How Millennials Are Killing Businesses and Things We Love

With smartphones in their hands and bloodlust in their hearts, millennials are dealing death blows to businesses, products, and even concepts right and left — at least, according to Twitter.

According to analysis released Monday by Brandwatch, users have tweeted that “millennials are killing” something over 1,500 times since the beginning of 2017. Topping the list of millennial victims is “chain(s),” which presumably refers to chain stores and restaurants, at a little over 450 mentions. Famous chains like Buffalo Wild Wings and Applebees also receive specific shoutouts.

And can it be mere coincidence that Nasdaq published an article advising stockholders to sell their shares in Buffalo Wild Wings on Tuesday, the day after this Twitter data was compiled and released?

This reporter thinks not.

According to these rankings, millennials are also killing diamonds, malls, and lunch. Brandwatch touches on the reason for this in their analysis: “It would be great to buy homes or eat out every night but financial hardship means they can’t.” Millennials are not in the market for diamonds because millennials sometimes spend an extra five minutes in CVS wondering if body wash is actuallyworth it.

Beer also comes in surprisingly high on the list of things that millennials are killing, due to both their preference for wine and their search for “quality, authenticity, and new experiences” outside of large beer brands like Anheuser-Busch and Pabst.

And, by the way, millennials are killing this stuff, too

In the past couple years, the millennial generation has been accused of killing off the entire golf industry, the concept of work/life balance, traditional marketing tactics like focus groups, and dinner dates.

But there’s more: millennials also have blood on their hands regarding paper napkinsrunning for sportbars of soapin-person conversations, sex, marriage, monogamy, “safe sex,” and cheating on one’s spouse.

Millennials also reportedly hate vacations, wine bottles they can’t twist open, like Philistines, the oil industry, traditionally owning a carHarley-Davidson bikeslife insurancefabric softenerthe lotterycerealcable channelsBig Macs, and cruise ships. Oh, and the generation also hates guns that aren’t in video games and hiring a good old-fashioned stripper for their buddy’s bachelor party.

But, ultimately, as most analysis concludes, this millennial murder spree is nothing new — it’s just the market talking, baby! And as millennials come of age and begin earning their own capital, it’s about time that companies start listening.

Confederate Monuments Are Coming Down All Over the Place

In the aftermath of the Charlottesville “”Unite the Right” rally that left many wounded and resulted in multiple deaths, cities across America aren’t delaying any longer. Several cities have just decided to go ahead and remove their confederate monuments, rather than continuing to delay the inevitable. This weekend’s rally exposed the inherent racism and high tensions behind many of these statues, and several Southern cities would rather get ahead of things and remove them before any more controversy is conjured up.

… And several other cities across America are trying to handle protesters for and against removal of Confederate statues and monuments, as well. It’s a tricky situation, but one that’s likely best handled with expediency.

U.S. Hate Map Sees Renewed Interest After Violence in Charlottesville

The Southern Poverty Law Center has long kept track of hate group mobilization across the United States, and a map released in February is seeing renewed interest this weekend after violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, that resulted in terrifying images and a mainstreaming of bigotry at the so-called “Unite the Right” rally. As of Sunday, three people have died. The map made the rounds on Twitter and was featured on the Meet the Press on Sunday morning.

The SPLC released its annual census of hate groups in the Spring 2017 issue of its Intelligence Report. It includes an interactive map that marked the location of recognized hate groups all across the United States.

How the hate group map was compiled

The map was made “using hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports. Groups that appear in the center of states represent statewide groups.” The SPLC classifies a “hate group” as one that includes “criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.”

A rising tide of hate

The increase in terrorism began soon after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, who was elected on the strength of the so-called “white, working-class” voter base.

It began with dozens of different bomb threats phoned into various Jewish community centers and synagogues around the country, and two Muslim mosques burned to the ground in the month of his inauguration (the one in Victoria, Texas, burned just a couple of hours after the Trump administration announced the executive order that initiated the so-called Muslim ban).

“I don’t think I’m telling anybody something they don’t know when I say that Trump’s election has been absolutely electrifying to the radical right,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, about the map.

The interactive graphic of America’s hate groups is available on the SPLC website, where visitors can click on different icons to get more information about the organizations.

The roundup includes all sorts of intolerant organizations, including anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigration, white supremacy groups, and more. The SPLC used hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources, and news reports to compile the list of groups.

Data collected also shows that hate group activity was declining between 2011 and 2014. But once presidential candidates began their campaigns for the 2016 election, high-profile extremist ideas helped lead to the proliferation of hate groups.

More information about the rise of hate group activity and the election of Trump’s effects on this trend can be found on the SPLC website.

