Free feed for https://free.vice.comenTue, 18 Dec 2018 22:26:34 +0000<![CDATA[Where to Buy Beer and Other Booze for Cheap]]>, 18 Dec 2018 22:26:34 +0000Planning to ring in the New Year with a glass of bubbly, a vodka martini or maybe just a Bud Light? Whether you’re looking for some booze to bring to the party or are hosting one yourself, it’s always smart to shop for the lowest price.

To help you find the best deals, we looked everywhere from big chains like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods to neighborhood liquor shops in New York City to find out how big of a difference it makes where you buy your booze. We also looked online for deals and learned that the shipping costs can erase most savings unless you buy in bulk—plus many online stores don’t ship everywhere in the US or even everything they sell in their physical stores.

So who had the best prices? For one-stop shopping our pick is Costco and its adjacent liquor store, Brooklyn Liquors, in Brooklyn (since you can’t buy hard alcohol in grocery stores in the state). But we also found great deals on beer at Target and bubbly at Trader Joe's.

When in doubt, always opt for the larger bottle or higher number of cans or bottles packaged together for the lowest price per volume. If you’re buying in bulk, always ask for a discount. Wine shops typically offer 10 percent off when you buy a case, for example.

Here are the prices we found for seven different kinds of booze:

Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne (750 milliliters)

Whole Foods Bud Light bottles.
Whole Foods has a great beer selection, but the Bud Light is no bargain there.

Brooklyn Deli: $15
Whole Foods (Brooklyn): $14
Best deal: Target (Manhattan): $11

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<![CDATA[The Gig Economy Blurs the Line Between Work and Fun for Freelancers]]>, 17 Dec 2018 18:00:18 +0000It's early afternoon on a Tuesday and I have three unread texts from friends I’ve met through my work as a writer. You see, when you’re a freelancer, the lines between networking and socializing are in no way distinct. "Hey, wanna cowork?" a message from a colleague-turned-friend reads. Another text invites me to a beer hall to meet with a friend and her friend for a working afternoon, while yet another suggests getting a “laptop pedicure” meaning we take advantage of a nail shop’s wifi while getting our toes painted.

One of the biggest perks of the growing gig economy is flexibility, the ability to work anytime from anywhere, whether for oneself or a larger corporation. That can be freeing, but also relentless. As opposed to an office job with set hours, location independent work can be completed beyond the typical business hours wherever you’re working. As a result, a day spent semi-socializing with laptops and conversations stilted by email pings is more likely to extend into a night of working before a deadline. That doesn’t just make your workday longer, it limits the types of socializing freelancers like me can do. When there is no outside of work, or off-hours, everything can quickly become work-related.

This makes me wonder, are the social interactions we have while coworking—i.e. working alongside peers on independent projects—meaningful or just weak substitutes for actual meaningful interpersonal connection? After talking to mental health and work culture experts about this, I came away thinking that getting better at compartmentalizing and planning are the keys to finding real work-life balance as a coworker in the gig economy.

Coworking spaces make the freelance life less lonely ....

Working alone has its downfalls. “Humans are inherently social creatures. Isolation and loneliness are as predictive of poor health outcomes as smoking,” says Lara Fielding, a clinical psychologist and author of the upcoming book Mastering Adulthood: Go Beyond Adulting to Become an Emotional Grown-Up. “Inversely, when we experience stress, a healthy and healing instinct is to tend to befriend [others]u.”

So the boom in membership-based coworking spaces like WeWork, The Wing (in New York), and SoHo House (in London and Los Angeles)—which start at around $50 a day for a workspace—makes sense for freelancers who might otherwise spend the entire day holed up alone at home. But the spaces often blur the line between socializing and working by offering daytime workspaces and nighttime social events, often incorporating the same members, who may network over similar skills and interests over coffee in the morning and attend a wine mixer or learn to illustrate fruits with by night. The more recent trend of converting actual restaurants into coworking spaces during off-hours blurs the line between work and leisure even further.

