K-pop fans spam Dallas police snitch app with vide

K-pop fans spam Dallas police snitch app with vide

K-pop fans spam Dallas police snitch app with videos and memes to support protestersOn Saturday, the Dallas Police Department...[Details]


Brand tweets about being an anti-racist ally are n

Brand tweets about being an anti-racist ally are n

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Justin Trudeau takes uncomfortably long pause befo

Justin Trudeau takes uncomfortably long pause befo

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How tech leaders can do more for racial justice th

How tech leaders can do more for racial justice th

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John Boyega makes emotional speech to Black Lives

John Boyega makes emotional speech to Black Lives

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Signals new blur tool will help hide protesters id

Signals new blur tool will help hide protesters id

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Meghan Markle on the killing of George Floyd: The

Meghan Markle on the killing of George Floyd: The

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Gamers take to Toontown to stand with Black Lives

Gamers take to Toontown to stand with Black Lives

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The NFLs backtracking apology forgot one thing: Co

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2023-04-02 makes a powerful statement on Black makes a powerful statement on Black makes a powerful statement on Black Lives MatterAmid a sea of bad, performative brand statements,[Details]


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Today's Headline


  • K-pop fans spam Dallas p

    K-pop fans spam Dallas police snitch app with videos and memes to support protesters

    On Saturday, the Dallas Police Department posted a tweet telling people to send them videos from ongoing protests against police brutality via the iWatch Dallas app.


    "If you have a video of illegal activity from the protests and are trying to share it with @DallasPD(Opens in a new tab), you can download it to our iWatch Dallas app," they wrote.(Opens in a new tab) "You can remain anonymous."

    Instead, Twitter users are flooding the official snitching app with unrelated videos, memes, K-pop fancams, and even footage of the police themselves.

    The U.S. is currently embroiled in widespread protests against police brutality and racism, sparked by the recent death of 46-year-old George Floyd. Floyd died on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota after police handcuffed him and knelt on his neck for several minutes. Video footage of the incident shows police officer Derek Chauvin continued to pin Floyd to the ground despite his repeated cries that he couldn't breathe, and refused to relent even after Floyd became unresponsive.

    Floyd was just the latest of countless black people who have been needlessly victimised or died at the hands of police, prompting thousands to take to the streets in protest. However, rather than deescalating the situation, law enforcement have largely responded with increasing violence.

    Numerous viral videos have captured police officers assaulting visibly peaceful civilians(Opens in a new tab) at these protests, as well as indiscriminately targeting journalists and bystanders without provocation. Not even people standing quietly on their own front porch(Opens in a new tab) are safe.

    SEE ALSO: How to demand justice for George Floyd and support Minneapolis protesters

    Twitter users have therefore responded to Dallas PD's request for information by spamming the iWatch Dallas app with unrelated videos and encouraging others to do the same. The intent is that any information which could identify protesters will be buried by the flood.

    Some people have been submitting media such as SpongeBob SquarePants memes and the Bee Movie script to the Dallas police's app. Others have sent footage of police violence. However, by far the largest, most coordinated effort appears to have come from K-pop fans, who have no shortage of videos to spam the police with.

    K-pop fans regularly post clips of their favorite artists on Twitter, even in response to completely unrelated tweets. However, many fans have recently stopped tweeting so zealously about their favorite groups, hoping to keep #BlackLivesMatter(Opens in a new tab) and related phrases trending instead. Now they're using their collections of fancams to try to protect protesters and further help the cause.

    SEE ALSO: K-pop fans are supporting #BlackLivesMatter by refusing to promote their faves on Twitter

    It appears to be working, too. Dallas PD announced iWatch Dallas was temporarily down just one day after directing people to use the app, citing "technical difficulties."(Opens in a new tab) Exactly what said difficulties were remains unclear, though many Twitter users have attributed it to thousands of K-pop fans' coordinated spamming efforts. The Dallas Police Department's website(Opens in a new tab) was also down at time of writing due to an overwhelmed server.

    Mashable has contacted the Dallas Police Department for comment.

    If the police honestly expected this would end any other way then they're even more out of touch than we thought.

    UPDATE: June 2, 2020, 10:45 a.m. AEST It seems Kirkland police have learnt nothing from Dallas. On Monday afternoon, Kirkland PD requested people use the #calminkirkland(Opens in a new tab) hashtag on Twitter to give them information about the protests. The hashtag was already flooded with K-pop fancams mere hours later.

  • Brand tweets about being

    Brand tweets about being an anti-racist ally are not enough

    America is in chaos, but don't worry the brands are on it.


    The murder by police of George Floyd, a handcuffed, unarmed black man, has sparked nationwide protests and, at times, riots and looting. Police have frequently responded to demonstrations with shocking violence: running them down with SUVs(Opens in a new tab), teargassing them(Opens in a new tab), beating them with batons, shooting them with rubber bullets(Opens in a new tab). President Donald Trump has called for further violence and, just quoting the man in charge of America here(Opens in a new tab), told governors on Monday that they "have to dominate" protesters.

    All of this during a global pandemic.

    There is no quick fix here. (Though for starters there are ways to support the protesters and white people can educate themselves about how to be a good ally to people of color.) But I do know what we absolutely don't need in this moment: Tepid, boilerplate statements from brands.

    We really, really do not need them, but, holy hell, we're getting them nonetheless. They're everywhere. Just log on to the internet and, yep, there they are.

    A few big brands started doing it — a crossover post from Nike and Adidas(Opens in a new tab) got a lot of traction early on — and then every company felt the need to jump on the bandwagon.

    Twitter user @campster(Opens in a new tab) captured their near-universal style perfectly with this meme.

    As the protests grew over the weekend, major corporations, sports teams, and pretty much any brand you've ever heard of decided they needed to speak out. Some brands have commented on big social issues like race before, but rarely have they done so with this much vigor.

    On the surface, it seems like the right thing to do. But the problem is that it almost never involves anything like, I don't know... putting actual money or action toward the cause.

    These statements on race are especially empty when they come from companies that have been criticized for mistreating people of color in the past. Hell, even Nextdoor, the neighbor app infamous as a platform for racial profiling(Opens in a new tab), released a statement. Amazon, a company known for mistreating its warehouse workers(Opens in a new tab), felt the need to jump into the fray.

    In short, what brands are doing with these statements feels a lot like performative allyship(Opens in a new tab), doing something very public (and often very easy) to appear like an ally without, you know, doing the real work to actually be one. In the case of brands, their statements would mean more if they were paired with donations or commitments to take specific, meaningful steps to dismantle racism.

    The path forward from here will be difficult. It's going to take more than a blithe Instagram post gesturing at unity and all sides being in this together or whatever the hell.

    Please brands, just stop with the statements that say absolutely nothing. And think about showing up when it can help, not just when it makes you look good.

  • Justin Trudeau takes unc

    Justin Trudeau takes uncomfortably long pause before answering question about Trump and protests

    Canadian Prime MinisterJustin Trudeau took his sweet time — about 20 seconds — to find the right words to answer a question about President Donald Trump and his call for military force to be used against the widespread anti-racism protests in the United States.


    Eventually, Trudeau did muster an answer.

    "We all watch in horror and consternation what's going on in the United States," he said on Tuesday. "It is a time to pull people together but it is a time to listen, to learn what injustices continue despite progress over years and decades."

    Here's the video of the 20-second pause, which is probably even longer than you imagine. Seriously, at times it seems like maybe the video feed froze.

