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Take This Haunted, Halloween-Themed Road Trip for Your October Pandemic Vacation

Take This Haunted, Halloween-Themed Road Trip for Your October Pandemic Vacation

Illustration for article titled Take This Haunted, Halloween-Themed Road Trip for Your October Pandemic Vacation

Illustration: Pare Mahakanok (Shutterstock)

In this pandemic era, true vacations are few and far between. Flying to a destination is not ideal unless absolutely necessary, and some places are re-imposing stricter quarantines and business closures in response to rising COVID-19 case numbers.

So is it even possible to plan a trip you can look forward to (and do safely)? Yes—especially if it’s a season-specific Halloween road trip that you can enjoy either from the comfort of your car or in the open air.

Travel booking site Kayak put together a 29-stop, 7,500-mile road trip itinerary that connects the spookiest sites across the country. As a bonus, (almost) all of them are outdoors. You’ll find cemeteries, lighthouses, state parks, haunted homes, and an abandoned amusement park. There are also a few ghost tours on the list. The itinerary begins in Stowe, VT, and ends in San Jose, CA.

Of course, this itinerary as a whole requires travel across state lines—if you’d rather stay close to home, you can simply take a day trip to the nearest haunted house. National Geographic also has a list of spooky places in seven states, and Country Living compiled a list of 25 haunted spots.

If you do go on a long-distance road trip, you’ll still need places to stay and food to eat even if all attractions are outdoors. Before you head out, do thorough research about local COVID-19 regulations, and bookmark tools that offer real-time updates on travel restrictions so you’re not surprised when you arrive.

You should also take every precaution to make travel safer: wear masks, stay physically distant from anyone not traveling with you, and minimize the opportunities to interact with other people, especially in closed, indoor spaces.

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Why You Should Ignore 30 Under 30 Lists

Why You Should Ignore 30 Under 30 Lists

Over the long arc of one’s career, one eventually realizes there’s no single formula to attain professional success, financial stability, and personal contentment. At least in the United States, the road to middle-class comfort no longer follows the linear roadmap that it used to: Student debt has reached a crippling upward climb for college graduates; owning a home is prohibitively expensive in major cities; many job markets are perpetually in flux, given that two major recessions and a global pandemic have each occurred within the last twelve years, throwing the livelihoods of millions into the abyss.

We tend to glamorize the success and entrepreneurship of a few, despite the hardship endured by many. There’s perhaps no better encapsulation of this idea than lists like Forbes’ 30 Under 30, which has its latest edition out today. It’s a legacy media tradition that pays tribute to the ideal we’re all taught to believe in: noteworthy success while you’re still young. In doing so, it shines a light on a small (if worthy) group, and makes the rest of us feel like we’ve done something wrong.

Here’s a few reasons why this list, and your non-appearance on said list, shouldn’t trouble you.

Your twenties are for learning

The only thing Americans might love more than a rags-to-riches story is a get-famous-young tale. The Forbes 3o under 30 offers a snapshot of a few people who managed to catapult to the upper echelons of their respective fields on a quick timeline. Good for them, but if it’s not you, don’t sweat it. For most of us, our twenties are a decade of self-exploration. If you feel like you’re going around in circles instead of climbing to the top, it’s likely you’re doing just fine.

Taking these lists as gospel might convince you that public veneration should be foremost among your professional ambitions. There’s plenty out there, both portrayed in pop culture and trumpeted by media outlets, to suggest that a fast track to professional success isn’t just attainable, but a healthy ambition. In reality, enjoying the ride is what sets you up for that success, both personally and professionally, later in life.

Plenty of people find success later in life

If you’ve got it all figured out in your twenties, that’s great, but it’s much more typical to find your professional footing once you’ve got a little bit more experience under your belt. If leafing through the pages of a 30 under 30 list makes you feel inadequate, just think of all the wildly successful people, such as comic book legend Stan Lee, or the actor Samuel L. Jackson, who drifted through their early years only to prosper later on.

Late bloomers are often happier

Research suggests that people who aren’t as focused on early success might find happiness easier to come by. The book Late Bloomers, written by Forbes’ own publisher Rich Karlgaard, charts this phenomenon, arguing, per a review in the Harvard Business review, “that our culture’s obsession with early achievement dissuades us from pursuing our passions.”

