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    Human Interface: Come on a tour of an F-15C fighter jet cockpit / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 30 June - 15:10 · 1 minute

Video directed by Morgan Crossley, edited by Ron Douglas and Brady Jackson. Motion graphics by Brady Jackson and Dylan Blau. Click here for transcript .

Welcome to the pilot episode of "Human Interface," a new series we're kicking off wherein we take you up close and personal with complex systems and have an expert explain what all the buttons and switches do. "Pilot episode" is particularly appropriate here, because we're kicking off the series with a look at a McDonnell Douglas F-15C Eagle, one of the world's most famous air superiority fighters. The F-15C and its variants are in service with multiple air forces around the world, including the United States, Japan, and Israel, and the aircraft has an outstanding combat record—across all its deployments and operators, air-superiority F-15s like the F-15C have racked up more than 100 air-to-air kills and zero losses.

Before the coronavirus made everything crazy, we were able to score some time with an F-15C on the flight line at Fresno Air National Guard Base in California. Our tour guide was Air Force pilot Colonel Andrea Themely , who retired in 2018 after serving for 23 years. Col. Themely has about 3,400 hours piloting high-performance jet fighters and about 1,100 hours specifically in F-15Cs, and her last post was commanding the Air Force's 80th Flying Training Wing .

Buttons, buttons everywhere...

As I found out firsthand a few years ago in the Navy's F/A-18 simulator at NAS Oceana , a fourth-generation jet fighter like the F-15C is typically equipped with a mish-mash of '70s- and '80s-era screens and buttons, with other more current-looking '00s-era controls shoehorned into the corners. This reflects the fact that fighters like the F-15C and its contemporaries are mostly products of the 1970s, with more modern improvements bolted on over time.

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    ‘Art Can Touch Our Emotional Core.’ Meet the Artists Behind Some of the Most Widespread Images Amid George Floyd Protests / Time · Wednesday, 3 June - 00:32 · 13 minutes

Building a protest movement during a pandemic requires creative — and virtual — work. For illustrators and artists with social platforms, their output has an attentive audience — and an influential role to play, in parallel to the George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests sweeping the country. Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis during an arrest on May 25 that turned fatal when Floyd gasped for air as an officer weighed down on him with a knee on his neck. The officer involved, Derek Chauvin, has since been fired and charged with third-degree murder. As artists are aware, their responses can help build narratives of empathy and focus action on what matters.

The movement has seen large-scale marches and clashes with police in cities across the U.S. and abroad as late May turned to June, and has also grown online as support for anti-racism actions and systemic change against police brutality has become a dominant virtual conversation . While the act of re-sharing a portrait or re-tweeting a slogan has drawn criticism as potentially empty, the process of building solidarity through symbolism has played a core role in the history of protest , especially during a pandemic that may rule out in-person activism for some. In the wake of Floyd’s death, social media sharing has helped to dissolve the distances between local pain and global outrage .

Creators have taken different approaches as they engage. For some, it’s a continuation of their activist spirit. For others, Floyd’s death marked a shift into newfound political involvement and more serious subjects. Millions of reposts later, however, one thing is certain: the conversation is still in its nascent stages. With that in mind, we asked artists about the creative process behind some of the most resonant original imagery of the moment. Much of the most popular works reimagine the subjects at hand, giving us new ways to grasp what’s going on.

For Nikkolas Smith, an L.A.-based artist and activist who calls himself an “artivist,” there has never been a divide between the work he publishes and the justice-oriented goals of his creative endeavors. On May 29, he shared a digital painting commemorating George Floyd .

Intentionally unfinished

Like most of Smith’s portraits — many of which focus on other victims of police violence, like Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor — the style evokes a traditional oil painting, but is rendered almost as an abstraction. (He makes them in PhotoShop, and gives himself under three hours to complete them.) And the unfinished quality is intentional. Smith says it’s meant to echo the unfinished business of these lives, cut short. “I don’t like clean lines,” he tells TIME. “That’s a parallel to all these lives. They did not have a chance to see their end. They should still be living.”

Soon after posting his Floyd portrait, it was shared by Michelle Obama and Janet Jackson among other celebrity fans. It was spread further by the official Black Lives Matter Instagram account. In fact, it soon became one of the widespread original images of the latest protest movement.

Smith coupled his image with a caption that calls for justice for Floyd, but recognizes that just the act of viewing and sharing is a powerful first step. “Even if there isn’t an action item, people are still seeing an image of a human being. The narrative is building up more and more that these are people who should be on this earth who are not here anymore, and their life is important,” Smith says. “To share it, even if it’s just that, is important. I’m hoping that all of this leads to a bigger, more substantial change, especially with accountability of law enforcement.”

Smith is no stranger to protest art. He was still working at a corporate architecture job in 2013 when he first captured attention for his illustration of Martin Luther King, Jr. dressed in a hoodie , meant to cast doubt on preconceptions of the differences between the civil rights leader and the young Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Florida teenager shot by George Zimmerman in 2012. Smith has been creating works with political and anti-racist themes ever since.

“A perfect poster child”

On the other hand, Illustrator Tori Press’s latest Instagram post was a departure for her. In 2016, Press checked out of her own nine-to-five corporate gig to focus on illustrating full-time, as an emotional response to the election that year. But she has always shared lightly humorous personal anecdotes with bits of advice about self-care and managing mental health in a signature style of pastel watercolors and black ink text — until now. “I’m not very political,” Press told TIME. “It’s not really something I wander into all that often. But in the wake of this murder, I’ve been sick all week. I couldn’t stay silent.”

To my fellow white people: if you are sitting in judgment and condemnation of the protests going on in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, I urge you to look at and reflect on the many, many peaceful protests against systemic racism and police brutality that have gone on in recent years, and how they have been received. I urge you to do the uncomfortable thing by putting yourself in the hopelessly frustrated, righteously furious shoes of the people of color that have been demanding justice for centuries, of honestly examining how you might feel and respond in the same situation, of considering that sometimes a peaceful avenue to meaningful change does not exist. And if you want to see change, as you should, I urge you to do the difficult but critical, unavoidable work of exploring the ways you have benefited from and upheld a racist and unjust system. Only when we can acknowledge that we have inevitably been a part of the problem can we begin to be part of the solution. It’s up to those in power, including white people who benefit from the status quo, to hear the protests of those we have oppressed *in whatever form they take,* to see the system for what it is, to set aside our discomfort and use our power and privilege to reject and dismantle it. I recommend the books White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo and Mindful of Race by Ruth King as places to start scratching the surface. Many more resources are out there and easy to find.⁣ .⁣ I am donating 100% of all proceeds from all my print and greeting card sales to the ACLU for the next week. I am also donating 100% of proceeds from any order placed since May 25, 2020, the day George Floyd was murdered.

A post shared by Tori Press (@revelatori) on May 31, 2020 at 1:32pm PDT

The result: “If you want non-violent protests, listen to non-violent protestors,” reads her latest post in large black letters, with a small kneeling figure of former NFL quarterback and social justice activist Colin Kaepernick in the corner; it has over three times the likes of the prior post. “When something like this happens, and people are righteously angry, and justifiably so, but you hear folks being dismissive of the entire cause — I just think that’s a way to dismiss this fury, and the reason behind it,” she said. Press added that she feels particularly responsible to share this message as a white, privileged woman with a platform.

