Monthly Archives: May 2016

Trump University employees were encouraged to be vague about prices when soliciting new members

Hundreds of pages of Trump University internal documents were released on Tuesday in connection with an ongoing fraud lawsuit against the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s now-defunct series of courses on real estate and investing.

The unsealed documents include sales and marketing “playbooks” from 2007 through 2010. Politico, however, published the 2010 playbook in March.

One of the playbooks advised members of the marketing team to be vague about pricing of Trump University courses.

“If a client is adamant about knowing the price, simply say ‘Our course range anywhere from $29 to $35,000 that’s why we have this interview/screening process to make sure you will be receive the most appropriate level of support to help you achieve your goals [sic].”

Later, the playbook acknowledged that it may be uncomfortable when a prospective client asks, “How much will this cost?”

“After you have heard this question you will start to get a little uneasy,” the playbook read. “You are nervous because you know this will cost money, and lots of it at that.”

The playbook advised marketing-team members to respond to questions about money by saying, for example, “I’m not talking about tens of thousands of dollars, but on the other hand not a couple of hundred dollars either.”

The documents were unsealed as part of a court decision by Judge Gonzalo Curiel, whom Trump has called a “hater” and suggested his Mexican heritage made him biased and unfit to oversee the case.

Before the documents were released on Tuesday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman slammed Trump and his eponymous University as “phony” and “shameless.”

Trump remains enmeshed in multiple lawsuits filed by former students of Trump University and faces a third fraud suit from Schneiderman, which likely won’t go to trial until after the November election. The suits accuse Trump of defrauding students into paying thousands of dollars for worthless classes on real estate and investing.

Trump and his lawyers, however, have continually defended the for-profit university, citing stellar student reviews. Some students, however, may have been pressured into writing them, The New York Times has reported.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is suing Oracle for $3 billion

Oracle executive chairman and CTO Larry Ellison.
Kimberly White/Stringer/Getty Images

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Oracle are heading back to court to determine how much money, if any, Oracle owes HPE over a case it won in 2011.

HPE is going to ask for $3 billion in the breach-of-contract suit.

Since that last trial, Hewlett-Packard has split into two companies, HPE, which makes servers and software for enterprises, and HP Inc., which makes PCs and printers.

HPE is the company pursuing this lawsuit, which came about after Oracle hired Mark Hurd. Hurd was the former CEO of HP. He left HP amid questions involving his expense reports and allegations that he was trying to get one of HP’s contract workers to date him.

Oracle had just bought Sun. Larry Ellison was friends and tennis buddies with Hurd and hired Hurd to help him turn Oracle into a hardware company. This meant Oracle was now a competitor to its former partner, HP.

Oracle said it would no longer create versions of Oracle’s database for HP’s most expensive, most profitable servers, built with a special Intel chip, Itanium. Many of HP’s customers had bought that server specifically to run Oracle’s database, which needs a powerful server to perform well. That’s one of the reasons why Oracle bought hardware company, Sun, to begin with.

(Another reason it bought Sun was to get its hands on Java, Sun’s popular web programming language. And that led to Oracle suing Google for billions of dollars, although a jury just sided with Google saying it doesn’t owe Oracle any money.)

In the meantime, when Oracle wanted to end support for Itanium, HP sued for breach of contract and won.

Both companies are back in court this week to determine what kind of damages, if any, HPE is owed.

HPE will argue that the confusion over support for its servers cost it $1.7 billion in sales and another $1.3 billion in lost future sales. HP had originally claimed Oracle’s decision cost it $4 billion.

Oracle originally argued that it wanted to kill support for itanium because the itanium chip itself never garnered support beyond HP, and Oracle believed even HP was planning on ditching it. Oracle attorney Karen Dunn, Partner at Boies, Schiller and Flexner, LLP sent us this comment:

Even though HP has all of the Oracle software, they are asking for $3 billion dollars because of a press release that told the truth – but technology doesn’t die because of a press release, it dies because better technology leaves it behind.

Elon Musk: The first Tesla Roadster we sold was ‘completely unsafe’

Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Tesla’s Model S electric car has won rave reviews from auto critics.

