Gamer Geek News


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

Mesh WiFi routers for gamers are better than before, say industry experts

netgear router on table next to gaming controller

Avid gamers know how crucial it is to have a reliable internet connection. The last thing you want is for your game to lag when you’re having a good match. But when your internet connection isn’t strong, it can be tough to take your game to the next level. That's where a mesh WiFi router can help.

What is latency and how can mesh WiFi improve it?

Avoiding latency is the most important factor when it comes to online gaming. When browsing the internet, you may not even detect a small amount of latency and even when streaming content, it rarely makes a huge difference. However, every second counts when you're gaming. David Henry, President & GM of Connected Home Products and Services of Netgear, explains that latency "is the time between initiating a command and the action taking place in an online game. It's often measured in milliseconds." It's also known as ping. Henry adds, "[it] could make the difference between making or missing a shot in heated gameplay or having a smooth, immersive experience in VR rather than one that makes you feel queasy." Generally, you want it as low as possible. 

That's why it's important for gamers to have the most reliable and fastest mesh WiFi available. It eliminates dead spots around the home while allowing for several devices to be connected to the internet without affecting latency or ping.

Is mesh WiFi good for gaming?

You can play most games with any router. Many gamers play video games that are downloaded to their computer, so they don't even need the internet to play once downloaded. For those into online gaming or streaming though, your router will make a big difference when it comes to your enjoyment levels.

As Twitch streamer Hannah Rutherford explained to us, "wireless inherently always comes with latency." Online games require real-time interactions, so if your connection is lagging, you're going to feel the effect of that delay. Whether it's a mouse click, a keyboard tap, or a press on a controller, you want your game command to take effect immediately — but that can't happen if there's major lag.

Crucially, a wired ethernet connection is generally recommended for those who depend on the lowest amount of lag, says Rutherford, but that may not be convenient depending on how your home is set up. 

Jasmine Hong, Operations Executive at British Esports, found a mesh setup helped make her WiFi "much more stable than when I used to play without it.”

What should I look for in a mesh WiFi system for gaming?

The best mesh WiFi systems have (or have the ability to expand to) multiple nodes and feature security software to keep your browsing, devices, and gaming safe. As noted by Netgear's David Henry, some of Netgear's products offer Advanced QoS such as the Nighthawk Pro gaming line. Other devices also offer wired options where a wired Ethernet connection is preferred. 

Hannah Rutherford explains, "mesh needs to be able to support high upload speeds as much as a stable download [speed]. There cannot be latency or jitter on the line – two things that wireless can add." But a lot of it is down to your internet supplier as well as your router. That's why you need a reliable broadband supplier as well as a high-quality mesh WiFi router.

The most important things to keep in mind while researching which mesh WiFi system to buy are connection speed, reliability, price point, and the size of your living space (which will determine the amount of coverage you need, measured in square feet).

When it comes to online gaming, specifically, you may also want to look for a mesh WiFi system that allows your gaming system to get "first dibs," so to speak. That is, a feature that allows you to designate a priority device or, in some cases, a priority application. This will come in handy if others are eating up bandwidth on your network with their far less important "Zoom meetings" and "homework." Because your gaming system has priority, those other demands on the network won't slow you down. (But don't worry, everyone else will still be able to get all their work done without even noticing that their tasks aren't top dog anymore.)

How does mesh WiFi work and is it easy to set up?

Setting up your whole-home mesh WiFi coverage couldn't be easier. Basically, all you have to do is plug your WiFi router into your internet provider’s modem, and you'll be well on your way to getting your mesh WiFi network started. Next, you'll place any necessary mesh WiFi satellites around the rest of your home to help the wireless mesh network reach all the places where it's needed. Even better, many mesh WiFi systems will come with an easy-to-use smartphone app that's designed to make this whole process even more simple than it already is.

What are the best mesh WiFi systems?

Overall, the best mesh WiFi system for gaming is also going to be the best mesh WiFi for whole-home coverage. We’ve done the research, spoken to experts, and curated a list of the most reliable mesh WiFi routers out there (that also happen to be ideal for gaming).

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 2:30 pm

Get a refurbished MacBook Air and a license for Microsoft Office all for just $499.99

macbook air and microsoft office home and business for mac with gray gradient background

TL;DR: As of March 28, you can snag a refurbished MacBook Air (Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) and a Microsoft Office Home & Business for Mac lifetime license for only $499.99. That's a 62% discount from the $1,349.99 MSRP.

How are your New Year's resolutions holding up? If 2023 has been off to a rocky start and you'd like to be a little more productive the rest of the year, the Microsoft Office and Apple MacBook Air bundle can help you tackle the rest of those goals, setting you up with a new-to-you laptop and all the most important apps you'll need to get things done.

This bundle lets you get a refurbished Apple MacBook Air and a lifetime license to Microsoft Office Home and Business for Mac all for just $499.99. That amounts to a major savings of $850, and sets you up to succeed whether it be for work, school, or play.

There's a reason people love the Apple MacBook Air — it's a high-performance laptop that offers maximum portability. This particular model measures 13.3" and features a stunning HD display so you can see all your content in vivid detail. Though the MacBook Air is super thin and lightweight, don't be deceived. That small stature doesn't amount to less power inside — this model has a 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor so you can get things done efficiently. And with a grade "A" refurbished rating, you'll be receiving this 2017 MacBook Air in near-mint condition, with minimal to zero scuffing on the case. 

Once you have your refurbished laptop in your possession, get ready to trick it out with a lifetime license to Microsoft Office Home and Business for Mac 2021. It gives you access to six Microsoft Office staples that you know and love — from the basics you grew up on like Word and Excel to newer additions like Teams and OneNote. This one-time purchase allows you to download it straight to this Mac, with instant delivery and download. 

Get a high-functioning laptop and these vital apps with the Microsoft Office Home & Business for Mac 2021 Lifetime License and Apple MacBook Air Bundle, now just $499.99 for a limited time. 

Prices subject to change.

microsoft office and refurbished macbook air
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Microsoft / Apple
Microsoft Office Home & Business for Mac Lifetime License + Refurbished MacBook Air (Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) (opens in a new tab)
$499.99 at the Mashable Shop
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 2:25 pm

The 11 best outdoor speakers for pool parties, picnics, and more

Three speakers sitting on a table on a sunny balcony

A backyard hangout isn’t complete without some tunes, and the best outdoor speakers make it easy to bring the party out into the sunshine.

Even if you're not a serious audiophile, listening to music from a set of quality speakers can make a world of a difference. The best outdoor speakers won't muffle sound, cut out at your favorite part of a song, or hiss, crackle, or pop their way through a playlist. In addition to outdoor stereo speakers, there are also a lot of excellent outdoor Bluetooth speakers that can provide big sound in wide open spaces. The best outdoor speaker for your backyard should also be able to withstand some degree of moisture.

SEE ALSO: The best Bluetooth speakers for getting lost in your favorite playlists

We've narrowed down the best outdoor speakers for your space. Multiple speakers on our list are designed to withstand the elements, connect wirelessly, and produce top-quality sound in an outdoor space.

Do I need to mount my outdoor speakers?

If you just want to listen to some songs now and then - like while you're gardening or grilling your dinner - you could probably get away with a standard wireless outdoor speaker. But if you're planning to host a bunch of barbecues or pool parties, or you want to spend full days outdoors, you're going to need a more serious outdoor speaker setup.

Mounting wired speakers around your outdoor living area is an ideal choice when you have the space to place them on walls or under decks. Often, these speakers are sold in pairs and have a stereo configuration with left and right inputs to help fill your space with more complex audio. The only downside is that they have a more limited range of projecting sound as they can only be tilted so far without literally hitting a wall. If your mounting options are limited or nonexistent, you can also hide your setup in your landscaping with some in-ground speakers instead.

Do my outdoor speakers need to be waterproof?

In a word: Mostly. While searching for the best outdoor speaker, you'll want to look out for keywords like "weatherproof," "waterproof," and "water-resistant." Most outdoor speakers will clearly let you know that all the electrical stuff is safely and securely housed inside a weather-resistant shell. This means it will be able to withstand the elements, including rain, snow, and extreme hot or cold temperatures.

However, keep in mind that if you're looking for a completely waterproof speaker, you're simply not going to find one. While a high waterproof rating is a non-negotiable standard when choosing a portable Bluetooth speaker, it is not normal to see such a rating on mountable or in-ground outdoor speakers. Outdoor speakers have wiring that needs to be protected, and a completely waterproof rating can only be given if a device can be completely submerged in water. (A speaker wire exposed to the elements can prove dangerous.) That said, it's totally normal for a wired outdoor speaker to simply be weather-resistant rather than waterproof.

SEE ALSO: Find some peace on your next trip with the best noise-canceling headphones for flying

How to choose a speaker with good audio quality

A speaker's drivers will tell you a lot about the sound it's going to produce. For instance, a speaker with multiple drivers dedicated to different sound frequencies will a have more robust sound. If you're not familiar with audio drivers and simply want something that sounds good, don't worry, you don't need to get too far into the weeds to understand what to look for.

Basically, drivers are what transmit the sound to our ears. A tweeter is a type of driver responsible for higher-range tones like treble and vocals, while woofers are the drivers responsible for mid-range tones and bass. Small portable Bluetooth speakers don't have the space to house a sizable woofer and tweeter, which is why their audio quality only goes so far. Since outdoor speakers are bigger, there's some real estate for drivers, and therefore, booming and filled-out sound.

With that said, wide-open outdoor spaces don't have walls for the bass to bounce off of, so the overall bass quality can sound less present than you might like. But again, that's not really a knock against any particular speaker so much as it is a reality of playing music outside. And if bass is really important to you, you can always choose a speaker that prioritizes low frequencies or invest in a subwoofer.

Should I choose an outdoor wired speaker or an outdoor wireless speaker?

If the idea of paying for installation or dealing with wiring on your own sounds like a nightmare, then you’ll want to stick with portable Bluetooth speakers or fully wireless outdoor speakers.

Wireless Bluetooth speakers are great and their portability makes them really convenient when you're on the go, but if you're just planning to post up at home for the majority of your outdoor music-listening time, it's worth committing to a wired outdoor speaker system that's likely to be more powerful, more dependable, and less susceptible to interference. Plus, you'll never have to worry about recharging any devices or walking too far out of Bluetooth range with your streaming device.

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 2:17 pm

Tidy up your nightstand with a sleek 3-in-1 charging cable, now 55% off

3-in-1 charging cables in black, blue, red, and white

TL;DR: As of March 28, you can pick up a 3-in-1 Retractable USB-C, Micro USB, and Lightning Charging Cable for only $17.99 instead of $39 — that's a 55% savings.

Spring cleaning isn't just for dusting and vacuuming. It's also a great time to take inventory of your digital clutter, while also figuring out more convenient and tidy ways to keep all your electronic devices powered up. How many cords do you have on your nightstand? If you'd like to get that number down, the 3-in-1 Retractable USB-C, Micro USB, and Lightning Charging Cable can help. 

This sleek device helps you keep your gadgets powered up without the annoying mess of tangled cords. And it's currently on sale for just $17.99 — 55% off the usual price of $39 — for a limited time. 

Let the 3-in-1 Retractable USB-C, Micro USB, and Lightning Charging Cable help you charge three devices at the same time with one sleek cable. It's equipped with a Micro USB, Type-C, and Lightning cable to power up different electronics.

Aside from letting you power up three things at once, it also can do so quickly! The 3-in-1 Retractable USB-C, Micro USB, and Lightning Charging Cable allows for up to 40W fast charging when you use a power source of at least 2.1 amps. The coil design and the interior retractable mechanism work together to make sure you don't have to deal with tangled up cords while it's in use, or when you decide to retract the cords when you're done charging.

This multitasking charger is super lightweight, so it's easy to pack up and take on any adventure. And it offers three-foot cables that let you power up comfortably without staying super close to your power outlet. 

Tidy up your charging situation with the 3-in-1 Retractable USB-C, Micro USB, and Lightning Charging Cable. It's on sale now for just $17.99 for a limited time. 

Prices subject to change.

retractable charging cable in black
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Tech Essential
3-in-1 Retractable USB-C, Micro USB, and Lightning Charging Cable (opens in a new tab)
$17.99 at the Mashable Shop
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 2:05 pm

38 gifts everyone should have on their birthday list

birthday presents

Getting excited about birthday presents is not just for kids. You can be a grown-ass adult and still lose your shit when you open up the gift that topped your wish list. But as you get older, it does become a little more difficult to come up with a list of birthday gift ideas. You can't just ask for all the coolest new toys anymore. Well, you can if you want — we're not going to stop you.

If your birthday is coming up and you're struggling to think of what you want, don't sweat it. We compiled the ultimate birthday wish list for you, with gifts ranging from tech, to spa trips, to home goods. Read on for some birthday inspo to casually drop hints about to your friends. And hey, happy birthday!

A Bluetooth record player

record player
Credit: sony

Are your Spotify playlists just not cutting it anymore? Switch it up and go retro with a vinyl music collection. This turntable connects to Bluetooth speakers and headphones if you want to listen that way or you can hook it up to a sound system using cords — it costs $248.

record player
Opens in a new tab
Credit: sony
Sony Turntable (opens in a new tab)
$248 at Amazon
(opens in a new tab)

A smart speaker

Amazon Echo Dot on table
Credit: Amazon

If you don't have a smart speaker by now, it's time to make a change. The Echo Dot is an affordable voice-controlled companion that'll keep you in the loop on the weather, current events, and keep track of your most important reminders. Also, they're great for playing music. Get one for $49.99.

Echo Dot smart speaker in black
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Amazon
Echo Dot smart speaker (opens in a new tab)
$49.99 at Amazon
(opens in a new tab)

AirPods Pro

airpods with case on grass
Credit: Stan Schroeder / Mashable

Apple stepped up its audio game with the AirPods Pro, which feature active noise cancellation. If you want the latest and greatest from Apple but don't want to pay latest and greatest prices (AirPods Pro cost $249) yourself, put these babies on your bday wishlist.

airpods pro
Opens in a new tab
Credit: apple
AirPods Pro (opens in a new tab)
$249 at Amazon
(opens in a new tab)

A massage gun

theragun massage gun on person's leg
Credit: TheraGun

Whether you're working at a desk all day, running around, or just inexplicably tense, a massage gun will get you limber and relaxed again. What better gift than the gift of painless movement? Our best recommendation? Go for the TheraGun. Their Prime model costs $299.

Theragun massage gun
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Theragun
TheraGun (opens in a new tab)
$299 at Amazon
(opens in a new tab)

A cool drone with a 4K camera

drone on grey background
Credit: dji

This drone is small and super lightweight, but it takes stunning photos and video. It's great for traveling or for using at home. DJI is one of the top names in drones and the Mini 2 costs $629 with accessories.

A personal blender for smoothies

blender in front of green background
Credit: nutribullet

Make smoothies in your own kitchen with a NutriBullet personal blender — it's fast and easy. The NutriBullet Nutrient Extractor comes with the 600W motor base, blender blade, 24-ounce blending cup, travel lid, and lip ring, plus a recipe book if you're sick of the same old smoothies. It costs $59.99 but is currently on sale for $69.99.

A new phone

smartphones in a row
The iPhone 13 Pro comes in 4 colors. Credit: Apple

Still living that single-camera iPhone 8 life? Don't spend your own money on an expensive phone — have someone who loves you spend their money! The latest iPhones start at $999. (Group gift, anyone?)

An artsy watch

fancy watch
From astronomy to animals and more. Credit: red juan shop

You like watches and art, so why not combine them? This Etsy shop has a huge selection of artwork watch faces, and you can even upload your own image. The watches are $15.93.

A fun card game

card game
Credit: what do you meme?

Be the king or queen of your next game night by asking for What Do You Meme? — a Cards Against Humanity-style game, but with memes. You're not guaranteed to win, but you will have some good laughs for sure. The game goes for $29.99.

A very personal card game

card game
Credit: We're not really strangers

Yes, that's two card games on a single birthday list, but hear us out: there's a time for memes, and a time for soul-searching and human connection. This "game" (it's really more of an activity) is the latter. Get uncomfortably personal with family or break the ice on first dates — either way, these red cards will add new dimensions to your relationships (see their popular Instagram page for proof). The basic set is $25, with expansion packs available.

Apparel for your favorite team

two men wearing athleisure
Credit: fanatics

Show your team some love with a new shirt, jersey, or whatever else you want to flex their logo on. Fanatics has apparel for almost every die-hard sports fan (we're looking at you, Buckeyes), with gear for the NFL, NCAA, MLB, NBA, NHL, and more. Prices vary.

A nice camera

hands holding a camera
Credit: sony

Whether you're a professional or just picked it up as a hobby, photography nerds know that the Sony a7R II is an incredible piece of equipment. The full-frame, mirrorless camera takes stunning pictures worthy not just of your Insta feed, but the pages of National Geographic. The camera costs $1,189.99 (not including the lens).

An Apple Watch

apple watch
Credit: Apple

An Apple Watch lets you access smartphone features conveniently on your wrist. You can control your music, send and receive texts, monitor your health, and tons more. The Apple Watch Series 6 in red is currently $369.

A media streaming stick

streaming stick
Credit: amazon

If you don't already have a smart TV but you want to access Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Disney+, and all the other streaming services directly from your TV, ask for a Fire TV Stick for your bday. The 4K version normally goes for $49.99.


gift card
Credit: visa

You really can't beat the gift of cold, hard cash — or a gift card. This Visa card is a perfect gift because you can spend it on literally whatever you want; buy yourself something fun or get some help with groceries this month. The gift card starts at $10 and comes in $5 increments.

A delicious-smelling candle

candles on a table
Credit: yankee candle

Candles are a timeless gift that you can ask for at every single gift-giving opportunity (and will likely receive anyways if you don't specify what you actually want). We are firm believers that you can never have too many candles. Add some nice Yankee Candle scents to your bday wish list this year and every year.

A cast iron skillet

cast iron skillet
Credit: lodge

A cast-iron skillet is like the most ~adult~ thing you could ask for. It's something you probably want, but don't particularly want to spend the money on. Lodge has different sizes depending on what you're wanting to cook. A 10.25-inch skillet costs $37.35.

A multipurpose pressure cooker

instant pot
Credit: instant pot

A little less adult, a little more useful: a pressure cooker that can air fry, roast, bake, dehydrate, slow cook, prepare rice, steam, sauté and more. Impress guests with your culinary skills (that are in fact just throwing all the ingredients listed in the recipe into this thing and then waiting a couple hours). The Instant Pot 11-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker will cost your gift-giver $199, but they can reap the rewards when you cook for them with it.

A cool essential oil diffuser

essential oil diffuser
Credit: heung hoi

Essential oil diffusers are on damn near every gift guide, but there's a reason for that. They rock. You can create your own concoctions of scents to help boost your mood or let you relax. Plus, this one has super cool lights that will make your room look awesome. This diffuser costs $29.99.

A relaxing spa day

gift card
Credit: spafinder

A spa day is the ultimate treat yo' self gift (just ask the Parks and Rec gang). Spafinder works with a network of spas and wellness centers, so you can use this gift card at your choice of location for a relaxing massage or rejuvenating facial.

A pack of disposable cameras

disposable cameras
Credit: fujifilm

While on the topic of going retro, snap some throwback pics with a disposable camera. You'll capture some fun, in-the-moment memories with no do-overs. A three-pack of disposable cameras costs $79.99 (this shit has gotten kind of expensive since the invention of digital/phone cameras).

A new type of alcohol

two people sitting on the floor among boxes
Credit: drizly

Have a favorite type of wine that you can't seem to find in any store? Or looking to try a new type of whiskey? Drizly offers delivery on beer, wine, and liquor and has thousands of options. Cheers!

A semi-permanent tattoo

arm covered in tattoos
Credit: inkbox

If you like the idea of tattoos but don't love commitment, Inkbox is an awesome gift. Pick from a huge selection of designs or create your own custom tat. The ink lasts on your skin for about two weeks, and the semi-permanent tattoos range from $5 on sale to $149 for full sets of 13.

A custom pet portrait

painting of dogs
Credit: leflore studio

If you're obsessed with your pet, these custom pet portraits need to be on your birthday list. There are many different styles to choose from, each one super freakin' adorable. Prices vary depending on size.

Color-changing smart light bulbs

living room
Credit: philips

Turn your bedroom into a party with these color-changing smart light bulbs. You can control the lights from your phone and set whatever mood you're feeling. This kit includes two Bluetooth bulbs for $79.99.

A portable projector

handheld projector
The portable projector fits in the palm of your hands. Credit: anker

All of your friends will start calling your home the "cool house" if movie nights involve this mini portable projector. Use it to play movies, shows, or games outside on a screen or indoors on a blank wall. The Anker Nebula Capsule in black costs $299.99.

A cool new bike

bike on a white background
Credit: schwinn

Head outdoors with this hybrid bike designed for both leisure and more adventurous rides. It comes in different colors and a couple different styles for men and women. The 18-inch Schwinn GTX bike normally goes for $499.99 but is currently 10% off for $449.99.

A craft beer kit to make your own brew

beer making kit
Credit: mr. beer

If you're a craft beer connoisseur, it's time you start brewing your own ales. This kit comes with everything you need to make two gallons of Mr. Beer's Golden Ale and it costs $49.99.

A nice Apple laptop

laptops grouped together
Credit: apple

MacBook Airs are super nice computers, but they can definitely be a bit pricey... which is what makes them such a great addition to a birthday wish list. Someone who loves you can drop the big bucks for you! A 13-inch MacBook Air with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD goes for $999.

A robot vacuum that does the cleaning for you

robot vacuum
Credit: irobot

Stop manually vacuuming your house every day and let a robot vacuum clean your floors for you. The Roomba 981 has WiFi connectivity for mobile and voice controls and it's tough on pet hair. This robot vacuum costs $248.99.

A weighted blanket

weighted blanket
Credit: quility

For what seems like an extraneous expense, an extra-heavy blanket can be a total game-changer. Besides providing all the comfort of a partner without the snoring, a weighted blanket can reduce tossing and turning and keep you extra warm. This one on Amazon comes in a bunch of colors, sizes, and weights, but the 60"x80" 15 lbs blanket (a good place to start) costs $109.99.

A nice pair of sunglasses

sunglasses on white background
Credit: ray-ban

Like, a nice pair of sunglasses. From beach days in the summer to warding off snow glare when driving in the colder months, sunglasses come in handy throughout the year (even just to have on your head as a lowkey flex). This unisex pair of Ray-Bans costs $213.

A Kindle

man reading a kindle
Credit: amazon

Instead of asking for a book, ask for a Kindle for your birthday and save yourself money and space. Yes, it doesn't smell the same, but now you'll have no excuses for not keeping up with your yearly reading resolutions. The newest Kindle with 32GB storage is $189.99.

Something to make your life a little more eco-friendly

Stasher bags starter kit
Credit: Stasher

Whether you're packing your lunch or storing leftovers, using plastic bags should be your last resort. Heck, you should be trying to stay away from all single-use plastics if you're able to. But, if you want to start small, these Stasher bags are a great option to make your daily life more eco-friendly. These silicone bags are secure, and completely reusable — either wash them by hand, or stuff them in the dishwasher. Grab a starter pack for $92.99.

A new comforter

Buffy Cloud comforter
Credit: Buffy

Comforters, like a mattress, shouldn't be an item you cheap out on. They're supposed to last you a while, so why not have something a little more luxurious? The Buffy Cloud comforter is a sustainable comforter made from recycled fiber and eucalyptus. Mashable Shopping Reporter Leah Stodart reviewed it here, calling it "the first piece of bedding I've used that actually feels kind of dreamy." Snag one for $129.

A trusty pet camera

Furbo pet camera
Credit: Furbo

If you're anything like us, you view your pet like it's your actual child. We support that. Now, you can up your pet parent game by picking up a Furbo pet camera. Not only does it livestream what your pet is up to while you aren't home straight to your phone, but it also has the ability to toss treats and produce two-way audio for quick check-ins. Get one for $169.

A reusable water bottle

Rock climber holding HydroFlask
Credit: HydroFlask

It's starting to get warmer out, which means it's time to get even more serious about hydration. A HydroFlask is a perfect way to make sure you always have a cool (or hot) beverage on-hand, and they're super durable during outdoorsy activities. Grab one for $49.95.

A Game Pass membership

Xbox Game Pass
Credit: Xbox

Basically the Netflix of video games, Xbox Game Pass gets you immediate access to a library of hundreds of titles to download at your leisure, from classics to day-one releases. Upgrade to the Ultimate version, and also gain access to the Game Pass for PC library. Need we say more? Snag a membership for $14.99 per month.

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 2:04 pm

The best Squarespace templates for writers

person writing in a notebook next to a laptop

This content originally appeared on Mashable for a US audience and has been adapted for the UK audience.

In this gig economy day and internet age, no writer is just a writer anymore. A writer is also an idea collector, a pitcher, a negotiator, an SEO specialist, a proofreader, a self-promoter, and a professional invoice sender. They might even be a full-on brand at this point, depending on whether they buy into the Twitter discourse.

That being said, you'd probably struggle to find a handful of writers who think of themselves as especially adept developers. English, journalism, and creative writing coursework isn't exactly rife with opportunities to learn how to build websites, and self-led bootcamps are intimidating if you don't have a lick of coding or HTML experience. This can feel like a huge hurdle when it comes time to needing a personal website, whether you're trying to showcase a portfolio, attract new clients, sell a book, or just simply blog.

Enter: Squarespace, a popular website building platform that presents itself as an all-in-one solution for designing and managing a website (with plans starting as low as £13 a month). Going live is as easy as choosing one of its modern, mobile-optimised templates and customising it with your branding; technical chores like website metrics, SSL security, video storage, and updates are all handled by the platform itself. Plus, it maintains a full-featured app that lets you edit your site on the go, including updating pages, adding new images, writing blog posts, reviewing site analytics, and managing the inventory of an online store.

With hundreds of templates available as of 2023, it can be tough to decide which will best suit your needs as a freelancer, author, journalist, copywriter, and/or poet. Keep scrolling for a comprehensive guide.

What is a Squarespace template?

A Squarespace template (or theme) is a pre-built demo website that's meant to serve as a "starting point to help inspire your site's design," to quote its support site. Each one can be used entirely as-is or fleshed out with different colours, font packs, layout pages, and content blocks.

Templates work differently depending on whether you're running Squarespace version 7.0 or 7.1, the two iterations of the platform it currently supports. Version 7.0 (launched in 2014) contains 91 templates it categorises into "families" that share the same underlying structure and style settings. Some features are exclusive to certain families, which makes it harder to swap between templates without doing at least a partial rebuild.

Meanwhile, version 7.1 (launched in early 2020) has 143 templates it's merged into a single family. They all share the same features and formatting options, which makes it way easier to change templates on the fly.

Some experienced Squarespace designers still use version 7.0 because a handful of its advanced functionalities haven't yet migrated over, but we'd recommend starting with version 7.1 if you're new to the platform: It's much more flexible and future-proof (especially with the recent launch of Fluid Engine, Squarespace's next-gen, grid-based content editor).

No matter which one you decide to use, keep in mind that moving between versions often requires a complete rebuild and carries the risk of tanking your site's search ranking. Fortunately, Squarespace offers a free 14-day trial so you have the chance to play around with both versions before officially building your site.

Is Squarespace good for writers?

Squarespace has a lot of useful features that writer types can take advantage of, including pre-made Portfolio and Blog layout pages, mobile editing, newsletter blocks, social media integration, email campaign integration, tag and category support, multiple author support, Google Analytics support, the ability to schedule posts, and a built-in commenting system that includes content moderation and abuse filters (plus Disqus integration). It also recently added a tool called Members Areas, which lets you gate and monetise content on your site.

In short, Squarespace is very good for writers — again, even if you have no prior coding experience.

How do you choose the right Squarespace template?

Squarespace's Templates library gives you the option of sorting them by type (Online Store, Portfolio, Memberships, Blog, Scheduling, and One Page) and topic (e.g., Media & Podcasts, Professional Services, and Personal & CV). You can click on any template's "Preview" button to check out its demo content, which will give you an idea of how it looks in the wild.

Squarespace recommends focusing mainly on the "specific colours and layouts that appeal to you" rather than the content you see there, but adds that "you may find it easier to start with a design that's already close to how you want your site to appear."

What is the best Squarespace templates for writers?

To help make your decision process a little easier, we have lined up a selection of templates that should suit everyone. You just need to pick a favourite.

These are the best Squarespace templates for writers in 2023.

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 10:59 am

Plastic pollution is clogging a river in Guatemala. Can we ever clean it?

A man stands in front of a river which resembles a mountain of plastic more than a body of water. Caption reads:

Guatemala’s Las Vacas river is flooded with plastic. According to The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch NGO working to remove plastic from the world’s waters, over 20,000 tonnes of plastic enter Las Vacas each year. Predominantly generated from the country's capital, Guatemala City, the waste eventually makes its way into the Caribbean Sea.

In 2022, The Ocean Cleanup installed a trash-trapping fence they called the Interceptor Trashfence. Though huge amounts were captured, the first attempt was deemed unsuccessful as the structure suffered physical damage due to flash flood pressure and couldn’t retain a lot of the plastic.

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 10:45 am

'Succession' stars drinking tequila with Guillermo at the premiere is a fun time

A group of people at a premiere raise red shot glasses.

Jimmy Kimmel's co-host Guillermo is always willing to share a shot of tequila with stars on the red carpet, but not everyone wants to indulge.

Not so at the Succession Season 4 premiere. In the clip above he shares at least three shots with Brian Cox alone before passing some "secret documents" to Nicholas Braun and getting a hug (and a kiss on the head) from Kieran Culkin, who correctly ascertains that Guillermo is drunk by this point.

"I'm drunk, but it's Brian Cox's fault," he slurs. "He made me do like four or five shots of tequila."

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 10:42 am

The best Squarespace templates for bloggers

person blogging on a laptop

This content originally appeared on Mashable for a US audience and has been adapted for the UK audience.

If your blog is your bread and butter, you'd better be sure it's baked into a decent website. Being able to categorise posts, lay them out in an easy-to-navigate way, and break up walls of text with eye-catching imagery are all musts to keep readers engaged. (And if your site isn't optimised for search engines, you probably won't even have readers in the first place.)

Squarespace is the go-to website builder for many a blogger thanks to its hundreds of ready-made templates, which feature drag-and-drop page design tools that make it fast and easy to create a beautiful, functional site without a crumb of coding knowledge. Better yet, all of those templates are mobile-optimised for SEO purposes to make it easy for readers to find you. It may not be as full-featured as a platform like WordPress (more on that later), but it's a comprehensive solution for users who prioritise convenience, flexibility, and a hands-off approach to site management.

The hardest part about getting a Squarespace site up and running is really just settling on a template; from website metrics to SSL security, ecommerce tools, and video storage, the platform itself takes care of the technical details so you can focus on your passion project. Below, you'll find Mashable's guide to choosing the right Squarespace template for your blog (plus a selection of our current favourites in 2023).

What is a Squarespace template?

A Squarespace template/theme is a pre-made demo website that's meant to serve as a "starting point to help inspire your site's design," according to the platform's support centre. You're free to keep it mostly as-is or customise it from top to bottom with different content blocks (like text and galleries) and personalised branding elements (like logos, fonts, and colours). Either way, the fact that there are over 230 templates to choose from means there's an extremely slim chance your finished site will wind up looking like anyone else's.

Squarespace versions 7.0 and 7.1 are the two iterations of the platform that are currently in use, and each one treats templates a little differently:

It's technically possible to move between both versions of Squarespace, but keep in mind that doing so will require a full rebuild and may affect your site's search ranking. (Pro tip: Take advantage of Squarespace's free 14-day trial if you're not sure which one is right for you.)

What kind of blogging tools does Squarespace offer?

Squarespace lets you play around with a slew of features and settings in the back end of your blog no matter which version of the site you're running. That includes:

Check out Squarespace's blogging guide for tips and best practices on how to utilise these settings effectively.

It's worth mentioning that Squarespace also maintains three apps, two of which are especially relevant for bloggers:

Both apps are available for iOS and Android, work with both versions of the platform, and come free with your Squarespace subscription, which starts at £13 per month on an annual plan.

Is Squarespace better than WordPress for blogging?

The "Squarespace versus WordPress" debate comes up a lot when you start comparing popular website builders: Both have blogging origins that date back to the early 2000s, and while WordPress is more widely used (likely thanks to its free tier), Squarespace is the trendier pick nowadays. There’s no clear-cut winner here, but answering the following questions can make your decision easier:

Check out this deep dive into the pros and cons of each platform if you're still on the fence.

How do you choose a Squarespace template for blogging?

Squarespace's Templates tab lets you sort its library by type, including Online Store, Portfolio, Memberships, Scheduling, One Page, and yes, Blog. (You can narrow down your options even further by sorting by topics like Food, Travel, and Fashion.) But just because a template isn't officially categorised as a Blog doesn't mean it won't work as a blog with a little customisation; you can technically add a Blog Page to any template with just a few clicks in the back end.

If you're having trouble choosing between templates, Squarespace recommends dialing in on the "specific colours and layouts that appeal to you" rather than focusing on the demo content. That being said, "you may find it easier to start with a design that's already close to how you want your site to appear," it adds.

What is the best Squarespace template for blogs?

If all of this sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. We’ve tried to make your search for the perfect blog just a little bit easier by rounding up some of the best templates for everyone.

These are the best Squarespace templates for bloggers in 2023.

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 10:14 am

'Yellowjackets' Season 2 preview shows a glimpse of Shauna's birth scene

A woman with glasses stands in a dark room looking frightened.

Fully recovered after that first episode of Yellowjackets Season 2? Well don't relax just yet.

On Monday night, Showtime released a teaser for what's still to come, and it's fair to say there's a lot of intensity crammed into the 70-second video.

The final moments? Misty (Samantha Hanratty) staring down at blood on her hands followed by a shot of Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) screaming in what is presumably the scene where she gives birth.

Things aren't going to get better for the Yellowjackets anytime soon, are they?

Yellowjackets Season 2 is streaming on Showtime's website and app, with new episodes released weekly on Fridays. Episodes also air every Sunday on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET.

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 10:06 am

5 planets will light the sky in rare astronomical event this week

forest with expansive night sky and stars

Stargazers will get treated to a rare view on Tuesday night. Five planets — Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Uranus — will light up the sky that evening, aligning to (mostly) be visible by the naked eye.

Now, it might be best to break out a telescope or binoculars if you've got them handy, but if you have a clear sky you can see this rare sight.

You'll have to time when you go star-watching to see it all godown. In an NPR article, Rick Fienberg, senior contributing editor of Sky & Telescope magazine, recommends that you look for the planets just after sunset.

"Wait until the sun has set and then go out and look low in that bright part of the sky where the sun has just set with binoculars, and you should see brighter Jupiter next to fainter Mercury," Fienberg told NPR.

Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)

Venus is bright and should be easier to spot higher in the sky, while Mars should be reddish and near the moon. Uranus is duller and should be spotted near Venus.

You might have just 20-25 minutes to take in the planets, so you'll want to be sure you're set up and ready come sunset. Of course, things like the brightness of twilight or the clearness of the skies will affect your ability to see the planets as well. Like most things, it'll require some luck.

But if you do get lucky, you'll have a great evening of stargazing this week.

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 9:46 am

Twitter will only show verified accounts on its 'For You' page

The Twitter Blue Checkmark in an illustration.

Elon Musk says that Twitter will only display the tweets of verified users on its For You page, starting April 15.

This decision comes after the company announced it would be "winding down" its legacy verified program and removing legacy checkmarks by April 1. The now-controversial blue checkmark will only be available to Twitter Blue subscribers paying $8 per month.

SEE ALSO: 'Why has my Tweet been deleted?': New Twitter bugs just dropped.

The app's For You feed has become its default view, and only those subscribed to Twitter Blue will have the privilege of appearing here in future. In another arbitrary ruling, Musk said that only verified accounts can vote in polls.

Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)

These are the latest Twitter features previously available free to all users which have been restricted to Twitter Blue subscribers only. Musk describes both these decisions as "the only realistic way to address advanced AI bot swarms taking over."

Since the beginning of Musk's CEO reign, Twitter has seen waves of changes, updates, and bugs. The upcoming removal of legacy checkmarks and its impact is yet to be seen, but has the potential to upend credibility and exacerbate misinformation.

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 9:29 am

The best GPS dog trackers to help you keep tabs on your pet around the clock

Picture of writer's dog wearing Fi GPS collar

If you’re like us, you get a little bit of separation anxiety when you see your dog run off to who knows where. We don’t blame you. Fortunately, there are products on the market designed to keep your pets safe and give you a little more peace of mind: GPS collars.

What are the benefits of GPS pet trackers and collars?

The American Humane Association estimates over 10 million dogs and cats are lost and stolen in the U.S. every year. Equipping pets with ID tags or microchips is one way to ensure your pets’ safe return in case they get lost while on vacation or stray away from home, but you can take your dog’s safety to another level — with wearable tech. Pet wearables, such as GPS collars, are making it possible for pet parents to track their dog's location (and even monitor their activity) wherever they are.

SEE ALSO: The best dog puzzles to occupy your pup and keep them mentally stimulated

How do GPS pet trackers work?

More often than not, a GPS chip implanted in the tracker acquires your pet’s position and relays that info back to your smartphone, primarily via cell coverage (in some cases, they can do this via WiFi). Usually, an app is used to display your pet’s location on a map, as well as give access to other included features like activity and sleep stats. Base stations are commonly used to establish a link between the tracker, which is attached to your dog’s collar, and your smartphone via WiFi or Bluetooth. Though, some GPS trackers take a more all-in-one approach and skip the base station part.

What to look for in a GPS pet collar

Some smart collars can do more than simply track your fur baby’s location. If you're looking for additional features, pick a tracker that monitors activity and sleeping patterns (basically, a Fitbit for pets). Having these stats is invaluable, and adds another layer of connection with your pet that can be used to figure out what they need at a given moment.

Note, however, that a GPS tracker is not a substitute for a microchip implant. Use a GPS collar or tracker in conjunction with a microchip if you can, which stores your pet’s vital info and is still the best way to ensure you’re reunited with them if they get lost. Most pet shelters and veterinary clinics have scanners for microchips.

Here’s a look at some of the best GPS dog collars and trackers you can buy

Whether you're searching for something simple with long battery life, or something more complex with additional features, there's a GPS tracker for every pet-and-pet-parent duo out there. Here are the best ones we tested.

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 9:04 am

15 of the best reality shows on Hulu for when you need an escape

A collage of a woman, a drag queen, a person in a bee costume, and a chef.

Reality TV has come a long way since MTV plopped a bunch of twentysomethings in an artsy loft, trained cameras on them, and left them to their own devices for a few months way back in 1992. Now our reality TV choices are seemingly limitless — from ruthless restaurateurs to fabulous, multitalented drag fantasies; from rich and ruthless housewives to hardcore survivalists living by their wits.

If any of that sounds like fun, you’re in good company! Hulu has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to reality TV. We’ve sifted through the digital dross to find you the best.

1. Bachelor Nation

Michelle Young and a suitor on "The Bachelorette"
Is he here for the right reasons? Credit: ABC

The Bachelor began way back in 2002 with a simple premise: Take one dude (Alex Michel) and a bevy of single ladies competing for his attentions — as signified by red roses doled out at the end of almost every episode — with the aforementioned dude eliminating women until he was left with the one he wanted to marry. Along the way, the ladies participated in challenging adventures, group dates, and sometimes embarrassing activities — all in the name of love (and social media infamy). The original show was spun off into The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, among others, along with an entire media ecosystem devoted to scrutinizing Who’s Here for the Right Reasons. There's plenty of behind-the-scenes drama, too. — Jenni Miller, Contributing Writer

How to watch: The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise are all available to stream on Hulu.

2. Catfish

Back in 2010, the Sundance documentary Catfish took viewers by storm as they watched a lovelorn suitor named Nev Schulman fall for a young woman he meets on Facebook only to have it all unravel when he discovers the truth about his virtual girlfriend. Even now, the movie is a stunner that leaves audiences wondering who was catfishing whom. Schulman took his newfound notoriety and put it to work under the auspices of helping others tricked by Internet paramours in this hypnotizing TV show. Watch for shocking truths about the people we think we know best, online or off. — J.M.

How to watch: Catfish is available to stream on Hulu.

SEE ALSO: 11 best true-crime docs about scammers, con artists, and deadly deceptions

3. Kitchen Nightmares

Gordon Ramsay in "Kitchen Nightmares"
Credit: Granada / Optomen TV / A Smith Co. / Kobal / Shutterstock

Do you want to find out what all of those Gordon Ramsay memes are about? Of course you do! On Kitchen Nightmares, the famous chef uses his culinary expertise to help restaurateurs with struggling businesses — but sometimes these places are beyond help. Whether it's the staff's cooking techniques (or lack thereof), dated or downright dirty décor, interpersonal problems, financial mismanagement, or something else altogether going wrong at these restaurants, we can trust Ramsay's vivid vocabulary to never fail us. — J.M.

If you enjoy his whole deal, there's also Hotel Hell, MasterChef, and MasterChef Junior to keep you occupied!

How to watch: Kitchen Nightmares is available to stream on Hulu.

4. Love Island (UK)

The Love Island franchise originated in the UK and has spawned little amorous archipelagoes in Denmark, France, Finland, and Australia, among other countries, where bikini-clad singletons mix and mingle in sexy climes. Unlike The Bachelor franchise, the emphasis is on “coupling up” and enjoying “a good craic,” hopefully with someone who is “fit” and tan with good teeth who is ideally “a bit of me” rather than rushing to the altar, which makes for a more laidback and somewhat less frenzied vibe. Plus, whoever the audience chooses as the best couple brings home a bushel of cold, hard cash on top of those sweet vacation tans. — J.M.

How to watch: Love Island (UK) is available to stream on Hulu.

5. Hot Ones

It's become inordinately difficult to get a fresh angle on the celebrity interview, but Sean Evans cracked the code with Hot Ones. To be fair, there aren't that many famous folks who are game to try eating increasingly spicy chicken wings on camera while being interviewed… but the ones who are give good interview indeed. Hulu has the first four seasons of this insanely popular YouTube show, which includes everyone from Billie Eilish and the Jackass guys to none other than Guy Fieri getting into it. — J.M.

How to watch: Hot Ones is available to stream on Hulu.

SEE ALSO: 15 catchiest, most dazzling musicals on Netflix

6. The Masked Singer

Beetle and Kermit the Frog in the Muppets Night episode of "The Masked Singer"
Yes, there's a Muppets Night episode. Credit: Fox

This wildly popular singing competition show, which is based on the popular South Korean show King of Mask Singer, features a dizzying array of celebrities dressed up in costumes and belting out hits while judges Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg, Nicole Scherzinger, and Robin Thicke vote on the best performers and try to suss out which random celeb is dressed up as, like, a glittery beach ball or something. (We really cannot stress how surreal this show is.) Once the judges and audience members vote, the least-popular singer must reveal their identity. This goes on until the last episode, where the last celeb standing is presented with The Golden Mask. While the judges and audience members are given clues about who’s behind the mask, the behind-the-scenes security measures make the Oscars look low-key. — J.M.

How to watch: The Masked Singer is available to stream on Hulu.

7. Jersey Shore

Jersey Shore is a pop culture phenomenon, and if you haven't acquainted yourself with this piece of modern history, it's time to add it to your list. MTV's hit show follows the ins and outs of eight friends vacationing in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. Things get crazy. Insults are thrown. Fights erupt. And you're left with reality TV at its absolute finest, from the people that arguably made it what it is. There are one too many quotable lines from Jersey Shore, so buckle up for the wildest, tequila-infused ride imaginable. It's trash TV, and it's incredible. — Yasmeen Hamadeh, Entertainment Writer 

How to watch: Jersey Shore is available to stream on Hulu.

8. RuPaul’s Drag Race

RuPaul and Debbie Reynolds being legends
RuPaul and Debbie Reynolds being legends Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

It’s hard to remember a world before RuPaul brought drag into America’s living room with this effervescent show that melds creative competitions with performances and behind-the-scenes revelations, in addition to a fabulous stable of judges and guest stars. It made RuPaul a media mogul and turned its winning drag queens into household names, along with inspiring international spin-offs and Drag Race All-Stars. While there has been some controversy around Drag Race and its creator over the years, not to mention some of its contestants, it’s impossible to deny its imprint on the cultural landscape. — J.M.

How to watch: RuPaul’s Drag Race is available to stream on Hulu.

9. Survivor

To some extent, reality TV is all about watching other people do things we’d rather not and then criticizing how they conduct themselves, and Survivor is the greatest example of that impulse. This extraordinarily popular long-running series drops competitors off in a remote location somewhere in the world where they’re left to team up and scramble for food, shelter, and other everyday necessities, as well as compete in challenges that may require anything from eating bugs to holding onto a buoy for almost 12 hours. The winner gets one million dollars, eternal bragging rights, and countless bug bites and tummy aches. There are 34 seasons of Survivor currently available on Hulu! — J.M.

How to watch: Survivor is available to stream on Hulu.

