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MrBeast has ended Pewdiepies reign as the most-subscribed YouTuber

2023-03-19 06:18:58

MrBeast has ended Pewdiepies reign as the most-subscribed YouTuber

YouTube genius and 21st century philanthropist Jimmy Donaldson, otherwise known as MrBeast, has surpassed Felix Kjellberg, known as Pewdiepie, as the most-subscribed YouTube creator ever. According to Dexerto(Opens in a new tab), Donaldson sailed past Kjellberg's 111,846,079 subscribers just after 4 p.m. EST on Nov. 14.

MrBeast has ended Pewdiepies reign as the most-subscribed YouTuber(图1)

It's the end of Kjellberg's incredible, unmatched dominance on the platform. Despite a history of public admonishments from both YouTube(Opens in a new tab) and the media(Opens in a new tab) over the use of racist language and antisemitic jokes, Kjellberg has been the most-subscribed creator on YouTube since August 2013. He was the most subscribed channel on YouTube until 2018, when Bollywood production behemoth T-Series surpassed him.

Donaldson and Kjellberg have been contemporaries and friends for several years. In 2018, Donaldson poured thousands of dollars(Opens in a new tab) into a marketing blitz in support of the "subscribe to Pewdiepie" campaign, a highly publicized run off between Kjellberg and T-Series for the title of top-subscribed channel on YouTube.

T-Series's triumph signaled a sea change for YouTube as individual and independent creators were dwarfed by brands. A handful of brands, including T-Series(Opens in a new tab) at 229 million and kids channel Cocomelon(Opens in a new tab) at 147 million, now have more subscribers than Donaldson and Kjellberg.

In recent years, Donaldson's MrBeast channel has seen explosive growth, thanks to his obsessive optimization of YouTube's algorithm, philanthropic approach to viral content, and gamified video concepts. He has also opened a successful global ghost kitchen burger brand and snack line, all while making millions that he claims to reinvest in his channel.

SEE ALSO: Why did 10,000 people show up to buy a MrBeast Burger?

Kjellberg began as a gaming creator, posting "let's play" videos that documented both his gameplay and his reactions. His sense of humor and outsized physical responses to losses and jump scares grew him a loyal following he referred to as his "bros." Kjellberg has since backed away from gaming and leaned into commentary and comedy. In the past two years, he has committed to posting more unstructured content, like vlogs, and has called the period his "retirement."

In a video from August(Opens in a new tab), a viewer asked Kjellberg if he thought that Donaldson would surpass his subscriber count. Kjellberg smiled. "He definitely will. Come on, I've been retired for two years now. I can't wait for it to be over," he admitted, "He definitely deserves it, I hope he does it."

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    A post shared by BILLIE EILISH(Opens in a new tab) (@billieeilish) on

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  • Virtual internships and the Zoom skills you dont learn in college

    Virtual internships and the Zoom skills you dont learn in college

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    "This is hurting everyone, but it's hurting some students more than others."

    Shawn VanDerziel, executive director of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), predicts the summer of 2020 will serve as a watershed moment for virtual internships.

    "[This] summer is a big test," VanDerziel said. "If I had to predict, there will be many more virtual internships moving forward."

    Goodbye, career center listservs

    For some people, virtual internships aren't a new concept.

    Back in 2017, the gears were already turning for Ahva Sadeghi and Nikita Gupta, the co-founders of Symba, one of the few platforms out there that helps companies find and manage virtual interns.

    Students can find virtual internships on the platform. Once they send in their resumes and answer job-specific questions, Symba's team analyzes them, and then sends qualified candidates to companies

    Additionally, for employers implementing a virtual internship program, Symba’s team designs onboarding and orientation materials, as well as feedback and performance metrics specific to the internship.

    When they launched, back in 2019, Sadeghi says employers were largely hesitant.

    "It was like that line from Mean Girls," Sadeghi said, in reference to Regina George's iconic zinger(Opens in a new tab). "Like, 'Stop trying to make virtual internships happen.'"

    The coronavirus pandemic changed quickly that.

    "This is the future of work," Sadeghi said. "People don't need to put on a suit, go to a cubicle, or wait until summer to [do an internship.] We're preparing people for what work looks like now."

    Symba's not alone. Chuck Isgar and Megan Kasselberg, two students from Brown University, co-founded Intern From Home(Opens in a new tab), a portal for employers and potential interns to connect.

    The platform, which their team initially built in 48 hours after being told to leave campus(Opens in a new tab) because of COVID-19, compiles job listings, not unlike Indeed or Glassdoor. Students can look for internships by job category, role, and internship type (current or exclusively summer; paid or unpaid).

    This means that rather than slogging through general online job hubs or relying on listservs, students can come to Intern From Home with one goal: Find a virtual internship.

    "This is the future of work. We're preparing people for what work looks like now."

    Intern From Home primarily posts internships from startups, including some from Y Combinator(Opens in a new tab) and Snap’s accelerator program(Opens in a new tab), which typically reach out to the site to get their internship positions listed. Students then submit applications, all of which are managed through Google Forms.

    Unlike Symba, Isgar and Kasselberg's team sends all applications to employers. (Intern From Home is free for both employers and students, unlike Symba, which makes money by charging corporations for its services.)

    Isgar claims students can find a job on Intern From Home much faster than on traditional career sites. Some students were able to find an internship "in a couple of days," he said, which is a "big plus to people."

    Miryam Rudolph, a student at Duke University who found her current summer internship through Intern From Home, noted that when she first started applying to positions in March, she was looking on generic job boards and email blasts that her school was sending out.

    "The big problem at that stage was that companies were so overwhelmed about what to do with their own employees that they weren't really thinking about [hiring] interns," Rudolph said.

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    Rudolph called Intern From Home a "lifesaver."

    "It was the only site where I actually heard back from companies," Rudolph said.

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    No cubicle needed

    If the current uptick in virtual internships holds, it could shift a generation’s relationship to work.

    Depending on a student’s background, an internship might mark their first encounter with an office setting, Vera from Pay Our Interns notes. For many, a formal internship can serve as an introduction to the basics of office life, such as how to interact with co-workers and dress for work. Should virtual internships remain popular, it could become more difficult for students — particularly those who are first-generation or from low-income backgrounds — to learn the ins and outs of working in an office.

    VanDerziel, executive director of NACE, highlighted several skills that are especially important to an intern’s success in a virtual setting.

    First, interns need to be proactive about communicating. It's easier to disappear from your boss' radar when you're just a name on a screen. They also need time management skills, since there is nothing stopping them from wasting a couple of hours watching Netflix each day. For those with chaotic home lives, carving out the time and space to work could prove especially challenging, VanDerziel notes.

    Additionally, interns need a level of tech savvy and adaptability to adjust to unfamiliar situations. Even students acclimated to a semester of remote schoolwork might not be totally comfortable in a more formal work environment.

    He notes that some personality types might be at a disadvantage: It’s easier for interns who are quiet to isolate themselves, which makes it more difficult for them to become "known."

    It’s also important to note that many (virtual) internships are shortening(Opens in a new tab) their duration, potentially giving interns less time to make connections at their workplace.

    "We found that 41 percent of employers were reducing the length of the internship for the summer," VanDerziel said. "What that says to me is that companies are being creative and careful."

    Though in some cases existing programs are just shortening their usual in-person program to adapt to remote work, VanDerziel also points to the emergence of what he calls "micro internships," shorter, project-based internships, which can be a way for interns to gain specific skills.

    Rudolph notes that the structure of her internship, which is project-based rather than a traditional nine-to-five, has allowed her to explore other interests this summer as well. (She’s also helping out a local nonprofit near her house, and working for a lab from her school remotely.)

    "It’s something I didn’t expect, but it’s helped me to work on other projects as well," Rudolph said.

    Location, location, location

    Requiring students to move to major metropolises, like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, has long prevented students unable to relocate from accessing otherwise valuable internship opportunities. (As a point of reference: The average rent in Los Angeles is over $2,500, according to the listing service RentCafe(Opens in a new tab).)

    "Unless you can afford to temporarily move, you're not going to be able to get those good internships," Vera said.

    Thus far, the virtual internships being offered this summer have largely circumvented this: Technology permitting, students living at home in Michigan could complete an internship "in" New York, and vice versa.

    When Rudolph went looking for internships, back in March, she largely ignored the locations posted alongside them (that is, if they even listed one), assuming that most of them would be moved online. (Rudolph lives in Dallas, but her fellow interns are all in different time zones.)

    That’s a major plus for interns living in less urban areas, for instance, as well as those financially unable to relocate — but it’s only useful insofar as interns have broadband access(Opens in a new tab), a living situation conducive to work, and other essential tools at their disposal.

    Though VanDerziel notes some internship programs are able to provide laptops and iPads for their interns working remotely right now, it could be a barrier for many interns, particularly those in financially harder-hit industries, or those working for small companies.

    Virtual mixers

    At big companies, internships typically include educational and social interaction among interns, VanDerziel points out, which is something that has had to pivot online as well.

    "One of the things that is really important is the ability to interact with [employees] regularly," VanDerziel said. "[This regular interaction can be] used as a pipeline for future employment."