“You work when you can, you socialize when you can, those boundaries get blurred. Millennials, who sometimes feel socially isolated from their peers, will have to learn how to manage that life,” says Amy Quarton, professor of Organizational Leadership at Maryville University. Joining a coworking space or community (like a coffee shop), can help with this social isolation and prevent solo workers from getting distracted at home.

From a networking and success perspective, the low pressure, social aspect of sharing a space can help self-employed professionals. “Unlike a traditional workplace, where everyone has their particular strengths and roles, a coworking space opens you up to individuals doing completely different work in different types of companies,” says Lauren McGoodwin, CEO and founder of Career Contessa. “The relationships build throughout time and create great opportunities for cross-pollination.”

... But that sense of connectedness comes at a psychological price

But can spending all your time in the place you work, even if you’re not working, can be socially damaging? “Socializing solely with colleagues may also have its drawbacks. Humans have a tendency to gather and stick close to those similar to themselves,” Fielding says. “This can contribute to groupthink or the tendency for a close group to avoid confrontation or allowance of creative thinking. When our social lives are exclusively in one group, it's easy to lose perspective and fall into rigid habit patterns.”

Are you talking about invoicing and strategizing and sharing contacts while socializing with coworking pals or are you opening up about your family and dreams and favorite dog breeds? Quarton recommends making a point of putting away your work and taking a break for a meal or a drink, temporarily powering off your phone and “designating time for relaxation.” As your own boss, you’re also responsible for your own well-being, and that means taking intentional breaks is an “essential practice,” in Quarton’s terms.

As Fielding points out, socializing with peers and superiors from work is not a new concept—dinner with the boss and office holiday parties are as old as corporate culture itself, but with tech and social media, the lines blur. With so many opportunities to “socialize” i.e. connect via social media with friends who may not be as easily accessible as people with whom you can get work done, it’s important to prioritize seeing friends who are not at all work related.

“Today, we have not really spent as much time as we used to [maintaining our outside relationships],” Fielding says. “At the end of a long workday or week, there is a huge pull to just run home and binge our favorite show and space out on our phones. Making the effort to get ourselves across town is too daunting. There are more barriers to reaching outside our social work bubble.”

How freelancers who cowork can carve out real downtime—minus the laptop

But escaping that bubble is essential for optimum mental health. Fielding recommends planning ahead (even by several weeks or months, just get those plans on the calendar!), making commitments to catching up with old friends and finding ways to make new friends outside your circle of coworkers or colleagues.

“It's tempting to wait to 'see how you feel' and 'play it by ear', but we know from [many] studies that making strong and public commitments, long in advance, leads to more likelihood of keeping them,” Fielding says. “If you really are only friends with people in your industry, arrange to make plans related to other circles. If you're in finance, schedule something in the arts. If your in entertainment, go to a lecture or cooking class. The key to avoiding the groupthink is to keep challenging yourself to reach outside your comfort zone. Be willing to be vulnerable and uncomfortable. You'll grow better for it!”

Follow Melissa Kravitz on Twitter.

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<![CDATA[The Cheapest Places to Fly This Winter and Still Have an Amazing Vacation]]>, 14 Dec 2018 18:30:22 +0000Once you’ve unwrapped all the presents and downed all the holiday Champagne, you might feel a little blue during the cold winter months from January to early March. One way to snap out of that post-holiday funk is by taking a trip during one of the cheapest travel times of the year.

“If you're flying from the US in the winter, you're likely to find flights to destinations both domestic and international down by as much as 20 to 30 percent from peak season,” says Liana Corwin, travel expert at Hopper. A round-trip ticket to Portland, Oregon may cost well over $300 on average in during peak travel times, for example, but if you wait until February to visit you can fly for $227 on average, according to travel search site Skyscanner. The same rule applies for international tickets. A $700 round-trip flight to Barcelona in June goes for just $450 in January.

Dusk on the Tiber River in Rome. Photo by Getty Images / Roberto Moiola Sysaworld

Dusk on the Tiber River in Rome. Photo by Roberto Moiola / Sysaworld / Getty Images

Rome an ancient city heavy on culture. You can walk through the Forum, the heart of the ancient Roman empire; stuff your face with lamb, pasta, and artichoke (the latter comes in season in January); and peer up at Michelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel.