    As the questioner mentioned in the video, Trudeau has been hesitant to comment on Trump. When asked for further comment, he added(Opens in a new tab): "My job as a Canadian Prime Minister is to stand up for Canadians."

    Trudeau might also be hesitant to talk about the protests for reasons beyond his fraught relationship with the Trump administration.

    Trudeau was the center of a massive racism scandal — and, of course, the U.S. protests are centered on police brutality and the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody after one officer kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. Back in September 2019, a racist photo of Trudeau in brownface surfaced from his time as a student at West Point Grey Academy. 

    If you'd like to help support protesters fighting for justice for George Floyd, here is a helpful resource. 

  • How tech leaders can do

    How tech leaders can do more for racial justice than just tweet

    Solidarity is nice, but jobs and investment in black workers and businesses is better.


    Many tech leaders and companies have tweeted out support(Opens in a new tab) for the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of George Floyd's death and police brutality protests sweeping the nation. Acknowledging tragedy and injustice at all, and not actively enabling racism — we're looking at you, Mark Zuckerberg — is a positive for the often whitewashed tech industry. Floyd died after a police officer, who has since been charged with 3rd-degree murder, kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

    However, people of color in the tech diversity space say the tweets don't go far enough. There's a better way tech executives in particular can promote racial equality, that would have more impact than a tweet: hiring black employees, fostering equitable workplaces, creating anti-racist products, and investing in black startups and other businesses.

    "We’ve seen a number of leaders and companies speak out, but Black and brown people in tech are still waiting to see if this will lead to transformational change," Aniyia Williams and Syreeta Martin, of Black & Brown Founders(Opens in a new tab), an organization that supports entrepreneurs of color, wrote over email. "Use your privilege, platform, resources and influence to help bring about a change. A change that is measurable, sustainable, shaped and led by Black and Latinx people."

    Diversity among tech employees has remained dismally low(Opens in a new tab), despite many commitments by companies to improve. At major organizations like Google(Opens in a new tab), black employees comprise around 4 percent to 5 percent of the workforce. Diversity hiring programs over the past five years have only yielded a single percent or two of improvement. What's more, Karla Monterroso, the CEO of Code2040(Opens in a new tab), an organization that works to empower people of color in tech jobs, said since the election of President Trump progress has stalled in both attitudes towards diverse hiring, and actual hires made.

    "Going into 2017, it was really clear that companies had at that point in time started to disinvest from diversity programs," Monterroso said. "It really did hit its apex this year of that slowdown."

    The connection between police brutality perpetrated against black people, and a fair and diverse tech world, might not seem obvious. However, they are connected. The lack of diversity in tech workplaces is a result of all the ways our institutions keep people of color from economic opportunity. If tech leaders can truly examine, and hopefully seek to improve, why their companies most likely don't employ many people of color, they can begin to repair their own biases, enable economic empowerment, and be conscientious members of local communities their companies too often disrupt.

    Some tech leaders such as Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg(Opens in a new tab) and Uber's Dara Khosrowshahi(Opens in a new tab) have pledged money to Black Lives Matter and other criminal justice causes in social media posts (Facebook pledged $10 million; Uber promised $1 million). However, some leaders say that creating systemic change within the tech world would be much more powerful than a tweet, and even a donation.

    "While I think it’s great that they are giving money in this moment, there are things in your backyard that are happening that you are not giving money for," Monterroso said.

    Mashable spoke with leaders of organizations that are trying to improve racial equity in tech. Here's what they had to say for how tech leaders can do more to support black lives than just tweet.

    1. Face the tech world's blind spots

    The mythology of Silicon Valley revolves around meritocracy: that the best ideas (and people) will rise to the top. However, the economic and societal barriers that keep people of color out of higher education, job interviews, and board rooms tells another story. Correcting that problem involves acknowledging the implicit racism within the tech world — and reaching out directly to black people to help.

    "What I have appreciated with some of the folks reaching out and what I’m seeing, is that they’re at least saying I’m looking to support my black employees, my black suppliers, black founders, etc.," Rodney Sampson, who has worked for decades to promote equity in tech and runs an organization called OHUB(Opens in a new tab) that places and empowers people of color in tech jobs, said. "Acknowledgement is sort of a first step."

    There are a host of other problems Sampson said leaders need to take a hard look at. Chief among them is how tech hubs disrupt and gentrify(Opens in a new tab) communities of color, and how job opportunities don't make their way(Opens in a new tab) to local communities. The first step to solving those problems? Taking an honest look at yourself.

    "Tech being so influential in really being a driving force of innovation throughout the world, really opening up and being transparent about their shortcomings is critical," Sherrell Dorsey, the founder of a website covering black innovation, The Plug(Opens in a new tab), said.

    2. Be accountable to your promises

    The outpouring of support from the tech world caught Dorsey by surprise. She and her team began cataloguing(Opens in a new tab) all of the statements made by tech leaders and companies, and comparing them to donations made, diversity statistics, and more, in order to keep a record of these extraordinary times. Not letting the promises made in tweets float into the social media ether will be a critical next step in translating solidarity into action.

    "Whatever the place is coming from to make these statements, all the attention is on the next move."

    "I think transparency is definitely key," Dorsey said. "Whatever the place is coming from to make these statements, all the attention is on the next move. This list continues to grow."

    What's more, it shouldn't be up to people of color to hold the white tech world accountable. That responsibility has to come from within. Martin, with Black & Brown Founders, encourages tech leaders to 1) "Make space for our presence" and 2) "Acknowledge our experiences and our truth."

    "When you or your white colleagues, friends or families, find yourselves falling short on #1 and #2, call it out and take accountability through action, not just words," Martin said.

    3. Put your money where your mouth is and actually hire people of color

    Before COVID-19, according to Monterroso, there were 700,000 open jobs in tech. And yet reports show(Opens in a new tab) that people of color are not being hired for them.

    "You have an available talent pool, you have a lot of open jobs," Monterroso said. "We are not giving jobs to every person who gets trained."

    Tech has touted its commitment to diversity again and again, yet jobs have not materialized.

    "I'm actually fairly done with the 'commitments' to hire more people," Monterroso said. "They've been committing to hire more people since 2014 at least, if not more than that. That is not enough. Hiring them is enough. Actually do the hiring."

    4. Revamp the hiring process, evaluation, and retention

    The tech world contains barriers that both keep people of color out of jobs and undermine their success. Hiring, evaluation, and workplace environment needs an overhaul.

    To help people get their foot in the door, hiring managers should stop using elite educations as a way to pre-screen candidates.

    "By making university pedigree the largest factor in screening, what companies do is disproportionately take out black and Latinx people [from] a university system we already know is disenfranchising students," Monterroso said. "They are outsourcing their hiring to a university system that requires money, not just for entrance, but for preparation for standardized testing."

    Multiple experts brought up problems with employee retention at tech companies. Monterroso said that black employees get disproportionately low marks on performance reviews, which most likely speaks to bias in assessment, not performance. Additionally, workplaces can inadvertently push out black employees by fostering unwelcoming environments. One former Google employee wrote eloquently(Opens in a new tab) of the phenomenon in a memo circulated last year of how he "never stopped feeling the burden of being black" while working at Google.

    "Make space for our presence," Martin said. "This means not questioning whether we should be somewhere that you're at — be it personally or professionally. And definitely make space at the table from which you sit and lead."

