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Al Roker has a message for people worried about him covering Hurricane Ida

2023-03-27 05:42:03

Al Roker has a message for people worried about him covering Hurricane Ida

Famed reporter and weather forecaster Al Roker is down in Louisiana doing his job as Hurricane Ida approaches the U.S. Gulf Coast. And hey, guess what? He'd like you to keep your ageist concerns about that to yourself.

Al Roker has a message for people worried about him covering Hurricane Ida(图1)

A clip — really, multiple clips — of Roker reporting from the shores of Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain went viral on Sunday as people from all over voiced concern for the 67-year-old weather expert. Yeah, it's wild weather all around him in this footage. But don't forget, this is Roker's job. He's really good at it.

You don't need to search for long on Twitter to see how people are feeling about Roker's situation.

"Al Roker is too old for this shit. Get that man into a hotel. He can tell me about the weather from there," one user wrote. Another said: "What did #ALRoker do to piss off NBC? Making him get pummeled in a Hurricane seems harsh."

Just a whole, big pile of well-intentioned but deeply misguided ageist commentary. There are scores of other, similar tweets. I'm not linking to them because the people who posted them don't need to hear any grief from you. They only need to hear it from the man himself.

And so they did. It reached such a fever pitch that Roker, who should really be focused on the job of informing the public and not people worrying about his ability to do his job, was compelled to respond.

Speaking with Jonathan Capehart on MSNBC's The Sunday Show, Roker explained to the world exactly how he's feeling about his work and what people who don't know him are assuming about said work.

"I volunteered to come out here. This is what I do. I've done this for 40 years," he explained with the patience of a person who has probably had to say the same thing before. "We all make sure we're safe, we're not going to do something that's gonna put ourselves in harm's way. As much as I love the weather and I love NBC, not gonna risk my life for it."

SEE ALSO: Why our hotter climate creates disturbing, extreme torrents of rain

He also had a direct response to those who think he's "too old" to do what he's doing: "Hey, guess what? Screw you! Keep up. Keep up. These young punks. I will come after them. I will drop them like a bag of dirt."

There you have it. Al Roker, taking absolutely none of your ageist bullshit while he reports on this historic storm.

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    In what's become an annoyingly familiar pattern over the past several years, a blockbuster franchise has touted "LGBTQ representation" in an upcoming installment, only to deliver the barest minimum imaginable.


    This time, the film in question is Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and the exclusively gay moment is a kiss between two female Resistance fighters.

    One of the characters is a speaking role — Commander D'Acy, played in TROS and The Last Jedi by Amanda Lawrence. The other is just some lady; if we've ever seen her before, I don't remember it. Their embrace plays out in the background and is over so quickly, you might have missed it if you reached for your popcorn at the wrong moment.

    It's bullshit that this is the best Star Wars can do in 2019.

    The timidity of this scene did not stop J.J. Abrams from talking it up to Variety(Opens in a new tab) weeks before TROS' release. In the same interview where he confirmed Finn and Poe would not be boyfriends, Abrams hinted at the possibility of other queer characters coming to Star Wars and stressed that he wanted the world of his film to reflect the real-world population.

    “In the case of the LGBTQ community, it was important to me that people who go to see this movie feel that they’re being represented in the film,” he said at the time.

    The tiny smooch in TROS echoes the unnamed gay support group attendee in Avengers: Endgame(Opens in a new tab), the two men making eye contact in Beauty and the Beast, the two dudes standing next to each other in Star Trek Beyond, the girlfriends who never even touch hands in Deadpool 2, the husbands with blink-and-you'll-miss-it wedding rings in Alien: Covenant, and the superheroine who didn't go out of her way to deny her "girlfriend troubles" in Power Rangers.

    In each case, the amount of self-congratulation on display seemed wildly out of proportion with the content of the supposed LGBTQ representation itself. (And that's not even getting into characters whose sexualities were mentioned by their performers and writers offscreen but never acknowledged at all onscreen, like Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok and Lando in Solo: A Star Wars Story.)

    Finn and Poe: Still not gay. Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

    It's worth acknowledging that, yes, the lesbian couple in TROS is indeed a first for Star Wars. Yes, it's a step forward. Yes, it's better than nothing. Yes, it surely means something to someone. That does matter.

    And yes, I'll even grant that it's an improvement on other examples of this trend — like Beauty and the Beast, which never actually confirms that Lefou is gay, just halfheartedly implies it.

    But after a while, those yeses feel less like markers of progress than of the lack of it.

    LGBTQ characters shouldn't have to be relegated to the sidelines of our culture's biggest, most beloved stories.

