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Why affairs are on the rise in the cost of living crisis

2023-03-19 06:17:49

Why affairs are on the rise in the cost of living crisis

"I don’t know why I cheated on my wife, I didn’t do it on purpose. I think maybe the arguing got to be too much," 41-year-old contractor Mark — whose name has been changed to protect his identity — tells Mashable. "I never imagined I’d be someone who had an affair."

Mark started having an affair with another woman late last year. "It’s one of those things where I felt bad about it at the beginning and wanted to stop and fess up to my wife, but I kept putting it off. Now it’s been a year out of nowhere and it feels too big to let out," he explains. "I wasn’t trying to have an affair. Looking back, I think it was about getting attention."

Why affairs are on the rise in the cost of living crisis(图1)

Money troubles started between Mark and his wife in Sept. 2021 and are yet to ease. "It was all kind of born from the cost of living crisis, the rowing. We lived paycheque to paycheque before, so even a slight increase in bills would have left us fucked. Then we got a big increase."

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

Soon, all of their conversations revolved around money and where they were going to find it for gas, electric and petrol. "That’s when we started fighting every day."

He met the woman he’s having an affair with in a bar after one of these arguments. “I didn’t want to cheat,” he says. "This woman just started flirting and showed me the most affection I’d had in months, I was doing something terrible before I’d even realised."

"I wasn’t trying to have an affair. Looking back, I think it was about getting attention."

Since the cost of living crisis began in the UK last year, thousands of people are turning to affairs, according to data from marital affairs website Illicit Encounters,(Opens in a new tab) (essentially, a dating app for married people looking to cheat). The website, which has well over one million members, saw a 169 percent spike in new members over the summer this year, with August 2022 reaching a record high for sign-ups in one month. 

Money worries can lead to cheating

So, what exactly is causing people's eyes to wander outside of their marriages? It could be arguments over money. A recent report from Stowe Family Law(Opens in a new tab) showed 20 percent of couples affected by the cost of living crisis regularly argue over what to allocate their dwindling funds towards. With stress being proven to make people more likely to cheat(Opens in a new tab), perhaps it's not a surprise how many affairs are occuring. 

Charlotte Fox Weber, psychotherapist and author of What We Want: A Journey Through Twelve of Our Deepest Desires(Opens in a new tab) tells Mashable that couples often experience stress around money because money creates “pernicious opportunities for control issues to play out”. 

"There’s fantasy and reality with money, and the reality tends to be disappointing," she explains. "Couples falling in love might feel like they’re embarking on a joyous adventure, but there’s no awakening as rude as the reminder of not having enough money."

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

She notes that couples are constantly how they would like to experience independence and freedom and how to divide responsibilities between one another, especially when it comes to money, and that creates a lot of opportunity for arguments and stress generally.

Further research from Illicit Encounters surveyed 1,000 of its members, asking the question "Do you think the cost of living crisis is impacting your marriage and making you more likely to cheat?" with an overwhelming 85 percent of them answering "yes".

Of course, customers of Illicit Encounters are going to draw high numbers in a question like “would you like to cheat?” but it does confirm the specific correlation between nation-wide cheating and nation-wide money stress

And it’s not the first time we've seen this. Jessica Leoni, a spokesperson for Illicit Encounters, says the sign-up spike follows a similar trend they observed during the 2008 financial crash. 

A research study(Opens in a new tab) from relationship therapy company Relate also had similar findings, indicating that the fallout of the 2008 recession in the UK put great stress on couples. Those who were severely impacted saw a breakup rate increase of up to 16 percent. 

Loneliness, shame, and searching for attention

Fox-Weber explains that money issues can be so shame-filled and people often feel alone and embarrassed by their financial problems. Enduring intense arguments over the same problem over and over can lead to a loss of self, and cheating can sometimes feel like the antidote to that.

"Feeling desired [through gaining positive attention from someone else] awakens something within. And while cheating may not be the solution to life’s problems, it can tempt people who are looking for that sense of possibility," Fox-Weber adds. 

51-year-old electrician Raymond, who hasn’t shared his surname to protect his identity, is one of many people who had an affair back in 2009. He believes it all started because of the 2008 financial crash. 

