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Everything posted by NelsonG

  1. TL;DR: As of September 18, you can get the EasySplitter Pro Vocal Remover: Lifetime Subscription for just $39.99 instead of $599.40 — that's a 93% discount. Sometimes, audio editing may require a lot of tedious work, and if you’ve tried splitting vocals from a song manually, you may know that better than anyone. If you regularly have to separate vocals from audio files, then you may want to try EasySplitter Pro Vocal Remover. This fast audio splitter should help you remove audio without any loss in quality, and a lifetime subscription is just $39.99 (Reg. $599). Isolating vocals made easier It may normally take you hours to separate the vocals from an album, but with EasySplitter, you could get it done in a few clicks. From the EasySplitter dashboard, you can arrange your audio splitting, see your file history, and even play your songs. To separate the vocals from a song, just press the blue button at the bottom of your dashboard. You’ll be prompted to select how many stems you want to split the song into. EasySplitter’s AI can split songs into up to four Stems: vocals, instrumental, drums, and bass. Once the file is split, you’ll be able to listen to each version, and they’ll be kept in your file history tab. Files are only stored for 30 days, so make sure to download what you want to keep. EasySplitter Pro is accessible online and through the iOS and Android app, and they are synced in case you switch between the mobile application and the web version. If you’re working on an audio project at work, you can finish on your home computer without any file transfers and risk of quality loss. An AI audio editing tool that’s available for lifeIf you want to save time separating the vocals from audio tracks, then you may want to try this AI-powered tool. For a limited time, a lifetime subscription to EasySplitter Pro Vocal Remover is on sale for $39.99 (Reg. $599). Prices subject to change. Opens in a new tab Credit: EasySplitter EasySplitter Pro Vocal Remover: Lifetime Subscription (opens in a new tab) $39.99 at the Mashable Shop Get Deal (opens in a new tab) View the full article
  2. Gender parity in Hollywood still has a long way to go, baby, but while we wait for the industry to get their collective crap together, what we choose to watch speaks volumes. We’ve combed through Netflix’s streaming sprawl to find the best television shows and limited series from female creators for you to enjoy. What each of the shows on this stacked list of Netflix heavy hitters has in common is that they were all written, directed, created, or produced by a woman, and frankly? That’s nothing to sniff at these days. This group covers everything from the award-winning to the comforting, the heart-wrenching to the absurd — and every single one of them is at the top of its game. Women are great. TV is great. TV made by women is great. No further questions, your honor! 1. Grace and Frankie After their husbands and long-term business partners announce they’ve been secretly in love for decades, high-strung Grace (Jane Fonda) and crunchy, hippie Frankie (Lily Tomlin) are forced into an unlikely friendship and roommate-ship when the only place they have left to live is the La Jolla beach house their families co-own. This is The Odd Couple for the modern era, a comedy that insists that everyone, no matter their age, can have their fair share of high jinks. (Wait until you get to the episodes about trying to use vibrators with arthritis.) It’s a deeply charming, zany, and lovable show with a stellar cast featuring Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen, Brooklyn Decker, Ethan Embry, June Diane Raphael, and Baron Vaughn. Created by Marta Kauffman (co-creator of Friends!) and Howard J. Morris, Grace and Frankie is a perfect comfort watch that will leave you feeling like you should give your best friend a call. How to watch: Grace and Frankie is streaming on Netflix. 2. Bridgerton The bane of his existence and the object of all his desires, don't you know. Credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix Where to begin with the scandalous, sexy, and silly sensation that is Bridgerton? In this period dramedy, Regency-era Londoners look for love under the critical eye of the Queen and a host of courtiers, while dodging scandal at every turn. It's Gossip Girl meets Downton Abbey with a How To Get Away with Murder-type twist that's undeniably Shonda Rhimes. You're going to love it, so much so that you should plan on bingeing this one straight-through. — * Alison Foreman, Entertainment Reporter How to watch: Bridgerton is streaming on Netflix. 3. Maid Created by Molly Smith Metzler and adapted from Stephanie Land’s bestselling memoir Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive, Maid is an absolute gut punch that will likely make you cry more than once. Margaret Qualley is excellent as Alex, a young woman struggling to leave an abusive relationship while continuing to care for toddler daughter; she’s paired with her real-life mother Andie McDowell, who is fantastic as Alex’s well-meaning but unreliable mom. We follow Alex’s agonizing journey from navigating a women’s shelter to facing the baffling catch-22’s of the American welfare system (she can’t get state-sponsored child care without a job, but she can’t get a job without child care), and more. It’s a powerful meditation on perseverance, as well as a brutal examination of how incredibly short the United States falls in supporting those struggling to survive. How to watch: Maid is streaming on Netflix. 4. The Baby-Sitters Club Warm, funny, and unapologetically optimistic, this 2020 adaptation of the hugely popular Ann M. Martin YA book series is a superb watch for audiences of all ages. A group of preteen girls, each with their own distinctive personality, fashion sense, and set of familial issues, band together to start a baby-sitting club in their neighborhood. The friendships are strong, the stories are relatable, and the life lessons are surprisingly sophisticated. The Baby-Sitters Club is the smart but sweet show that celebrates girlhood in all of its many forms, one we wish we had when we were younger — but we’ll settle for it well into our adulthood, thank you very much. How to watch: The Baby-Sitters Club is streaming on Netflix. 5. GLOW It’s the Gooorgeous Ladies of Wrestling! Created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, GLOW is one of those shows that makes you smile just thinking of it. A masterful blend of rage-fueled ‘80s feminism and timeless comedic beats, this half-hour dramedy delivers everything you could want in great TV each and every episode throughout its three seasons. Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin lead an unparalleled ensemble in a journey we’ll never be ready to see end. Here’s lookin’ at you, Season 4. — * A.F. How to watch: GLOW is streaming on Netflix. 6. When They See Us Ava Duvernay and Niecy Nash share a moment behind the scenes of "When They See Us." Credit: Atsushi Nishijima/Netflix The most culturally significant project Netflix released in 2019, Ava DuVernay's When They See Us revisits the case of the Central Park Five in excruciating detail. Examining the wrongful convictions of five Black and Latino men for the rape of a woman in 1989 — for which they would be exonerated over a decade later — this poignant true crime miniseries offers a heart-wrenching look at the flaws in our justice system. Not only spectacular viewing, When They See Us highlights the insidious biases that plague our society and the vulnerable people put at risk. — * A.F. How to watch: When They See Us is streaming on Netflix. 7. HeartstopperIf you missed this impossibly charming British show, please drop everything you’re doing and get to Netflix as quickly as possible. You don’t want to spend another second without this sweet love story in your life! Written by Alice Oseman, adapted from her very popular graphic novel series of the same name, Heartstopper follows an anxious gay high school student, Charlie, who strikes up an unlikely friendship with Nick, a charismatic, seemingly straight rugby player at his school. The two are sat next to each other at the beginning of the semester, and they quickly become inseparable. They’re just friends…Or are they? Heartstopper is a total triumph. The cast is magnetic, the story is fresh, and the love will leave you feeling warm and bubbly for the rest of the day. Seriously, why aren’t you watching this yet?! How to watch: Heartstopper is streaming on Netflix. 8. Sense8 Created by the Wachowski sisters and J. Michael Straczynski, Sense8 is, well, exactly as trippy as you’d expect a sci-fi drama created by those three to be. The series follows eight strangers who discover in quick succession that they’re linked by a single mind and soul, and that that makes them a target for certain mysterious forces. Thrills ensue, in the form of cool superpowers, deadly chases, sinister conspiracies, and intricately choreographed fight scenes, all shot and edited together with dazzling precision. But what makes Sense8 feel truly special is its emphasis on emotional connection. It’s a show that feels almost radical in its earnestness — in its plea for empathy, in its faith in humanity, in its celebration for love. It wears its tender, beating heart on its sleeve, and invites you to touch it, and then asks you if, perhaps, you wouldn’t like to open up your own heart to it, too. - * Angie Han, Deputy Entertainment Editor How to watch: Sense8 is streaming on Netflix. 9. Never Have I Ever Created by Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher, this smart, sweet coming-of-age story was among the most fulfilling new Netflix binges of 2020. Then, it came back and wowed us again. Lead Maitreyi Ramakrishnan will steal your heart as Devi, a high school sophomore reeling from the loss of her father the year before — but with big plans for a future as vibrant and fearless as she. Culturally important as it is authentic, Never Have I Ever serves not only as a critical step for representation but also as a dreamy teen rom-com you'll adore. — * A.F. How to watch: Never Have I Ever is streaming on Netflix. 10. Crash Landing on You Son Ye-jin as Yoon Se-ri and Hyun Bin as Ri Jeong-hyeok in "Crash Landing on You" Credit: Lim Hyo Seon/Netflix When a South Korean heiress goes paragliding, a freak storm sends her flying off course and she crash lands in the North Korean DMZ. For most people, this story would end in a swift execution. Luckily, Yoon Se-ri (Son Ye-jin) is found by understanding North Korean army captain Ri Jeong-hyeok (Hyun Bin) — and total dreamboat! As the two navigate their precarious situation and deep cultural divides, they somehow form a connection and, you guessed it, begin to fall in love. This smash hit drama series, written by Park Ji-eun and directed by Lee Jeong-hyo, has everything: action, social commentary, and a gut-wrenching forbidden romance. Crash Landing on You has become a global phenomenon, acclaimed in China, Japan, and the Philippines, and frequently topping K-drama lists in the U.S. A must-watch. * How to watch: Crash Landing On You is streaming on Netflix. 11. Russian Doll Russian Doll gets as close to a perfect Netflix binge watch as possible. It’s short, with eight 30-minute episodes forming its first season. It’s bold, covering themes of mortality, trauma, and human connection against the backdrop of New York’s East Village. And it’s flat-out hilarious to boot. Natasha Lyonne co-created and starred as Nadia, a woman who becomes trapped in a time loop after dying on her 36th birthday. Nadia’s Groundhog Day-esque adventure becomes increasingly complex as the series progresses and she races against the loop to discover why she can’t stop dying — and what her loop has to do with Alan, an alleged stranger who’s experiencing the exact same cycle. — * Alexis Nedd, Senior Entertainment Reporter How to watch: Russian Doll is streaming on Netflix. 12. Jane the VirginJane is a young woman in Miami who is deeply in love with her sweet, loyal boyfriend, and also, well, it’s there in the title, a virgin, so naturally she was pretty confused when she found out she was accidentally artificially inseminated during a routine gynecological visit. Now the religious Jane is pregnant with another man’s baby — specifically, the handsome playboy and married hotelier she used to have a crush on years ago. And we’re just getting started, folks! SEE ALSO: Inside Jane the Virgin's final season Developed by Jennie Snyder Urman (Gilmore Girls, 90210, Reign, Charmed), Jane the Virgin playfully employs and parodies telenovela tropes in its storytelling while also taking the time to explore the real emotional consequences of these wild plot twists. (Jane is loosely adapted from the Venezuelan telenovela Juana la Virgen). It’s a delightful and captivating combination that sets Jane in a class of its own. A heartfelt comedy boasting both absurdity and grounded emotional depth — there’s simply no other show like it! How to watch: Jane the Virgin is streaming on Netflix. 13. The Chair Imagine getting this look from your English professor who also happened to be Sandra Oh. Credit: Eliza Morse/Netflix The Chair isn’t without its flaws, but you do get a lot for a little with this smart dramedy from creators Amanda Peet and Annie Julia Wyman. Set on the campus of the fictional Pembroke University, Season 1 of The Chair follows English department head Dr. Ji-Yoon Kim (Sandra Oh) as she grapples with a scandal involving her fellow professor and love interest (Jay Duplass). Choppy pacing and some muddled messaging around cancel culture make this an imperfect, yet worthy binge, clocking in at six episodes in just three hours. — * A.F. How to watch: The Chair is streaming on Netflix. 14. Unbreakable Kimmy SchmidtNothing hits quite like a Tina Fey show, with its laugh-a-minute scripts, heightened realities, and absurdist humor. Running from 2015 to 2019, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was one of the best of the bunch co-created by the SNL alum, who also occasionally made an appearance onscreen. Ellie Kemper is perfectly cast as Kimmy Schmidt, a young woman who spent most of her life in a kidnapper’s underground bunker and, now free, is trying to navigate the modern adult world with the life experience of an 8-year-old child with significant trauma. It’s silly, it’s wildly optimistic with a streak of dark humor, and it made the impossibly funny and talented Tituss Burgess the star he was always meant to be. Plus, Carol Kane is Kimmy’s cranky landlord — what could be better? How to watch: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is streaming on Netflix. View the full article
