Monthly Archives: December 2016

This is why you should go ahead and warm your car up when it’s cold

caption
It’s easier to scrape the windshield if you WARM UP YOUR CAR.
source
Reuters

There’s a “you’re doing it wrong” meme that’s showing some strong staying power these days: You don’t need to warm up your car when it’s cold – in fact, if you do, you could harm your engine.

The engineering behind this revision of what many folks have been told their whole lives is solid, and you can watch this Business Insider video to get the lowdown.

Modern cars don’t use carburetors to blend the fuel-air mixture. They use electronic fuel injection, so a warm-up in cold weather isn’t mechanically necessary.

But here’s the thing: If you can’t run your modern car for 10 minutes or so when it’s cold, you should be asking some serious questions about the supposed advanced state of automaking in the 21st century. It’s possible that the old-school warm-up would marginally degrade your engine oil, but in 35 years of driving I’ve never heard of or experienced this.

Bottom line: Your car should be able to handle some serious extremes of temperature, as long as you aren’t spending a lot of time in Death Valley or the Arctic Circle.

Here’s why I often warm my car up when it’s cold – in fact, why I have been avidly warming up my car since it began to get a bit frosty in the Northeast:

    I want a nice warm car to drive in. I want the seat heaters to be good and hot. I want the steering-wheel heater to be all fired up. I want any snow or ice that’s accumulated on the windows to be easy to remove.

The first three are about comfort; the last one is about safety. Plus, I think a warm and comfortable driver is a much safer driver than one who is hunched and shivering and has to wear gloves.

Additionally, you won’t waste all that much gas with a warm-up at idle. You’d have to run the engine for an hour to burn a gallon.

So go ahead, warm up your car! It’s getting colder in much of the US. Warm away!

16 events from 2016 that should give you hope for the future

caption
Two women get doused during the ice bucket challenge at Boston’s Copley Square, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 to raise funds and awareness for ALS.
source
Elise Amendola/AP

This past year might have been a trying one, but among the negative news stories were plenty of bright spots.

For every celebrity death, there was a scientific breakthrough. For every bit of political nonsense (well, maybe not every bit of nonsense) there were leaps forward in clean energy.

In case you’re feeling down about 2016, here’s a reminder that, in a lot of ways, the world really is getting better.


Populations of tigers, pandas, and manatees all started growing for the first time in years.

source
Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

Source


All of Portugal ran on solar energy for four days straight.

source
Jose Manuel Ribeiro/Reuters

Source


Scientists detected gravitational waves for the first time ever, furthering our understanding of the origins of the universe.

source
LIGO

Source


Funds raised by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from 2014 led to the discovery of a significant gene responsible for the disease.

source
Elise Amendola/AP

Source


Sri Lanka was declared malaria-free by the World Health Organization.

source
David Gray/Reuters

Source


Researchers discovered a special kind of strobe light that temporarily reverses Alzheimer’s damage in mice.

source
Flickr/Global Pandora

Source


Facebook announced a partnership with five fact-checking organizations to prevent fake news from appearing on users’ News Feeds.

Source


Chevy debuted the first mass-market electric vehicle, the Bolt, which costs less than $30,000 and can travel further on a single charge than Tesla’s vehicles.

source
Chevrolet

Source


SpaceX landed a rocket smoothly on a ship, a world first that showed how expensive rockets could be flown more than once.

source
SpaceX/Flickr (public domain)

Source


Dozens more stores, including the entire Mall of America, stayed closed on Thanksgiving Day to give employees time with their families.

Source


Pakistan passed a law outlawing ‘honor killings’ — murders of relatives pardoned by other family members.

source
Fayyaz Hussain/Reuters

Source


Harriet Tubman was announced as the successor to Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.

source
Women on 20s

Source


A solar-powered plane, the Solar Impulse 2, completed its year-long journey around the world, taking off and touching down in Abu Dhabi.

source
REUTERS/Eugene Tanner/Pool

Source


New York City became the first US city to hand out free tampons in schools, prisons, and homeless shelters.

source
LOLA

Source


Over 800 hostages held by Boko Haram were rescued by the Nigerian army.

source
Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde

Source


India planted 50 million trees in one day, setting a new world record.

source
Jayanta Dey/Reuters

Source

Massive sand-filled garbage trucks will line Times Square to protect New Year’s Eve revelers

Massive dump trucks filled with sand will line the streets surrounding New Year’s Eve celebrations in New York City this weekend. The 20-ton vehicles will hold an additional 15 tons of sand, the Associated Press reported Thursday night.

