If a scary asteroid will actually strike Earth, here's how you'll know

Sun, 22 May 22 12:01:11 +0000
a conception of an asteroid hitting Earth

This story, originally published in June 2021, has been republished as part of Mashable's "Space Rocks" series.

On April 13, 2029 (which happens to be Friday the 13th), something unsettling will happen.

A decent-sized asteroid, the 1,100-foot-wide Apophis, will pass so close to Earth it'll be visible in the sky from certain places. Crucially, the giant rock will not strike our humble planet. But it will pass closer than 20,000 miles from the surface, which is closer than where some of the United States' most prized weather satellites orbit.

Asteroids like Apophis hold a fascinating place in our existence: Big impacts are at once terrible threats to our lives and potentially the habitability for many species, but they're also extremely rare and irregular events. Yet the internet — awash with clickbait — likes to incessantly warn of incoming threats with misleading headlines like "Asteroid heading our way day before presidential election," "Should you be worried about the 'potentially hazardous' asteroid passing by Earth today?," and "Massive asteroid will swing by Earth after Valentine's Day."

These stories aren't about real danger; many of the objects pass millions of miles away. Rather, the stories are about sensationalism.

Mashable spoke with NASA’s Planetary Defense Officer, Lindley Johnson, who understands, perhaps better than anyone on the planet, what will happen when a big one comes. If a serious threat to either a region on Earth, a large swathe of Earth, or perhaps the entirety of Earth, is truly on its way — and astronomers know about it — so will you.

the asteroid Apophis
Radar images of Apophis taken in 2012. Credit: NASA/JPL-CalTech

The dangerous rocks

NASA created its Planetary Defense Coordination Office in early 2016, with a mission to provide "timely and accurate information to the government, the media, and the public on close approaches to Earth by potentially hazardous objects (PHOs) and any potential for impact."

Though sensationalist media stories about incoming asteroids are many, NASA hasn't ever sounded the alarm about a dangerous asteroid bound to impact Earth, or a very worrisome approach.

"We have never actually issued a warning," said Johnson. (But they have informed the public about what some asteroids of interest are doing.)

"We have never actually issued a warning."

Yet this planetary defense office exists because, at some point, a significant impact is inevitable (unless we build technologies to successfully deflect threatening objects.) On June 30, 1908, an asteroid, some 120 feet (37 meters) wide entered the atmosphere and then blew up over forested Siberia. Called the "Tunguska Event," the resulting shockwave mowed down trees. People 20 miles away were "thrown into the air." Forty miles away, the blast threw a man from his chair.

Such a blast could harm or devastate an urban area today. "That would be a serious event," said Johnson. But, he added, "Today there is a strong possibility that we would detect it beforehand."

NASA and other agencies do detect objects much larger, and consequently much more dangerous, than the Tunguska rock. Using big telescopes, NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies looks for asteroids and comets (called near earth objects, or NEOs) that "enter Earth's neighborhood," meaning coming within 45 million kilometers (some 28 million miles) of Earth's orbit. The rocks of particular concern are labeled "potentially hazardous asteroids." This means they come within about five million miles of Earth. (For reference, the moon is on average some 238,855 miles away.)

NASA has spotted a majority (over 90 percent) of the biggest boys, meaning rocks larger than one kilometer (0.6 miles), like the roughly six-mile-wide behemoth that wiped out the dinosaurs. Yet many dangerous rocks remain. Scientists estimate that two out of three NEOs wider than 460 feet — rocks at least around some three times larger than Tunguska — haven't been found, according to NASA's planetary defense office.

Even much smaller rocks, of more than some 30 feet (10 meters), are still threatening, as the surprise 56-foot (17-meter) rock that exploded over Russia and blew out people's windows in 2013, proved.

What will happen when a threatening rock is actually en route to Earth, and detected?

the asteroid Bennu
The "rubble-pile" asteroid Bennu, which is taller than the Empire State Building, is considered a "potentially hazardous object." Credit: NASA

The warnings

There are generally two types of warnings: notification of a very close encounter and notification of a potential impact. For either of these, you'll know they're legitimate because "NASA has actually said something about it," said Johnson.

1. Close encounter

A close encounter means a space rock isn't going to strike Earth, but NASA thinks it's still deserving of the public's attention, explained Johnson. It could be as small as a 30-foot (10-meter) rock, or it could be something bigger like Apophis. Other people might spot the close encounter of the rock (as all known NEO trajectories are posted online) and then announce or publish news of the unsettling flyby earlier than NASA. But that's OK. The agency will take at least a few hours to verify such results.

"Our goal is not to be the first to announce something, but to be the ones that provide the best information available," explained Johnson.

2. Potential impact

If NASA detects a possible impact — something larger than around 30 feet across (10 meters) with a greater than one percent chance of hitting Earth — things get serious.

Johnson's office will give warning notifications to NASA to provide the White House, Congress, and government agencies. Public warnings won't simply be in the form of a NASA press release, tweeted out and posted online. "At that point the White House takes the lead on new information being released," said Johnson. "It becomes a national emergency event," he added. FEMA would have to prepare for a disaster if an impact on U.S. soil were likely.

NASA, however, won't be working alone. They'll share information with their close asteroid monitoring partners, like the European Space Agency and the UN-recognized International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN). (For this story, scientists at the IAWN didn't comment, but suggested we speak with NASA's Johnson.)

"It becomes a national emergency event."

A crucial part of this process is telling the White House and other government leadership not only that an impact is likely (or possible), but what an impact will do. Many factors are at play, notably the size and composition of the object. "Will it detonate in Earth's atmosphere, or make it closer to the ground?" asked NASA's Johnson. "We can advise leadership as to what might be faced should the asteroid impact the planet."

The Tunguska rock, heating up as it traveled tens of thousands of mph through Earth's atmosphere, exploded. In stark contrast, a larger asteroid (some 100 to 170 feet wide) survived the atmospheric plummet and left a 600-foot-deep crater in Arizona 50,000 years ago. "A similar-size impact event today could destroy a city the size of Kansas City," David Kring, an impact expert at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, told NASA this year.

the Meteor Crater in Arizona
The Meteor Crater in Arizona. Credit: USGS
the Pan-STARRS telescope atop Maui
The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) atop Maui surveys the sky and detects new NEOs. Credit: University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy / Rob Ratkowski via Nasa

If it should pass that a sizable asteroid is destined for Earth, NASA astronomers and orbital modelers will run thousands of simulations, somewhat similar to weather or hurricane prediction, to forecast where it's likely to land. Fortunately, Earth is an ocean world, with seas covering 71 percent of the planet, so there's a good chance many rocks won't pummel land. (Though if a rock is big enough, it might not matter where it lands.)

Astronomers are finding these rocks. Taxpayer dollars are at work as NASA discovers about 500 asteroids over 460 feet wide — enough to cause at least major regional destruction — each year. (As of June 8, 2021, 9,677 of an estimated population of some 25,000 of these 460-foot-plus NEOs have been found).

Completing the survey is vital. In 2019, the "football field-sized" asteroid 2019 OK surprised astronomers. It zipped within some 40,000 miles of Earth.

"There’s still a lot of stuff out there," said Johnson.

Related Video: Facts about space that will rock your world

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Apply to more jobs in less time with LazyApply — it's on sale for only $67

Sun, 22 May 22 09:00:00 +0000
Person using laptop with notebook and pen next to them

TL;DR: As of May 22, you can get a lifetime subscription to LazyApply Job Application worth $999 for just $67. That's savings of a whopping 93%.

It may feel counterproductive to start a job hunt by signing up for a service called LazyApply, but hear us out. The LazyApply job application software lets you apply to hundreds of jobs in a single click, so you’re actually being more productive than you normally would — thanks to a little thing called automation.

Signing up for LazyApply can save you from having to constantly repeat the same tasks over and over again in your job search. Just add the extension to your Chrome browser, log in, add your résumé and other details, and begin the application process. It’s designed to work alongside sites and tools you’re likely already using to seek out employment — like LinkedIn and Indeed. So, when you find a listing that sounds perfect for you, the smart AI can automatically fill in applications with your information. When you find another, you can do it all over again without really lifting a finger.

A lifetime subscription gives you the ability to repeat this process up to 150 times a day — more than you could ever complete on your own. This is designed to increase the likelihood that you’ll secure an interview. And with analytics available per day, you can analyze how your job application performance is actually going.

Here's a quick explainer: 

Additional tools include a weekly consultation call to find out how you’re doing and get tips on how to improve. Plus, you’ll get unlimited LinkedIn profile emails to reach out to possible opportunities via profiles sent directly to you. It’s a versatile, new tool that shows potential as it continues to evolve. And with a lifetime subscription, you’ll have access to all future upgrades it rolls out.

Sign up for LazyApply while it's back at the sale price of $67 for a limited time — that’s 93% off its MSRP.

Prices subject to change.

layzapply home page under ad text
Credit: LazyApply
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Build better brand visuals with millions of stock photos on sale for up to 97% off

Sun, 22 May 22 09:00:00 +0000
Person looking at computer with the picture of a dog

TL;DR: As of May 22, you can get a one-year subscription to JumpStory's Premium Plan for just $19.99 when it's usually worth $414. To save even more, you can subscribe for three years for just $39.99 instead of $1,242, or five years for $59.99, down from $2,070.

No matter how much time you spend on the text, your brand is nothing without visuals. From your logo to your website to your social media posts, your brand images are what draw people in and make them want to learn more. It makes sense, considering visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text.

In other words, you need to add visuals to your content and a unique stock image subscription like JumpStory can help. Regularly $34 per month, you can get a one-year subscription on sale for just $19.99 ($1.66 per month). That’s 95% in savings. To save even more, you can subscribe for three years for only $39.99 ($1.11 per month) or five years for only $59.99 (99 cents per month).

We’ve featured the Lite Plan before, but this deal is for the Premium Plan, which offers more features and is ideal for small businesses. You’ll get access to millions of authentic stock photos, plus vectors, illustrations, and icons, exclusive photos and cinemagraphs, an image archive with a smart image editor, global insurance, 24-hour support, and more. 

Of course, like the Lite Plan, you’ll still get the ultra-cool personal search assistant, which is designed to help you find exactly what you’re looking for instantly. If you need to tweak an image to fit your brand, you can use the built-in editor and remove the background, change the color palette, and more in a few clicks. 

With your do-what-you-want license, you're able to use the photos, vectors, illustrations, and icons in whatever format you want — social media posts, website visuals, logos, video marketing materials, and more. Get a one-, three-, or five-year subscription for $19.99, $39.99, or $59.99 for a limited time and save up to 97%.

Prices subject to change.

Ad text next to image of person wearing sunglasses on rooftop
Credit: JumpStory
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A year of LastPass Families is on sale for just $2.75 per month

Sun, 22 May 22 09:00:00 +0000
Adult with child smiling at laptop next to other child

TL;DR: As of May 22, a yearlong subscription to LastPass Families is on sale for $32.99 instead of $48. That's 31% off, fyi.

As much as streaming services are trying to fight it, everyone shares their accounts and passwords with family and friends. Just like they share their phone plan or Amazon Prime account. It’s all about sharing the love in this day and age, and the best way to make sharing passwords as seamless and secure as possible is with a password manager.

LastPass Families (aka the family plan offered by LastPass) gives you a secure vault to store and share passwords with your family members for medical accounts, entertainment services, credit cards, finances, and more. And for a limited time, you can get a one-year subscription for only $2.75 per month ($32.99) — that’s 31% in savings from its usual $4 per month fee ($48).

One of Mashable’s top password manager picks, LastPass got our attention for its user interface and organization abilities. You can organize all of your passwords and accounts into folders sorted by the type of account (entertainment, finance, medical, etc.) or by the family member. This is designed to make finding what you need a breeze.

With the Families Plan, you’ll get unlimited passwords, access on all devices, six individual, encrypted vaults, a family manager dashboard to manage users and security, one-to-many sharing, dark web monitoring, emergency access features, and alerts when your family’s sensitive information may be compromised so you can update passwords immediately. Speaking of which, the password generator helps you create long, randomized passwords that are less likely to get hacked.

Considering a premium individual account is usually $3 per month, you’ll be getting LastPass Families for quite a steal. Of course, this deal is only available for new users and after your year is up, you’ll have to renew your subscription for the regular price. In other words, take the discount while you can get it.

Prices subject to change.

Password managing window with four bubble images of heads
Credit: LogMeIn
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Get this Apple Watch alternative on sale for just $50

Sun, 22 May 22 09:00:00 +0000
Gold, black, pink, and silver smartwatches with time and step data

TL;DR: As of May 22, the Chronowatch C-Max Call Time Smartwatch is on sale for $49.99. That's a discount of 68% from its regular price of $159.

If your only knowledge of smartwatches is based on the Apple Watch, it might be hard to believe there are some out there that are actually affordable. But such is the case for the Chronowatch C-Max Call Time smartwatch. It’s pretty affordable on a normal day at just $159, but for a limited time, it’s even less at just $49.99. That’s 68% in savings on an Apple Watch alternative that brings smartphone functionality to your wrist.

We’ve featured the regular Chronowatch C-Max before, but the Call Time brings new capabilities to the table. Like an Apple Watch, it helps you stay connected when you’re out in the world without having to take out your phone for every little thing. The previous version, however, lacked the ability to make or answer calls. With the Call Time (hence the name), you can now do both. You can also get customizable alerts for calls, texts, chat messages, and other social notifications you care about, check the weather with a quick swipe, set alarms and track time, control your music, and snap some photos from your phone like a remote shutter. 

Like any good smartwatch, it also offers workouts and health stats (although it does not replace any medical device, of course). You can track how well you slept, keep tabs on your heart rate throughout the day, count your steps, calories, and other metrics, and even track activities like bike rides, runs, swims (it’s IP67 waterproof), or jumping rope.

It doesn’t offer quite as much bang for your buck as an Apple Watch, but you can still customize your watch screen on the compatible app and change out your flexible silicone band to another option. Plus, you honestly can’t beat the price. Get the C-Max Call Time smartwatch from Chronowatch for just $49.99 (reg. $159) for a limited time.

Prices subject to change.

pink smartwatch with data
Credit: ChronoWatch
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A set of cozy bamboo sheets is on sale for only $35

Sun, 22 May 22 09:00:00 +0000
Grey bed with four pillows

TL;DR: As of May 22, you can get a Bamboo Comfort Luxury Sheet Set (king size) on sale for just $34.29. That's 73% off its regular price of $129. You can also get solid deals on full and queen sizes as well.

Memorial Day might be the perfect time to buy a new mattress, but the weekend before (ahem, now) is a great time to buy new sheets. You can save 73% on a new set of cozy bamboo sheets in a variety of color options for a limited time.

