Tips on Treating Acne and Acne Scars

Acne facial care teenager woman squeezing pimple

Get the clear skin you’ve always wanted. Acne affects many young people during and after puberty. Other factors such as skin type determine its occurrence in adulthood. While doctors state that no cure for the conditions exists, at least there some good news: that there are ways of treating acne scars!

Avoiding Squeezing or Picking

Acne facial care teenager woman squeezing pimple

Picking or squeezing leads to more injury of the skin around the acne spot. More injury means less success in treating acne scars.

2Cortisone Cream

Cortisone cream is best when the scars cause swelling and/ or reddening. Also, it calms any inflammation. Skin cells absorb the cream to bring relief.

3Fade Creams

Fade creams lighten the dark spots or areas that acne leaves behind to create even skin tone (color). Hydroquinone is a famous fade cream although it is said to have carcinogenic effects and irritation. The best lightening creams contain Arbutin, Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) or Kojic acid.

4Avoiding UV light

Blue-light-acneAvoiding sources of ultraviolet light such as the sun when acne is healing will speed up the process. Exposure to UV will encourage the secretion of melanocytes pigments and resulting in darkening.

5Filler and Laser Treatments

dermal filler acne scars
These should be the last resorts after all methods of treating acne scars fail. Injections (fillers) fill in the openings that acne creates. They are redone every 6 months. Ablative lasers vaporize the scars and allow new skin to grow. Resurfacing lasers even the skin surface and encourage the growth of new skin.

Feel free to add any effective remedies that hasten the healing process of scars left by acne.

A New Aging Discovery Could Allow Humans to Extend Their Lifespan

A New Aging Discovery Could Allow Humans to Extend Their Lifespan


Though aging seems like one of the most natural things, an affair common to all living creatures, the process is actually poorly understood by scientists. A new study detailed in Nature aims to shed light on the phenomenon as a research team led by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has uncovered a relationship between lifespan and RNA splicing, a core function of cells that allows a single gene to produce a variety of proteins.

The researchers already knew that mutations in RNA splicing could lead to disease, but they wanted to find out if the act of splicing itself had an impact on the aging process. To find out, they designed experimental setups using the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, which show visible signs of aging during their short three-week lifespan.

Using fluorescent genetic tools, the team was able to observe the RNA splicing of individual genes in the roundworms’ transparent cells. They noted patterns of splicing that indicated youthfulness or premature aging in the worms and were even able to use these patterns to predict an individual roundworm’s lifespan before any signs of aging became visible. “This…suggests that we might someday be able to use splicing as a kind of biomarker or early signature of aging,” said co-author Caroline Heintz in a press release.

Alamy Stock Photo
Alamy Stock Photo


When we shift our view of aging from a natural part of life to something modern medicine can possibly prevent, the next step is finding ways to indefinitely keep ourselves healthy, stalling death for as long as possible.

Other researchers are already looking for ways to stop or at least slow down the biological clock. Researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine used chromosome extensions to increase the rate of cell division, a growth mechanism of our bodies that weakens over time. Another breakthrough is Metformin, the so-called “fountain of youth” drug that began clinical tests in February and can supposedly extend animal life and prevent some cancers.

These developments and Mair’s research on RNA splicing are quite far from explaining exactly why our bodies age, and they’re even farther from significantly stalling the biological clock in humans. Until that happens, the search for a way to extend human life will no doubt continue.

This Record-Breaking Atomic Clock Can Pin Down the Fundamental Constants of the Universe

  • Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology created a new super-stable ytterbium lattice clock using two atomic clocks.
  • Because there is no dead-time noise, the new clock attains record stability levels 10 times faster than the previous record holder.


Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have created the world’s most stable clock by using not one, but two atomic clocks. Atomic clocks are timepieces that measure the optical frequencies of ytterbium atoms or strontium ions with a laser probe, and use this standard in order to keep time.

Let’s be clear: the clock in question is not the most precise clock in the world. That distinction belongs to the atomic clock created by German scientists from Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt. Precision is the ability to accurately mimic the oscillations of the atoms the clock is based on. Meanwhile, stability is how precisely the duration of each clock tick matches every tick that comes before and after.

A common issue with atomic clocks is the ‘dead time’ in their operation that occurs when atoms have to be prepared and measured. That means there is time that the atomic clock is not being tuned, and is accumulating ‘noise’ that distorts the timekeeping. To remedy this, the researchers used two atomic clocks in one system. This virtually eliminated all downtime. When one of the systems is shut down for prep, the other one takes over.

“We eliminated a critical type of noise in the clock’s operation, effectively making the clock signal stronger,” NIST physicist Andrew Ludlow said. “This means we can reach a clock instability of 1.5 parts in a quintillion (1 followed by 18 zeros) in just a few thousand seconds.”




This development opens the door for better construction of atomic clocks. A two clock system could be implemented for other kinds of atomic clocks, increasing stability across the board. This technology could also easily be made smaller, removing the restriction of atomic clocks as lab-based equipment.

Further, this super-stable clock opens the door for more precision tests about the ‘fundamental constants’ of nature. The unerring precision of these clocks means that values in the universe we previously took for granted can now be verified.

Atomic clocks could also be used in the hunt for dark matter. Dark matter is said to be moving around the universe, passing through regular matter. Atomic clocks would be able to detect the minute inconsistencies this matter creates.

Who knew a clock could unlock the secrets of the universe?

Intelligence May Stem From a Basic Algorithm in the Human Brain

  • A theory posits that the all of our thoughts are a function of a basic algorithm, N=2^i–1.
  • This development may be huge for AI, since artificial neural networks operate much like the brain, applying this formula may be the key to true intelligence.


The human brain is the most sophisticated organ in the human body. The things that the brain can do, and how it does them, have even inspired a model of artificial intelligence (AI). Now, a recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience shows how human intelligence may be a product of a basic algorithm.

This algorithm is found in the Theory of Connectivity, a “relatively simple mathematical logic underlies our complex brain computations,” according to researcher and author Joe Tsien, neuroscientist at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, co-director of the Augusta University Brain and Behavior Discovery Institute and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Cognitive and Systems Neurobiology. He first proposed the theory in October 2015.

Basically, it’s a theory about how the acquisition of knowledge, as well as our ability to generalize and draw conclusions from them, is a function of billions of neurons assembling and aligning. “We present evidence that the brain may operate on an amazingly simple mathematical logic,” Tsien said.


The theory describes how groups of similar neurons form a complexity of cliques to handle basic ideas or information. These groups cluster into functional connectivity motifs (FCM), which handles every possible combinations of ideas. More cliques are involved in more complex thoughts.

In order to test it, Tsien and his team monitored and documented how the algorithm works in seven different brain regions, each involved in handling basics like food and fear in mice and hamsters. The algorithm represented how many cliques are necessary for an FCM, a power-of-two-based permutation logic (N=2i–1), according to the study.

They gave the animals various combinations of four different foods (rodent biscuits, pellets, rice, and milk). Using electrodes placed at specific areas of the brain, they were able to “listen” to the neurons’ response. The scientists were able to identify all 15 different combinations of neurons or cliques that responded to the assortment of food combinations, as the Theory of Connectivity would predict. Furthermore, these neural cliques seem prewired in the brain, as they appeared immediately as soon as the food choices did.

If the intelligence in the human brain, in all its complexity, can be summed up by a particular algorithm, imagine what it means for AI. It is possible, then, for the same algorithm to be applied to how AI neural networks work, as these already mimic the brain’s structural wiring.

Inspired by uncle’s death, Kenyan teen develops organ-matching app

In 2014, Kenyan teenager Caroline Wambui lost her uncle after he suffered kidney failure.

Nobody in her family was a match for a donation, and Kenya, like so many other African countries, lacks an official countrywide organ donor program. Organ donation has in fact become somewhat of a taboo.

In the meantime, individual’s like Caroline’s uncle die unnecessarily, or are forced to turn to an unregulated and unsafe market that has sprung up around organ donation in reaction to the country’s health inefficiencies.

One area in which Kenya is developing, however, is in terms of ICT, and this is gradually creeping into schools. The government has launched a laptops for schools policy, while numerous multinationals and local startups are developing solutions whereby the country’s education sector is improved by technology.

Caroline, fresh from losing her uncle, was a beneficiary of this movement. So much so, that within two years of his death she has rolled out her own solution to the problem he faced – Life Pocket.


A mobile app, Life Pocket connects patients with donors, doctors and hospitals. All are able to register on the platform, with the aim of connecting patients and donors in a way that has previously proven impossible. It is currently being piloted by a number of hospitals across the country, ahead of a nationwide rollout in October.