The trucks provide a dense, protective barrier in the event of a bombing. It is part of comprehensive antiterrorism strategies law-enforcement officials deploy to ensure public safety.

The Times Square New Year’s Eve event is already a heavily policed affair, but the stakes are even higher this year after a series of terrorist attacks erupted in Europe – some of which involved the use of heavy vehicles.

A Tunisian man who drove a heavy truck into a Christmas market in Berlin this month killed 12 people and injured 56 others. His attack followed a more deadly assault in Nice, France, in July that left 86 people dead when a man drove a 20-ton refrigerated truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day.

Officials cited by the Associated Press said they were unaware of any specific threats against Times Square.

Here’s some of what you might see there on New Year’s Eve:

    65 sand-filled dump trucks 100-plus patrol cars 7,000 officers Specially armed counterterrorism units and bomb-sniffing dogs

The truck tactic has been used before.

Garbage-haulers were parked around Trump Tower and Hillary Clinton’s election headquarters on Election Day in November.

dump truck trump tower

caption
Sanitation trucks filled with sand acting as barricades along Fifth Avenue outside Trump Tower in New York City on November 8.
source
REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Similar preparations are being made for New Year’s Eve festivities in Las Vegas.

New York Police Department Chief Carlos Gomez told the AP, “As we formulated this year’s plan, we paid close attention to world events and we learned from those events.” The NYPD’s commissioner, James O’Neil, echoed the sentiment, saying, “It can’t just be, ‘What happens in New York, what happens in the United States?’ It has to be more, ‘What happens worldwide?'”

The 20 American colleges with the most foreign students

caption
These 20 schools have the most foreign students enrolled.
source
Melia Robinson/BI

The number of foreign students in American schools has been surging over the past decade, and numbers are up again, according to data from the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Institute of International Education (IIE).

The number of foreign students in the US was up 7.1% from last year with 1,043,839 students total, and international students now make up 5.2% of all higher education students in the US.

And there are some schools that attract more foreign students than the rest.

Take a look below to see the 20 American colleges with the most foreign students enrolled:


20. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities — 7,037 foreign students

source
University of Minnesota Medical School/Facebook

Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the school has a total of 50,678 students.


19. Carnegie Mellon University — 7,051 foreign students

source
Carnegie Mellon University/Facebook

Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the school has a total of 13,648 students.


18. Ohio State University – Columbus — 7,117 foreign students

source
Facebook/Ohio State University

Located in Columbus, Ohio, the school has a total of 58,663 students.


17. Indiana University – Bloomington — 7,159 foreign students

source
Indiana University/Facebook

Located in Bloomington, Indiana, the school has a total of 48,514 students.


16. University of California – Berkeley — 7,313 foreign students

source
Flickr/John Morgan

Located in Berkeley, California, the school has a total of 38,204 students.


15. University of California – San Diego — 7,556 foreign students

source
Via Flickr

Located in La Jolla, California, the school has a total of 32,096 students.


14. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor — 7,630 foreign students

source
Flickr/fordschool

Located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the school has a total of 43,651 students.


13. Penn State University – University Park — 8,084 foreign students

source
Facebook/PSUCareerServices

Located in University Park, Pennsylvania, the school has a total of 47,307 students.


12. University of Texas – Dallas — 8,145 foreign students

source
Via Wikimedia Commons

Located in Richardson, Texas, the school has a total of 24,554 students.


11. Michigan State University — 8,256 foreign students

source
Facebook/Michigan State University/D.L. Turner

Located in East Lansing, Michigan, the school has a total of 50,543 students.


10. University of Washington — 8,259 foreign students

source
Wikimedia Commons

Located in Seattle, Washington, the school has a total of 45,408 students.


9. Boston University — 8,455 foreign students

source
Wikipedia

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, the school has a total of 32,158 students.


8. Purdue University – West Lafayette — 10,563 foreign students

source
Wikimedia Commons

Located in West Lafayette, Indiana, the school has a total of 39,409 students.


7. University of California – Los Angeles — 11,513 foreign students

source
UCLA/Facebook

Located in Los Angeles, California, the school has a total of 43,301 students.


6. Northeastern University – Boston — 11,702 foreign students

caption
Boston, Massachusetts
source
Flickr/Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, the school has a total of 19,940 students.