    In the past, though, networking events, like industry-specific happy hours, were cost-prohibitive for many interns, Vera points out. Now, plenty of virtual internship programs have remote happy hours and mixers, which Vera acknowledges could help those unable to afford in-person meetups.

    In some instances, outside groups might be able to step in as well. Isgar and Kasselberg’s team at Intern From Home launched a discussion-based program called "Cohorts(Opens in a new tab)" in which students can apply for live sessions with peers and experts to learn about work-related topics. (Sample "Cohorts" topics include "The Power of Data Visualization" and "Competitions, Acquisitions, and Monopolies in Big Tech.")

    When students left his school’s campus in March, Isgar felt as if the main thing missing from remote learning was stimulating in-class discussions. "Cohorts" is meant to recreate that in an internship context.

    "The mission is to replicate those discussions," Isgar said. "It’s challenging to be networking [remotely]. You can’t get coffee."

    It's likely, though, that interns down the road won't be fetching coffee either, like so many internships of yore. With the disruption to internships already brought on by the summer of 2020, it's likely that changes to the working world for young people are just starting.

  • Alicia Keys strong commencement speech recognizes the most powerful time to be coming of age

    Alicia Keys strong commencement speech recognizes the most powerful time to be coming of age

    Alicia Keys has levelled with graduating students who might not feel like celebrating right now, but should honor themselves nonetheless.


    Students are graduating across America, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and after weeks of protests for racial justice and against police brutality, following the police killing of George Floyd, who died after an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

    It is a unique time in history to be finishing school or college, to say the least.

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    "Let's be honest, it's been a hard week," Keys began. "A hard week and a hard month and a hard year, and I know right now, it might not feel like there's a lot to celebrate — and that's OK. It's OK to not be OK right now.

    "I know so many of you are not thinking about your time at school, you're thinking about what's happening right now in the present. You're thinking about marching and protesting and making sure that your voices are heard in a time that we cannot be silent," she said.

    Keys commended the collective action of those who have joined the fight for justice in whichever way they can. "You're taking your heartbreak and your outrage and you're putting into into action and you are showing that your generation is the one that's going to heal this."

    She also took a moment to reflect that "the world feels broken" right now, and that this moment of action, outrage, and uprising has been a long time coming. "The pain we're experiencing right now, it's not new. But it feels different this time, right? I think for the first time, all of us, no matter what we look like or where we're from, we can see so clearly what injustice looks like and now we all can choose how to respond.

    "But change only happens if all of us educate ourselves, if we hold each other accountable, when we register to vote(Opens in a new tab) in November, when all of us recognise our biases and we find ways to empathise with people that look different from us or seem different from us on the surface. That's the key right there," she said. "So, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being the inspiration, for inspiring the world to see our collective humanity."

    Keys ended with a call for students to take the moment to celebrate their accomplishments, and to take whatever hat they have and throw it in the air, to honor themselves "in the most powerful time to be coming of age."

    It's just under four minutes, but it speaks loud and clear. Mandatory viewing for students who no longer have to answer to anyone telling them something is mandatory viewing.

    While you're at it, why not spend a moment with the Schitt's Creek cast thanking your teachers. (There's a performance in it for you, don't roll your eyes.)

  • Cops and Live P.D. have now both been canceled

    Cops and Live P.D. have now both been canceled

    Looks like someone did some reevaluating.


    On Tuesday, Paramount Network announced it would no longer produce Cops, a half-hour reality series that takes camera crews on police ride-alongs and investigations. On Wednesday, A&E announced(Opens in a new tab) that Live P.D. would not be returning either.

    The news comes after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police on May 25. Former officer Derek Chauvin, who has since been charged with second-degree murder, kneeled on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd repeatedly said he could not breathe. Floyd was 46.

    Cops, which first premiered on Fox in 1989, ran for a total of 31 years before its cancelation, making it one of the longest standing reality programs in history. Amid national protests against police brutality and systemic racism, Paramount Network pulled the program(Opens in a new tab) from its schedule last week as A&E took similar steps with Live P.D.

    "Cops is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return," a spokesperson said, per The Hollywood Reporter(Opens in a new tab). Cops had been part of the Paramount Network since 2013.

    “This is a critical time in our nation’s history and we have made the decision to cease production on Live PD,” A&E told Deadline(Opens in a new tab). “Going forward, we will determine if there is a clear pathway to tell the stories of both the community and the police officers whose role it is to serve them. And with that, we will be meeting with community and civil rights leaders as well as police departments.”

    Sources familiar with the matter told The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline that Paramount had pre-existing plans to move away from unscripted programming. However, Cops had been scheduled to debut the first episode of Season 33 on Monday. Reality shows Ink Master, Bar Rescue, Battle of the Fittest Couples, and more remain with Paramount.

    Cops has been repeatedly criticized for wrongfully glorifying police work(Opens in a new tab), as well as been accused of targeting poor people of color(Opens in a new tab), abusing the individuals being arrested(Opens in a new tab), staging crime scenes(Opens in a new tab), and supplying camera crew members(Opens in a new tab) with weapons to use in case of a violent arrest. Footage from Cops has been admitted in multiple defense cases to argue around matters of police misconduct. In 2014, Cops audio technician Bryce Dion and suspect Cortez Washington were shot and killed(Opens in a new tab) by officers during the filming of a robbery at an Omaha Wendy's.

    Live P.D. also reportedly captured, but later destroyed,(Opens in a new tab) footage of the death of a black man, Javier Ambler, in custody of Texas law enforcement in March 2019.

    UPDATE: June 11, 2020, 12:03 p.m. AEST This story has been updated to include the announcement that 'Live P.D.' will not be returning from hiatus.

  • New meme has some great ideas for what to put up instead of Christopher Columbus statues

    New meme has some great ideas for what to put up instead of Christopher Columbus statues

    It's way overdue, but America is reckoning with some of the darker parts of its history.


    As the fight to remove Confederate monuments continues, lots of folks were also wondering why the nation still displays statues of Christopher Columbus across the country. The famous explorer, after all, carried out horrific atrocities, including mass genocide of the indigenous people in the Americas.

    Still, some Italian Americans hold onto the idea that he represents something bigger, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who defended having a statue of the explorer in NYC on Thursday.

    "The Christopher Columbus statue in some way represents the Italian American legacy in this country and the Italian American contribution in this country," he said at a press conference(Opens in a new tab).

    Setting aside the fact that Columbus sailed for Spain and never set foot(Opens in a new tab) in the United States, some helpful folks online came up with a great meme about who might prove a suitable replacement for the explorer. Things took a turn toward the absurd and, honestly, it was wonderful.

    1. Not a bad idea

    2. I need to see this statue in person

    3. Keeping with the Sopranos theme

    4. Could get behind this

    5. I support any and all efforts to have more statues of corn

    6. Please find me a better Italian American icon. You cannot.

    Danny DeVito a true Italian America icon. Credit: Shutterstock

    7. In case you didn't know, this is Bigtime Tommie(Opens in a new tab)

    8. You don't even need to change that many letters!

    9. More Willie in the world is definitely a good idea

    10. A litany of options

    11. I don't know who Mr. Pickle is but I really, really support this

    12. Kind of thought we were past the Baby Yoda moment, but sure why not?

  • Paint-by-numbers should be your next relaxing self-care hobby

    Paint-by-numbers should be your next relaxing self-care hobby

    When it comes to self-care these days, your efforts to wind down don't always have to be ambitious.


    You should mediate, tackle a reading list, or set out to complete a challenging home improvement project if those things soothe you. But perfect self-care activities can also be as simple as playing with sidewalk chalk, coloring with crayons, or doing a puzzle.

    In the spirit of reclaiming beloved childhood activities as a means of de-stressing in adulthood, we have a suggestion for your new self-care hobby: Paint-by-numbers. Next time you need to relax, give it a try.

    The allure of losing yourself in methodical tasks

    Some of you may remember making paint-by-numbers artwork when you were younger, but for those who've never tried it, or who have simply forgotten what it's like to immerse yourself in the mundane task of filling in little numbered areas with colorful paint, let's review.

    A paint-by-numbers kit comes with a piece of paper or canvas that features a numbered, outlined design. You'll also receive small containers of different colored paints, and a variety of different size brushes.

    Paint-by-numbers in action. Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto

    The directions that come with each DIY kit will break the paint-by-numbers process down for you, but essentially, your job is extremely simple: You fill in the areas of white space on the page with paint. You'll be able to determine exactly which color goes where by matching the numbers on the top of each paint container with the corresponding numbers on the paper. Depending on the difficulty of your project you might be asked to mix some paints together to form new colors, or occasionally wash some brushes, but otherwise the activity is mostly straightforward and mindless.

    SEE ALSO: 10 ways to make your work from home desk less depressing

    For several minutes or hours you can give your brain a rest from worrying about the world and take solace in thinking solely about which paint color goes where. You can train your eyes to scan the canvas in front of you for numbers like "5" or "29," and let yourself feel a small sense of accomplishment as the once bleak page before you transforms into an eye-catching masterpiece.

    Doesn't that sound nice? And one of the best things about paint-by-numbers is that they help even the least artistic people to create professional-looking depictions.

