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5 things autistic people should know about cooking

2023-03-19 06:16:07

5 things autistic people should know about cooking

The Autism-Friendly Cookbook by journalist Lydia Wilkins compiles 100 recipes created for for autistic adults and teens to turn to when cooking for friends, lacking inspiration, or on low-energy or meltdown days.

5 things autistic people should know about cooking(图1)

The recipes also offer adaptations for people who are sensory seekers, sensory avoiders or who want to broaden their cooking horizons in the kitchen. The book has four core chapters and suits a range of dietary needs including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free.

Below, you can read an extract and a recipe from the The Autism-Friendly Cookbook(Opens in a new tab), published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers on Nov. 21.

Five golden rules for autistic people in the kitchen

These five rules should make up the common ground of what any autistic individual needs to remember while using The Autism-Friendly Cookbook and cooking, baking, or working with food.

1. Knowing how to help yourself can be helpful

From the point of diagnosis, there seems to be this odd idea about how to deal with acknowledging that someone is on the autistic spectrum. I know of parents who have hidden their autistic child’s diagnosis, only for the child to later find out as an adult, having spent years wondering why they were different, unable to articulate or understand why. This seems to so often be dismissed as "typical teenage angst" – whatever that means – when there is an actual underlying reason. Anecdotally, there are stories where the child – now a "grown-up" – would later argue that difficulties they struggled with in the present went back to having spent so much time spent struggling, having lived under a cloud of "not knowing" and feeling out of place.

SEE ALSO: What you should know about autism

The justification that often came up? "I don’t want my child to experience stigma." But that is allowing a struggle to go on and is arguably worse than a stigma that is in need of challenging in the first place. Knowing yourself, your strengths and challenges you face has a huge range of benefits. "Stigma" is more of a "what if" concept – "what if I experience this?" – a hypothetical scenario.

Many autistic people spoke or wrote to me about how they did not learn how to cook or prepare food because lessons were not accessible.

While I understand why some may suggest they want to shield others from stigma, you cannot live life in a perpetual state of "what if". You will never know what will happen; you may even later wonder, "What could have been if…?" It also suggests that stigma is the responsibility of the autistic individual. Understanding yourself – what you find difficult or easy, your preferred textures, your sensory profile, possible triggers for distress – can have a hugely positive impact, as we can start to help ourselves when it comes to adapting the kitchen and making food accessible. We will be delving more into this in the next chapter, by way of "lifting the lid" on all things sensory. It can be difficult, and there is never just a stage of "I have learned everything". We are all works in progress, after all.

2. There is no shame in the 'not knowing' of something

My job [as a journalist] relies on asking questions, which is not just in the context of an interview. Information is what empowers all of us and is what we all effectively run on; we give and receive information on a day-by-day basis. We tweet it, blog it, Facebook it, WhatsApp it, exchange it in conversation; it is the very basis of what constitutes a society of people. It is the very fabric that binds us all together as a species.

SEE ALSO: How to explain autism to kids

There is a huge gap in food education when it comes to autistic individuals, but research has yet to quantify this. At the time of writing, there is no data to officially provide context, but it is blindingly obvious from anecdotes, interviews, or just friendly conversations with autistic people. Many autistic people spoke or wrote to me about how they did not learn how to cook or prepare food because lessons were not accessible – or that they had not learned because they were perceived as not needing to know how to prepare food, on the basis of their condition.

Another common theme was bullying and discrimination, very often connected to the state of not knowing. Some also had another condition that meant an extra layer of support was needed, which can happen when someone is on the autistic spectrum, but with infantilization added to the mix. All played a part in making the kitchen a place where many were extremely uncomfortable and/or anxious/apprehensive at times. There is no shame in the not knowing – we are all entitled, by the basic right of being a human being, to information. Information empowers us, and it is how we learn. Inaccessibility, discrimination and bullying have no place in the twenty-first century.

3. Cook for yourself – and not for the approval of anyone else

We are all familiar with those moments where something is just bound to go wrong, when we end up asking, "Why me?" I have had many of those while baking and cooking, preparing the most basic of meals. For example, during one of the COVID-19 lockdowns, virtually everyone in the UK tried baking banana bread. Mine leaked out of the improvised cake tin, as the bottom was not screwed properly into place. Not bad for a first attempt, perhaps, but it did go badly wrong and was a lot smaller than it should have been and more shrivelled as a result.

Before the pandemic, at the suggestion of a lecturer, I baked a weekly cake for a particular class while attending college. It was a way to make friends, apparently – my social skills are not the best, after all – but I would argue people just talked to me because of the prospect of free cake. I was baking every week for approval, which became something quite stressful. (I also remained relatively lonely, more likely to turn to books as a result.)

SEE ALSO: 'Cooking in a Wheelchair' is a joyful, accessible YouTube show full of practical tips

Each and every single cake would have a satirical, tongue-in-cheek theme. It was the year Donald Trump was elected, and some of us felt really sad – we got through it on the basis of puns. Cake can do a lot for misery, sometimes. Just something to bear in mind. The more I cooked or baked for approval, the more I found that something was liable to go wrong. This is just one example of that manifesting itself. Or, failing that, I could always see the faults and the flaws of what I had (imperfectly) produced. My nature can be a little too perfectionist, thanks to often trying to compensate for my executive functioning challenges. So, learn from my mistake: cook for yourself, and only yourself. The moment I did this, my self-confidence began to approve massively. And if someone criticizes that delicious, chocolate sponge cake you tried to create, because you turned it into something that looked a little like a monster to cover up some not very noticeable flaws, they can always go without a slice.

4. To be accessible, we are going to have to let go of the neurotypical standards most kitchens go by

It is something that should not have to be said, let alone written in a book. We should not have to wear lanyards just to ensure basic standards, or even phone ahead to get access to venues. We should not have to lobby constantly for a basic "levelling up" of standards we are eligible for, just to reach the same standards set for a very niche demographic society holds up as "normal". We should not have to prove that we are autistic enough when applying for Personal Independence Payment, a specific benefit in the UK, to try to avoid a tribunal yet still be set up to fail. Can I let you into a secret? Come closer…closer. Whispers Accessibility matters – and to make the kitchen accessible, we are going to have to rewrite neurotypical standards of what it means to be accessible. It also will have a positive impact for everyone, and is not just ‘preferential treatment’, a phrase that seems to crop up in justifications to not provide basic accessible arrangements, when legally they should already be in place.

To make the kitchen accessible, we are going to have to rewrite neurotypical standards of what it means to be accessible.

It took me so many years to realize that I judged myself too harshly by marking myself against neurotypical standards, such as when it came to productivity, fitness, or any other ability. The feeling of "I am not good enough but what is it that is wrong with me?" was – and still is – immense at times. The same can said for my hit and miss style of working – well, trying to work – in the kitchen. This is a story that I see so very often when it comes to other autistic folk, too. The frustration was almost palpable; it was the taste of metal in your mouth, the feel of a balled-up fist just before a meltdown, the lack of follow-through. We will keep rules that define things such as safety, as well as keeping standards of food care in place, too. But we will not keep the standard of ‘everything having to be perfect’ – from the presentation of a recipe to the food combinations. Mistakes happen. And people sometimes have tastes that may seem outlandish to some of us – such as peanut butter on sliced apple. (That’s my sibling who likes that. Now, that is something we will never see eye to eye on. Yuck.) Cook for yourself and try to learn to let go of impossible standards. You will feel so much better for it, trust me.

SEE ALSO: 4 ways tech has helped my autistic son

5. We are but a tapestry in progress

The world would be a very boring place if we were all the same, with no difference, no creativity, no originality. It is the in-between where what makes us human begins and ends. We all have our faults and flaws, our better sides and more positive days. It may be frustrating at times to acquire new skills over time, but there is something beautiful in that. Be kind to yourself.

Conventional autumn fruit crumble

Serves four to six people
Duration: 45 minutes to 1 hour
Energy rating: Low

Skill level: Easy

To make when: you need to entertain family relatives – such as if they have driven a long way to see you to stay over for the weekend; your housemates have all decided to stay in for the evening and you need a pudding of some sort.

