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Get 4 free months of Amazon Music Unlimited, plus more of the best deals of the day

2023-03-19 06:19:31

Get 4 free months of Amazon Music Unlimited, plus more of the best deals of the day

We've rounded up the best deals of the day on Nov. 14 — here are our top picks:

Get 4 free months of Amazon Music Unlimited, plus more of the best deals of the day(图1)

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

  • BEST TECH DEAL: Sony 55-inch BRAVIA XR A80J Series OLED 4K UHD Smart Google TV(Opens in a new tab)$999.99 $1,899.99 (save $900)

  • BEST HOME DEAL: Dyson Pure Cool Link TP02 Smart Tower Air Purifier and Fan(Opens in a new tab)$299.99 $499.99 (save $200)

We're another week closer to Black Friday, which means we're in for another week of epic deals. Best Buy and Amazon are dishing out new deals to splurge on every day, while expiring old ones. So, don't fret if you missed out on last week's discounts — there's plenty more where those came from.

Walmart is about to drop its second round of Black Friday specials as part of its Deals for Days event, so stay tuned. Walmart+ members can shop first, starting at noon ET; everyone else, get ready for the public drop at 7 p.m. ET. Here's your preview of what's coming, as well as which deals are already available to shop on Nov. 14. Buckle up.

Best streaming deal

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Credit: Amazon
Four months of Amazon Music Unlimited (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
Free with select Best Buy purchases (save $39.96)
(opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

Typically $9.99 per month ($8.99 for Prime members), this deal at Best Buy gets you four free months of Amazon Music Unlimited with select purchases — including a Roku Streaming Stick 4K(Opens in a new tab), Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K(Opens in a new tab), Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen)(Opens in a new tab), and more(Opens in a new tab). Amazon Music Unlimited allows you to pick and play any song and listen to top podcasts, ad-free, plus you can listen offline and enjoy unlimited skips. After your four months are up, you'll be charged full price, so be sure to cancel in advance if you want to avoid that fee. Amazon is also offering a three-month free trial(Opens in a new tab) (with no purchase) for a limited time.

More streaming devices and subscription deals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best tech deal

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Credit: Sony
Sony 55-inch BRAVIA XR A80J Series OLED 4K UHD Smart Google TV (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
$999.99 at Best Buy (save $900)
(opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

Sony released the Bravia XR A80J Series in 2021 and, with it, introduced us to the Cognitive Processor XR. This processor can "understand the human eye" and tweak the brightness, colors, and audio details to match how we see them in real life. Along with the Acoustic Surface Audio+, you'll enjoy a truly immersive cinematic experience — all for less than $1,000. Save $900 with this Best Buy deal and get three free months of Apple TV+.

More tech deals

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

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

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

  • Pioneer 32-inch Class LED HD Smart Fire TV(Opens in a new tab)$99.99 $199.99 (save $100)

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

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

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

  • Samsung 75-inch Class TU690T Series LED 4K UHD Smart Tizen TV(Opens in a new tab)$579.99 $849.99 (save $270)

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

  • Acer 49-inch Curved DQHD Zero-Frame Gaming Monitor(Opens in a new tab)$797.57 $1,099.99 (save $302.42)

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

  • LG B2 Series 65-Inch Class OLED Smart TV(Opens in a new tab)$1,296.99 $1,559 (save $262.01)

Best home deal

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Credit: Dyson
Dyson Pure Cool Link TP02 Smart Tower Air Purifier and Fan (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
$299.99 at Best Buy (save $200)
(opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

We know temperatures are dropping, but hear us out. This hybrid tower fan and air purifier allows you to cool things down on those random days when the weather is abnormally warm in the fall and winter without messing with your thermostat. Plus, with its vacuum-sealed HEPA filter (with an odor-trapping layer of activated carbon), it can remove 99.97 percent of allergens and pollutants as small as 0.3 microns from the air around you. Not to mention, it's got the Dyson cool factor. At $299.99, you'll save $200 — but act fast, as this deal is only live for 24 hours.

More home deals

Kitchen deals

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

  • Mueller Ultra Bullet Personal Blender(Opens in a new tab)$15.99 $19.99 (save $4)

  • Cuisinart Color Core 10-Piece Cutlery Set(Opens in a new tab)$19.99 $59.99 (save $40)

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

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

  • Cosori Aeroblaze Smart Indoor 8-in-1 Grill (6-Quart)(Opens in a new tab) — $139.99 $249.99 (save $110)

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

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

  • GE Profile Opal 2.0 Countertop Nugget Ice Maker with Side Tank(Opens in a new tab)$515.79 $629 (save $113.21)

Floor care deals

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Dyson Pure Cool Link TP02 Smart Tower Air Purifier and Fan(Opens in a new tab)$299.99 $499.99 (save $200)

  • EcoVacs Robotics Deebot T8+ Vacuum and Mop(Opens in a new tab)$499.99 $749.99 (save $250)

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

Audio deals

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

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

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

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

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

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

Walmart deals live at 12 p.m. ET (Walmart+ members only)

Note: The second official deal drop of Walmart's Deals for Days sales event(Opens in a new tab) goes live on Nov. 14. Walmart+ members get first access at 12 p.m. ET, while non-members can start shopping the deals at 7 p.m. ET. You can still sign up for Walmart+(Opens in a new tab) ahead of time to get first access to the deals below (plus more) if you act quick.

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

  • 20-inch Hardside Carry-on Luggage(Opens in a new tab)$35 $49.98 (save $14.98)

  • Gourmia Digital Air Fryer Toaster Oven with French Doors(Opens in a new tab)$50 $145.50 (save $95.50)

  • Samsung Galaxy Buds Live(Opens in a new tab) $69 $149 (save $80)

  • onn. 40-inch Class FHD (1080P) LED Roku Smart TV(Opens in a new tab)$98 $169 (save $71)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • HP 15.6-inch FHD Laptop (Intel Core i3, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$249 $419 (save $170)

  • Apple Watch Series 8 (GPS, 41mm)(Opens in a new tab)$349 $399 (save $50)

  • HP 15.6-inch FHD Laptop (Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$349 $449 (save $100)

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  • White House protesters were tear gassed because Trump wanted to create photo op

    White House protesters were tear gassed because Trump wanted to create photo op

    Protesters peacefully exercising their First Amendment right outside the White House were tear gassed on Monday. Why? So that Donald Trump — a former reality TV star — could have a made-for-TV moment of violence as he spoke to the nation. Oh, and so he could walk across the street and hold a bible in front of a church.


    The scene unfolded outside the White House shortly after 6:30 p.m. ET on Monday. What had been a peaceful protest in Lafayette Park descended into chaos as police officers turned violent and deployed tear gas and flash-bangs. A short time later Trump spoke to the nation(Opens in a new tab) from the Rose Garden, where he threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act, which would allow him to use(Opens in a new tab) the U.S. military to stop riots and protests across the country.

    After speaking to the country — flash-bangs audible in the background — Trump and a few others, including Attorney General Bill Barr, walked across the street to take this photo in front of St. John's Church as he held the bible. A small fire was set(Opens in a new tab) at the historic church on Sunday evening amid widespread unrest in the city.

    Let me repeat: police took violent action against peaceful protesters so the President could stage a photo op. It has since been reported that Barr was the one who personally ordered law enforcement officials to push the protesters back.

    Demonstrators kneel in front of law enforcement during a protest in downtown Washington, DC. Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

    Protests have broken out in dozens of cities across the country this week following the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody after an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes in Minneapolis. While many protests have been peaceful, some have turned violent and led to looting and destruction. Thousands of people have been arrested.

    While the President invoked George Floyd's name as an opportunity to visit the church, the scene that unfolded to get there was disturbing to those peacefully protesting and people watching from home.

    As the president was speaking, his son Donald Trump Jr. tweeted this now-deleted explanation for his father's bizarre decision to do all of this outside:

    Donald Trump Jr. tweet bunker Credit: Mashable screenshot

    Don Jr. is referring to the fact that Trump was taken to a secure bunker(Opens in a new tab) on Friday as angry protests took place outside the White House.

    So what did this hasty decision to crack down on protesters for show result in? Well the photos from outside the church seem to have had the opposite of the desired effect — making him look ghoulish and stiff.

    US President Donald Trump holds up a bible in front of St John's Episcopal church after walking across Lafayette Park from the White House in Washington, DC on June 1, 2020. - US President Donald Trump was due to make a televised address to the nation on Monday after days of anti-racism protests against police brutality that have erupted into violence. The White House announced that the president would make remarks imminently after he has been criticized for not publicly addressing in the crisis in recent days. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) / ALTERNATE CROP (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images) Credit: AFP via Getty Images
    US President Donald Trump holds up a Bible outside of St John's Episcopal church across Lafayette Park in Washington, DC on June 1, 2020. - US President Donald Trump was due to make a televised address to the nation on Monday after days of anti-racism protests against police brutality that have erupted into violence. The White House announced that the president would make remarks imminently after he has been criticized for not publicly addressing in the crisis in recent days. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images) Credit: AFP via Getty Images

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

    UPDATE: June 2, 2020, 4:15 p.m. EDT The Washington Post reports(Opens in a new tab) that Attorney General Bill Barr was the one who "personally ordered law enforcement officials" to push back protesters before Trump's speech on Monday.

  • Seth Rogen has a blunt method of tackling All Lives Matter commenters on Instagram

    Seth Rogen has a blunt method of tackling All Lives Matter commenters on Instagram

    "If this is a remotely controversial statement to you, feel free to unfollow me."


    That was the caption Seth Rogen shared to his 8.5 million Instagram followers on Monday beneath an image of the Black Lives Matter(Opens in a new tab) slogan.

    View this post on Instagram
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Rogen, along with major celebrities like Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift, has been vocal on Twitter and Instagram following the killing of George Floyd, who died in police custody after a former officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. In the week since, as protests have swept America and parts of the globe, the actor and director has helped start a chain of donations(Opens in a new tab) to the Minnesota Freedom Fund(Opens in a new tab) — prompting celebrities(Opens in a new tab) like Steve Carell, Don Cheadle, and Ben Schwartz to match it — and has used his platform to post about racism to his 8.5 million Twitter followers.

    At the time of writing, his latest Instagram post supporting the Black Lives Matter movement has over 350,000 likes. It also has close to 50,000 comments. And while many of them are supportive, a number of people decided to take issue with the sentiment Rogen shared.

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

    As you can probably guess from his responses, he wasn't all that bothered.

    Credit: instagram/sethrogen
    Credit: instagram/sethrogen

    The widely-criticised(Opens in a new tab) phrase "All Lives Matter" has been around for years, and it's often used to belittle discussion of racial injustice, especially after high-profile acts of police brutality, in response to people saying the phrase "Black Lives Matter." (Here's why people should stop saying it, explained nine different ways(Opens in a new tab)).

    Billie Eilish wasn't letting it slide last weekend, though, and now neither is Rogen.

    Credit: instagram/sethrogen/mashable composite

    The actor's responses have since gone viral on Twitter.

    It's a blunt way of responding, but it's an effective one at calling out those commenters.

    You can get educated on what it means to be anti-racist here, and find additional ways to demand justice for George Floyd and support protests here.