But the company’s first crack at an electric car, the Roadster, had some problems.

In fact, CEO Elon Musk now admits that the car was “completely unsafe.”

During Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday, Musk recounted the company’s bumpy road to building an electric car.

The Roadster, which went on sale in 2008, used a chassis made by sports-car maker Lotus.

“Frankly, this car, although it passed all the regulatory requirements for a street-legal car, was completely unsafe,” said Musk.

He noted that the vehicle broke down all the time, tended to get “stuck” in second gear, and was primarily “hand-built.”

As it turns out, the first Tesla Roadster sold was actually to Musk himself, the CEO recounted on Tuesday. A Tesla representative said that Musk’s comments about the unsafe car referred to only that first Roadster that he bought, and not to the first generation of Roadster vehicles.

In any case, Musk noted that within a year Tesla did a “complete reboot” of the car’s design, technology, and suppliers. That paved the way for a generation of Roadsters that performed better and which actually generated a profit, according to Musk.

Inside the labs that hope to bring people back from the dead

Aaron Drake, Medical Response Director, prepares stabilization medications to be used during the initial stages of a cryopreservation.
Murray Ballard

Science has been tackling new ways to stop death, which includes diving into the world of cryonics.

Cryonics is an experimental effort to save lives by freezing a person’s body who is so chronically ill that today’s medicine could not help. Some scientists believe that cryopreservation could be successful in the future, while others are very doubtful, according to BBC.

Photographer Murray Ballard has spent years photographing cryonics institutions around the UK and the United States. “What I like about cryonics is that it gives us a vehicle to consider questions about the future,” Ballard tells Business Insider. “You stand a much better chance of coming back to life if you’re cryopreserved than if you’re buried or cremated.” Ballard compiled his photos into a book titled “The Prospect of Immortality.” Below, see photos inside the cryonics institutions.

For his series, Ballard visited cryonics institutions in the UK, France, Norway, Arizona, Colorado, and Russia. He visited Alcor Life Extension Foundation, pictured below, in Scottsdale, Arizona the most.

Alcor Life Extension Foundation (front view), Scottsdale, Arizona. December 2012
Murray Ballard

Planning to participate in cryonics must take place before death. As of April 2016, the Alcor institute has 146 patients.

Frank, prospective patient, standby team training, Peacehaven, East Sussex. May 2007
Murray Ballard

The freezing and preserving process starts immediately after a patient’s “legal death” is announced. A person can decide whether to freeze their entire body or just their brain. “Legal death” is when a person is beyond help and dies naturally and can no longer be revitalized by current technology.

Patient Care Bay (Bigfoot dewar being filled with liquid nitrogen), Alcor Life Extension Foundation, Scottsdale, Arizona. October 2006
Murray Ballard


While visiting the institutions, Ballard interviewed cryonicists. “The majority of cryonicists accept that it’s an experiment and, while the chances of it working are very small, they argue it’s the logical thing to do,” Ballard said.

Aaron Drake, Medical Response Director, prepares stabilization medications to be used during the initial stages of a cryopreservation. Alcor Life Extension Foundation, Scottsdale, Arizona. August 2009
Murray Ballard

The process of cryonics has four major steps — transport, stabilization, cryoprotective perfusion, and cooling.

Catstat, Cryonics Institute, Clinton Township, Michigan. March 2007
Murray Ballard

Once the person is pronounced dead, they are immediately transported to the closest cryonics institution. Patients are encouraged to move near an institute before death, for a supposedly higher chance of success with the process. During stabilization they are put in an ice water bath and blood circulation and breathing are artificially restored by a heart-lung resuscitator.

DNA archive, home of David and Ellen Styles, Macclesfield, Cheshire. February 2009
Murray Ballard

Once they are successfully transported and go through the stabilization process, they go through the process of cryoprotective perfusion, a process where blood and/or organs are replaced with a vitrification solution to prevent or reduce ice crystallization in the body during cool down.