Sheets are the most overlooked part of your bedding, with your pillows and the mattress itself often taking more of your attention. But that doesn’t mean they’re unimportant. Your sheets can make or break your sleep routine, and if yours aren’t cutting it, it’s probably time to upgrade. This deal on luxury bamboo and microfiber sheets should make the decision a no-brainer, as a complete king set is on sale for only $34.29.

A set includes six pieces: a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, and four pillowcases. Toss out your mix-and-match sets and finally give your bed a much-needed adult makeover. They come in white, silver, ivory, or aqua to match your room.

The sheets are made from 60 percent 90gsm microfiber and 40 percent bamboo fiber, which is said to be pretty soft to the touch. They also claim to be hypoallergenic and wrinkle-free, for what it’s worth.

These sheets are designed for mattresses up to 16 inches with deep pockets. If you have a thinner mattress, you might have some excess material to deal with, but it's no biggie. 

Don't neglect your sheets when you upgrade your bedding this season. Get a king set of bamboo and microfiber sheets on sale for just $34.29, which is 73% off the $129 MSRP. You can also get a solid deal on a queen or full set as well.

Prices subject to change.

Stack of grey sheets
Credit: Bed Bath Fashions
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Mirror brings studio-style fitness classes to your living room — for a high price

Sun, 22 May 22 08:30:00 +0000
Person taking a mirror selfie in front of the Mirror

Since the start of the pandemic, at-home workouts have been king. If you're already working from home, why go out into the world to get a workout in? Decking out a home gym means you'll skip out on gym membership fees and you'll never have to worry about smelling other people's sweat while you exercise.

For folks who don't have the cash or the space to build out a full home gym, fitness mirrors are the next best thing. These wall mounted or freestanding workout machines bring studio-style workouts to your living room with minimal space required. Launched back in 2018, the Mirror was the first of its kind in the fitness tech space, and it's held up to a whole onslaught of competitors since then.

What is the Mirror? How does the Mirror work?

Mirror is a just that — a mirror that also doubles as a screen to stream live and on-demand workout classes from home. It acts as an actual mirror when the screen is turned on or off, allowing you to check your form during workouts while blending into your home decor when not in use. While some fitness mirrors are touchscreens, the Mirror doesn't have touch capabilities. Instead, it's controlled through a partner smartphone app where you can select classes, music, and more.

Upfront, the Mirror costs $1,495 with no added accessories, and requires a $39 per month membership to access all of the classes through the app. There are also other more expensive Mirror packages that include workout bands, a heart rate monitor, or Mirror's new smart weights if you want to up the ante of your workouts from the get-go.

When Mirror is on, it's a smart home gym screen. When it's off, it blends right into your home decor.
Mirror screen showing a trainer leading a workout
Credit: Jae Thomas/Mashable
Mirror next to a shelf full of plants
Credit: Jae Thomas/Mashable

When turned on, the Mirror shows a trainer on the screen leading the selected workout class. Simultaneously, the paired smartphone app will give you all the necessary controls to customize your experience, from music selection to volume to time elapsed. Mirror also offers personal training sessions that use the device's installed camera, but these cost extra on top of the membership fee.

During the class, you can adjust volume, skip ahead, and view your progress on your phone.
Screenshot of Mirror app in-class controls
Credit: Screenshot: Mirror
Screenshot of Mirror app in-class controls
Credit: Screenshot: Mirror

What types of workouts does the Mirror have?

Mirror offers the following workout types: barre, boxing, cardio, chair, competitive, dance, family fun, kickboxing, meditation, pilates, pre/postnatal, strength, stretch, tai chi, toning, yoga, and personal training. Within each of these genres, all classes can be filtered by difficulty, length (from five minutes to 60 minutes), instructor, equipment needed, impact, and history (whether you've taken the class or not/bookmarked it).

Mirror class filtering in the smartphone app
Select from 17 different genres from Mirror's on-demand library. Credit: Screenshot: Mirror
Mirror live class filtering in app
Live classes happen nearly every hour from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET. Credit: Screenshot: Mirror

In addition to hundreds of on-demand classes, there's a pretty decked-out schedule of live and encore classes if you want to really get into the studio feel. In terms of new live classes, there are about 10 to 20 per day depending on the day of the week.

In comparison to other workout apps, the Mirror is very beginner friendly. There are a whole slew of beginner-level classes that require zero equipment, so it's motivating for folks who don't have built-up strength just yet. The classes offer a positive vibe without being too cult-y, so any type of user will feel comfortable. During testing, the beginner and intermediate pilates and toning classes were my favorite, as they required only light weights and the occasional resistance band. For folks who want to do more serious lifting with the Mirror, you'll have to have your own weights or invest in a set of Mirror's new smart weights.

Mirror classes versus Peloton classes

When compared to classes on the Peloton App, Mirror classes tend to be a little more chill and laid back. Since Mirror is owned by Lululemon, there are a lot of great pilates and yoga instructors who run straightforward, calm classes. While Peloton classes run on the big personalities of their instructors and can seem a little exclusive at times, Mirror classes are a better fit for a casual user who doesn't need to be screamed at to push harder during a workout, or who doesn't necessarily want to form a weird parasocial relationship with their virtual trainer. With that being said, the workouts are still engaging to follow along, and the instructors aren't totally devoid of personality — they just probably won't drop their instagram handle at the end of class or give you a 10-minute long motivational speech.

Mirror selfie of person kneeling on a workout mat in front of the Mirror
Mirror instructors have just enough personality to keep things interesting. Credit: Jae Thomas/Mashable

I have both a Peloton bike and the Mirror in my apartment, and I honestly turn to my Peloton bike much more frequently than the Mirror — but I prefer cardio workouts to strength training or toning. If you're into bodyweight classes, yoga, guided stretching, or pilates, the Mirror is a good (if expensive) option.

Is the Mirror worth it?

The Mirror will be worth it for a few groups of people:

  • Folks who go to (or previously went to) in-person studio classes and are looking to save money

  • People who want a home gym but don't have the space for multiple machines

  • People who prefer body weight and free weight exercises to cardio

If you previously paid for an in-person studio membership (which can cost hundreds of dollars per month depending on location), the Mirror will save you some money after the initial upfront cost and a few months of the membership fee. Mirror is a cool piece of tech that allows you to watch yourself while working out and gives you a real studio experience during live classes, but it doesn't give you the form corrections some other fitness mirrors do and doesn't include any strength training equipment.

If you're dead-set on having a fitness mirror and plan to take live classes, Mirror is a solid option. We get that buying a high-tech, pricey piece of fitness equipment can be a big motivating factor for some folks, and if that's you, feel free to take the plunge. Getting your money's worth on the Mirror will definitely require you to use it regularly, which may mean you end up working out more than if you just had a fitness app membership.

On the flip side, if you don't care about live classes, having the tech, or being able to see yourself while you work out, getting a Peloton membership or other fitness app membership and playing it on your TV will give you a similar, cheaper experience.

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Get a lifetime subscription to this speedy VPN for under £20

Sun, 22 May 22 04:00:00 +0000
Security typed out on screen

TL;DR: A lifetime subscription to FastestVPN is on sale for £16.15, saving you 97% on list price.

Your browser’s incognito mode can only do so much. Sure, it’ll clear your history, searches, cookies, and login deets, so anyone who uses your computer can’t see what you’ve been up to. But it won’t hide it from your internet service provider (ISP) and other prying eyes. And if you’re on a free public WiFi network, you’re basically inviting hackers to steal your stuff — whether you’re on private mode or not.

In a nutshell, that’s why you need a VPN. It doesn’t need to be an expensive one; it just has to work. And for a limited time, you can spend just £16.15 and protect yourself forever via FastestVPN.

FastestVPN is designed to be easy to use for all of your devices (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Smart TV, gaming consoles, routers, streaming devices, Raspberry Pi, etc.). Once connected, it uses military-grade 256-bit AES encryption to cover all of its 350+ servers in impenetrable cryptographic glory. There’s also a NAT firewall, which adds another layer of protection against malicious data; an ad blocker to prevent annoying pop-ups and potential viruses; and an internet kill switch, which blocks your device and closes all of your apps in the event of a dropped connection.

Operating with 99.9 percent uptime and unlimited bandwidth, FastestVPN also claims you won’t be twiddling your thumbs while things load and buffer. It’s built to be fast, after all (hence the name).

This lifetime subscription on sale for only £16.15 lets you connect five different devices simultaneously to FastestVPN. If you have more devices that need protection, there's also a deal for 10 or 15 devices available for a discount.

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Credit: FastestVPN
FastestVPN (1-Year Subscription)
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NASA's getting screwy messages from interstellar space

Sat, 21 May 22 22:22:21 +0000
Voyager 1 exploring interstellar space

The Voyager 1 spacecraft is sending back some funky data from interstellar space that's leaving NASA engineers scratching their heads.

Readouts on the orientation of the 1970s-era space probe now appear to be randomly generated or don't reflect any possible scenario the spacecraft could be in, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory officials said this week.

The problematic data are coming from the so-called "attitude articulation and control system," or AACS, the onboard equipment that measures, reports, and changes the position of the vehicle in space. The system keeps an antenna pointed at Earth, which allows it to send data home.

The new bizarre situation calls into question the future for the long-duration mission. Given that Voyager 1 continues to return data from its science instruments, all signs suggest the controls are still working, though the data doesn't make sense, the U.S. space agency said. It otherwise seems to be functioning normally.

"A mystery like this is sort of par for the course at this stage of the Voyager mission," said Suzanne Dodd, project manager for Voyager 1 and 2 in a NASA statement released Wednesday.

"A mystery like this is sort of par for the course at this stage of the Voyager mission."

Both Voyager 1 and 2 are almost 45 years old, which is far beyond their original life expectancy. Interstellar space is a high-radiation environment that no spacecraft has ever flown in before, she said, so surprises are almost expected to arise.

Voyager 1 is 14.5 billion miles from Earth. That means light takes 20 hours and 33 minutes to travel that distance. In other words, the lag between getting a message to Voyager and receiving a response is about two days.

"There are some big challenges for the engineering team," Dodd said. "But I think if there's a way to solve this issue with the [telemetry], our team will find it."

Engineers testing Voyager 2
Voyager 1 has been exploring the solar system since 1977, along with its counterpart, Voyager 2. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Voyager 1 has been exploring the solar system since 1977, along with its counterpart, Voyager 2. They were originally intended to study Jupiter and Saturn, their moons, and Saturn's rings. For the two-planet mission, they were built to last just five years.

With their initial success, engineers doubled the missions' objectives to include two more giant planets, Uranus and Neptune. Between the two, the spacecraft have explored four planets, 48 moons, and a host of planetary magnetic fields and rings.

The spacecraft generate about 4 fewer watts of power annually, limiting the number of systems they can operate. The mission team has turned off equipment to reserve power. No science instruments have been powered down yet. The goal is to keep the Voyagers running beyond 2025, according to NASA.

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Watch incredible NASA video of a total lunar eclipse from space

Sat, 21 May 22 20:44:34 +0000
Moon turning red in a total lunar eclipse

Some 64 million miles from the planet, NASA's Lucy probe got a deep space view of the recent total lunar eclipse.

From her vantage point, it didn't look much like a "blood moon," one of the many nicknames for the rare astronomical event. In a brief two-second time-lapse video, Lucy captured the Earth, on the left, and the moon, on the right. The tiny moon can be seen as a bright pinpoint of light that vanishes out of sight as it passes into the planet's shadow.

Total lunar eclipses happen when the moon and sun line up on opposite sides of Earth, according to NASA, causing a reddish color reflecting off the moon's surface. The one that just occurred last weekend was the longest total lunar eclipse viewable from most of the United States in over 30 years, according to New York Times reporting.

The video covers a three-hour period, starting at 9:40 p.m. ET May 15, and ending at 12:30 a.m. ET May 16. The clip ends before the moon comes out of the darkness.

Lucy's position was nearly 70% of the distance between the Earth and sun. From that space perch, the Earth and moon appear only 0.2 degrees apart, according to the U.S. space agency, like seeing a car’s tail lights from a quarter-mile away.

NASA's Lucy studying asteroids
In an illustration, the Lucy spacecraft passes one of the Trojan asteroids near Jupiter. Credit: Southwest Research Institute

NASA launched Lucy on a grand 12-year asteroid tour in the fall of 2021 with plans to fly by several space rocks that share Jupiter’s orbit.

Lucy — a mission named after a fossilized early human (who was named after The Beatles’ song) — will study the origins of the solar system. The asteroids are thought to be leftover pieces from planet formations.

The spacecraft will explore one asteroid in the solar system’s main belt and seven Trojan asteroids. The latter are thought to be remnants of the early solar system trapped in stable orbits. They’re clustered in two “swarms” before and after Jupiter along its course around the sun.

It is on its way now toward Earth to get a gravity assist on Oct. 16, 2022. That tug will help propel it on its journey to the Trojan asteroids.

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Wordle today: Answer, hints for May 22

Sat, 21 May 22 19:19:05 +0000
A smartphone with the Wordle game displayed on screen.

Hey, Team Wordle! A new Wordle will arrive every day, and we're here to provide tips and hints to help you keep that streak alive.

If you're struggling to get the answer for Wordle 337 on May 22 and want to get right to it, you'll find it at the bottom of this page. If you want to try to guess it yourself you'll find clues below to help you along, in addition to background on the game and strategies we've reported on here at Mashable.

In case you've been living under a rock, Wordle was originally created by former Reddit engineer Josh Wardle and went super-viral in late 2021, becoming a daily habit for players around the globe. The game was bought by the New York Times earlier this year, and is now run by the paper's puzzles and games team.

It may seem some days like Wordle is getting harder — we can assure you it isn't. However, you can always switch Wordle to Hard Mode. (Yeah, you've been playing on easy.)

Not the day you're after? Here's the Wordle answer for May 21.

What's a Heardle? A Dordle?? A Quordle?!

The word game has also inspired numerous clones and variations, such as the battle royale format Squabble, music identification game Heardle, and iterations like Dordle and Quordle that have you trying to guess multiple words at once

Best Wordle starting word?

We have plenty of ideas that can help if you want to be strategic in your selection. As a general rule of thumb, you'll probably want to fit at least two vowels into your first word, as well as cram in some more common consonants such as S, T, R, or N.

The Wordle archive: Dig in

If you aren't satisfied with only solving one Wordle per day, the whole archive of past Wordle puzzles is also available to play. Just make sure you look up from your phone every few hours.

Why are there two different Wordle answers some days?

