Taking too long? Close loading screen.
Connect with us


Why social media makes you feel like you’re 100 years old



Something is happening online wherein it has become fashionable for objectively young people to say that they feel hideously, grotesquely old. The sentiment is everywhere: self-deprecating, semi-ironic bemoans of being an elderly hag surrounded by mere tots. On Twitter, 17-year-olds go viral for feeling ancient compared to the middle schoolers on their timelines. On Instagram, meme accounts share images of the Golden Girls captioned with “me watching TikTok.” On TikTok itself, college kids act as though they’re too washed to be on the app at all, while commenters praise Selena Gomez as the “queen of aging,” as if by 28 one should expect to be a rapidly shriveling crone (which, if you’ve ever read one of the dozens of BuzzFeed articles about the difference between being in your early 20s versus your late 20s, is in some way accurate).

There is now a kind of cottage industry for this precise emotion, made up of memes, listicles, and trend stories that are often in imagined response to missed milestones like making Forbes’s 30 Under 30 list or the presences of unfathomably young children. If deep-fried Minions memes are emblematic of boomer Facebook groups, the 20-something version is a tweet that says, “u know you’re past 25 when your ideal Friday night is a murder podcast and a face mask.” There are, by my count, at least 10 stories in major national publications about how TikTok makes people as young as 18 feel too old to be there.

“[Posts] about feeling old consistently do really well,” says Sarah Merrill, the creator of the popular meme account @BigKidProblems, who describes herself as “31 going on 85.” “I live on the internet and make memes for a living, but I cannot for the life of me figure out TikTok. I’m like, ‘This is where I become irrelevant.’”

As someone who covers the current “young person” app, I hear this a lot from people, regardless of age. They say they can’t get into TikTok because it makes them feel like an Old, that they’re too tired to learn the dance moves or understand the memes. No one should spend time on a platform they don’t care about, but to avoid something just because it triggers some horrible realization about your own mortality — despite often only being a few years removed from the age of most of its users — suggests that something is extremely wrong with the way we think about growing up.

This might sound counterintuitive if you’ve kept up with the news over the past decade. Adulthood, by most measures, is starting later for young people; millennials are delaying marriage (or not marrying at all) and delaying homeownership (or realizing they’ll never be able to buy a home anyway). Though the oldest millennials are in their late 30s, media still treats us as though we are permanently floundering 25-year-olds, and yet an element of this is our own doing: We are the inventors of ironic or infantilizing trends like “adulting” and “I’m baby,” the age group that’s still weirdly obsessed with having been deemed “gifted children” and its resultant effects on our mental health. Though the term “Gen Z” has largely replaced “millennial” as shorthand for the increasingly loud and frenzied discussions about youth in the media and online, in the popular imagination, both groups barely seem to count as grown-ups at all.

So why, then, do young people say they feel so old? There is a case to be made that everyone in their late teens and 20s — often a time of seismic life upheaval — experiences some degree of a rapidly fading youth. These years are often a second adolescence that’s arguably scarier than the first: For many, it’s the first time they’re without financial support, the first experience living without family, or their first time in the workforce. For others who’ve been working to support their families from a young age, they’re grieving a lost youth and an uncertain future.

There are pressures to have it “all figured out” within 10 years or risk fading into obscurity as you stare down the barrel of 30, the culturally agreed-upon moment where you’re supposed to suddenly have your life together, if for no other reason than because it is a nice round number.

But there is also a case to be made that the feeling of being so old, so fast, is particularly resonant right now. “I think previous generations have probably felt this but at a much smaller scale,” explains Emily Cogswell, a 24-year-old in retail management in Albany, New York. “They just had their social group to compare themselves to rather than literally every single person in the world.”

She’s referring, of course, to social media, where it is possible to measure oneself — quantitatively! — against virtually anyone else. “Women have this pressure to get everything figured out, get married, and have kids while we’re still hot,” she adds. “But we also have to reach the peak of our career by then. How does one person do that?”

I found Emily because she’d tweeted about the phenomenon I kept seeing everywhere. “U guys are really weird ab age,” she wrote. “Like as if aging is the worst thing that can happen to anyone and it happens as soon as they’re older than 25.”