Caroline said Life Pocket also aims to raise awareness about donating organs and stop it from being a taboo subject. She said,

The app has a feature that contains all organs, where one can learn more about donating and whether or not it would have any negative effect on the health of the donor.

It also has features like a forum, where different donors and recipients can interact with doctors in varied fields of health expertise. Organ recipients can also share their journey milestones before and after donation.

She said she cannot wait to see the app fully rolled out, and hopes it prevents others having to experience what her uncle went through.

Yet Life Pocket seemed a long way from being developed until Damaris Mutati, Caroline’s teacher at Embakasi Girls Secondary School, began to introduce technology to her students, something she feels is vital to the development of young people on the continent.

As Demaris points out,

Technology is important to the lives of young Africans and being in a developing continent it needs more job creators than seekers.

This can only be achieved if schools integrate more ICT skills into their curriculum as well as encourage young people to be developers of their own ideas, and consumers of their own technological products. This then would create more employment opportunities for the young people across the continent.

This has certainly proven the case with Caroline, who also roped in a number of friends to help her develop Life Pocket. So passionate was Mutati on the subject, meanwhile, that she participated in two programs run by multinational tech firm Intel in Kenya. The programs – Teach, and She Will Connect – were aimed at helping teachers pass on IT knowledge to children.



Intel’s involvement went deeper, however, with staff volunteering to teach a coding workshop at Caroline’s school, where the pupils were introduced to Intel XDK. Intel XDK is a unified development environment that enables users to design, create, test and deploy HTML5 apps.

This proved the inspiration for Caroline to build her app, with the schoolgirl saying the input of the company was critical.

Many more young girls can successfully follow in my footsteps if they are exposed to programming.

This is something that Intel agrees with. According to Rosalind Hudnell, vice president of worldwide corporate affairs and president of the Intel Foundation, the company’s She Will Connect program is dedicated to closing the internet gender gap that exists in many developing countries.

The initiative has resonated with people because it empowers young women and opens up opportunity to acquire or improve digital literacy skills and expand their understanding and use of technology.

Through this, women can then more easily connect to resources that enable them to receive a better education, enhance their political participation, have a stronger voice in their communities, and increase their income by connecting to new economic opportunities.

She said Mutati, who went through the program and decided to integrate technology and coding into her classroom, was a perfect example of this.

Hudnell said,

Caroline’s story is just one of many. The results we’ve seen just in the last two years have been amazing.

As technology continues to advance, it will only become more important to make sure that Africa’s innovators have access to the latest tools and resources. In the coming years, this will be our focus – to ensure that people like Damaris and Caroline are empowered to reach their full potential through technology.

An Open Letter To Millennials: Hard Truths We Need To Embrace

An Open Letter To Millennials: Hard Truths We Need To Embrace
Friends Looking At Cell Phone

Over the past two years, I’ve seen a never-ending list of Medium articles, Survey breakdowns, and intricate anthropologic studies dedicated to dissecting the minds of millennials.

“This is what makes Millennials so great!”

“This is why Millennials will save your bottom line!”

“Wake up and smell the Millennials!”

“Learn why Millennials prefer Keurigs in your workplace instead of traditional French Press.”

You see bloggers furiously making arguments like this:

From the standpoint of any company, I have to admit — it’s overwhelming.

Companies are constantly chastised to figure out “millennial engagement” like it’s part of their next audit. We have industries and dedicated coaches that have come out of nowhere trying to crack and commercialize the secret of attracting and empathizing with millennials. Companies are seriously shelling out thousands of dollars to engage us and denigrated on social media if they suggest they don’t need to.

How did it become so complicated!?

After being inside a large organization for a few months now, I have a shocking confession: I have begun to dismiss the notion that the burden of “millennial engagement” falls entirely on the shoulders of a company.

Look at the basics. Not all millennials are equal and they certainly don’t require the same amount of effort to motivate, understand and engage. They don’t all come with the same skill set and, yes, there are many who will ride the wave of being a “Millennial” simply to raise their own status. As a company, it’s hard to know where to start.

Sure there are some horrible companies out there that do not make a semblance of effort to engage most employees. Most companies however, are genuinely aware. People aren’t going out of their way to see how they can become the biggest disservice to millennials; they are simply trying to grapple with nuance as much as you are. No company is a utopia and there are some hard-truths in every corporate experience:

Your company doesn’t bear the full burden of creating your desired culture.

You’ll hear lots of change management experts telling corporations they need to make their culture more “conducive” to millennials. This could mean pet-friendly workplaces or ping-pong tables. This could mean happy hours or paintball outings. This could mean balancing a flexible work schedule or investing in trainings. This could even simply mean creating an atmosphere of gratitude and transparency. The truth is that there is no one right answerto this question (Yes I’m talking to you, Business Insider author of “5 Ways You Can Create An Optimal Culture For Millennials”).

You and I likely have more in common then we have differences; despite this, I might value a sense-of-humor in the workplace with ubiquitous chatter and you might prefer a more quiet environment with neatly scheduled breaks. I might get antsy if my team isn’t going out enough after work for drinks — you might prefer to not to infuse your social life with Steve from Accounting who constantly screws up the reconcilitions. There’s nothing wrong with either of us. We just have different factors of motivation.

Instead of demanding a culture that is more welcoming to millennials, we need to abandon the “one size fits all” solutions that involve weird perks and work on a foundational definition for all cultures. I’ve seen way too many articles about how millennials love “honesty” and “integrity” in the workplace as if millennials decided to just one day invent the idea of a moral conscience. What companies don’t actually care about honesty and integrity as a borderline prerequisite for existence?!

Let’s make sure honesty and integrity are prerequisites. Let’s make sure support systems and career advancement opportunities are prerequisites. Let’s make sure challenging work and discrete responsibilities are prerequisites.

Do you want free popcorn and creative freedom? Understand that these differ on a case-by-case basis. Your company might have stringent client deliverables that preclude creative freedom. Your company might be a start-up running on its last leg of funding that can’t afford to hand out free popcorn. This doesn’t mean the company is doing anything wrong or their culture is shit — this just means that it’s not the role for you if free popcorn or creative freedom is something you value above all else.

If you want to add a piece of the pie to culture that doesn’t exist, create it. Some IBM employees realized they wanted more millennial involvement in management decisions — Millennial Corps was then born. Our team decided they wanted more happy hours and we made it a monthly tradition. This was not a corporate mandate — it was simply an initiative by individuals who responded to what motivated them.

Compromise is a necessity for progress.

I recently read a piece by Suneil Kamath entitled “Your job description sucks. And I don’t care about your ping-pong tables and snacks.” It is ultimately a laundry list of what millennials tend to care about in the workplace and what recruiters should do in order to cater to these whims. While some of these are concerns I wholeheartedly share with Suneil, the entire notion that we can walk into companies and burn the structure down in order to get what we want is disingenuous and insincere.

For every need you have, there is a trade-off. If you want a flexible remote schedule, you may lose out on the social interaction you once craved. If you want a fast-paced travel schedule, you may lose out on the relaxation that came with routine. Even at a higher-level, companies are struggling with how to invest in employees, leadership programs, software, and research while understanding that every dollar spent will be scrutinized by their shareholders.

With every role you have, you have a discrete responsibility. If you can’t go to a conference or work from your parent’s house in Massachusetts because you’re needed in the office, it doesn’t mean people are out to get you. It doesn’t mean there is a nefarious plot to shut down millennial happiness. It just means that you have a job that comes with certain expectations. Once you make yourself reliable and capable of understanding your company, you can begin to work within the system to engage your team and direct change. You can begin to recognize gaps in performance and morale. You may have to engage folks who disagree with you. You will have individuals who don’t care about culture as much as you. This doesn’t mean you’re wrong — it just means you value something different than the person in the next cubicle. Work with them to see how each of you can find something to rave about. Sometimes giving up one thing you value can be the best move you make towards progress.

Change depends on many variables out of your control.

Change can be slow. Slow to a point where it’s demoralizing. Slow to a point where contributing to a change with no outcome feels almost like personal injustice.

Here’s the hard-truth: Most good companies want to change. Companies don’t just slap “innovative” in their vision statements as a recruiting technique. Your company genuinely wants to pioneer something that no other company has done. It genuinely wants to make its systems, employment practices, and management styles evolve. It wants to make its products evolve. It wants to headline Techcrunch and trend on Twitter as a company who has made a positive and dynamic splash on the world. It knows that, in any given minute, shareholders, revenues, and employees can leave in hordes.

