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Volkswagen’s EV race car just broke records during this year’s Pikes Peak Hill Climb

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Volkswagen’s EV race car just broke records during this year’s Pikes Peak Hill Climb

The Pikes Peak Hill Climb is a racing event that’s been going on since 1916 — a 12.42 mile run that climbs 4,720 feet, and serves as a proving ground for car makers to test the speed and agility of their new vehicles. Last October, Volkswagen announced that it was building an electric race car called the ID R Pikes Peak that it hoped would set a new course record, and revealed the vehicle back in March. Today, the car, driven by Romain Dumas, did just that, blasting up the course at over 90 miles per hour in just under eight minutes.

Electric cars take well to the Pikes Peak race: they don’t have to deal with the problems high altitudes and thinner air that can stymie race cars powered by fossil fuels, making it an ideal testing ground. The first electric car to win was in 2015, when Honda won with an electric CR-Z, while beleaguered EV company Faraday Futures’ electric FF91 went up the route last year, although it didn’t break any records.

The official time for Volkswagen’s ID R Pikes Peak was 7:57.148, beating the prior EV record of 8:57.118 set by Rhys Millen in an e0 PP100 in 2016, as well as the overall record of 8:13.878 set in 2013 by Sébastien Loeb in a Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak.

Volkswagen hadn’t released many details about the vehicle, but did say that it was using a MEB powertrain, parts that would form the basis for future EVs in the company’s fleet, and the VW board member responsible for the car’s development, Dr. Frank Wlsch, said that lesson that they learn from this vehicle will be utilized in the company’s other offerings down the road.

TanaCon: How a convention thrown in retaliation led to mass chaos, cancellation

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TanaCon: How a convention thrown in retaliation led to mass chaos, cancellation

TanaCon had all the traditional markings of a first-year convention; a distinct lack of organization ebbed and flowed throughout the event, but diehard YouTubers weren’t too frustrated by the amateur vibe — at first.

By 10 a.m. Friday, when TanaCon ticket buyers were told by management company Good Times that official registration would begin, the parking lot behind the Anaheim Mariott Suites hotel was already lined with fans. There were about a thousand people there, all talking excitedly about YouTubers they planned to meet once they got inside the hotel lobby. Shane Dawson, actress Bella Thorne and, of course, Tana Mongeau, the convention’s host, were some of the most popular creators scheduled to appear.

The Southern California sun was blistering, with no shade anywhere in the parking lot. No one from the event organizers or hotel staff provided water, but none of that seemed to matter. People who had lined up since 6 a.m. were admittedly feeling a little worn down by standing in line, were still excited there was an alternative to VidCon, arguably the biggest convention for YouTube creators in the world.

“It’s a better version of VidCon for sure,” a big Shane Dawson fan and TanaCon attendee who didn’t want to share their name, told Polygon while waiting in line. “Well, I can’t say that for sure because I’m not inside yet, but the idea of it is better for sure. Just the amount of access we’re going to get. And price wise! A community badge ticket for VidCon is $150. I got two VIP tickets for TanaCon for less than that, and money to spare for merch.”

The fan added that what VidCon “did to Tana was just so wrong,” alluding to the series of events that led to TanaCon’s creation in the first place.

Everything seemed fine, but in just a few hours, TanaCon would devolve into a chaotic madness that left attendees and critics on Twitter calling it the next Fyre Festival or DashCon.

A “fuck you” convention

Tana Mongeau is a popular YouTuber with more than 3.5 million subscribers and a strong following on Instagram. More importantly, she’s an influencer with a large group of highly recognizable influencer friends. Her videos switch back and forth between elaborate stories (some of which have been called out as exaggerated or total lies) regular vlogs, and collaborations with those aforementioned famous friends. Mongeau has painted a version of her world that people want to be a part of, singlehandedly creating a level of FOMO (fear of missing out) culture, making everyone want to be a part of her inner circle.

Mongeau posted a couple of videos earlier this year that called out VidCon for not giving her a “featured creators” badge last year. That badge would have provided more security for Mongeau walking through public spaces near the convention. Not having the badge helped create what Mongeau called a chaotic, bad experience.

“If I were running an event that was based upon creators meeting their fans, and the entire premise of your event, where the entire mission statement of your event is where creators and fans can finally meet, if this creator shows up with millions of followers and hundreds of people are there … why wouldn’t you just print another stupid little fucking badge,” Mongeau said in the video above.

Former VidCon CEO and YouTuber Hank Green addressed Mongeau’s video and her frustrations, and asked that Mongeau ask her fans not to harass a VidCon team member, who was on the receiving end of their backlash.

“The online video community is lucky to have a huge number of talented and popular creators, and VidCon is lucky to be able to work with so many of them,” Green wrote in the comments section of Mongeau’s video. “The only bad part about that for VidCon is that, since we can’t feature everyone, creators who have active, enthusiastic communities who are wonderful and make fantastic stuff sometimes end up unsupported in public spaces, creating situations that are dangerous for creators and fans alike. We work to keep situations like that from escalating.

“We understand that this might seem overboard from the outside, but it’s the call we felt was right,” Green said.

Still, Mongeau was upset about the perceived shade she was thrown, and her quip about running a convention quickly became a reality. Mongeau and her team started working on creating TanaCon, an event that came together in a couple of months. The concept was relatively simple: everyone and no one would be a featured creator. TanaCon would be a fan-first, creator-focused experience — something that she believed VidCon wasn’t capable of providing.

“I wanted to throw a con where everyone is a featured creator,” Tana said while on stage before a panel at TanaCon, much to the uproarious support of her fans. “I wanted a con for bad bitches. TanaCon would be nothing without bad bitches.”

Tana (center) on-stage in the main ballroom at TanaCon. Julia Alexander/Polygon

That was the message reiterated throughout the day by Mongeau, her friends and even people in the crowd. People truly believed that TanaCon wasn’t just an alternative to VidCon, but it was the only convention that really took fans’ best interests to heart.

“Everyone is so supportive of each other here,” Emma, a young fan who managed to get inside the hotel after four hours and didn’t want to give her last name, told Polygon. “We don’t even know each other, but we’re bonding over supporting Tana and coming out here. I’m making more friends here than I ever have at VidCon, and so far it’s a really good atmosphere. It’s way better than VidCon right now.”

That was around 1 p.m. Thousands of people who bought badges were still waiting in the parking lot trying to get in, and it still wasn’t too packed inside. It was relatively quiet. There was quite a bit of room for people to sit down and walk around the main ballroom.

Outside was a different story. Reports of people getting nauseous or feeling faint from heat exhaustion started making the rounds on Twitter. People were getting antsy, but most fans Polygon spoke to in the morning and early afternoon were willing to wait it out to show support for their favorite creators.

“Just knowing that I’ve watched Tana for so long, getting the chance to finally see her and meet her and support her own convention is important to me,” Kerry, a young fan who also didn’t want to share her last name, told Polygon while standing in line. “I’m just so proud of her. TanaCon is fucking better and VidCon fucked up. TanaCon is such a big improvement for her, and like, I’m so proud of her for taking a stand.”

TanaCon Kerry (left) and Isabelle at TanaCon. Julia Alexander/Polygon

“Tana worked so hard for VidCon and then they just fucking banned her,” Isabelle, a friend of Kerry, said, reiterating what Mongeau said in a previous video. “That wasn’t fair. Why not just say a big ‘fuck you’ to VidCon? She doesn’t need them.”

Some fans were angry on behalf of Tana, and that led to a very physical show of support at TanaCon. Other fans just wanted to get a close-up selfie with Dawson or Thorne. As the afternoon progressed, it became apparent to everyone that everything was getting out of control. Thousands upon thousands of unregistered fans showed up in the parking lot, and reports spread on Twitter that they tried to rush the door.

Pre-registered fans, people who waited in the heat for multiple hours, started yelling and complaining, demanding refunds for their wasted time. Mongeau used Twitter and Instagram to try to quell people’s frustrations, but provided few updates as things got worse, but it eventually all came to a head when they were told to shut down the event for the day. It became a major safety concern, Mongeau tweeted, and people were concerned that if things got out of hand, it could result in someone getting trampled.

“In a meeting [right now] almost done making sure tomorrow will be safe and organized for every person who has a ticket,” Mongeau tweeted early Saturday morning. “Unfortunately what made today so chaotic was 15,000 unticketed people showing up outside.. If you have a ticket I want to meet you and give you a promised show. Every person who entered their phone number with their ticket will be texted information and I will be updating you once I make sure everything can be done safely. Ticketed people. No outside mobs.”

Though outside mobs were part of the issue, people also expressed concerns over the lack of space inside the hotel for the pre-registered fans.

“It’s really hectic,” Emma said, sitting on the floor inside TanaCon’s main ballroom. “We keep getting switched into different rooms. It’s so hectic. No one knows what’s going on.”

TanaCon The main ballroom at TanaCon filling up around 1:30 p.m. Julia Alexander/Polygon

It felt like it went from being painstakingly empty, as security and event organizers tried to figure out how to get everyone in, to overwhelming in a split second. People kept piling into the area and it was clear there wasn’t enough space to hold everyone in line, let alone the thousands of fans who showed up unannounced. It’s a stark difference that’s almost comical; what started as a dead con inside quickly became a riotous affair.

A mad, chaotic dash

Videos of TanaCon at its busiest have emerged since the event, showing people running in groups down packed halls and trying to make sense of what happened. Security guards are seen in the video below running through a crowd of teens, trying to figure out how to corral everyone safely while breaking up large groups that were forming.

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The scene in the video above took place in the main lobby of the Anaheim Marriott Suites hotel, an area that wasn’t supposed to be overtaken by TanaCon attendees. Fans were expected to remain within a small ballroom that could maybe hold a thousand people, uncomfortably. Across the narrow hall was a smaller room that could hold 50 people, with chairs lined up into a few rows directed at a screen. Just behind the rooms was a merch table, selling t-shirts, jackets and sweaters for $150 to $300.

People walked around curiously, but upon realizing that this was the extent of the convention, started to wander throughout the hotel. Although there was security, many of the popular creators attending TanaCon walked freely throughout the hotel space, leading to fans dashing around trying to grab a selfie with people. It felt like forced chaos; there wasn’t enough space or activities to keep people entertained for hours on end, so fans started exploring elsewhere. There was one bathroom space in the hotel lobby that fans were allowed to use, but people on Twitter complained of long lines and needing more space.

Unorganized is the best word to describe the con; it certainly seemed like something thrown together in a couple of months.

“…as a 19 year old with her first convention, in two months that we did everything as good as we could for 5,000 people,” Mongeau tweeted. “Not 20,000. So now we are making it safer for any capacity.”

Safety and security is one of the biggest issues surrounding conventions like TanaCon and VidCon. Jim Louderback, VidCon’s new CEO, told Polygon that following a couple of incidents in the past — including a scavenger hunt led by Logan Paul last year that resulted in absolute chaos and unsafe conditions — security is the number one priority. Louderback said it’s easy for fans to get over-enthused, and that can lead to some prickly situations.

“We’re also going to be on the lookout for folks who may not think they’ll attract big crowds, but if something does happen we can easily get to the point where it’s like, ‘What gets you a safe space?’” Louderback said. “If we can, we’ll set up these more structured meet-ups. You can actually meet fans and say hi in a way that’s structured, and that isn’t going to cause a free-for-all. 150 or 200 people running over because so-and-so is over in the corner talking to fans has the potential to cause big problems. We work really hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

TanaCon A security guard trying to move people out during TanaCon. Polygon

TanaCon didn’t have the same level of security or organization that VidCon, a convention in its ninth year, has learned to build around the event.

Despite security moving people outside the building at TanaCon, reportedly following orders from the fire marshal to shut everything down, people didn’t leave. They hung out in the parking lot where Mongeau and friends, like Thorne, stood with microphones talking about trying to salvage the situation. People stood around hoping to grab a selfie with any creator who passed by, revealing the true heart of something like TanaCon — opportunity.

It’s something that people have complained VidCon doesn’t do well. VidCon can charge a hefty fee — on top of the $150 community entry fee for non-creators, press or industry people, and there are a limited amount of spots. It’s disappointing for many con attendees, especially those who traveled from out of state or country, to not get a meet-and-greet with their favorite YouTubers. TanaCon launched on the premise that almost everyone could meet almost anyone for a much cheaper price, and that’s a big reason why so many hopeful teens showed up in the first place.

“Not everyone can afford VidCon, and there’s a lot of controversy going on with VidCon,” a young fan named Sally, who didn’t want to share her last name, told Polygon. “I can’t afford that. But I can afford this.”

Now, with TanaCon cancelled, people are looking for refunds and answers as to what happens next. Twitter is full of stories from TanaCon goers who paid hundreds of dollars in airfare, hotel stay and an additional $65 for VIP tickets, only to be left wondering how they’re supposed to get their money back. The lack of communication is startling for many, and it’s prompted creators like Shane Dawson to promise refunds from his own pocket if Mongeau’s management company doesn’t come through with refund options.

Even though TanaCon objectively went bad, Mongeau isn’t giving up on the idea of hosting another convention. She told DramaAlert’s Keemstar that creators deserve a space to meet with fans outside of participating in VidCon. It’s something that Mongeau told her fans on Instagram and Twitter, too, apologizing for not being well enough prepared. But she promised to continue trying.

“Everything will be made right no matter what,” Mongeau tweeted. “Never giving up. Creators deserve a voice. For free. This is about the fans and that’s what it will be about.”

Polygon has reached out to Good Times for more information about future TanaCons and the current refund situation.

Gareth Southgate unhappy with two areas of England's World Cup demolition of Panama

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Gareth Southgate was not entirely satisfied with his England team’s performance against Panama – despite watching them hit the minnows for six.

Harry Kane grabbed a hat-trick to take his World Cup tally to five while Jesse Lingard and John Stones also weighed in with goals.

But Southgate pinpointed two areas he felt could have been better as England qualified for the last 16 in Russia.

“I didn’t like the start and I didn’t like the goal at the end, but I thought the bits in the middle were all right,” he said.

“I felt we were a bit anxious at the start.

“Confidence-wise it was important we were able to score goals. Big moment for Jesse Lingard today especially, great for the captain to get his hat-trick, it meant he didn’t get hump when I brought him off.

Gareth Southgate was largely happy with his side

“Also our set plays were a real threat.”

Asked what he told the players when 5-0 up at half-time, the England boss said: “We talked about the importance of one more goal to be top of the group, which is why the goal at the end was disappointing.”

Southgate also insisted he would not swap his hat-trick here for any other player on the planet.

Asked about Kane’s current level in a question mentioning Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, England manager Southgate said: “Well, clearly the stage to do that is this one. He’s started brilliantly.

“You can dismiss penalties as being easy, but the length of time he had to wait before taking that (first one) and the number of distractions, to then keep focused, start again and refocus tells you a bit about the mental toughness that he’s got.

Southgate was full of praise for Harry Kane

“Look, he’s there, he’s up at the top. We wouldn’t swap him for anyone in the tournament in terms of number nines.

“You know that when he gets opportunities he’s going to bury them. You sit there very confident in his ability to take chances.

“But as important in that is the way he sacrifices himself for the team in the way he presses, holds the ball up, contributes to the overall game.

“He’s not just a player that stands up front and waits for chances and that’s important within the ethic of the team we’re trying to create.”

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Season 3 of Preacher takes an unusual approach to horror and humor

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Season 3 of Preacher takes an unusual approach to horror and humor

Spoilers for seasons 1 and 2 of Preacher ahead.

Early in season 3 of the AMC series Preacher, Tulip (Ruth Negga) has a vision. She’s running down the road to the rural town of Angelville when she sees a man in a black-and-white spotted dog suit. The man-dog is ridiculous, but also eerie — particularly when it tells Tulip she’s been chosen for a divine purpose. It gestures with its floppy paws and stares at her with black, shiny, empty eyes.

Many television shows and movies use horror tropes as part of an action/comedy mix. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sleepy Hollow, and Wynonna Earp all sprinkle vampires or demons around their narratives. But while all these shows feature monsters, they aren’t working primarily to terrify or disturb the audience.

Preacher, a supernatural drama series based on the comic series by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, is a bit different. It doesn’t repurpose horror as comedy or drama. Instead, it’s filled with absurd events and situations which — like that man-dog — come across as simultaneously funny and frightening. Especially in the new season, which includes witches and zombies in a familiar Southern gothic setting, the show can at times be Buffy-esque. But what’s really special about Preacher is that it suggests that horror and comedy aren’t different elements to combine, they’re part of a single whole. The thing that makes you laugh is also the thing that haunts your dreams.

Like its comic-book inspiration, the television show focuses on Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), a hard-fighting, morally dubious preacher possessed by an entity called Genesis. Genesis gives Jesse the power to command anyone to do anything. In the show’s first two seasons, Jesse uses his power to try to build a small congregation in a rural Texas church, with disastrous results. In the second season, he, Tulip, and an Irish vampire named Cassidy (Joe Gilgun) hit the road to pursue God, who they’ve learned has abandoned heaven in order to listen to jazz in New Orleans. Jesse thinks he can use Genesis to force God to explain why the world is such a mess. But tracking the all-powerful deity proves difficult. Instead, Jesse ends up agreeing to become a messiah at the behest of an organization called the Grail.

His career as world-savior is interrupted at the end of season 2 when agents of the Grail kill Tulip. Jesse could normally bring her back to life with Genesis, but his power is mysteriously on the fritz. Season 3, therefore, starts with Jesse and Cassidy bringing Tulip to Jesse’s old home in Angelville; his grandmother is a witch, who can raise the dead.

That plot description doesn’t capture the flavor of Preacher’s humor. The comic book was cynical and deliberately profane, but it was built around a road-trip adventure narrative. Jesse was a more or less conventional hero whose moral sense drove the action and the narrative. In the television series, by contrast, Jesse has less agency. He and the other characters often come across as straight men wandering haplessly through a series of mean-spirited Monty Python gags.


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The first season, for example, ends with Jesse’s entire congregation, and their entire town, being buried in a literal explosion of pig shit. In the second season, Jesse’s friend Eugene Root (Ian Colletti), who has been accidentally consigned to Hell, escapes with the help of an apparently remorseful Hitler (Noah Taylor), who then betrays Eugene… because he’s Hitler. As in Time Bandits, where the final gag is that the protagonist’s parents die, the laugh line is the sadistic bleakness. Of course Hitler gets out of Hell. That’s the kind of universe we’re living in.

A malevolent universe can be funny. But it’s more than that as well. When the camera lingers on Tulip, dead in the back seat of Jesse’s car as they drive to Alphaville, her perfect, still face has the excessive clarity of nightmare. At the end of the second season, immortal vampire Cassidy has a conversation with his long-estranged mortal son, Denis (Ronald Guttman). Denis looks like an old man — he was on the verge of death before Cassidy bit him and changed him to a vampire, too. Denis enjoys being a vampire, especially the part where he gets to feed on unsuspecting beautiful women. Cassidy has long controlled his own bloodlust, but he’s afraid Denis’ example will overwhelm his self-control, and he begs his son to be a good boy. Denis has only spoken French for the entire season, but for the first time, he talks in English. “Can you be a good boy, papa?” he asks, just about licking his lips.

It’s a chilling, David Lynch-worthy moment, not least because it mocks the idea of rules or laws trying to keep us from the abyss. Papa tries to set you right, but who sets papa right? “Everything is possible” can mean anarchic fun and good times, but it can also mean that your worst fears can come true. A world without rules is a hell — as Denis discovers from Cassidy’s response to his behavior.


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Cassidy isn’t the only abusive parent in Preacher. Season 3 opens with a flashback to Jesse’s grandmother, Marie L’Angelle ( Betty Buckley) slicing open his mother with a knife as punishment for trying to leave. And these bad parents are only smaller versions of the ultimate, divine bad parent. God has abandoned heaven, and is now driving around earth on a Harley, wearing a dog suit. He’s that man-dog who appears to Tulip in a vision—and later in the flesh. Man-dog God assures Tulip he has a plan, but she’s skeptical. “You’re just dicking around,” she says with some bitterness, pointing to the biker chick waiting for God to return to his machine. God, for his part, looks nervous at being found out.

A God who is “just dicking around” is a God who is philosophically absurd. The TV version of Preacher is about a world that doesn’t make sense, ruled by an arbitrary jerk who either doesn’t care what happens, can’t do anything about it, or actively enjoys watching people suffer. Preacher is close kin to Kafka — and it’s notable that when Kafka’s friends heard him read his stories aloud, they reacted with helpless laughter. Some guy just woke up and realized he was a bug? That’s even funnier than an entire town drowned in pig poop.

Jesse, with the power of Genesis, wants to set things to rights, and order everyone into their proper place. But he’s like Wile E. Coyote in a Road Runner cartoon, or the priest in The Exorcist. The story is rigged against him, because the story is rigged against everybody. “I can’t help you,” Jesse tells one of is grandmother’s sad, soulless zombies when it begs him for aid. The walking dead can’t be fixed. Even if they’re brought back to life, it’s only temporary.


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At the beginning of season 3, Jesse doesn’t seem any closer to finding God, or finding a meaningful use for his power, than he did at the beginning of season 1. The aimless, cyclical nature of his quest can perhaps can be seen as a weakness of serialized television. But in Preacher’s case, it’s also thematic. There isn’t a plan or a payoff, except for the fact that there isn’t a plan or a payoff. The universe is waiting to get you in a dog suit. Maybe it’s laughing behind that mask; maybe it’s screaming. Or maybe the comedy and horror both come from realizing that there’s nothing there.

Preacher season 3 will premiere on AMC on Sunday, June 24 at 10PM ET.

God of War’s violent world comes to life in these stunning art prints

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God of War’s violent world comes to life in these stunning art prints


This year’s reboot of God of War on the PlayStation 4 was a wonderful surprise. It imbued the long-running series with an emotional core, turned Kratos into a likable character, and still managed to include some very satisfying action. It also looked gorgeous, as the series made the shift from Greek to Norse mythology with plenty of style. Now that style can live on your walls thanks to a new series of art prints from Cook & Becker.

If the Cook & Becker name sounds familiar, it’s because the art studio has slowly built up a reputation for offering some of the best game art around. In the past, that has included series for Fallout, Skyrim, Ni No Kuni, and even an absurdly large Final Fantasy XV art tome. The God of War collection includes six prints, which all feature Kratos and his son Atreus in a variety of scenarios: paddling past a giant statue, preparing to face dark enemies, or being stomped by an angry troll. All of the art comes from the team at Sony’s Santa Monica Studio, where God of War was developed.

The prints start at $95, and go up from there depending on framing and finish. You can grab them right here.

What's the best blender for smoothies?

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By Lesley Stockton

This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.

A thick and velvety smoothie is one of the most difficult things you can demand from a blender. You’re expecting four tiny blades powered by a motor no bigger than a coffee mug to make frozen fruit, ice, fibrous greens, and gloppy peanut butter into soft serve in a minute. So rather than asking about the best blender for smoothies, the better question to ask is: What’s the best blender? And that’s because if a blender can turn out juice-bar-quality smoothies day after day, it will most likely liquefy almost anything else you’d want to with ease.

Any good blender will deliver a sippable smoothie if you add enough liquid. But if you like yours thick—like, get-those-skinny-straws-outta-here kind of thick—the Vitamix 5200 is the way to go. After years of testing and writing about blenders—both full-size and personal—we’ve found that the Vitamix 5200 consistently produces spoonable frozen smoothies better than any other blender we’ve tested. It also pulverizes gritty berry seeds and whizzes through tough kale better than most. All that power and reliability comes at a price, but we’ve learned that you truly get what you pay for in this particular case. That said, for folks who cringe at the idea of dropping $400 or more on a high-powered blender, a personal blender might be a good choice if you want to make only smoothies and don’t mind them a bit thinner (more on that later).


Photo: Michael Hession
The Vitamix 5200 is the best blender for smoothies—and everything else, for that matter. Yes, it’s pricey. But we’ve tested 22 blenders over the past five years, and the Vitamix 5200 has consistently blended faster and better than every model we’ve put it up against. That’s because it’s powerful enough to pulverize ice, tough berry seeds, and fibrous ginger into a smooth consistency. The tapered jar helps keep ingredients moving down toward the blades, and the tamper busts annoying air pockets. That means you spend less time making your smoothie and more time enjoying it.

We’ve also found the 5200 to be more durable than other blenders, so it should last you for many years of serious smoothie-making. But if something goes wrong, this Vitamix model is also backed with a seven-year warranty, an attentive customer service team, and a seamless claims process. Taking all that into account, $400-plus doesn’t seem like a crazy amount to spend on a great blender. Think of it this way: If you go out and pay $5 to $13 for a smoothie, five days a week, in two to four months you’ve paid the same amount as for a Vitamix 5200. How’s that for sticker shock?

The 5200 is a part of the classic series of blenders that Vitamix’s stellar reputation is built on. We prefer the 5200 over Vitamix’s other models because it has everything we need in a blender: a straightforward control panel, a pulse button, variable speeds, and an ultrahigh speed setting. And many home cooks and professionals alike are fervent supporters of this blender (some enthusiasts even pack their Vitamix when they travel). In fact, your pricey morning smoothie from the corner juice bar is most likely blended in a commercial-grade version of the Vitamix 5200, the original Vita-Prep. For more about what we like about the 5200, see the full discussion in our guide to blenders.

The keys to a great smoothie


The Vitamix 5200 took only 30 seconds to turn a pile of rock-hard frozen blueberries covered in yogurt, tahini, and honey into this delicious smoothie. Photo: Michael Hession
If you’re making a smoothie every day, your blender needs to be reliable, fast, and easy to clean so you can get out the door and on with your day. The Vitamix 5200 has all the qualities required to blend a great smoothie.

Blends fast

Mornings are short enough without your having to waste time struggling with a blender that isn’t cutting the mustard. The Vitamix 5200 can puree a silky, lump-free smoothie in about 30 seconds—for comparison, that’s half the time the $500 Blendtec Designer 675 takes to complete its preprogrammed smoothie setting. In fact, the Vitamix 5200 purees faster than any other blender we’ve tested, including our other picks, the Cleanblend 1,800-watt blender and the Oster Versa Performance Blender.

Cuts through fibrous vegetables and frozen fruit

Getting a smooth puree from personal blenders and inexpensive full-size models is a tall order, because they simply don’t have the power to quickly pulverize tough foods like the Vitamix 5200 can. And the Vitamix just makes a better smoothie because it’s one of the few blenders we tested that can puree tough greens and rock-hard frozen fruit into a smooth consistency.

Ganda Suthivarakom, Wirecutter’s strategy editor, said she loved how thoroughly her four-year-old Vitamix 5200 pureed even tough ingredients: “I mostly use it for smoothies and dressings. I appreciate that the Vitamix pulverizes carrots and fibrous ginger to make a super-smooth dressing. To be honest, it’s probably more machine than I need, but it’s so good at producing a completely silky texture that I don’t regret spending the money.”

Designed to handle thick mixtures

No blender is a hands-off miracle worker, especially for stiff smoothies that don’t flow easily around the blades. It helps to have a jar with a narrow base like the one in the Vitamix 5200, which pulls ingredients down toward the blade rather than flinging them away. But for particularly thick smoothies, a tamper—the plastic bat included with most high-powered blenders—is also essential for busting air pockets and keeping your ingredients moving in the jar.


The Vitamix’s tamper helps bust air pockets—and it’s the only object you should stick into a running blender. Photo: Michael Hession
We like the Vitamix 5200’s tamper because its long and slender shape allowed us to maneuver it into the corners the best of any blender we tested. And in our tests, the 5200’s tamper helped this model make dense smoothies, pasty peanut butter, and thick bean dip more quickly and easily than blenders without tampers, such as the Blendtec Designer 675. The Blendtec is prone to creating air pockets around the blades, especially when blending firm mixtures. And the only way to around that dilemma is to stop the motor to shake or stir the air out (do not stick a spoon, ladle, spatula, or any other tool into a running blender jar), which greatly slows down the process.

Compared with the Vitamix, personal blenders can’t produce smoothies as dense because they have closed jars and you can’t tamp air pockets while the motor runs. To keep the blades moving, personal blenders require more liquid. They also put out less power—and as a result, produce grainier smoothies—than the Vitamix 5200.

Durable enough for the daily grind

You want to be confident that your blender won’t burn out midblend. It’s a real bummer if your first meal of the day is thwarted by an inferior appliance. A cheap blender can prematurely burn out after making one thick smoothie, let alone a few batches in a row. The Vitamix 5200, on the other hand, is a durable machine that can power through many rounds of smoothies, so no one’s left holding an empty cup. In our tests, we made five batches of smoothies in a row in the 5200 without detecting any motor strain, whereas other blenders overheated after two or three.

Kalee Thompson, senior editor for Wirecutter, uses her Vitamix regularly and hasn’t had any issues with the motor burning out. “It’s great. [My husband] bought it, and I thought it was ridiculously expensive. But it’s worth it, in my opinion. I keep it on my counter and use it several times a week to make smoothies with greens or celery mixed in with the yummier stuff. It generally just works.”

I’ve also used Vitamix blenders for many years, both at home and in restaurant kitchens. At one particular job, every day I had to make a flavor-rich lovage oil that involved pureeing a case of herbs into a smooth green paste. Never once did that Vitamix burn out or leave me hanging.

Can handle big batches

The 64-ounce jar of the Vitamix 5200 has enough capacity to blend batches of smoothies for up to four people, so assuming everyone likes the same smoothie, you can knock out breakfast in one go. Compared with the Vitamix 5200, a personal blender (as the name suggests) can accommodate only a single serving of smoothie. Our top personal blender, the NutriBullet Pro, has a maximum blending capacity of 24 ounces, which equals one hearty smoothie or two light snacks.

Easy to clean

Mornings are hectic, and many people don’t have time to scrub food from the nooks and crannies of a blender jar. Ganda Suthivarakom told us that she likes that the Vitamix 5200’s motor can do the work for her: “I love how easy it is to clean—a drop of soap and a whirr on high followed by a sponge means I can clean everything up before my smoothie has melted.” And the motor base cleans up with a quick pass of a sponge.

Personal blenders


Photo: Michael Hession
We get that a $400-plus high-powered blender might be too much machine, or a cost-prohibitive choice, for some folks. And if that’s the case for you, we think the NutriBullet Pro 900 personal blender is a great option for anyone who wants an affordable way to make a quick smoothie in the morning. It’s also convenient because the blending jar is a single-serve cup with a travel lid. But as we’ve noted above, you won’t get Vitamix performance from the NutriBullet. Compared with the Vitamix 5200, the NutriBullet Pro is smaller and less powerful, and it requires more liquid to puree things. NutriBullet smoothies are thinner and grainier as a result.

Personal blenders like the NutriBullet aren’t as versatile as a full-size blender. Namely, the NutriBullet can’t crush large ice cubes, and you should never use it for blending hot foods. But it’s plenty of machine for small apartments and people who want a simple way to make a quick morning smoothie with little cleanup.

Other blenders we recommend

If you’re familiar with our full guide to blenders, you know we have more than one pick. We also recommend the Oster Versa Performance Blender and the Cleanblend 1,800-watt blender, as well as the budget-friendly KitchenAid KSB1570ER 5-Speed Classic Blender. Although the first two models are good for occasional blending jobs, they simply don’t have the longevity to stand up to the daily rigors of grinding up a thick smoothie like the Vitamix 5200 can. The KitchenAid is much less powerful, and really best for infrequent use (and for people who don’t mind a pulpier smoothie). The Oster has a history of burning out in the middle of its seven-year warranty (a turnoff for some people), but the company’s customer service is quick and courteous about replacement. Cleanblend is a new company, and reports of its customer service are spotty. But the Cleanblend model is powerful, and it’s the only blender we tested that performed similarly to the Vitamix.

The NutriBullet Pro is our top personal-blender pick because it strikes a great balance of price to performance. In addition to that top pick, we also recommend the Breville Boss To Go and the Tribest PB-150 in our full guide to personal blenders. Compared with the NutriBullet Pro, the Breville Boss To Go makes thicker, smoother smoothies and costs twice the price. The Tribest PB-150 is the smallest of all our picks and requires the most liquid to keep the blades moving. We consider the little Tribest as more of a supplement to a big blender, not a stand-alone daily smoothie machine.

This guide may have been updated by Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

Note from Wirecutter: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.

What's the best blender for smoothies?

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By Lesley Stockton

This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.

A thick and velvety smoothie is one of the most difficult things you can demand from a blender. You’re expecting four tiny blades powered by a motor no bigger than a coffee mug to make frozen fruit, ice, fibrous greens, and gloppy peanut butter into soft serve in a minute. So rather than asking about the best blender for smoothies, the better question to ask is: What’s the best blender? And that’s because if a blender can turn out juice-bar-quality smoothies day after day, it will most likely liquefy almost anything else you’d want to with ease.

Any good blender will deliver a sippable smoothie if you add enough liquid. But if you like yours thick—like, get-those-skinny-straws-outta-here kind of thick—the Vitamix 5200 is the way to go. After years of testing and writing about blenders—both full-size and personal—we’ve found that the Vitamix 5200 consistently produces spoonable frozen smoothies better than any other blender we’ve tested. It also pulverizes gritty berry seeds and whizzes through tough kale better than most. All that power and reliability comes at a price, but we’ve learned that you truly get what you pay for in this particular case. That said, for folks who cringe at the idea of dropping $400 or more on a high-powered blender, a personal blender might be a good choice if you want to make only smoothies and don’t mind them a bit thinner (more on that later).


Photo: Michael Hession
The Vitamix 5200 is the best blender for smoothies—and everything else, for that matter. Yes, it’s pricey. But we’ve tested 22 blenders over the past five years, and the Vitamix 5200 has consistently blended faster and better than every model we’ve put it up against. That’s because it’s powerful enough to pulverize ice, tough berry seeds, and fibrous ginger into a smooth consistency. The tapered jar helps keep ingredients moving down toward the blades, and the tamper busts annoying air pockets. That means you spend less time making your smoothie and more time enjoying it.

We’ve also found the 5200 to be more durable than other blenders, so it should last you for many years of serious smoothie-making. But if something goes wrong, this Vitamix model is also backed with a seven-year warranty, an attentive customer service team, and a seamless claims process. Taking all that into account, $400-plus doesn’t seem like a crazy amount to spend on a great blender. Think of it this way: If you go out and pay $5 to $13 for a smoothie, five days a week, in two to four months you’ve paid the same amount as for a Vitamix 5200. How’s that for sticker shock?

The 5200 is a part of the classic series of blenders that Vitamix’s stellar reputation is built on. We prefer the 5200 over Vitamix’s other models because it has everything we need in a blender: a straightforward control panel, a pulse button, variable speeds, and an ultrahigh speed setting. And many home cooks and professionals alike are fervent supporters of this blender (some enthusiasts even pack their Vitamix when they travel). In fact, your pricey morning smoothie from the corner juice bar is most likely blended in a commercial-grade version of the Vitamix 5200, the original Vita-Prep. For more about what we like about the 5200, see the full discussion in our guide to blenders.

The keys to a great smoothie


The Vitamix 5200 took only 30 seconds to turn a pile of rock-hard frozen blueberries covered in yogurt, tahini, and honey into this delicious smoothie. Photo: Michael Hession
If you’re making a smoothie every day, your blender needs to be reliable, fast, and easy to clean so you can get out the door and on with your day. The Vitamix 5200 has all the qualities required to blend a great smoothie.

