NicAug 09, 2018
As in any other type of business, the technology sector has seen a number of fads come and go. Penny arcades, pocket computers, VR...
NicAug 09, 2018
As in any other type of business, the technology sector has seen a number of fads come and go. Penny arcades, pocket computers, VR...
SUAOKI 60W Solar Panel | $90 | Amazon | Promo code 9F8PTXNXPhoto: Amazon
There are portable USB solar panels that can charge your phone, and larger installations that can provide power to a car, RV, or boat. But this $90 fold-out panel from SUAOKI can do both.
The 60W panels include a USB port for your phone, but also an 18V DC output that you can plug into a an electric “generator” like this one, or even directly to your car battery with the included cables. 60W isn’t enough to run your home off of or anything, but it could definitely pay dividends if you keep it in your car’s trunk, especially if you go camping a lot.
Photo: Getty Images
Last night, BuzzFeed News published evidence that Donald Trump actively instructed his ex-personal counsel Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow project. If you woke up to a timeline full of Twitter Lawyers screaming about subornation of perjury and you aren’t quite sure what it means, here’s what you need to know.How Exactly Does One Suborn Perjury?
In simple terms, subornation of perjury is the crime of coercing another person into committing perjury. There’s no subornation of perjury without perjury itself, so it’s important to understand the underlying crime first.
Most people correctly associate perjury with lying in a court of law, but the full definition is much broader. Anyone who swears an oath that includes the words “under penalty of perjury” and proceeds to make statements they know to be false is committing perjury. Thus, everything from making false declarations on your tax forms to lying to a judge counts as perjury, and can be prosecuted accordingly. Under U.S. law, perjury and subornation thereof are punishable by fines and/or up to five years in prison.Where Do Trump and Cohen Fit In?
So Trump made his lawyer lie to Congress in order to obscure the extent of his Russian business ties. Bingo, that’s subornation of perjury, which is a felony—and felonies lead straight to impeachment, right?
Not quite. While Cohen did plead guilty to lying about the Moscow project in November 2018, he wasn’t charged with perjury; his crime was a violation of the federal false statements statute. There’s a small but crucial distinction: perjury is reserved for cases when someone knowingly lies under oath, while the federal false statements statute applies to anyone who knowingly makes “materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement[s] or representation[s]” in dealings with the federal government, even if no oath was sworn. This means that, oath or no oath, lying before a Congressional subcommittee is a crime—but since Cohen didn’t lie under oath, Trump didn’t suborn perjury in this particular case.What Happens Next?
Whether or not this week’s revelation lands Trump with subornation of perjury charge (it almost definitely won’t) matters less than the broader implications of his behavior. Telling your personal attorney to lie to Congress for you is pretty bad, but getting caught is infinitely worse—and just about everyone knows it. House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) announced yesterday that his committee will be launching their own investigation; just this week, Attorney General William Barr stated that a president coercing someone to make false statements counts as obstruction of justice:
From a legal standpoint, what comes next depends on the other contents of the emails, texts, and memos that federal prosecutors are combing through in their investigation of Trump’s Russia ties. For now, given what we know about Donald Trump—and that nobody at the White House is exactly denying it—it seems unlikely that Michael Cohen is the only person he’s forced to lie for him.
Photo: Herm (Pixabay)
Where exactly do balloons go once you’ve released them into the sky? We now know that answer, and unfortunately, it’s anything but pretty.
Between 2008 and 2016, a staggering 630,000 balloons were found during coastal cleanups organized by the Ocean Conservancy. They’ve become especially dangerous to marine life that becomes entangled in balloon strings or confuses balloons for food (and consequently chokes and dies).
Balloons are rarely recyclable. Most are made of mylar (the shiny, metallic-looking balloons, a combination of plastic and nylon) or latex—and many recycling facilities won’t accept either.
So what should you do with all those balloons at the end of a party? It’s simple: dispose of them in the trash. Or reuse them. Balloons can easily be deflated and brought back to a local party store to be refilled.
Also, don’t be fooled by marketing that claims latex balloons are “eco-friendly” alternatives to mylar. Though latex balloons are considered biodegradable, they take several years to degrade, still posing serious environmental concerns.
Want to make an even bigger difference? Lobby your local politicians to ban balloon releases outright.
Some lawmakers are actively trying to ban mass balloon releases (culprits in East Hampton, New York could face up to a $1,000 fine or 15 days in jail). If you’re looking to avoid jail time and help the environment, weigh your balloons down to ensure they won’t fly away—and eventually land in the ocean.
