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Just 10 books I really loved this year

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Just 10 books I really loved this year

If there was any small silver lining to spending all this time indoors in 2020, it had to be the truly ridiculous amount of books consumedI caught up with royals, visited alternative versions of the past, went to art camp in Brooklyn, and even explored one very creepy haunted house (below).

I loved a ton, but the below 10, in no particular order, really stood out to me as my favorite new books of 2020. For anyone looking to kick off 2021 with a great read, check one of these out. You won’t be disappointed. 

1. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Everyone should make time to read this disturbing, thoughtful tale. This heartbreaker centers on a young woman who has a dark secret: For years, since she was a young teen, she’s been having a relationship with her high school English teacher.  Read more…

More about Mashreads, Jessica Simpson, Entertainment, and Books

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This DIY mask test kit finds that your neck fleece isn’t really helping

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Scientists developing a tool to help mask manufacturers make sure their cloth masks actually work found some masks work better than others, and one kind works particularly badly.

If you buy a cloth mask online—whether from Amazon or Etsy or a large manufacturer such as Adidas—you’ll see a warning reminding you that what you’re buying isn’t medical grade. And while the evidence continues to mount that cloth face masks work, it’s also true that every mask isn’t equally effective, and many companies now making masks are doing it for the first time. In the absence of regulation for cloth masks, as shortages of more proven N95 masks continue, how can consumers or the manufacturers making masks know how much protection they offer?

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This 22-foot long ‘problem map’ looks at the systemic failures that made COVID spread in the U.S.

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Can we use the pandemic to come up with broad solutions that fix more than just the virus?

The U.S. now has more than two million confirmed coronavirus cases, more than any other country in the world. A new, staggeringly detailed “problem map” charts out the system failures that helped the virus spread—and helps uncover opportunities for groups of solutions that tackle multiple, interconnected problems that the virus has exposed at the same time.

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Get lifetime access to this social media manager, on sale for 91% off

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Get lifetime access to this social media manager, on sale for 91% off

TL;DR: Get a lifetime subscription to the Socialii Social Media Manager pro plan for $49.99, a 91% savings as of April 6.


Even if you’ve been suddenly blessed (or burdened) with more free time these days, managing your social media presence is difficult. It takes hours each day to keep up with all your profiles, communicate with your followers, and create new content. Why do you think social media managers are in such high demand?

If you’re not in the market to hire a social media specialist, we get it. That’s why there are tools out there, like Socialii, that take care of many of your social networking tasks, all from a single place. Read more…

More about Social Media, Mashable Shopping, Tech, and Consumer Tech

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Bad at phone calls? This simple tool can help

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In this era of self-isolation, business calls are a necessity. Here’s a template that can help.

The best way to build business relationships is to communicate in person. But that has become impossible in this era of self-isolation and remote work. So do the next best thing: schedule a phone call, rather than sending an email or text. Calls are far better ways for you to connect on an interpersonal level. That’s the good news.

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This piano tune drowning out a car alarm is the perfect quarantine soundtrack

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This piano tune drowning out a car alarm is the perfect quarantine soundtrack

Quarantine is a time for creativity (supposedly). Just ask everyone who can’t stop pointing out that Shakespeare wrote King Lear while in quarantine.

Well step aside, Will, because writer and critic Andrea Long Chu has given us a coronavirus anthem: Car Alarm Improv. Putting her (genuinely) formidable piano skills to use, Chu turned an annoying car alarm that wouldn’t stop going off into glorious music.

“Car alarm kept going off so i improvised,” Chu wrote in the video caption on Twitter. 

And sure enough, the resulting piano riff is appropriately anxious, pressing, and yearning to be heard, a reflection of how we all feel as we stay home because of the coronavirus outbreak. It makes you want to know the story behind said annoying car alarm: Is its owner stuck at home too? Has its owner abandoned their apartment to go spend quarantine somewhere else, leaving the poor car alarm to scream into the day uselessly? Because same, car alarm. Same. Read more…

More about Twitter, Viral Videos, Coronavirus, Culture, and Web Culture

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This is why the wealth gap between black and white Americans persists

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Two academics at The Ohio State University contend: “In our view, education alone cannot address the centuries-long exclusion of blacks from the benefits of wealth-generating policies.”

Black History Month has become the time to reflect on all the progress black Americans have made, but the sobering reality is that when it comes to wealth–the paramount indicator of economic security–there has been virtually no progress in the last 50 years.

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This short film captures the soft abuse actresses endure, even from non-dirtbags

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It doesn’t take a Harvey Weinstein to make actresses feel uncomfortable and ashamed. ‘Rehearsal’ shows how even men with good intentions fail to protect their female colleagues.

Looming large over the hard-to-watch short film Rehearsal is the specter of James Franco.

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You've never seen button-mashing like this before

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Ludwig Ahgren can press buttons faster than you. Hell, it’s now a proven fact that he can press buttons faster than a computer program that’s designed to press buttons.

The streamer, who operates under his first name on Twitch, showed off his lightning fast finger during a recent Mario Party 4 stream. One of the minigames, Domination, involves smashing a single button over and over again to create a lineup of Thwomps, the Mario enemy that’s basically a big, spiky stone block with an angry face.

Mario Party 4 is a digital board game released for Nintendo’s GameCube in 2002. As a typical game unfolds, competing players are regularly pitted against one another in short, simple minigames like Domination. Read more…

More about Nintendo, Gamecube, Entertainment, and Gaming

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