Thursday, February 28, 2019

0 Cannabis producer Canopy Growth jumps after saying it's teaming up with Martha Stewart (CGC)

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Canopy Growth marijuana weed

Canopy Growth spiked more than 3% Thursday morning after the cannabis producer announced Martha Stewart was joining the company in an advisory role, helping to develop a new line of product offerings for CBD and other cannabinoids' uses for both humans and animals. 

Rivals Cronos (+2.1%) and Tilray (1.6%) were trading higher following the news. 

"Martha is one of a kind and I am so excited to be able to work alongside this icon to sharpen our CBD product offerings across categories from human to animal," Canopy CEO Bruce Linton said in a press release announcing the collaboration. 

Thursday's announcement comes days after one Wall Street shop said it thinks the $1 billion CBD market will explode to $16 billion by 2025. 

"By 2025, we believe CBD offerings could conservatively generate $16 bn in retail sales (assuming a ~40% increase in consumer incidence, to 10%, and spend of less than $2 / day)," Cowen analysts Eric Assaraf and Viven Azer said. 

Thursday's rally is inflicting more pain on short-sellers in the marijuana space, who have been licking their wounds from a rough February. Through Tuesday, traders betting against marijuana stocks had suffered $192 million in market-to-market losses this month. 

"If losses for cannabis short sellers continue to mount we should see continued short covering and added upward price pressure boosting the profits of a growing community of long shareholders," Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director at the firm said in a note out Tuesday.

Canopy Growth


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0 Elon Musk plans to announce some Tesla news on Thursday — here’s what Wall Street is expecting (TSLA)

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Elon Musk

Elon Musk announced this week that "some Tesla news" will come at 2 pm on Thursday at 2 pm PT this week.

Due to its timing — right in the middle of a renewed fight with federal regulators and amid a flurry of Twitter memes  — the cryptic hint has fueled a flurry of speculation.

Ahead of the announcement, Ben Kallo, an analyst at Baird, declared Tesla a "fresh pick" and re-affirmed his $465 price target — one of the highest on Wall Street. Regardless of what the news ends up being, he says it should help the stock pick up steam.

"Regardless of the content of the company update, we think the demand concerns are overblown and believe the announcement could be a catalyst," Kallo told clients in a note Thursday morning. 

"Investor skepticism on demand (both in the first quarter and over the course of 2019) has been high in our recent conversations, and we expect this update could highlight positive business developments and improve broader sentiment."

Among the possibilities for today's announcement are the long-awaited $35,000 version of the Model 3, an update on autonomous driving (Musk’s previous self-driving comment comments have been deemed dangerous by experts), or even the Model Y.

Read more: Tesla may unveil the Model Y this year — here's everything we know about the vehicle so far

Kallo, however, is hoping that it’s not the Model Y.

"We believe management is cognizant of the short-term need to reassure investors on Model 3 demand and margins," he said.

Adding another product to the mix could complicate Tesla’s on-going headaches surrounding production ramp and delivery logistics.

It's not a bid to boost Tesla's stock price ahead of the $920 million bond conversion. The notes' observation period has ended with shares below the convert price of $359.88, and Bloomberg reported that the company will repay debt holders with a mix of cash and equity.

Debt payments aside, Kallo says investors should focus on long-term fundamentals to avoid the "constant noise" around Tesla.

"The SEC recently requested a federal judge hold Musk in civil contempt which added to significant noise (employee turnover, SEC headlines, etc.) in recent weeks," Kallo said.

"We think share weakness has created a buying opportunity for investors willing to focus on improving company fundamentals."

Shares of Tesla sank about 0.6% in trading Thursday, near $313. The stock is about 23% off its 52-week high of $387 per share, hit last August amid Musk's failed attempt to take the company private, which began the ongoing regulatory drama.

Tesla stock price

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk's erratic Twitter behavior escalated Wednesday when he changed his name to 'Elon Tusk'

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0 A doctor’s office that charges a monthly fee and doesn’t take insurance wants to stop the 'revolving door' of appointments for sick kids

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parsley health

  • Parsley Health is a medical practice that charges a monthly fee and doesn't take insurance.
  • For $150 a month, the membership provides access to doctors and health coaches, with the goal of treating conditions in a more comprehensive way than traditional primary care.
  • Now, the practice is expanding into pediatrics in its New York office, aiming to provide better care for children and teens with chronic conditions.
  • The cost for kids is $129 a month.

Parsley Health, a new kinds of doctors office that charges a monthly fee and doesn't take insurance, is expanding its practice into pediatrics. 

Parsley Health got its start in 2016 and now has centers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. The practice, founded by Dr. Robin Berzin, is focused on functional medicine, a type of practice that tries to take a more comprehensive approach at treating the underlying cause of a particular disease, looking at it more holistically than on a case-by-case basis.

For a monthly fee of $150 you get primary care visits, nutrition plans, supplement regimens, as well as as more in-depth genetics and microbiome testing.

Read more: A doctor’s office that charges $150 a month and doesn’t take insurance just raised millions to make it the future of medicine

Until now, Parsley only treated people ages 18 and up. That's changing so that its doctors can apply the Parsley model to teens and children who might benefit from the approach. 

The pediatric practice is led by Dr. Gaby Safdieh, a pediatric rheumatologist, who joined Parsley a little more than a year ago. Safdieh had been practicing pediatrics and rheumatology as part of a fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

Along the way, she grew frustrated by the way she saw children diagnosed and treated for chronic conditions, like asthma, frequent infections, eczema, and allergies. Initially when she started at Parsley, she saw young adults between 18-30, with the plan to one day create a pediatric practice within the organization. 

"We want to treat children at what is the root cause of a medical problem they’re having and set them up for a clear path for health," Safdieh said. 

