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No one cares about 99% of the photos you take. Not even you.

2023-04-14 17:40:48

No one cares about 99% of the photos you take. Not even you.

No one cares about 99% of the photos you take. Not even you.(图1)

Before deepfakes and alternative facts, the online world was already telling us fibs. In our series Lies the Internet Told Me, we call 'em all out.

For our summer vacation, my wife drove us hell-for-leather between National Parks, driven by the urge to collect every stamp in her Parks Passport(Opens in a new tab). We eagerly snapped up the new National Parks Geek merch(Opens in a new tab). Our dog was sworn in as a #BarkRanger(Opens in a new tab). And I was deputized photographer, urged to get shots of thousand-year-old petroglyphs(Opens in a new tab) and cave dwellings(Opens in a new tab), not to mention the 200 million-year-old tree trunks(Opens in a new tab).

We came home. My wife pored over her passport and stamps. The magnets and decals went on fridges and cars. The dog wore his Bark Ranger badge around the neighborhood with beaming pride. And my photos? We haven’t looked through them yet. I doubt we ever will. If we really need to see that petroglyph or that tree again, it would be faster to Google them -- where we'd find a more pleasingly professional shot.

If you’re anything like me, here’s the exact number of times in any given year that you pore over your Apple Photos, Google Photos or similar library: approximately never. Who has the time? Despite the encouragement those companies give us to store all our images with them, it sits there as ones and zeros -- billions of merely theoretical photos expending massive amounts of energy on cloud servers, costing each of us a few bucks every month.

Or worse, the photos are consigned to death row on a single vulnerable hard drive, awaiting its inevitable failure.

Sure, you might dip into the archive for a minute or two every now and then. Wearing your Instagram or Facebook hats, you pluck an image from obscurity, elevating them to the relative stardom of a few Likes. In the social archives, at least, you might look back at them more often. But you're lucky if this elevation happens to more than one in a hundred snaps.

The average picture you take will fade into forever, and it’s high time we got real about this. We live in an age of digital abundance, one that has devalued photos more than anything. The Snapchat-and-Stories generation treats them as expendable and ephemeral, but Gen Xers are no better -- we just fool ourselves into thinking we're preserving history in these dusty, pricy digital archives. But what exactly are we preserving, and for whom?

Will our descendants, beset on all sides by ever more media, even bother to look? If we don't, why would they?

The rise and fall of the photo

No one cares about 99% of the photos you take. Not even you.(图2)

The OG Instagram: Four unidentified women show off their inexpensive Kodak Brownie cameras in the 1900s. Credit: SSPL via Getty Images

We've seen a half-century decline in the value of photographs. From the first ever taken in 1822 through the launch of the one-dollar Kodak Brownie in 1900, they were unique, one of a kind, priceless objects. The Brownie brought us the snapshot, but these were still pieces of treasure: expensive to develop, taken relatively rarely, mounted in carefully guarded albums that nevertheless shed like leaves over the decades. I have, for example, just two precious photographs each of my English and Italian grandfathers.

The abundant ephemerality of photos started to sneak up on us in 1963, with the first Polaroid camera you could load with a “packfilm,” 100 color exposures strong. You pointed, shot, and peeled each one apart to develop it. A decade later, you didn’t even need to peel. (You also never needed to shake a Polaroid picture; shaking could in fact damage the exposure. Thanks a lot, Outkast.)

Credit: popular science

The digital camera brought its own kind of limitations. To cover the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997, I bought a bulky piece of plastic that looked like a pair of binoculars. It took about 10 blotchy shots before needing a recharge. Would this replace film? I was skeptical.

SEE ALSO: It’s a mistake to think that our online and IRL lives are separate

Five years later, I toted a palm-size digital camera to Japan, where a mobile media messaging company tried to convince me that sending small pixelated photos over your phone was the future. I was skeptical.

I had no idea of the size of the approaching deluge, no sense that the coming decades would make me so photographically rich -- and so attention-poor.

Pics and it didn't happen

Top strip, 1 photo wide: All the digital photos I took in 1997. Middle strip, 13 photos wide: 2007. Bottom strip, 25 photos wide: 2017. Credit: chris taylor

Apple Photos, the heir to iPhoto, is organized chronologically; you zoom out and get a multicolored, pixelated view of how many snaps you took (or uploaded from) each year. When I look at my library, it’s easy to see that the vast majority of the 25,332 shots and 950 videos it stores, more than 100 GB of data, hail from the last decade.

A kind of Cambrian explosion(Opens in a new tab) of life took place in the late 2000s, after the launch of the iPhone. On top of that, you can see an increase in duplicates in the 2010s -- a sure sign that I stopped pruning my photographic garden. It has gone to seed, a forgotten forest of clones. (iOS, at least, is soon to be smart enough to cull the clones.)