    5. Reinvest in black businesses and venture funds

    Hiring is not the only way to empower black people in tech. Sampson pointed out a huge discrepancy(Opens in a new tab) in investments in startups with black founders, particularly black women founders. This should be a moment for change in how black businesses and funds get supported. There are also specific corporate incentives(Opens in a new tab) created to fund businesses that benefit low income communities, called opportunity zones; investors should educate themselves on how to take advantage of these programs. Additionally, companies can also look to their operational budget to work with black-owned vendors.

    "A company may argue they don’t have extra money to do hiring right now, they could spend money with black-owned businesses," Sampson said.

    Sampson wants to see the promises of this moment translate into black board members and funded companies.

    "Forget the virtue signaling," Sampson said. "Write a check. Write a large check. If you want to fund black economic empowerment, fund black businesses."

    6. Develop progressive products. And please, make sure your current products don't enable racism

    Some pointed Twitter moments emerged after Brand Twitter started to verbally support the Black Lives Matter movement. For example, the ACLU called out Amazon's tweet in support of Black Lives Matter, suggesting that stopping the sale of racist facial recognition software to police departments would be more effective than a nice sentiment. (Multiple tests(Opens in a new tab) have found that facial recognition algorithms, including Amazon's, misidentify people of color more often than white people).

    "New technologies are actively and/or passively oppressive," Deldelp Medina, of Black & Brown Founders, said. "From the automation of jobs to the elimination of well-paid work (for folks of color and Black folks in particular), to the gathering of personal data which is used to prosecute, give sentencing guidelines, and incarcerate, we are seeing it increase, not level off."

    From facial recognition software that could enable the surveillance of protesters to algorithms that amplify messages of hate, tech has often been complicit or enabling of racism and racist institutions. If tech leaders are tweeting in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, they can start with not actively contributing to the problem.

    "No amount of money that is given out to criminal justice organizations by Mark Zuckerberg through CZI(Opens in a new tab), [Zuckerberg's family foundation], changes that that product is incentivizing and coloring the dialogue of the country," Monterroso said of Facebook and how its algorithm tends to favor(Opens in a new tab) polarizing content, including spreading demonizing characterizations of the recent protests seeking justice for Floyd.

    Some tech companies have taken steps to reorient their products and business deals in ways that don't enable hatred. But Sampson, and others, want to see more real world action.

    "It’s not time for kumbaya solidarity," Sampson said. "It’s gotta be transactional."

  • John Boyega makes emotio

    John Boyega makes emotional speech to Black Lives Matter protesters in London

    Star Wars actor John Boyega is one of the many people taking action in wake of George Floyd's death.


    Floyd died on May 25, after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes, and in the week since, protests against racism and police brutality have spread around the world.

    Thousands of people in the UK gathered to protest in solidarity with the U.S. over the weekend, and on Wednesday, the British actor was seen delivering an emotional address in the middle of a Black Lives Matter protest at London's Hyde Park.

    Photos show Boyega speaking to the crowd of fellow protesters through a megaphone, and videos shared to social media caught snippets of his powerful speeches.

    "Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain't waiting," Boyega shouted into the megaphone.

    SEE ALSO: Thousands protest racism and police violence around the globe in solidarity with U.S.

    The 28-year-old was seen wiping tears from his cheeks at the event, and also encouraged everyone around him to take a knee at one point.

    "Thank you for coming out today. Thank you for being there to show your support to us. Black people, I love you. I appreciate you. Today is an important day. We're fighting for our rights, we're fighting for our ability to live in freedom, we're fighting for our ability to achieve," Boyega said. "Today, you guys are a physical representation of that."

    You can watch Boyega's full speech below.

    Last week Boyega addressed the death of George Floyd on his Twitter account(Opens in a new tab), and has since fired off several other tweets condemning racism and criticizing those who took issue with him speaking out. The actor also spoke to followers in an Instagram Live video(Opens in a new tab), during which he said, "Although I don’t live in the States, I’m black…So I'll say it again: Fuck you racist white people. I said what I said. And if you don’t fucking like it, go suck a dick."

    Boyega and other protesters in London defied coronavirus restrictions to attend these rallies. As of right now the UK is still under severe coronavirus restrictions, and the government has stated that groups should not contain more than six people(Opens in a new tab).

  • Signals new blur tool wi

    Signals new blur tool will help hide protesters identities

    Secure messaging app Signal has announced a new in-app blur tool that will allow users to censor faces in photos before sharing them. The feature is being introduced to protect protesters currently demonstrating against police brutality by helping to hide their identities.


    "Right now, people around the world are marching and protesting against racism and police brutality, outraged by the most recent police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor," Signal wrote in a blog post(Opens in a new tab) on Wednesday. "At Signal, we support the people who have gone into the streets to make their voices heard."

    Floyd died on May 25 after Minneapolis police handcuffed him and knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Taylor died on March 13 after Louisville police entered her home(Opens in a new tab) and shot her multiple times. They are just two among countless black people who have been needlessly assaulted or killed by law enforcement, sparking the widespread protests.

    SEE ALSO: How to demand justice for George Floyd and support Minneapolis protesters

    Many feel it important that the civilians currently protesting are able to remain anonymous, as police have largely responded to the protests with further unprovoked violence(Opens in a new tab), and law enforcement has a history when it comes to using facial recognition technology, as does ICE.

    As such, Signal's blur tool will enable users to censor photos before sharing them, obscuring protesters' faces so they can't be easily identified.

    The new blur feature will be able to automatically detect and hide faces in an image, with all processing taking place on the user's phone to ensure security. Signal users will also be able to manually censor parts of a photo by tapping on the blur tool in the image editor. Face-detecting software isn't always perfect, so this will allow users to pick up any faces that might have been missed.

    The update will roll out "as soon as possible" on both the Android and iOS Signal apps, having already been submitted to the app stores.

    Signal will allow users to manually blur images before sharing them. Credit: signal

    Signal has seen significantly increased traffic over the past few days. The encrypted messaging app has been downloaded thousands of times since Floyd was killed and the protests began, with 121,000 downloads in the U.S. alone. This may be partially because Signal doesn't keep its users' message data, making it ideal for those concerned the law enforcement might try to subpoena their chat logs.

    In further support of the protestors, Signal has also announced they are currently looking into manufacturing masks and distributing them for free. Details are currently being finalised, with more information to come.

    As the company's blog post noted, "One immediate thing seems clear: 2020 is a pretty good year to cover your face."

  • Meghan Markle on the kil

    Meghan Markle on the killing of George Floyd: The only wrong thing to say is to say nothing

    Silence speaks volumes.


    But silence is not an option after the killing of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, prompting widespread protests across America and around the world.

    In a virtual commencement speech(Opens in a new tab) addressing students graduating from her former school Immaculate Heart High School, Los Angeles, Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, gave a powerful statement on these times.

    "I wasn't sure what I could say to you. I wanted to say the right thing and I was really nervous that I wouldn't or it would get picked apart," she said.

    "I realised the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing."

    SEE ALSO: How to demand justice for George Floyd and support Minneapolis protesters

    Markle then went on to say the names of black people who were killed by police.

    "Because George Floyd's life mattered, and Breonna Taylor(Opens in a new tab)'s life matter, and Philando Castile(Opens in a new tab)'s life mattered, and Tamir Rice(Opens in a new tab)'s life mattered, and so did so many other people whose names we know and whose names we do not know. Stephon Clark(Opens in a new tab), his life mattered," she said.

    Markle then reflected on the words a teacher once said to her in her sophomore year of school: "Always remember to put others' needs above your own fears."