  3. If you're a celebrity making a guest appearance on a show, you're going to be expecting some kind of reaction. Well, Rita Ora certainly got a reaction when she guest appeared on the German version of the singing competition The Voice -- but mild confusion might not have been what she was hoping for. SEE ALSO: Rita Ora got to tell Gordon Ramsay about the time she got turned away from his restaurant In case you've never seen The Voice, it's basically a contest where the four judges can't see the person singing. They base their decision on whether or not to pick a contestant solely on the voice, and can only see what the person looks like after they've pressed a button and their chair has turned around. Well, the good news for Ora was that all four judges turned around when she sang. The bad news was none of them recognised her. Here's an abridged transcript of the exchange that took place between Rita and the judges after she'd finished singing: Rita: "Okay, how did I do?" Mark: "It sounded almost like the original" Yvonne: "Yes, it really did." Michi: "What's your name, where are you from?" Rita: "Okay, my name is Rita Ora" Judge 2: "You're kidding us. Just let me know, are you a double, or--" Rita: "No no, I'm not a double, it's really me" Oh dear. In fairness, there's a chance everyone could simply have been acting, and the judges really knew it was Ora all along. If that's the case though it's definitely some impressive acting, because they looked genuinely surprised when she said her name. You can watch the scene in full here: Fair play to Rita Ora and the judges -- despite the confusion and any mild awkwardness they all manage to recover pretty quickly. Featured Video For You Can you learn to read minds in one day? View the full article
  4. Sunday's Quordle is not the hardest of all time, but is it challenging enough to need a little help? Absolutely. Fortunately it's not hard to find the Quordle solution. Scroll to the bottom of this page, and there it is. But are you sure you need all four answers? Maybe you just need a strategy guide. Either way, scroll down, and you'll get what you need. What is Quordle?Quordle is a five-letter word guessing game similar to Wordle, except each guess applies letters to four words at the same time. You get nine guesses instead of six to correctly guess all four words. It looks like playing four Wordle games at the same time, and that is essentially what it is. But it's not nearly as intimidating as it sounds. Is Quordle harder than Wordle?Yes, though not diabolically so. Where did Quordle come from?Amid the Wordle boom of late 2021 and early 2022, when everyone was learning to love free, in-browser, once-a-day word guessing games, creator Freddie Meyer says he took inspiration from one of the first big Wordle variations, Dordle — the one where you essentially play two Wordles at once. He took things up a notch, and released Quordle on January 30. Meyer's creation was covered in The Guardian six days later, and now, according to Meyer, it attracts millions of daily users. Today, Meyer earns modest revenue from Patreon, where dedicated Quordle fans can donate to keep their favorite puzzle game running. How is Quordle pronounced?“Kwordle.” It should rhyme with “Wordle,” and definitely should not be pronounced exactly like "curdle.” Is Quordle strategy different from Wordle?Yes and no. Your starting strategy should be the same as with Wordle. In fact, if you have a favorite Wordle opening word, there’s no reason to change that here. We suggest something rich in vowels, featuring common letters like C, R, and N. But you do you. After your first guess, however, you’ll notice things getting out of control if you play Quordle exactly like Wordle. What should I do in Quordle that I don’t do in Wordle?Solving a Wordle puzzle can famously come down to a series of single letter-change variations. If you’ve narrowed it down to “-IGHT,” you could guess “MIGHT” “NIGHT” “LIGHT” and “SIGHT” and one of those will probably be the solution — though this is also a famous way to end up losing in Wordle, particularly if you play on “hard mode.” In Quordle, however, this sort of single-letter winnowing is a deadly trap, and it hints at the important strategic difference between Wordle and Quordle: In Quordle, you can't afford to waste guesses unless you're eliminating as many letters as possible at all times. Guessing a completely random word that you already know isn't the solution, just to eliminate three or four possible letters you haven’t tried yet, is thought of as a desperate, latch-ditch move in Wordle. In Quordle, however, it's a normal part of the player's strategic toolset. Is there a way to get the answer faster?In my experience Quordle can be a slow game, sometimes dragging out longer than it would take to play Wordle four times. But a sort of blunt-force guessing approach can speed things up. The following strategy also works with Wordle if you only want the solution, and don’t care about having the fewest possible guesses: Try starting with a series of words that puts all the vowels (including Y) on the board, along with some other common letters. We've had good luck with the three words: “NOTES,” “ACRID,” and “LUMPY.” YouTuber DougMansLand suggests four words: “CANOE,” “SKIRT,” “PLUMB,” and “FUDGY.” Most of the alphabet is now eliminated, and you’ll only have the ability to make one or two wrong guesses if you use this strategy. But in most cases you’ll have all the information you need to guess the remaining words without any wrong guesses. If strategy isn't helping, and you're still stumped, here are some hints: A semi-useful hint about today’s puzzleSynonyms for all four words are in the following very strange sentence (in no particular order). She was a real beauty, and she could orchestrate a lovely poem reading, though her delivery was always a bit apprehensive. Are there any double or triple letters in today’s Quordle words?One has the rare double double letters, meaning it has a total of three original letters. Are any rare letters being used in today’s Quordle like Q or Z?No. What do today’s Quordle words start with?S, P, B, and S. What are the answers for today’s Quordle?Are you sure you want to know? There’s still time to turn back. OK, you asked for it. The answers are: SHAKY PSALM BELLE STAGE View the full article
  5. TL;DR: The Premium Microsoft Office Training Course and Lifetime License of MS Office Home and Business for Mac 2021 bundle is on sale for under £69.46, saving you 94% on list price. Over one billion people use Microsoft Office in one form or another. Though it may be some of the most popular software worldwide, how many people actually use the entire suite? And of those, how many know how to use each of the six apps included in the bundle? Get the apps and learn to use them with the Premium Microsoft Office Training, which is on sale for £69.46 and comes with a lifetime license to Microsoft Office Home and Business for Mac 2021. This lifetime subscription to MS Office for Mac grants access to six nearly-archetypal programs: Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and OneNote. Compose documents from templates or scratch with Word. Organise and analyse your data with Excel, then share it with PowerPoint and Teams. Take notes for yourself using OneNote and get caught up on your emails with Outlook. This bundle doesn't just give you the programs; there may be more to learn about each of these six apps, even if you've used them before. For example, you could discover some of Excel's hidden and less-common features and tools from instructors like Chris Dutton, a certified Excel Expert and analytic consultant. With lifetime access to all six courses (on one Mac), you can learn something new about every MS Office Home and Business Mac Bundle program. Study at your own pace and practice with the apps while you learn about them. Even if you can see how to create engaging templates in PowerPoint or organise your inbox with Outlook, it may still take some practice to really get it down. Put some of the most popular apps in the world on your Mac for life. For a limited time, get the Premium Microsoft Office Training Bundle and Lifetime License of MS Office Home and Business for Mac 2021 on one Mac computer for £69.46. Opens in a new tab Credit: Nerdused Premium Microsoft Office Training Course + Lifetime License of MS Office Home and Business for Mac 2021 (opens in a new tab) £69.46 at the Mashable Shop Get Deal (opens in a new tab) View the full article
  6. SAVE 49%: Watch season five of The Handmaid's Tale with a subscription to ExpressVPN. A one-year subscription to ExpressVPN is on sale for £88.68 and includes an extra three months for free — 49% off for a limited time. The Handmaid's Tale is back for its fifth season. Well, that's not strictly true, because fans in the UK are set for a long and painful wait. The good news for anyone in the UK is that season five of the The Handmaid's Tale will be available to watch for free on Channel 4. The bad news is that no release date has been given yet, meaning fans are stuck in limbo. For those in the U.S., the latest season launched on Sept. 14 on Hulu. You can get a one-month free trial of Hulu, but with the last episode of the series dropping on Nov. 9, you won't be able to watch everything for free just yet. If you are travelling outside of the U.S. over the next couple of months but still want to watch the new episodes of The Handmaid's Tale as they are released, you will need to use a streaming-friendly VPN. By signing up to a service like ExpressVPN, you can hide your real IP address and connect to a secure server in the U.S. This quick and easy process will make Hulu think you are back home, meaning you get access to everything you are entitled to watch. A one-year subscription to ExpressVPN is on sale for £88.68, saving you 49% on list price. This plan includes an extra three months and a year of unlimited cloud backup for free. Users can connect five devices simultaneously with one account, with strong connection speeds, an easy-to-use app, and access to a large network of secure servers in the U.S. Watch the fifth season of The Handmaid's Tale with the best deal on ExpressVPN. Opens in a new tab Credit: ExpressVPN ExpressVPN (1-Year Subscription + 3 Months Free) (opens in a new tab) £88.68 at ExpressVPN Get Deal (opens in a new tab) View the full article
  7. Ladies and gentlemen (and everyone who's neither): The weekend. Or at least the weekend's relaxing closing chapter, Sunday — and what better way to wind down than with a fresh Wordle? Whether you're smashing it or struggling, we're here to help every day. If you just want the answer, you can jump straight to the end of this article for September 18's Wordle solution. If you'd rather work through it yourself, keep reading for some tips, tricks, and clues. SEE ALSO: Wordle yesterday: Here's the answer, hints for September 17 Where did Wordle come from?Wordle was initially created by engineer Josh Wardle as a gift for his partner, though it quickly spread until it became an international phenomenon. Thousands of players across the globe tackle Wordle each day, with some fans even having created alternate versions of the daily word puzzle game. These include battle royale format Squabble, music identification game Heardle, and variations like Dordle and Quordle that make you guess multiple words at once. The popularity of Wordle even reached such heights that the New York Times bought it earlier this year, while TikTok creators live-stream themselves playing it. What's the best Wordle starting word?The goal of Wordle is to have fun, and there's no right way to have fun. Just choose whatever starting word feels right to you, and don't let anyone shame you for it. However, if you want to take a more strategic approach, we have a few ideas to help you pick a word that will spark joy. One tip is to select a word that includes at least two different vowels, plus some common consonants like S, T, R, or N. What happened to the Wordle archive?The entire archive of past Wordles used to be available for anyone to play in glorious days gone by. Unfortunately it has since been taken down, with the website's creator stating it was done at the request of the New York Times. Is Wordle getting harder?If you're finding Wordle too easy, you can try enabling its Hard Mode to give your brain a tougher challenge. But Wordle isn't getting any harder by itself — it's the same difficulty that it's always been. Why are there two different Wordle answers some days?Wordle law dictates that only one puzzle solution should exist per day. This law comes with exceptions though, as Wordle will occasionally accept two different solutions as correct. This is because the New York Times made changes to the Wordle word list after acquiring it, and sometimes swaps out words from the original list. To ensure you're getting the right answer every day, refresh your browser before you play — the site will save your streak. Here's a subtle hint for today's Wordle answer:Go for a walk and you'll find the answer in no time. Does today's Wordle answer have a double letter?Nope. Today's Wordle is a 5-letter word that starts with...The letter S! SEE ALSO: Wordle-obsessed? These are the best word games to play IRL. What's the answer to Wordle today?Get your guesses in — it's the last call before we reveal the answer to today's Wordle! Are you ready? The solution to Wordle #456 is... STICK. Don't fret if you didn't guess it this time! A new Wordle will arrive tomorrow, and we'll be back with more hints and tips to help you. View the full article
  8. It's a known fact to anyone who has traveled outside the country that U.S. Customs and Border Protection are exempt from needing a warrant to access phones and other electronic devices. But in a shocking report from The Washington Post, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) leaders have admitted to lawmakers that CBP agents have been copying some travelers' personal data and storing it in a massive database. According to the report, this practice has been going on since 2007, with users' personal data being accessible to over 2700 CBP agents. These agents don't need a warrant to access the database nor do they have to record the reasoning behind why they're accessing certain information either. Government officials add around 10,000 each year to the database, The Washington Post reported. These details were revealed in a letter US Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon wrote to CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus. The rapid expansion of the database and the carte blanche access given to CBP agents without a warrant has raised concerns with Congressional officials, according to The Washington Post, as these two details were previously not known about the database. SEE ALSO: https://mashable.com/article/twitter-whistleblower-congress-hearing In his letter to CBP, Wyden wrote that many travelers searched at places like airports and border crossings aren't informed of their rights before their devices are searched. Wyden wrote that "Innocent Americans should not be tricked into unlocking their phones and laptops," and said CBP shouldn't "dump" all this ill-gotten data into a central database, only to "retain the data for fifteen years, and allow thousands of DHS employees to search through Americans’ personal data whenever they want." According to a CBP official who spoke to The Post, the official said that the agency's directive gives its officers the authority to scroll through any traveler's device in a "basic search." Which can then turn into a more "advanced search" if they find any "reasonable suspicion" that a traveler is breaking the law or doing something that poses a threat to national security. Aaron Bowker, the CBP director of office of field operations, told The Post that the agency only copies people's data when "absolutely necessary." CBP ran into some scrutiny back in 2020, when Senator Wyden pushed for an investigation into the government office's use of phone location data. CBP admitted to spending over $500,000 to access location data mined from applications used by millions of Americans. View the full article