If the weather’s right, download the oBike app and explore via city bike. Hustle to the Colosseum (get there by 8:15 a.m. to avoid a line) before cruising north to the Trevi Fountain. Reward yourself with a panna cotta gelato from Melograno across from the fountain. If you don’t have a SIM card or international data, oBike will be impossible, so book a bike rental from Rome for You ($10 for 4 hours).

Follow Evie Carrick on Instagram.

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<![CDATA[How to Not Be Replaced by a Robot at Work]]>, 13 Dec 2018 20:17:55 +0000This article originally appeared on Free CA.

The robots are coming… First, they’ll take our jobs. Then they’ll take over and become our robot overlords. That’s a popular narrative that has been turned into memes and shared online countless times. Fear-mongering aside, this paradigm shift has been described in anecdotes, and stats cobbled together to paint an incomplete picture. No wonder people are scared: we don’t even fully understand the transformation at hand.

What we do know is that some industries have been disrupted and that has changed lives and livelihoods. Experts estimate that one in three jobs will be fully automated by 2030. The jobs that young people will be doing aren’t necessarily like the ones their parents and grandparents were doing. A recent BMO Wealth Management report states that Canada’s “labour market has shifted from one characterized by stable or permanent employment to a ‘gig economy’ of temporary or contracted employment, where an on-demand, freelance or contingent workforce is becoming the norm.”

This seismic shift means young workers are going to have to do things very differently, in terms of planning and budgeting, than generations past. Canadian economist and futurist Linda Nazareth explores what all this means in her book Work is Not a Place: Our Lives and Our Organizations in the Post-Jobs Economy, which is out this week. I spoke with Nazareth about a robot competition, the importance of financial literacy, and thriving in a gig economy.

What is the future or work? Are we going to have robot overlords stealing our jobs?

It took me a long time to write the first part of this book because I had to reconcile two big theories I had. One was that robots are going to take everybody’s job and we would be at the mercy of them. And the second is that demographics mean that workers completely have the power because there’s going to be a shortage of workers. Like, which one is correct because we’ve been hearing both of these? They’re both correct.

For some people, without the right skills, without the right circumstances, yeah, robots are a threat. For other workers though, you’re seeing a lot of things going in their favour. Meaning they will be in demand. We will still need great workers. For the short-term, we won’t have enough workers in some places because of the demographic part of it, the aging population.

What should fields should students look at to robot-proof themselves?

The obvious answer that people expect is you should study STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). There’s no point studying STEM unless that’s what you’re really interested in. I think everyone should understand technology and be conversant and comfortable with it but you can’t force somebody into doing something they’re not into.

I don’t think it matters that much what you study. The skills that people are looking for are soft skills. There are a lot of things that are going to be done by robots or the kind of tech that we haven’t even invented but there are things that human beings can always do.

Managing other people is going to be done by human beings. Communicating one-on-one is going to be done by human beings. Caring, like really caring, not just moving patients from one bed to another, being there for people is going to be done by human beings.

It sounds like you’re saying we have to learn to be a 'bawse,' whether that means managing people or being your own boss.

Yes. The World Economic Forum has a list of skills and they aren’t necessarily technical skills. Critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence.

I don’t think you need to work for a company and the people who do are the ones who have skills like that. If you’re going to manage your own career, which I think will be a lot of people coming in and out of contract jobs and being self-employed, then it’s really important to have a lot of those skills. The other thing to study, for everybody, is personal finance and managing your own business affairs.

In terms of where we are collectively, I think financial literacy right now isn’t where it should be. How much more important will that be in the future?

If you’re going to go through your life and have periods where you’re not in the labour force, you better figure out how to save money. And since you’re not getting a pension, you better figure out how to start putting away money really early. Income volatility is the big issue. We need to start talking about income volatility, even for people making a lot of money.

