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TikToks latest obsession? Dabloons.

2023-03-19 06:15:14

TikToks latest obsession? Dabloons.

TikTok's latest trend obsession is a tricky one to unpack. It's both obscure and absurd, beginning with a viral cat meme and ending with imaginary inflation. Yes, you read that right.

TikToks latest obsession? Dabloons.(图1)

Dabloons are going viral on TikTok at the moment, likely all over the FYP. The dedicated hashtag itself(Opens in a new tab) has over 254.1 million views at the time of writing.

What are 'dabloons' and how did this all start?

The word "doubloon" itself can be traced back to 16th-century Spain(Opens in a new tab), where they existed as gold coins and were used as currency for centuries. On TikTok today, doubloons remain a form of currency — just a fictional one.

SEE ALSO: On TikTok, everyone is starring in their own TV show

Dabloons originated in a meme from 2021, which began doing the rounds on Instagram after being posted by @catz.jpeg(Opens in a new tab) (which has over 128,000 followers and posts cat memes consistently). This meme, as many will recall, involved a kitten's paw held out in full stretch, with the caption "4 dabloons"(Opens in a new tab). Later, a variation of the meme(Opens in a new tab) popped up on the same account, featuring a black cat with the same caption, and a tiny paw holding up four fingers.

According to Know Your Meme(Opens in a new tab), this post migrated to Tumblr and trekked over to TikTok, where it was met with equal popularity. The "4 dabloons cat" began being shared via TikTok's slideshow mode, in which several pictures can be posted and swiped through. Several versions of the cat were shared, mostly in photo stories that started with the words "hello traveler", offered an object or item, and then ended with a meme of the cat. Everything you want to trade costs "4 dabloons".

Only thing to remember: dabloons are a fictional currency being used to trade and obtain fictional items. There is no official store, no external site offering dabloons. And despite comparisons(Opens in a new tab), dabloons are not cryptocurrency.

How are people "collecting" dabloons?

People are accounting for their dabloons, which are collected — or lost — by how many you come across on social media. Literally if you see a dabloon, you have earned a dabloon. Individual videos offer individual amounts and items; it depends on what you come across. For example, a video from influencer @seansvv(Opens in a new tab) is offering people a chance to be instantly relieved of their "dabloon debt"(Opens in a new tab). Just "like" the video and your imaginary debt is gone.

TikTokker @britedragon explained it well(Opens in a new tab): the more people would see the ubiquitous cat meme with the four fingers held up, the more doubloons they collected. "It's like we're all playing neopets," they say. And that seems to be the point — the internet is playing one big game together.

How far has this gone?

People like @max.milam are keeping track of their dabloons(Opens in a new tab) on Excel spreadsheets. Others have analyzed rising "dabloon inflation"(Opens in a new tab). Users like @polyba(Opens in a new tab) explain their imaginary dabloon-based lives, which are extremely intricate. Then there are dedicated, niche like @dabloongrocerystore(Opens in a new tab) and @dabloonshq(Opens in a new tab) that have popped up, with tens of thousands of followers each.

So it's all gone pretty far — all thanks to the power of TikTok. The word "dabloons" appears 21 times in this article (now 22), so does that mean you just earned 22 dabloons (now 23)? We're unsure, but enjoy.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    SEE ALSO: Why some people masturbate about people they hate

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

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

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

    Set the right environment

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

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

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

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

    Create a safe space in your mind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Related Video: I built my own vibrator at CES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Try these exercises to strengthen your mind-body connection

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Use your imagination during partnered sex

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Social media is the new bodycam

    Social media is the new bodycam

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Police scanner app catapults to the top of the App Store

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Even Piers Morgan thinks Rudy Giuliani sounds completely barking mad

    Even Piers Morgan thinks Rudy Giuliani sounds completely barking mad

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Random articles


  • Give your sweats a rest and score 20% off Indochino suits

    Give your sweats a rest and score 20% off Indochino suits

    TL;DR: Score 20 percent off sharp looking suits, shirts, and chinos at Indochino(Opens in a new tab) with code PREM20 through July 27.


    While many of us lucky enough to work from home are perfectly content firing emails from the couch all day with our dogs on our laps, let’s face it: working solo and in grungy sweats is getting old. Remember when you used to shower, shave, and dress up for work? What a concept. 

    Whenever this WFH spout finally does end — and it will — you want to be ready. 

    Indochino(Opens in a new tab) is having a sale to help you upgrade your work wardrobe before the big back-to-the-office rush hits. Right now, you can get 20% off their Premium suits, shirts, and chinos(Opens in a new tab) with code PREM20. 

    We realize that personal style is, well, personal, but Indochino is doing something that’s worth talking about. First off, Indochino(Opens in a new tab) makes very sharp suits that are decently priced, even before this 20% off sale. 

    Secondly, unlike the fast fashion items you might have grabbed off the rack on your lunch hour back in the day, Indochino uses technology to custom-make each piece to fit you. Just find something you like — we’re partial to the Hemsworth suit(Opens in a new tab) — and enter your measurements, fabric choice, lining color, etc. The site uses an algorithm along with your height and weight to help you hone in on the most flattering fit. Next, Indochino uses state-of–the-art digital technology to cut the fabric precisely for your body. I

    Indochino is serious about the fit of their shirts and chinos, too. Like their suits, they’re fully customizable. Add snappy gingham to the collar of their anti-wrinkle dress shirts or, better yet, get your initials monogrammed on the front. The cotton chinos can be customized with extra-wide side pockets (ideal if you have a big phone) and utilitarian-style back-flap pockets. 

    If all this fresh-dressed talk doesn’t make you pine for the office just yet — that’s okay, too. When you do finally go back, just go big. And remember to lint roll the dog hair off your pants before you head out the door.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Indochino
    Take 20% off Indochino suits, shirts, and chinos with code PREM20 through July 27 (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

  • Instagram testing personal fundraisers right in the app

    Instagram testing personal fundraisers right in the app

    Look out, GoFundMe.


    Instagram announced Tuesday(Opens in a new tab) that it's launching a new capability called Personal Fundraisers. Beginning with a small test for Android users in the U.S., U.K., and Ireland, and eventually coming to iOS, Instagram users can start a fundraiser that personally benefits them for a host of eligible reasons(Opens in a new tab), including medical emergencies, hobbies, business support, and more.