Crumble is a smell I strongly associate with my childhood. This recipe has a hands-on element, so sensory avoiders may wish to use disposable gloves.

Equipment you'll need

1 butter knife
1 mixing bowl
1 set of digital scales
1 ceramic baking dish
1 piece of kitchen roll paper
1 tablespoon
1 silicone or wooden spoon


250 grams (9 ounces) of butter plus a little extra to grease your ceramic baking dish
4 tablespoons of plain flour/all-purpose flour
1 bag of frozen blackberries and raspberries
2 pinches of brown sugar

How to make

Pre-preparation: Take the butter out of your fridge and allow to come to room temperature; this will make it easier to work with in the long run. Chop up into rough small chunks and put it all in the mixing bowl; measure out the flour and also add to the mixing bowl. Grease your baking ceramic dish with a little butter on the kitchen paper. Put the fruit into it.


1. Set your oven to 180°C/350°F and allow to heat up.

2. Rub together the flour and the butter together to get a crumb like mixture; this can take up to 10 minutes and will be the top of your crumble. Spread it evenly on top of the fruit, covering the fruit completely.

3. Sprinkle 2 pinches of brown sugar across the top of the crumble. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Expand your repertoire

Try sprinkling other things on top of the crumble in addition to or instead of the sugar; desiccated coconut is one thing you could try! Porridge oats could also make a healthier mix during step 2; Re-plate half of the flour with porridge oats.

The Autism-Friendly Cookbook(Opens in a new tab), published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers on Nov. 21, is available from bookstores now.

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    "Hi, remember me???" a friend replied to my Instagram story one Saturday. She had texted me the day before, and I hadn't forgotten to respond. I'd had a truly horrible week and wanted to take the weekend to recover. I had every intention of replying to her non-urgent text on Monday, but because she saw me using Instagram, she felt I should have texted her back already.

    Unless the person you message has read receipts turned on, you likely won't be able to tell when, or if, they've had a chance to read your texts. If you picture someone being too busy to stop and look at their phones — as I'm sure my friend was doing with me — it's easy to rationalize delayed responses. But if a person you've messaged posts to social media before replying to you, their silence in DMs is often taken as a slap in the face.

    The common thought process here is that if someone has the time to casually be online, then they must have time to reply to your text. If they're on social media, they're clearly using technology, so why can't they take a few extra minutes to answer you?

    On the surface, this logic makes sense. But it's not always as simple as someone failing to carve out time. People might be posting to social media during a quick break from work, they could be using social media to distract themselves from daily dread, or they might quickly post something in the presence of other people and not have the time to devote to texting. There's also the chance that they just might have forgotten to reply.

    When my friend called me out for not answering her, I replied honestly. I explained that for me, posting on social media requires much less effort than engaging in a personal conversation. I told her I was taking the weekend to recharge my social batteries, and she was super understanding. We ended up having a really productive conversation about how texting isn't always as easy as it sounds.

    Sometimes self-care means not texting back right away

    Depending on the conversation topic and where you're at in life mentally/emotionally, chatting with people can be challenging.

    Reminding myself that texts like, "How are you?" can demand significantly more detailed responses than than texts like, "Have you watched Better Call Saul yet?" helps me understand and justify delayed responses. And acknowledging that mindlessly scrolling through Twitter or posting photos of food can be easier than talking about your life helped me accept that it's perfectly fine to use social media in between receiving and answering texts.

    How have I been? What a stacked question. Credit: screenshot / nicole gallucci

    Sometimes self-care means not texting back right away, and that became extraordinarily clear to me this year amid the coronavirus pandemic and George Floyd protests.

    When my mind was racing to grapple with all the new coronavirus social distancing guidelines, medical research, and death tolls, I had trouble replying to texts in a timely manner. I did, however, find some semblance of calm on Instagram, and I continued sharing informative updates on Twitter.

    And after George Floyd died on May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes, I barely texted anyone for days. I took time to watch protests spread around the world; to read books and articles, and to watch films to further educate myself on the history of racism and police brutality. I made an effort to donate to organizations, sign petitions, and support black-owned businesses.

    Though I didn't feel ready to reply to non-urgent texts for a full week, I felt it was imperative that I continue to use my social media platforms to help raise awareness on the issues at hand and share invaluable resources.

    Exceptions to the rule

    If you're not in the right mindset to reply to text messages immediately, you shouldn't. Prioritizing your mental health is important. But you should also choose which texts to leave hanging on a case-by-case basis.

    Always keep a message's content and urgency in mind. If someone's asking a question that requires an immediate response, do your best to respond in a timely fashion. And if someone needs help, you obviously shouldn't ignore them.

    Wait a bit, but don't ghost people forever. Credit: vicky leta / mashable

    If you wait to text back, be sure to acknowledge and apologize for the delay when you do get around to it. You can even be upfront with people and let them know upon receiving their message that you need a day or two to get back to them — that way you can relax without the unanswered text lingering in the back of your mind. Be honest with people if you're too overwhelmed to chat, but please avoid using that viral text reply template.

    And remember, there's definitely a difference between waiting until you feel emotionally ready to text someone back and straight-up ghosting them. Don't ghost people, that's rude as hell.

    Be kind to yourself and others

    Ultimately, it's crucial to keep in mind that you never know exactly what someone is going through when they receive your text messages.

    Cut yourself, and others, some slack, and try not to read too much into text delays — even if you see people posting on social media before they've replied. (If the wait really bothers you, you can always confront them about it. And you might end up having an eye-opening talk like I did with my friend.)

    As someone who's avoided replying to family members and friends I absolutely adore because of sheer emotional exhaustion, I can tell you that delays aren't always ill-intentioned. Sometimes people are just overwhelmed.

  • Now you can identify plants and pooches right in Snapchat

    Now you can identify plants and pooches right in Snapchat

    Have you ever seen a dog so adorable or a plant so lush out in the wild that you had to know what it was right then and there?


    Snap announced new partnerships on Thursday with the apps Dog Scanner(Opens in a new tab) and PlantSnap(Opens in a new tab) that will allow Snapchat users to do just that. Snapchatters can identify dogs or plants they encounter in the real world by scanning them right in Snapchat.

    When you press and hold on the camera screen in Snapchat, lenses that are relevant to what the camera is pointing at are unlocked. For example, if I point and hold the camera on my dog right now, lenses that put sunglasses or heart eyes specifically formatted for the shape face of a dog appear.

    Now, if you point the camera at a particularly Good Boy you see, you can access a lens that tells you what breed the dog is, using the data and A.I. of Dog Scanner, which recognizes nearly 400 dog breeds (my dog would get 100 percent purebred mutt). And if you focus your lens on a tree, bush or bud that catches your eye, you'll be able to identify 90 percent of known plants and trees with the PlantSnap integration.

    Gotta snap that plant!!! Credit: snap

    Snap announced the new features at the Snap Partner Summit, which it held virtually Thursday.

    The ability to identify two of earth's best things — dogs and plants — through your smartphone, of course already exists; Dog Scanner and PlantSnap are standalone apps. But it's helpful that the capability comes within Snapchat itself if you're either someone who uses the app frequently already, or doesn't want to have to download a new app for each object you want your smartphone to help identify.

    Plus, more categories are coming soon. An upcoming integration with the food and cosmetics scanning app Yuka(Opens in a new tab) will let Snapchatters unlock nutrition facts when they point and hold the camera at a food item. Snap already lets you point and hold to identify a song through Shazam, solve math problems with Photomath, and identify (and shop for) products sold on Amazon.

    The dog and plant integrations are the sort of typically playful and fun feature that Snapchat is known for. However, the lens product also holds opportunity for further monetization for the company, as Snap CEO Evan Spiegel pointed out during a Q&A with reporters. For example, Snap unveiled a partnership with Louis Vuitton that allows users to point and hold on the monogram logo, which then takes users to content about their new collection. It's easy to see how — similar to the Amazon integration — this could lead to not just brand content and awareness, but shopping.