Blends fast

Mornings are short enough without your having to waste time struggling with a blender that isn’t cutting the mustard. The Vitamix 5200 can puree a silky, lump-free smoothie in about 30 seconds—for comparison, that’s half the time the $500 Blendtec Designer 675 takes to complete its preprogrammed smoothie setting. In fact, the Vitamix 5200 purees faster than any other blender we’ve tested, including our other picks, the Cleanblend 1,800-watt blender and the Oster Versa Performance Blender.

Cuts through fibrous vegetables and frozen fruit

Getting a smooth puree from personal blenders and inexpensive full-size models is a tall order, because they simply don’t have the power to quickly pulverize tough foods like the Vitamix 5200 can. And the Vitamix just makes a better smoothie because it’s one of the few blenders we tested that can puree tough greens and rock-hard frozen fruit into a smooth consistency.

Ganda Suthivarakom, Wirecutter’s strategy editor, said she loved how thoroughly her four-year-old Vitamix 5200 pureed even tough ingredients: “I mostly use it for smoothies and dressings. I appreciate that the Vitamix pulverizes carrots and fibrous ginger to make a super-smooth dressing. To be honest, it’s probably more machine than I need, but it’s so good at producing a completely silky texture that I don’t regret spending the money.”

Designed to handle thick mixtures

No blender is a hands-off miracle worker, especially for stiff smoothies that don’t flow easily around the blades. It helps to have a jar with a narrow base like the one in the Vitamix 5200, which pulls ingredients down toward the blade rather than flinging them away. But for particularly thick smoothies, a tamper—the plastic bat included with most high-powered blenders—is also essential for busting air pockets and keeping your ingredients moving in the jar.


The Vitamix’s tamper helps bust air pockets—and it’s the only object you should stick into a running blender. Photo: Michael Hession
We like the Vitamix 5200’s tamper because its long and slender shape allowed us to maneuver it into the corners the best of any blender we tested. And in our tests, the 5200’s tamper helped this model make dense smoothies, pasty peanut butter, and thick bean dip more quickly and easily than blenders without tampers, such as the Blendtec Designer 675. The Blendtec is prone to creating air pockets around the blades, especially when blending firm mixtures. And the only way to around that dilemma is to stop the motor to shake or stir the air out (do not stick a spoon, ladle, spatula, or any other tool into a running blender jar), which greatly slows down the process.

Compared with the Vitamix, personal blenders can’t produce smoothies as dense because they have closed jars and you can’t tamp air pockets while the motor runs. To keep the blades moving, personal blenders require more liquid. They also put out less power—and as a result, produce grainier smoothies—than the Vitamix 5200.

Durable enough for the daily grind

You want to be confident that your blender won’t burn out midblend. It’s a real bummer if your first meal of the day is thwarted by an inferior appliance. A cheap blender can prematurely burn out after making one thick smoothie, let alone a few batches in a row. The Vitamix 5200, on the other hand, is a durable machine that can power through many rounds of smoothies, so no one’s left holding an empty cup. In our tests, we made five batches of smoothies in a row in the 5200 without detecting any motor strain, whereas other blenders overheated after two or three.

Kalee Thompson, senior editor for Wirecutter, uses her Vitamix regularly and hasn’t had any issues with the motor burning out. “It’s great. [My husband] bought it, and I thought it was ridiculously expensive. But it’s worth it, in my opinion. I keep it on my counter and use it several times a week to make smoothies with greens or celery mixed in with the yummier stuff. It generally just works.”

I’ve also used Vitamix blenders for many years, both at home and in restaurant kitchens. At one particular job, every day I had to make a flavor-rich lovage oil that involved pureeing a case of herbs into a smooth green paste. Never once did that Vitamix burn out or leave me hanging.

Can handle big batches

The 64-ounce jar of the Vitamix 5200 has enough capacity to blend batches of smoothies for up to four people, so assuming everyone likes the same smoothie, you can knock out breakfast in one go. Compared with the Vitamix 5200, a personal blender (as the name suggests) can accommodate only a single serving of smoothie. Our top personal blender, the NutriBullet Pro, has a maximum blending capacity of 24 ounces, which equals one hearty smoothie or two light snacks.

Easy to clean

Mornings are hectic, and many people don’t have time to scrub food from the nooks and crannies of a blender jar. Ganda Suthivarakom told us that she likes that the Vitamix 5200’s motor can do the work for her: “I love how easy it is to clean—a drop of soap and a whirr on high followed by a sponge means I can clean everything up before my smoothie has melted.” And the motor base cleans up with a quick pass of a sponge.

Personal blenders


Photo: Michael Hession
We get that a $400-plus high-powered blender might be too much machine, or a cost-prohibitive choice, for some folks. And if that’s the case for you, we think the NutriBullet Pro 900 personal blender is a great option for anyone who wants an affordable way to make a quick smoothie in the morning. It’s also convenient because the blending jar is a single-serve cup with a travel lid. But as we’ve noted above, you won’t get Vitamix performance from the NutriBullet. Compared with the Vitamix 5200, the NutriBullet Pro is smaller and less powerful, and it requires more liquid to puree things. NutriBullet smoothies are thinner and grainier as a result.

Personal blenders like the NutriBullet aren’t as versatile as a full-size blender. Namely, the NutriBullet can’t crush large ice cubes, and you should never use it for blending hot foods. But it’s plenty of machine for small apartments and people who want a simple way to make a quick morning smoothie with little cleanup.

Other blenders we recommend

If you’re familiar with our full guide to blenders, you know we have more than one pick. We also recommend the Oster Versa Performance Blender and the Cleanblend 1,800-watt blender, as well as the budget-friendly KitchenAid KSB1570ER 5-Speed Classic Blender. Although the first two models are good for occasional blending jobs, they simply don’t have the longevity to stand up to the daily rigors of grinding up a thick smoothie like the Vitamix 5200 can. The KitchenAid is much less powerful, and really best for infrequent use (and for people who don’t mind a pulpier smoothie). The Oster has a history of burning out in the middle of its seven-year warranty (a turnoff for some people), but the company’s customer service is quick and courteous about replacement. Cleanblend is a new company, and reports of its customer service are spotty. But the Cleanblend model is powerful, and it’s the only blender we tested that performed similarly to the Vitamix.

The NutriBullet Pro is our top personal-blender pick because it strikes a great balance of price to performance. In addition to that top pick, we also recommend the Breville Boss To Go and the Tribest PB-150 in our full guide to personal blenders. Compared with the NutriBullet Pro, the Breville Boss To Go makes thicker, smoother smoothies and costs twice the price. The Tribest PB-150 is the smallest of all our picks and requires the most liquid to keep the blades moving. We consider the little Tribest as more of a supplement to a big blender, not a stand-alone daily smoothie machine.

This guide may have been updated by Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

Note from Wirecutter: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.

Sphero bought a crowdfunded music tech company to expand its unlicensed toys

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Sphero bought a crowdfunded music tech company to expand its unlicensed toys

Sphero, the maker of connected toys like BB-8, announced this week that it’s acquired Specdrums, a company that makes rings that produce music through taps on different colors. We don’t know how much Sphero spent to acquire the company’s technology, but Specdrums raised over $175,000 on Kickstarter last year and just finished shipping to all its backers. It’s clear that Sphero plans on integrating the ring and color system into its proprietary toys.

Sphero CEO Paul Berberian tells The Verge that the company wants to “get back to its roots,” through toys that won’t have as much branded, character-focused play.

We can already get an idea of what these future toys could do because Specdrums integrated its technology with Sphero’s open SDK earlier this year. You can see below how the rings can control a Sphero’s movements.

None of Sphero’s products currently allow for music playback, but it seems obvious that the company would try to incorporate it now that it has Specdrums’ IP. Berberian’s quote is interesting because, up until recently, Sphero had mostly concentrated on releasing toys under other companies’ branding, like its BB-8, R2-D2, and Lightning McQueen from Pixar’s Cars franchise. The company’s clearly gotten in on that Disney money and now is ready to move beyond it.

Last year, it launched the Sphero Mini — a little ball that works similarly to the original Sphero — and it has plans to announce additional products this year and next. The company says it’ll also launch a second version of Specdrums in late 2018 or early 2019.

The Shadows That Run Alongside Our Car feels like playing your own low-budget horror movie

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The Shadows That Run Alongside Our Car feels like playing your own low-budget horror movie

It can be difficult to find time to finish a video game, especially if you only have a few hours a week to play. In our biweekly column Short Play we suggest video games that can be started and finished in a weekend.

There is a certain type of low-budget film that manages to tell a story in an unexpected way. It seems to come up most often with horror movies, where because of budget or time restraints, filmmakers are often forced to make choices they normally wouldn’t. Like how in Clerks they could only shoot in the store after it closed and had to come up with an explanation for why the shutter was always down, or how the zombie movie Pontypool is set entirely in a small town radio station where they’re trying to piece together what’s going on outside. Playing The Shadows That Run Alongside Our Car feels a lot like that.

The game, developed by a three-person team called Lox Rain, is a short visual novel about two people alone in a car months after the start of a zombie apocalypse. Their default names are Shelby and Dustin, though you are prompted early on to type in whatever names you want to use for each. The first choice you make in the game is whose perspective you want to see the story from. Whoever you pick is the only one whose thoughts you are privy to, and who you make dialogue choices for.


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This initial decision turns out to possibly be the most important one in the game. Although the story hits the same beats regardless of your choice, the insight you get into Shelby’s and Dustin’s thoughts provides a much different view of what is going on. The characters also often provide you with more information about them than they are willing to say to the other person.

Their interactions are sometimes sad and sometimes charming, but you quickly learn that these two people don’t know each other at all, despite having already spent a few days together. What follows is the pair trying to connect and learn about each other while they drive through a barren world and struggle to keep themselves from falling apart. They don’t know how long the car’s gas supply will last, or how long the road will remain quiet and empty. This respite feels like the first moment in a long time where they can pretend everything is normal.

It’s this very character-focused story, as well as the framing of the game, that evoked the same tone as a low-budget film for me. For most of the game, you’re looking at the two leads through the front windshield of their car. It’s an interesting and clever framing choice, and not just because it’s the kind of shot you might see in a movie or TV show. It also keeps with the design conventions of a visual novel, where characters in a scene aren’t animated in a traditional sense, but instead shift between different facial expressions and poses.


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The Shadows That Run Alongside Our Car may look and feel a bit like a film, but ultimately it offers a very different experience. The key is how the game gives a great sense of authorship to the player. It starts with being able to name the characters, but this control largely comes down to how the game is written. So much of what happens in the game is internalized; when you make a choice it doesn’t just lead to a line of dialogue, but also the character’s rationalizing your choice as their own.

It seems like a small thing, but it’s a powerful one. In The Shadows That Run Alongside Our Car, your decisions aren’t just something you want the character to say or do — they feel like choices the character wants to make themselves.


The Shadows That Run Alongside Our Car was created by Lox Rain. You can get it on Itch.io for pay what you want (Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.) It takes about 30 minutes to finish.

Tom Holland revealed the title for Spider-Man: Homecoming’s sequel

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Tom Holland revealed the title for Spider-Man: Homecoming’s sequel

The sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming is just over a year out from hitting theaters, but its star Tom Holland seems to have revealed the title in an Instagram post: Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Holland is at Ace Comic-Con in Seattle this weekend, appearing alongside other Marvel actors Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Mackie, and Elizabeth Olsen. While there, he posted a video to Instagram, and said that while there wasn’t any announcements for the upcoming sequel, he did just get the script, and held it up on an iPad, revealing the title.

Spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War ahead.

Spider-Man: Far From Home is an apt title. Back in April, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told io9 that would filming will begin in July in London, and that the reason they were shooting in England was that while Peter Parker/Spider-Man will be in New York City for part of the film, “he’ll spend some time in other parts of the globe.” Not much else is known about the film at this stage, although actor Jake Gyllenhaal is reportedly in talks for the role of supervillain Mysterio.

Obviously, with sequels to Guardians of the Galaxy and Black Panther reportedly in the works, Thanos’ master plan to depopulate the universe won’t be permanent, so it remains to be seen just how Peter Parker will return to the world of the living after the end of Avengers: Infinity War. We’ll find out next year, when the film hits theaters on July 5th.

A pilot fights to become the first female astronaut in alternate history novel The Calculating Stars

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A pilot fights to become the first female astronaut in alternate history novel The Calculating Stars


In 2012, author Mary Robinette Kowal published a novelette in an audio anthology called Rip-Off!, in which authors picked their favorite opening line in fiction, and used it as the basis for an original story. Kowal’s story was The Lady Astronaut of Mars, using the opening line from L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: “Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer’s wife.”

Kowal’s story went on to earn a Hugo Award in 2014. It followed an alternate history in which NASA reaches Mars during the 1950s and establishes a colony there. Next month, she’ll publish the first of two prequel stories, The Calculating Stars (the second, The Fated Sky hits stores in August), building on that original story.

In this alternate world, a meteorite slams into Earth in 1952 and wipes out much of the US Atlantic seaboard, threatening humanity’s survival, and prompting a massive effort to establish off-world colonies. The novel follows Elma York, a former Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) and mathematician who joins the International Aerospace Coalition as a calculator. Once there, she begins to question why she and other women can’t also go into space, and fights to become the first female astronaut.

The Calculating Stars hits bookstores on July 3rd. Tor has provided us with an exclusive excerpt:


Announcer: This is the BBC World News for March 3, 1952. Here is the news and I’m Raymond Baxter. As fires continue to rage on the east coast of the United States, other countries are beginning to see the first effects of this morning’s meteorite strike. Tidal waves are reported in Morocco, Portugal, and Ireland.

As a Women Airforce Service Pilot during the Second World War, I often flew transport missions with planes that were barely airworthy. My little Cessna was more flyable than some of the planes I’d gotten off the ground as a WASP. Dusty and scuffed, yes, but after the most careful preflight check in the history of aviation, I got her airborne.

As soon as we were up, I made a left bank to turn us south toward Charleston. We both knew it was probably futile, but I had to try. As the plane swung around, what remained of my irrational hope died. The sky to the east was a long dark wall of dust and smoke, lit from beneath by an inferno. If you’ve seen forest fires, you know a little of what this was like. The current fire stretched to the curvature of the Earth, as if someone had peeled back the mantle and opened a gateway into Hell itself. Streaks of fire lit the sky as ejecta continued to fall to the Earth. Flying into that would be madness.

Everything to the east of the mountains had been flattened. The airblast had laid the trees out in weirdly neat rows. In the seat beside me, just audible over the roar of the engine, Nathaniel moaned.

I swallowed and swung the plane back around to the west. “We have about two hours of fuel. Suggestions?”

Like me, he tended to do better if he had something to focus on. When his mother died, he built a deck in our backyard, and my husband is not terribly handy with a hammer. Nathaniel scrubbed his face and straightened. “Let’s see who’s out there?” He reached for the radio, which was still tuned to the Langley Tower. “Langley Tower, Cessna Four

One Six Baker request VFR traffic advisories. Over.” Static answered him.

“Any radio, Cessna Four One Six Baker request VFR traffic advisories. Over.”

He dialed through the entire radio frequency, listening for someone broadcasting. He repeated his call on each while I flew. “Try the UHF.” As a civilian pilot, I should have just had a VHF radio, but because Nathaniel worked with the NACA we had a UHF installed as well so he could listen directly to pilots who were on test flights. We never cluttered the military channels by broadcasting, but today . . . ? Today I just wanted anyone to answer. As we made our way west, the devastation lessened, but only in comparison to what lay behind us. Trees and buildings had been knocked down by the blast. Some were on fire, with no one to put them out. What had it been like, to not understand what was coming?

“Unidentified Cessna, Sabre Two One, all nonessential air traffic is grounded.”

At the sound of a living human, I started to weep again, but this was not a time to indulge in compromised vision. I blinked my eyes to clear them and focused on the horizon.

“Roger, Sabre Two One, Cessna Four One Six Baker, request advice on clear landing areas. Heading two seven zero.”

“One Six Baker, copy that. I’m right above you. Where the hell are you coming from?” His voice had the telltale hiss and rattle of an oxygen mask, and behind that was the thin whine of a jet engine. Looking back and up, I could just make out the F-86, and his wingman farther back, gaining on us. They would have to circle, because their stall speed was faster than my little Cessna could fly.

“Hell seems pretty accurate.” Nathaniel rubbed his forehead with his free hand. “We were in the Poconos when the meteorite hit.”

“Jesus, One Six Baker. I just flew over that. How are you alive?”

“I’ve got no idea. So . . . where should we set down?” “Give me a sec. I’ll check to see if I can escort you to

Wright-Patterson.”

“Roger. Would it help to mention that I’m a retired Army captain and still work with the government?”

“With the government? Please tell me you’re a senator.” Nathaniel laughed. “No. A rocket scientist with the NACA. Nathaniel York.”

“The satellites! That’s why you sounded familiar. I heard you on the radio. Major Eugene Lindholm, at your service.” The man on the other end of the line was silent for a couple of minutes. When it crackled back to life again, he said, “Got enough fuel to reach Wright-Patterson?”

I’d flown into that airbase multiple times, moving planes during the war. It was approximately one hundred and fifty miles from where we were. I nodded as I adjusted course to head us there.

Nathaniel nodded in acknowledgment and lifted the mic again. “We do.”

“Great. You’ll be there in time for dinner. Not that it’s much to look forward to.”

My stomach growled at the mention of food. We hadn’t eaten since dinner the night before, and I was suddenly ravenously hungry. Even water would be welcome.

When Nathaniel signed off, he leaned back in his seat with a sigh.

“Looks like you have a fan.”

He snorted. “We should have seen it.” “What?”

“The meteorite. We should have seen it coming.” “It wasn’t your job.”

“But we were looking for things that would interfere with the satellites. You’d think we’d spot a goddamn asteroid that was this close.”

“Low albedo. Trajectory that put it in line with the sun.

Small—”

“We should have seen it!”

“And if you had, what could we have done?”

The sound of the engine vibrated the seat beneath me and underscored the hiss of air slicing past. One of Nathaniel’s knees bounced up and down with nervous energy. He sat forward and grabbed the charts. “Looks like you’ll need to lay a course southwest.”

I’d already done that, and we had an escort, but if giving me directions made Nathaniel feel useful, then by God he could guide me all the way there. Every streaking flare of ejecta in the sky just drove home how helpless we were. I could see them, but not in time to do anything about them, so I kept my hands on the yoke and flew.

The good thing about the constant pinch of hunger was that it countered the soothing drone of the airplane and kept me awake. Well, that and Nathaniel’s terrible baritone. My husband was many things, but a singer was not one of them. Oh, he could carry a tune—in a bucket filled with gravel.

Fortunately, he knew that, and leaned toward a comedic repertoire in his efforts to keep me awake. Bellowing with a vibrato like an amorous goat, Nathaniel stomped his foot on the floorboards of the airplane.

“Oh, do you remember Grandma’s Lye Soap? Good for everything, everything in the place.

The pots and kettles, and for your hands, and for your face?”

Below us, the glorious sight of the Wright-Patterson airfield finally scrolled into view. Its identification light flashed green, then the double-white of a military field.

“Mrs. O’Malley, down in the valley Suffered from ulcers, I understand—”

“Saved!” I adjusted altitude. “Let ’em know we’re coming in?”

Nathaniel grinned and grabbed the mic. “Sabre Two One, One Six Baker. So how’s the food on the base?”

The radio crackled and Major Lindholm laughed. “It’s everything you would expect. And more.”

“That bad, eh?”

“I did not say that, sir. But if you’re real nice, I might share my wife’s care package.”

I laughed along with Nathaniel, far more than the joke deserved.

Nathaniel switched the radio to the tower frequency, but before he could get the mic to his lips, another voice crackled out. “Aircraft on heading two six zero, eight thousand five hundred feet, this is Wright-Patterson Tower. Identify yourself.”

“Wright-Patterson Tower, this is Cessna Four One Six Baker at eight thousand five hundred, direct to the field.”

Nathaniel had flown with me often enough that he had the routine down. He lowered the mic for a moment, then grinned and raised it again. “And Tower, we have Sabre Two One flight in tow.”

“Tower, Sabre Two One. We are escorting One Six Baker, request direct to the field.”

I snorted. It had to irk a fighter pilot to be trailing a scrubby little plane like my Cessna.

“One Six Baker and Sabre Two One, Tower copies. Approved direct to the field. Remain clear of One Six Baker. Be advised, we have reports of—”

Light streaked past the nose of the plane. A crack like a bomb going off. The entire plane bucked. I wrestled it level again—

And suddenly, I could see the propeller. The nearly invisible blur had become a stuttering, uneven bar. Part of it was just gone. It took me a moment to grasp what had happened. That streak of light had been a chunk of ejecta slamming into the nose of the plane, and it had taken part of my propeller with it.

The engine vibrations shook the yoke in my hand and slammed the seat against the base of my spine. This was only going to get worse. It could shake the engine right out of the plane. I slammed it into idle and began the sequence to secure the engine—by which I mean, shut it down.

Damn it. I wasn’t going to make the base. “I need a landing field. Now.”

At least we were in farm country, although the snow was going to mask the actual terrain. I pulled the throttle knob all the way out to idle and the engine shut off, leaving only the hiss of wind around us. What was left of the propeller windmilled as air rushed over it.

“What . . . ?”

“Gliding.” If the ejecta had hit a wing, we’d be in much worse trouble, but the Cessna was a darn good glider. I just wouldn’t get a second chance at landing.

There was a road cutting between the fields, which might be a good bet, if it weren’t for the fences bordering it. Field it was. I banked to line up the approach.

In the corner of my eye, Nathaniel still clutched the microphone. As a WASP, I’d had engines cut out on me far too often. This was his first time. He brought the radio to his mouth and I was so proud of how steady his voice was. “Wright Tower, this is Cessna Four One Six Baker declaring an emergency. We’ve had an engine failure and are making a forced landing on a field . . . um . . .” He fumbled for the map. “Cessna Four One Six Baker, Wright Tower. We have eyes on you. You just concentrate on landing. Sabre Two One, Wright Tower. Orbit to assist and pinpoint where they land.” “Wright Tower, Sabre Two One. Already on it.” The roar of the jet passed overhead as Major Lindholm and his wing-man did a wide sweep past us.

My pulse thrummed through my veins, taking the place of the engine noise. This was not my first unpowered landing, but it was the first time with my husband aboard. After everything else that had happened today, I would not be the cause of his death. I refused. “Buckled up?”

“Um. Yeah.” But he was fastening his seat belt as he spoke, so it was a good thing that I had asked. “Can I do . . . anything?”

“Brace.” I tucked in my chin and watched the altimeter. “Anything else—”

“Don’t talk.” He just wanted to help, but I didn’t have time for that. I had to slow the plane down as much as possible before I touched down, but not so much that we landed short of the field. The ground rose up to meet us, changing from a smooth white expanse to a model train set of a snowy field, and then—without transition—full size and beneath us. I kept the nose up so that the tail wheel touched down first.

The snow grabbed at the wheel, slowing us further. As long as I could, I kept the nose tipped up. When the wing wheels finally touched, one of them snagged on the uneven rows beneath the snow. The plane jolted. I clutched the yoke to keep the wings level and worked the rudder pedals, trying to turn in the direction of the wind.

Our turn continued until we were facing the direction that we’d come. The plane stopped. Around us, the world was silent and still.

All the air in my lungs hissed out at once. I sagged against the seat.

A jet engine roared overhead and the radio crackled. Major Lindholm’s voice filled the cabin. “One Six Baker, nicely done! Are you two okay?”

Nathaniel sat up and reached for the mic. His hand was shaking. “We aren’t dead. So, yes.”

The congealed mass of kidney beans and utterly questionable meatloaf may have been the best things I had ever tasted. The beans had a sweet tang to them, and puckered the inside of my mouth with too much salt, but I closed my eyes and relaxed against the hard bench in the Air Force canteen. It was weirdly empty, since much of the base had been deployed to deal with relief efforts. Some crockery rattled against the table and brought with it the glorious scent of chocolate.

When I opened my eyes, Major Lindholm settled onto the bench across from us. The picture I’d built of him in my head had no bearing on reality. I’d expected an older man, Nordic blond and stocky.

The real Major Lindholm was black, and younger than I’d expected from his voice. He was a hale man in his late thirties, with dark hair still mashed down from his helmet. The red line of his face mask traced a triangle around his chin and nose. And he brought hot chocolate.

Nathaniel lowered his fork and eyed the three steaming mugs on the table. He swallowed. “Is that hot cocoa?”

“Yeah, but don’t thank me. It’s a bribe, so I can ask you questions about rockets.” Lindholm pushed two of the mugs across the table. “From the stash my wife sends to work with me, not the Air Force stuff.”

“If you weren’t already married . . .” My hand had closed around the warm mug before I realized what I’d said. I hoped he wasn’t offended.

He laughed, thank God. “I’ve got a brother . . .”

My heart clenched hard. I’d managed to put my family out of my mind in order to keep going, but my brother lived in California. Hershel must think I was dead. My breath shuddered as I inhaled, but I managed to find a smile somewhere and looked up. “Is there a phone I can use? Long distance?”

Nathaniel rested his palm against my back. “Her family was in D.C.”

“Oh, geez, ma’am. I’m so sorry.” “But my brother—he’s in California.”

“You come with me, ma’am.” He glanced at Nathaniel. “Is there anyone you need to call, sir?”

Nathaniel shook his head. “Not urgently.”

I followed Major Lindholm, with Nathaniel at my back, through corridors that barely registered. What an inconsiderate brat I’d been. I’d taken comfort that Hershel and his family lived in California, but hadn’t once thought about the fact that to him, I was as good as dead. He had no reason to think that I wasn’t in D.C. when the meteorite struck.

The office Major Lindholm showed me to was small and military tidy. The only thing that marred the right angles was a framed photo of twin boys and a crayon-drawn map of the U.S. pinned to the wall. Nathaniel shut the door and stood outside with Lindholm.

A utilitarian black phone sat on the desk, but at least it had a rotary dial, so I wouldn’t have to speak with an operator. The receiver was warm and heavy. I dialed Hershel’s home, listening to the rattle of the rotary as it swept through the numbers. Each signal sent a pulse through the lines and gave me time to retreat into a mechanical calm.

All I got was the high, frantic hum of a busy circuit. It was hardly surprising that all the circuits would be busy, but I hung up and tried again immediately. My urgency beat in time with the busy signal.

I had barely hung up again when Nathaniel opened the door. “Company. You okay?”

“Circuit’s busy.” I wiped at my face, probably just smearing the dirt more. I would ask to send a telegram, but the military signalers would be tied up. “I’ll try later.”

There was a lot to be said for being alive and upright. I was a greasy, smoky, bleeding mess, but I was alive. My husband was alive. My brother and his family were alive. And if I needed a reminder that this was a blessing, all I had to do was remember how many people had died today. Still, when an Air Force colonel strode into the room, I caught myself trying to brush my hair into place as I stood, as if it would make a difference. Then, I saw past the insignia to the man. Stetson Parker. Thank heavens I had enough dirt on my face that I didn’t have to worry about guarding my expression.

The jerk had been promoted. This was not remotely surprising, since he was a charmer to anyone who outranked him, or who he needed . . . as he proceeded to demonstrate now, with an outstretched hand toward Nathaniel. “Dr. York. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to know you’re safe.”

Even with Lindholm’s earlier enthusiasm about rockets, it was easy to forget that Nathaniel had become a celebrity because of the satellite launch. We’d managed to beat the Russians to getting a satellite into orbit not once, but with three different launches. My husband, being unreasonably attractive and charming—a fact about which I am not biased—had become the face of the NACA space program. “Well, Major Lindholm has been taking good care of us.

We appreciate the welcome, Colonel . . . ?” The man had a name tag on, but still . . . an introduction was appropriate. “Where are my manners? I’m just so awestruck to have you here.” Parker gave a shit-eating grin. “Colonel Stetson Parker, Base Commander. Although . . . with affairs being what they are, I appear to be in charge of more than just this base.”

Of course he would get that in, to make it clear how important he was. I stepped forward and stuck out my hand. “Good to see you again, Colonel Parker.”

He raised his eyebrows in surprise. “I’m sorry, ma’am, you have the better of me.”

“Oh, when you knew me, I was still Elma Wexler. One of the WASP pilots.”

His face stiffened a little. “Ah. The general’s daughter.

Yes, I remember you.”

“Congratulations on your promotion.” I smiled the best “bless your heart” smile I could. “You must have worked very hard for it.”

“Thank you, ma’am.” He grinned again, clapping Nathaniel on the shoulder. “And I guess the little lady got a promotion, eh, becoming Mrs. York?”

My teeth hurt from grinding, but I kept smiling. “You mentioned not knowing who your superior is. What can you tell us about the current situation?”

“Ah . . .” He sobered, and the mood change might even have been real. He gestured to the seats on the other side of the desk. “Sit down, please.”

Parker took the chair behind the desk, and only now did I notice his nameplate set front and center. I was surprised he had twins. I wonder who’d married him. He steepled his fingers together and sighed again. “An explosion—”

“A meteorite.”

“That’s what the news reported. But given that Washington was wiped out? I place my money on the Russians.”

Nathaniel cocked his head. “Is there radioactivity?” “We haven’t gotten anyone close enough to the blast area to check.”

Idiot. I spelled things out for him. “There’s ejecta falling all around, which, first of all, you could just test for radioactivity. Second, that’s not something that happens with an A-bomb. It occurs when a meteorite punches a hole in the atmosphere and the blast material is sucked into space, then falls back to Earth.”

His eyes narrowed. “Then know this. The United States Congress was in session, both the House and the Senate. Our federal government was nearly entirely wiped out. The Pentagon, Langley . . . So even if this was an act of God, do you honestly think the Russians won’t try to take advantage of it?”

That . . . that was a terrifyingly good point. I leaned back in my chair and crossed my arms over my chest to ward off the sudden chill in the air.

Nathaniel filled in the gap. “So, the military is planning a defense?”

He didn’t quite emphasize “military,” but did make it clear enough that whatever happened, a colonel was not going to be running the show.

“It’s the prudent thing to do. Dr. York . . .” He paused, but the hesitation was so blatantly calculated that you could almost see him counting the seconds. “You worked on the Manhattan Project, am I correct?”

Nathaniel stiffened next to me. The Manhattan Project had been exciting from a scientific standpoint, but horrific in every other respect. “I did, but I’m focused on space exploration these days.”

Parker waved that away. “I hate to do this to you after your arduous morning, but may I pull you into a meeting?”

“I’m not sure that I really have anything to offer.” “You’re the top scientist in rocketry right now.”

Neither of us needed a reminder of how many people at the NACA were likely dead. I rested my hand on Nathaniel’s knee, to steady him as he had steadied me. The NACA, however, was not the only rocketry program. “Not to undervalue my husband’s work, but Wernher von Braun is at the Sunflower Project in Kansas.”

Parker snorted and gave me a pained smile. He’d hated being polite to me during the war, when he had to because of my father; and now he hated being polite to Dr. York’s wife. “Ma’am, it’s nice that you want to help, but I hope you understand that I can’t involve a former Nazi like von Braun in questions of national security.” And then he was looking at Nathaniel again, ignoring me completely. “What do you say, Dr. York? We just want to understand what our options are for keeping America safe.”

Nathaniel sighed and picked at a loose thread on his trousers. “All right. But I’m not promising to be bright today.”

As he stood, I straightened my legs to join him. Parker held his hand up and shook his head. “No need, ma’am. You can just rest here in my office, while Major Lindholm arranges quarters for you.”

The major said, “We have some empty rooms at our place—if you want to avoid the TLFs?”

I was flattered—not that he’d offered a place to stay, but that he used the acronym for temporary living facilities instead of translating for a civilian. “That’s very kind. If your wife doesn’t mind, Major.”

“I’m sure she won’t, ma’am.”

Parker’s smile was unexpectedly warm. “You’re in good hands. His wife makes darn fine pie.”

I’ll admit that I was surprised to see what appeared to be genuine camaraderie between the two men. My own experiences with Parker had been less than ideal. I hoped that didn’t mean that Major Lindholm would turn out to be charming but unpleasant too. “Thank you. Now that that’s sorted, we can go on to the meeting.” Not that I had any desire to go to a meeting, but I would give a lot to feel like I could be of some use.

“Ah . . . I’m sorry, ma’am.” Parker tugged at his tie. “What I should have said was that Dr. York already has the necessary clearance levels from the Manhattan Project. You understand.”

Clearance, my ass. From what he was saying, there was no hierarchy at all, much less clearance. But if I voiced any of that, nothing useful would follow, so I settled back in my chair. “Well, bless your heart. Of course I understand. I’ll just sit here and wait.”

Nathaniel raised his brows at that. He knew me well enough to know I was good and angry, if not exactly why. I shook my head at him, reassuring him that I was fine. I smiled, folded my hands demurely in my lap, and settled back. Like a good little girl, I would sit and wait, let my husband do the work, and pray to God that this mishegas wasn’t going to start a nuclear war.

One in three American drivers can’t tell if their tires are bald

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One in three American drivers can’t tell if their tires are bald

Whether you know it or not, driving a car is probably one of the riskiest things you’ll ever do. Substantially increasing that risk is the prospect of worn-down, bald tires with little to no tread. Unfortunately, a worrisome segment of the driving population can’t tell a normal tire from a bald one.

According to the US Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA), 35 percent of American drivers can’t tell if a tire is bald. In addition, 40 percent think they can tell if a tire is under-inflated just by looking at it, and just 17 percent knew how to check their tire pressure. These statistics are from a 2015 study, which resurfaced during National Tire Safety Week earlier this month in Ars Technica.

Vehicles with worn-out tires are three times more likely to end up in a crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

This study showed that tire-related crashes were more likely as your tire’s tread wears, with accident rates at just 2.4 percent when tires had near full tread depth to 26 percent when the tires were worn-out (0 – 2 /32” depth). We recommend consumers start shopping for new tires at 4/32” tread depth while some all-weather grip is still available. At this point tire-related crashes approached 8 percent.

“Properly checking and inflating your tires is an important step to help make your tires last longer, save you money and protect you and your family on the road,” NHTSA says in an advisory that was released on Thursday. The agency recommends checking your tire pressure and tread at least once a month.

Tires have built-in “treadwear indicators,” which are raised sections that run in between the tire’s tread. When the tread is worn down so that it’s level with the tread indicator, it’s time to replace your tires. You can also easily test your tire’s treads with any coin you have handy.

Walmart will begin selling an exclusive monthly DC comic anthology in July

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Walmart will begin selling an exclusive monthly DC comic anthology in July

DC will begin releasing an exclusive, monthly anthology comic series in Walmarts across the United States next month.

The comics will be more than your typical single-issue comic: these will be 100-page books, featuring a mix of new and reprinted material, priced at $4.99 an issue. According to DC Comics, the new material will be written by the likes of Tom King, Dan Jurgens, Brian Michael Bendis, Andy Kubert, and others, while each book will also include stories from the New 52 comics, Rebirth, and the New Age of DC Heroes. The series will include four titles: Superman Giant, Justice League of America Giant, Batman Giant, and Teen Titans Giant. This is the latest in a long line of Giant-style comics from DC: its 80-Page Giant line came in 1964, with others published over the years.

The first four books of this new series will hit shelves on July 1st, and after that, Superman Giant and Justice League Giant will each be released in the first week of the following months, while Batman Giant and Teen Titans Giant will arrive two weeks later. The books will also feature some longer stories: Tom King and artist Andy Kubert will begin a 12-part Superman series beginning in September called “Up in the Sky!” beginning in Superman Giant #3, while Brian Michael Bendis will pen a 12-part Batman series called “Universe,” beginning in Batman Giant #3.