    The relative insignificance of these particular characters is a reminder that more prominent characters like Poe and Finn can't be canonically gay because, as Oscar Isaac put it, "it's a time when people are too afraid." The briefness of the women's embrace reflects the studio's desire to keep even this meager bit of LGBTQ representation contained within a tiny box that they can throw out of the plane if the going gets too rough. Indeed, The Hollywood Reporter(Opens in a new tab) writes that that's exactly what Disney has done in Dubai, where the kiss was edited out altogether.

    And the fact that it still "counts" as an historic first speaks poorly of this franchise and others like it. Even as explicitly queer films from Call Me By Your Name to Love, Simon have wowed critics and cleaned up at the box office, the decision-makers behind Hollywood's biggest blockbusters remain too timid to offer up more than a tiny peck between minor characters.

    SEE ALSO: 'Avengers: Endgame' has the MCU's first canonically gay character

    It may not be the end of the world that Star Wars won't make StormPilot canon, or Disney won't give Elsa a girlfriend, or Fantastic Beasts won't explore Dumbledore's sexuality, or what have you. There's no shortage of queer characters and queer stories to be found outside these gazillion-dollar properties in 2019; even major movie studios have proven willing to get on board with LGBTQ characters as long as they're not part of a $400 million action-adventure sequel.

    But LGBTQ characters shouldn't have to be relegated to the sidelines of our culture's biggest, most beloved stories. It's bullshit that this is the best Star Wars can do in 2019, and even more bullshit that this is the second version of this story I've written this year, following Endgame. Make it so I don't find myself rehashing this story yet again in 2020 or 2021 or 2022, Hollywood, and then we'll talk.

  • Heres your chance to post to an Instagram account with a million followers

    Heres your chance to post to an Instagram account with a million followers

    Influencers have faced newfound scrutiny in the past year for a variety of tone deaf moves like throwing ragers while their city is locked down(Opens in a new tab) or simply trying to sell during a pandemic-fueled economic downturn.


    Despite the backlash, however, the influencer market is booming(Opens in a new tab).

    The "influencing" industry is like many others in that a select few reap the rewards. But what if influencing was more democratized? What if anyone could be an influencer, or at least have a million Instagram followers?

    MSCHF, the group behind stunts like attaching a paintball gun to Boston Dynamics's robot dog, wants to answer these questions with Death of the Influencer(Opens in a new tab). The titular death is of a fictional, unnamed Influencer, the "son of Andy Warhol and Paris Hilton," who was apparently killed by a password reset. RIP.

    We can't bring our Instagram account or followers into the after life, so the Influencer has willed them to us. MSCHF's manifesto reads that the Influencer "leaves behind an empty account with no trace of meaning beyond its outsized follower count." Indeed, there's a real @deathoftheinfluencer(Opens in a new tab) account that has one million followers and no posts as of publication. (Don't worry, MSCHF didn't buy the followers, just the account.)

    Credit: screenshot by the author

    "Any hope for influence now rests in your hands," says the manifesto. With the goal of a more egalitarian influencer landscape, MSCHF wants anyone to post on the account.

    While there's no guarantees, text 646-853-3611 with a photo and it might end up blasted to one million (plus) followers. There's no information about how long MSCHF plans on posting to the account — but knowing their past drops, you'll want to get in on it ASAP.

    The Influencer is dead, long live Influencer.

  • This new FDA-approved Apple Watch band measures the electricity in your heart

    This new FDA-approved Apple Watch band measures the electricity in your heart


    The Federal Drug Administration just cleared a new band for the Apple Watch that monitors the electrical rhythms in your heart.

    After a two-year process to satisfy the FDA's stringent requirements, AliveCor announced today that the Kardia Band(opens in a new tab) is now available for purchase for $199. It's a mobile electrocardiogram (EKG), which measures a heart's electrical activity and has traditionally been used by doctors to identify abnormal cardiac rhythms.

    "It’s a regulated measure of physiology by the FDA. Doctors can recognize over 100 conditions when they see an EKG," AliveCor CEO Vic Gundotra told Mashable.

    SEE ALSO: It's really unlikely that having sex will stop your heart, so you've got that going for you

    But unlike conventional EKGs, this is one that you wear on your wrist. The heart rhythms display on the Apple Watch, and it takes about 30 seconds to collect the electrical signals. What's more, the watch will notify the user when they might potentially be experiencing a common heart arrhythmia called Atrial fibrillation, or AFib.

    "It used to take a cardiologist, and you'd have to take off your shirt," said Gundotra. "Now you can do it while at your kid's soccer game. You can know in half a minute what’s going on in your heart."