Every so often in this forest you see the bright flowering of a well-tended photo, saved to the roll from Instagram -- the clones that saw the sunlight.

Even without duplicates, this explosion looks set to continue. Multiple estimates have placed the number of digital photos we take per year north of one trillion since 2015(Opens in a new tab), triple the number in 2010. One estimate from Info Trends(Opens in a new tab) put the number in 2017 at 1.2 trillion -- or 160 photos for everyone alive on the planet, year in, year out -- and says it's increasing by 100 billion a year.

No one cares about 99% of the photos you take. Not even you.(图3)

It's hard to imagine history will care about even 1 billion of them. What of the rest, then? I'm all for historical preservation, but are we doomed to keep piling up trillions of unseen photos every year, like so many boxes in an ever-expanding warehouse, on the off-chance that one of them contains the Ark of the Covenant?(Opens in a new tab)

We still care about Einstein's vacation snaps (here, the famous physicist  and his wife visit the Petrified Forest). Yours? Not so much. Credit: national parks service

There are plenty of clone photos on display outdoors at the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. In front of the painted desert, black and white shots from the 1880s are shown side by side with color photos of the same site from the 1980s. The point is to show that the landscape hasn't changed, because the park has prevented people from running off with the long-dead, mineral-rich trees.

There's another, more subtle message at work: We're all taking the same damn photo here, people, and we have done for nearly 140 years. What's one more picture at this spot? Maybe we should give it a rest, and fully enjoy being here in this moment.

Did we listen, my fellow National Parks Geeks and I? We did not. We stood in awe of the painted desert for a moment, then automatically raised our phones. Taking care not to allow any strangers in the shot -- nothing that might make it truly unique! -- we snapped away. And on servers thousands of miles away, more data trees were added to a vast and petrified forest.

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    It's like writing fanfiction, but in your head, while masturbating. Credit: VICKY LETA / mashable

    Take "self-love" literally

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    Start by setting the right romantic mood. Throw on some lingerie that makes you feel sexy, use your favorite candle or essential oil diffuser, put on some sexy yet low key tunes, pour yourself a glass of wine or engage in your preferred weed consumption method, and finally rub massage oil over every inch of your skin, working out the kinks and relaxing your muscles. Now, touch yourself down there in all your favorite ways.

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    You are your own best sex partner. Credit: BOB AL-GREENE / MASHABLE

    But seriously, use masturbation as an occasion to shower your body in love. There's research showing a positive link between positive body image and sexual satisfaction(Opens in a new tab). Achieving that is a lot easier said than done. But certain masturbation exercises can really help you embody the fact that you are worthy of and deserve deeper pleasure (we'll get into that more in the mindful masturbation section below).

    For now, while rubbing massage oil on yourself, marvel at the parts of your body you love most. They don't even have to be an erogenous zone, just something you genuinely adore — like the nape of your neck, insides of your wrists, curve of your hip, the butt dimples on the small of your back.

    Give yourself the luxury of going slow

    Let's be real: quick orgasms kinda suck a lot of the time. Despite sex toy marketing and rappers glorifying this idea of "making her cum fast," pleasure is neither a race nor a competition. Actually, if you cum too quickly, there's usually not enough build-up and it's an indication that you're masturbating on auto-pilot.

    Working hard to reach orgasm —and by that we mean either purposefully delaying your orgasm by "edging" or experimenting with other new, untried, potentially even unsuccessful methods — is nothing to be ashamed of.

    Pleasure is neither a race nor a competition

    While trying out a lot of these new tips, don't think of climax as the ultimate goal of your masturbation session. It puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on yourself and distracts from the fun process of exploration. Success during a self-love session is simply learning more about what you like and don't like. And, counterintuitively, you'll actually be more likely to reach orgasm if you're not actively thinking or trying to get there.

    Anyway, the longer it takes to reach orgasm, the more powerful they usually are. That's why edging can be a great solo experiment.

    Edging is low effort with high reward. Start by getting off with your tried and true jerking off methods, but just as you feel yourself on the edge of climax, pull back and stop. It'll take some practice and patience, but trust us, it's worth it. Just do it over and over again, as many times as you can take before finally giving in.

    Experiment with new, unexplored sensations

    Edging isn't the only easy way to turn familiar techniques into new sensations.

    If you like to get your rocks off manually, test patterns and speeds that vary from your usual methods. Again, OMG Yes(Opens in a new tab) and O.School(Opens in a new tab) are fantastic resources for this. If you've got some sex toys in your arsenal, use them in unexpected ways (though, of course, respect any warnings from the manual about internal versus external use). For example, use your vibrator for more indirect stimulation, like to tease your nipples, or over your panties, or anywhere other than your clitoris — like the area around your vaginal opening. If your sex toy has different edges or attachments, test those out. If you've got the right kind of toy, you might experiment with temperature play by warming it in hot water or putting it in the fridge for a little while.

