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China could punish people for liking social media posts

2023-03-19 01:23:28

China could punish people for liking social media posts(图1)

China could punish people for liking social media posts

China is continuing to crack down on internet use against its citizens amid massive protests that have been sweeping the nation.

The Cyberspace Administration of China published a new set of guidelines, going into effect on Dec. 15, that would make internet users in China liable for simply liking posts that the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission chaired by leader Xi Jinping deem illegal or harmful, according to CNN(Opens in a new tab).

SEE ALSO: Protests erupt at Foxconn's iPhone factory in China over working conditions, pay

This comes as street protests erupted in cities across the nation over the weekend against the "dynamic zero COVID" policy. The anti-COVID measure include strict lockdowns imposed by local authorities, mass testing, forced isolation and quarantines, closing businesses, shops, and schools, and maintaining lockdowns until there are no new infections reported, according to the BBC(Opens in a new tab). Tens of millions of people are living under some kind of lockdown, and some workers have been forced to sleep inside factories so they can continue to work while being quarantined.

A social media post that was forwarded widely quoted former Chinese leader Xi Zhongxun, the late father of Chinese President Xi Jinping, as saying "the people should be allowed to speak and encouraged to care about state affairs," NPR reported(Opens in a new tab). The country has two options, according to the news outlet: dropping the policies altogether and triggering an increase of COVID cases, or to double down on their zero-COVID policies, escalating lockdowns and political repression.

As a result of the zero-COVID policies, China has been stepping up internet regulation because of the online public anger against the policies. According to The New York Times(Opens in a new tab), users "are also flipping videos on their side, using filters on them, or recording videos of videos" in order to evade algorithms made to flag content and take it down.

The new guidelines are similar to guidelines published in 2017, but these now regulate "likes" of public posts and other types of comments. It's making people fearful that the nation might begin to crack down on social media even more than it has in the past. 

"The authorities are very concerned with the spreading protest activities, and an important means of control is to stop the communications of the potential protesters including reports of protest activities and appeals of joining them," Joseph Cheng, a retired professor of political science at the City University of Hong Kong, told CNN. "This cyberspace control is an important lesson absorbed from protest activities like the Arab Spring."

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  • A guide to getting off to your own sexual fantasies and imagination

    A guide to getting off to your own sexual fantasies and imagination

    They say the mind is the biggest, most powerful sex organ in the body. But, uh, don't try visualizing that mental image too vividly or literally, unless you're into that sorta thing?


    Instead, imagine your favorite fictional crush pressing you up against a wall, or think back to the hottest sex you ever had in your life. Now stop imagining, because this magical place where all your desires are possible and acceptable exists. And literally anyone can tap into it.

    While sexual fantasies are by definition not "real," their effects on your sex life (especially when explored during masturbation) are — shall we say — palpably physical.

    "Engaging your imagination rather than relying on visual porn for example helps to build, enhance and strengthen your erotic mind," said Dr. Britney Blair, co-founder and Chief Science Officer of the sexual wellness Lover(Opens in a new tab) app. "You can bring that imagination to life when you want to prime the pump on your desire or push yourself over the edge to climax while solo or with a partner."

    "It's incredibly liberating, recognizing our own power to design the scenes and situations that turn us on."

    To be clear, there's nothing wrong with porn or other forms of erotica. But there's something especially powerful in orgasming to smut that couldn't be more personally tailored to what you like.

    "In our minds we're not confined to our studio apartments or our current sexual partners. There are no rules or judgments. Not even the laws of physics apply," said Gina Gutierrez, co-founder of the popular audio erotica app Dipsea(Opens in a new tab). "It’s incredibly liberating, recognizing our own power to design the scenes and situations that turn us on and to scrap the ones that don’t work for us."

    Don't take our word for it, though. There's science to show exactly how real the effects of a healthy erotic imagination are.

    In a landmark 2016 study(Opens in a new tab), Dr. Nan Wise — neuroscientist, sex therapist, and author of Understanding the Neuroscience of Pleasure for a Smarter, Happier, and More Purpose-Filled Life(Opens in a new tab) — mapped the brain's response when subjects merely imagined pleasurable stimulation on their genitals. Just by thinking about it, the pleasure centers in their brains "lit up like a Christmas tree," Wise said.

    "The mind is really the recipient of all the body's sensations. So there's this empirical evidence of a huge connection between the mind and pleasure," she said.

    While everyone can benefit from using their imagination as a sexual aid, it's an especially potent practice for women and others who society has conditioned to feel ashamed about their sexuality.

    "We have to do more work to lay down the connections, the neural pathways, between the genitals and the brain's sensory reward regions," said Wise. "Using your imagination to masturbate not only gives us the information about what stimulation we need, but also actually strengthens the connections between our genitals and the brain."

    SEE ALSO: Why some people masturbate about people they hate

    Beyond that, getting off to our own sexual fantasies tackles another negative effect that patriarchy can have on women's sexuality.

    "We're socialized to think of ourselves as the objects of other people's desires, like we need to borrow someone else's idea of pleasure" said Wise. That's why learning how to be the subject of our own desires, to embody the pleasure we conjure up in our own mind, can be so empowering.

    Everyone with a brain, genitals, and desire is already equipped to masturbate to their own sexual fantasies. And while the practice does come more naturally to some, it only takes little guidance and patience to unlock the endless possibilities tucked inside your erotic mind.

    Set the right environment

    Set that phone to night mode, but make it sexy. Credit: bob al-greene / mashable

    A major key in setting your mind up for erotic success is to ensure your environment allows your brain to feel fully relaxed, safe, and free from distraction.

    Pick a time and place where you'll have full privacy without needing to worry about any interruption, whether from roommates or notifications. For most people, that place will naturally be the bedroom. But put some effort into also making it a true fortress of sensual solitude, like by locking the door, setting your phone to airplane mode, putting on an eye mask, or maybe even using some essential oils and putting on your favorite sexy playlist.

    Blair even recommends purposefully scheduling these more exploratory kind of session and making them habitual. So maybe it can be something you add to your nightly ritual before bed: Brush your teeth, do the skincare routine, put on some pajamas, then let your mind wander as you touch yourself.

    Create a safe space in your mind

    Of course, priming yourself with the right mindset is vital to unlocking your brain's full fantasy potential.

    One of the biggest hurdles to exploring our erotic imaginations is actually the engrained social shame many of us have picked up (even subconsciously) through sexism, homophobia, social stigmas, religion, etc.

    "It’s important to know if that is coming up for you, you’re not alone. But there is no such thing as a wrong or right fantasy." said Blair.

    SEE ALSO: Am I the only one who's horny for podcasts?

    Treat your imagination as a judgement-free zone. To be fair, clearing or redirecting your mind away from feelings of shame is easier said than done. But certain exercises can help (which we'll get into more in the mind-body connection section below).

    Blair suggests that, while exploring sexual fantasies in your mind, try to distinguish between when you're having a reaction versus a judgment to a certain scenario. Judgments often come from values imposed on you by something or someone else, while visceral reactions can be an indication that your mind wants to explore it further — especially if it's something your never thought you'd be into.

    It's easy to get scared off by an intense response to a fantasy, and write that off as being too weird or outside the norm for your taste. But if you give yourself a second to assess where that response is coming from, you might actually find that the intensity comes from a part of you that you've never tried tapping into before.

    "Everything is okay in the world of fantasy. No fantasy is a crime."

    Or maybe not, and that's fine too. The point is, if you feel safe doing it, just try leaning into parts of your erotic mind that feel challenging and see where it goes.

    "Everything is okay in the world of fantasy. No fantasy is a crime," said Blair. "Whatever turns you on in your mind is totally healthy. Your fantasy doesn’t say anything about you except that you are lucky to have a rich imagination that you can use to have an exciting and enduring erotic life."

    That's another major benefit of sexual fantasies versus traditional porn, too. You don't have to worry about any ethical concerns, because your imagination can't hurt you or anyone else. You're in total control.

    "You imagination is a completely safe space," said Dipsea's Gutierrez. "We can play out fantasies that are risky or illicit that we would never actually want to happen in real life. In our minds we’re free to experiment without consequences."

    Familiarize yourself with (but don't feel limited by) common sexual fantasies

    While the whole point is to tap into the unique potential of your own mind, a good jumping off point is to explore whether the most common sexual fantasies(Opens in a new tab) spark your interest. Researchers have labeled them into different categories, though there's a world of possibilities within those labels as well.

    Dr. Blair described these categories as multi-partner sex like group sex or threesomes; power, control, or rough sex; novelty, adventure, and variety; taboo and forbidden sex; partner sharing and non-monogamous relationships; passion and romance; and erotic flexibility like homoeroticism or gender-bending.

    Jess O'Reilly is a sex educator, author of The New Sex Bible(Opens in a new tab), and Astroglide's resident sexologist. She explained that through each of these fantasy categories you can help identify the specific core erotic feelings that get you into a heightened state of arousal.

    "Oftentimes, they relate to fantasy, escapism or subverting otherwise 'negative' emotions. You might find that sex is really hot when you feel powerful, submissive, challenged, mindful, or playful," she said. "You may also find yourself aroused by feelings that you don’t naturally associate with pleasure, like jealousy, inadequacy, fear, and even humiliation can be exciting."

    What our brains often gravitate to most is pure novelty. What gets you off in a fantasy can actually be the total opposite of your real-life sexual orientation or even completely removed from you, as an abstract scenario happening to someone else entirely.

    Let your spank bank be a place where your freak flag flies. Credit: vicky leta / mashable

    So don't be weirded out if you learn that you're as horny for that fish-god monster from The Shape of Water as the Academy Awards were in 2018. Or maybe you're one of the many women who enjoys a rape fantasy — which, as Dr. Wise points out, in a fantasy context is the opposite of a real-life rape since, "you're choosing to have the fantasy and who's overpowering you. You're in complete control."

    One other general rule of thumb Wise found is that while men tend toward more visually-oriented fantasies centered around preferred body parts, women tend to focus on overall scenarios. However, it's impossible to distill the endless possibilities of human sexuality into neat categories. Which is why you also shouldn't get discouraged or ashamed if none of these common fantasies do it for you.

    "Our capacity for imagination is limitless," said Wise. Don't feel pressure to confine yours to a specific label.

    Related Video: I built my own vibrator at CES

    Start building your erotic imagination through fiction, porn, memories... anything!

    The truth is that, while other obstacles might make it hard initially to give yourself permission to explore sexual fantasies, using your imagination is a very natural and innate part of being human. Who doesn't fantasizing about getting up from their desk in the middle of a hard work day and quitting, or spend time daydreaming about how they'd furnish their dream apartment?

    "We make Pinterest boards and save Instagram photos, collect and catalog all these things that we like. I recommend starting to do that for your sex life," said Gutierrez. "Become more mindful observing what attracts you to someone. The moments where you feel sexiest. What you want to say out loud during sex but hesitate to. Then the next time you want to use your fantasy for pleasure, you know exactly where to draw from."

    Everything in your life can become part of your horny mood board.

    Everything in your life can become part of your horny mood board.

    We all have that one fictional character or public figure — whether from books, tv, movies, video games, or even politics and the internet — that just does it for us. Begin there, expanding into a specific sexy scene that got you going or whatever comes to mind when you think of that person. Heck, maybe you're like me and realize that a silky, authoritative voice is actually your kink, leading a bunch of non-erotic popular podcasts to become your go-to spank bank material.

    Audio erotica can be a great place to start if you don't want to take the training wheels off yet to explore sexual fantasies of your own making. Unlike visual porn, audio erotica still exercises the muscles of your erotic imagination, asking you to fill in the details and paint the full picture. While we always recommend Dipsea, there's also plenty of free ways to try audio erotica like r/gonewildaudio(Opens in a new tab) and Girl on the Net(Opens in a new tab).

