This Movie Theater Chain Is Selling Cheetos Popcorn, So Buy A Movie Ticket ASAP

A trip to the movies is never really complete without making a stop at the snack bar. One of the perks of opting for a movie night out instead of a Netflix night in is loading up on movie theater popcorn and artificial butter, right? Well, now you can up your movie theater treats with this new twist on an old classic when you catch a flick at one of these movie theaters that sell Cheetos Popcorn.

According to a press release from Frito-Lay, Cheetos Popcorn will debut at participating Regal Cinemas across the U.S. on Dec. 15 — just in time for your holiday movie date. When you order a 32-ounce bucket of the cheesy goodness, you’ll get Cheetos-flavored popcorn mixed with actual Crunchy Cheetos. I don’t know who I have to thank for putting this on their Christmas wish list, but this sounds like the tastiest early Christmas present .

If you think you’re excited about this new addition to your movie snack crew, you’re not the only one. Sean Mathews, the director of marketing for Frito-Lay North America, exclaimed his excitement over the pairing when he said, “Cheetos and popcorn are the ultimate movie snack combination.”

Cheetos Popcorn is here to give you the tastiest movie-going experience yet.

The timing for this snack-lovers movie treat couldn’t be better, either. The end of the year is usually jam-packed with critically-acclaimed films vying for Academy Awards consideration. Even better news if you’re a frequent Regal Cinemas moviegoer is that you can rack up your Crown Club card credits when you buy Cheetos Popcorn with your Crown Club card. According to the Regal Cinemas website, Crown Club members will get 500 extra credits loaded to their card when they use it to buy Cheetos Popcorn through Jan. 31, 2018. If you’re not familiar, the Crown Club card earns you credits on ticket and concession purchases at Regal Cinemas, and you can use those credits toward free movies and concessions (like Cheetos Popcorn) in the future.

Frito-Lay

If you think that you might have heard of Cheetos Popcorn before ( than your dreams), that could be the case. The snack has been available previously at other venues across the U.S. (Red Sox fans were enjoying it at Fenway Park this summer), but the Regal Cinemas’ Dec. 15 release of Cheetos Popcorn marks the first time that it will be available nationwide.

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Regal Cinemas is also pretty pumped about this new mashup. According to Delish, Regal’s senior vice president of foodservice, John Curry, shared that Cheetos Popcorn is Regal Cinema’s holiday gift to moviegoers. Once again, I never would have thought to ask for this, but I am glad that it is here despite its absence on my wish list.

While Cheetos Popcorn sounds like a pretty good excuse to get your butt to the movie theater, there are some winter days that just chill you to the bone, and leaving the house is an option. Thankfully, on those days you can resort to trusty old Netflix. You probably have your favorite go-to shows, but if your ability to recite every episode ever (from memory) is beginning to frighten you, then you can check out some of the newer shows that made their way into Netflix’s 2017 Year in Review report.

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If you want to fall into a binge-watching hole, thenand should do the trick since they were in the top three of the most “Devoured” shows of 2017. If you want to take your time and actually be productive between episodes, opt for which was the most “Savored” show of the year.

Even though Netflix is a master at sucking you in, it might just be worth it to throw on your winter coat and make your way to a Regal Cinemas theater this season. The Cheetos Popocorn will be hot and waiting for you.

Check out the entire Gen Why series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Read more: https://elitedaily.com/p/movie-theaters-that-sell-cheetos-popcorn-will-make-your-date-night-so-much-cheesier-7612125

A Reminder To Not Stop Caring This Year


Ariel Lustre

There’s an excitement that surrounds a new year. We yearn for a change and subscribe to this ideology that a new year will help bring forth that change. It’s why gyms are full for the first four weeks, why fad diets spend extra money on marketing, and why we each feel more intrinsically motivated. It’s healthy to look inside and see what we can change to be better.

There’s always a list of things we can leave behind when we start a new year. A dead-end job, a habit you’ve been trying to break, a relationship that isn’t working. There’s a list of things we can do to work on ourselves, too. Work out more, read more, learn more about the vast world that surrounds us. Those are all healthy things to change as we move forward into a new year.

However, it’s unhealthy to change the parts of you that make you, you.

We use this New Year as an excuse to harden the shell around our soft spots. The spots that make us unique, the parts of us that help make the world better, and the parts of us that others love the most. They are our most vulnerable parts, and, unfortunately, they’re the parts that get hurt first.

If you spent 2017 caring for others, and feeling the pain of not always receiving the same respect back, do not use 2018 as an excuse to change that. The world needs people to care just like we need oxygen to breath. Without those who care, the world becomes a more callous, more difficult place to reside.

In 2018, make your resolutions. Stick to them, care about them. Care about yourself, care about what makes you happy. Continue to care and the world will eventually reciprocate. You are enough for this world and you will only be stronger, more successful, and more full of love because of it. In 2018, do not stop caring. 

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/leanne-gelish-verity/2018/01/a-reminder-to-not-stop-caring-this-year/

The Truth About Why Millenials Think Diamond Engagement Rings Are Dumb


Pexels

Diamonds are way too expensive.

Diamonds cost a lot of money. Why? Because they’re rare, you might think! But you would be wrong. At least, you wouldn’t have the entire story. In an interview with Powerline, Edward Jay Epstein, author of explains that while diamonds were considered rare for a long time, a whole bunch of them were discovered in the city of Kimberley, South Africa in the late 1800s. This terrified the people of De Beers, an international corporation specializing in diamond mining and manufacturing, because a larger supply of diamonds would make the retailer’s jewelry less expensive. So what did they do? They banded together with some other mining companies and decided to stymie the release of these gems, thus limiting their supply and artificially propping up their cost. According To Business Insider, for most of the twentieth century, De Beers controlled a whopping 90 percent of diamond production, so the company was well-positioned to manipulate their cost. How whack is that?

Let’s not forget, diamonds are just rocks (actually, they’re minerals, but do you even know the difference?).

There something pretty magnificent about a diamond. It’s super strong. Basically, what makes it special is that it’s the strongest naturally occurring mineral (a rock is the aggregate of several minerals) on the planet. It’s the purest, most concentrated form of carbon. Sexy, right? If you’re into geology or chemistry, maybe. But let’s not pretend that we have more than a high school grade understanding of those subjects. A diamond is a mineral, plain and simple. And among minerals, it’s a badass. But it’s still just a mineral.

They’re not actually forever.