Safdieh started seeing patients between the ages of 0 and 18 as part of a small pilot in August. The program's now open to the children of existing Parsley Health members. Membership for kids and adolescents is $129 a month or $1,400 a year. 

How it works

A pediatric membership includes five visits with a physician and five health coaching sessions. Through those meetings and potentially genetic and microbiome testing, the hope is to get a comprehensive look at kids and teens' medical histories, diet and exercise habits, and other factors that could play a role in the chronic condition he or she is experiencing. Not included in that monthly fee are things like prescriptions, supplements, or lab work.

While Parsley Health doesn't take insurance, it may be considered as out-of-network care, which might be reimbursed. (Ultimately, Parsley's goal is to collect information on how its approach to primary care and pediatrics is working to keep patients' healthier and one day bring that to insurers who might want to pay for Parsley's services for their members.)

Parsley Health's new center in NYC's Flatiron neighborhoodFor instance, Safdieh has been seeing as part of the pilot a teenager who for years had been treated for sinus infections, going on antibiotics as many as five times in a year. While antibiotics can be helpful in clearing out bacterial infections, anytime they're used, it can expose patients to side effects and risks building antibiotic resistance.

Ideally, Safdieh wanted to help decrease that antibiotic usage. So she looked into the patient's history with those antibiotics, as well as stressors, diet and did some testing to get a better sense of the bugs that live in her gut. Safdieh's now been working with the teenager for six months, making adjustments so the teenager is getting more sleep and physical exercise, exploring the use of some supplements and acupuncture as well.

"Our goal with pediatric is similar to adults in many ways," Safdieh said. "We want to stop the revolving door of frequent doctor visits and being thrown around to specialists."

So far, the American Academy of Family Physicians, which represents 129,000 family medicine doctors, hasn't found sufficient evidence for doctors to use functional medicine in family practice, though the organization in March 2018 said it will allow for certain courses to educate doctors about how to talk to patients about it. The American Academy of Pediatrics, which represents 67,000 pediatricians does recognize pediatric integrative medicine, which encompasses evidence-based treatments that might fall outside the scope of Western medicine, used in conjunction with traditional care.

New models for pediatrics

Parsley isn't alone in using a subscription model for pediatrics.

Others who practice direct primary care have set up pediatric practices or see kids alongside their parents. Still, the cost of direct primary care can be tough to justify for most kids, who tend to need relatively little ongoing medical care.

One Medical is  a startup medical group that aims to make it easier for patients to see their doctors, is getting into pediatrics as well. It charges $199 a year for same-day visits with a doctor or other care provider and takes insurance, different from Parsley's model. To date, it's opened up five pediatrics practices based in the Bay Area and NYC, a number it anticipates will increase over the next year.

The sites serve as places where both adults and kids can get care, and they'll be centered in areas where people live rather than near the office — for example one of the New York locations is in Park Slope, a residential neighborhood in Brooklyn.

"They're all 100% full immediately," One Medical CEO Amir Rubin told Business Insider. "It's kind of a no-brainer."

Zachary Tracer contributed reporting. 

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0 Cannabis producer Canopy Growth jumps after saying it's teaming up with Martha Stewart (CGC)

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Canopy Growth marijuana weed

Canopy Growth spiked more than 3% Thursday morning after the cannabis producer announced Martha Stewart was joining the company in an advisory role, helping to develop a new line of product offerings for CBD and other cannabinoids' uses for both humans and animals. 

Rivals Cronos (+2.1%) and Tilray (1.6%) were trading higher following the news. 

"Martha is one of a kind and I am so excited to be able to work alongside this icon to sharpen our CBD product offerings across categories from human to animal," Canopy CEO Bruce Linton said in a press release announcing the collaboration. 

Thursday's announcement comes days after one Wall Street shop said it thinks the $1 billion CBD market will explode to $16 billion by 2025. 

"By 2025, we believe CBD offerings could conservatively generate $16 bn in retail sales (assuming a ~40% increase in consumer incidence, to 10%, and spend of less than $2 / day)," Cowen analysts Eric Assaraf and Viven Azer said. 

Thursday's rally is inflicting more pain on short-sellers in the marijuana space, who have been licking their wounds from a rough February. Through Tuesday, traders betting against marijuana stocks had suffered $192 million in market-to-market losses this month. 

"If losses for cannabis short sellers continue to mount we should see continued short covering and added upward price pressure boosting the profits of a growing community of long shareholders," Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director at the firm said in a note out Tuesday.

Canopy Growth


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0 Kyler Murray passed his biggest test at the combine and it ends the debate over his height and NFL credentials

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Kyler Murray

  • Kyler Murray has been measured at the NFL Combine, and he surprised many with a height of 5-foot-10.1 and a weight of 207 pounds.
  • His measurements are nearly identical to Russell Wilson before the 2012 NFL Draft.
  • Many NFL experts believe this ends the debate about Murray's NFL credentials as it was widely expected that he would be under 5-foot-9.5.

The biggest question at the NFL Combine has been answered — Kyler Murray's height is over 5-foot-10.

Murray is officially 5-foot-10.1 (0.1 equals one-eighth of an inch), 207 pounds, with a hand size of 9.5 inches.

Murray's height had been the biggest mystery entering the NFL Combine leading up to April's NFL Draft. 

ESPN's Adam Schefter was in the room with NFL coaches and executives when Murray was measured and reported that many of them were predicting him to be under 5-foot-9.5. Others in the NFL worried had even worried he would be under 5-foot-8.

Before the combine, many listed 5-foot-10 as the mythical magic number Murray needed to reach to quell the doubts, and the early reaction is that it has done just that.

"This is huge. This makes it much easier to draft Kyler Murray," former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky said on ESPN's "Get Up." "There are no more questions. There is no more hesitation when it comes to this kid, organizationally. Draft him."

