A couple in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, scored an original wedding photo over the weekend.
Bride Sarina Thompson and groom Cory Brewer were enjoying their wedding photo shoot in an outdoor venue near the Great Smoky Mountains when their photographer Leah Edmondson noticed a large black bear in the background of the shot:
Edmondson told HuffPost she and the couple moved away to finish the shoot, but the bear then proceeded to walk down the aisle. She said she wasn’t afraid at all until it began making a “huffing” noise and heading in her direction.
“At this point, I am beyond scared lol. He jacked my heart rate up to Jesus,” Edmondson said.
“Anyway, it was probably the most adventurous photo session I have done,” she added.
Edmondson shared a series of images of her “wedding shoot” on Facebook, calling the uninvited guest a “monsterous photo bomber.”
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In my original Giphy micro-game, “taunting kittay,” an angelic dog pelts a tennis ball at a maniacal cat against a rainbow-colored pulsating heart background. The overwhelming response from my coworkers was that it gave them a headache. Yessss, victory.
Giphy launched a new product called Giphy Arcade on Wednesday. Giphy Arcade is a web-based gaming platform, for mobile or desktop, where users can play and create 10-second, bright, retro-tastic games filled with stickers and sticker gifs from Giphy’s library.
In Giphy Arcade, you can play games created by Giphy users (and brand partners), like “Shrimpin’ Ain’t Easy,” in which you have to keep a giant shrimp aloft and safe from dancing left sharks. The music and bright, ugly graphics are a diabolically great mash-up of ’80s and ’90s arcade aesthetics with classic flash games and internet native meme culture.
Best of all, you can easily create games that live in Giphy Arcade, which you can share and send to your friends. You choose from a few game templates, and then customize them with stickers from Giphy’s searchable database. For example, my “taunting kittay” game is basically Brick Breaker, a game I used to play on my flip phone in high school. Now, in my Giphy Arcade version, the dog is the moving line, the tennis ball is, well, the ball, and those demon cats are the bricks.
“We drew a lot of inspiration from classic 80’s and 90s games so that the mechanics would be very accessible, even for those who don’t necessarily consider themselves gamers,” Nick Santaniello, a Giphy senior product engineer, told Mashable over email.
Giphy Arcade is part of a larger trend in which firms you wouldn’t necessarily think of as “gaming” companies are adding short-form interactive games into their platforms. Snap incorporated Bitmoji games directly into the app and Tinder launched a 5-minute weekly interactive “TV show” called Swipe Night in which your choices affect your matches and Tinder profile. In addition to keeping users interested, gameplay is a valuable, active form of interaction for brands (and the advertisers they court) because it can potentially keep users more engaged than passive scrolling.
After six years in business and $150 million raised in venture capital, Giphy is beginning its march toward profitability. The company launched Arcade with Wendy’s and is considering more brand integrations down the road.
“Our immediate goal for GIPHY Arcade is to get the product to consumers and see how they interact with it,” Santaniello said. “As far as further monetization plans, it’s something we are exploring!”
The fact that the games are branded doesn’t make them less enjoyable. That’s probably because they’re so obviously sponsored in line with the post-ironic attitude of the whole experience.
That has a lot to do with the simplicity of the games themselves, the warped nostalgia of the graphics and music, and the savvy players who can see branded content coming from a mile away (so why hide it)? Embracing the garishness — whether through flying hamburgers or clashing color schemes — is all part of the fun.
“We wanted it to evoke early 00’s web/flash games and deliberately designed it in way where it doesn’t take itself too seriously,” Santaniello said.
Perhaps most important, though, is the speed and ease of the experience. The games are between 5 and 10 seconds, and if you don’t figure out how to play immediately, you can re-play until you do, or skip to the next one. In other words, the stakes are incredibly low.
They’re playable on desktop or mobile (and didn’t even crash my janky iPhone 6), and are vertically oriented for a smartphone. Also, they’re funny.
Creating a game is also surprisingly easy, too. Giphy walks you through a couple steps that end with a game and custom link. First, you choose your game template, which Giphy illustrates through generic, moving shapes.
Next, you customize the elements of the game — for example, your hero and your enemy. For this, Giphy serves up its searchable sticker library. Next you pick from several strobing backgrounds, and then you select an arcade theme song. Finally, you get to title your game, and, voila! That’s it.
Nineties aesthetics are having a moment. Older millennials are drawn to reliving childhood memories, while younger millennials and Gen Z-ers get to revel in the unpolished simplicity of scrunchies and Friends episodes. Giphy Arcade taps into both of those desires.
The feature’s success will depend on whether it can go beyond a gimmick and become something real people enjoy and use regularly. Santaniello called Arcade a “natural next step” after GIFs, stickers, and animated emoji, saying “microgames allow us to add a challenging, interactive element to Stickers. This is why we made GIPHY Arcade both easily shareable and accessible, so they can quickly be added into any conversation.”
