Mashable

I listen to podcasts while I game because there's only so much time

Sun, 26 Jun 22 00:45:00 +0000

Animal Crossing character tending to crops while listening to a podcast

Some people get used to not having as much free time as they did when they were kids. I am not one of those people.

As a working adult with an admittedly compromised social life (thanks, COVID!) and numerous other time-sucking obligations, finding time for both video games and podcasts has become a challenge. I truly, deeply adore both things; gaming is a lifelong passion and podcasts have been making me laugh on a daily basis for 15 years. I had to hear a lot of talk radio as a kid, so podcasts changed everything once I found out that the format could be funny and lively instead of dusty and decrepit.

And since there’s never enough time for both, I have to combine the two. A lot.

Yes, I constantly game while listening to podcasts. I had to get through 65 hours of Elden Ring somehow. What might cause sensory overload for some is a default state of living for me and other individuals of sophistication and taste. While this habit of mine may have started as a time-saving measure, it’s actually become the only way I can enjoy both these leisurely pursuits.

Wait, don’t games have audio you need to hear?

Screenshot of Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker
'Final Fantasy XIV' is so cool, y'all. Credit: Square Enix

An obvious problem with this double-dipping lifestyle comes from the gaming side of the equation, as it's a complex art form that combines visual, aural, and interactive elements into one work. You see the word “aural” there? Yes, sometimes you do need to hear games to progress or otherwise fully enjoy them. But if any video game sound designers are reading this, you may want to stop before you get to the next part of this sentence because the truth is: You can play a lot of games with the sound off. 

To be clear, I don’t listen to the college football podcast Shutdown Fullcast (which is really mostly about jet ski accidents) while I play any narrative-driven, single player games like Yakuza, at least not the first time through. I do care a lot about story and I don't want to miss that part of a game. Rhythm games like DJ Hero, multiplayer games with an emphasis on communication like Rainbow Six: Siege, and frankly anything with rockin’ music like Mega Man are also exempt. But if any game features an abundance of mundane tasks that don’t require sound to complete, like the farming sim Stardew Valley, hoo baby, my earbuds are on.

I don’t have the heart to look up my playtime in Final Fantasy XIV, but I’ve almost certainly spent dozens of hours doing busywork quests online while listening to the Giant Bombcast, a podcast about — what else? — video games. (It’s all gaming, all the time for me over here.) Without podcasts to keep my brain engaged, I might’ve gotten too bored with the slow, early phases of FFXIV and missed out on the incredible story it offers in the later expansions.

If I just put on a podcast by itself, I go stir crazy and need something else to do. For example, back in 2014, I wanted to listen to the hosts of the aptly named The Worst Idea of All Time podcast document their experience watching Grown Ups 2 (which, I kid you not, is mostly an ad for K-Mart) once a week for a year. To accomplish this admittedly silly goal, I spent several weeks idly racing strangers online in Mario Kart 8 with headphones on and the Apple Podcasts app at the ready. (I dare you to find a better way to grind through 52 episodes of Adam Sandler analysis. You can't.)

Had I not combined either of those games with those podcasts, there’s a good chance I never would have gotten through any of them.

There are so many games that fit into that dynamic in my life. Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing are big podcast companion games for me. I’ve absent-mindedly wandered around so many Assassin’s Creed worlds while listening to people yammer about football. I've planted virtual flowers in Animal Crossing with hardcore NBA Finals analysis in the background. And I've farmed for thousands of experience points in Dragon Quest XI to the tune of wildly insular jokes about Sex and the City 2.

It feels like I'm exercising my brain to its fullest potential by pairing games with podcasts. It's like doing squats while juggling, except it doesn't take any skill whatsoever.

Only so many hours in the day

Stardew Valley screenshot
'Stardew Valley' is in the podcast companion games hall of fame, for sure. Credit: ConcernedApe / Steam

I am not unique in this regard. The term "podcast game" regularly gets thrown around in my gaming group chat. Combining podcasts and games saves time, it’s relaxing and, besides, you can only hear Skyrim guards quip about taking arrows to the knee so many times before you're ready to feed your brain something else.

For me, however, a big reason why I keep doubling up on art forms is that it feels productive. It's not to say that either podcasts or games are wastes of time, but rather that this method of "double fisting" is the only way I can attend to both hobbies in a timely fashion.

I think most people would agree that adult life could be viewed as a series of boring things you hate to do that exist purely to get in the way of doing the things you like to do. Apartment and job hunting, staying on hold for hours with your bank (only to not solve anything), grocery shopping, and waiting at the DMV are just a few examples of the things that take up our precious time. It’s a sick cosmic joke that work, the biggest time-thief of all, is necessary to fund a gaming habit in the first place.

So, in a way, combining gaming with podcasts is more of a necessity than a hobby. It’s a compromise, sure, but it’s one of the only ways I can subvert the demands of the world around me. 

At least, that’s how I justify the fact that I spent 300 hours playing Mario Kart 8 when I could’ve been learning a new language or finding love, or something.

Pro wrestling stars are dunking on fellow wrestler, Kane, for his tweet on Roe v. Wade

Sat, 25 Jun 22 21:42:58 +0000

Glenn Jacobs as Kane

That's gotta be Kane…getting annihilated in the quote tweets and replies to his Twitter post about abortion.

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, ending nearly 50 years of the constitutionally protected right to an abortion. The elimination of these healthcare rights has been a longtime goal of those in the anti-choice movement and was made possible thanks to the Supreme Court justices nominated to the court by former Republican presidents Donald Trump and George W. Bush. In short, many among the right were overjoyed with the news.

Among those celebrating was the Mayor of Knoxville County, Tennessee Glenn Jacobs. However, most people more likely know him as WWE superstar Kane.

"Roe v. Wade has been overturned!" tweeted Jacobs. "This clears the way for states like TN to pass stronger protections for the unborn, and is an answer to a prayer for so many. #RightToLife #Victory"

Pro wrestling has long been stigmatized as being a right-wing "sport." While that may have been true years ago, that couldn't be further from the truth today. Pro wrestling's fan base has become incredibly diverse and has skewed left-of-center over the years. In turn, those fans who get into the business become pro wrestlers who are much more progressive than the stars of yesteryear.

And maybe in the olden days of professional wrestling, disagreements like these would be nothing more than fodder for backstage gossip in the "dirt sheets." However, in modern times, wrestling colleagues and coworkers can call each other out in public on social media.

The 55-year-old Jacobs' tweet did not go over well amongst his wrestling peers whatsoever.

"Glenn you were an idol of mine and I sung your praises to anyone I met, But this is the biggest piece of shit take from you ever," tweeted WWE superstar Paige who has previously shared screentime with Jacobs on WWE programming. "Very disappointing that you think controlling women’s bodies and taking away our rights is a “victory”."

"Idiot, absolute idiot. STFU" tweeted Impact Wrestling star Taya Valkyrie, who was also known as Franky Monet in WWE.

"You literal piece of shit," another Impact Wrestling star, Rosemary, tweeted in a reply to Jacobs.

Other wrestling talents decided to mock Jacobs' previous role in WWE when he played a wrestling dentist named Dr. Isaac Yankem in the 1990s.

"No wonder you couldn’t cut it as a dentist. #idiot" said AEW wrestler and former champion Dr. Britt Baker (who is also actually a real dentist.)

"Oh fuck off Yankem you toss pot. #prochoice" tweeted AEW wrestler Kip Sabian.

Many wrestling fans were also speaking out against Jacobs' tweet, often pointing to other tweets from Jacobs where he espoused his libertarian views on bodily autonomy on other issues like COVID vaccines.

"Your health decisions should be between you and your doctor - not mandated down from a bureaucrat in Washington," said Jacobs earlier this year.

This is far from the first time Jacobs has been dunked on by his colleagues for his right-wing political views.

AEW superstar and former AEW world champion "Hangman" Adam Page previously commented on the number of chair shots Jacobs took to the head in a reply to a tweet about Ukraine and Putin.

Jacobs' own former tag team partner, Sean Waltman, better known as X-Pac, also called out Kane for a tweet he made playing down gun violence and mass shootings after the Uvalde school shooting.

And if you're questioning whether this is based on a prior personal issue some talent have with Kane, it's certainly not. WWE superstar and former Women's Champion, Becky Lynch put another pro wrestler on blast for his right-wing views on abortion rights as well.

"I chose to be a mother. To a daughter. That I could safely deliver and afford to raise. A daughter who deserves autonomy over her own body," Lynch posted in a tweet to the currently unsigned Gunner after a comment he made questioning how she could be a mother and pro-choice.

"Banning abortions doesn’t stop them. It stops safe ones," Lynch continued. "God bless you, your ignorance and lack of uterus"

Another day, another crypto heist: Hacker steals $100 million from Harmony blockchain bridge

Sat, 25 Jun 22 19:37:37 +0000

Ethereum

$100 million. That's the latest haul from yet another successful crypto heist carried out by hackers finding a weakness to exploit.

Harmony, a blockchain bridge that helps facilitate transfers between different cryptocurrency tokens, recently announced that $100 million in cryptocurrency was stolen from its Horizon bridge on Thursday morning. In a blog post detailing the events, Harmony explained that its Horizon Ethereum Bridge fell victim to a "malicious attack."

"Multiple transactions occurred that compromised the bridge with 11 transactions that extracted tokens stored in the bridge," reads Harmony's statement.

Blockchain analytics firm Elliptic told Techcrunch that a number of different cryptocurrency tokens were stolen as a result of the compromised bridge. According to Elliptic, Ethereum, Binance Coin, Tether, USD Coin and Dai were all part of the hackers' haul. The stolen tokens have already been converted to Ethereum by the hacker via crypto exchanges.

Harmony says it contacted the FBI as well as cybersecurity and exchange partners. Harmony also says that its Bitcoin bridge wasn't affected by the exploit.

While Harmony has not yet shared details of the exploit, Twitter user Ape Dev pointed out a weakness in the security of the bridge as early as April. According to Ape Dev, hackers only needed to gain access to two multisig private keys to authorize the transfer of funds.

This is far from the first time a blockchain bridge weakness was exploited by bad actors. In fact, this $100 million lost here is actually on the low-end compared to some other thefts from just this year alone. 

Play-to-earn game Axie Infinity had its Ronin blockchain bridge hacked in March resulting in a whopping $615 million in stolen assets. Just a month earlier, the Wormhole bridge was compromised, leading to $320 million in losses.

Suddenly 'Q' of the QAnon conspiracy theory has returned after a years-long hiatus

Sat, 25 Jun 22 18:35:02 +0000

QAnon

Suddenly 'Q' of the QAnon conspiracy theory has returned after a years-long hiatus

But, something isn't quite right.

As if enough currently isn't going on in the world, a major name in far right-wing communities has returned and conspiracy theorists are ecstatic. 

Q, the anonymous person (or persons) who created the QAnon conspiracy theory in 2017, suddenly started posting on 8kun once again on Friday night, the same day the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. It had been 563 days since Q had last posted to his followers on the site.

"Shall we play a game once more?" posted the Q account to 8kun for the first time in over a year and a half. The post was signed "Q."

The individual now using the Q account continued with two more posts later that night.

When asked by another 8kun user about their absence, Q replied, "It had to be done this way."

"Are you ready to serve your country again?" Q wrote in the third post. "Remember your oath."

QAnon is a far right-wing conspiracy theory that claims, among many other things, that former President Donald Trump is waging a war against a cabal of global Satanic baby-eating child-trafficking pedophiles made up of Hollywood elites and Trump's political opponents. 

Q posts, known as "Q Drops" to QAnon believers, first began shortly after then-President Trump mentioned the "calm before the storm" in front of the press during a meeting with senior members of the military in 2017. QAnon followers believe Trump was referencing an event they've dubbed "The Storm," in which Trump's political enemies would be arrested. For example, in the earliest days of QAnon, in October 2017, Q posted about how former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was soon to be arrested. (Nearly 5 years later now, that claim has yet to come to fruition.)

When a mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building on January 6, 2021, in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election results in favor of Trump, a number of individuals in the crowd were QAnon believers. Perhaps the most well-known of the rioters went by the name "QAnon Shaman."

Since then, QAnon believers have spent the past 18 months denying QAnon is a real thing in order to evade social media bans and speculating that President Joe Biden is imminently going to be removed from office. With so much disappointment from events that didn't come to pass, many QAnon believers were thrilled to see the return of Q on 8kun.

However, researchers who have been debunking these conspiracy theories since their inception have made an interesting observation.

Something is off with the Q account on 8kun.

8kun, formerly known as 8chan, is an anonymous imageboard much like 4chan but filled with even more extremism and far-right rhetoric. Users on the site post completely anonymously. There is no need to sign up for an account.

However, users can choose to associate themselves with a tripcode, a random string of characters assigned to a user's posts. This basically helps others identify that the same user is behind a multitude of posts on the website.

The user behind the new Q posts has the same tripcode as the user behind the old Q posts on 8kun. (Note that Q first started posting on 4chan in 2017 before moving to the site then known as 8chan months later. Researchers have determined that it's very likely the Q posting on 8kun since 2018 and the original 4chan Q are separate individuals.)

So, this means that these new Q posts are from the "real" Q, right? Sure, but as Frederick Brennan, the former owner of 8chan who sold the site to its current owner Jim Watkins, claims, the tripcode for Q shouldn't be the same.

Jim's son and "former" administrator of 8kun, Ron Watkins, previously claimed that the site's tripcodes are regenerated every few months and become completely different. This means that the Q account should not have the same tripcode it had when it last posted on 8kun around 18 months ago. The only way this could happen is if an administrator or someone else with access to 8kun's backend altered the tripcode manually, according to Brennan and other QAnon researchers. Even some QAnon believers are getting skeptical about the recent posts.

QAnon researchers have long believed that Jim and Ron Watkins either posted as Q on their website, 8kun, or knew who was posting as Q. In the HBO documentary, Q: Into the Storm, filmmaker Cullen Hoback spoke to Ron Watkins a number of times. In an interview in the final episode of the series, Ron slips up and all but admits to Hoback that he is Q, although he has later denied being behind the account.

8kun owner Jim Watkins, for his part, claims to have been giving a speech when the new Q posts were published. However, Watkins also confirmed that the posts "look legit."

So, why has Q returned?

As of now, it's unclear. But the timing is certainly interesting if you believe Ron Watkins is Q. Ron is currently running for Congress in Arizona. So far, the campaign hasn't been going very well.

Perhaps Q is back to conveniently endorse Watkins in order to help his fledgling campaign, some QAnon researchers have speculated. Or maybe Q has bigger plans. After all, Hillary Clinton has yet to be arrested and Joe Biden is still the President of the United States.

NASA's moon megarocket is supposed to launch soon. Here's the holdup.

Sat, 25 Jun 22 18:18:21 +0000

NASA rolling out its mega moon rocket

UPDATE: Jun. 25, 2022, 2:02 p.m. EDT On June 24, NASA declared that it completed the launchpad testing for its moon-bound megarocket, the Space Launch System. "We have completed the rehearsal phase, and everything we've learned will help improve our ability to lift off during the target launch window," Tom Whitmeyer, NASA's deputy associate administrator for common exploration systems, said in a statement. "The team is now ready to take the next step and prepare for launch." A launch date has still not been announced.

NASA managers preparing a megarocket to fly around the moon said they're still not ready to announce a launch date following a long weekend of tests that concluded on June 20.

After making repairs to the rocket, the U.S. space agency, again, attempted a so-called "wet dress rehearsal" of its mammoth Space Launch System, or SLS, at the launchpad in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Despite officials hailing the effort as mostly successful, the rehearsal revealed a hydrogen leak, and the team was unable to fulfill all of its test goals.

Tom Whitmeyer, a deputy associate administrator for NASA, used a mix of metaphors to characterize where this leaves the agency on its quest to resume a meaningful human space exploration program.

"We talked about [this test] being pieces of a puzzle and a delicate dance. We got through the dance, and now we're looking at the pieces of the puzzle to decide what are the pieces that we didn't get," he said during a call with reporters on Tuesday. "We have a pretty good idea what the puzzle looks like at this point."

NASA wants to use the rocket for Artemis I, the first U.S. lunar mission since the Apollo era. The enormous 5.75 million-pound rocket will eventually send the new Orion spacecraft around the moon — without astronauts the first time — then splash down in the Pacific Ocean. A major purpose of the flight is to show that the capsule can safely reenter Earth's atmosphere and hit its target in the water before it carries human passengers.

It's been a long time since NASA had a rocket of this magnitude, capable of sending heavy loads of cargo and people into deep space. Not only is it built to travel to the moon, it's expected to one day put the first astronauts on Mars.

Officials said they would need to review the test's data to determine when the first mission will launch. When asked directly if August was still on the table, Whitmeyer said they didn't know yet.

The tests were intended to practice loading fuel into the rocket's tanks and counting down to liftoff. The plan was to run down the clock to nine seconds, just before engines would typically fire, but the team instead stopped at 29 seconds.

NASA managers didn't clearly define the goals that were not achieved. The team will assess what, if any, repairs can occur at the launchpad, and whether they need to roll the 322-foot rocket back to its warehouse, said launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson.

Previous wet dress rehearsals of the rocket this spring revealed bad valves, faulty fans, and leaks. NASA wheeled the rocket back to its storage facility for repairs before this past weekend's practice run.

Now engineers will weigh the risks of performing some additional checks, said John Honeycutt, the rocket manager. But he emphasized that regardless of the remaining issues, the public shouldn't be concerned the mega moon rocket isn't safe.

"We will have either a successful launch or a scrub because we have protection in the system already for those objectives that we didn't meet, should they not perform properly on launch day," he said. The unmet objectives are "not really about making the vehicle safer to fly. They're really about, 'Can we hit the launch target for the window that's optimum for our lunar mission?'"

NASA managers, however, were clear about one thing: They said the Orion spacecraft performed quite well during the tests.

Strange Martian rock reveals Mars' wildly different past

Sat, 25 Jun 22 18:01:43 +0000

a rock on Mars

Mars used to be a wildly different land.

Though the red planet is bone dry today, NASA's Curiosity rover recently rumbled by poignant evidence of an ancient watery world. The car-sized robot snapped an image of a unique rock that looks like its composed of stacked layers. Such a rock likely formed "in an ancient streambed or small pond," the space agency wrote.

Curiosity is winding up through the foothills of the three-mile-tall Mount Sharp, where it's encountering a place where these streams and ponds once carried red sediments through the landscape. Ultimately, some of these sediments were deposited in stacks.

a layered rock on Mars
A flaky, well-layered rock on Mars. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

And at lower elevations, there's clear evidence that Mars didn't just have ponds — it was warm and moist enough to harbor big lakes.

Curiosity's robotic sibling, the Peservance rover, is now journeying through the planet's Jezero Crater, a place NASA suspects contained a lake and river delta. Though the water is all gone today, the robot has specialized equipment intended to identify past hints of microbial life that could have potentially dwelled on a wetter, different Mars.

A meteorite punched a hole in a dog house. Now it's a collector's item.

Sat, 25 Jun 22 17:56:53 +0000

Meteorite-struck dog house selling at auction

At a Christie's auction, bids on a scrappy dog house did what a meteorite had done three years ago: They went through the roof.

The rusty, corrugated tin shelter — with a gaping seven-inch hole on top — went for $44,100 in February, more than double the amount fetched by the extraterrestrial rock that blasted through it. Meanwhile, an extremely rare auction lot — billed as the third-largest Martian rock on Earth and valued at up to $800,000 — failed to find a buyer when the sale closed.

The dog house's sale may reveal something about what drives private collectors to possess the rare objects that fall to Earth from outer space. Beyond their ancient ages and the distance they've traveled is the notion of a close call: Something unexpected and otherworldly fell from the sky, and, in doing so, showed its potential for destruction. Sometimes the reminder of that power is more valuable than the rubble itself.

"It's incredibly unlikely for [a meteorite] to actually hit something that's in our day-to-day lives."

"It's incredibly unlikely for [a meteorite] to actually hit something that's in our day-to-day lives," James Hyslop, head of scientific instruments, globes, and natural history at Christie's, told Mashable.

The story behind the dog house began at 9:07 p.m. on April 23, 2019, according to its record in the Meteoritical Bulletin, a publication of peer-reviewed meteorites. That night, a meteorite shower pelted a rainforest in central Costa Rica. Cameras at the summits of volcanoes captured the fireball, an unusually bright meteor. A chunk weighing close to two-thirds of a pound crashed into a German shepherd's abode. Fittingly, his name was Roky.

The Brazilian Meteors Observation Network, University of Sao Paulo, and Sao Paulo State University figured out the trajectory of the meteorite, dubbed "Arguas Zarcas," by reviewing four security videos and dashcam cameras.

A note to concerned dog lovers: Roky survived the ordeal in better shape than his house.

Dog surviving meteorite crash
Roky, a German Shepherd in Costa Rica, wasn't injured by a meteorite that crashed into his dog house in 2019. Credit: Christie's

Appraising these astronomical objects at auction has more to do with a gut feeling, Hyslop admits. The only data Christie's had to guide it was a meteorite-dented mailbox from Claxton, Georgia, that sold for $83,000 in 2007.

A few years ago, Hyslop attended a meteorite exhibition in Paris. Outside in a glass box was a Chevy Malibu that had been struck by the Peekskill meteorite in 1992.

"I just thought that was such a great bit of theater," he said. "It's not just these meteorites that capture our minds. I mean, we all know the story of the asteroid that crashed into Earth and caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. The impact that a meteorite has is a part of the story."

"I just thought that was such a great bit of theater."
exhibit displaying a Chevy Malibu impacted by a meteorite
A meteorite struck a Chevy Malibu in 1992. Credit: Ingo Wagner dpa / Picture Alliance / Getty Images

Scientists estimate that about 48.5 tons of billions-of-years-old meteor material rain down on the planet daily, much of which vaporizes in Earth's atmosphere or falls into the ocean, which covers over 70 percent of the planet.

More than 60,000 meteorites have been discovered on Earth. The vast majority come from asteroids, but a small sliver, about 0.2 percent, come from Mars or the moon, according to NASA. At least 175 have been identified as originating from the Red Planet.

In order for meteorites to get formally documented, the owner must give a large piece of it to an internationally authorized institution, such as a natural history museum. The institution will cut off a piece to preserve for enduring scientific research.

"The impact that a meteorite has is a part of the story."
meteorite that struck a dog house selling at auction
An "Aguas Zarcas" space rock that smashed into a dog house sold at auction for $21,420 on Feb. 23, 2022. Credit: Christie's

Christie's auctioned a piece of Roky's rock that weighed half as much as the weight recorded in the Meteoritical Bulletin. The meteorite is mostly covered in a fusion crust, caused by its fiery descent through Earth's atmosphere. Its front face features a reddish-brown streak from when it crashed through the oxidized tin roof of the dog house. The meteorite, composed of carbon compounds, sold for $21,420.

When Hyslop saw the unique remnants of the Costa Rican crash in the gallery, he thought it looked like an art installation.

"For me," he said, "it fits very comfortably alongside some very cool contemporary artworks of the moment."

Related Video: NASA astronauts grow first ever peppers in space

Google warns of 'hermit spyware' infecting Android and iOS devices

Sat, 25 Jun 22 17:23:12 +0000

man's silhouette red background

As part of Google's efforts to track the activities of commercial spyware vendors, the company's Threat Analysis Group (TAG) released a report Thursday on spyware campaigns targeting Android and iOS users.

Google TAG researchers Benoit Sevens and Clement Lecigne go into detail about the use of entrepreneurial grade spyware dubbed "Hermit." This sophisticated spyware tool allows attackers to steal data, private messages and make phone calls. In their report, TAG researchers attributed Hermit to RCS Labs, a commercial spyware vendor based in Italy.

Hermit poses many significant dangers. Due to its modularity, Hermit is quite customizable, allowing the functions of the spyware to be altered to the will of its user. Once fully situated on a target's phone, attackers can harvest sensitive information such as call logs, contacts, photos, precise location, and SMS messages.

Sevens and Lecigne's full report details the ways in which attackers can access both Android and iOS devices through the use of clever tricks and drive-by attacks. Potential targets of this scam will have their data disabled through their ISP carrier before sending a malicious link via text to get them to ‘fix’ the issue. If that doesn't work, targets will be tricked into downloading malicious apps masqueraded as messaging applications.

Just last week, cybersecurity firm Lookout reported the use of Hermit by agents working in the governments of Kazakhstan, Syria, and Italy. Google has already identified victims in these countries, stating that "TAG is actively tracking more than 30 vendors with varying levels of sophistication and public exposure selling exploits or surveillance capabilities to government-backed actors."

The Milan-based company claims to provide "law enforcement agencies worldwide with cutting-edge technological solutions and technical support in the field of lawful interception for more than twenty years." More than 10,000 intercepted targets are purported to be handled daily in Europe alone.

When reached out for comment by The Hacker News, RCS Labs said its "core business is the design, production, and implementation of software platforms dedicated to lawful interception, forensic intelligence, and data analysis" and that it "helps law enforcement prevent and investigate serious crimes such as acts of terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime, child abuse, and corruption."

Still, the news of the spyware being used by state government agents is concerning. Not only does it erode trust in the safety of the internet but it also puts at risk the lives of anyone a government considers an enemy of the state such as dissidents, journalists, human rights workers, and opposition party politicians.

"Tackling the harmful practices of the commercial surveillance industry will require a robust, comprehensive approach that includes cooperation among threat intelligence teams, network defenders, academic researchers, governments, and technology platforms," Google TAG researchers wrote. "We look forward to continuing our work in this space and advancing the safety and security of our users around the world."

Stunning fat bear wakes up from hibernation and is still huge

Sat, 25 Jun 22 17:03:02 +0000

a huge Alaska brown bear

Alaska's fat bears lose up to a third of their weight during their deep winter slumber.

They often appear in spring or early summer looking relatively gaunt. But the live streaming explore.org wildlife cameras in Katmai National Park and Preserve recently spotted the aptly-numbered bear 747 (a number randomly assigned by park biologists) returning to the river in hulky form.

"Did 747 'BEARFORCE ONE' even hibernate?" explore.org tweeted.

As the clips below show, bear 747 — a large dominant male bear — doesn't look like he's been deprived of 4,500-calorie salmon since last year. Though he does have some fresh-looking wounds, telltale signs of a skirmish with another bear.

Bear 747's robust appearance is a testament to his success in the harsh, wild bear world. He's always one of the fattest, if not largest, bears on the Katmai cams, and was a recent winner of the park's annual Fat Bear Week contest — which is a fall celebration of these thriving Alaskan animals.

A fat bear is a healthy bear. Ample fat stories give these bears better odds of surviving their winter hibernation (or "semi-hibernation") and waking from hibernation in healthier shape, with energy to sleuth out food. Bear 747, however, shows profoundly successful survival skills. He exploits his size to control the best fishing spots, affording him bounties of fatty salmon throughout the summer. He enters the long winter famine at well over 1,000 pounds.

"He's the fattest and largest bear I've ever seen."

"He's the fattest and largest bear I've ever seen," Mike Fitz, a former Katmai park ranger and currently a resident naturalist for explore.org, told Mashable in 2020. "I feel a special bit of privilege to witness a bear as big as he."

Last year, bear 747 used his size and skill to displace the once indomitable bear 856 from the top fishing spots, and the top of the bear cam hierarchy.

A rocket slammed into the moon. NASA got a picture.

Sat, 25 Jun 22 15:02:25 +0000

a crater on the moon from a rocket impact

The moon has a strange, new crater. But this one's not natural.

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which began mapping the moon in 2009, spotted the impact site of a recent rocket crash on the far side of the moon, which occurred in early March. The space agency published imagery of the impact on Friday, which actually resulted in a double crater: a 19.5-yard crater overlapping with a 17.5-yard crater.

Astronomers expected a wayward rocket booster to slam into the moon, making it the first known time that space debris unintentionally impacted our natural satellite. What NASA didn't expect, however, was a double crater.

"The double crater was unexpected and may indicate that the rocket body had large masses at each end," NASA wrote in a description of the image. "Typically a spent rocket has mass concentrated at the motor end; the rest of the rocket stage mainly consists of an empty fuel tank. Since the origin of the rocket body remains uncertain, the double nature of the crater may indicate its identity."

The independent astronomer Bill Gray, who tracks objects that travel into Earth's solar system neighborhood, has published evidence that the derelict rocket booster is from a 2014 Chinese lunar mission (Chang'e 5-T1), though he originally thought it was a SpaceX rocket. China denies the now-crashed booster is theirs.

Whoever is responsible, the damage to the moon's surface, while not nearly catastrophic, underscores a part of humanity's growing space junk problem, and how this affects or pollutes other worlds. Some rockets, after blasting their satellites or spacecraft into space, are left in "chaotic" orbits, with the potential for the spent rockets to fall to Earth or potentially get flung out into deeper space.

a double-crater on the moon from a rocket impact
The white square shows the location of the double crater left by the rocket impact on the moon. Credit: NASA / Goddard / Arizona State University

Prior to this rocket impact, humanity had already left its mark on the moon. Rocket boosters from the Apollo missions (parts of NASA's colossal Saturn V rocket) left a number of craters some 40 yards wide on the moon's surface. There are bags of astronaut poop on the moon. And a few years ago, Israel's crashed Beresheet spacecraft scattered debris on the lunar surface.

10 best kids' movies on Netflix streaming right now

Sat, 25 Jun 22 14:15:00 +0000

images from

Seeking kid-friendly entertainment that is sure to satisfy? Netflix has a ton of options, but frankly they can be overwhelming. So, we've made things simple by highlighting ten excellent films that'll delight children — or those who are still a child at heart.

Whether you want a stellar movie musical, a madcap adventure, a spooky treat, or something to get you into the holiday spirit - we've got you covered.

Here are the 10 best kids' movies now streaming on Netflix.

1. Over the Moon (2020)

Chang'e and her rabbit on the moon.
Credit: Netflix

Young Fei Fei is enchanted by the story of the moon goddess Chang'e and the legend of her lover. Still mourning the death of her mother, Fei Fei takes unkindly to her father finding new love and decides to build a rocket to the moon to find Chang'e. She finds a magical world beyond her imagining and must reconcile the fantasy of the moon with the life that awaits her on Earth. Cathy Ang, Phillipa Soo, Ken Jeong, John Cho, Ruthie Ann Miles, Margaret Cho, and Sandra Oh star, so yes, Over the Moon is a powerhouse lineup of Asian American acting talent. —Proma Khosla, Senior Entertainment Reporter

How to watch: Over the Moon is now streaming on Netflix.

2. The Cat in the Hat (2003)

Mike Myers's 2003 turn as the eponymous feline in headgear holds up surprisingly well for kids in 2022 (unfortunately for adults, there may be some triggers of 2019's Cats). The chaotic cat visits Sally and Conrad Walden (Dakota Fanning and Spencer Breslin), making a massive mess in their house and eventually locking them up (the Cat is by no means a moral compass). Parents will feel seen in Myers's winking delivery, and kids won't quickly tire of the Cat's endless hijinx. —P.K.

How to watch: The Cat in the Hat is now streaming on Netflix.

3. Klaus (2019)

Klaus and his friends in "Klaus."
Credit: Netflix

It might be a Christmas movie, but Netflix's own original about a spoiled postman-in-training Jesper (Jason Schwartzman) who happens upon an old toymaker is a lovely and rewatchable film year-round. He becomes the go between for the toymaker, Klaus (J.K. Simmons) and the local children who write him letters hoping for toys. The story spins out to become the origin of Santa Claus and a humbling journey for Jesper. —P.K.

How to watch: Klaus is now streaming on Netflix.

4. Mirai (2018)

When four-year-old Kun’s (Moka Kamishiraishi) parents tell him he’s going to have a baby sister, he’s excited at first. But when baby Mirai (Haru Kuroki) arrives, he has trouble adjusting to sharing his mom and dad’s attention. Seeking solace, Kun disappears into the garden behind his house, where he embarks on a magical adventure with the grown-up version of Mirai that puts his relationship with his family in a whole new perspective. This is a deeply warm, funny, and insightful piece from veteran Japanese director and animator Mamoru Hosoda. Nominated for the Best Animated Feature Film Academy Award in 2018, Mirai is the perfect, feel-good choice for family movie night. —Kristina Grosspietsch, Freelance Contributor

How to watch: Mirai is streaming on Netflix.

5. The Willoughbys (2020)

The Willouhby children and their new friends.
Credit: Netflix

Based on an outlandish book by Lois Lowry, this Netflix original centers on a deeply dysfunctional family in need of some wild changes. Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby have four adorable, eager, and talented children, whom they utterly despise. Thus, life is very hard for eldest Tim (Will Forte), dreamer Jane (Alessia Cara), and oddball twins Barnaby A and Barnaby B (Seán Cullen). That is until they concoct a wacky scheme that sends their parents off on a perilous vacation, from which they may not return! However, the siblings' deadly plan for independence is challenged when a plucky nanny (Maya Rudolph) arrives at their door. Soon, agonies and antics give way to the jubilant adventure of a lifetime.

Director Kris Pearn's sharp design style and a snarling narration from Ricky Gervais pairs with Lowry's dark plot line to give this outrageous animated feature a cheeky yet charming edge.*Kristy Puchko, Deputy Entertainment Editor

How to watch: The Willoughbys is streaming on Netflix.

6. Mitchells vs The Machines (2021)

Katie and her imagination cut loose on "Mitchells vs. The Machines"
Credit: Netflix

Sony Pictures Animation has given audiences such daring and dynamic animated movies as Surf's Up, Hotel Transylvania, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. This zany 2021 release centers on a family who's battling back the robo-apocalypse with togetherness, internet savviness, and a walleyed pug named Monchi (voiced by social media icon, Doug The Pug).

The Mitchells’ adventure into chaos begins when daughter Katie (Abbi Jacobson) is poised to go off to college. Desperate for one last family-unifying road trip, her dad (Danny McBride) piles the whole family into his beater of a vehicle, unknowingly charting a fateful route into heroics. Director Mike Rianda infuses Katie's excitable perspective throughout the film by working in internet memes, social media-style reactions, and blitz of bonkers visuals. It’s a bold move that might alienate some viewers but has largely won the acclaim of critics and kiddos.*K.P.

How to watch: The Mitchells vs the Machines is streaming on Netflix.

7. Paddington (2014)

Inspired by Michael Bond's beloved children's books, Paddington is a critically heralded romp that blends a crackerjack live-action cast (Hugh Bonneville! Sally Hawkins! Julie Walters! Peter Capaldi!) with an adorable CGI bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw), who wears a blue coat and cherishes marmalade. Traveling from the jungles of Peru to London, the titular bear is reluctantly taken in by the Brown family. But as cultures collide, Paddington's freedom —indeed, his very life! — are threatened by an overzealous taxidermist (a gamely over-the-top Nicole Kidman), who is ruthlessly determined to make him her next specimen! Full of whimsy, wit, and warmth, Paddington is a jolly delight that demands rewatching. —K.P.

How to watch: Paddington is streaming on Netflix.

8. Nightbooks (2021)

Kristen Ritter is a scary and stylish witch in "Nightbooks"
Credit: Netflix

From David Yarovesky, the director of Brightburn, comes a spooky tale that'll thrill on family night. Based on the horror-fantasy novel of the same name by J. A. White, Nightbooks centers on a Brooklyn bookworm (Winslow Fegley) who is kidnapped by a wicked witch (Krysten Ritter). Held captive in her magical apartment, he's forced to tell her a new scary story each night in exchange for his survival. Thankfully, he's not alone. A hard-nosed fellow prisoner (Lidya Jewett) not only helps him avoid the pitfalls of this precarious prison, but also helps him unlock the secrets that could get them both out!

Peppered with PG-level scares and plenty of style (we'd die for Ritter's witch wardrobe), Nightbooks is a rollicking good time for kiddos (and grown-ups) who appreciate a good bump in the night.* K.P.

How to watch: Nightbooks is streaming on Netflix.

9. Monster House (2006)

Craving something creepy but kid-friendly? Then step on up to this sensational 2006 film, in which the Big Bad is a towering, sentient, old house that gobbles up toys as well as trespassing children. While the premise might sound perturbing, children will relish the tale of three spirited kids who not only discover the Monster House’s horrors but also its hidden heart.

A surprisingly poignant finale follows a bunch of frights and fun, making this a great pick for family movie night. Using motion-capture animation, director Gil Kenan taps into Amblin Entertainment’s established aesthetic, where grounded drama meets freaky fantasy. Adding oomph — and some grown-up curb appeal — is a voice cast that includes celebrated actors, like Steve Buscemi, Fred Willard, Catherine O'Hara, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kathleen Turner, Jon Heder, and Jason Lee. Trick or treat? Why not both! .*K.P.

How to watch: Monster House is streaming on Netflix.

10. Finding 'Ohana (2021)

A foursome of kids search for lost treasure.
Credit: Netflix

If you grew up watching The Goonies, then you'll treasure sharing this gem with your kiddos. Director Jude Weng channels Spielberg's brand of awe for an exciting tale of Hawaiian legend and childhood heroics. Raised in New York City, siblings Pili (Kea Peahu) and Ioane (Alex Aiono) feel like fish out of water when their mother brings them to Oahu. But soon enough, they're making friends and setting forth on a quest for a legendary lost treasure. Along the way, there'll also be teen romance, family drama, and local lore come to life. Seeking something fun and thrilling? Look no further. —K.P.

How to watch: Finding 'Ohana is streaming on Netflix.

Why I'll be reading Ibram Kendi's 'Goodnight Racism' to my son every night

Sat, 25 Jun 22 12:00:51 +0000

An illustrated picture of a Black girl resting her head before going to sleep.

Every year as a country we take a day in the month of January to pay homage to a dreamer, a man who had a dream of what this country could be if unburdened by what it was. In the same vein, Ibram Kendi in his new children's book, Goodnight Racism, invites our children to dream like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. about a world that, frankly, should be the reality that all parents are working toward.  

I know I have been. For the past decade, as a city council member, mayor, and now as an advocate, I've been working to create equal opportunity and to end structural violence. I launched the country's first mayoral-led basic income program while mayor of Stockton, Calif., and now lead a coalition of 80 mayors doing the same with Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, a nonprofit organization trying to make King's dream of guaranteed income a reality in America. I am also the founder of End Poverty in California, an organization focused on changing the narrative around poverty to enact policies to eliminate poverty in the Golden State. As a Black father with Black children, Goodnight Racism resonated with my aspirations for a society worthy of my precious children. 

When the book's child protagonist goes to sleep, Kendi reminds us that the moon, the elements, the universe, and indeed the Creator, have the same desires for all of us: for every child to be safe, fed, loved, to reach their full potential. Under the cover of night, the child is able to conceptualize a brighter day, one that brings peace to the nightmare that many experience living in a country with pervasive poverty, inequality, and violence.

