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The Qatar World Cup is already going viral for all the wrong reasons

2023-03-19 06:17:12

The Qatar World Cup is already going viral for all the wrong reasons

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar hasn't even started yet, and it's already going viral for all the wrong reasons. Fan accommodations are reminiscent of Fyre Fest, the food doesn't look great, everything is expensive, and some of the fears of Qatar hosting an international community are already coming true.

The Qatar World Cup is already going viral for all the wrong reasons(图1)

So, yeah, not going great thus far.

The feasibility and morality of the Qatar World Cup has been questioned since the day FIFA selected it as the host nation. In summary(Opens in a new tab): U.S. prosecutors have alleged the selection process 12 years ago was corrupt, and since then it's only gotten worse. The dates had to be moved because it's too hot to play soccer in the Qatari summer, the country has strict rules outlawing homosexuality, and there have been widespread allegations of serious abuse and mistreatment(Opens in a new tab) of migrant workers who built the tournament's infrastructure. Given the secrecy from Qatar, it's tough to know the actual death toll, but by some counts, thousands of workers(Opens in a new tab) have allegedly died.

Qatar had to build the infrastructure for the World Cup from scratch, and they reportedly spent $300 billion(Opens in a new tab) on infrastructure projects to accommodate the 1.2 million soccer fans who are likely to arrive for the sporting event. However, the tournament starts on Sunday, Nov. 20, and fans and journalists arriving on the grounds are discovering first-hand the reality of Qatar's rush job.

First things first, the World Cup fan accommodations don't seem great. For $200 per night you get to stay in a shipping container. There were also tent villages that looked incredibly barebones in a video that went viral this week.

Pretty much everyone online made the same connection(Opens in a new tab) to Fyre Fest, the doomed music festival that made national headlines in 2017.

And, to be fair, the jokes do seem to have some validity to them. The pop-up villages, one of which is located by the main airport, were created because Qatar's hotels couldn't handle the number of fans, athletes, and other World Cup travelers.

Oh and the food in the fan villages? Not ideal from one viral pic we've seen thus far. (One is reminded of Fyre Fest's infamous cheese on bread.)

If you want alcohol — which, let's be real, this is the World Cup and lots of people do — then you'll probably have to do a bit of searching. And you'll have to pay up. Public alcohol consumption is banned in Qatar, with exceptions made for the World Cup. But it is super expensive and difficult to find because the government wanted it hidden away. In fact, just a few days before the tournament was set to start, high ranking Qatari officials reportedly demanded(Opens in a new tab) beer tents from major sponsor Budweiser be moved out of sight. If you do find a beer, it'll reportedly run you(Opens in a new tab) $14. People online are not happy about that price.

And last, but certainly not least, things have already grown contentious between Qatar and the foreign press. Officials interrupted a live Danish broadcast about the World Cup, threatening to break their camera. Not a great first viral report from the ground.

The first kick hasn't even happened yet, and the 2022 World Cup already seems like a bit of a disaster.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Mashable has contacted the Dallas Police Department for comment.

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

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

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

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

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


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

    All of this during a global pandemic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Eventually, Trudeau did muster an answer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    1. Face the tech world's blind spots

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

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

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

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

    2. Be accountable to your promises

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    4. Revamp the hiring process, evaluation, and retention

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

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

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

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

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

    5. Reinvest in black businesses and venture funds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    You can watch Boyega's full speech below.

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

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

  • Signals new blur tool will help hide protesters identities

    Signals new blur tool will help hide protesters identities

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Silence speaks volumes.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Gamers take to Toontown to stand with Black Lives Matter protesters

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The NFLs backtracking apology forgot one thing: Colin Kaepernick.

    Say his name, Roger Goodell.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The league clearly still has a lot to learn.

  • Protesters turned Donald Trumps #BabyGate fence into something beautiful

    Protesters turned Donald Trumps #BabyGate fence into something beautiful

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Random articles


  • TikToks first user to hit 100 million followers is Charli DAmelio

    TikToks first user to hit 100 million followers is Charli DAmelio

    Charli D'Amelio's meteoric rise on TikTok just hit a milestone that no one else has so far: 100 million followers(Opens in a new tab).


