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Brand tweets about being an anti-racist ally are not enough

2023-04-02 10:26:46

Brand tweets about being an anti-racist ally are not enough

America is in chaos, but don't worry the brands are on it.

Brand tweets about being an anti-racist ally are not enough(图1)

The murder by police of George Floyd, a handcuffed, unarmed black man, has sparked nationwide protests and, at times, riots and looting. Police have frequently responded to demonstrations with shocking violence: running them down with SUVs(Opens in a new tab), teargassing them(Opens in a new tab), beating them with batons, shooting them with rubber bullets(Opens in a new tab). President Donald Trump has called for further violence and, just quoting the man in charge of America here(Opens in a new tab), told governors on Monday that they "have to dominate" protesters.

All of this during a global pandemic.

There is no quick fix here. (Though for starters there are ways to support the protesters and white people can educate themselves about how to be a good ally to people of color.) But I do know what we absolutely don't need in this moment: Tepid, boilerplate statements from brands.

We really, really do not need them, but, holy hell, we're getting them nonetheless. They're everywhere. Just log on to the internet and, yep, there they are.

A few big brands started doing it — a crossover post from Nike and Adidas(Opens in a new tab) got a lot of traction early on — and then every company felt the need to jump on the bandwagon.

Twitter user @campster(Opens in a new tab) captured their near-universal style perfectly with this meme.

As the protests grew over the weekend, major corporations, sports teams, and pretty much any brand you've ever heard of decided they needed to speak out. Some brands have commented on big social issues like race before, but rarely have they done so with this much vigor.

On the surface, it seems like the right thing to do. But the problem is that it almost never involves anything like, I don't know... putting actual money or action toward the cause.

These statements on race are especially empty when they come from companies that have been criticized for mistreating people of color in the past. Hell, even Nextdoor, the neighbor app infamous as a platform for racial profiling(Opens in a new tab), released a statement. Amazon, a company known for mistreating its warehouse workers(Opens in a new tab), felt the need to jump into the fray.

In short, what brands are doing with these statements feels a lot like performative allyship(Opens in a new tab), doing something very public (and often very easy) to appear like an ally without, you know, doing the real work to actually be one. In the case of brands, their statements would mean more if they were paired with donations or commitments to take specific, meaningful steps to dismantle racism.

The path forward from here will be difficult. It's going to take more than a blithe Instagram post gesturing at unity and all sides being in this together or whatever the hell.

Please brands, just stop with the statements that say absolutely nothing. And think about showing up when it can help, not just when it makes you look good.

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  • Can you masturbate too much?

    Can you masturbate too much?


    Wherever there is content extolling the benefits of masturbation, so too will you find a whole onslaught of voices condemning it. The topic always comes along with conversations about frequency, namely: Doing it too much. "While anxieties and negative attitudes about sexuality can be found throughout history, masturbation has particularly been a behavior of concern," says Sarah Melancon(opens in a new tab), Ph.D, a sociologist, clinical sexologist, and resident expert at The Sex Toy Collective.

    Libido is built out of our reward system — and so the more positive experiences you have, the more you want. Masturbation and orgasms beget wanting more masturbation, sex, and orgasms. TL;DR: masturbation is amazing. Solo sex is a fantastic (and free!) way to de-stress, unwind, and boost positive neuro-transmitters(opens in a new tab). It can also help boost mood and self-esteem.

    At the same time, there is nuance. Zachary Zane(opens in a new tab), author of Boyslut: A Memoir and Manifesto(opens in a new tab) and sex expert for Momentum Intimacy(opens in a new tab), points out, you can do pretty much anything too much. "Masturbation only becomes an issue if it's negatively affecting other aspects of your life," he says. For instance, if your masturbation habits have you skipping work, ditching sex with your partner, or are causing pain or injury, then it may be worth it to reevaluate your masturbation habits. "But if it's NOT negatively impacting your life in any way, then keep at it! Enjoy it," Zane says.

    In all likeliness, your wanking habits are probably completely normal and fine.

    In all likeliness, your wanking habits are probably completely normal and fine. And so, for this glorious month that is Masturbation May, we will be doing away with the pervasive idea that if you’re getting off too much, you’re doing something wrong or shameful or might break your dick/clit. Let’s shift the mindset.

    The roots of 'dangerous masturbation'

    Why are people so obsessed with how often you touch your junk? Melancon says that it’s pretty heavily based in religion. "Many religions condemn sexual activity(opens in a new tab) outside of heterosexual marriage, including masturbation," she says. "In Judeo-Christian religions, masturbation is considered a sin." This harks back to the "spilling the seed" story of Onan in the Bible. Onan was having sex with his brother’s wife and instead of climaxing inside her, he pulled out so that she wouldn't carry his off-spring. You know, a really cute and chill situation. God obviously curses him for spilling his seed because, well, The Bible. Ironically, the story on which this concept is based actually describes Onan pulling out rather than masturbation. 

    Want more sex and dating stories in your inbox? Sign up for Mashable's new weekly After Dark newsletter.

    In the Victorian era(opens in a new tab), masturbation was thought to cause mental illness. These pervasive views on the dangers and evils of masturbation may be  more coded in 2023, but the ghosts of the past still seem to follow us.

    Can you actually masturbate TOO much?

    Basically, not really. As long as you’re not rubbing yourself raw or ditching work to pound it out 24-7, Silva Neves(opens in a new tab), an accredited psychosexual and relationship psychotherapist, says that getting yourself off is not an issue you need to be worried about. "There is no evidence to suggest that masturbation is bad, and there is no agreed definition on measuring what is 'too much,' because everybody's limits are subjective and individual," he says. 

    SEE ALSO: Sex addiction isn't recognised by science. So, why are people still being diagnosed?

    What’s more, there is no evidence that frequent masturbation is in any way bad or addictive. The idea that masturbating too much can become a problem is heavily steeped in shame and sex negativity. Neves tells us that using terms like "porn addiction" or "sex addiction" is highly problematic — as it both increases shame around sex and is not endorsed by either the ICD or the DSM-5 as an addiction. 

    Long story short: You can’t masturbate too much as long as you aren’t hiding away in your room, ignoring your friends, family, and obligations in order to get off constantly. It’s about cultivating healthy habits.

    How you feel about masturbation informs how you feel about your behaviors.

    It’s not usually about whether you’re masturbating too much, it’s about how you FEEL about the behavior. A recent study(opens in a new tab) found four groupings of individuals based on masturbation frequency and sexual satisfaction. 

    1. High masturbation frequency + Satisfied

    2. Low/no masturbation frequency + Satisfied 

    3. (图2)

      High masturbation frequency + Dissatisfied

    4. Low/no masturbation frequency + Dissatisfied

    For those who reported high masturbation frequency and dissatisfaction, Melancon says that this group probably consists of people who view masturbation as being either bad or "less than" partnered sex. "This would likely include individuals using masturbation as a coping mechanism as well as individuals who are lonely and would rather at least some of their masturbation was actually partnered sexual activity instead," she says. What’s more, studies have shown(opens in a new tab) that people who have higher levels of religious belief are more likely to view their masturbation habits as "addictive," when the behaviors themselves are by no means clinically compulsive.

    SEE ALSO: Celebrate Masturbation May with sex toy deals from Satisfyer, Lelo, and more

    If you can shift away from the idea that masturbation = less than, gross, wrong, or addictive and into a mindset of masturbation = happy, healthy, and normal, you’re likely to see a massive improvement in how you perceive your habits. After all, masturbation is a healthy and OK form of sexual activity. Enough with the shame.

    Dealing with death grip.

    Like all good things in life, you might run into problems. Death Grip refers to masturbating in a repeated way, with a very tight grip on the penis. It can also refer to clitorises that are receiving the same, intense form of stimulation (often with a vibrator), leading to temporarily diminished effectiveness of other forms of sexual activity. The term "Death Grip" was originally coined by sex columnist Dan Savage in 2003. Savage was also the first person to coin the term "pegging" (when a cis-man is anally penetrated by someone wearing a strap-on or dildo).

