Gamer Geek News


Mashable is a global, multi-platform media and entertainment company.

How to set a reminder for a scheduled Instagram Live

Instagram just made it a bit easier to keep tabs on your favourite creators. The image sharing platform has added a badge to users' profiles displaying information on their next scheduled live stream, and also now lets users subscribe to upcoming streams for reminders before they start.

"Now we're focused on building for teens and creators and in the spaces of video and messaging, and these [updates] are within those themes," said Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri in a video posted Wednesday. 

Here's how to set a reminder for a scheduled Instagram Live.

  1. Open Instagram.

  2. Go to the profile of a user who has scheduled a Live.

  3. Tap on the "Live video" banner located at the bottom of their bio. If the user has more than one Live scheduled, this will open a list of them entitled "Event reminders." Tap on the Live you wish to receive a reminder for.

  4. This will open a popup with details of the selected Live, including its title, date, and time. Tap on the "Remind me" button.

A screenshot of the Instagram popup with details of a scheduled livestream.
Credit: Mashable

If you don't have notifications for Live videos turned on in your Instagram settings, a popup will direct you to update your settings. You'll need to do this to receive reminders for scheduled live streams.

SEE ALSO: Instagram will now show suspected hate speech lower in your Feed

Once set up, Instagram will send you two notifications reminding you about any Live you subscribe to. The first reminder will be sent the day before the live stream, and the second will be sent 15 minutes prior to its scheduled start time.

Instagram's new feature won't do much for you when it comes to spontaneous live streams, but it will help ensure movie night doesn't clash with some more organised creators' Lives.

Posted on 27 January 2022 | 3:09 am

Elon Musk confirms Tesla Cybertruck not happening in 2022

After much speculation based on changing verbiage on the Tesla Cybertruck website, CEO Elon Musk confirmed the inevitable: The dystopian electric pickup isn't happening this year.

Musk announced during his EV company's fourth quarter earnings call Wednesday that Tesla would not be adding any new vehicles to its existing "S3XY" line-up in 2022.

"It would not make any sense," Musk said on the call.

But he did leave room for hope that the Cybertruck, next-generation Roadster sports car, Semi big-rig truck, and humanoid robot could all become real in 2023. But as with all things Tesla and Musk, there are no guarantees.

Tesla watchers were already anticipating a Cybertruck delay after all mentions of a 2022 production date were removed from the truck's website earlier this month. The Cybertruck was first announced in 2019 and was supposed to start production at the almost-open Giga Texas factory in Austin by the end of this year.

SEE ALSO: Tesla removes all hints about Cybertruck timing from website

Not so fast.

Later in the call, Musk shot down another new project (a budget $25,000 compact EV). "We have enough on our plate right now," he said. "Too much frankly."

Posted on 27 January 2022 | 12:24 am

You can peek inside Tesla's Texas Gigafactory using the Snap Map

Want to get a front row view of Tesla's new Gigafactory in Austin, Texas? Look no further than the Snap Map.

The Gigafactory is currently under construction, and should be ready to start rolling out Teslas very soon. Elon Musk has been tooling around the factory's 4.2 million square feet in a Cybertruck, which I'm sure everyone there has found helpful and productive.

Musk has given interviews from the factory floor, and Tesla shared new photos from inside the Gigafactory in its 2021 earnings report, released Wednesday. However, the gates have not been exactly thrown open, which is why some sneak peeks that have come from unexpected places are low-key exciting.

Tesla Model Y bodies on the factory floor getting assembled.
Brand spankin' new Model Ys! Credit: Tesla earnings report.

The source of these inside views is Snapchat, or more specifically, geographically-linked stories on the Snap Map. 

The Snap Map is a map view of events and locations around the globe: Zoom in and you can see user-submitted pictures and videos from concerts, tourist attractions, downtown centers, and more. 

On Monday, a Twitter user who says he is a Tesla investor in his bio spotted a submission to the Austin story that appeared to be in front of the Gigafactory. He posted the story on Twitter, and noted that you can see the body of a Model Y in the video. This tracks with what's in Tesla's own earnings report, which said that it started production on Model Y cars in late 2021. Tesla still needs "final certification" of the Austin-made cars before it can start delivering the Model Ys to customers, but did not clarify what the heck that actually means.

Tweet may have been deleted

The Austin story only shows Snaps for the 24 hours they are live. There is actually a designated "Place," or official location on the Snap Map similar to a Google Maps listing, for the Tesla Gigafactory. Places have stories that show user submitted Snaps tagged to that location, and it appears that those snaps stay up longer than 24 hours. So if you find the Tesla Austin Gigafactory on the Snap Map, you can view a collection of pictures and videos taken in and around the factory. 

There are posts from late 2021 as well as more recent submissions. Many show the outside view, demonstrating just how massive it is. Others take you inside and show the winding staircases and the construction effort underway. 

A screenshot of Snapchat showing the Place listing for the Tesla Gigafactory in Austin, Texas.
Credit: Screenshot: Snapchat
A screenshot of Snapchat showing a view of construction inside the Tesla Gigafactory in Austin, Texas.
Credit: Screenshot: Snapchat

To get to the Place story, navigate to the Snap Map within Snapchat by clicking on the map geo-location icon in the lower left corner. Then, click the search bar in the upper left, and type in "Tesla Giga Texas," and the place will pop up as an option you can click into. Then, the map will zoom you there, and you'll see its location on the map as well as the business listing. Click the circle icon with a yellow border by the place name, and you'll be able to watch Snaps tagged at that place. Unfortunately, this Place story only shows up in the Snapchat app, not on the desktop version of the Snap Map.

It's just still bits and pieces of Tesla's new home base. But as long as Musk's Twitter continues to be Tesla's main form of communicating with the public, another view is always appreciated.

Posted on 27 January 2022 | 12:17 am

In January, avoiding body talk can feel impossible. Here's how to cope.

When you sign on to Instagram in January, you're signing up for a scroll sesh of thinking about your body. 

The topic is everywhere. For me, a typical view of Instagram stories early in the year goes like this. 

We start with a post from a friend on vacation, then swipe to an ad from exercise studio Tracy Anderson Method featuring a thin, ripped woman in a bikini. Next up is an ad from diet company Noom offering to teach me behavioral tricks to change my relationship with food. Then, a fitness trainer friend I follow talks to the camera and reminds me to be kind to my body, followed by a post from Jameela Jamil with some screenshotted text about the toxicity of the diet industry. Hey, have you heard of Colon Broom? Its Instagram ad is offering a deal on detoxes.

On and on it goes. These messages aren't limited to Instagram, either. Noom ads follow me to YouTube, cleanse programs show up in my inbox, fitness tracker or home gym product roundups get pride of place on my favorite websites, and screenshots of it all, paired with outraged captions, collect likes and retweets on Twitter. 

An ad for a fitness company featuring a woman in a bikini.
Credit: Screenshot: Instagram / Tracy Anderson Method
An ad for a fitness company featuring a woman in snow gear showing off her six-pack abs.
Credit: Screenshot: Instagram / Tracy Anderson Method

Cue the whiplash. Should I embrace my physique, or try to change it? And while offers to "lose weight" are cleverly disguised these days with language like "get healthy," being a woman on the internet in January means you're thinking about ways to change your body or your relationship with your body, whether you want to or not.

While I see a lot of body-related posts because I engage with them — part of my job is to investigate and think about the internet's effect on our physical and mental health — I am most certainly not alone.

"The diet industry is a $70+ billion industry," Chelsea Kronengold, the National Eating Disorders Association's director of communications, said over email. "Particularly throughout the month of January, diets, detoxes, weight-loss and exercise programs capitalize on the all-too-common New Year’s resolution to lose weight. These ads are intended to make us feel bad about ourselves so we buy their diet products and exercise services."

And is it just me, or have some of the claims, strategies, and products of these companies gotten more high tech and extreme? There are promises of pills and powders backed by "scientific formulas" meant to "fire up" my metabolism. Some companies, like Zoe, want me to send in a stool sample to analyze my gut microbiome, while others like Everlywell require some simple DNA to give me "personalized insight" into the way my body digests food. Check your thyroid! Freeze your fat! Melt away those saddlebags with this vibrating gun!

An Instagram ad for a vibrating device that gets rid of fat.
Credit: Screenshot: Instagram / Vibroscuplt
An Instagram ad for Noom featuring hard boiled eggs and the quote "Changing the way you eat starts with psychology."
Credit: Screenshot: Instagram / Noom

Even if you haven't shown an interest in exercise or weight loss specifically by following, liking, or sharing that content, your demographics or other interests might put you in a diet ad's sights. Dr. Ysabel Gerrard, a social media researcher at the University of Sheffield, gives the example that if you follow cosmetics brands, that could be a clue to recommendation algorithms that you're interested in your appearance. 

It's enough to make me want to log off entirely. Alas, in January, we're back to work, so for Online people like me, that's not an option. The effect has been a vague unease in the back of my mind all month about whether I should be dieting or exercising more. It feels like I've spent more time in front of the mirror this month, moving around my flesh with my hands or in my mind.

At the same time, the potentially well-meaning posts encouraging general health and body acceptance sometimes make me feel bad about myself for not always loving my body. Is the disappointment I feel when a dress from a decade ago no longer fits so well Bad because it means I'm not loving myself enough? 

"On the surface level, it’s a good thing that our society is embracing the body positive movement and messaging," Kronengold said. "However, influencers, as well as diet and fitness companies, often use buzzwords like 'body positivity' and related messaging to trick consumers into thinking they’re promoting 'wellness,' despite the premise of their business model revolving around dieting and weight loss."

All together, it's exhausting and it's constant. And this deluge could have effects beyond making a person's online experience slightly stressful. These ads can be triggering for people who have eating disorders, according to Gerard.

In 2019, Instagram prohibited brands from advertising diet and cosmetic surgery to minors. It's also banned ads that make "miraculous claims" about diets, though the ban is not a proactive system and requires users to report ads to get them removed. Though this was a positive step, lots of harmful diet content still gets through. In one case, the Guardian found that Instagram was suggesting search terms like "appetite suppressant" to people with eating disorders. Even amid months of scandal about the effect Instagram has on young girls' mental health, the platform is still rife with diet content — even if it's sometimes masked as promoting wellness or health.

"Not being able to opt out of receiving weight loss ads on Instagram, is, in my view, harmful," Gerrard said. "People need significantly more control over what kinds of advertisements they are and are not able to receive across lots of different social media platforms, not just Instagram."

Gerrard recalls that after Facebook made that change to its diet content policies for minors, a friend messaged her asking "but why do I still have to see them?" The comment has stuck with her.

A screenshot of Instagram with options to "Hide Ad."
Credit: Screenshot: Instagram
A screenshot of an Instagram for Colon Broom with a testimonial from a user claiming she lost weight.
Credit: Screenshot: Instagram / Colon Broom

There are things you can do to minimize the presence of these ads or even organic posts: You can unfollow hashtags or influencers who get insufferable in January. You can hide a triggering ad, and it will send recommendation algorithms the message that you're not as interested in this topic. For a story or a post, just click the three dots in the upper right hand corner, and you'll see an option to "hide ad."

Gerrard also recommends having multiple accounts that follow different topics, so you can steer clear of more aesthetically-inclined bubbles during difficult times. But at the same time, she notes that these strategies are "absolutely not a foolproof method and the burden of responsibility shouldn’t be entirely placed on social media users." 

At this time of year, it's pretty impossible to avoid diet content if you need to keep up with the news or want to stay in touch with your friends. So the best way you can serve yourself is staying in tune with your feelings, and, as Kronengold put it, "remind[ing] yourself that you are more than your appearance, the number on the scale, the size of your waist, or the amount of views and followers you have on social media."

This is, of course, easier said than done. On one Friday night this month, I felt sluggish, and just sad. I mindlessly opened Instagram where I saw a Reel from my friend, the fitness trainer. She talked straight to the camera dressed in a sports bra with her tummy exposed. She said: "Just a loving reminder that if self love feels really hard right now, if loving your body feels like a really hard thing to do right now, practice self respect. Your body still deserves respect for everything that it does for you. For waking up, for breathing, for pumping your heart, for being the lens in which you see the world, it does so much for you."

It was exactly the reminder I needed in that moment to be grateful rather than critical. And it bolstered me, knowing that that feeling came from inside. Not an app, a powder, or exercise method. Just me.

Posted on 27 January 2022 | 12:00 am

Neil Young told Spotify to choose between him and Joe Rogan. Spotify chose Joe Rogan.

This may be your last chance to listen to "Heart of Gold" on Spotify, Neil Young fans.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Spotify is obliging the legendary artist's request to be removed from the streaming service due to its distribution of the popular podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience.

On Jan. 26, Young posted an open letter on his website seeking to cut ties with Spotify due to the company's relationship with Joe Rogan.

“I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them,” Young wrote.

“I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform,” Young continued. “They can have [Joe] Rogan or Young. Not both.”

It appears Spotify has chosen Joe Rogan. The streaming platform signed an exclusive $100 million deal with the commentator and comedian last year as it made a broader push into podcasts.

In a statement provided to Engadget, Spotify defended itself regarding Rogan's COVID-19 content.

"We have detailed content policies in place and we’ve removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic," the streaming service said. "We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon."

This isn't the first time Neil Young requested the removal of his music from Spotify. The artist originally had issues with the audio quality of music on the service, before finally giving in and allowing Spotify to stream his music.

According to the report, talks between Young, his record label, and Spotify began shortly after he posted the letter.

Neil Young's music is scheduled to be removed from Spotify within "several hours."

Mashable has reached out to Spotify for comment.

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 10:22 pm

YouTube bans Dan Bongino permanently

Conservative radio host and personality Dan Bongino has been kicked off YouTube for good.

“We terminated Dan Bongino’s channels for circumventing our Terms of Service by posting a video while there was an active strike and suspension associated with the account,” said a YouTube spokesperson in a statement provided to Mashable. “When a channel receives a strike, it is against our Terms of Service to post content or use another channel to circumvent the suspension. If a channel is terminated, the uploader is unable to use, own or create any other YouTube channels.”

Basically, Bongino tried to evade a temporary suspension by posting content when he was prohibited from doing so, resulting in a permanent ban.

As of Wednesday, both of Dan Bongino's YouTube channels had been permanently deleted, one of which has almost 900,000 subscribers.

Earlier this month, Bongino violated the video platform's COVID-19 misinformation policies when he posted a video claiming "masks were useless," according to YouTube. The violation resulted in a strike for Bongino's channel. Upon receiving one strike, YouTube suspends the user from posting on the platform for one week.

SEE ALSO: Apple granted restraining order against alleged Tim Cook stalker

When a user accumulates two strikes, they receive a two-week suspension. If three strikes are accumulated, YouTube permanently terminates the channel. However, strikes expire after a 90-day period, allowing for some leeway for repeat offenders

If Bongino just waited out the week suspension for his first strike, he would have been able to post content on YouTube unabated once again.

But, during the week he was suspended, on Jan. 20, Bongino uploaded content to a secondary channel he ran, Dan Bongino Show Clips. YouTube explicitly prohibits "ban evasion" in its terms of service.

"If your channel has been restricted due to a strike, you must not use another channel to circumvent these restrictions," reads YouTube's terms. "Violation of this prohibition is a material breach of this Agreement and Google reserves the right to terminate your Google account or your access to all or part of the Service."

However, at the time, YouTube simply hit Bongino's secondary channel with its own strike for the ban evasion and for also violating its COVID-19 misinformation policies, too.

Again, instead of waiting out the week-long suspension, this time due to a violation on his secondary channel, Bongino went back to his main channel and uploaded content. 

These repeated violations resulted in the permanent ban from YouTube.

Bongino is a powerhouse in the online conservative media-sphere, so he has other platforms where he can go. His Facebook page is often among the top-performing on the social network each day. 

However, Bongino's most likely YouTube replacement will be Rumble, a video platform that became extremely popular among conservatives over the last year. Bongino boasts over 2 million subscribers on Rumble for his daily program, The Dan Bongino Show.

Bongino's ban from YouTube will likely create a firestorm amongst his conservative audience, who have been searching for alternative platforms since Donald Trump was banned from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube last year after the events of Jan. 6. This will drive an even bigger audience to Bongino's Rumble channel.

And, driving his audience to Rumble won't only help pump Bongino's subscriber numbers. Bongino is an investor in Rumble too.

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 10:09 pm

Mike Schur shares a hilarious 'Office' moment inspired by his life

Mose Schrute is in the house! Or rather, he's on the podcast.

On the latest episode of the Office Ladies podcast, former co-stars Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey took a break from recapping episodes to interview comedic genius Mike Schur. For those who don't know, Schur worked as a writer on The Office from Seasons 1-4, played Dwight's quirky cousin Mose Schrute in 13 episodes, and he also created other iconic series, including The Good Place and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

During the podcast episode, Schur talked about everything from his days at Saturday Night Live to his new book, How to Be Perfect. Naturally, he also reminisced about his time on The Office and shared how he started working on the show as a writer and an actor, what it was like learning from showrunner Greg Daniels, and more.

As Office Ladies fans have learned over the years, many storylines on the show — including the "Diversity Day" and "Office Olympics" episodes — were inspired by real-life experiences of staff members. Schur shared one of his own IRL embarrassing moments that made its way into one of the fan-favorite episodes he wrote: "Christmas Party."

In the Season 2 episode, Dwight lights the office's Christmas tree in one of the most lackluster unveils of all time. The lights Phyllis used to decorate the tree were so small that they barely glowed in the dark, and the painfully embarrassing scene came straight from Schur's own Christmas mishap.

Via Giphy

"My first Christmas in LA, my fiancé/now wife J.J. [Philbin] and I got our first tree as cohabitants and we were so excited. We both love Christmas. We love decorating the tree. We love everything. And we bought the tree, and we took it home. We put it up and we played Christmas music," Schur explained. "In my house growing up, you always did only white lights. I don't know why. That was what our family preferred. And J.J. had been like, 'I like the big colored ones. They're so cheery and happy.' And I, for some reason, won the argument. I don't know why, but I was like, 'Trust me, it looks great. It looks great.' And so I went and bought those little tiny white lights, and I very carefully strung them around the tree and everything. And then we're playing Christmas music, and it was like a big countdown. I turn them on and you absolutely could not see any of them there."

"It was the saddest. It was the opposite of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting. And I was immediately humiliated, and my wife was just laughing at me so hard. Like just what a complete failure this was. And I immediately went out and went to the drugstore and bought big, big colored lights and came home and we strung them up," he continued. "But I remember that that feeling, and that episode is so much about like expectation vs. reality. And so I was like, 'Oh. That would be a good little metaphor for what's about to happen to Michael Scott when he gets Phyllis' oven mitt.' So I just put it in [and] Greg was so into it."

Schur went on to stress that the show is "so into those tiny, tiny, tiny, observable moments of real life" and said his favorite thing about the scene is that after they turned the lights on and Michael says, "Not great," there's a quick pan to Angela, who "looks angrier than she has ever looked in her entire life."

It was a fantastic scene before, but knowing that it came from a real-life embarrassing Schur-mas makes it perfect.

Be sure to listen to the full podcast episode to hear more behind-the-scenes stories from Schur.

You can stream episodes of The Office on Peacock and follow along with the podcast every week on EarwolfApple Podcasts, or Stitcher.

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 10:06 pm

Save on multiple sizes of Samsung's The Frame, plus more 4K TV deals as of Jan. 26

UPDATE: Jan. 26, 2022, 5:00 p.m. EST This story has been updated to reflect current pricing, including major price slashes on multiple sizes of Samsung's The Frame.

Large 4K TVs no longer have to cost an exorbitant amount of money. Rather, these high-quality TVs featuring punchy colors, decipherable shadows, and smooth transitions are actually affordable for regular consumers. And to make them even more budget-friendly, we've gathered up the best deals on 4K and QLED TVs from top brands like Samsung, LG, Sony, and more.

Samsung TV deals

Samsung TV with bridge on screen
Credit: Samsung
Our pick: Samsung 75-inch The Frame QLED TV
$2,199.99 at Samsung (save $800)

Why we love it

If you've spent time researching nice TVs, you know why The Frame is so unique. When you're not watching Samsung's quantum dot technology bump the brightness and color in every juicy scene ofYellowjackets, The Frame itself morphs into a piece of art. Let it pull from a library of work by real artists or watch it blend into the wall behind it when you upload a photo of the wall.

More Samsung TVs on sale

LG TV deals

LG TV with glowing tree screensaver
Credit: LG
Our pick: LG 65-inch C1 Series OLED 4K TV
$1,896.99 at Amazon (save $603)

Why we love it

The LG C1's OLED display has more than 8 million pixels to bring you deep blacks and vibrant colors. Its 4K AI processor adjusts with the content to ensure everything you watch looks the best it can. Its zippy refresh rate keeps heavy-graphics gaming on point, too.

More LG TVs on sale

Sony TV deals

Sony TV with desert scene screensaver
Credit: Sony
Our pick: Sony 50-inch X80J 4K TV
$499.99 at Best Buy (save $200)

Why we love it

Sony doesn't often have the budget-friendly range that Samsung or LG do, so a mid-sizer for under $500 feels lucky. This X80J and the slightly more expensive X85J use different panels and offer different viewing experiences. If you care about wide viewing angles, this living room-sized X80J is the way to go.

More Sony TVs on sale

Other TV deals from TCL, Vizio, and more

Hisense TV with blue and yellow design
Credit: Hisense
Our pick: Hisense 65-inch U6G ULED TV
$599.99 at Walmart (save $700)

Why we love it

A steal for gamers, this Hisense deal is a chance to upgrade from a monitor to a big screen. Low input lag and contrast in bright rooms are some shining points.

More TVs from TCL, Vizio, and more

Explore related content:

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 10:00 pm

Anti-work subreddit goes private after rough Fox News interview

The anti-work subreddit went private today following a lousy Fox News interview between anchor (and notorious tool) Jesse Watters and one of the subreddit's moderators, Doreen Ford. Watters and other Fox News hosts have argued that the subreddit is helping to fuel the Great Resignation, in which millions of workers nationwide have left their jobs.

The interview was not a great look for the burgeoning online movement.

"There are some misconceptions about the movement," Ford told Watters after the first question. "We're a movement where we want to reduce the amount of work that people feel like they're forced to do. And so we want to still put in effort. We want to put in labor, but we don't want to necessarily be in a position where we feel trapped."

Watters then asks Ford why supporters of the movement don't simply quit their jobs, and wonders if Ford is "encouraging people to be lazy."

"I think laziness is a virtue in a society where people constantly want you to be productive 24/7," Ford said. "And it's good to have rest. That doesn't mean you should be resting all the time or not putting effort into things that you care about."

Despite the movement's name, she said that the concept of 'not working' isn't really the central focus. Ford herself is currently employed as dog walker, working about 20 - 25 hours a week. When Watters asked what she might ideally want to do professionally, Ford said she'd like to teach philosophy and critical thinking. The interview mostly focused on Ford instead of the movement as a whole, and it makes the movement look like, well, a joke.

SEE ALSO: Screenshots of texts with your freaking boss are taking over Twitter

In the subreddit OutOfTheLoop, which helps users keep track of what is going on with Reddit, Reddit user Potatolantern said that people on the anti-work subreddit are "indignant" and frustrated that Ford was chosen to represent the movement and decided to do an interview with Fox News at all. A post on the sub-reddit (preserved by the Wayback Machine), however, shows Ford explaining how the other moderators decided she'd be best to do the interview because of her past media experience.

This morning, the anti-work subreddit was still public but as Ford's interview gained traction, it went private. According to user luciagrace in the OutOfTheLoop subreddit, many of the posts and comments on r/antiwork were locked. Users were, allegedly, getting banned for discussing the interview. Eventually, the page released an FAQ thread about the Fox News incident, according to one user on r/OutOfTheLoop, but that was later deleted.

Reddit user mrSFWdotcom said the entire segment was designed to make Ford and the anti-work movement look bad. Mission accomplished.

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 9:49 pm

The best sex toy deals as of Jan. 26: Lelo, Satisfyer, Magic Wand, and more

UPDATE: Jan. 26, 2022, 4:30 p.m. EST This story has been updated to include new early Valentine's Day deals, including some 40% off finds from Adam & Eve — check out those and more of our top picks below.

We're not saying that treating yourself to some new sex toys will almost certainly improve your life, but we're also not not saying that. Spending some money on upping your solo sesh game or adding a little spice with a partner is well worth the investment. Though we do believe in springing for well-made toys since you'll be putting them in, on, and around your genitals, that doesn't necessarily mean you have to drop a ton of cash. Every week, we'll be rounding up the best deals directly from manufacturers and online sex shops alike, so you can find a toy you'll love, at prices you'll love (almost) as much. Check out our finds from this week below.

Vibrator deals

pink bullet vibrator
Credit: We-Vibe
Our pick: We-Vibe Tango
$59 at We-Vibe (save $20)

Why we like it

Read more from Mashable about the We-Vibe Tango here.

Think bullet vibrator, but better. The We-Vibe offers the perfect pinpointed vibrations, with a flat-topped lipstick-shaped head that's better than the rounded design you'll find on most bullet vibes. It's also waterproof and rechargeable, making it clear why Mashable culture reporter Anna Iovine deemed the Tango "the best bullet vibrator I've tried."

More vibrator deals:

Clitoral stimulator and suction toy deals

champagne satisfyer suction toy
Credit: Satisfyer
Our pick: Satisfyer Pro 2
$39.95 at Pink Cherry (save $50.04 with code LOVE)

Why we like it

Suction toys are great for those who love all the attention on their clit, but they can also be quite expensive. With the Satisfyer Pro 2, you don't have to sacrifice quality for cost. Unlike other clit stimulators, the Pro 2 uses air pulses and vibrations (with 10 different vibration modes, by the way), so getting that just-right intensity is as easy as it should be. Plus, this USB rechargeable waterproof toy allows you to take those good vibes to the bath and shower without any worries.

More clitoral stimulator and suction toy deals:

Dildo deals

realistic dildo
Credit: PinkCherry
Our pick: PinkCherry Lucky Dick Realistic 8.25-inch Dildo
$24.98 at PinkCherry (save $35.01 with code LOVE)

Why we like it

When it comes down to it, everyone will have their own preferences when it comes to dildos (or any sex toys, for that matter), but here's why this one is worth a second look. The silicone material gives the dildo some flex, so you can find those just-right angles (which can feel even better thanks to its approachable size). The circular base doubles as a suction cup too, making this dildo easy to hold, fit into a harness, or stick on to the non-porous surface of your choosing.

More dildo deals:

Deals on sex toys for penises

fleshlight sleeve with two bottles of lube
Credit: Fleshlight
Our pick: Fleshlight Go Stamina Training Unit Lady Pack
$69.95 at Fleshlight (save $11.90)

Why we like it

When it comes to sex toys specifically for people with penises, Fleshlight might just be the most recognizable name out there, and for good reason — they're masters at the masturbation sleeve. Fleshlight's sleeves have made our favorites list before, and this bundle comes with a compact version of one of the brand's most popular sleeves, the Stamina Training Unit, as well as lube and cleaner.

More deals on sex toys for penises:

Anal toy deals

black butt plug
Credit: Vedo
Our pick: Bump rechargeable anal vibe
$29.97 at Adam & Eve (save $19.98 with code TAKE40)

Why we like it

From a glance alone, this Bump pick looks like a pretty good plug — it's not too big, not too small, has a nice tapered edge for keeping things where you want them, and is silicone-smooth so it slides right in without friction. Once you realize it has 10 different vibration modes and can be submerged safely in water, well, you may just feel like you've won the butt plug lotto.

More anal toy deals:

Even more sex toy deals:

Explore related content:

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 9:28 pm

The best robot vacuum deals as of Jan. 26: The Roomba j7+ is still on sale at its lowest price ever

UPDATE: Jan. 26, 2022, 3:45 p.m. EST This story has been updated to reflect current sale prices and availability.

We've compiled the best deals on robot vacuums from brands like iRobot, Shark, and Ecovacs. Here are the ones to grab as of Jan. 26:

Only three things are certain in life: Death, taxes, and a few days each month when you need to vacuum but just don't have time. Whether you detest the chore or get a little bummed when you can't have that satisfying dance with your Dyson, a robot vacuum is a lifesaver. Shop models on sale below.

Robot vacuums under $200:

Eufy blue and black robot vacuum
Credit: Eufy
Our pick: Eufy 15C Max
$179.99 at Walmart (save $100)

Why we like it

Even without smart mapping (which isn't surprising at this price), the Eufy 15C Max manages to squeeze out a robust floor cleaning. Its suction is more than strong enough for hard floors and light upkeep of carpet, and it can sweep for over an hour even on Max mode.

More robot vacuums under $200

Robot vacuums under $500

Gray and black Roomba with phone on iRobot screen
Credit: iRobot
Our pick: iRobot i1
$279 at Walmart (save $120.99)

Why we like it

Go one step up from the cheapest Roomba without exceeding $300 with the Roomba i1. The i1 has 10 times the suction power of the 600 series Roombas, and is the most affordable Roomba that's compatible with iRobot's auto-empty dock.