There’s a lot to suggest that late bloomers enjoy a variety of advantages: namely, resilience. As the writer Charles Duhigg recounts about his time at Harvard Business School in a New York Times Magazine story, students who were dealt setbacks were eventually poised for greater success, because they were nimble.

“These late bloomers…learned from their own setbacks. And often they wound up richer, more powerful, and more content than everyone else,” he wrote.

Thirty-under-30 winners might have had help

A prevailing myth of American entrepreneurship is that you can, by virtue of just your own intellect, rigor, and passion, rise to the top without anyone’s help. In fact, most people get help: Jeff Bezos, for example, took $250,000 from his parents to fund Amazon when he was just starting out.

Though it’s certainly not true for everyone on a 30 under 30 list, it is often the case that behind these tales of early success lurk hidden privileges, if not family fortunes. That isn’t so much a nefarious secret as a fact of getting ahead in this day and age.

Looking at these success stories shouldn’t make you feel inadequate, because it’s quite possible that you’re doing everything right, despite not featuring in a high-profile business magazine. And like lots of highly successful people, you may just find that your most promising years are still ahead of you, which should allow you to enjoy the journey.

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Celebrate Small Business Saturday by Shopping at Independent Retailers

Celebrate Small Business Saturday by Shopping at Independent Retailers

Illustration for article titled Celebrate Small Business Saturday by Shopping at Independent Retailers

Photo: ESB Professional (Shutterstock)

The holiday shopping season, like everything else, is looking a little different this year. Sure, there were still people at malls at 6 a.m. yesterday for Black Friday sales, but nothing compared to years past. Today, it’s Small Business Saturday, and the perfect opportunity to support independent retailers. Small businesses have been hit especially hard during the pandemic and could use our patronage more than ever.

A lot of the time, when people think of small businesses, their mind immediately goes to those in their local area. That’s great—and also really important if you want to make sure they stay open. But thanks to the magic of the internet, we now have access to small businesses across the country, too, where we can shop for items unavailable in our neighborhood without having to rely on major corporate retailers. Not sure where to start? Here are a few of the many small businesses to support today (and the rest of the year as well):

SHIMA’ of Navajoland

Owned and operated by members of the Navajo Nation, SHIMA’ of Navajoland makes premium handmade soap, body and wellness products using traditional methods.

Tenement Museum

Not only does the Tenement Museum, located in New York City’s Lower East Side, provide visitors with a glimpse into the past, they also have one of the best gift shops around. They are currently offering 30% off site-wide through November 30th with code GIVETHANKS. Plus, all orders with subtotal of $200+ will receive a free 2021 TM Wall Calendar; offer valid December 31st with code 2021.

Uncle Nearest

Named after Nathan “Nearest” Green, the first known African-American master distiller, Uncle Nearest was co-founded Fawn Weaver, the first woman and the first African-American to lead a major spirit brand, in 2017. But it’s more than an incredible history: Uncle Nearest makes award-winning whiskey.

The Arcade

This isn’t one small business as much as it is several under the same ornate roof. The Arcade Cleveland opened in May of 1890 as the first indoor shopping center in America, and today is home to a variety of locally owned shops (many of which ship their products).

The Alabama Booksmith

Even though the showroom is currently closed, The Alabama Booksmith offers worldwide shipping on their books—all of which are signed by the author.

Clearly, there are far, far more small businesses out there that could use our support. Feel free to share some of your favorites in the comments!

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Use 2FA to Stop This New WhatsApp Account Attack

Use 2FA to Stop This New WhatsApp Account Attack

A simple but noteworthy attack is making the rounds on popular chat service WhatsApp. It’s incredibly easy for someone to pull off—all they need is access to a single account that has you listed as a contact. And if you’re susceptible to a bit of social networking, said attacker can take over your WhatsApp account pretty easily.

Here’s how it works, courtesy of F-Secure chief risk officer Mikko Hypponen. An attacker starts by gaining access to a WhatsApp account that has you listed as a contact. Said person then attempts to convert every single contact in that account to a WhatsApp business account. Before this happens, WhatsApp sends you a message asking you to confirm your new business account with a six-digit code.

The attacker, still in control of the account that’s listed you as a contact, then messages you pretending to be that person. They’ll send you something along the lines of, “Oops, didn’t mean to send that to you, can you tell me what the six-digit code is?” And if you reply with the number, then you can kiss your WhatsApp account goodbye. The attacker has now taken it over, and they’ll use your contacts to continue the scheme.