    Snap made some other announcements around lenses for both developers and users Thursday. It's making more lens development templates available, such as ways to interact with — wait for it — feet (this could enable experiences like virtually trying on shoes).

    On the user side, pointing and holding in a neighborhood will now unlock "local lenses," which lets users actually decorate buildings and other landmarks in AR. It's kind of like a shared street art experience, in which users build on each other's creations, that anyone in the physical space can access.

    Snapchat's innovation in AR has helped the company keep its creative edge, even as companies like Facebook continually try to copy it. The biggest trouble with Snapchat's AR products is keeping track of all the things the app can do in a sometimes difficult to navigate lens ecosystem. But with a new voice search feature and a souped up Activity Bar, also announced Thursday, Snap's working on that, too.

  • Fox News used doctored images to, uh, report on Seattle protests

    Fox News used doctored images to, uh, report on Seattle protests

    A protest against the police killing of George Floyd and police brutality in Seattle has been mostly characterized by drum circles, speakers(Opens in a new tab) and movie screenings. But if you only tuned into Fox News for coverage of these demonstrations, you might think it was full of burning buildings and armed guards.


    On Friday, Fox News published several digitally altered images of the demonstrations on its website, which the Seattle Times caught(Opens in a new tab). It's not clear who is responsible for tweaking the images.

    One photo, shown on Fox's homepage on Friday, placed a man with a rifle standing in front of a sign that reads "You are now entering Free Cap Hill." The street scene and the man who appears in it come from two different photos, taken more than a week apart.

    The sign in that photo refers to the newly-dubbed Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, a stretch of six blocks set up by protesters in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood to create "a police-free" independent zone, The Guardian reported(Opens in a new tab). It was established after the Seattle police abandoned a precinct in the neighborhood(Opens in a new tab) and converted the area into a festival-like space.

    The conservative outlet also published a photo of a person running past a fiery building and car to accompany stories on the Seattle protest. The headline read "CRAZY TOWN." The photo is actually from St. Paul, Minn. and was taken on May 30, according to the Seattle Times.

    After the Times reached out to Fox News about the photos, they were removed. But a Fox News spokeswoman also said the following, "We have replaced our photo illustration with the clearly delineated images of a gunman and a shattered storefront, both of which were taken this week in Seattle’s autonomous zone.”

    The Times pushed back on this statement writing in its article that "the gunman photo was taken June 10, while storefront images it was melded with were datelined May 30 by Getty Images."

    Though, as the Times reports, the demonstration has seen armed protesters it is nothing like the scene Fox attempted to purport with its misleading use of images.

    As a photojournalism ethics educator told the Times, "I think it’s disgraceful propaganda and terribly misrepresentative of documentary journalism in times like this, when truth-telling and accountability is so important,” said Kenny Irby. “There is no attribution. There is no acknowledgment of the montage, and it’s terribly misleading.”

    On Saturday, Fox News appended an editor's note to the stories featuring altered images expressing regret for "these errors."

    A home page photo collage which originally accompanied this story included multiple scenes from Seattle’s “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” and of wreckage following recent riots. The collage did not clearly delineate between these images, and has since been replaced. In addition, a recent slideshow depicting scenes from Seattle mistakenly included a picture from St. Paul, Minnesota. Fox News regrets these errors.

    UPDATE: June 13, 2020, 4:06 p.m. EDT Added the editor's note that's been appended to stories on the Fox News website featuring the misleading images.

  • In honor of Trumps birthday, people tweet praise for Obama

    In honor of Trumps birthday, people tweet praise for Obama

    Donald Trump turned 74 on Sunday. So, naturally, people celebrated the occasion by tweeting about the person who perhaps gets under his skin the most: Barack Obama. (Sunday was also Flag Day, but we feel like that wasn't the impetus here.)


    The former president trended on the platform(Opens in a new tab) for much of the day, frequently under hashtags like #BarackObamaDay, #ObamaDayUSA, and #ObamaDayJune14th. Users tweeted corny praise for the former president alongside statements about Trump's incompetence. Some were oblique: "Smart intelligence leadership. I miss that every day," one person wrote. Others were more pointed: "Best president in my lifetime. Right @realdonaldtrump? You're the worst," wrote another(Opens in a new tab).

    Still others made references to Saturday's ramp fiasco, when Trump stepped gingerly down a ramp after his West Point graduation speech, got made fun of, then lied about it being slippery in a later tweet. One user, for example, tweeted a photo(Opens in a new tab) of Obama walking down a "slippery wet sidewalk."

    SEE ALSO: Michelle Obama to 2020 graduates: 'Finish the work the generations before you have started'

    While not explicitly related to Obama, #AllBirthdaysMatter — a troll-y reference to the dismissive slogan "All lives matter,"(Opens in a new tab) which is often employed in attempts to discredit the Black Lives Matter movement — also trended briefly above Trump's birthday. Of course, the K-pop fans participated.

    Like most Resistance Twitter(Opens in a new tab) trends, the tweets skewed largely corny, were very reductive, and suffered from an overuse of hashtags. But Trump also takes the bait on this kind of thing all the time, so perhaps it genuinely bothered him. In any event, we're sure the Krassenstein brothers(Opens in a new tab) would be proud.

  • Elon Musk says Juneteenth is a holiday at Tesla, just not a paid holiday

    Elon Musk says Juneteenth is a holiday at Tesla, just not a paid holiday

    Juneteenth is a holiday at Tesla and SpaceX now, but it's not that simple.


    Elon Musk announced the company policy on Twitter on Friday. Also known as Freedom Day, the holiday commemorates the day Major General Gordon Granger and Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas with federal orders that the state's enslaved people were declared free. The day has not only come to symbolize the end of slavery in the United States, but also the continued fight against systemic oppression of Black people.

    The day carries extra weight this year. It comes after weeks of protests against police brutality in response to the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by a white police officer. While the day is considered a state holiday in Texas and official one in New York City, it isn't yet a federal holiday. Many organizations(Opens in a new tab), including Nike, Twitter, and the NFL are commemorating Juneteenth by giving employees a paid holiday. Others are taking smaller steps, like Google, which has just asked for employees to cancel unnecessary meetings on Friday.

    Tesla and SpaceX are joining in, sort of. Musk tweeted that the day is "considered a U.S. holiday" at both companies.

    But when a Twitter user expressed his appreciation, Musk clarified that like other holidays at Tesla and SpaceX, employees had to use their previously allotted paid time off, or a vacation day, to have the day off from work.

    This comes after CNBC(Opens in a new tab) reported on internal emails that showed Tesla first told employees they could take Juneteenth off, but it would be considered an unpaid absence. Tesla also told employees they could take off after many had already started their work day, according to emails shared on Twitter(Opens in a new tab) by Buzzfeed News reporter Ryan Mac.

    So his nod to Juneteenth, the history behind it, and the ongoing oppression that Black people in this country face doesn't quite hit the mark.

    Musk was thoroughly eviscerated by other Twitter users.

    Meanwhile in Washington on Friday, Sens. Ed Markey, Corey Booker, Tina Smith, and Kamala Harris proposed a bill(Opens in a new tab) to make Juneteenth a national holiday. The last national holiday(Opens in a new tab) approved by Congress was Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.

  • 7 of the best face masks of 2020 so far

    7 of the best face masks of 2020 so far

    Face masks came roaring into vogue this year, first due to smoke from the Australian bushfires, then due to the global coronavirus pandemic. While the accessories have been common in Asian countries for a long time, 2020 saw them widely adopted internationally as health issues dominated the news cycle.


    Though face masks are primarily tools for protecting health, a plethora of interesting, eye-catching designs have emerged as they've quickly become a must-have accessory. From pretty to practical to political, here are some of the best face masks of 2020.

    1. Knit monster masks

    This mask won't protect you from viruses, but it will probably encourage others to keep their social distance. Credit: Ýrúrarí

    The world is monstrous, so here are some monstrous masks to match it. Icelandic artist (Opens in a new tab)Ýrúrarí(Opens in a new tab) has worked in sculptural knitting for years, but only started adding soft teeth and tongues to face masks in 2020.