    Death Grip is not an official medical diagnosis — it’s a recognized phenomenon that has been seen in many clinical settings. But, the aim should be dealing with it without pathologizing people. Death grip is actually highly treatable and highly subjective. It’s only a problem if you believe it’s a problem and want to do something about it. There’s nothing wrong with preferring or even needing one form of stimulation to receive pleasure, if that’s what you want. 

    If you’re experiencing Death Grip and feel like you’re losing sensation, change up your masturbation habits. Kenneth Play, an international educator and the bestselling author of Beyond Satisfied: A Sex Hacker’s Guide to Endless Orgasms, Mind-Blowing Connection, and Lasting Confidence(opens in a new tab), refers to "Habit Loops That Rule Our Sex Lives." He tells us that "The more you masturbate in a particular way, the more deeply ingrained a particular pathway to orgasm becomes, and our sexual identity forms around it. Our habits create a fast track to pleasure, and they can put up roadblocks to other forms of sex." 

    "When we masturbate in different ways for a couple of weeks, we start to rewire our habit loops, and we can learn new ways of getting pleasure."

    It’s not that you’re damaging your penis/clit or causing permanent desensitization, it’s just that you’ve gotten used to masturbating in a certain way — and so other forms of sex don’t feel as intense. "We can break our habit loops by turning down the volume on them for a while. We can put the vibrator away or relax the death grip on our penises," Play says. "When we masturbate in different ways for a couple of weeks, we start to rewire our habit loops, and we can learn new ways of getting pleasure."

    Melancon also suggests bringing in a mindfulness practice. “Mindfulness-style practices can help one expand one’s sensory awareness, so over time a lighter grip can become more pleasurable,” she says. Staying connected to our bodies can help to foster stronger connections between our genitals and our minds.

    It’s not that you’re masturbating too much, it might just be that you’re masturbating in the same way a bit too much. It might mean that you’re masturbating in a way that isn’t super connected to your body and doesn’t foster a ton of awareness. Masturbation frequency doesn’t need to cause problems if we cultivate a creative and positive mindset around it. Death Grip isn’t permanent and it simply means a change-up might be in order. 

    All in all, your masturbation habits are probably completely fine and we’d do better to celebrate self-love, rather than demonize it.

  • Bobcat rescued after being stuck in a cars grill for miles on Thanksgiving

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    A bobcat just received the best Thanksgiving miracle: a second chance at life.

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    According to their Facebook post(opens in a new tab), the woman parked her car only to find the bobcat unable to move inside the grill.

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    Rescuers rushed to the scene where they sedated and freed the bobcat, according to the Facebook post. He was then transferred to another animal care center, the Wildlife Center of Virginia for further treatment.

    Luckily for the cat, he only endured one minor scrape on his back.

    I bet this little guy is quite thankful.

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    Trump praises Native Americans and uses racial slur in the same sentence


    You may have survived Thanksgiving with your racist uncle, but President Donald Trump won't let that feeling of relief last long.

    At an event honoring the Navajo code talkers who played a vital role in the U.S. military during World War II, Trump couldn't stop himself from making a racist dig at Sen. Elizabeth Warren, calling her "Pocahontas."

    SEE ALSO: John Oliver calls President Trump's Puerto Rico comments 'horribly racist'

    After three of the 13 remaining Navajo code talker veterans had the chance to share their history in the Oval Office on Monday, the president got up to give his remarks. The Navajo code talkers(opens in a new tab) served in the Marine corps during World War II, communicating top-secret messages in a code derived from their complex native language.

    Trump immediately handed over a binder of his prepared statements to the veterans, and proceeded to go off book. And that can only mean disaster with him.

    In his typical image-obsessed fashion, he first complimented the "good genes" of the elderly veterans. Then things got downright offensive.

    After admiring the Native American veterans' long history in the United States, he told them, "we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her 'Pocahontas.'"

    And the moment was as horrifying and awkward as it sounds.

    The president's derogatory nickname for Warren stems from the Massachusetts senator's claims that she has Cherokee ancestors. Although Warren was criticized by the press during her 2012 Senate race for not being able to back up these claims, Trump seems to think it's okay to make up a racist nickname for her.

    And as many have pointed out, it's not okay.


    Some also pointed out the tone deaf juxtaposition of celebrating Native American war heroes in front of a presidential portrait of Andrew Jackson, who was responsible for the death and displacement of many Native Americans, and who also happens to be one of President Trump's favorite predecessors.

    Sen. Warren responded to the president's remarks on television shortly after the event.

    Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had other ideas, telling the press corps that she thought categorizing Trump's "Pocahontas" jab as a slur was "ridiculous."

    UPDATE Nov. 27 3:55 p.m. PT

    The Navajo Nation responded to the incident with a statement, insisting that "cultural insensitivity is unfortunate."

  • Terry Crews on alleged sexual assaulter back at work: SOMEONE GOT A PASS

    Terry Crews on alleged sexual assaulter back at work: SOMEONE GOT A PASS


    Since practically Day 1 of the sexual misconduct reckoning in Hollywood, Terry Crews was one of the strongest voices speaking truth to power. Now that his alleged harasser has been welcomed back to work, he's not backing down.

    Crews famously accused a "high level Hollywood executive" of groping him at a 2016 party, leading top WME talent agent Adam Venit to take a leave of absence. Mashable has confirmed that Venit returned to work on Monday.

    For his part, Crews did not mince words in his response to this development:

    Sources familiar with the situation tell us that after a two-week internal investigation, Venit was suspended for 30 days without pay and demoted from head of the powerful agency's motion picture group. Even without that title, Venit is a true Hollywood power broker who represents high-profile celebrities like Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone, Emma Stone, Dustin Hoffman, Liam Hemsworth and Steve Martin.

    Presumably, Venit returns to WME even while still under investigation by the LAPD, after Crews filed a police report about the incident last month.

    Crews says that personally called on Ari Emanuel, co-CEO of WME, with his concerns. In a Tweet, Crews posted pictures of a HuffPost article Emanuel wrote in 2011 demanding that Mel Gibson be blacklisted from entertainment for his infamous anti-Semitic tirade.

    According to Crews, he gave Emanuel a printout of the article with a few edits. Emanuel – the man who in all likelihood chose to reinstate Venit – allegedly handed it back to Crews, claiming that "it's different."

    In the past month, Crews has gone on record about the incident, while also shining a spotlight on how both race and gender factor into sexual harassment.


    ABC Breaking News(opens in a new tab) | Latest News Videos(opens in a new tab)

    As this cultural shift in sexual assault continues to unfold, it's important to note which victims and predators slip through the cracks. Crews remains steadfast in his bravery as he demonstrates that victims are often not treated equally.

    And, in some cases, alleged perpetrators are still apparently considered too big to fail.

  • Fake Roy Moore accuser tries to trick the Washington Post and fails spectacularly

    Fake Roy Moore accuser tries to trick the Washington Post and fails spectacularly


    Project Veritas, you just played yourself.

    The group, founded by conservative "guerrilla journalist" James O’Keefe, tried to expose the Washington Post(opens in a new tab) but ended up looking pretty dumb in the end.

    It all started when a woman approached the Post with a story. She said that when she was 15 years old, she'd been impregnated by Roy Moore, the Alabama senate candidate who has been accused of sexually harassing and assaulting teenage girls.

    SEE ALSO: Stephen Colbert dissects Roy Moore's sexual assault allegations with brutal wit

    But when the Washington Post fact-checked her story(opens in a new tab), it didn't add up -- and then they watched her walk into the New York offices of Project Veritas. The "sting" was supposed to expose, I don't know, some liberal conspiracy against Moore. Instead it showed just how professional and thorough the Washington Post is when it comes to checking facts.

    The story was met with delight online.

    The botched undercover investigation shouldn't come as a surprise. This is the guy whose organization failed to get a CNN reporter onto a boat filled with dildos(opens in a new tab), and who outed its own plan to infiltrate a George Soros event by forgetting to hang up the phone(opens in a new tab).

    The conversation between the woman and Washington Post reporter was supposed to be off the record. But when the Post found out her true motives, all bets were off, according to executive editor Martin Baron


    “We always honor ‘off-the-record’ agreements when they’re entered into in good faith," Baron said. "But this so-called off-the-record conversation was the essence of a scheme to deceive and embarrass us. The intent by Project Veritas clearly was to publicize the conversation if we fell for the trap. Because of our customary journalistic rigor, we weren’t fooled, and we can’t honor an ‘off-the-record’ agreement that was solicited in maliciously bad faith.”

