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Facebook acknowledges Instagram's damage to teen mental health, but says there's good stuff too

Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal published a report stating that Facebook's own in-house research revealed Instagram has a significant negative impact on teenagers' mental health. Now Facebook has responded, basically saying it's a matter of interpretation.

In a blog post published on Sunday afternoon, the social media giant claimed The Wall Street Journal's Sept. 14 article had mischaracterised Facebook's research, as well as left out important context.

"Suggesting that Instagram is toxic for teens is simply not backed up by the facts," wrote Facebook researcher Pratiti Raychoudhury.

On the face of it, the facts certainly look damning. The Wall Street Journal viewed several internal Facebook documents discussing the issue of teen mental health, the company having performed various focus groups and surveys between 2019 and 2021. Among the documents cited was a 2019 presentation on Instagram, which stated, "We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls."

However, Facebook alleges that in context this simply meant Instagram makes body image issues worse for girls who already have such issues, not one in three teen girls overall. This still isn't great by any means, but at least it isn't as bad as it could have been.

"And, among those same girls who said they were struggling with body image issues, 22% said that using Instagram made them feel better about their body image issues and 45.5% said that Instagram didn’t make it either better or worse (no impact)," wrote Raychoudhury.

Of course, Facebook doesn't state what percentage of teenage girls it surveyed self-reported having body image issues, which seems like a relevant bit of info. One in three of 30 percent is a much different statistic to one in three of 90 percent.

Mashable has reached out to Facebook for comment.

Still, as the slide shared by Facebook indicates, more surveyed teen girls with body image issues thought Instagram made this problem worse than better. But Facebook also noted that Instagram was good at other things, with surveyed teens stating Instagram made other issues such as "sadness" better in situations where they had "felt sadness in the past month."

"Body image was the only area where teen girls who reported struggling with the issue said Instagram made it worse as compared to the other 11 areas," wrote Raychoudhury. "Our internal research is part of our effort to minimize the bad on our platforms and maximize the good. We invest in this research to proactively identify where we can improve — which is why the worst possible results are highlighted in the internal slides."

SEE ALSO: It shouldn’t be teen girls’ job to mitigate harm on Instagram

Facebook further addressed The Wall Street Journal's concerning revelation that the company's research found 6 percent of American and 13 percent of British teens who reported suicidal thoughts traced their origins to Instagram.

"When we take a step back and look at the full data set, about 1% of the entire group of teens who took the survey said they had suicidal thoughts that they felt started on Instagram," said Raychoudhury.

According to Facebook, 1296 American and 1309 British teens participated in the relevant survey, which means around 26 reported that their suicidal thoughts began on Instagram. The company acknowledged that any number above zero is not good, but also claimed 38 percent of surveyed teenage girls who experience suicidal thoughts stated Instagram makes the problem better for them.

Facebook's general defence to all of The Wall Street Journal's revelations basically boiled down to the good outweighing the bad, with more surveyed teens considering Instagram's impact to be positive than negative. The company also stressed that, in addition to contextual considerations of the data, their research itself should be put into context.

"This research, some of which relied on input from only 40 teens, was designed to inform internal conversations about teens’ most negative perceptions of Instagram," wrote Raychoudhury. "These documents were also created for and used by people who understood the limitations of the research, which is why they occasionally used shorthand language, particularly in the headlines, and do not explain the caveats on every slide."

Facebook characterised its research as evidence the company is taking steps to tackle Instagram's problems, citing steps it's undertaken such as providing links to eating disorder hotlines, banning graphic images of self harm, and allowing users to limit interaction from non-followers.

"We have a long track record of using our research...to inform changes to our apps and provide resources for the people who use them," wrote Raychoudhury.

Sadly, implementation of said changes has historically been slow. Instagram only announced it would start linking to eating disorder hotlines in February this year, after being in operation for over a decade and knowing of the issue for almost as long. Facebook also has a history of downplaying or ignoring the potentially negative influences of its services — it is a trillion-dollar company, after all. But at least it's something, I guess.

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.

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 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 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.

Posted on 27 September 2021 | 5:32 am

A lifetime subscription to this user-friendly iOS data cleaner is on sale for under £30

TL;DR: A lifetime subscription to Smart Cleaner for iOS is on sale for £29.18 as of Sept. 27, saving you 73% on list price.


Just as clutter accumulates in your home without regular cleaning and organising, the same goes for your tech. A junked up iPhone with too many unused apps, space-hogging files, and unnecessary text threads isn’t running at peak capacity. In fact, accumulated clutter on your phone clogs up your disk space and slows down nearly every operation it tries to perform.

Rather than spending hours if not days at a time sorting through your files and photos, do yourself a solid and snag this lifetime subscription to Smart Cleaner for iOS.

With over 30 million downloads already, Smart Cleaner has collected 4.5 out of 5 stars on the App Store — and it’s easy to see why. With a single click, the app can search for any live photos, burst photos, screenshots, duplicate photos, or videos that are clogging up your storage. Once it finds these space hogs, you can choose to delete them all in a single tap as well, freeing up loads of extra space. And considering Apple recommends always having at least 1GB of free space, you might want to perform this search regularly to keep your phone working like new.

Beyond freeing up space, Smart Cleaner can also help you streamline your contact list by merging, backing up, and removing identical contacts. Plus, you can even check out a special battery section to learn more tips on how to make your phone last longer. You can even store some of your most valuable photos safely in a secret album to ensure they’ll never be erased.

If you’re an iPad user, Smart Cleaner is a must-have as well. If you’ve quit using your iPad because it runs too slow, give Smart Cleaner a go. You’ll get it back in tip-top shape in no time. 

Regularly, a lifetime subscription to Smart Cleaner for iOS costs £109, but for a limited time, you can snag it for just £29.18.

Posted on 27 September 2021 | 4:00 am

A Bitcoin miner is buying power plants to mine crypto now

By now, you've probably heard about the sheer amount of energy cryptocurrency mining uses and how that's bad for the environment.

So, it should be quite concerning to find out that Bitcoin miners are now buying entire power plants in their effort to get rich on the speculative asset.

A Pennsylvania-based holding company called Stronghold Digital Mining is currently running a Bitcoin mining operation using the Scrubgrass power plant in Venango County, Pennsylvania, which it purchased over the summer, in 2021.

Stronghold raised $105 million to open the power plant for its Bitcoin mining endeavors. The plant currently burns coal waste to produce enough energy to power 1,800 mining computers.

According to Stronghold Digital Mining, the company is now burning 600,000 tons of coal waste at Scrubgrass per year in order to run its Bitcoin mining operation. This information is public due to Stronghold's filings with the SEC, as the company plans to go public.

And it gets worse. Stronghold is planning to further its coal-burning power plant operations.

In August, the company acquired a second power plant in Pennsylvania, called the Panther Creek power plant. It's looking to expand to a third as well.

Bitcoin mining requires high-powered computer processors in order to solve advanced mathematical equations. This process helps maintain the cryptocurrency's digital ledger, known as the blockchain. When these math problems are solved, Bitcoin miners receive the cryptocurrency in exchange.

The more computing power one has, the more equations that can be solved and the more Bitcoin they earn. The process is so intense that individuals really can't earn Bitcoin based on the computer power already accessible to them. Many miners purchase thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of equipment to mine Bitcoin and even then, only these multi-million dollar operations can really mine enough Bitcoin to make the process profitable at this point.

SEE ALSO: Twitter rolls out tipping with bitcoin, explores verifying NFT profile pics

Bitcoin miners are predicted to use around 130 Terawatt-hours of energy (TWh), according to The University of Cambridge’s bitcoin electricity consumption index. As TechCrunch points out, Bitcoin's carbon dioxide emissions are roughly the same as a country like Jordan, with a population of 10 million people.

For the cherry on top, taxpayers are funding Stronghold Digital Mining's Bitcoin power plant profits.

According to Bloomberg, Pennsylvania provides tax credits for burning coal waste. With these subsidies, Stronghold calculates that each Bitcoin it earns through mining costs the company under $3,000.

At the time this piece was published, Bitcoin was trading at more than $42,000 – not a bad profit for a taxpayer-subsidized cryptocurrency mining operation that's spoiling the environment.

Posted on 26 September 2021 | 11:04 pm

Break your iPhone 13 screen? Face ID won't work if it's not replaced by Apple.

Buying the new iPhone 13? Then you better handle it extra carefully because Apple looks to be making it a pain to repair.

The problem: The iPhone-maker may force you to go to Apple directly if you need to replace your screen.

YouTube channel Phone Repair Guru recently uploaded a new video taking apart the new iPhone 13. After doing a deep dive into the inside of Apple's latest smartphone, Phone Repair Guru came upon a discovery which they called "catastrophic to third party repair."

When a third-party, such as a repair store or even the owner of the phone themself, replaces the iPhone 13 screen, Face ID ceases to work.

"Important Display Message," reads a pop-up prompt on the iPhone 13. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple display." From there, the phone will no longer support Face ID.

As 9to5Mac points out, third-party repair replacing other iPhone 13 components such as the "microphone, ambient light sensor, and proximity sensor" all works just fine. However, replacing a broken screen without Apple disables a necessary iPhone feature.

While Phone Repair Guru says there are some extra steps a third-party can take to get Face ID working again, the process would be "too sophisticated" for most repair shops.

This move from Apple looks like the company is trying to require users to use its services if they need to replace a broken screen.

According to Apple, the company charges $279 to replace a broken iPhone 13 screen if the device is out of warranty. Reputable repair shops have usually been able to charge lower, competitive rates for the same service.

The timing of this iPhone 13 issue is interesting. Advocacy around the Right to Repair, which pushes manufacturers to make repair instructions, tools, and components available to device owners and third parties, is gaining steam.

Basically, people should have the right to fix their own electronics and companies should allow them to do so. The Biden administration has even voiced support for Right to Repair and the FTC recently voted to enforce laws surrounding it.

It's unclear if Apple will eventually put out an update restoring Face ID to iPhone 13s with third-party screen replacements. Mashable has reached out to the company for comment.

Posted on 26 September 2021 | 9:16 pm

This bonkers NFL play has it all: All-caps hype, a broken record, shrieking commentary

Whatever you think of professional football, or even organized sports as a whole, the breathtaking chaos of this clip, which immediately went viral, is what makes it worth watching.

First, some context. The NFL season is underway, and Sunday's showdown between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Arizona Cardinals saw the latter squad take a sizable risk, only to pay for it dearly. At the tail end of the game's first half, with only two seconds left, the Cards lined up to kick a longshot 68-yard field goal. But the kick fell short. Very short.

Had the kick been good, it would have been a record unto itself: The longest field goal in NFL history, scored by the kicker who, Matt Prater, who held the previous (and as of later in the same day, no longer standing) record of 64 yards. That's not what happened, though. The ball fell short of the crossbars, and landed instead in the hands of the Jags' Jamal Agnew.

It's better to just watch what happened next.

Tweet may have been deleted

First, a round of applause for Gus Johnson, the sportscaster you can hear screaming over this clip. Even if you know nothing about football and don't care at all about organized sports, Johnson's infectious shrieking excitement paints the whole picture. Strange happenings occur in football every week, but shenanigans like this are truly special.

Agnew's run is the big deal here. What Prater lost in a failed attempt to score for his team (and set an NFL record), Agnew gained with his 109-yard touchdown run — an NFL record unto itself. There's a twisted sort of poetry to that outcome.

UPDATE: Sept. 26, 2021, 4:12 p.m. EDT An earlier version of this story stated that Matt Prater held the current record for longest NFL field goal. While the stat was accurate when this article was written, Prater's record fell after Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker landed a 66-yard field goal. The article has been updated to reflect the day's news.

Posted on 26 September 2021 | 7:24 pm

'Side Eyeing Chloe' sells for far less than many other meme NFTs...but why?

Is the meme NFT market dying?

The NFT for the popular internet meme "Side Eyeing Chloe" sold on Friday in an auction for 25 ETH, which is approximately $76,377.50.

'Side Eyeing Chloe' sells for far less than many other meme NFTs...but why?
Credit: screenshot: Foundation.app

NFTs are digital tokens that show ownership of digital art, or really any online asset. Ownership of these NFTs is tracked via blockchain. However, that ownership does not include transfer of copyright. The auction took place on Foundation, an NFT marketplace platform.

Side Eyeing Chloe became a popular internet meme after her mother uploaded a video in 2013 titled "Lily's Disneyland Surprise… AGAIN."

A screengrab of Chloe Clem, the child in the video, giving her mother the side-eye after her mom surprises her with a trip to Disneyland on the way to school, soon went viral. Buzzfeed even once called Side Eyeing Chloe the "patron saint of Tumblr" due to the memes' popularity on the platform.

There's no doubt that $76,000 is a lot of money, especially in exchange for someone to just claim ownership over an image you never intended to monetize in the first place. There's no doubt the Clem family is pleased with the sale too.

However, speaking to BBC, Chloe's mom Katie did voice a little disappointment in the price.

"If we're going based off meme sales before, it's a bit lower, but we're so grateful for what it sold for," she said.

And Katie makes an interesting point. Meme NFTs have been making headlines in recent months due to their enormous selling prices.

The NFT for the "Charlie Bit My Finger" video sold in May for more than $760,000. The "Disaster Girl" image NFT was purchased that same month for $500,000. The Overly-Attached Girlfriend image NFT sold just a few weeks earlier for more than $400,000.

According to Know Your Meme, a website that tracks internet memes, the Disaster Girl image isn't all that much more popular than Side Eyeing Chloe.

So, why such a big price discrepancy? Why is the Disaster Girl NFT worth half-a-million dollars yet Side Eyeing Chloe couldn't crack near-six figures? Well, there could be a couple of reasons.

For one, NFT sales have plummeted from their peak popularity back in April and early May 2021. It's not just the sales pricing dropping either. Overall market activity has dropped and keeps dropping, too.

The relatively small number of NFT-buyers making these large purchases have enormous influence over the entire market. There's perhaps no better example of this than with the meme NFT market.

The NFTs for the previously mentioned memes – Charlie Bit My Finger, Disaster Girl, Overly Attached Girlfriend, and even Side Eyeing Chloe – have all been acquired by just one single buyer: A Dubai-based music producer who goes by his production company, 3F Music, as his online handle.

So, basically, if you're looking to sell an NFT of a popular meme that you created, its value is pretty much determined by this one person.

Side-Eyeing Chloe sold for "only" $76,377.50 because that's what 3F Music deemed it was worth.

Posted on 26 September 2021 | 6:50 pm

‘Lego Masters’ makes me want to revisit the magic of Lego

There are many things people do as children that are less acceptable once they become adults. Throwing themselves on the floor of a grocery store and yelling, for example, or having an imaginary friend.

Play is also something that's normally associated with children, and adults who "play" are usually playing things marketed to their demographic — team sports and video games — instead of with toys, as children do. However just because adults playing with toys marketed to children is frowned upon, doesn't mean that there aren't some incredibly cool people who go ahead and do it anyway. Those people end up on shows like Lego Masters.

Lego Masters is an American competition series based on an Australian competition series of the same name. In both shows, pairs of skilled Lego builders compete in a series of themed elimination challenges until one team wins a prize of $100,000 and the title of Lego Masters.

The builders on this show aren't dealing with your typical childhood Lego sets; they are freehand builders who take themes like "parade float," "roller coaster," and "cool guy walking away from explosions" and create original art from the millions of Lego bricks available to them in the competition studio.

Lego Batman himself, Will Arnett, hosts Lego Masters, and he might be having more fun than all of the contestants combined. (And considering their building is time-constrained and, you know, for money, there are times where he’s definitely having more fun than them.)

As a host, Arnett takes the art of Lego building seriously enough to validate the competition element of the show but he’s also playful as hell. He’s frequently meta about his role on the show, alluding to only saying things so he can lead into a commercial break and giving contestants advice on how to make compelling TV, and that winky humor is pulled straight from The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie comedy playbook.

As for the builders themselves, these people make awe-inspiring Lego builds that seem impossible — you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a Lego griffin with working articulated wings do battle atop a three foot fantasy tower in a Lego forest — but the second coolest part of the show for me is the fact that it exists at all. Before Lego Masters, I had no idea there was a thriving Lego builder community of like-minded individuals who never gave up on the fun and magic of Lego, and I certainly didn’t think I’d see Will Arnett and a host of celebrity guest stars talk about how much fun Lego can be for grown-ups.

SEE ALSO: 'Queer Eye' gets immortalized in their own incredible Lego set

I loved Lego when I was a kid. I loved how a pile of chaotic bricks could transform into a castle, a spaceship, the Taj Mahal, or anything you could think of. The clear and demonstrative instructions were also appealing to me, as each snap of a connecting brick was a tangible victory that slowly became one huge, impressive triumph. I remember zoning out for hours, fully immersed in the straightforward microtasks of Lego building, and know that nothing in my adult life comes close to the calm focus I experienced as a kid playing with a box of plastic bricks.

Lego Masters makes me want to pick up where I left off. The contestants are parents and children, married couples, siblings, best friends, and build partners, and if they can un–self consciously enjoy Lego amidst their adult responsibilities, then so can I.

I definitely don't have the skills to free-build apartment towers, kaiju, and roller coasters, but I do have fine motor skills and a strong desire to follow instructions until I own a scale model of the Chrysler Building. More importantly, however, I have a childhood love of Lego that was waiting for permission to come out and play.

Lego Masters Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming on Hulu.

Posted on 26 September 2021 | 5:19 pm

How to hide apps on iPhone

You wanna hide apps from your iPhone home screen, do you?

First of all, there are plenty of reasons to make an iPhone app more difficult to access, and many of them are perfectly wholesome. Perhaps you want to hide your Venmo/Cash App so it's not easily accessible on your home screen. Or maybe you want to hide your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. if you have a little sibling who likes to steal your phone and post embarrassing pics of you on your socials. So now that you know we're not here to judge, here's how to do it:

1. Find the app you want to remove from your home screen

2. Tap and hold the app until a menu pops up with the option to "Remove App"

App mini menu. Yes we tried Power Vinyasa and yes it was really freaking hard
App mini menu. Yes we tried Power Vinyasa and yes it was really freaking hard Credit: andy moser / apple

2A) You can also tap and hold the home screen until the apps start shaking, and then tap the little "minus" sign next to the app you want to hide

You can also tap the "minus" sign in the top left corner of the app
You can also tap the "minus" sign in the top left corner of the app Credit: andy moser / apple

3. Tap "Remove App" (If you did option 2A, you'll skip this step)

4. You'll see options to either delete the app, remove it from the home screen, or cancel the action. Choose "Remove from Home Screen"

Tap "Remove from Home Screen"
Tap "Remove from Home Screen" Credit: andy moser / apple

5. The app will be hidden and won't appear on your home screen

Cool! But now...how do you find it again? Check out our piece on how to find hidden apps here.

The app, though hidden from your home screen, is still in your app library. You can access it there, or retrieve it and put it back on your home screen.

Here's how to do that:

1. On your home screen, scroll all the way to the right (as far right as you can go)

2. At the top, you'll see a search bar with "App Library" in it. Tap that search bar

3. Scroll to find the app you hid, or type the name of it into the search bar

Search the app's name in your App Library
Search the app's name in your App Library Credit: andy moser / apple

4. Once you find it, tap it, hold it, and drag it to the left. This will bring it out of the app library and back onto the home screen

Your app will be back on the home screen
Your app will be back on the home screen Credit: andy moser / apple

5. Place it wherever you want, and you're done! The app is back on the home screen until you want to delete it or hide it again.

Posted on 26 September 2021 | 3:00 pm

How to find hidden apps on your iPhone

So you figured out how to hide apps on iPhone. Great! Until you realize you have no idea where they went and you can't figure out how to find them again.

No worries! We're here to help you out.

Apps hidden from your home screen are still in your app library. You can access them there, or retrieve them and put them back on your home screen.

Here's how to do that:

1. On your home screen, scroll all the way to the right (as far right as you can go)

2. At the top, you'll see a search bar with "App Library" in it. Tap that search bar

3. Scroll to find the app you hid, or type the name of it into the search bar

Search the app's name in your App Library
Search the app's name in your App Library Credit: andy moser / apple

4. Once you find it, tap it, hold it, and drag it to the left. This will bring it out of the app library and back onto the home screen

Your app will be back on the home screen
Your app will be back on the home screen Credit: andy moser / apple

5. Place it wherever you want, and you're done! The app is back on the home screen until you want to delete it or hide it again.

Posted on 26 September 2021 | 3:00 pm

How parents can talk to kids about residential schools

Recently I visited a major art gallery with my family. Before the winding Frank Gehry-designed spiral staircase in the airy open atrium were countless children's shoes arranged in circles. There were small sparkly running shoes, tiny moccasins, and kids’ sized dress shoes, each representing a Native child who died at a residential school. They represented the little feet that no longer get to run around their Native American communities, playing and chasing one another.

My heart broke when my seven-year old pointed at the shoes and asked me what they were doing there. I explained that those shoes were to remember the children who didn’t come home from school. When she asked why they didn’t come home, I said there was a period of time where schools took small Native kids like my grandparents and my family members, and tried to teach them to live differently. That they weren’t treated well or got sick and some of them died.

She took a beat and quietly replied: “I didn’t know that shoes could be sad.”

Memorials like these began to be constructed in public spaces, church steps, and art galleries, after 215 children’s remains were uncovered with radar tools outside of the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, Canada. Those unmarked grave findings, led by the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, kicked off a wave of similar searches on residential school grounds across Canada and the United States.

The recent discoveries and memorials have brought the issue into the public eye, and parents may be facing questions from their kids about this story. Native and non-Native parents alike need to be prepared to answer questions in an age-appropriate way.

Be calm but authentic

Fortunately, there is a wealth of knowledge available on speaking to children about grief. Dolores Subia BigFoot, a child psychologist, and a professor directing the Native American Programs at the Center on Child Abuse and Neglect at the University of Oklahoma’s Health Sciences Center, offers some general rules.

“My first comment to parents should be: Remain calm. Take a deep breath. Think about what you want to say. Offer an apology, if you can't explain to them the way that you want to explain to them, but never apologize for your tears,” she says.

“Acknowledge to children that their curiosity or their question is important, and that you as a parent or as a caregiver that you want to be able to give them an answer, and you may have to work on that answer,” Dr. BigFoot continued.

Know the history

“For non-Native people, we need to teach those kids about this history and that it was wrong. We need them to understand what happened to us, so we can change things for the future,” says Diindiisi McCleave, the CEO of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.

Residential schools, or boarding schools, were a part of government policies to assimilate Native American children into white and Christian society. The idea was to “ save the man; kill the Indian,” as said in an 1892 speech from Captain Richard Henry Pratt, who later went on to found the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Oftentimes the children were forcibly removed from their homes, away from their families and communities. Long braided hair was cut, their clothing was swapped out for drab uniforms, and they were punished for using their native languages, among other indignities and abuses. This isn’t ancient history either. The last residential school in Canada closed in 1996, and in the U.S., there are still 73 schools, with 15 still boarding.

For many Indigenous people whose family members left and didn’t come back, the 215 children in Kamloops were not a surprise, or a discovery. And it was just the beginning. As the months went on, that number passed into the thousands, as other residential school grounds were inspected. In June, it spurred U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced an investigation into that country's own history of Native American residential schools.

“The Interior Department has begun its investigation into the loss of human life and the lasting consequences of residential Indian boarding schools as outlined in the Secretary’s memo,” said Giovanni Rocco, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Deputy Press Secretary, in a statement.

“In late fall, we expect to begin Tribal consultation, where we will discuss ways to protect and share sensitive information, and how to protect grave sites and sacred burial traditions.”

Earlier this summer, nine bodies left Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania and made their way home via caravan to the Rosebud Sioux tribal lands in South Dakota, with ceremonies and a big homecoming.

For Native families

“For Native people, we need to acknowledge that this happened to us. And remember the children we have in our care are a gift and care for them in a way that perhaps our grandparents weren’t able to,” said McCleave.

Organizations like the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition have been putting in the work since 2012 to educate people on boarding schools and to pave the way for healing. Parents need to acknowledge their children’s feelings about learning this history and help them process it, she says.

“Native children [today] wouldn't have that firsthand sense of loss because we're talking about bodies being recovered,” says Dr. Lahoma Schultz, an enrolled member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and a licensed psychologist and licensed professional counselor in Oklahoma and Arkansas. She has spent years speaking to Native children about grief.

“What they're going to feel is what the adults around them are feeling. That's where the feelings of grief are being generated because some of us lost a parent or grandparents or had grandparents or parents that attended the old boarding schools,” Dr. Schultz says.

For all families

Speaking to children about these unearthed mass graves requires a specific approach. “The unique part of this is why are there graves at a school because most kids don't associate children dying at a school and being buried on the school grounds,” says Dr. Bigfoot.

To get them to understand, Dr. Bigfoot says it might be necessary to share that at one time, kids went to school, and they didn’t have their moms and dads with them. Someone else took care of them, and sometimes those people didn’t take care of them in a good way. Some kids got hurt, and some of those kids died.

That short of an explanation can sometimes suffice, but depending on the child’s curiosity or emotional capacity, there may be further questions of “why,” which can lead to a discussion on how kids a long time ago didn’t have many of the choices that kids have today.

Keep the conversation going

Dr. Bigfoot advises not just telling kids a story and closing the door, but incorporating what we’re doing today about it. “That's why I'm working to take care of my family, the best way I can, because at one time grandparents and great grandparents didn't have a choice,” she says.

And whether the conversation is triggered by other factors in front of the child – catching a news story, overhearing a conversation, or coming upon a memorial – or is initiated by the parent themselves, Dr. Bigfoot says that it’s important to always leave the opportunity for the child to bring it up whenever they want to.

If that door is opened a bit by a book, TV show or other piece of media, Dr. Bigfoot says that’s perfectly acceptable. “Bambi losing his mom, or [Simba’s dad dying in] The Lion King, all of these are about loss and grief, so it’s not a foreign story or emotion for children. The critical part is that you talk afterward about evidence of things that came out of that, to make life better, and saying what are we doing about it today.”

Below is a list of media options that could serve as jumping-off points for families.

Posted on 26 September 2021 | 1:00 pm

Enjoy local HD channels without a cable bill, thanks to this indoor 4K TV antenna

TL;DR: Access the shows you want with the 4K HD Indoor TV Antenna, on sale for just $41.99 as of Sept. 26 — a 30% savings.


If you finally decided to cut the cord and ditch your cable bill in favor of Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services, congratulations. You’re now saving tons of money each month. There’s just one problem: You’re missing out on live televised events like NFL games, the Emmys, or local evening news.

Don’t worry, there’s an easy and affordable solution — and it doesn’t require crawling back to your cable company. All you’ll need is this 4K HD Indoor TV Antenna and your current TV setup. You’ll plug the antenna into a port on the back of your TV, connect the USB cable to any USB port to supply power to the amplifier, and start searching for channels. Depending on where you live and your signal reception capabilities, you’ll be able to enjoy HD network channels, like NBC, ABC, Fox, and CBS — plus 22 other HD and regional TNT channels.

It’s not like those old-school antennas of yesteryear that rest atop your house. Instead, it features a small, scientifically-studied layout that’s sleek enough to hide behind your TV, on the wall nearby, or even in the window. And once it’s set up, you can enjoy a receiving range up to 120km, 25dBi amplifier gain, multiple frequency reception, and multidirectional abilities.

This is the perfect solution for those who have already cut the cord and are looking for a way to watch their favorite teams go toe-to-toe against their rivals, or those on the fence about cutting the cord. An indoor antenna lets you enjoy the best of both worlds: no cable fees and your favorite local networks.

Regularly just $59, you can save even more when you snag this 4K HD Indoor TV Antenna for a limited time. Knock 30% off and get free TV whenever you want for just $41.99.

4K Indoor HD TV Antenna — $41.99
Credit: Mesay
4K Indoor HD TV Antenna — $41.99
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Posted on 26 September 2021 | 9:00 am

Take your videography to new heights with this DJI drone film school master class

TL;DR: Step up your filmmaking with the All-in-One Phantom DJI Drone & Mavic Filmschool Bundle for just $39.96 — a 97% discount — as of Sept. 26.


If you're a movie lover, fan of the outdoors, or just someone with something to say, creating a film is a creative and healthy way to channel your excess energy. And now, with this bundle deal, you don't have to shell out a fortune to get the right training to make the visions in your head come to life on the screen.

This Drone Videography Course Bundle includes seven courses and over 200 lessons that will teach you everything you need to know to shoot incredible aerial drone shots.

Start by learning how to shoot drone footage like a pro with seven killer shot ideas and photography fundamentals, including FPS, shutter speed, ISO, and more. Learn how to fly your drone on autopilot so you can get the best shot possible. Then, move on to the Phantom and Mavic film school for DJI Drones' second course, which will teach you how to craft time-lapse shots, tilt-shift footage, and more. It will even clue you in on how to use your new skills for commercial success, by showcasing how to film an aerial virtual tour for hotel companies and more. The rest of the courses break down how to create railcam shots, large format panos, how to use Adobe Premiere, and more. There's even a course that will teach you how to fly your drone like the pros do.

Each course is taught by Laurence Seberini, an aerial videographer who boasts an impressive 4.7 out of 5 stars as an instructor for making lessons easy-to-follow and enjoyable at the same time. Seberini is a master at autopilot shots and has been a videographer since 2012.

This seven-course bundle is valued at $1,400, but for a limited time, you can get lifetime access to this course load for just $39.96.

The All-in-One Phantom DJI Drone & Mavic Filmschool Bundle — $39.96
Credit: Phantom Film School
The All-in-One Phantom DJI Drone & Mavic Filmschool Bundle — $39.96
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Posted on 26 September 2021 | 9:00 am

40 deals of all shapes and sizes to splurge on this weekend

Before we dive fully into gift-giving season, you should take some time to treat yourself. Whether that means going to the spa, enjoying a night out, or selecting a few gifts for yourself is up to you. But if it’s Option No. 3, we can help you out.

Here are 40 of the best deals we could find this weekend — from app and software subscriptions to random gadgets and gizmos. All are on sale for a limited time. Happy shopping!

Under $25

BITE HELPER® Itch Neutralizer

Utilizing a mix of heat and vibration, this gadget increases circulation and localized blood flow to relieve itchy bug bites. Try it out for just $24.95 (regularly $39).

BITE HELPER Itch Neutralizer — $24.95
Credit: Maxogen Group
BITE HELPER Itch Neutralizer — $24.95
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AirBuddy: Connect AirPods to Your Mac

This app instantly connects your Mac to your AirPods, so you can listen with ease and see the current status of your earbuds without any extra steps. Get it for $8.99.

AirBuddy: Connect AirPods to Your Mac — $8.99
Credit: AirBuddy
AirBuddy: Connect AirPods to Your Mac — $8.99
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Airflow Video Streaming: Lifetime Subscription

Cast and stream HEVC files on Chromecast, Apple TV, and AirPlay to 2 enabled TVs in full 4K HDR with lossless audio with this lifetime subscription. It costs just $15.99 (regularly $19) for life.

Airflow Video Streaming: Lifetime Subscription — $15.99
Credit: Airflow
Airflow Video Streaming: Lifetime Subscription — $15.99
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Empowered Bracelet by Maya J

Featured on Oprah's Favorite Things, these gold-plated bracelets spread love and positive vibes with bold words of inspiration. Get one for just $24.99 (regularly $38) for a limited time.

Empowered Bracelet by Maya J — $24.99
Credit: Maya J
Empowered Bracelet by Maya J — $24.99
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Under $50

Memo Box Mini: Smart Pill Box

This pill box works alongside a user-friendly app that helps you monitor intake, customize pill reminders, avoid double-dosing, and keep track of its location at all times. Get it on sale for $34.99 (regularly $50).

Memo Box Mini: Smart Pill Box — $34.99
Credit: Tinylogics
Memo Box Mini: Smart Pill Box — $34.99
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AtomXS 3+ Hour Emergency Keychain Charger

This keychain gives you three extra hours of charging on the go without the bulk of an old-school power bank. It’s usually $49, but you can snag it on sale for $34.99.

AtomXS 3+ Hour Emergency Keychain Charger — $34.99
Credit: AtomXS
AtomXS 3+ Hour Emergency Keychain Charger — $34.99
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HumBird Bone-Conducting Speaker

Successfully funded on Kickstarter, this compact bone conduction speaker provides a unique listening experience. It’s on sale for just $26.95 (regularly $44) for a limited time.

HumBird Bone-Conducting Speaker — $26.95
Credit: duramobi
HumBird Bone-Conducting Speaker — $26.95
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Crave Curve Mini 5W Bluetooth Speaker

The three-inch Crave Curve speaker might be small, but it’s mighty. Enjoy 10 hours of on-the-go listening with this portable powerhouse for just $34.99 (regularly $49).

Crave Curve Mini 5W Bluetooth Speaker — $34.99
Credit: Crave Direct
Crave Curve Mini 5W Bluetooth Speaker — $34.99
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Tortilla Press Kit: Red Cast Iron with Servietta

Make delicious homemade tortillas with this durable cast-iron press made from old Singer sewing machines. It’s on sale for just $40.99 (regularly $45) for a limited time.

Tortilla Press Kit: Red Cast Iron with Servietta — $40.99
Credit: Verve Culture
Tortilla Press Kit: Red Cast Iron with Servietta — $40.99
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The Original Moon Lamp™

Add a celestial glow to any room with this wireless moon lamp that switches between white and yellow lighting at the touch of a button. Usually $54, it’s on sale for just $48.99.

The Original Moon Lamp™ — $48.99
Credit: Original Moon Lamp
The Original Moon Lamp™ — $48.99
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Nonna Live: Cooking Pasta with Nonna and Family

Learn how to cook classic Italian meals with Nonna Nerina and her family. For $45 (regularly $60), you’ll get to enjoy one live class (of your choosing), complete with an ingredient and utensil list.

Nonna Live: Cooking Pasta with Nonna and Family — $45
Credit: Nonna Enterprises
Nonna Live: Cooking Pasta with Nonna and Family — $45
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MyDraw Advanced Diagramming Software: Lifetime License

Create flowcharts, mind maps, network diagrams, models, floor plans, and more with this user-friendly advanced drawing software. A lifetime license is usually $69, but you can snag one for just $36.99.

MyDraw Advanced Diagramming Software: Lifetime License — $36.99
Credit: Nevron Software
MyDraw Advanced Diagramming Software: Lifetime License — $36.99
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RoboKiller Spam Call and Text Blocker: 2-Year Subscription

Block 99 percent of spam calls and 95 percent of spam texts from your phone and give spammers a taste of their own medicine with this app’s answer bots, updated block list, and more. A two-year subscription is on sale for just $39.99 (regularly $79).

RoboKiller Spam Call and Text Blocker: 2-Year Subscription — $39.99
Credit: IAC Applications
RoboKiller Spam Call and Text Blocker: 2-Year Subscription — $39.99
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BelkaVPN: Lifetime Subscription

Rated 4.2 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot, this VPN connects you to over 120 servers in 25 locations globally, so you’ll stay anonymous on the web with zero traces you were ever there. For only $39.99 ($700+ value), you’ll be able to enjoy a lifetime of military-grade encryption and secure browsing, streaming, and more.

Belka VPN: Lifetime Subscription — $39.99
Credit: BelkaVPN
Belka VPN: Lifetime Subscription — $39.99
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VDownloader: Lifetime Subscription

This award-winning software lets you download any video from YouTube, Vimeo, or any other video-sharing site with a single click of the mouse. Get a lifetime subscription on sale for just $29.99 (regularly $129).

VDownloader: Lifetime Subscription — $29.99
Credit: vDownloader
VDownloader: Lifetime Subscription — $29.99
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Ocushield Blue Light Screen Filter for MacBook

The Ocushield acts as a screen protector for your MacBook and effectively blocks blue light. Snag one for just $44.99 (regularly $70) and keep your eyes safer throughout your work day.

Ocushield Blue Light Screen Filter for MacBook — $44.99
Credit: Ocushield
Ocushield Blue Light Screen Filter for MacBook — $44.99
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Dual Magnetic Wireless Charger

Power up two Qi-enabled devices at once with this wireless charging pad’s dual surface, then fold it up when you’re finished. It’s usually $60, but you can get it on sale for $49.99.

Dual Magnetic Wireless Charger — $49.99
Credit: La Lucia
Dual Magnetic Wireless Charger — $49.99
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Mouth Armor Model X Ultrasonic Electric Toothbrush

With 38,000 powerful sonic motions per minute, four comfortable brushing modes, a two-minute smart timer, and a long-lasting battery life, this electric toothbrush is well worth its $149 price tag. But for a limited time, you can score it and an included travel case for just $39.99.

Mouth Armor Model X Ultrasonic Electric Toothbrush — $39.99
Credit: Mouth Armor
Mouth Armor Model X Ultrasonic Electric Toothbrush — $39.99
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Flamebrite Solar Flame Stake Lights (4-Pack)

Perfect for lighting up your nighttime fall activities, these smart solar lights offer eco-friendly flickering illumination for your pathways, gardens, and patios. Get a four-pack for just $29.99 (regularly $54).