    "Now face masks are becoming such a necessity and part of our life I thought it could be interesting to translate my ideas into that form, inspired by current events," Ýrúrarí told Mashable in an email. The result is a series of grotesque masks that will definitely prompt others to keep their social distance.

    Ýrúrarí sells knitting patterns(Opens in a new tab) for some of her sculpture elements, so you can create your own personal mouth horror. Her knitted masks are designed for aesthetics rather than safety though, so you’d have to wear another protective face mask beneath them.

    2. 'Face' masks

    Vaguely unsettling, but also pretty practical. Credit: resting risk face

    The idea of printing faces onto masks so they’d work with facial recognition initially began as a joke, but product designer Danielle Baskin(Opens in a new tab) is now working on actually creating the masks.

    Baskin’s service Maskalike(Opens in a new tab) intends to launch fabric masks with people’s faces printed onto them first, which won’t unlock a phone. However, she is also developing contoured masks(Opens in a new tab) which work with iPhone's Face ID(Opens in a new tab), provided your masked face is registered as an Alternate Appearance. Print half a face on them, and voila: practical yet unsettling phone-unlocking masks.

    Making masks iPhone compatible isn’t the only advantage to this project, Baskin told Mashable some people think they would be useful in hospitals. "Waking up to a room of faceless masked doctors can be unsettling, but if masks had a unique print on them, maybe being in a room of doctors would be a more warm or lighter experience."

    Also offering a lighter experience is Baskin’s very cool apple mask inspired by “Son of Man” by Magritte(Opens in a new tab). It won’t unlock a phone, but it will make you the talk of your socially-distanced grocery store run.

    3. 'I can't breathe' masks

    Some protesters against police brutality put George Floyd's last words on their masks. Credit: Tony Gutierrez / AP / Shutterstock

    Thousands of people took to the streets in protest this year, rallying against police brutality and systemic racism in the wake of George Floyd’s death. The 46-year-old father died in May after a Minneapolis police officer handcuffed him and knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, ignoring his cries that he couldn’t breathe.

    Protesters have been diligent in wearing face masks, which now serve the dual purpose of protecting their identities as well as slowing the spread of COVID-19. Some have taken it a step further though, writing "I can't breathe" across their masks. These were the last words of both Floyd and Eric Garner, another Black man who died needlessly at the hands of the police.

    If any mask design perfectly encapsulates 2020, it’s this one.

    4. Clear face masks

    The ClearMask was designed to help people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Credit: Clearmask

    Though face masks are essential for public health, they create new problems for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Many rely on lip-reading to understand what others are saying, so being unable to see the lower half of people’s faces can be infuriating and isolating.

    Transparent face masks such as the (Opens in a new tab)ClearMask(Opens in a new tab) and the (Opens in a new tab)Communicator(Opens in a new tab) were designed to address these issues. Originally intended for medical personnel, the pandemic has now sent demand for these masks skyrocketing.

    Swiss researchers are also developing a transparent surgical mask which doesn’t use plastic shields. The HelloMask(Opens in a new tab) is intended to be biodegradable, more breathable, and won’t have any issues with fogging up.

    5. Hijab masks

    Halima Aden's Hijab Set is designed to be comfortably worn for hours. Credit: Anywear

    For healthcare workers, wearing an abrasive face mask during lengthy shifts can become painful. If they wear a hijab, it can also become uncomfortably hot. To help mitigate this problem, fashion startup Anywear teamed up with Somali-American model Halima Aden to design a series of practical yet attractive masks for women who wear hijabs.

    “As many hijab-wearing women are working at health care facilities, I wanted to make sure they have a comfortable option for wearing a mask while keeping their hair covered,” said Aden, herself a former hospital worker.

    Frontline workers still have to wear an N95 mask beneath the Hijab Set, since it isn't up to personal protective equipment standards. Instead, the washable mask is designed to cover the N95 mask.

    Each Hijab Set(Opens in a new tab) includes a matching head wrap and face mask made from breathable fabric, as well as a built-in extender enabling the wearer to comfortably secure their mask behind their head. It’s a cute option for any hijabi, even if they don’t work in healthcare. Anywear is also donating a medical cap with buttons to a healthcare worker for each set bought.

    6. Beaded plague mask

    Each symbol on this mask has a meaning. Credit: Dolores Gull

    The beaked shape of a plague mask isn’t something most people associate with traditional art, but it made perfect sense to Cree artist Dolores Gull. Gull is a member of Weenusk First Nation in northern Ontario, and has been beading for decades.

    "I came across this plague doctor mask and it reminded me of the ceremonies that we attend," Gull told CBC(Opens in a new tab), speaking about her beautiful beaded mask.

    Gull made her mask after seeing the (Opens in a new tab)Breathe Facebook group(Opens in a new tab), founded by Métis artists (Opens in a new tab)Nathalie Bertin(Opens in a new tab) and (Opens in a new tab)Lisa Shepherd(Opens in a new tab). The pair has been asking traditional artists to design masks using traditional materials — an effort to foster community amidst the pandemic.

    "The mask itself is the initial inspiration," (Opens in a new tab)Shepherd told CBC(Opens in a new tab). "We learned early on that the mask is not protecting [the wearer] from COVID-19. When I wear the mask, I'm protecting you and I'm taking care of the community."

    Gull’s mask is deeply symbolic(Opens in a new tab), with beaded flowers to represent the land and medicine, three circles representing life, and two parallel lightning bolts “for your eyes to see, to keep you in balance and to have faith.”

    7. Facehugger masks

    There are fortunately no chestbursters involved. Credit: Cristina Rodo

    Fiber Art Fever(Opens in a new tab)’s mask competitions have been running since March, prompting fiber artists to produce incredible designs that vary wildly in practicability. Though they’re all worth checking out(Opens in a new tab), one likely to inspire glee is Cristina Rodo(Opens in a new tab)'s felt facehugger mask.

    "I was inspired by the Alien movie's facehugger," Rodo told Mashable. "That immediately came to my mind since, like the virus itself, it's terribly scary and sucks the life out of you, keeping you from breathing."

    The Portuguese artist took three days to make her wool mask, using wet felting for the body and needle felting for the details. Like Ýrúrarí’s monster masks, Rodo’s alien(Opens in a new tab) is focused on art rather than protecting people from COVID-19. It makes thematic sense though — Xenomorphs aren’t known for being particularly concerned with human health and safety.

    Rodo isn't the only person who has brought the iconic movie villain into our horrific reality. German artist Lady Frankenstein also took a shot at it, though her sculpted clay mask(Opens in a new tab) looks much less comfortable.

    All of these masks are great in different ways. But really, the best face mask is any mask that protects you and the people around you.

Random articles


  • Mark Hamill drops the mic on the Biden-Trump debate with a tweet about Star Wars

    Mark Hamill drops the mic on the Biden-Trump debate with a tweet about Star Wars

    Well, that was an exhausting 90 minutes.


    The first Biden-Trump debate was basically a total mess, full of interruptions (Trump), Jim Halpert-style stares into the camera (Biden), and refusals to denounce white supremacy (Trump, obviously).

    Everyone pretty much agreed that the whole thing was a total disaster, and Mark Hamill was no exception.

    In the early hours of Wednesday morning, everyone's favourite Jedi Master took to Twitter to make his feelings clear.

    You can't put it more plainly than that.

    For anyone who doesn't remember, the infamous and truly confusing Star Wars Holiday Special was a 1978 TV movie — often described as the worst TV show of all time — that scored a solid 2.1/10 on IMDb(Opens in a new tab) and 19 percent on Rotten Tomatoes(Opens in a new tab). Set between the events of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, the special saw Hamill starring alongside Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and members of the original cast. It's become somewhat legendary for its negative reception.

    SEE ALSO: Everyone agrees the first Trump vs. Biden debate was a total disaster

    Next up is the vice-presidential debate between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence on Oct. 7, before round two of Biden-Trump on Oct. 15.

    We can hardly wait.

