TIME space

See Highlights From The ‘Supermoon’

The "supermoon" is the first of this year’s three largest apparent full moons

The so-called “supermoon,” one of the three largest apparent full moons of this year, rose in the sky last night.

Time readers can watch highlights from a live stream of the moonrise hosted by the Slooh observatory. The broadcast was guided by the observatory’s expert Paul Cox, and explains the the difference between the “supermoon” and a “mega moon,” and how much larger tonight’s moon appears compared to the “mini moon” in March, along with other details and insights.

TIME animals

Watch This Fish Attack an Unsuspecting Man’s Nipple

Meet the new scourge of the deep

If you think the biggest underwater threat is a shark or other large predator, think again. A video uploaded by a Utah-based boating store shows the true terror of the deep is a small yellow fish with a taste for nipples.

The footage shows the fish carefully sizing up its prey, rearing back, and then launching its body out of the water to grasp the victim’s chest. Worse, the fish seems to hang on for at least a second as the man struggles to knock it away.

Not seen in the video: the Jaws theme music that was totally playing in the fish’s head as it readied for the attack.

MONEY

The 10 Richest People of All Time

A comparison of wealth across history

Who had more money, John D. Rockefeller or Genghis Khan? It’s a simple question with a very difficult answer.

This ranking of the richest people of all time is based on hours of interviews with academic economists and historians. To read more about how the order was determined despite the difficulty of comparing wealth across a wide range of time periods and economic systems, read this.

But for now, suffice to say that the following is a rigorous but highly debatable attempt to list the wealthiest historical figures in order of their economic influence.

Read next: These Are the 5 Richest Superheroes

  • 10. Genghis Khan

    Genghis Khan
    A. Dagli—De Agostini/Getty Images Genghis Khan

    Lived: 1162-1227

    Country: Mongolian Empire

    Wealth: Lots of land, not much else

    Genghis Khan is undoubtedly one of the most successful military leaders of all time. As leader of the Mongol Empire, which at its height stretched from China to Europe, he controlled the largest contiguous empire in history. However, despite his great power, scholars say Genghis never hoarded his wealth. On the contrary, the Khan’s generosity was key to his influence.

    “One of the basis of his success is sharing the spoils with his soldiers and other commanders,” says Morris Rossabi, a distinguished professor of history at CUNY’s Queens College.

    Jack Weatherford, author of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, explains that Mongol soldiers, unlike many pre-modern armies, were banned from taking personal loot. After an area was conquered, every item taken was inventoried by official clerks and then later distributed amongst the military and their families.

    Genghis still received a share of the spoils, but that hardly made him rich. “He built no palace for himself or family, no temple, no tomb, and not even a house,” says Weatherford. “He was born in a wool ger [yurt] and he died in a wool ger. At death he was wrapped in felt, like any common person, and then buried. ”

  • 9. Bill Gates

    Bill Gates
    Edgar Su—Reuters Bill Gates

    Lived: 1955-present

    Country: United States

    Wealth: $78.9 billion

    As the richest living person, Bill Gates’ wealth is refreshingly easy to determine. As of this year, Forbes estimates the Microsoft founder’s net worth at $78.9 billion. That’s about $8 billion more than Zara co-founder Amancio Ortega, the second-richest person in the world.

  • 8. Alan Rufus (a.k.a. Alan the Red)

    Alan Rufus
    Bodleian Library Oxford—The Art Archive

    Lived: 1040–1093

    Country: England

    Wealth: $194 billion

    The nephew of William the Conqueror, Rufus joined his uncle in the Norman conquest. He died with £11,000, according to Philip Beresford and Bill Rubinstein, authors of The Richest of the Rich, which they say amounted to 7% of England’s GDP at the time. That would amount to $194 billion in 2014 dollars.

  • 7. John D. Rockefeller

    John D. Rockefeller Sr.
    Seattle Times/JR Partners—Getty Images John D. Rockefeller Sr.

    Lived: 1839–1937

    Country: United States

    Wealth: $341 billion

    Rockefeller began investing in the petroleum industry in 1863 and by 1880 his Standard Oil company controlled 90% of American oil production.