There is self-deprecation at the root of age panic, a well-intentioned attempt at irony and relatability. But the more I hear people lament how ancient they feel in the presence of people younger than them, the more depressing it sounds. Devon Price, a social psychologist and professor at Loyola University of Chicago’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, articulates this well: “We have such a strange relationship to age in our culture,” they explain. “We sexualize very young people and we teach people that youth is the time of your life, that it’s when you should be achieving the absolute most. So if you haven’t done that then there’s something wrong. It kills people with insecurity.”

This, Devon argues, is what feeds into the idea that younger people are an existential threat. (I am reminded of a certain scene from 30 Rock in which Tina Fey sees a group of teenagers nearby and mutters, “Oh, no: youths,” before running away.) On some level, this fear is warranted: The existence of young people tells us that we are not young, and to be not young in America is to be rendered largely invisible, desexualized, and economically worthless, either forced out of the workforce or required to be there longer than one should.

“That’s the thing that I hate about the generational wars. Zoomers and millennials have adopted this belief that older people are all bigoted, conservative, and privileged,” Devon says. “Really, we’re both screwed over by a lot of the same systemic forces. It’s a very easy way to divide people instead of us realizing that we’re all exploited workers and that we’re all overworked.”

That we feel pressured to be wunderkinds or risk eternal obscurity is itself a product of this broken system. “Our very competitive capitalist system says by this age, you’re supposed to achieve this particular thing,” Devon adds. “And increasingly, those benchmarks of success are not attainable to people. Having children at a certain age, being able to buy a house, being financially independent — those are the things that we taught would be satisfying and bring your life meaning, and now people can’t get those things on a very fundamental economic level. It makes people feel like failures. One way that they express that is, ‘Oh, my god, I’m so old, and I still haven’t done XYZ.’”

If millennials were screwed by the Great Recession, entering the workforce to a crappy job market and saddled with skyrocketing student loan debt, just to be kneecapped by the pandemic, it’s unlikely that Gen Z, the oldest of whom are in their early 20s, will fare much better. Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, why “feeling old” often sounds exactly like despair: It suggests that the fun part of life is over, yet the stable part of life, the one with a house and a family and a career, feels both out of reach and overdue.

This is a central idea of Anne Helen Petersen’s recent book, Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation, which tracks how tax laws, the gig economy, and the Great Recession, among many other things, screwed over young people (and unlike the viral essay that preceded it, how they have also had devastating consequences for anyone alive right now no matter what year they were born).

“The internet isn’t the root cause of our burnout,” she writes in the opening chapter, “but its promise to ‘make our lives easier’ is a profoundly broken one, responsible for the illusion that ‘doing it all’ isn’t just possible, but mandatory. When we fail to do so, we don’t blame the broken tools. We blame ourselves.” This, she argues, gives iPhone-addicted millennials and zoomers vastly unrealistic expectations about what our lives should look like, and therefore outsize self-hatred for when we don’t meet those expectations by a certain age.

“24 year olds spiral out about being old more than 34 year olds,” reads a tweet from comedian and performance artist Reed Brice earlier this month. Reed is 33, which means he’s over the hump of early-20s age panic. “Turning 30 was the best thing that ever happened to a dork, because now the pressure is off for me to try to be cool,” he told me.

Culture moves faster than it ever has — there are more TV shows, more TikToks, more niche memes and internet drama than any one person could ever possibly keep up with (and even if they did, what kind of hellhole life would that be?). We forget how boring being a teenager is, how much time we had to fill up with invented narratives simply to entertain ourselves or distract from the crushing weight and powerlessness of being confined to your parents’ house. Of course teenagers are more familiar with newer songs or newer memes. What else are they going to do!

It’s also impossible to talk about the fear of aging without talking about the precise terror that it represents for women. Our worth is inseparable from our youth, so much so that embracing the effects of time is considered a radical act (see: grombre hair or the entirety of the skin care industry). Any attempt to describe exactly how much this fact is intrinsic to our selfhood will sound trite, but here is an example from my life:

When I was 19, I had never felt so old, and never more conscious of the fact that I was still so young. Living in New York City as a young woman will do that to you, but my clearest, and saddest, memory was at the bars I would frequent while underage, all too aware that the only power I had over the 20-something men — men I thought had glamorous jobs and lots of money but who were of course all perfectly average 23-year-olds in the East Village — was that it was sort of sexy that I was too young to be there. I may not have been the skinniest or the most beautiful girl at the bar, but I was always the youngest, and that felt like something. My age felt so cosmically significant that it instilled in me a deep fear of every birthday that followed, as though I was slowly being stripped of that one gasp of agency I cherished so much.