    Facebook, which owns Instagram, already allows for personal fundraisers(Opens in a new tab) on its platform. Nonprofits registered as businesses on Instagram can also already use their profiles to raise funds through a donation button(Opens in a new tab), a donation sticker for stories, and live fundraisers in stories. The test means fundraising now comes to profiles that aren't registered as businesses.

    Instagram launched the new donation option with a video exemplifying several types of personal causes: a "digital tip jar" for a coffee shop; a fund to support a racially equitable art project. Instagram will have to approve the fundraisers. However, the eligible categories are pretty broad, and it's easy to see how the button could turn from altruistic to narcissistic in the hands of certain social media personalities.

    Still, need is very much there amid the COVID-19 crisis, as businesses and individuals turn to their communities for financial help to stay afloat. Facebook says people have donated over $100 million since January for coronavirus-related causes. Donations have also surged to support the Black Lives Matter movement(Opens in a new tab) and racial justice.

    Other digital companies have met the moment with new fundraising tools, too. Yelp partnered with GoFundMe to integrate a donation button directly into the platform. That landed the company in some hot water when businesses that never signed up for donations found the button on their business pages; Yelp responded by making it opt-in(Opens in a new tab).

    Having donation options directly within the Instagram app makes the process of getting money to the causes you care about that much more seamless. But the integration could be bad news for GoFundMe, which says it's "the #1 fundraising platform." Perhaps not for long.

  • The art of the porn GIF

    The art of the porn GIF

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


    When the GIF became the internet’s preferred visual language, it simultaneously became the preferred lust language for many consumers of adult entertainment.

    Porn GIFs distill any variety of adult video into a looping image that can last from mere seconds to a full minute. But the short-form format isn’t all that’s unique about porn GIFs. Many of the folks we talked to — from aficionados to NSFW GIF creators themselves — say it is by far their favorite, if not their only, form of porn consumption, and for good reason.

    “The perfect GIF is the climax of a certain porn scene or video, e.g., where an actor unclasps their bra to reveal their breasts, or pulls down their briefs to reveal a throbbing penis, or the moment where full penetration occurs,” said Reddit user SparklyRen(Opens in a new tab), a lawyer in his late 20s who identifies as gay and moderates various subreddits like r/GayPorn(Opens in a new tab) and r/GayGifs(Opens in a new tab) (currently at 92,000 members). “GIFs are hyper-sexual bursts of media.”

    “Something about a GIF is like pop music or fast food: instantly consumable.”

    While seemingly simple, making porn GIFs requires its own kind of craft. You not only need to be proficient with certain editing tools, but also patient enough to search for videos that will translate well into the GIF format. On top of all that, you need to have a good eye for deliciously succinct sexiness.

    “I've been making porn GIFs for over five years now, and I think it's the best way to express and share my sexual desires creatively,” said the Footprince, who runs the Sockfetishgifs Twitter account(Opens in a new tab) (often crossposted to r/socksgonewild(Opens in a new tab)), despite identifying as asexual himself. Not all porn GIFs, for the record, need mass appeal; they often thrive because they serve niche tastes and sexualities that tube sites don't cater to.

    “Something about a GIF is like pop music or fast food: instantly consumable,” said Reddit user 88Remmer(Opens in a new tab), who moderates several of the most popular porn GIF subreddits, like r/bestporngifs(Opens in a new tab) (currently at 175,000 members). “I think people also love them because they’re usually easy to watch on-the-go in the smartphone age, and they’re usually small, data-wise, so you can save the ones you like.”

    For many porn GIFers, part of the appeal is also growing your own little collection of favorites you can always come back to for a quick and easy self-love session.

    Beyond format, what really makes porn GIFs such a unique genre of adult entertainment is how their popularity has been kept alive through dedicated communities that continue to make the genre thrive in new ways.

    SEE ALSO: The best alternatives to Pornhub and Xvideos

    “The porn GIF is mostly a social thing,” said the Digital Pimp, who runs websites like Gifsfor(Opens in a new tab) and Gifporntube(Opens in a new tab). “Adult communities love to post and trade them with one another. It gets people talking, rather than watching a video alone and just getting off.” Beyond that, the social aspect, “is great because you have the possibility to discover more content you didn't know about.”

    That was especially true with Tumblr, the platform that originally popularized the porn GIF. You could endlessly scroll through an account that fit your taste or hashtags that introduced you to new types of porn. At least, before Tumblr torpedoed itself by banning all adult content from the platform.

    But the legacy of the porn GIF continues today, primarily through dozens of subreddits, many of which boast hundreds of thousands of members. Of course, there are also dedicated websites like the Digital Pimp’s, as well as Redgifs(Opens in a new tab), essentially a NSFW Giphy. But the porn GIF format has proven so powerful that it basically created a whole subgenre of short-and-to-the-point adult entertainment, which has infiltrated far more mainstream social media platforms than Reddit or Tumblr — like Twitter.

    “Small porn videos or snippets are essentially an evolved form of the GIF,” said the Digital Pimp. “When we talk of GIFs, we aren't really talking about just .gif files anymore. It's .mp4, and whatever else. Some even have sound now.”

    The porn GIF niche might take up less time and digital space than a full-length video. But clearly, its impact is greater than its file size.

    Where the porn GIF lives: Past, present, and future

    The rise of the porn GIF can almost entirely be attributed back to Tumblr, with the platform’s unfortunate censorship leaving a hole that no other has yet been able to entirely fill.

    Sparklyren vividly remembers the first porn GIF he ever encountered on Tumblr. He’s kept it saved in his personal files, transferring it from phone to phone over the years out of sheer sentimentality. It shows three extremely strapped young men pleasuring each other and themselves on a brightly lit marble kitchen countertop.

    It is, indeed, very hot.

    “My world was changed after I first saw GIFs on Tumblr. I certainly think that it changed the game for porn, too. It added a new, different dimension,” he said. “What makes GIFs so perfect in today's age of fast consumerism is that they're so bite-size. Tumblr's timeline was busy! And it was built upon endless scrolling, which means that you had to hook your audience and followers within the first instant.”

    The Tumblr porn GIF didn’t make you trudge through any cheesy storylines or cringe-y forced setups. It immediately engaged you, earning people's reblogs and upvotes by being universally tantalizing. It’s a format that fits the fast pace of internet culture way better than regular, full-length porn videos — which seem like a relic of the past, when XXX adult VHS tapes were the most high-tech method of getting off.

    “The best part about GIFs is they're usually repeating the most interesting parts of the porn they're sourced from,” said the Footprince. “Most people who like cumshots aren't going to want to sit through six minutes of cheesy dialogue to see seven seconds of climax. That's what I like the most about it: They’re essentially highlights in full motion.”