You may have six months where you’re getting paid pretty well. It may be another four months before the next contract kicks in. Have you figured out how to deal when you have those periods? I use the example of actors in the book. People in creative industries are not always the best at managing their money but a lot of them have learned to live with the fact that it’s not every month that you get paid. Can you get your mind around that?

Your book was made possible by the gig economy.

My editor was in Toronto, I had an index person who was in Vancouver. The first cover was from someone in Nigeria, the second cover, which is the one you see now, is from someone in Northern Ontario. The person from Nigeria was from Fiverr the site. I used Fiverr to find someone in Cameroon to work on my website. I also use freelancers across Canada. It’s not always about cost, though that is a factor. It’s a global talent pool.

I’m a huge proponent of the gig economy. I like it. I like the idea of having different gigs as well as one full-time job. Maybe it’s not for everybody. I think a lot of politicians are really negative on the idea that we have this gig economy but I don’t think we need to be. We just need to have people who know how to navigate it.

You mentioned politicians. Does the policy we have in place do enough to support the changing nature of jobs?

One thing I’d like to see happen is we need to stop talking about ‘jobs’ and we need to start talking about ‘work.’ Because policies are all about jobs. Even our mat leave policies, if you are that gig worker, you’re working for yourself, you’re not getting anything if you have a child.

So Canada’s bragging about our great policies, but they’re not that great for a lot of people. Especially a lot of younger people. So if there’s something we need to push, it’s getting policy makers to understand that it’s not just about jobs and for younger workers, they need to have an agenda that’s about covering them even if they don’t become one of those conventional workers.

Are we doing a good job of measuring, quantifying the new reality of work?

We don’t have great numbers on gig economy or who is earning well in the gig economy in Canada. We’re still figuring that part of it out. Absolutely, we need think about a future where somebody might have two part-time jobs and might have a business on Etsy or Fiverr and might be thinking about the next thing they do and they might go part-time for that and they’re OK. You can’t say ‘well this is a bad situation.’ Maybe it’s different than it was but this is not an economy for complacency.

Can the gig economy be more lucrative?

Lucrative in a monetary sense, maybe, maybe not. But certainly in a lifestyle sense it could be. Think about the old model. Everybody showed up to the same place at the same time every day. It wasn’t good for the environment. It wasn’t even good for your life expectancy. If everyone’s on the highway at the same time, you’re creating a holiday weekend every weekday and people die. In the US, you could reduce the number of traffic deaths significantly if we didn’t all follow that same model.

There’s also life. If you have some flexibility or you have the ability to work from home, maybe that’s something that works for your family in the larger sense. People do that all the time. Maybe you have a corporate job or maybe you cut back to that after having a corporate job for many years. Maybe we need different metrics on how to measure this.

Working remotely was a big thing before the recession, then it fell out of favour, and now it’s back.

Companies are still struggling with this. More and more they’re all over it though. I mean, who wants to pay for real estate that’s really expensive in certain areas. If you can get that cost down, it really makes more sense. But you have this deep distrust that ‘oh, if I let somebody work from home, does that mean they’ll be watching Netflix on my time?’ You have to get over that.

It’s not just about face time and showing up, it’s about who’s actually doing the work. In terms of making this work and the companies that do it successfully, they’re the ones who don’t just let them work from home but also bring people together.

Cheesy as it sounds, is it about creating community?

Sometimes it’s about periodic meetings and rituals. I use the example in the book of the company who has a virtual baby shower where people worked in different parts of the country but they were all on their screens at the same time talking to each other and watching the person open the gifts. They connected that way.

We’re at peak telecommuting now. On a trend basis, we were trending up before the recession, big companies like IBM and Yahoo were all over this. Post recession, a lot of them retreated from it.

Now we’re at a different point, we’re at this kind of sweet spot where workers have a little bit of sway. So I think it will be used to change policies. One great example is where two managers talk to each other every Monday by taking a walk together from different cities. They would each get their phones out, each get their exercise in, and talk about what’s going on in their office. So they had 30 minutes devoted to this while they were out getting some fresh air.