You’ve heard the slogan a billion times over: A diamond is forever. Coined in 1948 by Frances Gerety, who spent 27 years writing advertising copy for De Beers, the phrase has appeared in countless jewelry ads since its inception. In 1999, Advertising Age actually named it the “slogan of the century.” As far as marketing taglines go, it’s undoubtedly sticky. And the underlying message—that a relationship sealed with the gift of a diamond is destined to last forever—is yet more alluring than any shiny gem could possibly be. But the truth is that eternities, while romantic, are impractical. And when it comes down to it, a diamond isn’t going to factor into the should-we-stick-it-out equation when things get (ahem) rocky. A diamond is no more ~*forever*~ than the average marriage. And we all know how many marriages end in divorce.

They’re not your best friend, either.

The song “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” is downright catchy, and the image of Marilyn Monroe performing it in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) is ingrained in our collective consciousness. But the song’s message is a wee bit dated. Here’s a snapshot of the lyrics:

Quaint or disturbing, depending on how you look at it. Regardless, I think we can all agree that a slice of avocado toast makes a better friend than your average diamond.

Diamond engagement rings aren’t even a legit tradition.

De Beers would have you believe that diamond engagement rings have been gifted as symbols of love since the beginning of time. But in actuality, the “tradition” is relatively new. It began in the mid-twentieth century, when De Beers’ advertising agency, N.W. Ayer, launched a campaign on behalf of their client to link romance to diamonds. Their goal? To alter the public’s perception of how a man courts a woman, specifically by inserting diamond rings into the mix. To do this, they exploited the sexy new platform of Hollywood films, strategically placing diamonds on the hands of actresses on screen and in the pages of elitist celebrity magazines. If this makes you feel like a sucker for buying into the whole diamond engagement ring thing, which is basically the manifestation of one of the most successful ad campaigns ever, your inner ew might not be misplaced. Prior to the diamond ring craze, it was customary for a groom to present his bride with any number of non-diamond objects (even a necklace would suffice!) as a token of his undying devotion.

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/melanie-berliet/2017/12/the-truth-about-why-millenials-think-diamond-engagement-rings-are-dumb/

Trump Inc. Had a Rough Year, but His D.C. Hotel Is Killing It

For a host of Trump-branded properties, 2017 brought…hiccups.

Workers removed the TRUMP sign from the hotel formerly known as TRUMP SOHO last week in the dark of night. The move came six months after the hotel formerly known as Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto reportedly paid the Trump Organization upwards of $6 million to get out of their contract and rebrand as The Adelaide.

Just last month, the AP reported that the owners of the Trump International Hotel in Panama City are trying to de-brand themselves of Trump.

When Trump Tower Vancouver opened in February, so many protesters showed up that city buses had to be re-routed, according to CTV News. Greenpeace protesters were charged with causing thousands of dollars of damage at the Trump Tower in Chicago, according to the Chicago Tribune.

When Trump stopped in Hawaii on his way to his Asia trip, protesters marched to Trump Waikiki chanting, No Trump, No KKK, No fascist USA.

But no Trump property drew as much ire as the instantly-iconic Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C., situated a block from the Justice Departments headquarters and halfway between the White House and the Capitol Building. Over the year, protesters regularly amassed in front of the building, causing snarled traffic and sometimes drawing jeers from people in the building.

DJT is supposed to be out of the business and passed on to his sons, but he's definitely still involved… I had a brief meeting with him a few weeks ago, and he asked if his presidency hurt the businesses.
The director of revenue management for the Trump Hotel in D.C.

That didnt stop the president and his advisors from making frequent visits to the hotel, and it didnt stop conservative groups from hosting numerous fundraisers and events there. Over the course of the year, the hotels sprawling, palatial lobby became the place to be seen for young Republicans, campaign alums, Trump-loving tourists, and general rubber-neckers. All this is despite prices that might make fiscal conservatives blanche; a small bottle of Evian water from room service runs $9, and chicken caesar salad clocks in at $30.

And while the hotel industry nationally saw stagnant room ratesthats according to analysis from the hospitality research firm STRTrump Washington hiked its rates in the months after the Inauguration, per The Wall Street Journal, which generated significantly more revenue than the hotel had predicted. Bjorn Hanson, a professor focused on tourism and hospitality at New York University, told The Daily Beast that luxury hotels typically operate at a cash flow loss in their first two years doing business. But the opposite was the case for Trump Hotel in Washington.

The hotel initially expected to lose $2.1 million in the first four months of 2017. Instead, according to the Washington Post, it raked in $1.97 million in profits.

Patricia Tang, the hotels director of sales and marketing, said the team there is happy with its success this year.

We are very pleased with the performance of the hotel in its first full year of operation, not just financially but also with regards to the recognition of the high service standards achieved by our associates as indicated in the reviews and rankings on TripAdvisor, Expedia, Booking.com, she told The Daily Beast. We are looking forward to an even more successful 2018.

President Trump himself appears to be interested as well. Since his inauguration, he has maintained that he isnt involved in the management of his businesses. But an email from the director of revenue management for the Trump Hotel in Washington, which The Daily Beast reviewed, indicates that may not be the case.

Jeng Chi Hung, who holds that position, sent that email to an acquaintance on Sept. 12 of this year. The email opens with a few pleasantries. Then, Hung writes that he met with Trump, and that the president asked him specific questions about banquet revenues, demographics, and how his presidency impacted the business.

The email says this:

The company is interesting to work for being under the Trump umbrella. DJT is supposed to be out of the business and passed on to his sons, but he's definitely still involved… so it's interesting and unique in that way. I had a brief meeting with him a few weeks ago, and he was asking about banquet revenues and demographics. And, he asked if his presidency hurt the businesses. So, he seems self aware about things, at least more than he lets on. I am far left leaning politically, so working here has been somewhat of a challenge for me. But, it's all business.

Hungs email did not say when he met with Trump. The president dined at Trump Hotel in Washington on July 29 of this year, along with Gen. John Kelly, Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross, and Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin, according to ABC News. That meal came about six weeks before Hung sent his email about meeting with Trump, though its unclear if it coincided with that meeting.

Reached by phone, Hung told The Daily Beast, I cant comment on that.

Mickael Damelincourt, the managing director of the hotel, told The Daliy Beast that Hung told him the email was a lie.

This is total nonsense, Damelincourt said. Upon review of the email referenced in your inquiry, we have met with the individual and he has confirmed that he made these comments up in an effort to enhance his sense of importance to a former employer. In fact, this individual confirmed to me today that he has never met the President nor did any conversation ever take place. We are continuing to investigate this matter internally.

The president has long maintained that he has separated himself from his many business interests.