    Immerse yourself in any type(Opens in a new tab) of sensory play(Opens in a new tab), really. Use an ice cube or low-temperature, body-safe massage oil(Opens in a new tab) and wax candles(Opens in a new tab). Bring different textures into the mix, luxuriating in how silk feels on your skin, running a downy feather all over, or venturing into some light pain territory with a pinwheel(Opens in a new tab). If those are too out there, experiment with lubes focused on different sensory experiences, especially cannabis-infused lube. (Be sure to look up some guides(Opens in a new tab) on which type to use and how to use them properly.)

    You won't always end up liking a lot of what you try. But these exercises will help spark your curiosity and ground you in your body (so remember these tips for our section on mindful masturbation below).

    Last, go for a variety of different types of orgasms. Clitoral orgasms are great, don't get me wrong — there's a reason they're the most popular and effective method for people with vaginas. But use your masturbation sessions to explore your potential for other types, like multiple, vaginal, g-spot, or even the holy grail blended orgasm. Do not put pressure on yourself to cum, though, because not everyone's body responds to these types of stimulations.

    Practice mindful masturbation before and during your self-love sesh

    This one's kind of a trick, because most of everything we've gone over so far can fit under the umbrella of mindful sex, an increasingly popular approach to helping you stay present in your body during experiences of pleasure.

    Mindful sex includes many different practices, methods, and exercises (some of which we've already covered). To oversimplify a bit, it basically applies sexuality to the core principles and exercises of mindfulness (like meditation). And it's also an especially powerful solo practice.

    Let's start with something pretty familiar, like sexy tantric yoga before masturbating.

    Yoga can help you get in touch with your body, disperse breath throughout it, and release tension from your muscles (especially the usually tense ones around your pelvis). By opening your body up and relaxing, there's a high chance you'll have better orgasms(Opens in a new tab).

    Tantric breathing or orgasmic mediation(Opens in a new tab) is another great way to do this that doesn't require getting off your ass. We enjoy the guides to tantric breathing and meditation on Dipsea(Opens in a new tab) or Youtube instructors like this one(Opens in a new tab) as a jumping-off point.

    By opening your body up and relaxing, there's a high chance you'll have better orgasms.

    For mindful sex geared toward positive body image, incorporate a meditative mindset into the solo date-night massage oil ritual we went over earlier.

    While touching and looking at your naked body, approach every part of it with a detached, non-judgmental curiosity, like you're seeing it for the first time. In your head, describe the parts of your body using neutral language. Focus on the exact shade of your skin, the angle of your elbows, the size of your toes. This will be tough at first, since your mind is likely conditioned to zero in on insecurities with charged, harsh language (like ugly, saggy, flabby, etc). That's OK, too. Accept those thoughts, letting them go before continuing to observe the color of the veins on your wrist, roundness of your knees, number of freckles on your arm.

    Next, do all that in front of a mirror for as short or as long a time as you feel comfortable. The more regularly you do it, the better you'll get at both accepting any negative thoughts and going back to nonjudgmental curiosity.

    You reaching nirvana through jerking off. Credit: bob al greene / mashable

    If you really want to ramp up this exercise, bring a handheld mirror into the bed and look at your genitals while you touch them. Knowing your own anatomy is key to knowing your pleasure. So just play around with identifying the different parts of your vagina (use charts like these(Opens in a new tab) to help guide you), noticing which areas feel good, bad, or just meh when you touch them.

    Again, it's only natural for these exercises to feel difficult or jarring at first. We suggest doing these more advanced practices after you've already done other, more basic mindful sex stuff, like deep breathing or yoga or whatever else helps you get into that present-moment mindset.

    Keep a journal of all the new things you're trying

    While you're in the process of immersing yourself in these new sensations, exercises, and experiments, keep a little masturbation captain's log to debrief and analyze your experiences. It doesn't need to be much. Just the act of giving yourself the space and time to really analyze your pleasure can do wonders to up your masturbation game in the long run.

    If you're unsure what to write down, start by tracking and rating every self-love session or orgasm (if you have one). Why was it better or worse, do you think? What really turned you on? What didn't work? Are you excited to try something else, based on what you learned? Did anything make it more difficult to enjoy yourself?

    It can be fun to think of yourself almost like a scientist, framing each masturbation experiment as a question, then testing that hypothesis, then writing about the results after.

    Soon enough, you'll have a full-on doctorate in self-love.

  • Michael B. Jordan had the perfect response to this tweet about him still living with his parents

    Michael B. Jordan had the perfect response to this tweet about him still living with his parents


    Michael B. Jordan may be a no-holds-barred badass in the world of Wakanda, but IRL he's actually just a nice guy.