“I drew Colin Kaepernick because he’s a perfect poster child for someone who tried to make a peaceful protest, and was absolutely vilified for it. It’s just infuriating,” she said. “We need to have space to say, yeah, I recognize how furious you are.”

As she says in her caption, she feels there is a role for white people to play. “I can address my fellow white people and say look, this is a time we all need to stop and reflect. Really put yourself in the shoes of people who are angry right now, who are protesting. Have some empathy.” She hopes her illustration will help “at least a few people” to have that moment of self-reflection.

“It can turn into a tidal wave”

Eric Yahnker , a California-based satirist who has displayed his absurdist works in fine art galleries, laid aside his typical tongue-in-cheek tone when he published his latest Instagram post: another George Floyd portrait, done in colored pencils on a sheet of kraft paper as a “gut reaction” to Floyd’s death.

“I am absolutely unimportant in this story,” he said to TIME. He chose to draw Floyd as the “gentle giant” he was described as by friends, reflecting his “soft humanity.” “It absolutely guts me that if Mr. Floyd were a white gentle giant or anything other than black, he’d still be alive today,” Yahnker notes. “As a Jew, indoctrinated since birth to the scores of my own ancestry massacred by the hands of evil forces, I know full well that silence itself can be a painfully violent and oppressive act.” On its own, Yahnker knows a single piece of art can’t create real change on its own. “But I am a firm believer in the power of the collective. If we all put a drop in the bucket, it can turn into a tidal wave,” he says.

Reimagining the possibilities

One of the most widely circulated images is an illustration from Shirien Damra . It’s a pastel, color-blocked portrait of Floyd that sees him wreathed in flowers, one in a series of similar portraits Damra has done for people who have recently fallen victim to violence. Damra, a former community organizer in Chicago and a Palestinian-American, turned to this form of commemoration in order to spread awareness in a way that avoided sharing videos that she said can be “traumatic and triggering,” she told TIME. “I think art can touch our emotional core in a way that the news can’t.” Damra adds that one thing artists can do is help illustrate what comes next.

“We know what we don’t want. We don’t want any more black lives targeted by police and white supremacy. But one thing that I have found we struggle with is actually imagining what kind of things we do want to see in our world,” she says. “I feel like as artists, one role we could play is allowing ourselves and others to reimagine the possibilities. Our society will likely never turn back to how it used to be before the pandemic and everything happening right now. Art can be a powerful catalyst in bringing more people together to take action.”

Damra’s Instagram account is only a year old. But especially in the pandemic era, people are turning to the digital sphere to consume art perhaps more than ever, by default. “This has opened up a way to reach more marginalized communities who need art most during this heavy time,” she says.

Inspiring protest signs

Another popular image is a gesture to the Black Lives Matter movement by the French artist duo Célia Amroune and Aline Kpade, who go by the name Sacrée Frangine. Like a spin on an earth-toned Matisse cut-out, their trio of Black faces — overwritten with the “Black lives matter” slogan — is a universal statement that is just abstract enough to be repurposed in many ways; protesters have even drawn versions of it for signs at marches. Amroune and Kpade may not be U.S. citizens, but they told TIME they feel “very close to” the movement. This has, after all, had a wide reach.

The comments to their art are a chorus of “thank-yous” and heart emojis, with the promise of sharing. As social media was overtaken by “ blackout ” trends on June 2, these works momentarily disappeared from feeds. But they will resurface again.

“Some people who never spoke out before — when Mike Brown or anybody else was killed — they saw this video, they see this art, and say, now I’m going to say something,” Smith said about what’s different this time around. “I don’t even really know where things are gonna go from here, but it’s getting to a boiling point. People are done. They’re going to make their voices heard.”

As for Smith, his latest piece of art, called “Reflect,” isn’t a portrait but a depiction of a single masked protester, kneeling at the foot of a line of riot-gear-clad policemen and raising a mirror to their hidden faces. “Can we just hold up a mirror to what this looks like right now?” Smith wants to know. That’s what contemporary art is for, after all: to refract back reality, and raise questions about what we are willing to accept.

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    How the Coronavirus Pandemic Is Forcing Lifeguards to Try to Protect Themselves While Working to Save Lives / Time · Monday, 18 May - 17:38 · 9 minutes

Lifeguarding has always been a high-risk job. But amid the coronavirus pandemic , those who work to protect beachgoers are facing a new level of danger.

From stubbed toes to cardiac arrests, open water lifeguards are trained to act as first responders for all manner of medical emergencies that can happen at the beach, often putting them in close proximity to beach patrons. And when it comes to making water rescues, they sometimes come in direct physical contact with people who might be spitting up water or gasping for air — an aspect of their job that’s raising new concerns due to the ways that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, spreads. Lifeguards from places across the country who spoke to TIME expressed concern that the unique nature of lifeguarding will lead to a high level of risk of exposure to coronavirus this summer. They say that although they are working to minimize that risk, the fact remains that many protective precautions are useless in the water.

With Memorial Day — the May holiday weekend that marks the start of the summer season at many U.S. beaches — swiftly approaching, lifeguard patrols are doing what they can to try to ensure that their employees will be equipped to do their jobs without risking exposure to the virus. Unfortunately, with the prospect of crowded beaches and the dangers of water rescues in the mix, there doesn’t yet seem to be a foolproof method to guarantee lifeguards protection from infection.

Effective coronavirus safety measures are particularly complicated given that, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC ), as many as 25% of people infected with the virus may not show symptoms. Cary Epstein, the owner of professional lifeguarding service Epi-Center Rescue and a longtime lifeguard at Jones Beach in Wantagh, N.Y., says that this statistic requires lifeguards to operate under the assumption that everyone they come in contact with on the beach is infected. “There are people who are symptomatic and people who are asymptomatic, so there’s no way to look at someone and judge whether they’re a carrier of the coronavirus,” he says. “We need to assume that every person we come in contact with has the virus [and interact with them as such].”

As states like Delaware, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey are set to open some state beaches in time for Memorial Day weekend, Epstein says that lifeguards will likely need to be supplied with more personal protective equipment (PPE) on a daily basis than they have been in the past. Although basic lifeguard first aid kits typically include some PPE like surgical gloves and safety goggles, he says that N95, surgical or other protective face masks recommended by the CDC to combat the spread of coronavirus aren’t a frequent fixture. Reassessing these types of safety protocols is a top priority for lifeguard patrols across the country right now, Epstein says.

A sign outside of a lifeguard tower on a beach in San Diego, Calif. B. Chris Brewster A sign outside of a lifeguard tower on a beach in San Diego, Calif.

In San Diego County, where the year-round beaches began reopening with limited access at the end of April , B. Chris Brewster, chair of the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) National Certification Committee and former lifeguard chief for the city of San Diego, says that on-duty lifeguards are wearing masks at all times to comply with the county’s May 1 public health mandate requiring all residents to wear face coverings while in public. But that’s not the case everywhere.