Cold weather doesn’t have to stop you from running, but getting dressed is a puzzle: how do you keep from freezing your butt off, without overheating once you start to sweat? In this video, we show you exactly what to wear.
As a rule of thumb, you’ll feel about 20 Fahrenheit degrees warmer when you run, so on a 50 degree day you can run in a t-shirt and shorts. Here are some more recommended outfits for chilly winter temps:40 degrees: long-sleeved shirt with your choice of pants or shorts, plus gloves.30 degrees: long pants or leggings, a light jacket, and a headband or hat.20 degrees: combine the jacket with the long sleeve shirt, and throw some shorts over your leggings (looks goofy, but I promise this is an A+ hack)10 degrees: all your warmest layers, plus a scarf or buff over your face.
Everybody has different preferences, and with practice you’ll figure out if you’re the kind of person who wears three shirts before it hits freezing or the type to run through the snow in shorts. But this should give you a starting point when you head out for your first (or next) cold weather run.
Philips Hue Two Bulb Starter Kit | $100 | AmazonGraphic: Shep McAllister
Want to get started with Philips Hue? This two bulb kit is marked back down to $100 today, and has everything you need to start creating fun lighting recipes. Those full-color bulbs usually sell for $50 each, and even on sale rarely dip below $40, so if you need a hub, this is a great deal. Just be warned, once you buy these, you’re going to want to buy a lot more of them.
Image: HDMI Forum
You’re going to hear a lot about HDMI 2.1 in 2019. It’s the latest iteration on the A/V connection format that consumers have used since it replaced previous A/V connections nearly two decades ago, and with 8K TVs ready to beat down the door into your living room, HDMI 2.1 is a necessary and much-anticipated upgrade.
While HDMI 2.1 ports and cables will look identical to those we use now, this newest update—which will inevitably replace the HDMI 2.0 standard that was introduced in 2013—has quite a few differences from previous versions. It’s packed with new features and will be capable of delivering incredibly high-quality video. It’s also more complicated and more restrictive in some ways than previous HDMI versions.
This guide will explain the differences between HDMI 2.1 and the current 2.0, what it means for your TV and home theater devices, and whether you should buy a new TV because of it (spoiler: you shouldn’t).HDMI 2.1 versus 2.0 (and 2.0a and 2.0b)
HDMI technology has gone through several revisions and updates over the years. The current standard, HDMI 2.0, replaced HDMI 1.4 in 2013 and updated the technology to support 4K Ultra High Def (UHD) video at 60 frames-per-second, plus a number of AV features. Better still, it didn’t require you to have to travel to the dust-covered lands behind your TV and swap out all your HDMI cables.
Two interstitial updates—2.0a and 2.0b—expanded High Dynamic Range (HDR) support for HDMI 2.0, but are otherwise identical to 2.0 and also use the same cables.
HDMI 2.1, on the other hand, is an entirely different beast.
The main difference is that HDMI 2.1 increases your maximum signal bandwidth from 18Gbps (HDMI 2.0) to 48Gbps, which enables video resolutions of up to 10K and frame rates as high as 120fps—numbers that seem grossly unnecessary given current hardware realities, but impressive nonetheless. And future-proofed, so you (hopefully) won’t have to upgrade your cables or connectors for some time.Image: HDMI.org
HDMI 2.1 also brings a number of other A/V features and enhancements, including:Dynamic HDR, which is capable of changing HDR settings on a frame-by-frame basis.Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC), which enables the use of object-based surround sound formats, such as Dolby Atmos.Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Quick Frame Transport (QFT) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), which are helpful for video games since they reduce input lag, latency, and refresh rate for smoother, more accurate gameplay.Quick Media Switching (QMS), which removes the delay when switching between resolutions and frame rates.
Aside from the higher signal bandwidth and new features, the other notable difference between HDMI 2.0 and 2.1 is that 2.1 will require new cables—something HDMI 2.0 mercifully did not, despite being a massive jump from HDMI 1.4.
These new cables, which are being called “ultra high speed” cables, are what enable the higher resolutions and refresh rates, but you don’t need to worry about buying them any time soon. Ultra high speed cables will only be required for the higher resolutions and framerates, while the additional HDMI 2.1 features (like eARC, Dynamic HDR, and the latency-reducing benefits) are compatible with most current HDMI cables.Image: HDMI.org
Unfortunately, it will not be possible to update an existing HDMI 2.0 device to support HDMI 2.1 features via firmware or software updates; the only way to utilize HDMI 2.1’s features is by connecting an HDMI 2.1 device to an HDMI 2.1-supported TV (even if that connection is via a non-ultra high speed HDMI cable).
