Cell phones thrown in the trash are exploding in garbage trucks and dumps

Cell phones exploding

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Replacing smartphones has become a yearly or bi-yearly activity for many of us. We upgrade from old and busted to the new hotness with regularity, but we don’t always know what to our old devices. I stash most of mine in a drawer in case of emergency, but whatever you do with your old phone, do not throw it away.

National recycling program Call2Recycle tells USA Today that the lithium-ion batteries in discarded cell phones were responsible for 65% of waste facility fires in California in 2017. Even worse, one exploded battery can set off a chain reaction, which can lead to massive, devastating fires that can do real damage and put people at risk.

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Why Am I Crying All the Time?

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For the quickest, surest, most fulsome cry, I open my Twitter app and search for “military homecoming videos.” These are homemade smartphone clips, sometimes elaborately staged, that capture a raw moment of surprise experienced by an American who does not know that a family member who is in the military and stationed away from home is returning for a visit. If so-called promposals are merely touching, military homecomings pack a wallop.

“They’re the old Hallmark commercials of today,” said Mary Connelly, an executive producer of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” in its 15th year an old hand at the crying game. “There is nothing better than those, they’re money in the bank.”

I Dream of Content-Trash

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They come dressed in their post-brunch best. They come in packs. They come to be photographed.

They flock to the sanitized byways of Williamsburg for the Dream Machine, a new and wildly Instagrammable “experience” that compels users to let their imaginations “run wild” as they explore nine surreal rooms—of clouds, bubbles, ball pits, cotton candy—inspired by dreams. Soon they will number in the thousands, this well-groomed crop of spendthrift pathfinders, but today, in the first week of the Dream Machine’s two-month lifespan, the crowd is smaller, almost intimate.

What does the attendee, the user of the Dream Machine get in return? Quite literally, a dream of someone else’s design. Inside the Machine’s guts, the globally integrated spectacle of our ceaseless stream of content-trash launches its assault on the final frontier: the idea of human sleep. But it’s not just our dreams. As a result of this advancing bacchanal of VSCO filters, of data mining, of likes and shares and sponsored posts, “the primary self-narration of one’s life shifts in its fundamental composition,” writes Jonathan Crary in 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep. “Instead of a formulaic sequence of places and events,” Crary continues, “the main thread of one’s life story is now the electronic commodities and media services through which all experience has been filtered, recorded, or constructed.” This idiot pageant designed specifically for Instagram, in other words, this plasticized dreamworld, is more and more the very stuff of our lives, or at least the stories we tell ourselves.

Time Well $pent

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We’ve all been there. You’re shopping online, and the buy button is so easy to click, and before you know it, you’ve spent an embarrassing amount of your hard-earned money on useless stuff that you didn’t even want.

Inspired by the Time Well Spent movement, Greg Greiner and I built a Chrome extension that helps you save your money (and your time). Enter your pay frequency and salary and it will automatically convert prices on all websites to time. You’ll see how many days, minutes, hours it takes you to earn the listed dollar amount.

Male Selfies Are Bad. I’m Here to Help

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Sit with a straight female friend as she browses Tinder, and you’ll start to see some patterns very quickly.

Group pics where you can’t tell which guy the profile belongs to? Check.

Ab shots? Double Check.

Poorly lit, glowering selfies? Triple check.

To solve a problem, we must first understand its cause. So, why are men bad at taking selfies?

I’ve got one simple explanation: Men don’t grow up in a culture that forces them to objectify themselves.

Gmail’s New Nudge Feature Is a More Efficient Way to Feel Guilty About Your Inbox

The Gmail envelope logo and an animation of a ticking clock.

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Anyone who’s ever had an office job—or, come to think of it, a life—is familiar with the “nudge,” the email you send when you need someone to do something for you and that person hasn’t responded to your first request. So you send another one. And even though you phrase it as politely as possible, both parties know exactly what it is: It’s a second notice. It’s strike 2, as in one more and you’re out. Even the word we use to describe these actions, and sometimes in the emails themselves, nudge (“Just wanted to send a nudge on this!”), attempts to put a gentler name on what is at heart a demand.

We need an internet of unmonetisable enthusiasms

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We should be cheered that these deep pools of detail are emerging in podcasting. It’s been around since 2004, after all, maybe this exploration of qualities other than surface and scale is what happens in a mature digital medium. I’m looking forward to Deep Twitter and The Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire on Snapchat.