could be right —  or they might end up being as wrong as the doom-and-gloom forecasters of 2016.

What if you always invested at the worst possible time?

This is all well and good, you might say, but what if this is actually the time the speculators guessed correctly?

That's a valid fear. After all, chance says they have to be right eventually — the market will go down at some point.

But even if that happened, even if you invest your cash today and the market tanks tomorrow, you are likely better off making that investment than continuing to sit on the sidelines, and missing out on time in the market — if your goal is long term growth.

Because that's what investing success is really all about: time in the market. Not market timing.

Don't believe me? Look at the case study by Ben Carlson of A Wealth of Common Sense to see what actually happens in this very scenario:

Meet Bob, the "World's Worst Market Timer." Bob does exactly what you think he would from that kind of title: he consistently invests at the absolute peak of the market, just before it suffers some of the worst crashes in its history.

Bob is pretty much your worst nightmare if you're sitting on cash thinking "I'll wait to invest because I don't want the market to crash right after I contribute to my portfolio."

From 1972 to 2007 he only invested in the market in the months before major market crashes:

  • in 1972, right before the market fell almost 50% in 1973
  • in 1987, when it crashed again and lost 37%
  • right at the end of 1999 just in time to see the market lose almost half its value again
  • in 2007, when the Great Recession delivered a 52% loss

Surely, Bob is broke, destitute, and living in a cardboard box on the side of the road thanks to his awful decisions about when to invest — right?

You might think so, but you'd be wrong. Remember: It's not about market timing. It's about time in the market

In this scenario, Bob invested $184,000 in cash from 1972 to 2007. And what did he end up with in 2013? $1.1 million.

Eric Roberge Official Headshot Sept 2017

While Bob invested at the worst possible times, he never sold any of his positions. He never pulled his money out of the market.

Could he have had even more money if he chose different days to invest? Sure. But the original scenario set out to answer the question, "what happens if you invest cash right before every major market crash throughout your working career?"

In this example, the answer is you'd still be a millionaire.

(Another look at Bob's situation, by the way, showed what would have happened had he used dollar cost averaging instead of trying to time the market. Had Bob done this with his $184,000, he would have turned it into $4.4 million.)

So rather than worrying about market timing, focus on setting up a systematic way to invest money so you make strategic, rational decisions, and not falling victim to cognitive and emotional biases that cause you to make silly investment choices.

Worrying about investing right before a market peak is a valid concern — and it's also distracting you from what really matters. It's far more important to find systems and processes to help you manage your own behavior so you can invest with greater success.

Eric Roberge is a certified financial planner and the founder ofBeyond Your Hammock.

SEE ALSO: I'm a financial planner, and this is the best advice I can give to people who are new to investing

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NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory

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0 One throw illustrates how Chiefs' 23-year-old quarterback Patrick Mahomes is already lighting up the NFL

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Patrick Mahomes

  • Patrick Mahomes is the breakout star of the 2018 NFL season thus far.
  • The Chiefs quarterback, who had only made one start coming into the year, set an NFL record after throwing 13 touchdowns through the first three weeks.
  • One throw Mahomes made on Sunday encapsulated why so many are high on his future potential.

Three weeks into the 2018 NFL season, the Kansas City Chiefs offense looks absolutely unstoppable.

Leading the way for the Chiefs is Patrick Mahomes, who had just one NFL start under his belt before taking over for Kansas City with the departure of Alex Smith.

The move has worked out brilliantly for the Chiefs so far, with Mahomes throwing 13 touchdowns through the first three weeks of the season — more than any other quarterback in NFL history.

There's plenty to love about the skill that Mahomes — the 10th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft — has shown through the early going of the season. His arm is incredible, as shown on his deep balls to Tyreek Hill, and his accuracy has been phenomenal across the board, having not given up an interception yet this year.

But what might stand out more than anything is Mahomes' vision and escapability, both of which seem far more developed than you would expect from a player with just four NFL starts.

During the Chiefs win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Mahomes made one play that encapsulated why his name is already being discussed in early MVP conversations.

On third-and-goal, the Chiefs offensive line got blown back off the snap, forcing Mahomes to retreat 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage to keep the play alive.

Under normal circumstances, a young quarterback running risking a 20-yard loss in the red zone to save a broken play would be a risk you wouldn't want to see them take, but Mahomes pulled it off.

After one final turn, Mahomes kept his eyes downfield and eventually found receiver Chris Conley in the corner of the end zone to extend Kansas City's lead to 21-7.

The Chiefs would go on to win the game 38-27, and the team's offense, lead by Mahomes, is now averaging almost 40 points per game.

Next week, Mahomes will head to Denver to face a Broncos defense that should present his toughest challenge yet in his young career, but based on what he's shown the first few weeks of the season, he shouldn't have a problem.

SEE ALSO: Top 12 waiver-wire pickups for Week 4 in your fantasy football league

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NOW WATCH: What it takes to be an NFL referee

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0 Nearly 3 months later, the biggest topic around the NBA is LeBron James' move to the Lakers and how it's changed the league

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lebron james lakers

  • Teams around the NBA are still talking about LeBron James' move to the Los Angeles Lakers.
  • Teams in the Eastern Conference have acknowledged that their paths forward are easier with James out of the way, while teams in the West have accepted that the conference just got tougher.
  • James' Lakers will also have a tougher time getting into the playoffs because of the crowded Western Conference, but most expect them to do it.