Flamebrite Solar Flame Stake Lights (4-Pack) — $29.99
Credit: Brightology
Flamebrite Solar Flame Stake Lights (4-Pack) — $29.99
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Under $100

Photo Backup Stick® Universal

Plug this stick into any device, open the Photo Backup Stick Universal app, and keep your videos and photos in a safe space offline. This 8GB stick is on sale for $53.99 (regularly $59) – if you want more storage, there are also other options that go up to 256GB.

Photo Backup Stick® Universal — $53.99
Credit: Paraben Consumer Software
Photo Backup Stick® Universal — $53.99
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Shyn Sonic Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush with 8 Whitening Brush Heads

Shyn’s ADA-approved, award-winning sonic toothbrush features four brush modes, five intensity levels, and a pressure sensor to protect your precious gums. Get the brush, eight whitening brush heads, a charger, and a travel case for just $59.95 (regularly $170) for a limited time.

Shyn Sonic Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush with 8 Whitening Brush Heads — $59.95
Credit: Shyn
Shyn Sonic Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush with 8 Whitening Brush Heads — $59.95
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VentiFresh Plus: Next Generation Germ and Odor Eliminator

This Indiegogo-funded UVC device doesn’t just purify the air around it — it also eliminates odors. Get it for $58.99 (regularly $84) and put it in the bathroom, near the litter box, or in your car.

VentiFresh Plus: Next Generation Germ and Odor Eliminator — $58.99
Credit: VentiFresh
VentiFresh Plus: Next Generation Germ and Odor Eliminator — $58.99
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Kathy Ireland GemSpa

Remove harmful bacteria from your jewelry and leave it sparkling with this user-friendly cleaner. It’s usually $69, but you can get it for $54.99.

Kathy Ireland GemSpa — $54.99
Credit: Gem Spa
Kathy Ireland GemSpa — $54.99
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Pure Bamboo Soft White 4-Piece Sheet Set (Queen)

Perfect for winter and summer alike, these bamboo sheets from WoofLinen are super soft. A four-piece set is on sale for just $94.99 (regularly $136).

Pure Bamboo Soft White 4-Piece Sheet Set (Queen) — $94.99
Credit: WoofLinen
Pure Bamboo Soft White 4-Piece Sheet Set (Queen) — $94.99
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Revolutionary Cognitive Sports Training Software: 3-Yr Subscription

This software features pitch recognition tests and specialized drills created by world-renowned athletic experts to train baseball and softball players. A three-year subscription is on sale for only $97.99 (regularly $315).

Revolutionary Cognitive Sports Training Software: 3-Yr Subscription — $97.99
Credit: gameSense Sports
Revolutionary Cognitive Sports Training Software: 3-Yr Subscription — $97.99
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Orboot Earth: Augmented Reality Interactive Globe for Kids

With over 400 highlights, 1,000 fun facts, and six different categories, this app-based globe introduces kids to the cultures, cuisines, monuments, inventions, animals, and languages around the world. Use the code ORBOOT at checkout and get it for $49.99 (regularly $59).

Orboot Earth: Augmented Reality Interactive Globe for Kids — $49.99
Credit: PlayShifu
Orboot Earth: Augmented Reality Interactive Globe for Kids — $49.99
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$100 and up

Offex Contoured Gamer Chair

Make gaming more enjoyable with this ergonomic chair that features a high back, lumbar support, adjustable recline, and tension control — all for just $149.99 (regularly $242).

Offex Contoured Gamer Chair — $149.99
Credit: Offex
Offex Contoured Gamer Chair — $149.99
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Callaway 8-Ft Quad Hitting Net

Practice your golf swing in your basement or backyard with this eight-foot hitting net that can withstand ball speeds up to 150mph. It’s usually $219, but you can get it on sale for $187.99.

Callaway 8-Ft Quad Hitting Net — $187.99
Credit: Callaway
Callaway 8-Ft Quad Hitting Net — $187.99
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Wireless Charging Dock for iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods

Crafted from solid walnut and topped with soft felt, this wireless dock charges up your iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods simultaneously — and in style. Get it on sale for $101.99 (regularly $146).

Wireless Charging Dock for iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods — $101.99
Credit: Loma Living
Wireless Charging Dock for iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods — $101.99
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Homping Portable Charcoal Grill

Bring this compact grill with you on your next tailgate or camping adventure for an easy, nearly smokeless cooking experience. It’s battery-operated and will only cost you $145.99 (regularly $199).

Homping Portable Charcoal Grill — $145.99
Credit: Homping USA
Homping Portable Charcoal Grill — $145.99
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ZENLET 2 Plus Minimalist Wallet

Designed for minimalists, this sleek aluminum wallet offers RFID blocking, a tap-and-pay compartment, and quick access to everything you need. It’s usually $164, but you can get it now for $131.95.

ZENLET 2 Plus Minimalist Wallet — $131.95
Credit: Zenlet
ZENLET 2 Plus Minimalist Wallet — $131.95
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5Strands Pet Food and Environmental Intolerance Test

This simple at-home test kit uses a hair sample from your dog to recognize any food or environmental intolerances, including grains, preservatives, additives, dust, grasses, and more. Get the kit for just $134.99 (regularly $148) for a limited time.

5Strands Pet Food and Environmental Intolerance Test — $134.99
Credit: 5Strands
5Strands Pet Food and Environmental Intolerance Test — $134.99
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Missed Global James Humidifier

Enjoy 48 hours of continuous misting with this humidifier’s four-liter tank and four different modes that cover up to 500 square feet. It’s usually $190, but you can snag it on sale for $139.99.

Missed Global James Humidifier — $139.99
Credit: Missed Global
Missed Global James Humidifier — $139.99
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The EVE

Grow fresh, pesticide-free food in this vertical hydroponic garden system that fits seamlessly in your home. It’s usually $699, but you can get it on sale for $599.99.

The EVE — $599.99
Credit: Just Vertical Home Gardens
The EVE — $599.99
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Artesia 14-in-1 Grill/Air Fryer Combo

This combo appliance comes with two lids, and when you switch them out, you unlock the power to multi-cook with eight different preset functions or air fry. It’s usually $219, but you can get it for $179.99 for a limited time.

Artesia 14-in-1 Grill/Air Fryer Combo — $179.99
Credit: Artestia
Artesia 14-in-1 Grill/Air Fryer Combo — $179.99
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NYTSTND QUAD MagSafe Wireless + USB-C Charging Station

The NYTSTND QUAD combines aesthetics with performance to deliver the most elegant charging station you can find that powers up four devices simultaneously. Get it on sale for just $212.99 (regularly $229).

NYTSTND QUAD MagSafe Wireless + USB-C Charging Station — $212.99
Credit: NytStnd
NYTSTND QUAD MagSafe Wireless + USB-C Charging Station — $212.99
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PLIQO Carry-On Garment Bag

Partly a garment bag and partly a carry-on, the PLIQO is the smartest way to travel in style. For just $171.95 (regularly $215), it features two full-width external pockets, a grab-handle, shoulder strap, three internal pockets, trolley bag attachment, and more.

PLIQO Carry-On Garment Bag — $171.95
Credit: PLIQO
PLIQO Carry-On Garment Bag — $171.95
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Transformer Table Dining Set: Table + Bench + Coffee Table

This modular dining table extends from 18 inches to 10 feet, while the bench extends from 28 inches to 11 feet, comfortably accommodating up to a dozen people when you need it to. After a successful funding round on Kickstarter, it’s available now for $2,499.99 (regularly $3,199).

Transformer Table Dining Set: Table + Bench + Coffee Table — $2,499.99
Credit: Transformer Table
Transformer Table Dining Set: Table + Bench + Coffee Table — $2,499.99
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Scenes One Camera Kit: 2 Cameras + Gateway

Funded on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, this wireless security camera set gives you 5,400 square feet of coverage, lasts up to a year on a single charge, and can penetrate three concrete walls. Get the kit, which includes two cameras and a gateway, for just $199 (regularly $249).

Scenes One Camera Kit: 2 Cameras + Gateway — $199
Credit: Scenestek
Scenes One Camera Kit: 2 Cameras + Gateway — $199
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Eli & Elm Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow with Cover

With its unique U shape and premium materials, this pillow from Eli & Elm is made to alleviate neck pain and promote proper spinal alignment for side sleepers. Get the pillow and antimicrobial, dust-resistant cover for just $105.99 (regularly $134) for a limited time.

Eli & Elm Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow with Cover — $105.99
Credit: Eli & Elm
Eli & Elm Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow with Cover — $105.99
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Posted on 26 September 2021 | 9:00 am

Charge up virtually any device with this versatile power bank – no cords needed

TL;DR: Power up your devices with the ChargeHubGO+ All-in-One Power Bank, on sale for just $29.99 as of Sept. 26 with the code LIMITLESS25 — that's a 25% discount.


As you continue to build up your gadget arsenal, you unintentionally build up your charger collection as well. And between your phone, tablet, earbuds, watch, and computer, you end up with a massive web of cables to untangle. If you’re sick of searching for the right cable for each device — particularly on the go — you’re not alone. That’s the whole reason things like the ChargeHubGO+ All-in-One Power Bank were created.

The ChargeHubGO+ by Limitless Innovations is an all-in-one charging solution for powering up virtually any of your devices when you’re out and about. Equipped with 5,000 mAh battery capacity and SmartSpeed® technology, it not only can power up multiple gadgets at once, but also provide the fastest possible charge with an impressive 15W of total power.

The power bank might not look like anything special at first glance, but once you realize there are built-in cables that pop out for charging, you’ll realize it’s a total game-changer. On one side, you’ll find a Type-C charger, while the other sports a reversible cable with a Lightning and Micro-USB input. So, whether you’re a member of the Apple cult or prefer Androids, the ChargeHubGO+ has got you covered. There’s also a wireless charging pad on top for universal compatibility with all of your devices. You’ll never need to carry your tangled web of cables with you to charge up on the go. With the ChargeHubGO+, everything’s built right in.

Don't worry about overdoing it by charging multiple gadgets at once. This power bank has undergone stringent testing to secure multiple product quality, safety, and durability certifications. And since it weighs just a pound and is about the same size as a phone. Tossing it in your bag won’t add much extra weight to your adventures. 

Available in your choice of black, blush pink, dove grey, or turquoise, the ChargeHubGo+ is the best solution to your charging woes on the go. And for a limited time, you can get it for just $29.99 (regularly $39.99) with the code LIMITLESS25.

ChargeHubGO+ All-in-One Power Bank — $29.99
Credit: Limitless Innovations
ChargeHubGO+ All-in-One Power Bank — $29.99
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Posted on 26 September 2021 | 9:00 am

Save over 25% on this humidifier just before the winter months hit

TL;DR: Say goodbye to dryness and save 26% on the Missed Global James Humidifier, available for just $139.99 as of Sept. 26.


When your skin craves a humidifier, you can feel it. You'll wake up with dry, dull skin, or you might even have a hard time staying asleep due to the quality of the air around you. Before winter hits in a few months, you should prepare your home for the inevitable dry air by snagging a humidifier. That way, your bedroom can be a healthy oasis for you as the driest months drag on.

This Missed Global Humidifier is the perfect addition to a stuffy room — and for a limited time, it's on sale for nearly 30% off. It releases a continuous mist, so you can leave it on all day and night to add moisture to the air you and your family breathe. The four-liter tank saves you from having to constantly refill it, and it can even relieve a space up to 500 square feet. You can place it in the living room or your bedroom to make sure that the air you're breathing won't dry out your skin or trigger allergies. 

The zeolite water treatment system featured in this humidifier ensures that the output air is clean and pure. You can even add your favorite essential oils to this humidifier to relax, ease some stress, or just make your home smell fresh with your favorite scents. With a built-in night mode function, the lights on this machine will never disturb you. You can turn off all operating lights so the humidifier completely disappears in a pitch-black room and never disturbs your sleep.

See it in action:

The Missed Global James Humidifier regularly retails for $190, but for a limited time, you can slash 26% off and take it home for only $139.99, just in time for the cool air to roll in.

Missed Global James Humidifier — $139.99
Credit: Missed Global
Missed Global James Humidifier — $139.99
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Posted on 26 September 2021 | 9:00 am

All the best budget-friendly sex toys available for under £50

With such a massive range of sex toys on the market, you would think that the shopping process would be straightforward. You would be wrong.

Despite the fact that there are absolutely loads of options out there for solo play, couples, and long-distance relationships, with just about every size, shape, and style on offer, finding something that works for you can be a tricky task. With so much choice, where do you even start? We can help.

We have done a lot of the hard work for you and researched a massive pool of sex toys, in a bid to answer your questions. Here's everything you need to know about shopping for the perfect sex toy.

Why should you consider investing in a sex toy?

There are two key benefits to sex toys: fun and health. The first reason is obvious. Whether you're avoiding the dating scene at the moment, looking for something to spice up your sex life, or simply looking to explore a new sensation, sex toys can provide an injection of fun. You can satisfy every need and desire with a sex toy.

The second benefit is all about sexual health, because sex toys can really make a difference when it comes to satisfaction and performance. The Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy asserts that 36% of women require sustained clitoral stimulation to orgasm, meaning a sex toy could be the difference between an unfulfilled and satisfactory sex life. There are also plenty of devices that can help with erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.

You might not need a sex toy in your life, but the potential benefits are there for the taking.

What are the most important features in a sex toy?

You should always do your homework before investing in a sex toy, and we've lined up the key questions to keep in mind before making any sort of decision:

Type — There are a lot of sex toys on offer, with everything from rabbits to bullet vibrators to consider. It's always nice to have a lot to choose from, but the sheer quantity of options can be intimidating. It's best to start off by thinking about what turns you or your partner on, and searching for something that ticks your boxes.

Sound — You should always think about how much noise your sex toy is going to make, especially if you live with others. Nobody wants to be woken up by your sex toy buzzing through the walls. If yu live alone or with a partner, this is less of a concern.

Power supply — Your sex toy of choice is probably going to be battery powered or rechargeable. Avoiding batteries is good for the environment, but waiting for your sex toy to charge can be a real mood killer.

Water resistance — If steamy shower sessions are your thing, make sure you purchase a sex toy that's waterproof. Otherwise, you'll be needing to buy a replacement.

You should also think about price when purchasing anything, because it's important not to spend beyond your reach. To keep things simple, we have lined up a bunch of the best sex toys for under £50.

What is the best sex toy?

We’re not going to try and tell you which sex toy should be top of your list, or which one you must love or there is something wrong with you. Instead, we’re here to lend a helping hand in the form of a selection of cheap recommendations. There should be something for everyone in this list. You just need to pick a favourite from the bunch.

These are the best sex toys for under £50 in 2021.

Posted on 26 September 2021 | 4:20 am

Access extra Netflix libraries from around the world with ExpressVPN

SAVE 49%: A one-year subscription to ExpressVPN is on sale for £5.02 per month as of Sept. 26, and includes an extra three months and unlimited cloud backup for free.


Why is it that ExpressVPN regularly tops lists of the best VPNs? Maybe it's because this service offers high connection speeds. Or maybe it's the powerful encryption. All of that matters, but what really sets ExpressVPN apart from the competition is its ability to unlock top streaming sites with ease.

ExpressVPN hides your real IP address and connects you to a server in another country. This process can trick streaming sites like Netflix into thinking you are based in that location, meaning you get access to a bunch of extra content that in usually only available to users in that country. Netflix works hard to block this process, but ExpressVPN is one step ahead.

A one-year subscription to ExpressVPN is on sale for £5.02 per month as of Sept. 26, saving you 49% on list price. ExpressVPN is not cheap, but that's the price you pay for reliable and fast streaming. To improve the deal, ExpressVPN is offering an extra three months and one year of Backblaze unlimited cloud backup for free. All subscribers also get a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Unlock top streaming sites with a subscription to ExpressVPN.

Save 49% on ExpressVPN
Credit: ExpressVPN
Save 49% on ExpressVPN
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Posted on 26 September 2021 | 4:10 am

A 3-year subscription to HotSpot Shield VPN is down by 80%

TL;DR: A three-year subscription to HotSpot Shield VPN Premium is on sale for £65.66 as of Sept. 26, saving you 80% on list price.


If you’re an avid traveler, digital nomad, or simply enjoy working from the local coffee shop, you need a VPN. Hard stop.

Putting it off is only going to up your risk of getting hacked or tracked. And since a three-year subscription to HotSpot Shield VPN is on sale for an impressive 80% off, it’s the perfect time for you to jump aboard for your own protection.

Top-rated with some accolades to boot, HotSpot Shield VPN is user-friendly and provides military-grade encryption. It’s earned 4.5 out of 5 stars on the App Store and 4.4 on TechSpot. Plus, in 2019, it was dubbed the World’s Fastest VPN by OOKLA Speedtest Awards. Many VPNs struggle with sluggish speed, so this is a major blessing while working, browsing, streaming, or gaming on the web.

The best-in-class military-grade security and 256-bit encryption makes sure your data — including your passwords, banking information, other personal information — is under lock and key. You can connect to over 3,200 servers in over 80 different countries to completely hide your IP address and physical location, so trackers and hackers can’t pinpoint where you are. This makes it possible for you to unblock geographically-based content, sites, and streams. It even features a gaming mode that is optimised for Fortnite, Roblox, and more, so you can smash the buttons without any lag time.

As a bonus, HotSpot Shield never tracks, logs, or stores any of your personal information. Not to mention, a kill switch engages if anything ever gets fishy. You’ll be protected from all angles, no matter if you’re on a work trip abroad, at your local coffee house, or simply browsing from your unsecured home network.

For a limited time, a three-year subscription to this ultra-fast VPN is on sale for just £65.66 — an 80% discount from its usual cost.

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Posted on 26 September 2021 | 4:05 am

Enter the world of game development with this discounted training bundle

TL;DR: The Beginner's Guide to Game Development Bundle is on sale for £21.95 as of Sept. 26, saving you 98% on list price.


If you're a true gamer, you've probably wondered a bit about the ins and outs of how your favourite games are made. And if you've been looking to change career paths or make money from doing something you truly love, this beginner's bundle on game development is a great place to start.

Start by learning to create WebXR, VR, and AR games in any browser. You just have to be familiar with JavaScript coding to get started. Then, move on to learning how to bring your WebGL to life with custom shaders. Essentially, you'll be learning GLSL shaders from scratch, which will help you learn how to write code for your own games for browsers. Then, with Node.js, you'll be able to unlock the secrets of Socket.IO.

By the end of the third course in the bundle, you'll have all the skills necessary to create 3D multiplayer games of your own. The final few courses of this eight-course bundle will cover how to use Three.js to create your own 3D games for modern browsers, how to create a 3D car racing game, and how to use HTML5 games using Adobe Animate.

Each course is taught by instructors like Nicholas Lever, who boasts an impressive 4.4 out of five-star instructor rating for his engaging teaching style and mastery of the subjects at hand. Lever has been a cartoon animator since 1980 and has spent the majority of his career creating games and staying up to date on current trends and market needs. 

For a limited time, you can get all eight courses in the Beginner's Guide to Game Development Bundle for just £21.95.

Save 98% on the Beginner's Guide to Game Development Bundle
Credit: Nicholas Lever
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Posted on 26 September 2021 | 4:00 am

Kaspersky's triple-layer protection system is on sale for 50% off

SAVE 50%: A one-year subscription to Kaspersky Total Security is on sale for £19.99 as of Sept. 26, saving you 50% on list price.


Everyone wants to secure their online world, but not everyone wants to subscribe to a VPN, password manager, and antivirus software. That's a lot of admin.

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a cybersecurity solution out there that combines everything you need in an all-in-one package? That's exactly what Kaspersky provides with Kaspersky Total Security. This triple-layer protection system works to secure your devices and data, and includes a VPN, password manager, and security tools for your kids.

A one-year subscription to Kaspersky Total Security (one device) is on sale for £19.99 as of Sept. 26, saving you 50% on list price. The 50% saving remains the same for all plans, and you can upgrade all the way up to a two-year subscription for five devices.

Subscribe and save 50% on Kaspersky's most comprehensive security package.

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Posted on 26 September 2021 | 3:55 am

Unlock top streaming sites with this beginner-friendly VPN

SAVE 85%: A two-year subscription to CyberGhost VPN is on sale for £1.63 per month as of Sept. 26, and includes an extra two months for free.


The world of VPNs can be an intimidating place, but it doesn't need to be this way. CyberGhost VPN offers a gentle introduction to the cybersecurity and streaming game, and it's on sale for under £2 a month.

A two-year subscription to CyberGhost VPN is on sale for £1.63 per month as of Sept. 26, saving you a massive 85% on list price. This plan includes an extra two months for free, and is fully covered by a generous 45-day money-back guarantee. We don't think you'll need this, because users get a lot for their money.

CyberGhost VPN offers apps for all leading operating systems, around the clock customer support, and seven simultaneous connections. CyberGhost VPN also provides access to over 7,000 secure servers located all over the world, which makes it a strong option for unlocking top streaming sites like Netflix and Prime Video.

Save 85% on a two-year subscription to CyberGhost VPN.

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Posted on 26 September 2021 | 3:50 am

Stay secure and stream more content with the best VPNs for travel

Travelling requires a lot of planning. You need to be prepared with a checklist of essentials, and then pack everything in such a way that you're not left with a crumpled mess of belongings on the other side.

Something you don't need to pack is a VPN, but it should still be at the top of your list. Why? These security services protect your data and personal information when you're travelling, as well as providing access to top streaming sites from around the world. So whether you're dreaming of getting away, planning your next big trip, or in the departure lounge, you need a VPN by your side.

What is a VPN?

VPNs provide protection for your data and identity when you're online by creating an encrypted tunnel for your online traffic. This protects your personal information by hiding your IP address, and allowing you to safely use public WiFi hotspots.

This means that your internet traffic can't be tracked and recorded by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or other third party, wherever you are in the world.

Why do you need a VPN for travel?

A VPN is an essential when you're travelling for two key reasons: encryption of your web traffic and access to the websites and apps you use when you're at home.

Any sort of activity on an unsecured WiFi network leaves your private information and browsing habits exposed to the world, unless you're using a VPN. The likelihood of using an unsecured network is increased when you're away from home, so the need for a VPN is great.

The need to access content when travelling is also significant. There will be plenty of moments when you need to access a particular site or app when you're on the road, but you're blocked due to your location. VPNs can bypass these blockades by hiding your real IP address and connecting you to a server in the UK. This process can trick your favourite services into thinking that you're back home, meaning that you can continue to access the content you love.

What are the most important VPN features for travelling?

The best VPNs for travelling will have certain features in common. To help you make sense of everything, we have highlighted a selection of the most important things to think about before committing to a service. You should consider connection speed, server network, number of simultaneous connections, and more:

Connection speed — You shouldn't accept a significant drop in connection speed with a VPN, because this is going to result in buffering when you're streaming. If you're planning on watching a film or downloading a file when travelling, you should opt for something with decent connection speeds.

Number of simultaneous connections — The best VPNs let you connect a large (or unlimited) number of devices with the same account. A service that offers multiple simultaneous connections lets you protect all of your devices with the same plan.

Server network — The very best VPNs provide access to thousands of geographically diverse servers. It's useful if a VPN has a lot of servers in key locations, because you should always be able to find a stable and speedy connection for streaming, shopping, or browsing anonymously when you're travelling around.

Privacy policy — You should be aware of the data-handling, storage, and usage practices of a VPN, and these practices should be clearly laid out in a privacy policy. Most VPNs require access to your IP address, online transactions, and browsing history, plus your personal details when you sign up, so it's absolutely vital that your VPN is not going to store these details.

Encryption — You are likely to come across terms like "military-grade" and "enterprise-grade" encryption. There are clearly different levels of encryption, and whilst it's important to take note of the grade provided by your VPN, the best options will all offer powerful protection for your data.

Bandwidth — There are VPNs that place monthly caps on network bandwidth. You should avoid these services, unless you're on a free trial. If you're paying for a VPN, you need to be able to download and upload as much as you want.

You should also think about things like price and subscription options, but these features represent are a good place to start.

Should you consider a free VPN?

There are a lot of free versions of top VPNs, plus free trials of VPNs with full access to everything you get with a premium plan. With this in mind, why would you ever pay for a VPN?

The fact is you get what you pay for with VPNs. There are always catches with free versions, and it's normally in the form of limited data usage. These plans will work fine for some people, but if you're going to be streaming or downloading on the move, it isn't going to work. Free trials work differently: they come without limitations, but don't tend to last very long. Trials give you the opportunity to test out a service before committing, but this isn't a long-term solution if you're travelling.

To gain access to advanced security features without limitations on usage, you need to pay up. The best VPNs are generally the most expensive, but there are plenty of cheap plans out there, especially if you're willing to commit to a lengthy contract.

What is the best VPN for travelling?

There are a lot of VPNs out there all offering different sets of features, with different pricing plans. Finding the best service for you is not easy, so we recommend taking some time to carefully access your options and decide on what you really need from a provider. Once you have established your priorities, you can check out this roundup of the best VPNs for travel.

We have tracked down everything on offer and lined up a selection of the very best VPNs for travelling. We have tried to find something for everyone and every budget, and you can find popular services like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and CyberGhost VPN in this roundup.

These are the best VPNs for travelling in 2021.

Posted on 26 September 2021 | 3:50 am

The 10 best HBO Max originals

If you're still not sure of the difference between HBO and HBO Max...don't worry about it. All you need to know is that HBO Max has your favorite originals and so much more in its sprawling library of movies and TV shows. After just a year-and-a-half on the market, HBO Max has become an essential streaming service, and we're obsessed with its original shows.

What constitutes an HBO Max original? That's tricky, since the app includes any and all HBO shows, but we're not about to make another list telling you to watch The Sopranos and Game of Thrones (not after that finale, anyway). To qualify for this list, shows had to air at least one season since the launch of HBO Max in May 2020 — which still left plenty of excellent options.

Here are the best HBO Max originals to stream right now.

1. Search Party

Dory (Alia Shawkat), Portia (Meredith Hagner), and Drew (John Reynolds) end up doing bad even when they try to do good in "Search Party."
Dory (Alia Shawkat), Portia (Meredith Hagner), and Drew (John Reynolds) end up doing bad even when they try to do good in "Search Party." Credit: hbo max

From the very first episode that premiered on TBS in 2016, Search Party was immediately more brilliant — more thought-provoking, hilarious, and sardonic — than it had any right to be. Dory Sief (Alia Shawkat) is desperate to feel important, and she finds a perverse sense of purpose in pursuing a missing high school classmate. The case of the missing girl engulfs Dory and her entitled millennial friend group, leading to murder, subterfuge, kidnapping, and the complete destruction — or reveal — of Dory's identity. 

Created by Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers, and Michael Showalter, Search Party is a a gold-standard dark comedy with a formidable young cast. Shawkat consistently pushes herself into new territory, impeccably balanced out by John Reynolds' jaded nice guy, John Early's hyperactive narcissist, and Meredith Hagner's demented sweetness. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll gape in horror, and then you'll want to do it all again. —Proma Khosla, Entertainment Reporter*

How to watch: Search Party is streaming on HBO Max.

2. Doom Patrol

Imagine a superhero team as group therapy and that's basically Doom Patrol, which collects some of the strangest and saddest super-powered characters you've ever met and then sits back and watches as they work through their issues with each other, the world, and most especially themselves. But an endless sob fest this is not: As seriously as Doom Patrol takes its characters' trauma, it's also darkly hilarious, with a sardonic sense of humor and a willingness to embrace whatever bizarre shit gets thrown at it — vengeful rats, interdimensional donkey portals, teleporting sentient streets, and all. —Angie Han, Deputy Entertainment Editor*

How to watch: Doom Patrol is streaming on HBO Max.

3. Genera+ion

From uneven pacing to clunky scripting, HBO Max’s new series Generation is hugely imperfect as a series. Still, there’s no denying the show has dazzling elements with shining LGBTQ representation. For one thing, the lead performance of Justice Smith as an out-and-proud gay jock named Chester is ridiculously watchable. What’s more, the lesbian romance between characters played by Haley Sanchez and Chase Sui Wonders is straight-up swoon-worthy. Enjoy this one for what it does well, especially since we don’t know about a Season 2 yet. —Alison Foreman, Entertainment Reporter*

Where to watch: Generation is streaming on HBO Max.

4. The Other Two

Carey (Drew Tarver) and Brooke (Heléne Yorke) navigate life with an ultra-famous younger sibling in "The Other Two."
Carey (Drew Tarver) and Brooke (Heléne Yorke) navigate life with an ultra-famous younger sibling in "The Other Two." Credit: hbo Max

The Other Two is a hilarious (and criminally underrated) satire of show business created by former Saturday Night Live head writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider. When siblings Cary and Brooke Dubek (Drew Tarver and Heléne Yorke, both excellent) discover that their younger brother Chase (Case Walker) has become an overnight teen pop sensation, they do their best to help him navigate stardom - and try to figure out how to use his fame to boost their own stalling careers.In Kelly and Schneider's capable hands, what could have been a one-note comedy about sibling jealousy becomes a show where the dramatic payoff is just as resonant as the many, many jokes. Come for all the pop culture references (including the best Call Me By Your Name parody ever put to film), stay for the emotional turmoil of the Dubek family. — Belen Edwards, Entertainment Fellow*

How to watch: The Other Two is now streaming on HBO Max.

5. The Flight Attendant

When flight attendant Cassie (Kaley Cuoco) wakes up in bed with a passenger she slept with, maybe things might be okay. Oh, who are we kidding — the mystery death takes a sharp, dark toll on Cassie's life, making her an immediate suspect for fleeing the murder scene and being the last to see Alex (Michael Huisman) before he died. Developed by Steve Yockey and based on the novel by Chris Bohjalian, The Flight Attendant is a thrilling, sexy ride with plenty of gasp-worthy twists as Alex's murder snowballs out of control. Come for Rosie Perez, stay for Michelle Gomez, and hold your breath every episode for Cassie to make it out alive. —P.K.

Where to watch: The Flight Attendant is now streaming on HBO Max.

6. Hacks

Hacks is many things: an incredible vehicle for Jean Smart; a provocative piece about the business of comedy; an odd-couple two-hander about work relationships that become all-consuming.

The show, about a falling star older comedian (Smart) and the once-hot, now-blacklisted writer (Hannah Einbinder) that begins to work with her on her Las Vegas standup act, is snappy and smart, with plenty to say about women who never got their due. It could easily have turned into a screed against Gen Z or Boomers, but instead, Hacks (which was co-created by Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, and Jen Statsky) is a thoughtful exploration of change and comedy, engaging to both those who know a lot about the inside of Hollywood as well as those who look on from afar. The show is engrossing and funny — a weekend binge you'll be thinking about far after the surprising and stirring final moments. — Erin Strecker, Entertainment Editor*

How to watch: Hacks is now streaming on HBO Max.

7. Infinity Train

Infinity Train feelings
Infinity Train feelings Credit: Hbo Max

Climb aboard the Infinity Train! It's got everything — crystal forests, alien nightclubs, a giant Pig Baby voiced by J.K. Simmons, and a healthy dash of existential dread. Every car of this never-ending train contains its own unique world, making for a show that is boundlessly creative and a visual treat. However, it's not all fun and games: Passengers on the train face tests and puzzles designed to help them work through their troubles in the outside world. If they refuse to learn and change, they risk being stuck on the train forever.

Each season of Infinity Train follows a different passenger, resulting in four different stories that are equal parts funny, mysterious, heartfelt, and soul-crushing. Without spoiling any of the train's secrets, let's just say that when you watch Infinity Train, you're in for the ride of your life. — B.E.*

How to watch: Infinity Train is streaming on HBO Max.

8. Legendary

With dance icon Dashaun Wesley serving as master of ceremonies, Legendary explores the high-stakes world of ballroom — a once-underground LGBTQ subculture dating back to the 19th century. Across two seasons, hyper-talented dance teams or "houses" come together to meet the performance and fashion challenges of judges Leiomy Maldonado, Law Roach, Jameela Jamil, and Megan Thee Stallion. Yes, it's an essential preservation of LGBTQ culture, but it's also one of the most jaw-droppingly spectacular reality series out there. The talent on display is dynamic and inspiring — so much so, you'll probably end up doing some voguing of your own. —A.F.*

Where to watch: Legendary is streaming on HBO Max.

9. Starstruck

On its surface, Starstruck is a cheeky romcom spoof based on a popular fantasy: A hot celebrity falls in love with one of us normals. But in the hands of creators Rose Matafeo and Alice Snedden, the romance and embarrassment of Jessie’s life (Matafeo) provide endless laughs and emotional butterflies. Matefeo is a lovable, authentic mess and Nikesh Patel nails the inherent fragility of the wildly attractive and famous. By the end you’ll root for them not because you see yourself in the fantasy, but because something about this just works. —P.K.

Where to watch: Starstruck is now streaming on HBO Max.

10. The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo

Elmo!!
Elmo!! Credit: hBO MAX

Here at Mashable, we stan Muppets of every fabric and falsetto — but who doesn’t have a soft spot for Elmo? In the Sesame Street star’s first-ever talk show, Muppets and celebrity guests come together to tell jokes, sing songs, and honor the importance of bedtime. Supremely adorable, laugh-out-loud funny, and just 15 minutes an episode, The Not-Too-Late Show is an essential addition to your nightly ritual no matter how long you’ve been out of the series' target demographic. —A.F.*

Where to watch: The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo is now streaming on HBO Max.

(*) denotes write up comes from a previous Mashable list.

Posted on 25 September 2021 | 9:00 pm

Tesla lays out how to join the newly opened Full Self-Driving beta

Elon Musk teased it. The top federal vehicular safety agency thinks it needs more time. Like it or not, the beta for Full Self-Driving is now open to Tesla owners who meet some important requirements.

The "Full Self-Driving" designation is a bit of a misnomer, which is one of the main issues the National Transportation Safety Board has with the feature. A Tesla with FSD turned on isn't operating with full autonomy. A driver still needs to be present and attentive the whole time. But the feature's name suggests otherwise, the NTSB contends.

As Musk, Tesla's CEO, shared recently, Tesla owners can't simply join the beta, which was until now limited to a couple thousand people. You first have to request access via the newly added button on your car's dashboard, and then agree to let Tesla monitor your driving behavior. Access only comes after your driving is deemed safe — which Musk said is determined after seven days of monitoring.

Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted

While Tesla hasn't shared a support document describing exactly how entry into the beta works, there is a new page on the company's website that runs through how Tesla determines a driver's "Safety Score" (a feature that is notably still in beta itself). This appears to be the metric used to determine a driver's FSD beta eligibility.

You'll want to read through the full document if you're hoping to join the beta, but here are the basics. Safety Scores are measured on a 100-point scale, with safer driving netting higher scores. Tesla says that "most drivers" — which we take to fit Musk's idea of "good" driving — will score an 80 or higher.

The score is derived in part from a "Predicted Collision Frequency" (PCF) math equation, which predicts "how many collisions may occur per 1 million miles driven" based on the scored driver's behavior. That rating is directly influenced by the five different "Safety Factors" that Tesla monitors.

There are extensive descriptions for each of these on the support page, but those five Safety Factors are: Forward Collision Warnings (a type of Tesla alert) per 1,000 miles; hard braking; aggressive turning; unsafe following (aka tailgating); and forced Autopilot disengagement, a safety check where the Tesla automatically turns off self-drive features for the length of a trip after the driver receives three "audio and visual warnings" from their vehicle.

SEE ALSO: Tesla drivers become less attentive when using Autopilot, study finds

In addition to running through how Safety Scores are determined, Tesla's support page also offers tips for not screwing up each of the five Safety Factors. To make use of the feature, Tesla owners will need to be on the newly released version 2021.32.22 of their car's firmware, or later. It's the same firmware update that added the "request beta access" button.

There's one more catch, Tesla owners: You'll also need to actually pay for FSD. Tesla offers the feature as a $10,000 software upgrade, though customers also have the option of unlocking the feature with a subscription that costs either $100 per month or $200 per month depending on the flavor of Autopilot — Tesla's sub-FSD driver assistance feature — your car is equipped with.

Those who meet all the criteria to join the beta should be able to sign up with the installation of the latest Tesla software update.

Posted on 25 September 2021 | 8:55 pm

Netflix unleashes the slick and jazzy intro for its live-action 'Cowboy Bebop'

If you already know Cowboy Bebop from its original, beloved anime series (which is streaming on Hulu, FYI!) then this video is going to look mighty familiar.

Netflix has a live-action remake of the series on its way, and on Saturday the streaming giant dropped something even cooler than a trailer: An early look at the show's opening credits. And wouldn't you know it, the live-action sequence is a stylized carbon-copy of the anime's original opening.

If you're looking for a Netflix that expands on the anime and takes it in new or different directions, this may not be what you were hoping to see. But it's a slick first look that offers people who don't know the original — which I'd wager accounts for a big chunk of the Netflix audience — a sense of the tone and style of this bonkers series.