Here’s where it gets confusing, however. Depending on the device, “HDMI 2.1 support” might mean different things.HDMI 2.1 versus… HDMI 2.1?
Technically, TV manufacturers can legally advertise that their TVs feature HDMI 2.1 ports, even if they don’t support the super-high resolutions or frame rates that HDMI 2.1 enables. The TVs just have to support some HDMI 2.1 features, and manufacturers have to be open about what their sets have and don’t have—which is precisely what you’ll be seeing from the first wave of “HDMI 2.1”-supported TVs.
Sure, having a truncated version of HDMI 2.1 makes sense for some TVs—you might not care if your brand-new TV can’t output in 120fps, given that there’s barely any content you can watch right now—but you’re going to want to be diligent about HDMI 2.1 marketing when you’re shopping for new TVs going forward. (That said, you probably shouldn’t buy an 8K TV in 2019, anyway.)What’s wrong with an 8K TV?Image: HDMI.org
The jump to 8K Full Ultra High Def (FUHD) screens and HDMI 2.1 won’t make your current TV obsolete, since HDMI 2.0 and 4K UHD content/device are going to remain relevant for quite some time.
8K might sound like another exciting leap in visual fidelity, and many of the AV enhancements from HDMI 2.1 will likely be awesome, but there just isn’t enough 8K content justify the astronomical expense of an 8K TV, and there likely won’t be for quite some time. Yes, it’s the same argument everyone said about 4K TVs, but think about it: 4K content is still something of a novelty for most people, and 4K TVs are in some ways still unnecessary for many people, depending on their home setups.
That’s not to say that there isn’t any 8K content out there, but it’s paltry, with only a handful of movies and YouTube videos available. 8K Blu-rays and 8K Blu-ray players don’t yet exist, nor do 8K cable boxes or streaming devices. And even when they do, the first generation of 8K TVs likely won’t be compatible, since the initial models hitting in 2019 will probably have incomplete HDMI 2.1 support. Plus, HDMI 2.0 is capable of 8K video at 24 and 30 fps, which are the frame rates most movies and TV shows are shot in right now.
The only consumers who have a legitimate reason to upgrade to HDMI 2.1 sooner than others are gamers and hardcore home theater aficionados. Even then, most console gamers are going to have to wait for the big reveals from Microsoft and Sony—likely in 2020—which should give TV manufacturers plenty of time to pack in as many HDMI 2.1 features (and resolutions) as possible.
In other words, buying an 8K TV now and waiting for everything else to catch up would be a little silly; buy an 8K TV when you’re ready for an 8K TV, because you’ll have much better products to pick from then compared to now. Maybe the TVs will be a little more reasonably sized, too.
Photo: nicoletaionescu (iStock), Graphic: Nicole Antonuccio
Dear Salty: I’m a new mom, and it’s been a while since I could go out for a long dinner with my girlfriends (who are also mostly moms of young kids). We finally got a dinner on the books last Thursday at a tapas restaurant and made a reservation for five of us. Three of us showed up on time, and the other two texted to say they were running 10 minutes late. Instead of taking us to our table, the hostess told the three of us we’d have to wait until our whole party was there.
There wasn’t much of a waiting area, just a small and very cold entryway. We had a reservation and we would have ordered drinks and appetizers right away if we’d been seated, so why did they make us wait? I saw at least one large open table. I tried explaining that we’d order right away after we sat down, but the hostess said this was the policy. Why do restaurants do this?
Thanks, Waiting Game
Dear Waiting Game,
This has to be one of the most misunderstood restaurant policies. And I can see why—every minute you’re standing in front of a busy host stand staring at your phone while other people are shown to their tables is like a tiny, annoying stabbing dagger in your heart.
But there are logical reasons for the no-seating-incomplete-parties policy, especially at very small and very busy restaurants. I personally don’t have to worry about this because the place where I work is big enough that we can seat people right away, but I checked in with some other industry friends about their restaurants’ seating protocol. A lot of them said that if there’s open space, they’ll seat partial parties because hey, they’re not trying to make you stand weirdly by the door. They might seat you and tell you that they’ll need you to clear the table by a certain point, so if your friends are super late, you’ll have to eat quickly. But my friends who work at small, always-booked restaurants say sometimes it’s just not possible to seat only part of your table.