  9. On first look, the duo RPxSB give off two definite vibes: Bay Area and MF DOOM. We’re unsure if the latter is an influence on Roddy Picante and Stay-Bizzy, or Rock Plaid and Survive Bullshxt, but the multiple pseudonyms, strong visual aesthetic and versatile style of their recent Creatures album series certainly may remind hip hop fans of the recently passed rap legend. Similarly, the Bay Area (RPxSB hail from San Francisco), is also kown for producing cutting edge artists. The weirder-than-weird art scene there is responsible for the cutting edge styles of E40, Andre Nickatina, Too $hort and, of course, Tupac Shakur. Following in those illustrious footsteps, RPxSB’s Creatures may put this duo on the same Bay Area map. RPxSB aren’t exactly new; their YouTube channel goes back to 2014, where the friends began releasing “spit clips,” videos where they rapped together over popular beats. Roddy Picante also has a few solo tracks released around 2015, but it seems they deided early on that working together was better. It certainly looks to be more fun if their videos are anything to go by. The duo has posted a lot of these clip-style videos as well as in-studio and fun shots of their life while creating (or partying) over the past seven-odd years, and it was a smart move to document all this chaos. It gave a face and a vibe to RPxSB long before they were doing more structured albums and videos for original tracks. The duo consider themselves filmmakers on top of being hip hop artists. These high-quality videos where fans can get to know the guys will make them feel like they’re coming along for the ride. Flash forward to two years ago, RPxSB began working in earnest on original tracks and released their first LP, Audioporn. Their film production venture, now called Mobligated Films, also solidified with the release of the first video from this album, “SamOl.” The party vibes were still there with his tongue-in-cheek shot at Pussy Riot, but their sound from this album on would be a bit mroe grounded in indie rap and, dare we say it, conscious hip hop. Said conscious rap was tempered with a healthy dab of irony, once again A’la MF DOOM or Odd Future, but it’s there nonetheless through all RPxSB’s releases over the past three years, and there have been many. The duo released two full-length albums in 2020 and two long EPs (another sort of series) and an album, an EP and a one-off single in 2021. That’s nothing compared to 2022: the three Creatures albums are their second, third and fourth long-plays this year, and it’s only September. That’s a lot of work. We’ve established that these two definitely put the work in, but their style makes it seem effortless. As with a really good dancer or actor, audiences watching RPxSB’s videos or listening to Creatures will get lost in the world these two skilled rappers create. It comes both from the flow and the production in this case. With a diverse producion style ranging from funk to trap and both Roddy and Bizzy having excellent vocal timbres and lyrical prowess, it’s really a can’t-miss. Act I of the Creatures series is Things that Kill Me Inside, released August 26. Opening with a smooth, semi-atmostpheric track called “Skyfall,” the introspective tone of Act I is set from jump. The beat on “Skyfall” is minimal as the duo flex their rapping muscles. No mumble rap or one word per bar here; the flows roll off these golden tongues faster and smoother than the hip hop world has heard from anyone in years. They also switch styles quite easily. “Skyfall” has a sort of Mike Jones-meets-MF vibe where the jazzy, somehow even more chill second track “Weather Patterns” has a more gravely, syncopated format a’la Nas or fellow Bay Area artist E40. Act I closes with “Indie Playlists,” a highlight of the whole series where the pair reminisce about the golden age of hip hop. A favorite of the aritsts themselves, yet another well-produced black and white mini film with 90s vibes that match the song. Act II: Boar, dropped on September 2, predictably has a much different vibe than the first act. No less introspective in lyrics, the music and verse are more aggressive, as is the subject matter. Second track “Kevin Nash” is downright creepy, giving Geto Boys’s “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” vibes, while the trappy “Fentanyl” featuring Real Ones is has a chill yet eerie quality. The creepily named closing track “The Demon Hour” is surprisingly fairly peaceful with really interesting sound design. Act III: JOPO just dropped last week on September 9 and it the most lighthearted installment of Creatures. Based on the cartoonish album art for each installment (Things That Kill Me Inside is a smiley face surrounded by drugs and Boar is, well, a boar), JOPO is a sort of clownish character and the album has more silly vibes, at least musically. Also taking from the golden age of clowns, there’s loads of 50s and 60s sampling in tracks like “Bad Lemons” and “Bip City Blues.” JOPO is also probably the funkiest of the three installments, taking the dirty south and Houston undertones to the forefront. We were right to spot that Mike Jones style, it seems, as the closing track here, “281-330-8004,” is a callback to a lyric in Jones’s “Back Then” hit from 2005 and it’s also sampled in the track. In a fair music world, the Crreatures series would be blowing up already. With vocal and lyrical chops that rival the greats like DOOM and Nas, indie uniqueness like their Bay Area neighbors E40 and Nickatina and dirty south funk like Mike Jones, RPxSB are almost too good for this era of hip hop. With diverse style, epic flows and something for everyone, if you like real, good hip hop, do yourself a favor and become one of the Creatures. The entire Creatures series is out now and can be streamed on Spotify along with the rest of RPxSB’s discography. Check out their equally epic videos on their YouTube and VEVO channels. This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: New Artist Spotlight: RPxSB’s Chaotic and Cartoonish World of ‘Creatures’ [Video] View the full article
  10. As anyone who spends any semblance of time on the internet is well aware, the racists have been, uh, being racist again. With the recent release of a teaser trailer for Disney's live-action remake of The Little Mermaid starring Halle Bailey, people who have likely never had any interest in Disney films before in their lives were suddenly enthralled by the fact that Ariel was played by a Black actress. Outrage erupted on Twitter, Reddit, and other social platforms, and the official trailer reportedly received over 1 million dislikes on YouTube shortly after release. Some haters even went so far as to use AI to paint over Bailey's face in the trailer, replacing it with a white woman with red hair. In response to the online vitriol, film enthusiasts and Disney devotees alike scoffed at the idea that the titular mermaid had to be played by a white actress in order to preserve "accuracy." As many folks pointed out, the film is about a mermaid — a fantasy character to whom racial identity is irrelevant. And if you still aren't aware of the importance of representation in entertainment, please see the beautiful cascade of videos featuring little Black girls reacting to seeing themselves in their favorite Disney princess. Amidst fighting the backlash, many fans brought up other aspects of The Little Mermaid tale and filmmaking that they hoped would be addressed instead of the irrelevant casting drama. So, in the spirit of discussing actually interesting elements of storytelling, here are some of the online critiques and explorations of The Little Mermaid that actually matter. 1. Can we get a little vibrancy in here? With the teaser trailer being so short, there aren't a ton of visual choices for fans to think about. However, one aspect immediately jumped out to aesthetically-minded viewers: the color scheme. As several people pointed out, the underwater scene shown in the teaser is overall a bit dim and gloomy. The lighting is very cool and blue-toned, and it doesn't match up with the brightness that nostalgic fans typically associate with Disney animated films. This prompted both support and further spirited discussion. Defenders of the color scheme argue that the scene obviously takes place underwater, and the live-action adaptation of an oceanic scene is holding true to what it might actually look like. Others also point to color theory and the tone of "Part of Your World" — the song that Bailey sings during the scene — being sad and longing for a world above the water, perfectly making it so the aesthetic tone matches with the story of that moment. But while this all can be true, non-fans also bring up that the lack of vibrancy in Disney's live-action remakes has been criticized before with The Lion King, with Disney's quest for hyperrealism ultimately taking away from the magic of the story. While realism is a sensible pursuit in a live-action fairy tale, Ariel's fans are hoping it won't overtake the whimsy of the mermaid's saga. 2. Remember how Ursula is inspired by a drag queen? Arguably the most important character in the film after the main mermaid herself, Ursula has developed a devoted fanbase for her campy, over-the-top wickedness. When The Little Mermaid was announced, fans of the sea witch imagined a range of actors for her, including Ginger Minj, Lizzo, Eureka O'Hara, and Lady Gaga. But Disney ultimately went with… Melissa McCarthy. Now, McCarthy may very well give a wonderful performance in the role. But for Disney heads tuned into Ursula's animated creation, many hoped for a nod to the drag community in the modern casting. As is well documented, the cartoon Ursula's appearance was based on iconic drag queen and actress Divine. Unfortunately, Divine passed away before ever having the chance to voice animated Ursula, but Divine documentarians agree that she would have relished having the opportunity. Consequently, fans hoped for a drag queen of today to take on Ursula's real-life counterpart. While most don't think it will fully detract from Ursula to be played by a cisgender actress, leaning into the original inspiration would have meant a lot more to the LGBTQ community. However, internet sleuths have also discovered that McCarthy herself has performed in drag before, going by the alias Miss Y. With her involvement in the nightlife and drag community in the 1990s, fans are slightly more confident that the actress will pay homage to the character's roots in the adaptation. SEE ALSO: Disney drops teaser for long-awaited live-action 'The Little Mermaid' starring Halle Bailey 3. The whole thing might be an allegory for gay longing The fairy tale historians have a truth bomb for the "accuracy" seekers out there: The Little Mermaid might not be about a little mermaid at all! As Pride reported, the original fairy tale on which both the animated film and live-action remake are based was written by Hans Christian Andersen in 1837 as "a love letter for a man named Edvard Collin." Historians widely believe that Andersen was bisexual, and wrote the story to illustrate his feeling of otherness and desire for a world that would accept him. In his story, Ariel suffers from so much heartbreak from not being able to be with her prince that she dissolves into sea foam, an ending that seems to reflect Andersen's own romantic pursuits. While Disney's version has clearly stripped Ariel's love story of any queerness, fans online are pointing back to the source material to demonstrate that adaptations are allowed to change. If you aren't upset that a story of gay desire isn't included in the remake in the name of accuracy, then perhaps there isn't exactly room to stand against Ariel being Black. 4. Is it more important to have a fabulous singer or a seasoned actor? Among the chief compliments of the teaser trailer were praises sung for Bailey's angelic singing voice. Though the trailer only features one lyric from "Part of Your World," an attendee at D23 leaked a longer clip shown at the expo in which you can hear an extended cut of the song. In it, Bailey performs some truly incredible vocal acrobatics, making the quintessential Ariel tune her own. Though many reactions to the clip support Bailey, saying that her vocal talents clearly demonstrate her perfect fit for the role, others wonder whether singing ability can make up for what some say is a lack of an acting resumé. Although Bailey has long been on Grown-ish, she doesn't have many movie credits and is primarily known for her musical talents as one half of Chloe x Halle. Internet fans continue to debate whether prioritizing a singing voice in a musical movie is more important than acting credentials, with many drawing back to an inverse comparison with Emma Watson as Belle in the live-action Beauty and the Beast. While no one doubts Bailey's vocal abilities, the movie will give her a chance to show off her acting chops and might help settle the debate on the importance of singer vs. actress in musical movies. View the full article
  11. Among the likes of Hudson Mohawke, Cashmere Cat, or A. G. Cook, Mura Masa’s consistency might be one of his strongest assets. With each project that he puts out, there’s a distinct and characteristic sound that evokes, “This is Mura Masa” — like a Spotify playlist, but it’s just him putting out his own music. His newest album, demon time, comes out two years after R.Y.C, which released just a couple months before the global pandemic was declared in 2020. Whether that contributed to less recognition of the album would be up for debate, but it seems he’s back with a vengeance now. Calling upon Lil Uzi Vert, PinkPantheress, Shygirl, slowthai, Channel Tres, and more, demon time is about as classic a Mura Masa album as it gets. Filled with crooning vocals, sharp snares, and a blend of future bass synths and futuristic progressions, Mura Masa somewhat effortlessly showcases his talent in songwriting and composition. This is sure to be a favorite among his fans. Stream it below. This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: Mura Masa releases new album “demon time” with Lil Uzi Vert, PinkPantheress, slowthai, & more View the full article