You won't have to wait much longer to see it. Cowboy Bebop comes to Netflix on Nov. 19.

Posted on 25 September 2021 | 7:55 pm

Mars probe records a big hour-and-a-half Martian quake

Mars is alive. (Geologically.)

NASA recently reported that its InSight lander — sent to observe geologic activity beneath the Martian surface — recorded one of its biggest quakes yet on Sept. 18. The 4.2 temblor, a quake that would have been big enough for people to feel had it happened on Earth, lasted an hour-and-a-half.

NASA said the event was "one of the biggest, longest-lasting marsquakes the mission has ever detected."

The agency also noted that the 4.2 quake was the third "major" quake InSight has observed in the last month. Both a 4.2 and 4.1 magnitude quake hit on Aug. 25.

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The InSight lander's seismometer is covered by a protective dome.
The InSight lander's seismometer is covered by a protective dome. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

InSight landed on Mars in Nov. 2018, so planetary scientists are still observing how geologically active Mars truly is. The solar-powered lander has observed hundreds of quakes, suggesting there might be volcanically active places in the Martian underground, perhaps hot molten rock (magma) moving and flowing like it does on Earth.

Though NASA researchers are still studying the recent September quake, they've found the August marsquakes occurred far off, much farther than where the other quakes originated in the plains of Cerberus Fossae.

"One especially intriguing possibility is Valles Marineris, the epically long canyon system that scars the Martian equator," wrote NASA. That's some 6,000 miles from InSight.

SEE ALSO: If a scary asteroid will actually strike Earth, here's how you'll know

NASA engineers used a clever strategy to keep the seismometer on and recording quakes in recent months. Mars' orbit has taken it farther from the sun, and dust had covered InSight's solar panels. This meant there was insufficient sunlight to power the entire machine. So NASA directed InSight's robotic arm to "trickle" sand near a solar panel, thinking wind would sweep sand granules over the panel and remove dust.

The plan worked. And InSight recorded some major Martian quakes.

Posted on 25 September 2021 | 7:29 pm

'The Sandman' is here! Netflix shares a first look at this Neil Gaiman classic.

It feels strange to be writing these words, but The Sandman, an adaptation of Neil Gaiman's beloved comics, is actually real. Netflix dropped our first look at the series, which is "coming soon," on Saturday.

It's not much. Just a minute of quick-cutting clips that set up the basic story: In the early 1900s, a ritual led by none other than Tywin Lannister himself, Charles Dance, summons Dream (Tom Sturridge), the lord of our nighttime imaginings, and imprisons him. Roughly 100 years later, in 2021, Dream escapes.

While the Netflix series, which was developed by Allan Heinberg (co-writer on Wonder Woman), is expected to roughly follow the events of the source, don't expect a carbon copy. The Sandman comics first published in 1989 and the then-modern world Dream escaped into back then will be updated in this modernized adaptation.

There's been lots of attempts to adapt The Sandman over the years, and Netflix's teasing first look confirms, at long last, that this one is really, truly happening.

Posted on 25 September 2021 | 6:24 pm

This first look at 'Bridgerton' Season 2 is the exact fan service we crave

Season 2 of Netflix's Bridgerton shifts focus from Daphne Bridgerton to her older brother, Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), just like the book series During its "TUDUM" global event, Netflix dropped a first look that gives us a taste of what's in store for the eldest Bridgerton.

In the clip, Anthony banters — well, argues — with Kate Sharma, played by Sex Education actor Simone Ashley. Anthony claims Kate eavesdropped on him, while Kate sees Anthony as too stuck up and full of himself.

Fans of the books are already crowding YouTube with excited comments about how "book fans are in for a real treat" and even whomever chose this clip wants to "give the book readers everything they want." Is this an enemies-to-lovers trope I'm smelling? I sure hope so.

Bridgerton Season 2 is coming in 2022.

Posted on 25 September 2021 | 5:58 pm

Meet the Creels: Netflix deepens the 'Stranger Things 4' mystery in a new teaser

You know, just your typical mid-20th century happy family home in Indiana. Except for the mutilated bunny carcass. And the dead(?) kids.

Whatever happened to the Creels, it's a topic of interest for the kids of Netflix's Stranger Things. In the show's fourth season, which is set to premiere in 2022, the Creel house we see in this new teaser is important enough to bring out the whole gang.

Don't expect much more than some vibes, though. There's no premiere date yet — is the "003/004" video description on YouTube a date tease, an episode number tease, or something else entirely? (In fact, it's the third of what will likely be four teasers.) — and we haven't even gotten a full trailer. But clearly, the countdown has begun.

Posted on 25 September 2021 | 5:43 pm

Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot fight in a scene from Netflix's 'Red Notice'

Netflix just dropped a clip for its upcoming comedy Red Notice, and it results in a "confusing erection."

Red Notice stars Dwayne Johnson as an FBI profiler responding to an Interpol-issued "red notice," or a global alert to hunt down the world's most wanted. It just so happens that the most-wanted art thief (Ryan Reynolds) becomes Johnson's partner as they attempt to catch an even more shifty criminal (Gal Gadot).

The clip Netflix shared features Johnson and Reynolds running into Gadot in what appears to be a museum. As Johnson tries to arrest Gadot, she begins to fight them — and the men end up in handcuffs (hence Reynold's confusing boner).

The chemistry between the three actors in this scene is already enticing, and Red Notice looks like it'll be worth the wait. It comes to Netflix on Nov. 12.

Posted on 25 September 2021 | 5:30 pm

Inspiring photos from the worldwide Uproot the System youth climate protest

On Friday, grassroots climate movement Fridays for Future led its first global strike since the pandemic hit: #UprootTheSystem, a name and hashtag meant to bring about an intersectional discussion about climate change.

Fridays for Future began in 2018 when then-15-year-old Greta Thunberg began a school strike for climate. Thunberg's protest quickly sparked a global movement, and — fast forward to yesterday — Uproot the System was worldwide, with estimated 1,400 events in over 80 countries.

Uproot the System encourages all of us to center MAPA, or "most affected people and areas." This includes indigenous people and regions labeled the "Global South" (parts of Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Oceania).

"Without listening to MAPA, embracing intersectionality, and uprooting this system," warned Fridays for Future in their Uproot The System blog post, "we have no hope of stopping the climate crisis."

Thousands of young people around the globe met the call on Friday. Thunberg herself attended the Berlin protest. Here are photos from the international strike:

People during Fridays for Future demonstration in Rome, Italy.
People during Fridays for Future demonstration in Rome, Italy. Credit: Andrea Ronchini/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Children in London, United Kingdom for Fridays for Future.
Children in London, United Kingdom for Fridays for Future. Credit: Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty Images
Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted
Activists in Utrecht, Netherlands dressed like politicians are seen setting fire on a circle representing mother Earth during the demonstration.
Activists in Utrecht, Netherlands dressed like politicians are seen setting fire on a circle representing mother Earth during the demonstration. Credit: Ana Fernandez/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
A protester makes a gesture during the demonstration in Warsaw, Poland.
A protester makes a gesture during the demonstration in Warsaw, Poland. Credit: Attila Husejnow/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted
Participants seen holding a banner at the protest in New York, New York.
Participants seen holding a banner at the protest in New York, New York. Credit: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images
SEE ALSO: How climate change impacted Hurricane Ida, according to storm scientists

Posted on 25 September 2021 | 5:03 pm

Twitter's new pitch for harassment protection settings defers to trolls for some reason

Twitter isn't exactly great at keeping jerks out of people's replies, as anyone who has ever had a tweet "do numbers" can surely attest. But what if — what if — things were different?

That's what Paula Bercante, a designer for the social media company, teased in a Friday thread soliciting user feedback on some new ideas. Newly conceived but not-yet-implemented "Filter" and "Limit" controls would offer new setting switches designed to regulate the flow of tweets directed at account-holders.

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The two switches are fairly self-explanatory. Filter would watch for harmful or spammed replies and block them from view for everyone other than each problem tweet's author. Limit takes this a step further, preventing accounts "that tend to use harmful language or send repetitive, uninvited" tweets from replying to accounts that have the setting switched on.

"Filter and Limit would be all about empowering you to proactively prevent potentially harmful interactions and letting you control the tone of your conversations," Barcante wrote in the thread. "Disagreements, debates, and criticism are still allowed."

Barcante doesn't say it outright, but her thread suggests that the two settings would depend to some extent on a database of bad Twitter actors. Maybe "Filter" could be powered by an AI brain, but it's hard to imagine how "Limit" would shut down replies from accounts "that tend to" behave in a certain way without having a list to draw from.

Strangely, however, the decision to use either feature (as they're currently designed) would be broadcast up front to all readers. Meaning a would-be troll would know beforehand if they're about to tangle with someone who might not see what they're going to say, because a setting is switched on.

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Barcante's thread suggests it works this way because the warning could encourage a would-be troll to rethink their response, and perhaps engage more respectfully. If that is the case, it's reasoning that might have made sense in the first years after Twitter's 2006 launch. But now? In 2021? Not so much.

Tipping someone off that their reply may not be OK is a strangely deferential moved aimed at would-be bad actors. It's Twitter telling someone who may have bad intentions that their efforts to offend are likely to be wasted, so better to move on and direct that energy somewhere else.

"The warning could convince a would-be troll to respond in a more respectful manner" isn't just a naïve belief to hang onto in this day and age, it's also fundamentally the wrong way to approach these kinds of features. Why show deference to potential bad actors at all? Shouldn't the goal of "Filter" and "Limit" controls be focused squarely on protecting a tweet's poster?

SEE ALSO: Twitter's new 'Communities' let users embrace the echo chamber

When I originally came across this story (h/t The Verge), I thought: "Wow, Twitter is actually daring to imagine a world where it protects the people who use its platform." But after a closer look, that's not really what's happening here, is it? These tools might offer a measure of protection to those who use them, but the way they're built now, they also stand to arm trolls with the information they need to troll more effectively.

It's a bizarre choice. But it's also not a finalized feature, so here's some feedback for you Twitter: The foundational philosophy for settings like these should exclusively prioritize protecting users. If you're also giving their harassers the tools to act like jerks more efficiently, you're doing it wrong.

Posted on 25 September 2021 | 4:50 pm

Hubble looks deep into our Milky Way galaxy, captures this sparkling scene

Us Earthlings inhabit a solar system on one of the great spiral arms of the Milky Way galaxy.

The legendary Hubble Space Telescope, orbiting Earth, peered inward and captured a vivid image of stars near the center of the Milky Way, a galaxy that's some 100,000 light-years across (or about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 kilometers). NASA posted the image online on Friday.

What can we see? A "sparkling starfield," writes NASA.

That dense group of stars is called a "globular cluster," and that's specifically "globular cluster ESO 520-21," found near the center of the galaxy. A globular cluster is a "densely packed, roughly spherical collection of stars," writes the European Space Agency.

Poetically, NASA calls them "snow-globe-shaped islands of several hundred thousand ancient stars."

A "sparkling starfield."
A "sparkling starfield." Credit: ESA / HUBBLE AND NASA / R. COHEN

Star clusters are common in the universe, and because they're bright, they're often observed and researched by astronomers.

SEE ALSO: If a scary asteroid will actually strike Earth, here's how you'll know

There are some 150 globular clusters in the Milky Way. As of 2018, NASA had discovered well over 22,000 globular clusters in our ever-expanding universe.

Posted on 25 September 2021 | 4:04 pm

Even the fat bear cubs are extremely fat. Here's the fattest one.

Welcome to Fat Bear Week 2021! Katmai National Park and Preserve’s brown bears spent the summer gorging on 4,500-calorie salmon, and they've transformed into rotund giants, some over 1,000 pounds. The Alaskan park is holding its annual playoff-like competition for the fattest of the fat bears (you can vote online between Sept. 29 through Oct. 5). Mashable will be following all the ursine activity.


Hibernation is tough. But many of Katmai's chubby cubs look prepared to outlast Alaska's long winter famine.

In the bear world, a fat bear is a successful bear.

Among four particularly plump cubs in Katmai, online voters on Friday chose bear 132's cub as the winner of the "Fat Bear Junior Contest." This means the cub earned a spot in the forthcoming Fat Bear Week competition, where the competition will be stiff. Katmai's bears, devouring bounties of salmon for months on the livestreamed explore.org webcams, grow into some of the fattest brown bears on Earth.

Bear 132's cub (she actually has two) also succeded over the summer by filling out with impressive amounts of fat and fur, as the images below show.

"It is ridiculously plump."

"It is ridiculously plump," Naomi Boak, the media ranger at Katmai National Park and Preserve, told Mashable. Boak spent the summer observing the bears from viewing platforms in the park.

The "Fat Bear Junior" champion.
The "Fat Bear Junior" champion. Credit: nps / C. Spencer
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Although there had to be an official winner in this light-hearted, subjective competition, really all the chubby cubs and their hardworking mothers are winners.

Cubs are extremely vulnerable in the wild. Katmai cubs have around a 34 percent chance of survival. They are constantly threatened, particularly in their first year when they're the most helpless. Cubs are threatened by other bears, and there's a constant risk of falling ill, drowning, or not packing on enough fat to outlast the winter. (Hibernating bears subsist off their fat stores during hibernation.)

"It's a challenge to survive," said Boak. "They have a lot of obstacles in their way."

SEE ALSO: There's a new giant king of the fat bears
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If cubs survive their first year of life, like bear 132's spring cub likely will, it's because they have vigilant, caring mothers. All four cubs in the "Fat Bear Junior" contest largely fattened up because of their mothers' efforts. Mother bears teach cubs how to fish, and at times aggressively defend them from dangerous males, or bears that steal their fish.

"They're four successful moms producing four really successful cubs worthy of attention and admiration," said Boak.

Even when moms aren't fishing or watching for threats, their efforts continue. Cubs, for example, need and demand milk as fall hits and the winter looms large.

"That job doesn't end until they get into hibernation and rest," noted Boak. "It's a lot of work."

Posted on 25 September 2021 | 3:08 pm

Netflix drops first trailer for an anime super-heist based on a Mark Millar comic

Netflix's Super Crooks sounds like Suicide Squad meets the Ocean's movies.

The upcoming anime adaptation of a 2012 comic from Kingsman and Kickass creator Mark Millar got its first trailer on Saturday morning. It's the story of Johnny Bolt, a newly released ex-con who has two major assets: Superpowers, and a desire to use those abilities in the service of a heist.

So Johnny sets himself to assembling a team of similarly powered-up individuals and shenanigans, of course, ensue. This trailer is more style than substance, but the slick patter and dark sense of humor immediately create a vibe and showcase the talents of Bones, the acclaimed anime studio behind My Hero Academia that's charged with handling the adaptation.

Super Crooks is coming to Netflix with 13 episodes, all 30 minutes apiece, on Nov. 25.

Posted on 25 September 2021 | 2:20 pm

How to lock photos on iPhone

We know you can hide photos on your iPhone. But for an added layer of security, you can also lock photos using the Notes app.

The app gives you the ability to lock your Notes. Add to that the ability to transfer photos to a Note, and voilà! You can lock your photos in Notes.

Use the following steps to see how.

1. Open your Notes app

2. Create a new Note

3. Tap the camera icon above your keyboard

Tapping the camera icon will allow you to select photos/videos to transfer into the note
Tapping the camera icon will allow you to select photos/videos to transfer into the note Credit: andy moser / apple

4. Tap "Choose Photo or Video"

5. Select the photos/videos you want to lock, and tap "Add"

6. Tap the three dots icon in the top right of your Note

7. Tap "Lock"

Tap "Lock"
Tap "Lock" Credit: andy moser / apple

8. You'll be asked to create a password for your Note. You'll then type it again to verify it, and you can also add a hint if you want. **Depending on your iPhone model, you may also be able to use Face ID or Touch ID

9. Tap the padlock icon in the top right until it shows a closed padlock to lock your Note

10. You'll now have to tap "View Note" and enter your password in order to see what's in the Note. So whatever pictures/videos you put in there are now locked

How to lock photos on iPhone

10A) Now that your selected photos are in your locked Note, you can delete them from your gallery. They will still be in your Note until you delete them there.

11. When you're done looking at your Note, be sure to lock it again by tapping the open padlock icon at the top until it is closed. If you want to leave it unlocked for the time being, leave the open padlock icon the way it is

The open padlock icon means the Note is unlocked; the closed padlock icon means it's locked
The open padlock icon means the Note is unlocked; the closed padlock icon means it's locked Credit: andy moser / apple

11. You can also permanently remove the lock by tapping the three dots in the top right corner and then tapping "Remove"

Posted on 25 September 2021 | 1:00 pm

Scoring 'Sable' was different from anything Japanese Breakfast has done before

Michelle Zauner has been busy.

2021 has seen not only the release of her long-awaited third studio album, Jubilee, under the stage name Japanese Breakfast, but also the publication of her memoir, Crying in H Mart, which is set to be adapted into a feature film after being crowned a New York Times Best Seller. Now, Zauner's latest musical endeavor is out in the wild, and it's different from anything she's done before: a video game score.

Sable is about a young girl's journey through her "Gliding;" a rite of passage that is meant to enlighten its brave participant and help them discover their destiny. Sable's adventure sees her and her trusty hoverbike navigate a sprawling world of captivating landscapes filled with ancient ruins, spaceship remains, and a rich history that is ripe for meticulous investigation. The game's unique art style and explore-at-your-own-pace world was the perfect canvas for Zauner's first foray into composing a score fit for an ambitious indie darling.

"It's been a really, really long time coming."

"I got involved very early," Zauner told Mashable in an interview. "Daniel Fineberg, one of the devs, invited me on in October of 2017. He was a fan of my music, but he'd also seen that I released a small RPG to help promote Soft Sounds from Another Planet and had done an interview with Polygon where I talked about my love of video games."

Because she joined on so early in the development process, finding what Sable's score would sound like was a gradual process that required a lot of patience and small steps forward.

"It started with just seeing the art and GIFs, and reading a Word document of what they imagined the game's different biomes would be like. And then the next year, it would be seeing actual clips and videos, and composing to that. The year after that, I finally started getting builds of the game once a week and playing through it, adding music throughout. So it's been a really, really long time coming."

SEE ALSO: How music shapes the way we play video games

Zauner's history with gaming goes way back. "I really love a lot of early RPG games," she said, citing Secret of Mana and Chrono Cross as two of her childhood favorites. Her admiration for those games is due in part to their accompanying soundtracks, and they would eventually go on to inspire some of her work on Sable.

"It was really fun to make, like, variations on a theme. That's something that I think Chrono Cross and Breath of the Wild did really well, where there are daytime and nighttime variations of each song."

Zauner says that finding small ways to manipulate established themes and create different feels for each of them was an invigorating experiment. "That was a really fun thing that I never got to do before, where I could say 'Oh, it's nighttime, so I'm going to take the same theme, and same instrumentation, and the same key, but I'm going to slow it down by like 20 BPM and make it feel sparser.' Or even making percussive elements a little bit softer and quieter to make it feel different from the daytime track."

'Sable' is now out on Xbox and PC.
'Sable' is now out on Xbox and PC. Credit: Shedworks

While Zauner is no stranger to making music as Japanese Breakfast, she admits that tackling a video game score is an entirely different beast that presents its own unique challenges. "Sable is largely made up of instrumental and ambient songs, so they're the total opposite of a Japanese Breakfast song, which kind of operates within a pop structure where you're always trying to captivate a listener with a great hook."

Constructing a sonic identity for Sable wasn't about being catchy, though, she says. "You want to have these like, really sprawling loops that don't take up too much of your attention, because you're hearing it so often and it would get super annoying to hear a repeating hook over and over."

Even when Zauner does enter back into the lyrical realm in Sable, the approach still contrasted with how she would go about writing a song for a Japanese Breakfast album. "Lyrically, this game has nothing to do with my personal life, whereas a lot of Japanese Breakfast songs are hyperpersonal and explore a lot of very detailed observations about me or investigate some sort of emotional trauma that I've experienced. Sable had to be very broad and explore more universal, vague themes that didn't have a lot of detail yet, because a lot of the game's narrative was still getting worked on while I was composing for it."

Getting involved so early in development also allowed Zauner the opportunity to help shape some of the game's bigger, show-stopping moments. "One of the first references Gregorios and Daniel [Sable's two lead developers] mentioned was the scene in Red Dead Redemption where the José González track comes on as you're heading to a town and you're riding on your horse."

That's when Zauner knew that she wanted Sable to have a moment of similar scope, which would become the game's post-tutorial opening that releases players into an open world to the tune of standout single, "Glider." It's the perfect introduction to hold your hand as you, the curious traveler, begin to cross Sable's expansive sands.

Hand-holding is something that Zauner's score does a lot in Sable, and it's vital to the experience. It's a game that, for long stretches of time, forces you to be alone as you traverse liminal salt flats and empty plains. That might sound boring, maybe even frightening to some, but it's not. It's actually beautiful, thanks not only to Sable's gorgeous art style, but also to what you hear as you trek through its many spaces. The game's score is a presence that's always guiding you, and a reminder that soon you'll happen upon something magnificent. It's a comforting hand on your shoulder, telling you to keep going when you feel like you might be the only person roaming this strange, lonely world anymore.

Zauner made that a reality by carefully considering the instruments and tones that would accompany each area of the game, developing distinct personalities that set one apart from the next. "I knew that I wanted the camps in each biome to have a warm, homey feel to them. I felt like more analog instruments would work better for those areas, so every time you hit a camp I'm using a Nylon string guitar. But in the Badlands, you'll hear super reverb-ed out electric guitars, and more woodwind instruments when you come across the open dunes. It was all about the feel I wanted each area to evoke in terms of instrumentation and what kind of chord changes they needed."

Sable's remarkable visual identity helped to inform what exactly the "feel" for each area would be. "There are a lot of different eras at play in Sable's world. Like, there's a lot of really organic flora and fauna that you'll see, and then there are also these sort of industrial ships and types of sci-fi technology."

Zauner kept that in mind as she composed the game's 32 different arrangements. "[The dev team] talked a lot about those 'eras' within the game. The 'atomic era' is the more industrial stuff, so I knew I wanted to use an instrumental palette that felt more futuristic. Then there's also the 'monumental era' that feels very ancient and has a lot of history, so I incorporated more organic choir samples and woodwinds into those moments."

For some composers, creating a musical arrangement starts with a foundation in theory. Zauner confesses that the technical stuff isn't her biggest strength. "I think so much of it is like, intuition. I watched these 8-bit Music Theory videos on YouTube, which are all about the theory behind why certain sounds and chords make you feel tension and other emotions. But I also was talking to Aaron Maine of Porches about this, and he was like, 'or sometimes you just find a 'spooky chord.'' I feel like I don't have a tremendous knowledge of musical theory, and as much as I wish I did, a lot of the time it was just about coming across that 'spooky chord.'"

Sable has been in the works for many years, and it's finally out on the heels of two of Zauner's biggest undertakings to date. She says that it's an amazing feeling, even though it wasn't necessarily the plan.

"It's really surreal. I mean, I feel like people are really fed up with me because I've had so many major releases this year already, but like, I've been working on all of these projects for the past five years and I didn't anticipate them all coming out at the same time! I kind of wish it was more spread out, but it's such a new, exciting medium for me and I'm really excited for people to finally experience what I've experienced; to see what we've made with Sable."

When asked if scoring for a game is something she would be open to doing again, Zauner's answer was a resounding "yes." "I'm really looking forward to people just seeing my capabilities as a composer, because I don't know if many people see me that way. Hopefully, I'll get another job!"

If the initial reactions to Sable are anything to go off of, it's all but certain that we'll get another Japanese Breakfast-scored title in the future. Until then, you can fill the time by listening to the soothing sounds of Sable as you peacefully glide across its many desert dunes, ready to uncover whatever lies beyond the horizon.

Posted on 25 September 2021 | 12:00 pm

How Apple TV's 'Foundation' is different from the books

To say Apple TV+'s Foundation diverges from its source material would be a bit of an understatement.

An adaptation of Isaac Asimov's classic science fiction novels, Foundation is less interested in following its source material to the letter than it is in creating a story within Asimov's universe that would make good TV. The basic plot remains the same: mathematician Hari Seldon (Jared Harris) foretells the fall of the Galactic Empire thanks to his theory of psychohistory. Knowing the fall is inevitable, he establishes the Foundation in order to preserve knowledge and, hopefully, civilization in the years to come.

Foundation takes this story and tweaks it in some pretty big ways, which makes sense when considering the scale of Asimov's work. The Foundation books are collections of interlocking stories and novellas whose events span hundreds of years, not to mention an entire galaxy. Characters who appear in one story may be long dead in the next, and so much happens in between stories that we never fully "see" on the page. These elements make creating a completely faithful TV show rather challenging, which explains several of showrunner David S. Goyer's choices to deviate from the books.

Here are the biggest changes Foundation has made so far. The following contains massive spoilers for the show and the books, so consider yourselves warned!

Pulling from the prequels

The opening episode of Foundation sticks fairly closely to "The Psychohistorians," the first story in Foundation, which recounts Hari's trial and Gaal Dornick's (Lou Llobell) journey to Trantor. However, the show incorporates some characters and elements from Asimov's Foundation prequels into this story. Neither Hari's adopted son Raych (Alfred Enoch), the Emperors' minister Demerzel (Laura Birn), nor the Prime Radiant appear in "The Psychohistorians." Their presence here helps expand Foundation's cast of characters, as the cast of "The Psychohistorians" is pretty sparse and varies greatly from other Foundation stories.

The Emperor(s)

Speaking of not appearing in "The Psychohistorians," let's talk about one of the most blatant changes made to Foundation: the Emperors. Brother Dawn (Cooper Carter), Brother Day (Lee Pace), and Brother Dusk (Terrence Mann) are genetic clones of Emperor Cleon at three different stages in his life cycle. Emperor Cleon does show up in the prequels to Foundation (albeit not in "The Psychohistorians" or Foundation itself), but he does not clone himself. In fact, there is no cloning in the Foundation novels, so this is a massive departure. However, having a genetic dynasty allows for character continuity throughout the season, which is helpful when dealing with the scope of Foundation.

Gaal Dornick and Synnax

Gaal is one of many Foundation characters who has been gender-swapped for this series, with others including Demerzel and Salvor Hardin (Leah Harvey). But perhaps the biggest change to her character is that she actually has a personality now. In "The Psychohistorians," Gaal is essentially an audience surrogate used to present the reader to Trantor and Hari. All we know about him is that he's a gifted mathematician from the faraway planet of Synnax.

In the show, Gaal is still a gifted mathematician, and she's still from Synnax. However, she has a more defined backstory involving the tensions between religion and science on Synnax, which have made her a pariah. Asimov never discusses Synnax's culture, so everything in the show about the Church of the Seer and the purges of scientists is entirely new. These changes lend more texture to Foundation's universe and make Gaal a more compelling character.

Trantor and the Starbridge

You know that whole sequence where terrorists from Anacreon and Thespis destroy Trantor's Starbridge, causing it to crash into the planet in spectacular fashion? None of that happens in Foundation. In fact, the Starbridge doesn't even exist in Foundation. Asimov's novels were very light on big action sequences and planetary carnage, but their inclusion here helps visualize the problems the Galactic Empire is facing.

Anacreon and Thespis

Since the Starbridge incident is an invention for the show, the political fallout and subsequent bombing of Anacreon and Thespis are also departures from Asimov's books. That being said, the planet of Anacreon figures heavily into the later stories of Foundation, specifically "The Encyclopedists" and "The Mayors." Thespis, meanwhile, straight up does not exist. The name may be a reference to Asimov's short story "Fair Exchange?" about a time traveler who tries to save the musical score of Gilbert and Sullivan's opera Thespis.

Journey to Terminus

The Foundation's journey from Trantor to Terminus is not in the Foundation novels, so basically everything that happens in Gaal and Hari's storyline is completely new. Gaal and Raych never meet in the books, much less start a romantic relationship. Hari does not make the journey to Terminus, nor does Raych kill him. (He does die in the books, but it isn't shown.)

We'll update this post as more episodes of Foundation stream on Apple TV+ and potentially deviate from Asimov's novels even more.

Foundation is now streaming on Apple TV+.

Posted on 25 September 2021 | 11:00 am

As schools reopen, trauma-informed teaching might be more important than ever

Over the course of the 2018-19 school year, seven parents of students at McGee's Crossroads Elementary School, which straddles farms and suburbs near Raleigh, N.C., died. Students were struggling with the trauma of losing a parent, in several cases violently. Their classmates didn't always know how to support them, and in some cases taunted them over these experiences. The principal overheard one say, "I'm glad your dad died."

During the next school year, the school took a new approach to help kids who might be acting out because of stress and trauma in their own lives. Armed with so-called trauma-informed techniques, school staff focused more on building relationships with students and understanding why they misbehaved. No longer did teachers ask, “What is wrong with you?” when kids acted out, but “What happened to you?” to determine what to do next. Suspensions dropped 52%.

“Taking the few minutes to build a relationship with the kids and helping them feel like they belong is actually helping reduce discipline issues,” school counselor Carmen White said. “It’s helping the students be more successful academically.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, research indicated that as many as 50% of children had experienced some form of trauma or victimization, including sexual assault, abuse, the death of a loved one, natural disasters, a car accident or community violence. These experiences can tax the brain and make it harder for kids to learn and behave well. Now, 40,000 U.S. children have lost a parent to COVID-19, food and housing insecurity remains a concern and more kids are suffering from higher rates of anxiety and depression.

As schools reopen amid ongoing uncertainty, interest in trauma-informed teaching practices is growing among educators. The American Rescue Plan, the federal pandemic relief bill approved in March, included some funding for training, and some states and school districts have allocated money as well.

“We’re going to have a lot of behavior challenges, a lot of relationship challenges,” said Katie Rosanbalm, senior research scientist at Duke University’s Center for Child and Family Policy. “We have to reconnect, rebuild the structure, help people feel like this is a safe place to be and start to process all of this emotion that we have tied up in knots in our stomachs that we haven’t let out. And if we can do that, the kids can settle in and start to learn again.”

Brains on trauma

Results from the Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACE, Study in the late 1990s linked childhood trauma with life-long issues. It sparked a new understanding about the challenges some kids face in school, and task forces across the country sprung up to dig into the connections, said Marissa T. del Rosario, a trauma-sensitive schools specialist for the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative in Massachusetts.

At the time, Massachusetts schools were suspending and expelling kids at high rates, del Rosario said. “Lo and behold, who was being suspended? It was often students who had some history of traumatic events,” she said. “The research lined up with what was happening in schools.”

Depending on the person, everything from chronic abuse, neglect and domestic violence to bullying and homelessness can cause trauma and, with it, detectable changes in the brain, said Samantha Koury, a project manager and trainer with the University of Buffalo’s Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care.

Brain research shows that when children experience complex trauma, especially over a prolonged period, the amygdala, the brain’s emotion and fear response center, becomes overactive, Koury said. Meanwhile, the prefrontal cortex, which helps control impulses and learn, is mostly offline. Traumatized kids can shut down, fall back on negative thoughts and have trouble regulating their behavior. They are more likely to fail a grade or be identified with learning and behavior issues.

Traditional discipline strategies can make those negative responses worse. A common approach to a child who can’t sit still is movement breaks, said Jessica Minahan, a behavior analyst and author of The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students. But if a child dealing with trauma is misbehaving because their negative thoughts tell them they’ll fail the day’s math test, a walk to the water fountain only allows them to ruminate about the test and return with more disruptive behavior, Minahan said.

Instead of stretching their legs, their brain needs a break. A more trauma-informed approach, Minahan said, would be to give them a hidden picture sheet so their brain can stop worrying about the test as they hunt for images.

Morning meetings, optimistic closures

Coming up with the right strategies for students requires that school staff have a relationship with them, a hallmark of trauma-informed practices. And because trauma is so widespread, experts advocate a whole-school approach.

“So much of it is about the mindset shift and the culture of the school,” said Elizabeth DeKonty, director of the Public School Forum of North Carolina’s resilience and learning project, which helped McGee’s Crossroads. “All of these individual strategies can be put in place, but if you don’t have the majority of your staff bought into that mindset …, it makes putting different strategies in place really hard.”

Trauma-informed strategies can include a wide variety of practices that focus on relationship building and helping kids understand emotions. At McGee’s Crossroads, all teachers start the day with a morning meeting where they cultivate a sense of belonging and end with an “optimistic closure,” where kids share something they’re excited about.

Classrooms have calm-down spaces with fidget toys or coloring sheets. Posters explain different emotions with words and pictures. And teachers, who also may be dealing with the negative impacts of trauma themselves, are rewarded when they take time for their own self-care. “We need our teachers to be really strong emotionally because it’s hard work,” White said.

Relationships first

There’s still room for consequences and discipline in trauma-informed schools, Rosanbalm said. But first, schools need to connect with students and understand what’s triggered their behavior before they settle on how to address it.

“Discipline is about learning and teaching a different way to be,” she said. “It’s not about punishing and getting someone back for their behavior.”

In recent weeks, Rosanbalm has spent her days traveling to schools as they prepare for a new year. With all the worry about the academic loss that students have experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic, Rosanbalm’s fear is that schools will simply launch into writing and math lessons when the first bell rings.

“The biggest thing we want teachers to do for the first two weeks of school is not even think about academics yet,” she said, “but think about reconnecting, think about building relationships, think about setting the structure up again so kids are familiar with exactly what school is going to look like and how to behave.”

Posted on 25 September 2021 | 11:00 am

Stay dry without being weighed down with this Kickstarter-funded 3-ounce umbrella

TL;DR: Snag the A.Brolly Tube: World's Lightest Umbrella, stay dry, and save 52% as of Sept. 25. You'll pay just $18.99.


Umbrellas are one of the oldest inventions of humankind, dating back to around 1,000 B.C. They were even regarded as a status symbol at one point. But today, they’re an afterthought. They sit in hall closets for years without ever being used. It’s hard to remember to grab an umbrella when we’re bombarded with tons of other everyday carry items. Plus, they’re often just a bulky inconvenience when you’re out and about. 

For those reasons, A.Brolly decided it was time to reinvent the umbrella. After a successful Kickstarter and Indiegogo funding round — reaching 155 percent of its goal — the A.Brolly Tube was born. 

Dubbed the world’s lightest umbrella at just three ounces, the A.Brolly Tube is a convenient tool you won’t mind carrying with you. It weighs less than your iPhone, so it won’t weigh you down. In fact, you can easily slip it into your pocket or purse and forget about it until it’s actually needed. It’s perfect for those who don’t want to have to remember their umbrella every time they leave the house.

The A.Brolly Tube was designed using popular aerospace, civil engineering, military, and motorsports technology. The result is a carbon fiber rib construction that’s 17.5 times stronger than steel, but five to 10 times lighter. Its AquaRepel surface repels water faster than Teflon coating and conventional canopy, so you won’t be toting around a sopping wet umbrella into stores and restaurants. Its strong build is also designed to stand up to wind. When gusts blow your way, the WindBrace structure allows the ribs to bend upward without being destroyed.

Here's a quick look at how they were made:

As a bonus, it’s also UV UPF50+, so it serves its original intended purpose of keeping you safe from the sun’s rays as well. 

For a limited time, you can grab the A.Brolly Tube Umbrella — which includes a tube carrying case — for just $18.99, more than half off its usual price.

A.Brolly Tube: World's Lightest Umbrella — $18.99
Credit: A.Brolly
A.Brolly Tube: World's Lightest Umbrella — $18.99
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Posted on 25 September 2021 | 9:00 am

This 3-year PlayStation Plus deal is your golden ticket to online gameplay and more

TL;DR: Save 33% on the PlayStation Plus: Three Year Subscription Stackable Code Bundle with the code PLAYSTATION2021 and receive $20 of store credit as of Sept. 25. Get it for just $119.99.


After unwrapping your shiny new PlayStation 5 and admiring its beauty, then gawking at the jaw-dropping visuals, you’ll quickly realize it’s missing something. In order to access online gameplay and everything else your new console has to offer, you’re going to need a subscription to PlayStation Plus. Consider it the golden ticket. 

For a limited time, you can score three years of PlayStation Plus for a total steal at just $120 (regularly $179.97). With your subscription, you’ll get to enjoy online gameplay with friends and foes, exclusive discounts on new and classic games, plus two free games to keep each month. In September, subscribers got Predator: Hunting Grounds and HITMAN™ 2 as their free games, plus Overcooked! All You Can Eat as a bonus. The collection of free monthly games is epic and the library is always expanding. The membership essentially pays for itself in a single month.

As if all of those perks aren’t reason enough to subscribe, here’s another: Each member also gets 100GB of cloud storage to save game progress and pick up adventures on any other console with that game installed. Plus, you’ll get access to exclusive skins, cosmetics, and weapons for free-to-play games like Fortnite and Apex Legends. Members playing on a PS5 will even have access to expert help in a range of supported games.

The three years included in this subscription bundle are all individual stackable codes. So, if you’re feeling generous, you could keep one for yourself and give a year or two to friends so you can all play together. Or, you could keep all three for yourself because you deserve it after waiting this long to get a PS5. The choice is yours. 