What Im going to be doing is my two sons, who are right here, Don and Eric, are going to be running the company, he told reporters at a Trump Tower press conference shortly before his inauguration. They are going to be running it in a very professional manner. Theyre not going to discuss it with me.

Despite that, Trump has spent a significant amount of his time as president visiting his own businesses. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a good-governance watchdog group, calculated that he has visited one of his properties including his golf club in Northern Virginia, his Mar-a-Lago club in West Palm Beach, and his hotel in downtown Washington D.C. about one of every three days hes been in office.

Jordan Libowitz, a CREW spokesperson, said the email raises serious concerns.

This appears to confirm the worst fears about the Trump administration, he said. If this is true, it means the president, his family and his spokespeople lied repeatedly about his relationship with his business.

Presidents for decades have divested their assets so as to avoid even the appearance of them worrying about their business interests, he added. With Trump, its becoming hard to tell which of his jobs is his top priority.

The opulent lobby of the Trump hotel in Washington has become a de facto clubhouse for so-called Deplorables. Internet-famous Trump supporters like Mike Cernovich, Roger Stone, and Lucian Wintrich have all made appearances there.

On Oct. 27, the hotel was the site of a surprise birthday dinner for Ivanka Trump that Jared Kushner, Melania Trump, and the president himself all attended. It was the presidents third time dining at the hotel in October, according to the log CREW keeps. A host of lobbying groups looking to influence the Trump administration have also had events there, and foreign diplomats also frequent the hotel.

Two other Trump properties have also drawn major national prominence over the first year of his presidency: Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., and the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

The president has been unabashed about his affection for what hes dubbed the Winter White House, which reportedly doubled its membership dues after the election. After signing a controversial tax overhaul, he announced to diners there that they just got richer, according to CBS News. And while transparency advocates have been suing the Secret Service for access to the clubs visitor logs, the administration has refused to budge. And when the president ordered a missile strike on an airfield in Syria, his billionaire commerce secretary Wilbur Ross described the display as after-dinner entertainment.

The president has yet to order a major military strike from his golf course in New Jersey, which has its own helipad. But he hasnt let his status as Commander in Chief slow down his gold game. And, as The Daily Beast reported, the Secret Service agents who accompany his frequent trips to the club are trying to be friendlier to its members. And he interviewed billionaire Betsy DeVos there before nominating her to be his education secretary. McClatchy reported that Trump personally pockets the membership fees and annual dues Bedminsters members pay.

These properties all defined the first year of Trumps presidency. And his presidency, in turn, defined them. Hanson, the NYU professor, said the hotels lucrative first year is probably due in large part to media attention but added that in the years to come, its success should be sustainable.

Even the critics of the Washington property acknowledged that it actually turned out better than maybe expected one of the better of the Trump properties, if not among the best, he said.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-inc-had-a-rough-year-but-his-dc-hotel-is-killing-it

Theres No Such Thing as Christian Music

It’s a staple of American culture.

“Christian music”

“Christian movies”

“Christian rap”

There is a strict dichotomy drawn between the art of most Christians in the public sphere and the art of non-believers. TobyMac makes Christian music, but Drake does not. Darren Wilson makes Christian movies, but Chad and Carey Hayes (screenwriters of The Conjuring) do not.

Ever since an interview I read with Jon Foreman of Switchfoot, something has bugged me about this binary. Jon said, “I am a Christian and I make music. The music is not saved. It is not Christian.”

In other words, Jesus did not come and die to save songs. He did not suffer in order to bring Oceans 11 out of the flames of hell. “Christian” is a noun, not a verb.

It refers to a person who has put their faith in the man Jesus of Nazareth. Acts 11 points out that the word was first employed in Antioch, and it was an insult more than a descriptor. The accusers said of the Christians, you just want to be like your master, Jesus Christ. You are Little Christs. And the term was born.

For the first 300 years of her existence, Christianity suffered brutally at the hands of the Roman Empire until 313, when Constantine declared Christianity legal. Soon after, the persecution let up and the empire converted to Christianity. You may have heard of a little thing called The Holy Roman Empire. This was a marriage of religion and politics, from which the Western church has never fully recovered. We see signs of its recession now, but we are very much still in the paradigm of Christendom. Christendom is a fancy word for a “Christian culture.” It accurately describes things like the Bible Belt, and the fact that politicians still appeal to Christian values when making speeches. Christianity is not persecuted in the west because of what Constantine did 1700 years ago, and we are only now beginning to see signs of its fading.

When Christianity became widely accepted across western culture and Christendom became the predominant form of belief and action, this made room for “Christian things” to emerge.

For instance, in the 13th century during the fourth crusade, there are stories of western marauders breaking into eastern churches and stealing holy artifacts and relics. Were these things actually ‘holy’ and did they contain special power from the divine? Perhaps, but probably not. They were merely “Christian things.” They were elevated to a position of holding some sort of essence borne of man’s perception more than divine origin.

And we fall into the same traps today.

I catch myself creating this false dichotomy between Christian things and secular things; holy spaces and unholy spaces. How many times have you heard someone crack a dirty joke only to have someone else say “Dude! You can’t say that in a church! Not in here!”

It’s a Christian space.

Contrary to everything the Bible teaches, we believe that there are places where we can go to meet God, but the rest of the time, He’s pretty far away. He’s trapped in a cathedral somewhere or attending a council in Jerusalem. He’s not in my car on the highway, or in the movie theater.

Another implication of Christendom is that, in this culture, nearly all the art created was sacred art. Handel’s Messiah, the Sistine Chapel, and every triptych in Italy was commissioned and created by the church, for the church. The cutting edge of art and music was in the church, and nothing existed outside of it. Even the architecture of churches was meant to inspire awe in visitors. Anyone who has set foot in an ancient cathedral can attest. What we have seen in the dissolution of Christendom is a reduction of support for quality art from the church, and a focus on creating private art, exclusively for the enjoyment of Christians.

What originated as an insult to highlight the early believers striving to be like their master over time became a descriptor of various merchandise and media in order to boost sales. The word has become a marketing ploy.

The sad thing is, we Christians have gobbled up this Christian marketing scheme. As if the word held some promise of This album is imprinted by the divine and will change your life (And of course, the lyrics are squeaky clean). 

I love seeing Christians fudge this boundary wall. For instance, worship band King’s Kaleidoscope dropped not one but two f-bombs in a recent song, which the singer said came straight from the pages of his journal as a prayer to God. He broke free from the typical restraints of what Christians should and shouldn’t have in their work.