Though it is generally accepted that there is just one Wordle solution to rule them all on a single day, occasionally two different correct answers will share the spotlight. This is due to changes the New York Times made after acquiring the puzzle game.

Just last week, a word was swapped out because it was unexpectedly topical. Make sure you refresh your browser before you play each day to make sure you're getting the latest version of the game.

So here's a hint to the May 22 Wordle

It's a noun.

This 5-letter word starts with...

Today's Wordle is brought to you by the letter...'M.'

What's the answer to Wordle #337 on May 22?



The answer to the May 22 Wordle is....


Check back for more hints and tips tomorrow. We do this every day.

Reporting by Amanda Yeo, Caitlin Welsh and Adam Rosenberg contributed to this article.

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Watch excellent 'Ugly Sonic' cameo from 'Chip 'n Dale'

Sat, 21 May 22 18:31:53 +0000
screenshot of ugly sonic from chip n dale rescue rangers

Remember the year 2019, when we all had the power to delay the Sonic the Hedgehog movie because the first design was so grotesque?

If you don't, here's a quick rundown: The first Sonic trailer dropped, confirming a rumored design that fans already balked at. The backlash was swift and harsh; the internet said that Sonic's teeth were terrifying and the overall design was just bad. Director Jeff Fowler was quick to respond, saying Sonic would be redesigned. Fans were ultimately pleased with the character's new-and-improved look.

Now, we finally know what the original "Ugly Sonic" has been doing this whole time: trying to salvage his career.

Ugly Sonic appears in the new Disney+ movie, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers. He's seen at a comic convention, bent on getting the public to like him. "They'll like me for who I am," he says, "Not like last time when the internet got one look at my human teeth and burned the place down."

Judging by Dale's haunting reaction to Sonic's teeth, however, the hedgehog can't really blame us.

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Boeing's troubled Starliner makes it to the space station after second try

Sat, 21 May 22 17:51:20 +0000
Boeing Starliner docking at International Space Station

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have opened the hatch of the recently docked Boeing Starliner, effectively ending a streak of misfortunes over the years for the spacecraft.

The successful test mission helps to secure a second commercial carrier for shuttling astronauts to and from the space station. Elon Musk's SpaceX Crew Dragon completed the same test in 2019 and has since taken 18 astronauts to the destination about 250 miles above Earth.

No longer serviced by its own shuttle program, NASA relied on Russian rockets after 2011 to get crew into space. That period ended in 2020 when SpaceX took over that responsibility, but the U.S. space agency has been without any backup, which wasn't the original plan.

"The journey has been hard, but the reward … is the first of many that will continue for years to come," NASA astronaut Bob Hines said during a live broadcast. "No one goes to space alone, and we can all benefit from the efforts involved."

Last time the Starliner attempted this spaceflight three years ago, it didn't make it to the station. A software glitch caused it to instead travel onto the wrong preliminary orbit. The spacecraft spent two days in space before landing at the Army's White Sands missile range in New Mexico. It was apparently the first time a U.S.-made spacecraft meant for human transportation actually landed on land rather than splashed down in the ocean.

Since then Boeing has made up to $600 million in repairs and "do-over" costs, according to Associated Press reports.

Starliner's launch was free of those major errors Thursday when it lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, just before 7 p.m. ET, though it did experience some thruster issues. The spacecraft was blasted into space with a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

Boeing Starliner preparing to dock at International Space Station
Boeing's Starliner spacecraft approached the International Space Station for its first docking on May 20, 2022. Credit: Samantha Cristoforetti/NASA

The thruster surprises didn't prevent the capsule from docking at the station a day later, and astronauts were able to go inside to check out the spacecraft at about 11:30 a.m. ET Saturday. Hines became the first human to enter Starliner in outer space.

"This is a momentous day in NASA's history and just paving the way for the future as we start enabling commercial flights here in low-Earth orbit while NASA pivots to the moon and eventually onto Mars," Hines said.

Starliner missions will have the ability to take up to four astronauts to the station at a time, expanding NASA's potential crew capacity and increasing the amount of research at the orbiting lab. As of Saturday, there were three spacecraft parked at the station: Starliner, a Russian Soyuz capsule, and a SpaceX Crew Dragon.

"This is a momentous day in NASA's history and just paving the way for the future as we start enabling commercial flights here in low-Earth orbit while NASA pivots to the moon and eventually onto Mars."
Rosie the Rocketeer flies Starliner
Astronaut Kjell N. Lindgren, left, takes pictures of Rosie the Rocketeer, a manikin in a blue flight suit that was the only "passenger" aboard the Starliner for the test mission. Credit: NASA live broadcast

Starliner's test mission did not take any crew up to the space station this time, but it was flying with a manikin (or perhaps womanikin?), dubbed Rosie the Rocketeer. Rosie wore a blue flight suit and red polka-dot mask and bandana made by Mae Krier, a former Boeing "Rosie the Riveter" during World War II. The purpose of the human simulator was to collect data on cabin conditions during the journey.

"It's nice to see the fruits of her labor be able to go up to space, too," a Boeing broadcaster said.

Space station crew will unpack food and other supplies from the spacecraft and load it up with about 600 pounds of cargo, including lab experiments, to return to Earth. It's expected to land in New Mexico next Wednesday.

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TikTok takes odd 'hanger challenge' to test reflex

Sat, 21 May 22 16:12:02 +0000
photo of three wire hangers stacked atop each other

A TikTok trend that emerged during the 2020 quarantine days is making a comeback: the "hanger challenge."

Participants place a clothes hanger on their head to test out a supposed "hanger reflex," where the squeeze of the hanger causes heads to literally turn.

Is the hanger reflex real? A 2015 study out of Japan says that yes, it is — but it was only tested on 120 adults, a relatively small sample size. Further, the study didn't determine why, exactly, the head reacts that way involuntarily when the hanger places pressure on either sides.

A note from this reporter: I, myself, am skeptical of the reflex. My roommate and I tried it out with a wire hanger, just like the researchers in the 2015 study, but our heads didn't move at all.

Perhaps it's because the placement of the hanger needs to be precise, or the hanger didn't provide enough pressure. Regardless, it didn't work for us.

Real or not, that's not stopping TikTokkers and others online from sticking a hanger on their head to try it out themselves.

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10 best documentaries streaming now on Amazon Prime Video for when you need a good dose of reality

Sat, 21 May 22 15:48:05 +0000
A composite image featuring, from left to right, Sigourney Weaver in the movie

Most documentaries have lessons to impart and important things to say, but some of the best ones do that with nuance and subtlety while keeping us entertained.

Amazon Prime Video subscribers have an embarrassment of riches to sift through when they're hunting for their next focused look at a particular topic or subject. Even if you set aside the hefty lineup of streaming-friendly PBS broadcasts to be found there, you'll still find a long list of options to choose from, many of them focused in more quirky and offbeat directions.

This is hardly an exhaustive rundown, and some of these admittedly earned their spot sight unseen, simply because they sound like a wild ride. But here's a rundown of documentaries available on Amazon Prime Video that we're most excited about.

1. Val (2021)

He's played Batman and The Doors frontman Jim Morrison. His performance in Tombstone as Doc Holliday is a frequently quoted cult hit that's inspired any number of memes. And he's Hollywood's best Moses to date, with his star turn in The Prince of Egypt, an animated retelling of the Passover story from 1998, far exceeding that of Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments. Val Kilmer is one of the greats, without question.

In Val, the famed actor who largely fell out of public view in the mid-2010s as he battled throat cancer, bares his whole self. Kilmer himself created many of the home movies and behind the scenes clips featured in this Amazon Original documentary, and they weave together here to paint a picture of his life and career. Featuring narration from Kilmer's son Jack and words written by the actor himself, Val is about as personal as a biographical documentary can get.

Where to watch: Val is now streaming on Prime Video.

2. The Last Waltz (1978)

Muddy Waters and Robbie Robertson in "The Last Waltz."
Credit: United Artists/Kobal/Shutterstock

If you've never dug deeper than crime-centric masterpieces Goodfellas and The Wolf of Wall Street then you might not even know that Martin Scorsese is a giant music nerd. He's helmed a number of excellent music docs over the years, but none that shine brighter than his star-studded look at The Band's farewell tour in the 1978 film, The Last Waltz.

Taking viewers both onto and behind the stage, Scorsese captures this legendary moment in music history with a fantastic level of detail and insider perspective. The last ride for the band behind beloved rock standards like "The Weight" and "Up On Cripple Creek" was joined by a dizzying lineup of '70s-era heavyweights, including Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Joni Mitchell, Neil Diamond, Dr. John, Neil Young, and Muddy Waters. (And that's not even all the guests.)

An irreplaceable moment in our cultural history is thoroughly documented here in what is fairly described as one of the greatest music documentaries of all time.

Where to watch: The Last Waltz is now streaming on Prime Video.

3. Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary (2019)

If you've never watched Galaxy Quest, which also streams on Prime Video, you should start there. Don't think of it as homework, though. The 1999 ensemble comedy that cleverly turned the aging cast of a Star Trek-like TV series/success story — played by Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Daryl Mitchell, and Sam Rockwell — into unlikely space heroes is just as delightful today as it was when it released.

The documentary helps us understand just how this memorable work of Hollywood magic actually came together. Developed and released with an eye toward Galaxy Quest's 20th anniversary celebration, Never Surrender gives us face time with members of the cast and crew as they dig through all manner of behind the scenes moments, share their dark secrets and stolen props, and reflect on the film's lasting cultural impact.

Where to watch: Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary is now streaming on Prime Video.

4. Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown (2014)

A young James Brown combs his hair.
Credit: Simon Pietri/Shutterstock

Released in 2014, the same year the late Chadwick Boseman starred as the Godfather of Soul in the biopic Get On Up, it's hard not to look at Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown as a companion piece. And maybe it is that. But with an accomplished documentarian like Alex Gibney at the helm, Mr. Dynamite more than stands on its own.

Highlighted by a wealth of rare archival materials showing the funk and soul superstar during his early days, the film chronicles Brown's career from his time playing for Black audiences when the American Civil Rights movement was still taking shape all the way into his mainstreamed blockbuster success. While Mr. Dynamite's largely uncritical look falls short on chronicling Brown's later years, there are more than enough archival materials and fascinating revelations to sustain this two-hour trip through music history.

Where to watch: Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown is now streaming on Prime Video.

5. The Howlin' Wolf Story (2003)

Chester Burnett, the Howlin' Wolf himself: Hear that voice once, and you'll never forget it. Burnett's raspy, tortured growl is the sound of a freight train moaning at midnight, and it's just one piece of the portrait painted in filmmaker Don McGlynn's The Howlin' Wolf Story.

The legendary Chicago bluesman left an indelible mark on culture and rock music specifically, as the originator of what are now bona fide blues standards, like "Spoonful" and "Smokestack Lightnin'." This documentary recounts Burnett's early days spent learning under Charley Patton, his travels with Robert Johnson, his impact on the Rolling Stones (and music in general), and the larger-than-life energy he brought to every stage he set foot on as the Wolf.

There's a depressing dearth of history-preserving archival materials when it comes to the early blues scene. More depressing is the reason why: Blues music is a child of U.S. slavery, an outgrowth of the work songs and spirituals sung by African workers who were stolen from their homes to live, work, and die in America. The Howlin' Wolf Story leaves us wanting more because it has no other choice, but it remains a precious document as much for what's missing as it is for what's there.

Where to watch: The Howlin' Wolf Story is now streaming on Prime Video.

6. No No: A Dockumentary (2013)

Dock Ellis, wearing a New York Yankees uniform, plays a trumpet while jazz musician Chuck Mangione stands nearby, laughing.
Credit: Ray Stubblebine/AP/Shutterstock

No No: A Dockumentary has one hell of a powerful hook: Dock Ellis, the late Major League Baseball pro who is its subject, once pitched a no-hitter as a Pittsburgh Pirate while tripping his face off on LSD.

Wild as it is, that incident is of course just a moment in a much larger and more complex life. Director Jeffrey Radice assembles his picture of Ellis from interviews with friends, family, and former teammates, bolstering the production even further with a generous helping of archival materials — including words from Ellis himself.

No No is a thorough look at the man behind the moment. The documentary anchors itself in that moment only to highlight and heighten the life that led to and followed it. We come away with a deeper understanding of who Ellis was, the various forces that shaped his life, and the highs and lows that characterized his journey.

Where to watch: No No: A Dockumentary is now streaming on Prime Video.

7. Fiddler: Miracle of Miracles (2019)

Even if you know every word to Broadway bangers like "If I Were a Rich Man" and "Tradition," there's still a good chance you don't know the full history and impact of the play from which they hail: Fiddler on the Roof. Well, Jews and goyim alike should settle in for Fiddler: Miracle of Miracles, because it's a thoroughly enjoyable look at one of Broadway's all-time greats.

This documentary from Max Lewkowicz examines the 1964 musical from Jerry Bock (music), Sheldon Harnick (lyrics), and Joseph Stein (book) and the difficult road it took to reach the stage. Fiddler on the Roof's provocative setting and themes — the story is set against the backdrop of early 20th century Russia, a time when the local Jewish population faced intense persecution — as well as its full-force dive into Jewish culture made it a tough sell initially.

The doubters were ultimately proven wrong, as Lewkowicz's documentary illustrates. With more than 3,000 performances — the first Broadway show to hit this milestone — and an equally captivating 1971 film adaptation from director Norman Jewison, Fiddler on the Roof left its mark and then some. Featuring interviews and insights from luminaries like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Harvey Fierstein, and Jewison himself, Fiddler is must-watch material for any fan of Broadway past and present.

Where to watch: Fiddler: Miracle of Miracles is now streaming on Prime Video.

8. Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World (2017)

A live concert still from "Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World" featuring George Harrison, Klaus Voorman, Jesse Ed Davis, and Eric Clapton.
Credit: Jim Wells/AP/Shutterstock

Music is awash with secret histories like the one explored in Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World. The documentary from co-directors Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana takes a look at the impact indigenous populations in America had on popular music.

In fact, that title speaks very directly to one of those impacts: "Rumble" is a 1958 instrumental from Link Wray, the famed Shawnee singer/songwriter and guitarist. You probably know it. Wray's signature electric guitar distortion drives the mellow, meandering track that anyone who has seen Pulp Fiction will recognize in seconds.

We also learn how "Rumble" is essentially the origin story for one of the most potent devices in any rocker's toolbox: the power chord. But Wray isn't the only focus. We meet Jesse Ed Davis, a legendary studio guitarist whose contributions on notable albums from John Lennon, Bob Dylan, and George Harrison forever enshrined him in the highest pantheon of rock godhood. Influential artists like Buffy Sainte-Marie, Mildred Bailey, Redbone, even formative blues legend Charlie Patton, who is believed to have been part-Cherokee, all share the spotlight.

