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Get the M1 Pro MacBook Pro for its lowest price ever — plus more big price drops on big brands on Nov. 17

2023-03-19 06:17:38

Get the M1 Pro MacBook Pro for its lowest price ever — plus more big price drops on big brands on Nov. 17

We've gathered all of the best deals to shop on Nov. 17 — here are our top picks:

Get the M1 Pro MacBook Pro for its lowest price ever — plus more big price drops on big brands on Nov. 17(图1)

  • BEST LAPTOP DEAL: 2021 Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro (M1 Pro chip, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$1,999.99 $2,499 (save $499.01)

  • BEST AMAZON DEVICE DEAL: Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen, 2021 release) with Blink Mini(Opens in a new tab)$49.99 $119.98 (save $69.99)

  • BEST AUDIO DEAL: Google Pixel Buds A-Series(Opens in a new tab)$49 $99 (save $49.01)

While Walmart and Best Buy have been stealing the show lately, Amazon has made its way back into the bargain spotlight on Nov. 17. Black Friday Amazon device deals just dropped and prices are just as good, if not better, than Prime Day. Got an Echo, Fire, or Blink device on your list? Now's the time to buy — deals like this $40 Fire 7 Tablet(Opens in a new tab) and $65 Blink Floodlight Camera(Opens in a new tab) are cheaper than they've ever been.

That doesn't mean Walmart and Best Buy have slowed down, BTW. All three big box retailers have plenty of major price drops worth shopping. We've rounded up the best deals we could find on Nov. 17, just a little over a week away from Black Friday proper. Start your holiday shopping engines.

Best laptop deal

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Credit: Apple
Our pick: 2021 Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro (M1 Pro chip, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
$1,999.99 at Amazon (save $499.01)
(opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

While it could be considered "a bit overkill," as Mashable's Joseph Volpe put it, the 16-inch MacBook Pro M1 Pro is a total beast of a machine. It's built specifically with creatives in mind as a video editing and graphics workstation, but it certainly is nice for non-creatives as well if you're willing to pay. This configuration — with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD — regularly retails for $2,500, but Amazon has slashed the price down to $1,999.99 ahead of Black Friday — that's its lowest price ever.

More laptop, tablet, and monitor 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)

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 10.5-inch Tablet (WiFi, 32GB)(Opens in a new tab) — $139 $199 (save $60)

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

  • HP 14-inch Touch Chromebook (Intel Celeron N4120, 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC)(Opens in a new tab)$179 $299 (save $120)

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

  • 2022 Apple 11-inch iPad Pro (Wi-Fi, 128GB)(Opens in a new tab)$729 $799 (save $70)

  • 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)

  • 2021 Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro (M1 Pro chip, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$1,999.99 $2,499 (save $499.01)

  • 2021 Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro (Apple M1 Pro chip, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$2,199.99 $2,699 (save $499.01)

Amazon device deal

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Credit: Amazon
Our pick: Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen, 2021 release) with Blink Mini (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
$49.99 at Amazon (save $69.99)
(opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

With a beefed up camera and extra Alexa functions, the second-generation Echo Show 5 is a worthy nightstand hub for managing smart home devices, setting alarms, organizing your calendar, listening to playlists and podcasts, and more. Adding the Blink Mini into the mix lets you keep an eye on the kid's room, pets, or front door from the Echo's display. Plus, when you're not around, you can pull up Blink footage on your phone. The bundle deal is back down to just $49.99 — the same price it was last Black Friday season — which is a total steal for both devices.

More Amazon device deals

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

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

  • Fire TV Stick 4K(Opens in a new tab)$24.99 $49.99 (save $25)

  • Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen, 2021 release)(Opens in a new tab)$34.99 $84.99 (save $50)

  • Fire TV Stick 4K Max(Opens in a new tab)$34.99 $54.99 (save $20)

  • Fire 7 Tablet(Opens in a new tab)$39.99 $59.99 (save $20)

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

  • Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) Kids with Echo Glow(Opens in a new tab)$50.99 $124.98 (save $50.99)

  • Fire HD 8 Tablet(Opens in a new tab)$54.99 $99.99 (save $45)

  • Ring Video Doorbell(Opens in a new tab)$59.99 $99.99 (save $40)

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

  • Blink Floodlight Camera(Opens in a new tab)$64.98 $129.98 (save $65)

  • Fire HD 8 Plus Tablet (Opens in a new tab)$64.99 $119.99 (save $55)

  • Ring Video Doorbell with Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen)(Opens in a new tab)$69.99 $184.98 (save $114.99)

  • Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen, 2021 release) (Opens in a new tab)— $69.99 $129.99 (save $60)

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

  • Fire HD 8 Kids Tablet (Opens in a new tab)$79.99 $149.99 (save $70)

  • Fire HD 8 Kids Pro Tablet(Opens in a new tab)$79.99 $149.99 (save $70)

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

  • Introducing Ring Spotlight Cam Plus(Opens in a new tab)$139.99 $199.99 (save $60)

  • Echo Show 15(Opens in a new tab) — $169.99 $249.99 (save $80)

  • Amazon Fire TV 43-inch 4-Series 4K UHD Smart TV(Opens in a new tab)$229.99 $369.99 (save $140)

  • Amazon Fire TV 50-inch 4-Series 4K UHD Smart TV(Opens in a new tab)$249.99 $469.99 (save $220)

  • Amazon Fire TV 55-inch 4-Series 4K UHD Smart TV(Opens in a new tab) — $299.99 $519.99 (save $220)

Best audio deal

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Credit: Google
Our pick: Google Pixel Buds A-Series (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
$49 at Amazon (save $49.01)
(opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

Released in 2021, there's a few things we really love about the Google Pixel Buds A-Series. First, the form factor and audio output are solid. Second, they work seamlessly for Android users. And perhaps most importantly, they're an excellent value. As Mashable tech reporter Alex Perry put it, "If price and sound quality are all that matter to you, you'll have a tough time finding a better value than the new Pixel Buds." And that was when they were full price — with 50% off (on the olive shade only), this is the lowest price we've ever seen on these buds.

More audio deals

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

  • Google Pixel Buds A-Series(Opens in a new tab)$49 $99 (save $49.01)

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

  • Samsung Galaxy Buds Live(Opens in a new tab) $69 $169.99 (save $100.99)

  • Apple AirPods (2nd Generation)(Opens in a new tab)$89.99 $159 (save $69.01)

  • VIZIO V-Series 5.1 Home Theater Sound Bar(Opens in a new tab)$148 $199.99 (save $51.99)

  • Google Pixel Buds Pro(Opens in a new tab)$149.99 $199.99 (save $50)

  • Klipsch Reference Series 5-1/4-inch Passive 2-Way Bookshelf Speakers(Opens in a new tab)$199.98 $399.98 (save $200)

  • Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)(Opens in a new tab)$229.99 $249 (save $19.01)

Streaming devices and subscription deals

  • Four months of Amazon Music Unlimited(Opens in a new tab)free with select purchases at Best Buy (save $39.96)

  • 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)

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

  • 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%)

  • Roku Ultra LT Streaming Device 4K/HDR/Dolby Vision(Opens in a new tab)$30 $80 (save $50)

  • Apple TV HD 32GB (2nd Generation)(Opens in a new tab)$59 $149.99 (save $90.99)

Home deals

Kitchen deals

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

  • Ninja Foodi 4-in-1 2-Basket Air Fryer (8-Quart)(Opens in a new tab)$99 $199.99 (save $100.99)

  • Ninja Supra Kitchen System 72-ounce Blender and Food Processor(Opens in a new tab) — $99 $149 (save $50)

  • Bella Pro Series 12-in-1 6-Slice Toaster Oven + Air Fryer (33-Quart) with French Doors(Opens in a new tab)$119.99 $249.99 (save $130)

  • Blackstone Adventure Ready 22-inch Propane Griddle Gift Bundle(Opens in a new tab)$127 $279 (save $152)

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

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

Floor care deals

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

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

  • eufy Clean by Anker RoboVac G32 Pro Robot Vacuum(Opens in a new tab) $119 $299 (save $180)

  • 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)

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

  • eufy RoboVac X8 Hybrid Robot Vacuum and Mop(Opens in a new tab)$319.99 $649.99 (save $330 with clipped coupon)

  • Dyson V10 Absolute Cordless Vacuum(Opens in a new tab) $399.99 $599.99 (save $200)

  • Dyson Outsize Total Clean Cordless Vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$799.99 $899.99 (save $100)

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  • Trumps golf club press conference was a social distancing disaster — until the tweet-shaming began

    Trumps golf club press conference was a social distancing disaster — until the tweet-shaming began

    The president held a surprise press conference at one of his golf clubs late Friday evening, and very few of the attendees wore masks — until Twitter shamed them about it.


    During Friday's conference at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump spoke about a strange selection of topics, but did address the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which he repeatedly referred to as the "ChinaVirus."

    At the start of his speech, Trump encouraged Americans to continue social distancing, wash their hands, and wear masks. But just moments before he came out, a staffer was seen handing out masks out to the crowded audience made up of members the golf club, Associate Press correspondent Jonathan Lemire tweeted(Opens in a new tab).