    Once you're ready to bring yourself more to the forefront of the fantasy, begin with a memory of the hottest, most visceral sex you've ever had. Really ground yourself back in that moment by recalling your senses: What position were you in? What did the person's lust feel like? Were you sweating? How exactly did they touch you?

    Touch yourself while pulling from all the erotic mental material you've curated, and don't be afraid to really get your whole body involved in mimicking the sensations you're creating through your mind. Maybe that means masturbating while you're on all fours, or matching the tempo of the fantasy, or even dry-humping a pillow. Don't put any pressure on yourself to orgasm throughout any of this, though, and instead just zero in on embodying the experience of your imagination.

    "It's about giving yourself full permission to explore all our internal pleasure places, and how we experience them in both our minds and bodies at the same time," said Wise.

    It's like writing fanfiction, but in real-time Credit: vicky leta / mashable

    Try these exercises to strengthen your mind-body connection

    Through her research and other studies in the field, Wise has ultimately found that, "This distinction we make between the mind and body is really a very arbitrary one."

    One of the best ways to embrace this in a way that engages your erotic fantasy life in is through something called mindful sex.

    This increasingly popular branch of sex therapy describes a bunch of different practices and exercises that add a layer of sexuality to mindfulness, to help you stay present in your body while experiencing pleasure, train your mind to focus on whatever arouses you, and engage in a non-judgmental curious sexual mindset. Try out basic exercises like pleasure mapping (which Dipsea has a guide for), mindful masturbation (which you can read about here), and sensate focus (which you can read about here).

    Wise also suggests a very simple exercise for getting your imagination more connected with your genitals on a neurological level: Just start by tapping or pleasurably touching your genitals, then stop, then think back on the sensations you felt while touching them. Try to recall and summon them back in your body: What did it feel like in your body when the stimulation was building, then dissipating?

    At first, it might not feel like much at all and the pleasure may be pretty mild compared to what you're used to while using more immediate erotic visual aids like porn.

    “But you’ll slowly start to develop a better connection to that pleasure sensation channel in your brain,” she said.

    Use your imagination during partnered sex

    While sexual fantasies are a great way to enhance self-love, learning how to engage with them during partnered sex can also do wonders to get people over the edge and into orgasm.

    At this point though, you might be wondering: Is it even OK to fantasize about other situations — or maybe even other people — while having sex with a partner?

    “It doesn't matter where you get your appetite, as long as you'd come home to eat.”

    “Yes, it’s an unequivocal yes! Because thinking about stuff is not the same as doing it,” said Wise. As the famous saying goes, “It doesn't matter where you get your appetite, as long as you'd come home to eat.”

    It’s totally normal for your mind to desire novelty, especially if you're not in a new relationship anymore. In fact, Wise found that one of the best ways to ensure a couples’ longevity is precisely this kind of openness and understanding that people need to fuel their erotic imagination with new stuff.

    “If we can get over these kind of hang ups, get past this fear of our partners having a fantasy about somebody else while they’re with us, and instead use it as an opportunity talk about: What would you like? What haven't we tried? What are you afraid to tell me? Because that's hot. That's really hot,” said Wise.

    Or maybe instead of thinking about someone else, you'd simply rather use your imagination during partnered sex to transport you both to a setting or scenario that heightens your arousal even more.

    In the end, what you do with your erotic imagination is up to you. You can share it if you'd like — or keep it all to yourself. That’s what’s so great about sexual fantasies you cut from your own cloth: They’re all yours, and no one else's.

  • Social media is the new bodycam

    Social media is the new bodycam

    Childish Gambino warned us in 2018. This is America, right?


    It's been a brutal week for anyone who doesn't live with their eyes closed. The proof is right there on Twitter and other social platforms. It used to be that we relied on police bodycams to hold officers accountable for their actions. But in this difficult moment, citizen journalism is carrying that bucket instead.

    Something snapped in the United States as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against George Floyd's neck until he died on May 25. Floyd was black and Chauvin is white. It was a sadly familiar scene of what looks to rational observers like a clear case of police brutality.

    But this time, we hit a breaking point. The gruesome reality of Chauvin's actions as captured on camera is certainly part of it. He held his position on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes, until after the restrained man died. The camera captures it all in vivid, horrifying detail. Add to that the ongoing pandemic, and historic levels of unemployment. People's nerves are frayed and the callous inhumanity of Floyd's death was a last straw.

    So cities exploded over the weekend with widespread protests and grim scenes of violence. Even as much of the country outside of major cities continues to hunker down behind stay-at-home orders, social media has brought all of us to the front lines through citizen journalism and shared news reports.

    These ongoing protests are about stopping racial violence and police brutality, and they're hundreds of years in the making. I think the images and videos, and the actions of the people portrayed therein, tell the whole story. Thank you to all of the protesters and members of the press who are out there doing your part to make sure the realities of this moment won't soon be forgotten.

    It hasn't all been as completely terrible as the above visuals suggest. Protesters are out in force and many of them are skipping the violence in favor of working to send a message, lift up the people in their community, and generally just keep the peace. Many others are just doing the best they can to peacefully work through the days, weeks, months, decades of pent-up anger they've been carrying.

    They've even been joined in a few cases by police officers and departments that have managed to maintain a level of trust with their local communities.

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

    I don't know what else to say. Take care of yourselves, folks. And please, keep on documenting this moment in any way that you can.

  • Police scanner app catapults to the top of the App Store

    Police scanner app catapults to the top of the App Store

    Protesters just made a police scanner the most popular paid iOS app in the country.


    On Monday, 5-0 Radio Police Scanner(Opens in a new tab), which costs $5, was the number one paid app in the App Store. A pared-down version with ads was the number two paid app, surpassing TikTok and second only to the suddenly popular Zynn app. Vice first reported(Opens in a new tab) on the app's rise.

    Protesters clashed with police in Minneapolis, Louisville, Los Angeles, Philadelphia(Opens in a new tab), and other U.S. cities over the weekend. They are demanding an end to police brutality after George Floyd was killed by a police officer.

    A look at the top paid apps. Credit: screenshot / mashable
    Also popular as a free app. Credit: Screenshot / mashable

    Scanner apps let protesters listen to live police radio feeds. App analytics firm Apptopia found the top five police scanner apps, such as 5-0 Police Scanner(Opens in a new tab) and Police Scanner(Opens in a new tab), were downloaded 213,000 times over the weekend. That's a 125 percent increase from the weekend before — a record for police scanner apps. 5-0 Police Scanner was downloaded 40,000 times between Friday and Sunday in the United States.

    Other related apps saw download surges as well, like the encrypted messaging app Signal. It was downloaded 37,000 times this weekend, a record for the app. Same for community alert app Citizen, which was downloaded 49,000 times during the same period, according to Apptopia(Opens in a new tab).

  • Elizabeth Warren and her very good dog Bailey joined the Washington D.C. protests

    Elizabeth Warren and her very good dog Bailey joined the Washington D.C. protests

    Less than half an hour before the official curfew started in Washington D.C., thousands of protesters were still walking peacefully in the streets of the capital. Among them were Sen. Elizabeth Warren, her husband Bruce Mann, and their dog Bailey.


    Dressed in sensible beige shorts, sneakers, and a basic blue face mask, the last female candidate to suspend her campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination was quickly spotted by her fellow protesters as she joined the throng in Lafayette Square. Many were clearly thrilled to see her, cheering as she told reporters President Donald Trump had been "wrong" to deploy the National Guard in the city.

    "He is imposing violence on our people," she told one reporter(Opens in a new tab). "People are here to protest peacefully.

    Warren also called for Attorney General Bill Barr to resign after reports that he had ordered the violent removal of protesters near the White House, and tweeted her support for her colleague Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's bill to criminalise the use of chokeholds by police. Gillibrand was also in the presidential race until last August.

    Widespread protests have emerged in cities across the U.S. in a furious response to the death of George Floyd — who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes — as well as other recent police killings, including Louisville woman Breonna Taylor and Florida man Tony McDade. These names are only the latest to be added to a shamefully long list of black Americans killed by police.f

    Trump's response to the protests, in particular the order to disperse peaceful demonstrators near the White House using tear gas and rubber bullets for a Trump photo op, has drawn criticism from members of both parties(Opens in a new tab).

    Other politicians who have appeared at protests include Reps. Ayanna Pressley(Opens in a new tab), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(Opens in a new tab), and Joyce Beatty, who was pepper sprayed by police at the Columbus, Ohio event(Opens in a new tab), as well as Sen. Kamala Harris (Opens in a new tab)

  • Every police department should have to hear our rage via Zoom call

    Every police department should have to hear our rage via Zoom call

    Yesterday, the Los Angeles Police Commission held a Zoom call with citizens — of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas, as well as some former residents — and watched with blank faces as citizens berated them mercilessly for eight hours.


    The call came not only after several nights of protests in Los Angeles, but also after LAPD chief Michael Moore blamed the death of George Floyd(Opens in a new tab) on the city's protestors and looters. (Moore walked back on the comments(Opens in a new tab) after backlash.)

    But that's just the tip of the iceberg: LAPD has a long history of violence against black people — next year will be 30 years since LA officers beat Rodney King(Opens in a new tab).

    After many people were initially left out of the call(Opens in a new tab) because it capped at 500 people — and after the boomers on the commission figured out how to work Zoom — the commission said their statements.

    Then, the real show started. The public unleashed their fury on the LAPD for hours on end. They demanded Moore's resignation or firing, as well as to defund the LAPD and support the people's budget(Opens in a new tab). Some spewed incredible insults(Opens in a new tab), while others broke down in tears. Several impassioned callers, like this one, went viral:

    After watching this call, I'm convinced that every police department needs to have a Zoom call like this one.

    While the LAPD is notorious for its racism, so are many other departments across the country — including the Minneapolis police(Opens in a new tab), who are responsible for the killing of George Floyd. He died after three police officers pinned him down, one kneeling on his neck for nearly 9 minutes.

    Police departments across the nation should be subjected to people's rage. In many cities, they're beating up peaceful protestors who they are sworn to protect, all while we — the taxpayers — pay their salaries. Police commissions are supposed to be working for us, the civilians, and we should be able to scream and cry and drag our cops just like the residents of LA did yesterday. (And then I think we should defund the police(Opens in a new tab), but that's a different story.)

    Public meetings with police departments aren't new. As some activists mentioned on the call, they've been raising the same concerns about the police for years. But now thanks to technology not afforded previous generations, these meetings can be online (and the current pandemic pretty much mandates that, anyway). Virtual meetings can not only be more accessible to people who can't make them in-person, but allows these meetings to go viral and be seen by thousands, both in the department's jurisdiction and beyond.

    The total impact of the LAPD call has yet to be seen. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti didn't make any promises about changing the budget(Opens in a new tab), and as of publication the LAPD chief has not resigned.

    But that doesn't mean this call didn't have an impact. Hundreds of people were able to express anger that has possibly been pent up for years. People around the country — like me, in New York — stayed tuned for hours and are now inspired to tell our police departments our similar demands (and probably insults). Like protesting, donating money, and calling our reps, being able to rip into our respective police departments can be just another action to elicit change, and it's a cathartic one at that.

    Police commissions and departments have a duty to their citizens to let their voices be heard. We are all owed a more modern-day public forum. Americans everywhere should be able to call out their police chief's racist eyebrows.

    Mashable has reached out to LAPD for comment and will update if received.

  • Even Piers Morgan thinks Rudy Giuliani sounds completely barking mad

    Even Piers Morgan thinks Rudy Giuliani sounds completely barking mad

    Listen, let's not give Piers Morgan — a British TV presenter who's dabbled in racist tropes(Opens in a new tab) and transphobia(Opens in a new tab) — a gold star. But even he has realized Rudy Giuliani seems a little off.


    Giuliani, the former NYC mayor and current personal lawyer for President Donald Trump, appeared on Thursday on ITV's Good Morning Britain, which Morgan co-hosts. The appearance, which took place in the middle of the night in the U.S., turned into a shouting match between two old white guys about who was more discredited.