5. University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign — 12,085 foreign students

caption
The University of Illinois.
source
Flickr / Vince Smith

Located in Champaign, Illinois, the school has a total of 45,842 students.


4. Columbia University — 12,740 foreign students

source
meunierd/Shutterstock

Located in New York, New York, the school has a total of 26,086 students.


3. Arizona State University – Tempe — 12,751 foreign students

source
Schwnj/Wiki Commons

Located in Tempe, Arizona, the school has a total of 51,984 students.


2. University of Southern California — 13,340 foreign students

source
Wikimedia Commons

Located in Los Angeles, California, the school has a total of 43,401 students.


1. New York University — 15,543 foreign students

source
Flickr/Doc Searls

Located in New York, New York, the school has a total of 50,027 students.

14 charts that will remind you — no matter how you felt about 2016 — that the world is getting better every day

source
Oli Scarff / Staff / Getty Images

If you’re feeling down about 2016, maybe a look at the data can help.

Over at the site Our World in Data, economist Max Roser has been putting together a compendium of charts and briefs that reveal the state of our world.

Roser’s data tell an uplifting story. The world is the safest, richest, most connected, and most highly-educated it’s ever been.

Here are some of the most uplifting charts to carry your spirits into the new year.


Life expectancy is one of the most visible signs of humanity’s progress. Thanks largely to safer childbirth practices, the average age in many countries has shot up from 40 years in 1838 to over 80 years today.


Child mortality rates have fallen considerably within the last 150 years, particularly as doctors improved their delivery procedures and vaccines began limiting the risk of fatal disease.


The world is collectively getting richer. While roughly 1.3 billion people still live in extreme poverty, quality of life is rising for billions more.


Adjusting for inflation across the last two centuries puts the improvements in even greater relief. Decade over decade, people are escaping a life of poverty.


Fortunately, these gains in quality of life also coincide with fewer working hours. In the late 19th century, Europeans worked nearly twice as long as they do today.


Around the world, societies are becoming more democratic and less authoritarian. Colonialism died out in the early 1990s.


Though there are still autocracies, democracies are becoming the norm. More than half of the world lives in a democracy.


The trend toward democracy is mirrored in the decline of war-related deaths. As cognitive scientist Steven Pinker has noted, global violence has been on the decline for centuries.

source
Max Roser/Our World in Data

Meanwhile, the world has taken big steps to ensure countries stay peaceful with one another. Despite the barrage of violence in the news and on our social feeds, the world really is at its safest point in history.


Genocides have largely stagnated for the last few decades, marking another sign that humans are growing more tolerant.


Perhaps it’s the exposure to new ideas: Global literacy rates have climbed immensely since around 1950. With greater access to fresh perspectives, people are able to absorb more information about the world.


Education more generally is also increasing, as the rates of people with no schooling at all have been falling worldwide since the 1970s, when data was first collected.


As the world grows more inter-connected, access to the internet moves from being a luxury good to a necessity. Nearly all regions of the world have experienced growing access over the last 20 years — though some with more restrictions than others.


Finally, mass communication is the most robust it’s ever been. Beginning in 1990, the rates of cell phone ownership have jumped all over the globe. As the infrastructure expands, those rates will only continue to grow.

Is Starbucks to blame for a seismic shift in the soda industry?

source
Hollis Johnson

Soda consumption is falling in the US, with the accepted reason being that Americans are turning away from sugary beverages.

But what if the reason isn’t nutrition – it’s because a new competitor is stealing away business?

“Starbucks has taken the [carbonated soda] occasion,” said RBC analyst Nik Modi in June at Beverage Digest’s Future Smarts conference, noting that many of the coffee chain’s beverages are more caloric and sugar-packed than top soda brands.

“Twenty years ago, people used to wake up with a Diet Coke or a Diet Pepsi,” said Modi. “At around 2 o’clock, they’d have another and take a break. Walk in front of a Starbucks at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. and tell me how long the lines are.”

In 1995, Starbucks served its first Frappuccino – a super-sugary beverage that often has more calories than a can of Coke and that has become a huge part of the coffee chain’s business. At the time, the chain had 677 locations. Twenty-one years later, the chain has more than 22,000 locations around the world.

With the rise of Starbucks, the coffee industry in general has seen tremendous growth. In the last four years, coffee has gone from a $7 billion annual industry (for the 52 weeks ending June 2, 2012) to a $9 billion business (for the 52 weeks ending May 28, 2016), according to Nielsen data.

source
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Meanwhile, soda sales in the US per capita have dropped 25% since 1998.