Most of all, encountering something actually fun on the internet is rare enough that Giphy Arcade at least deserves a chance.
What do you think of Giphy Arcade? Make your own game, share it with @Mashable on Twitter, and we’ll retweet you!
Not even professional digital fraudsters are immune to getting hacked.
This was made abundantly clear today following a report by Krebs on Security that an online shop offering approximately 26 million stolen debit and credit card numbers for sale was itself the victim of a hack. And, perhaps best of all, the site’s entire purloined library might have been tainted in the process.
Krebs on Security notes that the carding site in question, BriansClub, appears to have gathered its stolen card numbers over the course of the past four years from both online and physical retail stores. The site’s FAQ page explains that it “[sells] the dumps (track2/track1) with country, state, city, zip information (optional) and CVV2 cards.”
Track 1 and Track 2 refer to different bits-per-inch encoded data on credit cards’ magnetic stripes.
According to Brian Krebs, the noted cybersecurity reporter who runs Krebs on Security, last month he was sent a file allegedly containing BriansClub’s entire database of stolen cards. Some of the cards in the file matched redacted versions on sale at BrainsClub, lending credence to the claim that the file was legitimate.
This hack might have simply been a reminder that nothing online is secure — even sites designed to thrive off that insecurity — were it not for what came next.
“All of the card data stolen from BriansClub,” writes Krebs, “was shared with multiple sources who work closely with financial institutions to identify and monitor or reissue cards that show up for sale in the cybercrime underground.”
In other words, there is a decent chance that a large percentage of these card numbers are now flagged as having been compromised.
To make this entire situation even more ridiculous, BriansClub was reportedly named after Brian Krebs as some sort of joke.
Notably, for all those stressing carde out there, BriansClub does claim to offer refunds. “For invalid cards you will get refund immediately,” reads the site’s FAQ.
We reached out to the BriansClub site admin via its support ticket page for comment on the alleged hack and the possibility that its cards are now worthless. We received no immediate response.
Perhaps whoever runs BriansClub is too busy processing refund requests.
The theory of evolution by natural selection, first formulated in Darwin’s book “On the Origin of Species” in 1859, is the process by which organisms change over time as a result of changes in heritable physical or behavioural traits. Changes that allow an organism to better adapt to its environment will help it survive and have more offspring. However, Richard Dawkins has shockingly claimed this same idea can be used to prove Noah’s Ark is a myth.
The vessel in the Genesis flood narrative of the Bible is used by God to spare Noah, his family and a selection of the world’s animals from a great flood.
According to the fourth verse of the eighth chapter, following the disaster, Noah’s Ark landed on the “mountains of Ararat,” and this is what Dawkins has a problem with.
In his new book, “Outgrowing God,” he wrote: “Bible-believing Christians in Kentucky raised the money to build a gigantic Noah’s Ark for people to pay to visit.
“But you’d think they might have given a bit more thought to the story.
“If the tale of Noah were true, the places where we find each animal should show a pattern of spreading out from the spot where the biblical Ark finally came to rest when the flood subsided – Mount Ararat in Turkey.
“Instead, what we actually see is that each continent and island has its own unique animals.”
Dawkins went on to point out how different animals originate from all four corners of the globe.
He added: “Marsupials in Australia, South America and New Guinea, anteater and sloths in South America, lemurs in Madagascar.
“Do people think the kangaroos came bounding out of the Ark and hopped all the way to Australia without having any children on the way?
The second Monday in October, long referred to as “Columbus Day” in recognition of the Italian navigator Christopher Columbus, has increasingly come to be recognized as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” in cities and states across the U.S.
In an effort to better acknowledge the atrocities committed by Columbus and his crew against Indigenous communities in the Americas, Indigenous advocates have called for the day to instead recognize and celebrate the diverse cultures and traditions of Indigenous people. The effort has been a long one; the designation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day was first proposed at a United Nations conference in 1977.
The movement to change the title and focus of the day has gained momentum in recent years. Of the 13 states that officially acknowledge Indigenous Peoples’ Day, six did so for the first time this year.
Baley Champagne, a tribal citizen of the United Houma Nation, petitioned the office of Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards earlier this year, requesting official recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day from the state. Her request received a response on Sept. 11, just three weeks after she filed the request, according to KALB reporting. A month later, Indigenous Peoples’ Day was officially celebrated in Louisiana.
“We’re still here, but we’re not celebrated or recognized. We go unnoticed a lot,” Champagne told WAFB, a news station in Louisiana. “This proclamation brings a conversation, awareness, and recognition.”
Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill into law in April 2019 that would acknowledge Indigenous Peoples’ Day in place of the former Columbus Day holiday within the state of Maine.
Mills called it an “overdue step forward to heal past wrongs.”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a proclamation calling for Michigan’s acknowledgement of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The proclamation urges Michigan residents “to reflect upon the ongoing struggles of Indigenous peoples on this land, and to celebrate the thriving cultures and values that the Odawa, Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and other indigenous peoples contribute to society.”
While her proclamation extends only to Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 2019, legislation in the state senate has called for changing the name permanently. Major cities in Michigan already celebrate the holiday on a city level, including Detroit and Ann Arbor.
4. New Mexico
In New Mexico, a state where Native Americans comprise 10.9% of the population according to U.S. census estimates, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s decision this year to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day has big implications.
“This new holiday will mark a celebration of New Mexico’s 23 sovereign indigenous nations and the essential place of honor native citizens hold in the fabric of our great state,” Lujan Grisham told CNN.
An executive order issued by Gov. Tony Evers last week makes this year’s October holiday the first to be officially recognized as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Wisconsin. Evers’ executive order also advocates for changes in Wisconsin schools, encouraging the day to be seen “as an opportunity to engage students across the state on the importance of Native American history, culture and tribal sovereignty.”
Vermont unofficially acknowledged Indigenous Peoples’ Day since 2016, but 2019 marks the first year that Gov. Phil Scott also abolished Columbus Day.
“I think that we need to rely on history and talk about history on all different levels,” Scott said to WCAX, a local station.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing on March 8, 2014, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. The missing Boeing 777 has not been located to this day and there are many theories as to what happened to it. The investigation naturally looked into those who could be responsible for the disappearance in the crew and passengers, in particular Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah and his co-pilot, Mr Hamid.
Mr Shah has come under intense scrutiny, with some suggesting he went on a suicide mission, after allegedly “practicing” the route on a home flight simulator.
However, Mr Hamid has also come under the spotlight in two documentaries which revealed he allegedly broke flight rules by having guests in the cockpit and smoking mid-flight.
In 2011, he invited two women – Jonti Roos and Juan Maree from South Africa – into the cockpit during a one-hour flight from Phuket, Thailand, to Kuala Lumpur.
In ITN’s 2016 documentary ‘Malaysia 370: The Plane That Vanished – Air Crash investigation’, it was revealed this meant “there are questions about the character and professionalism of the 27-year-old”.
Ms Roos and Ms Maree took a selfie in the cockpit and claimed they sat in the two spare jump seats for the entire flight, including take-off and landing.
Ms Roos said in 2014: “Throughout the entire flight [the pilots] were talking to us and they were actually smoking throughout the flight, which I don’t think they’re allowed to do.
“At one stage they were pretty much turned around the whole time in their seats talking to us.
“They were so engaged in conversation that he took my friend’s hand and he was looking at her palm and said ‘your hand is very creased, that means you’re a creative person’ and commented on her nail polish.”
David Gleave, an aviation expert from Loughborough University said this conduct was questionable, but not suspicious.
He said he believes Mr Hamid is just “a young man with normal desires”.
In 2019 Channel 5 documentary ‘Flight MH370’, it revealed: “[Mr Hamid] is rising up in his career – he is close to being fully qualified. The psychology doesn’t stack up.”
Risk management consultant Dr Sally Leivesley insisted that people who commit serious workplace suicides usually have a history of depression and aggression.
She said no such psychology was indicated in the co-pilot, or indeed in the pilot or the rest of the crew.
However, another clue that the co-pilot may have been involved was that his phone was turned on mid-flight.
The signal was picked up by a ground station on Penang Island, northwest of Malaysia.
QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — It’s a real ice cream flavor: guinea pig.
Anyone who thinks of guinea pigs as pets _ cute, squishy, squeaking bundles of fur _ might find that idea hard to digest.
The rodents are a traditional hot dish in some Latin American countries, including Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. In Ecuador, people typically cook guinea pigs with salt and serve them with potatoes and peanut sauce. But one vendor is taking things to another gastronomic level, serving guinea pigs as a cold dessert.
Some people like ice cream made from “cuy,” as the animal is locally known.
“I was suspicious, but it was tasty,” said Marlene Franco, a 78-year-old retiree who tried a scoop at a stall next to a highway linking the Ecuadorian capital of Quito to the city of Sangolqui.
The stall owner is María del Carmen Pilapaña, whose offbeat offering inspires disbelief and laughter among first-time customers.
Pilapaña’s operation is small. It consists of two tables in an open area lined with dentists’ clinics and other businesses. Even so, demand is growing. Every week, the entrepreneur prepares 150 servings ($1 for a cone) of guinea pig ice cream.