    If you're looking for more information about how to demand justice for George Floyd, read this. To learn more about how to become anti-racist, read this.

  • Gamers take to Toontown

    Gamers take to Toontown to stand with Black Lives Matter protesters

    As protests and demonstrations flood the streets of the United States and beyond with people calling for the end of police brutality and abuse of power, there's one place packed with vocal Black Lives Matter supporters that you won't find on any map: Toontown.


    Players in Toontown Rewritten (a free-to-play, not-for profit, and barely legal recreation of Disney's defunct MMORPG Toontown) are bringing messages of support to oppressed and abused communities with messages containing "Black Lives Matter" and calls to action to sign petitions and defund the police.

    It just goes to show that you can show up and support this movement no matter how old you are.

    As the Toontown Rewritten community comes together to spread these messages, the developers behind the game released a statement that they support players who are using their game as a platform for positivity around diversity, equality, and inclusion. Additionally, the team noted that they will suspend any player using the game to spread any form of hateful oppression.

    Toontown Rewritten players were previously being warned for sharing messages containing "Black Lives Matter," according to some users(Opens in a new tab), but the game has been updated(Opens in a new tab) to allow players to use that phrase and other relevant messages within the game without any penalty.

    Toontown Rewritten is a child-focused game, so messages promoting violence are still not allowed in the game. Still, players seem to be able to get their points across.

    Toontown may seem like a bit of an odd platform for people to spread their messages against police violence and abuse of power, but its core has always revolved around the struggle against systems and people in power. The main enemies in Toontown are Cogs, which are robotic corporate people who are trying to turn the town into a cookie-cut version of their own ideals. There are business Cogs, law Cogs, and cash Cogs, and players take them on by doing gags like hitting them with seltzer or pies.

    Club Penguin, another kid-focused online game from the mid-2000s, also saw protests spring up in the Rewritten version of the game that officially closed down in 2017.

    For those who either can't get out to protest themselves or are looking for ways to support the movement in creative ways, this method is certainly surprising but ultimately a positive direction as the world expresses its rage and frustration at the systems that continuously do harm to the communities they're supposed to protect.

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    Teens are apparently stealing soap dispensers and urinals from school for the devious lick trend

    Students are stealing paper towel dispensers, lab equipment, and school bus parts to flex as "devious licks" in the latest back-to-school trend on TikTok. Well, at least they claim they are.


    In a video posted last week(Opens in a new tab), TikTok user @oskarsoskar, unzips their backpack and pulls out two COVID antigen testing kits. They toss the kits into a larger pile of boxed kits on their bed, and then pans over to a duffle bag filled with even more kits. As the music builds, @oskarsoskar pulls out a drawer from under their bed, revealing even more antigen testing kits.

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    School administrators and other students are getting fed up with "devious licks." Credit: tiktok / oksarsoskar

    They posted the video again the same day, racking up 4.6 million views, and captioned it, "I won this trend."

    The opening bars to Lil B's "Ski Ski BasedGod"(Opens in a new tab) — sped up to a frantic, tension-building trill — provide the backing track to these alleged school supply heists, which has become a trend on the app as schools return to in-person classes. In a typical video, the TikTok user unzips their backpack to reveal their apparently stolen goods. The more difficult to obtain, the more devious the lick. Toilet paper rolls, class pets, and a classmate's shoes are small-grade licks. Mid-tier licks include parking signs, school laptops, and desk chairs. Especially complex swipes like an entire filing cabinet or security cameras are referred to as nefarious, diabolical, and godforsaken licks.

    As of Monday, there are over 76,000 videos using the sped-up version of "Ski Ski BasedGod," and 24,500 videos using an identical sound posted by a different TikTok user. The tag #deviouslick has 175.2 million views.

    The trend started when TikTok user jugg4elias posted a video on Sept. 1 showing off a box of disposable face masks they claimed to have stolen from school, according to Know Your Meme(Opens in a new tab).

    "A month into school...absolutely devious lick," they captioned the video, adding "Should've brought a mask from home. Now look at you walkin round campus maskless you dirty dog."

    The video racked up more than 345,800 views before it was removed on Monday.

    TikTok user whiteboywes upped the ante last week(Opens in a new tab), posting a video unzipping their backpack to reveal a wall-mounted hand sanitizer dispenser. The video now has more than 13 million views, and the user appears to have changed their name to dtx.2cent.

    It started with a box of masks. Credit: tiktok / jugg4elias
    Then it escalated to hand sanitizer dispensers. Credit: Tiktok / dtx.2cent

    Amid videos of actual stolen property, TikTok users are also bragging about implausible heists. The tongue-in-cheek videos feature students admonishing others for their small licks before revealing "stolen" cop cars and school busses.

    "In just a few minutes...I'm going to win this trend," TikTok user ucharlie captioned video of himself pretending to dismantle a boiler(Opens in a new tab).

    Students are joking about pulling off even bigger heists. Credit: tiktok / josesiq_
    In a tongue-in-cheek twist on the trend, one guy joked about stealing the entire planet. Credit: tiktok / sheluvmichael_

    Another user posted a video of a massive bronze horse statue(Opens in a new tab) at the entrance of their school building, writing, "I'm finna hit the most diabolical lick of the school year."

    One posted space footage of planet Earth(Opens in a new tab), joking they "hit the biggest lick in the universe."

    Other students are fed up with the antics. TikTok users complained that school bathrooms are closed because of missing toilets(Opens in a new tab) and stolen bathroom stall dividers(Opens in a new tab). One user joked about being scared to use public restrooms(Opens in a new tab), lest their shoes be stolen from under the stall door in the name of a devious lick.

    And school administrators are threatening consequences for the trending theft. TikTok user drexerss posted a recording of a school announcement(Opens in a new tab) imploring kids to stop stealing soap dispensers and warning students that if caught, they'll be disciplined.

    "For those that are participating, please know that when we do catch you we will discipline you to the fullest extent and you will be arrested and you will be responsible for any of the monetary damages that have been done," the school administrator said in the video. "Because of the antics of a few, we don't have soap in any of the boys' restrooms...nor do we have any more soap dispensers so you will not be able to thoroughly wash your hands."

    The administrator added that the school had to close one of the bathrooms because of the damages from this trend.

    In a Facebook post(Opens in a new tab) on Sunday night, Sunlake High School in Land O'Lakes, Florida told parents that stealing school property may seem like a "harmless prank," the trend does involve "criminal activity."

    "Soap dispensers, exit signs, safety signage for fire rescue, and classroom telephones are just a few of the items that were removed and stolen this week," the school posted. "We love our Seahawks and we do not want to see any of them arrested so PLEASE talk to your kids. If they are participating in this activity you will be hearing from an administrator and our School Resource Officer. Let's work together to put a stop to this now."

    One student on TikTok said participants "took this devious lick thing too far" and now their school is only allowing transparent backpacks(Opens in a new tab). Another school is taking "anti-menace" measures by locking soap dispensers in metal casing(Opens in a new tab).

    It's unclear if these measures were already in place, or if students are posting these consequence videos to get in on the trend.

    And while the trend may appear harmless, already underfunded schools are taking a hit. YouTuber and streamer Arthur EXE responded to another student(Opens in a new tab) who claimed they stole a SMART Board, which can cost a classroom between $2,000 to $7,000 for the hardware alone.

    A lot of you don't realize how expensive a SMART Board is. Buying a SMART Board is basically taking out a small loan.