How has Starbucks succeeded while the biggest brands at Coca-Cola and Pepsi have fallen?

According to Modi, the coffee chain has provided customers with something that soda giants forgot – purpose.

“The beverage industry is not about health and wellness – it’s about functionality and purpose,” he said. “Twenty years ago, the function and purpose for Coke and Pepsi were much more wide than they are today.”

Modi says that consumers still love caffeine, bubbles, and sugar. They just aren’t going to Coke and Pepsi to fulfill those needs any more.

caption
Sales of bottled-water brands like Smartwater have grown, as soda consumption has decreased.
source
Flickr

The most successful brands in the beverage industry in recent years have been able to pinpoint a purpose, and provide a solution, often related to health.

In the past 15 years, single-serve bottled-water sales grew 76% by volume. Sports drinks grew 20%, while bottled, ready-to-drink tea grew a whopping 91%. In the last four years, standouts in the soda industry have been Sprite, Wild Cherry Pepsi, Fanta, and Mello Yello – brands that aren’t necessarily healthy, but that avoid the negative PR associated with Pepsi and Coke.

The success of these beverages, as well as Starbucks’ drinks, such as the S’mores Frappuccino and the Pumpkin Spice Latte, prove, in Modi’s opinion, that the issue isn’t sugar – it’s marketing.

caption
Modi argued that much of Coca-Cola’s recent advertising hasn’t focused on the consumer.
source
Coca-Cola

Modi says that recent soda advertising, prior to the current Taste the Feeling campaign, cut consumers and their reasons for drinking soda out of the equation, failing the consumer.

Complicating matters is the consolidated effort of health and nutrition groups in the fight against the soda industry.

“Soda follows tobacco’s playbook to the letter,” Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University, told Business Insider.

Taxes and other government regulation, efforts to prevent marketing to children, and education campaigns have focused on Pepsi and Coke to a much greater degree than Starbucks, energy drinks, or even other types of soda.

This negative PR, combined with what Modi considers sub-par marketing, has helped drive consumers to different beverages to fulfill their morning caffeination and mid-afternoon break needs.

caption
Starbucks has drawn in coffee snobs with beverages like Cold Brew Nitro.
source
Kate Taylor

Starbucks is a company that is acutely aware of consumer perceptions, carefully balancing its menu with both gourmet, coffee-snob approved beverages and sweet, sugary options to appease all customers. This, combined with the company’s famously progressive attitude, has helped the chain avoid much of the backlash associated with other companies selling sweet drinks.

Now, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola seem to be trying to fix their own reputations, with growing investments in beverages like bottled water and sports drinks.

Starbucks has exploded in the last 20 years – and is showing no sign of slowing. If PepsiCo and Coca-Cola want to compete, they’re going to have to invest in beverages of their own that fulfill customers’ nutritional needs.

This is what ISIS’ longest-held Iraqi city looked like after years of occupation

Over the summer, ISIS lost control of the first city it seized during its 2014 rampage across the Middle East.

The occupation of Fallujah was the terrorist group’s first step toward establishing its self-declared “caliphate.” The Iraqi city reportedly held a special meaning for ISIS, making fighters reluctant to inflict the type of damage the group had done in other cities.

But while the level of destruction in Fallujah doesn’t match that of Ramadi, a city about 40 miles west of Fallujah that ISIS lost control of earlier this year, the city is still a shell of its former self.

The fighting between the jihadists and Iraqi security forces (backed by US airpower) left many buildings destroyed, and thousands of civilians fled during the onslaught.

Reuters has photos of what the city looks like now.


Some of the streets were in disarray.

source
REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

Debris piled up.

source
REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

Buildings were destroyed.

source
REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

Some parts of the city looked abandoned.

source
REUTERS/Ahmed Saad

This mosque was damaged.

source
REUTERS/Ahmed Saad

Some walls were blown out.

source
REUTERS/Ahmed Saad

But still, Iraqi Security Forces celebrated in the streets after ISIS was driven from the city.