Read more: 2019 NFL MOCK DRAFT: What the experts are predicting for the first round

Many are pointing out that Murray is nearly identical to Russell Wilson in size. The Seattle Seahawks quarterback measured 5-foot-10.5 and 204 pounds before the 2012 NFL Draft. Murray's hands are also similar in size to the other top QB in the draft, Dwayne Haskins, who measured 9 and five-eighths inches.

russell wilsonNFL Draft expert Todd McShay also agreed that there is no more concern over Murray's size.

"I think the conversation is over now," McShay said on ESPN. "If you look at Russell Wilson and what he has been able to do, and you look at the measurables, they are so comparable."

Now the debate over whether Murray should be the top pick in the draft will grow even more fierce. But it already seems like a lock that he will be the first QB ever taken in the first round who was under 6-foot-0.

SEE ALSO: We tried the alcohol diet Tom Brady put Rob Gronkowski on, and it was a lot harder than we imagined

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0 A teen's petition led her school to change its dress code that banned girls from wearing pants to graduation

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Cumberland Polytechnic High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

  • Lacey Henry launched a petition against Cumberland County Schools in Fayetteville, North Carolina, over its graduation dress code rules. 
  • Henry said the dress code required girls to wear black dresses, black closed-toe shoes with black heels, and black stockings to graduation. 
  • After hundreds of people signed the petition, the district said graduation attire policies will follow Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause and allow girls to wear black slacks. 

A North Carolina school district is changing its dress code after a high school senior started a petition asking for female students to be allowed to wear pants to graduation.

Lacey Henry, an 18-year-old student at Cumberland Polytechnic High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina, launched a petition after learning her school required girls to wear black dresses, black closed-toe shoes with black heels, and black stockings  to graduation, according to the Fayetteville Observer.

The rules aren't detailed on the district website, which instead says: "Appropriate attire for graduation practices and the ceremony will be established at the school level."

After hundreds of people signed Henry's petition, the school said its dress code would allow all students the option of wearing black dress slacks. 

"It's kind of insane — no one can see what's under our graduation robes anyway," Henry told Yahoo Lifestyle.

Read more: 18 times students and parents said school dress codes went too far

Lindsay Whitley, a spokeswoman for the district, told the Fayetteville Observer that policies about attire for graduation ceremonies are established by the school, not the district.

"We have reminded principals that school-level graduation guidelines will not require students to conform to a specific type of attire based on their gender, and they will be fully compliant with Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause," Whitley said.

Title IX protects people from sex-based discrimination in educational settings and when receiving federal financial assistance.

The Equal Protection Clause, which is part of the US Constitution's 14th Amendment, states that governing bodies must treat all individuals equally.

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0 Marriott's new $95-a-year Bonvoy Boundless credit card comes with a 100,000-point sign-up bonus — and other valuable travel perks

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Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network.


  • Marriott's new rewards program, Marriott Bonvoy, is officially live.
  • To mark the launch, Marriott's premium personal credit card — the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Cardhas been offering a limited-time, 100,000-point welcome bonus when you spend $5,000 in the first three months (the offer ends April 24).
  • As of today, Marriott's mainstream personal card — the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, which is issued by Chase, is offering that same 100,000-point bonus for new cardholders. The Boundless Card only has a $95 annual fee, while the premium Brilliant Card has a $450 fee.
  • Here's what you need to know about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card.

Marriott recently combined its loyalty program with Starwood Preferred Guest and rebranded it as a single entity: Marriott Bonvoy. 

As part of this merger and rebranding, Marriott refreshed its suite of rewards-credit-cards offerings. Chase and American Express are splitting the card portfolio — Chase will issue the main personal Marriott credit card, while AmEx will issue the premium and small-business cards.

To mark Bonvoy's official launch, American Express launched a limited-time welcome offer on the premium card — the $450 per year  Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card. New card members can get 100,000 when they spend $5,000 in the first three months. That offer's available until April 24.

As of today, the same bonus is available on the mainstream Marriott Bonvoy card issued by Chase.

While the Bonvoy Brilliant card issued by AmEx has plenty of valuable perks and rewards, the high annual fee can be a deterrent to some people. For those who are in that camp, Chase's Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card is a fantastic option with a $95 annual fee.

Despite the lower fee, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card offers similarly valuable perks. 

Here are some of the card's benefits.

Earning rewards

The Bonvoy Boundless earns 6x points per dollar spent at participating Marriott hotels, and 2x points per dollar spent on everything else. That's the same as the premium Bonvoy Brilliant card, although that one also earns 3x points at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with the airline.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card

Free anniversary night

The card also offers a free-weekend-night award each year on the card-member anniversary. That award can be used at any Marriott property that would normally cost up to 35,000 points per night. While that award price cap rules out some top properties, there are still plenty of places where that award night can be used. The premium Bonvoy Brilliant card's anniversary night can be applied to hotels that cost up to 50,000 points per night.

Automatic elite status

Just by having an open Boundless Card, you'll automatically get Silver elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program.

Silver doesn't get you much, but it's still something — you'll get a 10% bonus on points earned, priority for late checkout, access to a dedicated customer service line, free Wi-Fi, and more. While it's not a published benefit, you may also be given preferential rooms.

If you spend $35,000 on the card in a given year, you'll earn Gold status instead. That gets you a 25% bonus on points earned, complimentary internet during stays, room upgrades based on availability, and a small gift of bonus points at check-in. You'll also automatically get 15 nights' worth of elite-qualifying credit each year, so you'll have an easier time achieving Gold status— or higher — with your normal stays. The Brilliant Card from AmEx comes with Gold status by default.

Bottom line

No matter which card is better for you — the mainstream Bonvoy Boundless Card from Chase, or the premium Bonvoy Brilliant card from AmEx — now is a great time for Marriott loyalists to open a new card. But remember: These 100,000 point offers are only available for a limited time, so make sure to get them before they're gone!