More robot vacuums under $500

Robot vacuums under $800

New Roomba with compact auto-empty dock
Credit: iRobot
Our pick: iRobot Roomba j7+
$599 at Amazon (save $250.99)

Why we like it

The best Roomba is at its best discount yet, including its Cyber Monday price. You can snag it for less than $600. Its glow-up includes Genius Technology and PrecisionVision Navigation to avoid obstacles that were previously problem-causers, like phone chargers and pet waste. The j7+ also self-empties.

Robot vacuums under $1,000

Robot vacuum and mop hybrids and dedicated robot mops

Ecovacs N8 Pro+ vacuum
Credit: Ecovacs
Our pick: Ecovacs Deebot N8 Pro+
$559.99 at Amazon (save $240)

Why we like it:

The Deebot N8 Pro+ includes fundamental smart upgrades like LiDAR mapping and virtual boundaries for customizing its cleaning path down to specific rooms or areas. It also has sensors that avoid carpets while mopping and uses 3D obstacle detection to avoid small objects that cheaper vacs usually trip over.

More hybrids and robot mops on sale

Are robot vacuums worth it?

The control of an upright vacuum comes with its own type of satisfaction. But if you're not one to classify cleaning as cathartic, a robot vacuum could erase that huge, agonizing task from of your chore list. (And did we mention the joy of having "first day clean" floors all the time?)

But whether robot vacuums are worth it or not comes with a caveat: It can't be just any robot vacuum. A cheap robovac that doesn't do the job right — scattering dust, bumping into walls, getting stuck on area rugs — might actually create more work for you.

What to consider when buying a robot vacuum

Explore related content:

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 8:48 pm

Tiffany Haddish and 'The Afterparty' cast hilariously remix the show's plot — Mash Libs

The ensemble cast of The Afterparty cooked up an alternative plot for their Apple TV+ show.

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 8:11 pm

Wise life advice from a 5-year-old is going viral on Twitter

Gwenyth T. was driving her 5-year-old son, Clark, to school when she got one heck of a motivational speech.

Clark is now in school for the first time due to the pandemic, and it's been a bit of a rough transition. "He’s a sweet, sensitive kid. An only child who is just very verbal, very chatty. Just him and me talking all the time. Very smart. Emotionally aware," she wrote to Mashable in a direct message on Twitter. Wanting to help him feel that being nervous is OK, Gwenyth shared she was feeling nervous about an upcoming parent teacher meeting. That's when he began dispensing life advice that's wise beyond his years.

Tweet may have been deleted

Gwenyth typed up Clark's words as soon as she dropped him off and shared them in a Twitter thread that has tens of thousands of likes and counting. Here are some of the highlights:

Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted

If you're wondering who Dolly is, Clark is apparently a major Dolly Parton fan. Gwenyth says that lately he's been into "Here You Come Again," but "he also is quite partial to 'Jolene' and 'Tennessee Mountain Home'." In addition to enjoying the soulful genius of Dolly Parton's songwriting, hiking and reading have been helping Clark ease the transition of going to school, his mom says. "We’ve been working with him a lot on coping mechanisms and he’s doing really well now."

You can read the whole thread here. And, oh yeah, there's already a "Dolly on a Dinosaur" T-shirt.

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 8:08 pm

Wordle memes are everywhere

It didn't take long for Wordle, the internet's latest obsession, to turn into a meme. "Not Wordle" is the latest Twitter trend that pokes fun at our collective compulsion to post our Wordle results on the timeline.

Wordle is a daily word game that involves guessing a five-letter word. It sounds simple, but there are some basic things you need to know: When you get a letter right the square turns green; if the letter is in the word but in the wrong place, it turns yellow; and if the letter isn't in the word at all, it turns dark gray. So in order to post your results without spoiling anyone, you're essentially sharing a 5-by-5 grid of green, yellow, and gray squares onto your timeline. The pattern is determined by your guesses.

Twitter quickly became obsessed with the game due to its low commitment and shareability, and now the yellow, green, and gray grids are inescapable on the app.

SEE ALSO: Here's why we can't stop playing Wordle

That's where this new meme comes in: People are now posting grids of different colored squares with the text "not Wordle," followed by what their grid of squares represents. It's a classic internet inside joke that requires knowledge of the Wordle craze to fully appreciate its genius.

Here are a few of our favorites:

1. The accuracy

Tweet may have been deleted

2. They're right!

Tweet may have been deleted

3. OK, yes

Tweet may have been deleted

4. A rare funny tweet from a brand

Tweet may have been deleted

5. Very topical

Tweet may have been deleted

6. Yeah :/

Tweet may have been deleted

7. Gorgeous, stunning

Tweet may have been deleted

8. I don't know what this means, but I am happy for you or sorry that happened.

Tweet may have been deleted

9. Not the worst way to be woken up

Tweet may have been deleted

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 7:33 pm

The best Valentine’s Day gifts for your boyfriend

Significant others are often the people you know best, but sometimes they’re the hardest to shop for. Valentine’s Day can be an especially tricky holiday. How much do you spend? Are you going for a big romantic gesture or keeping it simple? And what about the classic "we’re not doing gifts this year," but you still "surprise" each other with gifts anyway thing?

(Seriously, though — what *is* that?)

Valentine’s Day is a great time to make your boyfriend feel loved — by showing him you've been paying attention and that you actually do know what he likes. Giving a unique gift that totally fits his personality or taste is the perfect way to do that.

SEE ALSO: Best gift ideas for people in long-distance relationships

You can gift your boyfriend something that says "I love you" without being totally cliché. Whether you just started dating your boyfriend or you’re practically engaged, you can find something that he'll love and will make him feel special.

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 7:10 pm

Apple granted restraining order against alleged Tim Cook stalker

Apple has accused a Virginia woman of stalking CEO Tim Cook for more than a year. On Thursday, Apple requested a restraining order against her and, on Friday, a judge in Santa Clara County granted it, according to court filings first reported by the Mercury News.

Cook apparently found out about the 45-year-old woman because she was tagging him on Twitter, using the last name "Cook." She was claiming she was married to him and that he was the father of her twins. She allegedly emailed him some 200 times, escalating to a "threatening and highly disturbing" tone, according to the application.

SEE ALSO: 7 tips and tricks to better organize your Notes app

One of the emails was an application to be his roommate in Cook's Palo Alto condo; another email, according to the New York Times, included photos of a handgun and ammunition, along with comments like, "My new gun will never return it at this time before I shoot!" The woman also allegedly registered fake corporations naming Cook as a corporate officer, director, or agent.

In October, the woman showed up to Cook's home in her car and asked to speak with him. Security sent her away, but she returned minutes later, the Times reported. Police officers stopped her and searched her car, but didn't find any weapons. They towed her car because of an expired license, and she allegedly told them that she "could get violent."

The court order prohibits the woman from possessing guns after Apple's application said the woman "may be armed and is still in the South Bay Area and intends to return to [Cook’s] residence or locate him otherwise in the near future." The woman also can't approach any Apple employees, including Cook, enter Apple property, go to Cook's house in Palo Alto, or contact him on social media. The hearing on whether to extend the order is scheduled for March 29.

This isn't the first time Apple has had to get a restraining order against an alleged Cook stalker. In February 2020, it was granted a temporary restraining order against a man who allegedly trespassed on Cook's Palo Alto home twice, according to the Mercury News.

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 6:49 pm

Sexy Valentine's Day gifts guaranteed to spice things up

You know what? We're just gonna say it: A lot of Valentine's Day gift guides are just plain boring.

Now, "gifts for him" and "gifts for her" aren't inherently boring searches. There are a lot of really sweet, unique ideas out there that truly show you've been paying attention to your partner's wants or needs. But what if your partner's needs are more... primal? It's pretty archaic to assume that heart-shaped jewelry or engraved whiskey decanters are the peak of romance.

It's time to wake up and accept the fact that Valentine's Day is the sex holiday. Sometimes spicing things up in the bedroom is the most romantic thing you can do.

We've scoured the internet to find the sexiest gifts on the market. Whether your boo is into BDSM, toys, or is just one of those people who gets turned on by food, there's bound to be a gift option that satisfies their nether regions and their heart.

NSFW warning: Before you scroll any further, we'd suggest making sure your screen isn't visible to bosses, children, or conservative family members. However, if you're in public with just randos behind you, it's your call as to whether you want to be that person shopping for vibrators in Starbucks.

We apologize in advance for using the word "penetration" so many times. No matter how sex-positive you are, that word sucks.

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 6:43 pm

The best unique gifts for the woman in your life

Picking out gifts for a woman in your life is a special opportunity to show her just how much you care about her.

Taking the generic route sends the opposite message. A gift for the lady in your life should be just that: A gift for her. Specifically.

There’s a wealth of unique gift items littered across the internet, but having too many choices isn’t always helpful. Sometimes, product overload can trick you into impulse-buying something your special person may not even want. Consider how a mug looks to someone whose mug shelf is overflowing or how a heart necklace looks to someone who never wears mushy jewelry.

We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to get you started on your important mission: Finding the gift of all gifts for the lady in your life, filled with classics and items you've never even heard of.

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 5:30 pm

Divers discovered a pristine coral reef deep below the ocean surface

Unesco divers found a coral reef 30 meters below the water's surface off the coast of Tahiti that avoided damaging bleaching events that harmed nearby reefs. 

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 5:14 pm

The 20th Anniversary Edition Xbox controller is finally back in stock (and $5 off)

RESTOCK ALERT: The 20th Anniversary Special Edition Xbox controller is back in stock at Amazon and Walmart as of Jan. 26. Plus, both retailers have it on sale for $64.99 (normally $69.99) — a $5 savings and its lowest price to date.

Microsoft celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Xbox last November with the launch of a special-edition wireless controller, which promptly sold out and stayed that way for weeks. It was so difficult to find during the holiday season that we started to think it was just a one-and-done release that would never see the light of day again, except maybe in rare appearances on resale sites.

Fortunately, we were wrong: As of Jan. 26, Amazon and Walmart had the 20th Anniversary Special Edition Xbox controller back in stock with a rare $5 discount. (It typically retails for $69.99, but you'll pay just $64.99 — that's its lowest price to date.) Whether you're chasing a rad Valentine's Day gift for your Player Two or just shopping for your personal collection, now's the time to buy.

SEE ALSO: Best gifts for gamers 2022: Consoles, accessories, new releases, and more

Inspired by the original Xbox Debug kit from the early 2000s, the controller features a translucent black finish with silver internals and lime green accents. Aesthetics aside, it works exactly like any other modern Xbox gamepad you've used before. There's a dedicated Share button for capturing clips, plus a hybrid D-pad, texturized grips, and a 3.5mm jack for plugging in your headset.

Speaking of: Microsoft released a matching 20th Anniversary Edition headset alongside this controller last fall, which also happens to be back up for grabs at the time of writing (though it's still full price). Complete the set and grab one while you still can from Amazon or Walmart for $69.99.

box art for the 20th anniversary special edition xbox controller
Credit: Microsoft
Xbox Wireless Controller – 20th Anniversary Special Edition
$64.99 on Amazon (save $5)
the 20th anniversary special edition xbox controller
Credit: Microsoft
Xbox Wireless Controller – 20th Anniversary Special Edition
$64.99 at Walmart (save $5)

Explore related content:

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 5:07 pm

The best workout equipment for building a home gym

The gym isn't for everybody. It's expensive, crowded, and sometimes smelly. Even worse, you have to travel to get there — making it ten times harder just to convince yourself to go.

But, if you're lucky enough to have the space, you have another option that doesn't involve commuting vast distances only to exert yourself in front of strangers: Just bring the gym home to you.

Yeah, it can cost you a pretty penny, but when you take into account how much gym membership fees add up over the years, buying your own workout equipment and decking out a home gym pays for itself in the long run. (This is all assuming you'll use it frequently — that part will depend completely on you. Sorry, you can't quite buy motivation.) Plus, not having to travel back home after an intense workout is just a beautiful thing. You can literally plop down onto the couch after you're done. Maybe take a shower first, though.

The tough part is making the choice. What fitness gear are you going to bring home first? A treadmill? An elliptical? A bench press? We don't recommend buying all of them at once unless you have the cash to burn. You'll have to be honest with yourself about which workouts you find yourself doing the most, and go from there. If you're a runner, you want the treadmill. If you're a cyclist, it's Peloton for sure. Full-time yogi? You're going to need a good mat for that.

Are home gym machines worth it?

If you have the space and the cash, sure. But the only machine we say you need is some sort of cardio machine, like a treadmill or elliptical. Weight machines and other equipment of the like are mostly just for convenience, and while that's great in its own right, you can still get the same results by using free weights with good form. Don't go crowding up your home gym for no reason — make sure there's actual material value in it for you.

Should I buy an elliptical or a treadmill?

Either one will be a good purchase, and you'll be able to get in great cardio workouts by using them, but there are a few key differences between the two that you'll want to know before making your final decision.

Ellipticals are going to be best for those who want to incorporate an upper-body workout into their cardio session, as well as keep their joints in great shape (ellipticals involve less impact compared to treadmills, where your feet slam on the belt continuously).

While treadmills are high-impact and are harder on your joints, they offer more control, opportunities to build leg strength, and it's a faster way to burn calories. You can't go wrong with either if you're looking to improve your cardiac health — just buy the one that's more in tune with your body and preferences.

Why is home gym equipment so expensive?

Your eyes might roll into the back of your head when you see some of these prices, but unfortunately, they are pretty standard for quality gym equipment. If you want something that will rival your local gym, you're going to need to make it an investment. But don't worry, as long as you use the equipment you buy consistently (and not just for gym selfies), they'll eventually pay for themselves with all the money you're saving by breaking up with your gym membership.

There are also low-budget options for workout equipment, but even those will cost you some serious cash, so we say go for quality first. Many brands offer payment plans for their equipment, too, so be sure to look into those if you're not in the place to pay everything upfront.

So, what's the best home gym equipment?

Now, what you've all been waiting for: We picked out the best of the best in-home gym equipment for every type of athlete — from weightlifters to former crew team members and just about everyone in between. So if you're tired of sweating it out at your local gym, just stay home instead.

Below are our top picks for the best home gym equipment for 2022.

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 4:54 pm

Best gifts for your wife: Our picks for your leading lady

Ask anyone who's done the whole marriage thing and they'll give you the same spiel: After a couple of years together, you both have to start making an effort to keep the ol' fire burning. You can't just say you're just as deeply in love with one another as you were the day you met — you have to prove it over and over and over again. (No pressure, right?)

Shopping thoughtfully for your wife's gifts is one way to tend to that aspect of your relationship, whether you're celebrating an anniversary or holiday, or treating her just for kicks. But this is often easier said than done, because you have to do your research. (See also: Pay attention.) What are her hobbies? What gets her excited? What are her passions?

If you need a little inspiration to get the shopping juices flowing, we've got you covered. Keep reading to peep a versatile list of top-tier gifts that will further convince your wife that she married The One.

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 4:17 pm

Bake your own loaves with 40% off a Dash bread maker

SAVE 40%: For aspiring chefs and casual consumers alike, the Dash Everyday Bread Maker is on sale at Amazon for just $71.40 as of Jan. 26. It normally costs $119.99, so that's a discount of $48.59.

Have you ever looked at the ingredient list of your average pre-packaged loaf of bread? There's a lot going on beyond your requisite salt, flour, and yeast. But mystery ingredients aren't a concern when you have full control over the entire process, from dough formula to baking time. With a bread maker, you can customize recipes, schedule loaves, and control portions — the sky's the limit. Love herbs? Throw some rosemary in the mix for a fancy loaf. Prefer your bread light and fluffy? Substitute milk for water in your recipe as desired.

The Dash Everyday Bread Maker will accommodate all these modifications — it's an all-in-one unit that mixes, kneads, lets rise, and bakes for you. Choose from 12 presets including artisan, gluten-free, whole wheat, and cake, or you can simply choose size, crust color, and mix-ins, then press start. Automatic Ingredient Drop will even add the mix-ins at set intervals for you, so you don't have to hover over the bread maker waiting for the right time to throw in your chopped walnuts.

The bread maker's delay timer will also put off the baking for up to 13 hours, in case you want fresh bread in the morning (and you have the luxury of sleeping a whole 10 hours).

Silver and black bread maker with container and bread loaf next to it
Credit: DASH
Dash Everyday Bread Maker
$71.40 at Amazon (save 40%)

Explore related content:

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 4:06 pm

Catch up on 'Yellowjackets' and save money doing it with this Paramount+ and Showtime bundle

SAVE UP TO 28%: As of Jan. 26, you can save up to 28% per month when you sign up for the Paramount+ with Showtime streaming bundle. Watch shows like Yellowjackets, Dexter: New Blood, Star Trek: Discovery, and more, plus get access to a vast library of movies to choose from. Bundles start at $11.99 per month.

You're already subscribed to the heavy hitters: Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+. What else could you need? Well, turns out other streaming services exist, and they're starting to get really good. If you're in the know about TV show discourse, you've probably heard about Yellowjackets and how it's a must-watch. But we're willing to bet that you don't have Showtime yet, and you'll need it if you want to catch up.

You might as well save some money doing it by bundling your Showtime subscription with Paramount+, which also has a pretty sweet collection of content to choose from (and it'll save you up to 28% per month).

SEE ALSO: 10 'Yellowjackets' theories keeping us up at night

If you're a glutton for entertainment, having Paramount+ and Showtime at your disposal is going to do wonders for your TV-hungry brain. Both services have stellar catalogs of exclusive shows and movies to watch in their own right: Paramount+ with the likes of Star Trek: Discovery and Evil, and Showtime with Yellowjackets, Billions, Dexter: New Blood, and lots more.

Avoid the TV show FOMO and add the Paramount+ with Showtime bundle to your subscription list.

Paramount+ and Showtime logo
Credit: Paramount
Paramount+ with Showtime Bundle
Save up to 28% at Paramount+

Explore related content:

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 3:39 pm

This 6-pack of courses can help you become a life coach from your home

TL;DR: As of Jan. 26, the Life Coach Certification Bundle (worth $1,200) is on sale for $28.98 — that's savings of 97%.

It may seem like every Instagram influencer deems themselves a life coach, of sorts, but there’s more to it than simply offering a quote of inspiration with a photo of yourself. Life coaches need a zest for life, a calling to help others reach their full potential, and the desire to start a business. If that sounds like you, life coaching could be a legitimate career.

If you’re ready to start your life coaching career journey, or you’re interested in learning more, the six-pack of online courses in the Life Coach Certification Bundle can certainly help. And you won’t even have to get off the couch to get started.

Brought to you by Natalie and Joeel Rivera of Transformation Services, this training bundle packs 38 hours of content into six different courses. Both Natalie and Joeel are experienced and qualified in their own right — Natalie has a degree in sociology and education, and opened a non-profit teen coaching center in 2007, while Joeel has a Masters in counseling and education, a Ph.D. in psychology, and has been a relationship counselor and workshop facilitator since 2007. 

There are courses covering Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), mindfulness, Law of Attraction, transformation, and confidence. Throughout these courses, you’ll learn all the techniques and exercises of a life-changing coach. Discover step-by-step mindfulness techniques and meditations, understand the psychology behind rational decision making, learn to help people overcome negativity and irrationality, and so much more.

All six of these courses are accredited, which means when you complete them, you can call yourself a certified life coach, whether you choose to act on it or not.

Worth over $1,000, you can get lifetime access to all of the content in the Life Coach Certification Bundle for just $28.98 for a limited time.

Prices subject to change.

hand holding mug that says 80/20 and book that says the enterpreneur's guide to success and business growth
Credit: Transformation Services
The Life Coach Certification Bundle
$28.98 at the Mashable Shop

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 2:34 pm

Tinder launches significant redesign to its sexual violence reporting system

Tinder is changing the way it handles reports of sexual violence and harassment with the aim of providing better support for survivors.

The dating app worked with U.S. anti-sexual assault organisation RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) to develop the redesign of this trauma-informed reporting process, which aims to give survivors "more agency over what step they want to take next," per a press release from the company.

The new changes include significant improvements to the reporting process, improved access to survivor resources, and education for internal teams at Tinder.

What's new

A new screen has been introduced in the reporting process asking "are you or the person involved in a safe place?" and recommends contacting local authorities if required.

It's now easier to report someone you've unmatched from. Experts at RAINN identified that seeing a former abuser in a match list can be triggering and traumatising. In view of that, Tinder has changed its reporting system to let users unmatch while still easily reporting directly within the app. Previously, members have always been able to report members they've unmatched from, but it's now much easier to do so within the app, rather than doing it in an out-of-app browser experience. This is also helpful in instances where abusers have already unmatched from the survivor in an effort to make it more difficult to be reported.

There is now also more choice and transparency for those making reports. This acknowledges that many survivors do not report abuse or harassment straight away and some might not want to receive a follow-up from Tinder's support team. There is now a more direct way to report a member you've unmatched if you've decided to wait to make a report.

Why does this matter? Per Tinder's announcement, "many survivors don’t report what happened to them immediately — being able to unmatch an abuser and yet still easily report when they’re ready is critical. Members should feel confident they can hold someone accountable, even if they have unmatched, so we have created a more direct way to report directly in the app."

For survivors of sexual violence, the process of coming to terms with what's happened is extremely personal. In many instances, it can take a long time for survivors to realise or accept that something that happened to them constituted sexual assault or rape. Some people may never label their experiences as rape or assault — something academics refer to as "unacknowledged rape." The disparity between cultural stereotypes about rape (for example, the violent stranger rape) and the reality of sexual violence makes it difficult for people to identify when sexual violence has happened to them. For these reasons, it's vital that survivors have more options than simply reporting abuse immediately after it has occurred.

Within the seven-page reporting process, users will now find a progress bar along the top, that lets them see how much of the form they've completed.

There's now the option of reporting individual images or messages. When reporting, there is now unlimited space for providing details about what's occurred, so users can include as much, or as little, detail as they choose.

Users can now decide whether or not they want to receive any follow-ups on the report they've submitted. If users would prefer to close the loop, they can opt out of any further communication.

There's also a final review screen in the reporting process. This means members can check everything they've included in the report and add extra information should they wish to.

Users will also have easier access to to different support options. The change acknowledges that not every survivor is comfortable making a report. Users can now find a variety of different support options in Tinder’s Safety Center, which is now accessible from most places in the app.

SEE ALSO: 97% of young women have been sexually harassed, study finds

Trauma-informed training for staff

Every member of Tinder's customer care team has now taken part in a new training developed with RAINN designed to equip staff with the awareness of how survivors process and report abuse and harassment. They've also been trained to identify serious abuse from reports that include vague language, in addition to what the appropriate response should be to these types of reports. Tinder has made the training a mandatory part of its onboarding of Tinder's member care teams.

"Our members are trusting us with an incredibly sensitive and vulnerable part of their lives, and we believe we have a responsibility to support them through every part of this journey, including when they have bad experiences on and off the app," Tracey Breeden, VP of Safety and Social Advocacy for Tinder and Match Group, said in a statement emailed to Mashable. Breeden added that working with RAINN has enabled the app to take a take a trauma-informed approach to supporting Tinder users affected by harassment and assault.

Clara Kim, Vice President of Consulting Services at RAINN, said that the adoption of these support practices will make Tinder "better positioned to support members who may have experienced harm and take faster, more transparent action on bad actors."

Tinder has a number of safety features that users can make use of. Last summer, Tinder committed to making ID verification available worldwide, allowing users to verify their identity by uploading a photo of documentation. When users receive potentially offensive messages on the app, a message that reads "does this bother you?" will automatically appear, providing the recipient with the option of reporting the user for their actions. Tinder says this feature has led to a 46 percent rise in the reporting of harassment. Similarly, the "are you sure?" feature asks senders is they're sure they want to send a potentially offensive message.

If you have experienced sexual abuse, call the free, confidential National Sexual Assault hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), or access the 24-7 help online by visiting

Related Video: How to remove your ex from your digital life

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 2:22 pm

Save $59 on a home air purifier funded on Kickstarter

TL;DR: The Wall-Mounted Airpurifier Löv with HEPA Filter is on sale for $275, down from $334, as of Jan. 25. Snag it with the 17% discount while it lasts.

It’s hard to find an air purifier that doesn’t clash with your home décor or take up too much space you don’t have to spare. Many of the models on the market are clunky eyesores that you try to disguise. The Kickstarter-funded Löv Air Purifier, on the other hand, basically doubles as home décor. And it’s on sale for $275, down from $334, as of Jan. 26.

Over 350 backers pledged nearly $100k to help bring the Löv into existence — and it’s easy to see why. It’s slim, elegant, and blends harmoniously into your home with four types of structural assembly. A major space-saver, you can either prop it up like an easel or mount it on the wall, horizontally or vertically. It only weighs 7.7 pounds and is completely adaptable, so it’s ready to change whenever you need it to. 

As far as the actual purifying goes, the Löv is equipped with a pre-filter to remove large dust particles from the air, a HEPA filter to take out the fine particles like bacteria, pollen, and allergens, and a carbon filter for things like odors and toxins. It’s recommended for bedrooms, offices, and living room areas in particular, as it can clean the air in a 250 square-foot space in about 30 minutes. Plus, it has a sleep mode designed to be as quiet as possible so it won’t disturb your sleep or focus.

Clean air is something everyone wants at home. After all, your home is where you sleep, eat, watch Netflix, workout, and even work these days. An air purifier is a great way to breathe a little better. Grab the Löv Air Purifier on sale for $59 off for a limited time in your choice of cream white, knit gray, or light charcoal.

Prices subject to change.

wall-mounted white air purifier
Credit: Komma
Wall-Mounted Airpurifier Löv with HEPA Filter
$275 at the Mashable Shop

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 1:53 pm

Save 82% on award-winning AI photo-editing software

TL;DR: As of Jan. 26, the Complete Luminar AI Bundle, an intelligent photo editor worth $235, is on sale for just $39.99 — that's a discount of 82%.

Artificial intelligence is not some scary thing we should fear. In fact, it can actually help enhance the speed, precision, and effectiveness of human efforts, reduce common errors, and automate the repetitive tasks we do every day. That includes creative endeavors like photography.

The Luminar software is an intelligent photo editor that uses AI to turn the digital darkroom into a time-saving, one-click solution for complex tasks. The software, along with templates and a photography masterclass, is on sale for 82% off for a limited time in the Complete Award-Winning Luminar AI Bundle.

Luminar AI offers over 100 AI-enhanced tools to conquer complex edits in seconds. You can retouch portraits or create captivating landscapes in a single mouse click, saving you hours of endless revisions. It can be used as either a standalone app or as a plugin for Photoshop and Lightroom, so it’s completely adaptable to the way you already work. Plus, you can even customize the features to make things make sense to you. 

Other features include AI suggested templates with adjustable presets, the ability to apply edits across a batch of photos, and even one-click landscape tools for changing the sky, lighting, or atmosphere. This groundbreaking AI software earned a Red Dot Award for outstanding interface design in 2021 and has an “excellent” 4.7 out of 5 stars from customers on Trustpilot.

A lifetime license to the Luminar software on its own is a great deal at $40, but this bundle also offers 30 different landscape, black and white, and travel-based templates, plus a photography masterclass taught by Dan and Chelle — a husband and wife photographer duo with Luminar experience. You can learn all the shortcuts, tips, and tricks to enhance your editing workflow even further.

Grab the Complete Award-Winning Luminar AI Bundle for just $39.99 for a limited time.

Prices subject to change.

Photo editing screen with before and after comparison of picture of mountains and luminar logo over it
Credit: Skylum
The Complete Award-Winning Luminar AI Bundle
$39.99 at the Mashable Shop

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 1:50 pm

'Fight Club' has a different ending in China. It's not the only Hollywood film to get an edit there.

Fight Club, the 1999 David Fincher cult classic, concludes with a vastly different premise in China.

In the original film released nearly 23 years ago, spoiler alert, the Narrator (Edward Norton) kills Tyler Durden (his controlling split personality). Norton then watches as the buildings around him explode and fall to ground, an indication that the consumer debt within the credit card companies around them has been concurrently demolished.

In China, the film instead ends with the authorities swooping in, preventing the bomb from exploding, and arresting all the anti-establishment figures involved.

On Chinese streaming site Tencent Video (via film critic Courtney Howard, who posted a screenshot on Twitter on Monday), the original ending's visuals are decidedly cut. Instead, the film cuts to a black screen with the words: "Through the clue provided by Tyler, the police rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested all criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding. After the trial, Tyler was sent to lunatic asylum receiving psychological treatment. He was discharged from the hospital in 2012."

Tweet may have been deleted

Essentially, the film is rewritten. That ending also mitigates the big reveal that Tyler isn't real at all, and rather, is a mental projection by the Narrator.

According to Vice, the revised film was approved by the government for distribution after being edited by the copyright owner. The publisher also noted that Fight Club's Chinese publisher, Pacific Audio & Video Co., is connected to the state-owned television network Guangdong TV.

