The Voice’ crowns its winner on December 14 — here’s how to watch the season finale live without cable

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THE VOICE -- "Blind Auditions" -- Pictured: (l-r) Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Ariana Grande, Blake Shelton
“The Voice.”

  • “The Voice” is a singing competition with an all-star panel of coaches.
  • The season 21 finale airs on December 14 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.
  • You can stream “The Voice” live on services like Sling Blue, or the next day on Peacock and Hulu.

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“The Voice” will air its season 21 finale on December 14. You can watch the show live at 9 p.m. ET on NBC through cable, satellite, antenna, or live TV streaming services like Sling TV. The finale will also be available to stream the next day on Peacock and Hulu.

Like past seasons, this year’s competition began with the coaches choosing singers for their teams based on blind auditions. Ariana Grande, Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton, and John Legend round out the panel of coaches. 

After battling it out across several rounds, five contestants remain in the finale. Viewers will vote on the winner and the champion will be announced on December 14. The finale will also feature special performances from stars like Alicia Keys, Coldplay, Carrie Underwood, Ed Sheeran, and more.

If you want to stream “The Voice” live or on-demand, here’s how you can watch the finale without cable.

How to watch ‘The Voice’ season 21 finale

You can watch the season 21 finale of “The Voice” on December 14 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. Live TV streaming services like Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV, Fubo TV, and YouTube TV all carry NBC in select markets. You can also stream the show through the NBC website or NBC app if you have an authenticated pay-TV account. 

Sling Blue is the cheapest service with live access to “The Voice” finale. This option costs $35 a month ($10 for your first month). Be aware, however, that NBC is only available in select areas through Sling.

Hulu + Live TV, Fubo TV, and YouTube TV all include access to live NBC as well, but regular prices start at $65 a month for each service. Though that’s a lot more than Sling, they each feature at least 65 live channels compared to Sling Blue’s 43 channels.

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Outside of live TV options, on-demand episodes of “The Voice” are available on Peacock the day after they air on TV. That said, you’ll need a Peacock Premium ($5/month) or Peacock Premium Plus ($10/month) plan to watch new episodes. 

On-demand episodes of “The Voice” are also available to watch on Hulu the day after they air on NBC. A Hulu subscription costs $7 a month for ad-supported streaming or $13 a month for ad-free streaming. New members get a 30-day free trial.

Who are the finalists on ‘The Voice’ this season?

Five contestants are left as finalists on “The Voice.” The remaining singers include:

  • Girl Named Tom (Team Kelly)
  • Hailey Mia (Team Kelly)
  • Jershika Maple (Team Legend)
  • Paris Winningham (Team Blake)
  • Wendy Moten (Team Blake)
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How to get 6 months of Apple Music for free, no purchase necessary

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When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

HomePod Mini U1

Apple Music works beautifully on Apple devices, plus there’s an app for it across a range of platforms, including Android.
Originally $9.99 | Save 100%


Apple Music is one of the best music streaming services available, especially if you’re someone who uses an iPhone and other Apple products. Right now, new members can get their first six months of Apple Music for free from Best Buy. That’s double the regular trial period that Apple gives subscribers directly.

The service offers access to over 75 million songs, hundreds of curated playlists, radio shows, and more. You can use it to download songs for offline listening, stream music across all your devices, and even find occasional album exclusives. Apple Music usually costs $10 a month for ad-free streaming with advanced features like lossless audio and Dolby Atmos, but eligible college students and Siri users can get specific plans for as little as $5 a month.

If you’re new to the service, there’s no better way to start than with six free months. We’ve outlined how to snag your own Apple Music trial, below. 

How to get 6 free months of Apple Music

  1. Go to Best Buy’s website and sign up for an account with the store.
  2. Add the “Free Apple Music for six months” digital download to your cart.
  3. Go to your cart and check out.
  4. Wait for a digital code to be sent to the email address linked to your Best Buy account.

Once your trial ends, your Apple Music subscription will auto-renew for $10 a month, which can be cancelled anytime. This deal is only good for new Apple Music members.

It’s not clear how long Best Buy’s promotion will be available. It started in May 2021, and is still running now. 