    It's a huge number for the platform, where no other user even comes close to D'Amelio's follow count. The second most followed account on TikTok as of Nov. 22, 2020 is Addison Rae(Opens in a new tab), who currently stands at 69.6 million. Zach King(Opens in a new tab) is at #3 with 52.8 million, and everyone after that clocks in below the 50 million mark.

    They all rank higher than numerous celebrity superstars, including Will Smith, Ariana Grande, and The Rock. It's also, hilariously, more than double the number of followers keeping up with TikTok's own official account.

    While the achievement is a big one for D'Amelio personally, it's also a reflection of TikTok's rapid growth as a platform. It took YouTube firebrand PewDiePie, who launched his channel in 2010, nine years(Opens in a new tab) to hit the same figure. D'Amelio, meanwhile, shared her first TikTok in May 2019.

    Although YouTube is more analogous with TikTok, it's a similar story over on Twitter and Instagram. Katy Perry was the first on Twitter(Opens in a new tab) to hit 100 million followers, and it happened eight years after she joined. It took Selena Gomez less time to get there on Instagram, where she was the first, but not by much: Her account went live(Opens in a new tab) in 2013 and she reached the 100 million milestone(Opens in a new tab) in 2018.

    SEE ALSO: The case for shaming influencers for not social distancing

    D'Amelio is a Connecticut-based internet personality who is best known, obviously, for her social media presence, particularly on TikTok. She regularly shares dance videos set to the hit songs of the moment, and she's leveraged her success with that in some surprising directions.

    In fact, D'Amelio is one of the few people who will have reasons to look back on 2020 fondly. In addition to the TikTok milestone, she also had a high-profile appearance in an ad that aired during the 2020 Super Bowl. A few months later, she and her sister struck a deal with the Ramble Podcast Network, and a few months after that, word got out(Opens in a new tab) that the D'Amelio family is the subject of an in-development reality TV series.

  • 11 best tweets of the week, including a terrifying hedge, Batman, and skipping work

    11 best tweets of the week, including a terrifying hedge, Batman, and skipping work

    We're already halfway through the first month of 2021. How? I don't know. But we are.


    To celebrate another week in the books, we've collected our favorite tweets of the week. Why? Because times are strange — very strange and kind of bad — and it's helpful to laugh at some good posts. So, anyway, here they are, our 11 favorite tweets from this week.

    1. Look at this work-skipping genius killing it

    2. Oompa Loompa doopity pie

    3. This is a perfect reference to James Harden(Opens in a new tab) and the U.S.'s second impeachment of the same president

    4. Why would someone do this? Just...why?

    5. Here's an immaculate reference(Opens in a new tab) made during the whole State Department website, Donald-Trump-is-out-of-office-but-not-really fiasco

    6. This meme is not wrong

    7. HISTORY

    8. I... it's's perfect

    9. Obligatory Dril tweet

    10. This is a twofer but I needed to include "He's fucking shredded, you slob."

    11. And finally, when you gotta post, you gotta post even if you're banned from nearly every social media site

  • You have to be extremely online to understand the threat America faces now

    You have to be extremely online to understand the threat America faces now

    Sometimes, as a reporter covering digital culture, I feel like I live in a world disparate from my friends and family. How do you, for instance, explain the vagaries and subsets of alt-TikTok to people who, at most, know TikTok as the app where the kids dance?


    Culture at large — things like music, film, news — reckoned with a digital invasion long ago. The Trump regime hastened that process for the staid world of politics. Was there ever — will there ever be — a more Online president than Donald Trump, who spent his days in office live-tweeting his every whim?

    It's obvious now: There is no distinction, not really, between the world online and the world offline. They bleed into and feed one another, now explicitly so when it comes to extremist political movements. You can't understand one without the other.

    For instance: If you don't, offhand, immediately understand the acronym WWG1WGA — pro-Trump conspiracy group QAnon's motto where we go one, we go all — it's difficult to truly comprehend the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol, which was, in part, a real-life meet-up of desperate Q believers.