Cryostats, Cryonics Institute, Clinton Township, Michigan. April 2010
Murray Ballard

Last, they are cooled under computer control by fans circulating nitrogen gas. They are first cooled to negative 257 degrees Fahrenheit for three hours, then gradually cooled to negative 374 degrees Fahrenheit for long term care.

Temporary storage container, KrioRus facility, Alabushevo, Moscow. September 2010
Murray Ballard

The first person to participate is preserving their body with cryonics was in 1965. No patients involved are yet to be revived.

Margaret Kiseleva, holding a photograph of her mother, Ludmila, moments before her cryopreservation, KrioRus facility, Alabushevo, Moscow. September 2010
Murray Ballard

“There’s an incredible optimism in signing up to cryonics, which I admire,” Ballard tells Business Insider. “I also think it’s quite a brave thing to do, putting your body in the hands of future generations, and, if it works, you’ll probably ‘wake up’ in a very unfamiliar world.”

Patient storage demonstration, Alcor Life Extension Foundation, Scottsdale, Arizona. August 2009
Murray Ballard

The presidential election will cause a huge boom and bust for some American workers

A volunteer campaign staff member assembles a backdrop at U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign headquarters in Greenville, South Carolina February 16, 2016
Rainier Ehrhardt/Reuters

Running a national campaign takes a lot of effort. The so-called ground game of presidential campaigns are massive opportunities for people to find jobs.

Those jobs also disappear incredibly fast.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, campaigns could employ roughly 20,000 people this year, a massive jump from the 8,270 working for political organizations in 2015.

Most of this increase will be due to the presidential and congressional elections.

“Employment has been higher in years with both presidential and congressional elections than in years with only congressional elections,” said a post from the BLS.

“October employment reached 20,207 in 2008 and 19,073 in 2012 (years with presidential elections), but peaked at 16,205 in 2010 and 17,819 in 2014 (years with congressional elections but no presidential election).”

The problem, however, is that these jobs aren’t built to last. For one thing, every race has a loser, who most likely needs almost none of the new staff hired. For another, once elected, politicians have much smaller staffing needs while in office.

This leads to the bust portion of the political labor market.

“Steep decreases have occurred after these election-year peaks,” said the BLS. “Employment lows occurred during the first 3 months of odd-numbered years (6,148 in March 2009; 5,866 in February 2011; 6,187 in February 2013; and 6,585 in February 1015).”

So while the increase in 2015 is good news for an already historically tight labor market, an ensuing bust is just on the horizon.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Budweiser is launching a new beer that’s missing the one thing that consumers love

Flickr/Grace Smith

A new Budweiser beer has one major difference from the brand’s famous brew – it’s 100% alcohol-free.

Budweiser Prohibition Brew recently debuted in Canada. The beer is intended to taste precisely like Budweiser while clocking in at 0.0% alcohol content.

Budweiser Canada said the company used “the latest de-alcoholization technology” to create the brew.

“Our goals are to empower consumers with choice and change social norms, and this beer will achieve both,” Kyle Norrington, the vice president of marketing at the Anheuser-Busch InBev-owned Canadian brewing company Labatt, said in a statement.

The beer is part of a wider mission at Budweiser to offer an increased variety of beverages with less alcohol. In 2015, AB InBev committed to ensuring that low-alcohol and nonalcoholic beers would represent at least 20% of its global beer volume by 2025.

Low-alcohol beers are generally considered to be those with less alcohol than even the lightest mainstream beers, between 0.5% and 3% alcohol by volume, while nonalcoholic beers range from true 0.0% ABV to the nearly alcohol-free 0.5% ABV. Budweiser is 5% ABV, while Bud Light is 4.2%.

Budweiser on Facebook

Lower-alcohol beers are catching on internationally, with nonalcoholic beers growing atdouble the rate of the total beer marketin terms of volume in the past five years. Low-alcohol beers’ growth was triple that of the wider beer market.

Lower-alcohol beers have thrived in Western Europe, with the success of radlers (beer mixed with soda or juice), as well as in countries,such as Indonesia,with significant Muslim populations who may choose to abstain from alcohol.

But don’t expect beer minus the booze to catch on in the US anytime soon. The growth of low-alcohol and nonalcoholic options in the UShas been minimal– especially compared with other countries.