Apple Music works beautifully on Apple devices, plus there’s an app for it across a range of platforms, including Android.
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The 6 best media sticks and devices of 2021 for fast and reliable streaming

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family watching using a Roku players on a TV - best streaming devices

Smart TVs with built-in access to streaming services are now the norm, but navigation speeds and app selection can vary a lot depending on what model you own. If you’re someone who craves faster performance and a larger selection of services, a standalone streaming box or stick could be exactly what you need.

These compact devices connect to your display and handle all your streaming needs. Some even include integrated digital assistants. Separate streaming players are also a perfect solution for anyone who might still have an old “dumb” TV that needs some extra smarts. 

After testing a variety of media players, we picked the best streaming sticks and boxes you can buy to turn any HDMI-capable TV into an entertainment powerhouse. Learn more about how Insider Reviews tests and researches tech products.

Here are the best streaming boxes and sticks:

Best streaming box overall: Roku Ultra, $66.01 on Walmart
The Roku Ultra supports 4K and HDR, delivers speedy navigation, and comes with a voice remote control that has a headphone port.

Best budget streaming box: Roku Express, $19 on Amazon
The Roku Express only offers basic HD playback, but it’s affordable and incredibly easy to use.

Best high-end streaming box: Apple TV 4K, $149.99 on Amazon
The Apple TV 4K is the perfect fit for enthusiasts who want seamless integration with the rest of Apple’s ecosystem.

Best streaming device for Google users: Google Chromecast, $39.99 on Best Buy
The Chromecast with Google TV features a built-in library of apps and it comes with a Google Assistant voice remote.

Best streaming stick with Alexa: Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max, $34.99 on Amazon
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max is a tiny streaming device with a quick interface and a voice-controlled Alexa remote.

Best streaming box for gamers: Nvidia Shield TV, $129 on Amazon
The Nvidia Shield TV is a powerful media device with Google’s Android TV platform and support for gaming when you pair it with a controller.

Best streaming box overall

Roku Ultra 2020 on a TV stand - best streaming box overall
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Originally $99.99 | Save 34%
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The Roku Ultra streams in 4K and HDR, has voice search, and comes with a remote control that has programmable shortcut buttons.

Pros: 4K HDR streaming with Dolby Vision and HDR10+, Bluetooth, voice remote, lots of apps, improved Wi-Fi connection, Ethernet, USB port

Cons: A bit expensive when listed at full price

The Roku Ultra has virtually everything a buyer could want out of streaming box. It supports 4K video and all of the major HDR formats to help you get the most out of your display.

The Roku OS features a huge library of streaming channels with access to popular services, including Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, Peacock, Amazon Prime, Apple TV Plus, Paramount Plus, and HBO Max. Just connect the box to your TV via the HDMI port, and install all your favorite streaming services to get started.

With HDR capabilities, the Roku Ultra displays richer colors and better contrast when playing back HDR-enabled videos on a compatible TV. The latest Roku Ultra model also adds support for the advanced Dolby Vision and HDR10+ formats.

The Ultra comes with a voice remote so you can adjust the volume and search for content with spoken commands. If you’re watching at night, you can plug the included earbuds into the remote for private listening. 

The Roku Ultra is the most versatile and reliable media player in this price range, and we like that it’s more universal than Amazon, Apple, and Google devices. There are cheaper alternatives with less advanced features, but we think this model is the best choice for most people with a 4K TV.  

Best budget streaming box

Roku Express with remote - best budget streaming box
Originally $29.99 | Save 37%
Originally $29.99 | Save 33%


The Roku Express is one of the most affordable streaming boxes you can buy, and it offers a great interface with basic HD playback.

Pros: Cheap, compact design, easy-to-use, built-in OS

Cons: Doesn’t support 4K or HDR, no voice remote, no Ethernet

For buyers who want a simple and inexpensive streaming solution, the Roku Express is the perfect fit. This model is about as basic as they come, but for the money, you’re still getting a capable HD streaming box.

Perhaps the best thing about the Roku Express is how easy it is to use. The compact design makes it one of the smallest streaming boxes there is, and the package comes complete with an HDMI cable for simple setup. The interface is well-designed and extremely easy to navigate with access to all the major services you could want.