    Ease of use and brevity are, undoubtedly, at the heart of porn GIFs' lasting appeal. But they don’t just save you time and effort. On Tumblr, they were a refinement of the often inelegant material of full-length porn, creating almost elevated adult entertainment experience.

    Porn GIFs focus mostly on the, for lack of a better term, good stuff,” said one avid Tumblr porn GIF consumer who will go by Alex (not their real name), and identifies as a non-binary demisexual.

    Funnily enough, Alex could also immediately summon to mind the name of their favorite Tumblr porn account — italiansd0itbetter(Opens in a new tab) (which now appears to live on through Twitter(Opens in a new tab)) — though it’s been years since they visited. “On Tumblr, I didn’t have to scrub through 10 minutes of footage for a nice shot, or the good angle, or past the unfortunate angle of some dude's balls. It was just: Here’s a curated selection of five GIFS that are only the good parts.”

    The fact that porn GIFs are predominantly shared on platforms that aren’t actually porn websites is another part of what makes them more appealing to folks who might be intimidated or otherwise put off by sites like Pornhub. “There are no ads, no buffering times, no surprisingly loud audio,” the Footprince summed up.

    Also, Tumblr was a platform predominantly made up of women and LGBTQ folks, which made it a safe place for them to enjoy porn(Opens in a new tab) in a way they couldn't on mainstream tube porn sites. Alex wouldn’t say that, on the whole, Tumblr porn GIFs were all that different from traditional porn. Rather, it’s that LGBTQ and women-oriented porn had more of a platform there, where searches for Trouble Films(Opens in a new tab) (a trans porn studio) and “queer porn” proved far more fruitful than anywhere else on the internet at the time.

    “Porn communities, and by extension, porn GIF communities, definitely lost a sense of place when Tumblr was censored.”

    “Tumblr GIF porn is where I encountered a lot of gay porn for the first time — specifically, the cockyboys imprint, which was very popular, and the kink stuff associated with Mormon Boyz,” said Alex. Others agreed, seeing GIF porn and specifically the Tumblr platform as better suited to exploring more niche and various types of porn.

    “Porn communities, and by extension, porn GIF communities, definitely lost a sense of place when Tumblr was censored,” said Sparklyren. He was forced to turn mostly to Twitter and Reddit, though he revisits Tumblr from time-to-time for the softcore stuff it still allows. “GIFs are truly difficult to get a hold of nowadays after the big Tumblr scourge,” he said. Which is why he's had to resort to searching for raw footage that he could use to create and continue the legacy of NSFW GIFs on his own.

    For Alex, though, the Tumblr crackdown has made it near-impossible to enjoy the format anymore.

    “There isn’t an easy way to search or anything. I tried Bing (no joke) because I heard their porn search was better. But it wasn’t,” they said. “I tend to look up animated porn or ‘Snapchat’ on porn Tube sites to watch there now, where it’s that shorter snippet-style porn.”

    The death of Tumblr inevitably led to Reddit becoming the predominant home for porn GIF communities, but it has its own drawbacks. Both Sparklyren and 88Remmer mourn the lack of endless scrolling, since Reddit requires users actually click on GIFs before they play. But both have found admittedly imperfect workarounds. Sparklyren suggests the Apollo Reddit iOS app, which autoplays GIFs and recreates a bit of the Tumblr vibe. 88Remmer said Redgifs attempts endless scrolling, too, but is plagued by freezing issues.

    For Sparklyren, Twitter is the lesser of substitutes for Tumblr because it doesn’t have as strict a time limit as Reddit, which caps a GIF to his preferred one-minute length. “I still find myself scrolling past many Twitter videos, even though they might only be two minutes long,” he said.

    That’s why, “at the moment, I do think Reddit is a perfect platform for GIFs, mainly based on its support for many media file types. I like Reddit's upvoting system, too, as it attributes a clear ‘score’ of how good a GIF is.”

    Unfortunately, the displacement of porn GIFs from Tumblr onto more mainstream platforms like Reddit and Twitter has also led a lot of the most popular content to become, well, more normie.

    “There are subreddits for certain fetishes, but they rarely seem to dominate in subreddit size or upvotes. It seems that the general population’s tastes are kinda vanilla,” said 88Remmer.

    “Vanilla porn GIFs definitely perform better,” said Sparklyren. He also doesn’t love that gay porn GIFs are still very catered to a heteronormative gaze, with “gay-for-pay” heterosexual performers the main LGBTQ representation in mainstream adult entertainment. In general, it remains difficult to bring more diversity to the palette of porn GIF subreddits, because GIF makers are limited to what’s available through Tube porn sites.

    “Once porn studios diversify their rosters, I hope it will carry over to the types of porn GIFs we see — more Black content, more trans content, more for women,” he said.

    At the same time, Sparklyren is heartened by the fact that there’s a GIF subreddit for almost every taste, fetish, or niche. Also, he pointed out, the r/PornGifs and r/GayGifs subreddits have almost the exact same number of subscribers.

    Sparklyren also noted that, even though there are dedicated subreddits to GIF porn specifically, “Other porn subreddits welcome GIFs, and in most cases, GIFs are the top-performing posts on those pages. If that isn't proof of the power of the porn GIF, then I don't know what is.”

    Another interesting phenomenon to come out of the porn GIF's legacy (that will likely define its future) is how the snippet porn style not only jumped onto Twitter, but also intersected with OnlyFans. OnlyFans is a platform where subscribers pay sex workers and (some of who began as regular influencers) money directly for their adult content.

    “Porn stars are actually starting to post their own homemade GIFs as well, so it’s an excellent tool for self-promotion,” said 88Remmer. That’s part of the reason he always makes sure to credit and link out to the full video source he pulled his GIFs from when posting them on Reddit.

    Sparklyren doesn’t love OnlyFans itself as a platform precisely because it’s hard to organically find and discover fetishes or performers that will fit your tastes. But he commends performers like Reno Gold, who understand the importance of doing self-promotion on other platforms in conjunction with OnlyFans, fixing the lack of discoverability by utilizing the porn GIF format.

    “He knows exactly which 10-second portion of his OnlyFans scenes to upload to Twitter in order to get consumers to subscribe. That is not easy,” he praised.

    In general, community remains at the hearts of what makes the porn GIF such a singular, long-lasting genre of adult entertainment — no matter where it ultimately lives.