Where to watch: Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World is now streaming on Prime Video.

9. RBG (2018)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg needs no introduction for a modern audience. The late Supreme Court Justice spent a career in service to the American people, fiercely advocating for morally just and equal treatment under law first as a lawyer and later as a jurist.

The 2018 documentary RBG from directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen is a thoughtful consideration of Ginsburg's life and career. It's a largely glowing account that makes a point of looking beyond headlines and T-shirts and memes to demystify the human being at their core. RBG never makes the case that its subject was perfect, but it does show us the best version possible of a true American hero.

Where to watch: RBG is now streaming on Prime Video.

10. Between Me and My Mind (2019)

It's difficult to describe the appeal of a band like Phish. Like all the best examples of art in its many forms: You either get it, or you don't. Director Steven Cantor's "slice of life" look at Phish frontman Trey Anastasio isn't going to turn any doubters into true believers, but it does offer a glimpse into the life of the guitarist and singer who fuels many of the band's creatively playful and often deeply nerdy antics.

While the film centers itself in a particular moment — a busy period in which Anastasio is finishing up the solo album Ghosts in the Forest as he prepares for Phish's 2018 run of New Year's Eve concerts at Madison Square Garden — it's not all about the music. This is a family affair that presents viewers with a glimpse into the subdued rocker's home life and off-stage history. Through that lens, we learn much about the way Anastasio thinks and approaches his work.

Just like Phish itself, you either get Between Me and My Mind, or you don't. For those who get it, the documentary is as thorough a look at the Phish frontman as any fan has ever seen.

Where to watch: Between Me and My Mind is now streaming on Prime Video.

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Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon, others set to leave 'SNL'

Sat, 21 May 22 15:11:51 +0000
Bowen Yang, Colin Jost, Kate McKinnon, Jason Sudeikis, Larry David, Pete Davidson, and Rachel Dratch on 'SNL'

Saturday Night Live apparently isn't immune to the Great Resignation, either.

Cast members Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon, and Kyle Mooney are set to leave the show after tonight's 47th season finale, Variety reported yesterday based on an insider source. McKinnon and Bryant have the longest tenure of the four, having joined in 2012. Mooney joined in 2013, and Davidson in 2014.

McKinnon is well-known for her impressions on the show — anyone from former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani to Tiger King star Carole Baskin, whom she plays in the Peacock series Joe vs. Carole. Bryant has also shown exceptional range on SNL, shapeshifting from Ted Cruz to Mother Earth herself.

Davidson has been in the news more for his personal life than for SNL as of late, having started a relationship with Kim Kardashian. Reportedly, however, the comedian is apparently going to appear in the SNL finale while Kardashian is at her sister Kourtney's wedding in Italy.

Mooney, meanwhile, recently created a new Netflix comedy series, Saturday Morning All Star Hits.

NBC has yet to comment on the departures with publications including Variety and Deadline. If the rumors are true, though, we may be seeing lots of new faces when SNL returns in the fall.

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Shakira dances to 'money don't jiggle jiggle' in Jimmy Fallon TikTok challenge

Sat, 21 May 22 15:03:05 +0000
Shakira and Jimmy Fallon with TikTok challenge logo

This week, "Hips Don't Lie" singer Shakira joined Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon for his Watch It Once TikTok Challenge. The rules are pretty self-explanatory: the host and guest watch a TikTok once and try to emulate the dance. The two attempts are compared, and a winner is chosen.

The first of two dances was one of the latest crazes on the app, "My money don't jiggle jiggle," which both of them remembered pretty well. Still, Fallon wanted everyone to know his guest was stiff competition. "You're Shakira," he yelled, "it's not fair!"

The next one, admittedly, did give the singer an advantage. The challenge was Shakira's own TikTok dance based off her last single, "Te Felicito." While Shakira unsurprisingly rocked the robotic moves, Fallon didn't do too terribly, either. Regardless, he declared Shakira the winner.

"Please don't put that on the internet," Fallon pleaded afterwards about the dance clips. Sorry, buddy, it's already been viewed over one and a half million times on YouTube.

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10 most streamed TV shows of the week: True crime and sci-fi reign supreme

Sat, 21 May 22 14:07:17 +0000
Two men stand at a podium with microphones.

Looking for something new to watch this weekend but don't know where to start? Perhaps you'll be inspired by what everyone else is watching.

We've used streaming aggregator Reelgood, which pulls viewing figures from streaming services in the U.S. and UK, to break down the top 10 most popular shows of the past week. From all the hot new true crime shows to intriguing sci-fi series, this list might inspire you to start watching something new. However, just because everyone's watching it doesn't mean it's automatically top-tier television. We've added excerpts from our own reviews where appropriate to help give you an idea of what we thought.

Here are the top 10 most-streamed TV shows of the week, starting with a voyage into the final frontier...

1. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

A group of seven people in red, yellow, and blue shirts stand outside with a dome in the background.
"To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before!" Credit: Marni Grossman/Paramount+

Strap in, we're heading back to the final frontier. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is the latest Star Trek spin-off, only this one takes place in the decade before the original series. Climb aboard the USS Enterprise alongside Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), Spock (Ethan Peck), and more as they travel to the titular "strange new worlds" found throughout the galaxy.

How to watch: Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is now streaming on Paramount+, with new episodes every Thursday.

2. The Lincoln Lawyer

A man driving a Lincoln car down an LA street.
Look, it's the lawyer in his Lincoln! Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

Netflix's adaptation of Michael Connelly's The Lincoln Lawyer shot to the top of the streaming service's "Most Watched" list upon its release. The legal thriller stars Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Mickey Haller, a Los Angeles lawyer who takes cases from the back of his Lincoln Town Car.

How to watch: The Lincoln Lawyer is now streaming on Netflix.

3. Candy

A woman in a blue dress and large glasses.
Her name may be Candy, but she's not sweet. Credit: Hulu

One of many true crime shows on this list, Hulu's Candy follows a real-life murder case. Jessica Biel plays Candy Montgomery, who was accused of murdering her friend Betty Gore (Melanie Lynskey) by striking her with an axe 41 times.

How to watch: Candy is now streaming on Hulu.

4. The Staircase

A man and a woman holding a coffee cup stare upwards.
Colin Firth and Toni Collette take on true crime in "The Staircase." Credit: HBO Max

The Staircase continues the true crime trend on this list. This one revisits the already well-documented murder of Kathleen Peterson (Toni Collette) at the hands of her husband, novelist Michael Peterson (Colin Firth). Depicting scenes of family life with the Petersons before Kathleen's death to the trial and its aftermath, The Staircase's buzzy subject matter and starry cast launched it up the most-watched list.

What we thought: To call The Staircase a "true crime classic" is to accurately describe the total dehumanization process that every single real-life person connected to this awful death underwent during their decades in the public eye. But the HBO Max dramatization feels like the final stage of this tragedy-exploitation machine. It not only reduces Kathleen, Michael, and their kids (one of whom is played by Game of Thrones' Sophie Turner) into literal fictional characters for our entertainment consumption, but even adds colorful new personalities like real-life prosecutor Freda Black (portrayed by the inimitable Parker Posey). — Jess Joho, Culture Reporter

How to watch: The Staircase is now streaming on HBO Max, with new episodes every Thursday.

5. Outer Range

A man in a cowboy hat and a woman shaking hands.
Josh Brolin and Imogen Poots in "Outer Range." Credit: Richard Foreman / Amazon Studios

A sci-fi Western starring Josh Brolin, Outer Range remains one of the most popular new shows of the week. Brolin plays Royal Abbott, a rancher who discovers a strange black hole on his land. What's the deal with the hole? Who's mysterious drifter Autumn (Imogen Poots)? And what happened to Rebecca, Royal's missing daughter-in-law? The answers to all these questions are one binge away: All eight episodes of Outer Range are streaming on Prime.

How to watch: Outer Range is now streaming on Prime Video.

6. Hacks

Two women stand outside with a red rocky mountain range behind them.
Deborah and Ava, my beloved(s). Credit: Karen Ballard / HBO Max

The killer duo of Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) and Ava Daniels (Hannah Einbinder) is back in Season 2 of HBO Max's Hacks. This season takes the two comedians on the road for Deborah's new tour, where she's struggling with more personal material. On top of the tour, Ava is worried about a very inflammatory e-mail that she sent at the end of Season 1, which could blow up her whole relationship with Deborah.

What we thought: Deborah's failure to gain momentum on her tour means the first few episodes may move a bit more slowly than you'd expect. But don't doubt for a minute that Hacks has lost its magic. The jokes still land, and Deborah and Ava's interactions are consistently golden... I'll gladly hitch a ride with Deborah and Ava wherever they're going next. — Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter

How to watch: Hacks is now streaming on HBO Max, with new episodes every Thursday.

7. Better Call Saul

A man stands outside in front of a lit-up neon sign that says "dining room."
One last ride for Saul Goodman. Credit: Greg Lewis / AMC / Sony Pictures Television

If you missed Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), you're clearly not alone. The Breaking Bad prequel, now in its sixth and final season, remains one of the most-watched shows of the week. Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn, and Jonathan Banks remain excellent, as do the rest of the cast. Plus, Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are confirmed to appear this season, so it feels like the gang's really getting back together.

What we thought: For several key players, the stakes have never been higher. Reputations, relationships, and lives are on the line, and mounting tension in the first two episodes alone exposes seldom-seen sides of characters we thought we had all figured out. —Nicole Gallucci, Senior Editor

How to Watch: Better Call Saul is now streaming on Netflix and on AMC+.

8. The Essex Serpent

A woman and a man wearing old-fashioned warm clothes on a grey beach.
Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston are on the lookout for a serpent. Credit: Apple TV+

Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston unite in Apple TV+'s The Essex Serpent, based on the novel by Sarah Perry. Widow Cora (Danes) moves to Essex to investigate sightings of a mysterious sea serpent. There, she bonds with Reverend Will Ransome (Hiddleston) on her way to uncover the truth of the beast. An atmospheric Gothic romance with a strong cast, it's no surprise The Essex Serpent is one of the most watched TV shows of the week.

How to watch: The Essex Serpent is now streaming on Apple TV+, with new episodes weekly.

9. Under the Banner of Heaven

Two men stand at a podium with microphones.
Andrew Garfield is on the case. Credit: Michelle Faye/FX

Another true crime miniseries — this one based on the nonfiction book by Jon Krakauer — Under the Banner of Heaven stars Andrew Garfield in his first foray into prestige TV. Garfield plays Jeb Pyre, a detective investigating the murder of a mother (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and her baby that may have involved the Mormon Church.

How to watch: Under the Banner of Heaven is now streaming on Hulu, with new episodes every Thursday.

10. The Wilds

A girl with blood and dirt on her face on a beach on a tropical island.
Looks like things got pretty wild(s). Credit: Amazon Studio

Season 1 of The Wilds saw eight teenage girls stranded alone on a desert island. Little did they know they were part of a social experiment. The newly released Season 2 delves deeper into that experiment, and into some of the bigger revelations from the end of Season 1. No spoilers, but nothing is as it seems.

How to watch: The Wilds is now streaming on Prime Video.

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The best sex toys for masturbation that anybody can enjoy

Sat, 21 May 22 12:53:57 +0000
a hand showcasing an arc of sex toys

Yeah, masturbating is cool, but have you ever tried masturbating with sex toys?

We want to be clear, we say this with all the love in our heart toward using your hands. But, if you're a power hand user that's interested in something else — not necessarily something more — then sex toys can be a great way to explore sensations that are physically impossible to create without some kind of tech.

The world of sex toys is vast, meaning there's a high likelihood that there's something out there you'll like. With all those options, it also means shopping for a new sex toy can be overwhelming. And though there are worst things than going through some trial-and-error with vibrators and dildos, shopping with a sense of what works, what's built to last, and what's safe to use helps avoids some frustration (and some dollars spent, since many places don't accept sex toy returns).

Whether you're looking to buy your first ever toy or are rounding out your collection, we've rounded out a list of our top picks (plus some extras) of the best sex toys for getting busy with yourself.

The big benefits of using sex toys for masturbation

Most people that masturbate with regularity have a tried and true routine. While knowing how to get yourself off is a handy (sorry) skill, there's also something to be said about introducing a bit of variety.

For starters, if you're in a masturbation rut, you might be able to get there physically, but you still find yourself emotionally, spiritually, and who knows, maybe even still physically, wanting something more. Maybe you'd simply like to take more time before reaching climax or you want to figure out if you have any undiscovered turn-ons. Sex toys can help.

If you're a fan of clit stimulation, for instance, but have trouble breaking out of your usual ways, the Womanizer Premium's Autopilot mode builds the teasing and surprise into the process for you. For penis-having people used to the feel of their own hand, masturbation sleeves like the Fleshlight or Tenga Eggs allow for easy variety in sensation and grip strength.

As Anna Lee, the co-founder of Lioness, said of sex toys, "There's so many different ways to explore like sensations and just what works for you and what doesn't. It's a feeling of sexual empowerment to be able to buy your own toy and be like, this is something that I bought for myself for a self care moment.” And we love a self-care moment that involves pleasure and orgasming.

Anyone who wants to use sex toys for self-pleasure should

Dr. Justin Lehmiller, a research fellow at the Kinsey Institute and Scientific Advisor to Lovehoney, also noted that while the stigma surrounding masturbation spans across gender, it is particularly strong when it comes to men using sex toys.

"Some people seem to subscribe to this idea that 'real' men don’t need sex toys," Lehmiller wrote in an email. "Many men masturbate in the same exact way every time they do it. However, mixing it up can help you to understand yourself and your own body better." One particularly easy way to mix things up? Using sex toys.

The science backs the benefits, too. The Kinsey Institute and Lovehoney conducted a survey of 2,000 American adults and found that 69% of men found that masturbation allowed them to discover new turn-ons and sources of pleasure.

"This tells us that self-pleasure is self-exploration," Lehmiller wrote.

At the end of the day, no matter what gender you identify as, masturbation is your time to get in touch with yourself, despite the stigmas or negative attitudes that may exist around it.

"Remind yourself the myths and taboos surrounding masturbation are rooted in moralistic pseudoscience," Dr. Eric Sprankle, a clinical psychologist, sex therapist, and author of the upcoming book DIY: The Wonderfully Weird History and Science of Masturbation, wrote in an email to Mashable. "It’s all nonsense. Your body is your own, so you should feel free to do with it as you please."

