Try Robert Mueller’s Party Hack at Your Next Gathering

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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images; Party hat: Tim Mulkerin

We’ve all been there: You threw an amazing party—maybe a housewarming, maybe a holiday get-together—but now it’s 1, 2 a.m., and your guests just. Won’t. Leave. It’s not your fault you’re just that good at throwing parties, but you’d also like to clean up and head to bed sometime soon. What is one to do?

Don’t worry—Special Counsel Robert Mueller has a little party hack you can use next time, as we learned in a profile in Time magazine’s 2018 Person of the Year issue, in which the former FBI Director is a runner-up. You see, he’s not just the man overseeing the investigation into whether or not the President of the United States knew that Russia was meddling in our 2016 election, he’s also a person. A person who likes to cut loose every now and then but has little time, it appears, for arbitrary social pleasantries.

Relentless but circumspect. Impatient but thorough. Difficult but respected. Rather than wait around for people to finally get the hell out of his house or make passive aggressive comments to those lingering well after everyone has left—the worst part of throwing a party—Mueller flicks the lights on and off to signal it is time to go. There’s no guessing here, no opportunity to misinterpret. It’s simple, elegant.

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“On Queer Eye one of the quick tips is to serve coffee as a signal that it’s time to wrap it up,” says Managing Editor Virginia Smith. “This is more harsh, which I like.”

Harsh and to the point!

Because as Video Editor Joel Kahn’s example makes clear, it takes the ambiguity out of the situation. “I threw a dinner party this weekend [Alicia’s note: Weird, I wasn’t invited…]. When I wanted everyone to leave, I started cleaning up and got into my pajamas, and NO ONE LEFT. They all stayed. They were like ‘you look comfy’ and didn’t leave.”

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Now, had Joel invited me, I’m fairly certain I would have caught on to what he was doing and been the first to exit, thus ensuring other guests would follow my lead and leave Joel to enjoy the rest of his evening. You can ask any of my friends—I love to leave a party early! But he didn’t. And I’m fine with that! Really. I’m fine. But next time he should either 1) Invite me (Only if he wants to! No pressure!), or 2) Flick the lights on and off, like ol’ Mueller here.

Anyway, Tech Editor David Murphy says he’s tried the pajama trick and claims that it worked. So I suppose it is a possibility.

Health Editor Beth Skwarecki’s party-ender is the most brutal and efficient of all, as is her wont. “You can just kill whichever circuit breakers power the music and lights,” she says. “They can sit in the dark with you in your pajamas, or they can go home.” Good point, Beth—I’d go home!

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But if you don’t know which circuit breaker you need to turn off, Mueller’s #PartyHack is a decent substitute. Because why not be a little “difficult” when you can also be “respected?”

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What You Googled In 2018 – Most Searched Celebs, Diets, Athletes, Food, Music, Movies, Video Games And Questions

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Google has released the top trending searches for 2018 and the list has a wide variety of topics. In 2018, we were obsessed with the World Cup, hurricanes, shocking celebrity deaths, keto diets, the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, the Cavs, and Demi Lovato. Google’s methodology for their top searches was not by total searches but rather the increase of interest from 2017 to 2018. You can see all of Google’s most searched trends and topics HERE.

The top overall Google searches were headlined by the World Cup, but shocking losses such as Mac Miller, Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, and Stan Lee were all in the top ten.

The World Cup also topped the most searched news category, which also had Hurricane Florence and Michael, the Parkland Florida shooting, and people were feverishly searching Mega Millions results to see if they could quit their jobs.

The most Googled people featured singers and rappers — Demi Lovato, Eminem, Ariana Grande, Rick Ross, and Cardi B.

Logan Paul was the most searched “actor” followed by Bill Cosby and Sylvester Stallone.

Comic book movies Black Panther, Deadpool 2, Avengers: Infinity War, and Venom were in the most popular film category.

Ironically, the most popular TV show in 2018 was Roseanne and it was canceled.

The most searched musicians and bands included Demi Lovato and Rick Ross who both had near-death experiences.

The biggest song in 2018 was a song that was released on October 31, 1975 — Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. That god-awful Baby Shark came in at #3.

Of course Fortnite was the most popular video game in 2018, followed by Red Dead Redemption 2.