  12. Three years ago, several of the world’s largest music companies including Warner Bros. and Sony Music sued Internet Provider Grande Communications. The recording labels accused the ISP, which is owned by Astound, of not doing enough to stop pirating subscribers. Specifically, they alleged that the company failed to terminate repeat infringers. Since the complaint was filed, both parties have gone back and forth in court with various arguments and accusations. The legal battle will soon go to trial and both parties filed preparatory documents in court this week. As part of the jury selection process, the record labels and the ISP have submitted their statement of claims, which provide a clear and concise overview of the issues at stake. Grande Denies Liability Grande Communications believes that it shouldn’t be held liable for the alleged copyright infringements committed by its subscribers. The company portrays itself as a neutral service provider that never encouraged any type of piracy. “Grande disputes the plaintiffs’ claim that Grande is liable for acts of copyright infringement allegedly committed by its subscribers. Grande asserts that it is merely an internet service provider and never induced or encouraged anyone to infringe the plaintiffs’ copyrights.” The ISP calls out the record labels’ piracy monitoring service Rightscorp which, according to Grande, cannot accurately or reliably identify copyright infringements. In addition, the piracy tracking company allegedly destroyed or failed to preserve key evidence. As a result, the copyright infringement notices that Rightcorp sent via email were insufficient to warrant any drastic measures, Grande suggests. Therefore, the company firmly believes that it shouldn’t be held liable. “Rightscorp’s emails to Grande were flawed and unreliable, because of defects in Rightscorp’s system and because the emails lacked any supporting or verifiable evidence,” the ISP notes. Record Labels Seek Millions The statement of claim from the record labels argues the polar opposite. According to the music companies, it’s clear that the ISP is liable, alleging that Grande willingly profited from pirating subscribers. With 1,422 sound recordings at stake, the amount of potential statutory damages that the jury can award exceeds $213 million. At trial, the labels plan to show the jury that Grande was aware of this piracy problem since the early 2000s. Initially, it responded by terminating accounts of subscribers, but as time progressed the ISP changed course. “[B]eginning in 2010, in an effort to increase profits, Grande eliminated its termination policy and chose instead to allow its subscribers to infringe copyrights freely with no consequences,” the labels write. After this decision, the music companies sent over a million piracy notices and they allege that Grande failed to terminate even a single account in response. “Yet despite knowing of, or deliberately avoiding learning about, specifically identified repeat infringements by its customers, Grande continued to provide those customers the internet service essential to their continuing their unlawful conduct,” they write. The lack of terminations allegedly allowed the Internet provider to increase its profits while causing significant damage to the labels and their artists. Do You Read TorrentFreak? In addition to the statements of claim, both sides will also ask prospective jury members to answer a series of questions. These can help to detect biases and other issues that might make a person unfit to sit on the bench. The labels’ questions are similar to the ones we’ve reported on the past. They want to know how familiar candidates are with file-sharing and whether they ever downloaded something from The Pirate Bay or other torrent sites. There are also questions about the use of stream-ripping services and support for the EFF. In addition, TorrentFreak gets a mention as well, together with Ars Technica, another news site. “Have you ever read or visited Ars Technica or TorrentFreak? If so, for what type of material?” the labels plan to ask potential jury members. These questions could theoretically steer potential jurors in a certain direction. Even those who have never heard of TorrentFreak may be intrigued by the question and start reading it going forward. But that’s probably not the goal here. The music companies are not the only ones asking questions of course. Grande Communications has also prepared a list, hoping to signal bias or other disqualifying factors. The ISP asks, for example, if the candidates are musicians or have ever worked at a record label, and whether they believe it’s an ISP’s responsibility to monitor and police online piracy. Moving Forward After the jury members are selected the case will move to trial in a few weeks. Both parties expect to need a total of 10 days to present evidence and argue their case. This isn’t the first case between record labels and an ISP that’s been scheduled to go to trial this year. Charter Communications and Bright House were in the same position but both companies signed a settlement agreement instead. Meanwhile, a group of independent filmmakers recently filed new piracy liability lawsuits against Verizon, AT&T and Comcast so the U.S. federal courts are not done with these repeat infringer lawsuits just yet. — Copies of the record labels’ statement of claim and voir dire questions are available here (1,2) and Grande’s versions can be found here (1,2) From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. View the full article
  13. To avoid censorship for the spread of COVID-19 misinformation, anti-vax groups on Facebook have begun coding their messages with the carrot emoji, according to a report from the BBC. The emoji is used in place of the word "vaccine" to avoid the wrath of Facebook's automated moderator algorithms. The BBC reports that these groups often share unverified claims of people being killed or injured by the COVID-19 vaccine. One group with over 200,000 members states in its rules that members must "use code words for everything" and that posters cannot "use the c word, v word or b word ever" (covid, vaccine, booster). SEE ALSO: On Substack, COVID misinformation is allowed to flourish According to the BBC, the algorithm the Meta-owned platform uses for moderation tends to focus on words, not images. This is unsurprising news. Back in July 2021, a Bloomberg report detailed how social media algorithms perform poorly in detecting abuse through emojis. Marc Owen Jones, a disinformation researcher and associate professor at Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar, was invited to join one such group and shared the group's "very odd" attempt to evade censorship. "Initially I was a little confused," Jones said in a tweet. "And then it clicked - that it was being used as a way of evading, or apparently evading, Facebook's fake news detection algorithms." "My sister, 57, rushed to the hospital with breathing problems. She has two and the b," one poster wrote. Another wrote, "My uncle 55 , brain tumor after ." Based on Jones' screenshots, a common theme in these posts is users blaming health problems associated with getting older on the COVID vaccine. Users in that thread also pointed out some other emojis that anti-vax groups would use, like the emoji (booster / booze-ster) or the emoji back when the CDC started allowing kids to be vaccinated. A cursory search on Twitter of " covid" will bring up hundreds of tweets in French posted by users adorning the carrot in their display names. A Google translation of some of these tweets shows users questioning the validity of COVID-19 vaccine measurements put in place by French President Emmanuel Macron. Social Media's Auto-Moderation ProblemThe use of emojis as code for something more sinister is not new. And not in a darkly funny crab emoji way but in an "I'm trying to be slick about my bigotry" kind of way. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have come under fire in the past for lackluster responses in stopping racist abuse toward Black soccer players. Internet trolls would post emojis of monkeys and bananas as racist gestures using imagery often associated with racist stereotypes of Black people. Another way bad actors get away with spreading falsehoods and hate across the internet involves the use of word camouflage. In a research study by Ana Romero-Vicente, a researcher with EU DisinfoLab, this technique involves the subtle tweaking of keywords so that they are "understandable for users while remaining undetected to social networks’ content moderation systems." For example, "v4c11ne" would mean "vaccine." SEE ALSO: Meta Oversight Board finds plenty of flaws with Facebook's content moderation Romero states that tackling this phenomenon of word camouflaging is a complex task that requires blocking lists on social media to be constantly re-evaluated and optimize to achieve a delicate balance between misinformation and content that doesn't violate the rules. Facebook for its part is actively attempting to shut down groups that try to spread vaccine information. The platform's Help Center states that it will remove "Claims that COVID-19 vaccines are experimental if the context of the claim also suggests that vaccinated people are taking part in a medical experiment," and "Claims that COVID-19 vaccines kill or seriously harm people." This talk of moderating COVID content may be moot, however. Nick Clegg, Meta's president of global affairs wrote in July that he questioned whether "the time is right for us to seek input from the Oversight Board about our measures to address COVID-19 misinformation, including whether those introduced in the early days of an extraordinary global crisis remains the right approach for the months and years ahead." In other words, Meta may soon stop trying to take down anti-vax content altogether. View the full article
  14. This week, NASA announced it was "excited" about finding something called organics on Mars. Life, as we know it, is comprised of organic things, like carbon. Your body is teeming with carbon. So how excited should you be about the organics found on Mars? We'll let you decide. In short, the space agency's hi-tech Perseverance rover — which is a car-sized laboratory on six wheels — collected valuable rock samples that contain organics. These rocks formed in a once-watery Martian place where life could have indeed thrived. It is an inarguably intriguing, compelling, and cool finding. SEE ALSO: 'Monster' Mars quake shows the red planet isn't nearly dead But it's certainly not evidence of life. Not even close. What NASA found on MarsNASA is using the Perseverance rover to, among a variety of tasks, collect rock samples for a later mission to rocket back to Earth in the early 2030s. (The rocks will be stored in "ultra-clean sample tubes" to avoid contamination with earthly life.) The space agency landed the robot in the Jezero Crater because it's a place where microbial life — if it ever existed — could have evolved and flourished. This region of Mars contains a dried up river delta, a place where water once flowed from a Martian river into a lake. NASA's planetary scientists think rocks collected there will give them a good shot at identifying indicators of past life (if, of course, it existed). "The burden of proof for establishing life on another planet is very, very high." But don't expect NASA to announce that the rover identified convincing evidence of life anytime soon. Those samples almost certainly must be carefully scrutinized on Earth to sleuth out such momentous, unprecedented evidence. "The burden of proof for establishing life on another planet is very, very high," Perseverance project manager Ken Farley recently said at a press conference. This summer, NASA devoted special attention to a three-foot-wide rock they've named "Wildcat Ridge." It likely formed in a saltwater lake, so the space agency zapped the rock with a specialized laser to reveal the chemicals on this ancient boulder. They indeed found "organic materials." But organic materials don't mean life. Their main ingredient is carbon, along with elements like oxygen and hydrogen (sound familiar?), among others. They give planetary scientists a hint that a rock or area on Mars is a place that merits investigation. "The presence of these specific molecules is considered to be a potential biosignature – a substance or structure that could be evidence of past life but may also have been produced without the presence of life," explains NASA. The space agency has found organics before. What makes the organic findings in the Jezero crater so "exciting," however, is life might have survived in such a habitable river delta. A rock core drilled by the Perseverance rover in Mars' Jezero Crater. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / ASU / MSSS "The fact the organic matter was found in such a sedimentary rock – known for preserving fossils of ancient life here on Earth – is important," NASA's Farley said in a statement. "However, as capable as our instruments aboard Perseverance are, further conclusions regarding what is contained in the Wildcat Ridge sample will have to wait until it’s returned to Earth for in-depth study as part of the agency’s Mars Sample Return campaign." It's perfectly reasonable to be curious, or even thrilled, about what NASA's rover observed on Mars. Yet any announcement of life is a whole different ballgame. If such an announcement happens, potentially in the 2030s, it would be one of the most significant discoveries ever. Our view of the cosmos would be forever altered. For now, there's still only one place we know life exists. Treat it well. View the full article
  15. The thing about tweets is they can be good. Usually they're innocuous. They're often annoying. Far too often they're filled with hate and vitriol. But they can be good. Tweets can even be hilarious. We've done the hard work of parsing through the morass of Twitter's swamp to pull out the absolute best and funniest posts from this week. Like we always do. Anyway, here they are: The 11 best tweets of the week, 1. I, too, would like to hear from this person. To be honest, I'd wager they have more interesting things to say. 2. You've got to make sure you're a moving target when you're firing off a good post. You've got to lean into it. 3. You WILL buy the cookies. Or you will find out the consequences. And they will be severe. 4. You've got to go with mom to store. They need store companions. This is key. 5. Dude, hurry up, we're going to be late for our taco appointment. 6. She earned this award. 7. Speaking from experience, you down your drink and get the hell out of dodge. 8. An obligatory dril tweet for you. 9. Sometimes what you should say is nothing at all. A lesson I'm still trying to learn. 10. The thing about Twitter is it doesn't really like anything. And if you do like something there must be caveats. 11. And finally, this. View the full article