    He's happy to honour a lost bet, he's a big fan of anime, and he shares a home with his parents.

    SEE ALSO: Lupita Nyong'o is still making Michael B. Jordan do pushups, and it's still hilarious

    On Thursday, a tweet describing some of these lesser-known Jordan facts went viral.

    So viral, in fact, that it caught the attention of the man himself. And he wanted to set the record straight on a few things...



    Turns out he really is a big anime fan, too.

    Good for you, Michael B. Jordan. In 2018, no man should have to hide his love for anime.

  • Trump’s campaign exploited default opt-in settings. It cost his supporters millions.

    Trump’s campaign exploited default opt-in settings. It cost his supporters millions.

    Trump is gone from the White House, but his supporters are still feeling the hurt of his campaign's insidious fundraising tactics.


    A new report from the New York Times(Opens in a new tab) shows how the Trump campaign used default "opt in" checkboxes to eke as much money as possible out of unwitting donors. While the actual amount taken in by this tactic remains unknown, the campaign ended up refunding 10 percent of the $1.2 billion it raised leading up to and after the election. That's $120 million in refunded donations.

    In small print, and dwarfed by surrounding, unrelated bold and all-caps text, the president's website defaulted to pre-checking boxes that turned one-time donations into monthly and even weekly ones as Election Day neared. Trump's anger at being out-raised by Democrats reportedly fueled the tactics.

    In addition to recurring donations, a second pre-checked box doubled the contribution, or added a bonus $100 to the donation. The all-caps text dwarfing the disclosure of the second amount communicated messages like "CONGRATS!! You've been selected as our End-of-Quarter MVP!," opting donors in to "join the cash blitz now." One box that appeared in the spring before the election opted users into an additional donation in honor of Trump's birthday on June 14. Fundraisers referred to these second box events as "the money bomb."

    Donors who spoke to the Times said they were unaware of the recurring donations they were making, and it resulted in drained and over-drafted bank accounts. In some cases, it pushed donors over the legal limit of $2,800 per individual, per election cycle. The Times described the refunded money as "an interest-free loan from unwitting supporters at the most important juncture of the 2020 race."

    A company called WinRed powered the online portal, while Jared Kushner oversaw its efforts on behalf of the Trump campaign. WinRed takes a 3.8 percent fee off of donations, plus 30 cents. Its policy is to keep the fees from refunded donations, which netted the company "roughly" $5 million from refunded contributions, according to the Times.

    In the digital ecosystem, pre-checked opt-in boxes are seen as an insidious way for companies to get users to agree to terms and practices beneficial to companies that users might not agree to otherwise. For example, Facebook previously opted users into having their pictures scanned for facial recognition; it changed that policy(Opens in a new tab) in 2019 after it lost a court case about the practice. Prohibiting opt-in policies have become a focus for laws in Europe(Opens in a new tab) and California(Opens in a new tab) to help strengthen user privacy.

    The Trump campaign and WinRed apparently stand against the defaulting-to-opt-in tide. The company ran campaigns with the same tactics for Republican incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in Georgia's U.S. Senate run-off races. The Republican National Committee reportedly views the company as the vanguard of the party's fundraising technology.

    One of the WinRed founders said in a 2017 article(Opens in a new tab) that “Asking for forgiveness is easier than permission.” That's a handy philosophy, especially when it makes you millions of dollars.

    Related Video: How to recognize and avoid fake news

  • What its like to learn from Twitter that your grandpas become a meme


    What its like to learn from Twitter that your grandpas become a meme

    At any moment in time, whether you want it to happen or not, someone could take a photo of you, post it online, and turn it into a meme for the internet's enjoyment. (This, I assume, is the price we pay for existing in 2018.)

    And as one Reddit user recently learned, this applies to everyone — even grandpas. On Thursday, u/manic_unicorn(opens in a new tab) revealed in a post that her grandfather was once the subject of a meme.

    SEE ALSO: Instagram now lets you see when your friends are online

    "My cousin was browsing Twitter and came across this picture of our grandpa at the mall with his friends that a stranger took and captioned 'Squad Goals'," she wrote in the Reddit post of the photo, and noting that the image "had been retweeted thousands of times."

    My cousin was browsing Twitter and came across this picture of our grandpa at the mall with his friends that a stranger took and captioned “Squad Goals” it had been retweeted thousands of times. (My grandpa is the one looking straight at the camera)(opens in a new tab) from r/pics(opens in a new tab)

    In a Reddit direct message with Mashable, u/manic_unicorn (whose name is Brooke) explained how she first learned that her grandfather and his friends were now viral content.

    "It all happened during a family get together," Brooke wrote. "It was actually my cousins [sic] girlfriend who first saw the meme circling twitter and she thought it was Pawpaw so she confirmed it with my cousin."