SEE ALSO: The best 4K TVs for movies, gamers, sports — and everyone else

10. Alone

This is a reality show from the History channel, which gives it a whiff of authenticity. (Plus, it seems to be less salacious than, say, Naked or Afraid, which invites titillation just by the title. Not that there's anything wrong with that.) Competitors chronicle their day-to-day life as they try to survive by themselves in extreme environments like Patagonia, Mongolia, and the Arctic, with a minimum of supplies or interference from the outside world. Naturally, they can tap out at any time, but the winner could pocket anywhere from $500k to a cool one million smackeroos in the seventh season. In addition to cash and considerable bragging rights, the winner of the eighth season also came home with a cool hat he made himself from a deer he killed — after he ate its heart, of course. — J.M.

How to watch: Alone is available to stream on Hulu.

11. The Kardashians

A woman wearing a crown poses.
Credit: Hulu

Is The Kardashians as scandalous as Keeping Up With the Kardashians? Not really. But does the show still deliver favorable Kardashian moments we all hate to admit we love? Yes it does. Whether you've missed watching Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe shake their salad bowls or Kris Jenner rallying up the girls for a family meeting to discuss a PR crisis, The Kardashians is an elevated new look into America's royal family at their absolute best — and worst. Come for all the drama and stay for the iconic nasal fry. — Y.H.

How to watch: The Kardashians is available to stream on Hulu.

12. Forged in Fire

This delightfully baroque competition series pits amateur bladesmiths with oft-extraordinary facial hair and tattoos against one another as they forge a variety of knives, swords, and other cutting implements, based on the various stipulations of each challenge. Not only is this a wildly dangerous hobby that requires lots of equipment and supplies, it also requires a ton of historical knowledge, artistry, and general steeliness of spirit. The most satisfying part of the show is when the judges test the implements against a variety of objects (including animal carcasses, which are then typically donated). When Doug Marcaida says, “It will cut!” it’s better than a handshake from Paul Hollywood. — J.M.

How to watch: Forged in Fire is available to stream on Hulu.

13. Shark Tank

There's no greater adrenaline rush than watching a deal being made on Shark Tank. The back and forth. The never ending ping-pong battle. The final decision that renders someone a millionaire or just some guy with a failed dream. It's ruthless. It's brutal. It's callous capitalism. In Shark Tank, entrepreneurs get to pitch their ideas to a bunch of business tycoons who opt in or out. If the venture capitalism of it all seems off-putting, worry not, because Shark Tank is equal parts hilarious drama and financial fluff — a 10/10 binge experience on all ends. — Y.H.

How to watch: Shark Tank is available to stream on Hulu.

14. Hoarders

Like its name suggests, Hoarders looks into the lives of people who are unable to let go of certain possessions and eventually accumulate a house full of junk. Each episode follows an intervention process for at least two participants — and things get weird. You'll be shocked by people's homes. You'll be shocked by what they're hoarding. But you won't be able to look away. — Y.H.

How to watch: Hoarders is available to stream on Hulu.

15. Married at First Sight

You get what you signed up for with Married at First Sight, which reverses the standard dating order and has couples tying up the knot first, leaving the whole getting to know each other bit second. Watch as two complete strangers get paired up and then finally meet each other — on their wedding day. With the most awkward honeymoons ever under its belt, Married at First Sight is weirdly wild and is an easy binge for any evening. — Y.H.

How to watch: Married at First Sight is available to stream on Hulu.

UPDATE: Mar. 27, 2023, 1:00 p.m. EDT This post has been updated to reflect current streaming options.

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 9:00 am

Webb telescope just started peering at the fascinating TRAPPIST planets

the TRAPPIST-1 planets

Scientists have waited on pins and needles for more details about the TRAPPIST-1 solar system, a family of seven Earth-size planets discovered not too far away that could support life.

Now the James Webb Space Telescope, the mighty observatory in the sky run by NASA and the European and Canadian space agencies, is delivering some of that much-anticipated data. Astronomers just released the first results from an atmospheric study of one of the rocky exoplanets orbiting TRAPPIST-1, the host star just 41 light-years from Earth.

What they found so far may seem bleak: The innermost planet, TRAPPIST-1b, doesn't appear to have an atmosphere and is a toasty 450 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a paper published Monday in the journal Nature. The measurements were determined by measuring the planet’s heat given off in the form of invisible infrared light.

But scientists say they're just getting started, with much more research about this exoplanet and others in the TRAPPIST system to come. The biggest achievement, they say, is Webb's successful detection of light from an exoplanet as small and cool as the rocky planets of our solar system — another first for the one-year-old telescope.

"There was one (telescope) target that I dreamed of having, and it was this one," said co-author Pierre-Olivier Lagage in a statement. "This is the first time we can detect the emission from a rocky, temperate planet. It’s a really important step in the story of discovering exoplanets."

SEE ALSO: Sorry Trekkies: Bad news about the 'real-life Planet Vulcan'
Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)

Taking an exoplanet's temperature

To figure out the exoplanet's temperature, the team measured the change in its "brightness" when it moved behind the star. The planet isn't hot enough to give off its own visible light, but it does glow in the infrared, which is a wavelength of light we can't see with the naked eye. By subtracting the brightness of the star from the brightness of the star and planet combined, they were able to calculate how much infrared light is being given off by the planet, NASA explained.

"This is the first time we can detect the emission from a rocky, temperate planet. It’s a really important step in the story of discovering exoplanets."

Astronomers discovered the TRAPPIST-1 system about six years ago. Using the now-retired Spitzer Space Telescope, they immediately identified it as an unusual family of tightly packed planets swarming a red dwarf, a tiny but violent type of star commonly found in the Milky Way. TRAPPIST-1 is just 10 percent the size of the sun.

Want more science and tech news delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for Mashable's Top Stories newsletter today.

TRAPPIST-1 system: What's next?

Whether such stars can have planets with atmospheres able to support living things is a key question Webb is expected to help answer. Experts have speculated that one or two of the TRAPPIST worlds could be habitable.

"There are ten times as many of these stars in the Milky Way as there are stars like the Sun, and they are twice as likely to have rocky planets as stars like the Sun," said Thomas Greene, lead author of the paper, in a statement. "But they are also very active — they are very bright when they’re young, and they give off flares and X-rays that can wipe out an atmosphere."

Artist imagining a Trappist-1 world
In this rendering, an artist depicts TRAPPIST-1f, which some scientists believe could be a habitable rocky world, about 41 light-years from Earth. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / T. Pyle (IPAC)

If the initial results from TRAPPIST-1b come as a letdown, take heart: Scientists are much more interested in gauging the habitability of siblings D, E, and F. At first blush, they don't appear to have the hydrogen-dominated atmospheres of gas giants such as Neptune, a planet not likely to support life.

In particular, TRAPPIST researchers are looking forward to studying E, the fourth planet from the star. It is thought to be the right distance to allow liquid water to form into lakes and oceans on the planet's surface.

Knowing what's in another planet's atmosphere can tell scientists a lot about a world. The composition of Earth's atmosphere changed when life arose on the planet. Suddenly, there was the presence of carbon dioxide and nitrogen.

Who knows what's in the midst of the other TRAPPIST-1 worlds.

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 9:00 am

Nreal Air AR glasses are so cool, but need some serious work

pair of tinted AR glasses with smaller lenses inside

When I was a kid, I was given a Virtual Boy — Nintendo’s very ‘90s predecessor to the VR headsets we know today — and I loved it. Since then, I’ve been obsessed with adding new technology to my gaming experience including a 3D projector for movies and gaming, saving up for my first HTC Vive headset, and even tiptoeing into the Metaverse. 

When I started seeing videos of the Nreal Air glasses on YouTube, marketed as a lightweight and stylish take on augmented reality glasses, I knew I needed to see them in action. Thankfully, the technology shows just as much potential as I thought it would…but while they show a ton of promise, they also come with a lot of problems.

What are the Nreal Air glasses?

pair of tinted AR glasses with extra material to shade above the eyes
The Nreal glasses are just slightly larger than a regular pair of sunglasses. Credit: RJ Andersen / Mashable

Marketed as "ultramodern AR glasses with an edge," the Nreal Air is a pair of augmented reality sunglasses that boast the ability to watch movies, stream, work, and game anywhere you want without the need for a bulky headset, traditional gaming computer, or tons of added cables and wiring. 

The Nreal Air glasses are only slightly heavier than traditional sunglasses, and each lens contains a separate 1920 x 1080 display. From there, the glasses are attached to your phone, computer, or gaming console using a single USB-C cable. Speakers are built into each earpiece, and — for users looking for a more immersive experience — you can opt to use your favorite earbuds instead. 

SEE ALSO: Soundcore Frames review: Audio sunglasses that are easy to fall in love with

The result is a truly comfortable and stylish entry point into AR and wearable technology that can be used as an external monitor or 3D headset, one that diehard gamers will absolutely love.

Setting up the Nreal Air glasses

The physical set-up of the Nreal Air glasses is thankfully pretty straightforward. You simply plug the glasses into your phone or computer (iPhone and Nintendo Switch users will need a separate adapter) using the provided USB-C cable, and you’re good to go.

I tested the Nreal Air glasses with my Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, and they automatically registered as an external display that could be configured like you would any monitor. For some phones, this will mirror exactly what is on your phone screen. For mine, this opened Samsung’s DeX, a separate desktop environment specifically for the glasses. Either way, you’re ready to start using the apps on your phone — like watching movies on Netflix — using the massive 201-inch screen that appears in the glasses. 

If you’re interested in using the augmented reality/3D content, however, this is where things start to get tricky. You have to download the Nebula app, and, unfortunately, Nreal doesn’t do a great job at making this process easy. After going through a series of permissions, if the Nreal Air is plugged into your device, it will ask if you want to connect to the Air. Click “yes,” and finally you’ll be able to select “AR Space” to start Nreal’s AR launcher. 

Be warned: Expect to Google error codes if this doesn’t work the first time. I had to try several times — and discovered that Samsung users need to turn off DeX first — before I could get the app to recognize the Air. 

As an augmented reality/3D device

I am going to be blunt here. The AR offerings for the Nreal Air are confusing and bad. The Nebula "AR Space'' app launcher feels more like a broken tech demo than a functional piece of software, and it’s not even available for iPhone users. (Nreal has a list of compatible devices on its website.) All in all, it sort of feels like a 3D version of a web browser — visually, this looks like floating browser windows in space — with only a few good moments.

The “Watch TV” app that comes with the launcher is definitely one of them. It has an AR version of YouTube that is worth checking out, and it has a really interesting interface for browsing and watching movies. Unfortunately, almost every movie available in the app is niche horror. 

From there, most of the AR experience was a disappointment. I couldn’t run any of my existing Android apps in AR Space, and none of the AR apps and games advertised in the Nebula launcher or on Nreal’s website worked. 

I spent a few days trying to figure out how to watch existing side-by-side or 360-degree content in a way that I could recommend, but I couldn’t seem to figure it out, which was another major disappointment for me. 

Nreal does offer a version of the Nebula app available for M1/M2 Macs, but — since my Intel Mac wasn’t supported — I wasn’t able to test those features. When I plug the Air into my Mac, it simply mirrors the monitor in front of me, which isn’t super necessary or helpful. 

As an external monitor

For all of the shortcomings of the Nreal Air glasses, especially as an augmented reality device, the glasses truly shine as an external monitor. I tested this with my Samsung phone, which meant I was able to use Samsung DeX to run a desktop environment in the glasses. It basically looks like a giant flat monitor hanging in mid-air in front of my face, and it gives me access to all of my Android apps.

mall AR lenses inside sunglass frames
The inner lenses provide a massive screen for viewing or gaming. Credit: RJ Andersen / Mashable

As a result, I can watch movies on Netflix or play games on a truly massive screen without needing to be sitting at my computer. I combined this with a Bluetooth gaming controller and an app called Moonlight that allowed me to stream content over my local network from my PC directly to my phone, which meant I could play my entire catalog of Steam games directly on my Nreal Air display. 

This was a phenomenal experience, and it’s one that I’ve used every single day since receiving the Nreal Air glasses. I love not being tethered to my PC to play games, and it’s an absolute blast being able to play games anywhere I want from relaxing in bed (the “screen” looks like its on the ceiling) to playing Horizon: Zero Dawn during my daily stationary bike ride. 

Despite all of the frustrations I felt while trying to get the Nreal Air glasses to do anything worthwhile in the AR space, the experience I’ve had playing games and watching movies turned this product from a disappointment into a daily driver. After a week with the glasses, I even splurged on the prescription lens inserts from one of Nreal’s partners, which were easy to install and make using the Nreal Air glasses even better. 

Are the Nreal Air glasses worth the price?

If you've got a Samsung device — or if you’re a dedicated gamer — the Nreal Air offers a truly incredible experience. Despite some major hiccups and shortcomings, I still use this device almost daily, and it’s become a major staple in my gaming experience. I stream my PC games directly to my face, which makes me feel like I’m living in the future, and this feature was far more convenient and user-friendly than I thought it would be. 

If you’re looking for 3D content, just skip this for now. They may be able to work out the issues eventually — or some developer may come along and do the work for them — but it’s just not there yet.

As for everyone else? If you’re particularly interested in the ability to watch movies in your glasses — or you like the idea of using a mobile workstation — it might be worth the $379 price tag. For most people, however, I’d skip these for right now. 

I could see them being a fun purchase for people who don’t really care about the poor AR experience, like frequent fliers who want a stylish way to shut out the world and watch your favorite movies, but I’d have a hard time justifying paying full price for a pair of AR glasses that can’t really do AR. 

The bottom line

I really wanted the Nreal Air glasses to be the general market’s introduction to AR content, especially considering how earlier attempts at AR wearables like Google Glass failed, but they fell short of the mark. While the hardware itself is spot on — these look and feel great, the video is stellar, and the sound is impressive — the software feels like the company either gave up or simply released way too early. 

Ultimately, the Nreal Air glasses could’ve been a milestone on our journey into AR. Instead, we’re left with another example of how awkward and unwieldy augmented reality is. It’s still a pretty incredible flat monitor, though, and for the right person — like me — that is more than enough. 

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 9:00 am

Best non-watch heart rate monitors — keep your wrist free without sacrificing the data you need

A man uses an exercise bike with a Garmin heart rate monitor.

I have nothing against Fitbits, Apple Watches, and other fitness trackers that you can wear on your wrist. I actually think they're pretty cool. But, they just don't work for me — being the type of athlete I am (my regimen mainly consists of combat sports), I need to keep my wrists free so I can fit them inside of my boxing gloves, among other things.

If you're like me and can't sacrifice freedom of movement for a watch-style fitness tracker, I'm happy to tell you that there's another way for you to get the same valuable data and analytics without having to slap on any wrist bling: A heart rate monitor strap.

How do they work?

Heart rate monitor straps are pretty much what they sound like. It's an elastic strap that you wear around your chest that's equipped with electrodes, which then transmit your heart rate data using electrocardiography. Usually, each strap will have its own respective companion app that you can connect to via Bluetooth, which will store that data and analyze it for calorie burn, goal progression, and more (much like a fitness tracker). And because it's located on your chest rather than your wrist, you won't be impeded during your workouts nearly as much.

SEE ALSO: The best workout recovery devices to keep you in the game longer and without injury

Are they as accurate as a wrist-based tracker?

They're actually more accurate. Monitor straps are able to get a much better read on your data because they're placed over your heart and track its electrical activity, whereas most wrist-based trackers use photoplethysmography to measure heart rate. Photoplethysmography involves shining a light into your skin to measure variations of blood circulation — it's a convenient way to collect heart rate data, but a far less accurate one. Wrist trackers are great for checking in on your real-time heart rate, but when it comes to post-activity analytics, you're going to get a lot more mileage out of a strap-style tracker with a much smaller margin for error

Are there any downsides?

There's really only one, and for a lot of people, it might not even be seen as a sacrifice. Most wrist-based trackers have a helpful display on them that can tell you your real-time heart rate, steps, and other analytics at a glance, but because of the nature of heart rate straps, you can't exactly have a display on them (that'd be a little silly). Thankfully, all you need to do to remedy that is pick up your phone and look at the strap's companion app to get the lowdown — trading a few seconds of convenience for better data collection without obstruction is definitely worth it, in my opinion.

SEE ALSO: 10 of the best fitness trackers for monitoring heart rate

What are the best non-watch heart rate monitors?

After a week of hands-on testing, I landed on four top picks that I think are worth checking out for people with varying budgets, goals, and personal preferences. Take a look below, and find the one that will suit your needs the best.

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 9:00 am

Lil Nas X 'Carpool Karaoke' features one hell of an acting cameo

Two men sit in a car singing to each other.

Lil Nas X may be a great rapper and singer, but he also has acting aspirations. And in the episode of Carpool Karaoke above, he finally gets his chance to realise them.

After joining James Corden for some passionate renditions of classics like "Old Town Road" and "That's What I Want", the two head over to the taping of an episode of The Bold and the Beautiful — and actually get the chance to star in a scene.

Sadly Corden only gets a background role, but Lil Nas X gets a solid nine lines as a waiter serving two of the stars having a very tense discussion about an affair. The episode will air on April 19 on CBS.

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 8:09 am

'Schmigadoon' Season 2 review: Welcome to the darker, sexier Schmicago

A man and a woman look up at a sign that says

If you paid close attention to the musical references in Schmigadoon! Season 1's final number, you knew exactly where Apple TV's theatrical comedy would be taking us next.

While the first season directly parodied Golden Age musicals like Oklahoma! and The Sound of Music, the show's big closer "How We Change" drew on the sound of later Broadway composers. With that musical evolution, Schmigadoon! makes the leap into its second season — and a new, darker era of musicals, from the likes of Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, John Kander, Fred Ebb, Bob Fosse, Gerome Ragni, James Rado, and more.

SEE ALSO: The original songs in 'Schmigadoon!' perfectly capture the joy of musicals

Schmigadoon! gets a whole new world to play in in Season 2.

A man in a black sparkly suit lifts his hands in welcome.
Tituss Burgess in "Schmigadoon!" Credit: Apple TV+

Schmigadoon! Season 2 picks up a few years after the end of Season 1. Melissa (Cecily Strong) and Josh (Keegan-Michael Key) have settled into married life, but they can't shake the feeling that they should be much, much happier. A return trip to Schmigadoon seems like just the solution they need to get a happy ending. After all, what could be better than a joyful song and dance number performed by an ensemble of Broadway greats?

However, when the two stumble back into the musical world, they're in for a rude awakening. Gone are the rolling hillsides and quaint houses of Schmigadoon. They've been replaced by the seedy nightclubs and corrupt courtrooms of the city of Schmicago, where the musicals of the '60s and '70s come to life.

It's a major stylistic twist, but it's just the right high kick in the pants Schmigadoon! needs to remain fresh and fun. Darker, grittier shows like Sweeney Todd, Cabaret, and, of course, Chicago all get their shining moment in the spotlight. Unlike in Season 1, musical-loving Melissa is less familiar with these references, preferring her shows light and fun. This departure from Schmigadoon!'s initial formula provides a welcome opportunity for Melissa and Josh to naively wreak naive throughout Schmicago.

A woman in a furry dress puts her hands on her hips.
Kristen Chenoweth in "Schmigadoon!" Credit: Apple TV+

While the city of Schmicago is a wildly different environment from the village of Schmigadoon, almost all the town's inhabitants are familiar faces from Season 1. Although here, they are playing entirely different characters.

Kristin Chenoweth is an orphan-hating cross between Annie's Miss Hannigan and Sweeney Todd's Mrs. Lovett, while Alan Cumming plays a cleaver-wielding butcher with similarities to a certain razor-wielding barber. Schmigadoon! pays tribute to Cabaret through Dove Cameron's fast-talking, chair-dancing Jenny Banks, and Ariana DeBose's take on the iconic Emcee. Elsewhere, Aaron Tveit leads a tribe of parable loving-hippies pulled straight from Hair with a sharp dash of Jesus Christ Superstar, and Jane Krakowski gets many chances to razzle dazzle us as a gender-swapped Billy Flynn from Chicago. When Josh framed for murder, she may be the only person who can save him from the electric chair.

Schmigadoon! also adds two tremendous new guest stars to its already phenomenal cast. First up is the always-hilarious Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) as Schmicago's resident narrator. He welcomes us to the story with open arms, channeling Pippin's Leading Player, but quickly becomes exasperated by Melissa and Josh's constant questioning. Any time these three bicker, you know you're in for a delightful time.

Then, there's Patrick Page as the villainous Octavius Kratt, whose sharp suits and industrial ventures can't help but call to mind Page's turn as Hades in 2019's Hadestown. (I know Schmigadoon! isn't in our current musical era yet, but the likeness is startling.) Page brings his signature deeper-than-deep voice to this menacing role, giving us this season's most chilling antagonist.

Schmigadoon!'s musical numbers and Easter eggs are highlights of Season 2.

Women in black lingerie and bowler hats dance around chairs on a stage with a sparkly red backdrop.
Dove Cameron in "Schmigadoon!" Credit: Apple TV+

As someone who prefers '60s and '70s musicals to those of the Golden Age, I admit that I'm biased when I say that I enjoyed Season 2's musical numbers even more than Season 1's. The songs don't tend to be overly satirical — apart from one number that would have been shocking by '60s standards but which earns a very polite "oh, cool" from Josh and Melissa. So you'll occasionally find yourself wishing the parody amounted to more. Still, you get Cumming and Chenoweth doing Sweeney Todd; Strong, Cameron, and DeBose doing Cabaret; and Krakowski doing a surprising mash-up of Chicago and Company. Talk about the greatest Broadway fanfiction ever! Add choreography and staging that pays excellent comedic tribute to the original, and you've got several standout numbers on your hands.

The tributes don't stop at the musical numbers. Dialogue calls to mind iconic song lyrics or questions musical mores of yore. Storefronts and street signs are littered with references to famed composers of the era, while the costumes, in all their lingerie and bowler hat-wearing glory, immediately clue you into what show Schmigadoon! is referencing.

Schmigadoon! could risk being nothing but a string of parodies one after the other. But this season is held together by a sweet storyline about working towards happiness — not just for Josh and Melissa, but for everyone in the city, too. Sure, as a moral it's a tad simplistic, and six episodes don't give Schmigadoon! too much time to really delve into each of its characters' lives. However, that doesn't stop Schmigadoon!'s journey through the '60s and '70s from being a complete blast. I mean, when you've got a cast this fantastic and songs this delightful, is it really possible to go wrong?

The first two episodes of Schmigadoon! hit AppleTV+ Apr. 5, with new episodes streaming weekly on Fridays.

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 7:00 am

'Quordle' today: Here are the answers and hints for March 28

A woman's hands holding a mobile phone playing 'Quordle'

If Quordle is a little too challenging today, you've come to the right place for hints. There aren't just hints here, but the whole Quordle solution. Scroll to the bottom of this page, and there it is. But are you sure you need all four answers? Maybe you just need a strategy guide. Either way, scroll down, and you'll get what you need.

What is Quordle?

Quordle is a five-letter word guessing game similar to Wordle, except each guess applies letters to four words at the same time. You get nine guesses instead of six to correctly guess all four words. It looks like playing four Wordle games at the same time, and that is essentially what it is. But it's not nearly as intimidating as it sounds.

Is Quordle harder than Wordle?

Yes, though not diabolically so.

Where did Quordle come from?

Amid the Wordle boom of late 2021 and early 2022, when everyone was learning to love free, in-browser, once-a-day word guessing games, creator Freddie Meyer says he took inspiration from one of the first big Wordle variations, Dordle — the one where you essentially play two Wordles at once. He took things up a notch, and released Quordle on January 30. Meyer's creation was covered in The Guardian six days later, and now, according to Meyer, it attracts millions of daily users. Today, Meyer earns modest revenue from Patreon, where dedicated Quordle fans can donate to keep their favorite puzzle game running. 

How is Quordle pronounced?

“Kwordle.” It should rhyme with “Wordle,” and definitely should not be pronounced exactly like "curdle.”

Is Quordle strategy different from Wordle?

Yes and no.

Your starting strategy should be the same as with Wordle. In fact, if you have a favorite Wordle opening word, there’s no reason to change that here. We suggest something rich in vowels, featuring common letters like C, R, and N. But you do you.

After your first guess, however, you’ll notice things getting out of control if you play Quordle exactly like Wordle.

What should I do in Quordle that I don’t do in Wordle?

Solving a Wordle puzzle can famously come down to a series of single letter-change variations. If you’ve narrowed it down to “-IGHT,” you could guess “MIGHT” “NIGHT” “LIGHT” and “SIGHT” and one of those will probably be the solution — though this is also a famous way to end up losing in Wordle, particularly if you play on “hard mode.” In Quordle, however, this sort of single-letter winnowing is a deadly trap, and it hints at the important strategic difference between Wordle and Quordle: In Quordle, you can't afford to waste guesses unless you're eliminating as many letters as possible at all times. 

Guessing a completely random word that you already know isn't the solution, just to eliminate three or four possible letters you haven’t tried yet, is thought of as a desperate, latch-ditch move in Wordle. In Quordle, however, it's a normal part of the player's strategic toolset.

Is there a way to get the answer faster?

In my experience Quordle can be a slow game, sometimes dragging out longer than it would take to play Wordle four times. But a sort of blunt-force guessing approach can speed things up. The following strategy also works with Wordle if you only want the solution, and don’t care about having the fewest possible guesses:

Try starting with a series of words that puts all the vowels (including Y) on the board, along with some other common letters. We've had good luck with the three words: “NOTES,” “ACRID,” and “LUMPY.” YouTuber DougMansLand suggests four words: “CANOE,” “SKIRT,” “PLUMB,” and “FUDGY.”

Most of the alphabet is now eliminated, and you’ll only have the ability to make one or two wrong guesses if you use this strategy. But in most cases you’ll have all the information you need to guess the remaining words without any wrong guesses.

If strategy isn't helping, and you're still stumped, here are some hints:

Are there any double or triple letters in today’s Quordle words?

One word has a double letter.

Are any rare letters being used in today’s Quordle like Q or Z?


What do today’s Quordle words start with?

S, F, D, and T.

What are the answers for today’s Quordle?

Are you sure you want to know?

There’s still time to turn back.

OK, you asked for it. The answers are:

  1. SUGAR

  2. FIBRE

  3. DITTY

  4. TRIAD

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 4:00 am

This YouTube masterclass bundle is on sale for under £50

Course on tablet

TL;DR: The 2023 All-One-One YouTube Masterclass Bundle is on sale for £40.15, saving you 97% on list price.

These days, in a world where we are chronically online, it seems like everyone and their mother wants to become "internet famous." Those who already are make it seem easy (and some of the most random things go viral), but in reality, it takes a lot of work to become the next YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok star. You have to find a niche, familiarise yourself with your competition, know the ins and outs of promoting your account, and more. If you’re interested in the “and more” and think you have what it takes to run a successful social media account — in this case YouTube — then you just may find this masterclass bundle helpful.

The 2023 All-in-One YouTube Masterclass Bundle contains 12 courses led by experts who are online entrepreneurs, video creators, and marketing pros. For a limited time, you can get this bundle on sale for £40.15.

If you want your YouTube channel to prosper, you need to have the right materials and equipment, create ad campaigns, know how to market yourself, effectively edit your videos, and the most obvious one: maintain a steady following. This 12-course bundle instructs you on how to do all that and more.

Experts including Dan Britain of the YouTube Academy teach step-by-step tutorials on how to use editing software Adobe Premiere Pro, create eye-catching thumbnails, how to vlog, and more. Benjamin Wilson, another pro instructor, informs you on the proper tools needed to build an audience, make creative videos, and find the best niche for your channel and videos.

All 12 courses can be retrieved anytime as you will have access to them forever. This allows you to learn at your own pace, pause as long as you want and come back when you’re ready, and re-watch them if you need a refresher course.

You can score the 2023 All-in-One YouTube Masterclass Bundle while it’s on sale for £40.15 for a limited time.

Boy with laptop
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Pexels
2023 All-in-One YouTube Masterclass Bundle (opens in a new tab)
£40.15 at the Mashable Shop
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 4:00 am

How to unblock U.S. Netflix for free from anywhere in the world

Netflix on Mac

SAVE 49%: ExpressVPN is a reliable choice for unblocking bonus content on Netfilx. A one-year subscription to ExpressVPN is on sale for £84.53 and includes an extra three months for free — 49% off for a limited time. This plan also comes with a money-back guarantee.

Netflix offers a lot of content, but dedicated streamers can still find themselves with nothing to watch. If you've reached this point of frustration, you could benefit from subscribing to a VPN.

You only get access to the shows and movies from your location's content library, but you can change this situation with a VPN. These cybersecurity services can hide your real IP address and connect you to a server in another country, meaning you get access to all the content from that location. The process is actually really simple.

Can you watch U.S. Netflix from outside the country?

Subscribers can unblock the U.S. Netflix library by following these steps:

  1. Sign up to a streaming-friendly VPN

  2. Download the app to your device of choice (the best VPNs offer apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and more)

  3. Open up the app and connect to a server in the U.S.

  4. Log in to Netflix to watch movies and shows from the U.S. library of content

It's really not that complicated, and this trick can be used to access libraries from all around the world.

What is the best Netflix VPN?

ExpressVPN is the best service for accessing U.S. Netflix. Users get an intuitive app and interface, strong connection speeds, and up to five simultaneous connections. Subscribers also get access to a large and diverse network of servers, which is super useful when you're attempting to find something stable for streaming.

A one-year subscription to ExpressVPN is on sale for £84.53 and includes an extra three months for free — 49% off for a limited time. This plan also includes a year of free unlimited cloud backup and a 30-day money-back guarantee. You could even sign up to stream your favourite show or movie on U.S. Netflix and then recover your investment with the money-back guarantee. This is sneaky, but it means you can unblock U.S. Netflix for free with ExpressVPN.

Unblock U.S. Netflix with the best deal on ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN logo
Opens in a new tab
Credit: ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN (1-Year Subscription + 3 Months Free) (opens in a new tab)
£84.53 only at ExpressVPN (with money-back guarantee)
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 3:55 am

How to unblock porn sites and stream anonymously

Hands holding phone

Online privacy is in short supply, but that doesn't make it any less important. Your data is seriously valuable stuff, and you should be doing everything you can to protect it when navigating the online world. And if you watch porn, you should be even more vigilant.

We're going to take a wild guess that you'd prefer to be protected from the prying eyes of advertisers, your internet service provider (ISP), and your roommates when you're visiting porn sites. If that is indeed the case, you should consider investing in a VPN. These cybersecurity services provide everything you need to unblock porn sites and stream anonymously.

What is a VPN?

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) provide powerful protection for your data and identity when you're online. VPNs offer this online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network that hides your real IP address, making all of your activity untraceable and secure.

This concept can be difficult to grasp, so it can be helpful to think of VPNs as encrypted tunnels through which all of your online traffic passes through. Nobody can see into the tunnel, and everything inside the tunnel is protected against online threats like viruses, hackers, and malware. It's all about anonymity and cybersecurity, and that's particularly important if you're watching porn.

Do you need a VPN for watching porn?

There are two key reasons to consider a VPN for porn: anonymity and access.

The first reason is perhaps the most important. If you're concerned about your ISP, housemates, landlord, or someone totally random accessing your data, you could probably benefit from using a VPN. 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. Even porn sites can track your activity if you're unprotected. Pornhub tracks IP addresses for example, which means it has the potential to collect information about your site usage. But with a VPN, your IP address will always remain hidden.

Remaining private and anonymous is the most important argument for using a VPN for porn, but there's another point to consider concerning access to your favourite sites. If you're in a location that has a firewall up to block access to porn sites, you'll need to use a VPN to bypass these restrictions. VPNs hide your real IP address and connect you to a server in another location, meaning you can bypass firewalls to stream on your favourite sites.

What features should you consider when selecting a VPN?

There are a number of things you should consider before selecting a VPN for porn. We have highlighted a selection of the most important VPN features to help you make a decision:

Connection speed — VPNs generally produce a drop in your connection speed, but you shouldn't accept anything significant. Make sure you opt for a VPN that doesn't negatively impact your connection speed to the point that you can'tstream porn without disruption.

Encryption — There are different levels of encryption, and whilst it's important to take note of the grade provided by your VPN, the best services will all offer powerful protection for your data. This is obviously vital when navigating porn sites because you need to know that your data is secure.

Number of connections Leading VPNs let you connect an unlimited number of devices with the same account, whilst others limit you to just a single device. Prioritise services that offer multiple simultaneous connections so you can stay secure on all your devices at the same time. You might stream porn on a number of devices, so it's best to secure everything with the same account.

Privacy policy — This is something that some users might take for granted, but you need to pay special attention to the data-handling, storage, and usage practices of a VPN. These practices should be clearly laid out in a privacy policy, and if they aren't, you should not subscribe. Most VPNs require access to your IP address, online transactions, and browsing history, plus your personal details when you sign up. Your favourite VPN should not store these details under any circumstances, as that would make the whole anonymity thing redundant.

Server network — The best VPNs provide access to literally thousands of geographically diverse servers. This is useful because you should always be able to find a stable and speedy connection for streaming porn.

You should also consider other things like price and subscription plans, but these features are a good place to start your selection process.

Should you use free VPNs?

The big question when it comes to watching porn securely is whether you need to pay for a VPN. The bad news is that, just as with most things in life, you get what you pay for with these cybersecurity services.

The good thing is that there are plenty of free versions of popular VPNs, and free trials of VPNs with full access to everything you get with a premium plan. The catch is that free versions usually come with limited data usage, meaning you can't really do any streaming or downloading. Free trials come with everything you get in a paid plan, but they obviously don't last very long. Trials are great for testing out a service before committing, but this isn't a long-term solution.

Considering all of this, the best option for unblocking porn sites and streaming anonymously is with a paid subscription to a VPN. To gain access to advanced security features without limitations on usage, you will need to cough up the cash.

What is the best VPN for porn?

There are a lot of services out there offering similar packages, making it difficult to find the best VPN for you. We have tried to make your life a little bit easier by tracking down everything on offer and lining up a selection of the very best VPNs for porn. 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 list.

These are the best VPNs for porn in 2023.

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 3:55 am

Wordle today: Here's the answer, hints for March 28

A close-up of a person playing Wordle on their smartphone.

Hey, it's Tuesday, and know what that means, right? Yep, you guessed it, a brand new Wordle to while you're at work. If you're struggling, don't worry — we're here with our daily hints and tips to help you figure out the solution.

If you prefer to just be told the answer, you can scroll to the end of this article for March 27's Wordle solution to be revealed. But if you'd rather work through it yourself, keep reading for some clues, tips, and strategies to assist you.

Where did Wordle come from?

Originally created by engineer Josh Wardle as a gift for his partner, Wordle rapidly spread to become an international phenomenon, with thousands of people around the globe playing every day. Alternate Wordle versions created by fans have even sprung up, including battle royale Squabble, music identification game Heardle, and variations like Dordle and Quordle that make you guess multiple words at once

Wordle eventually became so popular that it was purchased by the New York Times, and TikTok creators even livestream themselves playing.

Not the day you're after? Here's the Wordle answer for March 25.

What's the best Wordle starting word?

The best Wordle starting word is the one that brings joy to your heart. But if what brings you joy is strategy, we have a few ideas to help you pick a word that might help you find the solution faster. One tip is to select a word that includes at least two different vowels, plus some common consonants like S, T, R, or N.

What happened to the Wordle archive?

The entire archive of past Wordle puzzles used to be available for anyone to enjoy whenever they felt like it. Unfortunately, it has since been taken down, with the website's creator stating it was done at the request of the New York Times.

Is Wordle getting harder?

It might feel like Wordle is getting harder, but it actually isn't any more difficult than when it first began. You can turn on Wordle's Hard Mode if you're after more of a challenge, though.

Why are there two different Wordle answers some days?

Though usually Wordle will only accept one correct solution per day, occasionally it will rebel against the norm and deem two different answers acceptable. This is due to changes the New York Times made to Wordle after it acquired the puzzle game.

The Times has since added its own updated word list, so this should happen even less frequently than before. To avoid any confusion, it's a good idea to refresh your browser before getting stuck into a new puzzle.

Here's a subtle hint for today's Wordle answer:

Don't dawdle or you might miss it.

Does today's Wordle answer have a double letter?

Yes! (hint: what's a pirate's favorite letter?)

Today's Wordle is a 5-letter word that starts with...

Today's Wordle starts with the letter H.

SEE ALSO: Wordle-obsessed? These are the best word games to play IRL.

What's the answer to Wordle today?

We're finally about to reveal the answer to today's Wordle, so get your guesses in now!

Are you ready?

The solution to Wordle #647 is...


Don't feel discouraged if you didn't get it this time. The beauty of Wordle is that there's always a new one to try the next day, and we'll be here again with more helpful clues and hints.

Posted on 28 March 2023 | 1:00 am

'Yellowjackets' connects Seasons 1 and 2 with the movie 'Beaches'

A girl stands in the snow in the woods, smiling.

You've got to laugh a little, cry a little, until the ritualistic cannibalism rolls by a little. That's the story of, that's the glory of Yellowjackets.

In case you missed it, Yellowjackets Seasons 1 and 2 are connected by one of cinema's most iconic stories of love and long friendship, with several references to the eternally tearjerking movie Beaches.

Starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey as lifelong friends CC Bloom and Hillary Whitney, Beaches was released in 1988, eight years before the Yellowjackets' plane crashed in the wilderness in 1996. A tale of complicated best friendship over a lifetime, the film sees several parallels with Yellowjackets: from Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) and Jackie's (Ella Purnell) deeply competitive relationship to Misty (Samantha Hanratty) and Crystal's (Nuha Jes Izman) emerging bond as social outcasts. But Yellowjackets also includes direct references to the Beaches script and soundtrack, so let's dive in.

Yellowjackets Season 1 references Beaches in the finale.

Two teen girls face each other in a cabin, looking combative.
"Are you quoting 'Beaches' at me right now?" Credit: Kailey Schwerman / Showtime

Like Shauna and Jackie in Season 1, CC and Hillary navigate their friendship through a complicated love triangle; theirs is with CC's show business boss, John. Hillary and John sleep together, causing a rift between the two friends, though John later marries CC — sounds familiar, huh, Jeff? Later in life, Hillary finds herself unexpectedly pregnant by her cheating husband, and CC springs to support her, just as Jackie does with Shauna's pregnancy, albeit before she finds out the truth.

SEE ALSO: 'Yellowjackets' Season 2 opens with the perfect song

However, the biggest connection comes in the Season 1 finale, during Shauna and Jackie's final argument. Shauna chastises Jackie for narcissism — "The rest of us, we're just extras in the movie of your fucking life!" — something Hillary struggles with CC about in Beaches.

"Did I force you to live in my shadow, Shauna?" Jackie says in Yellowjackets. "It must be hard being this jealous all the time. You're so fucking jealous of me you can barely breathe."

"Are you quoting Beaches at me right now?" Shauna scoffs incredulously.

"What?! No," Jackie genuinely responds, as if she's internalised the script to believe it's her own words.

"You're so fucking jealous of me you can barely breathe."

The line Jackie apparently unknowingly quotes is from the scene in Beaches in which Hillary and CC have a brutally cold argument in a department store, in which everything they've ever wanted to say to each other comes out. Tensions rise as the subject turns to the idea of having children, and Hillary makes the outstandingly loaded statement, "I just thought someone like you wouldn't care about children, you're so obsessed with your career and all." From here, Hillary keeps laying out the judgment, provoking an all-out home truth session between these two supposedly best friends. Ultimately, CC declares Hillary's problem as "plain, old-fashioned jealousy."

"I'm living the life you didn't have the courage for, so don't give me you're not jealous," she says. "You're so jealous, you can hardly breathe."

In a more subtle additional nod, Jackie's "shadow" comment sounds like a reference to the lyric from Midler's Grammy-winning Beaches song, "Wind Beneath My Wings" — "It must have been cold there in my shadow."

Yellowjackets Season 2 references Beaches in the first episode.

A girl sits in a wood cabin reading a paper, looking dejectedly at another girl.
Crystal physically cannot stop humming it. Credit: Kailey Schwerman / Showtime

In Season 2, the Beaches soundtrack makes yet another connection within the Yellowjackets team. The soundtrack would have peppered the Yellowjackets' childhoods, as "Wind Beneath My Wings" topped the Billboard singles chart in 1989 and won Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1990. You wouldn't have been able to escape it in New Jersey, in the team's fictional hometown of Wiskayok. But importantly, one of the songs from Beaches makes an appearance in Season 2, episode 1 of Yellowjackets.

Though she's constantly scorned by her teammates for it, Crystal enjoys a good sing, even in the wilderness. In one scene, when she believes she's alone, Crystal busts out in a Broadway-hopeful version of "The Glory of Love" — the same song she was humming in the cabin earlier before Gen tells her to quit it.

Featured Video For You
Watch the 'Yellowjackets' cast absolutely crush Mash Libs

"The Glory of Love" is featured twice in Beaches, marking the start and end of CC and Hillary's friendship. It's the first song Hillary hears her new friend CC performing as a kid (played by Mayim Bialik), and after Hillary's funeral, Midler's CC sings a sombre ballad version at one of her concerts, concluding the film.

"You know that song I just finished with?" CC tells Hillary's daughter, Victoria, after the show. "I sang that song the day your mother and I met at Atlantic City. We were just about your age, did you know that?"

A girl sits in the snow in the woods, outside a cabin, gathering ice into a bucket and leaning on a tree stump.
Misty (Samantha Hanratty) finds friendship in a fellow social outcast. Credit: Kailey Schwerman / Showtime

In Yellowjackets, Crystal breaks out into "The Glory of Love" thinking she's performing solo in the snow post-pee. She's surprised by Misty, who has been sent to collect ice for water again and who notably shares the unfortunate experience of being bullied by her fellow teammates. Misty instantly channels Gen and tells Crystal to can it; however, Crystal easily changes Misty's mind.

"I know it's annoying to people who aren't into the theatre like I am," she says, dropping the magic words for the audience, as we know Misty is big into it in her adult life, listening to the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack before kidnapping Jessica Roberts in Season 1. "You should try it sometime, it helps," Crystal adds, before offering to teach Misty to sing, nay, "harmonise." It's the first offer of friendship and kindness Misty's received from frankly anyone at Camp Yellowjackets, and she looks visibly humbled at this genuine olive branch.

A girl stands in the snow in the woods, smiling.
🎶That's the story of, that's glory of love.🎶 Credit: Kailey Schwerman / Showtime

With multiple Beaches references connecting the two series, Yellowjackets uses one of late '80s, early '90s cinema's most famous screen friendships to draw parallels between the girls' connections with each other. Sadly, Jackie and Shauna won't enjoy a lifelong friendship like CC and Hillary's, but there's hope for Misty and Crystal.

Yellowjackets Season 2 is streaming on Showtime, with new episodes streaming weekly on Fridays. Episodes also air every Sunday on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 7:37 pm

Apple's iOS 17 may include some crowd-pleasing features

Illustration of an iPhone backlight by a source of light

Apple wasn't planning to release major updates with iOS 17, the next operating system for the iPhone, expected later this year. But according to a new report, the plan has changed.

Per Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, iOS 17 is expected "to check off several of users’ most requested features." Following the release of iOS 16 — which came with flashy updates like editing or undo sending messages, a new lock screen with live updates, and batch photo editing — iOS 17 was initially intended to fine tune existing features and fix bugs, avoiding a replay of iOS's messy release.

Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)

But now, that strategy has changed, Gurman continued. Apple is reportedly including several "nice to have" features that will meet popular demand. Of course, the features included in iOS 17 (codenamed "Dawn") remain to be seen. But Apple fans aren't shy about what they want to see.

Frequently requested features include volume control for alarms and FaceTime, the ability to set multiple timers, and sideloading apps outside of the App Store. Since Apple recently released a Voice Isolation for regular calls, we might expect further updates and new features related to call quality. And ChatGPT's popularity as an AI assistant has everyone is wondering whether Siri will get a much-needed update.

iOS 17 is expected to be announced at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June (WWDC). Until then, keep manifesting your iOS 17 wishlist.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 7:28 pm

Best VPN for staying anonymous and secure on the web

a person finding a vpn server on a macbook

Best VPN deals this week

Have you ever gotten the sneaking feeling that someone's creeping over your virtual shoulder while you browse the web? Don't freak out, but your gut is right: Your internet service provider (ISP) is tracking your every click to compile anonymous browsing logs they can potentially sell to advertising companies, or even cough up to government agencies in the interest of censorship. (And yes, that includes the clicks that brought you to this article.)

Connected to a free public WiFi network? You're basically inviting hackers to join in on the fun.

Your browser's Incognito/private mode only gets you so far, unfortunately — it'll clear your history, searches, cookies, and login deets, preventing other users of the same device from seeing what you've been up to, but it won't hide and secure your connection from your ISP and other prying eyes.

For actual internet anonymity, you can reclaim your privacy by getting yourself a virtual private network, or VPN.

What is a VPN?

A VPN is a service that creates an encrypted connection between your device and a private, remote server, which hides and secures your traffic. If browsing the web like normal is like taking a naked Jeep out on the highway (where anyone can see who you are, where you're going, and what you've got in the backseat), using a VPN is like driving an armored, tinted Humvee through a secret underground tunnel.