    The fight began when Morgan criticized Trump's tweet about "when the looting starts the shooting starts" in regards to the protests surrounding the police killing of George Floyd. But the argument soon devolved into a barrage of personal attacks.

    "You sound completely barking mad, do you know that?" Morgan said.

    Giuliani fired back, "No, I don't. You sound like a big liar."

    But Morgan kept going after the former mayor, firing off wonderfully British insults.

    "You've lost the plot. And it's sad to see," the host said.

    Taking a page from his boss's playbook, Giuliani stumbled through a few insults about Morgan's failed CNN show and its poor ratings. At some point, Giuliani either tells Morgan he "sucked up" or "fucked up" — it's tough to tell because Giuliani's words are a bit slurred — but either way Morgan apologizes for the language before twisting the knife further into his guest.

    "When I used to interview you, you were an intelligent, reasonable man and you've gone completely mad," he said. "And you sound deranged. You're abusive. And it's really sad to see what's happened to you."

    A viral clip from the interview goes on in a similar fashion for a few more minutes. It does represent a shift from Morgan — a former winner on Celebrity Apprentice who had a largely friendly (if bonkers)(Opens in a new tab) interview with Trump this time last year.

    But definitely watch the entire clip from Thursday, if only to see co-host Susanna Reid deliver an absolutely perfect, "OK," to end the wild segment.

  • Fox News host says John Lennon — who was killed in New York — wouldnt be safe in the city right now

    Fox News host says John Lennon — who was killed in New York — wouldnt be safe in the city right now

    Days after an NYPD car floored it into a group of protesters(Opens in a new tab) — just one of many instances of police violence in the city(Opens in a new tab) — New York City mayor Bill de Blasio responded with...John Lennon lyrics.


    "I don't mean to make light of this but I'm reminded of the song 'Imagine' by John Lennon," said de Blasio, according to journalist Jack Mirkinson. He went on to say that defunding the police, a rallying cry of the George Floyd protests, was "not the way forward."

    De Blasio was subsequently roasted by social media(Opens in a new tab) and traditional(Opens in a new tab) media(Opens in a new tab) outlets(Opens in a new tab), and then Fox News got ahold of the quote. On Fox & Friends Thursday morning, Brian Kilmeade thought he was delivering a brilliant zinger about the mayor:

    "John Lennon wouldn't be safe in this city right now," said Kilmeade. "He'd be hiding in his apartment."

    For those who are unaware (like Kilmeade, apparently), John Lennon was murdered in New York(Opens in a new tab) in 1980. His killer, Mark David Chapman, shot him four times outside his luxury Manhattan apartment. He's still in prison and his eleventh parole hearing is scheduled for this August(Opens in a new tab).

    Maybe Kilmeade should do some fact-checking. Imagine that?

  • Singer performs Bunker Boy, a catchy tune about Trumps time in the bunker

    Singer performs Bunker Boy, a catchy tune about Trumps time in the bunker

    There's a new song inspired by Donald Trump's recent and somewhat confusing trip to the White House bunker, and honestly? It's catchy as hell.


    On Monday, days after it was reported that Secret Service rushed the president to the White House bunker(Opens in a new tab) amidst D.C. protests, singer Courtney Jaye (@TropicalJaye(Opens in a new tab)) penned and performed the tune, titled, "Bunker Boy."

    Jaye shared a video of herself performing the song to social media, and on top of her gorgeous guitar playing and sweet-sounding vocals, the lyrics are truly something.

    "Bunker Boy, don't lie. You got scared and hid in the basement in the middle of the night," Jaye sings. "You're not so tough, no. It's a sorry sight. So take your bible, shove it up your ass, and turn on the fucking lights."

    Jaye ends the song with the lyrics, "Bunker Boy, Bunker Boy, November's coming and we hope you're terrified, Bunker boy," before taking a big exhale and letting out an exhausted eye roll. A real mood.

    SEE ALSO: Stephen Colbert slams Trump's hypocritical Bible photo op

    For those who haven't been closely following Trump's bunker saga, let's recap.

    On Friday night, hundreds of people gathered outside the White House gates to protest racism, police brutality, and the death of George Floyd, a black man who died on May 25, after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes.

    Reports stated that when protests escalated Friday night, Secret Service ushered Trump — along with Melania and their son Barron — to the underground presidential bunker, where they allegedly remained for nearly an hour(Opens in a new tab).

    After Trump received some backlash for retreating to the bunker amidst a national state of unrest, he said that he didn't go to the bunker to get away from the protests, rather he was merely inspecting the bunker.

    "I was there for a tiny, short little period of time," Trump told Brian Kilmeade on Fox News Radio. He then stated his bunker visit was "more for an inspection," and that he'd been been to the bunker previously. He said he's gone "two and a half times," whatever that means.

    Trump's bunker comments sounded a bit absurd to many people, including Jaye, which is why she decided to use the gift of song to hilariously call the president out on his suspicious story.

    Jaye tweeted her video and made sure to tag Trump's Twitter handle — and the song has been quite a hit since. At the time of writing this piece, Jaye's tweet had more than 60,000 likes, and celebrities like Sophia Bush have even praised the blunt and catchy tune.

    Jaye is no stranger to writing songs about President Trump. On June 1, she also shared another potential hit, called "fuck this fucking president," which has been viewed 174,000 times.

    In it, Jaye shares her true feelings about the president, and urges people to get out and vote for the November election.

    I only wish Jaye had been cranking out these political hits back in 2018, when former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was hiding in (or among) bushes. I bet "Bushes Boy" would have been a real banger.

  • Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, resigns to make room for a black board member

    Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, resigns to make room for a black board member

    The co-founder of Reddit just put the rest of the tech world on notice.


    Alexis Ohanian announced Friday(Opens in a new tab) that he was resigning his Reddit board seat, and "urged" the rest of the board to fill his spot with a new black board member. He will also be donating all future gains on his Reddit stock to "serve the black community," and is immediately giving $1 million to Colin Kaepernick's racial justice charity.

    Yes, take that in. Ohanian just set the bar for using power and privilege for racial equity by transferring not only resources, but also power to people of color.

    The tech world has been looking for ways to support racial equality amid Black Lives Matter protests across the world. The leaders in efforts to promote diversity in tech say that one of the best ways tech leaders in particular can help is by investing in black businesses and venture funds, hiring black employees, and putting black people in positions of power within the tech world.

    "Tech companies should be hiring [people of color] at all levels, from the board room to the boiler room," Rodney Sampson, a leader in tech diversity and founder of the accelerator OHUB(Opens in a new tab), said. "If you’re a venture-backed tech company, you should be looking to put someone black on your board of advisors."

    Ohanian called his move "long overdue." He explained that he had made his decision so that he could answer his black daughter (Ohanian's wife is Serena Williams) when she asked: "What did you do?"

    Williams expressed support for her husband in a tweet that may have made this reporter choke up.

    In the background of Ohanian's actions are the stark realities of Reddit, which Ohanian said he founded "to help people find community and a sense of belonging." Anyone who has spent even a passing moment on Reddit knows that it can be a quagmire of divisive vitriol. Amid the protests, some Reddit communities protested what they see as Reddit's failure to take stronger action against hate speech on the platform by making their communities private. Ellen Pao, a former VC, and one-time interim CEO of Reddit who now runs a tech diversity organization, called out Reddit's hypocrisy on Twitter:

    There is, of course, no guarantee that Reddit leadership will take Ohanian up on his request to fill his seat with a black board member. But this is an opportunity to set an example for the rest of the tech and business world. Currently, around 11 percent of Fortune 100 board members are African American, according to a recent study(Opens in a new tab) by the Alliance for Board Diversity.

    Mashable has reached out to Reddit to learn whether it intends to follow through with Ohanian's call to action, and Reddit said it would be responding "later today."

  • Trump lies about elderly protester injured by police, hits another new Twitter low

    Trump lies about elderly protester injured by police, hits another new Twitter low

    Every time you think Donald Trump has hit a new moral low, he manages to outdo himself.


    On Tuesday morning, Twitter users saw yet another exceptionally distressing and unpresidential display from Trump. The president tweeted outlandish lies about Martin Gugino, the injured protester who was shoved to the ground by Buffalo police officers last week. Even for someone prone to spreading false conspiracy theories, this was a shocking thing to say.

    After video of the Buffalo police officers pushing the 75-year-old man to the ground went viral, public outrage led to the suspension of two officers directly involved and the resignation of the 57 other officers(Opens in a new tab) from Buffalo New York's emergency response team. Those officers who resigned from the team remain on the force.

    As Gugino — whose head could be seen smacking the pavement in the video and then was bleeding from his ears — remains in serious but stable condition, Trump suggested to nearly 82 million Twitter followers that the 75-year-old man was "an ANTIFA provocateur" who was trying to tamper with police equipment and exaggerated the severity of his fall.

    "Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?" Trump tweeted.

    SEE ALSO: Protesters turned Donald Trump's #BabyGate fence into something beautiful

    The tweet not only publicly targets a citizen, but also attempts to destroy his reputation as a peaceful activist(Opens in a new tab). And though Trump continually flings insults and spreads misinformation on Twitter, many people were genuinely taken aback by the harmful nature of this conspiracy theory.

    Trump seems to have gotten this conspiracy theory in his head from One America News, the conservative, far-right news network that previously claimed Dr. Fauci had ties to the Deep State, George Soros, Bill Gates, and the Clintons(Opens in a new tab).

    Trump has proven time and again that he's not above lying to rile up his base and change the conversation. So it's imperative now more than ever that you research whatever he says before you even consider believing it.

Random articles


  • Influencers stopped caring about the pandemic. Here’s why thats so dangerous.

    Influencers stopped caring about the pandemic. Here’s why thats so dangerous.

    Influencers are acting like the pandemic is over. It's not.


    Jake Paul threw a massive house party last week at his Calabasas mansion amid soaring COVID-19 cases in California. Videos from the party show dozens of attendees crowded in the controversial YouTuber’s living room, with no regard for the recommended six feet of distance to limit potential virus spread. Nobody visible in the videos wore a mask.

    The community of Calabasas was rightfully furious at Paul — it’s not the first, and likely won’t be the last time he’s angered his neighbors.

    "They’re having this large party, no social distancing, no masks, it’s just a big huge disregard for everything that everybody is trying to do to get things back to functioning," Calabasas mayor Alicia Weintraub told Fox 11. "It’s just a party acting like COVID does not exist, it’s acting that businesses aren’t closed."

    Roughly four months after most of the United States established stay-at-home orders in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the pandemic is still raging. The country has seen more than 3.8 million cases and surpassed 141,000 COVID-related deaths as of Wednesday, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control(Opens in a new tab). Los Angeles County, which includes Calabasas, hit a record high(Opens in a new tab) of hospitalizations on Monday as well, with 2,232 people hospitalized for COVID-19 symptoms. And of those hospitalized, the Los Angeles Times reports(Opens in a new tab), 26 percent are in intensive care.

    Alarmingly, cases among younger adults are on the rise. Almost "50 percent of cases" occur among people younger than 40, L.A. County director of public health Barbara Ferrer said after the Fourth of July. It’s roughly a 20 percent increase from cases in early April. California Gov. Gavin Newsom blamed it on the “young invincibles” returning to work and attending social gatherings.

    Large parties aren't only hotspots for coronavirus transmission, they're also hell for contact tracing. In Florida, health officials struggled to keep track of potential COVID-19 exposure because of the state's relentless partying, despite closed bars and restaurants. In New York, Rockland County officials had to issue eight subpoenas to partygoers in their 20s who refused to answer basic questions from contact tracers.

    "Going a single party can completely exhaust the capacity of the health department to be able to do contact tracing."

    Dr. Anne Rimoin, an epidemiologist who specializes in infectious disease at the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, worries about the strain that large parties like the one Paul hosted will have on health departments.