Raymond had been with his wife for 13 years when his affair started in 2010. "I had checked out of the marriage much earlier than that, maybe about two years before," he tells Mashable. "When the recession hit, we lost our home and I lost my job. My wife put so much pressure on me to fix it, which I don’t blame her for. She couldn’t work due to a disability so she couldn’t fix it. But I couldn’t either. I had failed as a man. I couldn’t look after us."

He explains that the pressure of mounting bills, being made redundant and feeling like he wasn’t a good husband put a huge strain on their marriage. "There was barely a marriage left. I was the one to raise the idea to get divorced, but she was immediately dismissive. She said she didn’t want to be 'one of those women who got divorced' and I wasn’t to leave her. And, honestly, I don’t think either of us could afford to go it alone," he explains. 

"I was shagging a woman I met at a friend’s gathering before I knew it. I’ve never had to deal with so much guilt. Every time I slept with the other woman, I was disgusted with myself."

Raymond thinks this is why he had an affair. "There was nowhere left to run. I couldn’t fix it and I couldn’t give it up either. I was shagging a woman I met at a friend’s gathering before I knew it. I’ve never had to deal with so much guilt. Every time I slept with the other woman, I was disgusted with myself but it was like I was addicted. She didn’t need anything from me and it felt so nice," he explains.  

"It lasted for about nine months, before my wife found out and made me end it," he continues. "We didn’t break up. I got another job and things improved a bit. We’re not struggling to make ends meet anymore, but our relationship has never been the same. We’re still together now and have opted to never speak about [my affair] ever again."

Fox-Weber explains that, in times of financial crisis, a partner at home can sometimes be a reminder of reality, of how sombre uncertainty and its impact on romance can be. A fantasy carries people away from that. "Someone who is convinced they will fail, who feels trapped and restricted by money issues, might take refuge in finding ways to make life match his prediction," she explains. "Self-sabotage and self-indulgence are shockingly close."

SEE ALSO: What it's really like being the other woman in an affair

Stowe Family Law have also warned that many people could end up in Raymond’s position as a result of the cost of living crisis. As basic expenses continue to rise, many married couples seeking a breakup can’t raise the money for a divorce. Financial worries have always been a concern for couples divorcing (on average, a divorce in the UK costs around £14,561 ($17,307) in legal fees(Opens in a new tab)) but Niamh McCarthy, a partner at Stowe Family Law, says 'the current backdrop of financial uncertainty and spiralling costs are increasing that pressure.' Many clients at the firm have expressed interest in divorcing, only to reconsider giving things another go when they’re faced with the numbers.

Raymond's situation, as well as that of so many other people who’ve been in his position, shows a prime example of societal pressure adding an additional strain on the relationship. For most of us, relationships are tied to self-esteem, and a lack of money can drag a person’s self esteem down to the earth, especially straight men.(Opens in a new tab) Most likely, this is due to gender role pressures.

Although the reason for the rise behind affairs is clear, it doesn't have to be and shouldn't be an inevitability. Understanding and managing money is difficult at the best of times. And when a cost of living crisis born from war and government mismanagement is raging up and down the UK, more than ever communication, patience and less projection, will help couples focus on how to healthily manage their stress and prevent harm to one another.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    SEE ALSO: Why some people masturbate about people they hate

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

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

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

    Set the right environment

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

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

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

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

    Create a safe space in your mind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Related Video: I built my own vibrator at CES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Try these exercises to strengthen your mind-body connection

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Use your imagination during partnered sex

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Social media is the new bodycam

    Social media is the new bodycam

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Police scanner app catapults to the top of the App Store

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Even Piers Morgan thinks Rudy Giuliani sounds completely barking mad

    Even Piers Morgan thinks Rudy Giuliani sounds completely barking mad

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Random articles


  • Hosting Thanksgiving this year? Nail your table setup with these decorating tips.

    Hosting Thanksgiving this year? Nail your table setup with these decorating tips.

    Gather your friends and mash the potatoes because Thanksgiving get-togethers are back in full force this year. If the hosting baton has been passed to you, however, you might be feeling as anxious as you do stoked. The food is just the beginning, right? There’s also décor and table settings and loads of dirty dishes afterwards to deal with.


    Whether you’re hosting a big family Thanksgiving for the first time or you want to have your buds over for Friendsgiving, these holiday essentials from Walmart(Opens in a new tab) will help you throw a celebration that’s as tasteful as it is tasty.