The most Googled sports team was the Cleveland Cavaliers, which will be the last time they’ll be the most searched sports franchise for a very, long, long time.

Tristan Thompson was the #1 athlete on the list thanks to his off-the-court antics.

Here are the top searches for politicians in the last year.

The keto diet exploded in 2018 and was the most searched diet.

Keto foods dominated the food list with keto pancakes, keto cheesecake, keto cookies, keto chili, and keto brownies.

You asked a lot of questions in 2018 including voting and how to play the lottery.

People were unfamiliar with cryptocurrencies in 2018 and “What is Bitcoin” was the top trending “What” question in 2018.

In 2018, you wanted to know “Where is Villanova University?”

“Who won the Mega Millions?” was the most asked question by people who did not win Mega Millions.

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So You Want to Make a Website? Part 1: Squarespace versus WordPress

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The post So You Want to Make a Website? Part 1: Squarespace versus WordPress appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Carl Spring.

Welcome to the first of a 5-part series of articles on how to create your website. The series examines which platforms to consider using, through to SEO (how to get your website to rank better on search engines). While the focus of these articles is on the DIY aspect, a specialist web designer can be a worthwhile investment in many situations. Some are also cheaper than you think.

As with the discussion of Apple versus Android, the discussion of the better platform to build your website on has staunch supporters on both sides. While there are other service providers, this article focuses on two of the leading site builders used today;  Squarespace and WordPress.

Choosing which web platform to use can be a hard decision. Both are excellent, used by many companies and individuals and both platforms have their strengths & weaknesses. There are pro’s & cons to each system. However, you can create a great website using either platform.

The Apple versus Android arguments transfers well into discussions over which of these two platforms you should use. Squarespace is a closed system that “just works,” whereas WordPress is a much more customizable system, with a multitude of plugins to use. However, WordPress requires a slightly higher level of knowledge to get the best results.

Let’s look at each platform in a little more detail.

WordPress

Screenshot of WordPress screen

WordPress may look complicated, but it isn’t as scary as you think.

WordPress is insanely popular. The WordPress website states that 32% of the web runs using their platform. Moreover, the website you are reading this article on uses WordPress too.

WordPress.com and Self-Hosted

In reality, WordPress has two different platforms: the self-hosted version (you host the website on your own choice of servers) and WordPress.com, (the hosting gets managed for you). Web hosting is the space on the web that stores your website. When visitors type in your website address, it retrieves your website from the server so that the visitor can view it. Hosting costs can vary depending on your needs, but you can find reliable hosting for your WordPress site for under $5 per month.

The key appeal with WordPress is its flexibility. Many people tend to go for the self-hosted version because of the ability to add more plugins and themes. Whereas wordpress.com limits the plugins and themes you can use, which is in some cases for good reason. However, I shall get to that in a moment. The ability to use these relies on you choosing a more expensive monthly plan.

Although it may seem daunting for the uninitiated, self-hosting is more simple than you may think. If you purchase your domain name (the website address), and the hosting with the same company, things are even easier. Many hosting companies have one-click WordPress install, which means your hosting service installs the latest version for you at the click of a button. Using self-hosting also means you can set up a professional email address associated with your website (name@yoursite.com).

Templates

The main reason people love WordPress is its flexibility. As an open source platform, WordPress has thousands of templates to create the perfect style for your website. Their style and prices range from free to hundreds of dollars. Generally, the paid themes come with more features. However, there are some fantastic free themes to get you started.

With some coding knowledge, you can tweak your website design to achieve a completely custom look. However, that means learning how to code or employing a developer, which may not be something you wish to do.

As well as an almost infinite number of themes, there are also a multitude of plugins available. These plugins can help with everything from improving your SEO, through to creating beautiful galleries or adding purchasing options to your site. Whatever you want to do with your site, chances are there is a plugin out there to make the job more simple. These plugins (like themes) range in price from free through to around $50 (US) for premium plugins from high-end developers.

While also a strength, the main issue with WordPress is its open source nature. Many of the themes and plugins out there are well created, but there are some that are created by amateur developers. These plugins may have issues that can range from content not displaying correctly on your site through to taking your whole website out with an error. You also need to be mindful of security. You do not want your website to get hacked via a rogue plugin. When choosing your hosting, always make sure you look at the protection they offer you and your website.