    O'Keefe didn't respond when the Post asked "if he was working with Moore, former White House adviser and Moore supporter Stephen K. Bannon, or Republican strategists."

    But he did try to defend himself by bragging about trending on Twitter, and then releasing a totally unrelated video before asking his supporters for more money.

    So, take that, competent mainstream media.

  • Blogger gets seven years in jail after writing about toxic spill in Vietnam

    Blogger gets seven years in jail after writing about toxic spill in Vietnam


    A court in Vietnam has sentenced a blogger to seven years in jail for reports he wrote about a toxic spill in the country.

    On Monday Nguyen Van Hoa was found guilty of spreading "anti-state propaganda" about a chemical spill that occured in Vietnam in 2016.

    SEE ALSO: Trump slurps shark fin soup as U.S. works to remove itself from the shark fin trade

    The spill, which occured in April, has been dubbed the country's worst environmental disaster. It happened when Formosa Ha Tinh Steel, a Taiwanese-owned steel factory released chemicals which included cyanide, into the sea.

    The discharge killed marine life, causing at least 70 tonnes of dead fish(opens in a new tab) to be washed ashore and destroyed some 200 hectares of coral reef. Hundreds of people were believed to have fallen ill after eating the poisoned fish.

    Thousands of demonstrators had come out to the factory protesting(opens in a new tab) and demanding compensation. It was these protests that the 22-year-old blogger wrote about that led to his arrest earlier this year.

    “The sentencing of Nguyen Van Hoa shows how profoundly the government’s paranoid desire to maintain political control trumps notions of justice and human rights," Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch Asia told the New York Times. (opens in a new tab)

    "How else can one explain that executives of an international firm that poisoned the ocean... are free to go about their business while this idealistic young journalist is heading to prison for helping expose their misdeeds?"

    'Defaming' the government

    But Nguyen isn't the only blogger to be affected.

    Another blogger, Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, known as Mother Mushroom, was jailed earlier in June(opens in a new tab) this year for 10 years, for distributing propaganda against the state.

    Mother Mushroom first rose to prominence in 2006 writing about political and environmental issues.


    Her blog was frequently critical of the government, and she wrote about controversial issues like Beijing's financing of a bauxite mine in Vietnam and the government's handling of the toxic chemical spill.

    At a closed-door trial, a judge said she had defamed the government(opens in a new tab) and published inaccurate information, among other charges.

    Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, also known as "Mother Mushroom" (L) Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    Vietnam's government was heavily criticised after it remained silent for weeks after the chemical spill incident, only coming out later in June (opens in a new tab)to acknowledge that Formosa had indeed leaked chemicals into the South China Sea.

    The company later admitted responsibility and agreed to pay $500 million in damages.

    It re-opened (opens in a new tab)in May this year, with the organisation saying it would "improve environmental safety measures" and aim to re-start commercial production by the end of the year.

  • If Trump doesnt believe the Access Hollywood tape is real, he should just ask Billy Bush

    If Trump doesnt believe the Access Hollywood tape is real, he should just ask Billy Bush


    That President Donald Trump would buy into a conspiracy theory isn't a surprise.

    That he would concoct a new one that attempts to completely retcon his own history shows that, even after an absolutely bananas 10 months in office, he still has the power to stun us.

    SEE ALSO: Trump's tweets since he was elected president: A complete breakdown

    But that's where we're at as word continues to spread that Trump is privately suggesting the infamous Access Hollywood tape -- the one published by the (opens in a new tab)Washington Post(opens in a new tab) in which Trump audibly advocates sexual assault to a chuckling Billy Bush -- may not be real.

    The New York Times first reported(opens in a new tab) the whisperings as a buried nugget in a story about how Trump is tacitly endorsing Roy Moore in the Alabama senate race despite the heap of allegations facing Moore.

    And, on Monday, the Times' White House reporter Maggie Haberman said a third person has reported Trump's doubts over that being his voice on the tape.

    This all despite the fact that Trump fessed up and even offered an apology(opens in a new tab) for his statements after the story broke and his continuing to defend the conversation as "locker room talk."

    But no matter how much Trump may be trying to convince others -- or even himself -- that the video isn't him, if there's one person who knows the truth, it's Billy Bush.

    A littler over a week after the Post published the tape, Bush was fired by NBC(opens in a new tab) from his job at The Today Show. And though it would take months for Bush to publicly address the incident, he gave no indication that the conversation is, in any way, fake.


    Speaking to (opens in a new tab)The Hollywood Reporter(opens in a new tab) in May 2017, Bush said:

    "Looking back upon what was said on that bus, I wish I had changed the topic. [Trump] liked TV and competition. I could've said, 'Can you believe the ratings on whatever?' But I didn't have the strength of character to do it."

    When considering he was fired for his part in the conversation but Trump was elected president, Bush noted, "the irony was glaring."

    And if there's a guy who you think would try to claim the "tape is fake" card, it's the guy who actually lost his job because of it.

    The conversation was recorded in 2005 and one can forgive a fuzzy memory, especially from a man who has spewed so much vitriol just in the last 2.5 years, let alone the last decade. But even Trump can't possibly be this delusional, right?

    For their part, the folks at (opens in a new tab)Access Hollywood(opens in a new tab) are standing firm and saying that, yes, the tape is real.

    Bush hasn't commented on this latest wrinkle but he was recently hit in the head by a golf ball(opens in a new tab) which, frankly, would give him a far better excuse than Trump for having a hazy recollection.

  • Donald Trump just retweeted anti-Muslim videos from a British extreme far-right group

    Donald Trump just retweeted anti-Muslim videos from a British extreme far-right group


    UPDATE (3:15 p.m. ET): Updated to include White House comment on the videos.

    U.S. President Donald J. Trump woke up Wednesday morning and retweeted three anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, unverified videos from the deputy leader of one of Britain's most extreme far-right groups, Britain First.

    SEE ALSO: Trump's latest tweets lashing out at UCLA players are his most unpresidential yet
    Credit: realdonaldtrump/twitter

    The Twitter feed of Jayda Fransen, who was convicted(opens in a new tab) of religiously aggravated harassment last year after hurling abuse at a woman in hijab in front of her four young children, is basically just a stream of hateful content targeting Muslims and immigrants.

    Fransen was charged again(opens in a new tab) with religiously aggravated harassment in September this year.

    She was ecstatic that the U.S. President retweeted her unverified videos:


    Last year, Britain First announced(opens in a new tab) it was launching "direct action campaign against Muslim elected officials" targeting "where they live, work, pray". They singled out Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, and Sajid Javid, cabinet minister.

    The killer of British MP Jo Cox, Thomas Mair, reportedly shouted “Britain First”(opens in a new tab) as he shot and stabbed the Labour MP last year, one week before of the EU referendum.

    Cox's husband tweeted in response to Trump's retweets:

    The first video tweeted by Fransen is entitled "Muslim migrant beats up migrant boy on crutches" but according Geenstijl(opens in a new tab), the news site that posted it, "the perpetrator was not Muslim or a migrant, but a Dutchman."

    Credit: Geenstijl/screengrab

    On Wednesday morning, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that whether or not the videos were real, "these are real threats we have to talk about.

  • Meghan Markle started on Deal or No Deal way before her big royal engagement

    Meghan Markle started on Deal or No Deal way before her big royal engagement


    Meghan Markle knows all about making important decisions.

    Before she became a paralegal on Suits and Prince Harry's future bride, she was a briefcase model on Deal or No Deal.

    According to TMZ(opens in a new tab), she appeared in 34 episodes and modeled three different briefcases.

    SEE ALSO: 6 things you need to know about Meghan Markle now that she's about to become a royal

    "I went from working in the U.S. Embassy in Argentina to ending up on Deal. It's run the gamut," she told Esquire(opens in a new tab) back in 2013. "Definitely working on Deal or No Deal was a learning experience, and it helped me to understand what I would rather be doing."