  • Snap just released its first diversity report. Like the rest of tech, its not very diverse.

    Snap just released its first diversity report. Like the rest of tech, its not very diverse.

    The times they are a-changin': Snap, Inc. has released its first annual diversity report.


    The analysis, which the company conducted internally, includes current representation statistics alongside numerical goals to increase representation of women and minorities. It also details organizational commitments to more deeply integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into the company's business practices.

    CEO Evan Spiegel announced the release of the report Wednesday with a blog post(Opens in a new tab) that echoed his progressive statement(Opens in a new tab) about the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn., in May. In it, he focuses on the history of oppression in the U.S. and the recognition and representation owed to minority groups.

    "In the U.S., we have learned that we cannot move forward without acknowledging our past and recognizing that we are here today at the expense of other people," Spiegel writes. "It is clear that we have a choice: allow these inequities to be perpetuated in the United States — or do our part to better fulfill the shared values we seek to uphold as a society."

    Alongside Spiegel's words in the report, and lots of information about Snap programs to improve DEI, however, there are the numbers. Snap emphasizes in its report and a letter from its VP of DEI, Oona King, hired in 2019, that it presents its report "humbly." That's for the obvious reason that the numbers on their own don't look so good.

    Snap employees are:

    • 51.1 percent white

    • 33.3 percent Asian

    • 6.8 percent Hispanic/LatinX

    • 4.4 percent "multiracial"

    • 4.1 percent Black/African American

    • Less than 1 percent Native American/Alaskan native

    The demographics are even more homogeneous at leadership levels. The director level+ is 70.4% white, VP and above is 74.2% white, and the executive level is 83.3% white.

    Snap also released statistics around female representation within demographic groups and in tech roles. Women are 32.9% of Snap's workforce, comprising 16% of tech teams and 7% of tech leadership.

    Snap's numbers are comparable to its Big Tech contemporaries. Despite companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook releasing diversity reports since 2014, Black representation in Big Tech has remained largely flat(Opens in a new tab), at around 4 to 6 percent.

    Unlike other Big Tech reports, the "commitments to do better" actually come with some concrete, numerical goals and promises. Snap plans to:

    • Double the number of women in tech at Snap by 2023.

    • Double the number of underrepresented U.S. racial and ethnic minorities at Snap by 2025.

    • And meet a long-term goal: "Reflect the racial and gender diversity (including non-binary) of the different places where we operate."

    It is also including DEI as a component of performance reviews for all employees, and explicitly for executives, committing to a living wage ($70,000+) for all employees, and expanding mentorship and training opportunities. It has committed to several internal and external audits of bias, including of its Discover content, machine learning tools, supplier diversity, and trade association memberships.

    Snap released the report on the tail of controversy. After Mashable reported on accusations of racial bias within the content team (which ex-employees first spoke about on Twitter), Business Insider reported(Opens in a new tab) that Spiegel didn't want to publicly release a diversity report because he feared it would add to the perception that people of color are not represented in tech. The public conversation about race at Snap resurfaced when Business Insider later reported(Opens in a new tab) that Snap had hired a law firm to investigate employee allegations of a "whitewashed" culture.

    The diversity report lives on a website it is calling the Citizen Snap report(Opens in a new tab). The report itself is 40 pages long and includes a strategic plan for goal setting and tracking progress.

    Snap says its diversity report had been available internally for several years. It previously told Mashable that it was considering how and when would be best to release the report in a way that would be productive. The company says it told employees last week it would be releasing the numbers publicly and that it decided to move ahead with its planned launch date despite the rescheduling of the appearance of Big Tech CEOs before congress to the same day.

    CORRECTION: July 29, 2020, 3:33 p.m. EDT A previous version of this story stated that Snap apparently decided the time was right to release its diversity report some time after the June 11 Business Insider report on Spiegel telling employees on June 9 of his reticence to do so.

    Snap says that this is not true. It had planned to release the report before B.I. reported on Spiegel's remarks.

  • Kids adorably crashed both BBC and Sky News live broadcasts today

    Kids adorably crashed both BBC and Sky News live broadcasts today

    Working from home and taking care of a child is a tough task, in large part, because kids don't totally get the concept of work.


    That difficultly was on full display on British TV on Wednesday, when two different adorable kids busted their way into live shots on both Sky News and the BBC.

    First, on the BBC, a little girl crashed her mother's interview while she was live on air. The BBC handled it all with aplomb as the little girl moved what looked like a unicorn drawing around on shelves and jumped on her mother.

    When the BBC host asked for the girl's name, her mom responded "Scarlett" before the little girl shouted, "What's his name, mummy!"

    All-in-all, adorable. Absolutely wonderful.

    Of course, BBC does have some history of children crashing interviews with parents working from home.

    Amazingly, at nearly the same time(Opens in a new tab), another cute kid was crashing a live shot over on Sky News. This time, a little boy burst through a door, ran up to his mother, and asked if he could have "two biscuits."

    “Yes, you can have two biscuits," the mom told her son while apologizing for the unexpected interruption.

    Unfortunately, Sky News cut away before we, the interested public, could see a resolution to this whole biscuit — or in U.S. terminology cookie — scenario.

    Next time, Sky News, let us see the cute kid get his treat. After all, couldn't we all use two cookies right about now?

  • TikTok users parody East Asian fetishization with Americacore videos

    TikTok users parody East Asian fetishization with Americacore videos

    What do energy drinks, chicken nuggets, and inaccessible healthcare have in common? They're all Americacore.


    TikTok users are spoofing videos that romanticize other cultures by referring to day-to-day aspects of American life as "Americacore." As of Sunday, the tags #americacore(Opens in a new tab) and #americancore(Opens in a new tab) each have over 30 million views on TikTok, and the tag #Americacoreuwu(Opens in a new tab) has about 140,000 views.

    Under the guise of celebrating "Americacore," TikTok users are recording their trips to Target and Walmart, eating snacks like Goldfish crackers and Funfetti cookies, and using paper plates. Paired with gentle music and soft filters, the video trend mimics the way many Americans fetishize East Asian culture, but misrepresent them in "aesthetic" content.

    Lifestyle influencers have long made content from visiting "unique" Korean grocery stores, for example, but to any Korean or Korean-American person, buying chips at H-Mart is about as aesthetically pleasing as buying chips at Ralph's.

    Americacore is not to be confused with Americana, though. This is not a celebration of folk music(Opens in a new tab) and art, but a criticism of how Americans engage with other cultures.

    In one video romanticizing "Americacore," a TikTok user pours a can of Monster Energy into a teapot emblazoned with the American flag(Opens in a new tab), and serves with a Twizzler, which they refer to as "rubber pocky."

    It's reverse Orientalism at its finest.

    Americacore videos parody "kawaii" videos fetishizing East Asian cultures. Credit: tiktok / lavender_goat
    The videos poke fun at the way Americans often woefully misrepresent other cultures. Credit: tiktok / lavender_goat

    The videos are as much of critique of American norms as they are of the way Americans tend to idealize and infantilize East Asian cultures. Videos by lifestyle influencers visiting Asian grocery stores, for example, have been criticized as crossing the line between cultural appreciation and fetishization. The trend pokes fun at the absurdity of white Americans' fascination with arbitrary aspects of East Asian food, music, and traditions.

    TikTok user kinokino1226 parodied lifestyle influencers who exalt common Asian snacks as exotic by visiting her local Safeway(Opens in a new tab).

    "Fun fact: Americans are very patriotic," kinokino1226 captioned her video, posing for an "aesthetic photoshoot" with American flag-wrapped grocery store flowers.

    Nothing more American than visiting Safeway Credit: tiktok / kinokino1226
    TikTok users made sure to "respect vegan culture." Credit: TIKTOK / KINOKINO1226

    With the worldwide success of the K-pop and anime industries, Asian culture is often misrepresented as a monolith(Opens in a new tab) rather than a diverse set of rich, individual cultures. The distillation of Asian heritage into a palatable melting pot of cute packaging, exotic skincare routines, and popular music only perpetuates harmful stereotypes. Americacore, as Vice notes, turns the fetishization of East Asia back on itself(Opens in a new tab).