“There could be a state or county regulation that required [face coverings], or even if there wasn’t, it could be a decision made by lifeguard employers to protect employees and the public,” Brewster says. “Each area is going to vary not only on regulations, but also on the employer’s decision.”

“That’s what we do”

Of course, when lifeguards need to rush to the aid of a swimmer who is struggling in the water, PPE that works on land isn’t applicable. “There’s this whole other issue of how do we have the same conversation [about safety] when we talk about making water rescues. Because that’s what we do,” Epstein says. “Of course we respond to emergencies on the beach, but lifeguards make water rescues, and N95 masks and surgical gowns and whatever other personal protective equipment you can think of to use on land can’t be used in the water.”

In Broward County, Fla., where the closure of year-round beaches was extended to an undetermined date on May 7, Jim McGrady, vice president of the USLA Southeast Region and a longtime beach lifeguard in Fort Lauderdale, says that the county’s lifeguards are currently working alongside police officers to keep people off beaches. But he says there isn’t a clear answer to the difficult question of how to safely execute water rescues once beaches do open.

The preventative measures that lifeguards already take — keeping an eye out for emergencies before they happen, guiding people away from potential hazards like rip currents or shorebreak, etc. — will be more important than ever to limit the number of water rescues that need to be made going forward, says McGrady. According to annual statistics that the USLA calculates by polling its chapters , beach lifeguards made nearly 86,000 rescues and took over 8 million preventative actions in 2018 , the most recent year with data available. “Lifeguards generally do a lot of preventative lifeguarding,” McGrady says. “But once beaches do open up, we’ll have to be extra vigilant and even more preventative.”

If a lifeguard does need to make a water rescue, physical contact with the victim should only be initiated if absolutely necessary, McGrady says. “If we do have to rescue somebody, we can take either a kayak or paddle board out to the victim and throw them a rescue tube or rescue can to grab onto so we can tow them back to shore with the length of the buoy lanyard separating the victim from the rescuer,” he says. “If that person is incapacitated to the point where they can’t grab onto the buoy themselves, then and only then would we go in the water, physically hold the person on the buoy and bring them in.”

“It’s not foolproof”

There’s also the question of how to safely perform CPR on a victim who needs to be resuscitated to consider. Lifeguards have been using pocket masks and bag valve masks — resuscitation devices that protect rescuers from bodily fluids that can carry pathogens — for years. But due to the fact that coronavirus can spread through the air and pocket masks necessitate near face-to-face contact, Epstein says that lifeguards will need to exclusively rely on bag valve masks this summer to decrease their risk of exposure to the virus. He says the downside of bag valve masks is that they usually require two people to operate efficiently.

Lifeguards use bag valve mask during coronavirus at beaches Getty Images

“The rule of lifeguarding is that if you’re the first [rescuer on the scene] and someone needs to be resuscitated, you whip out your pocket mask and use that first,” he says. “Then when someone else gets there, you can switch to a bag valve mask or continue to use your pocket mask. But with COVID-19 being transferred through aerosol, the new reality is that this isn’t a practice we want to see our lifeguards performing.”

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And then there’s trying to prevent the spread of the virus amongst their own ranks. From routine temperature checks to social distancing to decontaminating lifeguard chairs between shifts, patrols are also working to institute protocols that will decrease in-house infection rates. While the CDC recommends that people wash their hands often, avoid close contact with people who are sick, cover their mouths and noses with a cloth face covering in public, cover coughs and sneezes, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, some of these measures aren’t always practical or possible for lifeguards on the beach.

In Fort Lauderdale, McGrady says that in addition to maintaining six feet of distance between themselves, guards are closely monitoring each other for coronavirus symptoms. “When we get to work every morning, we have to have our temperature taken and we’re asked a series of questions with regards to any symptoms that we may have,” he says. “Any time we enter our lifeguard headquarters, we have to check our temperature again and answer the same series of questions.”

For some teenage and college-aged lifeguards who work at seasonal beaches, the status of some of their summer jobs is still up in the air. But even with the additional safety concerns, the younger lifeguards who TIME spoke to are all planning to forge ahead with lifeguarding this summer if their beaches are open.

“Even weighing the dangers of it, it’s still something I would definitely do,” says Cameron DeGuzman, a 21-year-old Binghamton University student who lifeguards at New York’s Jones Beach during the summer. “I think that if we’re able to get back on the job, we’re going to be taking precautions and we’re going to be smart about it. It’s not something that I’ve considered not doing for my own safety.”

Pat Wilson, a 20-year-old Fordham University student who also lifeguards at Jones Beach, agrees that his worries aren’t big enough to keep him from doing his job. “The beach is part of everybody’s summer and lifeguards are a vital part of that,” he says. “So it’s a risk we’re willing to assume even if there’s a bit of additional risk this summer.”

“Someone has to watch the water”

As far as Dillane Wehbe, a 20-year-old Fordham student who lifeguards at Sachuest Beach in Newport, R.I., is concerned, it’s his civic duty to do his job, knowing that people will be in the water regardless of whether beaches are open. “Someone has to watch the water,” he says. “Whether or not it’s open, people are going to go to the beach and swim.”

Although the situation is still evolving, Epstein says safety remains the top priority for lifeguards and that some of the new measures being put in place will likely transcend this summer.

“I think the changes we’re witnessing aren’t going to just be for summer 2020. I think what we’re going through is going to be a shift in the world, in culture and in how we safely approach things from a lifeguarding perspective,” he says. “It seems safe to say that moving forward, lifeguarding has definitely gone up in terms of the level of hazards and the dangers that you could encounter on an everyday basis.”

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    Meet the TikTok Creators Taking the Mini—Horror Movie to New Levels / Time · Friday, 1 May - 14:25 · 8 minutes

There’s a good reason short-form horror movies are taking center stage for some TikTok creators recently.

For people staying home right now, movies and TV shows — maybe more than ever before — are becoming an escape from reality. And on digital platforms like TikTok and Instagram, in addition to choreographing viral dance videos , some users are taking what they’ve learned from the entertainment world and creating mini-movies of their own.

From comedies to musicals, these videos run the genre gamut. And there’s even a thriving corner of the TikTok community that has taken to creating short-form horror flicks — including ones that are themed for this unique moment in time. While it may seem strange for horror fans to want to experience the thrill of a good scare in the midst of a crisis that could be considered a real-life nightmare, with millions of viewers tuning in, it’s clear some of these spooky shorts are resonating with people.

Take the debut post of Riley Bona , a 20-year-old Princeton University student who made his grand entrance on TikTok’s horror scene with an April 11 video that has racked up over 2.3 million views on TikTok and 6 million on Twitter , for example. Like many cooking videos om the platform, the minute-long video opens with Bona going through the motions of baking a strawberry pie to the tune of the main theme from Pixar’s Ratatouille , a sequence that lulls viewers into a false sense of security. But then it takes a sinister psychological turn involving a menacing music switch-up and anxiety-inducing cuts between shots of excessive handwashing, pecking chickens, a whistling tea kettle and more.

For his part, Bona tells TIME that he never thought the video would be as popular as it is. “I didn’t expect it to resonate so much with people because, for me, it was kind of a comedy,” he says. “There are so many people, including myself, making these videos about how well we’re doing in quarantine. I thought it would be funny to put a twist on that and make it a more accurate depiction of how we’re all feeling right now.”

