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Tumblr trolls Twitter by offering two pointless blue check marks for $7.99

2023-03-19 06:20:45

Tumblr trolls Twitter by offering two pointless blue check marks for $7.99

Tech companies are finding endless opportunity in the chaos following Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter.

Tumblr trolls Twitter by offering two pointless blue check marks for $7.99(图1)

That includes Tumblr, the site making a steady comeback into cultural relevance. Tumblr staff took to their page(Opens in a new tab) yesterday to openly mock Twitter's blue check fiasco: in other words, the ongoing saga over Twitter Blue subscriptions, "Official" labels, and the ability to purchase a tiny blue check mark for $8.

Tumblr decided to troll its social-media peer by offering a similar feature — labelled the "Important Blue Internet Checkmarks" — for a one-time fee of $7.99. This item is being sold on its web store, which houses several other facetious features. By purchasing the feature, you get two blue checkmarks (for the price of one!). "That's cheaper than some other places," the staff post reads, concluding with the words, "Why, you ask? Why not? Nothing matters! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯."

This poke at Twitter and its dubious verification strategy was hardly concealed. The trolling goes as far as the URL for the post ("hi-were-introducing-completely-useless-blue"). The link to buy these checkmarks redirects users to a Tumblr Mart pop-up, with even more mocking on display ("Be an important person on the internet!")

Credit: Screenshot / Tumblr.

Naturally, Tumblr fans are loving it all.

Credit: Screenshot / Tumblr.

The site has never seriously offered verification, as The Verge points out(Opens in a new tab), even when it comes to celebrity bloggers or well-known individuals.

Tumblr will likely face an uptick in usage, as people continue to plan their Twitter exodus by turning to alternatives. The once-beloved site is making waves; it's also bringing back nudity, signaling a comeback as its NSFW content once made Tumblr what it was. Twitter has allowed such material for ages now, so Tumblr's decision indicates yet another tech company mimicking Twitter's functions — without all the drama.

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    Biden and Harris characters in "ACNH." Credit: biden for president
    Biden posing with Pride sign in "ACNH." Credit: biden for president

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    ACNH Team Joe design. Credit: biden for president
    Pride-inspired Joe design. Credit: biden for president
    Aviators design. Credit: biden for president

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    A Biden-Harris flag in "ACNH." Credit:

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    Up next: Crime

    How do you argue with an algorithm?

    For many entwined in the U.S. criminal justice system, this is not a theoretical question. As society becomes increasingly comfortable outsourcing its decision-making on relatively minor matters like dinner recommendations or driving directions, courts and police departments across the country have already gone full in.

    The fields of predictive policing and criminal risk assessment both rely on massive datasets to make hopefully informed estimates about whether individuals will commit crime in the future. These estimates factor into criminal sentencing by judges, and can increase the length of prison sentences for even relatively low-stakes crime. One such case, reported by ProPublica in 2016(Opens in a new tab), showed how a Wisconsin man convicted of stealing a push lawnmower had the length of his prison sentence doubled — from one to two years — after risk assessment software assigned the man a high recidivism score.

    In an investigation published this week, the Tampa Bay Times(Opens in a new tab) revealed(Opens in a new tab) that police in Pasco County, Florida, rely on an algorithm to attempt to predict who is likely to commit crimes. Law enforcement then reportedly harasses those individuals, relentlessly.

    "Potential prolific offenders are first identified using an algorithm the department invented that gives people scores based on their criminal records," reports the Times. "People get points each time they’re arrested, even when the charges are dropped. They get points for merely being a suspect."

    Unfortunately, criminal justice and artificial intelligence experts insist the data fed into the algorithmic models powering these risk assessment tools are riddled with bias — themselves producing biased results that have the potential to ruin real lives in the process. Regardless of whether an algorithm is provably biased, it can be used inappropriately. In the case of the Pasco police, their supposed goal was to bother people so much that they moved.

    "There is no technical solution that can create an unbiased risk assessment tool."

    AI Now(Opens in a new tab) is a research and policy organization, founded in 2017 and based at New York University, which explores the "social implications of artificial intelligence." In a 2019 paper(Opens in a new tab) focusing on civil rights violations' effect on predictive policing, AI Now highlighted 13 jurisdictions in the U.S. that developed predictive policing models "while under government commission investigations or federal court monitored settlements, consent decrees, or memoranda of agreement stemming from corrupt, racially biased, or otherwise illegal policing practices."

    In other words, the data being fed into the systems was itself the product of racial bias.

    "Given that these algorithms are trained on inherently biased policing data, and deployed within contexts that are in many ways racist at a systemic level — there is no technical solution that can create an unbiased risk assessment tool," explained AI Now(Opens in a new tab) Technology Fellow Varoon Mathur(Opens in a new tab) over email. "In essence, the very design and conception of these assessment tools seek to strengthen such systems further, which leads them to be irrevocably biased towards already marginalized populations."

    The bias inherent in risk assessment tools has become especially dire during the coronavirus pandemic. As officials decide which prisoners to release early(Opens in a new tab) in an effort to prevent prison outbreaks, algorithms predicting inmates' recidivism rates have the potential to decide who lives and who dies.

    In March of this year(Opens in a new tab), Attorney General William Barr instructed the Bureau of Prisons to factor inmates' PATTERN(Opens in a new tab) (Prisoner Assessment Tool Targeting Estimated Risk and Needs) scores — an algorithm powered, risk-assessment tool — into the decision whether or not to transfer inmates to home confinement as the coronavirus bore down on the country.

    Too high a PATTERN score, and stewing in jail it is for you.

    Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal, left, is sworn in before a June Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on incarceration during COVID-19. Credit: ERIN SCOTT / getty

    The Partnership on AI(Opens in a new tab), a San Francisco-based organization founded in late 2016, works to (among other goals) "advance public understanding of AI." Alice Xiang(Opens in a new tab), the Partnership on AI's head of fairness, transparency, and accountability research, explained over email that there is reason to be concerned about bias in risk assessment tools — especially now.

    "As highlighted in the criminal justice report(Opens in a new tab) we released last year and an issue brief(Opens in a new tab) on the use of the PATTERN risk assessment tool in the federal COVID response, many of our staff and Partners are concerned about the bias and accuracy issues associated with the use of risk assessment tools in the criminal justice system," wrote Xiang.

    Going further, Xiang explained that the "consensus view in our report was that these tools should not be used in the pretrial context to automate release decisions."

    Both AI Now's Mathur and the Partnership on AI's Xiang see an informed and vocal population as a key element in the fight for a more just and equitable algorithmic future.

    "As consumers of AI systems, we should ask the developers behind AI products how they collect their data, and how their algorithms are developed," explained Xiang. "It is easy to think of AI systems as being purely objective, but the reality is that they are the amalgam of many human decisions."

    Mathur took this one step further, noting that an algorithm's supposed "fairness" is really beyond the point.

    "We push back against biased risk assessment tools, not simply by asking if its computational output is 'fair,' but by asking how such tools either bolster or reverse specific power dynamics in place," he wrote. "Doing so then provides a means for communities and real people to have the necessary and critical conversations that can lead to tangible actions moving forward."

    A wrench in the machine

    Back in 2018, if you decided to go to some popular malls in Orange County, California, just using their parking lots could've put you on local police's radar. The mall's owner, the Irvine Company, unbeknownst to you, at the time worked with Vigilant Solutions(Opens in a new tab) — a private surveillance company that sells data to law enforcement.

    As you drove into the parking lot, an automated license plate reader (ALPR) would log the arrival of your car. It stored your arrival and departure times, and added that information to an ever-growing database that was in turn shared with Vigilant Solutions, and made available to police. The Irvine Company collected ALPR data until July 2018, when the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a nonprofit digital rights group, called it out over the practice.(Opens in a new tab)

    An ALPR mounted to a police car. Credit: Suzanne Kreiter / getty

    Even as the Irvine Company stopped collecting license plate data to give to police, ALPRs are still scattered throughout various California cities. If you drive around Huntington Beach, for example, you pass more ALPRs — some of which are also owned by Vigilant Solutions according to the EFF's Atlas of Surveillance(Opens in a new tab) — which may be sharing your location data(Opens in a new tab) with ICE. The majority of California law enforcement agencies use ALPRs — often fixed to light poles or on vehicles — and several do so without following state law meant to protect individuals' privacy, according to a February report(Opens in a new tab) by the state's auditor.

    An innocent trip around town may contribute to a form of algorithm-supported mass surveillance that is taking over the United States, claiming real-life victims in the process.

    This is not theoretical. In early August, a Black family — including four children all under the age of 17 — were held at gunpoint(Opens in a new tab) by police in Aurora, Colorado. Face down in a hot parking lot, some of them handcuffed, the children cried for help.

    No one, except the police, had done anything wrong.

    The issue, Aurora police later claimed(Opens in a new tab), was an error with their ALPR system. It confused the family's SUV with a stolen motorcycle from out of state. The police ignored the obvious inconsistency and drew their guns anyway. The Black family's frustrating police encounter came at a time of increased focus on systemic racism in American policing.