Then you have Christians on the other side such as Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper who run in secular circles and use their platforms to raise awareness about things like social injustices and struggles with God. (And with them, the writers of The Conjuring films who wanted to remind people of the presence of the spiritual world)

I think that the more we can dissolve the barrier between “Christian stuff” and “secular stuff,” the more we will be able to make a difference in our culture. If the gospel is universally appealing and is meant for the redemption of the whole world, shouldn’t our creations be equally accessible and relatable? How many times have you sat through a ‘Christian film’ and thought, Yah…life is definitely not like that…

I am a Christian. Many of you are Christians. Don’t be fooled into thinking that your music collection, DVD sets, or certain stores are also Christians. They are not. They are works made by Christians, hopefully with the same care and quality non-believers put into theirs.

The sooner we can simply live as Christians, do good work, and speak well to the world in which we live, the more effective we will be as Little Christs. So may we do so. May we work hard, love well, and not construct false descriptors to segregate our art from that of the world. I think changes like this can begin by monitoring the way we speak about certain things. If we could erase the adjective form of “Christian” from our vocabulary, I think we would begin to think differently about how we are to live and create in the world, and relate to those who are not believers.

Read more: https://faithit.com/no-such-thing-christian-music-ethan-renoe/

Facebooks Algorithm Hijacked This $8 Billion Company to Sell Cat Blindfolds

Over the past few months, Wish ads have dominated Facebook by hawking bizarre items like hamster leashes, giant human-sized balls of yarn, toenail extenders, mysterious car goo, and a myriad of other strange things for extremely low prices.

Thousands of these ads are displayed daily, not only on Facebook itself, but in a plethora of other apps that pull in Facebook ad inventory.

Wish ads are so unusual that theyve developed a cult following. For Wish ad connoisseurs, guessing what the products actually do has become a competitive game and a Twitter account called @WeirdWishAds documents some of the most surreal items.

Wish is an $8 billion e-commerce company similar to Amazon or Alibaba that hopes to become the next Walmart. Its competitive advantage is it offers much lower prices than its competitors by shipping direct from Chinese manufacturers. The only downside is that most items take around 14 days to arrive.

Many people have assumed that Wishs insane ads must be some type of viral marketing stunt.

edens got a conspiracy theory that the Wish app advertises weird shit so ppl will share the screenshot and alert people to Wish nd u know what i think shes right, one user tweeted in November.

But to those businesses who rely on Facebook ad inventory, Wish ads are no laughing matter.

Matt Raoul, CEO of the app Timehop, an app for viewing old photos and memories, said that his users began reporting the ads for offensive content sometime in November of this year.

Timehop is a very family friendly app, Raoul said. We have controls we set on the ads we display saying, no alcohol, no adult content, et cetera. But then we started seeing reports for these ads from this company called Wish and the ads were crazy! We couldnt believe it.

Some of Wishs more problematic ads promote products such as a penis sleeve extender, triple dildo strap-on underwear, a dog collar with a leash for women, an anall speculum, and a sweatshirt featuring the word cocaine and giant bags of the drug.

It was really embarrassing for us, Raoul said. We spend so much time worrying about what ads were showing our users and we do so much to limit them, but somehow these crazy ads got through to our users. We dont want to say no ads from Wish. Its just these particularly weird products we want to stop showing up.

But why would a seemingly straightforward e-commerce company promote such creepy and strange products? Like most things on the internet, it all boils down to the Facebook algorithm.

In February 2015 Facebook launched a new type of ad product. Unlike previous static ads, where the advertiser would have to hand select images that would be shown to users, the social networks new dynamic ads allowed companies to simply upload their entire product catalog to the platform. From there, Facebooks algorithm would choose which product to show which consumer.

Youve probably already noticed these new types of ads in your feed. The carousels are popular with big retailers like Macys and Wayfair that want to show off many products at once.

The theory goes that Facebook, with its massive mine of user data, could far more effectively target products to consumers in real time and save companies time by not forcing them to upload each image separately as a new ad. Since its launch, Facebook has used this ad format to help businesses showcase products like hotel rooms, flight options, real estate listings, cars, and more.

Wish has long been a large and dedicated advertiser on Facebook, quickly embracing new ad formats as fast as Facebook can release them.

Facebooks ad team has been blown away by how much more sophisticated Wish is as an advertiser than literally any other company, according to multiple sources, Jason Del Rey wrote in ReCode.

In 2015 alone, Wish spent around $100 million on Facebook ads and was the No. 1 advertiser on both Facebook and Instagram during the 2015 holiday season, according to app data startup Sensor Tower.

So when Wish decided to adopt Facebooks new dynamic ads this year, the company, unsurprisingly, went all in.

While Wishs competitors like Amazon or Alibaba might balk at handing massive amounts of datalet alone its full product catalogto Facebook, thats exactly what Wish did.

Wish currently has over 170 million unique products for sale, with over 9 million new products uploaded every week. When it made the transition to dynamic Facebook ads it gave Facebook access to every last one of them.

Theoretically, Facebook should have plucked out shoes on Wish and served them to shoe lovers, or pushed perfume on perfume lovers. But since Wishs catalog is so massive and Facebooks audience is so broad, some strange products bubbled their way to the surface.

Unlike the shoe or perfume ads, curious users actually clicked Wishs ads for things like plastic nostril holders or profane cuff links. According to Wish, Facebook registered this click as a positive metric and, in turn, showed the bizarre ads to more users, who were shocked, clicked and, in rare cases, actually bought them.

It was only a matter of months before things spiralled out of control. By late November, Wish had become the leading purveyor of advertising clickbait.

Its funny, Peter Szulczewski, CEO and founder of Wish, said about the ads, but its actually suboptimal for us.

If youre optimizing for clicks, people will click on these items, but its a curiosity-driven click, he said. People are just clicking on things because theyre crazy. No consumers are actually purchasing these products.

He said that he personally reviews Wishs top-selling items every day and hes never seen any of the strange products advertised on Facebook breach that group.

No one is going to buy a plastic tongue thing, he said.

Its a consequence of Facebooks ad system. Its basically rewarding high shock value items that people will click on. If we just show a garden hose or jacket, the CTR wouldnt be as high, he added.

Facebook doesnt particularly want to show these strange items either though, because ultimately they arent driving sales and some items even violate the companys guidelines.

Joe Osborne, a Facebook spokesperson said, We review ads before they appear on Facebook to ensure they adhere to our policies. Upon further review we realized that some of the ads presented did not, so weve removed them.

Thankfully for Facebook, this issue hadnt arisen previously, because most businesses that use dynamic ads offer pretty mainstream products. Even the oddest coffee table on Wayfair is unlikely to shock a user into clicking.

