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The Out of Touch Adults’ Guide to Kids Culture: Halloween’s a’Coming

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Illustration for article titled The Out of Touch Adults Guide to Kids Culture: Halloweens aComing

Photo: nelen (Shutterstock)

Internet CultureInternet CultureIt’s hard to keep up with internet culture, but don’t worry: Each week we’ll tell you the best of what you need to know.

It’s nearly Halloween, boils and ghouls, so I’m channeling the Cryptkeeper and bringing the horror to this week’s Out-of-Touch Adults’ Guide! I’m talking menacing cougars, the evils of TikTok, and the unspeakable, cosmic horror of Korean boy band BTS.

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How scared should you be of TikTok?

How evil is TikTok? The President of the United States called the enormously popular video sharing app a threat to the national security. The media breathlessly covers the many dangers it brings to your child, with TikTokers encouraging overdosing on Benadryl, filing your own teeth, and committing a particularly time-consuming kind of suicide.

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But on the other hand, hilarious TikTok teens may have helped tank a Donald Trump rally (Well, probably they didn’t really, but it was funny how many people believed it at the time), and TikTok says it wants its users to do good in the world by sharing videos encouraging education, climate activism, and safer internet use.

To solve the “TikTok, good or evil?” question once and for all, I spent a ton of time on its trending chart, and found it neither good nor evil. It’s just dumb. TikTok is endless clips of monkeys rodeos, kids trying to be funny, and that perennial favorite, dudes being popped in the balls. TikTok is only evil if you think kids wasting their limited time on earth with this stuff is evil, but really, if you look at the world we left, it’s hard to blame them.

Viral video of the week: Cougar run 

Kyle Burgess’ video of his run in Slate Canyon near Provo, Utah has gone viral for the most terrifying reason imaginable: While out on the trail, Burgess was stalked and menaced by a deadly cougar.

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The nightmare begins after Burgess notices some mountain lion cubs near the trail where he’s running. Then Momma cat appears and starts following the runner. Not good. Burgess responds exactly how you would: “Oh fuck. Oh fuck. Oh fuck,” he repeats as he slowly backs up.

For the next six minutes, Burgess basically goes through all five stages of grief: bargaining, despair, and so on. Luckily, there’s there’s a happy ending: The big cat eventually turns around and slinks off. Props to Burgess for responding exactly how you are supposed to; most of us would have turned around and run …and ended up eaten.

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Speaking of viral videos starring cougars, more than 14 million people have watched rock and roll witch Stevie Nicks doing her own version of the “Dreams” video I detailed last week. More than 14 million people have watched Nicks lace up her roller skates in front of piano while lip syncing her own song.

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This week in tech: Google’s Frightgeist 

Google recently launched Frightgeist, a site that uses the company’s scarily all-encompassing grasp of online data to give us a preview of Halloween costume preferences in America. The most popular costumes in America are Witch, Dinosaur, and Harley Quinn. How frighteningly basic.

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The site gets more interesting when you drill down into local preferences. Like did you know the trendiest costume in Casper, Wyoming is “The Handmaid’s Tale?” or that people in Fairbanks, Alaska search for “Llama Costume” above all other choices? My own search of “Sexy John Maynard Keynes costumes” did not make the list anywhere, even though I search it at least six times a day.

This week in music: I listen to the hits (so you don’t have to)

Like you, I haven’t listened to any new music since Blue Oyster Cult dropped Agents of Fortune, but as a public service, I checked out Billboard’s top three singles in the country this week. Here’s what’s going into your kids’ earholes.

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“Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat)” by Jawsh685 and Jason Derulo: This bouncy pop tune is the number one song in America right now. A collaboration between a 17-year-old producer from New Zealand and veteran singer/songwriter from Florida, “Savage Love” features a tiny dose of reggae overwhelmed by gallons of production gimmickry. It’s both incredibly catchy and instantly forgettable. Really, really terrible.

“Dynamite” by BTS: On the other hand, this is not terrible. Each of the seven members of Korean boy band BTS is adorable, and they’re so popular, a less-than-thoughtful interview recently set off an international incident. “Dynamite” is pop-perfection with a 1970s disco vibe. You should listen to it, unless you’re too cool for things that are awesome.

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“WAP” by Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion: Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion are rappers who rule the world, and their raunchy ode to female sexuality is a banger that will rattle your walls. This is the greatest song on this list and maybe the greatest song ever recorded, but it’s not for kids. Even though your kid already loves it. Even if you don’t know they listen to it.

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This week in gaming: Phasmophobia

If you hear screams coming from your gamer-kid’s room, they might be watching a stream of Phasmophobia. The multiplayer horror game has been burning up the Twitch charts since it was released a month ago. In Phasmo, players are a group of ghost hunters, looking for spirits with tools like cameras, crosses, EMF readers, and Ouija boards. It’s the perfect horror game to watch other people play because, according to Kotaku’s Nathan Grayson, when Phasmophobia works, it’s like an improvised horror movie that’s being lived out by its players, and when it glitches out, it’s hilarious. Unlike a horror movie though, viewers can chat at the players/actors, so if you warn them not to open the damn door, they might actually listen.

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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