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How to create your Instafest personalised music festival lineup via Spotify

2023-03-19 06:13:39

How to create your Instafest personalised music festival lineup via Spotify

It's almost the end of the year, which means it's almost time for everyone to share their Spotify listening habits. But while we wait for this year's Spotify Wrapped to be released, a new app has arrived to tide us over. 

How to create your Instafest personalised music festival lineup via Spotify(图1)

Created by University of Southern California student Anshay Saboo(Opens in a new tab), Instafest is a graphic generator that displays your most-played artists on Spotify as though they're the lineup of the world's most personalised music festival. They also look good enough that if you've seen any you might have thought they were advertising real events.

SEE ALSO: Earning a minimum wage from Spotify is a lot harder than you think

Here's how to create your Spotify Instafest fake festival lineup:

  1. Open the Instafest website(Opens in a new tab).

  2. Click on the green "Sign in with Spotify" button.

  3. Log in to your Spotify account.

Instafest will then create your own personal festival lineup, populated by the artists you've been listening to the most. We probably won't ever see BTS playing alongside the Beach Boys, but it's nice to dream.

I don't understand why STAYC isn't on mine. I demand a recount. Credit: Amanda Yeo / Instafest

If the resulting poster isn't to your liking, there are a few options to customise it further. Instafest can select your top artists from either the last four weeks, the last six months, or all-time, which may impact how many days your festival lasts. 

You can also switch up the aesthetics by toggling between three different styles. These include the Malibu Sunrise's summer beach party, LA Twilight's late night city vibe, or Mojave Dusk's wild desert. Instafest automatically names your festival after your Spotify username as well, but you can hide it if you want to share your lineup without other people potentially snooping on your account.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Mashable has contacted the Dallas Police Department for comment.

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

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

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

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

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


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

    All of this during a global pandemic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Eventually, Trudeau did muster an answer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    1. Face the tech world's blind spots

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

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

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

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

    2. Be accountable to your promises

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    4. Revamp the hiring process, evaluation, and retention

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

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

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

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

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

    5. Reinvest in black businesses and venture funds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    You can watch Boyega's full speech below.

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

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

  • Signals new blur tool will help hide protesters identities

    Signals new blur tool will help hide protesters identities

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Silence speaks volumes.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Gamers take to Toontown to stand with Black Lives Matter protesters

    Gamers take to Toontown to stand with Black Lives Matter protesters

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • The NFLs backtracking apology forgot one thing: Colin Kaepernick.

    The NFLs backtracking apology forgot one thing: Colin Kaepernick.

    Say his name, Roger Goodell.


    The NFL would like to apologize for ignoring players who have protested police violence and racial inequality since 2016. There's just one problem: Colin Kaepernick is still being erased.

    "We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a video statement released Friday night. "We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier, and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest."

    It's a nice enough statement if you're willing to overlook the fact that it's coming four years late, and pointedly ignores the man responsible for getting players to protest. It is a well-known fact now that Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, put the spotlight on the NFL in 2016 when he started kneeling during the pre-game national anthem.

    Over the years, Kaep's critics have embraced a bad faith framing of the protest being an intentional act of disrespect toward the American flag, and by extension U.S. troops. That's a lie, plain and simple. Kaepernick spelled out his intent very clearly in 2016.

    "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," he told(Opens in a new tab) the media arm of the NFL. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

    Just a few days after those quotes surfaced, Kaepernick pointed out that his protest isn't a show of disrespect for the flag or for U.S. troops, as many had leapt to assuming. "I have great respect for men and women that have fought for this country," he said during a press conference, as reported by Sports Illustrated(Opens in a new tab). People who listened and took the man at his word actually got it(Opens in a new tab).

    Unfortunately, the NFL wasn't among those who listened. Kaepernick played through the season and then opted out of his contract ahead of the 2017 season. No team stepped up to sign the promising young quarterback, leading to suspicions that he'd fallen victim to a coordinated effort to keep him from playing professionally again. That suspicion eventually gave way to a lawsuit, which the league settled(Opens in a new tab) in 2019.

    Even after that, and with Kaepernick expressing a continued interest in playing professionally, no team would have him. All throughout, both before and after the lawsuit, the league's handling of Kaepernick, whose protest caught the eye and ire of Donald Trump early in his first term, was marked by unusual events.

    There was, for example, the very strange moment when Kaep's name was removed from a song on the Madden NFL 19 video game's soundtrack. On the YG track "Big Bank" during Big Sean's guest verse, a direct reference to the former 49er by name was censored out.

    The next year, months after the lawsuit had settled and midway through the 2019-2020 season, there was supposed to be a confidential NFL-sanctified workout session for Kaepernick. A moment when he could show the league that he was still up to the challenge of playing professionally.

    Unfortunately, the whole thing fell apart at the last minute. There's a lengthy story(Opens in a new tab) behind the undoing of the workout, but it boils down to two major points of contention: a liability waiver from the NFL that Kaepernick refused to sign due to disagreements over the waiver's outside-the-norm demands, and the fact that the league went public with the workout despite prior discussion to the contrary.

    There are other examples, including the league's efforts to stamp out all acts of protest in a post-Kaepernick world, but you should see a picture forming here. Outwardly, the league stuck to a company line of Kaepernick being a free agent. But the reality was that Kaepernick, a proven talent, failed again and again to generate any traction with quarterback-hungry teams.

    Even now, in the midst of all the unrest and what could accurately be described as a more mainstream recognition of the systemic racism that's plagued the United States since its birth, the NFL sticks to that line. On May 30, league spokesperson Joe Lockhart suggested that the Minnesota Vikings should have signed Kaep in 2017.

    He then added: "Colin is a free agent. Clubs may sign him if they choose to do so."

    Lockhart was doing the press rounds(Opens in a new tab) in the aftermath of the NFL's initial response to the current round of protests. Many saw the statement, which expressed solidarity with Black Lives Matter and acknowledged the country's deeply rooted racism, as deeply hypocritical. The statement made no mention of Kaepernick, no mention of player protests of any kind.

    Days later, a group of prominent NFL players released a powerful video in which they expressed solidarity with Black Lives Matter. The video was a direct response to the NFL's May 30 statement.

    The video provides the NFL with a blueprint, from the players, for a statement on current events that isn't openly hypocritical and ignorant of the league's own recent struggles with systemic oppression. Goodell's video statement, which arrived the very next day, is an almost word-for-word reproduction.

    SEE ALSO: The 49ers, Kaepernick's last NFL team, criticized for Blackout Tuesday post

    Unfortunately, the league didn't take the obvious next step of naming Kaepernick. He's a victim of the same system of oppression that's made COVID-19 (and the ensuing economic destruction) a greater threat to black Americans. It's also the same system that killed George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and a heartbreakingly long list of others. Kaep kept his life and leveraged his platform to find success in other ways, but he lost the career that he apparently loved.

    For years, the NFL has gone out of its way to passive-aggressively erase Kaepernick from the narrative around the protests that he himself started. That erasure continued on Friday with Goodell's statement.

    The league clearly still has a lot to learn.

  • Protesters turned Donald Trumps #BabyGate fence into something beautiful

    Protesters turned Donald Trumps #BabyGate fence into something beautiful

    The fence Donald Trump had erected around the White House because he's too cowardly to have protesters exercising their First Amendment rights on his doorstep has been transformed.