Unlike the Roku Ultra, however, this model lacks a voice remote, and it’s missing a USB port for playing external video files or Bluetooth for music streaming from a smartphone. The Roku Express also lacks 4K and HDR support, so we only recommend this model for people who have regular HDTVs.

Buyers who want 4K on a budget, should consider the Roku Express 4K+ instead. It’s similar to the standard Roku Express, but it has support for 4K, HDR, and AirPlay for a bit more money.

If all you need is basic HD streaming, though, there’s little reason to pay extra for a model more powerful than the Roku Express.

Best high-end streaming box

Apple TV 4K with remote - best high-end streaming player
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The Apple TV 4K is an ideal streaming player for enthusiasts who want easy integration with the rest of Apple’s products.

Pros: Well-designed interface, 4K and HDR, can serve as a HomeKit hub, latest model has HDMI 2.1

Cons: Expensive compared to the competition

If you’re looking for a high-end media player to integrate with your Apple account and other Apple devices, then you’ll want to consider the Apple TV 4K.

One of the best things about the Apple TV 4K is Apple’s tvOS interface, which is super easy to use. It can stream in 4K and has HDR support for improved contrast and colors. Like the Roku Ultra, the Apple TV 4K also offers Dolby Vision for better HDR on select services and TVs. 

And with Siri, you can use your voice to search for content. Plus, you can access music, podcasts, games, and hundreds of apps, or cast or mirror content from an iOS or macOS device using AirPlay technology. In addition, the Apple TV 4K can even serve as a HomeKit hub for Apple’s smart home ecosystem.

On the downside, the Apple TV is more expensive than streaming options from Roku and Amazon. Most people who aren’t invested in the Apple ecosystem will be more than happy with the less expensive Roku Ultra instead. The deciding factor comes down to budget and the ecosystem you prefer.

The latest Apple TV 4K model came out in 2021, replacing the older version released in 2017. Though similar, the 2021 player adds an improved Siri remote and a couple new features, like high frame rate playback. 

Best streaming device for Google users

Chromecast with Google TV plugged into a display - best streaming device for Google users
Originally $49.99 | Save 20%
Originally $49.99 | Save 20%


The Chromecast with Google TV can play apps right from the device and it includes a Google Assistant remote.

Pros: 4K HDR with Dolby Vision and HDR10+, Google Assistant voice remote, built-in interface and casting capabilities

Cons: Minor glitches, some lag

Google’s latest Chromecast model offers a sizable step forward in performance and usability over older versions. Though our previous pick in this category, the Chromecast Ultra, needed a separate phone, tablet, or computer to stream apps from, the Chromecast with Google TV actually features its own built-in interface with an extensive library of services. 

You can still cast apps from a mobile device if you’d like, but the on-screen selection makes it more convenient to find your favorite shows and movies right on your TV screen. This makes the Chromecast a more worthy competitor to similar compact players, like the Fire TV Stick 4K.

Powered by the new Google TV platform, the Chromecast offers access to a huge collection of apps. Though a few services, like Vudu and Movies Anywhere, were initially limited to HD and SDR video, recent updates have added 4K and HDR playback.  

From a design perspective, the new Chromecast features a similar puck-shaped form factor as older models, complete with a dongle connection that hangs from your TV’s HDMI port. Unlike older models, the latest version includes a handy voice remote with integrated Google Assistant support. 

We encountered a few glitches while testing the new Chromecast and some lag here and there, but the device offers impressive value, especially for buyers already invested in Google’s ecosystem.    

Best streaming stick with Alexa

Fire TV Stick 4K Max plugged into a TV - best streaming stick with Alexa
Originally $54.99 | Save 36%
Originally $54.99 | Save 36%
Originally $54.99 | Save 36%


The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max is a compact streaming device with fast navigation and a handy Alexa remote.

Pros: 4K streaming, Alexa voice control, compact, speedy navigation, support for all major HDR formats

Cons: Fire TV interface is cluttered, not a huge upgrade over previous model

Amazon’s latest streaming stick plugs right into the HDMI port on the back of your TV, adding access to a ton of apps with support for up to 4K playback. The Fire TV Stick 4K Max is also compatible with every major HDR format, so people who own Dolby Vision or HDR10+ TVs can watch videos in the best quality available. 

