‘Overcooked’ for two is the date night you deserve this weekend

“Put the pot on the stove, not on the ground!” 

“No, it’s there because I’m chopping onions!”

I really hate cooking. Sure, you could point out that I probably hate it because I never practice, I refuse to follow recipes, and I think timers are for people with low self-confidence. But I would argue that cooking just sucks. It’s boring and time-consuming, and regularly causes me physical injury.

With that in mind, I’m sure you would agree, dear reader, that no significant other of mine should ever suggest cooking as a “fun thing to do together.” But, alas. My boyfriend of nearly two years, Chandler, suggested such a thing months ago and, of course, I had… the best time? 

Yes, it was a shock to me too. And no, I didn’t magically turn the corner on seasoning and sautéing. 

Instead of fighting in the kitchen, the two of us burned through hours and hours of a cooperative restaurant game called Overcooked! and had one of the best date nights in our relationship’s history. 

Here’s a rundown on the game you should be playing this weekend.

Overcooked! is adorable

When starting in on Ghost Town Games’ cooperative cooking simulation, you will almost certainly notice first how freaking cute everything is.

The environments range from spooky haunted houses to rickety pirate ships and each comes with its own unique set of obstacles. (I’m telling you. That ice was extra slippery and those penguins were intentionally distracting!

As you play through the overarching storyline and master levels, you gain access to new characters. Whenever Chandler and I play, I am always the orange cat (because it matches my actual orange cat, Kirby) and he is always the raccoon (because it is the most adorable raccoon you have ever seen.)

What’s more, even the food is delightful. I’m not joking—look how preciously disproportionate it is!

Image: ghost town games via steam

You actually get to talk the whole time

Movies and TV are great entertainment options for when you two need to do some passive hand holding. Overcooked! is for when you want to yell about not letting your fake pizza burn.

Because of its cooperative, puzzle structure, Overcooked! forces you to actively talk to your gaming partner and solve levels together. Whether it’s dashing around making dishes separately or passing items through a space-age teleportation device (yeah, things get weird), you will be constantly engaged in quality time with your cooking buddy—or buddies, since Overcooked! accommodates one to four players at a time.

Cooperation strategy games are way cheaper couples therapy

I’m not saying you and your significant other will reap all the same benefits from Overcooked! that you might get from meeting with a professional. But there is a good chance you will feel closer after playing for a few hours.

You aren’t solving any big problems together, but beating levels as a team feels genuinely good. It’s not often you have an excuse to high five IRL.

Plus, frustrating moments can really bond you. For example, another couple Chandler and I know finished Overcooked! way before we did because we had no idea that there was a sprint button. Yup. Every level is timed and we were just strolling around like adorable little slugs with nowhere to be. 

Overcooked! 2 is great for long distance

In August, Ghost Town Games released a sequel to the original that has since received tons of positive reviews

The best part? (Obviously, besides that adorable raccoon being back.) Overcooked! 2 added an online multiplayer feature. So, if you and your sous chef of choice are stuck in a LDR, a night of digital cooking could make for some much needed quality time.

Overcooked! is the digital date night you need this weekend

Candlelit dinners, nights at the theater, and strolls through Central Park are great for cinematic relationships. But sometimes real-life couples just need to throw on their sweats, flop on the couch, and goof around. 

This delightful little cooking game is perfect for those times. Whether it’s with a significant other or a friendly roommate, you need to get yourself (and at least one friend) in on the culinary madness. 

Overcooked and Overcooked 2 are available on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads%2fvideo uploaders%2fdistribution thumb%2fimage%2f86468%2ffab9bfa7 a117 4e7d b3e2 41d3a212b735

Read More

Shane Dawson somehow gets you to feel bad for Jake Paul in part 6 of his docu-series

Breaking: Jake Paul is a real human being with feelings.

It took until episode five of his docu-series for Shane Dawson to finally show his subject. The latest installation hinted at a more innocent, softer side of Jake, but it barely scratched the surface. 

In The Secrets of Jake Paul, the 21-year-old vlogger finally seems to relax. Part 6 shows a more gentle Jake who piles Team 10 into his massive SUV for a surprisingly wholesome quest for camping supplies.