The problem is that thousands of variables are involved in change. Even in 2016 when some answers seem obvious, there are different definitions of what correct change looks like. Your idea might take a long time to get implemented — not because it’s a bad idea — but because each variable can send the idea in a different direction. Timing. Budget. Stakeholder involvement. Relevance.

Ryan Holliday, author of “Ego is The Enemy” puts it perfectly: “If you would like to be a creative person and a sane person, you cannot have some external result in what determines whether you’re proud, or happy, or satisfied. So, you have to do a lot of work to get to a place where you’re saying to yourself, “This is a success to me.”

You don’t control the outcome, you control the effort that goes into the outcome. Change is hard to direct in large companies — bring yourself to a point where success to you means putting in your 100% to push a change into the minds of others, regardless of whether it comes into fruition. Treat the manifestation of change as a bonus. Lack of change often discourages millennials as we do tend to be restless — continue to allocate your energy to areas you feel need change. If you throw ten darts at a board, one is bound to land close to a bullseye. The others might just get caught in the wind.

People have agendas. They are not always built to spite you.

The manager who you claim is micromanaging may be in danger of losing his promotion if work isn’t sent in on time. The recruiter you criticized for not doing enough to target you may have been burned by candidates like you before. The department head who didn’t sponsor you to take that certification exam or go to that conference may be under the gun for an end-of-quarter financial quota. The CEO you claim is not asking enough young people for their opinions may be worried about losing an entire region of revenue because of one mistake made by a server in the Northwest United States. The baby boomers you claim aren’t digitally savvy enough for your liking may not have hours of time in the afternoon to digest half the content that comes across their feeds.

While I don’t think empathy is lost in our corporate structures, we often criticize managers, executives, and other employees for what we project they are doing wrong. As someone who has worked with executives for months trying to help them get used to Twitter and Linkedin, it burns my nerves when I hear about how the “digital savvy” millennials need others to get up to their speed. For many, it’s not for lack of acknowledgement or lack of effort — most of the people I work with would love nothing more than to have an active Twitter and leverage it for its networking finesse. It’s the fact that some of these executives are working under stress that many of won’t imagine for years.

If you have trouble connecting why managers or executives aren’t doing something conducive to helping your generation, ask them what holds them back. Step a day in their shoes. Imagine having meetings every thirty minutes with million dollar sales proposals on the line and then work with them accordingly. Help them set up a schedule.

Learn how the recruiter got burned. Learn why the department had to allocate funding. It’s easy to feel like the world is against you. It’s harder to find out why it isn’t.

While we continue to see Business Insider and Inc tell the world how it needs to do a better job of engaging millennials, let’s also be cognizant as millennials. Not even the best company in the world will do everything right. Let’s learn to meet it half-way. There’s a lot millennials can offer and not everyone will value us the same, let’s trade insult with empathy and continue understanding a world that is getting more complex by the day.


Kushaan is an IBM Consultant based out of Washington D.C. His interests are rooted in strategy consulting, entrepreneurship, social media, and the intersection of technology with social impact. He enjoys blogging about life, career insights, social technology, and hacking the corporate environment. If you liked this post, follow him on twitter: @kushaanshah or click “Follow” at the top for more posts on Medium.

Why Not Letting Go of Your Ex Might Not Always Be a Terrible Idea

This is an image named “dumped by text” so you get the idea (Photo by Flickr user Funk Dooby)

Think about your ex for a moment. But like, really. It may have a been a while since you were together. You may no longer speak, you could have drifted apart, or you might still be friends, able to regularly meet over a nice pale ale and glass of merlot.

There’s a generally accepted sense that the only way to heal after a breakup is to “let go” of the person you were once so attached to. It’s a theory that’s become a ripe breeding ground for rom-com tropes: the drastic post-breakup haircut, nights spent rambling at friends or out careening on the pull and just about anything a Katherine Heigl character would do in a melodramatic “eating ice cream out of the tub” montage. But it may not be that simple.

Since ending a relationship feels so awful – for particular reasons we’ll get into in a minute – self-preservation calls for squeezing the poison out of your life. That normally means eliminating all traces of your ex. But psychotherapist Dr David Braucher has found that you can separate the person you dated from the way you visualise them later. It started with a patient of his. “What he said was that every time he succeeded at something, he would imagine his ex being proud of him. This patient had the memory of his ex functioning almost like a teddy bear,” in a way Bruacher describes as not too distant from British psychoanalyst Donald Woods Winnicott‘s “comfort object” theory.

“When this patient was telling me about his ex, he was really talking something he created. It wasn’t the person as he experienced them, but was something more a part of himself – just like how the comfort a child gets from their teddy bear is really coming from the child, not from the object itself.”

In a Psychology Today blogpost, Braucher names this as a distinction between “recollected feelings and memories — the internal image of the ex” and “the feelings engendered in his or her actual presence“. In fairness, this could work for some. If you can remember, say, really good sex with your ex and still find that it makes you feel good or turns you on, they become almost like a fantasy rather than the real person who fucked you over and got with your best mate or whatever. Those memories of times an ex made you feel good can turn into a fuel that fires more positivity in your life, rather than negativity.

“Learning to distinguish between the internal image of an ex and the actual person can lead to appreciation of our own loving feelings,” Braucher writes. “While we may feel consistently injured and angry when in the presence of an ex, in our internal world we may be able to access love and compassion for that same person.”

Well, maybe – it’s still just a theory. Dr Helen Fisher, a researcher and biological anthropologist isn’t as easily convinced. She’s spent decades analysing what happens to our bodies when we’re in love, then rejected in love. A lot of her reservations about how holding onto your ex would work stem from the way that our brains actually process love, based on what she observed after looking at the brain activity of more than 70 people.

“We put 15 people in the brain scanner who’d been dumped an average of 62 days beforehand, and they were a real mess. Oh boy, were they a mess,” she says, speaking from New York. “We found activity in a brain region linked to feelings of intense romantic love. We also found activity in the region related to deep attachment to the partner. We found activity in three brain regions linked with craving and addiction, and we found activity in a brain region linked with physical pain and the distress that goes along with it.

“So when you’ve been rejected in love, you’re still madly in love with the person, you feel deeply attached to the person, you crave the person, you’re obsessed with your thoughts about them, you go through swings into incredible sorrow, and you feel physical pain and the distress that goes along with it.” Not exactly an ideal mix for a long evening spent rehashing your last kiss, the last time they left their scent in your bed, the first time you felt the lurch in your stomach that confirmed you loved them.

Our brains are such powerful organs that they can only create the physical pain we feel from emotional hurt, but work overtime trying to understand why a relationship’s over. “People will say: ‘I should have gone on that trip with her,’ or ‘I shouldn’t have said that thing to him,’ ‘I should’ve’ this,” Fisher says. “You’re trying to figure out: What did I do wrong? How could I have done it differently? What can I learn from this for next time? So the brain is in a pretty bad state.”

Ana* remembers “muddying the waters” while trying to stay close to an ex, and needing to recalibrate. “In my experience, I haven’t been able to be friends with an ex until they’re out of my system and I’ve fully accepted that nothing will ever happen in the way I want with that person. This is speaking from the perspective of the ‘rejectee’ who is heartbroken but I think the same applies both ways – you can’t, or shouldn’t, be friends with an ex until they are over you.”

According to research that Fisher’s quoted in her own books, you generally go through two stages of grieving a relationship: protest and resignation. “Eventually, the brain regions linked to attachment become less active, the pain begins to go away. The memories do not go away. And that’s why you’ll always remember that person, but the pain associated with those memories will begin to dissipate. And then you’ll find somebody new and begin to wonder why you ever did that in the first place,” she says, chuckling.

While there may be some people out there who can look fondly back on old times, turning their ex into an abstract concept, others will likely end up having to burn old memories out of their mind to move on. Both approaches rely on the idea of fantasy: either turning your ex into a symbol that doesn’t horrify you in the present-day, or needing to create a narrative that helps you slice them out of your life romantically for good.

“I’ve known people who, for years, would hold onto an ex. Talk about the ex, hope the ex would come back – and that sometimes would involve cyber-stalking and various attempts at making connections,” Braucher says. “The smallest response from an ex could lead to weeks and weeks of: ‘What do you think she meant when she said she misses me? Do you think that means she’s gonna come back?'” Ultimately, he says, memory and fantasy have the power to collide “and generate an alternative reality”. If nothing else, how you feel about your ex says a lot about how real or imagined they’ve become in your life today, and how amicably things may have ended. Right. Now you can stop thinking about them – well, if you like.