With the NBA season around the corner and teams reporting for media days and training camps this week, it appears one topic is still buzzing around the league — LeBron James' move to the Los Angeles Lakers.

It's been nearly three months since James changed conferences, but around the league, there's still great interest into how that move will play out. In part, that's because of the odd team that's been assembled around James — a mix of young players and journeymen supporting cast.

However, it is also rare to see a superstar of James' magnitude change conferences. James ruled the Eastern Conference for eight years, making the Finals from 2011 to 2018. He was the most consistent force in the league. Now, his departure (or arrival, depending on your vantage point) is set to cause a shake-up in the league.

For instance, Eastern Conference teams are already thinking about the new opportunity that awaits them. Indiana Pacers head coach Nate McMillan described the need for a new face in the East.

Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks seems refreshed.

In a Players' Tribune conversation between Denver Nuggets point guard Isaiah Thomas and Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz, the two players even discussed how the East was now wide open.

"With LeBron coming west, that opens up opportunity for other teams," Thomas said.

"Yeah, for sure, it opens up a lot," Fultz agreed.

Even some teams in the Western Conference acknowledged their new member.

Of course, James' Lakers team will have their hands full competing in what many consider to be the superior conference. Last season, the Nuggets missed the playoffs at 46-36. This year, the competition only figures to be tougher.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard told The Athletic's Sam Amick that the move might be tougher for James, too, not just other teams.

"So I'm sure [the Lakers will] figure it out," Lillard said. "It's just a matter of how fast can they figure it out because in the West it’' not like the Eastern Conference. If you fall behind in the West, that can be bad. It's a little tougher, so I think that's the question."

Even if the Lakers aren't gaining attention for the right reasons, Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala said it'll make his life easier.

Most in the NBA expect the Lakers to make the playoffs, even if they might not have a clear road to the Finals as James' Cavs teams did.

However, former Cavs forward Richard Jefferson told The New York Times' Marc Stein that people might be underestimating just how good James can make the Lakers.

"When he went back to Cleveland, I promise you he didn't go there thinking, 'OK, it's time to go to four straight NBA finals,'" Jefferson told Stein. "But would anyone really be surprised if the Lakers made the conference finals? He's that good. Any time LeBron steps on the court, he's the best player on the court. There's a bigger gap than I think many people would really believe."

It's a testament to James' power that virtually the entire league can shift based on which team he plays for.

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NOW WATCH: What it takes to be an NFL referee

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0 Elon Musk tells Tesla employees the company is 'very close to achieving profitability' after agreeing to pay SEC $20 million (TSLA)

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Elon Musk

  • Elon Musk told staff that Tesla is "very close to achieving profitability" in a company-wide email on Sunday.
  • In August Musk told investors that the company would be profitable in the third quarter. Tesla has had only two profitable quarters in its history.
  • Musk just agreed to pay the SEC $20 million after it filed a suit against him for making "false and misleading" statements that impacted Tesla's stock price.

In an email, Elon Musk told Tesla employees on Sunday they have "one more day of going super hardcore" to close the quarter and the company is "very close to achieving profitability and proving the naysayers wrong."

Musk assured investors that Tesla would turn a profit in the third quarter in a conference call in August. The company has never turned an annual profit, and has had only two profitable quarters in its history.

Here's the full email:

From: Elon Musk
Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2018 1:08:45 AM
To: Everybody
Subject: One more day of going super hardcore and victory is ours!!
We are very close to achieving profitability and proving the naysayers wrong, but, to be certain, we must execute really well tomorrow (Sunday). 

If we go all out tomorrow, we will achieve an epic victory beyond all expectations.

Go Tesla!!!

Thanks for all your hard work,
This comes just after Musk came to a $20 million settlement with the SEC, which filed a lawsuit against him on Thursday that alleged he tweeted false and misleading statements about Tesla. 
The SEC accused Musk of knowingly spreading false information about Tesla to manipulate its stock price. In August Musk tweeted that he was taking Tesla private for $420 a share with "funding secured." He did not have funding secured, and Tesla announced there would be no deal a few weeks later.
As part of the settlement, Musk will have to step downs as Chairman of Tesla's board for at least three years, and there will be more oversight of his communication with investors, including how he uses Twitter. 
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the email. 
(If you are a Tesla employee or customer who has a story to share about a car or experience with the company, give me a shout at

SEE ALSO: Here's what legal experts are saying about the SEC's settlement with Elon Musk

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NOW WATCH: There are a set of wheels the let you drive side to side

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0 16 heirs to some of America's best-known brands who are poised to inherit millions

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Michael Bloomberg Georgina

  • There aren't any royals with fortunes to envy in America, but there are many heirs and heiresses set to inherit millions from American brands.
  • These fortunes have been built across a variety of industries, from media to fashion; some are relatively new, while others could be considered "old money."
  • From Travis Knight of Nike to Ann Walton Kroenke of Walmart, take a look at some of America's most notable heirs and heiresses.

America may not have royalty, but it does have plenty of heirs and heiresses set to inherit the thrones — or at least the riches — of the country's biggest brands. 

Some of the wealthiest families in America have built their fortunes by creating megabrands in various industries, from media to fashion. As their wealth grows, it continues to be passed on to future generations, although some fortunes are newer than others. Alexa Dell is set to inherit part of her father, CEO of Dell Technologies Michael Dell's, fortune, a result of a company that's only been around for roughly 30 years.