Use the code PLAYSTATION2021 to knock the typical $179.97 price tag down to just $119.99 for a limited time. Plus, enjoy a $20 credit that will be added back to your account within 10 days to use on other gaming essentials (or whatever else you want).

PlayStation Plus: 3-Yr Subscription Stackable Code Bundle + $20 Store Credit — $119.99
Credit: PlayStation
PlayStation Plus: 3-Yr Subscription Stackable Code Bundle + $20 Store Credit — $119.99
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Posted on 25 September 2021 | 9:00 am

Save over 85% on this bundle of American Sign Language training classes

TL;DR: Become fluent in ASL with the Complete 2022 American Sign Language Lifetime Membership Bundle, on sale for $29.99 — an 87% savings — as of Sept. 25.


American Sign Language is all about expression, being direct, and communicating your thoughts quickly and efficiently. Whether you've always wanted to learn or just recently fell in love with the movie CODA, now is the perfect time to learn ASL. And now it's never been easier, since this complete training is on sale for over 85% off for a limited time.

This 2022 ASL Training Bundle is essentially your one-stop shop to become fluent in ASL. With this purchase, you'll get lifetime access to over 100 hours of online learning. But just because there are so many lessons doesn't mean they're stale; each course has been completely re-recorded in 2021 with a fresh look and updated words and phrases. If you have no experience with ASL, you can start with the very basics, including the alphabet, and move on to more advanced signs as you continue through the courses. ASL levels 1-3, ASL for babies, SCUBA diving signals, and a bonus book lesson are all included in this bundle.

You'll move through the lessons and learn by watching practice videos, taking constantly updated quizzes, and participating in an interactive learning format so you can make sure to practice signing in real-time.

Each course is CPD accredited and is strategized by Cudoo.com. Cudoo is the flagship product of LearningOnline.xyz and is a comprehensive e-learning platform that offers a constantly growing library of over 800 online courses.

The Complete 2022 American Sign Language Training Bundle retails for $242 since it grants you access to the courses for life. But for a limited time, you can slash 87% off and practice at your own pace to become fluent in ASL for just $29.99.

The Complete 2022 American Sign Language Lifetime Membership Bundle — $29.99
Credit: Cudoo
The Complete 2022 American Sign Language Lifetime Membership Bundle — $29.99
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Posted on 25 September 2021 | 9:00 am

Get 5 huge jigsaw puzzles for over 25% off for a limited time

TL;DR: Experience hours of entertainment with the Puzzledly 1,000-Piece Collection: 5 Jigsaw Puzzles, on sale for just $88.99 as of Sept. 25. That's a savings of 28%.


Whether you're looking for a new challenge to keep your hands busy in your downtime or want to get a jump-start on holiday gifting, this set of five full-color puzzles from Puzzledly is on sale for a steal. You can stock up on different puzzles for the inevitable winter quarantine or save some for gifts later.

These high-quality puzzles make great gifts or housewarming presents and are great to keep on-hand in case a last-minute event or gifting need ever arises. Or, if you're just a puzzle master and want to stay busy with five different options, you can keep these all for yourself. We're not judging — puzzles are oddly therapeutic. 

Each puzzle features a high-gloss finish in both the puzzle pieces themselves and in the packaging. This bundle comes with five different vibrant designs on each puzzle in different themes, including "little boxes on the hillside," "fruit lover's dream," "genie in a bottle," "tropical state of mind," and "Chinese lanterns." There's a motif for everyone in this dynamic set.

The pieces are made from 100 percent recycled material and so is the packaging they come in. Plus, when you make this purchase, $1 will be donated to Hilarity for Charity — a nonprofit led by Seth Rogen, which cares for families and helps educate young people about Alzheimer's Disease.

The finished puzzles will measure 29 inches by 20 inches which is the perfect size for any coffee table. Each puzzle even includes a bonus poster of the puzzle image to hang up for reference or decorate your space with later.

This deal from Puzzledly, which includes five full-color jigsaw puzzles with 1,000 pieces each retails for $125 on a typical day, but for a limited time, you can save 28% and get all of them for just $88.99.

Puzzledly 1,000-Piece Collection: 5 Jigsaw Puzzles — $88.99
Credit: Puzzledly
Puzzledly 1,000-Piece Collection: 5 Jigsaw Puzzles — $88.99
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Posted on 25 September 2021 | 9:00 am

Turn any room into a party room for under $35 with these remote-controlled theme lights

TL;DR: Set the vibes with the Color Guardian Multi-Colored Remote Controlled Lights, on sale for just $31.99 — a 27% discount — as of Sept. 25


Crafting the perfect party is all about creativity. It's a myth that you have to shell out thousands of dollars for a venue or to create the perfect theme that guests will remember for a lifetime. And if you decide to throw a party right from home, so you can personally curate the guest list, there are ways to turn any space into a scenic dance floor that sets the right mood.

With these remote-controlled lights from Color Guardian, you can turn any space in your home (indoors or outdoors) into a party space, depending on which colors you choose. These lights are completely solar-powered and have dual motion sensors that detect 180 degrees of movement. They only require six to eight hours of charging time in the daylight.

They'll work great on the outside of your home or near a window so they can fully recharge each day. Once charged, they will work for up to eight hours. Each of these lights (this purchase includes two) are motion-activated and feature different colors and lighting options, like color flashing and color fading. In total, there are eight different custom lighting modes to choose from — and light colors include red, green, blue, orange, turquoise, and more. And the best part is is that you can turn them on or change colors from inside your home while the lights are outside and vice versa. As long as your remote is within five to seven meters of the lights, they will pick up your signal.

A two-pack of these remote-controlled LED lights from Color Guardian usually retails for $43, but for a limited time, you can slash 27% off and take these solar-powered lights home for just $31.99.

Color Guardian Multi-Colored Remote Controlled Lights (2-Pack) — $31.99
Credit: Brightology
Color Guardian Multi-Colored Remote Controlled Lights (2-Pack) — $31.99
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Posted on 25 September 2021 | 9:00 am

This solid VPN is extending subscriptions for free

SAVE 83%: A three-year subscription to Private Internet Access is on sale for £1.71 per month as of Sept. 25, and includes an extra two months for free.


Private Internet Access has always been a popular service, and that's down to its impressive line-up of advanced security features. What has historically held this VPN back is its outdated interface and site. That has all changed.

Private Internet Access now has the style to match with its service. Users still get fast connection speeds, around the clock customer support, servers in 78 countries, and the ability to connect 10 devices simultaneously. The difference is that it's all packaged in a user-friendly interface.

The massive network of geographically diverse servers is particularly useful when it comes to unlocking streaming sites from around the world. ExpressVPN is probably the best service for streaming, but Private Internet Access is in the conversation. Users can gain access to extra libraries of content from services like Netflix and Prime Video for under £2 a month with Private Internet Access.

A three-year subscription to Private Internet Access is on sale for £1.71 per month as of Sept. 25, saving you 83% on list price. This plan includes an extra two months for free, and is covered by a generous 30-day money-back guarantee.

Save 83% on a three-year subscription to Private Internet Access.

Save 83% on Private Internet Access
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Posted on 25 September 2021 | 4:20 am

All the best sex toys available on Amazon

Shopping for sex toys is not an easy task. There are absolutely loads of options out there for solo play, couples, long-distance relationships, and everything in between. And these sex toys come in every size, shape, and style you could imagine. Where do you start? Right here, that's where.

We've tried to take the stress out of sex toy shopping by researching just about everything on the market and reading a whole lot of reviews. With this wealth of knowledge, we've attempted to answer some of the most important questions you should ask yourself before beginning the purchasing process.

Here's everything you need to know about shopping for the perfect sex toy.

What are the benefits of using sex toys?

Sex toys are for everyone, even you. Whether you're avoiding the dating scene and focusing on yourself right now, interested in finding something to spice up your sex life with your partner, or simply looking for some fun, sex toys can help. There is a massive range of plugs, vibrators, rabbits, rings, and much more out there to satisfy every need and desire.

Fun is the first reason to consider investing in a sex toy, but there's another more important element to consider. According to research published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 36% of women require sustained clitoral stimulation to orgasm. This means a sex toy may be the difference between an unfulfilled and satisfactory sex life. Also, there are plenty of devices that can help with erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. What we're saying is that whilst we shouldn't forget that sex toys are primarily designed for fun, they can also provide serious benefits to sexual health.

What should you consider before investing in a sex toy?

Shopping for a sex toy is definitely not a task to take lightly — after all, you’re buying something that’ll go inside, around, and on top of all your most intimate bits. You should always do your homework before investing in anything, and we've lined up the key questions to keep in mind:

Type — There are a lot of options out there, with everything from rabbits to bullet vibrators to consider. The wealth of options can be intimidating, so it's best to start off by thinking about what turns you or your partner on, and searching for something that ticks those boxes. It's not complicated.

Sound — This goes without saying, but you should think about how much noise your sex toy is going to put out, especially if you live with family or friends. We don't want you to experience an embarrassing confrontation because your sex toy can be heard through the walls.

Power supply — It's important to be aware of whether your sex toy of choice is battery powered or rechargeable. Both options are good for portability, but the latter saves you the hassle of stocking up on batteries, particularly as some sex toys are drains on power.

Water resistance — If you're hoping to use your sex toy in the shower or bath, you'll need to find something that is waterproof. Fortunately, there are plenty of options that are designed to get wet.

Price — There is something for every budget out there, with budget-friendly sex toys and premium models to consider. You just need to find something that delivers where it counts without breaking the bank.

You might also like to think about things like colour and style, but these points are a great place to start.

What is the best sex toy?

We’re not here to tell you which sex toy should be at the top of your list, or which one you must love or there is something wrong with you. Instead, we’re here to lend a helping hand in the form of recommendations. To make your life even easier, all of these sex toys are available on Amazon.

These are the best sex toys in 2021.

Posted on 25 September 2021 | 4:15 am

Celebrate VPN Awareness Month by saving 72% on NordVPN

SAVE 72%: A two-year subscription to NordVPN is on sale for £2.44 per month as of Sept. 25, and includes an extra three months for free.


Stop what you're doing because it's VPN Awareness Month. Clear your schedule, cancel any plans, and celebrate this momentous occasion.

We joke, but there is a reason to get excited about VPN Awareness Month. You can mark this month by saving 72% on a two-year subscription to NordVPN. This heavily discounted plan also includes an extra three months for free, and is fully refundable for 30 days.

NordVPN is one of the most popular services out there, and that's down to the long list of advanced features it offer. Users get access to over 5,500 servers located all around the world, six simultaneous connections, powerful encryption, and a no-logging policy protecting your data. NordVPN is also one of the best services for unblocking streaming sites like Netflix.

Celebrate VPN Awareness Month with a saving on NordVPN.

Save 72% on NordVPN
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Posted on 25 September 2021 | 4:10 am

Learn the fundamentals of machine learning and Python for under £30

TL;DR: The Premium Machine Learning Artificial Intelligence Super Bundle is on sale for £27.07 as of Sept. 25, saving you 98% on list price.


Understanding Python is the key to unlocking the fundamentals of machine learning, and if this career path has been calling to you, you don't have to go back to school and shell out thousands of pounds just to sharpen your skills. You just have to unlock lifetime access to this 12-course bundle that covers deep learning, machine learning, Python, and much more.

Kick off your machine learning journey by learning the fundamentals of Python. The hands-on introductory course will teach you the basics and foundation of Python, along with practical problems and examples that you can solve with step-by-step help. Then, you'll dive into machine learning and data science developer certification.

This training curriculum covers key technologies, principles, and practices you need to play a key role in any data science development team. It'll even help you distinguish yourself professionally by learning how to fill in the blanks or needs of any working team. The rest of the courses cover Scikit, Numpy, Pandas, and much more by providing real-life exercises. Hands-on training is provided throughout the way, and you can learn to create deep learning algorithms on all of the platforms you're practicing on.

Each course is taught by experts in their fields, like Juan E. Galvan who boasts a 4.4 out of five-star instructor rating. Galvan has founded several companies, sold on online marketplaces, and even founded Sezmi SEO, an agency based in Seattle. He knows exactly what you need to know to be successful in this field, and explains it all in easy-to-digest lessons.

With the Premium Machine Learning Artificial Intelligence Super Bundle, you get lifetime access to all 12 courses and 438 lessons that come included in this series. And for a limited time, you can unlock access to all of the courses for just £27.07.

Save 98% on the Premium Machine Learning Artificial Intelligence Super Bundle
Save 98% on the Premium Machine Learning Artificial Intelligence Super Bundle
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Posted on 25 September 2021 | 4:05 am

Master mathematics with this 50-hour online bundle

TL;DR: The Ultimate Learn to Master Mathematics Bundle is on sale for £21.95 as of Sept. 25, saving you 98% on list price.


No one really remembers the maths they learned in school. Unless you went on to study it at a university, chances are, you haven't thought about algebra, calculus, or algorithms since you were a teen.

But if you've always liked maths, want to refresh your skills, or need it for your job, there is a way to sharpen your skills without shelling out thousands of pounds at a local college. With this learn to master mathematics bundle, you can understand numbers clearly for under £30 — no matter what skill level you're starting from.

Start by learning about algebraic expressions and their operations. Each lesson features a step-by-step problem example with a solution so you can easily follow it and apply it to your own problems. Then, move onto learning about equations and the different mathematical expressions in algebra. Learn how to solve equations to find the unknown variable, master square and cubic roots, and more. The rest of the courses cover things like exponents and logarithms, understanding complex numbers for beginners, how to gain a new perspective on high school science and maths, and much more.

Each course is taught by experts like Ahmed Mahdy, who is an electrical power engineer and online instructor who boasts an impressive 4.3 out of 5-star rating from his students. He makes understanding numbers simple and painless, and he was even ranked in the top 10% of most engaging instructors in 2018 by Udemy.

For a limited time, you can get all nine courses in the Ultimate Learn to Master Mathematics Bundle — including 429 lessons — for £21.95.

Save 98% on the Ultimate Learn to Master Mathematics Bundle
Credit: Ahmed Mahdy
Save 98% on the Ultimate Learn to Master Mathematics Bundle
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Posted on 25 September 2021 | 4:00 am

Save 60% on Bitdefender's range of powerful cybersecurity services

SAVE 60%: As of Sept. 25, you can save 60% on Bitdefender's range of cybersecurity services.


Bitdefender has a really solid reputation for delivering powerful cybersecurity services, but that would mean nothing if its presence resulted in a performance dip in your system. Fortunately, Bitdefender is tough on threats whilst being light on your system.

Bitdefender protects all of your information from known and emerging threats, including ransomware and malware. Users also get anti-phishing protection and safe banking, as well as game, movie, and work modes that adjust visual settings and pause unimportant background activities depending on your activity.

Bitdefender offers a number of options for users, with everything on sale for 60% off as of Sept. 25:

These annual subscriptions will automatically renew at the end of the plan, but you can cancel the automatic charges by logging in to your account and disabling this feature.

Save 60% on the best cybersecurity services from Bitdefender.

Save 60% on Bitdefender
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Posted on 25 September 2021 | 3:55 am

California law forces Amazon to reveal how algorithms judge worker productivity

A new law will pry open the black box of how Amazon monitors, rewards, and disciplines its fulfillment center employees.

On Wednesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that directly affects "mega-retailers" like Amazon, and how these companies use algorithms to manage warehouse workers. Mega-retailers are those that employ more than 1,000 warehouse workers, and they include one of Amazon's main competitors, Walmart.

The bill, AB 701, takes effect on Jan. 1 and gives companies 30 days to disclose in writing "each quota to which the employee is subject."

Traditional quotas let workers know what’s expected of them. But workers and government regulators can’t see what goes into the algorithms used by Amazon and other companies to judge productivity. So an employee could be penalized for taking too many bathroom breaks and never know that’s why their hours were cut or they were fired.

Under the new law, companies will have to detail "the quantified number of tasks to be performed, or materials to be produced or handled, within the defined time period, and any potential adverse employment action that could result from failure to meet the quota."

A recent report from the anti-trust advocacy group Open Markets Institute details how Amazon surveils its workers.

Amazon says this technology — including cameras in delivery vans that are always on, and an app that monitors driving — are meant to promote safety. But worker advocates say they have resulted in unfair firings, and put stress on an already harried workforce.

Amazon employs 150,000 people in California, according to the Associated Press. The new law won’t affect the company’s delivery drivers, just its warehouse workers.

Reports claim Amazon workers have skipped trips to the bathroom to meet productivity goals. The bill prohibits retaliating against workers who fail to meet quotas because they're taking breaks or using the restroom.

Workers are also now entitled to see 90 days worth of their own data, and have the power to sue if they've been disciplined for not keeping up with burdensome quotas, or if they believe their quotas violate labor laws mandating worker protections, like bathroom breaks.

Amazon did not issue a statement regarding the bill's passage, nor did it respond to Mashable's request for comment. In the past, it has pushed back on the idea that its workers struggle under the pressure of constant surveillance and a frenzied work pace.

It recently implemented an expensive "wellness program." Now it looks like California workers will get what they actually need — bathroom breaks and the power to fight back.

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 10:12 pm

The 15 funniest comedies on Hulu because we all need a laugh

In search of a good laugh? Hulu's movie library is here to help.

From cult classics to recent gems, Hulu boasts a large collection of comedies. The prospect of wading through all of them can be daunting, especially since some movies may require an add-on subscription to watch. There's no streaming woe worse than finding the perfect movie to watch before realizing you don't have the right plan to watch it.

No need to panic though: We've gone through Hulu's catalog already and narrowed it down to the cream of the comedy crop, all of which can be watched without any extra subscriptions. Any of these movies will have you chuckling in no time.

Here, in no particular order, are the 15 best comedies on Hulu.

1. Booksmart (2019)

A new teen classic.
A new teen classic. Credit: Francois Duhamel / Annapurna Pictures

Olivia Wilde's Booksmart seems destined to be this era's Dazed and Confused, which is to say that teen comedy full of unknowns and up-and-comers who'll all go on to become big, big stars. Regardless of what becomes of its cast, though, it's earned instant-classic status in its own right, serving up both belly laughs and heartfelt tears. It's a lot of emotions, is what I'm saying, but in a way that feels true to the heaven and hell that is the end of high school.

Even as the film veers off into borderline surreal directions (Billie Lourd is particularly magical as a party girl with a knack for being in the right place at the right time), Booksmart grounds itself in the unimpeachable bond between defiantly uncool BFFs Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever). This one's for all the nerds out there who were forced to learn, eventually, that there's more to life than what goes on in books. — Angie Han, Deputy Entertainment Editor *

How to watch: Booksmart is now streaming on Hulu.

2. Shrek 2 (2004)

Yes, Hulu also has Shrek, but Shrek 2 is hands-down the best movie in the franchise about everyone's favorite ogre. It continues the message of self-love and acceptance established in Shrek while introducing Shrek (Mike Myers), Donkey (Eddie Murphy), and Fiona (Cameron Diaz) to a boatload of hilarious new characters. Who can forget the dashing Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas), the Jaime Lannister-esque Prince Charming (Rupert Everett), or the villainous Fairy Godmother (Jennifer Saunders)? Shrek 2 is full of laughs, but it's worth the watch for the "Holding Out for a Hero" sequence alone. We'd storm a castle with Mongo anytime. — Belen Edwards, Entertainment Fellow

How to watch: Shrek 2 is now streaming on Hulu.

3. Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

It takes maybe five minutes for Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar to elicit its first "WTF?" and to the comedy's immense credit, it only gets weirder from there.

There are life-saving culottes, and elaborate lies about turtles, and a mythological sea sprite named Trish, and a villain commanding an army of mosquitos, and a musical number that has Jamie Dornan climbing up a palm tree like a cat up a palm tree who's decided to go up a palm tree, and...look, you've just got to watch it to get it. And at the center of all of it is the sincerely sweet, reliably rock-solid bond between Barb (Annie Mumolo) and Star (Kristen Wiig). Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar ended up being to us what Vista Del Mar was to Barb and Share: the breezy little break from reality we needed to get our shine back. — A.H.

How to watch: Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is now streaming on Hulu.

4. Palm Springs (2020)

Just chilling in an infinite time loop.
Just chilling in an infinite time loop. Credit: Chris Willard / Jessica Perez

When Palm Springs arrived in July of 2020, most movie releases were postponed inevitably because of the pandemic — yet here was a movie, a new movie, a festival darling, about people going quietly insane with monotony and losing grip on time itself. 

Max Barbakow’s film showcases a cheerfully nihilistic Andy Samberg, along with Cristin Milioti in her best work to date as his increasingly frenzied companion, in “one of those infinite time loop situations you might have heard of.” Their chemistry makes Andy Siara’s script soar, leaving ample room for J.K. Simmons’ sinister interludes and just the right amount of time travel interrogation. It’s a sharp, original comedy worth revisiting again, and again, and again. — Proma Khosla, Entertainment Reporter *

How to watch: Palm Springs is now streaming on Hulu.

5. Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Steve Martin and John Candy (RIP), both delivering rip-roaring funny comedic performances at the peaks of their respective careers. (To be fair, Martin's entire career is basically one, never-ending peak.) When Martin's straight-laced Neal Page is left stranded in New York City with only two days to reach his family in Chicago before Thanksgiving, he's forced into an unwanted road trip with traveling salesman Del Griffiths (Candy). Del is an obnoxious and oblivious — but easily lovable — loudmouth who trusts easily and has a penchant for making terrible choices. 

Their odd couple pairing fuels a hilarious road trip comedy in which the two suffer setback after setback as their relationship grows increasingly contentious. But like any great story, there's real heart underpinning their entire journey and an arc that'll leave you with a wholesome smile in the midst of all the laughs. There's also this absolutely legendary scene where an out-of-patience Martin goes ham on a totally game Edie McClurg, of Ferris Bueller fame. — Adam Rosenberg, Senior Entertainment Reporter

How to watch: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is now streaming on Hulu.

6. Dear White People

Before it was a Netflix series, Justin Simien’s Dear White People was a feature film written, directed, and co-produced by Simien in 2014. Racial tensions escalate at the fictitious Winchester University, where Sam (Tessa Thompson) broadcasts the radio show “Dear White People.” When white students on campus throw a blackface party, Sam butts heads not only with the university’s conflict-averse faculty and uncomfortable legacy, but with fellow students like Coco (Teyonah Parris), Troy (Brandon P. Bell), and freshman Lionel (Tyler James Williams) about the politics of Blackness at a predominantly white institution. 

There is simply no iteration of Dear White People without Simien’s searing comedic and artistic voice, as confident here as it would be three years later when the show debuted on Netflix. That in the hands of a formidable cast of promising Black actors led Dear White People to make quite the impression in its theatrical run and the film festival circuit — Thompson and Parris are particularly outstanding, and a certain comics movie franchise seems to have noticed. — P.K.

How to watch: Dear White People is now streaming on Hulu.

7. The Nice Guys (2016)

I'm detecting some tension here.
I'm detecting some tension here. Credit: warner bros.

If you're a sucker for black comedy, witty dialogue, '70s style, and/or odd-couple comedic duos, it doesn't get much nicer than The Nice Guys. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling play a pair of washed-up private investigators who reluctantly join forces to search for a missing woman (Margaret Qualley) in 1977 Los Angeles — with occasional assistance from the former's clever teenage daughter, played by Angourie Rice. Though the mystery takes the gang to the farthest reaches of the city, burrowing deep into rabbit holes and brushing up against all manner of eccentrics, it's the unexpected chemistry between Crowe and Gosling that really keeps this engine running, and it'll leave you wishing for more where that came from. — A.H.

How to watch: The Nice Guys is now streaming on Hulu.

8. Hunt for the Wilderpeople

This 2016 adventure about bad egg Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) and his curmudgeonly foster father Hec (Sam Neill) is the kind of eccentric delight that writer/director Taika Waititi specializes in (this time co-writing with Barry Crump, who wrote the original book).

After losing his foster mother, Ricky flees into the forests of New Zealand, pursued by Hec only to learn that the older man also feels no need to return to civilization. Together they become the wilderpeople; living off the land and evading capture from authorities, including Thor: Ragnarok's Rachel House.

Wilderpeople is equal parts stirring, hilarious, and absurd — story of found family and adventure that can be loved by all. — P.K.

How to watch: Hunt for the Wilderpeople is now streaming on Hulu.

9. Logan Lucky

Director Steven Soderbergh described Logan Lucky as the "anti-glam version of an Ocean's movie," but what this film lacks in glam it makes up for with inventive twists, winning humor, and an absolutely stellar cast. Channing Tatum and Adam Driver are pure dynamite as brothers Jimmy and Clyde Logan, who decide to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway. What follows is a heist of epic proportions, involving cockroaches, gummy bears, and a delightfully unhinged performance by Daniel Craig. To reveal much else would spoil the fun (and the surprises), so I'll keep quiet. Rest assured though, after watching Logan Lucky, you'll never hear the word "cauliflower" the same way again. — B.E.

How to watch: Logan Lucky is now streaming on Hulu.

10. Heathers

What's your damage?
What's your damage? Credit: new world pictures/Getty Images

Teen movies get a killer twist in Heathers, a black comedy about high school life, teen angst, and murder. Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder) is a member of a high-power clique at her high school known as the Heathers, but she doesn't really care for her popular friends or their harsh treatment of others. Everything changes when she meets J.D. (Christian Slater), a misanthropic rebel who appeals to Veronica's darker side... and whose arrival at Westerburg High sets off a chain of gruesome deaths. This 80s cult classic isn't afraid to go to some dark places, plus it provides us with extremely iconic fashion moments and dialogue. How very! — B.E.

How to watch: Heathers is now streaming on Hulu.

11. Hearts Beat Loud

Brett Haley’s 2018 indie is one of those movies fills your soul. Single father Frank (Nick Offerman) and daughter Sam (Kiersey Clemons) record a hit song that goes viral (a song you’ll bop to throughout the movie). Despite Sam’s resistance to declaring themselves a band, Frank wants to start a band and see where it goes. Offerman and Clemons create an authentic and beautiful bond on-screen, buoying the film’s music, conflict, and tender moments that will leave you longing to watch anything as good. — P.K.

How to watch: Hearts Beat Loud is now streaming on Hulu.

12. 50/50

Too often films about chronic illness swap sickness for character and platitudes for thoughtfulness, but 50/50 is a wonderful exception. Joseph Gordon-Levitt leads as Adam, a shy twenty-something who discovers he has a rare form of spinal cancer after visiting the doctor for back pain. Adam’s journey facing his illness could be tragic. Instead, it’s uproariously funny and surprisingly light-hearted, with only select scenes dedicated to the story’s more dramatic aspects. 

Supporting performances by Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, Anjelica Huston, and especially Seth Rogen make this a solid ensemble effort. Still, it’s Gordon-Levitt who shines brightest here, conveying the overwhelmingly psychological stress of facing a cancer diagnosis with incredible care. He’s subtle with, but unafraid of, 50/50’s subject matter, and it shows the whole movie through. — Alison Foreman, Entertainment Reporter

How to watch: 50/50 is now streaming on Hulu.

13. Plan B

Road trip!
Road trip! Credit: Brett Roedel / HULU

When Sunny (Kuhoo Verma) has sex at a house party, she needs the morning after pill but can’t get it thanks to South Dakota’s regressive pharmacy policy. She and best friend Lupe (Victoria Moroles) embark on a wild road trip that includes illegal drugs, a catfish close call, an insane gas station encounter, and a dick piercing. Verma and Moroles hold the film together superbly, their chemistry elevating every scene of Prathi Srinivasan and Joshua Levy’s script riotous script. It’s a killer directorial debut for Natalie Morales, who recognizes the star power in front of the camera and the weight of stories about strong female friendship and women of color living authentically. — P.K.

How to watch: Plan B is now streaming on Hulu.

14. Office Space

Mike Judge has always had a knack for finding the pulse of things. It's Idiocracy that (understandably) tends to get the most credit in our post-Trump world, but 1999's workplace comedy Office Space is similarly perfect.

Starring Ron Livingston and Jennifer Aniston, the intensely quotable and clip-worthy laughfest is wall-to-wall with iconic examples of comedy. Everything from Lumberg to the trials of Michael Bolton; from the Red Stapler to the ignoble death of an uncooperative printer, set perfectly to music. Office Space beautifully, hilariously captures the mundane tortures, inane logic, and cathartic escapes of an unsatisfying office job. As true and accurate now as it was in 1999. — A.R.

How to watch: Office Space is now streaming on Hulu.

15. Ingrid Goes West

Aubrey Plaza stars as the titular Ingrid in this dark comedy from writer-director Matt Spicer. Set against the Instagram-worthy (if not always sincere) SoCal influencing scene, Ingrid Goes West follows a troubled young woman who decides to embark on a new chapter in Los Angeles after the death of her mother. The inspiration for her drastic life overhaul, we learn, is Taylor Sloane, a self-centered social media star played by Elizabeth Olsen, who Ingrid has never met but is determined to befriend. 

Spicer and co-writer David Branson Smith effectively explore themes of authenticity and social alienation in the comedy of errors that ensues, with Plaza channeling their message through equally conscientious acting choices. At the same time, Plaza and Olsen work with one another so delightfully they make this regularly melancholic story laugh-out-loud funny. It's a great watch, if not a true-blue comedy. — A.F.

How to watch: Ingrid Goes West is now streaming on Hulu.

Looking for more Hulu movie recommendations? We can help:

Asterisks (*) indicate the write up comes from a previous Mashable list. This story was originally published in 2020 and updated in Sept. 2021 with new recommendations from your pals at Mashable.

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 9:16 pm

12 best TV comedies on HBO Max to laugh at right now

HBO Max isn't kidding around when it comes to comedy. The streaming service, which comes with multiple subscription tiers, features a load of excellent movies and TV shows that were previously difficult to stream elsewhere. They come in all sorts of genres — and, luckily, among them is a notably stacked-up selection of TV comedies.

We've gone through HBO Max's extensive catalog and selected the best of the best for your viewing enjoyment. From old favorites to HBO originals, HBO Max has covered all the bases. Whether you need a solid comedy-drama, some deliciously dark humor, or the perfect background sitcom, the streaming platform is there for you.

Here are the 12 best TV comedies you should be watching right now on HBO Max.

1. Friends

The whole gang is here!
The whole gang is here! Credit: NBCUniversal via Getty Images

It’s time to pivot away from Netflix and toward HBO Max, the only streaming service that will let you binge Friends to your heart’s desire. Why wouldn’t you want to hang out with the Central Perk gang another time… or 20?

With Rachel, Ross, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, and Chandler entering an endless string of romances and embarking on various career adventures, it’s easy to stay interested. Plus, it’s good to keep fresh on all the show’s pop culture references, since the internet continues to use them now and probably forever.

How to watch: Friends is now streaming on HBO Max.

2. Veep

Selina shows her power.
Selina shows her power. Credit: Hbo / Kobal / Shutterstock

After her Seinfeld and The New Adventures of Old Christine days, Julia Louis-Dreyfus starred as the United States Vice President (and later President) Selina Meyer in Veep. And, yes, she smashed it.

The political satire, which wrapped up last year, took a close look at the inner workings of Selina’s career. Though she hopes to keep up her image and remain admired by the country, she more often gets wrapped up in political shenanigans and is forced to work them out with the help of her staff.

Veep is witty, edgy, and well-acted — so it might be your stream dream.

How to watch: Veep is now streaming on HBO Max.

3. Rick and Morty

Rick says it's cool.
Rick says it's cool. Credit:

HBO Max has welcomed a large collection of Adult Swim series onto its platform, and that includes Rick and Morty.

While the sci-fi sitcom features appearances from the entire Smith family, it focuses primarily on anxious, 14-year-old Morty and his mad scientist grandfather, Rick, as they journey through wacky dimensions and domestic life. This juxtaposition is made possible by the show’s smart writing and confident humor, which has it winning the adult cartoon category.

How to watch: Rick and Morty is now streaming on HBO Max.

4. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Will chills in the kitchen.
Will chills in the kitchen. Credit: Nbc / Stuffed Dog / Quincy Jones Ent / Kobal / Shutterstock

There's a lot to love about this iconic sitcom: the rise of Will Smith (who, ironically, plays a character named Will Smith), the '90s aesthetic, the talented cast, and the snappy writing.

The show has a teenage Will being uprooted from his life in West Philadelphia and moving into his aunt and uncle's mansion in the wealthy L.A. neighborhood of Bel-Air. He must find a way to adjust to his relatives' upper-class lifestyle, and, no — it's not easy.

How to watch: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is now streaming on HBO Max.

5. Succession

The siblings scheme.
The siblings scheme. Credit: HBO

Succession plants itself in the black comedy genre, giving the family business plot seen in shows like Arrested Development a darker, more dramatic edge.

The show centers on the dysfunctional Roy family, which owns and manages the giant media conglomerate Waystar Royco. Though Logan has always headed the business and led his family, he might have to let a thing or two go after his health begins to decline. That leaves his four children to fight for control.

How to watch: Succession is now streaming on HBO Max.

6. Insecure

Issa takes the mic.
Issa takes the mic. Credit: HBO

Issa is funny, bold... and insecure.

Like Succession, this one edges into comedy-drama territory but keeps a much lighter tone while focusing on the black female experiences of two friends in Los Angeles.

Insecure's narrative begins at major turning points in the leads' lives. While Issa questions whether she should move on from her unemployed boyfriend after turning 29, Molly struggles to be as successful in her dating life as she is in her attorney career.

Raunchy but intelligent, Insecure will keep you on your toes.

How to watch: Insecure is now streaming on HBO Max.

7. The Big Bang Theory

The 'Big Bang' crew has a chat.
The 'Big Bang' crew has a chat. Credit: CBS via Getty Images

It all started with a big bang! This long-running CBS comedy concluded last year, and with all 12 seasons now available for streaming via HBO, you have the perfect opportunity to revisit.

The Big Bang Theory has the brilliant, geeky, and terribly awkward Leonard and Sheldon sharing an apartment in Pasadena, California. Though the pair's smarts have scored them a couple of jobs as physicists at Caltech, their intelligence hasn't spilled over into their dating life. This leaves them ill-prepared to catch the attention of their lovely new neighbor, Penny.

The first season might get off to a slow start, but Big Bang Theory does eventually find its sweet spot and keeps the jokes running.

How to watch: The Big Bang Theory is now streaming on HBO Max.

8. Barry

Barry gets advice.
Barry gets advice. Credit: HBO / Kobal / Shutterstock

If you're asking for something that's not as intimidating to binge (Big Bang Theory has 279 episodes), Barry might be your answer, especially if you're craving a darker brand of humor.

The 16-episode series catches up with the titular hit man, who heads from Ohio to L.A. to murder his next victim — that is, until he stumbles into an acting class and discovers his new passion: theater. (Yes, technically he also sticks around due to his huge crush on one of the aspiring actresses, but that's beside the point.) His reinvention of the self is a riot, and you get a front-row seat to all the drama.

How to watch: Barry is now streaming on HBO Max.

9. Curb Your Enthusiasm

Larry David takes a seat.
Larry David takes a seat. Credit: HBO

Larry David plays a fictionalized version of himself in this cringe comedy. The semi-retired TV writer has little patience with people, and as a result, he frequently gets into misunderstandings.

Curb Your Enthusiasm is largely improvised, which keeps the dialogue hot. And the show is known for its frequent use of guest stars, including Dr. Phil, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Lauren Graham, Ted Danson, and Alanis Morissette, to name a few. If you want a few laughs and a load of surprises, this is your show.

How to watch: Curb Your Enthusiasm is now streaming on HBO Max.

10. The Office (UK)

David Brent being... David Brent.
David Brent being... David Brent. Credit:

Let's make this clear, just in case you haven't gotten the memo: The Office (UK) is not the American Office. It's not heartwarming, there are no sweeping romances, and it's only two seasons long. However, if you can appreciate a very dry, very British sense of humor, the original Office is definitely worth your time. Plus, if you're a hardcore fan of the U.S. version, the UK one will give you a more complete idea of where your favorite show came from.

The Office (UK) follows a group of workers who are employed at Wernham Hogg paper company in the English town of Slough. While work isn't particularly fun for the crew, it's only made worse by their narcissistic manager, David Brent (Ricky Gervais).

The uncomfortable social interactions between the staff will leave you simultaneously cringing and laughing.

How to watch: The Office (UK) is now streaming on HBO Max.

11. Hacks

Jean Smart kills it.
Jean Smart kills it. Credit: Anne marie fox/hbo max

Hacks is many things: an incredible vehicle for Jean Smart; a provocative piece about the business of comedy; an odd-couple two-hander about work relationships that become all-consuming.

The show, about a falling star older comedian (Smart) and the once-hot, now-blacklisted writer (Hannah Einbinder) that begins to work with her on her Las Vegas standup act, is snappy and smart, with plenty to say about women who never got their due. It could easily have turned into a screed against Gen Z or Boomers, but instead, Hacks (which was co-created by Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, and Jen Statsky) is a thoughtful exploration of change and comedy, engaging to both those who know a lot about the inside of Hollywood as well as those who look on from afar. The show is engrossing and funny — a weekend binge you'll be thinking about far after the surprising and stirring final moments. — Erin Strecker, Entertainment Editor *

How to watch: Hacks is now streaming on HBO Max.