    According to his New York Times obituary, Rockefeller was valued at about $1.5 billion based on a 1918 federal income tax return and estimates of his overall fortune—the equivalent of almost 2% of U.S. economic output that year according to data compiled by MeasuringWorth (the U.S. did not keep official records on national income until 1932).

    The same economic share in 2014 would be equivalent to $341 billion.

  • 6. Andrew Carnegie

    Andrew Carnegie standing on the steps of his estate, circa 1910s.
    Corbis Andrew Carnegie standing on the steps of his estate, circa 1910s.

    Lived: 1835–1919

    Country: United States

    Wealth: $372 billion

    Rockefeller gets all the press, but Andrew Carnegie may be the richest American of all time. The Scottish immigrant sold his company, U.S. Steel, to J.P. Morgan for $480 million in 1901. That sum equates to about slightly over 2.1% of U.S. GDP at the name, giving Carnegie economic power equivalent to $372 billion in 2014.

  • 5. Joseph Stalin

    Joseph Stalin
    Ullstein Bild—Getty Images

    Lived: 1878–1953

    Country: USSR

    Wealth: Complete control of a nation with 9.6% of global GDP

    Stalin is an uncommon figure in modern economic history: a dictator with absolute power who also controlled one of the largest economies in the world. While it is virtually impossible to separate Stalin’s wealth from the wealth of the Soviet Union, his unique combination of economic might and complete control of the USSR lead multiple economists to nominate him as one of the richest people of all time.

    You can easily see their logic. Data from the OECD shows that in 1950, three years before Stalin’s death, the USSR made up roughly 9.5% of global economic output. As of 2014, that level of production would be equivalent to nearly $7.5 trillion dollars.

    While that money didn’t belong directly to Stalin, he had the ability to leverage Soviet economic might for any reason he chose.

    “He had enormous power, and through his power he could have anything he wanted,” says George O. Liber, a professor of history at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “He controlled 1/6th of the land surface of the planet without any checks or balances.”

    Does that make Stalin rich in the traditional sense? Liber isn’t so sure. “Was he among the wealthiest men?” the professor wonders. “I suppose if you want to stretch the definition of wealth, but it was not his wealth. He controlled the wealth of the country.”

    Even so, it’s hard not to include Stalin on a list of the most economically powerful people in history. His wealth might be uncertain, but there’s no question the premier’s personal economic influence is unrivaled in recent history.

  • 4. Akbar I

    The Great Akbar
    Peter Newark Pictures—Bridgeman Images The Great Akbar

    Lived: 1542–1605

    Country: India

    Wealth: Ruled empire with 25% of global GDP

    The greatest emperor of India’s Mughal dynasty, Akbar controlled an empire that accounted for about one-fourth of global economic output. Fortune’s Chris Matthews cites the late economic historian Angus Maddison, who speculates India’s GDP per capita under Akbar was comparable to Elizabethan England, but with “a ruling class whose extravagant lifestyle surpassed that of the European society.”

    That assertion that India’s elite class was wealthier than their counterparts to the west is backed up by data from economist Branko Milanovic, whose research shows the Mughal Dynasty was one of the most effective empires of all time at extracting wealth from the population.

  • 3. Emperor Shenzong

    Emperor Shenzong
    Pictures from History—Bridgeman Images Emperor Shenzong

    Lived: 1048–1085

    Country: China

    Wealth: Ruled empire with 25% to 30% of global GDP

    China’s Song Dynasty (960 – 1279) was one of the most economically powerful empires of all time. According to Prof. Ronald A. Edwards, a Chinese economic historian of the Song Dynasty at Tamkang University, the nation accounted for between 25% and 30% of the world’s economic output during its peak.

    The empire’s wealth came from both its technological innovations and extreme skill at tax collection, which Edwards says was hundreds of years ahead of European governments. The professor also noted the Song Dynasty’s government was highly centralized, meaning the emperor held enormous control over the economy.

  • 2. Augustus Caesar

    Augustus Caesar
    Hoberman Collection—UIG via Getty Images Augustus Caesar

    Lived: 63 BC–14 AD

    Country: Rome

    Wealth: $4.6 trillion

    Not only was Augustus Caesar in charge of an empire that accounted for 25% to 30% of the world’s economic output, but according to Stanford history professor Ian Morris, Augustus at one point held personal wealth equivalent to one-fifth of his empire’s economy. That fortune would be the equivalent of about $4.6 trillion in 2014. “For a while,” Morris adds, Augustus “personally owned all of Egypt.” That’s hard to top.

