Meet Daisy Ridley, the 23-year-old who snagged a lead role in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ — her Hollywood career is about to blow up

star wars force awakens trailer

Daisy Ridley, 23, went from being relatively unknown to the name everybody was talking about when casting for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was announced in 2014.

Though much is still unknown about her character Rey, according to Ridley, she’ll play “a scavenger in a ship graveyard” who is “completely self-sufficient.” There’s also been speculation that she’s Han Solo and Princess Leia’s daughter.

Prior to joining the film’s cast, Ridley’s credits consisted of a couple guest appearances on television shows and shorts. 

With “The Force Awakens” set for two more sequels, Ridley won’t be leaving the “Star Wars” world anytime soon and her list of projects is sure to grow.

Here’s your introduction to this future franchise star. 

SEE ALSO: Watch stars from “The Force Awakens” react to the newest trailer

Born and raised in Westminster, London, Daisy Ridley is the youngest of five sisters. Her father is a photographer and her mother works in internal communications at a bank.


She’s not the only one in her family with performing in her blood. Her great-uncle is Arnold Riley, an actor well-known for his role in “Dad’s Army,” a popular British sitcom that ran from 1968-1977.


Daisy went to school at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts, where she specialized in musical theater, and graduated in 2010 when she was 18.


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Instagram launches a new 1-second video looping app ‘Boomerang’ to take on Vine

Instagram Boomerang app

On Thursday, Instagram unveiled its third standalone app, “Boomerang.”

A mixture between Vine and Phhhoto, the new app lets you quickly and easily create a 1-second video that loops together 5 burst photos, playing them back and then immediately reversing the sequence for a “Boomerang” effect.

The app automatically saves the 1-second GIFs as a video on your camera roll, and the interface is simple and uncluttered — porting you directly to the camera screen upon opening up the app. When you’ve finished shooting a video with Boomerang, you can then share it directly to Instagram of Facebook, which is the only place your friends will see it as the app doesn’t include its own dedicated news feed.

Since the app automatically saves any Boomerangs direcdtly to your camera roll, you can also easily send them over iMessage or other messaging apps.

Here’s an example of what a “Boomerang” looks like.


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Boomerang is Instagram’s third standalone app aside from its flagship app, following behind the recent launches of its time-lapse app, Hyperloop, and its photo formatting app, Layout.

You can download Boomerang for iPhone over at the App Store, or for Android over at Google Play.


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Why this New York tech startup lets employees look up each other’s salaries

sumall employees

One of the unspoken traditions of corporate life is keeping salaries secret. If, for example, an employee somehow discovers that a coworker with the same job is paid $20,000 more, a fiasco may arise.

“I’ve seen people cry and scream at each other,” Dane Atkinson, CEO of New York analytics startup SumAll, tells NPR’s Lisa Pollack in a recent Planet Money episode.

Atkinson tells NPR that this drama over worker compensation is why he decided to make all employee salaries transparent when he founded SumAll in 2011.

Today, SumAll has 40 employees, and every employee’s salary is included in a company-wide Google Doc. The policy has resulted in lower employee turnover rates because workers feel free to voice concerns when they’re unhappy with their pay, the company tells Business Insider.

It took some time, however, to figure out the best way to implement pay transparency. When Atkinson built his initial team of 10, they worked together to determine the salaries of specific jobs. As the company grew, Atkinson tells NPR, some seasoned employees were upset that they had to abide by that initial one-size-fits-all pay package for their job.

Things started to work more smoothly when Atkinson allowed salaries to be negotiable from the start. Now if someone has a problem, Atkinson is willing to listen.

NPR spoke with SumAll’s head of marketing, Chris Jadatz, who explains that after he saw that the person whose job he was taking made around $95,000 compared to his $55,000, he felt “underpaid, as if maybe I was being overlooked,” he says.

Jadatz met with Atkinson and discussed his concerns. Atkinson determined that while Jadatz may not yet be as valuable as his predecessor, he deserved a $20,000 raise, which both parties were happy with.