    ALPR systems, which are designed to rapidly read every single license plate that passes through their field of vision, depend on(Opens in a new tab) algorithms and machine learning to translate the captured images into machine-readable characters. And, according to Kate Rose(Opens in a new tab), a security researcher and founder of the pro-privacy fashion line Adversarial Fashion(Opens in a new tab), they make tons of mistakes.

    "The specificity on these systems is low because they're meant to ingest thousands of plates a minute at high speeds, so they can read in things like billboards or even picket fences by accident," she wrote over email.

    The threats posed by ALPRs, according to Rose, are multifaceted.

    "In addition to using this data to stalk and terrorize members of our community," she wrote, "this data is detailed and sensitive for every person whose car is logged, creating a highly detailed map of everywhere your car has been seen, with locations and date and timestamps."

    So Rose decided to do something about it. She designed and released a line of clothing that, via the patterns printed on it, tricks ALPRs into reading shirts and dresses as license plates. This, in effect, injects "junk" data into the system.

    In other words, simply wearing one of her designs is part anti-surveillance protest, and part privacy activism.

    Polluting the surveillance stream. Credit: adversarial fashion

    "I hope that by seeing how easily ALPRs can be fooled with just a t-shirt, that people can gain a greater understanding of how these systems work and why oversight and regulation are needed to protect the public," Rose explained. "ALPRs are one of the systems that we consider 'safety dependent' systems like for enforcing certain traffic safety laws and collecting tolls. So it's our duty to point out where they can and likely already are subject to errors and exploitation."

    "People will just sort of go along with surveillance culture until others push back."

    As more and more companies begin to sell inexpensive software(Opens in a new tab) that can turn anyone's camera into an ALPR for $5 a month(Opens in a new tab), the need for ALPR regulation and oversight has only grown.

    Thankfully, there are many ways to fight back — and you don't need to launch your own fashion line to do so. Rose recommended finding out what surveillance tech is being used in your community(Opens in a new tab). You can also contact your local ACLU chapter(Opens in a new tab) to find out what privacy efforts they are currently involved in, and don't be afraid to contact your legislator(Opens in a new tab).

    In general, Rose said that if an algorithm-powered surveillance state isn't your thing, you shouldn't be afraid to speak up, and continue speaking up.

    "Take a stand if your neighborhood or HOA tries to implement license plate readers to track residents and their guests, and single out others as undesirable or outsiders," Rose insisted. "People will just sort of go along with surveillance culture until others push back and remind them that not only is it not normal and very invasive, it's not as effective as building a culture of trust and support between neighbors." 

    What's in a face

    Your own face is being used against you.

    Facial recognition is a biased technology that fuels the oppression of ethnic(Opens in a new tab) minorities, and directly contributes to the arrest of innocent people in the U.S. And, without their knowledge, millions of people have played an unwitting role in making that happen.

    At issue are the datasets which are the life blood of facial-recognition algorithms. To train their systems, researchers and corporations need millions of photos of people's faces from which their programs can learn. So those same researchers and corporations look to where we all look these days: the internet. Much like Clearview AI notoriously scraped Facebook for user photos to power its proprietary facial-recognition software, researchers across the globe have scraped photo-sharing sites and live-video streams to provide the raw material needed for the development of their algorithms.

    Adam Harvey(Opens in a new tab), a Berlin-based privacy and computer vision researcher and artist, put it succinctly.

    "[If] you limit Artificial Intelligence information supply chains," he explained over email, "you limit the growth of surveillance technologies."

    Harvey, along with his collaborator Jules LaPlace, created and maintain MegaPixels(Opens in a new tab) — "an art and research project that investigates the origins and endpoints of biometric datasets created 'in the wild.'"

    The datasets featured on MegaPixels demonstrate the distinctly opaque manner in which your face might end up a key element in oppressive facial-recognition algorithms.

    In late 2014, the now-shuttered San Francisco laundromat and open-mic venue Brainwash Cafe (this author used to wash his clothes there) streamed video of its patrons to the web. Stanford facial-recognition researchers saw this as an opportunity, and used the livestream video(Opens in a new tab) to both "train and validate their algorithm’s effectiveness."

    The resulting dataset, dubbed the Brainwash dataset(Opens in a new tab), contains 11,917 images with "91146 labeled people(Opens in a new tab)." As Harvey and LaPlace note in MegaPixels(Opens in a new tab), that dataset has been used by researchers at the Chinese National University of Defense Technology(Opens in a new tab), and "also appears in a 2018 research paper(Opens in a new tab) affiliated with Megvii (Face++)... who has provided surveillance technology(Opens in a new tab) to monitor Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang." Megvii was blacklisted(Opens in a new tab) in the United States(Opens in a new tab) in October 2019 due to human rights violations.

    "It's possible that you're already contributing to surveillance technology right now."

    While you may not have visited that particular laundromat in 2014, you may have at some point used the photo-sharing site Flickr. In 2016, researchers at the University of Washington published a dataset of 4,753,320 faces taken from 3,311,471 photos uploaded to Flickr with a Creative Commons license. Dubbed Megaface(Opens in a new tab), the dataset has been used by hundreds(Opens in a new tab) of companies and organizations around the globe to train facial-recognition algorithms.

    There are scores of datasets(Opens in a new tab) like these two, comprised of non-consensually obtained images of unwitting people going about their daily lives, that feed the ever-growing field of facial-recognition technology.

    "[Since] there are too few rules regulating data collection, it's possible that you're already contributing to surveillance technology right now for both domestic and foreign commercial and governmental organizations," explained Harvey. "Everyone should realize that unless better restrictions are put in place, their biometric data will continue to be exploited for commercial and military purposes."

    But people are fighting back, and, in some cases like Harvey and LaPlace, even winning — albeit incrementally.

    Fight for the Future(Opens in a new tab) is one group doing just that. A self-described collection of artists, activists, technologists, and engineers, Fight for the Future is actively working to ban facial-recognition tech(Opens in a new tab), guarantee net neutrality(Opens in a new tab), and disrupt Amazon's surveillance relationship(Opens in a new tab) with police.

    "Facial recognition is a uniquely dangerous form of surveillance," Evan Greer, Fight for the Future's Deputy Director, explained over email. "In a world where more and more of our daily movements and activities are caught on camera, facial recognition enables that vast trove of footage to be weaponized for surveillance –– not for public safety but for public control."

    Greer cited two specific examples — a successful campaign to ban facial recognition from U.S. concert venues and live music festivals, and convincing 60 colleges and universities to commit to not using the technology on their campuses — to show that the battle against facial-recognition tech is a winnable one.

    "Like nuclear or biological weapons, facial recognition poses such a profound threat to the future of human society that any potential benefits are far outweighed by the inevitable harms," emphasized Greer.

    Fight for the Future isn't alone in its battle against facial-recognition enabled oppression. Likely thanks in part to Harvey and LaPlace's work exposing the Brainwash dataset, it is no longer being distributed(Opens in a new tab). Another dataset of surveillance footage, dubbed the Duke MTMC dataset(Opens in a new tab) and obtained without consent on the campus of Duke University, was removed after a 2019 (Opens in a new tab)Financial Times (Opens in a new tab)article(Opens in a new tab) highlighted that people around the world were using it to train their algorithms to track and identify pedestrians from surveillance footage.

    "After the publication of the Financial Times article [the author of the Duke MTMC dataset] not only removed the dataset's website, but also facilitated removal on GitHub repositories where it is more difficult to control," explained Harvey. "Duke University then made a public statement to the student body and the author made a formal apology. I think he was honestly unaware of the problem and acted swiftly upon realizing what happened to his dataset."

    "An algorithm without data is useless."

    Thankfully, you needn't be a full-time privacy activist to help push back against the growth of this dangerous tech. As Greer explained, making your stance on the matter loud and clear — directly to your elected officials — is fundamental to the fight against facial-recognition technology.

    "[The] reality is that there will always be shady firms willing to do whatever the worst thing you can do with technology is and sell it to whoever will buy it –– unless there's a law that says you can't," she wrote. "There's legislation that's been introduced in the House and Senate to ban law enforcement use of facial recognition. Everyone should tell their elected officials to support it."

    On a more fundamental level, fighting against facial-recognition tech also requires us to recognize our part in its creation.

    Harvey highlighted a comment made by the president and CEO of In-Q-Tel(Opens in a new tab), a private investment firm that works to provide technology insights to the CIA, in an episode of the Intelligence Matters(Opens in a new tab) podcast(Opens in a new tab): "an algorithm without data is useless."

    The data we create, like the photos we post online, is being used against us. It's going to take our collective action to change that.

    Read more from Algorithms:

    • Algorithms control your online life. Here's how to reduce their influence.

    • It's almost impossible to avoid triggering content on TikTok

    • We can only forecast the weather this far into the future

    • The algorithms defining sexuality suck. There's a better way.

    CORRECTION: Sept. 4, 2020, 5:13 p.m. PDT This post has been updated to reflect that the Irvine Company stopped collecting ALPR data in July 2018, after being criticized for the practice by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

  • A beginners guide to TikTok

    A beginners guide to TikTok

    It's 2020. Why aren't you on TikTok yet?