Iraqi forces made their way through the city and observed what was left behind from ISIS’ brutal rule.

source
REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

They found this weapons factory.

source
REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

And a school filled with explosives.

source
REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

The militants left behind rocket-propelled grenades on a desk underneath a “Dora the Explorer” illustration in this school.

source
REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

Iraqi forces also found books belonging to the militants. ISIS has been known to create and publish propaganda books, including textbooks for children.

source
REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

This room was used as a prison.

source
REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

Prisoners were kept in these cages.

source
REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

Iraqi-government-allied Shia fighters, who were supposed to stay out of the city center while the fight for Fallujah was ongoing, inspected abandoned sites.

source
REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

The city’s liberators found signs left behind by ISIS, which the group used to intimidate the populace into obeying its strict laws.

source
REUTERS/Ahmed Saad

Here, security forces posed for a photo in front of murals ISIS had painted with themes of violence.

source
REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

The militants also built underground tunnels around Fallujah, as they have in other areas under ISIS control.

source
Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters

Trump focuses New Year’s tweet on ‘many enemies’ and everyone who ‘lost so badly’

caption
President-elect Donald Trump arrives to speak during a rally at the Orlando Amphitheater at the Central Florida Fairgrounds, Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, in Orlando, Fla.
source
AP/ Evan Vucci

On the final day of 2016, President-elect Donald Trump sent a New Year’s message of “love!” on Twitter, including to his “many enemies” and everyone who has “lost so badly.”

The tweet came after another that praised Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday for not launching a tit-for-tat sanctions to respond to those issued by US President Barack Obama’s administration this week in retaliation for Russia’s suspected election-related hacking.

In his New Year’s address on Saturday, Putin expressed hope that the two countries will “take their interaction in the international arena to a whole new level” once Trump takes office January 20 and Obama is no longer in power.

“It is regrettable that the Obama administration is ending its term in this manner,” Putin said in a statement addressing the sanctions on Friday. “Nevertheless, I offer my New Year greetings to President Obama and his family.”

This year’s tweet followed a tradition of Trump including “haters and losers” in his New Year’s wishes, as he did in 2014 and 2013:

In 2015, 2013, 2012, 2010, and 2009, Trump was more measured:

The 12 events that made 2016 a truly unpredictable year

caption
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump delivered brief remarks to reporters at the Mar-a-lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. December 28, 2016.
source
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

2016 was an eventful year.

It saw a string of unexpected shakeups in music, entertainment, and politics, both in the United States and abroad.

From the deaths of cultural icons like Prince, shocking wins and losses in the sports arena, and Donald Trump’s unprecedented rise to the presidency, here are some of the world-changing events we never saw coming.


David Bowie dies after battling cancer

caption
A lock of the late rock star David Bowie’s hair was sold for $18,000.
source
Jo Hale/ Getty Images

Music legend David Bowie died in January at the age of 69 following an 18-month-long battle with cancer. The music industry and fans around the world erupted with messages of support and grief for the late singer.

“David Bowie was one of my most important inspirations, so fearless, so creative, he gave us magic for a lifetime,” Kanye West tweeted.

“As well as being a wonderful and kind man, [Bowie] was an extraordinary artist, and a true original,” The Rolling Stones wrote.

“He never seemed of this earth. Now he’s left it. He bent rules, gender, genres, and our minds. RIP David Bowie. One. Of. A. Kind,” tweeted Josh Groban.


The death of boxing great Muhammad Ali

source
Getty Images/Andrew H. Walker

Muhammad Ali, perhaps the biggest name in sports history and a decorated civil rights activist, died in April at age 74 after a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Even as his health waned, Ali stayed true to his lifelong involvement in activism and did not shy away from controversy – he was one of the first to speak out against President-elect Donald Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from immigrating to the US, saying, “We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda.”

Ali was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, and his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky opened the Muhammad Ali Center, which is dedicated to chronicling the heavyweight champion’s life and career, but also to promoting equality and tolerance.


The death of pop icon Prince

source
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Prince Rogers Nelson, died unexpectedly at the age of 57 in April from an overdose on fentanyl, a powerful painkiller that’s 50 times stronger than pure heroin.

Best known simply by his first name, Prince was one of the singular music talents of his generation, crossing genres from funk and soul to rock and pop.

Born in Minneapolis, he performed in the local music scene from a young age before his breakout 1979 album, “Prince,” went platinum.

Often compared to the likes of Michael Jackson and Madonna, he was one of the most commercially successful artists of all time, selling over 100 million records worldwide. He brought a unique R&B sensibility to the mainstream, spanning albums like “Controversy,” “1999,” and “Purple Rain,” the hit soundtrack for the 1984 film of the same name. He frequently performed with his backing band, The Revolution.