    A perfect quarantine craft

    Completing paint-by numbers, especially more complex ones, often requires some time. Which is why the guided painting projects are a perfect quarantine craft.

    If you're looking for a way to keep your hands and mind busy while staying at home, something to fill your empty social schedule, or a delightful distraction from social media, consider investing in a paint by numbers kit. And if you have old paint-by-numbers that you haven't yet used, now's the perfect time to dig them out.

    People of all ages are falling in love with paint-by-numbers in quarantine, and since you end up with a nice picture to show for your time, it's truly becoming a self-care hobby worth sharing with the internet.

    Where to find paint-by-numbers kits

    If you're looking to get into this very low stakes hobby, there are a bunch of places to shop for kits online. Try Etsy(Opens in a new tab), JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores(Opens in a new tab), Michael's(Opens in a new tab), Herrschners(Opens in a new tab), and Artsool(Opens in a new tab), among others. You can also transform your own photographs into a paint-by-number activities, too.

    Here are a few of the many paint-by-numbers templates that are just waiting to be filled in.

    Mountain Spring River(Opens in a new tab)

    A gorgeous mountain and  river scene. Credit: OurPaintAddictions / etsy

    Price: $27 on Etsy(Opens in a new tab).

    Pink Vespa Roses(Opens in a new tab)

    If you wish you were traveling. Credit: paintathomestore / etsy

    Price: $30 on Etsy(Opens in a new tab).

    Houseplant Set(Opens in a new tab)

    Wall plants! Credit: NotablyPaperCompany / etsy

    Price: from $10.00 on Etsy(Opens in a new tab).

    If there's a specific subject you'd like to paint, such as animals, plants, scenery, or food, be sure to include it in your search terms. And when you're seeking out your perfect paint-by-numbers template, keep in mind the level of difficulty you want to take on. Consider starting with a more basic version and then see if you want to move on to more intricate ones.

    If paper and paint isn't your style, have no fear. You can always download a paint-by-numbers app — like Paint By Number(Opens in a new tab), Happy Color(Opens in a new tab), or Colors by Number – No.Draw(Opens in a new tab)— on your phone or tablet for a soothing virtual experience.

    Whichever method you use, we're sure paint-by-numbers will add some serious variety and color to your daily unwinding routine.

Random articles


  • Seeing more dicks on TV? Heres why.

    Seeing more dicks on TV? Heres why.

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


    The amount of full-frontal dongs we see on TV shows has skyrocketed in recent years. We have online porn to thank for the money shots, media experts believe.

    From HBO's Euphoria, The Deuce, and Big Little Lies to Showtime's Billions to Hulu's Normal People, premium cable and streaming networks have shown they aren't afraid to show us more dicks. Scenes from Normal People, which arguably aren't even as kinky as other sex scenes on TV, are steamy enough that they've popped up on Pornhub alongside explicit content.

    As explicit content online seeps into the consciousness of content creators and audiences, porn is increasingly influencing TV, and vice versa. Further, popular streaming and premium cable providers (that also distribute their content on streaming networks) don't have to adhere to federal rules against nudity(Opens in a new tab), sexual content, and explicit language like network television, nor do they have to bow to the will of advertisers like basic cable(Opens in a new tab). Plus, new technology is spicing up this smorgasbord of shlongs — and not just by letting us toggle between Pornhub to Netflix on our phones with one click.

    "There's so much free adult material out there that it's just become part of our cultural reference," said Angie Rowntree, founder of adult content site in a new tab). Porn has "certainly desensitized us," she continued.

    While full-frontal female nudity(Opens in a new tab) has long been the "norm" in sex scenes both in film and TV, this newer proliferation of full-frontal male nude scenes in episodic content may be because it's not shocking to see dicks on our screens anymore.

    TV creators also continue to have a fascination with the adult industry itself. An upcoming show The Big Time(Opens in a new tab), for example, is about a porn performer trying to save a film studio. Rowntree said Sssh, a member-based site that produces videos based on what viewers want to see, contributed photography for the set's walls.

    Recent submissions to Sssh are heavily swayed by television, Rowntree said. Witches (after Sabrina the Teenage Witch and The Magicians) and superheroes (no doubt based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe and other comic book hero resurrections) are among them.

    Rowntree also acknowledges the adult industry's influence on television making. She herself, as a part of Sssh, has shot content for a couple other mainstream TV productions (but couldn't elaborate due to legal reasons).

    "It's almost like we feed off of each other," she said. "It's really a two-way street." She cited shows like Game of Thrones and American Horror Story as examples; both feature graphic scenes, and both also were subject to porn parodies (Game of Bones(Opens in a new tab) and This Ain't American Horror Story XXX(Opens in a new tab), respectively).

    Why big-budget TV is sexier than Blockbuster movies

    This convergence has influenced prestige TV more so than Blockbuster films, said Maria San Filippo(Opens in a new tab), professor of visual and media arts at Emerson College and author of Provocauteurs and Provocations: Screening Sex in 21st Century Media(Opens in a new tab).

    "As a means of brand differentiation, TV has taken up the sex that Hollywood has increasingly distanced itself from," said San Filippo, referring to Tinseltown's filmmakers.

    Whereas the most popular, chatted-about TV shows (such as Game of Thrones) often portray sex, buzzy movies tend to be more prudish. The world of big-budget films has had an explosion of intellectual property franchises, such as Marvel movies. These stories are sexless and family friendly, San Filippo explained.

    That's not to say there aren't plenty of titillating R-rated movies released year after year. Blockbusters, however, don't tend to touch the adult topics that prestige TV is willing to go after.

    When the "golden age of television"(Opens in a new tab) (considered, by some critics, to be 2000-2019) took off, it gave us a hunger for prestige shows that pushed boundaries and sometimes felt like episodic movies. Streaming services have also taken off in parallel, leading to even more content being produced and a greater willingness to test out new concepts.

    The rise of prosthetics and intimacy coordinators

    Two other factors that have contributed to the "latest burst" of male nudity on television include the improvements in prosthetics (and digital alterations) and the rise of intimacy coordinators, said Peter Lehman, professor emeritus at Arizona State University and author of Running Scared: Masculinity and the Representation of the Male Body(Opens in a new tab).

    Many of the dicks we see on our 4K televisions are fake(Opens in a new tab), he wrote for The Conversation. HBO has a long history of displaying naked penises, such as in the 1990s show Oz. The difference between Oz and, say, Euphoria, which stirred up dick discourse in 2019(Opens in a new tab), is that the dicks in the latter are prosthetics. The penis tide changed from real to artificial with the 2010 Starz series Spartacus, Lehman said.

    Why? Because prosthetics allow filmmakers and actors to decide how they want characters' dicks to look, namely: huge.

    Society's obsession with big dicks isn't anything new, but it's an obsession perpetuated by porn. The dicks on porn performers(Opens in a new tab) are sometimes portrayed as cartoonishly large (no doubt enhanced by camera angles, lighting, and other movie magic), and if not then definitely above the average penis size of 5.1 to 5.5 inches(Opens in a new tab).

    Streaming content doesn't need to adhere to strict content guidelines, so there's more sex and nudity on TV than ever. Credit: vicky leta / mashable

    Meanwhile, the use of intimacy coordinators became common practice(Opens in a new tab) on set of film and TV productions around 2018 in light of the #MeToo movement and more people speaking out about sexual harassment. Intimacy coordinators(Opens in a new tab) choreograph simulated sex scenes, negotiate and communicate between actors and production teams, and provide a sense of safety and support for actors.

    Porn had the "original" intimacy coordinators, said San Filippo, though they don't use the title. Porn shoots, in the best of circumstances, are choreographed and negotiated beforehand by performers and producers. Like a TV scene, a porn scene is a highly orchestrated production. Intimacy coordinators were also popular in theater productions before making their way to film and TV.

    With intimacy coordinators on a prestige TV set, there's consent and a designed comfort level with nudity that may have not been there previously. In 2018, HBO announced it would use intimacy coordinators(Opens in a new tab) on all its shows with sex scenes. Its first show to do so was The Deuce, which portrays the golden age of pornography(Opens in a new tab) in the 1970s.

    Porn's influence on storylines and characters

    The Deuce is an example of television creators' being inspired by porn itself to create content. It's not a new phenomenon.

    "The adult industry provides TV — or the media, or the entertainment industry — with a lot of topics," Rowntree said. The Girlfriend Experience, a Starz show about escorting, and Secret Diary of a Call Girl, also about escorts that ran on the UK channel ITV, are two more examples of TV writers being influenced by the porn world.

    Even when a show's subject isn't the adult industry, though, it may still be informed by it in subtler ways.

    "Porn has become so ubiquitous in our culture, especially among millennial and younger generations," San Filippo explained. "A lot of important new television has taken it up. The creators of those shows raised in those environments have addressed it very frontally."

    San Filippo cited HBO's Girls as an example. Creator Lena Dunham shot sex scenes that were impacted by porn — not attempting to replicate it, but instead mindful of how porn has changed our idea of what sex should be. For example, San Filippo said, the show's first on-screen sex scene displays Dunham's character Hannah going along with a role-play scenario where her partner said she was a "junkie" at 11 years old. When the sex is over, her partner is uncomfortable discussing the dirty talk.