The power of the dream, and the hope it inspires, allow us to finally say goodbye to racism, goodbye to inequality, and goodbye to neglect—provided that when the child awakens, grownups join her in the work of creating the world we all deserve to live in. And there are none more deserving than our children.

Yet the timing of this book is almost antithetical to the child's dream. The racial wealth gap between Black and white Americans hasn't budged since 1964; COVID-19 ravaged communities of color, and women of color in particularBlack people are being murdered by white supremacist terrorists while grocery shopping; children are being murdered while going to school; the Child Tax Credit, a lifeline for meeting the material needs of children, wasn't renewed after Congressional Republicans (and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin) blocked it; voting rights and the rights of LGBTQIA youth and children are under attack in states with Republican leadership; and books like Goodnight Racism, which acknowledge race and injustice, are being banned in states across the country

Kendi knows this well, given his extensive scholarship on the ways in which difference and racism have literally been stamped into the fabric of this country from the beginning. As a historian, he also knows the complex reality of times like these, when it's easy to fall into nihilism but alternately feel the urgency to fight for justice. The moment we're in clearly necessitates new visions and imagining of what we can be. We must dream of something better, if not for ourselves, then for our children. They are the anchors of our dreams, the manifestation of what can be born even in the most harrowing conditions.  

When I read Goodnight Racism to my 2-and-a-half-year-old son, his first words were, "Daddy, she sleep," pointing excitedly to the main protagonist. Even at his age, he recognizes sleep and rest as necessary and universal: I sleep, she sleeps, we all sleep, because indeed we are all human and have the same basic needs.  

"While reading with my son, nothing that was dreamed of seemed radical or even puzzling to him."

Goodnight Racism is written with children in mind, but it's also a great example to adults about what is lost amidst the exhaustion of living in a time of great division and economic insecurity. While reading with my son, nothing that was dreamed of seemed radical or even puzzling to him. I asked him, "Should everyone have food?" He looked at me like that was a dumb question, clapped his hands and said, "Yes!" 

"Should everyone be loved?" I continued. "Yes Daddy!" he asserted.

The most enduring part of Kendi's legacy may not be in the minds he's opened with Stamped from the Beginning or the playbook he's given adults and parents with How to Be an Antiracist and Antiracist Baby, but in his work speaking to the youngest among us, in allowing children to hold firm the lessons of love and equality that seem so obvious and apparent to them, as they did to my son. In continuing to speak with and to children, Kendi is doing powerful counternarrative work and reminding our babies that their worldview and thinking is rational, even if the world's dysfunction is not.

As we reached the conclusion, my son was reminded of one of his favorite books, Goodnight Moon, and eagerly joined in saying, "Goodnight!" to injustice and racism. The dream of the author wasn't yet "a dream" to my son. Rather, it's his current understanding of the world we live in—that we are true to the ideals we put on paper, and to the lessons my wife and I teach him. His reaction to the book was a reminder of why the work his mother and I do, and our friends and allies do, is so important. I don't want him to wake up to a nightmarish reality. I want him to live a dream wide awake. 

Michael Tubbs is the author of The Deeper The Roots: A Memoir of Hope and Home and the founder of End Poverty in California and Mayors For A Guaranteed Income.

Disclosure note: Kendi provided a blurb for my book, The Deeper The Roots: A Memoir of Hope and Home.

Scientists film a jellyfish with a belly full of prey in the deep sea

Sat, 25 Jun 22 12:00:00 +0000

a jellyfish with stomach full of food

Biologists spotted a deep sea critter that just devoured a hefty meal.

The Monterey Bay Aquatic Research Institute (MBARI) recently tweeted deep sea archival footage of a jellyfish with its stomach filled with food. Scientists say the prey would have most likely been krill, which are tiny shrimp-like creatures with hard shells. As jellies are transparent, it’s pretty common to see them with something in their stomach, said Steven Haddock, a marine biologist at MBARI who observed this creature in June 2018 during a dive in Monterey Bay.

"Whether the prey is recognizable is another story," he told Mashable.

Jellies can be spotted in both shallow and deep waters. The Halitrephes jelly captured in this footage drifts in the dark oceans. Using a submarine robot, scientists captured the footage at a depth of 1,300 feet. These jellies are typically seen during summer in the Monterey Bay on the California coastline, the research institute said.

It might be difficult to gauge in the video, but the Halitrephes jellies are quite small. The species belong to a group of tiny jellyfish called hydromedusa, which range from millimeters to centimeters in size. "The Halitrephes jelly's bell can reach up to 10 centimeters (four inches) wide," MBARI explained.

The Halitrephes jelly is known by a different name in the internet world: "the firework jellyfish." It takes a spectacular form when it distributes nutrients through its body. Their transparent tentacles begin to glow with vibrant hues like an exploding firework, as seen in this video clip from the Nautilus Ocean Exploration Trust. 

That said, jellyfishes whose bodies are made up of 95 percent water, can camouflage quite well in the oceans from the sight of predators. "One common adaptation of deep sea drifting animals is transparency, which allows them to hide where there is nothing to hide behind," Haddock told Mashable.

"One common adaptation of deep sea drifting animals is transparency, which allows them to hide where there is nothing to hide behind."

These organisms have interesting defense and survival mechanisms, too. Their tentacles are loaded with small stingers that discharge venom when they brush against prey or any other objects. And they can thrive under extreme conditions such as low oxygen levels and high acid content.

The deep sea remains largely mysterious. There are some 2,000 known species of jellyfish, and many more are believed undiscovered in the vast ocean depths.

What losing abortion rights will mean for people's mental health

Sat, 25 Jun 22 11:03:07 +0000

A pro-abortion rights protester stands in front of the Supreme Court holding a sign that reads,

The day that Americans knew was coming is finally here. Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that created a constitutional right to abortion, is gone.

In many ways, we know what this means. More than half of American women live in states that are hostile to abortion rights. They will lose access to abortion in the coming weeks and months. The majority of those seeking abortion care live below the poverty line and will find it difficult to travel to where the procedure is legal. Reproductive justice activists are scrambling to meet those urgent needs by organizing support for abortion funds and coordinating travel to other states.

Yet there's a little-discussed aspect of abortion access that can have enduring consequences: its impact on mental health. Research tells us that being denied an abortion leads to worse short-term mental health and that it raises the likelihood of living in poverty and being tethered to an abusive partner, neither of which are good for well-being.

Beyond those facts, the decision should prompt us to wonder — and research — what happens when women and people who can become pregnant live in a state where abortion care is no longer just hard to get, as it is currently in many states, but banned with rare exceptions.

Will the Supreme Court's decision and subsequent state bans lead to low-level dread for people who can become pregnant but know they don't have the resources to travel elsewhere should they need an abortion? Will it intensify anxiety for women of color, trans men, and nonbinary people who know they may be targeted and criminalized if they self-manage an abortion? Such questions will be hard to answer without rigorous research designed to disentangle the complex factors that affect a person's mental health, but we urgently need to better understand what this decision means for people's well-being.

Dr. M. Antonia Biggs, Ph.D., an associate professor and senior researcher at the University of California at San Francisco who's studied what happens to women's mental health when they can't access abortion, suspects the decision will lead to worse emotional and psychological experiences.

"This is fundamentally a loss of bodily autonomy, which is not good for people's mental health," says Biggs, who is a social psychologist.

Her research found that when women were denied an abortion, they initially had higher levels of anxiety and lower self-esteem than those who had the procedure. While those disparities faded between six and 12 months later, the women forced to give birth subsequently experienced more long-term physical health problems and financial insecurity. They were more likely to live in poverty, experience financial hardship, and be with a violent partner. These are troubling cascading effects that heighten the risk of experiencing anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

"This is fundamentally a loss of bodily autonomy, which is not good for people's mental health."

It makes no sense to look at the data and suggest that abortion is what harms people's mental health, which is what its opponents insist. When I wrote about this subject in 2017, a number of experts told me this idea was based on debunked and flawed research. One even told me of anti-abortion researchers: "They are making wrong conclusions and really bad science, if you can even call it science."

Those who've fought to overturn Roe for years or decades may feel personal relief or even joy now, but this is a perverse justification to offer anyone who fears remaining pregnant and being forced to give birth.

Biggs' research also found women who received an abortion were more likely to perceive stigma and more likely to experience psychological distress years later. She believes that pregnant people may internalize new state bans as stigmatizing, increasing the odds that they'll feel worse about themselves in the future. A preliminary finding from the study, which needs further exploration, revealed that those who had to make disclosures about seeking or receiving abortion care, typically because they needed help paying for it and related travel costs, experienced negative mental health symptoms, too.

"There's so many compounding effects of being denied abortion that impacts so many aspects of your life," says Biggs. "It's overwhelming and incredibly sad to think about that."

Imagine, too, the reality that many pregnant people living in a state where abortion is banned may be alone with their struggles, worried that discussing the possibility of seeking care elsewhere could be used against them. We know that emotional isolation is painful, but the Supreme Court decision all but guarantees countless pregnant people will feel more alone than they ever have. We shouldn't forget them, because they deserved so much better than this.

If you want to talk to someone, Crisis Text Line provides free, confidential support 24/7. Text CRISIS to 741741 to be connected to a crisis counselor. Contact the NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI, Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. ET, or email info@nami.org. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Here is a list of international resources.

What everyone's watching: The most streamed movies this week (whether they're good or not)

Sat, 25 Jun 22 09:40:44 +0000

A close up of a man in glasses speaking into a small microphone.

So, what's everyone been watching this week?

Each week, the most popular streamed movies come down to a few things — sheer buzz, smart marketing and PR campaigns, star power, critical acclaim, or a slow burn, word-of-mouth phenomenon that leads uninterested people to finally watch it out of spite. Just to get a sense of what everyone's streaming, we've used data from streaming aggregator Reelgood, which gathers those coveted viewership numbers from hundreds of streaming services in the U.S. and UK.

HBO's highest ever watched film streaming just on the platform is in this week's list, as well as Chris Hemsworth's new thriller and of course, you're all still watching Top Gun.

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

1. Spiderhead

Five people sit in a speedboat, some of them blindfolded.
And awaaaaay we go. Credit: Netflix

Based on George Saunders' short story "Escape from Spiderhead," Spiderhead centres around a facility testing mood-changing drugs on prisoners and challenging the idea of free will. The whole thing is run by Chris Hemsworth as scientisti Steve Abnesti, but when two subjects connect, Jeff (Miles Teller) and Lizzy (Jurnee Smollett), things unravel.

What we thought: Simply put, Spiderhead is a totally OK movie to sort of watch. And if that's all Netflix is aiming for now, they've gotten their gold star for mediocrity. — Kristy Puchko, Deputy Entertainment Editor

How to watch: Spiderhead is now streaming on Netflix.

2. Top Gun

A man in navy uniform sings to a woman in a bar surrounded by people.
Kelly McGillis, rudely not asked to be in "Top Gun: Maverick." Credit: Paramount / Kobal / Shutterstock

If you feel the need for speed enough to go and see the new Top Gun: Maverick, you're probably revisiting the original at home. Stacked with a Kenny Loggins-fuelled soundtrack and That Volleyball Scene, Tony Scott's 1986 elite fighter pilot action classic is taking streamers back to the danger zone.

What we thought (of Top Gun: Maverick not the OG): How do you bring an action hero from the '80s into the 2020s without him feeling like a fossil? Incredibly, the team behind Top Gun: Maverick has managed it. — K.P.

How to watch: Top Gun (the original) is now streaming on Prime Video and Paramount+.

3. Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

A man and woman smiling.
Credit: Hulu

Directed by Sophie Hyde and written by Katy Brand, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande sees Nancy Stokes (Emma Thompson), retired from teaching, embarking on a new personal adventure when she hires sex worker Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack).

How to watch: Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is now streaming on Hulu.

4. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

A T-Rex roars over a dead Ankylosaurus and a man standing beside an orb car.
Everyone's gotta catch up on WTF happened in the last one... Credit: Universal Pictures

With the latest chapter of the Jurassic World trilogy in cinemas, folks are returning to the second, streaming Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom this week. This is the one where the U.S. Senate is debating whether or not to save the dinosaurs from a catastrophic volcanic eruption on Isla Nublar, where Jurassic World closed in the first one after the shit hit the fan. It's gonna be one hell of a logistics exercise.

What we thought: Moment-to-moment, Jurassic World can be pleasantly odd. Chris Pratt gets to show off his physical comedy chops all too briefly, in a scene that seems inspired by Leonardo DiCaprio's Wolf of Wall Street crawl. And whatever else you think of the much-ballyhooed Indoraptor, there's no denying she's got a flair for drama. I swear she winked in one of her scenes. — Angie Han, former Deputy Entertainment Editor

How to watch: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is now streaming on fuboTV.

5. Hustle

Two men sit in a basketball grandstand.
Juancho Hernangomez as Bo Cruz and Adam Sandler as Stanley Sugerman. Credit: Scott Yamano / Netflix

Adam Sandler's new Netflix movie, Hustle, has gone straight to the top of the queue for a lot of you. Sandler plays Stanley Sugerman, an NBA scout who travels to Spain and discovers Bo Cruz, played by Juancho Hernangómez, a talented player who has some baggage in his past. I's going to be more complicated than Stanley thought to bring Bo into his NBA team.

How to watch: Hustle is now streaming on Netflix.

6. The Northman

A man and woman sit on two horses in blankets,
Saddle up for an Icelandic saga. Credit: Aidan Monaghan

Robert Eggers' Viking epic has hit streaming, with plenty of folks sitting down to embark upon the bloody Nordic tale of Prince Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) on his fate-determined quest to avenge the murder of his father, King Aurvandil War-Raven (Ethan Hawke) by his uncle Fjölnir (Claes Bang), and be reunited with his mother, Queen Gudrún (Nicole Kidman).

What we thought: With The Northman, Eggers explores the myths of Vikings in a historical epic that is star-stuffed, action-packed, and yet far from the crowd-pleasing likes of Gladiator. — K.P.

How to watch: The Northman is now streaming on Peacock.

7. No Time to Die

Two woman stand side by side against a white tiled background.
Lashana Lynch (left) and Léa Seydoux (right) redefine so-called Bond women in all the right ways. Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / Eon Productions

The most recent James Bond film and the last to star Daniel Craig as 007, No Time to Die introduces a host of new characters, including Rami Malek as villain Lyutsifer Safin, Lashana Lynch as British 00 agent Nomi, Ana de Armas as Cuban CIA agent Paloma, alongside Dali Benssalah, Billy Magnussen, and David Dencik as Primo, Logan Ash, and Valdo Obruchev respectively.

What we thought: No Time To Die is, first and foremost, a triumphant last lap for Daniel Craig that closes an especially wonderful stretch of Ian Fleming's long-lasting legacy. It's not perfect, but it bravely explores its source material in a way that will make you fall in love all over again. The only question: Does Bond deserve it? — Alison Foreman, former Entertainment Reporter

How to watch: No Time to Die is now streaming on Prime Video.

8. Jerry and Marge Go Large

A man and woman stand in front of a till.
Goin' large. Credit: Jake Giles Netter / Paramount+

The true story of the Selbees, Jerry and Marge (Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening), who find a loophole in the lottery using maths and use the money to help their town in Michigan.

How to watch: Jerry and Marge Go Large is now streaming on Paramount+.

9. Father of the Bride

A family sit around a kitchen island.
Families are complicated. Credit: Warner Bros. / HBO

Warner Bros. and HBO have rebooted rom-com and family comedy Father of the Bride as centred around a Latino family, and it's already had the largest audience of any HBO Max movie that's streamed only on the platform. Directed by Gaz Alazraki and written by Matt Lopez, it's based on Edward Streeter's 1949 novel, really, which has now had three film adaptations including this one starring Andy García as Cuban American architect Billy Herrera, who is moving toward divorce with his wife, Ingrid (Gloria Estefan) when their daughter Sofía (Adria Arjona) announces she's engaged to her boyfriend Adán Castillo (Diego Boneta).

How to watch: Father of the Bride is now streaming on HBO.

10. Cha Cha Real Smooth

Two people in a hallway looking at each other.
Cooper Raiff and Dakota Johnson in “Cha Cha Real Smooth,” Credit: Apple TV+

Cooper Raiff writes, directs and stars in Apple TV+'s Cha Cha Real Smooth, following Andrew, a man who moves back home to New Jersey after college. He's figuring out his future when he starts working teaching dancing at a bar and running bat mitzvahs for his younger brother's school friends. Then he meets Domino (Dakota Johnson) and her daughter, Lola (Vanessa Burghardt).

How to watch: Cha Cha Real Smooth is now streaming on Apple TV+.

Yes, there are 100 million rogue black holes wandering our galaxy

Sat, 25 Jun 22 09:30:00 +0000

a wandering black hole

Black holes aren't evil.

But they are fantastically weird, gravitationally powerful places. And astronomers suspect there are some 100 million of these objects — realms so dense that not even light can escape their grasp — wandering our Milky Way galaxy. Now, for the first time, scientists published compelling evidence that they detected one of these rapidly moving, rogue black holes.

This type of black hole is created when a star (around 20 times as massive as the sun) explodes and collapses into an intensely compact object. It's the natural evolution of things in our universe.

"These are just wandering stars. Those wandering stars become wandering black holes," Kailash Sahu, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute who led one of the studies about this detection, told Mashable.

The reality that around 100 million of these black holes are traveling through the galaxy might seem wild. But it makes good sense. Stars die. And there are bounties of stars out there. "It sounds like a lot, but on the other hand, our galaxy has 100 billion stars," Sahu noted. (There are other dramatic ways for black holes to form, but the collapse of stars is common.)

"The Milky Way should be full of black holes," agreed Fabio Pacucci, an astrophysicist at the Center for Astrophysics - Harvard & Smithsonian who had no role in the new research.

"The Milky Way should be full of black holes."

Crucially, there might be a profound number of black holes in our galaxy, but they're still relatively far from our solar system — because space, like our galaxy, is vast. This rogue black hole is some 5,000 light-years away (one light-year is nearly 6 trillion miles). Statistically, the closest rogue black hole should be some 80 light-years away, the researchers say. For perspective, the closest star, Proxima Centauri, is four light-years (or some 24 trillion miles) away from us.

While these nomadic black holes are wandering the galaxy, it's important to remember that we are, too. Our solar system is moving around the center of the Milky Way (home to a supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A*) at over 500,000 mph (828,000 km/h).

"Everything is kind of wandering – nothing is really stationary," said Sahu.

However, these rogue black holes, after being created during extreme, catastrophic explosions, have certainly been given a good kick that sends them on a more random path through the galaxy. A nomadic black hole could potentially disrupt the orbits of planets in a solar system if it happened to pass close by. But black holes aren't sucking up everything in the cosmos. "They are not vacuum cleaners, otherwise we'd be in one," Douglas Gobeille, an astrophysicist and black hole researcher at the University of Rhode Island, told Mashable earlier this year.

The rogue black hole detection

Black holes don't emit any light. How can astronomers see the unseeable?

To make this observation over several years, the astronomers did something clever. Black holes, extremely dense objects, warp space, like a bowling ball sitting on a mattress. Using the school bus-sized Hubble Space Telescope, the research team diligently watched for an extremely dense object (like a black hole) to pass in front of a distant star. The passing black hole's presence warped and bent the starlight as it bisected this region of space, allowing for a type of observation called "microlensing."

What's more, the Hubble telescope then measured how much light the black hole deflected, which required observing minute changes in light. Hubble is an exquisite instrument for making this sensitive observation because it orbits above Earth, so its views aren't blurred and distorted by our atmosphere.

a black hole warping light
How a black hole warps the starlight that Hubble views in the universe. Credit: NASA / ESA / STScI / Joseph Olmsted

Taken together, observations of warped and deflected light gave astronomers the information they needed to judge the black hole's mass, distance, and beyond. "It's almost like putting the black hole on a scale," Sahu explained. They found this lone black hole wanderer is seven times the mass of the sun. (Some 30 percent of wandering black holes are believed to travel alone; others have companions.)

"This is a very remarkable detection," the astrophysicist Pacucci told Mashable.

"This is a very remarkable detection."

One issue, however, remains unresolved. There is still a possibility that what has been detected is another immensely dense object that can warp space, like a neutron star, which is the collapsed core of an exploded star. (Neutron stars are so dense, a "sugar-cube-sized amount of material would weigh more than 1 billion tons, about the same as Mount Everest!" NASA explains.) Another group of researchers found the object was smaller, at some 1.6 and 4.4 times the mass of the sun. An object some 1.6 times the size of the sun would more likely be a neutron star.

But, even so, there's one more crucial piece of evidence suggesting the detected object is indeed a black hole. The object in question did not temporarily alter the light color of the background star. If it was a neutron star, the two light sources would have mixed. But there was no color change.

It remains enormously difficult to detect these roaming black holes, moving at some 100,000 mph. But in the future, advanced space telescopes, like NASA's Roman Space Telescope, are expected to spot many more of these curious objects in the deep, deep cosmos.

All the best dog products of 2022

Sat, 25 Jun 22 09:00:30 +0000

Black and white dog peeking out of a wooden crate

It's no secret that most pet owners spend a lot (and I mean a lot) of money on their dogs. Pets are the new kids, and we absolutely treat them as such.

Luckily, the dog product market is full of innovative, aesthetically-pleasing, and durable products these days for every type of dog owner out there. Thanks to curated direct-to-consumer dog brands, you'll never have resign to the ugly dog bed from your local superstore or cheap stuffed toys that will be torn apart in seconds.

Whether you've had dogs your entire life or you're looking into bringing a new pup home for the first time, we've put together a list of some of the best dog gear we've hands-on tested this year. Some of these pup products are downright trendy, like the infamously stylish Fable dog crate, and some offer pure convenience for owners, like the Wild One rinseless shampoo and the Chom Chom pet hair remover.

We've also added one of our favorite enrichment toys to this list, which can help your dog stay mentally stimulated and keep them entertained for a while (so you can actually get some work done for once).

Read on for the full rundown of all our favorite tried and tested dog gear.

What everyone's watching: The most streamed TV shows this week are thrillers

Sat, 25 Jun 22 09:00:00 +0000

A man in a robe speaks to two people with their backs turned.

What's everybody been watching this week then?

We've dug into the latest data from streaming aggregator ReelGood, which pulls viewing figures from streaming sites in the UK and the US, and broken out the top 10 most watched TV shows of the past week.

This week, it's topped by thrillers, from The Old Man to Dark Winds. But of course, it'll take more than a few crimes to fully kick Obi-Wan Kenobi and Stranger Things and Ms Marvel off the most-watched list. Here are the top 10 most streamed TV shows of the week...

1. The Old Man

Two FBI agents in an office, one sitting one standing.
FBI time. Credit: FX

Based on Thomas Perry’s thriller novel of the same name, Jeff Bridges leads this one as Dan Chase, an ex-CIA agent whose live off-grid is interrupted by an assassin. To find them, the FBI’s assistant director for counterintelligence Harold Harper (John Lithgow) calls Chase back into the job, working with rising FBI star Angela Adams (Alia Shawkat) and CIA special agent Raymond Waters (E.J. Bonilla). But special ops agent Julian Carson (Gbenga Akinnagbe) is also pursuing Chase. Amy Brenneman also stars as Zoe McDonald, who Chase rents a room from while on the case. — Shannon Connellan, UK Editor

How to watch: The Old Man is now streaming on Hulu.

2. Obi-Wan Kenobi

Reva sits on the top of a building next to a neon sign.
Look out, Obi-Wan. Credit: Disney

Disney+'s latest Star Wars foray, Obi-Wan Kenobi, which follows the titular hero (played by Ewan McGregor) on a quest to save Princess Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) from the clutches of Inquisitor Reva (Moses Ingram) 10 years after the events of Episode III. It became the most-watched Disney+ original after its opening weekend. The people simply can't get enough Star Wars. — Sam Haysom, Deputy UK Editor

How to watch: Obi-Wan Kenobi is now streaming on Disney+.

3. The Summer I Turned Pretty

Two people about to kiss on a beach.
Lola Tung (Belly) and Christopher Briney (Conrad) have a moment. Credit: Prime Video

From showrunner Jenny Han, author of the To All the Boys series, comes The Summer I Turned Pretty, a coming-of-age drama across generations about first love, female friendship, complicated relationships between mothers and their kids, and of course, a love triangle. Staring stars Lola Tung, Jackie Chung, Rachel Blanchard, Christopher Briney, Gavin Casalegno, Sean Kaufman, Alfredo Narciso, Minnie Mills, Colin Ferguson, and Tom Everett Scott. — S.C.

How to watch: The Summer I Turned Pretty is now streaming on Prime Video.

4. Stranger Things

Two people in a facility hallway.
Papa? Credit: Netflix

The most streamed (and wildly unsurprising so) show of the week is the Duffer brothers' Stranger Things, which recently returned for the first volume of Season 4. Our core characters are all a lot more grown up this time around, but Hawkins is still just as scary and monster-riddled as ever (and the soundtrack is, as always, banging). With Volume 1 taking us to some dark places, Volume 2 is set to hurtle toward the final showdown. — S.H.

What we thought: You’ve waited a long time to go back to Hawkins — three years to be exact (or a whole pandemic, a few collapsing democracies, a Capitol insurrection, an ongoing war, etc, etc, etc). Certainly, Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 1 rewards that patience by welcoming you back with an over-abundance of what we've always loved about this cult hit since 2016. — Jess Joho, Staff Writer

How to watch: Stranger Things is now streaming on Netflix.

5. The Boys

Two people smiling in a room with brick walls.
It's fun. It's disturbing. It's "The Boys." Credit: Prime Video

Eric Kripke's gory superhero series has punched its way back onto our screens with a third season, following Billy (Karl Urban) and Hughie (Jack Quaid) as they go up against Homelander (Antony Starr) again after the events of Season 2. Expect gratuitous violence aplenty, from Season 1 all the way to the brand new Season 3 streaming from June 10. — S.H.

What we thought: In some ways, Season 2 is The Boys we came to know in 2019. It's still relentlessly dark and oppressively bleak in its portrayal of the world. It's also still gory as hell, and perhaps even moreso this time. But if you're here, you already know what to expect and are prepared for graphic scenes of explosive dismemberment and compound fractures. — Adam Rosenberg, Senior Entertainment Reporter and Editor

How to watch: The Boys is now streaming on Prime Video.

6. Ms. Marvel

A girl in a function dining room holds her fist up, which emanates with power.
The power. Credit: Disney

Have you met Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) yet? Marvel's newest screen superhero, a Pakistani-American teen living in Jersey City, is the star of Ms. Marvel and thanks, we absolutely love her. A huge Captain Marvel fan, Khan feels like an outsider at school (classic hero origin situation). Buuuut she gets superpowers, so GO GET 'EM. From writer Bisha K. Ali and directors Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah, Meera Menon, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, this Disney+ plus series is one of the week's biggest shows. — S.C.

What we thought: The visceral thrills of blockbuster superheroics will surely take center stage before these six episodes are finished. But by slowing down in the early hours to consider context and put serious thought into how a superhero is really born, Ms. Marvel's hopeful remix of the origin story is already a winner. — A.R.

How to watch: Ms. Marvel is now streaming on Disney+.

7. Dark Winds

Two police officers sitting on a car.
Credit: AMC

Based on the Leaphorn and Chee book series by Tony Hillerman, Dark Winds is a noir set on a remote outpost of the Navajo Nation near Monument Valley. It's 1971, and Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn (Zahn McClarnon) of the Tribal Police finds himself digging into the past with a series of crimes with his new deputy, Jim Chee (Kiowa Gordon). — S.C.

How to watch: Dark Winds is now streaming on AMC+.

8. Peaky Blinders

A man in a three piece suit stands in a field.
Credit: Netflix

The sixth and final season of the sneakily alluring tale of 20th-century Birmingham gangster Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) has finally hit Netflix, and everyone's jumping on the Shelby train. — S.C.

How to watch: Peaky Blinders is now streaming on Netflix in the U.S. and BBC iPlayer in the UK.

9. The Orville

A space crew sit at the deck of their ship.
Credit: Hulu

The third season of Seth MacFarlane's sci-fi dramedy sees the return of the titular USS Orville, with the crew — led by Captain Ed Mercer (MacFarlane himself) — heading off on a series of new interplanetary adventures. Make the most of it, too, as there's currently a question mark over whether or not a Season 4 will happen. — S.H.

How to watch: The Orville is now streaming on Hulu.

10. Evil

Three people in jackets investigating a room.
This trio has got us going wild for "Evil." Credit: Elizabeth Fisher / CBS / Paramount+

As Mashable's Kristy Puchko writes, "Imagine The X-Files with religious trauma and you've got Evil, the best show you're not watching."

What we thought: Here's eight reasons we love it.

How to watch: Evil is now streaming on Paramount+.

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

Relax while you’re on the go with a portable electric neck massager on sale

Sat, 25 Jun 22 09:00:00 +0000

Person smiling, eyes closed, with white neck massager around their neck

TL;DR: As of June 25, the RelaxUltima Portable Neck Massager is on sale for $39.99, which is a whopping 80% off its regular price of $199.99.


You don’t need a big, fancy massage chair to enjoy some relaxation throughout the day. It’s not like you can carry one around with you anyways. For on-the-go relief, turn to a portable device like this neck massager from RelaxUltima. It’s on sale for a whopping 80% off for a limited time, so you can seamlessly slip it into your daily routine this summer.

Only as big as it needs to be, at just 4 x 10 x 9 inches, the RelaxUltima is designed to be worn stealthily around your neck. To use it, you just wrap it around your neck like a necklace (be sure to remove any actual jewelry), press the power button, and adjust the intensity to your liking. A single charge should get you an entire month’s worth of use.

It uses transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to send gentle electric impulses through the skin on your neck. While the effectiveness of TENS is uncertain, lots of folks swear by it. Plus, it’s paired with personalized massage functions and heat to give you three times the relief. 

The heating function can reach up to 107 degrees Fahrenheit, while the personal massage function includes three different modes (tapping, Shiatsu, acupuncture therapy) and 15 different intensity levels. You can mix and match until you find a combination that works for you and your needs.

It's regularly $199, but you can grab it on sale for just $39.99 for a limited time — that's 80% in savings. If your summer is jam-packed with travel, it can serve as a solid way to get relief on the plane. If not, you can enjoy much-needed TLC throughout your work day as well. It's designed to seamlessly fit into your daily routine. Let's see a massage chair do that!

Prices subject to change.

This Mac security app manages your device's safety for you

Sat, 25 Jun 22 09:00:00 +0000

Laptop screen showing pareto security personal homepage with person looking at it

TL;DR: As of June 25, you can get lifetime license to Pareto Security Personal for $12 instead of $17, which makes for a 29% discount.


For a while, there was a rumor that Macs were completely safe from viruses and other cybersecurity threats, but that’s never quite been true. You certainly still need to be mindful of your Mac’s security, and Pareto Security Personal: One-Time Lifetime License could help simplify that process. 

This security app helps you check to make sure your Mac is running essential security protocols. Though it’s usually $17, for a limited time, Pareto Security Personal: One-Time Lifetime License is on sale for $12. 

Sometimes you need to fiddle with your Mac’s security system. Whether it’s turning off the firewall or you forgot to enable your encryption, Pareto can check to make sure your Mac is using all its built-in safety procedures. Pareto performs 23 similar security checks that can help average Mac users keep their device safe against third-party threats. 

Instead of you having to manually check off your Mac’s cybersecurity configuration, Pareto does it for you. It can help remind you to check for things like updates, which are easy to put off until you learn that many Mac updates are largely security-oriented. 

Some of the other features Pareto checks for include making sure AirDrop is secured, AirPlay receiver is off, your apps are updating automatically, FileVault is on, and the firewall is configured. This is as much a convenience app as it is a safety tool. It can help you avoid the common mistakes users make that can compromise their data, devices, and network. 

Let Pareto take care of your Mac’s security — or you can use it on another computer. This subscription is available for unlimited personal devices.

Protect your Mac against some of the most common cybersecurity threats. Though Pareto Security Personal: One-Time Lifetime License is normally $17, for a limited time, it is on sale for only $12. 

Prices subject to change.

The 16 best K-pop songs of 2022 (so far)

Sat, 25 Jun 22 09:00:00 +0000

A collage of images of K-pop stars

As K-pop continues to expand its reach around the globe, its acts are producing more music than ever. (BLACKPINK, we are waiting patiently.) From electric guitars and '80s synths to trap bangers and R&B crooning, there's something for everyone in this year's K-pop releases — and 2022 isn't even over yet.

But that's the joy of K-pop: Whether you're a casual listener or a multi with 12 biases, you'll never be bored. There will always be new music to listen to. And this year, K-pop acts experimented with trends (the pop-punk revival is alive and well in K-pop) and leaped out of their comfort zones, while fourth-gen groups asserted their dominance on the charts and industry titans BTS gave us a sentimental "see you later." With so much going on, it can be hard to know where to start. Never fear — we've got you covered.

In no particular order, here are some of the best K-pop songs of the year so far. And because sometimes you have to listen to more than just the single to get to the truly transcendent stuff, this list contains both singles and B-sides.

1. "Charmer," Stray Kids

Though "MANIAC" was the lead single on Stray Kids' chart-topping March EP ODDINARY, B-side "Charmer" thoroughly enchanted fans with its self-assured lyrics and hypnotic pungi refrain. Evoking the sound of wind instruments popularly associated with snake charming, it's an alluring song that uses a repeated falling scale and come hither whistle to effectively lead listeners down into a Stray Kids obsession.

"Charmer" is a creative, enticing new sound from a group that is constantly exploring and playing with audio, while still remaining unmistakably Stray Kids. This song is a fan favorite for good reason, and charming enough to beguile listeners into hitting replay.

A special shout-out also goes to Stray Kids' "Muddy Water," which is an excellent '90s hip-hop track that deserved more attention than it got. —Amanda Yeo

2. "Dirt on my leather," WOODZ 

I'm a little tired of writing only nice things about WOODZ, but it's the only kind of praise his work merits. The guy never misses. COLORFUL TRAUMA, his fourth EP in two years, is as brilliant as the three that preceded it. He taps into the rock and pop-punk resurgence we've seen growing in the industry with '80s hair metal flourishes but avoids sounding cheesy or contrived by completely committing to the bit.

On "Dirt on my leather" he wails "I'm ready to die!" over talkative rock guitars and drums with such convincing fervor that I actually believe him. When he asks "Why you gonna be so sad? Rub some dirt on it," I’m wiping away my tears and searching for the nearest patch of earth. —Elizabeth de Luna

3. "Thursday’s Child Has Far To Go," TOMORROW X TOGETHER 

The easiest way to describe "Thursday's Child Has Far To Go" is that it sounds like freedom. Maybe it's the sparkling '80s synths or the upbeat melody, but it’s the kind of song that pushes you forward. It makes me want to drive somewhere, anywhere, windows down and stereo blaring. (I don’t have a driver's license, so Lyft driver, please pass me the aux cord.) A unit song from Beomgyu, Taehyun, and Soobin on TOMORROW X TOGETHER's most recent EP, Thursday's Child, the addictive track is a burst of bright energy on an album full of emo breakup songs.

As such, "Thursday’s Child Has Far To Go" — co-produced by Beomgyu and featuring lyrics and toplining from Taehyun — reminds us that life goes on after heartbreak. "I'm looking forward to the wonderful days," sings Soobin. Aren't we all? —Crystal Bell

4. "BUT YOU," iKON 

"BUT YOU" is the kind of song that reminds me why I love pop music, and its hold on me is visceral. I heard it for the first time while painting a wall in my apartment and froze — mid brushstroke, mouth agape — as its nostalgic synths and crisp drums gave way to the delicate softness of DK's opening line: "I'm in love again." Despite that hopeful start, and the song's upbeat melody, "BUT YOU" is actually a melancholy lament over unrequited love. Like many of the best pop songs, it’s essentially about crying in the club.

iKON are a relative anomaly in Korean pop: an immensely popular 3rd generation hip-hop-influenced idol group still consistently making music that feels fun and fresh. The band has had to grow up hard and fast over the last three years: Leader and composer BI left the group in 2019 as a result of a national scandal. And rapper Bobby announced last year that he would be both married and a father in a matter of months, two life changes that are nearly unheard of in the notoriously rigid K-pop industry. After all that, it's immensely satisfying to see iKON back in the spotlight with a nearly perfect pop track worthy of their immense talent and versatility. —EDL

5. "Thank You," Brave Girls

Of all the songs on this list, Brave Girls' "Thank You" has one of the best stories behind it. The four-member girl group was catapulted to fame in 2021 when a video compilation of them performing their 2017 song "Rollin'" went viral. Now they've issued a love letter to their fans in the form of funky retro disco bop "Thank You," expressing gratitude for their support as well as joy at finally achieving success after years of work. It's a delightfully happy song, and arguably even catchier than "Rollin'."

"I never thought it would happen," read the lyrics' English translation. "So many days I cried in secret. I don't know if I'd be here without you." —AY 

6. "Ash," SEVENTEEN

"Ash" makes me want to burn down everything in sight, then play in the smoldering ruins like a sandbox.

While the lyrics of its pre-chorus — "the handful that's left from everything burning, ash. Let's build a new ark and go out into the world" — might inspire visions of reinvention or a fresh start, SEVENTEEN is really just here to hype themselves up. "Do or die, I'm a player," they brag. "I'm confident in this game, tens of thousands of chances. I'm just making choices." The metallic ring of their voices, warped by Auto-Tune and filters, tinge them with an addictive, otherworldly quality. It's an unusual but welcome choice for SEVENTEEN, who rarely dabble in this level of vocal manipulation. —EDL

7. "Blue Flame," LE SSERAFIM

Newcomers LE SSERAFIM (an anagram for "I'm fearless") came out swinging on their debut single "FEARLESS," in which they not-so-humbly asserted themselves as K-pop's newest queens of confidence. The plucky song prioritizes mood over melody, but B-side track "Blue Flame" proves that LE SSERAFIM are more than one note. Colorful vocal riffs and a groovy bassline make "Blue Flame" an easy listen — an intoxicating summer bop, if you will — and its charm has already captivated TikTok, where my FYP has been inundated with countless fan-made edits, fan cams, and videos of people dancing along to the song's catchy choreography.

Surprisingly, this is the first of two entries on this list to include the lyric "will-o' the-wisp." Only a few months into their careers and LE SSERAFIM are already trendsetters! —CB

8. "LOVE DIVE," IVE 

IVE debuted in December with earworm hit "ELEVEN," sweetly confessing their excitement over a crush that "makes me dream a long dream" and "dance to the point where I’m dizzy." On "LOVE DIVE," they've willfully plunged into the intoxicating depths of feeling wanted. "Narcissistic, my god, I love it" they sing with pouty insolence while performing point choreography in which they pretend to check their appearance in a compact mirror. Even if you're not impressed by that particularly inspired bit of genius, "LOVE DIVE's" hypnotic production — its sleepy "oohs," playful "la la las," and a whispered bridge — should be intriguing enough to put you under IVE's spell. —EDL

9. "Burning Up" (featuring R3HAB), MONSTA X 

My main question about "Burning Up" is: Why wasn't this slick tune SHAPE of LOVE's title track? 