    “The porn GIF is not going away any time soon, because porn communities are a great thing that I hope continue to thrive and allow more people to be liberal and not feel judged about something that we all enjoy,” said the Digital Pimp.

    The precise science of the perfect porn GIF

    Within the porn GIF genre, there are a variety of subgenres, which speaks to just how much creators influence and shape porn GIFs through craftsmanship.

    According to 88Remmer, there's the style that's essentially a minute-long summary of videos, cutting together different positions before landing on the money shot. The other common style, which he prefers, scrubs through porn videos to find the single best moment, which they then work to turn into the perfect GIF.

    “I like to think of it as ‘One Hot Minute,’ like the Red Hot Chili Peppers album,” he said. "Even in a mediocre scene, there is always at least one minute when it all comes together: the chemistry between the actors, lighting, proper cam positioning. That's what a good GIF captures,” he said. Also, “I noticed that the best one-minute edits often feel longer than a minute. That’s all about finding the one hot minute and augmenting it with editing tricks like cropping or scene cutting, making it quick and consumable by emphasizing the hottest parts.”

    For the Footprince, the best porn GIF has three requirements: good color/lighting, smooth as butter frame rate, and replay value with a hypnotic effect.

    “What I find so incredible is the porn GIF's permeability. It has infiltrated absolutely every medium that allows it."

    “The perfect loop is still being discussed to this very day,” he said. But part of the creativity of being a porn GIF maker is working within the very restrictive limits of file size allowances across each platform. Twitter has one of the bigger ones, allowing for 15mb. But the Footprince believes the 5-6mb range is better for the sake of quicker uploads on the consumer's side.

    “My rule of thumb is the three seconds of gold,” he said. “If I find something very dope, I try to cut it down to 3 seconds and go from there. if it's longer, I can edit in workarounds to make the file smaller.”

    Despite the loss of Tumblr, the porn GIF is still only growing more popular according to our sources. The Footprince believes this is in part due to the “boon of tools available to make GIFs today.” Before, you needed at least some basic video editing capabilities. But now, through mobile apps like Inshot, Gifmaker Editor, and Video Collage, “My phone is more powerful than my computer at making GIFs, which blows my mind.”

    He believes that “we have yet to see the peak of creativity behind the creation of porn GIFs,” and hopes even more interesting things will be done with all the new software possibilities.

    For Sparklyren, the power of the porn GIF speaks for itself after surviving so many years and so much restriction and censorship from various platforms.

    “What I find so incredible is the porn GIF's permeability. It has infiltrated absolutely every medium that allows it. If a social media site allows porn and allows GIFs, you'll certainly find a huge porn GIF community on that platform. That’s a testament to the format's popularity,” he said. “The porn GIF will absolutely continue to thrive!"

  • The hyperlocal meme accounts helping Gen Z feel less alone

    The hyperlocal meme accounts helping Gen Z feel less alone

    The digital debut of the namesake Affirmations Instagram(Opens in a new tab) came with big promises in the form of slightly comedic daily mantras. Repeat these short phrases enough, and you can change your life — even if that just means not having(Opens in a new tab) a panic attack at the coffee shop.


    When smaller affirmations accounts started popping up, bearing the names of colleges and towns, they promised not sarcastic self-actualization but recognition. This was an altogether different beauty, something totally mundane. This was the online version of meeting someone from your hometown or university in a crowded bar hundreds of miles away and realizing that you both recalled the same hectic intersection and hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop. You share a collective experience not categorized in the knowledge of one thing but in the understanding of everything. 

    View this post on Instagram
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    But now that knowledge can be categorized, at least in meme form. Local and college affirmations accounts are communities personified online, and they come at a time in which we’re asking even more of our online spaces than ever before — yes, I mean the pandemic and its enduring effects. Although community might once have played out organically in physical places, the virtual realm has become the only truly safe space from COVID. And that has left a hole for Instagram accounts to foster that sense of camaraderie — of being a part of something, even if it’s just living in the same town or going to the same college.

    Young people(Opens in a new tab) have been at the forefront of this movement. While the creators of local affirmations accounts have often started them at random, with a fleeting thought of "wouldn’t that be fun?," many have gone on to have a big impact. New York University’s Affirmations account(Opens in a new tab) boasts nearly 9,000 followers. An Instagram account for the city of Richmond — not the college — has more than 11,000(Opens in a new tab) despite being created late last year. Interestingly, it’s hyperlocal accounts — like this one dedicated to Western Washington state affirmations(Opens in a new tab) — that tend to have more success than those with a broad audience, like the entire state of Florida(Opens in a new tab) or New York(Opens in a new tab).

    The origin story 

    Running a localized meme account wasn’t exactly a goal harbored since birth for many creators. In fact, the 18-year-old creator of Western Washington Affirmations decided to start the Instagram when they heard about another successful local affirmations account — all the way across the country in St. Petersburg, Florida(Opens in a new tab).

    View this post on Instagram
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    When a friend from St. Pete came to visit, they used the meme page as a first point of reference for the city. It worked.

    "He wanted to show me the type of culture that was out there," the Western Washington Affirmations creator, who requested to remain anonymous, said of their friend. "I thought it was really funny. I was like, ‘This is pretty smart.’" 

    It didn’t take long for those ephemeral thoughts to take root. The creator wondered if their own area — Everett, Washington, about a 30-minute drive from Seattle, but more generally, the western side of Washington state — could benefit from this type of exploration. 

    So in October 2021, they made their first post — a map of the United States(Opens in a new tab) with overlaid text: "People do not ask if I am from Washington, D.C." 

    SEE ALSO: The delight of soft, motivational shitposting on Instagram

    The start was slow — that first post only got 72 likes. But over time, they learned what worked and what didn’t. Targeted memes that skewered a particular city — "Bellingham people be like I know a spot(Opens in a new tab)" — were successful, but so were jokes that referenced the entire state as a whole. "I am grateful for another cloudy day(Opens in a new tab)," one recent post reads. 

    Covering western Washington as a whole yields a particular challenge because it’s the most densely populated part of the state(Opens in a new tab) — about 60 percent of Washington’s total population lives there. The region includes Seattle, the state’s most famous landmark and largest city by far(Opens in a new tab), but also encompasses the islands in Puget Sound, including some with populations less than 1,000 people(Opens in a new tab).

    Their own life experiences allowed them to adjust for these regional differences fairly easily. After all, they once lived out on the islands. They understood what it was to be in a small town where everyone knew everyone and the "closest mall was two hours away," as they put it. Now, living only 20 minutes from Seattle, they see the opposite perspective. 