The technology's origin story isn't well-documented, but it's believed to have emerged at Microsoft in the mid-1990s. Initially used exclusively by businesses, subscription-based VPN services for the general public starting gaining popularity about a decade ago "after a flood of security breaches," per the cybersecurity and antivirus giant Kapersky.

What are the benefits of using a VPN?

There are a number of reasons why you might want to use a VPN, the main one being simply to stay anonymous online. The process of routing your traffic through a VPN masks your internet protocol (IP) address — the specific number that's assigned to your device when it's connected to a local network — which can otherwise reveal a surprising amount of personal information. (That includes your approximate whereabouts and the name of your ISP.) If someone decides to look up your device's IP address, they'll see your VPN server's location, not yours.

Along those same lines, using a VPN will allow you to access websites and services that may be blocked in certain places (like Netflix in China or YouTube at your school); you can choose a server in a region where your desired content is available to skirt geo-restrictions and firewalls.

SEE ALSO: These are the best VPN deals of the week

Using a VPN is especially important if you regularly connect to public WiFi networks, even those that are password-protected. It's not difficult for nefarious parties to crack WiFi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) encryption — the security protocol most coffee shops, airports, hotels, and subway stations use to protect their hotspots — and exploit any network vulnerabilities vulnerabilities for so-called man-in-the-middle attacks. One of the more popular methods is known as WiFi eavesdropping, or an "evil twin" attack, where hackers set up fake WiFi access points and trick users into connecting to them.

But even the WFH crew can get some good use out of a VPN: Aside from the obvious privacy factor when it comes to confidential company information, a VPN can establish a remote connection with your office's server so you've got access to internal networks and resources from home.

It's important to note that while some VPN plans come with malware and ad blockers, those are just bonuses. The VPN itself will disguise and conceal your traffic, but it can't shield you or your device from other online threats. (We recommend picking up some separate antivirus software for that kind of protection, even if you're on a Mac.)

Hold up — are VPNs legal?

Aside from the few countries that have restricted or outright banned them (including Belarus, China, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Oman, Russia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and the United Arab Emirates), VPNs are perfectly legal in most of the world. But keep in mind that illegal activities like torrenting copyrighted material, buying prohibited goods, and hacking are still illegal even with a VPN. Let's not get too brazen, here.

Along those same lines, using a VPN to unblock streaming services like Netflix from a country where it's not available isn't technically against the law, but it is a violation of the company's terms of use — i.e., you may get slapped with a warning or error message if caught.

What should I look for in a VPN?

Choosing a VPN can be tricky. There are a lot of providers out there, so you should definitely do your homework before signing up for a plan. Here are some criteria we recommend considering:

Trustworthiness. Above all, you want an experienced provider with a stellar track record and a clear-cut privacy policy that guarantees your data won't be logged or collected. (Bonus points if that policy's been verified by a third party audit.) One Google search can actually tell you a lot — a good VPN won't have made headlines for security bungles or customer data leaks.

Jurisdiction. The physical location of a VPN provider matters big time. Look for VPNs based in the British Virgin Islands, Panama, Switzerland, Romania, and other privacy-friendly countries that don't fall under the jurisdiction of the "eyes" intelligence-sharing alliances: There's the original Five Eyes, a Cold War-era coalition between the U.S., the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand; the Nine Eyes, an extension of the pact that includes Denmark, France, Norway, and the Netherlands; and the Fourteen Eyes, which added Belgium, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and Spain to the mix. Any VPN provider operating from one of those countries can technically be forced by authorities to collect and fork over user data, so it's best to avoid them entirely. (That also underscores the importance of picking a no-logs VPN.)

Network size and diversity. The more servers (and server locations) you have to choose from, the less likely you'll have to share your IP address with a bunch of other users. That's great for two reasons — you've got more bandwidth to spare, and you're less likely to get detected by a streaming service that blocks VPNs. (IP addresses with heavy traffic loads are big red flags to Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and the like.)

Customer support. Realistically, you're bound to run into connection issues at some point no matter which VPN you choose, so having easy access to a responsible, reliable support team is on the "must-have" side of things.

A VPN gets extra points in our book if it comes with any of the following security features and tools:

Pro tip: Don't pick a VPN based exclusively on its performance in speed tests.

"For one thing, your internet experience will almost certainly be faster without a VPN," write the experts over at PCMag (which is owned by Mashable's publisher, ZiffDavis). "For another, speeds depend so much on which server you use, where you are, what your network environment is like, and so on. You might find that the service that's as fast as lightning today is barely chugging along tomorrow." Factors like trust, server distribution, price, and ease of use are far more important.

That said, if you're super concerned about download speeds, upload speeds, and latency for activities like gaming and streaming, pick a VPN with a split tunneling tool (to prioritize those high-bandwidth activities) and a large server network (to decrease the likelihood that you share a server with someone else).

Should I pay for a VPN?

We recommend avoiding most VPNs that are entirely free to use; their terms and conditions are usually total crap, or they come bundled with spyware, or the companies behind them might sell the data they're logging from your usage. (To bring up that driving analogy once more, using a free VPN is like going through a tunnel riddled with holes and hidden cameras.) True privacy on the internet comes at a cost — usually around $2 to $12 a month, depending on the length of the subscription and the number of features included.

On the plus side, many providers offer week- or month-long trial periods so you can take their VPNs for a test drive before committing to a paid plan. Keep an eye out for sales, too, especially around the holidays. We've also rounded our favorite VPNs under $4 a month.

Without any further ado, here are the best VPNs of 2022 based our research and reviews. (Note: All pricing was accurate at the time of publication.)

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 6:40 pm

Finally, there's a girlfriend simulator that can also file your taxes

Tax Heaven 3000 game cover

This tax season, fall for MSCHF's dating sim, not tax scams.

On Monday, MSCHF launched a free anime dating game for doing your taxes. From the cheeky creator behind the Big Red Boots, Tax Heaven 3000 is a real, working game that enlists a dating sim named Iris to help you prepare your federal income taxes. "Hi there! Iris here," she says on the website. "It’s always been a dream of mine to meet that special someone…and file their tax return. Join me and we’ll search for deductions while searching for love!"

SEE ALSO: A free way to file your taxes (that is actually free)
'Tax Heaven 3000' screenshot
Iris wants to find that special someone and file their tax return. Credit: MSCHF

Predatory tax filing services are the latest target of MSCHF, an art collective known for creating viral products that offer provocative commentary on late-stage capitalism, fandom, and hype-driven consumer culture. The company has generated media attention for its "Satan Shoes," custom Nike Air Max sneakers made in collaboration with Lil Nas X that contained a drop of blood, "Eat the Rich Popsicles," and "Ketchup or Makeup," packets that either contained ketchup or lip gloss. Now, MSCHF is calling out companies like TurboTax and H&R Block for taking advantage of confused taxpayers.

If you made less than $73,000, it is free to file your taxes in the U.S. But a ProPublica investigation revealed how tax-filing company TurboTax deliberately confuses and misleads customers into paying for their services. TurboTax also lobbies heavily to keep these using these deceptive tactics. As we enter the dreaded tax season, Tax Heaven 3000 is here to remind you that filing your taxes can be free...and sexy.

'Tax Heaven 3000' screenshot
You can actually prepare your tax filing within the game. Credit: MSCHF

"TurboTax, per its own internal documents, is built on the 'Fear Uncertainty and Doubt' that ordinary people have about their taxes," says the website. "Against this we pit free software instead built on parasocial desire for intimacy and benign horniness! If TurboTax is Dark UI, TH3K is Pink UI, the nightcore of tax software."

Tax Heaven 3000 was leaked on Steam last week and subsequently taken down from the popular gaming platform. But Daniel Greenberg, co-founder of MSCHF, said it is now available via You can also buy a collector's edition of the game on the Tax Heaven 3000 website for $90. The purchase includes a physical collector's box with a CD of the game, an instruction manual, an IRS mailing envelope, and an Iris body pillow (otherwise known as a dakimakura).

Snuggling up to Iris seems like a better investment of your money than paying for service that is technically free. At least she won't break your heart like the IRS.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 6:04 pm

Several Sony earbuds and headphones are on sale at Amazon right now

Sony linkbuds

As of March 27, several Sony headphones and earbuds are on sale at Amazon for up to 32% off. Shop the best deals here.

BEST GAMING HEADPHONES DEAL: The Sony INZONE H7 Wireless Gaming Headset is equipped with personalized 360-degree spatial sound for gaming prowess. $195.26 $299.99 (save 15%)

BEST WIRELESS EARBUDS DEAL: The Sony WF-C500 earbuds are a solid wireless option for a great price. $68 $99.99 (save 32%)

BEST NOISE-CANCELING EARBUDS DEAL: The Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds are true wireless earbuds with excellent noise-canceling capabilities for busy commutes and long flights. $198 $279.99 (save 29%)

From gaming to the gym, a solid pair of headphones (or earbuds!) is pretty much an essential. And luckily, Sony's options are some of the best of the business, and on sale at Amazon for up to 32% off. Snag one of these great deals below.

Best gaming headphones deal

Sony INZONE H7 Wireless Gaming Headset
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Sony
Sony INZONE H7 Wireless Gaming Headset (opens in a new tab)
$195.26 at Amazon (save 15%)
(opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

If you're a gaming addict, the Sony INZONE H7 Wireless Gaming Headset is not one to sleep on. With 40 hours of battery life on a single charge, you can play for days without worrying about plugging in, while the 360-degree spatial sound creates an immersive experience and helps you correctly identify targets around you.

Best wireless earbuds deal

Sony WF-C500 earbuds
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Sony
Sony WF-C500 earbuds (opens in a new tab)
$68 at Amazon (save 32%)
(opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

What the Sony WF-C500 earbuds lack in noise-canceling features, they more than compensate in other ways. You can still fine-tune the noise features like bass with the connected app, the 10-hour battery life runs all day (and you get 10 more with the connected charging case), and the ergonomic surface design conforms to most ear shapes for a comfy fit.

Best noise-canceling earbuds deal

Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Sony
Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds (opens in a new tab)
$198 at Amazon (save 29%)
(opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

With hands-free calling, touch controls, and built-in Alexa, the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds are a pretty solid option for most users. It even automatically lowers the music volume when you're on a call with its proprietary speak-to-chat technology. They're also the leading earbuds for noise cancelation — the new Integrated Processor V1 has been designed with this precise feature in mind.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 4:50 pm

Save $15 on Tile trackers and never worry about lost luggage again

Tile performance pack

SAVE $15: As of March 27, you can save $15 on Tile's Performance Pack (2022). This pack includes one Tile Slim and one Tile Pro, so you can travel in confidence.

Tile performance pack
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Tile
Our pick: Tile Performance Pack (2022) (opens in a new tab)
$49.99 at Best Buy (save $15)
(opens in a new tab)

We've all heard (or experienced) the horror stories about disappearing luggage while traveling by plane. But a tracker in your bag can help alleviate anxiety about missing bags, and even help track your bag down if the worst does come to pass. If you've yet to purchase a luggage tracker, now's a great time to do so.

Tile's Performance Pack is currently on sale at Best Buy for $49.99, down from $64.99, and comes with one Tile Slim and one Tile Pro Bluetooth tracker. These handy gadgets can track anything from keys to wallets, but they're especially useful for keeping tabs on your luggage while traveling.

The Tile Slim is a thin, credit card-sized tracker designed to easily slip into your wallet, luggage tag, or passport holder — it's discreet and functional. The Tile Pro, on the other hand, is a more robust tracker that can attach to your backpack, suitcase, or any other travel gear. Each tracker connects to the Tile app on your phone via Bluetooth, allowing you to keep tabs on your luggage no matter where it goes.

There's no price tag on peace of mind, so grab this deal for all your spring travel adventures while it lasts.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 4:49 pm

School district bans 'Rainbowland' Miley Cyrus, Dolly Parton duet as 'controversial'

Dolly Parton wears a glittering white outfit and sings next to Miley Cyrus, who is wearing a green lace top and belting into a microphone.

Not even rainbow-themed songs are safe from the politicking running rampant through U.S. schools, it seems.

A Wisconsin school district removed the performance of Miley Cyrus' 2017 song "Rainbowland" from a song list ahead of a first-grade concert last week, even though the song lacks any explicit content and reportedly was a favorite among students.

SEE ALSO: An exploration of cinematic accessibility: Open captions set the standard

School District of Waukesha Superintendent Jim Sebert told local news station Fox 6 that the district questioned "whether it was appropriate for the age and maturity level of the students" and the "social or personal impacts" on the children, and he cited a school board policy related to "controversial issues" in a classroom setting.

In a statement issued on March 24, district leadership explained that the decision was made at the discretion of Heyer Elementary School's music teacher, principal, and central office administrator, and later reviewed and supported by the district superintendent. The district clarified that the Board of Education was not involved.

Teachers like Melissa Tempel, a first-grade dual language teacher at Heyer Elementary School, told news outlets that there were rumors it was banned because the district believed Cyrus to be too "controversial" of a figure in the eyes of the public. But Tempel, who identifies as a teacher activist, also posted to Twitter that she believes it might have something more to do with the song's lyrics.

Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)

"Rainbowland," a duet between Cyrus and her famous godmother Dolly Parton, tells a story about overcoming "hurt and hate" and celebrating life in shining color:

Oh, I'd be lying if I said this was fine
All the hurt and the hate going on here
We are rainbows, me and you
Every color, every hue
Let's shine on through
Together, we can start living in a Rainbowland

Living in a Rainbowland
The skies are blue and things are grand
Wouldn't it be nice to live in paradise
Where we're free to be exactly who we are
Let's all dig down deep inside
Brush the judgment and fear aside
Make wrong things right
And end the fight

For years, Cyrus has made LGBTQ acceptance a central part of her celebrity image, through initiatives like her Happy Hippie Foundation, which provides support to homeless and LGBTQ youth, support of The Foundation for AIDS Research, and live LGBTQ events, like the Miley Cyrus Pride Special in 2021.

Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)
Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)

Parton herself is a champion of children's literacy and an iconic LGBTQ ally. In 1995, Parton founded the Imagination Library, an unrestricted global initiative to provide free books to children from birth to age 5. In 2022, Parton released an anti-bullying children's book, Billy The Kid Makes It Big, and became one of many openly-accepting celebrities used as a symbol in the fight to protect LGBTQ communities in states like Tennessee.

But it's not just pop music that the school seems to be against. Tempel tweeted on March 22 that the school had also banned the famous Kermit the Frog song "Rainbow Connection," but a parent uproar reintroduced the song to the setlist. In its statement, the school district did not say the song was expressly banned and explained that the song was suggested as a replacement by the school's music teacher.

Waukesha's school district has been under fire before for anti-LGBTQ policies. Last year, teachers and community members under the group Alliance for Education in Waukesha started a petition in response to anti-diversity and inclusion actions that included banning welcoming and inclusive signage and "pausing" district equity work that was perceived as “controversial” and “political," the petition reads. District parents have noticed a "conservative flip" among school leadership in recent years, Insider reported, which also reportedly included discouraging teachers from discussions of pronouns and the wearing of rainbow images.

Nationwide, politicians and school leaders are still attacking the inclusion of LGBTQ history and identity in schools, outlawing the public expression of drag, and blocking accessible healthcare for LGBTQ youth. In addition, book bans have steered toward the erasure of diverse media that include themes of gender and sexuality, race, and representation.

Ironically, in avoiding a potentially "controversial" song about happiness, hope, and rainbows, the School District of Waukesha found itself at the center of this ongoing educational controversy, a debate on schools' roles in educating today's youth.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 4:30 pm

Snag AirPods (2nd gen) for under $100 at Verizon right now

White airpods, 2nd generation in charging case against blue background and bright pink, yellow, and mint green shapes.

SAVE $40: Get a pair of Apple AirPods (2nd generation) for only $89.99 at Verizon, down from their usual price of $129.99, as of March 27. That's a savings of 31%.

AirPods in charging case against white background
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Apple
Our pick: Apple AirPods (2nd generation) (opens in a new tab)
$89.99 at Verizon (save $40)
(opens in a new tab)

Wireless earbuds offer comfort, ease, and convenience as you work out, take calls, and listen to music. Apple AirPods were some of the original pioneers of the earbud era, and if you still haven't got a pair, this deal might make you take the leap.

As of March 27, a pair of Apple AirPods (2nd generation) is on sale for $89.99 at Verizon. Usually sold for $129.99, this deal represents a savings of 31% off, or $40. They're perfect for loyal Apple users and are compatible with iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, Macs, and other Apple products.

SEE ALSO: The best headphones for 2023 (and why they've made our list)

The battery life on these 2nd generation AirPods provides up to five hours of listening time or three hours of talk time. Should you run out of juice, you can pop them into the charging case for 15 minutes to get up to three more hours of listening time and two more hours of talk time. Additionally, the charging case holds an additional 24 hours of charge on the go. Use just one tap to connect them to your chosen device for simple syncing.

These AirPods are equipped with Apple's H1 headphone chip that detects when you've got the AirPods in your ears; it can tell when you're only wearing one earbud and reroute sound so you don't miss any details. The H1 also reroutes sound when you're taking calls for clearer voice projection.

Note that your devices must be equipped with macOS 10.14.4, iOS 12.2, or watchOS 5.2 in order to pair these AirPods to them. You'll also need an iCloud account.

AirPods are rarely found at this price. Check this deal out while it lasts.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 4:30 pm

Today's best deals include 37% off the ChomChom pet hair remover, an all-time low price on the Samsung Bespoke Jet vacuum, and more

samsung bespoke jet, tablet with showtime on hulu, and chomchom pet hair remover with green background

We've rounded up the best deals we could find on March 27 — here are some of our top picks:

We're kicking things off this week with spring cleaning deals. One of our top picks, the ChomChom pet hair remover, is 37% off for a limited time, while one of the fanciest Samsung vacuums is down to its lowest price ever. And there's more where those came from.

We've already sorted out the deals worth your time and money on March 27 — all you have to do is shop. Keep on scrolling to check out our top deal picks of the day.

Best streaming deal

showtime on hulu logo
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Showtime/Hulu
Our pick: Showtime on Hulu (opens in a new tab)
$3.99/month for three months (save $21)
(opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

Through April 16, Hulu users can add Showtime to their streaming account for just $3.99 per month for three months — and that's after a free seven-day trial. Showtime is home to original series like Yellowjackets, George & Tammy, and Your Honor, as well as films like Oscar-winner Everything Everywhere All At Once. After your free trial and three-month subscription end, the Hulu add-on will auto-renew at $10.99 per month. Be sure to cancel before the end of your three-month period if you don't want to be charged full price.

More streaming, subscription, and software deals

Best vacuum deal

samsung bespoke jet and clean station
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Samsung
Our pick: Samsung Bespoke Jet cordless stick vacuum with all-in-one Clean Station (opens in a new tab)
$360 at Amazon (save $539)
(opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

Still sitting at a record-low $360, the Samsung Bespoke Jet cordless stick vacuum with all-in-one Clean Station is an aesthetically pleasing, fancy stick vacuum with an auto-emptying dustbin that keeps you from inhaling a cloud of dust after each clean. We're not huge fans of its absurd $900 price tag, but with this 60% discount on the misty white version, the juice is definitely worth the squeeze.

More vacuum deals

Home deals

chomchom pet hair remover
Opens in a new tab
Credit: ChomChom
Our pick: ChomChom pet hair remover (opens in a new tab)
$19.99 at Amazon (save $11.96)
(opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

Not only is allergy season in full swing, but so is shedding season. That means pet hair is probably accumulating more quickly around your home. Do yourself (and your allergies) a favor and snag the ChomChom pet hair remover while it's on sale for only $19.99 (reg. $31.95). It's our top pick for a non-motorized pet hair remover for its ability to tackle fur on surfaces like furniture and carpet. Its minimalist design requires no power, battery, or adhesive — just a little bit of oomph as you roll the rough red fabric across hairy surfaces.

More home deals

Health and personal care deals

Audio deals

Computer and monitor deals

Apple device deals

Amazon device deals

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 4:15 pm

Beat allergy season with a Coway air purifier on sale for up to 51% off

coway purifier

As of March 27, several Coway air purifiers are on sale at Amazon for up to 51% off. Shop the best deals here.

Spring brings sunny weather, exciting travel, and, well, allergies. But all is not lost. Instead of suffering through this season with a stuffy nose and a cough, consider buying a Coway air purifier on sale at Amazon for up to 51% off. See the best deals here.

Best compact air purifier

Coway Airmega AP-1512HHS Air Purifier
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Coway
Our pick: Coway Airmega AP-1512HHS air purifier (opens in a new tab)
$222.52 at Amazon (save 26%)
(opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

Both stylish and smart, the Coway Airmega AP-1512HHS air purifier will clean the air in rooms that are 326 square feet or smaller in just 15 minutes or less. This Alexa-enabled and Google Home-friendly air purifier also has a connected app that lets you monitor room filtration, and the True HEPA filter effectively reduces 99.999% of 0.01-micron particles in the air.

Best fast-acting air purifier

Coway Airmega 250 Smart Air Purifier
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Coway
Our pick: Coway Airmega 250 smart air purifier (opens in a new tab)
$219.87 at Amazon (save 23%)
(opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

The Coway Airmega 250 smart air purifier is quick and powerful, purifying rooms of 930 square feet in a half hour. It's also equipped with a Smart Mode feature, which means it changes its fan speeds based on the room's air quality — so if the air fills with toxins while you're cooking and cleaning, it will automatically kick into gear to quickly clean the space.

Best large-space air purifier

Coway Airmega 400 True HEPA Air Purifier
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Coway
Our pick: Coway Airmega 400 True HEPA air purifier (opens in a new tab)
$363.85 at Amazon (save 51%)
(opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

The Coway Airmega 400 True HEPA air purifier is great for homes (it can clean spaces of around 1,500 square feet). With a combo of a pre-filter, activated carbon filter, and Green True HEPA filter, it'll get rid of any common airborne issues like pollen, pollutants, and other allergens. It also reduces odor, which is great if you have messy pets and kids at home.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 4:04 pm

Sexy savings: Get a deal on the LELO Smart Wand 2 and other sex toys

a person gripping on to bedsheets

UPDATE: Mar. 27, 2023, 9:00 a.m. EDT This story has been updated to include the latest sale prices and availability of sex toys. Check out our top picks below:

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

Best vibrator

LELO Smart Wand 2 in teal
Opens in a new tab
Credit: LELO
Our pick: LELO Smart Wand 2 (medium) (opens in a new tab)
$127 (save $42)
(opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

LELO is well-known for crafting high-quality toys; the Smart Wand 2 is no exception. This medium-sized wand, made from body-safe silicone and ABS plastic, features 10 massage patterns, an upgraded three-button interface, and an ergonomic handle. It's also waterproof and can hold a charge for up to two hours.

More vibrator deals:

Best clitoral sucking toy

LELO Sona 2 Cruise
Opens in a new tab
Credit: LELO
Our pick: LELO SONA 2 Cruise (opens in a new tab)
$119 at LELO (save $30)
(opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

The LELO SONA 2 Cruise is a revamped version of the brand's SONA Cruise. This clitoral vibrator is built to give users bigger, longer, and more intense orgasms. And, thanks to LELO's patented Cruise Control technology, you can press it hard against your body without missing a beat. The LELO SONA 2 Cruise features 12 settings, is 100% waterproof, and can hold an extra-long-lasting charge.

More clitoral stimulator and suction toy deals:

Best dildo

Adam's dildo
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Adam & Eve
Our pick: Adam's silicone dildo by Adam & Eve (opens in a new tab)
$32.47 at Adam & Eve (save $17.48 with code AESAVE35)
(opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

Everyone has their preferences regarding dildos (or any sex toys, for that matter), but here's why this one is worth a second look. This silicone dildo is harness compatible and features a suction cup base, making it perfect for solo or couple play. With five insertable inches and a slightly-curved shaft, this dildo is ideal for newbies and seasoned pros alike.

More dildo deals:

Best penis sleeve

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

Why we like it

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

More penis sex toy deals:

Best anal toy

JimmyJane ario glass plug
Opens in a new tab
Credit: JimmyJane
Our pick: JimmyJane Ario glass plug (opens in a new tab)
$24.99 at JimmyJane (save $12.51)
(opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

JimmyJane's Ario glass plug is a literal work of art. It's the ideal size for anal beginners, and the glass construction makes it lube-compatible and easily insertable. Hand-crafted of luxe borosilicate glass, this little gem can also be used for temperature play — place it in hot or cold water for a few minutes beforehand for a new and satisfying sensation.

More anal toy deals:

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 3:56 pm

Some of Twitter's source code was apparently posted online

Twitter logo on phone screen over red background

Twitter went public in a very unexpected way recently after company officials discovered a significant leak of the social media platform's source code.

A new report from The New York Times found that an unspecified part of that source code (the code that makes the site work, basically) had been publicly posted on Github.

Twitter filed a copyright claim and had the code taken down last Friday, but according to the Times, it had been public on the site for "several months," posted by a mysterious, unidentified user named "FreeSpeechEnthusiast."

SEE ALSO: ChatGPT knows Elon Musk better than Elon Musk knows himself

The big concern here for Twitter, both as a company and as a social platform, is that public source code could make it easier for ne'er-do-wells to exploit the service. Twitter has already been rife with high-profile hacks over the last couple of weeks, as accounts belonging to the dude from Duck Dynasty and the band Smash Mouth were stolen and used for MacBook sale scams.

Between that and Twitter turning off text-based two-factor authentication last week, it hasn't been a banner month for security on the site.

Twitter asked a U.S. District Court in northern California to force Github to identify whoever posted the code to its site. Company executives handling an internal investigation of the leak believe it was possibly someone who left the company recently, The New York Times reports. With Twitter layoffs impacting thousands of employees since Elon Musk bought the company last year, it doesn't seem to be a massive leap in logic.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 3:48 pm

Find laptops and tablets under $300 at Best Buy's clearance sale

Woman on call with 4 friends using a bluetooth black keyboard sitting on a couch

A great laptop makes a huge difference in the quality of your work, study, or binge-watching sessions. If you've been looking for options that won't break the bank, here are a few under $300.

Best Budget Laptop

ASUS 11.6 inch laptop against white background
Opens in a new tab
Credit: ASUS
Our pick: ASUS Intel Celeron N4020 (11.6-inch) laptop (opens in a new tab)
$103.99 at Best Buy (save $126)
(opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

The ASUS Intel Celeron N4020 (11.6-inch) laptop may look basic, but it's packed with features such as Windows 11S and an Intel N4020 processor. You'll have access to Windows' latest features and the speed required to use them for all your tasks. Its 10-hour battery life will help you get through a work or school day. The laptop is fully equipped with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. Its Intel UHD graphics card is great for basic gaming. With its low price of only $103.99, you end up saving a total of $126 thanks to Best Buy's clearance sale. That makes this laptop a perfect budget-friendly gift for kids, teens, seniors, and other special people in your life.

As a bonus: this deal includes a free 1-month Xbox pass.

Best 2-in-1 Laptop

Lenovo tablet against white background, shown with detachable keyboard
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Lenovo
Our pick: Lenovo IdeaPad Windows Duet 3i tablet (10.3-inch) (opens in a new tab)
$227.99 at Best Buy (save $152)
(opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

The Lenovo IdeaPad Windows Duet 3i tablet (10.3-inch) is a powerful device that can also be used as a laptop. It includes a detachable Bluetooth keyboard so you can write more easily, all while allowing you to take advantage of this tablet's touchscreen features. It includes 4GB RAM and 128GB storage space. You'll be able to tackle projects, use basic software, and send emails without having to worry about losing important documents. Need to make a lot of video calls? This tablet has a 1920 x 1200 pixel screen resolution, so you can capture every last detail. It also includes an Intel Celeron N4020 processor that allows you to multitask efficiently. This deal also includes a free 6-month Webroot antivirus protection subscription.

Best Overall Deal

ASUS silver-colored laptop against white background
Opens in a new tab
Credit: ASUS
Our pick: ASUS Intel Celeron N4500 Chromebook (17.3-inch) (opens in a new tab)
$249 at Best Buy (save $140)
(opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

The ASUS Intel Celeron N4500 Chromebook (17.3-inch) includes 4GB RAM and 64GB in storage space. It weighs approximately 5.34 pounds and measures approximately 0.78 inches. That makes it easy to carry around despite its 17.3 inches in length. Its clamshell design allows you to fold it almost flat and provides various viewing options. Its built-in HD webcam and microphone are perfect for taking calls, joining meetings, and talking to your loved ones. It includes Bluetooth support for earbuds or a headphone jack for wired headphones. As a part of this deal, you'll also get a free 6-month subscription to TrendMicro antivirus protection and a free 3-month subscription to YouTube Premium.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 3:37 pm

Your best defense for a clean couch during pet shedding season is on sale for $20

husky sitting on couch next to person cleaning up shedded hair with chomchom

SAVE 37%: As of March 27, grab the ChomChom roller for just $19.99, down from $31.95, at Amazon. That saves you $11.96 on a shedding season essential.

person removing hair from chomchom roller
Opens in a new tab
Credit: ChomChom
ChomChom roller (opens in a new tab)
$19.99 at Amazon (save $11.96)
(opens in a new tab)

You love your pet unconditionally. But they may have conditioned you to fear the warmer months when a torrent of shedding hair and fur will leave its wake on every surface in your home.

One of our absolute favorite tools for approaching shedding season (and the entire year, tbh) with confidence is the ChomChom roller – and as of March 27, it's on sale for just $19.99 at Amazon.

SEE ALSO: The best litter boxes that double as furniture

At first glance, it looks a bit like a gimmicky-lint roller tool, which might make the price of $20 seem steep. However, it has over 135,000 reviews and four and a half stars and is completely reusable, so you won't have to mess around with sheets of sticky paper. It's so effective against that stubborn layer of pet hair on your couch that it's earned a spot as one of our favorite handheld vacuums for fighting pet hair, despite the fact that it's not even a vacuum.

It's convenient to store, easy to pull out on a whim, and gets the job done. Plus, it'll cost you a fraction of the price of a budget-friendly vacuum. And in a pinch, it can work as a lint roller, though it will be most effective on fabrics that remain taut. Save the fabric surfaces in your home this spring and check out the ChomChom while it's on sale.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 3:31 pm

Best dating sites and apps for people over 40 — and which ones to avoid

couple in winter coats hold hands

Dating when you're 40 or older can be intimidating — unlike when you're in your 20s or 30s, you can't assume everyone your age is single and looking. If you've found yourself "on the market" again, it's important to remember that half of U.S. marriages do end in divorce, so the dating pool isn't as small as you might think.

Meeting people organically in public still happens, but sometimes it's easier and less intimidating to meet people where they are. There's a comfort in knowing that the people you find on dating apps are single (hopefully) and looking for a romantic relationship, so at least you're both on the same page.

How to start dating again at 40

The first step is just acknowledging that you're ready. From there, decide how and where you want to try to meet people. Dating apps have existed for decades, meaning they are the norm and not a last resort.

You'll also want to be direct with what you're looking for. Serious relationship? Casual hookup? A friendship that might lead to more? Whatever it is, be upfront because you don't want to fall for someone, only to realize you aren't looking for the same thing. Yes, it's more vulnerable to say exactly what you want, but being straightforward from the outset is the new dating norm.

As in any phase of life, dating takes time and patience. We spoke to Jennifer Frazier, a 46-year-old based in Indiana, who met someone awesome on Match. They went on a few dates, and she really liked him, but he was interested in dating a lot of women at the same time, and though Frazier enjoyed his company, she realized that kind of relationship wasn't for her.

SEE ALSO: Best senior dating sites: Dating over 60 can actually be fun

Dating in your 40s, 50s, 60s, or older can feel lonely when all your friends are married or in relationships. If you want to find a community of people experiencing the same things as you, we recommend visiting the subreddit r/datingoverforty — it's full of people sharing stories of success, heartbreak, bad dates, good dates, and more. Just be aware that most dating subreddits tend to skew slightly on the pessimistic side.

Problems you might run into when dating over 40

While Frazier says the stigma around dating sites with the over-40 crowd is mostly gone, she doesn't think a lot of single men in her area are using these sites, so she's experiencing fewer options. She also thinks location plays a big part in how successful dating apps will be for a person, and we agree. Typically, the bigger the city, the easier to find a date. Frazier, for example, has a smaller pool of people in Indiana than someone who lives in New York or Chicago.

"It's hard to find a night off from cooking, driving kids, and all the other things we are responsible for."

"I love the idea of Bumble because it gives women the power to send the first message," Frazier says. "There were only about four men in my age range within 25 miles, though, so that was disappointing."

Frazier also says having a family can get in the way of dating because you might have kids to care for, and taking time off from parent duty isn't always easy.

"It's hard to find a night off from cooking, driving kids, and all the other things we are responsible for," she says. "I have faced pressure from men I have not even met who are being demanding of my time. I have enough demands without adding to it."

By the way, if someone is demanding your time and pushing to meet up right away, we want to remind you that it's OK to say no.

Do dating apps really work?

While Frazier hasn't had the most success with dating apps, she does know a lot of people who have — her sister-in-law met her boyfriend on Tinder. When doing research for this article, a couple of friends told me their mom, or uncle, or other family member met their significant other on a dating app.

According to Pew Research Center, 57 percent of online daters describe their overall experience as positive. Many factors add up to whether online dating will be successful for you. Some apps use super in-depth compatibility quizzes that lead to really specific matches, whereas others present you with a bunch of singles in your area within your specified age range. Both have their perks.

SEE ALSO: Best dating sites for introverts and anyone hesitant to try online dating

One thing to remember is to have patience. Finding a partner who ticks all (or most) of your boxes doesn't happen overnight. Online dating or not, you'll most likely go through some duds and have some bad dates, but hopefully, that will lead you to a healthy, happy relationship.

Which dating site is best for singles over 40?

The best dating site varies depending on what you're looking for. If you want something serious, Match's 25 years of experience will help you find someone compatible who is also looking for a serious relationship. eharmony also specializes in serious relationships, but the site is really for people who want to marry their next partner, so it's taking serious to the highest level. Though, Frazier had a pretty shitty experience with eharmony — after the extensive questionnaire, she was matched with a coworker's husband (yikes). While you would hope everyone on dating apps is single, you still want to pay attention to obvious red flags.

Casual daters and people who don't want to jump into anything too serious just yet should utilize Tinder, Hinge, or Bumble. OKCupid is best for liberals and the LGBTQ community. There is a dating site for everybody; finding the one that strikes gold for you might take some time.

Most dating sites and apps have free versions, so you can test them without fully committing. Here's the full breakdown of our top picks, plus a couple of sites to avoid:

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 3:01 pm

Grab a discounted Nintendo Switch OLED and dig into all the new games

Nintendo Switch OLED model on gradient background

SAVE $30: As of March 27, the Nintendo Switch OLED is on sale for $319.99 at Woot. That's a discount of 9%.

nintendo switch OLED with white joycons
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Nintendo
Nintendo Switch OLED (opens in a new tab)
$319.99 at Woot (save $30)
(opens in a new tab)

There is a cavalcade of excellent games coming up for Nintendo Switch owners. We may be only a few months into 2023, but there are plenty of excellent titles on offer throughout the rest of the year. With games like the recently-released Fire Emblem Engage and the hotly-anticipated The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom debuting this May, the system's lineup is already stacked. What better time to invest in one of the most popular systems around?

You can try out all the new Switch titles on the cheap with a deal on a Nintendo Switch OLED model, which is on sale at Woot right now for just $319.99 That's $30 down from its normal price of $349.99, and a savings of 9%. There's a limit of one per customer, and the sale will last only through March 28 at 12 a.m. CT (or until Woot runs out of units).

SEE ALSO: The PlayStation 5 has seen its first big discount, plus more gaming deals this week

This is the best-looking Switch you can get. Mashable Senior Games Reporter Adam Rosenberg's review gushed over its 7-inch display, which boasts a "sharper picture and a more vibrant palette of colors." The console received 4 out of 5 stars and remains the best way to experience your favorite Switch titles right now.

Whether you're buying your first Switch or you just want an upgrade from the base model, this deal is a great find for any gamer.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 2:46 pm

The PlayStation 5 has seen its first big discount, plus more gaming deals this week

PlayStation 5 DualSense controller

UPDATE: Mar. 27, 2023, 10:30 a.m. EDT This list has been updated with the latest and greatest gaming deals across the internet. Here's a quick look:

Gaming is a pricey hobby to keep up with. Not only are a staggering number of must-play titles released each year, but they're also expensive. (Yes, games cost $70 now.) That's why each week, we're bringing you the best gaming deals we can find, so you can stay in the know about the hottest new games without stressing over video game-induced debt. Whether you're looking to catch up on your backlog with discounted titles or are hoping to freshen up your setup with some new hardware, we've got you covered.

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

PlayStation deals

PlayStation 5 'God of War Ragnarok' bundle
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Sony
Our pick: PlayStation 5 'God of War Ragnarok' bundle (opens in a new tab)
$509.99 at GameStop (save $50)
(opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

This is truly one of the best PS5 bundles out there. For one, it's the PlayStation 5. But throw in one of 2022's games of the year, God of War Ragnarok, and you have a real winner. The sequel to the 2018 hit throws you right back into the story of Kratos and Atreus as they deal with the repercussions of setting Ragnarok (basically the end of the world) into motion. You'll travel throughout the nine realms in search of a way to change the course of the Ragnarok prophecy, encountering various foes along the way who will stop at nothing to keep you from meddling with fate. It's a must-play title on a must-have console.

PlayStation games

PlayStation hardware and accessories

Xbox deals

Xbox Elite Series 2 Core controller
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Microsoft
Our pick: Xbox Elite Series 2 Core controller (opens in a new tab)
$109.99 at Amazon (save $20)
(opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

The Elite Series 2 is the top of the line when it comes to Xbox controllers, and the budget Core version is nothing to scoff at. As long as you don't mind giving up the back paddles, you'll still get the one-of-a-kind construction, swappable thumbsticks and d-pad, hair triggers, and more great customization options.

Xbox games

Xbox hardware and accessories

Nintendo Switch deals

Nintendo Switch OLED product photo
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Nintendo
Our pick: Nintendo Switch OLED (opens in a new tab)
$319.99 at GameStop (save $30)
(opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

The Nintendo Switch OLED is the best Switch yet. It's that simple. The screen is bigger, better, and more clear. The sound system has higher fidelity than ever, and both the battery life and storage have gotten huge upgrades. If you don't have a Switch yet, this one is a no-brainer. Get one pre-owned for $30 off the original price at GameStop.

Nintendo Switch games

Nintendo Switch hardware and accessories

PC gaming deals

Samsung Odyssey G7 monitor
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Samsung
Our pick: Samsung Odyssey 32-inch G7 gaming monitor (opens in a new tab)
$549.99 at Amazon (save $250)
(opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

Curved gaming monitors may not seem like game-changers right away, but they certainly can be. Samsung's curved 100R panel attempts to replicate the curvature of the human eye to cut down on strain and increase immersion, which makes playing feel better. The monitor also features a 240Hz refresh rate, 1ms response times, AMD FreeSync Premium support, WQHD resolution, and HDR10 compatibility.

PC gaming monitors

PC gaming headsets

PC gaming mice

PC gaming keyboards

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 2:43 pm

'Yellowjackets' Season 2, episode 2 trailer teases buzzy new mysteries

Two women walk through what looks like a cult, with people wearing all purple clothing.

Yellowjackets is back in full swing, with Season 2, episode 1 plunging us straight back into the perilous wilderness of the past and the murder and mysteries of the present.

In Showtime's preview for episode 2, there's a whole lot to look forward to, including more details about Lottie's (Simone Kessell) present day cult community, Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) being questioned by Detective Kevyn Tan (Alex Wyndham) about Adam Martin's disappearance, Taissa (Tawny Cypress) managing her alter ego (or not), and the series introducing a new face (Elijah Wood).

In the past, Shauna has to own up to what's really going on in the meat shed...

Yellowjackets Season 2 is streaming on Showtime's website and app, with new episodes released weekly on Fridays. Episodes also air every Sunday on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 2:38 pm

The best Amazon Big Smile Sale deals for March 2023 – live now

Amazon Prime

Amazon Australia's twice-a-year sales event—Big Smile Sale—is back for its Autumn 2023 incarnation. From now until 11:59pm AEDT on Sunday, April 2, you'll find some of the biggest discount prices available on Amazon all year, rivalled only by Amazon Prime Day in June/July, and Black Friday in November. Thankfully, you don't need to wait another three or six months to pick up that high-ticket gadget you've been chasing on the cheap; you can do it right now!

If you enjoy trawling through hundreds (even thousands) of deals, be sure to check out the official Big Smile Sale page on the Amazon Australia store. Otherwise, we've done the hard work for you, and listed the top deals we've seen across a range of product categories, including robot vacuums, laptops, headphones and speakers and more. Happy hunting!

Best Robot Vacuum Deals

Best Laptops & Accessories Deals

Best Headphones & Speakers Deals

Best Gadgets Deals

Best Beauty, Fashion & Apparel Deals


What is the Big Smile Sale?

The Big Smile Sale is an Amazon-exclusive sale that takes place twice a year in Australia, across all categories, but with a huge amount of tech products available. The only other major Amazon sale is, of course, Amazon Prime Day (which normally goes down around June or July). While Prime Day is a bit bigger and features more deals, it is only available to Prime Members in Australia. Meanwhile, you don't need an Amazon Prime membership to access the Big Smile deals, though it may be beneficial to get one, as they come with a 30-day free trial and include free shipping on a huge range of the available Big Smile products. Learn more about Prime memberships in Australia here.

When is the Big Smile Sale?

Amazon's first Big Smile Sales went down in 2022, and took place in Autumn and Spring, respectively. The first 2023 event kicked off suddenly at midday on March 27 (with no prior warning), and runs for a week, until 11:59pm AEDT on April 2. While there is no word yet on the dates for the second 2023 Big Smile event, it's likely to also have similar timing, so should take place some time this Spring.

What are the best items to buy during the Big Smile Sale?

The sale covers all of Amazon's categories, but you can expect the biggest discounts (from a dollars perspective) on big-ticket tech items like robot vacuums, laptops, hi-fi, headphones and more. The timing of the current Autumn event is just in time for Mother's Day 2023, so be sure to check out some cool 'high-tech' gadgets for mum.

There are, of course, also some great prices to be found on beauty, fashion and apparel, so it's worth having a scroll down the official brand deals listed above, such as Calvin Klein and Nike.

Finally, not all of the Big Smile deals are listed on the official Big Smile page on the Amazon store. However, there are literally thousands of deals across Amazon this week. If you're after a specific item, we would recommend simply searching for it on main Amazon storefront, as you may get lucky and snag it for a discount price.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 2:06 pm

The best free dating apps and sites for singles on a budget

Man looking at a dating site on his phone

Online dating is, in a word, hard — but so is dating in person. Ironically, or perhaps completely fittingly, the process of searching for someone to love (or even just like, tbh) can be the absolute worst. That's why we're always trying to save you time and energy by ranking the best online dating sites in general, the best dating sites for introverts, the best dating apps for college students, and, hell, even the best sexting apps for those who just want to "date" from home.

Even with our tips and recommendations, online dating will require that you spend some energy, so at the very least, you don't want to be spending a bunch of money too, especially if you're newer to the apps and sites game. Testing out a free version can be a great way to get a sense of what you want out of online dating, but for some dating apps and sites, the free version may actually be all you need.

What dating sites are free?

Part of the reason why so many people turn to online dating is that creating an account can be simple and completely free. Getting the benefits of having an account, though, is where things can get a little dicey.

For websites like eharmony and Match, you can technically use them for free, if you don't mind being unable to message or match with people (though Match's free features have recently become a tad more lenient).

The good news is, spending $40 a month is not requisite for finding success in love. In many cases, apps and sites offer at least the barebones of matching and messaging entirely for free. Features like seeing people who've already liked you, sending messages without matching at all, and profile boosts are where you'll need to pony up. Though these can be convenient time savers, they don't necessarily increase your chances of meeting that perfect person. Even with purely paid sites, dating takes time and energy.

The benefits of using free dating sites

Some people simply want to test the waters of online dating without investing a lot, which is completely valid and says nothing about how serious you might be. Connecting with someone can be much better when you're open and vulnerable with your emotions — the same does not need to happen with your wallet.

Expensive sites do offer free trials, but seven days isn't enough time to find someone or get a sense of what a website has to offer you. Even if dating is high on your priority list, we're willing to bet you have more to do with your day than smash refresh on your matches page. That's why using a dating website with plenty of free options can take the pressure off. Plus, if you don't have the greatest experience, there's no sunk-cost fallacy business you have to contend with.

To make the free dating game even easier for you, we did the research and compiled a comprehensive list of the best free dating apps and sites. Enjoy the lowdown on what type of person each one is best suited for. (And if you land a hot date out of this, we expect a thank you.)

Note: It's almost impossible to find a dating site or app that doesn't have some sort of paid upgrade feature, but these are the sites where the free option gives you almost everything you need for the full experience. These aren't like Match or eharmony where you need to pay to do basically anything.

Featured Video For You
These dating sites and apps are perfect for people on a budget

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 2:04 pm

'Succession' Season 4 preview teases what's ahead for the Roys

An older man with white hair and a beard wearing sunglasses and a suit sits in the back of a car.

