Monthly Archives: April 2017

The founder of LinkedIn says too many of us are using the site all wrong

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LinkedIn founder and chairman Reid Hoffman speaks at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2016.
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Steve Jennings/Getty Images

If you use LinkedIn, you’ve undoubtedly received invitations to connect to people that you’ve never met or may never meet in your entire life.

The more you stay on the site and the more you gain prominence in your field, the more requests from strangers you’ll get.

And while it could seem natural to decline a Facebook friend request from a stranger because you don’t want to give them access to your personal information and photos, the dynamic on LinkedIn is much different.

You may think that because it’s a social network for professionals, you should simply accept all invitations and see which of them stick.

It’s the approach that “Never Eat Alone” author and management consultant to Fortune 100 companies Keith Ferrazzi took for years. Not long ago, Ferrazzi wrote in the 2014 updated edition of his bestselling career guide, he had the privilege of meeting LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and discussing the site with him.

“‘You’re doing it all wrong, Keith!’ That is, in essence, what Reid Hoffman told me when I told him how I was using LinkedIn,” Ferrazzi writes.

Here’s the gist of what Hoffman told him, as written in “Never Eat Alone,” bolding our own:

“LinkedIn is a closed network, and for a very simple reason: For the network to have value as an introduction tool, the connections need to have meaning. It’s up to you to vet each and every request so that if someone comes to you and says, ‘Would you introduce me?,’ you’re in a position to evaluate whether the connection would be of mutual benefit.

You don’t need to do a deep analysis of every person who asks to connect with you. But if you’d feel awkward chatting with them or introducing them to someone in your network, then decline, without a guilty conscience.

And if you really want to use LinkedIn as it was intended, make “at least one quality introduction a month,” per Hoffman’s suggestion in his 2012 book “The Start-up of You.

Tesla just delayed the roll-out of its solar roof — here’s everything we know about the project so far

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Tesla

Tesla has delayed the roll-out of its solar roof.

The company originally said it will begin selling its solar roof in April, but CEO Elon Musk said that two of the four shingle options won’t be made available until early 2018. A Tesla spokesperson declined to comment further on why the timeline had changed.

Tesla unveiled its solar roof product in late October, about a month before the company acquired SolarCity in a deal worth $2.1 billion. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the solar roof will be cheaper than a normal proof even before factoring in the price of electricity.

Here’s everything we know about the new solar roof product:


Tesla will offer four types of shingles to match different housing aesthetics in an effort to get homeowners to ditch clunky solar panel add-ons in favor of a beautiful roof.

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Tesla

Here you see Tesla’s textured glass option.

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Tesla

See how it shimmers?

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Tesla

Tesla tucked the solar cells behind the glass…

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Tesla

… And in doing so, you can’t really tell the roof has solar cells. That’s really the whole crux of Tesla’s solar roof vision: to create something that’s both aesthetically appealing and efficient.

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Tesla

Musk has been emphasizing the importance of competing on an aesthetic level when it comes to the new solar product offering.

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Tesla

“First of all, I’ve never seen a solar roof that I would actually want… they’re weird,” Musk said in November. “Every one of them that I’ve seen is worse than a normal roof, without exception. So unless you’re going to beat a roof on aesthetics, why bother?”

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Screenshot via Tesla

Musk seemed most excited about Tesla’s French slate tile offering, saying the style is “one of the hardest things to do.” This photo gives you a nice look at the solar cell hidden in the tile.

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Tesla

“My roof is a French slate roof, that’s one of the tile styles I wanted to do,” Musk said. “And we were able to get that. Super hard.”

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Tesla

Musk has said that each French slate tile was made using a process known as hydrographic coloring, a process that uses water to apply printed designs.

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Tesla

“The production process itself makes each tile specially unique, it’s sort of a special snowflake tile,” Musk said at the solar roof unveiling.

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Tesla

Tesla’s hydrographic process is being overseen by a brand new Tesla glass tech division. The process is techniques from the automotive glass business.

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Tesla

You can read more about Tesla’s new glass division here.


Musk said the solar roof could cost less than an actual roof, but still hasn’t given specific pricing information. However, Lyndon Rive, SolarCity’s former CEO, said in November that “we think we can get to that price point of 40 cents a Watt over time in large scale” for the solar cells, which would put it in line with the competition.