    Despite clinical evidence(Opens in a new tab) that covering faces and maintaining at least six feet of distance drastically limits the spread of the coronavirus, few attendees appeared to come to the press conference with their own masks, much less be concerned with maintaining social distance.

    Few country club members wore masks to the president's press conference. Credit: JIM WATSON / getty images

    Several of the reporters who were covering the event tweeted photos of the packed unmasked crowd awaiting the president, and it wasn't until those tweets picked up steam that President Trump's staff decided to hand out masks and ask the crowd to spread out.

    In addition to being bad optics for the president who has struggled to maintain a consistent message on how best to contain the deadly virus, the crowded gathering may also not adhere to New Jersey's social distancing regulations.

    Earlier this week(Opens in a new tab), Gov. Phil Murphy decreased the maximum number of people allowed at indoor gatherings from 100 to just 25, regardless of the room's capacity. The change is applicable to weddings, funerals, memorial services, religious services, or political activities. Even exceptions, however, are limited to 25 percent of the room's capacity with a maximum of 100 people. People are also required to wear a mask in indoor commercial spaces that are closed to the public.

    When the president opened the conference to questions, a reporter noted that many country club patrons were not initially wearing masks. Trump dismissed it, claiming that the gathering was a "peaceful protest."

    Though they did issue loud "boos" at several points during the press conference, it was not at all clear what the president thought the group was protesting.

  • The disturbing underbelly of the step porn trend

    The disturbing underbelly of the step porn trend

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


    Pop onto Pornhub's homepage and you'll likely see at least one title akin to Gorgeous Step Daughter Sneaks In and Seduces with Creampie.

    Or My stepson pays me a visit.

    Or Beautiful Step Sister Loves Porn & Wants to Fuck.

    These are all real titles I can see on Pornhub's main page as I write this. If I refreshed, I'd be inundated with new regurgitations of the same idea.

    If you've visited any of the many tube porn sites in the past several years, you've likely noticed there are more and more titles like this — even if the video itself is fake incest ("fauxcest").

    This isn't just in our imaginations, either. In a look at 218,000 Pornhub titles from 2008 to 2018, data-driven site Components(Opens in a new tab) found a true spike in "step" porn. They explained it in their piece "Every Story is an Epstein Story: A conversation with Stoya(Opens in a new tab)."

    Step porn video titles on Pornhub over time Credit: bob al-greene/mashable

    It's not just Pornhub, either. This a trend across tube sites. According to Alex Hawkins, VP at the porn site xHamster, they've seen a spike in "step" content in the past decade as well. There are currently more than 10,000 videos with "step" in the title on xHamster, nearly 40 times more than what was there a decade ago.

    "Pretty much everyone from big studios to premium social to amateurs is making at least some 'step' content," Hawkins said in an email to Mashable.

    As with human sexuality itself, the reasons behind this trend are complex — so complex that Dr. Gail Dines, professor emerita at Boston University's Wheelock College, and the president of Culture Reframed(Opens in a new tab), a nonprofit aimed to address hypersexualized media, called it "the perfect storm."

    Taboos and Game of Thrones

    Dr. Justin Lehmiller, a research fellow at the Kinsey Institute, surveyed 4,175 Americans between the ages of 18 and 87 about their sexual fantasies for his book Tell Me What You Want(Opens in a new tab).

    One in five people reported having at least one incest fantasy before, according to Lehmiller's research. A much smaller number, just three percent, said they had frequent incest fantasies. Those fantasies take on a slew of forms, from blood relatives to twins to Cruel Intentions-esque step families.

    Sensation seekers, those who need a heightened thrill in order to get aroused or orgasm, may also be especially attracted to incest porn. Further, some people may have a specific fantasy about a blood relative, which could be a result of an early childhood experience.

    SEE ALSO: How 'hatewank' videos became a tool for harassing women in the public eye

    For many people, though, it's not a specific family member that's the real turn-on. As Lehmiller explained, "A big part of the appeal across all of these different types of incest fantasies is that it is a major taboo."

    Incest is one of the ultimate taboos in human sexuality, according to Lehmiller. It's viewed as a forbidden act across cultures and historical periods. Even on Pornhub, a search of the term "incest" yields no results. Use a word like "step" or "daddy," however, and you'll be inundated with videos.

    "It's something you're not supposed to do — and we know that when you tell people they're not supposed to do something, this often makes them want to do it even more," he said.

    The recent increase in incest fantasy on Pornhub and other sites cannot be explained by the taboo aspect alone, though. So given that it's not exactly a new fantasy, why is step porn having a "moment" of sorts now?

    "My suspicion is that part of it has to do with certain very popular media portrayals of incest," said Lehmiller, speaking primarily of HBO's long-running series Game of Thrones. The cultural zeitgeist is sometimes reflected in our fantasies and subsequently in the pornography we prefer.

    Access, algorithms, and cheap shoots

    Lehmiller warns against simply explaining away this trend with Games of Thrones or the thrill of taboo, however. A Pornhub user may click on a video with "step" in the title because they harbor that fantasy, but that's not the case for everyone. They could also be enticed by the still, which may not signal that it's an incest video at all, or by the performers themselves.

    What's more is that these super popular videos may be catering to a fairly narrow segment of the site's audience that watches a slew of porn, which may give the impression that the genre is more popular than it actually is. Lehmiller said, "A lot of the tube sites are creating more content for those niche audiences, because they're the most likely to to click on ads and pay for porn and things like that."

    Indeed, there are algorithmic and technical explanations for the influx, beyond fantasy.

    Components editor Andrew Thompson pointed out that the sharpest increase started in 2015, which may not be a coincidence. "I think of 2015 as being the year where analytics finished inserting itself into every nook of the internet," said Thompson in his conversation with former porn performer Stoya(Opens in a new tab) about the findings.

    "A big part of the appeal across all of these different types of incest fantasies is that it is a major taboo"

    Thompson compared BuzzFeed's 2015 strategy of churning out content that responded instantly to trends with porn conglomerates attempting to do the same thing. "My hunch is that this was when porn companies started to do what all the content companies were trying to do," he explained, "which is getting really sophisticated about creating super responsive content."

    Porn viewers will click on a video for any number of reasons. Some have a step fantasy, yes, but some others are just bored, or they click everything on the front page. Regardless of the motivation, the click signals to the site's algorithm that the content is what people want to see, which means that the algorithm starts serving more and more of said videos. The bored users continue to click on them, and the cycle continues.

    "You could see [step porn] as an expression of the perception that Pornhub owner MindGeek has about its audience (or the owners’ tastes themselves), and that its own ideas of What The People Want informs what they push to the front page," said Thompson. "It’s the same way what Netflix flaunts as most popular content on its site is as much a function of its own curation as it is of audience tastes."

    In a statement to Mashable, a MindGeek representative said, "MindGeek operates separately from its brands, and does not 'push [content] to the front page.'"

    SEE ALSO: Paying for porn should be the post-pandemic 'new normal'

    Another shift that could help explain the spike is something simple: smart phones. They allow for more privacy, Dines said. Whereas once you could only watch online porn on a bulky computer (at dial-up speed, no less), now you can take your phone to the bathroom and view whatever you want. So it's far easier to indulge in something taboo.

    On the production side, xHamster's Hawkins remarked on the practicality of creating step porn compared to other genres. Since porn budgets are tighter than ever, anything that is cheap and efficient to make is enticing.

    "The set up and script are all fairly standard, and you can shoot it in pretty much any suburban house without the need for special sets or costumes or props," he said. "There's a tremendous flexibility in age of the cast, so it accommodates last minute changes fairly well."

    Related Video: Why is 'step' porn everywhere?

    A slippery slope?

    It's true that some step porn features older women, the ever-popular "MILF." While Hawkins mentioned that MILF videos are a popular subsection within step porn, many step plots instead feature an older man with teen girls — or women made to look like teen girls.

    Porn looks the way it does today because of legislation In 2002, Ashcroft vs. the Free Speech Coalition(Opens in a new tab) overturned the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996. This allowed performers to look under 18 in films even though they had to actually be 18. This sparked a flood of porn featuring performers that could pass for under 18. (Dines discussed this shift in her 2015 TEDx Talk, Growing Up in a Pornified Culture(Opens in a new tab).)

    So even though the performers are over 18, they can often look well underage. And that unleashes a host of ethical (if not legal) issues. They're just that — performers. No one in these videos is likely actually related, as step-siblings or otherwise. None of it is real, obviously. But that doesn't matter, according to Dines, "because the user is masturbating to images that he thinks is real."

    Pornographic images bypass the frontal lobe of our brains and go into a less rational part of the mind, Dines explained. That means that even if we cognitively know what we're seeing isn't real, our less rational brain believes it is. And that's where the excitement comes from.

    SEE ALSO: Mia Khalifa is now a TikTok star, and she loves it

    Pornstar Stoya commented on this phenomenon in her conversation with Thompson: "People actually think Melody Star is my roommate. They think we were roommates at one point because we were roommates in a porno," she said.

    "You can’t overestimate the critical thinking ability that people engage in when they’re watching porn. It goes out the fucking window," Stoya said.

    So even if people are watching people who are technically not minors, it still feels to them as if they're watching a version of child porn. Step porn that features a daddy and his stepdaughter is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to porn that skirts illegality and hovers on the edge of child pornography.