You Probably Didn’t Know These About Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro, who died Friday evening aged 90, was consigned to the “already dead” box in most people’s heads about a decade ago, when he withdrew from the limelight after a stroke and handed the country over to his brother.

As ever, he had the last laugh. Castro outlived six US presidents. He went on to live another half-century after JFK’s assassination. There were 638 attempts to kill him, by some accounts – seems a lot, but over 50 years it’s basically only one a month. The exploding cigar plot – real. The “make his beard fall out to humiliate him” plot – also real.

Yet for a life of an ultimate 20th-century tumult, those who saw him in retirement painted an idyllic picture. He lived in a modest two-storey house on a former golf course: watching TV, entertaining his grandkids, occasionally writing newspaper articles for a Communist mouthpiece newspaper, doing two hours’ exercise a day, and getting his staff to translate books unavailable in Spanish.

One journalist checked in to find he was reading Obama’s Dreams Of My Father. What follows isn’t meant to be comprehensive or complete reading of him – for a start it barely touches on his loathsome human rights record. Rather, it’s a harvesting of facets that caught our eye, humanising touches that put some flesh back on a guy who has only really loomed out at us from old news reels – the ghostly fourth Marx Brother of International Socialism.


The eight-hour speeches came later, but Castro’s sense of destiny was apparent even in the 1940s. He was an exceptionally talented baseball player who turned out for big Cuban teams – in 1944, he’d won a prize as “Cuba’s best all-round school athlete“. Real head prefect material, basically.


The roots of this megalomania didn’t start there – in fact they seem to go all the way back to birth. Aged 14 – not 12, as he’d claimed – young Fidel wrote a letter to FDR, congratulating him on his re-election, and signing-off “Your Friend”. In his head, Castro was already the equal of kings and courtiers. This is all exactly the sort of stuff biographers love.


That was his actual job. He got into politics as a congressional candidate for the Orthodox Party. There, he found he had skill as a speaker and rose rapidly. But then he hit the glass ceiling: Fulgencio Batista annulled an election that the Orthodox Party were favourites to win, and Fidel realised he wasn’t going to get anywhere in politics without throwing a few grenades.


Castro’s probably had more than most. First there was the disastrous opening salvo he fired in what was to become the Cuban revolution. In 1953, he and more than 100 fellow revolutionaries attempted to storm the Moncada military barracks. This, they hoped, would be the kick-off for a full-blown Cuban uprising. But they were obliterated. Eight were killed in the fighting. Another 80 or so were murdered by the army afterwards.

Castro was only spared because the guard in charge ignored his orders and sent him to a civilian jail instead. Once inside, Fidel was inducted into what was to become a long and proud tradition of Pink Panther-esque failed attempts to assassinate him, followed by huge strokes of luck on Castro’s own part. An army captain was given instructions to poison his food. He refused, and instead told the world. At which point, General Batista decided he was too weak to risk inflaming public opinion any further by trying again. He’d made a huge mistake. Castro exiled himself off to Mexico, got engaged, claimed he once swam the Rio Grande to meet the exiled Cuban President in a US motel room, then came back and overthrew Batista by the time he was 32.


The Cuban government’s mouthpiece is a paper called Granma. It is named after the yacht which Fidel tried to return from exile on, with a small invasion force. The would-be guerrillas onboard were blown off-course. They ran out of provisions. They were shipwrecked miles from nowhere. They were then spotted by the Cuban airforce, Castro once claimed, and gunned down in an ambush until the entire force consisted of seven armed men.


Che Guevara, the Argentinian poster-boy of poster boys, made his name in Cuba. Che fought his way up the island with Castro. He was also president of the national bank and minister for industry, who was instrumental in hooking Cuba up with the Soviets. Increasingly, though, he fell out with the other Cuban leaders, until in 1965 it was suddenly announced he’d left the country. Two years later, he’d be in Bolivia and dead.


Castro soon got tagged as the ultimate red, second only to Kim Il Sung in the ardour of his ideology. This was convenient, but untrue. He was no great Marxist theoretician. No great theoretician at all. He left that bullcrap to Che and his brother. He spent a lot of time avoiding being daubed too overtly with the Communist brush, arguing to the press that he would do “whatever works”, declaring in 1959: “I have said in a clear and definitive fashion that we are not communists.” Accordingly, his first government was pragmatic: they nationalised, tried import substitution, confiscated US property, and rolled out universal healthcare, but the project was as much nationalist as communist. It was only when they hit the skids that they were forced to pay greater attention to ideology. An increasing economic crisis forced the government to seek support, which duly came from the USSR. The Russians bought up all the nation’s sugar, and in return sent finished goods, precious foreign currency and a tonne of special advisers. In return, Castro was hidebound to follow Moscow’s doctrine.


In the 70s and 80s, Castro committed troops to battlefields in Angola and Mozambique where, with the Portuguese colonists finally withdrawn, civil war had taken hold. In both cases, they played to bloody and unsatisfactory stalemates against anti-communist guerrillas being armed and aided by highly organised South African Defence Force units.


In 1980, Castro briefly opened up the Port of Mariel, to allow Cuban exiles living in America to “claim their relatives. In all, more than 120,000 people were sucked off the island in a window of a few months. Unknown to most at the time, Castro had also made sure to load the boats with prison inmates, mental patients, and a host of others classed as “undesirables”, in what must rate as one of history’s greatest acts of illegal dumping.


Cigar Afficionado‘s Man Of The Year since the dawn of time, Fidel finally gave up his stogies in 1985. “The best thing you could do with a box of cigars is give them to your enemy,” he said at the time. And a hundred old women hand-rolling Havanas were retrenched…


The USSR saved Castro from his own economic follies year-in and year-out. So when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, Cuba nose-dived along with it. Cuba’s GDP declined by 33 percent between 1990 and 1993. So it went on. The results were catastrophic. A major fuel shortage brought the economy grinding to a halt. After 30 years of good harvests, even food became scarce: malnutrition finally returned to the island. This time was euphemistically referred to as the “special period”. For doctors looking to study the effects of rapid population weight loss on lifestyle diseases like diabetes, it was one of history’s golden moments. For everyone else, it was a bleak and bitter period where the little hope they had sank from view.


At one point during their 2001 concert at Havana’s Karl Marx Theatre, he stood and applauded during their song about Elian Gonzalez.


That’s when the geriocracy will finally have to make way for some new blood: the self-declared end of Raul Castro’s nightwatchman stint, and, if all goes to plan, the moment Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermúdez steps onto the world stage (while hopefully also shortening his own name). Diaz-Canel Bermúdez is the anointed heir of the Castros, and seems quite likeable. He’s a cyclist. Which is always nice. He’s an ex-university professor. And they tend to be mild-mannered folk who don’t garotte too many dissidents. He was the youngest ever member of the Politburo. And that suggests he’s a bit charismatic and go-get’em.

And he is, on Cuban terms, a liberaliser: bringing things back into private ownership, and supporting a range of recent market reforms. This will mark the first moment when real detente can happen between the US and this ageing yet unshakeable regime.

15 Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwiches That Are Nothing Short Of Epic

A regular old turkey sandwich is nothing to write home about, but come Thanksgiving ― equipped with a fridge that is overflowing with fresh-roasted turkey, tangy cranberry sauce and gravy ― they can be epic. There’s something about those classic Thanksgiving side dishes that really gets people’s creative sandwich juices flowing.

The best part? Anything goes. Mashed potatoes and even stuffing get layered between two slices of bread to create the biggest, baddest carb fest the world has ever seen. Add some gravy on top, and these sandwiches are a little taste of heaven on earth.

Neil deGrasse Tyson Explains 2 Things Most People Can’t Grasp

There are plenty of things scientists don’t understand about the universe, but for everyday folks, some of the biggest misconceptions are about the basics: time and size.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, the world-famous astrophysicist, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York and host of the “StarTalk” podcast and TV show, tried to break them down in the clip above.

The video was initially posted by Tech Insider last year, but it went viral again. Perhaps people are looking for reassurance that four years isn’t such a long time ― at least on a cosmic scale.

How To DELETE Yourself From The Internet

A Swedish website is offering the chance for users to delete themselves off the internet .

Simply by adding their email address and password, they can remove any and all traces linked to that address with the click of a button. That means no more Gmail, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Ebay, Amazon or any of it .

The site uses Google’s security protocol to wipe the slate clean . The program runs on your computer, not on the website’s servers to maximise privacy at all times.
Read More

‘If the internet goes down, half the planet will come to a standstill’: why ‘preppers’ will be the last ones standing

Optical Fibres
Who needs the internet anyway? (Photo: Getty)

“Privacy and data security is something we regard as extremely important,” explain the team behind the site.