12. The Other Two

A dynamic duo!
A dynamic duo! Credit: Zach Dilgard/Hbo

The Other Two is a hilarious (and criminally underrated) satire of show business created by former Saturday Night Live head writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider. When siblings Cary and Brooke Dubek (Drew Tarver and Heléne Yorke, both excellent) discover that their younger brother Chase (Case Walker) has become an overnight teen pop sensation, they do their best to help him navigate stardom - and try to figure out how to use his fame to boost their own stalling careers.

In Kelly and Schneider's capable hands, what could have been a one-note comedy about sibling jealousy becomes a show where the dramatic payoff is just as resonant as the many, many jokes. Come for all the pop culture references (including the best Call Me By Your Name parody ever put to film), stay for the emotional turmoil of the Dubek family. — Belen Edwards, Entertainment Fellow

How to watch: The Other Two is now streaming on HBO Max.

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 9:01 pm

9 best sci-fi movies on Amazon Prime Video for a trippy escape

We get it. The world of today is a trying place. Sometimes you just want an escape hatch that lets you live inside another take on our present or future. That's what makes good science fiction so alluring.

All the Amazon Prime subscribers out there should know: You have a boatload of options to choose from in the online retailer's streaming library. There's a little something for fans of any style of sci-fi you could imagine, from comedy to horror to drama to just plain "this is weird AF."

Here's a selection of some of our favorites that you can find and fire up right now.

1. The Man Who Fell to Earth

The Man Who Fell to Earth is basically E.T., but the extraterrestrial in this case is a smoldering 29-year-old David Bowie. (Also, E.T. came out six years later.) Bowie appears here in his first starring role, playing an alien who comes to our planet in search of water for his drought-stricken home world. Presenting himself to the people of Earth as an Englishman named Thomas Jerome Newton, the out-of-this-world visitor uses his knowledge of advanced technology to secure patents that make him fabulously wealthy. But his mission to save his home is complicated again and again by the more harmful trappings of human life, as well as shady government figures.

Commentary much? This surreal work of sci-fi directed by Nicolas Roeg is a must-see for any Bowie fan (i.e., everyone).

How to watch: The Man Who Fell to Earth is now streaming for Amazon Prime Video subscribers.

2. Attack the Block

Back in 2011, an unknown director named Joe Cornish premiered a sci-fi action thriller starring an unknown actor named John Boyega. Attack the Block blew away audiences and critics with its depiction of a South London block under alien siege, with Boyega's Moses fighting on the front lines for his turf. It's brilliantly paced, plotted, and scored by Steven Price — a powerhouse debut for the kind of talent Hollywood scours for every day. Boyega commands the screen with star power even as a teen, teaming up with Cornish to bring his script to life with enviable confidence. —Proma Khosla, Entertainment Reporter

How to watch: Attack the Block is now streaming for Amazon Prime Video subscribers.

3. Donnie Darko

With Donnie Darko, writer-director Richard Kelly delivered not only an all-time great sci-fi thriller, but one of the most moving accounts of teen angst ever put to film. Then-19-year-old Jake Gyllenhaal leads as the titular character, a struggling high schooler who experiences bizarre hallucinations and dangerous sleepwalking incidents after a freak accident. Jena Malone, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze and more also appear.

Combining dream-like cinematography, brilliant scripting, and an utterly incomparable soundtrack, this 2001 title strikes a tone unmatched by any since. Mournful yet magnificent, the tale of strange tragedy has been described as a kind of heavily philosophical superhero movie, and with good reason. On the off-chance you haven’t seen it, I’ll leave it at that, since this is one movie that truly deserves to be enjoyed unspoiled. —Ali Foreman, Entertainment Reporter

How to watch: Donnie Darko is now streaming for Amazon Prime Subscribers (via IMDb TV, with ads).

4. The Host

Parasite's Song Kang-ho plays Park Gang-du, viewed as a lost cause by his family, even young daughter Hyun-seo (Ko Asung). When toxic waste from a lab up the Han River creates a twisted monster that starts attacking humans, it takes Hyun-seo. The family is broken — director Bong Joon Ho's eclectic humor rears its head in scenes like when the Parks weep for Hyun-seo — and seems entirely dubious of trusting Gang-du to rescue his daughter.

Bong's 2006 creature feature was only his third full-length production as director, and went on to be the highest-grossing South Korean movie at that point in time. As the creature affects everyone from gangsters to government and the Park family in particular, it's highly reminiscent of Okja, made 11 years later with five times the budget. It's a treat for fans of Bong's storytelling to witness his evolution and a brilliant mind at work since long before it was winning Oscars. —P.K.

How to watch: The Host is now streaming for Amazon Prime Video subscribers.

5. The Vast of Night

It feels reductive to even call Andrew Patterson's indie masterpiece science fiction, but given that its 89-minute runtime at least alludes to aliens, it might be all we've got. Everett (Jake Horowitz), a radio jockey, and Fay (Sierra McCormick), a switchboard operator, have their night cut short by a strange audio phenomenon that interferes with the broadcast and confuses listeners. Their night derails as they follow clues about the sound's origin and reports of something odd in the sky. 

Vast of Night hypnotizes the viewer not with special effects or otherworldly elements, but with grounded, meditative, even slow direction and performance. Many scenes are long, uncut takes of one or more characters talking, and by the end it barely matters what they saw in the sky or choose to believe in. Fay and Everett's night is already one they'll never forget, and a film that stays with you long after you watch it. —P.K.

How to watch: The Vast of Night is now streaming for Amazon Prime Video subscribers.

6. Explorers

This charming family sci-fi flick from director Joe Dante (Gremlins!) is about a group of kids who build a working spaceship out of trash and literal dreams (for real). When they finally do get what they're after, they discover that life in outer space isn't so different from life at home. Explorers is a bit uneven due to the odd circumstances of its production, but it lives on today as a cult classic. It's also, perhaps most notably, the feature film debut for Ethan Hawke and the late River Phoenix, who, along with Jason Presson, star as the three spacefaring teens.

How to watch: Explorers is now streaming for Amazon Prime Video subscribers.

7. Minority Report

Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise, and time crimes. What's not to love? This 2002 blockbuster adapted from a Philip K. Dick short story sets Cruise in the role of John Anderton, the chief of a future-tech police division called PreCrime. As if modern policing isn't already bad enough, PreCrime officers get a heads-up on crimes before they're committed, with information delivered by Precogs, or psychics, who spend their days drugged and floating in tubs of water.

It's a wacky premise that takes a not-unexpected turn when Anderton, who's struggled with depression and addiction after the never-solved kidnapping of his son destroyed his family six years earlier, is pre-accused of murder. Worse, the victim is someone Anderton's never even met. While it's perhaps not as incisive as it could be as a commentary on the dangers of police overreach, Minority Report remains a fun, Spielberg-directed spectacle.

How to watch: Minority Report is now streaming for Amazon Prime Video subscribers.

8. Armageddon

A little Bayhem never hurt anyone. Michael Bay loves to blow stuff up in movies, and he's rarely done it better than he did in Armageddon. This 1998 disaster flick may be best known for the Aerosmith tune, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing." But this is peak Bayhem from the late '90s, when Hollywood seemed obsessed with finding new and exciting ways to blow up the Earth.

The existential threat in Armageddon is a fast-approaching, ridiculously large asteroid that's discovered a little more than two weeks before it's set to touch down and destroy the planet. The best strategy NASA's geniuses can come up with is planting and detonating a nuclear bomb deep inside inside it. The time crunch means astronauts can't be trained to do the digging, so NASA turns to a crack crew of deep sea oil drillers, led by Harry S. Stamper (Bruce Willis), for help. Ben Affleck is there, too. This movie rules so hard.

How to watch: Armageddon is now streaming for Amazon Prime Video subscribers.

9. Vivarium

Vivarium isn’t the sci-fi journey to pick if you’re seeking tidy explanations or slickly satisfying reveals. But if you’re open to a more ethereal sci-fi experience — one that will make you ask a lot of questions about the world you’ve been introduced to and then fail to answer most of them — this uniquely baffling outing from director Lorcan Finnegan is worth a go. 

Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots star as a couple looking to buy a house. Yonder, a suburban development touted as having "All you’d need and all you’d want" catches their eye, and they schedule a visit at one of its many identical properties. But after a strange house tour, the pair find they can’t exit the neighborhood, with the labyrinthine rows of matching units trapping them in some kind of loop. 

Things only get stranger from there, so cue this one up when you’re feeling a bit weird. It’s visually beautiful and narratively bonkers. —A.F.

How to watch: Vivarium is now streaming for Amazon Prime Video subscribers.

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 9:00 pm

How Ivermectin became polarized on social media

"Hey Doc, are you a Democrat or a Republican?"

This may seem like a bizarre question to ask your doctor. What would their political affiliation matter in the treatment of your medical issues?

One emergency care physician in Montana, overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases in her ICU, recently reported being asked that very question by a patient.

"I am your doctor," Dr. Sara Nyquist said she told the patient while talking to a local news outlet Missoulian.

"You do wonder how we got here," she pondered.

But, we really don't have to wonder. We are in an era of political polarization. And social media is fanning the flames. With the COVID-19 pandemic, there's heated debates on Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else you frequent online concerning people passing on getting a life-saving vaccine and instead consuming horse paste they purchased from their local animal feed store.

On social media, medicine is political now.

The horse paste debate

In early September, podcaster Joe Rogan announced that he had COVID-19. The popular yet controversial host posted a video to his Instagram account sharing the diagnosis, preceded by a list of medications he was taking to fight it.

One of his treatments: Ivermectin, a Nobel Prize-winning antiparasitic medication long used to treat roundworms and other parasites.

While Ivermectin is widely used in developing nations to treat humans, another version of the same drug is more commonly used as a dewormer for livestock. In order to get horses to take the medication, it comes in paste form, available to purchase at animal feed stores.

Yet, in recent months, anti-vaxxers and other COVID skeptics are heralding Ivermectin as a COVID-19 miracle cure – something it is not.

In fact, both the FDA and CDC have specifically put out statements explicitly warning against using Ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19. Merck, the major manufacturer of Ivermectin in the U.S. has also put out a statement against using the drug for COVID-19. When reached for comment, Merck directed Mashable to the same statement.

Because many medical professionals will not prescribe Ivermectin as it is not viewed as a treatment for COVID-19, some have been using the horse paste version as a workaround.

For months, the internet has been riddled with Facebook Groups and other online forums full of anti-vaxxers dedicated to taking the horse paste version. You'll even find people in these online groups discussing their daily "regimen" of ingesting Ivermectin horse paste as a preventative against getting COVID-19 in the first place.

Tweet may have been deleted

Poison control centers warned of a surge in calls reporting Ivermectin overdoses from people taking the version meant for farm animals. The FDA even put out a statement explicitly telling people to stop taking horse paste.

Then, on social media, the Ivermectin situation really blew up when Rogan announced he was taking it after testing positive for COVID-19.

Rogan had previously told his young listeners they didn't need the vaccine. He had been spreading various COVID-19 conspiracy theories throughout the pandemic. In fact, months before his Instagram video, he even hosted prominent Ivermectin promoters – one of them being Dr. Pierre Kory of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) – on his show to discuss the drug.

However, the Ivermectin mention in his Instagram video is what really caught on and set off a firestorm online.

Tweet may have been deleted

Rogan, for his part, says that the Ivermectin he took was for humans and prescribed by a doctor, meaning he didn't eat horse paste.

The push for a "miracle cure"

Some developing nations, with nowhere else to turn and plentiful with Ivermectin, decided to experiment with the drug as a COVID-19 treatment as cases spiked. Without any real rigorous studying or legitimate data, word of Ivermectin's success in treating COVID-19 in those countries quickly spread amongst those seeking alternative treatments.

The FLCCC, an organization of medical professionals led by its founder Dr. Pierre Kory, soon became Ivermectin's strongest backer as a COVID-19 treatment in the U.S.

In fact, that may be an understatement.

Those who believe Ivermectin is a "miracle cure" for COVID-19 often cite Kory because he's called it a "miracle cure" himself – in his testimony in front of a Congressional committee no less. There is no evidence that backs him up.

The FLCCC was formed in the earliest days of the pandemic in March 2020. It was unclear as to how doctors should treat COVID-19 patients who were flooding hospitals when the virus first hit the U.S. Kory, a former critical care specialist, formed the FLCCC in order to develop ways to treat these patients.

Dr. Eric Osgood MD, an internal medicine doctor who treats COVID-19 "long haulers" – those who still experience debilitating symptoms and ailments even after overcoming the virus – became involved with the group because of their work.

In a conversation with Mashable, Osgood says he initially joined the FLCCC because they were "forward thinking doctors who were able to get ahead of the profession" on a few hospital treatments for the coronavirus, such as the use of blood thinners on COVID-19 patients.

However, Osgood left the organization earlier this summer. The reason? The insistence of the FLCCC, led by Kory, to promote Ivermectin over life-saving COVID-19 vaccines.

"We have vaccines now that are widely and easily available that are overwhelmingly shown to save lives," Dr. Osgood told me. "The group's influence is not being used to help people get over their fears and uncertainties about vaccines."

A screenshot of the FLCCC homepage showing the Ivermectin section on the website's main menu.
A screenshot of the FLCCC homepage showing the Ivermectin section on the website's main menu. Credit: Screenshot: mashable

A look at the FLCCC website finds scant mention of the COVID-19 vaccines, let alone any promotion of them. However, Ivermectin enjoys a spotlight role as an entire website topic right on the FLCCC homepage's main menu at the top of the page. It sits right alongside the website's "About" and "FAQ" page.

Osgood is perhaps one of the most important voices in the Ivermectin conversation. He is not against the use of Ivermectin in COVID-19 patients. He claims he has seen its effectiveness in treating certain symptoms in these patients, acting an anti-inflammatory, for example. The New Jersey doctor believes that we'll know more about the possible benefits of Ivermectin use in COVID patients once there is a big enough trial. And, based on that data, he's also open to being wrong.

"I'm deeply uncomfortable with how Ivermectin is being treated as settled science [by the FLCCC] as opposed to making arguments based on data, risk, benefit, costs, burdens, lack of effective outpatient alternatives," he explained.

"It's not a miracle cure and it's not a vaccine alternative."

The polarization of COVID-19

Political polarization in the United States, exacerbated by social media, is not a new phenomena.

But the polarization of medical treatment? That is new.

Osgood tells Mashable that he's never seen anything quite like it in the world of medicine. That is until then-President Donald Trump wholly backed another so-called experimental miracle cure, hydroxychloroquine, at the beginning of the pandemic.

Despite criticism from medical professionals, right wing-leaning COVID skeptics quickly latched on to Trump's claims. Foreshadowing the current horse paste debacle, some people even took the wrong type of hydroxychloroquine, with fatal results.

Trump even found a group of fringe doctors who supported him to back up his claims. Those same fringe doctors, known as America's Frontline Doctor's, are now writing Ivermectin prescriptions for people seeking out the drug.

Studies would later confirm critics' claims about the ineffectiveness of hydroxychloroquine. But, to right wingers and anti-vaxxers, anyone who criticized hydroxychloroquine was making a political statement, not a scientific one.

And much in the same way it works with political discourse, these anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists were able to use social media to their advantage. They utilized filter bubbles within Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other platforms which enabled them to double-down on false claims about miracle cures and vaccines.

Conspiracy theories are everywhere now

Anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists have existed long before COVID-19.

Throughout the pandemic and during the early lockdowns, as a confused public searched online for answers, those very anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists were ready to meet them with their falsehoods.

Right-wing conspiracies like QAnon flourished during the pandemic. QAnon followers spread their false claims about COVID-19 being a hoax and mixed it in with their conspiratorial foundational beliefs, like Trump's political enemies running global trafficking rings.

As of the publication of this piece, there have been more than 684,000 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. since the beginning of the pandemic. More than 2,000 people in the country are dying per day from the virus.

It didn't take long for conspiracy theorists to convince people on social media that COVID-19 was created by Trump's rivals, solely meant to cost him the presidential election. And from there the vaccinations – the very same ones Trump has taken credit for – became a way for President Joe Biden's administration to track people via 5G nanochips. (Of course, that is not true. There is no 5G chip in the COVID vaccine.

With Trump supporters, anti-vaxxers, and other conspiracy theorists officially controlling the COVID-19 narrative among their social media followers, they seek out bogus miracle cures like Ivermectin.

And then the problems eventually jump offline too.

In Idaho, one doctor recently recalled how a COVID patient's son-in-law threatened her life for not using Ivermectin. Earlier this month, a Chicago hospital was inundated with calls from QAnon believers, harassing the doctors for not using the drug to save a prominent conspiracy theorist sick with COVID-19.

The problem will continue

Ivermectin promoters like Dr. Kory have long promoted a few studies that claim to show the benefits of using the drug on COVID-19 patients.

However, as time has gone on, these studies have been pulled due to ethical concerns and faulty data.

Dr. Osgood described some of the studies on Ivermectin and COVID-19 that were out there as "flawed," "fabricated," and "done in a manner that is not in keeping with scientific standards."

"There has always been research fraud but never have I really seen such extreme amounts of fraud and scientific misconduct surrounding one drug," he told Mashable.

Even Ivermectin's online detractors have fallen for online misinformation, too, due to how polarized the issue is. A dubious study claiming Ivermectin lowers male sperm count quickly spread online over the past few weeks, even after it was debunked.

COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the U.S. Those who are hospitalized and die from the virus today are primarily the unvaccinated. Yet, stumble upon any anti-vaxxers Facebook profile and you'll find them proudly sharing conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and the vaccines.

Over on Reddit, a new community called "The Herman Cain Award" has emerged. The award is named after Herman Cain, a former Republican presidential candidate who attended a Trump rally during the pandemic and refused to wear a mask. He died of COVID-19, which he contracted from the event.

On this subreddit, users share screenshots of unvaccinated social media users' online posts – image after image of the anti-vaxx user declaring that COVID-19 is a hoax or the vaccines to be some secret government monitoring plot.

And then, last but not least, what some Redditors have come to call "the money shot," the post that earns that user "The Herman Cain Award": The final Facebook post, many times from a family member declaring that the unvaccinated poster has passed away due to COVID-19.

During my discussion with Osgood, I pointed to a recent report about how researchers discovered a molecule in the venom of a Brazilian viper that could possibly be used to fight COVID-19.

I joked about how I guess we'll soon see anti-vaxxers purposefully getting bit by venomous snakes.

A few days alter, Osgood sent me a link to a piece about how the unvaccinated are drinking iodine to fight COVID-19 now, undoubtably due to misinformation spread on social media. To Osgood, much of what we're seeing is a way for contrarians to buck the system. What better way to bother the establishment than to go against officials during a pandemic?

"The snake venom is coming, my friend..." he said.

Sure, healthcare has always been political, especially in the United States of America, the only industrialized nation without universal healthcare. And, no question, there's plenty of criticism to be level at the big pharmaceutical companies and their government lobbying to protect their profits.

Medical treatment, however, has typically not been a politically polarizing issue.

But here we are.

The FLCCC did not respond to Mashable's request for comment.

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 8:33 pm

An air fryer fried chicken sandwich recipe that won't leave you disappointed

Welcome to AirFryDay, where — you guessed it —every Friday Mashable covers the latest trends, dispenses advice, and reviews recipes for your air fryer.


The fried chicken wars have been raging for years now, with no end in sight. You know, Popeyes vs. Chick-fil-A, that whole deal?

And, to be fair, sometimes there's nothing quite as delicious as a fried chicken sandwich. What's not to love?

I cook a lot and, on occasion, I deep fry chicken. Not to toot my horn, but if I'm being honest, my fried chicken is good as hell. I've had family sheepishly request it like "Tim...would you mind maybe frying..."

Here: Gaze upon my works, ye mighty — which were deep fried in a ton of oil in a Dutch oven — and despair.

Tweet may have been deleted

So, when my editor suggested we attempt to homemake an air fried chicken sandwich for AirFryday, I was all about it.

The question was, could air frying compare to its deep fried cousin? The short answer: not really. The slightly longer answer? Kind of, especially if convenience matters to you.

When I make regular fried chicken, I roughly follow this amazing Lang Whitaker recipe at GQ, with modifications here and there. The very basic idea is you marinate boneless, skinless chicken thighs in buttermilk, dredge in seasoned flour using the marinade as binder, then fry. The recipe my boss suggested as an air fryer baseline — a Chick-fil-A dupe — involved a similar process.

Basically it called for marinating in a mixture of pickle juice and buttermilk, dredging seasoned flour, then air frying. I effectively took a mixture of the air fryer recipe, the GQ recipe, what my boss does, and what I do, to test out air frying a chicken sandwich. The result was very good, if not quite as crispy or tasty as a deep fried chicken sandwich. But, in a pinch, it's a tasty meal. And hey, maybe it's even a little be healthier for you. At least you won't be left with a huge pot of nasty oil at the end.

Ingredients:

How to make fried chicken in an air fryer

1. Marinate the chicken

The basics: buttermilk, pickle juice, garlic, hot sauce.

Because it was convenient for me, I marinated my chicken overnight. I'd say give yourself at least an hour, and I don't think you can overdo it. I started the marinade with a base of one-third pickle juice and two-thirds buttermilk. This will help keep the chicken juicy and give it that briny taste folks love. It will also later act as a binder for the seasoned flour.

A bunch of garlic in pickle juice.
A bunch of garlic in pickle juice. Credit: mashable

To that liquid mixture, I added a whole mess of garlic cloves — a scientific measure — that I roughly chopped in half to release some of the flavor. Then I dumped a bunch of hot sauce (use whatever, but I like Valentina Extra Hot) into the mixture. I added enough hot sauce to turn the marinade pink, but you do as much or as little you prefer. I like my chicken sandwiches spicy.

The marinade, now with buttermilk and hot sauce. From here you'd mix it all up then add your chicken.
The marinade, now with buttermilk and hot sauce. From here you'd mix it all up then add your chicken. Credit: Mashable

From there, plop as many boneless, skinless chicken thighs as your heart desires in the marinade.

There are a few reasons for using boneless, skinless thighs. One: Boneless thighs will cook faster than bone-in thighs, allowing the chicken to cook through while not burning the crust. Two: Thighs are superior to breasts and will stay juicier. Three: You do not need chicken skin for this recipe.

From there, refrigerate until you're ready to air fry some chicken.

2. Prepare your mise en place

OK, sorry for the French lesson, but I'm a big believer in the cooking term mise en place, which basically means prepping everything before you cook. For this recipe that means:

For the quick sauce, I whisked together mayo, finely chopped pickles, sriracha, Valentina, ketchup, and mustard to make a spicy, fake aioli. It was tasty.

Mise en place in action. On the left, flour with seasoning before mixing it in. You need lots of seasoning, trust me. In the middle, the components of a sauce. On the right, the finished sauce.
Mise en place in action. On the left, flour with seasoning before mixing it in. You need lots of seasoning, trust me. In the middle, the components of a sauce. On the right, the finished sauce. Credit: tim marcin

Now the flour. In a large bowl, I combined more flour than I'd ever think I'd need to coat my thighs, tons of salt (seriously, more salt than you think), black pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, and lots of cayenne because I like it hot. I also tossed in some corn starch because I was low on flour and corn starch will help you get an extra crispy crust when you're not deep frying. You can season with whatever you prefer, but it's key to remember that, beyond the marinade, this flour mixture is how you're seasoning your chicken. Season, season, season.

Here's how my prepped plates looked after all my mise en place was knocked out.

All that's missing is the chicken.
All that's missing is the chicken. Credit: tim marcin

3. Dredge your chicken

Piece by piece, take your thighs and dredge them in flour. This is not a delicate process. You basically want to push the flour into every nook and cranny of the chicken.

Chicken, before getting flour'd up.
Chicken, before getting flour'd up. Credit: tim marcin

The marinade should absorb the seasoned flour and your fingers should be a mess. The better you adhere this flour, the better your sandwich will turn out.

You want those suckers to look like this. Shake off any excess flour.

Find the nooks and crannies. Really get in there.
Find the nooks and crannies. Really get in there. Credit: tim marcin

4. Preheat the air fryer to 340 degrees

While the air fryer preheats, do dishes. Clean as you go and life will be far easier.

5. Place your chicken in the air fryer

Wait, wait, wait! Did you spray the your basket? Take nonstick spray and blast your cooking basket and/or grate. Then, right as you lay down your chicken on the grate, spray the chicken itself. You might loose some excess flour in this process, and it might make a little mess, but it's better than losing your crispy coating.

Here's what the chicken looks like in the basket, sprayed to all hell.

Doesn't look pretty, but the more nonstick the better.
Doesn't look pretty, but the more nonstick the better. Credit: tim marcin

6. Air fry the chicken for 12 minutes, flipping half way

Ok, from there. Cook the chicken for six minutes at 340 degrees, then flip it — spray the chicken again — and cook the other side for six minutes at 340 degrees.

Note: All air fryers are different. Treat this as a general guide. For reference, I have an Instant Pot six-quart air fryer, which just barely fit four thighs.

Here's what the chicken looked like after 12 minutes in the air fryer.

The chicken is pretty much cooked through. But the crust obviously needs more time.
The chicken is pretty much cooked through. But the crust obviously needs more time. Credit: tim marcin

6. Blast the chicken with heat

OK, so it's been 12 minutes and the chicken doesn't look super crispy. Don't worry. We're going to blast it with heat.

But first, use a meat thermometer and check where you're at. (If you don't have a meat thermometer, Mashable has a recommendation and, trust me, they're super useful.)

Chicken need to be cooked to at least 165 degrees, and thighs, because they're dark meat, can go higher and still taste amazing. My thighs were pretty close to cooked through after just those 12 minutes at 340 degrees. But they weren't crisp enough.

So, to finish cooking the coating, ramp the heat of the air fryer up to 400 degrees. I cooked the thighs for four minutes on one side, then flipped and cooked for four more minutes.

But keep an eye out and check your chicken more frequently at this point. They could be ready to go at any moment. It may take a few minutes less, or a few minutes more depending on your air fryer, the thickness of your thighs, or other factors.

7. Place a thigh on your prepped bun and eat

Here's what the chicken looked like, all finished.

Not bad for not using oil.
Not bad for not using oil. Credit: tim marcin

To be honest, you're almost certainly going to lose some of the crust in the basket. An air fryer circulates hot air, which is great, but it just doesn't have the heating capacity of hot oil in a deep fryer, which adheres the flour amazingly well. Don't fret about losing some faux-skin. Such is life.

But look at the finished product, placed on a bun, and ready to go. Pretty dang good.

Lunch.
Lunch. Credit: tim marcin
Mmm.
Mmm. Credit: Mashable / tim marcin

The verdict

An air fried chicken sandwich can be very tasty. At no point, while eating it, did I think "Wow, this is not good." But it is not as tasty as deep fried chicken. To be fair, that is a very high bar.

In the end, an air fryer is basically a super-charged convection oven. That can make great faux fried chicken but it is not going to be as good as if you took the same thing and dropped it in hot oil. The air fried version will be healthier, however, and it will save you a ton of time, clean-up, and hassle.

Deep frying takes a lot of prep, and attention, and stress, because you have a bubbling vat of scorching oil inside your home. You may get better chicken, but deep frying also leaves your house smelling like a KFC and then you have to find a way to throw away a bunch of used oil.

I'd say, in an air fryer, you can do a decent job of copying Chick-fil-A, which has a softer, briny coating. You will not be able to recreate the craggy, incredibly crispy coating in the spirit of Popeyes, which is what I achieve while deep frying.

Still, using all the same basic principles, an air fryer can make you a tasty fried chicken sandwich in 20 minutes of cook time. It seems living during the great Fried Chicken Wars does have its advantages.

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 7:38 pm

The 'Midnight Mass' cast builds their ultimate horror movie survival squad

See who the Midnight Mass cast would bring with them to survive a horror movie.

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 7:06 pm

The cast of 'Dear Evan Hansen' reflects on social media vs. reality

We spoke with Ben Platt and the cast of Dear Evan Hansen about the film's key themes, including the complexities of adolescence and social media.

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 6:58 pm

The best dating apps for lesbians who haven't found love on TikTok yet

Online dating as a lesbian, for the most part, still involves having your space invaded by straight people.

The heteronormative weirdness got so alienating that lesbians began turning to TikTok as a means of meeting other single lesbians — turns out, it's a damn good matchmaker.

But it's unrealistic to expect a social media app to work like a dating app for everyone. (It's hard for some of us to comprehend, but not everyone spends every free minute on TikTok.) Lesbians who have exhausted their local romantic options are still going to want to see who else is out there.

For much of current history, some people have acted as though lesbians didn't exist outside of porn and Ellen DeGeneres, while jokes swirl about how girls only turn to dating women if they had a bad experience with a man. (Yikes.)

Even in 2021, these tone-deaf assumptions still find a way rain on the lesbian online dating experience. If it's not a man appearing in your feed when you specifically marked that you're searching for women, it's matching with a woman just to be hit with the classic "My boyfriend and I are looking for a threesome."

SEE ALSO: How to navigate dating apps when you're bisexual

There's just one problem: The apps targeted toward the straights are still where most of the queer users are, too. Though women-only apps like HER are gaining traction fast, they can still be a bit of a ghost town... or a scammer's paradise. You just have to decide whether you can deal with the quirks of Tinder and have more options to swipe through, or if you're fine with coming across the same profile three times as long as it's not a man.

A note on what didn't make the list

A decent number of dating sites and apps specifically for lesbians do exist, but most are plagued with the same issues: Their sole purpose is to sexualize lesbians and aren't really for genuine connection at all, or their lax security protocols make it way too easy for ill-intentioned men to sign up pretending to be women. (Creeps are drawn to porn-y names like Pink Flirt.) If you're wondering why we left most of those so-called female-only apps out, that's why.

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 5:01 pm

The best dating apps for bisexual people: Where to meet people who get it

The bisexual community has an inside joke that describes what it's like to date as a bi person: People think it means double the options or double the fun, but it really just means double the rejection.

Self-deprecating jokes like this one are at the core of the Single People Club regardless of sexuality, but bisexual people do face extra roadblocks in the dating world.

True: Online dating sucks for everyone. Horny jerks disguise themselves as relationship seekers, your DMs are constantly filled with bad pickup lines and overly persistent creeps, and many times, the site's algorithm ignores the filters that you've set. But the fact that there are no dating sites that cater specifically to bi people means that they're frequently swiping on people who don't take bisexuality seriously.

The unique dating challenges that bi people face boil down to one rigid concept: being too gay for some and too straight for others.

The "B" in LGBTQ+ makes up 50 percent of the queer community, but it's one of the least-acknowledged letters in the acronym. There are dating sites for lesbians and dating sites for gay men, but nothing specifically for those who identify as bisexual. What makes the bi dating landscape — especially the online one — so tricky to maneuver?

What is unicorn hunting?

One of the most antiquated stereotypes about bisexual people is that they're always down to fuck and down for polyamory. "Unicorn" is a term used to describe a bisexual person (usually a woman) who sleeps with heterosexual couples. In online dating, unicorn hunting is when a straight, taken female user toggles that she's "looking for women" — not genuinely looking for a girl to get to know romantically, but rather for a girl interested in a threesome with her and her boyfriend or husband or whoever. Of course, they don't mention this until later.

No one is saying that threesomes are bad. Reddit users who have experienced this mention that they don't have a problem with "ethical non-monogamy." They have a problem with being tricked into it. (There aren't any great apps for polyamory either, but this is why Feeld exists.)

Bisexuality is hyper-sexualized on heteronormative apps

Another frequent bisexual experience is one that all women face online, now heightened by the mere mention of "bi" in a dating app bio: men being creepy. Too many straight men have yet to grasp the concept that bisexuality is not a green light to ask a stranger how many girls they've been with or if she likes men or women better.

23-year-old Megan from Virginia, who is a friend of a friend, told us via Facebook that she couldn't even count the number of gross (slash ignorant) messages she'd received from men in reference to writing "bi" in her Tinder bio. "There were times when they would be like 'Oh, you never seemed gay in high school' or whatever, because gay is obviously a personality trait 🙃," she said. "Like my sexuality wasn’t a real thing or it was just a fetish to these people."

Catfishing is also an issue. Some men have such a rabid obsession with queer women that they'll sign up for a dating site as a woman just to see an all-women swiping field. It's a total privacy breach at the least, and certainly doesn't boost your willingness to meet up with someone in real life. Some dating sites are working to increase transparency about first name and age by requiring Facebook verification during sign-up.

Queer dating apps aren't always inviting, either

Does "gold star lesbian" ring a bell? The delineation is given to lesbians who have never slept with a man. Countless bisexual women have reported being ghosted after disclosing that they have been with a guy before, and profiles with "gold stars only" in the bio have popped up, too.

This crowd of Reddit users explain the ways they've experienced biphobia on gay or lesbian dating sites. They've been told that they're not "actually bisexual" if they haven't been with anyone of the same gender before or that they're "basically straight" if their most recent relationship was a heterosexual one. Summed up: if you're not monosexually gay, it's a cop-out. Invalidating someone's sexual experiences is the opposite of the supportive sex-positivity that you'd expect from inside the queer community, and it contributes to many bisexual folks' struggles of not feeling queer enough.

Why people think you should still put "bi" in your dating app bio

Adding those two simple letters to your bio will draw some unwanted attention, and it's going to be a pain in the ass. But in the long run, it'll also act like an asshole filter to weed out people who try to put sexual orientation into a box.

The idea that being bisexual is just a pit stop to being "fully-blown gay" — or that it means that you're attracted to everyone you see — probably aren't thoughts you'd prefer a partner to have. They're especially not opinions you'd like to hear about months down the road from someone you thought you knew well. The easiest way to ensure that you won't be left heartbroken over someone not accepting your sexuality? Let them know from the jump.

One writer for Tinder's blog mentions that, despite his number of matches dropping once he put "bi" in his profile, he found more meaningful connections with open-minded men and women and had a more positive experience in general:

"For the first time in my life, women wanted to date me for something that others ostracized. I felt empowered and optimistic about my romantic future.

I also found myself meeting more bi men. Men who didn’t explicitly write “bi” on their profile, but would happily say something the moment they saw I proudly displayed my sexuality. Except for my current boyfriend, who identifies as gay, every person I’ve dated seriously has identified as bisexual or queer. I don’t think that’s coincidental. When you have shared experiences with discrimination, it’s easier to date."

"Coming out" over and over again is unfair. But doing so right off the bat also acts as an early screening for people who identify as bi but say they wouldn't date another bi person — something that a lot of bi men experience from bi women.

Tweet may have been deleted

Can you actually find a relationship online?

Do bisexual people get dealt a shitty hand on dating apps? Yes. Does that mean meeting someone special online is impossible? Hell no. A 2017 study cited in the MIT Technology Review found that people who meet online are more likely to be compatible and have a higher chance of a healthy marriage if they decide to get hitched. Further, a 2019 study done at Stanford found that nearly two-thirds of modern same-sex couples meet online.

It sucks that there's no legit dating app specifically devoted to bi individuals and other singles who respect what it means to be bi — yet. However, this also means that a good portion of other single bi folks are probably on those popular dating apps that you've considered. At least you know the user base is there. Many of these apps have taken steps toward inclusive features that can narrow your dating pool: OkCupid pulls out the left-leaning people with compatibility based on questions about social issues and politics, and Tinder's addition of 37 custom sexual orientations lets you opt to be shown matches that identify the same way you do.

Knowing all that, here are the best dating apps for bisexual people:

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 4:49 pm

Switch games are up to 60% off during the Nintendo eShop Blockbuster Sale

Save up to $45: Shop the Nintendo eShop's Blockbuster Sale through Oct. 3 at 11:59 p.m. PT and save on digital games, software bundles, and DLCs.


Folks, we got some big news at yesterday's Nintendo Direct. Standing out among the announcements was the Nintendo Switch Online update (!), the long-waited Animal Crossing update (!!), and the news that Chris Pratt is playing the titular role the Super Mario movie (???).

But if you thought that's where the news stops, think again. As of Sept. 24, the Nintendo eShop is holding one of its rare sales, with tons of digital titles for the Switch, including software bundles and DLCs, discounted up to 60% off.

"Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle" is a whopping $45 off.
"Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle" is a whopping $45 off. Credit: Nintendo

Whether you're a ride-or-die Nintendo fan, just getting into gaming, or simply need a palate cleanser because you're still reeling after learning that Chris Pratt has been cast as Mario (???), you're going to want to check out this sale. You'll find some of our top picks below — a few of which even made our best games of 2020 list — and check out the full sale here.

Save up to 60% at the Nintendo eShop
Credit: Nintendo
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Posted on 24 September 2021 | 4:10 pm

Save over $200 on a Dell XPS 17, plus more laptop deals this weekend

UPDATE: Sept. 24, 2021, 11:25 a.m. EDT This list has been updated with the best laptop deals as of Sept. 24.