  • 1. Mansa Musa

    Mansa Musa
    Abraham Cresques—Getty Images/The Bridgeman Art Library Mansa Musa

    Year: 1280–1337

    Country: Mali

    Wealth: Richer than anyone could describe

    Mansa Musa, the king of Timbuktu, is often referred to as the wealthiest person in history. According to Ferrum College history professor Richard Smith, Musa’s west African kingdom was likely the largest producer of gold in the world—at a time which gold was in especially high demand.

    Just how rich was Musa? There’s really no way to put an accurate number on his wealth. Records are scarce, if non-existent, and contemporary sources describe the king’s riches in terms that are impossible for the time.

    Some tales of his famous pilgrimage to Mecca—during which Musa’s spending was so lavish that it caused a currency crisis in Egypt—mention dozens of camels each carrying hundreds of pounds of gold. (Smith says one year of Malian gold production probably generated about a ton.) Others said Musa’s army consisted of 200,000 men, including 40,000 archers—troop numbers even modern superpowers would have a difficult time bringing to the field.

    But to get caught up in the king’s exact wealth is to miss the point. As Rudolph Ware, an associate professor of history at the University of Michigan, explains, Musa’s riches were so immense that people struggled to describe them.

    “This is the richest guy anyone has ever seen, that’s the point,” says Ware. “They’re trying to find words to explain that. There are pictures of him holding a scepter of gold on a throne of gold holding a cup of gold with a golden crown on his head. Imagine as much gold as you think a human being could possess and double it, that’s what all the accounts are trying to communicate.”

    When no one can even comprehend your wealth, that means you’re pretty darned rich.

MONEY

How to Compare Fortunes Across History

John D. Rockefeller Sr.
Seattle Times/JR Partners—Getty Images John D. Rockefeller Sr.

A simple question with a very difficult answer

Comparing the wealth of our contemporaries is hard enough. When Forbes ranks its annual 500 richest people, the publication not only has to sift through mountains of data, it also must decide what even qualifies as wealth. For example, should people who draw their money from the country they rule, such as Vladimir Putin, be included? (Forbes says no).

When comparing wealth across history, however, we run into even more challenges. How does one contrast riches in a pre-industrial age with the wealthy of today? It’s not just a matter of adjusting for inflation; coinage and currency is a relatively recent invention. Much of pre-modern wealth was held in stuff, and commodity prices have drastically fluctuated across history as the total amount of resource wealth has grown.

Another issue is that wealth is a relative measure that doesn’t equate very well to standard of living, at least across centuries. King Louis IV was one of the richest men of his day, but his money could not fix his rotting teeth. Meanwhile, in modern times, air travel and electric toothbrushes are available to hundreds of millions of people.

One way to account for the value of goods that did not exist in the past is to measure wealth through the amount of energy a person can command. This method resembles the labor theory of value, made famous by Marx and Adam Smith, which states that the worth of an item is the total amount of labor that goes into its creation.

If we expand the definition of labor to include non-manual power, like fuel, we can see how the average person became better off as technology improved.

“The big difference between the last couple of hundred years and all earlier times is the immense amount of energy that the industrial revolution unleashed,” says Ian Morris, a professor history at Stanford University. “Every time you flick on a light switch, it’s as if half a dozen slaves leap into action, all thanks to coal and oil powering our electricity plants.”

In his book, The Measure of Civilization, Morris calculates the average hunter‐gatherer captured between 5,000 and 10,000 kilocalories of energy per day from the environment. With the invention of agriculture, that number moved up around 10,000 kcal per day, and in the time of the Roman Empire (and once again in 12th‐century Song dynasty China) the average kcal per day jumped to 30,000.

By comparison, the average American burns through something like 230,000 kcal per day; nearly eight times as much as Romans and 23 times that of our ancient agricultural ancestors. “Basically, we’re all rich,” says Morris. “Which is why our lives are so different from those of prehistoric and ancient peoples.”