    "A lot of you don't realize how expensive a SMART Board is," Arthur EXE said, adding that his mother is a teacher. "Buying a SMART Board is basically taking out a small loan...This might be the greatest lick in history."

    The base price of the interactive board itself doesn't include the cost of installation or software licensing, which varies by brand but can still cost tens of thousands of dollars. And while the cost of most classroom furniture like desks, boards, and basic technology is covered by the school district, teachers are still burdened with paying for other supplies out-of-pocket(Opens in a new tab).

    Bottom line: devious licks can be fun, but they do hurt actual teachers trying to do their jobs, and punish students who didn't even participate in trend. And while there aren't any lick-related arrests made public yet, it's a very real consequence of attempting a heist just for some clout.

  • Bimbos are good, actuall

    Bimbos are good, actually

    The bimbo is back and Gen Z is reclaiming it with a leftist flair.


    The modern bimbo is hyperfeminine, embraces their hotness, and rejects the capitalist mentality that they must showcase marketable skills.

    Bimbofication isn't exclusively for cis women — everyone who aligns themselves with femininity and finds joy in being ditzy can identify as a bimbo. Above all, the modern bimbo isn't necessarily uneducated or unintelligent, but their personality doesn't revolve around their degrees and resúmé. The modern bimbo takes the male gaze that's been unavoidable since birth and creates a caricature of it by performing vanity and cluelessness.

    Despite the derogatory origins of the word "bimbo," used to dismiss beautiful women as unintelligent, Gen Z is leading the effort to reclaim the word. Syrena, a 21-year-old self-proclaimed "intelligent bimbo" who goes by the handle fauxrich, offered a diagnosis in a recent viral TikTok.

    "Do you not care about society's elitist view on academic intelligence? Do you support all women regardless of their job title and if they have plastic surgery or body modifications?" Syrena asks her followers in a singsong lilt, before asking if they also dream of owning dozens of shoes and idolize the late model Anna Nicole Smith. "I'm no doctor, but I think you may be a New Age bimbo!"

    The prognosis: pink glitter and Juicy Couture velour sweatsuits.

    @fauxrich(Opens in a new tab)

    it’s my diagnosis, treatment is juicy couture and pink glitter

    ♬ original sound - 💖princess💖(Opens in a new tab)

    The bimbo's resurgence is especially popular on TikTok, where, as (Opens in a new tab)Rolling Stone(Opens in a new tab) put it, bimbos are something of an "aspirational figure." The tag #bimbo has just over 81 million views. The tags #bimbotiktok and #bimbofication have 8.9 million views and 5.8 million views, respectively.

    The phrase "bimbofication" gained notoriety in 2017, when an illustration of a buxom woman in a minidress picking up a book and transforming into someone more conservatively dressed went viral. Though the artist insisted that it was fetish art, not an anti-feminist condemnation of sexually confident women, the internet was outraged over the implication that women could be either hot or intelligent. In a (Opens in a new tab)Deviantart blog post(Opens in a new tab), the artist apologized for offending people, and wrote that the image was meant to satisfy a client's kink, not make a statement.

    The image took on a life of its own, and inspired memes, spin-offs, and even fanfiction(Opens in a new tab) that imagined the various versions of the woman as a queer book club. The meme format made a comeback in late November following Harry Styles' Vogue cover, which features the musician in a Gucci ball gown.

    Personally, I began jokingly calling myself a bimbo earlier this year when the term "himbo" started trending. Himbos are known for being traditionally masculine men — the himbo is hot and dumb, but above all, he respects women. When viral discourse over the term brought the word back to TikTok, young women asked why the word "bimbo" wasn't met with the same affection. Spoiler alert: It's the same reason femininity has been belittled and dismissed for centuries.

    The short answer: Sexism!

    Syrena, the 21-year-old diagnosing her followers as New Age bimbos, is a college student studying health science. As a woman in a rigorous educational program, Syrena rejects the expectation that to be taken seriously in professional or academic settings she has to distance herself from hyperfemininity.

    "I think all-inclusive feminism includes boss babes, sluts, bimbos, PhD holders, single moms, and just ALL women in general."

    "I think we don't have to 'be' anything to be taken seriously, as women should be taken seriously in all spaces regardless of how they look," Syrena said over Instagram DM. "I think all-inclusive feminism includes boss babes, sluts, bimbos, PhD holders, single moms, and just ALL women in general ... The people who believe it's anti-feminist are those who believe bimbos are who they are for the male gaze, which is completely untrue."

    Syrena added that she herself had to unlearn her own "inner male gaze" in the process of identifying as a bimbo. Diving headfirst into the hyperfeminine should not be equated to giving in to the male gaze. The TikTok creators who identify as bimbos have made it clear they're putting on the costume not to appeal to men, but to make fun of them. Kate Muir, who posts on TikTok as bimbokate, told Rolling Stone that she uses her online persona to make men uncomfortable by pairing stereotypically feminine visuals with jarring messaging.

    "Being a self-aware bimbo is amazing," she captioned(Opens in a new tab) one TikTok of herself dancing in front of a mirror. "You become everything men want visually whilst also being everything they hate (self-aware, sexually empowered, politically conscious.) Reverse the fetishisation of femininity."

    The real appeal of the term, aside from consciously choosing to lean into your inherent hotness, is rejecting the societal expectation that women must have it all. (Anyone, Syrena explained in another video, can be hot with confidence.)

    @fauxrich(Opens in a new tab)

    Reply to @saddestsaphic we are ALL hot to someone and all NOT to someone... what are you to YOURSELF?

    ♬ original sound - 💖princess💖(Opens in a new tab)

    To have some sort of value in American society, the modern woman is expected to be compassionate and maternal, but also ambitious and goal-oriented. On top of that, women are pressured to meet a constantly changing beauty standard. Juggling all of these expectations is so exhausting and instilled in women from such an early age, it's taking a psychological toll on teenage girls. In his book The Triple Bind: Saving Our Teenage Girls From Today's Pressures, University of California, Berkeley, psychology professor Stephen Hinshaw described the juggling act as excelling at "girl skills," achieving "boy goals," and being "models of female perfection." Between conflicting messaging about being both family- and career-oriented, plus immense pressure to be sexually appealing from a young age, the teenagers Hinshaw profiled in his case studies were "set up for crisis" and at higher risk for anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders.

    Which is why the bimbo resurgence is transgressive — by leaning into the caricature of femininity, Gen Z's New Age bimbos are turning the male gaze back on itself.

    Jaime Hough teaches introductory gender studies courses at Washington State University and wrote her PhD dissertation on women's expression of sexuality. Dealing with that triple bind, as Hinshaw describes it, is an exhausting, lifelong juggle. Hough is especially enamored by the resurgence of the bimbo because it's such a middle finger to that triple bind.

    "I’m just going to care for myself, feel good, and look pretty. Fuck the rest of you."

    "I think part of bimbofication is saying I'm not going to do it all," Hough said in a phone interview. "Today I'm just going to focus on being pretty, because I want to. I'm going to let go of being assertive, going to let go of caring for everyone else. I'm just going to care for myself, feel good, and look pretty. Fuck the rest of you."

    The modern bimbo is inherently anti-capitalist too, because no matter how intelligent, accomplished, and ambitious they may be, contributing to the market is not a priority. Everyone has likely performed some form of (Opens in a new tab)unpaid emotional labor(Opens in a new tab) at some point in their lives, but women take on more of it than cis men. From waking up earlier than cis male coworkers to get ready in the mornings, to doing the bulk of household duties because men simply "aren't as good at it," to (Opens in a new tab)regulating their emotions(Opens in a new tab) to appear more approachable.