    OK, there are some very valid reasons to avoid using the app, including the extensive user data collection that nearly every social media app employs. But if you're getting your TikTok content as reposts of tweets on Instagram meme accounts, it might be time to go straight to the source and download the TikTok app yourself.

    Here's a handy guide on how to use TikTok for anyone just getting started on the social media platform.

    Make an account

    You can find the TikTok app on the App Store(Opens in a new tab) and on Google Play(Opens in a new tab).

    The first thing you'll see when you open TikTok is its infamous For You Page.

    You don't really need an account to use TikTok, but if you want to be able to mold your For You Page to start showing you content, well, for you, you'll have to make an account. Until then, the landing page will just show you the most popular videos at the moment.

    To make an account, go to the "Me" tab in the far bottom right corner of the screen. There, TikTok will prompt you to sign up with your phone or email. You can also link your account through Facebook, Apple, Google, Twitter, and Instagram.

    You'll want to make an account if you want to experience a more personalized For You Page. Credit: screenshot via tiktok
    You can connect your account to other social media accounts you might have. Credit: screenshot via tiktok

    Once you create your account, you're on your way to becoming a TikTok influencer. The app will assign you a generated username, such as user9876543, but you can change your username, profile photo, bio, and link your TikTok account to your other social accounts under "Edit Profile" in the "Me" tab.

    The For You Page

    Now that you're an official TikTok user, let's go back to the For You Page.

    As you engage with the video clips on the page more, it'll shape to your interests over time. The more you like, share, comment, or linger on a certain kind of TikTok video, the more of that content the app will show you.

    Your For You Page will probably be pretty generic for your first few days on the platform. To get to the content that appeals to your niche interests, you'll have to either specifically search out the kind of content you like in the search bar under the "Discover" tab, or swipe through the For You Page and engage with the videos you enjoy.

    Related Video: Is TikTok secretly a dating app?

    TikTok kept the details of its For You Page under wraps until this year, when it released information about it in an effort to be more transparent(Opens in a new tab) after the U.S. government raised concerns over the app's privacy. According to TikTok, the For You Page first shows content to a small group of users. If they interact favorably — liking, sharing, commenting, or even watching the video in its entirety instead of just swiping — the app will show that video to a larger group. If that group interacts favorably, the app will show the video to an even larger group. That continues until the video is certifiably viral.

    Liking, Commenting, and Sharing

    To interact with a TikTok video you like that you want to see more of, engage with the icons on the right hand side of the screen. The icons are relatively intuitive. From top to bottom, they're "Follow," "Like," "Comment," "Share," and "Sound."

    You can engage with a video on your For You Page using the menu on the right of the screen. Credit: tiktok / bellapoarch

    If you want to see more content from a specific TikTok creator, hit that follow button. If you just want to show your support, like a video. If you want to share a TikTok video with friends, tap "Share."

    When you tap "Share" the app will prompt you to either send it to your mutuals — someone you follow who follows you back — through TikTok's internal DM feature, copy the link, or share it directly with your followers on your linked social media accounts (like Instagram and Twitter).

    You can also save the video directly to your phone, use the effect yourself, duet the video (more about that in a moment), or bookmark it to your Favorites. If you'd like to avoid seeing duets of a certain video, tap "Not Interested." You can also report a TikTok video if you don't think it adheres to the app's Community Guidelines(Opens in a new tab).

    Users can share the video either through the DM feature or directly to other social media linked to the account. Credit: tiktok / bellapoarch


    One of the app's most popular features is "Duets," which is exactly what it sounds like. It's kind of like Twitter's quote tweet feature, which allows you to build on already existing content.

    In this duet, for example, the creator showed off their drawings of Poarch's expressions from the original video.

    TikTok users can duet others' videos, like quote tweeting. Credit: tiktok / bellapoarch

    To duet a video, tap "Share" and then tap "Duet." Some creators opt to turn off duets, though, so this feature won't be available for every video.

    Songs and sounds

    Songs are the lifeblood of TikTok. They've inspired memes, boosted artists' careers, and sparked a slew of copyright claims.

    If you particularly like one song or sound effect you've come across and want to see more, tap the spinning wheel in the bottom right corner of the screen or the banner running across the bottom. That'll take you to another page with details about the sound, the option to bookmark it to your favorites, and a grid of all the videos that use the sound.

    You can use the sound yourself by tapping "Use this sound" at the bottom of the screen.

    You can view other videos that use certain sounds. Credit: screenshot via tiktok

    Creating your own videos

    TikTok's "Create" feature allows you to record and edit your videos in the app. You can also upload your own pre-edited videos, but using a sound or a popular song that's already in the app is the best way to avoid copyright strikes. (A user can upload their own sounds as long as it's their own.)

    Many of the songs that end up going viral on TikTok are copyrighted, and they're usually uploaded to the app's extensive sound library. User content that infringes on other users' copyrights may be taken down, per TikTok's Intellectual Property Policy(Opens in a new tab), which is why you might see videos with no sound at all.

    The in-app recording feature is hands free, which is why dance videos flourish. Unlike when making an Instagram story or a Snap, you don't need to hold down the record button throughout the video. Users can select whether they want to record a 15-second or 60-second video clip on the lowest part of the screen, and can select either 3-second or 10-second self-timer option to get situated before recording.

    The star icon on the right of the screen lets users opt to turn on the beauty filter, which smooths and brightens the subject's face. Users can also choose from a variety filters similar to the photo editing app VSCO, which can be found by tapping "Filters" under the beauty filter.

    To access the many, many effects TikTok has, from Face Zoom (the effect Poarch(Opens in a new tab), the creator featured above, uses in her videos) to the Color Customizer, tap "Effects" in the bottom left corner of your screen.

    You can upload your own videos, or you can record and edit within the app. Credit: screenshot / tiktok
    Beauty filter will brighten and smooth your face. Credit: screenshot / tiktok
    Color customizer allows users to play with colors. Credit: screenshot via tiktok
    Users can also use preset filters like VSCO's. Credit: screenshot via tiktok

    Best practices

    Like any online community, TikTok has a whole unspoken etiquette around creating and sharing videos.

    For one, if you're going to duet someone, tag them so they can get their credit, too. TikTok users can duet videos and remove the original content creator's tag, which is largely frowned upon because it builds on the original creator's work without recognizing their effort. Some creators opt to turn off duets, especially if their content tends to be more controversial. In that case, TikTok users may screen record the original video and repost it with their reactions — if you choose to turn off your duets, be ready to receive criticism anyway.

    TikTok users also use certain hashtags to get more visibility for their videos, even if the tags aren't related to the content. Some add the tag #fyp, which represents "For You Page," because they believe it'll make their video go viral. Whether or not it works is unclear. If you see a TikTok about cooking tagged with trending hashtags like #GoSkate or #NBAThundersticks, it's unlikely that it has anything to do with roller skating or the NBA — it's just the user trying to be seen by a wider audience.

    Finally, TikTok users are pushing for a wider use of closed captions and subtitles on videos to make content more accessible for the hearing impaired. TikTok doesn't have an automatic closed captioning feature yet, so the community is placing the onus on creators to add them to their videos. You can add subtitles to your video by tapping "Text" on the banner at the bottom of the screen in the edit studio. From there, you can tap and drag the text around the screen, set fonts and colors, and set the duration of time you want the text to appear.

    Now that you have the tools and know how to use TikTok, go out and make some videos!

  • 8 ideas for a (fun and safe) indoor Labor Day weekend

    8 ideas for a (fun and safe) indoor Labor Day weekend

    Labor Day — like the rest of the past several months — looks different in 2020.


    Sending off a not-so-fun, anxiety-ridden (for me, at least) summer isn't an easy feat when...we can't still have the fun we had in the Before Times. Given the long weekend, however, officials are worried about a spike in coronavirus cases(Opens in a new tab).

    If you insist on celebrating the symbolic end to 2020's outdoor fun, there are precautions you can take(Opens in a new tab) — but let's be real, the safest option is to just stay home. And it doesn't have to be a downer, either. Here are eight ideas to celebrate Labor Day weekend inside:

    1. Watch a concert

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

    Endless Summer(Opens in a new tab), a two-day virtual concert series by Bumble, The Surf Lodge, and Governors Ball, kicks off Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. ET. The first night features artists Tones and I with sounds by Oli Benz, while Sunday night (also beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET) features Gary Clark Jr. with sounds by Blackillac. The event is free — RSVP here(Opens in a new tab), or just check it out on YouTube(Opens in a new tab).

    2. Watch an opera

    Perhaps opera is more your speed? The Metropolitan Opera has you covered. You can stream the Gershwins' Porgy and Bess(Opens in a new tab) for free throughout Labor Day weekend. Feel super cultured and stay safe while you're doing it.

    3. DIY BBQ

    If you, like me, live in an apartment building, there's a good chance you don't have a grill. If you're craving burgers or hot dogs like the warm-blooded American you are, you can cook burgers in a cast iron skillet(Opens in a new tab), and there are several ways to cook hot dogs without a grill(Opens in a new tab), including cast iron. Maintain all the flavor, no grill required.