    Smells like holiday spirit

    What better addition to your holiday feast than candles that smell good enough to eat? These vanilla-scented ones come in fancy glass jars that hold their own on your table. Arrange a few pine cones around them for an instant centerpiece, on the cheap.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Mainstays
    Mainstays Vanilla Scented Large Glass Jar Candle, 2 Pack (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    DJ baste that turkey

    Holiday tunes, anyone? This stylish little guy packs more sound and base than its predecessor and will set the vibes for your feast. With Google Assistant, you can just tell it to play whatever songs or genre you want from your apps, a perk if you’re up to your elbows in gravy-making.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Google
    Google Nest Mini 2nd Generation (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Make grandma proud

    You’ve worked hard to whip up grandma’s famous cranberries, give them the table presentation they deserve. This large serving bowl holds enough to feed your hungry bunch. It’s also microwave-friendly and goes into the dishwasher, a bonus for cleanup.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Sofia Home
    Sofia Home Embossed Stoneware Serve Bowl (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Raise a pretty glass

    If there’s ever been a time to give thanks, it’s now. These wine glasses will do every table toast a solid with their elegant shape and the price can’t be beat. They also hold 17 ounces, which is more vino than most other glasses. Bottoms up.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Better Homes & Gardens
    Better Homes & Gardens Flared Red Wine Glass, 4 Pack (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Bring the outdoors in

    Spruce up your place with this autumnal eye candy. You get two separate pieces and almost 12 feet total of orange, yellow, and red artificial maple leaves to wind around your bookcase or mantel. Try hanging them from the ceiling like twinkly lights for a crafty DIY vibe.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Coolmade
    Coolmade Holiday Artificial Hanging Vine Garlands (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    Now $14.99, originally $17.99
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Level up your dish setup

    You don’t sit at the kid’s table anymore so don’t set your table like a kid. This 12-piece dish set will impress your in-laws and pickiest of friends. The embossed plates have gold trim (so fancy!) and there’s one for a side salad, main dish, and pie for four people. 

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Sofia Home
    Sofia Home 12-Piece Embossed Stoneware Dinnerware Set (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    The best seat at the table

    Take the guesswork out of who sits where with these cute pumpkin-shaped placecards. Not only are they a stylish touch for your table, you can sit your favorite singles next to each other and watch the sparks fly.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Way to Celebrate
    Way to Celebrate Thanksgiving Placecards, 12 Count (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Store it in style

    Prepare your fridge for an onslaught of leftovers with these vintage-inspired storage containers. Snap-shut plastic lids keep your turkey slices and pumpkin pie fresh for days. They nest together for easy storage and double as pretty serving bowls, to boot.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: The Pioneer Woman
    The Pioneer Woman Ceramic Nesting Bowls, 6 Pieces (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

  • The 15 best and funniest tweets of the week

    The 15 best and funniest tweets of the week

    The week is over. Congratulations to you! You made it to the weekend. How about that?


    To celebrate the passing of the week, we've collected the absolute best and funniest tweets from the past seven day, just like always. They are absolutely, 100 percent guaranteed to give you a chuckle. Well, maybe not like guaranteed guaranteed. But the tweets are good. Anyway, here they are, the 15 best posts Twitter had to offer this week.

    1. Wow this is definitely NOT something I knew about such a seemingly wholesome character.

    2. If I could feel this feeling just once, then everything would be OK.

    3. My goodness...this's just so beautiful.

    4. An obligatory dril tweet.

    5. This is how you know when a Real Poster is upset.

    6. Some days bug. Some days hot. This is the way life works.

    7. Somehow this is true.

    8. A fun joke(Opens in a new tab) for the literary folks out there.

    9.Just a good, solid joke.

    10. Uhhhh yeah becoming a spider? No thanks.

    11. It does sound like Spongebob, is the thing.

    12. This is my exact thought process, too. TikTok is amazing and too powerful.

    13. The dog does deserve an Italian sandwich, I'm sure.

    14. This is the dream of every sane person.

    15. And finally, this.

  • Nice guy Ryan Reynolds puts up a $5,000 reward to help find a lost teddy bear

    Nice guy Ryan Reynolds puts up a $5,000 reward to help find a lost teddy bear

    Beneath the snark and sass that made him such a perfect Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds seems like a lovely, well-meaning dude.