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Tesla

“We’ll have the best cell at the lowest price. Just as we have the best battery cell at the lowest price,” Musk said. “We have the highest energy density cell at the lowest price.”

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Tesla

Rive said on the call that the solar roof would most likely not fall under a lease or power purchase agreement, but instead as a straightforward loan. “In that case, there is no asset ownership challenge. We would just transfer the ownership to the new homeowner,” he said.

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Tesla

Tesla’s smooth glass tile is meant to offer “more of a modern look,” Musk said at the event.

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Tesla

Unlike the textured glass tile and French slate offering, the smooth glass tile seen here was purposefully designed so you could see the solar cells from certain angles.

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Tesla

“From the vantage point of the street or anywhere near the house it looks completely opaque, but to the sun it’s transparent,” Musk said.

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Tesla

Lastly, Tesla’s Tuscan glass tile offering. The roof shown at the event wasn’t exclusively made up of Tesla’s Tuscan tile. Instead, only the darker tiles seen here come with the solar cells.

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Tesla

Like the smooth glass tile, Musk made a point of showing how looking at the Tuscan tile from different angles will determine whether you can see the solar cell.

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Tesla; Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

Musk didn’t say which solar roof options will go up for sale first. But two will be made available for purchase in the coming weeks while customers wait for the shingles coming in early 2018.

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Tesla

Musk made a point of showing the durability of Tesla’s glass tiles with a weight taste. He also wrote in an Oct. 28 tweet that you can walk on the tiles like you would with regular asphalt shingles.


Musk also tweeted that the solar glass tiles can incorporate heating elements to clear snow while generating energy. He said it wouldn’t be energy intensive to melt the snow, but “strongly net positive” in an Oct. 28 tweet.

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Tesla

The solar cells will be produced at a plant in Buffalo, New York.

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Tesla

Tesla and Panasonic will produce the solar cells at the Buffalo manufacturing facility in mid-2017. Tesla is referring to the Buffalo plant as Gigafactory 2.


Musk’s solar roof product is one of several energy products Tesla is offering now that it’s merged with SolarCity.

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Tesla

Tesla also sells Powerwall 2, it’s at-home battery, and Powerpack 2, its commercial battery.

Here are some of the most bizarre things flight attendants have seen in their line of duty

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Flight attendants are privy to a wide array of human behaviors, some of which would challenge anyone’s people skills.
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Flight/Paramount Pictures

From experiencing the thrill of adventure to taking amazing vacations at little or no cost, there are a lot of unique perks to being a flight attendant.

But the job comes with its challenges as well.

Delays and flight cancellations, 4 a.m. wake-up calls and sporadic hours, weekends and holidays spent working, and long work commutes top the list for many.

Flight attendants are also privy to a wide array of human behaviors, some of which would challenge anyone’s people skills.

Here are some of the most trying work conditions flight attendants have been subjected to:


Dirty diapers in the seat


Poo smelly enough to land a plane

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Flickr/airwolfhound

The BBC reports that in March 2015, a British Airways flight from London to Dubai was forced to turn around because of a “smelly poo.”

Abhishek Sachdev, who was on board the flight, told BBC, “The pilot made an announcement requesting senior cabin crew, and we knew something was a bit odd. About 10 minutes later he said, ‘You may have noticed there’s a quite pungent smell coming from one of the toilets.’ He said it was liquid fecal excrement. Those are the words he used.”

A BA spokesperson said the situation posed a health and safety problem because only half the air is recycled and cleaned on an airplane.

Passengers were put up in a hotel overnight since the next available flight was 15 hours later, according to the BBC.


Emotional-support marsupials


Toilet abuse

“A passenger stood on top of the closed toilet and defecated,” a flight attendant with 30 years of experience told Business Insider.


Dangerously impatient passengers

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New China TV/youtube

In 2014, a passenger on a China Eastern Airlines plane who said he wanted to “get off the plane quicker” deployed the emergency slide after the aircraft landed at Sanya Phoenix International Airport.

The incident caused the aircraft to be delayed for two hours and reportedly cost about $16,000 in damage.

In April, a United Airlines flight attendant pulled the same stunt.


Exploding e-cigarettes

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In March, a Delta Air Lines flight was delayed at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport after an e-cigarette belonging to a passenger ignited on board the flight.

While battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices are permitted on planes as long as they’re not checked, the lithium ion batteries in e-cigarettes have shown a propensity to ignite if they are damaged.