NPR’s Pollack explains:

At SumAll, meetings like this happen all the time. And for Atkinson, the boss, it’s one of the best parts of having pay out in the open — a chance to talk to people not just about what they make, but why. And often, it doesn’t end with a raise. Often, he has to explain that the reason why the person makes more than you is that she’s more valuable to the company. And if you do what she’s doing, you can make more, too. The way Atkinson sees it, transparency is a defense against the games that bad bosses can play. For instance, you can’t pay women less than men if everybody can see what you’re doing.

This strategy doesn’t just work for startups like SumAll. Whole Foods is a prominent supporter of making salaries transparent, a policy it’s had since 1986. At the supermarket chain, employees can look up salaries for everyone from its cashiers to the co-CEOs.

NPR reports that SumAll’s open-salary policy hasn’t been a major source of tension among the team. “It was way less exciting than I wanted it to be,” customer support manager Mahssa Mostajabi tells NPR. She expected to be shocked by some of the numbers she discovered, feeling as if she saw too much, but ultimately wasn’t.

An anonymous CEO of another company with salary transparency explains to NPR that Mostajabi’s reaction, a common one, is similar to how many Americans imagine topless beaches in Europe to be “the craziest thing in the world.” “And then you get there and it’s like, ‘Okay, nobody is flipping out because people are topless here. It’s just how things are,'” he says.

You can listen to the full Planet Money podcast on its website.

Note: In a previous version of this post, Jadatz and Mostajabi’s names were misspelled, as they appear in NPR’s original transcript.

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These are the top 10 James Bond songs of all time

sean connery james bondBond songs have become a cultural phenomenon in themselves.

A lengthy intro complete with an epic song is as much a part of the Bond formula as girls, cars, and martinis. Bond songs range from serious to campy, but they are always intensely dramatic — and catchy.

The newest Bond film, “Spectre,” will premiere on November 6th. But the film already has a hit Bond song, Sam Smith’s recently released “Writings on the Wall.” Smith joins artists like Louis Armstrong, Madonna, Paul McCartney, and Adele in the annals of Bond history.

To celebrate the release of the film, data analysts at Spotify looked through their user data to surface the top Bond songs. Some are, as you’d expect, the newest ones: by Sam Smith and Adele. But there are some oldies that also have an enduring popularity on the streaming service.

Here are the 10 most popular Bond songs on Spotify:

  1. Writing’s on the Wall – Sam Smith (Spectre, 2015)
  2. Skyfall – Adele (Skyfall, 2012)
  3. Live And Let Die – Paul McCartney & Wings (Live And Let Die, 1973)
  4. You Know My Name – Chris Cornell (Casino Royale, 2006)
  5. A View To A Kill – Duran Duran (A View To A Kill, 1985)
  6. Another Way To Die – Jack White & Alicia Keys (Quantum Of Solace, 2008)
  7. Die Another Day – Madonna (Die Another Day, 2002)
  8. James Bond Theme – John Barry & Orchestra (Dr. No, 1962)
  9. Goldfinger – Shirley Bassey (Goldfinger, 1964)
  10. Nobody Does It Better – Carly Simon (The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977)

SEE ALSO: Spotify told us the top 20 songs people listen to in the shower

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See how much tech giants like Apple and Google make per employee

One of the remarkable aspects of tech companies is just how much revenue and value some are able to generate with so few employees.

Pessimists could view this as bad thing, that these companies don’t require as many workers to generate massive revenue — and that our jobs will all be taken by robots. But it also shows how productive a more tech-focused economy could be per person.

But exactly how much money do companies like Apple or Google or Microsoft make per employee?

Expert Market looked at the top tech companies in the world, in terms of revenue, and showed us how much each makes per employee. Here are the top 12:

BI Graphics_How Much Tech Companies Make Per Employee

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Controversial $9 billion health startup Theranos fires back again at the scathing WSJ report that questioned its technology

elizabeth holmes theranos

Theranos, the $9 billion startup that wants to revolutionize blood tests, issued a detailed rebuttal on its website to the Wall Street Journal Thursday morning.