Szulczewski said Wish is in the process of creating a more restricted product list to serve specifically to Facebook. Hes also been reassured by his conversations with Facebook ad executives, who he says are working on a solution to the Weird Tongue Thing problem.

Normally, when Wish chooses to serve ads for specific products, Szulczewski said, the company takes into account over a dozen metrics, including buy rate, refund rate, reviews, ratings, and more. Facebooks algorithm is simply emphasising clicks far too much.

Szulczewski said that he communicated this to Facebook and the company assured him that it is in the process of de-ranking clicks as a metric when it comes to the companys dynamic ads.

Wish ads, however, are simply the latest battlefield in Facebooks broader war against clickbait. The company has publicly struggled for years to tamp down on clickbaity editorial content in News Feed. Without restrictions, ads on the platform could eventually devolve into the type of internet chum that has clogged the broader web for years.

Because Szulczewski still does a lot of business through Facebook and credits the platform with facilitating a portion of Wishs growth, he stressed that he has no plans to abandon the worlds most visited social network, or dynamic ads, any time soon.

He also feels that, from a branding perspective, the damage done from the Weird Tongue Things will be reversible over time.

Were going to start showing things people are actually buying and people will see, he said.

Weve been around 5 years, we sell 3 million items a day, and very few of those are weird severed tongue devices or cat blinders.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/facebooks-algorithm-hijacked-this-dollar8-billion-company-to-sell-cat-blindfolds

How an ‘ugly,’ unwanted weapon became the most popular rifle in America

(CNN)Larry Hyatt had never seen such a frenzy.

The lines at Hyatt Guns, his shop in Charlotte, North Carolina, snaked out the door. The deep, green-walled warehouse bills itself as the largest gun shop in America, but even then Hyatt had to stretch to meet the demand.
At one point, he dispatched 37 salespeople to man the cash registers. He put up velvet ropes and hired a police officer. He even put a hot dog stand outside.
It was just after the Sandy Hook massacre — and customers were lined up to buy AR-15 semi-automatic rifles, like the one the shooter Adam Lanza used.
Mass shootings, rather than temper gun sales, only feed the hunger.

That the boom in business happened after one of the most heinous mass shootings in American history was no coincidence. Mass shootings, rather than temper gun sales, only feed the hunger.
And AR-15 style rifles have become a favorite among mass shooters, used in some of the most notorious and deadly mass killings in recent history: Aurora, Vegas, Texas, San Bernardino.
This is the story of how media hysteria and failed policy; industry pressures and consumer demand; blood and money helped turn an ugly, unwanted semi-automatic rifle into the most popular rifle in America.

How a weapon of war was born

    History of the modern assault-style rifle

The AR-15’s journey into the hands of gun enthusiasts and mass murderers alike started in the jungles of Vietnam. It was the 1960s, and the landscape of warfare had changed. In Vietnam, rather than clear-cut enemy lines, combatants were fighting in close combat in city streets and dense forests. Viet Cong guerillas and North Vietnamese soldiers carried AK-47s. The US Army needed its own answer.
Enter the AR-15, developed for military use by Armalite, an arms company from which the gun takes its name (“AR” stands for “Armalite Rifle“).
The rifle combined rapid fire with a lighter weight. It replaced higher-caliber bullets with lighter ammunition that made up in speed what it lacked in size.

Rather than relying on marksmanship, the AR-15 used rapid fire. The lightweight rifle maximized its kill rate by raking enemy soldiers with high-velocity rounds. As the original designers explained, the speed of the impact causes the bullet to tumble after it penetrates tissue, creating catastrophic injuries.
Armalite didn’t manage to sell the gun to the military. Faced with money woes, it instead sold the rights to Colt Industries in 1959.
Colt was more successful in its efforts, and in 1962, Congress authorized an initial purchase of 8,500 AR-15s for testing. The fully automatic version–capable of being set to semi-automatic–was given a new name for military use: the M-16.
It became the standard-issue rifle during the Vietnam War.

How it was marketed to civilians

Not long after it started selling M-16s to the military, Colt began marketing the semi-automatic AR-15 to civilians. The company gave it the gentler name of the “Sporter,” and described it as a hunting rifle.
But the gun, designed for close, confusing combat, was not an immediate hit. In the eyes of many gun enthusiasts, the “black rifle” — as it was nicknamed — was ugly and expensive.
“To its champions, the AR-15 was an embodiment of fresh thinking. Critics saw it as an ugly little toy,” wrote C.J. Chivers in his book, “The Gun.”
In July 1981, the fan magazine Guns and Ammo waxed eloquent about the Sporter’s unappealing reputation.
“Most shooters and veteran riflemen look down their noses at these steel-stamped rifles as remnants from an erector set. The turn-bolt aficionado looks with a great deal of disdain at anybody toting one of these space-age rifles with plastic stocks and fore-ends. The dyed-in-the-wool deer hunter watching his domain being infiltrated by these black and gray guns assumes that these ‘new generation’ hunters are merely fantasizing ‘war games’ and are playing ‘soldier.'”
Instead, the gun was mainly sold to law enforcement and other narrower demographics — notably, “survivalists” who imagined they would one day face combat situations in an apocalyptic future, according to Tom Diaz, a gun expert and author of “Making a Killing: The Business of Guns in America.”

How a mass shooting made it a celebrity

On a dark day in 1989, the public awoke to the notion that civilians could own semi-automatic rifles.
On January 17 of that year, a 24-year-old drifter wearing combat clothes and a flak jacket walked up to his old grade-school playground in Stockton, California, and pumped bullets on a crowd of children with his AK-47 rifle, a semi-automatic version that had been imported from China.
Within minutes, Patrick Edward Purdy squeezed the trigger at least 106 times. He then aimed a pistol to his head and pulled the trigger one last time. Five children lay dead; 29 other children and one teacher were wounded.
The massacre was so horrifying, Colt Industries, then the manufacturer of the competing AR-15, did something unfathomable today. It suspended civilian sales of the AR-15 for a year while the Bush administration weighed whether to ban the weapon.
Before Stockton, most people didn’t even know you could buy those guns.
Chris Bartocci, a former Colt’s employee and author of Black Rifle II

Chris Bartocci, a former Colt employee and author of the book “Black Rifle II,’ says it was the first time many in the general public had heard about the availability of such weapons.
“Before Stockton, most people didn’t even know you could buy those guns,” he said. The media coverage, he said, helped glamorize semi-automatic rifles to the buying public. “This stuff has been around forever; this is not new technology.”
The term “AR-15” is now considered a style of rifle, rather than a specific brand of one.