In that respect at least, the typical college student might be richer than the greatest Roman emperors, and the wealthiest individuals in history will nearly always be modern figures who can benefit from technological advances.

But when we speak of wealth, we generally don’t mean whether someone can buy a computer or a horse-drawn carriage. Most of the time, we’re using money as a substitute for economic power. And power is both relative and sensitive to time and place. The typical American may have access to more resources than a Roman emperor, but none have the same kind of economic influence that can reshape societies.

Luckily, there is a method of calculating wealth that can measure the influence of one’s money while accounting for changes in value over time. MeasuringWorth, a website run by a group of economics and history professors dedicated to comparing wealth throughout history, recommends measuring economic power by taking an individual’s wealth and comparing it to the total economic production in the economy—its GDP, in other words.

That’s the metric I’ve chosen to use when compiling this rich list, but it’s still not perfect. No scholarly list of wealth historical figures exists—the closest might be The Richest of the Rich, by Philip Beresford and William D. Rubinstein, which compiles the 250 wealthiest people in Britain since 1066—leaving us to peruse the history books for rich list “nominees.”

But once we picked an eligible group, we run into the same problem as Forbes: How do you separate the wealth of the monarch from the wealth of the state? In this list, with the generous help of several historians, I’ve done my best to select individuals with large private wealth, or monarchs in nations where wealth was especially concentrated amongst the ruling class.

Another issue: Wealth and GDP data get increasingly scarce the farther you go back in time. That’s a big problem because ancient leaders were much more proficient at extracting wealth from their society than our modern elites, making them far more powerful economically.

Branko Milanovic, a Graduate Center, CUNY economics researcher specializing in inequality, estimates that pre-modern societies dating from the Roman Empire to British India in 1947, were able to extract nearly 76% of the maximum amount of wealth that could be taken before their people would slip below subsistence levels. Modern nations, measured from 1998 through 2002, extracted a comparatively small 43% of that limit. For this reason, the most accurate list of the richest people to ever live (based on economic power) would likely include almost exclusively pre-modern rulers.

A final difficulty is measuring economic power between countries with different levels of economic output because one person might have a higher share of wealth in a less economically powerful nation. A truly correct international comparison would require knowing each person’s wealth as a percentage of global GDP, and old global economic data is even harder to come by.

But perhaps the governing rule of lists like these is to not let the perfect become the enemy of good, or at least the enemy of fun.

My ranking, based on hours of interviews with various economists and historians, does its best to order some of the wealthiest historical figures in order of their economic influence, and gives a rough estimate of their monetary wealth when possible. Most importantly, it tried to put their riches in context.

Read next: The 10 Richest People of All Time

MONEY Shopping

No Taxes on Back-to-School Shopping! (But Only in These 17 States)

2015-tax-map
Tim Barber—Chattanooga Times Free Press/AP

Starting next Friday, these states are offering tax holidays on clothing, computers, school supplies, and more.

The best time to do your back-to-school shopping, or any shopping for that matter, is starting next week. Every summer, a number of states hold sales tax holidays on all sorts of supplies, from notebooks and pencils to clothing and computers.

This year’s round of holidays starts on July 31 (get ready, Georgia and Mississippi!) and ends in late August, with each state’s tax-free period typically lasting one weekend.

As MONEY’s Brad Tuttle noted last year, these tax holidays aren’t exactly Black Friday when it comes to savings: Sales taxes in most participating states ranges from 6% to 9%. That said, with parents spending more than $600 on average for school supplies, according to the National Retail Federation, those savings can certainly add up. And you don’t have to go to the mall to save: the tax break applies to online purchases as well.

Want to see if your state is set to give you a break? Hover over the map below—the sales dates in participating states will pop up, along with the eligible items. Prices listed next to a product category mean you can’t spend more than that amount on any individual item and still get the tax break, although there is no cap on overall spending.

One special case is Massachusetts, where the state legislature has gone down to the wire waiting to approve a 2015 tax holiday. It’s likely to pass so we’ve included it on the map, but be aware that this particular holiday is still unconfirmed.

*Note: Dollar figures are per item. There is no cap on overall spending.

