Why Conservative Comedy Is Almost Impossible In Trump Times

Thought experiment: if you made a list of the biggest 10 comedy institutions in your life, what would be on it? Probably stuff like Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, John Oliver, network late night shows? Well if you look back over that list, you probably won’t find anybody who’s not openly lefty liberal (hi Stephen Colbert!) or wonky liberal (hey Seth Meyers!) or dead-center apolitical (hello Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader!). Why is that? How is there a total lack of high-profile comedy platforms that cater to the Mitt Romney supporters of the world, let alone the Trump zombies?

On this week’s podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Jason Pargin (Cracked) and Zack Bornstein (SNL, Jimmy Kimmel Live!) for a look at how comedy works, who’s allowed to be our leading joke-tellers, where today’s comedy comes from historically, and why Jimmy Fallon lost a third of his audience by treating Donald Trump like a regular guy one time.


Girl At A Bar (SNL)

A Sketch For The Women (SNL)

If the Earth Treated Us the Way We Treat the Earth (Garlic Jackson)

Help! My Girlfriend Is Literally Dying (Garlic Jackson)

Jimmy Fallon Was on Top of the World. Then Came Trump. (New York Times)

Can Conservative Political Humor Be Funny? An Examination of ‘The 1/2 Hour News Hour’ and ‘An American Carol’ (Splitsider)

Protest Against Fox Correspondent Accused of Racism for Chinatown Interviews (New York Times)

Margaret Dumont: Performances With The Marx Brothers (Wikipedia)

George Soros and the Demonization of Philanthropy (The Atlantic)

Chris Christie And Pulling The Red Handle (NPR Monkey See)

Stop mocking how Kim Davis looks: Criticize her actions, not her weight, hair or clothes (Salon)

White Nationalist Uniform of Polo Shirts Takes Center Stage in Charlottesville (Hollywood Reporter)

A Brewing Problem (The Atlantic)

Sam Hyde Speaks: Meet the Man Behind Adult Swim’s Canceled “Alt-Right” Comedy Show (Hollywood Reporter)

Nostalgia Fact-Check: How Do Eddie Murphy’s Delirious and Raw Hold Up? (Vulture)

The Comedians of Comedy (Wikipedia)

Another woman accuses George H.W. Bush of groping and making a ‘David Cop-a-feel’ joke (Washington Post)

Jimmy Kimmel to Trump Voters: “Deep Down Inside, You Know You Made a Mistake.” (Slate)

If you’re looking to rep The Cracked Podcast with a nifty t-shirt, check out the awesome Cracked Podcast merch we’ve got at PodSwag.com

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/why-conservative-comedy-almost-impossible-in-trump-times

Scientists Are Investigating Whether Or Not An Alien Probe Just Passed Us By

Sometimes in science, you have to chase the longshots and take a chance on something so unlikely it feels silly to invest in it, because the payoff would be so huge if it worked. This is why the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope will be spending time examining the first known interstellar visitor to the Solar System, just in case it is an alien spacecraft.

Back in late October, the PANSTARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii detected what was initially thought to be a comet, dubbed C/2017 U1. As the orbit was plotted it became clear that it could not have originated within the Solar System, and must instead have formed around another star. Further studies revealed no trace of a cometary coma, making it an asteroid.

Even then many people were reminded of the early stages of the classic novel Rendezvous With Rama. In the book, the speedy object turns out to be an alien spaceship, which the crew of the one suitably positioned human spacecraft gets to explore. We lack the technology for that just yet, but are applying what we have.

Further observations increased the parallels. Oumuamua, as the object is dubbed, is exceptionally elongated – indeed its 10-to-1 ratio of length to width is unprecedented for an asteroid – but would make sense for spacecraft designed to minimize friction with interstellar dust.

Still, the chances of this being an alien creation are, well, astronomical. Harvard’s Professor Avi Loeb told IFLScience the orbit showed no signs of manoevering, as a spacecraft might. Nevertheless, just in case the biggest science story of the century is currently passing by, the Breakthrough Listen project has announced 10 hours of valuable time on a large radio telescope will be devoted to searching for signals at frequencies of 1-12 GigaHertz. Observations will start at 3pm ET on December 13 (8pm GMT). Loeb observation that, despite plenty of optical observations, only low-sensitivity measurements have been made with radio telescopes, inspired Breakthrough Listen’ efforts.