Despite his comedic intentions, the video was shared to Twitter with the caption, “TikTok owns horror now I’m sorry I don’t make the rules,” and quickly began garnering comments like, “This made me so anxious omg,” and, “I’m having a panic attack trying to watch lol.”

Bona, who says he’s a fan of scary shows like campy anthology series American Horror Story and Netflix’s spine-chiling The Haunting of Hill House adaptation as well as movies like The Babadook , credits his video’s fright factor to its unexpected twist. Around the 30-second mark, his serene baking how-to transforms into an unsettling dramatization of what may happen to the human mind in isolation.

“I think it’s all about nuance,” he says. “You have to convey the feeling of anxiety or fear without having the resources to do a really scary costume or horrifying plot line. All you have is a minute and your iPhone, so you have to perfect the pacing and music and whatever else to convey that creepiness.”

The success of the video seems to stem from the way Bona plays off many people’s shared fears amid the current health and social climate. “It’s hyper-contemporary because it plays on everyone being at home and the amount of baking that many people are doing,” says Kinitra D. Brooks , a literary studies professor at Michigan State University who specializes in horror. “He lulls you into thinking it’s just a cooking video. Then suddenly there’s this increasingly foreboding sound and these quick cuts between shots that prey on our fears. Even though he’s showing us simple shots of a rabbit or a cat, they become ominous and scary.”

Of course, short-form horror certainly isn’t a new trend, with Victorian-era penny dreadfuls stories — cheap, sensational and often lurid fiction — enjoying great popularity over a century ago. Brooks says that TikTok has allowed the tradition to continue to evolve. “It’s not a new idea to put horror in short form. Penny dreadfuls were serial, but really short and to the point,” she says. “TikTok is a newer medium, but its short-form horror is part of a long, established tradition.”

Although there are definitely challenges that go along with spooking people in a tight timeframe, Brooks says that horror stories can sometimes be even more effective when presented in short form — just think of the chilling tales of Edgar Allen Poe , the nightmarish Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark anthology or the Reddit-inspired TV series Two Sentence Horror Stories . “Horror doesn’t have to be a long-drawn-out narrative, and a lot of the time, it works best when it’s not,” she says.

Having created a flourishing horror TikTok that gives off some major Blair Witch Project and The Others vibes, Charles Robitaille, a 22-year-old TikTokker from Tampa, Fla., also believes that a good twist can make all the difference when it comes to ensuring your post stands out from the crowd. “You have to keep people engaged throughout the whole video, but that twist at the end can be the difference between a good video and a viral video,” he says.

Robitaille has successfully tested the horror TikTok waters with a video that imagines the haunting aftermath of a tragic pool accident involving his little sister. He says he came up with the idea after watching other TikToks that used the same creepy staticky wind sound, Eric Keith’s “ceo of deep moments.”

When a sound becomes popular on TikTok, users often end up riffing off and building on each other’s ideas to incorporate it into their own videos. “That’s how it really starts,” Robitaille explains. “You find a sound, you find some ideas that are similar to yours, and then you put a spin on it to make it your own and make it original to you.”

In addition to devising a spine-tingling opening sequence that immediately gives viewers the feeling that something’s off, Brooks notes that the way Robitaille uses text to convey some of the story’s drama makes the video very compelling. “He makes you read, but not too much. The sentences are short. He gets right to the point,” she says. “With horror, your viewer has to do some of the work, but you want to very much control the amount of work that they do.”

Robitaille says the most difficult part of nailing the video was getting his little sister, who played herself, to cooperate throughout the hour-long filming process. Actors, right?

“She was excited to be a part of it but didn’t realize it was going to take that much time,” he says. “We had to do a lot of takes because she would move a certain way and I’d be like, ‘Don’t do that. Do this.’ She had to be patient with me, but I appreciated it.”

On TikTok, users have a maximum of 60 seconds per video to tell a story. So when it comes to horror, Brooks says it can be helpful for narratives to be rooted in the realities of everyday life. “When you’re doing things in as short an amount of time as TikTok forces you to, you’re usually most successful with horror when you’re playing with the everyday,” she says. “You have to drop your viewer into something that they’re instantly familiar with.”

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TikTokker and adventure videographer Shane Brown, on the other hand, faces a different set of challenges when making his horror videos: the unpredictability of the ocean. Brown, who specializes in videos that play off people’s fear of the deep sea — a.k.a. thalassophobia — that he films in the waters off Hawaii, has garnered nearly 30 million TikTok views with his four-part “Sinking” series.

Although the ocean and the creatures that inhabit it may be some people’s greatest fear — as evidenced by popular horror movies like Jaws , The Abyss and Deep Blue Sea — Brown says that he never gets caught up in that terror while filming. “I’m in the water every single day, sometimes twice a day,” he explains. “I always have a healthy respect for the ocean, but never fear.”

So when it comes to brainstorming ideas for ocean videos that might frighten people, Brown says he thinks back to how he felt as a child when a piece of seaweed would touch his foot while swimming. “With horror, one of the scariest things is not seeing the thing that you’re afraid of. The ocean contains so much mystery to so many people. They don’t know what’s out there, so that mystery is really scary,” he says. “The most scared I’ve ever been in the ocean was when a piece of seaweed would touch my foot as a kid. It’s the stupidest thing to be afraid of, but I would freak out. I just think about that feeling to imagine what other people are experiencing while they’re in the ocean.”

Brooks says this dread of the unseen could also be viewed as responsible for some of the anxiety surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. “The horror isn’t a person,” she says. “The horror is a virus so we can’t see it , and it’s passed by having contact with other people.”

As for why some people are seeking a scare right now, Brooks says that it’s perfectly normal to turn to horror in times of trouble or uncertainty. “Horror is all about dealing with our own anxieties. It plays on our cultural fears,” she tells TIME. “When done well, it gives us a psychological pressure release that can offer us the feeling of being more in control.”

Bona says he thinks that’s why visualizations of horror on TikTok can be comforting right now. “My video wasn’t intended to bring people to reality at all; it was actually intended to remind people that we’re [all in this together],” he says. “It’s articulating the anxieties the viewer wants to escape, and that can be a cathartic experience.”

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    Why Your Feed Suddenly Became Flooded With Nostalgia-Fueled Photo Trends / Time · Tuesday, 21 April - 16:55 · 5 minutes

As coronavirus continues to disrupt lives around the world, people online are tapping into old memories on social media to cope with a time when new ones might be difficult to make.

Amid crises, it’s common for people to look back fondly on moments that they remember as happy. And with stay-at-home orders in place across the globe, nostalgia appears to be having a moment on social media.

On platforms like Twitter and TikTok , many users are taking part in viral nostalgia-fueled photo trends like #MeAt20 and #ImJustAKid that give participants the opportunity to connect with their followers by sharing snapshots from their pasts. For those who enjoy being active online, these can be a fun and entertaining way to interact with others while still practicing social distancing or self-isolation . Regardless of whether they’re photos from childhood or throwback shots from just a few years ago, participants say that sharing these memories is giving them a greater sense of community.