Click here to learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

Click here to learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant AmEx Card from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

SEE ALSO: Marriott is offering a 100,000-point welcome bonus for its new luxury credit card — which could help justify the $450 annual fee

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0 Amazon will now let Prime members pick which day to get their items delivered, and it's a stealthy way for the company to cut down on its fastest-rising cost (AMZN)

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Amazon delivery

  • Amazon has announced "Amazon Day," an initiative that lets customers pick the day of the week they want their Amazon orders to be delivered.
  • All orders designated for the Amazon Day made that week will be delivered on that day grouped in one shipment.
  • It can be convenient for customers to know exactly what day an order is going to be delivered.
  • It also helps Amazon lower it's ballooning shipment costs by processing and fulfilling fewer orders with fewer of them needing to get to the customer in two days or less.

Now, Amazon day can be whatever day you want it to be.

Amazon Prime members can now designate a day of the week to have all their shipments delivered. The initiative is called "Amazon Day." Customers can also switch around their Amazon Day from week to week if their ideal delivery date changes.

Here's the way it works:

  • A Prime member designates a day of the week as their "Amazon Day."
  • When a customer makes an order, they can choose their Amazon as part of the shipping page. Or, they can choose Prime shipping like normal. 
  • When the day arrives, all items that were designated for that shipment will arrive in as few boxes as possible.

This can be convenient for customers for a few reasons. If a customer is worried about theft, they can pick a day where they are home during the day. If they don't need it right away and are concerned about the environment, they can cut down on the environmental impact 

It also can be more predictable than a bunch of separate orders.

Read more: Anybody can now offer free 2-day shipping on — and Amazon should be worried

"Amazon Day adds another level of convenience to the many shipping benefits Prime members already enjoy. Prime members can now choose to get their orders delivered together in fewer boxes whenever possible on the day that works best for them," Maria Renz, VP of delivery experience at Amazon, said in a statement.

But the real benefits may be for Amazon. This offers customers an easy way to group their items up into as few shipments as possible, making it cheaper and easier to fulfill.

In the test that Amazon ran before launching the full service, Amazon says it already saw a huge amount of savings.

"We’ve been testing this program with a group of Prime members and Amazon Day has already reduced packaging by tens of thousands of boxes – a number that will only continue to grow now that the program is available to Prime members nationwide," Renz said.

That also may help lessen Amazon's ballooning cost of fulfilling Prime shipping, which has jumped in recent years.

Amazon's fulfillment costs reached $25.2 billion in 2017, up 43% from 2016. Estimates from Benchmark analyst Daniel Kurnos peg 2018's number at nearly $10 billion more, jumping to $43.3 billion in 2019.

As Prime shipping becomes the norm and more customers rely on it for speed and convenience, we'll likely see Amazon come up with more scenarios that convince customers they don't always need their items in two days flat.

SEE ALSO: Amazon is abandoning an entire 30-floor skyscraper in Seattle it had planned to move into as it follows through on a year-old threat

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0 Rewards-related offerings are the leading driver of consumers' credit card choices — but they can be pricey for issuers

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This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

5b478d977b67141e008b48b5 1334 1001

The average US consumer holds about three nonretail credit cards with a balance over $6,000, according to Experian. As confidence rises, spending is hitting prerecession levels. For banks, that should be a good thing, since credit cards are profitable. But the push to attract a particularly interested and engaged customer base through sign-up bonuses and lucrative rewards offerings has led banks into a rat race, with surging expenses and rising delinquencies that are hurting returns.

To make credit cards as valuable as they could be, and to bring returns back up, issuers need to direct their efforts not just toward becoming one of consumers’ three cards, but also toward becoming their favorite card. Rewards are more important than ever — three of the top four primary card determinants cited by respondents to a Business Insider Intelligence survey were rewards-related — so abandoning them isn’t effective.

Instead, issuers need to be more resourceful with their rewards offerings, focusing on areas that encourage habit formation, promote high-volume spending, and help to offset some of the rewards costs while building engagement and loyalty.

In this report, Business Insider Intelligence sizes the US consumer credit card market, explains why return on assets (ROA) is on the decline, highlights the importance of rewards in attracting customers, and lays out three next-generation rewards strategies that are popular among certain demographics, which issuers can implement to return their card business to profitability. To drive this analysis, we conducted a survey centered on users’ card preferences to over 700 US members of our proprietary panel in May 2018.

Here are some key takeaways from the report: 

  • Competition driven by consumer card appetite in the US is hurting issuer returns. Consumer confidence and regulatory policy that favors credit cards should be a boon to issuers. But the competition has surged expenses to unattainable levels and increased delinquencies, which are causing returns to trend down.
  • Consumers still value rewards above all when it comes to cards. Two-thirds of respondents to our survey cited rewards-related offerings as the leading driver of primary card status, but they can be pricey for issuers.
  • Using resources strategically and offering rewards types that encourage high-volume spending and drive engagement through habit formation, like flexible offerings, rewards for e-commerce, and local bonuses, could be the path to success in the future.

In full, the report:

  • Identifies the factors that are causing high credit appetite to hurt issuer returns.
  • Explains the value of top-of-wallet status, and evaluates the factors that drive it based on proprietary consumer data.
  • Defines three popular next-generation rewards options that issuers can use to drive up spending and engagement without breaking the bank.
  • Issues recommendations about how to offer these rewards and what demographic groups could be most receptive to them.

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0 This $230 Philips Sonicare toothbrush maps your mouth using an app that shows you how to brush better — here's what it's like to use

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  • Great oral hygiene starts with brushing your teeth effectively — and it's just as important for your smile as it is for the health of your whole body.
  • The Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart electric toothbrush ($230) uses high-quality pieces and smart technology to clean teeth more effectively.
  • After using the brush for a few weeks, my teeth not only felt significantly cleaner, but the connected app helped guide me to better brushing habits and techniques.