The Cleveland Cavaliers recover from a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA Championship

source
Ronald Martinez/Getty

The Cleveland Cavaliers became NBA Champions in June by pulling off a seemingly impossible task – coming back from a 3-1 NBA Finals deficit against the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors.

The Cavs became the first team in NBA history to erase a 3-1 Finals deficit, winning the first championship for the city of Cleveland since 1964.

In an exciting back-and-forth Game 7 in Oakland California, the Cavs erased a seven-point deficit at halftime to win 93-89. LeBron James led the way with a triple-double: 27 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists. He was named the 2016 Finals’ MVP.


Brexit happened

caption
In this photo, Brexit supporters form a counter demonstration as Pro-Europe demonstrators protest during a “March for Europe” against the Brexit vote result earlier in the year, in London, Britain.
source
Thomson Reuters

Brexit – a portmanteau of “British” and “exit” – is the nickname for Britain’s exit from the European Union initiated after a June 23 referendum which asked voters whether Britain should remain in or leave the EU.

The world was shocked Brexit won, despite pollsters’ and pundits’ predictions that voters would choose to remain by a wide margin.

Brexit prompted another major political upheaval: the resignation of British Prime Minister David Cameron. Cameron stepped down after he failed to persuade voters to stay in the EU, despite warnings that leaving would be crippling for the British economy.


Gawker shuts down — with help from Silicon Valley titan Peter Thiel

caption
Founders Fund partner Peter Thiel.
source
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for New York Times

In mid-August, controversial news and gossip website Gawker folded under the weight of a lawsuit brought against the company by ex-wrestler Hulk Hogan.

Hogan, who alleged that Gawker had invaded his privacy by publishing part of a sex tape he had made on the site, won $140 million in the lawsuit which bankrupted the company – and was largely financed by billionaire Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel.

In a bombshell interview published in May by The New York Times, Thiel said “it was worth fighting back” against the outlet, which in 2007 published an article titled “Peter Thiel is totally gay, people.”


Turkey’s military coup

caption
People stand on a Turkish army tank at Ataturk airport in Istanbul, Turkey July 16, 2016.
source
Reuters/Huseyin Aldemir

In July, a faction within the Turkish military called the “Peace at Home Council” attempted to seize power from the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) party and declare martial law.

It deployed forces into Istanbul and Ankara, and over 250 people were killed in clashes between the rebels and pro-government forces. Though the fighting was brutal, the coup was quelled by the Turkish government within 24 hours.

In the fallout, Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan has tightened his control over the government and curbed dissent by ordering a clamp down on the press and academia, along with a widespread purge of civil servants, police officers, and soldiers.


John Glenn’s death

caption
US astronaut and senator John Glenn.
source
NASA via Agence France-Presse

The scientific community and world at large mourned the death of John Glenn, decorated American astronaut. Glenn was 95 when he died, and he had been hospitalized for more than a week prior to his death.

Glenn achieved a number of extraordinary feats during his life and career, including being the first person to orbit the earth, becoming a United States senator, authoring the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978 to fight the rise of nuclear weapons, being the oldest person to fly into space (he was 77 when he went on his last mission in 1998), and being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.


The Chicago Cubs win the World Series.

caption
Chicago Cubs players celebrate after winning the World Series on November 2, 2016.
source
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Chicago Cubs won the World Series on November 2 for the first time in over a century.

The Cubs bested the Cleveland Indians with an 8-7 victory in Game 7 of the World Series. FiveThirtyEight had estimated that the team had a 15% chance of winning, but they beat the odds – and their fans couldn’t have been happier.


President-elect Donald Trump

caption
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, U.S. October 21, 2016.
source
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

In one of the most stunning upsets in modern political history, billionaire and reality television star Donald Trump beat his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 presidential election.

Despite a polling disadvantage and a long series of gaffes that may have been a death knell to any other presidential campaign, Trump tore down the Big Blue Wall of states that most predicted would vote for Clinton.


The sudden death of pop icon George Michael.

caption
George Michael.
source
Michael Putland/Getty Images

Pop singer George Michael died suddenly on Christmas Day at the age of 53.


The death of Carrie Fisher — and her mother, one day later

caption
ses with her daughter actress Carrie Fisher backstage after accepting her Lifetime Achievement award at the 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California January 25, 2015.
source
Mike Blake/Reuters

Carrie Fisher, the iconic actress who played Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise, died two days after Christmas after suffering a massive heart attack. She was 60.