She also makes 40 servings of ice cream flavored with beetles, also traditionally eaten as a salty snack, and a smaller amount of mushroom ice cream.
“My family and my husband thought I was crazy. They didn’t think anyone would like these ice creams, but now they’re our main product,” said Pilapaña, who acknowledges that she had her own doubts about whether her investment would pay off.
It was a close call. Out of work, with three children in tow, Pilapaña began attending free training courses for entrepreneurs. She was challenged to do something innovative and, after six months of testing, she starting selling her range of ice creams at the beginning of September.
Pilapaña manages to concentrate guinea pig flavor after cooking and preparing a pate from the animal’s flesh, adds milk or cream and refrigerates the concoction until it has the rough consistency of ice cream. The taste is similar to chicken.
The beetle and mushroom ice creams include fruits such as pineapple and passion fruit. Beetle ice cream has a slight aroma of wet earth.
Ants, cicadas and worms are used to make some desserts, often chocolate-infused ones, in parts of Latin America. But incorporating such ingredients _ guinea pigs included _ into ice cream is unusual.
Carolina Páez, director of the anthropology school of the Catholic University in Quito, isn’t surprised.
“The guinea pig is a very important ancient food in Andean indigenous societies, especially for its high protein content,” she said. Other cultures eat various types of animals, Páez said, “so there is no reason to be amazed that Ecuadorians eat guinea pigs, even in ice cream.”
For Pilapaña, guinea pig ice cream is just the beginning. She has new flavors in mind: crab, chicken and pork.
“Seeing how my business is picking up, I’m sure I’ll do well,” she said.
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Things are not looking good behind the scenes of the Atari VCS, Atari’s retro console loaded with more than 100 old games, despite what Atari would like everyone to think.
On the same day that Atari released a blog post updating the world on the progress the company was making on the VCS console’s hardware, The Register reported Tuesday that the Atari system architect Rob Wyatt quit the project on Oct. 4, stating that Atari hadn’t paid invoices to his design firm for more than six months.
Not only that, The Register spoke with sources involved with the project, one of whom called it a “shit show.”
That really doesn’t look good, especially when you couple it with the fact that there have been several delays in the development of the Atari VCS since it was first teased in 2017. With an expected shipping date for the $250 console set in the vague window of “early 2020,” we haven’t seen a lot of concrete progress on the VCS. Atari was also accused of failing to pay another individual involved in the early stages of Atari VCS development, Feargal Mac Conuladh, according to a lawsuit filed against the company.
Atari’s blog post appears to show a bit of progress on the development of the console, but there are some red flags littered all throughout the update.
It appears Atari doesn’t want to give anyone too much hope
In three instances in the blog post, which shows photos of the console’s motherboard and a handful of pieces of what will make up the outside of the console, it notes either that a certain feature isn’t visible in the photo, or the picture doesn’t accurately represent what it actually looks like.
You would think that in a blog post created specifically to show off hardware progress, the parts they’re talking about would be fully shown and the pictures they shared would live up to the words and promises that are being shared. It appears Atari doesn’t want to give anyone too much hope.
Additionally, Atari made sure to note that backers for their IndieGoGo campaign would be getting finished hardware products but not finished software, and Atari would be relying on them to help provide ” feedback and ideas” before the Atari VCS hits retail in the spring. At least they’re being honest that they aren’t shipping backers a finished product.
The Atari VCS is looking less and less like a video game console akin to Nintendo’s NES Classic or Sega’s Genesis Mini and more like a cheap Linux PC in a chassis that’s inspired by the Atari 2600.
The Register received a response from Atari’s PR firm, stating: “Atari wishes to inform you that some of your questions indicate that you possess information that is incorrect and/or outdated. In addition, some aspects of the Atari VCS project clearly have been leaked to you in violation of existing confidentiality agreements, and Atari therefore hereby reserves its rights in that respect.”
Atari didn’t refute anything specific in this statement, which calls into question the suggestion that The Register actually misrepresented anything in its reporting.
If you’re a backer of the Atari VCS, keep your fingers crossed that Atari actually hits its latest promise of shipping consoles in early 2020.
The White House released a summary of a conversation in which Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate 2020 Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. But Trump said he was not the only one to speak to Zelensky.
“I think you should ask for Vice President Pence’s conversation because he had a couple of conversations also,” Trump said.
Trump also said he and Pence would both be exonerated, and called the vice president’s conversations with Ukraine “perfect.”
Critics of the administration are now envisioning a scenario in which both Trump and Pence end up impeached. While it would take an unlikely sequence of events for that to happen, the reaction caused #PresidentPelosi to trend Wednesday night and Thursday morning, given that the speaker of the House would be next in the line of succession:
America: Where a woman can be president but only if two men get impeached first.