    Brooke said she was initially shocked to see the photo, but considered it pretty benign and even humorous. Then her grandfather caught wind of what happened.

    "We told him then and there about it but he had no clue what a meme was and was just very angry that a stranger would post a photograph of him on the internet without his knowledge," she wrote.

    Though her grandfather was annoyed at first, Brooke said that once they'd explained the concept of memes and "squad goals," he ended up thinking the whole thing was "pretty funny."

    Brooke says the photo's been floating around the internet for four years now, though she's not sure when it first ended up online. It still exists on Twitter, Pinterest(opens in a new tab), and even 9gag(opens in a new tab).

    Not much has changed since her grandfather became a meme, according to Brooke. He's yet to be recognized in public, though a few people who know him personally have seen the meme online and asked if it was him.

    Lucky for Brooke's grandfather, the experience of becoming a meme against one's will hasn't been nearly as irritating as it has been for others, like Dustin Mattson(opens in a new tab) of "Hipster Barista," or romance novelist Carly Philips(opens in a new tab) of "Sheltering Suburban Mom" fame.

    And if you're wondering if Brooke's grandfather and his friends still hang out, the answer is yes. Brooke says they meet at the mall every morning, five days a week.

  • People are sharing videos and pictures of their college professors being ridiculous

    People are sharing videos and pictures of their college professors being ridiculous


    Imagine you're in high school, goofing around and chatting with your friends when your teacher breaks out the classic phrase — "you won't be able to get away with this in college!"

    The image is then conjured in your mind of how college must be a time insanely rigid deadlines (no extensions EVER), uptight teachers with inflexible lateness policies, and an overwhelming mountain of coursework. And yeah, some professors are unfortunately, like that.

    However, most of the time, college is more like emailing your professor a five-paragraph, carefully-worded inquiry and receiving "k — Sent from iPhone" as a response.

    SEE ALSO: Why Colleges Love Influencers


    Twitter user @katiesmith024 kicked off a thread of professors either goofing off during their own lesson or using some uh, unusual teaching methods. Her own professor is seen standing on a desk, dancing and jamming on the ol' tambourine to "End of The Line" by Traveling Wilburys. What was his original lesson again? Who cares!

    These professors are too chill for their own good. Here are our favorites.

    1. Ah shit, here we go again.

    2. Break out the glow sticks, cause this class just turned into a RAVE.

    3. "Elon Musk, move over, here I come!"

    4. Ay, but where's the mixtape though. 👀

    5. Improvise! Adapt! Overcome!

    6. "Well if you're sure — better be THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION."

    7. Wheelin' and dealin' (out knowledge.)

    8. Method actors, always trying to upstage you.

    9. Merry anniversary of thy birth.

    10. A seven nation army couldn't hold him back.

    11. Accurate.

    12. Oh you KNOW he's got the horses in the back.

    13. Word: Robert. Definition: A really cool professor.

    14. Forget mitochondria, anime is the real powerhouse of the cell.

    15. Why are you hitting yourself? Why are you hitting yourself?

    This one's for all you educators that learn the latest dance craze or let your students call you by your first name. You're not a regular professor, you're a cool professor.

  • YouTube promises creators more transparency and expanded features

    YouTube promises creators more transparency and expanded features


    YouTube wants its creators to know that the company hears them loud and clear.

    YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki published her latest letter to creators(opens in a new tab) on Monday, discussing the company's priorities for the rest of the year. While the bulk of the letter covered the threat Article 13 in the EU poses on the YouTube community, Wojcicki also snuck in a slew of major updates for its content creators.

    SEE ALSO: YouTube now lets you subscribe to a channel from an embedded video

    Going forward, YouTube will be improving its communications with creators, according to Wojcicki. YouTube has a bit of a reputation for not always being transparent, often leaving many in the dark when it comes to platform upgrades. The company says it will provide regular updates through its Twitter account(opens in a new tab) and Creator Insider YouTube channel,(opens in a new tab) as well as through the new YouTube Studio(opens in a new tab).

    YouTube Studio is the new YouTube user backend formerly known as Creator Studio, which will officially roll out across all channels in 2019. The YouTube Studio beta is available for use now, and centers around platform news and updates.


    In 2019, YouTube will also be expanding its new video upload flow known as “self-certification.” This pilot program currently allows specific creators to provide information about their videos in order to “accurately represent the content” to advertisers on the platform.

    Speaking of monetization, YouTube is lowering the threshold for creators looking to offer viewers paid memberships to their channel. Previously the Channel Memberships feature was only available to creators with over 100,000 subscribers on their channel. Now, any channel with 50,000 subscribers can provide the membership option to their audience. Wojcicki says that YouTube plans to expand this further down the line as well.

    YouTube has also just expanded its Premieres(opens in a new tab) feature to all of its creators. This feature is particularly cool, as it allows creators to schedule pre-recorded content to “premiere” as a livestream, allowing users to live chat and interact together upon the debut of the video.