Fisher was widely lauded not just as an actress, but as an author, feminist icon, mental health advocate, and free spirit who was never far away from her beloved bulldog, Gary.

Fisher’s mother, iconic actress Debbie Reynolds, died one day later of a stroke.

The Jaguar XF is a luxury sedan with the soul of a sports car

source
Hollis Johnson

Over the past few years, Jaguar Land Rover has been one of the fastest-growing car companies in the US market. However, most of this growth has been thanks to the Land Rover part of JLR. In 2015, JLR’s US sales surged 26% to more than 85,000 cars, but only about 14,000 of them were Jags. In fact, the Jaguar brand’s sales fell 8% last year.

For 2016, Jaguar is making an all-out push to even things up with its corporate sibling. At the core of Jag’s strategy is the introduction of three new cars.

The new second generation XF is the first of Jaguar’s new lineup to land on our shores. The new XF will soon be joined by the BMW 3-Series-fighting XE sedan and the highly anticipated F-PACE crossover SUV.

Although the first generation XF remains very aesthetically pleasing, after nearly a decade in the public eye, it was time for a change.

“Since we now produce the smaller XE, the XF has to grow up a little bit,” Jaguar design director Ian Callum told Business Insider in an interview. “Perhaps become a little less sporty and a little more practical.”

“My balance was to really keep it as sporty as possible, but at the same time give it a lot more room on the inside,” Sir Ian added.

So, the question must be asked: “Is the youthful sports car still alive in the soul of this grown up Jag?”

The 2016 Jaguar XF starts at $51,900, while the XF S starts at $62,700. Our well-appointed XF S test car left the showroom with the price tag of $74,655.

Earlier this year, Jaguar dropped off a glacier white 2016 XF S for Business Insider to sample. Let’s find out.

Photos by Hollis Johnson unless otherwise credited.


Jaguar debuted the first generation XF to rave reviews in 2008.

source
Jaguar Land Rover

After nearly a decade on the market, it was time for a new XF. For 2016, Jaguar’s midsize luxury sedan arrives in the US with a whole new look.


The new XF is the work of Jaguar design boss Ian Callum, whose résumé includes …


… James Bond’s Aston Martin Vanquish and …

source
REUTERS/Ferran Paredes

… the stunning Jaguar C-X75 prototype hypercar.

source
Jaguar

Up front, the XF sports Jaguar’s new headlight and grille design that is also found on the …


… compact XE and …

source
Jaguar Land Rover

… the F-PACE SUV.

source
Hollis Johnson

According to Callum, the new front fascia is designed to help bolster brand recognition among the general public.


The front grille and angular LED headlights give the XF a stylish yet aggressive design.


The XF’s side profile cuts a suave figure. Callum intentionally deployed a single character line down the side, which highlights the feline hips of the Jag.


The rear end of the XF is distinguished by the car’s dual exhausts and integrated spoiler. According to Callum, the rear end design of modern cars, such as the X, is dictated more by aerodynamics than styling.


Step inside …


… and you’ll find a seamless integration of modern design and tech with old-world English luxury.


The XF’s cockpit is posh but functional. The driver is treated to Jaguar’s easy-to-use steering wheel.


Our test car came with the traditional analog instrument cluster. A 12.3-inch re-configurable instrument panel is available as an option.


The analog cluster does feature an adjustable central display screen. Here, the screen is presenting information from the car’s parking assist program.


In a market filled with minimalist center stack designs, the XF is refreshingly button-heavy.

source
Hollis Johnson

Fortunately for drivers, all of the buttons are clearly labeled and intuitively placed.


Even with the buttons, the center stack it is still dominated by an 8-inch capacitive touchscreen running Jag’s updated InControl Touch infotainment system.


The system is shared across Jaguar and Land Rover’s lineup. Although it is markedly better than the previous generation, the presentation is simply still too cluttered, making basic tasks, such as changing the radio station, more of a chore than necessary.


However, the navigation system proved to be quick and responsive. It seems to have shed the lag issues that plagued previous versions we sampled in other cars.


As an option, Jaguar does offer a more powerful InControl Touch Pro infotainment system with a 10.2-inch screen as an option. We got a chance to try in out on Jag’s new F-PACE SUV with the system garnering mixed reviews.

source
Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar F-PACE review.


The XF infotainment screen also manages the car’s collection of cameras.