An Alexa voice remote is included as well, so you can control playback and search for content with spoken commands. Though the remote requires you to press a button to activate Alexa, you can also pair the device with an Echo speaker for hands-free control. 

Fire TV Stick 4K Max works with Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Prime Video, and many other popular streaming apps. Though some notable services used to be missing, Amazon’s selection is now on par with other major players like Roku. 

Compared to the older Fire TV Stick 4K, the new 4K Max isn’t a huge upgrade, but it does offer some minor improvements. Most notably, navigation speed is a bit snappier, thanks to a slightly more powerful processor. This helps to cement the Fire TV Stick 4K Max as the fastest media device I’ve ever tested in this price range. 

It also includes support for Wi-Fi 6 for more reliable connectivity when paired with a Wi-Fi 6 router. But, since most people don’t have a Wi-Fi 6 router, we don’t see this as a main selling point right now.  

People who already own the old Fire TV Stick 4K don’t need to upgrade, but new buyers on the hunt for the best streaming stick with Alexa should snag this model.

Best streaming player for gamers

Nvidia Shield TV with remote - best streaming player for gamers
Originally $149.00 | Save 13%
Originally $149.99 | Save 13%


The Nvidia Shield TV doesn’t just run Google’s Android TV, it also supports 4K streaming and can even pair with a controller for gaming.

Pros: 4K support, Dolby Vision capabilities, support for a separate gaming controller, Android TV operating system, powerful processor

Cons: Expensive, most buyers don’t need the extra power

Though pricier than other players, the Nvidia Shield TV is the ultimate streaming device for buyers who want beefy specs. 

More than just a video player, the Shield TV is also the best streaming box for gamers. In addition to the included Google Assistant voice remote, you can add a separate gaming controller for playing games from the Google Play Store or through the GeForce Now cloud gaming service. 

When it comes to raw specs, the Shield TV incorporates 2GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. The device is powered by the NVIDIA Tegra X1+, which is one of the most powerful processors used in any streaming device. This extra muscle even allows the device to take advantage of advanced upscaling technology, which can make HD videos look better on 4K TVs. 

Unlike most streaming players, the Shield TV features a unique cylindrical design which takes the form of a compact tube that’s meant to be placed behind a display. This style won’t be for everyone, but it makes it easy to hide the device out of sight.

For buyers who want even more power, there’s also a Shield TV Pro model to consider. This more expensive version features a more traditional rectangular shape and upgraded specs with 3GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and two USB 3.0 ports.

What you should look for in a streaming device

Roku Ultra 2020 angle with remote

Before buying a streaming device, there are a few factors you should consider. First and foremost, you should ensure you really need a separate streaming player at all.

If you’re someone with an old dumb TV that has HDMI ports, adding a standalone streaming device is a no-brainer. But, if you already own a smart TV with access to its own built-in library of apps, the decision isn’t as simple. 

If you’re satisfied with your TV’s app selection, speed, and connectivity options, there’s really no need to invest in another device. However, if you’re frustrated with laggy navigation or your display is missing a few apps you want to use, a standalone streaming stick or box is an ideal buy.

Of course, you’ll want to confirm that the device you choose has all the services you need. Most popular apps, like Netflix and Disney Plus, are supported on virtually all streaming players, but some smaller services are missing from certain devices.

You’ll also want to keep in mind the specs of your TV. Not all streaming sticks and boxes are able to handle 4K or high dynamic range (HDR), so if you have a 4K TV, you’ll want to get a device that can take full advantage of your display’s capabilities.

You should also consider the ecosystem you’re most plugged into. For example, Android users might be able to get more use from a Google TV device, while those using an iPhone or Mac might prefer the Apple TV, and Alexa fans might want to opt for a Fire TV model. 

Roku devices, on the other hand, are the most versatile since they’re compatible with a variety of ecosystems. On the downside, Roku devices lack built-in support for Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant.

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Larry Ellison has scored a $50 billion gain on Oracle and Tesla stock this year — and now ranks as the world’s 5th-richest person

Larry Ellison
Larry Ellison.