For Natalie Samm , whose April 13 tweet asking others what they looked like at age 20 seems to have sparked the #MeAt20 trend, looking through old photos has helped keep the blues away during what she says has been a stressful time. “Going over old memories and reflecting has helped me not be in a funk while this goes on,” she tells TIME.

Her tweet has garnered thousands of likes and replies in the days since and helped ignite a widespread movement of people tagging their photos with hashtags like #MeAt20 , #20yearsold , and #Age20 .

The 22-year-old Washington D.C. native adds that the idea for the tweet came to her after she spent some time scrolling through her own photos, even ones from just two years ago, and it brightened her day. “I wrote the tweet because I was looking through old photos and started laughing at how much I’ve changed over the last couple of years,” she says. “So I wanted to ask my followers what they thought about their 20-year-old pictures.”

The trend has since become so widespread that even celebrities like Lin-Manuel Miranda, who shared a photo of himself dressed as Jennifer Lopez, and Busy Philipps, who shared one from her time on Freaks and Geeks , have joined in on the memory lane trip. But Samm says the famous person that she’d most like to see respond to her tweet is her favorite artist, Meek Mill.

As for the #ImJustAKid challenge, which has taken off on TikTok, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly who ignited the trend of re-creating a childhood photo in a video set to pop-punk band Simple Plan’s popular 2002 song “I’m Just a Kid.” But with many teens and young adults back at home with their parents during this time, moms and dads are playing a big role in its popularity.

Luca Tagliafierro , a 21-year-old TikTokker from the Italian city of Vercelli, says that he decided to take a crack at it because he thought making a TikTok with his family would be a fun way to pass some time inside. But he says that he never expected his video, which has been liked over 714,000 times, to get so much attention.

“Considering it took some time before I was convinced I should post it since I wasn’t fully satisfied with it, I was incredibly surprised [that it got so popular],” he explains. “Me and my family were blown away. It’s always nice to have a little moment of glory on the web.”

The clip features Tagliafierro posing with his brothers and dad in descending age order on a bed before cutting to a 13-year-old picture of the same family setup. Tagliafierro says the re-creation process took about half an hour.

“I opted, with my parents and two brothers, to replicate the nicest photo in which we were almost all together,” he says, jokingly adding that, “The most complicated part was convincing my father to pose because he doesn’t really like being filmed.”

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Jaci Butler , a 24-year-old whose mom ended up socially isolating with her in Los Angeles after she flew out to visit her for her birthday, says that she called up her dad for help finding a childhood photo in her family’s Dallas home that they would be able to re-create with limited resources. They eventually settled on one where a young Butler is taking a nap in her mom’s lap.

“We had him look through all these old photos,” she says. “There were some funnier ones that I liked but we couldn’t go out and buy certain things to make [our new photo look exactly like the old one] so we had to get creative. We actually printed out clip art to go on our sweaters to make them match what we were wearing when I was a kid.”

After downloading TikTok out of boredom, 23-year-old Hannah Cho says that she and her three brothers decided to hop on the #ImJustAKid train to take advantage of the first time in years that they’ve all lived under the same roof.

“A lot of people are back home with their families during this time and it’s like, why not remember the good ol’ days by recreating these pictures,” she says.

Cho adds that she thinks the #ImJustAKid challenge can be a great way to help take people’s minds off everything going on in the world while simultaneously making them feel more connected to others. “It’s just something fun and simple that you can do in your backyard or your house,” she says. “I think it definitely brings people together.”

Tagliafierro agrees that in the midst of what has been a difficult time for many, nostalgia trends can help remind people that we’re all in this together.

“These challenges are giving everyone, without distinction, the opportunity to express themselves in a creative and supportive way,” he says. “I’ve gotten many positive comments from strangers who wanted to tell me their story or even about the loss of a family member. It’s made me think a lot about the fact that we often forget what the important things really are.”

Going forward, even after stay-at-home orders are lifted, Butler says that she thinks these trends could help people remember to appreciate the good times in their lives.

“People are reminiscing right now because we can’t really do anything else,” she says. “So we’re looking back and cherishing memories that we maybe would’ve taken for granted before.”

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    An Online Competition Is Born Out of Netflix’s Reality Show The Circle / Time · Friday, 17 April - 14:01 · 8 minutes

As people across the world practice social distancing or self-isolation to curb the further spread of coronavirus, some are searching for new and innovative ways to connect with each other. And fans of the reality TV show The Circle may have found exactly what they’re looking for with online game versions of the series.

When season 1 of The Circle TV show premiered on Netflix on Jan. 1, the U.S. version of the U.K. reality competition series quickly became a trending topic of conversation. The show gained such a devoted following that, along with hit reality dating series Love Is Blind , Netflix has already renewed it for a second and third season .

But with season 2 not set to debut until 2021, some fans are turning to online versions of the game to fill the Circle -shaped hole in their hearts and connect with people who want to try their hand at the social experiment — especially in the midst of the coronavirus.

Hailed by some as a mixture of fellow reality shows Big Brother and Catfish with a dash of the Black Mirror episode “Nosedive,” The Circle isolates its millennial contestants in comfortably furnished individual apartments within the same building as they compete with each other to earn the top spot in the group’s rankings — a metric based on arbitrary factors determined by each player — and avoid being “blocked” and sent home. The twist? They can only communicate via profiles created on a specially designed social media platform, leaving it up to each player to decide whether their competitors are who they say they are.

In the first season of The Circle U.S. , winner Joey Sasso as well as fan-favorite players Shubham “Shooby” Goel and Sammie Cimarelli were all original contestants who played unabashedly as themselves rather than catfish. And while genuine connection may not have been the primary goal of people virtually competing against each other for a $100,000 prize, for those three, it was a serendipitous by-product.

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“Joey and I differed in almost every way, but complemented each other,” Goel told TIME in a January interview. “Sammie — we had a great chat about feeling like we were on the outside. There was a lot of truth to these genuine connections.”

When it comes to online versions of The Circle , there are some limitations that the show doesn’t contend with — a major one being that the people playing are still living their regular lives in the midst of the game. But without a major cash prize at stake, genuine connections between players are even more feasible.

Laura Cardona, who is currently hosting an online Circle game on the chat service Discord , tells TIME that her goal was to make the experience as authentic as possible. Cardona’s server, dubbed “The Circle,” allows players to chat amongst themselves as a group within designated timeframes and one-on-one or within smaller groups whenever they want — just like on the show. People tuning into the game as audience members can see every interaction that takes place — whether it’s flirting, forming an alliance or or just friendly bonding — and talk to each other in the audience chat.

“I’m not the first person to start [a Circle game online], but I saw a lack of authenticity in other games,” she says. “On other servers that were hosting The Circle , players could see each other’s [private] messages or there wouldn’t be replacement players like they have on the show for when someone gets eliminated.”