  16. When a future house for astronauts explodes, a celebration might seem inappropriate, but engineers at a commercial space company couldn't be prouder of their shredded outer space house. Sierra Space, working on one of three NASA contracts to develop commercial space stations, just completed something called the "Ultimate Burst Pressure" test on a mockup of its low-Earth orbit space dwelling. The LIFE habitat, short for Large Inflatable Flexible Environment, could one day serve as rooms on Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin space station, Orbital Reef. If all goes well, the companies hope to start building the station in 2026. But first NASA has to run the structure through a gauntlet to ensure it's safe for humans. SEE ALSO: NASA just revealed the wild spots it'll land astronauts on the moon The inflatable house was pumped to its breaking point on July 9 to find out the maximum internal pressure it could withstand before failing. The test was recorded on video from various angles at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The company released footage of the demonstration this week. Turn up the video below for the aural experience. "Some news outlets thought 'blow up' meant inflate," Alex Walker, a spokesman for Sierra Space, told Mashable. "No, 'blow up' means explode." The team was thrilled to learn the house didn't pop until it reached 192 pounds per square-inch (psi), exceeding the safety requirement of 182.4 psi. For context, the International Space Station, like airplanes, is pressurized so that the people onboard can breathe. The space laboratory has an internal pressurized volume equal to that of a Boeing 747. The normal cabin pressure is 14.7 pounds per square-inch, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Sierra Space is working with Blue Origin on developing a commercial space station with a NASA contract. Credit: Sierra Space NASA awarded a $130 million contract to Blue Origin for the commercial space station as the U.S. space agency tries to transition to a model in which businesses own and operate destinations in low-Earth orbit and NASA becomes one of many customers who live and work in them. NASA hopes this shift will drop the cost of doing orbital science so it can focus on its human exploration missions to the moon and perhaps Mars. Want more science and tech news delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for Mashable's Top Stories newsletter today. The LIFE habitat is made out of a woven fabric called Vectran, which engineers say is five times stronger than steel and has protective layers against space radiation. Other required tests ensure it won't get punctured by meteors and other debris flying about in space. A "soft" material might not seem strong enough for the harsh reality of space or other worlds — in fact, it might seem a bit like a little pig building his house out of straw — but experts say it's both strong and ideal for packing compact loads on rockets. Vectran is relatively light, which translates into less rocket fuel costs, and it can be easily folded like a parachute within a rocket's nose cone. Left: Before: Sierra Space is testing a material for building space habitats. Credit: Sierra Space Right: After: The LIFE habitat popped at a pressure of 192 pounds per square inch [psi]. Credit: Sierra Space "This material, when it's inflated on orbit, you can hit it with a sledgehammer," Walker said. "You can hit it with a sledgehammer." Many human space exploration experts say inflatable buildings are the way of the future. Such bubble houses could be used not just for orbiting space stations but structures on the face of the moon and Mars. Just one of Sierra Space's LIFE habitats is about one-third the size of the Space Station, Walker said. The next step for the habitat is for engineers to test a full-scale model. One already exists at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, but the team will build a duplicate to explode at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, next year. "It's one step closer for humans living and working in low-Earth orbit," Walker said. View the full article
  17. Since November 2021, a NASA spacecraft the size of a vending machine has zipped through space on a never-before-attempted journey of self destruction to ram into a harmless asteroid. Why, you ask? Target practice. Now the DART spacecraft, short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test, is just a week away from landing its blow, crashing head on into Dimorphos, a 525-foot space rock about the size of the High Roller ferris wheel in Las Vegas, zooming at 14,000 mph. For the U.S. space agency, intentionally destroying this $330 million metal box is part of its first planetary defense mission — training for the day humans may need to stop an asteroid barreling toward Earth. "My heart rate has increased a little bit," said Michelle Chen, lead engineer of DART's autopilot system, known as SMART Nav. SEE ALSO: Vigilant amateur asteroid hunters keep watch for menacing space rocks NASA engineers inspect the DART spacecraft before it launches off the California coast in November 2021. Credit: NASA / Johns Hopkins APL / Ed Whitman What exactly will engineers see from the mission operations center at a distance of 6.8 million miles from the crash? Perhaps more than you'd think, and NASA plans to share its front-row seat with the rest of the world. Pictures from a camera, the only instrument on the spacecraft, will come back live before the collision. NASA plans to broadcast the mission starting at 6 p.m. ET on Sept. 26 and share the images publicly as DART beams them down, right up to the 7:14 p.m. impact. But don't expect the hit to look like a planet obliterating in the sky, Armageddon-style, with glowing space ripples and chunks of rock blowing off, intermixed with close-ups of Bruce Willis' pained face. The spacecraft, at some 1,300 pounds, is going to give Dimorphos more of a nudge than annihilation — a type of strategy intended to shove an asteroid off a collision course without creating a massive spray of debris that could be dangerous in its own right. "Sometimes we describe it as running a golf cart into the Great Pyramid," said Nancy Chabot, who oversees the project at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland. "This really is about asteroid deflection, not disruption." "Sometimes we describe it as running a golf cart into the Great Pyramid." Like a moon, Dimorphos orbits another larger asteroid, Didymos. The pair makes an oval-shaped orbit around the sun, stretching from beyond Mars to just outside Earth's orbit. It takes about two years for them to make a complete loop. Though Dimorphos won't explode, the smack of the spacecraft will leave a crater and blast up to 220,000 pounds of pulverized rock into space. The sharp spacecraft images should be "spectacular," Chabot said, with a new one snapped every second. At first, people will see the asteroid as a mere point of light. That speck will eventually grow in the frame, until the DART spacecraft goes kaput. "It will start filling the field of view … at about two minutes out and closer," Chen said. More pictures will come afterward from a small spacecraft supplied by the Italian Space Agency called the LICIACube. Credit: Johns Hopkins APL / Ed Whitman More pictures will come afterward from a toaster-size spacecraft supplied by the Italian Space Agency. The LICIACube will fly by the disaster site three minutes later and capture shots of the collision and debris with its two cameras. Those first pictures from the aftermath won't be available for a few days, with more to follow over weeks and months. Scientists also will try to observe the crash with space telescopes Webb and Hubble, along with the Lucy probe, a spacecraft on a 12-year asteroid tour in the outer solar system. But none of these instruments will tell NASA how much DART moved the asteroid. For that, the team will need ground-based telescopes to take measurements. Dimorphos goes around its bigger companion Didymos every 11 hours and 55 minutes. With observatories on Earth, scientists hope to confirm the collision bumped it closer, making its orbit somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 minutes shorter. Want more science and tech news delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for Mashable's Top Stories newsletter today. Threatening asteroidsMillions of asteroids orbit the sun. They're the rocky rubble left over from the formation of the solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. The majority are in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, but occasionally rocks get nudged into the inner solar system. Such stray asteroids rarely come close to home, but at least three have caused mass extinctions throughout history, the most notorious of which wiped out the dinosaurs. Today astronomers watch for space rocks in the 30 million-mile vicinity. There are currently no known asteroids on an impact course with Earth. Scientists are, however, keeping an eye on 30,000 large objects out there — including 10,000 about 460 feet wide or larger — a size big enough to devastate a city or region if it were to become earthbound. They estimate there could be 15,000 more waiting to be discovered. Workers repair a power line near the wall of a local zinc plant which was damaged by a shockwave from a meteor in Chelyabinsk, Russia, on Feb. 15, 2013. Credit: Oleg Kargopolov / AFP via Getty Images But even smaller rocks can cause a lot of harm. An undetected meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in February 2013, causing an airburst and shockwave that affected six cities. About 1,600 people were injured in the blast. The rock was just about 60 feet across, according to NASA. While there's no immediate threat to the planet known, NASA believes tests such as DART are necessary studies to protect life on Earth in the future. "This is what you would want to do for planetary defense," Chabot said. "You're trying to just give something a small nudge, which only changes its position slightly, and that adds up to a big change in position over time." View the full article
  18. "I’ve never said this to anybody," a bisexual person who requested anonymity confessed in my Twitter DMs. "I’m so sorry if it sounds like a drama." It didn't sound like a drama at all — not to me, at least. This person, who reached out to me after a call-out I tweeted for this story, said it was difficult to accept her bisexuality. She began questioning whether she liked women at age 11, but went to great lengths to hide this attraction from her parents. That's when her anxiety began; it only heightened as she matured, which led to weight loss. She continued to suppress her attraction to women, even undergoing plastic surgery to appear more desirable to men. "Proving I didn’t like women was something that really hurt me," she said. She tried to deny her own bisexuality because she was never in love with a woman, "but then when I fell for one I knew — as always — I wasn't straight… In my heart I always knew I was bisexual." This inner tug of war is one I know personally, and one some of the other bisexual people I spoke to experienced as well. The anxiety and other mental health impacts bisexuals face is evident in data, too. According to a 2011 report from the San Francisco Human Rights Commission (HRC), bisexual people have a greater likelihood of depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. More recent data supports these figures, as well. The Journal of Affective Disorders published a paper that concluded that "Bisexual individuals are at greater risk of poor mental health than lesbians and gay men" in Jan. 2020. In a factsheet on mental health of bisexual populations released at the beginning of this year, the American Psychiatric Association explained that bisexuals report increased experience of depression or suicide in comparison to monosexuals (hetero or homosexual). Substance use rates are also higher. In August, the University of Manchester released a study that claimed bisexual people are six times more likely to self-harm than people of other orientations. Multiple bisexual people I spoke to mentioned anxiety and depression, and two mentioned suicidal ideation. "I've contemplated death before because I truly felt like I was broken," one said. What is it about being bisexual that impacts mental health — and what can we do about it? The data doesn't always capture the true pictureThese statistics are alarming, but could be at least partially explained by the way research is conducted on bisexual people. It comes down to the difficulty researchers have correctly identifying the population they're trying to study, and with an indeterminate group like bisexuals, that's easier said than done. Dr. Geoffrey Ream, an associate professor at Adelphi University’s School of Social Work who has conducted research on suicide rates of LGBTQ youth populations, explained to Mashable that researchers decide to code subjects as bisexual using various methods. The HRC data, for example, deals with people who self-identified as bisexual. But other studies code people based on how they answer questions about behavior and attraction — say, whether they've had sex with members of their or other genders. Dr. Sarah Noble, author of the APA's factsheet, told Mashable that research on bisexuality is difficult to capture in general. "The thing about sexuality is that there is fantasy and attraction, there's sexual behavior, and there's sexual identity," said Dr. Noble. "Demarcating those different aspects of sexuality is often complicated and not necessarily perfectly identified for every study." Thus, each study isn't comparable, according to Noble. So while the coding issues can certainly lead to self-identified bisexual people and "coded" bisexual people being lumped together, this is ultimately okay. "You're always working with imperfect data," Ream said. He quoted his PhD advisor Ritch Savin-Williams, who specializes in LGBTQ research: "Something Ritch always told me is that you can never get a representative sample of a stigmatized and invisible population." Therefore, you combine different sources. Ream continued, "So you take a bunch of different data sources and triangulate. Or