What's better than a great laptop? A great laptop that's cheap. Nowadays, even budget machines can pack the punch to carry you through whatever's on your to-do list, whether it's work, watching Netflix, or endlessly browsing your go-to social media sites. If you're looking to pick up a new laptop yourself but don't necessarily want to drop your life savings in one go, we'll be compiling a list of the best deals on cheap laptops right here, each and every week. Take a look at what we found this time around, and happy shopping.

The XPS 17 is over $200 off.
The XPS 17 is over $200 off. Credit: Dell

BEST GAMING DEAL: Razer Blade 15 Advanced — $1,779.97

The Razer Blade 15 Advanced model is packed with solid internals that'll work well for PC gaming newbies and seasoned players alike. Under the hood, you'll get a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10875H processor with up to 5.0 GHz max turbo and 8 cores, as well as an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card that has the power to run some pretty visually intense games. The 300Hz screen provides buttery-smooth frame rate performance and offers full HD visuals within a bezel-less display. It's all housed within a thin, compact body that you can take anywhere.

Save $820.02 at Amazon
Credit: Razer
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BEST APPLE DEAL: 2020 Apple MacBook Air — $849.99

Apple's latest set of MacBooks with their new M1 chip are a giant leap in processing power compared to older models. The MacBook Air now offers up to 18 hours of battery life, and faster SSD performance than ever. Get one at Amazon and save $149.01.

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Credit: Apple
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BEST 2-IN-1 DEAL: Asus Chromebook Flip C434 — $443.75

Having your laptop and your tablet in one place is a convenience that you need in your life. The Asus Chromebook Flip C434 is a fantastic budget 2-in-1 device, with speedy performance, a full HD touchscreen, and components that should be able to handle all of your daily tasks.

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Posted on 24 September 2021 | 3:58 pm

Where to get 'Animal Crossing' on sale ahead of the Brewster expansion

SAVE $10.05: As of Sept. 24, Walmart has Animal Crossing: New Horizons on sale for just $49.94 — that's 17% off its $59.99 MSRP.


Brewster's back, baby: Nintendo announced at Thursday's Direct event that a forthcoming update to Animal Crossing: New Horizons will see the long-awaited return of the coffee-pouring pigeon character and his 24/7 café, The Roost.

Very little was revealed about the expansion, but we do know that Nintendo has plans to release it sometime in November. (More details to come at a special ACNH-themed Nintendo Direct in October.) In the meantime, anyone who *still* hasn't hopped on the Animal Crossing bandwagon can grab a copy of the game on sale at Walmart for just $49.94 — that's $10.05 (or 17%) off its usual retail price of $59.99, which beats its Black Friday discount by a few cents.

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FWIW, Best Buy is the only other major retailer that has the game on sale — it was going for $50.99 there at the time of writing. Meanwhile, it's still $60 at Target, on Amazon, and in the Nintendo eShop.

Brewster was introduced to the series in the 2005 Nintendo DS game Animal Crossing: Wild World and last made an appearance in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, a 2012 release on the 3DS, so it's been a minute. He joins other fan faves like Isabelle and Tom Nook (as well as over 400 other NPCs) in New Horizons, a refreshingly chill social simulation game that tasks the player with turning a deserted, weedy island into a bustling, 5-star paradise — you can read Mashable's full review of it here.

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Posted on 24 September 2021 | 3:49 pm

The best Chromebooks for pretty much anything you want to do

The best Chromebooks are the perfect examples of how Chrome OS has outgrown its label of being solely a cheaper device that isn't quite a fully-featured laptop but gives you more than what a tablet can offer. It's time to give Chromebook deals as much consideration as we do when a traditional laptop is on sale.

Nowadays, a Chromebook laptop can include useful features like a powerful Intel Core processor, a backlit keyboard, and an experience that would rival any Windows laptop. They run on ChromebookOS rather than macOS or Windows, so they generally run smaller and lighter than your standard laptop. Because of that, they rely on connectivity a bit more so due to smaller hard drives that are supplemented with cloud storage. Some have the option to install an Android app or two, but that doesn't mean they aren't productivity powerhouses at times too.

But if you think that these machines can’t keep up with the competition, well, it’s time you catch up. Chromebooks are increasingly capable machines. So let’s dispel some misconceptions about these laptops and help you pick the one that is best for you.

Can I run all my favorite apps on a Chromebook?

Unless you’re a creative and need very specific apps like Adobe After Effects, odds are there is a way to run just about anything that you need on a Chromebook — or at least find a viable alternative. Because Chromebooks are a popular option for students, there are plenty of ways to run apps like Microsoft Word and other parts of the Microsoft Office suite on a Chromebook.

If there isn’t an app option available, there is typically a web-based alternative that will let you create and edit documents and store them in the cloud so you can access them anywhere. Even an app like Zoom has the ability to run on Chromebooks so you’ll be able to stay connected to your class or your office while operating remotely.

Isn’t Chrome OS pretty limited compared to Windows or macOS?

Don't get us wrong, there are definitely limitations to Chrome OS. It’s an operating system designed specifically to operate on Chromebooks, and it’s relatively young compared to its competitors in macOS and Windows. But it’s more than capable of handling most tasks.

Chrome OS is based on Linux and in recent years has become capable of running Linux apps, which gives it a whole new arsenal of capabilities. Linux has many alternatives to popular apps — GIMP for Photoshop and LibreOffice for Microsoft Word, for instance — and being able to tap into this well of existing apps makes Chromebooks more fully featured than you might have imagined.

Additionally, some Chromebooks have the capability of running Android apps. While this is limited to Chromebooks that have access to the Google Play Store, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities. If you’re already using an Android phone or tablet, being able to seamlessly hop into that same ecosystem on a laptop makes it easy to pick up your work anywhere.

So what can’t a Chromebook do?

While Chromebooks are more than enough to help you keep up with your school work or make the commute to the office, they aren’t fully featured machines. If you want to do some high-level creative tasks like photo or film editing, you’re going to find the Chromebook a bit lacking. Same goes for gaming.

That said, these machines are more powerful than you might think. Many come equipped with Intel processors that you might find in mid- to high-tier Windows machines, and have 8GB to 16GB of RAM available, as well.

What you’re more likely to find lacking is physical memory. You aren’t going to be able to load up a Chromebook with lots of photos and videos, nor are you going to be able to download your favorite series from Netflix to watch offline. Chromebooks ditch big hard drives, which can often add a significant amount of weight, in favor of cloud storage. This keeps the machines portable, but also makes you more reliant on having an internet connection available.

What Chromebook should I get?

Almost all the major brands now offer Chromebooks, so you can purchase an Acer Chromebook, Lenovo Chromebook, Asus Chromebook, Samsung Chromebook, as well as an HP Chromebook (and on and on). Understandably, given the ties to all things Google, the Google Pixelbook is a standout example too, along with other more expansive fare such as the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook. With so many options out there, we've put together a list of some of the best available to get you started.

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 3:47 pm

Save on the Gravity Blanket, weighted eye masks, and more cozy items at Amazon

Save 15%: As of Sept. 24, products from Gravity, including the iconic Gravity Blanket and Gravity Weighted Sleep Mask, are 15% off (via coupon) at Amazon. Save up to $38.


Just as you've perfected your anti-sweat summer bedding setup, it's time to slip into something a little more... cuddly.

A weighted blanket could help you transition to fall sleep mode by providing a swaddling effect on chilly or allergy-ridden nights. If you don't have one yet, try the beloved Gravity Blanket for 15% off at Amazon.

Other products from the Gravity store, like the Cooling Blanket and Weighted Sleep Mask, are also 15% off.

Time to get cozy.
Time to get cozy. Credit: gravity

Gravity Blanket — starting at $166.66 (save up to 37.35)

This Kickstarter success has made its way onto countless "best weighted blankets" lists. It's often ranked for its luxurious gridded stitching and sturdy build. The classic choice features a fleecy micro-plush duvet exterior and glass beads inside.

With the 15% coupon applied, Gravity Blanket prices range from $166.66 for the 15-pound blanket and $211.65 for the 35-pound blanket, with 20- and 25-pound options in between.

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Credit: gravity
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Gravity Weighted Sleep Mask — $33.14 (save $5.85)

Applying the same science, this one-pound sleep mask blocks out light and presses on key relaxation pressure points across the face. Fleece on the exterior and a satin inner mask provide a comfy design that doesn't feel too bulky.

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Posted on 24 September 2021 | 3:36 pm

Want to switch up your streaming? Snag 3 months of Spotify Premium for free.

SAVE $29.97: As of Sept. 24, new users can get three months of Spotify Premium for free — a $29.97 value.


Apple Music fans: Are you good?

The age-old debate of Apple Music vs. Spotify gets pretty heated, but if you're not totally sold on your current streaming service, now is a good time to try Spotify Premium. From now through Sept. 30, new Premium users can get three months of ad-free, offline listening for free.

The trial lasts until Dec. 24, so you'll have plenty of time to suss out whether Spotify is truly the elite spot for music. This deal only applies to users who haven't tried Premium before, but no worries if you already have a free Spotify account. As long as you haven't upgraded in the past, you're still eligible for the free three months.

One thing to note: Your account will automatically be charged $9.99 per month after the trial, so on the off-chance that you decide to cancel, do it before the three months are up.

With Spotify Premium, you'll ditch ads for good, enjoy offline listening, be able to download songs, and get unlimited skips. You'll also get access to the iconic Discover Weekly playlist for finding new artists and songs, as well as customized "Daily Mix" playlists made up of your favorite tunes. Spotify truly customizes your music experience to your tastes — something that Apple Music is still catching up to.

Spotify boasts millions of tracks and podcasts, and it gets some solid Spotify-exclusive songs and podcasts that you won't be able to find anywhere else. You'll be able to create radio stations, get recommendations for new music you might like, and of course, get a more complete year-end review of your music when 2021 is up. If you want all this and more, be sure sign up for three free months of Spotify Premium before this deal is up on Sept. 30.

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Credit: Spotify
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Posted on 24 September 2021 | 3:24 pm

Everything coming to Hulu in October

Brace yourselves, because Hulu is adding a ton of new movies and TV shows to its library this October.

Among the new Hulu originals you can expect are baking competition Baker's Dozen and documentary Jacinta, as well as The Next Thing You Eat, a docuseries about the future of food. Elsewhere, you'll find Bond films like Goldfinger and From Russia With Love, and the entire Hunger Games series.

There's even more coming our way. Here's everything coming to Hulu in October 2021.

Top pick: Dopesick

Executive produced by Danny Strong (Empire) and Michael Keaton, who also stars, Hulu's original series Dopesick examines how one company triggered the worst drug epidemic in American history. Dopesick approaches the opioid epidemic from a variety of angles, going from the boardrooms of Big Pharma to a distressed Virginia mining community witnessing the horrors of addiction first-hand.

With an all-star cast including Keaton, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Stuhlbarg, Will Poulter, John Hoogenakker, Kaitlyn Dever, and Rosario Dawson, Dopesick may be Hulu's next big prestige television show.

How to watch: The first three episodes of Dopesick premiere on Hulu Oct. 13, with new episodes streaming weekly.

Movies

A Murder to Remember (10/15)

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (10/1)

Air Force One (10/1)

Ali (10/1)

Blippi's Spooky Spells Halloween (10/1)

Boxcar Bertha (10/1)

Cannabis Evolution (10/8)

Cedar Rapids (10/1)

Censor (10/14)

Chasing Papi (10/1)

Cheer Camp Killer (10/15)

CHiPS (10/13)

Class (10/1)

Clifford (10/1)

Clockstoppers (10/1)

Code 46 (10/1)

Come Away (10/25)

Crimson Tide (10/1)

Date Night (10/1)

Dead of Winter (10/1)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (10/1)

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble (10/1)

Dr. No (10/1)

Dream Horse (10/18)

Edge of the World (10/1)

Escape from Alcatraz (10/1)

Exorcist: The Beginning (10/1)

Finding Your Feet (10/3)

First Date (10/28)

Flatliners (10/1)

For Madmen Only (10/27)

From Russia with Love (10/1)

G.I. Joe: Retaliation (10/10)

Gaia (10/22)

Goldeneye (10/1)

Goldfinger (10/1)

Gunda (10/11)

Happy Feet (10/1)

Happy Feet Two (10/1)

House of Games (10/1)

Hunt for the Skinwalker (10/1)

Intersection (10/1)

Jacinta (10/8)

License to Kill (10/1)

Light It Up (10/1)

Lost in Space (10/1)

Mad Max (10/1)

Madhouse (10/1)

Madonna and the Breakfast Club (10/11)

Maggie's Plan (10/4)

Maybe Next Year (10/26)

Maze (10/1)

Mean Creek (10/1)

Meet the Spartans (10/1)

Miss India America (10/15)

My Best Friend's Wedding (10/1)

Out of Death (10/14)

Peeples (10/1)

Queen of the Damned (10/1)

Racing with the Moon (10/1)

Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (10/1)

Resident Evil: Retribution (10/1)

Road Trip (10/1)

Rogue Hostage (10/10)

Rushmore (10/1)

Signs (10/1)

Silent Night (10/23)

Sleeping with the Enemy (10/1)

Sleepless in Seattle (10/1)

Sleepwalker (10/15)

Snatch (10/1)

Species (10/1)

Species II (10/1)

Species III (10/1)

Species: The Awakening (10/1)

Spirit Untamed (10/31)

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (10/1)

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (10/1)

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (10/1)

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (10/1)

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (10/1)

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (10/1)

Star Trek: First Contact (10/1)

Star Trek: Generations (10/1)

Star Trek: Insurrection (10/1)

Star Trek: Nemesis (10/1)

Still (10/1)

Sweet Home Alabama (10/1)

Sweet Land (10/1)

Teen Wolf (10/1)

Theater of Blood (10/1)

Tooth Fairy (10/1)

Total Recall (10/1)

Victor Frankenstein (10/1)

Vigilante Force (10/1)

Waitress (10/1)

What About Bob? (10/1)

When A Man Loves A Woman (10/1)

Within (10/1)

Wolves at the Door (10/1)

Wrong Turn 2 (10/1)

The Evil Next Door (10/21)

The Extreme Adventures of Super Dave (10/1)

The Holiday (10/1)

The Hunger Games (10/1)

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (10/1)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (10/1)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (10/1)

The Loneliest Whale (10/12)

The Love Guru (10/1)

The Marksman (10/23)

The Mask of Zorro (10/1)

The Offence (10/1)

The Perfect Holiday (10/1)

The Program (10/4)

The Recruit (10/1)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (2016) (10/3)

The Saint (10/1)

The Spy Who Loved Me (10/1)

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (10/1)

The Untouchables (10/1)

The Village (10/1)

The Vow (10/1)

Unfaithful (10/4)

TV

America's Book of Secrets Season 2 (10/15)

America's Funniest Home Videos Season 32 premiere (ABC) (10/4)

Baker's Dozen Season 1 (10/7)

Beyond Oak Island Season 1 (10/15)

Beyond Scared Straight Seasons 4 - 6 (10/15)

Big Sky Season 2 premiere (ABC) (10/1)

Cake Season 5 premiere (FXX) (10/1)

Castle Season 1-8 (10/6)

Catfish Season 8D (10/30)

Champaign, ILL Season 1 (10/12)

Dopesick Series premiere (10/12)

Grey's Anatomy Season 18 premiere (ABC) (10/1)

Hoarders Season 3 (10/15)

Home Sweet Home Series premiere (NBC) (10/16)

Little Women: Atlanta Seasons 1 - 2 (10/15)

Married at First Sight: Couples Cam Season 10 (10/15)

Marrying Millions Season 2 (10/15)

Nightwatch Season 1 (10/15)

Queens Series Premiere (ABC) (10/20)

Real Housewives of Orange County Season 15 (10/14)

Seven Year Switch Season 3 (10/15)

Swamp People Seasons 1 - 2 (10/15)

Saturday Night Live Season 47 premiere (NBC) (10/3)

Shark Tank Season 13 premiere (ABC) (10/9)

Station 19 Season 5 premiere (ABC) (10/1)

The Bachelorette Season 13 (ABC) (10/1)

The Bachelorette Season 18 premiere (ABC) (10/20)

The Next Thing You Eat Season 1 (10/21)

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 3:00 pm

Celebrate the most popular birth season with flowers on sale

Save 20%: 1-800-Flowers is running a 20% off sitewide sale through Sept. 26 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Just use the code HAPPY20 to save.


Fall is the most popular season for birthdays, with September being the most popular birth month. Doing the math, it makes sense — winter can be a boring time.

1-800-Flowers is acknowledging the influx of birthday celebrations with a birthday sale. Through Sept. 26 at 11:59 p.m. ET, you can save 20% sitewide on flowers, baskets, and other gifts by using the code HAPPY20.

You can't really go wrong with sending someone flowers.
You can't really go wrong with sending someone flowers. Credit: 1-800-Flowers

Some of the flower and gift options are extremely on the nose, like the birthday cake made of flowers or the bouquet of roses that say "happy birthday" on each flower. But there are also classic bouquets with flowers like lilies, sunflowers, and daisies.

And if your gift recipient isn't big on flowers, you can also save on cake, chocolate, and other treats. Just remember to use code HAPPY20 at checkout.

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Posted on 24 September 2021 | 2:46 pm

'Don't trash our future,' young activists tell world leaders during climate strike

In 2018, Greta Thunberg (who was 15 at the time), launched a strike outside the Swedish Parliament, urging for immediate action on the climate crisis. From there, she and fellow young strikers created the #FridaysforFuture movement, a regular global call for governments and societies to make necessary change.

Today, after a lengthy pause for most in-person protests amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fridays for Future movement is back on the streets, sprouting roots around the world with a reported 1,400 rallies in 80 countries. Cities in the U.S., Germany, the UK, Italy, India, Japan, Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand, and the Philippines participated on Friday, among others. Germany — where Thunberg is attending a rally in Berlin with German climate activist Luisa Neubauer and others — is holding protests in 420 locations.

The global strike is operating under the hashtag #UprootTheSystem. According to the organizers, the movement and its title is angled towards intersectionality with regards to climate change. This entails the crisis through lenses of colonialism, discrimination, sexism, and climate injustice. For instance, focus must be placed on indigenous peoples, whose lands are being destroyed and snatched away by the fossil fuel industry.

"Without listening to MAPA (most affected people and areas), embracing intersectionality, and uprooting this system, we have no hope of stopping the climate crisis," a statement on the Fridays for Future website reads.

Leading the strike in Berlin.
Leading the strike in Berlin. Credit: Jörg Carstensen / picture alliance via Getty Images

This is the first worldwide in-person climate strike since the beginning of the pandemic — the Fridays for Future movement has encouraged online protests during this time instead. Friday's strikes have been largely fuelled by young people, who are vowing to apply pressure to governmental bodies "from the streets".

The worldwide event comes at a crucial time for global politics. Germany will hold an election this Sunday, determining their new federal parliament and who will succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel. Meanwhile, around a hundred world leaders are currently meeting to discuss issues including climate change at the U.N. General Assembly in New York. This comes ahead of the imminent U.N. COP26 conference, a climate summit of world leaders to be held in Scotland in November.

SEE ALSO: How scientists are preparing wheat for climate change

Here are photos of the protests, held from Italy to the Phillipines, West Bengal to Japan, with more to roll out across the day.

Young people protest during the Climate Strike March on September 24, 2021 in Turin, Italy.
Young people protest during the Climate Strike March on September 24, 2021 in Turin, Italy. Credit: Stefano Guidi / Getty Images
Young people protest in Turin, Italy. Some 16 cities across Europe have planned climate change protests in demand for intersectional climate justice.
Young people protest in Turin, Italy. Some 16 cities across Europe have planned climate change protests in demand for intersectional climate justice. Credit: tefano Guidi / Getty Images
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Demonstrators in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Freiburg listen to speakers.
Demonstrators in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Freiburg listen to speakers. Credit: Philipp von Ditfurth / picture alliance via Getty Images
Participants hold signs during a Fridays for Future global climate strike in Berlin.
Participants hold signs during a Fridays for Future global climate strike in Berlin. Credit: TOBIAS SCHWARZ / AFP via Getty Images
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Tweet may have been deleted
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Posted on 24 September 2021 | 2:43 pm

'Metroid Dread' is finally out this October — here's how to pre-order

TL;DR: As of Sept. 24, the long-awaited Metroid Dread is finally up for preorder. Get your copy for $59.99 ahead of the game's Oct. 8 release date.


The Nintendo Switch is about to get some pretty fantastic games. From a new Animal Crossing: New Horizons expansion to a brand new 3D adventure in Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Nintendo fans have a lot to look forward to. Coming sooner than any of the new announcements, though, is Metroid Dread, a long-awaited game that was first reported on way back in 2005. And on Oct. 8, we'll finally get to play it.

If you're as excited as we are, it makes sense to pre-order your copy now. You can get one for $59.99 at Amazon, GameStop, Best Buy, Walmart, and the Nintendo eShop.

'Metroid Dread' is out on Oct. 8.
'Metroid Dread' is out on Oct. 8. Credit: nintendo

Metroid Dread is the first new 2D Metroid game in 19 years. You'll suit back up as intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran as she travels to the mysterious planet of ZDR to rid the alien world of an imposing new foe. You'll fight off deadly robots, gain new abilities to add to Samus' repertoire, and use all that you've learned to expose new paths in secrets throughout the sprawling world.

Metroid Dread is out on Oct. 8 for the Nintendo Switch. Pre-order your copy for $59.99 at at Amazon, GameStop, Best Buy, Walmart, and the Nintendo eShop.

$59.99 at Amazon
Credit: Nintendo
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Posted on 24 September 2021 | 2:39 pm

How to get a reliable WiFi signal in every corner of your home

TL;DR: Keep every room in your house connected with the Meshforce M3s Whole Home WiFi System for just $159.99 as of Sept. 24.


Want to know a secret? You aren’t obligated to use the router your internet service provider gave you. In fact, you can often get a more powerful signal if you swap it out — especially if you live in a large or old home with multiple dead zones.

If you want to make sure every corner of your home has a reliable and secure WiFi signal, the Meshforce M3s Whole Home WiFi System is a great bet.

If you want your downstairs home office to have the same reliable and secure WiFi signal as your kid’s upstairs gaming console, the Meshforce M3s Whole Home WiFi System can do that. Complete with three mesh WiFi points, this system blankets every corner of your home with a powerful connection. One point will act as the primary router and be directly wired into your modem, while the other points act as satellites. Collectively, all three points behave like a single seamless network and cover up to 6,000 square feet.

The M3s system also has Gigabit Ethernet ports, so you can hardwire your device for data-heavy workloads, like 4K streaming or transferring large files between computers. 

You can have the whole system up and running in just a few steps. And once you download the My Mesh app, you can manage every part of your home network right from your phone. That means you can manage your kids’ internet access by the device they use and the period of time they spend online. You can even set up a guest WiFi zone for when you have company over. That way, you don’t have to repeat your WiFi password hundreds of times. The app works on both iOS and Android devices.

Here's a glimpse at how it works:

What’s particularly awesome about the Meshforce M3s system is that it’s extendable by adding more points. So, if you have a bigger house or want to extend your WiFi out to your garage apartment, all you have to do is add another point to your setup (available separately).

For a limited time, you can snag this three-point mesh WiFi system from Meshforce for just $159.99 and keep every corner of your home blanketed in WiFi.

Meshforce M3s Mesh WiFi System — $159.99
Credit: Meshforce
Meshforce M3s Mesh WiFi System — $159.99
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Posted on 24 September 2021 | 2:24 pm

Bundle to save big on GoPro’s new HERO10 Black

TL;DR: Save $150 on a HERO10 Black with a GoPro subscription.


In the age of "it only really happened if you got it on video," GoPro inhabits a league of its own for capturing high-impact visuals when you’re soaring, jumping, or riding down some crazy-huge mountain, wave, or half-pipe.

When you’re out there aiming for legend status, the brand’s latest drop — the HERO10 Black —levels up the intensity with a new, super-speedy GP2 processor. Overall, it’s now faster, lighter, and sharper than its predecessor. It shoots 5.3K video, 23MP photos, and has enhanced video stabilization in all modes.

All of your footage also gets uploaded to the cloud once you charge it. And, even though it’s a standout action camera, it’s not just for the extreme sports moments in your life. You can also produce great content for more down-to-earth situations.

If you’re looking to share your adventures in all their glory, save big on the HERO10 Black now.

HERO10 Black with GoPro Subscription: Save $150

Bundle to save big on GoPro’s new HERO10 Black
Credit: GoPro

For everything you need to get started — or upgrade — to a better action camera, the combo of a HERO10 Black with a one-year GoPro subscription for $399.98, normally $549.98, offers the smoothest GoPro experience. A subscription comes with unlimited cloud backup and auto uploads, unlimited use of the Quik app, up to 50% off at GoPro.com, and a no-questions-asked camera replacement program.

HERO10 Black and Accessories Bundle with GoPro Subscription: Save $210

Bundle to save big on GoPro’s new HERO10 Black
Credit: GoPro

Whether you’re looking to get on the radar as an action-sports influencer or want an even more versatile setup, you can take your HERO10 purchase up a notch and bundle the cam, the one-year subscription, and an added accessories package for $449.98, normally $659.94. The extras include a magnetic swivel clip; spare battery; shorty mini extension pole and tripod; 32GB SD card; and camera case. It covers all the bases with a complete package in one click to your cart instead of having to buy components separately.

The Remote: Save $24

Bundle to save big on GoPro’s new HERO10 Black
Credit: GoPro

Compatible with the HERO10 Black, The Remote ($55.99, normally $79.99) is a waterproof control for operating your GoPro from up to a 196-foot range — even when you’re wearing gloves. It has a wrist strap for easy access and a hi-res display for checking your cam. Plus, it’ll last until you nail a gnarly, 360-rotated caballerial, thanks to Bluetooth® Low Energy.

Save big on GoPro's new HERO10 Black with a GoPro Subscription
Credit: GoPro
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Posted on 24 September 2021 | 2:06 pm

The best iPhone deal that nobody’s talking about

Up until now, the wireless industry has forced everyone to go on a wild scavenger hunt every few years in order to nab the best deal and upgrade their phone. And then, even if you manage to find a good deal, you’re always left with a nagging feeling that maybe you should have waited for a better one around the corner.

Starting today, T-Mobile puts an end to all that by giving Apple fans a lifetime of value and peace of mind.

Photo of positive excited people man and woman screaming and looking at each other while both using mobile phones isolated over yellow background
Photo of positive excited people man and woman screaming and looking at each other while both using mobile phones isolated over yellow background Credit: Shutterstock / Dean Drobot

Imagine never paying full price for an iPhone again

Forever Upgrade is T-Mobile’s best iPhone deal yet. You can score a free iPhone right now by trading in your old phone, and it lets you save on upgrades every two years. Here’s how it works: First, you’ll get an iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 13, or iPhone 13 mini for free, with 30 monthly bill credits when you trade in an eligible device. That’s up to $1,000 off. Next, get on T-Mobile’s most popular 5G plan, Magenta MAX, and then bring back your iPhone every two years to get up to $800 towards a new iPhone. Repeat forever.

Basically, you can get a free iPhone with 5G now and, in 2023, you’ll get up to $800 off when you upgrade. In 2025, you’ll get up to $800 off yet again. In 2027 — well, you get the idea. What happens if you aren’t ready to upgrade after two years? Don’t worry, the savings will be waiting for you whenever you are ready.

“This is exactly the kind of industry-shaking innovation customers expect from the Un-carrier,” said Jon Freier, EVP of Consumer Group at T-Mobile. “With the new 5G iPhones on Us, Forever Upgrade, the leading 5G network, a plan built for 5G with Magenta MAX and a free year of Apple TV+ on Magenta plans, T-Mobile is THE destination for Apple fans.”

Smiling woman showing another woman her phone's screen
Smiling woman showing another woman her phone's screen Credit: Getty Images

Do yourself a favor and switch sooner than later

While T-Mobile’s Forever Upgrade gives you peace of mind when it’s time to upgrade your iPhone, T-Mobile’s other benefits — such as its leading 5G network and value-packed plans like Magenta MAX — might have you questioning why you didn’t make the switch sooner.

Magenta MAX is T-Mobile’s most popular plan and was designed for 5G. It’s loaded with perks such as unlimited premium smartphone data and unlimited hotspot with 40GB of high-speed data, it comes with Scam Shield Premium, and the price includes taxes and fees. Customers on T-Mobile’s Magenta plans even get a year of Apple TV+ for free.

In addition, the driving force behind T-Mobile is its leading 5G network. T-Mobile is the largest, fastest, and most reliable 5G network — and it’s rolling out Ultra Capacity 5G at a rapid clip. It already delivers speeds as fast as WiFi to 165 million customers and it’s on track to hit nationwide by the end of this year. Not to mention T-Mobile’s Extended Range 5G currently covers 305 million people across 1.7 million square miles.

With its Forever Upgrade program, Magenta MAX plan, and the leading 5G network packed into its wireless toolkit, it’s easy to see why people are choosing T-Mobile now — and forever.

+++

Contact us before cancelling service to continue remaining bill credits on current device, or credits top & balance on required finance agreement is due (e.g., $799.99 – iPhone 13). Plus tax. Qualifying credit, service, and trade-in (e.g., iPhone 11) required. Forever Upgrade: Trade in current eligible iPhone for new iPhone every 24+ months. Trade-in value is based on full price of trade-in up to $800 and applied to price of new device via trade-in and bill credits; no cash value. Trading in before 24 months resets trade-in value and time to redeem. Program may end and is subject to change at any time. Max 1 line and 4 accounts. ​Most Reliable: According to independent third party from crowdsourced user experience data (January to July 2021). Fastest: Based on average, overall combined 5G speeds according to Opensignal Awards (USA: 5G User Experience Report July 2021). See 5G device, coverage, and access details at T-Mobile.com.

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 1:59 pm

Make sure water is safe for your dog to play in with this quick and easy blue-green algae test

TL;DR: Swim with more peace of a mind thanks to the 5Strands BlueGreen Algae Test, on sale for just $31.99 — an 8% discount — as of Sept. 24. The company claims its test can detect these toxic algae with 99% accuracy.


To swim or not to swim — that’s the question on everyone’s minds as the wrath of blue-green algae (a.k.a. pond scum) is at it again. For the last few years, the toxic algae showing up in bodies of water around the country has threatened the health of both people and dogs that come in contact with it. It’s been linked to higher risks of sickness (or even death) in dogs compared to humans, likely because they tend to swallow more water while swimming or playing.

Sometimes you can recognize this icky greenish sludge right away, but often it’s visibly undetectable. The only way to know for sure if a body of water is safe for you and your pets is to test it. And to do that, you’ll need a test like this blue-green algae test from 5Strands.

Brought to you by the same folks who make the food and environmental intolerance test for dogs, the blue-green algae test is quick and easy to perform. It uses a technique based on one of the most recent and breakthrough developments in hepatotoxin detection, which allows it to detect 11 commonly occurring hepatotoxins in a single test. It’s even capable of detecting levels below 0.1 microgram per liter. So, if there are blue-green algae afloat, it will detect it.

All you have to do is collect a water sample and wait about 10 minutes. The results immediately show you the current state of the tested water body, with positive or negative readings via a fluorometry-based visual guide. It will also show you the concentration of detected cyanotoxins. Two lines mean blue-green algae toxins were detected, while one line means you’re safe to play. The company claims that the results are 99 percent accurate. (Which is not 100 percent, but could be helpful.)

Keep your dog (and yourself) healthy and active for years to come by avoiding toxic algae. Snag the 5Strands BlueGreen Test on sale for $31.99 (regularly $35) for a limited time.

5Strands BlueGreen Algae Test — $31.99
5Strands BlueGreen Algae Test — $31.99
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Posted on 24 September 2021 | 1:49 pm

Amazon reportedly wants to put a massive Echo on your wall

Don't have enough Amazon devices in your house? Well, the company might be working on a fix: a 15-inch Echo that can be mounted on a wall.

This is according to a new report by Bloomberg, which claims Amazon will unveil the Alexa-controlled speaker, codenamed Hoya, at its Sept. 28 event.

Hoya can be placed on a table with a stand or mounted on a wall, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. It works with other Amazon smart devices and could be used to monitor the status of incoming Amazon packages. It will also be populated with widgets that display weather forecasts, photos, timers, and more.

Amazon's family of Echo products already includes several devices with displays, but none as large as Hoya. The Echo Show 10, the Echo Show 8, and the Echo Show 5 have 10.1-inch, 8-inch, and 5.5-inch displays, respectively.

SEE ALSO: Amazon's cashierless tech is coming to Whole Foods stores

Bloomberg claims that Amazon is working on several other products, though it's uncertain whether these will launch at the Sept. 28 event.

One is a home robot codenamed Vesta, which reportedly started out as a security tool. Amazon is also working on a soundbar codenamed Harmony. It has a front-facing camera that allows users to take video calls from their TVs.

Finally, the report claims that Amazon is working on a second-gen model of its Echo Auto technology, codenamed Marion. The first-gen Echo Auto is a small gadget that connects to your phone via Bluetooth to bring Alexa to your car.

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 1:41 pm

Capture clients' attention and convert more leads with this lifetime Sizle Pro subscription

TL;DR: Make your presentations pop with Sizle Pro Presentation & Proposal Platform: Lifetime Subscription, on sale for just $29.99 — a 95% discount — as of Sept. 24.


You know what sucks? Spending all day crafting a proposal, only for clients to skim through it and never respond. It's not that your information wasn't great. People just have a hard time staying focused and interested. But with the right tools, it is possible to keep clients and customers at all levels engaged. Using Sizle Pro, you can create presentations and proposals that are eye-catching, informative, and never a waste of time.

Sizle is essentially a sales acceleration tool for teams to share ideas, craft deadlines, and hold each other accountable all in one place. Sizle uses mission-critical document sharing with a fast and reliable connection, so your employees can get the information they need fast, without taking issues up the food chain. Once you download it, you can even use it on unlimited workspaces and for up to 10 users.

Since it features built-in programming for page-by-page analytics, live feedback tools, and viewer engagement insights, you can convert more leads quicker through in-app systems that make your life easier. You can finally see if that proposal you spent all day working on is actually being seen by the right eyes. Or see which parts of your presentation seemed to stand out to viewers.

Here's a closer look at how it works:

You can even set controls so only certain people can see certain files, see which files have been viewed by who, and more. Since you can upload and import documents in more than 20 different file formats at over 1GB or over 10,000 pages, you'll never run out of upload space. There's a reason Sizle Pro has received consistently high reviews, including 4.5 out of 5 stars on Capterra.

A lifetime subscription to Sizle Pro retails for $600, but for a limited time, you can get unlimited access for up to 10 users for just $29.99.

Sizle Pro Presentation & Proposal Platform: Lifetime Subscription — $29.99
Credit: Sizle
Sizle Pro Presentation & Proposal Platform: Lifetime Subscription — $29.99
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Posted on 24 September 2021 | 1:36 pm

12 best tweets of the week, including Taco Bell, adult baby diaper driver, and Bingus

Wow, another week in the ol' logbook. Five workdays in the dust, never to be seen again.

You frankly love to see it.

The weekend is here and so is fall — yes, summer is officially gone, even if the planet is heading into a perpetual heatwave.

So, anyway, it's weekend time. To celebrate, per usual, we collected some of our favorite tweets of the week that'll hopefully make you laugh.

Here they are, the 12 best tweets of the week.

1. Let me be 100 percent clear on the matter: No Bingus

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2. Obligatory dril tweet

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3. The people have voted and decided it is an average ocean

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4. Honestly, this would be the perfect amount of followers. Just post burger and live in peace.

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5. Everyone be quiet. Hush up. Focus. Now listen: Kevin Lasagna.

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6. This tweet is too loud and it is rude to me, personally

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7. The passage of time, what a concept

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8. This is perhaps the greatest idea of our time and Taco Bell should implement it immediately

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9. This room kicks ass and we all know it

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10. Another dril tweet for your viewing pleasure

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11. Ladies and gentleman, esteemed colleagues, the joker

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12. And finally, in honor of fall being upon us, this

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Posted on 24 September 2021 | 1:00 pm

'Squid Game' is a pastel nightmare with a lot to say

What if the games you played as a child were deadly?

That's the main hook of Squid Game, a South Korean series that shot to the top of Netflix's most-watched list in the days following its release. It's been likened to Battle Royale, Black Mirror, and The Hunger Games — all of which are apt comparisons. And while the "children's games, but with murder" premise is intriguing enough by itself, Squid Game adds enough substance beyond that to cement itself as a compelling (and terrifying) watch.

Let's start at the very beginning: Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae) is down on his luck and heavily in debt. He's so desperate for money that he doesn't hesitate to accept a mysterious stranger's offer to play simple children's games for cash. What could go wrong?