The final ride through diabolical moments with the Roys has begun, with Season 4 of Succession kicking off with one furiously tense first episode.

So far, Greg (Nicholas Braun) is really pushing that whole "Disgusting Brothers" thing with Tom (Matthew McFadyen), the Roy kids have dominated a bidding war with their newly estranged papa, birthday boy Logan (Brian Cox) scrambled for a little power in that final scene, and Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Tom decided to call it.

What's ahead for the next few weeks? In HBO's preview, there's a little taster.

The "sibs" seem to have some trust issues, Kendall's (Jeremy Strong) going back to Stewy Hosseini (Arian Moayed) for support, far right presidential hopeful Jeryd Mencken (Justin Kirk) seems to have a direct link to ATN, and tech mogul Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) is casually throwing barbs.

Succession Season 4 is streaming on HBO and HBO Max, with new episodes airing weekly on Sunday nights at 9 p.m.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 1:54 pm

Spend $40 just once for a lifetime of Microsoft Office for Mac or Windows

A woman looks at a laptop in bed.

TL;DR: As of March 27, you can score a lifetime license to Microsoft Office Home & Business for Mac or Windows for just $39.99. This deal runs through April 3 at 11:59 p.m. PT.

You may have upgraded your tech arsenal recently with a new MacBook or PC desktop, but there's one thing that may not have come with it: Microsoft Office. And though you might not have noticed it at first after playing around with your new expensive toy, you'll probably realize it the first time you need to make a spreadsheet, create a presentation, or draft a document.   

Make sure you're prepared to tackle any task on your computer with help from Microsoft Office, the fleet of apps that have kept us going since we all were logging in onto those tower desktops from the '90s. During the Spring Digital Blowout sale, a lifetime license for Mac or Windows is available for the amazing steal of $39.99 through April 3. 

Whether you're spending time on your laptop catching up on work, or winding down and getting in some play, the fleet of Microsoft Office apps comes in handy for both scenarios...more times than you can count. These classic apps have stood the test of time, offering excellent options for tasks ranging from email management to presentations to connecting with coworkers. 

This bundle of apps includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and OneNote, and this lifetime license is ready to install on either a Mac or Windows computer. It can be used for business or home on one computer forever. Instant delivery and download are promised, with access to your software license keys and download links right away. And once you've got all of your apps installed, if you ever run into an issue, you'll also have access to free Microsoft Office customer service.

Outfit your computer with the tried-and-true Microsoft Office staples. Get a lifetime license to Microsoft Office Home & Business for Mac or Windows for just $39.99 until April 3 at 11:59 p.m. PT. 

Prices subject to change.

Microsoft office packaging with word, excel, powerpoint, outlook, teams, and onenote logos
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Microsoft
Microsoft Office Home & Business for Mac 2021: Lifetime License (opens in a new tab)
$39.99 at the Mashable Shop
(opens in a new tab)
Microsoft office packaging with word, excel, powerpoint, outlook, teams, and onenote logos
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Microsoft
Microsoft Office Pro 2021 for Windows: Lifetime License (opens in a new tab)
$39.99 at the Mashable Shop
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 1:13 pm

This at-home laser hair remover is on sale for $60

purple electronic laser hair removal device next to a shaved leg

TL;DR: As of March 27, you can get the Face To Feet Laser Hair Remover for just $59.99 — that's $130 off the regular price of $198.99.

Warmer weather is within reach, which means we'll be baring more skin than usual. If you care about body hair, you might want to make sure you're prepared for beach hangs, pool parties, and lake time by setting up a plan for hair removal in time for spring break, summer, and beyond. 

While most people agree that laser hair removal is a great way to ditch body hair, it's also known for being a pretty expensive beauty habit. The Face To Feet Laser Hair Remover brings the process right to the comfort of your bathroom, allowing you to remove unwanted hair from home for a fraction of the price of an expensive hair removal package at a salon. And currently, this device is $130 off, at just $59.99 for a limited time. 

Laser technology allows for precision hair removal, while keeping the hair away longer than annoying methods like shaving and tweezing. This at-home hair removal gadget makes ditching body hair easier than ever. It heats up in just 45 seconds and is both clinically proven and FDA-approved. 

While shaving can lead to irritating cuts and ingrown hairs, and waxing can be incredibly painful, this laser technology claims to be pain-free. And the laser technology removes hair in only one treatment, so you're left with silky smooth skin quickly. It can prevent hair regrowth at the hair's cuticle layer without damaging or scarring your skin. 

Get summer ready at home with the Face To Feet Laser Hair Remover on sale now for just $59.99 for a limited time.

Prices subject to change.

black colored laser hair remover device
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Beauty Essentials
Face To Feet Laser Hair Remover (opens in a new tab)
$59.99 at the Mashable Shop
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 12:56 pm

The best Squarespace templates for video

camera filming a landscape

This content originally appeared on Mashable for a US audience and has been adapted for the UK audience.

Looking to take your filmmaking, video-editing, or streaming talents beyond YouTube, Vimeo, TikTok, or Twitch? A personal website filled with your best work can attract potential clients, grow an audience, and help flesh out your brand. It can even serve as an alternate source of income — think virtual classes or behind-the-scenes exclusives that are ripe for monetising.

As far as website builders go, Squarespace is a popular pick for creatives because it takes a streamlined approach to site management and design. With pricing starting as low as £13 a month, all of its plans include 24/7 customer support, unlimited bandwidth, performance metrics, SEO features, ecommerce tools, and SSL security. It also maintains a huge library of stylish, mobile-optimised templates that are easily customised using drag-and-drop page elements; you don't need any coding experience to create a visually stunning site that runs smoothly.

Even better yet, every single one of those templates supports video.

Truthfully (and depending on how decisive you are), this could be a blessing or a curse. On the one hand, you've got so many templates to choose from — over 230, to be more specific. On the other hand, you've got so many templates to choose from that it can be hard to settle on a select few, especially if you're still not sure exactly how you want your site to look.

Below, you'll find Mashable's guide to choosing the right Squarespace template for video and a roundup of our current favourites.

What is a Squarespace template?

A Squarespace template or theme is a pre-built demo website that'll serve as "a starting point to help inspire your site's design," according to its support centre. You can leave that website mostly as-is and simply repackage the demo content with your own branding, or give it a top-to-bottom makeover with different colours, font packs, layouts, and content blocks — it all depends on how unique you want your site to be (and how much time and effort you feel like spending on it).

Templates work differently depending on the version of Squarespace you're running. You've got two options as of 2023:

Some fine print: It's technically possible to move from version 7.0 to version 7.1, but that usually involves a manual rebuild and a hit to your site's search ranking. If you're not sure which version you should use, go ahead and boot up Squarespace's free 14-day trial — that'll let you explore both before locking in a paid plan.

How do you add video to a Squarespace site?

You can add videos to your site in three different ways, which also depend on the version of Squarespace you're running.

Embed videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Animoto, or Wistia using a URL or embed code — This works with video blocks, embed blocks, gallery blocks, gallery pages, cover pages, lock screen backgrounds, and some banners and product pages (depending on the template family) in version 7.0, and with videos pages, video blocks, embed blocks, section backgrounds, lock screen backgrounds, and some gallery blocks (depending on the site area) in version 7.1. You can even include livestreams from YouTube and Vimeo, but note that they may not work after the stream is over depending on your settings.

Upload .mp4, .m4v, or .mov files Version 7.1 also lets you add clips directly to any video page or section background (up to 5GB or 500MB, respectively). These play on the platform's custom video player and feature editable titles, descriptions, URLs, thumbnails, and metadata. Note that all Squarespace plans come standard with just 30 minutes of high-resolution video storage, but you can upgrade by activating its Member Areas feature for an extra fee.

Swap static images for animated .gif files Sound-free GIFs that play and loop automatically can go anywhere on your site where images are supported, including image blocks, banners, and gallery blocks. Both versions of Squarespace give you this option.

This one comes with an important caveat as well, which is that Squarespace doesn't include any video metrics in its analytics tab. Plays of embedded videos may add to your total view count, but you'll have to contact your host (e.g., YouTube) for more intel.

What other video tools does Squarespace offer?

Squarespace has launched a few cool new video-related tools within the past couple of years, one being the aforementioned Member Areas feature. Add it to your plan for as low as £6 a month to unlock more video storage and the ability to gate certain content on your site, including virtual workshops, tutorials, packages, and newsletters. It makes a good in-house alternative (or supplement) to Patreon or YouTube channel memberships, as you can charge users a one-time fee or a recurring subscription for access.

Squarespace fleshed out its free Unfold app for social content with additional video features in 2022, adding a Slideshows tool that can stitch a series of images and clips for TikTok or Instagram Reels (complete with custom templates, filters, and effects). It's available for both iOS and Android.

Users can also take advantage of Squarespace Video Studio, an app for creating premium videos you can share directly to your site and/or on social media. (This one's available exclusively for iOS.) Featuring professionally designed video templates you can autofill with your site's brand styles and product images, its AI voiceover tool and built-in teleprompter (with script length suggestions!) make it easy to whip up clips on the fly. It's free to download with any Squarespace plan or trial, with full access unlocked for Business and Commerce subscribers.

How do you pick the right Squarespace template?

Squarespace's templates tab lets you filter its library by type and topic, which should help you condense your pool of candidates quite a bit. Hit the "View Demo Site" button after clicking on any template to see what a live version could look like — very few include video, unfortunately, but keep in mind that they're fairly easy to add almost anywhere on a site. Squarespace notes that "you may find it easier to start with a design that's already close to how you want your site to appear," so focus mainly on colours and layouts that catch your eye.

What is the best Squarespace template for video?

To help make things a little easier for you, we’ve rounded up some of your best options on Squarespace. Check out everything on offer and pick a favourite from the bunch.

These are the best Squarespace templates for video in 2023.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 11:00 am

The best Squarespace templates for videos, blogs, and all other web pages

Apple computer on the Obsidian Squarespace template page

This content originally appeared on Mashable for a US audience and has been adapted for the UK audience.

If you’ve listened to any podcast ever, you already know the spiel: Squarespace is an all-in-one website builder that makes it easy to create a professional-looking online presence. Numbers-wise, it’s the second most popular web builder out there (after Wix) and the third most popular hosting service (after Wix and Shopify), supporting more than 3 million live websites across the internet at the time of publication.

One of the primary reasons why Squarespace has seen this success is that you don't need any web design or coding experience to get a beautiful site up and running on its interface. With intuitive drag-and-drop building elements and a vast selection of ultra-modern templates, it's easily one of the most beginner-friendly tools of its kind.

Truthfully, the hardest part about designing a Squarespace site is often just choosing one of those templates — there are over 230 of them across Squarespace versions 7.0 and 7.1, the two iterations of the platform that are currently supported. How do you decide which one to use for your oil painting portfolio, your Taiwanese-American food blog, or the online store for your cool-girl jeans? (Those are all different kinds of websites that have been made with Squarespace, FYI.)

Should you use Squarespace?

After fast and easy site design, the best thing about Squarespace is its all-in-one approach: Your subscription plan includes 24/7 customer support, website metrics, SEO tools, SSL security, unlimited bandwidth, and video storage, all for as low as £13 a month. Squarespace also throws in fully managed cloud hosting at no extra cost, along with a year's worth of a new custom domain if you sign up for an annual membership — no need to set anything else up with another provider or platform. All things considered, its flexibility and convenience make it a stellar pick for first-time website owners.

What is a Squarespace template?

A Squarespace template (or theme) is a pre-designed, ready-to-use demo website that you can customise with different colour schemes, font packs, layouts, pages, and drag-and-drop element blocks like text, images, galleries, buttons, and forms. Squarespace describes them as "a starting point to help inspire your site's design," noting that "[you] can keep the structure of your original design intact by replacing the demo content with your own, or you can completely change the design of your site and start from scratch." You can do as much or as little customising as you'd like; your site will look polished either way.

Each template has been built exclusively for Squarespace, which means you won’t find them on WordPress, Wix, or other site-building platforms.

Are Squarespace templates mobile-friendly?

All Squarespace templates are mobile-optimised from the jump, which is awesome for two reasons: Mobile-friendly sites look great on all devices and get higher priority from Google when it comes to indexing and SEO rankings.

Templates from Squarespace version 7.0 have separate mobile styles that activate on smaller devices, while their version 7.1 counterparts adapt to mobile view automatically.

What's the difference between Squarespace version 7.0 and 7.1?

Launched in 2014, Squarespace version 7.0 categorises its 91 templates into certain template "families," which are groups of similarly coded templates alike in their basic structure and functionality. Each one has its specific rules and style options, so you may need to swap templates (and risk losing content) to access certain functionality. For example, infinite scroll is exclusive to the Farro and Skye template families, while only Wells and Five allow sidebars on all of their pages, not just blogs.

Squarespace scrapped those hard-and-fast classifications with the release of version 7.1 in early 2020. All of its 140-plus templates now belong to the same family with the same underlying structure and design options, which makes it easier to change site styles in seconds.

While neither version of Squarespace is conclusively "better" than the other, version 7.1 is more ideal for people who are new to the platform since it aggressively streamlines the design process, especially since the July 2022 rollout of Fluid Engine. That's Squarespace's next-gen content editor for 7.1 sites, which utilises a grid system and additional block placement options for improved layout flexibility (particularly on mobile).

Users who have built a Squarespace site before may still have good reason to stick with version 7.0 since its templates have some advanced style options that haven't been added to the new ones yet. One especially popular feature of the beloved Brine template family that's missing from version 7.1; people were pretty salty about that one.)

One caveat: While it’s possible to switch between versions 7.0 and 7.1, doing so will usually require a full rebuild and mess with your site's search ranking. On the bright side, Squarespace offers a free 14-day trial so you can noodle around with both before you commit.

What features does Squarespace offer?

Structural and formatting differences aside, all Squarespace templates between both versions of the platform support the same suite of features — including several new tools introduced in the most recent Squarespace Refresh, its annual product update. Highlights include:

It's worth mentioning that Squarespace also maintains three mobile apps that are free with any subscription or trial. They work with both versions of the site, too:

How do you find the right Squarespace template for you?

To get started, head over to the Templates tab on Squarespace's website and filter its library by Type and Topic to narrow down your pool of candidates. You can hit "Preview" on any theme that catches your eye to see what it would look like in the wild.

Squarespace recommends choosing a template based on your favorite colours and layouts rather than the demo content you see there, though you might find it easier to pick one that already looks close-ish to your end vision. For example, a template with a grid of products on its homepage can become your online store in a matter of clicks, whereas a template designed around event RSVPs will take more noodling for ecommerce purposes.

If you're having trouble settling on one, know this: It's basically impossible to make an ugly Squarespace site, and with enough time and experimentation, you can tweak almost any template to fit your exact vision and needs.

What is the best Squarespace template for you?

If Squarespace sounds like the right solution for you, know this: You really can’t go wrong with any of its templates. Like, it’s almost impossible to make an ugly Squarespace site, but just in case you need a little help to get the ball rolling on the site of your dreams, save yourself a Google search and just keep reading.

These are the best Squarespace templates in 2023.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 10:42 am

The most watched movies and TV of the week are about vengeance, fandom, and football

Three images from TV and movies: A young woman smiles about concert tickets, a football player looks serious, and a man holds a puppy up lovingly in a living room.

So, what's everyone been watching this week? Hmmmm?

Just to get a sense of the most popular movies and TV shows people are streaming, we've streaming aggregator Reelgood, which gathers viewership numbers from hundreds of streaming services in the U.S. and UK. Each week, the most streamed watches come down to a few elements — sheer buzz, a big finale, smart marketing, star power, critical acclaim, or word-of-mouth that leads people to finally watch it out of spite.

And this week, from The Last of Us to John Wick, it's all about vengeance. And football!

But just because a lot of people are watching something doesn't make it...good. Here they are, the 10 most streamed TV shows and movies of the week, where to watch them, and what Mashable critics thought.

1. The Last of Us

A man carries an unconscious teen girl wearing a hospital gown.
This sequence tho 😭 Credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO

It's been the one to beat and no one has. The Last of Us has been the most streamed of the week for nine weeks running, right up until the finale. Chernobyl director Craig Mazin and The Last of Us creator Neil Druckmann bring the lauded Naughty Dog survival adventure game to the screen, with a deeply moving, stunt-packed, superbly scripted, and powerfully performed television show.

SEE ALSO: Did episode 8 of 'The Last of Us' mess you up? Us too.

Pedro Pascal takes the lead as Joel Miller, a man living in a post-apocalyptic America in 2023 amidst a pandemic caused by the Cordyceps fungus, which turns regular humans into monsters. He's tasked with bringing 14-year-old Ellie, played by Bella Ramsey, across the country on a mission, but there's more than monsters that stand between them and their destination. Fans will be especially thrilled to see how HBO's The Last of Us masterfully weaves in the game mechanics, but they'll have to keep on their toes for new inclusions, clues, and breadcrumbs.Shannon Connellan, UK Editor

What we thought: Making a TV show that lives up to the source material is always a high bar to clear, but especially so in this case. Luckily for gamers and new viewers alike, The Last of Us leaps over it with room to spare, chasing excellence with the boundless energy of a Clicker hunting its prey.Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter

How to watch: The Last of Us airs at 9 p.m. ET every Sunday on HBO and HBO Max.

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once

A woman with hot dog-shaped, long fingers holds up one finger in protest.
Michelle Yeoh is up for Best Lead Actress at this year's Oscars. Credit: A24

One of the absolute best movies that 2022 had to offer, Everything Everywhere All at Once boasts a little bit of everything, from a deeply poignant mother-daughter tale to a gleefully silly thread involving a quirky one-hit wonder, to a romantic scene featuring hot dog fingers and a sprawling battle involving butt plugs. It's A24's highest-grossing film to date and it swept the Oscars this year, taking home Best Picture, Best Director, and all four acting awards.

Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (aka Daniels), Everything Everywhere All at Once stars Michelle Yeoh in her most exhilarating role yet: a multiverse-hopping mom, dedicated to saving all existence but especially her on-the-edge daughter (the sensational Stephanie Hsu). Having more fun with the multiverse concept than Marvel could dare, this outrageous action-comedy giddily thrusts audiences into wild alternative worlds, brandishing unexpected weapons alongside jaw-dropping fashion and wildly captivating performances from Yeoh, Hsu, and their totally game co-stars Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis.* — Kristy Puchko, Film Editor

What we thought: Everything Everywhere All at Once is a tornado of a movie: dizzying, filled with turns, and peppered with eye-catching elements. Yet at the core of its frenetic swirls of allusions, action sequences, and madcap mayhem, there lies a poignant parable about this ruthlessly overwhelming age. — K.P.

How to watch: Everything Everywhere All at Once is now streaming on Paramount+.

3. Daisy Jones and The Six

A band of six people take a bow at the end of their show in the 1970s.
Take a bow. Credit: Prime Video

Based on Taylor Jenkins Reid's hugely popular novel, Daisy Jones and the Six is one of the most anticipated releases of 2023 — and already proving one of the most popular. The series reunites the iconic, titular, fictional '70s band decades after their disbandment at the height of their fame, and sends you back on the road with its feuding lead singers, Daisy Jones (Riley Keough) and Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin), and their complicated artistic and personal relationship. The original soundtrack is there. The outfits are there. The chemistry is there. — S.C.

What we thought: Daisy Jones and the Six catapults us back into the '70s for a look at the meteoric rise and tumultuous fall of the eponymous band, from humble beginnings to sold-out concerts, studio sessions to drug-filled afterparties. Though the show definitely takes liberties from Taylor Jenkins Reid's bestselling novel, it remains an engrossing portrait of a rock band battling personal demons and relationship drama.B.E.

How to watch: Daisy Jones and The Six is now streaming on Prime Video with new episodes releasing weekly.

SEE ALSO: How 'Daisy Jones and the Six' is different from the novel

4. Ted Lasso

A football player and two football coaches stand on the side of a pitch during practice.
Brett Goldstein, Brendan Hunt and Jason Sudeikis are back for "Ted Lasso" Season 3. Credit: Apple TV+

Apple TV+'s Emmy-winning comedy Ted Lasso is back for Season 3. All your favourite AFC Richmond players and staff return of course, including the eponymous hero Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis), Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt), Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein), Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster), Isaac McAdoo (Kola Bokinni), Sam Obisanya's (Toheeb Jimoh), Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernández), Higgins (Jeremy Swift), Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham), and Keeley (Juno Temple). — S.C.

What we thought: Just as football continues to be life, so too does Ted Lasso continue to be its charming, heartwarming (and occasionally heartbreaking) self in Season 3. — B.E.

How to watch: Ted Lasso is now streaming on Apple TV+.

5. Triangle of Sadness

Two models lie on white sunbeds on a cruise.
Credit: Fredrick Wenzel / :Platform Produktion

Ruben Östlund's Palme d’Or winner and Oscar nominee takes on class, power, and social hierarchy — one of several outstanding "eat-the-rich" films of 2022. Fuelled by projectile vomiting, the film sends you off on a luxurious, highly Instagrammable cruise with influencer/model couple Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean), helmed by a drunken boat captain (Woody Harrelson), alongside a deckhand (Timoleon Gketsos), and cruise manager (Vicki Berlin). The destination, however, is ruin. — S.C.

What we thought: Packed with performances that'll make you shudder, gross-out gags that spark guffaws, and an unflinchingly embrace of social awkwardness that'll have you cringing so much you might cramp, Triangle of Sadness is not just a viewing experience but a physical one. — K.P.

How to watch: Triangle of Sadness is now streaming on Hulu.

6. Swarm

A young woman in a party dress smiles while holding tickets to a Ni'Jah concert.
Dre (Dominique Fishback) is a mega fan. Credit: Prime Video

The new collaboration between creators and executive producers Janine Nabers and Donald Glover, Swarm is a tale of obsessive fandom and murder. The Prime Video series follows Dre (Dominique Fishback), a superfan fan of pop star Ni'Jah, whose life takes a chaotic, dark turn. It's also Billie Eilish's acting debut. — S.C.

How to watch: Swarm is now streaming on Prime Video.

Featured Video For You
Swarm is a different kind of TV show, the cast and crew break down how

7. The Mandalorian

A tiny green alien with big ears and eyes sits in a cockpit with a sci-fi warrior wearing a helmet.
Grogu and Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) are back. Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

As if Pedro Pascal wasn't busy enough on The Last of Us, he's back with another season of The Mandalorian.

Season 3 of the Star Wars spinoff will consist of eight episodes, and follow the titular bounty hunter as he travels to Mandalore to seek forgiveness for his "transgressions." He probably won't receive the warmest reception once he gets there, but fortunately the journey there won't be a lonely one. While the Mandalorian parted ways with Baby Yoda aka Grogu at the end of Season 2, the duo were later reunited during spin-off series The Book of Boba Fett.

The small Force-sensitive child is thus along for the ride once more, joining the Mandalorian on his highly dangerous, child-unsafe adventure though space. It isn't the best environment for an infant, but at this point it'd probably do more damage to keep them apart.* — Amanda Yeo, Australia Reporter

How to watch: The Mandalorian is now streaming on Disney+ with new episodes weekly.

8. Luther: The Fallen Sun

A man in a suit and trenchcoat strides down an industrial hallway lit in red.
Luther's baaaaack. Credit: John Wilson/Netflix

Everyone's favourite hard-edged DCI John Luther (Idris Elba) is back, this time for a whole movie. This time, he's teaming up with DCI Odette Raine (Cynthia Erivo) to take on a tech-obsessed psychopath (Andy Serkis) whose plans of blackmail and online antagonism put Luther to the test. But first, he's got to get out of prison. — S.C.

What we thought: Like its protagonist, The Fallen Sun risks itself by trying to do too much at once. The good bits are good enough to make us forgive the worst of its sins, but the end result is still a way off the original Luther — and a long way from perfect.Sam Haysom, Deputy UK Editor

How to watch: Luther: The Fallen Sun is now streaming on Netflix.

9. Boston Strangler

Two journalists in the '60s go through evidence and reporting in an office.
Carrie Coon and Keira Knightley as Jean Cole and Loretta McLaughlin. Credit: Disney/Hulu

Another day, another true crime adaptation. This time, Kiera Knightley is in the lead as Boston Record American journalist Loretta McLaughlin, who investigated and reported on a string of murders in Boston in the 1960s. McLaughlin broke the story with fellow journalist Jean Cole, played by Carrie Coon. — S.C.

What we thought: Ruskin's execution of his "inspired by true events" narrative seems less like a feminist historical thriller in the vein of Hidden Figures or She Said, and more a clumsy and ghoulish imitation of David Fincher's seminal Zodiac. The resulting film is a crime against cinema on several counts. — K.P.

How to watch: Boston Stranger is now streaming on Hulu.

10. John Wick

A man holds up a puppy lovingly while sitting on a couch.
Daisyyyy. Credit: David Lee/Thunder Road/Lionsgate/87eleven/Mjw/Summit/Kobal/Shutterstock

"It wasn't just a puppy."

John Wick can't melee his way back onto our screens fast enough, with the fourth instalment hitting cinemas on Friday. So, it seems everyone's going back to the start, meeting Keanu Reeves in 2014 in the first film as a hitman jolted out of retirement on a quest for revenge. Justice for Daisy. — S.C.

How to watch: John Wick is now streaming on Peacock.

* Asterisks indicate the writeup is adapted from another Mashable article.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 10:21 am

The best cameras for vlogging

Woman taking a selfie

This content originally appeared on Mashable for a US audience and has been adapted for the UK audience.

In 2023, the art of vlogging — live action video blogging, posted on social media sites — is a way of life. Even if you don’t consider yourself a vlogger, you might well be anyway. Do you post little videos of yourself? Or talk-up your favourite products and style items influencer-style? Then you’re definitely vlogging. Which means it could be time to upgrade from your smartphone to a dedicated vlogging camera.

Sure, everyone has a pretty good camera on their smartphone. But a camera can offer lots more, particularly in terms of pro photography-level features and sheer quality.

How do you know which camera to choose to help make your vlog pop? We'll help you! But first, let's key you into the specifics and what camera features to look out for.

What makes a camera good for vlogging?

Technically, you could point any video-recording camera at yourself and start nattering away. But there are features that make vlogging easier and better. Here are some features you should care about:

Video quality — Pay attention to video resolution. You'll see 4K in most video-recording cameras these days. All the cameras on this list record in 4K as a minimum. Some record with an even higher resolution.

Built-in WiFi and Bluetooth — Finding a camera with built-in WiFi can save you a step as your videos can automatically appear on your smartphone or PC. Some cameras even post directly to social media, which is great for vloggers.

Microphone input — Video quality may get your viewers through the door, but great sound will help keep them there. There isn't a camera out there without a built-in mic. But for even better quality sound, choose a camera that lets you connect an external mic so you can always upgrade. Without that port you're stuck.

Stabilisation — Some vloggers just sit in their bedroom and talk to camera – which is fine. But if you want to record videos beyond that you'll want to search for a camera that has built-in optical image stabilisation. It'll help ensure that your videos come out smooth no matter what activity you're doing.

Megapixels — If you aren't really concerned about shooting still photographs, Megapixels don't really matter. Though it’s hard to imagine you won’t use a camera for stills — particularly if you’re a selfie-a-holic. And hey, what vlogger isn’t?

Keep these things in mind when shopping around for a vlogging camera.

What features do you not need with a vlogging camera?

A vlogging camera is different to a regular camera. This is not traditional photography, so don’t get caught out spending extra on more traditional features. Here are a couple of features you probably don’t need:

Zoom — You don't actually need a camera with impeccable zoom unless you're a travel blogger. Zoom is just one of those things that's nice to have for photography, but for video you'll probably just be shooting yourself relatively close-up. 

Flash — To get the best quality video possible, you'll want to shoot in well-lit environments. Some cameras do have night vision, but how often do you really need that? Amazon has several lighting bundles that can help illuminate your space like a proper studio set-up, and many are pretty decently priced.

Forget these things and focus on what matters most.

How much does a vlogging camera cost?

It should come as no surprise (hey, we all know regular cameras are expensive), but be prepared to fork out at least a few hundred pounds. The cheapest camera on this list is just a touch under £300, and prices go up to £2,000 — plus the cost of lenses and other equipment, such as a tripod, microphones, or a fancy selfie stick.

What is the best camera for vlogging?

No two vloggers are the same. Everyone has their own content style and preferences. Which means that not everyone will benefit from the exact same camera. In other words, we can’t tell you which camera is best. But we can help by pointing you towards a selection of cameras for a variety of vlogging needs.

These are the best cameras for vlogging in 2023.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 10:03 am

How to watch the Miami Open 2023 online for free

Tennis court from above

TL;DR: Prime Video is hosting the Miami Open 2023 from March 21 to April 2. You can watch for free with a 30-day trial of Amazon Prime.

Prime Video is staking a claim to be the best place to watch tennis in 2023.

Prime members in the UK and Ireland get exclusive access to the ATP Tour and WTA Tour this year, so if you're interested in watching all of the action in 2023, you should seriously consider subscribing to Amazon Prime. That being said, subscribing might not be necessary if you're only interested in following a single tournament like the Miami Open.

When is the Miami Open 2023?

Prime Video is showing the Miami Open 2023 from March 21 to April 2. The tournament takes place on the grounds of Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Świątek will be looking to defend their titles in the men's and women's singles draw, respectively.

Can you watch the Miami Open 2023 for free online?

You don't need to be subscribed to Amazon Prime to stream the Miami Open on Prime Video. You can watch for free with a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime.

If you haven't been an Amazon Prime member in the last 12 months, you can sign up for a 30-day trial to watch the Miami Open 2023 without spending anything. It's important to note that your subscription will automatically renew at full price at the end of the promotional period, but you can cancel this at anytime. If you're only signing up to watch the Miami Open, don't forget to cancel that automatic renewal. You can do this right away, so don't delay.

Watch the Miami Open for free with a 30-day trial of Amazon Prime.

Miami Open 2023 logo
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Miami Open 2023
Miami Open 2023 (opens in a new tab)
Watch for free with a 30-day trial of Amazon Prime
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 9:34 am

Apple might soon fix the most annoying thing about AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro

Apple's AirPods Pro are pretty great, but they have a pretty annoying trait which I'm reminded of every time the earbuds need charging: the case features Apple's proprietary Lightning port, instead of the near-ubiquitous USB-C port.

That might change fairly soon. According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will launch a new version of AirPods Pro with a USB-C port in either the second or the third quarter of 2023.

Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)

Kuo was replying to a tweet from Twitter user @aaronp613, a developer who spotted references to new AirPods models in Apple's iOS 16.4 software, which is more proof that the new AirPods Pro may be coming soon.

SEE ALSO: Most Apple Watches are still down to record-low prices

Kuo also said that Apple "appears to have no plans" to launch USB-C versions of its "regular" AirPods, which also come with a Lightning port.

Featured Video For You
Hands On With the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)

The AirPods were originally launched in 2016, and Apple has refreshed them twice, in 2019 and 2021. It would make sense to launch a new version this year; in fact, more so than the AirPods Pro, which were upgraded fairly recently. The AirPods Pro were originally launched in 2019, and an improved version was released in 2022. It's unclear whether Apple plans to add more features to the updated version, or whether the USB-C port will be the only thing that's new.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 9:28 am

Why 'John Wick: Chapter 4's body count matters

Keanu Reeves goes to battle in

Other than the run time, the only number that matters in John Wick: Chapter 4 — the newest, longest installment in the unlikely action franchise — is the skyrocketing body count. Consider how the franchise began, with a widowed man tearing through a Russian mobster's goons to enact revenge for his murdered dog. Now think about where this series is at present. The globetrotting Wick tears through an incalculable amount of random assassins so he might, finally, return to a peaceful life. 

But even against Wick, a man known as a ghost, an undefeated oncoming storm, the assassins keep on coming. The John Wick franchise is, of course, relying on a tried and true action trope, lampooned by Hot Shots! Part Deux: The inexplicable desire by any and all to kill the hero, no matter how impossible.

From Commando to Rambo: First Blood Part II comes the spectacle of unnamed, generic gunmen emerging from every corner and every hole as the fabric for the viewer's bloodletting, the cathartic release of seeing death on screen, and a further strengthening of the hero's invincibility. In those films, the killers at least had a job: They were under the employ of an army or a syndicate. In the Wick universe, however, assassins are freelancers. Their only obligation is to the High Table, a counsel of the world's most powerful mobsters. There's no clear recourse against these not-even-hired guns, say, ignoring the bounty. They could, conceivably, continue about their day only to see the report on the local news.

The franchise could easily use the trope as a crutch. But John Wick: Chapter 4 takes an interesting turn to reinvent what's a conventional conceit by tying its carnage to an analogy for unchecked ambition.

How did John Wick get here?

Keanu Reeves in "John Wick: Chapter 4."
Credit: Lionsgate

The Wick series wasn't always overflowing with would-be killers. The potential foes in the first film were of the personal variety, lone gunmen and gunwomen well known to the weary-eyed Baba Yaga. The shift occurred in John Wick: Chapter 2 with the introduction of the High Table as a means for exploring this regimented world where the Continental Hotel, a safe space for assassins, is consecrated ground. In this realm, a team of pinup women as switchboard operators communicates bounties to hired killers. Each murderer must operate by a certain set of standardized rules. In the second film's final scene, we see every assassin, from mothers with babies to unhoused people, receiving a text informing them of the exorbitant price on Wick's head. The Wick world expands absurdly globally, to the point where there seems to be more assassins inhabiting cities and countries than there are regular people. 

In John Wick: Chapter 4, our assassinating anti-hero is still fighting for a way out of this life. He has many enemies, particularly the High Table, who are tired of his rebellion. The Marquis Vincent de Gramont (a sinister Bill Skarsgård) has promised to use every resource of the High Table to murder Wick: He forces the blind killer Caine (a captivating Donnie Yen) out of retirement and enlists the services of a newcomer Mr. Nobody (a resourceful Shamier Anderson) to hunt Wick. 

SEE ALSO: What 'John Wick: Chapter 4' end-credits scene means for a could-be sequel

The Marquis has the opportunity to allow these strategies to play out, but he allows Winston (Ian McShane), the former owner of the Continental Hotel, to goad him toward a higher prize: Collecting Wick's head himself.

Through an ancient bylaw, Wick can call a duel between himself and the Marquis. If the Marquis wins, he will get the credit for destroying the legend of the mythical hitman. If the Marquis loses, he will die. The pair plan to meet on the steps of Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Paris at dawn. If one person doesn't appear at the appointed time, the duel will immediately be forfeited, making Wick a marked man again. The Marquis hopes to game the system, first by using Caine as a stand-in for the confrontation, but primarily by raising the price on Wick's head, causing an immeasurable army of goons to take their shot. 

Why risk going after John Wick?

Donnie Yen as Caine in "John Wick: Chapter 4."
Donnie Yen as Caine in "John Wick: Chapter 4." Credit: Lionsgate

The role of Wick fits the melancholic man-of-few-words persona Reeves has spent a career cultivating with films like River’s Edge, Constantine, A Scanner Darkly, and The Lake House. His bulletproof physicality in this film is particularly eye-catching. Direct hits by cars and precipitous falls from deadly heights barely slow him down. After a while, it's easy to wonder why anyone is still attacking Wick. Did they not see what happened to everyone else? Is the money really too good to pass up, or is their allegiance to the High Table as sturdy as the organization's assumed power? 

"A man's ambition should never exceed his worth," the Marquis is told by Harbinger (Clancy Brown), a representative of the High Table. It's not idiocy or wealth infusing these low-level goons with courage. Similar to the Marquis, they want the prestige of killing the legendary Wick. Their unchecked desire can be interpreted as a physical manifestation of the Marquis' misplaced, greedy aspirations, in contrast with Wick's humble dream of living a quiet life. 

Take the first set piece, which kicks off Wick's fight through the whole of Paris toward the basilica. The Arc de Triomphe becomes a swirling roulette wheel of violence, whereby Wick must maneuver past deadly cars, lethal motorcycles, buses and vans housing more goons, and a bevy of lethal men and women to simply get to the other side. Later, in an abandoned house, a bird's eye-view shot sees Wick moving from room to room to dispense with the murderers who lurk behind every corner. A disc jockey for W.U.X.I.A. radio rouses the contract killers by not just updating them on Wick's location, but also pushing their egos — punning Sacré-Cœur into Wick moving closer to their "sacred heart" and letting them know that the bounty is rising. 

Nowhere, however, is the projection of the Marquis' insidious appetite more apparent than in the stairs sequence. To reach the top of the basilica, where the Marquis is seated, Wick must climb over 200 steps. In an amped-up version of the stairs scenes in Atomic Blonde, populating those steps is an army of indeterminable murderers. The rising tide of henchmen matches the Marquis' increased anxiety and the weight and toll of his ambition upon his psyche. The verticality of the set piece is another physical manifestation of not just Wick's long journey to this point, but the high esteem in which the Marquis holds himself. In between Sisyphean tumbles down the stairs, which test the resolve of Wick, each stride Wick takes is a further leveling of the playing field. And when Caine and Mr. Nobody decide to help their once foe on this upward crossing, they are not merely attacking the height itself, but also challenging an illustration of the Marquis' self-worth. 

"You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church."

Keanu Reeves in "John Wick: Chapter 4."
Credit: Lionsgate

You might wonder why Wick is still fighting. What fuels him to get back up? Is it solely an unspeakable determination? By this point, we're so far removed from the events of the first film that the anger over his dead dog and the grief for his wife feel circumstantial at best, especially since there's only one mention of his wife (a brief flashback) in the entire film. None of Wick's actions indicate he's interested in the fame that comes with a high body count.

At the beginning of John Wick: Chapter 4, he plainly wants to kill everyone on the High Table. By the end of the film, Wick's idea morphs into killing the conceptual invincibility of the High Table, the proverbial gods of this world. His survival is a weakening of their reach. While Wick's motivation doesn't neatly fit into the built-upon narrative that's led to the fourth chapter, it does speak to the elusive desire by all involved to create and destroy myths, to burnish their names in deifying and demystifying terms.

It's no accident that the Marquis, a man who has the misplaced self-belief of a god, is ultimately gunned down at the foot of a church. The Marquis hoped his triumph would be the death of Wick's legend, thereby burnishing his own legacy. 

In actuality, the Marquis' own unceremonious extermination when he attempts to finish off what he believes is a mortally wounded Wick is the price of hubris. By reimagining the high-body count trope as emblematic of ambition, John Wick: Chapter 4 imbues the final confrontation between Wick and the Marquis as something more than a match between good versus evil, hero versus baddie. It's a simple man called to extraordinary feats going toe-to-toe against a rageful expression of unchecked power. While such care to connect story to setting and impact should be expected, in the slapdash world of contemporary American action movies, John Wick: Chapter 4 once again reminds us that action movies can mean and do more than simply rely on cliche.   

John Wick: Chapter 4 is now in theaters. 

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 9:00 am

Invest confidently with help from this $120 stock screening app

laptop screen showing apple stocks

TL;DR: A lifetime subscription to the Tykr Stock Screener Pro Plan is on sale for just $119.99 as of March 27. That's an over 80% discount from the MSRP.

With market turbulence headlining the news everywhere you look, sometimes you might be relieved you're not stock-savvy. But passive income can be a game changer, providing you freedom to pursue your passions or simply giving you a little peace of mind about your retirement down the line. If you're a total newbie when it comes to stocks and have no idea where to begin, fortunately, there's now an app for that.

Tykr Stock Screener analyzes the stocks for you, showing you clearly which are low-risk and which are higher risks to take on, which can help teach you when to buy or sell. And in a chaotic time like this, its algorithm can provide some great guidance. The Pro Plan Lifetime Subscription is currently on sale for just $119.99, a small investment in what could potentially be a major return. 

Think of Tykr as your stock market education platform, as it helps teach you how to make the right investments for your personal risk level. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of investing, analyzing the stocks for you so you can make informed decisions about where you'd like to put your money. And it also teaches you when would be a good time to sell, so you can get out at a good time. 

Once you set up your Tykr app, it shows you stocks as either on sale, a potential buy, overpriced, or a potential sell. That determination is based on a rigorous algorithm Tykr has going behind the scenes, providing you with an easy-to-interpret score for each stock. The higher the score, the safer the investment. (Though, of course, no investment is 100% safe.) And there's support for more than 30,000 US and international stocks available, so you should be able to find a good investment in no time. 

Feel confident investing with a lifetime subscription to Tykr Stock Screener Pro Plan, on sale for just $119.99 for a limited time. 

Prices subject to change.

tykr logo
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Tykr
Tykr Stock Screener Pro Plan: Lifetime Subscription (opens in a new tab)
$119.99 at the Mashable Shop
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 9:00 am

Learn 14 languages from Babbel with this $150 lifetime subscription

woman traveling in winter walking through streets

TL;DR: Through April 27, you can get a lifetime subscription to Babbel Language Learning for only $149.97 — that's a 75% discount for a limited time.

Whether you’re getting ready for a vacation or just want a fun way to keep your brain sharp, learning a language could be a fun way to spend your time. During the Spring Digital Blowout, you have a chance to learn 14 different languages with a lifetime subscription to Babbel Language Learning. Get Babbel while it only costs $149.97. The sale ends April 27 at 11:59 p.m. PT. No coupon needed. 

Language lessons that fit into your schedule 

Learning a new language may help buffer your brain against aging, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful part of your day. Treat language learning like an exciting hobby and practice a new tongue in 10- to 15-minute bite-sized language lessons that fit in little pockets of your schedule. Learn a new word in French during your coffee break or practice rolling your R’s while making dinner. 

Babbel designers say it may only take one month for you to speak confidently on some practical topics like transportation, dining, and directions, but your study pace is up to you. Race toward your German fluency or take your time lingering over all the cognates between Danish and English. Treat your next international vacation like a deadline and see how much you can learn. 

There’s somewhere to start for any skill level from beginner to expert. And don’t forget to try the personalized review sessions to reinforce what you’ve learned. It may be easy to forget a second or third language if you’re not using it every day, but the review sessions could help keep everything fresh.

When you make your purchase, you’ll get a code that has to be redeemed within 30 days, so check your calendar if you’re getting Babbel as a gift. This offer is only available to new users and can be accessed on mobile or desktop devices. 

Yes oui si ja aspiring language learners 

Want to learn a new language? How about 14? The Spring Digital Blowout Sale is your chance to get a lifetime subscription to Babbel Language Learning for only $149.97 (reg. $599). Sale ends April 27 at 11:59 p.m. PT, and you don’t need a coupon to complete your purchase. 

Prices subject to change.

babbel logo with orange background and white font
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Babbel
Babbel Language Learning: Lifetime Subscription (opens in a new tab)
$149.97 at the Mashable Shop
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 9:00 am

'Quordle' today: Here are the answers and hints for March 27

A woman's hands holding a mobile phone playing 'Quordle'

If Quordle is a little too challenging today, you've come to the right place for hints. There aren't just hints here, but the whole Quordle solution. Scroll to the bottom of this page, and there it is. But are you sure you need all four answers? Maybe you just need a strategy guide. Either way, scroll down, and you'll get what you need.

What is Quordle?

Quordle is a five-letter word guessing game similar to Wordle, except each guess applies letters to four words at the same time. You get nine guesses instead of six to correctly guess all four words. It looks like playing four Wordle games at the same time, and that is essentially what it is. But it's not nearly as intimidating as it sounds.

Is Quordle harder than Wordle?

Yes, though not diabolically so.

Where did Quordle come from?

Amid the Wordle boom of late 2021 and early 2022, when everyone was learning to love free, in-browser, once-a-day word guessing games, creator Freddie Meyer says he took inspiration from one of the first big Wordle variations, Dordle — the one where you essentially play two Wordles at once. He took things up a notch, and released Quordle on January 30. Meyer's creation was covered in The Guardian six days later, and now, according to Meyer, it attracts millions of daily users. Today, Meyer earns modest revenue from Patreon, where dedicated Quordle fans can donate to keep their favorite puzzle game running. 

How is Quordle pronounced?

“Kwordle.” It should rhyme with “Wordle,” and definitely should not be pronounced exactly like "curdle.”

Is Quordle strategy different from Wordle?

Yes and no.

Your starting strategy should be the same as with Wordle. In fact, if you have a favorite Wordle opening word, there’s no reason to change that here. We suggest something rich in vowels, featuring common letters like C, R, and N. But you do you.

After your first guess, however, you’ll notice things getting out of control if you play Quordle exactly like Wordle.

What should I do in Quordle that I don’t do in Wordle?

Solving a Wordle puzzle can famously come down to a series of single letter-change variations. If you’ve narrowed it down to “-IGHT,” you could guess “MIGHT” “NIGHT” “LIGHT” and “SIGHT” and one of those will probably be the solution — though this is also a famous way to end up losing in Wordle, particularly if you play on “hard mode.” In Quordle, however, this sort of single-letter winnowing is a deadly trap, and it hints at the important strategic difference between Wordle and Quordle: In Quordle, you can't afford to waste guesses unless you're eliminating as many letters as possible at all times. 

Guessing a completely random word that you already know isn't the solution, just to eliminate three or four possible letters you haven’t tried yet, is thought of as a desperate, latch-ditch move in Wordle. In Quordle, however, it's a normal part of the player's strategic toolset.

Is there a way to get the answer faster?