You can look for other creative ways to do that. Let’s find some time where we talk, let’s put it on the calendar, but we don’t actually have to be there together. You can use technology for this.

I worked at a company where one of my colleagues worked remotely from Miami and he was on a robot. We talked on the phone often and were very close. Still are to this day.

So it can work. In Japan—it’s a little bit much for me—but you have these small robots, which are actually a person at home, on a screen. So you have a robot that you put on the conference room table. You can carry them around all day. It’s like a nanny-cam on the worker at home, which I’m not entirely comfortable with.

Follow Anne on Twitter and Instagram.

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<![CDATA[Meet the Students Trying to Make the Dream of a Hyperloop a Reality]]>, 13 Dec 2018 19:32:35 +0000 This video was created with GEICO.

It’s the 21st century and we’re still traveling like it’s the 20th. Cars and trains shaped the modern world, but we can do better. The hyperloop, in particular, could connect the world and allow people to make trips between major cities in a fraction of the time.

For the final episode of ETA, Motherboard met up with EPFLoop, an international team of 25 students working out of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland, who are trying to make that dream a reality. The group is building hyperloop pods for SpaceX’s annual competition. This year, they took third place, but they’re already working on 2019.

“The hyperloop combines all of the advantages of our current modes of transport that we know today—it’s on demand, it’s direct, it’s energy efficient, it’s emission free, it would shrink distances between cities, between countries, between continents, in a way that has never been done before,” Karine Chammas, business lead for EPFLoop told Motherboard.

The hyperloop would be a train-style transportation system that connects distances through a series of pressurized tubes. The pods in those tubes would travel along a magnetized track that hurls objects along at high speeds. If it works, passengers could travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 40 minutes. It’s the speed of flight for the cost of trucking. If the loops get built, it could revolutionize travel.

“Imagine a world in the future that is smaller, greener, and connects people in a way that we’ve never witnessed before,” Chammas said.

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<![CDATA[Doctors Who Are Mothers Talk About Workplace Discrimination ]]>, 12 Dec 2018 23:30:00 +0000Doctors are among the highest earners in the US, bringing in nearly $300,000 on average each year. Yet despite their elite status and years of professional training, more than a third of physicians who are also mothers said they face workplace discrimination simply because they have children, according to a 2017 survey published in a research letter in JAMA Internal Medicine.

To get to the root of how and why physician mothers are being discriminated against, the authors of the 2017 research analyzed comments from 947 of the nearly 6,000 respondents to the anonymous survey they posted to a Facebook group of US-based physician moms in 2016 for a new paper in the BMJ. “These are stories by physicians in their own words,” said Dr. Eleni Linos, a dermatologist and professor at University of California, San Francisco, who co-authored the study. “You really get to understand more deeply what’s really going on. The numbers can tell you the scale of the problem, but to really understand what’s going on you need to hear all the stories.”

Double standards and fear of reporting discrimination

Among the recurring themes: gendered performance expectations, limited opportunities for advancement, lower salaries than their colleagues, and lack of support during and after their pregnancies. “What struck me the most was women’s stories related to limited opportunities for advancement,” said Dr. Linos. For example, one woman wrote: “My impression is that I’m not invited to some ‘extra’-type work things because it’s assumed that I’ll opt out because I have young children. Basically, someone else is opting out for me.” Another participant responded, “I have been ‘passed over’ for activities which could have helped me with promotion which were provided to male colleagues.”

The mothers’ comments also underscore the “stress, guilt, and fear of reporting discrimination,” Dr. Linos said. For example, one participant wrote, “I was very depressed after my first child because of the stress of going to work so quickly and trying to balance all demands of being a mom, work and fellowship.” Another commented, “I am tired of feeling like I am a bad mom when I am being a great doctor… and like a bad doctor when I am putting my children first.”

