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The Out-of-Touch Adults Guide To Kid Culture: Sea Shanties, Ahoy!

https://lifehacker.com/the-out-of-touch-adults-guide-to-kid-culture-sea-shant-1846063473

The Out-of-Touch Adults Guide To Kid Culture: Sea Shanties, Ahoy!

Illustration for article titled The Out-of-Touch Adults Guide To Kid Culture: Sea Shanties, Ahoy!

Illustration: tsuneomp (Shutterstock)

Internet CultureThe Out-of-Touch Adults Guide To Kid Culture: Sea Shanties, Ahoy!Internet CultureIt’s hard to keep up with internet culture, but don’t worry: Each week we’ll tell you the best of what you need to know.

This week’s potpourri of nonsense-you-might-not-know-about takes us from whaling ships in the 1800s to 2021’s hottest hype houses, with a pitstop in Lental to snap some Pokémon.

TikTok trend of the week: Sea shanties

Future sociologists and cultural historians will write dissertations debating why, exactly, songs originally sung by seafaring laborers in the 1800s are the hottest trend on TikTok this particular week. But here we are: Sea shanties are the bangers of the moment.

The hype machine for seafaring ditties seems to have begun with a video of Scottish postman Nathan Evans singing “The Wellerman,” and blew up from there. Others started recording their own songs, adding their voices to Evans’ video, creating parodies, trying to figure it out, and otherwise honoring/chopping-and-screwing this all-but-forgotten musical form. But it really took off with this hilarious video from Beertheist that demonstrates in 44 seconds how sea shanties are at first ridiculous, then delightful, and ultimately irresistible.

This week in games: Pokémon Snap release date announced

Nintendo is beloved for taking their well-worn intellectual properties from console to console, creating spiffed-up versions of older titles, then releasing almost-the-same-game on newer machines. (I’m not complaining—this is all I want Nintendo to do, ever). Gamer-favorite Pokémon Snap, though, has not been seen on a Nintendo console since the Nintendo 64, way back in 1999. Snap missed the GameCube, DS, Wii, and Wii U, but to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Pokémon, it’s coming to the Nintendo Switch on April 30.

In case you didn’t play it back in the day, Pokémon Snap is the best: You are a photographer and your job (I guess it’s your job?) is to travel around taking pictures of Pokémon. That’s pretty much it. You snap shy pocket monsters in desserts, jungles, and other environments, and your photos are awarded points based on composition. If it’s as good as the original, this will be way better than anything you will ever actually do in your life. Check out the new trailer and you’ll see.

Definition of the week: “Hype house”

Meme-based presidential candidate and New York City mayoral hopeful Andrew Yang recently said that part of his plan for Gotham involves encouraging “hype houses” to move to the city. If you are too busy “having a job” and “living your life” to know what a hype house is, here’s the explanation: Young influencers and social media content-tainers have been moving into expensive mansions together to collaborate artistically, post tons of TikTok videos, and otherwise annoy their rich neighbors. Think of it like Andy Warhol’s Factory, but with less heroin and nothing nearly as cool as The Velvet Underground.

“Hype house” was coined back in December, when 19 of the most influential people on TikTok all moved into a Spanish-style mansion in Los Angeles and called themselves “Hype House.” Now it’s the generic term for any of the hundreds of similar arrangements around the country, whether it’s a gaggle of gamers on YouTube, a pride of Instagram influencers, or a TikTok aviary. The trend of internet people living together dates back to 2014, when YouTubers invaded posh LA neighborhoods and never left, and like everything young people do, it’s annoying and terrible. Wait, I mean it’s awesome and the best!

This week in internet cats: Cats vs. technology

Cats have been a staple of the internet since the late 1940s, and this week, our feline friends are making a big showing on Reddit. The Cats vs. Technology subreddit was originally formed in 2014, but for reasons known only to the internet gods, it’s blowing up in January 2021. This rapidly growing subreddit features videos and pics of cats sitting on warm laptops, figuring out how water coolers work, or trying to outsmart their automatic feeder. In other words, there are cats in it, and cats are pretty good. Especially when they’re on the internet and I don’t have to dig their shit out of a box in the laundry room.