DC’s partnership with Walmart unlocks a potentially huge audience for the publisher. More than 3000 Walmart stores across the US will carry the books — more than there are dedicated comic book stores in the US, and it harkens back to the days when most supermarkets carried comic books and science fiction magazines on their shelves. Walmart isn’t the only major retailer that’s getting in on the comic game: Bleeding Cool reported earlier this month that Game Stop would trial selling comics in some of its stores beginning on June 15th.

Please Remember To Wait For Good Love

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I was tired of settling for just okay love. For settling with someone who was just there to do things with and go places with. I’ve been there too often and for a while, it left me feeling jaded towards the idea of love. I had plenty of friends who’d found happiness with people who were less than one. I think it’s our fear that kicks in, our fear of being alone. A fear of never having a person, it’s a pressure that society on everyone, forcing you to settle in order to avoid answering, “so how come you’re still single?”

Sure it’s as easy as ordering coffee to find a swipe right or engage in a will they/won’t they or even pine after someone who only gives you attention with a like here and a comment there.

Why is that considered enough? Why do we settle for love and attention that is just temporary or okay? I do it far too often where I flirt with temporary happiness simply because I want to feel something.

I was listening to a new track from Aly & AJ, ‘Good Love.’ It’s a dose of 80’s cinema wrapped around lyrics about waiting for the right kind of love. A reminder mixed in between synths and drums that it’s okay to be single and want to have a great love story. There’s absolutely zero things wrong with A) being single for an extended period of time and B) wanting the kind of love that feels all the feels.

I remember the feeling after a goodbye, the one where your initial instinct is to build walls high and believe that love isn’t for you. You grow weary of smiles and late night text messages, falling into the cycle of comparison. You wait for the warnings signs to leave before you get left. I look back and realize that isn’t how you should live in the waiting space.

As cliche as it is, you really do need to find yourself and love the you that exists on your own. You want to be able to bring a complement into a relationship not seek out completion in one. That’s what these temporary highs give us, a sense of belonging no matter how fleeting.

Lately, I feel like I would rather wait, not settle. Instead of trading ‘love you’s’ and time, press pause. Maybe it means you’re alone but not lonely a little longer. Hang on and hold for those moments that are cinematic, delicate, and feel like your heart is a baseline. Your heart will endure less bruising, you’ll have more of yourself to share and you’ll know that the wait made you stronger.

We should embrace our single season and then we can fully embrace our season of being in a relationship. Good love is out there, it’s just waiting for the third act to make its appearance. TC mark

Teardown shows inner workings of the Vivo Nex’s pop-up selfie camera

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Teardown shows inner workings of the Vivo Nex’s pop-up selfie camera

Chinese smartphone makers have gone down a clever new path to get rid of the display notch and create a truly edge-to-edge screen: they’re now building pop-up cameras into their phones. We’ve seen both Oppo and Vivo do it in the span of a few weeks, and the latter’s Nex smartphone has already been put through the teardown process at MyFixGuide.

In the shots, you can see all the mechanics and components that make the slide-up motion possible on the selfie camera. There’s a spring in there, but it’s actually the silver spiral stepper to the right that pushes the camera up. It all seems fairly well put together, but moving parts are moving parts and thus more prone to failure.


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The teardown also shows the vibration motor that’s part of the Nex’s piezoelectric speaker system, which replaces the standard earpiece you get on other phones. It follows the same principle as Xiaomi’s original Mi Mix, but MyFixGuide says the approach is quite different. When so many companies are producing smartphones that are hard to tell apart, it’s neat to get a close look at some of the standouts.


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Did Melania Trump Just Steal A Plot From ‘The Bold Type’ To Pull One Over On Us?

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melania trumpInstagram / Flotus“I always wear what I like and what is appropriate for the occasion,” states Melania Trump in a 2016 interview with Elle.

Jump to, the First Lady wearing a military jacket embossed with the words “I really don’t care, do u?” while she boarded a plane to visit a detention center for immigrant children in Texas on Thursday.

The jacket, sold for $39 at Zara, can be seen in several photos and was confirmed by her spokesperson in a statement, who tried to quell the rising social media backlash.

ABC’s White House correspondent Meredith McGraw tweeted that when asked about it, the spokesperson Stephanie Grisham said, “It’s a jacket. There was no hidden message. After today’s important visit to Texas, I hope this isn’t what the media is going to choose to focus on.”

Grisham is right, in a way: There was no hidden message because the message was loud and clear, and emblazoned in very large letters.

In a tweet later sent from her own account, accompanied with self-created hashtags like #ItsJustAJacket and #SheCares, Grisham said, “Today’s visit with the children in Texas impacted @flotus greatly. If media would spend their time and energy on her actions and efforts to help kids — rather than speculate and focus on her wardrobe — we could get so much accomplished on behalf of children.”

It’s true that the first lady’s fashion choices are sometimes overanalyzed. Was the “pussy bow” she wore to one of her husband’s debates in October 2016 a coded message about his then-recent Access Hollywood tape? Probably not. Was the Dior suit she sported at the State of the Union address worn in “the spirit of protest”? Wishful thinking. But, then again, maybe they aren’t being analyzed enough.

In 1995, Marcia Clark was astonished to discover that in the media her wardrobe was just as much on trial as O.J. Simpson while she prosecuted him for murder. 20 years later during the Hillary Clinton campaign, we learned that if you are a woman your appearance is often louder than your own voice. So, perhaps someone in the Trump administration, or Melania herself, watched and learned from these and numerous other sexist blites in the media, and to their credit have learned to expertly turn lemons into lemonade. This time, however, Melania is not just using clothing to pull focus from the issue we should be discussing—the estimated 2,000 children who have been separated from their families at the border, in just the last six weeks—but has also thrown a smoke bomb on it.

Between April 19 and May 31 of this year, 1,995 children have been abducted from their parents by the US government—indicating at present, an average of 45 children per day—but, we aren’t talking about that. Instead, we’re trading Melania Jacket Memes, and discussing the glaring punctuation and syntax issues in the latest Trump tweet (like seriously, hire someone to do your copy, girl). And, while most just roll their eyes at Trump once again using any news story as an opportunity to criticize the media (and others baffle as to why his thoughts are in direct conflict with his own spokesperson’s), the fact is, he too is trying to deflecting our attention with as much nonsense as he can muster. This is not thoughtless, it’s purposeful. We’re all talking about the jacket instead of the incarceration of thousands of innocent children. These stunts are meant to distract the populace from the real issues and turn our attention to something we can all universally be angry about, and bond over, but doesn’t actually matter.

And, ironically enough, the administration behind the current president—who will be fondly remembered as a sexual predator and failed businessman—may be guilty of stealing this political maneuver from a show about millennial women who despise him.

In an early episode of the 2017 breakout-hit series The Bold Type, Jane, a young journalist realizes that a tactful congresswoman known for her recent bout of fashion blunders, may, in fact, be using misogyny in the media to her own benefit. She sits staring at various news clips on her computer, comparing the timing of the politician criticized wardrobe malfunctions, and that of the work she is doing. Jane recounts, “This was the day that she voted to rollback the clean-water act, but instead of talking about that they are all talking about this hideous lime green [suit]. Then she turned around and said that she was being unfairly attacked as a woman, and that became the story.” Hmm, sound familiar?

Let’s entertain the possibility that Melania meant nothing by wearing this particular, discount fast-fashion outlet jacket, even though, she has a tendency to wear exclusively high-end designers like Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino when she appears in public. Perhaps the former fashion model who has never been seen with a hair out of place in more than a decade in the public eye wasn’t thinking about the fact that she would be photographed. Perhaps her staff—who did not stop her from wearing the jacket to a high-profile appearance—are horrendously ill-equipped to do their jobs, and failed to predict what would happen. Perhaps—No, this singular moment was not a coincidence. It was a targeted scheme to obscure our attention, which has been the current administration’s m.o. this entire presidency.

Bragging about grabbing women’s genitals without permission? “It’s just words, folks. It’s just words,” Trump told us. “That was locker-room talk”. His tweets? We’ve been told to ignore them. And now, when the first lady wears a jacket emblazoned in huge letters with the words “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” in the midst of a humanitarian crisis, and we are told we are foolish or disingenuous for reading and interpreting those words.

In the aforementioned episode of the Freeform cable channel series, the fictionalized congresswoman says “we all saw what Hillary went through. The day after each debate, her pantsuits were more scrutinized than her policy.” She elaborates, “when I choose an outfit, I’m always thinking… How can I use fashion to my advantage?” Looking back to this episode, and Melania’s own words in 2016, about how she, and her team, methodically plan her wardrobe for each and every occasion, it’s pretty clear there was intention behind the jacket was all along. TC mark

How Jurassic Park led to the modernization of dinosaur paleontology

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How Jurassic Park led to the modernization of dinosaur paleontology

Paleontologist Steve Brusatte loves Jurassic Park. Without it, he jokes, he wouldn’t even have a job. So he’s not going to criticize all the inaccuracies in the Hollywood franchise. But he’s also studied dinosaurs his whole life (real ones, with feathers), so he loves talking about giant creatures that ruled over the Earth millions of years ago.

In his new book The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World, Brusatte, a professor at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, charts the origins of dinosaurs from the beginning of the Triassic period all the way to their abrupt disappearance about 66 million years ago. He also takes a close look at the evolution of the field of paleontology, and how it has diversified and grown by leaps and bounds in recent years — thanks in part to Steven Spielberg’s iconic 1993 movie.

Brusatte recently spoke with The Verge about his book, how technology is leading to new dinosaur discoveries, and how Jurassic Park inspired a whole new generation of paleontologists.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.


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Your book The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World looks at the world of the dinosaurs in a new way. It’s a narrative history of where they came from and how they died out. Why did you decide to write a book like this?

I think it was a couple of things. When I got into dinosaurs, I was a little bit older. I wasn’t one of those annoying five-year-old kids who knew the name of every dinosaur and could spell the name of every dinosaur. Instead, I was an annoying teenager, and I became really enthralled by fossils when I was about 14 or 15 years old. I read pretty much every book I could find. Because I was a little bit older, I wasn’t really reading kids books. I was reading adult popular science books, books by people like [Robert] Bakker, Jack Horner, and Stephen Jay Gould. Those books were just such a gateway for me into science, and they really sparked my interest. So for a while, I’ve wanted to write my own.

There are so many dinosaur books for kids. You can probably find hundreds of them at a bookshop or library. But there aren’t so many for adults, which is strange because we’re in this real golden age of paleontology with all these new discoveries. There hasn’t been something for a while to try to tell the story of dinosaurs to an older audience that shows why dinosaurs are interesting, why they’re relevant, why it’s important to understand them, and to use them to hopefully tell a good story to people that maybe haven’t thought much about fossil evolution or even science since high school.

What impressed me the most about this book was that it puts everything into context: the whole evolution of dinosaurs and how creatures like the Tyrannosaurus rex fit in that larger story.

It’s a story that I don’t think has really been told before, even in the books I read about dinosaurs when I was younger. They were mostly field adventure-type books, which were great, and, of course, I tell some field stories in this book. But those were books about the excitement of finding new things and of being up in the field and exploring unknown places. There really hadn’t been a book that has been done on the whole evolutionary story of dinosaurs. I think, in part, that’s because there were big gaps in this story that we didn’t really know until recently. So if Bob Bakker or Jeff Warner or any of these other folks would have even wanted to write a book like that, they probably couldn’t do it very easily.

Ultimately, I think it’s an amazing story of how these reptiles survived an extinction and then rose up very gradually to take over the world and established this empire that grew into monstrous sizes. And then some of them grew feathers and wings and turned into birds, and then when they were at the top of their game, they were struck down. So I hope it’s a story that engages people because I think it’s one of the most fascinating stories in the whole history of our planet.

You mentioned that paleontologists didn’t really have a complete picture of the history until now. What has changed in recent years that allows you to tell this story?

Right now, we’re in a golden age of paleontology. People are finding more dinosaurs now than ever before: somebody somewhere around the world is finding a new species on average once a week. So, 50-some new species a year. It’s a number that sounds too unbelievable to be true, but it’s actually the case, and that’s been going on for about a decade now. That’s all because there are so many more people looking for dinosaurs all over the world. Countries like China, Brazil, and Argentina have opened up, and they’re training their own young scientists, with their own universities, their own museums, and they’re going out to find things. And it’s a much more diverse group of people than ever before. There are many young women in the field now. That didn’t use to be the case. So we’re just in this exciting phase of discovery, and that means, with all these new species, that’s just adding clues that can help us tell that story better.

But also there’s a lot of new technological advances that people 10, 20 years ago wouldn’t have dreamed up. It’s become normal to CAT scan fossils to see inside the heads of dinosaurs to see what their brains were like, what the sensory organs were like, to gauge how smart they were, what their senses were like. It’s also pretty standard to use computer animation software to study how dinosaurs moved, [to figure out] how fast they could run, how high they could hold their necks, how they fed, how hard they could bite, that kind of stuff. So that’s just led to a lot more evidence.

In particular, we’ve learned a whole lot more about the rise of dinosaurs. That’s where a lot of the great new discoveries are. We’ve known about the fall of dinosaurs for a while, all the way back to 1980 when [Luis and Walter Alvarez] first proposed the asteroid idea. But the rise of the dinosaurs has really just been discovered over the last 10 to 15 years. So many new fossils of these Triassic-age dinosaurs from so many parts of the world have revealed this unexpected story that dinosaurs didn’t just spread around the world like some infectious virus the moment they originated. They were not superior to the other animals that they were rising up with in those early days after the Permian extinction on Pangea. Instead, it was a long, slow, almost tortured rise to dominance that took about 50 million years. If it was 10 or 15 years ago, we just wouldn’t have really known that story at all.

I’ve always wondered how a real Jurassic Park, with dinosaurs from all over the time scale, would function.

I think it’s an amazing thought experiment. I think it’s very implausible to bring back dinosaurs. I never like to say never because that shuts off our desire to do things and discover things. But when it comes to resurrecting dinosaurs, ever since Jurassic Park came out, everybody’s been looking for dinosaur DNA. But despite 25 years of looking, nobody’s found even a single fragment of dinosaur DNA. That’s just because DNA degrades so rapidly once an animal dies.

I would also argue that I wouldn’t want to bring back dinosaurs, even though I study them and am so enthralled by them. There’s little that I’d want more to see — through a very powerful pair of binoculars — than a T. rex alive, interacting with this world, hunting, caring for its young. [But] I do think that it wouldn’t really be right to bring them back because I don’t think they could really cope in our world today. They lived in a different world. They evolved at a different time.

With all that said, if somebody were able to create a theme park like this, it would be wild to see how these dinosaurs would interact, because T. rex didn’t live with Brachiosaurus, and neither of them lived with Dilophosaurus or Velociraptor. These are things that lived at different times and in different places. So a T. rex would have never evolved to deal with the velociraptor, so to see those two very different types of predators would be wild.

What do the Jurassic Park films do for the public’s imagination of dinosaurs, and how does it contribute to this ongoing paleontology renaissance?

I love the films, particularly the first Jurassic Park. You’re not going to hear me nitpick about how each scene has some inaccuracy, like this dinosaur would have been three centimeters bigger or it’s not quite the right color, or that one’s holding its arms a little bit wrong. I’m not going to do that. I just think that’s unnecessary and beside the point because you know these things are not science documentaries; they’re entertainment.

I think the first Jurassic Park was the best thing that’s ever happened to dinosaur paleontology. That led to an explosion of public interest in dinosaurs. This introduced dinosaurs to a whole new generation, and this newer image of dinosaurs as an active, energetic, and intelligent animal. It was so different than the dinosaurs I read about in my books in school, and that was great. It reignited this interest in dinosaurs, and that led directly to a lot of museums putting out dinosaur exhibits. A lot of universities put out courses, and [there was] a lot more interest and money in the field. A lot of my colleagues got jobs specifically because of Jurassic Park, because a museum of university wanted to hire a paleontologist after that. So I do think there is a really, really good chance I wouldn’t have my job today if the book was never written, if the movie was never made. I think dinosaur paleontology right now would still be a really niche discipline, with only a handful of people around the world studying it, and probably not a very diverse group of people. The film changed the whole potential of the field, and we’re reaping the benefits of that because there are so many people of my generation all around the world that were so enthused by the film.

Is there anything that you wish the films did differently?

I think it’s one of the great ironies that the Jurassic Park films now are out of date. It’s something everybody says — and it may sound a bit cliché because you have pretty much every paleontologist say it — but the one thing I would like to see is feathers on some of the dinosaurs, because we now know so many dinosaurs were covered in feathers.

Now, I understand that a large percentage of the public would probably find them weird if they did have feathers, and I can only imagine that’s one of the reasons that the writers and producers haven’t put feathers on the dinosaurs. But at the very least, I would love to see feathered Velociraptors, because we know they had feathers, and we know they had actual wings, and they would have looked so much like birds. As far as I’m concerned, that makes them even more terrifying. I mean think of a pack of rabid turkeys with big sickle claws on their feet, chasing after you, surrounding you, and trying to rip into you. I think that’s more terrifying than the Velociraptors as shown in Jurassic Park.

What piece of technology has helped you the most in your job?

CAT scanners. That’s just allowed us to study the anatomy of dinosaur bones in a detail we never could before, particularly the internal anatomy. There’s so much information in the inside of a skeleton and particularly the skull. The CAT scans allow us to see the brain cavity, the sinuses, the blood vessels, the nerves — all of these things that are so central to intelligence and sensory perception [that informs] the behaviors of these dinosaurs. That just opened up a new world that just wasn’t really accessible before.

The field has become really techy. I don’t think it’s unique to paleontology, but it used to be that paleontology students would mostly study geology. They would mostly cut their teeth by doing field work and taking part in dinosaur digs hacking bones out of the rock. Of course, that training still continues, but nowadays so many of our young students are trained in mathematics and statistics. They’re ace computer programmers. That’s where the field is going: using every tool at our disposal and collaborating with other fields, other people, and other perspectives to really understand what dinosaurs were like as real animals. But also using mathematics to study things like evolutionary trends and rates, building family trees, quantifying how fast or slow dinosaurs evolved, how they spread around the world.

I think the techie side of paleontology doesn’t really fit the public’s image of a paleontologist. Most people think a paleontologist as gold prospectors. There is still very much that image in documentaries and in television shows of this very macho, masculine, testosterone-driven, Indiana Jones-style character that goes out to some corner of the world. But that’s not really the case, and I tried to show in the book how we’ve become a very diverse field.

7 new trailers you should watch this week

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7 new trailers you should watch this week

I know watching movies on plane screens is supposed to be a cinematic sin, but there’s also something great about using a flight to catch movies you might have otherwise skipped over when given a wider library to pick from on land. The tough part is picking out something that’ll play well on the smaller screen.

Earlier this year, I saw Battle of the Sexes and Murder on the Orient Express while on flights for work. Even my desperate need for entertainment couldn’t save Orient Express, which, I don’t know, I guess I shouldn’t have expected more of. But Battle of the Sexes was so relentlessly fun and big that it locked me in, fuzzy screen and all.

So what makes a movie right for planes? I’m not sure; it’s probably a little different for everyone. For me, it’s something I’m pretty sure I won’t be upset missing the small details on — it’s probably the wrong screen for something super emotional, like Call Me By Your Name. But comedies and second-rate thrillers? Sounds great.

Check out seven new trailers from this week below.

Creed II

Ryan Coogler may not be back as director, but this first trailer has Creed II looking just as strong and emotional as the first one — and of course, having Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson as your lead actors certainly goes a long way. It comes out this Thanksgiving.

Searching

Here’s a second look at Searching, another film that takes place entirely on a desktop through webcams, browser tabs, and local files. The movie got good reviews at Sundance, and this trailer seems to speak to its strengths — it’s a thriller, but it also seems to stand out by honing in so closely on two characters. It comes out August 3rd.

Skate Kitchen

The Wolfpack director Crystal Moselle is back with her first narrative feature, one that seems to naturally blend into her documentary background. Skate Kitchen focuses on a skateboarding crew of teenage girls in New York City and seems to be about friendship, coming of age, and navigating a traditionally male space. Making the film all the more interesting is that The Skate Kitchen is a real skate crew and they are really starring in the film — Moselle even made a short documentary about them already. The film comes out August 10th.

Tau

Gary Oldman voices a futuristic smart home AI in this very horror / sci-fi B-movie about an evil inventor who seems to have made a killer house. Like literally a house that has smart features designed to trap and kill people. It’s coming to Netflix on June 29th.

Welcome to Marwen

This very strange movie has Steve Carell playing a photographer who’s lost his memory and starts creating makeshift World War II scenes out of Barbies and action figures. The story is utterly bizarre, and somehow it’s actually based on a true story — you can read about it here in The New York Times. But really, the big draw here is the strange, action figure / human hybrid animation stuff, which looks visually striking if nothing else. It comes out around Christmas.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

For its 10th season, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is coming to Netflix. The series’ entire back catalog has already moved from Crackle to Netflix. On July 6th, Netflix will debut the first season of its own, which includes interviews with Ellen DeGeneres, Kate McKinnon, and Tracy Morgan, among many other big names.

Kiss Me First

Netflix has picked up Kiss Me First, a British series that looks like it’s spinning the premise of Ready Player One into a kind of YA murder mystery. The show already aired in the UK, but now it’s coming to Netflix everywhere else on June 29th.

You’re Not Crazy, He’s Gaslighting You, And Here Are 50 Ways To Be 100% Sure

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  1. He calls you crazy.

  2. You find that he lies to you constantly. Lying blatantly to your face is easy and almost natural to him.

  3. He doesn’t back down from his version of the truth or change his story when you call him out on it. You can present irrefutable evidence of his lies and he will still insist that you’re wrong. He will still deny.

  4. He’s extremely convincing, even when your gut is telling you he’s lying.

  5. He takes advantage in a situation in which he is lying to you, to make you feel like you are crazy or irrational.

  6. You have a lot of nonsensical conversations. They make such complicated arguments and twist the truth so much that you become confused.

  7. He discredits you to others. He brands you with the label of the crazy girlfriend or controlling partner. He makes it appear that he’s the victim of your behavior or mental state.

  8. He discredits others to you. If someone relays information that is inconvenient for him to you or paints him in a different light, he will try to discredit those people to you or claim that they “don’t like him” or “are out to get him.”

  9. He deflects.

  10. He often forgets or denies and displays selective memory. He claims to forget events that have occurred, especially if they don’t favor him. He denies having made promises of significance to you. He will say things like “that never happened” or “I never said that.”

  11. He questions your memory and accuses you of making things up.

  12. He reframes conversations, memories, or stories to be retold in his favor.

  13. You doubt your version of the truth and second guess your memory.

  14. He “trivializes” by minimizing your thoughts and feelings. He often accuses you of overreacting and being too sensitive. You are often told by him to “calm down.” He makes you believe that YOU are the problem, effectively communicating that you are wrong.

  15. He doesn’t acknowledge your feelings, thoughts, or beliefs. In fact, he makes you feel as if they are trivial, insignificant, foolish, or even wrong.

  16. He dismisses your thoughts and feelings as absurd. They become a weapon. He uses them against you and uses them as “proof” of your character flaws, one of which he claims is irrationality.

  17. You’ve found yourself questioning your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs yourself.

  18. You’ve found yourself doubting your sense of reality and perceptions.

  19. You don’t feel validated, understood, or seen with him.

  20. His mistakes often become your own. The blame is constantly shifted to you. He manipulates the situation in such a way that he ends up making you believe that his transgressions are a result of something you did wrong or your shortcomings. He claims that if you would try harder, behave differently, or hadn’t acted in such a way, he wouldn’t have done what he did to hurt you.

  21. He denies any wrongdoing and doesn’t acknowledge your pain.

  22. You apologize when he’s the one that should be apologizing.

  23. You become convinced everything is your fault.

  24. You are constantly apologizing for what you do and who you are.

  25. You often feel like you’ve done something wrong or have “screwed up” somehow.

  26. You repeat words of things he’s called you to yourself, like: crazy, irrational, overly demanding, nagging, inadequate, wrong, stupid.

  27. You never feel good enough.

  28. You’ve stopped confronting him in certain situations because you’ve started to ask yourself if you are really too sensitive, overly emotional, overly demanding, etc.

  29. You’ve stopped confronting him in certain situations because you’ve started to invalidate your own emotions.

  30. He has tried to mold you and change you into his ideal. This may include things like making remarks about your weight, clothes, habits, diet, friends, and even trying to make you doubt your views.

  31. He becomes angry when your views don’t align with his.

  32. He becomes angry when you challenge his views or try to have an open-minded conversation.

  33. You’ve become silent. You don’t speak up in order not to spark an argument. You know that expressing your feelings or sharing your thoughts or opinions will only wind up making you feel worse. You stay silent to avoid reality twists. You don’t speak up to avoid any kind of verbal abuse.

  34. You lie to avoid his reaction, verbal abuse, put downs, or simply not to argue.

  35. You make excuses for his behavior.

  36. You lie or withhold things from friends and family in order to “protect” him, and in fear that they wouldn’t see him in a good light.

  37. He uses your fears, vulnerabilities, and insecurities against you.

  38. He may use your mental health if you suffer from things like depression and anxiety as a weapon, or to further amplify his argument that you’re “not thinking right.”

  39. He “diagnoses” you and tells you that you need help, medication, or tries to claim to know why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling or thinking the way you’re thinking.

  40. He claims to know what you are thinking and accuses you of lying when you don’t admit to it.

  41. He accuses you of having ridiculous ulterior motives.

  42. You lost all your self-confidence and self-esteem.

  43. You don’t recognize who you are anymore, especially around him, and you’re starting to feel disappointed in who you’ve become.

  44. You find it hard to make even small decisions. You act indecisively.

  45. His behavior and attitude confuses you. He’s extremely mercurial.

  46. He doesn’t apologize unless he’s using it as a method to reel you back in.

  47. He uses affection as a weapon and often only displays it when you’re pulling away or he wants something from you. He uses compassionate words only in the same situations and says exactly what you want to hear.

  48. His words don’t reflect his actions.

  49. You are often trying to shut thoughts down that something is “off” about him.

  50. You don’t know what’s normal anymore, but you are beginning to feel like there has to be something better than this. TC mark

Weekend deals on Razer laptops, an LG soundbar, and more

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Weekend deals on Razer laptops, an LG soundbar, and more

The best time to buy gadgets during the summer is usually around July 4th or Amazon Prime Day, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few sales worth checking out in the meantime.

Razer is offering special weekend sale on a few of its Razer Blade gaming-focused laptops. While every model is receiving some kind of discount, the best deals are for the Razer Blade Stealth 13 and the Razer Blade Pro 17. While they might look similar, these are two very different models. The Blade Stealth 13 is a capable laptop with tremendous battery life and a high-resolution display, and it’s been marked down $200 this weekend. The Razer Blade Pro 17 is $500 off this weekend. It’s bigger and comes with a couple of other freebies like a Razer Hammerhead Bluetooth headset and Razer Rogue backpack.

If you’re in the market for a phone, the Moto G6 has a small discount through Amazon’s Prime Exclusive program. We will likely see a better deal on the G6 and the cheaper Moto G6 Play variant, which is now available for preorder, later this year. But if you need a phone right now, it’s a decent option for less than $250. Slim on bezels and bloatware, the G6 maintains features like a fingerprint sensor, expandable storage via microSD card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Finally, another deal worth your consideration is a heavily discounted 2.1 LG soundbar from Massdrop. LG makes plenty of soundbars, but this one stands out, thanks to its Dolby Atmos support, which adds extra depth and verticality to the sound profile that defies this soundbar’s size and speaker count. It’s also Google Cast-ready, meaning you can cast audio from your phone, tablet, or computer. Shouting hands-free commands will also work fluidly, so long as you have a Google Assistant-loaded speaker like Google Home in the same Wi-Fi network.

TV

Audio

Mobile

  • Moto G6 at Amazon for $234 (usually $249)
  • Google Pixel 2 / Pixel 2 XL are 15 percent off on the Google Store with unique codes sent to select Pixel users (ask around in the comments!)

Gaming

The Steam Summer Sale has begun, bringing an abundance of good deals for gamers. We’ve found a few worth checking out on Steam, but other game stores across the web are having sales, too:

Computing

Looking for gaming deals? Check out Polygon’s gaming deals roundup here.

Good Deals is a weekly roundup of the best deals on the internet, curated by Vox Media’s commerce team in collaboration with The Verge’s editorial team. You can submit deals to [email protected] and find more Good Deals here. All prices are reflective of the time of publication and are updated periodically to account for changes.

At this rodeo, robots enter downed planes and explore fake radioactive disasters

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At this rodeo, robots enter downed planes and explore fake radioactive disasters

Last week in the New Mexico desert, military and civilian bomb squads faced off at the 12th annual Robot Rodeo, which is a week of intense training organized by Sandia National Laboratories. To test their skills, bomb squads steered their bots to enter downed planes, explore faux-radioactive disaster sites, and climb flights of stairs.

“Everybody else is running away from the bomb, and these guys are going in,” says Jake Deuel, robotics manager at Sandia and coordinator of the rodeo. His goal is for the event to help bomb squads tackle real-world situations and learn what their robots can and cannot do. “We train these guys to come home safe,” he says.

Some of the crafted scenarios are designed to test the robot operators’ skills and problem-solving abilities. One exercise, for example, was based on the 1984 movie Red Dawn, where teenagers fight off invading forces in World War III. The competing robots had to go into a downed Phantom F-4 fighter jet to “retrieve the black box and some of the fancy electronics so that we can figure out what the enemy is doing,” Deuel says. Another exercise required bomb squads to work together to find the sources of an underground radiation leak and contain them.

“It’s not just like driving around remote-controlled cars. It’s complicated. There are broken wings and sharp objects, challenging areas you’ve got to get the robot in,” Deuel says. That’s why this kind of training is so key. The scenarios are “about robot manipulation and control, wrapped around a fun little story.”

The Verge spoke with Deuel about operating robots, alien blood collection, and why robot training is so important.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Walk me through what a Robot Rodeo looks like.

I usually have 10 to 12 teams show up, which means I usually need 10 to 12 different scenarios. Think of a scenario as a vignette. They typically only get 90 minutes. In each scenario, there’s a script that one of my evaluators would read to them. The bomb techs might ask some questions like, “Are we looking for six or seven of these items?” The evaluator may answer that question. Typically they’ll say, “We have no more information. You’ve got 90 minutes. Begin!” And then they’ve got to start solving the problem.


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Is it BYO-robot?

Instead of bringing your own bottle, you bring your own bot to the event. I’ll probably get the saying wrong, but it’s “train as you fight, fight as you train.” If I gave them something else or something different, that’s not the best way to get training value. It’s got to be your equipment — you know what it does, you know what it doesn’t do. So they’ll actually show up in their bomb truck, and these scenarios are usually geographically based around Sandia labs, which is on Kirtland Air Force Base here in Albuquerque. And so I’ll have some scenarios spread out so that the teams aren’t all seeing each other. I’ve got to find a location or something that looks like a burned-out building or a village or an underground, so you have to find a location to hold a scenario.


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Did I hear correctly in the video from last year’s Robot Rodeo that you’ve done an alien blood-collection scenario? Is there something Sandia knows that the rest of us don’t?

We like to build a scenario around the Men in Black movies. And when we did it, we had access to an old C-130 airplane fuselage. And so in that one, “Galaxy Air” — that’s the airline in the Men in Black movies — was transporting aliens, and these aliens were on life support. And we had a recirculating pump that you’d have in a party with a punch bowl pumping the liquid. So we had that set up with a bunch of red Kool-Aid representing the blood. One of the things they had to do was drive into the airplane fuselage, which was non-trivial getting up in there. They had a little plastic beaker that they had to pick up in their little robot gripper and not drop it and get it under this stream of dripping blood.

But then they also had to take a sample of something else. And then it’s like, “Oh wait, I’ve already got this beaker full of blood in my gripper, and I’m supposed to do something else.” It’s like, “You know what, shoot. I should have done the other task first and then gone over and picked up the beaker.” So, it might seem funny — and it was — but it’s really also training them to think about your operational sequence and to think it through. Don’t just get excited and start driving inside the airplane.


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Why is it important for bomb techs to practice driving their robots?

Driving your robot is a perishable skill — just like playing a sport or playing a video game. When you’re a kid and you’re playing a video game, it takes hours and hours of practice. But you put it down for weeks or a month, and then you try to pick it up again, and it’s like, “Okay, how do I do this? Where’s the switch? Is it this switch I flip up or flip down?” You’ve got to just keep practicing it, and the robot rodeo forces them to do that.

We did a scenario years ago where the basic objective of that scenario was just operator skill. They drove the robot, picked up a frisbee off the ground, hung it on a coat rack, drove across these spare tires with a mouse trap in the gripper without dropping it, all that kind of stuff. Imagine in front of you that there are lots of knobs and switches that control all the various joints of the robot and how you drive, and a joystick you can move for the camera, and a different one to fire the weapons systems. So imagine all that, and we put a Tupperware box on top of it with two holes to stick your hands in so that you couldn’t see your hands.

Oh boy, were they mad at me for that one. But at the end of it, they said, “That was a fantastic one because I realized I’ve got to get better at this.” Because in a real life-or-death situation, when they’re out there with that robot, you can’t be looking down at your hands. You have to have trained enough to just know instinctively where all the buttons or the knobs are so you’re focused on the task of disabling that device or rendering it safe or saving someone.


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ZTE claims it can’t fix its broken urinal because of the US export ban

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ZTE claims it can’t fix its broken urinal because of the US export ban

The US Department of Commerce in April banned exports to ZTE, which has left the company struggling to continue operations — apparently down to some basic office maintenance levels. According to a report by Southern China Morning Post, the company is claiming that it cannot fix a broken urinal at its Shenzhen office because it is made by American Standard, a New Jersey-based manufacturer.


A photo shared on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo shows a note above the offending urinal, saying that it cannot be fixed without ordering parts from the US, which would violate sanctions. “Our company is now subject to the export ban posed by the US government. Since this bathroom appliance is a product of American Standard, we can’t procure the spare parts for repair due to the export ban,” the note, which SCMP verified with an ZTE employee as authentic, reads. “When the export ban is lifted, we promise to get the parts, repair it, and resume operation at once. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused.”

It is unclear whether the note is genuine or part of ZTE’s effort to send a message to the US to lift the ban against the company. Earlier this month, the Commerce Department agreed to a deal that will allow ZTE to purchase US components and accessories again after President Trump vowed to work with Chinese president Xi Jinping to address the “many jobs lost in China.” However, the Senate voted this week to reinstate the ban, citing security risks. The move still has to clear the House of Representatives.

15+ Funny Faces That Reflect A Range Of Human Emotions

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Why say it with words when you can say it by contorting your face into a fun expression? The art of making a funny face never gets old. It doesn’t matter if you’re 10 or 57. We’ve all got the same group of facial muscles and the same range when it comes to expressing ourselves facially.

Funny Faces

Below is a comprehensive list of all the funny faces a person can make to help inform your illustrations and creative visions.

1. Fish Face

Funny Faces

Suck your cheeks in until your lips form a figure eight and there you go! You’re a gold fish. Or any other kind of fish you aspire to be. Bonus points if you can move your lips while they’re positioned as such.