    The Jan. 6 insurrection is only the most obvious example of how this works. A witch's brew of right-wingers — Proud Boys, Q supporters, garden-variety Trumpers, militia groups, and others — transformed online organizing and conspiracy theorizing into real-life action. Lots of Q backers took literal oaths(Opens in a new tab) to be "digital soldiers" over the summer — is it any wonder they were willing to literally fight?

    "What they basically are saying [is] we're ready to fight on the information battlefields. So they're already taking an oath to fight somewhere," said Jack Bratich, a professor of media studies at Rutgers University who has researched conspiracies and QAnon. "And then you have, obviously something like Trump's campaign, which had this whole sector called the Army for Trump(Opens in a new tab)... So I think you have a convergence around November of these kinds of different levels of soldiers, in their minds. These people are ready for action."

    But if you weren't online — sorry, like, Online online — in the lead-up to the riots, you would've had no idea that it was possible. It's not that regular people, the un-Online, are at fault. Large swaths of media and news sources missed the chance to explain just how dangerous this all was. How deadly it could prove.

    And what about non-Q extremists? We could spend all day walking through the odds and ends of how memes infect real life — but suffice it to say groups like the Boogaloo Boys(Opens in a new tab) and Proud Boys(Opens in a new tab) have morphed online organizing and irony into IRL violence and action. To understand how these memes came into being requires at least a passing knowledge of 4Chan, a forum that has played a part in launching pretty much every recent rightwing movement.

    Talia Lavin(Opens in a new tab) — author of the book (Opens in a new tab)Culture Warlords(Opens in a new tab), which investigates and uncovers white supremacist spaces online via Lavin taking on invented online personas — said a central point of the book is that online extremism isn't new. Rather, the internet is convenient way of organizing that hate.

    "Overall, what I was trying to communicate was that the internet, with the complicity and aid of many tech companies, has essentially become the means of the metastasis of a pre-existing societal disease," Lavin said in a phone interview.

    There's an instinct to write-off online extremists as a kind of joke. Even after people died at the riots, one article(Opens in a new tab) called them a collection of "deadbeat dads, YouPorn enthusiasts, slow students, and MMA fans."

    It's an easy impulse to indulge. To make these people other. Laugh it off: Look there's some dude dressed up in a viking shaman outfit. There's the Boogaloo movement wearing silly Hawaiian shirts while toting assault weapons. But to separate the so-called LARPing from people who are Online(Opens in a new tab) from the real world is a fool's errand. The online world is the real world. When people talk about wanting a civil war online, many of them actually believe it.

    You'll miss it all if you're not Logged On. It's what people who monitored these spaces had been saying for ages, but it's tough for normal folks to surf through years of jargon, in-jokes, and layers of irony.

    "What's really happening is people are, are transforming themselves through these things — sometimes they're games, sometimes they're alternate reality performances, cosplay — even if they seem playful, they're not superficial or light," Bratich said. "They're actually serious business when it comes to ways of pushing action into the world... [People] think of it as a kind of entertainment part of the world, when actually it's culture. And culture is how people develop themselves and develop relationships to each other."

    Yes, there were some funny-looking extremists who raided the Capitol, but as Lavin noted(Opens in a new tab), there were also lawyers, police officers, soldiers, doctors, and people from pretty much any other profession. Your uncle who posts bonkers shit on Facebook? He's either posting even more bonkers stuff elsewhere, or his bonkers opinions have filtered to him through those places.

    "There's a really well established 4Chan to Fox News(Opens in a new tab) pipeline," Lavin said. "I mean QAnon sounds insane when you try to explain to someone who's never heard of it. And it was born in the fever swamps of 8Chan(Opens in a new tab)."

    But Q's tentacles, as an example, soon spread to boomers on Facebook, shitposters on Reddit, and pretty much everywhere else. You'd seen it winked at on Fox. Then you'd see it at Trump campaign rallies. Then you'd see it on Trump's own Twitter feed(Opens in a new tab). Then you'd see it in Congress(Opens in a new tab) and in positions of power(Opens in a new tab). Then finally you saw it tearing into the Capitol.