Here’s the front camera. Can you spot it?


And here’s the rear camera. The side cameras are located under the side-view mirrors.

source
Hollis Johnson

They all team up to give the driver a birds-eye view of the car and its surroundings. This proved to be invaluable when it came time to squeeze into a tight parking spot.


Instead of the pistol-grip shifter from the F-Type sports car, the XF gets Jaguar’s rotary unit, which I found to be a bit imprecise to use. Although the great advantage of the rotary design is that it frees up a tremendous amount of space on the center console, Jaguar didn’t really take advantage of it.


Here’s the XF’s Jaguar Land Rover Group key fob. Hidden inside the “Jaguar” lettering is an emergency key.


The seats in the XF were incredible. They were upholstered with high quality leather and stitched with great detail.


Although the rear cabin provides more than enough room for three passengers …


…two is the preferred head count if you want to travel in comfort.


The rear-seat passengers get both heated and cooled seats, along with dual-zone climate control.


They also get three retractable sun-blinds. Two manually operated ones on the side and an electrically operated blind for the rear glass.


The XF’s massive sunroof bathes the cabin in light.


Instead of the roof retracting, the glass panel levers itself up and out of the car.

source
Hollis Johnson

Due to the XF’s relatively high belt line and low, sloping roof, rearward visibility isn’t so great. However, the car’s bevy of onboard-cameras makes up for the small rear backlight.


Apart from the accent veneers, which look and feel low quality, the rest of the cabin exudes quality and solidity. Overall, the interior of the XF is a triumph for Jaguar. It’s a truly pleasant place to be.

source
Hollis Johnson

And now the for the important stuff.


The Jaguar XF S is powered by a 3.0-liter, supercharged V6 engine, producing 380 horsepower. The base XF comes with a 340-horsepower version of the same 3.0-liter unit. Both engines are paired to a silky-smooth, 8-speed automatic transmission.


Both engines are also available on the company’s superb F-Type sports car.

source
Hollis Johnson

According to Jaguar, the XF S is capable of making the sprint to 60 mph from a standstill in a brisk 5.1 seconds and reaching a top speed of 155 mph. Jag claims the 340-horsepower version takes just 0.1 seconds more to hit 60 mph and has the same top speed.


To drive, the XF is a joy. Even at more than 16-feet-long and nearly 3,800 pounds, the Jag proved to be surprisingly nimble. I’m not saying it’s as light on its radials as a Miata or an F-Type, but for a big comfy sedan, the XF’s athleticism deserves recognition.


The 380-horsepower motor in our test car was always eager to provide gobs of power on demand. The engine revs freely and quickly works its way towards the redline as it delivers peak horsepower at 6,500 RPM.

source
Hollis Johnson

In tight corners, the XF remains composed and fleet of foot thanks to its rigid aluminum construction and “Torque Vectoring by Braking” system. This technology applies the brakes on the inside rear wheel as the car is cornering — which effectively pivots the car around corners. The fact that Jag decided to go with the all-aluminum V6 instead of a heavier V8 in this car helps its handling — less weight over the front wheels results in better cornering behavior.


Like all Jaguar products, the XF’s transmission, suspension, and steering can be adjusted on the fly by the driver.


The XF’s four large disc brakes deliver outstanding performance with good feel and little fade.


Step on the gas and the supercharger’s high pitched wail becomes audible over the XF’s 380-watt Meridian sound system. At which point it’s time to turn off the AC/DC and enjoy the mechanical symphony of belt-driven forced-induction.


Disappointingly, the XF lacks the exquisitely tuned exhaust note of the F-Type. The cabin is incredibly quiet and peaceful. Apart from the supercharger, the Jag doesn’t make much noise at all.


So, has the grown up XF lost it’s sporty spirit? Absolutely not. From its supercharged V6 and fast shifting 8-speed to its torque-vectoring technology and adjustable drive modes, the XF retains the pep of a sports car without shedding its suit of civility. It’s a sporty, luxurious, and stylish sedan that falls inline with Jaguar’s reputation for producing posh yet athletic cars.


Is it the best sports sedan I’ve ever driven? No. And it’s not even the best Jaguar I’ve ever driven. That honor goes to the Supercharged V8 F-Type R. But, the 2016 XF is still a reasonably thrilling yet premium saloon with matinee-idol looks. It you don’t at least consider the XF when shopping for a mid-size luxury sedan, you’d be making a big mistake.