“In fact, it’s our number one focus from beginning to end. That’s why we built it to run on your computer. So basically the only thing you’re telling us is what accounts you want to delete. Thats it, and since we use Google’s OAuth protocol we don’t have access to any of your login information.”

The site will only delete the information linked to a certain email address – and, at the moment, it only works with Gmail. So if you’ve used Yahoo, Hotmail or another email service to sign up to things, you’re not going to be able to wipe that.

It’s still pretty tempting though.
Read More

Inside Europe’s only ‘prepper’ shop: What survivalists are buying to protect themselves from the end of the world


When the web launched in 1991, Tim Berners-Lee stated : “The World Wide Web project was started to allow high energy physicists to share data, news, and documentation.

“We are very interested in spreading the web to other areas, and having gateway servers for other data. Collaborators welcome!”

Sir Tim probably didn’t anticipate that twenty five years later it would be a place of endless security hacks, inane status updates and news about the Kardashians. Enough to drive anyone to self-deletion.
How to delete yourself from the internet
The Matrix
You don’t need the internet – it isn’t real anyway (Photo: Warner Bros)

Go to and sign in with a gmail address.
Look down the list of synced accounts and decide which you want to delete and which you want to keep.
Click the button

It’s worth pointing out that the site doesn’t pick up everything you’ve ever signed up for – some of the smaller web services appear to fall through the cracks and the delete button is greyed out. But the big ones like Facebook are there.

Hopefully, as the site improves, it’ll offer more options for self-deletion.

Fidel Castro In His Own Words

Fidel Castro has died aged 90.

The Cuban revolutionary’s death was announced on Cuban state television.

His brother Raul Castro – the current President – said only: “The commander in chief of the Cuban revolution died at 22:29 hours this evening.”

Castro, who seized power in Cuba in a 1959 revolution and transformed the country into a communist state, stepped down as Cuba’s president 10 years ago after suffering a severe gastrointestinal illness, and before his 90th birthday he told supporters he was going to die soon.

“I’ll be 90 years old soon,” he said. “Soon I’ll be like all the others.”

He continued: “The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban communists will remain as proof on this planet that if they are worked at with fervour and dignity, they can produce the material and cultural goods that human beings need, and we need to fight without truce to obtain them.”
As tributes come flooding in from around the world for the revolutionary icon, here are some of his more memorable quotes about himself and communism in Cuba:

“Condemn me. It is of no importance. History will absolve me.” – Castro in 1953, when the young lawyer was defending himself at trial for his near-suicidal assault on the Moncada military barracks in Santiago de Cuba.

1953 : Cuban rebel leader Fidel Castro under arrest after the attack on Quarter Moncada (Photo: REUTERS)

“I began the revolution with 82 men. If I had to do it again, I would do it with 10 or 15 and absolute faith. It does not matter how small you are if you have faith and a plan of action.” – Castro in 1959.

1975 : Cuban Prime Secretary of the Cuban Communist party and President of the State Council Fidel Castro, wearing glasses (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

“I’m not thinking of cutting my beard, because I’m accustomed to my beard and my beard means many things to my country. When we fulfil our promise of good government I will cut my beard.” – Castro in a 1959 interview with CBS’s Edward Murrow, 30 days after the revolution.

2012 : Former Cuban President Fidel Castro (Photo: AFP PHOTO/ Chile/HO)

“A revolution is not a bed of roses. A revolution is a struggle between the future and the past.” – Castro in 1959

2005 : Cuban President Fidel Castro gestures while talking to the media (Photo: REUTERS)

“I reached the conclusion long ago that the one last sacrifice I must make for (Cuban) public health is to stop smoking. I haven’t really missed it that much.” – Castro in December 1985 upon announcing he had stopped smoking cigars.

1999 : Cuban president Fidel Castro trying on a pair of sunglasses as he talks to the media (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

“I never saw a contradiction between the ideas that sustain me and the ideas of that symbol, of that extraordinary figure (Jesus Christ).” – Castro in 1985.

Cuban Former President Fidel Castro
Cuban Former President Fidel Castro (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

“Just imagine what would happen in the world if the socialist community were to disappear … if this were possible and I don’t believe it is possible.” – Castro in 1989.

Fidel Castro is seen greeting a girl during the celebration of his 90th birthday
Fidel Castro is seen greeting a girl during the celebration of his 90th birthday (Photo: MARCELO GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images)

“We do not know anything about this. We, gentlemen, to tell the truth, do not even know what to charge.” – Castro in 1990 on the development of international tourism In Cuba.

Cuba's former president Fidel Castro sits next to Cuba's President Raul Castro and Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro during a cultural gala to celebrate Fidel Castro's 90th birthday in Havana
Cuba’s former president Fidel Castro sits next to Cuba’s President Raul Castro and Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro during a cultural gala to celebrate Fidel Castro’s 90th birthday in Havana (Photo: Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS)

“We have to stick to the facts and, simply put, the socialist camp has collapsed.” – Castro in 1991.

Cuban President Fidel Castro (L) watched by his brother, Minister of the the Revolutionary Armed Forces, Raul Castro
Cuban President Fidel Castro (L) watched by his brother, Minister of the the Revolutionary Armed Forces, Raul Castro (Photo: Getty Images)

“There’s nothing strange about it. I wish I had as many opportunities to welcome personalities as important as this one.” – Castro in 1994, explaining the reception, usually reserved for heads of state, given to Hugo Chavez upon his arrival in Havana a few months after he was released from prison for leading a failed 1992 coup. Five years later, Chavez was elected president of Venezuela and became Castro’s closest ally.

Hugo Chávez, 1954-2013 aged 58
Hugo Chávez, 1954-2013 aged 58 (Photo: Getty Images)

“These changes (the opening to international tourism, foreign investment, some small business and family remittances)have their social cost, because we lived in a glass case, pure asepsis, and now we are surrounded by viruses, bacteria to the point of distraction and the egoism created by the capitalist system of production.” – Castro in 1998.

Fidel Castro addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York
Fidel Castro addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York (Photo: Getty)

“One of the greatest benefits of the revolution is that even our prostitutes are college graduates.” – Castro to director Oliver Stone in 2003 documentary “Comandante.”

Still grab from a video taken on January
Fidel Castro makes rare public appearance in Havana (Photo: Getty)

“I realized that my true destiny would be the war that I was going to have with the United States.” – Castro’s opening quote in “Looking for Fidel,” Stone’s second documentary on the Cuban leader from 2004.

Fidel Castro makes rare public appearance in Havana
Fidel Castro makes rare public appearance in Havana (Photo: Getty)

“Here is a conclusion I’ve come to after many years: among all the errors we may have committed, the greatest of them all was that we believed that someone … actually knew how to build socialism… Whenever they said. ‘That’s the formula,’ we thought they knew. Just as if someone is a physician.” – Castro in 2005.

Fidel Castro makes rare public appearance in Havana
Fidel Castro makes rare public appearance in Havana (Photo: Getty)

“I’m really happy to reach 80. I never expected it, not least having a neighbour, the greatest power in the world, trying to kill me every day,” he said on July 21, 2006 while attending a summit of Latin American presidents in Argentina.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez visits his Cuban counterpart Fidel Castro in Havana in this August 13, 2006
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez visits his Cuban counterpart Fidel Castro in Havana in this August 13, 2006 (Photo: Reuters)

“I will neither aspire to nor accept … the positions of President of the State Council and Commander in Chief … It would be a betrayal of my conscience to accept a responsibility requiring more mobility and dedication than I am physically able to offer.” Castro, in February 2008, announcing his resignation as president.

Hugo Chavez
This file picture shows retired Venezuelan military officer Hugo Chavez (L) meeting with Cuban President Fidel Castro (Photo: Getty Images)

“We are not a developed capitalist country in crisis, whose leaders are going crazy looking for solutions amidst depression, inflation, a lack of markets and unemployment; we are and we must be socialists.” – Castro writing in one of his “reflections,” or newspaper columns in 2008.

Fidel Castro holding the hand of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev
Fidel Castro holding the hand of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev (Photo: Getty)

“The Cuban model doesn’t even work for us anymore.” – Castro in 2010 during an interview with U.S. journalist Jeffrey Goldberg. Castro later said his comment was taken out of context.

Thanksgiving My Ass: Native Americans Are Being Tear-Gassed in North Dakota On Thanksgiving Week

Native Americans Are Being Tear-Gassed in North Dakota On Thanksgiving Week

WASHINGTON ― Thanksgiving began in the fall of 1621 when a group of Native Americans joined with newly arrived English settlers to create a harvest feast together and protect each other from violence.