Learning to use WordPress

The learning curve with WordPress is steeper than a platform like Squarespace. For those with little technical knowledge, it can be daunting. However, there is a vast online community to help and thousands of hours of training if you have the time to invest. As no-one strictly owns WordPress, there is no specific customer service option like you get with Squarespace. So, if you run into a problem that you cannot fix, you have to be reliant on your knowledge, Google searches, and the kindness of others through the forums.

Squarespace

Squarespace styles page screenshot

So many design choices can be made without any need for coding knowledge.

Chances are, you’ve heard of Squarespace. They have a slick advertising campaign that’s all over the media. While there are other website builders out there (Wix being the main alternative), Squarespace is considered by many to be the best.

Simplicity

Squarespace is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) website builder. The design works around a style editor, where you can change the design of your site. While it’s not as customizable as WordPress, you can make a lot of changes to your pages without any coding knowledge.

The key to Squarespace’s success is simplicity. Squarespace takes care of hosting your site, and you can register your domain through them too. These options make the whole process more straightforward than the WordPress option. However, this comes at the expense of the vast range of customization options available with WordPress.

Templates

Squarespace has many beautifully designed templates. To the untrained eye (nearly all of the general public) the templates look like you have spent much money on a beautiful website. In general, the style is quite minimal, with the focus on photography to make the template shine. All Squarespace templates come optimized for viewing on mobile devices. You can also preview your website on a computer, tablet, and phone with the simple click of a button. These templates are all tried and tested and guaranteed to work across devices, which is gives peace of mind.

Within each template, there are several page designs to get you started. You can tweak these using the tools within the software to create a personalized page. You can change the position of text, image sizes, colors and fonts, all without needing to learn a single line of code. That isn’t to say there is no learning curve with Squarespace, but it won’t be long before you feel confident using it. There is also a vast support network online.

Plugins

Plugins with Squarespace are limited. However, they all work seamlessly and make the process simple. By now, you may be sensing a theme here?

Dedicated customer service

Something that is helpful for many users is the dedicated customer service available. You can email your issue, and one of the Squarespace team gets back to you personally, addressing your specific issue. This feature is awesome for the less technically minded. Squarespace is quick to respond and always provides you with the official information to fix the problem.

Custom CSS

If you’d like to get a little more creative with your Squarespace site, you can write custom CSS into pages and inject code. However, most people choose Squarespace, so they don’t need to bother writing code. You probably want to concentrate more on what you do, which is take photos. Rather than learn how to code and spend much time learning how to work a website platform.

Online shopping

Concerning small business, Squarespace has features to sell products through their platform. Moreover, they are now adding email marketing to their platform too. So, Squarespace is becoming a one-stop shop for small businesses.

Cost

The final thing to factor in with Squarespace is the cost. Prices start at $144 per year or $16 per month. For the top e-commerce package (which many of you won’t need) comes in at $480 per year or $46 per month.

To sum up, Squarespace is a more expensive option, as the costs are ongoing. However, when you compare it to the price of paying for hosting, purchasing a nice theme and a couple of decent plugins for a WordPress site, there is little difference over the first 12-18 months of ownership. After that first year though, WordPress is a cheaper option.

However, if you want a new theme after 18 months (which many people tend to), the price comes back to being even (if the theme is not free). Also, you have the benefit of tried and tested designs and plugins as well as customer service.

So, which should you choose?

That depends on your needs. If you’re a technically-minded person and have the time and inclination needed to get the best from it, then WordPress could be the ideal platform for you. However, if you want a website that looks great and is easy to set up and use, Squarespace is for you. Although, just like iPhone and Android, once you get into a system, you tend to stick with it.

Me? I’m a Squarespace guy (and an Apple guy). The reason is simple. Squarespace is pretty much hassle-free.

Although I have a grasp of coding and consider myself technically minded, Squarespace has everything I need. It is simple for me to work with now that I know my way around its features. There is support on hand should I need it, and the pricing difference isn’t big enough to make me move over.