Like almost every other woman I know, I am still weird about age, and the fact that 30 is not so far away looms ever-present in the decisions I make and the culture I consume. Complaining about your age should be a boring and embarrassing thing to do, because everyone is rocketing toward our twilight years at the exact same speed. But it is still so, so much better than being 19, or 15, or 12. This, I think, is what we tend to forget when we openly envy teens: Being a teenager sucks.

“There’s so many great things about getting older,” Devon says. “People tend to become more satisfied with their lives and their relationships. Upsetting emotions tend to be less intense. You have more of a sense of perspective on negative things, because you’ve seen it before. We have fewer relationships, but we invest in those relationships more deeply.”

This is the trade-off we were supposed to make when we graduated from the chaos of teenagehood, that life would become more satisfying, that we would become wiser and more at peace. That people in their 20s still feel used and tossed out is not because they are suddenly being confronted with teenagers on TikTok, but because of our failure to support young people in their pursuit of a fulfilling life: to help them out of student debt, to provide affordable housing, to offer jobs with actual benefits. The sad part is not that we are old. It’s that we’re too old for this shit.

Help keep Vox free for all

Millions turn to Vox each month to understand what’s happening in the news, from the coronavirus crisis to a racial reckoning to what is, quite possibly, the most consequential presidential election of our lifetimes. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. But our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources. Even when the economy and the news advertising market recovers, your support will be a critical part of sustaining our resource-intensive work. If you have already contributed, thank you. If you haven’t, please consider helping everyone make sense of an increasingly chaotic world: Contribute today from as little as $3.


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


All the products we found to be the best during our testing this year



(CNN) —  

Throughout the year, CNN Underscored is constantly testing products — be it coffee makers or headphones — to find the absolute best in each respective category.

Our testing process is rigorous, consisting of hours of research (consulting experts, reading editorial reviews and perusing user ratings) to find the top products in each category. Once we settle on a testing pool, we spend weeks — if not months — testing and retesting each product multiple times in real-world settings. All this in an effort to settle on the absolute best products.

So, as we enter peak gifting season, if you’re on the hunt for the perfect gift, we know you’ll find something on this list that they (or you!) will absolutely love.


Best burr coffee grinder: Baratza Virtuoso+ Conical Burr Grinder With Digital Timer Display ($249; amazon.com or walmart.com)

Baratza Virtuoso+ Conical Burr Grinder
Baratza Virtuoso+ Conical Burr Grinder

Beginner baristas and coffee connoisseurs alike will be pleased with the Baratza Virtuoso+, a conical burr grinder with 40 settings for grind size, from super fine (espresso) to super coarse (French press). The best coffee grinder we tested, this sleek look and simple, intuitive controls, including a digital timer, allow for a consistent grind every time — as well as optimal convenience.

Read more from our testing of coffee grinders here.

Best drip coffee maker: Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker ($79.95; amazon.com)

Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker
Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker

During our testing of drip coffee makers, we found the Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker made a consistently delicious, hot cup of coffee, brewed efficiently and cleanly, from sleek, relatively compact hardware that is turnkey to operate, and all for a reasonable price.

Read more from our testing of drip coffee makers here.

Best single-serve coffee maker: Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus ($165; originally $179.95; amazon.com)

Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus
Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus

Among all single-serve coffee makers we tested, the Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus, which uses pods that deliver both espresso and “regular” coffee, could simply not be beat for its convenience. Intuitive and a snap to use right out of the box, it looks sleek on the counter, contains a detached 60-ounce water reservoir so you don’t have to refill it with each use and delivers perfectly hot, delicious coffee with a simple tap of a lever and press of a button.

Read more from our testing of single-serve coffee makers here.

Best coffee subscription: Blue Bottle (starting at $11 per shipment; bluebottlecoffee.com)

Blue Bottle coffee subscription
Blue Bottle coffee subscription

Blue Bottle’s coffee subscription won us over with its balance of variety, customizability and, most importantly, taste. We sampled both the single-origin and blend assortments and loved the flavor of nearly every single cup we made. The flavors are complex and bold but unmistakably delicious. Beyond its coffee, Blue Bottle’s subscription is simple and easy to use, with tons of options to tailor to your caffeine needs.