This year, as Americans pick out their turkeys and count their blessings, members of the Sioux Nation in Standing Rock, North Dakota, reported being attacked with tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons in subfreezing temperatures as they protested an oil pipeline that threatens to contaminate their water and disrupt their sacred sites. Approximately 300 Native American and non-native protesters were injured in one 10-hour clash with law enforcement on Sunday evening, according to the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council, and 26 were taken to hospitals with severe head and limb wounds, eye trauma, internal bleeding and hypothermia from being doused with water in 22-degree weather.

“Basically, it’s an act of war,” said Frank Sanchez, a delegate from the Yankton Sioux Tribe, in an interview with The Huffington Post.

The government says the $3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline is the safest, most efficient way to carry crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois. But the project has become a rallying point for Native Americans because the pipe would cut under the Missouri River within a mile of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, potentially contaminating the local tribes’ source of fresh water and encroaching on land that the U.S. government had agreed to set aside for them in an 1851 treaty. The clash between protesters, who call themselves “water protectors,” and North Dakota law enforcement reached a boiling point on Sunday, when force was used to keep protesters off a barricaded bridge about a mile south of the pipeline construction site.


The Morton County Sheriff’s Department said the demonstrators were being violent. The Sioux ― who have long suffered economically ― say the blocked-off bridge is the main access point to their reservation, and they are trying to protect the land and water that have sustained them for centuries.

“I’m a prisoner of war in my own land,” said Sanchez. “That’s the only way I can see it. We have the right to hunt, fish and gather, as we always did, but all the barbed wire fences and posts to ‘Keep out’ have to come down so we can continue living the way we’ve always lived.”

Sanchez, 61, is in Washington, D.C., this week lobbying the federal government on behalf of the Sioux tribes. He is a direct descendant of the man who signed the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1851, in which the U.S. government ceded portions of five states to the Sioux and agreed to strict rules preventing outsiders from accessing Sioux territory. But Congress soon broke its end of the bargain by seizing the Black Hills of South Dakota in 1877, when gold was discovered there ― and the government’s land grabs have continued.

“This issue could have been settled years ago, but we don’t have the money for attorneys to represent us,” he said.

The government seems to have at least recognized the problem, temporarily suspending construction in Standing Rock. Last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it needed more time to decide whether to build on Sioux land.

“When we wake up in the morning, we say thank you all day long ― for creation, for life. Things are beautiful, people are beautiful, little babies, everything I see. This coffee is excellent,” he said, smiling and pointing at the Starbucks cup in his hand.

“But people need to realize that these situations still exist in this country. We’re not savages, but there have been times when we had to prove we were human. These wounds need to be addressed and healed in order to really be thankful.”


The Real Story About Thanksgiving You’ve Never Heard


The Thanksgiving story you know probably goes a bit like this: English Pilgrims, seeking religious freedom, landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where they found a rich land full of animals and were greeted by a friendly Indian named Squanto, who taught them how to plant corn.

The true story is more complicated. Once you learn about the real Squanto — also known as Tisquantum — you’ll have a great yarn to tell your family over the Thanksgiving table.

I asked historian Charles Mann, the author of 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, and Paula Peters, a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe and an expert on Wampanoag history, to tell me the real story.

“This is not revisionist history,” Peters promised. “This is history that’s just been overlooked because people have become very, very comfortable with the story of happy Pilgrims and friendly Indians. They’re very content with that — even to the point where no one really questioned how is it that Squanto knew how to speak perfect English when they came.”

Here’s what really happened.

In 1614, six years before the Pilgrims landed in modern-day Massachusetts, an Englishman named Thomas Hunt kidnapped Tisquantum from his village, Patuxet, which was part of a group of villages known as the Wampanoag confederation. (Europeans had started visiting the northeast of what is now the United States by the 1520s, and probably as early as the 1480s.)

Hunt took Tisquantum and around two dozen other kidnapped Wampanoag to Spain, where he tried to sell them into slavery.

“It caused quite a commotion when this guy showed up trying to sell these people,” Mann said. “A bunch of people in the church said no way.”

Tisquantum escaped slavery — with the help of Catholic friars, according to some accounts — then somehow found his way to England.

He finally made it back to what is now Massachusetts in 1619. As far as historians can tell, Tisquantum was the only one of the kidnapped Wampanoags to ever return to North America, Peters notes.

As far as historians can tell, Tisquantum was the only one of the kidnapped Wampanoags to ever return to North America.

But while Tisquantum was in Europe, an epidemic had swept across New England.

“The account that’s recorded by Gov. Bradford of Plymouth Plantation is that there’s a shipwreck of French sailors that year on Cape Cod,” Mann said. “One of them carried some disease and it wiped out a huge percentage of the population in coastal new England. … The guess is it was some kind of viral hepatitis, which is easily communicated in water. It exploded like chains of firecrackers.”

When Tisquantum returned to Patuxet, he found that he was the village’s only survivor.

“Into this bumbled the Pilgrims,” Mann said. “They had shown up in New England a few weeks before winter. … Up until the Pilgrims, the pattern had been pretty clear. Europeans would show up, and Indians would be interested in their trade goods, but they were really uninterested in letting [Europeans] permanently occupy land.”

Often, armed native people would even force Europeans to leave if they attempted to stay too long.

This time, the Europeans wanted to stay, and the disease that had decimated Patuxet ensured that they had a place to settle.

“Patuxet ultimately becomes Plymouth,” Peters explained. “They find this cleared land and just the bones of the Indians. They called it divine providence: God killed these Indians so we could live here.”

A website Peters helped create for the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival puts it even more bluntly: “The graveyard of [Tisquantum’s] people became Plymouth Colony.”

Massasoit, a local Wampanoag leader, didn’t trust Tisquantum. “He looks at this guy and smells trouble,” Mann said. Massasoit kept Tisquantum under what was essentially house arrest until the Pilgrims showed up and promptly started starving to death.

Patuxet wasn’t the only native village decimated by the plague. The entire Wampanoag confederation had been badly hit — as much as 75 percent of the Wampanoag population was wiped out, Mann said. But the Narragansett, a rival neighboring group, basically weren’t affected by the disease at all. That put the Wampanoag in a precarious strategic position.

“The graveyard of his people became Plymouth Colony.”

 Massasoit had an idea.

“He decides we’ll ally with these guys, set up a good trading relationship, control supply of English goods, and the Narragansett won’t be able to attack us,” Mann said.

On March 22, 1621, Massasoit went to meet with the Pilgrims. He brought Tisquantum along to translate.

Mann described the meeting in a 2005 article in Smithsonian Magazine:

Tisquantum most likely was not the name he was given at birth. In that part of the Northeast, tisquantum referred to rage, especially the rage of manitou, the world-suffusing spiritual power at the heart of coastal Indians’ religious beliefs. When Tisquantum approached the Pilgrims and identified himself by that sobriquet, it was as if he had stuck out his hand and said, “Hello, I’m the Wrath of God.”

Massasoit was right not to trust Tisquantum, who soon tried to pit the Pilgrims against him. But the plan didn’t work: Massasoit “is just pissed off and demands the Pilgrims hand him over because he’s gonna execute him,” Mann said.

The Pilgrims didn’t. Instead, Tisquantum stayed in the colony with them, helping them prepare for the next winter.

“Never did the newcomers ask themselves why he might be making himself essential,” Mann wrote in Smithsonian. “But from the Pilgrims’ accounts of their dealings with him, the answer seems clear: the alternative to staying in Plymouth was returning to Massasoit and renewed captivity.”

It’s all a lot more complicated — Machiavellian, even — than the story you might have learned. Mann in Smithsonian again:

By fall the settlers’ situation was secure enough that they held a feast of thanksgiving. Massasoit showed up with “some ninety men,” Winslow later recalled, most of them with weapons. The Pilgrim militia responded by marching around and firing their guns in the air in a manner intended to convey menace. Gratified, both sides sat down, ate a lot of food and complained about the Narragansett. Ecce Thanksgiving.

So what does this all mean? “While it was by far not the first occasion of human trafficking conducted by European explorers to the new world, the capture of Squanto and his fellow tribesmen would forever alter the course of history for people on two continents,” Peters wrote on the anniversary website.

“We learn about Columbus landing in 1492 and it’s as if nothing happened for over 100 years until the Pilgrims landed,” Mann added. “But the Tisquantum story gives you this tiny peek into that all the people involved had been interacting for more than a century.”