    Extremism online isn't silo'd off from you. It doesn't matter who you are. But if you rely on Sunday news shows, cable TV, or front-page stories for your info — maybe if you're of an older generation — you probably don't get that fact. Again, using QAnon as an example, the coverage of the cult-like movement leading up to the 2020 election mostly did not reflect the severity of what was taking place.

    "It was seen then as a curiosity, as an extreme and completely kooky belief system. And occasionally they would talk about it terms of a handful of electoral candidates who were flirting with QAnon," Bratich said. "But what [corporate media] wasn't examining is how rooted in culture and how rooted in everyday life [Q is] for some people. It's fringe in a way — for sure, in terms of numbers — but it's not marginal in the sense of its effects, or its meaningfulness to the people who are into it. The casual way that red flags were raised by corporate platforms...they don't take it as seriously as someone devoted to analysis."

    In short: Online extremism isn't an oddity. It's a pervasive force. The things some people wrote off as "edgy jokes" are real, at least sometimes. And the folks who devote their time to this sort of thing have been telling us that for years. We all might have to get a little bit more online, or at least be aware of what's happening online, to understand our IRL world.

    "It's not going away," Lavin said.

    A new president does not change what has come to be our new reality. Trump might've been an accelerant. His Twitter feed was a megaphone and millions heard his rallying cry. But now these groups are the real-life opposition, and they've got powerful people just itching for their support(Opens in a new tab).

    "It's really hard to make yourself see a dangerous, ugly, and sort of intractable reality," Lavin added. "I recognize there is a certain feeling of oxygen rushing back into a room after Donald Trump kind of sucked it all up for the past four years. We're all a little heavy. We all want to move on. But it's dangerous to slip back into complacency."

  • Ones gotta go and its probably Microsoft Edge: The 7 funniest tweets of the week

    Ones gotta go and its probably Microsoft Edge: The 7 funniest tweets of the week

    The weekend has finally arrived and, like always, not a moment too soon.

    It was one of those strange, weird weeks where it's not quite winter but not yet spring. Snow sometimes, in some places. Rain or sun elsewhere.


    But you know what was a constant? People tweeting. Even as the bird app slowly collapses in on itself, the tweets kept rolling in. Because that's what the internet does.

    So we went ahead and collected the seven best tweets of the week, because that's what we do every week. Please enjoy.

    1. 'One's gotta go' viral tweets taken to its logical extreme.

    2. Another one of God's little tests. We must be strong.

    3. A simple can of Diet Coke holds an intense amount of power. It can fix just about anything.

    4. Think about all the good this could do.

    5. Somebody help him. Good lord, somebody help him.

    6. What a truly bonkers thing to ask another human being. Like what are you talking about?

    7. And finally, this gem. To be clear, this isn't even meant to be funny or some kind of joke. It just a thing that happened in the real world. But what an absolute pinnacle moment in the history of human accomplishment.

  • The Force is strong with Homesicks new Star Wars candle collection

    The Force is strong with Homesicks new Star Wars candle collection

    Ever wondered what the Death Star smells like?


    Well, wonder no more: The fragrance and lifestyle brand Homesick has teamed up with Lucasfilm for an all-new Star Wars collection. Making an apt debut on May the Fourth, its lineup(Opens in a new tab) includes three candles inspired by locations from the beloved sci-fi franchise and a car freshener shaped like The Mandalorian's adorable Grogu:

    • Tatooine(Opens in a new tab) (named after Luke and Anakin Skywalker's dusty home planet), which features warm, fresh notes of juniper and desert shrub.

    • Endor(Opens in a new tab) (a reference to the forested moon where you'll find Ewoks), a woodsy scent with notes of fern and pine needles.

    • The Death Star(Opens in a new tab) (an homage to the Galactic Empire's superweapon), which pulls on notes of smoked amber, leather, and black myrrh for a rich, musky burn.

    • Grogu car freshener(Opens in a new tab) (that's The Child to you), a Baby Yoda-shaped tag with calming notes of gardenia, lavender, and rosemary.

    Prices range from $12 for the car freshener to $44 per candle, with the option to print a personalized message on any candle's jar for an extra $15.