    The barrier that was quickly dubbed #BabyGate has now become something of an art installation for protesters gathered around its perimeter. They may not be able to air their grievances in front of the White House anymore, but they can decorate every inch of the fencing as they mass around it.

    That's exactly what has happened. Based on the photos and videos appearing on social media, the fence is now partially or wholly covered with signs of protest. Literal signs, I mean. So even when the protesters have dispersed, the protest itself lingers on right where it's most important for those grievances to be heard.

    The protests in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere continue to surge onward, almost two weeks after the killing of George Floyd, who died on May 25 in police custody. The death occurred after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on the 46-year-old black man's neck for almost nine minutes while three other officers either simply watched or actively helped "restrain" Floyd.

    As the protests spread out from Minneapolis and arrived in D.C., crowds began to mass in front of the White House. (As much as Trump would like to relinquish all responsibility for bad things that happen, the buck still stops with the U.S. president.)

    The fence went up not long after Trump's desire for a photo opp led to the forced removal of a peaceful protest(Opens in a new tab) from in front of the White House.

    SEE ALSO: How to find a protest near you to seek justice for George Floyd

    It's not clear how long our image-obsessed president will allow the fence postings to remain sitting on the fence, especially in the midst of daily curfews sending D.C. residents back to their homes. But you can bet that for every item removed, protesters will return with more as these ongoing protests carry on.

    Related Video: Want to donate to help the Black Lives Matter movement? Here's how.

Random articles


  • What is an inadequate cervical screening result?

    What is an inadequate cervical screening result?

    My heart sunk when I read the letter. I had tested positive for HPV and my smear test result was "inadequate". I could almost hear my pulse thudding in my chest. I had no idea what this result meant or whether I should be worried about it.


    I'd never heard the word "inadequate" used in relation to a cervical screening (also known as a Pap smear) before now. This word, coupled with the positive HPV result, understandably prompted me to freak out. It was 11 p.m., so when I tried to ring my mum — my first port of call for all my reproductive health questions — she was already asleep. I googled the words "inadequate smear result," but struggled to find any information I could trust.

    If you've also received an inadequate smear test result, we consulted experts to get you the answers you need to put your mind at ease.

    What is HPV?

    An abbreviation of Human Papilloma Virus(Opens in a new tab), HPV is a group of very common viruses. Around 80 percent(Opens in a new tab) of sexually active people will get HPV at some point in their lifetime, but most will be unaware they have it due to the condition's lack of symptoms. Per the UK's National Health Service (NHS)(Opens in a new tab), HPV viruses "do not cause any problems in most people, but some types can cause genital warts or cancer." Only high risk strains of HPV cause cell changes which can, in some cases, eventually lead to cervical cancer if left untreated. This is why it's really important to get regular pap smear tests.

    Inadequate = unreadable

    If you're reading this article in frantic search of answers, do not be alarmed. Take a few deep breaths: it is not an abnormal smear result (abnormal would indicate that there are changes in cervical cells which we'll go into more detail below), it simply means it was unreadable. An inadequate cervical smear test result simply means that the swab sample did not contain enough cells to provide an accurate result. You'll need to repeat the smear test, usually in three months' time, to give the surface of your cervix enough time to regenerate enough cells.

    Eluned Hughes, head of information and engagement at charity Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, understands the worry that receiving an inadequate result can cause.

    "Being told you have an ‘inadequate’ cervical screening result can be scary, and understandably so," Hughes tells Mashable. "However, all 'inadequate' really means is that the sample (the cervical cells your GP or nurse collected) either couldn't be tested properly, isn't made up of enough cells to test, or can’t be seen accurately under a microscope."

    "At this point, your GP will get in touch and ask you to go back for another cervical screening in three months. An inadequate test can be frustrating and inconvenient, but remember, it’s no cause for concern," Hughes added.

    In my case, I went back to my doctor's surgery three months later to get a repeat smear test. It was nerve-wracking (to say the least), but I wanted to be sure that there were no cell changes. My results came back showing no abnormal cells.

    An inadequate test can be frustrating and inconvenient, but remember, it’s no cause for concern.

    In England, Scotland, and Wales, smear tests have changed in recent years — they now use a test called HPV primary screening during cervical screening. Northern Ireland currently uses a test called cytology, which examines cells, but will move to HPV screening in the future. The U.S. does not pre-screen for HPV during a Pap smear, and instead tests for cell abnormalities.

    During an HPV primary screening, the laboratory will pre-screen to see if you have high risk HPV(Opens in a new tab). If your sample is positive for HPV, they'll test for abnormal cells. (You won't need to repeat your smear test, they'll test the same swab they used to test for HPV.)

    "High risk HPV can cause cell changes in the cervix, which over time can develop into cancer, according to independent research organisation and charity Cancer Research(Opens in a new tab).

    If you test positive for HPV, you'll receive one of the following results:

    1. HPV found with no cell changes

    You'll be asked to return in a year's time for another screening to see if you still have HPV. If you test positive for HPV three years in a row, you'll be invited to a colposcopy(Opens in a new tab) — a test to take a closer look at your cervix. The microscope stays outside of your body. A small sample of cells (known as a biopsy) might be taken to be tested.

    2. HPV found with cell changes

    You'll be invited to return as soon as possible a colposcopy.

    3. HPV found with inadequate cell results

    You'll be invited to take another smear test in three months' time to gain a better sample to check for any cell changes.

    What if I have cell changes?

    There are different grades of cell changes — and some do not require any immediate treatment. If you are informed that your cell changes are high risk — they're called CIN3 or CGIN — you will be offered treatment to have those cells removed. CIN stands for cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia and CGIN stands for cervical glandular intra-epithelial neoplasia.

    If your cell changes are classed as CIN1 then no immediate treatment is required as these cell changes are considered low risk. CIN2 cells are considered medium risk and you'll be offered a colposcopy to check the cells and potentially remove them.

    What happens after an inadequate smear?

    If the laboratory was able to get a clear reading second time around, then you'll be informed as to whether you have any cell changes or not. If your follow-up smear also comes back inadequate, you might be invited for a colposcopy to get a more detailed examination of the cervix.

    As I'd had a positive HPV result, I was called back a year later for another smear test. I just got the results back and I received a negative HPV result, meaning my immune system had cleared the virus from my system.

    My letter from the NHS Cervical Screening Administration Service read as follows: "Your result is HPV negative. This means your risk of cervical cancer is very low and there is no need to check for abnormal cells even if you had these in the past." My next smear test will now be in three years' time in 2025.

    If you're feeling anxious about getting a smear, talk to a healthcare professional about any concerns you have as they will hopefully be able to allay those fears and reassure you. Knowledge is power, after all, so book your smear test when you're invited to do so.

  • 16 best websites, apps, and accounts if you love looking at houses and real estate listings

    16 best websites, apps, and accounts if you love looking at houses and real estate listings

    Trawling around real estate listing has long been an internet pastime, but my goodness, did it ever become a hobby for folks(Opens in a new tab) during the pandemic.


    It makes sense. With nothing to do — nothing but sit inside, perhaps in a home you no longer really loved — it was fun to peruse other houses. It's lovely escapism.