    Take this latest example, when Reynolds shared a Saturday tweet from Deborah Goble, a Canadian Broadcasting Company reporter based in Vancouver. Goble asked her followers for help tracking down a stolen teddy bear that means a lot to its original owner.

    The tweet tells the whole story. I dare you not to feel something.

    Reynolds clearly felt something himself when he saw Goble's tweet. Instead of simply sharing her message with his 16.2 million followers, he went a step further, offering up a "no questions asked" $5,000 reward for anyone who returns the bear to Mara(Opens in a new tab), its owner.

    Scrubs star Zach Braff and Schitt's Creek co-creator and star Dan Levy also used their platforms to spread the word.

    The bear unfortunately hasn't been found as of this writing on Sunday afternoon. But the swell of support on social media for tracking down the lost teddy has energized Mara's own investigation, which she's now documenting on Twitter, complete with a #findmarasbear hashtag and tips email.

    Good luck, Mara. We're all pulling for you and your priceless teddy to be reunited.

  • Sleep on this: Choose between 20% off or a free adjustable base during Idle Sleep’s summer sale

    Sleep on this: Choose between 20% off or a free adjustable base during Idle Sleep’s summer sale

    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.


    In an ideal world, you should snooze for seven or more hours per night, according to the CDC(Opens in a new tab). But even if you turn in at a reasonable hour (and power down your devices), an uncomfortable mattress could disrupt how many hours you actually slumber. Designed for real-life problems like night sweats, Idle Sleep’s memory foam gel mattresses stay cool — and are also surprisingly affordable.

    Now, during Idle Sleep's Summer Sale(Opens in a new tab), you can choose between two great deals: save 20% off any mattress, including memory foam gel, eco latex, and pure hybrid options, or receive a free adjustable base with a mattress purchase.

    Here are some tips for comparing mattresses:

    Stick to your budget

    Count sheep, not dollars Credit: Idle Sleep

    Among Idle Sleep’s full range of mattresses(Opens in a new tab), the most wallet-friendly picks are the standard, 12-inch Idle Gel Foam (Opens in a new tab)(normally $449-$749) and the 14-inch Idle Gel Plush(Opens in a new tab) (normally $799-$1,499), offering luxurious softness. Both feature medium support and toxin-free, Aircell gel memory foam.

    Look for cooling materials

    Sleep cool, be cool. Credit: IDLE SLEEP

    Toss and turn on muggy nights? When you’re too warm, it’s difficult to fall sleep because body temp(Opens in a new tab) plays a role in restful sleep (in other words, you really do need to chill out). For sound slumber, Idle Sleep’s memory foam features layers of gel cooling technology to promote air flow — in both the Idle Gel Foam(Opens in a new tab) and Gel Plush(Opens in a new tab) models.

    Make sure you love it before committing

    That return policy isn't just a dream. Credit: IDLE SLEEP

    Test out any of Idle Sleep mattresses to see if it’s right for you with a risk-free, 18-month trial period. If it’s not the one, you can easily return it without any hassle or awkward conversation. You don’t even need to give a reason.

    Take advantage of a lifetime warranty

    Credit: Idle Sleep

    For extra durability, Idle Sleep uses sink hole-free memory foam and a 2.4-pound base instead of the industry standard of 1.8 pounds. But, if anything goes wrong, the “warranty without end” covers pretty much everything — even body impression.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: IDLE SLEEP
    Get ready for a 20% off a customized sleep experience with code MASHADJUST (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

  • How to protect your privacy in a post-Roe America

    How to protect your privacy in a post-Roe America

    Abortion is no longer a constitutionally protected right in the United States. When the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade case on June 24, 2022, it not only allowed for U.S. states to outright ban abortion care within their borders but also opened the door for the criminalization of abortions.


    Your privacy is now at risk as well. 

    "One of many alarming aspects…is that it jettisons the concept that the right to privacy encompasses intimate decisions about how we live our lives unless it can be proven that the ability to make these decisions was legally protected at the time the relevant provision of the Constitution was written," Farah Diaz-Tello, the senior counsel and legal director of reproductive justice organization If/When/How previously told Mashable.

    So, what should you do to protect your data in a post-Roe America?