How workplace discrimination hurts patient care

Patients treated by women have lower mortality and readmission rates than those treated by male physicians, according to a 2017 JAMA Internal Medicine study. Nonetheless, the self-reported discrimination can adversely affect patient care. “I have been ignored in a code situation where I told a nurse to bag a patient slower because he was obstructing, and I have never been apologized to in any of these scenarios,” one participant wrote. Added another, “I resigned from that position after nearly four years due to significant burnout. I was unwilling to continue to compromise my patients’ safety.”

While this study focused on workplace discrimination for mothers who are doctors, other women physicians have publicly reported how discrimination has compromised patient care. In a widely reported incident in 2016, a black woman doctor, Tamika Cross, said that a Delta flight attendant initially turned down her offer to help a sick passenger on the plane on the grounds that she was not an “actual physician.” The airline later apologized to Cross and changed its policy to no longer require flight attendants to verify medical professionals’ credentials. Nonetheless, a similar incident occurred on a second Delta flight in 2018 when another black woman doctor began aiding a sick passenger.

How to reduce workplace discrimination for physician mothers

The biggest takeaway from the BMJ study, Linos said, is the need for initiatives that promote gender equity and support both women and parents, especially during their residencies, when they are expected to work longer shifts. Those who said they faced discrimination were more likely to say they want longer paid maternity leave, backup child care, and more support for breast milk pumping on the job.

An attitude change from their colleagues seems in order as well. “When I asked for a raise my Chair told me that my husband should get a job,” wrote one participant. Added another, “As a resident I was the golden child—until I got pregnant. Residency and fellowship director—both young men— both pretty blatant about not wanting to bring in more ‘ovaries’... There are no repercussions for these guys (they are still there 7 years later). I’ve never said anything—I’m afraid of being blackballed in a small specialty.”

Follow Anita Hamilton on Twitter.

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<![CDATA[Growing Up Poor Taught Me How to Budget]]>, 12 Dec 2018 15:59:56 +0000I realized we were poor the first time the power went out. As the youngest of five kids, I have a vivid memory of being seven years old, pawing through a cupboard for candles after we were plunged into darkness. Later that night I stared out the window, all at once aware that we were the only house on the block without lights.

I overheard my mother on the phone in the next room pleading with the electric company, “five dollars more next Thursday, I promise.” We made a game of it that night, laughing while casting shadow puppets against the kitchen walls, but the illusion had shattered, especially once the power kept going out every week after that.

Cording hiking the Annapurna circuit in Nepal in 2017.

I created a simple budget to stick to. Using Microsoft Word, I made a template to track what I spent each week on the bare essentials—groceries, rent, utilities. Then I gave myself $15 wiggle room (by "wiggle room" I mean a Saturday night in with a $4 bottle of wine, followed by a good cry) and chucked the rest straight down the throat of debt. I updated this template once a week. Keeping it simple meant I could stick with it.

I forgave my past self. I had an incredible amount of shame about how my family had grown up and my irresponsible relationship with money, but also for stubbornly wearing a fleece duck-patterned onesie everyday over the past two years. (I’m sorry Paul it wasn’t you, it was me.)

How I stay strong and continue to learn

Now, in my late twenties, I acknowledge the upbringing that initially stunted me is keeping my mindset strong all these years later. I found that going without comes naturally to me when it changed from a necessity to a personal choice. The way I was raised gave me the mental toolkit to appreciate what I have, instead of obsessing over what I want.

With gift-giving season quickly approaching I know I will have to control myself. I want simultaneously to shower my siblings children with everything we never had, but at the same time I know that what I want more is for them to appreciate that money does not equate to happiness, or love, or lack thereof.

I first realized I was poor at seven years old when the power went out, but I knew my life would always be rich when I finally took that power back.

Follow Ayesha Cording on Instagram.

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<![CDATA[A New Startup Thinks Huge Drones That Fly Humans Can Solve America’s Traffic Problem]]>, 11 Dec 2018 22:18:14 +0000 This video was created with GEICO.

Traffic sucks and it’s getting worse. Workers in the US often commute to work and some of them spend upwards of three hours a day in their car. Automobiles are a leading source carbon emissions. Traffic fatalities are on the rise. Spending long periods of time stuck in traffic negatively impacts mental health. So what if we could fly above it all?