“You guys wanna go to Walmart?” he asks the camera. “I’ve never taken a break so I don’t know what to do.” 

Jake, who took September off from vlogging at the insistence of his girlfriend, Erica Costell, has become something of a pariah in the YouTube community. He describes vlogging culture as “cliquey” and admits that he sat by himself during the YouTube creator summit while everyone else socialized. 

“I’m one of the biggest YouTubers, right?” Jake says. But instead of coming off as arrogant, he sounds vulnerable. “So you’d think someone would come up and be like ‘Hey man, nice to meet you’ … I was kind of the elephant in the room.” 

Despite his signature song “Everyday Bro” proclaiming himself as a self-absorbed asshole, Jake is capable of reflection. When Shane asks about his former assistant Meg’s assault allegations against Faze Banks, his ex-girlfriend Alissa Violet’s new boyfriend, Jake describes his reaction as “immature.” 

“We should have looked into it more before speaking on it,” he says, acknowledging the fact that releasing a video about it with Meg’s bruise as the thumbnail was kind of grimy. Thinking back on it, capitalizing on a woman’s trauma for views “seems like, thirsty.” 

Overall, Jake seems to be very over YouTube’s possessive fandom culture. In response to the video accusing Faze Banks of strangling Jake’s assistant, rivaling fans accused Team 10 of faking the police report and drugging Faze Bank’s drink. Jake lost 60,000 subscribers after a former Team 10 member reneged on his support for Meg and claimed the assault never happened. 

“It’s very cliquey,” Jake tells Shane. “There’s a lot of cliques on YouTube.” 

They laugh when Shane very pointedly looks at the massive Team 10 sign hanging over the stairs.

 

To Erica, Jake has just been “fucked over so many times” by his friends and family. 

“Could you picture being around someone after something like that happened to you?” she asks Shane. 

As the series unfolds, Jake has been portrayed less as a subscriber-hungry monster preying on little kids to buy merch, and more as a guy who wants to be normal. In a clip featured in an earlier episode, Jake gifts his mother a necklace for her birthday and she immediately begins recording.

“I’m glad that we can have real connections now,” he intones over a video chat. “It’s just … both of each other vlogging.” 

In another clip featured in Part 6, Jakes brother Logan and their father Greg record themselves setting mouse traps off on their hands. In the background, Jake can be heard complaining, “Guys, we’re supposed to be opening gifts.”

Erica worries that the pressure to provide for his loved ones — from getting the massive mansion they live in to running the company that employs them — is taking a toll on him. 

“When you wake up every morning and everybody’s relying on you to live,” she says in a one-on-one conversation with Shane. “That’s a lot of energy being taken from you. That’s a lot of pressure.” 

And after observing Jake and the way he interacts with his Team 10 friends/roommates/employees, therapist Kati Morton concludes that at his core, he’s a genuinely good kid. 

“He really gives to people — he bought a huge home [and] has everybody living in it essentially for free,” Kati says at the end of the video. “I think he’s a simple guy and he wants people around him who he loves, and he’ll spend whatever he has to make that happen.”

Https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads%2fvideo uploaders%2fdistribution thumb%2fimage%2f86809%2f97459730 27c7 4800 86d7 f575de8ece52

Read More

Sea ice in the central Arctic should be growing. It’s not.

In the deep middle of the remote Arctic Ocean, things are amiss.

With the passage of summer, the ice — diminished by the warm season — is expected to regrow as frigid temperatures envelope the Arctic. 

But, this year, it’s not. 

Specifically, sea ice in the Central Arctic basin — a massive region of ocean some 4.5 million square kilometers in size — hasn’t started its usual rapid expansion, and unusually warm temperatures in both the air and the ocean are largely to blame. 

“For the most part, Arctic sea ice normally begins rapidly refreezing this time of year,” Zack Labe, a climate scientist and Ph.D. candidate at the University of California Irvine, said over email.