A smile is one of the first things people notice about you,  so I've always tried my best to take good care of my teeth.

My brother had braces twice, so after my first go, I knew I had to develop good habits. That meant wearing a retainer most nights, brushing my teeth twice a day, dabbling in Crest Whitestrips, and keeping floss with me at (almost) all times. I'm happy to say that for the most part my teeth have stayed pretty straight and stain-free over the years. 

But taking good care of your smile is important for more than just first impressions — neglecting your teeth can lead to loads of problems like bad breath and cavities. Even more seriously, poor dental hygiene can contribute a wide array of illnesses counting dementia, gum disease, and diabetes among others. 

Visiting your dentist twice a year is important, but on those 363 other days of the year, taking care of those pearly whites is all on you.

The American Dental Association recommends you brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, and floss at least once in between. You probably already knew that, but the key to clean chompers isn't how much you brush — it's how you brush. Most dentists agree that a manual toothbrush can clean your teeth just as well as an electric toothbrush — that is, when you focus on brushing properly, which means getting every inch of tooth and gum, moving the bristles fast, but not too fast, and making sure you stick it out for the full two minutes. Even as someone who prides themselves on solid oral hygiene habits, I've been guilty of cutting my sessions too short when I'm rushing in the morning and being a lazy brusher when I'm tired at night. 

When my manual toothbrush had had its run, an electric toothbrush seemed like an easy fix for a better clean. With all the bells and whistles that work together to keep your teeth plaque-free, really all you have to do is hold the brush. So, when the opportunity arose to test out one of the top electric toothbrushes on the market, the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart Sonic, I was excited, albeit skeptical. Could a $230 toothbrush really be that much more effective than a more affordable option? Is an electric toothbrush even that much better than a manual toothbrush in the first place? The jury is still out on what kind of toothbrush is best, which just made me more curious. That, and the high price tag, led me to test out the brush and do a quasi-case study of my own.

What comes with the DiamondClean Smart Sonic toothbrush?

The Smart Sonic arrives in what looks more like a box fit for a high-tech speaker than a toothbrush — that's to say it's pretty big. When you open the box, you'll find everything you could ever need from a toothbrush — one brush, four different heads, a USB travel case, a rinsing glass/charger, access to a tracking app, and instructions on how to use everything, including the app that helps you optimize your technique. 


Using the toothbrush

When I got the package, I was so excited to use the toothbrush, I barely even looked at the instructions. It was already fully charged and ready for use, so I just slipped on one of the smart heads and turned the brush on. There are two buttons on the brush handle — the power button and the mode button. By pressing the mode button, you can select the optimal mode for your teeth-cleaning needs. Since this is a smart brush after all, the handle can actually tell what mode you desire based on which brush head you're using. So, when I clicked in the whitening brush head, my toothbrush knew to use the whitening setting. 

The brush felt great on my teeth — I could feel the oscillating bristles reaching the oft-forgotten nooks and crannies. Suddenly, a bright pink light started flashing on the rim of the handle. I didn't know what it meant, so I stopped brushing. After experimenting with my technique, I came to realize this light was telling me to brush more gently. After some more time gently brushing my teeth, the brush automatically stopped — I guess that was two minutes. 

I was so impressed with how my teeth felt after just one use — I felt like I'd just been given a deep-clean by my dentist from a quick two-minute brushing session. I was actually excited to wake up the next morning and brush my teeth — something I usually wouldn't really look forward to. 


The DiamondClean smart features

After using the DiamondClean smart brush for about two weeks, it needed to be recharged — when the battery is low, you'll see a blinking battery signal on the brush. I went to get the charger, which was still in the original box. That's when I realized I hadn't been taking advantage of one of the brush's coolest features — the app that helps you monitor, improve, and maximize your four minutes spent brushing each day. 

Getting started on the app was a pretty intuitive process. Once downloaded, you create a profile filling out some basic data as well as your tooth-related concerns (e.g., is your main goal to whiten or focus on gum care?). Once that's done, you connect your brush via bluetooth and brush your teeth. This is where things got interesting.

I was a skeptic — I know how to brush my own teeth, I thought, as I waited for the app to download on my phone. I questioned what this app could possibly do other than be a gimmick. Well, I ended up impressed — this app gave me some helpful information that motivated me to become a better brusher. Here's how:

When you start brushing, you'll see a mouth map and a timer on your screen. The map outlines which areas to focus on, and for how long  —  it split my mouth into six sections, and told me to spend about 20 seconds on each section. The brush has a smart location sensor and tracks movement in real time, so it can tell when you're not following the given directions and will redirect you. When I moved my brush out of the designated brushing range, the app alerted me to use less motion. Similarly, when I brushed any specific area too hard, the app (and the light ring on the end of the handle) alerted me to use less pressure. 

When the two minutes is done, the app will use its TouchUp feature to show you any spots you missed. This part was kind of shocking — the mouth map shows the areas you missed in yellow, and I had a lot of yellow. The intention here is to help you see which areas have not been brushed enough, so you can give them a second go. As you clean, you'll see the yellow turn to white on the app, signaling that your teeth have been sufficiently scrubbed. This made me question the effectiveness of my usual brushing methods.

After the final round of cleaning, the app asks if you've brushed your tongue, flossed, and rinsed. Answer yes or no based on what you've actually done — the app keeps this info logged on a calendar, so you can keep track of how often you actually do these extra teeth-cleaning tactics.

The in-depth mouth map not only helped me clean my teeth more effectively in the moment, but made me think about how I can brush more efficiently every time. Seeing the areas you missed kind of functions as a fun little challenge — motivating you to do better next time. And, the compliments I've received on my teeth tell me they really are looking whiter. 