University of Florida Rated Best College In The State By TIME Magazine

The University of Florida is the best college in the Sunshine State, according to TIME magazine.

TIME released rankings Thursday breaking down the best schools state by state. Colleges are judged on a range of factors including academics, cost of tuition and student life.

The report described Florida as one of the “best bargains,” citing its low price of attendance and the overwhelming majority of undergraduates who receive state or grant funding to defray some of the costs.

Another selling point? Athletics: “The Gators, of course, are one of the strongest college sports franchises in the country. The football team routinely wins a bowl berth, but athletic success is widespread,” the report said.

The “Hot Water Challenge” Has Kids Assaulting Each Other For Likes

Though it sounds like a plot element jacked from Clockwork Orange-esque dystopian novel, recent footage has surfaced online of teens participating in the “Hot Water Challenge,” in which they film themselves throwing boiling water on an unsuspecting victim, or pouring it on themselves.

If you are a teen reading this: do not do this. Please, seriously, do not inflict serious harm to yourself or others, especially not for the sake of viral content.

Reports of children being injured on the receiving end of the Hot Water Challenge have begun to crop up, with one girl even succumbing to injuries she endured after she was dared to drink boiling water through a straw. The girl, Ki’ari Pope, was 8 years old when she died.

This video, which apparently shows someone participating in the Hot Water Challenge, has made rounds across Twitter, Instagram and Youtube, where it was first shared a year ago.

Most recently, an 11-year-old girl from the Bronx was hospitalized after hot water was poured on her face while she slept early Monday morning. A 12-year-old girl is being charged in connection to the incident. Below is a news report with images of the girl’s injuries, which are definitely disturbing.

The challenge harkens back to another trend that involves young participants self-harming: the Blue Whale Challenge. Like the Hot Water Challenge, the Blue Whale Challenge spread through the internet and has already claimed lives.

According to the Burn Foundation, it only takes three second for water heated to 140 degrees Fahrenheit to induce a third-degree burn. Water’s boiling point is 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

One can only hope that increased awareness can help parents prevent kids from participating in the Hot Water Challenge. Because, again, it is so patently bad and nobody should be doing it.

Marijuana’s Popularity Among US Adults Continues to Grow. Here’s Why

Marijuana’s popularity among American adults is on the rise — and use of the recreational drug is expected to continue to increase, according to several surveys.

The increase in popularity, along with more permissive attitudes toward marijuana use, may be due in part to its changing legalization status in many parts of the country, experts say.

Forty-five percent of adults in the U.S. have used marijuana at least once in their lives, according to a Gallup poll released in mid-July — the all-time highest percentage in the 48-year history of Gallup asking Americans this question.

Trying marijuana at least once as an adult isn’t the same as being a user of the drug, but the percentage of current smokers is on the rise as well: The same Gallup poll revealed that 12 percent of U.S. adults — 1 in 8 — said they use marijuana, up from 7 percent in 2013.

Meanwhile, data from two large national surveys done by the federal government also finds increasing rates of marijuana use among adults. (Gallup does its poll by telephone interviews, while federal surveys conduct face-to-face interviews. An in-person interview could possibly influence results because marijuana is still illegal in most states and people may be hesitant to admit they use it.)

One of these large surveys, published in 2015 in JAMA Psychiatry, found that the prevalence of marijuana use in the United States more than doubled over a decade. After interviewing about 36,000 people, ages 18 and older, the researchers found that the percentage of adults who reported using marijuana in the past year jumped from 4.1 percent in 2001–2002 to 9.5 percent in 2012-2013.

The data showed that marijuana use was increasing in males and females in many age groups, although it was increasing a little faster in young adults, ages 18 to 29, and in males, said Deborah Hasin, one of the study authors and a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City. The rates of use were also increasing among middle-age and older adults, she said.

But the trends in increasing use appear to be limited to adults: Marijuana use is not increasing among teenagers, Hasin said. Two major studies have shown that marijuana use has been relatively stable in adolescents over the last few years, she said.

The top four reasons people give for using marijuana are to relax, to relieve pain, to have fun and to help them be social, according to a survey by Yahoo News/Marist College done in March.Unwinding and fitting in may explain why many people decide to smoke pot, but what are some reasons for its rising popularity among adults?

One explanation is the growing perception that marijuana has few risks, Hasin told Live Science. In the 1960s and ’70s, scare tactics were used to discourage young people from smoking pot, and there was a perception that marijuana could lead to a person becoming addicted to heroin, she said.

These days, teens and adults increasingly see marijuana as a natural substance that’s basically safe, Hasin said. However, one of the known risks of immediate use of the drug is impaired driving ability, she said.