That’s the goal of Lift Aircraft, a Texas-based startup that wants to change the way people travel. On a small airfield northwest of Austin, Lift Aircraft is testing ultralight aircraft for personal travel at short distances. For the third episode of ETA, Motherboard shows how its vertical take-off and landing system uses 18 propellers powered by 18 electric motors to move a person across the sky. “We’re not trying to solve the problem of flying long distances,” Matt Chasen, CEO of Lift Aircraft, told Motherboard. “We’re focused on short hop flights in dense urban areas.”

The ultralight classification means that users won’t need a pilot's license to get in the air. Chassen’s goal is to use an app, Uber style, to allow users to hop in and out of the aircraft at predetermined locations at a cost of around $20 a flight. On its face, it seems silly. But world changing technologies, like the automobile, often do at first. “When cars first came out, cars were seen as threats, they were seen as toxic, they were seen as dangerous, and then cars took over America,” transportation journalist John Surico told Motherboard.

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<![CDATA[Don’t Buy This: DIY Your Christmas Tree]]>, 11 Dec 2018 21:11:56 +0000Whether you cut your own tree, buy it off a street corner or pick up an artificial one at the store, Christmas doesn’t feel complete without a Christmas tree for many people. Americans spent more than $3 billion on Christmas trees in 2017, with real ones costing about $75 each and artificial oneseven pricier at $107 on average, according to survey data from the National Christmas Tree Association. But there are less expensive ways to have your tree and save money too.

Instead of trying to figure out which kind is both cheaper and better for the environment, do your wallet a favor without cutting out holiday cheer by replacing your tree with an easy DIY Christmas tree. As an added bonus for all the procrastinators out there: many of these DIYs only take a few minutes to set up and require just two or three items that you might already have stored away from previous years (like a strand of garland or a pack of post-it notes).

Here are 10 of our favorite DIY Christmas tree projects:

Ladder Christmas tree

Wrap Christmas lights around a ladder the same way you would a living Christmas tree, and hang ornaments from the stringed lights. You can also lean the ladder against the wall and simply decorate one half for a space-saving alternative. If you’re looking for a bigger project, this step-by-step tutorial explains how to turn each step of your ladder into a shelf for gifts.

Washi tape Christmas tree

Washi tape is decorative Japanese tape that is popular for everything from gift wrapping to DIY twist ties. So why not use it to create a Christmas tree shape on a bare patch of the wall? The color combinations are endless: stick to traditional green and red or try the black and white version shown above. Find Washi tape at craft stores like Micheals ($5 for a 2 pack) online and in-stores at Walmart starting at $4 per roll, and at Target ($5 for a 3-pack).

Garland Christmas tree

Garland Xmas tree by Reddit user u/venusproxxy
This lovely tree saves space and still looks great. Photo by Reddit user u/venusproxxy

If you already have all the decorations, but just need a tree, a garland Christmas tree could be the perfect solution. For less than $8 you can buy 50 feet of green garland at Walmart, and pick up some utility hooks ($7 for a pack of 9 hooks) that won’t damage your walls. (Remember to pull down slowly when removing these hooks so you don’t damage the paint. This video shows you what to do if the strip breaks.)

Book Christmas tree

Pull out all your books and a string of lights or garland to construct this easy book tree. And have fun with the tree topper! You’ll have a flat surface to place an object, so a pine tree scented candle ($5), red poinsettia, or small wrapped gift would look festive. Don’t worry if you don’t have a ton of books to use. This tree can vary drastically in size and shape. A small version would look cute as a tabletop centerpiece or try this variation that works against a wall and takes up minimal floor space.

Geometric paint chip Christmas tree

Paint chips, also known as paint swatches, are the square-shaped cards you can take home for free from hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowes. You can also make a colorful, geometric Christmas tree with them for free, too, so long as you have some double-sided tape, a craft knife, and a metal ruler. Alternately, choose chips in a single color and hang ornaments with thumbtacks or colorful washi tape.