Viral video of the week: Ultra unboxing

The viral videos people are really sharing this week are of Capitol rioters bragging about committing felonies, goofily grinning while stealing lecterns and inciting violence, but that’s all kinds of depressing, so instead, let’s soothe our jangled nerves with some Unbox Therapy! Unboxing videos are a strangely hypnotic subgenre of YouTube videos where someone opens a box with a new product in it and shows off the contents, and Unbox Therapy’s latest is an epic. It featured the full Samsung Galaxy S21 product line, including the Ultra 5G S21, Galaxy S21, the and the S21+, plus their Galaxy Buds headphone. It’s 22 minutes of hardcore, uncensored unboxing, where cellphones are stripped of their packaging and displayed in crystal clear HD. You can see every connector port, every charger cable, all the camera lenses…my god, when he peels that plastic protection sheet off the display panel…

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Bishops say avoid the J&J vaccine because it was made using fetal cells – Insider

https://www.insider.com/catholic-bishops-say-avoid-vaccine-made-with-aborted-fetal-cells-2021-3

Bishops say avoid the J&J vaccine because it was made using fetal cells - Insider
  • US Catholic bishops are asking people to seek vaccines other than Johnson & Johnson’s if possible.
  • J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine was developed using human fetal tissue replicated from aborted stem cells.
  • Pope Francis previously said vaccines derived from aborted cells could be “morally acceptable.”
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops is speaking out against the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine because it was developed using cells from an aborted fetus.

“Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines raised concerns because an abortion-derived cell line was used for testing them, but not in their production,” a statement from the conference said.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, however, was “developed, tested, and is produced with abortion-derived cell lines raising additional moral concerns,” it continued.

The conference said that if there’s a choice, people should take the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines instead, referring back to its January recommendations that people opt for a vaccine with “the least connection to abortion-derived cell lines.”

If a person has no choice of vaccine, however, the conference said in that January guidance that it was morally permissible to accept any available coronavirus vaccine “given that the COVID-19 virus can involve serious health risks.”

The new statement followed an announcement from the Archdiocese of New Orleans on Friday that described the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as “morally compromised, as it uses the abortion-derived cell line in development and production of the vaccine as well as the testing.”

Insider has reached out to Johnson & Johnson for comment.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized the Johnson & Johnson vaccine over the weekend for emergency use. As the first single-dose coronavirus vaccine to be authorized in the US, it could help Americans reach herd immunity — the level of resistance to COVID-19 needed to keep the coronavirus from spreading — more quickly.

Pope Francis has yet to specifically address the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but the Vatican previously said it could be “morally acceptable” to take vaccines “that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.”

In a statement released in December, the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said that while it encouraged pharmaceutical researchers to create vaccines without employing the use of fetuses, it also advised that Catholics would not violate the church’s beliefs if they used vaccines created using aborted cells.

“The certain knowledge that the use of such vaccines does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion from which the cells used in the production of the vaccines derive,” the statement said, noting that using the vaccines should “not in itself constitute a legitimation, even indirect, of the practice of abortion, and necessarily assumes the opposition to this practice by those who make use of these vaccines.”

The cells used in the development of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine derive from a fetus aborted in the early 1970s and have been replicated numerous times across various scientific firms and pharmaceutical companies.

Debate over the use of fetal stem cells has raged for decades, with anti-abortion advocates arguing that supporting companies that do such research amounts to tacit approval of abortion.

The US government regularly funds research employing fetal tissue. In 2014, for instance, the National Institutes of Health doled out about $76 million in support of projects using fetal cells, according to Scientific American.

President Donald Trump restricted the use of aborted fetal tissue in research during his term, even though Regeneron, the antibody therapy he touted as a “cure” for COVID-19, was tested using fetal cells. The scientific community has released a letter to President Joe Biden calling on him to roll back Trump’s restrictions to allow for increased fetal tissue use.

“We are confident that an independent and rigorous evaluation of the scientific and ethical merits of HFT [human fetal tissue] research would find that it will continue to advance scientific research and contribute to the development of new treatments,” the letter said.