    "In this and other scenes of characters' sexual role-play," San Filippo wrote in Provocauteurs and Provocations, "Girls mocks porn's ludicrous scenarios" and winks at the cognitive dissonance of being both attracted and disgusted by these scenarios.

    In the case of Euphoria, porn's influence isn't just seen in a locker room scene(Opens in a new tab) with dozens of prosthetic cocks, but in how porn informs characters' sexual tastes and interests. The pilot episode, for example, includes a montage of Pornhub clips as the protagonist explains her peers' proclivity for rough sex.

    "Do you need to show explicit sex? Or do our minds fill in the explicit sex?"

    As television becomes sexier and sexier, Rowntree wonders where the line between porn and other forms of content should fall.

    "As soon as they [TV shows] become explicit, where does that leave the adult industry?" she asked. "Or will they have their place, and we'll have our place?"

    At the same time, she has considered whether being more explicit is always the right move for a TV show. She recalled a compilation of disturbing American Horror Story: Hotel (2015) clips: A man's (unseen) penis super glued into a dead woman's body; a man being penetrated by a spiked penis; and two vampire characters feasting on humans during an orgy. These clips didn't even show nudity; they all aired on FX, a basic cable channel. Still, the images struck audiences even without an X rating.

    "The question is," mused Rowntree, "do you need to show explicit sex? Or do our minds fill in the explicit sex?" It's an interesting question she couldn't answer, but considering that Pornhub receives billions of visits a year(Opens in a new tab), it's likely viewers can indeed fill in those blanks.

    Regardless, the experts said neither porn nor provocative TV is going away anytime soon. If anything, the lines are becoming blurrier.

    The future of TV and porn

    San Filippo believes the line between porn and mainstream TV and movies is artificial and created for political and commercial reasons. And those reasons don't serve anyone except "maybe Hollywood studios and the executives that run them," and advertisers.

    As exemplified by OnlyFans banning explicit content only to suspend the change days later, the adage of "sex sells" often stops when the selling benefits sex workers. Sex work is devalued across industries such as entertainment and tech, even though these industries profit off it. San Filippo hopes that meshing television, an industry largely impacted by labor organizing(Opens in a new tab), with the adult industry could result in better labor practices for the latter.

    SEE ALSO: Best sex toys for women: Take pleasure into your own hands

    Lehman sees future potential not just for prosthetics, but digital enhancements. In the 2013 Danish film Nymphomaniac(Opens in a new tab), for example, the director digitally manipulated actors' faces onto other people's naked bodies(Opens in a new tab).

    Nymphomaniac is an erotic art house movie, though the technology could potentially be used in mainstream American TV, too. "You can digitally create bodies that never existed — but in a different way than prosthesis...It's a digital creation from two bodies being represented as one," he said.

    Both TV and porn (at least, the free porn proliferating the internet) perpetuate an ideal body, one chiseled with a big dick — and an ideal sexual encounter, one with penetration. Lehman hopes, however, that TV will evolve and show more diverse bodies and types of sexual expression.

    "The notion of what constitutes good sex [on TV] is so limited," he said. Like in porn, penetration is seen as the "main" sexual activity on TV. "I see it as a rich area for younger and current active filmmakers, television makers, to break some of these boundaries that are so restrictive and self-limiting."

    Particularly, Lehman said, outside the framework of penetration — and outside a locker room full of dicks.

    Keep reading

    • A beginner's guide to the best porn games

    • The best alternatives to Pornhub and Xvideos

    • How to watch VR porn: Everything you need to know

    • The art of the porn GIF

    • Can't figure out what kind of porn to consume? This handy infographic can help

  • Watch the moment a fan holding a sign completely derailed the Tour de France

    Watch the moment a fan holding a sign completely derailed the Tour de France

    Tour de France riders prepare for a number of challenges ahead of the multi-stage race, but none were ready for a sign-waving spectator to step a little too far into the road.


    On Saturday, during the first stage of the lengthy race, a fan wearing a yellow jacket and holding a homemade cardboard sign caused a massive, dangerous pile-up of cyclers. Per AFP, German rider Tony Martin collided with the woman's sign(Opens in a new tab), which was extended far into the road. As footage from the race clearly captured, Martin lost balance, tumbled to the ground on his bike, and his fall set off a horrible chain of cycling accidents in his path.

    Video footage and photos capture just how massive and catastrophic the fan-caused crash was, and they show the heartbreaking aftermath of cyclers recovering on the sidelines and struggling to move past the pile-up.

    Though several cyclers and spectators were injured as a result of the crash, only one rider — DSM's German rider Jasha Sutterlin — had to pull out of the race, per AFP. The woman who caused the crash reportedly fled the scene and has yet to be identified, however, the Tour de France plans to sue her for her reckless behavior.

    "We are suing this woman who behaved so badly," Tour deputy director Pierre-Yves Thouault told AFP.

    "We are doing this so that the tiny minority of people who do this don't spoil the show for everyone."

  • Turbo relationships and the people falling in love at high speed during the pandemic

    Turbo relationships and the people falling in love at high speed during the pandemic

    Taking it slow has a whole new meaning during a pandemic.


    In the time before COVID-19, putting on the brakes meant halting the physical stuff while you got the measure of someone. Maybe you'd kiss after that first date and leave it at that. Maybe you'd wait.

    For me, that desire to take my foot off the accelerator usually came when I had an inkling that I quite liked a person. That, of course, was accompanied by a faint glimmer of hope that this person could turn into someone important to me.

    In the words of Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran, everything has changed. The proverbial dating rule book is out of the window and most of us are now just making it up as we go along. Some couples are falling in love in lockdown without seeing each other in person. Some made the bold move to move in together at the start of the pandemic. And others are forming "support bubbles" with newfound loves.

    Living through this moment in history is already changing our relationship to time. Some couples are taking it slow physically, but hurtling full steam ahead emotionally. Others are treating their Tinder matches like pen pals and taking things at a pace that can be described as glacial. Others are going full steam ahead on both those counts.

    According to a new report from dating site eharmony and relationship support charity Relate on relationships in lockdown, over a third of people newly living with a partner feel the past two months are the equivalent of two years of commitment. More than 59 percent of new couples feel more committed to their partner in the wake of the pandemic, creating a wave of "turbo relationships," and 36 percent say they've hit common relationship milestones, like moving in together, much quicker. And this cranking up a notch of relationships has also led to more sex for 23 percent of couples.

    SEE ALSO: How single people have been dealing with the 'sex ban' in England

    "Make no mistake, we are living in historic times, with a pandemic and the resulting lockdown having a profound impact on the way we live and love," said eharmony relationship expert Rachael Lloyd. "What’s really interesting, is the creation of so-called turbo relationships whereby couples who’d never usually move at such speed may have found themselves living together within weeks of meeting — and largely thriving."

    I spoke to couples who have experienced this new wave of accelerated romance in their relationships during the pandemic.

    Gabrielle, who prefers not to reveal her real name, got out of a five-year relationship in December and found lockdown really hard. She was living alone for the very first time and going through a tough breakup. She described it to me as a "very confusing, horrible period." During lockdown, her ex confirmed to her that he didn't want to get back together.

    She downloaded Hinge and went on her first socially distanced date on the balcony of her flat. This was around the time the UK government announced "support bubbles(Opens in a new tab)" — where people living alone can go and stay with someone else who's also living alone.

    "He said, 'I think we're going to get married.'"

    During that first date, Gabrielle and her date kissed. "I remember freaking out that I kissed someone," she said. "I had to tell my mum." Gabrielle then did something she wouldn't usually do on a first date, she asked him if he wanted someone to kiss and cuddle during lockdown. He said yes. "You can be my bubble," he told her.

    "We made some rules at the start," Gabrielle explained. "I was like, 'If you kiss or hug someone, you have to tell me, then we have to stay apart for two weeks.'" Gabrielle's date (for want of a better term) has been to her house seven nights running — and a few of those nights have involved sleepovers. "I feel like in the space of a week I’ve had an entire relationship," she told me. In that week, they've spent the majority of their time in her living room, sitting on her sofa drinking wine. She's never actually been outside with him. "Lockdown has accelerated everything so quickly," she told me. "If you can only touch one person, then it intensifies things very quickly."

    But, despite the relationship's secret, behind-closed-doors-ness, Gabrielle says it feels quite romantic. "I kind of feel like we’re married," she told me. "And when I told him that, he said 'I think we're going to get married.'" This romance over wine and Gü Puds(Opens in a new tab) has been an unexpected pleasure for Gabrielle — albeit an intense one. "Being exclusive from the moment you kiss just makes you give things a proper chance," she said. "I feel like we’re in a world of our own. We're suspended in time a little bit."

    Lauren, who prefers to not reveal her real name, reconnected with a guy she fancied when she was in sixth form about a week before the UK went into lockdown. Because of the timing of their reconnection, they weren't able to go on a date. But they've been getting to know each other from afar. "Over the past three months we have been sending voice notes back and forth (about 50 mins a day each)," she said. "I feel very invested in the relationship now, and wouldn't talk to anyone else, which is odd as technically we've not even been on a first date!" For Lauren, this is the longest she's ever spoken to someone without meeting up with them. "Could be a good thing!" she said.