    Although she appreciated the opportunity, Markle didn't shy away from telling the publication about the tiring experience: "I would end up standing up there forever in these terribly uncomfortable and inexpensive five-inch heels just waiting for someone to pick me so I could go and sit down."


    Despite her time as a case model, people applaud her for where she ended up -- being future royalty.

  • NBC employees reveal chilling details of Matt Lauers alleged sexual harassment

    NBC employees reveal chilling details of Matt Lauers alleged sexual harassment


    Details on the alleged inappropriate behavior leading to Today co-host Matt Lauer's ouster from NBC have surfaced – including sex toys as gifts, coerced sex with female employees and the disturbing report that Lauer had a button under his desk that could lock the door to his secluded office from within.

    NBC's initial statement Wednesday cited one complaint from a fellow female employee dating back to the Sochi Olympics. But in a memo, NBC News chairman Andy Lack said that "while it is the first complaint about his behavior" during his 20 years at the network, "we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident."

    Hours later, Variety(opens in a new tab) revealed numerous, corroborated accounts of Lauer's widespread sexual harassment at the network from women who declined to be named.

    SEE ALSO: Resurfaced video shows Katie Couric saying Matt Lauer 'pinches me on the ass a lot'

    Allegations ranged from inappropriate "games" regarding coworkers' sex lives, to gifting a female colleague a sex toy with a lewd note about how he wanted her to use it, and even exposing himself to an employee in his office before berating her for not performing sex acts on him. Ten employees described Lauer's "fixation" on women, both at 30 Rockefeller and out in the field on assignment, including frequent comments on female staffers' appearances and sex lives.

    Perhaps most chillingly, Lauer reportedly had a button in his office desk that could discretely lock the door. Two victims of his harassment said this emboldened his inappropriate behavior.

    The New York Times(opens in a new tab) later reported Wednesday that NBC subsequently received at least two more complaints, one from a former employee who said Lauer summoned her and had sex with her in his office in 2001. The unidentified woman told the Times "she felt helpless because she didn’t want to lose her job, and that she didn’t report the encounter at the time because she felt ashamed."

    Though the network insisted it received its first complaint on Monday, many victims say they'd previously brought his behavior to the attention of NBC executives. One former reporter said that "management sucks there," and claimed executives "protected the shit out of Matt Lauer."

    Lauer is the third high-ranking NBC employee to recently be terminated from the network for inappropriate sexual behavior at the workplace, joining Today correspondent Mark Halperin and senior top talent booker Matt Zimmerman.

    The network initially declined to comment on Variety's story. But a spokesperson gave a CNN reporter a statement(opens in a new tab) claiming that, "We can say unequivocally, that, prior to Monday night, current NBC News management was never made aware of any complaints about Matt Lauer’s conduct.”


    While sources accounted for consensual relationships between Lauer and some NBC staffers, they also questioned the enormous power discrepancy involved. Producers from the network echoed the worry that denying Lauer's alleged advances would pose a risk to their careers.

    "He couldn’t sleep around town with celebrities or on the road with random people, because he’s Matt Lauer and he’s married," one producer told Variety. "So he’d have to do it within his stable, where he exerted power, and he knew people wouldn’t ever complain."

    As for the alleged Olympics incident cited by NBC, it appears to have been par for the course: Sources described how Lauer often initiated late-night hotel room visits with female employees during multiple Olympics.

    Lauer often presented himself as a bastion of progressive ideals on camera. Only three months ago, he interviewed his essential equivalent star at Fox News, Bill O'Reilly, grilling him over his own sexual misconduct in the workplace.

    Lauer has yet to comment or issue a statement.

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    While all eyes were on the happy couple, ears were dazzled when 19-year-old cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason took the stage to perform for the wedding's guests.

    SEE ALSO: We defy you not to sob uncontrollably at these photos of Harry and Meghan getting married

    Those watching the grand celebration from home jumped to social media to express their newfound love for Kanneh-Mason's playing.

    While Kanneh-Mason's delicate skill speaks volumes, his endearing journey has been well documented on his Twitter account.

    "I’m so excited and honoured to perform at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. I was bowled over when Ms Markle called me to ask if I would play during the ceremony," he tweeted in April.

    He also shared photos of himself on his way to the wedding.

    As well as a snap with Bishop Michael Curry.

    If the wedding didn't fill the void in your cello-less heart, here's a live performance from Kanneh-Mason covering Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry."

    Want more clever culture writing beamed directly to your inbox? Sign up here for the twice-weekly Click Click Click newsletter. It's fun – we promise.

  • How to stay safe on dating apps

    How to stay safe on dating apps


    Staying safe when using dating apps is imperative. Apps like Tinder have implemented their own safety features, but if you're going to chat with and potentially meet strangers, it's important to know the ins and outs of keeping yourself safe in the digital world and IRL. Some of these tips come from RAINN(opens in a new tab), the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network.

    Safety tips when signing up for dating apps

    First off, don't sign up with a dating app using a social media account like Facebook or Instagram. Previously, Bumble only had the option to sign up through Facebook. Thankfully, that's no more, and you can sign up for Bumble with your phone number(opens in a new tab). In fact, for other popular apps as well like Tinder(opens in a new tab), Hinge(opens in a new tab), and OkCupid(opens in a new tab), you can sign up with a phone number or email. 

    That's good news, because if you sign up with social media, it allows data from either platform to be exchanged with each other. This is why if you signed up with your Instagram account, for instance, matches may show up as recommended people to follow. While it's tempting to sign up through a social platform and let it populate your profile for you, it allows this exchange of data.

    SEE ALSO: Daters have a 'reality gap' about gender equality, Bumble says

    "By connecting Instagram to your profile, you’re giving Meta all the data points necessary to connect these people together on Instagram," said Tim Maliyil, founder of encryption and mobile security service AlertBoot(opens in a new tab). He himself has seen women from dating sites pop up on Instagram.

    Another component is photos; when you sign up through a social account, the dating app will likely use pictures from said account. This can make it easy for potential matches to find you elsewhere online. Therefore, in addition to signing up with an email or phone number, use different photos than are on your social media. 

    If you're still concerned about people finding your social media profiles, lock them or adjust privacy settings(opens in a new tab).

    Safety tips when swiping and searching for matches

    Be diligent when looking at fellow singles' profiles. If they're verified (a feature which Tinder, Bumble(opens in a new tab), Hinge(opens in a new tab), and OkCupid(opens in a new tab) have), then you know this person looks like their pictures. But if they don't have a photo, or only have one, and they're not verified, that might be a red flag. 


    If they appear too-good-to-be-true — aka their photos look like magazine ads — you can screenshot someone's profile and reverse image search to see if someone is potentially catfishing, or lying about who they are online. If you think something fishy is going on, report the user to the app (which will probably give you the option to block, as well). 

    If their Facebook or Instagram account is connected, you can take advantage and look them up. Do they have a new, sparce Facebook account with two friends, as opposed to a decade-old account with schools listed and hundreds of connections? You'll probably want to swipe left on the former.

    Want more sex and dating stories in your inbox? Sign up for Mashable's new weekly After Dark newsletter.

    Safety tips when talking to people online

    A big red flag is if a match wants to immediately hop off the app and talk elsewhere — or, worse, if they immediately want to meet up. Stick to chatting on the app at first. For one, scammers can use your phone number(opens in a new tab) to impersonate you. For another, if a match goes south, it'll be a relief that they don't have your number. There's no rush! 

    Besides wanting to meet up immediately, another red flag is if they never want to meet nor video chat. This could be the work of a romance scammer, who pretends to be someone else on dating apps in order to get people to send them money. 

    For this reason, never share personal information (i.e. your bank account details) and don't send money to a match. If someone is on the app for the reason you are — to date! — they won't ask for either.

    If you're chatting with someone and feel uncomfortable (say if they're too forward) feel free to unmatch and/or report them. 

    Safety tips when going on a date with an online match


    As Mashable culture reporter Meera Navlakha advised, video chat before going on a date. Some apps, like Tinder, even have functions to do this in-app so you don't have to exchange phone numbers. By video chatting beforehand, you can assure your date is who they say they are — and you may even find out if the chemistry isn't there, which would save you both time on an IRL date!