Obviously, the best thing you can do to prevent yourself from being suckered in by this attack is to never, ever give anyone else any authentication codes you ever receive. There will never be a time when an authentication code is accidentally sent to you. Even if that was the case, said person trying to request a code for themselves should be able to just re-request it; they don’t need your help.

So, a little common sense prevents a lot of pain on this one. However, this attack is also a great reminder that you can and should be using WhatsApp’s two-step verification. You set it up via Settings > Account > Two-Step Verification.

Illustration for article titled Use 2FA to Stop This New WhatsApp Account Attack

Screenshot: David Murphy

When you set this up, you’ll have to input a PIN that only you know whenever you’re re-registering your phone number with WhatsApp. In other words, if you (or someone else) is trying to associate a new device with your phone number, they’ll need your PIN to finish the setup process. And that’s different than the registration code that gets texted to a phone number; you’ll need both to set up WhatsApp using your number on a new device.

It’s a great, sure-fire way to ensure that nobody else is ever going to be able to take over your WhatsApp account. And, yes, if you forget the PIN, WhatsApp can email it to you. (Please don’t share that email with anyone else ever.)

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How Much Money Can You Make on YouTube?

How Much Money Can You Make on YouTube?

Illustration for article titled How Much Money Can You Make on YouTube?

Photo: 10’000 Hours (Getty Images)

You might have heard about the eight-year old boy that makes $26 million annually from what started off as a toy unboxing channel on YouTube, and thought, “I can do that.” And sure, there’s sky-high potential to make money on the world’s second most-visited site, although most creators make more meager, earthbound annual incomes. Here’s a look at how much you can earn as a YouTuber.

Subscribers are important, but they’re not everything 

Only a small percentage of YouTubers have a large number of subscribers: Out of 37 million accounts, just 22,000 have more than one million subscribers, according to Tubics, a marketing software company. The vast majority of successful creators belong to a “middle class” of accounts with 50k–500K subscribers, many of whom can’t live off of their YouTube earnings alone.

Subscribers are valuable because they’re more likely to consistently engage with your content and share it with others, but they aren’t the best metric for determining how much money they’re making. To get a more accurate sense of what creators are paid, you have to look at their “cost per mille,” otherwise known as cost per 1,000 ad impressions, or CPM.

Your CPM determines your pay rate 

When you monetize your videos through Google’s Partner Program, you enable ad revenue sharing which is based on your CPM. Cost per 1,000 impressions is a metric that represents how much money advertisers are willing to spend for ads on your YouTube videos. But as Business Insider points out, no YouTube creator consistently has the same CPM, as advertisers pay different rates based on a variety of factors like geography, seasonality, and topic (typically, your CPM rate is higher for informative, business-focused content over personal vlogs, as an example).

CPM rates are a bit mysterious to YouTubers, and they can range wildly, but usually fall somewhere between $2 – $5 per thousand views. That means a CPM of $5 will earn you $5,000 from a video with a million views. Considering that the average YouTube video received only a few thousand views, and you’ll understand why it can be a challenge to make a steady income off of the site, even if you’re popular.

To really make money, you have to go beyond views 

If you want to make millions of dollars on YouTube, the reality is that you need more than a lot of subscribers. The top YouTube accounts use their content as a springboard for other ways of generating revenue, which include:

Merchandise sales

YouTubers can make more money off of merch than they do from ads. If a creator has an engaged, loyal audience, their profits from selling mugs, T-shirts, coffee beans, totes, stationary, or online education videos will can be significant. According to Tubefilter:

An average month for [Jake] Paul is 200 million views, which puts his estimated monthly AdSense earnings between $50,000 and $800,000. His estimated [annual] merch income, on the other hand, is between $820,810 and $4,292,940

Sponsored content

Content creators can get paid directly by sponsors for mentioning a specific company or product in their videos, typically a flat fee of a few hundred up to thousands of dollars. It’s not easy to get hard numbers on this, but the more popular you are, the more leverage you have. Influencers with at least 100,000 followers on YouTube can typically earn $12,500 for a sponsored video, according to Forbes.

Free merchandise

Many YouTubers are sent a lot of free swag in the hopes they’ll review the products on their channels. It’s not easy to put a hard number on this as it’s not strictly income, but you can imagine how much a creator can save on expenses if they’re, say, running a makeup product review channel and all the products being reviewed are paid for by someone else.