    Asked if she's developed feelings for the guy in question, Lauren said she definitely has. "I'd be pretty upset if for some reason he didn't want to meet anymore," she added. And her former sixth form crush has said the same. "I think there's a bit of an unspoken agreement to mention the date every now and again so that we both know we're still planning on going."

    The question many lockdown lovers have right now is: What if we don't fancy each other when we finally meet up? I asked Lauren if she was concerned about this small detail. "I am a little bit!" she said. "We bumped into each other at the train station just before the lockdown which is how it started and definitely fancied him then."

    When it comes to "turbo relationships," not all of them prove to be great whirlwind romances, though. Take Anna, for instance. A guy she'd been on three dates with had a fluke electrical fire at his apartment right at the start of the COVID restrictions coming into place in the U.S. "I had some extra space so decided to take a risk/take advantage of the universe kicking him out of his place and invited him to stay with me," Anna explained. It was mid-March by that point and a two-week stay-at-home order had just been announced, soon to become an extended to ban all non-essential travel. "It soon became clear that he would be there indefinitely," she said.

    "It turned out to be kind of like roommates with benefits."

    "It turned out to be kind of like roommates with benefits," she explained. "We didn’t know each other well, so it was a crash course in all the practical things about living together along side all the dating stuff. Like, what are your eating habits? Night owl or early riser? What shows interest you? How clean are you? Do I still like him in close quarters? Am I attracted to him (this I knew before)? What are his values and hobbies?" Her roommate-slash-friends-with-benefits left after four weeks because of a family emergency. "Overall I think it was a best case scenario — we didn’t fall in love but are still in touch and seeing each other," she said. "We got a bunch of stuff out of the way and know we’re pretty compatible — something that normally takes months not weeks. Also from a practical perspective I know he’s respectful of space, personal boundaries, and loves my cats."

    Ultimately, moving in with someone you've only been on three dates with was a big step for Anna. "As a devoted introvert who lives alone it was a big struggle for me at first to figure out how to divide my time between work, hanging out with him, and also keeping up some alone time with things like reading, but the good news was that through that, I knew that I didn’t want him to leave," she said.

    Stephanie Healy moved in with her partner two days before lockdown was announced in the UK. They'd been dating since Feb. 2019 and until this point, she'd been vocal about not wanting to move in. Making the decision to move in, she has been living out of one bag for the entirety of the government's stay-at-home restrictions. "It was make or break really," she said. "And now that I’m here, I genuinely couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

    "I’d been holding off on it because it freaked me out (avoidant attachment over here!), and we agreed I’d stay at his for a few weeks whilst I continued renting my old flat to see how it went," she explained. "Then lockdown happened, and I couldn’t go back because my housemates were vulnerable." In the absence of being able to leave and have her own space in her newfound living arrangement, Healy found she needed to get better at communicating. She's no longer living out of a suitcase either after moving all her things across last weekend, and says moving in with her partner has definitely solidified their relationship.

    In many respects, life has slowed down in lockdown. But for some of us, that slowing down has prompted other aspects of our lives to speed up. For some, it meant taking their relationship to the next level. For others, it meant finally accepting that you're just not right for each other.

    The true test, of course, is whether your relationship continues once lockdown ends, and when COVID restrictions begin to lift.

  • Gabs failed attempt at cleverness becomes the most hilarious self-own

    Gabs failed attempt at cleverness becomes the most hilarious self-own

    It's important to pause sometimes and remember to smell the roses, or admire the head-shaking idiocy of a social network's ignorance.


    The latter is on the menu thanks to Gab, the embattled and recently hacked Twitter-alike that's favored by the far-right. On Saturday morning, the network's Twitter account posted an image that was perhaps meant as some sort of anti-gun control commentary.

    The image features a Norman Rockwell-esque painted scene in which a family gathers around the backyard grill in anticipation of their meal. Notably, everyone in the scene — including the two kids and, hilariously, the family dog — is armed with guns. Gab's tweet caption reads: "Our way of life must be preserved."

    Credit: screenshot: twitter

    There's a few problems here, but let's start with the biggest one: The image is pulled directly from the cover of a virtual reality video game called The American Dream, from the developer Samurai Punk. The developer describes the game as "a satirical virtual reality trip through a 1950’s world’s fair where you learn to live your life with guns."

    Here's a telling review quote featured on the game's official website(Opens in a new tab): "With a message that is guaranteed to piss off half of the American populous in a hilariously vicious way, The American Dream is one of the most entertaining games in the virtual reality space." It's a game that makes fun of U.S. gun culture by putting players through a gauntlet of everyday activities and forcing them to gun their way through each one.

    Let's step back for a minute and consider the big picture. Gab put this up on Twitter for a purpose. There's every reason to assume, given the far-right's rich history of bad faith con games, it was done with full awareness of the image's origins. But whoever posted it also knows that engagement on Twitter raises Gab's visibility, and also potentially brings in new visitors.

    So why should we play into the game? Well for one, a good number of people are talking about it now. Better to give you context in that case. You'll notice we hid Gab's Twitter handle and used a screenshot rather than an embed to deprive the tweet of the engagement it's apparently seeking.

    But that's not the only reason to talk about this. It's also just... a really dumb thing to post. This image from a video game satire that pokes fun at U.S. gun culture is of course rife with behavior that would horrify legitimately responsible gun owners.

    The father and son both have zero trigger discipline, meaning they have their fingers actually resting on the trigger instead of riding along on the outside of the trigger guard, as you're supposed to do when you're holding but not wielding a gun. There's also the fact that two small children are armed, as well as a dog. (In my own headcanon, the dog armed herself because she wants to be free of this meshugganah family.)

    SEE ALSO: Hackers break into far-right social network Gab, collect a slew of private data

    The choice of image speaks to the community Gab is seemingly trying to foster. This isn't an attempt to attract responsible gun owners. As someone who owns a gun myself (and also an advocate for stronger gun control in the U.S.), I look at this image, which Gab shared without criticism, as a setback for the pro-Second Amendment crowd. There's nothing responsible or fundamentally sane about the "way of life" pictured here.

    That probably wasn't the point though, let's be real. This is really just a rather obvious attempt to "own the libs," both in terms of the image chosen and the platform it was shared on. But this time, the joke's on Gab. People very quickly caught on to the image's origins, and turned the decision to share it into the butt of a joke.

    So yeah, I'm laughing at Gab. Whoever runs its Twitter account shared an image that completely undermines the politics of many of the site's supporters. And in the end, Gab was robbed of any "own the libs" satisfaction as the people of Twitter turned the situation around into a big, dumb joke.

    Mashable reached out to Samurai Punk for the studio's thoughts on the use of this image. We'll update this story accordingly if/when we hear back.

  • Stress-relieving gifts for people who need to chill out

    Stress-relieving gifts for people who need to chill out

    Who doesn't have that person in their life who's perpetually stressed out? (Maybe it's you? No judgment!) If you're genuinely worried about someone's blood pressure, including your own, you've come to the right place. With this gift guide, you can offer more than just a cup of tea or a lending ear, and give some gifts that keep giving through calm, peaceful, relaxing vibes. Whew, we're feeling better already.

    A meditation app subscription

    Apps like Calm and Headspace provide a variety of guided meditations for whatever flavor of relaxation you're looking for. Plus, they're designed to be friendly and informative for beginners.

    Calm(Opens in a new tab), $69.99/year

    Headspace(Opens in a new tab), $12.99/month

    Guided meditation to calm restless thoughts. Credit: Calm

    A weighted blanket

    The soothing pressure of weighted blankets is scientifically proven to help with anxiety(Opens in a new tab), insomnia, chronic pain(Opens in a new tab), and more(Opens in a new tab). A blanket is already a perfectly cozy gift; why not give a blanket that can actively help with stress? You could go with Bearaby, the Rolls Royce of weighted blankets, or this less expensive option from YnM.

    YnM weighted blanket(Opens in a new tab), $49.99

    Bearaby cotton napper(Opens in a new tab), $199

    SEE ALSO: Yes, you really do need a weighted blanket — and these ones are the best
    A scientifically proven way to reduce anxiety. Credit: YnM

    Xbox All Access Featuring Xbox Series S

    Everything the gamer in your life needs is included: hundreds of games, including day-one releases, with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate plus a next-gen Xbox Series S to make the most of every gaming minute. Bonus points — you can save $100 on the Xbox All Access Series S through Dec. 25.

    Xbox All Access Series S with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate(Opens in a new tab)$20.82/month

    Credit: Verizon

    An anti-anxiety journal

    This journal uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy methods to provide guided journal prompts, structured exercises to reduce anxiety, and notes and tips from therapists to help you identify what you're feeling and how to manage it. The simple and discreet layout makes it easy to carry around and jot down thoughts when you're stressed or anxious.