    4. Online shop

    Malls may be open in your area, but let's face it: Not only is online shopping safer, but you can also do it from bed. There are tons of deals abound, and luckily Mashable rounded up the best Labor Day sales so you don't have to look too far.

    5. Attend a drive-in movie

    OK, OK, maybe this is cheating a bit — but if you're staying in your car, you're technically staying inside! One Google search can let you know whether a drive-in is in your area; in my case as a New Yorker, both Queens(Opens in a new tab) and Brooklyn(Opens in a new tab) have drive-ins.

    SEE ALSO: 25 Labor Day sales on fitness gear to help build your dream home gym

    6. Finish that annoying home project you've been neglecting

    Need to organize your junk drawer? Go through your clothes to donate to charity? Give your tub the deep clean it deserves? You have the time — just do it.

    7. Visit a museum — virtually

    From the Picasso Museum(Opens in a new tab) in Barcelona to the Museum of Broken Relationships(Opens in a new tab) in Los Angeles, museums are "opening" their doors to virtual guests. TimeOut rounded up a list here(Opens in a new tab), though if you Google you may find even more options. If you prefer an app, DailyArt(Opens in a new tab) serves you one piece of fine art every day, with a short story about it to boot.

    8. Learn the history of Labor Day

    This may sound boring, but hear me out: The history of Labor Day(Opens in a new tab) is embedded in the overall labor movement. The movement isn't just responsible for Labor Day — it's why you have a weekend in the first place! And the power of organized labor was seen just in recent days with the NBA strike(Opens in a new tab).

    This Labor Day may have the pandemic looming over it, but that doesn't mean it has to suck. Even if you stay in bed reading or watching Netflix, you can be confident you're staying safe and curbing the spread.

  • Kirk Herbstreit sobs on ESPNs College GameDay while talking about racism in America

    Kirk Herbstreit sobs on ESPNs College GameDay while talking about racism in America

    You can see it in his face: ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit didn't want to cry on camera. But he couldn't help himself.


    As the College GameDay host talked about racism in America, he couldn't help but sob.

    College football returned on Saturday(Opens in a new tab), even with much of the season in question because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. College GameDay is usually a raucous, fun show that travels to different colleges, but Saturday's episode was more somber and focused on the anxious state of the nation.

    Herbstreit said he spoke with Stanford coach David Shaw, who is Black, who cited a powerful Ben Franklin quote: "Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are."

    Herbstreit then called on white folks to feel empathy and compassion for the Black community — and to act on those feelings.

    "The Black community is hurting. If you've listened... How do you listen to these stories and not feel pain and not want to help?" Herbstreit said on air before breaking down in tears. “Wearing a hoodie. Putting your hands at 10 and 2. 'Oh god, I’d better watch out because I’m wearing Nike gear.' Like, what? What are we talking about? You can't relate to that if you're white, but you can listen and you can try to help. Because this is not OK. It's just not."

    Herbstreit added while crying: "We gotta be better, man. We gotta like lock arm-in-arm and be together."

    It was a moving moment from Herbstreit, who is one of the most famous faces in college football. People on Twitter were quick to praise the strong emotion he showed on national TV. His ESPN colleague Maria Taylor could even be seen wiping away tears in the background.

  • Drum battle between Dave Grohl and 10-year-old Nandi Bushell took an adorable turn

    Drum battle between Dave Grohl and 10-year-old Nandi Bushell took an adorable turn

    In his latest play in the ongoing rock battle with Nandi Bushell, Dave Grohl improvised a superhero theme song for the viral kid drummer.


    Bushell, who is 10 years old, has 156,000 subscribers on YouTube and appeared on Ellen(Opens in a new tab) last year. Collectively, her videos have more than 18 million views. In August, the viral sensation challenged Grohl to a virtual drum off, calling on the "Rock Gods of old" to empower her beats. To kick off the battle, she covered the Foo Fighters' "Everlong."

    Grohl, who received "at least a hundred texts" telling him to respond to Nandi's challenge, borrowed his 11-year-old daughter Harper's drum kit to face off his opponent. He hadn't played "Everlong" on the drums since he recorded the song in 1997, he said.

    "You are an incredible drummer, I'm really flattered..." Grohl said in his response video. "So today, I'm gonna give you something you may not have heard before."

    Then he launched into a drum cover of the song "Dead End Friends" by Them Crooked Vultures and challenged Nandi to duet him.

    Bushell mastered the cover in less than a week, posting her duet to Twitter. The video already has 1.4 million views.

    "The Rock Gods of old are happy!" Bushell captioned the video.

    Grohl would not be one-upped though. For Round 2 of this virtual rock battle, he donned another of his endless supply of flannel shirts and wrote Bushell a theme song "off the top of his head." With his daughters (The Grohlettes) on background vocals, he exalts her ability to play any song and predicts that she'll "save the world with rock and roll."

    "Number one supergirl, best drummer in the world," Grohl sings, with The Grohlettes following. "Always right on time, hero wunderkind."

    The personalized theme song rendered Bushell speechless. In a reaction video she posted to YouTube on Monday, an enthralled Bushell yells, "He wrote a song about me!"

    "We should cover it," she adds after thanking Grohl. "All the instruments! All the instruments, we're gonna cover. Let's get started!"

    There's one thing for sure: Nandi Bushell does not back down from a challenge. We're bound to see an incredible response from her soon.

  • Stephen Colberts election website shows you how to vote state-by-state

    Stephen Colberts election website shows you how to vote state-by-state

    This year's U.S. presidential election in November is going to be a colossal one, and more than anything, Stephen Colbert just really wants you to vote.


    But with the rules slightly varying state-by-state, it can be confusing to know exactly how to do it.

    So, in the lead-up to Election Day on Nov. 3, the CBS host and his Late Show team have launched a website and video series called "Better Know a Ballot,"(Opens in a new tab) with easy-to-follow voter information for each state. All you have to do is click on your state for details explaining how to register to vote, request an absentee ballot, or how to vote in person.

    "I wanted to make things easier for anyone who should be voting, which is everyone," said Colbert on Tuesday, launching the project on his show. The Late Show host will also be posting an individual video for every state explaining how to vote early, easily, and safely.

    SEE ALSO: Google says its Autocomplete feature will stay neutral in the 2020 election

    There are eight videos up already for the states who will receive their ballots the soonest, including Arkansas and Minnesota, but The Late Show team will be adding to the website over the next few days, so if you don't see information for your state straight away, sit tight.

    Click on your state for easy-to-follow info on voting. Credit: mashable screenshot /

    "Folks, we're just 49 days from the election and I don't have to tell you that this is in an important one. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT ONE," he said on Tuesday's Late Show.

    "And it's not just important to vote, it's important to have a plan for how you're going to vote because COVID will make this election unlike anything before it. And if that wasn't enough, the rules regarding how to vote vary drastically from state to state."

    Here's the segment explaining the project:

    Colbert isn't the only late night show host urging Americans to vote, with Trevor Noah and The Daily Show hiding a PSA to register to vote inside a full-page legal ad in the New York Times, which was primarily meant to troll the president.

    With only weeks remaining before Election Day, we're sure to see the late night shows really ramp things up.

Random articles


  • Havenly vs. Modsy: Which interior design service should you use?

    Havenly vs. Modsy: Which interior design service should you use?

    If you need some help redecorating or furnishing your home, you have online options. We compared two of the leading online design services — Havenly(Opens in a new tab) and Modsy(Opens in a new tab) — to see which one really deserves your money, time, and patience through shipping delays. 


    This post runs through a head-to-head comparison. For more info, you can read our individual deep dives on Modsy(Opens in a new tab) and Havenly(Opens in a new tab) here.

    How much do Havenly and Modsy cost?

    Both companies promise to hook you up with an interior designer, create a room design based on your style, suggest furniture and other items, and help you order your final picks. Despite these surface similarities, the companies differ in important ways.

    Havenly offers two pricing tiers – Havenly Mini ($79 at the time of writing) and Havenly Full ($129 at the time of writing). The main difference: The Full level includes a room layout and some “layout visualizations,” or renderings of the space.

    Both Havenly packages include the designer’s time on the project, multiple revisions of your room designs, concept boards of style ideas, and help throughout the order process.

    Modsy’s pricing starts at $159 for a Premium-level single-room package, which is similar to Havenly’s Full tier. There’s also a Luxe level ($499 per room), which includes unlimited video calls with your designer, special discounts, and the ability to change flooring from what’s currently there, or create renderings from blueprints. Both Modsy packages include 3D room designs, furniture discounts, and unlimited design revisions. There’s a third, multi-room option as well.

    A view from one of Modsy's 3D renderings of our home office Credit: via Modsy

    Getting started with Havenly and Modsy

    With Modsy, I used the mobile app to scan the room, which the company used to take measurements for the renderings. Havenly asked me to take photos instead, and upload some measurements manually. I needed to submit a floor plan with Havenly, which Modsy didn’t require.