 

MONEY cord cutting

Cord Cutters Can Soon Pay to Stream a Single NBA Game

nba-cord-cutting
Jason Miller—Getty Images

Individual games will cost $6.99 a pop.

Basketball fans will be able to watch individual NBA games for $6.99 each, the league announced on Wednesday.

ESPN reports consumers will be able to stream the games online through a PC, tablet, or mobile device, or buy the games and watch on TV through a cable provider. Only out-of-market games that are not nationally televised will be available for purchase.

The NBA already offers a $200 service called “League Pass” that gives fans access to an entire season’s worth of out-of-market games, meaning matchups featuring teams other than your local squad. But ESPN notes that NBA commissioner Adam Silver has previously acknowledged of the full-fledged League Pass, “most people don’t want to consume that many games.”

In addition to the $6.99 option for individual out-of-market games, the league is also offering a $120 package that would show all out-of-market games for a single team. So if you live, say, in New York, and for some reason or another would rather keep up with the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, or San Antonio Spurs rather than the Knicks and Nets, here’s your chance.

Read next: The Cord-Cutter’s Guide to Streaming TV Services

MONEY cord cutting

7 Streaming TV Packages That Will Let You Cut the Cord For Good

illustration of people on sofa watching sports on TV
Ben Mounsey

Cutting the cord could save you $75 per month. Here's how to do it without missing your favorite shows.

With services like Showtime, HBO, Hulu, and many others now streaming their programming online, cord cutting has firmly entered the mainstream. But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to get all your favorite shows over the internet. In order to make the transition away from cable as simple as possible, we’ve put together six streaming “packages” that should meet the needs of the most common types of TV viewers.

Along with each package, we’ve also included the amount of money the typical television viewer would save by cutting cable and switching to streaming. Greg Ireland, research director for multiscreen video at market-analysis firm IDC, estimates that the average cable subscriber pays $85 a month for video while receiving an effective $10 per month discount on internet service. That means for people with a “double play” bundle—cable TV and Internet in the same bill—canceling cable would save an average of $75 a month, or $900 per year.

So what are you waiting for? Here are six packages to help you make the switch.

THE BASIC-CABLE JUNKIE

SAVE: $492 A YEAR

THE PLAN: Hulu, CBS All Access, Sling TV

This option is for you if you like to follow the latest network and non-premium cable shows, like NCIS, The Walking Dead, and Modern Family. Hulu and CBS All Access will give you the networks, and Sling TV will bring in the most popular cable content.

That said, if you’re not going to watch at least eight different shows a year on cable channels, it’s cheapest to get your cable fix by buying individual seasons on iTunes or Amazon Instant Video.

PRICE: $408 a year ($34 per month)

THE NEWSHOUND

SAVE: $660 A YEAR

THE PLAN: Sling TV

For viewers who just have to keep up with current events and watch breaking news when it happens, a combination of Sling TV and a TV antenna should have you covered. Sling has CNN and Bloomberg TV, and for $5 extra a month you can get international news channels such as Euronews, France24, and News18 India. Add an indoor TV antenna, and you’ve got network and local news as well.

PRICE: $240 a year ($20 per month)

THE PRESTIGE AFICIONADO

SAVE: $381 A YEAR

THE PLAN: Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Now, Showtime

First, the most buzzed-about TV moved from networks to premium cable and then to basic cable. Now a similar transition is moving top programming from cable to the streaming world. Netflix has House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, while Amazon isn’t too far behind with crime drama Bosch and the Golden Globe–winning Transparent. Close the loop with HBO and Showtime subscriptions—for your Game of Thrones and Homeland fixes—and you’ve got access to some of the best TV content around.

PRICE: $519 a year ($43 per month)

THE OMNIVORE

SAVE $205 A YEAR

THE PLAN: HBO Now, Netflix, Hulu, CBS All Access, Sling TV

This is the option for TV fanatics who want everything and the kitchen sink. That means network TV, cable shows, streaming shows, HBO, movies, all on demand whenever you want.

Believe it or not, you can still have all this for less than the price of cable. Even after subscribing to HBO Now, Netflix, Hulu, CBS All Access, and Sling TV, you’ll still be more than $200 ahead. Don’t care for Girls or Game of Thrones? You can replace the HBO option and subscribe to Showtime through Hulu and save another $72. Or you can drop Sling TV for Showtime and save an extra $108.