    That's not to say that those who enjoy step porn will necessarily go deeper and watch or enjoy other more ethically and legally problematic video genres. But for problematic porn users and porn addicts, especially, watching step porn (and teen porn at large) can lead down a slippery slope.

    The future of step porn

    Like all trends, step porn probably won't be popular forever. In fact, Lehmiller seemed sure of it. Humans are turned on by novelty, and what's popular a decade ago isn't popular today for that reason. "It might just be a temporary blip," said Lehmiller.

    "The same operational rules that gave us Epstein also gave us a machine that generates seemingly infinite amounts of this material"

    In Components, Thompson ventured to compare the step trend to Jeffrey Epstein's guiding philosophy and reiterated it in his statement to Mashable. We consume video in "YouTube/Netflix mode," for example, bouncing from curated video to curated video fulfilling a shallow need for "fresh" content. Sex is now in "Epstein mode," Thompson argued, transgressing to have sex with as many women as possible, as young as possible. "The same operational rules that gave us Epstein also gave us a machine that generates seemingly infinite amounts of this material," he said. While porn is certainly not the same as sex itself, the idea is similar — bouncing from video to video, performers as young and "fresh" as possible.

    The perfect storm that Dines evoked — changing legislation, Game of Thrones, the human craving for novelty — has come to a head with step porn, but that's not too surprising.

    "It’s hard to fathom that mere coincidence led to step-incest porn’s ascendance specifically during the 2010s," said Thompson, "a decade that overnight we’ve suddenly agreed was the most empty, overindulgent, aesthetically neutralized in at least 80 years — all qualities that I think describe both this kind of pornography as well as the billionaire class that has spent the past ten post-Recession years consolidating its power and setting the terms of our engagement with the world."

    Epstein himself may be gone, but our cultural obsession with sexualizing girls remains — as does our constant hunger for new content spit out by an algorithm. Whether or not step porn will maintain its dominance depends largely on whether the culture that fueled its rise persists.

    While in some corners there's been a shift toward producing more ethical porn, the power that MindGeek and mainstream conglomerates hold is undeniable. Between the #MeToo movement and the most recent social reckonings, there have certainly been shock waves of change reverberating through mainstream culture — but will it reduce the hunger for step porn? Or will it render it even more taboo, more shocking, and cause the view counts to be higher than ever? Only time will tell.

    If you have experienced sexual abuse, call the free, confidential National Sexual Assault hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), or access the 24-7 help online by visiting in a new tab).

    UPDATE: Aug. 14, 2020, 10:56 a.m. EDT This post has been updated with a statement from MindGeek.

    UPDATE: Aug. 21, 2020, 12:14 p.m. EDT This article was updated to clarify that Dines's talk was a TEDx Talk, not a TED Talk.

  • Last Blockbuster store is now on Airbnb for a nostalgic 90s sleepover

    Last Blockbuster store is now on Airbnb for a nostalgic 90s sleepover

    Remember Blockbuster?


    The new release aisle. The strange, sweet musk — candy and carpet and cardboard. The impossibility of choosing just one movie.

    Well now, with a little luck, you may be able to experience that nostalgia-filled rush overnight.

    The last Blockbuster in existence is now aon Airbnb and is available to rent.

    Problem is, you've got to be located in Deschutes County, where the last ever Blockbuster is located in Bend, Oregon. Sandi Harding, the store's manager, is offering three one-night reservations in September as a way to thank her local community.

    "In appreciation for all that the local community has recently done to support(Opens in a new tab) the last-of-its-kind during these uncertain times, this end of summer sleepover will offer movie lovers in Deschutes County the chance for a 90s-themed stay to relive the bygone Friday night tradition just as we remember it," read a press release.

    Deschutes County residents can reserve a stay starting August 17 for just $4 on September 18, 19, and 20. That's just a penny more than a movie rental. Guests will have the entire place to themselves, it'll be cleaned according to COVID-19 standards, and the candy is up for grabs. Just look at this sweet set-up.

    The '90s are alive. Credit: airbnb
    Look at this sweet VCR Credit: AIRBNB

    You can find the listing here, if you want to check it out a bit more(Opens in a new tab).

    Seriously, if you were alive in the '90s-'00s, read this description and feel a little something.

    "Whether you want to stay up until sunrise or pass out on the couch, we’ve created the perfect space complete with a pull-out couch, bean bags and pillows for you to cozy up with 'new releases' from the ‘90s," it reads. "Crack open a two-liter of Pepsi before locking into a video game, charting your future in a game of MASH, or watching movie after movie. But be wary of reciting 'Bloody Mary' in the staff bathroom off of the break room, as you just may summon the ghost rumored to haunt the store."

    Oh hell yea. Credit: Airbnb / Screenshot
    Remember this? Credit: Airbnb

    The Blockbuster in Bend became the last of its kind after outposts in Alaska and Australia shut down. It has remained open during the pandemic, albeit with lots of extra disinfecting and curbside pick-up. People apparently appreciated the effort.

    "I had a customer come in and she said, 'I am so grateful that you reopened, because I couldn't flip through Netflix one more time,'" Harding told Vice(Opens in a new tab) in May.

    Related Video: A puppet's guide to keeping yourself entertained during a quarantine

  • Get organized for back to class season with easy upgrades from The Home Depot

    Get organized for back to class season with easy upgrades from The Home Depot

    The following content is brought to you by Mashable partners. If you buy a product featured here, we may earn an affiliate commission or other compensation.


    You may have already graduated, but the season for heading back to class always brings with it that fresh start feeling. These handy items from The Home Depot(Opens in a new tab) get a gold star for making your life more streamlined and your home more put-together.

    Take your grilling indoors without losing any flavor

    Credit: Gotham Steel

    This non-stick ti-ceramic electric smoke-less Indoor grill(Opens in a new tab) keeps the flavors rolling after it's too chilly for outdoor grilling. It's also a great option if you don't have outdoor space for an actual grill.

    Make your leftovers more appetizing with a 3-piece glass storage jar set

    Credit: honey-can-do

    Conquer meal prep with a set of Honey-Can-Do square storage containers (Opens in a new tab)— which will make you feel more jazzed about those leftovers than beat up old containers.

    Stash your mess with decorative rectangle trays

    Credit: home decorators collection

    If there’s one organizational tip we can all handle, it’s that tossing clutter in a pretty box instantly makes a room look neater. This set of decorative Home Decorators Collection wicker rectangular trays (Opens in a new tab)keeps the clutter under control.

    Cut a rug

    Credit: mohawk home

    Made with recycled post-consumer content from plastic bottles, this machine-woven Mohawk Home area rug(Opens in a new tab) is stain-resistant and durable. The neutral pattern works well for a dining room refresh.

    Expand your counter space with a bamboo kitchen cart

    Credit: honey-can-do

    Create more counter space with a useful cart(Opens in a new tab) from Honey-Can-Do, made of sustainable bamboo.

  • Upgrade your kitchen with handy appliances that are *chefs kiss*

    Upgrade your kitchen with handy appliances that are *chefs kiss*

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


    Chances are you’ve gotten more familiar with your kitchen these past few months than you ever thought possible. From trying your hand at breadmaking to whipping up internet favorites like dalgona coffee, your kitchen should be as practical as it is ‘grammable. Check out our picks from eBay’s refurbished kitchen appliances — because we don’t think you should spend a fortune on something that could acquire a grease stain or two.

    Classic mixer

    This classic mixer screams “adulting,” but with fun colors to choose from, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Whip up five dozen cookies in one go with this classic baking tool that won’t hog all the counter space — the Refurbished Artisan® Mini(Opens in a new tab) is 20 percent smaller and 25 percent lighter than the original. We're partial to the "hot sauce" color.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: KitchenAid
    Be a mix master for $199.99 (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Ice cream maker

    Attach this gadget(Opens in a new tab) to your KitchenAid stand mixer to make ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbet with very little effort. The sky’s the limit on flavor combos, but you can’t go wrong with a classic like chocolate chip.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: KitchenAid
    Make artisanal ice cream for $79.87 (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Pour over coffee maker

    Level up your coffee game with this KitchenAid Pour Over Coffee Brewer(Opens in a new tab) that features a sleek futuristic design. It brings the ease of a traditional coffee maker paired with the flavor of good pour-over. Did someone say rocket fuel?

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Program your perfect pour-over for $129.99 (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Air fryer

    If you’re still dragging your feet on buying an air fryer, here’s one(Opens in a new tab) for 72 percent off the original price. Fries are just the starting point for all the foods you can make crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, thanks to some strategically placed hot air.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Fry it up for $69.95 (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Air fryer oven

    If you want something with more bells and whistles, try the Wolfgang Puck air fryer/oven, which packs 1700 watts of power. Air fry, bake, broil, warm, toast, or rotisserie with this chrome overachiever. If rotissering a chicken in your studio apartment kitchen isn’t ‘grammable, we don’t know what is.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Cook it all compactly for $129.99 (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Panini maker

    A panini maker is an easy way to break up the WFH lunch monotony. This Cuisinart Griddler Panini and Sandwich Press(Opens in a new tab) is practically calling out for a pesto, mozzarella, and tomato panini.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Make it crispy and golden for $49.99 (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Vertical waffle maker

    Who ever said waffles should be made horizontally? Take yours to new heights with the Cuisinart Vertical Belgian Waffle(Opens in a new tab) maker and avoid spilling batter all over the counter.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Get stacks of perfect waffles for $42.99 (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Dyson vacuum

    To cook is to clean. Do it hassle-free with a refurbished Dyson V7 Absolute Cordless Vacuum(Opens in a new tab) that is 45 percent off its original price. Crumbs don’t stand a chance.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Keep your kitchen spotless for $189.99 (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

  • Teachers are doing their best to make socially distanced classrooms less scary

    Teachers are doing their best to make socially distanced classrooms less scary

    A new school year is starting soon, and the coronavirus is forcing teachers to get extra creative with their classroom setups.