MONSTA X's song about fiery attraction is just straight-up satisfying to listen to, an addictive beat excellently executed and served with polish. It isn't necessarily unconventional or surprising, which may be one reason why "LOVE" was chosen as MONSTA X's lead single instead. But "Burning Up" neither aims to nor needs to push boundaries. This jam knows what it is and is confident in expertly delivering a crowd-pleasing yet memorable rhythm, like a delicious chocolate cake from a hatted patisserie. "Burning Up" is unbothered, in its lane, focused, and flourishing. —AY 

10. "Blessed-Cursed," ENHYPEN

When ENHYPEN debuted in 2020 with a vampiric concept, I expected Twilight-level drama. Instead, they've leveraged eternal life to explore the sound and styles of other eras in a clever twist on time travel.

On "Blessed-Cursed," we find the band at the turn of the century, celebrating the new millennium with Y2K style. 2021's Dimension: Dilemma album saw the group experimenting with rock and pop punk elements on "Blockbuster" and "Attention, please!" that are also successfully incorporated here. "Blessed-Cursed" delivers what past releases could not; it finally makes use of Niki's outsized dance talent and Jay's charming brashness (he is a Taurus, after all) to create unique points of sonic and visual interest. The production has also mellowed compared to past singles, adding fewer effects to the members' voices so that their distinct colors are no longer flattened into uniformity.

"Blessed-Cursed" is not a perfect song — that would require a bridge, which is notably absent — but it does feel like a thrilling peek into what ENHYPEN is capable of. —EDL

11. "Illusion," aespa 

No group is currently making pop music as potent as aespa. The fabulous foursome had a record-setting 2021, thanks to the seismic success of their single "Next Level," and now they’re poised to continue their meteoric rise with their summer EP Girls, set for release on July 8. The album has already achieved one million stock pre-orders, making them the second Korean girl group after BLACKPINK to reach the milestone.

To mark the start of their new era, aespa dropped "Illusion," an electronic pre-release track that builds on the group’s synth-pop calling and affinity for sticky, hypnotic hooks. To fully grasp the lyrics ("you’re so yummy yummy yummy / In my tummy tummy tummy" is how Winter opens the track) you will have to have some understanding of aespa’s sci-fi lore, or you could just vibe and let the girls lull you into submission. "Follow me, come and get illusion," they sing. And who am I to not be entranced? —CB 

12. "Yet To Come," BTS

The Bangtan Boys have become an international phenomenon, tearing up music charts around the world and making the name BTS almost synonymous with K-pop. In their sentimental single "Yet to Come," released just this month, the group reflects on the burden that stratospheric popularity can be, while reaffirming their love of music and determination to continue moving forward.

It's a final word to commentators, a promise to fans, and a very fitting tone. There is a non-zero possibility that this will be BTS' last big release for a while, as the looming issue of South Korea's mandatory military service may put a pause on their group activities in the near future. The members themselves recently announced a break to work on solo endeavors and personal growth.

"Yet to Come" is the wise, humbly victorious final song at the end of a film, in which its heroes acknowledge how much they've learned on their journey as they look hopefully toward the future. —AY

13. "CHIQUITA," Rocket Punch

I'm a sucker for some good '80s electronica, and Rocket Punch's "CHIQUITA" delivers in spades. This synthtastic song hurls listeners straight into the retro vibes from the very beginning, delivering a bop that wouldn't be out of place in an '80s movie montage. 

The chorus's melodic three-chord synth riff was already enough to win "CHIQUITA" a spot on my K-pop playlist. But Rocket Punch's bright, neon-soaked groove keeps the mood going from verse to chorus to electronica bridge, not letting go of the theme for a moment. It makes me want to crimp my hair, throw on a denim jacket, and rollerblade to an arcade. —AY

14. "YOUNG LUV," STAYC

Youth is the essence of K-pop. I’m not solely talking about age, but rather the feeling of being young. Young and in love. Young and dumb. Young and reckless. Young and afraid. Young and frustrated. Enter STAYC’s "YOUNG LUV," a kaleidoscopic song that seamlessly captures all of those emotions and more. A B-side track off the rookie girl group’s EP YOUNG-LUV.COM, the song draws inspiration from early 2000s pop-rock hits from the likes of Kelly Clarkson and Avril Lavigne.

On "YOUNG LUV," the girls belt out their stadium-sized feelings over an electric guitar line that sounds more wistful than wild. STAYC's "teen fresh" image has captivated audiences globally since their 2020 debut, and "YOUNG LUV" doubles down on their youthfulness without ignoring the messier parts of coming of age. —CB

15. "To My First," NCT Dream 

As a general rule, you don’t sleep on NCT Dream’s B-sides. Case in point: "To My First." (Not to be confused with "My First And Last" or "Bye My First…") If you are missing the lovesick R&B crooning of early 2000s boy bands, then "To My First" is here to wrap you in a cozy weighted blanket. A fantastic showcase for vocal trio Haechan, Renjun, and Chenle, the song packs an emotional wallop as the seven members of NCT Dream sing of a first love that's run its course.

Perhaps in another decade, this boy band would have lamented their former flame in the pouring rain, masking their tears, but these Gen Z kids have it all figured out. "You know, sometimes in life," Mark drawls with the confidence only a 22-year-old international superstar can muster, "things just ain't meant to be." That may be true when it comes to love. But NCT Dream has always been destined for greatness. —CB

16. "Nonstop," RoaD-B

"Nonstop" is already a vibe from the outset, but it's about 45 seconds in that you realize RoaD-B's track is fairly unique in K-pop. This track subverts expectations in a delightfully unexpected way that I'll never get sick of, and I need more people to know about it.

While "Nonstop" doesn't necessarily have an obvious, standout hook that will immediately catch in your brain, it's a clever, creative tune that's great while you're listening to it and leaves you craving more. In that regard, it's a bit like the K-pop equivalent of fairy floss — and who doesn't love fairy floss? Formerly known as BXK, RoaD-B is a relatively unknown group in comparison to some other names on this list. Fingers crossed they keep exploring this sound and building in this direction because there's definite potential. —AY

Encrypt your internet connection with a DPN without monthly fees

Sat, 25 Jun 22 09:00:00 +0000

Silver VPN device with white wifi adapter

TL;DR: As of June 25, the Deeper Connect Pico Decentralized VPN & Cybersecurity Hardware + Wi-Fi Adapter is on sale for $223.20 with the code CONNECT10, which will slash $10 off its regular price of $248.


By now, you’ve learned that a VPN is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your private information on the web. It adds a layer of security to your everyday browsing and renders you anonymous online when you’re connected by showing a completely different IP address than the one you’re using. The thing is, unless you do your due diligence, you may end up merely entrusting your information to a different entity, rather than your own ISP.

If you’re not thrilled by the idea of an entity potentially gaining hold of your sensitive information, a DPN is another alternative — and you don’t even have to pay monthly fees for it. A DPN, like the Deeper Connect Pico (which we’ve featured before), has no centralized servers. That means it provides a more democratic internet where no organization owns the network on which the device runs.

The Deeper Connect Pico was brought to life after successful Indiegogo and Kickstarter campaigns, just like its sibling, Deeper Connect Nano. It’s just three inches long and an inch wide and weighs only 0.11 pounds, but it packs an enterprise-grade firewall and a DPN into its tiny frame. It also comes with an included WiFi adapter, so you can enjoy your own safe and fast private network anytime and anywhere — at home, the airport, a local coffee shop, etc. You can also plug it into the router directly and use your own internet connection if you have one nearby.

Check it out:

It may not have the fastest speed or best bandwidth in the business, but for the sake of democratic internet that requires zero monthly fees, a few extra seconds of load time is manageable. It’s only $223.20 with code CONNECT10 for a limited time.

Prices subject to change.

Get a new-to-you MacBook Air loaded with Microsoft Office for life

Sat, 25 Jun 22 09:00:00 +0000

Two silver macbook airs with powerpoint presentation open on one and pdf open on the other

TL;DR: As of June 25, you can get a refurbished Apple MacBook Air with Microsoft Office Lifetime License Bundle for just $476, when it would normally cost $1,348 — that's savings of 64%.


Need a new work-from-home setup? Here’s a new-to-you MacBook Air that comes with a lifetime license to Microsoft Office for Mac — all for just $476 (reg. $1,348). Two birds, one stone.

While it may not be the latest or greatest device around, this refurbished MacBook Air still has a lot of life left in it. It just might have a few scratches and bruises on the surface from its previous life. The insides, however, should work as good as if you bought it right off the shelf. It hails from 2015 and is packed with 256GB of storage, a Core i5 1.6GHz processor, and a 13.3-inch glossy widescreen display with 1440 x 900 native resolution. Connectivity includes a single Thunderbolt 2 port, two USB 3.0 ports, and an SD card slot. Plus, there’s an integrated 720p FaceTime HD webcam for all of your work calls.

The good news is that, while it may be seven years old, it’s not obsolete quite yet. That means it’s still eligible for service by Apple, in case anything goes wrong. It’s also preloaded with macOS X Yosemite, but is capable of upgrading to the latest OS. It may not be as powerful as the M2 MacBook Air poised to hit shelves in the coming months, but it's still a workhorse.

A solid companion for working from home, you’ll also get a lifetime Microsoft Office for Mac license with your purchase. That means a one-time purchase will get you Microsoft Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and OneNote for life. With instant delivery and download, you can access your software license keys immediately and be up and running in no time. 

The refurbished MacBook Air and lifetime Microsoft Office license would typically run you $1,348, but you can upgrade your setup for only $476 — that's 64% in savings for a limited time.

Prices subject to change.

Maintain your lawn with this multifunctional flame weeder for 21% off

Sat, 25 Jun 22 09:00:00 +0000

Silver and blue flame weeder shooting fire into grass

TL;DR: As of June 25, this 3-in-1 Multifunctional Electric Grass Burning Machine is on sale for $78.99, so you can take 21% off its regular price of $99.99.


Sometimes, you may just want to look at all the frustrations in your life and toss them into the fire. Usually, that’s a bad idea, particularly if you’re having a tough time with lawn care. There are actually precious few times where the reasonable solution to a problem is to set it on fire, but surprisingly, you may actually be able to do your routine lawn maintenance with fire in hand. 

The 3-in-1 Multifunctional Electric Grass Burning Machine is a controlled burner that removes the need for weed whackers and unsightly plant debris. This high-efficiency burner can immolate encroaching weeds and out-of-bounds grass. While the 3-in-1 Multifunctional Electric Grass Burning Machine is usually $99, for a limited time it’s on sale for $78.99. 

If you want to keep your yard tidy, flame weeding is among the most effective ways to quickly kill weeds and wipe out unkempt grass. If you find weeds while they’re small, flame weeding has a near-100% success rate at killing them. While larger weeds may take multiple burnings, few weeding methods have such a success rate with as little collateral damage. This Grass Burning Machine produces a powerful 1,202-degrees Fahrenheit flame that is kept controlled within any of the replaceable burner heads. 

Operating your Grass Burner Machine is simple and intuitive. Point the heated nozzle at the grass or weeds you want to burn, and then press the ignition button. You can even switch between modes with a simple twist for more precision burning. With no open flame, this grass burner is safe to use. Burning is also a natural way to remove weeds and does not risk polluting groundwater with herbicides

Safely and thoroughly dispose of weeds and creeping grass with the press of a button. Normally $99, the 3-in-1 Multifunctional Electric Grass Burning Machine is $78.99 for a limited time. 

Prices subject to change.

'Chloe' review: BBC and Prime Video's mystery series is a tense identity charade

Sat, 25 Jun 22 09:00:00 +0000

A woman at an art gallery launch holding a glass of champagne

Scarily enough, it seems pretty easy to play pretend and gain access to someone's life, if you’re willing to actively listen, boast a good memory, and inhale everything they've ever posted on social media. In Chloe, Becky Green is an expert at this. But there are details that slip through the cracks between posts, mysteries buried behind the party snaps.

Created, written, and directed by Sex Education writer/director Alice Seabright, the six-episode co-production between BBC One, Mam Tor Productions, and Amazon Studios follows a master of disguise on the hunt for answers after a seemingly random woman she obsesses over on social media suddenly dies. Becky's first port of call? Chloe's inner circle.

Erin Doherty, who played Princess Anne in The Crown, leaves Buckingham Palace behind for the role of Becky Green, a woman living in Bristol who we meet obsessively flicking through the picture-perfect social media account of one Chloe Fairbourne (Poppy Gilbert). Snaps of pristine picnics, fancy dinner parties hosted with her handsome husband, indulgent nights out on the town with friends — Becky consumes it all, finding what appears to be a temporary escape from her own life. Living in a small flat, Becky has a strained relationship with her mother, Pam (Lisa Palfrey), who she’s caring for with early-onset dementia.

When she’s not at home, Becky plays pretend, using her social media stalking skills and her job as a temp to observe, eavesdrop, and mentally store details of the people around her and assume new identities. Why? To get into fancy parties, of course, but she’ll also use these skills for some shrewd detective work, which becomes the core of the series. Using quick thinking and careful planning to maintain the ruse, she’s almost like Killing Eve's Villainelle (without the murders), and Doherty expertly changes Becky’s demeanour instantly through her various identities, from perfectly friendly and confident to fiercely unsettling.

Becky (Erin Doherty) and Livia (Pippa Bennett-Warner) in "Chloe"
Becky (Erin Doherty) and Livia (Pippa Bennett-Warner). Credit: BBC

Becky's way to weasel into Chloe's friend group is through her best friend, Livia, played by Gangs Of London's Pippa Bennett-Warner, in what seems like a genuine start to a friendship, though obviously staged on one side. But once she's in, things intensify — and the cast expands.

Poldark's Jack Farthing stars as Chloe's brooding friend Richard, who seems to be taking her death harder than her husband, the quiet councillor Elliot, played by The Serpent's Billy Howle. Meanwhile Grace star Akshay Khanna is overtly friendly as Elliot’s business partner and friend Anish. Besides Richard, the only one who might see through Becky is Josh, played by Search Party's Brandon Micheal Hall, who could threaten to bring the whole ruse down.

Jack Farthing as Richard in "Chloe."
Something's doesn't feel right about Richard... Credit: BBC

The show will almost certainly require a second watch in order to uncover even more details about how Becky pieces together her perfectly matched identity that fits a little too easily into the friendship group, why she picks her fake job and life details according to posts from Chloe's friends on social media, and how her incredibly convincing lies might actually stem from the truth. Becky's connection to Chloe is unclear: is it a random obsession or not?

While we've only been given the first episode to watch before its release, Chloe is already a compelling mystery, blending false identity, secrets among friends, and the curated picture of perfection we post online. The big question: who exactly is Chloe Fairbourne to Becky Green, and what actually happened the night she died?

Chloe is now streaming on Prime Video and BBC iPlayer.

12 best TV shows for adults on Disney+ (goodnight, kids)

Sat, 25 Jun 22 00:05:00 +0000

A still from the Disney+ series

While Disney+ offers lots of TV shows aimed at kids, sometimes you just want to sit down and enjoy a solid series for your grownup self...right? Thankfully, the streaming service is jam-packed with fantasy dramas, epic space adventures, and superhero hits that'll leave you just as entertained as the young ones.

Here are some of the best adult shows on Disney+ that you can binge right now.

1. The Mandalorian

Star Wars fans, you know what to stream.

The Mandalorian became Disney+'s biggest series from the moment it launched alongside the streaming service. After all, who wouldn’t want to watch a bounty hunter (Pedro Pascal) go on a mission to keep The Child (more affectionately known as Baby Yoda, technically named Grogu) safe? It's full of action, surprises, and story. You've got two seasons to stream now along with the tie-in series The Book of Boba Fett, and there another season to look forward to in 2022.

How to watch: The Mandalorian is streaming on Disney+.

2. The Simpsons

A still from the TV series "The Simpsons."
If you know 'The Simpsons' then you know that no one is listening to Grandpa. Credit: 20th Television

You can spend all your time with the Simpson family, because hundreds of episodes of their show, stretched across 31 seasons, are streaming on Disney+.

The satirical American family comedy at the center of The Simpsons is a pop culture staple, so if you haven't watched it before, now could be the time to give it a try. Or if you already love it, congrats. You're all set up for the ultimate laugh-out-loud binge.

How to watch: The Simpsons is streaming on Disney+.

3. Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, all of the storybook characters got trapped in a little town in Maine where they forgot who they were and awaited a savior — and thankfully, this premise delivered.

Once Upon a Time ran for seven seasons on ABC, and even though the later episodes weren't as strong as the early ones, the drama's compelling plots and magical characters kept it entertaining. Plus, it’s stacked with hot fairy tale crushes like Captain Hook (Colin O'Donoghue), the Mad Hatter (Sebastian Stan), and Robin Hood (Sean Maguire). What's not to love about that?

How to watch: Once Upon a Time is streaming on Disney+.

4. WandaVision

A still from the Disney+ series "WandaVision."
If you saw 'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' then you know why Wanda looks upset here. Credit: Marvel Studios

WandaVision is likely to excite hardcore Marvel fans. Who wouldn't want to find out what happens after the events of Avengers: Endgame? But it's also a great option for casual Marvel viewers who haven't seen every movie in the MCU or just want something that feels a little different.

Rejecting blockbuster superhero norms, WandaVision has its titular heroes (Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany) living out married life inside a 1950s sitcom town. But as the decades flip by, the dark side to their quaint existence begins to reveal itself.

How to watch: WandaVision is streaming on Disney+.

5. The Muppet Show

If you grew up in the '70s or '80s, you probably remember The Muppet Show — Jim Henson's variety show that had Kermit the Frog playing host and the other Muppets causing chaos helping out. Almost every episode of the series is available on Disney+, so if you've been missing all of its antics, now is your chance to revisit them.

Get ready for an epic lineup of guest stars, including Rita Moreno, Lena Horne, Elton John, Steve Martin, Zero Mostel, and more, getting into all sorts of antics with a lineup of wild-haired puppets, and all of it served with a side of nostalgia.

How to watch: The Muppet Show is streaming on Disney+.

6. Cosmos: Possible Worlds

A still from the National Geographic series "Cosmos: Possible Worlds."
Neil deGrasse Tyson returns to host this follow-up to the 2014 reboot of 'Cosmos.' Credit: Cosmos Studios

Carl Sagan's Cosmos, the iconic 1980 PBS series, serves as the foundation for the 2014 Neil deGrasse Tyson-hosted Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, as well as its 2020 follow-up, Cosmos: Possible Worlds (also hosted by Tyson).

Across 13 episodes, Cosmos: Possible Worlds considers just that: What is possible? Looking at the scientific research of the present to imagine what could come in the future, this latest entry in the Cosmos series pairs animation and visually arresting imagery with easy-to-digest dives into the current state of the world and how we can use lessons from the past to protect our future. — Adam Rosenberg, Senior Reporter

How to watch: Cosmos: Possible Worlds is streaming on Disney+.

7. Daredevil

It's easy to forget now in the midst of Ms. Marvel and Moon Knight hype, but Disney's first steps into streaming were part of a team-up with Netflix, and Daredevil was the first thing they released together. All three seasons of the show have been available since February, after all the Marvel/Netflix content slid over to Disney+.

Daredevil follows Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), a blind lawyer who puts his heightened senses to work fighting crime at night as the series' eponymous masked vigilante. The series introduces and heavily features a number of classic Marvel Comics staples, including Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin (Vincent D'Onofrio) and Frank Castle aka The Punisher (Jon Bernthal). — A.R.

How to watch: Daredevil is streaming on Disney+.

8. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

A still from the Disney+ series "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier."
Meet our new Captain America. Credit: Marvel Studios

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier gave the fans what we wanted: more of the wholesomely bro-y chemistry between stars Anthony Mackie, as Sam "The Falcon" Wilson, and Sebastian Stan, as Bucky "Winter Soldier" Barnes. The series is a wild ride that, in addition to hinting at possible threats to come in the MCU's Phase 4, also attempts to grapple with race in a way that we haven't seen in any other Marvel Studios project to date.

Like WandaVision, this Disney+ original might not look quite like the action-packed adventures that hit theaters, as it chooses to instead dive deep into its characters. But its quieter exploration of these likable heroes is worth it.

How to watch: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is streaming on Disney+.

9. The Imagineering Story

If you're a Disney person — or more specifically, a Disney Parks person — you're going to love The Imagineering Story.

This six-episode docuseries ventures deep into the creation of the Disney Parks around the world. Ever wanted to witness the early days of Disneyland? Want to learn about former CEO Bob Iger's rise to power? Would you get a thrill watching the high-tech design of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge unfold? The Imagineering Story covers all the bases.

How to watch: The Imagineering Story is streaming on Disney+.

10. The Right Stuff

A still from the Disney+ series 'The Right Stuff.'
The Mercury Seven crew assembles for a press conference. Credit: National Geographic/Gene Page

This Mercury Seven drama might feel familiar, but it's sure to captivate those interested in the space race. Rather than taking place during a mission through the stars, The Right Stuff happens on the ground as a group of astronauts and their families work through personal problems and instant fame ahead of launch.

Though its pace is leisurely, the attractive visuals and compelling cast make the journey well worth it.

How to watch: The Right Stuff is streaming on Disney+.

11. Gargoyles

Gargoyles isn't your typical kids' cartoon. The '90s classic may have originally aired in an afternoon time slot to catch the after-school crowd, but it lives in the same family of programming as Batman: The Animated Series. Which is to say, Gargoyles isn't afraid to dive into the mud with complex characters, dark themes, and plot lines that don't end in a perfect wrap-up every time.

The show is about a clan of nocturnal creatures whose origins trace all the way back to Scotland in the 1st Century. After being nearly wiped out by humans of the time, the gargoyles that remained were trapped in the stone form they assume during the day by a curse. When the curse is lifted 1,000 years later after the ostensible statues are installed near the top of a New York City skyscraper, the gargoyles re-emerge into a changed world and get right back to their work of defending the night. — A.R.

How to watch: Gargoyles is streaming on Disney+.

12. Moon Knight

A still from the Disney+ series "Moon Knight."
Mr. Knight isn't afraid to engage in some high-society fisticuffs. Credit: Marvel Studios

Moon Knight is the Oscar Isaac show. Sure, yeah, there's all kinds of cool Marvel stuff. A confident and inclusive step into Egyptian myth. An extra-generous helping of super-suits, with the titular hero's trademark duds complemented by the sharp-dressed poshness of Mr. Knight. And before it's all over, we get the faintest hinting tease of a surprise wolf.

This is Isaac's world, though; Marvel's just living in it. The latter-day Star Wars actor appears in the combined roles of Marc Spector and his alternate persona, a British museum worker named Steven Grant. While Moon Knight pits Spector/Grant against a threat to the world led by Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke), it's also an internal exploration of the mind and spirit.

Led by some of the MCU's best performances to date and thoughtful, inclusive representation for Arab viewers and Jewish viewers both, Moon Knight is one of Marvel's best releases of the 2020s so far. — A.R.

How to watch: Moon Knight is streaming on Disney+.

Feeling lost? Follow these reproductive justice accounts.

Fri, 24 Jun 22 23:05:00 +0000

An illustration of two people marching with a large sign and megaphone.

The incessant negative news and vapid takes on our social feeds can easily feel overwhelming, building on a sense of dread felt more deeply as our political leaders once again strip away our right to bodily autonomy. But, on the other side of the perhaps dull coin, social media has ushered in a new era of increasingly democratized access to political organizing and health education for those who want to join the fight for reproductive justice. 

While the tenants of reproductive justice have existed among women, LGBTQ communities, and organizers of color for decades, the term itself was coined in 1994 by Black women organizers in Chicago, meeting ahead of the International Conference on Population and Development. The group named itself "Women of African Descent for Reproductive Justice" and thus began the colloquial use of a term referring to the fundamental human right of bodily autonomy and reproductive health, including, but not limited to, abortion.

In a press briefing with reproductive health advocates on May 3, Oriaku Njoku, executive director of the reproductive health organization Access Reproductive Care Southeast (ARC Southeast), reiterated the need for a broader understanding of reproductive justice in light of recent news. "The reality is the focus on the right to have an abortion is not enough. That's why we're doing this work grounded in the reproductive justice framework," she said. "We have to start using an intersectional lens… providing that sort of political education and grounding for folks to understand that we do not live single issue lives."

Activists, health providers, and community organizations are continuing to incorporate this wider understanding of reproductive health and intersectional framing — which includes access to political organizing, class and race barriers, education, and disabilities — into the larger reproductive health conversation. And social media has become an immensely helpful tool for disseminating and democratizing that knowledge alongside health information. 

Below is a short list of accounts to follow to stay up to date on the work of reproductive health advocates, including those founded for reproductive justice. 

Planned Parenthood Action 

Here is a simple place to begin. Planned Parenthood is, of course, one of the most well-known national organizations working to expand the right and access to reproductive health care — its (historically white) origins can be traced as far back as 1916, a foundation unfortunately tied to the racist eugenics movement. But the organization's made recent efforts to address this history and align itself more closely with the goals of reproductive justice organizations.

The Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Planned Parenthood's advocacy and education arm, was founded in 1989 and coordinates a network made up of millions of activists around the country. The action fund focuses on political advocacy for abortion care, health equity, contraceptive access, and other facets of sexual health and education. You can follow Planned Parenthood Action on almost every social media platform, including Instagram, Twitter, and now even TikTok. Across its pages, the advocacy group posts updates on reproductive legislation, activism efforts, and educational explainers on various legislative and reproductive justice topics.

Abortion Care Network

Abortion Care Network, founded in 2008, is a national association connecting independent abortion and reproductive health care providers across the country in order to destigmatize abortion services and end the harassment of people seeking or providing abortion care. It services more than 100 independent clinics and dozens of ally organizations who are helping millions of pregnant people around the country. The network is active on both Instagram and Twitter, both of which are great resources to learn more about the history of independent abortion and current legislation. The network also shares information and stories from local clinics and reproductive activists around the country.

Indigenous Women Rising

Indigenous Women Rising is a reproductive justice and health organization dedicated to promoting equitable and culturally safe health care for Native and Indigenous communities through education and advocacy. It was founded by Rachael Lorenzo in 2014 as a campaign to raise awareness about the lack of contraceptive access for Indigenous people using the federal Indian Health Service. Since then, the organization has expanded and now operates both an abortion and a midwifery fund to support pregnant community members. On its Twitter and Instagram pages, Indigenous Women Rising shares updates on its work and advocacy, health resources, and more.

Center for Reproductive Rights

The Center for Reproductive Rights is an international organization founded in 1992 to advance legal reproductive rights and advocacy for people around the world. It's history is not directly aligned with the reproductive justice field, but its place in legislative history might be worth your follow. The organization's advocates have won reproductive rights cases at levels as high as the United Nations and within regional human rights courts affecting more than 60 countries across five continents. The center is also a leader in reproductive rights research and monitors global abortion access. Follow the organization on Instagram and Twitter for educational videos on reproductive justice, updates on international law and abortion access, and other informational content.

Sister Song

Sister Song is a Southern-based reproductive rights organization focused on improving institutional access to healthcare for marginalized communities, and one of the founding organizations behind the reproductive justice framework. It was founded in 1997 by a coalition of 16 different organizations of women of color and continues to advocate for social justice organizing through an intersectional, reproductive justice framework. Online, Sister Song is a go-to voice on reproductive organizing for women of color, and shares public conversations and livestreams, advocacy opportunities, and more on both Twitter and Instagram.

United for Reproductive and Gender Equality (URGE)

URGE is a reproductive justice organization led by and for young LGBTQ people and people of color, with the goal of helping anyone seeking safe reproductive health care. It was originally founded in 1992 as ChoiceUSA, started by feminist activists like Gloria Steinem. In 2000, the organization shifted its focus to youth and LGBTQ organizing, and then rebranded as URGE in 2014 to reflect its new mission toward broader gender justice. The organization advocates for expanded sexual health education, wellness efforts, abortion access, and youth civic engagement. Its social media pages offer an array of advocacy opportunities, sexual health education, and a refreshing youthful voice to the reproductive justice cause — you can follow URGE's work on Instagram, Twitter, and even TikTok, where they post both informational content and even the occasional meme.

We Testify

We Testify is a campaign founded in 2016 by reproductive activist Renee Bracey Sherman to promote the leadership and stories of people who have received abortion care. The initiative publishes intergenerational tales from people and their family members who have received various forms of abortion and reproductive care, in order to empower and destigmatize the experience. On its social pages, We Testify shares these stories in a variety of media formats, from illustrations to documentary video, alongside advocacy information. You can also read about all of the storytellers on the We Testify website. Follow Bracey Sherman herself on Twitter for continued conversations about abortion access and reproductive healthcare.

California Latinas for Reproductive Justice 

California Latinas for Reproductive Justice is a California-based education and advocacy group fighting for reproductive care and sexual health for Latina and Latinx communities. The organization, started in 2004, provides community resources, political advocacy, and storytelling opportunities for community members of all ages and documentation status, and is growing as a national voice on reproductive health policy for Latinx, immigrant, and low-income communities. Follow the group's Instagram or Twitter for advocacy opportunities and an intersectional look on how reproductive health is affected by economic, environmental, and cultural barriers in the United States. 

California Latinas for Reproductive Justice is one of many reproductive justice network members focused on the sexual health and safety of the Latinx community. The East Coast–based National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, founded in 1994, advocates for community-based reproductive care through direct activism, civic and voter engagement, and storytelling, which they also share online. You can follow and learn more about that organization's work and reproductive justice efforts on Twitter.

UPDATE: Jun. 24, 2022, 11:19 a.m. EDT This story was updated to reflect the official opinion issued by the Supreme Court that overturns Roe v. Wade.

The best teen movies to stream on Netflix to relive your awkward years

Fri, 24 Jun 22 23:00:51 +0000

Five stills: a young woman in a blue jean jacket, a young woman in a blue puffer coat, a young woman in a pink bomber jacket, a young woman in a striped red sweater, a young woman in a yellow raincoat

Being a teenager is hard. And Netflix is here to remind you just how hard.

Whether you want to revisit your younger years or are still facing the ups and downs of high school, the streaming service has curated a collection of films that are achingly (and often hilariously) relatable.

We've searched through Netflix's catalog to find some of the best teen movies out there, from films that focus on lighthearted first loves to those that zone in on the more serious complications of being an almost adult.

Ready to feel young again? Then check out these incredible coming-of-age teen movies, which you can stream on Netflix right now.

1. The Edge of Seventeen

Two young women in fall jackets stand outside by a lawn.
"The Edge of Seventeen" is a modern teen classic. Credit: Moviestore/Shutterstock

This whip-smart and painfully funny cousin of Booksmart comes from writer and director Kelly Fremon Craig. The Edge of Seventeen stars Hailee Steinfeld as Nadine, an anxious adolescent still mourning her father. She continues to spiral when her best friend starts ostensibly dating her brother, pushing the friends apart and Nadine even further into solitude and self-destruction.

Steinfeld is at her most hysterical in every sense of the word, striking the perfect balance in Nadine’s frenzy and unrelenting humor. Craig’s script is confident, with a voice beyond its years, and still unabashedly emotional in the way that only youthful emotions are. Woody Harrelson plays reluctant mentor and confidante, Mr. Bruner, while Kyra Sedwick plays Nadine’s mother in a layered Lady Bird-esque relationship. — Proma Khosla, Senior Entertainment Reporter (*)

How to watch: The Edge of Seventeen is now streaming on Netflix.

2. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

A young man and woman sit at a picnic table under a cherry tree, holding hands.
"To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before" is a teen movie that's perfectly sweet. Credit: Masha_Weisberg Netflix/Kobal/Shutterstock

To All the Boys I've Loved Before is on the sweeter side of the teen movie spectrum, featuring a bubblegum pink romance between Lara Jean (Lana Condor) and star lacrosse player Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo).

Lara Jean writes parting love letters to every crush she's ever had in hopes of getting over them. Though these notes are supposed to stay locked away in her closet, she must confront the boys of her past after these moody missives are mysteriously mailed out. Even worse, one of her letters gets sent to her sister's ex-boyfriend, so Lara Jean must keep up a fake relationship with Peter to throw him off track.

The great news about this teen romance is that the sequels, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You and To All the Boys: Always and Forever are also available on Netflix right now. — Brooke Bajgrowicz, Entertainment Fellow

Where to watch: To All the Boy I've Loved Before is now streaming on Netflix.

3. The Half Of It

A high school girl walks into a classroom with a backpack.
A Netflix original teen movie worth watching. Credit: KC Bailey/Netflix/Kobal/Shutterstock

Written and directed by Alice Wu, The Half Of It offers a fresh teen spin on Cyrano de Bergerac. High school loner Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) earns extra cash by writing papers for her classmates. Then, reluctantly she agrees to write love letters on behalf of jock Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer). As Ellie develops feelings toward Paul's dream girl, she must figure out whether keeping up the ruse is worth her own happiness.

Though the premise of The Half Of It is simple, its fresh spin on the love triangle will entice modern audiences. — B.B.

Where to watch: The Half of It is now streaming on Netflix.

4. Dumplin

A young woman in a jean jacket stands next to her mother, who's wearing a gown, tiara, and pageant sash.
"Dumplin'" is a teen movie with heart and a complex mother/daughter relationship. Credit: Bob Mahoney/Netflix/Kobal/Shutterstock

Dumplin' is just as cute and feel-good as it sounds. The comedy focuses on Texas girl, Willowdean Dickson (Danielle Macdonald), who is forced to live in the shadows of her former beauty queen mother (Jennifer Aniston) When the Miss Teen Bluebonnet Pageant rolls around, Willowdean decides to enter — in an attempt to protest her mom's superficiality, despite not fitting the traditional pageant mold. Though this seems like a good idea at first, she is soon forced to confront her own feelings of insecurity. From this, a tender tale of self-love and growing up blooms. — B.B.

Where to watch: Dumplin' is now streaming on Netflix.

5. Yes, God, Yes

A young man helps a young woman up from the forest floor while another young woman watches, hands over her mouth.
Vertical Entertainment Credit: Romance in action... kind of.

Yes, God, Yes is a sweet movie that will catch you off guard with its caring examination of a high schooler's sexual awakening.

When Alice (Stranger Things' Natalia Dyer) becomes the subject of a raunchy rumor at her Catholic school, she doesn't even understand it — because she doesn't know much about sex. And what she does know, she feels guilty about. To prove her innocence, Alice goes on a religious retreat, where she finds out that her holier-than-thou peers and authority figures are struggling with their own desires, just as much as she is. Anchored by Dyer's strong performance and heavy doses of early 2000s nostalgia, Yes, God, Yes is a perfectly understated teen comedy. — Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter

Where to watch: Yes, God, Yes is now streaming on Netflix.

6. Banana Split

It can be brutal when your ex moves on to someone new, especially when his new girlfriend is pretty, nice, and cool. Sure, you could stew in jealousy — and who could blame you! But what if you befriended her instead? That unexpected turn is the inciting incident of Benjamin Kasulke's bubbly buddy comedy, Banana Split.

After splitting with her hunky boyfriend Nick (Dylan Sprouse), eccentric April (co-writer Hannah Marks) was prepared to spend the summer in lonesome misery. Then, she partied with her ex's new girlfriend, the lovely Clara (Liana Liberato). Much to her surprise, they click instantly and intensely, becoming the bosom bestie each desperately needs. The trick is just never to talk about or tell Nick…but how long can that last? Surprisingly sweet and unapologetically silly, Banana Split is a total treat.*Kristy Puchko, Deputy Entertainment Editor

How to watch: Banana Split is now streaming on Netflix.

7. Moxie

A young woman in a yellow raincoat holds out a homemade zine titled "Moxie."
Hadley Robinson in "Moxie." Credit: Netflix

With a script from Tamara Chestna and Dylan Meyer, Amy Poehler directs this charming film about budding feminist Vivian (Hadley Robinson). Inspired by her mother's Riot Grrrl past, Vivian decides to expose systemic sexism at her high school through the anonymous zine MOXiE!, and ends up spearheading a cause that other students support.

Robinson hits the perfect balance of fired up and unsure that feels so familiar to young women. Plus. she’s surrounded by a strong and thoughtfully diverse ensemble (including viral hit band The Linda Lindas). Moxie will make you want to get up and start something, even if the plan is a little half-baked but your heart is in the right place. — P.K.

How to watch: Moxie is streaming on Netflix.

Asterisks (*) indicate the entry comes from a previous Mashable list.

Period apps in a post-Roe world: What you need to know

Fri, 24 Jun 22 22:30:34 +0000

Red illustration of a woman with long hair looking at a phone.

In a historic 6-3 decision on June 24, the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion. Soon after the decision was announced, a worried call to action quickly arose online: Delete your period tracking apps.

It's not the first time this sentiment has bubbled up on the internet. Earlier this year, when the Supreme Court leak warned us of the decision to come, the same message spread across Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, and more. Women and people with uteruses who rely on these apps to monitor their health were suddenly fearful of how their collected data could be used against them in a hypothetical criminal case about abortion. With this latest Supreme Court decision — and Judge Thomas's call to the court to further examine precedent-setting right-to-privacy cases like Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell — that hypothetical seems a lot more possible.

Here's what you need to know about the ways period tracking apps treat your data, and how that could affect your reproductive health care.

Can apps just turn over your data?

On a typical period tracking app, users enter data like what day their flow started and stopped, how heavy it might be, and other bodily symptoms. The app then usually learns the user's patterns and helps to predict when their next period may come, when they might be most fertile, and if they've missed a period and should take a pregnancy test.

With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, activists and data privacy experts are concerned about how this data could be used to prove that someone may have had an abortion or was thinking about getting one.

While there is no current precedent for how this specific data would be handled in a criminal case, apps have generally cooperated with criminal investigations in the past, usually in cases against child exploitation. Thus, it matters greatly where each user is located and whether their state is one of the 26 "certain or likely" to legally ban abortions without Roe v. Wade. Some of these states had trigger laws waiting on the Roe v. Wade decision, meaning that abortion was outlawed immediately in some, and will be banned in as little as 30 days in others.

"Since the approach in many states will be to criminalize people for the acts or seeking or providing abortion services, it is key for people in those states to understand that a mobile device is essentially a tracking device," said Jackie Singh, former senior cybersecurity staffer on the Biden presidential campaign, to Mashable. "While most people tend to leave our Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and location services on all the time for convenience, and rarely use a VPN or other privacy-protecting software, people who may be newly prosecuted as criminals no longer have the luxury of behaving as entirely free and lawful citizens."