Other heirs and heiresses are in line for wealth that dates way back up the family tree, like Lydia Hearst, who shares an inheritance with more than 60 family members from media mogul William Randolph Hearst.

Below, meet 16 heirs and heiresses to some of America's most notable brands — some names you may recognize, and others not so much.

SEE ALSO: The rich keep getting richer — here are the billionaires who made the most billions in a single year

DON'T MISS: Here's how much money 19 rich and famous power couples are worth

Lydia Hearst

Heir to: Hearst

Granddaughter of media mogul William Randolph Hearst, Lydia Hearst, 33, shares the Hearst fortune among 67 family members. The heiress is an actress, model, writer, and socialite and has an estimated net worth of $100 million.

Georgina Bloomberg

Heir to: Bloomberg

Georgina Bloomberg is an heiress to the $52 billion Bloomberg fortune. Her father, Michael Bloomberg, is the former New York City mayor and media mogul. The 35-year-old is an elite equestrian, novelist, and animal rights activist and has pursued numerous careers.

Travis Knight

Heir to: Nike

An accomplished filmmaker and animator, Travis Knight, 45, is the son of Nike founder Phil Knight. According to Portland Business Journal, he was put in charge of a trust that controls 38 million shares of Nike stock. There's no word on how much he stands to inherit, but Nike is the most valuable fashion brand in America, valued at $28 billion.

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0 Apple's biggest phone is less likely to break when dropped than the smaller iPhone XS (AAPL, GLW, ALL)

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SquareTrade Drop Test

  • Apple's phones are beautiful but have fragile designs full of glass.
  • SquareTrade, a device insurer, has performed so-called "drop tests" on the two new iPhone XS devices.
  • The glass on both devices broke when dropped from six feet. 
  • But the test found that the iPhone XS Max, with a bigger screen, was only a "medium risk" to break, as compared to the smaller iPhone XS, which was scored as a "high risk" to break. 

Did you spend over $1000 on a new iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max this weekend?

You might want to be careful, because despite Apple saying they use the "most durable glass ever in a smartphone," the new iPhones tend to break when dropped, according to new drop tests by SquareTrade, a device insurer. 

The new iPhones, like last year's models, have a glass design — there's glass on the front, and a glass shell on the back to enable wireless charging. The glass is made by Corning, which Apple has invested in. 

Turns out, in the four tests SquareTrade performed, including a test where the new phones took a spin in a tumbler, Apple's phones broke nearly every time they were subjected to stress. 

Both the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max broke when dropped on their backs from 6 feet, and both phones failed when they were bent by a machine.

But when dropped face down, the iPhone XS Max proved to be more durable than its smaller sibling. While the screen shattered, the iPhone XS Max touchscreen was still usable. The smaller phone's screen did not work. 

Watch the video below:

That's why SquareTrade gave the iPhone XS Max a better durability score of 70, or "medium risk," compared to the iPhone XS's score of 86, which the insurer considers "high risk."

Both improve on the now-discontinued iPhone X, which scored a 90 in last year's SquareTrade test and was called the "most breakable iPhone ever." 

SquareTrade, owned by Allstate, uses these tests as a way to sell insurance plans for the new iPhone. If you don't have insurance or AppleCare, repairing the iPhone XS screen is $279, and any other damage — like a cracked back — costs $549.

A new screen for the iPhone XS Max is $329 and nearly $600 for other repairs.

Apple iPhone repair prices

But if you are more likely to drop your phone in your beer or other bodies of water than on concrete, you can rest easy. SquareTrade and repair advocate iFixit have both submerged the new phones in beer for hours — and they've survived. 


SEE ALSO: 27 great apps you should download first for your new iPhone XS

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NOW WATCH: Apple took another subtle jab at Facebook during its iPhone XS event

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0 The 25 best-paying small companies, according to their employees

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colleagues coworkers

Job-hunting site Comparably, which allows employees to anonymously review and rate their employers, has sifted through its 5 million+ employee reviews to create its annual list of the best paying small companies.

Comparably currently tracks about 10,000 companies, it says.

In order to qualify for this list, Comparably limited the list to companies that had fewer than 500 employees and had at least 15 ratings from employees between September 12, 2017 and September 12, 2018. Please note that the pay data listed below came from information that employees reported to Comparably themselves. And it centered mostly on salaried roles in engineering, product, marketing, design, sales and finance, as opposed to hourly-wage type roles.

In order to rank these companies, Comparably considered both pay and at how satisfied employees said they were with their pay.

The result is this list of the best paying small companies, according to employees.

SEE ALSO: The CEO of $4 billion McAfee explains how to know when to cut your losses on a project and change course

No 25: AgileCraft, $105,884

Headquarters: Austin, TX

Median salary: $105,884

AgileCraft offers project management software.

An AgileCraft employee says, “The best part of our compensation is the total package of salary, bonus, stock and benefits.”

No 24: Wibbitz, $105,755

Headquarters: New York, New York

Median salary: $105,755

Wibbitz is a video creation and editing platform.

A Wibbitz employee says, “Besides my above market salary, Wibbitz provides great benefits including healthcare, commuter, 401K and stock options.”

No 23: Billtrust, $108,706

Headquarters: Fountain Valley, California 

Median salary: $108,706

Billtrust offers cloud-based accounting and financial services software.