2. Duck Face

Funny Faces

The go-to selfie face amongst a certain set, the Duck Face says “I’m trying my absolute best to look sexy but not TOO sexy.”

3. Extreme Tongue Out

Funny Faces

Stick your tongue way out if you’re taunting a friend or you’re in the mood to grab someone’s attention from across the room without screaming their name.

4.Devilish Side Tongue

Funny Face

Maybe she’s thinking hard. Maybe she’s farting. It’s tough to tell. The meaning behind a devilish side tongue is difficult to decipher.

5. Bug Eyed Girl Face

Funny Faces

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Nope! It’s a bug-eyed girl, clearly in awe of her surroundings or just in a super weird mood.

6. Crosseyed

Funny Faces

When one or both eyes are turned inward toward the nose, you’ve got your crosseyed look. This tends to happen from focusing on something close, but it can also be the symptom of a permanent condition.

7. Overwhelmed Face

Funny Faces

Hot tip: When you’re aching to express just how overwhelmed you are, just cradle your face with your hands and stare into the nothingness straight ahead.

8. The Stink Eye

Funny Faces

The Stink Eye drips of sarcasm. It says “whatever” more effectively than that word ever could. Do it when you’re rightfully annoyed at a friend or family member or something that’s happening around you.

9. The Home Alone Silly Face

Funny Faces

This funny face says “Holy shit, my face hurts!” Alternatively, it says “OMG I can’t believe [insert juicy gossip item]!

10. Happy Face

Funny Faces

This is the face of pure, unadulterated bliss. Arms open, smile wide—don’t you just want to hug this person who’s so obviously the bearer of wonderful news and a killer good vibe?

11. The “I’m Fine” Face

Funny Faces

It’s probably Monday morning for this person, who’s the type to say “I’m fine” but definitely NOT mean it.

12. The Huh? Face

Funny Faces

This person definitely didn’t hear you the first time around. Speak up! Or maybe articulate your thoughts better. She’s saying “huh?” without moving her lips.

13. The Clown Face

Funny Faces

She’s happy as a clown and she’ll demonstrate it by pinching her cheeks with each of her forefingers and smiling wide.

15. WTF Funny Face

Funny Faces

WTF, yo? Seriously. This woman is so not down with you and / or whatever’s happening around her.

14. The Squinty Wink Face

Funny Faces

Maybe she can’t quite see you clearly. Or maybe she reallllly has a problem with whatever just came out of your mouth. She’s squinting and kind-of winking for a reason and it’s up to you to figure out why.

15. The Holy Crap! Shock Face

Funny Faces

Holy crap, something awesomely good (and totally shocking) just happened and this girl’s happy to hear about it!

16. The Sensual Wink Face

Funny Faces

She winks because she likes you—and she wants you to know it. There’s a solid chance she’ll say “yes” if you muster the courage to ask her out on a date.

17. The Oops, I did It Again! Face

Funny Faces

This is the face of a woman saying “whoopsies.” Why? Because she’s made a little mistake. A booboo, if you will. Again. Sigh.

18. Pouty Face

Funny Faces

She’ll pout like this with her bottom lip sticking out as far as possible because it’s such an effective tool. Her pout’s adorable, and she’s not afraid to wield it to get whatever she wants in life. TC mark

Adobe is using AI to catch Photoshopped images

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Adobe
While picture editors have tweaked images for decades, modern tools like Adobe Photoshop let them alter photos to the point of complete fabrication. Think of sharks swimming in the streets of New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy, or someone flying a “where’s my damn dinner?” banner over a women’s march. Those images were fake, but clever manipulation can trick news outlets and social media users into thinking they’re real. By the time we figure out that they’re phony, bombastic pictures can go viral and it’s nearly impossible to let everyone know the image they shared is a sham.
Adobe, certainly aware of how complicit its software is in the creation of fake news images, is working on artificial intelligence that can spot the markers of phony photos. In other words, the maker of Photoshop is tapping into machine learning to find out if someone has Photoshopped an image.

Using AI to find fake images is a way for Adobe to help “increase trust and authenticity in digital media,” the company says. That brings it in line with the likes of Facebook and Google, which have stepped up their efforts to fight fake news.

[embedded content]

Whenever someone alters an image, unless they are pixel perfect in their work, they always leave behind indicators that the photo is modified. Metadata and watermarks can help determine a source image, and forensics can probe factors like lighting, noise distribution and edges on the pixel level to find inconsistencies. If a color is slightly off, for instance, forensic tools can flag it. But Adobe wagers that it could employ AI to find telltale signs of manipulation faster and more reliably.

The AI looks for three types of manipulation: cloning, splicing and removal. Cloning (or copy-move) is when objects are copied or moved within an image, such as parts of a crowd duplicated to make it seem like there are more people in a scene. Splicing is where someone smushes together aspects of two different images, like the aforementioned sharks, which were grabbed from one photo and blended into another showing flooded streets. Removal is self-explanatory.

As is typical with machine learning methods, the Adobe team, along with University of Maryland researchers, fed the AI tens of thousands of phony images to teach it what to look for. The team trained the AI to figure out the type of manipulation used on an image and to flag the area of a photo that someone changed. The AI can do this in seconds, Adobe says.

The AI uses a pair of techniques to hunt for artifacts. It looks for changes to the red, green and blue color values of pixels. It also examines noise, the random variations of color and brightness caused by a camera’s sensor or software manipulations. Those noise patterns are often unique to cameras or photos, so the AI can pick up on inconsistencies, especially in spliced images.

Adobe notes these techniques are not perfect, though they “provide more possibility and more options for managing the impact of digital manipulation, and they potentially answer questions of authenticity more effectively.” The research team says it might harness the AI to examine other types of artifacts, like those caused by compression when a file is saved repeatedly.

Still, there could be a long way to go before this AI becomes a viable product. Photoshop is unquestionably a great tool for touching up images and creating memorable art, but people have used it to poison the well of legitimate, newsworthy photos, and it seems Adobe wants to offer a stronger antidote.

Adobe is using AI to catch Photoshopped images

0
Adobe
While picture editors have tweaked images for decades, modern tools like Adobe Photoshop let them alter photos to the point of complete fabrication. Think of sharks swimming in the streets of New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy, or someone flying a “where’s my damn dinner?” banner over a women’s march. Those images were fake, but clever manipulation can trick news outlets and social media users into thinking they’re real. By the time we figure out that they’re phony, bombastic pictures can go viral and it’s nearly impossible to let everyone know the image they shared is a sham.
Adobe, certainly aware of how complicit its software is in the creation of fake news images, is working on artificial intelligence that can spot the markers of phony photos. In other words, the maker of Photoshop is tapping into machine learning to find out if someone has Photoshopped an image.

Using AI to find fake images is a way for Adobe to help “increase trust and authenticity in digital media,” the company says. That brings it in line with the likes of Facebook and Google, which have stepped up their efforts to fight fake news.

[embedded content]

Whenever someone alters an image, unless they are pixel perfect in their work, they always leave behind indicators that the photo is modified. Metadata and watermarks can help determine a source image, and forensics can probe factors like lighting, noise distribution and edges on the pixel level to find inconsistencies. If a color is slightly off, for instance, forensic tools can flag it. But Adobe wagers that it could employ AI to find telltale signs of manipulation faster and more reliably.

The AI looks for three types of manipulation: cloning, splicing and removal. Cloning (or copy-move) is when objects are copied or moved within an image, such as parts of a crowd duplicated to make it seem like there are more people in a scene. Splicing is where someone smushes together aspects of two different images, like the aforementioned sharks, which were grabbed from one photo and blended into another showing flooded streets. Removal is self-explanatory.

As is typical with machine learning methods, the Adobe team, along with University of Maryland researchers, fed the AI tens of thousands of phony images to teach it what to look for. The team trained the AI to figure out the type of manipulation used on an image and to flag the area of a photo that someone changed. The AI can do this in seconds, Adobe says.

The AI uses a pair of techniques to hunt for artifacts. It looks for changes to the red, green and blue color values of pixels. It also examines noise, the random variations of color and brightness caused by a camera’s sensor or software manipulations. Those noise patterns are often unique to cameras or photos, so the AI can pick up on inconsistencies, especially in spliced images.

Adobe notes these techniques are not perfect, though they “provide more possibility and more options for managing the impact of digital manipulation, and they potentially answer questions of authenticity more effectively.” The research team says it might harness the AI to examine other types of artifacts, like those caused by compression when a file is saved repeatedly.

Still, there could be a long way to go before this AI becomes a viable product. Photoshop is unquestionably a great tool for touching up images and creating memorable art, but people have used it to poison the well of legitimate, newsworthy photos, and it seems Adobe wants to offer a stronger antidote.

Squirting — The Sex Act You Might As Well Try (While Everyone Argues Over Whether It’s Actually Possible)

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Here’s the thing about squirting: Those who experience it say that it feels fucking amazing. So whether or not the fluid a woman emits while squirting is urine or some other substance, who really cares? If you like sex and you like feeling good, you might as well give squirting a go rather than wile away your time arguing over whether the female g-spot exists and / or is capable of gushing liquid.

What is Squirting?

In short, squirting is the release of female ejaculate from the Skene’s gland, which is known more widely as the g-spot or female prostate. Although there’s an ongoing debate within the medical community as to what, exactly, constitutes and causes female ejaculation, there’s a healthy group of women out there who identify as “squirters”—who routinely release several tablespoons full of fluid when climaxing.

Squirting is not just the territory of porn stars intent on giving their audience a show. And it’s not just about the gushing phenomenon. Many of the women who squirt regularly during sex claim that doing so often accompanies the most intense orgasms they’ve ever experienced. So whether or not you think the fluid being emitted from a squirter is urine or some other substance, it seems silly to disregard this pleasurable practice when you can embrace the potential of a truly mind-blowing sexual experience instead.

How To Make A Girl Squirt In 5 Easy Steps

1. Talk to to her.

If you want to make a girl squirt, you absolutely need to discuss it with her first. For a lot of women, the idea of squirting bodily fluid all over a man is quite intimidating. Many women don’t like the idea, even once they understand that squirting is the same thing as peeing.

Start off by reassuring her that squirting is incredibly natural and sexy. Also emphasize that if she’s able to squirt, she might very well unlock mindblowing orgasmic potential. The main goal is to bring her amazing pleasure rather than to satisfy some fantasy or urge you’ve been harboring. At the same time, be careful not to put too much pressure on her, because she will have to be relaxed in order to successfully squirt. Emphasize that you’d like to try to make her squirt, but that you won’t be disappointed if it doesn’t happen. Frame it as a fun intimate adventure that will bring you closer together, no matter the outcome. Right before you get going, suggest that your partner use the bathroom—that way, she’ll be less likely to assume that the urge to pee she sense while close to climax is due to a full bladder.

2. Set the right mood.

Since a woman needs to feel relaxed in order to squirt, it’s important that you consider the environment beforehand. You need to ensure that you’re playing somewhere she feels comfortable letting go. So if you have a roommate, kick him out for the night. And by all means, tidy up before you initiate your squirting adventure. Make sure the room is the right temperature too, because the last thing you want is for your partner to feel distracted by the heat or the cold while you’re undressed. Dim the lights, keeping in mind that some people feel self-conscious beneath bright lights when naked. Just don’t dim them too much, as you’ll need to see what you’re doing down there. Consider a few scented candles. Overall, pay attention to your surroundings more so than usual.

3. Do not underestimate the importance of foreplay.

Once you’ve set up the right environment, you’ll want to focus on relaxing your sexual partner physically. When endeavoring to make a girl squirt, she must feel very relaxed and very turned on simultaneously, so foreplay is of the utmost important. One way to arouse a woman is to touch her, but without getting too sexual. An oil massage is a great way to accomplish this. Rub coconut oil or baby oil all over her back, steering clear of her breasts and pussy for as long as possible. Tease her a bit, but concentrate on loosening up her muscles for a solid half hour to 45 minutes before you make your next move. By then, she’ll feel calm and relaxed and ready to be stimulated vaginally.

4. Master the technique.

To get your sexual partner to squirt, you want to stimulate her g-spot in a very particular manner, triggering the release of female ejaculate. The g-Spot, or the female prostate (aka Skene’s gland), is located about 2.5 to 3 inches inside the vaginal wall, on the top side. Whereas you might typically stimulate a woman by making the come-hither motion with two fingers inside the vagina, making her squirt requires a different deliberate motion.

To make a woman squirt, you want to use your two middle fingers. With your palm facing up, point your two middle fingers at a 45 degree angle towards the ground. Insert these two fingers into her vagina, and move your hand up and down at a slight angle so that you’re rubbing the g-spot with the bottoms of your fingers (not the tips) with each motion. You’ll want to start relatively slowly so that you can build up pressure and speed gradually over time.

Eventually, you can engage your entire arm in this repetitive movement. After a while, you want to go really fast—so fast that you end up exhausting yourself. You might even need to engage your other hand to help support the dominant arm. Whatever you do, don’t stop midway or try to switch hands. Keep going—even with a dead arm if necessary.

When you start to see her breathe and writhe as if she’s about to orgasm, cheer her on! If she expresses that she’s sensing the urge to pee, encourage her to let it out. Keeping saying things like, “Come for me!” and “Push it out!” and “Let it go!” Repeat these supportive phrases over and over and over so that she feels safe enough to gush all over the place.

5. Chill out afterwards.

Whether or not your partner is successfully squirts, you’ll want her to associate the experience with pleasure so that she wants to do it again. If she does squirt, reaffirm just how sexy the process was for your from start to finish. Tell her that you enjoyed giving her so much pleasure, and that the sight of her gushing fluids was a massive turn on. If she didn’t squirt, don’t make a big deal out of it. Explain that you’re honored that she let you try, and that you’re determined to try again one day if she’ll allow it. Whatever the outcome, be sure to initiate post-coital cuddling and hold your girl tight so that she feels safe and secure.

Squirting Is NOT The Same Thing As Peeing

A few weeks ago a website released an article titled “Scientists Say ‘Squirters’ Are Actually Just Peeing Everywhere.”

Squirters and their partners were heard from all corners of the world yelling, “It’s not pee!” Any squirter will tell you the fluid does not smell, taste, or look like pee.

Yet that short, clickbait-style article explains a recent study by a team of French scientists who analyzed the excretions of seven subjects, all self-proclaimed squirters, with the study finding that “Squirting is essentially the involuntary emission of urine during sexual activity, although a marginal contribution of prostatic secretions to the emitted fluid often exists.”

Just a few weeks before that article came out, I released my book Squirting: It’s Easier Than You Think: A Holistic Guide to Female Pleasure with easy tips for achieving female ejaculation. Horrible timing, huh? Well maybe not if we can undo the harm the anti-squirting article has caused.

In some of the earliest writings on sexuality, prominent Roman physician Galen, wrote about a “thin fluid that manifestly flows when they [women] experience the greatest pleasure in coitus.” Other early writings on the subject include the Indian Kama Sutra and ancient Japanese erotic works, which also mention a fluid coming from women.

Last year, in an episode of Sex With Sunny Megatron, the sex blogger/pleasure advocate urinated in one glass, ejaculated in another, and took both to a lab. The ejaculate was identified as nearly IDENTICAL to male seminal fluid—without the sperm, of course.

Several other resources say the fluid has been analyzed previously, and it contains high levels of glucose, the enzyme prostatic acidic phosphatase, and low levels of urea and creatinine. A woman’s typical urine contains high levels of urea and creatinine, and no prostatic acidic phosphatase or glucose.

The French study the website wrote about only included seven participants, so it’s not exactly a representative sample size, and even the study concludes the prostate-specific antigen was present in five out of the seven post-squirting samples while it was not present in the before-squirting sample. This still makes female ejaculation different from urine, even if their study was not in agreement with other studies on the amount and types of chemicals all present in female ejaculate.

Female ejaculate could possibly be the fluid urine mostly consists of, but it doesn’t make it pee. Seems these scientist’s theories are just that—theories, a long way from fact. This is by far not a conclusive study.

There are many reputable sources which conflict with this newest study. You can check out this information from Columbia Health, this story from Psychology Today, this studyfrom Sandra R. Leiblum, PhD and Rachel Needle, MS or this study and this study published on the US National Institute of Medicine National Institutes of Health’s PubMed.gov.

While we can debate the exact makeup of female ejaculation, the real problem with this latest study is not even its accuracy or if other sources are inaccurate, it’s how the discussion adversely affects female sexuality. It seems like another attempt to make women feel ashamed or embarrassed of their sexuality. Even if it’s similar in composition to pee (it’s not exactly the same—ALL studies are confirming that), a squirting orgasm is one of the best orgasms a woman can have.

Articles such as what this website published make women feel ashamed or embarrassed about their orgasms, which can already be difficult for woman to have to begin with. One of the reasons women struggle with orgasming is because they worry about how they smell, taste, or look. We’ve just given women another reason to worry. Now when an orgasm is feeling over-the-top amazing, and fluid is starting to gush out of a woman, she will become embarrassed, ashamed, and think she is just peeing, encouraging her to hold back when the feeling surfaces in the future. As I talk about in my book, women often don’t squirt because they hold it back.

We still live in a society where male sexual pleasure is encouraged and a female’s is not. But it’s partially the female’s fault. After writing my book, more men than women have approached me and wanted to know more about squirting. Based on the people I’ve talked to and even the reviews I’ve received on my book, more men have read my book than women, even though I primarily wrote this book for women. Men seem more excited about the book because they are learning how a woman works, particularly during sex. Men are interested and excited about providing women pleasure. Women need to relax, embrace their pleasure, and not worry about what’s within the fluid they are expelling during an amazing orgasm.

I encourage women to find out the enjoyment of a squirting orgasm for themselves.

8 Women Who Can Squirt Reveal Exactly What It Feels Like

“It took several hours and a lot of concentrated effort—namely rubbing the roof of my vagina well past the point of comfort—but by the time I was done, I’d soaked my sheets with a liquid that resembled clean sea water in odor and appearance.”

— Charlotte Shane

“My husband of seven years and I were having sex. I was bent over the side of the bed and he was behind me. I moved one leg up on the side of the bed to get a better angle because he kept hitting a spot that felt really intense, but would miss it with the next stroke. After a rapid succession of strokes hitting that intense spot I felt a really strong, but unfamiliar sensation and had the desire to push from the pelvic floor. I felt a sudden rush of liquid spill down my legs and the noises from him thrusting became much more squishy sounding.”

— Anonymous

“Feels like… when you repeatedly stimulate your g-spot for a while your vagina starts to contract as you are about to orgasm and then all of a sudden there is a warm gushy splashing and you look down and you’ve made a puddle. The first time it happened for me I had been masturbating only my G-spot for about an hour and I thought I felt something, so I sat on the floor in front of a mirror and watched myself do it again. I ended up laughing a lot at my facial expression when it happened as it was not so much an orgasmic ‘Oh’ face but an ‘Oh fuck it won’t stop squirting so high I did not anticipate this’ face.”

Olves

“For me it feels like a lot of pressure building up inside me. The stimulation needs to be really intense for me to squirt, so it feels really really good as he’s putting pressure on my a-spot and g-spot. In terms of when the fluid is actually released, sometimes I feel a small release in that pressure, other times I don’t feel anything at all and the only way I know I’m squirting is to look down and see it spraying out or for my partner to tell me it’s happening. Super hot to watch, especially seeing just how much he absolutely LOVES it.”

Maxxters

“I can squirt by either clit or g-spot stimulation. I started doing it in my mid-20’s and just thought I was incredibly wet, it didn’t occur to me that I was squirting until I actually felt it jet out of me the first time. My boyfriend unlocked something inside of me the first time he fingered me, I had never produced a wet spot that big before. We jokingly refer to it as “the lake Erie incident” and have since invested in a mat to protect the bed due to the amt of fluid he can cause me to produce. He says he loves it, can’t get enough of it, and goes wild when he sees and feels it happening, which makes me feel like a sex goddess. I felt like the sexiest thing alive when I sat on his face for the first time and he sat up afterwards just dripping from me, grinning ear to ear. The sensation is different from peeing, there is a deep pressure that builds up and it feels differently than urine when it comes out. Sometimes it pours out, other times it squirts out, and then there are other times where he pulls out of me and THEN it comes gushing out. I also have times where it doesn’t happen at all. It’s nothing to be scared of and I have no tips on how to make it happen other than stay hydrated, relax, and go with the flow. :)”

— RiotGrrL319

“It was actually pretty recently, just over a year ago. I was using a vibrator to stimulate my clitoris like I normally do. Apparently I’ve always ejaculated a tiny bit when having a clitoral orgasm but had never noticed before. This time I was wearing my menstrual cup, so there were no vaginal fluids coming out, and I could notice the tiny bit of fluid that shot from my urethra. It was a nice surprise.”

— Anonymous

“For me, it feels kinda like the pressure of having to go pee before it happens, when it happens, it gushes out and feel super amazing. The first time it happened, I honestly did not know what happened, and thought I did pee. My husband was the one who had to explain it.”

— MFDirtyThrowaway

“I squirt like crazy mad. It’s like a pleasurable buildup and then a release. I squirt even after not being touched and when giving a blowjob.

— LitlleRedHeadedLady

Reporting contributed by Raine Leigh.
Photo by OnaArtist.com.

'Semblance' is proof of Nintendo's new indie hustle

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I found Semblance on the second floor of the Fuego Lounge, squeezed into a booth beside a dance floor and a small stage. It was early afternoon, and waitstaff were restocking the long, rectangular bar in the center of the room as game developers, press and PR handlers flitted from station to station. A cloth tent on the balcony offered psychedelic VR meditation; a geodesic dome on the roof showcased swirling galaxies. And all along the walls inside, indie games waited to be played.

Semblance stood out among the row of screens for its energetic, purple-tinged visuals. It’s a platformer starring an adorable bouncing blob named Squish, and it’s heading to PC, Mac and Nintendo Switch this year. Its conceit is innovative and also glaringly obvious: It’s a platformer where players actually create platforms as they go. Squish is able to distort the world, building tall ledges or deep indentations in the ground in order to solve a series of tricky spatial puzzles. Everything about the game is at once super cute and filled with mystery, from the squashy, haunting sound effects to the cartoonish yet deep background animations.

Semblance was part of Indie Heaven, a showcase hosted by Good Shepherd Entertainment during E3, held inside an abandoned building directly across the street from the Los Angeles Convention Center. Programmer Cukia “Sugar” Kimani and designer Ben Myres spent their days showing off Semblance to the media and their nights partying on the roof with other developers.

“If you’re not traveling a ton, you’re not going to be able to make it.”

The fact that Kimani and Myres were even in LA, let alone dancing all night on a roof in the heart of the city, was nothing short of a miracle. Their studio, Nyamakop, is based in South Africa, and Semblance is the first South African game to ever make its way to a Nintendo console. It’s nearly the first African game, full stop, to hit a Nintendo platform: Ubisoft Casablanca worked on N64 ports out of Morocco, though it never developed an original IP for Nintendo on the continent.

“The entry curve into being an indie game developer in South Africa is like a cliff face,” Myres said, sitting next to Kimani in his booth as the Semblance trailer flashed on a screen in front of them. “Because you don’t have the contacts, the platform holders like Xbox, Sony.”

“You don’t have events near you,” Kimani added.

“You don’t have reps that live in your country,” Myres said, nodding. “The press that matter are all here. There isn’t a big enough market locally to sell to, so you have to make works to sell to the West, which means you have to go to Western shows and you have to meet Western press. So basically, if you’re not traveling a ton, you’re not going to be able to make it.”

Kimani and Myres have definitely been traveling. A ton. Over the past 18 months, they’ve made it to 20 cities, and they recently hit five continents in the span of three weeks.

“That’s what we’ve had to do,” Kimani said. “It’s been pivotal. And the thing is for us as African devs, is it’s really hard because it’s costly, very costly.”

I asked how they made it work, financially.

“We just eat beans,” Kimani said, half-joking.

In practice, the Nyamakop developers have become experts at asking for help and bootstrapping their way around the world. Good Shepherd, their publisher, offsets some of their costs, and they’ve found partners in events like the XPO Game Festival in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and IndieCade in Los Angeles.

“And then we went to Stugan, which is the indie retreat,” Myres said. “Two months, cabin in the woods. Straight from seeing you at E3 [2017], we went to this festival that paid for us to be there in like Tel-Aviv, to pay for us to go there. And then from Tel-Aviv we could go to Sweden. But when were in Sweden, I didn’t even have a flight home, that’s the level we were at.”

[embedded content]

Luckily, some money showed up just in time for Myres to get home. These trips weren’t (just) for fun — Kimani and Myres used these opportunities to spread the word about Semblance and meet up with potential publishers and distributors.

When they started working on Semblance, the Nintendo Switch didn’t exist, but today it’s the leading platform in all of the game’s marketing materials. This relationship spawned out of Nyamakop’s ability to hustle and take chances: In 2017, they spotted a Nintendo developer representative on a Facebook group and slid into his DMs. They arranged to meet up at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and show off their game.

Minutes before they met up with the Nintendo rep, Semblance crashed. They rushed to get it back up and running, and before long, they were crouched on the sidewalk outside of a restaurant, showing off the game to someone who could get it on Nintendo’s new console. Myres used his body to block the glaring sun as Kimani ran through the demo on a laptop.

It worked. The rep asked for details and Semblance ended up on Switch.

This is a shift from pre-Switch Nintendo culture, which was largely closed to indie developers. Today, Kimani and Myres said, Nintendo reps are everywhere, looking for games that the Switch can gobble up.

“We have met so many reps at events now from Nintendo, from America, from Europe, they’re really going out there,” Myres said. “They’re really going out there and looking for stuff, they’re like really finding games.”

“And the most poetic thing about us working on the Switch is that the first time we ever got to show the game on Switch, was in Kyoto, Japan,” Kimani said. “At BitSummit, where we won an award.”

BitSummit is an indie-game festival that’s been held in Kyoto for the past six years, and the 2018 edition wrapped up in mid-May. Semblance picked up an award for Excellence in Game Design.

Though Semblance is the first South African game on a Nintendo platform, it doesn’t showcase any African-specific scenes, and that was entirely on purpose.

“It’s our first game,” Myres said. “And we’d love to make more African-based content, but we really wanna know how to sell something accessible to the West first. ‘Cause you know our dream is to make stuff like District 9, which is consumed by the West but it’s just incidentally set in South Africa.”

Semblance is set to hit Steam and Switch this year — Kimani and Myres wouldn’t give an exact date, but they promised to slide into my DMs with a release date “soon.”

The best alarm clock

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By Rachel Cericola

This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.

After spending more than 60 hours setting alarms, swatting snooze buttons, tuning radio stations, and talking to potential shoppers, we’ve decided that the RCA RCD30 is the best alarm clock for most people. This is the textbook definition of an alarm clock, delivering a reliable, hassle-free wake-up for people who don’t want to rely on a smartphone.

How we picked and tested

We started our research on Amazon, which yielded approximately 97,000 results for alarm clocks. From there, we narrowed the list by reading user reviews, searching Google, checking out product roundups of alarm clocks and clock radios, and combing through as many reviews as we could find. To narrow the list even further, we put a limit of $50 on models we were testing, which was the high end of what we found people expect to spend for an alarm clock. We also polled friends, family, and strangers to find out what they look for in an alarm clock. Here are the must-have features:

  • Big, bright display. We looked at clocks in all shapes and sizes. However, almost all of them had displays that were visible from at least 20 feet away in daylight and at night. The exceptions were the three analog clocks we reviewed, which are small and require you to push a button to illuminate.
  • Dimmable display. Although having a bright display is nice, without the option to dim it light sleepers may be kept awake at night.
  • Easy snooze button. Sometimes you need a few extra minutes. If you’re fumbling to find the snooze button, you may as well find your toothbrush and start the day.
  • Battery backup. If your home is prone to power outages, you’ll want a clock that will be ready in case of an emergency.

Here are other features that aren’t really necessary, but we found available on a few models in this price range:

  • Radio. Some people prefer to wake up to music, weather, news, or whatever else is playing on the radio. This feature was available on about half of the clocks we reviewed, but it adds to the price.
  • Multiple alarms. Whether you have two people sharing a clock or prefer a different wake-up time for the weekends, there are several clocks that allow for two separate alarm times.
  • Multiple sounds. Some clocks beep, others buzz, and some provide soothing sounds for that wake-up call.
  • USB ports. Whether you use your smartphone as a backup plan or not, there are a few clocks that offer the option to charge gadgets by your bedside.
  • Bluetooth. Many alarm clocks now have Bluetooth, but not in this price range. Only one of the models we reviewed included wireless music streaming.

We tested a total of 13 alarm clocks. Three of those were analog clocks, which were the only models that didn’t offer AC power; they’re completely battery-operated. Six of the 13 models tested also included radios.

We tested each clock in a first-floor home office and a second-floor bedroom. This helped when testing reception on the clock radios, because it gave us data from different locations. We used them during the day and at night to test out brightness levels and if they were easy to work with in the dark. We also monitored each clock for accuracy, the duration of the snooze, and if the snooze would continue after one hour.

Our pick: RCA RCD30


Photo: Michael Hession
We think the RCA RCD30 is the best alarm clock for most people. It is the textbook definition of an alarm clock in terms of features and style, with an easy-to-use button layout, a bright display, and an alarm that should wake up even heavy sleepers. It’s also the least expensive model that we tested.

Of the models we tested, the RCD30 packed the largest display size in the smallest design, so it won’t take up much room on your nightstand. The illuminated display measures approximately 3.75 by 1.4 inches, which was visible in daylight and at night from at least 20 feet away. The large display size is a boon for people who wear glasses because you don’t need to fumble for your glasses to check the time. If a big display keeps you up at night, know that the RCD30 does have two brightness settings.

The easy operation has a lot to do with the unit’s no-frills design. It has a large snooze button across the top, so you can usually hit it without much fumbling. That snooze also doubles as an hour/minute button for setting the time and alarm. On the back, there are three switches: one for setting the time/alarm, one for turning the alarm on/off, and one for dimming the front display.

Runner-up: Travelwey LED Digital Alarm Clock


Photo: Michael Hession
If our main pick isn’t available, we also recommend the Travelwey LED Digital Alarm Clock. This model is almost identical to our main pick, but has two levels of alarm volume, a slider control for dimming, and a snooze button that doubles as a night-light. However, it’s also twice the price. Like our main pick, the Travelwey clock has a loud, beeping alarm that can be heard 20 feet away. If you don’t need something that powerful, there’s a second volume option that belts out softer beeps that get drowned out at about half that distance.

Best clock radio: iHome iBT29


Photo: Michael Hession
Of the six clock radios we tested, the iHome iBT29 had the best sound and best reception. It also had more extras than any other clock radio at this price, including Bluetooth wireless streaming, multicolored lights, a USB port for charging, and alternate alarm choices. This clock radio doesn’t just have the best sound, it also provided the loudest music volume of the models we tested. At its loudest level, the iBT29 can be heard over 30 feet away. It certainly won’t rival your stereo or the best Bluetooth speaker, but its volume is impressive for a clock radio.

Also great: Sonic Alert SBB500SS


Photo: Michael Hession
Designed for really deep sleepers, the Sonic Alert SBB500SS was the loudest alarm clock we tested. The SBB500SS has two alarms that deliver an ear-piercing beep that’s pretty loud from 40 feet away. It also features red flashing lights and a bed-shaker that can vibrate your pillow or mattress. Being shocked into each day may not be a selling point for some people, though. That and its price kept this model from snagging one of our top spots. Just know that there’s absolutely no sleeping through this thing. It does allow you to lower the alarm volume or turn the sound off completely, but the flashing lights are a permanent fixture.

This guide may have been updated by Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

Note from Wirecutter: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.

‘Babylon 5’ is great, so why does it look so bad?

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When the histories of this golden age of television are written, they will likely begin with The Sopranos. But that would be a mistake because the template a lot of modern-day TV copies was instead created by Babylon 5. A decade before The Wire would be hailed as a “novel for television,” B5 was a hyper-serialized grand story that was conceived as a single five-year epic.

Now that the series has made its way to Amazon Prime, it is ripe for a whole new generation of fans to discover it. Except that, if they do, they may find that the picture quality is highly variable, and some sequences are quite hard to watch. Now, it’s fair to say that the show is so good that it’s worth persisting with nevertheless. But how it ended up in this state is a tale of folks trying to plan for its future, only to be defeated by executive neglect

If you’re unfamiliar, Babylon 5 is about the inhabitants of a space station located in neutral territory between five major empires. After a series of brutal and devastating wars, the station was set up to help mediate peace between these powerful players. The first half of the year could be mistaken for a generic procedural drama but it’s the ultimate “give it time” show, since things quickly begin to cohere into a much greater story.

By the end of its five-year, 110-episode run, the show managed to tell a number of complicated stories, all at once. A show like Westworld can drag a simple piece of exposition out for nearly 20 hours; Babylon 5 would always resolve its plots long before you got bored of them. If the show had aired on HBO, with a HBO-level budget, it would be talked about in the same hushed tones as Game of Thrones.

How bad does it look?

We should probably begin by outlining how effects-heavy shows like Babylon 5 are made, albeit simplistically. There are three different types of shot that were put together to make an episode. You have live-action scenes, which are just actors talking in a room; composites, which have a mix of live-action and CGI; and pure-CGI scenes. In order to protect your suspension of disbelief, it’s important that you aren’t noticing the transitions between them.

A great sequence to explain Babylon 5’s problem is the monorail scene from the Season 2 finale, The Fall of Night, which originally aired on November 1st, 1995. We begin with an entirely live-action shot, where Captain Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner) boards a monorail shuttle. And you can tell, because it’s framed properly and looks pretty good, even if the film is a little grainy because it hasn’t been restored or remastered.

Captain Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner) in a live-action shot.
When the shuttle pulls out of the station, we now see a composite shot, with CGI being used to provide the view out of the monorail’s windows. You should notice that, instantly, Boxleitner’s head is higher in the frame compared to a moment ago. And that the whole thing seems a little blurry, as if someone has zoomed in too far on a low-res image.
A moment later, we switch to a far blurrier composite.
The show’s CGI sequences are in a similar condition to the composites, which you can compare with this slideover. Notice that the Aztec pattern — the different textures on the ship’s body — looks far blurrier in the widescreen version.

How did it get like this?

Like many shows of its time, Babylon 5 was shot in widescreen (1.78:1) on Super 35 film, which was then cropped to a squareish (4:3) picture. The production team knew that high-def, widescreen TV was coming, and that there was the potential for the show to be re-sold in that format. So it was shot “clean,” with sets and space either side of the action that could be shown in the event of a widescreen remaster.

Another Warner Bros. show, Friends, was shot in the same way, although the production team wasn’t so careful about shooting clean. When the widescreen versions of the series were released, it didn’t take long for viewers to spot crew members and gear in the periphery.

Fox’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which was shot on 16mm and 35mm film, was always intended to be shown in 4:3. An attempt to make a widescreen edition of the beloved cult show met a similar fate and angered creator Joss Whedon. Here’s a compilation of all the times you can watch lighting rigs, crew members and even the edge of the set in the first two seasons of Buffy widescreen.

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Paramount Pictures’ expensive remastering of Star Trek: The Next Generation had the same problem. The Blu-ray editions of the show are only available in 4:3 because just outside the frame are lots of studio personnel and gear. The creative team explained that it would be impossible to brush out this detail, and so the show remains in its original ratio.