In my experience Quordle can be a slow game, sometimes dragging out longer than it would take to play Wordle four times. But a sort of blunt-force guessing approach can speed things up. The following strategy also works with Wordle if you only want the solution, and don’t care about having the fewest possible guesses:

Try starting with a series of words that puts all the vowels (including Y) on the board, along with some other common letters. We've had good luck with the three words: “NOTES,” “ACRID,” and “LUMPY.” YouTuber DougMansLand suggests four words: “CANOE,” “SKIRT,” “PLUMB,” and “FUDGY.”

Most of the alphabet is now eliminated, and you’ll only have the ability to make one or two wrong guesses if you use this strategy. But in most cases you’ll have all the information you need to guess the remaining words without any wrong guesses.

If strategy isn't helping, and you're still stumped, here are some hints:

Are there any double or triple letters in today’s Quordle words?

One word has a twice-occurring letter.

Are any rare letters being used in today’s Quordle like Q or Z?


What do today’s Quordle words start with?

R, R, B, and H.

What are the answers for today’s Quordle?

Are you sure you want to know?

There’s still time to turn back.

OK, you asked for it. The answers are:

  1. READY

  2. REVUE

  3. BELOW

  4. HASTE

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 4:00 am

Get lifetime access to these stacked learning bundles for under £100

Woman looking at laptop

TL;DR: The Ultimate Lifetime Bundle of StackSkills, Infosec4TC, and Stone River is on sale for £98.87, saving you 99% on list price.

You never have to be done learning if you don’t want to. With time and a little motivation, you could pick up exciting new hobbies, marketable new skills, and practically anything else. The trick is to find a good place to learn from, and the Ultimate Lifetime Bundle of StackSkills, Infosec4TC, and Stone River could be the place to do it.

This massive three-part learning bundle puts thousands of hours of expert instruction right at your fingertips on everything from coding in Python to strumming a guitar, and you can get the whole thing for £98.87.

This three-part bundle contains lifetime subscriptions to StackSkills, Infosec4TC, and Stone River. StackSkills lets you access a library of over 1,000 courses on a huge variety of topics. Whether you want to learn chess, study up on your art software, actually find out what a Pivot table in Excel does, or learn more about project management, there’s a course or two for you. You can even track your progress and earn professional certifications. You might have your next interview in the bag if you can show that your hobby is professional development. 

Stone River Learning adds over 800 courses to the mix on mobile programming, web design, app design, 3D animation, and programming. If your goal is a career in tech, this is how you can access over 4,800 hours of material and study on your own time on your phone, laptop, or tablet. Your subscription also comes with free certification exams, personal learning guides, and full eBooks. 

The cybersecurity industry is growing fast, and it may take some effort to become a competitive candidate for desirable jobs. Infosec4TC is a 90-course cybersecurity online training provider that gives you more courses to study, a portal of resources, project training, exam practice questions, and more. These courses may be rigorous, but there are still places for beginners to start, including an A-to-Z course entirely on using Python. 

Become a lifelong learner. Get the Ultimate Lifetime Bundle of StackSkills, Stone River, and Infosec4TC on sale for £98.87 for a limited time.

StackSkills logo
Opens in a new tab
Credit: StackSkills
Ultimate Lifetime Bundle of StackSkills, Stone River, and Infosec4TC (opens in a new tab)
£98.87 at the Mashable Shop
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 4:00 am

How to watch the Masters 2023 livestream online for free

Golf ball and hole

SAVE 49%: ExpressVPN can access the Masters for free. A one-year subscription to ExpressVPN is on sale for £85.52 and includes an extra three months for free — 49% off. Subscribers also get a money-back guarantee that can be used to stream for free.

Golf fans are a seriously dedicated bunch, so the wait for the first major championship of 2023 will have been tough to handle.

We know you've suffered greatly, so we're pleased to announce that the wait is almost over. The Augusta National just around the corner, and you can follow every shot on a range of streaming services. The only thing that could get in your way is travel and those dreaded geo-restrictions. If you're faced with this unnerving prospect, you should consider subscribing to a streaming-friendly VPN.

When is the Masters 2023?

The Masters begins in the Augusta National Golf Club on April 6, with the final round on April 9.

ESPN and CBS are hosting coverage of the tournament for viewers in the U.S. Full coverage will begin at 1 p.m. EST on the first few days of the competition, with more coverage scheduled across the weekend. Fans in the UK can enjoy exclusive live coverage on Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event, with full coverage starting from 8 p.m. GMT on April 6-7, 7.30 p.m. GMT on April 8, and 6.30 p.m. GMT on April 9. BBC2 is also showing highlights later in the day.

That's fairly straightforward, but those aren't your only options.

Can you livestream the Masters for free?

ESPN and CBS are exclusively available for the American audience, and Sky Sports is only available in the UK. But that's not all, because most streaming services don't exactly come cheap. This is tough for those not subscribed, so plenty of golf fans will be looking for alternative ways to watch.

Fortunately, you can watch this year's tournament for free on a range of global services:

The only way to access these global streaming platforms from abroad is with a VPN. That might sound scary, but it's actually a really simple process. With a streaming-friendly service, you can easily watch every round of the Masters on 9Now for free in just a few steps:

  1. Sign up for a streaming-friendly VPN

  2. Download the app to your device of choice (the best VPNs have apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and more)

  3. Open up the app and connect to a server in Australia

  4. Visit 9Now

  5. Watch the Masters for free on 9Now

Most of the best VPNs for streaming are not free, but they do tend to offer money-back guarantees. By using these guarantees, you can watch Masters livestreams for free.

What is the best VPN for the Masters?

ExpressVPN is the best service for unblocking leading streaming sites like 9Now, CBS, and BBC iPlayer. Subscribers get strong connection speeds, powerful levels of encryption, a built-in password manager, and fast servers in 94 countries. Subscribers also get apps for every platform and can connect up to five devices simultaneously.

A one-year subscription to ExpressVPN is on sale for £85.52 and includes an extra three months for free — 49% off for a limited time. This discounted plan also includes a year of free unlimited cloud backup and a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can sign up to access the Masters and then recover your investment with the money-back guarantee. This is sneaky, but it works.

Watch the Masters 2023 for free with ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN logo
Opens in a new tab
Credit: ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN (1-Year Subscription + 3 Months Free) (opens in a new tab)
£85.52 only at ExpressVPN
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 3:55 am

'Succession' Season 4, episode 1: The final season begins the same way the show started

Three adults stand next to each other while giving a speech in a fancy home.

It's our last first day at Succession school. 

The final season of HBO's remarkable hit on billionaire echelons who've become the internet's favorite fancam material is finally here, and things are kicking off with a familiar festivity. Like its Season 1 pilot episode, the final season of Succession is wrapping things up the same way it all started, with Logan's (Brian Cox) birthday. But things are looking pretty different this time around. 

In between Logan's birthdays, we've had a slew of divorces, court cases, attempted coups, and familial betrayals. Naturally, that's affected who's gotten an invite to Logan's exclusive Waystar Royco–approved birthday bash. 

It's officially the beginning of the end of the Roy-verse, and Succession's masterful full-circle moment employs Logan's birthday as great comparative ground to see just how much has changed since the pilot. Who's still allowed to get a slice of the Logan funfetti cake, and who's begging to be on his guest list?

Here's everything that's changed between Logan's b-day extravaganzas past and present, and what it reveals about where the family's headed. 

Logan's birthday in the pilot episode saw the family happy-ish and together. 

Three adults wearing warm clothing walk on a field of grass.
Just some happy Roy kids ready to play a game with their daddy. Credit: Craig Blankenhorn / HBO

Plotwise, Succession's pilot episode mainly untangled Logan's decision to bestow all his assets (including Waystar) upon his third wife, Marcia (Hiam Abbass). Birthday-wise, Succession's pilot episode was a full-fledged family affair where our ragtag gang of Roys had a home-cooked (five-star) lunch and even played some softball — family fun on all ends! 

In the pilot, Logan's 80th birthday laid out the blueprint for how things work when you're a Roy. We got to know the family. We got to see their mansions. And we quickly learned that of Logan's four children, Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook), and Roman (Kieran Culkin) were the main three players up for the Waystar throne. At this point, all three were still close enough to their dad — albeit a complicated kind of close — to show up for his birthday with gifts in hand and speeches ready. 

SEE ALSO: Kendall Roy is the internet's babygirl

Alongside the core four Roys were the newly minted Roys — Tom (Matthew Macfayden), Shiv's partner and soon-to-be husband, and Greg (Nicholas Braun), an estranged cousin looking for a slice of that Logan pie. The pair were initially on the sidelines, two cubs desperate for validation from a family of lions, but all of that has changed by Season 4.

Every ounce of the dynamic introduced to us in Succession's pilot episode is a thing of the past; everything we knew about Kendall, Shiv, and Roman's relationship to their dad is now a memory. Long gone are the days of happy engagements, Logan lunches, or a family game of softball. The Roys are more fragmented than ever, and Logan's birthday in Season 4 works to show that divide. 

Logan's birthday in Season 4 is a hot pile of family drama. 

Three men in suits talk in a small kitchen.
Tom and Greg are now Logan's right-hand men. Credit: Macall B. Polay / HBO

After Season 3's explosive finale, the Roys are essentially split up into two teams: Team Logan, which includes Tom, Greg, and Logan's eldest son, Connor (Alan Ruck); and Team "New Gen Roy," as Kendall so proudly coins his allyship with his siblings Shiv and Roman. The schism is woefully apparent, with none of team New Gen Roy present at Logan's birthday. Instead, the trio is miles away, planning on buying a company Logan wants, while the patriarch is in some swanky penthouse in New York celebrating his birthday with colleagues who fear him. 

The siblings eventually enter a bidding war against their dad during his birthday, and they win with a whopping nine-billion-dollar deal. But stocks and financial fluff aside, Logan's birthday in Season 4 is incredibly depressing. None of his favorite kids are actually there. None of his grandchildren are there. Shiv and Tom are now basically on the cusp of divorce. And Logan's not-so celebrating his birthday with his kids, who are hellbent on destroying him. 

SEE ALSO: 'Succession' Season 4 review: Are you ready to say farewell to the Roys?

The emptiness of Logan's birthday speaks volumes about what he's done to his kids, and what they're ready to do to him. His birthday in Season 4 felt more like a battleground than the familial bash it did in Season 1, and its war cry isn't ending there. Tom and Greg now have top seats at the Logan table (surprising, I know), and Kendall, Shiv, and Roman have banded together, with Logan's eyes ex'd out as their sigil. 

Looking at Logan's birthdays past and present, we fully see the scope of just how much betrayal has happened, what it changed, and what's at stake. While the kids wanted the CEO seat in Season 1 and blew out their dad's candles together, in Season 4 they want his entire empire dissolved and are sparking a flame sure to burn the whole cake. Succession's decision to end things the same way it all started sets us up for the divide between the Roys reaching new heights — well beyond awkward birthday parties. 

Get ready for even more betrayal, backstabbing, and bad birthdays, because the New Gen Roys are here, and they're ready to eat up the whole buffet. 

Succession is streaming on HBO Max, with new episodes airing weekly on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 2:10 am

'Succession' Season 4: What's the meaning of episode 1's final scene with Logan?

An older man sits at a chair by a long table looking serious.

We've had a recent hit of apocalyptic heartbreak with The Last of Us, we're currently getting our fix of survival-based scares with Yellowjackets, and here to round off the holy trinity of misery with some good old fashioned psychological-trauma-mixed-with-familial-dread is the return of Succession.

But as well as the sharp barbs and familiarly diabolical moments, Season 4's first episode also came armed with the script's usual multi-layers.

A perfect example of this? The very last scene with Logan (Brian Cox) watching an ATN news show, which seemed almost like a throwaway moment but was filled with hidden meaning.

SEE ALSO: 'Succession' Season 4 review: Are you ready to say farewell to the Roys?

What happens in the final scene of Succession Season 4, episode 1?

After being outbid on the purchase of media conglomerate PGM by his own children during his own birthday party, the ending of Season 4, episode 1 sees Logan slumped on the couch on his own, presumably drunk as he watches a news show on ATN, the network he owns.

Clearly not happy with what he's seeing, Logan reaches for his phone and dials Cyd Peach (Jeannie Berline), a senior employee at ATN. They have the following exchange:

"Cyd. I just watched the top of the hour. It's bullshit. People watch at night. I watch at night."


"Who is this fucking lunk anyway? He looks like a ballsack in a toupée. Are you losing it, Cyd?"

"I'm all over it, Log—"

"Are you fucking losing it?"

Midway through Cyd attempting to reassure Logan once again he hangs up on her, and the episode ends moments later. But is the scene really as simple as Logan chastising an employee?

Featured Video For You
Jeremy Strong on how he approached is roles for 'Succession' and 'The Trial of the Chicago 7'

What does the first episode's ending really mean?

Logan randomly lashing out at his staff is nothing new. But the Logan we see in this scene — slumped posture, slightly disheveled — is far from commonplace.

If he's feeling stressed, though, he has reason to. The sale of Waystar Royco is imminent, which means for the first time in his life Logan will be giving up power. To make things worse, he also just lost out on the purchase of PGM to his own scorned children, all of whom have now parted ways with their father and become rivals after the events of Season 3's finale.

In the scene described above, I don't think Logan is simply moaning at an employee — I think he's desperately floundering for a sense of control that's quickly slipping away from him. His phone call is an attempt to exert power before he loses any more of it. And when he shouts that last question down the phone, that "Are you fucking losing it?" Logan isn't really talking to Cyd Peach, he's talking to himself.

Succession Season 4, episode 1 is streaming now on HBO Max, with new episodes airing weekly on Sundays at 9 p.m.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 2:00 am

Wordle today: Here's the answer, hints for March 27

A close-up of a person playing Wordle on their smartphone.

Yikes, it's Monday again. Hopefully, a brand new Wordle can brighten your day. If you're struggling, don't worry — we're here with our daily hints and tips to help you figure out the solution.

If you prefer to just be told the answer, you can scroll to the end of this article for March 27's Wordle solution to be revealed. But if you'd rather work through it yourself, keep reading for some clues, tips, and strategies to assist you.

Where did Wordle come from?

Originally created by engineer Josh Wardle as a gift for his partner, Wordle rapidly spread to become an international phenomenon, with thousands of people around the globe playing every day. Alternate Wordle versions created by fans have even sprung up, including battle royale Squabble, music identification game Heardle, and variations like Dordle and Quordle that make you guess multiple words at once

Wordle eventually became so popular that it was purchased by the New York Times, and TikTok creators even livestream themselves playing.

Not the day you're after? Here's the Wordle answer for March 25.

What's the best Wordle starting word?

The best Wordle starting word is the one that brings joy to your heart. But if what brings you joy is strategy, we have a few ideas to help you pick a word that might help you find the solution faster. One tip is to select a word that includes at least two different vowels, plus some common consonants like S, T, R, or N.

What happened to the Wordle archive?

The entire archive of past Wordle puzzles used to be available for anyone to enjoy whenever they felt like it. Unfortunately, it has since been taken down, with the website's creator stating it was done at the request of the New York Times.

Is Wordle getting harder?

It might feel like Wordle is getting harder, but it actually isn't any more difficult than when it first began. You can turn on Wordle's Hard Mode if you're after more of a challenge, though.

Why are there two different Wordle answers some days?

Though usually Wordle will only accept one correct solution per day, occasionally it will rebel against the norm and deem two different answers acceptable. This is due to changes the New York Times made to Wordle after it acquired the puzzle game.

The Times has since added its own updated word list, so this should happen even less frequently than before. To avoid any confusion, it's a good idea to refresh your browser before getting stuck into a new puzzle.

Here's a subtle hint for today's Wordle answer:

Highly prized fertilizer harvested from above.

Does today's Wordle answer have a double letter?

Not today!

Today's Wordle is a 5-letter word that starts with...

Today's Wordle starts with the letter G.

SEE ALSO: Wordle-obsessed? These are the best word games to play IRL.

What's the answer to Wordle today?

We're finally about to reveal the answer to today's Wordle, so get your guesses in now!

Are you ready?

The solution to Wordle #646 is...


Don't feel discouraged if you didn't get it this time. The beauty of Wordle is that there's always a new one to try the next day, and we'll be here again with more helpful clues and hints.

Posted on 27 March 2023 | 1:00 am

Microsoft threatens to cut-off rival AI chatbots from Bing data

microsoft and bing logos

The AI chatbot wars are heating up, apparently. Microsoft is reportedly considering barring other companies from using data from its search engine Bing.

Bloomberg reported that Microsoft has threatened to cut-off two separate Bing-powered search engines if companies don't stop using the data for their own chatbots. The Bloomberg report did not specify which companies were involved in the dispute, and several search engines rely on Bing, including DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, and

SEE ALSO: DuckDuckGo is the latest search engine to launch an AI assistant

Sites like DuckDuckGo and license Bing's search data from Microsoft, to use in a myriad of ways to enhance their own search engine capabilities. However, Bloomberg reports that while Microsoft is fine with how Bing is used currently, the company draws the line at "using Bing’s search index as fodder for AI chatbots."

It seems like everyone and anyone has an AI chatbot these days with OpenAI's ChatGPT, Google's Bard, and Microsoft's Bing Chat. While we do not know which companies were warned by Microsoft, The Verge notes that both DuckDuckGo,, and Neeva have launched AI products of their own.

Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)

Generative AI, and AI chatbots, have been, without a doubt the tech innovation of 2023. And it seems that new capabilities and versions of AI bots launch daily. Bing, for instance, recently launched the ability to generate images via AI. With countless tech giants fighting for supremacy in the emerging field, it makes sense that Microsoft would try to limit other companies access to said data when it comes to the AI field.

Posted on 26 March 2023 | 5:09 pm

The best survival kits to prepare for all the things you can’t predict

JUDY Emergency Preparedness Kit

If there's one thing we've learned in recent times, it's that we simply cannot predict what life is going to throw at us — whether it’s wild weather events, a worldwide pandemic, or a horrifying fungal outbreak that turns us all into vicious zombie-like creatures. Okay, maybe that last one's not a real threat, but we can't deny that The Last of Us hasn't got us thinking about what we'd do if a real emergency — manmade or natural — came crashing onto our doorstep. That's why we're here to round up a solid selection of emergency preparedness essentials so you can find the best survival kit or go bag to help you prep for all the things you can't predict.

Why do I need a survival kit?

Hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, fires, blizzards, blackouts ... There's a seemingly endless list of dangers that can trap us at home without help for an extended period of time, or force us to evacuate at a moment’s notice. That said, you certainly don't need to be a doomsday prepper with a well-stocked bunker to want to keep yourself safe in case of an emergency. There are plenty of pre-made survival gear kits out there to fit all sorts of needs, whether you want to stash some basic essentials in your car, stock up on goods to hunker down at home, or have a backpack ready to go to your nearest evacuation center.

SEE ALSO: The best camping gear for beginners

What should a survival kit include?

To gain insight on what should be included in a top-notch survival kit, we spoke to a series of emergency preparedness experts: Bruce Jones, seasoned meteorologist and spokesperson for Midland Radio, a leader in two-way communications and extreme weather/emergency alert technology; Michael Collins, PE, Commissioner of Public Services & Engineering for Beverly, MA and member of the APWA Emergency Management Committee which provides American Public Works Association members with resources to prepare for, respond to, and recover from hazards; and Melanie Papworth, planner and founder of Plan for Awesome, a website sharing practical, approachable, and realistic preparedness resources for everyday busy families. Their recommendations fell into a handful of key categories:

Food and Water

All of our experts agreed that non-perishable food and clean water for drinking and sanitation should be at the top of your list. Jones notes that you'll need at least three days’ worth of food and water per person (and pet!) in your household — but you'll want to bump that up to seven days if you live in a hurricane zone, and 14 days if you live in an earthquake zone.

Collins recommends canned food, protein bars, and shelf-stable MREs (that's a Meal, Ready-to-Eat), while Papworth notes that you'll want both stored water and a means for water filtration to make clean water from any source, if needed. She loves her family's Berkey, but a portable LifeStraw, filtered water bottles, or even iodine tablets may be all you need, depending on the water source.

SEE ALSO: Best portable generators for camping, power outages, and more

Collins also recommends including single-serving electrolyte powder packets in your survival kit, especially if you may be dealing with extreme heat.

Communications, Navigation, and Light

It’s important to keep a hand-crank radio, flashlight, and charger in your kit so that you don't need to rely on electricity or batteries. Jones is partial to Midland's ER310 Emergency Crank Radio — equipped with NOAA Weather Radio, a built-in LED flashlight and whistle, and the ability to recharge USB-compatible devices — but any similar crank radio will do. 

Collins recommends a solar-powered phone charger and a battery pack of at least 10,000 mAh to keep devices charged up. And you may also want a compass, local maps, waterproof matches or a lighter, and a small mirror, flare, or glow stick to signal for help, especially if you’re heading out into the wild.

First Aid

To help treat yourself and your family in an emergency, Jones recommends a first-aid kit with at least: bandages, antibiotic ointment packets, antiseptic wipe packets, non-latex gloves, gauze pads, and a thermometer.

Papworth also points out that you’ll want to stash some OTC medications for fever and pain relief, as well as any prescriptions and medical devices that are necessary for your survival.


At the very least, pack some moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation in your kit, according to Jones. However, Papworth's own top three must-haves for an evacuation scenario are deodorant, floss/toothpaste, and chapstick — though a change of clothes is really high on her list, too.

"Can you imagine wearing the same underwear for three days? Enough said."

Face masks can also come in handy for keeping out dust and debris, and hand sanitizer always comes in clutch as well.

Shelter and Warmth

Collins advises those in colder climates to pack warm clothing, a hat, and space blankets in their survival kit. If you expect to be evacuated, be sure to keep a weather-appropriate sleeping bag for each person, and maybe an emergency tent as well.

“Also pack some trash bags or polyethylene sheeting,” says Collins. “They offer an alternative way to stay warm, collect rain, and protect you from rain or the sun.”

Jones seconds the recommendation for plastic sheeting, as well as duct tape. The latter can repair gear, patch leaks, or even stabilize a broken limb in an extreme emergency. It can also be fashioned into a bowl for eating or collecting water — the possibilities are really endless.

Survival Tools

Aside from the almighty, all-purpose duct tape, you should keep a few other versatile tools in your survival kit, including a multi-tool that can act as a bottle opener or survival knife to help you cut through rope or open cans of food. Collins also recommends a paracord bracelet which has a wide variety of applications, from tying up gear to securing shelter. You could even use this survival bracelet to go fishing.

ID and Important Documents

You should always have your driver's license, passport, or another form of ID on you, and Papworth recommends keeping the originals of all your important documents in a fireproof, waterproof box to grab before an evacuation — just in case of the worst possible scenario. Cash can come in handy too, especially small bills.


And last but not least — as we’re reminded by Ellie with her comics and delightfully cringeworthy book of puns in TLoU — it’s important to bring along a little entertainment to keep spirits light, especially for kids.

“Think small, light, and inexpensive,” says Papworth. “Dice and a Yahtzee scorecard, playing cards, Go Fish, UNO, a coloring book and crayons, bouncy balls, a book, etc.”

Posted on 26 March 2023 | 9:00 am

20 best dramas on Netflix for when you want to feel something

movie images

Drama can hit hard and hurt so good.

You gotta love that gut punch of tragedy backed by a swelling orchestral score and how it can be a ruthless rush. Sometimes a tearjerker — one that invites us to cry along with the characters — feels better than therapy. Other times, watching a protagonist persevere through hellish hardship can give us the hope we need to persevere.

Whatever kind of drama you’re craving, Netflix’s library of film and TV awaits you. Whether you want poignant period pieces, provocative performances, memorable melodramas, unique crime narratives, acclaimed coming-of-age tales, or a curious case of a dismembered hand on a mission, we've got you covered.

Here are the best dramas on Netflix streaming now.

1. The Power of the Dog

A cowboy sits before a candle's flame.
Benedict Cumberbatch in his Academy Award-nominated role. Credit: Kirsty Griffin / Netflix

Among our favorites of 2021 is Jane Campion's slow-burn thriller with the gritty grandeur of a Western. Academy Award-nominee Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Phil Burbank, a rugged rancher, who can rope, ride, and run down anyone with his cruel wit. Once his bullied brother (Academy Award-nominee Jesse Plemons) marries, Phil's favorite target becomes his gentle (and genteel) sister-in-law (Academy Award-nominee Kirsten Dunst), who could well crumble under his cold stare. Toxic tensions burn slow and mean as Campion smoothly unfurls a story unpredictable, unnerving, and outstanding. This one grows more compelling with each rewatch. Give yourself over the sickening swoon, and you'll understand what had critics raving and why Campion (once again) took home the Academy Award for Best Director.* — Kristy Puchko, Film Editor

How to watch: The Power of the Dog is streaming on Netflix.

2. Phantom Thread 

If Daniel Day-Lewis is really and truly permanently retired from acting (and let's hope he's not, for acting's sake), then he went out on a darn high note with this profoundly romantic anti-romance from director Paul Thomas Anderson. DDL's persnickety couture bastard Reynolds Woodcock (a name the director and his star came up with as a gag, which stuck) and his right-hand sis Cyril (Lesley Manville, who will go right through you) have the disgustingly wealthy eating out of their satin-lined gloves when the film begins.

SEE ALSO: Why has 'Phantom Thread' given us so many great memes?

So, how does a stumbling bumbling nobody waitress named Alma (Vicky Krieps in a blow-the-doors-off performance) flip their entire pristine world upside down with nothing but a well-calculated blush and a basket of mushrooms? That’s the stuff of romance, in all of its violent, push-pull swirl. And Phantom Thread captures the dunderheaded swoon of that first blush, plus all of the fallout that necessarily falls after in order to keep that flame forever burning.* — Jason Adams, Freelance Contributor

How to watch: Phantom Thread is streaming on Netflix.

3. Mudbound

Two men in a pick-up truck
Jason Mitchell and Garrett Hedlund in "Mudbound." Credit: Steve Dietl / Netflix

Based on the Hillary Jordan novel, this period drama charts the relationships and racial conflict between two farming families in the 1939 Mississippi Delta. Taking audiences from the brutal battlefields of World War II to the mud-sucking fields of a community on the brink of eruption, co-writer/director Dee Ree's explosive drama earned plenty of praise from critics as well as four Oscar nominations. Among these accolades were Best Cinematography, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress for Mary J. Blige, who was also nominated for Best Original Song, "Mighty River." Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Rob Morgan, Jason Mitchell, and Garrett Hedlund were also a part of an ensemble, heralded for their powerful performances. — K.P.

How to watch: Mudbound is now streaming on Netflix.

4. Bad Genius

In high school, challenges like envy and SAT exams can feel like life-or-death drama. Director Nattawut Poonpiriya pays tribute to that intensity with an unusual — and uniquely thrilling — crime narrative. Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying stars as a brilliant but broke student, who uses her smarts not only to get good grades but also to create a cheating scheme to help out her classmates, who are rich in cash but poor in brains. A crackerjack ensemble cast brings plenty of verve to a familiar premise, which is punctuated with suspenseful scenes of narrows escapes and clever cons. Yet amid the thrall of it all, Poonpiriya offers a thought-provoking theme about the class conflict and how being a genius isn't all it's cracked up to be. — K.P.

How to watch: Bad Genius is now streaming on Netflix.

5. The Woman King

Inspired by the Agojie of West Africa, The Woman King explores the passions, problems, and camaraderie of this all-female band of warriors. While Viola Davis dazzles at its center, co-stars Thuso Mbedu, Sheila Atim, and Lashana Lynch shine alongside her. Each brings powerful charisma to a full-throated performance that keeps audiences equally riveted through scenes of battle or blossoming romance, gut-punching grief, or pugnacious celebration. As she did with The Old Guard, Gina Prince-Bythewood marries action with emotion, creating sequences that make our pulses race and our hearts shudder.*K.P.

How to watch: The Woman King is now streaming on Netflix.

6. Marriage Story

A married couple
Scarlet Johansson  and Adam Driver cherish a rare happy moment in "Marriage Story" Credit: Wilson Webb / Netflix

Breaking up is hard to do. Knowing that all too well, writer/director Noah Baumbach tapped into his own experience with divorce in creating Marriage Story. This critically acclaimed 2019 drama thoughtfully splits its focus between a director and actress suffocating in a dying marriage. Adam Driver and Scarlet Johansson deliver performances so raw with ache and rage that the film’s hardest-hitting scenes feel intensely voyeuristic. Both leads earned Oscar nominations for laying themselves bare here. However, it was a scene-stealing Laura Dern, in a supporting turn as a fabulous and ferocious divorce attorney, who won the film’s only Oscar. Honestly, fair. Heads up: this one is ill-suited for Netflix and Chill viewing! — K.P.

How to watch: Marriage Story is now streaming on Netflix.

SEE ALSO: How to unblock and watch American Netflix from the UK

7. Leave No Trace

Writer-director Debra Granik travels even further out to the fringes of society than she did in Winter's Bone, this time focusing on a traumatized vet father and his teenage daughter, enjoying an idyllic, if unconventional, life out in the wild. But when society catches up to them and forces them to go back on the grid, they're torn between her desire for a community and his inability to be part of one.

Leave No Trace isn't the flashiest film; even the usually showy Ben Foster reins in his performance, to impressive effect. And where Winter's Bone was brutal, this one is kind and compassionate. But it's fierce and unflinching in its own way. The world has a way of intruding on families, no matter how tight or caring, and there are times, it turns out, when love isn't enough.* — Angie Han, Deputy Entertainment Editor

How to watch: Leave No Trace is now streaming on Netflix.

8. In the Dark

A woman stands in the dark
Perry Mattfeld solves crimes as Murphy Mason  in "In The Dark." Credit: Marni Grossman / The CW

Want a detective drama with some spice and snark? Then check out this CW series from Corinne Kingsbury, which centers on an amateur sleuth seeking justice for her murdered friend. Twentysomething Murphy Mason (Perry Mattfeld) is a lot like the glowering gumshoes of classic film noir. She's got a world-weary attitude, a sharp mind, a sarcastic wit, and an insatiable thirst for hard liquor. To her mom and friends, she's a self-sabotaging screwup. So, when Murphy claims she's found a local teen dead in a back alley, few believe her. It doesn't help her cause that she's blind and the corpse vanishes before the cops turn up. Thus, it's up to Murphy to clean up and crack the case, no matter what dark paths she must traverse with her seeing-eye dog, Pretzel. Warning: Between Mattfield's chaotic charisma and the show's nonstop twists, this series is downright addictive. — K.P.

How to watch: In the Dark Seasons 1-4 are now streaming on Netflix.

9. The Harder They Fall

Directed by Jeymes Samuel, The Harder They Fall not only boasts an incredible cast — Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Regina King, Zazie Beetz, LaKeith Stanfield, and Delroy Lindo — but defiantly reclaims the Western, even before the opening credits roll. A tale of heroes and villains, the film follows Nat Love (Majors), on a quest for revenge against the formidable Rufus Buck (Elba). But he'll have to make his gunslinging way through "Treacherous" Trudy Smith (Regina King) and Cherokee Bill (Stanfield).

As Mashable's Kristy Puchko writes in her review, "Bursting with dazzling Black stars, the Netflix-made Western introduces some of the fascinating Black cowpokes who made their mark on the Wild West. Co-writer/director Jeymes Samuel resurrects their legends with style, attitude, and an opening title card that teases, 'While the events of this story are fictional...These. People. Existed.'"*Shannon Connellan, UK Editor

How to watch: The Harder They Fall is now streaming on Netflix.

10. I Lost My Body

A dismembered hand holds a lighter
A dismembered hand searches for home in "I Lost My Body." Credit: Netflix

Animated films often fall into the categories of kid-friendly comedies, chipper musicals, or rollicking adventures. This extraordinary French film not only breaks from expectation by being a tender drama, but also offers something scintillatingly strange by making its protagonist a dismembered hand in search of his missing body. Adapted from the Guillaume Laurant novel, this Jérémy Clapin-directed cartoon delivers a raucous journey through the suburbs of Paris, from cozy apartments and dangerous subways to glittering rooftops and a jolting realization.

With a sophisticated aesthetic and complex emotional narrative, I Lost My Body won praise on the film festival circuit and a slew of critics' guilds, as well as the César for Best Animated Feature. If you're not much for subtitles, worry not! Netflix also offers a meticulous English over-dub. — K.P.

How to watch: I Lost My Body is now streaming on Netflix.

SEE ALSO: Wake Up, Oscars: Animation isn't just for kids

11. My Girl

For a generation who grew up on Home Alone, My Girl was the first movie to break our hearts into a million glittering pieces, like a pair of smashed eyeglasses. (Too soon?) This 1991 coming-of-age drama starred Anna Chlumsky and Macaulay Culkin as 11-year-old best friends, enjoying a 1972 summer of fun, first kisses, and hard life lessons. Director Howard Zieff paints a sunny picture of youth that's reckless, fragile, and charmingly nostalgic. The adult supporting cast of Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Griffin Dunne brought a welcoming warmth to more mature moments. But make no mistake, Chlumsky — in her first lead role — is far and away this film’s dazzler, delivering a performance that is playful and poignant. Have your tissues ready, and revisit a summer of love and heartbreak. — K.P.

How to watch: My Girl is now streaming on Netflix.

12. Alias Grace

A woman sits in a prison cell
Sarah Gadon sits in stir in "Alias Grace." Credit: Sabrina Lantos / Netflix

If you love The Handmaid's Tale, then you'll relish Alias Grace. Also adapted from a Margaret Atwood novel, this mini series delves into historical fiction, exploring the motives of 19th-century murderess Grace Marks. Sarah Gadon stars as the notorious killer, who journeyed from Ireland to Canada and made a humble life for herself as maid to the farmer Thomas Kinnear (Paul Gross). So why did she kill him?

Sarah Polley's sensational script unfolds the lyricism of Atwood's words with an agile ear for dialogue, while director Mary Harron plumbs the depths of the human soul to craft a tale of murder that's more melancholic than merciless. The result is a mini-series that is restrained yet absolutely riveting. Anna Paquin, David Cronenberg, and Zachary Levi co-star. — K.P.

How to watch: Alias Grace is now streaming on Netflix.

13. Molly's Game

History says Jessica Chastain won an Oscar for the titular role in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, but we say she won it — at least in part — due to this slick 2017 drama from Aaron Sorkin. Chastain plays Molly Bloom, whose shattered Olympic dreams lead her on an unlikely path to hosting underground celebrity poker games. Bloom ends up at the top of an empire, feared, respected, and revered by A-listers from Hollywood and more. In Chastain’s hands, she’s smooth as heck, a keen observer, and as calculated in her business as the best poker players. Though not a thriller in the conventional sense, Molly’s Game keeps you hooked with sharp dialogue, pacing, and editing, and that sustained tingly sensation you get when you know you’re doing something wrong.*Proma Khosla, Senior Entertainment Reporter

How to watch: Molly's Game is streaming on Netflix.

14. Forrest Gump

If you still haven't seen Forrest Gump, what rock are you living under? The legendary film is a guaranteed staple on every film class syllabus and for good reason. Forrest Gump kicks off with our protagonist (played by Tom Hanks) sitting on a bus stop bench and recounting his entire life to a stranger. We see Forrest grow up as a kid in Alabama, his young adult years serving in Vietnam, and his serendipitous success with a familiar shrimp company you might have heard of. As Forrest meanders through the world, pursuing his childhood sweetheart Jenny (Robin Wright), we're left with a profound portrait of where life can take us if we're all just a little bit kinder to each other and hell-bent on doing the right thing.* Yasmeen Hamadeh, Entertainment Intern

How to watch: Forrest Gump is streaming on Netflix.

15. Rocky

The man, the myth, the legend. If you haven't seen Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) do his thing yet, you're missing out on a world of cinema. The first installment of the iconic franchise gave us one of the most memorable training montages ever, a soundtrack that's lasted decades, and a finale no one will ever forget. If the first Rocky isn't enough to get you hooked, Netflix has all of the franchise's films for a great binge-watch and lit movie night that just might have you reaching out for your own boxing gloves.*Y.H. 

How to watch: Rocky is streaming on Netflix.

16. Call Me by Your Name

Twenty-two-year-olds don’t get nominated for Best Actor every day. Indeed, only two actors in the 95-year history of the Academy Awards were younger than Timothée Chalamet was in 2017 when he waltzed into the Dolby Theater in his white tuxedo after having given irrepressible life to the bookish teenager Elio Perlman in Luca Guadagnino’s 2018 romantic masterpiece Call Me by Your Name. And I'd have given him the statue, too.

SEE ALSO: 'Call Me by Your Name' is the rare case where you should watch the movie before reading the book

Dropping amid dark Trumpian days here in the U.S., this too-brief Italian summer, flush with color and fluids, saw Elio feeling out those first deepest intimacies with his father’s summertime professorial assistant Oliver (Armie Hammer)...and also, somewhat memorably, a peach. And it felt like the coming-of-age movie so many of us had been waiting our entire lives to see.* — J.A.

How to watch: Call Me By Your Name is streaming on Netflix.

17. Reservoir Dogs 

Orange, brown, blonde, and that indelible, edible pink – Quentin Tarantino delivered an entire rainbow of flavor with his 1992 feature debut, giving his eight gangsters (Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Lawrence Tierney, Michael Madsen, Edward Bunker, and Tarantino himself) all nicknames of the pigment kind. All the better to keep themselves anonymous as they commit their dirty, diamond-thieving deeds.

But the three colors you might think of most of when you think of this movie are probably black, white, and red — black and white for those iconic matching suits the very bad dudes all sport, and red for the fountains of blood that end up getting splashed and sprayed all across them before this madcap, rat-a-tat, heist-gone-seriously-wrong flick is through. Listening to all this snappy dialogue and watching where Madsen’s knife slices — you’ll never take your ears for granted again! * — J.A.

How to watch: Reservoir Dogs is streaming on Netflix.

18. Lady Chatterley's Lover

Jack O'Connell as Oliver, Emma Corrin as Lady Constance in "Lady Chatterley's Lover."
Emma Corrin and Jack O'Connell star in a modern adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's novel. Credit: Parisa Taghizadeh / Netflix

This modern adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's scandalous 1928 novel will leave you absolutely swooning. Emma Corrin (The Crown) is spectacular as Connie Reid, the titular Lady Chatterley. Her marriage to Clifford Chatterley seemed like the perfect match before the war, but when he returns paralyzed, withdrawn, and uninterested in her happiness, Connie feels utterly alone and isolated in their empty countryside manor. She finds a refuge for her oppressive loneliness in the estate's gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors (Jack O'Connell). Very quickly the two begin a torrid affair that is both passionate and tender, exuberant and profound — and a threat to both of their lifestyles. 

Much like the source material, Lady Chatterley's Lover puts sex on full display. The couple's trysts are steamy and explicit, but thanks to the incredible vulnerability of Corrin and O'Connell, and the steady hand of director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, they never feel pornographic. The lovers' stolen moments are deeply intimate and personal. Together, in the sumptuous woods of the Chatterley estate, they explore each other's bodies and souls with unbridled joy. It's an elegant and sensual adaptation that makes an age-old story feel like a breath of fresh air.*Kristina Grosspietsch, Freelance Contributor

How to Watch: Lady Chatterley's Lover is streaming on Netflix.

19. Still Alice

Based on Lisa Genova's novel of the same name, Still Alice follows Alice Howland (Julianne Moore), a linguistics professor at Columbia University who's been diagnosed with familial Alzheimer's. The film is a stunning, emotionally-loaded portrait of Alzheimer's and Alice's grappling with her diagnosis as she leans on her family. It's a tear-jerking drama that gently reminds us that even when it feels like all things are lost, the love we share with one another is something we'll never forget. Moore's performance is incredible, and one watch will testify to her Academy win. The film also stars Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, and Hunter Parrish. — Y.H. 

How to watch: Still Alice is streaming on Netflix.

20. A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls is a modern fable about loss, suffering, and childhood. In it, a young boy (Lewis MacDougall) copes with the prospect of losing his mother by befriending a tree monster (voiced by Liam Neeson) that tells him three illuminating stories in exchange for one story from the boy. The movie is based on the fantasy novel by Patrick Ness, who wrote the story based on an idea from Siobhan Dowd, a writer who died of cancer before writing the book herself.*Alexis Nedd, Senior Entertainment Reporter

How to watch: A Monster Calls is now streaming on Netflix.

*Asterisks signify a blurb has appeared in a previous Mashable list.

UPDATE: Mar. 24, 2023, 1:30 p.m. EDT This story was originally published in Jan. 2021 and was updated in March 2023.

Posted on 26 March 2023 | 9:00 am

Save 37% on a Mac mini with 32GB RAM

mac mini in gray with gradient background

TL;DR: Get a Mac mini (Intel Core i7, 32GB RAM, 128GB SSD) from 2018 for only $685.99 instead of $1,099 — that's a savings of 37%.

Sometimes, the basics just aren’t enough. If you’re in a field that requires a high-spec computer just to get your normal work done, you might not have to spend as much as you think, especially if you’re a Mac lover. This Apple Mac mini is a high-spec desktop for a low price. Brand-new and still marked way down, you can get it on sale for only $685.99 (reg. $1,099). 

An affordable desktop for demanding software 

Whether you’re working with 60 different Photoshop layers or exporting an album in Audacity, creativity often demands some pretty pricey computers. Many artists even recommend having up to 12 to 32GB of RAM for running common art programs like Adobe Illustrator. This Mac may be small, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful. Load up your go-to creative software and see how it runs on 32GB RAM and an Intel Core i7 "Coffee Lake" processor. 

Save your projects locally on a 128GB SSD or take advantage of either of the USB ports to connect external storage. This little Mac puts a lot of connectivity into a small space with four Thunderbolt 3 ports, an ethernet input, an HDMI 2.0 port, a spot to plug in your 35 mm headphones, and a separate port for the power cable. All of these connections are hidden in the back, so you still get that sleek, iconic Apple look. If that’s not enough for all your hardware, compatible devices can also connect with Bluetooth 5.0. MacOS comes pre-installed, so you can immediately start installing your favorite productivity apps and games. 

Work, play, or create on this powerful little desktop 

Some professions require a lot of computing power, but you can still find that for a low price if you know where to look. Get this brand-new 2018 Apple Mac mini for just $685.99 (reg. $1,099) for a limited time. 

Prices subject to change.

mac mini in gray
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Apple
Mac mini (Intel Core i7, 32GB RAM, 128GB SSD) (opens in a new tab)
$685.99 at the Mashable Shop
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 26 March 2023 | 9:00 am

Get unlimited AI art from this $59 WordPress plugin

dall-e plugin on screen with purple background

TL;DR: As of March 26, you can get a lifetime license to the DALL-E AI Image Generator and WordPress Plugin for only $59 instead of $299 — that's 80% in savings.

Whether you’re writing a blog, managing your company’s website, or updating your portfolio, a website without images just seems bland. You could go for stock photos, but the free and open-source selection might not have exactly what you’re looking for. Instead, let AI create a completely unique piece of art based on your input. 

DALL-E AI Image Generator finally has a WordPress Plugin that lets you create custom AI-generated images without leaving your website, and you can get a lifetime license for only $59.

Custom AI-generated images for your WordPress website

Put the art in artificial intelligence with DALL-E 2 and start creating custom, high-quality images whenever you want. This WordPress plugin gives you unlimited access to the DALL-E 2 image creation AI, and all you need is any modern browser and a WordPress website to use it on. 

Create stunning and totally unique pictures to capture the mood of a post, realistic landscapes, and more. Craft whimsical imagery to go along with your online dream journal or replace stock photos with your own AI creations. DALL-E 2 can even create fake human faces, but the technology there is still improving. 

No editing or art skills are required to start making stunning visuals for your website. The most work you may have to do is revise the prompts you use to guide the image generation, but that’s a fun skill to practice. Once you’re satisfied with your image, you can download it directly from DALL-E 2. Create header images, flair for blog posts, and more. Your imagination is the only limit. 

Create AI art whenever you need it 

The right imagery can add flavor to your website, create a digital personality, or even increase your conversion rate in ecommerce spaces. With an AI art generator, you have an endless supply of high-quality custom art whenever you want it. Get a lifetime license to the DALL-E AI Image Generator and WordPress Plugin on sale for just $59 (reg. $299) for a limited time. 

Prices subject to change.

dall-e 2 software
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Mind2Matter
DALL-E AI Image Generator and WordPress Plugin: Lifetime License (opens in a new tab)
$59 at the Mashable Shop
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 26 March 2023 | 9:00 am

Hit the gym with these $18 moisture-proof workout earbuds

altec lansing earbuds with blue background

TL;DR: Through March 31, you can snag a pair of refurbished Altec Lansing Nanobuds for only $17.98 instead of $39 — that's a savings of 55% for a limited time.

A good pair of workout earbuds are worth their weight in deadlifts. You don’t need to break the bank if you want to pump up the jams while you’re powering through arm day. Instead, you could get a pair of refurbished wireless earbuds with high-quality sound and low price. These refurbished Altec Lansing Nanobuds are water and sweat-resistant, and you can pick up a pair for only $17.98 (reg. $39). That price will only last until 11:59 p.m. PT on March 31. 