    View this post on Instagram
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    "If you want to run a successful community-based account, you’ve got to be very aware of your demographics," the creator said. "Washington is a pretty big area to cover. There are a lot of hyper-specific places I mention that get a lot of traction. But more general stereotypes are also really funny. I can make something that’s like, ‘Oh, we all wear Patagonia’ — that’s something we would all agree on as a community." 

    Many of their ideas came from their 45-minute morning commute. This is a phenomenon that other meme creators subscribe to — B., the person behind Richmond Affirmations(Opens in a new tab) who prefers to be anonymous, derives inspiration from the experience of day-to-day life. 

    "The process is when I’m out living my daily life, I’m like, 'Is this a universal experience? Can I make a meme of this?'" said B.  

    Like the creator of Western Washington Affirmations, B. only started their account in the fall of 2021. They were throwing around ideas with a friend and thought that a meme page with hyperlocal Richmond affirmations could be funny. B.’s first post will be relatable to anyone who has lived in a city that purports to be bike-friendly. "My bike is impossible to steal(Opens in a new tab)," it reads. But they quickly drew inspiration from current events — like the snowstorm stand-still(Opens in a new tab) on Virginia’s I-95. 

    The process is when I’m out living my daily life, I’m like, 'Is this a universal experience? Can I make a meme of this?'

    "I am 100% relaxed at this very moment," reads a post(Opens in a new tab) from that time with an image of snow-covered cars.

    "This page stands in solidarity with everyone who’s been traumatized by I-95," the caption says. 

    NYU Affirmations(Opens in a new tab) started as a collaboration between three sophomores who lived together. When they crafted the Instagram account in April 2021, it was simply intended as a way to share funny inside jokes. 

    "Stern boys do not objectify me," reads one of their first memes(Opens in a new tab), referencing the college’s business school(Opens in a new tab). The text is backed by an image of two men wearing the business bro uniform(Opens in a new tab) — also known as a Patagonia vest and an oxford shirt. "Type yes to affirm if you are ready to start a loving and stable relationship with a NYU boy who is in your league and not a 6/10." 

    View this post on Instagram
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    As the creators, who prefer to maintain their anonymity, grew into their newfound Internet fame, they experimented with the form, like a series of "if this character went to NYU" posts, including Harry Potter(Opens in a new tab) and Succession(Opens in a new tab).

    "This is your best post yet," said one commenter on a post that identified Hermione Granger as an international relations major. 

    "I remember thinking it was going to be a small account for our friends," one of the NYU Affirmations creators said. "It spiraled out of control obviously."

    What does success look like?

    For many meme creators, success is not a metric but a feeling. When people are routinely sharing and commenting on an account’s posts, that’s the sweet spot. 

    "As long as people are engaging with my posts and finding them funny, I consider it a win," said the Duke University undergraduate behind the Duke Affirmations account(Opens in a new tab). "That being said, I was pretty excited when I broke 1,000 followers."

    View this post on Instagram
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    When B. watched Richmond Affirmations grow to 500 followers, that seemed like an accomplishment. Now, with over 11,000, that number seems quaint. 

    At the outset of NYU Affirmations, the creators were so flooded with messages that they didn’t immediately notice they had been added to a group chat with the administrators of other Affirmations accounts. When they finally joined, they were greeted as "the queens of affirmations." 

    They attribute their success to the unique duality of being an NYU student — everyone loves to hate the school. 

    "Not having an actual college campus sometimes makes you feel like you’re not a real college student. Your school is just a dumb part of your life," said one of the account’s creators. "It’s very different from most other college experiences." 

    As students of business and political science, the NYU Affirmations creators brought a true intentionality to the account. At its start, they posted three times a day and analyzed the success of each post, eventually ditching the morning update. But their real, upward trajectory started when NYU Chicks(Opens in a new tab), the college’s Chicks and Barstool affiliate, shared the account on their story. 

    "They said, ‘This account is super funny,’" said one of the creators. "We got our first influx and our first spike in followers." 

    Keeping the accounts anonymous is a big part of what makes measuring success so interesting. It’s not about the people behind the screen, it’s about the account. That means that people like B. have had the odd experience of sitting next to someone at a bar talking about their account. The creator of Duke Affirmations overhears students discussing the latest post while eating lunch or walking to class. People send the creator of Western Washington Affirmations jokes they’ve created — all while not knowing the source. 

    View this post on Instagram
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    "Part of the fun is the mystery of the account and who runs it," said the creator of Duke Affirmations. "Only my friends know it’s me. I really hope it stays that way for as long as possible. Who doesn’t like a good secret?"

    What is community? 

    The intrigue and entertainment offered in a local Instagram affirmations account may get people to the door, but it’s the recognition that keeps them there. 

    "They make people feel seen," said Richmond Affirmations’ B. "We’re afflicted by the same things and we’re consoled by the same things. In a way, it’s processing our shared experience, whether that be upsetting or affirming." 

    It’s not just the viewers that benefit. So do the creators. For the maker of Western Washington Affirmations, talking to people from all over western Washington has exposed them to cities and places they may have previously judged. 

    We’re afflicted by the same things and we’re consoled by the same things. In a way, it’s processing our shared experience, whether that be upsetting or affirming.

    And for the women behind NYU Affirmations, it’s been an inadvertent way to create the feeling of a unified campus. Sure, they may not have football games or a quad. But they still have Instagram. 

    "It’s such a big place and such an isolating place — everyone kind of feels like they’re on their own," said one of the account’s creators."But seeing that everyone else has these shared experiences, having mental breakdowns at 3 a.m., people find a certain comfort in it. It makes them feel like they’re not the only person at this school feeling like this."

  • Crush your new years health goals with the right gear

    Crush your new years health goals with the right gear

    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.


    2020 was a heavy lift and regardless of clichés about hindsight, most of us won’t be looking back anytime soon. In the spirit of moving forward, sticking to your new year's resolutions could kick-start a wave of improvements — even if it’s just catching a few more Zs and breaking out the blender. One of the easiest ways to stick to your goals is to set yourself up for success with the gear you need to take action. Best Buy(Opens in a new tab) has you covered.