The issue with Babylon 5, however, isn’t with its live-action scenes, but with any moment in the show that requires special effects. These days, no TV show is made without a lot of cosmetic enhancement from a small legion of CGI experts. But the early ’90s were a different time, and most effects-heavy TV shows relied on expensive and time-consuming practical effects.

Babylon 5 used CGI a lot because it was the only way to make the show with its very tiny budget. And it was the early days of CGI, so early that the pilot episode’s visual effects were produced on a network of Amiga computers. For the first three series, effects house Foundation Imaging used 12 Pentium PCs and 5 DEC Alpha workstations running Lightwave 3D.

Now, according to some sources, Foundation Imaging lacked the time, or the resources, to produce widescreen CGI effects. But that was okay, because the production process for Babylon 5 was to shoot 1.78:1 footage, crop it to 4:3, and then edit it with the CGI footage and composites for a completed edition of the show, ready for broadcast.

“Halfway through the third season, Portugal and Belgium bought the show,” explains producer John Copeland, “and they wanted it letterbox, because they knew we had shot it that way.” He says that the Warner Bros. Advanced Tech Center had hurriedly “played with the visual effects” to get it to match the widescreen footage. Later, when the show’s second-run rights to the Sci-Fi channel, “[Warner Bros.] transferred all of the PAL masters back to standard def, but shown in the 16:9 letterbox.”

Unfortunately, the CGI and composite elements only existed in 4:3, and so Warner Bros. decided to crop and stretch those sequences. That involved chopping the top and bottom off every frame in a scene, and then increasing its width to fit the aspect ratio. The issue was explored in detail by Henrik Herranen from Finland, who published How Babylon 5 Is Transferred to DVD in 2001. Herranen described himself as a “professional in signal processing and a video technique enthusiast.” Unfortunately, attempts to find and contact Herranen failed.

Herranen went on to say that because the video was interlaced, Warner Bros.’ solution was to break down the image into separate fields. He believes that the components were then cropped wide — losing a proportion of the data — and then upscaled by 33 percent. The system then filled in the blanks as best it could, but because it’s working with incomplete, low-res data, the results are poor.

Later on, he explains that it didn’t necessarily need to be this way, purely if the studio had spent more time on the conversion. Rather than cropping and stretching 4:3 footage to a 16:9 frame, the show could have just been letterboxed and then upscaled more generally. But Herranen says that the process would have required “automatic logic combined with some human interaction for verification,” which would have likely increased the cost.

Interlacing?

The result, unfortunately, is the jarring mish-mash of picture quality that bounces from good one second to pretty bad the next. Remember those screenshots from The Fall of Night I used to demonstrate the problem? Some brilliant person on YouTube has uploaded an original, 4:3 version recorded off-air from a TNT re-run. The quality isn’t great, but you should be able to tell that, as originally shot, it’s a lot less jarring than the DVD version.
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For comparison, here’s that same sequence in widescreen.
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Who is to blame?

It has been pretty hard, 25 years after the show was made, to track down those responsible for the show’s digital second life. Several key figures from its history have passed away, retired, left Hollywood or we simply couldn’t track down. Warner Bros., too, did not respond to our request for comment, and so cannot rebut anything that is said below.

Foundation Imaging, which produced the CGI for the pilot through to season three, was apparently willing, and able, to produce widescreen effects. Co-founder Ron Thornton, who passed away in 2016, said that his company “offered to do all of Babylon 5 in widescreen.” Quotes attributed to Thornton on the JMSNews forum point the finger over a fight regarding a $5,000 HD “reference monitor so we could check our output.”

That request was apparently denied, either by Ken Parkes, WB’s then-business affairs chief, or the show’s co-executive producer Douglas Netter. Thornton went on to say that “each blamed the other,” but the decision meant that “for $75 an episode, they could have had awesome, near hi-def.” Unfortunately, it is difficult to verify his account, and Parkes died in 2014 while Netter passed away last year.

“There was not a breakdown over a monitor,” John Copeland, who produced Babylon 5 and its sequel, Crusade, told Engadget. Copeland, now the owner of Rancho Olivos olive oils, says that “Ron [Thornton] wanted to get paid for re-rendering everything.” And render time was the issue that forced every compromise when it came to making the show’s visual effects. But Copeland feels Warner Bros. itself was the problem, rather than visual effects.

“We had set up the show to make the transition to what was, at the time, called Advanced Television Technology,” he said. “Everybody knew that [HD] was coming, and that the preferred format would be 16:9,” and Copeland toured how other Warner shows were planning for the future. On Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, the team “were doing a ‘video hack’ to retransfer the negative, stretched in such a way that it would unfold in a 16:9 frame.” Unfortunately, the results, while meeting the requirements for widescreen TV, “looked absolutely awful.”

So Copeland approached the studio and said that they would “shoot in a 1:87 (widescreen) format, and we’ll compose for 4:3, but frame for 16:9.” And at the end, the production team “gave them everything in two formats [4:3 and 16:9] with the exception of the visual effects.” But, that wasn’t a problem, because Warners’ Advanced Technology Center had a plan to remedy the problem.

“This company in Sweden, called Teranex, were way ahead of the curve in knowing people would need to upconvert standard def to high definition.” Warners owned a Teranex box, and the idea was that, eventually, the 4:3 CGI sequences would be upconverted and integrated into the 16:9 footage. It wouldn’t be perfect, but it would look pretty good. But rather than doing it, in the end WB simply reconverted the futzed Portuguese and Belgium footage to NTSC and sold it.

The reason that the show was never given the proper Teranex treatment was, according to Copeland, “because they didn’t wanna spend the money.” He explained that in the days before DVDs were expected to be lavished with extras, home video departments just took existing material, slapped it in a box and reaped the rewards of doing so.

Copeland believes that the two things that killed Babylon 5’s second life were the fact that the show wasn’t produced in-house by Warner Bros. “We were like the poor stepchild of Warner Bros,” he said, “and the studio looked at us a little askance.” In addition, archivists would “lose stuff all the time,” including crucial film reels and resources needed before the episodes were broadcast.

The other issue was Warren Lieberfarb, then the head of Warner Home Video, described by the Washington Post as the “father of the DVD.” Copeland believes that “in 2002, when they started working on the DVD sets, it would have cost $1,200 to convert every episode and movie to high definition.” But Lieberfarb “didn’t wanna spend that,” and so to save $132,000, the show was dumped out at low-resolution and forgotten about. That cash would have potentially been recouped simply through more DVD sales or potentially even a Blu-ray release.

Copeland added that the relationship between the production team and Foundation Imaging broke down over an incident halfway through the third season. “We were doing Severed Dreams,” that year’s Hugo-winning blockbuster episode, “and Ron wouldn’t deliver the shots for the show unless we gave him another $100,000 …That was the point where we — at Babylonian [Productions] — sat down and thought ‘if he does this once…'” Consequently the show walked away from Foundation at the end of the year.

What, if anything can be done?

Well, there’s a Change.org petition (because there’s always a Change.org petition).

Otherwise, not a lot, because restoring a TV show is a pricey process that won’t happen unless there’s some guarantee of a return. Shows like Star Trek and The Next Generation were considered big enough properties to justify expensive restoration process. With streaming services destroying the physical media market, second-tier shows aren’t likely to be seen as a good investment these days.

The TNG remaster, for instance, cost millions of dollars that it was hoped would be recouped for the Blu-ray release. But since the show is already available on Netflix, it’s hard for folks to justify dropping hundreds of dollars on yet another physical media release. And the failure of the TNG project was enough to mean that we’ll never see restorations of Deep Space Nine or Voyager.

Some back-of-the-envelope math suggests that remastering Babylon 5 with brand-new CGI effects would cost at least $10 million. Since the original data has — apparently — been lost, it would take some time to recreate the images, although fan projects do exist that could speed that up. When (straight-to-DVD revival) Babylon 5: The Lost Tales was made, some fan-made models were used in the show. Even so, it’s not likely that Amazon or Netflix would be willing to drop that sort of cash to fix Babylon 5’s quality issues.

There have, however, been attempts by fans to try and fix the problems that Warner Bros. introduced with the DVD releases. Hunt around on UseNet long enough and you can find people still sharing fan-made HD versions of Babylon 5 that have tried to fix the issues with the DVDs. They’re hard to download these days, but some lucky people may be able to help you out.

The show’s creator, J. Michael Straczynski, asks not to be contacted in private but does answer questions on his public Twitter. His pinned tweet says that he has had no contact or involvement with the show’s arrival on Prime Video, saying “I know only as much as any of you do.” Attempts to speak to a representative from Amazon were denied, but the company did say that we should “check out the customer reviews” and activity on Twitter, both of which “speak for themselves.” In that spirit, here are some that we found:

On May 17th, Straczynski did offer a message of hope for fans of the series would require little to no effort on both Warner’s and Amazon’s part. In a five-tweet thread, he said that part of the production’s deal with the studio required finished episodes of the show to be delivered on film. That means that there is a 4:3, theoretically pristine — or at least better-quality than we currently have available — version of the show sitting in a warehouse. The transfer would still not be pure high-definition, but it would have far fewer jarring transitions than what’s currently available.

John Copeland confirmed this, saying “They [Warner Bros.] have everything they would need, except for the pilot.” (That’s because the warehouse where the materials for the 1993 pilot movie The Gathering were stored were damaged by the Northridge earthquake.) “They could go back to the negative and, assemble the negative and re-transfer it in HD, and all they would have to do is upconvert the VFX footage and drop it into the holes.”

Sadly, despite Straczynski offering to oversee the transfer pro-bono, it doesn’t appear that either the studio or Amazon got back to him. When I asked him on an update for the story, he simply said:

Of course, nobody should be watching Babylon 5 for the fidelity of its CGI, even if the cropping and blurring is a problem. As John Copeland said, “You’re not really tuning in to watch the visual effects,” instead, people are watching a two-decades-old show because “the storytelling does hold up.” He added, “In TV, what makes you go back week after week, episode after episode, is that you wanna spend more time with the characters.” And no amount of cropping and stretching can dim their shine.

Images: Warner Bros. Home Video / Babylonian Productions Inc. (‘Babylon 5’); CBS Home Video / Paramount Pictures (‘Star Trek’)

300+ Scottish Slang Terms For All The Braveheart Fans Out There

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Scottish Slang comes from the land of Braveheart, bagpipes, and the Loch Ness Monster, a beautiful and misty land of castles and lakes where the people are fair-skinned and stubborn as nails.

A am’ nae — I am not

A clean shirt’ll do ye — you have one more change of laundry before you die

A pritty face suits the dish-cloot — if you’re pretty, it doesn’t matter what you wear

A wisna(e) — I wasn’t

A, ah — I

A’m black-affronted — I am extremely ashamed

A’thing — everything

A(w)rite — all right

Abo’dy — everybody

Aboot — about

Aff — off

Affie — afternoon

Ah am — I am

Ah dinnae ken — I don’t know

Ah wiz like — I was like that

Air beige — fart

All his eggs are double-yoakit — he’s full of shit

Am a pure nick — I look a mess

Am goin a donner — I am going for a walk

Am no — I am not

Am pure done in — I’m exhausted

Amen’t ah? — aren’t I?

Anaw — as well

And but — I’m done talking

Anno/ah ken — I know

Arse / erse — buttocks

Arsehole/ersehole — asshole

Auld — old

Aw — all

Awa’ an bile yer heid — get lost (away and boil your head)

Awfy/affy — awful (usually used as an amplifier, e.g., “awfy cauld”)

Awright — all right

Awright ya wee bawbag? — how are you doing my friend?

Aye — yes

Aye right — I don’t believe you

Baccy — tobacco

Backgreen — backyard

Baffies — slippers

Bahoochie — butt

Bairn — baby

Balloon — someone who is full of hot air

Baltic — cold

Bam — dumb thug

Bampot — a crazy idiot

Banana boat — you’re insulting my intelligence

Banger — penis

Barra — a little child

Barry — fantastic

Bawbag — scrotum

Bawface — big round face

Bawhair — thickness of a pubic hair

Bawheid — emptyheaded

Belter — fantastic

Bevie — alcoholic drink

Bez — beer

Bird — girl or woman

Biscuit — cookie

Bizzo — business

Black as the Earl of Hell’s waistcoat — pitch-black

Blether — chatty

Blootered — very drunk

Boaby — police; also means penis

Boak — dry

Boggin — smelly, dirty

Boke — puke

Bonnie — beautiful

Boot — ugly woman

Bosie — cuddle

Bowfin — sick-making

Box, the — TV set

Brae — a hill

Braw — good-looking

Breeks — pants

Burd — girlfriend

Calmy doony — you have to chill out

Cannae — cannot

Cannie — smart

Chancer — Con man

Chebs — tits

Cheese toasty — grilled cheese

Chib — to stab or headbutt

Chief — dude

Chips — fries

Chitter — shiver

Chore — steal

Chug — masturbate

Chum — to accompany

Claes — clothes

Clarted — covered in something

Clarty — dirty

Clipe — to snitch

Cludgie — toilet

Cowk — puke

Cowp — knock over

Crabbit — grumpy

Cutting — hanging out aimlessly

Dafty — fool

Diddy — female breast

Dinnae — don’t

Div — idiot

Dobber — a fool

Dog/doggin — having sex in the back of a car

Dolton — idiot

Dowp — ass

Driech — dreary weather

Drookit — soaking-wet

Dunderheed — idiot

Eejit — idiot

Faffing — procrastinating

Fag — a cigarette

Failing means yer playin! — at least you’re trying

Fancy — to like

Fandan — “Fancy Dan”; an arrogant idiot

Fanny — vagina

Feart — afraid

Fit — attractive

Fitba — football

Fizzy juice — soda

Flap — flip out

Flutter — a small bet

Fud — vagina

Gads — that’s disgusting

Gash — vagina

Geein me the boak — that makes me feel sick

Geggie — mouth

Geks — glasses

Get tae — go away

Gie it laldy. — give it your best

Gingin — disgusting

Girn — whine

Glaekit — stupid

Gob — mouth

Gobble — blowjob

Gonnae no dae that — please don’t do that!

Gonny naw dae that? — will you please stop?

Goon — idiot

Gowpin’ — sore body part

grannied — struck out

Grass — snitch

Greet — to cry

Guid gear comes in sma’ bulk — good things come in small packages

Gumption — initiative

Gutties — shoes

Hame — home

Haud yer wheesht — stop talking

Haver — gibberish

Heavin — extremely busy

Heed/heid — head (a’ve got a sare heed)

Heid-the-baw — idiot

Hell slap it intae ye! — it’s your own fault

Hirplin — to walk with a limp

Hoachin — extremely busy

Hogmanay — New Year’s Eve

Hole — vagina

Honkin — smelly

Hoora — hella

How no’? — why not?

Hummin’ — smelly

I’m getting the messages — I’m going to the grocery store

I’m goin tae the pictures — I’m going to the movies

I’m going ta skelp yer wee behind! — I’m going to smack your little ass

I’ll gie ye a skelpit lug! — I’ll give you a slap on the ear

I’m fair puckled — I’m out of breath

It wis hoachin’ — it was busy

It’s time to get your jags — it’s time for your vaccinations

It’s a lang road that’s no goat a turnin.’ — things are hard but will get better

It’s a sair ficht for half a loaf. — life is hard and unfair

Jake(y) — addict/drunk

Jammy — unfairly lucky

Jessie/jessy — wimp

Jings — wow

Jobby — poo

Joggies — sweatpants

Keech — poo

Keek — a little look

Ken — know

Kip — sleep/nap

Kippy — left

Kirk — church

Knob — penis

Labdick — police

Lad — a boy or young man

Laldie — reprimand

Lang may yer lum reek — long may you live

Lassie — girl

Lavvy — toilet

Lecky — electricity

Lifted — arrested

Loch — lake

Loupin — very sore

Lugs — ears

Lum — chimney

Ma heid’s mince — my head’s mixed-up

Mad wae it — being very drunk

Mair — more

Maist — most

Mauchit/manky — very dirty

Melted — extremely high on drugs

Mental — wild

Mince — nonsense

Minger — horrible ugly person

Mingin — dirty

Mink — dirty person

Minted — wealthy

Morn, the — tomorrow

Muckle — large

Muckle — very big

Munter — ugly person

Nae danger — no chance

Nahcred — exhausted

Napper — head

Nat King Cole — intercourse

Natter — chatter

Naw — no

Ned — troublemaker

Nip — kiss

Noggin — head

Noo — now

Noo jist haud on! — slow down

Noo, the — right now

Nugget — a dirty little piece of something

Numpty — a lovable idiot

Nut — head

Oan yer bike — go away

Och awa’ an’ dinna talk pish — you’re talking nonsense

Och aye! — oh yes!

Och! — oh!

Oot — out

Oot yer nut — very drunk

Ory/orey/oary — vulgar

Oxters — armpits

Pan — break or disfigure

Panbread — dead

Pap — breast

Patch — to ignore someone

Pedro — amazing

Peebrusht — rectum

Peedy — tiny

Peely wally — pale and unwell

Piece — a sandwich

Pimps — easy

Pish — pee

Pished — drunk

Pooched — broken, useless

Poppy — money

Puckle — a few of something

Puddock — a frog

Pumped — sex

Pure — very

Pure dead brilliant — exceptionally good

Quine — girl

Radge — violently angry

Rat-arsed — drunk

Reekbeek — horrible, disgusting

Riddy — embarrassed

Roaster — someone who is making an ass of themselves

Rocket — a crazy or annoying person

Screwball — unhinged

Scunner — nuisance

Sesh — a long night of drinking that lasts into the next day

She’s a bonnie lass — she’s a beautiful girl

She’s up to high doh — she’s all worked up

Shneeb — smoke

Sink the link — engage in intercourse

Skedaddle aff — scurry away

Skelp — to smack or

Skelping — an ass-whupping

Skinny Malinky Longlegs! — a tall thin person

Skint — short of money

Skud — naked

Skyrocket — a very crazy person

Sleekit — sly or untrustworthy

Slitter — to slobber while eating

Smartarse — someone who thinks they’re clever

Solid — hard, tough

Sook — big softie

Speccy — someone who wears glasses

Spewin — vomiting

Spondoolies — money

Spondoolyitis — a medical condition for talking shit

Spraff — gossip

Square go — a fair fight, one to one fight

Sshan — a shame

Steamin — drunk

Stroppy — in a bad mood

Sup — small amount of liquid

Swally — to swallow

Swatch — look

Swick — cheat

Tadger — penis

Talking oot yer fanny flaps — lying

Tan — smash windows

Tap — to borrow money

Tassie — cup

Tatties — potatoes

Tekul — good

Telt — told

That’s a sin — what a shame

Tidy — beautiful, stunning, delicious, fantastic

Tin pail — jail (rhyming slang)

Toaty — small/tiny

Toonser — someone from the city

Torch — flashlight

Totie — very small

Troops — friends

Tube — an idiot

Twa — two

Wabbit — tired

We’re a’ Jock Tamson’s bairns — we’re all the same

Wean — child

Wee — small

Weegie — someone from Glasgow; from “Glaswegian”

Wench — slut

Whaur dae ye bide? — where do you live?

Wheesht — be quiet

Whit’s fur ye’ll no go past ye” — whatever is meant to happen to you will happen to you

Whitey — puke

Widnae/Willnae — would not

Winch — to French-kiss someone

Wur tearin’ the tartan — having a great conversation

Ya bas — you bastard

Yaks — eyes

Yaldi — an expression of deep joy

Ye — you

Ye mak a better door than a windae. — get out of the way, you’re obscuring my view

Yer a chancer — you’re pushing your luck

Yer bum’s oot the windae! — you’re not making any sense

Yer clatty/Yer mingin’ — you’re dirty/disgusting

Yer gettin’ skelped — you’re going to get slapped

Yer oot yer face! — you’re very drunk

Yocker — a large, but still throwable, stone

Yon — that

Yonks — years, a long time ago

You’re a wee scunner! — you’re being a pain in the ass

You’re all bum and parsley. — you’re all bark and no bite

You’re the wee hen that never layed away — don’t play innocent with me

Yuptae — what are you up to? TC mark

Two-tone smartphones are the new rose gold

0
It’s been a relatively mundane first half of the year as far as smartphone launches go. If the infamous notch was the defining trend of 2017, then we haven’t yet found what the 2018 equivalent might be. There’s little separating recent flagships, as they all possess the latest components and comparable features. Those that do stand out are the ones that offer something different in the looks department. Translucent backs that show off internal hardware are back in fashion, and metallic multi-tone finishes (akin to flashy supercar paint jobs) are suddenly becoming de rigueur. So, is 2018 going to be a year where style is more distinguishing than substance?

For whatever reason, transparency is having something of a renaissance. At the end of last year, HTC introduced the U11+, the most striking model of which carried a translucent back, showing off its big NFC coil and internal components. HTC followed that up this year with a similar variant of the U12+ that pairs that transparency with a lovely blue reflective sheen. And lo and behold, Xiaomi’s recently announced Mi 8 just happens to have a bare-all option, too. Xiaomi’s even gone as far as faking the look of certain hardware elements to make the device more aesthetically pleasing.

Translucent products aren’t new; the late ’90s iMac being a prime example. Phones, speakers and many other products — tech or otherwise — have flirted with transparency, but perhaps it feels retro enough, again, to revive at this point.

Another distinctive style gaining momentum is the multi-tone metallic finish. The Huawei P20 Pro and Honor 10 (also made by Huawei) have gorgeous purpley-blue backs that set them apart from most other devices out there right now. That is, other than the Lenovo Z5, which has torn a page straight out of Huawei’s stylebook with basically the same two-tone color option. You can understand why, as these devices are striking and most importantly, different. Just being different doesn’t always work, mind. Manufacturers have toyed with ceramic finishes in the past and that’s never really caught on.

These days, color trends spread like wildfire. Five years ago, it was gold. The champagne-colored iPhone 5S wasn’t the first gold phone by any means, but it was the catalyst that made other manufacturers quickly follow suit. These phones were divisive and distinctive, but gold is a color that’s more closely associated with luxury in Asia than anywhere else. Particularly in China, which at the time was one of the largest growing smartphone markets. No surprise, then, that companies wanted to cater their devices for such a large audience.

A few years later and it was rose gold, another color that split opinions and yet made the whole industry crazy for pink. There hasn’t been anything quite like that since, though.

Long ago, everyone but BlackBerry diehards decided a rectangle with rounded corners and a touchscreen was the reference design for smartphones. Style has therefore always been important, because manufacturers have had to ensure their rectangles get noticed. But historically they’ve also had more to talk about than how many color options will be available at launch.

Looking back at early smartphones, the path of innovation was a lot clearer, but naturally improvements in performance and capabilities have become more incremental. Face ID is “new” tech, sure, but is there anything fundamentally wrong with fingerprint scanners? Companies are under constant pressure to create something… anything new. The industry is built on the assumption that people will regularly upgrade. Rightly or wrongly, we as consumers are more integral to this machine than any other moving part, as we’re the ones chomping at the bit for the next release, no matter how iterative.

We’ve been here before, though. Almost as soon as cellphones became mainstream, stagnation set in. A backlit screen passed for innovation back then, so in that sense manufacturers had it easier. They could also play around with style in a far less restrictive environment, experimenting with different form factors like candy bars, sliders, flip phones and other, weirder designs that don’t have a generic name.


The Motorola V70, launched in 2002
Think of how prolific Nokia was despite many of its devices having practically identical functionality. I remember how futuristic the dinky 8810 looked, with its internal antenna and faux gunmetal finish. It still only made calls and sent texts, but it was my kind of cool. The era created icons like the 5510, the first Nokia you could personalize with swappable front covers, and the impossibly slim and light Motorola RAZR. Style was paramount, and to illustrate my point, do you remember in any great detail what the Samsung Galaxy S4 looks like? Exactly…

The Nokia 7600 (2003)
This playfulness in design bled into the early smartphone age. Nokia in particular continued to throw oddities like the N-Gage and 7600 at the wall. Then there was the popular screen-swiveling Danger Hiptop, which many will know better as the branded T-Mobile Sidekick. Variety then pales in comparison to what’s available today. Yes, flip phones are still popular in parts of Asia and there’s the odd outlier like the recent, dual-screen ZTE Axom M (which Kyocera tried over seven years ago, anyway); but for the most part, we’re in the time of squares with rounded corners.

This perhaps explains why dumbphones like the Nokia 3310 and 8110 revivals generate such ridiculous hype despite a lack of functionality. We’re nostalgic for the iconic, varied designs of yesteryear, and we crave anything new, different or quirky. Companies still mess around with exactly how rounded the corners are and which edges to chamfer. They fold displays over the edges and include back-mounted fingerprint scanners. But when something like rose gold or the notch gains traction, the bandwagon quickly crowds.

The new Nokia 8110

Thus far, most of the smartphones released this year have been a little yawn-inducing. There’s not much to really distinguish flagships like the LG G7 ThinQ, Sony Xperia XZ2 and Galaxy S9, though the price of the OnePlus 6 is certainly turning heads. Smartphones are so ubiquitous they’ve become a status symbol of sorts, so when new trends like translucency and two-tone finishes form, they can be a powerful thing.

There are other things that could end up trending in 2018, of course, but funky finishes would make sense in the current climate. Perhaps it’s something we’re still yet to see, or maybe the new Chinese manufacturer-led craze of all-screen phones with pop-up cameras like the Vivo Nex and Oppo Find X will be the next big thing.

Two-tone smartphones are the new rose gold

0
It’s been a relatively mundane first half of the year as far as smartphone launches go. If the infamous notch was the defining trend of 2017, then we haven’t yet found what the 2018 equivalent might be. There’s little separating recent flagships, as they all possess the latest components and comparable features. Those that do stand out are the ones that offer something different in the looks department. Translucent backs that show off internal hardware are back in fashion, and metallic multi-tone finishes (akin to flashy supercar paint jobs) are suddenly becoming de rigueur. So, is 2018 going to be a year where style is more distinguishing than substance?

For whatever reason, transparency is having something of a renaissance. At the end of last year, HTC introduced the U11+, the most striking model of which carried a translucent back, showing off its big NFC coil and internal components. HTC followed that up this year with a similar variant of the U12+ that pairs that transparency with a lovely blue reflective sheen. And lo and behold, Xiaomi’s recently announced Mi 8 just happens to have a bare-all option, too. Xiaomi’s even gone as far as faking the look of certain hardware elements to make the device more aesthetically pleasing.

Translucent products aren’t new; the late ’90s iMac being a prime example. Phones, speakers and many other products — tech or otherwise — have flirted with transparency, but perhaps it feels retro enough, again, to revive at this point.

Another distinctive style gaining momentum is the multi-tone metallic finish. The Huawei P20 Pro and Honor 10 (also made by Huawei) have gorgeous purpley-blue backs that set them apart from most other devices out there right now. That is, other than the Lenovo Z5, which has torn a page straight out of Huawei’s stylebook with basically the same two-tone color option. You can understand why, as these devices are striking and most importantly, different. Just being different doesn’t always work, mind. Manufacturers have toyed with ceramic finishes in the past and that’s never really caught on.

These days, color trends spread like wildfire. Five years ago, it was gold. The champagne-colored iPhone 5S wasn’t the first gold phone by any means, but it was the catalyst that made other manufacturers quickly follow suit. These phones were divisive and distinctive, but gold is a color that’s more closely associated with luxury in Asia than anywhere else. Particularly in China, which at the time was one of the largest growing smartphone markets. No surprise, then, that companies wanted to cater their devices for such a large audience.

A few years later and it was rose gold, another color that split opinions and yet made the whole industry crazy for pink. There hasn’t been anything quite like that since, though.

Long ago, everyone but BlackBerry diehards decided a rectangle with rounded corners and a touchscreen was the reference design for smartphones. Style has therefore always been important, because manufacturers have had to ensure their rectangles get noticed. But historically they’ve also had more to talk about than how many color options will be available at launch.

Looking back at early smartphones, the path of innovation was a lot clearer, but naturally improvements in performance and capabilities have become more incremental. Face ID is “new” tech, sure, but is there anything fundamentally wrong with fingerprint scanners? Companies are under constant pressure to create something… anything new. The industry is built on the assumption that people will regularly upgrade. Rightly or wrongly, we as consumers are more integral to this machine than any other moving part, as we’re the ones chomping at the bit for the next release, no matter how iterative.

We’ve been here before, though. Almost as soon as cellphones became mainstream, stagnation set in. A backlit screen passed for innovation back then, so in that sense manufacturers had it easier. They could also play around with style in a far less restrictive environment, experimenting with different form factors like candy bars, sliders, flip phones and other, weirder designs that don’t have a generic name.


The Motorola V70, launched in 2002
Think of how prolific Nokia was despite many of its devices having practically identical functionality. I remember how futuristic the dinky 8810 looked, with its internal antenna and faux gunmetal finish. It still only made calls and sent texts, but it was my kind of cool. The era created icons like the 5510, the first Nokia you could personalize with swappable front covers, and the impossibly slim and light Motorola RAZR. Style was paramount, and to illustrate my point, do you remember in any great detail what the Samsung Galaxy S4 looks like? Exactly…

The Nokia 7600 (2003)
This playfulness in design bled into the early smartphone age. Nokia in particular continued to throw oddities like the N-Gage and 7600 at the wall. Then there was the popular screen-swiveling Danger Hiptop, which many will know better as the branded T-Mobile Sidekick. Variety then pales in comparison to what’s available today. Yes, flip phones are still popular in parts of Asia and there’s the odd outlier like the recent, dual-screen ZTE Axom M (which Kyocera tried over seven years ago, anyway); but for the most part, we’re in the time of squares with rounded corners.

This perhaps explains why dumbphones like the Nokia 3310 and 8110 revivals generate such ridiculous hype despite a lack of functionality. We’re nostalgic for the iconic, varied designs of yesteryear, and we crave anything new, different or quirky. Companies still mess around with exactly how rounded the corners are and which edges to chamfer. They fold displays over the edges and include back-mounted fingerprint scanners. But when something like rose gold or the notch gains traction, the bandwagon quickly crowds.

The new Nokia 8110

Thus far, most of the smartphones released this year have been a little yawn-inducing. There’s not much to really distinguish flagships like the LG G7 ThinQ, Sony Xperia XZ2 and Galaxy S9, though the price of the OnePlus 6 is certainly turning heads. Smartphones are so ubiquitous they’ve become a status symbol of sorts, so when new trends like translucency and two-tone finishes form, they can be a powerful thing.

There are other things that could end up trending in 2018, of course, but funky finishes would make sense in the current climate. Perhaps it’s something we’re still yet to see, or maybe the new Chinese manufacturer-led craze of all-screen phones with pop-up cameras like the Vivo Nex and Oppo Find X will be the next big thing.

My Anxiety Makes Me Uncomfortable Around Family And Friends

0

AnxietyUnsplash / Allef ViniciusI wish more people understood the way anxiety works. It seems like everyone can understand why public speaking makes me sick to my stomach. They can understand why I get clammy when my crush enters the room or when I have a one-on-one meeting with my boss or when I have to make an important phone call.

But no one seems to understand how my anxiety can haunt me, even when I am around people who I have known for my entire life. Cousins. Friends. Classmates. Even my own parents.

There are times when I grab lunch with a friend who I am usually completely comfortable around, but for whatever reason, that day I feel like I am out of my comfort zone. My sentences are stunted. My words are shaky. I have no idea what to say to keep the conversation going. Even though I try my hardest to act normal, everything comes out awkward. Everything feels forced.

During those moments, I feel like an outsider. Even though I know my friends love me, my paranoia convinces me that they are annoyed by how I am acting. I assume they wish they would rather be someplace else, with somebody else, because I am not the same fun-loving person they remember.

The same thing happens during family parties. There are moments when it’s obvious my laughs are forced and there are nerves behind my smile. I might disappear into the bathroom or hide in the corner and stare at my phone while everyone else is joking around, which gives them the impression that I don’t want to be involved, that I couldn’t care less about spending time with them. But that is not true at all.

Sometimes my anxiety acts up when I am around someone who has never made me nervous before. Sometimes my anxiety acts up when I am about to go somewhere I have been excited about for weeks.

I might feel anxious before grabbing brunch with friends that I love and trust. Or before taking a vacation with my favorite family members. There won’t be any logical reason to be nervous, but that doesn’t matter.

The worst part is that I feel like I have to keep everything bottled inside. There have been times when I have voiced my anxiety to loved ones and then have been looked at weird. Friends will ask what they have done wrong to make me so nervous. Or they will ask whether I still like them. They will wrongly assume my anxiety has something to do with them when that is not the case at all.

Sometimes my anxiety is random. Sometimes it appears out of nowhere. Sometimes I cannot pinpoint what caused it or what can calm it down.

I hate feeling anxious around strangers and anytime I enter a new social situation — but it’s even worse being anxious around the people who love me the most. The people I have known for years. The people who I should feel completely comfortable around by now. TC mark

The undersea electric railway built and abandoned within six years

0
The seaside town of Brighton sits on the south coast of England, roughly 50 miles from the center of London. Famed for its pebble beaches, piers and cool residents, Brighton remains a popular destination for Londoners wanting a quick fix of fresh air and sea views. The town has been a tourist hotspot for hundreds of years for this very reason. Throughout its lifetime countless attractions have come and gone, but none perhaps as elaborate and bizarre as the short-lived electric railway on stilts, known at the time as “Daddy Long Legs.”

Credit: Filmoteca de Catalunya
Engineer Magnus Volk is best known for Volk’s Electric Railway, which first opened in 1883 and ferried passengers in small cars along a quarter-mile stretch of Brighton’s coastline. The line was extended and rerouted many times, and it still runs in some capacity today. As the 19th century was drawing to a close, however, Volk’s expansion plans were impeded by tough terrain. And so he came up with the idea of building a new line to complement the existing one, only this time with the rails running below the waterline.

Construction of the Brighton and Rottingdean Seashore Electric Railway began in the summer of 1894. Two separate tracks, the outer rails 18 feet apart, were installed along a stretch of Brighton’s coast, atop which sat an oversized streetcar on 23-foot-long legs. A similar contraption had actually been operating in France for two decades already, though the journey was much shorter and in calmer waters.


Le pont roulant de Saint-Malo à Saint-Servan
The French equivalent was also pulled by a cable, whereas Volk’s version was self-powered, using electricity fed from overhead lines into two, 25-horsepower General Electric motors. The carriage that ran along Volk’s Seashore Electric Railway was also much more comfortable. The 45-ton salt water tram featured an on-board saloon and promenade deck, upon which passengers could enjoy the view during a roughly 35-minute journey. The carriage was officially called “Pioneer,” though it colloquially became known as “Daddy Long Legs,” for obvious reasons.

Pioneer completed its maiden voyage on November 28th, 1896. Being a sea vessel of sorts, a certified captain was required to be on board at all times, as well as life boats and other safety equipment. But problems began to arise almost immediately. Less than a week after opening, a serious storm pulled Pioneer from her moorings, toppling the high-rise streetcar and causing significant damage.

Wikimedia Commons
Pioneer was put back together with legs measuring two feet higher, and the railway was reopened in the summer of 1897. Nearly 45,000 passengers took the railway that year, but all was not well. At high tide, the streetcar would slow to a crawl, but the venture had already become a moneypit and upgrading Pioneer’s motors was out of the question. Plans for a second car were also abandoned.

Over the next few years, a number of low concrete walls were built out into the sea along the Brighton coastline. These groynes were put in place to curtail erosion of the beach, but they changed the ebb and flow of the surrounding waters, which in turn caused damage to the railway trackbed. Volk was forced to shut everything down during the busy summer months of 1900 to perform repairs.