A Billtrust employee says, “I think it's really the total package. Stock options, great healthcare, a quality 401K match, and good pay. There isn't one thing that makes me say, ‘Yea, it is a good compensation package, buuuttttt....' Billtrust takes care of its employees.”

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0 There are two important purchases you should make if you buy Apple's new iPhone XS or XS Max (AAPL)

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iphone xs max

  • Apple's latest iPhones, the iPhone XS and XS Max, are on sale now.
  • But if you choose to buy either of these new phones, there are two extra purchases you should also make: AppleCare+, and a phone case.
  • If you don't purchase AppleCare+, and you break the front or back of your phone, you'll be stuck with exorbitant repair costs, which can cost more than a case and Apple's insurance combined.

Apple's all-glass iPhone designs are beautiful, but they can be very expensive to repair if you don't have AppleCare+.

Any new iPhone you buy, whether it's the new iPhone XS Max or the 2-year-old iPhone 7, comes with AppleCare, which includes complimentary phone support from Apple for the first 90 days, and a one-year limited warranty — but specifically against defects.

Notably, normal AppleCare doesn't cover accidental damage. This is only covered by Apple's premium insurance plan, AppleCare+, which anyone should purchase if they're buying the new iPhone XS or XS Max.

Breaking down the benefits of AppleCare+

AppleCare+ costs $300 to cover a new iPhone XS or XS Max, or $15 per month for 24 months. It's not cheap!

But, if you're already spending at least $1,000 on an iPhone XS, it's absolutely worth the purchase.

AppleCare+ basically extends AppleCare's warranty from one to two years, including the complimentary phone support from Apple. But it also adds coverage for accidental damage, either from drops or water. AppleCare+ will cover up to two "incidents," but if you have two incidents where part of your phone breaks, AppleCare+ pretty much pays for itself. AppleCare+ for the new iPhone XS models also covers theft and loss, something AppleCare+ didn't previously cover.

Check out this chart from Apple:

applecare plus iphone repair

To break it down:

If you have AppleCare+, and you break your screen, you'll only be paying $29 to repair it.

If you don't have AppleCare+, and you break your screen, you'll be paying $279 if you have an iPhone XS, and $329 if you have the iPhone XS Max.

But that's just repairs for the screen! Check out this second chart from Apple, which shows the costs of "other repairs," including if you break the glass back of the phone:

applecare iphone repairs other

To break it down:

If you have AppleCare+, and you break the back of your phone, you'll only be paying $99 to repair it.

If you don't have AppleCare+, and you break the back of your phone, you'll be paying $549 if you have an iPhone XS, and $599 if you have the iPhone XS Max.

So, let's say you buy an iPhone XS Max, and choose not to buy AppleCare+. If you have two incidents, where you break the front and back of your phone, you're paying $928 just to repair your phone! If you bought AppleCare+, the most you would have paid, in total, would be $527, which includes the $300 price of AppleCare+.

In other words, it pays to have insurance — even if you're extremely careful, you can't foresee certain circumstances, and you'll be glad you paid more money up front so you could save more money later on.

Getting insurance against your insurance

AppleCare+ is costly, but it's much more costly to deal with repairs, whether you have Apple's insurance plan or not.

AppleCare+ should be considered your last line of defense, so get some extra protection to ensure you don't have to pay for repairs at all. In other words, buy a phone case. Cases provide some protection for your screen, but more importantly, they protect the most fragile and most expensive parts of the iPhone XS and XS Max: their large glass backs.

My colleague Avery Hartmans rounded up the best iPhone X cases you can buy last year, and most of those should fit the new iPhone XS, but I would personally recommend you get a case from Apple (they make some very nice silicone and leather cases) or Society6, which has hundreds of thousands of different fun designs to choose from.

SEE ALSO: 9 reasons you should buy an iPhone XR instead of an iPhone XS

DON'T MISS: Here's how to decide between the red, blue, yellow, white, black, and 'coral' versions of the iPhone XR

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0 Some Apple fans are building their own ‘Hackintoshes’ — Mac computers they build themselves. And they point to a weakness with Apple's computer lineup. (AAPL)

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0 8 reasons why you should get the iPhone 7 instead of the new iPhone XR, XS, or XS Max

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iphone 7 plus

It looks like the four-figure price tag is here to stay when it comes to new iPhones from Apple. 

Indeed, the $1,000 iPhone XS and $1,100 iPhone XS Max may very well be out of reach for some who want the iPhone experience, and even for those who don't want to spend that much on principle.

The $750 iPhone XR may seem like the iPhone to get if you don't want to be a part of the $1,000 club, but there are actually a few things about the iPhone 7 that some might prefer over the XR.

Thankfully, Apple is keeping around its older iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus just in case you want the Apple experience for under $600. Surprisingly, you're not sacrificing that much by going with Apple's iPhone 7, which is now two generations old. The iPhone 7 is still a fantastic smartphone that stands strong in the face of its younger, shinier siblings, and it's still a great option for anyone who's clung onto an iPhone 4, iPhone 5, and even iPhone 6.

Check out eight great reasons why you should check out the iPhone 7 instead of Apple's latest iPhones:

SEE ALSO: 6 reasons you should buy the iPhone 8 over the new iPhone XS

1. It's not as expensive as the new iPhones.

First and foremost, the iPhone 7 now costs as low as $450, and it's $570 for the iPhone 7 Plus.