    What needs to be done 

    "First and foremost, it’s important that people know that it should not be our individual responsibility to safeguard all of our data online," said Caitlin Seeley George, campaign director for the digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future, in a statement to Mashable. "The companies that built the surveillance economy and the lawmakers that allowed this to happen have let us all down and must swiftly and boldly act to protect people seeking and providing abortions."

    In a public statement(Opens in a new tab), Fight for the Future laid out a number of legislative actions the federal government could take in order to protect digital privacy rights. The digital rights non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has called(Opens in a new tab) for the passing of Rep. Sara Jacob's "My Body, My Data" Act(Opens in a new tab), which would create(Opens in a new tab) a "new national standard to protect personal reproductive health data(Opens in a new tab)," and would be enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Fight for the Future and the EFF(Opens in a new tab) have both called on tech companies to protect their users by ending the practice of collecting and storing such personal health data.

    While those are issues worth fighting for, those seeking abortion care cannot depend on the government or tech companies to protect them at this moment. There are steps that you can take to protect your data now.

    By now, you've probably already heard the calls to delete your period tracking apps. There is no specific precedent for these apps turning over data to law enforcement. However, the concern is very real. One thing the Biden administration is already looking at is using(Opens in a new tab) the power of the FTC(Opens in a new tab) to protect users' data. Some app makers have previously stated(Opens in a new tab) that they would turn over your data(Opens in a new tab) in the same way many other tech companies who you provide your data would do.

    Disclosure: Mashable's parent company Ziff Davis owns Everyday Health Group, a digital media company that runs two popular pregnancy and period tracking apps: BabyCenter and What To Expect. Forbes previously pointed out data tracking concerns with these apps(Opens in a new tab).

    Christine Mattheis, Everyday Health Group VP of Content & Brand Solutions provided the following statement to Mashable:

    BabyCenter and What to Expect are among the most recognizable names in pregnancy and parenting, providing accurate, up-to-date, medically reviewed information and tools to families throughout the United States and the world. Our users trust us to guide them through every challenge they may face during this exciting, yet vulnerable period in their lives.

    We honor that trust by fiercely protecting our users’ information. We have comprehensive information security and data privacy programs that we continually review and enhance. The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade has brought to light valid concerns about the protection of reproductive health information. Reflecting on this change, we are reevaluating and further strengthening how we protect our users and their private data.

    Supporting maternal health — and by extension, reproductive health — is core to our mission. We remain committed to guiding women and families through every stage of parenthood with care and trust.

    It's a positive step that pregnancy and period tracking apps are now taking another look at privacy and data collection policies. However, until the written terms are clear, Mashable continues to recommend that users concerned about their data privacy as it relates to abortion care should practice caution when using pregnancy and period tracking apps.

    "Digital surveillance has become too vast of a problem for individuals to manage on their own," George told us. "Folks might be concerned about their period tracking app, but it's likely that every app on their phone is gathering some type of data (location, biometric, health) that could be sold to law enforcement."

    For example, just because you deleted your period tracking app, law enforcement may still be able to confiscate your computer or smartphone and find out what you've been doing online and who you've been messaging. They can also subpoena Google, Facebook, or any other tech company that provides a service you use and collect your abortion-related search history, messages, or social media postings.

    What you can do now to protect yourself

    So, just deleting your period tracker app isn't enough. An app is just one piece of the puzzle that law enforcement could use to monitor your sensitive personal online data. The best course of action is to start being more careful about your data in general, even when you're not talking about reproductive or abortion care-related activities.

    And luckily, thanks to everyone from government and corporate whistleblowers to sex workers, there are tested apps, services, and basic internet practices that you should use and follow to protect your online privacy.

    Web Browsers

    The best mainstream web browser for privacy when it comes to everyday use is Firefox(Opens in a new tab). There are a number of features and options that protect users from being tracked or their web history from being logged. It's open-source as well, so many users have poured over the code to make sure the browser does exactly what a user wants it to do. 

    For those who are a bit more tech-savvy, Tor Browser(Opens in a new tab) is another great option. Tor automatically clears your web history and cookies, which are basically small files that websites download to your computer so they can remember information about you for the next time you log in. Tor also helps obscure your IP address, which is a string of numbers that identifies a device or network on the internet. This is a great privacy measure because it will obfuscate a direct link between a user and where they went online, although the process will slow down website loading times. So, Tor may be best put to use for very specific search and browsing purposes.