What to look for when choosing a period tracking app

If you do live in a state where this data is at risk but want to continue to use your app, it's important to take a closer look at your specific app's history with data sharing, its privacy policy, and where it stores your data.

Popular free period tracking app Flo, which has 43 million active users, came under fire for data sharing last year, reaching a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission regarding allegations that the app didn't inform its users about where their data was being shared. In this case, the Wall Street Journal found that Flo was informing Facebook every time its users indicated they had their period or were wanting to get pregnant.

While Flo did not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement, and insisted to NPR that it does not share health data with any third party, this investigation and settlement leaves room for doubt as to how the app's privacy practices are currently enforced, and how that may change when under the pressure of a criminal investigation. In response to Roe v. Wade's overturning, Flo released a statement saying that a new "anonymous mode" that removes personal identity from users' data is launching soon. It remains to be seen how this mode will work.

In response, many period app users are calling for others to switch to the free app Clue, a European company that currently has about 12 million users. According to the company's response to Roe v. Wade, any period health data it receives is extra secure due to its obligation to apply special protections to reproductive health data in keeping with European data privacy law. Clue promises its business model does not rely on selling data to third parties, and that any data collected is de-identified and encrypted. It's important to note, though, that Flo is also headquartered in London, where the same laws should have applied and seemingly failed.

"Because data is so lucrative, and data collection and user profiling are a core part of most apps' business models, few apps have any true, provable commitment to privacy, such as a transparency report that makes representations about the company's stance on data collection," said Singh. While her standards are high, Singh did point to apps like Drip and Euki as possible contenders for apps that "should keep women in blue states safe" due to their commitment to local data storage and refusal to allow third-party tracking. Singh suggests still using these only in blue states for an extra layer of protection against dragnet surveillance.

Andrea Ford, a research fellow at the University of Edinburgh, also recommended via NPR that users should pay attention to where their data is stored when choosing an app. If it's stored locally on your actual device, Evan Greer, director of the digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future, tells NPR that a court would need a warrant to search your phone, which has "a much higher legal bar" to obtain than a subpoena. If it's stored in a cloud and owned by the company, a subpoena would suffice.

"Data stored in health apps prior to the SCOTUS decision probably doesn't pose much of a risk," said Singh. "However, I would caution people who menstruate to stop using any type of app to track their menstrual health if they have any expectation of having a presence in states which are expected to ban abortion. However, we obviously cannot anticipate how future legislation will impact us, so the safest thing is to stop digital tracking."

The best returning TV shows of 2022 (so far)

Fri, 24 Jun 22 21:57:54 +0000

Jean Smart in

It's often a little tense when new seasons of established TV shows premiere. Fans hope against hope that this season is as good (or better) than the ones that came before. The shows that succeed escape the label of a "sophomore slump." The ones that don't...well, at least Friday Night Lights came back swinging in Season 3.

These are the shows that outdid themselves with their returning seasons by mid-2022:

1. Barry

Bill Hader and Henry Winkler in "Barry."
Credit: Merrick Morton/HBO

Barry has always been a fairly flawless 30-minute comedy, despite the fact that the show is about a guy who is essentially a serial murderer. The uncomfortable gap between laughing at Barry Berkman's violent antics and knowing he is a legitimately bad person has always been present. But Season 3 turns that gap into a canyon, forcing both the characters and the viewers to see exactly who Barry is now — and who he's been the whole time. — Alexis Nedd, Senior Entertainment Reporter

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

2. Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul is back for a final season and the stakes have never been higher. Reputations, relationships, and lives are on the line, as mounting tension exposes seldom-seen sides of characters we thought we had all figured out. Self-doubt, fear, and unease swell in some, while others defend and assert themselves in unexpected ways. As loyalty is tested, old faces return, and body bags pile up, you'll be reacquainted with the thrill of always being one step behind the masterminds of Better Call Saul's world.

The first half of Season 6 features stunning performances and stays true to the unique pacing of the series. The return also cements what we've always known to be true: Jimmy and Kim make one hell of a team. The show is as carefully calculated as ever, yet there's an unshakable sense of turmoil in the air. While viewers have ample time to ruminate on what's to come, in true Better Call Saul fashion, there are more than a few moments of gripping suspense that will send your heart rate skyrocketing. — Nicole Gallucci, Senior Editor

How to watch: Better Call Saul is now streaming on AMC Plus.

3. Hacks

Jean Smart in "Hacks."
Credit: Karen Ballard/HBO Max

In its second season, Hacks takes the dynamite duo of stand-up legend Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) and comedy writer Ava (Hannah Einbinder) on the road. Between county fairs, lesbian cruises, and dumpster diving for human remains, the show dissects the relationship between its leads — played to perfection by Smart and Einbinder — with its trademark cutting wit.

While Season 2 gets off to a slower start than its first season, Hacks builds momentum into something compelling, hilarious, and, by the finale, genuinely heart-wrenching. — Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter

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

4. Servant

Servant is the TV equivalent of fine dining. Like a long and indulgent high-end meal, it's built to dazzle us slowly. And in Season 3, it feels like the Apple TV+ spookfest from creator Tony Basgallop and executive producer M. Night Shyamalan is finally digging into the main course.

With long and lingering looks at Sean Turner's (Toby Kebbell) magnificent kitchen concoctions, the show reminds us, again and again, to consciously live in its every carefully composed moment. For a series that started with the premise of a grieving couple's uncannily lifelike therapy doll transforming into a flesh-and-blood infant, Servant's riveting mystery and Hitchcockian flair make Season 3's delicious tasting menu of episodes a recurring delight. — Adam Rosenberg, Senior Entertainment Reporter

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

5. Bridgerton

Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey in "Bridegerton."
Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

When Bridgerton Season 2 made it past the series midpoint without any on-screen sex or even kissing, people were ready to riot. "Where is the sex?" they asked, "The first one was hot because it had the sex!" Those people missed the point. Season 1 followed the sexy tropes of a recognizable bodice-ripper, but Season 2 drew inspiration from Bollywood romance.

The forbidden longing between Kate and Anthony is the sexy part of Bridgerton Season 2, which makes every near-miss kiss as charged as any of Daphne and the Duke's scenes from the first season. Long live tension, and long live the Viscountess Bridgerton! — A.N.*

How to watch: Bridgerton is now streaming on Netflix.

6. Survivor

It's quite a feat for a 22-year-old series to still be delivering high-quality entertainment on a regular basis. But that's not enough for Survivor. The reality competition's 42nd season, which ran from March to May, isn't just great. Really, it's one of the best seasons of Survivor overall.

Credit to the cast, a joyously diverse group of super-fans whose seemingly genuine love for one another consistently overshadowed the inescapable reality of deviously cunning gameplay. The plainly evident mutual respect and admiration left more than enough space for the season to organically delve into the difficult topics of race and power structures. Host Jeff Probst likes to call Survivor one of TV's greatest social experiments, and Season 42 lived that truth in a way that few others have before. — A.R.

How to watch: Survivor is now streaming on Paramount+.

7. Russian Doll

Natasha Lyonne as Nadia Vulvokov in of "Russian Doll."
Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

What's worse than getting stuck in an almost-endless cycle of dying and waking up in a weird bathroom? According to Russian Doll Season 2, the answer is "turning into your mother." Natasha Lyonne and a mustachioed Charlie Barnett returned as Nadia and Alan, who find that New York isn't quite finished bending the laws of time and space to teach them what they need to learn.

Russian Doll Season 2 compounds the first season's themes of trauma, place, and second chances. As Nadia and Alan trip through their own personal histories in a timey-wimey series of mishaps that ends with just as much of a gut punch as we've come to expect from one of Netflix's weirdest, deepest shows. — A.N.*

How to watch: Russian Doll is now streaming on Netflix.

*This blurb was previously or partially used on another Mashable list.

Man loses data for entire city's population after night out drinking

Fri, 24 Jun 22 20:18:32 +0000

USB Flash Drive

There are some very basic online security measures that everyone should take to ensure their private data is protected.

Use strong, unique passwords. Don't download files from sources you don't know or trust. And…don't store the personal private data of all 465,177 residents of an entire city on a single USB flash drive.

Amagasaki, Japan is currently experiencing this very security crisis after an unnamed employee of a company "tasked with providing benefits to tax-exempt households" lost the USB drive containing this sensitive data of the city's entire population, according to CNN.

What data is contained on this USB drive precisely? For starters, the names, birthdays, and addresses of 465,177 people that were just recently transferred to the drive from the city government's information center. The drive also includes residents' tax information, banking account names and numbers, as well as info about any public assistance they might be receiving.

According to public broadcaster NHK, the employee, who is in his 40s, went drinking at a restaurant on Tuesday, the day he transferred the files to the drive. He ended up falling asleep on the street. When he woke up, the bag containing the USB drive was gone.

Local authorities held a press conference on Thursday to share more details. While the employee was "authorized to access the data," he was not supposed to transfer it to a separate device, like a flash drive. As of now, there has been no known leak of the data and the drive is apparently encrypted.

So, let this be an online security lesson for everyone. Do not keep hundreds of thousands of people's sensitive information stored on a USB flash drive that you take with you while having a night out on the town. It's not a good cybersecurity practice, to say the least!

Electric skillets to help you stay cool in the kitchen

Fri, 24 Jun 22 20:16:10 +0000

BELLA Electric Ceramic Titanium Griddle used to make breakfast.

Electric skillets are a great option for anyone with limited kitchen space or who wants something that won’t heat up the kitchen. They’re also going to be your best bet for cooking larger meals for dinner parties — trust us when we say that creating that extra stovetop space is invaluable.

With that in mind, we’ve done the research for you—sifting through reviews and testing— to round up some of the highest quality electric skillets available online, from wallet-friendly basics to oversized griddles made for entertaining. Whether you’re looking for something to keep food warm during a dinner party or you’re in the market for a small and portable alternative to a traditional cooktop, your culinary routine is about to get a serious upgrade.

Is an electric skillet the same as a frying pan?

Electric skillets are not the same as a frying pan. A frying pan is a tool that you use on your stovetop, while an electric skillet is almost like a mini stove you can use to cook food on. Electric skillets are also bigger than frying pans so you can cook more on them than a traditional frying pan. 

How long does an electric skillet last?

While there is no set amount of time that an electric skillet lasts, there are ways to make sure that it has a long lifespan. If you take care of your electric skillet and make sure it is always in a safe, dry space, then your skillet should stick around for a while. But, if you don’t take proper care of your skillet, it won’t last as long. The lifespan of the skillet also depends on its quality. If you spend more on your skillet, chances are it is going to last longer than a cheaper one. 

How do I choose an electric skillet?

Before buying an electric skillet, there are some things you need to consider to help you buy one. One thing you want to consider is how big you want the skillet to be. Electric skillets come in a wide range of different sizes, so it is important to consider how much food you want to be able to cook at the same time before shopping. Another thing you want to consider is if you want the skillet to be nonstick. Having a nonstick skillet can be very helpful when cooking.

Is it worth buying an electric skillet?

One thing you may be wondering as you are shopping for an electric skillet is if it is even worth buying one. Well, buying an eclectic skillet may be worth buying if you are serious about cooking. Unlike stovetops that don’t offer even heat and have hot and cold spots, an electric skillet has consistent heat at the temperature that you set. Electric skillets can also be used for a wide range of things such as frying and sautéing. You can cook many different types of food on eclectic skillets as well.

Roe v. Wade is overturned. How to find a protest near you.

Fri, 24 Jun 22 20:05:39 +0000

Abortion rights demonstrators hold signs outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

Following the Supreme Court's move to overturn Roe v. Wade — a decision from a 6-3 majority, with all three of the court's liberal justices in dissent — people are already galvanizing to protest the decision that effectively ended the constitutional right to abortion.

For those who want to protest the Supreme Court's ruling, there are some ways to cut through the noise and find trustworthy information about where and when protests are happening.

First, keep in mind: Before attending a protest, it's important to take precautions for your physical, legal, and online safety, such as planning what to wear/bring, knowing how to disable tracking settings on your phone, and knowing your rights. Amnesty International and the ACLU both have good, additional information on how to prepare, including how to deal with tear gas and how to report violations.

To find a protest near you...

Check out the We Won't Go Back interactive map

This website is a part of Bans Off Our Bodies, a national campaign to protect abortion rights, and is partnered with reproductive rights advocates like Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and Women's March. It has an interactive map of organized protests across the country; you can enter your zip code and RSVP to a rally or start your own.

Look for events and hashtags on social media

Search hashtags related to #roevwade on Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram for up-to-date information and developing plans. Follow reproductive justice accounts like the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and Abortion Care Network for more information. On Reddit, protest chatter is already forming on subreddits dedicated to local news and specific cities/regions. Events are also taking shape through Facebook groups and Eventbrite.

Visit reproductive justice websites

Connecting directly with national or local reproductive justice groups is a foolproof way to stay informed about news and upcoming events. Getting involved with these groups is also one of the best ways to support the cause by donating, volunteering, and engaging in other ways. Mashable's Chase DiBenedetto compiled a thorough list of abortion funds and reproductive justice groups to get you started.

Comparing popular VPNs? Folks on Reddit have some thoughts.

Fri, 24 Jun 22 19:58:34 +0000

Illustration of people sitting on couch with red background

Slow WiFi and an exposed Google history are an avid internet user's worst nightmares, and the Obama-era rules that protect from these have been under attack since 2017. New FCC nominees could offer hope for a fairer internet in 2022, though undoing years of net neutrality bashing is an uphill battle.

Squashing these protections essentially gives internet service providers the green light to dish unfair treatment to certain web traffic — like throttling a Netflix connection or charging extra to use a certain social media platform. And don't get us started on how it could affect smaller sites with smaller budgets.

Discussions about the government's right to spy on your digital habits without a warrant don't exactly make anyone feel confident, either.

Whatever the reason, people are becoming more and more paranoid about the vulnerability of their internet usage (that, or they're just really tired of American Netflix). In turn, Google has become littered with VPN reviews and lists of the best VPNs according to experts, tech publishers, and regular consumers alike. But if you wanted a more raw take on the day-to-day VPN experience from normal people (with no filter), there's only one place to go: Reddit.

What is a VPN used for?

The bottom line is simple: People don't want other people watching what they're doing online, even if they're not doing anything wrong.

A VPN (virtual private network) is an internet security subscription that basically allows you to make up your own internet rules. It acts as a bodyguard between you and your internet service provider (and hackers, and other third-party weirdos) by hollowing out a personal anonymity tunnel through which you perform all of your internet activities. A VPN's job is to plug the holes that could be making your data vulnerable to nefarious eyeballs, like creeps scouring public WiFi networks for personal information that could be used to steal your identity. VPNs are as wise of a precaution as antivirus software or a password manager (yes, this applies to Macs too).

Hackers love free WiFi for the same reason you do: Connecting to the internet requires no authentication. That network is littered with unsecured devices, many times belonging to working professionals with bank accounts and business credentials that have phishers frothing at the mouth. Often, the easiest thing for hackers to do is slide in between your device and the connection point. This Man-in-the-Middle situation is like eavesdropping, but on emails, credit card info, and work logins. Other hackers users public WiFi to unleash malware to all of the suckers using the network without protection.

Many folks avoid the public WiFi risk by recruiting their phone's hotspot. But on the flip side, cellular data limits might be an issue — setting up a situation where both a laptop and phone need VPN protection. Many Reddit users suggest using something like EasyTether to share the VPN connection. Just download and enable a proxy app on your phone, configure it on your laptop, and you can enjoy a sort of reverse hotspot VPN-style.

VPNs also provide a way for people to get around internet roadblocks and censors. These can be location-based or around blocks to certain websites set by, say, your school.

Does a VPN help with streaming?

Unblocking streaming services is probably the most universally useful feature of VPNs, even for casual internet users who don't think twice about eyes on their browsing habits.

All decent VPNs offer a wide selection of servers based in multiple geographic locations. Picking one of those essentially tricks your ISP into thinking your device is based there, maneuvering around geoblocks and opening the door to international content, like another country's Netflix library or BBC iPlayer. American fans of the UEFA Champions League or Love Island UK could also use location spoofing to watch a live game or episode as they air in another country.

What Redditors care most about in a VPN

The specs that Reddit users care about in a VPN are easy to tally when the same ones (or multiple people bitching about the lack of the same feature) pop up in countless subreddits throughout the year. If you're not feeling hardcore enough to build your own VPN, like some users suggest, here are the frequently-mentioned points that Reddit suggests to look for:

Streaming dependability is a given. Tons of people want a VPN solely to watch content from other countries, so a VPN's ability to fake out geoblocks and get around a streaming site's VPN blocks is crucial. (If you, in the U.S. want to watch a show that's only available in France, you'd want to pick a VPN with a plethora of servers in France.) The speed at which that content streams matters, too (a fast VPN should be able to upscale to HD without lag). Connection speed and location spoofing are dependent on the number of servers and where they're located — more servers means fewer people hogging a single server's capacity, and various locations mean more streaming libraries from around the world. (Free VPNs typically don't have the funds to support as robust of a menu of servers.)

For obvious reasons, most big streaming services aren't psyched on the idea of VPN usage and will probably mention it in their terms and conditions. If they happen to sniff out your VPN-ridden IP address, you're not necessarily screwed. The most likely repercussions would be the inability to access the streaming platform (even if it just worked the day before), but there have been instances of steaming services terminating subscriptions associated with spoofing.

Split tunneling can aid with traffic jams as well. VPNs that support split tunneling let you route some of your traffic through the encrypted VPN tunnel while bouncing other traffic over the internet directly. One might choose to separate less demanding but high-security activities like web browsing from high-bandwidth but low-security activities like streaming or playing video games. Advantages include reduced traffic on corporate networks, better speeds and reduced latency for the chosen tasks, and more customized privacy. If you're looking to tunnel to specific apps, look for an SSL VPN.

No DNS leaking is a good test of a VPN's trustworthiness. Think of a DNS (Domain Name Service) as the internet's phonebook: It's the service that transfers host names for humans to understand (like Mashable.com) to IP addresses for computers to understand. A leaked DNS essentially blabs your browsing history to whoever's watching on the other end — thus totally defeating the purpose of a VPN.

A kill switch cuts your connection to the internet if a secure connection to your VPN drops without notice. This is less likely on a high-quality VPN with a hefty roster of servers that can balance the traffic of millions of users, but far from impossible. By default, your device will switch back to your personal IP address or, worse, a public one. The speedy end-all action performed by a kill switch essentially ensures that you aren't unknowingly operating on a weak IP address. Some kill switches operate in the form of a firewall.

Jurisdiction — or the country in which a VPN is originally based — will dictate the privacy laws that VPN has to follow. Some places are nosier than others, mostly depending on their membership in an intelligence-sharing alliance (or not): The Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and Fourteen Eyes are all but guaranteed to come up in any subreddit about a certain VPN's privacy policy. Countries in these groups have agreements related to third-party sharing and may be following strict data retention laws, depending on their legal jurisdiction. (Let's say a VPN is officially based in the US but has an office in Switzerland. The company can decide to follow Swiss legal obligations in order to avoid loopholes that make user data vulnerable.)

Not all VPNs run equally smoothly on every device, so app compatibility can make or break your VPN experience. Before signing up, make sure that your chosen VPN's app doesn't have major bugs on your operating system. For instance, some mobile VPN apps don't play as well on iPhone as Android, or an app might keep getting killed depending on other apps sucking your phone's battery. Alternatively, if you're using a VPN to stream on your TV, ensure that the service has a dedicated Fire TV app.

Are free VPNs the move?

Reddit has strong feelings about this. It's bluntly summed up here in response to an inquiry about the "best free VPN":

Screenshot from Reddit
Credit: reddit/screenshot

Reddit users will let you know that comparing free VPNs to paid VPNs just doesn't make sense. It's like comparing apples to oranges, and you'll almost definitely be skimping on some crucial features by opting out of paying. Proof isn't always provided, but many Redditors are convinced that free VPNs don't follow a true no-log policy or sell your data to third parties. "Free" is sometimes synonymous with "slow" due to fewer servers in fewer locations.

The general consensus seems to be to only use a free VPN to test the waters, then cough up the credit card info (or Paypal, or Bitcoin, or Visa gift cards from your grandma). Most times, this can be done through a trusted paid VPN that has a free tier to experiment with, or via a free trial, which many services offer. In a rare turn of events, Reddit backs Windscribe's free service hard. However, free VPNs can step up to the job for more temporary endeavors — like having access to your home country's streaming services while going abroad for a semester or keeping up with a certain sport for a season. Because paid VPNs only really get affordable when a one or two-year subscription is met, it may not make sense to pay $10 or $12 per month for the few months that you need a VPN.

The Wireguard vs. OpenVPN debate: Which VPN protocol is best?

If you know to check Reddit for VPN advice, you likely already have some general knowledge about VPN protocols. But here's a breakdown if you need a refresher: A protocol is the rulebook that dictates how the VPN client talks to the VPN server and creates a tunnel, ultimately playing a role in security and vulnerabilities. Outdated-yet-popular protocols like L2TP/IPSec and PPTP, two more modern protocols often come up in conversation on Reddit: Wireguard and OpenVPN.

Both are open source, giving anyone in the community access to the source code to conduct their own investigation on potential security flaws — and Reddit users appreciate the ability to take things into their own hands. Wireguard's simpler code base is a little easier to crack and offers technical perks like better encryption and connection times, but it's not as polished as OpenVPN. OpenVPN, on the other hand, is the go-to for streams and gamers.

Subreddits get much further into the weeds than this, and TechRadar does a sweet job of unpacking it all.

Here are the VPNs that Reddit users recommend the most in 2022:

Beef up your storage options with one of these solid state drives

Fri, 24 Jun 22 19:49:01 +0000

Someone using the Samsung T7 Portable SSD on their laptop.

Faster and more performant than just about any hard drive on the market, finding a great solid-state drive or SSD is vital if you want a highly functioning laptop or computer for gaming or editing.

Whether you’re hoping to improve the speed of your computer or you just want something that’ll ensure your documents and data are as secure as possible, a solid state drive will do the trick.

What to consider before buying a solid state drive

Whether you think you have enough storage space on your computer or you already know you’re going to need a little boost, a solid state drive will ensure your files and data are safe and secure without bogging down your devices. You’ll want to make sure you opt for something that’s both durable and offers more storage than you think you’ll need (it can fill up fast!). You’ll also want to think about the price point you’re comfortable with as SSDs can cost a pretty penny depending on the brand and size you’re after.

Thankfully, with prices going down and quality going up, these days finding a high-quality SSD has become easier than ever. We did the research, keeping in mind functionality, storage, and price to bring you some of the top options on the market.

Meet Proteus, Amazon’s new autonomous robot

Fri, 24 Jun 22 19:38:16 +0000

Three Amazon Proteus autonomous robots.

Amazon unveiled its latest fully autonomous robot, Proteus, and it’s raising questions about what it could mean for human employees. The bot is designed to autonomously work and maneuver around employees, prioritizing safe interactions between technology and people, while helping employees with tasks such as lifting and moving GoCarts. With Amazon already under fire for its mistreatment of warehouse workers, the introduction of more automation in Amazon facilities could mean less jobs for humans.

5 interactive tools for learning about abortion access in your state

Fri, 24 Jun 22 19:26:26 +0000

A group of reproductive justice activists protesting. One holds an orange sign reading,

In a terrible blow to reproductive care access and bodily autonomy for all Americans, the U.S. Supreme Court has overruled the right to abortion outlined in the historic 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

This reality, that our country's most powerful legal body will no longer protect a person's right to make their own personal health decisions, including the right to a safe abortion under federal law, is a hard one to fathom, even with months (or years, for many) of slowly building preparation for such a decision. Almost immediately, many states will enact "trigger bans," or abortion laws designed to quickly go into action as soon as the Supreme Court's decision was announced. As of June 24, 13 states have such trigger bans — Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Another 13 states are expected to enact restrictive laws in the future.

Despite the ruling, a network of activists and professionals have spent decades preparing for and fighting against this now-reality.

Reproductive rights organizations, legal institutions, and news organizations have created numerous resources to help guide people through the new restrictions, including many interactive maps and infographics about nationwide policies and access. Scroll on for additional state-specific resources about abortion access and legislation.

Lay of the Land: Abortion Policies and Access in the United States

A screenshot of the "Lay of the Land" United States map.
Find out more about your state's abortion statistics and how far you may have to travel to access care. Credit: Guttmacher Institute

This map, created by reproductive and sexual health research organization the Guttmacher Institute, was created to document the travel distances for those seeking abortion care in a post Roe v. Wade world — a new reality that will force many to leave their home states to receive reproductive healthcare. The clickable map includes a drop down menu that includes additional information to travel estimates, including a level indicating how restrictive each state's laws are, state-specific demographics, and abortion statistics. Originally launched in 2021, this map is needed more than ever.

What Abortion Looks Like in Every State — Right Now

A screenshot of the "What Abortion Looks Like in Every State" United States map. Each state is represented by a small, color blocked square.
19th News maintains an active map of current abortion legislation in each state. Credit: 19th News

The 19th's interactive map documents current restrictions on abortion, how people can access abortion care, and any other requirements adult patients might encounter during the process — you'll notice the main map is color coded based on gestational limits, or at what fetal age you are legally barred from getting an abortion. Below the map, you'll find an in-depth rundown of abortion laws in each state, including a live update of current abortion news, and a glossary of common terms.

Crisis Pregnancy Center Map

A screenshot of the Crisis Pregnancy Center map of the United States.
This map helps those seeking abortion care avoid fake pregnancy health centers in their area. Credit: Crisis Pregnancy Center Map

The Crisis Pregnancy Center Map was designed to provide information to those seeking abortion care about crisis pregnancy centers or "fake women's health centers" — these centers actively try to prevent pregnant people from getting abortions and often do not follow medical standards for reproductive care. The map is the product of a research project led by Dr. Andrea Swartzendruber and Dr. Danielle Lambert of the epidemiology and biostatistics department in the College of Public Health at the University of Georgia. The map is searchable by both click navigation and by inputting your zip code or address to find centers operating near you, and it's a great resource to cross-check any healthcare centers you may be seeking out on your own.

What if Roe Fell?

A screenshot of the "What if Roe Fell?" United States map.
Learn more about the possible legislative action your state will take. Credit: Center for Reproductive Rights

The Center for Reproductive Rights, a global legal advocacy group dedicated to advancing reproductive rights, maintains a map of current state-specific abortion legislation, updated in real time and organized by the level of legal severity, from bans to protections. You can search for both states and U.S. territories, or explore which states have explicit abortions bans, which have abortion restrictions, and which have abortion protections using the menu on the left. The site also includes a glossary of related terms to know, an overview of the nation's current legal landscape concerning reproductive rights, and action items for those interested in getting involved in the legislative fight for reproductive rights.

Find Your Local Clinic & Funds

A screenshot of the Noise for Now local clinic map.
Use this resource to pinpoint abortion clinics and funds in your state. Credit: Noise For Now

This map is compiled by the national arts initiative, Noise for Now, which connects artists and entertainers with grassroots reproductive justice organizations. The interactive Google Map overlay includes Planned Parenthood health centers, independent abortion clinics, as well as abortion funds, sourced from the nonprofits Abortion Care Network and the National Abortion Federation.

On normalized scams and Horace: The week in TikTok

Fri, 24 Jun 22 18:00:40 +0000

Two women dancing with Horace and one woman with the caption

It's been a jam-packed week for the Extremely Online. Between Beyonce's new single, Drake's surprise album, Emma Chamberlain breaking her six-month YouTube hiatus, The Summer I Turned Pretty, and the new season of Love Island UK, there's a lot for the digitally minded to talk about. However, that hasn't prevented TikTokkers from concocting a slew of new trends. 

We have users discussing scams that have been normalized, dancing with a little freak named Horace, and soundtracking their videos with the iconic Love Island UK, "This week a hot new bombshell enters the villa" sound. TikTok has been busy!

What's a scam that's become normalized?

Stitch-based trends were all the rage back in 2020 (remember @missbeifong's inescapable "what is your favorite celebrity interview moment?"), and this week @debtcollective inspired stitches in a radical way. 

The debtors' union posted a TikTok where they asked, "What's a scam that's become so normalized that we don't even realize it's a scam anymore?" In the original video they describe why student loan debt is a scam. The clip has inspired TikTokkers to think critically about all the commonplace predatory systems in our lives. TikTokkers have posted hundreds of videos in response to @debtcollective’s question.

A woman with the caption, "What's a scam that's become so normalized that we don't even realize it's a scam anymore?"
The TikTok that launched a thousand stitches. Credit: TikTok / debtcollective

Creator @ohyesitslizzyb responded by describing how ridiculous it is that we pay money to live on earth. TikTokker @suffragechurch used Chattanooga, Tennessee, a city that built its own municipal fiber network and treats internet access as a public utility, as an example of why we shouldn't have to pay high rates for internet access. Another interesting example of the trend comes from Lily Womble, an intersectional-feminst dating coach. Womble explains how dating apps are businesses designed to make money and get you hooked.

Freak of the week: Horace

Horace is TikTok's collective boyfriend of the week. Who is Horace you ask? He's a TikTok effect that was designed by @jqgray. You’ve probably seen the horrific cross between ET and Caillou dressed in tasteful orange and blue footie pajamas dancing. Horace and his dance have starred in nearly 40,000 videos. 

A popular subgenre of Horace videos feature women pretending Horace is their silly boyfriend that keeps them dancing. Drake's "Feel No Ways" often soundtracks these videos. An example of this ironic trend that pokes fun at cringey couple TikToks is @honeydealer_'s video that says, "Can't believe I caught this on camera. We were literally in the middle of breakfast in our pajamas and Horace secretly set up a camera and asked me to dance to our wedding song. It's moments like this when I remember why I married this man." The fun doesn't stop with the video; the comments sections are full of other women playing along. The comments of @honeydealer_'s video read, "Love that Horace keeps those eyes wide open so they never miss a moment," "Can we get a story time on how you met?" and "Hey girly, I'm coming to you as a woman to let you know that Horace is cheating on you and is actually on here dancing with multiple women." 

Animated goblin Horace dancing with TikTokker @honeydealer_. Captioned "Can't believe I caught this on camera. We were literally in the middle of breakfast in our pajamas and Horace secretly set up a camera and asked me to dance to our wedding song. It's moments like this when I remember why I married this man."
OK Horace. Credit: TikTok / honeydealer_
Animated goblin Horace dancing with TikTokker @fionamitchell__. Captioned "When you let a guy buy you a drink now he's sticking beside you." 
The duplicity of Horace. Credit: TikTok / fionamitchelle__

Other videos use Horace to act out hilarious uncomfortable situations, like @fionamitchelle__'s video that reads, "When you let a guy buy you a drink now he's sticking beside you." 

Here’s to hoping you find a Horace of your own. 

This week a hot new bombshell enters the villa 

Nothing scratches American brains like the way contestants on Love Island UK talk, or so I've gathered from Love Island UK fans' digital footprint. TikTokkers are using the quintessential Love Island UK soundbite, "this week a hot new bombshell enters the villa," to add ironic humor to a variety of relatable and outlandish situations. The audio has been used in nearly 40,000 videos.

Some examples of the trend include @radicalthot666's video that reads, "that monthly .99 apple charge on my debit card that I have no idea what it’s for but it's only 99 cents so who cares" and @tiktokamirr’s video that says, "Me showing up to work ready to gossip with coworkers, watch TikToks, and take 3 hours on my 30min lunch break."

What does Roe v. Wade being overturned mean to you?

Fri, 24 Jun 22 17:45:45 +0000

Capitol buildings ahead of roe v wade being overturned

Millions of lives will be immeasurably changed as states now have the ability to make abortion illegal. This comes after the Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court ruling on Friday that overturned Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion. People are flocking to protest the decision that shatters nearly half a century of law.

"With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent," Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan wrote a joint dissent criticizing the majority decision.

The 6 to 3 majority decision landed down the political lines of the justices. It didn't come as much of a surprise after a draft written by Justice Samuel Alito was leaked earlier this year. Now, reproductive rights will be decided by states, half of which are expected to place bans on the medical procedure, according to the Associated Press. This could lead to hundreds of preventable pregnancy-related deaths across the country, NBC News reported in May. The decision will also likely affect your privacy, the need for abortion funds and reproductive justice networks, and even the porn you watch.

How the ruling may affect your privacy

Privacy experts warn that this new decision is an attack on Americans' right to privacy because the right to abortion and the right to privacy are connected through the Roe v. Wade ruling. As Mashable previously reported, the ruling "stems from the right to privacy guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause." That means the Court's decision has undermined the U.S.'s right to privacy, which, as Albert Fox Cahn, the executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project previously told Mashable "has played a role in protecting everything from the right to contraceptives to the right to same-sex marriage." 

And it's true: In Justice Clarence Thomas' concurring opinion, he wrote that the Court "should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell." Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell are the rulings that decided the rights of contraception, same-sex sexual contact, and same-sex marriage, respectfully.

What the ruling may do to porn

In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruled that a right to privacy included the right to abortion, and held that the abortion right is part of a right to privacy that springs from the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Now that the precedent has been overturned, Americans' digital privacy is at risk, including our right to make and watch porn. As Mashable reported in May, legislators could use this new precedent to police adult creators working from home, and overturning Roe v. Wade has the potential to completely disrupt the porn industry and online sexual expression because it criminalizes bodily autonomy.

Abortion funds and reproductive justice networks need help

Because of the detrimental, blanket, and all-encompassing ruling that overturning Roe v. Wade amounts to, advocates and health professionals are encouraging folks to fight for safe abortion care. As Mashable reported, there are tons of ways you can help abortion funds and reproductive justice networks, from helping organizations that are local to your state or other states that are in direct threat, to regional and national funds. 

'Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes' is like going to a rager with friends you haven't seen in way too long

Fri, 24 Jun 22 16:28:10 +0000

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes screenshot

I didn’t go to my real high school reunion this week because I was too busy attending one in a video game instead.

That’s not literally the premise of Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes (and also not the only reason I missed the reunion), but Nintendo’s new hack-and-slash spin-off to 2019’s terrific Fire Emblem: Three Houses produced a similar feeling inside me. This is a mind-numbingly stupid game (intentionally so) that slams every pleasure center in the brain like a drum, but none moreso than the one that activates when seeing old friends you’ve missed for years.

I got so much joy out of reuniting with long-lost homies (and mowing down thousands of enemies with them) that it was impossible for me to care about whatever deficiencies it has as an action game. Even if it was just for a few dozen hours, Three Hopes brought me back to the pre-COVID days.

No thoughts head empty just MASH

Fire Emblem is traditionally a series about making careful, tactical choices in a turn-based grid format. Three Hopes, like the unrelated 2017 Fire Emblem Warriors game, is not about that at all. Sure, some of the trappings (unit strengths and weaknesses, optional permadeath for characters who die in battle) are here, but instead of anime chess, Three Hopes is a musou spin-off in the same vein as Nintendo’s recent Hyrule Warriors games.

That means that, like the Dynasty Warriors series that popularized musou as a concept in gaming, you spend dozens of hours buzzsawing your way through enemies that bunch up by the hundreds for their God-given purpose of dying at your hands. They’re virtual fish in a barrel.

In other action games, a combo of 10 hits or more is impressive. Here, combos frequently go into the hundreds or thousands of hits, and the amount of damage you’ll do in one attack is so hilariously high that there’s almost no point in even showing the numbers onscreen. 

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes screenshot with large damage number
This is what happens when you take a superpowered endgame character into the tutorial mission. Credit: Nintendo

But it does, which is great. I did more than 3 million damage in one attack in the tutorial mission because musou games don't care about stupid norms. This is pure, unadulterated power fantasy where one slash of a sword can annihilate hundreds of faceless dudes in an instant. It’s a far cry from the strategic gameplay of a normal Fire Emblem game, but to Three Hopes' credit, the player does have to do a little bit of thinking if they want to succeed here. 

Missions are typically set on large, sprawling maps that feature five or six (sometimes more, sometimes less) strongholds to capture, plus a handful of optional side objectives that can pop up at any time and ungodly numbers of enemies to kill. You usually have anywhere from four to nine characters at your disposal (including a protagonist whose gender you can choose at the outset), and each of them uses a weapon that’s strong or weak against whatever weapons the enemies use.

Swords beat axes, axes beat lances, and lances beat swords, while flying units are weak to archers. This is all typical Fire Emblem fare, but when applied to huge battlefields with several powerful enemies of each type occupying strongholds at once, it leads to frantic decision-making that's materially not much more complicated than rock-paper-scissors, but at least gives you something to think about during fights.

Fire Emblem Warriors Three Hopes screenshot
Magic users get to see plenty of action, too. Credit: Nintendo

In other words, since you can’t be everywhere at once, you frequently have to open the map and order people to complete objectives based on what best suits them. 

It’s a simple tactical layer compared to anything in a normal Fire Emblem game, but it does a lot to dull the repetition of going scorched earth on a bunch of anonymous goobers. The combat itself is satisfying, with strong variety between characters. Some classes reward rhythmic button presses with attack buffs, while others encourage the most madcap button mashing in all of video games. Even with the variance between characters, it would get boring without the ability to give orders or even take direct control of your subordinates from time to time.

Put simply, this is a very good musou game. It’s not treading any new ground mechanically, however. What really puts Three Hopes over the top is the fun of seeing all the homies again.

But really, it’s all about friendship

When Fire Emblem: Three Houses launched in the summer of 2019, I was going through what I would, for a time, call the worst year of my life. Obviously, that didn’t last long thanks to everything that’s happened since then, but it was rough! The stress of a new job, trying to maintain a relationship that ultimately fell apart, and a ferocious gyre of BS in my social circle made my last pandemic-free summer one to remember for the wrong reasons.

Three Houses was a rare bright spot in that darkness. I quickly fell in love with Golden Deer, one of the three factions you can choose to ride with for the entire duration of its story. Its effortlessly cool, down-to-earth leader Claude was one of my favorite game characters in years, and that’s not to mention the fashionable axe-wielder Hilda or himbo extraordinaire Raphael. So when I realized Three Hopes gives you the same choice between the same three factions early in its story, I was sold immediately.

There’s an extensive amount of not-fighting-dudes in Three Hopes, as you’ll sometimes spend upwards of half an hour running around your base camp between missions. You can cook meals or do chores with friends, take them on expeditions that end in cute little picnic conversation sequences, or simply furnish them with gifts. Maintaining the army's equipment or tending to its horses with your closest buds isn't in the traditional wheelhouse of video game "fun," but I got a little jolt of energy out of doing it in a game where I wouldn't expect to see that.

Fire Emblem Warriors Three Hopes screenshot
I hope you like running around the base camp, because you'll do a lot of it. Credit: Nintendo

Like in Three Houses, each character has a friendship ranking with both the protagonist and with their other comrades. You’ll spend a lot of time seeing these people grow to understand each other through cutscenes that play each time the ranking goes up. Whether it's learning about one person's debt problems or another person's familial insecurities, these cutaways add a great deal of color to the experience.