Oumuamua is traveling so fast it’s already twice the Earth-Sun distance away from us, which is making observations using telescopes that operate at visible wavelengths increasingly difficult. However, Andrew Siemion of Berkeley SETI Research Center noted it is still less than 2 percent of the distance to Voyager, and we can detect signals from there very well. So if there are any radio emissions in the right wavelengths, the Byrd telescope should pick them up.

Even in the likely event that no signs of alien activity are found, there is always the chance of some other scientifically valuable result. After all, it’s agreed there is something unusual about this object beside its orbit, even if most aren’t willing to sign on to theories like Oumuamua being a lump of dark matter. The more frequencies at which we study it, the more likely we are to find answers, such as the possibility the Byrd telescope will detect the presence of ice we have so far missed.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/space/breakthrough-listen-project-to-eavesdrop-on-intersteller-visitor-just-in-case-/

Twitter suspends Britain First leaders

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption The Britain First Twitter account and that of its two leaders have been blocked

Twitter has suspended the accounts of two leaders of a British far-right group shortly after revising its rules on hate speech.

Paul Golding, Britain First’s leader, and Jayda Fransen, his deputy, can no longer tweet and their past posts no longer appear.

The organisation’s official Twitter page has suffered the same fate.

It appears that three of Ms Fransen’s posts that President Trump retweeted have gone from his feed as a result.

The messages had featured anti-Muslim videos and proved highly controversial when the American leader shared them in November.

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said it had been “wrong for the president to have done this”.

Ms Fransen and Mr Golding were arrested earlier this week over separate behaviour relating to Northern Ireland.

Restricted swastikas

Twitter announced in October that it planned to take a tougher stance against hate symbols as well as those who posted messages that glorified or condoned violence.

It has now said that those who express an affiliation with groups that use or celebrate violence to achieve their aims will be permanently suspended.

Hateful imagery – such as the Nazi swastika – can still be posted, but will initially be hidden behind a “sensitive media” warning, that visitors must disable to proceed. However, such content will no longer be allowed on a person’s profile page.

Those that featured examples will be asked to remove them. Repeat violators will be banned.

The company said the move would “reduce the amount of abusive behaviour and hateful conduct” on the network.

“If an account’s profile information includes a violent threat or multiple slurs, epithets, racist or sexist tropes, incites fear, or reduces someone to less than human, it will be permanently suspended,” it explained.

“We plan to develop internal tools to help us identify violating accounts to supplement user reports.”

Twitter has promised a more robust system to appeal against decisions, but said that it was still in development.

US bans

The company is not commenting about the action it is taking against individual accounts citing “privacy and security reasons”.

That has left it to others to play detective and report who else has been suspended. Many are using the hashtag #twitterpurge to do so.

US accounts that appear to have fallen foul of the new rules include:

  • Jared Taylor, head of American Renaissance, a website that champions “racial difference”
  • Michael Hill and Hunter Wallace – leader and public relations chief, respectively, of the League of the South, which is described as a “hate group” by civil rights campaigners at the Southern Poverty Law Center
  • the American Nazi Party, which had tweeted it was “inevitable that we will be banned” at the weekend
  • the Traditionalist Worker Party, a white supremacist group
  • End Time Paradigm, an account that specialised in anti-Semitic content

Several other members of the so-called alt-right have tweeted that fans should sign up to Gab.ai – a social network that pitches itself as a free speech alternative to Twitter – if they too are suspended.

Generation Identity, a pan-European nationalist group that opened a British branch last month, has also had its UK and Ireland Twitter account suspended.

Related Topics

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-42402570

Ed Lee, San Francisco’s first Asian-American mayor, dies at 65

(CNN)San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee, a former civil rights attorney who became the first Asian-American to serve in the city’s top post, died early Tuesday — hours after appearing at a public event at a city hospital at age 65, his office said.

Lee, who had been mayor since 2011, had suffered a heart attack while shopping at a Safeway grocery store Monday night, said US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who represents San Francisco in Congress. Lee’s office didn’t release his cause of death.
“I don’t know San Francisco without Ed Lee,” former Mayor Willie Brown told CNN affiliate KPIX. “He clearly had … a lot more to give to the city. I’m going to miss him personally, and I think the city will miss him.”
    An ambulance delivered Lee to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital shortly after 10 p.m. Monday in critical condition, and he died at 1:11 a.m. Tuesday after attempts to save his life, the hospital’s CEO, Dr. Susan Ehrlich, said.
    Ehrlich said Lee’s family asked that the hospital share no further medical information for now.
    Board of Supervisors President London Breed became acting mayor when Lee died, the mayor’s office said, citing succession rules in the city’s charter. She is the city’s first black female chief executive.
    “Our mayor was a good man with a good heart,” Breed said Tuesday morning. “He believed above all else in building bridges and solving problems.”
    “Our thoughts and prayers are with (Lee’s) wife, Anita, his two daughters, Brianna and Tania, and his entire family,” Breed said.