    SEE ALSO: How to safely meet up on a Tinder date

    If the video date goes off without a hitch, it's time to meet in person. Meet in a public place, and tell your support system (family, friends) where you are; you can even turn on your location for them so they can know exactly where you are.

    Don't rely on the date for transportation, so you can leave on your own accord if you're feeling uncomfortable. You're free to enlist the help of a bartender or server if something is wrong, too. 

    Trust your gut. If you're getting a funny feeling from this date, you can leave. As RAINN asserts, don't worry about coming off as "rude"; your safety comes first!

    Remember that you can always pause your dating apps if you're not enjoying them, or delete the profiles altogether. Staying safe trumps racking up matches any day.

  • Todays top deals include new price drops on a Ninja Foodi, second-gen AirPods Pro, and the all-new E

    Todays top deals include new price drops on a Ninja Foodi, second-gen AirPods Pro, and the all-new Echo Dot

    We've gathered up all the best deals for you to shop on Nov. 22 — here are our top picks:


    • BEST APPLE DEAL: Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)(Opens in a new tab)$199.99 $249.99 (save $49.01)

    • BEST HOME DEAL: Ninja OL501 Foodi XL 14-in-1 Pressure Cooker (6.5-Quart)(Opens in a new tab) — $109.99 $279.99 (save $170)

    • BEST AMAZON DEVICE DEAL: Echo Dot (5th Gen) + Free Philips Hue Smart Bulb(Opens in a new tab)$24.99 $49.99 (save $40.98)

    • BEST STREAMING DEAL: Three months of HBO Max(Opens in a new tab)$1.99/month $9.99/month (save $29.97)

    Black Friday week is off to quite an epic start. Retailers are fighting for your hard-earned cash — and they're doing a great job.

    Walmart came in hot with its final Deals for Days event, which began yesterday evening. While some particularly good deals already sold out, there are plenty still live on the site — like $79 Beats Solo3 headphones(Opens in a new tab) and a $110 Ninja Foodi OL501(Opens in a new tab). Amazon has yet to match these major discounts, but has plenty of its own deals to shop — particularly on Amazon devices. Meanwhile, Best Buy's electronics deals are still reigning supreme with some of the best prices we've seen on MacBooks(Opens in a new tab) and Chromebooks(Opens in a new tab) this season.

    Get Mashable Deals delivered to your inbox daily
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    We've done the grunt work of searching for all the top deals you can shop on Nov. 22, so you can save time as well as money. From Apple and Amazon to Ninja and Samsung, here are the best deals of the day sorted into convenient categories.

    Best Apple deal

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Apple
    Our Pick: Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    $199.99 at Best Buy (save $49.01)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Why we like it

    If you already own the original AirPods Pro, the second-generation buds "are not an essential upgrade," Mashable senior editor Stan Schroeder wrote in his review. However, they're definitely great earbuds, with impressive sound quality and stellar noise cancelation. While $49 doesn't seem like a huge discount, it's the biggest price drop(Opens in a new tab) we've seen on these buds so far — they were just released in September. They're sitting at the same price at Amazon(Opens in a new tab), but if you snag them at Best Buy instead, you'll get three free months of Apple TV+, plus four free months of Apple Music and Apple News+.

    More Apple deals

    • Apple AirPods (2nd Generation)(Opens in a new tab)$79 $159 (save $80)

    • Apple AirTag 4 Pack(Opens in a new tab)$79.99 $99 (save $19.01)

    • Apple Watch SE (GPS, 40mm)(Opens in a new tab)$149 $279 (save $130)

    • 2021 Apple 10.2-inch iPad (Wi-Fi, 64GB)(Opens in a new tab)$269.99 $329 (save $59.01)

    • 2022 Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro (Wi-Fi, 128GB)(Opens in a new tab)$999 $1,099 (save $100)

    • 2020 Apple 27-inch iMac (Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$1,199.99 $1,799 (save $599.01)

    • 2021 Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro (M1 Pro chip, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$1,999.00 $2,499 (save $500)

    • 2021 Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro (Apple M1 Pro chip, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$2,199.00 $2,699 (save $500)

    Best home deal

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Ninja
    Our Pick: Ninja Foodi 14-in-1 XL (6.5-Quart) (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    $109.99 at Walmart (save $170)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Why we like it

    Just last week, the 6.5-quart OL501 Ninja Foodi dropped to an unbelievable $129.99 — that's $150 off its usual $279.99 price tag. Thanks to Walmart's epic Deals for Days event, the price on Nov. 22 is even lower at just $109.99 (for comparison purposes, Amazon(Opens in a new tab) currently has it listed at $154). That 6.5-quart Foodi is big enough to whip up two things at once with dual layers. Plus, it's brimming with cooking options, from air frying to slow cooking to yogurt making.

    More home deals

    Kitchen deals

    • Instant Pot Duo Plus (6-Quart)(Opens in a new tab)$79.95 $149.95 (save $70)

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

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

    • Chefman Barista Pro Espresso Machine(Opens in a new tab) $99 $139 (save $40)

    • Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven (6-Quart)(Opens in a new tab)$99.95 $169.99 (save $70.04)

    • Ninja OL501 Foodi XL 14-in-1 Pressure Cooker (6.5-Quart)(Opens in a new tab) — $109.99 $279.99 (save $170)

    • Nespresso Coffee and Espresso Machines(Opens in a new tab)starting at $118.30 (save up to 30%)

    • Instant Omni Air Fryer Toaster Oven Combo (19-Quart)(Opens in a new tab)$129.95 $199.99 (save $70.94)

    • Ninja OL601 Foodi XL 14-in-1 Pressure Cooker (8-Quart)(Opens in a new tab)$149.99 $32

    • Vitamix 6500 Blender(Opens in a new tab)$399 $599.99 (save $200.99)

    Floor care deals

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

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

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

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

    • iRobot Roomba 676 Robot Vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$174 $269 (save $95)

    • Shark AI VACMOP(Opens in a new tab)$188 $479.99 (save $291.99)

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

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

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

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

    • Dyson V15 Detect Vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$645.99 $749.99 (save $104)

    Best Amazon device deal

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Amazon / Philips
    Our Pick: Echo Dot (5th Gen) + Free Philips Hue Smart Bulb (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    $24.99 at Amazon (save $40.98)
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Why we like it

    Amazon's new Echo Dot is billed as its most powerful yet, with a larger speaker that packs clearer vocals and better bass into its usual spherical form. It also features a new AZ2 Neural Edge processor, temperature sensors, and built-in eero (an Echo Dot first). Just released at the end of October, this is the first discount of this caliber we've seen. Plus, Amazon will even throw in a free Philips Hue Smart Bulb or a free six-month Amazon Music Unlimited subscription(Opens in a new tab) (a $53.94 value).

    More Amazon device deals

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

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

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

    • Echo Dot (5th Gen) with clock(Opens in a new tab)$39.99 $59.99 (save $20)

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

    • Echo (4th Gen)(Opens in a new tab)$49.99 $99.99 (save $50)

    • Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) Kids with Echo Glow(Opens in a new tab)$50.99 $124.98 (save $73.99)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Tech deals

    Smart TV and home theater deals

    • TCL 2.1-ch S522W Home Theater Sound Bar(Opens in a new tab)$59 $79.99 (save $20.99)

    • Hisense 40-inch Class A4G Series LED Full HD Smart Vidaa TV(Opens in a new tab) — $99.99 $249.99 (save $150)

    • HP FHD Projector with Roku Express Streamer and 84-inch projection screen(Opens in a new tab)$137 $199 (save $62)

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

    • Insignia 42-inch Class F20 Series Smart Full HD 1080p Fire TV(Opens in a new tab)$169.99 $269.99 (save $100)

    • LG 55-inch Class UP7050 Series LED 4K UHD Smart webOS TV(Opens in a new tab)$298 $398 (save $100)

    • Samsung 58-inch TU7000 4K TV(Opens in a new tab) — $377.99 $599.99 (save $222)

    • Samsung 85-inch Q60B QLED TV(Opens in a new tab)$1,597.99 $2,299.99 (save $702)

    Computer, tablet, and monitor deals

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

    • Lenovo 11.6-inch Chromebook 3 (Intel Celeron N4020, 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC)(Opens in a new tab)$79 $139 (save $60)