It’s these little moments that elevate Three Hopes just a bit above what I would normally expect from a game of this type. I didn’t realize just how much I missed Claude, Hilda, Raphael, or even members of the other factions like the songstress Dorothea or the ponytailed swordsman Felix. 

Going back to the high school reunion metaphor, it’s heartening just to see people you’d forgotten about, even if you didn’t particularly love them back when they were a bigger part of your life. "Oh hey, it’s that guy!" is a cheap thrill, but in this case, it works. In a very small way, Three Hopes reminded me of that tumultuous summer, one I would happily return to given the chance because, for as miserable as it was, at least we weren’t surrounded by deadly illness and a total lack of concern by many about mitigating it.

That this dynamic just happened to play out in a pretty fun action game is a nice bonus. Three Hopes is the video game equivalent of meeting up with folks you haven’t seen in years, throwing a hellacious rager together, and then not thinking about it ever again. It may not land on many game of the year lists, but I probably won’t play anything else this year that transports me back to a period that was much, much better than I realized at the time.

Your privacy is at risk now that Roe v. Wade has fallen, experts warn

Fri, 24 Jun 22 15:20:22 +0000

Woman sits in front of the Supreme Court building looking at her cellphone.

Roe v. Wade is no more.

The Supreme Court has officially overturned the landmark case that constitutionally protected the right to abortion. While the news that the court was planning to do so was leaked to Politico last month, the decision that shatters almost fifty years of settled law officially came down on June 24.

The public's immediate reaction to the news understandably focuses on what such a reversal would mean for the right to abortion, experts warn that the Court's decision presages yet another attack on a sacrosanct American right: the right to privacy.

While perhaps seemingly unconnected at first glance, the two rights — the right to an abortion, and the right to privacy — are connected in U.S. law. That's because the right to abortion, according to the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, stems from the right to privacy guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause.

According to experts who spoke with Mashable, the Court's willingness to toss one bodes ill for what many Americans' consider to be their basic right to privacy in their own homes.

So warned Albert Fox Cahn, the executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, a non-profit advocacy organization working to highlight the discriminatory impacts of surveillance, when speaking about the arguments made in the Supreme Court's leaked draft decision.

"If this reasoning were adopted, it would not only reverse a half century of abortion rights, but it would undermine the Constitution's long-recognized right to privacy, which has played a role in protecting everything from the right to contraceptives to the right to same-sex marriage," he explained over email. "While the draft opinion does not explicitly strike down the right to privacy, it shows a conservative majority that is deeply skeptical of the concept."

Cahn and S.T.O.P. are not alone in their concern for Americans' privacy after getting a look at the leaked draft.

If/When/How, an advocacy organization working to ensure "all people have the power to determine if, when, and how to define, create, and sustain families with dignity," according to its website, is deeply aware of the connection between privacy and the right to abortion.

"One of many alarming aspects of the draft decision leaked last night is that it jettisons the concept that the right to privacy encompasses intimate decisions about how we live our lives unless it can be proven that the ability to make these decisions was legally protected at the time the relevant provision of the Constitution was written," Farah Diaz-Tello, the senior counsel and legal director of If/When/How explained Tuesday.

The potential erosion of privacy protections at a legal level in a post Roe v. Wade world, if that is indeed where we are headed, is extra troubling because privacy for the average person has long been under assault. Recent technological innovation that has made life more convenient has also allowed our devices and services to know deeply personal things about us. From the seemingly mundane daily invasions of the apps on our smartphones and the smart cars we drive, to the more serious and profound privacy threats powered by all-encompassing location data collection, privacy is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

As the Washington Post reported in May when the leaked decision first became public, the data generated by smartphone movements, Google searches, and social media activity is potentially enough to determine with some certainty whether or not a person has had an abortion. And at least some of that data is for sale.

In light of the Supreme Court's draft decision, Jackie Singh, former senior cybersecurity staffer on the Biden presidential campaign, explained that the issues thrust into the spotlight of the decision are more pressing than ever.

"The wanton spying on our activities and whereabouts by technology companies and governments alike must be stopped to prevent devastating outcomes, such as the hacking or purchasing of location data to attempt to recover bounty prizes for snitching on girls and women who are only trying to save their own lives."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit defending digital privacy, is very much aware of the technical privacy challenges already faced by people seeking abortions. Hayley Tsukayama, an EFF senior legislative activist, explained over email that the EFF supports the digital rights of people seeking abortions — and emphasized that those rights include digital privacy.

"The introduction of bills in several states seeking to limit abortion rights, even before this draft was leaked, has raised serious concerns for our organization about the ways that data and digital information can be used to limit those rights," Tsukayama said.

Notably, the many experts we spoke with agreed that the threat to Americans' privacy-derived rights is not limited solely to the right to abortion.

"This is not only troubling for people’s ability to self-determine their reproductive lives by self-managing an abortion without punishment, it's troubling for all aspects of their sexual and reproductive lives," Diaz-Tello, of If/When/How, warned. "Contraception, consensual same-sex conduct, interracial marriage, and same-sex marriage are all within the sweep of what the Supreme Court is calling into question."

While at the time of the leak, Chief Justice John Roberts insisted that the authentic draft document was not final — privacy and legal experts see a dangerous and regressive path ahead.

"Left unchecked, this partisan re-casting of the Constitution will leave us with fewer and fewer rights, our most intimate decisions subject to veto by Congress and state legislatures," Cahn, S.T.O.P.'s executive director, cautioned in part. "This is a moment when democratic governments around the world are placing new emphasis on privacy protections, but where the U.S. is sadly going in exactly the wrong direction."

The Supreme Court's decision will lead to a place unfamiliar to Americans who, in a post-Roe world, have become accustomed to the basic right to privacy in their own home. A place that, if experts' predictions come to bear, embraces the technological invasiveness we've come to accept from the likes of data brokers and online trackers as only the first step down a progressively darker path.

UPDATE: Jun. 24, 2022, 11:13 a.m. EDT This story was updated to reflect the official opinion issued by the Supreme Court that overturns Roe v. Wade.

Related Video: What is end-to-end encryption, and what makes it so secure?

How to help abortion funds and reproductive justice networks

Fri, 24 Jun 22 15:07:58 +0000

An illustration of a very small person standing in the shadow of a giant pair of legs.

As of June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court has eliminated the constitutional right to abortion.

The news is a not-surprising end to an anxiety-riddled, six-week waiting period after a May 2 leak of the now-confirmed decision, which alluded to the overruling of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. Though access to abortion and moves to criminalize those who provide and receive abortions have long been happening statewide, such as the 2021 Texas state decision to ban abortions as early as six weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision will have national repercussions — possibly ushering in more restrictive laws in many other states.

The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision at the center of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case determined that overly restrictive state abortion laws were unconstitutional, inscribing the right to privacy to healthcare decisions. Its overruling by conservative justices will limit access to safe healthcare for people seeking abortions, and exacerbate a reproductive health climate that is already hostile to many, including people of color, low-income pregnant people, and those living in hostile states for abortion-seekers.

In a May 3 press briefing following the early leak, reproductive justice advocates spoke to the climate of fear and uncertainty generated by the SCOTUS leak, calling the possible decision a shocking yet clarifying announcement. Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women's Law Center, said that the possible decision would be a violation of trust and justice. "The justices might need to hear the outrage that they are seeing now, as people are rising up in anger and disbelief and demanding that the court recognize and respect their fundamental rights."

​​Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and Dr. Bhavik Kumar, a Planned Parenthood physician based in Texas, reiterated to the press that, as of this moment, abortion is still legal in every state. Physicians, including Kumar, and Planned Parenthood affiliates will not stop treating patients in need. 

McGill Johnson added that organizations like Planned Parenthood will continue fighting for safe abortion care. "As of today, abortion is still legal. As of right now, you can still get care," McGill Johnson said on May 3. "But no decision from a court can stop abortion. Period. Point blank. People with resources will travel to get the care they need — they always have. Others will self-manage their abortions. And there will be people who are forced to carry their pregnancy against their will. The post-Roe reality will be uncharted territory, but we will navigate it together."

Reproductive justice activists have long been preparing for the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade. The Post-Roe Handbook, published as a book in 2019 by reporter and abortion activist Robin Marty, shares a multitude of digital resources, including activism guides, sample legislation, and a list of practical support organizations — a broad term referring to reproductive health networks that provide a wide array of services to people on the ground. The National Network of Abortion Access Funds also has a guide to finding support networks in your area. 

Online, many shared community-generated guides to support abortion funds and other forms of practical support, such as an evolving list of abortion access funds and guides to tweeting and advocating for abortion access in digital spaces. 

According to the Center for Reproductive Health, at least 25 states have hostile state legislatures that could potentially ban abortion outright following the court's decision — three other states and two territories would likely refuse legal protections for abortion. These regions will need heightened attention moving forward, but the right to safe abortion access is still a national issue that's often exacerbated by factors like income, education, and race.

While national organizations like Planned Parenthood and political advocacy group NARAL Pro Choice America gather up even more support to fight against this reality ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, advocates for abortions rights can support local organizations on the ground, including Black and POC-led networks who are advocating for communities already struggling to obtain equal reproductive access. Start by donating to community funds, like the Black feminist leadership fund, started in 2019 that's split among 10 different Black-led reproductive justice organizations.

Scroll on for a condensed list of regional abortion funds and practical support organizations that you can help today, in states under direct threat and more across the country.

West/Pacific Northwest

Northwest Abortion Access Fund (NWAAF)

This fund supports reproductive access for people traveling within, to, or from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska, which includes direct abortion funding and practical support through transportation and lodging assistance. You can donate to their work online, or call the hotline at (866) 692-2310 if you are in need of assistance yourself.

Access Reproductive Justice

Access Reproductive Justice is a California-based fund that provides healthcare referrals, procedural and practical support for abortions, contraceptive care, and more, all focused on the experiences of Black, Indigenous, LGBTQ, and communities with disabilities. You can donate on the Access Reproductive Justice website, or reach the organization on its hotline at (800) 376-4636. 

Utah Abortion Fund

Currently the only Utah-based abortion fund affiliated with the National Network of Abortion Funds, the Utah Abortion Fund organizes financial and practical support for abortion seekers in Utah, as well as on-the-ground reproductive education and grassroots advocacy. Visit the fund's website to learn more about how to receive support if you are in Utah, and donate to the organization's work. 

South/Southeast

Access Reproductive Care Southeast (ARC Southeast)

ARC Southeast is a reproductive justice organization providing practical support for Southerners in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The group's services include direct funding and transportation for abortion access, peer-to-peer support groups, and other direct services like childcare and translation. According to ARC Southeast executive director Oriaku Njoku, the organization has already received thousands of dollars in donations since last night's news, and is continuing to coordinate with the National Network of Abortion Funds. You can donate to the organization's work on their website. To request support, call ARC Southeast's hotline at (855) 227-2475 or use its online form

Fund Texas Choice

Fund Texas Choice is an organization that pays for Texans' travel costs to receive abortions both within and outside the state. Recent state legislation has made abortion access even more difficult for Texas residents, and the organization rallied to gather more support and resources for those requiring support. If you are in need of abortion travel funds, call (844) 900-8908. You can also donate to the travel fund on the Fund Texas Choice website.

Yellowhammer Fund

The Yellowhammer Fund serves abortion and reproductive health seekers in Alabama, Mississippi, and other parts of the Deep South. The fund supports abortion, transportation, and lodging costs, as well as emergency contraceptive access, sexual education materials, and other reproductive health needs of various communities. You can donate on their website.

Florida abortion funds

Multiple abortion funds offer practical support for residents in Florida, including Access Reproductive Care Southeast, Broward Women's Emergency Fund, Emergency Medical Assistance Inc, Florida Access Network, Tampa Bay Abortion Fund, and the Women's Emergency Network. You can make individual contributions to each of these funds on their websites, or make a single donation to all six Florida organizations through the National Network of Abortion Funds.

New Orleans Abortion Fund

This fund provides support not just for Louisiana-based communities, but anyone in need of abortion assistance in the Gulf South, including Texas and surrounding states. The fund connects patients with community resources and local clinics, including Women's Health Care Center in New Orleans, Delta Clinic in Baton Rouge, and Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport, to assist patients through the medical process of getting an abortion. The network can also provide funding and other practical support. Donate to the fund on the New Orleans Abortion Fund website.

Holler Health Justice

Holler Health Justice is a BIPOC and queer led reproductive justice organization servicing communities in Appalachia. The network provides education, mutual aid, free emergency contraception, and abortion assistance, as well as other support to rural and low-income communities in East Tennessee and surrounding areas. Learn more about Holler Health Justice's abortion support and funding on its website, and donate to the organization's practical support efforts for reproductive justice on ActBlue.

East/Northeast

DC Abortion Fund 

The DC Abortion Fund supports D.C., Maryland, and Virginia residents and those traveling into the city who can't afford abortion costs. The fund works through connections with national funds and local clinics, and operates a confidential hotline at (202) 452-7464 to help assist individuals through the process. You can donate to the volunteer work online

Haven Coalition

The Haven Coalition supports communities in and traveling to New York City to receive abortion care. The organization provides lodging and personal escorts for patients to and from clinic locations. It works with the New York Abortion Access Fund to connect those in need with financial help for abortion costs, as well. Sign up to volunteer with the Haven Coalition or donate to the New York abortion fund

Abortion Liberation Fund Pennsylvania

This fund supports equal abortion access for low-income community members in Southern Pennsylvania, through both direct support and community organizing. The fund's programs and financial support are available to anyone living or receiving an abortion in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lehigh, Luzerne, York, and Dauphin counties. Donate to this fund on the Abortion Liberation Fund Pennsylvania website.

To support abortion access in western Pennsylvania and the tristate area, you can also donate to the Western Pennsylvania Fund for Choice, which provides funding for abortion procedures, transportation, and other health costs.

Midwest/Central

Kentucky Health Justice Network

The Kentucky Health Justice Network provides reproductive healthcare through direct support, educational campaigns, and other outreach to communities. The network hosts the KHJN Support Fund, which provides financial assistance, transportation, interpretation, and other services to those seeking reproductive and abortion care. It also runs the Trans Health Advocacy program for transgender communities seeking equal healthcare in Kentucky. Donate to the fund on Network for Good.

Midwest Access Coalition

The Midwest Access Coalition, based in Chicago, is a practical support group covering travel coordination and costs, lodging, food, medicine, and emotional support for those seeking abortions around the Midwest. The coalition does not directly cover abortion costs, instead facilitating the logistic concerns pre and post procedure. You can volunteer to support abortion seekers around the region or donate to the work online

Arkansas Abortion Support Network (AASN)

The Arkansas Abortion Support Network is a volunteer nonprofit dedicated to reducing the barriers to abortion access in Arkansas through clinic escorts, abortion service and funding help, and educational outreach. Donate to the network on their website.

Missouri Abortion Fund

This fund provides public education and support for those in Missouri seeking reproductive health care, including financial assistance for people seeking abortions. The fund works directly with clinics to fund partial to full costs of abortion procedures for clinic patients, rather than providing individual grants. Find more on the fund's partners on their website, and donate to support abortion access.

UPDATE: Jun. 24, 2022, 10:49 a.m. EDT This story was updated to reflect the official opinion issued by the Supreme Court that overturns Roe v. Wade.

Save $200 on a 'Shark Tank'-featured pizza oven and enjoy homemade pies on demand

Fri, 24 Jun 22 15:02:34 +0000

bertello grande gas and wood fired pizza oven

SAVE $200: As of June 24, you can get the Bertello Grande Pizza Oven on sale for $499.99 at Walmart — that's 29% off its MSRP — and enjoy homemade pies whenever your heart desires.


There are plenty of people who would eat pizza for every meal if they could. But if you're truly dedicated to pizza, you should consider an actual pizza oven to whip yourself up some pies.

Authentic pizza is the name of the game for the Bertello Grande Gas and Wood Fired Pizza Oven. And it's on sale for $499.99 at Walmart as of June 24 — that's $200 off its MSRP of $699.99.

You might've seen the original Bertello Pizza Oven on Shark Tank, where founders Andy and Eric Bert secured a deal with Shark Kevin O'Leary. The Grande takes things a step further with a larger design and an included gas burner.

With the Bertello Grande, you can bake pies in minutes from your own backyard. Cook with wood, wood pellets, charcoal, gas, or a combination of wood and gas to get deliciously speedy results. The oven takes less than 15 minutes to reach temperatures over 900 degrees Fahrenheit and only takes a couple minutes to cook your pizza. Using the combination of wood and gas makes fire management effortless, so you can spend more time on perfecting the flavors and toppings than attempting to maintain the wood fire.

While the design is still pretty low profile, it does weigh over 60 pounds. So, it's not quite as portable as the original oven. But with the ability to cook pies up to 16 inches, you can feed more people — or have more for yourself. There's a bit of a learning curve at first to get your pie just right, but there's no such thing as bad pizza.

Roe v. Wade is overturned in devastating, historic Supreme Court decision

Fri, 24 Jun 22 14:58:11 +0000

A fist in front of a capitol building

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion.

The decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization came down to a 6-3 majority, with all three of the court's liberal justices in dissent. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the opinion on the case, and Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett joined. Justice Thomas, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and Chief Justice John Roberts filed concurring opinions, NPR reports. Three of the majority opinions were written by nominees of former President Donald Trump.

"Roe was egregiously wrong from the start," Justice Alito wrote in his majority opinion. "Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division."

The decision was expected after a draft written by Alito was leaked earlier this year and ends nearly half a century of constitutional protections for abortions. Now, reproductive rights will be decided by states. According to the Associated Press, bans are expected in roughly half the states in the U.S. This could lead to hundreds of preventable pregnancy-related deaths across the country, NBC News reported in May.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan wrote a joint dissent criticizing the majority decision. In their closing, they wrote: "With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent."

This is a developing story. Check back at mashable.com for our coverage.

Save $150 on a fancy Garmin Forerunner smartwatch before Prime Day begins

Fri, 24 Jun 22 14:07:33 +0000

Garmin Foreruner 945

SAVE 25%: As of June 24, the Garmin Forerunner 945 smartwatch is $150 off its original price. You'll pay $449.99.


We generally don't recommend that you drop $600 on a smartwatch. That is a lot of money. But $449.99? Sure, we guess we could rationalize that choice.

Especially if the smartwatch you choose is the Garmin Forerunner 945. Ahead of Prime Day, you can score this high-tech wrist bling for $150 off its original price, bringing the total down to $449.99.

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is a happy medium between the fanciest Fitbit and an Apple Watch. It boasts premium GPS as well as in-depth performance tracking features like altitude acclimation, training load focus, recovery time, and more. It can also play your favorite workout tunes, and packs in a 10-hour battery life in case you plan to embark on a Forrest-Gump-length run.

Introduce the Garmin Forerunner 945 into your fitness regimen — save $150 at Amazon when you pick one up before Prime Day.

Chewy's Blue Box Sale can help you spoil your pets this summer

Fri, 24 Jun 22 14:01:40 +0000

Brown dog eating out of a bowl next to two blue Chewy boxes

SAVE UP TO 50%: In case you needed yet another reason to spoil your pet, take advantage of Chewy's annual Blue Box Sale as of June 24. Snag DNA kits at up to 35% off, grab half-off toys, and even get a $25 gift card when you spend $75 on select items.


One in five American households adopted a cat or dog over the last few years, and they've quickly become our most beloved companions. If you've found yourself spending more time at home with your pet recently due to various Covid surges or the rising outdoor temperatures, why not spice up your daily routine with a new toy, leash, or DNA kit?

Chewy's annual Blue Box Sale is the perfect way to spoil your furry (or feathery) friend without breaking the bank. Through June 24, you can save up to 50% on most pet categories, from dog bowls to bird toys and so much more. Whether you're a dog parent or own a more exotic pet, Chewy's sale probably has a deal for you. We're eyeing the brand new $79.99 Wisdom Panel breed discovery DNA kit, which comes with a free $25 Chewy gift card.

Shop the entire sale, or click through to one of the top categories:

Don't wait: These deals are only live through June 24, so snag your pet some new gear before Fourth of July weekend.

'Westworld' review: Bring yourself back online for a phenomenal Season 4

Fri, 24 Jun 22 14:00:00 +0000

A woman in blue walks up stairs in an outdoor park.

It's hard to talk about Westworld's fourth season without fear of giving too much away, so I'll just say this: It's awesome.

The twisty sci-fi drama from Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy returns to form after a confused Season 3, with Season 4 delivering compelling character-driven arcs, thrilling action sequences, and continued musings on free will and the true cost of immortality.

What is happening in Westworld Season 4?

A man and a woman in casual clothing stand in a room with open windows.
Aaron Paul and Thandiwe Newton in "Westworld" Credit: John Johnson / HBO

Well, if I told you, that would be spoiling half the fun of the season. All I'll say is that we pick up quite some time after the revolution that kicked off at the end of Season 3. Caleb (Aaron Paul) has a family now, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) returns from the Sublime with several new revelations, and the host Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) continues her quest for vengeance against humanity. She's teamed up with the host version of William (Ed Harris), meaning we get a lot of classic Man in Black moments reminiscent of Season 1.

One of the season's biggest mysteries revolves around Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), or the lack thereof. Dolores perished in the Westworld Season 3 finale — although death is extremely nebulous in this show — but Wood is back for Season 4. Now she's playing Christina, a game writer who keeps getting threatening messages from a stranger. Who Christina is and how (or if) she connects to Dolores remains to be seen, but it's another fascinating piece in the puzzle that is Westworld.

Other interesting puzzle pieces include a spooky tower, Christina's employers, and some very frightening flies. What does it all mean? This season is surprisingly forthcoming with its answers: The first four episodes sent to critics for review are immensely satisfying. However, in true Westworld fashion, every answer raises even more questions.

Westworld Season 4 remixes iconic Westworld scenes.

Close-up on an old man in a black cowboy hat.
Ed Harris in "Westworld" Credit: John Johnson / HBO

One of the biggest delights of Season 4 of Westworld is seeing the show revisit some of its most well-known moments, only with new twists. For example, James Marsden is back, but not quite as the Teddy we knew. Meanwhile, Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) experiences versions of her own old host loop, only from an entirely new perspective.

These references to past seasons could risk feeling self-indulgent, but Nolan and Joy tweak the moments just enough that they play very differently in Season 4. Now these flashes of the past land with a creeping sense of dread, effectively elevating the show's sense of intrigue.

As Westworld continues to expand outside its original park, the callbacks are treats for viewers who remember just where we started. However, they're also proof of just how far the show has come from its original concept, making this season a strong synthesis of the old and the new of Westworld. With its epic scope and some of the show's most devastating storytelling so far, Season 4 of Westworld is not one you want to miss.

Westworld Season 4 premieres June 26 at at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max, with a new episode weekly.

Khaby Lame unseats Charli D'Amelio as the most-followed account on TikTok

Fri, 24 Jun 22 13:46:57 +0000

Lame in a red baseball cap shrugging his shoulders, palms towards the sky.

UPDATE: Jun. 24, 2022, 9:43 a.m. EDT In the past 24 hours, Lame has gained more than 700,000 new followers, clocking in at a total of 143.3 million followers to D'Amelio's 142.4 million.

Charli D'Amelio may have built a dancing dynasty, but she has been unseated as the most-followed TikTok account by a comedian who never says a word.

Khaby Lame, a Senegalese-born 22-year-old living in Italy, swept past D'Amelio Wednesday night to a current follower count of 142.6 million to D'Amelio's 142.3 million.

Lame rose to prominence by leveraging TikTok's duet feature to react to overcomplicated "life hacks." He would complete the task simply and in silence, his big eyes and disappointed frown a universal stand-in for the audience's exasperation. His recent content has become more elaborate, and he has expanded to include skits and collaborations with other creators. A campaign to nab Lame the top spot, led primarily by TikTok user Noah Glenn Carter, was accompanied by a hashtag: #khabytonumberone.

Lame's star is on the rise offline, too. After asking the TikTokker to grace their runway at Milan Fashion Week in September 2021, BOSS announced in January that they have signed a multi-year partnership with Lame. Last week, he dropped a capsule collection with the fashion house that includes a doll of himself.

For years, the online creator space has been dominated by white creators (think Addison Rae and the D'Amelio's on TikTok and Pewdiepie, MrBeast, David Dobrik, and the Paul Brothers on YouTube). It's thrilling to finally see a Black creator clinch the top spot on the most downloaded app in the world.

Nothing Phone 1 preorder reservations are now open

Fri, 24 Jun 22 12:41:30 +0000

The Nothing 1 Phone on a white background. A parrot sits on top of the phone/

Remember the good old days, when you could've just entered a store and bought a phone? Now, you have to join a waitlist that gives you a chance to get in line to preorder a smartphone so you can buy it at launch. Maybe.

Carl Pei's Nothing is launching its first phone, the Nothing Phone 1, on July 12. And now, the company has opened a waitlist for those who really want to get it at launch and not a day after.

This is where things get slightly complicated. According to Engadget, Nothing's community members can use their special code and pay £20 (in the UK) or €20 (in the EU) in order to be able to actually order the phone on July 12.

If you're not in that club, you can head over to Nothing's website to get on the waitlist, which might get you an invite. The invite guarantees your spot to order phone from July 12, and also unlocks a special reward (a £20/€20 credit which you can use to buy other Nothing gadgets, which will include the Ear 1 earbuds and Nothing Phone 1 accessories). But as Nothing says, supply of the Nothing Phone 1 will be limited at launch, so nothing is guaranteed (pun not intended).

Bad news for U.S. customers is that the Nothing Phone 1 won't be widely available there. Folks in the UK, India, and Europe, can all join the party, though.

As for the phone itself, we don't know all the details, but we do know it will be partially see-through and run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset with wireless charging, a dual rear camera, a modified version of Android, and a likely screen size of 6.55 inches.

You've got to try homemade air fryer French fries. Here's how to make them.

Fri, 24 Jun 22 11:00:00 +0000

fries in bowl with air fryday logo

French fries are the perfect side dish. They hardly ever disappoint. I contend even a bad French fry is pretty decent. But a really good french fry? A really good fry is unmatched. It puts a bad fry to shame.

Now the problem with cooking fries at home is that it typically requires deep frying. And that involves a ton of oil, which creates a mess and takes a long time. But don't worry my pals: You can actually make quite good French fries in the air fryer. They'll taste delicious and require a minimal amount of work. And you won't have a vat of oil to discard at the end of the process.

Here's what you need to know.

Ingredients

  • 3 Russet potatoes (or as many as you can fit in your air fryer)

  • Canola oil

  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Using a knife, cut your potatoes into French fry shapes. I wanted boardwalk-style fries, so I left the skin on. I cut each potato lengthwise into planks, then sliced those planks into thin fries.

  2. Drop the cut fries into a bowl of cold water for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight in the fridge. This will draw starch out of the potatoes and should result in crispier, fluffier fries.

  3. When you're ready to air fry, remove the fries from the water and thoroughly pat them dry.

  4. Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, coat fries in oil then season very generously with salt and pepper. Seriously, I would like to meet the person who over-salted a potato. It is very hard to do.

  5. Once the air fryer is preheated, cook the fries for about 16 minutes or until they begin to brown and become crispy. You can shake the basket a few times during the cooking process to ensure the fries cook evenly.

The details

I honestly think the single most important thing about making this recipe is cutting the fries correctly. It's not difficult, so don't stress. The first thing I'd tell you to do is cut a small sliver, going lengthwise, off the potato. This creates a flat bottom on which you can rest the potato. Then you go about cutting planks. I like thin fries so I cut thin planks and then sliced those planks into fries.

As you cut the fries drop them directly into a bowl of water. I let mine soak for about an hour or so. You can basically do all the prep you have to do, set the fries aside, clean up a bit then get right to making the recipe. If you don't have time to soak your fries, don't stress, they'll still turn out fine.

From there, you dry the fries, glug them with oil — just enough to coat — then season heavily with salt and pepper. It's simple stuff.

Here's how my raw fries looked going into the air fryer. You want to fill up the basket enough so that you have a bunch of fries to eat but not so many that air can't circulate. The hot air touching all sides of the fries is what will get you a crispy result.

seasoned, raw fries in an air fryer
Raw fries about to get air fried. Credit: Mashable

Then you air fry at 400 degrees for 16 minutes. You can go for a longer or shorter time, depending on how you like your fries. Here's how my final product looked.

cooked fries in bowl with ketchup on side
Fries. Very good fries. Credit: Mashable

The end result? You should get crunchy fries that have a fluffy, hot interior. My end product tasted a lot like boardwalk fries, which are some of the best fries on Earth. Do I think you could make a tastier product in a deep fryer? Sure. I think the most delicious way to make fries is to double-fry them in a vat of oil. But that takes a ton of work and a bunch of oil. This air fry method makes a wonderful side dish with very little work.

I think for the vast majority of normal people this is the best way to make French fries since most folks have neither endless time nor the desire to deep fry. It's way better than frozen fries with only a bit more work. So next time you fire up burgers on the grill, break out the air fryer and make a delicious, easy side.

We tried the celeb-favorite SolaWave skincare wand

Fri, 24 Jun 22 10:00:00 +0000

small wand next to bottle of serum

It’s no secret that skincare is trending right now, and a quick glance at social media proves it. Celebrities and influencers alike have hopped on the “skincare as self-care” train, and the resulting swarm of must-have products can be overwhelming to say the least. From the best Korean beauty products to the latest skincare gadgets, there’s a lot to choose from. However, while skincare has (thankfully) come a long way from scrubbing your skin off with microbeads, it hasn’t gotten any easier to decide if a product is nothing but hype or a true holy grail.

Enter Solawave’s advanced skincare wand with red light therapy. Touted as a science-backed, four-in-one skincare tool, this tiny wand is on a mission to be the next must-have in your medicine cabinet.

So how does it work? 

As a novice skincare enthusiast, I was definitely intrigued by the SolaWave the first time I saw it on social media. It was cheaper than many of the skincare devices I’d seen in the past, and — with celebrities like Doja Cat, Vanessa Hudgens, and Reese Witherspoon reportedly loving the device — I immediately wanted to know more. The company’s website explains that the tiny device combines four different skincare technologies — red light therapy, microcurrents, facial massage, and therapeutic heat — to provide what the company describes as the “ultimate at-home spa facial.” 

I’d heard about all of these techniques in the past. Red light therapy, for example, is touted as a way to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, scars, redness, acne, and more. And microcurrent facials? I’ve heard some people swear that zapping a low-level electrical current through your skin is better than botox

However, while none of these technologies are new — and the science behind them definitely shows promise — I also have a healthy dose of skepticism around whether or not a tiny pen-sized wand can deliver the same results as professional-grade equipment. 

red light glowing at the end of a facial wand
I was skeptical that the skincare benefits SolaWave promises could pack into such a tiny device. Credit: RJ Andersen / Mashable

I put it to the test

Straight out of the box, I was surprised at how tiny the SolaWave was in my hand. Just over the size of a pen with a convenient swivel head, the tiny device uses “smart-touch activation” meaning it turns on and off when the ceramic head comes into contact with your skin. After charging the device according to the instructions in the package, it was time to get to work. 

While the SolaWave turns on immediately when it comes into contact with your skin, the company explains that it works best on hydrated skin. Rather than fuss around with finding the right product, I opted to stick with their recommended Renew Complex Activating Serum. With ingredients like blue tansy oil, hyaluronic acid, and Aloe vera, the serum is designed to help evenly distribute the microcurrent therapy across your skin, so I washed and dried my face, applied a thin layer of the serum, and got started.

How does it feel? 

I’m not going to lie, the first few seconds of swiping the SolaWave wand across my skin felt odd. I was expecting a stronger sensation due to the microcurrent, but it felt like a gentle tingling sensation spreading out from the smooth ceramic head of the device. Against my skin, the device felt warm — it gradually increased in temperature the longer I used it — without being hot or uncomfortable.

I started using the wand at the base of my neck, following the instructions in the package to glide it upward and outward as I gradually moved along each side of my face. During my first session, I started small — SolaWave recommends starting with a five-minute session, three to five times a week — and I found that I actually enjoyed the process.

It was super relaxing to use the device on my face and neck, and it almost felt like the device was making it easier for my skin to absorb the products I was using, so my skin felt way more hydrated than normal.

a bottle of serum
The SolaWave wand works best when paired with a serum with conductive ingredients. Credit: RJ Andersen / Mashable

But does it actually work? 

Immediately after using the red light therapy wand, I was surprised to find that I noticed a slight improvement in my skin. It wasn’t dramatic or anything — if I hadn’t taken a selfie earlier that evening, I probably wouldn’t have noticed — but there was a visible reduction in puffiness around my eyes, cheeks, and jawline.

Over the next two weeks, I diligently included the SolaWave in my skincare routine. I used it both morning and evening, typically right after washing my face and applying a toning essence and the Renew Complex serum, around five or six days a week. Eventually, I started extending my SolaWave sessions by a few minutes at a time — adding some focused attention to areas of my face that were holding tension, needed some extra de-puffing, or looked a little dehydrated — and I was surprised by how well it worked. 

By the end of my second week, my skin was definitely looking better: A few hormonal acne scars on my chin had faded, the redness in my cheeks went down, and I swore to my partner that a broken capillary on my cheek had completely disappeared. On days when my seasonal allergies had me waking up with puffy bags under my eyes, I was thrilled to discover that the SolaWave was a great way to quickly knock them out. While I didn’t notice a huge difference in fine lines or wrinkles (at 32, I only have a few fine lines on my face that are noticeable when I’m dehydrated) I was still shocked by how well the device worked. 

Is it worth it? 

Honestly, I’ve got to say yes, the SolaWave is worth it. I’ve seen several at-home skincare devices, including red light therapy masks and microcurrent facial devices, that cost anywhere from $200 to $500. Compared to these, the SolaWave advanced skincare wand’s $149 price tag is a breeze. It’s still a little more expensive than the beauty devices you might see on the shelf at Target, but considering how well it worked, it’s definitely worth the splurge.

If you want to save a few bucks, you can also swap out SolaWave’s Renew Complex serum with one of your own favorites. At $32 a bottle, it’s a little pricey compared to my favorite serums, and I didn’t notice much of a difference when I started experimenting with a few I already had on hand. Thankfully, the company’s website says it’s totally fine to swap in your own products — especially if they contain conductive ingredients to help make the most of the microcurrent technology — so you can try using it with products that you already know work well with your skin.

If you’re still on the fence? I’d recommend following SolaWave on social media or checking out the website. The company frequently offers sales on its products, so you might be able to save a bit of money by snagging a discount code on the website.

'Elvis' review: Baz Luhrmann's flashy musical biopic is nothing you'd expect, or would even want

Fri, 24 Jun 22 09:01:59 +0000

Austin Butler and Tom Hanks in

Elvis Presley, infamous for his swinging hips, iconic for his swaggering style and raw sex appeal, heralded as the King of Rock and Roll, deserves better than Elvis

Remarkably, Baz Luhrmann, the visionary behind such steamy and stupendous cinema as Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge!, has translated the life of Presley, whose indulgences included sex, drugs, and decadent junk food, into a bloated and flaccid bore. Determined to frustrate audiences, this bizarre drama goes off the rails at its very first step. 

Forget what you'd expect about a movie called Elvis. Forget what you might hope for from Baz Luhrmann. This movie is not a biopic about Elvis Presley, as it treats his life as a loose inspiration for a confounding exploration of a far darker (and far less adored or even famous) figure. Puzzlingly enough, the movie is not really a musical either. 

Sure, Luhrmann features Elvis classics amid the flood of songs that slip through its soundscape, some covered by new artists for a fresh edge. However, there are few musical numbers in which audiences might relish the spell-binding spectacle that Luhrmann's attachment might make you anticipate. Montages outnumber musical numbers, cutting the King's signature moves and bold stage presence into glittering confetti, flashy but hard to hold on to. Even his most pivotal performances will be undermined by reaction shots to Elvis's baffling focus: Colonel Tom Parker.

Tom Hanks is insufferable as Elvis's unreliable narrator. 

Lurhmann's vision of Presley is filtered through the morphine-addled, ego-centric perspective of Colonel Tom Parker, the business manager who was later blamed for the King's financial troubles, vices, and untimely demise. In a grating voiceover that Luhrmann slathers across the film’s duration, the Colonel declares he is not the villain the world sees him as. Truly, he insists, he was Elvis's maker. Parker is our unwanted guide through Presley's life, treating the man, the myth, the legend as if the King were Frankenstein's Monster, in need of the counsel of his mad inventor to survive the cruel world that gawks at him. 

Perhaps the casting of America's Dad as this odious figure was meant to urge us into trusting the Colonel, much as a naive Elvis does. However, Hanks’s folksy charms are swallowed by a clumsy fat suit, prosthetic jowls, and a dizzyingly marble-mouthed accent. (The actual Colonel sounded nothing like what Hanks is doing here, making this bouncy collision of — let's say Southern American and Dutch — all the more inexplicable.) Worse yet, Hanks plays the part as cartoonishly villainous, always lurking, lying, and leering. Beyond being an eyesore of performance, it makes Elvis seem an absolute rube. 

Elvis infantilizes its hero to praise him. 

Despite playing fast and very loose with the facts of Presley's life and presenting his story through the self-serving eyes of a con man, Elvis falls into the biopic pitfall of fawning over its hero. To the Colonel, Elvis is a benevolent bumpkin who loved his mama, his young wife, his Memphis Mafia buddies, and every single one of his fans. Bolstering this image, the Colonel — or more accurately Luhrmann and co-writers Sam Bromell and Craig Pearce — brush past the most problematic elements of Presley's life. For instance, the twentysomething musician's courtship of a 14-year-old Priscilla is treated as inexplicably wholesome, even as lustful fangirls batter at his bedroom window in a jealous frenzy. 

Also, Presley's whitewashing of Black culture — through his music, moves, and fashion sense — is gussied up as sincere adoration. Again and again, jubilant footage of Black people living their lives gives way to a close-up of a wide-eyed Elvis taking it all in, as if it's his for the taking. Kelvin Harrison Jr. makes the most of a minor role as B.B. King, a blues legend who is presented here as a guide for Elvis, explaining privilege and its power. Meanwhile, Yola, Shonka Dukureh, and Alton Mason get less screentime, playing Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Big Mama Thornton, and Little Richard respectively. Yet each brings such power and sensuality to their performances that they make this Elvis seem tame. 

Austin Butler gets the voice, but not the soul or sex appeal of Elvis Presley. 

As Elvis, Austin Butler does a superb impression of that signature voice and a capable job of imitating the physicality that set millions of fans' hearts aflame. He's a handsome man who looks terrific in, say, a pink suit and lace mesh shirt, but there's something missing that keeps him from fully realizing the scorching hotness of Elvis the Pelvis. A wildness is absent. Even in his most polished movies, Presley had this air of carnality and thereby danger. Even when he was singing Christmas songs, that sexy snarl of his lips had listeners lusting. 