    After being scrutinized by the FDA, Gundotra is confident the device accurately and reliably measures electrical heart activity.

    "We had to prove that our algorithms are effective as a board of human cardiologists," he said, noting that the stack of FDA regulatory papers "might be taller than me."

    We had to prove that our algorithms are effective as a board of human cardiologists

    The Kardia Band can be especially useful for patients who suffer from AFib, Gordon Tomaselli, chief of the division of cardiology at John Hopkins University, told Mashable. "AFib may not be dangerous, however, it is associated with increased risk of blood clots in hearts," he explained. "It also turns out to be a common cause of stroke that occurs for no obvious reason."

    "I think it’s a useful adjunct and useful for some patients," he added. "And there are some people that want to know [they're experiencing AFib] -- and for those folks this is a great solution."

    Still, Tomaselli cautioned the Kardia Band might not be the best option for every single patient.

    "I think if you have a serious cardiac disease you should not be completely reliant on this to make a diagnosis," said Tomaselli. "It is always best to make sure that your health care provider has a look at the rhythms."


    Most of all, he emphasized, "If you don’t feel well, you need to see someone. Symptoms trump any recording."

    Besides watching for AFib, the Kardia Band is also infused with AI technology, a deep-learning tool the company calls "SmartRhythm Monitoring." This program, however, doesn't monitor heart rhythms. Instead, it watches your heart rate. The AI system checks your heart rate every five seconds, and will, based up your activity over the previous 30 minutes, notify you when your heart rate is pumping abnormally fast.

    For instance, the Kardia Band will alert you if your heart rate spikes, even though you might be idly sitting in a car.

    "It worked on me when a cop pulled me over," said AliveCor's CEO, Gundotra. "We’re looking for things that don’t match our predictions."

    So for anyone that's interested in better understanding their heart -- both it's rhythms and heart rate behavior -- the Kardia Band can serve as a helpful tool.

    "It’s neat technology and there’s going to be more and more of this," said Tomaselli. "I think some of this is going to be very useful not just in diagnosing things but helping, for those interested, to maintain their best cardiovascular health and fitness."

    And AliveCor's Gundotra, after working through a tedious FDA approval process, feels the system validates this new technology. "We are very lucky to have such a strict regulatory body," he said. "You can't make ridiculous claims in this country."

  • Julia Fox is everywhere, even TikTok

    Julia Fox is everywhere, even TikTok

    As weeks on TikTok go, this one felt abnormally quiet. But thanks to Julia Fox and an emerging class of TikTok poets (including Guy Fieri?!), a few trends cut through the mundane.


    Sadly, we also lost a TikTok icon this week, Pot Roast the cat — and it has sent everyone, including the Mashable newsroom, into an emotional tailspin.

    Uncut Jahmz 

    TikTok is not immune to the internet's fascination with Julia Fox. A soundbite from the Uncut Gems actor's appearance on Call Her Daddy is circulating the app and inspiring copycat videos. The clip was first posted by Spotify a week ago(Opens in a new tab). In the clip, host of Call Her Daddy, Alexandra Cooper, asks Fox, "Would you consider yourself Ye’s muse?" Fox replies, "Yeah, a little, maybe." Cooper follows up with "what is a muse?" to which Fox says, "I mean, I was Josh Safdie's muse when he wrote Uncut Gems [which she pronounces like Jaaahmz]. Do you know what I mean? You know things like that." 

    Despite being a true New Yorker(Opens in a new tab)are you from New York even — in this clip she speaks with the vocal fry and cadence of a California girl. The pacing and way Fox talks makes this audio so addictive. It scratches an itch in my brain I didn't know I had. The star of the show is her pronunciation of "gems"; it's a mesmerizing manipulation of the English language. 

    So far over 14,200 videos have been made using the sound, and that number doesn't include TikTokkers making their own imitations of the sound. These TikToks range from people acting the interview out, to California girls gushing about proper representation(Opens in a new tab), and some creative geniuses have even choreographed dances to the sound(Opens in a new tab)

    If you’re out and about this weekend prepare to hear a lot of people exchanging "Uncut Jaaahmz."

    My younger self 

    On Jan. 27, @sentimentallyill posted a touching poem(Opens in a new tab) about how we always carry our younger selves and mothers with us. The poem is set to "When I Get My Hands On You" by The New Basement Tapes, and it was initially so successful it received over a million views. The poem inspired other users to mediate and post their own versions of the poem. A couple hundred people posted their take on @sentimentallyill's poem to the same audio.