  • Larry Ellison has notched about $50 billion in gains on Oracle and Tesla stock this year.
  • The Oracle chairman owns around $135 billion worth of the two companies’ shares.
  • Ellison, who invested in Tesla in 2018, has jumped to fifth on Forbes’ rich list.

Larry Ellison has racked up $50 billion in gains on just two stocks this year, Oracle and Tesla.

The Oracle chairman still owns 1.16 billion shares of the enterprise-software company he cofounded, Securities and Exchange Commission filings show. Oracle’s stock price has surged 64% this year, boosting the value of Ellison’s 42% stake by about $46 billion, to $120 billion.

Ellison also owns around 15 million Tesla shares — a position he established after joining the board of Elon Musk’s electric-vehicle company in December 2018, SEC filings show. Tesla stock has soared by roughly one-third this year, lifting the value of Ellison’s 1.5% stake by around $4 billion, to $15 billion.

Between Oracle and Tesla, Ellison has scored roughly $50 billion in unrealized gains this year. He now ranks fifth on Forbes’ billionaire list with a $136 billion fortune, ahead of Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg, and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Ellison’s gains over the past few years are also impressive. His Tesla stake has ballooned by about 15-fold in value since he revealed it in January 2019, while his Oracle holdings have roughly doubled in value over the same period.

Notably, Ellison’s Tesla stake was worth close to $19 billion when the automaker’s stock peaked at $1,243 in early November. His Oracle stake is worth a record amount today following the stock’s 16% surge on Friday, after the company beat Wall Street’s earnings forecasts and trumpeted its cloud strategy.

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Elon Musk says he and his family are vaccinated but that mandates for the masses are an ‘erosion of freedom’

Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

  • Elon Musk and his eligible children are vaccinated against COVID-19. 
  • But Musk told Time he’s against vaccine mandates: “People do risky things all the time,” he said.
  • Musk previously expressed doubts about the COVID-19 vaccine and resisted shelter-in-place measures. 

After downplaying the coronavirus and expressing skepticism about vaccines, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that he and his eligible children have gotten the COVID-19 jab. 

“The science is unequivocal,” Musk said in an interview with Time published on Monday in conjunction with him being named as the magazine’s 2021 Person of the Year.

He doesn’t think the government should enforce vaccine mandates, however. The unvaccinated are “taking a risk, but people do risky things all the time,” he said. “I believe we’ve got to watch out for the erosion of freedom in America.”

The Biden administration has imposed a vaccine mandate on US businesses with more than 100 employees, but the rule has been blocked by courts. In New York City, employees of private companies need to have received at least one shot by late December. 

Such measures have received vocal pushback, particularly from the unvaccinated population, but polls show that most Americans are supportive of the requirements. 

Musk has made it clear before he’s no fan of big government imposing restrictions on people and businesses in the name of fighting the pandemic. When California forced nonessential businesses to close, Musk fought publicly with officials and eventually reopened Tesla’s California factory in defiance of their rules. 

In April 2020, an exasperated Musk slammed shelter-in-place measures as “fascist” and “breaking people’s freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong and not why they came to America or built this country.” 

He’s also voiced doubts about the coronavirus vaccine and shared anti-vaccine content online. In a September 2020 interview with The New York Times, Musk said he and his family did not plan to take a vaccine when it was made available. In April, he tweeted and quickly deleted an edited cartoon that depicted Bill Gates as the mastermind behind the pandemic and vaccine rollout. 

For more than a year, conspiracy theorists have pushed the idea that Gates planned the pandemic and the vaccine to implant microchips into people. 

After taking heat for doubting the vaccine, Musk clarified his view in an April tweet: “To be clear, I do support vaccines in general & covid vaccines specifically. The science is unequivocal.”

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Rivian’s first electric pickup truck, the $67,500 R1T, is MotorTrend’s Truck of the Year

[EMBARGO 9/28 DNP] Rivian R1T
The Rivian R1T.

  • The all-electric 2022 Rivian R1T is MotorTrend’s Truck of the Year. 
  • The R1T pickup truck is the very first consumer model from electric-vehicle startup Rivian.
  • Rivian started shipping out the rugged R1T in September. 

MotorTrend on Monday named the R1T, the first consumer model from electric-vehicle startup Rivian, its 2022 Truck of the Year. 