And remember: masturbation doesn't have to be all about orgasming

Yes, orgasms feel great, but one of the best parts about using sex toys while masturbating is that it really emphasizes the journey and not the destination.

At the end of the day, masturbation is about enjoying yourself, getting in touch with your body, and feeling pleasure — all of which are possible, sans orgasm. Lee has a big presence on TikTok, and mentioned that most of the questions she receives from people on the app are some variation of "Is this normal?" I.e. Is liking a certain sensation normal? Is taking a X amount of time normal? Is not orgasming every time normal?

For an activity that's supposed to be all about the self, it can be pretty easy to worry about what everyone else is doing. Our advice? Find your pleasure in your journey, specific to you. Worst case? You don't come and you've given yourself a bunch of pleasurable feelings. Best case? You come and you've given yourself a bunch of pleasurable feelings. Once you stop seeing orgasming as the only goal, we promise your solo (and probably partnered) sex life will be so much better.

Are these toys good for just masturbating?

Of course not! If you want to incorporate a clit suction toy or a masturbation sleeve into partnered sex, go live your truth. The toys you'll find on this list are geared toward taking your time and exploring your body, which while fun with a partner, is especially gratifying to do at your own pace, on your own time.

That's also not to say this is an exhaustive list. Sexual pleasure is a deeply personal experience, so that super popular vibrator that everyone seems to rave about might not be your favorite, and that's more than okay.

"It’s trial and error, so don’t get discouraged if the first toy you try is a dud," Sprankle wrote. "Reflect on what you liked and disliked about it, and try another one that is closer to your interests. There’s a toy out there for everybody and every body."

So while we do highlight our top picks, we've also listed a few honorable mentions for each toy category you find on this list, just in case you're interested in checking out a wider variety of options.

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Freezing your eggs? Find support in online communities.

Sat, 21 May 22 12:00:00 +0000
A range of eggs against a bright pink background.

For those who aren't ready to start a family just yet, or want to ensure they have the option down the line, egg-freezing is on the rise.

The process, in which eggs are harvested, frozen, and stored for later use, is even being offered as a fertility benefit by some companies. Facebook and Apple started covering employee egg freezing in 2014, with other major Silicon Valley companies following suit. Pinterest announced in December 2021 that two cycles of IVF and egg-freezing will be available for every employee globally. Financial institutions have also jumped on the bandwagon.

This trend fits into the larger, rising demand for egg-freezing, one that was only accentuated by the pandemic. Clinics across the United States and the United Kingdom have seen a surge of patients freezing their eggs in the past few years.

The egg freezing process is complicated, and online conversations on the topic sometimes lack nuance. Across the internet, tons of information surrounding egg freezing exists. But the amount of information out there is vast, which sometimes makes it hard to navigate.

The process itself may also evoke complicated feelings. Dr. Cesar Diaz-Garcia, Medical Director at fertility clinic IVI London, says that the egg-freezing procedure can "bring up unexpected emotions".

"It’s important to recognize that freezing eggs is a big decision for many people, and so it’s a good idea to have a supportive partner, friend or family member to be there for you during the process," he says.

Social media, too, can provide a sense of community. Within some spaces online, people who are freezing their eggs can find support, solace, and guidance, from those undergoing or having experienced the process themselves.

Explore a variety of platforms

As Mashable's Rachel Kraus explored, social media is rife with advertisements about egg freezing. However, those ads may not be the best resource for finding answers. They are more aimed at promoting a business, rather than aiding the individual, glossing over the cost, process, and more.

Instead, there are forums and groups that facilitate community-led conversations. On Facebook, for example, several private support groups exist for this purpose. The questions and answers here are niche and led by people who have undergone the process themselves.

Egg Freezing Support Community, for example, is a Facebook group made for those who are curious about egg freezing. "If you are wondering if egg freezing is right for you, or when the right time to freeze your eggs is or how the process of egg freezing goes, then this is the right place for you!", the group's description reads.

Chloe Quinn, the founder and admin of the group, tells Mashable that the group has grown "exponentially" since its inception: "I had only dreamed it would be as helpful and supportive as it is today."

"Egg freezing is a lonely, scary and expensive process. It can be draining on emotions and mental health, which is why support from women that understand what you’re going through is so important," Quinn, who is an advanced registered nurse practitioner, says. "We aim to keep it as positive and supportive as possible without giving false hopes and unattainable expectations."

The members of the group (or "egg tribe" as they like to call themselves") value their privacy, Quinn says. The group has strict guidelines against harassment, abuse, and spam. Its private nature also allows for open conversations.

Another option is Reddit, where egg freezing threads often get high engagement. Like Facebook, it provides a space to anonymously and openly ask for advice.

Take r/AskWomenOver30, a popular subreddit with 130,000 members. Here, people have asked a number of questions on egg freezing, including How stressful is freezing eggs? and How much should it cost to freeze my eggs? /Should I do it?

Similarly, groups like r/IVF and r/SingleMothersbyChoice, also offer the space to ask such questions or share personal experiences on the subject of egg freezing. Conversations include navigating dating while freezing your eggs or egg freezing when your period is irregular.

Across Twitter and Instagram, people who have frozen their eggs have also shared their stories; there are multiple threads and posts, sharing the emotional nuances that go hand-in-hand with egg freezing. Maxime Billick, a Resident Physician at the University of Toronto, chose to freeze her eggs in January of this year. She took to Twitter to share her experience, in an honest and comprehensive thread. She included resources from medical journals, pictures of herself undergoing the process, and why she chose to do this.

Billick said the response to her thread was "incredible".

"Many people opened up to me after this post, or asked questions, or showed interest," she says.

Dr. Safina Adatia also shared her personal egg freezing journey on a Twitter thread that reaped a similarly positive response.

"I wanted to speak out about my experience to hopefully help and inspire other young women to do the same," she tells Mashable. "I can’t tell you how many women messaged me saying they were considering it and were so glad I shared as my post gave them the push they needed to pursue it for themselves."

Both women who shared these threads said they did so because they felt they hadn't heard about others' experiences while they went through the process. And they wish they had.

On Instagram, such conversations also appear under the hashtag #eggfreezing, which has over 54,000 posts and counting. Other communities on Instagram exist under #eggfreezingjourney, #fertilitypreservation, and #eggretrieval. Here, there are posts from individuals, charities, and organizations, each united in sharing the complexities of the fertility journey. Doctors share bright infographics about the egg retrieval process; women post pictures of the procedure, outlining in their caption what it took to get to this place. Posts are reflective and empowering, transparently explaining the personal motivation to extend fertility.

Writer Seetal Savla chose to share her own egg-retrieval and fertility story online in 2019, but prior to this, she observed communities and resources from others on Instagram. "At first, I simply absorbed their experiences without engaging with them in any way. Reading stories about people (predominantly women) battling similar issues made me feel seen at last."

Ask the right questions for you

Egg freezing can be a confusing time, with all sorts of questions arising depending on the individual. If joining a support group or reaching out to people online, asking the right questions can be crucial.

Kayleigh Hartigan, the founder of Fertility Mapper (a website that aims to provide clear information on fertility clinics), says that "there is a lot of information out there" and navigating this information requires some thought.

"In starting this process, ask: What do I want to know?" she says. "Everyone will have things that are more or less important to them." She says that writing down such questions can help soothe the sense of overwhelm that accompanies the egg freezing process.

Hartigan encourages people to find a community tailored to the individual and their questions before embarking on the egg-freezing journey. These queries can range from the right clinic or nutritional advice to how to balance the process with work and a social life.

"These questions can be anything from: how to find a clinic, how much it will cost, how the process will work, how it will feel, should they do anything to prepare for the process such as getting fit or changing nutritional behaviour..." she explains.

She recommends this practice can then help in discovering the right communities and information. "The fertility journey can be hugely emotionally draining and physically challenging. When you’re in that process, you want the right care," she says. "It's just really complicated: it involves finance, emotions, healthcare."

Beware of misinformation

There is a disclaimer, though: there's a chance of misinformation and false advertising when looking at such hashtags on Instagram or exploring private groups. Weeding out such posts is important, and asking questions along the way is key. Dr. Adatia said if there are any hesitations, confer with your personal doctor or a medical professional.

"I would advise to read everything with caution and check the sources of your information to ensure they’re reliable," she recommends. "This type of procedure can be tough and [if] you’re paying out of pocket, it’s important that you’re engaging with your doctor to ensure whomever is helping you with fertility is reliable and safe."

Billick says the same, telling Mashable, "Go to a physician who you trust, someone who’s grounded in the medicine, someone who has experience."

She also said that many of her friends encountered misinformation online: "I suspect if there’s a lot of information out there that’s incorrect. I’ve had friends who have been told to buy thousands of dollars worth of supplements to 'improve their egg quality'", she says.

Many of the people in these online spaces, however, are just looking to inspire or support others.

"It’s a privilege to provide comfort to others online, and be entrusted with their personal stories," as Savla says.

Hartigan says that many people who share their experiences online are "desperate to help other people", while also reflecting for themselves.

"It's a virtuous cycle," she says. "And some people are not comfortable sharing their stories with their IRL friends/family so going on line means you can connect and hear from people going through the process which might not be possible offline."

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You can now play the entire archive of past 'Wordle' puzzles

Sat, 21 May 22 11:34:52 +0000
phone displaying wordle game

Have you breezed through today's Wordle and tackled all the Wordle clones and alternatives? Well, you can finally play the game's entire archive thanks to the aptly titled Wordle Archive website.

The free daily word game Wordle blew up in popularity at the start of 2022 despite not having an app and only allowing players to tackle one puzzle per day. Both were intentional choices, as Wordle founder Josh Wardle told the BBC, so fans couldn't spend too much time on it. As such, previous puzzles aren't available through the official website.

"Wordle is very simple and you can play it in three minutes — and that is all you get," Wardle said in his BBC interview. "There are also no ads and I am not doing anything with your data — and that is also quite deliberate."

Nothing gold can stay, however, and the New York Times bought Wordle mere weeks after it became a viral phenomenon. While the game will remain "initially" free, that won't be the case forever. It's also unknown whether the Times will house an archive of its own, or try to have this one pulled offline.

For now, though, you don't have to worry about a Times paywall with Wordle Archive — or about sticking to one game a day. Computational biologist Devang Thakkar built the archive, and even included dark and color blind modes. Now you can replay days that stumped you, or practice your skills for upcoming games.

What Wordle's future looks like with the Times is anyone's guess, but for now we're free to enjoy this archive of past puzzles with no disruptions.

More Wordle

Related Video: Three words could save you, thanks to this app

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He found a Milky Way black hole 50 years ago, and finally got to see it

Sat, 21 May 22 11:30:00 +0000
Real image of Sagittarius A* black hole

Bruce Balick penned an urgent letter to his research partner on the other side of the country. He feared other radio astronomers were close on their heels, including one by the name of Fred Lo.

"We'd better publish fast if we want to beat him into print," Balick wrote to Robert L. Brown, his collaborator, in the spring of 1974.

Having just received his doctorate degree from Cornell University three years earlier, Balick was young, ambitious, and eager to let the world know what they had found in the sky on a clear, dry February day. Competition could perhaps come from the side, too. Balick observed naturally occurring radiowaves from objects in deep space. But astronomers who study the sky at infrared wavelengths were sniffing around the same cosmic target, he wrote.

Balick and Brown did eventually win the race, receiving the credit for Sagittarius A*, pronounced "Sagittarius A-star," the supermassive black hole found at the center of the Milky Way. They published their discovery the same year in the Astrophysical Journal in December 1974.

It was thrilling, Balick recalls. They had just peered 26,000 light-years into deep space and found the very soul of the galaxy. Little did he know that some 50 years later, he'd be staring at its face. On May 12, 2022, the international Event Horizon Telescope group released the first-ever photo of Sagittarius A* to the world, a dark spot with a fuzzy ring of red-orange light.

Black holes are some of the most elusive things in outer space. The most common kind, called a stellar black hole, is often thought to be the result of a star larger than the sun dying in a supernova explosion. The star's material collapses onto itself, condensing into a relatively tiny area.

But how supermassive black holes, millions to billions of times more massive than the sun, form is more mysterious than typical stellar black holes. Many astrophysicists and cosmologists believe these behemoths lurk at the center of virtually all galaxies. Recent Hubble Space Telescope observations have bolstered the theory that supermassive black holes get their start in the dusty cores of starburst galaxies, where new stars are rapidly churned out, but scientists are still investigating.

"We love our black hole."

Black holes don't have surfaces like planets. Instead, they have a boundary called an "event horizon," a point of no return. If anything comes too close, it will fall in, never to escape the hole's gravitational pull.

The image of Sagittarius A, or Sgr A* for short, is a masterful achievement, the second time scientists have overcome the barrier of invisibility to glimpse a black hole. Scientists say it offers powerful confirmation that supermassive black holes are indeed real.

The feat took years of work, involving 300 scientists at 80 institutions. Black holes are by definition unseeable — light can't escape them. But Sgr A* revealed itself in the form of a black shadow surrounded by the brilliant glow of gas and dust.

For most people, the snapshot was their first introduction to the eerie supermassive black hole in their galactic home. To radio astronomers, Sgr A* is an old friend, a deep space enigma they've tried to wrap their brains around for decades.

"We love our black hole," said Feryal Özel, a professor of astronomy and physics from the University of Arizona, who helped release the groundbreaking new photo at a news conference in Washington, D.C.

The race to discovery

Half a century ago, Balick and Brown and another team were neck and neck in detecting the black hole, but for different reasons. They were all vying for time on the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Green Bank interferometry system in the West Virginia mountains, which linked three radio dishes and an antenna 20 miles away to simulate a larger telescope. The expansion of the antenna in Huntersville, W.V., was a giant leap forward in technology, enhancing image resolution tenfold.

Dennis Downes and W. "Miller" Goss, another pair of astronomers, submitted a proposal to look for potential remnants of a quasar or supernovas in Sagittarius A, an area in the constellation Sagittarius. Due to work and travel conflicts, Downes and Goss never made the journey from Europe to West Virginia in the fall of 1973, a few months before Balick and Brown's turn.

Balick and Brown, who ventured from Charlottesville, Virginia, to Green Bank, were looking for something entirely different — star-formation regions near the center of the galaxy. They had observed Sagittarius B2, a cloud of gas and dust near the center, but didn't find bright stars.

Green Bank in the 1960s
The entrance to the Green Bank, West Virginia radio astronomy site in the early 1960s. Credit: NRAO / AUI/NSF

"Just for the hell of it, we thought we would point the antennas at the real galactic center, Sagittarius A," Balick told Mashable recently from his home in Washington state. "You could see a very strong signal, one that was far stronger than anything we might have had any right to expect."