    Looking at houses, apartments, mansions, tiny homes, or other abodes online remains a great way to waste time, however, even if there is more stuff to do these days.

    To help you in your house searching endeavors, we've collected 16 of our favorite places to look at houses online.

    The classic sites and apps

    These are the tried and true listing sites, which all have apps to use as well. They're for perusing your area or searching for a new home in, say, Montana.

    1. Zillow(Opens in a new tab)

    The classic. The brand name. Zillow is what most folks surf when they're looking at houses. You can download the app(Opens in a new tab) if you wan't to scroll on your phone, too.

    2. Realtor(Opens in a new tab)

    Basically, if you know Zillow, then is going to feel very similar. It, too, has an app, which you can find here(Opens in a new tab).

    3. Redfin(Opens in a new tab)

    Redfin is, again, a listings site with an app(Opens in a new tab).

    4. Trulia(Opens in a new tab)

    OK, so you now have four different options to peruse listings in your chosen area. Trulia, too, has an app(Opens in a new tab).

    Other listing sites

    5. in a new tab)

    If you're a bargain bin shopper or someone, perhaps, with fixer upper dreams, then might be the site for you. It's exactly what it sounds like — a site for finding homes to buy that have been foreclosed upon.

    6. FSBO(Opens in a new tab)

    FSBO stands for For Sale By Owner. It's a site that, as you might've gathered, allows folks to sell their own homes. It perhaps has listings that might've escaped sites like Zillow or Trulia.

    Other Sites

    7. Circa Old Houses(Opens in a new tab)

    Circa Old Houses is a site for finding cool, old homes that are for sale. It's fun to look through these classic houses and imagine your unique, perhaps haunted, life in them.

    8. McMansion Hell(Opens in a new tab)

    Pretty much the opposite of Circa Old Houses, McMansion hell — ran by writer Kate Wagner — dedicates itself to deconstructing the strangest feats of dumb, faux-fancy architecture.

    Instagram accounts

    9. @cheapnordichouses(Opens in a new tab)

    If you've ever had dreams of packing up and living a simple life in the Nordics, then you could get lost on this account for hours. It features beautiful homes that are reasonably prices and, typically speaking, quaint as hell.

    10. @brownstone_voyeur(Opens in a new tab)

    As a city dweller who doesn't plan to move anytime soon, Brownstone Voyeur really speaks to me. It's an account dedicated to historic, grand homes.

    11. @cheapoldhouses(Opens in a new tab)

    You might already know Cheap Old Houses, considering it has nearly 2 million followers and inspired a TV show(Opens in a new tab). If you've got the fixer upper bug, beware: You might suddenly want to actually buy one of these homes.

    12. @zillowgonewild(Opens in a new tab)

    Zillow Gone Wild is an account dedicated to the weirdest homes on the market. You never know what you're going to get: a fake castle(Opens in a new tab), a ship planted in the ground(Opens in a new tab), or more stuffed animals(Opens in a new tab) than is humanly possible.

    13. @tinyhousemovement(Opens in a new tab)

    If you dream of downsizing, Tiny House Movement is perfect to browse.

    Tik Tok accounts

    14. @inspector_aj(Opens in a new tab)

    OK, so this isn't really a house account. But does feature homes. It's run by a home inspector who walks you through homes and shows some of the truly wild(Opens in a new tab) (and incorrect(Opens in a new tab)) things going on in the house. It's surprisingly addicting.

    15. @Heider_RealEstate(Opens in a new tab)

    Pure escapism. Typically speaking, you're in for luxury homes (and some McMansions) in the Mid Atlantic area.

    16. @zillowtastrophes(Opens in a new tab)

    Their bio really says it all: "unique, weird, wild real estate." It's a collection of some of the strangest listings out there.

  • Tinders Festival Mode is back to help you find people at the same live event

    Tinders Festival Mode is back to help you find people at the same live event

    Meeting new people at a festival has been something we've been unable to do during the pandemic. Instead, we've opted for livestreaming them on the couch. But for many countries, summer events are truly back on the bill.


    Tinder has teamed up with a bunch of major music festivals to bring back Festival Mode, a feature launched in 2019 that lets you connect with people who are planning to go to the same event as you.

    Maybe you're both into the same artists, who knows? Credit: Anthony Delanoix / Tinder / Mashable composite

    Festival Mode is now available globally through the Explore tab, where users can interact with new people through shared interests — in this case, it's which music festivals they're keen on. You'll be able to match with other people attending the same event as early as a month beforehand, so you can chat about which artists you want to see (and if you're having good chats, maybe plan to watch them together, maybe just compare notes).

    SEE ALSO: How to safely meet up on a Tinder date

    So far, Tinder's partnered with 20 festivals around the world including U.S. festivals Bonnaroo, The Governors Ball, Hard Summer, Lovers and Friends, and EDC in Las Vegas and Orlando. In Australia, Splendour in the Grass, Falls Festival, and Festival X are on board, and in the UK, it's All Points East and BST Hyde Park.

    In Europe, there's Lollapalooza in Stockholm, Paris, and Berlin; Sónar in Spain; Parookaville in Germany; Sziget Festival in Hungary; Palmesus in Norway; and Vunzige Deuntjes Festival and Milkshake in the Netherlands.

    There's also going to be a "Festival Goers" space in the app for people who don't see a festival they're going to listed but are just fans of music and going to festivals (and have serious FOMO).

    It's just the latest addition Tinder's made to its Explore tab, with blind dates added in February. Just as always, if you're meeting up with someone new IRL, even at a music festival, you should keep a couple of things in mind.

  • How the pandemic could forever change the way porn gets made

    How the pandemic could forever change the way porn gets made

    Welcome to Porn Week, Mashable's annual close up on the business and pleasure of porn.


    The adult industry as a whole has done surprisingly well during, and in many ways thanks to, the coronavirus pandemic.

    The stress, isolation, and boredom(Opens in a new tab) of lockdown life(Opens in a new tab) have prompted huge spikes in overall porn site traffic(Opens in a new tab) in recent months, with viewership up by at least 20 percent(Opens in a new tab) at some points this spring over the same time periods last year. Adult site payment processors “have reported historic high profits” over the same time period, says Alejandro Freixes(Opens in a new tab) of the industry trade publication XBiz. And performers like Carmen Valentina(Opens in a new tab) tell Mashable that sales of their content have “doubled, even tripled, on some platforms” since the current crisis set in as well.

    Yet for all these success stories, not every part of the porn world is thriving right now. The pandemic has “radically restructured the industry,” says Mike Stabile(Opens in a new tab) of the Free Speech Coalition(Opens in a new tab) (FSC), an industry advocacy group. And that upheaval has left certain categories of content, producers, and performers struggling to stay afloat. It may even force some out of business for good.

    Perhaps the most striking trend of the pandemic has been the massive growth of premium (Opens in a new tab)adult fan sites(Opens in a new tab)(Opens in a new tab), like OnlyFans(Opens in a new tab). (A shocking(Opens in a new tab) number(Opens in a new tab) of articles(Opens in a new tab), all(Opens in a new tab) published(Opens in a new tab) in May(Opens in a new tab), have chronicled this rise.) That site reportedly netted 3.5 million new subscribers in March, got a shout out in a Beyonce song(Opens in a new tab) in April, and claimed that it was receiving 200,000 new users every day in May. Many of these viewers are likely seeking “the twin pillars of authenticity and intimacy,” which Freixes says drive most porn sales, and which these sites provide through direct communications with stars and, by offering troves of self-shot and seemingly raw content. Hunger for this sort of access and content is especially keen when we all feel anxious and isolated, he adds.