    Shook people’s hands at an event hours beforehand

    Lee had been expected to conduct meetings Tuesday at City Hall, according to his official schedule. On Monday, he attended a city event promoting a recycling program and was seen smiling and shaking hands, CNN affiliate KGO reported.
    Lee, a Seattle native and the son of Chinese immigrants, graduated from Maine’s Bowdoin College in 1974 and earned his law degree at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1978.
    After becoming a civil rights attorney, he began decades of work in city government in the late 1980s, when he was named investigator for the city’s first whistle blower’s ordinance. Serving under four mayors, he would become human rights commission director, city purchaser and public works director.
    In 2011, the Board of Supervisors appointed Lee, then the city administrator, to fill the rest of the term of Mayor Gavin Newsom, who left to become California’s lieutenant governor.
    Lee was elected to his own term later in 2011 and re-elected in 2015 as mayor of the consolidated city-county government.
    Serving as the first Asian-American mayor,- in a county where more than 35% of residents are of Asian descent, is part of “the height of his legacy,” said Brown, the mayor from 1996 to 2004.
    “Unlike all the rest of us (who) got elected — we got elected by our own skills to convince people and to sell people on us as an idea — Ed Lee earned that title by demonstration of being an efficient person who could manage a huge enterprise like San Francisco,” Brown told KPIX.

    Trumpeted San Francisco as a sanctuary city

    Lee, a Democrat, oversaw a city that has courted tech companies — his administration gave major firms tax breaks to stay in the city — while coming to grips with soaring rental and home ownership costs and a regional housing shortage. His office says the city was on track to fulfilling his 2014 pledge to create 30,000 new and rehabilitated homes by 2020.
    Lee unabashedly trumpeted San Francisco as a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants — meaning it generally doesn’t comply with federal requests for help with identifying and deporting them — and opposed President Donald Trump’s executive order aimed at stripping such cities of federal funding.
    After a US district court judge blocked the order in November, Lee issued a statement saying the city was “vindicated once again,” and that San Francisco “is proud to be a sanctuary city today, tomorrow and always.”
    Pelosi told CNN on Tuesday that Lee was a “man of the people,” and that his death was heartbreaking.
    “All who knew Mayor Lee understood him as a true gentleman of great warmth, positivity and kindness,” Pelosi said in an official statement. “His passing is not only a tragic official loss for our city but also a profound personal loss for all who were fortunate enough to call him friend.”
    Laurence M. Baer, the CEO of the San Francisco Giants, saluted Lee’s service and called him the professional baseball team’s top fan.
    “He was a true San Franciscan who devoted his life to serving our great city and to supporting those most in need,” Baer said. “He was the Giants’ No. 1 fan and we are blessed to have shared so many wonderful memories together.”

    Election set for June

    Voters will elect someone to fill the rest of Lee’s term on June 5, City Attorney Dennis Herrera said. The term expires January 8, 2020.
    Until the vote, Breed would remain acting mayor unless the board of supervisors decides to replace her with an interim mayor, Herrera said. Breed still retains the board presidency, Herrera said.
    The board does not have to replace Breed as acting mayor, and the panel had no plans to address the matter on Tuesday, Herrera said.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/12/politics/ed-lee-san-francisco/index.html

    Harry and Meghan release engagement photos

    Image copyright Alexi Lubomirski

    Official photographs to mark the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been released by Kensington Palace.

    A black and white portrait of the couple embracing face to face has been published alongside a colour picture of them sitting together holding hands.

    The two images were taken by fashion photographer Alexi Lubomirski earlier this week at Frogmore House, Windsor.

    The couple are to wed at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, next May.

    Image copyright Alexi Lubomirski

    The black and white image of the smiling couple was shot in the grounds of the house and shows Ms Markle in a white sweater holding the prince’s face, with her engagement ring prominent.

    The other photograph is more formal and shows the couple hand in hand on the steps of Frogmore. Prince Harry is dressed in a blue suit while Ms Markle is wearing a black and gold embroidered dress by British luxury fashion house Ralph and Russo.