Christmas light tree

With just three items—a strand of lights, a star (starting at $5), and clear decorating hooks, you can make a festive Christmas light tree. An even cheaper alternative to the star tree topper is a foraged pine cone or repurposed ornament.

Birch branch Christmas tree

White birch tree branches make a shabby-chic Christmas tree alternative, and you can find bare wall hangings at Target and Amazon starting at $8 each. To hang the tree without any holes or damage to your walls, try these utility hooks. Then add your own ornaments and a tree topper. If you're crafty and have a hand drill, you could try making one from scratch yourself.

Post-It Christmas tree

With a few packs of multi-colored post-it notes (under $5 for a 4-pack), you can make this cheap and fun Christmas tree. On her blog A Pair & A Spare, Geneva Vanderzeil added glittery bauble style Christmas cards that she found in a dollar store for the ornaments. You could also alternate red-colored Post-its to represent ornaments. Party Tip: If you have a holiday party coming up, ask your guests to sign your tree or write funny “advice to my younger self” notes.

Felt fabric Christmas tree

This felt fabric Christmas tree is perfect for young kids and is something you can reuse for years. Head to your local craft store and pick up green felt fabric, fabric shears, plus two or three other colors to cut out decorations and gifts. For an easier tree shape, cut out a simple triangle.

Bar cart Christmas “tree”

Spruce up your bar cart with foraged garland and holiday decor like illuminated glass Christmas trees ($21 for a set of 3 at Walmart) that you can reuse for years to come. Don’t have a bar cart? No problem. You can decorate a side table or your coffee table instead.

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ev3q77Kelley MacDonaldAnita HamiltonmoneychristmasOrnamentspersonal financeChristmas lightschristmas treemoney brainbar cart
<![CDATA[Watch a DIY Rocketeer Attempt to Land His Model Rocket Like SpaceX]]>, 06 Dec 2018 21:58:33 +0000This video was created with GEICO.

Joe Barnard is not your typical rocketeer. His educational background is in music, not physics, and up until this year his professional life was in videography, not aerospace. Nevertheless, Barnard is now single handedly revolutionizing the hobby rocket scene by creating rockets that attempt to match the pace of development on rockets being launched by the likes of SpaceX and Blue Origin. Although Barnard hasn’t landed a rocket yet, he’s gotten closer than any hobbyist has before—and he’s just getting started.

When Motherboard went to visit Barnard at his apartment / “rocket lab” in Nashville, Tennessee, he told us that his interest in rocketry started when he was a kid. Although this youthful hobby was put aside when Barnard went to Berklee College of Music, he never lost touch with his roots. Then on a fateful day in 2015, Barnard found himself watching test videos of early SpaceX flights.

“I saw a video of this and realized that’s what I want to be doing,” Barnard said. There was just one problem: Aerospace companies aren’t exactly hiring too many musicians these days. Rather than return to school to get an engineering degree, however, Barnard decided to make the aerospace industry come to him. He resolved to teach himself how to code, do 3D modeling and the basics of rocket science in the hopes that it would attract the attention of SpaceX.

Three years later, Barnard said he has accomplished his original goal insofar as he has received inquiries from various aerospace companies, which he declined to name. Now, however, his goals have changed. Now he said he’s focused on pushing his company, Barnard Propulsion Systems, as far as it can go.

As documented on Barnard’s YouTube channel, he’s made remarkable progress on his homemade rockets. His initial goal was to incorporate flight vectoring—the ability to alter the angle of the rocket exhaust—into model rockets has now expanded to using this technique to land his model rockets just like SpaceX. For the second episode of ETA, Barnard gave Motherboard a demonstration of his self-landing when we visited, which was frustratingly close to success.

Barnard is accustomed to tests going wrong, but this hasn’t dampened his hopes for his rockets.

“I would love to send something to the moon,” Barnard said. “But there are a lot of steps between where I am now and what is required to send something that far, that accurately.”

ev3mpeMotherboard StaffAnita HamiltonrocketshobbiesJoe BarnardETA - Created with GEICO