The original Fight Club was released at a time when Brad Pitt was banned from entering China, after appearing in Seven Years in Tibet, a movie set between 1944 and 1951 that portrayed an Austrian explorer Heinrich Harrer, including his relationship with the Dalai Lama. The film was set amid the Chinese invasion of Tibet, with an allegedly negative portrayal of the Chinese military.

This isn't the first time a major production has been edited or censored in China. Films that are considered as potentially "endangering national security", "harming national dignity", or "disturbing social order" are regulated. These principles fall under the Film Industry Promotion Law, passed by China's National People's Congress in 2016: a formalized list of policies for film regulation. The goal of this law and the resulting censorship is to prevent any stories that are a threat to Beijing's sense of nationalism.

This philosophy has seeped into Hong Kong's film industry, where, in 2021, the government announced it would block the distribution of films that, according to the New York Times, "are deemed to undermine national security, marking the official arrival of mainland Chinese-style censorship in one of Asia's most celebrated filmmaking hubs."

Fight Club may be the most recent to get an edit in China, but here are other notable works that have been given different narratives and substantial censorship in the country.

Iron Man 3

Robert Downey Jr. sitting beside his Iron Man suit in "Iron Man 3".
Credit: Marvel / Paramount / Kobal / Shutterstock

Marvel's 2013 blockbuster Iron Man 3 underwent an extensive cut, tailor-made for Chinese audiences. Much of the movie, created in partnership with China's DMG Entertainment, was filmed in Beijing, but the version released in China featured special bonus footage. Most notably, a scene was spliced into this rendition, in which a Chinese doctor is shown saving Iron Man's life.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury on stage in "Bohemian Rhapsody."
Credit: 20th Century Fox / Moviestore / Shutterstock

The Freddie Mercury biopic released in 2019 was shown in China, but devoid of any scenes that referenced the singer's sexuality and AIDS diagnosis. Two scenes of men kissing were removed from the film, as well as any inclusion of the word "gay".

Lord of War

Nicolas Cage in an office with guns in "Lord of War."
Credit: Lions Gate / Kobal / Shutterstock

Another film, another totally different ending. Lord of War, the 2005 Nicolas Cage-starring crime drama sees the titular character playing an illegal arms dealer. At the end of the film (spoiler alert, albeit 17 year later) sees Cage sideskipping any jail time and continuing his dealing. The conclusion also informs audiences that the five permanent members of the U.N. security council are the largest global arms dealers, which includes China. The film's Tencent Video version has a replacement caption once again, explaining that Cage confessed of all his crimes and "was sentenced to life imprisonment in the end."

Alien: Covenant

Michael Fassbender looking at a sample using tweezers in "Alien: Covenant"
Credit: Twentieth Century Fox / Kobal / Shutterstock

Six minutes of Alien: Covenant (2017) were cut in China, including a gay kiss between two androids and scene of violence. Many of the cuts also included footage of humans being attacked by aliens. The censorship was lamented by Chinese viewers, who condemned the awkward and abrupt result.

The Simpsons

Season 16, episode 12 of The Simpsons shows the famous Springfield family visiting Tiananmen Square. Not on Hong Kong's Disney+ platform though, where viewers last year noticed that episode was completely missing. Tiananmen Square, Beijing, is known as the location for the 1989 student-led, pro-democracy protests and massacre, the details of which are tightly controlled online by the Chinese government. In The Simpsons episode, a sign is shown at the locale, reading "On this site, in 1989, nothing happened."

Related Video: The absolute best old movies to watch on HBO Max

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 12:43 pm

Trevor Noah unpacks Biden's 'hot mic' moment with Fox News reporter

It's the hottest mic topic of the week.

On Monday, during a press conference in the East Room of the White House, President Joe Biden handed it to Fox News' Peter Doocy. Calling out a question at the end of proceedings, the reporter asked the president, "Do you think inflation is a political liability in the midterms?"

"It's a great asset, more inflation," Biden replied into the live microphone, in a moment that could have been to himself or to the reporter, it's unclear. "What a stupid son of a bitch."

The so-called hot mic moment, livestreamed across the globe, was unpacked by The Daily Show's Trevor Noah on Tuesday, who straight-up had a gleeful time with the subject.

"You see, this is what happens when you've been on Zoom calls for two years. You forget that real life doesn't have a mute button. Son of a bitch. Was that out loud? Sorry," he said.

Noah went on to note that there's been debate over whether it was indeed a hot mic. "People are asking if Biden even knew that the microphone was on but guys, please, come on. He's sitting there talking into a giant microphone, so there's at least a 50/50 chance he knew it was there."

The host also highlighted the, uh, nature of the question itself. "A lot of people online are dunking on the reporter saying that he deserved this because he's just some Fox News guy asking a dumb question. And they're right. 'Do you think inflation is a political liability' is a very stupid question. What's Biden's supposed to say? 'No, I think people like spending more money to buy the same shit.'"

Want more?

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 10:58 am

Stephen Colbert breaks out his best Biden impression, jokes about that 'hot mic' moment

Biden has been up to his old tricks again. Ever a politician who doesn't mind getting into sweary clashes with members of a crowd, on Monday he was heard on a press conference mic calling Fox News reporter Peter Doocy a "stupid son of a bitch," following a question the man asked about inflation.

The incident led to numerous headlines and an apology from Biden. But on the plus side, it also provided a lot of material for the late night hosts. Stephen Colbert in particular was quick to throw on his old Biden aviators and return to one of his favourite impressions.

"That's right, old Joey's back," grins the host in the clip above. "I've reached peak old man, giving zero malarkeys."

"It's never appropriate for the President of the United States to have a potty mouth, but it's especially egregious to call Peter Doocy a son of a bitch," Colbert continues. "We did some fact checking and he's actually the son of Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy, so if anything he's a son of a deuce. A real deuce-bag, if you will."

Want more?

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 10:56 am

Save an extra 10% on all LG TVs with this handy voucher code

SAVE 10%: LG's latest OLED range provides a seriously immersive cinema experience in the comfort of your own home. Until Feb. 1, shoppers can save an extra 10% on LG TVs with the code LG10.

There's nothing quite like the cinema experience, but these days you can come pretty close with LG. The latest range of OLED TVs provide a truly immersive cinema experience that feels like the real thing. You'll need to sort out your own snacks and drinks, but we're sure you can manage that.

There's so much to like about this range of LG OLED TVs. They're enhanced by Dolby Vision IQ and Dolby Atmos, with a thin and light frame that merges seamlessly into any room of your home. The flicker-free technology and certified low blue light levels result is less fatigue for your eyes, and the smooth image quality is perfect for sports or gaming.

If you're looking for a perfect partner for your next-gen console, LG's OLED range should be something to consider. These devices provide a competitive edge with HDMI 2.1 and an impressive 1ms response time. The difference between gaming success and failure can be small, so why not give yourself every possible advantage?

There are a lot of LG OLED TVs to consider, so we've lined up a selection of standout options to get you started. Until Feb.1, you can save an extra 10% on all these models (and more) with the code LG10:

LG C1 48-inch 4K Smart OLED TV

This powerful model offers infinite contrast and 100% colour fidelity, with the advanced α9 Gen4 AI processor 4K for upgraded picture and sound quality. It's a great option for movie night or big gaming sessions.

LG B1 65-inch 4K Smart OLED TV

This stunning set is a stellar choice for gamers everywhere, with HDMI 2.1, VRR, HFR, and Game Optimiser technology ensuring responsiveness when you need it most.

LG G1 77-inch 4K Smart OLED TV

The LG G1 offers true brilliance in clarity of content, with an ultra slim gallery design and built-in flush fit wall mount. This makes this set a standout option for massive movie nights with family and friends.

LG A1 65-inch 4K Smart OLED TV

Looking for something that offers uncompromised picture quality at any viewing angle? This is the TV for you. With Dolby Vision IQ and Dolby Atmos, this model can keep up with sports, gaming, and every movie night.

It's worth spending some time checking out everything on offer from LG, because the range of options is massive. There really is something for everyone. You just need to find your match.

LG logo
Credit: LG
Save an extra 10% with code LG10

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 9:00 am

This stacked computer science certification bundle is on sale for under £30

TL;DR: The 2022 All-in-One Computer Science Certification Bundle is on sale for £25.85, saving you 98% on list price.

If you're interested in learning computer science, but you never knew where (or when) to start, you're in luck! The new year is the perfect time to reflect on how you want to spend your time. In honour of this transition, you can score a comprehensive e-learning bundle that contains over 100 hours of content on how to learn Python, Java, and more. 

With the 2022 All-in-One Computer Science Certification Bundle, you'll gain lifetime access to 11 courses and over 1,000 lessons that cover what you need to know to be successful in the industry in the new year. The best part is that it's just £25; there's no coupon necessary to score this deal as the savings are automatically applied.

One piece of wisdom for new coders is to learn a simple, popular language, which you can do by taking the Complete Java Developer Course. This can guide beginners with no coding experience toward true mastery of the language. From there, you can progress to more complicated courses that include C++ tutorials, the basics of Ruby on Rails, and much more. You'll even complete hands-on projects to create your own applications as you move through the lessons.

Each course is taught by instructors like Tony Staunton, who boasts an impressive 4.2 out of five-star instructor rating. Staunton has taught over 20,000 how to code and create better within computer science systems. Staunton even created and ran his own software business, so he knows what employers look for and what skills you have to have to make it in the industry.

Normally, each course in the 2022 All-in-One Computer Science Certification Bundle retails for £200 individually. But for a limited time, you can get all 11 courses in the collection for just £25.85 as part of this New Year, New You Sale — no coupon necessary.

Computer science graphic
Credit: Loonycorn
2022 All-in-One Computer Science Certification Bundle
£25.85 at the Mashable Shop

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 5:05 am

Get a year of live and on-demand yoga classes for under £50

TL;DR: A one-year subscription to YogaWorks On-Demand is on sale for £43.59, saving you 75% on list price.

The season of giving is good for your soul. But it can also lead to unnecessary stress and tension if you don't take care of yourself. Unwind in 2022 by starting a yoga practice. This YogaWorks live and on-demand subscription deal can help you get into a groove — and for a limited time, it’s over $400 off.

A one-year subscription to YogaWorks is typically £180, but you can sign up for just £43.59.

YogaWorks brings over 30 years of yoga teaching experience into your living room (or office, bedroom, sunroom, front porch, garden, or wherever else you wish). You can enjoy some of the most popular styles of yoga — including Vinyasa, Yin, Iyengar, pilates, and more — taught by some of the top teachers around.

There are over 1,300 on-demand yoga classes you can choose from and practice on your own schedule. But if you need live feedback and instructions to truly understand, you’ll want to stream some of the live classes. There are over 25 live-stream yoga classes available each day, and you can enjoy convenient and effective two-way communication from the teachers during these classes.

As you get into a groove that works for you, you can create playlists of your favourite classes, or take part in the journey series to help you set and achieve your goals. The journey series is particularly helpful for those diving into yoga as their resolution for the new year. YogaWorks keeps you focused on your practice for the entire year. 

Don’t let the holiday stress get to you — shift your focus to self-care with the YogaWorks All-Access Live and On-Demand Plan, on sale for just £43.59 for a full year. That’s about 75% off its usual cost.

Two people looking at phone
Credit: YogaWorks
YogaWorks On-Demand (1-Year Subscription)
£43.59 at the Mashable Shop

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 5:00 am

'Shared with You' on iPhone organizes all of your shared content so you don't have to

One of your iMessage groups shared a link to a really interesting article. You vowed to read it, but you got distracted and forgot.

Suddenly it's on your mind again, but you can't remember where it is in your group text. You could scroll through the avalanche of new messages, or you could take the easy route and use Shared with You.

SEE ALSO: SharePlay lets you watch TikToks with your friends at the same time. Here's how.

Along with several other handy features that launched with iOS 15, Shared with You aims to make your life a little more organized. It works by gathering all of the photos, videos, content, and links that have been shared with you through iMessage and compiles them into their own section on each corresponding Apple app. For example, photos shared with you can be found in the Photos app, links in Safari, etc.

image of Shared with You section on iPhone
There's a Shared with You section each of the corresponding apps. Credit: Apple

Shared with You also supports the Music, Apple TV, News, Photos, Podcasts, and Safari apps. Here's how to find that section within each app.

How to comment/pin content in Shared with You

The link or media in the "Shared with You" section of the corresponding app is tagged with the person who sent it to you in iMessage. So once you've found it, you can interact with the person directly in the app.

To do this, tap the label ("From Jane Doe") which will open up the iMessage conversation to the moment in the timeline when they shared it.

From here, you can reply to the shared link/media. If you tap and hold down the content, you can pin it within the message thread or add a reaction.

Screenshot of commenting on link via Shared with You feature
Credit: Apple
Screenshot of pinning/reacting on link via Shared with You feature
Credit: Apple

How to turn off Shared with You

There might be certain conversations that you don't want showing up in Shared with You. To change this setting, go to the message that you want to remove from the feature and tap their name at the top. This will take you to their contact info page. In this section you'll see a "Show in Shared with You" toggle. Turn off that toggle and tap "Done."

Screenshot of contact showing turn on/off Shared with You feature
Customize from whom shared content shows up. Credit: Apple

To turn off Shared with You for an entire app, go to "Settings" > "Messages" then open "Shared with You." Here you can toggle on/off the feature for specific apps.

Screenshot of sharing options for Shared with You feature in Messages
Turn on/off from which apps shared content shows up. Credit: Apple

How to remove content from Shared with You

If you want to remove specific links/media, simply tap and hold the thumbnail, then tap "Remove."

Screenshot of removing a podcast from Shared with You section
Tap and hold to remove content from the "Shared with You" section. Credit: Apple

Posted on 26 January 2022 | 3:00 am

The next Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event will stream on Feb. 9

Last week, Samsung announced it would be announcing some new phones soon. Now, we know when.

Samsung confirmed in a blog post that the next edition of Galaxy Unpacked, its flagship product reveal event series, will take place on Feb. 9 at 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT. You’ll be able to watch the stream live on Samsung’s website and, if it’s anything like previous Unpacked streams, on the company’s YouTube channel.

While Samsung obviously won’t say what’s being shown off at Unpacked before it actually starts, we’re confident the stars of the show will be the new Galaxy S22 series of phones, which would include at least a base S22 and the S22 Ultra. There won’t be a new Galaxy Note this year (or presumably ever again), but renders of the S22 Ultra on MySmartPrice indicate that it’ll bring over some Note-esque features like a boxy look and a cradle for the S Pen stylus. The Ultra will also be appropriately beefy, with a 6.8-inch display and a quad-camera setup on the back.

Another leak, spotted by PocketNow, suggested we’ll see the Galaxy Tab S8, S8 Plus, and S8 Ultra tablets at Galaxy Unpacked. These will come in sizes of 11 inches, 12.4 inches, and 14.6 inches, respectively, and each model will be available with both 5G cellular support and in WiFi-only models. 

We’ll just have to sit here and twiddle our thumbs until Feb. 9 to find out if there are any additional surprises in store. At least a couple of these devices will cost more than $1,000, so you better start hunting for loose change beneath the couch cushions now.

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 11:00 pm

The best pillows for a good night's sleep after a doomscrolling session


Getting more sleep may be one of your top 2022 resolutions, but achieving a good night’s sleep may be a little bit harder than you'd think. Busy schedules, frequent stress, and bad rest environments can be culprits for sleep troubles. Poor sleep is a common issue, too. According to the American Sleep Association, 50 to 70 million U.S. adults have a sleep disorder.

Plus, spending all day with your neck bent over your phone as you doomscroll through Twitter can take a serious toll on your general comfort level (and mental health). At the end of the day, you want a nice, comfortable pillow to ease that "tech neck." If your pillows aren't upping your comfort or helping you get a good night's sleep, it might be time for an upgrade.

SEE ALSO: Get a better (and comfier) night's sleep with a cooling pillow

Some pillows have some not-so-basic features, including hypoallergenic materials, anti-wicking fabrics, and memory foam technologies for head, neck, and shoulder support. (Gone are the days of a simple feather pillow or down pillow as your only choice — and that's a good thing.) But with so many options, it can be hard to find the right fit. Before you buy a pillow, there are a few things you might want to consider.

Bed size

Whether you have a twin, full, queen, or king sleeping arrangement, make sure a pillow complements the size of your bed. You don’t want a pillow that will get lost in a mountain of sheets or take up too much space. Most pillows come in multiple sizes, so check size compatibility first before you make a decision.

Sleeping position

Are you more of a back, side, or stomach sleeper? Keep your sleep style in mind when you’re looking for a pillow. Some pillows vary when it comes to firmness, so you want to be comfortable and pain-free while you rest.

Body support

If you have head, neck, shoulder, or back pain, you’ll want to opt for a pillow that will provide ample support and alleviate pressure. Steer clear of pillows that are too soft, because they could cause more aches. You might want to speak with a physician before choosing a pillow if you have serious pain.

Pillow materials

Bamboo-derived rayon, memory foam, and down are common materials that you’ll find in pillows. If you’re considering a particular brand, check to see if their products have hypoallergenic features. If your pillow resists common allergens, including dust mites and mold, you’ll most likely have an easier time breathing and sleeping in your room. Plus, some pillows are made with sustainable materials, so that’s a plus for your wellness and the environment.


Pillows are supposed to be convenient solutions for sleep troubles. If a pillow isn’t easy to clean, skip it and look at your other options. You’ll want to opt for a pillow that’s spot-cleanable or laundry-friendly for stress-free maintenance. It also helps to find a pillow with a good warranty policy or guarantee policy, however not all brands offer them.

Pillow type

Do you like the firmness you get from memory foam? Or do you want something squishy with a lot of give? There are also options for something in between, like shredded memory foam, not to mention high-tech gels and alternative pillow filler options, like bamboo.

Whether you sleep on your back, on your side, or on your stomach, there’s a pillow out there to help you sleep better. Here are our top picks.

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 9:52 pm

Divers discovered a pristine coral reef deep below the ocean surface — Future Blink

Unesco divers found a coral reef 30 meters below the water's surface off the coast of Tahiti that avoided damaging bleaching events that harmed nearby reefs.

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 9:18 pm

Make delicious concoctions at home with an Omega cold press juicer on sale

Save $49.86: Take your breakfast to the next level with the Omega cold press juicer, which is back at its lowest price to date ($280.09) at Amazon. As of Jan. 25, save 15%.

Want to start your weekdays with a delicious glass of homemade cold-pressed juice? Get more juice for your buck with the Omega masticating cold press juicer, which is on sale for $280.09 at Amazon.

This Omega pick, which was released in 2021, is a juicer of the slow and masticating variety. This separates it from faster centrifugal juicers, which risk breaking down vital vitamins and nutrients due to the heat they generate. This juicer is designed to not only offer a higher yield of juice, but also to pack a better nutritional punch.

It also packs plenty of power for more than just juice. Its 200-watt motor means it can make sauces, baby food, and more.

Omega cold press J8006HDC juicer with carrots and carrot juice in jar
Credit: Omega
Omega cold press juicer
$280.09 at Amazon (save $49.86)

Explore related content:

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 8:35 pm

A look at the best massage guns for percussive therapy

Finding time for a proper workout (and adequate recovery) might just be the ultimate form of self care.

But between a job, social life, and chasing eight hours of sleep, workouts get squeezed into the day's only free time slot. A proper massage is usually the thing you most want/need, but most often skip.

Percussion massage guns make it possible for you to nurture your tissues and sore muscles without waiting for an appointment with a PT or massage therapist.

The mesmerizing skin ripples that you've probably seen in an Instagram ad are more than a weird flex: The form of portable muscle therapy that started with professional athletes has trickled down into the lives of your average gym-goer who doesn't have the time or money for foam rolling sessions on sore days.

The ability to give yourself a deep-tissue massage at home is also potentially life-changing for anyone suffering from chronic shoulder, neck, or back pain. When a cheap massage ball is too weak but weekly acupuncture is just too extra, a massage gun might be the perfect middle ground.

How do massage guns work?

Percussive therapy is the name of the game — which is essentially a more professional term for "your muscles like it rough."

Athletes turn to deep-tissue massage for quick pain relief and faster recovery times. Here, a professional masseuse delivers forceful, rapid thumps to a specific area of the body to stimulate a specific set of muscles. The percussive therapy afforded by a massage gun lets individuals perform this same type of penetrative tissue attention on themselves without extra help, and in minutes instead of an hour.

Treating something that hurts like a punching bag may seem like the last thing it needs. But beating that damaged deep tissue into submission has a desensitizing effect, and if you've ever tried a cheap As Seen On TV massager on back knots, you know it takes some oomph to feel anything. These short-duration pulses enhance blood flow, soften knots, and accelerate the repair of muscle fibers, all of which can lead to better-prepared warmups and quicker recovery times. This form of self-myofascial release is huge for folks who have a hard time keeping up with a routine due to delayed-onset muscle soreness.

Your mood might see a spike, too. The pressure point relief that massage provides has been linked to decreased levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), an increased production of endorphins (the feel-good chemical), and even a lower heart rate.

Do massage guns and foam rollers do the same thing?

Both tools focus on that aforementioned myofascial release. The foam roller pushes lactic acid out of your muscles in a gentler and slower manner than a massage gun. They can be different sizes (including small enough to knead legs or large enough for the whole back) and can be textured with spikes of sorts to better reach pressure points. The rolling can help with flexibility and even be incorporated into yoga-esque stretching sessions — an approach that some may find more relaxing than a massage gun.

But foam rollers simply aren't using the equivalent of 30 to 60 pounds of force. They're not about to replace a traditional massage session. For hardcore athletes and gym goers (or people with severe chronic pain), the sheer intensity of the vibrations is more effective on deep-sitting tissue. The swappable attachments that most massage guns come with are able to pinpoint super specific muscle groups in ways that a foam roller may not be able to.

Whether a percussive massage gun or a foam roller is better for you just depends on your pain type and how you prefer to cool down. If you like it gentle and need to *easily* roll out some kinks (especially in the neck or back), go foam roller. If your body is begging for some serious, deep targeted relief after working your muscles to the death on a daily basis, go massage gun.

But remember, percussive therapy isn't a fix-all. A massage gun may be able to replace pricey massage appointments or heckling your gym partner to help you stretch, but nutrients from a balanced diet, sleep, and proper hydration are still crucial to the muscle growth and recovery process.

Which massage gun is the best?

Frequent workout schedules and high pain levels might make a $600 massage gun worth it — but in other cases, a less-intense device may be more beneficial. Here are some factors to consider:

Here are the best massage guns on the market in 2022:

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 8:31 pm

The best online guitar courses to get you started on your musical journey

So, you want to learn to play the guitar. Whether it's part of your 2022 New Year's resolutions or just a spur-of-the-moment decision to take up a new hobby, we're really happy you're making this choice for yourself. But, have you figured out how you're going to learn?

If you're anything like us, you'll be avoiding in-person guitar lessons. It's still pretty iffy for most of us when it comes to meeting face-to-face, and in-person lessons are already more stressful as it is. They take up a lot of time, and don't usually come with a flexible schedule. Can't make your Wednesday night lesson because you caught a stomach bug? Too bad, you're still paying for it.

Thankfully, you can avoid all of these problems by opting to do your learning online. It's true, you can learn pretty much anything online these days — cooking, woodworking, knitting, starting a business, and yes, playing guitar. Welcome to the future, baby. No human interaction needed here.

SEE ALSO: The best workout equipment for building a home gym

But, as you could have probably guessed by now, these online guitar classes take place on the internet. That means you're going to have options. Enough options that you'll probably look up one list and immediately close the tab out of overstimulation. That's where we come in.

We spent a lot of time researching the best online guitar courses and services so that you could narrow down your final choice, and we think we've found the best ones for your consideration.

Here are some of the things we looked out for when parsing the abundance of choices:


Everyone is busy in one way or another. Most of us barely have the time to pursue a passion in the first place. But, it's important that we at least try to fit something we love into our daily lives. That's self-care right there. You know the saying: All work and no play really sucks. (That's it, right?)

So, assuming that passion is learning the guitar, you'll have to map out the kind of time commitment you can (and want to) agree to. This means you'll want to take a look at each course's lesson plan and structure. Is it intuitive? Well-balanced? Messy? Stressful? Make sure it's something you can see yourself handling for the foreseeable future — the more simple it is to use the course, the less time you'll waste. Taking that into account with your personal schedule, you should be able to figure out if it'll fit into whatever you currently have going on.

You'll also want to know what kind of financial commitment you're getting yourself into. Does the course or service have a limited free trial, or do you have to sign on the dotted line immediately? If there's no trial, is there a money-back guarantee? Wasting time is bad enough, but wasting time and money is worse.

Consider your instructors

Just because your course is online doesn't mean you're not going to have an actual teacher. In fact, all the best online courses have experienced, real-life instructors that will be teaching you through comprehensive video lessons.

Although you can probably assume that most big-name guitar courses will be taught by professionals, it's never a bad idea to look into their backgrounds to see if they mesh with your goals (sometimes, the course websites will make all of this information readily available). Some programs even offer celebrity guests, which is a fun bonus.

What you'll mostly want to look for, though, is each instructor's expertise. Are they most savvy in rock? Blues? Jazz? The style of guitar you want to learn will inform who your go-to instructors will become.

Price vs. value

No matter what you're buying, the value-to-price ratio is always going to be a huge factor. It's your money, after all. Sometimes, investing in a high price point is worth it as long as you're getting equal value out of it.

When it comes to guitar courses, you'll be able to judge this on how many lessons you get for how much you're paying, how long you have access to the course, student testimonials — things like that.

It's not always an easy thing to discern and you might not find your perfect answer before trying something out, but you should always try your best to pick the one you think you'll get the most out of.

What makes the course unique?

No two courses are completely the same. Many of them have at least a few features that set them apart from the rest, and some of which might make or break the deal for you.

Look for things like live lessons, video sharing with instructors and other students, interactive tabs, what devices the programs work on, and anything else that will boost the quality of your personal experience.

Be honest about your skill level

Whether you're a total beginner who has only has experience playing the air guitar or an intermediate player that wants to freshen up on their craft, there's a course out there for you. All that's required of you is to be honest about the skills you currently have. No matter what level you're at, if you try to punch too high above your weight class, you're going to struggle, which can end up leading to you putting down the axe for good.

So, don't throw yourself into the deep end when you don't have to. Find a course that will cater to what you have or haven't learned, and start from there.

How to choose the best course for you

There are a few bases you'll want to cover before you finally choose your guitar course, aside from what we recommend to you.

We mentioned skill level already, but it's important that you're honest with yourself about what you already know and how much you have to learn. Don't feel shy about calling yourself a beginner, because there's literally no shame in that (every music legend starts somewhere).

Furthermore, you'll want to take stock of what you even want to learn. Do you want to learn how to solo? How to write music? How to play covers of famous tracks? All of the above? It's an important question to answer, because some courses are suited better for certain goals. You'll probably also want to nail down what genre of music interests you the most (although learning the basics of each one is a great way to progress).

Other obvious things you want to iron out are your budget, the amount of time you want to commit to learning the instrument, what kind of devices you have, and your personal learning style. It's even better to be in tune with what type of feedback resonates with you most. Maybe you want to hear from your teacher often and receive honest, constructive criticism. Maybe you want to avoid any sort of communication with a human and keep your newfound passion for music on the D.L. until you can prove your proficiency to the masses.

Here are six online guitar courses that we think are actually worth your time and money. Just promise us you won't become that person who breaks out Wonderwall unsolicited at parties, okay?

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 8:20 pm

Jimmy Fallon and Paris Hilton pumping their NFTs is beyond cringe

Jimmy Fallon has never exactly been a trendsetter. But a Monday episode of The Tonight Show makes clear just how disconnected from reality the celebrity host truly is.

In a clip shared by the official Tonight Show Twitter account, Fallon and his guest Paris Hilton awkwardly show off the cartoon apes associated with their Bored Ape Yacht Club non-fungible tokens. It's beyond cringe, and the audience's scattered applause feels like an act of kindness.

"We're part of the same community," he says to an affectless Hilton. "We're both Apes."

Tweet may have been deleted

And indeed, Paris Hilton and Jimmy Fallon are both part of the same community: that of extremely wealth. Fallon's net worth is estimated to be around $60 million, and Hilton's is around $300 million.

SEE ALSO: NFT owners insist they're totally not owned by 'right-click savers'

By showing off their Bored Ape NFTs on national television, the two celebrities were essentially pumping their crypto assets under the guise of "community."

The transparent shilling wasn't received well.

Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted

The public's general skepticism didn't stop Fallon from tweeting the cryptocurrency in-group hashtag #WAGMI, which stands for "we are going to make it" or "we're all gonna make it."

And when it comes to riches, of course, Fallon already made it. Self-awareness, unfortunately for the host, still can't be bought on the blockchain.