Many people probably consider smoking marijuana as less likely to lead to drug dependence than using other illegal substances. But many of the studies that concluded marijuana may be less addictive than other drugs were done 25 years ago when marijuana was less potent than it is now, Hasin said.

And not only are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentrations, marijuana’s main psychoactive ingredient, higher now than in the past, but people may be using these more potent forms in different ways, such as vaping or consuming them as edibles. Researchers don’t truly know yet how higherpotencies and newer delivery methods will affect marijuana use disorders, Hasin said.

The changing legal status of marijuana in many states may also be responsible for shifting attitudes toward its use and perceived dangers. Twenty-nine states have passed medical marijuana laws, and voters in eight states have approved limited recreational use in adults, Hasin said.

There is some evidence from states that have passed medical marijuana laws that shows faster increases in overall marijuana use in adults, compared with states without medical marijuana laws, Hasin said.

Data from California and Colorado, two early adopters of medical marijuana laws, has shown that increased availability of marijuana has led to more overall acceptability of marijuana use, in general, as well increasing perceptions of the drug’s safety, Hasin said. All of these factors seem to increase recreational use of marijuana by adults within these two states, she said.

Marijuana’s popularity can also be explained by a simpler factor: Many people find the drug enjoyable to use.

When a person gets high, marijuana has the same effect on the release of the brain chemical dopamine as other psychoactive substances, such as cocaine or heroin, said Francesca Filbey, the director of Cognitive Neuroscience Research in Addictive Disorders at the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas.

THC binds to cannabinoid receptors, which are found all over the brain, Filbey told Live Science. When THC binds to the receptors, it stimulates the increased release of dopamine, which activates the brain’s reward system and contributes to marijuana’s pleasurable effects, she said.

But marijuana doesn’t only affect areas of the brain involved in feeling good. THC can also attach to receptors in the brain that play a role in modulating other types of behavior, Filbey said. It works like volume control, “turning down” areas of the brain that influence memory, concentration, decision-making, movement and pain perception, she said.

Originally published on Live Science.

Trump Launches “Real News” Program, Hosted By His Daughter-in-Law, On Facebook

For those who been awaiting an alternative to all this “fake news mainstream media” out there, the Trump abides. Papa Donald has been using his official Facebook page to release new episodes of his “real news” show hosted by his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump. Although this has apparently been going on for a few weeks, most of us that don’t religiously follow Trump’s Facebook weren’t aware until Buzzfeed broke the news late last night.

And lest we think this is an incredibly niche program that nobody watches or takes seriously, Trump’s most recent video from four days ago already has over 2 million views, 46,000 likes and over 14,000 shares.

As one might expect for a state-run propaganda machine, the nearly 7,000 comments under these videos flip back and forth between those furious at Trump, and those espousing conspiracy theories and some downright nonsense.

Once again, Trump finds himself using every disposal at his means to undermine the role of media in our society, although a propaganda news program is surprisingly on the nose even for him.

How could this possibly go wrong?

Study: Happy People Buy Time Instead Of Stuff

They say money can’t buy you love — but can it buy happiness? That’s up for debate, but a new study says that using your funds to purchase time — something we all wish we had more of — can lead to increased happiness.

Despite the fact that incomes are rising these days, people can get stressed out when they feel like they don’t have enough time, notes a team of researcher from the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, but they found that people who spend their money on time-saving services report “greater life satisfaction.”

For example, paying someone else to do household chores like cleaning and cooking, or pick up your dry-cleaning.

While one may think that having a lot of money could offer a way out of the “time famine” of modern life, as researchers put it, some evidence suggests that the wealthy folk often spend time engaging in stressful activities, like shopping or commuting.

“Feelings of time stress are in turn linked to lower well-being, including reduced happiness, increased anxiety, and insomnia,” researchers note, adding that time stress is also a factor in underlying rising rates of obesity: People who don’t have time say that’s the reason they don’t eat healthy foods or exercise regularly.

Survey Says

Researchers surveyed more than 6,000 people from the United States, Denmark, Canada, and the Netherlands. In all samples, respondents completed two questions about whether — and how much — money they spent each month to increase their free time by paying someone else to complete unenjoyable daily tasks.

Respondents also rated their satisfaction with life, and reported their annual household income, the number of hours they work each week, age, marital status, and the number of children living at home.

Across several samples — including adults from the U.S., Canada, Denmark, and a bunch of Dutch millionaires — buying time was linked to greater life satisfaction.

The results held for a wide range of demographics, as well as for the amount that respondents spent on groceries and material and experiential purchases each month.