Patreon allows creators to make money from their most loyal subscribers in exchange for exclusive content and perks. You can easily make as much from Patreon as you do from ad revenue, but you’ll need to build up a large following before you see much upside. This blog post has a good breakdown of how a Patreon account can be used to increase your revenue above and beyond what you can make from YouTube ads.

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How to Soundproof Noisy Windows

How to Soundproof Noisy Windows

Illustration for article titled How to Soundproof Noisy Windows

Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Image (Getty Images)

I recently moved to a new apartment on a street that serves as an artery for commercial trucking in my area of Brooklyn. I’m particularly sensitive to noise pollution, and this permanent cacophony isn’t just caused by the rumble of big rigs, either: every facet of urban life seems to seep its way into my bedroom. It’s as if my neighbors, the garbage trucks, the man blasting techno from his Hyundai, and the construction crews are all conspiring to sap the tranquility out of my daily life.

Luckily, my landlord has promised new, soundproof windows to allay the constant din. But if you don’t have that kind of one-shot solution at your disposal, there are ways to soundproof your windows to absorb some of the excess street noise. Here’s some things to know about making that happen.

Not all windows are created equal

Those familiar with home improvement already know this, but here’s a pearl of wisdom for DIY-neophytes: If it’s particularly loud in your home, your windows might be trash. Cheaper windows with just one pane of glass are less likely to block as much noise as double pane windows. Plus, double pane windows are typically insulated further with argon gas injected between each pane. The chemical is used for thermal insulation, allowing the temperature of the glass to be more on par with the temperature of a room. This dual temperature regulation and noise cancellation is undeniably what you want in a window.

There’s a similar difference between laminated glass and tempered glass, as the soundproofing gurus at Soundproof Cow explain:

Manufacturers engineer laminated glass especially with soundproofing qualities in mind. If you find your home or business suffering from unwanted vibrations and sounds that enter through your windows, laminated glass will provide you with the sound deadening properties you need. This is because laminated glass consists of an extra protective layer of plastic that provides an additional barrier between the two external glass sheets.

Tempered glass, on the other hand, does not offer quite as much soundproofing control. This form of glass is crafted with durability in mind, as the strong and sturdy external layers provide a resilient glass that can withstand use and force with robust strength. However, tempered glass does not offer superior sound reduction performance.

Soundproof windows are great, but expensive

If you’re looking for the closest thing to a silver bullet, soundproof windows are the ticket. Most soundproof windows claim to cancel between 90-95% of street noise, which is ostensibly enough to satisfy even the most irritable among us.

There’s an economic hurdle, though, as most soundproof windows are going to crest upwards of $1,000 and above to purchase and install. Any window installation is going to vary according to the size and particulars of your living space, but this guide from HouseLogic can help you glean a sense of whether a full-on soundproof window will work for you.

There are noise-reducing curtains

Perhaps the next best item that you can purchase without much legwork are noise-reducing curtains. You don’t need an advanced understanding of physics to know that the greater density of a material probably means that it’s better at absorbing sound.

Unlike soundproof windows, noise-reducing curtains aren’t going to cost you a four-figure outlay. There’s tons of options on the market, too, so it won’t be hard to find a set that you think might work.

You can add window insets

Another option is placing a window inset in front of your more porous windows. These are custom-made glass panels that simply slot right over your existing window frame, used to control temperature and regulate noise. They’re proven to work, though not quite effectively as an outright noise-cancelling window, and there are companies catering to the cause. 

Find and plug any gaps

It’s possible that your windows aren’t completely flush with the window frame, allowing gaps between pieces of glass to let in excess noise. My current windows aren’t properly caulked, for example. Short of actually using caulk—the adhesive material used to seal gaps in a structure—to plug the gaps, you can try stuffing pieces of foam in any of the crevasses you suspect of leaking noise.

It’s not exactly an aesthetic asset, but there’s a reason foam is one of the most commonly used tools in soundproofing recording studios: it’s very absorbent.

Furniture works, too

Windows don’t have to be the sole focus of your quest to deaden the noise. Bookshelves, couches, carpets and kitchen tables all do their part in limiting a deafening racket from pinging across your living room.

Godspeed, and perhaps invest in earplugs or a white noise machine for when you sleep. If needed, look to our other coverage on transforming your bedroom into a perfectly quiet sleep chamber.

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