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 8:03 pm

Trump family threatens legal action against cryptocurrency TrumpCoin

Have you heard of the cryptocurrency TrumpCoin?


Apparently, neither had Donald Trump and his family…that is, until yesterday.

Tweet may have been deleted

"Fraud Alert: It has come to our attention that someone is promoting a crypto currency called 'TrumpCoin' (Symbol 'TRUMP')," tweeted the former president's son Eric Trump. "This has NOTHING to do with our family, we do not authorize the use and we are in no way affiliated with this group."

"Legal action will be taken," he said.

TrumpCoin is an alternative cryptocurrency, which is also commonly referred to as an altcoin or memecoin. These types of cryptocurrencies are often connected to a theme — in this case, Donald Trump — and have no real utility. 

Yet, people invest in memecoins believing that this memecoin will be the one to take off and make them rich. They're sort of like those physical "collectable" gold bullion Trump Coins you see sold in TV infomercials. (Note: TrumpCoin is not affiliated with those bullion coins, either.)

It appears to have taken Eric Trump and the rest of the family quite a while to discover TrumpCoin. According to the cryptocurrency's website, TrumpCoin launched in February 2016 during the campaign season, well before Donald Trump was elected in November of that year.

CoinMarketCap, a crypto listing source, has trading data for TrumpCoin going back to March 2016. According to this data, there are around 6.6 million coins currently circulating with a market cap of $1.8 million. 

In an immediate response to Eric Trump's tweet, the official Twitter account for the unauthorized TrumpCoin retweeted another user pointing out that the memecoin's website does point out that it's completely unaffiliated with Trump, his family, and organizations.

Tweet may have been deleted

This morning, the TrumpCoin Twitter account released a statement saying it was "currently in direct communication" with Eric Trump.

TrumpCoin isn't the first Trump-inspired cryptocurrency to make headlines.

Last month, LGBCoin was thrust into the spotlight after NASCAR turned down a sponsorship deal it had offered driver Brandon Brown. LGBCoin is a cryptocurrency based on Trump supporters' new favorite catchphrase "Let's Go Brandon," a euphemism for "Fuck Joe Biden."

It's unclear what the future holds for TrumpCoin as it relates to Eric Trump's legal threat. But if there's one thing we know about Donald Trump, if a deal can be made that's prosperous for Trump, perhaps TrumpCoin will live on…that is, until its holders dump it.

Related Video: How to buy, use, and spend Bitcoin

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 7:45 pm

Photos from daily life at HBCUs show moments of joy and activism

Historically Black Colleges and Universities, known as HBCUs, have a storied place in American society, acting as central organizing spaces, cultural bulwarks, and institutions for the education of Black communities before desegregation. These schools still serve a vital role today, but their rich histories — from successful sports teams to homes for national heroes — aren't as widely publicized.

A recent initiative from Getty Images is supporting efforts to preserve visual stories and histories from HBCUs. The following images were digitized as part of the Getty Images Photo Archive Grant for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), in partnership with the Getty Family and the philanthropic network Stand Together. The program awards a $500,000 grant to digitize up to 200,000 archival photos supplied by colleges and universities.

On Tuesday, the first batch of images from this year's four recipients was released. "The Getty Images Photo Archive Grants for HBCUs were created to honor the vast history of HBCUs and their contribution to American history,” said Cassandra Illidge, vice president of partnerships at Getty Images, in a Tuesday press release.

First announced in August 2021, the recipients of this year's grant include Claflin University, Jackson State University, North Carolina Central University, and Prairie View A&M University. According to Getty Images, each HBCU will retain all copyrights for digitized photos, and any revenue will be funneled back into HBCU impact programs, including scholarship funds.

The first batch of images, which will be updated as images continue to be restored, include the campus homecoming queens of Jackson State University, images of student unrest following on-campus police brutality, and even community images from the surrounding town at Prairie View A&M University. Students go about their days in chemistry and domestic arts courses, while basketball players win championships and agricultural clubs take home ribbons for prized livestock. The images show the joy, tragedy, and day-to-day life of HBCU students and their communities.

Check out some of the historic images from the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Collection below, ahead of February's Black History Month.

A young woman wearing headphones stands behind a young man, seated at a desk.
Students participate in a class at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Credit: Claflin University / Historically Black Colleges and Universities via Getty Images
A group of five majorettes stand on school bleachers, posing for a photo with batons in their hands.
The Claflin University majorettes pose for a picture. Credit: Claflin University / Historically Black Colleges and Universities via Getty Images
A man squats down on a basketball court as a group of college players in red uniforms surround him.
Basketball coach Greg Jackson hypes up the university team during tournament finals Credit: North Carolina Central University / Historically Black Colleges and Universities via Getty Images
A young woman leans over a table with chemistry equipment, as a teacher and her classmates watch her.
Students participate in a chemistry course, circa the 1960's. Credit: Claflin University / Historically Black Colleges and Universities via Getty Images
An older man holds a tray with plant samples out to a group of young children.
Members of the agricultural club, 4-H, participate in a wildlife conservation course, led by state leader Dr. E.B. Evans. Credit: Prairie View A&M University / Historically Black Colleges and Universities via Getty Images
A woman marches with a group while holding a sign that reads, "Freedom." Another sign behind her reads, "Down with segregation."
Students and community members of Claflin University protest segregation. Credit: Claflin University / Historically Black Colleges and Universities via Getty Images
A row of women stand in protest, while one holds a sign that reads, "Human dignity."
Coretta Scott King attends a march for hospital workers in South Carolina. Credit: Claflin University / Historically Black Colleges and Universities via Getty Images
A crowd stands outside of a college dorm building, which has bullet holes and broken windows from a police shooting.
Students congregate outside of a dorm building, where two students were killed and 15 others injured by police in 1970. Credit: Jackson State University / Historically Black Colleges and Universities via Getty Images
A group of young women stand behind multiple rows of chairs featuring their classwork.
Young women learning about domestic arts pose for a classroom picture in 1918. Credit: Prairie View A&M University / Historically Black Colleges and Universities via Getty Images
A young man leads a line of protestors down the street, in front of a large sign for a bowling alley.
Students march down the main streets in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Credit: Claflin University / Historically Black Colleges and Universities via Getty Images
Two young women sit in their dorm room, in front of a set of bunk beds.
Two girls pose in their sleeping quarters at Prairie View A&M University, circa 1918. Credit: Prairie View A&M University / Historically Black Colleges and Universities via Getty Images
A large group of students sit at desks in a university auditorium.
Students get ready for testing with their instructor keeping an eye. Credit: North Carolina Central University / Historically Black Colleges and Universities via Getty Images
A group of students sit on a lawn in chairs, painting on easels set up in the grass at Claflin University
A student art class paints on the green at Claflin University, circa the 1960s. Credit: Claflin University / Historically Black Colleges and Universities via Getty Images
A group of young women sit at desks and smile at the camera, while an older woman stands next to them reading from a book.
Dr. Ethel Williams leads a course to Claflin University students. Credit: Claflin University / Historically Black Colleges and Universities via Getty Images

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 7:09 pm

The 'Cobra Kai' composers told us where their musical Easter eggs are buried

Composers Leo Birenberg and Zach Robinson tell us how they met, how they got started as composers and where they left Easter eggs in the Cobra Kai soundtrack.

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 5:35 pm

From the road to the sky in minutes, this convertible car is now certified to fly — Future Blink

Developed by Klein Vision, the AirCar is a convertible hybrid that transforms from a car into an aircraft in just under three minutes.

Now, after about 70 hours of flight tests, the vehicle has been issued a certificate of airworthiness by the Slovak Transport Authority, effectively allowing it to fly across European Union airspace.

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 5:33 pm

For your mood music needs, the Beats Studio3 headphones are half off

SAVE 50%: The Beats Studio3 Noise-Canceling Over-Ear Headphones have stellar sound — and they're half off at Amazon as of Jan. 25. Get them for just $174.95 instead of $349.95.

Plenty of us want to minimize distractions these days, and a good pair of noise-canceling headphones can help you tune out the noise for a while. Or, you know, at least listen to podcasts without having to go back constantly.

The Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones have adaptive noise cancellation, which means that external noise is actively blocked. If you do choose to let some sound in (maybe if you overhear some particularly juicy gossip?) you can toggle into transparency mode.

These headphones have a battery life of up to 22 consecutive hours (40 without noise cancellation), and their ergonomic design ensures that you won't end up with your ears feeling squashed.

Convenient on-ear controls mean you can take calls, control audio, and activate Siri with ease. All these features, paired with high performance in the most important one — audio quality — make these headphones a solid choice.

Their only downside is that you'll miss out on conversational gems like the ones featured in @overheardnewyork, but on the bright side, your music or podcast of choice is probably better to listen to than someone's dating woes.

Black over-ear headphones
Credit: Beats
Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise-Canceling Over-Ear Headphones
$174.95 at Amazon (save 50%)

Explore related content:

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 5:33 pm

Apple's M1 MacBook Air is $150 off, thanks to this Amazon coupon

SAVE $149.01: Amazon has the gold and silver configurations of the 256GB M1 MacBook Air (late 2020) listed for just $849.99 as of Jan. 25. They typically retail for $999, so this deal is saving you a solid 15%.

Word on the street is that a new MacBook Air will be one of the stars of Apple's 2022 roadmap — exciting news given the fact that the lightweight, portable laptop was last updated at the tail end of 2020.

We don't know much about this upcoming revamp aside from the fact that it's probably coming sometime this fall (barring any silly little supply chain snafus). But anyone who's in need of a laptop upgrade may not want to wait 'til then: As of Jan. 25, you could get the 256GB configuration of the current model on sale through Amazon in gold or silver for just $849.99.

Note the extra savings coupon the site applies at checkout (see below), which nets you a total of $149.01 off the device's usual retail price of $999.

a screenshot of the m1 macbook air's amazon product page with a red box around its coupon
Credit: Screenshot via Amazon

Fun fact: This is an exact match of the gold one's best-ever Black Friday discount and the second-lowest price we've ever seen for the silver model; it randomly hit $799 back in early November.

Still hanging onto an older Apple machine with an Intel processor? This laptop offers easy entry to the M1 generation at an extremely reasonable price point (unlike the new MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro chip, for example). Though nothing revolutionary, its standard M1 chip, long battery life, fanless design, and iOS app support make it an excellent choice for anyone who's already knee-deep in the Apple ecosystem, and wound up being enough to nab it a coveted Mashable's Choice Award upon release. (Click here to read former tech reporter Brenda Stolyar's full review.)

a gold macbook air
Credit: Apple
Apple MacBook Air, 2020 (M1, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)
$849.99 at Amazon (save $149.01)

Explore related content:

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 5:19 pm

The best Apple deals as of Jan. 25: iPad, MacBook, Apple Watch, and more

UPDATE: Jan. 25, 2022, 11:50 a.m. EST Apple Watches and iPads in even more colors have gone on sale. Check them out, along with other deals from across the Apple universe.

You could really kill some time trying to dissect the iron grasp Apple has on the general population, but when it comes down to it, its products look good, work well, and stay cutting-edge — of course people like them. Whether your favorite day of the year is its annual September reveal event or you just want a solid computer no matter the brand, Apple's got you covered. Sure, it is a little notorious for its higher prices, but we've rounded up the best deals on iPads, AirPods, and more to help you out. Check them out below.

Mac and MacBook deals

space gray macbook air
Credit: Apple
Our pick: 2020 MacBook Pro (M1, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)
$1,149.99 at Amazon (save $149.01)

Why we like it

Check out Mashable's official review of the 2020 MacBook Pro.

Whether you're a student, video editor, or simply a person in need of a laptop, the MacBook Pro is a great all-around pick. With its M1 chip, 13-inch Retina display, and a battery capable of powering you through the day, you'll get why this laptop is a solid machine for many different kinds of users. While the storage could be better, with the money you save from this deal, you could always invest in an external hard drive or cloud storage plan for some extra space.

More Mac and MacBook deals

2020 MacBook Pro, 13-inch

2020 MacBook Pro, 16-inch

2020 MacBook Air, 13-inch

More Macs

Refurbished Macs and MacBooks

iPad deals

green ipad air
Credit: Apple
Our pick: 2021 iPad Air (WiFi, 64GB)
$539 at Walmart (save $60)

Why we like it

The latest iPad Air has a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, an A14 Bionic chip for speedy processing, 10 hours of battery life, and is one of our favorite tablets. And with all that, it still holds true to its name by being super lightweight. Though last week only the green model was in stock, at the time of writing, you should be able to grab most shades of this sleek tablet on sale.

More iPad deals

iPhone deals

starlight iphone 13 mini
Credit: Apple
Our pick: iPhone 13 Mini at Verizon
$0 with select trade-ins or BOGO with any unlimited plan

Why we like it

Check out Mashable's official review of the iPhone 13 Mini.

If you're picking up some new phones for more than one person this holiday, it'll be difficult to find a better deal than this buy one, get one on the iPhone 13 Mini at Verizon. Though this model looks quite similar to its predecessor, its starting storage of 128GB and improved battery life definitely justify the upgrade.

More iPhone deals

Apple Watch deals

green apple watch
Credit: Apple
Our pick: Apple Watch Series 7
$349 at Amazon (save $50)

Why we like it

The price of Apple's latest smartwatch keeps going up and down. This week it's $10 up from its record low price of last week, but more colors are available on sale — you can snag it for $50 off in green, midnight, or starlight. With its larger watch face, increased support for biking workouts, better durability, and these savings, you might not mind that you miss out on the full extent of its of color selections.

More Apple Watch deals

Series 7


Series 3


Apple accessories deals

second gen airpods
Credit: Apple
Our pick: AirPods (second-gen)
$99.99 at Amazon (save $59.01)

Why we like it

Check out Mashable's official review of the second-generation AirPods.

The latest AirPods did not deliver on active noise cancellation, yet still come at a higher price. This slightly older generation comes with an H1 chip for easy pairing, a nice long battery life, and as of the time of writing, a price tag just $10 above their lowest price ever. All that and they were a Mashable Choice pick back in their day.

More Apple accessories deals

Explore related content:

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 4:52 pm

Netflix's new social channel champions stories of the Asian diaspora

On Tuesday, Netflix launched a new social media channel to celebrate and champion the pan-Asian diaspora: Netflix Golden. The introductory video for the channel features too many major — and talented — stars of Asian descent to name, but amongst the lineup is Freida Pinto, Ken Jeong, and Tan France.

"We are billions of people from dozens of countries with hundreds of languages and probably a trillion different ways to ferment vegetables," say multiple stars in the clip.

The initiative is the latest in a string of audience-focused channels that Netflix has created, including Strong Black Lead, Most, and Netflix Is a Joke.

The YouTube promotion, directed by Shruti Ganguly, has been launched in tandem with individual Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok accounts dedicated to Netflix Golden. The channels will also feature Netflix's existing interview series Spill the Boba Tea (hosted by Philip Wang, co-founder of Bopomofo Café). The first episode to appear on Netflix Golden will feature Emily in Paris star Ashley Park and will debut on Jan. 27.

According to Netflix, the choice to use "golden" in the title of the new channel stems from the phrase: "Real gold will always shine." It's time to let Asian stories, talent, and artistry shine, the company says.

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 4:43 pm

Thanks to popular demand, this futuristic eVTOL is finally taking off — Future Blink

This long-awaited eVOTL from Bellwether Industries finally has test flight footage to back up excitement from two-seater design fans.

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 4:41 pm

Hey, sports fans: This 65-inch LG NanoCell TV is on sale for $700 and comes with a month of fuboTV

Save $250: As of Jan. 25, the 65-inch LG NanoCell 75 4K TV is only $699.99 at Best Buy — a 27% discount. You'll get 30 free days of fuboTV with your purchase.

The 2022 calendar's collision of two major TV sporting events — the big winter games and oh, IDK, that one football event — means that right now is prime time to upgrade your TV. If you plan to watch, you'll also want access to a live streaming app.

At Best Buy, you can snag the 65-inch version of LG's NanoCell 75 4K TV for $699.99 (a $250 discount) and score 30 free days of fuboTV with your purchase (typically $64.99 for one month). New customers only.

Purchasing in January guarantees that your trial window covers a certain global sporting event (which runs from Feb. 4 through Feb. 20) and the remaining NFL games (including The Big One on Feb. 13). FuboTV offers over 100 channels total.

NanoCell viewing quality sits between that of regular 4K and QLED/OLED. Its claim to fame is an extra light filter that pushes colors to their full potential while removing many inaccurate hue impurities. LG's Quad Core Processor 4K actively adjusts to create a smooth viewing experience with heightened details over an older 1080p TV — a plus if your current TV struggles to clearly reflect on-screen text or the location of the football. Plus, the NanoCell 75 sees the same stellar viewing angles as the slightly pricier NanoCell 80.

In particular, Best Buy reviewers appreciate the on-screen prompts that make setup a breeze, as well as the TV's seamless syncing with existing LG soundbars.

LG NanoCell TV with orange, red, and pink design on screen
Credit: LG
LG 65-inch NanoCell 75 4K TV
Save $250 at Best Buy

Explore related content:

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 4:35 pm

The best EVs for all different types of drivers

The search for the best electric vehicle is highly subjective. While obsessed Tesla fanatics can't fathom buying anything other than a Tesla, there is a wide selection whether you need something rugged, cheap, or quick-charging.

With over 370 electric car models available globally, you have plenty of choice whether it's an electric Ford, Chevy, or, to please the Tesla fanboys, a Tesla. Even more models are on the way (Ford's F-150 Lightning electric pickup will be here soon), but for now there are plenty of options no matter what type of driver you are.

This list of EVs only includes pure, 100-percent battery-powered options, even though more affordable hybrid electric options are out there. But it's also about the long-term costs of going electric, as Kiran Bhatraju, CEO of energy tech company Arcadia, said in a recent call in which he discussed the overall EV market.

"Ongoing cost is significantly less than with a traditional vehicle," Bhatraju said. "Car ownership has always been about the cost of the car. Not the fuel, insurance, and maintenance." But all those costs down the line are lowered with an electric ride even if the upfront cost can feel so much higher.

Here are some of the best electric options for the full spectrum of EV drivers out there:

Best EV for someone on a budget: Nissan Leaf

Price: $27,400 to $32,400

Range: 150 to 230 miles

A car on its profile view facing left.
The OG EV. Credit: Nissan

Takeaway: Your best bang for your buck goes to the EV with reasonable range, a manageable sticker price, and tax credit eligibility. Unlike Tesla and General Motors, Nissan still qualifies for $7,500 off in federal credits. The Nissan Leaf is one of the first EVs to hit the market and it's still going strong with a $27,400 base price (but only 150-mile range). The Leaf Plus gets you closer to 230 miles of range, but for $32,400.

Best EV for a first-time owner: Kia Niro

Price: $39,990

Range: 239 miles

A white car facing forward.
How approachable. Credit: Kia

Takeaway: The Kia Niro EV offers a similar size, range, and price (especially since Kia still qualifies for the federal tax credit) as the Chevy Bolt EV, which until its battery fire risk and ongoing recall in 2021 was the go-to EV for new drivers.

The Niro starts at $39,990 with a 239-mile battery range and is only a few inches longer than the Bolt, but just as wide and a touch shorter. When in the driver's seat it's easy to understand where your power is coming from, when to charge up, and when you are generating energy while braking or going down hill.

Best EV for a commuter: Tesla Model 3

Price: $44,990

Range: 358 miles

Red, white, and blue Teslas parked in a garage.
A solid ride. Credit: Autonomy

Takeaway: You can get all the Tesla perks, like Autopilot advanced driver assistance on highways, along with Tesla's sentry and dog modes without the luxury vehicle price (it starts at $45,000). The spartan interior features the famous Tesla big screen, which, among other things, makes your GPS display huge. With up to 358 miles of range, you won't have to plug in often.

Best EV for a road-trip: Tesla Model S

Price: $94,990

Range: 405 miles

Looking into a Tesla Model S through the glass roof.
Ready to roll. Credit: Tesla

Takeaway: There's a growing list of cars with over 300-mile range, but the Tesla Model S Long Range version gets you more than 400 miles with a slightly less intimidating price than a Lucid Air (but still $95,000). Plus if you're in a Tesla you can take advantage of the Tesla Supercharger network with fast charging across the country and chargers in all 50 states.

Best EV for people with a need for speed: Tesla Model S Plaid

Price: $129,990

Range: 396 miles

Takeaway: This car moves fast. If you're willing to wait a few months (according to the Tesla website) for the $130,000 car, you can be zooming from 0 to 60 in under two seconds. It's the fastest EV yet.

Best EV with the longest range: Lucid Air Dream edition

Price: $169,000

Range: 520 miles

Takeaway: Once you get over the eye-popping price of the first-ever Lucid Air (nearly $170,000), you'll be wowed by the range: 520 miles. With the highest range out there, you won't be plugging in often. Even on longer trips you can get from Los Angeles to Las Vegas or even to San Francisco (that's about 400 miles) without stopping — unless you need a bathroom break.

Best EV for getting groceries: Mazda MX-30

Price: $33,470

Range: 100 miles

A white SUV on a city street plugged into an EV charger.
The Mazda MX-30 in its natural state. Credit: Mazda

Takeaway: With only 100 miles of range on each charge, Mazda's first EV will be plugged in often. But for Mazda fans who don't drive much, this could be the car for them. It starts at $33,470 with a small, 35.5 kWh battery and is only available in California. You better love charging.

Best EV for impressing passengers: Mercedes EQS

Price: $102,310

Range: 320 miles

View of the Mercedes infotainment screen.
So much screen. Credit: Mercedes AMG

Takeaway: If you're after the best infotainment experience while in an EV, look no further than Mercedes' "hyperscreen." At 56 inches across the entire front of the car, it's available as a $9,000 add-on in the first electric Mercedes sedan or as the default screen (complete with AR imaging) in the AMG sports car version.

Runner-up: Polestar 2

Price: $47,200

Range: 265 miles

Looking at the screen with a map behind the driver's steering wheel.
Google Maps where it belongs. Credit: Polestar

Takeaway: This Volvo spin-off technically runs on battery power, but the passenger experience is powered by Google, with Android Auto baked into the $60,000 car. The infotainment system is all Google products, with Google Maps, YouTube Music, Google Podcasts, and more, all working together to create one seamless experience.

Volvo's other electric vehicles also feature the Android Auto system built in for all your Google needs. Those are the XC40 Recharge and the C40 Recharge.

Best EV for city driving: Mini Cooper SE

Price: $29,900

Range: 114 miles

A Mini Cooper facing forward with a cityscape behind it.
A cutie. Credit: Mini Cooper

Takeaway: With so many compact SUVs hitting the EV scene, you'll be hard-pressed to find something smaller. But the city-friendly two-door Mini Cooper is available as an electric version for $29,900. But with that price comes a smaller range of 114 miles. But it's so cute and miniature!

Another efficiently size EV is the original BMW i3 hatchback, but it's already stopped production in the U.S. and is being reconfigured as an electric sedan.

Best EV for families: Tesla Model Y

Price: $44,990

Range: 244 miles

Back row of the Tesla with white seats.
The way back. Credit: Tesla

Takeaway: The three-row Tesla SUV can fit up to seven people, but preferably smaller humans. The back row is a squeeze for full-size adults, but still-growing children won't feel as suffocated in the back of this $45,000 SUV.

Best electric truck: Rivian R1T

Price: $67,500

Range: 314 miles

A blue truck with gear in the back and in compartments.
Filling up the R1T. Credit: Rivian

Takeaway: When you need to carry a lot of stuff the first electric pickup truck available is your go-to EV. The Rivian can tow a lot (11,000 pounds to be exact), or you can make use of its muscles by filling out its voluminous bed and compartments. The $67,500 e-truck has a 54-inch bed, which is shorter than the Ford F-150 Lightning's 67.1 inches, but this car is already available and ready for camping and other gear-intensive adventures.

Related Video: 10 car companies coming for Tesla's EV crown

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 4:00 pm

Apple wants to highlight your best iPhone 13 Pro macro shots

Apple's got a new challenge for iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max users: macro photography.

The challenge, which kicks off on Jan. 25 and ends on Feb. 16, requires users to take macro photos with their iPhone 13 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro Max (other iPhone models are not eligible as they don't have macro mode), and share them on Instagram, Twitter, or Weibo, using the hashtags #ShotoniPhone and #iPhonemacrochallenge.

A cat in front of the iPhone 13, showcasing macro photography.
Get close up. Credit: Apple

To take a macro photo on your iPhone 13 Pro or iPhone 13 Pro Max, you should get very close to your subject (you can get as close as two centimeters, any closer and the photo will get blurry), and place the primary point of focus near the center of the frame to get the sharpest focus. You can take photos at 0.5x or 1x, both will work in macro mode, with the former giving you a wider field of view. Here's our overview of what the iPhone 13 Pro's cameras are capable of.

The 10 winning photos will be judged by a 10-person panel consisting of award-winning photographers, filmmakers, and Apple's own experts.

SEE ALSO: Apple introduced the first iPhone 15 years ago. Here's a look back at everything that's changed.

The winning images will be showcased on Apple's website, in a gallery on Apple Newsroom, and on Apple's Instagram channel. The photos might appear in digital campaigns, at Apple Stores, billboards, or even a public exhibition, Apple said.

It also appears that this time around, Apple will compensate the contest winners for their work right from the get go. In 2019, Apple launched a photo contest in which the winners essentially gave the company the rights to use their photos for free, even for commercial purposes. The company later changed its mind, saying that it would offer contest winners a licensing fee for use of their work. This time however, the licensing fee was baked into the contest rules right away.

Winners of the challenge will be announced sometime in April 2022; Apple will announce the exact date later. For the full rules of the contest and exact timing for submissions, go to Apple's website.

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 2:02 pm

Staggering YouTube Shorts viewer numbers dominate latest YouTube CEO letter to community

It's that time of year again for YouTubers: 

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has published this year's annual letter to the video platform's community and the big focus is clear: 2022 is going to be all about YouTube Shorts.

According to Wojcicki, YouTube Shorts content has hit "5 trillion all time views" on the platform. It appears clear in the letter that YouTube is very happy with how it's built-in shortform video platform – a way for the company to keep up with its competitor TikTok – is performing.

"More people are creating content on YouTube than ever before," says Wojcicki. "We’re seeing momentum across the platform, including on Shorts."

The letter continues to tout the success of its Shorts Fund, a monetization program set up to specifically foster the growth of shortform video on YouTube. Significantly, over 40 percent of creators who received money in this way weren't even a part of the YouTube Partner Program, the traditional way to make money on YouTube. 

To qualify for the Partner Program, creators need to reach certain viewership and subscriber criteria in order to monetize their channels through advertisement, paid memberships, and other methods. The fact that a significant portion finding success on YouTube Shorts don't just overlap with already-established creators making money on YouTube is certainly a sign that the platform is successfully branching out.

Looking ahead, the company says it will focus on making Shorts more discoverable, and offer users more ways to edit and remix content for shortform video.

And if Shorts is taking on TikTok, YouTube is coming after another competitor next: Twitch.

Livestreams are a ubiquitous feature of the online gaming community and, in her letter, CEO Wojcicki says that the company is working on better "discoverability" when it comes to live content on YouTube. She mentions more "chat features" on the way as well, which seems like a clear reference to Twitch's currently more robust live chat feature on streams. Wojcicki also specifically mentions "Gifted Memberships" as a feature rolling out later this year, meaning users will be able to buy memberships to a creators channel for others… a feature already long available on Twitch.

YouTube also intends to bring on additional employees in order to get more "specific about policy violations." A common complaint from YouTube creators is that when users are notified of a strike on a video, the company doesn't specify exactly what the violation was. Providing users with a timestamp of the policy violation, something they already started testing last year, is one possibility, according to the letter.

One final thing to mention from the letter, which might result in a collective sigh from a large swath of creators, was that it mentioned Web3… and specifically, NFTs.

Wojcicki says that, when it comes to monetization for creators, YouTube is "following everything happening in Web3 as a source of inspiration." 

"We’re always focused on expanding the YouTube ecosystem to help creators capitalize on emerging technologies, including things like NFTs," she writes.

Crypto, NFTs, and other emerging "Web3" technologies have frequently been lambasted by consumers of whatever industry tries to retrofit them into an existing service. Most recently, gamers revolted against a number of moves made by developers to launch NFTs. So, it'll certainly be interesting to see what exactly YouTube is looking to do in this space and how it's received by a base that is far from shy about broadcasting its opinions.

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 2:00 pm

Milo Ventimiglia on 'This Is Us' finale: 'I think we've established the audience will be crying'

It's almost here. Now airing its sixth and final season, This Is Us is ready to conclude its notoriously emotional journey into our hearts — and as is tradition, we're gonna sob.

The cast are well aware of this, as Milo Ventimiglia (who plays Jack Pearson) told Seth Meyers on Late Night on Monday. But the audience won't be the only ones having a weep.

"I'm sure those last moments, everyone's going to be in tears. Everyone's going to be crying — us in production. I think we've established the audience will be crying, but us in production, I have a feeling that we'll be emotional. We'll have a hard time letting go," says Ventimiglia.