Filled with adrenaline, he told David Hogg, the Green Bank site director, about the signal. That's when Hogg, who was responsible for scheduling observation time, realized they had used a configuration and radio wavelengths that another research team (Goss and Downes) had wanted to pursue. Such conflicts could ignite controversy and competition, so Hogg asked Balick and Brown to wait while he tried to communicate with the other team, according to recollections published many years later. Perhaps they could work together or get some credit in the paper.

"Just for the hell of it, we thought we would point the antennas at the real galactic center, Sagittarius A."

For the next three months, Balick, who had moved to Santa Cruz, California, for a job, and Brown, who remained in Virginia, worked 2,800 miles apart, corresponding by mail, to complete the calibration of the data and develop explanations for their findings.

Goss, who lives in New Mexico today and is retired, said he never held a grudge against his colleagues for discovering the supermassive black hole. For Goss, who knew early on that he would spend his career studying the galactic center, it was just exciting to know that Sgr A* existed.

"We thought, 'Well, you know, they did it.' We might have done it, but they were ahead of us slightly, which was fair enough," he said. "There was never any ill will at all."

W. Miller Goss, on right
W. Miller Goss, right, who lives in New Mexico today and is retired, said he never held a grudge against his colleagues for discovering the supermassive black hole. Credit: Woodruff T. Sullivan III collection / NRAO / AUI/NSF

Proof black holes are real

The idea of black holes had been around for a long time as a mathematical solution to a physics problem, but it wasn't entirely accepted science. Even Albert Einstein, whose theory of general relativity predicted their existence about 60 years earlier, had his doubts.

Back in 1974, the year of Balick and Brown's discovery, British astronomer Sir Martin Rees proposed that supermassive black holes could live at the centers of some galaxies, but that was still considered radical thinking.

"Everyone kind of assumed that they just evaporate," Michael Johnson, from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said at the Event Horizon Telescope news conference. "It doesn't feel like they could exist in nature, and I think that sort of persists for us. You're always waiting for something to step in and say, 'OK, of course black holes are just science fiction, there's something else there.'"

So the question for Balick and Brown, 50 years before the photographic proof, was what were they going to publish? How far could they stick their necks out?

Given how controversial black holes were at the time, the scientists came just short of calling Sagittarius A* a black hole, Balick said.

The six-page paper never references the term. Instead, the two called the black hole a physical structure that "defines the galactic center."

The 45-foot outlier of the Green Bank Interferometer
An antenna added to the Green Bank Interferometer in 1973 was a giant leap forward in technology, enhancing image resolution tenfold. Credit: NRAO / AUI/NSF

"If this turned out not to be a black hole, my career would tank. So there was a political decision being made here, not a scientific one, on what we should say," Balick said.

At the age of about 30, he was not willing to stake his career on such a brazen claim.

"I was trying to make sure I passed the laugh test," he said.

Eight years later, Brown coined the name "Sagittarius A*" for the black hole. He used the asterisk to distinguish the compact radio source from other elements of the galactic center. Jotting down ideas on a yellow notepad one morning, he thought about his doctorate dissertation. In atomic physics, scientists indicate high energy states with the symbol. By analogy, he thought using the "star" would convey the small, bright radio source.

The name stuck.

"I was trying to make sure I passed the laugh test."

While Brown and Goss continued their research on the galactic center over the years, Balick's interests took him elsewhere. He developed an expertise in planetary nebulas, the clouds of gas and dust jettisoned by dying stars.

Today, some of the scientists who researched Sagittarius A in the 1970s are gone. Lo and Brown have since died.

Balick, a retired University of Washington professor, didn't get a sneak peek of the photograph of his discovery. Instead, the octogenarian waited for the Event Horizon Telescope's announcement to finally meet his elusive friend, just before hitting the road to visit his grandchildren. It was as if he were an ordinary member of the general public.

Sgr A*'s mug was just as Balick imagined: a dead ringer for the first black hole photo released in 2019. Its predecessor was a much larger supermassive black hole at the center of the Messier 87 galaxy.

"If it looked much different, then general relativity would need a major makeover," he said.

He only wished Brown were alive to see it, too.

the astronomer Robert L. Brown
Robert L. Brown, a radio astronomer, was one of two scientists who discovered Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. Credit: NRAO / AUI / NSF

The rabid attention for Sgr A* brought back memories for Goss but still no feelings of jealousy, he said.

Arriving at this point required the efforts of a whole community of scientists. Donald Lynden-Bell, for one, is "an unsung hero," he said, having brought about a theoretical understanding of compact radio sources at the centers of galaxies, quasars, and black holes. And the dozen or so electrical and mechanical engineers who built the Green Bank radio telescope array deserve recognition, too.

"It's an incredible achievement of many, many people," he said. "Those of us who ended up doing the observations were just standing on their shoulders."

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Wordle today: Here's the answer, hints for May 21

Sat, 21 May 22 11:21:21 +0000
A smartphone with the Wordle game displayed

Good morning, Wordlers! A new Wordle arrives every day, and we're here to provide tips and hints to help you keep that streak alive. If you couldn’t get the answer for Wordle 336 on May 21 and just want to know what it was, you can find today’s word at the bottom of this page.

If you want to try to guess it yourself or just learn more, keep reading for some background, tips and strategies we've reported on here at Mashable.

In case you're new here, Wordle was originally created by former Reddit engineer Josh Wardle and went super-viral in late 2021, becoming a daily habit for players around the globe. The game was bought by the New York Times earlier this year, and is now run by the paper's puzzles and games team.

It may seem some days like Wordle is getting harder — we can assure you it isn't. However, you can always switch Wordle to Hard Mode. (Yeah, you've been playing on easy.)

Not the day you're after? Here's the Wordle answer for May 22.

More Wordle: Here's the Wordle answer for May 20.

What's a Heardle? A Dordle?? A Quordle?!

The word game has also inspired numerous clones and variations, such as the battle royale format Squabble, music identification game Heardle, and iterations like Dordle and Quordle that have you trying to guess multiple words at once

Best Wordle starting word?

We have plenty of ideas that can help if you want to be strategic in your selection. As a general rule of thumb, you'll probably want to fit at least two vowels into your first word, as well as cram in some more common consonants such as S, T, R, or N.

Explore the Wordle archive

If you aren't satisfied with only solving one Wordle per day, the whole archive of past Wordle puzzles is also available to play. Just make sure you look up from your phone every few hours.

Why are there two different Wordle answers some days?

Though it is generally accepted that there is just one Wordle solution to rule them all on a single day, occasionally two different correct answers will share the spotlight.

This is due to changes the New York Times made after acquiring the puzzle game. Just last week, a word was swapped out because it was unexpectedly topical. Make sure you refresh your browser before you play each day to make sure you're getting the latest version of the game.

And now, a hint for today’s Wordle

It's a noun.

Today’s 5-letter word starts with…

The letter S!

What's the answer to Wordle #336 on May 21?

Today’s answer is…


Check back for more hints tomorrow! We do this every day.

Reporting by Amanda Yeo, Caitlin Welsh and Adam Rosenberg contributed to this article.

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The 12 best and funniest tweets of the week

Sat, 21 May 22 11:00:00 +0000
illustration of twitter logo with screenshot of tweet about powerpoint

Tweets here! Get your tweets of the week! They're hot. They're spicy. They're fresh. They're funny. They've got it all.

Who doesn't love a heaping serving of tweets, fresh out the content oven and ready to be enjoyed. I certainly love those sweet, sweet tweets.

And you're in luck, because this week's batch of best tweets has something for everyone, from cacao nibs to a gambling monk. Here they are, the 12 best tweets. Dig in.

1. Wow, lacking in cacao nibs I see. What an inconsiderate host.

2. Everybody is going to go NUTS to see who's next.

3. The really sad thing is I can truly see something as dumb as this happening.

4. Freaking love this medieval guy. Just a stone cold party animal.

5. Wow, the details we all missed as kids. Who knew?

6. Yes, and it'll cost you a heck of a lot of money if a consultant made it.

7. This is just common sense and fair. So brave to respect your husband so much.

8. An obligatory dril tweet.

9. Poor kitty.

10. "Died from laughing at a donkey eating figs" has to be the absolute best way to go. If I could choose how I died, this is currently ranked No. 1.

11. This is just basic logic.

12. And finally, this.

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Cann is like LaCroix that gets you high. And it rules.

Sat, 21 May 22 11:00:00 +0000
Three cans of Cann THC seltzer on a white table

The information contained in this article is not a substitute for, or alternative to information from a healthcare practitioner. Please consult a healthcare professional before using any product and check your local laws before making any purchasing decisions.

Beer is over. We’ve evolved past the need for beer.

OK, that’s a little harsh, but I can’t pretend like the thought didn’t cross my mind as I spent this past weekend "testing" out Cann’s THC- and CBD-infused sodas. Cann, which started making its line of drinks in California in 2018, is currently only available for pickup and delivery in a handful of states right now (like California, Colorado, and Oregon). And my time with it only gave me another reason to be mad that weed isn't federally legal yet.

I can't speak for anyone else I routinely go to parties and picnics with, but as soon as sitting outside with my buds is preferable to running up my utility bill with a noisy A/C, I'll be gripping a can of Cann. Sorry, White Claw.

What is Cann?

Nutrition label on a can of Cann
Who needs calories, anyway? Credit: Alex Perry / Mashable

Cann calls itself a “social tonic” on the packaging, but really, it’s a lightly carbonated, juice-flavored beverage that packs 2mg of THC and 4mg of CBD (two of the main chemical compounds in cannabis) into a roughly Red Bull-sized 8oz can. Yes, the name is a pun on both “cannabis” and “can.” It's also got financial backing from Gwyneth Paltrow, whose recent business ventures might understandably make you skeptical. We don’t have to dwell on either of those things because, as I'll explain in a bit, Cann is really good.

Aside from the cannabis aspects, there really isn’t much going on here ingredient-wise. Each can includes just five ingredients (such as carbonated water, cannabis extract, and agave) and none of it is artificial, per Cann's website. Plus, they only come in at around 30 calories and are gluten-free so all the homies with gluten allergies can get in on the fun, too.

Cann comes in a couple of other form factors, as well, though I didn't get to try those. You can empty a Cann Roadies packet into sparkling water yourself, or get Cann Lite, which only has nine calories. I wouldn't personally deviate from the default configuration, but hey, more options are always welcome.

Speaking of flavors, Cann sent me three: Lemon Lavender, Grapefruit Rosemary, and Blood Orange Cardamom. There are more on Cann’s website, like Ginger Lemongrass and Cranberry Sage, but sadly, I wasn’t able to try all of them. That said, purely in terms of taste, there’s plenty to like about the flavors of Cann I did get to try.

"The best thing about Cann is that it doesn't really taste like weed."

Blood Orange Cardamom was easily my favorite of the trio. Despite its fancy-sounding name, it just tastes like orange soda with more citrus and less carbonation. It's like juice that has just a tiny bit of kick to it to make you feel alive. Personally, I could go for even more bubbles. I find it refreshing when a soft drink feels like it's sanding down the inside of my throat on its way down and accelerating the loss of my teeth. I'll just get dentures when the time comes.

I’d put Lemon Lavender in second place. It’s got the sweet tang you expect from lemon with a slight edge of minty lavender, but not enough to negate the much more satisfying lemon taste. Unfortunately, Grapefruit Rosemary went too far in the other direction for me. The grapefruit part of the equation makes for a pleasant enough first impression, but that quickly gives way to a rosemary aftertaste that’s way too herbal for me. I don't personally want any beverage to remind me of the nasty mouthwash they give you at the dentist's office.

The best thing about Cann is that it doesn't really taste like weed. If you've ever tried edibles, you know that even the most flavorful brownies, cookies, and gummies all sort of taste like someone mixed burnt grass into them. That's how it feels to me, anyway. I only put up with it because the destination matters more than the journey. I never felt that with Cann.

But even if I did, I would happily drink it anyway. That’s because Cann does exactly what you would want a THC-infused drink to do: Get you high.

What can Cann do?

Friends having picnic at park
I can(n) think of one way these people could be having a lot more fun. Credit: Compassionate Eye Foundation/Hero Images/Getty Images

Dear reader, speaking as someone with a pretty high weed tolerance derived from years of edible use, let me tell you: Cann works. Sure, such small amounts of THC and CBD probably won’t leave you motionless on the couch watching YouTube fireplace videos for eight hours, but I was shocked at how noticeable the effect was, regardless. For reference, a single dose of a weed edible is generally thought to be between 5 and 10mg of THC, and one can of Cann comes in well below that.

I popped open my first Cann in the midst of a month-long tolerance break from THC and felt the buzz before I’d even finished the tiny drink. My mood got better, my shoulders became less tense, and I couldn’t wait to drink more. I never became so stoned that I couldn’t function (I tried to keep it to one or two cans a day), but it made a terrific companion for playing Apex Legends with the crew, streaming the NBA playoffs, or watching Top Gun for the first time on Netflix.

(Top Gun kicks ass, by the way. Movies don’t need plots, they just need boys playing shirtless beach volleyball and romantically giving each other approval to be their wingmen.)

"Cann does exactly what you would want a THC-infused drink to do: Get you high."

To its credit, Cann got me just stoned enough to properly appreciate a movie where basically nothing happens, and the nice thing is that there's hardly any risk of going too far with it.

The buzz from one can of Cann ultimately doesn’t last much longer than an hour — at least it didn't for me. The 8oz serving size means that you can drink more than one in succession if you know your tolerance level and feel comfortable doing so. It’s not like Hard Mountain Dew, where the friendly flavor tempts you into having too much of the alcoholic soda at once, leaving you to suffer from the hellish darkness of inebriation.

I’m actually pretty bummed out that you can't get Cann easily in most of the U.S. because it would be perfect to bring to the park with your friends on a sunny summer day. As someone who’s personally fallen out of love with alcohol pretty hard over the past couple of years, it’s real nice to have a version of hard seltzer that makes me feel good instead of the kind of bad that has me guzzling down ibuprofen.

At the end of the day, isn’t that all anyone really wants?

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3 surprising ways to cope with climate change

Sat, 21 May 22 11:00:00 +0000
Broken icebergs float in the sea as the sun sets in the background.

A few years ago, Britt Wray felt overwhelmed by eco-anxiety. Fielding questions from family about whether she and her husband would have children, Wray contemplated the bleak future they might inherit. At the time, Wray was a science communicator and couldn't ignore the projections of species extinction, crop failure, and increasingly disastrous weather events. Wray, who now studies the mental health effects of living through the planetary crisis caused by climate change, was stricken by a "profound sense of hopelessness" and found herself openly weeping on a train ride home one evening.