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

    • Lenovo 11.6-inch Flex 3 Chromebook (Mediatek MT8183, 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC)(Opens in a new tab)$99 $179 (save $80)

    • Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite 8.7-inch Tablet (WiFi, 32GB)(Opens in a new tab)$99.99 $159.99 (save $60)

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

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

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

    • MSI GF63 Thin 11SC-693 15.6-inch Gaming Laptop (Intel Core i5, 8GB Memory, 256GB NVMe SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$499 $599 (save $100)

    • Samsung 49-Inch CHG90 144Hz Curved Gaming Monitor(Opens in a new tab)$699.99 $999.99 (save $300)

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

    Headphone and speaker deals

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

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

    • Google Pixel Buds A-Series(Opens in a new tab)$64 $99 (save $35)

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

    • Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones(Opens in a new tab) $79 $199.95 (save $120.95)

    • Samsung Galaxy Buds2(Opens in a new tab)$89.99 $149.99 (save $60)

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

    Streaming device and subscription deals

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

    • Three months of Amazon Music Unlimited(Opens in a new tab)free $26.97 (save $26.97)

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

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

    • Three months of HBO Max(Opens in a new tab)$1.99/month $9.99/month (save $29.97)

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

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

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

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

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

  • Man slowly tumbles into river in undeniably hilarious footage


    Man slowly tumbles into river in undeniably hilarious footage

    Sophisticated, high-brow comedy is all very well and good, but sometimes you just want to watch someone falling over.

    SEE ALSO: 19 of the funniest British tweets so far in 2018

    Well, good news -- today happens to be your lucky day:

    That video was shot recently on the banks of London's River Thames.

    The unfortunate man in the clip above is James Moss. He followed up the video with a tweet explaining that the first part was staged (his friend was filming), but the slip definitely wasn't.

    This was the rather soggy end result.

    Oh dear.

  • This stray cat who crashed a fashion show is my favorite supermodel

    This stray cat who crashed a fashion show is my favorite supermodel


    Some cats are born to walk the runway. Well, maybe only one cat. But it's definitely this one, who crashed a runway(opens in a new tab) at a Vakko ESMOD International fashion show in Istanbul.

    No one seems to know how the cat accessed the runway, but she really made the most of her time there. She rolled around, she strutted a little, she licked her butt, she tried to get a model to hang out with her -- all the good stuff. (The model ignored her.)

    SEE ALSO: Some good news: Doughnut the 28-pound cat has a new home

    Here's footage of the cat's shenanigans. Please watch. Also, please book this cat for more shows. She is clearly a natural and deserves an illustrious career.


    View this post on Instagram


    (opens in a new tab)

  • Looking after a Tamagotchi for a week made me realise how I really feel about technology

    Looking after a Tamagotchi for a week made me realise how I really feel about technology


    It’s 2018, and what we all really want — and need, for that matter — is to be weaned off our screens. We’re desperate to regain control of our attention span and free ourselves from the number one time thief and stress factor of modern life.

    Digital wellness(opens in a new tab), as it’s been dubbed, is all about being mindful with our use of apps, limiting notifications and disturbances on our phones. It’s about "time well spent" as Zuckerberg would say.(opens in a new tab) We’re asking our apps and devices to loosen their grip on us and save us from ourselves.

    SEE ALSO: Kids are getting around Apple's 'Screen Time' restrictions

    Not me, though. I've gone in the complete opposite direction and got myself a small, noise-making device with no other purpose in life than to claim – or rather, demand – my time with incessant beeping. That’s right; I got a Tamagotchi.

    I named my Tamagotchi Minka after my beloved, deceased childhood dog and later regretted it.

    The Tamagotchi(opens in a new tab) — a retro Generation Two Tamagotchi that was relaunched by Bandai America(opens in a new tab) this autumn — was bestowed upon me by a co-worker. We wanted to explore how the people who grew up with Tamagotchis and experienced the original frenzy feel about them now.

    I named mine Minka after my beloved, deceased childhood dog (and later regretted it, when it turned out to be such a bore. RIP.)

    It was nostalgia that made me accept taking on the Tamagotchi in the first place. While the grown-up me has trouble seeing the point of owning a tiny, beeping, egg-shaped monster of a device, the 7-year-old me absolutely loved it. I remember the initial thrill of having a device that responded to me, interacted with me, relied on me for nurturing.

    A Tamagotchi was what all of us '90s kids wanted most of all; a toy that comes to life. However pixelated, noisy, and difficult they were, they were our pets. We fed them, picked up their poop and played with them all on their terms. The games on classic Tamagotchis are so mind numbingly simple that they cannot have been designed with the owner’s amusement in mind.

    We were in awe of them and we loved them. They were a part of our social lives with other kids, always a topic of conversation, not to mention a perfect pre-phone social distraction for surly preteens not wishing to engage with their surroundings.

    Credit: mashable


    Minka the Tamagotchi makes noise. That is the first thing you notice about it, but it also happens to be the worst aspect of it. As a millennial, my phone has been on silent since, well, forever. I’m never that far away from my phone that I need it to make noise, nor do I ever really want it to. So, when the Tamagotchi started beeping in a crowded rush hour Tube carriage, I was mortified. It’s not just a text ping, you know. It’s a series of high-pitched beeps. This must be why our phones now favour the smooth 'ping' sound over the grating 'beep.' Beeping is stressful.

    SEE ALSO: How a vacation and a digital detox app helped cure my iPhone addiction

    "The Tamagotchi is going berserk!" my editor wrote on Slack one day when I'd left it on my desk while I was out for lunch. It had indeed descended into a beeping frenzy. "It was probably just hungry," I wrote back, apologetically.

    What was once a novelty now feels like a chore. Nearly two decades after I got my first Tamagotchi, I push its buttons unenthusiastically, mainly just to shut it up. Now and again I play the built-in game which, in all simplicity, is about guessing whether the next number will be higher or lower than the previous one. I’m a diligent feeder and cleaner of Tamagotchi poop. But honestly, I’m not getting anything from this relationship. I’m pretty detached, let’s put it that way.

    I know, of course, what had changed. Yes, I’ve aged a couple of decades, but we’re also living in the smartphone age where our lives are so consumed by, and saturated with, tech to the point where we're beyond all curiosity and novelty. What used to excite us, the demand for our attention, the reliance on our response, is now something we perceive as annoying at best, but problematic and detrimental to our mental health at worst.

    PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 25: A child shows a "Tamagotchi" electronic pet toy on October 25, 2017 in Paris, France. Tamagotchi is a virtual electronic animal which means "cute little egg" and simulates the life of an animal. Twenty years after its creation, the Japanese company Bandai reissues the famous limited edition toy that is available today in France. Tamagotchi will be available in the United States on November 5, 2017. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images) Credit: Getty Images

    Smartphone addiction is real(opens in a new tab), and it's a problem. A 2017 Deloitte survey found(opens in a new tab) that 38 percent of smartphone users feel like they use their phones too much. For 16-24-year-olds, that number is 56 percent. A lot of us are caught in what a former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya described as "dopamine-driven feedback loops" in a statement of penance(opens in a new tab) in 2017. It is draining our brains of energy.

    I don’t know about you, but I rank the different screen-related activities in my life in order of how wholesome they feel and how worthwhile they are. One one end, there is the quality screen time that I genuinely enjoy and that I firmly believe enriches my life. At the other end, there is the purposeless waste of time, the dumb stuff that makes my brain tired, the guilty pleasures that aren’t really pleasures at all. To me, streaming on Netflix is both virtuous and wholesome, the same is any and all reading, FaceTime, and texting with the people I love. At the other end of the spectrum are the socials; Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, all YouTube content, and aimless browsing.

    The Tamagotchi breaks the scale. The Tamagotchi – a primitive screen activity, but a screen activity nonetheless – takes all the annoying, attention-grabbing aspects of smartphone life and magnifies them. You find push notifications distracting? Your Tamagotchi will beep at you until you press one, any, of its buttons (add to that a layer of tech mortality, your Tamagotchi will straight up die on you if you don't fulfil its wishes.) And having to pay attention to a pixelated blob stands in sharp contrast to how we think of our screens today, how aware we have become of the power they have over us. And, at least for me personally, how badly you need to rid your life of noise and notifications.