"You're on a show for so many years and all of a sudden you remember that first moment, and then it's done. And then you're like, wait, I may not see these people again, or every day or maybe in passing or social media or whatever. So it's bittersweet."

Meyers offered up a suggestion, however. "I really do hope the audience cries at the finale of this show," he said. "That would be the great final twist: if the last episode of this show just wasn't emotional at all."

"No, it's like a Seinfeld episode or something," Ventimiglia replied.

This Is Us episodes air on NBC Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. ET.

Want more?

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 12:10 pm

Stop swiping: This video-first app makes dating fun again

Modern dating is in its flop era. Intimacy is dead, daters are burned out after two years of swiping, and apps introduced a decade ago are starting to show their age. A new app, Snack, wants you to break up with photo-based dating apps. And while it's designed with Gen Z in mind, it may also be a godsend for millennials who are tired of swiping to find love. 

Snack CEO Kim Kaplan knows dating: She spent 10 years optimizing marketing, revenue, and product strategies at Canadian dating site Plenty of Fish. Pre-pandemic, she started thinking about building a video-based app after discovering #singletok, where TikTok users post personal info like their name, age, and zodiac sign to attract potential dates. With the help of a syndicate of Gen Z investors, Kaplan and her team built Snack by asking, "If we were to strip away all the things [about dating apps] that you don't like, what would that look like from a social and dating experience?" 

And Snack really does strip it all away. My profile showed my name, age, location, a few hashtagged interests, and my videos — that's it. There's no bio or basic info like education level, job, political leanings, and height. Video prompts like "show me how tall you are by comparing yourself to another object in your room" are designed to capture your info and interests instead. Then the algorithm goes to work, identifying video elements, like "skiing," "dogs," and, yes, "fishing," to learn what you like and to surface more compatible matches.

Images of the Snack app's interface, including a video profile and video prompts.
Snack may be built for Gen Z, but millennials can still feel the love. You can choose to see potential matches up to 35 years old. Credit: Snack App
SEE ALSO: Is Bumble Premium worth it? I tried it for two months to find out.

As a young-ish millennial used to swiping apps, Snack's simple design broke my brain (the app is currently available for daters aged 18 to 35, so it's definitely not just for Gen Z). It felt casual, fresh, and really fun, like flipping through my For You Page. You can flick up and down your feed to revisit profiles you've already seen and tell someone you're into them by tapping a heart button. Try swiping right or left, and the app will cheekily remind you that "swiping is old af." After a few days on Snack, Bumble and Hinge started to look more like resumes than dating apps.

And the video element definitely worked for me. After watching a guy I'd usually swipe left on boldly twerk upside down on a wall at a house party, I thought, "Yeah, I'd grab coffee with him." 

Kaplan says that's the point: Watching a video, even for a few seconds, forces you to be "more intentional about the decisions you're making" versus the "low intent" of swiping on a photo. Curated photos get stale fast, especially for Gen Zers who constantly update their feeds and share their experiences, or move dating app conversations to Instagram, where they "flirt through the content that they post," says Kaplan. "Why wouldn't you just keep uploading what happened on a weekend or a night out with your friends or what you're studying?" That type of content says more about who they are than a few old pictures. "You're seeing a more authentic version of somebody," Kaplan explains. "[They're saying] here's who I am and I'm proud of who I am, and you're gonna like me for who I am."

Another element of online dating that Snack wants to see dead and buried? Ghosting.

Letting a conversation die when it fizzles, abandoning apps when life gets super busy— Kaplan says that kind of "light ghosting" is super common and not a big deal to most daters. But when it comes to chronic ghosting "that actually impacts people, it creates a really negative experience for everybody else on the app." Snack has decided to try to weed out those folks. "If you continually ghost, we're not going to show you as frequently," Kaplan says. "Hopefully, that changes the behavior and gets people to be more open and honest with the other party about what's going on."

SEE ALSO: TikTok's 'West Elm Caleb' saga was never about Caleb

She points to last week's West Elm Caleb uproar, noting that Snack would have kept a lot of the women involved from ever seeing Caleb on the app.

The goal for Snack is, "How do we make it easier for you to enjoy and laugh and engage with what people are doing [on a dating app], just like you would on TikTok?" Kaplan says. After all, "Dating is meant to be fun, right?"

Related Video: How Tinder and other dating apps use algorithms to find your match

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 12:00 pm

James Corden's first ever interview was Meat Loaf at 15

Last week Meat Loaf, the singer and actor famous for "Bat Out of Hell" and his roles in the likes of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Fight Club, passed away at the age of 74.

During The Late Late Show on Monday, James Corden paid tribute — but he did so in his own, unique way.

"For me personally, he'll always have a special place in my heart," Corden says in the clip above. "You see when I was 15, I won a competition back in the UK to be a showbiz reporter for a day on a morning show that airs in Britain. And my prize was that I got to interview a big celebrity."

Corden then cuts to footage of his 15-year-old self, sitting opposite none other than Meat Loaf for an interview. The final question he asks, after saying he's in a band, is what advice Meat Loaf would give him.

"The one thing you gotta do is you need to always do the best that you can do," the singer responds. "No matter the different situation, no matter what comes up against you, you do the best you can do, and you never give up. Never quit."

Want more?

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 11:29 am

Twitter suspends bot that spoils the day's Wordle solution

Twitter has suspended @wordlinator, a bot that spoiled the game with clues for the next day's puzzle and generally rude messages to Wordle fans.

The bot caused widespread irritation for Wordle players on Twitter, and considering that the world can't stop playing the daily word game, there were a lot of unhappy users.

People even took to their own accounts to warn people about the Wordle-ruining bot.

Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted

With the design of the game, the bot could easily ruin puzzles. For one thing, the answer of the day is the same for everyone, so coming across the solution on Twitter would render the day's puzzle moot. Also, the key to the puzzle is in the code itself.

Twitter's Automaton Rules include not spamming or bothering users, or sending unsolicited messages. It's no surprise, then, that @wordlinator wasn't allowed to be around for too long.

Related Video: How online reviews came to rule our lives

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 10:38 am

Shudder's eerie 'They Live in the Grey' trailer is best watched with the lights on

Is there anything groundbreakingly new in Shudder's latest horror trailer for Abel and Burlee Vang's They Live in the Grey?

Well no, not really. But it still looks terrifyingly fun.

Following a social worker with a Sixth Sense-style ability to see ghosts, They Live in the Grey features possession, objects moving of their own free will, and creepy children aplenty.

Yes, we've seen a lot of it before, but that's not going to stop us tuning in anyway.

Want more?

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 10:31 am

Learn a new skill with this language and e-learning bundle on sale

TL;DR: As of Jan. 25, The Language Learner Lifetime Subscription Bundle ft. uTalk, worth $1,819, is on sale for just $49. That's a discount of 97%.

Who says you have to enroll in a fancy university to continue your education?

If your biggest resolution for 2022 is to learn a new language or expand your mind in any way, this bundle deal is calling your name. With the Language Learner Lifetime Subscription Bundle, you can take a new course or learn a new skill every week for the rest of your life if you want to.

This bundle includes a lifetime subscription to uTalk, which grants you access to learning up to six different languages at your own pace. You can choose those six out of over 140 languages available. So, odds are, if you want to learn it, it's available on this app. uTalk helps you learn real and practical vocabulary words on the go. If you're waiting for the train or just showed up early to a meeting, you can challenge yourself by learning a few words in your spare time. You'll even hear from native speakers, so you'll lower your risk of flubbing a pronunciation. There's no time limit on when you have to choose your six languages, so just sit back, relax, and learn something new.

The second part of this bundle includes a lifetime subscription to StackSkills Unlimited. It's an online learning platform that grants you access to over 1,000 StackSkills courses, including courses on IT, graphic design, finance, business, marketing, and more. No wonder it boasts an impressive 4.5 out of 5-stars on TrustPilot; it's an affordable way to add a new skill to your résumé.

Normally this uTalk plus StackSkills unlimited bundle retails for $1,819, since you get unlimited access to both. But now for a limited time. you can shave 97% off of the price and get it for just $49.

Prices subject to change.

hand using utalk app on ipad on coffee table
Credit: uTalk
The Language Learner Lifetime Subscription Bundle ft. uTalk
$49 at the Mashable Shop

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 10:00 am

Learn how to do your own taxes with these courses on sale

TL;DR: As of Jan. 25, this Be a Tax Expert 9-Course Certification Bundle is on sale for $38.97. It's worth $1,800, so that's a discount of over 97%.

It's hard to get excited about a new year when you realize that means tax season is approaching. But taking charge and understanding how the system works can remove some of that impending doom.

With this nine-course Tax Expert Certification Bundle, you can learn how to do your taxes like a real CPA and boost your overall financial literacy.

Start by learning how to correctly enter and review tax data for a partnership by using tax form 1065. This will help give you a bigger picture of the tax world by showing you how to enter data to minimize errors in a 1065 form. From there, you'll learn to enter tax data for an S corporation using form 1120S. When you've moved through this course bundle, you'll also learn how to enter tax data for forms 1120, Schedule C Income Tax, and more. 

Of course, those tricky tax credits and exemptions are included in this bundle as well, including home sale taxes, child credits, dependent credits, and much more. Rounding out these lessons is a full-scale breakdown of QuickBooks Pro, which is what many of the pro accountants and CPAs use to complete taxes each year.

Each course is taught by Robert Steele, an actual certified public accountant (CPA), accounting and business instructor, and curriculum developer. He works to make lessons as easy and digestible as possible, and if you like his lessons in these courses, you can even continue your learning by downloading one of his five audiobooks.

For a limited time, you can improve your financial literacy and learn how to do your own taxes at home for just $38.97 ($1,800 value).

Prices subject to change.

Graphic of hand holding tax forms in front of computer
Credit: Robert Steele CPA
Be a Tax Expert 9-Course Certification Bundle
$38.97 at the Mashable Shop

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 10:00 am

Help boost your productivity and efficiency with this deep-dive into Microsoft Office

TL;DR: Worth $2,200, the 2022 Premium Microsoft Office Training Certification Bundle is on sale for just $29.99 as of Jan. 25 — that's 98% off.

You’ve likely used Microsoft Office casually in your life thus far. But there’s a pretty good chance you didn’t devote any time to learning what lies beneath the surface of each program. Diving a little deeper could actually save you loads of time and energy, boost your productivity, and even increase your output at work. So, why not give it a shot?

The 2022 Premium Microsoft Office Training Bundle packs 11 courses taught by certified Microsoft experts, software engineers, data scientists, and other top-rated professionals. And it’s on sale for just $29.99. 

Through these hands-on courses, you’ll learn the ins and outs of the most essential software within the Microsoft Office Suite. That includes your everyday basics like Word, Excel, and the convenient note-taking app OneNote, as well as more niche programs like Access and Power BI for analyzing and organizing data.

As the world shifts from a traditional workplace to a digital one, tools like SharePoint and Teams have become even more critical. These courses will help you dive deep into how these tools work individually and together for collaboration and communication. Then, you’ll even take a quiz to test your newfound knowledge.

There are also courses on PowerPoint, the long-loved presentation software; Publisher 365, the desktop publishing software for everything from business cards to newsletters; PowerApps, the underrated tool that lets you build apps without coding knowledge; and SQL Server Express, Microsoft’s relational database management system.

The instructors have a wide array of skills and certifications. There’s Chris Dutton, a certified Microsoft Excel Expert, and Nikolai Schuler, a data scientist and BI consultant, who both hold an instructor rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars. Plus, there are courses led by organizations like Earn and Excel, Intellezi, and Magine Solutions, who are known for their comprehensive lessons and hands-on structure.

It’s time to finally learn what Microsoft Office has to offer. Get this 11-course training bundle on sale for just $29.99 ($2,200 value) for a limited time.

Prices subject to change.

Powerpoint graphic
Credit: Magine Solutions
The 2022 Premium Microsoft Office Training Certification Bundle
$29.99 at the Mashable Shop

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 10:00 am

Plan ahead for V-day with this half-priced flower delivery deal

TL;DR: As of Jan. 25, get $50 credit for $25 at Teleflora for a 50% discount, plus receive five entries into a rose box giveaway valued at $1,000 when you spend $25 or more.

Many people love getting flowers — especially when they’re unexpected. Even those who claim not to want anything for Valentine’s Day will probably still appreciate the gesture. But if you go to the store at the last minute to find a bouquet, you’re going to have to battle every other person who forgot. And you might come up short.

Instead, plan ahead for the day of love and place your order through Teleflora by February 3rd for holiday delivery. With this special Valentine’s Day credit, you’ll only have to pay half price if you get your order in.

Teleflora offers fresh, stunning bouquets filled with seasonal flowers that are hand-arranged and delivered by local florists. The brand works with over 10,000 local florists nationwide. So, they can not only ensure your bouquet is fresh and delivered in a timely fashion, but also can support small businesses across the country.

You can shop specifically for Valentine’s Day–themed bouquets or pick out specific flowers for your special someone. And if they’re not into flowers (or are allergic), there are also gift baskets filled with gourmet food available. Choose from chocolates, cookies, fruit, or savory snacks.

Be sure to place your order by February 3rd in order to get your seasonal flower bouquets or gift baskets delivered on time for Valentine’s Day and only pay $25 for a $50 credit.

Additionally, when you spend $25 or more, you’ll receive five entries into a rose box giveaway valued at $1,000. The winner will receive around 150 XL natural, long-lasting roses from Rose Box in the beautiful color of their choice, packaged in either a black or pink velvet display box and customized to their preference. Learn more about the Love Blossoms Valentine’s Day Giveaway here.

Prices subject to change.

Red roses in white snowman mug on black kitchen table
Credit: Teleflora
Teleflora Holiday Credit: $25 for $50
$25 at the Mashable Shop

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 10:00 am

Lewdle is the NSFW Wordle clone your dirty mind deserves

Wordle fans, cast your square-addled minds back to sometime last week when the Wordle of the day was "PRICK". Did you doubt yourself? Did you forget that the word "prick" has a legitimate meaning that's neither an insult nor an old-fashioned word for penis? You, my friend, might have a dirty mind, and that mind will probably enjoy Lewdle.

As you might have guessed, Lewdle is a lovingly filthified tribute to the massively popular daily word game that's taken the internet by storm. While you might associate the profane, the scatological, and the erotic more closely with four-letter words, there is no shortage of five-letter options to fill out the exclusively naughty word list. (There is a four-letter cursing-based version called Sweardle — of course, it's a fair bit easier, so you only get four guesses.)

Lewdle was created by Gary Whitta, a screenwriter who's worked on Rogue One, the Walking Dead games and Star Wars Rebels. Unlike some people who have jumped on the bandwagon, Whitta graciously notes on Twitter that his game is a blatant knockoff, and also inserts a note in your shareable results directing people to go and play the original.

Tweet may have been deleted

An extra challenge is found in the fact that while you may be able to think of a valid five-letter English word that can be dirty, it might not have made it onto the word list. And because all your guesses have to be on the list, you can't just chuck your go-to clean-Wordle starter in there to unearth some handy vowels — mine, ARISE, could be useful in an especially florid sext (ugh), but that doesn't make it inherently dirty. 

If you do think a word should be in there, though, Whitta is informally taking submissions via his Twitter replies, and told at least one player that the team is "constantly adding to" the list.

SEE ALSO: All the tips and tricks you could need to succeed at 'Wordle'

The same quirks and habits that trip you up during regular Wordle happen here too. On my fourth guess today, I stared at my three green letters, DIL, for far too long — I tried DILFS, which was deemed either not dirty enough or not-a-real-word enough to make the word list — before remembering that letters can appear more than once in a word. (Don't worry, no spoilers here — the game refreshes at midnight ET, and DILDO is no longer the solution you're looking for. In this one respect, at least.)

In the interests of thoroughness, I tested out some dirty words on Wordle itself, for science. (On my desktop, naturally, so as not to risk the undefeated streak sitting pretty in my phone browser.) I'm delighted to report that my six guesses — BOOBS, FARTS, DILDO, DICKS, FUCKS, and TITTY — were all valid, if not correct. So even if you tire of Lewdle's spicy but inevitably limited possibilities, it's also entirely possible that one day Wordle's enigmatic coloured squares will present you with a puzzle only your dirty mind can solve.

Related Video: Three words could save you, thanks to this app

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 6:50 am

Become an ethical hacker for under £35 with this massive online course bundle

TL;DR: The All-In-One 2022 Super-Sized Ethical Hacking Bundle is on sale for £31.76, saving you 98% on list price.

There are a lot of high-paying IT skills you could chase, but none have more potential than cybersecurity. Whether you’re looking to change fields completely or simply add some new tools to your toolbox, you could end up with a salary boost by turning your eyes and ears toward cybersecurity. It’s poised to be one of the fastest-growing and best-paid careers out there in the coming years.

The All-in-One 2022 Super-Size Ethical Hacking Bundle is less than £35 and could help you get your foot in the door in the cybersecurity field, with an emphasis on ethical hacking. It packs 18 courses taught by IT professionals with decades of combined experience and a variety of disciplines under their belts. And in just over 130 hours, they’ll cover every corner of the cybersecurity world — from Python 3 to complete NMAP.

You’ll begin with a course on Python, where you’ll learn to code your own penetration testing tools and create other projects from scratch. Then you’ll dive into more hacking courses to put your skills into practice. Each course is hands-on, so you’ll actually learn while doing things yourself, not just watching someone else. From BitNinja to Metasploit, you’ll touch on every weapon an ethical hacker should have in their toolbox. And top-rated instructors like penetration tester Aleksa Tamburkovski and senior information security consultant Gabriel Avramescu will leave no stone unturned.

With lifetime access to all 18 courses, and both desktop and mobile access available, you’re free to work through the content completely on your own time. This massive bundle is valued at over £2,000, but for a limited time — and just in time for the cybersecurity boom — you can sign up for only £31.76.

Course logo
Credit: IT Security Company
All-In-One 2022 Super-Sized Ethical Hacking Bundle
£31.76 at the Mashable Shop

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 5:05 am

This online finance and accounting course bundle is on sale for 98% off

TL;DR: The 2022 Ultimate Finance and Accounting Certification Bundle is on sale for £22.16, saving you 98% on list price.

Whether you're trying to get ahead of your personal finances or running ship for an entire business, bookkeeping is key to keeping things organised and on track. The 2022 Ultimate Finance Bundle is the easiest way to learn the things about finance that no one in school ever taught you, but everyone expected you to know as an adult. 

This eight-course bundle is perfect for anyone looking to get in control of their personal finances or anyone in charge of bookkeeping for an entire business. It'll teach you how to manage income, expenses, and more, so you never overdraft an account again.

You'll start by learning how to plan for your personal goals with the beginner course on personal finance concepts, taught by CPA and top-rated instructor Robert Steele. You'll learn how to create and work within Excel spreadsheets, understand the difference between personal finance and corporate finance, and much more. Then, you'll move on to a course on how to construct personal financial statements and budgets, also led by Steele. It's a course that focuses on the building blocks of personal financing. You'll be presented with problems, and learn how to solve them within Excel worksheets. By understanding your current financial setup, you can build towards goals for your future. The rest of the courses cover bank reconciliation, accounting concepts, and the methods of cost management. 

The rest of the courses are taught by the EduOlc team, which employs top experts from all around the world who make learning personal and business accounting easy, fun, and simple to understand. Each course is rated 4 out of 5 stars and higher, so you'll be in good hands.

A £1,182 value, since it includes lifetime access to eight courses you can study at your own pace, you can sign up for the Ultimate Finance Bundle for just £22.16 for a limited time.

Paper on table
Credit: Robert Steele
2022 Ultimate Finance and Accounting Certification Bundle
£22.16 at the Mashable Shop

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 5:00 am

Access more content from top streaming sites with a subscription to PureVPN

SAVE 82%: Stream extra content from top sites like Netflix and Disney+ with PureVPN. A two-year subscription to PureVPN is on sale for £1.44 per month — 82% off list price for a limited time.

If you're looking to access extra content from around the world by bypassing the geo-restrictions of streaming sites, you should seriously consider a subscription to PureVPN.

This popular service hides your real IP address and connects you to a server in another location. This quick and easy process provides access to extra libraries of content from leading streaming services like Netflix. PureVPN is also a great option for streaming because it offers strong connection speeds, 10 simultaneous connections, and access to over 6,500 secure servers in 78 countries from around the world.

A two-year subscription to PureVPN is on sale for £1.44 per month, saving you 82% on list price. Subscribers also get a 31-day money-back guarantee, so you can recover your cash if you're not totally satisfied.

Start streaming extra content from around the world with PureVPN.

PureVPN logo
Credit: PureVPN
PureVPN (2-Year Subscription)
£1.44 per month at PureVPN

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 4:55 am

7 tips and tricks to better organize your Notes app

What did we do before the Notes app on our iPhones? How did we make grocery lists? How did we jot down that one thing we need to remember? How did celebrities apologize for the latest PR disaster?

It really is a useful app. I've used it for everything from writing down the ingredients for New Year's Eve dinner to composing a best man speech.

SEE ALSO: How to create tab groups in Safari

But there's a pretty good chance you're not getting as much out of your Notes app as you can. The app actually has lots of cool functions and tricks to help you get stuff done efficiently. Here are seven of our favorites.

1. Searching in your notes

If you're like me, you've got countless notes in your iOS Notes app. And say you want to find an old recipe for a certain kind of chicken. All you have to do is go to the search bar and type in "chicken." Also, as Apple points out on its site, you can search by specific types of notes, such as "notes with drawings."

screenshot of notes app searching for "chicke"
Recipes, restaurant orders, and menus with chicken on my phone. Credit: Mashable

2. Adding tags

Say you want to keep certain types of notes all in one place. Did you know you can create tags that group notes together? Well, yes, you can. It's so simple: Just type a hashtag with how you want to label the note inside of the note. For instance, here's what that looks like in a grocery list for a salad I made last week.

list of ingredients and #groceries hashtag
The salad was good, to be honest. Credit: Mashable

Once you tag the note, it'll file under that tag in the home page of the app. It'll look like this, under your folders.

screenshot of tags on iphone notes app
Simple and useful. Credit: Mashable

Tags are searchable and easily accessed from the Notes app. You can also tag a Note with more than one thing if it falls into a few categories. For instance, a grocery list for Mashable's AirFryDay series might appear under both #groceries and #work on my phone.

3. Pin an important note

Let's be real, there's probably one note you use more than most. Maybe it's something for work, or a project you're working on at the moment, or, in my case, a note for funny names I make up for the video game NCAA Football 2013.

All you have to do is go into a note, hit the three dot button, then select the pin option. It'll look something like this.

screenshot showing where to click to pin note
Gaston Nebraska is a fantastic fake name. You have to admit that. Credit: Mashable

Once the note is pinned, it'll jump up to the top of your notes. It'll look like this.

screenshot of pinned note titled names for ncaa
It's helpful to have an important note up top. Credit: Mashable

4. Add checkable marks to your lists

Some nifty auto-formatting in the Notes app might just change your grocery shopping forever. Say you make a list of things you need. Don't just make dashes or hit enter. Click the little check mark icon on your screen and the Notes app will create bubbles that you can check off as you finish a task. Once an item is checked, it automatically moves to the bottom of the list. Look at this mock grocery list, where I've already gotten chicken thighs and sriracha.

screenshot of grocery list with checked items
The button is easy to find. Credit: Mashable

5. Share notes

Say your note could use some help. Did you know you can share notes and create/edit collaboratively in real time? That's been a game changer for me and my wife as we try to get things done around the house.

All you have to do is hit the three-dot button then select "share note."

screenshot of how to share note
Sharing a note is wildly helpful and easy. Credit: Mashable

Then choose how you'd like to send it and give access to whomever you like. They'll be able to change the note and edit how they like.

screenshot of share note
I usually just text the note to someone. Credit: Mashable

6. Make smart folders

When you create a folder, you can choose the option to make a smart folder. Then you can select the tags that apply to it. Going forward, when you tag a note, it'll direct to a smart folder designated with that tag. Here you can see me create a smart folder for food notes.

screenshot of making smart folder
Food stuff, all in one spot. Credit: Mashable

And here are my folders, on the home page of the Notes app.

screenshot of Notes folders
Smart folders are new to me but will be very helpful moving forward. Credit: Mashable

7. Sort how you see your notes

By default, notes are sorted by date edited, from newest to oldest. But it doesn't have to be that way. You can sort by title, date created, date edited, or from oldest to newest. All you have to do is hit the three-dot button, then select sort notes. The button looks like this.

arrow pointing to sort button in notes app
Easy enough. Credit: Mashable

From there, you can select any of these options for how your notes are organized.

Options for sorting notes in app
Personally, I prefer the default setting. Credit: Mashable

That's what is great about the Notes app. It's pretty malleable and can be shaped to help each user get their tasks done how they see fit. Sure, celebrities use it for apologies and I use it for video games, but it might just help you get your life together.

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 3:00 am

Watch out diet culture. Inclusive fitness pros are coming for you.

Like most social media apps, the fitness side of TikTok is full of content — workout regimes, food videos, and body positive influencers float around For You Pages sharing an overwhelming amount of information about personal health and body image. While some FYPs are awash in hundreds of gym bros, visually-appealing fruit bowls, and "What I eat in a day" videos, others are filled with less popular, but still important, conversations about what health means for people with diverse bodies and life experiences.

Many of these conversations are helmed by fitness and health professionals who promote what they call an inclusive fitness culture — fat-positive, intersectional programs that don't focus on weight loss or goal-setting in the traditional sense and in doing so, subvert the often unapproachable, even unsafe, fitness spaces found both online and in-person. 

Inclusive fitness culture acknowledges a variety of experiences and identities: people with disabilities, fat bodies, neurodivergent people who need accommodations in exercise programs, transgender and gender nonconforming people, and people of color. Just like the medical industry, health spaces contain a multitude of biases and institutional barriers that prevent the fitness world from being a safe space for all. In addition to male-dominated gyms that can put women in danger, queer and fat communities battle constant microaggressions in fitness spaces, and people of color navigate a world where their physical appearance is discriminated against. Intersectional fitness seeks to address the misogyny, racism, and fatphobia we've come to accept in the fitness world.

So, in come a new generation of "fitfluencers" using TikTok to share another perspective on health and fitness. Videos using the #bodyinclusive hashtag have racked up more than 3 million views, while the broader #dietculture and #nondiet tags appear throughout the fitness content and have gathered hundreds of millions of viewers. It's important to note, though, that not all of these videos actually share inclusive fitness content, so keep a discerning eye while scrolling.

Appreciating your body, what it does for you every day, and holding space for your body.

AK MacKellar is a certified trainer and personal fitness coach, and the founder of Free to Move, an online, queer-inclusive movement program (a phrase that centers positive, enjoyable movement rather than intense exercise). It offers workout courses and other wellness resources catered to building positive, queer fitness communities. "I talk — broken record style — in my classes about appreciating your body, what it does for you every day, and holding space for your body. Using fitness and using movement as a way to change how you feel, and change what you feel in your body and in your mind," MacKellar said. 

MacKellar also runs a successful fitness TikTok account. Here, their workout videos de-emphasize appearance and diet in favor of intuitive movement, and share resources for people with disabilities or chronic illnesses, primarily for a queer audience. "I think there's this long-held belief and ingrained idea in all of our brains that fitness equals weight loss, and that's the goal. That's the only goal and there's no other reason to do it. That's such a shame," MacKellar said.

Chelsea Kronengold, associate director of communications for the National Eating Disorders Association, agrees that this traditional fitness thinking can have a dangerous effect on the mental health of many marginalized groups. "Fitness influencers, the diet industry, exercise companies, gyms, etc., often promote dangerous messages to their followers or their consumers that can instill a disordered relationship with food, body image, and exercise issues," she explained. Kronengold pointed out that a lot of fitness language (like "earn those calories") assigns a moral worth to eating and exercise, which can negatively impact people who struggle with eating disorders and body acceptance.

MacKellar is a former athlete who wasn't originally working in the fitness space. In 2019, they had a bike accident that resulted in a traumatic brain injury and limited their ability to participate in the traditional fitness routines they used before. Instead, they started a career as a fitness coach, taking courses and training that emphasized alternative, holistic health programs — ones that accounted for their experiences as both a nonbinary and neurodivergent person. These are now core elements of the fitness programs they offer on TikTok and through Free to Move, in a fat-positive, queer-accepting, non-diet space.

SEE ALSO: It's time to rethink how you speak to young people about their bodies

In practice, that means MacKellar focuses on representation, seeing people of your own identity and experiences leading a class or exercising near you. It also means divorcing the idea of fitness from the gender binary: Gym environments are inherently gendered (think men's and women's locker rooms, "women-friendly" machines, or even fitness classes divided along the gender binary) as are many diet apps, athletic wear, and other curated online fitness content. MacKellar, on the other hand, makes their workouts universal. They avoid gendered language in their coaching and utilize queer music, icons, and other cultural references.