  • Grindr has removed its controversial ethnicity filters

    Grindr has removed its controversial ethnicity filters

    The killing of George Floyd by police officers has spurred not only protests across the United States, but also — often embarrassing — responses from brands.


    The queer dating app Grindr offered its own statement on Twitter(Opens in a new tab) and Instagram(Opens in a new tab) on Monday, coinciding with the first day of Pride Month. They will take action including not only donating to both BLM(Opens in a new tab) and the Marsha P. Johnson Institute(Opens in a new tab), but also by removing their ethnicity filters for their next app release:

    "We will continue to fight racism on Grindr," the statement said, "both through dialogue with our community and zero-tolerance policy for racism and hate speech on our platform."

    A Grindr spokesperson told Mashable that racism has no place in their community. "To help do our part, we have decided to remove the ethnicity filter from the Grindr app. Once the filter is removed, users will no longer be able to filter profiles by ethnicity," they said. "We thank all of those that have provided feedback. We listened and we will continue to fight racism on Grindr, both through dialogue with our community and a zero-tolerance policy for hate speech on our platform."

    Grindr launched in 2009 and has long had ethnicity filters(Opens in a new tab). Ethnicity filters on Grindr and other dating apps have proven to be controversial, with some claiming they were okay(Opens in a new tab) to use and many(Opens in a new tab) saying(Opens in a new tab) they're(Opens in a new tab) not(Opens in a new tab). In 2018 the app introduced their "Kindr Grindr"(Opens in a new tab) campaign in attempts to "encourage kindness," but the filters remained.

    This decision to remove the filters comes after days of protests across the nation in response to killing of George Floyd, who died after a police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes.

    A Grindr spokesperson did not clarify why Grindr chose to remove the filters now, as opposed to in previous cases of police brutality against black people.

    As of now, the app's Help Center will walk you through how to use its various filters(Opens in a new tab). While the change may be reflected in the app on Monday, users may have to update to the most current version of the app for the change to show up.

  • The 49ers, Kaepernicks last NFL team, criticized for Blackout Tuesday post

    The 49ers, Kaepernicks last NFL team, criticized for Blackout Tuesday post

    The San Francisco 49ers — the NFL franchise that infamously helped push Colin Kaepernick out of the league — posted in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and used the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday in a tweet on Tuesday.


    Folks were obviously pretty quick to point out the hypocrisy.

    Kaepernick, when he was in the NFL, started a high-profile peaceful protest against police brutality and the oppression of black people in America. He took a knee during the national anthem, which enraged certain subsets of Americans — most notably the president of the United States.

    Now the nation is embroiled in massive, widespread anti-racism protests after police in Minneapolis killed George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by kneeling on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. Blackout Tuesday, an initiative started by the music industry, involved people posting black squares on social media. The initiative immediately led to controversy over whether it was really useful. (Mashable has a guide here on how you can make an actually help, if you choose to participate.)

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

    Kaepernick hasn't been signed to an NFL team since 2017 despite, by all objective(Opens in a new tab) and statistical measures(Opens in a new tab), being more than good enough to earn a job.

    And while the QB technically opted out of his 49ers contract back in 2017, the organization has flatly admitted(Opens in a new tab) they made it clear to Kaepernick they intended to cut him. Since then, he hasn't been afforded any real chance at rejoining the league, leading to the widespread belief that he's been blackballed by the NFL.

    San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York has claimed the franchise(Opens in a new tab) didn't encourage other teams to steer clear of Kaepernick. "We had no negative conversations with other teams saying, 'Don't sign Colin,'" York said on Freakonomics Radio's The Hidden Side of Sports in 2018. "We wouldn't do that with Colin. We wouldn't do that with anybody."

    Lots of folks aren't buying the 49ers' public comments, though.

    Eric Reid, Kaepernick's former teammate who kneeled alongside him, wrote on Twitter(Opens in a new tab): "I think you meant Blackball Tuesday...I digress." Reid is currently a free agent.

  • 11 racial justice documentaries to further your education

    11 racial justice documentaries to further your education

    As nationwide protests continue in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery, the Black Lives Matter movement remains as important as ever and an invaluable resource to those in and outside of the Black community.


    For non-Black people, this is a time to listen, learn, donate, and activate. One way to do that is by seeking out the many films and series about civil unrest and racial inequality. 2020's protests and curfews are not new; they are the latest boiling over of systemic issues that date back to this country's creation and beyond.

    In order to make change, we must first understand how we got here. Here are 11 racial justice documentaries you can stream right now to learn more.

    1. LA ’92(Opens in a new tab)

    Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin’s 2017 documentary would be chilling enough without its 2020 context. It recounts the stories of Rodney King, who was brutally beaten by police officers, and Latasha Harlins, a teenager who was fatally shot in a convenience store. King’s attackers were found not guilty despite damning video evidence, and in the days after, fires, riots, and looting ravaged Los Angeles. The film frames the 1992 unrest with footage of the 1965 Watts riots, highlighting the disturbing parallels.

    Where to watch: Netflix(Opens in a new tab)

    2. 13th(Opens in a new tab)

    Ava DuVernay's searing documentary traces the origins of the prison system to the institution of slavery, which remains legal in the United States as punishment for a crime. The 13th amendment led to slavery's modern manifestation, in which Black Americans are imprisoned disproportionately, often for minor offenses.

    Where to watch: Netflix(Opens in a new tab) or YouTube(Opens in a new tab)

    3. 3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets(Opens in a new tab)

    Marc Silver’s 2015 documentary recounts the 2012 death of teenager Jordan Davis, who was shot multiple times in a parking lot while listening to music with friends. His attacker was found guilty of first-degree murder, but only after a mistrial and extensive media coverage, which the film follows along with Davis’ friends, family, and trial proceedings.

    Where to watch: HBO(Opens in a new tab)

    4. I Am Not Your Negro(Opens in a new tab)

    From the civil rights movement to Black Lives Matter to representation in Hollywood, I Am Not Your Negro examines the modern Black experience in America through the last writings of James Baldwin and his correspondences with Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Medgar Evers.

    Where to watch: Amazon(Opens in a new tab)

    5. Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland(Opens in a new tab)

    When 28-year-old Sandra Bland was arrested for a traffic violation and subsequently found hanged in her jail cell days later, a two-year legal ordeal began. Filmmakers Kate Davis and David Heilbroner document the family’s battle with law enforcement while sharing Bland’s own video blogs and history of activism. Though her death was ruled a suicide, it remains surrounded by questions and the undeniable fact that it can’t be undone.

    Where to watch: HBO(Opens in a new tab)

    6. Baltimore Rising(Opens in a new tab)

    The Wire’s Sonja Sohn documents protests and unrest in Baltimore after Freddie Gray died due to injuries sustained after an arrest. While the six officers who arrested Gray await a verdict, the eyes of the nation fall on Baltimore, where lines of division become clearer than ever.

    Where to watch: HBO(Opens in a new tab)

    7. Whose Streets?(Opens in a new tab)

    Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis direct this 2017 documentary about the death of Michael Brown and subsequent uprising in Ferguson, Missouri. The officer who shot Brown was not indicted, and eventually cleared of all charges and ruled to have been acting in self defense.

    Where to watch: Hulu(Opens in a new tab)

    8. True Justice: Bryan Stevenson's Fight for Equality(Opens in a new tab)

    Director Peter Kunhardt spotlights Alabama attorney Bryan Stevenson (also the subject of Warner Bros.’ Just Mercy, streaming for free(Opens in a new tab) for the month of June), who has made it his life’s mission to highlight and combat racial inequality in the U.S. justice system. Stevenson regularly advocates for clients who are socially or economically disadvantaged or already unfairly affected by incarceration. In interviews, he himself outlines the United States’ history of racist legal inequality and his own efforts to challenge it.

    Where to watch: HBO(Opens in a new tab)

    9. Time: The Kalief Browder Story(Opens in a new tab)

    This six-episode docuseries recounts how 16-year-old Kalief Browder was accused of stealing a backpack, but went on to spend three years in prison because his family couldn’t afford his bail and the system had no place for him. Browder spent two of his three years in solitary confinement on Rikers Island without ever being convicted of a crime, and died by suicide two years after his release. Each episode focuses on a different aspect of the incarceration, from the system to the witness to Rikers itself to what life looked like for Browder after his release.

    Where to watch: Netflix(Opens in a new tab)

    10. Teach Us All(Opens in a new tab)

    Decades after the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education, Sonia Lowman’s documentary covers how segregation, though illegal, persists in the American school system through demographic inequality, specifically in Little Rock, New York City, and Los Angeles.

    Where to watch: Netflix(Opens in a new tab)

    11. (Opens in a new tab)Strong Island(Opens in a new tab)

    Strong Island is director Yance Ford's examination of his own family and the murder of his brother William. William Ford was unarmed when he was shot by a white employee at an auto shop and dead before even reaching a hospital. His shooter was not indicted, and Ford's film examines the family's ongoing pain over 20 years after justice failed William.

    Where to watch: Netflix(Opens in a new tab)

  • Wyatt Cenacs police-focused Problem Areas is now streaming for free on YouTube

    Wyatt Cenacs police-focused Problem Areas is now streaming for free on YouTube

    The first season of the HBO show Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas is now available to watch for free on YouTube(Opens in a new tab).


    While Cenac brings a healthy dose of his comedic talents to this show, it's still a very serious series talking about very serious topics. The ten-episode season primarily tackles policing in America, from murders of people of color by law enforcement officers, to the infrastructures that facilitate these oft-repeated heartbreaking and rage-inducing instances of police brutality and abuse of power.

    As people are coming together to voice their dissent against countless injustices perpetrated by police forces of the United States and police forces around the world, Problem Areas is a great source of information about the realities of what's going on.

    Cenac talks to all kinds of sources across this poignant season of television, from community activists to politicians to police themselves. It gives a well-rounded look not only at specific issues like the murder of Philando Castile by a police officer in Minnesota, but also shows how these different perspectives feed into the conversations around these broader topics.

    The first episode of the show is a great entry point into the conversation, beginning with conversations around the murder of Castile and how police are trained.

    This is a moment in history where information and context are paramount to understanding these huge demonstrations and the systems that these demonstrators are up against. For those privileged enough to not experience these issues firsthand, or to feel like they don't need to give it their attention, this show may be a great, easily digestible starting point.

    You cannot watch Problem Areas and feel like you can ignore what's going on in the world. It begins with a list of headlines about police murdering black people for absolutely no reason other than a false perception of threat. Cenac points out that these things keep happening over and over and over.

    That first episode aired over two years ago. To see that we're still seeing this time and time again, that people continue to fear for their lives and lose their lives to police officers, that the streets are packed with people right now who won't let the police get away with their abuses, is to understand how these discussions about and illumination of these detrimental systems is still so important.

    The cliché would be to say that Problem Areas is more relevant than ever. The sad thing is it's not. It was just as relevant at the time it first aired. Its points were relevant long before it ever aired, long before Cenac was born. It continues to be relevant and will likely continue to be relevant long after we're all dead, unless the systems in place are ripped out from their roots and replaced with something else entirely that doesn't rely on violence, oppression, and racism to impact its communities.

  • How to blur peoples faces in protest photos — and why you should do it

    How to blur peoples faces in protest photos — and why you should do it

    With mass protests taking place across the United States and abroad, social media safety is more important than ever.