    Though the United States is still navigating a deadly pandemic, many children are heading back to the classroom this fall. Depending on state and district decisions, lots of schools are reopening and holding in-person classes.

    Extra safety measures like social distancing, wearing masks, and using hand sanitizer will be enforced. However, the intimate classroom environment still poses many challenges that educators are contending with. As teachers prepare their classrooms for this unique and scary school year, they're sharing their new social distance-friendly desk setups on social media — and boy do they look bleak.

    Many 2020 classroom photos show desks that are significantly separated or fitted with cold-looking plastic dividers. But some educators — like @NanLafferty(Opens in a new tab)'s co-worker, who teaches first grade — have gone the extra mile to make their students as comfortable as possible in this extremely uncomfortable situation.

    On Monday, Lafferty tweeted a video of her co-worker's first grade classroom, which shows the desks decorated to look like trucks. According to the tweet, Lafferty's co-worker didn't want the classroom "to look scary with all the dividers."

    There are only so many desk designs you can pull off with a transparent cubicle in the mix, which is why car desks have emerged as a popular classroom theme. Texas kindergarten teacher, Jennifer Birch Pierson, recently went viral for sharing a photo of her classroom's Jeep desks(Opens in a new tab), too.

    And though school districts normally pay for and provide social distancing supplies like desk dividers, some teachers are considering dipping into their own personal funds(Opens in a new tab) to make their classrooms appear slightly less dystopian.

    Not all socially distanced classroom setups have adorable desk vibes, but it's clear that so many teachers are doing everything they can to adapt to the bizarre circumstances and ensure their students are as protected as they can be.

    While no teacher, student, or faculty member should ever have to contend with schooling during a pandemic, it's heartwarming to see teachers putting so much thought and care into making their students feel safe and happy.

  • 4 tips to start saving now for your dream vacation

    4 tips to start saving now for your dream vacation

    Five months into a nation-wide pandemic lockdown and some Canadians are starting to feel a little squirrely. Let’s face it, we love to travel. And, although many of us stayed put or chose cottage country in the summer months, the cold winter months are looming.


    With travel restrictions and strict advisories in place, a winter getaway might not be in the cards this year. But instead of letting it get you down, why not take this opportunity to plan your dream vacation?

    The pandemic has been stressful for many of us. When all of this is over, taking a much-needed getaway to unwind from the uncertainty will be top of mind for many Canadians. With a bit of extra time and careful planning, you could make that next trip epic.

    Whether you’re dreaming of going to a 5-star, all-inclusive tropical resort, skiing down mountains to a chalet-spotted village, or wining and dining in a world-class city, you need a plan in place to save that cash money in order to make that dream a reality. We’ve got some simple tips that anyone can use to help save the money needed for their next dream holiday.

    Set a firm budget for your holiday

    The first step in saving for your vacation is knowing how much you need to save. Plan your vacation meticulously by researching all costs associated with your trip in the destination city, including accommodations, excursions, food, shopping, transportation, and taking currency exchange, fees and tips into consideration.

    Create a budget so you can prioritize accordingly. Once the budget is set, you can start implementing strategies to save the necessary funds.

    It is also important to be aware of your destination country’s pandemic status and health protocols, as well as any travel advisories, warnings and restrictions ensure your safe travel and return.

    Set up a savings account specifically for vacations

    When you set up an account specifically for pleasure travel, you are signalling a true commitment to your self-care. Of course, the vacation fund savings account only works if you work it.

    Allocate a portion of your income to the vacation fund each month. If you don’t have to juggle expenses and you can afford to, automatically transfer funds to the account each pay cheque.

    Keeping your vacation money separate from all other expenses is a good way to focus on saving and to avoid over-spending money that should be allocated to other living expenses.

    Identify areas of savings in your budget

    If you end each month either skint or in the hole, it is time to have a hard look at your budget. Examining your living expenses can help you to identify areas of lower priority that you can reallocate towards your vacation fund. Here are a few quick ideas that won’t hurt to implement:

    Cancel non-essential subscriptions

    • Everything from streaming services and music to wine and beauty boxes can be packaged and delivered to you for a monthly fee these days. Subscriptions are so attractive because the monthly fee is relatively low; enough so that they don’t necessarily warrant a line item in your budget.

    • However, if you start adding up a magazine subscription here, a Birchbox there, and a few specialty TV channels everywhere, it quickly adds up. Most subscriptions are a nice-to-have, but often not essential for daily living. Cancel any non-essential subscriptions and redirect those funds to your vacation savings fund. You’ll probably find that you don’t even miss them.

    Dine out & order in less

    • The math on this one is simple. It costs a fraction of the money to cook your own food at home than it does to eat out. And, it doesn’t even matter if you are living off of coffee and bagels. Brewing and toasting it yourself will still save you money.

    • If you buy your lunch every day, commit to making your lunch a few times a week, year-round. If you go out for dinner and drinks with friends a few times a month, commit to reducing it to once a month. The money you save will make a big impact on your vacation fund.

    Trim your grocery budget

    • Food is one of the biggest household costs after housing, so it’s no wonder that we are touching on it twice. We already suggested you eat at home over eating out. However, with rising food costs, you also need to be a savvy shopper to ensure that you aren’t paying a fortune to eat fresh, healthy foods.

    • Trim your grocery budget by using coupons, buying in bulk, and avoiding prepared foods. Meal plan and stick to your grocery list; budget to maximize your purchases and avoid food waste. You’ll be surprised how much you can save when you really start to examine your food spending and shop more strategically.

    Leverage rewards program

    Travel reward credit cards are often worth the annual fee, if you find one that gives you perks you can really take advantage of. With some cards, you can get discounts on flights, like BOGO half off once a year or sign-up bonuses worth hundreds or thousands of dollars towards the cost of future travel.

    You can also earn rewards on every dollar charged to your credit card. If you have big purchases that you can charge to a credit card and pay off immediately, you may want to consider a rewards card as a way of partially funding some of your holiday budget.

    With a free bill payment app, like Paytm(Opens in a new tab), you earn rewards points for paying your bills through the app(Opens in a new tab). The points can then be redeemed for cash gift cards that you can use to buy groceries, pay for subscriptions, eat out, or shop — including popular brands like Amazon, Instacart, Starbucks and Best Buy. Why not let paying your bills help pay your future bills? It’s all about finding savings wherever you can.

    Saving money is always easier when you have a goal that you can visualize and anticipate. Picture yourself sitting in a cabana by your private pool sipping a piña colada. Start dreaming and get planning.

  • Etsy urges its shop owners to stand with the USPS

    Etsy urges its shop owners to stand with the USPS

    Etsy is asking its sellers to voice their support for the United States Postal Service, since the vast majority of its users rely on it to ship orders.


    The online marketplace has launched a campaign(Opens in a new tab) urging its sellers to ask their local representatives to support the Postal Service Emergency Assistance Act(Opens in a new tab), a Senate bill that would appropriate up to $25 billion to the Postal Service to make up for lost revenue and operational costs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would also grant(Opens in a new tab) immediate access to a $10 billion loan from the U.S. Treasury that was approved by Congress in April.

    Thousands of Etsy sellers rely on the USPS to ship order to consumers. According to the site, 90 percent of U.S. sellers use the USPS, and for many in rural areas, it's the only shipping option available.

    "A global pandemic is not the time to make extreme cost cuts, reduce service, and raise postal rates for millions of Americans who are already suffering through the greatest economic downturn of our lifetime," the campaign's pre-written letter template reads. "Given the essential role USPS plays in the livelihoods of small and microbusinesses, I strongly support the Postal Service Emergency Assistance Act (S.4174), which would not only ensure this crucial service survives COVID-19, but would help to drive its long-term financial stability."

    This is not the first time Etsy has encouraged its sellers to be politically active. Etsy Advocacy(Opens in a new tab) also sponsors campaigns regarding net neutrality, international trade laws, and tax compliance for small businesses. If you want to read about other ways to support the USPS, Mashable has a helpful guide.

  • Kimberly Guilfoyle yelled her RNC speech like Dwight Schrute

    Kimberly Guilfoyle yelled her RNC speech like Dwight Schrute

    Girl, why are you SCREAMING?


    The Republican National Convention kicked off on Monday, and, while President Trump was a near ubiquitous presence, the real stand out speaker of the night was undoubtedly former Fox News host, national chair of Trump's 2020 Victory Finance Committee, Gavin Newsom's ex, and Donald Trump, Jr.'s current girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle.