    VPN, or Virtual Private Network, services are another privacy tool to have in your belt in order to make sure your Internet Service Provider can't see your web history. It also hides your IP address from the websites you visit. Mozilla, the organization behind the Firefox browser, has its own VPN service(Opens in a new tab), although there are quite a few reputable providers, some of which even offer a one-time payment for lifetime usage of the service.


    Need a messaging service that protects your communications? Signal is the way to go. The service uses end-to-end encryption (E2EE), which basically means your messages appear only on the sender and receiver's devices. Signal's servers never see your messages and that means Signal doesn't store a copy either. Signal has also been tested before, receiving orders from law enforcement to hand over whatever data they have. All Signal was able to provide(Opens in a new tab) to authorities was the account creation date and the last time the user logged in.

    As Sarah Morrison of Recode points out(Opens in a new tab), encryption doesn't really help if law enforcement ends up gaining access to your physical device. That's why Signal's disappearing messages feature also helps cement its position as the best private messaging app. The feature allows users to set an interval of time that message is available before it's deleted from both the sender and receiver's device.

    If you're worried about your emails, Proton(Opens in a new tab) is a privacy-focused E2EE email provider that does pretty much the same thing Signal does but for, well, your email too. It has long been a favorite email provider for many journalists who regularly work with whistleblowers and deal with sensitive information.

    Regardless of what services you go with, always be sure to clear your cookies and web browser history when you can. Make sure your browser tabs are closed as well after visiting websites you don't want being tracked. Also, be sure to make note of when you switch devices as well. For example, using all these services on your desktop or laptop computer will be rendered pointless if you have a robust web history and location tracking enabled on your iPhone or Android device. So be sure your privacy settings are set correctly everywhere.

  • The funniest dating memes for finding love during these trying times

    The funniest dating memes for finding love during these trying times

    Dating in 2020 is certainly different than dating in previous years because of... well, you know. Even so, there are some aspects of finding a mate that are universal. The yearning for a crush, endlessly swiping through Tinder, the worry over ghosting, the exuberance of finally being over an ex. Here is a collection of the best dating memes that reiterate the universality of finding love in recent times.


    Love me but leave me alone

    This meme is a quarantine vibe. Want to be loved? Of course. Want to be perceived? Much more doubtful.

    Funny and true

    Who among us can admit that we haven't put up an Instagram story as crush bait?

    Dating but make it funny

    This hilarious meme flows neatly into a very sage tweet from Yoko Ono — but don't clown for too long.

    Rock solid relationship advice

    If you find yourself clowning (in other words, pining for someone who doesn't really want you back) and can't seem to stop yourself, @imdatfeminist will give you the tough love you need. Read her Mashable interview here.

    Keep growing as a person

    On that note, know your worth!

    Can a tweet become law?

    This should be a societal rule, in my opinion:

    This dating app is haunted

    While everyone detests ghosting, sometimes you, dear reader, are the ghost. At least when it comes to dating during a pandemic, there are a multitude of reasons why — including questioning your own personhood!

    The forecast calls for freedom

    Forget blocking them on social media, this is the true sign that you're over a long-distance ex:

    At least you're not dating that guy

    Still, even if you are single, you can't help but eye roll at Instagram captions calling one's boyfriend a "goof":

    They all have that one friend

    If you do happen to find a partner, then you have to deal with their friends. This funny video is scarily accurate:

    The goal to end all goals

    Isn't this what we all want, in the end?

    Just a really nice post to remember when dating has you down

    And finally, a dash of hope for the lonely hearts who need it:

    Related Video: How to go on a virtual date during the coronavirus pandemic

  • Gun-toting Karen and Ken spawn a thousand memes after pointing weapons at protesters

    Gun-toting Karen and Ken spawn a thousand memes after pointing weapons at protesters

    A middle-aged white couple in St. Louis thought it prudent to point guns at unarmed, largely peaceful protesters.


    As a wise sage, once said: "Each day on twitter there is one main character. The goal is to never be it(Opens in a new tab)." The gun-toting couple quickly morphed into Twitter's main characters of the day on Sunday and that continues today.