    Enormous crowds of people are gathering in cities around the country to protest racism and police brutality in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last week. Photos and videos of these protests serve the very important purpose of documenting these actions as well as exposing police mistreatment of protestors. Posting them publicly, however, comes with its own risks.

    For the safety of those involved, if you're going to take photos at protests, you should consider blurring or pixelating the faces of those protesting before sharing them with the world.

    Thankfully, there are some easy ways to make this happen.

    Why you should blur photos

    In a word: Retaliation. It's no secret that the federal government likes to surveil anti-racism protests through social media. The Intercept(Opens in a new tab) and Vice(Opens in a new tab) both reported on government monitoring of protest movements through social media after the killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, respectively.

    Buzzfeed News(Opens in a new tab) reported Tuesday that the DEA has been granted authority to collect intelligence on protestors during this current wave of uprisings, too. This is all to say that anyone who shows up to a protest and has their face photographed is at risk of being tracked down by authorities if they feel so inclined.

    Since the entire point of these protests is to end the unjust treatment of minorities by police, and end systemic racism more generally, it stands to reason that you should do what you can to protect those you photograph. You can still demonstrate the enormity of the moment without putting people exercising their First Amendment rights in harm's way.

    How to blur photos

    The good news is this isn't so tough to do on your own, even if you aren't a Photoshop wizard. A cursory Google search reveals plenty of free websites that can do it automatically or give you the tools to do it manually in a hurry. Facepixelizer(Opens in a new tab) is just one I found that seems to work pretty well. Encrypted messaging app Signal is also adding a blur tool.

    The fine folks over at Motherboard(Opens in a new tab) recommended Image Scrubber(Opens in a new tab), developed by Everest Pipkin, for covering up faces in protest photos. Image Scrubber is great because, aside from letting you easily and manually blur out faces on either a computer or a phone, it scrubs metadata from photos, too. Photos you take contain hidden data such as the date, time, and potentially even location in which they were snapped. It's possible(Opens in a new tab) for someone to get that information if they really want it.

    Load a photo into Image Scrubber and the first thing it does is list this data in plain text form. It also gives you the option to nuke it from your scrubbed photo. To test it out, I put a photo of my family's cat Max into the tool. Here is Max staring blankly into the distance, generally unaware of the world around him, as usual.

    Max, unscrubbed. Credit: barb perry

    After about two seconds of painting over Max's face with Image Scrubber's Microsoft Paint-like tools, the cat can no longer be recognized. It doesn't look professional, but it doesn't have to.

    Max, scrubbed. Credit: alex perry / mashable

    It only takes a few seconds to rid a photo of valuable metadata and blur out a face. Given the intensity of police response to these protests after less than a week, it can't hurt to do this with any photos you plan on sharing on your social feeds.

    Even if everyone at a protest is acting well within their rights, they can still face retaliation. We've seen peaceful protestors get tear gassed(Opens in a new tab) for the sake of a presidential photo op just this week. It can't hurt to go the extra mile to protect strangers you photograph.

  • The Iraqi man who threw his shoes at George W. Bush is a Twitter hero for todays protesters

    The Iraqi man who threw his shoes at George W. Bush is a Twitter hero for todays protesters

    "Hope you know you're an actual icon and we love you," wrote Twitter user @StreaamLightsup to Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi. "This video is my daily dose of serotonin."


    The video was one many Americans know on sight — when al-Zaidi threw his shoes at former President Bush in 2008.

    @StreaamLightsup's tweet is just one of many praising al-Zaidi, who often issues charming responses of support. He's using the platform, where he has more than 56,000 followers, to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and the protesters calling out police brutality in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

    The shoeing incident(Opens in a new tab), as it's referred to on Wikipedia, occurred at a press conference at Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's palace. The Iraq War had dragged on for five years at that point and ravaged the country. As al-Zaidi later explained in an op-ed in The Guardian(Opens in a new tab), his duties as a journalist required him to report on daily tragedies. He would enter ruined homes, hear the screams of orphans — and he pledged to seek vengeance.

    When he saw his opportunity to do so that day, he took it.

    "This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog," al-Zaidi yelled as he threw the first show. "This is from the widows, the orphans, and those who were killed in Iraq," he added as he threw the second.

    Al-Zaidi spent nine months(Opens in a new tab) in jail for the act, where he said he was tortured. In his Guardian essay, al-Zaidi explained that he threw the shoe to defend his country. "When I threw the shoe in the face of the criminal, George Bush, I wanted to express my rejection of his lies, his occupation of my country, my rejection of his killing my people," al-Zaidi wrote.

    In the piece, al-Zaidi denied being a hero — but over a decade after "the shoe," his legacy as a hero has blossomed on social media. "Dude who threw the shoe at George W. Bush has done more for the betterment of America than most of its politicians and a huge segment of its actual populace," wrote another user on Twitter, @thankfulreact69(Opens in a new tab). "Absolute king shit."

    It's a sentiment many on social media share, especially after al-Zaidi publicly threw his support towards the current protests. Additionally, al-Zaidi has dedicated his freedom watch to Floyd.

    "We stand in solidarity with these protest[ers] because they are oppressed," said al-Zaidi in an interview with Mashable. He said he'd been aware of the protests since George Floyd's death, and knew they would escalate. "We in Iraq have suffered from American power and authority since the occupation of the US military in 2003 so all the support, sympathy, and solidarity with them."

    Not only are police inciting violence(Opens in a new tab) on peaceful protesters, but they're also targeting journalists(Opens in a new tab). As a journalist himself, al-Zaidi said he stands in solidarity with them, and that the police are violating their rights.

    He also said he knew from the beginning of Trump's presidency that he was spiteful of journalists. "Who[ever] hates journalists hates the truth," he said. "And Trump is the most untruthful person, so he is hostile to journalists because they convey the truth and he wants… the journalists to convey his lies."

    SEE ALSO: Facebook engineer resigns in protest of Zuckerberg's bankrupt morality

    Al-Zaidi pointed out that when protests erupted in Iraq(Opens in a new tab) last year, it didn't get nearly the same attention as the current U.S. protests. "In Iraq seven months ago we had demonstrations and more than 700 demonstrators were martyred by the Iraqi police without the world moving," he said.

    Regardless, al-Zaidi isn't hesitant to show his solidarity with demonstrators in the US and around the world. In fact, he sees his fame as a responsibility to do so. "Since people listen to your words," he said, "you must [show] solidarity with the people and the oppressed wherever they are. When there were demonstrations in America, solidarity with them [is] everywhere in the world."

    Al-Zaidi's advice to young protestors and activists is to keep peaceful demonstrations. "The peaceful weapon does not belong to the arrogant, dictatorial, and oppressive states of freedom," he said. "Instead, it has weapons, prisons, police, and media."

    Peaceful "weapons," al-Zaidi continued, are the best and longest-lasting weapons. "The authorities do not possess and do not want" these peaceful methods, he said, "so keep the peace as much as possible until your revolution triumphs."

  • K-pop fans are flooding QAnon hashtags with memes and fancams

    K-pop fans are flooding QAnon hashtags with memes and fancams

    K-pop stans are legion and cannot be stopped.


    Just about a week after overwhelming a Dallas police "snitch" app with memes and fancams, K-pop fans are now flooding QAnon hashtags with fancams, videos, and memes. It's beautiful.

    After the hacker group Anonymous called for spamming QAnon hashtags, K-pop stans rushed in to do their part.

    If you don't know anything about K-pop — Korean pop bands — just know they have massive amounts of fans who hold the power to make literally everything go viral. The most notable band is BTS, whom you must have heard of.

    But, in the wake of mass protests against racism and police brutality, those fans have channeled their power for good. They've done the nearly unthinkable: stopped tweeting about their faves to ensure Black Lives Matter hashtags rose to the top of trending. And again, they also spammed a Dallas police department app aimed at identifying protesters with such force that it took down the app.

    And if you don't know anything about QAnon. Well, bless your good fortune. But basically, it's a very (Opens in a new tab)powerful, pro-Trump(Opens in a new tab), absolutely bonkers, winding conspiracy theory — the seeds of which were planted by a Reddit user nicknamed Q — that the president is actually in control of a plan to up-end the so-called "deep state" and expose(Opens in a new tab) countless powerful pedophiles.

    If you search common QAnon hashtags on Twitter, like #qanon and #WWG1WGA — which stands for "where we go one, we go all" — there is some typical conspiracy nonsense but also lots and lots of K-pop stuff.

    It just goes to show you: QAnon might be a powerful online conspiracy, but K-pop stans are a powerful online force with the ability to overwhelm conversations and change the dialogue.

    Of course in the wrong hands, this sort of power can be really dangerous, considering it's the sort of tactic employed by Russian bots(Opens in a new tab) during the 2016 election cycle.

  • These moments from CNNs Sesame Street town hall on racism will give you hope

    These moments from CNNs Sesame Street town hall on racism will give you hope

    On Saturday morning, CNN hosted a joint town hall for kids and families with Sesame Street, called Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism(Opens in a new tab).


    Racism and police brutality are difficult subjects to broach with adults, let alone children. But given the global protests, these issues are — and should be — impossible to ignore. This goes for children, who see what's going on either through media or their parents. In order to adequately explain these complex issues, it's necessary to talk about them even if it's uncomfortable.

    But how do you talk to children about something as ugly as racism without ruining their innocence? Guests like Beverly Daniel Tatum, author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?(Opens in a new tab), fielded questions like these from children, parents, and Sesame Street characters. Here are some of the highlights:

    Children may be wondering why people are out in the streets at all. Elmo's dad Louie explained that it's an effort to end racism:

    Eight-year-old Xavier said that his nana marched in the 1960s, and asked why we still need to "do this again and again." A lot of us adults wonder the same thing. Sesame Street cast members Roscoe Orman (as Gordon Robinson) and Sonia Manzano (as Maria) discussed the importance of protesting:

    Keedron Bryant, the 12-year-old who went viral for his powerful song "I Just Want to Live,"(Opens in a new tab) visited Sesame Street to discuss the song:

    Some moments of the special were heartbreaking, like 9-year-old Saniya asking what to do when she encountered racism:

    The finale was especially touching. CNN hosts Van Jones and Erica Hill along with Sesame Street characters pledged to do better. "We can do better, we must do better, we will do better," Jones, Hill, Big Bird, and Elmo said in union:

    The town hall didn't dive deep into these issues; there's only so much that can be said in an hour. Hopefully, though, there will be more town halls like this one — and more importantly, hopefully this encourages parents to have these difficult conversations with their children.

Random articles


  • TikToks what are you listening to videos enter their villain era

    TikToks what are you listening to videos enter their villain era

    The discourse is scorching on TikTok this week, as those seemingly harmless on-the-street videos face backlash from viewers who argue that not everything, and everyone, is content.


    Meanwhile, a new phone-flipping trend has already ignited major celeb drama by way of JoJo Siwa, and filters are the new fanfic. And if you want to know what that means, then you have to check out this week's TikTok trends.  