For the iPhone 7, that's $300 less to start than the iPhone XR, $550 less than the iPhone XS, and $650 less than the iPhone XS Max.

For the iPhone 7 Plus, that's $180 less than the iPhone XR, $430 less than the iPhone XS, and $530 less than the iPhone XS Max.

You could even get the iPhone 7 refurbished from Apple's Refurbished Mac Store for less. The word "refurbished" might not sound good, but my experience with a refurbished 2016 MacBook Pro directly from Apple has been nothing but positive. And you get a one-year warranty with refurbished devices, too. 

(To note, I did experience an issue with my MacBook's keyboard, but it's a common issue among 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pros that could easily happen on brand new MacBooks, too. Apple has recognized and is offering to repair for free.) 

2. You still get the same great iOS experience.

Despite paying significantly less for the iPhone 7, you still get to run the latest version of iOS, iOS 12. It includes better performance for older iPhones, as well as updates to the notifications system and other great tweaks that makes the iPhone operating system better and easier to use. 

3. The iPhone 7 is lighter and thinner than the new iPhones.

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are lighter than all the new iPhones, although the iPhone 7 Plus is heavier than the $1,000 iPhone XS.

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are also slightly thinner than all the new iPhones. 

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0 A closed Macy's store in a dead mall was turned into a homeless shelter — this is what it looks like inside now (M)

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outside sign Macy's Carpenter's Shelter Landmark Mall

  • The Macy's store at the Landmark Mall in Alexandria, Virginia — and the mall itself — closed in January 2017. 
  • A year later, a homeless shelter in search of a temporary home constructed a temporary shelter within the old Macy's store. The Carpenter's Shelter moved into the old Macy's store in June. 
  • To hear the full story, listen to Business Insider's podcast, "Household Name." 

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia — What happens when a homeless shelter becomes homeless? 

If you're the Carpenter's Shelter in Alexandria, Virginia, you move into an old Macy's store in the closed Landmark Mall. 

Both the Macy's and the mall in which it operated closed in January 2017. According to an executive at the Howard Hughes Corporation, the real estate company that owns the mall, the closing was a long time coming. 

"When you show up on probably a decade before you close, it really is kind of the marketplace telling you you should get a different use there," said Mark Bulmash, senior vice president for development at Howard Hughes, in a recent interview with Business Insider's new podcast, "Household Name."

At the same time, the Carpenter's Shelter had a problem: it had been located in an old Department of Motor Vehicles office for about 20 years, but it was getting old, and they needed to do a lot of renovations. The shelter staff decided to tear down the building and rebuild a totally new shelter in its place. In the meantime, they moved into the former Macy's store in the defunct Landmark Mall.

There are very few signs that Macy's used to exist in the space.

"There are people who still come in and think this is a Macy's," said the Carpenter's Shelter's director of programming, Blair Copeland. 

"Occasionally, there'll be somebody that says, 'I want to return something,' and I'm like, 'How could you?' Stop. First of all, the mall has been closed for like 2 years. And secondly, it doesn't look like Macy's anymore."

From the outside, a sign for the Carpenter's Shelter covers smudged letters showing where the Macy's sign used to be displayed. Inside, the only real display of the old Macy's is the carpet and tile that line the floors. 

See inside the shelter in the photos below:

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The old Macy's sign has been scrubbed away and partially covered with a new sign announcing the presence of the Carpenter's Shelter.

The Carpenter's Shelter's executive director, Shannon Steene, said his team considered several possible temporary locations for the shelter, including an old warehouse, a church, and an old school. 

"And then someone said, 'You know, the ideal place would be the Landmark Mall,'" Steene said. "And then there was sort of a pause in the conversation and many people chuckled. But the seed had been planted."

Howard Hughes has long-term plans to renovate the Landmark Mall into a mixed-use project that would include retail, restaurants, offices, and residences. But those plans were still a few years away, and Bulmash said he was intrigued by the idea. 

"It's an out-of-the-box idea, right?" Bulmash said. "I needed to convince our organization that we could do it, right? That we had the time between doing the planning and getting the entitlements that we could put them in and not delay our starting construction on our project."

Howard Hughes and the city of Alexandria signed off on an 18-month lease, and the Carpenter's Shelter began construction last spring. The shelter moved into the old Macy's in June.

Steene started working at the shelter in 2015, shortly before conversations about renovating the shelter began.

After making a deal with Howard Hughes to move into the old Macy's store at the Landmark Mall, Steene had to go to a public meeting with the city of Alexandria to make sure they would sign off on it. 

He had been concerned that the proposal would draw the ire of the community. After sitting through a long, contentious discussion about a schools issue, it was finally the Carpenter's Shelter's turn at 11 p.m. 

"And so imagine much to my surprise, that there was only one person who had registered to speak and testify at that hearing," Steene said. "And so she stood up and she said, 'This is exactly the project we want to see in our community.'"

Steene was pleasantly surprised. 

"It puts a lump in your throat," Steene said. "When you think about what I had expected and what so many of my peers that run homeless services have encountered when they've gone before public hearing, and that's not the standard reaction from a community."

A large common area at the entrance to the Carpenter's Shelter provides space for residents to eat their meals and hang out during the day.