The most common reason I heard for this is that “10 minutes away” doesn’t always mean 10 minutes away. If two people out of a party of six, say, don’t show up for 20 minutes, that group is now taking over a big table for a longer period of time than the restaurant expected. Sure, those four people might order apps right away, but the late couple is still delaying the overall time until everyone orders main courses and dragging out the length of time that table is occupied. There’s a narrow window for “flipping” tables (switching them from one reservation to the next) in small restaurants, sometimes as thin as 15 minutes. Late parties sometimes also mess with the kitchen’s flow, as parts of the table’s order come in at different times.
The second complaint I heard is that sometimes, “one couple is 10 minutes away” later turns into “yeah, they’re not coming.” So say your reservation was for a table of six, and the host seats four of you first. If, 30 minutes later, you tell the restaurant that actually, it’s just going to be the four of you after all, that just burned one of the dining room’s bigger tables. In that case, the restaurant might have to turn away a larger walk-in party because they seated your table of four at a six-top. There’s a lot more calculus to running a restaurant than the public understands.
Usually, if restaurants have a bar area, the host will offer to let the incomplete party grab drinks or appetizers there. Seems like the best-case scenario to me: You get drinks and food right away, but you’re not messing with the rhythm of the dining room while waiting for your friends to show up. If there was a bar area and the host didn’t offer it to your group, that’s weird.
My friends all wanted me to stress that they’re only enforcing the policy out of necessity. If they seated incomplete parties, they’d have to turn more tables away, or worse, the service and pace of food would be disjointed.
The best course of action is for everyone involved to be honest. You should be clear about how long you think it’ll take the rest of your party to arrive. You should be honest if they’re not coming. And in return, the host should be honest about how the restaurant can make you comfortable and any time constraints on when they’ll need your table to free up. If you ultimately decide you don’t want to eat there because they won’t seat you immediately, that’s within your rights.
Got a question about dining out etiquette? Or just a general question about life we can help you with? Email us: email@example.com
Photo: A.A. Newton
Italian-American food is, for me, the final word in comfort. Even my foulest moods are no match for cheesy, red sauce-laden carbs, but I rarely have six hours to spend on a pot of Sunday gravy. Thankfully, I haven’t met a low-and-slow dish my Instant Pot couldn’t handle—so when a craving for spaghetti and meatballs hit, I knew just what to do.
Well, sort of. Sometimes, finding reliable new Instant Pot recipe is more work than the dish itself. When I started researching Instant Pot spaghetti and meatballs, I expected a lot of variance, but nowhere near what I got. The biggest point of contention was, naturally, the one thing that’s easy to fuck up: how much water is added to the pot. Too much makes a goopy mess; too little and the pot won’t come to pressure. Even worse, most recipes don’t tell you to add salt along with the water, which sounds like a great way to make a bland pot of pasta. Utterly scandalized, I got to work.
Pressure cooker pasta needs to build pressure faster than it browns on the bottom, so I devised a simple way to ensure that the pot would pressurize correctly: a test run. Rather than tossing everything in, firing up the machine, and praying, I double-check my ratios by bringing just the pasta up to pressure with water and some of the sauce. This leaves room for troubleshooting before the fragile raw meatballs get involved. Once I know I’ve got enough water to cook the pasta—and enough salt to flavor it—I can layer the meatballs and remaining sauce on top and smash that function button with confidence. My way may be more effort than dumping stuff in a pot and pushing a button, but it’s also a foolproof route to spaghetti and meatballs inside of an hour—a compromise I’m more than willing to make.Perfect Instant Pot Spaghetti and MeatballsPhoto: A.A. Newton
The secret to this recipe is all technique: As long as you pressurize the pasta before adding the meatballs, you’re golden. I went almost fully homemade here, but you can use pre-made meatballs and your favorite jarred pasta sauce for an even quicker meal. If you’d like to brown the meatballs, do it in a skillet on the stove while the sauce simmers; the Instant Pot lacks the heat control and surface area you need for even browning.Ingredients
For the meatballs:1 cup plain breadcrumbs or stale bread cubesUp to 1 cup whole milk1 1/2-2 pounds ground meat, at least some of which is pork (I used a beef, pork, and veal blend from Giunta’s) 1 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino romano cheese2 cloves garlic, grated or very finely minced2 large eggs1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)1/2 teaspoon table salt
For the sauce:1 28-ounce can of tomatoes, any variety1/4 cup olive oil2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)Salt and sugar, to taste