    Kensington Palace later released a third photo “as a way to say thank you” for all the “warm and generous” messages the couple had received.

    Prince Harry and American actress Ms Markle confirmed their engagement in November and last week announced the service would take place on 19 May.

    Ms Markle will be baptised into the Church of England and confirmed before the wedding.

    New York-based Mr Lubomirski is a former assistant to Mario Testino, who created some of the most famous images of Prince Harry’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

    He said: “It was an incredible honour to be asked to document this wonderful event, but also a great privilege to be invited to share and be a witness to this young couple’s love for one another.

    “I cannot help but smile when I look at the photos that we took of them, such was their happiness together.”

    Image copyright Alexi Lubomirski
    Image caption Kensington Palace said the couple decided to share this “candid” photo to say thank you

    Mr Lubomirski’s pictures follow the official royal engagement photograph tradition of being made up of both a formal and casual image.

    The relaxed appearance of Prince Harry and Ms Markle contrasts with the official engagement photos of his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales, and his father Prince Charles, taken outside Buckingham Palace in February 1981.

    Image copyright PA
    Image caption Princess Diana and Prince Charles pictured on the day their engagement was announced

    Testino began to introduce the more expressive portrait style when he took the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s engagement pictures at St James’s Palace in 2011.

    Meanwhile, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have begun their Christmas break by taking a train from King’s Cross in London to King’s Lynn in Norfolk.

    They will be spending the Christmas period at Sandringham, the Queen’s private estate in Norfolk, and will later be joined by other members of the Royal Family – including Prince Harry and Ms Markle.

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    Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42441633

    At least 3 dead in Amtrak derailment in Washington state, official says

    DuPont, Washington (CNN)At least three people were killed and more than 100 injured when an Amtrak passenger train derailed in Washington state, DuPont Fire Chief Larry Creekmore said Monday night.

    All the deaths were contained to the train, said Ed Troyer, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

    Latest developments:

      — More than 100 were transported to hospitals in Pierce and Thurston counties, Creekmore said. Four of them suffered serious injuries, said Cary Evans, spokesman for CHI Franciscan Health.
      — Amtrak President & Co-CEO Richard Anderson said “Positive Train Control” was not activated on the tracks when the derailment happened. PTC is a technology that automatically slows down, and eventually stops, a train if it senses it is going too fast.
      — Thirteen cars jumped the track. The train had 14 cars, including two engines, said Brook Bova of the Washington State Patrol.
      — A passenger on the train says his car derailed and everyone “catapulted” into the seat in front of them.
      — The National Transportation Safety Board sent a 20-member team to investigate.
      — Photos from the scene show at least one train car on the road, with another dangling over it.

      Injured taken to hospitals

      The crash happened about 7:40 a.m. in DuPont, about 20 miles south of Tacoma, near the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. Apparently, the train came out of a curve and ran off the track while crossing or approaching an open trestle over I-5.The following rail cars derailed in a jumble on both sides of the track, with some falling to the highway and landing on vehicles and one rail car dangling precariously over the highway.
      Several motorists in vehicles that were struck by the fallen train cars suffered injuries, but there were no fatalities among people in those vehicles, the sheriff’s office said. Five cars and two semi-trucks were involved in the crash, Bova said.
      The southbound train was carrying 77 passengers and seven crew members, said Washington State Patrol spokeswoman Brooke Bova at a news conference. Monday was the first day of the Amtrak Cascades 501 service between Seattle and Portland, Amtrak said.

      The NTSB and local authorities have not said what caused the crash, but questions were quickly raised about the train’s speed as it hit a curve.
      Most of the route was graded for a maximum speed of 79 mph; the speed limit on the curve where the crash occurred is 30 mph, said Rachelle Cunningham with Sound Transit. Cunningham said she did not know how fast the train was traveling when it derailed, and the NTSB has not released information about the speed.
      Russ Quimby, a former NTSB safety investigator, and CNN analyst Mary Schiavo, former Department of Transportation inspector general, said an early look indicates speed might have been an issue.
      In a conference call with reporters, Amtrak President and Co-CEO Richard Anderson said “Positive Train Control” was not activated on the tracks at the time of the derailment. Positive Train Control is a technology that automatically slows down, and eventually stops, a train if it senses the train is going too fast and could derail or get in an accident.
      Anderson would not answer CNN’s questions regarding the speed of the train or the crew’s tenure at Amtrak.
      The train was running on track previously used for occasional freight and military transport, the Washington Department of Transportation said in a news release. WDOT said the track had undergone millions of dollars of federally funded improvements and weeks of inspection and testing.