    "When we started to think about how to approach the collection, we tapped into our roots creating fragrances based on the places people truly love and long for," Homesick general manager Lauren Lamagna said in a press release. "With Tatooine, Endor, and the Death Star, we've created a collection that not only represents some of the most iconic locations and moments in the Star Wars galaxy, but in movie history."

    Credit: Homesick
    Credit: Homesick

    Made with Homesick's usual soy wax blend, the collection's three candles come in special packaging that depicts scenes from the location their fragrances represent. In a brand first, they also include new dual-sided labels that reveal secret artwork as they burn — some fun Easter eggs for fans.

    Homesick first hit the market in 2016(Opens in a new tab) with a small series of candles reminiscent of U.S. states and has since expanded its range to almost 200 different products designed to invoke memories of ultra-specific occasions and events, from weddings(Opens in a new tab) to 4/20(Opens in a new tab) and Grandma's Kitchen(Opens in a new tab). But how do you come up with scents for a universe that doesn't exist IRL?

    "Even though we couldn’t visit the places that inspired the fragrances, we were able to take a lot from the movies and written reference materials," Emeka McQuade, director of PR & Partnerships at Win Brands Group (Homesick's parent company), told Mashable in an email. "Tatooine is a great example — we know it’s a desert planet and can recreate the scents of desert plants like dune grass and sage bush."

    SEE ALSO: All 12 Star Wars movies, ranked from worst to best

    McQuade added that Homesick's approach to fragrance isn't solely based on matching scents, but also tapping into the vibes of different scents to kindle certain moods and emotions. For instance, warm notes of copal were added to the Tatooine candle to play off the feeling you'd get while standing in the glow of its twin suns.

    And yes, everything is technically canon: Developing the collection "was a collaborative process that involved multiple samples and iterations run past the folks at Lucasfilm to ensure we were landing the fragrances just right," McQuade said.

    Click here to shop the full collection.(Opens in a new tab)

  • The weirdest moments from baseballs fan-less opening weekend

    The weirdest moments from baseballs fan-less opening weekend

    These are truly strange times and, oh man, was that fact really on display during MLB's opening slate of games over the weekend.


    In what now seems like an ill-considered move — considering the Miami Marlins have had a massive coronavirus outbreak(Opens in a new tab) — Major League Baseball played a whole host of games without fans over the past few days but also without an attempt of an isolation "bubble"(Opens in a new tab) like the NBA has done.

    The resulting baseball games were a bit strange. Huge stadiums, zero fans. Swaths of empty seats. Coaches and players masked-up in the summer heat.

    It was definitely different and weird, so we collected six of the strangest baseball moments thus far.

    1. The Phanatic does its best to do the wave

    Perhaps the best mascot(Opens in a new tab) in all of sports, the Philly Phanatic did its damndest to get a wave going in a stadium sans Phillies fans. The result was funny... tinged with a bit of sadness.

    2. A pup catches a home run

    Teams have used life-sized fan cutouts to fill parts of the empty stadiums. The New York Mets even included a few dog cutouts. It was pretty funny when a home run from the opposing Atlanta Braves just happened to find a row of pups in right field.

    3. Speaking of which...

    This person's cutout apparently got decapitated by a homer. But at least they had a sense of humor about it.

    4. A courteous yelling match

    Baseball coaches often get right in the faces of umpires to argue calls. That's seriously dangerous in the COVID-19 era because the virus is often spread via droplets that fly from the mouth. So when Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek Shelton got tossed from a game, he had to slide on a mask before yelling at the ump. It was a thoughtful argument, at least.

    5. The Phanatic does its best again

    The wave didn't go great and well, neither was the synchronized clap.

    6. And finally, the uncanny valley virtual fans

    As we wrote here at Mashable, Fox Sports experimented with video game-esque virtual fans instead of cardboard cutouts. The result was pretty creepy.

  • How to use Bumble, and is it better than Tinder?

    How to use Bumble, and is it better than Tinder?

    Despite many new additions to the dating app landscape, Bumble continues to be one of the most popular apps with 40 million users(Opens in a new tab) as of February 2021. The app, known for its unique feature of only allowing women to message first, remains in close competition with Tinder as a "top" dating app. But how does Bumble work — and is it better than Tinder?