Of course, Wray is not alone. In the U.S., one survey conducted by the American Psychiatric Association found that more than two-thirds of Americans are somewhat or extremely anxious about climate change. Last year, the Lancet polled 10,000 youth between the ages of 16 and 25 from around the world and found that more than half reported feeling sad, anxious, angry, powerless, helpless, and guilty. (Wray was a member of the research team that published those findings.)

The trouble with eco-anxiety, a blanket term typically used to describe distress associated with climate change, is that there's no easy fix. As Wray points out, anguish is a normal responses to the circumstances, and yet that despair can be so debilitating that someone experiencing it might need professional mental health help. If high-quality treatment is even available, it still doesn't change the reality that the planet continues to tilt toward ecological chaos as politicians and corporations fail to meaningfully act.

In her new book, Generation Dread: Finding Purpose in an Age of Climate Crisis, Wray attempts to chart a path forward for those who feel uneasy or even stuck when it comes to eco-anxiety. Wray's approach is holistic, weaving together various strands of thought from psychology and public health to help readers cultivate the resilience and emotional intelligence they'll need to fight for the planet — and to survive the calamities that might come.

These skills are critical not just for people's long-term wellbeing but also as a bulwark against forms of extremism like ecofascism, which view the threat of environmental collapse as a problem caused by growing populations of racial and ethnic groups. The shooter who targeted and killed several Black people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, cited ecofascism in a manifesto.

"People are feeling unsafe and scared, because of what's going on," Wray told me in an interview. "While some, because of their environmental values, are deeply oriented toward compassion for other people and other species and wild places, some will interpret this through their own values and beliefs, and will enact violence as a way to make them feel more safe."

While Wray covers numerous, often overlapping coping strategies in Generation Dread, she spoke with me about three tactics that people might find surprisingly helpful.

Eco-anxiety as "super fuel"

Climate changes prompts people to feel more than just difficult emotions. Existential in nature, it forces people to consider their mortality, the prospect of widespread deprivation and upheaval, and the possibility that many won't survive. It's no wonder, then, that some might first try to suppress their anxiety and grief. But Wray proposes a different, counter-intuitive approach.

"If you can have some self-compassion, if you can allow [those feelings] to be there, and then start doing the deep uncomfortable work of confronting the grief related to loss and mortality, or anxiety about how bad this is going to get, it teaches us things," says Wray. "The torment becomes a way of tapping into existential meaning."

Instead of a paralyzing burden, eco-anxiety can become "super fuel" that helps people learn how to cope and respond to climate change, perhaps through activism, community building, and making different consumer choices, like driving less and using less energy. But first, Wray says that wrestling with painful emotions related to climate change could, for example, prompt someone to imagine their deathbed and consider what really mattered to them. Would they be happy having spent a lifetime chasing money instead of purpose? Did their everyday actions match their values?

Wray says this "massively clarifying exercise" can help people step into a "climate journey." What that looks like depends on the person, but Wray describes it as using one's talents, skills, and passion to respond to the crisis, which in turn helps them remain excited about the work while giving them opportunities to make meaning and live with purpose.

Don't skip "internal activism"

Some eager to start their climate journey might want to shift all their efforts to activism, but Wray says that can be a mistake without also undertaking "psychological and emotional resiliency training" that helps alleviate despair and burnout. Wray calls this "internal activism," a term coined by climate-aware psychotherapist Caroline Hickman to describe the work of being with difficult emotions, without self-judgment, and learning to integrate them into one's life instead of trying to avoid or bury them. When that is done in tandem with self-care, it can lead to more flexible thinking, which is also critical to responding to the challenges that climate change will bring.

Critics of this approach might call it navel-gazing, or insist there's no time to do anything but organize politically, but Wray describes such complaints as a "tired binary."

"We can be much better external activists when we're good at doing the internal part of self-care, too."

Wray argues that people need to develop skills like binocular vision, a concept she adapted from psychoanalyst Shierry Weber Nicholsen. Wray describes this skill as focusing on on the "worst forms of climate change chaos" while opening an eye toward the "imaginative possibilities for a better future." With that ability, people can hold what feel like two opposing ideas at once, a form of flexible thinking that can make it easier to find strength and take action.

Wray also advocates for stretching one's "window of tolerance," a psychological space in which life feels manageable and fulfilling. That window shrinks when people feel hyper- or under-aroused, which can happen as a result of trauma, anxiety, and depression, among other experiences. Despair can set in when people lose their capacity to cope, making it much harder to fight climate change.

On the other hand, that window expands with resilience-building practices that help regulate difficult emotions, says Wray. Such strategies include mindfulness, meditation, gratitude journaling, yoga, quality sleep, and spending time with loved ones — basically anything that soothes the nervous system.

"We can be much better external activists when we're good at doing the internal part of self-care, too," says Wray.

Prioritize social connections

Coping with eco-anxiety can feel very individualistic. People focus on their consumer choices, perhaps buying an electric car and avoiding single-use plastic products. Or they might work through their emotions with a therapist. While these aren't bad strategies, Wray says there's much to be gained through social connectedness. Of course, being part of collective efforts to pressure governments and corporations can be rewarding. But relationships also make a difference when climate change brings any number of disasters, including extreme weather events.

Wray points to studies on how communities with high levels of social connectedness and social trust cope following a crisis. That research suggests that strong relationships and the ability to achieve shared goals together lead to more positive outcomes than in communities where social capital is low. When people come to each other's aid, it can provide degrees of immediate and sometimes lasting psychological relief. That's possibly why people with high connectedness may be less likely to develop mental health disorders following a disaster.

Wray challenges people to imagine a future in which people can leverage strong social relationships and mutual aid to rebuild faster after destruction and, as a result, potentially experience post-traumatic growth instead of persistent or chronic stress. That might look like using community and religious centers, schools, and civic spaces to bring people together to tackle problems like how to protect the vulnerable in a heat wave.

"If we continue to override or just ignore this aspect we will not be serving ourselves well," says Wray. "We can go back to the old ways of living in community, living rooted with others, and doing what's needed to be reciprocal and mutualistic in the way that we organize our social lives."

If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, Crisis Text Line provides free, confidential support 24/7. Text CRISIS to 741741 to be connected to a crisis counselor. Contact the NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI, Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. ET, or email You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Here is a list of international resources.

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The 10 most streamed movies of the week: big hits and some picks critics loathed

Sat, 21 May 22 10:00:00 +0000
Paul Rudd in

Seen anything good lately? How about something bad? Either way, your stream counted towards Reelgood's metrics regarding the most-streamed movies of the week across all platforms.

This week, recent favorites like The Batman and The Lost City reappear on the list, with the Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum comedy snagging the top spot and the Caped Crusader slipping from #1 to #7. Top Gun: Maverick's arrival in theaters kept the original Top Gun on the list as well, but the streaming debuts of Operation Mincemeat and Senior Year (both on Netflix) bracket the '80s classic in the third and fifth positions on the list.

1. The Lost City

A woman in a purple sparkly dress leaning over to talk to a man with long blonde hair.
Credit: Kimberley French/Paramount Pictures

Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum team up for an action-rom-com in the vein of Romancing the Stone. She's Loretta, a heartbroken romance novelist looking to turn her back on her career and love. He's Alan, the cover model who has been the face of her sexy adventures for years. But when a tyrannical billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe) kidnaps her to uncover an ancient artifact, it's up to Alan to save the day...and get the girl?

What we thought: The Lost City perseveres through a barrage of half-hearted bits and bungled punchlines, becoming an adventure that's inoffensively entertaining and easy enough to enjoy. Bullock is in sharp form. And while Tatum's hero doesn't reach the mighty heights of Chris Hemsworth's side-splitting himbo in Ghostbusters, his Alan is solidly delightful. Radcliffe's talents are squandered, but Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Patti Harrison, and Brad Pitt make the most out of smaller supporting roles that bring some edge to the overall tame adventure. —Kristy Puchko, Deputy Entertainment Editor

How to watch: The Lost City is now streaming on Paramount+.

2. Firestarter

A young girl in blue overalls screaming while a man cowers behind her.
Credit: Universal Pictures

Secret rule of Hollywood: when in doubt, adapt a Stephen King story. It's free, there's name recognition, and most of the stories are that appealing sort of weird-cool. Firestarter is a King adaptation about a young girl who, well, starts fires. By screaming. Her uncontrollable powers make her a subject of fear and scorn, which leads to the question of if she'll grow up to control her pyro-screams or become the monster everyone expects her to be. — Alexis Nedd, Senior Entertainment Reporter

What we thought: In the end, this Firestarter feels more pointless than perturbing. It's a story we've seen again and again. And while this version has some superficial differences from the Firestarters that have come before, nothing distinguishes it as exceptional, exciting, and certainly not essential. It feels like a movie you might throw on while fiddling on your phone or folding the laundry. — K.P.

How to watch: Firestarter is streaming now on Peacock.

3. Operation Mincemeat

Matthew Macfadyen as Charles Cholmondeley and Colin Firth as Ewen Montagu in "Operation Mincemeat"
Credit: Giles Keyte/Courtesy of Netflix

Operation Mincemeat tells the true story of a secret British WWII operation wherein intelligence agents transformed the unclaimed body of a homeless individual into a deceased army captain and planted it off the coast of Spain with a pocketful of false information about a nonexistent plan to invade Greece and Sardinia. The plan was bold then, and it's bolder still in this Netflix original adaptation of Ben Macintyre's historical novel of the same name. The movie is also, from a meta standpoint, a Darcy-off, as the two leading men Colin Firth and Matthew Macfayden have both played Fitzwilliam Darcy in two separate filmed adaptations of Pride and Prejudice. Go figure! — A.N.

How to watch: Operation Mincemeat is streaming now on Netflix. 

4. Top Gun

A man on a motorcycle, wearing a leather jacket and aviator sunglasses.
Credit: Paramount / Kobal / Shutterstock

Little wonder this 1986 hit is taking flight on streaming. Top Gun: Maverick, a sequel 36 years in the making, is now in theaters. So what better time to return to the tale of cocky pilot Maverick (Tom Cruise) and his best friend Goose (Anthony Edwards) as they take to the skies to prove they're the very best of the best. Aside from aerial action, this Tony Scott gem also boasts a steamy romance, a bold performance by Val Kilmer, and plenty of moments that will be recalled in the sequel. —K.P.

How to watch: Top Gun is now streaming on Paramount+.

5. Senior Year

Jeremy Ray Taylor as Neil Chud, Rebel Wilson as Stephanie Conway, Avantika as Janet and Joshua Colley as Yaz in "Senior Year."
Credit: Boris Martin/Netflix © 2022

Rebel Wilson stars as a former high school cheerleader, who suffers an injury in her senior year of high school and falls into a 20-year coma. When she wakes up, she wants to pick up where she left off and finish high school at the top of the social hierarchy...though her experience as a cool teen in the '00s doesn't exactly translate to a 37-year-old woman who's still in the 12th grade. — A.N.

How to watch: Senior Year is now streaming on Netflix.

6. Old

A woman with short hair clutching a young girl on a beach.
Credit: Universal Pictures

I mean, hey. There's a beach, and it makes you old. That's kind of it. People go to the beach, they get old. It's terrifying, and in true M. Knight Shyamalan fashion, there's a big twist at the end. Mostly though, it's about the beach that makes you old. — A.N.

What we thought: Sure, some of Old's rougher edges will rub certain viewers the wrong way. But for longtime fans of Shyamalan's work, the film marks an exciting development for the iconic director. Fearless and fun, Old doesn't bother to waste time apologizing for the audacity of its bonkers premise. Instead, it lets Shyamalan create with reckless abandon, giving audiences something altogether new. — Alison Foreman, Entertainment Reporter

How to watch: Old is streaming now on HBO Max.

7. The Batman

Batman in a room full of cops.
Credit: Jonathan Olley And DC Comics

Taking the caped crusader back to his early days, Matt Reeves' The Batman sees Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) on the trail of a serial killer known as The Riddler (Paul Dano), tapping into the darkness that made Nolan's Dark Knight series a success. The cast is pretty stacked with this one, featuring Zoë Kravitz as Cat Woman, Colin Farrell as The Penguin, John Turturro as Carmine Falcone, and Jeffrey Wright as Lt. Gordon. — Sam Haysom, Deputy UK Editor

What we thought: So, today it is my grim task to tell you The Batman is studded with stars, action, comic book characters, real-world parallels, gorgeous cinematography, and grit-teeth seriousness. But it falls short of exciting or entertaining or fun. It wasn't a ride, but a chore. Considering all the stories that might be told with these characters, the truly daring possibilities it scratches at dwarf the film it actually is. — K.P.

How to watch: The Batman is streaming now on HBO Max.

8. The Gentleman

A man in a tuxedo sitting at a table at a gala.
Credit: C Raphael / Miramax / Kobal / Shutterstock

The latest from Guy Ritchie stars Matthew McConaughey as an American expat who, after years of building a drug empire in London, is looking to cash out. This kicks off a rowdy melee for power that brings in an array of wild characters and outrageous shenanigans. As expected from a Richie endeavor, The Gentleman is stuffed with stars, including Charlie Hunnam, Jeremy Strong, Michelle Dockery, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding, and Hugh Grant. —K.P.

How to watch: The Gentleman is now streaming on Netflix.

9. Ghostbusters: Afterlife

A man holding a small piece of equipment in a science classroom.
Credit: Sony

Once upon a time, four men busted ghosts. Later, four women busted different ghosts. Now, children bust ghosts, and Paul Rudd is there. Ghostbusters: Afterlife follows the daughter and grandchildren of original Ghostbuster Egon Spengler as they inherit his spooky farmhouse in a town that, lo and behold, has a problem with ghosts. With their ancestor's old equipment and the help of a curious seismologist, the new generation of Spenglers take the Ecto-1 out for a spin and do what they were born to do: bust some frickin' ghosts.

What we thought: Where the original film soared because of the incredible chemistry between a batch of boldly realized characters in conflict, these descendants are poor substitutes that feel more like plot points than people. Callie is a sour embodiment of Daddy Issues. Most of her lines are griping about Egon, which not only fails to ingratiate her to the audience but also is a woeful waste of Coon’s talents. Trevor’s key purpose is asking Phoebe “what is that!?” in a million different ways. Presumably, to serve as a walking explainer for newcomers to the franchise. But it’s hard to imagine anyone getting excited enough by this squad to want to see more. — K.P.

How to watch: Ghostbusters: Afterlife is streaming now on Starz.