The rebuttal is a response to an explosive story published in the Journal last week. 

The Journal’s report alleged that Theranos is struggling to make its ‘revolutionary’ in-house technology actually work, and reports that only about 10% of Theranos’ blood tests use its technology, with the rest of the tests being carried out using traditional blood-testing tech. Even the company’s own employees have concerns about Theranos’ blood tests.

Theranos, whose goal is to make clinical testing cheaper and faster, issued a point-by-point rebuttal to the Journal’s story. The company touches on its interactions with the FDA, the accuracy of Theranos’ tests, and the fact that only a fraction of its tests are performed with finger-sticks.

Here are some of the points Theranos makes in its rebuttal:

  • It’s no secret that only some of Theranos’ tests are finger-stick tests, as opposed to venous draws. “We have consistently said in public statements, on our website, and to our customers in Wellness Centers that some of our tests are performed on venous draws, in part because we have been becoming a full-service laboratory,” Theranos says in its statement.
  • Theranos stands by the fact that its blood tests are accurate. The company writes: “With each FDA filing, Theranos is showing that our finger-stick tests are just as accurate as venous draws, starting with our first FDA clearance this summer.”
  • Theranos says its proficiency-testing protocols are complicit with regulations — and the company has initiated conversations with the FDA. “Theranos has explained our process to our regulators, and proficiency testing at Theranos meets the regulatory requirements,” Theranos says.

Since the Journal’s story last week, Theranos’ accuracy has come into question by some people who have taken its tests, including ex-Apple exec Jean-Louise Gassee.

In its rebuttal, Theranos also tries to call into question the sourcing used by John Carreyrou, the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who wrote the story, by calling attention to the fact that he used anonymous sourcing in his story. From a journalistic perspective, anonymous sourcing is often helpful, if not necessary, to get access to sources (often employees or former employees) who otherwise wouldn’t speak out of fear of violating non-disclosure agreements or retribution from the company they’re speaking out against.

“From his very first interactions with Theranos, the reporter made abundantly clear that he considered Theranos to be a target to be taken down, and not simply the subject of an objective news story,” Theranos says in its post. “The articles that appeared last week are the inevitable product of that approach.”

The Journal released a statement on Wednesday after Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes spoke at the WSJ’s Digital conference. “We note that Ms. Holmes sought to challenge the reliability of our sources, but it remains the fact that she doesn’t know from whom the information for our articles was gathered,” the Journal said in its statement. “We assure her and our readers that our sources were well positioned to know the information they provided about Theranos, and they were vetted before publication.”

You can read Theranos’ full rebuttal here.


SEE ALSO: Some people who’ve tried Theranos’ tests have gotten widely inaccurate results

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Online retailers are getting shoppers to pay up-front fees in exchange for benefits

bii online shopping motivationsAmazon Prime is the most widely known and used online membership program. And it’s been so successful for the company that other online retailers are now beginning to explore their own up-front, fee-based programs.

Google, Instacart, Jet, Sephora, and Thrive Market have each formed some type of members-only program for online shoppers that gives consumers added benefits in exchange for an up-front yearly fee. 

In an in-depth report from BI Intelligence, we define what an e-commerce membership program is and how retailers are taking the Costco model and updating it for the online shopping age. We also assess the advantages and disadvantages of e-commerce membership programs for the retailer, as well as what consumers might look for in these programs and what incentives are needed to get people to sign up. And we include examples of how some e-commerce companies are structuring membership programs and provide an outlook for other retailers and product categories that could benefit from employing the membership model.

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Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

In full, the report:

To access the full report from BI Intelligence, sign up for a full-access 14-day trial here. Full-access members also gain access to new in-depth reportshundreds of charts, as well as daily newsletters on the digital industry.

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