    Ironically, as some Twitter users pointed out, other countries do romanticize American products the way Americans romanticize East Asian ones.

    Before you post pictures of the "exotic" snacks you may have scored from the Asian grocery store, consider whether you'd portray Oreos and red plastic cups the same way. Those, dear reader, are simply Americacore.

  • The viral TikTok egg and toast hack actually works pretty well

    The viral TikTok egg and toast hack actually works pretty well

    Don’t trust anything on the internet — until Mashable tries it first. Welcome to the Hype Test, where we review viral trends and tell you what's really worth millions of likes.


    I've practically become a short-order egg cook during the pandemic.

    I eat two meals most days while working from home. There's dinner and a meal around 11 a.m., which is typically either a salad or, far more frequently, something with an egg. Some days that's a couple of crispy fried eggs. Other days, it's reheated leftovers topped with an over-easy egg, the runny yolk functioning as a sauce. I'll mix in a scramble every now and again.

    That's to say I enjoy eating eggs and I'm quite practiced at cooking them. So this TikTok hack(Opens in a new tab) interested me. Basically, you airfry a piece of bread topped with an egg and, in some cases, other toppings. It promised to make a quick, tasty egg sandwich without much work.

    I decided to give it a whirl. I tried out a viral version that had bacon on top as well as a plain egg on toast.

    Here's the main recipe(Opens in a new tab) I was working from, via the TikTok account emillyrosax3(Opens in a new tab), although lots of folks have done a version of the egg toast.

    All the TikTok showed was airfrying toast with an egg, a slice of bacon, salt, and pepper. Via the comments, I learned it was airfryed at 400 degrees for seven minutes.

    Here's what the egg hack looked like on TikTok. Credit: TikTok / @emillyrosax3

    In my egg toast adventure, I sprayed the grate in my air fryer with Pam, then nestled two slices of plain white bread in the basket. Using a trick I saw in other TikToks, I indented the center of my bread so the yolks would have a small, cupped resting spot. You definitely don't want the egg to slide off mid cook.

    Egg crater. Credit: mashable / tim marcin

    Then, simply enough, I cracked two eggs in my toast, seasoned with salt and pepper, then layered a slice of bacon on top of one of the slices of bread.

    Two side notes. One: Both of my eggs were double yolkers. Cool. And two: I layered my slice of bacon more neatly than the TikTok showed, portioning it up for total toast coverage. I recommend this method.

    You've gotta be yolking me with these eggs. Credit: Mashable / tim marcin
    Neat and orderly bacon is key. Credit: Mashable / tim marcin

    If I'm being honest, I did not have high hopes for this recipe. Part of being a good cook is timing. Different foods take different amounts of time and temperatures to cook properly. Bacon, typically speaking, is going to cook slower than toast or eggs. I expected to have burnt toast, undercooked bacon, and rock-hard eggs. I was wrong, for the most part.

    I was pleasantly surprised with my results after blasting the airfryer for seven minutes at 400 degrees.

    Notice a bit of egg white ran off the side of one piece of toast. Credit: mashable / tim marcin

    The bread wasn't burnt, just very, very toasted. The bacon was, for the most part, pretty crispy. It had also rendered a bit of tasty fat on the egg and bread. The eggs cooked to all hell but they looked appetizing enough. Here's what it looked like it plated up with hot sauce and then cut so you could see a cross section.

    If you don't eat Valentina hot sauce, you should. Credit: Mashable / tim marcin
    Notice the yolk is overcooked and darker in spots. Credit: mashable / tim marcin

    The toast was crunchy. The bacon was crispy and cooked through, though if you had super thick cut bacon that might not be the case. The egg was, in spots, overcooked. The yolk in the non-bacon toast had hardened more than you'd like, turning a shade of orange rather than a pleasant yellow. But the crispy bits of egg white on top of the toast were actually pretty good and reminiscent of egg fried on high heat.

    All in all, I'd describe the recipe as pretty good. In a pinch, it's a decent, fast breakfast. It's like an egg-in-a-hole(Opens in a new tab) without the runny egg, but with almost no effort. If you're pressed for time, working from home, it's not a bad option at all.

  • Playboy releases first-ever sex toy line

    Playboy releases first-ever sex toy line

    Iconic company Playboy is entering the sex toy arena with their new collection, Playboy Pleasure(Opens in a new tab). The brand partnered with sex toy shop Lovers(Opens in a new tab) for this line of 34 toys and wellness products, ranging from rabbit vibrators to cock rings.

    With that amount of options, there's something for everyone. The site divides the collection into four categories: vibrators, penis toys, butt toys, and essentials.

    SEE ALSO: The best sex toy deals as of Jan. 9: Womanizer, Lelo, Tenga, and more

    The first encompasses the vulva toys, like G-spot vibrators, dual (or rabbit) vibrators, and clit suckers. Penis toys include cock rings and strokers, while butt toys contain butt plugs (some with the very recognizable Playboy bunny logo on the base) and prostate massagers. Playboy also knows you need some lube and toy cleaner to go along with your new goodies, so those are available for purchase as well.

    Prostate massagers from the Playboy Pleasure line. Credit: Playboy and Lovers


    "Lovers is thrilled to partner with Playboy on their long-awaited, irreverent take on pleasure products, featuring imaginative innovation, a sleek and striking aesthetic, and inclusive features," Jen May, vice president of marketing for Lovers, said in a press release. "The Lovers mission is to inspire people to reach their greatest pleasure potential, which is well aligned with Playboy's vision of 'pleasure for all,' so we’re excited to celebrate the pursuit of pleasure, together. This wide array of envelope-pushing designs gives new meaning to freedom to play."

    SEE ALSO: Everything you need to know about the G-spot 

    The toys range from $26 to $200, so there's something for every budget as well. Hop hop!

  • Headspaces first Netflix show actually taught me something new about how to meditate

    Headspaces first Netflix show actually taught me something new about how to meditate

    March Mindfulness is Mashable's series that examines the intersection of meditation practice and technology. Because even in the time of coronavirus, March doesn't have to be madness.


    This is one show Netflix doesn't want you to binge.

    Or actually, scratch that. Netflix probably doesn't care one way or the other how you consume the Headspace Guide To Meditation(Opens in a new tab), the first of three series from the wellness startup juggernaut to debut on the streaming juggernaut. This is, after all, a company whose CEO once said its biggest competition is sleep(Opens in a new tab).

    But its creators care. Headspace cofounder Andy Puddicombe — a Buddhist monk turned meditation teacher — radiates the exact level of sincere, gently evangelistic energy that makes you actually want to listen when someone's extolling the virtues of something, in this case meditation, that totally changed their life. Which is fortunate, as he's the affable voice of this series as well as Headspace's eponymous, super-accessible meditation app(Opens in a new tab). And as he'll keep reminding you, you'll get the most out of meditation if you come back to it regularly — so there's no need to rip through all eight episodes in one sitting.

    As a meditation dilettante with a pathologically overactive inner monologue, my expectation going into this series was that the visual element would make all the difference — that, freed from the tyranny of having to keep my stupid eyes closed for 10 minutes straight and exist purely in my stupid brain, enough of my extra attention-energy would be engaged in watching the visuals that I would be able to focus only on actually meditating. I also find certain specific visual aids for calming and mindfulness more helpful than instructions alone, like the classic "breathing shapes" GIF. So I dove in, hoping that combining meditation with my one true love — TV — would finally make it click for me.

    If you're already familiar with Headspace's approachable tone, there are no surprises here. Each of the six episodes opens with a few minutes of theory, as Puddicombe cheerfully and simply explains a specific meditation goal or technique — visualisation, "noting", dealing with anger, body scanning — as well as some of the science behind it, reflections on why it's relevant and helpful, and sometimes even an anecdote from his time in the monastery prior to getting started with the actual meditating. He'll introduce himself simply as "Andy", in the kind of British accent that's impossible to be distracted by even as a non-Brit because it's neither especially posh nor particularly "regional", and slips seamlessly into a slower, quieter pace and a slightly deeper register for the meditation itself.