    Guilfoyle, who genuinely might not understand how microphones work, made her way to the podium and straight up screamed at the American people. The volume and intensity of her speech only increased as the minutes passed, and it wasn't long before people started to poke fun at her impassioned delivery on Twitter.

    Several people compared Guilfoyle's time at the mic to Season 2, Episode 17 of The Office, "Dwight's Speech" — the one where Dwight wins the award for Dunder Mifflin salesman of the year and shouts quotes from dictators like Benito Mussolini into a mic. But others just couldn't get past how damn loud she was.

    While you wait for your ears to stop ringing from Guilfoyle's screams, please enjoy reading these reactions.

  • Fitbit’s Versa 3 and Inspire 2 get a minor refresh while mostly sticking to the same formula

    Fitbit’s Versa 3 and Inspire 2 get a minor refresh while mostly sticking to the same formula

    Fitbit hasn't forgotten about the wearables that have paved its way. The company, which just announced the Sense as its latest flagship, is back with minor refreshes for two of its other popular fitness trackers: the Versa 3 and Inspire 2.


    While the updates aren't necessarily groundbreaking when compared to previous iterations, there are a few additional features here worth noting. The Inspire 2 gets longer battery life and some new fitness features, while the Versa 3 now packs built-in GPS (say bye-bye to your phone) and fast charging.

    Whether you're in the market for a smartwatch or a basic fitness tracker, here's what you can expect from Fitbit's new Versa 3 and Inspire 2.

    The Fitbit Versa 3

    For the most part, the Versa 3's design remains unchanged, although it more closely resembles the Fitbit Sense than it does its predecessors. It features a rounded aluminum case with an AMOLED display — all of which is water-resistant up to 50 meters.

    The Versa 3 finally has built-in GPS (as opposed to connected GPS on the first two Versa smartwatches) so you can track your workouts without having to worry about carrying your phone. By leveraging the on-device sensor, you can also rest assured that your mileage and pace will be tracked a lot more accurately, too.

    The Versa 3 comes in either black or gold aluminum with interchangeable silicone bands. Credit: fitbit

    With Active Zone minutes (a feature users may know from the Charge 4), the Versa 3 can now track heart rate zones (i.e., fat burn, cardio and peak) to help users monitor their workout effort.

    Meanwhile, with heat maps, the Versa 3 can use the on-board GPS to track the intensity of your workouts using the heart rate zones. So after you've completed your run or biking session, for example, you can review the different zones you hit along your route and analyze where you can improve on various terrain.

    The Versa 3 will also offers users the choice between two voice assistants: Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. And this time around, the Versa 3 comes equipped with both a microphone and speaker. So, you'll not only be able to ask your preferred voice assistant questions, but also hear its response rather than simply read it on the display.

    As for battery life, Fitbit says the Versa 3 can last over six days on one charge (depending on your usage). But this time around, it comes with fast charging capabilities, which the company claims can give you a full day's worth of juice in only 12 minutes.

    Related Video: Here's why the Fitbit Charge 4 is one step closer to the ideal fitness tracker

    The Inspire 2

    When Fitbit launched its Inspire lineup last year, it offered two options: the Inspire and the Inspire HR. The only difference between the two being that the Inspire HR, as its name suggests, comes with a heart-rate monitor and a $20 price bump.

    But this time around, Fitbit's second-generation Inspire is only available in one variation — with the heart-rate sensor included. And it makes sense, seeing as how the heart-rate monitor allowed the company to include a ton of features into the compact device.

    In addition to tracking your beats per minute (BPM) throughout the day, during workouts, and at night to help determine your sleep quality, you'll have access to information like your Cardio Fitness Score (which measures how fit you are) and heart rate zones to determine when you're in fat burn, cardio, or peak zones while exercising.

    The Inspire 2 looks like a basic fitness tracker but comes with plenty of features built in. Credit: fitbit

    Speaking of those heart rate zones, the Inspire 2 also features Active Zone minutes. As with the Versa 3, it allows you to gain a better sense of how hard you're pushing yourself during workouts by notifying you each time you switch zones.

    The fitness tracker also tracks over 20 different exercises, reminds you to move throughout the day, and has connected GPS so you can log your pace and distance when going for bike rides, on walks, or for runs.

    At night, you can wear it to track your sleep quality (including sleep stages like REM, deep, and light sleep) and then monitor your Sleep Score each morning to see how well you slept.

    The most notable change is the battery life, which Fitbit has doubled to last ten days. While that all depends on how much you actually use the Inspire 2, it still means you can very likely squeeze over a week out of it before having to place it back on the charger.

    Additionally, those who purchase the Inspire 2 will also receive a one-year subscription to Fitbit Premium for free so you'll have access to more in-depth data on your health and fitness along with an extensive library of workouts.

    Both the Versa 3 and Inspire 2 are currently on pre-order for $99.95 and $229, respectively, with full availability set for late September.

Random articles


  • Tinder launches Election Center ahead of midterms

    Tinder launches Election Center ahead of midterms

    With the U.S. midterm elections less than a month away, dating app Tinder partnered with voting information organization BallotReady to help their users get out the vote. There's now a new Election Center feature in the app where Tinder users can access information about voter registration, measures on their local ballots, and polling stations.


    In a Tinder survey of over 2,000 adults done last month, 63 percent of participants aged 18-25 said that information on ballots is overwhelming, while 70 percent said the voting process should be easier to figure out. Considering the voting process in the U.S. is indeed esoteric, Tinder is providing easy-to-understand info in an easy-to-find spot — within the app.

    Election Center can now be found in the Explore section of Tinder. It'll have several sections:

    • Register to Vote: Singles can select their state or territory and will be redirected to its registration page.

    • My Actions: A checklist detailing steps to register, request a mail-in ballot, and/or find a polling place.

    • My Stickers: Tinder users can add an "I Voted" sticker to their profile — a smart move as 47 percent of people surveyed by Tinder said finding out their date is a non-voter would be a dealbreaker

    • My Ballot: Information on local ballot measures from BallotReady

    "This new generation of daters wants to be heard," said Tinder CMO Melissa Hobley in a press release. Despite this, however, "many young singles don’t feel properly informed on key issues in these midterm elections, and we want to do something about that."

    Hobley continued, "Tinder’s partnership with BallotReady is a meaningful way for our members to easily get involved, informed and show off their civic pride to potential matches."

    Finally, you can swipe and exercise your civic duty at the same time.

  • As Hurricane Ian made landfall, it was just another strange day on the internet

    As Hurricane Ian made landfall, it was just another strange day on the internet

    I was online, like I always seem to be, when Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida earlier this week. I flicked through Twitter and endlessly scrolled TikTok as the afternoon stretched into evening.


    It was a weird, troubling experience. Being online during a natural disaster like Ian is a strange mix of live devastation and the usual internet oddities. Flood waters rising and people memeing it in real time in an endless stream of updates. That is the essence of being online in 2022: Everything is awful, let's keep scrolling.

    We're just now beginning to see the actual toll Ian took. The Sun Sentinel reported(Opens in a new tab) at least 21 people have died in Florida, with thousands more people left unaccounted. Millions were without power Friday(Opens in a new tab) after the Category 4 storm pummeled the state with high winds and flooding. Even for a state quite familiar with hurricanes, Ian proved to be particularly awful.

    "This could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida’s history," President Joe Biden said(Opens in a new tab) Thursday afternoon. "The numbers are still unclear, but we're hearing early reports of what may be substantial loss of life."

    As this deadly storm reached its peek this week, the first viral video I saw was...of a shark. It's a bit of internet lore: a fake image of a shark swimming through a disaster zone that famously resurfaces(Opens in a new tab) during big storms. The first illegitimate photo(Opens in a new tab), of a shark swimming on a highway, appeared in 2011 amid Hurricane Irene. Since then, there's been various reiterations of the meme. So when a real video(Opens in a new tab) of what appears to be a small shark (or some other type of fish) thrashing about on a flooded street in Fort Myers, Florida, surfaced during Ian, people immediately started sharing it across their feeds. The short clip has since racked up more than 13 million views.

    Hurricane Shark wasn't the only video to go viral as Ian hit. Some dude ran out to fly (Opens in a new tab)a Philadelphia Eagles flag as the storm made landfall. In another clip, people swam in the storm surge(Opens in a new tab) (which we definitely don't advise). On TikTok, you could watch(Opens in a new tab) as zookeepers cheerfully walked storks and other animals to a bathroom for safety.

    I'd categorize all these videos as curiosities: surreal clips of animals outside of their habitats and people making bad decisions, two hallmarks of the internet. You might even call it fun, depending on which social media platform you were on. Because over on a different corner of the internet, the legitimate horrors of Hurricane Ian were inescapable.

    On TikTok, people went live as their homes were flooded, seemingly unprepared for the damage and dealing with real, serious danger. As The Washington Post's Taylor Lorenz noted on Twitter(Opens in a new tab), TikTok is the place for real-time news. Scrolling through my FYP was like watching a found-footage horror movie in real time. The footage became so overwhelming that I had to put my phone down. Seeing all these people in real-life danger was harrowing to watch, and it made me feel helpless. There was no relief from TikTok's savvy algorithm.