I have had WordPress sites before (and am looking at it for a project I am working on right now), and I know lots of successful companies who use them (DPS for a start). I like the minimal hassle and if that comes at the expense of customization, then so be it. However, that’s me. What do you guys think?

The post So You Want to Make a Website? Part 1: Squarespace versus WordPress appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Carl Spring.

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Listen to This Podcast About Teens and Technology

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Image: Courtesy of the Podglomerate

As a parent raising a kid in The Time of the Screens, I am often trying to strike that balance between allowing him to explore age-appropriate technology while also determining how much is too much.

Just last night, as we were leaving my son’s karate class, he began complaining that all his little karate buddies bring their Nintendo Switches with them to play before training starts and he is the only one who isn’t allowed to bring it. Without hesitation, I dove right into one of my favorite (i.e., annoying) lectures:

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“I am not the parent of those other kids; I’m the parent of you,” I began. “It’s my job to raise you to be able to function in the world, and a big part of life is about waiting. You have to be able to wait for five minutes for something to start without having a screen in your face.”

I was missing the point, he told me: “It’s not that I can’t wait; it’s that I feel left out.”

Oh. The answer was still no, but it was a reminder for me that kids view screens less as a distraction from real life and more as a way to bond with each other.

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We are raising a generation of kids who are using devices and connecting with each other through technology in a way we didn’t—and in some ways, still don’t—experience. So when I heard about a new podcast called “Their Own Devices” with the tagline “MTV Parents Raising YouTube Kids,” I knew I had to check it out.

The show is hosted by Marc Groman (a former White House tech and privacy adviser) and David Reitman (an adolescent medical physician), who are married and raising their teenage son. They dive into topics like social media, screen time, online gaming and privacy—and they interview other parents, experts and actual teenagers.

Marc says he and David have studied these issues as professionals but now they’re experiencing them from a personal angle with their own son. They created the podcast to share their expertise and experiences with a broader audience.

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“I have worked on some of the most challenging and high-profile privacy and cyber security issues facing society today,” he says. “David speaks with teens and their parents every day about social media, gaming, sleep deprivation, anxiety, sexting, and a wide range of issues large and small. We know the issues. We understand the tech. We’ve given advice hundreds of times to others. And then one day, it’s our kid with the smartphone, game console, laptop and social media. Suddenly, we saw the issues from a different perspective.”

In the very first episode, which was released in November (new episodes are available each Thursday), I learned a few things from 17-year-old Athena that blew my mind.

1. All about the “finsta”

A finsta is a fake Instagram account; teens often have their regular Instagram account that their parents know about and then a secret “finsta” account where they post totally different content. Athena says all of her 100 finsta followers are also finsta accounts themselves. But, she says, the stuff posted to finstas isn’t necessarily bad.

“I think that’s where things start to get a little bit twisted,” she says on the show. “Cause a lot of times parents think whatever my kid is hiding from me must be harmful or bad, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes it’s just for privacy or it’s just, ‘You wouldn’t understand this so I’m going to hide it from you.’”

2. Teens don’t exchange phone numbers anymore

“What’s your phone number?” has apparently been replaced by “What’s your ‘snapcode’?” Athena said teens don’t text much; they message each other through apps like Snapchat instead because “it’s way easier.” The main exception? Her parents. “Every time I try and teach them how to use Snapchat, it does not work. At all.”

3. They get burned out on social media, too

Every last picture in her feed is so heavily edited and “perfected” with filters, Athena says, and kids know how to pose juuust right for the most flattering look that sometimes, she needs a break from the un-reality of it. In fact, for the past year, she’s restricted her own social media use by not scrolling through her feeds first thing in the morning.

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“I would see pictures of the night before, people doing their own thing, and they always look really happy … and (I) wouldn’t be there,” she says in the interview. “And it’s like, oh, well that’s annoying. And it would just put me in a terrible mood.”

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The New McLaren 720S Spider Supercar, Unveiled This Week, Might Be The Coolest Car Ever Created

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McLaren 720S Spider Supercar Specs Pics

McLaren

McLaren, you have done it again. Forget every other car James Bond has ever driven. This new McLaren 720S Spider supercar is what 007 should be driving in his next movie.