The final verdict

Overall, I've loved my experience with the DiamondClean Smart toothbrush thus far. The brush itself gives you a gentle but powerful clean every time. The app leaves nothing to the imagination, and tells you everything you need to know about improving your brushing regimen — it's also very simple to use, with lots of easy-to-follow directions, a particular benefit for those who don't count technology as one of their strong suits. The app will even sense when your brush head needs to be changed, and can automatically order a new one for you.

The charging glass not only looks sleek on a bathroom counter, but ensures that the brush won't topple over — something that always frustrated me about electric toothbrushes in the past. I haven't had the use for the travel case yet, but knowing that I can bring this toothbrush on a trip with me while keeping it clean and charged is a weight off my shoulders — after all, if you're paying for a great toothbrush, you shouldn't have to buy another for a trip.

If you're someone who has trouble getting yourself to brush your teeth regularly, the intuitive, engaging features of this smart brush could help to motivate you. Though, I do think this a great product for anyone looking to up the ante on their brushing routine. 

Still, a toothbrush for $230 is undeniably expensive, especially when you compare it to a $5 brush you could get at the drugstore. If you think of this as solely a toothbrush, it is a lot, but if you think of this as a smart wellness device as well, the price may not seem as exorbitant.

Of course, there are plenty of great electric toothbrushes out there at much more affordable prices — many of my coworkers swear by one you could snag for $50, which is definitely an easier amount to part with. 

If you choose to buy it, you can be sure the DiamondClean Smart toothbrush will leave you with a sparkling smile — and more mindful brushing habits for years to come. 

Get the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart electric toothbrush, $230, available at Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond

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0 'Game of Thrones' released 20 new photos from the final season that show stunning new costumes

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Sansa Stark Game of Thrones season 8

  • HBO released new "Game of Thrones" photos on Twitter.
  • Twenty new character shots were shared on the website.
  • Each character is shown sitting on the Iron Throne. 

New character shots from the final season of "Game of Thrones" show off even more of the costumes. 

HBO released 20 photos on Twitter Thursday to promote the eighth and final season of the hit show. 

Some of the costumes have already been featured in 15 photos that were released in early February.  

"Game of Thrones" returns for its eighth and final season Sunday, April 14 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. 

Arya Stark has made it home to Winterfell.

She has her trusty sword, Needle, in her hands. 

Sansa Stark is wearing a stunning gown that looks scaly.

Sansa is home in Winterfell. 

Bran Stark is wearing a long, dark blue cloak.

Bran learned the truth about Jon's parentage.

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0 Experian drops its $366 million ClearScore acquisition (EXPGY)

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This is an excerpt from a story delivered exclusively to Business Insider Intelligence Fintech Briefing subscribers. To receive the full story plus other insights each morning, click here.

Credit bureau Experian — one of the biggest credit data firms globally — has scrapped its proposed acquisition of credit-scoring fintech ClearScore, according to the Financial Times.

key reasons global fintechs partner with conventional financial services firms

The fintech provides customers with credit scores, allows them to check their credit rating without affecting their official score, and recommends personal finance products best suited to their individual circumstances — all for free. Experian first announced its plans to buy the startup for £275 million ($366 million) last year in March, aiming to capitalize on the startup's success in luring in consumers with its free membership model.

The move to scrap the acquisition comes as regulators voiced concerns regarding the deal. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said in November that the acquisition may result in less competition in the market, as it could hamper the development of digital products that help customers understand personal finances, per Reuters.

Given that Experian and ClearScore are the UK’s largest credit-checking businesses, per the FT, this merge might have resulted in an unwanted monopoly; as such, the CMA indicated that it might block the deal. Experian has now said that it doesn't believe the CMA would approve the acquisition on satisfactory terms, providing this as its reason to abandon the plans.

This instance shows that incumbents can’t always rely on bringing new products and solutions to market by acquiring fintech firms. Incumbents often bet on startups' tech when overhauling their services, either by partnering with or acquiring fintechs.

Although the regulatory concerns sparked by the Experian-ClearScore deal may be an exception, as both companies have a large market share in the UK, incumbents should still ensure that regulators approve of their acquisition plans. As such, Experian might have been better off looking toward smaller players for an acquisition to not stifle competition and raise regulatory concerns. Experian still aims to launch new products and services in the next year, and we may see the company team up with other startups in the space to bring those new products to market.

Interested in getting the full story? Here are two ways to get access:

1. Sign up for the Fintech Briefing to get it delivered to your inbox 6x a week. >> Get Started

2. Subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to the Fintech Briefing, plus more than 250 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now

SEE ALSO: Latest fintech industry trends, technologies and research from our ecosystem report

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0 The $2,000 Galaxy Fold from Samsung is a massive risk for anyone who buys it

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samsung galaxy fold

  • Samsung unveiled its first foldable smartphone last week, the Galaxy Fold.
  • The Galaxy Fold is the most expensive smartphone Samsung has ever made. It starts at $1,980.
  • The phone features many technological innovations, but carries a lot of risk for customers as well.

Samsung's $2,000 foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, has been turning heads since its unveiling last week.

Foldable phones are the hottest new phone trend in 2019, which isn't too surprising. Before smartphones became mainstream in the late 2000s, foldable "clamshell" phones like the Motorola Razr dominated the marketplace with their compact designs.

The Galaxy Fold hearkens back to that era of flip phones: You can use the Galaxy Fold's 4.7-inch display with one hand, but the phone can open up into a 7.3-inch tablet-like display.

Having a new smartphone design, after over a decade of the same rounded rectangles over and over again, is obviously exciting. But buying the Galaxy Fold when it becomes available in select regions on April 26 is a risky prospect.

Here's why.

SEE ALSO: Samsung says you won't be able to walk into any store and try its new $2,000 foldable phone

DON'T MISS: Here's everything Samsung announced at its big Galaxy S10 event

The Galaxy Fold is not a small investment. At $1,980 to start, it's two to three times the price of a normal smartphone.