“These results were not moderated by income, suggesting that people from various socioeconomic backgrounds benefit from making time-saving purchases,” researchers find.

Researchers also conducted a field study in which 60 adults were randomly assigned to spend $40 on a time saving purchase on one weekend, and $40 on a material purchase on another weekend. Results showed that people felt happier when they spent money on a time saving purchase than on a material purchase.

“People who hire a housecleaner or pay the kid next door to mow the lawn might feel like they’re being lazy,” said study lead author Ashley Whillans, assistant professor at Harvard Business School. “But our results suggest that buying time has similar benefits for happiness as having more money.”

Why People Are Moving to Apps to Get Therapy

While the nature of mental health issues has not changed, the way people are getting help is. United States startups are disrupting the talk therapy tradition with apps that give you unlimited access to therapists. Angela Waters explores the virtual deconstruction of the therapist’s couch.

Traditional therapy happens on a couch, once a week, for 60 minutes, at roughly $100 per session — while it works for some, a lot of people fall through the cracks of the mental health system. To fill these gaps, tech companies have sprouted up offering a different take.

“I realized that the mental health system in the United States is completely broken,” Roni Frank, co-founder of online therapy app Talkspace told Highsnobiety. “Recent studies show that one in five Americans — 50 million people — suffers from mental health issues each year. However, 70 percent of those have no access to mental health services.”

Cost is one of the main barriers to therapy as many insurance policies only cover physical health. Even among those who can afford a therapist, there is often an old-fashioned conviction that you should just be able to pick yourself up by your bootstraps instead of asking for help. But even if money and stigma are not a problem, there is the complicated process of picking the right therapist and finding a time to put sessions into your schedule.

The main difference between traditional therapy and mental health apps is that they make the process casual with less commitment. An algorithm helps you find a therapist and switching to find the right fit is a quick chat to customer service.

You are accessing therapists the way you would speak to your friends, via text, video messaging/calling and voice notes. This also means you have way more access to your therapist.

Talkspace offers an unlimited text, video and audio messaging plan starting at $32/week, where therapists respond one or two times a day five days a week.

“You are talking to a therapist the way you would friends and colleagues so it makes the whole process feel more normal, compared to going to a private practice which feels like a doctor’s room. It is very intimidating to go to the waiting room and sit on the couch,” Frank said.

Maybe this is what has attracted 500,000 people to the platform, sixty percent of which have never tried traditional therapy

Couple’s Therapy

The idea for Talkspace actually came to Frank when she and her husband were going through couple’s therapy. Although she credits the sessions with saving her marriage, she believes that putting feuding partners in a room with a therapist may not be the best way to deal with relationship problems.

“In traditional couple’s therapy the couple has to be together on the couch for 90 minutes, which is more expensive than regular therapy because it is longer than a single-person session,” Frank said. “It can actually be more stressful for the couple to sit in the same room together. There is too much tension and too much anxiety.”

She argues that in a messaging-based model some of the heat is being removed from the fights and it gives the two people more distance to really listen to each other and understand what the other person is saying. Another upside to the alternative model is a more immediate response to active issues.

“Let’s say they have a huge fight, right there and then they can reach out to a therapist and get help. Relationships are not easy; there is a lot of drama,” Frank said. “Couples deal with heavy things like anxiety and cheating. Sometimes it is unbearable to wait to talk to a therapist so we are providing immediate help.”

But Not Everyone Is a Fan

While many are warming to the casual vibe of therapy app platforms, some insist there are reasons traditional therapists do things a certain way and that cutting corners to reduce the costs can be dangerous when dealing with mental health.

Marlene Maheu, executive director of the Telebehavioral Health Institute, has been working with virtual therapy for more than twenty years and sees major red flags with popular mental health apps.

“Many groups use licensed professionals, but in many cases those professionals have absolutely no training and for the most part are unsophisticated about what their obligations are,” Maheu told Highsnobiety. “There are licensed people doing illegal and unethical things at a cut rate. This means that the consumer is not getting the services that they expect when they approach these professionals.”

One of her main concerns about online platforms is anonymity. While many apps let you volunteer what information you give to a therapist, including your name and locations, this prohibits therapists from contacting the proper authorities if a patient plans to harm themselves or others.

“The problem is everybody looks alike when they are showing up the first time,” Maheu said. “Most of these websites will say if you are suicidal or homicidal, don’t come here because we can’t help you, but the truth is that every clinician worth their salt knows that people overcompensate in the first few sessions, then they may fall apart and become violent.”

Another concern with anonymity is that a therapist may not have all the information necessary to help someone.