    Of course, there was also your usual clout-grifting off the wake of the storm. Lorenz noted people were stealing streams and pretending they were authentic. NBC News culture reporter Kat Tenbarge posted that people were asking for engagement on their content as the storm played out.

    This is all to say that while there may be a very real Hurricane Shark out there, swimming down a Florida street, the internet in which it exists hasn't changed very much since 2011. People are still exploiting a natural disaster for clicks, even those at the center of the storm. There's a fine line between documenting an event and filming things for clout, asking people to follow along. And even the same hoaxes popped up on our timelines (Hurricane Shark, meet Street Manatee(Opens in a new tab)). Even as the internet evolves, our online behavior doesn't.

    As Bo Burnham once sang(Opens in a new tab), the internet is a little bit of everything all of the time. Even in the eye of a storm, that remains true.

  • What is the metaverse? A (kind of) simple explainer

    What is the metaverse? A (kind of) simple explainer

    Despite how new it appears, it already feels like the metaverse is everywhere.


    Facebook's, I mean, Meta's recent rebrand and investments, triggered a new wave of interest in the metaverse. It's all over headlines, corporate news, memes, gaming platforms, and social media. The word's increased ubiquity is creating an impending sense of doom, as if, at any moment, our physical lives will be engulfed in corporate pixels and paywalled interactions. But Fortnite and Roblox have also been hyping up the metaverse for some time now and the term itself is actually decades old.

    So what is the metaverse exactly?

    Mark Zuckerburg's version conjures an image of virtual everything(Opens in a new tab): You attend work meetings as an avatar using the Quest VR headset(Opens in a new tab) and use a device on your wrist to secretly text friends.When you go outside, you'll wear smart glasses that offer an augmented reality as well as record what you see and hear. The metaverse will be accessible through phones, computers, wearable tech, and headsets (or a combination of these) and it will be where you work, shop, exercise, socialize, watch movies, and game.

    SEE ALSO: 10 best gaming headsets for PC gaming, PS4, and Xbox One

    But the term long predates many of the technologies that could actually make it possible. The suffix meta- means "behind or beyond," it can also mean "more comprehensive" and even "transformative" (like metamorphosis). The second half of the word, -verse, derives from the word "universe" and describes either a specific sphere or area (like Twitterverse) or a fictional world, like the omegaverse (sorry!), a speculative alternative universe literary genre known to organize characters into alphas, betas, and omegas. As a whole, the word "metaverse" generally refers to a virtual world that lies beyond, on top of, or is an extension of the physical world.

    The word was coined in a 1992 dystopian sci-fi novel, Snow Crash(Opens in a new tab), written by Neal Stephenson. In the book, the Metaverse is the sum of virtual and augmented realities concentrated on a super long "Street" through which people walk as avatars and can access using goggles and plugging into terminals. Public terminal users are rendered as blurry black and white avatars while those who pay for private terminals are rendered in full color and detail. Since then, the word "metaverse" has been used to describe all kinds of initiatives focused on creating a more permanent virtual reality that bleeds into our physical lives.

    People have been trying to create immersive virtual worlds as early as the 1960s(Opens in a new tab), a pursuit powered by the world-building efforts of both the film and video game industries. One of the most-cited examples of metaverse is Second Life, an alt-reality computer game where you play through an avatar and could do just about anything — like build a house or get married — was created in 2003. It was such a real world it had a thriving kink scene(Opens in a new tab) – it doesn't get more real than that. By 2006, there were enough serious metaverse enthusiasts to gather them for a summit.

    'Second Life' on a computer screen from 2005. Credit: Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag

    That summit created the Metaverse Roadmap(Opens in a new tab), a project that mapped the path to completing the metaverse. The Metaverse Roadmap(Opens in a new tab) defines the metaverse as, "the convergence of virtually-enhanced physical reality and [a] physically persistent virtual space." In other words, it could look like a second world layered over the one we know through the use of augmented reality in addition to a virtual space we can come in-and-out-of, like the video game in Spy Kids 3. Think Snapchat filters or that Google feature that lets you see life-size 3D models of animals(Opens in a new tab). The Metaverse Roadmap explains that, "the Metaverse wouldn't be the entirety of the Internet–but like the Web, it would be seen by many as the most important part."

    We've seen a few rounds of metaverse hype throughout the years, but many of today's evangelists will insist that for the first time ever, we have the technology, protocols, and infrastructure to step on the gas and make it real. They say it's the next step after the mobile internet. The metaverse asks the big "what if" about combining virtual reality, augmented reality, Zoom meetings, social networks, crypto, NFT's, online shopping, and wearable tech, artificial intelligence, 5G, and more. They say it's the future! The future is inevitable, so it has to be good, right?

    For the most part, many of the people exalting the virtues of the metaverse and insisting it's the logical next step, are Silicone Valley voices, futurists (the Metaverse Roadmap's John Smart) and all kinds of actors with financial stakes in the fruition of the metaverse. Mark Zuckerberg is definitely one of them, and so is Matthew Ball, a venture capitalist –and prolific writer– who has given us one of the more useful definitions of the metaverse and will soon publish a book(Opens in a new tab) on the topic. expansive network of persistent, real-time rendered 3D worlds and simulations."

    According to Ball(Opens in a new tab), the metaverse is "an expansive network of persistent, real-time rendered 3D worlds and simulations." Ball's metaverse should be able to maintain the continuity of identity, objects, history, payments, and can be experienced by an unlimited number of people at the same time, in which everyone will have their own sense of presence. Here, the metaverse is an immersive virtual reality that allows users to be present, it's a persistent space where blockchain technology could be used to pay for items we can bring with us through different experiences: Imagine being able to wear the Sandy Liang fleece you got in Animal Crossing on your Twitter and Instagram profile pictures. Ball's metaverse is constantly expanding and learning.

    An avatar of Mark Zuckerberg in his version of the metaverse. Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images

    Zuckerberg's metaverse is very much influenced by Ball's. In his Facebook Connect presentation, Zuckerberg's avatar moved from platform to platform, wearing the same black t-shirt demonstrating a "continuity of identity and objects." With nearly 3 billion Facebook users, Zuckerberg's metaverse is well on its way to hosting an unlimited number of people. And during his presentation, Zuckerberg repeatedly assured us how each feature of the metaverse would establish a "sense of presence."

    Today, Roblox and Epic Games' Fortnite are often roped into metaverse conversations and some say are way closer to making the metaverse happen(Opens in a new tab) than Zuckerberg's Meta. Both games meet the criteria of being persistent virtual worlds, they each have millions of players that gather to both play and socialize, where there is some persistence in objects (clothes and skins) and payment (Robux and V-Bucks). Fortnite's Ariana Grande concert event was attended by millions(Opens in a new tab) and along with customizable avatars and emotes, these events are fostering some sense of "presence."

    The most important thing to know is that the metaverse is not real.

    The most important thing to know is that the metaverse is not real. Zuckerberg has made it very clear that for him, the metaverse is a goal and for many investors, engineers, academics, and futurists, it's been a long-time goal. But Zuckerberg's plan was not well-received, people hate it(Opens in a new tab), and there is zero faith(Opens in a new tab) in Meta's metaverse's potential to do anything but immeasurable damage to the point of calling it a dystopian(Opens in a new tab) mess. The metaverse is an idea – for some an exciting one and for others a very scary one.

    Rhizome(Opens in a new tab), a nonprofit art organization leading efforts to archive digital art and culture, held a conference called Welcome to the Metaverse(Opens in a new tab), in which artist David Rudnick noted that, "the notion of the metaverse is the ultimate centralization" something that runs in stark counter to so many of the hopes of democratization we once had for the internet. Rudnick notes, "when you hear people talk about the dream of the emergent metaverse, they're really talking about a space where you'll be able to do everything [in a virtual world]," a commercial public space, "that can derive value or some sort of ownership from all the interactions that take place on the platform."

    At their core, fears and concerns about the metaverse are ultimately concerns about scale. Any expansion of the virtual world is liable to amplify its more harmful attributes. What would it mean for so many essential interactions to be mediated by a handful of for-profit companies? If Meta's current dominance over social media is any indication, it doesn't inspire much hope.

    Historically, governments are notoriously slow at understanding much less regulating technological developments. Can a government that's embarrassingly confused about what a finsta is be counted on to make the metaverse safe, ethical, and sustainable? What would be the human and environmental costs of pursuing this and what are the benefits?

    For now, the metaverse is mostly the hope of a few, a speculation, a fantasy with many gaps to let the chill winds of the unknown to blow through.

    Michelle Santiago Cortés is an internet culture reporter and critic. You can follow her on Twitter(Opens in a new tab).

  • The cost of living crisis is wreaking havoc in friendships

    The cost of living crisis is wreaking havoc in friendships

    "One of my friends is turning 25 in December and has booked a very fancy venue for a birthday party costing each guest £70 ($83.26)," Serena* tells Mashable, adding that this cost is completely unaffordable for her. 


    "I messaged her privately and explained that I'm embarrassed to say in the group that I’m unable to attend as I cannot afford it, so she offered to cover my expenses to have me there. I simply could not allow her to do this again, I politely declined and told her I would see her another time."