The air over the high Arctic is anomalously warm compared to the decades-long average, Lars Kaleschke, an Arctic scientist at the University of Hamburg’s Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability, said over email. In mid-October, the temperatures here should be plummeting. But they’ve gone up.

While temperatures are still hovering near freezing in these high northern realms, it’s presently around a whopping 18 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) above the 1958 to 2002 average for this time of year. 

A formidable mass of high atmospheric pressure stretching all the way from Alaska to the North Pole has pushed relatively warm air from the North Pacific Ocean into the Arctic, noted Labe. 

But warmth in the oceans is likely playing a significant role, too.

“Both the ocean and atmosphere are warmer than usual,” said Kaleschke.

It’s difficult, however, to know whether it’s warm air or oceans that are playing a stronger role in suppressing the growth of ice in this remote Arctic sea, said Kaleschke. 

The regional seas of the Arctic Ocean.

The regional seas of the Arctic Ocean.

Image: National Snow and Ice Data Center

Yet, oceans can absorb much more heat than the air — in fact, over 90 percent of Earth’s accumulating heat from global warming gets trapped in the absorbent seas. 

This process is accelerated in the Arctic Ocean, a place warming at two to three times the rate of the rest of the planet. 

“I tend to suspect the ocean heat [is] delaying the ice growth more than the atmosphere but this is just a guess,” said Kaleschke.

These days, the reality that strange events are occurring in the Arctic shouldn’t be too surprising. 

“Arctic climate changes and extremes are now happening during all seasons of the year,” said Labe. 

“The last several autumns have all featured well-above average temperatures and low levels of Arctic sea ice.”

Separately from Kaleschke, Labe did his own analysis of both the central Arctic and portions of surrounding seas, finding similarly stark results. 

While the Central Arctic Basin might be the largest regional sea in the greater Arctic, other portions of this northern ocean are seeing the expected, rapid build-up of ice. 

Powerful winds are are pushing great chunks of ice down to the Greenland coast, where ice buildups are now amassing along the frigid island. The Canadian Arctic is also seeing a rapid ice expansion.

But for now, unusual circumstances in the central Arctic will persist, although an influx of cooler air might steer things back to normal.

“A change in the weather conditions could easily allow sea ice to begin growing more rapidly, but for the time being, the unusually warm temperatures (relative to average) and slow sea ice refreeze will continue,” said Labe.

On Tuesday, ice in the Central Arctic Basin was the second lowest in recorded history for that day of the year, noted Kaleschke.

“Only in the year 2007 there was less ice in the Central Arctic,” said Kaleschke.

Https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads%2fvideo uploaders%2fdistribution thumb%2fimage%2f85981%2f120f5e1f 7646 4214 ac05 8e5ec6b6f03d

Read More

Time’s Up UK fund pays out £1M to combat sexual assault and harassment

Emma Watson donated a million pounds to the fund earlier this year.
Emma Watson donated a million pounds to the fund earlier this year.

Image: Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

When the Justice and Equality Fund was set up earlier this year, it was kicked off with a £1million ($1,3 million) donation from Emma Watson and signed off on by more than 200 British women in the entertainment industry. 

The foundation — the UK counterpart of the Time’s Up Legal Defence Fund in the U.S. — is working to end systemic harassment and abuse. Now the organisation has made its first major donation to British women’s organisations supporting survivors of sexual abuse and harassment. 

The fund just awarded over £1M in grants to 7 women’s organisations in the UK. The biggest donations — around £200,000 ($264,000) — were made to two separate legal support services for women in the UK and a rape crisis service in Northern Ireland. The country has been without rape crisis support services in 12 years due to funding cuts.

One £133,000 ($175,000) donation was made to the London Black Women’s Project, offering advice to black and minority ethnicity and migrant women.

Time’s Up UK activist Emma Watson said in a statement emailed to Mashable that the grants are “pivotal in supporting the dynamic work of vital UK women’s organisations.” 

“Time’s Up UK will continue to work in unity with women’s rights and equality movements to campaign for systemic change. This year is just the beginning,” she added. 

Another Time’s Up UK supporter, Crazy Rich Asians star Gemma Chan, said: “This is a huge step and we hope just the beginning of what the Justice and Equality Fund can help to realise.”