It’s never a bad time to win an industry award, but Rivian snagged the “Golden Calipers” at a pivotal time for its business. The Amazon- and Ford-backed startup went public last month and is working diligently to prove to investors that it’s a legitimate automaker and a worthy challenger to Tesla, which has dominated the EV market for a decade. 

“The Rivian R1T is a monumental achievement and astonishes with a quality of design, engineering, materials, and technology unmatched in trucks today, while providing a driving experience like that of a high-performance luxury car,” said Ed Loh, MotorTrend Group’s head of editorial.

[EMBARGO 9/28 DNP] Rivian R1T
The Rivian R1T.

Rivian launched deliveries of the R1T in September, three years after revealing a prototype to the world at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. The $67,500 all-electric pickup aims to be a rugged, more outdoorsy alternative to Tesla’s cars and SUVs. It features four-wheel drive, a slew of interesting features, and tremendous off-road capabilities, all wrapped in a sleek, luxurious package. 

It’s the first electric pickup to hit the road in the modern electric era, beating out upcoming battery-powered trucks from Ford, General Motors, and Tesla. Rivian plans to start delivering an SUV based on the same underpinnings, the R1S, next year. 

The Rivian R1T electric pickup truck's interior.
The Rivian R1T has a sleek interior with a prominent touchscreen.

In doling out its annual award, MotorTrend judges new or sufficiently revamped trucks across six key areas: safety, efficiency, value, advancement in design, engineering excellence, and performance of intended function. Rivian beat out three other finalists to win this year’s title: the 2022 Ford Maverick, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, and the 2022 GMC Hummer EV, which is set to start reaching customers this month. 

In November, MotorTrend gave its Car of the Year award to EV startup Lucid Motors for that company’s first vehicle, the $169,000 Air luxury sedan.

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Jeff Bezos criticized for celebrating Blue Origin launch before addressing Amazon warehouse collapse

Jeff Bezos wearing cowboy hat and space suit at Blue Origin rocket launch
Jeff Bezos.

  • Jeff Bezos faced criticism over his response to the deadly Amazon warehouse collapse. 
  • He posted a photo on Instagram of Blue Origin space passengers in the aftermath of the incident.
  • Several hours later, he acknowledged the disaster, which he described as “tragic.”

Jeff Bezos has come under fire for a late response to the deadly Amazon warehouse collapse that occurred on Friday night in severe weather conditions.

Insider’s Bethany Dawson and Kelsey Vlamis reported that at least six workers died and an unknown number are missing after the incident in Edwardsville, Illinois.

As the situation unfolded, Bezos was celebrating the third launch of Blue Origin’s human spaceflight, which successfully flew six passengers to the edge of space and back.

He posted a photo on Instagram of the six-member crew smiling before they flew to space. “Happy crew this morning in the training center…” Bezos captioned the post.

Several hours later, the Amazon founder then tweeted: “The news from Edwardsville is tragic. We’re heartbroken over the loss of our teammates there, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones.”

He added: “All of Edwardsville should know that the Amazon team is committed to supporting them and will be by their side through this crisis.” 

Amazon and Jeff Bezos did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

But some commentators voiced anger over his response.

“SHAME ON JEFF BEZOS!!! He was in West TEXAS today! His employees lives were lost!” one person tweeted

Another Twitter user said: “Really struggling with my rage since Jeff Bezos blasted his major carbon polluting rocket this morning after Amazon workers died in a rare December tornado last night.”

At least 70 people are feared dead in Kentucky, following the overnight tornado. The death toll from the extreme weather could ultimately exceed 100 people, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said during a press conference Saturday morning.

 

 

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MGM Resorts is letting job seekers try out roles using virtual reality as it looks to reduce employee churn

Strivr MGM Resorts VR
Job seekers will be able to put a headset on and see whether the role at MGM Resorts is what they expect.

  • MGM Resorts is letting applicants try a job in VR before they accept the role.
  • The casino and hotel company hopes it will reduce employee attrition.
  • MGM Resorts is rolling out headsets from VR-company Strivr at employment centers from January.

MGM Resorts is giving job applicants the chance to try out roles using virtual reality in the hope it will reduce employee attrition.