10. The Sadness 

Shudder's reputation as the streaming destination for horror continues with The Sadness, a Taiwanese horror film by debut director Rob Jabbaz. In it, a strange virus (yikes) begins to spread in modern-day Taiwan, but the symptoms are significantly more strange than a fever or a cough. The virus transforms humans into agents of indiscriminate violence, whipping the population into chaos as the protagonists struggle to avoid being infected, murdered, or worse. — A.N.

How to watch: The Sadness is streaming now on Shudder.

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How scientists find the big asteroids that can threaten Earth

Sat, 21 May 22 10:00:00 +0000
an asteroid in our solar system

When you're fast asleep at night, telescopes atop lofty mountains continually sleuth out unknown space rocks that might fly close to Earth, or even potentially hit us.

Congress directs NASA to find and track the asteroids and comets that swoop into our cosmic neighborhood, meaning some 30 million miles from Earth's orbit around the sun. They're aptly named "near-Earth objects," or NEOs, and thousands of sizable ones are thought to remain undiscovered.

Specialized telescopes in Hawaii, Arizona, and beyond have spotted around 95 percent of the behemoths one kilometer (0.6 miles) wide or larger that would trigger planetary devastation. Yet astronomers have only found 40 percent of the rocks 460 feet (commonly referenced as 140 meters) or bigger. These are still relatively large, menacing objects.

"There are a lot of those out there waiting to be discovered," Larry Denneau, one of the researchers who heads the ATLAS survey, or Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System, told Mashable. "One-hundred and forty meters is take-out-a-large-city size." By mid-May 2022, surveys for the 460-foot-plus rocks had spotted around 10,000 of an estimated population of 25,000 such near-Earth objects. At the current pace, two percent of these rocks are found each year. That's about 500 such rocks discovered annually.

"You need to know what's coming"

Fortunately, no known asteroid over 460 feet across will threaten Earth in the next century or so. The chances of a major impact in our lifetimes is, as far as we know, extremely small, astronomers say. To illustrate, impacts by objects around 460 feet in diameter occur every 10,000 to 20,000 years, and a "dinosaur-killing" impact from a rock perhaps a half-mile across or larger happens on 100-million-year timescales. But something threatening could surprise us, like the unexpected football-field-sized asteroid that swung just 40,000 miles from Earth in 2019. That's why watching is critical. We might not be able to nudge an approaching rock away from our planet — that's an ambitious space endeavor that takes years of planning — but we can prepare for an impact and move people out of the way.

"You need to know what's coming, when it's coming, and how hard it's going to hit," Eric Christensen, the director of the NEO-seeking Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona, told Mashable.

Crucially, even a smaller asteroid, some 100 to 170 feet across, could destroy a place like Kansas City, home to half a million people. So the surveys for rocks large and "small" are vital.

We spoke with scientists at the three telescope surveys that discover most of these near-Earth objects about how they detect relatively tiny unknowns in vast, starry skies.

Via Giphy

The near-Earth asteroid 2019 MO as viewed and tracked by the ATLAS telescope survey in 2019. Credit: ATLAS


the Pan-STARRS telescope
A Pan-STARRS telescope above the clouds atop Maui's Haleakalā. Credit: Rob Ratkowski

Pan-STARRS, or the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System, sits atop Hawaii's dormant volcano Haleakalā at some 10,000 feet. The survey is comprised of two telescopes peering up at the sky and looking for unusual movement, particularly things moving fast or slow. A fast object implies a closer object, meaning a strong NEO candidate.

The telescopes, largely funded by NASA's Near Earth Observation Program, are superb at picking up moving dots in the sky because they're equipped with some of the most powerful digital cameras in the world, containing either 1.4 or 1.5 billion pixels. (A good consumer digital camera might have some 20 million pixels.) With its keen eyesight, Pan-STARRS found 253 of the 456 near-Earth asteroids larger than 460 feet wide discovered in 2021, and has been a leader in these detections for the past decade.

The cameras snap four pictures of the same spot in the sky over an hour, and then software reveals any telltale movement in those frames. On a typical night, Pan-STARRS might find a whopping 3,000 to 5,000 previously unknown objects in the distant asteroid belt, with five to 10 of them being potential near-Earth objects. The high-velocity candidates are promptly sent to the Minor Planet Center, which is the world's official clearinghouse for cataloging objects in our solar system. Pan-STARRS will then follow up on new discoveries, to pin down the rocks' orbits. Some NEOs are ultimately labeled "potentially hazardous asteroids," meaning they come within about five million miles of Earth.

If it turns out a rock larger than 30 feet wide has greater than a one percent chance of hitting Earth, NASA will give an official warning to the White House and other government leaders, who will then assess the situation and inform the public about any potential strike (hopefully it misses Earth or drops into the expansive oceans). NASA, however, has still never issued such a warning.

the Meteor Crater in Arizona
A 100 to 170-foot-wide object left a crater 0.75 miles across in the Arizona desert some 50,000 years ago. Credit: NASA / USGS

Though faster moving objects in the sky are often NEOs, it's the slow rocks that are particularly problematic. "You need to watch for the slow-moving ones," Richard Wainscoat, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii who leads the Pan-STARRS survey, told Mashable. "You have to be a little careful of those."

From our view on Earth, a slow-moving object might actually be a rock coming straight, or nearly straight, at Earth. A salient example is the asteroid 2019 OK which, as noted earlier, swung just 40,000 miles from our surface a few years ago. "That snuck up on us by moving very slowly," Wainscoat said.

Pan-STARRS may detect hundreds of new near-Earth objects each year, but it would likely detect even more if it weren't for a number of challenges, both natural and unnatural. Earth's oversized, extremely vivid moon brightens the sky and can make detecting relatively tiny, distant objects difficult, or impossible. Bad weather ruins survey nights. And when a telescope goes offline and needs repairs, Pan-STARRS has to compete with professional golf tournaments for the use of the only boom lift on Maui. Having just one operating telescope makes a sizable, months-long dent in their productivity. "It makes a big difference having two operating telescopes," Wainscoat explained. "We can survey twice as much sky."

Fortunately, when Pan-STARRS is hampered by weather or repairs, other telescopes are still sleuthing the solar system.

Catalina Sky Survey

a Catalina Sky Survey telescope at night
A Catalina Sky Survey telescope, with its dome opened, viewing space at night. Credit: Catalina Sky Survey

There is no competition between the different surveys. They're working together to meet NASA's congressionally-directed mandate to find 90 percent of all space rocks 460 feet wide or larger.

"The more eyes on the sky, the better we are," said Christensen, of the Catalina Sky Survey, whose three telescopes are located in Arizona's Santa Catalina Mountains.

The Catalina Sky Survey, funded by NASA, is on the NEO hunt around 27 days a month, only taking a break when a luminous fuller moon hinders observing. "They can appear anywhere in the sky," emphasized Christensen. "We need to cover as much sky as we can."

"The more eyes on the sky, the better we are."

While Pan-STARRS tends to find more NEOs larger than 460 feet wide (or 140 meters), Catalina tends to find a bit more NEOs overall. That's good, because something under 140 meters is quite capable of devastation. "I think 130 meters would also be pretty bad," noted Pan-STARRS' Wainscoat.

Beginning in 2016, the Catalina Sky Survey started detecting hundreds more asteroids each year, an improvement Christensen attributes to telescope improvements. Like Pan-STARRS, Catalina scours the night sky for objects moving against the background of stars. They send anything interesting to the Minor Planet Center. Often, new discoveries are made.

Christensen acknowledges there are still plenty of near-Earth asteroids to find. To speed discoveries up, they could use improved equipment. "We would benefit from having better instrumentation, and larger telescopes," he said.

a graph showing the number of near-Earth objects detected by NASA telescopes
A graph showing the number of NEOs detected by different telescope surveys. Credit: NASA / Center for Near Earth Object Studies


inside the dome of an ATLAS telescope
Inside the dome of an ATLAS telescope. Credit: ATLAS / Larry Denneau

While Pan-STARRS or Catalina peer deeper into the solar system for any movement, the ATLAS survey, or Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System, acts more like a huge floodlight looking closely around Earth.

"When smaller objects come to Earth and whizz by, that's when we see them," said ATLAS' Denneau. The ATLAS telescopes — two in Hawaii, one in Chile, and one in South Africa — can scan the entire sky each night.

"We're looking everywhere all the time to find anything close to us," Denneau said.

"We're looking everywhere all the time to find anything close to us."

Similar to the other surveys, the ATLAS telescopes take multiple images of the sky, looking for any moving dots. They send interesting new candidates to the Minor Planet Center. And they're prepared for an emergency. "Someone's always on call," Denneau explained. "Someone always has eyes on the data coming out of the telescopes."

The telescopes can ultimately give a day, weeks, or months of notice. They can spot something around 65 feet across a few days out; a 300 or so foot-wide rock can be detected weeks out. ATLAS has spotted small, fortunately harmless rocks that indeed did hit Earth. For example, in June 2019 the survey detected the 13-foot-wide asteroid 2019 MO. Just twelve hours later it exploded in the sky near Puerto Rico.

These three major survey operations will soon get help.

In 2026, NASA will launch its much-anticipated Near-Earth Object Surveyor space telescope (NEO Surveyor), which will orbit Earth. Out in space, the mission will reveal the compositions, shapes, and orbits of these rocks, and find thousands of still-unknown nearby objects. What's more, in 2023 the giant Vera C. Rubin Observatory, located over 8,700 feet up in Chile's Cerro Pachón ridge, will come online. The over 27-foot-wide telescope will deeply survey the sky, and, among a variety of goals, take inventory of the millions of objects in our solar system, including many near-Earth objects.

As Christensen noted above, the more eyes viewing disparate parts of the sky, the more potentially menacing rocks we'll find. A big impact — whether it's from a rock 100 feet, 200 feet, 300 feet, or 1,000 feet across — will happen again. It could be in your lifetime, or not. Collisions are a normal part of space.

"This is just a continuous process that happens in the solar system," Christensen said.

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Make the most of your summer with these portable gadgets under $50

Sat, 21 May 22 09:00:00 +0000
White round lamp on sand at beach

Sweet, sweet summertime. We can see it, smell it, and many of us are feelin' it (thanks, seasonal allergies). Having products that go where you go without weighing you down is a game-changer — especially in the summer. And for a limited time, these five items are on sale for under $50 to help you enjoy a summer of seamless adventures with your portable products in tow. 

1. Take a personal blender for on-the-go cocktails and smoothies

Whether you’re making margs by the pool or a protein shake after a run, this mini rechargeable blender lets you whip up concoctions away from the kitchen. Its six-blade cutting head can crush fruits and veggies in the touch of a button. And it’ll last for up to eight uses on a single charge. Usually $54, you can get it on sale for only $38.99 for a limited time.

Silver juicer with cut-up fruits inside it next to glass of juice and bowl of strawberries
Mini Rechargeable Blender
$38.99 at the Mashable Shop

2. Don't let sundown stop the fun, bring a portable waterproof light

Featured before, the Kickstarter-funded Mogics Coconut light is like a miniature portable moon you can carry with you anywhere. It features four warm lighting modes, a foldable design, and the ability to float in water. It self-inflates in seconds to offer mood lighting wherever your night takes you. It’s regularly $49, but you can save 24% and get it for $36.95.

Hand balancing yellow glowing ball
Credit: Mogics

3. Keep cool at all times with a personal fan you can wear

Summer temps can climb high, and it's important to keep your body from getting too hot. Sleek, compact, and hands-free, the Cool Blades 4.0 makes keeping your cool as simple as wearing a neck band. The wearable fan has three speeds and a flexible silicone band to offer a personal breeze whenever you need it. At the lowest speed, it can last up to 10 hours on a single charge. Save 66% and grab one for only $39.99.

Black u-shaped fan
Credit: Summer Essentials
Cool Blades 4.0 Wearable Fan
$39.99 at the Mashable Shop

4. Protect yourself from the elements with a pop-up tent for shade

When you need to shield your skin from the sun, the Pop-A-Shade pop-up tent is a game-changer. It can be set up in seconds — with four metal stakes for anchoring it in place and fiberglass poles that are flexible for easy folding — and offers an immediate shelter from the sun, wind, rain, and bugs. Save 61% and snag it on sale for $49.99 just in time for beach season.

Blue tent with folded-up version with handle above it
Credit: Outdoor Essentials
$49.99 at the Mashable Shop

5. Stay hydrated and happy with this water bottle that doubles as a speaker

The Izzo Golf Bluetooth Speaker Bottle offers two summer essentials in one convenient device: hydration and your favorite tunes. You can fit 16 ounces of water inside and enjoy quality sound via Bluetooth or through an SD card (for pre-downloaded songs). It also slips easily inside any golf cart cup holder as a bonus. Get it on sale for $39.99.

Water bottle with silver base and hand holding phone playing music next to it
Credit: Odash, Inc.

Prices subject to change.

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Broaden your horizons with 7 travel and tourism courses on sale

Sat, 21 May 22 09:00:00 +0000
Person sitting on suitcase on top of world with travel destination icons

TL;DR: As of May 21, The 2022 Ultimate Travel Bundle — worth $2,079 — is on sale for just $29.99.

If watching The Flight Attendant has revved up your ambition to travel the world — whether as part of the travel and tourism industry or as a personal bucket-list item — here’s a deal that might interest you. The 2022 Ultimate Travel Bundle, which features seven courses from Alpha Academy on language learning, travel hacks, travel procedures in the tourism industry, and more, is on sale for only $29.99 for a limited time. 

Considering this bundle is regularly priced at $2,079 (just under $300 per course), that’s a pretty sweet deal. You’ll get three different courses on language learning, including an introduction to Italian and Chinese, and an intermediate course on French, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese and German. If you’re dedicated to learning, you’ll gain enough information to speak just enough of each language to get around. There are also two courses that delve deep into the travel industry. You’ll look at the industry as a whole, products and services of tourism, tour operations, human resources, transportation management, crisis and visitor attraction management, and more.

To top off your travel education, you’ll take two courses in travel photography. Not only will you be able to snap more attractive photos of your adventures, but if you’re dedicated, you could even build a social media following through your images or sell them to a stock photography site. Side hustle, anyone?

Alpha Academy is an online learning platform that offers an e-learning experience that blends video lessons with self-assessments to help you learn on your own time. Some of the courses are even CPD-accredited, so you can use them on your résumé. With this deal, you'll get one year of access to each course on desktop and mobile, giving you plenty of time to work your way through.

Sign up for only $29.99 for a limited time — that's just over $4 per course.

Prices subject to change.

Suitcase with passport and fedora next to global landmarks
Credit: Alpha Academy
The 2022 Ultimate Travel Bundle
$29.99 at the Mashable Shop
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