Spiders on a plane


Strange item requests

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Wikimedia Commons

A flight attendant with the pen name Betty writes in her online series “Confessions of a Fed-Up Flight Attendant” that the strangest things people have asked her for on planes are actually fairly ordinary items – what’s surprising is what some of these items would be used for.

Items requested include tweezers for pulling thorns out of a passenger’s butt; a pen to clean ears with; a screwdriver “to take the seat apart”; and a cup, lid, straw, and knife “to make a catheter.”


Strange announcement requests

A flight attendant with three years of experience told Business Insider that she’s gotten her fair share of strange announcement requests.

“One gentleman was angry, and he asked me if I could make an announcement over the PA. When I asked him what he wanted me to announce, he he said, ‘somebody in this vicinity is passing gas, and I need them to stop,'” she said.

Another passenger asked her to make an announcement asking a neighboring passenger to give up the armrest.


Whatever this is


Animals left on planes

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Bob Corrigan/Flickr Creative Commons

More than 700 international cabin-crew members told Skyscanner in 2013 about items they found on flights after passengers disembarked.

Animals accounted for several of the more unusual items on the list, including a falcon, dried fish, a frog, a tortoise, and a parrot.


People who make soup with the airline water

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ffuentes/Flickr

In response to the Quora question “What are the weirdest things flight attendants have seen in their line of duty?” former flight attendant Heather Wilde said she’s seen her fair share of things many people would consider weird.

Among the strangest were people who made soup using the airline water. “Guys, the water lines haven’t ever been cleaned – ever,” she said.


Flying pigs


Virtually undetectable turbulence

“One of the weirdest things I experienced was clear-air turbulence. I was bounced between the ceiling and the floor twice and broke my foot in two places when the bar cart landed on it,” a flight attendant with 27 years of experience told Business Insider.


The worst place to put a baby


Uncomfortable ‘cat-cidents’

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Flickr/Niels Kliim

“I know more than one fellow flight attendant who has had the uncomfortable situation of having to tell a woman that she can’t breastfeed her … cat! You read that right: Breastfeeding. A. Cat. And this isn’t an isolated incident,” Betty wrote.

She says the cat feeders’ responses are always the same: “I’m just feeding my ‘baby.'”


In-flight laundry


Unfortunate accidents

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Flickr / istolethetv

Betty writes that passengers tend to get more inebriated on flights to Las Vegas. In his drunken state, one passenger passed out while he was in the restroom, fell backward, and ended up on the floor with his fly still down and his privates exposed.

After much debate among the attendants about what to do, “they finally decided to get the long metal tongs that we use to serve bread in first class to move the exposed body part back into his pants! He didn’t feel a thing,” Betty wrote.


‘Ambien zombies’

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Shutterstock

From streaking down the aisle totally nude to falling like an axed tree, when passengers consume an unfortunate mix of Ambien – which people take to sleep on planes – and airplane cocktails, it makes even the most normal people do very bizarre things, Betty says.

“These folks are sleeping, which means they think they are at home and safe in their beds. When they are home and safe in their beds they think it is perfectly acceptable to take off all of their clothes,” Betty wrote.

Alas, this is not acceptable behavior on a long-haul international flight.


Pee hazards


A severe fear of flying

“I had a woman run to the front of the plane and throw herself in my closet. (She thought she was going to bathroom.) She then curled up in the fetal position in the closet and started sucking her thumb. She later told me that she forgot to take her anxiety medicine before flight,” a flight attendant with 30 years of experience told Business Insider.


Balancing acts


States of undress

“One passenger attempted to board the plane wearing a raincoat and no pants,” a flight attendant with 40 years of experience told Business Insider.


In-flight workouts


Sandwich thieves

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Tish1/Shutterstock

“Never say never. Weirdness will always outdo itself if you challenge it,” a flight attendant with 21 years of experience told Business Insider.

“For example, a passenger stole a sandwich off the galley counter. It was a crew member’s, who bought it at the airport. They’d taken a bite and left it on the counter (with a little lipstick around the bite mark) to assist someone. When the crew member came back to the galley, it was gone.

“The crew member later found the thief eating it at their seat. When asked how they could just take a used sandwich with lipstick on it, they shrugged and said, ‘I was hungry.'”


So many feet!