By using a VR headset, the company — whose portfolio includes world-famous casinos such as the Bellagio and MGM Grand in Las Vegas — hopes that job seekers will be able to see whether the role is what they expected.

“It can be very difficult just to verbally explain the types of positions or show a video,” Laura Lee, MGM Resorts’ chief HR officer, told Insider. With the VR experience, applicants can “throw a headset on and really experience the job,” she added.

Amid a nationwide labor shortage, employers are having to work harder to attract and retain new hires. Many companies have recruited staff only to see them hand in their notice a short while later, after the job didn’t match their expectations. In the hospitality industry, record numbers of workers have quit their jobs.

Lee said that the company is using the immersive technology to help reduce turnover. She said it would be rolling out the headsets for customer-service roles at its employment centers, and potentially at career fairs, from January, as well as using them for training.

Lee said that, in the past, MGM Resorts had used day-in-the-life videos and chats with current employees to give applicants an insight into roles, but nothing like this.

Some hospitality staff have complained that customers have gotten ruder during the pandemic. To prepare potential joiners for such scenarios, Lee said MGM Resorts’ VR module would include “difficult guest interactions.” 

Lee said she “absolutely” expected that some candidates, after trying out a role using VR, would decide it wasn’t right for them.

Sometimes candidates accept jobs without realizing how difficult they may be, she said. She added that, had MGM Resorts used the technology at recent casino openings, it “might’ve resolved some turnover we experienced when people accepted positions and then realized it wasn’t quite what they thought it would be.”

Strivr MGM Resorts VR
Laura Lee said MGM Resorts would be implementing the headsets at its employment centers.

Lee said the VR would be especially useful with MGM Resorts’ upcoming expansion into Japan. The country currently doesn’t have any casinos – MGM Resorts’ $9 billion casino in Osaka is due to be the first — meaning potential employees may be unfamiliar with what those types of jobs entail.

The VR would be optional for job seekers to try out, Lee added, and wouldn’t be used for office-based roles. The company would use the technology for front-of-house roles, like operating casino games and checking guests into hotels.

MGM Resorts developed the package with VR-firm Strivr, which also works with Walmart, Bank of America, Verizon, and FedEx.

As well as providing job previews and training, some companies are using Strivr to assess workers’ abilities. Walmart, for example, used Strivr VR headsets to see whether employees should be promoted to middle-management positions.

Strivr CEO Derek Belch said the data gathered from using VR “can be very powerful for both the employee, as part of their candidacy for a role, as well as for the employer to make better data-driven decisions.”

MGM’s staffing levels are recovering

MGM Resorts said in its 2020 annual report that it had frozen hiring, furloughed staff, cancelled merit pay increases, and undertaken “headcount reductions” to minimize cash outflows during the first wave of COVID-19 lockdowns.

Lee said that MGM Resorts was experiencing understaffing in some areas, but that the majority of employees it had laid off during the pandemic had returned. At its third-quarter earnings call, the company’s CFO said labor availability had been improving each month.

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I’m a ghost kitchen delivery driver, who buys and sells art from auction houses on the side. Here’s what my typical day looks like.

Cecil Birnbaum
Cecil Birnbaum.

  • Cecil Birnbaum is a delivery driver for ClusterTruck, an Indiana-based ghost kitchen. 
  • He was forced out of his previous job due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • The opportunity to become a delivery driver was a godsend, Birnbaum told Insider.

This as-told-to article is based on a conversation with Cecil Birnbaum, a 59-year-old delivery driver for Indianapolis-based ghost kitchen ClusterTruck about his role. It has been edited for length and clarity.

Two years ago, I was forced out of my job due to the coronavirus pandemic. I was left wondering what my next step would be when the possibility of becoming a delivery driver for ClusterTruck fell into my hands. 

It was a blessing. 

At the time, ClusterTruck had opened a new location in Carmel, Indiana. It began going round to different companies in the area, including my wife’s, to promote their brand and let people sample their menus. It was also looking for drivers. 

My wife thought it would be fun for us to try and fit the role into our lunch breaks or evenings. So she signed us up, not knowing that we would need this as a full-time job when the effects of the pandemic came into full force. 