    Shifting focus on to a specific type of content, YouTube announced a new YouTube learning channel with “curated tutorials, DIY videos, skill-based playlists, and other high-quality educational content.” In order to encourage and “support education focused creators and expert organizations,” YouTube also announced a Learning Fund, where they will invest $20 million into these types of YouTube channels.

    Rounding out the latest news for creators, Wojcicki touched upon on the new “Gaming Destination” replacing YouTube Gaming, recent updates to how the platform takes on misinformation and breaking news, and a new beta program called YouTube Giving that allows creators to raise money for causes. With all these new features headed creators' way this year, YouTube has a few busy months ahead of it.


  • Barbra Streisand calls out female directors being overlooked in powerful Times Up speech

    Barbra Streisand calls out female directors being overlooked in powerful Times Up speech


    Barbra Streisand couldn't quite believe her ears when she was informed backstage that she was the only woman to ever win the Best Director award at the Golden Globes.

    "Did I hear right?" she said, puzzled, on-stage when she recounted this anecdote prior to announcing the nominees for Best Motion Picture.

    SEE ALSO: Tiffany Haddish had the distinct honor of teaching Barbra Streisand all about Cardi B

    "I was the only woman—did I hear right?— the only woman to get the Best Director award," Streisand said. "And, you know, that was 1984. That was 34 years ago."

    "Folks, time's up!" Streisand bellowed.

    Streisand won the Golden Globe for Best Director for Yentl, a film about a young Jewish woman who disguises herself as a boy so she can study Judaism, because girls are prohibited from studying about religious scripture.

    Streisand had a message for her colleagues seated before her. "We need more women directors and more women to be nominated for best director. There are so many films out there that are so good directed by women," she said.

    She added that she's "very proud" to stand in a room with people who "speak out against gender inequality, sexual harassment, and the pettiness that has poisoned our politics."


    "And I'm proud that our industry, faced with uncomfortable truths has vowed to change the way we do business," she said.

    She also talked about the power of film to change people's views and to effect change within society.

    "Truth is powerful and in a really good film we recognise the truth about ourselves, about others, and it's so powerful that it can change people's minds, touch people's hearts, and ultimately even change society itself," said Streisand.

    Hear, hear.

  • Its time to retire the cheese pull

    Its time to retire the cheese pull


    Mashable bites into a creamy, nutty, gooey, and sometimes stinky world during our first-ever Cheese Week.

    Cheese, in all its melty, salty, indigestion-inducing goodness, will probably always be a mainstay online. Lactose intolerance memes alone will make sure of that. But the kind of cheese that rules the internet is changing. And the cheese pull's gotta go.

    Even if you don't know the term, you've definitely seen a cheese pull at some point. It's that mouthwatering string of mozzarella that stretches from a slice of pizza when you pull it from the pie, or the gooey strands between two separating halves of a grilled cheese sandwich. It's the star of every single Domino's commercial, thousands of Instagram posts, and quite a few of BuzzFeed's Tasty videos(Opens in a new tab). But here's the trouble with cheese pulls: They're not grounded in reality.

    While it's long been an effective advertising tool(Opens in a new tab), the cheese pull rose to internet ubiquity in the mid 2010s -- a particularly cheesy era for viral food. At the time, mainstream food content was focused firmly on the larger-than-life: the bigger, gooier, and more colorful, the better. (Think rainbow grilled cheese, pizza cake(Opens in a new tab), bacon-cheddar-ranch everything.) This genre is connected to what The Hairpin termed snackwave(Opens in a new tab): the internet phenomenon through which liking junk food became, particularly for women, a common online personality.

    Gaining steam on Tumblr and spurred by (conventionally attractive) junk food lovers like Rory Gilmore and Liz Lemon, the internet's snack obsession was eventually co-opted by brands and viral media companies, who then filled our feeds with increasingly over-the-top, often shoehorned-in "food trends." That's how we got unicorn food. Rainbow food. That grotesque cheese-filled bun(Opens in a new tab) that seems designed to blister the roof of your mouth. And, from the seemingly never-ending stream of Tasty videos(Opens in a new tab) to the #cheesepull(Opens in a new tab) hashtag on Instagram, the cheese pull became part of the internet's daily diet.

    But like a wheel of Double Gloucester rolling down Cooper's Hill(Opens in a new tab), the cheese pull got away from us. As more cheese pull videos appeared, the landscape became increasingly saturated, with publishers competing to publish the gooiest, greasiest cheese pulls out there. Today, a previously appetizing genre has morphed into a disturbingly exaggerated version of itself, one that doesn't reflect food that's even appealing to eat.