A bloody mess

“I haven’t seen this, but I did have flight attendants tell me about blood dripping from the overhead because someone was bringing in a goat’s head from a Caribbean island. That was before TSA and all their security procedures were put in place, of course,” Annette Long, a flight attendant with 13 years of experience, told Business Insider.

This graph shows how much money you can earn from each college major

Student-loan debt in the US has grown to a staggering $1.3 trillion, and the average 2016 graduate will have to repay more than $37,000.

Now more than ever, it seems that college students must think carefully about choosing their college majors and the future earning power of their chosen degrees.

With that in mind, PayScale compiled data on lifetime earnings of different majors and degrees to show the future financial impact on a particular course of study.

For bachelor’s degrees, engineering majors seem to be the most lucrative, with petroleum engineering, systems engineering, and chemical engineering in the top three. Actuarial mathematics also tied for the third place slot.

Take a look below to see where your major and degree lands among the group.

Final Viz Final Viz

The creator of the questions taken by 14 million people on dating site Match made a workplace personality test — and I took it

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There was one surprise. Pictured, the Business Insider newsroom
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Daniel Goodman
    Helen Fisher is a leading expert on the science of love and relationships. She created the compatibility questionnaire on Match.com. Fisher teamed up with David Labno to create the NeuroColor Temperament Inventory, a personality test designed for the workplace. I took the test and learned more about my particular work style.

A few weeks ago, several of my coworkers received an email from me with a somewhat awkward request.

I’d just completed a personality questionnaire, I told them, and I wanted to know if the results were accurate. I included a few sentences from the results and asked them to consider whether the information was a) true, as far as they could tell, and b) useful to know.

Twenty-nine minutes later, someone responded: “I think this is really spot on!”

The only thing she disagreed with was a sentence that read: “When Shana observes without commenting, others may think she isn’t interested or engaged.”

“I have never ever thought that,” my coworker wrote. “You always seem to be processing and internalizing everything that’s going on.”

The test

The questionnaire I’d taken was a product of NeuroColor, a company co-founded by Helen Fisher and David Labno in 2013.

Fisher is a biological anthropologist at Rutgers University and a leading expert on the science of love and relationships. The compatibility questionnaire on dating site Match, which has now been taken by upwards of 14 million people across the globe, is her handiwork.

Fisher and Labno drew from the Match questionnaire to create something similar for the workplace, which they call the NeuroColor Temperament Inventory. Organizations can pay Neurocolor to lead seminars with their employees and administer the questionnaire. Employees then discuss their results in teams and in individual coaching sessions.

Deloitte recently drew on Fisher’s research on the four different personality types at work; at the time, she’d labeled them Pioneers, Guardians, Drivers, and Integrators.

Every NeuroColor report includes a chart with four different colors, to represent the four brain systems Fisher has studied:

    estrogen (green)serotonin (blue)dopamine (yellow)testosterone (red)

Each color is further broken down – green is contemplative/contextual and empathetic/inclusive; blue is cautious/measured and concrete/structured; yellow is curious/energetic and inventive/future-oriented; and red is systems thinking and tough minded/direct.

Because Fisher and Labno are hesitant to “pigeonhole” people, you see how all the systems influence your personality, some more than others.

My results

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Here’s one of the charts that appeared in my NeuroColor report.
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NeuroColor

I completed the questionnaire after work one evening in about 20 minutes. The following day, I received a 22-page PDF, complete with colorful charts and graphs, all about me.

The report read like it had been written by a particularly warm fourth-grade teacher, who also happened to be a personality scientist.

From the “Overview of Shana’s Style”: “She has a kind soul and openly shows her concern for others. … She wants everyone present to feel like they are part of the group and involved in the discussion.”

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Here’s another chart from my NeuroColor report.
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NeuroColor

The most striking part of the report was a four-quadrant graph that represented NeuroColor’s take on the introversion/extroversion scale. The x-axis measured introversion and extroversion; the y-axis measured my tendency to be outgoing and reserved.

According to NeuroColor, I am a “reserved extrovert,” a personality type that Labno told me I share with about 3% of the population.

“You like to be in the room,” Labno guessed when we spoke over the phone, “kind of maybe to be the fly on the wall.”

This did seem highly accurate to me. I enjoy spending time with other people – especially people who are funny and talkative – even if I don’t end up saying much. It generally doesn’t exhaust me the way it supposedly exhausts a “true” introvert; in fact, I usually find being alone with my own thoughts much more enervating.