    SEE ALSO: Why affairs are on the rise in the cost of living crisis

    Serena’s honesty was met with a passive aggressive message from her friend, who got upset and told her she wanted to cancel the entire thing. "I saw the same group of friends recently for coffee, and listening to them talk about their lives made me feel completely alienated as I could not relate to a single thing because of my own financial struggles." 

    Saying no to plans

    26-year-old India Chambers, an assistant editor in book publishing agrees with Serena, that birthday celebrations can put our bank accounts under real pressure. "I’ve started saying no to going to the birthdays of people I’m not super close with," she says.

    India recently went to a dinner for a new friend’s birthday. She was down to her last £120 ($142.76) and it was the week before payday. "We all knew what we were going to pay as it was a set menu, but someone suggested that we all chip in to pay for the birthday girl’s portion."

    "I wanted to say no but I didn’t, which pushed me over what I budgeted for the meal." India explains she’d normally be happy to pay, but being short for money that week means it wasn’t ideal. "I’m definitely being more selective with my friends and which work events I go to," she adds. When we speak, India is working from home and tells me she has an author’s work event she has decided to miss out on to save money on travel. "I feel like it’s those little costs like transport and buying a snack on the journey that all add up," she says. 

    India also tells me that her job often revolves around "wining and dining" authors and agents, to create connections and build relationships. It has raised important conversations at work about the need for a company card. "I can’t afford to use my personal card for work related costs anymore, because it takes too long to get those expenses back." 

    SEE ALSO: How the cost of living crisis is impacting the way we date

    She adds: "The cost of living crisis is changing the way we do things, and making people with privilege question the structures in place and how they affect employees on a budget."

    Prices are going up and wages are standing still, with food, rent, gas and electricity bills at a record high. 93 percent of adults in the UK(Opens in a new tab) say they saw an increase in their outgoings between August and September 2022, and it means young people are having to change the way they socialise. Businesses are charging more for their goods and services because of the higher costs they face, that includes spaces we would typically socialise in. Think: cinemas, restaurants, bars, hotels. 

    It’s understandable that we feel obligated to celebrate our friend’s birthdays, and the result is either attending and experiencing anxiety if you’ve spent money on the celebration that you’d put aside for something else, or guilt if you turn the invite down because you can’t afford it and feeling like you're a bad friend. 

    The odd one out in a group of rich friends

    A study by the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) revealed that 55 percent of people don’t feel comfortable opening up(Opens in a new tab) when they have worries about their financial situation. Like Serena, who is reluctant to tell some of her friends about her money struggles. "I have a group of friends that have grown up wealthy and privileged," she says. "I've always felt like the odd one out because that has never been the case for me with having to support my family." Serena comes from a single parent background and is also the eldest child. 

    "Relationships are critical to good mental health and having financial differences in friendships can most definitely affect mental health and well-being," Michael Throckmorton, a financial expert at Merchant Cash Advance(Opens in a new tab) which provides business loans that don't need to be repaid within a fixed term or at a fixed rate explains.

    SEE ALSO: People can't afford their findom kink in the cost of living crisis

    "You might feel lonely or isolated, or like you can’t afford to do the things you want to do which can have a negative impact as it’ll result in missing out on social events or even losing friends," he continues. "But it’s important to try and put this aside and be honest and upfront with your friends if you cannot afford to pay for the activity that they are interested in. A true friend will listen and find activities that you can both enjoy without breaking the bank, and will help you stop worrying about anything money related with friends."

    The high cost of living can also mean that we’re seeing our friends less frequently, leading to loneliness. Sure, you can socialise in a cost effective way, but seeing friends normally requires us to spend at least a "small amount" of money, and when people are living paycheque to paycheque, finding a "small amount" of money to spare (relative to you) can be really difficult. Plus, there are only so many free walks you can go on with friends before things start to get boring. 

    Owning your loneliness

    The Campaign To End Loneliness reported that 45 percent of adults feel occasionally, sometimes or often lonely(Opens in a new tab) in England. That equates to twenty five million people. 

    Charlotte Fox Weber is a psychotherapist and author of What We Want, which explores the power of articulating our desires as a path toward greater mental health and self-actualization(Opens in a new tab). She says that loneliness can be debilitating. "It’s within all of us, and is a deceptive state of mind. It has a way of being utterly convincing that this is how life will always feel," she tells Mashable. 

    Fox Weber believes in owning our loneliness: "Saying ‘I’m lonely’ aloud is powerful. There are so many people in the world who do care and who will connect." She suggests telling someone when you’re experiencing the feeling of loneliness. "Try to say it when it’s happening, to someone, and if not to another person, even to yourself. Being there for yourself and being compassionate internally does help. Fox Weber also suggests reading books, writing letters, journalling, and even texting to get your feelings out, as well as picking up the phone and connecting with someone. 

    Cole*, 28, doesn’t see his friends as often as he’d like. "I used to see my friends everyday [when the costs were more affordable], so that might be dinner or a night out. But now it’s a bit more like once a week."

    "I’ve always been selective with the people I spend time with. Now, I’m not going partying unless you’re my family or part of my core circle," he adds.

    He tells Mashable it’s something he has been open with his friends about. "If your bills double, you can’t ignore that. I definitely have had to say no to certain things."

    It's only natural that we are changing the way we socialise as everything gets more expensive. To save money, India has found herself doing more home cooked dinners with friends and hasn’t booked any social events too far in advance, which allows her to be sure she’ll have the money to spend when the time comes around. "A friend suggested going to see a pantomime before Christmas and I thought, 'that’s gonna be expensive.'"

    "Whilst I want to do that, it’s not a priority. It’s more of a nice-to-have or nice-to-do." Our social lives are being affected in a big way. But with the cost of living set to slow down in the second half of 2023, it might be helpful to know that there could soon be a light at the end of the tunnel. 

    *Some names have been changed at the request of sources.

  • TikTok introduces creator crediting tool

    TikTok introduces creator crediting tool

    TikTok is introducing a creator crediting tool that allows users to directly tag and credit videos using a new button in the app. The feature will roll out over the next few weeks.


    The new tool is part of an effort to encourage the TikTok community to credit creators and trend originators. The tool enables you to tag, mention, and credit a video in its description. Currently, when TikTok users choose to credit a creator they tag them in the caption or comments of the video, but the new feature allows you to credit specific videos.

    SEE ALSO: Everyone is crying on TikTok. Thanks, Snapchat.

    The tool comes nearly a year after Black creators held a "strike" to protest uncredited viral TikTok dance trends. The strike was a result of years of white creators benefiting from Black creators' choreography and labor. As a result, TikTok users now typically include a dance credit or "dc" in the caption of their videos. TikTok's announcement also comes at the heels of Instagram adding enhanced tags to help Black and underrepresented creators get credit for their work.

    TikTok says the new crediting feature aims to promote equitable creator amplification. "These features are an important step in our ongoing commitment to investing in resources and product experiences that support a culture of credit, which is central to ensuring TikTok remains a home for creative expression," wrote Kudzi Chikumbu, the Director Of Creator Community at TikTok in the U.S., in TikTok's announcement.

    TikTok will also be adding user prompts to credit to the posting process with an educational pop-up that encourages and explains the importance of crediting.

    We will walk you through how to use the new button.

    How to use the new creator crediting tool on TikTok:

    Credit: TikTok

    1. Create a TikTok video

    2. Tap the new "video" icon on the posting page

    3. Select the video you have either liked, favorited, posted, or that has used the same sound that you want to credit. Once selected, the video will be tagged in caption.

  • Banish living room fatigue with upgrades that bring back that fresh feeling

    Banish living room fatigue with upgrades that bring back that fresh feeling

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


    If you’re tired of the one room in your home that you’ve basically been living in for the past year — we feel you. The good news is that it’s pretty easy to change up your living room(Opens in a new tab) and give it a whole new vibe. Just add some colorful pillows or a new shag rug — Walmart has you covered in the easy updates department.

    Tuft it up with these colorful throw pillows

    Does your sofa need a low-cost refresh? Throw a pillow on it. These tufted pillows are cute, look expensive, and are comfy to lean or lay on. They check all the boxes.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Better Homes & Gardens Tufted Trellis Decorative Throw Square Pillow, 20" x 20", Coral ($15.87) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Charge your devices with this mid-century modern table

    This small and stylish accent table packs a few surprises. Most notably, it has two USB slots and one wireless charger that will keep your phone, tablet, and smartwatch juiced up and ready to rock.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: WESTON HOME
    Weston Home Cayleigh Wicker Front 1 Drawer Front End Table with Wireless Charger, Natural Finish ($270, normally $681) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Lighten up with this fancy brass lamp

    A heavy marble base and shiny brass make this lamp look way more expensive than it is. If you’re looking for a light source that elevates your living space, this is it.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Better Homes & Gardens Real Marble Table Lamp, Brushed Brass Finish ($34.92, normally $40.00) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Keep it together with this woven tray

    This natural seagrass tray isn’t just pretty to look at, it’s highly functional. Put it on your coffee table as a de-cluttering catchall for remotes, controllers, and doodads.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Better Homes & Gardens 16" Round Natural Colored Water Hyacinth Woven Tray ($24.96) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Soften things up with a faux fur rug

    This treat for your feet is super posh. It feels like real sheepskin, comes in several sizes, and has an anti-skid backing to ensure it stays where you put it. Get it in teal or pink and transform your living room into your lair.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Ultra Soft Faux Sheepskin Fur Shag Rug Ivory 2' x 6' Sheepskin (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

  • Perfect impression nails how New Jersey moms will act if weed is legal in the state

    Perfect impression nails how New Jersey moms will act if weed is legal in the state

    Legal weed is on the ballot(Opens in a new tab) in New Jersey on Tuesday, which means a powerful force with soon have to reckon with the fallout of recreational marijuana. That powerful force, of course, is Jersey moms.