      ‘We catapulted into the seats in front of us’

        Hear the train conductor’s 911 call

      Emergency radio transmissions between the train conductor and the dispatcher were frantic and dramatic:
      Dispatcher: Hey guys, what happened?
      AMTRAK 501: Uh, we were coming around the corner to take the bridge over I-5 there, right north into Nisqually and we went on the ground.
      Dispatcher: …Is everybody OK?
      AMTRAK 501: I’m still figuring that out. We got cars everywhere and down onto the highway.
      Chris Karnes, a passenger on the train, is chairman of the Pierce Transit Community Transportation Advisory Group. He said he boarded the train between Seattle and Tacoma and took a seat on the third or fourth car.
      Karnes said the train was moving at a “pretty good pace” — roughly 70 to 80 mph, judging from the fact the train was passing cars on the highway — when it derailed.
      “We felt a little bit of a jolt and then at a certain point we could hear crumpling of the train car, and we were catapulted into the seats in front of us,” he said.
      It appeared most of the passengers in Karnes’ car fared well, with the exception of an elderly man who banged his head on the bulkhead, he said.
      Karnes’ car derailed — only the rear locomotive remained on the tracks — and passengers kicked out a window and climbed down an embankment to summon help, he said.
      He did not know what caused the derailment but said the train had previously taken tighter curves at the same pace without any issues.
      Motorist Danae Orlob said there was a semi and a crushed truck underneath the train cars.
      “We came around the corner and it had to have just happened … there were no police there yet. There was one link of the train off to one side and the other on the other side of the freeway. There were crushed cars underneath. There was an insane amount of fire trucks and ambulances heading towards us.”
      All southbound lanes of the interstate were closed due to the derailment, and the sight stunned motorists heading to work.
      “I was traveling to work this morning along I-5 and we came to a sudden stop,” Greg Mukai told CNN by phone. “We all tried to stop quickly to avoid running into each other, to be honest. Once we all came to a stop I was able to look up and see, unfortunately, this scary thing of … a train hanging off of the overpass. Lots of military personnel and people ran to try to help the best they could.”

      All rail cars searched

      Hours after the early morning crash, first responders remained on site as the investigation was getting underway.
      Lights and portable toilets were being moved to the scene and police were keeping a wide cordon from the crash site. News helicopters and remotely piloted drones circled over the crumpled wreckage.
      West Pierce County Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Jay Sumerlin said all the rail cars had been searched Monday night — a precarious operation because of the position of the derailed train.
      “It took a lot of extrication tools,” he said. “They were using jaws of life, they were using air chisels, different forms of saws to be able to get into some of the cars to get access to people to get them out. Some of the rescues were done by ladders. It was just a difficult place to be.”
      Hazmat teams were still securing as much as 350 gallons of spilled diesel fuel, he said.
      A makeshift emergency operations center was set up at a nearby Eagle Pride Golf Course, where the NTSB and other federal and state authorities were coordinating the recovery and investigation into the crash.
      Only the rear unpowered locomotive, one of 14 cars on Amtrak Cascades 501, remained on the tracks, positioned on a sharp curve at the end of a straight path of track.

      First day of new service route

      According to an online schedule, the 501 train connects “18 cities along the I-5 corridor including Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, BC, and Eugene, Oregon.”
      The train service is jointly owned by the Washington and Oregon departments of transportation, although Amtrak contracts to operate the service for the two states.
      The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 set aside $800 million for the Cascades High Speed Rail Capital Program between Seattle and Portland, the Washington Department of Transportation said. The last portion of the Cascades program included $180 million for the area where the crash occurred, the 14.5-mile Point Defiance Bypass. That bypass rerouted passenger trains from a waterfront line to a shorter line that ran along I-5. Monday was the first day trains ran along that route.
      Previously, the tracks where the derailment occurred were owned by BNSF and were used for occasional freight and military transport, said the Washington State Department of Transportation. The tracks are now owned by Sound Transit, which managed the track upgrade in preparation for commuter service, the release said.
      When asked if there were any known issues or blockages to the track, Kimberly Reason, a senior public information officer with Sound Transit, said, “We are working with the Joint Command Center on scene to receive information from the incident investigation; no cause has been reported at this juncture in the investigation.”
      Amtrak service south of Seattle was temporarily suspended. Service from Seattle to points north and east was continuing to operate, Amtrak said. Amtrak Cascades trains 504 and 509 were canceled, the Amtrak spokesperson said.
      NTSB Vice Chairman Bella Dinh-Zarr said the first members of the investigative team were expected to arrive in Washington state on Monday afternoon.