Now don’t get me wrong. It’s not a clean-cut win for coolest car ever by McLaren. The new Lamborghini Aventador SVJ is pretty amazing too. So is the new Aston Martin DBS Superleggera (if Bond absolutely has to drive an Aston Martin, it should be this one). And this custom Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign is one of the most beautiful cars you will ever see.

But coolest car? I have to go with the McLaren 720S Spider.

Why? Glad you asked.

First off, take a look at this GIF of the electrochromic glass that turns opaque at the touch of a button on the 720S Spider.

That… is awesome.

Here are some other good reasons…

• Light, stiff and extremely strong Monocage II-S carbon fibre core features integrated rollover protection structure (ROPS); needs no additional strengthening over Coupé, ensuring a convertible without compromise and guaranteeing exceptional dynamic agility

• Bespoke carbon fibre body structure and new Retractable Hard Top (RHT) support a lightest dry weight of 2,937lbs – lightest in class at just 108lbs more than the 720S Coupé and 194lbs less than the dry weight of its closest competitor

• Unparalleled visibility due to unique, glazed flying buttresses that also accentuate aerodynamic purity of design and increase downforce

• Patented new carbon fibre roof system is electrically actuated and delivers fastest-operating time in the supercar class, lowering or raising in 11 seconds at vehicle speeds of up to 31mph

• Retractable Hard Top is available glazed with an electrochromic glass panel that can rapidly switch between tinted and transparent states

• 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged McLaren V8 engine produces 710 bhp and 568lb ft of torque, with a power-to-weight ratio for 720S Spider at lightest dry weight of 533 bhp/ton

• Acceleration from 0-60mph is same as 720S Coupé at 2.8 seconds; 0-124mph in 7.9 seconds; maximum speed with roof raised 212mph – roof lowered 202mph

• Active rear spoiler aerodynamics automatically tuned to closed- or open-roof driving

The best part? It might just be the price as they start at just $315,000, instead of the usual million–dollars-plus price tag we always see for new supercars.

Oh, and it’s also freaking gorgeous. Gimme.

McLaren 720S Spider Supercar Specs Pics

McLaren

McLaren 720S Spider Supercar Specs Pics

McLaren

McLaren 720S Spider Supercar Specs Pics

McLaren

McLaren 720S Spider Supercar Specs Pics

McLaren

McLaren 720S Spider Supercar Specs Pics

McLaren

McLaren 720S Spider Supercar Specs Pics

McLaren

McLaren 720S Spider Supercar Specs Pics

McLaren

McLaren 720S Spider Supercar Specs Pics

McLaren

McLaren 720S Spider Supercar Specs Pics

McLaren

McLaren 720S Spider Supercar Specs Pics

McLaren

McLaren 720S Spider Supercar Specs Pics

McLaren

McLaren 720S Spider Supercar Specs Pics

McLaren

McLaren 720S Spider Supercar Specs Pics

McLaren

McLaren 720S Spider Supercar Specs Pics

McLaren

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How to Stop Hating the Holiday Season

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We are deep in what may be the most stressful time of the year—and that’s for people who like the holidays. The travel, the expense, the family dynamics: end of the year celebrations can make a Grinch out of anyone. Here’s how you can get into the holiday spirit without being taught a lesson by various ghosts.

Like many things in life, I think the holidays are something that demand you put work into them if you want to get anything back. If you really don’t want to do that work, my hat’s off to you. But if you’ve just found yourself in a rut, and you are uninspired, here are some tips for learning to enjoy the rest of your year.

Have A Clear Beginning

For me, a lot of Christmas and New Year’s stuff is ceremonial. I’m acknowledging family, friends, a year of accomplishments, and new beginnings through the same old archaic behaviors. Yes, it’s basic, but it was also hard wired into my brain at a young age that the smell of pine and tree lights means a period of joy and peace—until the fights over dinner begin.

In years when I didn’t observe the ceremonies early, the spirit didn’t come; on the day of gorging and gift-giving, it still wasn’t there. Make it a point to get in touch with the things that bring up warm memories or bring you pleasure during this time of year. Lifehacker staff shared the ways they slip into the season: visit your decorated downtown, make cocoa and add some peppermint oil, visit the neighborhood where everyone covers their homes in Christmas swag, go places that play Christmas music, put up the tree, watch the Hallmark channel. Let your brain know it is time.