    Mashable's own Vicky Leta created a pitch perfect impression(Opens in a new tab) of a certain New Jersey mom — likely Italian-American, needling, a little neurotic, gossipy, loving to a fault, ultimately kind of fun — reacting to and reckoning with weed's legalization. Here, just watch:

    I count every line of this monologue as perfect, but here are three of my favorites because I can:

    • "Who ya doing it with? Oooh, Tommy Cacciatore....Hmm, no surprise there."

    • "You lift the box by the foyer, you put your shit in there when's it done — every ash, every paper, all the crap — then you bring it down by the boiler in the basement, then you hide it."

    • "Please don't tell your grandma. I still need her ziti recipe."

    Leta is a wonderful illustrator(Opens in a new tab) at Mashable, but also, apparently, a great impressionist. In a follow-up tweet to the video(Opens in a new tab) she thanked Carmela Soprano, which, yep, that makes sense.

    The legalization initiative is widely expected to pass(Opens in a new tab), so we should all prepare for this video to become a reality.

  • Kimberly Guilfoyle yelled her RNC speech like Dwight Schrute

    Kimberly Guilfoyle yelled her RNC speech like Dwight Schrute

    Girl, why are you SCREAMING?


    The Republican National Convention kicked off on Monday, and, while President Trump was a near ubiquitous presence, the real stand out speaker of the night was undoubtedly former Fox News host, national chair of Trump's 2020 Victory Finance Committee, Gavin Newsom's ex, and Donald Trump, Jr.'s current girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle.

    Guilfoyle, who genuinely might not understand how microphones work, made her way to the podium and straight up screamed at the American people. The volume and intensity of her speech only increased as the minutes passed, and it wasn't long before people started to poke fun at her impassioned delivery on Twitter.

    Several people compared Guilfoyle's time at the mic to Season 2, Episode 17 of The Office, "Dwight's Speech" — the one where Dwight wins the award for Dunder Mifflin salesman of the year and shouts quotes from dictators like Benito Mussolini into a mic. But others just couldn't get past how damn loud she was.

    While you wait for your ears to stop ringing from Guilfoyle's screams, please enjoy reading these reactions.

  • I tried MrBeasts new chocolate bars. Theyre pretty good!

    I tried MrBeasts new chocolate bars. Theyre pretty good!

    I'm not really a huge chocolate person, but even I can admit it's difficult for chocolate to be bad. To that end, MrBeast — the incredibly popular YouTuber — is channeling his inner Willy Wonka to launch a line of tasty, if not world-changing, treats: chocolate bars.


    Real name Jimmy Donaldson, MrBeast has 89 million subscribers(Opens in a new tab) on YouTube, where he often launches stunts and massive giveaways. He's the guy who created a real-life Squid Game.

    SEE ALSO: IRL 'Squid Game' gets 100 million YouTube views in 4 days

    Anyway, Donaldson's latest venture is a food company called Feastables, touted in a press release as "a better-for-you snacking brand rooted in gamified experiences." Basically, the company plans to hold sweepstakes for $1 million in giveaways, from Teslas to Beats headphones to electric bikes. But that's not all: A few winners will get to experience a very surreal trip to MrBeast's chocolate factory.

    "Ten lucky Grand Prize winners will travel to compete in a MrBeast YouTube video for the chance to win MrBeast’s Chocolate Factory," the press release reads. "Yes, this really exists."

    OK, so all the spectacle aside, how's the actual product? Pretty good! The chocolate bars are marketed as a simpler alternative to the mass-produced stuff. They have just four ingredients, are gluten free, and come in three flavors: original chocolate, almond chocolate, and quinoa crunch chocolate. Donaldson has Crohn's Disease, and the idea was to create a fun treat with a limited number of ingredients.

    The packaging is bright and loud, which is kind of to be expected. Credit: Mashable

    I was sent a whole mess of chocolate bars, more than I'll ever eat. But I gave each flavor a few bites out of dedication to my job.

    Again, I'm not a huge chocolate person, but of the three flavors, I think the quinoa crunch was by far the best. It had great texture and tasted something like a thinner, snappier, darker Crunch Bar. My wife, a bigger chocolate fan than me, agreed the quinoa was best, but she also enjoyed all three flavors.

    While the bars are marketed as better for you, from a purely caloric standpoint there's not much difference between a MrBeast bar and a Hersey bar. The Feastables bars are definitely darker, richer, and snappier — it tastes fancier, more luxurious — but doesn't have that whole melt-in-you-mouth addictiveness of its Hershey competitor.

    I now have more MrBeast candy bars than I will ever need. Credit: Mashable

    The MrBeast bars are also clearly made to look more, well, appealing to kids who watch countless hours of YouTube. They're brightly packaged and have zigzag patterns on the bar itself. They have a crease to break off a piece that reads "share," while the unperforated end reads "devour."

    Chocolate? Pretty good Credit: Mashable

    So would I buy the chocolate bars from MrBeast? I mean, probably not, but that's just because chocolate isn't one of my vices. If chocolate is your vice, then I don't see you being disappointed with the product.

    The chocolate is now available for purchase through Feastables(Opens in a new tab), Walmart, and GoPuff. A single bar will cost anywhere from $3 to $3.50, with options to buy packs of 10 or variety packs at around the same price per bar.

  • It’s OK to break up with your vape over text. Here’s why.

    It’s OK to break up with your vape over text. Here’s why.

    It’s morning. Do you reach for your phone or your vape first? One is filled with dance challenges, cute dog vids, and funny memes; the other, nicotine, a highly addictive chemical that can have seriously toxic effects on your mental and physical health. If you have that a.m. craving for your vape, you’re not alone. A study conducted by Truth Initiative found 82.3% of 18-to-24-year-old e-cigarette users(Opens in a new tab) vape within 30 minutes of waking up.


    From hyping the “deliciousness” of fruit flavors to posting vape tricks on social media, e-cigarette companies bombard young vapers with unsavory ploys(Opens in a new tab) to get them hooked. For many, though, the gig is up. Another Truth Initiative survey found 60% of young e-cigarette users want to quit(Opens in a new tab) — and This Is Quitting, a free, text program from truth, provides support for how to stop.

    If you’re thinking about your future, vaping may feel like a clingy, toxic friendship dragging you down. When you’re ready to move on, it can be hard, but you’ve already got an ally in your pocket: your smartphone, a powerful tool for getting you through the challenge.

    Here’s why you may want to reach for your phone first thing in the morning for a dose of positivity and empowerment — instead of your vape.

    This is Quitting: A quit vaping program to help teens and young adults

    E-cigarette companies have used tech and pop culture to appeal to kids and teens — even putting influencers on their payroll. They have tried hard to reach you where you are, but so has This Is Quitting(Opens in a new tab), designed to help 13-to-24-year-olds start their journey toward being nicotine-free. The program sends messages based on your age, your vape device, and where you are in your journey to quit. Text DITCHVAPE to 88709 to enroll.

    You can quit on the down-low

    If you feel embarrassed about vaping or unsure about telling people you’re quitting, you’re definitely not alone. It’s tough enough trying to quit without dealing with internal guilt trips. This Is Quitting is completely anonymous, which means even if you’re just curious, or you don’t feel comfortable talking to your loved ones about vaping, you don’t have to reveal or commit to anything. When you sign up for This Is Quitting(Opens in a new tab), you get daily text messages, but there are also keywords for on-demand support when you need it — COPE, STRESS, or SLIP, for example.

    You can find strength in community

    Being young right now is pretty intense. You’re thinking about school, dealing with relationships, and deciding what you want to do and who you are — all of that on top of the ongoing stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. Vaping nicotine can also mess with your mental health, including amplifying symptoms of depression and anxiety. When you’re ready, This Is Quitting offers accountability, but it also provides support through interactive messages and advice from other young people who have quit or are trying at the same time.

    There’s data to prove it works

    In a randomized clinical trial published in JAMA Internal Medicine(Opens in a new tab), quit rates were nearly 40% higher among young adult e-cigarette users aged 18-24 who used This is Quitting(Opens in a new tab) compared to a control group. The program showed powerful impact(Opens in a new tab) across different subgroups of users, regardless of age, gender, race and sexual orientation as well as including people with anxiety and depression, those with high levels of nicotine dependence, and people who reported smoking cigarettes or binge drinking.

    It’s more important than ever

    E-cig sales continue to soar even during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. With vaping linked to a substantially increased risk of COVID-19 among teenagers and young adults, it's more important than ever before to help young people quit. Truth Initiative — the organization behind the truth campaign and This is Quitting — recently hosted a virtual discussion, "Unvaping Ameria's Youth,"(Opens in a new tab) on how to address the youth e-cigarette epidemic on all fronts. Check it out for info and inspiration on how quitting can improve your life.