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10 Anthology Shows That Explore the Dark Side of Technology

https://lifehacker.com/10-anthology-shows-that-explore-the-dark-side-of-techno-1846377256

10 Anthology Shows That Explore the Dark Side of Technology

The recent, Jordan Peele-hosted reboot of the iconic 1959 classic, The Twilight Zone brings sci-fi stories about morality to the modern age. A camcorder that can rewind time, but cannot save a young man from police brutality. A comedian who is literally deathly funny. A podcast that seemingly predicts every moment of a passenger’s plane ride. These stories hold a mirror up to current society, making viewers think in completely different ways about fate and circumstance. Unfortunately, the show was recently canceled after two seasons, but it will live on in streaming perpetuity. (And you can always revisit the original, which produced plenty of timeless episodes.)

Where to watch: The remake is on CBS All Access (or, if you’re reading this after March 4, 2021, Paramount+), while the original is available on Hulu.

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Beleaguered Hong Kong Celebrities Change Channels

https://variety.com/2021/digital/global/hong-kong-celebrities-change-channels-go-digital-1234913063/

Beleaguered Hong Kong Celebrities Change Channels

Back in the heyday of Hong Kong movies, the city’s film stars and those groomed by the Hong Kong industry were among the biggest stars in Asia.

Now, facing the twin pressures of coronavirus’ impact on productions and performances and, for some, a cold shoulder from mainland Chinese audiences, many Hong Kong stars are becoming digital creators and entrepreneurs.

Not only have film and TV opportunities dried up, well-paid promotional gigs, such as ribbon-cutting ceremonies for shop openings and commercial launches at shopping malls, were called off throughout 2020.

Pop concerts were canceled due to strict social distancing measures in Hong Kong. In December, a concert by Hins Cheung caused a COVID-19 scare when four audience members and a show worker tested positive.

World tours taking in cities populated by Chinese-speaking communities had traditionally been a major source of income for Hong Kong entertainers, even for lesser-known starlets. But global travel restrictions have made these all but impossible.

While television productions are still happening in Hong Kong, only a handful of film projects went into production last year. And the city’s 163-day cinema closure caused release and production delays.

It was inevitable that entertainers would cultivate new opportunities online, says Winnie Tam, an entertainment publicist. “They need to find ways to maintain their exposure,” she said. Some top Hong Kong celebrities have even followed the mainland trend and are selling commercial goods online via live streaming.

Digitally-savvy younger performers are focusing on producing original content. Nearly every member of the 12-piece boy band Mirror, for example, operates his own YouTube channel and Instagram account, regularly uploading vlogs of their daily routines and interacting with their fans on live streams, in addition to promoting their musical and TV releases. Some have produced scripted mini-comedies and music gigs with other musicians. Others are selling fashion products they have designed.

Some more-established celebrities have became successful YouTubers. Remus Choy of male Canto-pop group Grasshopper shows off his cooking skills on his YouTube channel, and has accumulated over 100,000 subscribers since its launch last year. Stephen Chan, the former GM of Television Broadcasts and a radio show host, runs his own channel featuring short dramas, live music shows, celebrity interviews and political commentaries, and has amassed more than 125,000 followers. Singer-actor Ronald Cheng has more than 211,000 YouTube followers.

Some Hong Kong celebrities who have been banished from working in mainland China because of their political views are among the most active online. Actor Chapman To (“SDU: Sex Duties Unit,” “Infernal Affairs”) and singer-actor Denise Ho (Life Without Principle”) are examples. To’s “Lateshow” channel has more than 630,000 subscribers and he is expanding his channel to an online television platform. Ho runs a regular podcast interviewing folks from all walks of life on her channel with over 120,000 followers.

In addition to producing their own content, stars have been more open to making appearances on new media channels, Tam explains. Whizoo, Pomato, CapTV, Trial & Error and the Macau-based Manner are among the most popular among celebrities. “Shooting for these channels might take more time than giving interviews to traditional media, but these channels reach a younger audience,” she said.

The heavy reliance on digital devices amid the pandemic meant that celebrities were left with no choice but to find their audiences in cyberspace, said Agnes Lam, a journalism lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Young stars in particular. “They have to commercialize their private life,” Lam said.