    In both services, I could submit photos of items I wanted to keep, but they were treated differently. Havenly incorporated the photos into the Concept Board and Final Design and chose similar alternatives in their final visualizations, while Modsy charged $25 an item to incorporate it into their renderings. Otherwise, they’d choose a similar alternative. Modsy relies more heavily on visualizations overall, so the fee for incorporating the items makes some sense.

    Havenly’s room profile and style quiz felt more thorough. They asked whether I lived in an apartment or a house, and whether I owned or rented. The subsequent furniture choices reflected these decisions.

    Both services use a style quiz near the beginning of the design process. Havenly’s was more flexible and had more inspiration options to choose from.

    The three Idea Board collages at the beginning of Havenly's design process Credit: Via Havenly

    Differences in the design process

    Modsy’s design process starts with a call with your assigned designer, during which you go over your room profile and discuss what you’re looking for in the space. Havenly offered this, but it wasn’t baked in. We skipped it, and our design didn’t seem to suffer for it. We saved the half-hour of scheduling and having the call, choosing to message back and forth instead. 

    The first deliverable with Modsy is a set of two layout drawings; you choose one to proceed with. From there, you receive two 3D renderings of your room in different style options (and, seemingly, a higher and lower price point). From there, you can request revisions to those renderings, or swap out products yourself.

    Havenly starts with collages, though they have special names. First are Idea Boards to hone your style. Then you get a Concept Board of potential products and direction based on the Idea Board you chose. Then comes the Final Design, which includes a layout for the first time. Ultimately, the products and layout are used to create a 3D rendering of the room.

    The two companies’ processes feel very different. For someone who’s more visually inclined, like my spouse, Modsy’s reliance on 3D renderings throughout the process was a huge benefit. Havenly’s process is more similar to traditional interior design, and the renderings play a secondary role. I wish Havenly included the room layout with the Concept Board, so you could give feedback on products with their locations in mind.

    The second Havenly rendering of our home office, of the other side of the room Credit: Via Havenly

    The role of visualizations

    Modsy relies heavily on visualizations and 3D renderings of your space. After the first two layouts, which are computer-assisted drawings, all designs have renderings from multiple angles and a 3D room rendering that you can move around in. The company’s approach overall seems to rely more heavily on the software than Havenly’s. It seems like they’ve calculated that the best way to sell furniture is to let a customer see it set up. Changes to items create new designs, complete with renderings. In fact, with the company’s “Live Swap” tool, users can change out furniture themselves to compare different choices (though there are limits to how well this works).

    With Havenly, the renderings come last, and they’re not editable by users. They feel a bit like a garnish — nice but not entirely necessary, as you’ve already made all your major decisions about furniture and layouts. This isn’t as much of a drawback as it might sound.

    Modsy’s reliance on renderings lead me to decision fatigue (I could make endless swaps) and required staging the whole room, which resulted in such an abundance of shoppable options as to make my budget a farce.

    For people like my spouse who rely on a visualization to, well, see the space, Modsy might be the better service. But even my spouse agreed that Havenly’s designs were better, and in the end, the rendering suited him fine.

    Deciding on products

    It’s difficult to shop through Havenly or Modsy for items that aren’t included in your design. This also makes it difficult to know what they carry. I was looking for a particular West Elm bookshelf to match a desk, and resorted to searching the name + site to find a listing on the design services’ websites, then asking the designer to add it in.

    Both services suffer from the shipping and delivery delays caused by the pandemic. 

    I went through this to attempt to ensure the designer made a commission on the sale, as they didn’t get a commission on items they hadn’t suggested or included in the final design (depending on the service). This seems fair in a normal world, where products are abundantly available and choosing an alternative is a referendum on the designer’s suggestions. But in the world we’re currently living in, where they were doing rounds of revisions to select items that I could actually buy, it just felt unfair.

    Should you go with Havenly or Modsy?

    Modsy’s reliance on renderings gave the potential rooms a design-by-numbers feel that undermined my confidence in their suggestions and did little to quell the decision fatigue I’d turned to the service to avoid. Both services suffer from the shipping and delivery delays caused by the pandemic. 

    Overall, I thought Havenly’s designs were better than Modsy’s. It may have just been that Modsy’s shoppable renderings felt like too much, but Havenly’s design was attainable on my budget. If a beautiful room within a given budget was the goal, Havenly delivered and Modsy didn’t.

  • Tumblr will allow nudity again. Bring on the female-presenting nipples.

    Tumblr will allow nudity again. Bring on the female-presenting nipples.

    Tumblr is bringing back the female-presenting nipple, allowing the formerly forbidden cherrilets as well as other flavours of nudity to return to the platform. It's an enticing lure to both former and potential new users, and fortuitous timing considering the currently proposed mass exodus from Twitter prompted by Elon Musk's takeover.


    Though Tumblr had a thriving NSFW community in its heyday, its 2018 ban on adult content gutted the blogging platform and led to a drastic drop in traffic of nearly 30 percent. Today's announcement appears to be trying to undo some of that damage, and re-establish Tumblr as a sex-positive place where nudity is allowed and embraced.

    "We now welcome a broader range of expression, creativity, and art on Tumblr, including content depicting the human form (yes, that includes the naked human form)," Tumblr said in a post on its staff blog(Opens in a new tab).

    "So, even if your creations contain nudity, mature subject matter(Opens in a new tab), or sexual themes, you can now share them on Tumblr using the appropriate Community Label(Opens in a new tab) so that everyone remains in control of the types of content they see on their dash."

    Introduced in September, Community Labels allow Tumblr users to mark their content as depicting drug and alcohol addiction, violence, or sexual themes — including "erotic writing or imagery." 

    "Nudity and other kinds of adult material are generally welcome," reads Tumblr's Community Guidelines,(Opens in a new tab) newly updated today. "We’re not here to judge your art, we just ask that you add a Community Label to your mature content so that people can choose to filter it out of their Dashboard if they prefer."

    SEE ALSO: The inside story of how Tumblr lost its way

    This doesn't mean Tumblr is letting users go balls to the wall on posting porn. "Visual depictions of sexually explicit acts" as well as "content with an overt focus on genitalia" are still firmly forbidden, so any actual action will have to remain implicit. However, the platform does make an exception for "historically significant" images of people going at it, such as those you might find in a "mainstream museum," as long as the appropriate Community Label has been applied. 

    This pass may not always extend to historically significant art depicting bestiality, such as 1814 Japanese block print The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife or an ancient Roman statue of the god Pan with a goat(Opens in a new tab). Tumblr's Community Guidelines still explicitly prohibit bestiality under "violent content and threats, gore and mutilation."

    "Instances that fall outside of our specific guidelines are reviewed individually by our team, who evaluates the context surrounding how such content is used," a Tumblr spokesperson said when reached by Mashable for clarification.

    Tumblr has gained renewed attention recently due to Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter. Users critical of Musk's proposed changes have compared his takeover to the disastrous downfall of Tumblr after Yahoo's $1.1 billion acquisition in 2013. Enacting wildly unpopular changes such as the infamous porn ban, Yahoo and its eventual parent Verizon drastically slashed Tumblr's value as alienated users fled the formerly popular platform in droves. Current owner Automattic snapped Tumblr up six years later for just $3 million.

    Yet despite Tumblr's fall from grace, the even greater revulsion at Musk's plans for Twitter have some users proposing a return to the late 2000s' blogging platform of choice. As such, Tumblr's revival of the female-presenting nipple may be just the stimulation needed to make some dig up their old accounts.

    Tumblr's new nudity decree isn't quite a return to its golden age of boobs, butts, and blogs. According to CEO Matt Mullenweg(Opens in a new tab), reviving Tumblr's previous "go nuts, show nuts" mantra simply isn't feasible due to how app stores', credit card companies', and governments(Opens in a new tab)' attitudes toward adult content have changed since it was founded in 2007.

    Still, it's undeniably a firm step closer to the Tumblr of yore, when the memes were bountiful and the nipples free — in every sense of the word.

    UPDATE: Nov. 8, 2022, 10:35 a.m. AEDT This article has been updated with comment from Tumblr.

  • I got a dog. My online life changed overnight.

    I got a dog. My online life changed overnight.

    I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. The TikTok algorithm seems to know you better than you know yourself.


    The instant I got my dog — a lovely, adorable puppy named Henry — my entire online life changed. My TikTok For You Page (FYP) was suddenly dog video after dog video. My Instagram ads were entirely for dog-related products. Twitter was...still a cesspool of my own choosing, so at least there was that.

    But life pre-Henry was totally different online. I had interests. I jogged, I air fried, I liked NBA basketball, I spent way too much time thinking about grilling. These interests were all displaced by the algorithms practically screaming, "YOU HAVE A DOG!"

    SEE ALSO: The WOpet Sprite automatic feeder is a good low-tech option, with some caveats
    • Biometric dog collars claim to track your dog’s vitals. But are they fur real?

    • Wagz Tagz are like AirTags for keeping your dog off the couch

    • Dog anxiety is real. These products can help calm your anxious pet.