For the pasta:10-12 ounces long dried pasta, like spaghetti, linguine, or bucatini (use less for a saucier dish and more if you’re noodle-motivated)Water to coverSalt to taste (I needed a full teaspoon of table salt)Freshly-grated Parmesan and extra virgin olive oil, to serveInstructions
First, make the meatballs. Measure the breadcrumbs into a small bowl and add enough milk to completely soak them. The exact amount of milk you need will depend on the variety of breadcrumbs you’re using, but you don’t want breadcrumbs floating in milk; you want milk-soaked breadcrumbs.Everything that goes into a delicious meatball.Photo: A.A. Newton
While that’s soaking, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and gather the rest of your meatball ingredients. Place the ground meat(s) in a large mixing bowl, then dump everything else—including those breadcrumbs—right in. Using your hands, massage the mixture together until it’s evenly mixed and the mixture holds its shape when rolled into a ball. Pinch off 2-3 tablespoon portions of meat and roll them into smooth balls roughly 1 inch in diameter, transferring them to the parchment-lined pan as you go. In the end, you should have 20 to 25 meatballs. Transfer to the fridge to chill while you make the sauce.These are my sons, and they are all beautiful.Photo: A.A. Newton
If you’re using whole tomatoes, take a moment to roughly purée them with a stick blender. Set your Instant Pot to the “Normal” Sauté setting and pour in the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the sliced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until it barely browns at the edges. Stir in the red pepper flakes, if using, then carefully stir in the tomatoes and a couple generous pinches of salt. Reduce the heat to “Less,” bring to a simmer, and cook until the oil emulsifies and the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. This will take ten to thirty minutes depending on the tomatoes; crushed or puréed need less simmering time than diced or whole.
When you’re happy with the consistency of the sauce, season to taste with salt and a bit of sugar. (Sugar balances the tinny or overly acidic flavors you can get with canned tomatoes—don’t be shy.) Scoop half the sauce into a separate bowl and reserve:Photo: A.A. NewtonStir the pasta into the pot, cover with an inch of water, and add plenty of salt to taste.Photo: A.A. Newton
Break the pasta in half and add it to the pot, stirring to distribute as evenly as possible. Pour in enough water to cover the noodles by an inch, season generously with salt, stir again, and lock the lid in place. Adjust the “Manual” setting to five minutes at high pressure and wait. If the pot pressurizes within five minutes, perfect; if it doesn’t, you need more water. Release any pressure immediately—remember, this step is just a test—and remove the lid so you can add the other ingredients.
If the noodles didn’t pressurize fast enough, add another cup of water before arranging the meatballs on top. Pour the other half of the sauce on top of the meatballs, add one last splash of water for good luck, and lock the lid in place. This time, cook for the full five minutes at high pressure with a manual release.After five minutes at high pressure, you should have something like this.Photo: A.A. Newton
I like to serve the meatballs and the spaghetti separately, with the meatballs and any extra sauce in their own serving dish. You could also toss the whole mess together right in the pot and serve it as-is, but be gentle—you don’t want to smush the meatballs. Either way, I think you should serve this as God intended: with a drizzle of olive oil, plenty of grated parm, and extremely potent garlic bread.Photo: A.A. Newton
Waterpik WP-560 Cordless Advanced Water Flosser | $70 | Amazon | Clip the $10 couponPhoto: Amazon
Waterpik is an easier (and they would argue more effective) way to “floss” between your teeth, and Amazon is taking discounting the Waterpick Cordless Advanced Water Flosser to just $70 after you clip the $10 coupon (and the $80 list price is a pretty solid deal, even before the coupon). That’s a whole lot less than a visit to the dentist to fix a cavity.
Photo: Getty Images
This is a hack that can be used for good or evil. You may have a good reason for needing to see through a frosted glass window or you may be Penn Badgley’s character in You. The hack works either way.
Redditor u/UnableNefariousness, who I will assume is an upstanding citizen who would never use this hack for nefarious purposes, shared a video to r/BlackMagicFuckery. That’s the perfect name for this subreddit, if this video is a good sample of its contents. In it, we see someone rub a small piece of clear tape onto a piece of frosted glass. The tape forms a perfect see-through rectangle through the frost:
How on earth does this work? Here’s the science, from u/piterrogulski:
The frosted effect is created by making the surface rough - it’s not flat anymore, so light passing through the pane gets scattered in all directions. Sticking a tape onto it fills the surface with the glue, making it smooth - light can pass in a more or less straight line
If you’re planning to examine all your bathroom windows to see if anyone has been peeping on you, there is some good news from u/Mr0lsen. The bumpy side usually faces in:
Only works from the textured side, which is almost always on the same side as whatever is supposed to be obscured.
So, maybe this is more of a hack for people who like to look outside while taking a shower or discreetly check who’s at the door. Sorry, creepers.