    Discourse of the week

    Back in Oct. 2021 "what are you listening to" videos made a comeback on TikTok. The genre has since expanded to incorporate a wide variety of questions, from "what do you do for a living?" to "what's the biggest red flag in a partner?" Many creators have built their entire brand around these on-the-street interviews, but as these types of videos gain momentum on the app, larger questions of consent and what we owe strangers have started brewing. It’s starting to feel increasingly like you could be recorded at any moment and wind up on someone else’s account with hundreds of thousands of views. These concerns came to a head in response to a video posted by @thebingbuzz on Wednesday(Opens in a new tab) (July 27).

    The video is a compilation of the creator asking strangers what their favorite place to eat in Brooklyn Heights is, but the catch is that every single person declines to answer the question. The video has accumulated over 6.6 million likes. And the comment section is divided. Half of the viewers are taken aback by the strangers' reluctance to participate in the video, while the other side advocates on their behalf. Comments include,  "wow what a friendly area," "they took more time to give an excuse," and "they all didn't pass the vibe check." While others say, "yeah how dare people say no to a stranger shoving a camera in their face," and "no way y'all are offended these ppl don’t wanna stop for some woman shoving a camera in their face."

    We're moments away from cultural analysis TikTok explaining the ethics of mining strangers for content, and I’ll eat it up. 

    SEE ALSO: TikTok proves no one is going to ask you what you're listening to

    Phone flipping

    Celebs and normies alike are flashing their phones to a sped-up version of "Stir Fry" by Migos. 

    The latest game to play on TikTok is to pose a juicy question to your viewers and then quickly flash the answer on your phone. There's two ways to play the game: the celeb way and the regular way. Celebs like Meghan Trainer(Opens in a new tab) are flashing their phones to the camera, a very bold move considering you can download TikToks and watch them frame by frame, while regular people are just recording themselves flashing their answers to their friends. The normie way is way less fun, and I would argue it doesn't need to be made into a TikTok. Just talk shit with your friends, you guys! You don't need to record it.

    On the celeb side, the trend has given us some juicy little nuggets. JoJo Siwa revealed(Opens in a new tab) that Miley Cyrus is the nicest celebrity she's ever met… and sparked internet drama with Fuller House star Candace Cameron Bure, who she claims is the rudest star she's met. If you're going to flip the phone, you need to commit to the bit!

    Cute! Credit: TikTok / itsjojosiwa

    Letting a filter decide your life 

    Earlier this year, back when Euphoria was running TikTok, creators were inserting themselves into the drama by letting the "which Euphoria character are you?" filter decide who they're dating and friends with in the messy, fictional universe. The latest iteration of the trend has TikTokkers pretending to run into someone from their hometown and letting a filter dictate their life. The creator keeps playing along, no matter how absurd their life ends up being. Think of it as letting TikTok turn your life into a fanfic. 

    Alexa Rowe, the actress behind @pooty_yipyip, is the star of the trend. She’s made videos using a Stranger Things filter where she runs into someone from Hawkins(Opens in a new tab) — and others where she meets a fellow Hogwarts alumni(Opens in a new tab) from the Harry Potter universe. I don't know about you, but that sounds way more entertaining than shifting.

    No one wants Vecna in their life. Credit: TikTok / pooty_yipyip

  • Instagram is currently in its flop era

    Instagram is currently in its flop era

    I was a freshman in college when Facebook died. It didn't actually die, but rather, it stopped being a social media platform that young people actually used, which is to say it lost all relevancy. In 2017, I primarily opened Facebook for three things: coordinating with campus organizations in Facebook groups, looking at my college meme page, and posting photo albums at the end of each semester. 


    During the week before finals, in a tried and true procrastination technique, all my friends would go through their photos from the semester and carefully pick out all the photos that best conveyed "I am having fun in college." Then they would upload them into a Facebook album that was typically titled with a silly, unfunny joke that reflected which year in college they were in, like "Senior Citizen" or "Sophomore Slump."

    A Facebook album was your b-roll of the semester.

    At the time, posting a Facebook album was a little self-involved and cringey. You expect someone to go through 50 photos from your sorority’s date party? C'mon. But most people still did it. It was a way to document all of the mundane moments that weren’t Instagram-worthy. A Facebook album was your b-roll of the semester.  

    Today, photo dumps on Instagram have replaced the Facebook album. I'm no longer in college, and I never open Facebook anymore, but I've watched my former classmates post countless semester-in-review photo dumps that feel oddly reminiscent of my Facebook album days. I'm not the only one who's noticed.

    To be clear, I find posting on Instagram mortifying. I still do it, but I'm embarrassed when I post. I even feel embarrassed when I look at other people’s posts. It’s the way I felt about Facebook albums. I've gone through stretches where I deactivate my account or don’t post, but ultimately, if other people are getting attention for posting flattering pictures of themselves then I want that, too. And once you start posting and racking up likes, it's kind of addictive.  

    At some point, however, I noticed a change. Instagram is slowly dying. A 2021 survey from financial services firm Piper Sandler(Opens in a new tab) found that only 22 percent of teenagers said Instagram was their favorite social media platform, coming in third after Snapchat and TikTok. Back in 2015, the same survey showed Instagram as the preferred social media app among(Opens in a new tab) teens, with 33 percent of participants claiming it as their favorite. In that time, the platform has undergone significant changes.

    In 2016, the platform introduced in-feed shopping(Opens in a new tab) and switched from a chronological feed to an algorithm. In 2017, the app introduced recommended posts. And in the years since, Instagram has become more about e-commerce and less about sharing photos with your friends. Today, our feeds are inundated with sponsored content and recommended posts — and a photo disappears as soon as you like it, making it hard to see what your friends are posting. The updates to Instagram are so unpopular that Instagram announced it is working on bringing back the option to have a chronological feed

    Additionally, Instagram launched Reels, a worse version of TikTok, in August 2020, and they're planning to "double down(Opens in a new tab)" on the video product in 2022. Instagram wants to do everything — become a destination where users create and watch short-form video content; shop for things they don’t really need but definitely want; and share snippets of their lives in Stories — but it's losing sight of why young users liked it in the first place: It's a destination to curate your own aesthetic and, therefore, your identity. The influx of photo dumps and the desperate attempts by Instagram to stay cool are the writing on the wall that the platform is on its way out as a social media platform for young people.

    Instead, it’s on the same downward trajectory as Facebook, now both owned by Meta.

    Casual Instagram is all about a studied carelessness. These photos make beauty seem accidental.

    Not only has the app itself changed, but the way young people post on Instagram has shifted since the start of the pandemic. There used to be perfect grids full of photos with subtle VSCO filters. This made Instagram an obvious highlight reel of your life. The new Instagram norms don’t make that so clear. 

    In 2020, the idea of posting casually on Instagram took hold. Casual Instagram is all about a studied carelessness. These photos make beauty seem accidental. They're slices of life. It might involve posting a blurry photo that says, "I am having too much fun to stop and take a photo." 

    SEE ALSO: TikTok cried 'make Instagram casual,' and now users are having second thoughts

    At first, TikTokkers were encouraging their followers to post casually. The idea was well-intended. On the surface, it urges people to be more real on Instagram and to post photos from their daily life, but like anything on social media, it’s still a performance. In the past couple of weeks, TikTok users have started voicing their concerns about the trend. In one video, @cozyakili(Opens in a new tab) explains how posting casually on Instagram is more curated than people think. He likens casual Instagram to reality television because they are both hyperreal performances. Posting casual photo dumps on Instagram makes your life an aesthetic even more than before.(Opens in a new tab) 

    These conversations around posting casually recognize the discomfort and irony surrounding this way of posting. We understand that the trend isn't casual, and that Instagram hasn't been casual since it came out in 2010 — when everyone just posted random objects with heavy filters and twee captions. In fact, nothing about Instagram is casual.

    If we can see that Instagram is entering its Facebook by acknowledging the unpleasantness of posting casually, then at what point do we just stop opening the app altogether?

  • Heres the gear you need to start livestreaming on Twitch and YouTube

    Heres the gear you need to start livestreaming on Twitch and YouTube

    With livestreams blowing up in popularity over the past few years, you've finally decided to plug in your mic and fire up that webcam yourself.


    That's great! Livestreaming is fun. Everyone who wants to stream, should stream!

    One problem: You don't actually have a microphone or webcam suited for streaming, and you're not sure where to start. Well, you've come to the right place. Mashable has the low down on exactly what livestreaming hardware a beginner should get. 

    This guide will aim to provide top-tier gear at affordable prices meant for those just starting out. 

    SEE ALSO: 9 of the best gaming routers to supercharge your game


    Unless your favorite YouTuber or Twitch streamer splurged on an expensive DSLR or mirrorless camera, there's pretty good odds they are using the Logitech C920x(Opens in a new tab) as their webcam. 

    The Logitech C920 Credit: Logitech

    At $70 or less(Opens in a new tab), this little camera provides 1080p HD quality video and even performs well in low light conditions. It's USB powered so all you have to do is plug it into your computer and you're ready to stream. You can easily mount it to the top of your monitor or laptop screen too, so there's no need to invest in a tripod if it's not in the budget.

    The C920 has been out for a while and there are newer versions that basically just add small features like a webcam cover for privacy, meaning you can likely find the base model C920 on sale for even less than the $70 retail price(Opens in a new tab).

    There is a newer version of the webcam, the Logitech C922(Opens in a new tab), that runs about $99. The only real difference though is the ability to stream in 60fps instead of the C920's 30fps. It also handles low light conditions a little better.

    Whether you go with the C920 or the C922, either choice will be a vast improvement over the webcam in your laptop or monitor. You'll notice a huge difference.

    Another option, if you're really looking to save money, is to just use your smartphone! Most newer iPhone and Android phones provide better picture quality than the webcam built-in to your computer, if not on-par with standalone webcams too.


    It seems every other company is selling its very own microphone nowadays. There are a lot of plug-and-play USB mics out there.

    For beginners, I recommend the Blue Yeti microphone(Opens in a new tab) from Logitech's audio arm, Blue Microphones. At $99.99, it's not the cheapest mic out there but it's also far cheaper than higher-end mics.

    The Blue Yeti mic. Credit: Blue Microphones

    The Blue Yeti is a great sounding condenser microphone that's long been popular with streamers. 

    It's larger in size than its competitors, but it also comes with a quite sturdy built-in mic stand so everything you need to plug-and-play is right in the box and with no extra costs. In addition, the Blue Yeti mic has a few different polar patterns that can pick up audio from someone sitting across from you, making it perfect for someone who has a co-host or books a lot of guests. It also has that studio microphone appearance so it looks good on camera, too.

    As for alternatives, the Audio-Technica AT2020(Opens in a new tab) is frequently brought up in the same conversations alongside the Blue Yeti. It's nowhere near as bulky as the Yeti, making it good for streamers on the go. It retails for the same price, but has been discontinued so may be a little more difficult to find.

    Elgato's new Wave(Opens in a new tab) microphone is also making, well, waves within the gaming community. Although, it does cost $20 to $50 more than the previously mentioned mics. 

    All are USB powered. Plug any of these mics into your computer with the included cable and you'll be ready to go.


    If you're streaming in a well-lit room or an area with a lot of natural light, you may be good to go without any additional equipment.

    Again, you may be. Lighting can really make or break your stream quality. While the webcams recommended above perform pretty well in low light, it's still a major issue all webcams deal with. Good lighting could make your webcam look like those expensive DSLR or mirrorless cameras.