    The trend-inspiring poem! Credit: TikTok / sentimentallyill

    The trend has since evolved: Now users are writing lists of how their younger selves would feel now and posting them to "Motion Sickness" by Phoebe Bridgers. It's a lovely change of pace to see a trend that inspires reflection gain popularity on the platform. The trend peaked with Guy Fieri’s participation(Opens in a new tab), which has since received over 2.2 million likes and over 12 million views. Can't say I saw the mayor of FlavorTown writing TikTok poetry coming! 

    Mayor of PoetryTown. Credit: TikTok / flavortown

    RIP Pot Roast

    Pot Roast, TikTok's most beloved cat, has died. And the app is in mourning.

    On the morning of Feb. 17 the account @potroastsmom(Opens in a new tab) wrote, "My little bird flew away at 11:47 a.m. this morning. When I saw Pot Roast this morning I could feel that she was done fighting and even though I wasn't done fighting for her I let her go. She went to sleep in my arms."

    RIP Pot Roast. Credit: TikTok / potroastsmom

    Pot Roast had over 950,000 followers, and the account has accumulated over 65 million likes. My colleague, and Pot Roast fan, CJ Silva attributes Pot Roast's popularity to the internet's love of weird-looking animals. "Pot Roast looked fully taxidermied at any given moment and her owner leaned in [to that in] short videos," Silva explained to me. 

    SEE ALSO: Our favorite TikTok cat, Pot Roast, has died

    Another colleague of mine, Chase DiBenedetto, appreciated that Pot Roast always looked void of any and all emotion. "She was just so over it. So over everything. But that was somehow beautiful," DiBenedetto told me. 

    Pot Roast's account was filled with silly, relatable videos made by her owner, each one featuring the feline's signature unimpressed face. And in so many ways, her unbothered gaze spoke to all of us who are feeling misanthropic and over it.

    Pot Roast's content also managed to avoid the common trap most pet content falls into on the app in that it was never cringe. All hail our unproblematic, unbothered queen. She will be dearly missed.

  • Keke Palmer not knowing Dick Cheney is the new meme for ignoring your ex

    Keke Palmer not knowing Dick Cheney is the new meme for ignoring your ex


    Keke Palmer's reaction to Dick Cheney is, frankly, pure art.

    The former Nickelodeon star-turned-Hustlers power woman took a lie detector test for Vanity Fair(Opens in a new tab) on Wednesday, where she answered questions about her birth place, her real name, and her dating preferences. When asked whether her character on the Nickelodeon show True Jackson, VP was a better VP than Vice President Dick Cheney, she balked.

    "I don't know who this man is," she said, shaking her head. "He could be walking down the street and I wouldn't know a thing. Sorry to this man."


    Iconic. According to the lie detector, Palmer was telling the truth when she said, with her whole chest, that she did not know Dick Cheney.

    The clip was posted by MTV video producer Matt Gehring the day the video went up, and it went viral on Twitter.


    Since Wednesday, the clip of Palmer saying "I don't know this man" has been used as a reaction to running into exes, Biblical references, and dealing with student loan debt.

  • Pete Souza had the perfect reaction to Trumps like, really smart tweets

    Pete Souza had the perfect reaction to Trumps like, really smart tweets


    Donald Trump had one of his most unforgettable series of tweets Saturday morning, touting his own mental stability, claiming that he's, "like, really smart," and calling himself a genius.

    SEE ALSO: Pete Souza throws shade at Trump for 'nuclear button' tweet

    Pete Souza, the former photographer for the Obama White House who has become one of the internet's foremost Trump shade-throwers, had the perfect reaction(opens in a new tab) to the tweets:

    View this post on Instagram


    (opens in a new tab)

    In a three-tweet thread on Saturday morning, the 45th President of the United States decried the fact that people were questioning his mental stability and intelligence, claiming that he was, in fact, mentally stable and smart. Trump's tweets likely had something to do with the recently released book Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff, which contains a handful of bombshell quotes and anecdotes from those arrayed around the president, including some from his inner circle.

    The tweet that Souza quoted along with the picture of Barack Obama looking downtrodden and disappointed contained the line: "Throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart." It's so bad that it sounds like a joke, but I assure you: It's not.

    That picture of Obama, eyes cast downward and one hand on his solemn face, is the perfect encapsulation of what everyone is feeling: Is he serious? He can't be serious. Did he really type that tweet out and hit send?

    He did. He tweeted that. That's the Commander in Chief of the United States, and he decided to push back against insults to his intelligence by saying he's, "like, really smart."