As the game’s moderator, Cardona says she narrowed down a field of about 150 applicants to eight original contestants (four male and four female) and four replacements using a two-step process. After putting out a call on Reddit for people who were interested to fill out a logistics form with questions like “What time slots can you dedicate to participating?” and “What mini-games would you like to see?” After that, she sent out a follow-up character application form for people who could commit to the designated times of play — noting that players who don’t interact at least once daily or participate in at least one bi-weekly mini-game like “#Hashtag This” or “Who’s Most Likely To?” are disqualified — and received around 70 responses.

During the selection process, 20-year-old Cardona had to put on her casting director hat and look for similarities between applicants that could lead to genuine connections as well as personality traits that she thought would make for an interesting game.

“I was looking for things in their bios that matched up, like this person likes rollerskating and so does this person so I could see some synergy there,” she explains. “Another aspect I looked at was if people said things like ‘I like sarcasm’ or ‘I love drama.’ I had the mindset of looking for players who seemed like they would engage the most and bring a unique perspective that could stir the pot and make the game interesting for the audience members.”

A screenshot of the <a class=#circle-chat on "The Circle" server" src="" /> Discord A screenshot of the #circle-chat on “The Circle” server

Given that people can play as whoever they want, Cardona says that she was surprised by how few of the final 70 applicants wanted to play as someone other than themselves. “I think there were only four [people who wanted to play as a] catfish,” she says. “Most people were interested in playing as themselves, so the catfish were kind of an automatic yes because there were so few of them.”

People who have all played in as well as moderated Circle games on the popular Discord server “The Circle Online” like Tyler Drey, Scott Haynes, and Ashley Johnson have found a common thread. They agree that one of the difficult aspects of casting is finding enough people who want to play as catfish. “If you apply as a catfish you’ll most likely get in because most people apply as themselves,” Drey says.

However, although they can be hard to come by, Haynes and Johnson themselves have both played as catfish — to mixed results. Haynes says that for his first season, he decided to play as his girlfriend to see how convincing he could be. “She and I are very similar in a lot of ways but we have plenty of differences as well, so I wanted to see if I could be convincing enough as a girl to get far in the game,” he explains.

But as one of the four replacement players, Haynes says he felt like he was at an immediate disadvantage. “[The original players] had already cemented their alliances,” he explains. “I managed to make some alliances with the other new players and we had a whole strategy for trying to get the original people out, but things went downhill when one of our alliance members didn’t vote the way we wanted them to. I ended up getting blocked pretty soon after I joined.”

Johnson, on the other hand, says that she originally applied to play as a catfish because, as a secondary school teacher, she needs to be careful about her image online. “I wasn’t sure what the rules were about putting my real face out there,” she says. “But then halfway through the season my boss told me it was fine as long as I wasn’t acting inappropriately, so I was able to reveal my face at the end.”

Johnson adds that she made it to the finals of that season simply by being super friendly to her fellow players. “I made sure I had connections with everybody whether they were fake connections or not,” she explains. “I just made sure that everyone felt like they could come talk to me and that I would have their back.”

Like the show, both “The Circle” and “The Circle Online” versions of the game involve mini-games like trivia or Two Truths and a Lie that are intended to help the contestants get to know each other better. But Haynes says that, unlike on the show, the winners of “The Circle Online” icebreaker challenges are awarded small advantages.

“When I was playing, there was one challenge where everyone was given a Spotify playlist that they could add one song to and we all had to guess who added which song,” he says. “I ended up winning that challenge so I was given the ability to flip someone’s first place ranking with their last place ranking [during the ranking vote].”

Cardona’s ongoing season, which began April 10, is set to run for four weeks with biweekly eliminations and the occasional double elimination while “The Circle Online” seasons typically last for around two weeks. Johnson says that the moderators of “The Circle Online” are beginning the casting process for the server’s fifth season , which interested parties can apply for using this Google form . You can also join the other 750 members of the Discord server to watch the game as a spectator.

In the midst of many people staying home amid coronavirus, “The Circle Online” moderators have been trying to decrease downtime between seasons as much as possible.

“We’re making sure we get another game out as quickly as possible after one game ends because people are just sitting at home and they aren’t getting the amount of socialization they normally do,” Drey says. “Chatting with other people and saying good morning to someone else on a daily basis can be a positive emotional [outlet] and a positive way to keep ourselves busy.”

Johnson adds that the game can be an organic way to talk about your life with people who are genuinely interested in learning more about you.

“It’s a way of maintaining human connection that’s not physical,” she says. “We talk about lots of things; it’s not always game-focused. The players will talk about their lives in quarantine and share stories. Everyone’s like, ‘Tell me about what’s happening on your side of the world.’ It’s a really good way of making sure people aren’t feeling as lonely as they might think they are.”

Beyond the coronavirus, Haynes says that playing The Circle online can be a great way to connect with other people no matter what’s going on in the outside world.

“I made really genuine connections with everyone in the games I played,” he says. “I still talk to everyone from my first season and we’ve done a bunch of different stuff together since The Circle . It’s been a really amazing experience.”

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    A Guide to Expert-Tested Cooking and Baking Substitutes if You Can’t Find Your Usual Ingredients Anywhere / Time · Thursday, 16 April - 16:55 · 10 minutes

As we enter the second month of stay-at-home orders across the U.S., the strain on the home kitchen is already clear; stores and vendors are adjusting to changing food demands and the supply chain has been impacted .

Certain ingredient shortages we encounter while managing with limited grocery shopping runs make cooking dinner — and breakfast, and lunch, and snacktime, and dessert, and midnight snack — all the more difficult.

For those battling food insecurity, school meal services and food banks are working overtime to help provide necessary meals and supplies. But for those looking at empty pantry shelves while delaying a grocery trip to stock up further on in-demand items like beans and oat milk, a few innovative swaps can mean that a missing ingredient here or there won’t throw off your meal planning. For advice, TIME turned to Alissa Wagner , chef and co-founder of the popular downtown New York City restaurant Dimes and co-author of the recently published cookbook Emotional Eating , as well as baker and Great American Baking Show winner Vallery Lomas , who’s popular on social media as the “Foodie in New York,” and pastry chef and Milk Bar founder Christina Tosi , who has been teaching fans with daily live Instagram tutorials.

Wagner called from her restaurant’s associated market, which is still serving prepared foods — and remains busy and well-stocked. “Start simply and play around with things,” Wagner says. “You really can look at cookbooks and recipes and try not to be intimidated and enjoy it.” Lomas, meanwhile, has been testing out simplified recipes from her studio apartment in Harlem that are “fuss free” and work for smaller crowds — or even portioned just for one. “Don’t let fear of failure stop you,” she said. Tosi keeps things interesting by playing music themed to match her culinary pursuits (like a “queens of pop” playlist while making popovers) — and sharing what she makes, as much as she safely can. “Kitchen time never feels like a chore when you approach it with a generosity of spirit mentality,” she says. “Now is the time to spread the love more than ever.”

Here, Wagner, Lomas and Tosi share their suggestions for what to do when you run out of some of the basics. And while this guide doesn’t cover everything you might need to make your preferred dish of the evening to the recipe’s exact specifications, it might help you come up with some creative solutions. “I like to look at my pantry with a sense of imagination,” Tosi says. “Approach every ingredient with a ‘What does this typically bring to the dish or snack I use it in?’ Write it down and come back to it when you put your apron on.”