    A whole new kind of "safe sex"

    These platforms have also become especially important to adult performers during the pandemic, many of whom are getting on them for the first time — because of the impact the coronavirus has had on traditional porn production studios. In mid-March, the FSC called for a shutdown of all on-set productions, in line with wider social measures underway to attempt to blunt the spread of the pandemic.

    As in any industry, not every studio complied. Some tiny porn production outfits whose members all share the same house also kept on shooting content, while complying with pandemic restrictions, by drawing on the small pool of people in their socially distanced bubbles, Freixes adds. But for the most part, the gigs that many performers relied on for part of their income, and as functional high-profile promotions for their personal brands, independent content, and live appearances at clubs, suddenly just vanished.

    The FSC lifted its moratorium in mid-June(Opens in a new tab) and published a set of guidelines for maintaining safety on sets — but still noted that they didn’t think it is safe to start shooting with people beyond one’s bubble yet. In mid-July, the organization warned(Opens in a new tab) that it had learned of over a dozen individuals who had recently worked on porn sets and later tested positive for the coronavirus

    The costs of shutting down production

    Despite the moratorium’s end, many content producers have opted to stay offline indefinitely, thanks to the costs and complexity of implementing coronavirus safety and testing protocols, or to their firm beliefs that no mitigation strategies can really, reliably keep workers safe yet.

    Studios are used to closing down, sometimes for weeks on end, when industry health monitoring systems detect HIV infections in their performer pools. (The last such shutdown occurred in 2018.) They stockpile scenes that they can keep churning out even during a shutdown — big studios may have enough content to last to the end of the year. Major production companies also tend to have rainy day funds or diverse investments and side hustles, like their own fan site platforms. Performers also often turn to side hustles, or dip into their savings(Opens in a new tab), during those shutdowns. But they’re usually only off for a couple of weeks at a time, and on rare occasions.

    SEE ALSO: Twitter and the porn apocalypse that could reshape the industry as we know it

    But this functional shutdown has lasted so long that small-to-mid-tier studios are starting to run out of content. Performer and content creator Joslyn Jane(Opens in a new tab) notes that some are already recycling old scenes, a move that does not often go over well with paid subscribers. Some of these studios “were already in a precarious position pre-pandemic, or just getting by — maybe had 10, 20 percent profits,” explains Freixes. And it has been difficult for them to acquire pandemic relief funds, thanks to structural anti-adult access barriers(Opens in a new tab).

    No one Mashable spoke to for this story has seen a studio go under thanks to the pandemic yet. But Jane is already predicting that “about a third of studios, the member sites,” or more will have closed up shop permanently, or get absorbed by the biggest industry players, by the time the pandemic fades. J.W. Ties(Opens in a new tab), the producer behind the mid-sized fetish studio Desperate Pleasures, says that, after over a decade in the industry, he is “actually teetering on the edge of solvency,” and that he’s “seen several producers in my regularly group talking about… quitting because of the uncertainty” afflicting the industry right now. And some industry observers worry that many small-to-mid-sized studios that do come back will do so with decimated audiences and budgets(Opens in a new tab).

    The pain may not be temporary

    Freixes stresses that the decline of studios and rise of premium fan sites is really an old trend(Opens in a new tab), led by the growing consumer demand for authentic and intimate content over heavily produced and mediated studio fare. He argues that the pandemic has just accelerated it by five or ten years — albeit in uniquely painful ways.

    Most porn viewers may not even register the fall of these studios, as they often have niche followings, or operate entirely behind the scenes, making content for big brands. The gap between studios and independent content creators is also shrinking(Opens in a new tab), as performers gain access to better and cheaper recording and editing equipment, hone their production skills, and increasingly sell their self-produced content to major studios and distributors, who even before the pandemic were eager to tap into their fanbases, and the growing market for raw and intimate clips. “In many ways, the top [independent] clip producers will become the studios of tomorrow,” if these trends continue, Freixes argues.

    But this trend will hurt the crews — the camera people, makeup artists, production assistants, and so on — who build the quality studio content is known for. It may also lead to the decline of certain kinds of fetish content that mid-tier studios have historically produced for small but loyal audiences, like sci-fi porn that requires specialized or labor-intensive prop building and special effects work that might not gel with the low overhead of independent performer-producers.

    Shifting interests in difficult times

    Speaking of genres, Alex Hawkins, of the prominent porn tube site xHamster, notes that viewers have not been searching for usually popular content like MILF and incest roleplay porn over the last few months. He suspects this is a response to the fact that many people are spending more time than they’d like with their families, making these sorts of adult fantasies less appealing than they usually are.

    It is also likely the result of shifting interests, driven by other realities of pandemic life. Hawkins notes that searches for public sex scenes are up 87 percent since the spring, and interest in kissing, not usually a key porn search term, is up substantially as well. So are(Opens in a new tab) searches for(Opens in a new tab) medical-, pandemic-, and quarantine-themed porn. People often seek out porn that reflects and riffs on the zeitgeist, or that delivers them the things they crave but cannot currently access.

    Hawkins suspects that genres whose viewership numbers have been hit by the pandemic will bounce back once our lives return to some semblance of normalcy. A few key search terms are already beginning to climb, he notes. However, the safety precautions put in place by independent actors and studios that have started shooting may make it functionally impossible to film certain types of sex acts(Opens in a new tab) — like golden showers or anything that involves a lot of bodily fluids; like group sex or anything that involves a ton of people in close proximity to each other — for the foreseeable future.

    Related Video: How to have virtual sex, according to a sex expert

    Performers may come out on top

    Performer and producer jessica drake argues that the industry always finds a way of catering to fans’ desires, and fans always have a way of finding what they’re looking for. But, depending on whether or not some pandemic-era set safety protocols become new norms, and on the content restrictions newly dominant platforms impose on creators and distributors, certain types of content could grow rarer in a post-pandemic world.

    Even if studios and their staff and some specific genres suffer, prevailing cultural and industry narratives still maintain that “performers are by far the winners” in the pandemic-fueled upheavals facing the industry, as Kat Revenga of the premium site FanCentro puts it. Sure, a lack of studio work, restrictions on who they can shoot with and where, and temporary changes in audience demands may force them to explore new platforms and types of content. But studio work was always scarce, expensive (as performers often have to pay for their own STI tests, hair and makeup, wardrobe, and more), and limited (as performers usually just get one check up front and no residuals on future sales of their scenes).

    “It’s really empowering during this time for performers to understand where the power lies.”

    The premium sites many are flocking to rarely offer performers guaranteed income, but they may ultimately offer many(Opens in a new tab) greater flexibility in when, where, what, and how they shoot content — which usually translates to more opportunities to shoot. They also offer more earning potential, as performers can secure rolling subscription payouts, and the proceeds from the passive a la carte sales of new and old content that they own the rights to. (Most premium sites take a fairly modest cut off the top of their profits.) “It’s really empowering during this time for performers to understand where the power lies” within the industry, and to seize autonomy, says drake.