Read more from our testing of coffee subscriptions here.

Best cold brewer coffee maker: Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffeepot ($25; amazon.com)

Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffeepot
Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffeepot

This sleek, sophisticated and streamlined carafe produces 1 liter (about 4 1/4 cups) of rich, robust brew in just eight hours. It was among the simplest to assemble, it executed an exemplary brew in about the shortest time span, and it looked snazzy doing it. Plus, it rang up as the second-most affordable of our inventory.

Read more from our testing of cold brew makers here.

Kitchen essentials

Best nonstick pan: T-fal E76597 Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan With Lid ($39.97; amazon.com)

T-fal E76597 Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan With Lid
T-fal E76597 Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan With Lid

If you’re a minimalist and prefer to have just a single pan in your kitchen, you’d be set with the T-fal E76597. This pan’s depth gives it multipurpose functionality: It cooks standard frying-pan foods like eggs and meats, and its 2 1/2-inch sides are tall enough to prepare recipes you’d usually reserve for pots, like rices and stews. It’s a high-quality and affordable pan that outperformed some of the more expensive ones in our testing field.

Read more from our testing of nonstick pans here.

Best blender: Breville Super Q ($499.95; breville.com)

Breville Super Q
Breville Super Q

With 1,800 watts of motor power, the Breville Super Q features a slew of preset buttons, comes in multiple colors, includes key accessories and is touted for being quieter than other models. At $500, it does carry a steep price tag, but for those who can’t imagine a smoothie-less morning, what breaks down to about $1.30 a day over a year seems like a bargain.

Read more from our testing of blenders here.

Best knife set: Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set ($119.74; amazon.com)

Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set
Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set

The Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set sets you up to easily take on almost any cutting job and is a heck of a steal at just $119.97. Not only did the core knives included (chef’s, paring, utility and serrated) perform admirably, but the set included a bevy of extras, including a full set of steak knives. We were blown away by their solid construction and reliable execution for such an incredible value. The knives stayed sharp through our multitude of tests, and we were big fans of the cushion-grip handles that kept them from slipping, as well as the classic look of the chestnut-stained wood block. If you’re looking for a complete knife set you’ll be proud of at a price that won’t put a dent in your savings account, this is the clear winner.

Read more from our testing of knife sets here.


Best true wireless earbuds: AirPods Pro ($199, originally $249; amazon.com)

Apple AirPods Pro
Apple AirPods Pro

Apple’s AirPods Pro hit all the marks. They deliver a wide soundstage, thanks to on-the-fly equalizing tech that produces playback that seemingly brings you inside the studio with the artist. They have the best noise-canceling ability of all the earbuds we tested, which, aside from stiff-arming distractions, creates a truly immersive experience. To sum it up, you’re getting a comfortable design, a wide soundstage, easy connectivity and long battery life.

Read more from our testing of true wireless earbuds here.

Best noise-canceling headphones: Sony WH-1000XM4 ($278, originally $349.99; amazon.com)

Sony WH-1000XM4
Sony WH-1000XM4

Not only do the WH-1000XM4s boast class-leading sound, but phenomenal noise-canceling ability. So much so that they ousted our former top overall pick, the Beats Solo Pros, in terms of ANC quality, as the over-ear XM4s better seal the ear from outside noise. Whether it was a noise from a dryer, loud neighbors down the hall or high-pitched sirens, the XM4s proved impenetrable. This is a feat that other headphones, notably the Solo Pros, could not compete with — which is to be expected considering their $348 price tag.

Read more from our testing of noise-canceling headphones here.

Best on-ear headphones: Beats Solo 3 ($119.95, originally $199.95; amazon.com)

Beats Solo 3
Beats Solo 3

The Beats Solo 3s are a phenomenal pair of on-ear headphones. Their sound quality was among the top of those we tested, pumping out particularly clear vocals and instrumentals alike. We enjoyed the control scheme too, taking the form of buttons in a circular configuration that blend seamlessly into the left ear cup design. They are also light, comfortable and are no slouch in the looks department — more than you’d expect given their reasonable $199.95 price tag.

Read more from our testing of on-ear headphones here.