Shortly after, in September of 1900, Volk was told the railway would need to be rerouted to allow for the building of new coastal defenses, which would mean moving the line further out from shore. But there was no money left to throw at it.

In January 1901, the coastal defenses began to take shape, and parts of the track were simply ripped up to make way. Pioneer never made another trip, and in the summer of 1902 the Brighton and Rottingdean Seashore Electric Railway was officially abandoned, less than six years after opening — and to think it’s been nearly five years since the Hyperloop concept was first published, and that’s only just about starting to come to fruition now. The infrastructure and streetcar were left to fall into ruin until 1910, eventually being disassembled and sold for scrap.

Volk’s engineering oddity isn’t entirely forgotten, though. At low tide, you can still walk along Brighton’s coastline today and see the last concrete remnants of the tracks once known as the Brighton and Rottingdean Seashore Electric Railway.


Technological innovation didn’t begin with the development of the first integrated circuit in the 1950s. Backlog is a series exploring the era of possibilities: engineering feats that followed the industrial revolution, quirky concepts the future’s rendered obsolete, and inventions that paved the way for some of the technology we use today.

Dating Someone Toxic Does Not Mean You Are ‘Desperate’

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DesperateUnsplash / Tyler NixI have fallen for toxic people before, people who manipulated me, people who took control of every aspect of my world — but the reason I handed them my heart was not because I was desperate for love.

Most people assume I stayed in an unhealthy situation because I could not stand the thought of being alone, because I wanted to date someone, anyone, but they have it all wrong.

I did not stay because I was terrified of being single again, because I needed someone to keep me company, because I was uncomfortable falling asleep in an empty bed at night. I’m actually fine on my own. I don’t mind being single. I don’t need a relationship in order to feel validated.

I chose to enter such a poisonous relationship because I held strong feelings for that person. Because I failed to see the red flags. Because I thought they were worth the effort.

I was fooled into believing that I was reaching out of my league. I didn’t realize I was settling. I thought I couldn’t do any better — and not because of low self-worth. It was because I thought that person was perfect in every way. I thought they were the ideal partner.

I know some people assume I was desperate to be loved and held and called baby because I stayed for so long, but staying had nothing to do with desperation either.

I knew that leaving would probably be easier, that it would make most of my problems disappear, but I made the decision to trek down the difficult path. I realized every relationship had its faults and I wanted to fix the ones in mine. I wanted to fight to make things work. I wanted to give us another chance.

Looking back, I understand I made the wrong decision. I shouldn’t have stayed for nearly as long as I did. I should have recognized how unfixable the relationship had become. I should have packed my bags and saved myself from gaining more baggage. I know that now.

But that doesn’t mean I stayed out of desperation. I was never under the impression that I wouldn’t be able to find someone else to date if I left. I wasn’t afraid that no one else would ever love me the way that he loved me. I knew I had options. I knew losing him wouldn’t mean losing love forever.

I didn’t stay because I was desperate. I didn’t stay because I felt like I had no place else to go. I didn’t stay because I was afraid of the loneliness. Those things had absolutely nothing to do with my decision.

I stayed out of love. I loved them, even though they were toxic. I wanted to save them, even though they were supposed to save themselves. I knew I could live without them, but I didn’t want to live without them.

I stayed in a relationship that hurt me in a million different ways — but not because I was desperate. It was because I was so fucking in love that I could not see straight. TC mark

What Saturday June 23 Has In Store For You Based On Your Zodiac Sign

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Aries: March 21st – April 19th

This weekend, you are going to get blackout drunk with your friends. You’ve been talking about how badly you need a vacation, a break, a release — and you’re going to get one.

Taurus: April 20th – May 20th

This weekend, you are going to be productive. In the moment, you might not be the happiest because you’ll be super stressed — but once the weekend is over you are going to be happy about everything you have accomplished. You are going to be proud of yourself.

Gemini: May 21st – June 20th

This weekend, you are going to get stuck doing something you do not want to do, but it’s up to you how you react to the situation. Try to make the most of it. Try not to keep coming up with worst case scenarios inside your head and smile through the day instead, because it will be over soon.

Cancer: June 21st – July 22nd

This weekend, you are going to spend time with someone you haven’t seen in a while. You are going to reconnect. You are going to wonder why you spent so long without speaking to each other when you always have such a good time together.

Leo: July 23rd – August 22nd

This weekend, you are going to help out someone who needs love, someone who needs reassurance. In order to make them feel better, you are going to be the strong one. The person who gives advice. The person who provides a shoulder to lean against.

Virgo: August 23rd – September 22nd

This weekend, you are going to come to a crossroads. You are going to have to make a decision that feels major. A decision that deserves your time and consideration. Don’t rush into giving an answer. Think it through first.

Libra: September 23rd – October 22nd

This weekend, you are going to feel like you are taking steps back — but you cannot give up. You cannot stop moving. You have to keep trying, because even though it feels like your hard work isn’t doing any good, it will eventually pay off.

Scorpio: October 23rd – November 21st

This weekend, you are going to begin breaking a bad habit. A habit that you have been swearing you would give up for the longest time, but kept procrastinating. However, this weekend, you are finally going to do it. You are going to say goodbye.

Sagittarius: November 22nd – December 21st

This weekend, you are going to venture outside of your comfort zone. You are going to do something you have never done before. Something that terrifies you. You are going to surprise yourself by how brave you can be when given the chance.

Capricorn: December 22nd – January 19th

This weekend, your luck is going to turn around. You are finally going to break out from the funk you feel like you have been stuck in for so long. Things are going to look up. They are slowly but surely going to get better.

Aquarius: January 20th – February 18th

This weekend is going to be emotional. A lot of different thoughts are going to run through your mind. There are going to be some tears — but some of them will be happy tears. Tears of relief. Tears that will wipe the slate clean.

Pisces: February 19th – March 20th

This weekend, you are going to be cooped up indoors. You are going to have a lazy day. You are not going to get everything done that you had planned, but that is okay. Sometimes you deserve a rest. TC mark

Snapchat Spectacles' exported clips now come in different formats

0
Snapchat
Snapchat’s Spectacles have always been able to export photos and video clips you can post online, but they only used to come in one variant: round with a white frame. Now, the camera-equipped eyewear finally has a handful of export format options to choose from. In addition to being able to export circular images against a white background, Spectacles can now also generate square-shaped and widescreen photos and videos. But if you’re really, really fond of round-shaped media, you can also choose to export images in the same circular format, but with a black frame.

You can export media within Memories by pressing on a Spectacles Story — the new options will then pop up, so you can choose the format you want. Take note that they’ll only appear as full-screen videos and photos when you rotate your phone if they’re posted on Snapchat. On other platforms, they’ll retain their shapes and frames no matter how you view them.

Since the update is rolling out to Snapchat for iOS and Android, you’ll be able to access the new options even if you have the first version of the device instead of the newer one. Snapchat says it’s making its way to the apps “slowly,” though, so it may take some time before you can try the new formats for yourself.

Snapchat Spectacles' exported clips now come in different formats

0
Snapchat
Snapchat’s Spectacles have always been able to export photos and video clips you can post online, but they only used to come in one variant: round with a white frame. Now, the camera-equipped eyewear finally has a handful of export format options to choose from. In addition to being able to export circular images against a white background, Spectacles can now also generate square-shaped and widescreen photos and videos. But if you’re really, really fond of round-shaped media, you can also choose to export images in the same circular format, but with a black frame.

You can export media within Memories by pressing on a Spectacles Story — the new options will then pop up, so you can choose the format you want. Take note that they’ll only appear as full-screen videos and photos when you rotate your phone if they’re posted on Snapchat. On other platforms, they’ll retain their shapes and frames no matter how you view them.

Since the update is rolling out to Snapchat for iOS and Android, you’ll be able to access the new options even if you have the first version of the device instead of the newer one. Snapchat says it’s making its way to the apps “slowly,” though, so it may take some time before you can try the new formats for yourself.

600+ Irish Slang Terms For Your Inner Leprechaun

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Irish slang comes from the rich, feisty, unquenchable spirit of the 6.5 million people who live on that tiny island that the English have been kicking around for centuries. So quit acting the maggot, you box of snots, or I’ll give ya a deadner.

3m — a young male whose only cares are his ma, his mouth, and his mustache

49. Aye — Yes

50p lifesaver — condom

99, a — Ice-cream cone with a chocolate flake

Acting the maggot — Fooling and messing around

Afters — dessert

Agro — fight

Alans or Alan Wickers — knickers; rhyming slang

Alco — someone who’s always drunk

Amadan — fool

Any use? — any good?

Apache — joyrider

Ape — fool

Ara be whist — shut up

Are you okay? — what will you be ordering?

Arse — backside

Arseways — a complete mess

Arthur Scargill — gargle/drink; rhyming slang

Arthurs — a pint of Guinness

Article — a woman

Artist, government — person ‘drawing’ welfare

As rough as a bear’s arse — very rough

As scarce as hen’s teeth — very scarce

As sharp as a beach ball — not very sharp

As small as a mouse’s diddy — very small

As thick as two short planks — not very thick

As useful as a cigarette lighter on a motorbike — not very useful

As useless as a chocolate teapot — not very useful

Ask me arse — shut up

At it — making love

Aul Man or Fella — father

Aul Wan — mother

Aussie kiss — cunnilingus

Away with ye / away on / Aye right — I don’t believe you

Babby — little child

Baby Power — miniature bottle of Powers Irish Whiskey

Backer — riding shotgun on a bicycle

Bad dose — spate of illness

Bad egg — a troublemaker

Bag of Taytos — packet of potato chips

Bags — messy job

Bake — face/mouth

Baldy, as in “I haven’t got a baldy” — I don’t know

Ball of shite — shitty

Ball-bag — scrotum but also used to mean an idiot

Balls — to mess up

Bang on — perfectly correct

Banger — old car

Banjaxed — broken

Bap — bread bun

Barm brack — cake eaten at Halloween

Barrelling — rushing around

Bate — exhausted

Baths — public swimming pool

Batter ya — I’ll beat you up

Battle cruiser — the pub

Baz — pubic hair

Bazzer — haircut

Be dog wide — be extra vigilant

Be L.O. — keep lookout

Be wide — be careful

Beamer — embarrassed

Bean flicker — lesbian

Bean-jacks — ladies’ toilet

Bells — the time

Belt — hit, assault

Beor / Beour — attractive woman

Bevvies — alcoholic drinks

Beyant — beyond or over there

Bifter — joint, as in “roll a bifter”

Big front, slope back — feigning wealth when there’s nothing behind it

Bills — pounds

Bingo wings — flabby underarms on a woman

Bird — girl generally, or girlfriend

Biro — ballpoint pen

Biscuit — cookie

Biscuits to a bear — a waste of time

Bitch-bag — male scrotum

Bite the back of my bollox — stop bugging me

Black Mariah — police van

Black Stuff — Guinness

Blackers — blackberries

Blackguard — to give someone a hard time

Blarney — nonsense

Blather — talk

Bleedin’ deadly — brilliant

Blow — hash

Blue shirt type of guy — after a 1930’s quasi-fascist group

Bobble — to walk or to move somewhere

BOBFOC — Body Off Baywatch, Face Off Crimewatch; equivalent of American “butterface”

Bog — country are

Bog ball — a derogatory name for Gaelic football

Bogey — An Irish person hailing from outside Dublin

Bogger — Rural person

Bogs — public toilets

Bold — naughty

Bollocks — anyone you think is stupid

Bolloxed — very drunk

Bolloxology — engaging in a waste of time

Bombardier — type of Irish bus

Bonnet — car hood

Boot — car trunk

Boozer — pub

Boreen — narrow lane

Bout ye? — how are you doing?

Bouzzie, Bowsie — juvenile delinquent

Bowler — dog/ugly person

Box — vagina

Boxin’ the fox — robbing an orchard

Boyo — a bit of a lad

Brass monkey — cold weather

Brasser — slut or whore

Brickin’ it — extremely nervous

Brilliant — great, best

Brown trout — excrement

Buck — Boy, man, lad

Bucket of snots — an ugly person

Bucketing — raining

Buckled — drunk

Bucko — lad, player

Bunk off — to skip school or work

Bure — female

Cacks — idiot

Cake-hole — mouth or anus

Caked — too much makeup

Can of piss — derogatory term

Canary, nearly had a — had a fright

Canted — kicked a football over a wall

Capper — handicapped person

Carry-on — argument, commotion

Cassie — backyard

Cat — awful

Cess, bad — Bad luck

Cha — tea

Chancer — dodgy/risky character

Chav — “Council Housing And Violent”

Cheek — disrespect

Cheese on your chin — a chat

Chipper — fish and chip shop

Chiseler — child

Chucker-out — doorman/bouncer

Circling over Shannon — drunk

Claim — pick a fight

Class — good

Clatter — slap

Clean on — good-looking

Clem — bad

Close — humid

Cock manger — urinal

Cod/Codding ya — to kid/kidding

Cog — copy someone else’s work at school

Colcannon — mashed potatoes, cabbage or kale & butter, served at halloween

Confo — confirmation (Catholic sacrament)

Conkers — chestnuts

Coodle — shit

Cooker — stove

Cop on — get your shit together

Cop shop — police station

Coppertop/coppernob — Ginger-haired person

Corner boy — youth who hangs around aimlessly on the streets

Covers — bedclothes

Cow Juice — milk

Crack — fart

Crack on — continue

Cracker — wonderful

Craic — fun, party (pronounced “crack”)

Crisps — potato chips

Crock — bad car

Cub — young boy

Culchie — rural hick

Curk — a good time

Cut to the onions/bone — fed up

Cute hoor — selfish person

Cuttie — young girl

Dander — a leisurely stroll

Danny boy — twenty pounds in money

Deadly — fantastic

Deadner, give a — to knee someone in the side of their thigh

Dear — expensive

Dekko — look at, inspect

Delira and Excira — Delighted and Excited (Dublin slang?

Delph — crockery, cups, saucers etc.

Dense — stupid

Dickey Dazzler — an overdressed man

Diddies — breasts

Dig — punch or slap

Dirty tooth — an unclean person

Divvy — silly

Do a bunk/flit — sneak off to avoid something

Dog’s bollocks / mutt’s nuts / puppy’s privates — the real deal

Doin’ a number — causing distress

Doing (or speaking) 90 to the dozen — going (or speaking) very fast

Doing a line — courting, seeing someone

Doing the rat race — driving through housing estates to avoid the traffic

Donkey’s years — a long time

Dose — that’s annoying

Dosser — layabout, useless

Dote — a lovely little thing

Down the swanie — down the drain

Doxie — prostitute who works on the docks

Drain da snake — take a piss

Drink link — a bank ATM

Drobes — bits and pieces

Drop the hand — gain access to a female’s nether regions

Dry shite — a dull, boring person

Dry up — shut up!

Dry your arse — shut up and stop acting like a child

Duck’s Arse — wet cigarette butt

Duds — clothes

Dummy/Dummy Tit — pacifier

Earwigging — eavesdropping

Eat the head off — attack verbally

Eatin’ house — restaurant

Eccer — homework (from exercises)

Eejit — idiot

Effin’ and blindin’ — cursing and swearing

Elephants — drunk

Equalizer — a bouncer

Erection section — cigarette

Fair play! — Well done!

Fairy lights — Christmas lights

Falling from me, it’s — I’ve got the runs

Fanny — female genitalia

Far wack, the — over on the opposite side

Fart around — fool around

Feck — used instead of the other F word

Fecky the Ninth — complete idiot

Feek — gorgeous girl

Feen — male

Fib — a lie

Fiver — 5-pound note

Fla/Flah — have sexual intercourse with someone (

Flagon — two-liter bottle, usually cider

Flah’ed out — exhausted

Flahulach — flamboyant, also very generous

Flaming — drunk

Flea rake — a comb

Flitters — tattered and torn

Flog — sell

Floozie — slut

Flummoxed — puzzled

Flute — penis

Fluthered — drunk

Fly cemetery — currant bun

Flying it — doing well

Flying low, you’re — your zipper is undone

FM — Fuckable Mother or MILF

Foddered — eaten

Foostering — wasting time

Foundered — freezing cold

Frankie — term for unsophisticated person from Belfast

Fry — fried breakfast

Full shilling; he’s not the full shilling — not mentally competent

Funny flour — cocaine

Gaa, playing — Gaelic football

Gack — foolish or stupid person

Gaff — house

Gallery — great fun

Galya — baby

Gameball — OK

Gammy — shitty

Gander — a nosey look

Gansey — sweater, jersey,

Gary Glitter — funny

Gas — fun

Gasún (gossoon) — young boy

Gasur — an unusual gait

Gee-eyed — young girl

Gee, Gee-box — general term of abuse

Gersha — make out

Get off with (someone) — to get along with someone

Get on like a house on fire — shit

Gick — ass

Gimp — idiot

Gingernut — redheaded person

Git — rotten person

Give out — criticize

Glad eye — a crush

Go away out of that/ Go on outta that — you must be joking

Go-car — baby’s pushchair

Gob — mouth

Gobber — green phlegm

Gobshite — idiot

Gobsmacked — very surprised

Gom — Fool

Gooter — penis

Goozer — kiss

Gowl — stupid person

Growler — female genitalia (hairy growler)

Guff — nonsense

Gummin’ — salivating, craving

Gur cake — a dense fruitcake

Gurrier / Guttie — lout, hooligan, or Gypsy

Gutties — trainers, sports shoes

Half a bubble off true — idiot

Hames/Haymes — Complete

Hape — Loads

Happy out — Sorted out

Hard neck — cheek

Hardchaw, Hardman — rough person

Hash — to mess up

Haven’t got a baldy — no chance

Having someone on — joking with someone

Having the painters in — on your period

Head — friend or pal

Head like a bag of spuds — ugly person

Head the ball — foolish person

Header — unstable person

Heavin’ — thronged/packed

Heel — the first or last slice of a loaf of bread

Heifer — an ugly country woman

Hick or Hickey/Hickster — unfashionable

High babies — senior infants’ school

Himbo — male bimbo

Hit and miss — piss

Hobnails — the knuckles of the fist

Hockeyed them out of it — trounced someone in sports

Hogan’s goat — kept woman

Hole — arse

Hole in the wall — ATM

Holliers — holidays!

Holy Joe — sanctimonious person

Holy show — disgraceful scene

Hoofed — walked

Hooley — party or celebration

Hop on — fight

Hop, on the — playing hooky

Horrors — drunk

Horse — friend

How’s the form? — how are you?

How’s the talent? — Is there anyone good-looking/ interesting here?

How’s she cuttin’? — what’s the news?

How’s the craic? — How are you?

Hump, the — sulking

Hunkers, on your — squatting

I am in me wick — you must be joking!

I could ate (eat) the twelve apostles — very hungry

I could ate a reverend mother — extremely

I could eat a baby’s arse through the bars of a cot — I’m hungry

I could eat the lamb o’ Jayjus through the rungs of a chair — I’m very hungry

I will in me brown — I won’t!

I will in me hole — I will not

I will in me ring — certainly not

I will yea — I won’t

I’d eat a farmer’s arse through a blackthorn bush! — I’m hungry

I’ve a mouth on me — I’m hungry

I’ve a throat on me — I’m thirsty

If I were mad, I would! — I certainly won’t

In tatters — destroyed

Jabs — breasts

Jack in the box — A dead Dublin man

Jacked — tired

Jackeen — A rural person’s name for a Dubliner

Jacks — toilet

Jam on your egg — wishful thinking

Jam rags — sanitary napkins

Jammer — stolen car

Jammin — having your period

Jammy — lucky

Janey Mack! — Gosh, really?

Japers! — Gosh, really?

Jar — a pint

Jaysus — Jesus

Jibber — person afraid to try new things

Jip — sperm

Jo Maxi — taxi

Johnny — condom

Johnny-jump-up — pint of Guinness mixed with Bulmer’s (cider)

Joyce — ten pounds in money

Juicy — cute

Kick in the bollocks, a — crotch kick

Kicked and booted — assaulted

Kimberley’s — local biscuits

Kip — a dump or a dive

Knacker’s yard — an abattoir

Knackered — very tired

Knick-knacking — ringing a doorbell and running away

Knickers — ladies’ underwear

Knobs — breasts

Knocked up — pregnant

Lack — girlfriend/sex slave

Lad(s); One of the lads — one of the gang

Lady muck — stuck-up woman

Lamp — to hurt someone

Langer — penis

Langers — drunk

Large lad — penis

Lashing — raining hard

Laudy daw — snob

Layin’ boots — kicking someone when they’re down

Leg it — run away quickly

Letting on — pretending

Life of Reilly — carefree

Lift — elevator

Like a blind cobbler’s thumb — ugly

Like a blue-arsed fly — hectically busy

Little green man — a small bottle of Jameson’s

Lively — leave quickly, vamoose

Loaf — to head butt someone

Local, the — the nearest pub

Lock — small amount

Lock-hard — unsolicited advice

Locked — very drunk

Locked out of his tree like a monkey who forgot his keys — extremely intoxicated

Longers — long trousers

Loopers — nuts

Lose the head — to lose control and start a fight

Low babies — junior infants’ school

Lurching — slow dancing up close

Lush — alcoholic

Mad as a box of frogs — crazy

Malarky — tomfoolery

Mangled — drunk

Manky — filthy dirty

Mary Hick, Mary Banger — unfashionable female

Massive — brilliant, deadly

Master — the best

Me arse and Katty Barry! — Yeah, sure!

Me ould segotia, me ould sweat, me ould flower — best friend

Mebbs — genitals

Meet — To French-kiss someone

Melted — very tired

Melter — a pain in the ass

Mentaller — crazy guy

Messages — groceries

Midden — slob

Millie up! — a fight going to start

Milling — fighting

Mingin’ — dirty

Mink — traveller

Minus craic — incredibly boring party

Missed by a gee hair — just missed; can be used to describe a near accident or a missed shot in soccer etc.

Mitch — bunk school, playing truant

Mog — person of low intelligence

Molly — effeminate

Mollycoddle — overprotect

Moran — moron

Mortaller — mortal sin

Mot — Girlfriend

Motherless — drunk

Mouldy — lousy/rotten

Mountainy — big, rough rural woman

Muck — soil

Muppet — fool, idiot

Murder — tough going/difficult

Muzzy — a little brat

Narky — cranky

Nat-king — welfare, dole; comes from Nat King Cole (rhyming slang)

Nawful — terrible

Ninety to the dozen, going — going very fast

Nip — nude

Nits — head lice

Nixer — job paid under the table

Noodle — head

Not the full shillin’ — stupid

Numbs — drunk

Nunny bunny — five pounds in money

Nuts — mad

Odds — loose change

Off licence — liquor store

Off me face — really high or drunk

Off the drink — on the wagon

Off your nut — crazy

Oinseach — idiot

Olagonin’ — moaning

Old lady — mother

Old man — father

On the doss — goofing off

On the lash — to go out drinking

On the ockie — skipping school or work

On the pig’s back — in a celebratory mood

On the piss — pub crawling

On the tear — going drinking

One and One — fish and chips

Ossified — drunk

Oul Dear / Oul Wan — mom

Oul Fella — dad

Oxters — armpits

Package of crips — a packet of potato crisps

Pain in the hole — Pain in the ass

Paralytic — very drunk

Patio people — smokers who have been forced outdoors

Pave — to rob something

Pedal and crank — wank

Peeler — policeman

Pelt — skin

Perishing — very cold

Petrified — drunk

Pew — a goofball

Piece of piss — easy

Pile o’ shite — terrible

Piped telly — cable television

Pishmires — ants

Piss in the beds — dandelions

Piss up — getting drunkp

Pisshead — alcoholic

Plankin’ it — very nervous

Plonker — idiot

Plugged — pregnant

Póg mo thóin — kiss my arse

Pogue — kiss

Polluted — drunk

Ponce — a highly effeminate male

Poof — homosexual

Poormouthing — pretending to have no money

Poppies — potatoes

Poteen — illegal spirits

Praities — potatoes

Pram — go-car, baby’s pushchair

Pruning — squeezing testicles hard

Puck — punch

Pull, having — being attractive

Pull your socks up — get to work

Pullin’ me wire — masturbating

Pulling me plum — doing absolutely nothing

Pure — Really/very

Puss — face, usually sulky

Put a gap in the bush — close the door

Put a Santa hat on it and call it Randal — crazy

Put the heart crossways in someone — you’ll give me a heart attack

Putting it on the long finger — procrastinating

Quare hawk — odd fella

Qweer bit of skirt / talent — a really attractive woman / man

Rabbit on — talk a lot

Racked — tired

Rag order — disorganized

Rake — a great amount

Rale Bulgarian — an uncivilized character

Rashers — pieces of bacon; also female genitalia

Rawny — thin, delicate male

Reddener — blush

Redser — somebody with red or ginger hair

Reef — beat (a person) up

Ri-ra — fun and excitement

Ride — A good-looking person

Riverdance — committing suicide in the Shannon River

Rock ‘n’ roll — having sex

Ronnie — mustache

Rosie Lee — tea

Rossie — brat

Row — fight (rhymes with cow)

Rub-a-dub-dub — the pub

Rubber — drunk

Rubber Dollies — running shoes

Rubber Johnny — condom

Rumbly — suspicious

Sambos — sandwiches

Sap — wimp

Savage — very severe or excellent

Scaldy — scabby, stingy

Scallion — spring onion

Scanger — stupid female

Scarlet — blushing

Scon — amorous

Scoops — alcoholic drink

Scran — food

Scratcher — bed

Scrawbed — scratched by fingernails

Scrubber — slut

Scundered/scunderated — embarrassed

Scuttered — drunk

Scutters/Squitters — diarrhea

Sell ya the eye out of your head — a con man who will sell anything

Session — day drinking

Shades — police

Shaper — young male who struts

Shattered — exhausted

Shift — French kiss

Shlossed — very drunk

Shower of savages — a rowdy crowd

Shrapnel — loose change

Skawly — horrible

Skin — friend

Skins — the papers used to roll a joint or a cigarette

Skiver — lazy person

Slag — slut

Slapper — slut

Sleeveen — sly, calculating person

Slinjing — dragging your heels

Snapper — child

Snaps — photographs

Snared rapid — caught doing something one shouldn’t have been doing

Sneachta — cocaine (snow)

Snobby Weather!! — “are you choosing to ignore me?”

Snog — kiss

Snug — pub booth

Soft auld day, it’s a — a soft rain is falling

Soother — pacifier

Spanner — idiot

Specky Four-Eyes — someone who wears glasses

Speedy — police motorbike

Sprog — kid

Squizz — a look-see

Stabber — the last 1/4 of a cigarette

Stalk — penis

Stinky/Stinkies — shit

Stocious — drunk as a lord

Stook — fool

Stop the lights! — jayzuz, really?!

Strand — beach

Strides — trousers

Stroked — to be proved wrong

Suckin’ diesel — having a good time

Tackies — runners/trainers

Taig — Catholic

Take the piss — mock

Tan — an English person

Tenner — 10-pound note

That’s Arthur Guinness talking — talking while drunk

There’ll be wigs on the green — There will be hell to pay

Thick — stupid

Throw shapes — show off

Thunder & Lightning — knocking at a door and running away

Tiddler — small fish or child

Tinker — low-class female

Tip — dirty, messy place

To come down in the last shower — to be naïve

Togs — swimming trunks

Topper — a great young lad

Tosser — wanker

Touched — a strange person

Touchin’ cloth — dying to take a crap

Turf Accountant — bookie

Twisted — very drunk

Twistin’ hay — starting mild trouble

Two-bulb — squad car

Tyre biter — ugly female

Undy-grundy — wedgie

Up the pole — pregnant

Up to ninety — ready to explode

Vitamin G — pint of Guinness

Wagon — ugly female

Wall-falling — exhausted

Walrus — fifty pounds in money

Warped — very drunk

Wee Folk — Leprechauns

Whiff or Whack — a smell

Whist — keep quiet

Why don’ cha? — you’d better not

Wick — crap

Wide — understand

Wire — penis

Wise Up, Kop On — use your head

Wojus — poor or bad

Wrapped more times than a bad Christmas present — damaged or broken

Wrecked — tired

Y-Fronts — men’s briefs

Ye’d think I didn’t have a mouth on me — someone who feels overlooked when food is offered

Yockers — balls

Yonks — a long time

You couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo — uncoordinated person

Youngwan — generic term for a youth (female)

Your head’s a marley — you don’t know what you’re talking about (marley = marble)

Your hole — having sex

Yoyo — euro

Zonk — one-pound coin TC mark

‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ may come to PC, too

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Rockstar Games
The amount of people ready to drop a serious amount of cash on Red Dead Redemption 2 might have just increased by quite a bit. VG247 is reporting that Rockstar Games is preparing to launch the much-hyped title on the PC, as well as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The site found a LinkedIn profile, which Engadget has independently verified, of a developer who worked for Rockstar for almost a decade. Their resume includes a reference to Red Dead Redemption 2 for “PS4/XBox1/PC.”
Red Dead Redemption, the first game in the franchise, never made its way across to the PC, probably because porting from consoles was far harder than today. After all, earlier consoles used custom hardware, rather than the stripped down PCs-in-boxes we’re used to now. But, lack of technical barriers aside, it makes sense that Rockstar would look to sell its latest title to the PC market. Of course, you need to take all of that with a pinch of salt, since it could be a slip of the keyboard as much as a blockbuster secret.

After all, it has turned out to be a lucrative one for Grand Theft Auto V, and the fifth game in the series sold anything up to 10 million copies through Steam alone. It also spawned a prolific modding scene that has helped prolong the life of a game that came out in 2013. Given the roughly six-month gap between GTA V’s console launch and its arrival on PC, we could hope to see the adventures of Arthur Morgan arrive on PC by next March.

The Morning After: MoviePass surge pricing

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TMA
Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

Congratulations, it’s Friday. Tesla’s ‘sabotage’ investigation has taken an odd turn, and there’s new pricing coming to MoviePass that you should know about.

Calling all students! While you’re on a break from that summer job, go ahead and send us some back-to-school gadget questions before you decide how to spend the money you’re earning.


Get ready.MoviePass will begin surge pricing next month

In an interview with Business Insider, MoviePass CEO revealed the subscription service would implement “high demand” (read: surge) pricing this summer. At “certain times for certain films” (like opening weekend) there will be an added charge that starts at $2. Other changes coming soon include a bring-a-friend option, and the ability to upgrade for IMAX or 3D viewing. We’ll see if it’s still such a good deal once the new pricing rolls out — especially now that there’s competition.


The conversation just keeps going.Google Assistant no longer needs every ‘hey’ and ‘OK’

As promised at I/O, Google has made Assistant’s Continued Conversation available for US English speakers using a Home speaker. Enable it in your preferences and you don’t have to use “hey Google” or “OK Google” for follow-ups, even if you have multiple requests.


Android today, web and iOS later this year.Google makes it easier to manage your account on Android

Now there’s a reworked Google Account interface for Android that makes it easier to both navigate your settings and review your data.


If ‘Halo’ goes VR, expect it to happen on PC.Microsoft abandons VR plans for Xbox One

Speaking with Gamesindustry.biz, Microsoft’s chief marketing officer for gaming Mike Nichols revealed the company doesn’t have “any plans specific to Xbox consoles in virtual reality or mixed reality.”


Yes, that happened.New York Knicks top pick wore a ‘Fortnite’ suit to the draft

Considering the age of most top NBA picks it’s not surprising Fortnite has fans among players drafted last night, but Kevin Knox took his tribute to the next level by putting the game’s logo on the inner lining of his suit jacket.

But wait, there’s more…


The Morning After is a new daily newsletter from Engadget designed to help you fight off FOMO. Who knows what you’ll miss if you don’t Subscribe.

Craving even more? Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter.

Have a suggestion on how we can improve The Morning After? Send us a note.

Top 10 Safest Cities in America

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We can’t imagine our world’s situation without the contributions from the United States of America. Even though we have heard of a number of cities for their technical excellence and cultural heritage in the US, will they be safe enough to live? Following is the list of top 10 safest cities in America, as per […]

The post Top 10 Safest Cities in America appeared first on The Mysterious World.

Wirecutter's best deals: Save $50 on a Kwikset Kevo smart lock

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This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read their continuously updated list of deals here.

Osprey Parsec

Street price: $90; Deal price: $54

Seeking the flexibility of a backpack that’s as functional on a hike as it is in school or at work? The Osprey Parsec could be a nice option for you. The Armor Grey color with red trim, one of the more attractive colorways, is down to $54, a new low. The Robust Red color is also on sale for just $6 more at $60.

The Osprey Parsec is the top pick in our guide to the best backpack for high school and college. Sabrina Imbler and Mathew Olson wrote, “At 1 pound, 10 ounces, the Osprey Parsec is the lightest and most comfortable bag we tested, but it’s also a bit more expensive and not as versatile since it has fewer organizational features and compartments. The Parsec lacks an externally accessible laptop sleeve, and its front external pocket doesn’t have a buckle top—its design seems better suited to hiking than attending class—but its excellent ergonomics make it a good buy for anyone who prioritizes comfort over organization. It’s definitely the bag to get if the Quad is unavailable.”

Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock 2nd Gen

Street price: $180; Deal price: $135

If you like the Venetian Bronze finish, this is a tremendous opportunity to save on this recommended smart lock. The typical street price of the 2nd Gen Kwikset Kevo is still between $180 and $200 despite regular drops on various finishes in recent months, so this is a nice bargain. While we still recommend the Kevo Plus in-app upgrade, a costly addition, this deal makes the overall purchase, should you opt for it, relatively affordable.

The Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock 2nd Gen is the top pick in our guide to the best smart lock. Jon Chase wrote, “Kevo’s Bluetooth-based close-range authentication system is also more secure than the geofence-based auto-unlocking features employed by many locks, which proved unreliable in our testing. The fact that you can control the Kevo with a standard key, a wireless key fob, or a smartphone app also makes it the most versatile option we’ve ever tested. The Kevo app makes it easy to administer the lock and share eKeys, which allow guests to lock and unlock your Kevo; the Kevo Plus upgrade lets you control and monitor your Kevo when you’re away from home. While no lock can provide perfect security (and we considered smart features rather than physical robustness for this guide) Kwikset has been making locks for more than 60 years and the Kevo has an ANSI Grade 2 rating. (That’s the intermediate level of the three ANSI residential grades— if you want Grade 1, the highest rating for residential locks, take a look at our touchscreen pick from Schlage.)”

Microsoft Xbox One S + Fallout 4

Street price: $220; Deal price: $200

Available for $200, this is a nice deal on a bundle that includes the runner-up pick in our game console guide. If you like the Xbox game catalog and are seeking a console that can stream 4K video and play 4K Blu-rays, the Xbox One S with a copy of Fallout 4 is a solid if unspectacular deal at this price. Around a $220 value, if you like the game it’s a nice chance to save.

The Microsoft Xbox One S is the runner-up pick in our guide to the best game consoles. Thorin Klosowski wrote, “If you want a console that can stream 4K video and play 4K Blu-rays, if you’re invested in Microsoft-exclusive game franchises like Halo or Gears of War, or if you have a library of Xbox 360 or original-Xbox games, buy the Xbox One S. (You should consider the Xbox One X if you want to play games in 4K too, but at twice the price, it’s a tough sell.)”