The whole time I was reading the report, I was keenly aware of what psychologists call the “Barnum effect“: the tendency to believe whatever someone tells you about your personality. It helps explains why, when you read your horoscope and it says you’re having a hard time with feelings this month, your response is, “OMG, yes – how did you know?”

In other words, it’s hard – if not impossible – to say whether NeuroColor’s description of my personality is “objectively” true.

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NeuroColor has business teams discuss their individual reports.
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VFS Digital Design/flickr

The implications

When organizations have their employees take the NeuroColor Temperament Inventory and go through NeuroColor’s training, they also have the option to give everyone four rubber blocks – in red, blue, green, and yellow – to represent the four brain systems.

You can, Fisher told me, arrange them on your desk to show which brain systems influence your personality the most; that way, people can understand how to interact with you from the get-go.

To me, the blocks seemed like overkill. But I liked the idea of being open about how you work best. And I liked the idea of taking the time to understand how you work best even more.

To be sure, I probably would have learned more if all my coworkers had completed the NeuroColor Temperament Inventory and we’d discussed our results together. Still, I appreciated having concrete language – “reserved extrovert,” for example – to explain my idiosyncratic personality and work style.

Should I ever work up the nerve to tell a new coworker or manager, “This is how I prefer to communicate,” it will be helpful to have these results to look back on.

There were a few sentences in my NeuroColor report that I kept going back to, including, “Shana enjoys the flash of brilliance she feels when she reads about or discusses the unexplored or something that wasn’t known before.”

It’s not something I’m planning to share in future meetings with my coworkers. (“Hey, guys – I’m going for flashes of brilliance today, so let’s focus on exploring the unknown, shall we?”)

But this person sounded smart, and intellectually adventurous – things I aspire to be, but I’m not always sure I am. And the little ego boost I got, from that sentence and similar ones, may be the single greatest thing I’m taking away from the report.

RANKING: We tried all of Chick-fil-A’s sauces — and the winner is clear

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Hollis Johnson

At Chick-fil-A, it’s all about the sauce.

Customers at the chicken chain are cultishly dedicated to condiments.

Some adore the signature Chick-fil-A sauce, which can’t be found anywhere but the chicken chain. Others – perhaps with a sweeter palette – are die-hard Polynesian Sauce fans. And, some people were so furious when Chick-fil-A tweaked the recipe for its BBQ Sauce that they forced the chain to reverse the change.

In an effort to see which sauces live up to the hype and which fell flat, we tried all seven of Chick-fil-A’s legendary sauces. Here’s the ranking, from worst to best:


7. Garlic & Herb Ranch

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Hollis Johnson

Look. I understand the need for a fast-food chain to offer ranch dressing, especially if spicy chicken is on the menu. However, the Garlic & Herb Ranch fails to be anything but… meh.

It’s more watery than I would like, and I certainly didn’t get the garlic, onion, and herb flavors that were promised. If you’re a ranch fanatic, my advice is to bring your own Hidden Valley.


6. Sweet & Spicy Sriracha

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Hollis Johnson

Chick-fil-A added this new sauce last year, hoping to tap into a trending flavor. But people don’t go to Chick-fil-A for trendy food.

The Sweet & Spicy Sriracha tastes like someone mixed Polynesian sauce with sriracha. This could be useful to add some zest to a blander fast-food chain’s offerings – but overwhelming Chick-fil-A’s chicken with sweet Sriracha doesn’t do it any favors.


5. Polynesian

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Hollis Johnson

Chick-fil-A Polynesian sauce is famous – but I don’t think it’s actually very good.

I know this is controversial. According to my informal Twitter poll on the subject, 22% of people say that Polynesian is their favorite sauce – the second most popular after Chick-fil-A sauce.

But, ultimately, the sweet and sour sauce is just too sweet for my taste. The goopy sauce’s super-sweet and syrupy flavor is instantly distinctive and beloved by many – but, in my opinion, the pink sauce is better left in your bag.


4. Zesty Buffalo

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Hollis Johnson

As a fan of wings, I’m pro-buffalo sauce. While Chick-fil-A’s take is a bit thinner and more watery than I would prefer, the flavor is spot on. It wouldn’t feel out of place in a sports bar.

