Every Friday we highlight five things we have on our radar that we think should be on yours, too.
Here’s this week’s Friday Fives.
The Fourth of July in 1776 is regarded by most as America’s birthday. But what if we were to tell you that the country’s true birth date was in August 1619? Last week The New York Times launched The 1619 Project — a major initiative memorializing 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to educate readers and reframe U.S. history, placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the center of our country’s narrative. Spanning the entire New York Times platform, The 1619 Project includes a growing series of essays and articles that take a hard look at our country’s past and examine the implications for our future. With important perspectives told in an unflinching voice (all housed in a beautiful website), we’ll be following the rest of this project as it rolls out in the coming weeks. — KJ
In a world where fake news is everywhere, why not add your own to the chaos? Grover, a fake news detector that can spot articles written by machines with 73% accuracy, has another, more amazing use: it can generate pretty amusing (and kind of scary) fake news articles based on any title you come up with. I tried to get it to write this summary for me (meta, I know), but it went off on a tangent about animated butterflies written by a fake scientist in 2014. These articles may not be the best content that journalism has to offer, but they definitely highlight the need to guard against the increasing amount of fake news making its way across the internet. And while this might be a serious issue in our current political landscape, you can still have some fun propagating your own fake political articles to your favorite relatives just in time for Thanksgiving dinner. — MC
Imagine — a male free-climber zipping up his tent on a small perch at the edge of a cliff. Suddenly, the camera cuts to a male astronaut suspended in mid-air, followed by a male para-athlete runner making a death-defying jump. Then we finally see a woman, reading a book with her baby on the side of a highway as an electric Volkswagen zips by. Commercials like these raise a lot of questions, like who takes their baby to the side of a highway to read a book? And more importantly, why are the death-defying acts depicted in the ad only performed by men? As part of their new initiative to battle harmful gender stereotyping, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned this Volkswagen ad from the air. While we’ve come a long way from ads of decades past that assigned a woman value based on her ability to clean and cook, many advertisements still use harmful gender stereotypes that not only paint women in a poor light, but also men (as evidenced by the long history of SNL parodies ranging from Hungry Guys to Mom Jeans). With these new steps, the ASA is hoping to tackle this harmful gender binary and create a safer advertising space for all. — AD
It’s no secret that the fashion industry is unsustainable. The proliferation of brands seeking to feed consumers’ obsession with the latest and greatest styles has resulted in a global fashion machine that churns out nearly 100 million tons of waste each year. While many brands are seeking new innovations in recyclable fashion (like Adidas’ Infinite Hoodie) that require years of testing and development, the most immediate solution is also the most simple — stop buying new clothing and start buying used. A growing list of brands and retailers have recognized this opportunity in the pre-owned fashion, including H&M, Eileen Fisher, Macy’s, and JCPenney. And thanks to the magic of the internet, the secondhand shopping experience is more accessible and convenient than ever before. For shoppers who are seeking a specific luxury item (or who aren’t feeling up to the task of wading through the sea of Bushwick hipsters in their grungy yet intimidatingly well-curated vintage outfits flooding the aisles at Beacon’s Closet), you can now go thrifting from the comfort of your own couch. — KJ
Each day it seems like Google is finding shady new ways to innovate — from recording everything you say toharvesting your personal data without consent, it’s only natural that their newest feature will throw your life into even further disarray by making you hate everyone you live with. Google Nest has just launched a new Reminders component that allows users to set up special messaging and tasks for anyone in their home. Say goodbye to that old, outdated chore wheel — why bother with a physical chart when Google Nest can just remind your roommate 8–10 times it’s his turn to do the dishes (before you eventually give up and do them anyway). If you’re not quite ready to trade in your passive-aggressive roomie Post-its for their fancy digital equivalent, Google Nest reminders can also be used for things outside of household tasks. Maybe you’re a distant billionaire father who wants to remind his son Huxley that he’s going to do great on his exam tomorrow via Google Nest because walking over to the west wing of your mansion to tell him in person is just too exhausting. Thanks to Google, now you *finally* can. — AD