      President briefed on the accident

      President Trump posted a tweet about what he called the country’s crumbling infrastructure.
      “The train accident that just occurred in DuPont, WA shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly. Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long!”
      Ten minutes later, the President addressed the victims.
      “My thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the train accident in DuPont, Washington. Thank you to all of our wonderful First Responders who are on the scene. We are currently monitoring here at the White House.”
      Washington state’s congressional delegation also shared their condolences on Twitter.
      Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency and asked motorists to avoid traveling on Interstate 5 while the Washington Department of Transportation works on alternate routes.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/18/us/amtrak-derailment-washington/index.html

      11 Gifts For People Who’d Definitely Rather Be Sleeping Than Exchanging Presents

      Have you ever noticed that finding the perfect gifts for people who love to sleep is almost too easy? You know the friend we’re referring to here, don’t you? She’s easily the sleeping beauty of your squad who just #CantEven with Monday through Friday mornings. She’s the BFF who you wouldn’t blink twice at if you saw her shooting coffee through an IV to get her through 8 a.m. seminars and late nights at the office. Any gift that has to do with her bedroom, nighttime wardrobe, or a wind-down routine is one she’s going to be grateful for because, for her, sleep is life, and she can’t get enough of it (who can?).

      Plus, if you think about it, a better night’s sleep is just one of those things everyone appreciates, but rarely gets enough of. Just because your giftee might be lazing in bed late into the morning doesn’t necessarily mean they’re getting the quality sleep the average human needs to function. In fact, if your friend is clocking in over six to eight hours of sleep every night, their bodies might be trying to overcompensate for a lack of a good rest. Therefore, as far as I see it, the most generous gift you can give them is an accessory or two to either a) better their space or b) prepare their body properly for sleep. Here are a few ideas to help you get the job done.

      1A Sleek Sleep-Tracking Watch


      Wesoo K1 Fitness Watch and Sleep Monitor, $29.99, Amazon

      Fitness trackers are still a thriving trend in wearable tech, but have you noticed this one major upgrade recent models have installed in their machinery?

      According to a new report issued by the sleep experts at Sleep Cycle, Americans’ sleep quality has decreased by 10 percent from 2016 to 2017 (ouch). I have a hunch that this might be why technology brands are issuing trackers that not only count your steps and calories burned, but that also monitor your sleep quality metrics.

      Wesoo’s band is a bestseller on Amazon with a 4.5 star rating and unique sleep design that truly does it all.

      2Their New Nightcap


      Lipton Herbal Supplement Bedtime Bliss, $4.38, Walmart

      Obviously, your girl has to switch to decaf eventually if she ever wants to fall asleep.

      Remind her by gifting this doze-inducing sip from Lipton that combines chamomile leaves, mint, and orange peels to ease you into a comfortable sleep state “like a lullaby in a cup.” Slip a Barnes & Noble gift card in her holiday card, and you’ve just set her up for the sweetest of dreams.

      3A Comfy Pair Of PJs

      Adore Me

      Sleepwear Set in Christyna, $19.95, Adore Me

      I cannot be the only person obsessed with cozy, holiday-themed pajamas. This season, Adore Me has expanded their merchandise with a ton of his-and-her styles to choose from, but the Christyna style is hands down my favorite of them all.

      For some reason, black, white, and red plaid just looks like pure Christmas to me. Plus, the set is made stretchy for optimal comfort and with cotton for all the snuggly feels.

      4An Aromatic Bath Bomb

      Lush USA

      The Big Sleep Jelly Bomb, $8.95, LUSH USA

      If your giftee religiously takes baths before slipping into something comfy and hopping into bed, Lush’s newest sleep-inducing bomb is about to be her new favorite bathroom accessory. It’s the perfect formula to relax her body and mind, as notes of lavender, neroli, and chamomile fragrances transform her tub into an aromatic soak.

      5A Soft Blanket To Snuggle Under

      Bed Bath & Beyond

      Madison Park Ruched Faux-Fur Throw, $39.99, Bed Bath & Beyond

      Who couldn’t use a gigantic throw blanket to hibernate in throughout the winter months?

      Madison Park’s blanket is made from 100 percent faux-fur, features micro-fur for extra warmth on those freezing nights, and it’s also huge enough to share, so maybe she can finally stop hogging the covers when you sleep over.