    The Anti-Anxiety notebook(Opens in a new tab), $38

    Manage stress and anxiety with a CBT notebook. Credit: Therapy Notebooks

    An oil diffuser

    We love a standard stick-in-oil diffuser or scented candle, but there are some cool mechanized diffusers out there that gently dispense a mist and have features like mood lighting and timers. Plus, some of them look like a mini sculptural art piece.

    Vitruvi Stone essential oil diffuser(Opens in a new tab), $123

    An oil diffuser that looks good. Credit: Vitruvi

    A yoga subscription

    Yoga is a tried-and-true method for movement that relaxes and eases tension(Opens in a new tab). The beauty of giving a yoga subscription means your giftee will have the flexibility to choose how and when they want to get on the mat from the comfort of their own home.

    Glo yoga subscription(Opens in a new tab), $24/month

    Yoga that fits around your giftee's schedule. Credit: Getty Images

    A smart stress-relief ball

    A simple stress ball isn't really substantial enough to give as a gift, but a smart stress ball has exactly the kind of quirky intrigue and novelty that makes it a perfect present. The "Smart Squeeze" measures your squeeze with an accompanying app and even purports to help you build grip strength.

    Smart Squeeze stress-relief ball(Opens in a new tab), $50


    Monitor just how much stress you're squeezing out. Credit: Roshy and Saket

    A de-stress wearable

    This device takes biometric wearables to the next level by reducing stress through scientifically proven touch therapy. The Apollo is a wearable you put on your wrist or ankle to provide "silent, soothing vibrations" designed to calm your nervous system, which has a direct role in the physical response to stress. It also tracks heart-rate variability, so you can keep track of your stress melting away.

    Apollo wearable(Opens in a new tab), $399

    SEE ALSO: This wearable is designed to help reduce stress
    Get a wearable that does more by reducing stress. Credit: Apollo

    Calming face mask, shower bomb, calming patches

    Give the gift of a spa-like experience with soothing bath and beauty products. Gather up a bunch of your favorites into one care package, or dole them out individually. We're especially interested in the calming patches that are infused with ashwagandha, passionflower, ginger root, and other calming ingredients that you can stick on your body for relaxation on the go.

    Kiehl's calendula petal-infused calming mask(Opens in a new tab), $45

    Lush Twilight lavender bath bomb(Opens in a new tab), $8.25

    The Good Patch Relax patches(Opens in a new tab), $23.98

    Slap on one of these babies whether you're traveling or working. Credit: The Good Patch

    A massage gun

    If you're dealing with tech neck, or feeling achey from a restless sleep, work out some of that physical tension with a massage gun. Mashable rounded up the best massage guns out there. Spoiler alert: Theragun still reigns supreme, but there are some great less-expensive options available, too.

    Theragun Pro(Opens in a new tab), $499

    Turonic GM5 massage gun(Opens in a new tab), $159.97

    The Turonic massage gun is a cheaper alternative to Theragun. Credit: Turonic

    Novelty shower curtain

    When you're facing a stressful day, looking at a ridiculous shower curtain as you go about your morning routine is sure to make you chuckle. And laughter is a guaranteed to relieve stress. Aww. You can find some great options on Etsy(Opens in a new tab).

    Ew David shower curtain(Opens in a new tab), $58.88

    For "Schitt's Creek" fans. Credit: Etsy / LaLumiereHome

  • We saw the future in 2020 and the future sucks

    We saw the future in 2020 and the future sucks

    Flying cars are starting(Opens in a new tab) to look like a crock of shit.


    That’s the classic futuristic dream, right? Packing the family in some mid-size aircraft and zipping around a great blue skyway.

    I contend we’re living in the future, and — spoiler ahead — flying cars aren’t the future we got. Listen, I hate this gut feeling as much you probably do, but I can’t quite shake it: 2020 looks a whole hell of a lot like the future. And it sucks.

    We lived through screens — at least, you did if you were fortunate and caring — and limited our human interaction to a bare minimum. Food: delivered, if possible. Celebrations: virtual. Hours upon hours poured into television or immersive video game worlds.

    It all reminds me of a piece my friend Mike Murphy(Opens in a new tab) wrote for Quartz in 2016(Opens in a new tab) titled, "The future is a place where we won’t have to talk to or hear from anyone we don’t want to." It explored all the ways we could isolate ourselves: delivery services, troubleshooting chatbots, VR, stores with automatic checkout. In the end, it feels like a gloomy existence. Sound familiar? Then just add in working remotely and that was 2020, frankly, if you were privileged and smart.

    And, maybe I'm projecting here, but in that future — one where you don't need to (or can't) interact with others regularly — didn't we just end up missing everyone? No offense to the virtual birthdays I attended, but they kind of suck. The itch wasn't scratched. I missed taking the train — I legitimately missed bumping bodies on the New York City subway.

    We weren't made to live through screens. Depression and anxiety levels have been shown to skyrocket(Opens in a new tab) alongside case numbers as people tucked themselves away from society. Hundreds of thousands of people losing loved ones, of course, added to that as well.

    But remote life is only the half of it. 2020 might be our future in even more sinister ways.

    Related Video: Andrew Yang thinks Big Tech and capitalism need to be reined in ASAP

    Living at work

    Hopefully, lord-willing — cross your fingers, knock on wood, say a little prayer — as the world gets vaccinated, we'll regain some of our in-person entertainments. Bars, live shows, sports games, etc. But it's tough to imagine regaining it all. Can you really see a world with fewer screens? Can you imagine life more unplugged, with your life less tied to the internet?

    Work, for many, will never be the same. Corporations have offloaded office space(Opens in a new tab) en masse. And while there are some perks to working from home — no commute, no paying for gas or a train pass, sweatsuit dress code — it's also removing the place where we use to do the bulk of our socializing, even if it was limited to small talk and bitching over endless meetings. How many days after couch working did you miss your open-floor-plan shared-desk a little? Be honest.

    Sociologist Ray Oldenburg(Opens in a new tab) coined the idea of life needing three places(Opens in a new tab). Home, work, and a social center. We lamented over losing the third place: bowling alleys, bars, social clubs, reading groups, community centers, etc. But working from home also mashes together the first and second places.

    Where does work begin and home end? Is it when we transfer from the Bad Screen to the Good Screen? It's fucking disorienting.

    And yet, it seems unlikely that work will ever return to normal for millions of people. It's been repeatedly hypothesized that some roles might never again be office-based. Tech giant Twitter already told its employees(Opens in a new tab) they can WFH forever.

    In that way, the pandemic likely accelerated what was already coming. It became clear that for many white collar jobs, an office simply is not a necessity. Slack, email, and Zoom calls can suffice.

    And here's a low-key sucky part of that work revolution. If we can live more cheaply, away from business centers, companies may attempt to pay employees less. It's already happening. Facebook, that American bastion of morality, already indicated in May(Opens in a new tab) it'll dock the pay of remote people who move to cheaper areas. Bloomberg Businessweek wrote this month a piece(Opens in a new tab) titled "The Work-From-Home Boom Is Here to Stay. Get Ready for Pay Cuts."

    When work-from-home shape-shifts from a perk to a cost-cutting measure, you better believe its the workers who are going to suffer.

    The dark side of a Gig Economy

    And we cannot forget, if you were forced to spend 2020 working from home, you're one of the lucky ones. Hell, if you have a job at all(Opens in a new tab) right now, you're lucky.

    Many so-called gig economy(Opens in a new tab) and essential workers weren't granted the good fortune of working from home. Health care workers risked their lives, but so did delivery drivers, grocery workers, line cooks, servers, postal workers, and anybody else that helped our isolated society tick. And often for little pay.

    We've all now become used to food, packages, and literally everything else showing up at our doorstep for a nominal fee. It's safe and useful, kind of magical, and even necessary at times. I'm as guilty as anyone. But that nearly magical result is typically made possible by people who are overworked and underpaid. The pandemic has, again, accelerated an unfair status quo.

    Let's look at DoorDash, one of the major food delivery services. Buoyed by the pandemic, its stock price soared after its IPO(Opens in a new tab) last week, turning its founders into instant billionaires. (The price soon fell sharply(Opens in a new tab), then regained a bit (Opens in a new tab)but it's still safe to assume the founders are rich.) Meanwhile, the people who make the deliveries — the giggers of the gig economy — routinely get screwed. They had to plead(Opens in a new tab) for bathroom access. DoorDash just settled a $2.5 million lawsuit(Opens in a new tab) that accused the company of deceptive tipping practices that didn't send money directly to delivery people.

    And DoorDash isn't alone in its chicanery. Uber nearly immediately raised fees on rides and deliveries just after securing a law that keeps its drivers as contractors and not employees, despite claiming the law would do the opposite.

    Amid that controversy, food-delivery apps in general saw their business double(Opens in a new tab) in the pandemic. Greg Bensinger wrote in (Opens in a new tab)the New York Times(Opens in a new tab) this month(Opens in a new tab) how these sorts of apps are gutting the restaurant industry by cutting into restaurants' already paper-thin margins via high fees.

    Oh, but you cook at home? Instacart, the main grocery delivery service, has been accused of low pay and tip stealing(Opens in a new tab) as well. Hell, even a new company branded as the moral Instacart has a worker backlash(Opens in a new tab) on its hands.