Egg Substitutes

Egg substitutes Lon Tweeten

Eggs are a refrigerator staple, but once you’ve worked through your regular dozen, you may find yourself uncertain of what to use as a replacement. If it’s a breakfast protein you’re in the mood for, Wagner recommends turning to tofu, which can be prepared as a scramble and lasts a long time in the fridge.

Although eggs are hard to match in taste as a standalone food — and Tosi cautions against trying to replace them in a recipe if it calls for more than a few — there are a number of workable stand-ins. If you’re baking, do as the vegans do: consider swapping in apple sauce or another fruit you can cook or puree, which provides the same binding properties in baked goods as eggs. (Mashed bananas are a common option, too, and very cost-effective if you buy bunches in bulk. They can also be frozen for later use.) Tosi says a neutral-flavored oil could also help provide structure and moisture.

Lomas and Tosi also recommend the “flax egg” — letting a tablespoon of flaxseed meal soak in a few tablespoons of water for a few minutes. The resulting jelly-like concoction will work in lieu of real eggs, and is “every vegan’s favorite trick,” Tosi says.

If you’re looking for egg whites, the water in a can of chickpeas, called aquafaba, will suffice. Meringues, mayonnaise and cocktails like a pisco sour can use aquafaba instead of real egg whites. Vegans have been using the replacement source for years.

Milk Substitutes

Milk substitutes Lon Tweeten

When dairy supplies run low, fortunately there are plenty of milk substitutes that are more shelf-stable than perishable dairy. Wagner particularly likes coconut milk, which you can keep in your pantry and will work as a replacement for regular milk when thinned with some water. (“It’s a lot fattier than regular milk,” Wagner explained.)

“Match your milk sub with the flavor profile of what you are baking,” Tosi says. So for bundt and loaf cakes, for instance, she sometimes turns to sour cream and Greek yogurt.

If you have nuts lying around, making your own nut milk is also a possibility: Wagner recommends a three-part water to one-part nut ratio, soaked overnight and blended. A clean t-shirt will do as a strainer, she says. Wagner likes cashew milk, which has a “really nice sweetness — and it’s a little cheaper than almonds,” making it a more cost-effective option. Almonds and oats also work, and Tosi says nut milks are a good option for pancakes, crepes and bar cookies. “I’m not above melting down vanilla ice cream to sub in for milk, either,” she adds. “Embrace all the milky things,” she said. Yes, even whipped cream.

If you don’t have milk, Lomas suggests simply using water instead of milk for a substitute in baking. “And when all else fails,” Tosi notes, “don’t underestimate the power of milk powder,” which you can mix with water, too.

Cheese Substitutes

Cheese Substitutes Lon Tweeten

There is an almost infinite variety of cheeses on the market. But when it comes to the cheese that we use most often, it’s generally as an additive on other dishes for that umami kick. Nutritional yeast will work as a substitute in many pasta dishes, Wagner says. Or for saltiness, you can try out capers and olives, which last in the pantry and fridge and bring in the “salty brininess” you might be missing when you run out of parmesan, notes Wagner.

For Tosi, the pantry or snack cabinet could also hold answers. “I’ll take the flavor packet from my mac and cheese to make my own Cheez-Its, or use a box of cake mix and some cream cheese for a gooey butter cake,” she says.

Butter Substitutes

Butter substitutes Lon Tweeten

For cooking, oil — olive, canola or even grapeseed or avocado — can generally be used as a butter substitute, provided you select an oil with a flavor that complements the rest of your ingredients. “It depends on the recipe as to how well this swap will work,” Lomas says. Coconut oil, for instance, has a flavor all its own. Used in a cookie recipe, canola and vegetable oil will result in a “sandier textured cookie,” Tosi says. The conversion is also not a direct one-to-one swap between butter and oil, since butter also has milk fats that an oil may lack; you might need a few tablespoons fewer of oil than butter for a cake, for instance.

Then there’s old school shortening, which Tosi says is a “best bet” for matching butter’s flavor and structure; margarine is another option, although not as flavorful. If the butter is being used as an especially creamy component, like in a risotto, you could try a heavy cream.

Bread Substitutes

Bread Substitutes Lon Tweeten

If you’re craving homemade carbs — perhaps inspired by the proliferation of amateur baking projects you’re seeing on social media — there’s plenty to choose from. Amid flour and yeast shortages , there are still breads you can make that don’t require yeast.

Cornbread, Wagner says, should fit the bill — provided you can find cornmeal. Simpler bread recipes like focaccia are another option, as it is made without yeast. Tosi turns to her “fool-proof beer bread,” since beer already has yeast in it. (Her recipe: 1 beer, 3 cups flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ cup butter melted.) She also recommends adapting bread recipes by cutting “all but one tablespoon sugar out” and throwing spices and seed in, like za’atar or curry powder, for a more aromatic loaf.

Lomas has been baking basics like wheat bread from scratch using whole wheat flour. Other alternative flours, like rice or chickpea, are common in gluten-free recipes and can be used widely. Wagner likes chickpea flour which is less “gummy” than rice flour and makes “really good savory pancakes.” Tosi suggests cake flour, which has a lower protein content. Nut flours — nuts ground up in a food processor until they are “sandy,” with a few tablespoons of cornstarch to encourage the binding — are her recommendation for cookies. Oat flour (ground up oats) also can work: 1 ⅓ cups oat flour for 1 cup all purpose flour, says Tosi. Lomas is also a proponent of oat flour, which works well in her cookies and is a decently affordable option.

Even beyond the expected flour alternatives, Tosi suggests turning to other dry ingredients that can grind down into a flour-like consistency, like popcorn and pretzels. (“Popcorn flour is fire!” she says, but keep an eye on the overall salt content if you use pretzel flour.)

Sugar Substitutes

Sugar Substitutes Lon Tweeten

When running low on sugar, look to other sweeteners you have at hand: maple syrup and honey, both of which are actually lower on the glycemic index than regular processed sugar, Wagner says. Plus, both maple syrup and honey last a long time without going bad. Lomas even uses honey in her homemade whole wheat bread recipe. Agave is another natural sweetener option.

Tosi suggests thinking even further beyond the basics when it comes to bringing sweetness to a recipe. “Most things you crave late at night can work, too: marshmallows, chocolate, white chocolate chips, peanut butter, sorbet melted down, and candy.”

Brown sugars can also be whipped up at home if need be: light brown sugar can be concocted by adding a splash of maple syrup to granulated sugar, while to mix your own dark brown sugar you can add molasses. And powdered sugar, to top things off? Blend granulated sugar with a pinch of cornstarch. “In the baking world it’s called 10x, in reference to it being ground down 10 times,” Tosi says of powdered sugar’s origins.

You can also look beyond sugar for flavor in your baking. “If you like a salty-sweet combo, throw potato chips, pretzels, butterscotch chips — you name it — in your cookie dough or loaf or pancake batter,” Tosi says.