      6An Overnight Mask To Enhance Their Beauty Sleep

      Too Cool For School

      Too Cool For School Pumpkin Sleeping Pack, $20, Sephora

      Beauty sleep isn’t a myth, ladies. When you sleep better, you feel better, and when you good, you good. See how that works?

      Chances are, your sleepy friend likely clocks in the recommended six to eight hours of sleep every night, which means her skin is probably glowing, but there’s always room for improvement, right?

      Too Cool For School’s overnight mask will enhance her skin’s recovery cycle with superfood ingredients and natural enzymes. Plus, it smells like pumpkin, and I can’t imagine a better way to fall asleep than with the scent of pie all around you.

      7An Artistic Diffuser

      Saje Natural Wellness

      Aromaart High Tide Ultrasonic Diffuser, $84.95, Saje

      Essential oils for sleep are super trendy right now, but it doesn’t look like the fad is fading anytime soon. Trust me, I’m not the type to talk up the trends if I haven’t done the research myself, and diffusers are a must for bedroom.

      TBH, diffusers can be super ugly and cheap-looking, but this Saje model is the prettiest piece of functional decor I’ve ever seen. The beautiful pattern was designed by San Francisco artist Heather Day, and was inspired by the healing powers of the deep, blue sea. So much zen, so many aromas to lull your giftee to sleep.

      8A Soothing Candle

      Primal Elements

      Primal Elements Tahitian Vanilla Two Wick Color Bowl Candle, $19.90, Amazon

      Doesn’t this candle look good enough to eat? I can guarantee my 9-year-old niece had no idea just how lovely this candle was going to make my apartment smell when she gifted it to my husband and me last Christmas, but this decadent display is still burning bright, and veiling our home with the scent of sweet vanilla 12 months later.

      You don’t necessarily need essential oils to practice aromatherapy, and if your bestie has a sweet tooth, this yummy-scented candle from Primal Elements will have her dreaming of sugar plum fairies year round (not kidding, it’s good for 60 hours of burn time).

      9Go Old School With This Digital Alarm Clock


      Peakeep Battery Digital Alarm Clock, $12.99, Amazon

      I don’t have to tell you that smartphones are low-key ruining our lives, especially in the bedroom (and no, I’m not referring to your libido). No matter how much a person sleeps, the blue light that shines from your cell phone is messing with your sleep cycle, but what’s a girl to do when her only means of an alarm is via smartphone?

      Be the best friend you are and buy your sleeping beauty a digital alarm clock. This old school model from Peakeep has a snooze option, so she can squeeze in a few extra minutes of shut-eye if and when she wants. It’s also a “smart nighttime clock,” which means it has sensory lights that turn a subtle blue at night.

      10A Sleepy Supplement

      Sun Potion

      Sun Potion Organic Ashwagandha Powder, $36.99, iHerb

      Adaptogens like ashwagandha are another social media trend that’s actually making a difference in how people are sleeping. This is definitely the perfect gift for anyone who you know has wanted to try adaptogens for themselves, but couldn’t commit to the pricy purchase.  

      Trust me, I recently put Alaina Sullivan’s moon milk recipe for Bon Appétit to the test when I was tossing and turning through an awful couple of nights, and I was genuinely impressed by just how relaxed I felt by adding ashwagandha to my nightcap. Your giftee will love the combination of the powder’s sleep and overall health benefits.

      11Slippers They Can Sleep In

      Out From Under

      Out From Under Scruffy Slipper Sock, $16, Urban Outfitters

      If your BFF takes a lot of heat for wearing slippers to bed, offering a pair of Out From Under’s scruffy slipper socks tells them you’re on their side (or, at the very least, won’t judge them for it).

      I’m a fan of this creamy-colored pair, specifically because they’re subtle enough to wear with roomy Uggs on really cold days.

      Read more: https://elitedaily.com/p/11-gifts-for-people-who-love-to-sleep-cherish-their-snooze-time-more-than-anything-7599549

      Time Person of the Year poll awards #MeToo movement

      The #MeToo campaign is Time’s ‘Person of the Year’ for 2017, beating U.S. President Donald Trump. 

      The magazine cover, with the headline “The Silence Breakers”, pays tribute to the “voices that launched a movement”. 

      It features actress Ashley Judd, popstar Taylor Swift, Uber whistleblower Susan Fowler, lobbyist Adama Iwu and other women who campaigned against sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape this year or took part to the #MeToo campaign. 