    The simple truth is: The new-age services we're using to help survive the 2020 pandemic are exploitative and unsustainable. But can you imagine going back to how things used to be? Would Americans be willing?

    No help is on the way

    Gig workers aside, the U.S. in particular — for better or worse, once a world leader — has plainly fucked over its most vulnerable population. Lawmakers tossed one measly $1,200 check for the entire pandemic, with maybe another check(Opens in a new tab) soon to come. To be fair, unemployment benefits were(Opens in a new tab) temporarily improved as well. But the help was still meager.

    Meanwhile, frontline roles like nursing home workers, cleaners, transit workers, corrections officers, EMTs, and meatpacking workers — many of whom are staffed by people of color — have been ravaged by COVID-19(Opens in a new tab). Only a quarter of Americans(Opens in a new tab) can WFH easily, and large swaths of workers can't get paid sick leave, which means the virus spread like wildfire in those workplaces.

    People working essential, in-person jobs were left hanging. Because in America we decided things had to go on. Those workers had to suffer to staunch the bleeding of ailing businesses. Restaurants weren't bailed out, meat plants had to truck on through outbreaks, nursing homes struggled to get PPE. Of the $4 trillion bailout, $2.3 trillion went to businesses(Opens in a new tab) that weren't obliged to prove how COVID impacted them or commit to no layoffs. Just $884 billion went to workers and families, and only 16 percent of the money went fighting COVID itself. As the Washington Post(Opens in a new tab) put it(Opens in a new tab), the bill "bestowed billions in benefits on companies and wealthy individuals largely unscathed by the pandemic."

    It all shouts dysfunction. We could have paid people to stay home(Opens in a new tab) and saved countless lives. We chose not to.

    Of course, people were struggling before COVID. The pandemic made clear how little help is available for those who need it. If a deadly pandemic can't change that — where helping people isolate safely with money would clearly help us all immediately — then how could we expect things to change moving forward?

    It's a society and, frankly, a government unwilling or unable to care for its citizens that are dying, or sick, or jobless, or overworked, or broke, or some combination of the above. The pandemic widened cracks that were already visible in our foundation. American billionaires got $931 billion richer(Opens in a new tab) during the pandemic while 26 million Americans went hungry(Opens in a new tab). And yet we're somehow surprised holiday shopping(Opens in a new tab) figures are down? Consumerism can only patch over so much.

    Alternative facts

    You'd think with more than 300,000 Americans(Opens in a new tab) dead — and more than 1.6 million global deaths — we'd at least be able to agree on some basic principals about the pandemic. You already know that's not the case.

    Outgoing President Donald Trump has downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic time and again. Large swaths of people incorrectly believe the whole thing(Opens in a new tab) is an elaborate hoax.

    I realize it's cliché for a media person to rant about actual fake news. But thousands of bodies are literally piling up every day and we can't even agree on the premise that the virus is a serious problem. If we cannot agree on such a simple fact, imagine our future. Trump set a precedent: Lying is OK(Opens in a new tab) if it benefits you. Well, that might've always been the case, but he was so obvious about it. For some in power, making shit up is not just ignored, it's now the standard. The president can hardly post a tweet without it being labeled as incorrect. Roughly half of the U.S. is indoctrinated by a political party remade in that image.

    The pandemic laid bare that our future will be defined by different sets of facts. The real world vs. the world where mass death can be ignored. It's one thing to ratfuck(Opens in a new tab) and muck-up elections, it's a whole different thing to do it to reality. If we can't get people to believe a pandemic exists as the ambulances wail — and the graves are dug — how can we possibly work together against something that's avoidable in the moment, like climate change?

    Where do we go from here?

    So that's our future? Distant, overworked, impersonal, underpaid, divided, misinformed?

    Here's where I pull a little sleight of hand. Of course our future is not written in stone. Things don't have to be this way — 2020 could be provocation for fixing the awful crap it laid bare, instead of an accelerant. Although I doubt work, or even socialization, is going to become less screen-based.

    2020 was an exceptional time, in all the worst ways. It was history, again, in a bad way.

    There's some hope it'll shock folks into action, into building a better, more equitable, more sustainable future. Early signs aren't promising(Opens in a new tab): our political future looks like a reverse to the status quo instead of wholesale change. Lots of people would probably love to Go Back to Brunch.

    That's not to discount the people who actively seek to make the world better. One of the most inspiring things to come from 2020 is the active, dedicated protest movement working to tackle racism, police violence, climate change, political misdeeds, and other societal issues.

    The world is full of good people. People who protest, people who work to effect change, people who deliver your packages, people who risk their lives for your food, people who care for those sick with a highly contagious, deadly virus. But we also have no shortage of problems.

    You might tell me 2020 was an anomaly. That it was an exceptionally bad year. You might tell me 2020 was defined by a once-in-a-generation pandemic and to extrapolate a sucky future from that is misguided.

    I concede I have no crystal ball. Sure, the future could still be bright. This could be a bad pandemic year followed by decades of improvement.

    But one last thing. Remember that pesky climate change? It's a big factor in spreading infectious disease. As remote areas have been destroyed(Opens in a new tab), natural barriers were broken that helped mitigate the spread of rare diseases to civilization. Animals that carry these viruses crept ever closer to where we live. Outbreaks were bound to become more common and more serious.

    In the future pandemics might not be so rare. They might even be worse(Opens in a new tab).

  • Alexis Ohanian showed off the NFT he bought for Serena Williams at the Met Gala

    Alexis Ohanian showed off the NFT he bought for Serena Williams at the Met Gala

    And they say NFTs aren't good for anything.


    Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian showed off the NFT he bought for his wife, Serena Williams, on the Met Gala's red carpet on Monday. NFTs are a special type of cryptocurrency that exist on the blockchain, each one of them unique and impossible to replicate.

    Ohanian wore the image of the NFT as a badge on his jacket's collar. This particular NFT is a part of the CryptoPunks collection, which are among the rarest, and most expensive NFTs you can own.

    Of course, the badge that Ohanian wore is just the image. The actual NFT can be found on the Ethereum blockchain(Opens in a new tab) — its official name is CryptoPunk #2950(Opens in a new tab), it's one of 3,840 "Female" punks, and it also has the fairly rare "Headband" trait. In the world of CryptoPunks, the rarer their traits, the more valuable they are; one of the most expensive CryptoPunks(Opens in a new tab) is currently CryptoPunk #7804(Opens in a new tab), which was sold for $7.57 million in March 2021. Serena's CryptoPunk was last sold for 85 ETH, which is about $282,300 at writing time.

    SEE ALSO: Visa buys $150,000 NFT for some reason

    The NFT craze, which saw dozens of new collections appearing daily and reaching extremely high prices within minutes, has died down a little, with a sharp drop in sales volume on popular NFT market OpenSea(Opens in a new tab). But CryptoPunks seem to still be popular enough to make an appearance at the Met Gala, so we reckon the hype is still alive, at least for some NFTs.

    Related Video: A beginner's guide to NFTs, the crypto potentially worth millions

  • Quordle today: Here are the answers and hints for September 19

    Quordle today: Here are the answers and hints for September 19

    Quordle may not be easy all the time, but it's always fun. That's the sweet spot for a game. And Monday's is no different.


    If you're stuck, the whole Quordle solution is below. Scroll to the bottom of this page, and there it is. But are you sure you need all four answers? Maybe you just need a strategy guide. Either way, scroll down, and you'll get what you need.

    What is Quordle?

    Quordle is a five-letter word guessing game similar to Wordle, except each guess applies letters to four words at the same time. You get nine guesses instead of six to correctly guess all four words. It looks like playing four Wordle games at the same time, and that is essentially what it is. But it's not nearly as intimidating as it sounds.

    Is Quordle harder than Wordle?

    Yes, though not diabolically so.

    Where did Quordle come from?

    Amid the Wordle boom of late 2021 and early 2022, when everyone was learning to love free, in-browser, once-a-day word guessing games, creator Freddie Meyer says he took inspiration from one of the first big Wordle variations, Dordle — the one where you essentially play two Wordles at once. He took things up a notch, and released Quordle on January 30(Opens in a new tab). Meyer's creation was covered in The Guardian(Opens in a new tab) six days later, and now, according to Meyer, it attracts millions of daily users. Today, Meyer earns modest revenue(Opens in a new tab) from Patreon, where dedicated Quordle fans can donate to keep their favorite puzzle game running. 

    How is Quordle pronounced?

    “Kwordle.” It should rhyme with “Wordle,” and definitely should not be pronounced exactly like "curdle.”

    Is Quordle strategy different from Wordle?

    Yes and no.

    Your starting strategy should be the same as with Wordle. In fact, if you have a favorite Wordle opening word, there’s no reason to change that here. We suggest something rich in vowels, featuring common letters like C, R, and N. But you do you.

    After your first guess, however, you’ll notice things getting out of control if you play Quordle exactly like Wordle.

    What should I do in Quordle that I don’t do in Wordle?