The first thing visitors see upon entering the Carpenter's Shelter is a large common area. This is where residents gather to eat their meals, use the computer, or hang out during the day. If there is a community meeting with the residents, it will happen in this room. 

And though the visitor has just entered an old Macy's store, there is barely a sign of its historic past. 

"It doesn't look exactly like the inside of a Macy's other than when you look down at the flooring," Steene said. "You see that there's some tile walkways that in some ways head to doors and other places they just head to blanks walls. And so you do get a sense that there has been some sort of former life."

The room leads to a smaller television/library lounge, a pantry, two sets of offices, the David's Place day shelter, and a hallway that leads to the bedrooms. 

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0 Arby's former CEO is building a fast-food empire

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Paul Brown Arby's CEO

  • Arby's parent company, Inspire Brands, announced plans to acquire burger chain Sonic in a $2.3 billion deal on Tuesday. 
  • With the deal, Inspire Brands' portfolio — which also includes Buffalo Wild Wings and Rusty Taco — will comprise more than 8,000 locations with combined system sales exceeding $12 billion. 
  • Here's how the new restaurant empire is shaping up. 

Arby's parent company Inspire Brands is creating a fast-food empire. 

On Tuesday, Inspire Brands announced it is acquiring burger chain Sonic for $2.3 billion, including debt. The deal follows Inspire Brands — which is majority owned by private-equity firm Roark Capital — closing on a deal to acquire Buffalo Wild Wings and Rusty Taco earlier this year. 

"We like brands that are great brands, that have gone through a period of great success, and may be in a temporary period with a little bit of a challenge, where there's an opportunity to come in and get it back on a path," Inspire CEO Paul Brown told Business Insider at the time.

Restaurant conglomerates like Inspire Brands, Restaurant Brands International (parent company of Tim Hortons, Burger King, and Popeyes), Yum Brands (parent of Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC), and JAB Holdings (owner of a range of brands including Krispy Kreme, Panera, and Pret A Manger) are on the rise. 

With the deal, Inspire Brands' portfolio will comprise more than 8,000 locations with combined system sales exceeding $12 billion, according to figures provided by the company.

Here's how Arby's CEO has begun his quest to create a new restaurant empire.  

SEE ALSO: Arby's parent company is acquiring Sonic. Here's how the CEO says he picks which brands to buy.


For Inspire Brands, Arby's is the chain that started it all. Brown led Arby's in an impressive turnaround effort after joining as CEO in 2013, taking risks designed to make Arby's stand out and grab headlines.

"We had to one, come up with a way of talking about ourselves in a voice that actually stood out, but we also had to be more creative about all the channels that you could use to get the message out," Brown told Business Insider in 2017.

Buffalo Wild Wings

In November 2017, Arby's announced plans to acquire Buffalo Wild Wings for about $2.9 billion. In February, the company announced it had closed the deal and was forming Inspire Brands with Brown at the helm. 

"I think there's an opportunity to step way back and say it's not and let it define its own category — a little bit of what we did with Arby's," Brown told Business Insider in February. 

Rusty Taco

Rusty Taco, a chain with just 28 locations, was part of the Buffalo Wild Wings deal. But, it's unlikely that Inspire will purchase another similarly small brand.

"Buying really small brands and trying to really grow them is not part of the stated strategy," Brown said in February.

"We like R Taco, which came along with Buffalo Wild Wings, and that has some opportunity to do some fun and interesting things with it," Brown continued. "We like to incubate a brand or two along the way, but that's not our stated strategy."

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0 The fastest-growing retailer in America doesn't sell clothes online, and there's a simple reason why

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  • Primark, a low-cost, European apparel chain, is the fastest-growing retailer in the United States, according to a report from the National Retail Federation's Stores magazine, which used sales data from Kantar Consulting.
  • It currently has nine stores in the US but does not sell its products online. 
  • Primark's business model of offering rock-bottom prices does not lend itself well to e-commerce, executives say.

Primark is the fastest-growing retailer in the United States, but many Americans will never have the chance to shop there. 

The European-headquartered cheap clothing chain has set its sights on expansion in the US. Since 2015, it has opened nine stores along the East Coast, and it has more in the pipeline. It's the fastest-growing retailer in America based on year-over-year domestic sales growth — US sales are up 103% year-over-year, according to a report from the National Retail Federation's Stores magazine, which used sales data from Kantar Consulting.

However, Primark's national reach is severely stunted by the fact that it doesn't sell its products online. Its website is meant purely for browsing items; to make a purchase, you'd need to head to one of its stores. 

Primark isn't out to hinder its own growth, but its business model doesn't lend itself well to e-commerce, according to company executives.

The retailer tested out e-commerce in 2013, selling its products on ASOS' website. This test was expected to turn into a long-term partnership, but it promptly ended after 12 weeks. 

The reason executives are so adverse to e-commerce is that Primark offers rock-bottom prices, and as a result, it has meager profit margins. If it were to go online, it would have to absorb shipping and returns costs or pass them onto the consumer. 

"The cost to support home delivery can't be supported with our price points," John Bason, finance director of Primark parent company Associated British Foods, told The Wall Street Journal.

The store makes its profits on volume and relies on these low prices to entice customers into spending more. 

And it appears to be working: The typical Primark shopper buys in large quantities. The baskets at the front of the store are a nod to this grocery-like shopping experience.