“You have to find out what the situation is – you have to do an intake. With some of these companies you just type in a question and you are supposed to be getting a legitimate answer; that is not psychotherapy. If the person is going to talk to you about a problem and not ask about if you are taking medication, if you have physical disorders then it is kind of strange. How can they council if they haven’t ruled out a physical problem,” Maheu said.

She added that a virtual therapist has to actually do more work than an in-person therapist to deliver the same quality of care, because they cannot use sensory cues to pick up on things that a person may not be telling them.

“There is definitely a benefit to virtual therapy, but the rubber meets the road with the training of the therapist,” Maheu said. “Look at the therapists and their bios, if they aren’t certified in online therapy, you need to ask yourself if you want to be their experiment.”

New Research Considers Skateboarding an Important Mode of Transportation

As I began skateboarding to work, I found that I wasn’t allowed to skateboard on the sidewalks, the streets or the newly constructed Riverwalk in the City of Tampa. Skateboarding was pretty much banned in the city except for the designated Skate Park that Tampa built solely as consolation. The first offense? A warning. But the second offense? A fine designed to teach you the error of your ways.

That didn’t stop me, nor many of the skaters whom have hopped on a board to skate the city.

However that may be changing….

Now, Fang, a transportation researcher, has made skateboarding a focus of his studies. In his latest paper, published Monday in the journal Transportation, Fang shows how non-motorized transit like skateboards, rollerblades, and ol’ fashioned scooters are already moving large numbers of people — and have the power to do a whole lot more.

When interviewing members of the skater community at UC Davis, he found that skateboards filled a big gap in transportation, smack dab between walking and biking. Basically, skateboards can go almost as fast as a bike on certain terrains. But they’re easier than a bike to store on a jam-packed commuter bus or while at work or school during the day.

That portability makes them an ideal remedy for what urban planners call the the ‘last mile problem’. Since people are unwilling to use public transportation if it means they have to walk a mile to and from the main hubs, other forms of transportation need to be there to cover that final mile more quickly. That could mean biking, hopping on a streetcar, or skateboarding.

But that doesn’t mean skateboarding is popular with police or urban planners.

Most cities in the United States ban skateboards because they don’t like recreational skaters and aren’t even aware skateboarding commuters exist, Fang says. As a result, American skateboarders carry a lot of cultural baggage.

For starters, skateboarding is typically seen as a kid’s activity. While adults see the built environment as something to preserve, teens see sidewalks, park benches, and front stoops as the raw materials for epic stunts. “In most cases, [cities] don’t come out and say why there’s skateboarding regulations,” Fang says. “[But] they talk about property damage or safety… [And] then you get some that are generalizations of skateboarders themselves.” In some cities, Fang says, policy makers have even advocated for skateboard regulations because boarders were reportedly rude to senior citizens — an unusual motivation for urban planning.

Though skateboarding certainly has its roots in recreation, statistics suggest it’s grown beyond its original purpose. Of the 300 combined billion miles people travel in California each year, Fang’s study reports, 48 million of them involved non-motorized vehicles like skateboards. That’s an extremely small piece of an overwhelming pie, but it’s still a ton of miles traveled.

And it’s not just limited to the Golden State: Portland, Oregon, is the biggest city in the United States to embrace skating as part of daily life. The city is rife with bona fide skateboarding commuters and dedicated “skate routes” weaving through downtown.

While it may sound like another Portlandia joke — the perfect anecdote from a city where “young people go to retire” — Fang says more communities should get on board with this eco-friendly mode of transit.

“Skateboarding provides a unique level of convenience that you don’t get with walking or bicycling,” he says. It allows people to go faster than walking, with none of the inconvenience of storing a bike while on the train or at work for the day.

For all its charms, convincing commuters to rely on skateboards won’t be easy. Many people continue to look down on skateboarders and cities policy banning boards get in the way. Plus, in many cities where skateboard travel isn’t well-integrated into urban design, gliding down a street dominated by cars can be dangerous.

But Fang isn’t discouraged. “It probably won’t become as popular as conventional modes of travel,” he says, “but I could see it growing a bit from where it is now.” He sees particular opportunities in places with lots of flat terrain, plenty of bike lanes, and areas with good transit service where people can use skateboards to go that last little bit of the way home. As cities continue to transform in the 21st century, they should open up lots more places like that, setting the stage for a skateboarding renaissance.

And besides, Fang says, skateboarding is just really fun — even if one’s skateboarding chops aren’t exactly up to snuff, a category Fang says he falls into. “[I skate] a little bit and poorly,” he says. “When I was still at my old school, skateboarding was prohibited, so I did it under the cover of darkness.”

If Fang is right, skateboarding might soon be ready to step out of that darkness and into the limelight.