Klosowski continues, “The Xbox One doesn’t have as many critically acclaimed exclusive games as the PS4 does, but it still has a solid library of games you can’t get on PlayStation, including PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Cuphead, Ori and the Blind Forest, Gears of War 4, and Halo 5.”

Twelve South HiRise Deluxe for iPhone & iPad

Street price: $50; Deal price: $30

This $30 price matches the low we’ve posted for the Twelve South HiRise Deluxe. It’s a solid drop from the street price of $50 and a nice value if you like the black finish as that’s the only one on sale at this time. This price will likely jump back up soon, so if you’re seeking an attractive charging stand for iPhone or iPad, this is one to consider while it lasts.

The Twelve South HiRise Deluxe for iPhone & iPad is our top phone dock pick in our guide to the best tech and apps for your home office. Dan Frakes wrote, “You can charge and sync your phone with a loose cable, but a dock—a cradle that holds your phone upright while it’s plugged in—is a nice upgrade. Over the past couple of years, I’ve tested more than 25 docks for the iPhone 5 and 6, and Twelve South’s HiRise Deluxe for iPhone & iPad is easily my favorite. This attractive and stable dock works with any Lightning-connector iPhone (bare or in almost any iPhone case, including battery cases) and most Micro-USB charging phones, Android or otherwise. It keeps an iPhone’s headphone jack accessible, and—my favorite feature—makes one-handed docking and removal of your phone easy. It’s the only dock I’ve seen that has all of these characteristics, and it can even hold an iPad mini or iPad Air. If you want to save $20, you can buy the non-Deluxe model that ships without a Lightning-to-USB cable and requires more assembly, but we think the Deluxe is worth the cost.

Because great deals don’t just happen on Thursday, sign up for our daily deals email and we’ll send you the best deals we find every weekday. Also, deals change all the time, and some of these may have expired. To see an updated list of current deals, please go here.

Wirecutter's best deals: Save $50 on a Kwikset Kevo smart lock

0
This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read their continuously updated list of deals here.

Osprey Parsec

Street price: $90; Deal price: $54

Seeking the flexibility of a backpack that’s as functional on a hike as it is in school or at work? The Osprey Parsec could be a nice option for you. The Armor Grey color with red trim, one of the more attractive colorways, is down to $54, a new low. The Robust Red color is also on sale for just $6 more at $60.

The Osprey Parsec is the top pick in our guide to the best backpack for high school and college. Sabrina Imbler and Mathew Olson wrote, “At 1 pound, 10 ounces, the Osprey Parsec is the lightest and most comfortable bag we tested, but it’s also a bit more expensive and not as versatile since it has fewer organizational features and compartments. The Parsec lacks an externally accessible laptop sleeve, and its front external pocket doesn’t have a buckle top—its design seems better suited to hiking than attending class—but its excellent ergonomics make it a good buy for anyone who prioritizes comfort over organization. It’s definitely the bag to get if the Quad is unavailable.”

Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock 2nd Gen

Street price: $180; Deal price: $135

If you like the Venetian Bronze finish, this is a tremendous opportunity to save on this recommended smart lock. The typical street price of the 2nd Gen Kwikset Kevo is still between $180 and $200 despite regular drops on various finishes in recent months, so this is a nice bargain. While we still recommend the Kevo Plus in-app upgrade, a costly addition, this deal makes the overall purchase, should you opt for it, relatively affordable.

The Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock 2nd Gen is the top pick in our guide to the best smart lock. Jon Chase wrote, “Kevo’s Bluetooth-based close-range authentication system is also more secure than the geofence-based auto-unlocking features employed by many locks, which proved unreliable in our testing. The fact that you can control the Kevo with a standard key, a wireless key fob, or a smartphone app also makes it the most versatile option we’ve ever tested. The Kevo app makes it easy to administer the lock and share eKeys, which allow guests to lock and unlock your Kevo; the Kevo Plus upgrade lets you control and monitor your Kevo when you’re away from home. While no lock can provide perfect security (and we considered smart features rather than physical robustness for this guide) Kwikset has been making locks for more than 60 years and the Kevo has an ANSI Grade 2 rating. (That’s the intermediate level of the three ANSI residential grades— if you want Grade 1, the highest rating for residential locks, take a look at our touchscreen pick from Schlage.)”

Microsoft Xbox One S + Fallout 4

Street price: $220; Deal price: $200

Available for $200, this is a nice deal on a bundle that includes the runner-up pick in our game console guide. If you like the Xbox game catalog and are seeking a console that can stream 4K video and play 4K Blu-rays, the Xbox One S with a copy of Fallout 4 is a solid if unspectacular deal at this price. Around a $220 value, if you like the game it’s a nice chance to save.

The Microsoft Xbox One S is the runner-up pick in our guide to the best game consoles. Thorin Klosowski wrote, “If you want a console that can stream 4K video and play 4K Blu-rays, if you’re invested in Microsoft-exclusive game franchises like Halo or Gears of War, or if you have a library of Xbox 360 or original-Xbox games, buy the Xbox One S. (You should consider the Xbox One X if you want to play games in 4K too, but at twice the price, it’s a tough sell.)”

Klosowski continues, “The Xbox One doesn’t have as many critically acclaimed exclusive games as the PS4 does, but it still has a solid library of games you can’t get on PlayStation, including PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Cuphead, Ori and the Blind Forest, Gears of War 4, and Halo 5.”

Twelve South HiRise Deluxe for iPhone & iPad

Street price: $50; Deal price: $30

This $30 price matches the low we’ve posted for the Twelve South HiRise Deluxe. It’s a solid drop from the street price of $50 and a nice value if you like the black finish as that’s the only one on sale at this time. This price will likely jump back up soon, so if you’re seeking an attractive charging stand for iPhone or iPad, this is one to consider while it lasts.

The Twelve South HiRise Deluxe for iPhone & iPad is our top phone dock pick in our guide to the best tech and apps for your home office. Dan Frakes wrote, “You can charge and sync your phone with a loose cable, but a dock—a cradle that holds your phone upright while it’s plugged in—is a nice upgrade. Over the past couple of years, I’ve tested more than 25 docks for the iPhone 5 and 6, and Twelve South’s HiRise Deluxe for iPhone & iPad is easily my favorite. This attractive and stable dock works with any Lightning-connector iPhone (bare or in almost any iPhone case, including battery cases) and most Micro-USB charging phones, Android or otherwise. It keeps an iPhone’s headphone jack accessible, and—my favorite feature—makes one-handed docking and removal of your phone easy. It’s the only dock I’ve seen that has all of these characteristics, and it can even hold an iPad mini or iPad Air. If you want to save $20, you can buy the non-Deluxe model that ships without a Lightning-to-USB cable and requires more assembly, but we think the Deluxe is worth the cost.

Because great deals don’t just happen on Thursday, sign up for our daily deals email and we’ll send you the best deals we find every weekday. Also, deals change all the time, and some of these may have expired. To see an updated list of current deals, please go here.

FDA approves implantable glucose monitor that lasts for 90 days

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Eversense
A year ago, the FDA implemented new, streamlined regulations for digital devices. One of them is a continuous glucose-monitoring (CGM) system the FDA just approved that sends data from an implantable sensor to a paired mobile app, letting patients see their levels on their smart device. Once it’s inserted by a medical professional, it can stay in the body for up to 90 days, which is far longer than comparable external sensors that typically must be swapped out around the ten-day mark. It’s the first implantable CGM approved by the agency.
The caveat is that only qualified health care providers may insert and retrieve the implant. It rests just inside the patient’s skin and is coated with a fluorescent chemical that produces light when exposed to glucose so it can read whether the body’s levels are too high (hyperglycemia) or low (hypoglycemia). Measurements are sent to the paired app every five minutes.

The FDA cleared the Eversense system, as it’s called, after a 125-person study reported that less than one percent of participants reported serious adverse reactions to the implant. This CGM system has another post-approval study slated, but an FDA advisory committee unanimously recommended that the Eversense’s benefits outweighed the risk. But the initial report didn’t indicate whether it was indeed more accurate than previous non-implanted setups. Until then, there are other digital monitoring options the agency has approved, like the FreeStyle Libre, that patients can insert themselves — but that must be replaced within 10 days.

FDA approves implantable glucose monitor that lasts for 90 days

0
Eversense
A year ago, the FDA implemented new, streamlined regulations for digital devices. One of them is a continuous glucose-monitoring (CGM) system the FDA just approved that sends data from an implantable sensor to a paired mobile app, letting patients see their levels on their smart device. Once it’s inserted by a medical professional, it can stay in the body for up to 90 days, which is far longer than comparable external sensors that typically must be swapped out around the ten-day mark. It’s the first implantable CGM approved by the agency.
The caveat is that only qualified health care providers may insert and retrieve the implant. It rests just inside the patient’s skin and is coated with a fluorescent chemical that produces light when exposed to glucose so it can read whether the body’s levels are too high (hyperglycemia) or low (hypoglycemia). Measurements are sent to the paired app every five minutes.

The FDA cleared the Eversense system, as it’s called, after a 125-person study reported that less than one percent of participants reported serious adverse reactions to the implant. This CGM system has another post-approval study slated, but an FDA advisory committee unanimously recommended that the Eversense’s benefits outweighed the risk. But the initial report didn’t indicate whether it was indeed more accurate than previous non-implanted setups. Until then, there are other digital monitoring options the agency has approved, like the FreeStyle Libre, that patients can insert themselves — but that must be replaced within 10 days.

100+ Platitudes That Will Maybe Make You Cringe

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A platitude is a comment or statement, often (but not always) with a moral element, that has been used way too often to be interesting. Basically, it’s an expression rendered dull and meaningless through overuse. Much like a cliché, a platitude is super commonplace. You probably hear at least one every day, and you’re probably guilty of uttering some nearly every day too. It’s tough to avoid them, really! But alas, so it goes. (Cringe).

1. Love conquers all.

2. There’s no such thing as bad timing with the right person.

3. All that glitters isn’t gold.

4. Don’t get your panties in a twist.

5. The calm before the storm.

6. Laughter is the best medicine.

7. Opposites attract.

8. The writing’s on the wall.

9. What goes around comes around.

10. It’s just a matter of time.

11. As old as the hills.

12. Fit as a fiddle.

13. Without a care in the world.

14. A diamond in the rough.

15. Brave as a lion.

16. Weak as a kitten

17. Had nerves of steel.

18. Ugly as sin.

19. All for one, and one for all.

20. Let’s just kiss and make up.

21. He has his tail between his legs.

22. And they all lived happily ever after.

23. Cat got your tongue?

24. Read between the lines.

25. Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

26. We’re not laughing at you we’re laughing with you.

27. There’s no “i” in Team

28. Good things come to those who wait.

29. What’s meant to be will be.

30. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

31. Time heals everything.

32. So it goes.

33. Forgive and forget.

34. Everything happens for a reason.

35. It is what it is.

36. What the mind can conceive, it can achieve.

37. Winners never quit.

38. What doesn’t you makes you stronger.

39. I don’t want a team of champions, I want a champion team.

40. Teamwork makes the dream work.

41. C’est la vie.

42. Hard work always pays off.

43. God has a plan.

44. Great minds think alike.

45. Money can’t buy happiness.

46. Live each moment like it’s your last.

47. Live in the now.

48. If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.

49. Follow your passion.

50. Follow your bliss.

51. Let’s not reinvent the wheel.

52. It’s not rocket science.

53. What goes up must come down.

54. After the storm the sun will shine.

55. There’s always a silver lining.

56. Don’t assume – it makes an ASS out of U and ME.

57. Don’t be sad because it’s over, be glad that it happened.

58. Love means never having to say you’re sorry.

59. We are where we are

60. What goes around comes around

61. What’s done is done

62. Waste not want not

63. It has to be somewhere (as if this helps you find something that’s lost)

64. Nice guys finish last

65. Go with the flow

66. Only dead fish go with the flow.

67. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

68. Work smarter, not harder.

69. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

70. Age is just a number.

71. We’re all in this together.

72. This too shall pass.

73. Everything always works out in the end.

74. We’ll all be laughing about this one day.

75. It’s doesn’t matter if you win or lose, only that you try.

76. Tomorrow is another day.

77. It could be worse.

78. You are what you eat.

79. It’s neither here nor there.

80. There’s no “there” there.

81. Think outside the box.

82. It will all look better in the morning.

83. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

84. Better to have loved and lost…

85. That’s for me to know and you to find out.

86. Better late than never.

87. The road to hell is paved in good intentions.

88. Gossip is the devil’s radio.

89. Laugh and the world laughs with you.

90. Beauty is only skin deep.

91. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

92. You can’t judge a book by its cover.

93. Work hard, play hard.

94. Only the good die young.

95. All’s fair in love and war.

96. All men are created equal.

97. There are plenty more fish in the sea.

98. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

99. It’s the darkest just before dawn.

100. Fail harder.

101. Perception is reality.

102. You can be anything that you want to be.

103. Patience is a virtue.

104. The customer is always right.

105. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

106. Be careful what you wish for.

107. With great wealth / power comes great responsibility.

108. God never gives us more than we can handle. [tc-mark}

70+ Big Words That Will Make You Feel Smart

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The biggest word in the English language is 189,819 letters long, and takes three hours to pronounce! More commonly used big words are several syllables long, and often make people feel smart when they say them out loud. Somewhat ironically, however, study after study has shown that using big words usually makes people sound dumb.

Mark Twain has a couple good quotes about why writers should be economical and precise:

“Don’t use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do.”

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter – it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

Still, it’s kind of fun to learn that a big juicy ass can be described as “callipygian” and if you’re horny as hell but don’t want anyone to know, just say you’re feeling “concupiscent.”

With that said, below is a list of some of the biggest words in the English language, which you can choose to ignore, or insert into your writing and vocabulary.

1. Abstentious — self-restraining; also the longest word in the English language to use all five vowels in order once

2. Accoutrements — trappings, esp. related to apparel

3. Acumen — ability, skill

4. Anachronistic — a story that didn’t actually happen

5. Anagnorisis — the moment in a story when the main character realizes something that leads to a resolution

6. Anomalist — difficult to classify

7. Antidisestablishmentarianism — a conservative approach to the Church of England in the 1800s; at 28 letters, thought to be the longest non-coined and nontechnical word in the English language

8. Apropos — appropriate

9. Arid — dry

10. Assiduous — painstaking; taking great care through hard work

11. Auspicious — signaling a positive future

12. Behoove — something that is a personal duty

13. Bellwether — the first sheep in a flock, wearing a bell around its neck

14. Callipygian — having large, round, succulent buttocks

15. Circumlocution —the act of using too many words

16. Concupiscent — filled with lust

17. Conviviality — friendliness

18. Coruscant — sparkling

19. Cuddlesome — cuddly

20. Cupidity — greed

21. Cwtch — from the Welsh word for “hiding place”; the longest word in English to be entirely composed of consonants

22. Cynosure — center of attention

23. Deleterious — harmful

24. Desideratum — something needed or wanted

25. Electroencephalographically — relating to an EEG; at 27 letters, the longest word in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary

26. Enervating — exhausting

27. Equanimity — level-headedness

28. Euouae — a medieval musical term; the longest word in a major dictionary entirely composed of vowels

29. Excogitate — to plan

30. Floccinaucinihilipilification — the act of describing something worthless; at 29 letters, the longest nontechnical word to be published in a major dictionary (Oxford English Dictionary)

31. Florid — red and inflamed

32. Fortuitous — lucky

33. Frugal — cheap, thrifty

34. Gasconading — bragging

35. Grandiloquent — verbally pompous

36. Hackneyed — clichéd

37. Honorificabilitudinitatibus — an extremely long-winded way to say “honorable”; at 27 letters, the longest word in the work of William Shakespeare; also the longest word in the English language featuring alternating consonants and vowels

38. Idiosyncratic — peculiar

39. Indubitably — without a doubt

40. Ivoriate — to cover in ivory

41. Lopadotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsanodrimhypotrimmatosilphioparaomelitokatakechymenokichlepikossyphophattoperisteralektryonoptekephalliokigklopeleiolagoiosiraiobaphetraganopterygon — an elaborate fricassee; coined word that appeared in the play Assemblywomen by Aristophanes

42. Methionylthreonylthreonylglutaminylalanyl…isoleucine … the chemical name for titin, the largest known protein; ellipsis used because at 189,819 letters, it’s the largest known word and takes over three hours to pronounce

43. Milieu — environment

44. Nidificate — to build a nest

45. Nonchalant — carefree and unbothered

46. Osculator — one who loves or is loved

47. Paradigm — model

48. Parastratiosphecomyiastratiosphecomyiodes — a species of fly native to Thailand

49. Parsimonious — cheap

50. Penultimate — second to last

51. Perfidious — treacherous

52. Perspicacious — perceptive

53. Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis —a form of an inflammatory disease; at 45 letters, it’s the longest word to appear in any major dictionary

54. Proficuous — profitable

55. Predilection — preference

56. Pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism — an inherited thyroid disorder

57. Punctilious — meticulous

58. Querulous — fussy

59 Rancorous — bitter and argumentative

60. Remunerative — lucrative

61. Rotavator — a soil tiller; at 9 letters, the longest palindromic word in the English language (i.e., it’s spelled the same way backwards)

62. Saxicolous — something that lives on rocks

63. Sesquipedalian — involving long words, just like this article

64. Splendiferous — wonderful

65. Squirrelled — put away; the longest one-syllable word in the English language

66. Subdermatoglyphic — regarding patterns formed by fingerprints; at 17 letters, the longest word in English where not a single letter is repeated

67. Supercilious — arrogant

68. Synergy — extra energy generated by cooperation

69. Unencumbered — free

70. Unparagoned — without equal

71. Winebibber — an alcoholic TC mark

I Am Slowly Learning To Give Myself More Credit

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Give Myself More CreditUnsplash / Luis Cortes MartinezI am slowly learning that I don’t give myself enough credit. I am my own biggest critic. No matter how much I accomplish in a day, in a week, in a year, I still feel like I haven’t done enough. I still feel like I am falling behind.

Even when I succeed in something, I become awkward whenever someone congratulates me on it. I act like it isn’t a big deal, because I feel like I do not deserve any praise.

Because of my self-deprecating ways, I think some people are under the impression that everything I have came easily to me, that it arrived overnight without me having to lift a finger, which is the opposite of the truth.

I work my ass off. I put effort into every single thing I do. I am not half-assing anything. I am not letting myself act lazy. I work my hardest every single day. I do not take breaks often. I keep going. I keep fighting.

That is the reason why I rarely have time to see my friends. That is the reason why I never get enough sleep. And that is the reason why I have gotten where I am today.

I am slowly learning that — although it upsets me when people assume my world is easy — it doesn’t matter whether anyone else sees how much heart and soul I am putting into my passions. It doesn’t matter if they applaud my work. I do not need their validation. I need to start impressing myself.

I am slowly learning to give myself more credit because even if I cannot see any progress yet, the fact that I am continuing to go without results proves how dedicated I am. It shows that I am a warrior. I am not going to give up on myself. I am going to succeed, even if I suffer fifty failures beforehand.

After all, I am not chasing my dreams for anyone else. I am doing it selfishly, to reach personal fulfillment. And since I am doing all of this for myself, I should start recognizing how much work I have been putting in. I should be kinder to myself.

I am slowly learning to give myself more credit because what I have accomplished is impressive. It is worth celebrating. I do not have to keep my excitement inside. I do not have to sell myself short when I should know my self-worth.

I am allowed to be happy about what I have earned, even if I feel like I should be further ahead by now. I am allowed to brag about what I have accomplished, even if that makes me sound cocky and conceited. I am allowed to be happy for myself, because I have spent so damn long feeling miserable and hating myself.

I am allowed to be proud of myself for a change. I am allowed to cherish this moment where I don’t feel like a lazy piece of shit because I’m not sure how long it is going to last. TC mark

If He Liked You, He Would Answer Your Texts

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TextsUnsplash / Kev Costello

If he wanted to start a relationship with you, if he wanted to turn you into his girlfriend, if he wanted a serious commitment — then he would not keep you waiting. He would not go weeks without answering your texts. He would not send mixed signals that leave you wondering whether he is interested in dating you or whether he has only been stringing you along.

If he liked you, if he was attracted to you, if he couldn’t stop thinking about you — then he would text you back as soon as he had the time, because he would want to hear from you. He wouldn’t want to go another day, another hour, another minute without interacting with you. He would be dying to continue the conversation. He would be jumping at the sound of his notifications the same way you have been doing when his name appears on the screen.

If he felt the same way about you, if he got butterflies around you, if he was leaning towards falling in love with you — then would not be acting so distant. He would not ghost you for weeks at a time and then come popping back in your world with flirtatious comments. He would not bounce back and forth between acting like you are the center of his universe and acting like you are invisible. His behavior would not be this confusing. It would not be hard to figure out what he wanted. It would be obvious. You would know, just by looking into his eyes.

If he wanted you for more than an ego boost, more than a one-night stand, more than a friend — then he would answer your texts without making you wait three days. He would clear his schedule and invite you to hang out with him on weekends. He would make time for you. He would make an effort for you.

You have to accept that he doesn’t like you enough to put a title on your relationship, enough to rearrange his schedule to see you, enough to give you what you desperately want from him — either that or he is too lazy to put in the effort.

Either way, he is not someone worthy of your time. He is not the kind of person you should call your forever. He belongs in your past because he clearly has not made room for you in his future. You do not want to be stuck in a one-sided relationship where you are always offering more, helping more, loving more.

You deserve someone who meets you halfway. You are not supposed to settle for a relationship where you are unsure — of your worth and of his feelings for you.

Even though you like him, even though you cannot stop thinking about him, even though you would do anything to change his mind about you, you should let him go, because if he cannot even send a text back, then imagine all the other ways he will let you down. TC mark

Edmund Kemper: A Killer With Severe Mommy Issues

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Edmund Kemper is larger than life in many ways: He stands six feet, nine inches tall, weighs 280 pounds, and has an IQ that tested at 145. But this giant of a man was also endlessly belittled and abused by his dominating mother, Clarnell Kemper, and it was his lifelong struggle to squirm out from under her thumb that proved to be his undoing.

All told, “Big Ed” killed ten people—his grandparents, his mother, his mother’s friend, and six young women he picked up hitchhiking in Northern California from 1972-1973, which earned him the moniker “The Co-Ed Killer.” His gruesome crimes involved decapitation, necrophilia, and cannibalism.

What seems nearly as unsettling as his crimes, though, is his rare ability to articulate his motivations. Even though he is very careful not to blame his mother for his later deeds, he insists that understanding her role in his formative years could help prevent the development of future Ed Kempers.

Early Years: Confined To The Basement

Edmund Emil Kemper III was born in California in 1948, the only son of three children born to Edmund Emil Kemper II and Clarnell Kemper. Weighing thirteen pounds at birth, he was a giant from the start.

In every interview he’s ever granted, Kemper has described his family as “matriarchal” and his mother as controlling and abusive. He called her a “big, ugly, awkward woman who was six feet tall and she was always trying to get me to go out with girls who were just like her.” Ed’s father, a veteran who allegedly was belittled by Clarnell for his “menial” job as an electrician, concurred: “suicide missions in wartime and the atomic bomb testings were nothing compared to living with her,” his father later said after divorcing Clarnell.

Ed says he started to feel his mother’s searing misandry when she allowed his two sisters to sleep upstairs while she forced him to sleep in the basement. He says she continually called him “stupid,” a “sissy,” a “real weirdo,” and would smack the hell out of him for the slightest act of insubordination.

Ed claims his older sister tortured him, once shoving him in front of an oncoming train and another time almost drowning him in a swimming pool. He would play macabre games with his sisters such as “Electric Chair” and “Gas Chamber,” where they’d sit on a chair in his bedroom and pretend they were receiving the death penalty. When one of his sisters gave him a doll for Christmas, he cut off its hands and head. He also buried the family cat alive before chopping off its head, placing it on a stick, and muttering a prayer. At one point when his sister teased him by saying he wanted to kiss his female teacher, a very young Ed ominously said, “If I kissed her, I’d have to kill her first.”

Age 15: Ed Murders His Grandparents

Feeling despised and deeply unwanted by his mother, Ed went to live with his dad and his new stepmother in Los Angeles when he was 14, at which point he was already 6’4”. But this new stepmother resented him too, and Ed was sent to live with his grandparents in Montana.

Here, too, Ed felt he was trapped in an anti-male matriarchy, complaining that his grandmother “was constantly emasculating me and my grandfather.” On August 27, 1964, Ed and his grandmother quarreled in the kitchen. Ed left the room and returned with a hunting rifle, whereupon he shot his grandmother in the head and twice in the back, killing her. Fearing that she had not died yet and claiming that he didn’t want her to suffer, he stabbed her multiple times with a kitchen knife and let the life bleed out of her. When his grandfather returned home, Ed stepped out into the driveway and shot him dead. He then called his mother and told her what he’d done. She told him to call the police, which he did. When asked why he murdered his grandparents, he reportedly told investigators, ‘I just wondered how it would feel to shoot grandma.”

Court psychiatrists diagnosed Kemper with paranoid schizophrenia and shuffled him off to the criminally insane unit at Atascadero State Hospital. But authorities at the hospital disagreed and said that Kemper “showed no signs of delusion no flight of ideas, no interference with thought, no expression of delusions or hallucinations, and no evidence of bizarre thinking.” At best, they said he was passive-aggressive.

During his stay at the mental hospital, Kemper was allegedly a model prisoner and claims he successfully helped introduce the concept of “Overt Hostility” to the popular Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory test.

On his 21st birthday in December 1969, Kemper was released from the mental hospital and—against the strong recommendations of psychiatrists—he was released back into his mother’s care.

Edmund Kemper is the Co-Ed Killer

Edmund KemperEdmund Kemper’s mugshot upon entering prison, 1973
Kemper claims that upon his return to live with his mother, the verbal abuse continued.

He found a job as a construction-company flagman and spent his spare time poring over detective magazines, snuff films, and John Wayne movies. He collected weapons, his favorite being a grotesquely large hunting knife which he called “The General.” He was again subjected to Clarnell’s incessant put-downs and petty humiliations. He fantasized about killing her, frequently tiptoeing into her room with a gun as she slept, yet finding himself unable to pull the trigger.

Around 1972, Ed started prowling Northern California’s roads for hitchhikers. His first co-ed victims were a pair of female students from Fresno State University. He forced one of them at gunpoint to climb into his trunk. He placed a plastic bag over the other’s head, stabbing her in the back and stomach before slitting her throat. Kemper then knifed the woman who was in the trunk and took both girls home, where they were decapitated and buried nearby.

His next victim was a dance student, whom he killed and then raped, ejaculating into the corpse almost upon contact. He brought her body home and severed her hands and feet, just as he had done to his sister’s doll years before.

Co-ed number four was shot and taken to Kemper’s house, where she was beheaded. He had sex with the cadaver and later axed it to pieces, tossing the remains into the ocean near Carmel, CA.

He killed two more co-eds on February 5, 1973, again placing their bodies in his trunk and chopping off their had. The next day, while mom was working, Ed washed blood off one of the girls’ bodies and had intercourse with the headless corpse.

Clarnell Kemper was right—her son was a real weirdo. Ed sometimes chilled his victims’ heads in the refrigerator and buried one girl’s head facing his house so he could fantasize that she was watching him: “I talked to her, saying love things, the way you do to a girlfriend or wife,” he later would claim. He ate strips of another’s leg as part of a macaroni casserole. Ed also snapped Polaroids of his victims and saved their skin and teeth as mementos.

In the midst of his spree, he often went to a local bar frequented by off-duty cops, grilling them for details about the murders.

On Easter Sunday, 1973, he went straight for the source of his animus, whacking Clarnell in the head with a hammer while she slept and slitting her throat with The General. He decapitated her and threw her vocal cords, which had berated him since he was a boy, into the garbage disposal.

The next day, he invited his mother’s friend over for dinner. He strangled the woman when she arrived and spent the night in mom’s bed. Ed balanced Clarnell’s head on a box and used it as a dartboard for several days. Regarding the brutality he visited on his mother’s corpse, he said, “That seemed appropriate, as much as she’d bitched and screamed and yelled at me for so many years.”

Then he drove to Colorado and called police from a pay phone, admitting to the Co-Ed Killings. He politely waited for cops to arrest him and enthusiastically confessed. Kemper, who claimed to be “terrified of violence,” begged for the death penalty.

He would later claim that after killing his mother, he had gotten to the root of his problems and there was no more work to be done.

Trial And Imprisonment

Since Kemper eagerly confessed to his crimes in great detail, his defense lawyers were left with only the insanity defense as an option—after all, what sane person would use his mother’s decapitated head as a dartboard?

However, the insanity defense failed and Kemper was sentenced to eight terms of seven years to life for the eight murders, to be run concurrently.

In prison he has spent over 5,000 narrating books for the blind. FBI profiler John E. Douglas says Kemper is “among the brightest prison inmates” and displays “rare insight for a violent criminal.”

Although we continue to live in an overly simplistic world that views things through a binary lens where everything is black or white, good or evil, guilty or innocent, Kemper says he hopes his experience proves instructive and that people use his case to learn how early childhood abuse can create monsters. For now, the best we can learn from his grisly string of murders is a perverse take on an old country and western song:

“Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be serial killers.”

The Killer In His Own Words

These and many other Ed Kemper quotes are at Quote Catalog.

My mother was there. She was there to beat me, she was there to humiliate me, she was there to use me as an example of how inferior men are.

At first I picked up girls just to talk to them, just to try to get acquainted with people my own age and try to strike up a friendship.

Oh, what is it like to have sex with a dead body?…What does it feel like to sit on your living room couch and look over and see two decapitated girls’ heads on the arm of the couch? The first time, it makes you sick to your stomach.

When they were being killed, there wasn’t anything going on in my mind except that they were going to be mine….That was the only way they could be mine.

They were like spirit wives….I still had their spirits. I still have them.

I remember it was very exciting.….there was actually a sexual thrill.…It was kind of an exalted triumphant type thing, like taking the head of a deer or an elk or something would be to a hunter….I was the hunter and they were the victims.

I just wanted the exaltation over the party. In other words, winning over death. They were dead and I was alive. That was the victory in my case. TC mark

If I Choose To Date You, That Means I’m Serious About You

0

Choose To Date YouUnsplash / Dani VivancoI am not going to dive into a relationship with someone unless I am 100% sure they are a good match for me. I do not give out keys to my heart easily. I am stingy when it comes to affection.

If I choose to date you, that means I’m serious about you. That means I am going to dedicate myself to you and only you — and I expect you to do the same.

I expect you to stop with the games, to delete your dating apps, to stop partying every single weekend and spend time with me instead. I expect you to act mature and to take our relationship seriously instead of running away at the first glimpse of trouble. I expect you to give me as much as I am offering you in return.

I don’t want a one-sided relationship or a relationship where it feels like I’m babysitting. If I am going to put my heart on the line and date someone, then I want a real, committed relationship. One that has the potential to last a lifetime.

If you are not interested in the same things as me, it doesn’t matter how strong our chemistry is or how much fun we have together. We are not going to work out, because I am not willing to settle.

Do not enter a relationship with me casually. Do not treat me more like a backup plan than a girlfriend. Do not think there is a chance we will take breaks or have an on-and-off relationship. That is not going to happen. We are either going to be committed or we are going to be strangers.

I do not think my standards are unrealistically high. I am not asking for anything out of the ordinary. I am only asking not to be screwed over. I am asking for our relationship to be taken seriously, because I am not interested in a fling.

I have reached the point where I would rather be single than waste my time in an almost relationship or in a relationship where I am not being valued.

I don’t mind being on my own. I am comfortable within the silence of my bedroom. It takes a lot for me to decide to risk my heart and date again, so if I decide to call you my boyfriend, don’t doubt whether my feelings for you are real and don’t hesitate to express your feelings for me.

I’m not a fan of mixed signals and unspoken compliments. I want you to show how much you care about me. I want proof that you are taking our relationship as seriously as I am. I don’t waste time with people who consider me temporary, so I need to know that you are on the same page as me.

If I choose to date you, then I am committed to making us work. I am ready to put in the effort. I am ready to give you everything within me. And I am hoping you feel the same. TC mark

You Shouldn’t Hide Your Anxiety From Your Forever Person

0

AnxietyGod & ManYour forever person might not know the right thing to say when your anxiety gets the best of you — but they will always be there for you. They will search for ways to comfort you. They will remind you that you are not alone and the way you are feeling is okay.

If you are worried about your anxiety pushing the other person away, then you shouldn’t be together. You should feel comfortable around them. You should feel free to show them your most vulnerable sides.

You should never settle for someone who accuses you of overreacting when you mention how sick to your stomach you are feeling. You should never put up with a relationship where you are pressured to hide your emotions to avoid arguments and mean judgements.

Your forever person is not going to be annoyed when you ask to stay home for the night even though you originally planned on getting drinks on the town. Your forever person is not going to act like you are a burden when you need to spend a few extra minutes in the car to control your breathing before walking into a party. Your forever person is not going to get angry when you ask to switch seats you can sit on the aisle instead of being flanked by strangers.

Your forever person might not have any personal experience with anxiety — but they will work their hardest to understand where you are coming from. They will try to see situation from your point of view. They will not push you out of your comfort zone, but they will encourage you to sneak out from it.

If you are with someone who is embarrassed of how quiet and awkward you get around crowds, someone who pushes you into situations you are uncomfortable being apart of, someone who disregards your emotions because they are too extreme, then you are with the wrong person.

Your anxiety is going to make you feel like a burden — but your person should never make you feel that way. They should never be the reason why you are crying yourself to sleep at night. They should be helping you fight against your anxiety, not fighting against you because you have anxiety.

It’s scary to reveal your biggest insecurities to someone, to stop playing pretend and allow them to view the uncensored you, but the right person will make you feel like it’s okay to be you and it’s okay to have anxiety. They will remind you how much you are loved on your good days and on your bad. Your anxiety is not going to get in the way of your relationship. It will simply become a part of the relationship.

You shouldn’t hide your anxiety from your forever person because they will want to help you through it in the best way they can. Even if they cannot do anything to help, they will still stand by your side. They will still want to hold your hand and squeeze, because they aren’t going anywhere. Your anxiety isn’t scaring them off. They are there to stay. TC mark

The new Ronin S gimbal is essential YouTube gear

0
If you’re reading this you’re probably a filmmaker or someone who might like to become a filmmaker. If so, you already know that the Ronin S is a gimbal: a robotic stick that stabilizes your camera. The reason your YouTube faves are geeking out over the Ronin S is that it can carry larger cameras than the previous generation — nearly 8 pounds — compared to the 1.4 pounds of the original go-to gimbal, the Zhiyun-Tech Crane-M. The Ronin S is what you need if you want your footage to look both crispy and smooth at the same time.

As a pretend YouTube filmmaker, I got a chance to try the Ronin S for about a week. When I pulled the Ronin S out of the box my first thought was “it’s big boy season!” because I’m a garbage memelord, but also because this thing comes in what looks like a gun case and weighs just north of four pounds before you put a camera on it. The handle snaps in with a satisfying thunk, and the included tripod foot makes the whole setup look like alien technology, which is always a plus.

That satisfaction was somewhat short-lived, however; the next step was to balance an A7SII on the Ronin S’ gangly top part. If you’re already familiar with gimbals like the original Ronin or the Zhiyun Crane you know that balancing can be tricky, and ultimately you just have to repeatedly tweak it until it’s right. I’ve found balancing the Ronin S to be particularly difficult because the rail on the roll axis is incredibly tight. Even after loosening the nut, serious force was needed it move the arm left and right, making fine adjustments very hard.