Essentially, Butler's Elvis is too clean-cut to feel true to the persona of Presley. But perhaps that's Luhrmann's intention. In that endless lecturing voiceover, the Colonel is constantly regarding Elvis as a glossy golden goose, smoothing over the rougher bits that make him harder to sell. Perhaps Luhrmann is doing this too, trying to make the sensual sensationalism of Elvis seem quaint by today's standards. (As if hip-shaking from music idols still doesn't drive people every kind of wild.) 

Elvis isn't a musical or a proper biopic — so, what is it?

At two hours and 39 minutes, Elvis is an exhausting visit with an unreliable narrator whose version of history sanitizes and effectively neuters one of the most intriguing rags-to-riches rock 'n roll stories of all time. While the music of Presley plays throughout, priming audiences for exhilaration, Elvis never delivers the sort of satisfying spectacle we’ve come to expect from a Luhrmann vehicle. At best, what we get is scattershot, instead of “Come What May.”

There are moments of excellence, like Yola, Dukureh, and Mason's kinetic musical performances. Kodi Smit-McPhee, who recently awed critics for his performance in the subtle thriller The Power of the Dog, is refreshing fun as a beanpole country singer who comes alive under Elvis's free-swinging influence. The soundtrack rocks with tracks like Dukureh's rendition of "Hound Dog," segueing into Doja Cat's "Vegas." And though Elvis is too often inundated with busy split-screens, disembodied expositional dialogue, and montages that treat big moments like chores to be gotten through, Luhrmann does occasionally slow down for a simple visual pleasure, like the shot of a family praying in a back alley lit by resplendent moonglow. In these moments, there is glory and grace, but they feel too few and far between. 

Elvis is a case where more is less. 

Luhrmann is loved for his too-muchness and his bold musical choices, much as Presley was. So, this should have been a match made in Graceland. However, Luhrmann's Elvis is not interested in the man behind the legend. He is fascinated by how the Colonel could have conned the King, over and over for years. He is too in awe of Presley and his legacy to muddy it with complexity. Swept up in the glint of the leather and the bejeweled jumpsuits, Luhrmann overlooks the messy human who hid underneath. And so, he misses out on the heart that could have made his film truly spectacular.

Elvis is now in theaters.

Add a headlamp to your emergency kit for 21% off

Fri, 24 Jun 22 09:00:00 +0000

Person wearing headlamp lighting car trunk where they're opening backpack

TL;DR: As of June 24, the One80 LED Headlamp is on sale for just $50.99; it's usually worth $65, so that's a discount of 21%.


Whether you’re in tornado alley or live in a coastal town constantly threatened by hurricanes, it’s imperative to have an emergency kit at your disposal in case something bad happens. An emergency kit looks different for everyone, of course, but every kit should contain a few essentials: water, food, first aid, extra batteries, and a light, for starters. 

If your kit is lacking sufficient lighting, now’s a good time to invest in one, as the One80 LED Headlamp is on sale for 21% off. It’s lightweight, has a seven-hour battery life, and wide peripheral visibility, making it a solid addition to any emergency kit.

The One80 Headlamp is designed to stay in place with every step you take, preventing any obnoxious bouncing. It’s also equipped with 180-degree illumination, so it gives you a wide, vivid view of your surroundings with no blind spots. It is designed so you can get an accurate spotlight directed exactly where you need it, while keeping the full close-range, 180-degree illumination using the adjustable spotlight beam. The adjustable tilt also gives you a better view of obstacles on the ground. If you're trying to find your way around debris in the dark, this is a solid companion to have by your side.

Check it out:

Protected with a dustproof and waterproof design, and lined with 16 LEDs, you should be able to find your way through an emergency with vivid detail. And since it's so low-profile, you can squeeze it in your emergency kit with ease and bring it with you in case you get stuck in a bind on the go.

It’s regularly $65, but you can get it on sale for only $50.99. Considering forecasters are predicting a busier-than-usual hurricane season, it might be smart to stock up ASAP.

Prices subject to change.

Save $900 when you buy a refurbished MacBook Air

Fri, 24 Jun 22 09:00:00 +0000

Front and back view of silver laptop with mountain background

TL;DR: As of June 24, you can get a refurbished MacBook Air 13.3" Core i5, 1.4GHz 4GB RAM 128GB for just $295.99, when it would usually cost you $1,199. That's a whole 75% in savings.


Apple just announced a brand-new MacBook Air with an M2 chip to be released “next month” at WWDC 2022. However, reports say that the new laptop might be in short supply at launch. For those willing to drop at least $1,199 and wait for an unknown amount of time, the M2 MacBook Air will surely be worth it. But for those just looking for a new computer that’ll get the job done and won’t cost a fortune, you’re better off sitting this one out and opting for a refurbished model instead.

Thoroughly tested and verified to be in full working order, a refurbished model is certified to work. The only catch is that refurbished means pre-loved and it might have some cosmetic imperfections. A few bumps and scratches are not a big deal, though  — especially once you see the price. For a limited time, you can buy a refurbished MacBook Air for only $295.99 — that’s 75% off the original retail price

The refurbished MacBook Air in question is from 2014, has 128GB of flash storage, 4GB of RAM, a Core i5 1.4GHz processor, and an "integrated" Intel HD Graphics 5000 graphics processor. It weighs just 2.96 pounds, features a razor-thin, glossy, 13.3-inch widescreen display, and plenty of connectivity. You can add some external storage with two USB 3.0 ports and an SD card slot, plus connect your other accessories with Bluetooth 4.0 and more.

Because it's from 2014, it’s no longer eligible for hardware service by Apple, as it is considered obsolete. But it’s supported by ongoing OS updates and backed by a network of more than 5,000 Apple-certified repair locations you can count on if something happens. While it’s pre-loaded with macOS X Mavericks, it’s capable of upgrading to macOS Big Sur. And at only $295.99 (reg. $1,199), being obsolete is a detail you might be willing to overlook.

Prices subject to change.

Juice up 3 of your gadgets at once with this leather charging station on sale

Fri, 24 Jun 22 09:00:00 +0000

Phone and apple watch charging on brown pad

TL;DR: As of June 24, you can take 12% off this 3-in-1 Magnetic Leather Wireless Charger with the code CHARGE12, which brings its price down to $132 from $149.99.


Most typical charging stations just look like big gaudy tech on your counter, desk, or nightstand. They don’t blend in with your decor; they stick out like a clunky piece of plastic. The VogDuo 3-in-1 Magnetic Leather Wireless Charger, on the other hand, is a clutter-reducing charging station that’s just as stylish as it is functional. 

Handmade with caramel genuine leather, the VogDuo Charging Station blends in with its surroundings quite well. And at just six inches by four inches, it doesn’t take up any more space than it needs to. It’s MagSafe-compatible and equipped with a magnetic phone stand, a Qi-enabled spot, and a magnetic pop-out charger to hold your Apple Watch upright.

Completely customizable at any given moment, you can adjust the VogDuo to suit your charging needs. It’s retractable, so you can pull out the Apple Watch charging stand when necessary, then push it back in when it’s not. Plus, it offers 360-degree free rotation, so it’s highly adjustable for multiple purposes — whether you want to watch a video, take a video call, or read a recipe while your phone powers up.

Take a look:

With all of the proper protective functions in place, including overheating, over-voltage, and over-current protection, you don’t need to worry about your devices getting damaged while charging all at once. It was built to handle your whole arsenal.

Get a charger that adds to the aesthetic of your room, not distracts from it. The 3-in-1 Magnetic Leather Wireless Charger from VogDuo is a solid option. For Mashable readers, it's just $132 with code CHARGE12 at checkout. In the course of use, it will develop a distinctive patina,  giving it even more personality and style.

Prices subject to change.

Brown charging mat with black stand for phone and watch
Credit: Account VogDUO International Inc.

Save thousands on this AI-powered zero-gravity massage chair

Fri, 24 Jun 22 09:00:00 +0000

Person resting with eyes closed in navy massage chair

TL;DR: As of June 24, you can take 62% off a Electric Massage Chair with Bluetooth Music Headrest & U-Shaped Pillow and snag it for $2,999.99, when it would normally cost you $7,999.


"Sit back and relax" is a cliche term that people often use when telling you to let go of stress, but what if you can do it literally? On a comfy massage chair? With built-in speakers that play soothing music as you get your knots and tight muscles loosened? 

As it turns out, you don't have to take out another mortgage to invest in a quality massage chair that can help you let loose and relax. The Electric Massage Chair with Bluetooth Music Headrest and U-Shaped Pillow + LCD Touch can make for a great addition to your home, and for a limited time, you can grab it on sale for 62% off.

This innovative massage chair features a zero-gravity design that is built to take you to an entirely new relaxation level. What does zero-gravity mean, you ask? It's pretty much a feature that will give Chandler and Joey a run for their money. The zero-gravity button tilts the massage chair, making you feel as though you're weightless while you're suspended. It's the same technology NASA uses for its astronaut training program to help ease the stress off astronauts as they launch through the atmosphere. 

The chair is designed to deliver the healing power of airbags, working in a wave-like motion to loosen up muscle tension. It also automatically massages the whole body once turned on, and with the AIR color touch screen, you can pinpoint the areas most important to you for some extra TLC. Plus, with the Bluetooth 5.0 capability, you can listen to music while rejuvenating. 

Check out how it works:

Enjoy comfort and relaxation right at home with this zero-gravity massage chair. It usually retails for $7,999, but you can get it on sale for only $2,999.99 for a limited time.

Prices subject to change.

'The Black Phone' review: Ethan Hawke embodies fears of Stranger Danger generation 

Fri, 24 Jun 22 09:00:00 +0000

Ethan Hawke in

Typically, nostalgia is a mix of longing, joy, and melancholy. But when you grew up in the era of Stranger Danger, that longing might have a bloody raw edge, festered with lingering nightmares. The Black Phone calls to all those who remember fearing an unmarked van, the neighbors whispering, a bogeyman appearing at any moment to rip away your freedom, family, and life. A grim tale of a serial killer who targets kids, The Black Phone has some twisted ideas and clever turns. But does it rattle us like those long-ago fears once did? Nope. 

In the '70s, there was the horrendous true crime case of John Wayne Gacy, the Killer Clown. In the '80s, Stephen King spun his own version with his supernatural horror novel, It. Now, the kids who grew up in the shadow of such stories are making horror movies of their own. The Black Phone reunites Sinister's trifecta of talent: director Scott Derrickson, screenwriter C. Robert Cargill, and leading man Ethan Hawke. Together, they bring to life a short story by Joe Hill, aka Stephen King's son in blood and brand. While this creative collision might seem a perfect recipe for bone-chilling terror, The Black Phone proves infuriatingly undercooked. 

Hawke headlines as "the Grabber," a part-time magician who uses a black van and a balloon diversion to snatch boys off the streets of '70s suburban Colorado. However, the story centers on 13-year-old Finney (Mason Thames), a cowardly kid who seems the least likely to escape. Before him, the Grabber has chosen boys who were either known for being bad, tough, or athletic. Finney is none of these things. Regularly bullied, he cowers from violence and depends on his little sister Gwen (Madeleine McGraw) to save him. She'll throw fists, elbows, and f-bombs without having her pigtails fussed. But in the Grabber's basement, Finney is far from her reach, and so must depend on the dead boys who keep calling him on a disconnected telephone. 

Ethan Hawke is dazzling as a vicious masked killer. 

A masked man carries an unconscious child into a dank basement in "The Black Phone."
Credit: Universal Pictures

If you've been watching Moon Knight, you know Hawke can exude creep vibes even through a smile. Here, he takes his creep show a step further by covering his face for much of the film. When interacting with his captive, The Grabber wears alternating masks, chalk white with heinously twisted features. Each hints at a side of this volatile monster: jolly, punishing, unreadable. Yet beneath these staunch expressions, Hawke's voice runs wild in trills, laughs, and threats. The slipperiness from one mood to the next establishes Finney's desperate situation even better than the solidly squalid basement prison or the ghosts on the phone. 

Beyond the voice, Hawke employs a similarly mercurial physicality. One moment, his limbs waver loosely, like a party clown. They're rigid and still the next, brimming with the potential for a vicious blow. A scene in which he is sitting, silent and shirtless on a kitchen chair, is unnerving in part because of the mask, incongruous to the otherwise domestic scene, but mostly because of how his barrel chest sits hard and menacing, like a dragon's belly building fire to spew. 

Hill and Cargill's clever story is undone by Derrickson's lack of vision. 

By making Finney the least likely boy to survive, the tension is high from the end of act one. The screenplay then makes a grim game out of Finney's flustered attempts to escape, often aided by a cryptic phone call. The audience is invited along to uncover clues, potential tools, and cruel traps. All of this culminates in a David-versus-Goliath finale that is satisfying from a storytelling point of view, paying off all the setups with a wallop. However, a dance isn't just about the steps. It's about moving through them with energy and style. And Derrickson lacks both here. 

While conceptually it makes sense to have Finney be a bit of a weenie, it also runs the risk of making him annoying. Thames is tossed onto a dirty mattress and mostly asked to cry and whine in between bouts of whimpered (and clunky) dialogue with the dead. Finney becomes less relatable and more pitiable, which isn't fun to watch. It's grim. And it seems not even the film has the patience for him. The Black Phone oft abandons him to chase down other more compelling characters. 

Supporting players Madeleine McGraw and James Ransone steal scenes. 

Madeleine McGraw as Gwen in "The Black Phone."
Credit: Universal Pictures

Ransone, who also appeared in Sinister, pops up for a brief thread about a local weirdo who thinks he can unlock the case of this serial child snatcher. Hawke's intensity is matched by the frenetic energy of Ransone, who brings a lightness amid long stretches of deeply dark. The other bright spot in The Black Phone is McGraw as the curse-spitting child medium. 

Admittedly, it's a tiring cliche to introduce a little girl and have her key character trait be that she's young, girly, and SWEARS A BUNCH! It certainly grows tedious in The Black Phone, and feels as if Cargill is running out of ideas of what to do with Gwen. Still, McGraw spits profanity with a teeth-grit ferocity that makes the words sting (at first). More importantly, when she has scenes alone, grappling with weird visions and grief over her missing brother, this child actor shows vulnerability and a mature rage. It's a shame her storyline ultimately feels like filler.

Misplaced nostalgia ruins The Black Phone

With Finney's characterization paper-thin, the film relies less on the audience's attachment to the character than on the memory of this kind of time, this kind of place. For some of us, that will mean actually having been there, in an era when Stranger Danger lore was on the evening news and was the source of school gossip and sleepover horror stories. We're meant to see ourselves in Finney, young and unprepared for a world that is arbitrarily cruel. But Derrickson's gestures at setting are as vague as his character development, leading to a world that seems familiar yet not enveloping. 

A desaturated color palette makes The Black Phone feel like we're looking at faded photographs of long-forgotten acquaintances. The jump scares are often predictable, and in one instance pulled directly from one of Sinister's most memorable moments. This, plus plot elements that seem borrowed from Gacy and It, leads to a movie that feels like a remake, even if it isn't.

Bizarrely, the most daring choice Derrickson makes with his worldbuilding is showcasing kids hurling slurs at each other. Sure, such insults used to be pitched around much more freely. But we don't view them the same way today. So when Finney is repeatedly called an anti-gay slur, it's jarring — especially when one of the few things Cargill does establish about him before the abduction is his big crush on a girl. The slur, then, isn't meant to tell us about Finney's identity or interior life; it's just that he is being bullied by mean, slur-saying kids. Happy Pride month.

The Black Phone can be ignored. 

Mason Thames holds a black phone in "the Black Phone."
Credit: Universal Pictures

In the end, The Black Phone feels like a miss almost across the board. For years, Hill has been forging his own brand of horror with books and interesting adaptations (Horns, NOS4A2, Locke & Key). This is the weakest yet. A story that feels like he was playing in his father's sandbox to create, trying to formulate something grittier and his own, is puffed up with cheap '70s nostalgia for suburban naivete, old-school technology, and a more casual attitude toward kids cursing and hurling slurs. Cargill crafts some interesting turns, but the finale fumbles when its threads should knit together. And then there's Derrickson. 

Sinister was a savage character study of a man driven by ambition to self-destruction, peppered with ghoulish spectacle, but grounded by Hawke's compelling — and deeply human — hero. By flipping the script with The Black Phone, Derrickson gives us Hawke as a sensationally unsettling villain, robbing him of his good looks and natural charisma, and us of our comfort within those treasures. Terrific! However, the hero that Derrickson gives us instead is not as morally complex or captivating. The world the director builds is less claustrophobic than that haunted house, because the film keeps bursting out of the basement for chaotic comic relief. What we're left with is a shallowly dug exploration of murder and mayhem...as if Stranger Danger and Stephen King have taught us nothing but mundane homage. 

The Black Phone opens in theaters nationwide June 24.

'First Kill' is the trashy sapphic vampire teen drama of our dreams

Fri, 24 Jun 22 09:00:00 +0000

Juliette and Calliope share a sapphic moment in netflix teen vampire tv show

The Twilightcore hive is eating well this Pride Month, thanks to First Kill.

There's a new supernatural teen vampire romance to sink our teeth into, and it's more deliciously sapphic than any other mainstream teen drama on TV has ever dared to be. Among a certain cross-section of niches, First Kill quickly became one of the most hotly anticipated summer releases of 2022. From queer trash TV lovers to the multi-generational coalition of TikTokers who memed Twilight into an online renaissance, the show's trailer promised us everything we could want.

A Romeo and Juliet-style enemy-turned-lover, biracial, lesbian high school relationship caught between their feuding vampire and monster-hunter families? Say less, and just give us more already.

Then the reviews came in, with a 57 percent Rotten Tomatoes critics rating that didn't bode well for this Pride Month event. As we all cautiously started watching First Kill anyway though (since sapphic trash-lovers will almost always watch anything that at least attempts to give us what we want regardless of Tomatometrics), that wariness turned away from the show itself and toward everyone who obviously just did not Get It. If the 92 percent audience score is any indication, LGBTQ YA fiction fans are ready to die on any hill for Calliope "Cal" Burns (Imani Lewis) and Juliette Fairmont (Sarah Catherine Hook).

On Twitter, Variety's review got ratioed for a headline calling First Kill a "tired take" on "teen lesbian vampires," with folks piling on to rightfully call out the irony of labeling one of the only TV shows centered on a young lesbian love story "tired." Of course, there's a rich history of lesbian vampirism in literature, with Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla almost single-handedly kicking off the vampire gothic genre back in 1872. But that storied sapphic tradition has not carried over into mainstream TV or film with nearly enough frequency to warrant calling the Netflix show's nascent attempt "tired."

The oversight stings worse when you consider just how many recent shows about gay male relationships, like Heartstopper and Our Flag Means Death, receive near-unanimous critical praise for their revolutionary queer representation. I'm not saying First Kill is on the same level as either of those (particularly a show with a Taika Waititi HBO budget). But what you can't take away from First Kill is that it's something we don't often see on TV, for better and for worse.

Now, to be fair to the critics, Netflix's queer answer to heteronormative CW hits like Vampire Diaries and Teen Wolf is far from The Best in Show, even by the relatively low standards set by the supernatural teen TV drama genre.

Its production (particularly the completely goofy CGI monsters) is giving film-school-final-project-budget energy at best. The plot spins several webs of nonsense, while the script ambitiously overreaches toward lofty themes of marginalized persecution by using cringe allegorical terms like "monster-phobe" (an accusation wielded by a queer Black character in the name of being an "ally" to a white queer character, mind you). Like classic U-Haul lesbians, Cal and Juliette jump into the passions of everlasting love faster than their characters can develop as individuals.

The unavoidable truth is that First Kill isn't perfect. But you know what? It really, really doesn't have to be perfect in order to fulfill some of our deepest desire for women-loving-women representation, the kind we've craved like Edward Cullen getting his first whiff of Bella Swan in science class.

By the way, First Kill includes several references to Twilight, with a direct shout-out in the catchy opening credits song, and an almost shot-for-shot recreation of that infamously memed scene. Instead of biology, though, they're in English class and doing a lesson on Flannery O'Connor (which could very well be a nod to another pair of star-crossed lesbian lovers often erased from the mainstream discourse).

Juliette and Calliope recreate the 'Twilight' science class scene in 'First Kill'
Juliette at least doesn't look like she's angrily hiding a boner during this scene. Credit: netflix

As many TikToks from young LGBTQ folks watching First Kill capture, we as a community "love mess." No amount of low-quality CGI, poor scripting, or intentionally melodramatic acting will keep us from mindlessly consuming this delightfully sapphic trash like the army of queer garbage goblins we are.

Moreover, as TikToker lyinoptimist notes, First Kill is Blacker and queerer than any of us could've ever anticipated. Much of the promotional material made it seem like Cal, who is Black, would only play love interest to Juliette's protagonist in a story mainly focused on her white "legacy vampire" family — but the show quickly dispels that illusion.

Episode 2 makes it clear that they share the title of protagonist equally when Cal takes over the internal dialogue voice-over narration. Written in an intimate second-person POV, the "you" each of the lovers addresses is the other. The rest of the season goes on to reveal Cal's family of top-ranked monster-hunters as not only sharing equal plot significance, but also arguably carrying most of the show's emotional weight outside the main romance.

Overwrought, chaotic messiness is exactly what I want and expect from such an unabashedly sapphic teen drama.

If First Kill got even half the budget similar Netflix shows like The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (which features queer characters but does not center them as protagonists), most of its quality control issues would likely go away. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with its endearing and scintillating foundation — nothing that higher production budgets and values, and perhaps a longer runtime to flesh out the characters, wouldn't fix.

But even if it doesn't get all that, the underserved audience that First Kill reached seems like it couldn't care less about that. The high key camp of its middling quality is a bit queer in itself. Overwrought, chaotic messiness is exactly what I want and expect from such an unabashedly sapphic teen drama. For folks who always find themselves in the margins, you learn to forgive or even grow fond of the kind of fumbling growing pains that come with finally being given a spotlight for once.

So shine bright, First Kill, with the sparkly skin of a killer that would make even Edward Cullen quake.

First Kill is now streaming on Netflix.

Twitter now has a closed caption toggle on iOS and Android

Fri, 24 Jun 22 07:43:50 +0000

Twitter

From the "Why the heck wasn't this available ages ago" department: Twitter's closed caption toggle is now live on the company's iOS and Android apps.

Twitter started testing the closed captions toggle, showing up as a little "CC" button on a video with available captions, back in April.

Now, the toggle is available for everyone.

Note that the feature was already available on the web, but now it's also there on iOS and Android.

The toggle is persistent, meaning that when you use the "CC" button to turn on captions on one video, they'll stay on for other videos in your timeline if they have captions available.

Prior to this, captions would show depending on several factors, such as whether you've turned on closed captioning in the accessibility settings on your Android or iOS device, and whether your device's sound was turned off.

Trumpet just became the first Bloodhound to ever win the Westminster Dog Show

Fri, 24 Jun 22 07:33:56 +0000

Heather Helmer Buehner and Trumpet the Bloodhound sit in the winners circle after winning Best in Show at the annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show at the Lyndhurst Estate on June 22, 2022 in Tarrytown, New York.

Trumpet the Bloodhound has been crowned Best in Show at the 2022 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, becoming the first dog of his breed to ever be granted the title. It was already obvious that he is a very good boy, but now he has a ribbon to prove it.

This year almost 3,500 canine contestants competed in the Westminster Dog Show, with the judges gradually whittling them down in the lead-up to the final judging in Tarrytown, NY on Wednesday night. The large turnout was helped by the addition of two newly eligible breeds, which were officially recognised by the American Kennel Club for the first time this year: the Hungarian farm dog Mudi and the Russian Toy. This meant that in 2022 there were 211 different dog breeds which could be entered into the show.

Yet it was the Bloodhounds that came out on top this time, with Trumpet taking out first place while Winston the French Bulldog came runner-up. The Westminster Dog Show chooses its Best in Show from the group winners, meaning four-year-old Trumpet had to top the Hound group before also beating out the best of the Sporting, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding groups.

"There were seven beautiful dogs in that ring," said Trumpet's handler Heather Helmer Buehner. "I feel like sometimes a bloodhound might be a little bit of an underdog. So I was absolutely thrilled."

146th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is held in Tarrytown, New York, United States on June 22, 2022.
Credit: Tayfun Coskun / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
146th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is held in Tarrytown of New York, United States on June 22, 2022.
Credit: Tayfun Coskun / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
146th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is held in Tarrytown of New York, United States on June 22, 2022.
Credit: Tayfun Coskun / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Samoyed wins on Working Group in the 146th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in Tarrytown of New York, United States on June 22, 2022.
Credit: Tayfun Coskun / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
A Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever competes in the Sporting group judging event during the annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show at the Lyndhurst Estate on June 22, 2022 in Tarrytown, New York.
Credit: Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images
English Setter wins on Sporting Group in the 146th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in Tarrytown of New York, United States on June 22, 2022.
Credit: Tayfun Coskun / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
146th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is held in Tarrytown of New York, United States on June 22, 2022.
Credit: Tayfun Coskun / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
146th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is held in Tarrytown of New York, United States on June 22, 2022.
Credit: Tayfun Coskun / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
146th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is held in Tarrytown of New York, United States on June 22, 2022.
Credit: Tayfun Coskun / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
146th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is held in Tarrytown of New York, United States on June 22, 2022.
Credit: Tayfun Coskun / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
A Komondor competes in the ring during the Working Group judging at the 146th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at the Lyndhurst Mansion, in Tarrytown, New York, on June 22, 2022.
Credit: Timothy A. Clary / AFP via Getty Images
A Skye Terrier competes in the Terrier group judging event during the annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show at the Lyndhurst Estate on June 22, 2022 in Tarrytown, New York.
Credit: Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images
146th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is held in Tarrytown of New York, United States on June 22, 2022.
Credit: Tayfun Coskun / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
146th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is held in Tarrytown of New York, United States on June 22, 2022.
Credit: Tayfun Coskun / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

While Trumpet's floppy ears and robust wrinkles may not be to every dog lover's personal taste, the Westminster Dog Show's judges are fortunately more objective in their assessment. Entrants are assessed against a uniform, written "ideal" of what their specific breed should be, so having a preference for Greyhounds over Maltese Terriers should have no adverse impact on a dog's score.

Surprisingly, Trumpet is a relative newcomer to dog shows, having participated in his first competition at the beginning of this year. If this excellent start is any indication, this furry good boy is hopefully in for a long and successful career of strutting his stuff.

'Wordle' today: Here's the answer, hints for June 25

Fri, 24 Jun 22 07:12:17 +0000

Woman playing Wordle on her smartphone while travelling on an underground train.

Welcome, weekend Wordlers! It's Saturday and that means a brand new Wordle is imminent. If you get stuck and start to get nervous about your streak, we have some handy hints to nudge you towards the solution.

You may skip to the very end of this article for the answer to the June 25 Wordle, #371. In the meantime, scroll down for background on Wordle and a few tips, gentle hints, and strategies to help you every day.

Not the day you're after? You'll find the Wordle answer for June 24 here.

Wordle is a daily word game created by Josh Wardle, a Brooklyn-based software engineer who has developed something of a reputation as a crafter of interesting social experiments. Every day, the people of the internet are greeted with a fresh word puzzle that can only be solved — or not! — using a series of process-of-elimination clues. Fans have even created alternatives to Wordle inspired by the original forma, like music identification game Heardle, and variations like Dordle and Quordle that make you guess multiple words at once

Is there a Wordle app for Android or iOS? Is Wordle free?

You might find "Wordle" results in an iOS App Store or Google Play Store search, but don't mistake it for the real thing. Wordle, the original one Wardle came up with and kindly delivered unto the internet in late 2021, currently only exists as a browser game that lives right here. If you're playing it anywhere else, it's — at best — a shameless knock-off that's trying to capitalize on someone else's success.

And, yes, it's still free.

What's the best Wordle starting word?

We have some ideas to help you pick the perfect first move (or as close to perfect as you can get without just magically guessing the exact right word). Such tips include choosing a word with at least two different vowels in it, plus a few common consonants such as S, T, R, or N.

A subtle hint for the Saturday Wordle

It's an adjective.

The Wordle today is a 5-letter word that starts with...


...the letter 'b.'

What's the answer to the Wordle today?

OK...

Ready?

The answer is...

BEADY.

Reporting by Caitlin Welsh, Amanda Yeo and Adam Rosenberg contributed to this article.

'Rest easy, pal': Chris Evans tweets touching tribute to his iPhone 6S

Fri, 24 Jun 22 03:57:51 +0000

Chris Evans (R) poses with Buzz Lightyear at the UK Premiere of

Actor Chris Evans has revealed his iPhone 6S finally died, tweeting a tiny obituary to his loyal phone.

"RIP iPhone 6s," the Lightyear voice actor tweeted on Thursday. "We had a good run. I’ll miss your home button. I won’t miss the nightly battle of trying to get you to charge. Or your grainy pictures. Or your sudden drops from 100% battery, to 15%, to completely dead all within minutes. It was a wild ride. Rest easy, pal."

It's easy to understand why Evans might have been experiencing issues with his iPhone in the lead up to its untimely demise. Released Sept. 25, 2015, the iPhone 6S was part of Apple's 9th generation of phones, which was more than a few iterations ago now. The iPhone 6S is geriatric by smartphone standards, having been discontinued when Apple released its 12th generation of phones in 2018. We're currently in the 15th generation.

The iPhone 6S did have a few unexpected power issues when it was still fairly new, with Apple offering battery replacements in 2016. It's unclear whether Evans was among those that took up this offer. But even if his iPhone 6S had worked perfectly at the time, seven years of problem-free operation is asking a lot from any smartphone.

Despite the iPhone 6S' age, news that Evans hadn't upgraded his phone before now is unsurprising. While he may be an internationally famous actor who could probably afford to buy a new phone, Evans has never portrayed himself as someone who loves having the latest tech.

"Dear All Technology, Remember the 90’s when you just WORKED???" Evans tweeted in 2019. "I don’t need a 'smart' feature on my TV, thermostat, lights, music, refrigerator, security cameras, and f-ing car. You’re a major pain in all of our asses. You’re not worth it."

Some tech enthusiasts will literally queue up to be among the first to buy the latest new phone. In contrast, it seems Evans is a member of the cohort who sensibly choose to get the most out of their gadgetry before seeking an upgrade, and aren't bothered about using a phone that was discontinued four years ago.

Evans also gave a nod to his iPhone 6S's home button in his fond farewell. This feature was removed from Apple's flagship phones with the iPhone X in 2017, which may have been one influencing factor in the actor's decision not to upgrade. 

Fortunately for the MCU's first Captain America, Apple hasn't completely abandoned the home button. While the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro rely on Face ID for their biometric unlock, the third generation iPhone SE still uses the home button, and was released just this year as part of the current generation of phones.

The iPhone SE also shares a form factor with the iPhone 8, which is just a hair bigger than the iPhone 6S, while its internal hardware is more on par with the iPhone 13. Assuming Evans wants to stick with Apple's ecosystem, the iPhone SE seems like it'd be a pretty good pick for him, offering more power inside a familiar build.

Whatever he decides to go for, he might not have to decide straight away. Unless Evans has already dashed out to grab a new iPhone, there's a chance his faithful old 6S might have had a few last dying gasps in it: Evans' tribute tweet was sent via iPhone.

UPDATE: Jun. 24, 2022, 2:27 p.m. It seems Evans has indeed bought himself a new phone already, sharing a photo of the device on Instagram. It appears to be an iPhone 13 or 13 Pro, which makes sense. He's already proven he isn't much of a tech head, so it's reasonable that he'd simply reach for Apple's flagship phone. It's sad to think he could have kept his home button, but maybe he really is finally ready to move on.

'Wordle' today: Here's the answer, hints for June 24

Fri, 24 Jun 22 01:31:06 +0000

Wordle game displayed on a phone and a laptop screen

It's finally Friday again, and we're here to help you with Wordle #370 — if you get stuck and start to get nervous about your streak, we've got some tips and hints to nudge you towards the solution.

You can scroll to the very end of this article for the answer to the June 24 Wordle, or read on for a few tips and strategies to help you every day and some subtle hints for today's solution before you get to the spoiler down the bottom.

Wordle is a daily word game created by Josh Wardle, a Brooklyn-based software engineer who has developed something of a reputation as a crafter of interesting social experiments. Every day, the people of the internet are greeted with a fresh word puzzle that can only be solved — or not! — using a series of process-of-elimination clues.

Thousands of people around the globe now play this game each day, and fans have even created alternatives to Wordle inspired by the original format. This includes music identification game Heardle, Hollywood nerd faves Actorle and Framed, and variations like Dordle and Quordle that make you guess multiple words at once

In fact, the word puzzle game has proved so popular that the New York Times bought it earlier this year, and TikTok creators livestream themselves playing (which is surprisingly engrossing to watch).

Not the day you're after? You'll find the Wordle answer for June 23 here.

Look to the future! Here's where you'll find the Wordle answer and clues for June 25.

Is Wordle free?

You might find "Wordle" results in an iOS App Store or Google Play Store search, but don't mistake it for the real thing. Wordle, the original one Wardle came up with and kindly delivered unto the internet in late 2021, currently only exists as a browser game that lives right here. If you're playing it anywhere else, it's — at best — a shameless knock-off that's trying to capitalize on someone else's success.

What's the best Wordle starting word?

We have some ideas to help you pick the perfect first move (or as close to perfect as you can get without just magically guessing the exact right word). Such tips include choosing a word with at least two different vowels in it, plus a few common consonants such as S, T, R, or N.

What happened to the Wordle archive? Did the archive get taken down?

Yes, you used to be able to play the entire archive of past puzzles, but the archive was taken down at the request of the New York Times, according to the site.

A subtle hint for the Wordle today:

It's a verb normally associated with a very powerful entity (and also the name of a video game).

What's the answer to Wordle on June 24?

Ready?

OK.

The answer to the Wordle today is....

SMITE.

Not familiar with this word? The meaning of SMITE is to hit or strike, but it's often used in old-fashioned contexts, most often meaning to be struck or struck down by the gods. (Think Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty: "Smite me, almighty smiter!)

Reporting by Caitlin Welsh, Amanda Yeo and Adam Rosenberg contributed to this article.

The best Kindle deals at Amazon ahead of Prime Day

Thu, 23 Jun 22 21:09:01 +0000

Kindle and iPhone lying on top of canvas bag with glasses hooked onto the front

The best early Prime Day Kindle deals:

  • BEST DEAL: The Kindle Paperwhite (2018) is everything you need in an e-reader, and it's waterproof to boot — $69.99 $129.99 (save 46%)

  • BEST REFURBISHED OPTION: This Certified Refurbished Kindle (the no-frills 10th-gen model released in 2019) is just as functional as a new one and costs half as much — $39.99 $79.99 (Prime members save 50%)

  • BEST ESSENTIALS BUNDLE: The Kindle Essentials Bundle features the Paperwhite (2018) version as well as a fabric cover to protect your screen and a power adapter — $124.97 $139.97 (save 10%)

  • BEST SPLURGE BUNDLE: The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition Essentials Bundle includes a fabric cover and charging stand with the best Kindle yet, featuring automatically adjusted self-lighting and wireless charging — $229.97 $249.97 (save 8%)


If you're adding books to your reading list way faster than you're finishing them, you might want to try an e-reader. Its convenience might give you one fewer reason to flake on your annual reading goals — plus, there's nothing like seeing that Goodreads number go up.

Prime Day doesn't start until July 12, but there are a few solid Kindle deals on Amazon already. The retail giant has been particularly generous with its own devices, including Fire TVs, gaming controllers, and fitness trackers.

Though the latest Kindle discounts are limited mostly to bundles along with a few older models, last year for Prime Day every Kindle was on sale, so it's likely that we'll see more and more of the line featured as we head toward July 12 and 13.

Check out some of our favorites below.

BEST DEAL: Kindle Paperwhite (2018) — $69.99

While not its newest model, Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite from pre-pandemic years was a solid choice back then, and still is. In Mashable's review of it at the time, we noted its thin and light design, handy features like instant word search (for those fancy-schmancy terms) and family libraries.

It was also the first Kindle to let you sync your reading/playing progress across other Kindles and devices with Audible, so that you can start reading a book in bed one night and pick up the audio version the next morning on your commute.

The Kindle Paperwhite comes in four colors and is also waterproof, so you can read by the pool without fear of splash-back.

BEST REFURBISHED OPTION: Certified Refurbished Kindle — $39.99

If you don't mind not being the first person to own your Kindle, Amazon has an amazing Prime Savings deal for you — an OG Kindle for more than half off, for Prime members only.

This is the 10th-gen Kindle, which was released in 2019. It's both older and less high-tech than the Paperwhite: There's no waterproofing, anti-reflection coating, or search browser, but it's smaller and lighter. Plus, why not save a perfectly good device?

BEST ESSENTIALS BUNDLE: Kindle Essentials Bundle — $124.97

Although Kindle Essentials Bundles can include a bunch of different covers — printed, leather, cork — our pick is the one with the fabric cover. It's a mere $5 more than the printed version but much cuter, significantly less expensive than either leather or cork, and comes in four colors to seal the deal.

The bundle comes with a power adapter and a Kindle cover designed by Amazon to securely attach and modify for easy reading and grip. The devices recognizes when the cover is on, and goes to sleep to conserve battery, waking up automatically when it's folded back.

The Kindle included is the 10th-gen, no-frills-but-functional model mentioned above.

BEST SPLURGE BUNDLE: Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition Essentials Bundle — $229.97

The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition is the best in the game right now, as our review describes. Besides standard upgrades like a longer-lasting battery, faster processing speed, and a USB-C port, it's also got wireless charging, more memory, and an automatically-adjusting front light (and warm light option).

Its 300 ppi glare-free display also claims to read like real paper, even in direct sunlight, which is no small feat. As the upgraded version, the Paperwhite Signature also only comes in WiFi-enabled form, so you don't have to worry about forgetting to download books before you tote your device around.

The bundle includes a fabric cover (in just the one color this time) and, unlike previous Kindles, a wireless charging dock that also doubles as a stand for when you don't even want to hold the Kindle up to read.

Five planets align for first time in 18 years

Thu, 23 Jun 22 20:33:25 +0000

planets

For the first time in 18 years, you can see five planets in the sky at the same time. Set your alarms for early morning skywatching June 24.

Meet DALL-E 2, the AI program generating photorealistic images from text descriptions

Thu, 23 Jun 22 18:22:26 +0000

Two images generated by the AI program DALL-E 2. One of a futuristic Tokyo with waterfalls and the other an image of New York City overgrown with vegetation.