    As performers take control of their own work and content, they get to bypass agents and other gatekeepers, and ideally to work and speak more freely. Queer porn producer and performer Jiz Lee(Opens in a new tab) notes that this is empowering performers to speak out more often “against injustices experienced in the industry [and finding] time to come together to strategize to create systems of mutual aid, resource and skill sharing, and more.” Drake adds that many also seem to be using this freedom to make more diverse content, and work with more diverse co-stars, than these gatekeepers would have let them pursue in the studio-centric past. They’re also finding new ways to integrate SFW hustles into their NSFW brands, like Twitch channels and Etsy stores.

    “Myself and many others who were professional studio performers before COVID are unsure about whether or not we’ll return to studio work after this,” says performer Kate Kennedy.

    SEE ALSO: The art of the porn GIF

    But not every performer is thriving in the pandemic era. Hustling for fans and producing your own content requires its own skill set, which not all existing performers have(Opens in a new tab). Rather than shake things up, performer Kiki D’Aire(Opens in a new tab) says that she knows a number of performers who, for lack of studio work and uncertain prospects, “have gone into retirement or semi-retirement” recently.

    Increased viewership also does not always lead to increased profits, for platforms or performers, as many site visitors never turn into paying customers. Many performers have also tried to keep new, paying eyes on them by slashing their subscription or a la carte content and services prices(Opens in a new tab) to work with tight budgets. Partnered sex clips usually sell better on these platforms than solo performances, says Kennedy, especially now, when people in isolation crave depictions of the type of intimacy most of them cannot get. So, performers quarantining with partners that they can shoot content with may on average have an easier time making money than their fully isolated peers.

    Perhaps most importantly, the coronavirus has led a ton of out of work individuals to try their hands at digital sex work, especially on premium fan sites. OnlyFans alone reportedly registered between 7,000 and 8,000 new creators every day in May, many (but not all) of whom are taking a crack at making porn. Most amateurs will not succeed in making a living on these platforms because they don’t have the exact hustle or skills it takes to hack it in adult work, especially in these environments. But as long as they’re around, they will siphon eyes and dollars off from other established sex workers using these platforms, at times sparking tensions(Opens in a new tab) with them.

    Big and established performers have large and loyal enough fan bases that Kennedy and others believe they’ll be able to weather a little market saturation and global economic hardship just fine, seeing only slight dips, no change, or even increases in their profits throughout the pandemic. However, Kennedy believes that new professionals, especially those who have not had the chance to build up their profiles through studio work, will suffer disproportionately.

    Because no one knows how long this pandemic, or the economic crunch it’s creating, will last, it is hard to figure out exactly who and what in the industry will suffer, or suffer the most, because of it. If the U.S. government fails to provide further economic stimulus and one of the world’s largest adult markets contracts, or if the coronavirus continues to surge in the fall, the industry’s current trajectories could shift dramatically once again, exacerbating existing or creating new pandemic trends and pain points. None of these pandemic trends are developing in a vacuum either, as reckonings around race, consent, and wider power dynamics are also rocking the adult industry now.

    The only general trend that seems firm and clear is that the pandemic will likely spare (or even help) the people, genres, and platforms that were ascendant in the industry. Meanwhile, it will squeeze the smallest, already most precarious people, genres, and platforms. It will accelerate trends and hurt the vulnerable. Just as it has throughout the wider economy.

    Thanks to performers Jayden Cole, MelRose Michaels, and Sarah Vandella, and to producers Freakmob of FreakMob Media and Zsolt Abraham of MixedX, for commenting for this piece too.

  • Chat messages that set off conspiracies about Buffalo and Uvalde shootings confirmed to be fake

    Chat messages that set off conspiracies about Buffalo and Uvalde shootings confirmed to be fake

    If you've viewed viral screenshots depicting private chats from an anonymous online persona going by the name "Armand," whether they be conversations with the Buffalo shooter or foreshadowing of the Uvalde school shooting, what you saw was a fake.


    Since the May 14 shooting at a Buffalo, New York supermarket, internet users have pored over online documents shared by the shooter, who killed 10 people in a white supremacy-fueled hate crime(Opens in a new tab). Screenshots supposedly from the shooter's Discord server quickly spread online once the gunman's presence on the platform was known. 

    One viral screenshot that originated on the imageboard 4chan purported to show a conversation from March 2022 between a user named "Armand" and the gunman, who went by "Jimboboiii" on Discord. On message boards, social media platforms, and in videos across the web, users speculated about possible interpretations of the short back-and-forth. These screenshots quickly helped birth theories about the shooter having been "groomed" to go on a shooting spree by federal agents(Opens in a new tab).

    Mashable has confirmed with Discord that these screenshots are fake. According to a Discord representative who spoke to Mashable, the company has strong evidence which suggests that the user, "Armand," faked an interaction with the suspect in the Buffalo shooting using multiple Discord accounts.

    This viral image claiming to be a screenshot of the Buffalo shooter's Discord logs is a fake. Credit: Mashable Screenshot

    According to Discord, there appears to have been no contact on Discord between the Buffalo gunman and a user by the name of "Armand."

    The "Armand" screenshots initially became subject to conspiracies shortly after the Buffalo shooting. However, they started to gain further traction following the Uvalde school shooting that occurred in Texas last week.

    On May 24, a gunman entered Robb Elementary School and killed 21 people, including 19 students. That same day, new screenshots attempting to tie "Armand" and his alleged Telegram account to the Uvalde school shooter began to spread online. Conspiracies flourished surrounding the idea that "Armand" was in contact with both the Uvalde school shooter and the white supremacist gunman in Buffalo. However, those "Armand" screenshots are forged as well. A former moderator of the 4chan-offshoot imageboard "Frens Chan" was outed as having faked that interaction by the administrators of the site in a statement posted to Frens Chan.

    After the initial Armand screenshot went viral, fakes were created to tie "Armand" to the Uvalde shooting as well. Credit: Mashable Screenshot

    Troll-filled imageboards have been a consistent source of misinformation following mass shootings in the U.S. Hours after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, 4chan users circulated falsehoods claiming that the shooter was transgender. In order to bolster their false claims, 4chan users distributed photos of young trans women they found online. Those were easily debunked as the actual shooter died at the scene and the trans women are alive and were able to identify themselves in the photos.

    Following the mass shooting in Buffalo, those trying to understand the shooter's motives have been discussing the online documents that the gunman left behind purportedly explaining his horrific actions. The "manifesto" includes the shooter's beliefs in the right-wing conspiracy theory, The Great Replacement, but it also references 4chan memes and has sections that are completely copied-and-pasted from the screeds of other mass shooters. He also posted messages to himself in a private Discord server, logs of which have since been released.

    To be clear: the Buffalo shooter did use Discord, and logs of his Discord server are real and do exist. Mashable reviewed the logs and noticed the discrepancies between the "Armand" screenshots originating from 4chan and being shared online and what's actually included in the transcripts. Discord then confirmed to Mashable that, according to its records, no such interaction occurred.