Best matte lipstick: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick ($11, originally $22; amazon.com or $22; nordstrom.com and stilacosmetics.com)

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick

The Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick has thousands of 5-star ratings across the internet, and it’s easy to see why. True to its name, this product clings to your lips for hours upon hours, burritos and messy breakfast sandwiches be damned. It’s also surprisingly moisturizing for such a superior stay-put formula, a combo that’s rare to come by.

Read more from our testing of matte lipsticks here.

Best everyday liquid liner: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner ($22; stilacosmetics.com or macys.com)

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

The Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner is a longtime customer favorite — hence its nearly 7,500 5-star reviews on Sephora — and for good reason. We found it requires little to no effort to create a precise wing, the liner has superior staying power and it didn’t irritate those of us with sensitive skin after full days of wear. As an added bonus, it’s available in a whopping 12 shades.

Read more from our testing of liquid eyeliners here.

Work-from-home essentials

Best office chair: Steelcase Series 1 (starting at $381.60; amazon.com or $415, wayfair.com)

Steelcase Series 1
Steelcase Series 1

The Steelcase Series 1 scored among the highest overall, standing out as one of the most customizable, high-quality, comfortable office chairs on the market. At $415, the Steelcase Series 1 beat out most of its pricier competitors across testing categories, scoring less than a single point lower than our highest-rated chair, the $1,036 Steelcase Leap, easily making it the best bang for the buck and a clear winner for our best office chair overall.

Read more from our testing of office chairs here.

Best ergonomic keyboard: Logitech Ergo K860 ($129.99; logitech.com)

Logitech Ergo K860
Logitech Ergo K860

We found the Logitech Ergo K860 to be a phenomenally comfortable keyboard. Its build, featuring a split keyboard (meaning there’s a triangular gap down the middle) coupled with a wave-like curvature across the body, allows both your shoulders and hands to rest in a more natural position that eases the tension that can often accompany hours spent in front of a regular keyboard. Add the cozy palm rest along the bottom edge and you’ll find yourself sitting pretty comfortably.

Read more from our testing of ergonomic keyboards here.

Best ergonomic mouse: Logitech MX Master 3 ($99.99; logitech.com)

Logitech MX Master 3
Logitech MX Master 3

The Logitech MX Master 3 is an unequivocally comfortable mouse. It’s shaped to perfection, with special attention to the fingers that do the clicking. Using it felt like our fingers were lounging — with a sculpted ergonomic groove for nearly every finger.

Read more from our testing of ergonomic mice here.

Best ring light: Emart 10-Inch Selfie Ring Light ($25.99; amazon.com)

Emart 10-Inch Selfie Ring Light
Emart 10-Inch Selfie Ring Light

The Emart 10-Inch Standing Ring Light comes with a tripod that’s fully adjustable — from 19 inches to 50 inches — making it a great option whether you’re setting it atop your desk for video calls or need some overhead lighting so no weird shadows creep into your photos. Its three light modes (warm, cool and a nice mix of the two), along with 11 brightness levels (among the most settings on any of the lights we tested), ensure you’re always framed in the right light. And at a relatively cheap $35.40, this light combines usability and affordability better than any of the other options we tested.

Read more from our testing of ring lights here.


Best linen sheets: Parachute Linen Sheet Set (starting at $149; parachute.com)

Parachute Linen Sheets
Parachute Linen Sheets

Well made, luxurious to the touch and with the most versatile shopping options (six sizes, nine colors and the ability to order individual sheets), the linen sheets from Parachute were, by a narrow margin, our favorite set. From the satisfying unboxing to a sumptuous sleep, with a la carte availability, Parachute set the gold standard in linen luxury.

Read more from our testing of linen sheets here.

Best shower head: Kohler Forte Shower Head (starting at $74.44; amazon.com)

Kohler Forte Shower Head
Kohler Forte Shower Head

Hands down, the Kohler Forte Shower Head provides the best overall shower experience, offering three distinct settings. Backstory: Lots of shower heads out there feature myriad “settings” that, when tested, are pretty much indecipherable. The Forte’s three sprays, however, are each incredibly different and equally successful. There’s the drenching, full-coverage rain shower, the pulsating massage and the “silk spray” setting that is basically a super-dense mist. The Forte manages to achieve all of this while using only 1.75 gallons per minute (GPM), making it a great option for those looking to conserve water.

Read more from our testing of shower heads here.