In fact, with the Zesty Buffalo Sauce, I finally found a purpose for Chick-fil-A’s ranch sauce. When combined in a skillful double dip, the two far exceed the sum of their parts.


3. Barbeque

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Hollis Johnson

When Chick-fil-A adjusted their barbeque sauce recipe, customers lost their minds. It only took the company three months to reverse the changes after more than 2,000 people signed a petition to bring back the original BBQ sauce.

To barbecue lover’s credit, it’s a quality sauce. It packs a punch, and avoids some other sauce’s mistakes of being too thin or too goopy. If you’re craving BBQ, it hits the spot, and the chain would be worse without it.


2. Honey Mustard

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Hollis Johnson

In my opinion, this is where Chick-fil-A sauces go from just OK to truly great.

I would literally eat the honey mustard sauce with a spoon. My notes on this sauce just say “YUM GREAT.” If I had to tease out what makes this sauce so delicious, it would be the savory undertones that the mustard adds – a far cry from from the saccharine flavor of the Polynesian sauce.


1. Chick-fil-A

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Hollis Johnson

Let’s be real, folks. If you’re going to Chick-fil-A, you need to order the Chick-fil-A Sauce.

It’s a phenomenon that has inspired knock-off recipes and eBay sales. According to Chick-fil-A, customers consume more than 84 million packets of the sauce a year.

Somehow, this blend of honey mustard, barbecue, and ranch is much better than any one of those sauces alone. Honey mustard is the leading flavor, with barbecue undertones and ranch adding some needed creamy texture.

It’s the perfect accompaniment to anything on the Chick-fil-A menu. If you pick any other condiment before it, you’re a fool – but, hey, it’s your own Polynesian Sauce flooded funeral.

Montel Williams reveals how smoking marijuana every day for 17 years changed his life

Former television personality Montel Williams has used cannabis nearly every day for 17 years. But he hasn’t smoked it in over a decade.

“I have dexterity problems. I can’t roll a joint to save my life,” Williams tells Business Insider. He prefers vaporizing more concentrated forms of the drug.

Williams, who is also a retired Navy officer, suffers from multiple sclerosis, a disease that causes his immune system to attack the insulation around his nerves. It produces intense, burning sensations from his head to his toes.

Every morning, Williams takes a fistful of pills to ease the pain. He supplements this cocktail with cannabis, which he started using after his diagnosis in 1999. The drug has been shown to improve symptoms in patients suffering from MS, according to a summary from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

In April, Williams became a “ganjapreneur,” launching his own line of cannabis products. Lenitiv Labs makes high-quality, user-friendly marijuana products designed specifically for medical users. They’re available in over 30 dispensaries in California.

The company uses a type of cannabis extract made from compressing carbon dioxide at high pressures, a process that does not require chemical solvents or artificial additives. The oil and drinks come in three formulas that vary the ratio of THC (the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis) and CBD (a chemical compound thought to be responsible for many of the drug’s therapeutic effects) so patients can control their doses with precision.

montel williams show

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Singer Carnie Wilson and her husband, musician Rob Bonfiglio, talk with host Montel Williams on “The Montel Williams Show.”
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Getty Images

“The Montel Williams Show,” which made Williams the first African-American to host a syndicated daytime talk show, ran for 17 seasons. He hid his disease for most of that time, until a tabloid threatened to print the story and forced him to reveal his diagnosis on air.

Williams has since described how he’d take long commercial breaks backstage, where he could cry from the pain in private. “[I would] let it go, refocus, come back out and sit down, and do another interview with a person,” he told Oprah Winfrey in 2009. “I was doing that every day.”

After his diagnosis, Williams jumped in front of a taxi cab in New York City in a suicide attempt. Around the same, time he started using cannabis – specifically kief, a fine powder made from the plant’s dried resin glands – to help manage his pain and mood. Depression is one of the most common symptoms of MS, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Today, cannabis “helps me to function,” Williams says.

He lives in New York, which is home to one of the country’s more restrictive medical marijuana programs. But because he operates a business in California, Williams says he is qualified to buy and consume medical marijuana there. He sources his kief from a “compassionate caregiver” – an individual authorized by the state to grow the plant for medical users.

montel williams marijuana

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Montel Williams joins US Representatives in a press conference to launch a new bipartisan congressional campaign to protect patients who use marijuana in 2005.
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Micah Walter/Reuters

Williams says that since 2012, when the first US states legalized marijuana for recreational use, sugary, weed-laced junk food has dominated dispensaries.