"Consumers shop at Primark differently than they shop at a lot of retailers," Bernstein's Jamie Merriman told The Economist in 2015. "It's almost like shopping at a Costco, where you're thinking about it in terms of volume."

As a result, Primark is ahead of its competitors in terms of the volume of clothing sold in each store. According to Bernstein data from 2015, H&M sells an annual average of $5,250 worth of clothes per square meter in Britain, while Primark sells approximately $8,200 worth.

While some analysts are skeptical about its strategy to steer clear of online sales, Primark is undoubtedly able to dodge some of the large expenses associated with it. 

According to retail consultancy AlixPartners, it's actually more expensive for brick-and-mortar stores to sell online than in stores on a per-item basis. Moreover, items bought online are more likely to be returned. 

Around 30-40% of clothing ordered online is returned, and these returns can be six times more expensive compared to in-store, according to Coresight Research.

SEE ALSO: An Irish clothing chain is suddenly the fastest-growing retailer in America. Here's everything you need to know about it.

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0 This $446 million mansion in Hong Kong could break the record as the most expensive home ever sold in the world's most expensive housing market — and it's surprisingly modest

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hong kong mansion


A mansion for sale in Hong Kong's exclusive and wealthy Peak neighborhood could break the record for the most expensive home sold in the territory — and possibly in all of Asia.

The $446 million home, which was built in 1991, went on the market in April 2018 and was available for lease before that, Joyce Lee, a representative for Christie's International Real Estate, told Business Insider. 

Hong Kong, which is now home to more super-rich individuals than any other city in the world, is seeing property prices continuing to climb, particularly in the luxury market. 

Christie's International Real Estate named Hong Kong the prime luxury market in the world for the second year in a row in its 2017 "Luxury Index" that evaluated growth and demand of premium real estate.

Hong Kong claimed the world's first and second most expensive home sales of 2017, according to the South China Morning Post, breaking several property records in the process, as Business Insider's Rosie Perper reported. An estate on The Peak was sold for $360 million to billionaire technology manufacturer Yeung Kin-man in January 2017, the South China Morning Post reported.

In November 2017, the most expensive apartments in Asia sold for a combined $149 million. And the city-state continues to break records in the luxury housing market in 2018.

In March 2018, a buyer paid $178.4 million, or $19,400 per square foot, for a mansion in Hong Kong's super-exclusive and wealthy Peak neighborhood, making it the most expensive residential sale in all of Asia, according to Bloomberg.

But this $446 million home could break even those staggering records. Here's a look inside the mansion and the exclusive, super-wealthy neighborhood where it sits. 

SEE ALSO: Inside the Hong Kong billionaire enclave name-dropped in 'Crazy Rich Asians,' where Alibaba founder Jack Ma may have bought a $191 million mansion

DON'T MISS: Hong Kong now has more mega-millionaires than New York City

The four-bedroom mansion sits on 7,725 square feet on Middle Gap Road, one of the most prestigious gated communities in Hong Kong, according to the real estate listing. The home is surrounded by dense woods.

Source: Landscope Christie's International Real Estate

The colonial-style home was built in 1991 and includes an outdoor swimming pool.

Source: Landscope Christie's International Real Estate

Views of the hilly, greenery-filled neighborhood surround the pool area.

Source: Landscope Christie's International Real Estate

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0 I tried the 'healthy' fast-casual chain that Californians love, but I was disappointed

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  • Lemonade is a California-based fast-casual chain.
  • It's part of the "fast slow food" movement, which aims to serve up healthy fare quickly and relatively cheaply.
  • During a recent trip to Los Angeles, I decided to try out Lemonade for myself.

Lemonade is trying to sweeten California's fast-casual dining scene.

The menu? "Seasonal Southern California comfort food." What that seems to mean is a lot of lean proteins, leafy salads, and entreés like poke made from seasonal produce. Oh, and fresh-pressed lemonade, of course.

The first store opened in 2008, and it has expanded slowly across Southern California and into Northern California as well. The expansion has been fueled by investments like a $22 million infusion from Butterfly in 2016 and an undisclosed amount from KKR in 2014. It now has 28 locations up and down the state. 

Lemonade's food is served cafeteria-style, à la carte and complete with trays. Only some of the cooking is done on-site. Some items are finished in-store after being supplied by a central kitchen.

It's been a hit with Californians, so on a recent trip to Los Angeles, I decided I needed to try it myself. Here's what it was like: 

SEE ALSO: Nike has unveiled a new way to try on sneakers at its stores without talking to anyone. Here's how it works.

I visited one of Lemonade's newest stores, located on Abbot-Kinney in the heart of Venice. It's one of Lemonade's "next-generation" stores, and it opened in 2017.

Source: QSR

As I first step foot in the store, I am immediately overwhelmed. It's lunchtime on a Saturday, and the restaurant is filled with hungry Angelenos. The decor feels very California chic.

A quick look at the menu makes me no less anxious. I have no idea what to order, and there isn't anyone I can ask before i get up to the counter.

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0 Some of the most valuable words in Scrabble use a Q without a U, and there are many more than your English teacher led you to believe

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subway new york q train

  • The letter Q is almost always followed by a U in English, but that isn't always the case.
  • Scrabble players tend to struggle with words using a Q, but experienced players know they don't need a U to follow it.
  • There are a handful of words that English borrowed from other languages that flout that rule, like burqa, qat, and qabbalah.

Some things make perfect pairs.