The fund is managed by Rosa, a UK-wide fund for women working to leverage gender equality and social justice.

Https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads%2fvideo uploaders%2fdistribution thumb%2fimage%2f1739%2f4afe8aa4 78a3 4923 a9d7 7d8801829bc1

Read More

LGBTQ youth need a proper sex education, too

The internet has changed how kids learn about sex, but sex ed in the classroom still sucks. In Sex Ed 2.0, Mashable explores the state of sex ed and imagines a future where digital innovations are used to teach consent, sex positivity, respect, and responsibility.


After going through the grueling process of coming out to his friends and family in high school, Sean Joyce, a senior at Pace University, remembered finally coming to terms with his sexuality. Although he learned how to feel comfortable in his own skin, Joyce was still unsure of how to safely navigate doing the deed. Everything he had learned in his high school’s sex ed program was focused on vaginal sex and pregnancy prevention.

“It was very hetero-centric,” Joyce said. “There was absolutely nothing about having safe gay sex, or even anything about same-sex relationships.” 

Many factors made understanding his sexuality difficult during puberty, but not having inclusive sex ed made it even worse. Leaving LGBTQ experiences out of sex ed curriculums further ostracizes teens that are learning to come to terms with themselves.

“It makes you feel like you’re weird,” Joyce said. “You’re still learning who you are at this age, and having to seek out information on the internet or somewhere else felt stigmatizing.”

Not only does it feel isolating, but not teaching sex ed to LGBTQ youth is dangerous.

“The risk that comes with not teaching these subjects puts folks in danger of not being able to take care of themselves,” said Kari Kesler, a cofounder of Seattle-based Family Life and Sexual Health (FLASH), which designs inclusive sex ed for teachers to use in the classroom. “But it also makes an entire group of people invisible, sending out a message that they don’t matter, and the issues they face aren’t important.”

“The risk that comes with not teaching these subjects puts folks in danger of not being able to take care of themselves.”

Sydney Martin, a junior at New York University, also went through a similar experience as Joyce as a bisexual teen.

“I guess I could’ve learned that sex is just more than just a penis going into the vagina,” Martin said. “There are so many different types of sex other than the one that gets you pregnant that could’ve been mentioned that I would’ve appreciated.”

Joyce and Martin’s experiences aren’t unique in the U.S. Only nine states — California, Colorado, Delaware, Iowa, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington — require sex ed curriculums be inclusive when discussing sexual orientation. On the opposite end, seven states prohibit any lessons that might “promote” homosexuality through what are known as “No Promo Homo” laws: Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. 

When not receiving proper lessons about sex, LGBTQ youth might engage in risky sexual behavior. Brian Mustanski, director of IMPACT, a Northwestern University program focused on LGBTQ health and development, recalled a time when he was reviewing responses in an online focus group and was shocked to see how gay and bisexual boys and teens thought they were safe from any sexual responsibility.

“A lot of them thought they didn’t need to use condoms because they didn’t have to worry about getting pregnant,” Mustanski said. “They said that’s what they were taught in school.” 

Something similar happened to Martin as an adult when she first found out about dental dams in college. 

“I didn’t know anything about dental dams and I didn’t think about them at all,” Martin explained. “I was a lot less concerned about getting an STD from a woman than a man because I was taught that I only really had to worry about getting an STD from a penis.”

“No one should go into sex expecting it be like a scene from a porn studio.”

Furthermore, LGBTQ youth seeking information about their sexual interests may also turn to porn. But porn can be a double-edged sword.

“We’ve heard from a lot of young people that using porn is a way to explore their sexual attractions and interest,” Mustanski said. “But it becomes a real problem because we’re potentially raising generations of kids who learned about sex through porn, which might create the expectation that any sex is going to be had the same way as in porn.” 

According to a 2016 survey by the Gay Men’s Health Project, a UK charity, nearly half of gay men in the UK got their sexual education from watching porn. 

Joyce views porn as a means of understanding the basics of sex. However, he understands the dangers of having this be the only source of information about sex for LGBTQ teens.