    "The Tamagotchi – a primitive screen activity – takes all the annoying, attention-grabbing aspects of smartphone life and magnifies them."

    When Apple launched iOS 12, and with it the screen time function(opens in a new tab), they did it “to help customers understand and take control of the time they spend interacting with their iOS devices.” The buzz words and phrases in their press release were all more-or-less synonymous with put your fucking phone down. "Reduce interruptions," "Stay in the moment," "Do Not Disturb," "Manage device usage." The ones who installed the screens in our lives are trying to make up for it, though with little evidence(opens in a new tab) to confirm that these now wellbeing tools actually change our behaviour. But it shows what way we're headed.


    Taking that into consideration, the timing of the Tamagotchi relaunch is weird, and probably a little off. Granted, not everyone feels the same way about the Tamagotchis as I do. There are still(opens in a new tab) die-hard Tamagotchi enthusiasts out there, people for whom the Tamagotchis – both in the form of classical eggs or the more recent app(opens in a new tab) Tamagotchis smartphones – are a real hobby, and who publicly mourn(opens in a new tab) their digital pets when they die.

    Perhaps it's just be me who has outgrown the Tamagotchi as I've a) grown older and b) become more and more exasperated with technology in my own life. But I don't think so. What the Tamagotchis had going for them was never that they were particularly entertaining. It was that they, for many of us, were our first pieces of "intelligent" tech that wanted something from us; interaction, response. They were our first taste of portable, interactive gadgets with a linear lifespan.

    I'm sorry to report that as the weekend rolled around, Minka died (Tamagotchi Minka, that is. Dog Minka died in 2012). As I was out enjoying screen free time in the autumn sun, she passed away in my bag. I wasn't even around to hear her final beeps. When I dug her out of my bag, she had been replaced by a display of flashing UFOs.

    Credit: mashable

    I don't miss her, but she did manage to prove a point in her lifetime – that the last thing I want in my life is another screen. I look at a laptop for 8 hours a day, and at my smartphone two and a half additional hours (thank you for the stats, Screen Time). By inviting another stupid, beeping screen into my life I realised what I already knew, and what Silicon Valley are now busy telling us and their anxious shareholders(opens in a new tab); that I need to put my fucking phone down.

  • Twitter to prohibit dehumanizing language in new rules

    Twitter to prohibit dehumanizing language in new rules


    Call it the Alex Jones effect.

    Twitter announced on Tuesday that it will update its rules to prohibit "dehumanizing language" on the platform. While it is still finalizing what this policy will look like through user feedback and internal review processes, this initiative could add a much-needed layer of clarity to Twitter's sometimes opaque, yet narrow, rule violation policy.

    "We want to expand our hateful conduct policy to include content that dehumanizes others based on their membership in an identifiable group, even when the material does not include a direct target," Twitter's Vijaya Gadde and Del Harvey wrote in a blog post.

    Twitter defines dehumanizing language as speech that denies people of human qualities through malicious comparisons to animals or objects. It cites research that links dehumanizing speech to real-world violence.

    SEE ALSO: From Milo to Alex Jones: What is Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey doing?


    The policy has reportedly been in the works for the past three months, and it's part of the company's larger initiative to "improve conversational health" on the platform. Twitter is still actively working to define what "conversational health" actually means. But it has already taken several proactive steps that have shown a marked difference in decreasing trolling and bullying on the platform.

    Encouragingly, Twitter is basing its dehumanizing language policy on academic research that shows the real world effect that demeaning people through dehumanization can have. For example, speech that equates a group with an animal or object is a "hallmark of dangerous speech, because it can make violence seem acceptable."

    Twitter users will have until Tuesday, October 9, at 6:00am PST to provide Twitter with feedback on the policy (you can do so here(opens in a new tab)). Twitter then plans to update the rules "later this year."

    It's difficult not to draw a connection between this new policy and the back-and-forth controversy surrounding Twitter's eventual banning of Alex Jones. During that time, many criticized the way that Twitter was applying its hate speech policy to Jones; that is, it wasn't(opens in a new tab). This new policy further defines the kind of speech disallowed by twitter, and broadens the scope of harmful speech beyond needing to include an individual "@." Harvey and Gadde indeed addressed this need for further elucidation.

    "There are still Tweets many people consider to be abusive, even when they do not break our rules," the authors write. "Better addressing this gap is part of our work to serve a healthy public conversation."


    Mashable has reached out to Twitter to ask whether this policy will be enforceable retroactively, or if it will only apply going forward. We happen to know a certain Twitter user who enjoys comparing women to dogs to whom this new policy might apply.

  • A guide to teaching children how to pet dogs

    A guide to teaching children how to pet dogs

    The bond between children and dogs is a special one. 


    For children, dogs can be anything from playmates and partners in crime to teachers and sources of comfort. But like any new relationship, there's a learning curve. 

    Without a proper understanding of how to interact with dogs, children might inadvertently provoke them, which could lead to a bite or attack or a stressed dog. Even the gentlest of dogs have bad days and only so much patience if a toddler is pulling on their tail. 

    Incidents like this can end poorly for dogs, too. "People would call to surrender their dog because of incidents with children," said Jennifer Shryock, a certified animal behavior consultant who also has a degree in special education. That's why she founded Family Paws(Opens in a new tab), which "provides specialized programs and support for new and expecting parents with dogs."

    SEE ALSO: Dog anxiety is real. These products can help calm your anxious pet.

    Shryock says that the more information people are given, the more comfortable they are with dogs. "Building confidence and knowing what to look at empowers children and parents." She believes that it's never too early to teach kids about dog safety. "It's like learning any other language."

    The right way for kids to pet dogs isn’t just a lesson from a parent. It's something that all dog owners should know for preventing or de-escalating future accidents. Here's what you need to know when it comes to teaching dog safety to kids.

    1. Ask permission and don't assume the answer will be "yes"

    First and foremost teaching children how to pet dogs is about teaching consent. Above all else, it starts with asking for permission, but experts have some caveats about who you should even be asking for permission in the first place.

    "When introducing your child to a new dog, always ask the owner for permission first," said Daniel Caughill, co-founder of The Dog Tale(Opens in a new tab). "They’ll have an intimate knowledge of how their dog reacts to new people and specifically children. Some rescue dogs have had rough past experiences that cause them to act aggressively toward children, so you’ll want to make sure that’s not the case."

    SEE ALSO: What to do if your dog doesn't like other dogs or strangers

    Kevin Ryan, professional dog trainer of Superb Dog(Opens in a new tab), says it's always better if this person is someone you know and trust since even the most honest and caring dog owner may not know how their dog will react to your child. 

    "For example, if the dog owner does not have children of their own and has never had issues with adult friends and family petting the dog, a child could be a new experience for the dog and you don’t want to be the one discovering how they will react. It’s best if the dog is used to being around children and comfortable with them," said Ryan.

    When it comes to asking to pet a stranger's dog, Shryock says it's too risky across the board, because ultimately you're making a lot of assumptions about that person. "Since when do we trust a stranger to give us information about our safety?"

    In general, she believes that unfamiliar children approaching unfamiliar dogs is not a good idea. "There's too many variables. The context of the environment, the other stimuli going on, the lack of understanding, dogs have bad days." Instead, Shryock says she prefers to suggest that her dog loves to show tricks, which is a contact-free alternative.

    2. Observe the dog's body language 

    Once you've been given permission, the next step is to study the dog's body language for signs that they're nervous or uncomfortable. This is how the dog tells you they don't want to be touched. "If the dog moves away, pins back their ears, or otherwise looks frightened or unsure, it's time to back off," said Megan Marrs, a dog trainer and founder of dog care website K9 of Mine(Opens in a new tab). "We always want enthusiastic consent from dogs."

    When Shryock explains this to kids, she calls it being a "doggy detective" and looking for clues. "We talk about 'looking at the ears, the eyes, the tail, a muzzle, gathering all the clues to solve the puzzle.'" 

    It's important to gather all possible "clues" because different dogs show discomfort in different ways, so just observing their face or tail might not tell the whole story. 