    "In our culture, we rely on women to do almost all the emotional labor we don't teach men how to do," Hough said. "And so, women are always carrying this huge mental emotional burden of thinking not just about what I want to do, but whose feelings are going to get hurt and how can I do it in a way that their feelings don't get hurt? How can I achieve my goals without making anyone feel threatened?"

    Being a bimbo also involves rejecting the pressure to be constantly productive.

    In addition to the triple bind young women face, all young people are expected to meet some level of productivity. If something isn't directly related to self-improvement, it's not seen as valuable in American culture. The labor and expense women put into maintaining their appearance, Hough added, isn't directly profitable, but that doesn't mean it isn't work. Being a bimbo also involves rejecting the pressure to be constantly productive.

    "I believe that productivity is constantly fed to society as being a slave to capitalism by working or thinking about work," Syrena said. "I think productivity can be learning something random that you like."

    Identifying as a bimbo is so enjoyable because, whether it's feminist or not, you're allowing yourself to be selfish for once. If you have to spend hours futzing with your appearance to have any value in this capitalist hellscape, why not make it your entire personality?

    Don't confuse the New Age bimbo with girlboss second-wave feminism. The New Age bimbo is intersectional, and transcends gender or heterosexuality. Though the classic bimbo is a skinny, blonde, heterosexual white woman, TikTok's modern bimbos are queer, trans, people of all races and of any and all body types. Chrissy Chlapecka, a 20-year-old TikTok creator who wrote the "Bimbo Bibble," styles her videos as (Opens in a new tab)open letters(Opens in a new tab) to "the girls, the gays, the theys," and (Opens in a new tab)"anyone who, unfortunately, likes men."(Opens in a new tab)

    Anyone who embraces femininity can be a bimbo; TikTok has also come up with the gender neutral term "thembo" to describe someone who's hot, dumb, and respects women. TikTok creator little_sun_boy coined the phrase "bimboy" as a spin-off of himbos. Instead of someone who's large, masculine, and ditzy, the 24-year-old creator explains that the bimboy is small, feminine, and ditzy. In an Instagram DM, little_sun_boy clarified that while the bimboy is feminine and ditzy, he isn't ditzy because he's feminine.

    @little_sun_boy(Opens in a new tab)

    ##bimboy(Opens in a new tab)

    ♬ Cute - Prod by Rose(Opens in a new tab)

    Ultimately, the bimbo's newfound popularity points to a shift away from the belittling of femininity. Hough noted that stereotypical hyperfeminine women in children's media, like Sharpay in High School Musical and Yzma in Emperor's New Groove were written as the movies' villains and, though it's subtle, that messaging only adds to the triple bind young women grapple with in their childhoods.

    Nothing is black and white, though, and categorizing traits, goals, and interests into "for boys" and "for girls" is harmful for all impressionable kids. I myself was reluctant to admit my own queerness because I was so insistent that being hyperfeminine could only mean that I was heterosexual, and when I did come to terms with it, I overcompensated by getting rid of my frilly wardrobe and extensive makeup collection. But surprise! You can be two things at once! I, for one, have now leaned even further into hyperfemininity with an even more extensive makeup collection and a newfound zest for wearing over-the-top looks that I put on for my own artistic enjoyment, not for a man's.

    Distancing from the color pink is a common experience in feminist circles. Hough and many of her peers in academia were reluctant to embrace the color that had been forced upon them since birth. A (Opens in a new tab)2011 study(Opens in a new tab) led by Stefan Puntoni, an associate professor of marketing at the Rotterdam School of Management, (Opens in a new tab)concluded(Opens in a new tab) that the relentlessly pink, gendered marketing used in breast cancer awareness ads actually may repel the women the ads are targeting. Female participants were less likely to think they were at risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer when they were shown pink advertisements than when they were shown colorless or neutral-toned ones. Participants were also less likely to donate to the causes when shown pink marketing materials. Puntoni hypothesized that the color pink triggered a "defense mechanism" that made some female participants unconsciously ignore or downplay the advertisement's message.

    New Age bimbos subvert the patriarchy by reclaiming femininity without pitting women against each other.

    American culture has a habit of forcing femininity and masculinity on children from birth, so rejecting the color pink is a natural reaction to foisting bubblegum bows and flamingo-toned tutus on infant girls. But distancing yourself from femininity for the sake of distancing yourself from women is just internalized misogyny. The sexist and backhanded compliment (Opens in a new tab)"not like other girls"(Opens in a new tab) has been reborn and recirculated in different forms over the last two decades, from bimbofication fetish art to the (Opens in a new tab)"Bruh girl" versus "Hi girlie" trope(Opens in a new tab)s popularized on TikTok this year. Regardless of whether they identify as women, New Age bimbos subvert such patriarchal categorizations by reclaiming femininity without pitting women against each other, whatever their gender may be.

    "One of the things I love about this new wave of bimbofication is that it's very anti-hierarchical, and no one's degree makes them better or smarter, that's not a thing we value," Hough said. "This new wave of bimbofication is this idea that this is about self-love and self-pleasure. Anything that gets in the way of that, like traditional educational values or capitalist values, isn't worth it."

    But then again, expecting that anything women do must be in the name of subversion goes against the modern bimbo's hedonist principles. All you need to do to be a new bimbo is be feminine, feel pretty, and not particularly care about what men want from you.

    Cyndi Lauper put it best in her 1983 bimbo anthem: Girls (and gays and theys) just wanna have fun.

  • Quordle today: Here are

    Quordle today: Here are the answers and hints for October 18

    Sorry about the difficulty level of today's Quordle. I wouldn't say it's a hard one, so much as it's simply one that takes longer than usual. But your mileage may vary from mine!


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

    What is Quordle?

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

    Is Quordle harder than Wordle?

    Yes, though not diabolically so.

    Where did Quordle come from?

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

    How is Quordle pronounced?

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

    Is Quordle strategy different from Wordle?

    Yes and no.

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

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

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

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

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

    Is there a way to get the answer faster?

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

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

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

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

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

    Three of four words contain a letter that occurs twice.

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


    What do today’s Quordle words start with?

    S, W, B, and R.

    What are the answers for today’s Quordle?

    Are you sure you want to know?

    There’s still time to turn back.

    OK, you asked for it. The answers are:

    1. STINT

    2. WEDGE

    3. BUGLE

    4. RIGOR

  • Parler is trying to thro

    Parler is trying to throw Facebook under the bus for the U.S. Capitol riots

    In early February, the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform asked social media platform Parler to produce information(Opens in a new tab) regarding its finances and potential ties to foreign entities. The request came in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, which allegedly involved numerous Parler users.


    Now Parler has responded, mounting a defense that essentially boils down to: "We aren't bad because Facebook is worse."

    In a letter dated Mar. 25(Opens in a new tab), Parler attempts to paint itself as a small underdog startup being mercilessly attacked by Twitter and Facebook. Claiming that Big Tech are afraid Parler will become a "competitive threat," the company alleges it is being scapegoated, and calls for Congress to go away and investigate that instead.

    "[T]ogether, the Big Tech companies colluded with Amazon to destroy Parler and used the horrific attacks on the Capitol on January 6, 2021 as a shameful excuse," wrote Parler's lawyers.