“It can give you a general concept of how things work in terms of figuring out the basics,” Joyce said. “But it also creates unrealistic expectations because it’s all produced and scripted. No one should go into sex expecting it be like a scene from a porn studio.”

What’s inclusive sex ed look like?

In schools that are open to teaching an inclusive form of sex ed in high schools, the FLASH curriculum serves as a solid tool. Lessons that pertain to LGBTQ teens discuss other methods of sex that aren’t strictly vaginal, gender identity, and sexual orientation. The roleplaying presented in the lessons features characters of various gender identities. All students learn the same curriculum, no matter their sexual orientation. 

“We make a real intentional effort to make sure all students feel seen, heard, and respected,” Flash cofounder Andrea Gerber said. “The lessons really resonated with LGBTQ students, and it also helped increase their visibility among their peers.”

FLASH only provides the material to be taught in schools; teachers who may want to teach the lessons plans will have to get school approval first. The group doesn’t track which schools are using their curriculum and solely relies on feedback from teachers or students if they choose to give it.

Increased visibility among peers is also an added benefit of teaching an inclusive sex ed program. Not only can LGBTQ teens learn about themselves, but heterosexual students can also better understand and respect their LGBTQ peers.

“I think having it in a classroom is the best approach,” Martin said. “You learn about these topics in a safer environment, and it helps teens understand other sexualities at an early age. It’s these kinds of lessons that will stay with them forever.”

For LGBTQ youth that might not have access to inclusive sex ed in school, online programs like IMPACT can fill in the gap. They can also supplement programs that may be inclusive, but are still limited in scope.

IMPACT’s lessons include coming out, developing healthy romantic relationships, preventing STDs when having queer sex, and self-acceptance. In addition to the online information, it also confidentially delivers informational courses and other materials pertaining to LGBTQ sexual health and gender identity, to youth in the Chicago-area who sign up for its curriculum. IMPACT often connects with teens through local LGBTQ centers.

“The reality is that even if a school has an LGBTQ inclusive sex ed class it’s never going to provide the depth of info that LGBTQ youth need to know,” Mustanski said. “We’ve worked with these kids, and have tailored an education that’s dedicated to them specifically.”  

IMPACT isn’t the only online source for this type of information. Other organizations such as Teen Health Source, operated by Planned Parenthood Toronto, and The Healthy Teen Network also provide relevant material.

How do you encourage your school to offer inclusive sex ed?

Getting schools on board with inclusive sex ed can be tricky. 

“I’m not sure there’s a ‘one-size-fits-all’ sort of deal going on here,” FLASH’s Kesler explained. “It really comes down to the environment, and what we can do is continue trying to support a climate that will bring about change.”

Fostering an inclusive environment in and outside of the classroom for LGBTQ students is the best first step to getting better sex education. Before we start to see any change in sex ed, schools need to make sure students are aware that LGBTQ people exist, and they matter.

“It’s a challenge because there’s a lot of decision makers and obstacles that prevent this material from reaching out to the kids that really need it.”

“We talked on gender identity one time in an English class I took in high school,” Joyce explained. “It started with gender roles, but it kind of grew into a bigger conversation about gender expectations. Just even touching on social issues like that is enough to open up more talks about other topics.”

IMPACT’s Mustanski is aware that it’ll take time before inclusive sex ed becomes the norm.

“It’s a challenge because there’s a lot of decision makers and obstacles that prevent this material from reaching out to the kids that really need it,” he said.

Being a teenager is stressful enough, and being different from everyone else because of your sexuality or gender identity makes it all the more difficult. Martin explained that perhaps accepting herself would’ve been easier if she saw herself represented in sex ed class.

“If I had a more inclusive sex ed it would’ve made it a lot easier to admit to myself I was bisexual because I would’ve felt legitimized in my sexual interests,” Martin said. “I’m sure there are plenty of other young people out there who feel the same way.”

Https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads%2fvideo uploaders%2fdistribution thumb%2fimage%2f85219%2fa41cc544 8683 447f 9c02 ca997e75ed08

Read More