And today, of course, the Wampanoag are still around.

9 Tips For Getting A Good Night’s Sleep In Any Guest Bedroom


The holidays are here. You get to see family, eat lots of great food, take some time off work ― and you get to sleep in Aunt Franny’s third guest bedroom. (That’s the one with the uncomfortable futon that you’ll be sharing with your cousin who snores.)

But don’t go thinking you need to resign yourself to poor post-turkey sleep.

No matter how torturous your sleeping accommodations may seem when visiting friends or family ― rest assured ― a few simple tricks (and a little bit of planning ahead) may be able to save your holiday slumber, William David Brown, a sleep psychologist at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, told The Huffington Post.

“It’s impossible to control for every problem that might come up,” he said. But there are a lot of steps you can take to make an unfamiliar sleep environment feel more like home, he said.

Brown and Terry Cralle, a certified clinical sleep educator, shared some tips that help them get better sleep ― even when they’re sleeping in less-than-ideal sleeping arrangements.

1. Plan ahead

Ask your friends or family about their sleep habits before you get there, Brown suggested. If they go to bed way earlier than you do, bring a book or something else to do until you’re ready to sleep, he said.

2. Stick to your routine

You’ll sleep best if you follow the same sleep routine you do at home, Brown said. “I always have a book with me because I always read before bedtime.”

3. Make it like home

You won’t be able to control every factor in a guest bedroom, but do control what you can, Brown said. Pack your favorite pillow or blanket that you use at home, he said. “It takes up packing space, but if you sleep better it is worth it.”

A good pillow can salvage a not-so-great mattress ― and a great mattress can be undermined by a terrible pillow, Cralle added.

4. Cut out the racket

If traffic, young children or other unfamiliar noises are keeping you awake, try using a portable white noise machine or a white noise app, Cralle said. White noise helps us sleep by drowning out other disruptive sounds that might wake us up during the night.

“I use them even if it’s quiet when I fall asleep,” Cralle said. “I am as proactive as possible in ensuring that good night’s sleep to ensure a great [next] day.”

5. Have earplugs at the ready

White noise not cutting it? Keep a pair of earplugs in your suitcase just in case, Cralle said.

“I never, never travel without earplugs,” Cralle said. “Even if I don’t need them, just knowing that I have them gives me peace of mind.”

And peace of mind is good for sleep, she said.

6. Use an eye mask


And on that note, keep an eye mask handy, too, to block stray light you’re not accustomed to, Cralle said.

Brown’s tip: Try them out at home before you travel. “If they are bothersome to you at home, they will be really difficult in a different environment,” he said.

7. Turn off the electronics and extra lights

Don’t be kept up by the glow from a digital clock or TV, Brown said. Unplug electronics you can or ask your host if you can sleep in another room, he said.

8. Watch how much and when you’re drinking

If you’re traveling over the holidays you may be staying up later than normal or drinking more than normal, Brown added. And too much alcohol too close to bedtime can make for rough sleep.

9. Think positively

Don’t assume you’ll sleep terribly just because you’re away from home, Brown said. “This can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

And if you do sleep poorly one night, don’t get too hung up on it, he added. You might be more tired than usual the next day. But, he said: “This is OK because being sleep-deprived will make it easier to fall asleep [the next night]” ― and you’ll probably wake up less frequently during the night, too.

And if all else fails, consider abandoning ship, Brown said. If your sleeping assignment is too disruptive or uncomfortable, you may be better off getting a hotel, he said.

“You can explain that you are not [accustomed to that sleeping environment] and to enjoy your trip, you need sleep,” Brown said.

Want to Become a Travel ‘Hacker’? Read This First

Philip Pragados thought he’d discovered a perfect travel hack: sharing his TSA PreCheck number, also called a “Known Traveler Number,” with a friend.

“She used it and was sent to the PreCheck line,” says Pragados, an IT consultant who lives in Washington.

People probe the system every day, looking for shortcuts. If Pragados had been right, this would have been a clever insider tip. Imagine saving the $85 and application process and being able to use one of the faster lines, which allow you to avoid the invasive full-body scanners and having to remove your shoes and laptop computers.

But it wasn’t a hack. Turns out a number isn’t enough to give you a PreCheck mark on your boarding pass. Travelers without PreCheck status can be sent to the preferred lines.

Related: Use these legit strategies to get what you want when you travel.

“Individuals may get TSA PreCheck via other mechanisms, where TSA uses intelligence information and Secure Flight passenger and itinerary information to determine if a traveler is low-risk on any given flight,” says Bruce Anderson, a TSA spokesman.

And no, you can’t share your Known Traveler Number, the same way you may share the password to your favorite entertainment site.

When it comes to travel, everyone wants to be a hacker — especially this weekend, starting with Black Friday and ending with Cybermonday, the highest of hacker holy days. Problem is, most of the hacks don’t work and may hurt travelers more than they help. Maybe we should try to be smarter consumers instead.

Bogus travel hacks are so numerous, it’s hard to know where to start. How about with this one: You can find a cheaper hotel rate by phoning the property directly, bypassing the website or online agency? Nah, says Marcy Schackne, who works for a luggage company and is a very frequent traveler.

“I’ve tried this many times,” she says. “Never works. When the property is part of a national brand, there is an immediate redirect to the reservations call center and no room to be negotiated.”

Here’s another popular hotel “hack”: bribing the front desk guy for an upgrade.

“When you present your credit card and driver’s license up front, you slip a $20 or even a $100 in between,” says Mitch Goldstone, who works for an Irvine, Calif., technology company. Truth is, the clerk will often keep the money and give you the assigned room, thinking you just gave him a tip. “And you’re left with nothing,” he says.

Renting a car? Opaque travel sites used to be a great way to game the system. But lately, that’s not where to find the cheapest inventory, Clem Bason says. He ought to know, since he’s the former president of, one of the sites that offers the deeply discounted cars.

“You can now find lower prices — and know the brand before you book — at places like Costco, AAA and the direct websites of Avis and Budget,” he says.

Then there are airlines. Ah, airlines! Almost every hack you’ve heard is probably inaccurate or flat-out wrong. Among my favorites: Clear your cache to avoid high airfares, don’t use a Mac, buy 42 days in advance, book after midnight on a Tuesday.

“No,” says Charles McCool, a frequent traveler and independent trip planning coach. “I have never seen these tricks change any results.”

Pragados, the security consultant who discovered the TSA vulnerability, is relieved. He says he was more concerned about a potential security breach than finding a hack. “But it certainly puts the whole TSA PreCheck status in a different light. And sounds like a way for TSA to make money,” he says.

When you hear the word “hack,” don’t walk away — run. That’s the assessment of Anne Klaeysen, leader of the New York Society for Ethical Culture. Many of these strategies involve lying, exaggerating or using the system in a way it wasn’t intended. All of those actions have consequences for other travelers, potentially leading to higher prices or more restrictive policies.

It’s far better to work within the rules. Instead of trying to game the system, make informed, common-sense purchases that reward the best companies with your business. Doing anything else may compromise your ethics.

“Besides,” Klaeysen says, “don’t you have anything better to do with your time than try to beat the system?”

Non-hacking ways to travel on the cheap

• Airlines. Book your ticket when most people do (one to four months before you fly), and you’ll probably find a decent fare. Don’t buy too early or wait too long. Fares tend to rise just before departure. Don’t obsess about finding the lowest fare — you’ll waste your time saving a few dollars.

• Car rental. Once you’ve followed Bason’s advice, checking Costco, AAA and the direct websites of car rental companies, you may want to check one of the opaque sites such as or just to make sure they can’t do better. But he’s right: Often the car rental companies will have the lowest price and the most favorable terms.

• Hotels. The hotel pricing landscape is shifting under your feet. To find a great deal, check Google’s hotel search ( or a meta-search site such as Kayak ( Consult an online agency such as Expedia or to see if they can do better, and if you find a hotel you like, click on the property’s website to make sure there isn’t a better rate.

Mallika Sherawat on her attack: `I don’t blame Paris for it. The incident has left me humbled.’

Mallika Sherawat

Actor Mallika Sherawat has opened up about the attack on her in her Paris home by claiming that though the incident was traumatic, it has humbled her as well.

Mallika Sherawat Image Courtesy: Reuters

Mallika Sherawat
Image Courtesy: Reuters

In an interview to CNN, she says that there are millions of women, children, and underprivileged people everywhere who are at the risk of criminal attacks all the time. “It has really hit home there are millions of underprivileged men and women who face this terror on a daily basis. So the incident has also been very humbling,” says Sherawat.