“They’re putting all kinds of junk in there. And I say, really, that’s medicine?” he says.

An increased demand for recreational products has Williams and others worried that the needs of medical users will be ignored. “This industry has gotten so caught up in making money, they forgot they’re leaving patients on the battlefield,” Williams says.

He hopes to expand Lenitive Labs to every state where medical marijuana is legal, and is traveling the country this spring to give educational talks on cannabis.

We asked a hand surgeon about how to treat ‘texting thumb,’ where your hand hurts from too much texting – here’s what he told us

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Shutterstock

Here are a few things I use my phone for each and every day:

    Alarm clockTexting my friendsScanning social mediaReading the newsListening to music and podcastsChecking sports scoresTaking picturesScheduling appointmentsManaging my finances

Needless to say, it’s a lot. From the moment I wake up until I’m getting ready for bed, my iPhone is constantly in my hand.

Recently, however, I’ve begun to experience some discomfort around the base of my right thumb, the very digit that does the majority of my swiping and tapping. A cursory Google search brought up a term called “texting thumb,” which seemed to encompass my symptoms.

I read stories warning that my constant smartphone use was setting me on a path towards tendinitis, and that arthritis was surely waiting around the corner. Suddenly, my smartphone seemed to exist with the sole purpose of destroying my hand.

I decided to talk to an expert to set the record straight.

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Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Dr. S. Steven Yang specializes in hand and wrist surgery at the NYU Langone Medical Center. He performs hundreds of surgeries a year, with patients that include professional athletes and classical musicians. If anyone could help me understand what was going on with my hand, it was him.

Right off the bat, Dr. Yang explained that there is no diagnosis called “texting thumb.” He told me that back in the 1980s, the worry was that kids who played too many video games would develop “Nintendo thumb” and that in the late 1990s and early 2000s “BlackBerry thumb” was the diagnosis du jour.

“These are basically laypeople’s terminology for discomfort that they are having in their hands when they’re doing too much of something,” Dr. Yang said.

Still, he acknowledged that a lack of a formal term for the discomfort does not mean that there is nothing going on under the skin.

“Smartphones – they’re small. They’re not really ergonomically designed to be doing repetitive actions for protracted periods of time,” he explained. “So what happens is people get sore. But the soreness we’re talking about is not that different from what even a generation ago people used to call ‘writer’s cramp.'”

“Smartphones, they’re small. They’re not really ergonomically designed to be doing repetitive actions for protracted periods of time”

According to Dr. Yang, soreness from repetitive use of a smartphone is categorized as a repetitive stress injury (RSI). Because there is nothing broken or dislocated in the hand, and in many cases there isn’t even much inflammation, an RSI is a “diagnosis of exclusion,” meaning that all other diagnoses have been ruled out.

When we operate a smartphone, there’s a whole slew of complex motions going on under the skin. Muscles are contracting, tendons are colliding, and the result is our thumbs flexing and extending while they fly over a digital keyboard.

But discomfort in your hand doesn’t mean that you are developing any sort of ailment – just that your hand needs a break.

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Flickr / Adam Fagen

“I think people just get sore from using their phones,” Dr. Yang said. “They get aches and pains, but phones aren’t causing bones to break or ligaments to rupture or anything like that.”

He dismissed my question about smartphones causing damage to people’s hands by pointing out that the number of people who develop serious hand problems from phone use is “infinitesimally small.”

“There is no epidemiological evidence of an increase in any of these conditions,” Dr. Yang explained. “Over the past decade, the number of people using smartphones has skyrocketed. It has increased exponentially. If this were in fact a serious public health problem there would be an epidemic of people with repetitive stress injuries. And there’s not.”

If you’re like me and are experiencing aches associated with your smartphone use, the prescription is simple: switch hands. Or, better yet, put your phone down for awhile.

If you’re like me and are experiencing aches associated with your smartphone use, the prescription is simple: switch hands. Or better yet, put your phone down for a while.

Unless stiffness and cramping are sustained and continue after you’ve put down your device, there’s nothing wrong with your hand that merits a visit to a hand specialist like Dr. Yang.

Instead, he suggests taking frequent breaks over the course of the day. Open and close your fingers, stretch your wrists and forearms. The key is to give your muscles and tendons a rest every once in a while.