Developed by OpenAI, DALL-E is an AI program trained to generate images from text descriptions. It was originally launched back in January of 2021, but now the second generation of the artificial intelligence system, DALL-E 2 is in the works. DALL-E 2 is not yet publicly available, but features some impressive new upgrades including a 4x greater image resolution allowing it to generate photorealistic images.

Lena Dunham's first 'Sharp Stick' trailer spotlights sex talk and Jon Bernthal's bare chest

Thu, 23 Jun 22 17:22:34 +0000

A still from the movie

If you've been waiting to see what Lena Dunham would get up to next in film and TV, today's your day.

The first trailer for Sharp Stick is here. Dunham directed the 2022 Sundance entry, which stars Kristine Froseth as Sarah Jo, a sensitive and wide-eyed 26-year-old caregiver from Los Angeles who's just trying to find her way. That uncertainty leads her right into the arms and bare chest of her married boss (Jon Bernthal) and the chaotic life lessons that follow.

Sharp Stick stars Froseth, Bernthal, Dunham, Luka Sabbat, Scott Speedman, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Taylour Paige, and Jennifer Jason Leigh. It's set for a limited release in New York and Los Angeles on July 29, followed by a wide release on Aug. 5.

Snag a vac with LiDAR mapping for under $200, plus more robot vacuum deals this week

Thu, 23 Jun 22 16:44:05 +0000

Roomba j7+ on auto empty dock

UPDATE: Jun. 23, 2022, 12:45 p.m. EDT This story has been updated to include the best deals on robot vacuums from iRobot, Shark, Roborock, and more.

We've compiled the best deals on robot vacuums from brands like iRobot, Shark, and Ecovacs. Here are the ones to grab as of June 23:

  • BEST BUDGET DEAL: The Wyze Robot Vacuum is the rare ultra-affordable pick that can be sent to specific rooms — $165 $329 (save $164)

  • BEST SELF-EMPTYING DEAL: The Shark IQ RV1002AE cleans competently, self-empties, and offers zone cleaning — $299.99 $599.99 (save $300)

  • BEST ROBOT VACUUM/MOP DEAL: The Roborock S6 Pure can sweep and scrub specific rooms for less than $400 — $359.99 $599.99 (save $240)


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

Robot vacuums under $200

Why we like it

Roombas generally don't have the ability to map and clean specific rooms until around the $500 price point. That's what makes the Wyze vacuum so impressive. Its LiDAR tower emits 2,016 laser pointers every second to generate a floor plan of your home. On the app, you can edit walls or re-label areas, or create a schedule.

More robot vacuums under $200

Robot vacuums under $500

Why we like it

Shark's largest self-emptying dock can hold 45 days of dust bin refuse before you'll need to deal with it.  The vacuum itself maps out your home, then follows that map with methodical row-by-row sweeping. In the Shark app, you can select specific rooms to clean.

More robot vacuums under $500

Robot vacuums under $800

Why we like it

Amazon's almost 30% discount on Samsung's Jet Bot+ is a gem of a find compared to the full price listed on Samsung's own website. The Jet Bot+ uses LiDAR to map your home and cleans by identifying the type of surface and amount of dust it's dealing with. The compact Clean Station holds up to a month's worth of debris.

Robot vacuum and mop hybrids and dedicated robot mops

Why we like it:

Opting for a vacuum with LiDAR mapping is a smart move for floor plans more complicated than a one-bedroom apartment. The Roborock S5 Max solves bumper car woes by remembering the layout of each floor of your home and steering clear of the virtual boundaries you set. It also brings mopping to the table, which the cheaper S4 Max does not.

More hybrids and robot mops on sale

Are robot vacuums worth it?

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

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

What to consider when buying a robot vacuum

  • Suction power: A vacuum is the one purchase that you hope sucks a lot. Suction power is typically measured in Pascals (Pa), with most current vacs ranging between 1,500 Pa and 3,000 Pa. Stronger sucking will be needed to pick up heavier pieces of debris (be sure to set a no-go zone around Legos) and to pull matted-down pet hair from rugs.

  • Floor type: Carpeting and high pile rugs will probably require stronger suction than hard floors, as well as special features like an extra-wide or self-cleaning brush roll to prevent hair from wrapping and clogging. Folks in homes with multiple floor types might consider a bigger, sturdier robot vacuum that can hurl itself and its wheels over mats, rugs, and transitions from carpet to hard floors.

  • Automatic emptying: Because robot vacuums are typically under four inches tall, their onboard dust bins are also small — which means they frequently require emptying. (Dustbins fill up particularly quickly in homes with pets.) A self-emptying vacuum takes that job out of your hands, emptying itself into a larger dustbin in its charging dock. These larger bins can typically hold weeks of dirt without needing to be cleaned or dumped out.

  • Home layout: Every robot vacuum is equipped with sensors and drop detection. But if your home has lots of rooms, lots of turns, or lots of close-together furniture, you'll have fewer navigation issues with an advanced model that uses intelligent mapping to remember exactly how your home is laid out, including labeling of specific rooms, mental notes of staircases, and ability to deploy zone cleaning.

  • Low-profile furniture: No one should have to be scared about what's accumulated under their couch over the past year. A robot vacuum measuring three inches or less in height should be able to scoot under most low-hanging couches and beds.

  • Battery life and square footage: One of the main complaints people have about their robot vacuum is that it craps out in the middle of the floor. Larger spaces require more time to clean, and it all depends on how annoyed you'll be if it only finishes a few rooms at a time. Average run times for the list below range between 90 and 200 minutes, which translate to about 500 and 2,800 square feet covered on one charge.

  • App control: WiFi-enabled robot vacuums can be synced with a smartphone app to control scheduling, manual start, cleaning settings, as well as telling your vac to make its rounds when you're not home. Low-end models that don't connect to WiFi will usually come with a separate remote. If you're used to asking Alexa or Google to turn off the lights or tell you the weather, a model with voice integration will blend in nicely.

Watch the spicy trailer for Netflix's 'How to Build a Sex Room'

Thu, 23 Jun 22 16:18:20 +0000

woman lying on elbows in foreground with husband and designer Melanie Rose in background

"They say you never know what goes on behind closed doors," says designer Melanie Rose in the trailer for Netflix's upcoming series How To Build a Sex Room. "Ooh, but I do."

Rose has been designing luxury homes for over 15 years, she explains in the trailer. When a client asked if she's ever designed a sex room, she thought, "Why not?" Thus began the venture of creating lavish, romantic (and sometimes kinky) spaces for couples. The reality TV series will follow Rose, her contractor Mike, and several couples as Rose makes their sexy interior dreams come true.

How To Build a Sex Room follows a recent trend of sex-related Netflix reality shows, such as Sex, Love, and Goop and The Principles of Pleasure. While those focused on education and mythbusting, this show seems to combine sexiness with a home improvement vibe. For those who love both erotica and HGTV, this one's for you.

How To Build a Sex Room debuts on Netflix on July 8.

Woman saved from hostage situation after leaving plea for help on GrubHub order

Thu, 23 Jun 22 16:10:58 +0000

GrubHub

Employees at the Chipper Truck Cafe in Yonkers, New York received an odd delivery order through GrubHub on Sunday. And that order led to the rescue of a woman who was being held hostage in the Bronx.

The order looked normal at first. But, along with an Irish breakfast sandwich and a hamburger, there was a note left by a customer through the online food ordering and delivery service that's popular in the city.

"Please call the police his going to call me when u delivered come with the cones please don't make it obvious," the note read, left in the "additional instructions" section of the GrubHub order. 

Usually, those additional instructions provide the establishment with custom details for an order or delivery drivers with specific information on where to leave the food. This one was asking for the restaurant to send help.

The workers called the owner of the restaurant and made them aware of the situation before calling 911. The GrubHub order was placed at 5 am ET, according to a Facebook post by the Chipper Truck Cafe. Police arrived at the location and a 24-year-old woman was saved from the apartment she was being held in about an hour after the GrubHub order was placed. NBC News reports. The woman met Royal online and was taken captive after the two met for a date.

According to NBC News, the police arrested 32-year-old Kemoy Royal on charges of "rape, strangulation, criminal sex act, unlawful imprisonment, menacing, assault, criminal possession of a weapon and sexual abuse." Royal was also charged with "attempted rape, sexual abuse and assault" of another woman.

"Every time we see a simple but extraordinary act like this, we are amazed by how our partners positively impact their communities," GrubHub said in a statement provided to Mashable.

GrubHub tells Mashable that company COO Eric Ferguson reached out to Chipper Truck Cafe on Thursday morning and offered $5,000 to the restaurant as a way to recognize them for their quick thinking.

The Roomba 676 robot vacuum is less than $200 at Walmart

Thu, 23 Jun 22 16:01:24 +0000

roomba 676 with smartphone app

SAVE $148: There's no need to spend a small fortune on clean floors. The iRobot Roomba 676 robot vacuum is on sale for only $177 at Walmart as of June 23 — that's about 46% in savings.


From emptying the dishwasher to dusting the ceiling fans, your list of chores can feel overwhelming. Take a load off this season and recruit a robot vacuum — it won't make your whole list go away, but it will clean your floors.

The iRobot Roomba 676 robot vacuum will only cost you $177 at Walmart as of June 23. That's $148 off its suggested retail price of $324.99 and the same record-low price we saw during last year's Black Friday shopping season.

Part of iRobot's entry-level 600 series, the Roomba 676 offers a standard clean to keep floors tidy on a daily basis. It uses a three-stage cleaning system to lift dirt, dust, and debris from carpets and hard floors alike, while an edge-sweeping brush tackles the corners and edges like a champ. And its "Dirt Detect" technology allows the 676 to double down on cleaning the dirtiest areas in your home.

While it doesn't have a self-emptying dock, fancy navigation, or top-of-the-line suction, it is a solid everyday vacuum — more than OK for daily cleans.

'Marcel the Shell with Shoes On' review: Cutesy meme becomes cozy meditation on loss

Thu, 23 Jun 22 15:20:20 +0000

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On sits on a laptop computer.

Are you ready for a shell with a googly eye to make you cry? I wasn't.

Sure, I remember the hoopla that arose in 2010 (yes, 12 years ago), when Marcel the Shell with Shoes On became a YouTube sensation and a twee meme. But frankly, I never got the appeal of the little critter, who mumbled about being small and the big world he didn't understand. All these years later though, Marcel is back with a feature film and a mindful, willfully silly exploration of loss that had even this hard-shelled critic cracking up and breaking down. 

Like the YouTube shorts, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On centers on conversations between the titular mollusk and a curious documentarian. In the movie, these exchanges blossom into a quest to search for Marcel's long-lost family, who'd been scattered to the winds through a cruel twist of fate. Fascinated but also driven to help, the documentarian uploads videos of Marcel online, hoping internet attention will yield search results. Along the way, many adorable shenanigans occur, involving pesky dogs, a rolling tennis ball, his beloved grandma Connie (voiced by Isabella Rossellini), and 60 Minutes' television journalist Lesley Stahl. Yet amid these bursts of playful fun, there are tender tangles of loss. 

There's the loss of Marcel's family, but other avenues of grief surface. His grandmother is growing frail and Marcel's tiny voice trembles as he tries to shield them both from the inevitable. But beyond this, there's a grief that plays with the miracle of this movie's creation. To explain that, let's take a step back. 

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On contains a meta level of loss.

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On and his grandmother
Credit: A24

Originally, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On was a joint project between comedian Jenny Slate and her future husband, Dean Fleischer-Camp. He was the inquisitive "documentarian," and she was the plucky shell. Since then, Slate and Fleischer-Camp have divorced. She had a very public romance with Chris Evans, then went on to marry someone else in 2021. (12 years is a long time.) For Fleischer-Camp's part, his private life has been less public. Nonetheless, life undeniably moves on. And yet, here he is, returning not only to this collaboration but also to the role of a documentarian. And in Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Dean the documentarian meets Marcel because he's going through a break-up, necessitating the rental of this shell-inhabited Airbnb. It's hard not to see it as a nod to he and Slate's own history.

So, in a sense, both Marcel and documentarian Dean are grappling with how loss can radically change their respective worlds. In that, they found each other and a friendship that inspired both to open up and grow. Because no matter how much we lose, no matter how hard it hits, no matter how much it hurts, the sun will rise, the moon will set, and life will go on whether we like it or not. 

It's a gentle promise that life can be hard and ridiculous, but isn't there something wondrous in that? 

"A space in my heart gets bigger and louder every day," Marcel says to explain the gnawing grief of being wretched from his loved ones. But as he says this, Dean is at his side. And while the image is pleasantly ridiculous, a sneakered shell next to a towering hipster intellectual, it's heartwarming. It's a gentle promise that life can be hard and ridiculous, but isn't there something wondrous in that? 

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On reflects on fame and internet fandom.

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On and Dean Fleischer-Camp as himself.
Credit: A24

In this journey, Fleischer-Camp, who also directed and co-wrote the screenplay with Elisabeth Holm and Nick Paley, pokes at internet fame's double-edged sword. Fans who love Marcel become at first a pleasure, then a pain as their fandom becomes territorial, disrupting his quiet life. "It's an audience," Marcel scolds a cajoling Dean, "not a community." This wariness does not dip into bitterness over Marcel's real-world origins. But it is a smarting contrast to so much of the movie's sweetness, which urges audiences to consider what lies beneath such a sharp remark.

Already online, there's been some backlash against the movie's perceived earnestness, assumed to be sickening and patronizing to its adult audience. First off, if a grown-up movie wants to be silly and sweet unrelentingly, that's how you get Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, which is superb cinema. Secondly, despite what its detractors have assumed (sight unseen, as far as I can tell), Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is not an incessantly nice movie meant to swaddle adults in its nostalgia and cuteness. Slate and Fleischer-Camp might lure us in with the familiar hook of a cuddly mollusk who muses about lint balls and coos about a "sad type of idiot." But beyond that familiarity, they delve into troubling waters of what growing up and growing old brings on. Troubles we can't predict. Losses we can't control. Grief we can't escape, even if you happen to be a plucky shell with shoes on. 

Despite what its detractors have assumed...'Marcel' is not an incessantly nice movie meant to swaddle adults in its nostalgia and cuteness.

In the end, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is more than the sum of its quirks. Sure, A24 and the feature film upgrade mean more articulated animation and some celebrity cameos. But beneath the surface of the glossy glow-up, Marcel has matured. Fleischer-Camp and Slate have joined forces to share a layered story that urges us to laugh, and cry, and maybe find the inspiration not to take life so seriously. Take splendor in the sweet, the silly, and even the sad, and you'll relish Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. 

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On opens in limited release June 22; expands nationwide July 15.

'Lightyear' features Pixar's best montage since 'Up'

Thu, 23 Jun 22 15:17:28 +0000

A man in a space suit sits in a cockpit while space flashes by around him.

Welcome to Thanks, I Love It, our series highlighting something onscreen we're obsessed with this week.


Pixar has a knack for creating montages that absolutely wreck you emotionally. Think the sweet but lonely sequence where Wall-E takes care of a hibernating Eve, or Joe Gardner's flashbacks to his life on Earth in Soul. And it's impossible to forget the greatest of all Pixar montages: Carl and Ellie's married life in Up. This streak of tearjerking Pixar montages continues in the sci-fi adventure Lightyear.

A quasi-prequel to Toy Story, this film's first act sees Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Chris Evans) and the Space Rangers stranded on an unknown planet. The rest of his crew, including his friend and commander Alisha Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba), build a settlement, but Buzz throws himself into test flights that he hopes will fix their hyperdrive and allow them all to go home. However, in the relatively short time he's gone in space, approximately four years pass on the planet. So while Alisha matures and starts a family, Buzz stays the same age.

Lightyear's montage deftly consolidates all this information into a series of short, moving vignettes. Again and again, Buzz flies out into space, and again and again, he fails. Every time he returns, he checks in with an aging Alisha. We see her get engaged, then married to her wife Kiko. They have a son and celebrate his graduation. The family invites Buzz to their 40th wedding anniversary, where that once-cut gay kiss occurs. Then, after one flight, Buzz returns and finds Alisha's room empty. It's a real punch to the gut, and one that I can't help but compare to the moment in Up when you realize Ellie has passed away.

Both Lightyear's and Up's montages trace the relationships between two characters over time. So, it's devastating when you realize that one of those characters is gone. It's also a testament to both Lightyear and Up's storytelling capabilities that both films are able to squeeze an entire life — and the impact of its loss — into such a short amount of time.

To learn more about how Lightyear stuck the landing on its pivotal montage, Mashable spoke to the film's director and co-writer Angus MacLane and composer Michael Giacchino.

Getting the Lightyear montage exactly right

A man in a space suit smiles at a woman in a blue shirt who extends her finger towards him.
Lightyear and Hawthorne, an iconic duo. Credit: Pixar

When it came to fine-tuning the Lightyear montage, MacLane decided that less was more. "The montage actually used to include more," MacLane told Mashable over a Zoom interview. "There were check-ins with Sox [voiced by Peter Sohn], and you saw more of Alisha's life, but it ended up being the wrong rhythm for how much the audience could digest for that moment. It was a lot of trial and error."

This trial and error included cutting assets that would have been too complicated or taken too long to animate. For example, the original plan for the montage included different iterations of autopilot I.V.A.N. as time went on. "It wasn't cost-effective to do different shaped I.V.A.N.s only for one-shot for a few frames. That would take forever," MacLane said. He noted that one of the biggest challenges of this montage was the sheer number of shots and assets within them. So, it was important to streamline the sequence while keeping the story's main focus intact.

That focus is on Buzz's spaceflights and his brief glimpses of Alisha's life on the planet. As Buzz watches the arc of Alisha's life play out in flashes, we see his panic that he may not be able to get her and the rest of the crew off-planet. But we also see just how happy Alisha is in this unexpected life path. As she notes to Buzz before the montage kicks off, she may never have met Kiko if the mission had gone according to plan.

The juxtaposition of Alisha's happiness and Buzz's frustration is bittersweet, yet it's the perfect way to demonstrate just how differently time is working for both of them.

How to score a pitch-perfect Pixar montage

A man in a spacesuit sits in the cockpit of a spaceship.
Buzz sets out on another test flight. Credit: Pixar

Adding another layer to the effectiveness of this montage is Michael Giacchino's score. Giacchino is no stranger to composing music for iconic Pixar montages, having scored Up and its "Married Life" sequence. However, for Lightyear, Giacchino found himself in a very different emotional mindset.

"You always try to identify what is going on emotionally with these characters, and in this case, there was a desperation involved in what Buzz was trying to do," Giacchino told Mashable over Zoom. "With Up it was a very different thing. It was a much more melancholy and nostalgic look at a person's life. [Buzz] was somebody who was desperately trying to save the lives of the people around him, and he had this immense weight on his shoulders."

If you listen to the score from this scene — "Mission Perpetual" on the Lightyear soundtrack — that desperation comes through, building more and more as the song goes on. What starts as a hopeful mission becomes layered with frantic urgency. By the end, you feel like you're straining to reach an unreachable goal right alongside Buzz.

"I wanted to make sure that [the score conveyed] not only the sadness of missing all of these years of the people who are closest to you in your life," Giacchino said, "But the desperation of trying to fix it before it's too late for them."

If that sounds heavy, that's because it is! This montage and the accompanying music carry a lot of emotional weight. You feel the full impact of that in the sudden silence that follows Buzz discovering Alisha is gone, and then in the ensuing scene where he processes her death ("The Lone Space Ranger" on the Lightyear soundtrack). It's proof that Pixar's montage game — and its ability to break us during the first act of its movies — remains unbeatable.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to listen to "Mission Perpetual" and have an existential crisis.

Lightyear is now in theaters.

Add new shades to your rotation with a huge GlassesUSA sale

Thu, 23 Jun 22 15:03:49 +0000

Hilary Duff wearing glasses

Save 40% on your entire order, plus a treat: Through June 27, GlassesUSA is offering 40% off all orders as well as a rare 20% discount on all designer frames from Ray-Ban, Prada, Oakley, and more.


Planning a summer wardrobe is hard when mercurial gas prices could throw a wrench in travel plans at any moment.

But you know what goes with everything? Glasses. Grab a fun new pair of regular eyeglasses, blue light blockers, or sunglasses at GlassesUSA's 40% off sale. (That 40% applies to your entire order.)

Sales on frames often exclude designer frames completely, but through June 27, you can also score a pair of Ray-Bans or Gucci shades for 20% off.

From oversized to cat eye to your classic round or rectangle shape, GlassesUSA has options. With such a lenient send-back policy — free shipping and returns, plus your choice of exchange, refund, or store credit — there's no reason not to experiment with a few designs (and maybe a fun colorful tortoiseshell).

New Amazon Alexa feature will creepily mimic dead loved one's voices

Thu, 23 Jun 22 14:57:07 +0000

Image of Amazon voice assistant device on a table

Your dead loved ones are never really gone, they're just trapped inside Amazon's voice-assisted devices.

Wednesday, at Amazon's conference re:MARS (machine learning, automation, robotics, and space) Rohit Prasad, SVP and head scientist of Alexa AI announced Alexa's new supernatural talent: the ability to mimic someone's voice using less than a minute of recording.

A spokesperson said in an email this is something Amazon has been exploring based on recent advancements in TTS (text-to-speech) technology. Amazon didn't have a specific timeline to share, only that is it something it is currently working on.

Prasad described the voices of dead loved ones as a primary use case for this feature citing attributes of empathy and affect as keys to building trust with a companion, in this case, an AI-powered device. "These attributes have become even more important in the times of the ongoing pandemic when so many of us have lost someone we love," said Prasad. "While AI can't eliminate that pain of loss it can definitely make their memories last."

In the demo, a young boy is seen lying on the couch and flipping through a book. He then asks, "Alexa can Grandma finish reading me the Wizard of Oz." Alexa says, "OK," and Grandma's voice starts reading as the boy happily listens while thumbing through the book.

Something tells me not everyone would react so calmly when they hear the voice of a dead loved one through an AI device.

Snag a pair of Amazon's smart glasses on sale ahead of Prime Day

Thu, 23 Jun 22 14:48:12 +0000

Man wearing Amazon Echo Frames

SAVE $150: As of June 23, Amazon's high-tech Echo Frames are a cool $150 off the original price ahead of Prime Day. Prime members can grab a pair for just $99.99.


Are you an early adopter of the latest and greatest tech? Have you ever wanted to cosplay as agent Ethan Hunt after watching Mission: Impossible one too many times? If you said yes to either or both, we think you may be the type of person who needs a pair of smart eyeglasses in their life.

Amazon is offering its smart Echo Frames to Prime members for $150 off their original price before Prime Day officially begins on July 12. Why wait until the big day? Snag a pair now and lock in the deal. Ethan Hunt would do it.

What do the Echo Frames do, exactly? Well, lots of things. They can basically do most things an Alexa smart speaker can do, like play music, set reminders, make calls, tell you the weather forecast, and more. The coolest part, though, is that you can see notifications as they come in on the lenses of your glasses. Welcome to the future. Also, they have built-in X-ray vision. (OK, that part isn't true.)

Amazon will give you a $20 Prime Day credit just for uploading a photo

Thu, 23 Jun 22 14:37:01 +0000

a close-up of a woman with light green nails scrolling through the amazon photos app on an iphone. a cactus and a notebook sit on an orange table next to her hands

Free money alert: You can scoop up a $20 credit for Prime Day just by trying Amazon Photos for the first time at some point through July 8.

To participate, simply download and boot up the free Amazon Photos app (available on desktop, iOS, and Android). Once you're signed in, all you need to do is upload at least one picture and turn the app's Auto-Save feature to automatically back it up. Boom. Done.

Amazon will send you an email within four days to confirm that the credit has been applied to your account, and to provide instructions on how to redeem it come Prime Day (which is on July 12 and 13 this year). You'll be able to put it toward any $40-plus purchase of products sold by Amazon.com or Amazon.com Services LLC — look for "sold by Amazon.com" or "sold by Amazon.com Services LLC" under the "Add to Cart" button in the right-hand column of product pages.

Amazon Photos is available for anyone with an Amazon account (though you're limited to 5GB of storage without a Prime membership), so feel free to keep using it even when you're doing securing that $20 credit. Beyond cloud backups, the app can also be used to order prints and personalize Echo Show and Fire TV devices with your snapshots.

This is just one of many ways you can earn free Prime Day credits this year: Amazon is also doling them out to people who see Lightyear or Elvis in theaters, as well as customers who spend at least $75 on Procter & Gamble products.

the amazon photos logo
Credit: Amazon
Amazon Photos (opens in a new tab)
Get a $20 credit for Prime Day when you back up pictures through July 8
(opens in a new tab)

Adorable 'Marcel the Shell' makes a powerful statement about Internet culture

Thu, 23 Jun 22 14:34:39 +0000

Jenny Slate, Dean Fleischer-Camp and Marcel the Shell in front of the poster for Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Creators Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp reintroduce us to the internet phenomenon that is Marcel the Shell in his first feature film.

Jacob deserved a happier ending in 'Grace and Frankie'

Thu, 23 Jun 22 14:31:26 +0000

The actors playing Jacob and Frankie in a still from the show, sharing a hug in an art studio.

Welcome to Fix It, our series examining projects we love — save for one tiny change we wish we could make.


Grace and Frankie is a near-perfect show. Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris' comedy offered chemistry and humor, warmth and connectedness, substance and truth. The longest-running Netflix series came to an end (or "The Beginning," as the final episode is called) in May, offering promises of a new chapter for each of its beloved characters.

Sol and Robert return to the origins of their romance. Brianna and Mallory form both a bond and a business relationship. Frankie overcomes her fear of death — not before hosting her own fake funeral.

However, there's one who didn't quite get the ending he deserved: Jacob.

Played by Ernie Hudson, Jacob is the show's dedicated "Yam Man" and long-term boyfriend to Frankie (Lily Tomlin), appearing in five of the series' seven seasons. From his introduction in Season 1, episode 8, Jacob was an ideal partner for Frankie, following her divorce to Sol (Sam Waterston). He shares her love for yams, nature, and weed. He celebrates and truly gets Frankie's quirks — for example, he just knows Frankie will forget to pick him up from the airport in the first episode of Season 4. He shows kindness and understanding, providing a steady hand and an open mind for Frankie in times of need. He's also patient: Frankie takes significant time to see that Jacob's interested in her, and even longer to give the relationship a chance.

The first time Jacob and Frankie break up in Season 4, episode 9, the circumstances make sense. Who among us didn't breathe a sigh of relief that Frankie returned home to Grace (Jane Fonda), as opposed to living with Jacob in Santa Fe? The move was never going to go in any other direction. The end is painful to watch ("I think long distance beat us,"), but the moment's in line with their main relationship value: honesty. The scene is a bittersweet end, but the love between Jacob and Frankie survives. Audiences (and Frankie) bid adieu to Hudson's character, but not for long.

When Jacob returns in Season 6, Frankie has moved on and is dating Jack (Michael McKean), a fellow hardcore fan of the Grateful Dead. At an auction, Jack and Frankie both vie for Jerry Garcia's Converse, a meet-cute that leads to Jack not only giving Frankie one sneaker, but also asking her out. While McKean is a commendable guest star, adding another comedic dimension to the show, I was still partial to Hudson's Jacob. When the latter sprung back to the screen in Season 6, episode 8, I was delighted. He drives 13 hours from Santa Fe after hearing the fake news of Frankie's death, thanks to Sol's facetious Facebook post. It's a sweet reintroduction that exemplifies Jacob's care for his former partner, and the tender hug they share in this scene is just the cherry on top. Jacob tells Frankie he's not going back to Santa Fe, and the door for their romance opens once again.

"I didn't know what I had until it was gone," he says to Frankie (typical, but let's hear it). "And I am not going to make that same mistake again."

In a still from the show, Jacob and Frankie laugh in the kitchen together.
Credit: Melissa Moseley / Netflix

In the next episode ("The One-At-A-Timing"), however, Frankie can't choose between Jacob and Jack. She actively decides to juggle the two men, against Grace's advice and her better judgement. In the brief moments she shares with Jacob — going for laser tag and enjoying good food — they seem perfectly at ease. It just fits. This could have been a second chance for the Jacob-Frankie romance. But by the end of the 30 minutes, Frankie is caught by both Jacob and Jack, who leave the beach house, essentially ending each relationship.

While it's hard to judge in matters of the heart, this seems out of character for Frankie. Her own experiences with relationships have made her empathetic and sensitive, even insecure considering Sol's betrayal. For her to inflict the same circumstances onto Jack and Jacob is an interesting choice by the writers. Frankie's core traits are spreading love and goodness; even if she did make a mistake, her character would not have tried to justify it in the way she does: "Are you two upset or is this just society telling you to be upset?" For this episode to accelerate Frankie's narrative like this seems like a waste of two loving relationships, both of which meet unlikely endings.

On a patio, two men look confused standing either side of a women who appears to be explaining.
This is how we say goodbye to Jacob? No! Credit: Melissa Moseley / Netflix

For Frankie, we all knew there was only going to be one person in the end.

Soulmates are a recurring theme in Grace and Frankie. The word is frequently mentioned. The concept draws Sol (Sam Waterston) to Frankie years after their divorce, causing a massive rift between him and Robert (Martin Sheen). The idea sits beneath almost every interpersonal relationship in the show, even for the children of the two couples. Whether or not you believe in "soulmates" (if not, you may just be a Robert!), it's hard to deny that Grace and Frankie come as close as any two people can.

Grace and Frankie grapple with finding love after their respective divorces, but all roads lead home to the haven that is the beach house, where they battle ageism, their kids' opinions, and new relationships daily. And because of this unbreakable bond between the two women, the men in their lives don't really stand a chance. Grace's second husband, Nick (Peter Gallagher), tries to get around this ("I've done everything short of inviting her into the marital bed," he tells Grace in Season 6). He fails. Jacob, the predecessor to this cause, similarly fails, when Frankie chooses Grace over living with him in Santa Fe.

Jacob was worthy of a more graceful goodbye.

After the love triangle confrontation of Season 6, episode 9, Jacob and Frankie part ways. This time, however, feels both abrupt and unfair. This is the last we see of Jacob, who doesn't return to the show. It's far more bitter than sweet. We are left to imagine him enjoying a life of farming, tucked away in Santa Fe with the family he joined there. That's the hope at least. There is no redemption arc for Frankie either, never getting to apologize to Jacob or speak to him again. Jack, oddly, does receive this treatment, being lucky enough to get an apology from Frankie and reunite Garcia's shoes.

Somehow, it feels undeserving of Jacob to have returned to Grace and Frankie only to depart in this way.

Jacob may not have been Frankie's soulmate. They didn't have to be together and the show's narrative didn't require this either. Grace and Frankie rightfully ended with the eponymous heroes, arms interlocked, walking down the beach (sob). But Jacob was worthy of a more graceful goodbye, perhaps one in which Frankie and he still shared an untarnished love for what they once had.

Grace and Frankie is now streaming on Netflix.

'Barbarian' trailer is a holiday rental nightmare

Thu, 23 Jun 22 14:30:45 +0000

Rental-based horrors – especially ones that involve double-bookings – appear to be all the rage at the moment.

Continuing the trend is Zach Cregger's Barbarian, a story in which a young woman (Georgina Campbell) arrives at her AirBnb only to discover a strange man (Bill Skarsgård, minus the clown makeup) already renting the property. With nowhere else to go, she accepts his offer to crash for the night.

Barbarian's trailer starts off in a jaunty, borderline rom-com style before quickly descending into nightmarish chaos when Campbell's character discovers a hidden tunnel in the basement after hearing noises in the night. Hell to the nope.

Barbarian lands in theatres Aug. 31.

Get a 3-month subscription to the Peloton app for just $12.99

Thu, 23 Jun 22 14:28:35 +0000

Woman working out in front of her TV

SAVE $25.98: Ready to train for all your summer adventures? As of June 23, new subscribers can get three months of the Peloton app for just $12.99 as a part of the company's yearly Summer Pass deal. Signing up will save you 66% on your first three months.


If you've ever contemplated trying out the Peloton app, now's the time to do it.

Through June 30, the fitness brand is running its annual Summer Pass deal, which offers three months of the Peloton app for the price of one month — just $12.99. Our apologies to current Peloton users, but this deal is for new subscribers only.

If you do happen to be a new subscriber, you'll be able to take advantage of all that Peloton has to offer without shelling out over a thousand dollars for a fancy connected bike or treadmill. Note that if you happen to like Peloton App and want to keep your membership after the first three months, the price will go up to $12.99 per month.

The Peloton app is filled with thousands of live and on-demand workouts across a huge variety of categories, including running, cycling, strength, HIIT, yoga, and so much more. You can't use the live leaderboard function if you don't have a Peloton device, but the app is the next best thing, at a budget-friendly price.

If you have a smart TV, opting for the Peloton app is honestly a good alternative to a connected fitness mirror. Sure, it might not give you real time feedback (the new Peloton Guide will, though!) but you will be able to follow studio-style workout classes on a big screen. You can also connect your smartwatch (if it's compatible) and track your metrics onscreen.

The Peloton app also features plenty of motivational features to keep you logging on for a workout. You'll get various badges and virtual rewards every time you hit a new milestone, which gives you that little dopamine boost and helps you keep track of your progress over time.

Instagram will use AI and video selfies to verify your age

Thu, 23 Jun 22 13:22:55 +0000

Instagram age verification.

Instagram is testing new methods for age verification, including having the user upload a video selfie and then letting an AI judge their age.

Here's how it will work. When an Instagram user attempts to edit their birth date on the service to be 18 or over, Instagram will require them to verify their age. There will be several ways to do this, including uploading an ID or asking three mutual friends to verify your age.

The most interesting way to do this, however, is to upload a video selfie. Instagram will then hand over the video to its partner, Yoti, a company that uses AI to verify the user's age.

Yes, an artificial intelligence will judge whether you're really over 18.

Instagram says that Yoti trains its AI on "anonymous images of diverse people from around the world who have transparently allowed Yoti to use their data and who can ask Yoti to delete their data at any time." And for people under the age of 13, Yoti collected data with parents or guardians giving explicit consent.

According to a "white paper" document posted on its website, Yoti says that its AI has an accuracy rate of 2.96 years for 6-70 year olds (meaning that's how much it will err, on average), and this accuracy rate gets better for narrower age groups. The company also says that users are not individually identifiable, and that gender and skin tone bias is "minimised."

Instagram says that once you upload a video selfie and Yoti uses it to confirm your age, the image isn't used for anything else, and is deleted after your age has been confirmed.

This is probably a good time to remind you that Facebook, whose parent company Meta also owns Instagram, has misused user data on several occasions in the past.

As for why Instagram is using this method at all, the company says that "understanding someone’s age online is a complex, industry-wide challenge," and that many teens don't always have access to an ID, so it's forced to "explore novel ways to approach the dilemma of verifying someone’s age."

Netflix plans to launch ad-supported tier by end of 2022

Thu, 23 Jun 22 12:06:30 +0000

Netflix on phone in bowl of popcorn

Netflix already raised its prices earlier this year, but it’s about to start taking the one thing from customers that’s more valuable than money: time. 

The New York Times reported in May that the streaming giant told employees that an ad-supported subscription plan could roll out by the end of 2022. This version of Netflix would cost less than the standard $15.49/mo subscription, though the exact discounted monthly price isn’t known yet. There’s already a $9.99/mo tier that doesn’t include HD streaming, so perhaps this would replace or even undercut that one.

On Thursday, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos confirmed the streaming giant would indeed be adding the ad tier, speaking to Sway podcast host Kara Swisher at the Cannes Lions global advertising festival, per The Hollywood Reporter.

"We've left a big customer segment off the table, which is people who say, 'Hey, Netflix is too expensive for me and I don't mind advertising,'" Sarandos said, as reported by the news outlet. "We're adding an ad-tier, we're not adding ads to Netflix as you know it today. We're adding an ad tier for folks who say, 'Hey, I want a lower price and I’ll watch ads.'"

Google’s Alphabet Inc. and Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal are the two top competitors to help Netflix build the ad tier, according to The Wall Street Journal.

That Netflix is going to introduce ads doesn’t come as a surprise. In April, co-CEO Reed Hastings indicated the company would look into offering this cheaper subscription option. However, at the time, the rollout for the ad-supported tier was targeted to debut "over the next year or two." Now we know it could arrive sometime this fall. Including this option would put Netflix on par with services like Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, and Paramount+, all of which have cheaper subscriptions with ad breaks.

That said, the timing of this news isn’t a great look for Netflix, which has announced a number of somewhat anti-consumer policy changes in recent months. Aside from jacking up prices (4K streaming costs $19.99/mo, while other services like HBO include it for free), Netflix also wants to hike up costs for users who share their passwords with other people. The inclusion of a totally optional and cheaper ad-supported version of Netflix isn’t on the same level as that, but the optics of the biggest streaming service suddenly reversing course on ad inclusion aren’t great.

Of course, we all know why Netflix is doing this stuff: The service lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of the year and it expects to lose two million more next quarter. That’s what happens when you let go of shows like Frasier and King of the Hill

UPDATE: Jun. 23, 2022, 12:57 p.m. EDT Added co-CEO Ted Sarandos' confirmation on June 23 that Netflix would be adding the ad tier. The story above has been updated to include this.

'Wordle' today: Here's the answer, hints for June 23

Thu, 23 Jun 22 11:41:18 +0000

Woman playing Wordle on her smartphone while travelling on a train.

There are two kinds of people: those who look at the number 369 and see a nice, neat numerical pattern, and those who hear the opening lines of "Get Low". Whichever one you are, we're here to help you with Wordle #369 — if you get stuck and start to get nervous about your streak, we've got some tips and hints to nudge you towards the solution.

You can scroll to the very end of this article for the answer to the June 23 Wordle, or read on for a few tips and strategies to help you every day and some subtle hints for today's solution before you get to the spoiler down the bottom.

Wordle is a daily word game created by Josh Wardle, a Brooklyn-based software engineer who has developed something of a reputation as a crafter of interesting social experiments. Every day, the people of the internet are greeted with a fresh word puzzle that can only be solved — or not! — using a series of process-of-elimination clues.

Thousands of people around the globe now play this game each day, and fans have even created alternatives to Wordle inspired by the original format. This includes music identification game Heardle, Hollywood nerd faves Actorle and Framed, and variations like Dordle and Quordle that make you guess multiple words at once

In fact, the word puzzle game has proved so popular that the New York Times eventually bought it, and TikTok creators livestream themselves playing.

Not the day you're after? You'll find the Wordle answer for June 22 here.

Is Wordle free?

You might find "Wordle" results in an iOS App Store or Google Play Store search, but don't mistake it for the real thing. Wordle, the original one Wardle came up with and kindly delivered unto the internet in late 2021, currently only exists as a browser game that lives right here. If you're playing it anywhere else, it's — at best — a shameless knock-off that's trying to capitalize on someone else's success.