    "It becomes very difficult to be able to nail down who was within six feet of somebody for 15 minutes or more," Dr. Rimoin said in a phone call to Mashable. "Going a single party can completely exhaust the capacity of the health department to be able to do contact tracing."

    In an interview with WebMD(Opens in a new tab), Dr. Anthony Fauci implored young people to continue social distancing, blaming them for "propagating the pandemic" by "not caring."

    "By allowing yourself to get infected or not caring if you get infected, you are propagating a pandemic," Fauci said. "Because it doesn’t end with you. You get infected and you have no symptoms. The chances are you’re going to infect someone else, who will then infect someone else."

    At that point, the virus could infect someone who’s older or immunocompromised.

    Related Video: Why is the U.S. failing at coronavirus testing?

    "And then someone who’s vulnerable to severe consequences will get infected. That could be [somebody’s] father, mother, or grandmother. It could be a sick child who’s immunodeficient," Fauci said. "Then, all of a sudden you’re not operating in a vacuum. You’re part of the problem as opposed to being part of the solution."

    While Fauci noted that "blaming [young people] won’t help," even though the virus' spread has been linked(Opens in a new tab) to the reopening of bars and restaurants, influencers with large platforms can and should be doing more to stay at home. They have immense reach and unique access to younger populations that health officials are struggling to find. In his interview with WebMD, Fauci emphasized the importance of reaching young people, which is why he's appeared on Julia Robert's Instagram Live and Lil Wayne's podcast.

    But those with massive platforms, like Jake Paul, who ignore social distancing recommendations are undoing much of the country's progress.

    "People who are in prominent positions in the media and in particular, these influencers, have exactly that: influence. And they could be doing their part to help stop the spread of this virus."

    "People who are in prominent positions in the media and in particular, these influencers, have exactly that: influence," Dr. Rimoin added. "And they could be doing their part to help stop the spread of this virus. What we know right now is that masks and social distancing work. We cannot rely on any other kind of magic bullet. This virus doesn't care whether or not you believe in it, this virus is going to spread."

    Paul isn't the only one to ease up on social distancing. Many TikTok stars have been meeting in person to collaborate on videos. Jason Derulo congratulated Dixie D'Amelio on the release of her new single "Be Happy" with a joint dance routine(Opens in a new tab) in late June, and featured viral beatboxer Spencer X in another video(Opens in a new tab) the next week. Then he joined Brent Rivera's creator incubator Amp Studios to shoot a few more videos in early July. D'Amelio posted a video(Opens in a new tab) from the Sway House, another creator incubator, on Monday. Members of the Sway House danced(Opens in a new tab) with beauty YouTuber James Charles over the weekend. Charles appeared(Opens in a new tab) on Logan Paul's podcast Impaulsive a few days before. Charles also featured the D'Amelio sisters in a YouTube video(Opens in a new tab) posted Tuesday. Several popular creators, including Tana Mongeau, were spotted(Opens in a new tab) at a birthday party for Larray, a member of the TikTok collective the Hype House.

    Predictably, none of them were wearing masks in their videos, much less maintaining six feet of distance between each other. They may be getting tested before meeting up with each other, but continuing to record themselves in large groups sends a conflicting message to their often impressionable audience.

    Do social distancing recommendations just not apply to influencers?

    Do social distancing recommendations just not apply to influencers?

    Like Fauci said in his WebMD interview, none of us can exist in this pandemic in a vacuum. Every social interaction runs the risk of spreading infection further. Every time you interact with someone outside of the people you're already quarantining with, the web of potential infections grows. And while it's possible that everyone collaborating together is part of the same giant "quarantine bubble,(Opens in a new tab)" ensuring the necessary exclusivity to limit virus transmission to anyone outside of the group is increasingly difficult. As the New York Times(Opens in a new tab) reported on quarantine bubbles, the ideal bubble would be a "closed loop" — nobody inside the bubble interacts with anyone outside of it.

    "The ideal thing is that we just stay home forever and never see anybody, but that's just not sustainable," Dr. Zoe McLaren a health policy researcher at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland told the New York Times. "Each additional person you add adds in more risk for everybody else in the group. Keeping the pod size small is really, really key for minimizing your risk."

    It's highly unlikely that the influencers gathering are all quarantined together, much less agreeing to any sort of exclusivity.

    Disappointed in the lack of consideration for social distancing, some former followers are taking it to the influencers' home turf to publicly shame them. In response to a group video posted by laurenkettlecorn, a TikTok creator with roughly half a million followers, user icryatnightcheck added a side-by-side screenshot(Opens in a new tab) of a Time article about California's spiking COVID-19 cases. TikTok user kyleto3 made a similar side-by-side video using one posted by Blake Gray, who has four million followers, and cheekily added "we dont care" over Gray's side of the video.

    Public shaming doesn't seem to work. Credit: tiktok / icryatnightcheck
    Public shaming doesn't seem to work. Credit: Tiktok / kyleto3

    Public shaming doesn't seem to work.

    Is public shaming effective? Critics of cancel culture can hem and haw over how being "canceled" can ruin someone's life, but some frustrated former followers of certain influencers found that their idols didn't respond well to being called out. Despite the risk of traveling, We Wore What founder Danielle Bernstein spent the Fourth of July in the Hamptons.

    The Instagram account influencerstruth(Opens in a new tab) criticized Bernstein in a post shortly after she attended a Fourth of July party and a dinner. In response to critics, Bernstein claimed attendees had to "submit testing results ahead of time" to prove that they weren't infected. Her followers were disappointed in her for attending in the first place.

    "There are 2.4 million people seeing her invite people into her home and attend parties and then people will think it's OK to do [too.]"

    One of Bernstein's former followers runs an account called wedonttakecovidseriouslywhat(Opens in a new tab), collecting screenshots of Bernstein's frequently deleted Instagram stories in an effort to hold her accountable before the stories time out.

    "I was a long time follower but her behavior in the Hamptons/Montauk community has been pretty terrible in terms of partying and seeing tons of people," wedonttakecovidseriouslywhat said in an Instagram DM. They preferred not to share their name. "[It's] deeply upsetting because COVID cases are rising in the U.S. and there are 2.4 million people seeing her invite people into her home (very high risk) and attend parties and then people will think it's OK to do [too.]"

    In response to the criticism, Bernstein blocked wedonttakecovidseriouslywhat, according to the person behind the account.

    While the government's rush to reopen for the sake of the economy has muddled public perception of just how dangerous the coronavirus still is, Dr. Rimoin believes that many influencers have the opportunity to stress the importance of social distancing and mask wearing. To have a large platform with as much reach as many influencers do and not use it for the sake of public health is a missed opportunity. The pandemic isn't an individual issue — it's a societal one that everyone must collectively work toward curbing.

    "Everybody needs to take responsibility. People who have a social platform, and have the ability to influence others, have an obligation to do the right thing," Dr. Rimoin concluded. "Our economy depends on it, our ability to get back to school depends on it, our ability to get back to normal depends on it. So everybody needs to be doing their part. There's no excuse."

  • The Ergatta rower gamifies rowing (and looks beautiful in any space)

    The Ergatta rower gamifies rowing (and looks beautiful in any space)

    I enjoy rowing. It's a wonderful cardio and strength workout, and I especially like it in small doses paired with other exercises. In the pre-pandemic days, I'd workout often at OrangeTheory Fitness, which incorporates rowing in every workout.


    Still, I don't like rowing nearly enough to fork over the hefty sticker price of an Ergatta rower: $2,199.

    If you're not familiar with the Ergatta(Opens in a new tab), think of it as a Peloton for rowing. It's luxurious, internet-connected, and frankly the only piece of exercise equipment I'd maybe call beautiful.

    Besides its looks, a major selling point for the Ergatta is that it's not focused on class-based exercise. Instead, its focus is on gamify-ing exercise. That means you can race other rowers, to complete tasks, or against your past performance. It's a piece of luxe exercise equipment for folks who aren't into the idea of having an instructor motivate them with platitudes (as they all kind of do).

    It's not a bad piece of equipment, but I think to justify buying it you'd have to be a serious rower who perhaps used it as your main form of cardio.

    Ergatta is a solid workout with plenty of variety

    For background purposes, during nice weather, I run a minimum of 3 miles per day, and when it's nasty out, I'll spin. I have experience rowing, albeit typically in bursts as a supplement to other cardio, but rowing for 10 minutes straight on the Ergatta killed me. Like had me gasping. I couldn't even fathom doing some of the longer rows.

    The Ergatta has courses where you'll row a number of different distances against real users that are selected because they have a similar skill level to you. I'd keep up with the opponents on the first few legs but by the end, they were destroying me. While it might not pack the caloric burn of running, rowing on the Ergatta wiped me the hell out.

    Here are a few ways to get a workout in with the Ergatta.

    • Push programs, which basically create a workout regiment for you.

    • Interval workouts, which are pretty self-explanatory but focus on high-intensity and endurance.

    • Races, which pit you against other users in a regatta of sorts.

    • Open and scenic rows, which let you pick a distance, time, or no goal at all as you row about. You can either use a traditional screen to track your progress or a scenic path along a number of bodies of water.

    A quick snap of some of the scenic workouts. Credit: Tim Marcin / mashable

    One of Ergatta's biggest selling points is that it calibrates the experience to your fitness level. And, for the most part, I found that to hold true. It takes a few rows to learn your basic abilities, then acts accordingly. In general, when I raced, I was middle of the pack. That felt great. I didn't feel defeated (most of the time) and I was continually challenged to beat other racers or my previous times. If you're a competitive person, the gamification of the experience works — it makes you want to move your ass.

    It's luxurious, internet-connected, and frankly the only piece of exercise equipment I'd maybe call beautiful.

    Perhaps my favorite mode was a form of interval training where you row to collect points as you go. Think of basically jumping to get coins in a videogame, but you're going harder or slower on a rower. I liked the aspect of competing against myself and I enjoyed that the course (or level, whatever you want to call it) kept me honest. It had breaks built-in but remained quite challenging throughout.

    I also specifically enjoyed the scenic rows. I'd often pair them with a run or biking workout and it was lovely to row and see the (digital) scenes.

    It's designed to look beautiful in your space — and stow away nicely

    If you want a piece of equipment that looks luxurious, Ergatta is your best bet. It's sharp. The frame is composed of cherry wood with black accents. It features a 17-inch screen for the display and, in theory, folds up to take up a space about two feet deep. That's good because the rower itself is about two inches over seven feet long.

    I was not able to actually fold the rower up, however, because the only space for it in my home was a basement level with exactly 7-foot ceilings. I don't really begrudge the Ergatta that, however, since the room where I put it has exceptionally low heights. I'm not sure most normal folks wouldn't want to fold it up after every use, but you definitely could. Or you could just stow it when you have company.

    What the Ergatta  rower looks like standing up. Credit: ergatta

    I also don't think it would look too awful in a room where people hang out. Nobody would really want, say, a treadmill in their living room. But I've never seen a treadmill look this good. If you're a fanatical rower with disposable income and you live in a city with cramped spaces, I think the Ergatta would be perfect.

    SEE ALSO: Hail Hydrow! Why the 'Peloton of rowing' is a surprise hit

    And the actual rower itself, in short, is top of the line. It's made by Water Rower(Opens in a new tab) and has a fantastic feel. The water tank gives great physical feedback as you pull strokes, and the seat glides effortlessly along its track as you push and pull.

    The Ergatta glides perfectly when you pull strokes. Credit: Ergatta

    Technical difficulties weren't dealbreakers, but still disappointing

    While the rower is beautiful and feels great, some of the more technical aspects gave me issues during the weeks I tested the Ergatta in my home.

    First, you'll need a decent internet connection. At first, my Ergatta really struggled to connect and function. Granted this was on a basement level, but then again, lots of folks use a basement for workouts. I had just moved when the rower was delivered and didn't realize my basement would likely need a mesh network. For context, the connection — prior to me making an upgrade — was good enough to ride a Peloton or stream Netflix but not good enough to download an update on my Xbox One. Eventually, I installed a mesh network and the Ergatta worked fine.