Best humidifier: TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier (starting at $49.99; amazon.com)

TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier
TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier

The TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier ramped up the humidity in a room in about an hour, which was quicker than most of the options we tested. More importantly, though, it sustained those humidity levels over the longest period of time — 24 hours, to be exact. The levels were easy to check with the built-in reader (and we cross-checked that reading with an external reader to confirm accuracy). We also loved how easy this humidifier was to clean, and the nighttime mode for the LED reader eliminated any bright lights in the bedroom.

Read more from our testing of humidifiers here.


Best TV: TCL 6-Series (starting at $579.99; bestbuy.com)

TCL 6-Series
TCL 6-Series

With models starting at $599.99 for a 55-inch, the TCL 6-Series might give you reverse sticker shock considering everything you get for that relatively small price tag. But can a 4K smart TV with so many specification standards really deliver a good picture for $500? The short answer: a resounding yes. The TCL 6-Series produces a vibrant picture with flexible customization options and handles both HDR and Dolby Vision, optimization standards that improve the content you’re watching by adding depth to details and expanding the color spectrum.

Read more from our testing of TVs here.

Best streaming device: Roku Ultra ($99.99; amazon.com)

Roku Ultra
Roku Ultra

Roku recently updated its Ultra streaming box and the 2020 version is faster, thanks to a new quad-core processor. The newest Ultra retains all of the features we loved and enjoyed about the 2019 model, like almost zero lag time between waking it up and streaming content, leading to a hiccup-free streaming experience. On top of that, the Roku Ultra can upscale content to deliver the best picture possible on your TV — even on older-model TVs that don’t offer the latest and greatest picture quality — and supports everything from HD to 4K.

Read more from our testing of streaming devices here.


Best carry-on luggage: Away Carry-On ($225; away.com)

Away Carry-On
Away Carry-On

The Away Carry-On scored high marks across all our tests and has the best combination of features for the average traveler. Compared with higher-end brands like Rimowa, which retail for hundreds more, you’re getting the same durable materials, an excellent internal compression system and eye-catching style. Add in smart charging capabilities and a lifetime warranty, and this was the bag to beat.

Read more from our testing of carry-on luggage here.

Best portable charger: Anker PowerCore 13000 (starting at $31.99; amazon.com)

Anker PowerCore 13000
Anker PowerCore 13000

The Anker PowerCore 13000 shone most was in terms of charging capacity. It boasts 13,000 mAh (maH is a measure of how much power a device puts out over time), which is enough to fully charge an iPhone 11 two and a half times. Plus, it has two fast-charging USB Type-A ports so you can juice a pair of devices simultaneously. While not at the peak in terms of charging capacity, at just $31.99, it’s a serious bargain for so many mAhs.

Read more from our testing of portable chargers here.


Continue Reading


Trump’s misleading tweet about changing your vote, briefly explained



Open Sourced logo

Searches for changing one’s vote did not trend following the recent presidential debate, and just a few states appear to have processes for changing an early vote. But that didn’t stop President Trump from wrongly saying otherwise on Tuesday.

In early morning posts, the president falsely claimed on Twitter and Facebook that many people had Googled “Can I change my vote?” after the second presidential debate and said those searching wanted to change their vote over to him. Trump also wrongly claimed that most states have a mechanism for changing one’s vote. Actually, just a few states appear to have the ability, and it’s rarely used.

Twitter did not attach a label to Trump’s recent tweet.

Trump’s claim about what was trending on Google after the debate doesn’t hold up. Searches for changing one’s vote were not among Google’s top trending searches for the day of the debate (October 22) or the day after. Searches for “Can I change my vote?” did increase slightly around the time of the debate, but there is no way to know whether the bump was related to the debate or whether the people searching were doing so in support of Trump.

It was only after Trump’s posts that searches about changing your vote spiked significantly. It’s worth noting that people were also searching for “Can I change my vote?” during a similar period before the 2016 presidential election.

Google declined to comment on the accuracy of Trump’s post.

Trump also claimed that these results indicate that most of the people who were searching for how to change their vote support him. But the Google Trends tool for the searches he mentioned does not provide that specific information.

Perhaps the most egregiously false claim in Trump’s recent posts is about “most states” having processes for changing your early vote. In fact, only a few states have such processes, and they can come with certain conditions. For instance, in Michigan, voters who vote absentee can ask for a new ballot by mail or in person until the day before the election.