What's the best Wordle starting word?

We have some ideas to help you pick the perfect first move (or as close to perfect as you can get without just magically guessing the exact right word). Such tips include choosing a word with at least two different vowels in it, plus a few common consonants such as S, T, R, or N.

What happened to the Wordle archive? Did the archive get taken down?

Yes, you used to be able to play the entire archive of past puzzles, but the archive was taken down at the request of the New York Times, according to the site.

Look to the future! Here's the Wordle answer for June 24.

A subtle hint for the Wordle today:

It's a noun.

What's the answer to Wordle today?

Ready?

OK.

The answer to the Wordle today is....

BRINK.

Reporting by Caitlin Welsh, Amanda Yeo and Adam Rosenberg contributed to this article.

'Not Quite White' delves into the fetishisation of mixed race people in the dating world

Thu, 23 Jun 22 09:55:52 +0000

The book cover of

"Being mixed, I am a lot of fetishes," writes Laila Woozeer in their memoir Not Quite White. "From the bashful brown bride to an Aladdin and Jasmine fantasy, and being told I looked exotic, like a holiday, super sensual and wild in bed."

Woozeer — a queer non-binary writer, musician, and author — has penned a book that delves into what it’s like growing up mixed race in the UK. 

"In my younger years I was genuinely unclear on whether I was supposed to exist," says Woozeer. "Between confusing messaging from society and a lack of representation in media it was a constant battle for my own sense of self — I wrote this book for the me that undid the damage and gaslighting wrought on me, and I wrote it for everyone else out there trying to will themselves into existence the way I did."

You can read an exclusive extract of Not Quite White below, in which Woozeer shares their experiences of dating and relationships while coming up against casual racism, microaggressions, not to mention fetishisation.


By 2015 the 'in' look had become tanned skin, thick eyebrows and long dark hair. Because white girls achieved this via fake tan, make-up, extensions, falsies, and cosmetic surgery, it wasn’t understood that people also naturally look this way. Questions came at random, inopportune moments. I’d exit a sweaty, overcrowded toilet and hear where’re your falsies from? directed to my bare eyelashes. Once at a house party, a girl couldn’t believe I didn’t have extensions, asking me to flip my hair over so she could see where it was actually connected to my head; showing others, running their hands along my scalp. Another time a white woman looked over at my bare stomach, asking, "Wow, you’re really that same colour all over?" Yes, were others not? 

The idea I’d altered my appearance wasn’t offensive. What frustrated me was people actually did not believe me — crudely checking for themselves. Brown women in the media were glamorous: Priyanka Chopra, Jameela Jamil, Hannah Simone — slender silhouettes and long glossy hair. Meanwhile, at 25, my 'style' extended to jewellery that didn’t need taking off, charity shop clothes, and the occasional vintage dress. Makeup was limited to flicky eyeliner on gig days, and outside of auditions, my hair did whatever it wanted (mostly moult). I sat out eyelash glue and bronzer conversations because I had nothing to add — but I was seen as too proud to join in, or too secretive to disclose my secrets. Girls’ bathrooms get held up as bastions of sisterly support: when filled with white women I found them hostile. 

Potential suitors (i.e., randoms we met on nights out) threw me nicknames and comments; who I looked like, stereotypes, or 'assessment' type questions that would not have been out of place on an Equal Opportunities form. People in clubs would yell Hey Pocahontas, bravado-fuelled strangers in kebab shop queues called Oi Tigerlily, I bet you taste of caramel.

Dating apps were even more of a shitshow. The majority of my opening messages were something like: 'Hey Laila, can’t tell where you’re from' or 'Just wondering what colour you actually are??!!?' I’d seen my friends automatically swipe off a 'weird name' so knew what was playing out at the other end of my weird name. I believed if I wanted to date, I had to put up with a certain amount of crap. People who made no comments whatsoever were ... well, they weren’t. It came from white people and people of colour. As finding somebody with no preconceived ideas was impossible, I figured it was a question of what I’d put up with in exchange for love (or at least somebody to split a Netflix account with). The whole thing was an absolute shambles. 

Author Laila Woozeer stands underneath a cherry tree that's in full bloom
Laila Woozeer, author of "Not Quite White." Credit: Simon & Schuster

I rarely engaged in relationships or even actively 'dated,' ostensibly because I was work-focused. Also, even if you did find someone with good chat that didn’t look like a serial killer, who could be arsed with the gradual spiral of giving up that was dating? Instead, I revolved around people who came into my life organically — friends of friends, colleagues from gigs, people at house parties. Dates arrived in my life like piecemeal temp jobs: brief, unfulfilling, and passed on from people I already knew. People who hadn’t met me had too many preconceived ideas for me to work through. I’d stick with known people who wouldn’t project all their weird biases on to me. 

"Dating apps were even more of a shitshow. The majority of my opening messages were something like: 'Hey Laila, can’t tell where you’re from' or 'Just wondering what colour you actually are??!!?'"

Or so I thought. Turns out if they know you, it’s worse. Same weird biases, same promises of 'I’ll be with you forever' after mere weeks, way more weird fetish projection. I had a few months of sort-of dates with a white guy from work who initially made comments about me being 'exotic' and 'like a holiday' — nothing new there then — but I figured this would drop off if we got to know each other. Instead, he would detail further how he’d fancied Indian women growing up, how his favourite food was Indian, how he thought Indian women were more sexy — one time eagerly asking if I had any ‘costumes’ in my wardrobe. He put on Slumdog Millionaire; I turned it off after 15 minutes due to an excruciating awkwardness I couldn’t then articulate. Another time, I made dinner for us — curry, his request — and as we sat down, he disclosed a long-held fantasy he had about getting home from work to an Indian meal cooked by his bashful brown bride. I was still placing food on the poky table when he launched into this spiel. What do you say to that?

Another white guy, a friend's friend with whom I shared an even briefer situationship, told me he had a 'saving people' thing. In his words, "like Harry Potter, but more Aladdin." He was ecstatic we might date, staging increasingly elaborate ways to ask me out: he'd been waiting and now, here I was, waiting to be rescued! He'd show me the world the way Aladdin does for Jasmine. You can be my princess. I'll save you. 

At the time, the obvious thing was to say yes and just go out with him — you know, why not? He liked me, friends were supportive, it was the least problematic thing I'd heard that week. But something stopped me: maybe the sacrilegious Jasmine thing (turning my childhood heroine into a come-on? Gross!), or maybe optics. He was unemployed, living at home; I was a grant-winning musician. What was he saving me from? He knew the racism I faced in work but deduced the issues lay with me, rather than the structure: so, he could save me from myself. He couldn’t see I’d saved myself a thousand times over already. Both times I sacked it off before anything really happened for reasons I can see clearly now but couldn’t verbalise then.

What’s more concerning: That young me assumed this was par for the course in a healthy relationship, or that, at the time of writing, both men have married South Asian women? 

Not Quite White by Laila Woozeer (£16.99, Simon & Schuster) is out today and is available from Amazon and all good bookshops

Tessa Thompson unveils new 'Thor: Love and Thunder' clip, drops hints

Thu, 23 Jun 22 09:44:38 +0000

Tessa Thompson and Natalie Portman in costume for

As you can probably imagine, Tessa Thompson wasn't able to give too much about Thor: Love and Thunder away appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.

But she did come armed with an exclusive new clip, featuring her Marvel character Valkyrie going back and forth with Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Korg (Taika Waititi) and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) about whether or not going to the Shadow Realm is a good idea (there's also an entertaining aside about Jane's struggles to land on a decent superhero catchphrase).

Thompson explains why her character is wearing a Phantom of the Opera t-shirt ("she loves musical theatre!") and gives a very telling "maybe" when asked if this new movie deals with the multi-verse.

While all this was happening, Waititi was over on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert showing another clip from the same scene.

Thor: Love and Thunder is in cinemas July 8.

'Thor: Love and Thunder' clip shows Thor running into not 1, but 2, exes

Thu, 23 Jun 22 09:37:14 +0000

Two superhero characters stand side-by-side.

Running into your ex, both human and weapon, is always a moment.

It's one even gods have to deal with, including Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in the upcoming Marvel instalment, Thor: Love and Thunder. Appearing on The Late Show, director/co-writer/star Taika Waititi showed a clip from the film to host Stephen Colbert (after a quick chat about Thor's butt).

The clip shows Korg (Waititi) and Thor entering a room where they immediately see Jane Foster, now Jane-Thor (Natalie Portman), casually holding Thor's old weapon Mjölnir — it's not the first time we've seen Portman in her evolved role, but it's still fun.

Skip to 4:37 in the clip above to have a look.

While all this was happening, Thor co-star Tessa Thompson was over on Jimmy Kimmel Live! showing another clip from the same scene.

Thor: Love and Thunder is in cinemas July 8.

All the 'Battlefield 2042' Season 1 updates that make it worth playing

Thu, 23 Jun 22 09:30:00 +0000

battlefield 2042 screenshot with soldier flying through valley in a wingsuit

The first year of Battlefield 2042’s life hasn’t been an easy one, but things are looking up. In fact, some would say this is a great time to jump into the chaotic multiplayer shooter.

As the latest in the long-running military shooter series, Battlefield 2042 has walked a rocky road since its launch last November. Poor early sales, a litany of bugs, and the somewhat embarrassing removal of the game’s signature 128-player mode (because it wasn’t very fun) have plagued its reputation. But with the launch of the game's first official season earlier this month, that’s shifting a bit.

To put it plainly, Battlefield 2042 might be good now and it’s all because of Season 1. Here’s a rundown of everything new you can expect to find if you were a disappointed day one buyer or just picked it up on sale.

A huge new map

Battlefield 2042 screenshot showing helicopters attacking a mountain base
You will grow to hate helicopters on Exposure. Credit: Electronic Arts

First, it should be noted that some of what makes Season 1 of Battlefield 2042 compelling is free. You’ll have to spend some scratch to get everything, but the biggest (and best) new addition is totally gratis. I am, of course, talking about the new map called "Exposure."

Exposure is set in the Canadian part of the Rocky Mountain range (Colorado doesn’t have a monopoly on it) and has definitely been the draw of Season 1 for me so far. As you’d expect, it’s hugely vertical, with combat taking place in valleys as well as outposts much higher up on the mountains themselves. Air vehicles like helicopters can dominate on Exposure, but there’s also plenty of fun to be had in the tight, dark indoor spaces in said outposts.

The most fun I’ve had with Exposure was in a big shootout with teams huddled up on both sides of a tunnel lit dimly by sunlight. We were taking cover behind cars and merely revealing an inch of my character’s body resulted in sniper fire coming my way. It was tense, classic Battlefield action. If you pick up Battlefield 2042 right now, definitely check out the Exposure-only multiplayer playlists.

A new specialist

Previous Battlefield games have allowed players to choose from a variety of combat roles (e.g., assault, engineer, medic, etc.), but 2042 separated those roles out into specialists with names and faces instead. Season 1 added Lis, a new engineer specialist who has a knack for taking down vehicles.

Remember when I said helicopters can wreck shop on the new map? Well, Lis has a guided missile launcher that you can use to safely drop them out of the sky — so long as nobody finds you hiding in a corner while you’re piloting the missile. She also has a passive ability that marks nearby enemy vehicles on the HUD, but it’s just for the player and not any of their teammates. Still, awareness is key.

Unfortunately, Lis is one of the parts of Season 1 that isn’t available for free right away. You’ll have to engage with the last (and certainly not least) new addition, the battle pass.

A battle pass and some smaller goodies

Yes, Battlefield 2042 has a season-long progression of skins, trinkets, and other fun things you can unlock in the form of a battle pass. It’s free to start, but there’s a premium tier to speed things up that costs either $10 or $20 depending on how much of a head-start you want to get. Lis is the fourth battle pass reward for this season, meaning you’ll either need to play for a few hours or just spend $20 to jump ahead in the progression to unlock her.

If you get hooked on the game and keep leveling up the battle pass, eventually you’ll even start getting new weapons and vehicles. How’s that for an incentive?

Aside from that, there are a couple of new weapons and gadgets in Season 1. A smoke grenade launcher, a combat crossbow, and a couple of stealth helicopters have entered the fray, rounding out all the new goodies that were recently added to the game.

It’s been a weird journey for Battlefield 2042, but if you haven’t played it yet or you felt burned by the launch, there’s never been a better time to give it a shot than right now. That’s not an especially high bar to cross, but I swear the new map is pretty fun, at least. 

Save 59% on a magnetic battery pack that makes charging on the go a breeze

Thu, 23 Jun 22 09:00:00 +0000

Black phone charger on its own and stuck to back of iphone

TL;DR: As of June 23, the Speedy Mag Wireless Charger for iPhone is on sale for $48.99, which is down 59% from its regular price of $119.95.


No matter how big the battery capacity of your iPhone, it’s bound to deplete at some point. And the more you use it, the quicker you’ll see the decline. It’s always smart to keep a backup battery on hand — one that makes refueling less of a hassle than a clunky charging bank and cable clutter. Consider the Speedy Mag Wireless Charger if you're in the market for an upgrade.

Equal parts functional and aesthetically pleasing, the Speedy Mag features a built-in magnet and metal plate that securely sticks to the back of your iPhone 12 or 13, to make charging seamless on the move. If you have a black, white, or sierra blue phone, you can even match your battery pack to your phone. In just 30 minutes, the Speedy Mag claims to fast-charge your phone from zero to 100. If you forget to remove the battery pack after you reach a full charge, your phone will stay perfectly safe; there are built-in safeguards against overcharging. 

It’s not just for iPhone 12 or later users, either. You can lay your phone on top of the Speedy Mag and use it like a typical Qi charging pad. Or, if you’d prefer the old-school method, you can plug in a cable through the USB port. That added compatibility enables the Speedy Mag to power up practically any device, including iPhones, Androids, cameras, power banks, earbuds, and anything else you need on your summer excursions. At only 5 x 3 inches, it won't take up much space when you aren't using it (or even when you are). And at any given moment, you can peek at the mini screen to see how much battery percentage is left in the pack.

It’s regularly $119, but you can invest in portable power for just $48.99 for a limited time — that’s 59% in savings.

Prices subject to change.

Get the ‘Shark Tank’-featured Muff ‘Spender for 15% off in time for summer shenanigans

Thu, 23 Jun 22 09:00:00 +0000

Person's hand holding beer can and torso wearing muff spender

TL;DR: As of June 23, you can use the code WADERS to get the Muff 'Spender for $42.50 instead of $50, which amounts to a discount of 15%.


Looking for a way to be the life of the party all summer long? Muff Waders has a solution: the Muff ‘Spender. And you can score 15% off with the code WADERS just in time to kick off the season.

If you’re anticipating a summer spent drinking outdoors, you’re going to need a way to keep your beverages cold. The Muff ‘Spender gives you a hands-free way to do just that, so you can grill, play cornhole, do yard work, or just talk with your hands without spilling your beer. Ridiculous in the best way, the Muff ‘Spender was funded on Kickstarter and made an appearance on Shark Tank. Although the brand founders, Taylor “Earl” Nees and Garret “Buddy” Lamp left without a deal, they still persevered and brought their product to the masses. And the rest is history.

Constructed with super tough material and heavy-duty clips, the Muff ‘Spender attaches to your pants like any other pair of suspenders. But along the straps, there are two insulated pockets to carry your 12-ounce beer can or bottle as needed. Keep one on deck or double fist at your leisure.

For bottle drinkers, there’s a metal bottle opener attached to crack the next one open. There’s also a small utility pocket for you to fit any other necessities — a lighter, cigar, pen, pocket knife, etc.

See 'em in action:

Designed for folks who are always ready to party, the Muff 'Spender comes in a variety of colors and sizes. The small fits those between about 5'6" and 6'0" and the large fits those between 6'0" and up. Choose from black, navy blue, or stars and stripes. There's nothing that screams U.S.A. more than a pair of suspenders with built-in koozies. Use the code WADERS to get the Muff 'Spender for $42.50.

Prices subject to change.

A 2016 iPad Pro can be yours for only $226

Thu, 23 Jun 22 09:00:00 +0000

Hand holding white pen drawing fox on ipad

TL;DR: As of June 23, you can get a refurbished Apple iPad Pro 9.7" 32GB (WiFi) for just $225.99. That's down 62% from its regular price of $599.


You can’t claim to be committed to a greener lifestyle and go out and buy every single new Apple product. You can, however, enjoy the feeling of a new-to-you gadget and keep your green mentality by buying refurbished. As a bonus, a refurbished product will cost you hundreds of dollars less than a new one.

This refurbished 9.7-inch iPad Pro from 2016, for instance, is on sale for just $225.99. Considering it originally retailed for $599 fresh off the shelf, that’s basically a steal. You’ll end up saving 62% and cutting your carbon footprint.

While obviously not equipped with all the latest tech upgrades (it is six years old, after all), it’s still a reliable and powerful iPad. And depending on what you’re planning on using it for, it could be exactly what you need. And since it’s not obsolete yet according to Apple, it’s still eligible for hardware service. This offers a little bit of peace of mind if you're skeptical about buying refurbished.

This particular iPad Pro has 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, an Apple A9X processor, and a fully-laminated 9.7-inch LED-backlit display. There’s also a 1.2MP front-facing camera and a 12MP rear camera. It won’t compete with your iPhone 13, but should get the job done for FaceTime calls and snapping quick pics on the go. It’s also a WiFi-only model, so you can only browse the web and stream videos with an internet connection (no data). But that just means you don't have to pay for a separate data plan, which is a win in our book.

Regularly $599, you can add a new-to-you iPad Pro to your stockpile of gadgets for only $225.99 for a limited time. It may have a few bumps and bruises from its previous life, but it's rated to work as good as new.

Prices subject to change.

Get your hands on this refurbished Chromebook for less than $70

Thu, 23 Jun 22 09:00:00 +0000

Black chromebook folded backwards with beach scene as background

TL;DR: As of June 23, this refurbished Acer Chromebook R11 Celeron 16GB SSD is on sale for just $66.99. It would usually cost $100, so that's a discount of 33%.


As tempting as it is to get your hands on a swanky, state-of-the-art laptop, you don't really need to drop thousands on a reliable work machine. Sure, the prospect of owning the new slate of MacBooks sure does sound nice, but if pretty much everything you do is online anyway, why not get a Chromebook instead?

While Chromebooks aren't full-blown laptops, they're functional enough to do everything you need, as long as what you need to do is web-based. From social media and web browsing to word processing and spreadsheets, to online meetings, there are very few online tasks Chromebooks aren't capable of handling. And if you're looking to save money, a refurbished unit like the Acer Chromebook R11 Celeron 16GB SSD - Black could be just the ticket. For a limited time, you can get it for less than $100.

The 11.6-inch Acer Chromebook R11 is designed to provide users with all the necessary features to perform a wide range of online tasks. from browsing the web and watching videos to editing office documents and writing assignments. It's powered by Chrome OS and packs a 16GB Solid State Drive, 4GB DDR3L memory, and a 64-bit 1.6GHz processor, meaning it doesn't need an operating system or a hard drive to function. You get an ample amount of storage for storing essential files, as well as RAM that not only allows quick access to frequently used files and programs but also speeds up demanding business applications. 

With Google-integrated apps, you can easily use programs like Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. You can also connect to other portals and devices thanks to its WiFi capability. It has a grade "C" rating, which means it may have visible scuffs and blemishes on the outside, but it's certified refurbished so it's completely tested and verified as fully functional.

This refurbished Acer Chromebook R11 Celeron normally retails for $100, but you can get it on sale for $66.99 for a limited time.

Prices subject to change.

Google News gets cleaner look, more customization options

Thu, 23 Jun 22 07:48:01 +0000

Google News

Google is celebrating 20 years since it launched Google News – yes, 20 years, we couldn't believe it, either – and to mark the occasion, News was given a much-needed redesign.

The Google News of old was too cluttered and not particularly beautiful. The new Google News has a simplified, two-column design, with most of the navigation residing on top of the page, and it's a big improvement.

There's a big focus on customization and personalization. Google's choice of "top stories" and "picks for you" sit on top of the page; scroll down, and you'll get a more detailed breakdown of the topics you follow, which you can change by clicking on the "customize" button.

Google News
Customization is one click away. Credit: Google/Stan Schroeder

Google also made local news easier to find; the section now resides in the top menu, among the other news categories. And a quick overview of local weather is squeezed in the top left, beneath the top menu and above the other content; if you want more information, click the little arrow and it will expand to give you a weather overview for the next couple of days.

Google has also expanded its Fact Check section, which can be found on the bottom of the main page, and beneath it are stories that Google says are either notable or conversation starters.

Google News
This section now shows not only headlines, but also the original claims that were made, along with fact-checked assessment from independent organizations. Credit: Google/Stan Schroeder

Google News is available in over 125 countries and 40 languages (notably, the service has also returned to Spain, where it has been absent for eight years due to local copyright law). You can check it out over at https://news.google.com/.

Twitter is testing Notes, a new longform format

Thu, 23 Jun 22 07:11:00 +0000

A screenshot of Twitter's new Notes feature.

Twitter is trialling a new longform format that will let you shoot well past 280 characters, meaning you may no longer have to relay your humorous anecdotes via numbered tweet threads. Called Notes, the new feature enables users to write entire articles straight onto the social media platform, and even include photos, videos, GIFs, and tweets.

"From the rise of the screenshot announcement Tweet to the newsletter boom, a new reality became clear: people were writing long elsewhere, and then coming to Twitter to share their work and for the conversation surrounding all those words," said Twitter's Rembert Browne in one of Twitter's first Notes. "With Notes, the goal is to fill in that missing piece and help writers find whatever type of success they desire."

The feature is currently being tested by a small selection of writers based in the US, Canada, the UK, and Ghana, with the trial expected to run for two months. A Notes tab is also being added to these users' Twitter profiles, under which you'll be able to see all their published Notes.

Aiming to provide Twitter users with more flexibility and control, Notes' rich-text editor will enable writers to bold, italicise, and otherwise format their words. Titles are limited to 100 characters, but the body of a Note can reach up to 2,500 words before Twitter cuts you off — more than enough space to explain your passions. (Writers still have to stick to Twitter's rules though, so no lengthy treatises inciting violence.)

Significantly, users will also be able to edit their Notes after publication from the outset, which is a notable deviation from Twitter's anti-edit stance of yore. A label signalling that the Note has been edited will be added to the top of the article, and Twitter has said it is requiring users who are part of the current test to "include updates in their Notes informing readers about changes they have made to the Notes in a manner consistent with best practices for online editing of published content."

It isn't clear how this will be evaluated or enforced, nor whether and how it will be when Notes rolls out to a wider audience. Mashable has reached out to Twitter for comment.

'The Umbrella Academy' Season 3: Everything you need to know

Wed, 22 Jun 22 21:07:27 +0000

The cast of The Umbrella Academy smiles in front of the poster of The Umbrella Academy 3

Emmy Raver-Lampman, Tom Hopper, Robert Sheehan, and cast of The Umbrella Academy, bring us up to speed on what has happened to our superheroes up to the moment season 3 begins. The new season premieres June 22nd on Netflix.

Patient Advocacy Groups (PAGs) are forging a more equitable future for public health

Wed, 22 Jun 22 20:27:46 +0000

woman standing up to speak at a support group circle

You don’t need us to tell you that the past few years were a challenging time for the global healthcare system. You likely gleaned it from the headlines with every refresh — the shortage of hospital beds, a deluge of news and complicated medical information, and patients being turned away for annual wellness exams, mental health visits, and even chemotherapy treatments.

This is where patient advocacy groups, or PAGs, have stepped up to meet the evolving needs of patients. Patient advocacy groups are organizations that provide education, resources, support services and more to patients and their caregivers. Basically, PAGs play the all-too-important role of bridging the gap between patients and the medical system.

Patient advocacy groups around the world have long been a source of community and support for patients. At the onset of the pandemic, if a patient couldn’t get the care they needed because of lockdowns, isolation or even loss of income, or if they were overwhelmed by confusing medical guidance, a PAG could serve as a touchstone for navigating their care. Fast forward to the now, and the demand for the additional support that PAGs provide shows no signs of letting up. Here’s a look at how a few PAGs, along with corporate partners such as Pfizer, upgraded their programs and resources to meet the challenges and needs of today’s patients.

State-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence and mental health

Mood Disorders Society of Canada (MDSC) is a PAG that works to give Canadians diagnosed with mood disorders better access to treatment. Pfizer has a longstanding history of collaborating with MDSC, but when the pandemic hit, Pfizer jumped in to help MDSC leverage cutting-edge technology to address the rise in anxiety, burn-out, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The result was MIRA, a chatbot that uses artificial intelligence to provide patients with information on mental-health services. According to Dave Gallson, the National Executive Director of MDSC, MIRA was invaluable during the lockdowns. “MIRA leveraged technology to help Canadians find mental-health resources that had been pre-vetted,” he said. “We were able to meet folks where they were and when they needed it most.”

Updated digital tools for cancer information & care

Pfizer is also a proud partner of the Prostate Conditions Education Council (PCEC), a leading PAG for early prostate-cancer detection. When the pandemic started, PCEC and Pfizer collaborated to update their digital toolkit to include information on coronavirus and to update the resource to accommodate a pan-tumor patient audience. With the help of more than 20 advocacy partners, Pfizer and PCEC developed a digital resource that provided a wide range of cancer patients with information on COVID-19, plus tips on navigating the ins and outs of the new telehealth system. PCEC’s Vice President & Director of Early Detection and Awareness Programs, Renee Savickas, believes these digital tools helped patients feel in control of their health during confusing times. “Our resources provided vital information during a huge transition from in-person to virtual doctor visits,” she said. “By helping patients utilize telehealth visits, they were able to feel more confident in their treatment access.”

Hands-on COVID-19 care for underserved populations

Doctors For You (DFY) is a nonprofit that works to improve public health across the globe. It is especially invested in advancing health equity and its efforts include everything from natural-disaster relief to COVID-19 support. When the second wave of COVID-19 hit India and there was a dire shortage of hospital beds and oxygen, Pfizer supported DFY’s work to create a care center at the Yamuna Sports Complex in New Delhi.

The new facility offered medical and mental health care, as well as yoga and games to help patients deal with their fear. Additionally, Pfizer and DFY collaborated on a special space for children who were infected with the virus. Many praised the hands-on care at the center and DFY President, Dr. Rajat Jain, believes this is because the patients were put first. “A patient’s voice can open a door to reform medical care towards a better quality of health care,” he said, pivoting from the traditional doctor-knows-best mentality.

Informing and innovating the future

PAGs not only have a history of helping patients champion their healthcare needs through public health crises like COVID-19, but they’re also helping to shape the future of public health. These advocacy groups champion the patient perspective and offer valuable first-hand insights across the medical community from healthcare providers to government health agencies, and pharmaceutical companies. Through collaboration and partnership, PAGs voice community needs, improve access to treatment and outcomes, and provide critical support to patients when they need it most.

NGL: the app that lets you share anonymous thoughts with mutuals

Wed, 22 Jun 22 20:27:17 +0000

Screenshot of homescreen.

From ad trackers to algorithms that monitor your online activity, it can be difficult to remain truly anonymous. You can make your social media profiles private, but it doesn’t change the fact that every post, tweet, and comment is tied to a name. NGL is a new app that allows you to share your thoughts and opinions with your followers anonymously. 

“NGL” is a social media abbreviation that stands for “not gonna lie,” a phrase that people use before confessing a thought or opinion. Launched in 2021 and available worldwide on both Apple and Android, NGL hopes to provide a safe space for young people online. 

NGL might remind folks of ask.fm, also a website used to ask questions and share thoughts anonymously. However, since ask.fm doesn't have a tracker or any monitoring, it was often used to bully and harass people with no consequences. NGL prioritizes safety by using AI content moderation. NGL has built-in algorithms that can detect and filter out harmful content associated with hate speech and cyberbullying. The app also offers the option to report and block users. 

“This means we stay on trend, we understand lingo, and we know how to filter out the bad stuff,” says NGL on their webpage

To use NGL, users must connect the app to their Instagram handle. NGL will then provide a link that you can copy and paste onto your Instagram Story, which your mutuals can tap on to respond. The questions and comments will show up on NGL’s “Inbox” feature.

While NGL does claim to be completely anonymous, the app does provide “hints” on who the responding users might be. The app is free, but there are also different subscription tiers.

Ready to know what your mutuals really think of you? Here’s how to get started with NGL:

1. First, download the app onto your phone either through the App Store or Google Play.

Screenshot of NGL app.
Credit: Rizwana Zafer

2. When you open NGL, you will be prompted to enter your Instagram handle.

Screenshot of NGL homescreen.
Credit: Rizwana Zafer

3. After you’re linked to Instagram, NGL will present you with a link that you can copy and paste onto your Instagram story. While the default prompt is “send me anonymous messages,” you can change the prompt by clicking the icon of a die in the prompt box.

Screenshot of Instagram Story.
Credit: Rizwana Zafer

4. To share the NGL prompt to your Instagram story, all you have to do is tap on the “Create” option on your story page and add the link.

Screenshot of Inbox tab on NGL.
Credit: Rizwana Zafer

5. After you’ve shared the prompt to your story, you can access the responses in the “Inbox” tab on the NGL app.

Grab an 85-inch Samsung Neo QLED TV for $2,599.99, plus more TV deals as of June 22

Wed, 22 Jun 22 19:56:22 +0000

Samsung QLED TV sitting in living room

UPDATE: Jun. 22, 2022, 3:55 p.m. EDT This story has been updated with the latest 4K and 8K TV deals.

  • The Samsung 85-inch Q900A QLED TV is a huge Neo QLED masterpiece that's super affordable during the "Discover Samsung" event — $2,599.99 $4,999.99 (save $2,400)

  • The LG 65-inch NanoCell 99 QNED 8K TV has double the pixels of a 4K TV and utilizes smaller-than-usual LEDs for more precise contrast — $1,999.99 $2,699.99 (save $700)

  • This Toshiba 75-inch M550 4K TV deal scores Prime members a huge screen for 50% off — $699.99 $1,399.99 (save $700)


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

Samsung TV deals

Why we love it

A massive TV that was once $5,000 is barely over $2,500 for a limited time. The "Neo" part represents an upgrade to Samsung's QLED technology, which is made up of thousands of sand-sized LED particles that light themselves. Now, the bright and colorful quantum dot display is even more vivid with even more precise brightness.

More Samsung TVs on sale

LG TV deals

Why we love it

In 2021, LG dropped a mid-range line of 4K TVs featuring its NanoCell technology, which amps up color depth using an extra light filter. In 2022, that line is becoming more affordable.

More LG TVs on sale

Sony TV deals

Why we love it

One of Sony's high-end OLED TVs from 2021 is seeing a considerable price drop — probably because the 2022 lineup entered the chat. This isn't your average OLED, either: Instead of relying on AI to optimize brightness, the Cognitive Processor XR chip customizes adjustments to things like skin tone or background light, depending on the angle from which a scene is filmed.

More Sony TVs on sale

Other TV deals from TCL, Vizio, and more

Why we love it

After years of exclusively outsourcing the Fire TV platform to brands like Insignia and Toshiba, Amazon finally debuted its very own smart TV in fall 2021. The beloved Omni series is well-reviewed for crisp performance and ease of use.

More TVs from TCL, Vizio, and more

Explore related content:

Scientists have coated a robotic finger with human skin

Wed, 22 Jun 22 19:13:55 +0000

robots with human skin

Tokyo scientists have coated a robotic finger in self-healing human skin, creating a huge leap forward for humanoid robotics.

A centuries-old secret society is hanging out in Facebook groups

Wed, 22 Jun 22 18:13:42 +0000

Rosicrucianism

What do you do when you're a centuries-old secret society looking to grow your membership? Make a Facebook group.

Centuries ago, Rosicrucians were only able to maintain their society through their ability to be invisible. But over the past several hundred years, the world has changed — and, along with it, so has the need for Rosicrucians to stay shielded from the public. Now, they're finding new ways to connect, by pivoting away from secrecy with the help of the most public tools they could find: Facebook, Zoom, and YouTube.

A beginning in science fiction or reality?

When it was first founded in the early 1600s, the deadly 30 Year War was ravaging Europe. It was being fought primarily over religion, and, while the Rosicrucian Order is not exactly a religion, it is a system of study to understand natural laws. Some of its doctrine includes references to Kabbalah, Hermeticism, alchemy, and Christian mysticism. So, like other religions at the time, they had to keep their organization private for fear of persecution.

"It was a very challenging time in Europe's history," Julie Scott, the Grand Master of the Rosicrucian Order, told Mashable. "It was just so superstitious. And so the Rosicrucian manifestos were published anonymously."

In the early 17th century, the first bits of Rosicrucianism began popping up in the form of anonymous pamphlets in Germany, which claimed that a group of people were secretly working to transform European politics and religion. But there's a lot of drama surrounding whether, when the pamphlets were written, Rosicrucians actually existed, or if it was just some elaborately written pamphlet of science fiction.

Jon Crowley, a novelist who studied Rosicrucianism for some of his many books based off of the order, has argued that the books were likely works of fantasy, not based off of lived experiences. But he acknowledges that it's difficult to know one way or another.

"Nobody could really track them down because nobody would admit to being one."

"The idea of an organized body of people who all belong to this group and kept themselves secret, even though they might have announced that they know about a story about a group that is the Rosicrucians — they can announce that that body or that group exists, but they never admit that they belong to it. It's very hard to figure it out," Crowley told Mashable. "And that's what made it even more mysterious that there were these bodies of very scholarly, possibly magical or magician-like persons. And nobody could really track them down because nobody would admit to being one."

Beyond the rumors

Whether they started as a secret society or as a work of fantasy, the result is the same: A group began to form that believed the pamphlets to be true. They were influenced by mystical Christian orders, and they are also linked to the beginnings of the Freemasons. More than 400 years later, there are still members today — just check Facebook.

"We're a philosophical organization and, Rosicrucians, we have members all over the world where people are free to practice the tradition of their choice," Scott said. "And we study natural laws so that we can live in harmony with them. So, we learn about the best time to do things, the best way to approach things, whether it's meditation or developing our intuition, so that we get into the natural rhythm of whatever it is we're approaching."

"We study natural laws so that we can live in harmony with them."

As the years passed, the invisibility that once provided the group with an armor of protection was no longer necessary. Eventually, they moved fully into the public eye, complete with glossy magazine ads in the 1970s. Today, you can watch their public talks on YouTube, Zoom into an experiment, or join one of dozens of regional and national Facebook groups.

While many of the Facebook groups are private, members can join any of them. And anyone can become a member.

"Anyone can be a member and we have moderators who make sure that somebody who's not a member is not joining in order to sell their product or something like that," Scott said. "So the main thing is we want people to feel welcome and included and just to be able to observe what Rosicrucians do and how we approach the world."

The Facebook page the Rosicrucian Order AMORC, which anyone can like and follow, has more than 300,000 followers. The largest private Rosicrucian Facebook group, which you have to be granted permission to join, has 17,000 members. Not all of the followers are members of the Order, and it's mostly a place to do what you do on any other community-based Facebook group: set up meetups, post quotes written in cursive script on stock image backgrounds, and argue playfully in the comment sections about the artistry of Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Then there are the dozens of pages made for Rosicrucians in specific areas, which, Scott says, are really where the power of Facebook lies for them. "The strength of Facebook is it connects people locally," Scott, who joined the Rosicrucian Order in 1993, said.

Olisa Okanime runs the organization's local social media in Georgia and moderates a few thousand people on social media, she told Mashable. She loves the work she does with the Order, but is striving to increase their social media reach — "especially to nonmembers."

"We have blockbuster online events right now that cater to the needs of members and nonmembers alike," she said. "For example, we have a weekly teleconference that is hosted by our adorable Grand Master, Soror Julie Scott. It’s an amazing experience. You should check it out — nonmembers can attend."

Karen Wark, a member who works on the Rosicrucian Order's national social media presence, told Mashable via email that "Facebook has given us a way to connect with seekers who we would not have been able to before," like those who live in rural areas. And, according to Wark, their membership has "increased significantly" since they launched their main Facebook page in 2009.

"We have Rosicrucian members from all over the world and being able to connect with each other in Facebook groups has been really wonderful for our members," Wark said. "Before this, we would only see each other at world conventions, which not everyone would be able to attend."

"Facebook has given us a way to connect with seekers who we would not have been able to before."

Facebook also helps connect people with the formerly secret society's other online programs, like the YouTube and Zoom sessions they host weekly, where a class master from their department of instruction presents on different topics, like pythagoras or labyrinth. Once a quarter, they have a symposium on those platforms, where members watch several different presentations and participate in an experiment or meditation at the end.

What comes next?

It's not clear what the future of organizations like the Rosicrucians will be, as membership in voluntary associations has been steadily falling in everything from church groups to Greek organizations. According to a 2019 Joint Economic Committee congressional report, membership rates in some of these organizations fell from 75% in 1974 to 62% in 2004. But Scott says the involvement of social media has actually helped memberships grow for Rosicrucians.

"We began presenting the Wednesday teleconferences in 2015," Scott said. "Two of our class masters felt that this would be a great way to reach members who were in more remote areas. And we would regularly have maybe 75 to 85 participants every Wednesday for a number of years. And since the pandemic, on the Wednesday teleconferences, we have usually between 400 and 500 participants now, and for our symposiums that we present once a quarter, we usually max out at 1000."

Okanime also says social media is helping to increase their numbers.

"With a global pandemic and no in-person activities, coupled with seasoned and coordinated expertise from our Grand Lodge, we are experiencing exponential growth in both membership and online participation," she said.

The pandemic appears to be one of the big pushes to put the Order online. That's why they hired Jason Lopez, who joined the organization in 2015, to be the communications manager in California.

"It’s a new role created by the Order to address the growing need to adapt during the pandemic," Lopez said. "Our lodges were closed but we still wanted to connect our members the best way we can, [by] making sure that every moment spent in these trying times are alleviated by the lessons from the lectures we host and the content that we produce, that can ultimately create a sense of community online, if not in person."

But even with the vaccine rolling out, and in-person gatherings becoming more and more likely, Lopez and Okanime are confident their online outreach will continue to increase membership.

"The trend has always been upward, even before I took on the role," Lopez said. "It’s a confirmation that more people online are looking into esotericism, philosophy, and ancient wisdom teachings. Hopefully they can find some answers to their questions with the Rosicrucian Order."

With committed social media managers and members across multiple states and countries, it makes sense that a pivot online could serve as a savior of sorts to their community. But their transition from existing only in the shadows to working within one of the most infamously public spaces in the world is a fascinating choice. With what we know about the lack of privacy on Facebook, their willingness to embrace the platforms shows that the group is more dedicated to the "society" aspect of secret society than they ever were to the "secret."

This article was originally published in April 2021 and was updated in June 2022.





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