    The other technical issue I experienced was more frustrating. At one point, my rower just...stopped...registering I was rowing. I thought it was just a one-time glitch but after several restarts and retries, nope, it didn't pick up any of my stats. Eventually, I looked around Ergatta's website and found a troubleshooting page(Opens in a new tab) for my issue. I reconnected all the cords. No dice. Eventually fiddling with a sensor disc got me my stats back. It wasn't the end of the world and I'm sure Ergatta would help customers fix any issues, but it's not necessarily something you want to deal with from a luxury item.

    Add to cart?

    The short answer is, I probably wouldn't buy the Ergatta(Opens in a new tab) but frankly, a rower would have to be pretty miraculous to get me to spend $2,199. Keep in mind, I'm a journalist on a journalist's salary and perhaps some of you out there don't mind forking that cash over. It has a 30-day warranty so if for any reason, you aren't a fan, Ergatta will send a technician to pick it up. They also have financing available through Klarna, starting at $61.08 per month.

    However, it's a good machine. It's a pretty machine. It provides a solid, low-impact, full-body workout. But I'm not a rowing enthusiast. I like rowing, sure, but not as my only form of exercise. My partner and I have a Peloton, but that's because it's her primary form of exercise and something I use quite often. I think if I wanted to row as my cardio every day, I'd consider the Ergatta. But that just isn't me. And I wouldn't recommend anyone spend that much money unless they know rowing is for them. Still, the damn thing looks pretty and I'll miss having it as a fun addition to my workouts.

    UPDATE: July 16, 2021, 3:20 p.m. EDT This article was updated for clarity.

  • Todays top deals include a bevy of Amazon devices, Crockpots, a ChomChom pet hair remover, and more

    Todays top deals include a bevy of Amazon devices, Crockpots, a ChomChom pet hair remover, and more

    Here are the best deals of the day for Oct 3:


    • BEST AMAZON DEVICE DEAL: 2021 Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition Essentials Bundle(Opens in a new tab)$171.97 $259.98 (save $88 as a Prime member)

    • BEST STREAMING DEAL: Fire TV Cube (2nd gen)(Opens in a new tab)$59.99 $119.99 (save $60)

    • BEST KITCHEN DEAL: Crockpot 7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker(Opens in a new tab)$29.99 $49.99 (save $20)

    With Amazon's Prime Early Access Sale officially going live next week, the Amazon device savings are already ramping up as of Oct. 3. We're seeing the biggest price drops on Kindles, Fire TV devices, Fire tablets, Halo trackers, and product bundles. Many long-standing streaming deals have come to an end, but keep an eye out for new ones in the coming days. Other deals are minimal, but if you're looking for kitchen essentials, a pet hair remover, or a smartwatch, you're in luck.

    Here are the best deals you can shop on Oct. 3, seamlessly sorted for your shopping convenience.

    Best Amazon device deal

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Amazon
    2021 Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition Essentials Bundle (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    $171.97 at Amazon (save $88 as a Prime member)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Why we like it

    Rekindle your interest in reading with the elegant 2021 edition of the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition(Opens in a new tab). A nearly perfect device for those who'd like to read more, as Mashable's tech reporter Alex Perry noted in his review, the Signature Edition Paperwhite features a bigger 6.8-inch display, weeks-long battery life, a flawless form factor fit for one-handed readers, wireless charging, auto-adjusting front light, and 32GB of storage (opposed to 8GB). Pricing is the biggest concern with this particular model, but with this Prime members-only deal, you can score the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition without ads, as well as a wireless charging dock and Amazon leather cover for less than the device typically costs on its own.

    Best streaming deal

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Amazon
    Amazon Fire TV Cube (2nd gen) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    $59.99 at Amazon (save $60)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Why we like it

    With the new Amazon Fire TV Cube (3rd gen) set to debut on Oct. 25, it comes as no surprise that the 2nd gen device is on sale for 50% of(Opens in a new tab)f — but it's welcome news, nonetheless. The new release is expected to perform 20 percent faster, offer an industry-first HDMI input port, and feature a 4K upscaling feature, but if these features aren't super important to your viewing experience, you can save $80 by snagging this deal on the previous generation.

    Best kitchen deal

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Crockpot
    Crockpot 7-Quart Manual Slow Cooker (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    $29.99 at Amazon (save $20)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Why we like it

    A classic home essential, the original Crockpot Manual Slow Cooker(Opens in a new tab) is the ultimate helper in the kitchen. With a seven-quart capacity, you can throw in all of your ingredients and let it do its thing. In four to 12 hours (depending on temperature), it will have your meal ready to serve nine plus people. While $29.99 isn't the lowest price it's ever been, it does match the lowest price we've seen in over a year. Save 40% on the must-have kitchen device.

    More Amazon device deals

    • Amazon Glow 19" Interactive Projector and 8" Video Calling Display(Opens in a new tab)  — $149.99 $329.98 (save $179.99)

    • Echo Dot (3rd Gen) with 2-Pack GE CYNC Smart LED Color Bulb(Opens in a new tab)$17.99 $63.98 (save $45.99 as a Prime member)

    • 2021 Fire HD 10 Tablet (32GB, ad-supported)(Opens in a new tab)$74.99 $149.99 (save $75)

    • 2022 Fire 7 Tablet (16GB, ad-supported) (Opens in a new tab)$44.99 $59.99 (save $15)

    • 2021 Fire HD 10 Plus tablet (32GB, ad-supported)(Opens in a new tab)$104.99 $179.99 (save $75)

    • 2020 Fire HD 8 Tablet (32GB, ad-supported)(Opens in a new tab)$44.99 $89.99 (save $45)

    • 2020 Fire HD 8 Plus Tablet (32GB, ad-supported)(Opens in a new tab) — $54.99 $109.99 (save $55)

    • Kindle E-readers(Opens in a new tab)starting at $99.99 (save up to 31%)

    • Amazon Halo Devices(Opens in a new tab)starting at $39.99 (save up to 44%)

    More streaming and subscription deals

    • One year of HBO Max(Opens in a new tab)$69.99 with ads $99.99 with ads (save $30)

    • First month of Xbox Game Pass(Opens in a new tab)$1 $14.99 (save $13.99)

    • One year of Grubhub+(Opens in a new tab)free for Prime members $119.88 (save $119.88)

    • Four months of Amazon Music Unlimited(Opens in a new tab)free $8.99 (save $36)

    More kitchen deals

    • Crockpot 7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker(Opens in a new tab)$29.99 $49.99 (save $20)

    • Crockpot Electric Lunch Boxes(Opens in a new tab)$29.99 $44.99 (save $15)

    • Chefman Immersion Stick Hand Blender(Opens in a new tab)$17.99 $29.99 (save $12)

    • DASH Breakfast Appliances(Opens in a new tab) — starting at $16.09 (save up to 36%)

    • Mr. Coffee Automatic Burr Mill Coffee Grinder(Opens in a new tab)$38.24 $49.99 (save $11.75)

    Other deals

    • ChomChom Pet Hair Remover(Opens in a new tab)$17.95 $26.95 (save $9 with clipped coupon)

    • Garmin Forerunner 245 Running Smartwatch(Opens in a new tab)$198.11 $299.99 (save $101.88)

    • Logitech G502 LIGHTSPEED Wireless Gaming Mous(Opens in a new tab)e — $72.20 $149.99 (save $77.79)

    • Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Plus and Bundles(Opens in a new tab)starting at $139.99 (save up to 47%)

  • Quordle today: Here are the answers and hints for October 11

    Quordle today: Here are the answers and hints for October 11

    Quordle is best played first thing in the morning, and preferably you're friends with another player, and they're waiting to hear how many guesses it took you. But not everyone can play under ideal circumstances. And hey, maybe you just want the answers.


    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:

    A semi-useful hint about today’s puzzle

    Synonyms for all four words are in the following very strange sentence (in no particular order):

    You can rattle a shin bone and chant all you want, but I'm irreligious and lack any beliefs whatsoever, so to me, you might as well be praying to a bug.

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

    One word has a double letter.

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


    What do today’s Quordle words start with?

    P, F, T, 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. PAGAN

    2. FAITH

    3. TIBIA

    4. ROACH

  • Having a bad trip? Theres an app for that.

    Having a bad trip? Theres an app for that.

    Magic mushrooms changed her life.


    After taking them in Amsterdam, Lena Russell felt in tune with herself and the world. So much so that she decided to move from England to the United States to pursue a career in psychedelic assisted health care.

    But in the days after the trip, she also felt curious about what had happened to her and the ways she had changed. And she felt lonely.

    Now she’s helping other people who are dealing with those same feelings as a volunteer for Fireside Project(Opens in a new tab), a new free psychedelic peer support service that launched a support line in April. Fireside is currently sponsored financially by the SocialGood fund(Opens in a new tab), a non-profits incubator, and is in the process of becoming a non-profit. In August, it launched an app that it claims is the "world’s first" of its kind.

    With warm, inviting colors and a simple interface, the app is designed to make Fireside's peer support service as approachable as possible. Credit: fireside project

    Peer support is the practice of making trained civilian volunteers — not a medical or mental health expert — available to listen and talk to people in times of mental or physical need. Often a resource for people struggling with addiction or other mental health issues, peer support is a sub-category of "harm reduction,"(Opens in a new tab) the principle that people are going to engage in risky behavior. And that rather than stigmatize and punish this behavior, the best way to help is by reducing the potential for harm.

    Why offer peer support for psychedelics users? Psychedelic drugs, including LSD, psilocybin (the active compound in magic mushrooms), ayahuasca, and related drugs like MDMA and ketamine, are undergoing a boom(Opens in a new tab) as scientific researchers, as well as the pharmaceutical and wellness industries, explore their potential as mental health treatments. At the same time, the public is increasingly using psychedelics — likely as a "therapeutic mechanism," the lead researcher from a University of Cincinnati study(Opens in a new tab) told Scientific American(Opens in a new tab)— without the safety net of a research or therapy setting.

    "There's a reframing going on where psychedelics aren't seen necessarily as drugs that are going to get you fucked up, they're going to help you get well," said Madison Margolin, co-founder and editor Double Blind(Opens in a new tab) Magazine, which covers psychedelics.

    That "reframing" also applies to what some say is the outdated concept of the mind-bending "bad trip" of popular culture that proliferated as a result of the war on drugs(Opens in a new tab). Instead, using these drugs can result in many different experiences, some of which may be emotionally intense. Working through challenging moments during or after a trip — with a therapist, friend, or even peer support service like Fireside — is important(Opens in a new tab) to reap the mental health benefits.

    "A big part of what we're about is destigmatizing the use of psychedelics, helping to mitigate the risks, and increase the potential of what these chemicals and plants have for us as teachers and supporters of our healing," Hanifa Nayo Washington, a Fireside Project co-founder, said.

    In Lena Russell's case, the ability to provide support and context for people is what drew her to Fireside.

    "I would have benefited from a service like that after my experience with psychedelics for the first time," Russell said. "Definitely, I could have used some support, and grounding, and some help with understanding what happened, and feeling that I wasn’t alone. I wanted to give something back to the psychedelic community that I hadn’t had."

    There's an app for that

    How to design an app for people who could be "actively tripping," as Nayo Washington put it? Or for people who want to discuss sensitive topics? Making the app inviting and easy to use were top priorities.

    "The app is really centered around these two big buttons, call and text, in order to make it soothing, as well as attractive," Nayo Washington said. "The colors that are part of the scheme are lots of oranges. So the design came to us: It has to be two big buttons, it has to be simple."

    When someone presses the "bright, glowing orange icon," as Nayo Washington described it, they'll reach Fireside's "connector," who is like an operator. The connector will assess the caller's needs, and direct them to a volunteer, or to a supervisor with more experience with psychiatric support. The app is not intended to replace emergency services, and a recording tells callers to contact 911 in case of emergency.