    According to the Associated Press(Opens in a new tab), at least 500 protesters in St. Louis, Missouri were marching to Mayor Lyda Krewson's house on Sunday, demanding her resignation after she publicly read the names and addresses of a number of people who asked her to defund police.

    The couple, dubbed Karen and Ken by the internet, came out of their mansion wielding firearms. The woman pointed a handgun at protesters, the man a long rifle. The woman even seemed to place her finger on the trigger. What sure seemed like an unnecessary act of aggression quickly got memed like crazy on the internet.

    The couple in the videos and photos later identified themselves as Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who own a massive mansion in the private neighborhood protesters walked through. McCloskey told a local station protesters broke down a gate(Opens in a new tab) to gain access to the private street and provided photos to that effect. There was a widely circulated video(Opens in a new tab) online show at least some protesters walking through an open gate.

    "A mob of at least 100 smashed through the historic wrought iron gates of Portland Place, destroying them, rushed towards my home where my family was having dinner outside and put us in fear for our lives," Mark McCloskey told KMOV(Opens in a new tab).

    While folks online were quick to criticize the couple pointing weapons at protesters, President Donald Trump amplified the incident without really commenting on it. He retweeted a video(Opens in a new tab) from ABC News that didn't really take a stance on the matter.

    Thankfully, no shots were fired by the couple and the protest was peaceful.

    UPDATE: June 30, 2020, 9:29 a.m. EDT This post was updated to include further details from an interview given by Mark McCloskey.

    UPDATE: June 29, 2020, 3:34 p.m. EDT In an interview with local news station KSDK(Opens in a new tab), the gun-toting husband — identified as Mark McCloskey — claimed he and his wife Patricia confronted the protesters because they were acting in a threatening manner.

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

  • Disney allegedly stole artwork, sold it in its park, and tried to cover it up

    Disney allegedly stole artwork, sold it in its park, and tried to cover it up

    When Andrew Martin created a fan-art sculpture of one of the Tiki drummers from Disney's attraction the Enchanted Tiki Room, he planned on turning it into a tip bucket for a Tiki drink night at a local bar.


    "I wanted to make a full size one that when people put money in, there'd be a sensor and it would start drumming and playing music," the Canadian artist told Mashable. "It was way too ambitious for the amount of time I had to actually do it, so it never actually came to fruition."

    Instead, he sculpted it during a seven-hour livestream in 2018 and posted the design online so other people could 3D print the sculpture, too. Then, earlier this year, Disney started selling what Martin argues is the exact same sculpture as a 50th Anniversary commemorative music box for $125.

    SEE ALSO: Pixar's LGBTQ employees say Disney censors same-sex affection
    These two things look... very much alike. Credit: Courtesy Andrew Martin

    "About three weeks ago a friend of mine, through Instagram, was like, 'Hey, Disney's selling this music box. This looks a lot like your version.' And he sent me an image of it," Martin said. "I'm like, 'that does look a lot like mine,' and then did a one-to-one comparison of mine just to make sure. And it's 100 percent the one I did."

    The same imperfections and details on Martin's sculpture are shown on Disney's, too. No credit was given to Martin, even after he reached out to the company multiple times and posted about it to the tune of millions of views on TikTok(Opens in a new tab) and Instagram(Opens in a new tab)

    Martin, who posts under the pseudonym Monstercaesar even found the Disney product designer who claimed to design the Tiki drummer. The social media accounts for the product designer have since been taken down, according to Martin.

    The art is no longer available on Disney's online store, but, according to some park-goers, it's still being sold at some stores. Disney did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Mashable.

    Martin, meanwhile, is selling "art worth stealing(Opens in a new tab)" merchandise in the classic Disney font, spreading the word about his sculpture, and continuing to try to talk to anyone at Disney who might have some answers for him.

    "I'm very much a Disney fan," Martin said, adding that he loves going to the parks and appreciates the artists who do work at Disney — and don't steal work. But this experience is souring him on that. "If, or when, I do go back to Disneyland, it's going to be a little bit less easy to appreciate what I used to like about it."

    Plagiarism sure can suck the magic out of something.

  • Air-fried Oreos from viral TikTok is a truly unnecessary, unappetizing mess

    Air-fried Oreos from viral TikTok is a truly unnecessary, unappetizing mess


    Not everything needs to be a Thing. Less can be more.