The program also avoids conversations about "normal" or "ideal" bodies, and emphasizes frequent personal check-ins as you exercise. You should never feel pushed or coerced into pain while exercising, they explain. "The biggest thing that I want folks to take away is that they're listening to their body and doing whatever they need to feel safe, to feel comfortable, and to feel good in this workout," they said. 

On TikTok, some of MacKellar's most popular videos are found in their "True Beginner" series, designed to share approachable workouts that are actually for beginners — no strenuous or complex exercises that could create barriers for people with disabilities, those who have never worked out before, or neurodivergent people who might not be able to focus through a 30 minute workout, they explained. Some of these include fully seated workouts that can be done in any environment, or exercises that don't put strain on specific body parts, like knees or wrists. The workouts are designed to adapt to the needs of the person, and free of the expectation that you need to "level up" your workout or "work up" to an end goal, whether that's a specific number of reps, speed, or weight. This kind of thinking is not only shame and guilt-inducing, it can lead to injury or harmful eating and exercise behaviors, MacKellar and Kronengold agree.

While MacKellar shares inclusive fitness tips to their 131,000 TikTok followers, Malarie Burgess went viral for fitness videos that reject diet culture and embrace intersectionality. Her page, @thejockscientist, aims to take back exercise from the toxic diet and wellness space, and instead promotes new understandings of how food and exercise fit into your day-to-day life. 

Burgess, who uses they/she pronouns and wishes to use both in this article, has worked in the fitness industry for 10 years. Now they're an exercise physiologist, with both a degree in exercise science and a training certification from the American College of Sports Medicine, and works full time as an exercise specialist for a local government office on aging. They say this experience helped inform her perspective on intersectional fitness.

"I specifically work with older adults and adults with disabilities. And that really opened my worldview up in fitness, because [they] don't really take the approach to exercise that many folks and young adults do," they said. "It's about being able to maintain your independence and maintain your function and make sure your body is working to the best of its ability. And using exercise to help with that kind of longevity."

Burgess' TikTok reflects those ideas, focusing on reassurance that all forms of movement, health, and appearance are valid. "I want people to not be scared of fitness, if they can approach it. Because we've been taught for so long that it's a punishment for what we eat, or how we look, or that we need to be doing it for a really specific reason," she said. 

If you're disabled, you're a person of color, if you're queer, those spaces exist.

Other videos on Burgess' page breakdown how diet culture was fed to people throughout the 2000's, how to combat fatphobia, and how to create inclusive exercises for people with chronic illness or disabilities. She also shares workout and health tips that acknowledge the emotional impact of the media's fitness obsession. She wants her account to validate diverse experiences. "My particular little space will always be a safe space for individuals of all types. If you're disabled, you're a person of color, if you're queer, those spaces exist," Burgess said. 

Burgess points out a few red and green flags for finding fitness programs that might be more inclusive. Try to avoid professionals or classes that use phrases like "get in shape" or other appearance-focused terms that imply there's a single, ideal body image. Professionals who use diet or BMI (Body Mass Index) measurements, before and after photos, or body part measurements to gauge progress are also no-goes for Burgess. And consider what kind of photos they're sharing on their fitness pages. Do they work with diverse clients? 

"You can inquire about it if you are interviewing somebody. Someone that's worked with a lot of diverse populations, I've found in my experience, tends to be more adaptable, and they're going to be better at individualizing your program," Burgess explained. 

Kronengold also flags the terms "regime" and "program" as signs of potentially unhealthy fitness behavior and noninclusive spaces, because this often implies strict goal setting and weight loss, rather than fitness for "pleasure," she said. Instead, she suggests people find certified professionals that use terms like "joyful movement" or "intuitive movement" in their marketing, much like Burgess and MacKellar use. 

It's important to keep in mind, Kronenberg says, that fitness influencers and professionals are ultimately selling you something, trying to earn money or followers to build their own careers. And the thing that often sells best is claiming they can fix your insecurities. On the other side of the spectrum, Burgess and MacKellar say they turn away people who aren't looking to have conversations about non-diet focused, intersectional fitness, and only seek weight loss.

For all the professionals dipping their followers' toes into the inclusive fitness world, there are others who still perpetuate a harmful diet culture, stigmatize certain bodies, and threaten to expose many to harmful weight loss behaviors. Deconstructing the diet culture monster and internalized fatphobia is a long battle. "I will take that beating so that this can continue to be a space where people can unpack their relationship with their body, with food, with exercise, because I think there's been a lot of damage done to a lot of individuals, and I want to help undo that damage," Burgess said. 

There's hope that people in need will stumble across their accounts and find a space that is comforting and accessible, filled with reassurances and an emphasis on the personal, individual nature of fitness and health. No shame involved. 

"It is sort of like a David and Goliath situation," MacKellar said. "There's all these small trainers and people scattered all over the world… Using their tiny platforms and voices to try to make a difference. Trying to fight that real big beast."

If you feel like you’d like to talk to someone about your eating behavior, call the National Eating Disorder Association’s helpline at 800-931-2237. You can also text “NEDA” to 741-741 to be connected with a trained volunteer at the Crisis Text Line or visit the nonprofit’s website for more information.

Posted on 25 January 2022 | 12:00 am

The intrepid Webb space telescope reaches its distant, frigid outpost

The most powerful telescope ever rocketed into space arrived at its destination Monday, concluding a white-knuckled journey from its launchpad in South America to a sweet spot in orbit about 1 million miles away.

In the first days following the James Webb Space Telescope’s liftoff on Dec. 25, the spacecraft blew past its low Earth-orbiting predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, and put the moon in rearview. During a month of traveling since Christmas, the spacecraft completely unfolded its antennas, tennis-court-sized sunshield, and mirrors like a Swiss Army knife. On Monday, the mission's ground team fired Webb’s thrusters to nudge the observatory to its final post in an orbit around the sun. NASA announced it arrived at 2:24 p.m. ET.

The achievement marks the completion of a series of complicated, first-of-its-kind maneuvers in space and a crucial make-or-break period for the $10 billion telescope that some experts forewarned as "30 days of terror." But with diligent planning and careful rocket engineering, the terror never came to pass.

"You've heard people talking about how it looked so easy. It is not easy. NASA makes it look easy, and sometimes they’re a victim of their own success," Heidi Hammel, a planetary astronomer and part of the Webb telescope's science team, said during a phone briefing with reporters. "We all, as humanity, can be proud that we are working collectively to do great things, to expand our knowledge of the universe, to make the universe more accessible to all of us."

Tweet may have been deleted

Webb, with its giant infrared telescope, will observe some of the oldest, faintest light in the universe. It will study a period less than 300 million years after the Big Bang, when many of the first stars and galaxies were born. Scientists also will use the powerful telescope to peer into the atmospheres of planets outside our solar system, called exoplanets. Findings of water and methane, for example, could be potential hints of habitability or biological activity, i.e., life.

Astronomers anticipate the telescope will facilitate a golden age in our understanding of the cosmos, with 10 to 20 years of never-before-seen snapshots of space billions of light-years away.

"You've heard people talking about how it looked so easy. It is not easy. NASA makes it look easy, and sometimes they’re a victim of their own success."

The massive telescope has perched in a place dubbed "L2," or the second Lagrange point. The location is named after Joseph-Louis Lagrange, an 18th-century mathematician who solved the "three-body problem." The question was if a configuration existed in which three masses could orbit each other and stay in the same position relative to each other. It turns out there are five such points where that can happen, and the second is where Webb will conduct unprecedented science.

L2 is an ideal vantage point because it will keep the radiant sun and Earth at the observatory’s back, facing away from our star to get clear views of deep space. From this location, Webb will move in unison with Earth so its robust sunshield can constantly block the sun, moon, and Earth’s light and heat.

The -388-degree Fahrenheit temperature at L2 makes it possible for Webb to see distant stars and galaxies in infrared, an invisible light commonly understood (or felt) as heat radiation. To detect dim objects, the telescope needs to be extremely cold to pick up faint heat signals from trillions of miles away.

At L2, Webb will also be close enough to Earth to regularly communicate through the Deep Space Network, an international array of jumbo antennas supporting NASA’s deep space missions. And, critically, the side of the spacecraft facing the sun will have constant access to solar power.

Before Monday's maneuver, NASA exuded confidence. The team had already implemented vital rocket thrusts to tweak the spacecraft's trajectory, said Mike Menzel, Webb’s mission systems engineer. The final thrusts helped avoid overshooting the L2 mark. That's crucial. There's no option to turn around and propel back towards Earth, explained Randy Kimble, a Webb commissioning project scientist, in a blog post. Doing so would expose the telescope’s optics to the sun, overheating and ruining the instruments.

The last thrust gave Webb just enough of a boost to "insert" into its orbital position. "We're not at all worried about it," Menzel had said earlier this month. "It’s a very minor burn."

The near-perfect execution of the mission so far has been a welcome surprise to mission planners. When it comes to space missions, their modus operandi has been to expect the unexpected. The initial troubles with Hubble — NASA had to send astronauts out to the observatory to fix the blurry telescope in 1993 — perhaps also put Webb's team on edge. If problems arose this time, Webb would be too far from home to send repair workers.

SEE ALSO: A spacecraft ‘touched’ the sun. Here’s how it survived.

Webb, a collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency, is now preparing for science operations. The next step will involve the careful calibration of the telescope’s 18 hexagonal mirrors pieced together in a massive honeycomb dish. All of the segments must work in harmony to take uniform images of deep space. The first crisp pictures ready for primetime will be released in June.

"The core science of this telescope was to see the very first light in the universe, the first galaxies that formed, with some clever projects, perhaps even the first stars that formed," Hammel said. "That's its raison d'être. That's why it was built the way it was built."

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 9:14 pm

Researchers made a drone that can shape shift midair — Future Blink

Thanks to "unactuated hinges," UC Berkeley researchers created a drone that can fold its arms to change shape midair.

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 8:14 pm

The promise of this personal flying saucer: zero emissions — Future Blink

Developed by ZEVA, ZERO is a zero-emissions personal aircraft that looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.

The craft completed its first successful flight over Pierce County, Washington, marking a major milestone in the company's journey towards autonomy.

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 7:54 pm

Everything you need to know about the history behind 'The Gilded Age'

The writers and cast members of The Gilded Age talk about all the historical inspiration in the latest HBO period drama.

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 7:41 pm

Hello, sparkling floors: Save 25% on a robot mop from iRobot

SAVE 25%: If you have pets or kids — or are prone to spillages yourself — check out the iRobot Braava Jet 240. As of Jan. 24, this robot mop is on sale at Amazon for $149. That's 25% less than its regular price of $199.

Ever mop yourself into a corner of the room, then have to choose between going about your day and mussing your newly clean floor? If this scenario strikes a familiar dread into your heart, consider the iRobot Braava Jet 240.

This robot mop (a.k.a. wet Roomba) is app-enabled — just press clean on the unit and watch it go. You can also customize the areas of the house it's allowed to roam with Virtual Wall Mode, schedule mopping sessions during the week, or start/stop its process remotely.

That's not to say the Braava Jet 240 requires monitoring or manual control. It is programmed to automatically select and execute the best mode — wet mopping, damp mopping, or dry sweeping — for the type of floor it's cleaning, and it remembers obstacles so it can slow down and avoid them next time.

When it detects obstacles, it'll also refrain from carrying out its usual Precision Jet Spray so as not to accidentally wet an antique rug or two. When obstacle-free, however, Precision Jet Spray and the robot's Vibrating Cleaning Head ensure a thorough cleaning for every last part of your floor, even the hardest-to-reach bits. In fact, you might want to set it free under the kitchen counter or the bed for a while longer.

White and blue square robot mop with water spray
Credit: iRobot
iRobot Braava Jet 240 Robot Mop
$149 at Amazon (save 25%)

Explore related content:

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 7:24 pm

AT&T just rolled out super fast multi-gig fiber internet available in the U.S.

If your home internet is too slow, AT&T’s got a new solution that could be like putting a jet engine on a bicycle.

The telecom giant announced on Monday that its first multi-gig fiber internet service would start rolling out immediately. They’ll serve a little more than five million people scattered across parts of 70 metro areas in the United States, a comprehensive list of which can be found on AT&T’s website. Cleveland, Dallas, Memphis, and Atlanta are just a few of the cities listed, though availability could vary by neighborhood. Prospective customers should check first.

You’ll also need a WiFi 6-compatible router to get the most out of it. Those are gradually becoming more widely available and affordable, though they’re still a little pricey.

SEE ALSO: WiFi 6 is coming. Here's what you need to know

Put simply, multi-gig fiber internet is ultra-fast internet pushed through fiber-optic cables that, in AT&T’s case, can reach speeds of 2Gbps (gigabits per second) or 5Gbps, depending on which service you pay for. Speaking of which, AT&T is packaging these with a self-proclaimed "straightforward" price structure that doesn’t include contracts, equipment fees, or annual price increases. The 2Gbps option is $110 per month and the 5Gbps one is $180. 

Both come with a complementary HBO Max subscription, should you need one.

If these services do indeed provide the speeds they claim to provide, there could be some major advantages beyond just downloading and streaming faster. AT&T claims the speeds are symmetrical, meaning upload speeds will be just as fast as download speeds. Normally, upload speeds are much lower, which can make things like, well, uploading files a pain. Beyond that, more bandwidth means more devices can connect to a network without causing congestion.

In a phone call with Mashable, AT&T Broadband executive VP Rick Welday emphasized that particular boon as something people can look forward to if they happen to have access to multi-gig fiber.

"There appears to be a liberation, a freedom, that a cohort of consumers are seeking, to know that how many devices they have, no matter how much bandwidth they consume…they are not worried about any of that not working properly," Welday said.

"Access" is going to be the key word going forward. AT&T says it wants to have fiber serving 30 million people by 2025, which isn’t a small amount but does pale in comparison to the 77 million Americans with no adequate home internet at all. It's obviously not on one provider to fix that problem, but with these impressive advancements in home internet tech, it’s worth remembering the people who might not see the benefits.

Still, 5Gbps home internet is a doozy. If you happen to qualify for it, just go nuts downloading gigantic files that you don’t even plan on using.

Related Video: What is the digital divide, and how has COVID impacted it?

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 7:15 pm

Weird orbit of the James Webb telescope shown in NASA animation

The James Webb Space Telescope's (JWST) orbit is a bit strange.

Unlike the legendary Hubble telescope, which circles Earth, JWST will orbit the sun. But as this animation from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center shows, the tennis court-sized instrument's orbit (the yellow line) isn't straightforward.

Engineers sent JWST to a unique region of space dubbed the Lagrange point, or L2, located nearly 1 million miles away. There, the powerful gravitational forces from the sun and Earth are balanced, which ultimately allows any telescope there to stay in a relatively stable position beyond Earth as it peers into the deep cosmos. This is critical for JWST, which will face away from the sun as it views the faintest objects in the universe — including some of the earliest galaxies ever formed. A robust sunshield will block the sun's intense heat and light from interfering with JWST's cosmic observations.

SEE ALSO: Many of the Webb telescope’s greatest discoveries won't come from any amazing pictures

JWST is expected to arrive at the L2 point on Jan. 24. But once there, it won't stay locked in one place. As the end of the animation shows, the telescope will orbit within its orbit. This orbit around L2 is actually huge: It's bigger than the Moon’s orbit around Earth, explained NASA.

Why orbit within L2? JWST still has to burn a finite amount of fuel to maintain its orientation in space, and orbiting there (rather than working to stay in a single precise position) is "simpler, easier, and more efficient," said NASA.

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 6:35 pm

I could watch people peel raw eggs on TikTok all day

The latest egg trend on TikTok isn't exactly food related: Those with steady hands and the proper tools have been hopping on live to peel raw eggs.

In order to peel a raw egg, you must separate the shell from the egg membrane, leaving a weird little egg sack. TikTokkers use a variety of metal instruments to delicately break the shell and slowly remove the shell in pieces, which is just as eggs-hausting as it sounds. They have to be careful not to puncture the egg membrane! People are using tweezers, blackhead removers, and other surgical utensils. Meanwhile, I am still trying to master the art of peeling a hard-boiled egg.

SEE ALSO: TikTok creators are living healthy lifestyles ironically — and it's working

Eggs are also notorious on TikTok and have given birth to numerous trends, such as the "give your pet an egg and see if they take care of it" trend and many cooking hacks.

While these egg-peeling challenge videos thrive on TikTok livestreams, clips and sped up versions of livestreams are also posted.

At first glance these videos seem odd. "Why?" immediately comes to mind. But as soon as you buy into the concept, they are strangely mesmerizing and relaxing — not unlike other unexpectedly satisfying trends that thrive on TikTok, like chalk breaking, oyster shucking, and sand chopping.

Tweet may have been deleted

Peeling a raw egg is quite a feat, which contributes to the fascination with these videos. A TikTok posted by @itxhurts2know shows a time lapse of their eighth attempt. "Don't waste your time. It friggin popped at the end cause it's IMPOSSIBLE," the user cautioned. It's surprising that so many users have been successful in the challenge.

An example of the trend.
Don't have to tell me twice.
Credit: TikTok / itxhurts2know
An example of the trend.
Credit: TikTok / itxhurts2know

This isn't the first time we've seen raw egg-peeling videos gain traction online. Over the past five years there's been a steady stream of surgeons uploading these videos onto YouTube to show off their skills and steady hands, but the TikTok trend seems to have brought the challenge to us common folks.

Related Video: Why are people so obsessed with cutting fruit on TikTok?

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 6:16 pm

Save 31% on an enormous version of 'Uno'

SAVE 31%: The UNO Giant Family Card Game is on sale for $13.85 at Walmart as of Jan. 24. It's just like regular Uno, except it's very big.

For whatever reason, the giant versions of childhood games — like Jenga and Connect Four — are much more fun than the originals.

Another game that's super-sized itself? Your favorite matching card game: Uno. As of Jan. 24, you can grab it on sale for $13.85 at Walmart — 31% off its usual price. (You can also find the same deal at Amazon for a limited time.)

Giant Uno is the same game you might know and love from childhood, but three times its normal size. You still race to get rid of your cards by matching a card in your hand with the top card on the discard pile. And you still yell "Uno!" when you have a single card left. But with larger cards, there's more to love.

You'll get 108 oversized cards in a pack, including a handful of customizable wild cards. That means you can make up your own silly rules. Up to 10 people can play at a time.

Giant Uno Card Game
Credit: Mattel
Giant Uno
$13.85 at Walmart (save 31%)

Explore related content:

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 6:03 pm

Netflix's 'Murderville' trailer sets up a killer comedy

Being a homicide detective is hard enough without a celebrity partner.

In the trailer for Netflix's Murderville, Senior Detective Terry Seattle (Will Arnett) gets to work solving homicides, each time with a different celebrity partner — who has no script and no context.

In Murderville's premiere season, written and executive produced by Krister Johnson, Arnett is joined by Ken Jeong, Annie Murphy, Kumail Nanjiani, Sharon Stone, Conan O'Brien, and Marshawn Lynch. Each of them is playfully pushed to keep up and keep it together as they crack the case. Haneefah Wood, Lilan Bowden, and Phillip Smithey round out the main cast, with Iain Morris and Brennan Shroff directing the six-episode series.

Murderville premieres on Netflix Feb. 3.

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 5:40 pm

Stay hydrated with Hydro Flask water bottles up to 50% off

As of Jan. 24, the Hydro Flask seasonal sale is on, meaning you can grab a new water bottle, tumbler, and more from the iconic brand for up to 50% off. Here are our top picks:

We're not afraid to say it: staying hydrated is so much easier when you have a fun water bottle you actually want to carry around, and Hydro Flask makes some of the most fun and functional water bottles out there.

In case you are still writing them off as a gen-Z/VSCO girl trend (side note: are VSCO girls still a thing?), allow us to remind you that Hydro Flasks keep cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours, hot drinks warm for up to six, and avoid any condensation thanks to their double wall vacuum insulation.

In other words, they're not a brand you want to sleep on, especially when they're offering bottles, tumblers, mugs, and more for up to 50% off for their seasonal sale (with free shipping on orders over $30 to top it all off). We've pulled some of our favorite picks, but highly recommend checking out the full sale (where they've also marked the biggest sell-out risks). If you need some guidance to get you started, here's what stuck out to us:

BEST ON-THE-GO OPTION: Hydro Flask 24-ounce Standard Mouth Water Bottle$22.72 $34.95

Maybe the biggest drawback of the Hydro Flask is how clunky they can be, but the standard mouth water bottle answers that critique. It's slim enough to fit into your car's cup holder, yet holds enough water to keep you coming back for refills after just a few sips. You can grab it in clementine, carnation, or pineapple, or size down to the 21-ounce bottle to have your pick of even more colors.

clementine standard mouth hydro flask
Credit: Hydro Flask
Hydro Flask 24-ounce Standard Mouth Water Bottle
$22.72 at Hydro Flask (save $12.23)

BEST FOR WORKING FROM HOME: Hydro Flask 40-ounce Wide Mouth Water Bottle$32.47 $49.95

Unlike the standard mouth, this bottle is the definition of chonky, making it ideal for keeping in one spot. With 40-ounces, you won't have to refill often to get your daily recommended amount of water. It's the perfect work from home companion, and with your choice of five different colors, can double as some desktop decoration. You can add even more color with one of the many protective bottle boots on sale.

wide mouth 40-ounce bottle in alpine
Credit: Hydro Flask
Hydro Flask 40-ounce Wide Mouth Water Bottle
$32.47 at Hydro Flask (save $17.48)

BEST FOR HOT AND COLD DRINKS: Hydro Flask 32-ounce Tumbler$34.95 $17.48

Don't get us wrong, we love a classic Hydro bottle, but they're not supposed to hold hot liquid. So if you're a fan of drinks at all temperatures, the tumbler has you covered. Though it can hold up to 32 ounces, the tapered shape still makes it easy to hold and fit into cupholders, which is what gives it the ultimate edge over the also on-sale mug that can handle hot and cold drinks as well. In addition to its included lid, this tumbler is also compatible with a straw lid, so you can sip however you please.

32-ounce tumbler in pacific
Credit: Hydro Flask
Hydro Flask 32-ounce Tumbler
$34.95 at Hydro Flask (save $17.47)

Explore related content:

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 5:10 pm

Get a retractable USB cable with connectors for any device for half price

TL;DR: As of Jan. 24, this Retractable 3-in-1 USB Charging Cable is on sale for $19.95 instead of $44 — grab it at 55% off.

There's plenty of charging cables on the market — from the pricey Apple replacement cables to the cheap ones in line at the gas station. So, what exactly separates the good from the bad and the ugly? Durability, protective features, and flexibility, in a nutshell. 

If you’re looking to cut through the cluttered market of charging cables for a good deal, this retractable USB charging cable from Tech Zebra checks all three boxes, and then some. Plus, it’s on sale for 55% off.

The retractable feature of this charging cable isn’t just convenient for saving space and decluttering your outlets. It’s convenient for charging flexibility as well, with the ability to extend from just 12 inches long to 3.5 feet with a simple tug. And the ABS plastic telescopic cable is also as sturdy as you’d hope for. It passed the bend test, which means it can endure over 3,000 bends in its lifespan. Plus, it has flexible joint coverings to ensure it won’t crack or fray. In other words, you can put a checkmark for durability.

As far as protection goes, this compact cable is equipped with a smart chip. This keeps your device from reaching dangerous current voltages by effectively filtering it for stability. Having a stable current protection ensures the cord itself won’t melt and your device won’t overheat.

Perhaps the most exciting feature this cable offers, though, is its connectors for any device. There’s a Lightning connector, type-C connector, and micro-USB connector, covering practically any gadget you have in your arsenal. Flexibility? Check.

For a limited time, this convenient three-in-one retractable cable is on sale for 55% off. Grab one for just $19.95 (regularly $44) and deliver power to every hungry gadget in your collection. It even comes in your choice of black, green, or red.

Prices subject to change.

Black charger with three output wires
Credit: Tech Zebra
Retractable 3-in-1 USB Charging Cable
$19.95 at the Mashable Shop

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 4:50 pm

This stylus pen writes on screens like they’re paper — and it’s 59% off

TL;DR: The Digi Pen for iPad & Tablets is on sale for $39.99 instead of its usual $99 as of Jan. 24 — save 59% on its original price.

Digital designing ain’t easy. But it can be much more enjoyable with the right tools. If you’re a graphic designer, painter, writer, or just want to dabble in some sketching or drawing digitally, the Digi Pen is one of the best tools for the job. And it’s on sale for 59% off.

The Digi Pen is compatible with all tablets, including iPads, and has a 1.2mm fine tip, which is better for durability and has higher sensitivity and pixel precision. If you’ve ever felt like your finger was too clunky or chubby to make precise lines or do selective edits on photos, the skinny tip is definitely a game-changer. By giving it a slight tilt at different angles, you can even adjust the thickness and depth of your strokes — just like a real pencil.

Thanks to palm-rejection technology and magnetic absorption, you can use the Digi Pen directly on the screen without the need for gloves. It’s as smooth as writing on paper, with no lagging or skips. And because it’s made with aluminum alloy material, it’s as sleek and comfortable to hold as an actual pencil, not too heavy or light.

A quick double-tap on the touch switch will turn the pen on and off. And it won’t cut off from accidental touches. The battery life is extremely impressive, too. A quick one-hour charge will give you up to 20 hours of design time. You’ll always be in the know when it comes to its power status as well, thanks to the convenient power indicator lights. 

The Digi Pen could definitely make your digital life easier — whether you’re drawing, painting, writing, sketching, editing, or gaming. And it's on sale for 59% off for a limited time. Grab one for just $39.99 (regularly $99) while this deal is live.

Prices subject to change.

White stylus front and side view next to tablet with colors on screen
Credit: Digi
Digi Pen for iPad & Tablets
$39.99 at the Mashable Shop

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 4:38 pm

The second-gen AirPods have dropped back down to $99 at Amazon

SAVE $59.01: As of Jan. 24, Apple's second-generation AirPods are on sale at Amazon for only $99. That's 37% off their suggested retail price of $159.99.

With no noise cancellation and a high price point, the AirPods 3 were one of Apple's more disappointing launches of 2021. On the bright side, their lackluster specs have made 2019's AirPods 2 a decidedly more compelling buy — they offer great sound and a decent battery life for way less money.

Speaking of, Amazon has those second-generation AirPods on sale for just $99 as of Jan. 24. (They usually retail for $159.99, so this is saving you a little under $60.) That isn't their lowest price ever, to be sure, but it's safer than waiting for the return of their $89 pre-Black Friday deal: Jeff Bezos has a really tough time keeping them in stock whenever they drop to that price.

SEE ALSO: Apple to launch absolute onslaught of gadgets in the fall, report claims

As a quick recap, the AirPods 2 pack an H1 chip for effortless pairing with other Apple devices, support hands-free "Hey Siri" voice controls, and come with a wired charging case that pushes their battery life over the 24-hour mark. Former Mashable tech reporter Ray Wong called them "the gold standard for wireless earbuds" upon their release and wound up giving them our Mashable's Choice Award — something we can't say about their successors, for what it's worth.

Amazon was the only retailer offering this $99 deal at the time of writing, by the way; Walmart and Target were selling them for $119.99 the last time we checked, while Best Buy had them listed for $129.99.

second-generation apple airpods with their charging case
Credit: Apple
Apple AirPods (2nd generation)
$99 on Amazon (save $59.01)

Explore related content:

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 4:38 pm

On Substack, COVID misinformation is allowed to flourish

Dr. Joseph Mercola, touted as "the pioneer of the anti-vaccine movement," gained fame during the pandemic for spreading COVID misinformation and offering alternative, false 'cures'. The osteopathic physician has landed official warnings from the FDA for his claims, which span various social media platforms, each with their own content policy regarding health misinformation. In 2021, Mercola found one platform less restrictive on censorship: Substack.

The email newsletter platform is home to a slew of independent writing, devoid of ad-driven screens, and sent directly to subscriber inboxes. While its community includes prominent journalists, writers, and historians such former New York Times op-ed staff editor and writer Bari Weiss, novelist Salman Rushdie, and American history professor Heather Cox Richardson, there is a burgeoning cluster of anti-vaxxers, white nationalists, and QAnon influencers finding the Substack ecosystem more lenient than others.

Of the current list of top paid political newsletters on Substack, former Times writer Alex Berenson and tech entrepreneur Steve Kirsch come in at sixth and nineteenth respectively, both known for spreading COVID misinformation. Berenson charges $6 per month for his newsletter, while Kirsch is asking for $5. Mercola is number 13, charging $5 per month. Substack takes 10 percent.

According to the Institute of Strategic Dialogue, a UK think tank centred around analysing extremism, these writers have found a home on Substack after being deplatformed elsewhere. Mercola cited this explicitly as his impetus for launching his newsletter, writing: "The reason I chose a paid membership platform on Substack is because it will protect all of my content from censorship."