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Meat Substitutes

Meat Substitutes Lon Tweeten

Alternatives to meat — like plant-based brands Beyond Meat or the Impossible Burger — are buzzy, but can get pricy. To fulfill the central protein portion of a meal, Wagner looks farther afield to vegetarian staples like tofu, which can be bought in bulk for a more cost-conscious solution, or chickpeas. “They’re very filling and versatile; they take to spice and herbs very well,” she says, suggesting a simple preparation with olive oil, fresh lemon juice, sea salt, chopped cilantro and red pepper flakes (or Aleppo pepper if you have it).

Or turn to canned goods. Canned fish — like sardines, anchovies and tuna — is shelf-stable and stores well, and works as a meal centerpiece. Wagner suggests a spin on the classic French Niçoise salad, featuring a canned fish and “any vegetable” you have on hand, or you can serve the fish on toast.

Greens and Vegetable Substitutes

Greens Substitutes Lon Tweeten

By the end of two weeks without restocking at a grocery, vegetables may have wilted. But Wagner reminds us that “any kind of soft herb” or the green part of a vegetable can be used as a base for a salad or a green addition to a meal, including parsley, basil, cilantro, kale or chard. “Carrot tops, beet greens, even fennel fronds — anything like that you can use, instead of throwing it out,” she says.

And don’t overlook your onions. “One thing people always have lying around that can upgrade anything are onions. You can pickle them easily and throw them into a salad; you can fry them and throw them in with beans, or sauté them into your eggs. It adds a ton of flavor in a really easy way,” she says.

Pickling is a helpful way of extending the lifespan of leftover vegetables, too. “All you really need is vinegar, salt and sugar. Everything else is a bonus,” Wagner says of the pickling process.

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    The Coronavirus Outbreak Keeps Humans from Touching. Here’s Why That’s So Stressful / Time · Friday, 10 April - 21:30 · 6 minutes

With people around the world practicing social distancing and self-isolation to curb the further spread of coronavirus, some are starting to feel the effects of a lack of human touch. Whether it’s shaking a coworker’s hand or hugging a friend, most people are accustomed to some level of platonic physical touch on a daily basis. But for those who are quarantining alone or with people with whom they don’t have physical contact, loneliness and social isolation are growing health concerns .

Now, in the wake of President Donald Trump’s March 30 announcement that he was extending national social distancing guidelines through the end of April and perhaps until June, many Americans are facing an even longer period of little-to-no physical contact than previously expected.

According to Dacher Keltner , a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, a lack of physical touch can affect people in more ways than they might realize. “Touch is the fundamental language of connection,” says Keltner. “When you think about a parent-child bond or two friends or romantic partners, a lot of the ways in which we connect and trust and collaborate are founded in touch.”

It’s not just about how we feel emotionally. Keltner adds that “touch deprivation” can impact people on a psychological and even physical level. “Big parts of our brains are devoted to making sense of touch and our skin has billions of cells that process information about it,” he says. “The right type of friendly touch—like hugging your partner or linking arms with a dear friend—calms your stress response down. [Positive] touch activates a big bundle of nerves in your body that improves your immune system, regulates digestion and helps you sleep well. It also activates parts of your brain that help you empathize.”

Psychologist Sheldon Cohen and other researchers at Carnegie Mellon University cited hugging specifically as a form of touch that can strengthen the immune system in a 2014 study investigating whether receiving hugs—and more broadly, social support that gives the perception that one is cared for—could make people less susceptible to one of the viruses that causes the common cold. The researchers had 404 healthy adults fill out questionnaires and respond to telephone interviews to assess their perceived daily social support and frequency of interpersonal conflicts and receiving hugs, for 14 consecutive evenings. Then, the researchers intentionally exposed each participant to the cold virus. Broadly speaking, the participants who had reported having more social support were less likely to get sick—and those who got more hugs were far more likely to report feeling socially supported.

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For those abiding by the current social distancing guidelines to stay six feet apart recommended by health experts and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials , hugs and other physical forms of social support may be off the table for a while. There is no doubt that social distancing is essential right now to slow the spread of COVID-19, but, notes Paul Zak , a professor of economics, psychology, and management at Claremont Graduate University, physical touch can also play a major role in our health and happiness, and so even now should not be ignored, when possible. “When we’re touched [in a positive way], a cascade of events happens in the brain and one of the important ones is the release of a neurochemical called oxytocin,” he says, reiterating that this process reduces stress and improves immunity. “That’s super valuable in a time of pandemic.”

Although there’s no exact substitute for human touch, if you’re struggling with this aspect of self-isolating in particular, there are a few alternatives that can offer similar health benefits for people who are social distancing. Zak suggests video chatting, which many people seem to have discovered on their own . “In-person interactions have a big effect on the brain releasing oxytocin, but interacting via video is actually not that [different],” he explains. “It’s maybe 80% as effective. Video conferencing is a great way to see and be seen.”

If you’re using a video chat service for work or school, Zak recommends that you take five minutes at the beginning of the call to focus on interpersonal connection. “You can facilitate that oxytocin release and reduction of anxiety if you make an effort to connect to the person you’re talking to,” he says. “Taking the time just to ask them how they’re feeling is a pretty effective way to build an emotional connection.”

Keltner adds that dancing, singing or doing yoga with others via an online platform can also be highly effective substitutes for physical contact. “Human cultures have been working on bodily ways to cultivate the benefits of touch for thousands of years,” he says. “Dance is about a lot of the same things [as touch]—I’m connecting to you, we’re moving in the same ways—but you can do it without actually touching each other.”

Radha Agrawal, the co-founder and CEO of the global dance and wellness movement Daybreaker , coined the term D.O.S.E. —an acronym for the four neurochemicals responsible for happiness: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins—to illustrate how dance parties like Daybreaker can be beneficial for people’s physical and mental health. “When you create a dance experience driven by music, community and participation, that’s how you’re able to release all four happy brain chemicals,” Agrawal says.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Daybreaker was hosting sober early-morning dance parties in 28 cities around the world. Now, they’ve switched to a virtual dance party dubbed Daybreaker Live. “When COVID-19 happened, we had to shut down all of our events across the world,” Agrawal says. “Emails started pouring in from our community members asking us to create an online dance experience so that they could continue feeling the sense of community that we’ve given them over the past seven years of doing Daybreaker.”

Daybreaker Live had thousands of people join its last two live streams, which cost between $9 and $15 to virtually attend . More virtual dance party options abound, but you can also organize a more intimate online dance party with just your own friends or family members to get those same dance-induced health benefits for free.

Shifts in how we physically connect may last longer than the outbreak itself. On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci , the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and one of the leading experts in the fight against COVID-19 in the U.S., told the Wall Street Journal podcast that he doesn’t think Americans should ever shake hands again .

“Not only would it be good to prevent coronavirus disease; it probably would decrease instances of influenza dramatically in this country,” he said.

Zak says U.S. customs like shaking hands and hugging may be changed forever and suggests that non-tactile greetings like a nod, bow or wave may come to replace them. However, he says it will still be important to find ways to reintroduce the humanity of positive touch into in-person interactions without putting anyone’s physical or mental health in jeopardy. “I think we might be afraid for a while and that’s okay,” he says. “Everyone’s not going to return to baseline at the same rate and some people maybe never will and that’s also okay. Everybody should be open to people being a little more socially distant and not touching as much. Some of it will return and some of it won’t.”

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