    Work out with a crew

    Beat cabin fever and crush a workout at the same time. Live or on-demand classes streamed to this swanky rower’s 22-inch touchscreen feature scenic waterways, from California to Scotland. The drag of your “oars” and sound of paddles hitting water takes you somewhere other than your apartment.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: HYDROW
    Hydrow Connected Rower ($1,995) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Charge up for activity

    Can’t decide between a HIIT session or some breathwork? Check your Body Battery energy levels. Along with health monitoring data and notifications you want from a smartwatch, this lightweight timekeeper stays juiced for up to six days and has a personal running coach.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: GARMIN USA
    Garmin USA - Venu® Sq 20mm GPS Smartwatch ($199.99) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Double-down on getting outdoors

    These sci-fi-like shades keep the sun out of your eyes and tunes in your ears, while making the year 2021 look as futuristic as it sounds. Plus, science has proved that auto-tuned vocals and beat-heavy EDM do actually improve your workout(Opens in a new tab).

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: BOSE
    Bose Frames Tempo Sports Audio Sunglasses with Polarized Lenses ($249) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Sweat-proof your gear

    Whether you’re running outside or parkouring off walls after another really long weekend inside, good grip and fit keep your earbuds in place, because losing one is a bummer. For sweaty workouts, an IP57 rating also means these wireless buds are dust-resistant and waterproof.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: JABRA
    Jabra Elite Active 75t True Wireless Active Noise Cancelling In-Ear Headphones ($149.99) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Simplify cooking at home

    If hot, crispy food is what you crave, fried food takeout almost always arrives cold and unpleasantly oily. This compact digital oven makes it easy to whip up healthier fries in a no-flip basket or prep a meal kit. That’s a high-five for fulfilling your goals of eating better and spending less on takeout.

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    Credit: KITCHENAID
    KitchenAid Digital Countertop Oven with Air Fry ($179.99) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Get your kiwi juices flowing

    Without taking over your counter, this multifunctional juicer-blender extracts juice from whole fruits and veggies in one setup and blends smoothies or anything else that needs precision mixing, such as fruit salsas or milkshakes, in the other.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: BREVILLE
    Breville the 3x Bluicer ($299.95) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Sleep more soundly

    For those night when your upstairs neighbor decides to rearrange their furniture at 3 a.m. or your social media feed makes it difficult to downshift, these noise-masking buds play nature sounds and sleep-specific content to counter the noise.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: BOSE
    Bose Sleepbuds II ($249) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

  • Tinder users are using ChatGPT to message matches

    Tinder users are using ChatGPT to message matches

    The launch of OpenAI's ChatGPT this month has ushered in a new era — of social feeds clogged with screenshots and discussions of the chatbot and its seemingly infinite uses. TikTokkers didn't hesitate to divulge how they're using ChatGPT: to message Tinder matches(Opens in a new tab).

    Using AI in dating apps isn't new. For years, programmers have been trying to further gamify the game of finding love on your phone. These Tinder users created bots to swipe and message for them and can do so with hundreds of users at a time. It's no surprise that Tinder bans users who do this, but even the app itself utilizes AI to generate conversation starters:


    Tinder uses AI to generate conversation starters, but users are taking it to another level. Credit: Screenshot: Tinder

    Those using ChatGPT, however, are putting in a bit more manual effort. Once they match with someone, they ask ChatGPT for an opening message based on their interests. Then they copy and paste the output and send it to their match. And honestly? From what folks are posting on TikTok, it's working.

    One "Tinder veteran" used ChatGPT(Opens in a new tab) to generate a poem for the six-foot woman he was messaging. She loved it, saying a guy hadn't written a poem for her before. The caption on the video claimed this is the "future of Tinder."

    Here's another example, this time a TikTok user requesting a weight lifting-themed opener(Opens in a new tab). ChatGPT spit out, "Do you mind if I take a seat? Because watching you do those hip thrusts is making my legs feel a little weak."

    Once again, the receiver of the message enjoyed it and soon dropped her Snapchat.

    As with using an AI bot to completely use Tinder for you, there are potential ethical concerns at play here; the dominant from these examples is disclosure. How would a match feel if they knew your messages were AI-generated? Are you lying by omission by not telling them a bot actually "wrote" the message? What if they were using ChatGPT to message, too — then would it matter?

    These are questions we can't yet answer but surely will have to grapple with as AI becomes further embedded in our lives. As one TikTok user captioned, "AI just too overpowered."

  • PlayStation takes over Londons Underground signs with iconic shapes

    PlayStation takes over Londons Underground signs with iconic shapes

    Sometimes marketing stunts make so much sense we can't help but stan.


    PlayStation has teamed up with Transport for London to temporarily rebrand some of the city's iconic Underground stations with the console's signature shapes, marking the release of the PS5.

    Roundel signs marking the Oxford Circus Tube station entrances have been rebranded with the PlayStation controller's button shapes (leaving the classic red circle as is), and the interior walls of the Bakerloo, Victoria, and Central line platforms have had their wall signs replaced too.

    Specially designed roundels are unveiled at Oxford Circus to celebrate the UK launch of PlayStation 5. Credit: Matt Crossick / PA Wire

    We'd be pretty happy to see these designs up for longer than 48 hours, to be honest.

    PlayStation UK teamed up with Transport for London for a 48-hour takeover. Credit: Matt Crossick / PA Wire

    Other stations have also been rebranded as part of the campaign, including Mile End station which will be known as "Miles End" in honour of the release of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales.

    SEE ALSO: 'Spider-Man: Miles Morales' is a thrilling, much-needed update in a diverse Spider-verse

    Seven Sisters is now "Gran Turismo 7 Sisters" for the forthcoming instalment of the racing game, West Ham is "Horizon Forbidden West Ham" named for the upcoming sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn, and Lancaster Gate is "Ratchet and Clankaster Gate" after classic PlayStation adventure game Ratchet and Clank.

    Rebranded interior walls too. Credit: Matt Crossick / PA Wire

    The Oxford Circus takeover will remain up just for 48 hours on Nov. 18 and 19, while those at Mile End, Lancaster Gate, Seven Sisters, and West Ham will stay up until Dec. 16. If you're in London, remember, the city's still under England's national lockdown, so you should only be checking out the signs as part of a journey for work, education or other essential services.

    Yes, it's a marketing campaign, but it's a clever blending of two iconic popular culture uses of simple shapes — it undeniably makes sense.

    It's the little details. Credit: Matt Crossick / PA Wire

    The release of the PlayStation 5 has been met with both celebration and criticism. If you've got one already, or are thinking about it, here are five settings you should tweak on it immediately.