Tweet may have been deleted

So, why has this type of content been allowed to thrive on Substack, even in the midst of an ever-rising tide of COVID misinformation in digital spaces? According to the Center for Countering Digital Hate, more than 59 million people were reached by 425 anti-vaxxer accounts tracked by the organization in 2020 on social media platforms.

The answer seemingly lies in Substack's self-proclaimed philosophy when it comes to censorship — the promotion of discourse, no matter what it may lead to. The company's content guidelines, last updated in November 2021, emphasises its primary principle: "To be a safe place for discussion and expression."

"We believe that critique and discussion of controversial issues are part of robust discourse, so we work to find a reasonable balance between these two priorities," reads the post.

SEE ALSO: Substack failed to register a URL. It allowed me to receive their private emails.

Substack has been increasingly favoured by writers who have been blocked in other online spaces. Conspiracy theorists, white nationalists, and QAnon influencers have long found a limitless home on Substack. For instance, Patrick Casey, the former leader of nationalist group Identity Evropa, has recently joined. White nationalist group Europa Invicta has been active on the platform since October 2021, writing in their first post, "Now we have complete access to and control over our ability to contact and engage with you, which means if Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or any other platform that disagrees with our message tries to shut us down we can still keep in touch with you." Substack also faced backlash over a growing collection of anti-trans writers who have been deplatformed elsewhere, which has seen a significant number of writers leaving Substack in protest.

White nationalists have found themselves to be losing sources of income online, increasingly, with other online spaces refusing to host them. Payment companies like Stripe, Paypal, and Square said they do not provide services to groups and individuals promoting hate and violence, following the Capitol insurrection in Jan. 2021. PayPal had cracked down on such groups following violence in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, banning payments or donations to anyone promoting "hate, violence, racial or other forms of intolerance." Domain registrar GoDaddy has also taken down websites by prominent white nationalists in the past, most notably removing Richard Spencer's site in 2018. With these blockades, uncensored outlets and income sources have been placed out of reach — save for Substack.

The insistence on the platform's support for "robust discourse" was reiterated in Substack's own newsletter. In December 2020, a lengthy post by Substack CEO Chris Best and co-founders Jairaj Sethi and Hamish McKenzie explained their ideology behind content moderation, arguing they "favor civil liberties, believe in democracy, and are against authoritarianism of all kinds." The post was prompted by an "increasing interest" at the time in their content moderation policies. Though the founders caveat Substack does not allow porn, doxxing, or harassment on the platform, the post affirms that Substack "will resist public pressure to suppress voices that loud objectors deem unacceptable."

"We just disagree with those who would seek to tightly constrain the bounds of acceptable discourse," the post reads. "We think the principles of free speech can not only survive the internet, but that they can help us survive as a society that now must live with all the good and bad that the internet brings."

Substack's founders add, "There will always be many writers on Substack with whom we strongly disagree, and we will err on the side of respecting their right to express themselves, and readers’ right to decide for themselves what to read."

When reached for comment last week, Substack told Mashable that the company's "goal is to provide a space where diverse ideas can thrive and where writers and readers are in charge." This also means that "being skeptical, controversial, or even wrong are not against [their] terms of service."

"It’s not against the rules to be disagreeable or wrong."
- Substack

"While we remove content that is illegal, calls for violence, doxxes someone, and other things you can see in our content guidelines, it’s not against the rules to be disagreeable or wrong," the statement reads. "This means erring on the side of free press and free expression, even for those we don’t endorse or agree with."

Substack's social media peers have taken somewhat bigger steps to suppress COVID misinformation content, though much of it has been seriously delayed or not enough. YouTube has a specific policy for COVID medical misinformation on its site, saying that it does "not allow" content that contradicts the health information provided by local health authorities or the World Health Organization. Twitter permanently banned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene recently, "for repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation policy." Spotify is under fire over podcaster Joe Rogan, whose podcast has been a constant source of misinformation through the pandemic, but in particular over an episode with Dr. Robert Malone, the latter of whom is known for spreading misinformation about the virus.

But on Substack, misinformation and free speech have seemingly been compounded. And there are no signs that the promotion of such discourse will be put to an end.

Related Video: TikTok doctors debunk the most viral COVID vaccine myths

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 4:35 pm

Save 78% on the powerful AquaSonic Black Series toothbrush

TL;DR: As of Jan. 24, the AquaSonic Black Series Toothbrush & Travel Case With 8 Dupont Brush Heads is on sale for $39.99 instead of $189 (that's 78% off).

Unless you’re a celebrity or influencer, you’re likely stuck with the same set of teeth your entire adult life. So, you should do whatever you can to keep them clean and healthy. One of the best ways to care for your pearly whites is by ditching your manual brush for an electric one.

There’s no need to drop an entire paycheck on a fancy shmancy brush you saw on Instagram. This popular sonic toothbrush claims to remove up to 10 times more plaque than a traditional brush, on sale for $39.99. 

The AquaSonic Black Series Toothbrush, which we’ve featured a few times, is currently on sale for 78% off. The high-end brush is ADA-approved and allows you to customize your brushing experience with four different modes: soft, whiten, massage, and cleaning. 

If you have sensitive gums, go with the soft mode; if you want to give your gums some love, go with the massage mode. Whiten mode helps to dissolve stains from all that coffee and wine, while cleaning mode is your basic sonic brushing experience. The 40,000 VPM motor blasts away everything in its path, from plaque to built-in stains. Plus, it’s clinically proven to improve your gum health in as little as one week.

Along with the AquaSonic Black Series brush, this deal also comes with a charging dock, travel case, and eight brush heads. Based on health recommendations, brush heads should be swapped out every 12 weeks or so, based on wear-and-tear on the bristles. So, eight brush heads should last you about two years, depending on which mode you’re using.

It typically costs $189 for the AquaSonic Black Toothbrush, along with the accessories. But you can save 78% for a limited time and improve your dental health for just $39.99.

Prices subject to change.

Black toothbrush set with 8 heads and case
Credit: AquaSonic
AquaSonic Black Series Toothbrush & Travel Case With 8 Dupont Brush Heads
$39.99 at the Mashable Shop

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 4:32 pm

Prep for in-demand CompTIA certifications with this $30 guide

TL;DR: As of Jan. 24, The 2022 CompTIA Secure Infrastructure Specialist Certification Course Bundle, valued at $1,180, is just $29.99.

In order to climb the ranks in the IT field, you first need a solid foundation. And many times, that means passing some critical exams.

The 2022 CompTIA Secure Infrastructure Specialist Certification Bundle packs the study guides you’ll need for three of the most in-demand core IT certification exams. And it’ll only cost you $29.99 for a limited time.

The courses in this bundle are led by the official CompTIA partner and top-rated organization, iCollege. Lessons are video-based and you’ll have access for life, so there’s no rush to make it through the nearly 200 hours of content. Take your time and sit for the exam only when you feel you've absorbed the information.

There are four courses included to help you with three distinct and essential CompTIA exams: A+, Network+, and Security+. The A+ exam certifies foundational IT skills across a variety of devices and operating systems. It’s basically the industry standard for launching an IT career. It also has the longest study guide, with 103 hours of content designed for beginners. You’ll learn basic IT infrastructure, troubleshooting, and networking, prove baseline cybersecurity skills, get to know concepts like IoT, cloud technologies, scripting, and lots more. The course comes with notes, quizzes, flashcards, and more to help you study.

The Network+ exam validates the technical skills utilized to develop a career in IT infrastructure. It covers troubleshooting, configuring, and managing networks, and the study guide is broken into two different courses. Meanwhile, the Security+ exam is a baseline cybersecurity certification that emphasizes hands-on practical skills. Both are the first certifications that are helpful to learn if you’re looking to focus on infrastructure or security (respectively).

A $1,180 value, you can get lifetime access to this core CompTIA certification study guide for just $29.99 for a limited time.

Prices subject to change.

Red comptia brand on blue background
Credit: iCollege
The 2022 CompTIA Secure Infrastructure Specialist Certification Course Bundle
$29.99 at the Mashable Shop

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 4:26 pm

'A Hero' intriguingly explores how no good deed goes unpunished

As the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished. Especially half-constructed ones.

Directed by Asghar Farhadi, A Hero is the latest from the Iranian director lauded for his Oscar-winning films A Separation and The Salesman. A moving portrait of social realism hinged around the idea of a "noble deed" and its brittle power to determine one's reputation, the film premiered in Cannes where it took home the Grand Prix. Produced by Amazon Studios, it's Iran's selection for Best International Feature at this year’s Oscars, and it just arrived on Prime Video.

Set in the city of Shiraz, Iran, the film centres around Rahim (Amir Jadidi), a calligrapher who's serving time in prison for not repaying his creditor. Receiving two-days leave to sort his affairs and figure out a way to stay free, he finds a glimmer of hope in a found bag of coins, formulating a plan with his girlfriend, Farkhondeh (Sahar Goldust). Instead of using the coins to settle his debts, he decides to return them to their owner. After which, he's publicly praised as a hero, rewarded for his honesty in favour of personal gain. But Rahim's constructed strategy comes with unexpected costs. As the tale unravels, more reputations than his are put on the line.

Sahar Goldust as Farkhondeh in "A Hero", holding the purse with the coins in it.
Sahar Goldust as Farkhondeh, holding the bag of coins that changes everything. Credit: Amir Hossein Shojaei

This idea of reputation lies at the heart of A Hero, the importance of one’s appearance as a "noble" person and its cultural currency — and how society builds heroes up just to tear them down. Rahim's intentions are by no means entirely pure, leaning into the sense of comfort (and possible freedom) that comes with being dubbed heroic, especially after shouldering the social stigma of spending time in prison. However, the film sets this examination of morality amid the unrelenting battlefront of debt and the chain of impact it has on people’s lives. While not as extreme as the likes of Squid Game, A Hero looks at the lengths to which people will go to pay their debts, backed into a corner with little choice. "Nothing is fair in this world," a taxi driver tells Rahim, and he's right.

SEE ALSO: 'Titane' is one of the most unsettling films of the year, making space for more than shock

As the events of the film unfold, reputations stand to be raised or crushed in an instant, whether Rahim's, his family, the charitable organization that publicly praises him, or the prison authorities who want to use him to smooth over the institution's bad press. Whether through TV or social media, characters know the power of releasing an unflattering or celebratory video to change someone’s reputation instantly. Soon enough, as prison official Salehi (Farrokh Nourbakht) correctly observes, "All our reputation is at stake."

Farhadi brings his signature style of social realism to A Hero, keeping cinematographer Ali Ghazi fixed on characters for long, lingering shots through various spaces. These spaces are filled with the sounds of the everyday grind: tinkering, crunching, driving, beeping, chatting, whirring. But what’s truly heroic about this film is the performances, each character intensely developed with their strengths and flaws, their motives and morals. The relationships between characters are given copious amounts of emotional space. The core bond between Rahim and his sister, Malileh (Maryam Shahdaei), and brother-in-law, Hossein (Alireza Jahandideh), and their children indicates years of love and patience. This makes Rahim dragging them into the chaos more painful for him and the audience. Malileh, Rahim’s deeply loving but no-nonsense sister, wants an end to both her brother’s struggles and social pressure imposed upon the family. Hossein, Rahim’s unwavering ally, drops everything to help negotiate a means for him to pay his debts, putting his own reputation, family, and finances on the line. 

Siavash (Saleh Karimaei) and Rahim (Amir Jadidi).
Siavash (Saleh Karimaei) and Rahim (Amir Jadidi). Credit: Amir Hossein Shojaei

As Rahim, Jadidi is simply exceptional, politely attempting to maintain control of his fragile plan with quiet determination against the odds, hoping to keep that slim window of freedom wedged open. Jadidi brings an awkward, gentle, shuffling physicality to the character, accepting his newfound fame with overt humbleness. Rahim uncomfortably wields his merit like the gold he returned, as it grants him freedom, conversations, and access. But not for long. Repaying the debt becomes less important to Rahim than his honour, his reputation, and so what begins as a simple plan to appear the hero slowly spirals into turmoil. His strained relationship with his son, Siavash (Saleh Karimaei), becomes the fulcrum of his motivations and the real measure of heroism.

However, Farhadi hasn't created a one-sided tale, instead expanding this notion with the character of Barahm (Mohsen Tanabandeh), Rahim's creditor and former family friend. In one respect, he singlehandedly stands in the way of Rahim's freedom. Yet his character is crucial to moving A Hero beyond one man’s quest to find public redemption, beyond ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ and whose ‘side’ we’re meant to be on. The director gives Bahram and his daughter Nazanin (the director’s daughter, Sarina Farhadi, who won the Silver Bear for her role in A Separation) more space to show a more nuanced depiction of the impact on Barahm and his family. "I've never dishonored anybody. Will I be given a certificate?" Barahm asks. "What noble deed did he do? What good did he do? I did good three years ago because I considered him family...Now he's a hero and me, who did so much for him, the bastard creditor?"

Barahm (Mohsen Tanabandeh), Siavash (Saleh Karimaei), and Rahim (Amir Jadidi) sitting beside each other.
Barahm (Mohsen Tanabandeh), Siavash (Saleh Karimaei), and Rahim (Amir Jadidi) Credit: Amir Hossein Shojaei

The situation rapidly becomes greater than the individual men involved, affecting their families and the broader community. Fereshteh Sadre Orafaiy brings another level of moral dilemma to the film as the head of the charity that assists Rahim. Meanwhile, Goldust is wonderful as Farkhondeh, whose unconditional love for Rahim and his “pure heart” sees her ready to find creative means to free him, however it may backfire.

Asghar Farhadi's film explores the idea of "noble" acts from multiple perspectives, examining the speed at which one's reputation can be elevated or thrown into disarray with one choice, and how these actions can have a ripple effect on those around us. With exceptional performances, lingering cinematography, and a stark realist soundscape, A Hero is worth holding out for.

A Hero is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 3:27 pm

Peloton backpedals on another TV show heart attack, and they’re not happy about it

Bike company Peloton has had a rough few weeks, between reports of a total halt on manufacturing and increasing prices. Meanwhile, the company has been fighting fires on another unlikely front, TV, appearing on the Sex and the City reboot And Just Like That... as the cause of death for a major character.

And now, it's happened again.

In the first episode of Season 6 of Billions, which aired on Sunday night, a central character in the high finance drama experiences a heart attack while using a Peloton. Mike "Wags'" Wagner, played by David Costabile, is seen making a trip to the hospital. The character ends up surviving, later even making a passing reference to Mr. Big's death in the Sex and the City reboot.

"I'm not going out like Mr. Big," Wagner tells his staff upon returning to the office. There's just too much to unpack there.

Peloton itself doesn't seem too pleased with this second portrayal of their product on a TV show. The company took to Twitter to express their concern, emphasising that they "did not agree" to their brand being used on Billions.

Tweet may have been deleted

Dara Treseder, Peloton's SVP, head of global marketing and communications, also tweeted about the bike's inclusion in the show, reiterating, "We did not provide #Billions with any equipment."

Tweet may have been deleted

In the case of And Just Like That, Peloton responded to the shocking storyline of Mr. Big's death, which saw him in a Peloton session minutes earlier, and even enlisted actual doctor to shift the blame to the character's fictional "extravagant lifestyle." The company then twisted the whole thing to their favor, jumping into action immediately after their product was related to Big's demise. After the episode, Peloton released a commercial featuring actor Chris Noth and Peloton instructor Jess King, with a voiceover from Ryan Reynolds pushing the point: "He's alive."

The viral ad was recalled by Peloton just days later, after Noth was accused of sexual assault.

SEE ALSO: Peloton awkwardly insists its bike didn't kill a 'Sex and the City' character

So, it hasn't been a great time for Peloton. The company has seen a dip in share prices (falling from $50 billion at its peak last year to about $8 billion today) and falling demand from consumers. The company has taken on activist investment firm Blackwells Capital, who are reportedly encouraging Peloton to fire CEO John Foley and sell to companies like Nike, Apple, Sony, or Disney.

This second TV reference is certainly not helping Peloton in the real world, though "Wags" did make it in the end. Time will tell if Peloton does.

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 3:04 pm

How obé inspired me to get back into my fitness routine

Hello, internet friends! I recently box-jumped so high at the opportunity to try out obé, a boutique-style live and on-demand fitness platform, as a way to get my workout game back on track.

Let’s give some backstory. You see, back in the day, I had my fitness routine running like clockwork. A mixture of long runs around Austin’s hike-and-bike trail, pilates classes during work lunches, and group fitness classes after work kept me busy and fit.

Then, just at the peak of my fitness routine game, I moved halfway across the country back to my hometown. Cue losing my clockwork fitness routine — and, when the pandemic hit, cue losing access to new fitness studios and gyms. 

Not only did I lose my fitness routine, I lost all motivation to regain one. I tried to get back in the game, but it felt like every time I took one step forward, I’d move two steps back. I’d sign up for races and start training, only to have them canceled. I’d try out (and love) a new studio, but the class times wouldn’t fit within my work schedule — or the classes were so intimidating, I was too scared to ever go back. 

Enter obé, the exact motivation train I needed to kickstart my new fitness routine. Trust me, you’ll never feel more proud of your #SweatySelfie. Here’s why: 

No excuses

Before I even took my first class, I was wowed by the daily live schedule and 7,000+ on-demand class options available to me. The class variety — HIIT, sculpt, dance, yoga, meditation, ride, and more — is next level. You name it, obé likely has it. What’s even better? You don’t have to join a million different studios or apps. And while the class options alone are enough to win me over, add in the additional filters like varying fitness levels, class lengths, or level of impact, and I’m sold. I also loved how easily it integrated with my calendar, so I could plan my workout week in minutes or jump into a live class when it worked with my schedule.

So let’s check those “it’s too hard” or “it doesn’t work with my schedule” excuses at the door, shall we?

woman squatting with weights in her hand
Credit: Anna Rash / Mashable Composite

It’s an open arms environment

Like I said, I’ve tried studios and fitness classes that can feel a bit intimidating, and it’s not a fun workout environment. obé has “Welcome Party” classes where instructors lead beginner-friendly workouts to new members — giving them a tour of the platform and an inside scoop on how to find the right classes for them. I found these to be great options for familiarizing myself on the platform and laying the foundation of my new routine. 

Plus, if you’re the type of person who thrives on structure or just getting started on your fitness journey – you go Glen Coco! – I encourage you to check out their training programs. Whether you’re trying to get stronger, leaner, or more flexible, these curated, progressive workouts make it easy to focus on the results you want and help you build a balanced workout routine. With options for strength, cardio, or yoga lovers, you’ll unlock classes as you advance through the program. 

selfie of a woman holding a 10pd weight in one hand
#SweatySelfie Credit: Anna Rash / Mashable Composite

Tough stuff

So, how were the actual classes? Let’s just say I earned my #SweatySelfie. For variety’s sake, I opted to try three classes — a 20-minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT), 28-minute sculpt, and 32-minute slow flow yoga. 

The HIIT class consisted of four four-minute rounds that ended with burpees, so need I say more? The sculpt class had my whole body shaking with five minutes of dedicated band work on each leg. I dare you to level up and grab the heaviest resistance band. The slow flow yin yoga on-demand was the perfect way to stretch out those sore muscles and release tension after a long week of work.

It should be no surprise that all of the obé instructors are rockstar athletes, with different certifications and class specializations to deliver you the best and most rewarding workout. But what makes it more fun is that they’re also Broadway actors, Rockettes dancers, stand-up comedians, and world-class entertainers. In other words, the instructors are encouraging, upbeat, and definitely empowered me to give it my all!

All in all, I’d say obé was just the ticket I needed to get my motivation back, for good. With over 7,000 classes to choose from, 20+ class types to try, and a community to keep me accountable, I’m ready to get back into my fitness routine once and for all. 

Join me and the obé fam by signing up for your free trial today.

obé fitness instructors posing together as a group
Credit: obé Fitness

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 1:09 pm

How to navigate dating when you have borderline personality disorder (BPD)

The last time I went on a date was long before the pandemic began. I've been on a "dating sabbatical" since 2018 and I feel pretty indifferent towards the idea of getting back out there. 

Although initially understanding, my friends, family, and therapist are now showing some light concern over my total ambivalence to relationships. At first, I told myself I needed to take a break to focus on myself, which was true. At age 26, my previously bustling sex life has now transitioned into sex once every couple of years. Lately, I’ve begun to accept that I’m not being independent, I'm hiding.

I don't blame it all on having borderline personality disorder (BPD) — a mental health condition characterised by unstable relationships with other people, unstable emotions, and an unstable sense of self.

All these features make it difficult to date, but I've invested a lot of time (and money) in recovery. For example, the countless hours of talk therapy I've spent learning to name and process my emotions in a healthier way. Initially, I may have judged the validity of emotion wheels (a colour-coordinated wheel with various adjectives of feelings to help you describe your emotional wellbeing). But after a few years in the process, I no longer feel "broken" by having the disorder. In truth, the only time I feel "sick" is when I'm dating. So, it's no wonder I find myself avoiding it completely out of fear of feeling symptomatic. 

BPD is one of the most stigmatised mental health disorders. As a result, some believe those with the disorder are unworthy of being loved. The emotional instability of those with BPD creates a vicious cycle whereby actions to cope with the burden of stigma exacerbate the condition. For example, some may isolate, neglect treatment, and skip their medication. But it doesn't have to come to this. There are strategies that can help people with BPD get the emotional attachments they deserve. These lessons can also be helpful to daters without the disorder should they enter a relationship with someone who has BPD. It can also help others more generally not to misperceive the disorder. After all, dating is currently a mess, so we could collectively use all the help we can get. 

Don't we all want to be loved? What makes BPD different? 

BPD is a very broad diagnosis that affects everyone differently. With 256 different symptom combinations, the most common include impulsivity, chronic emptiness, and trouble controlling emotions. It has been estimated that there is one in 100 people living with BPD in the UK, and two in 100 in the U.S., though the actual prevalence is thought to be much higher than these statistics. Overall, people with BPD are 50 times more likely to die by suicide than those who don't have the disorder. 

Many people with BPD are living happy and fulfilled lives, but there are undoubtedly people like myself who are still hesitant to relinquish control in the realm of relationships. After all, internal instability often leads to unstable relationships and what is more destabilising than dating?

Dating pre-diagnosis can be difficult

Zahra Navabi*, a 20-year-old student diagnosed with BPD around July 2020, has always struggled with her mental health, her perception of herself, and her relationship with her emotions. For her, depression and anxiety didn't explain the whole story. "I was feeling so much but pretending to feel so little," she says.

At the time, she was dating her best friend, who would ignore Navabi for days. They had their own mental health issues, but seeing them active on social media and interacting with others caused extreme distress. "I'd have physical chest pains and be immobilised by it," she says. On one of these occasions, she spent three days paralysed in bed, only to recover by emotionally detaching completely. In Navabi's case, rather than engaging with her feelings, she disconnected from them entirely and intellectualised her emotions instead. This devaluation moved their ex from being on a pedestal to becoming irrelevant; from here, they were able to "recover".  Through discussions with friends and her therapist, she realised the intensity of her emotions wasn't standard, and she was diagnosed soon after. 

SEE ALSO: How to separate romantic rejection from your self-worth

Though this emotional volatility can be scary, allowing yourself to be present in the emotions is the best way to get through it, says Dr. Leslie Secrest, medical director and psychiatrist at Burning Tree Ranch, a rehab facility and mental health centre.

Don't 'force a fit' 

During his 40 years of practising psychiatry, Secrest has seen some people overlook reflecting on how a potential partner's personality dynamics complements theirs. In these instances, people fight to create a relationship while ignoring incompatibility signs. To illustrate this, he uses an analogy of going shoe shopping. "You may have a perfectly good foot and you see that perfectly good shoe. But if it doesn't fit, you have to acknowledge that," he says. The lack of a "fit" doesn't indicate any deficiencies of either party but rather a fact of life — that you aren't right for one another. 

This particularly hits home for me. I have a long history of believing that feelings are enough. In my head, compatibility didn't matter, and I thought desire was enough to make the relationship work. In truth, relationships are much more complicated than that. The temptation to pathologise your own feelings is something people with BPD live with. There were moments when Navabi doubted her entitlement to certain boundaries, like anger towards the lack of communication in her previous relationship. "Because of the existing stereotypes, if something hurt me, I would go 'oh, it's probably just the BPD' instead," she tells me. 

Look out for warning signs of co-dependent and abusive relationships 

Another documented trend in relationships is how those with BPD and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) tend to find each other. Although many people tend to think these conditions are the same, they are opposites due to their characteristics and traits.

People with BPD can see those with NPD representing everything they are not — being with them validates their character and self-esteem. In comparison, those with NPD receive continuing validation and attention, which provides constant affirmation of their idealised sense of self. In short, those with NPD want continuous affirmation of their self-esteem, whereas those with BPD want continuous reassurance that they are loved. From this dynamic, intense and quick attachments form, which is why this pairing can lead to the reinforcement of a distorted world view and create a highly addictive cycle of abuse — complementing each other "for better and worse."

Koe Aziz-Kamara, a 22-year-old student, experienced this dynamic in her last major relationship. While her partner at the time wasn't diagnosed with NPD until later, Aziz-Kamara reflects on how co-dependent the relationship was. "Codependency is really the drug of those with BPD," she says. 

Take things slow

Since then, Aziz-Kamara has been dating with more care and intention. She no longer relies on romantic partners in her lowest emotional ebbs. Through this, she avoids trauma bonding — an emotional attachment developed from repeating cycles of abuse, devaluation, and positive reinforcement. Instead, she has continued to invest in her friendships and goes to these people when in need. 

This means she can get to know romantic partners while taking things slow. In her experience, she did this by taking a three-month vow of celibacy to ensure the intentional building of a relationship. While not for everyone, if others want to give her tactic a try, she advises them to be honest and upfront with their intentions and to remember that other people's possible romantic disinterest or rejection will likely be for the best in the long run. "I now know what my boundaries are and what bad relationships look like," she says. 

Don’t overthink it

Navabi believes her latest relationship success was partly due to not overthinking it. "You have to take evidence, not feelings," she says. Stopping herself from second-guessing other people's intentions has allowed her more freedom within the relationship. "We have such a massive capacity for overthinking, to the point where these thoughts appear valid," she says. While some of these negative thoughts may be valid due to our experiences, this shouldn't justify never having healthy and fulfilling relationships.

"Emotions are assets, not liabilities."

At the same time, this shouldn’t be read as an instruction to underthink. Checking in with yourself while getting to know someone — as well as during more established relationships — is crucial. Secrest reminds people of the importance of trusting while constantly verifying that their energy and love is being received and treated respectfully. "Usually people think that 'if I trust, I don't have to verify' but relationships are dynamic and always changing," he says.

If you find yourself forcing a fit with someone, he recommends really paying attention to the emotions you feel in the moment. "Acknowledging and reflecting on what the emotions are trying to get your mind to focus on and become aware of can give you an opportunity to work things through," he says. After all, many of us with BPD run away from our feelings due to their intensity, but usually, this can make things worse. "Emotions are assets, not liabilities," he concludes.

Learn to embrace the fear

Relationship expert Callisto Adams says fear is the biggest obstacle for her clients. She believes part of the solution is in acknowledging that dating isn't easy in general. After you've done this, she advises people to "engage in activities that help you release negative thoughts," she adds. "Pay attention to your coping mechanisms, but also your defence mechanisms too." These, she tells me, will help you stay grounded in the present.

For example, I have a habit of internalising and avoiding my emotions. When this happens, I disengage from the situation completely. For dating, this is impractical as it can lead to a lack of communication. These days, when I feel this way, I use my emotion wheel to name my experience. Once I've done that, I make myself aware of why I am feeling this way; doing so helps ground me and it's been an effective self-soothing method. It helps me notice what's true right now versus what you're afraid might happen in the future. Should I date and get negative thoughts, I know to use this method to cope. 

Unlike me, Navabi has had a healthy dating history since being diagnosed in July 2020 and has been using any negative experiences to inform her next steps. "My desire for companionship overcame my fears around dating successfully," she says.

Decide when you’re comfortable talking about BPD 

Aziz-Kamara doesn't rush disclosing her diagnosis at the start of a new relationship and explains how not sharing it allows for her protection. "It is a big part of me, and it's shaped me. But I don't think it needs to be at the centre of who I am," she says. In addition, previously, she revealed it to someone who shifted their behaviour and began to infantilise her. 

Navabi echoes Aziz-Kamara's sentiment on revealing her diagnosis. She "soft launches" it by disclosing general mental health issues with no specifics. As for whether she thinks this is hiding, she disagrees, saying: "If I tell you on the fourth date, the versions of me you have experienced on dates one to three are still me with BPD," she adds. "It's not like I've removed it from myself!"

"It is a big part of me, and it's shaped me. But I don't think it needs to be at the centre of who I am."

Curious, I probe Secrest on his thoughts around people without BPD dating those with the disorder. "The category of BPD often is treated as absolute when we don't know everything there is to know about the disorder," he tells me. As previously mentioned, the diagnosis comes from a collection of symptoms, but one symptom is focused on more than another in these discussions. 