Macaroni and cheese. Rocky and Bullwinkle. Hall and Oates.

The same can be said for two letters of the English alphabet: Q and U. Anyone who's taken a spelling class probably remembers their teacher telling them that in English, the Q must always be followed by a U.

Well, it turns out that's not exactly true. In reality, there are dozens of words in English that have a Q that isn't followed by a U. And no one knows this better than Scrabble players.

Many of those words are borrowed from other languages. Arabic and Hebrew are two especially common sources, as in English the Q is often used to represent the more guttural "K" sound that appears in those languages. We can thank those languages for giving us words like "burqa," a full-body garment worn by some Muslim women, and "sheqel," the currency of Israel.

But Q-without-U words come all from all over the globe, from Mandarin to Inuit to Zulu. A couple of them are even "homegrown" English words with a modern twist. They're all in the English dictionary, and therefore allowed in Scrabble.

Here's a sample of the English words in which the Q stands alone.

SEE ALSO: 'OK' was just added to the Scrabble dictionary, and experts are saying it could change how Scrabble is played

DON'T MISS: 8 common words you probably didn't know came from TV shows


Language of origin: Arabic

A burqa is a long, loose garment that covers the face and body and is worn by some Muslim women.


Language of origin: Zulu

Mbaqanga is a style of music from South Africa that was popular in the 1960s. It combines elements of traditional music with jazz and big band.


Language of origin: Arabic

A niqab is a veil worn by some Muslim women that covers the hair and the face except for the eyes.

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0 Inside the marriage of Bill and Melinda Gates, who met at work, live in a $124 million home, and will leave their children only a small fraction of their $98.1 billion fortune

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Bill and Melinda Gates

  • Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, married Melinda French in 1994.
  • They met at Microsoft when Melinda was brought on a product manager. She initially turned down Bill's request for a date at a company picnic.
  • Today, they run the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has an endowment of $40.3 billion.

Melinda French was less than impressed when her boss asked her out on a date.

It was 1987, and the recent Duke graduate had just joined Microsoft as a product manager. CEO Bill Gates approached her at a company picnic and asked if she'd be interested in grabbing dinner in two weeks. She responded, "That's not spontaneous enough for me," Fortune reported in 2015.

Fast-forward three decades, and Bill and Melinda Gates are married with three kids, worth $98.1 billion, and run a namesake philanthropic enterprise boasting a $50.7 billion endowment.

Here's a look at their marriage.

SEE ALSO: A look inside the marriage of world's richest couple, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos — who met at work, were engaged in 3 months, and own more land than almost anyone else in America

DON'T MISS: Inside the daily routine of billionaire Bill Gates, who loves cheeseburgers, tours missile silos, and washes the dishes every night

At the picnic, Melinda gave Bill her number and told him to call her closer to the day he had in mind.

Source: Business Insider

Instead, he called her up later that night with a wry question: "Is this spontaneous enough for you?" Turns out, it was.

Source: Business Insider

Melinda and Bill dated for seven years before they wed. Melinda told Fortune her mom didn't think that seeing the CEO was a good idea in the beginning.

Source: Business Insider, Fortune

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0 A photographer spent 17 years exploring the barren expanse of Mongolia and returned with unreal photos

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598_19_lesssaturation 18

  • New York-based photographer Frédéric Lagrange has visited Mongolia 13 times over the last 17 years, traversing the country in every season to capture stunning photographs of the people and the landscape.
  • In Mongolia, Lagrange has experienced extreme weather, had his life saved thanks to the Mongolian army, and seen the country evolve and develop tremendously.
  • Lagrange has collected his nearly two decades worth of work into a limited-edition book to be published in November. He launched a Kickstarter this week as a pre-sale of the book.

New York-based photographer Frédéric Lagrange first heard about Mongolia as a child.

His grandfather would tell him stories about World War II, when served in the French army and was a prisoner of war in Germany. In 1944, a detachment of Mongolian soldiers under Soviet command freed Lagrange's grandfather, who described the terror the German soldiers showed when they saw the soldiers. Ever since, Lagrange has been fascinated with the country and was resolved to visit it.

He got his first chance in August 2001, taking an entire month off his job as a photographer's assistant to visit the remote country. He was immediately taken with the landscape and the people, but, most of all, he told Business Insider, he was taken with "the incredible, overwhelming stillness of the place."

In the 17 years since, he has visited Mongolia 13 times, traversing the entirety of the country in winter, summer, fall, and spring.

"There is a stillness and a quietness that I found quite captivating at the time,"  Lagrange said. "It's a very meditative state. You feel the presence and the moments way stronger than back in the US or anywhere else."

A limited-edition book of Lagrange's 17-year exploration of Mongolia will be published by Italian publisher Damiani in November. Lagrange launched a Kickstarter this week as a pre-sale of the book, which you can check out here »

SEE ALSO: Afghanistan has an unbelievably beautiful hidden region untouched by war — here's what it looks like

SEE ALSO: One of the 7 wonders of the world is a 10,000-year-old city hidden in the desert — and in real life, it's more incredible than you can imagine

Mongolia is more than twice the size of Texas, but only has a population of 2.76 million people compared to Texas's 26 million. Thirty percent of Mongolia's population is nomadic or semi-nomadic.

Lagrange first visited Mongolia in the summer of 2001.

His first impression, he told Business Insider, was of the "incredible, overwhelming stillness of the place."

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