    How does Bumble work

    To create an account on Bumble(Opens in a new tab), sign up with either your Facebook account or your phone number. From there, you create your profile: add photos, write a bio, share traits like astrology sign and exercise level, and answer prompts like "I'm a great +1 because."

    Before using Bumble, you'll also want to set your match preferences. You can set "Date Filters" to determine age and location ranges, as well as whether you want to see men, women, or everyone (there's no specific option for non-binary or trans users).

    With a free Bumble account, you can set two out of 11 "Advanced Filters" and sift out users based on other factors like lifestyle (such as drinking or smoking) or what they're looking for (like something casual or a relationship). You can set as many Advanced Filters as you want with a Premium account.

    Here are the in-app prices listed for Bumble Premium(Opens in a new tab) subscriptions:

    • 1 week at $19.99

    • 1 month at $39.99

    • 3 months at $76.99

    • Lifetime for $229.99

    Alternatively, there's Bumble Boost(Opens in a new tab), which is a bit cheaper. In-app prices are:

    • 1 week at $8.99

    • 1 month at $16.99

    • 3 months at 33.99

    • 6 months at $54.99

    With Bumble Boost, users can backtrack (reverse a left swipe); extend time on matches(Opens in a new tab) for an additional 24 hours; receive unlimited swipes, one Spotlight(Opens in a new tab) per week (putting your profile at the top of the swiping "stack"), and five SuperSwipes(Opens in a new tab) a week (letting a potential match know beforehand that you want to match).

    Premium members receive all those perks, plus unlimited Advanced Filters; the ability to rematch with expired matches; Travel Mode(Opens in a new tab) (swipe anywhere you want to); and seeing everyone who's already liked you (aka your Beeline(Opens in a new tab)).

    Possible traits to include in a Bumble profile. Credit: screenshot: bumble
    Gender, age, and location preferences on Bumble. Credit: screenshot: bumble

    After completing your profile and preferences, it's time to swipe. Bumble is similar to Tinder: swipe left to dislike, right to like. Scroll down to view more of a viewer's profile. Bumble doesn't give a specific number of swipes free accounts have per day(Opens in a new tab), but if the app notices you're on a frenzy, they'll limit your swipes for 24 hours.

    As noted earlier, Bumble has a unique feature that only allows women to message first (unless you're a man messaging another man). If you're wondering, "How does Bumble work for women?" it's simple.

    If you're a woman, you have 24 hours to respond to a match, or else it disappears — barring your one extension per day(Opens in a new tab) on a free account. Once you message, it's in your match's hands. If they don't message back within 24 hours, the match expires too. Should both of you message, the match won't go away unless you manually report or unmatch the other person.

    You don't have to use Bumble to date ("Bumble Date"), however. There's Bumble BFF(Opens in a new tab), for those looking for platonic relationships, and Bumble Bizz(Opens in a new tab), a networking offshoot. The UX is similar, where you swipe to match with users. Users can only choose one setting at a time, though.

    Is Bumble better than Tinder?

    Given Tinder's less than stellar reputation(Opens in a new tab), one may ask whether Bumble is the better option. Their interface is similar, so if you don't like swiping, neither Tinder nor Bumble is the dating app for you.

    If you don't mind swiping but you do mind men sending appalling first messages, though, give Bumble a shot. Still, Bumble's 24 hour rule on both sides can be daunting. Sometimes you may not be in the mood to chat right away, or you may be swiping during a work break and forget to check back in. Tinder doesn't have time restraints.

    Tinder also doesn't have alternative services like Bumble BFF or Bizz. If you're already in a relationship but looking for a different kind of connection, Bumble is your best bet.

    There's also chatter about the "types" of people you'd find Tinder versus Bumble(Opens in a new tab), like that users on the latter are more serious than those on the former. Given that Tinder has resulted in long-term relationships(Opens in a new tab) and marriages — and so has Bumble(Opens in a new tab) — I don't take stock in those assumptions. In 2021, people are on all types of dating apps for all different reasons; the specific app may not matter.