    What I'm saying is, you can just eat a normal, tasty Oreo instead of dousing it pancake batter and then air frying it. Oreos are delicious.

    I tested out a viral TikTok(Opens in a new tab) recipe, posted by the user @hasaneats (Opens in a new tab)on TikTok, that promised air-fried Oreos in just three minutes. It's racked up 7.7 million views, so you'd think it was decent. You'd be thinking incorrectly.

    SEE ALSO: The best air fryers for making crispy food faster than the oven

    It's not that the recipe was the grossest thing I've ever eaten. It's that it took a perfectly good thing — an Oreo — and made it less tasty, more expensive, and far more complicated. But hey, here's how to make it, if you want to make the same mistake that I did.


    • Oreo(s)

    • Boxed pancake mix

    • Milk


    1. Pour pancake mix into a mixing bowl.

    2. Add milk to the pancake mix until you have a very thick batter. The TikTok from @hasaneats did not have specific measurements, but roughly a quarter cup of milk should be more than enough. The batter should be far thicker than you'd like for pancakes.

    3. Dip the Oreo(s) into the batter, covering fully.

    4. Air fry at 390 degrees for three minutes.

    Sometimes less is more. Credit: Screenshots: TikTok / @hasaneats

    The details

    I don't know what to tell you. It's an overcooked pancake covering a melty Oreo. Clearly, the intended goal is the carnival-style, deep-fried Oreo that people crave. This is not that.

    But a few words of advice. If you do decide to make this recipe, make the batter thicker than you think you need. My batter felt incredibly thick but was still runny enough that it actually dripped a tiny bit off the Oreo and cooked around the holes in the grate of my air fryer. That made the Oreos super annoying to remove from the air fryer once they were finished cooking.

    Here's how my Oreos looked as they went into the air fryer.

    The batter seemed thick enough here, but it was not. Credit: Mashable

    Otherwise this recipe is really easy. There's not much to it. Here's how my final product looked.

    Not great. Credit: Mashable

    Here is the interior of an Oreo after a bite.

    Why not just eat an Oreo? Credit: Mashable

    Again, this wasn't gross, like certain other things I've consumed for Mashable. The melty Oreo portion of bite was actually half pleasant. The problem was the melty Oreo was covered in poorly cooked pancake.

    Now, the Oreos could have used less time in the air fryer. And the original TikTok from @hasaneats also topped the air-fried cookies with powdered sugar, which I did not end up doing. But I don't think less cook time or more sugar would fix this recipe. It's fundamentally flawed.

    The beauty of an Oreo is that it pairs the crisp, chocolate cookie with an airy, fatty cream center. The pancake batter adds a dense shell to the Oreo and there simply isn't enough cream — even in the Double Stuffs I bought to balance that out. It's just doing too much, and making a mess, for no reason at all.

    Just eat a normal Oreo instead and save yourself the dishes.

  • The gay community is beautifully reclaiming #ProudBoys

    The gay community is beautifully reclaiming #ProudBoys

    In one of the first good plot twists of 2020, the #ProudBoys hashtag has become a thing of beauty.


    On Sunday morning, #ProudBoys(Opens in a new tab) was trending on Twitter, but not for the reasons you'd think. Though the hashtag has recently been used in tweets pertaining to the far-right, Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group(Opens in a new tab) called the Proud Boys — which Donald Trump recently shouted out at the first presidential debate — members of the LGBTQ community decided to redefine the meaning of "proud boys" by flooding the hashtag with messages of gay pride, love, acceptance, and positivity.

    The hashtag, which has been tweeted 314,000 times as of Sunday afternoon, is now full of wonderful pride parade memories, odes to romantic partners, and photos of men kissing. It's a truly heartwarming sight, and a remarkably creative way to minimize focus on the far-right group.

    At the presidential debate on Tuesday, moderator Chris Wallace asked Donald Trump, "Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?"

    Instead of denouncing white supremacy on live television, Trump very clearly said, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left."

    It's absolutely repulsive to see a U.S. president fail to condemn white supremacy, and though little can be done about it as the American people await their chance to vote in the 2020 election, hijacking the Proud Boys hashtag on social media is a delightful effort that does make an impact.

    No matter how small-scale the hashtag flooding may seem, it still sends a message that hate, discrimination, and everything the far-right group stands for will not be tolerated.

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