    Family Paws uses activity sheets like this to teach kids what to look for. As the caption describes, this dog is clearly uncomfortable: "The ears are back, whale eye (white of the eye visible), tail is low, and the dog is doing a large lip lick. This dog is also leaning in the opposite direction from where it is looking (avoidance/ leaning away). This dog appears to be experiencing considerable stress and may be communicating a need for space." Credit: Family Paws

    Here are some other warning signs to look out for:

    • "If a dog yawns, blinks, squints or licks their lips, it might mean that they want to be left alone. If the dog turns their head away or turns their whole body away (usually with a paw lifted off the ground), it is a sign that they want you to stop petting them," said Julia Jenkins, a professional dog trainer and founder of Pet Dog Training Today(Opens in a new tab).

    • Veterinarian and Fi Veterinary Consultant(Opens in a new tab) Dr. Jeff Werber said stay away if the dog is baring their teeth (which looks different than a smile because they're lifting up their lips), their hackles go up, or the tail is low and wagging at an angle towards the ground. These are all signs that the dog is unhappy. 

    In general, Shryock says to "believe what you're seeing." That may sound obvious, but some people think they're the exception to the rule. "I see people wanting to believe that they can convince the dog to feel differently. And if you're not their trusted person, that's not really your role."

    SEE ALSO: Separation anxiety in dogs can be difficult. Here's how you can help.

    3. Invite the dog over 

    If you don't see any warning signs, the next step is to invite the dog over by patting your leg. As opposed to you being the one to approach the dog, inviting the dog to you gives them the chance to "opt out." 

    If the dog chooses to opt out, Shryock says you can give kids alternatives to petting. "We can blow a kiss, we can wave, we can talk about the beauty of the dog, but opt out is opt out."

    Inviting the dog empowers them to opt in or out. Credit: Getty Images

    4. Pat/pet, pet, pause

    If the dog has happily accepted the invite, the next step is to start petting the dog with an approach called "pat/pet, pet, pause." This is about waiting to see if the dog wants to continue engaging, because "that third pet could be a problem," said Shryock. "So we pause and then see, does the dog continue to want to engage?"

    "If the dog approaches, you can proceed to pet the dog," said Marrs who calls it "pat, pet pause" since the "pat" refers to patting your leg as an invitation for the dog to approach. "After a few seconds, pause and wait for the dog's response. If the dog noses at you, looks at you, or leans towards you, indicating they want the petting to proceed, have at it. If the dog moves away, or even if he does nothing, we can take that as a 'no, thanks.'"

    Always be checking if the dog continues to want to be engaged. Credit: Getty Images

    Marrs also says to remember that a dog's comfort level can change at any time, which is why it's important to keep checking. "One moment he may be fine with head scritches, but five minutes later he may not be interested anymore."

    SEE ALSO: Do's and don'ts at the dog park

    5. Teaching kids the right way to pet

    Every dog has its individual preferences of how/where they like to be pet, but it's important to teach kids how not to pet first, since these rules are universal to most dogs and not following them could be dangerous. 

    • Don't sneak up from behind or make sudden movements - "Tell your child to remain quiet and calm, with no quick lunges or loud vocalization. Dogs get excited by both sound and movement, so less is better," said Ryan.

    • Don't get in their face or make eye contact - For humans, making eye contact is a sign of respect, but dogs may see it as a threat. Same goes for getting too close to their face. 

    • Don't pet their head - "Having a stranger put their entire hand up and over one's head can be really scary for dogs. Imagine if a giant did that to you," said Marrs. 

    • Don't pull their ears or tails - Hopefully this one is pretty obvious. 

    • Don't give them hugs - Did you know that dogs don't like hugs(Opens in a new tab)? Wrapping your arms around your dog might be a way of expressing your love for them, but it actually makes dogs feel trapped and vulnerable.

    Clearly, this is a happy dog. Credit: Getty Images

    The experts Mashable consulted recommend petting the dog's chest, neck, side shoulder, or under the chin. Non-threatening areas where the dog can see the child's hands are safest. 

    But Shryock also raises a larger point about the importance of understanding your dog and what they like and don't like. "We need to acknowledge that the dog is an individual living creature that has feelings and emotions and has opinions about things."

  • The mysterious case of Hilary Duff and the insufferable neighbor: An Instagram story


    The mysterious case of Hilary Duff and the insufferable neighbor: An Instagram story

    Many of us know Hilary Duff as the Disney Channel actress, turned singer, turned chic star of the fun TV Land comedy, Younger. But now she's taken on the new role of furious neighbor.

    Over the years Duff has always remained relatively calm, cool, and collected — despite a brief feud with Lindsay Lohan(opens in a new tab) — but now she has an insufferable New York City neighbor and she's annoyed AF.

    On Wednesday, Duff posted a very relatable but out-of-character rant on her Instagram story, in which she called out her rude neighbor to 9.2 million followers BY NAME.

    SEE ALSO: These Insta-famous singers talked to us about how their hard work paid off

    As a fan's video of the story captured, Duff began by saying, "Calling all New Yorkers with asshole neighbors, I'm really open to any advice you have. My neighbor smokes cigarettes and weed all night long and my apartment reeks."

    "Seriously, what do I do?" Duff questioned, posting the first and last name of her neighbor, Dieter Addison, all over the video.

    A second video, which included Addison's name once again, wasn't as nice.

    "We know your parents pay your rent, we know you've never worked a day in your life, it must be nice," Duff said. "Have some respect for your neighbors who work hard to live in that building. Don't be a dick, dude. And put your trash down the chute"

    In case Addison didn't see Duff publicly calling him out for being the worst, she went on to find his personal Instagram account, screenshot it, and post it for all her followers to see.

    Then, in a very mature move, the 30-year-old actress and mother of one screenshotted Addison's profile photo and drew cat ears and whiskers on his face — not one, not two, but THREE different times. She even @'d him and went so far as to film herself using the Instagram cat filter to say "meow."

    After all this effort, Duff still wasn't done dragging the man.

    "And another thing ... stop breaking all your furniture when you fight with your girlfriend or boyfriend... it scares me and my kid... therapy is cheaper," Duff wrote in another post. Finally, to close the 52 second story, she suggested the man get a vape to chill the heck out.

    W... O... W.

    Hilary, we totally get the whole bad neighbor pain and the need to occasionally rant via social media, but publicly calling someone out like that and exposing a full name and account to millions of people is probably not the best idea.

    In fact, a spokesperson from Instagram told Mashable the story violated Community Guidelines and some of the content was removed before it was set to expire after 24 hours.

    Section six of Instagram's Terms of Use(opens in a new tab) addresses on-platform bullying and sharing of personal information, which Duff seams to have violated in her story.

    6. "You must not defame, stalk, bully, abuse, harass, threaten, impersonate or intimidate people or entities and you must not post private or confidential information via the Service, including, without limitation, your or any other person's credit card information, social security or alternate national identity numbers, non-public phone numbers or non-public email addresses."

    As The Blast also noted, this isn't the first time Duff and her neighbor have had problems, so the Instagram rant could very well serve as additional fodder for legal action taken against her and her boyfriend, singer Matthew Koma, in the future.

    Duff's neighbor has reportedly already accused Koma of punching him in a dispute over smoking habits, according to Page Six(opens in a new tab).

    A nice reminder to all to be mindful of what you post online and the repercussions your social media shade could have.

    UPDATE: May 18, 2018, 12:31 p.m. EDT Updated to include statement from Instagram.

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  • Someone compared Animal Crossing characters to iPhone chargers and its too accurate

    Someone compared Animal Crossing characters to iPhone chargers and its too accurate

    If you've ever wondered what the beloved anthropomorphic characters in Animal Crossing: New Horizons would look like as phone charging cables, this thread is for you.


    And if that thought has never crossed your mind, but you want to marvel at the sheer number of charging cables that oddly look like Animal Crossing characters, here's a thread for you.

    Twitter user @vapidmarie dug through images of every iPhone cable imaginable and curated this delightful list comparing them to our quarantine mascots. It's a play on a common Twitter meme(Opens in a new tab), in which users compare celebrities and characters to inanimate objects.

    I, for one, am especially ashamed of my ratty iPhone cable after seeing this thread.