    Is it nice to eat a salty, cheesy slice of pizza? Yes. Would it be nice to eat a damp, soft slice of pizza groaning under the weight of its own enormous, slick, and rapidly congealing slab of three-cheese blend? No. Would you even be able to pick up that slice of pizza? No. Would you be forced to eat the pizza with a knife and fork, thereby breaking the only important pizza rule? Yes. What a mess this would be! And yet it's this very type of cheese excess that defines the current cheese pull landscape. It's not about how delicious cheese can be -- it's all about aesthetics.

    Journalist Bettina Makalintal spoke to this problem(Opens in a new tab) in a story for Vice earlier this year. "Cheese pulls are active acts of manipulation trying to sucker your neurons into wanting something that probably won’t taste as good as it looks," she wrote. "And now we’ve taken that concept so far past the point of diminishing returns that even the visuals are, frankly, kind of gross."

    It's true. Taken to the extreme, cheese pulls can be really gross. And -- for some people, at least -- they're divorced from the idea of edible cheese almost entirely. When I look at a cheese pull on Instagram, I don't really think of cheese. I think of creaminess, thickness, heat: ideas that are associated with cheese, but not necessarily vital to the cheese experience.

    SEE ALSO: YouTube cooking channel involves two guys making surprise lunch for strangers

    I spoke with several cheese aficionados who expressed similar sentiments. Writer Hayley Schueneman, who is a self-proclaimed cheese lover, described extreme cheese pull videos as "weird" and "twisted."

    "It's a reminder that maybe we shouldn't be eating something that stretches like that," she said.

    Journalist Maya Kosoff has a similar opinion of the cheese pull genre. She explained via Twitter DM that while she "unequivocally love[s] cheese" and is not lactose intolerant, she finds cheese pulls nearly impossible to look at.

    "Maybe we shouldn't be eating something that stretches like that."

    "Honestly before Viral Food Video was a thing, cheese pulls didn't even initially bother me! HOWEVER, in 2017 I saw a video that changed my life forever," she said.

    This video featured a classic of the grotesque cheese pull genre: New Jersey restaurant Tony Boloney's rainbow mozzarella sticks. The appetizers, which were originally called "unicorn blood" mozzarella sticks (remember the bizarre unicorn trend of 2017?), are filled with cheese dyed with "dehydrated fruits like beets, carrots, strawberries, spinach, and blueberries," according to an INSIDER video(Opens in a new tab). The results are tubes of bright red, blue, green, and yellow mozzarella that, while ostensibly unaltered in flavor, do not look like cheese at all.

    "Something about the way the colored cheese looked oozing out of a deep-fried crust, all of these unnatural colors, made my stomach turn, and it totally colored how I think about cheese pulls now," Kosoff said.

    Of course, keeping a restaurant afloat is no easy feat, and it's understandable that businesses capitalize on viral trends in order to strengthen their online footprint. But cheese pulls aren't marketing a food; they're marketing the idea that being visually overwhelmed is inherently positive. As Makalintal pointed out, "the problem with Big Cheese Pull is that it's just bait to make you buy things."



    View this post on Instagram
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    But if not the cheese pull, what does the next wave of online cheese look like? For one thing, it'll probably be more cooking-focused. Many millennials, in particular, aren't just looking for outright decadence in their food content. Burned out and searching for meaning and stability in life(Opens in a new tab), it makes sense they'd be interested in making things.

    And Gen Z is showing more than a passing interest in cooking their own food, or at least an interest in wholesome, balanced eating. According to one study(Opens in a new tab) from the NPD Group, a market research company, Gen Z's top source for recipes is social media.

    There's plenty to find. Homemade cheese plates, for instance, are becoming increasingly common on Instagram, with influencers like Marissa Mullen providing guidance for the masses. In an interview with Vox's The Goods(Opens in a new tab), Mullen said she considers making cheese plates a form of self care: "[It's] therapeutic; you have to be in a calm space, put on music, have some natural light in your apartment. It’s like painting: You’re building a cheese plate, and it comes together, and it’s so bright and beautiful," she said.

    SEE ALSO: Airlines, ranked by free snacks

    Artistry? Process? The thrill of sharing one's creation? A cheese pull could never.

    Christina Orlando, a publicity coordinator and writer who makes cheese plates as a hobby, appreciates the activity as both a creative outlet and an opportunity to learn.

    "I’m very attracted to the art of the cheese board -- fruit, nut, and wine pairings, how the cheese selections balance each other, and of course the aesthetic aspect of it," they explained via Twitter DM. "I’ve always loved cheese. I’m always trying new varieties, but I also love the way a cheese board acts as part of the meal or event. It’s a great way of bringing people around a table."

    "I'm always saving photos from Instagram for new ideas," they added.