Great earbuds to bring to the gym 

These wireless Sport Nanopods are IPX4-waterproof, so they’re safe from water and sweat splashes coming from any direction. They’re not meant to go swimming with you, but it won’t be a problem if you’re someone who needs to towel off after a long cardio session. 

Don’t forget to bring along the charging case. On a single charge, these earbuds could get up to five hours of music playback, but that goes up to 30 hours when you recharge multiple times with the case. 

Don’t worry about taking calls while you’re jogging or seeing whether your muscles last longer than the motor on your e-bike. The built-in microphones have excellent sound quality, so you can take or receive calls when you’re on the go. Plus, passive noise cancellation means you can hear and be heard, even if you’re surrounded by a lot of noise. Some workout equipment isn’t exactly quiet, after all. 

When you open the box for your Altec Lansing Nanobuds, you’ll find a pair of near-mint condition earbuds at a refurbished price. That’s also where you’ll find the included charging case, cable, and eartips. 

Refurbished earbuds that look brand-new 

Good workout earbuds don’t have to be expensive. You have until March 31 at 11:59 p.m. PT to get a pair of refurbished Altec Lansing Nanobuds Sport Nanopods on sale for only $17.98 (reg. $39). No coupon needed. 

Prices subject to change.

altec lansing nanobuds
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Altec Lansing
Certified Refurbished Altec Lansing Nanobuds (opens in a new tab)
$17.98 at the Mashable Shop
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 26 March 2023 | 9:00 am

Travel in style with this $117 suitcase and built-in weight scale

dukap hardside spinner suitcase charging phone with blue gradient background

TL;DR: As of March 26, you can snag a Dukap Intely 28-inch Hardside Spinner for just $116.89 instead of $139.99. That's a savings of 16%.

If you’re part of the 49% of Americans who plan to travel more this year, you may need some new tools to streamline the stressful parts of traveling. Luggage can be hard to shop for because you need something that’s not too heavy without compromising on quality. Plus, you probably don’t want to pay more for your luggage than your plane ticket. The DUKAP Intely brings affordability to high-quality luggage for just $116.89 (reg. $139.99).

Travel made simpler

This suitcase measures 28 inches and can expand an additional 1.2 inches to make more room for your travel essentials. Organize all of your clothes and shoes with zippered compartments, snap-on straps, and slip pockets. The internal digital weight scale lets you check your travel weight so you can avoid having to pay extra for your luggage when you get to the airport.

Transporting the suitcase around the airport is a breeze with four 360º silent wheels and top and side ergonomic gel handles for comfort and easy lifting. No need to worry about your items going missing because there’s a built-in TSA-approved combination lock to keep all of your goods safe from home to your designation and back.

Durable, lasting luggage

DUKAP luggage is designed to be extremely durable through rigorous real-life performance tests. This suitcase is also crafted with corner bumpers to further protect against impacts and unnecessary wear. You receive a 10-year limited warranty with purchase that can create a little peace of mind while investing in a new piece of luggage.

If you need a new suitcase, this is an excellent choice. Worry less about overpacking your luggage, organize your clothes and shoes, and travel with confidence knowing your belongings are secure and locked. Your next vacation could be the best one yet. 

Upgrade your travel experience with the DUKAP Intely 28 Inch Hardside Spinner with Digital Weight Scale for only $116.89 (reg. $139.99).

Prices subject to change.

dukap intely hardside spinner
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Dukap
Dukap Intely 28-inch Hardside Spinner with Digital Scale (opens in a new tab)
$116.89 at the Mashable Shop
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 26 March 2023 | 9:00 am

Boost your job search with a $67 AI that can send 150 applications a day

person using laptop with lazyapply job application AI

TL;DR: As of March 26, a lifetime license to the LazyApply job application AI is on sale for only $67 instead of $149 — that's a savings of 55%.

The stress of job hunting certainly isn’t helped by how frustrating some online applications can be. You may have already attached your résumé, but that doesn’t mean some applications aren’t going to ask for you to enter all that information manually anyway. If you want to save time and still send out quality applications, try automating your job hunt with the help of an advanced AI. LazyApply is a job application AI that could help you send over 100 applications out a day. Normally, a lifetime license would cost $149, but during the Spring Digital Blowout, you can get it for only $67. 

Work smarter, even in your job search 

On average, it will take between 20 and 80 job applications before you land an interview. Don’t wear yourself out sending dozens of applications when there are tools that can help you send hundreds. Here’s how it works: 

  1. Install the LazyApply Chrome plugin

  2. Fill out your résumé 

  3. Answer a few questions like the ones you regularly see on online applications 

  4. Connect your accounts from major job boards like LinkedIn and Indeed

  5. Open up your application dashboard and choose where you want to look for jobs 

  6. Set up search filters to find the right job opportunities 

  7. Start sending out applications 

You can send up to 150 applications every day with LazyApply, and it even has tools to help you keep track of your daily application performance. If you want to do things the old-fashioned way, you can also get unlimited LinkedIn profile emails to cold email potential employers or freelance clients. If you’re still not landing the gig you need, relax and wait for your weekly consultation call and talk to a pro about what’s going right and what could go a little better. 

Save time with an AI job finder 

Applying for jobs may not have to be so stressful. Instead, you can get help from LazyApply. During the Spring Digital Blowout, a lifetime license for LazyApply is only $67 (reg. $149). No coupon needed. 

Prices subject to change.

lazyapply pandabear sleeping logo
Opens in a new tab
Credit: LazyApply
LazyApply Job Application Basic: Lifetime License (opens in a new tab)
$67 at the Mashable Shop
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 26 March 2023 | 9:00 am

A lifetime subscription to the Jillian Michaels fitness app is on sale for 55% off

Woman practising yoga

TL;DR: A lifetime subscription to the Jillian Michaels fitness app is on sale for £164.71, saving you 55% on list price.

As much as it’d be nice, there’s no one magic solution to meeting your fitness goals. From the kitchen to the gym, there are tough decisions to make that can help you get where you want to be. If you want some guidance, then try getting professional input from celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels. You may have seen her on The Biggest Loser, or maybe you remember her workout DVDs, but now you can see her on your phone with the Jillian Michaels Fitness App. New users can get on-the-fly workouts, full routines, and meal planning for life with this membership which just dropped to £164.71 for a limited time.

Start training with over 800 exercises shot in HD. Just select your fitness level, the intensity you want to exercise at, and the workout equipment you have on hand. You’ll get a curated list of exercise suggestions that you can customise whenever you want. You can customise the music, too. Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora are all integrated into the app. 

Choose from long-term and on-demand workouts based on your fitness goals. If you don’t like an exercise, just swap it out for another. If you really don’t like one, you can even ban it (adios, burpees). Need to give your sore muscles a break after a hardcore workout? Try the audio-only meditations and some light stretching or yoga. Going for millennial nostalgia? Fire up digital versions of those DVDs we mentioned — you'll get full access in the app.

When the workout is done, check out what’s on the menu in your daily meal plan. Your meals are curated based on your fitness goals, whether you’re trying to slim down or build muscle. 

Fitness is a lifelong pursuit, and meeting your goals can be tougher than you thought when you were making them. For a limited time, get a lifetime subscription to the Jillian Michaels Fitness App on sale for £164.71. 

Jillian Michaels app on phone
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Jillian Michaels
Jillian Michaels Fitness App (Lifetime Subscription) (opens in a new tab)
£164.71 at the Mashable Shop
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 26 March 2023 | 4:00 am

Protect your online data and identity with this free VPN

Pink backlit PC

TL;DR: ProtonVPN's free version provides access to 24 servers in three countries, decent connection speeds, and a strict no-logging policy that protects your data and identity.

ProtonVPN logo
Opens in a new tab
Credit: ProtonVPN
ProtonVPN Plus (2-Year Subscription) (opens in a new tab)
£105.65 only at ProtonVPN
(opens in a new tab)

When it comes to VPNs, everyone wants to know one thing: Do you need to pay for the best VPNs? It's a big question, and something that's not easy to answer.

The majority of free VPNs come with serious catches or restrictions that make them basically unusable. You might be limited by bandwidth, data usage, or the number of servers on offer. All of these things matter, so is it even worth considering free services? The answer is yes, if that free service is ProtonVPN.

The free version of ProtonVPN provides access to 24 servers in three countries, decent connection speeds, and a strict no-logging policy. There are also no adverts or limitations on data usage. Users are limited to a single connection, but that shouldn't stop you from giving ProtonVPN a chance to impress.

ProtonVPN's free service is impressive, but some users might require more features. If you're interested in accessing leading streaming sites from around the world, with additional servers, better speeds, and more simultaneous connections, you should consider upgrading to ProtonVPN Plus. A two-year subscription to ProtonVPN Plus is on sale for £105.65, saving you 50% on list price for a limited time. This discounted plan also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Secure your online world with ProtonVPN.

Posted on 26 March 2023 | 3:55 am

The best web hosting providers for ecommerce

Online shop on laptop

Just as they do with a physical shop, first impressions matter when it comes to online stores. It's vital to purchase the best web hosting for your ecommerce website to ensure that your customers get the best service and you benefit from the most sales for your business. A good quality web host ensures that your website loads speedily and safely while giving you plenty of tools to make your site look great.

Web hosting for ecommerce is a little different from regular web hosting, in that there are more things to consider and more features you'll want. It tends to include features like an SSL certificate and other security features so that you're able to sell directly through your website. A good ecommerce host appreciates those challenges and makes such features simple for you to implement while also offering easy-to-use web builder tools.

Read on as we check out the best providers for ecommerce hosting and explain precisely what to look for when finding the best ecommerce platform your business needs — no matter how big or small your company may be.

What features should a hosting provider offer for ecommerce?

No single hosting provider is quite the same as another. That's because they all provide different features. Broadly, they can also be divided up into four main categories of hosting — shared hosting, VPS, dedicated, and cloud hosting. Shared hosting is the cheapest option out there because your website is hosted alongside other websites, meaning it'll run slower than on a dedicated server, and you typically won't have as many advanced features available to you.

VPS and cloud hosting is an in-between option. You're provided with a virtual private server which gives you more options, albeit at a price. There's also web hosting such as Wix, Shopify, and Squarespace, which aims to provide an ecommerce platform in a simplified way that still proves fairly powerful.

Generally, shared hosting will be fine for an ecommerce website for smaller businesses, with Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify also great options for the less tech-savvy.

Whichever you choose, it's essential to look for key features such as an SSL certificate for security, along with easy-to-use interfaces for adding shopping cart functionality and other ways to help customers easily shop in your store. If you have limited experience with web design, a user-friendly web builder tool is immensely useful too, so you can focus on listing your products rather than trying to design a site from scratch. Pretty much all web hosting offers these tools now, but their quality definitely varies.

Are there web hosting providers just for ecommerce?

Only Shopify exclusively offers ecommerce web hosting. All the other web hosts listed here also provide conventional web hosting alongside their ecommerce features. Shopify focuses on making it simple to set up an online shop, but its fee system can work out to be quite expensive for the privilege.

What should you spend on web hosting for ecommerce?

It's possible to spend relatively little on web hosting for your ecommerce business. It's also possible to spend a lot, depending on what you need from it.

If you own a small business with only a handful of customers, then you can spend less than a thriving online business that has many more customers each day. That's because, generally, the more visitors you have or expect to have, the more bandwidth you'll need, and the more you'll pay to give your customers a speedy and effective experience. Page load time is very important for ecommerce websites. Think of the last time you wanted to visit an online store, but the site wouldn't load. That retailer probably lost a sale. Speed is also important for SEO.

Spending more can also make more features available to you, with some web hosting companies adding additional tools such as an online booking system, tax management, or simply 24/7 online support. You might not need all of these features, though, so it's worthwhile thinking about what you'll need before hitting the buy button.

How does the size of your store affect your choice of web hosting?

As mentioned, it's crucial to buy according to the size of your business. If you only stock a few artisan items online, then a small ecommerce package will be sufficient. However, if you plan on selling many dozens of items and have hundreds of customers, you'll need to purchase a package that reflects that.

The key things to check when making a purchase is in terms of the bandwidth made available to you each month, as well as if there are any visitor limits tied to your web hosting. It's wise to buy accordingly. A heavy-duty package is excellent for a busy company, but it's not a great idea for a business that needs to count pennies and focus on a small user base.

All web hosting companies allow you to increase the package you're on and grow with you, so if your business suddenly expands, you can always switch up to the next package available to you. Don't be afraid to play it safe financially when starting out.

What is the easiest ecommerce website builder to use?

Companies like Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify are most designed with novices in mind. Typically, they offer the most uncomplicated website building experience, allowing anyone to drag and drop on a computer to design a website that can be easily accessible on both computer and mobile. Besides offering some great-looking templates, they often allow you to manipulate every element of the site in a straightforward way which means you never have to deal with the code behind the design.

However, these services also tend to cost more than other web hosting firms so you may need to factor that into your budget.

Pretty much all web hosting companies now offer some form of website builder, whether it's a little rudimentary or involves picking from a series of templates. There are also many tutorials online for those that want to get more hands-on.

What is the best web hosting solution for ecommerce?

There are plenty of options out there, which can making picking the best solution for you quite tricky. We've tried to help you out by lining up a selection of standout options, including the likes of Wix and Squarespace.

These are the web hosting solution for ecommerce in 2023.

Posted on 26 March 2023 | 3:50 am

Wordle today: Here's the answer, hints for March 26

A close-up of a person playing Wordle on their smartphone.

Ah, Sunday at last. And what better way to relax than with a brand new Wordle? If you're struggling, don't worry — we're here with our daily hints and tips to help you figure out the solution.

If you prefer to just be told the answer, you can scroll to the end of this article for March 26's Wordle solution to be revealed. But if you'd rather work through it yourself, keep reading for some clues, tips, and strategies to assist you.

Where did Wordle come from?

Originally created by engineer Josh Wardle as a gift for his partner, Wordle rapidly spread to become an international phenomenon, with thousands of people around the globe playing every day. Alternate Wordle versions created by fans have even sprung up, including battle royale Squabble, music identification game Heardle, and variations like Dordle and Quordle that make you guess multiple words at once

Wordle eventually became so popular that it was purchased by the New York Times, and TikTok creators even livestream themselves playing.

Not the day you're after? Here's the Wordle answer for March 25.

What's the best Wordle starting word?

The best Wordle starting word is the one that brings joy to your heart. But if what brings you joy is strategy, we have a few ideas to help you pick a word that might help you find the solution faster. One tip is to select a word that includes at least two different vowels, plus some common consonants like S, T, R, or N.

What happened to the Wordle archive?

The entire archive of past Wordle puzzles used to be available for anyone to enjoy whenever they felt like it. Unfortunately it has since been taken down, with the website's creator stating it was done at the request of the New York Times.

Is Wordle getting harder?

It might feel like Wordle is getting harder, but it actually isn't any more difficult than when it first began. You can turn on Wordle's Hard Mode if you're after more of a challenge, though.

Why are there two different Wordle answers some days?

Though usually Wordle will only accept one correct solution per day, occasionally it will rebel against the norm and deem two different answers acceptable. This is due to changes the New York Times made to Wordle after it acquired the puzzle game.

The Times has since added its own updated word list, so this should happen even less frequently than before. To avoid any confusion, it's a good idea to refresh your browser before getting stuck into a new puzzle.

Here's a subtle hint for today's Wordle answer:

Don't get yourself caught up in knots.

Does today's Wordle answer have a double letter?

Not today!

Today's Wordle is a 5-letter word that starts with...

Today's Wordle starts with the letter U.

SEE ALSO: Wordle-obsessed? These are the best word games to play IRL.

What's the answer to Wordle today?

We're finally about to reveal the answer to today's Wordle, so get your guesses in now!

Are you ready?

The solution to Wordle #645 is...


Don't feel discouraged if you didn't get it this time. The beauty of Wordle is that there's always a new one to try the next day, and we'll be here again with more helpful clues and hints.

Posted on 26 March 2023 | 1:00 am

'Quordle' today: Here are the answers and hints for March 26

A woman's hands holding a mobile phone playing 'Quordle'

If Quordle is a little too challenging today, you've come to the right place for hints. There aren't just hints here, but the whole Quordle solution. Scroll to the bottom of this page, and there it is. But are you sure you need all four answers? Maybe you just need a strategy guide. Either way, scroll down, and you'll get what you need.

What is Quordle?

Quordle is a five-letter word guessing game similar to Wordle, except each guess applies letters to four words at the same time. You get nine guesses instead of six to correctly guess all four words. It looks like playing four Wordle games at the same time, and that is essentially what it is. But it's not nearly as intimidating as it sounds.

Is Quordle harder than Wordle?

Yes, though not diabolically so.

Where did Quordle come from?

Amid the Wordle boom of late 2021 and early 2022, when everyone was learning to love free, in-browser, once-a-day word guessing games, creator Freddie Meyer says he took inspiration from one of the first big Wordle variations, Dordle — the one where you essentially play two Wordles at once. He took things up a notch, and released Quordle on January 30. Meyer's creation was covered in The Guardian six days later, and now, according to Meyer, it attracts millions of daily users. Today, Meyer earns modest revenue from Patreon, where dedicated Quordle fans can donate to keep their favorite puzzle game running. 

How is Quordle pronounced?

“Kwordle.” It should rhyme with “Wordle,” and definitely should not be pronounced exactly like "curdle.”

Is Quordle strategy different from Wordle?

Yes and no.

Your starting strategy should be the same as with Wordle. In fact, if you have a favorite Wordle opening word, there’s no reason to change that here. We suggest something rich in vowels, featuring common letters like C, R, and N. But you do you.

After your first guess, however, you’ll notice things getting out of control if you play Quordle exactly like Wordle.

What should I do in Quordle that I don’t do in Wordle?

Solving a Wordle puzzle can famously come down to a series of single letter-change variations. If you’ve narrowed it down to “-IGHT,” you could guess “MIGHT” “NIGHT” “LIGHT” and “SIGHT” and one of those will probably be the solution — though this is also a famous way to end up losing in Wordle, particularly if you play on “hard mode.” In Quordle, however, this sort of single-letter winnowing is a deadly trap, and it hints at the important strategic difference between Wordle and Quordle: In Quordle, you can't afford to waste guesses unless you're eliminating as many letters as possible at all times. 

Guessing a completely random word that you already know isn't the solution, just to eliminate three or four possible letters you haven’t tried yet, is thought of as a desperate, latch-ditch move in Wordle. In Quordle, however, it's a normal part of the player's strategic toolset.

Is there a way to get the answer faster?

In my experience Quordle can be a slow game, sometimes dragging out longer than it would take to play Wordle four times. But a sort of blunt-force guessing approach can speed things up. The following strategy also works with Wordle if you only want the solution, and don’t care about having the fewest possible guesses:

Try starting with a series of words that puts all the vowels (including Y) on the board, along with some other common letters. We've had good luck with the three words: “NOTES,” “ACRID,” and “LUMPY.” YouTuber DougMansLand suggests four words: “CANOE,” “SKIRT,” “PLUMB,” and “FUDGY.”

Most of the alphabet is now eliminated, and you’ll only have the ability to make one or two wrong guesses if you use this strategy. But in most cases you’ll have all the information you need to guess the remaining words without any wrong guesses.

If strategy isn't helping, and you're still stumped, here are some hints:

Are there any double or triple letters in today’s Quordle words?

Three words have twice-occurring letters. One is a double letter.

Are any rare letters being used in today’s Quordle like Q or Z?


What do today’s Quordle words start with?

A, D, M, and R.

What are the answers for today’s Quordle?

Are you sure you want to know?

There’s still time to turn back.

OK, you asked for it. The answers are:

  1. AWAIT

  2. DROVE

  3. MORAL

  4. REEDY

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 9:57 pm

ChatGPT plugins: How to get access

A notebook computer on a desk with the ChatGPT logo visible

In an announcement on Thursday, OpenAI told the world that ChatGPT will soon have "eyes and ears." Plugins are about to be rolled out, and with them will come a radical expansion of ChatGPT's capabilities.

OpenAI will soon have proprietary plugins, and there will also be third-party plugins. If this doesn't sound exciting, here's an example: ChatGPT sucks at math because its brain is just a language model. If there were a calculator plugin, it wouldn't have to suck at math anymore. Existing plugins appear to allow ChatGPT to browse the internet for information not in its model, go shopping, and more.

There's going to be an iTunes-like "Plugin Store," through which a user can obtain (or possibly purchase) third-party plugins. A tantalizing demo video shows how, once plugins are installed, the necessity to use one of the plugins can be detected by the model itself depending on the nature of the prompt. In its announcement, OpenAI paints a picture of a world in which you can convert your to-do list into a prompt, and plugins can automate both the decision-making and execution of many of your errands.

But no, this world is not quite here. You probably can't try ChatGPT plugins just yet.

How to try ChatGPT plugins right now

ChatGPT plugins are currently only available in the form of a "limited alpha" release for developers and insiders. There's a waitlist page for those who want access but don't yet have it. Subscribing to OpenAI's paid service, ChatGPT Plus might help, since OpenAI says it's "prioritizing a small number of developers and ChatGPT Plus users."

What is it like using ChatGPT's plugins?

If you're a machine learning engineer with access to the "limited alpha," let's face it: you're not reading this article. If you're just a bystander with more than a passing interest in AI, you might be interested to know how plugins will work.

If that sounds like you, and you've got about forty minutes, you can do a lot worse than this explanation from YouTuber James Briggs. Briggs is seemingly talking to an audience of developers here, but even if you don't speak that language, the video is jargon-light and gives a pretty detailed overview of ChatGPT's retrieval plugin, which is already open source, and looks fairly easy to use.

If any of the things in this video are confusing, there may be a certain chatbot that might be able to help.

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 7:34 pm

The 8 funniest tweets of the week

illustration of twitter bird with screenshot of tweet

Pretty much everyone online was waiting for an arrest that never came this week. That arrest being, of course, the indictment former President Donald Trump claimed was coming down. It hasn't happened yet (at least at the time of this writing) but it was on everyone's mind.

Well that, and the NCAA tournament, and all other usual internet shenanigans.

To celebrate the end of the week, per usual, we've collected some of the best tweets that everyone fired off while the rest of the internet waited for an arrest.

Here they are, the 8 best tweets of the week.

1. The thing is, you definitely would know exactly the pants they were talking about. What a devastating blow.

Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)

2. I'm not sure I totally even get this tweet but it's funny.

Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)

3. I yell into the McDonald's and the McDonald's responds with jazz.

Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)

4. Guess what, pal? I've always been this way so that is on you.

Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)

5. Joyce Carol Oates is a god-tier poster and I'm not totally sure that she even knows it. God bless her.

Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)

6. Just some good wife humor.

Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)

7. Hunked baguette is simply superior than sliced. This is a fact.

Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)

8. And finally this observation. For what it's worth, his little magic tricks would have PLAYED on Instagram, plus he's got that mysterious look.

Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 7:21 pm

Internet Archive loses first ruling in copyright lawsuit

Selection of electronic books on digital tablet

A federal judge ruled against the digital database Internet Archive in a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by four major publishers.

Hachette, HarperCollins, John Wiley & Sons, and Penguin Random House sued Internet Archive following the implementation of its National Emergency Library at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to COVID, the Internet Archive lent e-books via a "controlled digital lending" system, or CDL: Libraries offer loans of digitized book copies on a one-to-one basis — that means that they circulate the exact number of copies they own. When the emergency library launched, Internet Archive removed all waitlists for books and lent out any amount of copies on a two-week basis.

On its blog, the archive's director of open libraries Chris Freeland wrote that the emergency library was launched due to the sudden closures of libraries and schools. Publishers sued Internet Archive in June 2020, and soon after, the archive shut down the library.

SEE ALSO: The publisher of 'Maus' wants the book taken off the Internet Archive, because profit

This week, Judge John G. Koeltl of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan decided that Internet Archive produced "derivative" works that required permission from the copyright holders, the Associated Press reported.

The "nonprofit library" will appeal the decision, Freeland wrote on its blog. "Today’s lower court decision in Hachette v. Internet Archive is a blow to all libraries and the communities we serve," he wrote.

"We will continue our work as a library," he noted. "This case does not challenge many of the services we provide with digitized books including interlibrary loan, citation linking, access for the print-disabled, text and data mining, purchasing ebooks, and ongoing donation and preservation of books."

"Libraries are more than the customer service departments for corporate database products. For democracy to thrive at global scale, libraries must be able to sustain their historic role in society—owning, preserving, and lending books," said Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle in a statement. "This ruling is a blow for libraries, readers, and authors and we plan to appeal it."

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 5:05 pm

Levi's to use AI models to 'increase diversity and sustainability'

an AI-generated model in a denim dress

Artificial intelligence has been a hot topic with the advent of programs like ChatGPT and Midjourney, and brands are (unfortunately) getting in on it. This week, the iconic denim company Levi's announced its partnership with AI studio, which creates AI-generated fashion models. Levi's plans on testing the use of these models to "supplement human models, increasing the number and diversity of our models for our products in a sustainable way," it announced in a press release. apparently generates "hyper-realistic" models of varying body types, ages, and skin tones. According to its website, companies Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger have also worked with the studio.

SEE ALSO: The internet is not ours anymore

"While AI will likely never fully replace human models for us, we are excited for the potential capabilities this may afford us for the consumer experience," said Dr. Amy Gershkoff Bolles, an executive focused on emerging tech at Levi Strauss, in the presser.

This time last year, Levi Strauss laid off 700 employees, or 15 percent of its workforce, amidst restructuring at the company. According to USA Today, the cuts allowed the company to save $100 million a year.

Levi's also claimed in the announcement that its diversity efforts will go beyond using AI models, noting that it's focusing on working with content creators in front and behind the camera who are "reflective of [their] broad consumer base." It's unclear, however, how this initiative coalesces with the use of fake models instead of paying real models, make-up artists, and photography staff.

The company's desire to move towards AI-generated models is emblematic of other industry attempts to replace real people with AI. In August of last year, Capitol Records signed, and then subsequently fired, AI rapper FN Meka. The virtual rapper was terminated amidst calls that the character promoted "gross stereotypes" of Black culture.

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 3:31 pm

Spotify hasn't spent much of its $100 million diversity fund

A smartphone displaying the Joe Rogan podcast and a screen displaying the Spotify's logo

Spotify has spent less than 10 percent of its $100 million Creator Equity Fund in its first year, Bloomberg reported. The fund's purpose is to bolster diversity in music and podcasts through licensing, developing, and promoting work by marginalized creators.

Last year, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek announced the creation of the fund following controversy surrounding podcaster Joe Rogan, who has a $200 million exclusive deal with the music streaming service. Rogan has used the n-word and other racist language on his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience and has spread misinformation regarding COVID vaccines as well. Employees and musicians like Neil Young called on Spotify to cut ties with Rogan, but instead, they removed dozens of episodes and committed $100 million to the equity fund.

The figure of $100 million was meant to be symbolic, as Rogan was rumored to receive $100 million from the platform — but later, it was revealed Rogan is actually paid double that.

SEE ALSO: Spotify is reportedly paying Joe Rogan $200 million, double what was previously known

The money was supposed to be distributed over three years, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg, but due to a lack of structure and shifting priorities at the company, that plan hasn't materialized. According to an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg, the fund was still determining its 2023 budget at the start of the year and hadn't yet determined priority projects.

A Spotify spokesperson told Bloomberg that over $10 million of the fund has been spent, however. They cited GLOW, an initiative to support LGBTQ creators, and Nailing It, a podcast hosted by three Black women, as avenues where the money has been spent. Additionally, this week Spotify announced a partnership with Spelman College, a historically Black women's college, to provide scholarships for students interested in podcasting.

The spokesperson told Bloomberg in an emailed statement: "The Spotify Creator Equity Fund is dedicated to a variety of initiatives that help elevate and support an inclusive and diverse portfolio of artists and creators on the platform...We are able to empower and uplift underrepresented voices around the world."

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 2:04 pm

How to choose a meditation app that's right for you

An illustration of a human head as a puzzle with a missing piece.

March Mindfulness is an annual Mashable series that explores the intersection of meditation practice and technology. This article is the first in a two-part series that looks at choosing an app based on your personality.

So you've decided to download a meditation app. Maybe you're happy to trust a friend's recommendation or go with an employer discount. But otherwise — well, I've been exploring and testing meditation apps since 2017, and I can tell you it's surprisingly difficult to make that choice.

That's because meditation apps frequently position themselves as lifestyle and wellness products. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Bundling sleep, exercise, yoga, and meditation content into a single app with a friendly design can be a great convenience for users: one-stop shopping for wellness needs.

But all that bundling can make it challenging to navigate the crowded meditation app market. Apps can be maddeningly vague about their features, leaving you little option but to sign up for a free trial that'll end before you know it. It helps to know what you want before you're in that position, and that's what this series addresses.

SEE ALSO: Mantras are taking over TikTok. Here's what they are (and aren't)

In the next part of the series, we'll share our specific guide to meditation apps based on responses from seven of the market leaders, including Headspace, Calm and Simple Habit.

But ultimately, your choice may depend less on the specifics of each app, and more on finding the best match for your personality and style.

Consider the following three steps:

1. Know what you want from a meditation app.

If it feels like some of the apps are competing fiercely with each other to land the biggest celebrities, that's because they are. Headspace hired John Legend as chief music officer. On Calm, Matthew McConaughey narrates a sleep story. Russell Brand shares his own guided meditations on Insight Timer. These kinds of cultural references might be exactly what you need to open your meditation app day after day.

Matthew McConaughey appears in the Calm app.
Celebrities like Matthew McConaughey can be big draws for meditation apps. Credit: Getty Images

Yet it's also important to make that choice consciously. Otherwise, without clarity about your needs, it's easy to become distracted by high-profile names, flashy features, and digital bells and whistles.

If you want your app to multitask, for example, your best choice might be products that offer various forms of movement like stretching, yoga, and "mindful" workouts. Such content is available on apps like Calm, Headspace, and Simple Habit. And while Apple Fitness isn't a meditation app, it does include guided meditations in its content library, too.

But if your goal is to learn basic meditation techniques or deepen your practice, and you don't need other types of functionality, apps like Ten Percent Happier, Balance, and Healthy Minds Program are likely a better fit.

Beginner meditators often go to Insight Timer, which has what it promotes as the largest meditation app library in the world, with over 160,000 guided meditation and music tracks in 44 languages, many of them for free. It also hosts yoga, breathwork lessons, live events, and journaling.

When making a decision about an app, the answers to questions like these matter, too:

No single meditation app will meet all of your needs, but some will be better suited to you than others. Simple Habit, for example, has guided meditations for kids and lots of sleep content, but no accessibility features. Ten Percent Happier includes captions for most of its meditations and offers group meditation practice as well as individual coaching, but few in-app resources for kids.

Lastly, if you're seeking a certain style of meditation, know that the apps typically don't advertise which types of practices are included in guided tracks. That's partly because meditation is a large category that describes practices for "the basic skill of cultivating inward investigation," says Diana Winston, a meditation teacher and author of Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness.

In general, Winston says common types of meditation focus on skills like awareness, concentration, guided visualizations, and cultivating certain qualities of the heart and mind, such as compassion and lovingkindness. If you want to develop a specific skill or practice, try to gauge whether the app has single tracks and courses on that topic.

Also, meditation apps often package themselves as secular to appeal to broad audiences, even if the meditation practices offered are rooted in spiritual traditions like Buddhism.

This doesn't mean that your app is secretly religious, but it does reflect a decades-long trend of secularizing meditation for the American public — and unfortunately obscuring its roots and sources.

2. Before choosing a meditation app, take stock of your strengths and challenges.

Forming a new habit is hard for most people. It takes repetition and consistency to turn an interest or task into part of our everyday lives. Building a meditation practice comes with its own unique challenges. People tend to have high expectations, both of themselves and the benefits they'll experience.

But there is no perfect way to practice, and meditation can be hard and unsatisfying. For some people, being present with their thoughts and the sensation of their breath can prompt severe anxiety or trigger a pre-existing trauma.

It's helpful to reflect on these factors as you select an app. Unfortunately, making that choice is an art, not a science — at least for now. Some research suggests that mindfulness interventions can affect people differently, depending on their personal characteristics.

A British Journal of Health Psychology study that comprehensively looked at that effect found that participants who scored highly on tests that assessed their motivation, medical conditions, mindfulness, and interpersonal problems showed increased levels of positive meditation outcomes. A higher baseline of mental disorders or depression was linked to poorer mental health following a meditation intervention.

In other words, who you are and what you experience could influence how well meditation works for you.

SEE ALSO: This is why mindfulness isn't working for you

This field of research is still evolving. A much smaller study, published last year in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, found that personality traits may affect the success of mind-body interventions, too. People who are easily absorbed in experiences found meditating easier, and they meditated for longer than others without the same trait.

They also were more likely to report increased well-being and body awareness. Those with more vulnerable personality traits, like higher anxiety and lower self-compassion, also saw more benefits.

Dr. Karin Matko, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral research fellow at Chemnitz University of Technology in Germany, told Mashable that she hopes to ultimately better understand who does well with which type of mindfulness approach — yoga or mantra meditation, for example — in order to help people get the most benefits.

While science may not be able to provide those answers for now, it's worth considering that a certain app or meditation style simply might not be the right match for you, instead of believing that you're terrible at the practice.

3. When selecting a meditation app, apply a little skepticism — and trust your instincts.

Even if you're specifically interested in meditation, you might find some guided meditations laughably corny or well outside your comfort zone. If an app's overall style seems too touchy-feely or too humorless, then it's probably not for you. Not wanting guided meditations at all is also a legitimate choice.

Just because it's been uploaded to a meditation app, doesn't mean a guided track is a well-known practice that's been passed down over the millennia by monks or gurus. While a meditation doesn't have to meet that criteria to be helpful, Diana Winston also says that it's the "Wild West of meditation out there."

SEE ALSO: No, you don't need a guide to meditate

People teaching meditation have come up with very creative practices that may stretch the definition of what it means to meditate. This might include using poetry, spoken word readings, storytelling, and "manifestation" techniques.

While Winston isn't worried for people's physical safety, she does wonder if exposure to certain types of guided tracks will discourage people from continuing with meditation.

"I do think that there are plenty [of meditations] that would be not helpful or ineffective or might turn people off to meditation if they were to get proper instruction somewhere else," says Winston, director of mindfulness education at UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center.

Winston recommends that people "fall back on their own best thinking" as they assess meditations and the apps that host them.

After all, a meditation app's marketing campaign may uniquely grab your attention, but you're the only authority on whether the substance under the shiny surface is right for you.

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 12:00 pm

The first space rock ever recorded slamming into Earth is up for auction

Christie's displaying an auction of the Ensisheim meteorite

A slice of space rock no larger than a credit card could run up a big sale price at a Christie's auction in the next few days.

The item up for bid is a small piece of the first recorded meteorite seen as it dropped through the sky and landed in a wheat field. In some history books and manuscripts, it was the only major world event mentioned for the year that it fell to Earth — 1492.

"This is back in a time before there was scientific consensus that meteorites actually existed," said James Hyslop, head of scientific instruments, globes, and natural history for the auction house, "So this was very much seen as something sent by the Divine."

It's not the first time a piece of the famed Ensisheim meteorite has hit the auction block — small chips weighing mere ounces have appeared at Christie's and its competitor Sotheby's before — but it remains a popular and intriguing item for collectors because of its historical significance and story.

SEE ALSO: A meteorite punched a hole in a dog house. Now it's a collector's item.
Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)

As of Friday, it had already racked up over 20 online bids and was nearing $3,000, with four days remaining before the auction closes March 28. The last time Christie's had a piece to sell — a heavier, half-ounce sample in 2021 — it went for $15,000.

"This was very much seen as something sent by the Divine."

The origin of meteorites

Scientists estimate about 48.5 tons of billions-of-years-old meteor material rain down on the planet daily, but recovering them is still like finding a needle in a haystack: Much of the rubble vaporizes in Earth's atmosphere or falls into the ocean, which covers over 70 percent of the planet.

More than 60,000 space rocks have been discovered on Earth. The vast majority of them come from asteroids, but a small fraction, about 0.2 percent, comes from Mars or the moon, according to NASA. At least 175 have been identified as originating from the Red Planet.

the large 1492 Ensisheim meteorite
The bulk of the storied Ensisheim meteorite remains in the town where it fell to Earth in 1492. Credit: Manfred Schmid / Getty Images

Want more science and tech news delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for Mashable's Top Stories newsletter today.

The Ensisheim meteorite is known as an ordinary chondrite, the most commonly found sort of alien rock on Earth. But in medieval times, there were no words to describe such a marvel. It would take about 300 more years, after several meteorite sightings in Europe and the United States in the early 1800s, for scientists to accept that rocks could fall from space.

Weeks after Christopher Columbus reached the Bahamas, the meteorite struck near the Alsatian town of Ensisheim in France, according to The Meteoritical Society. A young boy saw it firsthand on Nov. 7, 1492, and brought residents to the 280-pound black stone, to gawk at its perplexing fusion crust and the one-yard-deep hole it bore into the ground. People 100 miles away from the crash site in the Alps heard the fireball's boom, unlike any thunderclap.

Meteor falling to Earth
A 17th century engraving depicting a meteor falling to Earth. Credit: Universal History Archive / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Townspeople swiped chunks of the rock, believing it to be a good luck charm before city leaders forbade the vandalism. Twenty days later, Roman Emperor Maximilian I interpreted the Ensisheim event as a sign from God to declare war on France.

Within a month or so of the meteorite's fall, renowned poet Sebastian Brant wrote about the Ensisheim rock, describing it as a triangular stone that emerged from a storm cloud, burning on its way to the ground. At the time it was referred to as the thunderstone, and he alleged it was marked with a cross.

The story, a form of early journalism, was published on one-sided bulletins and dispersed in surrounding cities. The verses, originally printed in Latin and German with woodblock engravings, were translated and pirated, causing word to spread of the mysterious stone, according to a paper written by planetary geologist Ursula B. Marvin on the meteorite, published around its 500th anniversary in the journal Meteoritics.

The poet Brant was also responsible for putting it in a political context: He claimed it was a bad omen for the French side.

Maximilian I winning war against France
Roman Emperor Maximilian I interpreted the Ensisheim event as a sign from God to declare war on France. Credit: Getty Images

Maximilian was indeed victorious in battle. He gained territory and brought back his daughter, who was with the French King, Charles VIII. The fact that the event happened shortly after the advent of the printing press in the mid-1400s — and was used in wartime propaganda — was what made it memorable and unprecedented, Marvin said.

"Impressive as the stone and explosion were," she wrote, "the latter two factors were crucial for winning a place in history for the Ensisheim meteorite."

Ensisheim meteorite for sale

Maximilian ordered that the main portion of the rock be hung in the town's church, and it remained there until 1793, Marvin said, intriguing visitors with a Latin inscription: "Many have spoken of this stone, all said something, nobody has said enough."

A meteorite falling to Earth
A woodblock engraving from the 16th century depicts a meteorite falling to Earth. Credit: Universal History Archive / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Over the years, many museums and galleries obtained pieces of the meteorite, with a large amount going to the Vatican, Hyslop told Mashable, because it was the first institution to collect such objects thought to be sent from God. Some ended up in Paris, and some went to the precursor for the Natural History Museum of London.

In order for space rocks to get formally cataloged as meteorites, large pieces have to be kept at designated natural history museums for preservation. But the London museum exchanged some of its hunk 30 years ago for newly found meteorites that originated from the moon and Mars, Hyslop said. That's how a private collector got a hold of the piece Christie's is selling today.

The whittled away portion of the rock, now about 117 pounds, remains in Ensisheim.

"It's the sort of meteorite that if it was just found on its own, and didn't have that 500-year history behind it, it wouldn't be hugely sought after," Hyslop said. "It has such a long pedigree to it."

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 11:00 am

The internet is not ours anymore

AI Chatbot

The internet once belonged to cats.

It was that weird period in the late nineties when everyone who was online seemed to be posting cat pictures (believe it or not, My Cat Hates You, the blog that pioneered posting photos of grumpy cats, is still online). It just seemed like the thing to do: Start a blog; post a photo of your cute feline companion; be happy when someone leaves a comment.

There were other things online besides cats, of course. But it was a time when the Internet, then spelled with a capital "I", was a big thing but not an essential thing yet, and no one was completely sure how it’ll turn out.

I was there at the very beginning. Sometime in 1994, my dad connected his Windows 3.1 PC to the internet via a U.S. Robotics dial-up modem, and said, "Son, this here is called the Internet."

You could move files around (very slowly) via FTP, you could search for documents via Gopher, and the best browser was called Cello. I used it to find some weird poetry, early William Gibson works, and lyrics to Tool songs. I knew that the world wide web was going to be huge one day, but back then it was still very empty. The internet of that era wasn’t really for anybody yet; it was a vast frontier to be filled with many things, and then explored.

After that initial era of exploration, the internet stopped being one thing and became all the things. Soon, it became harder to finish a school project or do your work without the internet. And very soon after that, it became almost unimaginable. Business, institutions, and households all went online. Facebook and Twitter came about. Some people realized they were spending too much time on the internet. Some people continued to post photos of cats.

I write this very brief history of the internet because I have a strong feeling that we’re at an end of an era again. For all the good and the bad things it brought us, the internet was always mostly ours. Yes, some of the emails we were getting were automated, Google’s bots scoured the web for info on how to rank web pages on its search results, and some of our computers were turned into botnets that mined bitcoin. But the internet was still mostly designed – or at least it felt that way – for humans to use and explore.

Step aside, human. AI is here to take over

OpenAI recently launched a new version of the AI model that powers its ChatGPT chatbot, GPT-4. It has, for the first time, the ability to understand and process information from images. This opens up some possibilities that were previously unavailable, and I’ve already seen examples of how it will change everything.

Developed by OpenAI, which has grown from a non-profit research lab to a for-profit, artificial intelligence powerhouse, ChatGPT is an AI language model that can generate surprisingly human-sounding answers to a multitude of queries. Chatbots had been around for decades, but ChatGPT was different; it could answer specific and vague questions alike; it could pretend to be someone else; it could write poems and plays in the styles of famous poets and playwrights (go here for a more comprehensive overview of ChatGPT).

The previous major version of ChatGPT, based on the GPT-3 model, broke the internet figuratively, quickly becoming the hottest tech topic and the fastest-growing app of all time.

On the other hand, GPT-4 has the potential to break the internet literally. It's not immediately apparent. When you chat with it, ChatGPT based on the new GPT-4 model doesn't sound radically different from its predecessor. But it paves the way for far more powerful applications.

AI expert Travis Fischer lists some examples of what it can do in this excellent thread. These include building an AI that can interact with all or most of the elements of a web page, as well as create a functional website just by taking input from a sketch in a real-world notebook. The changes in GPT-4 also allow it to understand longer inputs and generate longer outputs, meaning it can, for example, create fairly complex apps on its own.

Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)

Unlike a human, who can do one or perhaps a small handful of tasks at a time, an AI bot is limited by the constraints of the hardware it runs on (and associated costs, but I'll leave those out for simplicity's sake); give it a powerful processor and lots of memory, and it can do the same thing millions or billions of times per day if needed. When we consider the implications of a tool such as GPT-4, we must consider the immense scale it can operate on.

Now that ChatGPT (and soon, similar AI bots) can both use webpages and build webpages, people will start using it to browse the web without them, then to build the web without them and, finally, to build the web designed to be used without them. The first phase will happen quickly; it will take some time until we get to the last one, but I'm quite sure it's coming. At that point, the web will be a giant, impossibly tangled web of data, mostly impervious to humans – unless they use an AI assistant to access it.

Need to do something online? Ask an AI

Let's say that you need to browse through a number of real estate listings in Houston; perhaps you're looking to buy, or you need some real estate data for a work project. Good news: AdeptAILabs has built a bot that can do that instead of you. In a different example, the company's AI bot can perform complex tasks in Salesforce, requiring only a single sentence as input.

Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)

If you're studying for a law school exam, you might do well to ask ChatGPT for help. After all, it beats most law school graduates on the bar exam, according to this study. An AI-based legal assistant based on GPT-4 already exists, and while it cannot replace a human lawyer, it might soon become an indispensable tool for lawyers.

In fact, AI assistants that can do all sorts of web tasks instead of you already exist, and some are about to become more powerful thanks to GPT-4. Once they become as good as humans at performing certain tasks, doing things the old way – without the help of an AI bot – might feel like a waste of time. And once that happens, the web will probably start changing.

A different kind of web

One direction this could all go towards is a sort of meta-web in which you rarely actually browse the web; instead, you talk to a bot which goes to the web to fetch the things you need. Like a fully autonomous car that no longer needs a wheel, the web might soon start to change and adapt for a landscape that no longer needs to be nice to look at for human eyes; instead, it will need to be easily accessible to bots. In a way, this has already happened – a massive chunk of what's happening online is done by software, not humans – but at least the facade of the human-facing web has remained. In a few years, it might no longer be needed, or it might take a different form, perhaps a summary of sorts, tailored to each individual user's needs and interests.

An early example – a slightly unnerving one – of this happening can be found in captchas, the annoying puzzles that require you to prove you're a human being. Recently, I've noticed a new breed of captcha, one that uses AI-generated images. There's quite a bit of irony in a system that prompts an AI to create images of robots, then asks you, the human, to identify these images accurately, in hope that another AI won't be able to do that. In this equation, the human feels like an unnecessary middleman that will one day be removed altogether.