    OK, but first take a look at my dog. A quick Henry break, if you will.

    Look at that smooshy face. Credit: Mashable

    Look. At. That. Face. I love that dog. Anyway.

    Our adoption of Henry was finalized Nov. 15, 2021. We brought him home on the New York City subway in an Ikea bag stuffed with blankets. I can't pinpoint the exact date my personal internet changed for good, but I suspect it was Nov. 16, 2021. It felt that immediate.

    And sure, cute dog videos are a staple of pretty much everyone's experience on the internet but this was different. It wasn't just, "Hey look, a puppy being cute." It was far more specific and aimed at dog owners. I was getting served TikToks about crating your dog properly. Or "things you didn't know about puppies' behavior." Or it was products. So many products.

    For instance: Today I checked Instagram. I mindlessly swiped through a portion of my friends' stories. Here's the ads I was served. Dog dentistry, dog treats, and an apartment that is dog friendly. Even my real estate surfing knows I have a dog now.

    My life is all dog ads now. Credit: Screenshots: Instagram: Bark Bright / earthlypets / Streeteasy

    And TikTok, well, you can forget about TikTok. That's really where I began to notice my online life was changing. The app has a famously specific algorithm for its For You Page, that seems to know everything about you. And boy has that been the case since we got Henry.

    I'll go five or six videos in a row without seeing anything but dogs. Granted, that's not a huge problem, but it's also totally different than my pre-Henry feed. I had more cooking videos, way more exercise content, and, well, random stuff. One day I was served at least 10 dog videos on TikTok in less than three minutes of scrolling, with most of them coming three or four in a row. It was all dog, all the time.

    Dog. Dog. Dog. Credit: Screenshots: TikTok: @dorhor / @rosieadventures / @justinfloyd

    What I find most interesting about this shift in my online life is the specificity. It's not that I'm seeing more stuff about dogs — although I am. It's that the content is tailored to my life as a dog owner. It's about struggling to train a puppy, which, since Henry is just six months old, is a huge part of my life. Or it's an ad for veterinary or animal health care of some sort, which I'm sure is a result of my many Google searches about my oft-sick puppy's symptoms. Or it's advice on which treats to give your dog, which I suppose I would've blasted right past pre-Henry.

    Speaking of Henry, here are more pictures.

    HENRY. HENRY. HENRY. Credit: Mashable

    My social feeds know I'm interested in dog content because algorithms know everything about me. I mean, look at this post. I am including pictures of my dog despite those pictures being totally unnecessary to the story itself. I'm obsessed with the little fella. Of course the algos would pick that up immediately.

    Dr. Emilee Rader, a researcher at Michigan State University's College of Communication Arts and Sciences, has talked about just how much algorithms pick up.

    "One thing that's important to keep in mind is that these systems are recording data about everything we do," Rader has said about her research(Opens in a new tab) on how algorithms affect our lives. "They watch everything from the people you are friends with to what you click on. They consider what you scroll through, how long you spend on a post, and which links you click on and read. They're taking signals and pieces of data and painting a picture of you. Then the system uses that data to chose what to show you."

    The algorithms running the internet have a clear picture of me. I am a new dog owner. I am obsessed. And I want to know every last training tip, feeding hack, and see every last video of a dog running around. So, yes, my online life has fully changed due to Henry. But it's my own doing. I looked into my Instagram ad interests(Opens in a new tab) and it was now full of dog-related search terms. Just a sampling of the terms: Your Dog Magazine, Your Cat Magazine, Maltese (dog), Pedigree Petfoods, Animal Planet, Purina ONE, Welsh Corgi, and American Pit Bull Terrier.

    I could go into my Instagram settings(Opens in a new tab) and set my ad preferences to include less dog content, but why would I? My puppy is a huge part of my life, no matter which way you slice it. The difference between online life and offline life is nearly impossible to discern at this point. Especially living in New York City, in the midst of a the cold, pandemic stricken winter — most of my life is online. Having a puppy isn't like having, you know, a human child, but it is a major life change nonetheless. Most of my day is spent thinking about the next time I have to walk Henry, or making sure he isn't eating the strings from his toy, or petting the little guy. Henry is a major part of my life away from my phone and computer.

    The year is 2022. It was just a matter of time before being a dog owner took over my online life, too. Not that I mind. Who could be upset at that smooshy face(Opens in a new tab)?

  • Trump issues statement accepting end of his term via staffers personal Twitter amid freeze

    Trump issues statement accepting end of his term via staffers personal Twitter amid freeze

    Donald Trump has come close to conceding the presidency, acknowledging in a public statement "the end" of his term, and that he will leave office in an "orderly transition" on Jan. 20. The statement was issued after Congress affirmed President-elect Joe Biden's 2020 election victory(Opens in a new tab) on Thursday.


    Until now, Trump has refused(Opens in a new tab) to concede defeat, even as recently as Wednesday telling supporters at a rally near the White House(Opens in a new tab), "We will never give up, we will never concede." And as the president is currently locked out of social media, the president issued the statement through White House director of social media Dan Scavino's personal account, rather than his professional account(Opens in a new tab).

    Trump's statement comes hours after violent insurrectionists stormed and attacked the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. Five people have died(Opens in a new tab) as a result of the riot.

    After Trump used Twitter to seemingly encourage extremists storming the Capitol, Twitter locked his account, and threatened to permanently ban him if three of his tweets are not deleted. "As a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, D.C., we have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump Tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy," Twitter wrote(Opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)in a tweet. Facebook and Instagram has banned Trump for 24 hours.

    SEE ALSO: Twitter locks Donald Trump's account as Facebook, Instagram ban him for 24 hours

    "Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th," Trump's statement begins. He then pledged to "fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted" — further perpetuating his false claims about election fraud.

    "While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it's only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again," he concluded.

    That final self-congratulatory line is also up for debate. Trump will be the first president since 1932(Opens in a new tab) to lose re-election, the House, and the Senate. Hardly what many would consider the "greatest" first term in history.

    The statement made no mention as to whether Trump would attend Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.

    UPDATE: Jan. 7, 2021, 11:17 a.m. GMT This post was updated to include quotes from Trump's speech to supporters outside the White House on Wednesday.

    UPDATE: Jan. 8, 2021, 11:42 a.m. AEDT This article has been updated to reflect that a fifth person has died in connection with the Capitol mob.

    UPDATE: Jan. 8, 2021, 12:54 p.m. AEDT Capitol Police have corrected reports of an officer's death, with the force's union chairman telling DC local news(Opens in a new tab) that the officer remains on life support. This article has been updated to reflect that the current number of deaths linked with Wednesday's events is four.

    UPDATE: Jan. 8, 2021, 4:30 p.m. AEDT Capitol Police officials have confirmed(Opens in a new tab) that USCP Officer Brian Sicknick died at 9.30 on Thursday evening of injuries sustained in a clash with rioters on Wednesday. This article has been updated.

    Related Video: Stacey Abrams on how American democracy hinges on the right to vote

  • The 11 best tweets of the week, including Spunch Bop, Dr. Steve Brule, and the Coniferous Gang

    The 11 best tweets of the week, including Spunch Bop, Dr. Steve Brule, and the Coniferous Gang

    Another week in the books!


    We're already well into the second month of the year. Pretty soon it might be 2022. Who knows? I couldn't possibly say.

    Anyway, we collected some of our favorite tweets of this week. Why? To enjoy, that's why. We hope you gobble them up like the greedy little hippopotamus's from the classic tabletop game Hungry Hungry Hippos(Opens in a new tab). they are, our 11 favorite tweets of the week.

    1. I've run out of bird names... Please stop.

    2. Yes, this is an old clip. Yes, it is John C. Reilly as Dr. Steve Brule(Opens in a new tab) mimicking a horse in the weirdest possible fashion. No, there is no more context to make this make more sense. Yes, I love it regardless.

    3. Absolute Galaxy Brain move

    4. Coniferous gang is ruthless and deservedly so

    5. Just sitting here, thinking about Spunch Bop in a heart locket

    6. Obligatory dril tweet

    7. How life is now

    8. It's a delicate balance

    9. Perfectly written dialogue

    10. Miss [dad jokes at the bar] so badly, just want it back

    11. And finally, I hate how long it to me to get this incredibly stupid joke(Opens in a new tab)

  • LAs hottest club: A members-only dog park

    LAs hottest club: A members-only dog park

    It's a warm, mid-week spring evening in Los Angeles, and the club is bumping.


    Not the Hollywood dance club or even the ritzy beach or country club. I'm talking about a Santa Monica, California members-only club that is, primarily, a dog park.

    Meet DOG PPL(Opens in a new tab): A private dog park where members pay $80 per month for a clean environment with safety requirements and protections for dogs that is also a social club for dog owners. In addition to spay/neuter and vaccination requirements, pristine turf, and park monitors called "rufferees" on hand to keep things copacetic among dogs, there are human amenities, too. There's infused water, free events, lint rollers and poo bags, comfortable lounge areas, cafe lights, Tame Impala-esque piped music, and of course, a bar. 