    Lume Cube's Broadcast Lighting Kit Credit: Lume Cube

    Lume Cube's Broadcast Lighting Kit(Opens in a new tab) is a great choice for a beginner. The kit comes with Lume Cube's popular Lume Cube Panel GO. It's a compact, portable LED light. You can easily adjust the brightness and color of the light to fit the mood of your stream. It's battery-powered too, so no need for any more cords than you already have.

    By itself, the Lume Cube Panel GO is meant to mount right on top of a photographer's camera. However, the kit also comes with a desktop tripod stand and a suction cup mount, so there's plenty of options for using it to livestream. The Broadcast Lighting Kit retails for around $99(Opens in a new tab).

    If seeing the lighting setups of all those influencers draws you towards a ring light, Neewer's Ring Light Kit(Opens in a new tab) is a popular, affordable option. 

    Priced at less than $100(Opens in a new tab), Neewer's kit comes with an 18-inch ring light, carry case, all the necessary power cables, and more. Most importantly, if you do need a tripod for your webcam setup, Neewer's kit comes with a tripod for the ring light that also includes a camera mount. Using the included tripod, you can place your webcam or smartphone right in the middle of the ring light.


    Personally, I'm a fan of the least visible headphone option. If you're on a budget and already have a pair of earbuds, say, like the one that comes with your Apple iPhone, then that should work great.

    If wires bother you, Apple's second generation Airpods(Opens in a new tab) currently retail for $129. It'll give you that TV broadcaster feel, acting as a barely noticeable earpiece. But you'll have to make sure your computer supports Bluetooth.

    And that's that! Whether you've decided to stream on YouTube, Twitch, or any other video streaming platform, this beginner's gear guide should help you decide on what to get.

    There's no need to throw down more than you need to for the more advanced gear yet. Get going with these affordable product options and first find out if livestreaming is right for you.

  • Patreon bans QAnon conspiracy theorists from its platform

    Patreon bans QAnon conspiracy theorists from its platform

    Patreon has banned QAnon creators from its services, following the lead of several other major platforms.


    Patreon — a platform that allows creators to get paid directly by supporters — announced on Thursday that it would no longer allow the conspiracy theorists, saying the "QAnon-dedicated creators" would be removed from now on.

    "While Patreon does not propagate this content directly, there are a small number of creators on the platform who have supported the QAnon conspiracy theory with their work," Patreon said in a statement(Opens in a new tab). "Because of this, and the fact that we have seen a number of other online platforms become overrun with pages and groups actively focused around QAnon disinformation, we are taking action."

    TikTok(Opens in a new tab), YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter have all previously cracked down(Opens in a new tab) on QAnon accounts. If you're not aware what QAnon is — lucky you — the short answer is it's a bonkers, Trump-supporting conspiracy theory that believes the president is working to take down an elite, satanic cabal of pedophiles. It has zero basis in truth or reality. (If you want an entertaining, somewhat disturbing primer on the disinformation roots of QAnon, this episode of the (Opens in a new tab)Reply All (Opens in a new tab)podcast(Opens in a new tab) is incredible.)

    Despite being entirely false, the theory has gone fully mainstream. A number of Q-supporting Republicans are on the ballot in November and the GOP has publicly, and financially, backed the most-well-known QAnon candidate, a woman named Marjorie Taylor Greene.

    QAnon is also far from a harmless conspiracy theory. Violence, including killings, have allegedly been inspired(Opens in a new tab), at least in part, by QAnon theories.

    Patreon said it would allow QAnon-adjacent accounts to reform their ways. The site will also continue to allow content creators to tackle the subject of QAnon from a more analytical or truth-telling perspective.

    "Creators who have propagated some QAnon content, but are not dedicated to spreading QAnon disinformation, will have the opportunity to bring their campaigns into compliance with our updated guidelines," its statement read. "Creators whose campaigns seek to analyze the QAnon conspiracy theory will not be impacted by this policy change. To date, the majority of creator accounts discussing QAnon fall into this last category."

  • All the strange ways people found out about Queen Elizabeth IIs death via the internet

    All the strange ways people found out about Queen Elizabeth IIs death via the internet

    The passing of Queen Elizabeth II is an unprecedented event. The 96-year-old was older than most people ever hope to be, and was both the oldest living monarch (as of 2015) and the second longest-ruling sovereign monarch of all time.


    What is also unprecedented is the infinite number of ways people heard about her death. Between official publications and tweets to text messages and even the radio, it is almost impossible to predict where people first learned the news.

    SEE ALSO: Queen Elizabeth II has died aged 96. Here's what happens now.

    We've gathered some of the most surprising ways people found out, from memes to brand tweets.

    From the official British Kebab Awards account:

    From an American Girl Doll meme account on Instagram:

    From a genuine attempt at flirting:

    While just trying getting their groove on:

    At a concert by girl group LOONA in Amsterdam:

    From The Onion:

    From the Twitter account that posts about all the famous people Liza Minelli has outlived:

    Through a Trisha Paytas conspiracy theory:

    Via their dad, who is more concerned about whether he'll get to see the next episode of The Great British Bake Off:

    Through notorious Instagram gossip site the Shade Room:(Opens in a new tab)

    From a Destiel meme on Tumblr:

    And from iconic British pop duo and twins Jedward, who somehow posted the news one minute before the BBC:

  • The weirdest places to get a COVID vaccine

    The weirdest places to get a COVID vaccine

    When the COVID-19 vaccine arrived last year, we barely batted an eye at all the strange places we were expected to sit and get jabbed in the arm. A baseball stadium? Cool! A grocery store? I'll bring my shopping list! Sure, it was a little weird, but we were living in weird times, and waiting inside the hallways of your local middle school was a small price to pay in exchange for the protection of the vaccine. Today, like many things we found odd in 2020 and 2021, vaccination sites are just a part of everyday life.


    Here are the most mysterious, miserable, and mundane places people have been vaccinated so far:

    1. At Dracula's castle

    Transylvania's Bran Castle is a national monument and landmark known to tourists as "Dracula's castle." While there's no evidence that Dracula author Bram Stoker based his lead character's abode on this residence, it's still cool to say you got pricked(Opens in a new tab) by something other than vampire fangs there.

    You'll get boosters, not bites, at Bran Castle. Credit: Photo by DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP via Getty Images

    2. Under the watchful eye of the Museum of Natural History whale

    You may never get to live out your wildest Night at the Museum fantasies, but getting boosted under the largest known animal to have lived on Earth still grants you impressive bragging rights.

    3. In empty malls and abandoned department stores

    Many Americans reported returning to their withering local mall(Opens in a new tab) or the hollowed out carcasses of department stores ravaged by the retail apocalypse(Opens in a new tab) for their shots. People have been vaccinated in a forgotten Lord and Taylor(Opens in a new tab), an empty Best Buy(Opens in a new tab), and a former Pier 1 Imports(Opens in a new tab). TikTok user and blogger Lauren Haden, who is a friend, waited in line for her booster in the empty shell of Victoria's Secret, complete with mirrored ceilings and, inexplicably, cardboard Minion cutouts.

    4. At a theme park

    The general public was ushered into the empty lots of theme parks across the country, from Magic Mountain(Opens in a new tab) to Disneyland(Opens in a new tab) to Six Flags for a few months in early 2021. Originally closed in response to the pandemic, those parks have re-opened, with Disneyland closing its vaccination site(Opens in a new tab) and, ironically, not requiring park guests to show proof of vaccination.

    The happiest place on Earth briefly doubled as a mass vaccination site. Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

    5. At an endearing local community space

    Move over local libraries(Opens in a new tab) and swimming pools(Opens in a new tab), the Italian Cultural Centre of Vancouver has seized the moment to educate an influx of non-Italians on the soothing properties of simmering marinara. Mmm... just like nana used to make it!

    SEE ALSO: How to convince young people to get vaccinated

    6. In a drug store, with background music

    Lots of Americans are getting vaxxed at their neighborhood pharmacy, so it's hard to say that the experience is unique. But there is a certain je ne sais quoi to getting vaxxed in fluorescent lighting, at the end of the makeup aisle, jamming to a 2000s hit.

    7. In a club

    People have reported getting their shots in all types of clubs(Opens in a new tab), even strip clubs, but this tweet makes Berlin sound like the place to be. America, it's been real! I'm moving to Germany to untz untz untz while I get my vax.

  • Our year in grief

    Our year in grief

    None of us were prepared for the loss of life as we knew it — practically overnight — back in March. But some of us who'd experienced it before knew what to call the impenetrable fog of surreality that suddenly fell, that void of absence — the hollow stasis severing you from the world just right outside your window.


    It was grief.

    To those fortunate enough to have avoided profound grief prior to the pandemic, it brings me no joy to welcome you to this most solemn of clubs(Opens in a new tab), as universal as it is alienating.

    Grief is the type of thing you cannot know until you yourself suffer a loss so cataclysmic that it takes a part of you with it. Grief is an isolation so deep it separates your very being from the realm of reality, leaving you unreachable even when not technically alone. Grief knows no rules, defying the laws of physics itself, warping time-space so moments of distress last lifetimes while events from only days prior to your loss feel as though they happened in a different timeline, to a different person altogether. Grief comes in waves, the bouts of raw, skin-crawling agony interspersed with a deathly unfeeling, both jarringly juxtaposed against the unavoidable normalities of everyday life.

    In mourning, the world stops. But it also shambles on like it always has. Everything has changed. Nothing has changed.

    In mourning, the world stops. But it also shambles on like it always has.

    You still wake up each morning, clock into work, pay the bills, feed the kids, buy the groceries. As your body navigates existence on autopilot, you pretend the salivating gargoyle of mortality is not breathing down your neck every waking moment of every day everywhere you go. You get so good at pretending you start believing the lie yourself — until it all catches up, denial caves in, and you’re back in that festering agony. The cycle restarts.

    No one on Earth escaped the incalculable, ever-mounting toll of losses that defined 2020. If you’re unsure what you’ve been experiencing is grief, though, there are some telltale signs for identifying the singular state of unreality that only bereaved minds comprehend.

    In The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion’s acclaimed memoir on the death of her husband, she describes the bouts of irrational “disordered thinking” that accompany grief, as a brain struggles to process an unfathomable truth. She panics after reading her husband’s obituaries, because it means, “I had allowed other people to think he was dead. I had allowed him to be buried alive.” She finds herself incapable of getting rid of his shoes because, “how could he come back if he had no shoes?"

    The role of magical thinking in processing grief helps explain so much of the absurdly illogical behaviors we’ve seen in ourselves, others, and even government leaders in the highest offices.

    In part, magical thinking was why you didn’t really listen to the increasingly urgent warnings from epidemiologists about the devastating outbreak of a novel coronavirus in China back in December 2019 — why you still refused to take its inevitable arrival on our shores seriously, despite the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic(Opens in a new tab) in March.