quadrangulate. Quintangulate, even." bisexuality mental illness Credit: bob al-greene / mashable Recruiting can also be a roadblockSarah Jen, assistant professor in the school of social welfare at the University of Kansas, agreed with Ream about the imperfect nature of the data. Jen, who worked on the Aging With Pride study, the largest study of LGBTQ midlife and older adults in the U.S., told Mashable it's why we need more bisexual-specific research. "Recruitment methods that we use for LGBTQ communities broadly aren't as generalizable and aren't as reflective of the full diversity of the bisexual population," she said. Jen also pointed out that non-monosexual people are more likely to use multiple terms to identify themselves, such as queer, pansexual, and omnisexual. This further impacts bisexual representation in research. Another factor is that many studies on queer people use LGBTQ community organizations to help with recruitment. "Bisexual people have historically and continue to say that they don't feel as welcome and they don't feel as much of a sense of belonging in those spaces," said Jen, "because they've faced bi negativity or biphobia…and they don't feel like that space is for them." The result, Jen argued, is that researchers are missing a large swath of people who not only identify as various non-monosexual terms, but also those people who don't identify as any of those but still exhibit "bisexual behaviors" (i.e., having sex or dating people of both their and other genders), histories, and romantic relationships throughout their lives. "It's really hard to recruit people that way," Jen said. "How do you write a recruitment statement that says, 'Have you ever done all of these things?'" While bisexual people are the largest self-identified group within the LGBTQ community, the proportion of bisexual-focused research is small. Ream said this conglomeration of bisexual data results in skewed mental health research. Jen argued that, if anything, we're not getting the full picture. Although bisexual data is imperfect, as Ream reiterated, researchers are always working with imperfect data when it comes to sexual orientation. This doesn't invalidate the studies done on the bisexual population; if anything, it's proof that more bisexual-focused research needs to be done. For now, the data and resulting statistics — worrisome ones at that — are all we have. The unique, but shared, mental health experiences of being biRegardless of how complicated it is to gather "true" data on the bisexual population, it's clear that bisexual mental health is distinct from that of monosexuals. Minority stress theory, developed by Ilan H. Meyer, can contribute to this. The theory states that instances of social stigmatization don't directly lead to mental health problems. Rather, these instances result in stress for the minority, and this stress accumulates over time. This accumulation can lead to long-term mental health concerns. (As one can imagine, this theory extends to other minority groups as well.) Minority stress stems out into external stress (distal) and internal stress (proximal). An example of distal stress is a bisexual person being told they're lying, or that their sexuality doesn't exist. An example of proximal stress is internalized biphobia, or not even coming out at all for fear of backlash. "Minority stress falls very hard on bisexual folks," said Noble. Tricia, a bisexual grad student I spoke to for this piece, said she's felt weighed down by internalized biphobia, and biphobia in general. Biphobia, bi-erasure, and monosexism — the belief that people can only be straight or gay — exist in both the straight and LGBTQ communities. As I discussed in my piece on feeling "queer enough" earlier this year, bisexuals may not feel at home in either because of these factors. "Part of identity development is finding your people, and that's particularly difficult for bisexuals," said Ream. Tricia said she feels like an invalid member of the LGBTQ community. Recognizing her privilege as someone white, cis, and in her words "extremely straight passing," she's been reluctant to make space for herself. "I’ve found that in my efforts to make space for and pass the mic to members of the LGBTQ community whose sexualities overlap less with heterosexuality than mine does, I don’t make any space for myself at all," she said. "And that constant self-invalidation really takes a toll on me." "Minority stress falls very hard on bisexual folks." Another bisexual woman, Julia, feels similarly. "Because I’m femme, I’ve been lucky to not stand out and get bullied or harassed," she said. "But I feel like I don’t deserve to be in queer spaces or even call myself bi." Some members of her family have also accused her of "faking" her bisexuality. Our culture struggles with things that don't fit into neat boxes, according to Noble. "We as a culture have come to accept homosexuality," she said, as it is a "box" that is the opposite of heterosexuality. Bisexual people — as well as those who don't fit into the gender binary like nonbinary and trans people — don't fit into these boxes society has constructed. Society's black-and-white thinking impacts stigma against bisexuals, who occupy the gray area, Jen said, and also people's ability to understand the bisexual experience. "It leads to some sense of othering," she said. "We can't understand an identity [so we think] we shouldn't adhere [to] it…when it doesn't fit into our cleanly-cut categories, we don't know how to make sense of it." Jordyn, another bisexual I spoke to, said that people told her her sexuality was "wrong" and "didn't work like that." When Jordyn confided in some straight female friends, they stopped talking to her. "They were scared I would try to hook up with them," Jordyn told me. "Some even started spreading rumors about me trying to kiss them or claiming I confessed my feelings to them (which never happened)." Jordyn fell into a depression and had anxiety attacks whenever someone questioned her sexuality or tried to discuss it with her. When Jen herself came out as bi in college and started to find a queer community, she remembers being told that bisexuals were "doing fine" due to factors like passing privilege, the ability for some bisexuals to "pass" as straight in everyday life and thus avoid discrimination people who "look queer" face. "What we end up finding through Aging With Pride was just the opposite," she said. "Some of our bisexual participants reported more mental health concerns than the lesbian-identified and gay-identified participants we were talking to." It doesn't help matters that there's been a debate about whether bisexuality exists within the scientific community itself. Until recently, according to Ream, medical sexologists couldn't observe bisexual arousal in a lab and thus argued it doesn't exist. That is, until last month when scientific journal PNAS published "Robust evidence for bisexual orientation among men" which shows — surprise! — that bisexual arousal, particularly in men in this study's case, does exist. "Took you long enough," Ream joked. Unfortunately, however, scientific proof doesn't erase the stigma against bisexual people. Jen pointed out that bisexual people experience both invisibility and hypervisibility, which she defined as negative depictions of bisexuality like hypersexualization. Jordyn experienced hypersexualization by way of her ex-boyfriend, who called her a slut when she tried to explain her bisexuality. "[He] said I only enjoyed being with women because I am trying to impress more men," she said. Ashley, another bisexual woman I spoke to, also experienced this. "I felt fetishized by my cishet ex who I began dating during a depressive episode sophomore year of college," she told me. This came after her first bout of depression her freshman year, when her former abuser threatened to out her. Because of experiences like this as well as her biphobic/homophobic family, Ashley kept her bisexuality a secret until this January; she's still not out to her family. The need for bi spaces and positive framing"I believe it’s important to note that my depression exists outside of my sexuality," Ashley said. "However, it is at times worsened by the difficulty I’ve had navigating life as a bisexual person and as part of a greater community at large." Despite it being 2020 — and despite bisexuals being a large portion of the LGBTQ population — biphobia exists even in the "woke" corners of the internet. Last month, for instance, a now-deleted viral tweet stated, "I understand the argument against biphobia, but I also understand the argument for lesbians not wanting to date bisexual women. Man Residue™ is a real thing that affects the relationships of all women who deal with men romantically." man residue tweet Credit: thotscholar on twitter In addition to biphobia, this tweet displays transphobia (some trans men identify as lesbians); trans misogyny (the specific hatred of trans women) if "Man Residue™" refers to sperm and a woman has a dick; and ignorance of compulsory heterosexuality, the assumption that women are attracted to men due to society's push of heterosexuality (so some lesbians may have sex with men before figuring out they're lesbians). The user acknowledged their biphobia and continued to be biphobic. This tweet encapsulates some of the othering bisexuals experience in the queer community, as if bisexual women are somehow tainted by their experiences with cismen. "I hate the idea of being considered a queer tragedy because my life has been full of joy that I’m lucky to have experienced," Ashley said. "I don’t think my sexuality makes me tragic, but I do think it’s tragic that I'm not alone in struggling with how it impacts my mental health, or lack thereof, and how I simultaneously don’t receive the care or support I deserve in order to healthily cope." Resources for handling bisexual minority stressSo how can bisexual people cope with minority stress, with either external or internal cries that their sexuality is wrong, or that it doesn't even exist? For Bisexual Awareness Week 2020, The Trevor Project released a guide on How to Support Bisexual Youth. The guide not only breaks down bisexuality and biphobia, but also offers ways to support and celebrate one's bisexuality — which, in my opinion, is useful for anyone, young or not. All my expert sources recommended that bi people find their own community, their own space, their own people. During the pandemic, making friends online can arguably be smoother than ever. If you don't know where to start, VICE made a helpful guide on how to make more LGBTQ friends. While this may run the risk of being a negative experience — as seen above, biphobia does exist within the online queer community — you can focus on, say, the "#bisexual" TikTok tag, or peruse through Twitter trends like #beautifullybisexual that highlight bisexual people specifically. "I don’t think my sexuality makes me tragic, but I do think it’s tragic that I'm not alone in struggling with how it impacts my mental health." What's more is that bisexual people can have a meaningful role in the broader queer community, according to Jen. Focusing on our commonalities with other queer people, regardless of orientation or expression, can lead to community building. Further, those who have access to passing privilege can act as allies and advocates to queer people who don't, Jen said. The knowledge that you're not alone anecdotally — in my and others' experiences, that is — can be not only reassuring, but freeing as well. An anonymous bisexual said it was a cathartic experience when they spoke to queer friends they made through the Doctor Who fandom on Tumblr. Jordyn told me that before she graduated college, she met a girl who was struggling in the same way she was. "It was in that moment I realized I was not alone," she said. "We helped each other find our way and understand that there's a whole world of people out there struggling to understand and find acceptance for their sexuality." While Jordyn hasn't fully come out yet, she's no longer ashamed of who she is. She said, "I've surrounded myself with people who love and accept me for me, and I'm so grateful for that, and I hope everyone in the world struggling to find themselves understands they're not alone." Jen advises building a network for yourself, as one fellow bisexual may relate to certain parts of your experience but not all, and that's okay. As we were chatting on the phone, for instance, Jen said we both can relate and talk about passing privilege — but as she's married and I'm single, we don't relate on that level. Jen also said there are ways bisexual people can positively internally process their identity. When she performed a study on older bisexual women in 2018, she observed that they described their identities negatively. Their bisexuality created a division; it made their lives more challenging, especially relating to lesbians — it was like a political and emotional divide they couldn't cross. But when they perceived bisexuality as a life, as a way of living — not just an identity — it was seen positively. "It allowed for capacity, openness, fluidity," Jen said. The word that came up most often was freedom. Internalized biphobia (or queerphobia or homophobia), like any ingrained belief, takes time to unlearn — but that doesn't mean it can't be done. Jen suggests positive reframing, as these subjects reframed their bisexuality. You can do this yourself, or seek guidance of a queer-affirming therapist if you have access to one. "It allowed for the freedom of a non-traditional life," Jen said. "And I think whenever we come against identities where there isn't a script for how to be, there isn't a way laid out for us, that actually gives us a lot of potential to lay our own path." This isn't to say positive reframing is a sudden cure-all for anxiety and depression, or that bisexual people going through mental health struggles shouldn't seek help. But, like community building, reframing is a step bisexual people can take to affirm themselves, to see their sexuality as something other than an affliction." "Folks could see [bisexuality] as a freedom, as a capacity that they have," said Jen. "One woman actually described it as a superpower that most people didn't have, but that she had, to see the world in a more open way." If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For international resources, this list is a good place to start. View the full article