    Fireside makes it clear that it’s not — and is not a replacement for — a doctor or therapist. Some peer support lines are official services of medical and mental health clinics. That's not Fireside. Instead, it’s a supplement for mental and physical health care that people can reach out to in moments of need.

    Those moments might not look like what you'd expect. Johns Hopkins Medicine(Opens in a new tab) surveyed 2,000 people who "said they had had a past negative experience" after taking psilocybin. "Most" of those same people "reported the experience to be 'meaningful' or 'worthwhile,'" and half described it as still "one of the top most valuable experiences in their life."

    In short, a challenging experience can be an incredibly important one. And not all psychedelics users have access to a therapist.

    "I don't think therapy is the only way to get support," said Brian Pilecki, a therapist and researcher at Portland Psychotherapy(Opens in a new tab), who also provides psychedelic integration services and is not involved in the Fireside Project.

    Sitting Fireside

    Fireside describes(Opens in a new tab) its volunteers as "people who get it. We’ve been there ourselves."

    Although applications are closed for now, the only requirements to be a volunteer are to be older than 18, have an internet connection, and have empathy for callers. Training involves strategies to assess risk and exercises on how to talk to people and actively listen. Volunteers also participate in weekly community "circles" to share experiences and learn from other volunteers.

    "We really focus on removing ego, on reflective, heart based listening, as well as scanning and understanding for potential harm," Nayo Washington said. "We support people, anybody having any kind of experience with psychedelics. That also includes during an experience and then after that experience as well."

    "It feels fantastic to know that I've helped someone feel a little bit less lonely..."

    Fireside found that callers more frequently reach out to process past psychedelic experiences than look for support in the moment. Of the around 550 peer support sessions Fireside says it has conducted, about one third of callers make contact during a trip, while most of the remaining two thirds are looking for help with what the psychedelic community calls "integration."

    Integration is "the practice of making sense of an experience, and taking benefit from an experience which can include processing anything that was confusing or challenging," according to Pilecki.

    Without knowing the word for it, integration is what Lena Russell was looking for after her first psychedelic experience. Now, she, and volunteers like her, provide empathy and a language for what's happening to Fireside callers.

    "I have experienced talking to several people who kind of just felt a little bit lonely, a little bit lost, and a little bit anxious after having taken psychedelics," Russell said. "It feels fantastic to know that I’ve helped someone feel a little bit less lonely and more supported, and there are people out there who do care."

    People on psychedelics are using the line, too. Russell said she spoke with someone who was tripping who called in just because they wanted to share what they were going through with another person. "They just wanted to talk to someone, so someone could experience it with them. Because it was beautiful" Russell said. Pilecki had a client who reached out to Fireside near the end of his trip because he just needed to talk.

    "He found that they were very open and didn't push an agenda, which was kind of what he needed at that time," Pilecki said. "It wound up allowing him to have to have a better experience overall because he had that as a backup option."

    One user reported that they pulled up the home screen during a trip, but never needed to call because the app's existence was like a security blanket.

    "I believe that just knowing if you have the app downloaded or the number in your phone, it gives you this sense of control on your trip," said Nicolai Lassen, Fireside's chief technology officer. "Just knowing that there's somebody on the other end, if this goes wrong, I'm still in control because you can call these people, and just get the help that you need. I think that the cascade effect of just knowing that we're out there is very great."

    The net

    Researchers across the globe(Opens in a new tab) are investigating the benefits psychedelics and other drugs (like MDMA and ketamine) can have for treatment-resistant depression, PTSD, anxiety, and more.

    Eventually, Fireside hopes to use anonymized data and anecdotal information to better understand the role peer support can play in fostering positive psychedelic experiences. (Volunteers make call notes, and Fireside asks users to submit feedback forms, but the app collects no personal information about callers.)

    For example, according to post-call surveys, 167 Fireside users reported that they experienced a reduction in "stress" and "psychological distress." Additionally, 41 users in panicked situations that made them consider calling 911 were able to emotionally "de-escalate" with Fireside, instead.

    "We want to use our research to show that harm reduction saves lives, and is important to the movement," Nayo Washington said.

    Research from an organization like Fireside could help researchers understand these drugs outside of medical or research settings. But Fireside said that research is secondary to psychedelic peer support.

    "That comes before anything else," Nayo Washington said.

    Fireside recognizes that psychedelics use — with both its benefits and risks — is happening. More infrastructure is needed to support people who may be left out by medical researchers or clinics (which might require insurance), or by the for-profit psychedelics industry.

    And, for some, that support doesn't have to be a scientist in a lab coat, or a therapist with an expensive degree. It can be a calming voice, an appreciation of a beautiful moment, or compassion for something that happened 25 years ago.

    "We want to be the net," Nayo Washington said. "We want to be the thing that everybody knows, at the very least, you will not fall, you will not be alone."

  • How to protect your privacy in a post-Roe America

    How to protect your privacy in a post-Roe America

    Abortion is no longer a constitutionally protected right in the United States. When the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade case on June 24, 2022, it not only allowed for U.S. states to outright ban abortion care within their borders but also opened the door for the criminalization of abortions.


    Your privacy is now at risk as well. 

    "One of many alarming aspects…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 reproductive justice organization If/When/How previously told Mashable.

    So, what should you do to protect your data in a post-Roe America?

    What needs to be done 

    "First and foremost, it’s important that people know that it should not be our individual responsibility to safeguard all of our data online," said Caitlin Seeley George, campaign director for the digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future, in a statement to Mashable. "The companies that built the surveillance economy and the lawmakers that allowed this to happen have let us all down and must swiftly and boldly act to protect people seeking and providing abortions."

    In a public statement(Opens in a new tab), Fight for the Future laid out a number of legislative actions the federal government could take in order to protect digital privacy rights. The digital rights non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has called(Opens in a new tab) for the passing of Rep. Sara Jacob's "My Body, My Data" Act(Opens in a new tab), which would create(Opens in a new tab) a "new national standard to protect personal reproductive health data(Opens in a new tab)," and would be enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Fight for the Future and the EFF(Opens in a new tab) have both called on tech companies to protect their users by ending the practice of collecting and storing such personal health data.

    While those are issues worth fighting for, those seeking abortion care cannot depend on the government or tech companies to protect them at this moment. There are steps that you can take to protect your data now.

    By now, you've probably already heard the calls to delete your period tracking apps. There is no specific precedent for these apps turning over data to law enforcement. However, the concern is very real. One thing the Biden administration is already looking at is using(Opens in a new tab) the power of the FTC(Opens in a new tab) to protect users' data. Some app makers have previously stated(Opens in a new tab) that they would turn over your data(Opens in a new tab) in the same way many other tech companies who you provide your data would do.

    Disclosure: Mashable's parent company Ziff Davis owns Everyday Health Group, a digital media company that runs two popular pregnancy and period tracking apps: BabyCenter and What To Expect. Forbes previously pointed out data tracking concerns with these apps(Opens in a new tab).

    Christine Mattheis, Everyday Health Group VP of Content & Brand Solutions provided the following statement to Mashable:

    BabyCenter and What to Expect are among the most recognizable names in pregnancy and parenting, providing accurate, up-to-date, medically reviewed information and tools to families throughout the United States and the world. Our users trust us to guide them through every challenge they may face during this exciting, yet vulnerable period in their lives.

    We honor that trust by fiercely protecting our users’ information. We have comprehensive information security and data privacy programs that we continually review and enhance. The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade has brought to light valid concerns about the protection of reproductive health information. Reflecting on this change, we are reevaluating and further strengthening how we protect our users and their private data.

    Supporting maternal health — and by extension, reproductive health — is core to our mission. We remain committed to guiding women and families through every stage of parenthood with care and trust.

    It's a positive step that pregnancy and period tracking apps are now taking another look at privacy and data collection policies. However, until the written terms are clear, Mashable continues to recommend that users concerned about their data privacy as it relates to abortion care should practice caution when using pregnancy and period tracking apps.

    "Digital surveillance has become too vast of a problem for individuals to manage on their own," George told us. "Folks might be concerned about their period tracking app, but it's likely that every app on their phone is gathering some type of data (location, biometric, health) that could be sold to law enforcement."

    For example, just because you deleted your period tracking app, law enforcement may still be able to confiscate your computer or smartphone and find out what you've been doing online and who you've been messaging. They can also subpoena Google, Facebook, or any other tech company that provides a service you use and collect your abortion-related search history, messages, or social media postings.

    What you can do now to protect yourself

    So, just deleting your period tracker app isn't enough. An app is just one piece of the puzzle that law enforcement could use to monitor your sensitive personal online data. The best course of action is to start being more careful about your data in general, even when you're not talking about reproductive or abortion care-related activities.

    And luckily, thanks to everyone from government and corporate whistleblowers to sex workers, there are tested apps, services, and basic internet practices that you should use and follow to protect your online privacy.

    Web Browsers

    The best mainstream web browser for privacy when it comes to everyday use is Firefox(Opens in a new tab). There are a number of features and options that protect users from being tracked or their web history from being logged. It's open-source as well, so many users have poured over the code to make sure the browser does exactly what a user wants it to do. 

    For those who are a bit more tech-savvy, Tor Browser(Opens in a new tab) is another great option. Tor automatically clears your web history and cookies, which are basically small files that websites download to your computer so they can remember information about you for the next time you log in. Tor also helps obscure your IP address, which is a string of numbers that identifies a device or network on the internet. This is a great privacy measure because it will obfuscate a direct link between a user and where they went online, although the process will slow down website loading times. So, Tor may be best put to use for very specific search and browsing purposes.


    VPN, or Virtual Private Network, services are another privacy tool to have in your belt in order to make sure your Internet Service Provider can't see your web history. It also hides your IP address from the websites you visit. Mozilla, the organization behind the Firefox browser, has its own VPN service(Opens in a new tab), although there are quite a few reputable providers, some of which even offer a one-time payment for lifetime usage of the service.


    Need a messaging service that protects your communications? Signal is the way to go. The service uses end-to-end encryption (E2EE), which basically means your messages appear only on the sender and receiver's devices. Signal's servers never see your messages and that means Signal doesn't store a copy either. Signal has also been tested before, receiving orders from law enforcement to hand over whatever data they have. All Signal was able to provide(Opens in a new tab) to authorities was the account creation date and the last time the user logged in.

    As Sarah Morrison of Recode points out(Opens in a new tab), encryption doesn't really help if law enforcement ends up gaining access to your physical device. That's why Signal's disappearing messages feature also helps cement its position as the best private messaging app. The feature allows users to set an interval of time that message is available before it's deleted from both the sender and receiver's device.

    If you're worried about your emails, Proton(Opens in a new tab) is a privacy-focused E2EE email provider that does pretty much the same thing Signal does but for, well, your email too. It has long been a favorite email provider for many journalists who regularly work with whistleblowers and deal with sensitive information.

    Regardless of what services you go with, always be sure to clear your cookies and web browser history when you can. Make sure your browser tabs are closed as well after visiting websites you don't want being tracked. Also, be sure to make note of when you switch devices as well. For example, using all these services on your desktop or laptop computer will be rendered pointless if you have a robust web history and location tracking enabled on your iPhone or Android device. So be sure your privacy settings are set correctly everywhere.

  • Do you talk about your pet too much?

    Do you talk about your pet too much?

    Do you worry that you talk too much about your beloved dog? Or cat? Or parakeet? If you've been asking yourself these questions lately, or have noticed the glazed-over look in someone's eye when you bring up your pet's raw food diet (again), the answer might be yes.


    If this is something you're thinking about, you've come to the right place. We asked Twitter and our very own teammates at Mashable, PCMag, and RetailMeNot to weigh-in on what they think is the appropriate amount of pet talk. (PCMag and RetailMeNot are owned by Mashable’s publisher, Ziff Davis.)

    The real question is whether or not you care about being judged. If you do care, below you'll find some guidelines for appropriate pet talk. If you don't care, that's fine too. We've also included some reassuring words from other unconcerned pet owners to further entrench your carefree attitude.