    "This is fine. This is good." Credit: bob al-greene / mashable

    It’s why you continued traveling the world(Opens in a new tab), calling everyone else suckers for not taking advantage of cheap flights. It’s why, even after America’s borders closed and quarantine orders began, you told yourself this was a good thing, actually, because you’d finally have time to garden or write that novel. (Did you know Shakespeare wrote King Lear in quarantine(Opens in a new tab)?) It’s why you stock-piled on everything from canned food to toilet paper, because if you had access to 30 to 40 rolls of Charmin at all times, then you’d be safe, the virus couldn’t get you. It’s why you kept attending weekly Zoom happy hours and lackluster drive-thru holiday celebrations, forcing a smile onto your face to convince yourself as much as others that this was enough, that these poor approximations didn’t just make things worse(Opens in a new tab) by reminding you of all the basic human needs we could no longer fulfill.

    It’s why you wanted to believe people (like the president of the United States(Opens in a new tab)) who said these fears were overblown, that COVID-19 would magically go away by the end of April(Opens in a new tab). It’s why, despite knowing better than to trust Trump, you still needed to believe hydroxychloroquine was effective(Opens in a new tab), if only to justify the bigger risks you were taking as lockdown fatigue settled in(Opens in a new tab). It’s why, despite pleas from experts, you went on spring break(Opens in a new tab) or home for the holidays(Opens in a new tab) anyway, because family was “worth the risk” and if we stop celebrating traditions then doesn’t the virus win?

    It’s why you fell for at least one of the endless pieces of viral misinformation on social media, more willing to believe false conspiracy theories claiming rampant false-positive tests(Opens in a new tab), a mass-orchestrated ”plandemic” tied to 5G(Opens in a new tab), or Bill Gates’ master plan to inject us with microchips(Opens in a new tab) — because that was less terrifying than the equally unbelievable reality of America’s astronomical death toll(Opens in a new tab). It’s why you still worry about getting the vaccine, even though you know you need to. It’s why you exploded in rage, needing to blame it all on China, or the WHO, or Dr. Fauci, or your governor, clueless celebrities(Opens in a new tab), idiotic influencers(Opens in a new tab), an unmasked family minding their own business at a lake(Opens in a new tab), innocent grocery store clerks politely asking you to wear a mask.

    Unacknowledged grief can make monsters of us all. Loss refuses to be ignored. One way or another, regardless of whether you even know it’s what’s happening, grief always finds a way to escape despite being buried deep inside your mind.

    Related Video: How people around the world are dealing with coronavirus lockdown

    The endless stages of grief in 2020

    In 2020, we were not “together alone,” like all those sentimental COVID ads insisted. We were alone, even when together.

    Because the incontrovertible truth is that, over the past year, on both personal and collective scales, we all suffered varying degrees of almost every category of grief defined by psychology experts(Opens in a new tab):

    • The collective grief of an ongoing global tragedy (and its undetermined but inevitable onslaught of repercussions that will outlast the virus(Opens in a new tab)) with no certain end in sight

    • The absent, masked, delayed, or inhibited grief of those still insisting it’s all a hoax — even on their deathbeds(Opens in a new tab)

    • The anticipatory grief of the pandemic’s unpredictable losses, exemplified by the anxiety-ridden 10 to 14 days that follow a loved one’s positive diagnosis

    • The disenfranchised grief of a daily death toll equivalent to one 9/11 a day(Opens in a new tab), which continues to go all but ignored by our own president(Opens in a new tab)

    • The so-called “exaggerated” grief leading to surges in substance abuse and/or exacerbated mental health struggles and disorders

    • The misplaced rage of distorted grief that’s further endangered victims of domestic violence

    • The dysfunctional nature of complicated grief making even basic mundane tasks like cleaning the house feel insurmountable

    • The chronic grief of an unending litany of losses you can’t process properly(Opens in a new tab) because COVID-19 deprives us of even the mourning rituals(Opens in a new tab) that are essential to healing

    • And, of course, the cumulative grief of suffering devastating blow after devastating blow, one after the other, without stop — encapsulated most viscerally by the cruelty of a virus that leaves behind lone survivors(Opens in a new tab) of entire families ravaged by it(Opens in a new tab)

    As of this writing, the virus has robbed around 313,000 Americans(Opens in a new tab) — along with an average of nine people from each “kinship network”(Opens in a new tab) suffering long-term emotional trauma(Opens in a new tab) — of life itself. But acute experiences of grief are by no means limited to death alone. The multiplicity of the interconnected losses we suffered in 2020 are often just as painful as the passing of a loved one.

    In COVID times, you are denied even mourning. Credit: bob al-greene / MASHABLE

    The unprecedented and unparalleled nexus of so-called “ambiguous losses” caused by the pandemic led Robert Neimeyer, director of the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition, to describe grief in the era of coronavirus as a category all its own. “We’re talking about grieving a living loss — one that keeps going and going,” he told the Associated Press(Opens in a new tab).

    Aside from the more clear-cut loss of lives, the ever-ballooning crises of unemployment and eviction rates during the pandemic(Opens in a new tab) tell of the untold losses that millions of other Americans are suffering from different kinds of debilitating casualties. The loss of identity, safety, autonomy, expectation, and dignity that often follow joblessness and homelessness can be equally shattering, made only worse by the fact that they’re lesser-discussed and more stigmatized forms of bereavement(Opens in a new tab).

    You don’t need to have been a victim of the recession(Opens in a new tab) to share in the ubiquity of trauma from 2020’s all-encompassing loss of normalcy, predictability, control, justice, or trust either. Kids were deprived of childhoods, a whole generation of youth robbed of milestones like prom or going to college or graduating, the elderly fortunate enough to have survived apocalyptic nursing homes(Opens in a new tab) were denied their last years of life.

    You could be one of the thousands of survivors with “long haul” COVID, grieving the unexpected loss of your health for the foreseeable future with an unknowable variety of long-term complications(Opens in a new tab). Perhaps you are on the other side of the bereavement coin(Opens in a new tab), a healthcare worker(Opens in a new tab) or the loved one of someone dying of the virus who can’t even properly care for them. You are left in the impossible circumstance of grieving the impending loss of your loved one who might be on just the other side of a hospital door. But your only responsible choice is to leave them to die alone so you can protect yourself and other loved ones from exposure.

    Or maybe your grief is more maddeningly internalized, that masochistic form of bereavement rendering lockdown more unlivable than it already is: a loss of belief in yourself. Because you never wrote your King Lear. Your pandemic garden is now rotted and weed-infested. You mourn the person you thought you were, someone who’d be strong enough to persevere in the face of adversity with productivity.

    But it turns out you’re not that special. You’re like everyone else, just as incapacitated by a globe-crushing pandemic. For some reason this feels like a personal failure, rather than a comforting universality of simply being human.

    The grief of diseases no vaccine can cure

    Incredulously, the losses of 2020 were not contained to the coronavirus’ immediate after effects, either. Nothing was immune to the boundless scope of our year in grief. From playing wholesome video games to the mere enjoyment of celebrity(Opens in a new tab), the pandemic of grief(Opens in a new tab) that was 2020 infected everything else the virus itself didn't directly touch.

    There were also the communal losses of so many titanic legends, their deaths (unrelated to COVID-19) devastating in a normal year but unthinkable in one so dark that we could spare the extinguishing of their lights: Kobe and Gianna Bryant, John Lewis, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Chadwick Boseman, Little Richard, Alex Trebek.

    That's not to mention the irreplaceable lives senselessly stolen by such a cacophony of injustices that the entire world joined America’s chorus in saying their names on the streets.

    That’s not to mention the irreplaceable lives senselessly stolen by such a cacophony of injustices that the entire world joined America’s chorus in saying their names on the streets: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile — and the ever-expanding list of others whose(Opens in a new tab) names we can’t stop chanting.

    Meanwhile, no matter which side of the political chasm you’re on, most of us experienced an irreparable loss of faith in our government as it failed at every possible turn to protect its citizens in our greatest time of need. Somehow, our dear leaders found a way to disabuse us of every last remaining vestiges of hope we’d clung onto that the richest nation in the world could not possibly leave its people to languish in death, decay, and poverty. But they did, struggling to provide anything more than an insulting grand total of about $1,800(Opens in a new tab) to survive a year-long pandemic and greatest economic recession since the Great Depression.

    I’m by no means surprised, but sometimes the sheer horror of it sinks in. We’ve all been left to fend for ourselves in a global pandemic, as the people we voted for on both the federal(Opens in a new tab) and state level wash their hands of caring to instead plan indoor soirées celebrating(Opens in a new tab) all that hard work they didn't complete to save us. It’s a loss of faith in not only our current system, but the very foundation of those truths we allegedly held to be self-evident.

    This profound grief is more than a loss of faith in just our country, leaders, and institutions, though. You can’t come out of 2020 without at least questioning your trust in literally each and every single fucking pillar of modern human society. It’s a grief that mostly manifests as red hot rage, as you think of all the spectacular failures of our technological marvel of a digital age.

    Far from delivering on its promises of utopian advancements, the tech industry punished us in 2020 instead. From infecting essential workers(Opens in a new tab) in their warehouses to infecting people’s minds(Opens in a new tab) from the comfort and isolation of their own homes, we paid for the privilege of this technocratic death state by making tech billionaires richer during the pandemic than they were before(Opens in a new tab). Despite knowing for years of the real-life consequences of misinformation’s viral spread on social media, companies like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter only started making mealy-mouthed attempts to stop it in 2020(Opens in a new tab), when it was already far too late. Tech monopolies, so busy innovating their awesome future filled with “disruptive” innovations like unstoppable robotic delivery dogs(Opens in a new tab) and self-driving homicidal cars(Opens in a new tab), never bothered to safeguard humanity against the worst impulses that their inventions exacerbate (maybe because it’s embedded into their whole business model(Opens in a new tab)).

    Tech did not save us in 2020. It killed us. Credit: bob al-greene / mashable

    Grieving the nauseating false idealism of the tech industry is only the top layer of that especially pus-filled 2020 wound. Beneath the rotting flesh of our loss of faith in tech is the bone-deep loss of faith in people themselves.

    How many of us grieved loved ones — fathers, mothers, grandparents, brothers, sisters, lifelong friends — lost to the global pandemic of misinformation(Opens in a new tab)? The number of people swallowed by the black hole of social media-fueled conspiracy was so large this year that the worst of it was voted into goddamn Congress. In 2020, we gave not one but two(Opens in a new tab) Qanon believers(Opens in a new tab)(Opens in a new tab) the power to influence our governmental policies for determining the survival of our democracy, recovery from the pandemic, and larger issues of catastrophic climate change.

    Watching a loved one succumb to the alternate dimensions of collective delusions(Opens in a new tab) is that living loss Neimeyer talked about, a grief for something both gone but still ongoing. Obviously, loved ones lost to 2020 misinformation are not dead. But the people you thought you knew all those years don’t feel very alive anymore. You’ve effectively lost them, but are not allowed to grieve them. Instead, you must face the desire to try and help them escape the noxious tangle of lies they’ve been ensnared in. When you reach out a hand to help, though, it only ever seems to come back empty. You yearn for the love you shared before this labyrinthian hellscape of a year. Yet you know that, like so many other losses from 2020, even if you can pull them back, it won’t ever really be the same.

    If you survived 2020 without losing or severely damaging a significant relationship, one way or another, then consider yourself lucky. It’s not just a loss of individual people, either. The crippling toll of separation, even for introverts(Opens in a new tab), escalated social anxiety and disorders for some folks so much that they’re left unsure of whether they’ll be able to be around people up close like in the before times.