The Center for Election Innovation’s David Becker told the Associated Press that changing one’s vote is “extremely rare.” Becker explained, “It’s hard enough to get people to vote once — it’s highly unlikely anybody will go through this process twice.”

Trump’s post on Facebook was accompanied by a link to Facebook’s Voting Information Center.

At the time of publication, Trump’s false claims had drawn about 84,000 and 187,000 “Likes” on Twitter and Facebook, respectively. Trump’s posts accelerated searches about changing your vote in places like the swing state of Florida, where changing one’s vote after casting it is not possible. Those numbers are a reminder of the president’s capacity to spread misinformation quickly.

On Facebook, the president’s post came with a label directing people to Facebook’s Voting Information Center, but no fact-checking label. Twitter had no annotation on the president’s post. Neither company responded to a request for comment.

That Trump is willing to spread misinformation to benefit himself and his campaign isn’t a surprise. He does that a lot. Still, just days before a presidential election in which millions have already voted, this latest episode demonstrates that the president has no qualms about using false claims about voting to cause confusion and sow doubt in the electoral process.

Open Sourced is made possible by Omidyar Network. All Open Sourced content is editorially independent and produced by our journalists.

Will you help keep Vox free for all?

The United States is in the middle of one of the most consequential presidential elections of our lifetimes. It’s essential that all Americans are able to access clear, concise information on what the outcome of the election could mean for their lives, and the lives of their families and communities. That is our mission at Vox. But our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources. Even when the economy and the news advertising market recovers, your support will be a critical part of sustaining our resource-intensive work. If you have already contributed, thank you. If you haven’t, please consider helping everyone understand this presidential election: Contribute today from as little as $3.


Continue Reading


Nearly 6,000 civilian casualties in Afghanistan so far this year



From January to September, 5,939 civilians – 2,117 people killed and 3,822 wounded – were casualties of the fighting, the UN says.

Nearly 6,000 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in the first nine months of the year as heavy fighting between government forces and Taliban fighters rages on despite efforts to find peace, the United Nations has said.

From January to September, there were 5,939 civilian casualties in the fighting – 2,117 people killed and 3,822 wounded, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a quarterly report on Tuesday.

“High levels of violence continue with a devastating impact on civilians, with Afghanistan remaining among the deadliest places in the world to be a civilian,” the report said.

Civilian casualties were 30 percent lower than in the same period last year but UNAMA said violence has failed to slow since the beginning of talks between government negotiators and the Taliban that began in Qatar’s capital, Doha, last month.

An injured girl receives treatment at a hospital after an attack in Khost province [Anwarullah/Reuters]

The Taliban was responsible for 45 percent of civilian casualties while government troops caused 23 percent, it said. United States-led international forces were responsible for two percent.

Most of the remainder occurred in crossfire, or were caused by ISIL (ISIS) or “undetermined” anti-government or pro-government elements, according to the report.

Ground fighting caused the most casualties followed by suicide and roadside bomb attacks, targeted killings by the Taliban and air raids by Afghan troops, the UN mission said.

Fighting has sharply increased in several parts of the country in recent weeks as government negotiators and the Taliban have failed to make progress in the peace talks.

At least 24 people , mostly teens, were killed in a suicide bomb attack at an education centre in Kabul [Mohammad Ismail/Reuters]

The Taliban has been fighting the Afghan government since it was toppled from power in a US-led invasion in 2001.

Washington blamed the then-Taliban rulers for harbouring al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden. Al-Qaeda was accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks.

Calls for urgent reduction of violence

Meanwhile, the US envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, said on Tuesday that the level of violence in the country was still too high and the Kabul government and Taliban fighters must work harder towards forging a ceasefire at the Doha talks.

Khalilzad made the comments before heading to the Qatari capital to hold meetings with the two sides.

“I return to the region disappointed that despite commitments to lower violence, it has not happened. The window to achieve a political settlement will not stay open forever,” he said in a tweet.

There needs to be “an agreement on a reduction of violence leading to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire”, added Khalilzad.

A deal in February between the US and the Taliban paved the way for foreign forces to leave Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for counterterrorism guarantees from the Taliban, which agreed to sit with the Afghan government to negotiate a permanent ceasefire and a power-sharing formula.

But progress at the intra-Afghan talks has been slow since their start in mid-September and diplomats and officials have warned that rising violence back home is sapping trust.


Continue Reading