  19. So, what's everyone been watching this week? Hmmmm? Just to get a sense of what everyone's streaming, we've used data from streaming aggregator Reelgood, which gathers viewership numbers from hundreds of streaming services in the U.S. and UK. Each week, the most streamed TV shows and movies come down to a few elements — sheer buzz, a big finale, smart marketing, star power, critical acclaim, or word-of-mouth that leads uninterested people to finally watch it out of spite. This week, it's all about fantasy, with The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and House of the Dragon ruling TV this week, and Marvel's Thor: Love and Thunder hitting streaming. Clearly, people are done with reality this week. SEE ALSO: 3 ways 'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power' is different from J.R.R. Tolkien's books But just because a lot of people are watching something doesn't make it...good. Here they are, the 10 most streamed TV shows and movies of the week, where to watch them, and what Mashable critics thought. 1. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Queen Regent Míriel in the top watched series "The Rings of Power." Credit: Ben Rothstein / Prime Video Well, they did it. Amazon's The Lord of the Rings series, The Rings of Power, is the most streamed of the week again. In fact, according to the company, it was viewed by 25 million viewers globally over the first 24 hours the series' first two episodes dropped, a record debut for a Prime Video show. But most importantly, the series does what no other J.R.R. Tolkien adaptation has done: it places people of color and women front and center. What we thought: The Rings of Power turns out to be a rousing tale of perseverance in the face of evil, a sumptuous re-introduction to Tolkien's world, and just all-around great TV. You won't just feel like you've returned to Middle-earth: You'll feel like you never left. — Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter How to watch: The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is now streaming on Prime Video. 2. Thor: Love and Thunder "Thor: Love and Thunder" has finally hit streaming. Credit: Jasin Boland./Marvel Studios The God of Thunder is back in Marvel's follow up to Thor: Ragnarok. Co-written by Taika Waititi and Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, Thor: Love and Thunder picks up where we left off with Asgard's less mischievous prince, who is casually winning his way through battles across space and still getting over his ex Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who just happens to have evolved into Mighty Thor with the help of Mjölnir. But Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) has destructive plans in action, and Thor needs to get his pals King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Korg (Waititi) together to take on a mighty villain. — Shannon Connellan, UK Editor What we thought: In the end, Love and Thunder is raucous, flashy, and vacuous, not satisfyingly fun. — Kristy Puchko, Film Editor How to watch: Thor: Love and Thunder is now streaming on Disney+. 3. House of the Dragon Wil Johnson, Matt Smith, and Theo Nate tearing up "House of the Dragon." Credit: Ollie Upton / HBO There is simply no denying the power of Game of Thrones, a franchise that has roared back into our lives with the release of prequel series House of the Dragon. Taking place nearly 200 years before Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen existed, House of the Dragon follows House Targaryen at the height of its power in Westeros. There's just one small problem: King Viserys (Paddy Considine) doesn't have a male heir. With the line of succession in question, you can bet on scheming, bloodshed, and mayhem. Oh, and many, many dragons. Let fire and blood reign! — B.E. SEE ALSO: Who's who in 'House of the Dragon': The Targaryen family tree What we thought: If you're worried about House of the Dragon after getting burned by the final season of Game of Thrones, don't be. HBO's epic new series is excellent through and through, juggling memorable characters, high fantasy, and intense emotions with practiced ease. You'll be sucked in faster than you can say "Dracarys." — B.E. How to watch: House of the Dragon is now streaming on HBO Max. New episodes premiere Sundays at 9 p.m. ET. 4. Cobra Kai We don't quite know how it's happened, but somehow Netflix's Cobra Kai now has more seasons than Stranger Things. In Season 5, which has just hit Netflix, Daniel (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny (William Zabka) have to join forces to stop the looming threat of Sensei Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) as he attempts to expand his Cobra Kai empire. Expect fast punches, intense stare-downs, and flying kicks aplenty. Here's everything you need to know before you watch.* — Sam Haysom, Deputy UK Editor How to watch: Cobra Kai is now streaming on Netflix. SEE ALSO: The cast of 'Cobra Kai' plays 'Cobra Kai or Miyagi Do' 5. Pinocchio Holy smokey-o. Credit: Disney Director Robert Zemeckis puts Tom Hanks in his Geppetto clogs for Pinocchio, the latest Disney animated feature to get the live-action treatment. The film further explores Geppetto’s backstory, slightly tones down the villains, and constantly asks the question: What makes a "real boy"? — S.C. What we thought: You may not have asked for a live-action remake of Pinocchio, but now you’ve got one, and it’s still as weird, surreal, and morally pompous as the original. — S.C. How to watch: Pinocchio is now streaming on Disney+. 6. Devil in Ohio A mysterious arrival. Credit: Ricardo Hubbs / Netflix Netflix's mystery thriller joined the most streamed this week, following hospital psychiatrist Dr. Suzanne Mathis (Emily Deschanel) who takes on mysterious young woman Mae (Madeleine Arthur), who has escaped a cult in Amon County, Ohio. But with her sudden arrival comes trouble, especially for Mathis' own family. — S.C. How to watch: Devil in Ohio is now streaming on Netflix. 7. The Patient Steve Carell takes on a highly different role in "The Patient." Credit: Hulu Steve Carrell in a serial killer series? What? From The Americans' Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg comes this Hulu psychological thriller about therapist Alan Strauss (Carell), who is held captive by a patient, serial killer Sam Fortner (Domhnall Gleeson), who demands a cure for his homicidal tendencies — his will mean Alan attempting to dig into topics Sam is resistant to, and verging on the possibility of complicity. While imprisoned, Alan digs through his own past too, as time is running out. — S.C. How to watch: The Patient is now streaming on Hulu. 8. Elvis All shook up. Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures If you haven't seen Austin Butler in Baz Luhrmann's Elvis, you're in the minority — the sort-of-not-really-biopic was the top streamed film of the week. Using the King's experiences as a jumping off point to explore the darker elements of Elvis Presley's story, the film also stars Tom Hanks as his business manager, Colonel Tom Parker. — S.C. What we thought: Elvis Presley, infamous for his swinging hips, iconic for his swaggering style and raw sex appeal, heralded as the King of Rock and Roll, deserves better than Elvis. — K.P. How to watch: Elvis is now streaming on HBO Max. 9. Morbius Jared Leto's MCU vampire fim. Credit: Sony Pictures Jared Leto's MCU vampire film has finally hit streaming, if you truly, really, seriously want to watch it. Directed by Daniel Espinosa, Morbius sees Leto as the titular Michael Morbius (Leto), a doctor trying to find a cure to his own rare blood disease, which his friend (Matt Smith) also has. But in a turn of events, they become living vampires. Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Al Madrigal, and Tyrese Gibson also star. — S.C. What we thought: Lacking in style, spirit, scares, and suspense, this would-be thriller is a toothless and tedious chore. — K.P. How to watch: Morbius is now streaming on Netflix. 10. Rick and Morty Aw geez. Credit: Adult Swim Rick and Morty is back for Season 6, and people are streaming the hell out of the adventures of scientist Rick and his grandson Morty. You might have some questions after the Season 6 premiere — here's an explainer. — S.C. What we thought: Packed with action, callbacks, and deep cuts, the first episode of Season 6 is a mind blower. — K.P. How to watch: Seasons 1 through 5 of Rick and Morty are now streaming on HBO Max and Hulu. Episode 1 of Season 6 is available on Adult Swim, and new episodes air Sundays at 11 p.m. ET on Adult Swim. * Asterisks indicate the writeup is adapted from another Mashable article. View the full article
  20. TL;DR: As of September 17, you can get the Apple Watch Wireless Charger Keychain for just $19.99 instead of $49.95 — that's a 59% discount. Your Apple Watch may go everywhere with you, but its charger probably doesn’t do the same. Many smartwatch chargers are awkward to carry, and you may not want to have one with you whenever you’re wearing your watch. Instead, you could get a charger that’s compact and subtle enough to keep with you all the time. This Apple Watch Wireless charger Keychain could be how you keep your Apple Watch going through those long days, and it’s just $19.99, marked down 59% from $49. A match for the Apple Watch in every way Going somewhere with your Apple Watch? Why not bring the charger with you, especially if you can just grab it and forget it. While some chargers may be big and bulky, this one clips onto keys, purses, backpacks, and luggage. It’s also made of metal and sturdy ABS plastic, so you should be able to put some miles on it. It’s sensible to be a little cautious when you’re shopping for a third-party charger for something as expensive as a smartwatch. However, the built-in protection against overheating, over-current, over-voltage, and short-circuiting may be a comfort. It’s also compatible with every generation of Apple Watch. Though it’s only three inches long, this little charger packs a 950mAh battery, more than three times what the Apple Watch 7 has in it. When your battery gets low, just attach your watch to this magnetic keychain. It works both as a portable charger and a wireless adapter for microUSB cables. The microUSB is also how you charge your keychain. It has four LED lights that indicate the charging status. Get a compact portable charger for your Apple WatchCharge your Apple Watch wherever you go. For a limited time, get an Apple Watch Wireless Charger Keychain for $19.99 (Reg. $49). Prices subject to change. Opens in a new tab Credit: Go Gadgets Apple Watch Wireless Charger Keychain (opens in a new tab) $19.99 at the Mashable Shop Get Deal (opens in a new tab) View the full article
  21. TL;DR: As of September 17, you can get the Original Gorilla Bow Base Bundle for just $174.99 instead of $199.99 — that's a 12% discount. Working out at home may save you the gym subscription, but that equipment is bulky and often expensive. You may be able to cut down on equipment and free some space by replacing your weights with resistance training equipment. Resistance training is a great way to build muscle without needing much heavy equipment. In fact, a 2019 study found resistance training to be as effective or better than traditional workout methods for building strength. If you’d like to add a fully adjustable resistance and strength training workout tool to your home gym, then check out the Original Gorilla Bow for only $174.99. An adjustable total body workout The Original Gorilla Bow is a seemingly-simple workout tool with a ton that it can do. Strength training? The Gorilla Bow can support 300 pounds of weight capacity or tension. That aircraft-grade aluminum construction is solid, and the four double-wall Gorilla Bands are tough too. Those bands include one each for 50, 30, 20, and 10 pounds of resistance. Each band can stretch 2.5 times its length. You could even use two at once for an extra-tough workout — and it might be a good idea to give your muscles a break after. If you’re looking for workouts to try and classes to join that let you use your Gorilla Bow, then you might also enjoy trying the Gorilla Bow All-Access Membership, which is included with your purchase. Download the Gorilla Bow App for iOS or Android and get on-demand classes, new workouts, challenges, and more. Connect with other Gorilla Bow users and learn all the ways you can use this versatile fitness equipment. Strength training and toning in one The Original Gorilla Bow looks simple, but it could be a doorway to exercises that help you build muscle, tone your body, or slim down. Get the Original Gorilla Bow Base Bundle for $174.99 (Reg. $199). Prices subject to change. Opens in a new tab Credit: Gorilla Bow Original Gorilla Bow Base Bundle (opens in a new tab) $174.99 at the Mashable Shop Get Deal (opens in a new tab) View the full article
  22. History is written by the winners, and sometimes fact can be stranger than fiction. Within these cliches lies the cozy comfort of The Lost King. Stephen Frears and Steve Coogan have teamed up to tell the true-ish story of how an amateur historian unearthed the long-lost remains of King Richard III in an ordinary parking lot. Infused with warmth and buoyed by the lead performance of Sally Hawkins, never has the quest for a missing corpse been so whimsical. (Well, not since Stephen King's best film anyway.) On its surface, the story of Philippa Langley seems an easy sell: A harried mother of two is the underdog in winning hearts and minds to a campaign to not only reclaim a royal relic but also to rewrite the history of one of Shakespeare's greatest villains. In the screenplay by Coogan and Jeff Pope, Philippa is most vivid when passionately defending Richard III against the falsehoods painted by the classic play that bears his name or the centuries of "Tudor propaganda" that painted him as a vile, child-murdering, hunchbacked usurper. "I don't believe someone would be so wicked just because of a disability," she argues to an apathetic peer. And Philippa would have some insight into that, as a person with disabilities herself. The Lost King brings Richard III to the screen in a clever way. Credit: IFC Films In real life and in the movie, Philippa has myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, which can cause extreme exhaustion — especially in times of stress. In the film, stress is all around her. At work, her path to promotion is blocked by an ageist boss. At home, her estranged husband (Coogan) is happy to lecture her over her responsibilities, while her adolescent sons gripe about dinner, video games, and homework. However, seeing a dashing actor (Game of Thrones' Harry Lloyd) perform in William Shakespeare's Richard III gives Philippa an unexpected ally. Coogan and Pope's screenplay not only parallels Philippa's search for the real Richard (and his remains) with her search to redefine herself, but also brings her connection to the maligned royal to life by having him appear as a kind of imaginary friend. SEE ALSO: 'The Woman King' review: Viola Davis leads a groundbreaking and glorious action epic Richard III, not hunched over he was written by Shakespeare but standing tall as Philippa imagines him to be, waits for her on park