    Users on Bumble may be looking for marriage — or something less serious. Credit: vicky leta / mashable

    What are the pros and cons to Bumble?


    • Bumble is free to use (but some features — like seeing who already liked you — are only available for Premium users)

    • Women message first — this can be a pro or con, depending on how you look at it

    • Matches must match each other within 24 hours — a pro if you want to avoid flakes

    • Bumble has a lot of filter options about lifestyle and interests (though you can only set two unless you're a Premium user)

    • Bumble has fun prompts to answer to get to know your match better

    • Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz make it possible to either make friends or add to your professional network on the app


    • One month of Bumble Boost runs you $16.99 according to in-app price numbers, whereas Tinder has several subscription tiers(Opens in a new tab) beginning at $4.99 a month

    • Men can't message first, unless they're matching with other men

    • Matches disappear if both people don't message within 24 hours, unless free members use their one extension/day or members have Boost or Premium accounts

    • Bumble has many gender options(Opens in a new tab) in profiles, but only allows search for men, women, or both

    • You can only use one mode of Bumble (Date, BFF, or Bizz) at a time

    SEE ALSO: 5 things you can't do on Bumble

    How does Bumble work for men and women? What about queer folks?

    For straight people, women must message their matches first.

    If you're not straight, Bumble works a little differently. If you're a woman looking for another woman, for example, either of you can message first (though the 24 hour limit for both people still applies). The same goes for men looking for other men. If you're a man looking for both men and women, you're able to message a man first but not a woman.

    If you're non-binary, Bumble will prompt you(Opens in a new tab) to select whether you want to be shown to people looking for women or men. This isn't the most inclusive, and a downside of the app (though, in fairness, Tinder also only allows search for men and women).

    Bumble is a popular dating app that, like any, has its advantages and disadvantages. The only way to see if the "buzz" is worth it is to try it out for yourself.

  • The most heartwarming reunions and hugs post-COVID-19 vaccine

    The most heartwarming reunions and hugs post-COVID-19 vaccine

    When COVID-19 first began spreading around the globe, the world responded by locking down. The rules were clear: Do not see people you do not live with. Do not gather together in groups. Wear masks. Do not touch strangers, or acquaintances, or even loved ones. And of course: Do not hug. It left many of us lonely and starved for connection.


    Then, vaccinations began rolling out, albeit slowly. By July 6, according to (Opens in a new tab)The New York Times(Opens in a new tab), more than 3.29 billion vaccine doses have been administered across the world. But some countries — particularly those in North America and Europe — are much more highly vaccinated than others, including countries with lower incomes. In some areas in the U.S. with the highest vaccination rates(Opens in a new tab), another new normal began springing up. Public health experts announced that, if everyone is vaccinated, you can reunite with your family, friends, loved ones, and, yes, even acquaintances. Videos of these reunions flooded our feeds, and gave us something pure and nice to look at! Here are some of our favorite reunions and hugs as the world began to open up thanks to COVID-19 vaccinations.

    This video(Opens in a new tab) from KAPP-KVEW, a news station that covers the Tri-Cities of Washington state, of a three-year-old greeting his grandmother after months apart.

    This video of Twitter user Jenny Montgomery surprising a whole host of kiddos after 9 months apart.

    This clip from ABC News that shows a grandfather surprised by his grandkids in bed.

    After more than a year, this grandad got to see the grandson he calls "my man."

    A quick jump and hug from this grandson who finally got to hug his grandmother.

    This mother and daughter who were reunited after getting vaccinated in New Mexico. "It means a lot to me."

    This video, posted by 9 & 10 News, showing a man and his grandmother reunited in Brazil after more than a year apart because his family got vaccinated.

    Newsday reporter Chelsea Irizarry tweeted out this heartwarming video of an 80-year-old man who was finally able to hug his wife and sister from his nursing home after his family got vaccinated.

    While these joyous moments are just that — joyous — they should also be viewed with trepidation. In the U.S. and other nations with higher vaccination rates, this is possible. But in places like Africa and Oceana, where vaccinations aren't nearly as accessible, reunions aren't as festive. Vaccine hesitancy is on the rise in some communities even in the U.S.(Opens in a new tab), and the delta variant, which highly transmissible and dangerous, is becoming a dominant and powerful strain(Opens in a new tab).