Smartphones are already extraordinarily expensive right now, and that's mainly due to the one-upsmanship between Apple, Samsung, and other tech giants to make the best phones each year. It's a yearly competition that's gotten more intense since the $1,000 iPhone X was unveiled in 2017.

Not only is the Galaxy Fold a lot of money up front for a smartphone — but repairs could turn out to be just as costly.

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0 10% of Americans say they just identify with whoever the protagonist is

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The great american personality quiz banner

sex and the city

  • You know that thing where you consume media and identify with a character?
  • If you're anything like 10% of Americans, you might just identify with whoever the protagonist is.
  • There's no shame in it.
  • But if you think you're a Gryffindor or a Carrie — um, maybe take a closer look.

You know that thing where you become really engrossed in a TV show, movie, or book and begin to identify with a character? Maybe you've watched "Gossip Girl" time and time again and identify the most with Blair. Or perhaps you love "Gilmore Girls" and totally get Lorelai's point of view.

Well, if you're anything like 10 percent of Americans, you might just identify with whoever the protagonist is in a given piece of media.

Recently, as a part of the Great American Personality Test, INSIDER teamed up with Morning Consult to see who 8,805 people across the country identified with, and, uh, for a lot of people it's just the main character.

For example, in the book and movie series, "Harry Potter" students at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry are sorted into houses. Of those familiar with the series, the largest percentage of people, 22 percent, guessed that they would be sorted into Gryffindor — the house of the series' protagonist, Harry Potter.

Then, of those familiar with "Sex and the City" more respondents said they identify with Carrie Bradshaw (11 percent) than they did her friends Samantha Jones (8 percent), Charlotte York Goldenblatt (6 percent) or Miranda Hobbes (6 percent).

And nearly 1,200 respondents who were familiar with "Game of Thrones" said that if they were to be in a family competing to rule Westeros and Essos, they would be a member of House Stark, arguably the protagonists of the series.

But, listen: There's no shame in it. You are who you are. And sometimes you just want to be the star of your own show.

Read more about our methodology here

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0 Fractals are math's trippiest concept, and they get even weirder when used to solve a puzzle involving the British coast

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mandelbrot set

  • Fractal geometry is one of the most elegant and beautiful branches of mathematics.
  • An early analysis of fractals came from a surprising and weird phenomenon that occurs when you try to measure a coastline.
  • The measured length of the coastline depends on how long of a ruler you use, with shorter rulers resulting in longer measured lengths.

You probably haven't thought of fractals since your high school geometry class, but there's a chance you've crossed paths with the otherworldly patterns recently. From trippy dorm room posters to the special effects in the blockbuster film "Doctor Strange," the endlessly recursive designs have become a cultural shorthand for awe and wonder.

Fractals are mathematical curves that are made up of ever smaller copies of themselves, so that zooming in on one part of the curve results in a very similar shape to the whole.

Many fractals, like the Mandelbrot set above, come from intricate mathematical equations. But some are much simpler and easier to construct.

One straightforward but still fascinating fractal is the Koch snowflake. To build your own, start with a straight line. Then, add a triangular point in the middle of that line. Take that shape and do the same thing with each of the four smaller line segments, adding a triangular point to each. This process then gets repeated over and over again:

koch snowflake v2

The final curve is the result of doing this process an infinite number of times. Zooming in on any part of the snowflake gives a smaller version of the overall figure.

Fractals like the Koch snowflake have lots of weird mathematical properties. For example, each iteration above has a greater total length than the previous step. By replacing each line segment in the figure with four sections, the overall length of the curve keeps increasing. As it turns out, the eventual infinitely iterated curve ends up having an "infinite" length, even though it takes up a finite amount of space in the two-dimensional plane.

Read more: Any Rubik's Cube can be solved in 20 moves, but it took over 30 years for anyone to figure that out

Many shapes in nature have fractal-like properties. Crystals show the kind of repeating "self-similarity" that the Koch snowflake does; tree branches grow out into smaller and smaller versions of themselves; and lightning bolts follow fractal-like paths through the air.

But, as with many things in math, one of the earliest foundational studies of what would be later described as fractals came from a surprisingly difficult question: How long is the coastline of Great Britain?

While most people wouldn't lose sleep over this puzzle, it's the exact sort of problem that interests mathematicians — particularly when the answer turns out more complicated than expected.

It turns out that measuring the length of a coastline depends on the length of the ruler you're using, or the resolution of the map or photo being measured. That is somewhat counterintuitive, since most distances we might measure day to day don't change with the length of the ruler used to find them.

Coastlines can have large amounts of bends and kinks and odd edges, and so a smaller ruler or scale being used can measure a longer overall length of a coastline than a longer ruler, as the smaller ruler can capture more of those weird twists and turns.

As an example, here's a measurement of the coast of Great Britain using two different scales: one with a ruler about 100 miles long, and another using a second ruler half that length.

coast of britain v3

As your ruler gets smaller and smaller, the measured length of the coastline just keeps getting longer and longer. 

In a seminal 1967 paper, mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot explored the relationship between changing the length of a ruler and the measured length of a coastline. Mandelbrot built off of earlier research by the mathematician Lewis Fry Richardson, who first observed the phenomenon of border measurements getting increasingly large as the unit of measurement got smaller.

Mandelbrot argued that the key reason for the increasing measured lengths with smaller rulers is that coastlines have a property he called "self-similarity." Roughly speaking, self-similarity means that zooming in on one part of a curve results in an area that looks somewhat similar to the larger part of the curve. Self-similar shapes are made up of smaller shapes that look like the larger shape.

Coastlines (like the British coast pictured above), tend to be very crinkly, with lots of zig-zagging areas and odd ins and outs. But zooming in closer, one sees a similar degree of crinkliness.