By 1990, Guns & Ammo reported that sales of the AR-15 were soaring, although that seems to have been a rather relative term. In 1990, Colt made only 36,000 Sporters for domestic use, according to the Hartford Courant.
The patent on the AR-15 by then had expired, opening the door for several new competitors, which is why the term “AR-15” is now considered a style of rifle, rather than a specific brand of one.

How a ban increased demand

As the profile of the AR-15 rose, talk continued of banning “assault weapons,” a term used by lawmakers to denote certain types of semi-automatic firearms. President George H.W. Bush, a lifetime NRA member, proposed banning all magazines holding more than 15 rounds.
In 1994, President Bill Clinton pushed the assault weapons ban through Congress with some bipartisan support. Presidents Reagan, Carter and Ford co-authored a letter to the House of Representatives expressing their support.

“This is a matter of vital importance to the public safety,” it read. “We urge you to listen to the American public and to the law enforcement community and support a ban on the further manufacture of these weapons.”
Hyatt, whose store was started by his father in 1959, recalled a surge in sales then, too.
There’s something about human nature, he says. “You tell a man he can’t have something and suddenly he wants 12.”
You tell a man he can’t have something and suddenly he wants 12.
Larry Hyatt, owner of Hyatt Guns

Ironically, the ban didn’t do much to deter the production of the now-generic AR-15.
Clinton’s ban outlawed Colt’s AR-15 by name. But the ban didn’t cover versions of these weapons unless they had two of these purely cosmetic features: a folding stock, a bayonet mount, a “conspicuously protruding” pistol grip, a flash suppressor or a grenade launcher. Grenades aren’t even legal to own.

61.3%

of total rifles sold in 2016 were

AR styles/modern sporting rifles.

Source: National Shooting Sports Foundation

“It makes no sense, banning something based on appearance,” said Bartocci. “It’s the same weapon; one just looks meaner.”
Manufacturers quickly found a way to redesign around these constraints.
In its August 2003 issue, while the ban was still in effect, Guns & Ammo ran a feature story titled “Stoner’s ‘Black Rifle’ Marches On,” subtitled “The basic AR platform has been refined, improved, upgraded, power-boosted and accurized.”
Sales figures for the AR-15 aren’t made public. But as the ban was about to expire in 2004, the NRA told members “hundreds of thousands of AR-15s have been made and sold since the ban took effect.”
In fact, the ban became a powerful tool for the NRA, both politically and for its promotion of gun manufacturers.

Until the ban, sales of firearms had been fairly flat. In the eight years preceding the ban, gun makers produced an average of 1.1 million rifles a year, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. During the ban, production rose to 1.4 million a year.
That increase is widely attributed to the growing popularity of semi-automatic rifles, now called “modern sporting rifles” by the industry and gun enthusiasts.

How it became ‘king of the industry’

Through a combination of tragedy, profit, fear, curiosity and mysterious human psychology, the AR-15 shed its early reputation as an ugly misfit and found a new place as a nimble, versatile fan favorite.
Among sporting rifles, “AR-15 is the king of the industry, so to speak,” said Michael Weeks, owner of Georgia Gun Store, which boasts “the best selection of firearms in North Georgia.”
Veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were comfortable with the weapon. It’s also lightweight, adaptable, and relatively easy to maintain.

More than

15 million

The number of AR-15s owned

by Americans today

Source: The National Rifle Association

Owners can remodel the guns themselves, or they can construct one from scratch with their favorite features.
“It’s everything you want,” said Bartocci, the “Black Rifle II” author. “You want a hunting rifle? It does it. You want a target rifle? It does it. You want a law-enforcement rifle? It does it.”
The AR-15 is now the most popular sporting rifle in the U.S. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, AR-15 style rifles accounted for an estimated 61 percent of all US civilian rifle sales in 2016. The National Rifle Association reports that Americans own more than 15 million AR-15s today.
As more AR-15 style rifles entered the market, the competition caused the price to drop. During the ban, Weeks said an AR-15 could have cost well over $1,000. But an AR-15 from his store costs as little as $400 today.

How Obama’s election stoked sales

By now the relationship between gun sales and anti-gun rhetoric was well-established. So after the assault-weapons ban became defunct in late 2004, rifle production numbers remained relatively flat.

Then, in early 2009, President Barack Obama took office. Conservative gun owners feared a ban from Democrats in the White House and the Capitol, and the numbers went wild.
According to the ATF, gun makers began cranking out 2.4 million rifles annually in Obama’s first term — a 52 percent increase from the previous four years of the Bush administration.
In 2008, The Shooting Wire published a feature titled, “Industry Hanging on to a Single Category.”
“For the past few weeks, it may be that we’ve given a false impression as to how well the firearms industry is really doing,” it read. “The net of all the numbers is that if you’re a company with a strong line of high-capacity pistols and AR-style rifles, you’re doing land office business. If you’re heavily dependent on hunting, you are hurting.”

This illustrated a fundamental shift taking place among gun owners. Gun ownership has declined over the last decades, and many gun owners’ motivations have changed.
“There are far fewer hunters now than there ever have been,” said Weeks.
In 1999, a Pew survey asked gun owners why they owned a gun. Almost 50 percent said “hunting”, and 26 percent said “protection.” By 2017, those numbers had reversed — 67 percent said they had a gun for protection and only 38 percent said hunting.

How history is repeating itself

Five years ago this week, Sandy Hook devastated the nation. It was Stockton writ larger — including the threat of a new ban. The fear that had elevated gun sales during the Obama administration was now on the horizon, and so up again they went. In 2013, total rifle production exploded to nearly 4 million, according to the ATF.
The ban never materialized. Despite strong public support for expanding background checks, President Obama failed to get even that legislation through Congress. The attack shattered the nation and raised cries for action. But the shooting that was supposed to change everything changed little.

As gun sales kept climbing, so did the body count.
  • The shooter who killed 58 people and injured more than 500 in the Las Vegas massacre on October 1, 2017, used several AR-15 style rifles equipped with bump stocks to mimic fully-automatic rifles.
The gun that had been created to mow down combatants in the Vietnam jungles was now a de facto calling card of some of the country’s most heinous mass shooters.

When President Trump was elected in 2016, gun owners rejoiced and the president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation called him the “most pro-Second Amendment President in recent history.”
So when the Las Vegas massacre happened, the deadliest shooting in modern American history, the frenzy wasn’t as great.
The shooting that was supposed to change everything changed little.