Lazy loaded image

A-listers previously shied away from appearing on the new media also have to adapt. Superstar actor-singer Andy Lau, who never had a social media channel, opened his first account on mainland China’s TikTok equivalent Douyin. He attracted 20 million followers within four days, before the platform downgraded him for watermarking his videos and including commercial links. Singer Eason Chan also fronted a live talk show in December to promote a new single.

But the most sophisticated player, according to Lam, is award-winning actor Chow Yun-fat. Chow does not have his own social media accounts or channels, but he remains a regular on people’s social media feeds. The veteran actor known as a hiking enthusiast who welcomes selfies with fans if they run into him on mountain trails. Selfies with Chow are among the most coveted items among netizens. “People play social media for Chow. He doesn’t have to manage his own account,” Lam says.

 

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How to Overcome Zoom Fatigue

https://lifehacker.com/how-to-overcome-zoom-fatigue-1846347171

How to Overcome Zoom Fatigue

Illustration for article titled How to Overcome 'Zoom Fatigue'

Photo: Girts Ragelis (Shutterstock)

Throughout the pandemic, many former office workers have been necessarily glued to their computer monitors. As work migrated online, video tools like Zoom and Google Hangouts have become the rare outlet for regular face-time with colleagues. But short of an alternative for seeing your co-workers without a screen in the way, all this videoconferencing has led to an epidemic of “Zoom fatigue.”

According to a new study from Stanford researchers published in the journal Technology, Mind and Behavior, Zoom fatigue is basically what it sounds like—resulting from the increased strain of maintaining connections at a distance through video chat—and it leads to burnout, stress, and monotony on the job. But there are ways you can mitigate the stranglehold video conferencing might have on your spirits.

What is Zoom fatigue?

It doesn’t apply to Zoom specifically, and the company’s executives would probably argue that the term does their marketing efforts a disservice. According to Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab, the issue applies to all video conferencing services. Generally speaking, it describes the fatigue caused by needing to feel perpetually switched on as you jump between browser windows for various online meetings. It makes sense, too, given that studies have shown that increased screen time—especially when coupled with a sedentary lifestyle—heightens your chances of developing moderate to severe depression.

If you suffer from this, you’re probably usually drowning in a heavy schedule of virtual meetings, and feeling like you can barely keep your head above water.

What causes it

Bailenson’s research pinpoints four reasons videoconferencing can be so mentally taxing:

  • Intense eye contact is tiring. Locking eyes with your colleagues to show that you’re paying attention can feel demanding. Doing so multiple times a day can feel oppressive. Short of making concerted eye contact throughout much of the meeting, your co-workers might think your attention is flagging.
  • Watching yourself during video chats is fatiguing. Watching yourself in a meeting only heightens performance anxiety. The psychological cost of living throughout the pandemic is burdensome enough—why compound it with worrying about how you look to your colleagues?
  • Video chats mean we move around less. If you’re constantly shackled to a desk, you’re not moving around nearly as much your body needs to. At least in a traditional office environment you might have to walk to a conference room on a different floor. Toggling between different video meetings means we sit more and move around less, to the detriment of our mental wellbeing.
  • Nonverbal cues are harder to interpret. The challenge of deciphering nonverbal cues only adds to the stress brought on by video chats. This can lead to what Bailenson calls a “cognitive overload,” where your head might be swimming in assumed subtext from the conversation.

Ways to combat Zoom fatigue

Luckily, Bailenson didn’t uncover the issues without offering solutions.

  • For eye contact: The researcher recommends not using the full screen setting. This way your colleagues will at least look a little smaller, so you won’t feel quite as pressured to keep your eyes fixed to theirs.
  • For self-consciousness: It isn’t really necessary to keep your camera switched on for every meeting. If you’re not presenting something, what’s the point of filming yourself? If you have to keep your camera on, Bailenson recommends adjusting your settings so you only see the other person on the chat, instead of having both videos available to both parties. In the meantime though, don’t hesitate to turn your camera off.
  • For mobility: Bailenson recommends getting a different camera you can link to your feed so you can still move around, and perhaps present from a standing position if you feel so inclined. Another recourse is to turn your camera off again and to wear bluetooth headphones, so you can walk around your house or apartment.
  • For anxiety over nonverbal cues: Turning your camera off also works fine, but to reinforce it even further, the researcher recommends listening to the meeting while away from your computer. This way, if you’re only using audio and feel comfortable attending the meeting while, say, putting away the dishes, you won’t be worried about over analyzing all the micro-cues that routinely pop up.