This is already happening. In a test of GPT-4's skills, OpenAI had ChatGPT pose as a blind person to successfully circumvent a captcha prompt. In fact, it actually convinced a human, a TaskRabbit employee, to solve the captcha instead of him, and provide the answers. The AI passed the test designed for humans alone to pass, and it did it by tricking a human into doing its bidding.

None of this means that ChatGPT is "alive," or in any way smarter than us. It's still merely a tool for humans to use. But the ease and speed with which GPT-4 can perform certain tasks foreshadows a future in which it simply doesn't make sense for humans to perform such tasks. It's easy, albeit a little dystopian, to imagine captchas that are designed not only to fend away dumb bots, but humans, too, allowing only the smart bots to enter. A web that's designed for artificial intelligence to use might have portions that aren't designed for human use; not without an AI intermediary.

There's one thing we should still be able to do on our own, though: Post photos of cats.

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 10:00 am

'Yellowjackets' Season 2: A cheating and cuckolding fetish explainer

Melanie Lynskey as Shauna and Warren Kole as Jeff Sadecki in 'Yellowjackets'

If Season 1 of Showtime's Yellowjackets was any indication, Shauna Sadecki (Melanie Lynskey) isn't afraid to get her hands dirty. From surviving the wilderness as a teenager by any means necessary to committing murder and covering it up, Shauna goes after what she wants — even if it's morally dubious. 

Last season, for instance, Shauna had an extramarital affair with Adam (Peter Gadiot) only to murder him in his apartment because she believed he was blackmailing her, when in reality it was her financially unstable husband Jeff (Warren Kole). In the Season 2 premiere, Shauna and Jeff visit Adam's art studio to destroy potential evidence.

Here, the couple discovers that Adam painted several intimate portraits of Shauna, which upsets Jeff. But then, in a moment of rare vulnerability, Shauna tells him, "The thought of you with someone else always scared me, but it also turned me on. Someone else's tongue in your mouth, their smell on you." She goes on, "I used to think that made me some kind of pervert."

Jeff asks what she thinks now, and Shauna said, "That I like being the way I am," which leads them to get hot and heavy in the murdered man's studio.

Shauna isn't perverted; in fact, in terms of the connection between jealousy and arousal, this is a fairly common experience, Dr. Jess O'Reilly, ASTROGLIDE's resident sexologist, tells Mashable. Of course, Shauna is fictional, but desires of cheating and cuckold/queaning are real. We asked the experts where these desires stem from, and how to act them out ethically. 

What are cheating or cuckold fetishes?

Some people refer to what Shauna describes as a version of "hot husbanding," said O'Reilly: arousal from seeing your partner sexually engaged with someone else. We typically see this as "hot wifing," or when a husband enjoys seeing his spouse with another. The husband is referred to as a "cuckhold" in this instance.

Shauna may also be describing a form of cuckqueaning, says sex therapist Stefani Goerlich, certified sex therapist/clinical sexologist and author. A "cuckquean" is a woman whose husband is cheating on her, but in the BDSM community, that's expanded to mean a woman who's aroused from knowing her husband is being unfaithful.

SEE ALSO: A beginner's guide to understanding Dom/sub dynamics

"A lot of fetishes are about experiences that are perceived as off limits or unachievable," says sex worker and dominatrix Alexa Eason, who's been engaged in BDSM for over a decade. Our brain releases dopamine, known as the "pleasure chemical," when we're presented with something new, exciting, or unusual. "Many fetishes are taboo, and the idea of a novel or exclusive experience contributes to the excitement, thereby creating a dopamine rush," explains Eason.

And cheating is obviously taboo, especially in our society where monogamous marriage is the ideal. Fantasizing about possibilities — like kissing or sleeping with someone other than your partner — can provide a dopamine rush. "It feels good to be bad," Eason summized. 

Want more sex and dating stories in your inbox? Sign up for Mashable's new weekly After Dark newsletter.

Escort, sex worker, and professional girlfriend Mia Lee says the taboo of bucking social norms is one of the most common reasons straight women in (previously) monogamous relationships derive pleasure from sleeping with others and sharing that experience with their partners, based on her experiences with clients. Another reason is attention and desirability from men other than their partner.

In Shauna's case, it's obvious that the thrill of the taboo pushes her buttons, says Eason. (Remember, Shauna was secretly sleeping with Jeff as a teen before the plane crash, even though he was in a relationship with her best friend, Jackie.) "As a teen she enjoyed the thrill of secrecy," she says, "and as an adult she continues to seek that dopamine rush."

A couple sit on a couch together watching TV in their living room.
Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

Beyond taboo and desirability, watching a partner with someone else could be arousing due to power play, O'Reilly adds. "Some folks enjoy the fact that they are partnered with the object of other people's desires," she says. "They've got the prize, so to speak." Other factors can be emotional-erotic engagement — the range of feelings from jealousy to joy and everything in between — and compersion, or obtaining pleasure from your partner's pleasure, O'Reilly continues. 

"In the world of [ethical non-monogamy], many folks will talk about compersion," Goerlich says. "In cuckqueaning, that pleasure is extended into knowing that their husband is being sexually satisfied." Since, in these scenarios, everyone involved knows that extramarital sex is occurring and experiencing pleasure because of it, it's not truly a form of cheating. Goerlich would say these agreements are "a form of fetishized ethical non-monogamy." 

SEE ALSO: What is piss play, the fetish in the new season of 'You'?

How to ethically practice cheating or cuckolding fetish

"As with any fetish, consent and communication are key," says Lee. 

If you're interested in hot husbanding/wifing (or otherwise exploring how jealousy can be arousing in the bedroom), have an open and respectful conversation with your partner. Discuss boundaries, comfort levels, and sexual safety, Lee advises. For example, will all sex be protected? Will everyone get tested beforehand? Is everyone knowledgable about boundaries and safe words?

Share fantasies and how you feel in your fantasies, O'Reilly says, and also share concerns, hesitations, and insecurities. Talk about monogamy and non-monogamy more generally, as well — what appeals to you about either structure? How will you navigate your relationship arrangement as your desires evolve?

People get off on cuckolding/queaning for various reasons. For some, it's rooted in a desire for degradation and humiliation play, Goerlich explains. For others, however, it's about the "pride and ownership" aspect. Different reasons create different headspaces, so communication with your partner is a must so everyone's on the same page of why they enjoy this fantasy.

"Shauna vocalized her undisclosed lust and thereby was able to cash in on the transcendent experience of truly being accepted by her romantic partner."
- Alexa Eason

If you play with this fantasy IRL, don't forget that the other people you sleep with are people, too. Include them in these conversations early and often, and be transparent about what you want from the experience. Afterwards, debrief your encounters to ensure that you all feel cared for and safe. 

Opening up about desires isn't easy, but it's worth it. "Being vulnerable is one of the hardest things we do in our lives, because the potential for rejection looms heavy," Eason says. "But being honest about any and all of our desires can also open up the potential for truly transcendent experiences with the people you love most."

"Shauna vocalized her undisclosed lust and thereby was able to cash in on the transcendent experience of truly being accepted by her romantic partner," she continues. "As someone who's passionate about sexual liberation this feels like a heartwarming story line. Murder notwithstanding!"

Yellowjackets Season 2 premieres March 24 on Showtime's website and app, with new episodes released weekly on Fridays. Episodes also air every Sunday on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET, starting March 26.

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 10:00 am

'Bheed' actors speak about COVID-19 in India, frontline workers, and resilience

Rajkummar Rao and Bhumi Pednekar with director Anubhav Sinha on sets.

On March 24, 2020, the Indian government announced a nationwide lockdown as the threat of COVID-19 began to spread. India, a country of about 1.4 billion people at the time, faced a ripple of consequences that included the largest exodus of people since partition in 1947. This mass movement consisted of migrant workers, wanting to return to their homes and families before the lockdown, as curfews engulfed the country.

"...the lockdown is a severe crisis for India’s migrant labourers," wrote Ritanjan Das, a senior lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, in April 2020. "Stories from the ground signal the advent of desperate times."

It is these stories which were amalgamated to make Bheed, a drama that traces not only the journey of migrant workers during the outbreak of the pandemic, but scrutinizes prejudice and inequality in India. Directed by Anubhav Sinha, the movie stars Rajkummar Rao, Bhumi Pednekar, and a whole cast of characters that hold distinctive roles in society, played by Dia Mirza, Pankaj Kapur, Kritika Kamra, and Ashutosh Rana.

"It was a great ensemble," Rao tells Mashable, adding that "every character was very well etched out" from the beginning of production.

Dia Mirza in a still from 'Bheed'.
Dia Mirza in a still from 'Bheed'. Credit: Reliance Entertainment.

What is Bheed about?

In Bheed, the The White Tiger actor's character Surya is a rising police officer who has to overcome obstacles including his personal prejudices as the COVID-19 pandemic takes over. This required Rao to work closely with the director in understanding Surya's driving ideologies.

SEE ALSO: COVID Discord group helps Indians find oxygen, answers, and community

Meanwhile, Pednekar plays Renu, a junior doctor in a relationship with Surya, and says she meticulously researched the conditions those in the medical profession experienced during the outbreak of the pandemic.

"I read up more on the part, and it went beyond the physical strenuousness [doctors] went through," she says. "You're seeing excessive debt, you're seeing excessive loss, you're seeing shortage of supplies, you don't know who deserves a [hospital] bed more than another person — people often forget those challenges, which were so so harsh."

Described as a "searing", "painful pandemic drama", the film was shot entirely in black-and-white with the story taking place over the course of a day. Viewers are instantly thrown into a tense, uncertain world: a group of people walk across an empty railroad track, breaking what little bread they have. Later, scenes show even larger swarms of people ("bheed" literally translates to "crowd") swept in chaos: police officers hit them with sticks as they rush to make buses home. Affluent people sitting in cars comment on the disarray they witness through glass windows.

Bheed was a deeply emotional shoot.

Pednekar explains that the film was shot at a time when the lockdown still felt "fresh," meaning significant "emotional motivation" fuelled the cast's performances.

"We have seen loss at home, we've seen loss around us, we have lived with the fear and the uncertainty of what the future is going to have in store for us, especially when COVID first hit us," she says.

"To see those faces, [we saw] there was so much lingering pain. It would remind us of what everyone went through."
- Rajkummar Rao

Rao attests to this, saying that the making of Bheed was emotional itself.

"There are so many scenes in the film when you feel helpless about a certain character," he says. However, Rao points out that these moments underscore themes of hope in the same breath. "We talk about hope, and in those trying times, those who came together for each other."

Rao says there were between 500 to 800 extras on set daily, and "to see those faces, [we saw] there was so much lingering pain. It would remind us of what everyone went through."

Bheed seeks to tell the untold stories of migrant workers.

For both actors, the film is largely about providing a truthful and crucial retelling of what migrant workers went through. Although a work of fiction, Bheed is rooted in a harsh reality.

"During the first lockdown, we all saw thousands of migrant workers walking back to their respective homes. Those visuals are pretty strong. But not many of us know what happened to them after that," says Rao, adding that the story the film is telling hopes to delve into this ambiguous space.

Actors on the set of 'Bheed'.
Rajkummar Rao and Bhumi Pednekar on the sets of the film. Credit: Reliance Entertainment.

Pednekar expresses a similar sentiment, speaking of the resilience people embodied during the outbreak, in a time of fear and uncertainty. It's this sense of resolve and determination the creative team hope to represent in the movie.

"When you set out on a journey that's going to be at least hundreds of kilometers, and you don't even know where your next meal is coming from..." she says. "It takes a lot of courage, and it just takes that want to be with your family, to protect them."

Pednekar also takes time to acknowledge the many frontline workers, government officials, and advocates who played a crucial role in helping Indians at the time. The country's infrastructure felt immense strain during both the first and second waves, with shortages spanning from hospital beds to oxygen to vaccines — despite being the largest manufacturer of COVID-19 vaccines in the world. Research around the impact of the pandemic on India's marginalized communities is still emerging. Migrant workers, many of whom have returned to urban locations to resume working, are said to have been failed by the country in the midst of crisis.

"I can't even imagine what [the migrant workers] must have gone through," Rao says. "But they wanted to go back home – the least they wanted was to go back to their respective houses. Hats off to their strength and to their willpower."

Bheed is in cinemas from March 24.

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 10:00 am

The Wordle board game is fun for dedicated players, but slightly boring for others

wordle board game box sitting on orange couch cushion

I will admit, I was late to the Wordle craze. I obsessively play Wordscapes and Word Stacks, but something about seeing people tweet those little squares with their scores every day pissed me off to a point that I simply refused to play the game for a while. Being a hater is in my blood — I can’t help it.

Once my friends finally convinced me to give the game a try, I fully understood the hype. I spent hours playing the Wordle archive to make up for lost time. So, when I heard there would be a Wordle board game, I had to try it out.

The game released in October 2022 and retails for $19.99.

SEE ALSO: Wordle-obsessed? These are the best word games to play IRL.

How do you even play Wordle IRL?

Each round of the game requires one player to be the host and come up with the secret word. The game comes with three whiteboards that look like the online Wordle grid, where other players write their guesses. The host then places green and yellow tiles on the letters guessed correctly, while leaving incorrect letters blank (instead of placing gray tiles, like in the virtual game).

It’s almost exactly like the online version of the game, just a little more manual. There aren’t any new elements or rules to the board game, which is good for die-hard Wordle fans.

three people writing on wordle whiteboards
The game includes dividers so you can write your guesses without worrying about your friends cheating. Credit: Miller Kern / Mashable

Is playing Wordle in person actually fun?

The appeal of Wordle as a board game is that you get to make up your own words. You can play it safe with the included list of suggested words or get raunchy and make your friends guess some more adult words or inside jokes. It has the same sort of vibe as Telestrations but without any drawing.

Overall, the game was fun, but there were enough annoyances that I don’t know that I’d ever reach for Wordle over some of the other options in my game cabinet.

First of all, only four people can play the game at a time. My usual game night group consists of five people, so either someone sat out or we had a team of two on one of the boards. I wish this game were designed for at least six people.

two people playing the wordle board game on a colorful striped rug
The host might need to have pulled up to double check that guesses are in fact real words. Credit: Miller Kern / Mashable

Another issue was timing. One person might finish their guess a lot sooner than the others and move on to the next round. My friends and I had to make sure the host wasn’t putting tiles on anyone’s boards until everyone was on the same line. One of the great things about Wordle online is that there is no time limit so you don’t feel rushed. But I found myself wishing there were an included hourglass timer we could’ve used. Not having a time limit made the game stretch out and have boring moments of downtime for some players.

That said, it was really fun to choose a random word and see if my friends and I could get into each other’s minds to figure out what we came up with. Sometimes the words would be truly random and out there while other times it would be a callback to an earlier joke or conversation. It was also funny to watch us all struggle to remember what's a real word and what's not as we wrote our guesses.

The scorecard that comes with the game only has spaces for four rounds, and honestly, that’s all it needs. After each person had a turn at picking the word, we were all ready to be done playing and move on to the next game. It's definitely a game that's fun in short bursts.

Is the Wordle board game worth it?

If you’re an avid Wordle player, this is a really fun way to play with friends and get more than one word per day. As someone who petered out with the online version, I was not obsessed with the Wordle board game. But my friend, Nicole, who does still play every day, was very into the concept. So it really just depends on how much you love the original Wordle. I could also see the Wordle board game being more fun for elementary and middle school kids, or anyone trying to learn a new language.

The game only costs $20, so if it sounds even a little bit appealing, I’d give it a try. It might sit in the ranks with Codenames or Five Crowns for you.

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 10:00 am

NASA rover snaps eerie view of the dark Mars sky

a cloud on Mars at dawn

NASA's car-sized Perseverance rover is vigilantly sleuthing the Martian surface for past signs of life. It also snaps wondrous views of the planet's extraterrestrial skies.

The space agency released an eerie view of the dark Mars sky this week. It's gloomy, just before sunrise. Martian clouds hang in the air. Sunlight illuminates the distant atmosphere. It could be a view on Earth. But it's a vista tens of millions of miles away.

"Dusty and cold, sure – but Mars has a certain, raw beauty," NASA tweeted.

SEE ALSO: Life below Martian surface is more plausible than ever, scientists find
Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)

Such high Martian clouds are often made of water ice, though they can be carbon dioxide clouds, too.

The Perseverance rover is currently rumbling through the Jezero Crater, home to a dried-up river delta and a place planetary scientists believe once hosted a lake. "This delta is one of the best locations on Mars for the rover to look for signs of past microscopic life," NASA said.

As Mars, once a wet world harboring oceans, began to dry up, microscopic life might have persisted in Jezero's moist clays and soil. If so, it's possible remnants of organic material — potentially evidence of past life — may have been left over or preserved. Such remnants could be an element, or a substance, or a chain of molecules. The Perseverance rover has indeed found organic materials, like carbon, in the Jezero crater – but this itself isn't nearly evidence of past life.

The bar for claiming evidence of life is extremely high, and will almost certainly mean scrutinizing actual samples from Mars. That's one reason why the rover has drilled into the Martian soil to collect tubes of extraterrestrial dirt. In the next decade, NASA plans to bring these samples back to Earth.

Want more science and tech news delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for Mashable's Top Stories newsletter today.

For now, the Perseverance rover continues traveling — noisily — across the Martain desert as its advanced chemical-sleuthing instruments sniff out the terrain. Its side-kick, the dusty Ingenuity helicopter, is helping NASA chart the rover's winding course.

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 9:45 am

Black widows are vanishing. Here's their new enemy.

a black widow spider

In the spider world, even predators are hunted.

Biologists in regions of the Southern U.S. noticed that the iconic black widow spider — known for its telltale hourglass mark and venomous bite — often disappeared when a different species, brown widows, showed up. Now, new research published in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America provides compelling evidence that the brown widows are indeed driving Southern black widows out, in part by attacking and killing the well-known arachnids.

"They don't seem to be good neighbors with each other," Louis Coticchio, a biologist and graduate student at the University of South Florida who led the research, told Mashable.

When these two species occupied the same territory in the wild, Coticchio repeatedly observed that black widows slowly decline, until sometimes they were gone.

SEE ALSO: A big spider will spread in the U.S. No, it won't 'parachute' down.

But to find out exactly what was happening in parts of the Southern U.S. wilderness, biologists needed to carefully observe the spiders interacting in a lab.

Black widows become the hunted

Black widows are a native spider in the U.S., and the Southern black widow, or Latrodectus mactans, is the species commonly found all over the Southeast. The brown widow, or Latrodectus geometricus, meanwhile, likely originated in Africa and has now established itself across the Southern U.S. after scientists first spotted the arachnid in 1935. It, too, has a distinct hourglass marking.

To best see what's transpiring between these two widow species, Coticchio tested close brown widow interactions with three related spider species: the Southern black widow, the red house spider (Nesticodes rufipes), and the triangulate cobweb spider (Steatoda triangulosa). The interactions happened in containers filled with twigs and branches.

The results were stark. Brown widows were 6.6 times more likely to aggressively attack the black widows compared with the other species.

"The brown widows are basically eating their competition."

Indeed, brown widows peacefully cohabitated with the red house and triangulate spiders at times, and sometimes themselves were eaten by their container mate.

But a key behavioral difference is that brown widows were often observed as aggressors, meaning invading their neighbor's space and potentially attacking. Meanwhile, black widows didn't invade. They weren't boldly encroaching on others' territory. Rather, they were often on the defensive. This allowed brown widows to easily attack.

"The brown widows are basically eating their competition. They're eating them preferentially," Mark Willis, an entomologist at Case Western Reserve University who was not involved in the research, told Mashable.

two spiders battling each other in a containter
A brown widow (on right) killing a black widow in the researchers' lab experiment. Credit: Louis Coticchio / USF

Both Willis and Coticchio noted that this predation likely isn't the only factor driving brown widows to displace black widows in the wild. For example, brown widows can produce more offspring, because they can reproduce earlier in their lives and lay more eggs.

The reality that black widows, a well-known predator, have become popular prey for another spider isn't an unusual happening. Spiders are highly cannibalistic creatures.

"They have to kill something to eat. They don't care if it's another spider."

"All spiders are predators. They have to kill something to eat. They don't care if it's another spider," Willis explained. "There are some spiders that specialize in hunting and eating other spiders. If there's anything that's 100 percent a predator, it's a spider."

Want more science and tech news delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for Mashable's Top Stories newsletter today.

The impact of declining black widows

Biologists have much to learn about the decline of the Southern black widows and why it's happening. Is the brown widow in Africa an aggressor between the species, too? Or did the brown widow learn to attack the black widow in the U.S.?

"There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered," Coticchio said.

Perhaps the most important question of all is how the displacement and decline of Southern black widows will impact the existing native ecological relationships in the natural world. "If they're eliminating their competition by eating them and replacing them, that doesn't sound good to me," Willis noted.

After all, insects and arachnids are already burdened by the destruction of their habitat, climate change, and the widespread use of pesticides. Over 40 percent of insect species are in decline and a third are endangered, the U.N. Environment Programme found. "The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds, and reptiles," the agency concluded.

And widow spiders, particularly black widows, certainly don't need to be unfairly villainized. Of course, you don't want to be bitten, because their venom can cause minor to severe symptoms. But a black widow's first line of defense, if you happen to disturb their web, is to hide, not bite. Bites are rarer than people think, Coticchio explained.

"They're not these out-to-get-you killer spiders," he said.

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 9:30 am

Wordle-obsessed? These are the best word games to play IRL.

People playing Scrabble.

The Wordle obsession is real, y'all. And you know how I know? Because it's brought you here: to the point where you're actually looking for real-life, tangible games to play to fulfill your growing need for that sweet, sweet word building and letter unscrambling. In a world where everything we do is on our phones and there's very little that can pull our attention away from our shiny handheld devices, that's a pretty impressive feat.

What is Wordle, anyway?

Wordle is a daily word puzzle created by Brooklyn-based software engineer Josh Wardle. The web-based word game launched in October of 2021 and soared to popularity so quickly that it was snatched up by The New York Times by January 2022. The game itself has remained the same since day one, however: a grid of gray boxes where you get six chances to guess the day's predetermined five-letter word. 

SEE ALSO: Get hints for today's Wordle

You start by typing in one five-letter word which will let you know if any of those letters is in the day's word. If it is, the letter will turn yellow; if it is not, it will be gray. A green letter, however, is best because that means the letter is in the word and in the correct spot. We break down all the details (and best strategies) here, but that's the gist.

Alas, we can only play one Wordle per day. (Tread carefully there for spoilers if you haven't yet played today's word! Though we do give you several warnings.) And it's that very nature of the game that keeps us going back for more — day after day after day.

Why are word games so popular?

It's not just Wordle, though. Classic word games like Scrabble have roots that go back at least 100 years, and they've lasted the test of time as they remain just as popular today. Whether digital or tangible, there's something about word games that just keeps us coming back for more. To get a better idea of what that something really is, we spoke to Emanuel Robinson, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist at Battelle.

Dr. Robinson points out that intellectual engagement in various forms of games has always been popular with different groups or classes, going all the way back to Victorian-era brain games that kept folks entertained long before the advent of television. But why are we still so drawn to these games when we have so many other potential distractions these days?

"Personality may play a part," says Dr. Robinson, citing one's personal need for cognition. "Someone high in this trait tends to seek out intellectually stimulating content." He also notes the competitive component of not just games we actively play against in-person opponents, but also games like Wordle that we play individually and all-too-easily share with friends, strangers, and the entire internet, if we so choose. "Inherent drive to 'lead the pack' — whether a large, anonymous group or close family members — is strong."

What makes the best word games so habit-forming? 

These word games are not just popular, but playing them has actually become a habit for many of us. Dr. Robinson credits this to a matter of behavioral psychology, resulting from the fact that many games are built on the principles of simple responses to different stimuli.

"Provide rewards in variable and intermittent intervals and you’ll increase the drive to play the game," he explains.

Simply put? In the case of Wordle, in particular, the sheer fact that it can only be played once a day (designed by Wardle with the intention of preventing addiction) is precisely what creates the habit of playing every day. And when it comes to physical, tabletop word games, the simple rush and reward of winning — or the potential to win — will always keep you coming back for more.

What are the benefits of playing word games?

Before you start Googling treatments for your newfound word game addiction, let's just slow your roll and recognize that there are benefits to playing word games. Though Dr. Robinson notes that this area is debatable, he points out there has been some evidence of word games being beneficial, especially for children and older adults.

"There are some skills that one exercises in focused word game and other intellectual game play that seems to be beneficial in a variety of areas," he says, including but not limited to:

Whether they can boost your brain power or not, there's one important and very clear-cut benefit that cannot be debated, and that's the sheer fact that the best word games out there are also fun. That alone is the biggest benefit we can think of when it comes to playing them, even if they're not necessarily able to improve the average adult's cognition levels.

Are tangible word games more beneficial than digital word games?

"Theoretically, there are advantages to games or activities that use multiple modalities," says Dr. Robinson, referring to tangible, multiplayer games that utilize both physical and verbal aspects in their gameplay. "Using multiple modes of encoding and interaction make it easier to remember and access the information. So if we use both physical and verbal cues, then there are two different pathways to that information in the future."

He also points out that puzzles — whether logic-based, mathematics, word puzzles or otherwise — can exercise different mental skills that can carry over to other types of problem-solving or activities that can be helpful in personal or professional contexts. There is even an area of social problem solving, which one might argue could be enhanced by the in-person, head-to-head gameplay of real-life word games.

Overall, Dr. Robinson notes that playing physical word games (as opposed to digital ones) may provide richer encoding of information because of the full context of modes. "Not only is it physical, but there are often other people involved which is another line of encoding and accessing information to make the memories more vivid."

What is the best word game for Wordle fans? 

Maybe you've just hopped on the Wordle bandwagon, or maybe you're months-deep into your obsession. Either way, if you're craving the ability to bring all that competitive unscrambling and word-making into the real, physical world, we've got a bunch of solid recommendations for you. From classic word games like Scrabble and Boggle to a whole new generation of unique and innovative games that put an extra fun spin on things, these are some of the best word games you can play with your fellow Wordle addicts during your next game night.

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 9:00 am

An exploration of cinematic accessibility: Open captions set the standard

An illustrated face looks right toward pastel-colored symbols related to accessibility including hands using sign language

The silent film era was a cultural catalyst, ushering in the dawn of the silver screen through an innovative blend of art and technology. An essential chapter in Hollywood's history, these movies, interspersed with text, also introduced the first notion of accessible visual captioning, which would galvanize deaf actors and activists as early as the 1920s.

A hundred years later, however, it's now practically a miracle for deaf and hard of hearing viewers to find a local movie screening with on-screen ("open") captions. In fact, despite a century of innovation, it's still a central organizing point for many disability rights advocates, who hope that continued digital advancements and mainstream advocacy will bring open captions back as a standard practice.

In the 21st century, auditory and visual accessibility has gained relevance for viewers with and without disabilities, as more and more audiences report that they prefer to watch content with subtitles or captions. As social media platforms and streaming apps have picked up on the demand, some have instituted automatically generated or even customizable captions

SEE ALSO: Subtitles are the future. Sorry, caption haters.

Still, the general captioning environment is far from perfect. In 2021, AMC Theaters made a substantial expansion to its open captioned options, offering accessible screenings at 240 locations nationwide. While it was the biggest move by such a company at the time, it was just a fraction of the mega-popular chain's 950 locations.

At the 2023 Sundance U.S. Dramatic Competition, members of the jury walked out of a screening in protest of broken festival captions. Twitter, under the direction of Elon Musk, quietly got rid of its internal captioning service for Twitter Spaces conversations, and many have complained about the inaccuracies of automatically-generated captions and subtitles in languages other than English. 

When it comes to movie viewing, most (if not all) of these issues could be solved by the simple offering of open captions, just as our film predecessors used years ago. So why is the industry still moving at a snail's pace to universalize the option? 

Intertitles, subtitles, supertitles: What's in a 'caption?'

Open captioning services are often lumped together with other accessibility options known collectively as Audio-Visual Translation (AVT) — such as closed captions and subtitles — but each offers a unique viewing experience.

A 1928 black and white image of a man sitting at a desk. He is facing a small screen protruding from a black machine and typing on what looks like a typewriter. The screen displays the text "Aw nuts!".
In the era of silent films, moviemakers hand-spliced captions into film. Here, director Tod Browning adds text to his 1928 film "The Big City". Credit: John Kobal Foundation / Getty Images

The most common early captions for silent films, known as "intertitles," were inserted between scenes to provide non-visual context, explained Dr. Christian Volger, director of the Technology Access Program at Gallaudet University. Intertitles were created in a variety of ways and in increasingly intricate art forms, from hand-drawn or printed text to highly-stylized title cards.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw frequent testing of new title techniques, including lighted projection onto the screen and in-frame speech bubbles conveying an actor's dialogue. The innovations also led to the advent of what we now call subtitles, or on-screen translations for viewers who don't use the original language presented audibly. Modern subtitle types also include a service known as "supertitles," which are projections of translations on screens displayed over live performances, like operas. 

A man wearing a microphone headset sits next to a large, rectangular machine which generates live supertitles. Below the machine is a small video monitor.
Supertitles are another form of live captioning and translation used in operas. Introduced 40 years ago to make the art form more accessible to English-speaking viewers, many in the industry resisted the addition. Credit: Alex Garcia / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

In modern parlance, captions differ from subtitles in that they provide a description of all speech, translation, and additional dialogue or background noises. Closed captions are frequently described as being able to be "turned off," like the closed captioning services offered internally on televisions, streaming services, or even YouTube videos. Open captions, conversely, are permanently fixed and timed to a film and the images on the screen, harkening back to the inventions of early silent filmmakers. 

New technology has also introduced the idea of automatic text-to-speech services and AI-generated captions, explained Pat Krouse, Vice President of Operations for speech-to-text company Rev, which provides captioning, subtitle, and transcription services to creators, companies, and educational institutions.

"Years ago, if you wanted to get captions or special subtitles, those were a really slow, expensive, arduous process. You had to either hire full-time employees — like some of the big studios do — or you had to manage an army of independent contractors or vendors. So there's a lot of work, and overhead, and it took weeks and weeks. You're paying people to go through it with very limited technology and literally just listening, pausing, typing things out," Krouse said. "Technology has really improved these things in in the last couple of years."

The film industry's long journey toward accessibility

The shift from silent movies to "talkies" essentially excluded most deaf and hard of hearing people from cinemas, starting a century-long, ongoing journey to get back to accessible viewing experiences for all.

Members of the Deaf community immediately sprang into action as artistic intertitles fell out of use, Volger explained, including Cuban American actor Emerson Romero and Granville Redmond, a friend and cinematic colleague of Charlie Chaplin. In 1931, high school student Emil S. Ladner Jr. joined other deaf protesters in demanding a return to accessible films, writing, "Perhaps, in time, an invention will be perfected that will enable the deaf to hear the 'talkies,' or an invention which will throw the words spoken directly under the screen as well as being spoken at the same time."

Captioning questions have danced around the elephant in the room: Why not simply bring back "old school" versions of on-screen text?

A decade later, Romero would invent a simple captioning system that spliced intertitles into "talkies," to produce what he labeled "captioned films." This was added to growing European technology that chemically cut out letters on film to create "burned on" subtitles — a process that would later standardize the white lettering of captions and bring about the description of open captions as being "burned in" or permanent. Volger explained that in the 1950s, Dr. Edmund Boatner and Clarence O'Connor, founders of Captioned Films for the Deaf, Inc., became the first to routinely etch captions directly into film frames, bolstered by a 1958 law that expanded access to captioned educational content. 

It wasn't until the 1970s that television broadcasts would offer versions of what we now know as closed and open captioning, first invented and displayed by public station WGBH. In the 1970s the station produced the first open captioned program with Julia Child's The French Chef on PBS. The 1980s saw the first closed captioned children's program (Sesame Street) and the introduction of nationwide real-time closed captioning via the National Captioning Institute.

At the same time, new non-broadcast technologies were being created to make films more accessible. WGBH developed an external caption service called "Rear Window Captioning," which involves a clear plastic or plexiglass sheet mounted in front of a viewer with captions projected onto it from behind.

A man sitting in a movie theater stares upwards. Below his face is a plexiglass screen showing the reflection of a black and white movie. movie
"Rear Window" technology came into use in the 1980s and popularized around the passage of the ADA. Credit: Robert A. Reeder / The The Washington Post via Getty Images
The back of a man's head facing a movie screen in a dark theater. Orange movie captions scroll in front of him on a plexiglass screen.
Viewers watch the film through the plexiglass screen, which has captions projected onto it from behind. Credit: Robert A. Reeder / The The Washington Post via Getty Images

Later, flexible, wire-armed caption devices (known as CaptiView) would become the most commonly-offered accessibility contraption, using small, beeper-like devices that fit in cup holders or clip onto seats and display scrolling captions. In the 2010s, Sony introduced the Sony Entertainment Access Glasses, which project captions on the wearer's glasses lens. Globally, innovators have designed third-party caption apps for phones and tablets that sync up to a film's audio — some of which have launched to live theater audiences in the U.S.

A pair of glasses rests on a movie theater seat. Next to the rectangular glasses is a black box connected to the glasses via a thin cord.
New third-party technology continued to be introduced to cinemas, like the Sony Entertainment Access Glasses, which were introduced to Regal Cinemas in 2013. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

But the constant push for new tech obscures a broader implication toward deaf theatergoers. "These devices convey captioning to the individual user on the false premise that the rest of the audience do not want to be 'bothered' by captioning. In other words, the deaf and hard of hearing patron has to endure discomfort of these goggles or contraptions for the presumed comfort of everyone else," said Howard A. Rosenblum, CEO of the National Association of the Deaf.

The FCC has mandated closed captioning for video programming distributors (covering satellite, cable, and subscription television) since 2006, but movies remain sparsely regulated. Ironically, the passage of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act left the legal fate of captioning up in the air for many years, leaving captioning regulations out of its early version and relegating the decision to lower courts.

In 2010, the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) required a movie theater chain to offer closed captioning and video descriptions, "unless the theaters could show that to do so would amount to a fundamental alteration or undue burden." In 2012, the National Association of the Deaf won a federal district court case mandating Netflix caption all of its online content.

SEE ALSO: Be My Eyes meets GPT-4: Is AI the next frontier in accessibility?

In 2015, the state of Hawaii passed a law requiring movie theaters to have a minimum number of open-captioned showings of first-run movies, against pushback from the movie theater industry. Other local governments, like Washington, D.C., and New York City, would go on to pass similar limited laws. In 2017, movie theaters were mandated to make it known to consumers when caption equipment was available on site. 

For the most part, captioning questions have danced around the elephant in the room: Why not simply bring back "old school" versions of on-screen text?

"Ask deaf and hard of hearing people who use closed captioning at movie theaters and you will get many stories from them about malfunctions, battery problems, disconnects, missing dialogue lines, mix-ups of captioning from the wrong movie, limited quantities of the devices, physical discomfort with goggles, difficulties keeping the cupholder contraption in the line of sight, staff errors, and much more," Rosenblum explained to Mashable. "By contrast, open captioning provides deaf and hard of hearing people with truly equal access in that they can go into the theater and watch a movie without any extra effort or having to secure any equipment."

A closed captioning device in a theater
Many movie viewers have relied on closed captioning devices that attach to seats, but offer little customization. Credit: J. Conrad Williams, Jr. / Newsday RM via Getty Images

What goes into making the big screen accessible?

As movie theaters amble through the process of making physical spaces accessible, it's easy for the specifics of captioning processes to get bogged down by the confusing array of information provided to the public at large. "If you look up the dictionary definition of what open captions are, they don't even really fit that description anymore," explained Volger. 

The long social and technological history of captions has merged into a more streamlined, digital ecosystem. While the manual labor needed to hand splice, draw, burn, or project captions used to provide a sort of cover for the lack of access — relegating captions to a demand- or budget-restricted decision — the advent of digital editing and digital projection systems in theaters has removed much of this concern from the equation. Advancements in AI — which, with the right oversight, have the power to revolutionize many different kinds of accessibility resources — have also advanced speed and simplicity.

Now, open captioning and closed captioning production processes, and how they are added to visual media, are essentially the same, explained Volger. Open captioning in theaters no longer requires a separate, etched film reel, but uses nearly the same digital system as at-home closed captions. "With a digital production system, you can turn open captions on and off [like closed captions], except that it's at the discretion of the movie theater, rather than the choice of the end user." 

Krouse explained how captioning works for a service like Rev. "Our processes are what's called 'humans-in-the-loop,' where it is human and software together, doing things much more efficiently. There's a software called ASR, automated speech recognition. People just broadly call it AI. What that will do is go through first and generate a rough pass that is, depending on the service, anywhere from 70 to 90 percent accurate." Then, trained human editors go through the transcript to review for accuracy and to sync the timing of captions with visual indicators, leading to the production of a "sidecar file" that can be distributed in different file types depending on need. 

It's stubbornness from within the industry that's forced this community out of theaters.

Volger added that filmmakers themselves will often include guidelines for captions, additional story context, and other documents used to ensure accuracy when requesting captions. Professional captioning services also design and apply captions based on industry and federal standards, either defined by the ADA or the Federal Communications Commission (FCC.) The FCC demands more detailed requirements, Krouse explained, such as "atmospherics and specific formatting," like descriptions of offscreen sounds and the precise movement or placement of captions between shots. Other deaf and accessibility advocacy organizations, like the National Association of the Deaf, have established their own captioning guidelines, as well.

The onus of open captioning thus begins with the film's production team making it a required step in the post-production process. Caption files are then added to a film's digital cinema package (or a DCP), which is handed off to distributors to offload to film festivals or movie theaters. Studios and production companies do have a hand in ensuring there is funding and priority for adding captions, though, and some studios are known to buck the responsibility more than others, Volger said. 

Independent companies thus act as middlemen between a range of creators, filmmakers, educators, and industry elites, and the evolving tech needed to make audio-visual translations easier. "People recognize now that when they create a piece of content, it's a responsibility to make sure that it's accessible, and it can reach the people that it's intended to," Krouse said. "There's a wide recognition from a lot of people across all industries that that's kind of just a part of what they need to be doing."

Even if a filmmaker and their studio ensure caption files are in a DCP, though, the inclusion means nothing if movie theaters don't actually choose to turn them on — which, from a technology perspective, any theater with a digital projection system has the ability to do or not do, Volger said.

With tech speeding up, he added, conversations are shifting back around to the visual style of captions, and the use of audio-visual translation as a storytelling or an artistic device. Examples of unique approaches include the 2013 Virgin America safety video featuring Todrick Hall and a sea of dancers performing above expressive moving captions emphasizing key words, which Volger uses as an example in his own classroom.

More recently, Michael B. Jordan's Creed III added an artistic element to subtitling American Sign Language (ASL), used by Jordan's character with his on-screen daughter, Amara, played by actor Mila Davis-Kent, who, like her character in the film, is deaf. Instead of traditional, stark lettering in white or yellow, the subtitles in this film are displayed in white with an ombre color overlay matching the scene.

SEE ALSO: 'Creed III' review: This 'Rocky' franchise still hits hard

These efforts illustrate the potential of incorporating inclusivity as an aspect of creative expression, rather than viewing accessibility as a distraction.

"It's really part of the art," Krouse explained, noting how hands-on many film and video creators are in their captioning process. "To make sure it reflects the story that you're telling in that language, that it fits within the scene properly. They typically want to make sure that it's not being done by some third party who doesn't have that artistic eye."

Looking for leadership beyond the market

If the technology is there, then, why do so many movie theaters refuse to provide more than a few open caption screenings? The current excuses, Volger asserted, are skewed concepts of cost and demand, and a lack of political action.

"A common argument the movie theaters make is that they will lose customers if they 'force' everyone to watch a movie with open captions. I think that argument is changing over the generations. If you look at the kids today, a lot of them use them on their own devices, and I think that acceptance could be a lot higher than what it was before."  

Perceived customer loss from increasing showings with open captions is paired with studio perceptions of the cost it takes to create captions. But price really isn't a relevant barrier anymore in the billion-dollar industry, as speech-to-text advancements have lessened the workload relying on human-based captioning services.

"Technology has really lowered the bar for this. In the last couple of years, the level of accuracy you can get at such an affordable price point is kind of mind blowing, compared to where this was 10 or 20 years ago," Krouse said. For example, FCC-compliant (also known as "burned-in") captions for a two-hour piece of content can be provided for about $400, according to a Rev representative. A shift to digital moviemaking formats and digital projection systems in the 2000s has eradicated many pricey in-house technical barriers to screening open captioned films, as well. 

In many ways, it's stubbornness from within the industry that's forced this community out of theaters. "For too long, deaf and hard of hearing customers have been relegated to second-class status and excluded from true access at theaters," Roseblum said. "We have had to drive to far-away locations just to see an open captioned showing, endure a terrible weekday showing time, suffer closed captioning contraptions that don’t work just to be told, 'Sorry, come back and try again another time!'"

Volger explained that in the movie world, some studios fall short of providing proper captions for their films, and "there's no way that a movie theater can force them to." What activists really need is greater protection under the law, providing enforcement mechanisms that would apply in the private and public spheres to both studios and theaters, he added.

This demand is a near-perfect reflection of the larger fight for disability inclusion, in which a fairly straightforward process is continuously impeded by a lack of political decision-making, unjustified assumptions about demand, and a misunderstanding of our nation's own history. 

Without federal mandates for distributing and displaying open captions, filmmakers, studios, and movie theaters have treated them as an afterthought, leaving moviegoers with disabilities and their advocates begging for even a mere acknowledgment of the text accessibility tool that's right there for the taking.

"For disability activists, demand hasn't ever been enough," Volger said. "The marketplace has never really been a way to sort out these things." 

Within the art and consumer world, however, groups have the power to call for political action and to make a cultural change, recognizing the importance of on-screen captions for accessibility advancement, but also acknowledging the text as a historic art form. With the rise of nostalgic content and the longing for old methods of media-making and art, it's about time to revive a silver screen relic with the tools of today.

Want more news on tech and accessibility delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for Mashable's Top Stories newsletter today.

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 9:00 am

Bad fungus is spreading in hospitals at an 'alarming rate.' What to know.

spores of the Candida auris fungus

It's not a fungus apocalypse. But it's a serious, growing problem.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced this week that the fungus Candida auris (C. auris) "spread at an alarming rate in U.S. healthcare facilities" during 2020-2021. This fungus is particularly problematic because it's a strain that has emerged in recent years, can be resistant to some, or all, antifungal drugs, and has caused outbreaks in hospitals, Dr. Luis Ostrosky, an M.D., fungal infection expert, and professor of infectious diseases at UTHealth Houston, recently told Mashable.

The CDC is taking the spread, which can cause severe and fatal blood infections, seriously.

"The rapid rise and geographic spread of cases is concerning and emphasizes the need for continued surveillance, expanded lab capacity, quicker diagnostic tests, and adherence to proven infection prevention and control," CDC epidemiologist Dr. Meghan Lyman, lead author of the new research, said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: Why the scary fungus in 'The Last of Us' won't cause an apocalyptic outbreak

The research, entitled, "Worsening Spread of Candida auris in the United States, 2019 to 2021," is published in the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

How worried should you be about Candida auris?

The fungus Candida auris, which is a yeast, infects people who are quite ill and have compromised immune systems.

"To experience a fungal infection, there has to be something wrong with your immune system," Dr. Ostrosky, who is also chief of epidemiology at the academic hospital Memorial Hermann, explained. This includes people who have had organ transplants or other major, life-saving surgeries, as well as those undergoing cancer treatments, he said.

"In general, C. auris is not a threat to healthy people."

People in hospitals who are unwell are particularly susceptible to Candia auris. "People who are very sick, have invasive medical devices, or have long or frequent stays in healthcare facilities are at increased risk for acquiring C. auris," the CDC said.

Fortunately, like with most fungal spores, healthy people are not the group being infected or at risk. "In general, C. auris is not a threat to healthy people," the agency noted. That's because our advanced, healthy immune systems constantly combat fungal spores, and keep such foreign fungi microbes at bay. (For example, we inhale fungal spores every time we go outside.) "Humans are really, really good at staving off fungal infections," Vincent Bruno, a scientist at the Institute for Genome Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Medicine who researches fungal diseases, told Mashable this year.

Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)
Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab)

Want more science and tech news delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for Mashable's Top Stories newsletter today.

But for those infected with Candia auris, the CDC is raising the alarm because it's often resistant to multiple antifungal drugs that doctors use to treat Candida infections. Candida auris is a newly emerged strain of the fungus Candida, which already causes some 25,000 infections annually. Some 30 to 60 percent of people infected with C. auris have died, the CDC said. "However, many of these people had other serious illnesses that also increased their risk of death," the agency noted.

How much is Candida auris spreading?

Since 2016, the CDC has been increasingly concerned about Candida auris. That's when the health agency received reports that the fungus was resistant to medicines in other parts of the world.

"It seemed hard to believe," the CDC wrote. "CDC fungal experts had never received a report describing a Candida infection resistant to all antifungal medications, let alone Candida that spreads easily between patients."

A number of factors may contribute to these rising numbers, the agency notes. This includes poor infection control, more screening to detect the infection (a good thing), and increased fungal spread during a time of great strain on the healthcare system during peaks of the COVID pandemic hospitalizations.