Turns out, a lot. Gi-hun and 455 other willing participants, all of whom are struggling financially, are drugged and brought to a building full of masked guards and creepy pastel playrooms. They realize the danger they're in when they play a simple game of "Red Light, Green Light" and the losers are murdered.

The rules become clear: Lose the games and die, or win and receive 45.6 billion won ($38.5 million). Even though the odds are stacked against them, the players' lives outside the games are in such disarray that they see risking their necks as the only solution to their considerable problems.

Despite spending most of its time in a dystopian playground hellscape, Squid Game does an excellent job at establishing its characters' struggles. Gi-hun is at risk of never seeing his daughter again; plus, his mother cannot afford the medical treatment she desperately needs. Gi-hun's old friend Cho Sang-woo (Park Hae-soo) lost money that he stole from clients and used his mother's house and business as collateral. Kang Sae-byeok (Jung Ho-yeon) is a North Korean defector who needs the money to care for her brother and reunite with her mother.

While the "children's games, but with murder" premise is intriguing enough by itself, Squid Game adds enough substance beyond that to cement itself as a compelling (and terrifying) watch.

The games themselves are as brutal as can be expected; the twist that they are typically played by children adds a new level of horror to an already stressful situation. However, Squid Game also maintains the tension between its sickening set pieces by focusing on the relationships between the players: alliances, rivalries, and even the occasional betrayal. A particularly harrowing subplot features policeman Hwang Jun-ho (Wi Ha-joon) searching for his missing brother by infiltrating the games' guards.

With all of these storylines and the threat of death hanging over every character's head, Squid Game is nearly impossible to stop watching. Most episodes end in cliffhangers that leave you racing toward the show's bloody conclusion.

Still, Squid Game isn't just carnage for carnage's sake. It is fully aware of the cruelty of its premise, and also of the cruelty its players face in the real world. The entire concept of having people play children's games for money (and for their lives) seems psychopathic. Squid Game leans into this feeling: If the people behind these games are so wealthy that they can give the winner all this money, why don't they use that wealth to directly help the people in need? Why make them fight it out? Why is our world so messed up that some people are obscenely wealthy while others are killing themselves for money?

Squid Game maintains this tone of frustrated questioning throughout, all while keeping a careful eye on just how much shock value it can rely on before getting repetitive. Stylish, gripping, and well-acted by an excellent ensemble cast, Squid Game will keep you pressing play, no matter how scared you get.

Squid Game is now streaming on Netflix.

Related Video: What to binge on the best 30-day streaming service free trials

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 11:00 am

Simone Biles almost comes to blows with Jimmy Kimmel over pizza

U.S. Olympic gymnastics champion Simone Biles is busy on her Gold Over America tour, a celebration of female athletes across the country. But she had time to sit down with Jimmy Kimmel on Thursday night's show, where the two strongly disagreed over Biles' favorite tour meal: pizza.

When in St. Louis, Imo's Pizza is Biles' go-to stop. It happens to be the same for Kimmel's wife — so much so that the late show host got her a box for Valentine's Day one year.

"It's very, very bad pizza," said Kimmel.

"No, it's not! First of all, that's so mean to say," Biles responded.

The two almost came to blows over the contentious pizza until Kimmel surprised Biles with a box (aw!), and all was well.

"It's a perfect 10," the gold medallist gymnast said. We believe you, Simone.

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 10:33 am

SpaceX Inspiration4 video has stunning orbit views and a floating alien cameo

We may never get to go to space ourselves, but that doesn't mean we can't pretend.

SpaceX's Inspiration4 — the world's first all-civilian space flighttouched safely back down on Earth five days ago after a successful three-day mission. We'd already been treated to some stunning official images when the crew were in orbit, but since they landed they've been steadily posting more footage and images on their social media pages too.

Check out this video taken by mission commander Jared Isaacman, the Shift4 Payments founder who financed Inspiration4. It was filmed through the spacecraft's cupola, the transparent viewing dome that was specially added to the Crew Dragon in place of a docking port (they didn't need to dock anywhere, after all, but they did need a place to capture some awesome footage).

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Kudos to Isaacman for lugging that Xenomorph from Alien toy up into space, even if he concluded that it probably wasn't worth the effort in the end.

SEE ALSO: Watch the moment SpaceX launched the first ever civilian spaceflight

That isn't the only video that's been shared, either. Isaacman was joined onboard Inspiration4 by three other crew members — physician assistant Hayley Arceneaux, aerospace data engineer and Air Force veteran Christopher Sembroski, and geoscientist Dr. Sian Proctor — and they all clearly put their smartphones to good use while up in orbit.

Here's the moment Dr. Proctor filmed them opening the cupola hatch for the first time, where you can literally see the awe on their faces as they gaze out at Earth.

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And here's an awesome 360 degree view through the cupola from Arceneaux.

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Sembroski also took some great footage, including an aerial view of Australia and some storm spirals over Earth.

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Oh, and in case you were wondering, the alien wasn't the only toy that made it into space. Sembroski also took a Funko Pop that resulted in Funko making a donation to St Jude's Children's Research Hospital (St Jude's was the charitable beneficiary of the mission).

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Glorious.

You can find out more about the mission on the official Inspiration4 website, and browse all the official images on Flickr.

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 10:32 am

Ted Lasso's kindness isn't what you think it is

For some Ted Lasso viewers, the titular character's relentless kindness has always been suspect.

They wonder if the football turned fútbol coach is doing the bare minimum as a human yet being lavished with praise because we expect our male protagonists to be cruel or manipulative anti-heroes. Is Ted's kindness evidence of his emotional immaturity? Perhaps he's unflappably good-natured because he's never wrestled with his inner darkness, which ultimately makes his thoughtful gestures hollow.

When Ted (played by Jason Sudeikis) finally shared the secret that's haunted him for decades — his dad died by suicide when Ted was 16 — one critic said the revelation put the show on the verge of becoming "just another TV cliche."

The latest episode of the hit Apple TV+ series has a surprising answer for the viewers who doubted the origins of Ted's kindness — and a poignant breakthrough for its devoted fans.

"No Weddings and a Funeral," the 10th episode of season 2, focuses on AFC Richmond owner Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham), whose father apparently dies of natural causes in the episode's opening minutes. As Ted dresses to attend the funeral, bopping to Phil Collins' Easy Lover of all songs, a lingering look in the mirror and glimpse of his own son's picture leads to a panic attack and a call to the team's therapist, Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles), to whom he recently disclosed his father's suicide.

Soon, they're sitting together in Ted's apartment. He's recounting the single gunshot that took his father's life, how he opened the bedroom door to find his body. What Ted confesses will sound familiar to some suicide loss survivors. He hated that his father "quit" yet feels profound guilt for not saying more often that he was a good dad. He knows now that his father lived feeling like he'd somehow fallen short. This bewildering mix of anger, regret, longing, and heartbreak is why Ted lives by kindness, empathy, and generosity. He doesn't want to ever miss that someone might be quietly struggling.

"I knew right then and there that nobody was ever going to get by me without understanding they might be hurting inside," Ted tells Sharon.

Kindness is sacred to other suicide loss survivors, too. When Ronnie Walker lost her 21-year-old stepson to suicide, some months had passed when she returned home late one cold evening to find a tinfoil pan on her porch. A neighbor dropped by with the dish and left a note: "Ronnie, I wasn't in town when [Channing] died, but I think of you all the time. I baked these brownies today and I just wanted to give them to you and tell you I love you."

"Just trying to continue on and get through life hour by hour is an accomplishment in the beginning."

Twenty-six years later, Walker still remembers the gesture. (Fans of Ted's biscuit-making, albeit under much different circumstances, may see echoes of that good deed in his own actions.)

When Walker, a licensed clinical mental health counselor, founded a nonprofit organization for suicide loss survivors called Alliance of Hope, she made the first two words of its mission "kindness matters."

"To survivors of suicide loss it matters a lot," she says. They're coming to terms with not only the devastation of their loss, but also the stigma they may encounter from others.

"Just trying to continue on and get through life hour by hour is an accomplishment in the beginning."

Walker, who had not seen Ted Lasso prior to talking to Mashable, says that support from friends and loved ones typically peaks at about three weeks following a suicide loss, but then starts to ebb.

For loss survivors, the invisible wounds don't heal so quickly: "This is the long haul, this is years — longer than anybody around is going to remember."

The bereaved know firsthand how vital kindness is to someone grappling with suicidal feelings. They also know it's life-affirming to receive when someone you love dies. While Ted focuses on intuiting other people's suffering rather than explicitly paying forward any kindness shown to him in the wake of his father's death (he never mentions how others responded), the empathy in both cases are branches of the same tree.

Dr. Stacey Freedenthal, Ph.D., an associate professor of social work at the University of Denver and a licensed clinical social worker who treats suicide loss survivors, says that channeling one's energy into kindness by being more mindful of other people's pain and circumstances can happen after a loss.

"It's giving their loss meaning," says Freedenthal, who hasn't seen Ted Lasso. "I think it is post-traumatic growth because it's changed them in a way where now they're trying to help others, because of what happened to them."

While the episode convincingly makes the case that Ted's compassion isn't manufactured or about emotional avoidance, it also doesn't shy away from conflicting feelings.

SEE ALSO: Why I refuse to give up on 'Ted Lasso' Season 2

When Ted admits that he hates his father for taking his own life, because he "quit on our family," Sharon doesn't correct his otherwise stigmatizing language. Freedenthal says that if a client uses similar phrasing with her, she gives them space to express their anger.

Over time, she may try to reorient the client's idea of suicide away from a selfish act and toward the notion that it's like getting swept up in a tornado. Suicidal thoughts, and the circumstances and conditions that cause them, happen to a person; they didn't chose that pain or illness.

Then, the client can direct their anger toward whatever forces created or contributed to the person's suicidal thoughts. Those factors can include persistent or untreated mental illness, oppression and discrimination, and hopelessness born of financial strain.

Freedenthal says that anger is a part of grief over any loss, but that it can become particularly complicated for loss survivors. The way the person's life ended frequently overshadows the many different ways they lived, and some survivors remain stuck at the moment of their loved one's death. That's why Freedenthal tries to help clients reconnect with precious memories of their time together, even if it's still painful.

Sharon tries a similar technique when she invites Ted to recall something he loved about his father. Resistant at first, Ted recalls a humorous, sweet story that is a testament to his father's devotion.

But "No Weddings and a Funeral" is about more than just Ted's experience. It ambitiously revisits the childhood traumas that wounded him, Rebecca, and Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) to varying degrees. It is about fathers and father figures who leave, physically or emotionally, and the damage the abandonment leaves in its wake.

In a twist that viewers may or may not believe, Ted and Rebecca experienced their traumas on the same day, on Sept. 13, 1991. The connection, unknown to both characters though they share an unexpected mutual understanding, is a reminder of how heavy secrets weigh on those who hold them and the way people are unwittingly drawn together as a result. In the Ted Lasso universe, no one is ever truly alone even if two friends don't fully understand what ails the other person. Of course, once Ted arrives at the funeral and sees Rebecca in distress, he summons the grace she needs to carry her through the moment.

An Apple spokesperson didn't respond to questions about whether the show consulted suicide loss experts or incorporated writers' or producers' firsthand knowledge, but Ted Lasso creator Bill Lawrence recently said on Twitter that its storylines about mental health are informed by "lots of personal experience."

While there may be critics of how the show handles Ted's revelations — there are two more episodes this season for the writing to falter — it's done something remarkable by portraying suicide loss with such complexity and sensitivity.

Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2019. Chances are viewers have lost a loved one or know someone who's lost someone. For a fish-out-of-water comedy purportedly about a professional soccer team, Ted Lasso has made visible the grief that loss survivors carry, and the empathy that gives them a reason to keep pushing forward. Perhaps the many rickrolling references in the episode are the writers' way of winking to their audience about the bait-and-switch.

For Ronnie Walker, comfort can be found in Alliance of Hope's digital support group, a forum available to loss survivors 24/7. She describes it as a sacred place of connection for an extraordinarily diverse community that's guided by kindness. There, she says, participants and moderators maintain a healing culture, provide information about suicide loss, bear witness to people's stories without judging or recoiling, and offer hope beyond just surviving.

"They need to be loved," Walker says of suicide loss survivors. "They need to know that there are people there, that they are not alone."

Ted Lasso would probably agree.

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 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 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.

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 10:00 am

5 coolest cases for the iPhone 13

The iPhone 13 has arrived, people. And as adorable as the new pink color is, no one should be walking around with a naked iPhone. That's just asking for disaster.

To save your shiny gadget, we found the coolest new iPhone 13 cases currently on the market.


The Case With a Built-In Phone Grip

Otter + Pop Symmetry Series Case, $59.95

Goodbye, gross glue!
Goodbye, gross glue! Credit: OtterBox

If phone grips are your best friend, OtterBox's collab with PopSocket is your match made in heaven. OtterBox cases are notoriously sturdy, and the PopTop grip is attached to the case — no gross adhesive necessary. Plus, you can switch them out whenever you want a different look.

These handy cases are wireless-charger compatible, although you'll have to take off the PopTop. But they're not MagSafe compatible, so MagSafe accessories, like the Apple Wallet, won't work with the case on.

If the psychedelic color above isn't your vibe, it also comes in black, a light teal, white, and a pixelated pattern.

The iPhone 13 Case For Photographers

Moment Case for iPhone 13, $49.99

This olive color is simply swoon-worthy.
This olive color is simply swoon-worthy. Credit: Moment

All of the new iPhones come with Cinematic mode, but if you want to take your photo and video skills to the next level, Moment has something for you.

The company's new cases for the iPhone 13 line are MagSafe and lens mount compatible, meaning you can attach photo accessories like Moment's fisheye or anamorphic lenses. And best of all, these cases come in some very fall-appropriate colors: olive, yellow, indigo blue, and black.

The Recyclable iPhone 13 Case

Casetify Impact Case, $55

A Casetify offering, pre-personalization.
A Casetify offering, pre-personalization. Credit: casetify

Casetify has an expanded ReCasetify line of eco-friendly cases for the iPhone 13. They're made of at least 65 percent recycled material.

If you have an old Casetify case, you can send it back to the company — it will be upcycled into a new case and you'll get a discount on a future purchase.

Like all of Casetify's offerings, each case is available with personal inscriptions, photos, or designs at no extra cost.

The Stylish iPhone 13 Case

Nomad Modern Leather Case, $59.95

Does that look Natural to you? Or just straight up pink?
Does that look Natural to you? Or just straight up pink? Credit: Nomad

Nothing screams sophisticated quite like a leather case. Nomad's latest cases come in black and brown, just like before. But this time, it added a new color. It's called Natural, but we think it looks suspiciously pink. Regardless of its name, it looks great paired with the new pink iPhone, and it offers MagSafe compatibility, 10-foot drop protection, and a promise to "weather, but not wear out."

The Clear iPhone 13 Case You'll Forget Is Even There

Totallee Super Thin iPhone 13 Case, $39

Case? What case?
Case? What case? Credit: Totallee

This is the closest you can get to a naked iPhone while still using a case. Customers have reported they protect from "minor drops," but the company doesn't claim any comprehensive drop protection, so maybe don't go dropping them off buildings.

Totallee's cases come in "soft" and "frosted" clear, as well as black, navy blue, and green. They don't have built-in magnets for MagSafe, but since they're so thin, the cases shouldn't get in the way of MagSafe accessories.

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 10:00 am

AdultFriendFinder is pretty much a porn hookup site that's stuck in the past


Moving to a new city or working at a new job where you don't know anybody can seriously be depressing, especially if you're already introverted as it is. What are you supposed to do? Go sit at the bar by yourself? And talk to strangers? No thanks.

Then comes the lightbulb idea: You can make friends online. If online dating is so popular and successful, there's no way that there aren't a few legit sites where you can make adult friends in your area with similar interests. After a quick search, AdultFriendFinder sounds like a good place to start.

AdultFriendFinder is pretty much a porn hookup site that's stuck in the past
Credit: adultfriendfinder

So you're on your lunch break at work, type in the URL, and the next thing you know, you're frantically closing the tab and hoping nobody walked behind you for that split second. AdultFriendFinder is not what it sounds like.

Friends with benefits and not even a little subtlety

Made quite obvious by the words blatantly plastered across the image above, AdultFriendFinder is where you can go to "join the world's largest sex and swinger community." That photo is actually a video of a woman talking, so you may want to mute your computer or put on headphones before you click.

AdultFriendFinder is one of the most well-known sites for finding quick sexual encounters, regular hookups, and literally anything else even remotely related to sex. The rowdy feed of matches, jumble of explicit photos, and stimulating calls-to-action offering all types of sex makes is heaven for anyone looking for a good time with no filter — and hell for someone who wouldn't be caught dead clicking on a sexy online ad.

Even if you're not using it for real sex, it's always nice to have spank bank material in your back pocket. Social distancing rules due to the coronavirus made this quite obvious. Sexting, nudes, and Pornhub searches all saw a spike since people started social distancing at home. If you don't want to risk quarantine sex or aren't finding people on your level of horniness on Tinder, you're pretty much guaranteed to find someone who's just as down as you are on AdultFriendFinder. You can find someone to sext via messaging or video, watch live streams, or join niche group chats. Is it worth £10-something per month? Depends on how much fishy content you're willing to overlook for a juicy sexting session.

We reached out to Kalyn Sanders, a business development executive at Friend Finder Networks, for updated AFF demographics. Right up there with Tinder's monthly flock, AdultFriendFinder snags the attention of over 55 million visits around the world per month, on average. The majority of traffic originates from the United States, followed by visitors from the United Kingdom and Canada.

Specifics on the demographic that most people care about — the gender ratio — can be hard to track down. Sanders told us that "there's a 2 to 1 ratio of single men vs. categories like single women, couples, and groups." The split between men and women is an expected one for a lot of hookup-centric sites. At the end of the day, it's a paradise for straight men, hit-or-miss for straight women and queer men, and likely an actual hellscape for queer women.

This site is clearly all about sex

If you're 100% over being grilled with relationship questions on traditional dating sites like EliteSingles and eharmony, AdultFriendFinder is your golden ticket to instant communication. Registering takes literally 30 seconds — they require nothing from you aside from an email address, a username, a password, and an introduction. Though they don't require a bio or a picture, it's probably best to add a few to up your chances for messages and flirtation, especially if you're looking for something super specific, as you're more likely to be contacted by people looking for the same thing.

We guess it's comforting to know that some people on here care about what's on the inside as well.

After you register, you'll see that there are loads of options to completely personalise your account (way more than we expected from a hookup site, to be honest). The more you fill out, the more attractive your profile will be to new viewers. There are the basic physical appearance questions about eye and hair colour, plus more intimate details.

There's also a personality test that seemed pretty close to something you'd see on Match or eharmony, and we guess it's comforting to know that some people on here care about what's on the inside as well.

One of the funniest forms was the "Purity Test," featuring 100 hilariously-worded questions about how far you're willing to go sexually. It felt like the sexy 20 questions game that you'd play with your middle school crush when neither of you knew how to flirt, but we guess this information is pertinent when you're on a site that's all about sex.

There's no real matching strategy other than the basic info on physical appearances, so don't get your hopes up when it comes to finding a lasting connection or kindred soul — but hey, if you're on the site for the same reasons most other people are, that stuff won't really matter anyway.

Finding a match

Like a traditional dating site, AdultFriendFinder gives you a collage of potential matches at the top of your personal home page. These will be random right after you sign up, but you can opt to update your preferences to refine your results: Choose your preferred gender(s), age range, location and mile radius, race, sexual orientation, body type, and marital status. They'll let you know who's online when you are, which matches are closest to you, new people who liked or messaged you, and all of that good stuff.

AdultFriendFinder is basically like a PornHub that you can interact with. We probably don't have to say this, but AdultFriendFinder is NSFW and not safe to be on while kids are in the room. Some videos will be blurred out and read "Naughty video" until you upgrade to a Gold Membership.

AdultFriendFinder is basically like a PornHub that you can interact with.

The message section is set up similarly to a Gmail account, and you can mark things as read or important just as you would on a real email. How professional. You'll also receive messages instantly, which is definitely a confidence boost even though you know they're probably just looking for one thing.

You can tell who took the time to look at your profile and who is sending the same thing to everyone, but it's nice to see that there is a range. Unlike more traditional dating sites, these people don't need to talk and get to know you for months before meeting. If you're tired of things moving too slowly or need a change of pace, it's pretty awesome to know you can immediately make plans for each night of the week.

It's not all bad

Once you get past the in-your-face sexplosion of naked profile pictures, horny AIM-era profile names, and explicit videos, there are actually an impressive number of resources to help make your experience as satisfying as possible. Some will cost money even outside of the paid subscription, which is kinda dumb.

Aside from the NSFW content, the website is relatively straightforward (albeit ugly). Every feature is advertised in big letters, notifications are displayed clearly with labels, and you don't really have to click around to find anything. This makes it super accessible for users of all ages, even those who aren't tech-savvy and can't even figure out Facebook. Buttons are all over the place, but you figure it out after messing around for a few minutes.

Activities range from direct messaging, sending virtual gifts, watching live videos of people in your feed, joining adult chat rooms that can get very niche, or entering photo contests.

AdultFriendFinder is like a PornHub that you can interact with.

Think of AdultFriendFinder as the dating site version of New York City — it never sleeps. You'll find people who work the regular 9-5, people who work the night shift, and people in other time zones, so it's nearly impossible to log on and not have a lot of people to talk to. You know, like that booty call who's always awake when you text them.

Or at least that used to be the case... 10 years ago. What was once a hot site that a few Reddit users were quick to hype up is now one of the dating sites that Reddit users can't help but diss — in the few instances that AFF is even being discussed at all. The Reddit community is diverse and open-minded, and if a dating site exists, someone on Reddit has used it and has an opinion on it. It's notable that, on a site where online dating is such a mammoth topic of discussion, that AdultFriendFinder has rarely been mentioned since the early 2010s. When an innocent soul does ask if it's legit, AFF usually gets dragged for sketchy pricing and being ridden with bots.

Paid memberships are where things get interesting

As previously mentioned, you can do a lot on the site without paying a penny: You can message people, reply to emails, and visit most profiles and chat rooms. You know, all of the basic stuff. But with just a few clicks AdultFriendFinder can send you deep down the rabbit hole, and a lot of that juicier hidden content can only be unlocked with a paid membership (called the Gold membership) or by earning points.

Points are AdultFriendFinder's non-monetary currency. If you're a free member, you'll have to earn points through on-site activity to unlock stuff that's exclusive to paying members. It's kind of like a game, with points acting like money at the strip club. You can "tip" updates, photos, or videos from a member that you like, buy "bling" (which is basically a badge that makes you look cooler), watch racy videos that are usually blurred out or access other exclusive site content, or "buy" a Gold membership for a month. The more points you have, the more you get out of the site.

But all of that stuff takes a really long time, and is honestly just a hassle. If you want access to all those features, just pay for a Gold membership and upgrade.

If you're a guy looking for girls, we might suggest getting a Gold membership as the standard. While researching on Reddit, we found a few girls who said they won't meet a guy unless he's a Gold member. A Gold membership puts a little bit more credibility behind someone's profile and makes the entire encounter a little less threatening. It's easier to believe that someone's a real person if they're a paying, active member of the site, and it's nice to know that they're taking it slightly seriously. Plus, if you see a picture or profile that looks like it's five years old, it really might be — there are a ton of non-active profiles from old members and escorts still lingering on the site.

If you find yourself spending more quality time on the site than you expected, becoming a paid member is definitely something to consider. Once you're paying, you basically become royalty on the site: Your profile will appear way higher in searches, you can use the most advanced searches, and you can read emails and message to your heart's content (messages and emails are limited with a free account).

A Gold membership can unlock everything that the site has to offer, including unlimited messaging, profiles with private photo albums, and video profiles that are only available for Gold members as well. A general rule is that increased involvement and payment on your end generally equals more success on the website, as your constant activity and heightened search-ability makes it way easier for others to find you. Plus, you'll just get bored with the free features after a while.

Like every other dating site, prices for a Gold membership get cheaper the longer your subscription is: one month is £25.08/month, three months is £16.71/month, and one year is £11.27/month.

Good for: Open-minded people looking for a quick hookup

This is pretty obvious, but AdultFriendFinder is ace for people who want a quick hookup, people who are in a sexual rut, people who are tired of porn, and people who find sites like eharmony to be lame. Those long compatibility tests can be exhausting, and sometimes you just wanna skip the small talk and have sex. It's gonna get kinky out there, and that's great for those who are dying to blow off steam and are in need of someone who will respond well to a sexy message. It also might be a good place for people who are freshly out of a breakup and in need of attention.

Did we mention it's also a huge confidence boost? People are so active on this site, it's impossible not to feel adored. Just seeing the notifications of users wanting to talk to you will make your heart flutter, and you'll start to loosen up. Even if you're rejected a few times, you'll learn which opening lines and flirty comments work and which don't, making you a smoother operator.

It may look like a billboard for a strip club on the side of a highway, but don't judge a dating site by it's cover.

AdultFriendFinder's pro-sex, judgment-free environment means it's open to everyone and highly inclusive, no matter your gender identity or sexual orientation. The variety of people on this thing is so massive that it's nearly impossible to not to meet someone.

As with all dating sites, catfishing is a big buzzkill. Your chances of being pursued are way higher if you have a lot of pictures of the same person (AKA you), videos, and a genuine profile that lets people know they're not dealing with something sketchy. Even if you've had bad luck with online dating in the past, AdultFriendFinder is the place to 100% be yourself.

The site may look like an ad for a strip club, but don't judge a dating site by its cover. If you're willing to look past the questionable design choices, AdultFriendFinder can seriously expand your sexual horizons and introduce you to individuals you never would have met otherwise.

Bad for: Cynics and people looking for an actual friendship/relationship

You know those warnings that thrill rides at amusement parks are required to put up that tell people who get dizzy easily or have heart problems to not get on the ride? AdultFriendFinder could use something like that. This site is not for the faint of heart — if you're a cynic, conservative by any means, or get sketched out easily, you're probably going to hate it. If you appreciate a well-crafted, aesthetically pleasing website that feels safe — no matter how badly you want to have sex — then this dating site is probably not for you. Nothing is left to the imagination here, and it's definitely not going to be everyone's cup of tea. You have got to be open minded.

AdultFriendFinder is not the place to be if you're trying to make friends, unless "with benefits" is tacked onto the end. Every inch of the site screams "this website is used to have sex," and you should really listen to that. You might get a date out of it, but don't expect the person to introduce you to their parents.

But this isn't to say that meaningful connections or finding a genuine adult friend (get it?) is impossible. There is always the chance of a pure friendship, particularly between two like-minded individuals.

AFF could do so much more to make people take it seriously

The entire website looks like an ad about hot MILFs that pops up when you're illegally streaming a movie. Seriously, it's bad. Even though the website is technically legit, the pictures, word choice, and exclamation points everywhere scream "scam." No, AdultFriendFinder, "98,897,765 Hot Photos" is not the way to make potential new users trust you.

We're not knocking a quick hookup or no-strings-attached relations. This isn't about morals. Genitals are quite literally in your face from the moment you make an account, and that's just not cute. There are chiller ways to go about insinuating that this is a hookup website without feeling like you're trapped in a sex dungeon with strangers.

It's difficult to get past the fact that the entire site looks like it's about to invite five viruses to your computer. We're talking terrible graphics that look like they were made on Microsoft Paint and pictures of women who look like they're from Pornhub in 2007. Reddit user Snoo53279 summed it up in a comment from July 2020: "The people on AFF are definitely real, but there is a huge smattering of bots that also get in the way so it can be a bit of a PITA to use." If they're not bots, they could be men posing as a couple to seem less threatening.

The parade of women on the landing page is questionable for two reasons. This shouldn't even need to be clarified, but not everyone is looking for a woman. At the least, the advertising just isn't inclusive — but this crosses into fetishisation territory. The cherry on top is that the women in the photos (unsurprisingly) probably aren't even members on the site, according to a disclaimer at the bottom of the landing page.

AdultFriendFinder's overall outdated vibe goes past an aesthetic annoyance — it's downright problematic at times. The "TS/TV/TGs" part of sign-up is nearly unforgivable, and we'd be scared to see some of the related rhetoric that AFF users feel comfortable spewing. Without even a dash of social awareness, it's hard to see how anyone who's not an out-of-touch straight cis man would feel comfortable on this site.

Attempting to navigate the shoddy design might just be enough to smother your horniness. Three main issues can make the site borderline unusable: It looks shady as hell, an alarming portion of the user base is made up of bots and spam accounts, and the user interface itself is outdated and rife with bugs.

Other Reddit users mention that the desktop web version won't even load for them at random times — an especially frustrating roadblock for people who want to end their membership and stop monthly charges. A solution to the laggy web version might be to clear your cache or use the smartphone app instead, but your experience probably won't get better there. AFF's mobile page doesn't even mention an Android app, and the link to the iPhone app brings up a "not available" pop-up in the App Store. For a site that claims to have over 50 million visitors each month, the lack of accessibility to a smartphone app is just plain odd — especially in 2021.

Adding to the sketchiness, a network hack in 2016 exposed around 412 million accounts, including "deleted" accounts that weren't actually deleted from the database. If this is enough reason for you to fall back on Tinder for finding a friend with benefits, we don't blame you. Signing up with a burner email and avoiding using your real name as a username are wise moves (just pick a naughty word and add 69 to the end, maybe), though keeping your personal information private is hard when credit cards are involved.

In 2007, AFF was involved in a lawsuit with the FTC over allegations that the site used malware to send explicit pop-up ads to computers owned by people who hadn't signed up for the service. Though we haven't seen reports like this recently, so we're hoping those ridiculous ads you see are at least confined to people who actually use the site.

The alternatives

Surprisingly, AdultFriendFinder is one of the more tame hookup sites out there. While other hookup sites have names like Swing Towns and Instabang.com, AdultFriendFinder is probably the safest in terms of your Google search history. Most have the same general idea, which is to find sexual partners, have cyber sex, etc, but with names like those, you do start to question the authenticity. AdultFriendFinder is one of the biggest players in the world of legitimate adult dating/hookup sites and boasts a way larger and more diverse audience than a lot of these newer sites.

Horny Matches is one newer dating site that could be starting to slide in, but it hasn't stolen AdultFriendFinder's thunder just yet, perhaps due to its dodgy name. It does have its advantages, though. Horny Matches' first advantage is just that it's more modern and looks cleaner. The title is more obvious, but the main page encourages "taking the first step" rather than mentioning the words "horny" and "sex" multiple times. The audience isn't nearly as large as AdultFriendFinder, though, and most people will take more options and a less over an aesthetically pleasing app.

The final verdict

AdultFriendFinder is possibly the easiest, most low pressure way to find a friends-with-benefits situation without insulting anyone. Everyone is pretty much there for the same reason — and though it'll feel pretty unorthodox if you've only ever used to Tinder to scope this type of thing out, AFF's blunt advertising at least means you won't have to explain that you're not looking for a relationship. It's niche-friendly, well-populated, and has a lot of interactive outlets to indulge your primal urges.

But that freedom comes with a price — the price being feeling like one of those people who falls for the ads that pop up before a free Pornhub video. It's not that a site dedicated to sex and sexting is inherently scammy — it's that AdultFriendFinder drowns you with explicit photos on profiles who might not even be real people while asking you to pay for a subscription with every click. Unfortunately, no matter how in the mood you are, some people aren't cut out for the nothing-left-to-the-imagination approach with grammar mistakes all over the place. It wants to be sex-positive so badly, but the way sign-up talks about the trans community is the furthest thing from that.

The functionality and safety of the site and the mobile app aren't where they need to be in 2021. If security measures were tightened, graphics and photos were cleaned up to feel more relevant, and decision-makers behind the scenes were given a lesson in inclusivity and pronouns/identities, AdultFriendFinder could be a handy tool to find attachment-free hookups and connect with a community that's down for anything.

If you're brave enough to jump into the action, you can register for AdultFriendFinder here. Good luck out there — and don't try this at work.

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Posted on 24 September 2021 | 9:02 am

Babbel Live is Babbel’s new online class format that brings old-school language learning home

TL;DR: Save up to 65% on Babbel Live online language classes as of Sept. 24.


For those who’ve tinkered with the idea of picking up a new language, online learning feels like the only way to shoehorn it into our crazy schedules. But while many of the top language learning systems get top marks and produce impressive results for students, many of us also know it would never really work for our lifestyles.

We need the attention. We need the commitment. We need the pressure of another human being listening in. The convenience of app learning is...well, convenient. But some of us need a little more old-school in our education. 

Babbel has vaulted to the top of the language learning world with its renowned training system, which has taught 10 million students a new language. They also know their method doesn’t work for everyone. That’s why Babbel Live is the next stage in that evolution, combining the ease and impact of the proven Babbel system with live interactive online classes taught by real teachers ready to guide students to success.

With Babbel Live, students who want to learn Spanish, French, Italian, or German can take as many classes as they want during a one, three, six, or 12-month subscription period. With hundreds of available classes offered each week — as many as 70 per day — students then pick the days, times, and topics that work best for them and are suited to their skill level. 

Then, just log into the class. Classes include no more than six students each, allowing the instructor loads of time to not only impart the current lesson but also give the personalized training and attention some students need.

It's no wonder their teachers have a 4.8/5 satisfaction score. Learners get live instant feedback on grammar and pronunciation, but in a judgment-free space with a qualified teacher and other students also at your level. Meanwhile, all the classes are based on Babbel’s award-winning training formula, which emphasizes everyday conversational speech with plenty of chances to practice your growing skills.

Plus, Babbel Live also includes access to the full resources of the Babbel app, so students can augment their live learning with all those extra online materials like podcasts, games, short stories, and more to help supplement the training.

For those ready to get started, sign up now to get up to 65% off and learn in the 21st century with Babbel Live. Pick a course plan and jump in!

Babbel Live — Save up to 65%
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Posted on 24 September 2021 | 9:00 am

An interview with Instagram's @bachelordata, Bachelor Nation's favorite data scientist

Welcome to Small Talk, a series where we catch up with the internet's favorite Extremely Online individuals offline.


If you watch the Bachelor franchise with any regularity, you know there's a lot of talk about being there For The Right Reasons. While people are supposed to go on the national reality TV show to find love, season after season we see contestants who hog up screen time with manufactured drama, not-so-stealthily try to further their careers, and show more interest in receiving fame than receiving roses. 

As each season ticks on, people are kicked off the show — their hopes of finding love or fame are long forgotten — as others begin racking up followers and fans. And there's one person who tracks the contestant's social media growth and how that interacts with their time on screen, whether they're there for the Right Reasons or not.

Suzana Somers started Bachelor Data as a way to teach herself Excel and data visualization, embracing the reality TV show she already loved. Over the years her casual effort turned into a truly impressive catalog of the show. She tracks everything from dress colors and firework dates to the screen time of each contestant, which has helped shed light on diversity issues in the franchise

In an effort to find out how she does it, I called her to chat about her process, the show's villains, and if she'd ever go on Bachelor in Paradise herself.

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Mashable: When did you start the account?

Suzana Somers: So my Instagram account, I started it February of 2020, so just a few weeks before the world shut down. But I didn't actually start actively posting on it until Fall 2020, just because when the world shut down, my job got too hectic. So it's only been about a year.

What's your job outside of doing bachelor data?

I am a technology director for a K-12 school district, so I work in public education.

What made you start the account?

I had originally started this project back in December 2018 as a way for me to learn how to use Excel. I had just been promoted to technology director and there were so many people in my school district that were expecting that I was this Excel wizard, and I really didn't know how to use it. And I tried to do a ton of courses online and I just found them so boring that I decided to start collecting Instagram follower counts on Colton's women just a few weeks before the season started. And I posted about it on Reddit as a way to just learn how to use spreadsheets and how to show data. And then in February of 2020, I started the Instagram account as a way to really push myself a little bit more with data visualization and how to show data in a visual way quickly and get my story across.

What's your favorite season?

I would say probably a tie between Hannah Brown and Peter's season, but I think it's more because of the data around it and how just crazy the Instagram follower growth was those seasons that it was just a blast to analyze.

Alright, the Hannah Brown one doesn't surprise me, but the Peter one surprises me. You loved that season?

If we're talking about seasons that I loved the lead or the contestants, it's a different story, but with Peter's season, we had Maddie Pruitt and Hannah Brown. And then with Hannah's season, we had Tyler C vs. Jed, which was so interesting to analyze because of the spoilers and then spoilers changed in the middle of the season. And then seeing Tyler's growth just obliterate anybody else. And then seeing Jed just not grow after the rumors about him with somebody at home. I really enjoy seasons that give me unique data to analyze, because with spoilers out there, it's really nice to have a season that you don't expect something coming, so you can see what happens with the data.

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What's surprised you the most over the past year and a half that you've been collecting all of this?