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Confuse Google Ads With This Chrome Extension

https://lifehacker.com/confuse-google-ads-with-this-chrome-extension-1846337139

Confuse Google Ads With This Chrome Extension

In an online world in which countless systems are trying to figure out what exactly you enjoy so they can serve you up advertising about it, it really fucks up their profiling mechanisms when they think you like everything. And to help you out with this approach, I recommend checking out the Chrome/Firefox extension AdNauseum. You won’t find it on the Chrome Web Store, however, as Google frowns at extensions that screw up Google’s efforts to show you advertising for some totally inexplicable reason. You’ll have to install it manually, but it’s worth it.

It’s no secret the internet is packed with companies eager to figure out everything you do, everything you like, and what things you like more than the other things you like so you can be shown advertising that will remind you to buy and do those liked things. Such is the way of the online world—the price we pay to access content freely.

You can try to combat data-collection in all kinds of fun ways, including manually blocking or clearing the data companies have on you and preventing yourself from being tracked as much as possible with various adblockers, anti-tracking extensions, and privacy-themed browsers, but considering the number of systems out there tracking you, those methods can only be so effective.

AdNauseum works on a different principle. As Lee McGuigan writes over at the MIT Technology Review:

“AdNauseam is like conventional ad-blocking software, but with an extra layer. Instead of just removing ads when the user browses a website, it also automatically clicks on them. By making it appear as if the user is interested in everything, AdNauseam makes it hard for observers to construct a profile of that person. It’s like jamming radar by flooding it with false signals. And it’s adjustable. Users can choose to trust privacy-respecting advertisers while jamming others. They can also choose whether to automatically click on all the ads on a given website or only some percentage of them.”

McGuigan goes on to describe the various experiments he worked on with AdNauseum founder Helen Nissenbaum, allegedly proving that the extension can make it past Google’s various checks for fraudulent or otherwise illegitimate clicks on advertising. Google, as you might expect, denies the experiments actually prove anything, and maintains that a “vast majority” of these kinds of clicks are detected and ignored.

Frankly, I’d give the extension a try. Worst case, it doesn’t do anything. Best case, you find that the various ads you’re seeing around the web aren’t really specific to anything you’re interested in—at least, not as much as before, when you swore “Facebook was listening” because you saw an ad in your feed for something you talked about with a friend the day prior.

Once you’ve installed AdNauseum, you’ll be presented with three simple options:

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Screenshot: David Murphy

Feel free to enable all three, but heed AdNauseum’s warning: You probably don’t want to use the extension alongside another adblocker, as the two will conflict and you probably won’t see any added benefit.

As with most adblockers, there are plenty of options you can play with if you dig deeper into AdNauseum’s settings. For example, you can customize your filter lists and add or remove anything you want, in case you’re running into issues with adblocks (or need to block more):

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Screenshot: David Murphy

You can also adjust how often AdNauseum “clicks” on ads you’re served under its general Settings menu:

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Screenshot: David Murphy

I confess, I couldn’t get AdNauseum to produce effective results on my Firefox installation—nothing appeared “clicked” in my vault—but the extension’s adblocking capabilities worked wonderfully. However, I have a pretty unique adblocking setup at home, which could explain my issues.

AdNauseum may not be the be-all, end-all solution to thwarting online advertising, but it is an incredibly useful adblocker—a fork of the ever-popular uBlock Origin—so it doesn’t hurt to give it a whirl. If you like it, great. If you don’t, there are plenty of other tools you can try to fight online advertising—or at the very least, to prevent yourself from seeing it, even if you’re still being profiled by a thousand sites and services every time you load a web page.

And note that AdNauseum still (theoretically) generates revenue for the sites tracking you. That in itself might cause you to adopt a nuclear approach vs. an obfuscation-by-noise approach. Your call.

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