    Solving a Wordle puzzle can famously come down to a series of single letter-change variations. If you’ve narrowed it down to “-IGHT,” you could guess “MIGHT” “NIGHT” “LIGHT” and “SIGHT” and one of those will probably be the solution — though this is also a famous way to end up losing in Wordle, particularly if you play on “hard mode.” In Quordle, however, this sort of single-letter winnowing is a deadly trap, and it hints at the important strategic difference between Wordle and Quordle: In Quordle, you can't afford to waste guesses unless you're eliminating as many letters as possible at all times. 

    Guessing a completely random word that you already know isn't the solution, just to eliminate three or four possible letters you haven’t tried yet, is thought of as a desperate, latch-ditch move in Wordle. In Quordle, however, it's a normal part of the player's strategic toolset.

    Is there a way to get the answer faster?

    In my experience Quordle can be a slow game, sometimes dragging out longer than it would take to play Wordle four times. But a sort of blunt-force guessing approach can speed things up. The following strategy also works with Wordle if you only want the solution, and don’t care about having the fewest possible guesses:

    Try starting with a series of words that puts all the vowels (including Y) on the board, along with some other common letters. We've had good luck with the three words: “NOTES,” “ACRID,” and “LUMPY.” YouTuber DougMansLand(Opens in a new tab) suggests four words: “CANOE,” “SKIRT,” “PLUMB,” and “FUDGY.”

    Most of the alphabet is now eliminated, and you’ll only have the ability to make one or two wrong guesses if you use this strategy. But in most cases you’ll have all the information you need to guess the remaining words without any wrong guesses.

    If strategy isn't helping, and you're still stumped, here are some hints:

    A semi-useful hint about today’s puzzle

    Synonyms for all four words are in the following very strange sentence (in no particular order).

    The district reversed an order to improve the school's layout, meaning the creative kids with their top hats and lace gloves who reclined against the bleachers at lunch last year still won't have a good place to socialize without being bullied.

    Are there any double or triple letters in today’s Quordle words?

    One word has two instances of the same letter.

    Are any rare letters being used in today’s Quordle like Q or Z?


    What do today’s Quordle words start with?

    A, U, L, and A.

    What are the answers for today’s Quordle?

    Are you sure you want to know?

    There’s still time to turn back.

    OK, you asked for it. The answers are:

    1. ARTSY

    2. UNDID

    3. LEANT

    4. AMEND

  • Stay healthy and hydrated this socially distanced summer

    Stay healthy and hydrated this socially distanced summer

    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 participating in socially distanced outdoor gatherings, going camping, or just hanging out in your yard this summer, consider these simple ways to stay healthy and hydrated.

    Get fruity

    If you’re one of those people who is always trying to drink more water, but need a flavor boost to make it more enjoyable, take a hint with Hint Water. Flavors are straight out of the fruit bowl, ranging from peach to cherry to watermelon. These have no added sugar or sweeteners, either.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Hint
    New customers: Get 36 bottles for $36 (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Stop squinting

    Upgrade your sunglasses to a polarized pair to block out harmful UVA and UVB rays. This highly-rated pair from SOJOS are a designer dupe for a fraction of the price.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Score some polarized SOJOS for $13.99 (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Put some pep in your step

    Avoid dehydration, improve your skin health, regulate your body temperature, and more — the benefits of drinking water(Opens in a new tab) are incontrovertible. If you prefer zesty bubbles, try Hint Sparkling.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Hint
    New customers: Get 36 bottles for $36  (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Tell bugs to buzz off

    Ah, bug spray. A summer staple. If mosquitoes seem to love you, gain the upper hand with a DEET-free option like Repel. Formulated with oil of lemon eucalyptus, you’ll be protected from biters without smelling like chemicals.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Repel
    Repel bugs for $4.99  (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Keep the kiddos hydrated, too

    Juice boxes are cool and all, but Hint Water boxes are even cooler, thanks to zero sugars or sweeteners. Throw these in your kids’ lunch boxes before heading off on a hike.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    New customers: Buy 2 cases of Hint Kids, get 1 case free with free shipping  (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Slather up

    Wearing sunscreen is a no-brainer. Frequently recommended by dermatologists, Elta MD UV Clear is a good mineral-based option with transparent zinc, protecting your face from UVA and UVB rays, without feeling greasy.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Elta MD
    Protect your face for $36  (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Buff up

    If running is your jam, stay protected with a face covering that’s actually breathable. Neck gaiters are especially easy to pull up and down, making them versatile for working out. Runners often recommend the Buff, praised for its cooling and odor control properties. Plus, they come in lots of fun patterns and colors.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Buff
    Snag a Buff for $18.99  (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Caffeinate without the crash

    Hint Kick is water infused with 60mg of caffeine per bottle, but no sugars mean you won’t have that crash that sometimes accompanies your latte.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Hint
    New customers: Get Hint Kick for $1 per bottle with free delivery  (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

  • What the Mashable staff bought in August

    What the Mashable staff bought in August

    If you follow Mashable Shopping's coverage, you know that we live to bring you the best product recommendations we can find based on countless hours of online research. But what about the stuff that we buy for ourselves? The stuff that made it into our shopping carts? Well, we're here to tell you about those things, and we'll be back every month to do so again.


    Here's what the staff bought in August 2021.

    A big planter(Opens in a new tab) for a big plant

    "Like many other people, I started collecting houseplants last year at the start of the pandemic, and I’ve become quite the indoor gardener since then. One of the plants I bought in the spring of 2020 is now massive and super root-bound, so I bought this huge Bloomscape pot to give it even more space to grow. The Bloomscape Ecopots are decently priced for their size, and I love that they’re all made of 80% recycled plastic." —Jae Thomas, Shopping Reporter

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Bloomscape
    $45 at Bloomscape (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    A trio of spices(Opens in a new tab)

    "I became obsessed with the Fly By Jing chili crisp when I first tried it, so once my jar ran out, I ordered the Triple Threat box of sauces and spices. I’m obsessed with everything — the classic chili crisp is so good with scrambled eggs and rice, the Zhong Sauce is perfect on dumplings, and the mala spice mix is the best companion to crispy fried tofu." —Jae Thomas, Shopping Reporter

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    Credit: Fly By Jing
    $45 at Amazon (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Pants(Opens in a new tab)!

    "If I'm not wearing jeans, I'm probably wearing Dickies work pants. Since I've lost a bunch of my quarantine weight, my old pair actually stopped fitting me, so I got a fresh pair that hopefully won't fall down if I'm not wearing a belt. So far, so good." —Dylan Haas, Shopping Reporter

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    Credit: Dickies
    $29.99 at Dickies (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    A new pair of boxing gloves(Opens in a new tab)

    "I box regularly, and recently destroyed my Everlast gloves that have been serving me well over the past few years. I didn't feel like shelling out $80 for another pair, so I got these cheap ones on Amazon that I actually really like. Let's hope they last, too." —Dylan Haas, Shopping Reporter

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    Credit: Sanabul
    $29.99 at Amazon (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Some freezable face globes(Opens in a new tab)

    "I have been very into rolling and icing my face before bed, but found that my facial roller wasn’t staying cold and regular ice was getting messy. I also just wanted an excuse to buy the Moon Globes from Kiramoon that I saw on Tiktok. I can’t tell if the liquid inside stays chilly longer, but they are too glittery and pretty to not use. I will not discuss the fact that they look like sex toys." —Leah Stodart, Shopping Reporter

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    Credit: Kiramoon
    $42 at Kiramoon (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    A post-surf cleanup tool(Opens in a new tab)

    "I took my post-surfing game up to the next level with a RinseKit Plus so I can rinse my wetsuit, booties, board, leash, and anything else right at the car after a surf session. I used to have to do a whole rinse afterward in my backyard at the spigot." —Sasha Lekach, Transportation Reporter

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    Credit: RinseKit
    $184.95 at RinseKit (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    A stylish mask(Opens in a new tab) restock

    "I bought the earth tones variety pack of these KN95s because you know I want that extra protection against Delta, but also to look cute." —Rachel Kraus, Tech Reporter

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    Credit: Maskc
    $36 at Maskc (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    More pants(Opens in a new tab)!

    "I got three pairs of the same Dickies sweatpants — bought one for my partner at the beginning of Sydney’s current lockdown as something more pants-like and structured than slubby sweats, and now I steal them all the time, so he bought more." —Caitlin Welsh, Australia Editor

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    Credit: Dickies
    $79.99 at Dickies (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Some privacy shades(Opens in a new tab)

    "I also bought some privacy film for our bedroom window which faces directly onto the street, and it’s a game-changer after just having to keep blinds down all the time. We get natural light from the early morning onward. I can have plants in here again; it’s fab." —Caitlin Welsh, Australia Editor

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    Credit: Rabbitgoo
    $11.98 at Amazon (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    More air purifiers(Opens in a new tab)

    "My world's on fire, how 'bout yours? So I bought more air purifiers, of course." —Sascha Segan, Lead Mobile Analyst for PCMag

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    Credit: Coway
    $229.99 at Amazon (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Two new(Opens in a new tab) keyboards

    "I got a Das Keyboard for working at home...

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    Credit: Das Keyboard
    $169 at Das Keyboard (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    ...and a Keychron K8 for working on the go." —Will Greenwald, Senior Analyst at PCMag

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    Credit: Keychron
    $69 at Keychron (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)