    View this post on Instagram
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

    Also on the rise: viral recipes, which inspire hundreds of users to make a dish and share what they've made on Instagram. Recipes like Alison Roman's chickpea stew(Opens in a new tab) ("The Stew") or her chocolate chunk shortbread cookies(Opens in a new tab) ("The Cookies") permeate Instagram Stories for days, even weeks, after they go viral. Roman herself will often repost people's creations to her own account, and it's always a nice moment of community online: Disparate people gleefully sharing their own variations on a recipe.

    It's rare for cheesy recipes to go viral in this way (though I did see a whole lot of people post Bon Appétit's(Opens in a new tab) adult mac and cheese(Opens in a new tab)). If and when we do see more of them, I suspect we won't see a grid full of exaggerated cheese pulls. After all, people are actually going to eat these dishes themselves -- probably in normal-sized servings and for multiple meals. They spent time, energy, and brainpower making them. They don't just need them to look good; they need them to taste good, and to be nourishing. Maybe they'll even be a dish to gather around with friends.

    You know, all the things that are wonderful about food.

  • Chrissy Teigen has a super groan-worthy joke about the upcoming holiday weekend

    Chrissy Teigen has a super groan-worthy joke about the upcoming holiday weekend


    It's the Friday before a three-day weekend, and while we're all anxiously waiting for the end of the workday, Chrissy Teigen's waiting for her friends to text her back.

    SEE ALSO: Chrissy Teigen found a creative way to get around Instagram's nudity rules

    The model and social media superstar tweeted a series of screenshots featuring texts, with the comment "no one has written me back." However, these aren't just regular texts.

    Each one features some variation of "are you ready," an elongated picture of singer, The Weeknd, followed by the phrase "the long weekend"—just in case anyone missed the visual pun.

    None of these messages got any response, much to Teigen's annoyance. Twitter users were quick to claim that Teigen needs better friends who appreciate the intricacies that go into her jokes.

    Teigen's always been heralded for her relatability, and waiting for a friend to respond to your hilarious text is definitely something we've all experienced. Hopefully someone's responded to Teigen by now, and hopefully that someone appreciates a good pun.


    The visual pun itself is clever enough, but we should also note that it is, in fact, The Weeknd's birthday(opens in a new tab) today, which makes this witty joke go from good to great.

  • Trump finally decides to lower White House flags to honor Capital Gazette shooting victims


    Trump finally decides to lower White House flags to honor Capital Gazette shooting victims

    UPDATE: July 3, 2018, 9:18 a.m. EDT On Tuesday morning, Trump ordered flags lowered until sunset on Tuesday evening to honor the victims of the shooting. In a statement released by the White House, Trump said, "Americans across the country are united in calling upon God to be with the victims and to bring aid and comfort to their families and friends."

    There's still a bit of confusion as to the timeline of the decision. Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said on Monday night his request for flags to be lowered was denied by the White House.

    But on Tuesday morning, CNN White House reporter Abby Phillip reported(opens in a new tab) that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, "Last night, as soon as the President heard about the request from the Mayor he ordered the flags to be lowered."

    In a follow-up tweet(opens in a new tab), Phillip indicated the decision came from the White House came only after the Capital Gazette reported on Trump's denial. This will surely not be the last we hear of this back and forth.

    Our original story, published Monday night, is below.

    President Trump declined a request to lower the American flag in memory of the five victims(opens in a new tab) who died in a shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis last week, according to the publication(opens in a new tab).

    Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley asked that the flags be lowered at federal government buildings, but his request was denied. Trump has ordered flags be lowered after other mass shootings.

    SEE ALSO: After Annapolis newsroom shooting, focus turns to Trump's media bashing

    Trump, who has referred to the press as the "enemy of the people" multiple times in the past, said on Friday(opens in a new tab) that journalists "should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job."

    But that doesn't mean journalists will receive his respect.

    “Obviously, I’m disappointed, you know? … Is there a cutoff for tragedy?” Buckley told the Gazette. “This was an attack on the press. It was an attack on freedom of speech. It’s just as important as any other tragedy."

    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan had the state's flags lowered on Friday through sunset on Monday.

    Trump has previously ordered the flag be lowered to half-staff following the death of Barbara Bush(opens in a new tab), the shooting at a Sante Fe High School(opens in a new tab), the Parkland high school shooting(opens in a new tab), and the Las Vegas shooting(opens in a new tab).

    UPDATE: July 3, 2018, 7:05 a.m. PDT A spokesperson for the city of Annapolis clarified the Gazette's reporting that the city's flags were not lowered, and provided Mashable an email showing City Manager Teresa Sutherland ordered them lowered on Friday.

    "What the Mayor said is that he was tempted to lower the AMERICAN flag himself in the City locations, but his wife talked him out of it," the spokesperson wrote in an email.

    "Only the President of the United States can order the U.S. flag to fly at half staff, so please raise the US flag to full staff," the email from Sutherland on Friday reads.