Survive The Parties With Alone Time

There is a horrific amount of socializing around the holidays, which is hard for many. If you love them, you probably have your own strategies for getting through work parties and obligatory festivities with as much good cheer as the occasion demands. For everyone else: drink less than you think you need to, give yourself permission to leave whenever you need to, and make sure you schedule a night at home alone somewhere in there to rest, relax and recharge for the next round.

Having time to yourself will make the activity and gatherings easier to take. It’s easy to get caught up in the social whirl, and part of the reason you’re being a Scrooge might be simply exhaustion. Check in with yourself physically and mentally. You might not hate the holidays! You just need a nap.

Plan Things With Friends

Let’s face it, the most difficult part of the holidays can be your family. How much you can avoid unpleasant dynamics may not be up to you—or you don’t think it is. So be sure to also plan things with people you like, if that doesn’t include the folks you’re related to. Even if you love your family and they’re perfect, friends may celebrate differently. One writer says friend plans are a huge part of her end of the year ceremonies:

Before December hits, my various friends groups and I start planning dinners for each weekend in December, either at my house or theirs. I love it. It’s more Christmassy than anything I do with my family because we’re all committed to having one hurrah before we move into the new year.

Get Gifts Ahead Of Time

I am a panic shopper, which means I end up spending way too much money on the wrong stuff every year. I may never learn, but it’s very true that if you get presents ahead of time, you’re much less likely to be stressed out. Do yourself a favor and make that naughty and nice list very early. Heck, wrap those gifts on Black Friday. You’ll be cool as a cucumber on Christmas morning.

Plan Stuff For The Lull

For me, one of the hardest parts of the whole shebang is that quiet time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve because I’m a maniac who loves constant activity. That week always sends me into a spiral—people are out of town, in food comas, and everything’s closed. That’s how it seems anyway, but if you make an effort to find events and stuff to do, you can avoid that depression dip that some (ahem) dread. Go ice skating, to a museum, an exercise class, or a movie marathon. Just find a reason to leave the house and remind yourself the year isn’t quite over yet.

Take It Out Of Town

Maybe your best bet is to just avoid the usual holiday hullabaloo all together and get away. Rent a little cabin, go to an island somewhere it’s warm enough to wear a bikini; even taking a night off can make the time feel like it belongs to you again, as one staffer shared:

My boyfriend and I have a Christmas tradition where we get a hotel downtown for one night a few weeks before Christmas. There’s usually a nice tree in the lobby and downtown is nice and decorated, and we get to enjoy some stress-free holiday time alone together before things get all Christmas crazy.

Do Something For Someone Else

Okay, you’ve tried it all and you still hate everything that happens from the end of November through January. Fair enough! There’s clearly a market for all these Grinch reboots. But that doesn’t mean it all has to be a total wash: instead of sulking at home, do something for someone else. Volunteer, donate, give your time and money to people who need it. It might not make you feel better, but it will spread a little holiday cheer for someone else.

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Bees with tiny sensor backpacks could help farmers track crops

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Mark Stone/University of Washington

Farmers can use drones to monitor their fields, but they have their limits when they can rarely fly for more than 20 to 30 minutes at a time. University of Washington researchers might have a smarter way: recruit some insect friends. They’ve developed sensor backpacks that are light enough (about 0.0035 ounces) and efficient enough to ride on a bumblebee, but capable enough to collect data for seven hours at a time over relatively long distances. You wouldn’t have to replace packs very often, either, as they could just fly into their hives to wirelessly recharge and transmit data.

The trick was to find a way to track the bees’ locations without using power-hungry GPS. Instead, they set up multiple broadcasting antennas and had the bee’s pack triangulate positions based on signal strength and the angle difference. The insects would send their data using backscatter, or reflecting radio waves from nearby antennas.

The example backpacks can only store about 30Kb of data, limiting them to collecting basic info like humidity, light and temperature. And you can’t control them like you would a drone. The scientists hope to craft more elaborate data gathering technology (including live data), however, and they could tell backpacks to only collect data when the bees fly into certain areas. Eventually, you could see farms where bees are continuously checking on crops, noticing things that high-flying drones can’t — and without the noise of their machine counterparts.