“When you have a president that says, ‘It’s not the gun, it’s mental illness,’ people are a lot calmer about it,” says Weeks, the Georgia gun shop owner.
While the impact of the shooting is too recent to measure through production numbers, anecdotally, gun sales didn’t see as sharp a rise.
But something else did: Bump stocks.
Sellers said people who hadn’t heard of them before the Vegas shooting rushed in to get one — suspecting they would soon be banned.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/14/health/ar15-rifle-history-trnd/index.html

Ta-Nehisi Coates v Cornel West: black academics and activists give their verdict

One of the foremost black intellectuals in the US has deleted his Twitter account after a public row. Commentators Melvin Rogers, Patrisse Cullors, Carol Anderson and Shailja Patel discuss the impact on the debate and struggle for racial equality

In a blistering Guardian article last Sunday, Harvard scholar Cornel West labelled award-winning African American author Ta-Nehisi Coates the neoliberal face of the black freedom struggle. A furious debate raged all week among black academics and activists.

The disagreement between Coates and me is clear, said West. Any analysis or vision of our world that omits the centrality of Wall Street power, US military policies, and the complex dynamics of class, gender, and sexuality in black America is too narrow and dangerously misleading. So it is with Ta-Nehisi Coates worldview.

Coates hit back on Twitter, listing the articles he has written criticising US foreign policy, before quitting the social media site and deleting his account of 1.25 million followers.

So did this row between two of the best-known African American thinkers set back, or advance the struggle for black equality? We asked black academics and activists for their verdict.

Melvin Rogers: Criticisms of our allies are valid, but must be properly pitched

Melvin

The disagreement between Cornel West and Ta-Nehisi Coates takes place against the backdrop of a long and rich tradition of struggle and internal conflict among African American intellectuals and activists regarding the quality and form that resistance to white supremacy should take. And there is much value in this. As WEB Du Bois noted in 1903: The hushing of the criticism of honest opponents is a dangerous thing Honest and earnest criticism this is the soul of democracy and the safeguard of modern democracy.

Rather than treating the West-Coates disagreement as a feud, we would do better to ask what might we learn from it and how might it provide direction. First, the criticisms we direct to those who are rightly viewed as our allies must be properly pitched. Those of us who are committed to racial justice achieve nothing by alienating those who otherwise are standing with us. In the face of our criticisms, we mean for them to lean in and learn from, rather than pull back and opt out of, intellectual debate.

Second, once we inhabit the space of the social critic and, in truth, there is a little bit of a social critic in all of us we cannot simply abandon debate when it has become intense. Nor should we allow others, seeking to foment division for their own ends, co-opt the conversation.

Melvin Rogers is associate professor of political science at Brown University

Patrisse Cullors: The spotlight is on two men whose debates are not definitive of our communities

Patrisse

Revolutionary Unity

gained only thru struggle

long sought for

must be fought for

`Revolutionary Unity

So wrote Amiri Baraka in 1979. The exchange between Cornel West and Ta-Nehisi Coates is evidence that black political debate in the US is at a historic low. I was trained within a black radical tradition that encouraged struggle within our own movements because it sharpens collective analysis bringing us closer to the tools we need to achieve liberation.

Freedom for black people (and by extension, everyone) looks like a world without policing and incarceration, a world where black people live to raise their children, where our country doesnt rely on corporations, and where our nation is primarily concerned with the livelihood and dignity of our communities. Freedom means the US government not being the main threat to countries around the world.

Wherever there are communities fighting for freedom and liberation, there are serious tensions. Lets quote Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr and Ella Baker without romanticising them, but rather acknowledging that they had legitimate arguments about tactics and strategy.

Another key element missing from the West-Coates conversation is the role, analysis and wisdom of black women and black queer folks. Again, our narratives and analyses are erased. The countrys spotlight is on two black cis-gendered men whose debates are not definitive of our communities or movements.

The culture we have created today is one where debates fall into call-out tropes; where we silo our conversations to social media. While this is an incredible tool, can we facilitate healthy debate off social media? Do we have the interest, ability, patience and compassion to have face-to-face conversations? Social media is not the only space we should rely on.

And finally, when we are calling for black political debate, I ask, is it fundamentally changing the material conditions for black people? Here, I dont see it; and black life is at stake.

Patrisse Cullors is an African American advocate for criminal justice reform and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement

Carol Anderson: The real radical is the man who hits power in high places

Carol

It was the 1920s. A morally and sexually compromised president had come to power promising a regime fundamentally different to his predecessors. The new administration was packed with conmen, hucksters, and unqualified shills raiding the public treasury and selling public lands to Big Oil. There were also those in the cabinet with an agenda that would place inordinate, unbridled power in the hands of corporations while millions of poor Americans took the brunt of a Great Depression that hit before anyone knew what to call it.

Greed fever ran like an epidemic in the financial sector giving the illusion of prosperity and wealth when, just underneath, the economy had major fissures and faultlines that threatened to topple the American behemoth. Meanwhile, black people were being terrorised in Tulsa, the Ku Klux Klan was gaining political power in key states in the north, voting rights were under attack, and a new racist immigration law effectively shut the door on anyone not Anglo-Saxon.

The international scene was just as vexing. The rise of fascist regimes in Europe and Japan ran headlong into an American retreat from the League of Nations, and by the 1930s there was a growing internal fifth column, marketing itself as America First, that undermined any effective response to regimes that threatened US national security.

In the midst of the maelstrom, an intellectual brawl broke out among African Americans. Unbelievably, the real issue was not the political and economic horror that confronted the nation and black people, who were dealing with massive disparities in access to constitutional rights and wealth. Instead, one African American intellectual openly and mercilessly challenged another over what was essentially ephemera. Du Bois looked on at the row within Fisk University, Tennessee, and shook his head. This peacock display was merely the effervescence of faux bravery. The real radical, he noted, is the man, who hits power in high places, white power, power backed by unlimited wealth; hits it and hits it openly and between the eyes.

Its 2017. A morally and sexually compromised man has assumed the presidency of the United States. His regime is attacking black and brown people with reckless abandon while, under the guise of America first, shielding Nazis and other white supremacists, and providing no defence against a government that threatens US national security. He and his minions have also unleashed wanton corporate greed, reduced public lands, attacked voting rights, and imposed or threatened immigration restrictions to warm the cockles of any eugenicist.

In the midst of this maelstrom

Carol Anderson is Charles Howard Candler professor and chair, African American studies, at Emory University

Shailja Patel: An unrealistic and ahistorical code has been invoked to silence debate

Shailja

Imperial privilege is reducing a vital assessment of Barack Obamas devastating harm to black and brown peoples outside the US to a personal beef between two African American men.