    "There's something magical about taking a dog that had a horrible unlucky past, they get adopted, and they immediately get to spend the rest of their life in a private members dog park [...] That's a happy ending."
    - Alexander Esguerra

    I first visited on an idyllic Wednesday evening around happy hour. Dog owners dressed in athleisure sipped from plastic glasses of rosé wine, blonde ales, and hard kombucha. They talked and laughed around the perimeter, while their dogs rough-and-tumbled to their joyous hearts' content in the center.

    "I've definitely spent like, five hours here before," Isabel Washington, a consultant, said while golden retriever Charlie played at their feet. "Last week was Taco Tuesday and half priced margs. I brought a bunch of friends and we all were just here, vibing."

    Good dogs, good vibes. Credit: Liam Underwood / DOG PPL

    Dog Ppl opened in September of 2021, and has taken off. Co-founder Alexander Esguerra told me that they already have over 900 members, and Esguerra and co-founder Liam Underwood posted on Instagram that they were closing membership this week to make sure that the density of attendees remains safe. Previously, anyone could sign up for membership. But going forward, new members will have to submit an application, explaining who they are and why they want to be a part of the community.

    "A lot of times people refer to us as the Soho House for dogs," Esguerra said. "Sometimes that's met with praise, and sometimes that's met with judgment. But the thing about this place is that it brings joy to your life. It brings joy to your dog's life."

    Dog Ppl has in fact partnered with the actual Soho House, which is an exclusive entertainment members club. The partnership includes discounted memberships to Dog Ppl and events at the park. Esguerra attributed Soho House's interest in the partnership to the idea that dogs are a "social lubricant" that can help people meet each other in a way that a humans-only club just can't. 

    Nice try bud, the margaritas are for the humans. Credit: Liam Underwood / DOG PPL
    Dog Ppl members Isabel Washington and Christopher Luna, with dogs Charlie and Layla. Credit: Rachel Kraus / Mashable
    Dog Ppl member Romina Puga with dog Boots. Credit: Rachel Kraus / Mashable

    Five years ago, Esguerra and Underwood met at a dog park in downtown LA where they bonded over complaints about the park. They felt that it was unclean, potentially rife with health risks, and an unpleasant place for humans. That's how they came up with the idea for Dog Ppl. But it turns out there are private dog parks across the country, from New York City(Opens in a new tab) to Kansas City and beyond. With Dog Ppl's focus on hygiene and human creature comforts, they say it is a more "elevated" experience than clubs in other cities. The factors meant to elevate the experience include readily available dog poo bags, frequent spray-downs to fight doggy debris, and heavy cleanings by janitorial staff after hours. And it turns out, those efforts are a big draw for members. 

    "I joined Dog Ppl because it's a clean park with WiFi where I can watch her [the dog] but also do work, take calls, have coffee," said Romina Puga, a writer and TV host, and dog mom of border collie/lab mix Boots. Puga has multiple other dog parks walkable from her house, but says they're "basically dirt," which means Boots comes home from the dog park filthy. Puga goes to Dog Ppl equally to give Boots exercise and herself an excuse to get out of the house, and she describes the entrance of Dog Ppl into her life as "a gift." 

    The lounge chairs are, apparently, for everyone. Credit: Liam Underwood / DOG PPL

    That clean and comfortable elevated experience, of course, comes with a price tag not everyone can afford. Twelve months of membership cost $960, plus parking lot costs, and the $9 beers don't come free. As my sister observed when we checked out Dog Ppl for the first time, she felt there was a bit of a "keep your poor dog off my rich dog" vibe.

    But Esguerra says the dues reflect the costs to maintain the environment and pay staff — not a desire to keep anyone out. In fact, while members are limited to bringing three dogs, they can bring as many human friends as they want to. 

    "The problem with membership clubs is they have a negative connotation for people who feel they can't afford them," Esguerra said. "All membership is really doing is creating a safe space where everyone is vetted. And by everyone we mean the dogs."

    Of course, the human amenities are a big reason a person might shell out $80/month for membership, and Dog Ppl is a business trying to grow and make money like any other.

    Spring events include an Earth Day talk and a workout class. Credit: Rachel Kraus / Mashable
    Mimosas and dogs? Yes please. Credit: Rachel Kraus / Mashable
    A recent yoga class at DOG PPL: Humans and dogs welcome. Credit: Liam Underwood / DOG PPL

    It's understandable that the exclusivity aspect (and the high price) might feel icky. Dogs have a long history(Opens in a new tab) as status symbols and wealth signifiers. In fact, even public dog parks are much sparser in lower-income areas than they are in richer neighborhoods. In a way, Dog Ppl is an extension of that pre-existing privilege, and paying for something that is already a somewhat exclusive public good — but better — reeks of yuppie excess.

    "I think that we are seeing the ways in which increasing economic privilege is being displayed through pets," Julie Urbanik, an author and researcher who studies pets and society, said. "But on the other hand, you know, those people that are participating in it might think 'well, I want a cool, safe place to go hang out with my dog. So why are you attacking me for that?'"

    Santa Monica, where Dog Ppl is located, already has a large cluster of dog parks. Credit: Bob Al-Greene / Mashable

    But experts say the safety steps Dog Ppl is taking just might support the idea of a private dog park, or at least the parts of it that are meant to serve the dogs. Dr. Hunter Finn, a vet with a large social media following, has spoken out(Opens in a new tab) about the safety risks(Opens in a new tab) dog parks pose, from contracting disease to getting in fights. Finn thinks that, while any time you put dogs together there's a risk, the vaccination, behavior, and spay/neuter requirements Dog Ppl has put in place are positive and a good safeguard for owners who wish to protect their pets.

    "I personally do like the idea of a more protected dog park that is not accessed by the general public," Finn said. "Having pet owners show proof of current vaccination and a negative fecal [test for worms], human monitors to help break up any altercations, and a trial visit is certainly a step in the right direction to make dog parks more enjoyable for everyone who visits."

    One of Dog Ppl's Rufferees keeping the pups in line. Credit: Liam Underwood / DOG PPL

    Melya Kaplan, the founder of Santa Monica-based non-profit Voice for the Animals (VFTA)(Opens in a new tab) sees the spaying and neutering requirement as a boon. She is "not crazy about" the entrance fees for the people and dogs they might exclude, but hopes Dog Ppl will use its success to give back to the rescue community.

    In fact, Dog Ppl partners with dog adoption agencies to connect them with club members. They have held donation drives at past events, and are working with rescue organizations to hold adoption events at the park. Esguerra said Dog Ppl is even working on a partnership that would allow people who adopt from the rescue to get free or deeply discounted park memberships.

    "There's something magical about taking a dog that had a horrible unlucky past, they get adopted, and they immediately get to spend the rest of their life in a private members dog park," Esguerra said. "That's a happy ending."

    There's no playing fetch at Dog Ppl (toys can cause fights to break out, says Esguerra), but dogs bein' dogs is most definitely allowed. Credit: Liam Underwood / DOG PPL

    While my own rescue mutt, a terrier-German shepherd mix named Meerie, ran around Dog Ppl for the first time during her trial visit to make sure she was well-behaved enough to become a member, I was strangely nervous. Would Meerie pass the test? Would we be allowed the "keys to the community" of "people who put their dogs first," as Esguerra put it?

    "Putting your dog first" is most definitely a privilege(Opens in a new tab), and just because you can't afford a private dog park does not mean you love and care for your dog less deeply than someone who can. That's why Urbanik sees the existence of Dog Ppl as proof of what the public sector lacks: More clean, accessible dog parks in zip codes of every income bracket.

    "Companion animals are essential components to families in this day and age," Urbanik said. "The infrastructure needs to follow how people are living their lives across all of the areas."

    As I considered signing up for Dog Ppl, I joked with my friends that I wasn't even a parent yet, and was already having trouble foregoing private school for the ideals of a public education. But with twinkle lights so inviting, turf so clean, free Wifi, crisp rosé, and nary a whiff of dog poo upon the air, who can resist? Especially if you are, admittedly, a "dog person."

    Members-only clubs are really going to the dogs. Credit: Liam Underwood / DOG PPL

    UPDATE: Apr. 4, 2022, 10:53 a.m. PDT This article was updated to include photographs courtesy of DOG PPL.

  • How to block your ex on Tinder

    How to block your ex on Tinder

    There are plenty of reasons why seeing a former flame in your Tinder feed isn't exactly a desirable situation — maybe they broke your heart, or perhaps you broke theirs. Or it could be just that you'd like to swipe away with abandon without the worry of seeing the face of someone you'd rather cross the street to avoid.


    Regardless of your reasons, there is a way to make things a little easier on yourself while you put yourself out there in the online dating world. Tinder recently introduced a new feature that allows you to block contacts using their mobile numbers to prevent that individual from showing up in your stack of swiping contenders. If you'd like to know how to remove your ex from your entire digital life (we've all been there), here's a great how-to guide by Mashable's Anna Iovine.

    SEE ALSO: How to verify your Tinder profile

    As you might have gleaned, it doesn't strictly need to be an ex you're blocking — it could be your boss, your colleague, or even just members of your own family.