    We have been drowning in a world so subsumed by omnipresent grief that we didn’t know to call it anything other than a “new normal.”

    Like fish who don’t know they’re swimming in water(Opens in a new tab), we have been drowning in a world so subsumed by omnipresent grief that we didn’t know to call it anything other than a “new normal.” Nothing about this is normal. Failing to name grief only gives it more power, alienating us from not only each other but our own selves, denying us the awareness and collective mourning that helps us cope.

    One of the hardest parts of grief is reconciling with the permanence of your loss. That might sound contradictory to the hope we now feel after finally seeing the first people in the world get vaccinated(Opens in a new tab). At last, a glimmer of light at the end of the ever-darkening tunnel.

    But sometimes, that glimmer looks so far out in the distance that it only serves as a reminder of how far away the outside world still remains. It makes you wonder what kind of world even awaits us on the other side, if it’ll be at all recognizable, or something we want to live in.

    The trauma of everything we lost in 2020 cannot be cured by a vaccine.

    Like the grief I felt after my sister died suddenly four years ago, I know that eventually the rawness of this gaping wound will scab over and heal. Still, the scars of absence always remain. Mourning is not forever, but the loss of life, livelihood, normalcy, safety, dignity, certainly, and sanity we just experienced on such a massive scale is uncharted territory. It’s hard to not feel even more prolonged, anticipatory grief over the countless crises we can already see on the horizon of the post-pandemic world.

    The thing about grief people often fail to understand is how, eventually, you start to mourn the loss of grief itself. As time passes, as you settle more into stages of acceptance, the shape of your loss — of your loved one or missing part of you that’s gone forever — erodes too. Memories of them, of the way it was, start to fade along with the pain.

    You are shocked to realize you fear losing the grief itself — the visceral, tangible, living agony — most of all. Because once that’s gone, there will be nothing left but an empty hole where the people and things you loved used to be. You are terrified of rupturing the magical thinking that kept the permanence of loss at bay.

    We can’t go back to something that’s gone forever

    As the promise of a return to the world as it used to be rises, a new kind of grief comes with it. In the back of your mind, you worry that maybe you’ve been too successful at adapting to pandemic life, dreading the expectation that we can resume normal life as if nothing ever happened. Are the new selves we’ve had to become over this past year equipped to handle “normal” anymore? Do we even want to be?

    What if I can't go back? What if I don't want to? Credit: bob al-greene / mashable

    At this moment, as I only scratch the surface of all our losses and grievances in 2020, I am too angry to accept any pressure to just move on. I want justice, repercussions for the people and systems who failed us when we needed them most. I need retribution, recognition of everything that cannot be recovered. I seek revolution, because all those things 2020 robbed me of made me lose every ounce of trust in the “normal” world that got us here in the first place.

    But I know we won’t get any of that. Just like surviving the pandemic, learning to live with the aftermath of its innumerable traumas will be our individual burden to bear too.

    Personally and intellectually, I know we will recover from this. Human beings have been surviving collective grief throughout history. Most applicable to our current situation, the world did indeed come back from the 1918 Spanish Flu, though the public’s desire to forget rather than address the trauma of such losses made the residual experience of grief that much worse, according to STAT(Opens in a new tab). On the more drastic side of wide-scale historic grieving, Jewish people survived century after century of persecution, and it’s by no coincidence that their traditions are often grounded in reconciling with those traumas, honoring their collective losses. Black people around the world from the African diaspora also continue to transform the incalculable losses of all that was stolen from them in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade into a culture of art so powerful (from music to poetry to dance) that its impact often far surpasses anything from people in the white-dominated societies that still oppress them.

    I am done pretending that we can put a neat little bow on this ever-expanding monstrosity of loss that is 2020.

    Yet, despite knowing all that — the implacability of the human spirit in overcoming even the most severe cases of collective grief — I’m still not ready to concede to optimism yet. I am done pretending that we can put a neat little bow on this ever-expanding monstrosity of loss that is 2020.

    At the height of my grief after my sister died, I resented nothing more than the false platitudes people like to say to comfort themselves more than the bereaved. So I won’t do that. Psychology and grief counseling experts say that one of the best things you can do is try to make meaning out of grief. I found that one to actually be true in my previous experience.

    For now, I will sit here with my grief in the same room I’ve inhabited for almost 24 hours a day, seven days a week, over the past nine months. I will continue to let my grief reveal its shape to me, teach me the language for naming its every contour. Hopefully one day I will learn how to befriend my grief. Then maybe after that, I’ll know how to let go of the strange comforts found in mourning.

    Like all mortal things, grief dies too. Our only choice now is in how we lay it to rest.

    If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, text the Crisis Text Line(Opens in a new tab) at 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline(Opens in a new tab) at 1-800-273-8255. For international resources, this list(Opens in a new tab) is a good place to start.

  • 2021 revived pop-punk. It makes perfect sense.

    2021 revived pop-punk. It makes perfect sense.

    It's hard to argue there was a more important — and surprising — musician in 2021 than Olivia Rodrigo. She went from relative unknown to complete superstar, and she did it using, in part, the revived sound of pop-punk.


    What a world. No, seriously, what a world. Because I'd argue the specific conditions of 2021 helped resuscitate pop-punk, a genre of music near and dear to my heart (and the hearts of lots of other people born in the early '90s). Following the new wave punk scene of the '70s and '80s, pop-punk went mainstream with commercially successful bands like Sum 41, Blink-182, Paramore, and Green Day. It is exactly what its name implies: a more pop version of punk.

    This year was such a strange one, a witch's brew of half normalcy — some concerts, some school, some seeing family — but persistent pandemic horrors. And each time things seemed to move toward recovery, the world delivered a blow (hello, Delta and Omicron). I cannot imagine experiencing this year as a kid or Gen Z'er in the prime of their young lives.

    There's something to the fact that pop-punk's resurgence followed the widespread adoption of snark-laden online doomerism, the idea that, well, everything sucks...

    It's such an adult world to be thrust into and as young people took that on, they helped set pop culture's path, as young people always do.

    There's something to the fact that pop-punk's resurgence followed the widespread adoption of snark-laden online doomerism(Opens in a new tab), the idea that, well, everything sucks and the impending global emergencies — climate, pandemic, political, etc. — are nearly impossible to reverse. The world's burning, so we might as well laugh.

    Consider these lyrics from Rodrigo, again, perhaps the breakout pop grrrl of the year. This is the opening track, titled "brutal," of the 18-year-old idol's debut album. Really take it in.

    "I'm so tired that I might
    Quit my job, start a new life
    And they'd all be so disappointed
    'Cause who am I, if not exploited?

    … And I'm so sick of 17
    Where's my fucking teenage dream?
    If someone tells me one more time
    'Enjoy your youth,' I'm gonna cry
    And I don't stick up for myself
    I'm anxious and nothing can help
    And I wish I'd done this before
    And I wish people liked me more

    … All I did was try my best
    This the kind of thanks I get?
    Unrelentlessly upset (ah, ah, ah)
    They say these are the golden years
    But I wish I could disappear
    Ego crush is so severe
    God, it's brutal out here"

    This song unquestionably kicks ass, and without question it also borrows its sound from the pop-punk of the late '90s and early 2000s. (For what it's worth, Rodrigo takes her style cues(Opens in a new tab) from that era too.) But it's also what's resonating with her target audience, aka teens and twentysomethings, and thus the culture writ large. Rodrigo's "good 4 u" even sounded, well, a lot like Paramore's "Misery Business(Opens in a new tab)," a classic of the pop-punk genre — so much so that those similarities landed Paramore's Hayley Williams and Joshua Farro retroactive songwriting credits(Opens in a new tab) on the track.

    And it wasn't just Rodrigo leading the pop-punk charge. Machine Gun Kelly reinvented himself, ditching rap for angsty, quaint rock songs that echoed Blink-182. Meet Me @ The Alter turned the 2000s(Opens in a new tab), white guy pop-punk paradigm on its head with kick-ass songs like "Hit Like A Girl." "Meet Me At Our Spot(Opens in a new tab)" — from the Anxiety, Willow, and Tyler Cole — was a legit trend(Opens in a new tab) on TikTok, soundtracking more than 400,000 videos on the app.

    Pop-punk was even a massive part of K-pop this year, with groups like Tomorrow X Together(Opens in a new tab) and ENHYPEN(Opens in a new tab) embracing the sound on a global scale. Though referring to K-pop as only one type of music is reductive, it's still surreal to see a style and sound so familiar to my youth in Wilmington, Delaware become hugely influential to young people in South Korea and throughout other parts of the world today.

    Now, to be clear, I'm not here to say that the specific hellscape of the last two years inspired this revival. I think we'd been heading that direction. After all, cultural trends are cyclical, resurfacing every 20 years or so. The punk movement of the late '70s gave way to the birth of pop-punk in the early 2000s, which has ultimately inspired this current wave of stars — Rodrigo, Halsey, Machine Gun Kelly, YUNGBLUD, and more — to get loud. That being said, 2021 was the perfect year for a pop-punk renaissance.

    The year was seemingly defined by angsty lyrics, bleached hair, and baggy jeans. All of sudden, I am back in middle school begging my parents to let me dye my hair. The 2000s became a source of nostalgia for Gen Z and '90s kids alike. Mashable's Elena Cavender wrote about the TikTok accounts solely devoted to mashing up nostalgic videos of the Y2K era, typically catching scenes of teens bopping around their high school halls.

    SEE ALSO: TikTok's nostalgia-fueled obsession with the early 2000s

    "High school in the early 2000s is not an experience most TikTok users have, but alas they yearn for it and idealize it," Cavender, who is Gen Z, wrote. TikTokkers comment about how great it all looks.

    I can assure you it did not feel that great, but you know what? At least our problems, as kids growing up in the 2000s, were kid stuff. Sure, there were awful wars, and a financial collapse, but for many of us, those things were secondary to our normal kid shit. I can see how looking back at those videos are nostalgic, maybe even idyllic, for Zoomers living in today's fast-paced modern world, where everything is so much all the time. For us, there was no endless doomscrolling and the doom was more avoidable — this pandemic is impossible to ignore.

    So amid that nostalgia, it of course makes absolute sense that an angsty music genre from that era would resurface. Bringing back the 2000s was already a trend. For generations, young people have made ugly crap from decades ago look cool again. It's only natural pop-punk's chugga-chugga chords, angry lyrics, and general disdain for... positivity... would become popular alongside that style.

    Now, what pop-punk is, is kind of in the eye of the beholder. But a key element is a dejected attitude that relies on self-deprecation. Think of the Blink-182 classic(Opens in a new tab) "What's My Age Again," where the narrator trips over himself constantly because he's an immature idiot. The central tension of so many pop-punk songs is some mix of woe-is-me paired with exhaustion at yourself for feeling woe-is-me. Today's "Meet Me At Our Spot," which is far more pop than punk, but still relies on the narrators' admitting how they're kind of fucking up before saying screw it, let's drive around town. It's a combination of we're fucked, so let's get loud. There's sincerity mixed with withholding. Yes, things are bad but LOL, isn't that just how things go? What is more 2021 than that? We've all had to redefine what it means for things to go well.