Once I had the A7SII more or less balanced on the Ronin S, I switched it on and the camera snapped right to attention. Since the A7SII and kit lens are so far below the weight limit on the Ronin S, there wasn’t even a hint of motor struggle, which was common in last-gen gimbals with full-sized cameras and fast lenses.

You can control the gimbal with the built-in joystick or the Ronin app. The app offer extremely precise controls, allowing you to get glacially slow pans, tilts, and rolls. However, there are a quite a few options in the app that assume prior knowledge, so you’ll almost certainly have to reference the manual like I had to. Not only does the app give you fine-grain control over every axis, but there are also several modes that can automate complex or time consuming shots, like Panorama and Motionlapse. These modes really only work well if you’ve got a compatible camera and corresponding shutter release cable, so be sure to consult the compatibility sheet.

All that that being said, I was able to get very stable shots while walking and zipping around on a Boosted Board, and for most YouTubers that’s good enough. In this regard, both the Ronin S and the new Zhiyun Crane-2 should serve your needs well, but DJI’s ecosystem of add-ons and accessories provide a compelling on-ramp to truly professional filmmaking. Out of the box the Ronin S can control camera parameters and even pull focus, depending on what camera system you have on it, and compatibility with DJI’s Master Wheels and Force Pro remote control system means you can shoot with a second camera operator. In the promotional video DJI shows the Ronin S on a gib while being operated remotely, and I have to say, that’s just cool.

The Ronin S is currently available for $699. On one hand, this is a little pricey for someone making videos for fun. For those people, the older Zhiyun Crane models are probably acceptable and cost several hundred dollars less. However, the Ronin S’ $699 price tag is an absolute steal for both pro and would-be pro users. Compatibility with the aforementioned Force Pro remote control and the DJI Focus system opens up so many other kinds of shots–you can bolt the thing to RC buggies and even cars, for example. So if you’re looking for a gimbal that can grow alongside your video ambitions, the Ronin S is one of the best on the market.

Never Let Your Walls Down

0

Walls DownUnsplash / FreestocksI was brave enough to let my guard down — I gave someone full access to my heart and soul — and I got screwed over. I shouldn’t have been so trusting. I shouldn’t have allowed myself to be vulnerable.

I should have kept up my cool girl act. I should have left the walls around my heart. I would have been better off alone, keeping to myself, refusing to put myself out there.

But I took a leap. I believed it when others told me love would be worth the risk. I wandered away from my comfort zone. I put my days of pushing-other-people-away behind me.

For the first time in my life, against my better instincts, I trusted someone not to hurt me. I convinced myself that they weren’t going anywhere and I should shove my abandonment issues to the side.

My new way of thinking was good for a while. I was happy. I was light-headed. I was free from the paranoia that usually plagues me.

But then everything came crashing down. When it was over, it hurt so much worse than I ever imagined.

I usually prepare myself for heartbreak. I usually protect myself by assuming the worst case scenario is going to occur. But this time I forced myself to act optimistic. I thought like a romantic. So when the relationship ended, I was blindsided. I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know how to react, I didn’t know who I was.

This person was able to walk away with all of my secrets, because I never held anything back from them. I was completely transparent when we were together. It took a while for me to get used to sharing myself with someone, but I eventually succeeded. I sliced my chest open and let them dig through my insides. They knew every single thing about me — including how they could hurt me the worst.

Looking back, I feel like an idiot. I feel like it was wrong of me to give them so much information, so much time, and so much effort when it was eventually going to end like every other relationship has. I feel like I was fooling myself.

It’s funny, because when we were together, I finally realized why people allow themselves to be vulnerable in love. I finally understood the benefits of bearing your soul to someone.

But now that we’re apart, I remember why I always pushed other people away. I remember why I never let myself grow close to anybody. It’s because I never wanted to go through this type of pain, I never wanted to experience this heartache, I never wanted to show someone the real me and then be told it isn’t enough.

I never wanted to let someone this deep into my world — but I took a chance for them and I don’t even think they appreciate it. I don’t think they have any idea how hard this was for me. I don’t think they care at all. TC mark

How to optimize your online gaming setup

0
Whether you play Fortnite, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or Overwatch, you’re going to want as little latency as possible between your hands and the game’s servers. While you can’t really account for how reliable your ISP is, by making a few smart choices you can ensure that your side of the equation is as speedy as possible.

Everything from your controller to your keyboard and mouse to your display and router can affect how long it takes for a game to recognize when you put a few rounds at an enemy. It might not seem like a big deal at first, but every millisecond of delay adds up and could mean the difference between that ever-elusive chicken dinner in PUBG and going home hungry. Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to optimize your online gaming experience at home.

Buy your own equipment

Internet service providers charge anywhere between $6 and $10 per month (if not more) for using their equipment. If all you’re doing is sending emails and streaming music, the basic modem/router combo from your cable company probably hasn’t caused you too many problems. But if you’re looking to get the fastest speeds possible and save some money in the process, you should buy your own gear. Why? In addition to paying for itself in as little as a year, equipment from companies like Netgear and Linksys is specifically designed to optimize your network performance.

Many modern routers offer features like 5GHz networks and 802.11ac WiFi for operating in environments where there’s a lot of “noise” from other networks (like in an apartment building, for example) that would typically slow down your connection. As a general rule, you should have as many of your devices running a wired connection as possible. But for situations where your router physically can’t connect to your PC or game console, a new router should help close the gap between a wired and wireless connection.

More than that, a good router can help you achieve dramatically faster downloads than the speed package you’re paying for. We’re big fans of the Netgear Nighthawk series, which offers great performance on the mid-tier R7000P as well as the entry-level R6700. Both models offer easy setup, impressive range and killer speed boosts. If range and signal strength are issues in your home, you could always pick up a WiFi repeater.

Round it all out with a standalone modem like the Arris Surfboard SB6121 and you’re on your way to online gaming supremacy. Keep in mind that a modem, however, may not have nearly as dramatic of an impact on your download speeds as your choice in router. If you’re paying for super fast speeds (north of 200Mbps), that could be a different story.

In that case, our friends at Wirecutter recommend the Arris SURFboard SB6183, which boasts 16 downstream channels compared with four on the SB6121. If you’re a DSL subscriber, chances are you’ll have to use your ISP’s modem, but if not, the same idea applies as it does for cable internet.

All wired everything

A female participants seen playing online game on a laptop...

As noted above, you should keep all of your network gear wired whenever possible, preferably with CAT5e or CAT6 cabling. The former is more common, though the latter promises less interference if you’re running it over long distances.

The wired-only rule of thumb generally applies to your other accessories as well. The advantage of a wired keyboard, mouse and game controller is they’re one less source of potential input lag. In tournament situations, for example, wired gamepads are all that’s allowed. Part of that is to eliminate any potential cross talk between the controller and the console you’re pairing it to in a busy environment.

Logitech’s PowerPlay system
Another reason is to ensure everyone is on a level playing field: wired versus wired. Xbox One gamepads disable their wireless radios when you plug them into Microsoft’s console (or a PC) with a micro-USB cable, and a few tournament-level PS4 gamepads are wired only.

With keyboards and mice it’s a slightly different story. We’ve seen a handful of products that claim low-to-zero input lag, and in general, wireless accessories are more convenient to use — mice especially. If you go with something like Logitech’s G903 model, it comes with an available charging mat, so you won’t have to worry about changing batteries ever again either. As with routers, you should look for something that can run on the less busy 5GHz frequency if you’re in the market for new gear.

Custom router settings

Routers like Netgear’s Nighthawk line offer customizable settings to ensure your PC and consoles get bandwidth priority over others on your network. It’s usually just a matter of turning the features on. Once you’re logged into your router, look for something called QoS (quality of service). Set whichever console or computer on your network you want to have top priority over everything else, and the router should do the rest.

If not, you might have to set a static IP address for your device of choice and then set the priority level. This will ensure that no matter if you have a roommate watching Netflix in 4K UHD, your PC, PlayStation or Xbox will take precedence. The WRT32X gaming router from Linksys enables these settings by default, and if you’re an Xbox fan, it has a router specifically made to prioritize the data coming in and out of Microsoft’s latest console.

You can also set up port forwarding, which will affect your NAT type. Ideally, your NAT will be wide open, which will allow your router to open a hole for communication to the internet. Port forwarding has become less common, but in a lot of cases the settings are necessary if you want to be the host in an online game or if you’re having issues with text or voice chat while playing. It can be like reading Greek if you aren’t accustomed, but thankfully there are resources online that can walk you through the process.

If you’re feeling particularly industrious, you could also install custom firmware on your router. Ultimately, most people won’t need the types of control that customization offers, but the option’s there if you want it. Also, make sure your router’s firmware is up to date. This will not only safeguard you from any potential security holes but also ensure you’re using the most optimized software available.

Where you’ll find a big boost in speeds is by applying Google’s DNS settings to your network. Rather than using the domain name servers provided by your ISP through the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), you should take a few minutes and apply Google’s instead. You can do it on a per-device basis if you want, but applying them in your router’s setup page should work as well.

Several Engadget staffers noticed a twofold increase in their downloads via PS4’s built-in network test. In fact, Fortnite developer Epic Games recommends using Google’s settings to ensure the best experience, in case you needed more convincing.

Display settings

Yep, even your monitor or TV can have an impact on your gaming performance, in a few different ways. In general, if you’re looking for a display solely for gaming, you want one with the lowest input lag possible — ideally under 30 milliseconds. New TV features like HDR and 4K resolution might wow you on the showroom floor, but once you hook a console or PC into them, the extra processing those picture features require can cause response time to swell.

Whether you’re choosing OLED or LCD (it’s going to depend on personal preferences), make sure once your display is out of the box and plugged in that you change it to “game mode” in the settings. This disables processing that might make a UHD Blu-ray or Netflix stream look closer to the director’s intent while dramatically decreasing input lag. To illustrate how important this is, Microsoft recently issued an Xbox One patch that automatically engages game mode on compatible TVs.

For PC gamers, it’s a little different. Most times, you’re using an LCD monitor situated a few feet from your face. LCDs inherently have lower input lag than OLED, but the trade-off is dealing with refresh rates. Some high-end monitors support 240Hz, others only 144Hz or 60Hz. That means they’re capable of handling frame rates between 60 FPS and 240 FPS. Lower frame rates mean your machine isn’t drawing a given scene as quickly, and someone with a faster monitor might get the jump on you while you’re moving the payload in Overwatch.

A 240Hz monitor might get you the highest frame rate and may get you faster response times. However, the bottleneck to performance is your graphics card. So sure, while 240 FPS sounds positively droolworthy, the amount of power needed to match it at 4K would be pretty absurd. Instead, maybe opt for a 1440p monitor and fool around with your game and GPU settings to find the sweet spot that gives you maximum frame rate and visual fidelity.

Wrap-up

Man playing video game

There’s a lot to consider when you’re optimizing your setup for online gaming. Each choice can shave off (or add) time between when you press a button on your controller or keyboard and when the servers recognize what you did. With a little work and some research, though, you can improve your experience pretty easily.

Have any tips and tricks we might’ve missed? Leave them in the comments below and they could end up in a future version of this article.

Images: SOPA Images via Getty Images (woman gaming, wires); Netduma (DumaOS); NVIDIA (G-Sync gaming monitor); Kerkez via Getty Images (home gamer with headset)

How to optimize your online gaming setup

0
Whether you play Fortnite, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or Overwatch, you’re going to want as little latency as possible between your hands and the game’s servers. While you can’t really account for how reliable your ISP is, by making a few smart choices you can ensure that your side of the equation is as speedy as possible.

Everything from your controller to your keyboard and mouse to your display and router can affect how long it takes for a game to recognize when you put a few rounds at an enemy. It might not seem like a big deal at first, but every millisecond of delay adds up and could mean the difference between that ever-elusive chicken dinner in PUBG and going home hungry. Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to optimize your online gaming experience at home.

Buy your own equipment

Internet service providers charge anywhere between $6 and $10 per month (if not more) for using their equipment. If all you’re doing is sending emails and streaming music, the basic modem/router combo from your cable company probably hasn’t caused you too many problems. But if you’re looking to get the fastest speeds possible and save some money in the process, you should buy your own gear. Why? In addition to paying for itself in as little as a year, equipment from companies like Netgear and Linksys is specifically designed to optimize your network performance.

Many modern routers offer features like 5GHz networks and 802.11ac WiFi for operating in environments where there’s a lot of “noise” from other networks (like in an apartment building, for example) that would typically slow down your connection. As a general rule, you should have as many of your devices running a wired connection as possible. But for situations where your router physically can’t connect to your PC or game console, a new router should help close the gap between a wired and wireless connection.

More than that, a good router can help you achieve dramatically faster downloads than the speed package you’re paying for. We’re big fans of the Netgear Nighthawk series, which offers great performance on the mid-tier R7000P as well as the entry-level R6700. Both models offer easy setup, impressive range and killer speed boosts. If range and signal strength are issues in your home, you could always pick up a WiFi repeater.

Round it all out with a standalone modem like the Arris Surfboard SB6121 and you’re on your way to online gaming supremacy. Keep in mind that a modem, however, may not have nearly as dramatic of an impact on your download speeds as your choice in router. If you’re paying for super fast speeds (north of 200Mbps), that could be a different story.

In that case, our friends at Wirecutter recommend the Arris SURFboard SB6183, which boasts 16 downstream channels compared with four on the SB6121. If you’re a DSL subscriber, chances are you’ll have to use your ISP’s modem, but if not, the same idea applies as it does for cable internet.

All wired everything

A female participants seen playing online game on a laptop...

As noted above, you should keep all of your network gear wired whenever possible, preferably with CAT5e or CAT6 cabling. The former is more common, though the latter promises less interference if you’re running it over long distances.

The wired-only rule of thumb generally applies to your other accessories as well. The advantage of a wired keyboard, mouse and game controller is they’re one less source of potential input lag. In tournament situations, for example, wired gamepads are all that’s allowed. Part of that is to eliminate any potential cross talk between the controller and the console you’re pairing it to in a busy environment.

Logitech’s PowerPlay system
Another reason is to ensure everyone is on a level playing field: wired versus wired. Xbox One gamepads disable their wireless radios when you plug them into Microsoft’s console (or a PC) with a micro-USB cable, and a few tournament-level PS4 gamepads are wired only.

With keyboards and mice it’s a slightly different story. We’ve seen a handful of products that claim low-to-zero input lag, and in general, wireless accessories are more convenient to use — mice especially. If you go with something like Logitech’s G903 model, it comes with an available charging mat, so you won’t have to worry about changing batteries ever again either. As with routers, you should look for something that can run on the less busy 5GHz frequency if you’re in the market for new gear.

Custom router settings

Routers like Netgear’s Nighthawk line offer customizable settings to ensure your PC and consoles get bandwidth priority over others on your network. It’s usually just a matter of turning the features on. Once you’re logged into your router, look for something called QoS (quality of service). Set whichever console or computer on your network you want to have top priority over everything else, and the router should do the rest.

If not, you might have to set a static IP address for your device of choice and then set the priority level. This will ensure that no matter if you have a roommate watching Netflix in 4K UHD, your PC, PlayStation or Xbox will take precedence. The WRT32X gaming router from Linksys enables these settings by default, and if you’re an Xbox fan, it has a router specifically made to prioritize the data coming in and out of Microsoft’s latest console.

You can also set up port forwarding, which will affect your NAT type. Ideally, your NAT will be wide open, which will allow your router to open a hole for communication to the internet. Port forwarding has become less common, but in a lot of cases the settings are necessary if you want to be the host in an online game or if you’re having issues with text or voice chat while playing. It can be like reading Greek if you aren’t accustomed, but thankfully there are resources online that can walk you through the process.

If you’re feeling particularly industrious, you could also install custom firmware on your router. Ultimately, most people won’t need the types of control that customization offers, but the option’s there if you want it. Also, make sure your router’s firmware is up to date. This will not only safeguard you from any potential security holes but also ensure you’re using the most optimized software available.

Where you’ll find a big boost in speeds is by applying Google’s DNS settings to your network. Rather than using the domain name servers provided by your ISP through the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), you should take a few minutes and apply Google’s instead. You can do it on a per-device basis if you want, but applying them in your router’s setup page should work as well.

Several Engadget staffers noticed a twofold increase in their downloads via PS4’s built-in network test. In fact, Fortnite developer Epic Games recommends using Google’s settings to ensure the best experience, in case you needed more convincing.

Display settings

Yep, even your monitor or TV can have an impact on your gaming performance, in a few different ways. In general, if you’re looking for a display solely for gaming, you want one with the lowest input lag possible — ideally under 30 milliseconds. New TV features like HDR and 4K resolution might wow you on the showroom floor, but once you hook a console or PC into them, the extra processing those picture features require can cause response time to swell.

Whether you’re choosing OLED or LCD (it’s going to depend on personal preferences), make sure once your display is out of the box and plugged in that you change it to “game mode” in the settings. This disables processing that might make a UHD Blu-ray or Netflix stream look closer to the director’s intent while dramatically decreasing input lag. To illustrate how important this is, Microsoft recently issued an Xbox One patch that automatically engages game mode on compatible TVs.

For PC gamers, it’s a little different. Most times, you’re using an LCD monitor situated a few feet from your face. LCDs inherently have lower input lag than OLED, but the trade-off is dealing with refresh rates. Some high-end monitors support 240Hz, others only 144Hz or 60Hz. That means they’re capable of handling frame rates between 60 FPS and 240 FPS. Lower frame rates mean your machine isn’t drawing a given scene as quickly, and someone with a faster monitor might get the jump on you while you’re moving the payload in Overwatch.

A 240Hz monitor might get you the highest frame rate and may get you faster response times. However, the bottleneck to performance is your graphics card. So sure, while 240 FPS sounds positively droolworthy, the amount of power needed to match it at 4K would be pretty absurd. Instead, maybe opt for a 1440p monitor and fool around with your game and GPU settings to find the sweet spot that gives you maximum frame rate and visual fidelity.

Wrap-up

Man playing video game

There’s a lot to consider when you’re optimizing your setup for online gaming. Each choice can shave off (or add) time between when you press a button on your controller or keyboard and when the servers recognize what you did. With a little work and some research, though, you can improve your experience pretty easily.

Have any tips and tricks we might’ve missed? Leave them in the comments below and they could end up in a future version of this article.

Images: SOPA Images via Getty Images (woman gaming, wires); Netduma (DumaOS); NVIDIA (G-Sync gaming monitor); Kerkez via Getty Images (home gamer with headset)

15 Signs He Does Not Want To Date You (But Is Too Nice To Tell You)

0

Date YouUnsplash / Mean Shadows

1. Whenever you ask him if he’s free to hang out, he has an excuse about how he already has plans or how he is stuck at work or how he is too exhausted to leave the house that night. There is always something blocking him from hanging out with you.

2. Whenever you actually have the chance to see each other, it’s in a group setting where plenty of other people are around. You never spend time together one-on-one. You never have any alone time.

3. Your hugs never last long. When you sit close enough to him so that your skin brushes, he scoots away to give you space. He rarely touches you. He actually  goes out of his way to avoid touching you.

4. He calls you ‘buddy’ and ‘pal’ and mentions how you are like a sister to him. He wants you to know that he sees you as a friend, as family even, but not as anything romantic or sexual.

5. Your conversations are average. They are filled with small talk about work and movies. There is never any teasing or joking around. He talks to you like an acquaintance, not a crush.

6. He talks about other girls all the time. Or he casually mentions how he’s into girls who are brunette and tall when you are blonde and short. He’s trying to drop hints that he is never going to ask you out, that you are not his type.

7. When you say something suggestive or slightly dirty, he doesn’t continue the flirtatious conversation. He changes the subject.

8. When you mention other guys, he never looks the least bit jealous. He is actually encouraging. He points out guys he thinks you’d find attractive and mentions friends he wants to set you up with.

9. He never holds eye contact for long. He will look at you while you’re speaking but there are never any lingering gazes or moments where you catch him watching you from across the room.

10. He accepts your compliments and laughs at your jokes, but you can tell that the smiles are forced. There are only there to be polite.

11. When you sit on the couch together, he chooses to leave a lot of space in between you. Or he sits on a completely different chair on the other side of the room.

12. He keeps his conversations with you short. He will only talk to you for a little while before finding a reason to walk away.

13. When you’re at a social gathering, he doesn’t approach you right away or remain in the same room as you. He hangs out with other people. He pays attention to them more than you.

14. You’ve seen him interact with other people and he treats you pretty much exactly the same as he treats them. You aren’t getting any special treatment that suggests he has feelings for you too.

15. You don’t feel the chemistry. You don’t feel the heat. As much as you hate to admit it, your gut is telling you that he does not like you as much as you like him. TC mark

Twitter acquires online safety company to bolster anti-abuse efforts

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Bloomberg via Getty Images
Twitter has repeatedly come under fire for not doing enough to stop hate speech, allowing outside groups to sow political discord and failing to limit the spread of misinformation. To address these issues, the company announced earlier this year that it was looking for outside experts to help in its effort to promote healthy, open and civil conversations on its platform. Now, it’s acquiring a company that might be able to boost those efforts internally.
Twitter announced today that it is purchasing Smyte, a San Francisco-based firm that “specializes in safety, spam and security issues.” In a blog post, Twitter said today, “Smyte’s team, technology and company mission are aligned with our focus on improving the health of conversation on Twitter, and we believe this will be a powerful addition to our ongoing work.”

Since reaching out for ideas from experts, Twitter has also had company leaders, including CEO Jack Dorsey, answer questions from users live on Periscope, announced a study that will explore whether publicizing its rules improves the civility of conversations on its site and started hiding tweets it deems to be from trolls.

“The Smyte team has dealt with many unique issues facing online safety and believes in the same proactive approach that we’re taking for Twitter: stopping abusive behavior before it impacts anyone’s experience,” Twitter said today. “We can’t wait until they join our team to help us make changes that will further improve the health of the public conversation.”

Image: Smyte

Your old video games could be worth serious cash

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By Daniel Howley

E3 2018 is in the rearview mirror. And while the biggest game show of the year brought us plenty of new games to look forward to, they’re still months from hitting the market. For some gamers, though, the latest and greatest titles aren’t worth waiting for. Instead, they’re hunting through garage sales, flea markets, eBay and specialty stores for games that came out 20 years ago. And they’re willing to pay top dollar.

That’s right, those vintage consoles and games your mom dumped in the basement years ago could be worth some serious cash to the right buyer. Got a copy of “Nintendo World Championships 1990?” Then you’re looking at $100,000. But it’s not all about the cash. Many collectors are more interested in rounding out their personal game libraries, reliving the games they loved as children or simply exploring the history of the gaming industry first-hand.

It’s part nostalgia, part hoarding and part discovery, and it could be in danger of disappearing from the face of the Earth.

Antiques of a new generation

“I collect vintage games pretty much because I’ve been doing it ever since I was handed a video game as a child,” said game collector Paul Solomine during a balmy May afternoon at the Digital Press vintage game shop in Clifton, New Jersey.

“I could never let anything go, because I had such an attachment to all of these games, the amount of time that I’ve spent playing them, the amount of time I’ve spent thinking about them, talking about them.”

Classic consoles and games range as far back as the Magnavox Odyssey and the Atari 2600 from the ’70s all the way up through the early 2000s and Sony’s seminal PlayStation 2 console.
Vintage video games from that era are the electronic equivalent of what classic cars or fine China are to older generations. They’ve been around for the majority of collectors’ lives, and hold a special significance for them.

It’s that desire to replay the games he loved and lost, and relive the joy of discovering new digital worlds, that drives David Crosson to collect his favorite vintage titles.

“Just, like, going back and finding these games that you had as a kid and for some reason you probably either traded in or sold it or your parents got rid of it at some point … Getting that back and sort of reliving those memories, that’s kind of a big piece of it,” he said.

Looking forward by looking back

The desire to relive the past often drives people to collect vintage items like video games. And while it may seem counterintuitive, wanting to relieve experiences from the past actually helps us focus on the future.

“A lot of times people think nostalgia is something that keeps you focused on the past,” said North Dakota State University psychology professor Clay Routledge.
“What we’ve found in our research is that there’s actually this kind of paradoxical effect where when people are engaging in nostalgic reflection, or are oriented towards nostalgia, they also become more future-focused, and they become more motivated for pursuing more future opportunities for social connection.”

Routledge isn’t an outside observer of video game collecting and nostalgia, either. He’s a card-carrying collector himself.

“Full disclosure: I actually have a pretty modest … video game collection,” Routledge said. “But I have most of the consoles going back to the Atari 2600 and a couple of arcade cabinets in my basement as well. So I’m with these people … I don’t even know how many games I have.”

From collection to museum

The average game collector doesn’t have a massive library of games, but the outliers out there have some truly impressive collections. “Radical” Reggie Williams, a YouTube personality who focuses on gaming, says he has two rooms full of games from a wide array of consoles.

Williams started his collection in 1996 when he bought Sony’s original PlayStation console. At his last count, about two years ago, he had as many as 2,500 games, which he says are valued at about $200,000.
Fellow YouTuber John Hancock has an even more impressive stockpile of vintage titles with 11,000 games that he’s collected over the course of 25 years. A second-grade teacher, Hancock says he plans to turn his library into a gaming museum.

Joe Santulli, the owner of Digital Press, however, has a collection that dwarfs both Williams’s and Hancock’s. At 30,000 games insured for $1 million, Santulli’s library runs the gamut from some of the first video games ever made all the way up to Microsoft’s Xbox 360.

He’s the owner of 21 complete collections, meaning he has every game made for 21 different consoles. He’s even got one-of-a-kind prototypes of games that were never mass produced.

“I don’t play everything that I collect,” Santulli said. “My goal was always to complete collections. I would just play like anybody else. I played what I wanted to play … some of them for moments and some for weeks on end.”

Santulli is also the co-founder of the National Videogame Museum in Frisco, Texas, where his massive collection is available for the public to play so they can experience gaming’s history for themselves.

An end in the Cloud

Video game collecting is enjoying a bit of a moment thanks to the increased interest in the vintage market brought on by the release of retro consoles and remakes of various classic games. Unfortunately, it might not last.
Outside of games’ physically degrading over time, whether they’re in cartridge or disc form, there’s a greater threat to the continuation of game collecting: the cloud.

See, the sale of physical games has steadily dropped as more and more people download digital copies. We could eventually hit a point where physical copies of games are no longer available at all.

“There’s less of it being made in physical media and more people buying them digitally,” Santulli said. “Just by the nature of that, we’re going to have less and less to collect, there will be less and less collectors.”

But all hope isn’t lost for game collectors. Instead, Santulli says vintage video game collectors could become the same as audiophiles who collect records.

Regardless of whether new physical games continue to be made, collectors like Santulli will ensure the history of gaming lives on well into the future.

More from Dan:

Email Daniel Howley at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley. Follow Yahoo Finance on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn

Toxic Guys Seem Like The Nicest Guys At First

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ToxicUnsplash / Leslie JonesToxic guys (and girls) are not going to show their true selves in the courting stage or during the puppy-love period of the relationship. There might be miniature red flags, but most of them will be invisible to the untrained eye.

When you’re deep into the relationship — once the affection fades away and control and manipulation becomes the norm — you are going to wonder how you were stupid enough to fall for him in the first place. You are going to wonder what happened to the perfect person you handed your heart to in the beginning.

Even though you are bound to feel lost and confused, you cannot blame yourself for being fooled. The things is, toxic people are really good at playing pretend. You are not stupid for believing he was who he said he was. If you need proof of that, look at your neighbors and coworkers and even close friends.

Even after you have told them horror stories about what he has done to you, they still think he’s the nicest guy they have ever met. When they accuse you of overreacting and doubt whether you are telling the truth, you are going to wonder how no one else sees it. You are going to wonder why the people surrounding him have no idea about the darkness hidden inside — but it’s the same reason why you felt that way at first.

Toxic people are experts at manipulation. He will be on his best behavior in public because he wants to paint a certain picture to the world. More accurately, if you ever say something nasty about him, he wants you to come across as the crazy one, the unbalanced one, the liar. He wants everyone to choose his side. He wants to twist the truth to make it look like you are the bad one and he is the victim who is doing everything right but still getting screwed over.

When you are dating someone toxic, you are going to feel crazy, you are going to feel insecure and off-center, but that is not enough for him. He also wants the rest of the world to look at you like you’re crazy. He wants you to feel isolated, because if you have no one else to turn to, then you will have to turn back towards him. You will have to stay — and that’s exactly what he wants. He wants you to stay, even though he treats you like he would rather have you gone.

You have to be careful because toxic guys seem like the nicest guys at first. If you slowly see him changing and becoming more controlling as the relationship progresses, don’t stay with him because you think the guy you first met is the real him. The real him is the one you see every single day, the one who appears when no one else is in the room. The real him is someone you do not want to waste anymore time alongside because he will break you into pieces. TC mark

The Brooklyn neighborhood remade as a VR game

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Go east in Brooklyn, New York, past the blockchain software startups, gentrified co-working spaces and Edison-bulbed cocktail bars, and you reach Brownsville. In a former elderly home near the Langston Hughes Houses public housing complex is the Brownsville Community Justice Center. Within that center, more than 40 young people have been toiling for two years on an ambitious project: creating a faithful, block-by-block replica of their neighborhood and many of its residents in virtual reality for their own open-world video game.

They’ve set up a green screen with volumetric scanning equipment, experimented with game mechanics inside an Oculus Rift and learned to develop using the platform Unity. It’s an uncommon blend of cutting-edge gaming technology, driven and developed by a hyper-local team in an area where 37 percent of adults have a high school diploma and the median household income is around $25,000.

Ray Graham has been working on the game from the start, in early 2016. He’s 20 years old, loves Skyrim and hopes to attend college in the fall.

“If you’re from Brownsville, you’d recognize it,” he said. “And the people of Brownsville that we got in, you’d recognize [them].”

In Fireflies: A Brownsville Story, you’ll play as two young characters — one male, one female — who have been separated by historical neighborhood conflicts and are both aspiring documentarians. You explore the majority-black neighborhood interviewing residents and taking photos, a mechanism Graham said was influenced by Rockstar Games’ Bully.

While there are minigames and dreamscape sequences too, the final game may be similar to a “walking simulator” like Gone Home or Firewatch. But in a neighborhood divided into micro-territories according to which public housing development one comes from, being able to walk anywhere and speak to anyone is a significant experience.

“This video game is about space,” said Nicholas Pilarski, a documentary filmmaker who oversaw production of Fireflies and teaches at Carthage College in Wisconsin. “It made total sense for us to work in virtual reality because we could build systems that allow young people to experience and walk to different parts of their community that the territorial divides might have not allowed to happen otherwise.”

Pilarski describes himself as a community documentary maker, exploring how to make media not as a sole creator, but in joint authorship with the subjects. With Fireflies, the aim is to mollify historical conflicts and, in development, the makers brought together participants from several of the area’s ubiquitous public housing developments. (Brownsville has the highest concentration of these buildings in New York City.) The idea is that if you can chat with digital people from a rival complex in the game you’ll be more likely to do so in real life.

Players will encounter over 100 real-life residents in the game from chefs to store owners to Graham’s mom’s friends. They might wax lyrical on their first kiss, the best pizza in the neighborhood, the police or surviving the AIDS epidemic, creating a kind of oral history.

The NPC’s stories were recorded by young Brownsville residents able to draw out more authentic dialogue than what an anthropologist or journalist might grab if they parachuted onto the block for a few days of field research. The project is by Brownsville, for Brownsville.

“I fell in love with the script because it feels real,” said Graham, who comes from the Seth Low Houses just down the street from the community center. “It feels like it would be in reality — people would say these things.”

Brownsville is just over a square mile in size, and more than 100 people, most aged 15 to 21, have been involved with the game’s mammoth development in some form. It started with a small team building computers from scratch two years ago, including Graham and Pilarski. The two then learned how to use the Unity game development platform with the help of arts collective Peoples Culture — where Pilarski is artistic director — as well as YouTube tutorials.

With Mantle, a company that generates 3D environments, the team aggregated GIS data from the city to map out infrastructure, like streets, foliage and building heights. They cross-referenced this with zoning and historical data to figure out, for instance, what bricks would be in the buildings or the age of trees.

Then, they systematically photographed the streets to capture details like storefronts — like their own version of Google Maps, said Pilarski. The team also photographed the insides of specific local businesses and apartments, which players will enter in the game.

New York-based volumetric filmmaking company Scatter trained the team in DepthKit pro bono. Used by the New York Times as well as rapper Eminem, the technology combines a 4K camera and a Kinect depth sensor to create 3D models of the people for the game.

“I would say that it is a low-level indie budget game. But if you add in all of the donations of tech and supplies, we’re going to end up inevitably having triple-A quality,” said Pilarski.

“We never want it to seem like it came from a community center,” said Julie Taylor, deputy director of the Brownsville Community Justice Center. The center has also produced an augmented reality app highlighting local businesses and is planning a projection mapping display. Its goals are to reduce crime and incarceration locally, and Taylor says one aim of Fireflies is to provide a vocational tech skills program for their paid interns and fellows who may not have traditional qualifications.

Graham, meanwhile, talks excitedly when it comes to VR game design. Scrolling through the center’s game library, he explains how he was inspired by a technique from shooter Robo Recall that teleports items into your hand instead of the player having to physically pick them up. The Assembly taught him how to use documentary elements in a game. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is giving him ideas on how to integrate real-time teamwork dynamics.

The team aims to release an early version of the game in the neighborhood this summer. Later this year, they intend to offer it for free on Steam, iOS and Android, as well as in kiosks around Brownsville. “I’ll walk down the street, and I’ll just be yelled at by somebody, ‘Hey, when is the game coming out?'” said Pilarski. “You go to a barbershop and ask a barber, ‘Hey, were you in the video game?’ ‘Yeah, I was. When is it coming out? How do I play it? I can’t wait to see myself. I can’t wait to see my cousin.'”

Images: Brownsville Community Justice Center and Peoples Culture

The Surprise Waiting For You On June 22 (That Could Potentially Change Your Life)

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Aries: March 21st – April 19th

You are going to get a text message from someone you thought you would never hear from again.

Taurus: April 20th – May 20th

You are going to surprise yourself by stepping out of your comfort zone.

Gemini: May 21st – June 20th

You are going to have a conversation that is surprisingly deep and helps you reevaluate where you are headed in life.

Cancer: June 21st – July 22nd

You are going to discover something special in your closet, house, or phone that you completely forget you had.

Leo: July 23rd – August 22nd

You are going to receive a romantic surprise that you never saw coming.

Virgo: August 23rd – September 22nd

You are going to have a surprisingly relaxing day even though you expected it to turn out hectic.

Libra: September 23rd – October 22nd

You are going to be surprised by how much money you have in your account — but that could either be a welcome surprise or an unwelcome one.

Scorpio: October 23rd – November 21st

You are going to run into someone from your past.

Sagittarius: November 22nd – December 21st

You are going to surprise yourself by accomplishing something you thought was impossible.

Capricorn: December 22nd – January 19th

You are going to receive an email (or come across a post online) about an opportunity that will change your life.

Aquarius: January 20th – February 18th

You are going to hear news that breaks your heart — but it’s up to you how you react to it.

Pisces: February 19th – March 20th

You are going to meet someone who changes the way you see the world. TC mark

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