So Budweiser Prohibition Brew will probably stay north of the border – at least for now.Budweiser told AdAgethat the brand was “excited by the prospect that it could eventually be offered in the US,” but that the beer is now available only in Canada.

Here’s the real reason you get a ‘runner’s high’ after a long run

Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

There’s quite possibly no better feeling in the world than the feeling of calm and happiness at the completion of a tough run.

So what’s the reason for this runner’s high? You’ve probably heard that can be chalked up to a rise in something called endorphins, the so-called “happy” chemicals that induce feelings of pain relief and pleasure.

But it’s actually a bit more complicated than that.

Recent studies in mice suggest that endorphins may have nothing at all to do with the so-called “runner’s high.” Instead, scientists think the effect could be attributed to other chemicals in the body that produce similar pain-relieving and happy feelings.

The ‘endorphins make you happy’ idea

The idea that increased levels of endorphins are responsible for your happy feeling after a strenuous workout arose in the 1980s, when scientists found that endorphin levels in the blood spiked after prolonged exercise. Some researchers also assumed these chemicals produced the sense of euphoria we feel after a tough workout, and the idea caught on rapidly.

But there’s a problem with this explanation: Endorphins are large molecules. So large that they can’t move from the blood into the brain. The blood-brain barrier is key to keeping the brain safe; it keeps certain pathogens and molecules from passing from the blood into the brain. But because endorphins can’t get through, it means it’s unlikely that they are the sole chemical responsible for your post-run high.

Turning to endocannabinoids

Endorphins aren’t the only chemicals whose levels increase when you exercise. A chemical called anandamide does too, a September 2015 study in mice and a small 2004 study in people suggested. Anandamide is a type of endocannabinoid, a chemical that’s part of a system that’s in charge of moderating the psychoactive, feel-good effects of marijuana. And unlike cumbersome endorphins, anandamide can smoothly make its way from the blood to the brain.

To tease out the effects of endorphins and endocannabinoids for their 2015 paper, researchers at the Central Institute of Mental Health at the University of Heidelberg medical school directly compared the effects of both of these groups of chemicals on mice as they ran on running wheels.

The researchers found that, in addition to appearing more calm less sensitive to pain after running, the mice had higher levels of both endorphins and endocannabinoids. They also spent more time in well-lit parts of their cage, something calm, less anxious mice tend to do. They were also slightly more pain-tolerant after their stints on the wheel.

As a way to ensure that they could measure the effects of each chemical individually, the researchers first gave the mice drugs to block the effects of one of the chemicals and then another type of drug to cancel out the effects of the other chemical. When they blocked the effects of the endorphins, nothing happened – the animals remained more relaxed and pain tolerant. But when they blocked the effects of the endocannabinoids, the symptoms of the mice’s runner’s highs disappeared.

Flickr ReneS

Their findings suggest that the mice’s elevated endorphin levels, then, had little to do with their post-workout buzz.

All this research has one obvious caveat: Mice aren’t humans. And the study also revealed something disappointing: You probably need to run pretty far to experience a runner’s high, since the mice ran an average of more than three human miles per day (a long way for a mouse!).

Other factors at play

Still other studies suggest that neither endorphins nor endocannibinoids are the cause of the runner’s high. One, for example, (also done in September 2015), found that mice with low levels of a hormone called leptin tended to run farther than mice with normal levels of leptin.

Leptin, otherwise known as the “satiety hormone,” inhibits a feeling of hunger in order to regulate our energy levels. The idea is that the less full (or more hungry) you feel, the more motivated you are to keep running. And that increased motivation might make it easier to get a runner’s high. “Ultimately, leptin is sending the brain a clear message: When food is scarce, it’s fun to run to chase some down,” lead author of the study Maria Fernanda Fernandes told Outside Magazine.

Again, just because these results have been demonstrated in mice, it doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily be found in humans too. And there might be a combination of factors at play, so it might be some time before we have definitive evidence of what exactly is causing a runner’s high.

An earlier version of this post was written by Tanya Lewis.