    As evidence, the letter cited the fact that Amazon Web Services signed a hosting contract with Twitter(Opens in a new tab) a few weeks before terminating Parler's services. It's an embarrassingly silly and self-involved conclusion to draw, but a wonderful example of the phrase "correlation does not imply causation" that will be useful in future classrooms.

    Of course, by Parler's own admission, the primary reason it allegedly posed a threat to Big Tech was because it was poised to host Donald Trump after he'd already been banned by numerous other social media platforms. The whole thing is like trying to eat from your neighbour's rotting trash, then getting mad when your mum comes and stops you.

    SEE ALSO: Parler wanted back into the App Store. Apple said no.

    In addition to declaring its love of slurping up Twitter's garbage, Parler spends most of the letter hurling stones from its own grimy glass house rather than addressing the Committee's concerns. This included noting that in over 200 charging documents filed by the Department of Justice concerning the Jan. 6 attempted coup, Facebook was referenced 73 times and Parler only eight(Opens in a new tab).

    "It is now well-documented and understood by honest observers that incitement occurred far more frequently on Big Tech platforms like Facebook and Twitter than Parler," wrote Parler.

    The company didn't mention that both rival platforms each have over 12 times the number of users Parler does, which may bear some relevance.

    "[T]he Committee should recognize that curbing violent rhetoric and incitement is hard, and it is evident that even the largest and most well-resourced Big Tech companies have had significant difficulties doing it," Parler continued.

    It's true that stopping online abuse is difficult, and that platforms such as Facebook and Twitter haven't done a great job at it. Both have frequently come under fire for precisely this issue.

    However, none of this removes the log from Parler's eye(Opens in a new tab). In fact, it's an even more damning indictment of the platform, which has done an even worse job than its rivals despite its smaller user base. (Parler had 15 million users(Opens in a new tab) around the beginning of 2021, while Twitter had 192 million daily active users(Opens in a new tab) and Facebook had 1.84 billion(Opens in a new tab).)

    Though Parler claims not to be a "far-right instigator," its laissez-faire approach to moderation has actively attracted users booted off other platforms for content violations and abuse. The company not only knows this but embraces it, branding itself as as "[standing] proudly for the fundamental American values of freedom of speech and expression."

    Still, Parler is careful to stress that it's an upstanding, law-abiding platform.

    "Parler has always recognized that there are legal limits to free speech, and Parler's policies have always prohibited threats of violence and incitement on its platform," it wrote. It further stated it "has acted to remove incitement and threats of violence from its platform and did so numerous times in the days before the unlawful rioting at the Capitol."

    Unfortunately, Parler behaves as though obeying the law is some badge of honour and not the bare minimum. The company may follow legislation but it doesn't seem to understand why it was made, or comprehend the concept of ethical obligations.

    If the only thing stopping you from harming others is a written rule specifying monetary consequences, you can't really claim the moral high ground.

    SEE ALSO: Parler offered Trump an ownership stake to post there, report claims

    Parler's letter also gets down to splitting incredibly fine baby hairs regarding its business dealings with Donald Trump.

    In the letter, Parler rejects a report that "suggests [it] negotiated with individuals representing then-President Donald Trump and offered to provide the former president with an ownership interest in the Company."

    Yet in the same paragraph, it states that "there were early-stage conceptual discussions between Parler and the Trump Organization...concerning the possibility that the Trump Organization would acquire an ownership interest in Parler."

    The questionable distinction Parler appears to be making is that while it didn't negotiate giving Trump personally an ownership interest in the company, it did discuss giving the Trump Organization said interest. For the record, the Trump Organization is owned by Donald Trump.

    It's the exact kind of "well actually" talk you'd expect from a social media website determined to swaddle itself so tightly in its Confederate flag that it suffocates. Parler is acting like a kid chanting that they aren't touching you so you can't get mad, or arguing that two chopped tomatoes constitute a fruit salad. Everyone knows they're full of it, but they'll just keep grinning like their crap doesn't stink.

    Despite its overactive sense of victimhood, Parler isn't the only organisation under investigation. The Committee requested documents(Opens in a new tab) from various federal and law enforcement agencies today as well, the White House being included among them. Facebook and Twitter have also faced Congressional hearings for various issues repeatedly throughout the years — including one this week — and will no doubt face more in the future. It isn't as though Big Tech is going unscrutinised, as Parler seems to believe.

    But when you don't have much of a defense, sometimes the best you can do is look around, point at someone else, and shout, "What's that?!"

  • Check your kids Hallowee

    Check your kids Halloween candy memes hilariously mocks hyped drug warnings

    Every Halloween police(Opens in a new tab) departments(Opens in a new tab) and certain parents do the same, pretty tired thing. "Parents be warned," they say, "people are lacing candy with drugs/razor blades/poison/whatever."


    These old tropes and fears are trotted out despite zero evidence(Opens in a new tab) that deadly Halloween candy is a thing. Also do people understand how expensive edibles are? Why in the world would anyone pass out weed candy? Why would anyone decide to kill kids at random with razor blades?

    SEE ALSO: The best outdoor games for kids

    People online latched onto that idea and began posting funny memes poking fun at the idea that some neighborhood sadist is trying to hurt kids with Halloween candy.

    The funny thing is, is it really any more ridiculous to think that people would slip Rich Dad Poor Dad into a piece of candy than a razor blade? OK, it's a bit more ridiculous because of the size impossibility. But it's a reversal of the old trope: Wealthy enclaves fear the insidious interloper, all hopped up on drugs, hurting their children. What if everyone else worried about the rich folks indoctrinating their children with the prosperity gospel?

    Of course, I could also be overthinking all this. Sometimes stuff is just funny because it's funny.

    Anyway, be safe out there. And remember to check the inside of your child's candy. With reports like these, who knows what you're going to find.

    Also, take at least a few pieces for yourself. You know, to test it out.

  • Skating kept me from bei

    Skating kept me from being a depressed hermit in quarantine

    Essentials Week spotlights unexpected items that make our daily lives just a little bit better.


    If not for roller skating, I probably could have spent the entirety of this pandemic alone indoors, letting my depression take the reins.

    As a deeply introverted person who's often exhausted by going out, California's stay-at-home order wasn't too bad at first. I was content nesting in fleece blankets, working from home in loungewear, and catching up with friends over FaceTime. But when the two weeks stretched into two months and health experts predicted that the pandemic will drag on well into next year, the novelty of social distancing wore off and an overwhelming sense of dread settled into its place.

    I picked up skating when I moved to Los Angeles about three years ago. A friend invited me to Rainbow Night, a weekly LGBTQ party that a local roller rink has been hosting for decades. I fell in love. Rainbow Nights feature a specific time slot for more accomplished skaters to skate backwards, practice spins, and dazzle onlookers with their glamorous tricks. Enamored by the vintage disco ball and determined to join the glittering couples waltzing through the rink, I bought a cheap pair of skates online and made it my mission to learn to skate.

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    Life got in the way, and the skates remained unworn for the better part of two years. They sat on the floor of my closet, so every time I opened my door to root for a purse or a pair of shoes, I'd bump into them. I'd ruminate over using them for the weekend, but would inevitably forget that they existed until the next time I needed an item from the depths of my closet. Aside from a "sexy skate" class I took earlier this year with actress and skater Ana Coto, who's now a viral TikTok star(Opens in a new tab), the skates I so enthusiastically bought during my first months in my new home were unused.