  • 3 surprising drugs being repurposed to fight COVID-19

    3 surprising drugs being repurposed to fight COVID-19

    It’s been a year(Opens in a new tab) since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in Wuhan, China, and in that time, we’ve gone from not even having a name for the disease to developing treatments and approving two vaccines for emergency use. Despite how far we’ve come, scientists are still hard at work finding more effective ways to treat for the disease. Many treatments being tested are already used for other diseases — in fact, you may even have heard of them before.


    Here are four surprisingly ubiquitous drugs that are being tested as treatments for COVID-19.

    The BCG Vaccine

    Although you may not have heard of this vaccine, it’s one of the most widely used(Opens in a new tab) in the world, as well as one of the oldest. The Bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccine, named for the two French scientists who developed it, is one of the only vaccines being tested for COVID-19 that was created to prevent a completely different disease: tuberculosis(Opens in a new tab) (TB). It was developed a century ago in 1921, and is typically given outside the United States in areas where TB is still common. It’s also given to children in the U.S. who might be at particular risk for developing TB.

    Unfortunately, the BCG vaccine is not consistently effective(Opens in a new tab) at preventing lung disease from TB, particularly in adults. But early on, researchers noticed that it seemed to reduce deaths from diseases that had nothing to do with TB. Since then, researchers have found that the vaccine has a wide range of beneficial effects(Opens in a new tab) on the immune system unrelated to TB, called off-target effects. A form of the vaccine is even approved in the U.S. as an immune therapy(Opens in a new tab) for patients with bladder cancer because of these unexpected benefits.

    The vaccine has also shown some promise in treating respiratory infections like COVID-19, and studies examining the vaccine’s effect on COVID-19 have had some encouraging results. A study(Opens in a new tab) published in November showed that in a group of about 6,000 healthcare workers, those who had received the BCG vaccine previously were less likely to have had COVID-19 and generally had fewer symptoms.

    “It would be wonderful if one of the oldest vaccines that we have could help defeat the world's newest pandemic."

    “It would be wonderful if one of the oldest vaccines that we have could help defeat the world's newest pandemic," Dr. Moshe Arditi, director of the Pediatric and Infectious Diseases and Immunology Division at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and co-senior author of the study, said in a press release(Opens in a new tab).

    But an October analysis(Opens in a new tab) did not find a notable link between areas where the BCG vaccine is more frequently given and fewer deaths from COVID-19, despite earlier analyses that did. The World Health Organization also says(Opens in a new tab) there’s not yet enough evidence to say if the vaccine is useful against COVID-19.

    Importantly, no true clinical trials, which compare those who receive the vaccine to people who get a placebo, have been completed. But there are more than two dozen current clinical trials(Opens in a new tab) of the vaccine related to COVID-19 worldwide, with one, a Mexican trial(Opens in a new tab) of 900 healthcare workers, due to be completed in January 2021. Although that trial and others might provide valuable data about how well the vaccine works against COVID-19, the first(Opens in a new tab) U.S. BCG trials aren't set to finish(Opens in a new tab) until November 2021. Although the U.S. and other counties have already approved COVID-19-specific vaccines, the BCG vaccine, if proven effective against COVID-19, could still provide protection to people unable to get one of the new vaccines. "It is a potentially important bridge that could offer some benefit until we have the most effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines made widely available," said Arditi. So a century-old TB vaccine could still become a valuable tool in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.


    To many, the name of the drug thalidomide conjures up horrifying images of the public health crisis it once caused. In the later '50s and early '60s, many pregnant women(Opens in a new tab) took thalidomide to treat morning sickness. But the drug, which hadn’t been tested in pregnant women, caused severe birth defects(Opens in a new tab), like stunted or missing limbs. The crisis was so severe that it prompted the U.S. to impose many of the strict guidelines(Opens in a new tab) for drug testing that we have today.

    Children affected by thalidomide, like this boy, often had shortened, misshapen, or missing limbs. Credit: ullstein bild via Getty Images

    Thalidomide is still used, although not for morning sickness. In the U.S., it’s approved(Opens in a new tab) to treat multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, and complications of leprosy. It’s also been investigated as a treatment for many other conditions, like the H1N1 “swine flu” and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a chronic lung disease that causes scar tissue to grow in the lungs. A small 2012 study(Opens in a new tab) of 23 patients with this condition found that thalidomide improved cough and other respiratory symptoms.

    Because thalidomide seems to decrease inflammation, can calm the immune system, and has had some success treating serious respiratory disease, some scientists(Opens in a new tab) think it could help decrease the inflammation that COVID-19 causes and combat a “cytokine storm” — an immune system overreaction that severe COVID-19 often induces.

    So far, there’s very limited information on how well the drug might work as a treatment for COVID-19. A recent Chinese study(Opens in a new tab) retrospectively examined the effect of thalidomide combined with a steroid on six patients with severe COVID-19. It found that the treatment reduced both how long patients had the disease and how long they were hospitalized. A June case study(Opens in a new tab) published by some of the same authors had similar results for the patient it examined.

    Given thalidomide’s history, however, researchers are understandably cautious about its repurposing. In a paper(Opens in a new tab) examining the evidence for thalidomide’s use against COVID-19, researchers at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon and Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar noted that thalidomide is approved to treat very few conditions because of its serious side effects. These include causing blood clots and long-term nerve damage(Opens in a new tab). “Repurposing thalidomide based on the first glance at its proven efficiency in some pulmonary inflammatory conditions is inadequate,” write the authors.

    They also note that although there are two current Chinese clinical trials of the drug for COVID-19, neither has started recruiting participants yet, and both were set to be finished by June 2020. Although it’s unclear why this is, it might be because China has had very few cases of the disease since March. The trials are also small, phase two tests, with the larger(Opens in a new tab) having 100 patients and the smaller(Opens in a new tab) just 40. So despite its surprising promise, it’s unclear when, if ever, thalidomide might be used to treat COVID-19.


    You might not think of melatonin as a drug at all; in the U.S, melatonin is considered a supplement(Opens in a new tab) and is not strictly regulated the way drugs are, although it’s a prescription drug in other counties. Melatonin is a hormone which helps regulate when we sleep and wake up, and many people take it to help them fall asleep. However, there’s conflicting data(Opens in a new tab) on whether it actually works as a sleep aid. In the U.S., melatonin is not approved to treat any medical condition, although it has been investigated, with mixed results, as a treatment for everything from cancer to high blood pressure.