PRICE: $695 a year ($132 per month)

THE SPORTS FAN

SAVE: $340 A YEAR

THE PLAN: Sling TV with sports package, two sports-league services

If you want to see a significant number of local games, stop here. This is one area where streaming services can’t fully deliver. Local games are generally exclusive to regional sports networks.

There’s also the issue of some online services being a little more unstable than diehard fans might like. Dish’s Sling TV failed for many customers during this year’s NCAA Final Four, forcing the company to issue an apology.

Sling TV will give you ESPN and ESPN 2, and for another $5 you can get even more sports options, including ESPN U, ESPNews, and the SEC Network. Add an indoor TV antenna, and you’ll also have access to network sports broadcasts.

For supporters of teams outside your local area, some sport-specific streaming options might also be attractive. Each major sports league offers some sort of online viewing option for around $130 a year, with the caveat that local games are blacked out. (NFL fans can pay $70 to watch any team they like, but they can only tune in to an on-demand rebroadcast once the game is over.)

PRICE: $560 a year ($47 per month)

THE SERIAL BINGER

SAVE: $540 A YEAR

THE PLAN: 12 seasons of shows

If you have unpredictable tastes but focus on only one show at a time, it might make the most sense to buy your television à la carte. For the amount you’d save by switching from cable to just Internet service (about $900 a year), you can pick up 30 seasons of TV for $30 each. Assuming these are all 45-minute shows with 22 episodes, that’s almost 500 hours of content. If you can’t imagine yourself ever watching more than that, then this plan is for you. (Don’t forget to grab a TV antenna for major live events like the Oscars and the Super Bowl, or if you just want the option of kicking back and watching primetime now and then.)

PRICE: $360 a year ($30 per month)

THE MOVIE LOVER

SAVE: $352 A YEAR

THE PLAN: Netflix, HBO Now, 52 movie rentals

If your favorite part of cable is watching movies, cutting the cord might just maximize your bliss. Much like cable on-demand services, you can rent many of the latest releases on iTunes or Amazon for about $5 apiece. HBO also carries a wide selection of recent movies, and Netflix has a large back catalogue of films (though titles will appear and disappear somewhat randomly).

PRICE: $548 a year ($46 per month)

Read next: The Cord-Cutter’s Guide to Streaming TV Services

MONEY

The Cord-Cutter’s Guide to Streaming TV Services

These days it's easy to slice the connection, along with the monthly bill.

Paying bills is never fun, and that goes double for cable TV, the least customer-friendly industry this side of repo men. It’s not your imagination—the bill really does balloon every year. From 1995 to 2014 the price of expanded basic cable increased at almost 2½ times the rate of inflation.

But in the past year an explosion of online viewing services has turned cord cutting into child’s play, and it can be a very lucrative game. You still need to pay for Internet, but Greg Ireland, research director for multiscreen video at market-analysis firm IDC, estimates that for people with a “double play” bundle—cable TV and Internet in the same bill—canceling cable would save an average of $75 a month. If you switch to online streaming, you could duplicate a basic-cable menu for $34 a month.

The big advantage to streaming is that you generally pay for only what you watch: no more Spike or Oxygen or the Jewelry Channel unless you want it. There are tradeoffs. While cable is essentially one-stop shopping—a single box and a single tier of programs—streaming requires you to be a more active consumer. You’ll need to explore various services to find the ones with your favorite shows, then pair them with the right hardware.

The following guide will give you an overview of the major streaming services. Once you know who carries what shows, you can start to mix and match programming that matches your tastes. Or if you want to make it even easier, just pick from one of the seven plans we’ve put together for viewers of all kinds.

  • Hulu

    Courtesy of ABC Modern Family

    PRICE: $8 a month

    MAJOR SHOWS: Empire, Modern Family (pictured), The Mindy Project, Scandal, Seinfeld reruns

    Hulu Plus carries the primetime lineups from Fox, NBC, ABC, and the CW, as well as current and archived content from the networks and cable channels like Comedy Central and FX. There’s also some exclusive content, including The Mindy Project.