My first surprising trend that I found was back on Colton season. I started collecting Instagram follower counts and every week you would see who would get the most followers. And it normally had something to do with who had a one-on-one date or who had a big storyline if they were on a group date. And you would see these spikes every week, or like who came the most. And it was this bright spot in the data. And Tayshia [Adams] was my first interesting trend that stuck out to me because when she got a one-on-one date, she didn't stick out in the data. And I think that's when I started to notice that the data would not only be this, 'Oh, let's see who's gaining the most followers.' It would also start to find some of the inequities in growth around contestants and their race. I think that has been one of the more interesting trends that you just can't ignore every season. But in the most recent season of Bachelor in Paradise, I think this last week has been absolutely fascinating to see the fallout of people going on this show to openly talk about followers. I think that has been a very interesting trend to see how viewers react to it. Right.

That reminds me of this last season of the Bachelorette, right? What have you learned from a data perspective?

Aside from mastering Excel and Google sheets now, which is a place I never thought I'd be in coming from a place where I was so scared of it, I would say the ability to tell really powerful stories when I didn't realize that this many people would be this interested in data. And through this process, as somebody who has no background in being a data scientist or any type of degree like that, I've now learned data's everywhere in every job in every industry. And when it's presented in a way that's fun and engaging for people, it's amazing how many conversations it can start. I think that's the biggest thing for me.

How do you clock Instagram followers? Do you check it daily? Do you use like a scraper, a third-party app?

We used to use a web scraper. When this all first started, though, the first season I collected by hand. And then some fantastic people on Reddit helped me get set up with a web scraper, but then Instagram started to block those because they changed their terms of use. So, long story short, we are back to hand collecting it because I know that there are third party services that will report on it, but they don't report it consistently at the same time every day. So we really like to have data every night at 8:00 p.m. ET, when the episode starts on the East Coast. If I go all the way back to Colton season, I know that all that data is every night at 8:00 p.m. ET. And it still is to this day. So I know if I'm looking at a 24 hour growth period, I know that it's actually 24 hours. So yes, we manually open every single profile, which is a lot right now for Bachelor in Paradise.

Right, because you want to be able to track how the followers change during the episode.

Yeah. And I know there's some third party apps that I've actually looked into, but when I reach out to them, they all say the same thing where they can't guarantee their data is pulled at the same time. And it could be anywhere between midnight to midnight. So if it's pulled at 7:00 p.m. one night, and then the next day at 3:00 a.m., that's not a full day.

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How many people are helping you?

So I have two people that help me now. One of them helps with [pulling follower counts from] Instagram, especially because sometimes I have work things that run late or I'm just not at home. And I have a person who helps me with pulling screen time data.

For the screen time data, I'm imagining a PE coach in high school with like a start and stop at the end of the mile.

I love how that traumatizes us all.

The great equalizer! How do you actually track it?

It's similar to that. We obviously use a spreadsheet to collect the data, but we use Amazon video and we collect the timestamp every time it changes who's featured on the screen. So it is pretty manual. We don't have a stopwatch, but our spreadsheet does the work of the stopwatch for us. And it can take us for Bachelor and Bachelorette, it can take anywhere from three to four hours, but for Bachelor in Paradise, it's been taking us easily, like five to six hours per episode.

That's a full second job.

And that's why I am so grateful to have somebody else on board now.

I am sure.

I have a family member that helps. And then I have a friend that helps who also is super into the show. I actually share the revenue now. So one of them is paid, the person who helps with screen time, and I'm so, so grateful to be able to have her just because the amount of work is just not sustainable for one person.

What's your favorite thing to track?

I think it's the cross section between Instagram followers and screen time. I think the real power is when you combine those to have accurate data on people who are getting a lot of screen time and not growing versus people who are also getting a lot of screen time and growing. So you can see who's the favorites and people who, it doesn't matter how much screen time they get, they're just not growing.

It comes down to race and storyline.

Do you extrapolate from that at all? Are there any strong other trends that might make you believe that there are certain reasons why some people aren't getting the same follower increase?

One thousand percent it comes down to race and storyline. If you look at two people who are getting a similar storyline, when it comes to race, the people who are white typically get more followers than people of color. But then when it comes down to storylines, it's really interesting to see how people react to villains. Whereas a few years ago, like Colton's season, you'd see some villains, like Demi for example. They get a ton of followers, but now we're seeing Demi's not gaining a lot of followers. We're seeing some of the villains this season, like Brandon and Piper, an easy one, but throughout the season of Bachelor in Paradise, if you have gotten a villain storyline, you are not growing at all. So I think it's really interesting. And then people who get typically romantic storylines, you know, if you're looking at a Bachelor season like Michael [Allio], or Abigail got the underdog storyline. You'll see them grow a lot. But over the last year, year and a half, we're starting to see that if you're involved in drama, you're really not going to grow anymore.

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Why do you think that's changed?

I was thinking about that too because we saw villains grow before the pandemic and then we had a period where we didn't have any bachelor, no bachelorette, the world was shut down. And then it seems like ever since it's come back, the villains just won't grow anymore. And it was a sweet spot. Like if you look at Demi, most of her growth came from when she was a villain pre-pandemic. But if you look at like Kelsey Weier from Peter's season, she hit 200-something K and she kind of had like a slight villain storyline with the champagne... How can I not remember who was the villian of that season?

It was Peter.

I mean even him! He hit almost 2.2 million followers. He hit 1.19M. I guess Victoria F was pretty much the villain and like she had half a million followers. She had the storyline at the end with the "excuse you, what," and she did not get painted in a really good light. Obviously we don't survey people, but I think something's happened since the pandemic that people just aren't responding to wanting to follow the villains as much. I do think too that having watched a lot of these seasons now and analyzing it down to the minute, especially Bachelor in Paradise, the amount of time that is spent, just drilling down on the drama. Like for example with Aaron this season and Carl and Thomas, I would notice that they'd be using the same sound bits over and over for the same person, but in different spots. If we look at this season, we can see Abigail and Noah have been together, but they're just not showing us them. And I think there's just such a focus on drama and I'm not sure how much that's helping, not only the contestants, but the franchise.

We had Kelsey and Demi and even Victoria F they feel like very different villains than like queen Victoria or Yosef, right? It's interesting that it sounds like it's not necessarily what the audience wants.

Yeah. And I mean, if you look at the first season we had since the pandemic, one of the first villains was Yosef on Clair's season two was shockingly aggressive with her. It's one of those things that like, if we look back at Hannah's season, right. Luke Parker was the worst villain that we had. And it was really just around like his religious views. And now we're seeing like this last episode of Bachelor in Paradise, we saw basically the entire group of people bully Chris off the beach for not being there for the right reasons and wanting followers when they all talk about like when they are all influencers themselves. So I think it's just interesting to see where the storylines that production is really pushing the contestants towards is going and how people are reacting. And I'm not sure if it's necessarily helping, but I'm also not on the side of production that can see all of the trends around viewership that is available to the public.

Are there any things that you really want to track, but you can't just cause like the data isn't available?

I think honestly it's just more around ratings because a lot of the ratings are only visible to ABC, especially around streaming data. But I think would be really interesting. I'd also be interested in doing some survey data, but the problem with that with my account is that my account is only a very small subsection of the people who watched the show, and can lean one way versus the other, depending on the topic. So I'd be interested in those two pieces of data, to be able to survey based on how people think about different contestants or even down to some more controversial items.

Right. It would be great to see YouGov do polling on this or like Gallup do polling on this and see how that like corresponds. But I'm assuming that that's what you're interested in. Right? Like how did the public opinions correspond with screen time and followers?

Exactly. Yes. That's what I'd like, because even just the ratings data that is out there through Nielsen, it's not the best just because it's such a small portion of people who are tracked through for that data. And then there's no breakdowns other than 18 through 49 years old. So I love to see a lot more on who is actually watching the show, but I think is available for places like Hulu, it's just not publicly available.

Does it ever, on a personal level, frustrate you when someone that you just cannot stand on the show is getting a ton of screen time, so you're having to watch them constantly?

I think it's just more frustration whenever you're having to collect the screen time and you can just blatantly find the frankenbiting, where they're chopping up different parts of people's sentences or reusing the same sentences or the same scenes of a person. I think that's what gets more frustrating. Because obviously there's always going to be villains on the show and that's a storyline and that's going to be there. And there are certain storylines that I don't care for. Like this season, I don't care for the Demi storyline. I don't care for the Aaron storyline. But when you see that, yes, Aaron's being painted as this villain, but you're also seeing them use the same lines over and over from the guy. It's frustrating to see that from the production side, not so much about Aaron or the contestant themselves.

It's just more frustration whenever you're having to collect the screen time and you can just blatantly find the frankenbiting, where they're chopping up different parts of people's sentences or reusing the same sentences or the same scenes of a person.

So you're saying it does not make you want to go on the show?

No, I have no envy for these people.

Right? I would find it deeply tragic to watch myself on Bachelor in Paradise.

Yeah, I don't know if I could stand to see myself on national TV like that.

You are getting national attention, though! Your account has grown so much. Do you have a follower that you're particularly excited about?

I think Natasha [Parker] has been a really exciting one to see because she's blowing out any growth that we really even seen even with like Tyler Cameron, which was one of the biggest success stories that we saw in terms of the data. I think it's just exciting to see something different happen, and that's the fun in data, right? It's finding different trends to be able to tell a story or to make a decision and with Natasha, to see not only "OK, here's what happened on the show that influenced something else." But it's when you see, not only did people rally around Natasha, but then social media made it a movement to try to make her grow so much that she would pass up Brendan. So I think it's really interesting to just see those types of trends that get you excited to see.

Regardless, I have no problem with people go on the show for followers. It's 2021. It's not the early 2000s where Instagram, wasn't a thing yet, and people who went on the show couldn't post. They've just embraced the fact that people are going to show to be influencers. So it's exciting to see when people do grow, because it is such a big industry and a sustainable one, too, if you can really find your, your place in it after the show.

Right. Don't you think people can go on the show to find love and also a career as an influencer?:

Exactly. Like, I don't think that the two are mutually exclusive. I think people can go on this show to find love. And I think that they can also go on to become influencers and we seen it. We've seen people go on the show and have these successful relationships. And if everybody was just going on just to become an influencer, they wouldn't have stayed together. I think it's a very unique way to find love that can also probably bring people together. But I don't hate on anybody for going on to show to be an influencer, because it is such a great job to have if you want that life.

And honestly, if any of them went on the show just to find love and they didn't have any interest in being an influencer, none of their profiles would be public. And they're all public.

Exactly! Before we go, can you tell me a little bit about Bachelor Data Academy?

Yeah. So it launched in July and the version that's out right now is the Google sheets version. And then the Excel edition is going to launch this October. And it is a full course that takes you from not knowing how to use spreadsheets, to intermediate and advanced skills. The difference of the entire course uses my own Bachelor data. So you go into it already knowing the topic that's going to be discussed, and then we connect it to different ways that you can use it in your professional life or across your hobbies. So we have over 300 students in the course already and it just keeps growing every week. And it's been so exciting to hear about the people that are going in it and learning so much, and then changing careers or growing in their current job. It is just so exciting to be able to share this knowledge with people.

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 9:00 am

The iPhone 13 has an Apple Music bug, but there's a fix

Apple's new crop of products have an annoying bug that may prevent users from accessing their Apple Music catalog or settings, as well as use Sync Library on their new device.

According to Apple, which put up a support document to address the issue, the affected devices are iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, as well as the new, 9th gen iPad and the 6th gen iPad mini. The issue will happen when a user tries to restore their new device from a backup — a fairly common practice when you purchase a new phone or tablet.

To fix the issue, users will have to update their new iPhone or iPad by going to Settings - General, tapping Software Update, and then tapping Install Now.

SEE ALSO: Apple's iPhone 13 in 10 minutes

MacRumors points out that owners of new iPhones will immediately get an update described as a security fix, but Apple's description doesn't specifically mention the Apple Music issue.

The iPhone 13 launch day is today, Sept. 24, in the U.S., so not many people have experienced this issue. Kudos to Apple for fixing it fast, though it's not great when the first thing you need to do on your new device is update to fix a bug.

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 8:17 am

Boost your Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets skills with this course bundle

TL;DR: The Premium Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel Certification Bundle is on sale for £29.32 as of Sept. 24, saving you 98% on list price.


While they both look and function as spreadsheet tools, Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets actually offer a lot more than just some boxes to list numbers. They both can serve as powerful business tools for organising data, as well as analysing and visualising stats. Plus, they can help you work more efficiently — if you know all the right tips and tricks, that is.

This Premium Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel Bundle will show you the ropes on how these essential spreadsheet tools work. You’ll go beyond the basics and get down to the nitty-gritty in 11 courses and nearly 300 unique lessons taught by Bryan Hong, Laurence Svekis, Grant Klimaytys, and other professionals. Hong is an IT software developer, the author of the 101 Excel Series paperback books, and a self-proclaimed data analysis ninja, while Svekis and Klimaytys are both app developers with backgrounds in Google development and engineering. Together, this lineup of instructors will ensure you’re equipped with all the functions, formulas, and secrets you need to make the most out of these programs.

Similar in structure and functions, Excel and Sheets are practically interchangeable. The difference is Sheets is a free, online app, while Excel is a program that lives on your computer. Both have their benefits — it all just depends on what you need to use them for. That’s why it’s advantageous to learn the ins and outs of both.

In these courses, you’ll learn not only the best way to format cells and sort data, but also all the essential keyboard shortcuts and formulas that will save you time and energy. You’ll discover how to automate repetitive tasks, visualise important data, and even dive into more complex topics like Power Query, Power View, Power Pivot, M code, and SQL. And just so you can truly understand the power of these incredible spreadsheet tools, Svekis will show you how to build a quiz application from scratch that uses Google Sheets as the data source.

For a limited time, you can get lifetime access to 11 courses on Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel for just £29.32.

Save 98% on the Premium Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel Certification Bundle
Credit: Mariel Aim
Save 98% on the Premium Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel Certification Bundle
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Posted on 24 September 2021 | 4:05 am

Get a lifetime subscription to Rosetta Stone with this bumper bundle deal

TL;DR: The Social Distancing Lifetime Subscription Bundle with Rosetta Stone is on sale for £116.71 as of Sept. 24, and includes £22 store credit.


When you have downtime, it's so easy to just pick up your phone and see what the rest of the world is up to, but this can quickly lead to feelings of inadequacy, FOMO, and other icky feelings. Luckily, with the Social Distancing Lifetime Subscription Bundle, you'll get access to apps and resources to learn new languages, boost your brain, and spend your extra time wisely and productively. You may as well call this three-app collection the "stop doom-scrolling on Instagram bundle."

First up in the bundle is lifetime access to Rosetta Stone, the world's leading language learning app that makes it easy for beginners to become fluent in a second, third, or fourth language in just a few months. With a lifetime subscription, you can learn any of the offered languages at your own pace, and it's even possible to learn all 24 offered languages over time.

The collection also provides lifetime access to the best-selling VPN of all time: VPN Unlimited by KeepSolid. KeepSolid protects all of your activity online with military-grade encryption and security, no matter what WiFi connection you're on. That means you're always protected, no matter if you're in a public airport, a local coffee shop, or even in your own home. 

Rounding out this bundle is lifetime access to 12min, an app that lets you read micro books in just (you guessed it) 12 minutes. You can either read the text version of these micro books or listen to them in audio format during your commute or while working out. New titles are added every month, so you'll never run out of new content to consume. 

Bought separately, the contents of this bundle would retail for £618, but you can get all three apps now for £145.88, or 76% off the total retail price. Plus, when you enter code ROSETTA20 at checkout, you'll get an additional 20% off the already heavily discounted price. Finally, you'll even get a £22 credit to use on a future purchase. With all of these deals in place, that means you get lifetime access to all three apps for just £116.71 (plus the £22 credit).

Save 76% on the Social Distancing Lifetime Subscription Bundle with Rosetta Stone
Credit: Rosetta Stone
Save 76% on the Social Distancing Lifetime Subscription Bundle with Rosetta Stone
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Posted on 24 September 2021 | 4:00 am

Protect your online privacy for under £2.50 a month with TunnelBear

SAVE 67%: A three-year subscription to TunnelBear is on sale for £2.44 per month as of Sept. 24, saving you 67% on list price.


There are a lot of VPNs out there to consider, with new deals dropping all the time. It can be really difficult to keep up, particularly if you're new to the world of VPNs.

The best VPN for you depends on a number of factors, but total beginners could do a lot worse than TunnelBear. It's lightweight, easy to use, and offers a gentle introduction to VPNs. It's not the best option if streaming is your priority, but it delivers elsewhere.

TunnelBear offers apps for all leading operating systems, 256-bit AES encryption, unlimited data, and five simultaneous connections. Subscribers also get access to the RememBear Password Manager app, which generates, stores, and autofills your passwords to help keep your accounts secure.

A three-year subscription to TunnelBear is on sale for £2.44 per month as of Sept. 24, saving you 67% on list price. TunnelBear also offers a free trial, but it’s limited to only 500MB of data per month.

Save 67% on a three-year subscription to TunnelBear.

Save 67% on TunnelBear
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Posted on 24 September 2021 | 3:55 am

Chris Pratt is not the Mario we need right now, but he's apparently the one we deserve

Alongside a raft of other news, Nintendo used its Directs event on Thursday to announce the voice cast for the Super Mario animated movie literally nobody asked for, and it's-a... weird.

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Now let's be fair, here: Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong is perfect.

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But Chris Pratt as Mario?

Chris Pratt. As Mario.

Chris PRATT! As Mario.

The lovable Parks and Rec schlub turned permanently-grimy, fully posable action figure is a deeply weird choice to voice the plucky plumber. It suggests Nintendo and studio Universal might be hoping to ape the unexpected success and energy of The Lego Movie, in which Pratt voiced the everyman lead. (The script is also by Matthew Fogel, who wrote that film's less-delightful sequel.)

It's such a weird choice specifically because it feels like a cynical joke: Oh yeah, of course they would cast the Least Beloved Hollywood Chris as Mario. Total Hollywood move to hire the generically strapping guy from the Jurassic Park reboots as this pint-size tradesman.

So much so, in fact, that people did actually make this joke back in 2020.

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

Even though Mario was revealed in 2020 to be canonically Japanese, not Italian (yes, really) Pratt's non-Italianness was a sticking point for some.

Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted

It's worth noting that the late great Bob Hoskins, who played the plucky plumber in the soon-to-be-retconned-as-beloved 1993 live-action adaptation, is also neither Italian or Japanese, but that likely had no bearing on why the film was a critical and commercial flop. (Charlie Day, who's playing Mario's brother Luigi, does have one Italian grandparent, according to his IMDb bio. Representation!)

The film's official title has not yet been confirmed, but it's due in cinemas Dec. 21, 2022.

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 1:02 am

'Foundation' is Apple's latest crack at prestige TV. I'm a fan.

If you've ever wondered where all that iPhone money went, just watch Foundation.

First impressions may not be everything, but they do matter. This new Apple TV+ series, a reimaging of an Isaac Asimov classic, makes a pretty simple and straightforward one: Holy cats, this show is expensive. It's not even just the eye-popping visual effects, though they're plenty impressive too. Every scene is beautifully staged, lit, and shot. Costumes and props are immaculately designed. This show is polished.

It's not TV and it's also not HBO, but Foundation's very existence seems to embody the spirit of the reigning cable network's most memorable and effective marketing slogan. Apple tried to crack it first with a star-studded cast in The Morning Show, which premiered alongside Apple TV+. This new attempt leans more on visual razzle dazzle and an epic scope to set up what turns out to be a riveting story. That should sound familiar to the HBO squad: Foundation is space Game of Thrones.

It's also very dense at the outset. The first two episodes, which both premiere Friday, Sept. 24, are heavy with introductions and exposition. That's the overall vibe of the show, it turns out. It's an unavoidable consequence of showrunners David S. Goyer (Watchmen) and Josh Friedman (the criminally underrated Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) tackling a story that, across its long arc, spans multiple millennia.

Plenty of characters come and, importantly, go over the course of the first season's 10 episodes. But the first hours lay some important groundwork, starting with the introduction of Hari Seldon (Jared Harris). A brilliant mathematician, Hari has committed himself to a field of study known as "psychohistory," which uses numbers and algorithms rooted in the past to predict the future. Those studies have led him to an alarming realization: The Milky Way-spanning galactic empire is soon going to crumble, setting off a period of war and strife that will last tens of thousands of years.

Visual razzle dazzle and an epic scope set up a riveting story: 'Foundation' is space 'Game of Thrones'.

There's no simple way for Hari to handle this. The galaxy's rulers are a tribunal of clones — collectively and individually known as "Empire" to their subjects — who are all descended from the original Emperor Cleon I. Brother Dawn is the clone's youngest self; Brother Dusk (Terrance Mann) is Dawn's opposite, the oldest and ostensibly the wisest; Brother Day (Lee Pace) sits between them, an authoritative figure who has the final word on most matters.

Empire is none too pleased with Hari's findings. Their rule depends on absolute stability, and so a prediction of chaos inherently implies a failure of leadership. Even with the findings back up by Gaal Dornick (Lou Llobell), a math whiz from a backwater world who journeys to the galactic capital of Trantor after solving a psychohistory problem even Hari himself couldn't work out, Empire remains unconvinced.

And so, Hari and Gaal are exiled to the hostile and barely habitable world of Terminus, in the distant Outer Reach, along with a small community of psychohistory true believers. The seeming act of mercy on the part of Empire has darker motivations, but suffice to say: Hari's offered an opportunity to continue his studies on Terminus, just in case he's actually right.

I couldn't even begin to describe where things go next, and I wouldn't want to. Seriously major characters don't even enter the picture until the third episode or later. The story is clearly built to stand up as a weekly TV series, with episodes often ending on big, surprising revelations meant to keep viewers dangling on a hook from week to week. But for all the razzle dazzle of the overall production and compelling story beats, Foundation is a slow burn even after it really gets going.

That puts me in the mind of another HBO series: The Wire. Like David Simon's acclaimed hit, Foundation is building something. The fantastical settings and epic scope make it closer in feel to Thrones, but the need for patience as things develop hews much closer to Simon's snowballing exploration of crime, culture, and community in Baltimore. There's a promise inherent in Foundation's slow burn: Stick with us and you'll be rewarded.

That doesn't make the opening two hours any less disorienting. Foundation is awash with proper names and nouns referring to fictional things, and lots of it gets introduced right up front. This is a show where you'll benefit from keeping subtitles turned on. You may still struggle to connect with the story early on, but at least you'll have a clearer idea of what's going on.

The payoff for your patience and willingness to dive in is a grand adventure through outer space that's an absolute joy to see in motion. There's palace intrigue. There's a seemingly supernatural tech mystery. Unexpected family ties, surprise saves, and deep explorations of character histories. It's largely a bloodless spectacle, but the "space Game of Thrones" descriptor fits more and more as the season unfolds.

This show is just stunningly gorgeous at all times.
This show is just stunningly gorgeous at all times. Credit: apple

It might come as a shock if you're an Asimov geek, however. I don't have the space here, or enough background with the source material, to run through every change. But Goyer and Friedman (and their writing team) take so many liberties. Genders get switched around. Entire planets and plotlines are manufactured. The tribunal of eternally cloned emperors, an increasingly fascinating source of important story beats, wasn't even a thing in the books.

I can't speak to which is better, but having watched the entire first season of Foundation I can confidently say I'm a big fan of this take. I hope it gets to play out in full; Goyer has said there's a Game of Thrones-topping 80 hours in mind. That's staggeringly ambitious for any modern TV series, and especially one that's as expensive as this one seems to be, but Apple has seen enough success with TV+ at this point that it at least seems possible.

First impressions mean a lot, and the feeling that stuck with me after the premiere wasn't terribly promising: "Extremely pretty but hopelessly dry." But that's also why I decided to forge ahead. Surely, I reasoned, there was something to justify this show's existence beyond the visual splendor.

It's there. You'll need to have the patience to let that something unfurl, but it's worth the wait. Much like Hari's soothsaying math, there's a deeper purpose at play in Foundation from moment one. This is no mere heavily polished bauble. It's a true gem, a diamond that is forged to gleaming perfection over the course of 10 episodes. Stick with it, and be dazzled.

Foundation premieres Friday, Sept. 24 on Apple TV+.

Related Video: What to binge on the best 30-day streaming service free trials

Posted on 24 September 2021 | 1:00 am

NYC passes landmark bills to protect delivery workers

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays delivery workers from getting hungry New Yorkers their food, and now, the city is finally stepping up on their behalf.

The New York City Council passed six bills Thursday intended to improve pay and working conditions for delivery workers employed by companies like GrubHub and DoorDash. New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio reportedly supports the bills, according to the New York Times.

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The bills require that workers get paid at least once a week. They also prohibit companies from making couriers pay for their own delivery equipment (like insulated bags) and charging workers a fee for getting paid.

They mandate that restaurants let delivery workers use the freaking bathroom, and that apps let workers put limits on where and when they make deliveries. The apps will also have to be more transparent about who is actually getting the tip money paid by customers. The bills also call for a study to establish a standard wage for delivery workers.

Gig worker activists who worked with lawmakers on the bills tweeted in support of their passage.

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While lawsuits around some of these practices are ongoing in multiple states, these laws are the first of their kind, and could set a new standard for gig workers and the companies who rely on their labor.

Posted on 23 September 2021 | 8:49 pm

Everything coming to Disney+ in October

As we head into the spookiest season of the year, Disney+ is adding more originals to its catalog.

Some of the new titles coming our way include anthology series Just Beyond and NASA documentary Among the Stars. Disney+ will continue dropping episodes of its ongoing shows like What If...?, Turner & Hooch, and Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. Plus, you will no longer need Premier Access to watch Black Widow.

That's just the beginning. Here's everything coming to Disney+ in October 2021.

Top Pick: Muppets Haunted Mansion

Who wouldn't want to spend Halloween with the Muppets? In this spooky special, the world famous daredevil the Great Gonzo takes on his greatest challenge yet: Spending one night in the Haunted Mansion. Inspired by Disney's Haunted Mansion attractions and featuring the whole Muppet crew, Muppets Haunted Mansion looks like a fun time for the whole family.

How to watch: Muppets Haunted Mansion is streaming on Disney+ October 8.

Movies

Alvin and the Chipmunks (10/1)

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (10/1)

Black Widow (10/6)

Disney Junior Mickey's Tale of Two Witches (10/8)

Just Roll With It: You Decide Live! (10/1)

Lost Cities with Albert Lin: The Great Flood (10/15)

Megacity of the Maya Warrior King (10/15)

Muppets Haunted Mansion (10/8)

Rookie of the Year (10/22)

The Scariest Story Ever: A Mickey Mouse Halloween Spooktacular! (10/1)

Thumbelina (10/22)

Under Wraps (10/8)

TV

Among the Stars (10/6)

Apollo: Back to the Moon Season 1 (10/13)

Disney's Magic Bake-Off Season 1 (10/20)

Drain the Oceans: The Mississippi River & Arctic War Season 1 (10/6)

Impact with Gal Gadot Season 1 (10/6)

Just Beyond (10/13)

LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales (10/1)

Muppet Babies Season 3 (10/6)

PJ Masks Season 5 (10/20)

Puppy Dog Pals Season 4 (10/6)

Secrets of the Zoo: Down Under Season 2 (10/13)

Secrets of the Zoo: North Carolina Season 1 (10/13)

The Ghost and Molly McGee Season 1 (10/6)

The Wild Life of Dr. Ole Season 1 (10/20)

The Wizard of Paws Season 1 (10/13)

Zombies: Addison's Moonstone Mystery Shorts (10/13)

Posted on 23 September 2021 | 8:48 pm

New Android accessibility features let users control phones with facial movements

The imperative to improve smartphone use for people with limited motor capabilities has resulted in some truly cool — and hopefully helpful — new features.

Thursday, Google announced an expansion of its accessibility settings as well as a new app that will let people navigate their phones with facial gestures.

The feature within the Android Accessibility Suite is called Camera Switches. Previously, Google let users who could not navigate phones with the touchscreens connect a manual switch device that let them scroll and select.

Now, the new "switch" is an Android phone's camera and a person's face. Users can assign facial gestures like look left or right, smile, or raise eyebrows to functions like click, back, scroll, and more. The phone's camera will be able to recognize the gestures and translate them into action.

Camera Switches will be rolling out to Android phones (not just Pixels!) in the coming weeks.

The second feature requires downloading an app, but takes the idea of gesture control further. The app, Project Activate, will let people use their phones to send common messages or perform actions, or even verbalize on their behalf, by customizing gestures. An example Google gives is that the app can be programmed to have a gesture like looking left send a text to a caretaker that says, "Please come here."

Google notes that, based on feedback from users and advocates, giving people the ability to customize both the gestures and the action taken by the phone was crucial for these features to be useful. With gesture control, it's interesting to see how helping people with disabilities navigate the world with their smartphones pushes engineers to create innovative and, frankly, super cool products in their own right.

Posted on 23 September 2021 | 7:54 pm

The best robot vacuum deals as of Sept. 23: Roombas and more on sale

Shop the best robot vacuum deals as of Sept. 23:


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 universal lifesaver. Shop models on sale below.

Our top picks

Roborock E4 Robot Vacuum — $219.99 (save $90)

If you're vacuum shopping on a budget, this basic Roborock packs serious sweeping skills for less than the cheapest Roomba. A suction level of 2000Pa beats the specs of similarly priced vacs and reliably combs carpets. Scheduled sweeps and spot cleanings can be set up through the app.

Save $90 at Amazon
Save $90 at Amazon
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Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo N8 Pro+ Robot Vacuum and Mop with Self Empty — $579.99 (save $220)

Pro and plus feel like appropriate descriptors for a self-emptying vacuum and mop with an asserted 2,600Pa of suction. (That beats the Roomba s9+, which is almost double the price .) The Ozmo N8 Pro+ includes premium smart upgrades like laser-based mapping that can target specific rooms and sensors that dodge carpets while mopping. After nearly two hours of cleaning, the N8 Pro+ returns to its charging and self-emptying dock, which only requires emptying once a month.

Save $220 at Amazon
Credit: ecovacs
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iRobot Roomba S9+ with Automatic Dirt Disposal — $1,099 (save $200.99)

Multi-pet homes need a vacuum that won't flounder on carpets doused in fur. The Roomba s9+ is iRobot's current most intelligent bot, unleashing 2,500Pa of suction onto heavy shedding zones and using its flat edge to snatch hair from corners. But more debris collected doesn't mean more emptying on your part — the automatic dirt disposal bin is good for 60 days at a time.

Save $200.99 at Amazon
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More great robot vacuum deals:

Under $300:

Under $500:

Under 800

Over $1,000 (but really nice)

Robot vacuum and mop hybrids and dedicated robot mops

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Posted on 23 September 2021 | 7:51 pm

Finally, there's an airbag for bikes – Future Blink

A sport pack company called EVOC created an airbag specifically designed to complement bike backpacks.

Posted on 23 September 2021 | 6:59 pm

5 iPhone apps for enhancing your old blurry photos with AI

If your pics aren't quite as sharp or clear as you'd like them to be, you probably wish something existed that could fix that via artificial intelligence (AI). After all, not everybody is a top-tier photo editor with access to top-tier photo editing software.

Thankfully, it's the 2020s, and you have access to plenty of easy photo editing applications not named Adobe Photoshop, if you know where to look. And even better: you don't even have to look, because we did that for you. Here are five apps that can enhance your photos with AI.

1. Remini

Remini
Remini Credit: Remini / app store

One of the most popular photo enhancers in the App Store is Remini. The app offers instant photo-enhancing to turn blurry or grainy photos into HD, along with other editing features, including "Colorize" and "Oil Painting". Remini currently holds a 4.8/5 star rating with 21,000 ratings.

2. PicPlus

PicPlus
PicPlus Credit: PicPlus / app store

Picplus markets itself as "the photo editor for both experienced users and those just getting started." Aside from boosting the quality of your photos, PicPlus also offers aesthetic filters, animated filters, a layout builder to make collages, and more. With around 5,500 ratings, the app currently sits at a 4.7/5 star rating.

3. EnhanceFox

EnhanceFox
EnhanceFox Credit: Enhancefox / app store

EnhanceFox boasts photo-enhancing features along with an "AI-powered colorizer, which can colorize your black and white photos to make them look better." Interestingly enough, you can also use the app to animate photos by adding eye and mouth movements, making it seem as if your pics are actually alive. EnhanceFox as a 4.3/5 star rating with around 1,300 ratings to date.

4. Animatify

Animatify
Animatify Credit: animatify / app store

Animatify uses AI to enhance your photos with the touch of a button. The app can also colorize black-and-white photos, add animation, and add various effects. Animatify holds a 4.7/5 star rating with 1,000 ratings.

5. Tingo

Tingo
Tingo Credit: tingo / app store

Tingo is an AI-powered selfie enhancer that touts its ability to boost your selfie quality with autocorrection, eye bag remover, skin smoothen-er, and even a teeth whitener! So those of us with a coffee/tea addiction (myself included) can brighten our smiles without thousands of dollars of dental work. Though a bit less popular than the others, Tingo still has a 4.7/5 star rating with almost 100 ratings to date.

Posted on 23 September 2021 | 6:21 pm

'Knives Out' is the perfect movie to get into the autumn spirit

Sweater Weather is coming, which means one thing: It's time to watch Knives Out.

If you're impatiently craving a brisk chill in the air, you can easily get in the fall mood by cozying up on the couch and watching Rian Johnson's humorous murder mystery.

Though Knives Out is meant to be enjoyed year-round, the movie is set in the fall months, features a gorgeous autumnal color palette, and puts foliage on full display. It also showcases a wardrobe ripe with sweaters, scarves, pea coats, and other warm and snuggly styles. All of these components make it the perfect fall film, and thus, September will henceforth be known as the start of Knives Out season.

I mean, can you even look at these fresh fall outfits without feeling like crawling into a wooden restaurant booth, downing a beer, and eating a nice hot bowl of beans? I, for one, find it impossible!

Ransom Drysdale, god of sweaters.
Ransom Drysdale, god of sweaters. Credit: mashable composite: Claire folger / lionsgate
Get us some beer and beans, now!
Get us some beer and beans, now! Credit: CLAIRE FOLGER / LIONSGATE

I first saw Knives Out in 2019 on a perfect November night, and as some of you may recall, my major takeaway was that Chris Evans' cable-knit sweater is the eighth wonder of the world. After a kind Twitter user, @mapleservo, reminded me that Knives Out perfectly embodies "sweater weather," I knew it was time for a rewatch. And others agree that Knives Out has some of the biggest autumn vibes in cinematic history.

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

If all these screenshots from Knives Out were somehow not autumnal enough to inspire a movie night, perhaps these tweets that imagine the cast of film as adorable, sweater-wearing baby goats will do the trick.

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The bottom line is this: If you're looking to speed up the arrival of fall, I can think of no better way than to put on a sweater, drape a blanket over your shoulders, fill a "My House, My Rules, My Coffee!!" mug with tea, and watch Knives Out on Amazon Prime. And we guarantee that after the movie ends you'll be inspired to "really start dressin'".

This article was originally published in September 2020 and updated in September 2021.

Posted on 23 September 2021 | 6:03 pm

Adorable 'Muppets Haunted Mansion' trailer conjures spooky shenanigans

The Muppets are descending on Disney in a creepy-yet-cutesy debut trailer for Muppets Haunted Mansion — the first-ever Halloween special from everyone's favorite felted fiends that's actually set inside the iconic Disney Parks attraction.

This killer crossover follows famous daredevil the Great Gonzo as he attempts to survive an entire Halloween night in "the most grim grinning place on Earth." In the sneak peek, which is accompanied by narration that sounds just like what you hear on the ride, we see Miss Piggy reimagined as Madame Leota, Beaker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew as possessed busts, and even Janice as the tightrope walker from one of the portraits in the stretching room.

Will Arnett, Yvette Nicole Brown, Darren Criss, Taraji P. Henson, Chrissy Metz, Danny Trejo, and more play alongside the Muppets as Haunted Mansion characters, and John Stamos makes an appearance as himself. Plus, we're getting three new original Muppets songs and a Muppets cover of King Harvest's 1972 hit single "Dancing in the Moonlight."

Looks spooktacular! Muppets Haunted Mansion starts streaming Oct. 8 on Disney+.

Posted on 23 September 2021 | 5:58 pm

Full 'Spencer' trailer reveals more world-shattering Kristen Stewart perfection

When Neon dropped a teaser for director Pablo Larraín's Spencer last month, the internet was inconsolable. Just two words — star Kristen Stewart quietly saying "They don't" in the most sublime Diana accent you've ever heard — promised such a phenomenal dramatic biopic for the late Princess of Wales that fans all but declared it a triumph sight unseen.

Now, the project's first full-length trailer is debuting further perfection, revealing even more spine-chillingly uncanny dialogue from Stewart and a number of Diana's iconic looks as recreated for the film. The supremely promising sneak peek is backed by an onslaught of good reviews from critics who saw Spencer's premiere at the Venice International Film Festival.

Written by Steven Knight, the partially fictional movie will reimagine Diana's decision to divorce Prince Charles and leave the British Royal Family. Spencer is in theaters Nov. 5.

Posted on 23 September 2021 | 5:17 pm