For people living with BPD, the assumption that we are "manipulative" and "dangerous" is particularly damaging, not to mention inaccurate. "This really misses the focus on how two people (or more) relate to one another, and the patience it takes to form a relationship," Secrest says. He explains how the effort needed to make relationships work is not (and should not be) dependent on the labels attached to an individual's personal experience. "It only comes down to what it is that allows a relationship to fit," he adds. "It's the willingness to be honest and patient with each other that's important."

Invest in your friendships

Even though I have been avoiding romantic relationships, I’ve been putting more effort into my platonic ones. These friendships have made me reflect on how I previously used to approach relationships. Rather than choosing people who complemented me, I chose people based purely on infatuation. Though I wish I'd communicated my needs and expectations more, I can see many of these relationships lacked substance and would have never lasted long term. These friendships have also allowed me to remember that I'm not a burden for simply existing. As Navabi tells me, "Being in a healthy relationship — whether platonic or romantic — with someone can be very healing."

Though everyone deserves to experience love, the pursuit can seem terrifying with a condition like BPD. However, there is hope. Aziz-Kamara calls for those without BPD to remember, "Our capacity to feel can lead to a lot of hurt, but it also means we have an incredible potential to love and be your person."

SEE ALSO: The myth of realising you're queer 'too late' in life

Those with BPD will undoubtedly make mistakes along the way, but this is not a characteristic of the disorder. As Secrest explains, we might use the label of BPD like it's precise, but in reality, our experiences are dynamic. Through this exploration, I've been reminded of just how lucky the people are who encounter even a fraction of what we can give. I still may not trust other people, but at least I have the tools (and trust in myself) to learn and improve. Like the rest of the world, those with BPD are not perfect. But we must all remember, our capacity for love runs just as deeply as our desire to be loved. 

*names have been changed upon request

If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, Crisis Text Line provides free, confidential support 24/7. Text CRISIS to 741741 to be connected to a crisis counselor. Contact the NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET, or email [email protected] You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Here is a list of international resources.

Related Video: Should dating apps have non-monogamy filters?

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 12:14 pm

All the best sex toys for women

If Instagram is to be believed, then self care for women basically amounts to face masks and daily affirmation apps. Hot take: Sex toys are the ultimate self-care purchase.

Orgasms release oxytocin, the anti-stress hormone that gets you warm and fuzzy when cuddling, while dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates sleep, also makes an appearance. It stands to reason, then, that "I need to get laid" is a thing that actually makes sense to say when you're having a rough week.

Sex toys allow you to give yourself that needed boost whenever you damn well please, and it's empowering to not have to rely on someone else (though toys are great for spicing things up with a partner, too). Getting to know your body is also key in developing a positive relationship with yourself — the most important relationship you'll ever have.

What is the best sex toy for women?

Not all sex toys are made equally: Your favourite could be an oral sex simulator or clitoral stimulation via sonic waves, or maybe something else entirely. Whatever your preference, there's so much more available to you than those £10 highstreet vibrators.

We've checked out everything on offer, and lined up a selection of sex toys for just about everyone.

These are the best sex toys for women in 2022.

Note: For the purpose of this article, we are looking primarily at toys that are intended for use by people who are assigned female at birth, which means they are recommended with the same enthusiasm for anyone with a vagina regardless of gender identity.

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 11:58 am

Man dives head-first into a flying swim cap in glorious slow motion

After two long years, Dan has finally returned to The Slow Mo Guys — and he's picked up exactly where he left off.

Ever the half of the YouTube duo to get stuck into new experiments, Dan's first stunt back was to attempt to put on a swim cap in mid-air by diving into it head-first. Needless to say, it took him more than a few attempts — but his friend and partner Gav was right there behind the camera to capture all of them in extreme slow motion.

Will the technique ever catch on at an Olympic level? Probably not. But it certainly makes for an entertaining 12 minutes of viewing.

Want more?

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 10:36 am

Apple to launch absolute onslaught of gadgets in the fall, report claims

Apple is planning for a very eventful fall this year.

In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman lists all the gadgets he thinks Apple will launch this fall, and the list is long.

"I'm told that Apple is readying the widest array of new hardware products in its history this fall," he wrote. "My back-of-the-envelope list includes four new iPhones, a low-end MacBook Pro, an updated iMac, the new Mac Pro, a revamped MacBook Air, an AirPods Pro upgrade, three Apple Watches, a low-end iPad, and iPad Pros." 

Some of these devices, such as the iPhone, are typically launched every year in the fall, so there's no surprise there. But just the sheer number of new Apple gadgets we'll see this fall — if Gurman is correct — makes my wallet shudder with anticipation.

SEE ALSO: Apple decides against hassling students and teachers over discounts (for now)

And while that sounds like there's nothing left to be launched in the rest of the year, think again. Gurman says Apple is likely to have a March or April event, where it will likely launch a new iPhone SE and (possibly) a new iPad Air. According to Gurman, the iPhone SE will have a similar design as last year's model, but with a faster processor and 5G support. As for the iPad Air, Gurman says it'll probably get the A15 chip, the same chip that powers the iPhone 13.

Nine new iPads recently surfaced in regulatory filings in Russia, which could mean that Apple plans to launch more than just an iPad Air update in the spring, but Gurman thinks the iPad Pro is more likely to arrive in the fall. Finally, the Mac mini and iMac could also get an update (featuring Apple's new M1 Pro chip) in the spring.

Related Video: How online reviews came to rule our lives

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 10:02 am

Australia's new online safety laws could force social platforms to take down abusive posts

Australian adults can now tattle to the government if they're being bullied on social media.

New laws allow Australia's eSafety Commissioner to compel platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to remove "cyber‑abuse material" within 24 hours, or face a hefty fine. It's a second avenue of recourse for those dissatisfied with the platforms' moderation policies.

Described by government officials as a "world first cyber-abuse take-down scheme to protect adults," the amendments to Australia's Online Safety Act came into effect on Sunday after being passed by the Australian Senate last June. Under this new legislation, the eSafety Commissioner can issue a removal notice to a platform if they don't take down a post within 48 hours of receiving a complaint about it.

This doesn't mean Aussies can run to the government about every single tweet they find objectionable, though. The offending posts must be "menacing, harassing or offensive," as well as likely intended to cause "serious harm to a particular Australian adult." This means that mere hurt feelings won't suffice, and that posts targeting characteristics such as race or gender won't fall under this law. 

The eSafety Commissioner noted the criteria for determining what falls under "cyber‑abuse material targeted at the Australian adult" has intentionally been set high "to ensure it does not stifle freedom of speech."

SEE ALSO: Instagram will now show suspected hate speech lower in your Feed

"These new laws…. place Australia at the international forefront in the fight against online abuse and harm – providing additional protections for Australians in the fight against online harms through our approach of prevention, protection, and proactive change in the online space," said eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant.

If a company refuses a request to take down a post, they may be fined up to $AU555,000. If they repeatedly refuse, the consequences can be more severe.

"Under these new laws, if websites or apps systematically ignore take down notices from eSafety for this type of content, they could see their sites delinked from search engines or their apps removed from app stores," said Australian minister Paul Fletcher's office in a media release last December.

When reached for comment, Facebook and Instagram's parent company Meta indicated an intention to cooperate with the Australian government under the new laws.

"We have rules in place to help keep our communities safe, like removing harmful and hateful content from our platforms," Mia Garlick, Director of Public Policy at Meta Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands, told Mashable. "In addition to our own policies and tools, we’ve supported the introduction of online safety regulation, including Australia’s Online Safety Act. We have a long track record of a productive working relationship with the eSafety Commissioner, and we’ll continue to work constructively with her Office on important safety matters."

Twitter also shared this sentiment.

"Twitter remains focused on helping people feel safe, secure, and empowered to participate in the public conversation every day," said Kara Hinesley, Public Policy Director for Twitter Australia and New Zealand. "To reiterate - abuse and harassment have no place on our service. We have clear policies in place that address threats of abuse and harassment, and hateful conduct, and continue to take enforcement action when we identify any accounts that violate our rules. We will continue to work with the eSafety Commissioner and industry partners to address online safety towards a better, safer and open Internet."

"The internet has brought immense advantages, but also new risks, and Australians rightly expect the big tech companies to do more to make their products safer for users," Fletcher said on Sunday.

UPDATE: Jan. 24, 2022, 6:52 p.m. This article has been updated with comment from Meta.

UPDATE: Jan. 25, 2022, 11:26 p.m. AEDT This article has been updated with comment from Twitter.

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 6:48 am

Save 84% on comprehensive digital privacy with CyberGhost VPN

SAVE 84%: CyberGhost VPN is one of the most comprehensive cybersecurity services on offer. A three-year subscription to CyberGhost VPN is on sale for £1.59 per month with an extra three months for free — save 84% for a limited time.

It is so tricky to find the best VPN for you and your lifestyle, because each service is so different. Some providers are all about powerful online encryption, whilst others focus on bypassing the geo-restrictions of top streaming sites. If you are looking for a bit of everything, CyberGhost VPN is one of the most comprehensive services in the VPN market.

CyberGhost VPN can reliably bypass even the toughest of geo-restrictions to access extra shows and movies from popular streaming sites like Netflix and Disney+. Users can also connect seven devices simultaneously with a single subscription, meaning you can securely stream on all your devices at the same time.

CyberGhost VPN is also tough with online threats, with best-in-class VPN protocols and encryption standards keeping users safe from hackers and snoopers even on unsecured WiFi networks. The online world is a dangerous place, but it gets a whole lot safer with a service like CyberGhost VPN.

A three-year subscription to CyberGhost VPN is on sale for £1.59 per month, saving you 84% on list price. This plan comes with an extra three months for free, and is fully refundable for 45 days. We know that a three-year commitment is not easy to make, but the guarantee should provide a little reassurance.

Secure the best deal on CyberGhost VPN.

CyberGhost VPN logo
Credit: CyberGhost VPN
CyberGhost VPN (3-Year Subscription + 3 Months Free)
£1.59 per month at CyberGhost VPN

Posted on 24 January 2022 | 4:55 am

'A Discovery of Witches' is terrible and I love it

I have so many gripes with the fantasy series A Discovery of Witches and yet the squeal of delight I emitted when I saw that its third season had premiered in January could have shattered glass.

The series is the TV adaptation of the All Souls Trilogy by historian-turned-fantasy-novelist Deborah Harkness. Season 3, which premiered January 8, finds protagonists Diana Bishop (a witch played by Teresa Palmer) and Matthew Clairmont (a vampire played by Matthew Goode) back from ye olden times ready to find and repair a missing manuscript, defeat their bigoted enemies who aren't down with inter-species love, find a cure for a catastrophic vampire illness, and safeguard the future for their babies.

Thanks to Harkness' academic pedigree, the books and show adaptation have an incredibly nerdy appeal: The event that starts the supernatural drama is the protagonist checking a book out of the Bodleian library in Oxford. Said protagonist, Diana Bishop, is a historian of science/Witch-in-denial doing a visiting professorship at Oxford. Her forbidden love interest is of course rich and handsome vampire Matthew Clairmont who has most recently been using his eternal life to publish a bunch of scientific papers.

Anybody got a fan handy?!

While the books are no great works of Literature, the trilogy is a page-turner I giddily devoured because being in a world of witches, vampires, demons, and secrets was just plain fun. The mystery and (duh) romance, and the academic setting with many, many references to actual historical figures and events that play into the plot, made the series catnip for bookish millennials like me. In book two, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to Elizabethan London and you can just tell that Harkness is playing out a personal fantasy of being plopped into this time of creativity and discovery.

That's all to say that the series has rich if wonky source material to work with. Which is part of what makes it great and terrible at the same time. Delightfully dorky details from the books sometimes get sacrificed for plot momentum, detracting from the playful magic that propels the books. Instead, the series sets a very dramatic tone that often just fails to captivate.

Sadly, a big part of that falling flat comes down to our heroes, Diana Bishop (played by Teresa Palmer) and Matthew Clairmont (played by Matthew Goode). Right off the bat, I had a hard time believing that Palmer was the prodigious scholar who was already a tenured professor at Yale and visiting lecturer at Oxford when she first played the role at the age of 31 in 2018.

I mean, the math of stacking up this resume after a 5-8 year PhD program makes sense if this gal really took zero time between college and grad school, and then got immediately snapped up by Yale because she was just so brilliant. But… I mean…. I always envisioned Diana from the books as a bit older and less, um, Hollywood beautiful than Palmer. Bookish brunettes should be able to have vampire lovers, too! But, television casting of female leads, what can ya do.

Then there's Goode as 1,000-plus year old vampire Matthew. Despite lacking a jawline, Goode is undeniably charming in most everything he does. This was true in Season 1, when Matthew and Diana were flirting and courting. Their chemistry at this point was pretty fun! And a certain boathouse scene was steamy in multiple senses of the word (there was sexual tension, and it was really cold out).

But as the relationship progressed, there became so much less playfulness. Matthew's intriguing, devilish aloofness has given way to mumbly, bulgy-eyed intensity that is just pretty GAH. Calm down, Matt! Drink some blood and give Diana an orgasm, everything will be OK.

Basically, the chemistry between the leads has completely broken down, and it's just made their relationship a somewhat laughable and therefore shaky foundation for the whole damn show. Everything is so SERIOUS all the time!

I mean, we can't blame them. With a deranged and violent vampire on the loose, the governing body of witches, vampires, and demons breathing down their necks for their forbidden love, the fate of all creatures resting on their shoulders, and TWINS on the way, Diana and Matt are under a lot of pressure! But for some reason that means every conversation between these two takes place at either a yell or a world-weary whisper. Despite having a hot vampy husband and truly badass powers, Diana has basically become the Titanic "It's been 84 years…" meme.

AND YET! I love it. Yes, this is partly because I'm a fan of the books, so it's just a treat to see them play out on screen. I absolutely want to spend an hour per week descending into a world in which vampires are sophisticated academics, witches are slightly quirky matriarchs, and demons are the creative geniuses that enrich us all. This world rocks.

At the heart of it all is the mystery surrounding a centuries-old manuscript about alchemy that's been hibernating in a library?! That connects supernatural beings across the centuries and the disciplines of literature and science?? Be still my little nerd heart, you had me at "The Bodleian." 

Tweet may have been deleted

The show also adds to the books with the charm of its side characters. Give me more of vampire and former American Revolutionary War medic Marcus (Edward Bluemel) with his charismatic human girlfriend, auction house art expert Phoebe Taylor (Adelle Leonce), for goodness sake! The show lets us actually get to know badass Finnish witch Satu (Malin Buska), instead of just having her be an evil enemy like she is in the books.

Some of the modern details and side plots keep the show fresh, too. A Reddit-like forum for troubled demons to connect with each other is a smart answer to the plotline of increasing mental illness for the creative creatures. A whole high-tech lab dedicated to sequencing vampire, witch, and demon DNA to find out what makes creatures have powers is intriguing. And when ancient vampire Matthew drives off in his elegant Tesla? I die.

This mashup of the supernatural with the modern and academic worlds is enough to keep me watching for the show's third and final season, even if the acting is mostly terrible and the plot is all A Bit Much. I'm rooting for you, Matt and Diana!

You can find A Discovery of Witches on AMC+ or on Amazon by subscribing to SundanceNow or Shudder.

Posted on 23 January 2022 | 10:58 pm

NASA captures the explosive moment a brilliant solar flare fired out of the sun

On Jan. 20, NASA spied an explosion more than 90 million miles from home.

The massive shimmering ball of plasma at the heart of our solar system (aka the sun) let loose a solar flare on Thursday, and NASA's sun-observing Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the moment. And now, a pair of freshly released GIFs — technically, one is just a zoomed-in version of the main one — highlight the eye-popping burst of energy.

Here's the full image. Even zoomed out, the solar flare is very hard to miss. Just watch the right side of the image; you'll know it when you see it.

Via Giphy

And here's the zoomed-in view of the same moment.

Via Giphy

NASA calls this a "mid-level" flare, with an M5.5 classification which speaks to the strength of the space weather event in the context of its impact on Earth. See, solar flares like this are essentially a massive release of electromagnetic radiation. When an outburst occurs, that radiation spreads out across our solar system at the speed of light. And when it's powerful enough, the burst of energy can directly influence radio waves, electronics, and other Earth-based technologies (specific impacts depend on the amount and type of energy that gets released).

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) "space weather scale" has this solar flare event at the second-lowest measure. A "moderate" radio blackout event, which is what this was with its M5 classification, has the potential to black out high-frequency radio communications "for tens of minutes" on Earth's sunlit side after solar flare occurs. It can also mess with low-frequency navigation signals — that's not your typical smartphone GPS (or most modern navigational technology), to be clear — for a similar amount of time.

Even if you know nothing about any of the underlying science, it's still plenty cool to look at these images of our distant sun and see a visible eruption of energy. But if you do want to learn more, is a great place to start.

Related Video: How the powerful Webb telescope will peer 13 billion years back in time

Posted on 23 January 2022 | 8:57 pm

Maybe 'The Book of Boba Fett' is about Tusken reparations

In the Star Wars film trilogies, Tusken Raiders are cartoon native villains.

They're identified as one of the native sentient species of Tatooine who first appear in A New Hope, where they attack Luke Skywalker for no reason until Obi-Wan scares them away with dragon noises. In Attack of the Clones they raid the Lars farm, kill Shmi Skywalker, and experience a little Dark Side genocide at the hands of Anakin Skywalker, and that's pretty much it.

They're faceless indigenous stereotypes, introduced as senselessly violent. While not deserving of Anakin's slaughter, they're considered disposable enough for a Galactic senator — Luke and Leia's mom! — to have zero problems marrying a guy who admits to killing "every single one of them…the women and children too."

Season 2 of The Mandalorian reintroduced the Tusken Raiders with a little more humanity. For the first time, they communicate cross-species with sign language and are shown to coordinate with Tatooine settlers to take down a Krayt dragon. They also have a more specific and understandable role in Tatooine's cultural history as an indigenous people fighting off colonizers who steal the planet's resources.

Paramount among those resources is water, which puts the Tusken raid on the Lars moisture farm into an awkward new context. The Book of Boba Fett continues the narrative of Tusken oppression by having Boba lead them a pyrrhic victory against the supply trains that run through their land before they get slaughtered again.

Boba's time with the Tuskens ties into their original role as Western "savage" stand-ins. The Hollywood trope wherein a lone outsider is captured by a maligned indigenous group before proving himself worthy of tribal acceptance has been done hundreds of times in modern storytelling — Dances With Wolves, Fern Gully, Avatar, Lawrence of Arabia, you name it — and it's historically associated with white savior nonsense that should have stayed in the 20th century.

The Hollywood trope wherein a lone outsider is captured by a maligned indigenous group before proving himself worthy of tribal acceptance has been done hundreds of times in modern storytelling.

Even though the original Star Wars (and many of its predecessor projects) are heavily influenced by traditional Westerns, repeating that particular pattern with Boba Fett and the Tusken Raiders is either a huge red flag or a signal that The Book of Boba Fett is laying some groundwork for a further subversion of the trope. 

The looming question behind all of The Book of Boba Fett is simple: Why did Boba Fett want to take over Jabba/Bib Fortuna's crime syndicate? Episode 4, which takes place long after the Boba's Tusken allies were murdered, offers the thin answer that he's "tired of working for idiots who are going to get me killed."

That seems reasonable, except for the fact that there are a million jobs between "bounty hunter" and "Space Godfather" that don't involve working for idiots. Taking over a criminal operation's turf is a huge undertaking, and so is going to war with the Pyke syndicate over a territory that didn't have to be Boba's problem in the first place. 

In his Episode 4 flashback, Boba's first order of business after getting his ship back is raining hell from the sky upon the bike gangs that terrorized his Tusken allies. Revenge is clearly something Boba Fett is comfortable with, but taking out one gang isn't exactly tit-for-tat with the centuries of Tatooine colonization that made the Tuskens vulnerable to multiple genocides in the first place. What if Boba Fett's desire to take power on Tatooine and take down the Pyke Syndicate isn't necessarily for the good of the planet, but a further step in a plan to reshape Tatooine for the people who've been fighting planetary outsiders for generations? 

A still from "The Book of Boba Fett" featuring Boba Fett, sans armor and facing away from the camera, as he talks to a group of robed and masked Tusken Raiders.
Credit: Lucasfilm, Ltd.

Through the Book of Boba Fett, Boba has been shown to reject most of the trappings of gatra leadership ("gatra" is Star Wars' way of saying "a gang's turf") in favor of an unadorned path towards war. It's almost like he doesn't want to be seen as having any specific claim to the territory and is working on a longer game — perhaps a game where he cleans up colonizing forces on Tatooine and hands the power to someone else when he's done. Someone or a group of someones, who had a claim on the land from back when Tatooine was an ocean. 

This isn't to say that The Book of Boba Fett is going to rewrite Star Wars history and make Tusken Raiders a force for good in the galaxy. Cultural relativism aside, murder and raiding is unanimously bad and it's clear that some Tusken offshoot clans shouldn't be left in charge of an Arby's, let alone a planet. It's also clear that Star Wars is a universe where people blow up planets every other movie or so, grow human children in a lab to use as cannon fodder, and put a collection of sex-starved wizards in charge of galactic peacekeeping.

Just saying, the Tuskens didn't do anything Kylo Ren didn't, and even he got a redemption arc. 

It is possible that The Book of Boba Fett is willing to make a statement about the gray areas between colonization and retaliatory violence, as well as the moral imperative to repatriate ancestral ownership and avoid perpetuating indigenous narrative stereotyping. That, or Boba Fett has secretly been jonesing after Jabba's throne for years and just kind of wants it. Either way, the next few episodes of The Book of Boba Fett will be crucial to finding out just how far Star Wars is willing to break away from the original trilogy's Western roots. 

The Book of Boba Fett is streaming on Disney+.

Posted on 23 January 2022 | 8:20 pm

Biometric dog collars claim to track your dog’s vitals. But are they fur real?

What do smart home devices, activity trackers, and now biometric wearables have in common? They're gadgets for your dog.

Following the rise of human wearables that track cardiovascular and respiratory health, several companies are suddenly promising the same in canine form. 

Three products all slated for release this year are all making similar claims, based on similar apparent breakthroughs. Using various forms of contactless sensors, these devices monitor heart rate (two also monitor respiratory rate), meaning they can theoretically infer a dog's emotional state, or help detect heart conditions. Current smart devices for pets already come with built-in GPS and activity tracking, but the health monitoring aspect is new. Measuring a dog's vitals with accuracy and ease has been a tricky problem. That's why some experts are wary of the new claims. 

Adapting this technology for dogs comes with unique challenges. Sensors in devices like Fitbit or Apple Watch (ECG and PPG) require skin contact to get an accurate reading. Since most people probably aren't about to shave their furry friends just to strap on a doggy Fitbit, these technologies have historically been a nonstarter.

That leaves contactless sensors like radar and acoustic technology, but those come with their own challenges. Translating radar signals into a coherent health metric is complicated. Acoustic signals require filtering out extraneous sound.

"We don't have an electronics problem, we have a materials problem," said Dr. Firat Guder who is principal investigator and chief engineer of his own research group in the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London. Simply put, it's not the tech, it's the application.

But several companies using contactless sensors say they've cracked it. French company Invoxia has developed a smart collar embedded with mini radar motion sensors that emit radio waves to detect subtle changes. An old technology that was just recently miniaturized, it's the same technology used for movement recognition in Google's Pixel 4. But instead of recognizing hand gestures, it's tiny movements under the fur. 

Image of sitting dog wearing a yellow Invoxia collar looking up at the camera.
The Invoxia uses miniaturized radar sensors to measure heart rate and respiratory rate. Credit: Invoxia

"No matter the type of fur we will still be able to detect the movement of the skin and the speed of the movement," said Amelie Caudron, CEO of Invoxia. "And from that, with some post processing, we're able to extract the heart rate and the breathing rate." Caudron says they filter out extraneous movements using their patented AI technology. Currently, Invoxia is conducting a clinical validation study with a third party that Caudron declined to disclose. 

In Taiwan at the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), Dr. Hong-Dun Lin is using doppler radar technology for their iPetWeaR collar. In a product test involving a small sample of 17 dogs and cats at the ​​​​Hsinchu City Animal Protection and Health Inspection Office, heart rate was measured by iPetWeaR and compared to ECG measurements. At 98 percent accuracy, the small, informal experiment showed promise. Lin, who has a PhD in electrical engineering said they are also testing iPetWeaR in collaboration with veterinarians at University of Taiwan and Chen Animal Hospital.

Instead of radar technology, Japanese company Langless uses acoustic sensors for a harness that claims to also detect your dog's mood. The harness, called Inupathy, has a tiny microphone that records your dog's heart rate and uses HRV analysis to supposedly measure your dog's emotional state. HRV, which is also used in smartwatches like Apple Watch, is an indicator of how your body adapts to various environments. 

Like iPetWeaR, Joji Yamaguchi, founder and CTO of Inupathy said they compared its microphone system with an ECG monitor and achieved 90 percent accuracy. Yamaguchi, who has a background in system engineering, said they've developed Inupathy with veterinarians and dog trainers, and have tested it on hundreds of dogs. Yamaguchi also said that their data is being used for research at universities and laboratories in Japan. 

But until Guder sees the data, he says he remains unconvinced because he hasn't seen any breakthroughs in the last two years that would indicate the existing challenges have been resolved. "The question is, what critical issues did these companies solve that could not be solved for a really long time?" He wrote in an email. "In other words, why now and not two years ago or five? Did whatever that led to their invention emerge recently?"

Image of dog running towards the camera wearing iPetWeaR smart collar
iPetWeaR measures heart rate and respiratory rate using Doppler radar. Credit: iPetWeaR

Guder, who is also an associate professor of bioengineering at Imperial College London, has been conducting research and development for sensor technology for humans and dogs for six years. It's a niche area of study and he knows the landscape well. "As far as we know, these are really difficult problems. And if somebody solves it, it will be hard to convince people without showing the data." 

In response to the skepticism, Caudron sounds confident about Invoxia's product, and its proof of efficacy. "That's quite interesting," she said. "Because we do have results, and we do have this data on several types of furs and several types of dogs, etc. But let's wait for the clinical validation, and then we can talk to them."

Contactless motion detection is new, but Caudron says it is already being used in devices like Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen) to measure breathing. On the same note, Lin's original idea was to use this technology for humans (fall detection, sleep evaluation, etc.) but pivoted when he realized its potential application for pets. 

Like Guder, veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward looks forward to seeing the validation studies, but remains "scientifically skeptical" until then. "I'm still really skeptical until you actually see it, because it's one thing to say 'I can fly' and another thing to actually see me fly."

Ward, who includes evolving pet technology as one of his areas of focus, wants to see robust validation for such claims; that the product is "repeatable, accurate and demonstrable." In a follow-up email, he wrote, "The tech is sound, but it's the application and results that matter." 

Image of small dog, big dog, and another small dog sitting, wearing Inupathy harnesses
The Inupathy harness has LED lights that show different colors depending on your dog's mood. Credit: Inupathy

The stakes are high for any technology that promises health monitoring. What if a wearable wrongly detects a heart arrhythmia? What if it fails to detect one? Either scenario has disturbing consequences. Plus, FDA approval for animal devices is not required, and regulation for animals is generally lower. "If you're going to invoke those types of claims, then we need some verification because the consumers just deserve it," said Ward. 

Caudron says the health metrics gathered over time provide an objective baseline. So when it's shared with your vet, they can make a more accurate diagnosis. So it's not like pet parents will get a panic-inducing alert that their dog is about to have a heart attack. Caudron asserts that Invoxia is not meant to replace your dog's vet, but it is still meant to be important. "The goal is to become like a cornerstone of the healthcare path for a dog, and to actually help the pet parents be more informed and go to the right service at the right time." 

Other pet tech companies are taking a cautious approach to new advances in this realm. "We are expecting technologies measuring these vitals and others to emerge over the next few years," wrote Jonathan Bensamoun, founder and CEO of Fi in an email. "And we will integrate them into the Fi Collar as soon as we consider them reliable," he continued.

In an email statement, Wagz Founder and CEO Terry Anderton noted the obstacles in getting an accurate measurement through fur. While he declined to comment on future plans, he wrote that Wagz "has been working on other types of sensors that can reliably penetrate the fur to obtain accurate measurements, including the use of low frequency LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) and infrared sensor technology."

Reliability aside, the question of why remains. How much of this data is actually useful to the average pet owner? "We tend to be chasing heart rate, which is super valuable, but I would much rather know weight changes, because we can really do something about that," said Ward.

If we are not trained veterinary professionals, what are we supposed to do with this information? The answer seems to be, hand the information over to those who are trained veterinary professionals. They can decide whether or not it's worth acting on, or worth anything at all.

Related Video: Move over, Boston Dynamics. You can build your own tiny robo-dog now.

Posted on 23 January 2022 | 8:00 pm