  • Netflix

    Courtesy of Netflix Orange Is The New Black

    PRICE: $9 a month for high-definition streaming

    MAJOR SHOWS: House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black (pictured), Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Daredevil

    Netflix is a bit like an online premium channel, with a large catalogue of movies and TV shows as well as a growing number of its own, exclusive productions. It can take a while for blockbuster movies to appear on the service, but Netflix’s buzzworthy original programming has made it an increasingly popular choice.

  • Sling TV

    Gene Page/AMC/Courtesy Everette Collection The Walking Dead

    PRICE: $20 a month

    MAJOR SHOWS: The Walking Dead (pictured), Chopped, ESPN sports

    Sling TV delivers more than 20 basic-cable channels, including AMC, TNT, A&E, CNN, and the Food Network (though it doesn’t offer archived shows for all channels). It is the only service carrying ESPN and ESPN2.

     

  • HBO Now

    Helen Sloan/HBO/Courtesy of Everette Collection Game of Thrones

    PRICE: $15 a month

    MAJOR SHOWS: Game of Thrones (pictured), True Detective, Veep, Ballers, Girls

    HBO was the first premium channel to release a standalone streaming channel. In addition to broadcasting its current slate of shows, HBO Now contains a library of every hit HBO series, as well as its original movies, documentaries, and major sporting events.

     

  • Showtime

    lachlan Cunningham/Getty Homeland

    PRICE: $11 a month

    MAJOR SHOWS: Penny Dreadful, Ray Donovan, Homeland (pictured)

    This option is already $4 a month cheaper than HBO Now, and now Hulu subscribers can add it for only $9 a month.

     

  • CBS All Access

    150714_EM_CutCord_CBS_NCIS
    Monty Brinton—CBS NCIS

    PRICE: $6 a month

    MAJOR SHOWS: NCIS (pictured), The Big Bang Theory, The Good Wife

    All Access delivers more than 6,500 CBS episodes on demand, including new episodes (available for viewing the next day). All Access subscribers in most markets can also use the service to watch live network content, including sports like pro golf (although NFL games are blacked out).

     

  • Amazon Prime Video

    Jeffrey Tambor in Season 1 of “Transparent”
    Beth Dubber/Amazon Studios—courtesy Everett Collection Transparent

    PRICE: $99 a year

    MAJOR SHOWS: Transparent (pictured), Alpha House, Bosch

    Amazon Prime Video is a lot like Netflix in that it mixes a back catalogue of movies and TV shows with a number of exclusive shows. There are many non-TV benefits too, including a music-streaming service, free two-day shipping on Amazon orders, and more.

     

  • Sports

    ESPN host Hannah Storm, tennis analysts Darren Cahill and Patrick McEnroe with guest Roger Federer of Switzerland on the on-site set for the US Open Tennis Championships at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, 2010.
    Scott Clarke—ESPN The 2010 US Open Tennis Championships on ESPN

    So far there’s no one-stop shop for sports fans. Sling TV offers various college-oriented sports channels (in addition to ESPN), and each major sports league (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL) runs its own streaming service. They vary in price but typically cost about $11 a month. The bad news: They tend to black out local games. (For more hard-core, can’t-miss-a-game sports fans, see “Sports Fans” in our viewers’ guide.)

     

MONEY rideshare

Here’s How Much the Average Ride Costs on Uber and Lyft

Passenger prices are rising, but it's unclear how much money drivers really make

Uber drivers in the U.S. collected an average $13.36 per trip, while Lyft drivers took in an average of $12.53 for each ride, according to a new report.

The data comes from SherpaShare, a smartphone app that helps rideshare drivers track their mileage and tax deductions, and is based on over 10,000 drivers taking more than 1 million trips from January to May of 2015. The cost per trip is calculated before Uber and Lyft take their cut, which is typically around 20%.

The report shows fares can vary widely depending on location. In New York City, where Uber and Lyft are more heavily regulated, drivers gross more than twice the national average, while drivers in Nashville make about $10 per ride. However, only in New York and San Francisco do for-hire rideshare drivers make more than $14 per trip. When those two are removed, the trip price in most cities falls between $10 and $13.