She adds that nobody should face this fear of getting robbed anytime, the mental, physical and emotional torture that one goes through or the fear of looking over your shoulder all the time.

Six weeks ago, Hollywood sensation Kim Kardashian was also robbed at gunpoint in the 16th arrondissement, one of the more posh localities of Paris. While Kardashian had left the city immediately, Sherawat says that she does not blame the city for the attack.

“It can happen anywhere. It can happen to anyone – public, non-public, man, woman or child. A crime is a crime. I am not going to change the way I live because of the attack. I am not going to be cowed down by it. I am a strong woman,” she says.

On the contrary, Sherawat states that support has poured in from all quarters, whether it is the local police, friends, social media and even strangers. “The other day an old woman came up to me. I am assuming she must have read about the attack somewhere. She just came up to me and asked me gently if I was okay. To get such kind of support from the community is really great.”

Sherawat and her French boyfriend Cyrilee Aluxefans were attacked by a group of intruders in her apartment building rue de la Faisanderie in the 16th arrondissement. They sprayed tear gas on both of them and then began to beat them. They tried to snatch Sherawat’s bag but soon backed off when the actor protested. Sherawat has suffered multiple bruises and marks and Aluxefans, a businessman, has suffered minor injuries, according to the news report by CNN.

Watch This Irish Lawmaker’s Passionate Call To Stand Up To ‘Fascist’ Donald Trump

Irish Labour Party Senator Aodhán Ó Riordáin ripped into his country’s government for its warm response to the election of Donald Trump as president in a passionate speech that’s gone viral.

Edmund Burke once said that the only way evil can prosper is for good men to do nothing. America has just elected a fascist,” Ó Riordáin said on Nov. 10. “And the best thing that good people in Ireland can do is to ring him up and ask him if it’s OK to still bring the shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day.”

“I’m embarrassed by the reaction of the Irish government to what’s happened in America,” he added.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, leader of the more conservative Fine Gael Party, apparently did confirm in a phone conversation with Trump that he would attend the White House’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Kenny, who has previously condemned Trump’s bigoted remarks, offered the president-elect his “sincere congratulations” and shared his belief that “under [Trump’s] leadership our bilateral relations will continue to prosper.”
“Can the government not understand what’s happening? We’re at an ugly international crossroads. What’s happening in Britain is appalling, what’s happening across Europe is appalling,” Ó Riordáin warned.

“It has echoes from the 1930s. And America ― the most powerful country in the world ― has just elected a fascist,” he added.

Rather than resume normal bilateral relations and prioritize concerns about American investment in Ireland, Ó Riordáin called on the Irish government to consider carefully how best to confront Trump and the tide of fascism that he represents.

“I want to ask you leader, to ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs into this House and to ask him how we are supposed to deal with this monster who’s just been elected president of America,” he concluded. “Because I don’t think any of us in years to come should look back on this period and not say that we did everything in our power to call it out for what it is.”

Terrance Hayes Gives Stirring Speech On Race And Poetry At National Book Awards

Just a week after a presidential election that has left many marginalized communities reeling, award-winning poet Terrance Hayes gave a searing speech at the 2016 National Book Awards that asked the audience to “be the dogs guarding the house” for black writers.

Speaking to a crowd of authors, publishers, and arts patrons on Wednesday night, Hayes presented the National Book Foundation’s Literarian Award to Cave Canem Foundation, a nonprofit that supports black poets. In his wide-ranging yet pointed introductory remarks, he shed light on the history and necessity of poetry by and for black people.

Hayes cited the Latin meaning of Cave Canem ― “beware of the dog” ― and the warning’s presence in a mosaic at Pompeii’s House of the Tragic Poet.

“What does it mean to be the dog guarding the house of poetry?” he asked, before segueing into a discourse on the evolution of black American poetry in the face of slavery, oppression, and brutality. “It’s such a futuristic idea,” he said. “A world in which the descendants of slaves become poets.”

Quoting Lucille Clifton, and Elizabeth Bishop’s description of poetry as “a way of thinking with one’s feelings,” he remarked, “Imagine 20 years of thinking with one’s feelings while someone is trying to kill you.”

Cave Canem, founded by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady in 1996, set out to create a safe, welcoming space for black poets, by bringing them into dialogue with each other and championing their voices. “Cave Canem is a fortification of your language, your history, your future,” declared Hayes. “We must be the dog that guards the house. We must be the bark and the bite.”

“What would happen,” he asked, “if you brought a bunch of black poets together in a safe place?” This is the mission of Cave Canem, but it’s also a galvanizing question for book lovers looking for ways to offer support within the literary community during a time many find threatening.

Watch Hayes’s powerful words:

To see Hayes’s speech, start at 26:30 ― or watch the whole video!

Michael Shannon Has No Filter When Talking About Donald Trump Supporters

“I don’t know how people got so goddamn stupid,” Michael Shannon said in a recent interview, referencing Donald Trump’s election win.

In the wake of Donald Trump’s victory last week, plenty of celebrities have spoken out against the president-elect and his troubling campaign rhetoric. The latest to add their voice to the conversation is actor Michael Shannon.

In a recent interview with, the “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” star gave his two cents, making sure to hold nothing back with his criticisms of Trump voters.

“The big red dildo running through the middle of our country needs to be annexed to be its own country of moronic a**holes,” Shannon said. “You can call it the United States of Moronic F**king A**holes.”

He then provided some choice words for Trump supporters, saying, “I don’t know how people got so goddamn stupid.”

“It’s really weird, because it’s like the last eight years, now it feels like a lie,” he continued. “… Racists, sexists. And a lot of these people, they don’t know why the f**k they’re alive. They know it. They’re doing drugs, f**king killing themselves. Because they’re like, ‘Why the f**k am I alive? I can’t get a job, I don’t know anything about anything, I have no curiosity for life or the world.’ So this Trump thing is like getting a box of firecrackers, or something. It’s like, ‘Well, this will be fun for a little while, this’ll kill some time.’”

Shannon did admit, however, that he agrees “to a certain extent” with Trump on the issue of creating jobs.

“Yeah, NAFTA was fucked up and people need to have jobs,” he said. “People need to have a way of supporting themselves, they need a way of having self-respect, pride and dignity. You take that away from them, this is what you get.

Man Who Dissolved In Acidic Hot Spring Was Trying To ‘Hot Pot,’ Report Shows

An Oregon man who died in June after falling into a boiling hot spring at Yellowstone National Park was looking for a place to “hot pot,” or soak in warm water, according to a final accident report.

Colin Nathaniel Scott, 23, was with his sister, Sable Scott, when he slipped and tumbled into the acidic boiling waters of the Norris Geyser basin on June 7, according to the report, released Monday by Yellowstone officials.

Sable Scott, 21, who was filming their excursion and captured cellphone video of her brother’s fatal plunge and her efforts to save him, told investigators her brother reached into the water to check the temperature when he fell into the 10-foot deep thermal pool, according to the report.

“They were specifically moving in that area for a place that they could potentially get into and soak,” Deputy Chief Ranger Lorand Veress told local news station KULR. “I think they call it ‘hot potting.’”

The final accident report was released following a Freedom of Information requestfiled by KULR. Park officials withheld the video and a description of it.

Warning signs are posted around Yellowstone National Park, advising visitors to keep out of thermal areas.

The brother and sister illegally ventured off the boardwalk near the Pork Chop Geyser when Colin Scott fell in, according to the report.

Later that day, rescuers could see portions of Colin Scott’s head with a cross necklace resting on the face and an upper torso in a V-neck shirt, according to the Park Ranger Phil Strehle’s written account.

Officials judged Scott to be dead by his severe burns and lack of movement. They were unable to recover the body at the time due to lightning storms and approaching darkness. By the time they returned the next day, the body had dissolved in the boiling waters, according to the report. The only traces were Scott’s wallet and melted flip-flops.

Yellowstone National Park is renowned for its geothermal features, such as the Grand Prismatic Spring (pictured above).

The Norris Geyser basin is one of the oldest and hottest thermal areas in Yellowstone, with acidic waters that can top the boiling point, according to the park’s website.

“There’s a closure in place to keep people from doing that for their own safety and also to protect the resources because they are very fragile,” Veress told KULR, adding that the area was a “very unforgiving environment.”

More people have been injured or killed in Yellowstone’s hot springs than any other of the park’s natural features, according to the National Park Service.

Yellowstone strictly prohibits people from walking off designated boardwalks and trails and swimming in the hot springs.

The National Park Service issued no citations in the fatal accident.

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