    In the first fake screenshot included above, the Buffalo shooter's dialogue is made up of verbatim lines from his real Discord chat logs. Additional remarks from "Armand" were inserted in between the gunman's writings by the creator of the fake screenshot. To make it appear like the shooter is acknowledging "Armand," the forger fabricated the "Yes" response from the gunman, which does not exist in the legitimate Discord logs. Furthermore, according to a previously published statement by the chat service, the Buffalo shooter's Discord server was set to private and used as a personal diary. The only individual who had access to the shooter's Discord prior to May 14, the day of the shooting, was the gunman.

    "What we know at this time is that a private, invite-only server was created by the suspect to serve as a personal diary chat log," a Discord spokesperson told Mashable in a separate statement four days after the shooting in Buffalo. "Approximately 30 minutes prior to the attack, however, a small group of people were invited to and joined the server. Before that, our records indicate no other people saw the diary chat log in this private server."

    In a public statement Discord(Opens in a new tab) released on May 20, the social messaging platform said that it "identified and removed accounts of malicious actors" that were "creating fake Discord chat logs to trick law enforcement and media outlets." In conversation with Mashable, Discord confirmed that the "Armand" screenshots were among these fakes.

  • Todays top deals include more all-time low Amazon device deals, a new streaming discount, and home a

    Todays top deals include more all-time low Amazon device deals, a new streaming discount, and home and tech products

    Here are the best deals of the day for Oct. 4:


    • BEST AMAZON DEVICE DEAL: Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) with 2-Pack GE CYNC Smart LED Color Bulb(Opens in a new tab)$63.99 $153.98 (save $83.99)

    • BEST STREAMING AND SUBSCRIPTION DEAL: Three months of BET+ via Amazon Prime Video(Opens in a new tab)$0.99/month $9.99/month (save $27)

    • BEST TECH DEAL: Samsung 34" Class Flat LED UltraWQHD Monitor(Opens in a new tab)$249 $399.99 (save $150.99)

    Brace yourself for even more Amazon device deals on Oct. 4. You would think Amazon's Prime Early Access Sale was already live with how many devices are at all-time low prices. While there's a chance these prices may drop even lower, there's also a chance they'll sell out — so, if you see something you want, grab it.

    Other deals on Oct. 4 include a new streaming service discount, robot vacuums, monitors, and more home and tech gadgets. Get your wallet ready and shop the best deals of the day below.

    Best Amazon device deal

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Amazon
    Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) with 2-Pack GE CYNC Smart LED Color Bulb (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    $63.99 at Amazon (save $83.99)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Why we like it

    Not only is the Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd gen)(Opens in a new tab) at its lowest price ever at just $63.99, but that low price also includes a two-pack of GE CYNC Smart LED Color Bulbs. And obviously, we all love free stuff. As far as a smart central hub for your home, the Echo Show 8 can't be beat. It's sleek, boasts an eight-inch HD touchscreen, features a super responsive auto-panning and zooming camera to keep you in focus during video chats, dual stereo speakers, and more Alexa functionality than all previous devices. As Mashable reporter SaVanna Shoemaker noted in a review, the Zoom connection can be iffy and it needs a little more work to be a good fit for the work-from-home crowd. But overall? We definitely recommend it for connecting with people both inside and outside your home.

    Best streaming deal

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: BET
    Three months of BET+ (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    $0.99/month via Amazon Prime Video (save $27)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Why we like it

    If you're looking for new content to stream, snag this three-month deal on a BET+ subscription(Opens in a new tab). For less than a dollar per month, you can try out the exclusive streaming service on its own or as an add-on to Amazon Prime Video for three months, saving you $27. The streamer is home to thousands of hours of shows and movies, including exclusive BET originals, from some of the best Black creators. After your three months are up, of course, be sure to cancel if you don't want to be charged full price ($9.99/month).

    Best tech deal

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Samsung
    Samsung 34" Class Flat LED UltraWQHD Monitor (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    $249 at Walmart (save $150.99)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Why we like it

    Adding a monitor to your work or play setup can make for a much more productive and enjoyable computer experience — especially when that monitor is Samsung's 34-inch Flat LED UltraWQHD. With a screen resolution of 3440x1440 pixels and a 34-inch ultra-wide screen, you can view more content — in a more vibrant way — without scrolling or zooming. It also features a 75Hz refresh rate with 4ms response time for beginner PC gamers to enjoy stutter-free motions and more immersive gameplay.

    More Amazon device deals

    • Echo Glow(Opens in a new tab)$16.99 $29.99 (save $13)

    • 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)

    • Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) with 2-Pack GE CYNC Smart LED Color Bulb(Opens in a new tab)$34.99 $108.98 (save $73.99)

    • Echo Dot (4th Gen) with 2-Pack GE CYNC Smart LED Color Bulb(Opens in a new tab)$24.99 $73.98 (save $48.99)

    • Kids Fire Tablets(Opens in a new tab)starting at $59.99 (save up to 50%)

    • Fire Tablets(Opens in a new tab)starting at $44.99 (save up to 50%)

    • 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%)

    • Kindle Paperwhite Bundles(Opens in a new tab)starting at $117.97 (save up to 38%)

    • Echo Show 15 with Echo show 5 (2nd Gen)(Opens in a new tab)$249.99 $334.98 (save $84.99)

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

    • Echo Devices(Opens in a new tab)starting at $14.99 (save up to 70%)

    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/month (save $36)

    • Three months of Apple TV+(Opens in a new tab)free $4.99/month (save $14.97)

    More home and tech deals

    • iRobot Roomba s9+ (9550) Robot Vacuum and Braava Jet m6 (6112) Robot Mop Bundle(Opens in a new tab)$999 $1,249 (save $250)

    • Sony A90J 55-inch Bravia XR OLED 4K Ultra HD Smart Google TV(Opens in a new tab)$1,798 $2,499.99 (save $701.99)

    • eufy RoboVac X8 Robot Vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$399.99 $499.99 (save $100)

    • Samsung 27-inch Odyssey QHD FreeSync Premium and G-Sync Compatible Gaming Monitor(Opens in a new tab)$249.99 $399.99 (save $150)

    • Igloo Automatic Portable Electric Countertop Ice Maker(Opens in a new tab)$81.99 $159.99 (save $78)

    • Insignia 26 Lb. Portable Icemaker with Auto Shut-Off (Mint)(Opens in a new tab)$94.99 $125.99 (save $31)

    • Lenovo Smart Clock Essential with Alexa(Opens in a new tab)$29.99 $69.99 (save $40)

  • How to have sex on your period

    How to have sex on your period

    Period sex can be messy, but it actually has its benefits — like reduced stress and period cramps(Opens in a new tab) due to endorphins. If you're new to period sex or just want to brush up on the basics, we've asked sex and health experts for their top tips. 


    As always, get consent

    Period sex can be intimidating for beginners, said sex educator and chief brand educator at CBD intimate product brand Foria Kiana Reeves. Be open and honest with your partner, and discuss which activities you're comfortable with — before you get in the bedroom.

    "If you’re curious about period sex, this is a great time to open up the lines of communication with your partner," commented certified sex counselor, Dr. Alex Bertucci, doctor of physical therapy (DPT) at pelvic physical therapy service Origin(Opens in a new tab). "Even if you ultimately decide to pass, one huge positive is learning to communicate better about sex."

    Consent and communication are key, echoed Dr. Ashley Rawlins, DPT, another physical therapist at Origin.