    Pet lovers who are worried about being judged:

    For some, it's all about context. "I think this is highly dependent on who you're with," says Joanna Kus, a software engineer at RetailMeNot. "If you're with other pet owners, too much is impossible," she continued. "Absolutely tell me every dumb little quirk about your pet, I want to know; show me all their pictures."

    Jae Thomas, shopping reporter at Mashable says her pup is one of the most important things in her life, but in conversation, she holds back a lot of the time. "I do feel more comfortable talking more about her with other pet parents too though, since they better understand the love that someone can have with their pet."

    When Thomas is around other pet parents, she doesn't hold back from gushing about Miso. Credit: Mashable / Jae Thomas

    Mashable culture reporter Elena Cavender offers an elegantly simple rule of thumb: "I only talk about my dog when specifically asked."

    For others, the way in which you talk about your pets is the key factor. "It's fine to talk about your pets all the time but it depends on HOW you talk about them," says Mashable culture reporter CJ Silva. Expressing your deep love for your pet is totally OK, but consider the mode of expression. "I want pictures of everyones pets and tell me all the stories. But do not call them your son or daughter, it makes me uncomfortable."

    Sascha Segan, lead analyst of mobile coverage for PCMag shared the same basic sentiment. "Your children are the same species as you. Your dog may have children, but your dog is not your child, unless you are a dog."

    Referring to your pet as your son or daughter seems to be a polarizing issue for many. But implying that you birthed your pet or parented them as a human child can also be played for laughs.

    Silva (picture with Colby Jack) draws the line at referring to pets as sons and daughters. Credit: Mashable / CJ Silva

    "My partner and I started calling each other mum and dad when we're talking to our dog AS A JOKE," said Mashable Australia editor Caitlin Welsh, who hastened to add that her partner has three actual human children. Welsh has this warning for anyone who "jokingly" talks about their dog in familial terms: "Several lockdowns later we now have to be careful about accidentally doing it in front of company."

    SEE ALSO: LA's hottest club: A members-only dog park

    Pet lovers who are too far gone to care:

    If you don't care about how much is too much pet talk, good for you! You live outside the rules of shame-based society and it must be liberating. For the other camp, this is what life could look like on the other side.

    "Never too much!" wrote Twitter user @RosieChad. "Fellow pet owners will understand, and non-pet owners will either enjoy because they live vicariously through you (can't have their own pet for various reasons), or if they don't like pets...they're not worth talking to haha." No words minced.

    User @wellheeled has a similar approach. "There are never enough Twitter characters when talking about Chance." Take that up with Mr. Musk who might be able to do something about that.

    Twitter user @ItsJamesMurray refers to himself as "Tycho's dad" in his Twitter bio, so you can see where this is going: "Tycho is my son. No questions asked."

    Sam Pipitone, corporate controller at Ziff Davis Media, Mashable's parent company, says she's guilty of being an overzealous pet parent in many different ways: "Oversharing, overposting, calling her my "doghter," bringing her places unannounced, making my plans around her preferences, talking to her like she's human and waiting for an answer, using her in social settings to ease social anxiety."

    But even Pipitone has to draw the line somewhere. "The only thing I do not do, and cannot get on board with personally, is giving her a voice. I can't stand when people give their dogs goofy voices."

    Consider yourself warned.

  • Todays top deals include a Samsung Galaxy Tab, Ninja blender system, and Showtime subscriptions

    Todays top deals include a Samsung Galaxy Tab, Ninja blender system, and Showtime subscriptions

    We've gathered up the best deals we could find on Dec. 9 — here are some of our top picks:

    • BEST TABLET DEAL: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (64GB)(Opens in a new tab)$214.99 $349.99 (save $135)

    • BEST TV DEAL: LG 65-inch 4K UHD OLED Web OS Smart TV(Opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)$1,249 $2,299.99 (save $1,050.99)

    • BEST STREAMING DEAL: Showtime(Opens in a new tab)$3.99/month $10.99/month (save $65.94) for 6 months + 30 days for free

    • BEST SUBSCRIPTION DEAL: DoorDash DashPass(Opens in a new tab)$59 $96 (save $37) for your first year

    • BEST HOME DEAL: Ninja Mega Kitchen System 72-Oz. Blender(Opens in a new tab)$99.99 $199.99 (save $100)

    With Best Buy's 20 Days of Deals event going strong and the Discover Samsung deals event revving up, there's a lot of epic discounts to take advantage of on Dec. 9 — especially if you're looking for tech. Plus, Amazon and Walmart are staying competitive with price drops of their own. There's a 65-inch LG OLED TV for over $1,000 off, a Samsung Galaxy Tab for its best price ever, a powerful, all-purpose blender system for half price, and so much more.

    We did the grunt work of finding all the best deals on Dec. 9. Here are some of our top picks to kick off your weekend shopping experience.

    Best tech deal

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Samsung
    Our pick: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (64GB) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    $214.99 at Amazon (save $135)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Why we like it

    If you're looking for a tablet both you and your kids can use, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is your guy. It's basically a more budget-friendly version of the Galaxy Tab S6 and it's one of our top picks for a kid's tablet. Back in October, it hit an all-time low price of $229.99, but both Amazon(Opens in a new tab) and Best Buy(Opens in a new tab) have slashed that price even further — down to just $214.99 as of Dec. 9.

    More tech deals

    TV deals

    • onn. 24-inch HD LED Roku Smart TV(Opens in a new tab)$88 $138 (save $50)

    • onn. 32-inch HD LED Roku Smart TV(Opens in a new tab) $108 $144 (save $36)

    • TCL 43-inch 4-Series LED 4K UHD Smart Google TV(Opens in a new tab)$169.99 $269.99 (save $100)

    • Philips 50-inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV(Opens in a new tab)$198

    • Hisense 58-inch R6 Series 4K UHD LED LCD Roku Smart TV(Opens in a new tab) $298 $338 (save $40)

    • LG 50-inch UQ75 Series LED 4K UHD Smart webOS TV(Opens in a new tab)$299.99 $379.99 (save $80)

    • Hisense 58-inch U6 Series ULED TV(Opens in a new tab)$469.99 $599.99 (save $130) + $50 Amazon credit for free

    • VIZIO 75-inch M7 Series 4K QLED HDR Smart TV(Opens in a new tab)$698 $998 (save $300)

    • LG 65-inch 4K UHD OLED Web OS Smart TV(Opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)$1,249 $2,299.99 (save $1,050.99)

    • Sony 75-inch XR75X95J BRAVIA XR Full Array LED 4K Ultra HD Smart Google TV(Opens in a new tab)$1,298 $1,598 (save $300)

    • Samsung 55-inch QN90B Neo QLED 4K Smart TV(Opens in a new tab)$1,299.99 $1,699.99 (save $400) + a free Xbox controller and three months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

    • Samsung 65-inch QN900B Neo QLED 8K Smart TV (Opens in a new tab) $3,799.99 $4,799.99 (save $1,000)

    Apple deals

    • Apple Watch SE (1st Gen) (GPS + Cellular)(Opens in a new tab) $229 $279 (save $50)

    • 2021 10.2-Inch iPad (WiFi, 64GB)(Opens in a new tab)$279.99 $329.99 (save $50)

    • Apple Watch Series 7 (41mm, GPS + cellular)(Opens in a new tab)$339 $499 (save $160)

    • 2022 10.9-inch iPad (WiFi, 64GB)(Opens in a new tab)$399 $449 (save $50)

    • 2022 10.9-Inch iPad Air (5th Generation) (WiFi, 64GB)(Opens in a new tab)$499.99 $599.99 (save $100)

    • 2020 MacBook Air (M1 chip, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$799 $999 (save $200)

    • 2021 12.9-Inch iPad Pro (5th Generation) with WiFi (M1 chip, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) (Opens in a new tab)$899.99 $1,199.99 (save $300) + 3 free months of Apple TV+, 4 free months of Apple Music and Apple News+

    • 2022 MacBook Air (M2 chip, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$1,049 $1,199 (save $150)

    • Apple 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display (Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$1,699.99 $2,299.99 (save $600) + 3 free months of Apple TV+, 4 free months of Apple Music and Apple News+

    Amazon device deals

    • Echo Dot (3rd Gen)(Opens in a new tab)$14.99 $39.99 (save $25) + free Echo Dot with code FREEDOT22

    • Echo Dot (5th Gen) with Sengled Bluetooth color bulb(Opens in a new tab)$27.99 $64.98 (save $36.99)

    • Blink Mini (2-pack)(Opens in a new tab)$29.99 $64.99 (save $35)

    • Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen)(Opens in a new tab)$34.99 $84.99 (save $50)

    • Blink Video Doorbell(Opens in a new tab)$34.99 $49.99 (save $15)

    • Echo Show 5 Kids (2nd Gen)(Opens in a new tab)$39.99 $94.99 (save $55)

    • Echo Dot (5th Gen) with Clock with Sengled Bluetooth color bulb(Opens in a new tab)$39.99 $74.98 (save $34.99)

    • Blink Video Doorbell System + Sync Module 2(Opens in a new tab)$54.98 $84.98 (save $30)

    • 2922 Fire Kids 7 Tablet(Opens in a new tab)$59.99 $109.99 (save $50)

    • Echo (4th Gen) with Sengled Bluetooth color bulb(Opens in a new tab)$59.99 $114.98 (save $54.99)

    • Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)(Opens in a new tab)$69.99 $129.99 (save $60)

    • 2022 Fire Kids 8 Tablet(Opens in a new tab)$89.99 $149.99 (save $60)

    • Amazon Fire TV 75-inch Omni Series 4K UHD Smart TV(Opens in a new tab) — $549.99 $1,099.99 (save $550)

    Even more tech deals

    • Tile Item Finders(Opens in a new tab)starting at $17.99 (save up to 30%)

    • Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ Telescope Refractor Telescope(Opens in a new tab)$125.99 $189.95 (save $63.96)

    • Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ Telescope(Opens in a new tab)$152.99 $219.95 (save $66.96)

    • Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ-MD Newtonian Telescope(Opens in a new tab)$279.99 $379.95 (save $99.96)

    • ASUS Zenbook 14-inch 2.8K OLED Laptop (Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$549.99 $749.99 (save $200)

    Best streaming deal

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Showtime
    Our pick: Showtime (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    $3.99/month for 6 months (save $53)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Why we like it

    Showtime is home to some top-rated originals, like Yellowjackets, Billions, and Shameless. As of Dec. 9, you can snag a subscription and binge them all for a discount. Through Jan. 4, the streamer is offering new subscribers a free month of streaming, then six months for just $3.99 per month (usually $10.99 per month). That ends up saving you about $53 in streaming fees. Just be sure to cancel your subscription before the seven months are up (including the free month) unless you want to be charged full price.

    More streaming and subscription deals

    • Apple Music(Opens in a new tab) free $10.99/month (save $43.96) for 4 months

    • Apple TV+(Opens in a new tab)free $6.99/month (save $20.97) for 3 months

    • Audible(Opens in a new tab)$5.95/month $14.95/month (save $36) for 4 months

    • DoorDash DashPass(Opens in a new tab)$59 $96 (save $37) for your first year

    • Paramount+ Essential(Opens in a new tab) — $24.99 $49.99 (save $25) for your first year

    • Paramount+ Premium(Opens in a new tab) — $49.99 $99.99 (save $50) for your first year

    • Paramount+ and Showtime Bundle(Opens in a new tab)$59.99 $119.99 (save $60) for your first year

    • Showtime(Opens in a new tab)$3.99/month $10.99/month (save $65.94) for 6 months

    • Sling TV(Opens in a new tab)$30 $40 (save $10) for your first month + free Amazon Fire TV Stick

    • Starz(Opens in a new tab)$3/month $8.99/month (save $17.97) for 3 months

    • Vudu(Opens in a new tab)save 30% on your first purchase or rental

    • YouTube TV(Opens in a new tab)$54.99/month $64.99/month (save $139.98) for your first 3 months

    Best home deal

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Ninja
    Our pick: Ninja Mega Kitchen System 72-ounce Blender (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    $99.99 at Best Buy (save $100)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Why we like it

    Best Buy comes through yet again with its impressive Deal of the Day — Ninja's all-purpose Mega Kitchen System(Opens in a new tab) for just $99.99 (50% off). The system includes a 72-ounce blender, a 64-ounce lidded round bowl, two 16-ounce blender cups, and four swappable blades. Make note that at the time of writing, it's sold out at Amazon and listed for just shy of full price at Walmart.