That self-similarity is the essential feature of what Mandelbrot would later name fractals.

Coastlines, of course, are not true fractals. While the self-similarity of a coastline extends pretty far, at the end of the day, coastlines are made up of atoms, and so the infinite levels of recursion that are possible in mathematical abstractions like the Koch snowflake are impossible with actual physical objects.

Some of the most interesting developments in math come out of the interplay between abstract concepts and actual physical things that exist in the real world. Fractals like the Mandelbrot set or the Koch snowflake are artifacts of pure geometry, but it took a strange attribute of coastlines to jump-start the study of this beautiful branch of math.

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0 I took a $5,400 Emirates business-class flight that famously serves 3-course meals from Dubai to NYC — and it was the best food I've ever had on an airplane

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Best_Business_Class_Flight_Emirates_Airbus_A380 (136 of 198)

  • For my 14-hour flight to New York from Dubai, I decided to fly business class for $5,400 operated by Emirates Airlines
  • I was primarily excited to fly business class — and Emirates — for the first time because it meant that I would get to experience Emirates' dining, both in its pre-flight lounge and in the air.
  • The airline is well-known for its extravagant first class and business class perks. I assumed that would mean the food would be gourmet fine dining.
  • While the food can't compete with a Michelin-starred restaurant, it was the best food I've experienced both on an airplane and in an airport lounge.

To say I was excited to fly business class for the first time would be an understatement. Add in the fact that my ticket was with Emirates, rated the fourth-best airline in the world, and I was ecstatic. 

Emirates is well-known for its extravagant first class and business class perks. I assumed that would mean the food would be gourmet fine dining.

It did not disappoint.

The business class lounge alone has five main dining areas, three "concept areas," and partnerships with luxe brands like Moët & Chandon and Voss water. The flight featured three-course white tablecloth meals with craft cocktails and a selection of four wines. 

Here's what it was like:

SEE ALSO: I flew 14 hours in business class on the soon-to-be extinct Emirates A380, the world's largest airliner — and it was more luxurious than I could have imagined

DON'T MISS: I've spent 6 months traveling the world on business, and I've found the perfect way to make airports less miserable

My Emirates dining adventure began with the business class lounge, which I visited several hours before my flight. The Concourse B lounge I was in is one of six Emirates lounges in Dubai International Airport. It was refurbished two and a half years ago for $11 million and still looks sparkling new.

I got the greatest hits of the food stations. I ended up with the okonomiyaki rice, teriyaki chicken, a fish masala, an Oreo cheesecake, and a dark chocolate raspberry truffle. It wasn't Michelin-star food, but it was well made and light-years above what you usually find in a lounge.

After spending four hours exploring Emirates' business class lounge and all it had to offer, it was time for my first taste of business class. After getting settled and watching the safety videos, I was ready for the Emirates' culinary experience.

Read more: I spent 4 hours in Emirates' flagship business class lounge, where wealthy travelers sip champagne, get massages, and eat from 5 different restaurants — and it was the best airport lounge I've ever been in

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0 'Dark Phoenix' could transition the 'X-Men' franchise into the Disney era, but don't expect a teaser in 'Avengers: Endgame'

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x-men dark phoenix

  • Both the upcoming "Dark Phoenix" and "Avengers: Endgame" will mark a conclusion for this era of their respective franchises.
  • Fans shouldn't expect the X-Men to be teased in "Endgame," but once the Disney-Fox merger closes, the characters could be introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after this year.

Both the "X-Men" franchise and the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know them will change drastically after this year.

Fox dropped a new trailer for the next installment in its long-running "X-Men" series, "Dark Phoenix," on Wednesday, and it teases an end (it's less on the nose about it than the first trailer, which featured a song called "The End" by The Doors). It even reveals the death of a major character, and director Simon Kinberg told Entertainment Weekly "there are certainly other major casualties" in the movie.

READ MORE: The DC movie franchise made a comeback with 'Aquaman,' and its new strategy will distinguish it from the Marvel Cinematic Universe

But even without the ominous footage released so far, it was apparent that "Dark Phoenix" would be a turning point for the franchise.

Disney, which owns Marvel, bought Fox last year in an industry-shaking $71 billion deal, and the merger is expected to close early this year. At that point, Disney will own Fox's Marvel characters — which include the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool — and the Marvel Cinematic Universe will have access to them. "Dark Phoenix" is expected to be the final major "X-Men" movie under Fox, besides a "New Mutants" spin-off that comes to theaters in August.

Fans shouldn't expect the X-Men to be teased in the MCU's "Avengers: Endgame," though.

avengers endgame final

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told Variety in December that he hadn't been given the greenlight to develop projects for Fox's Marvel characters yet. That means it's unlikely that any reference to the X-Men would have been approved for "Endgame," which hits theaters in two months. However, he did say that it's "looking very, very good and could happen in the first six months" of 2019. 

"Endgame" also marks an end of sorts for the MCU. Feige has said that the current era of the MCU is "gearing towards a conclusion" with the movie, and Disney CEO Bob Iger has said that the MCU will "try a new franchise beyond 'Avengers'" in the future. After "Endgame," veteran MCU actors like Chris Evans are expected to retire from their roles.

The MCU will be in need of fresh characters once that happens, and after this year, Marvel will be free to use the X-Men in any capacity. Disney is developing MCU spin-off TV shows for its upcoming streaming service, Disney+, which could pave the way for an introduction to a new rendition.

The timing couldn't be better for "Dark Phoenix" and "Endgame" to both mark a conclusion for this era of their respective franchises. 

Watch the new "Dark Phoenix" trailer below:


SEE ALSO: This year proved the Oscars have started to embrace Marvel and Netflix, even though 'Black Panther' and 'Roma' lost best picture

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