      “This is the fastest moving social change we’ve seen in decades, and it began with individual acts of courage by hundreds of women — and some men, too — who came forward to tell their own stories,” the mag’s editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal told NBC’s “Today” program. 

      At the bottom right of the front page, you can see the arm of a sixth woman who’s shared her story of sexual assault while remaining anonymous.

      “The women and men who have broken their silence span all races, all income classes, all occupations and virtually all corners of the globe,” reads the Time article on the movement. “They might labor in California fields, or behind the front desk at New York City’s regal Plaza Hotel, or in the European Parliament. They’re part of a movement that has no formal name. But now they have a voice.”

      Alyssa Milano, who relaunched the #MeToo movement — first started a decade ago by social activist Tarana Burke, who used it to support women of color surviving sexual abuse — in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, reacted on Twitter to the Time cover: 

      Among the women who appear in the Time article is Susan Fowler, the ex-Uber engineer who in February penned a powerful blogpost about sexism at Uber that eventually led to ouster of founder Travis Kalanick as CEO. 

      Her essay also pushed other women in the tech industry to come forward and speak out about sexual harassment in Silicon Valley. 

      In August, Fowler’s legal team filed an amicus brief in a labor law case going before the Supreme Court. 

      While it doesn’t involve Uber directly, the case revolves around the sort of class-action waivers the ride-hailing company forces its employees to sign. 

      The move is designed to force employees to give up their right to take collective action against their employer, coercing them into individual arbitration. 

      Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/12/06/time-person-of-the-year-metoo-women-sexual-harassment/

      We Love Christmas Shopping At Malls, But That May Not Be Enough To Save Them

      Just over a decade ago, the nearest shopping mall was the place to be on weekends.

      Teens flocked to the malls in cliques as they mixed and mingled with other groups, while senior citizens could be found feeling the burn as they walked the mall’s perimeter. There were hundreds of places to shop between the larger department stores, privately owned businesses, and mall vendor kiosks. Business at the mall was booming, and as the holiday season came each year, record-breaking sales were recorded as every store attracted a new audience of customers with large discounts and unbelievable door-busters.

      Unfortunately, the last few years have not been so kind to the American mall. The shopping institution may breath its last breath sooner than anticipated.

      According to Green Street Advisors, more than two dozen malls have been forced to close their doors across the country, while another 60 hover on the brink of closure.

      Most people would agree that the shift in shopping culture from in-store to online has a major role to play in the downfall of the American mall, but the numbers prove that online retailers like Amazon and Walmart.com only account for 10 percent of total retail sales.

      In 2016, Amazon acquired $80 billion in sales whereas major anchor store Sears raked in just over $22 billion. This leads us to one of the major reasons for the collapse of the mall: the death of the anchor store.

      Anchor stores are those large stores, usually found on the outside perimeter of the mall, used to attract patrons with their big sales and low prices. But in the past few years, major anchor stores such as Sears, Macy’s, and J.C. Penney were forced to close hundreds of stores across the country. In fact, 2017 saw the largest number of American retail bankruptcies of all time.

      As anchor stores close up shop, the pressure is on mall owners to negotiate with their remaining tenants. With anchor stores down the tubes, other tenants can negotiate cheaper rent and even go as far as to break their leases thanks to co-tenancy agreements in their contracts.

      According to experts from CNN, nearly a quarter of malls will close in the next five years. That averages out to be about 300 out of the 1,100 malls still in existence across the U.S.

      Another reason for the decline of the mall is the fact that too many malls were built to accommodate the need and demand. From 1970 to 2015, the number of malls in the U.S. grew twice as fast as the population. Breaking that down, the U.S. has 40 percent more shopping space per capita than Canada and almost five times more than the U.K.

      While the American mall is declining, but not yet dead, there is hope to rejuvenate the shopping experience if mall owners are smart to catch on to the latest trends.

      Young people have changed the way they want to spend their money. Rather than spending their money on clothing and toys, it should come as no surprise that there’s an emphasis on technology. Updating the mall space to include technology-based retailers such as Apple could cause an upsurge in retail shoppers. Another opportunity some malls are considering is the incorporation of large food chains and entertainment opportunities in order to attract customers.

      (via CNN Money, Forbes, and The Atlantic)

      How do you plan on purchasing most of your gifts this holiday season? Are you pro-mall or pro-online shopping? Let us know your thoughts on the decline of the American mall in the comment section.

      Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/death-of-the-shopping-mall/