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SherpaShare’s findings show the average rideshare trip increased 8% in the five months covering January and May, but the company warns against reading too deeply into these trends because variables like bad weather, surge pricing, hourly guarantees, and other special driver incentives can skew the data.

However, even with those caveats, the report notes “gross fares per trip shows a clear (if small) upward trend since the round of 48-city fare cuts that made news at the beginning of 2015.”

“What we can say with certainty from this data is that Uber and Lyft haven’t driven per-trip earnings off a cliff as they’ve adjusted base rates over time,” the report concludes.

Unfortunately, without additional data like average trips per hour, average trip duration, and the average amount of downtime between trips, there’s still not enough information to create an independent estimate of how much Lyft and Uber drivers actually make. Uber has previously released its own report on its drivers’ wages, and come up with an average of $19 per hour in select cities. But neither Uber nor SherpaShare factor in the costs incurred by drivers, such as car payments, upkeep, insurance, and gas.

SherpaShare says it will be examining additional rideshare data in future reports.

Read next: Uber Reveals How Much Its Drivers Really Earn…Sort Of

MONEY Amazon

The 5 Weirdest Amazon Prime Day Deals

Want a beard growth potion or nail clippers for a large animal? Then Amazon Prime Day is for you!

It’s Amazon Prime Day, the big annual sale just for members of Amazon’s $99-a-year free shipping service, and the Internet’s verdict seems to be a resounding “meh.” The selection seems to resemble something between a garage sale and clearance day at the dollar store, with items like dishwasher soap being advertised as an “exclusive” Prime bargain.

But like the best garage sales, Amazon Prime Day’s selection occasionally manages to merge boring with total randomness in a way that makes you pause and wonder, “wait, that exists?” These are the five strangest Amazon Prime Day deals we’ve seen so far.

  • Beard Growther

    Beard Growther by Beard Farmer promises a “Longer Fuller Beard” faster, and with “18 RARE Essential Plant Oils,” it has the ring of science you’ve come to expect from the hair-growth solution industry.

    The product, which seems to be some sort of cream, is not pictured on the page, but customers are treated to multiple pictures of men who do indeed have beards. So that’s something.

    Unfortunately, even the bearded men weren’t enough to make this product a hit with customers. Despite the deal—$17.29 at 42% off—being live for about an hour at press time, only 46% of the supply had been claimed.

  • Horrifying Smiley Placemat

    scary-mat

    The ezpz Happy Mat, which is basically a giant rubber smile you can fill with food, might actually be a good idea if it weren’t terrifying.

    The mat’s smile looks like the kind of thing that would come to life in a low-budget horror movie, and that’s without anything inside it. Add some triscuit teeth and orange slice eyes, and this product is everything childhood nightmares are made of. About 30% of the mats in Amazon’s deal remain unsold, meaning the product has found 70% of its target market of people who hate their kids.

  • Beer Koozie That’s Just for People Born in 1975

    beery-coozy

    This “funny 40th birthday gift!” is, apparently, a beer coozy emblazoned with the year the recipient was born.

    This wouldn’t be a particularly weird gift except for all the questions it raises. There’s also a 1965 version on sale, but why just those two decades? Does Amazon think 40 and 50-year olds are particularly enamoured with their birth year? And how is it 100% claimed? Who is buying this? What am I missing?

  • Nail Clippers for a Giant Dog

    dog-nail-clippers

    *Logs on to Amazon Prime*

    “Oooh wow, Prime Day! Let’s see what they have.”

    “Huh.”

    “Uh huh, ok well my beard is fine but thanks for asking.”

    “Oh, perfect! Nail clippers for my gigantic dog’s gigantic bear claws! Glad I have this Prime Subscription!”

    Apparently the above mental monologue happened a lot because this deal is 100% sold out.

  • Gigantic Wine Glass

    Ever wanted to drink a whole bottle of wine at once while also making it impossible to back out of your terrible, terrible, decision? The Big Betty XL Premium Jumbo Wine Glass is here for you!

    The 10″ by 5″ inch glass “Holds a whole bottle of wine!” and to seal the deal, the page notes Big Betty was featured on the “TBS hit show Cougar Town.” The deal was 93% sold out at press time, so maybe Amazon subscribers are celebrating Prime Day in other non-shopping ways.

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