    Then, consider protection options. You can still get pregnant on your period, so use your preferred birth control method. It's also possible to contract an STI during period sex, so keep that in mind as well. If STIs are a concern, use a condom if your partner has a penis. If they have a vulva, Reeves recommends Lorals(Opens in a new tab), latex underwear that blocks the transmission of bodily fluids and is FDA-cleared for STI protection. Dental dams are effective(Opens in a new tab) in preventing STIs, as well. 

    SEE ALSO: Masturbation isn't cheating. It's actually a really important part of your relationship.

    Dark towels, lube, and more

    Especially if you and/or your partner are on a heavy day of your cycle, place dark towels down on your bed to prevent staining. 

    Remove tampons before penetrative sex, as it can move to a location that's too deep to retrieve later, said Rawlins — and it won't be comfortable no matter what. If you don't want to free bleed during intimacy, some internal devices like the Nixit(Opens in a new tab) are safe to use during penetration, the company confirmed to Mashable. Nixit is a disc; it's similar to a menstrual cup in that it's placed inside the vagina, but doesn't have a stem.

    While period blood can act as natural lubrication, you may feel dry, especially if you use tampons. Have lube readily available, said Reeves. If you're using a condom, use water-based or silicone-based lube(Opens in a new tab), not oil-based as that can degrade the condom. If you're using a silicone sex toy, use a water-based lube, because silicone on silicone can damage the toy.

    Keep in mind that anatomy and position of your cervix change during your cycle(Opens in a new tab), Bertucci said. Penetrative sex may feel different depending on where you are in your cycle, so you may want to experiment with different positions or depths. 

    If you're uncomfortable with penis or finger penetration during this time, explore outercourse and focus on the clitoris, said Rawlins. Should you want to go down on someone on their period, they can use an internal device or wear a pair of Lorals — or, if neither of you care, don't use either.

    Post-period sex cleanup

    Your usual post-coital routine should suffice on one's period, said Rawlins, because there's nothing dirty about your period. The vagina is self-cleaning, she continued, so cleaning inside the vagina not only isn't necessary, but using douches or soap internally can increase your risk of irritation(Opens in a new tab) or infection because it disrupts the vagina's natural bacterial balance.

    For external skin, like inner thighs, use warm water and mild, unscented soap. For the inner labia and tissues of the vaginal entrance, use warm water only with your hand or a soft washcloth. 

    Reeves recommends taking a warm shower with your partner after sex, as it will clean you both off and act as "a nice way to continue intimacy before beginning or ending your day."

    Whether you have sex on your period or not, pee after sex, commented COO and co-founder of vaginal wellness brand Cheeky Bonsai(Opens in a new tab), Catherine Nguyen. Some people have an increased chance of getting a UTI on their periods, likely because of hormonal and microbiome changes, she continued. Urinating can help prevent UTIs(Opens in a new tab) as it "flushes" out bacteria.  

    Nguyen summed it up, saying, "My best tips are to just throw down a towel, remember to use cold water for any stains, and find yourself a partner who's happy to jump your bones wherever you are in your cycle."

    With a few added considerations, period sex can be just as fun and intimate as sex any other time of the month.

  • Can you take an STI test when you have your period?

    Can you take an STI test when you have your period?

    I was lying under a blanket, enjoying a chill Friday evening when my phone buzzed. "Hey, you might wanna get tested," the text read.


    I sat bolt upright. The message was from the guy I'd been sleeping with. And the test did not refer to a COVID lateral flow. "What do you mean?" I said, my heart pounding in my chest. "I've just found out I've got chlamydia," he replied.

    My health anxiety sent me through a loop that night. I immediately went to the Sexual Health London (SHL)(Opens in a new tab) website and ordered myself a free STI (sexually transmitted infections) home test kit. My anxiety could only be quelled by taking a test. But the annoying thing was, chlamydia has around a two-week incubation period. The last time I'd had sex with this person was just a few days prior. I looked at my period app and calculated that 14 days from the possible infection date, Mother Nature was also sending something else my way: my period.

    SEE ALSO: Can you have sex when you have a yeast infection?

    The day after getting the text, I realised I needed to do something to stop my mind from going round in circles. Mid-spiral, I went to the pharmacy and bought myself a rapid chlamydia test. It was negative, which gave me some short-lived relief. But I wasn't off the hook — I still needed to wait another two weeks to do a test that could give me more accurate results. I wanted to fast forward through time so I could put myself out of my misery but I had questions. Can you take an STI test when you have your period? Or did I need to wait until my period had ended before taking the test?

    STIs are common and anyone who has oral, anal, vaginal sex, or genital skin-to-skin can get an STI. Per Planned Parenthood(Opens in a new tab), nearly all sexually active people get an STI at some point in their life.

    I trawled the internet and found little that could tell me definitively one way or another. It was infuriating. I ended up taking five negative chlamydia tests to make sure the result was accurate. If you ever find yourself in the same situation as me, here's what you need to know about having your period when you want to take an STI test.

    So, is it possible to take an STI test on your period?

    The good news? Yes. Bekki Pickerill, clinical manager at Brook, says you can take an STI test when it's your time of the month. "We advise not to delay getting an STI test, irrelevant of where you are in your menstrual cycle," Pickerill says. "The only thing to be mindful of the incubation periods, for example waiting two weeks post-sex will give you the most accurate results for STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhoea."

    According to SHL(Opens in a new tab), "Owing to how sensitive the chlamydia and gonorrhoea DNA testing is, menstrual blood does not typically affect the outcome of the result." From time to time, for unrelated reasons, a swab test may need to be repeated.

    Planned Parenthood echoes this(Opens in a new tab), stating it's totally fine and normal to get tested at any point in your menstrual cycle. "Even on your heaviest days. Your period won't affect the results," the advice reads.  

    "Even on your heaviest days. Your period won’t affect the results."
    - Planned Parenthood

    It's important to know that certain STIs take longer to show up in tests — this is because of the varying incubation periods(Opens in a new tab) of each conditions. As I mentioned previously, it's advised to wait two weeks before taking a chlamydia test. With HIV, it can take up to 90 days to show in a test, depending on the type of test.

    How can I get an STI testing kit?

    If you live in the UK, you can consult the Brook website to find out how to order free at-home testing kits in your area(Opens in a new tab). You can also use their find a service tool(Opens in a new tab) to locate your nearest sexual health clinic. You can also check the website(Opens in a new tab) to see if your postcode is eligible for a free postal kit.

    If you're based in the U.S., you can access care by booking an appointment with Planned Parenthood. (Opens in a new tab)Everlywell has an STI test subscription which costs $14.99 a month and provides you with one of five STI tests.

    Nearly all sexually active people will get an STI at some point in their life. Chlamydia is one the most common STIs in the UK and it's usually treated with a short course of antibiotics. It's important to catch it early on because, per the NHS, "If left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of your body and lead to long-term health problems, especially in women." In women, untreated chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)(Opens in a new tab), ectopic pregnancy, and infertility.

    If you live with health anxiety, the idea of getting an STI is anxiety-inducing, but getting tested is really important.

  • The real MVPs to follow are the pets of these 10 pro athletes

    The real MVPs to follow are the pets of these 10 pro athletes

    They may be some of the greatest athletes on the planet, but what's a trophy room without a furry companion to share it with?