    Everything good, it seems, is couched with "but you know things are still bad." Hell, Machine Gun Kelly's breakout album was called Tickets To My Downfall, as in "everyone wants to see me fail." Rodrigo's massive album was titled Sour, as in, "I'm, bitter, isn't that embarrassing?" There's something about 2021 — a year where everything was just more of the same — where that kind of angst is perfect.

    Our world, especially our online world — come to think of it, what is our world if not entirely online? — increasingly rejects the idea of full sincerity. Even commercials these days are cloyingly meta, winking at the consumer as if to say, "Can you believe we're selling stuff to you?" Even Flo from those Progressive ads(Opens in a new tab) has begun breaking the fourth wall.

    There's something about 2021 — a year where everything was just more of the same — where that kind of angst is perfect.

    Pop-punk allows for anger with some distance, or at least some acknowledgment of your own faults. Sad songs are sincere. Angry songs are loud, but one-dimensional. Pop-punk songs are angsty and emotional, but often under the surface, really sad and kind of... angry at the idea of feeling bad for yourself. It's being sad and angry and heartbroken and rolling your eyes at the idea of the being the person who's sad and angry and heartbroken. What gives you the right? Scroll back up and re-read those lyrics from "brutal." It's awful to think of a teen experiencing that level of dread and yet, they're offset by the winking, perfect line, "God, it's brutal out here," delivered with knowing snark.

    That's the magic of pop-punk music. It's angry like punk, but just poppy enough to pay off with a clean hook. The closing lyrics from one of my favorite pop-punk songs, PUP's "Free at Last(Opens in a new tab)," declare: "I'm waking up again / Knowing nothing really matters at all / Just 'cause you're sad again / It doesn't make you special."

    That's one of the defining feelings of 2021. You're sad? Get in line. That's frustrating but freeing, especially when screamed atop a catchy guitar riff.

  • Cann is like LaCroix that gets you high. And it rules.

    Cann is like LaCroix that gets you high. And it rules.

    The information contained in this article is not a substitute for, or alternative to information from a healthcare practitioner. Please consult a healthcare professional before using any product and check your local laws before making any purchasing decisions.


    Beer is over. We’ve evolved past the need for beer.

    OK, that’s a little harsh, but I can’t pretend like the thought didn’t cross my mind as I spent this past weekend "testing" out Cann’s(Opens in a new tab) THC- and CBD-infused sodas. Cann, which started making its line of drinks(Opens in a new tab) in California in 2018, is currently only available for pickup and delivery(Opens in a new tab) in a handful of states right now (like California, Colorado, and Oregon). And my time with it only gave me another reason to be mad that weed isn't federally legal yet.

    I can't speak for anyone else I routinely go to parties and picnics with, but as soon as sitting outside with my buds is preferable to running up my utility bill with a noisy A/C, I'll be gripping a can of Cann. Sorry, White Claw.

    What is Cann?

    Who needs calories, anyway? Credit: Alex Perry / Mashable

    Cann calls itself a “social tonic” on the packaging, but really, it’s a lightly carbonated, juice-flavored beverage that packs 2mg of THC and 4mg of CBD (two of the main chemical compounds in cannabis) into a roughly Red Bull-sized 8oz can. Yes, the name is a pun on both “cannabis” and “can.” It's also got financial backing(Opens in a new tab) from Gwyneth Paltrow, whose recent business ventures might understandably make you skeptical. We don’t have to dwell on either of those things because, as I'll explain in a bit, Cann is really good.

    Aside from the cannabis aspects, there really isn’t much going on here ingredient-wise. Each can includes just five ingredients (such as carbonated water, cannabis extract, and agave) and none of it is artificial, per Cann's website(Opens in a new tab). Plus, they only come in at around 30 calories and are gluten-free so all the homies with gluten allergies can get in on the fun, too.

    Cann comes in a couple of other form factors, as well, though I didn't get to try those. You can empty a Cann Roadies(Opens in a new tab) packet into sparkling water yourself, or get Cann Lite(Opens in a new tab), which only has nine calories. I wouldn't personally deviate from the default configuration, but hey, more options are always welcome.

    Speaking of flavors, Cann sent me three: Lemon Lavender, Grapefruit Rosemary, and Blood Orange Cardamom. There are more on Cann’s website, like Ginger Lemongrass and Cranberry Sage, but sadly, I wasn’t able to try all of them. That said, purely in terms of taste, there’s plenty to like about the flavors of Cann I did get to try.

    "The best thing about Cann is that it doesn't really taste like weed."

    Blood Orange Cardamom was easily my favorite of the trio. Despite its fancy-sounding name, it just tastes like orange soda with more citrus and less carbonation. It's like juice that has just a tiny bit of kick to it to make you feel alive. Personally, I could go for even more bubbles. I find it refreshing when a soft drink feels like it's sanding down the inside of my throat on its way down and accelerating the loss of my teeth. I'll just get dentures when the time comes.

    I’d put Lemon Lavender in second place. It’s got the sweet tang you expect from lemon with a slight edge of minty lavender, but not enough to negate the much more satisfying lemon taste. Unfortunately, Grapefruit Rosemary went too far in the other direction for me. The grapefruit part of the equation makes for a pleasant enough first impression, but that quickly gives way to a rosemary aftertaste that’s way too herbal for me. I don't personally want any beverage to remind me of the nasty mouthwash they give you at the dentist's office.

    The best thing about Cann is that it doesn't really taste like weed. If you've ever tried edibles, you know that even the most flavorful brownies, cookies, and gummies all sort of taste like someone mixed burnt grass into them. That's how it feels to me, anyway. I only put up with it because the destination matters more than the journey. I never felt that with Cann.

    But even if I did, I would happily drink it anyway. That’s because Cann does exactly what you would want a THC-infused drink to do: Get you high.

    What can Cann do?

    I can(n) think of one way these people could be having a lot more fun. Credit: Compassionate Eye Foundation/Hero Images/Getty Images

    Dear reader, speaking as someone with a pretty high weed tolerance derived from years of edible use, let me tell you: Cann works. Sure, such small amounts of THC and CBD probably won’t leave you motionless on the couch watching YouTube fireplace videos for eight hours, but I was shocked at how noticeable the effect was, regardless. For reference, a single dose of a weed edible is generally thought to be between 5 and 10mg of THC, and one can of Cann comes in well below that.

    I popped open my first Cann in the midst of a month-long tolerance break from THC and felt the buzz before I’d even finished the tiny drink. My mood got better, my shoulders became less tense, and I couldn’t wait to drink more. I never became so stoned that I couldn’t function (I tried to keep it to one or two cans a day), but it made a terrific companion for playing Apex Legends with the crew, streaming the NBA playoffs, or watching Top Gun for the first time on Netflix.

    (Top Gun kicks ass, by the way. Movies don’t need plots, they just need boys playing shirtless beach volleyball and romantically giving each other approval to be their wingmen.)

    "Cann does exactly what you would want a THC-infused drink to do: Get you high."

    To its credit, Cann got me just stoned enough to properly appreciate a movie where basically nothing happens, and the nice thing is that there's hardly any risk of going too far with it.

    The buzz from one can of Cann ultimately doesn’t last much longer than an hour — at least it didn't for me. The 8oz serving size means that you can drink more than one in succession if you know your tolerance level and feel comfortable doing so. It’s not like Hard Mountain Dew, where the friendly flavor tempts you into having too much of the alcoholic soda at once, leaving you to suffer from the hellish darkness of inebriation.

    I’m actually pretty bummed out that you can't get Cann easily in most of the U.S. because it would be perfect to bring to the park with your friends on a sunny summer day. As someone who’s personally fallen out of love with alcohol pretty hard over the past couple of years, it’s real nice to have a version of hard seltzer that makes me feel good instead of the kind of bad that has me guzzling down ibuprofen.

    At the end of the day, isn’t that all anyone really wants?

    SEE ALSO: I drank Hard Mountain Dew and felt like I was staring at God

  • The best way to quit your job is to hire a celebrity on Cameo to do it for you

    The best way to quit your job is to hire a celebrity on Cameo to do it for you

    So, you hate your job and you're going to quit. You could write a letter of resignation, or give your boss a call — or have a couple of C-list celebrities tell your company for you.


    After more than two years at a tech startup, RB was feeling disrespected. They hadn't gotten a raise or promotion during their annual performance review, there was a reorganization of the company that left morale low, and, plainly, they just didn't want to work there anymore. 

    "I just said it as a hypothetical to a friend, like, 'oh, wouldn't it be funny if I hired Ghostface Killah to quit my job for me or something,'" RB, who asked to not use their last name, told Mashable. "... I tend to keep friends that have a tendency to just commit to the bit super hard. So we just egg each other on until I just did the thing."

    SEE ALSO: Scammers posing as real companies are stealing thousands from job applicants

    The best way to hire someone famous to quit your job for you is to use Cameo, which lets people pay for custom videos — like a happy birthday message, a get well soon note, or anything else — from select celebrities. Cameo told Mashable its seen a 30 percent growth year-over-year on job quitting requests, from users like Chris Diamantopolous(Opens in a new tab), All Felt No Filter Puppets(Opens in a new tab), Chris Sapphire(Opens in a new tab), and Colton Dunn(Opens in a new tab)

    Ghostface Killah(Opens in a new tab) isn't currently taking any Cameo requests, unfortunately, so RB couldn't go that route. But something almost better came to mind: The Island Boys, twins from Florida who made their fame from TikTok videos(Opens in a new tab) of them singing and rapping, were available. So, on a Friday, the 35-year-old in Brooklyn, New York, rush-ordered a video from the Island Boys(Opens in a new tab) and asked the duo to quit for them. On Monday, they posted it to a company-wide slack channel.

    "We're letting you know that Robert doesn't want to work there anymore because they're island boys," the Island Boys said on the Cameo, which RB posted to Twitter, censoring the name of the company they were quitting.

    Their coworkers on Slack immediately responded with the island emoji, the skull emoji, and affirming DMs.

    "Initially I was thinking of chewing them out with it," RB said. "But then I thought it would just be funnier to treat them like I felt like they were treating me and I felt like the Island Boys were like, 'OK, you're gonna clown on me? I'm gonna clown on you back.' And also I feel like it conveyed that I'm good. I'm not bitter."

    But using Cameo to quit is a bold choice, and not just because, as RB put it, you're "sort of throwing a molotov cocktail on your way out." These videos can cost anywhere from $5 to $2,500. The Island Boys' base rate is $200 right now, but RB says "it's the best money I've ever spent in my life, easily." And as for the molotov cocktail of it all? RB isn't worried.

    "I've always like bounced back from every stupid thing I've done in my life," they said. "And usually for the better."

    Beyond Cameo, this is a trend we've seen blow up over the past year. People are quitting their jobs at record numbers. In August, 4.3 million Americans, or 2.9 percent of the entire workforce, quit their jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics(Opens in a new tab). They're quitting for a variety of reasons, from pay(Opens in a new tab) to family pressure, and more. And one huge reason, UC Berkeley economist Ulrike Malmendier told NPR(Opens in a new tab), is because the pandemic and remote work have "changed the way we view our lives and the world."

    RB wants everyone who isn't happy with their job, and has the ability to leave it, to do just that. And we're hoping they'll ask celebrities to do it for them.