I like to start my day early. Even though the kitchen opens at 10 a.m., I’m typically ready by 7 a.m. 

What’s nice about ClusterTruck is that some of their locations are based in grocery stores that have Starbucks coffee shops or lounges. So I’ll take my laptop and work on my side hustle, which is buying and selling auction items on eBay and other sites. 

I enjoy watching a lot of online auctions. I purchase items ranging from silver to art pieces and resell them either locally or online through eBay or Facebook marketplace.

Watercolor paintings are something I’m most fascinated by and so I’ve been paying great attention to local Indiana artists recently. 

As ClusterTruck orders begin to come in by 9 a.m., it’s pretty much a case of: pick up the order, deliver it, and repeat. On average, I carry out about 15 to 20 deliveries a day, which is about three per hour. 

It’s a job I feel safe in too. I don’t need to get out of my vehicle when delivering to customers and I also don’t need to come into contact with kitchen staff. There is social distancing when both receiving the order and delivering it to the customer. 

In that sense, it’s a wonderful gig. 

Looking to the future, I don’t see myself giving up the job any time soon. At least not for another three to four years.

Ultimately, my wife and I have dreams to purchase an RV and tour the US but for now, I’m grateful for a job that treats me well. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read the original article on Business Insider

HBO’s ‘Succession’ airs its season finale on December 12 — here’s how to watch the Emmy-winning series

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jeremy strong as kendall roy on succession
Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy on HBO’s “Succession.”

  • “Succession” is about the turbulent lives of a wealthy family running a media corporation.
  • You can watch the season three finale on December 12 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO Max and HBO.
  • HBO Max costs $10/month for an ad-supported plan or $15/month for an ad-free plan.

Season three of “Succession” premiered October 17 on HBO Max and the HBO cable channel. You can watch the season finale on December 12 at 9 p.m. ET.

The critically acclaimed series follows the wealthy Roy family as they attempt to run a giant media empire and fight to wrest control of the company from their aging patriarch. “Succession” is known for its mix of tense drama and dark humor.

After an explosive turn of events in the show’s season two finale, the future of the Roy family business remains up in the air. Actors Alexander Skarsgård and Adrien Brody are among the guest stars that joined the ensemble cast for season three. The series also stars Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin, and Alan Ruck.

Lauded by critics, the second season of “Succession” received an Emmy award for outstanding drama series. The first two seasons are both “Certified Fresh” on the review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. Season three of “Succession” currently holds a “96% Fresh” rating.

How to watch ‘Succession’ season finale

You can watch the season three finale of “Succession” on December 12 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO Max and the HBO cable channel. All eight previous episodes of the third season are available to stream on-demand right now. If you’re new to the show, you can also stream the first two seasons in their entirety on HBO Max.

For viewers on a budget, HBO Max offers an ad-supported plan for $10 a month. This tier gives you access to “Succession” and all of the streaming service’s on-demand entertainment, except for same-day movie premieres. To stream those titles, you need the ad-free HBO Max plan for $15 a month.

HBO Max does not directly offer a free trial to new members, but current Hulu subscribers can claim a free seven-day trial of HBO Max as an add-on. The ad-free HBO Max add-on costs $15 a month after your free trial.

Watch HBO Max through your preferred web browser or with the dedicated app on smartphones, tablets, PlayStation consoles, Xbox consoles, and streaming devices. You can also stream HBO Max on smart TV models like LG, Samsung, and Vizio. The HBO Max website has a full list of all compatible devices.

What other Emmy-winning series can I watch on HBO Max?

HBO won nine awards at the 2021 Primetime Emmy Awards for captivating series like “Mare of Easttown,” “Hacks,” and “I May Destroy You.” Kate Winslet won outstanding lead actress in a limited series for her portrayal of a police detective in rural Pennsylvania.

Other HBO series have taken home numerous Emmy awards over the years as well. A few of the other Emmy-winning series available to stream right now on HBO Max include:

  • “Band of Brothers”
  • “Barry”
  • “Big Little Lies”
  • “Euphoria”
  • “Game of Thrones”
  • “The Newsroom”
  • “The Sopranos”
  • “Veep”
  • “Watchmen”
  • “Westworld”
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