    Following pets of sports stars offer a unique glimpse into their lives. These legends may have clinched a victory under immense pressure, but they also find dog hair on their clothes. They may be ferocious on the field, but have a special cooing baby voice for their fur child(ren).

    Plus, these pets have it made. Spoiled rotten by the gains from their parent's athletic achievements, they live pampered lives filled with toys, treats, and custom jerseys. This all makes for excellent entertainment, which is why following the accounts of athletes' pets is highly recommended. We've rounded up our favorite accounts to take your sports fandom to the next level.

    1. Christopher Chip Rafael Nadal(Opens in a new tab) (Serena Williams)

    It turns out one of the greatest tennis players of all time is a fan of one of the other greatest tennis players of all time. Williams named her Yorkshire terrier after the legendary Spaniard who recently won his 22nd grand slam — placing him second only to Williams, who has 23 to her name.

    Just a casual photo of a tennis icon and her dog. Credit: Getty Images

    2. Steel and Silver(Opens in a new tab) (Patrick Mahomes)

    Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes might be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but his pit bull and cane corso are the top dogs at home. Steel and Silver's Instagram account shows them living it up in the lap of luxury thanks to their dad's football success.

    3. Boujee(Opens in a new tab) (JuJu Smith-Schuster)

    Kansas City must be a pretty pet friendly place, because it is attracting all of the top canine talent. Mahomes' teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster has a dog named Boujee who is another pampered pup on the Chiefs' team.

    4. Rocco(Opens in a new tab) (Klay Thompson)

    The San Francisco Warriors' guard might be one of the best three-point shooters in the game, but his bulldog Rocco is the real MVP with his photogenic looks and elite BFF status.

    SEE ALSO: All the best dog products of 2022

    5. Anthony Edwards Jr.(Opens in a new tab) (Anthony Edwards)

    Minnesota Timberwolves player Anthony Edwards says his dog "knows how to do everything," which is apparently why he named him after himself. It's hard not to love the antics of two confident guys in the prime of life.

    6. Wrigley, Rasta, and Rue Delle Donne(Opens in a new tab) (Elena Delle Donne)

    It was devastating news when WNBA player Elena Delle Donne announced that her Great Dane Wrigley had crossed the rainbow bridge. However, there's a new furry face on the account — a Great Dane puppy named Rue who is equally cute, even if she is still trying to win Rasta over.

    7. Lilo and Rambo Biles(Opens in a new tab) (Simone Biles)

    By Simone Biles' own accord, Lilo and Rambo are "Texas living trouble makers." These French bulldogs live in the lap of luxury thanks to their mom's GOAT status.

    You know you're a big deal when your dogs have fans. Credit: Getty Images

    8. Wilma Jean Wrinkles(Opens in a new tab) (Rose Lavelle)

    Rose Lavelle might be one of the stars of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team, but her bulldog Wilma often steals the spotlight with her sassy outfits and copious drooling.

    9. Lucy, Leo, and Jade(Opens in a new tab) (Lindsey Vonn)

    These three rescues live an adventurous lifestyle thanks to their mom, Lindsey Vonn. She may be retired from professional skiing, but Vonn and her dogs live a very active lifestyle in the mountains.

    Something tells me Vonn's dog Lucy isn't as comfortable in the spotlight. Credit: Getty Images

    10. Birdie(Opens in a new tab) (Gus Kenworthy)

    He's not the only Olympian on the list, but Kenworthy is the only Olympian to rescue a dog at the actual Olympics. While competing at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, the freestyle skier rescued his dog Birdie from a meat farm in South Korea. Talk about bringing home the gold.

  • Gear to complement your new outdoorsy hobby this spring

    Gear to complement your new outdoorsy hobby this spring

    You Got This is a series that spotlights the gear you need to improve one area of your life. If you buy something from this post, we may earn an affiliate commission.


    After months of freezing temps, you may have forgotten how much you actually like spending time outdoors. With daylight savings behind us and spring on the horizon, it’s time to swap out your ski boots for hiking boots and get back out there. After the year we’ve all had, embracing a new screen-free hobby is all the rage (might we suggest fly-fishing?). To switch into spring mode and thaw out your sense of adventure, get all the gear you need from Cabela’s(Opens in a new tab).

    Fuel up and stay hydrated

    Take your cold brew or water into the wild with a rugged, BPA-free tumbler that won’t chip if you accidentally drop-kick it on gravel. The 20- or 30-ounce capacity keeps beverages hot or cold for a day trip to a National Park.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: YETI
    YETI Rambler Tumbler with MagSlider Lid ($29.99-$39.99) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Paddle out to disconnect

    Kayaking is a stress-busting activity that can improve mental and physical balance. For quick trips to a local lake or a slow-moving river, choose an ultra-portable kayak with handles on the front and back, and built-in foam to make it extra floaty and boost your confidence on the water.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: LIFETIME
    Lifetime Spitfire 9 Burnt Orange Sit-On-Top Kayak ($369.99) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Sport surfer-inspired sunglasses

    Get 100% UV protection with glare-reducing polarized sunglasses. Plus, comfy nose pads and grippy temples create a solid fit since watching your shades drop overboard isn’t funny (to you, anyway). These ones have the added feel-good value of benefitting a collab protecting sharks.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: COSTA
    Costa Ocearch Rincon 580G Polarized Sunglasses Kit ($259) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Get some multifunctional carabiners

    For rock climbers, lightweight, color-coded biners provide durable, hot-forged construction and efficient nose geometry for clipping and unclipping, even single-handedly. For the rest of us, they’re really handy for hanging water bottles, keeping track of keys, and slinging up hammocks.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Black Diamond LiteWire Carabiner Rackpack ($39.99) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Pack the perfect picnic

    Instead of leaving mealtime to chance, pack a proper lunch in a lightweight, soft-sided cooler. A tough and durable option for serious picnickers will keep food and drinks fresh and cool because no one wants to snack on warm, mini carrots after a long hike, or ever really.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: YETI
    YETI Hopper Flip 8 Soft-Side Cooler ($199.99) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Reel in relaxation

    Looking for an alternative to meditation? Fishing is a mindfulness activity that relies on focus and awareness. A general-purpose freshwater rod-and-reel combo is a good place to start assembling a basic tackle.

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    Credit: BASS PRO SHOPS
    Bass Pro Shops Freestyle Rod and Reel Spinning Combo - FSP260MLS-2 ($29.97, normally $39.99) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Lace-up for a hike

    Lost your last pair of hiking boots to a blowout? Replace them with a breathable, waterproof pair that will see you through muddy trails. These ones have high-traction grips and all-terrain rubber outsoles perfect for unpredictable spring weather.

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    Credit: KEEN
    KEEN Steens Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots $124.99) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Take your pup for a walk

    When you don’t have time for an all-day escape, even a brisk walk to the park with your dog counts as an outdoor adventure. Back home, treat your four-legged pal with a legit, nonslip food bowl that matches your own Yeti.

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    Credit: YETI
    Yeti Boomer Dog Bowl ($39.99-$49.99) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Kick back like a legend

    Inflatable, parrot-themed pool chair meets hammock meets swim-up bar for the most laidback way to appreciate a nearby lake or backyard pool. Of course, it has a built-in drink coozy. Because whoever said outdoor adventures have to be strenuous?

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    Margaritaville Sit and Sip Inflatable ($14.99) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)