And no, you’re not doing yourself any favors by holding your phone in one hand and poking at the screen with your other index finger. According to Dr. Yang there’s no known posture that’s better than another when it comes to grasping your phone.

So when your hand starts to cramp up and get sore while you’re using your phone, that’s just your body’s way of telling you to take it easy. And you should listen to your body – it’s almost always right.

‘Grand Theft Auto’ has never looked this good

Even though blockbuster game “Grand Theft Auto V” is nearly four years old, some players are making it look better than ever.

Just look at this madness:

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Rockstar Games / Imgur

How’s this possible? Simple! Take the PC version of the game and apply a single, ridiculously impressive modification. Check it:


Once the modification is applied, the entire game looks dramatically prettier. Everything from the jet below…

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Rockstar Games / Imgur

To this sun-drenched vista:

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Rockstar Games / Imgur

To this overhead shot of Los Santos at night. The city is alive with activity!

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Rockstar Games / Imgur

That’s because the modification, called “NaturalVision,” changes the lighting systems, the effects systems, and much more.

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It gives everything a far more realistic look, thus the name.
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Rockstar Games / Imgur

It’s a ridiculously major overhaul, and one that’s especially impactful.

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Rockstar Games / Imgur

Even simple stuff like wet roads after rain storms are represented more accurately:

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Rockstar Games / Imgur

But we’re especially partial to this mix of a gorgeous sunset with a shockingly realistic-looking lake. A nice place to relax between car-jackings.

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Rockstar Games / Imgur

If you’ve got a high-powered PC, and an interest in bringing this incredible-looking mod home, you can get everything you need right here.


Check out the full extent of the changes to “Grand Theft Auto V” in this video below:

The smartphone is replacing one of the most important features in new cars — and that’s unlikely to change

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Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

Automakers are investing heavily in designing their own infotainment systems that can support everything from viewing text messages to providing navigation, but customers are hesitant to use the systems.

Kristin Kolodge, the executive director of driver interaction at human machine interface at research firm J.D. Power, led a 2016 study that found that more than 50% of car owners never used their infotainment systems after 90 days of purchase.

The study, which was conducted between February and August 2016, was based on a survey of 13,269 people who had purchased or leased a 2016 model-year vehicle.

It found that 39% of the people who said they never use their in-vehicle systems use another device, like their smartphone, as a replacement. The study also found that 56% of people who did try using their in-vehicle systems stopped doing so within the first month.

A Deloitte survey of 22,000 consumers in 17 different countries found that this trend is unlikely to change.

US respondents said that systems that allow consumers to design and personalize vehicles, control automated systems in their homes, and help manage daily activities are the least useful in a car.

“Companies that are doubling down on in-vehicle technology that allows occupants to better manage their daily activities or control various home-based systems may need to reevaluate their technology strategy,” the survey reads.

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Tesla Motors

Kolodge said the main reason people elected not to use their in-vehicle systems, or gave up on them after a while, was because they were difficult to figure out.

“We saw quite a number of hand raisers that said… even technologies like radio, they have difficulty understanding,” Kolodge told Business Insider. “So it’s not a problem just for the advanced technologies, it’s across the board.”

But it’s not just a matter of usability, but general comfort. As Kolodge points out, people are used to relying on their phones for navigation, so they feel more inclined to use an app like Google Maps than attempt to use their infotainment systems.

“It’s easier because they learned on their phone and might feel it’s better able to execute their tasks. That’s what manufacturers are up against,” she said.

However, there is a caveat to all of this. The study found that vehicle owners tend to like driver assistance features, like the back-up camera that appears when reversing and lane-keeping warning messages.

It found that vehicle owners were the most satisfied with those collision avoidance technologies and least satisfied with their navigation systems.

The Deloitte survey also found people have a growing interest in buying cars with advance driver assistance technology, like adaptive cruise control. Of the US consumers surveyed, 43% expressed interest in partial self-driving features, a 5% increase since Deloitte last conducted the survey in 2014.

Kolodge points out that collision avoidance systems have an inherit advantage because you can’t replicate those features with your smartphone.

“Those technologies we’re talking about, there is a competing technology out there, a portable device, a smartphone,” she explained. “But there isn’t anything like that for collision detection. We don’t have anything where we can say, ‘Oh, we will use this instead.'”