    So it would be surprising if melatonin were approved to treat any medical condition, let alone COVID-19. But many researchers think melatonin could benefit COVID-19 patients. A team of Chinese and U.S. researchers published a paper(Opens in a new tab) in June asserting that melatonin might be useful as a COVID-19 treatment because of effects it can have related to reducing inflammation, calming the immune system, and helping the body repair damage. Other researchers(Opens in a new tab) have echoed its promise, emphasizing that melatonin is very safe to use.

    Research so far has been promising, but preliminary. A recent analysis(Opens in a new tab) done by researchers at the Cleveland Clinic found that patients taking melatonin were nearly 30 percent less likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19, and among African Americans, who have been particularly impacted by the pandemic, that number rose to 52 percent. Another study(Opens in a new tab), which has not yet been reviewed by other scientists, found that both COVID-19 and other patients who had to use ventilators fared better when given melatonin.

    “It is very important to note these findings do not suggest people should start to take melatonin without consulting their physician,” Feixiong Cheng, a computational biologist at the Cleveland Clinic’s Genomic Medicine Institute and the lead author on the first study, said in a press release(Opens in a new tab). But he is “excited about the associations put forth in this study and the opportunity to further explore them.”

    At least eight clinical trials(Opens in a new tab) are investigating if melatonin can be used either alone or with other treatments against COVID-19, including three in the U.S. The U.S trials range in size from just 30(Opens in a new tab) participants to nearly 400(Opens in a new tab), and other trials, like one(Opens in a new tab) in Spain and another(Opens in a new tab) in Mexico, were set to be completed already, although it’s unclear if they were or have yet yielded any results. The first(Opens in a new tab) U.S. trial isn’t set to finish until March 2021, so we may have to wait a while longer to know whether COVID-19 could become the first disease that melatonin is approved to treat in the U.S.

    Although these treatments might not end up being as effective as newer, specially-developed drugs, repurposing older treatments, when done in a safe and careful way, can save money, time, effort, and even lives. Although none of these drugs are new, using them to successfully combat COVID-19 would give them new life, making them one piece of the puzzle that will eventually help end this global pandemic.

  • Everyones thirsty for Emma DArcys Negroni Sbagliato... with Prosecco in it

    Everyones thirsty for Emma DArcys Negroni Sbagliato... with Prosecco in it

    Haven't you heard, a Negroni Sbagliato (with Prosecco in it) is the drink du jour thanks to House of the Dragon star Emma D'Arcy's heavenly delivery.


    A certain clip of House of the Dragon actors Olivia Cooke and D'Arcy is circulating all over TikTok. In a getting-to-know-you video(Opens in a new tab) posted to HBO Max's YouTube channel, Cooke asks D'Arcy, "What's your drink of choice?" With a raise of their brow, D'Arcy smoothly answers, "A Negroni. Sbagliato... with Prosecco in it." The combination of their accents and the palpable chemistry between the two has captivated all corners of the internet.

    A pronunciation hasn't had this much of a hold on TikTok since Julia Fox's legendary "Uncut Jaaahmz." But while Fox's enunciation was absurdist, D'Arcy's accent is actively making people horny.

    For those who are just now catching up, a Negroni Sbagliato is a Negroni (equals parts gin, red vermouth, and Campari) that replaces gin with Prosecco. The TikTok bartender community was quick to point out the redundancy of D'Arcy's phrasing, but frankly, we wouldn't want it any other way.

    "The way that they say it is so satisfying," Sarah Louise Rhodes tells Mashable. She's currently a graduate student in South Carolina who runs @thespritzeffect(Opens in a new tab), a cocktail recipes TikTok account. Rhodes is one of many content creators who posted a video demonstrating how to make a Negroni Spagliato. Her video accumulated over 1 million views and received over 80,000 likes.

    "As a cocktail content creator, when there's a viral sound that has to do with cocktails, it's like, 'I've got to jump on that,'" she says. "By Saturday night, most of my like mutual cocktail content creators had also used that sound. It was kind of like a race, like, 'Oh, we we've all got to use this viral sound because it has to do with what we do.'"

    It's not just bartenders and cocktail crafters getting in on the trend. Frankie Simmons, a 27-year-old lifestyle content creator in Fort Worth, Texas posted(Opens in a new tab) a non-alcoholic Negroni Sbagliato for the "sober curious girlies." "I saw so many people that were enjoying it and talking about ordering it, and I realized that a lot of people in my audience were also seeing this content," Simmons tells Mashable. "I wanted to make the trend accessible to people that are trying not to drink at the moment."

    People are making a lot of noise online about the Negroni Sbagliato, but has this trend transcended shitposting and entered the real world?

    "It's fascinating because it's a polarizing cocktail. So many people are going out and trying this cocktail that most of them are not going to like because it's so bitter. It goes to show how a viral sound will get people to try something that they normally wouldn't," says Rhodes.

    Rebecca Rampersaud, a 29-year-old fashion and tech entrepreneur in Leeds and House of the Dragon fan, posted a Negroni Sbagliato recipe to her TikTok account @beccasaud(Opens in a new tab). Her video accumulated nearly 900,000 views and over 46,000 likes. But despite posting the recipe several days ago, Rampersaud admits she has yet to try a Negroni Sbagliato herself, but she plans to make it tonight. "[If my video hadn't blown up] I don't think I would have ended up making it," she tells Mashable.

    Maybe this is just a classic case of an internet trend having no real-world impact, or maybe the Negroni Sbagliato will become the new Aperol Spritz. Either way, the one thing the internet can agree on is that they're all thirsty for D'Arcy.

  • Chris Evans styles out this whole situation with a tweet to make Captain America proud

    Chris Evans styles out this whole situation with a tweet to make Captain America proud

    If you've been anywhere near the internet over the past couple of days, you've probably heard the news about Chris Evans' Instagram mishap.


    Well, now the man himself has acknowledged it — and his response is surely one that his superhero alter-ego Captain America would firmly approve of.

    On Monday night, the Marvel star took to Twitter to post the following:

    Simple, but undeniably effective. Sometimes all you need is a face-palm emoji, a shruggy emoji, and a clear call to action for your 6.1 million followers.

    SEE ALSO: 'Knives Out' is the perfect movie to get into the autumn spirit

    As Nov. 3 — Election Day in the U.S. — draws closer, more and more celebrities like Michelle Obama(Opens in a new tab) have been encouraging people to turn out and vote. Evans recently set up his own political website aimed at informing voters on different politicians' viewpoints and stances, so it makes sense that he'd want to encourage as much participation as possible.

    At the time of writing, his tweet has well over 100,000 retweets. It's also prompted responses from a number of Evans' famous pals.

    Well played, Chris.