    More home deals

    Kitchen deals

    • Magic Bullet 7-Piece Personal Blender Kit(Opens in a new tab) $20 $34.99 (save $14.99)

    • Ninja Programmable XL 14-Cup Coffee Maker(Opens in a new tab) $59 $89 (save $30)

    • Ninja NJ601AMZ Professional Blender (Opens in a new tab)$64.99 $99.99 (save $35)

    • Gourmia 9 Qt 7-in-1 Dual Basket Digital Air Fryer(Opens in a new tab)$68 $149.99 (save $81.99)

    • Nespresso Coffee and Espresso Machines(Opens in a new tab)starting at $126.75 (save up to 25%)

    • Vitamix ONE Blender(Opens in a new tab)$147.95 $249.95 (save $102)

    • Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Deep Round Oven (5.25-quart)(Opens in a new tab)$199.95 $249.95 (save $50)

    Floor care deals

    • Shark UltraLight Pet Corded Handheld Vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$49 $99 (save $50)

    • Eufy 25C(opens in a new tab)$96 $249.99 (save $147.99)

    • Eufy Clean G32 Pro(Opens in a new tab)$98 $299.99 (save $201.99)

    • iRobot Roomba 676(Opens in a new tab)$174 $269.99 (save $95.99)

    • iRobot Roomba 692(Opens in a new tab)$174 $299.99 (save $125.99)

    • iRobot Roomba 694(Opens in a new tab)$179 $274 (save $95)

    • Samsung Jet 75 Complete Cordless Stick Vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$399.99 $649.99 (save $250)

    • iRobot Roomba i3+ EVO(Opens in a new tab)$349 $549.99 (save $200.99)

    • iRobot Roomba j7(Opens in a new tab)$349 $599.99 (save $250.99)

    • Dyson Ball Animal 3 Complete(Opens in a new tab)$449.99 $549.99 (save $100)

    • Dyson V12 Detect Slim(Opens in a new tab)$499.99 $649.99 (save $150) (read our thoughts here)

    • (图1)

      Roborock S7+(Opens in a new tab)$679.99 $949.98 (save $269.99)

    • Samsung Bespoke Jet Cordless Stick Vacuum(Opens in a new tab) $699.99 $899.99 (save $200)

    Fitness deals

    • Fitbit Charge 5 (Opens in a new tab)$99.95 $149.95 (save $50)

    • Theragun Prime Electric Handheld Massage Gun(Opens in a new tab)$198 $299 (save $101)

    • NordicTrack 50 Lb iSelect Adjustable Dumbbells(Opens in a new tab)$299 $429 (save $130)

    • Bowflex Selecttech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells(Opens in a new tab)$299.99 $429.99 (save $130 as a My Best Buy member)

    • NordicTrack GX 2.7 U Exercise Bike(Opens in a new tab)$320.99 $799.99 (save $479)

    • Schwinn IC4 Indoor Exercise Bike(Opens in a new tab)$499.99 $999.99 (save $500 as a My Best Buy member)

  • The 12-foot Home Depot skeleton will return this year — and he has a hot new friend

    The 12-foot Home Depot skeleton will return this year — and he has a hot new friend

    UPDATE: July 16, 2021, 11:39 a.m. ET: At the time of this update, the classic 12-foot skeleton(Opens in a new tab) was available on the Home Depot website. The Inferno Pumpkin Skeleton was out of stock(Opens in a new tab).


    America's leading source of autumnal serotonin is coming back.

    Home Depot(Opens in a new tab) revealed its Halloween and holiday décor collections on Wednesday, July 14, including — thank god — a restock of the fabled 12-foot giant skeleton with LCD LifeEyes that shook the internet to its bones last year. The skeleton will be in stock on Home Depot's website(Opens in a new tab) on July 16, according to the retailer, and will cost $299, the same amount it did in 2020.

    If you happen to have an extra $50 in your "12-foot skeleton" budget, Home Depot will also be selling an upgraded, significantly weirder version of the 12-foot skeleton. The "Inferno Pumpkin Skeleton" has a pumpkin for a head, a "refined hourglass figure," and flames (not real flames) in his ribcage, which we can only assume is due to severe acid reflux.

    The original skeleton (left) and the new Inferno Pumpkin Skeleton (right). Credit: Mashable Composite/Home Depot

    Don't have room for an enormous skeleton in your yard this season? There are plenty of smaller, equally weird products available, including spooky rotten pumpkins, assorted gravestones, plenty of inflatables, and more. Our personal favorite? The tactfully named Bone Throne(Opens in a new tab), a spooky and stately piece of furniture that should be as much fun to sit in as it is to name-drop.

    Check them all out on Home Depot's website(Opens in a new tab) on July 16.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Home Depot
    12-Foot Giant-Sized Skeleton with LifeEyes — $299 at Home Depot (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

  • 20 things that helped us get through 2020

    20 things that helped us get through 2020

    The year 2020 has been, to put it mildly, a burning dumpster ejected straight from the bowels of hell.


    The year has been so incredibly challenging, sad, and exhausting that to look for any bright side or beacon of light at all almost feels insulting. But we're humans, and we require some semblance of hope to keep us pushing forward, so we'll try to practice a small amount of gratitude as 2020 comes to a close.

    With less than a month left until the new year, let's acknowledge our resilience and take a look back at 20 things that helped us all make it through 2020. The majority of the year was bad, but these 20 things were undeniably good.

    1. January and February

    The good old days. Credit: Getty Images / EyeEm

    The chaos of serious COVID spreading, rising death tolls around the world, quarantines, and stay-at-home orders first kicked off in March and has been going steady for 10 stress-filled months. But 2020 hasn't been a total wash. The first two months of the year, January and February, were normal and those memories have helped remind us the fun and freedom that hopefully awaits us in the future.

    2. Essential workers

    We wouldn't have survived this hellscape of a year without the tireless, selfless, and incredibly brave efforts of essential workers who put their lives on the line to help others. From medical workers and first responders to grocery workers and more, 2020 highlighted millions of heroes around the world and showed us who keeps things running in a crisis.

    3. Acts of kindness that restored our faith in humanity

    If we take anything away from the constant struggles and profound loss that we've endured I hope it's a realization that we need to treat our fellow humans with care, respect, and kindness. Despite the pain, there were so many moments this year that helped restore peoples' faith in humanity. One of our favorites was the love that was shown night after night for essential workers in the form of collectively clapping and cheering outside(Opens in a new tab).

    4. Finally being able to put the election behind us

    This one doesn't require much explanation, because everyone — except maybe Donald Trump — knows that the 2020 election is over. It's done. It's finished. It's history, baby! Thank freaking goodness. There are simply no words for this level of relief.

    5. Historic political milestones

    Vice President-elect Kamala Harris made history this election by becoming the first woman, first Black, and first Asian American to be elected as VP. But she wasn't the only trailblazer who achieved a historical milestone. Check out this incredible list of other firsts to celebrate.

    6. Zoom

    It may be annoying as hell, but Zoom and all other video chatting platforms saved our butts this year and helped us connect with each other. Thanks for all the seemingly endless work meetings, awkward birthday parties, and sad happy hours.

    7. A surprising amount of good tweets

    Speaking of distractions, shout out to social media for everything except doomscrolling. The year was bad, but at least we had some good tweets to provide occasional comedic relief.

    8. Some Good News

    Some good tweets weren't the only relief online. We also had Some Good News, John Krasinski's cheery YouTube series, which came into our lives when we needed it most. The series was only eight episodes, and fans were outraged when Krasinski sold to the show to ViacomCBS(Opens in a new tab), but it still served as a crucial 2020 life raft.

    9. Pop culture reunions

    All that Some Good News talk reminds us of another unexpected 2020 savior: pop culture reunions. Fans saw an Office reunion on SGN, a Parks and Recreation get together, and so many more last-minute efforts made to bring beloved casts back together. It was heartwarming to see actors from our favorite TV shows and movies reunite to lift spirits, and in many cases to raise money for coronavirus relief and other worthy causes.

    10. Superb TV shows and movies

    We had a lot of extra free time at home this year, which gave us some prime opportunities to marathon movies and binge TV shows. From returning TV faves to a flurry of new shows and movies, 2020 was ripe with superb on-screen entertainment. Check out 15 of our favorite 2020 TV shows here and 10 of our favorite films here.

    11. Loads of great new music

    Punisher and folklore both dropping in 2020 was almost too cathartic to be true. When fans were at their most fragile Phoebe Bridgers and Taylor Swift freaking delivered. There were a bunch of other noteworthy albums(Opens in a new tab) released this year that we're also grateful for, but my god, those two can still make us crumble after all these months.

    12. Impressive new books

    An impressive selection of new books — from must-read novels and memoirs to highly-recommended young adult and children's books — were published in 2020, too. Check out Amazon's annual Top 100 Books of the Year list and be sure to add a few picks to your bookshelf.

    13. A slew of new video games

    No social distancing here. Credit: COURTESY OF NINTENDO

    Video games have always been a great way to connect with friends, but in 2020 they brought people together on another level. Remember when it felt like the entire country was picking fruit, furnishing their homes, and visiting each other's islands on Animal Crossing: New Horizons? What a time. Here's our list of standout video games from 2020 for you to reminisce over.

    14. TikTok

    What a joy it was to spend hours mindlessly scrolling through TikTok videos, learning the latest dance trends, and watching The Washington Post(Opens in a new tab)'s Dave Jorgenson navigate quarantine(Opens in a new tab). The app continues to be a goldmine of ridiculous distractions, so we're thankful that Donald Trump never quite got around to banning it.

    15. Car horns

    Never could I have imagined that in the year 2020 an endless stream of car horns blaring in support at a drive-in presidential rally would make me bawl sappy tears of joy on my couch, but alas, they did. Car horns really came through this year and helped people express their approval while safely social distancing, and for that we're thankful.

    16. Custom emoji that helped us express ourselves

    Two absolute moods. Credit: screenshot / slack

    Working in 2020 feels, at times, downright impossible. Logging on from home and trying to go about your day while tragic realities are unfolding across the world doesn't feel great, but if your work Slack is anything like Mashable's you hopefully have access to a library of unhinged custom emoji that can help you better express your emotions. At this point, just make the crying tears of blood emoji official please. We need it everywhere.

    17. All of our new hobbies

    Thank you puzzles, thank you paint-by-numbers, thank you bread baking, thank you knitting, thank you roller skating, and smoking meats. We couldn't have distracted ourselves for this long without you.

    18. That video of Obama making a three-pointer

    When we were begging for a shred of relief from our all-consuming pre-election stress, Barack Obama delivered. That video of the former president effortlessly cascading a basketball through a hoop from the three point line, walking away like it was no big deal, and then screaming "That's what I do!" was a gift from the heavens up above.

    19. Friends, family members, and everyone who helped us feel less afraid

    Though we social distanced this year, we all went through an experience together. As 2020 comes to an end it's time to reflect on all the people — friends, family members, coworkers, therapists, and more — who helped and supported you during these tough times.

    20. Hope for safe and effective vaccines

    The coronavirus has completely dominated our lives this year, but the idea that safe and effective vaccines are being created gives us hope. The first few people in the UK have already received a vaccine and there are plans for vaccines to be more widely distributed in 2021. In the mean time, you can read all about how you'll know COVID-19 vaccines are safe here.

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