    That significantly longer, chatty preamble — somewhere between TED Talk and your favourite, slightly crunchy substitute teacher — is the biggest difference between the app's meditations and The Headspace Guide To Meditation. That, and the fact that there's a visual element. The intros are accompanied by colourful, engaging, and often insightful animations by four different animation teams (Compost Creative, Strange Beast, Blink Industries, and Augenblick Studios). Sometimes they're matched to the metaphors Puddicombe uses to represent the extremely abstract concepts we're dealing with, like "surfing" the waves of stress or a blue sky representing the clear mind that's allegedly always somewhere behind the constant cloud cover of stress and overthinking. Sometimes they're more abstract and intuitive, like when dark, spiky "anxiety" shapes replace the smooth Duplo of calmer thoughts.

    This is your brain on *gestures at everything* Credit: netflix

    The guided meditation segment of each episode, which clocks in at about 10 minutes each, is centred around lovely interpretations of Headspace's signature orange circle: a line that slowly traces a spiral, glowing goldenrod suns in blue skies, flat bright dots that seem to breathe.

    It's all gorgeous to look at, images flowing instinctively between concepts, in a way that at times reminded me of watching The Midnight Gospel last year — another Netflix project that pairs colourful, affecting visuals with a conversation that could be experienced as audio alone. Except where Duncan Trussell's mind-melting Gospel wants to blow my mind, Headspace wants to help me clear it.

    And the darnedest thing is, it did work. But it wasn't those charming visuals that did it.

    Instead, the game-changer was actually the intro sections themselves, which taught me that I benefit enormously from easing into it a bit more. Rather than going straight from whatever I was doing — working, cooking, doom-scrolling — to assuming the position and sternly telling myself I Am Going To Meditate Now, I could settle in and watch some pretty pictures while learning a little something, letting Hi-I'm-Andy get me in the mood before I actually have to do the work myself. And once I was in that ready state, closing my stupid eyes came much more naturally.

    (Ten Percent Happier(Opens in a new tab), and other meditation apps, also do this well, pairing meditation tracks in-app with "Talks" exploring the science and effects of meditation and mindfulness practice.)

    SEE ALSO: 5 meditation apps to get you through another doozy of a year

    I say game-changer, but this isn't groundbreaking stuff. There is an embarrassment of non-intimidating meditation videos with cute animations to be found on YouTube — and if you want Meditation 101 content in any form, there's something for you out there already, including the Headspace app itself and dozens more like it. The biggest selling point for the Headspace Guide To Meditation on Netflix is that, well, it's on Netflix. And that's part of the point. As Puddicombe told Vulture(Opens in a new tab) when the series launched on New Year's Day: "When we started Headspace 10 years ago, it was always about: How do we put Headspace in places you wouldn’t expect to find it?"

    If Netflix is going to expand beyond the binge and into what we could call utility or functional content like this, alongside other innovations like interactive elements, there's an argument to be made for some new functionality to match. Perhaps a button on the binge-shaming "Are you still watching?" screen, giving you the option to break up that true-crime marathon with a few minutes of focus and deep breathing. (I certainly could have used it as an existential palate cleanser after certain episodes of Midnight Gospel.) Hell, TikTok already shoves "take a break" wellness reminders into my endless scrolls.

    But then, Headspace isn't purely functional either. The theory sections are gently educational, thoughtful, and interesting, almost like mini-documentaries, rather than just being a prettily animated prelude to the meditation part. If you enjoy Vox Media's Netflix collabs, like the Explained series, and aren't already a seasoned meditator, you have absolutely nothing to lose by adding Headspace Guide to Meditation to your queue, and starting or ending a couch session by taking a moment for yourself to be present and calm. And — sigh — the series gives a whole new meaning to "Netflix and chill".

    The Headspace Guide To Meditation(Opens in a new tab) is available to watch on Netflix now.

    Read more from March Mindfulness

    • Snack meditation: How to practice mindfulness while eating a fry

    • Masturbation meditation works. Here's the proof.

    • Music or silence? Which is better when meditating.

    • Eminem's 'Lose Yourself' is the perfect mindfulness anthem. Yes, really.

    • How coronavirus, and Zoom, turned competitive meditation into a global sport

    • Instagram's 'Hashtag Mindfulness' boom: The good, the bad, and the ugly

  • The 10 best and funniest tweets of the week

    The 10 best and funniest tweets of the week

    You there! The elegant-looking person reading a blog on your device. You like tweets, do you not? Well, guess what? I've collected the absolute best and funniest tweets from this week.


    Why? Because I do it every week, my good pal. This week was especially great for funny tweets. So I hope you get a good laugh out of it. Here they are, the 10 funniest tweets of the week.

    1. This is a good pitch, to be honest...

    2. Just a good bit of wordplay here.

    3. You will NOT believe what 20 years did to the human body of this famous human (The same thing 20 years does to every other non-famous human.)

    4. This generation is so lost and it's scary!

    SEE ALSO: The 12 best and funniest tweets of the week

    5. An obligatory dril tweet.

    6. This is simply the funniest thing I've seen all week. The "I know that's right" is perfect. funny.

    7. No gods, no masters, post memes on any freaking day you want.

    8. New Jersey is on planet Earth but only kinda sorta.

    9. Ah yes, the only types of "guys" to ever exist. Which are you?

    10. And finally, some words of wisdom. There can be a lot of power in doing nothing at all.

  • Trump drops full 60 Minutes interview early in puzzling attempt to control the narrative

    Trump drops full 60 Minutes interview early in puzzling attempt to control the narrative

    Donald Trump is trying so hard to control his 60 Minutes narrative that he actually released clips from his interview with reporter Lesley Stahl early.


    Trump's 60 Minutes episode is set to air on CBS Sunday night, but on Thursday morning Trump tweeted(Opens in a new tab) that he would be giving "a first in television history full, unedited preview of the vicious attempted 'takeout' interview."

    Since it was reported(Opens in a new tab) that Trump ended his interview with Stahl early on Tuesday, the president has been attacking the anchor on Twitter. He called her out for not wearing a mask, and also claimed she was angry and constantly interrupted his "full, flowing, and 'magnificently' brilliant" responses to her questions.

    On Thursday, a 38-minute clip of the interview was shared to Trump's Facebook page,(Opens in a new tab) alongside the comment, "Look at the bias, hatred and rudeness on behalf of 60 Minutes and CBS. Tonight’s anchor, Kristen Welker, is far worse! #MAGA"

    While Trump argued that "bias, hatred and rudeness" was present throughout the interview, upon watching it's plainly obvious that Stahl is simply doing her job. It's certainly not the exposé that Trump seems to think it is.

    The footage, which according to the (Opens in a new tab)New York Times(Opens in a new tab), was recorded by a member of his staff "for archival purposes." By releasing it on Facebook, the administration broke their agreement with CBS News, per the (Opens in a new tab)Washington Post(Opens in a new tab).

    It only shows the president, but Stahl is heard calmly asking questions about healthcare, the coronavirus, and other pressing campaign issues. In almost every case, he either disputed her (true) statements or refused to give a specific or credible answer. So, as journalists are supposed to do, she repeatedly followed up on those questions in an attempt to get a straight answer. She sticks to the facts and maintains her composure, in spite of him repeatedly saying she's "discredited" herself.

    In more than one instance, however, Trump appears visibly annoyed by Stahl's questions and becomes increasingly defensive as the minutes tick on.

    Towards the end of the interview, Trump tells Stahl that she's making "vicious" statements and eventually confronts her about her "inappropriately brought up" questions.

    “You brought up a lot of questions that were inappropriately brought up, right from the beginning,” Mr. Trump says toward the end of the clip.

    “You're the president, don’t you think you should be accountable to the American people?” Stahl asked Trump.

    He replied by claiming Stahl didn't mention she'd be asking him tough questions when the interview was set up.

    When someone from Trump's team interrupted to give a five-minute time warning, Trump said that they had talked enough and felt it was time to wrap up. He abruptly leaves and did not return to film a planned segment including him and Vice President Pence.