Its painful to us, in the global south, to see that American writers that we read assiduously, and take seriously, are not reading us. They are not listening when we say: Please ask your president to stop killing us. They appear to simply not see black and brown bodies beyond US borders.

Obamas bombs took tens of thousands of civilian lives. His military intervention in Libya destroyed the country with the highest standard of living in Africa. To resist a public discussion of these crimes, for fear that our political differences will be deployed against us by racists, exemplifies what writer Mmatshilo Motsei calls colonial hangover. Arent we full, complex, thinking, sovereign human beings? Didnt we fight liberation battles, mount civil rights struggles, for the right to engage in public life? Dare we not, still, claim equal space in the forum?

An unrealistic and ahistorical code has been invoked, of global solidarity among people of colour, to silence debate on the actual mass slaughter of black and brown bodies by the first black head of Empire. Gabeba Baderoon, South African professor of gender and African studies at Penn State University, calls this the imperialism the US engenders, even in its citizens of colour.

Why should it concern us if Nazis retweet us? White supremacy, imperialism, patriarchy, neoliberalism, are inherently parasitic. We will never be human within these systems. Were not here to perform for their gaze. Were here to be fully human to ourselves, fully accountable to each other.

Shailja Patel is a Kenyan writer currently based in Johannesburg. She is the author of Migritude

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/22/-ta-nehisi-coates-cornel-west-black-academic-activists-debate-equality

All The Eligible Royals You Can Still Marry To Become A Princess

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because we had 20 years of fantasizing about marrying Prince Harry. If somebody had to take him off the market, at least we can have some pride that it was an American. If the American Girl Doll franchise doesn’t immediately release a special edition doll, their CEO is wasting a golden opportunity. But before you start a pity party at happy hour that you’re no longer in the running to become Mrs. Prince Harry (that will be her official title, right?), read through the list of still royally eligible bachelors. You can snag a better title than the Duchess of Sussex.


Prince Sébastien of Luxembourg

Age: 25
How Many People Need to Die Before He’s King: 7
Education: Franciscan University – International Business and Marketing and Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
Career: Officer Cadet in Luxembourg Army
Highlights: Sebastian went to college in Ohio and played rugby, so he’s bringing beer pong to the palace.

Felipe Juan Froilán de Marichalar y Borbón of Spain

Age: 19
How Many People Need to Die Before He’s King: 5
Education: The College for International Studies – Business
Career: Being a professional asshole
Highlights: He is the Chuck Bass of European Royalty—he gave an official speech about Dr. Pepper, shot himself in the foot when he was 13, was expelled from multiple high schools for not taking his finals, was exiled to the US to finish high school, and his nickname is Pipe. So if you’re really into fixing “bad boys” (please see a therapist), then he’s the one for you.

Prince Joseph of Liechtenstein

Age: 22
How Many People Need to Die Before He’s King: 2
Education: Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
Career: Intern at the US Senate
Highlights: He took a gap year to backpack through South America, his favorite hobby is skiing, and he wants to get an MBA—so his real title is Prince Finance Bro.

Louis Ducruet of Monaco

Age: 24
How Many People Need to Die Before He’s King: 13
Education: Western Carolina University – Sports Management
Career: Scout for Association Sportive de Monaco Football Club (you can find him on LinkedIn)
Highlights: He’s the love child of his royal mother and her body guard, so he’s definitely got some daddy issues going on. But the deal breaker: He has no official title, so you wouldn’t be a Princess.

Hussein, Crown Prince of Jordan

Age: 23
How Many People Need to Die Before He’s King: 1
Education: Georgetown – International History and Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
Career: Second Lieutenant in the Jordanian Armed Forces, Director of Crown Prince Foundation
Highlights: He’s the youngest person to ever chair a UN Security Council meeting and takes the royalty thing super seriously. Chasing after him would mean a lot more than wearing jewelry well and going to charity galas, but you’d also be Queen of Jordan one day, so it seems like a decent trade-off. He has 1.1 million Instagram followers, so your engagement photos would get a shit ton of likes. 

Read more: http://www.betches.com/eligible-royals-you-can-still-marry-to-be-a-princess

Paying mothers can ‘incentivise breastfeeding’


Image caption Fiona Sutcliffe, 29, from Sheffield took part in the scheme with her baby girl

Offering shopping vouchers to new mothers can encourage them to breastfeed their babies, a study published in JAMA Pediatrics has found.

About 10,000 new mothers in Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire were offered up to £200 in vouchers as an incentive.

Breastfeeding rates increased in these areas, which typically have low uptake.

The vouchers gave mums a “lift” and helped them feel part of a network, according to the researchers.

They could be used to buy food, household items, toys, clothes, books, DVDs or music in supermarkets and other shops.

Overall, 46% of all eligible mothers signed up to the scheme and more than 40% claimed at least one voucher.

Fiona Sutcliffe, 29, from Sheffield, took part in the scheme with her baby girl.

She had considered breastfeeding while she was pregnant but was nervous that a caesarean would make it tricky: “There were definitely times when I was thinking ‘this is really difficult, I’m really struggling’.”

Breastfeeding reduces a baby’s chances of:

  • Diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Chest and ear infections
  • Becoming obese
  • Sudden infant death syndrome
  • Type 2 diabetes in later life
  • Childhood leukaemia
  • Eczema
  • Cardiovascular disease in adulthood

Source: NHS Choices

Fiona said being part of the scheme encouraged her to breastfeed, and to do so for longer.

“The scheme is a really good way of keeping going – keeping motivated to stay on track rather than giving up and going for the bottle.

“It provides little milestones, little stepping stones and helps you get breastfeeding established.”

Fiona and her partner saved the vouchers and spent them on presents for their daughter’s first birthday.

Breastfeeding levels in the UK are some of the lowest in the world – in some areas only 12% of six to eight week-old babies are fed in this way.

One of the study’s authors, Mary Renfrew, of the University of Dundee, said: “It can be particularly difficult for women to breastfeed without strong family and community support, because of strong societal barriers.”

She said some women encounter barriers when breastfeeding in public and that there is “widespread misleading marketing that formula is equivalent to breastfeeding”.

Abigail Wood from the National Childbirth Trust said it was important that women feel supported not pressurised to breastfeed.

“It’s good to see the mothers involved in this scheme appear to have had a positive experience.

“We know that most women want to breastfeed yet many stop because they don’t get the information and practical help they need.”

Related Topics

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42280444