To limit the spread, the CDC is sounding the alarm to aid healthcare facilities in identifying the infectious fungus, and how to contain the microbe in places like hospitals and nursing homes.

This story was originally published on March 21, and has been updated with more information about Candida auris.

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 9:00 am

Convert vinyl to digital with this $160 USB turntable

laptop plugged into gemini tt turntable with blue background

TL;DR: As of March 25, you can get the Gemini TT-1100USB Belt Drive Turntable on sale for $159.99 instead of $169.95.

Collecting vinyl doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby, or even a retro one. You can get a high-quality modern turntable for pretty cheap now, and some of them even come with some cool advanced features an older model just can’t match. The Gemini TT-1100USB Belt Drive Turntable lets you play music in its classic form or convert it to digital so you can keep it safe forever, and it only costs $159.99. 

Digitize your record collection 

Grab your favorite original pressing and some speakers and listen to tunes the old-fashioned way. This club-style turntable has a sleek build and a precision aluminum tonearm that helps keep your music from sounding shaky. Add in the +/-10% variable pitch slider and you’ve got crystal-clear sound that you can customize at will. 

Play 33.3, 45, and 78 RPM records without switching turntables. And if you want to keep the unique sound of your favorite pressings, you can convert them to digital as you play. Use the included USB cable to connect your PC or Mac and create digital recordings of your whole vinyl collection. As unique and special as it can feel to put on a record, vinyl isn’t exactly the most durable material in the world. 

The master copies of entire albums from famous musicians were lost in a 2008 fire, but you can keep digital copies safe forever without harming the actual vinyl they’re pulled from. Put your old 45s on a 64GB flash drive, or just keep them in your phone to listen to whenever you want. 

All you need are some speakers and a song to get this all-in-one turntable playing. Plug in your trusty wired speakers or hook up your headphones and enjoy. 

Put your old records in your playlist 

Whether you’re a seasoned collector or just getting into the hobby, now you can turn all your vinyl into digital audio files to listen to on the go. For a limited time, you can get the Gemini TT-1100USB Belt Drive Turntable on sale for the best price online, only $159.99 (Reg. $169). 

Prices subject to change.

gemini turntable
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Gemini
Gemini TT-1100USB Belt Drive Turntable (opens in a new tab)
$159.99 at the Mashable Shop
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 9:00 am

Learn how to build your own Amazon FBA or Shopify dropshipping business with a $25 bundle

woman packaging boxes in warehouse

TL;DR: Interested in building passive income? The Amazon FBA and Shopify Dropshipping Business Model and Strategies Bundle is on sale for just $24.97 through April 3 — that's just over $8 per course.

Spring is the time for new, promising things to grow and flourish, and that isn’t limited to plants. If you want to start growing your own business, Amazon FBA and Shopify Dropshipping may be the way to go. If you’re new to the world of dropshipping, check out Amazon FBA and Shopify Dropshipping: The 2023 Business Model and Strategies Bundle for info on how to get started. It’s only $24.97 during the Spring Blowout Sale, but that price only lasts until April 3 at 11:59 p.m. PT. 

Learn how to become a dropshipper 

Amazon FBA and Shopify Dropshipping are two different ways of managing your own store online. The main difference between Shopify and Amazon is that your Amazon store is housed and accessed on Amazon, which already has a huge audience that mostly needs ways to find your products. Shopify dropshipping has you create your own store online, so you have more control over your site identity, but it may also be harder to get started because you might not have the same built-in audience that Amazon does. 

The first step to creating your store is to decide where you want to get started. If you want to head over to Amazon, then start with Amazon FBA: The 2023 Business Model and Strategies Course. This 2.5-hour crash course shows you how you can search for a profitable niche, find products to sell on Amazon, and write high-quality ad copy. You’ll even learn how to connect with suppliers and customers. If you’re going with Amazon, be sure to check out the Amazon automation 2023 course and see how you automate your Amazon sales process. 

If Shopify is where you want to start, Paul Heidiri can show you how to find physical products or purchase digital products to sell online. Heidiri is a successful online entrepreneur who has built passive income using Amazon FBA and digital dropshipping, and he even has a step-by-step guide for using Facebook Business Manager to build higher turnover. And once you start raking in a profit, there are plenty of tax tools to help you file. 

Learn how to earn passive income with your own online business 

Learn how to work from home at your own business. Get the Amazon FBA and Shopify Dropshipping Business Model and Strategies Bundle on sale for 24.97 (reg. $597) until April 3 at 11:59 p.m. PT. 

Prices subject to change. 

person using laptop for dropshipping
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Paul Heidiri
Amazon FBA and Shopify Dropshipping Business Model and Strategies Bundle (opens in a new tab)
$24.97 at the Mashable Shop
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 9:00 am

Ease job interview stress with this $40 AI practice tool

person using huru job interview app on phone

TL;DR: Through April 3, you can sign up for a lifetime subscription to the Huru Job Interview Prep Coach for only $39.97 — that's an extra 18% off the usual sale price.

Looking for a new job is stressful enough on its own, but then you have to ace the interview to even be considered. And sometimes there’s more than one interview. There’s some pretty great tools to help you apply to jobs, but now AI can also help you with the interview process.

Huru Job Interview Prep Coach can scan real job postings and create interview questions for you to practice as many times as you want. Normally, a lifetime subscription with Huru would cost $299, but until April 3 at 11:59 p.m. PT, you can get it for just $39.97 during the Spring Blowout sale. No coupon needed. 

AI could help you ace an interview 

No more practicing interview questions you found online. Huru can generate realistic interviews from any job offer posted on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Monster, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter. It’s not just generating questions either. Huru actually generates an AI interviewer to ask the questions, and it has real-time facial expression feedback. See how an AI face reacts to you explaining your greatest strengths in the workplace and get ready for the real thing. It’s like having a professional interviewer with you all the time, only they won’t think it’s weird if you stare at their face to see if they like your answers.

Your feedback isn’t all in the face, either. You can get detailed instant feedback from Huru after every question with notes about your answer, speech articulation, and pauses. All you have to do to prepare for your interview is scan the QR code from a job posting on one of the supported job boards. Then start the interview. You can also select from a pre-made list of 20,000+ mock interviews with more than 300 positions. 

All that’s left is to practice, practice some more, and then rock the real thing. Play your cards right, and there might even be an AI that helps with your job, too. 

Get custom AI-powered job interview practice 

Searching for a job is stressful, but it might not have to be. This iOS and Android app can generate interviews based on any job post on popular job boards. Get a lifetime subscription to Huru Job Interview Prep Coach on sale for just $39.97 until April 3 at 11:59 p.m. PT. No coupon needed. 

Prices subject to change.

person using huru job interview prep coach on phone
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Beatview
Huru Job Interview Prep Coach Lifetime Subscription (opens in a new tab)
$39.97 at the Mashable Shop
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 9:00 am

This automatic cat water fountain is only $22

cat next to kittyspring water fountain

TL;DR: Get the KittySpring water fountain for cats for just $21.99 instead of $39 as of March 25. That's a savings of 43%.

If your cat isn’t drinking from their water bowl as much as they should, there’s a chance they aren’t just being picky. Their bowl just might not be the right fit for them, and it doesn’t help that the water they don’t drink just stagnates. Instead, you could get your cat the KittySpring Water Fountain for cats. This automatic water bowl doesn’t need electricity to provide your feline friend with fresh water, and you can get it for the best price online at just $21.99 (reg. $39). 

Treat your cat to water on demand 

The KittySpring is an Indiegogo and Kickstarter-funded automatic water dispenser for cats. Instead of refilling your cat’s bowl whenever it gets low, the KittySpring has a refillable reservoir that holds up to two days of water for one cat. If you have more than one cat, you might have to refill it more often, but the basin is wide so multiple kitties can drink at the same time. There’s another hidden benefit to that wide bowl. Cats actually prefer eating and drinking from wide, shallow dishes that don’t bump their whiskers or limit their view of their surroundings. Your cat might be happier to drink their fill with the KittySpring, and there will be a constant supply of fresh water. 

KittySpring manufacturers state that this cat-friendly water fountain is made entirely from BPA-free, pet-safe materials. The non-slip mat also helps keep your fountain safe from your cat, but the sturdy construction should be fine if your cat decides to bat it around like their new favorite toy. 

Save on an automatic water bowl for your cat 

Your cat probably can’t operate a faucet, but this automatic water fountain makes sure they’ll have fresh water for days at a time before you need a refill. For a limited time, get the KittySpring Water Fountain for Cats on sale for only $21.99 (reg. $39). That’s the best price on the web, but hurry — it may not last fur-ever. 

Prices subject to change.

water fountain for cats
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Cheerble
KittySpring Water Fountain for Cats (opens in a new tab)
$21.99 at the Mashable Shop
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 9:00 am

Bring your photos to life with Luminar Neo AI, on sale for only $79

desktop computer next to laptop, camera, camera lenses, and more

TL;DR: The award-winning Luminar Neo Lifetime Bundle is on sale for just $79 instead of $400 as of March 25 — that's a savings of 80% for a limited time.

Every day, hundreds of millions of pictures are uploaded to Facebook and Instagram. If you’ve been searching for a way to stand out from that crowd, the power of AI is here to transform your photo editing experience. AI is revolutionizing the creative world by giving you easy access to complex and professional tools. During the Spring Blowout sale, you can try a lifetime license to the award-winning Luminar Neon AI-powered photo editing software with six add-ons for the best price on the web, just $79 (reg. $400).

A whole world of creative tools

Anyone can create professional-quality photos with the help of AI. Luminar Neo is a user-friendly photo editing software designed to give you a wide selection of tools to explore your wildest creative endeavors. Use tools like layers, masking, and local adjustments to achieve the exact look you want. You may also utilize presets to quickly achieve pro-level results and help you consistently edit a collection of photos.

AI steps into Luminar Neo to assist you in replacing skies, enhancing landscapes and portraits, relighting different areas, retouching the look of skin, removing unwanted objects, and more. You don’t have to be a pro to do any of this.

Explore the six add-ons to bring even more life to your edits with Perfect Fluffy Clouds, Soulful Panoramas, Spring Adventure, Emerald Forest, Champions Bundle, and Bokeh Dreams. Each of these packs contains preset items you can use in your photos for fast and stunning results. For instance, you could replace dark rain clouds with a sunny sky if you were caught in bad weather during photo taking. 

Easy, versatile photo editing

Install Luminar Neo on your Mac or PC or as a plugin for Photoshop and Lightroom. You will receive any additional release updates and new features as part of your lifetime subscription.  

Be the photographer and photo editor of your dreams with a little help from the Luminar Neo Lifetime Bundle, now only $79 (reg. $400), no coupon needed.

Prices subject to change.

luminar neo software
Opens in a new tab
Credit: Luminar
Luminar Neo AI Lifetime Bundle (opens in a new tab)
$79 at the Mashable Shop
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 9:00 am

'Yellowjackets' Season 2: What's the deal with Lottie's cult?

A woman in a bright orange-yellow dress and robe stands with her hands clasped in the woods on a bright day.

For the entirety of Yellowjackets Season 1, we had no idea whether Lottie (Courtney Eaton) was alive in the present day. But in the season finale, we finally got confirmation she'd made it through the wilderness.

What's Lottie been doing for 25 years since they were finally rescued from the wilderness? Amid Natalie (Juliette Lewis) and Misty's (Christina Ricci) investigations into the suspicious death of Travis (Andres Soto), we find out Lottie (Simone Kessell) was the one responsible for draining his bank account after he died. Is Lottie connected to Travis's death? What's her plan with all of his cash?

SEE ALSO: 'Yellowjackets' burning questions we have going into Season 2

Well, in Season 2, we finally catch up with Lottie, who appears to be running a cult — sorry, a wellness retreat — called Camp Green Pine. What exactly is this place? Who are these purple-clad people? Here's everything we know so far, and we'll be updating this each week with additional details revealed per episode.

What happened to Lottie after the Yellowjackets were rescued?

A girl in sweats sits in a cabin next to a young man wearily watching a conversation.
Where's Lottie been? Credit: Kimberley French/SHOWTIME

Lottie's return to society was not a smooth one. We get a glimpse into the team's 1998 return in the second season's first episode, as we see the girls herded past one hungry press horde. Since their return, Lottie hasn't uttered a word. She spends her nights silently wandering around her parents' home, so they have her committed to a psychiatric facility. During a session of electroconvulsive therapy, Lottie experiences flashbacks to her visions from the wilderness, and later in her hospital room she uses her "healing hand" breathing technique to calm her roommate's anxiety attack, like she did multiple times with Travis in the woods. It seems Lottie may have been inspired by her own confidence in her healing abilities to open a dedicated the woods.

What's the nature of Lottie's wellness retreat?

A woman in a bright orange-yellow dress and robe stands with her hands clasped in the woods on a bright day.
Lottie's gone back into the woods, sort of. Credit: Kimberley French/SHOWTIME

When we first meet Lottie as an adult, she's giving a motivational talk from a minimalist wooden stage in a stunning lakeside location, near a woods. She's orating to an audience completely dressed in shades of purple, while she's dressed in bright orange — the same hue as the followers of Rajneeshpuram, the commune established in rural Oregon in the 1980s that formed the focus of Netflix's Wild Wild Country. Just. Sayin'.

But so far, there's no cult-like activity at Camp Green Pine. Lottie appears to be running a pretty standard holistic mental health retreat for people seeking therapy for trauma or to process negative emotions.

"There's only one person who can really give you what you're looking for: You. Your truest, most authentic self. That's why you're here, so I can introduce you," Lottie tells her audience. "Right now there is a version of you that knows exactly who you really are and what you really want. A primal, elemental self. And there is nothing more painful than hiding that self."

There is a version of you that knows exactly who you really are and what you really want. A primal, elemental self.
- Lottie Matthews

Chickens roam freely among the camp's curated grounds, residents sit in quiet conversation around the communal bonfire when they're not in their fancy cabins, and late at night, they engage in ritualistic faux burials wearing animal masks and white robes — or sometimes nothing at all. Who knows if there's a quiz night?

But there's one thing it appears Lottie brought back from the woods: that dreaded symbol.

A girl's hand has drawn a strange symbol in a foggy cabin window.
Lottie seems to have borrowed a little somethin' from the wilderness. Credit: Kimberley French/SHOWTIME

The seemingly apotropaic icon we've seen all series immediately comes into play in episode 1, when Natalie notices it being worn as a pendant by Lottie's associate Lisa (Nicole Maines): "That thing around your neck tells me all I need to know."

Why did Lottie's group kidnap Natalie?

A group of people wearing purple hold a woman against her will outside a hotel.
Not a gentle introduction. Credit: Kimberley French/SHOWTIME

Essentially, Lottie's community members kidnapped Natalie to save her life. But they didn't save her...gently. In the first season's finale, a group of purple-clad people burst into Natalie's hotel room just as she's about to kill herself, dragging her into a van marked with the symbol from the wilderness.

In Season 2's first episode, Natalie is being held captive in a wooden cabin, where she's restrained by the wrists. Why does Lottie have bed cuffs installed in her accommodation? "We were afraid you were going to hurt yourself," says Lisa, who has been assigned to supervise Natalie. It appears to be the type of physical restraint used in psychiatric facilities, and as Natalie realises, it's not a regular practice residents like Lisa are used to at all.

But Camp Green Pine's real "Hotel California" energy comes into play when Natalie violently escapes her cabin cell, as followers in purple pursue her through the woodsy darkness, calling out, "Hey, get back here!" Not exactly welcoming, huh?

How did Lottie's cult begin in the wilderness?

A girl wearing pyjamas outside a cabin in the woods holds a lantern at night.
"I have a bad feeling about this place." Credit: Kimberley French/SHOWTIME

Lottie's journey toward becoming the Yellowjackets' spiritual leader in the wilderness runs a steady pace in Season 1, but hasn't quite been defined yet by Season 2's first episode.

Though Lottie's initial connection to spirituality seems loose in Season 1, her increasingly prominent "visions" define her experience in the wilderness, from her French-speaking outburst during the attic seance to Jackie finding her standing in the lake in her PJs, not to mention her underwater premonition of Laura Lee's explosive death. Lottie is the first Yellowjacket to find one of the series' signature spooky symbols carved into a tree, and she dons a crown of antlers in the "Doomcoming" episode, all but confirming she's the Antler Queen from the Season 1's opening scene of ritualistic cannibalism.

A group of girls in twig crowns stand in a wood in the dark.
Credit: Kimberley French/SHOWTIME

Tripping on Misty's mushrooms, Lottie easily leads several fellow Yellowjackets into a bacchanal of screaming, howling girls who pursue Travis for their own hedonistic, violent, and possibly sacrificial means. During their psychedelic journey, Lottie says aloud, "We won't be hungry much longer." The next day, she confronts a bear that wanders near their cabin and seemingly kneels before her so she can kill it. This moment seems to solidify her divine association to several followers, including Van and Misty, who join her for a ritualistic offering of the bear's heart to an altar.

"Shed blood, my beautiful friends, and let the darkness set us free," Lottie declares.

A group of teen girls wearing ritualistic garb stand around a teen boy restrained.
Neva4get. Credit: Kimberley French/SHOWTIME

During their time in the woods, Lottie constantly talks about this darkness in the wilderness "being in all of you." During the seance scene, she repeats the words, "It wants…It wants…It wants…hungry," before speaking in French about something wanting blood and declaring, "You must spill blood or else."

By Season 2's first episode, Lottie's not exactly running nightly bloodbath ceremonies, but she has established a ritual of giving Travis and Natalie tea she's pricked her finger and bled into before each hunt, then drawing the symbol on the window to keep them safe.

Lottie's gift of foresight has a longer history.

A small girl listens to a conversation while perched on the stairs, looking through the balustrade.
Credit: Kimberley French/SHOWTIME

Lottie's experiences with visions run deeper than her time in the wilderness. In Season 1, the series takes us back into Lottie's childhood, when she screams in terror from the back seat of her parents' car right before a crash occurs — one that would have most certainly involved their car had she not screamed, causing her dad to brake. Dismissing the possibility of Lottie's clairvoyance, her parents decide to send her to a psychiatrist, where she's prescribed an ambiguous medication for her mental health. In the wilderness, Lottie takes her last remaining pill, and the visions begin.

Why did Lottie take Travis's money?

A teen girl wearing a fluffy jacket holds her hand on a teen boy's chest to calm him.
Courtney Eaton as Lottie and Kevin Alves as Travis. Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

It's confirmed in the season finale that Lottie was the one to drain Travis's bank account after he died, but did she use the money to fund her retreat? Considering Lottie's establishment is well up and running, it seems unlikely she used the money for this purpose.

What was Travis and Lottie's relationship like after they left the wilderness though? Beyond that whole almost-sacrificial moment (whoops!), Travis seems to have found a spiritual connection with Lottie during her anxiety-quelling breathing practices. Plus, Lottie has been insistent that Javi, his missing brother, is alive in the woods, despite Nat's criticism of this "false hope."

When Natalie confronts Lottie in episode 1, she's pretty damn pissed, though Lottie claims to have a message for her from Travis. What exactly happened between them?

There's plenty more ahead — we'll keep you updated every week on all things Lottie.

Yellowjackets Season 2 premieres March 24 on Showtime's website and app, with new episodes released weekly on Fridays. Episodes also air every Sunday on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET, starting March 26.

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 9:00 am

The 25 best action movies on Netflix in April 2023

Scenes from 'Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,

Looking to fuel up your Netflix queue with some high-octane action?

Whether you're a fan of wild Westerns, high-swinging superheroes, cunning detectives, ravenous zombies, or hard-core assassins, Netflix has a movie pitch-perfect for every kind of adrenaline seeker. But scrolling through their app can be a chore when all you want to do is Netflix and chill. So, we've taken out the hard step, highlighting the most stunt-stuffed, battle-powered, high-speed films this streamer has to offer.

Here are the 25 best action movies on Netflix, streaming right now.

25. Zombieland

Woody Harrelson takes a swing — of his bat — to save Jesse Eisenberg in "Zombieland."
Credit: Pariah/Kobal/Shutterstock

Horror-comedy got a double-tap of greatness with this 2009 romp, which imagines the zombie apocalypse as an amusement park packed with action, gore, and punchlines galore. Jesse Eisenberg stars as the meek yet wise Columbus, whose rules to survival have kept him safe since outbreak day went from potential hook-up to self-defensive homicide. Joining him on a rowdy road trip through a ravaged USA are hard-hitting Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), sassy Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), and snarling but scorching hot Wichita (Emma Stone). Can love and friendship blossom in this hopeless place? Does Bill Murray pop up for a kooky cameo? Find out by hitting play. —Kristy Puchko, Film Editor

How to watch: Zombieland is streaming on Netflix, starting April 1.

24. How to Train Your Dragon

Vikings! Dragons! Epic battles! How to Train Your Dragon has it all. This animated fantasy from DreamWorks is a high-flying delight, featuring exceptional animation that will transport you to the village of Berk and the starry skies above. Berk is at war with the dragons who constantly attack them, making killing a dragon a rite of passage for any Berk resident. However, for Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel), things are a little more complicated than that. He meets a Night Terror dragon named Toothless and develops a real bond with him, learning that dragons may not be as deadly as they appear. Will Hiccup be able to change years of brutal tradition? You'll have to ride along with him and Toothless in order to find out.*—Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter

How to watch: How to Train Your Dragon is streaming on Netflix, starting April 1.

23. The Bourne Identity

Breaking from the James Bond mold, this American-in-chaos thriller stars Matt Damon as an assassin with amnesia. With no memory of who he is but the muscle memory of an action hero, Jason Bourne must dodge bullets and enemies to rediscover himself. Along the way, he depends on a spunky stranger (Franka Potente), sparking a steamy romance that leads to one of the hottest haircuts ever captured on film. (Matt Damon — hot bod barber!) Director Doug Liman brings a unique brand of action to this nail-biter, unfurling fight scenes fast and furious, while his by-the-skin-of-their-teeth escape scenes will give you goosebumps. Robert Ludlum's Bourne novels inspired a string of exciting Bourne films. But this one remains the best, most thrilling of the bunch.* —K.P.

How to watch: The Bourne Identity is streaming on Netflix, starting April 1.

22. Spider-Man

The upside down kiss from "Spider-Man."
Credit: Moviestore/Shutterstock

I can't tell you how many times I watched my worn-out DVD of the first chapter in Sam Raimi's '00s Spider-Man trilogy, but suffice it to say, I can't remember many other 2002 films. Spider-Man introduces a perfectly earnest Tobey Maguire as trembling genius teen Peter Parker. He's pining away for his neighbor Mary Jane Watson (a superbly savvy Kirsten Dunst) and grieving while also developing superpowers from a fateful super spider bite. Meanwhile, he's fanning out over his best friend's dad, industrialist Norman Osborn (the exquisitely evil Willem Dafoe); little does Peter know his idol is also the villainous Green Goblin, who will soon be throwing Spidey around in many a nail-biting, cross-city battle.

We've moved through two other Spider-Men since Maguire's run, but Raimi's film wove unforgettable scenes into cinematic history — that upside-down rain kiss can't be beaten. In fact, the film has such iconic action shots in it that Spider-Man: No Way Home director Jon Watts included several in the now-infamous meet-up scene — watching Maguire dodge those Razor Bat pumpkins in 2002 and 2021 is sheer glee for fans. —Shannon Connellan, UK Editor

How to watch: Spider-Man is streaming on Netflix, starting April 1.

21. 21 Jump Street

It seemed highly unlikely that anyone could update a ludicrous TV show where grown-ass adult cops fight crime in high schools into anything resembling a good movie. Yet, somehow Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs helmers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's live-action debut was equal parts hilarious, smart, bro-ishly sweet (as all Channing Tatum flicks should be), and packed full of action.

With a goofily propulsive script by co-star Jonah Hill — back when he was still getting typecast as that Superbad dork — and Michael Bacall, and strong supporting performances by Dave Franco, Rob Riggle, Brie Larson, Holly Robinson Peete, and yes, Ice Cube, 21 Jump Street had its very own mid-aughts moment worth revisiting. And keep your eyes peeled for a now-controversial cameo. —Jenni Miller, Freelance Contributor

How to watch: 21 Jump Street is now streaming on Netflix.

20. Inception

Joseph Gordon-Levitt dancing down a spinning hallway in "Inception."
Credit: Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock

Writer/director Christopher Nolan has elevated the action genre with sophisticated and spectacular films like Tenet and his Dark Knight trilogy. However, his most inventive action movie (so far) has been the reality-bending heist flick Inception. Suited up and set to stun, Leonardo DiCaprio heads a crew of specially trained thieves who scheme to commit corporate sabotage through a consciousness-invading technology. Simply put, they're going to break into the dreams of a powerful heir to bend him to their will. That is, if the dream worlds around them don't kill them first. Within this premise, Nolan created a metropolis that can fold into itself; a hotel that tumbles like a slinky; dark twists; tricky totems; and a finale that still has tongues wagging. Bringing bravado alongside DiCaprio is an all-star cast that includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Elliot Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Marion Cotillard, and Cillian Murphy.* —K.P.

How to watch: Inception is streaming on Netflix, starting April 1.

19. The Quick and the Dead

Sam Raimi is best known for stomach-churning horror (Evil Dead, Drag Me to Hell) or larger-than-life superhero adventures (The OG Spider-Man trilogy, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness). But between these phases of a funky filmography, the cult-adored director tried his hand at a Western with The Quick and the Dead. And it's a weird but wonderful watch.

Sharon Stone stars as a hardened wanderer known as "The Lady" who blows into the Old West town of Redemption with a dark secret and a snarl for fools. There, a fast-draw tournament spills blood and drama in the main thoroughfare, all under the piercing stare of tyrant John Herod (Gene Hackman). Rolling through like furious tumbleweeds are a cast of colorful characters, from young guns to battered pacifists to surly straight shooters, played by the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Keith David, Lance Henriksen, Tobin Bell, and Gary Sinise. If that cast list alone doesn't have you adding this one to your queue, then we're very different people, pardner. But maybe the promise of a string of suspenseful shoot outs will win you over? —K.P.

How to watch: The Quick and the Dead is now streaming on Netflix.

18. Bleach

If you like your monsters gigantic and your fight scenes packed with hectic swordplay, Shinsuke Sato's Bleach — which is based on Tite Kubo's manga series — may be the one for you.

The story pulls back the curtain on an invisible war being played out between "reapers" (spirits responsible for guiding departed souls to the afterlife) and "hollows" (monstrous creatures hell-bent on consuming the souls of the innocent). At the center of all this is high school student Ichigo Kurosaki (Sôta Fukushi), who gets caught up in the middle of the battle after a chance meeting with the mysterious Rukia (Hana Sugisaki). This movie is worth checking out for the sword-fighting sequences alone — the one at the film's conclusion is awesome — and the creepy mask-wearing hollows, which really are the stuff of nightmares.*Sam Haysom, Deputy UK Editor

Where to watch: Bleach is currently streaming on Netflix.

17. RRR

You've never seen an action movie quite as bombastic or as bromantic as RRR. Director S.S. Rajamouli draws loosely from history to tell the story of Indian freedom fighters Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) and Komaram Bheem (N. T. Rama Rao Jr.). Over the film's three-hour runtime, the two unwittingly face off in the search for a kidnapped girl, become best of friends, and square off against villainous English colonizers.

Any of RRR's action sequences would be the pinnacle of a lesser action movie, but the film seems determined to outdo itself with show-stopper after show-stopper. Take when Raju faces down hundreds of protesters and wins, or when Bheem fights a tiger bare-handed. Would you believe me if I told you those happen within the first 20 minutes? The action — and the movie — only get more awesome from there. — Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter

Where to watch: RRR is currently streaming on Netflix.

16. The Harder They Fall

Regina King in "The Harder They Fall."
Credit: David Lee/Netflix

Put 'em up, as this is hands down one of the best action movies in the Wild West.

Directed by Jeymes Samuel, The Harder They Fall defiantly redefines the predominantly white Western, boasting an incredible cast of Black stars: Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Regina King, Zazie Beetz, LaKeith Stanfield, and Delroy Lindo. A tale of heroes and villains, the film follows Nat Love (Majors) on his quest for revenge against the formidable Rufus Buck (Elba). But he'll have to make his gunslinging way through "Treacherous" Trudy Smith (Regina King) and Cherokee Bill (Stanfield) first. Even before the opening credits roll, you'll fall hard for this one. —S.C.

How to watch: The Harder They Fall is now streaming on Netflix.

15. Bad Boys

No list of excellent action movies is complete without something from the ka-boom master, Michael Bay. Among his most beloved blockbusters is this buddy-cop spectacular. Fronted by Martin Lawerence and Will Smith, Bad Boys follows two Miami detectives looking to close the case of $100 million in stolen heroin, a horrid homicide, and a terrified witness wanted by the mafia. There will be roaring gunfire, bombastic explosions, biting banter, dazzling star power, and cinematography that treats action heroes like monuments of awe-inspiring masculinity. And if that's not enough for you, make it a double feature with Bad Boys II. —K.P.

How to watch: Bad Boys is now streaming on Netflix.

14. Enola Holmes

Millie Bobby Brown in "Enola Holmes."
Credit: Netflix

Sherlock Holmes's much cooler little sister is an overlooked young action hero in Enola Holmes. Based on author Nancy Springer's popular book series The Enola Holmes Mysteries, the film puts the great detective's savvy 16-year-old sibling on the case, played with energetic spoonfuls of gumption by Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown. She's set to solve the greatest mystery of her young life: to find her missing mother (Helena Bonham-Carter) through a series of deliberately cryptic clues — all while breaking the fourth wall and confiding in the audience, thanks to Fleabag director Harry Bradbeer and His Dark Materials' Jack Thorne's sharp screenplay.

Stepping into the footsteps of her famous brother Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and avoiding those of her stuffier misogynist brother Mycroft (Sam Claflin), Enola's case leads her on a wild ride through Victorian-era England, with more than a few fistfights and butts to kick along the way. And lucky for you, the sequel is even better. —S.C.

How to watch: Enola Holmes is now streaming on Netflix.

13. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Ramona Flowers in "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World."
Credit: Big Talk Productions/Kobal/Shutterstock

First off, Scott Pilgrim's friends are right to give him shit for dating a high schooler, even if they haven't even held hands. He is 23 and she is 17, and much too cool for him anyway. With that out of the way, Edgar Wright's whip-smart adaptation of Bryan Lee O'Malley's beloved graphic novels is riotous fun, and makes a freezing winter in Toronto's indie rock slacker scene come colourfully alive.

It's packed right to the margins with stars — from a pre-Marvel Chris Evans and Brie Larson, to an early-career Aubrey Plaza at her glorious meanest and a note-perfect Kieran Culkin performance that now reads as a proto-Roman Roy — soundtracked by original songs from Beck and other indie favourites, and punctuated by a series of over-the-top fights that put your favorite arcade games to shame. It's endlessly rewatchable, quotable, and loveable. —Caitlin Welsh, Australia Editor

How to watch: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is now streaming on Netflix.

12. Road House

"Pain don't hurt." A beautifully meaningless Zen koan from the thinking man's action hero, known only as Dalton (Patrick Swayze). A legendary "cooler" — a head bouncer who tells his staff "be nice until it's time to not be nice" — Dalton's also a philosophy major who does Tai Chi in white jeans at sunrise, is as gentlemanly as he is taciturn, and also once ripped a man's throat out with his bare hands. (In self defense, of course.)

A silly little B-movie with the soul of a Western, anchored by Swayze's iron-fist-in-velvet-glove gravitas, the supporting cast includes the legendary Ben Gazzara, Kelly Lynch as the luminous, no-BS local doctor and love interest, and Sam Elliott as Dalton's mentor Garrett, who could kill a man with the pure force of his sexual charisma and beautiful hair but just uses his fists instead. The killer live blues band only adds to the atmosphere. Very violent, exquisitely horny, and somehow both incredibly '80s and weirdly timeless. —C.W.

How to watch: Road House is now streaming on Netflix.

11. Hardcore Henry

Want a turn-your-brain-off-and-enjoy movie? Awesome. Then you'll love every pulse-pounding moment of writer/director Ilya Naishuller's high-concept, balls-to-the-wall action epic.

The barely-there plotline of Hardcore Henry is that its titular rampager has lost his memory but knows he needs to rescue his beautiful wife (Haley Bennett) from a telekinetic warlord with evil plans. You know, that old chestnut. Sure, along they way he'll make plenty of enemies and an eccentric acquaintance in District 9's Sharlto Copley. But the real reason to hit play on this one is how it puts you in the front row of all its absolutely bonkers action. See, all of Hardcore Henry is shot in first person (shooter) perspective. So every blow, every gunshot, every impossible stunt makes you feel like you're in the driver's seat, even if you're just along for a truly wild ride. —K.P.

How to watch: Hardcore Henry is now streaming on Netflix.

10. Bullet Train

If you like your comedy with in-your-face action, you should race to check out this 2022 romp from Deadpool 2 director David Leitch. It's a high-octane film that asks the classic question: "What happens if you pile a bunch of assassins onto one bullet train through Japan?" The answer is delightfully daffy carnage.

Brad Pitt leads a star-studded cast as a merc who's lost his bloodlust. What's supposed to be a simple snatch-and-go job turns dangerously complicated as he crosses paths with a cavalcade of curious characters all rocking code names like Tangerine, Lemon, Wolf, The Prince, The Hornet, and White Death. Rapid-fire wit is wielded by the likes of Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Michael Shannon, Bad Bunny, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Joey King, Zazie Beetz, and Sandra Bullock. Also wielded? Every form of weapon you can imagine, from guns and knives to poison, wild animals, and even a well-traveled water bottle. Sound cool? Catch it while you can. —K.P.

How to watch: Bullet Train is now streaming on Netflix.

9. The Nice Guys

If you're a sucker for black comedy, witty dialogue, '70s style action, 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.* — Angie Han, Deputy Entertainment Editor

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

8. Triple Frontier

Oscar Isaac and Ben Affleck in a scene from 'Triple Frontier'
Credit: Netflix

This Netflix adventure has Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, and Pedro Pascal coming together as a group of former Special Forces who plan an elaborate heist in South America. But after things get out of hand, their survival skills are put to the ultimate test.

Putting a talented cast in a tension-filled scenario, Triple Frontier is the type of gritty thriller that's hard to turn away from. —Brooke Bajgrowicz, Entertainment Fellow

How to watch: Triple Frontier is now streaming on Netflix.

7. Okja

Masked fighter in a scene from 'Okja'
Credit: Netflix

Blending drama with fantasy/adventure and weaving in a very real message about the horrors of the meat industry, Bong Joon-ho's Okja is a beautifully unique creature feature, striped with action.

The film follows Mina (Ahn Seo-hyun), the granddaughter of a farmer in South Korea who has spent the last 10 years rearing a genetically-modified super-pig called Okja as part of a breeding project spearheaded by a grim U.S. corporation. This movie is dark in places, magical in others, and poignant overall, asking us to stop and reflect on the dark side of an industry the majority of us are complicit in. Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal make for an entertaining pair of villains, too.* S.H.

How to watch: Okja is now streaming on Netflix.

6. Rush

There are plenty of good reasons to watch Rush, including the charismatic performances by Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl as rival Formula One drivers, the dramatic story beats pulled from actual history, and the fabulous sets and costumes steeped in ’70s style (especially everything Olivia Wilde's character wears). But the best reason of all is the racing scenes, which director Ron Howard imbues with such a propulsive thrill that you may find yourself making race car noises (vroom, vroom) for hours afterward, like a little kid tearing into a new box of Hot Wheels on Christmas morning. Uh, not that I’d know from personal experience or anything. —A.H.

How to watch: Rush is now streaming on Netflix.

5. Da 5 Bloods

Jonathan Majors and Delroy Lindo in 'Da 5 Bloods' from Spike Lee
Credit: Netflix

Spike Lee copters audiences back to the Vietnam War with Da 5 Bloods, a daring film that's part drama, part war movie, and part heist flick. Named for a squad of Black U.S. Army soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division, Lee's critically heralded 2020 joint follows this band of brothers through a treacherous war zone, then rediscovers them in a present where they're seeking to uncover the past — and a big payday.

Sequences of brutal battles, narrow escapes, and high-tension hijinks make Da 5 Bloods an enthralling watch. Though inspired by history, it's impossible to predict where Lee's story will lead. Our guides on this intense journey through time, loss, war, and brotherhood are Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr., and the late Chadwick Boseman. Together, they and Lee create an American war film that can't be missed. —K.P.

How to watch: Da 5 Bloods is now streaming on Netflix.

4. A Knight's Tale

Heath Ledger in 'A Knight's Tale.'
Credit: Moviestore/Shutterstock

Hot off the success of the contemporary Shakespearean adaptation 10 Things I Hate About You, Heath Ledger returned to the spotlight in another anachronistic mash-up of love and romance. And it had plenty of action to boot!

Born a humble thatcher's son, Will (Ledger) seems destined to live a life of poverty and no consequence. Well, that is until he masquerades as a knight with a little help from his friends (Alan Tudyk, Mark Addy, and Paul Bettany). Together, they build a legend of a champion, pitching Will into jousting competitions for money and love. Because of course amid scenes of horse-striding battle, there's also time for romance with a devastatingly chic princess (Shannyn Sossamon).

Written and directed by Brian Helgeland, A Knight's Tale blends a medieval fable with modern sensibilities, a rockin' soundtrack, and the vibes of a teen comedy with a rousing sports epic. It's an intoxicating blend that's sure to make your heart race and your belly rock with laughter. –K.P.

Where to watch: A Knight's Tale is streaming on Netflix.

3. Army of the Dead

A shot of the city at night in 'Army of the Dead'
Credit: Netflix

Sometimes all you want is to grab hold of that action-o-meter and crank the dial, hard, to a solid 11. Army of the Dead more than delivers on this front, opening with a musical montage of guns and exploding body parts — and it only gets gorier from there. Zack Snyder's story follows a band of mercenaries hired to steal $200 million from a casino in Las Vegas. The problem? Vegas has been invaded by zombies, the city is quarantined, and the military is planning to blow the entire thing up with a tactical nuclear strike. The sprawling cast includes Dave Bautista, Omari Hardwick, Hiroyuki Sanada, Garret Dillahunt, and Ana de la Reguera, as well as a digitally-inserted Tig Notaro.

What follows is a gloriously silly romp that refuses to take itself too seriously, propelling us through a series of explosions and bullets while the story twists and turns through a 148-minute runtime that feels oh, so much shorter. —S.H.

How to watch: Army of the Dead is now streaming on Netflix.

2. Ip Man

Ip Man is an exciting Hong Kong martial arts biopic about the extraordinary life of the Wing Chun grandmaster who was Bruce Lee's martial arts teacher. The film tracks Ip Man's journey from the Southern Chinese village where he was well known as a skilled martial artist, to his family's displacement during the Japanese occupation of the Second Sino-Japanese War, to his eventual rise as a fighter, and his establishment of a school in Hong Kong.

Starring the skillful Donnie Yen, Ip Man doesn't skimp on character development; it's an electrifying rumination on philosophy, power, and honor in addition to its stunning action. Ip Man is a deeply influential film in the martial arts genre and, to everyone’s delight, has inspired three equally stirring sequels.*Kristina Grosspietsch, Freelance Contributor

How to watch: Ip Man is now streaming on Netflix.

1. The Old Guard

Charlize Theron and others in 'The Old Guard'
Credit: Netflix

Folks looking for that summer blockbuster thrill, search no further than The Old Guard. Based on the superhero comic books of the same name, director Gina Prince-Bythewood's movie sucks viewers into a slick, well-crafted world of action and narrative that isn't particularly unique but delivers its formulaic pieces with enough precision to keep you invested.

Charlize Theron crushes as the ass-kicking leader of an immortal warrior fight crew, with performances by Harry Melling, Marwan Kenzari, KiKi Layne, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Veronica Ngo, Matthias Schoenaerts, and more.* —Alison Foreman, Entertainment Reporter 

How to watch: The Old Guard is now streaming on Netflix.

Asterisks (*) indicate the entry comes from a previous Mashable list.

UPDATE: Mar. 24, 2023, 4:32 a.m. EDT This post has been updated to reflect the current selection on Netflix.

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 9:00 am

Mystery of spaceship-shaped object has been solved, scientists say

the interstellar comet ‘Oumuamua

Scientists spotted an oddly shaped visitor in our solar system in 2017. And it was accelerating in an unexplainable way.

The icy object, called Oumuamua, which roughly translates to "messenger from afar" or "scout" in Hawaiian, was unlike any object ever seen in the solar system. It looked unusually long and skinny, like a cigar; had a reddish hue; and created no telltale tail. With more information, planetary scientists now say the interstellar object is "pancake" or dish-shaped.

Unsurprisingly, it's actually an icy comet, not an alien spaceship. And researchers now have a good idea of why it's been speeding up as it traverses our cosmic neighborhood. The explanation is simple, they say:

As the sun heated the comet, the icy object released a particular gas, accelerating and changing ‘Oumuamua's expected trajectory through the solar system.

Researchers Jennifer Bergner and Darryl Seligman recently published their findings in the science journal Nature. The explanation was originally Bergner's idea.

SEE ALSO: The mega-comet hurtling through our solar system is 85, yes 85, miles wide

"What’s beautiful about Jenny’s idea is that it’s exactly what should happen to interstellar comets,” Seligman said in a statement. “We had all these stupid ideas, like hydrogen icebergs and other crazy things, and it’s just the most generic explanation."

a comet tracked in space amid stars
In 2017, astronomers found and tracked the interstellar object ‘Oumuamua using the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS1 telescope. Credit: ESO / K. Meech et al

A strange, speeding comet

‘Oumuamua wasn't just a curious object because of its unusual shape. It was also the first ever observed visitor from outside our solar system, giving it the unique title of "interstellar." And, crucially, it didn't behave like other comets, which are heavily composed of ice. When other comets veer relatively close to the sun, the heat causes them to release a trail of water vapor, gas, and dust, leaving behind an iconic coma or tail, which can move or propel the object. But small ‘Oumuamua, at just some 115 meters long, couldn't possibly release that much water, and astronomers couldn't see any tail.

So what happened?

Bergner, a chemist at UC Berkeley who researches icy space objects, and Seligman, who researches planetary science at Cornell University, propose that the comet shot out the gas hydrogen into space. Ultimately, this gave the comet an accelerating kick.

The comet ‘Oumuamua's trajectory through our solar system.
The comet ‘Oumuamua's trajectory through our solar system. Credit: ESA / Hubble / NASA / ESO / M. Kornmesser

Space is teeming with radiation. And when this radiation hits water ice, it produces hydrogen, which then became trapped on or just beneath the comet's surface. Ultimately, when sunlight hit 'Oumuamua, it released the gas.

"For a comet several kilometers across, the outgassing would be from a really thin shell relative to the bulk of the object, so both compositionally and in terms of any acceleration, you wouldn’t necessarily expect that to be a detectable effect," Bergner said. "But because ‘Oumuamua was so small, we think that it actually produced sufficient force to power this acceleration."

Want more science and tech news delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for Mashable's Top Stories newsletter today.

Other solar systems certainly have speeding icy objects, too. After all, the universe is flush with water. With ever-larger and more advanced telescopes, which are coming online this decade, astronomers will likely spot many more of these foreign interstellar visitors. No, it's not aliens, and it may never be aliens. But they are fascinating travelers from distant realms in our galaxy.

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 9:00 am

Prep for in-demand IT certifications with this discounted training bundle

Woman at desk

TL;DR: The Complete 2023 CompTIA Certification Course Super Bundle is on sale for £57.11, saving you 98% on list price.

The IT industry is growing, and you don’t have to wait for someone’s permission to start preparing for your first job. If you want to study up on core concepts in cybersecurity, network management, and more, then CompTIA prep courses may be the way to go. Start studying and get certified to show potential employers you mastered these difficult concepts on your own time. Your first step could be to get the Complete 2023 CompTIA Certification Course Super Bundle on sale for £57.11. 

This bundle puts over 230 hours of expert instruction at your fingertips. Start learning from real tech professionals from ITProTV. If you want to get your foot in the door at an entry-level tech job, a CompTIA certification could help you get there. 

New to the field? One of the basic courses may be the place to start. CompTIA IT Fundamentals is an 18-hour course that introduces you to some of the hardware, software, and terminology associated with IT. Once you have the basics down, you can learn more about key skills for cybersecurity professionals. Learn more about penetration testing, server management, using Linux, and cloud computing.

When you’re ready to study for the actual CompTIA+ exams, jump into CompTIA A+ Core 1 and Core 2. These courses are comprehensive CompTIA+ study guides for the Core 1 and Core 2 exams. With this bundle, you get all of this study material for life. Learn at your own pace and truly master the content so you can ace the test and show potential employers that you’re a certified expert. 

If you want a job in the IT industry, a CompTIA certification could help you get started without the cost of a university education. For a limited time, get this CompTIA Certification Course Super Bundle on sale for £57.11. That’s the best price you’ll find online. 

CompTIA logo
Opens in a new tab
Credit: CompTIA
CompTIA Certification Course Super Bundle (opens in a new tab)
£57.11 at the Mashable Shop
(opens in a new tab)

Posted on 25 March 2023 | 5:00 am