    Though Trump released footage in advance, the full interview is still set to air on Sunday's episode of 60 Minutes, and will feature additional interviews(Opens in a new tab) with Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris.

    Additional reporting by Cassie Murdoch

    Related Video: How to vote in the 2020 presidential election

  • The Roomba J7+ just hit a new all-time low price, plus more of the best deals of the day

    The Roomba J7+ just hit a new all-time low price, plus more of the best deals of the day

    We've rounded up the best deals of the day from everyone's favorite big box retailers on Nov. 11 — here are our top picks:


    • BEST HOME DEAL: iRobot Roomba J7+ Robot Vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$595 $799.99 (save $204.99)

    • BEST TECH DEAL: LG 48-inch A2 Series OLED 4K Smart webOS TV(Opens in a new tab)$569.99 $1,299.99 (save $730)

    The biggest shopping season of the year is upon us, with retailers casually dropping Black Friday discounts daily. Take today, Nov. 11, for example. Best Buy just launched another three-day sale within its ongoing Black Friday sale. Sales on sales on sales.

    Walmart is gearing up for its second Deals for Days(Opens in a new tab) drop on Monday the 14, and many deals from its first drop are still lingering. And, of course, Amazon is steadily keeping up with any competition thrown its way.

    Consider this your sign to start your holiday shopping. Here are the best deals you can shop on Nov. 11, including all the early Black Friday discounts from your favorite big box retailers.

    Best home deal

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: iRobot
    iRobot Roomba J7+ (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    $579.99 at Amazon (save $220)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Why we like it

    New all-time low price unlocked: The iRobot Roomba J7+, aka our favorite obstacle-avoiding robot vacuum, just dropped to $579.99 at Amazon. That's about 20 bucks less than its previous low and $220 off its usual price. We've sang our praises for the J7+ many times before, but it bears repeating. This robovac uses Genius Technology and PrecisionVision Navigation to avoid small obstacles in its way — like charging cables and pet waste — so you don't need to waste time pre-cleaning before it does its job. It also gets smarter as it cleans and suggests tweaks to its cleaning schedule based on which rooms are the dirtiest.

    More home deals

    • Cuisinart 12 -Piece Multi-Color Knife Set(Opens in a new tab)$14.99 $49.99 (save $35)

    • Keurig K-Express Essentials Single Serve Coffee Maker(Opens in a new tab)$35 $79.99 (save $44.99)

    • Gourmia Digital Air Fryer with Guided Cooking (6-Quart)(Opens in a new tab)$38 $99.99 (save $61.99)

    • Insignia Digital Air Fryer (5-Quart)(Opens in a new tab)$49.99 $119.99 (save $70)

    • Instant Pot Duo (6-Quart)(Opens in a new tab)$50 $99.99 (save $49.99)

    • Hoover MAXLife PowerDrive Swivel XL Bagless Upright Vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$59 $119 (save 60)

    • Shark Wand Vac Cord-Free Handheld Multi Surface Vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$64 $99 (save $35)

    • Shark Navigator Lift-Away Upright Vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$98 $199 (save $101)

    • Costway Tilt-Head Stand Mixer (7.5-Quart)(Opens in a new tab)$99.99 $178 (save $78.01)

    • Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$144 $259 (save $115)

    • iRobot Roomba 676 Robot Vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$177 $269 (save $92)

    • Shark EZ Robot Vacuum with Self-Empty Base(Opens in a new tab)$258 $449 (save $191)

    • Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Toaster Oven(Opens in a new tab)$279.95 $349.95 (save $70)

    • iRobot Roomba i1+ (1552) Wi-Fi Connected Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$288 $529.99 (save $241.99)

    • Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro(Opens in a new tab)$319.95 $499.95 (save $180)

    • Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra Upright Vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$399.99 $499.99 (save $100)

    Best tech deal

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: LG
    LG 48-inch A2 Series OLED 4K Smart webOS TV (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    $569.99 at Best Buy (save $730)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Why we like it

    LG TVs are some of our favorites, and the A2 Series is no exception. It offers a better HDR experience than its predecessor and uses a newer version of the LG webOS platform for additional features. Unfortunately, it lacks more advanced gaming features like the HDMI 2.1 ports and 120Hz refresh rates, but it still serves as a decent pick for beginner gamers and viewers of any other content. This Best Buy deal also includes three free months of Apple TV+ — something you can usually only unlock with an Apple purchase — all for 56% off its usual price at $569.99.

    More tech deals

    • HP 11.6-inch Chromebook (AMD A4, 4GB RAM, 32GB eMMC)(Opens in a new tab)$79 $98 (save $19)

    • Lenovo Tab M8 (3rd Gen) 8-inch Tablet (MediaTek Helio P22T, 3GB RAM, 32GB eMCP)(Opens in a new tab)$79 $119 (save $40)

    • Fitbit Versa 2 Smartwatch(Opens in a new tab) — $99 $149.95 (save $50.95)

    • Fitbit Versa 4 Smartwatch(Opens in a new tab)$149.95 $229.95 (save $80)

    • Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 10.5-inch Tablet (WiFi, 32GB)(Opens in a new tab)$159 $229 (save $70)

    • LG 27-inch UltraGear FHD 165Hz Gaming Monitor(Opens in a new tab)$179 $229 (save $50)

    • LG 32-inch UltraGear QHD (2560x1440)165Hz HDR 10 Monitor with FreeSync(Opens in a new tab)$200 $399 (save $199)

    • HP OMEN 27-inch IPS LED QHD FreeSync and G-Sync Compatible Gaming Monitor(Opens in a new tab)$249.99 $399.99 (save $150)

    • Amazon Fire TV 75-inch Omni Series 4K UHD Smart TV(Opens in a new tab)$599.99 $1,099.99 (save $500)

    • 2022 Apple 11-inch iPad Pro WiFi (M2, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$749 $799 (save $50)

    • Microsoft Surface Pro 8 2-in-1 (Intel Evo Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$899.99 $1,349.99 (save $450)

    • Acer Predator Helios 300 15.6-inch FHD 165Hz Gaming Laptop (Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$999.99 $1,499.99 (save $500)

    • 2021 Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro WiFi + Cellular (M1, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$1,099 $1,299 (save $200)

    Audio deals

    • Echo Auto (1st Gen)(Opens in a new tab) — $14.99 $49.99 (save $35)

    • Google Nest Mini (2nd Generation)(Opens in a new tab)$18 $49 (save $31)

    • JBL Flip 4 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker(Opens in a new tab)$59 $99 (save $40)

    • Echo Buds (2nd Gen) With Wired Charging Case(Opens in a new tab)$69.99 $119.99 (save $50)

    • JBL Flip 6 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker(Opens in a new tab)$89.95 $129.95 (save $40)

    • Echo Buds (2nd Gen) With Wireless Charging Case(Opens in a new tab) — $89.99 $139.99 (save $50)

    • Samsung 170W 2.1ch Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer(Opens in a new tab)$99 $149 (save $50)

    Streaming devices and subscription deals

    • One month of Paramount+(Opens in a new tab)free with code BRAVO $4.99 (save $4.99)

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

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

    • Four months of Audible Premium Plus(Opens in a new tab)$5.95/month $14.95/month (save $36)

    • Paramount+ Essential(Opens in a new tab)free with Walmart+ membership ($12.95/month or $98/year)

    • Fire TV Stick Lite(Opens in a new tab)$14.99 $29.99 (save $15)

    • Chromecast with Google TV (HD) Streaming Device(Opens in a new tab)$18 $29.99 (save $11.99)

    • Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen)(Opens in a new tab)$19.99 $39.99 (save $20)

    • Roku Streaming Stick 4K Streaming Device(Opens in a new tab)$24.98 $49 (save $24.02)

    • One year of Paramount+ with Free Fire TV Stick Lite(Opens in a new tab)starting at $24.99 (save 50%)

    • Apple TV HD 32GB (2nd Generation)(Opens in a new tab)$77 $149.99 (save $72.99)