Wall Street is only just figuring out the answer to an incredibly basic question

Gary Cohn, president and COO of Goldman Sachs.
Thomson Reuters

What do your clients think of you?

It seems like a pretty elemental question for anyone in a service industry.

In bond trading, however, it has been a mystery until recently.

Gary Cohn, president and chief operating officer at Goldman Sachs, just spoke at the Deutsche Bank Global Financial Services Investor Conference.

He touched on the bank’s changing client list and the prospects for the bank’s fixed income, currencies and commodities unit.

One reason for optimism, he said, is that the bank is now finding out what its clients really think of it.

He said (emphasis added):

While broker rankings and votes are an entrenched practice in our Equities business, we are only now starting to get more client feedback in FICC. As a result, we are increasingly focused on the granularity of where we rank with our clients and the pathway to improving our impact with them. While it’s quite early, our strategy is starting to bear fruit – we’ve observed a recent improvement in client engagement, particularly in flow products in FICC. We believe the recent momentum in our franchise will lay the groundwork for our future success.

This is something I’ve written about before. Wall Street banks are spending more time analyzing their performance with certain clients.

“Today they have fewer resources to dedicate to client interactions, and client interactions by-in-large are less profitable than they used to be,” Kevin McPartland, principal in market structure and technology at Greenwich Associates, told Business Insider in March. “So more efficiently managing client relationships is now a necessity, whereas pre-2008 it has less impact on the bottom line.”

JPMorgan, for example, has been investing in resource-management tools, according to Deutsche Bank’s Matt O’Connor. At Goldman Sachs, though, these efforts seem to have a special significance.

Earlier this year, Goldman Sachs’ global cohead of sales, Tom Cornacchia, was surprisingly blunt about a shift in the fixed-income division that is causing some “awkwardness” and “friction.”

“It’s always been a client business, but there’s a difference,” Cornacchia said.

Today, it’s much more about “understanding that your bread and butter is a business that you do on a continuum every single day – it’s not positions you put on your balance sheet. And that’s a big culture shift for the fixed-income businesses.”

And securities cohead Pablo Salame has said that one long-term goal is to sell more products to existing clients.

ESPN continues to lose subscribers at an alarming rate

The number of homes with ESPN has dropped below 90 million for the first time in a decade as the Worldwide Leader in Sports continues to bleed subscribers at an alarming rate.

As Clay Travis of notes, ESPN has lost over 1.5 million subscribers since February alone. If that pace continues – and data from the last three years suggests it will – the number of homes with ESPN will likely fall to at least 87-88 million by the end of the year. That would mark a 12-13% drop in just the last five years, since the network peaked with 100.1 million subscribers in 2011.

This is a troubling trend for a network that generates 60% of its revenue from subscription fees charged to cable and satellite companies. It is also just another sign that ESPN is going to have to get more creative with generating web subscribers and offering ESPN as a standalone product, much like HBO has done with HBO Now.

Cork Gaines/Business Insider

Leaked photos suggest the next MacBook Pro keyboard will be part touchscreen

A set of photos is making its way around the internet that shows what could be the next-generation MacBook Pro’s body.

The pictures, obtained by Cult of Mac, are reportedly from a manufacturer in China and show an incomplete chassis sporting several major changes from the current MacBook Pro.

BI Screenshot/Cult of Mac

More photos are available from Cult of Mac. The chassis details line up with recent MacBook Pro rumors.

Here are a few things to look for in these purported shots:

    Where the function keys on the keyboard usually go, there’s a cutout, which suggests that it will be replaced by a touchscreen pad, as has been rumored. Other photos suggest that Apple will replace all of the connectors with four next-generation USB-C ports. In the corner where the power button goes, Apple could possibly add a Touch ID fingerprint sensor. There’s a hole for what looks like a 3.5mm headphone jack. Cult of Mac suggests that the MacBook Pro will adopt the MacBook’s new, thinner keyboard and trackpad. Apple appears to have moved the speakers to the side of the keyboard.

Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that the refreshed MacBook Pro will hit the market in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Check out all of the photos at Cult of Mac.