  • Upgrade your Thanksgiving dinner prep with these kitchen savers

    Upgrade your Thanksgiving dinner prep with these kitchen savers

    You Got This is a series that spotlights the gear you need to improve one area of your life.


    Cooking a Thanksgiving feast — with a giant stuffed turkey as the centerpiece — is no easy feat. Fret not: with the right prep, you can nail it, even if you have a small kitchen or a busy schedule.

    The challenge is getting everything on the table at the right time. Depending on how much you like cooking and baking, you can mix up homemade (and almost-homemade) shortcuts.

    If you’re taking on Thanksgiving dinner, Walmart has time-saving appliances and equipment to the rescue — and when you sign up for Walmart+(Opens in a new tab), you can get free delivery, shipping, and other perks on many of these products. Your feast awaits!

    Stock your kitchen with all the basics

    Featuring several sizes of saucepans with glass lids and nonstick frying pans, as well as an arsenal of utensils — including spatulas, spoons, and ladles — this cookware set is the ultimate one-and-done purchase. You’ll be ready to braise, sauté, and serve like a pro.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    T-fal Easy Care Nonstick Cookware, 20-Piece Set ($69, normally $79) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Put a slow cooker to work

    This Walmart exclusive looks stylish on your countertop and has a removable ceramic insert to shift straight from cooking to serving. You can use it to make hefty family-sized servings of classics like sweet potato casserole (with marshmallows on top), green beans, and other sides.

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    Credit: Beautiful
    Beautiful 8-Quart Slow Cooker by Drew Barrymore ($44.98) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Get your air-fryer going

    With a vintage floral print, this air-fryer dresses up your kitchen and speeds up cooking for everything from crispy fries to piping-hot baked potatoes topped with vegan sour cream. For a small Friendsgiving, you can sleep in and cook turkey breasts instead.

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    Credit: The Pioneer Woman
    The Pioneer Woman Vintage Floral 6.3-Quart Air Fryer ($89) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Have a roasting pan for the main event

    Roasting a turkey to perfection takes hours (here’s a handy chart(Opens in a new tab) for calculating cook times), but you don’t need a ton of equipment. This deep roasting pan has an easy-to-lift rack for cooking your bird and using the drippings to make gravy.

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    Credit: The Pioneer Woman
    The Pioneer Woman Timeless Roaster ($19.97) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Whip up desserts with a hands-free mixer

    Whether you’re topping a store-bought pie with some fresh whipped cream (use speed 8) or making pie crusts from scratch (use speed 2), this 10-speed stand mixer is a baker’s delight with three attachments, including a flat beater, a dough hook, and a wire whip.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: KitchenAid
    KitchenAid Classic Series Stand Mixer ($299.99) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Make perfectly sized mini cakes

    For a photo-worthy dessert spread (and a cuter alternative to a Bundt pan), make flower-shaped mini cakes with a PFOA-free, nonstick heavyweight pan designed to distribute heat evenly. It’s great for buttery pound cake or a flavorful olive oil cake.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: The Pioneer Woman
    The Pioneer Woman Floral Cakelet Pan ($19.97) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Set up a coffee bar

    Brew coffee by the cup or in a 12-cup carafe with a versatile coffee maker ideal for hosting at home. Fill up the 60-ounce water reservoir, set up an array of dairy and nondairy milks and sweeteners, and just like that, you’re everyone’s new favorite barista.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Keurig
    Keurig K-Duo Essentials Single Serve & Carafe Coffee Maker ($79) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Get creative with your plating

    With four place settings — including a dinner plate, a salad plate, and a bowl — this black-and-white-dotted dinnerware has gold edging for leveling up your presentation. For an efficient way to serve a three-course meal, use the bowl for salads and the salad plate for dessert.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Thyme & Table
    Thyme & Table 12-Piece Dinnerware Set ($54) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

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

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

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


    Eventually, Trudeau did muster an answer.

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

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

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

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

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

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