    There were plenty of times when I had a free afternoon that I could have spent learning to skate, but I put it off because I hate doing activities that I'm not already good at. I rarely bake, because I don't have the patience for waiting for dough to rise. I nearly flunked math in high school because once I stopped recognizing the foreign symbols on worksheets, I gave up on even trying to understand it. When I was eight-years-old, I was enrolled in youth soccer and after attending one practice, decided that I'd spend the rest of the season "playing defense" by sitting in a far corner of a field and reading a book I snuck under my jersey.

    Skating, unsurprisingly, is not easy. Though I could skate forward with some semblance of stability, doing anything else felt unnatural. And because I couldn't pick it up off the bat, I gave up before really trying. During my class with Ana, I remember attempting a spin, crashing hard, and preemptively deciding that I simply wasn't meant to spin on skates. Ana, who was far more patient with me than I deserved, assured me that my body was just fighting it because my muscles weren't used to moving like that yet. After the class she made me promise her that I'd keep practicing, but as soon as I got home the skates were tossed back onto my closet floor.

    Then quarantine began, and I started feeling restless.

    Then quarantine began, and I started feeling restless. My rock climbing gym, which I had visited almost four times a week, closed before California's March stay-at-home(Opens in a new tab) order started in an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus. Daily walks were eerie reminders of the city in standstill, and my once-cozy apartment felt stifling. Even hiking felt risky as Angelenos flocked to the few trails that stayed open(Opens in a new tab). I thrive on movement, and no amount of YouTube yoga classes were enough to keep me from sinking into depression.

    About a month into the stay-at-home order started, my then-boyfriend mentioned that there was an empty, accessible rooftop on the parking garage next to our favorite breakfast spot. With some convincing, I agreed to try skating again. We snuck onto the rooftop with our skates, some speakers, and a cooler of spiked seltzers.

    I sucked. The uneven asphalt was no comparison to the roller rink's professionally maintained mahogany floors. I felt awkward and clunky and all around self-conscious. I took a few bad falls that would leave me sore for days. In spite of my newly bruised knees, I felt good for the first time in weeks. Leaving the confines of my apartment yanked me out of the depressive pit I had been sinking into.

    Obviously, a single day in the sun isn't enough to cure depression entirely. I was diagnosed with major depression and general anxiety disorder in college, but didn't begin treating it with medication until this year. Taking anti-depressants and practicing mindfulness aren't enough to keep my mental health on track, either. Everyone's brain is wired differently, but in my personal mental health journey, I've found that I need a combination of medication, practicing mindfulness, and physical activity to stay afloat. Multiple(Opens in a new tab) clinical(Opens in a new tab) studies(Opens in a new tab) conclude that sustained, low-impact exercise is an effective method of preventing depressive episodes. A 2017 study(Opens in a new tab) published in General Hospital Psychiatry suggests that exercise and antidepressants both increase connections between neurons and increase the availability of serotonin and norepinephrine, chemical messengers that are out of balance in depressed brains.(Opens in a new tab)

    The word "unprecedented" has been used so many times this year that reading it fills me with unbridled rage, but there really is no playbook for this year. Time feels warped and socializing with masks on makes interactions confusing(Opens in a new tab). My first skate on that rooftop feels like it happened a month ago at most, but so much has happened between then: I broke up with that boyfriend, cycled through several hair colors, and adopted two cats. Skating also became one of the new constants in my life.

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    Like many others trying to exist through this pandemic, this year put life on hold. I'm immensely privileged in that I'm still employed amid a months-long unemployment crisis, and that I've been able to stay home while millions of essential workers risk their lives. The static nature of social distancing is impossible to escape, though, and I've spent days languishing in what comedian Dan Sheehan dubbed "the hell zone." Over the last nine months, skating has forced me to leave my musty nest of a depression pit and actually go outside.

    My depression feels like a weighted blanket.

    There have been countless days during quarantine when my depression feels like a weighted blanket; I could get up and go about my day, or I could succumb to the suffocating, but comfortable weight and stay in my warm bed. Sometimes it's easy to throw the weighted blanket off, and others it's just too much effort to stop being horizontal. Skating, at least, forces me to go outside before curling up back under the blanket, and makes escaping from it the next day feel more manageable. And when I am feeling so overwhelmed that I need to stay under the secure weight of my depression, the viral TikToks of roller skaters is usually enough motivation to attempt their choreography.

    I've had weeks when I skated every day for hours on end, and others when all I could muster is a quick lap in my building's parking lot after days of not touching my skates. Over time and with practice, I've learned to use the muscles that were so resistant during Ana's skate class. I've also learned to be kinder to myself when my ambition gets ahead of my body's physical limitations. Since March, I've worn my old skates until there was barely anything left to skate on, and have amassed a collection of bruises, scrapes, and burns. This year may have put life on hold, but I at least figured out how to spin.

    I'm not going to make some saccharine claim about how buying roller skates saved my life. But staying active, in addition to regular therapy and antidepressants, have kept me afloat through this otherwise nightmare year. Aside from the endorphin rush from exercise and exposure to sunlight (depression is also linked(Opens in a new tab) to vitamin D deficiency), having tangible goals while everything else in my life feels like it's on hold has vastly improved my mental health. Learning new tricks, building my own pair of custom skates from scratch, and being able to see friends from a safe distance at the skate park give me things to look forward to and make me feel like I'm making some sort of progress in my life.

    Listen to TikTok and get a pair of skates. It's worth it.

    If you want to talk to someone about your depression text the Crisis Text Line(Opens in a new tab) at 741-741 or call the National Alliance on Mental Health helpline at 800-950-NAMI. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, you can text the Crisis Text Line or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline(Opens in a new tab) at 1-800-273-8255. For international resources, this list(Opens in a new tab) is a good place to start.

    Read more from Essentials Week:

    • The app that will save you from playing phone tag with your friends

    • The joy of listening to authors like Jonathan Van Ness read their own audiobooks

    • Believe the hype: Weighted blankets have an online cult following for a reason

    Related Video: Here are all the weird hobbies we've picked up to not lose our minds

  • Suni Lee outscores gymna

    Suni Lee outscores gymnastics queen Simone Biles at U.S. Olympic team trials

    The U.S. Olympic team trials for women's gymnastics took place this weekend in St. Louis, and spoiler alert: gymnastics goddess Simone Biles won. But the other athletes competing also put on a spectacular show — especially 18-year-old Sunisa Lee, whose all-around score of 58.166 on Sunday unexpectedly beat Biles' 57.533. It's the first time Biles has been outscored in a single day of all-around competition since 2013(Opens in a new tab).


    Of course, Biles still took the top spot(Opens in a new tab) by the end of the event with an overall combined score of 118.098, while Lee came in second at 115.832. Even so, anyone capable of surpassing Biles for even a moment in absolutely anything relating to the sport is worth paying attention to. Biles is basically gymnastics personified.

    The final scores for the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials saw Lee beat out Biles on the uneven bars and balance beam, with Biles having made some uncharacteristic mistakes during her routines. Biles still pulled ahead on vault and floor though, earning a combined score high enough to secure her number one spot. Still, Lee was more than happy with placing second.

    "I know it probably won't happen again," Lee said on beating Biles, noting the four-time Olympic gold medallist's unusual mishaps. "But I was really excited."

    SEE ALSO: Simone Biles wows with a routine that's simply stunning in slow motion

    Both women have earned their place on the Tokyo Olympics team, this being Lee's first Olympics. Joining them are third and fourth place winners Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum.

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