    So, how do you use the Block Contacts feature?

    1. Go to your settlings in the Tinder app and scroll down until you see the "Block contacts" option.

    Credit: mashable screenshot
    Credit: mashable screenshot

    2. Next, you'll be asked if you'd like to grant Tinder access to your contacts. Click "OK".

    3. Select the contact you'd like to prevent from showing up as a potential match.

    It's worth noting that the person doesn't need to be currently on Tinder for them to be blocked. It can prevent a future possibility of them appearing in your pile of possible matches if that person ever decides to download Tinder.

    Now that's done, you can breathe a deep sigh of relief and get back to looking for your next flame.

  • Gaze upon these good dogs at the 2020 National Dog Show

    Gaze upon these good dogs at the 2020 National Dog Show

    The National Dog Show was a much smaller affair than usual this year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, fewer than 600 dogs competed for the honour of top dog — down from almost 2000 in 2019. There were no spectators either, with only officials, handlers, security personnel and NBC's film crew were allowed inside the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center.


    But the dog show must go on, and the Kennel Club of Philadelphia made the best of a rough situation. In the absence of living spectators, the stadium's seats were instead filled with cardboard cutouts of humans and dogs alike. Most were dogs though, with notable attendees including Captain Raymond Holt and Cheddar(Opens in a new tab) of Brooklyn Nine-Nine fame.

    Fortunately, due to the aforementioned film crew, three-dimensional dog enthusiasts weren't left completely out in the cold. While the National Dog Show took place over a week ago on Nov. 14-15, NBC upheld its tradition of airing the pooch parade on Thanksgiving Day, letting Americans gaze upon the good boys and girls no matter where they are.

    While the average person assesses dogs as "good" or "very good," the National Dog Show divides them into seven categories: Herding, Hound, Non-Sporting, Sporting, Terrier, Toy and Working. Judges imagine the best, most perfect dog they can think of for each breed, then evaluate the contestants against this dream dog in order to determine its score(Opens in a new tab).

    Sadly, they don't seem to understand that the scrawniest, scruffiest real dog will always far outstrip the most noble fantasy one.

    SEE ALSO: This chonky boy won 2019's National Dog Show

    The National Dog Show also hasn't fixed its glaring issue of only awarding one canine Best in Show. This year's title went to Claire, a 3-year-old Scottish Deerhound also known as GCH Foxcliffe Claire Randall Fraser, and winner of the Hound category.

    "Claire has so many wonderful traits," said Claire's handler Angela Lloyd.(Opens in a new tab) "She embodies the same qualities [as her mother and grandmother, who have also placed at dog shows]. She is very similar to her grandmother, especially in the eyes."

    You ain't nothing but a Bloodhound dog. Credit: Bill Mccay / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
    This Bull Terrier looks like he'd listen to all your worries, not understand a word, but give you comforting kisses anyway. Credit: Bill McCay / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
    Chances are this Collie has better hair than you. Credit: Bill McCay / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
    This Chesapeake Bay Retriever could ask for my last fry and I'd probably give it to them. Credit: Bill McCay / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
    This Bearded Collie was somehow not disqualified for just being a cloud with legs. Credit: Bill McCay / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
    Find someone who looks at you the way this Airedale Terrier looks at their handler. Credit: Bill McCay / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
    This Shih Tzu's ready for their close up. Credit: Bill McCay / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
    A Dandie Dinmont Terrier getting the attention they deserve. Credit: Bill McCay / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

    If a dog sits at a dog show but there is no-one there to see him, is he still a good boy?

    Yes. Yes, he is.

  • Quordle today: Here are the answers and hints for November 10

    Quordle today: Here are the answers and hints for November 10

    Quordles can take a lot of time to solve, but Worldes are about to get harder too now that the New York Times is removing plurals. There's been no indication so far that Quordle will follow suit, so thank your lucky stars for that (for now), even if today's Quordle is driving you crazy.


    If Quordle is a little too challenging today, you've come to the right place for hints. There aren't just hints here, but the whole Quordle solution. Scroll to the bottom of this page, and there it is. But are you sure you need all four answers? Maybe you just need a strategy guide. Either way, scroll down, and you'll get what you need.

    What is Quordle?

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

    Is Quordle harder than Wordle?

    Yes, though not diabolically so.

    Where did Quordle come from?

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

    How is Quordle pronounced?

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

    Is Quordle strategy different from Wordle?

    Yes and no.

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

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

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

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

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

    Is there a way to get the answer faster?

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

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

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

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

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

    Two words have letters that occur twice.

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


    What do today’s Quordle words start with?

    C, A, H, and S.

    What are the answers for today’s Quordle?

    Are you sure you want to know?

    There’s still time to turn back.

    OK, you asked for it. The answers are:

    1. CARAT

    2. ADOBE

    3. HELLO

    4. SPOUT

  • Kevins chili recipe from The Office is hidden in Peacocks user agreement

    Kevins chili recipe from The Office is hidden in Peacocks user agreement

    Peacock has spilled the beans on Kevin's famous chili recipe from The Office.


    Those who actually read the terms of use on NBC's streaming app Peacock have been rewarded with a nod to an iconic moment involving Brian Baumgartner's Kevin Malone, a spilled pot of chili, and a futile attempt to clean it up. Reported in the Daily Dot(Opens in a new tab) earlier this week, Peacock's user agreement(Opens in a new tab) references a famous cold open from a Season 5 episode of The Office called "Casual Friday," where Kevin brings in a huge pot of homemade chili and spills it all over the office carpet.

    Nestled deep in the legal text of Peacock's user agreement, you'll find the full recipe of ingredients and detailed instructions on how to make Kevin's chili including how to prepare the ancho chiles and a specific note to undercook the onions. "The trick is to undercook the onions."

    The Easter egg was captured in a TikTok last week by Mckenzie Floyd(Opens in a new tab) (@mckenziefloyd.) "So, my boyfriend obviously reads the terms and conditions," said Floyd in the video. Thanks to Floyd and her boyfriend's admirable due diligence, we now have the famous recipe.

    The benefits of reading the fine print. Credit: Screenshot: TikTok / @mckenziefloyd

    According to the Daily Dot, this isn't the first time Peacock has poked fun at lengthy legal fine print that is mostly ignored. When the streaming platform first launched in 2020, it hid a recipe for chocolate cake(Opens in a new tab) in its user agreement.

    Peacock's current terms of use were updated in March, 18, 2021. At the top of the agreement, Peacock teases the recipe, saying "Here you'll find answers to your burning legal questions about our service (plus a recipe inspired by Kevin's famous chili from The Office!") About halfway down Peacock introduces the recipe, stating, "At Peacock, we don't make promises we can't keep."

    When reached for comment, a representative from Peacock said the inclusion of Kevin's recipe was a collaborative effort between its legal, creative and product teams. "As a company, Peacock thought it was important that all of our subscribers knew the importance of undercooking their onions when making chili, and of course our terms of use."

    Without further ado, here is the recipe for Kevin's famous chili recipe(Opens in a new tab) from The Office:


    4 dried ancho chiles

    2 Tbs neutral oil (vegetable, canola or grapeseed)

    3 lbs ground beef (80/20 or 85/15 lean)

    2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped

    6 cloves garlic

    1 large jalapeño, finely chopped

    1 Tbs dried oregano

    2 tsp ground cumin

    ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

    2 Tbs tomato paste

    2 12 oz. bottles of beer (lager or pale ale)

    3 cans Pinto beans, drained and rinsed

    3 cups beef stock

    2 ½ cups chopped ripe tomatoes

    2 Tbs kosher salt

    Chopped scallions, shredded Jack cheese and sour cream for topping


    - Tear ancho chiles into pieces, discarding seeds and stems. In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, toast chiles over medium-high, stirring occasionally until very fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer toasted ancho chiles to a food processor or spice mill and process until very finely ground. Set aside.

    - Add oil to pot and heat over medium-high. Add ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally to break beef into small pieces, until well browned (about 6 minutes). Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a plate and set aside.

    - Add onion to pot and cook briefly over medium-high until barely softened, about 2 minutes. The secret is to undercook the onions.

    - Using a garlic press, press garlic directly into the pot, 1 clove at a time. Then stir in jalapeños, oregano, cumin, cayenne pepper and tomato paste. Stir and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add beer and continue to cook, stirring and scraping the pan, about 7 minutes.

    - Meanwhile, put beans in a large bowl and mash briefly with a potato masher until broken up but not fully mashed.

    - Add mashed beans, stock, tomatoes, salt, and cooked beef to pot. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low to maintain simmer and cook 2 hours so everything gets to know each other in the pot. Remove from heat, uncover and let stand at least 1 hour (can also be refrigerated 8 hours or overnight).

    - Reheat gently, taste and add more salt if necessary, and serve with your favorite toppings. We recommend chopped scallions, shredded Jack cheese and sour cream.

    UPDATE: Feb. 23, 2022, 5:00 p.m. EST This post has been updated with a comment from Peacock.