benches, teases her on a particular bridge, and even offers gentle advice. In quiet ways, he is the only one in her life who makes her feel enough. This bond — the film suggests — is what drives Philippa to take on tiring travel, academic debates, scads of research, and tedious bureaucratic red tape. All this for the magical feeling she gets when she wanders into a parking lot (aka car park), where a painted R might be intended to communicate "reserved" but to her points to only one possibility: Richard III lies here. With the fluttering score, it feels like fate has brought them here. The Lost King loses focus in its balance between truth and fiction. Credit: IFC films The real Langley has spoken about this moment, and it's easy to imagine this in particular pitched as a key scene in a movie. However, there's a lot of work beyond this winsome moment of instinct, and The Lost King stumbles as it tracks her progress through Zoom calls, paperwork, board meetings, and battling with the credit-snatchers of the world. In the film's third act, Philippa's motivations are muddied as her seeming victory is dampened by others claiming the credit. Is this about restoring Richard to his proper place in history or making her own mark on it? The film seems to think the latter is an uncivilized pursuit, playing down Langley's real-life motivation in her initial research, which was to write a screenplay. (Perhaps the filmmakers didn't want to invite criticism for choosing to tell this story without Langley as a credited scribe?) SEE ALSO: 10 movies you'll want to see out of TIFF 2022 On one hand, Frears's film sings the praises of this woman who yearns to be seen as more than a hard worker, a wife, and a mother. The first act swiftly establishes how taxing her obligations are, and how her disability adds to her stress. Coogan gamely plays the clown as Philippa's husband realizes how he's taken her contributions and desires for granted. Her sons, who scenes before were eye-rolling over her passion project, become quick to cheer for her success. However, the fellow Ricardians she reaches out to are repeatedly painted as quarrelous misfits and goofy fans. It's not until the final act that Frears dares to suggest Philippa's goals may not have been entirely altruistic, as if there's something unseemly about wanting to make a name for herself. As she pushes back against a needle-nosed university representative for her literal place at the table, The Lost King bristles with the unfairness of it all with a swell of moody music. Yet it is quick to rush to a hasty happy ending that suggests there's something more important than making one's mark accurately in history. This is a strange suggestion for the movie to make after Philippa's whole impetus was to judiciously rewrite the history of her hero, giving him credit where he was due. Will The Lost King be in the 2023 Oscar race? Coogan, Pope, and Frears were the creative team behind the four-time Academy Award-nominated Philomena, a winsome historical drama that also co-starred Coogan. It's easy to imagine they saw Langley's story as their next shot at Oscar gold. Perhaps once more the Academy will be won over by the screenplay, which does hold some smartly honed reality alongside movie-friendly flights of imagination. However, it's hard to imagine — even this early in the season — that The Lost King will awe enough to earn a Best Picture nod. Nominated for best directing twice before, for The Grifters and The Queen, Frears will be on the Academy's radar. Perhaps their nominating committee might be charmed by its warmth, imagination, and flirtation with rebellion. But The Lost King isn't electric or stunning like Frears's best work. Similarly, Hawkins, who was nominated for her work in Blue Jasmine and The Shape of Water, gives a performance that is earnest and strong. Yet it's nowhere near as thrilling or challenging as her previously heralded works. In the end, The Lost King struck me as a pleasant movie, lifted by a rightfully celebrated leading lady and enough whimsy to overcome the tediousness of its weaker turns and too-tidy conclusion. It's the kind of movie that would make a lovely watch on a rainy Sunday, but far from the kind that'll make waves, much less change history. The Lost King made its World Premiere at the 2022 International Toronto Film Festival. It will open in U.K. theaters Oct. 7. View the full article
  23. In the seas millions of years ago, whales were regularly hunted. Megalodons, bus-sized sharks, are believed to have been dominant ocean predators some 20 to 3.6 million years ago. The now extinct marine legends almost certainly munched on large prey, and now scientists have unearthed fascinating evidence of such a predatory event. Fossilized clues suggest a small whale was ambushed, bitten, and dramatically thrashed by this colossal shark species. "To have been on the receiving end of a megalodon attack would have spelled almost certain doom," Stephen Godfrey, the curator of paleontology at the Calvert Marine Museum in Maryland, told Mashable. Godfrey was an author of the new research published in the science journal Palaeontologia Electronica. SEE ALSO: Scientists discover ancient shark swimming in a really strange place You see, megalodons had giant jaws, big enough to easily swallow multiple humans at once. And these jaws held 276 teeth that were replaced by the thousands throughout their lives. That's why fossilized megalodon teeth are so commonly found. I have one on my bookshelf. With so many teeth to spare, an animal has the ability to be an adventurous predator, biting at will. They can waste teeth on haphazard bites. "To have been on the receiving end of a megalodon attack would have spelled almost certain doom." "I see predation by megalodon as being violent and almost without parallel, although killer whales today probably come close," Godfrey explained. "If you don’t 'care' about breaking your teeth during an attack, you as a predator could be reckless, acting without restraint or caution." Yet the whale whose vertebrae were recently uncovered likely survived a violent, long-ago megalodon attack. At least, for a couple of months or so. An artist's conception of the megalodon attacking a whale, a possible scenario in which the shark fractured the whale's vertebrae. Credit: Art by Clarence (Shoe) Schumaker / Image courtesy of the Calvert Marine Museum The megalodon attackA fossil collector for the Calvert Marine Museum, Mike Ellwood discovered the 15 million-year-old fossils, which included two whale vertebrae and a megalodon tooth. Importantly, this big tooth was found touching one of the whale fossils. The tooth had a chip, meaning it was damaged, perhaps by impacting bone, said Godfrey. Meanwhile, one of the vertebrae showed evidence of extreme trauma: Specifically, a fracture created by intense compression. A CT scan (which gives extremely detailed views of body structures) confirmed the broken bone and how it was altered. Something caused the whale's spine to sharply and unnaturally curve, which rammed one of the vertebrae into the other. The force was so strong, it broke the front end off the smashing vertebra. "This would have been an excruciatingly painful injury for the whale," a press release about the research explained. From the sheer severity of the broken bone, Godfrey suspects a megalodon attack. The encounter could have sharply bent the whale's backbone, perhaps as the shark violently thrust upward (as illustrated in the graphic above). The bite, it should be noted, would have come from a relatively "small" megalodon — judging from the size of its tooth — at some 20 feet long. (They grew up to some 60 feet long). "Yet, it was able to cause such damage to this whale," Godfrey noted. The chipped megalodon tooth found next to the fractured whale vertebrae. Credit: Image courtesy of the Calvert Marine Museum The whale vertebra that was majorly broken before fossilization. Credit: Image courtesy of the Calvert Marine Museum Godfrey and his coauthor do propose other potential causes of the damaged vertebrae. It's possible the whale experienced a seizure and convulsions after exposure to toxic algal blooms (seizures, though none that could break bone, have been observed in whales). It's also possible that another predator, like the ancestor of today's great white shark, or a sperm whale, could have inflected the damage. "Nonetheless, given a megalodon tooth was found with the vertebra, it does strongly suggest the trauma may have been caused by the high impact bite of a megalodon shark," Phil Sternes, a Ph.D. student at the University of California, Riverside, told Mashable. Sternes, who had no role in the new research, studies sharks and has published research on the megalodon. The bite didn't immediately kill the whale. Some bone regrew where the vertebra broke off. The researchers estimate the animal lived for some two months. The attacking megalodon may not have fed on this whale, but prehistoric scavengers almost certainly did. Want more science and tech news delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for Mashable's Top Stories newsletter today. Apex predatorIf a megalodon ambush indeed fractured the whale's spine, it's more evidence that the megalodon was an unrelenting apex predator in the oceans, noted Sternes. It reigned atop the food chain. Eventually, however, this dominant species went extinct some 3.6 million years ago. It's possible the megalodon was outcompeted by the great white shark, who needed fewer calories to sustain itself, especially if food became scarce. Whales clearly outlived the megalodon, too. Yet another whale superpredator looms large today, said Godfrey. Us. We've hunted and decimated many whale populations (though some have recovered). We frequently slam into them with ships. Large whales are particularly threatened and yet to recover from intensive whaling. "Of an estimated quarter of a million blue whales, less than 2,000 are estimated to remain," writes the New Zealand Department of Conservation. "Fin whales are less than five percent and humpback and sei whales 10 to 20 percent of their previous abundance. Of an estimated 60,000 southern right whales, only a few thousand remain." We can minimize the loss of imperiled whale populations, however, by no longer hunting any whale species, and minimizing ship strikes, Godfrey suggested. "In a way, we have taken the place of megalodon as the new marine macropredator…this time I fear for the survival of whales," he said. View the full article
  24. TL;DR: Through September 30, you can get the Refurbished Shark S7000AMZ Steam Mop for just $114.99 instead of $149.99 — that's a 23% discount. What do you do about the grime your mop can't get? You could get on your hands and knees and try to get it with something abrasive, but then you risk hurting your floors. And who wants to get closer to a mess? Instead, you could try this factory refurbished Shark S7000AMZ. Fully restored and working like new, this steam mop has been marked down to $114.99 (Reg. $149) until September 30. No coupon code is needed. A Shark steam mop that won't break the bankFor the little messes, you can use a handheld cleaner. For the big ones, you probably want more power. The Shark Steam and Scrub scrubs and sanitizes at the same time to get those difficult stuck-on stains. It combines steam with two rotating pads to clean hardwood, tile, and other sealed hard floors. If you're sick of feeling a layer of dust, grease, or vague residue on your floor, this chemical-free tool might become your new favorite cleaner. Wipe out dried food messes in the kitchen, grime in the bathroom, and more with this light, maneuverable Shark steam mop. You can choose from two steam modes while cleaning: Light and normal. Use light steaming for quick cleanups and normal for everyday messes. The cleaning pads are removable and washable, and you get six with your purchase! Shark cleaners are usually expensive, but this one is marked down because it has been factory refurbished after being used. It may show minor signs of previous use, but it has been professionally restored to work like new by a Shark-approved vendor. One of the only ways you might notice it's not brand new is that it doesn't ship in its original packaging. Try a steam cleaner for those stubborn stainsYou may be tired of mopping up messes, but this steam mop can help you get the job done in a fraction of the time! For a limited time, get this factory refurbished Shark S7000AMZ Steam Mop on sale for $114.99 (Reg. $149). No coupon needed Prices subject to change. Opens in a new tab Credit: Shark Refurbished Shark S7000AMZ Steam Mop (opens in a new tab) $114.99 at the Mashable Shop Get Deal (opens in a new tab) View the full article
  25. TL;DR: As of September 17, you can get the Refurbished Apple iPad Pro for just $225.99 instead of $599 — that's a 62% discount. If you want an iPad but don’t want to shell out for a brand-new one, refurbished could be the way to go. Not only are you saving money on a quality device, but buying refurbished technology also helps reduce your carbon footprint. If you’re in the market for an affordable iPad that could be great for work, school, or fun, then you’re shopping at the right time. Between September 17 and 30, you can save on a wide variety of refurbished products like this iPad Pro marked down to $225.99 (Reg. $599). A versatile tablet for a low price Though it has been refurbished, this tablet should be in great condition. It has a battery that's built to last up to 10 hours on a single charge, and it was given a “B” rating. That means it might have some light scuffing on the bevel and case or light scratches and dents in the body. If you don’t like the sight of a little wear-and-tear, then just pop on the black snap-on case that comes with your purchase. A UL-certified wall charger and lightning cable are also included, but it may also be compatible with modern charging hubs. The iPad itself has a 9.7-inch Retina display and 32GB of flash memory storage. It’s also equipped with a 12MP iSight camera and a 5MP FaceTime HD camera. Take stunning pictures or be an HD presence in web conferences with this flexible tablet. You could also pair it up with your favorite pair of Bluetooth earbuds and enjoy streaming your favorite shows in 2048x1536 resolution. And all of that is on a tablet that weighs a little under a pound. Save on a refurbished iPad ProNeed a portable device for work, school, or fun? Take advantage of deals on refurbished technology from September 17 through September 30. Get a refurbished Apple iPad Pro (WiFi only) on sale for $225.99 (Reg. $599) — no coupon needed. Prices subject to change. Opens in a new tab Credit: Apple Refurbished Apple iPad Pro (opens in a new tab) $225.99 at the Mashable Shop Get Deal (opens in a new tab) View the full article
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