(LONDON) -- Alexa, is Amazon opening a hair salon?
The e-commerce retail giant confirmed the news about its upcoming Amazon Salon on Tuesday.
Launching in London, the concept is Amazon's first hair salon and customers can experience new hair care and styling technology, products and services.
The salon space is two floors and more than 1,500 square feet.
Services and hair care are being provided by Elena Lavagni, owner of Neville Hair & Beauty, an independent salon based in London.
Customers can try everything from virtual hair color through augmented reality (AR) technology to enjoying entertainment via the salon's Fire tablets.
"I am delighted to be part of this project – the salon combines classic hairdressing services with technology to deliver a completely unique experience for clients," Lavagni said in a statement. "Our creative team of stylists, whose flair for hair is as intrinsic as their love for technology, will put the client at the heart of everything they do. I feel proud to use our 40 years’ experience in the industry to help bring this salon to life."
In addition to the unique services, the Amazon Salon is also testing a new point-and-learn technology. Clients simply point at displayed products they are interested in and product information, as well as related videos and educational content, will appear on the display screen.
There's also the option to order products directly to your home by scanning a relevant QR code.
Like many other salons that continue to take safety precautions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the salon will be providing free face masks and sanitizer for guests. The staff will also be taking temperature checks and there will be a reduced capacity along with dividers between each styling station.
The Amazon Salon will initially only be available to Amazon employees but will open to the general public in the coming weeks.
The company said this is an experiential venue and there are no current plans to open other Amazon Salon locations at the moment.
(NEW YORK) -- Hearkening back to the boycotts during the civil rights movement and apartheid, Georgia faith leaders representing over 1,000 Georgia churches have called for a nationwide boycott of Home Depot, accusing the largest company based in the Peach State of standing on the sidelines in the voting rights battle playing out not just in Georgia, but across the country.
"A boycott is not something we wanted to do, but now it is something that we must do," Bishop Reginald T. Jackson said in a statement read during a press conference Tuesday. "They have simply refused to respond, not only to our request to meet, but to their other corporate partners. They believe their silence is appropriate, but not on the issue of voting rights. Blacks and people of color, like others, are also their customers and they benefit from our dollars ... we believe they should oppose any effort to suppress our votes."
Jackson, the movement's leader and head of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church’s sixth district that includes over 500 AME churches in Georgia, could not attend the event outside a Home Depot in Decatur. But according to his statement, the coalition could add more companies to the boycott call, singling out Chick-fil-A and Arby's, which the coalition plans to contact this week. Jackson was adamant the boycott was led by faith leaders, directly disputing the Republican-espoused idea that President Joe Biden and Fair Fight Action founder Stacey Abrams are behind it.
The boycott call came on the same day as the Senate Judiciary Committee took testimony from Abrams and others at a hearing focused, in part, on the nearly 100-page bill Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law in late March, overhauling the state's election processes. Since Kemp signed that bill, voting rights activists' pressure campaign to get corporations to publicly oppose restrictive legislation has only ramped up. The MLB decided to move its 2021 All-Star Game and draft out of Atlanta to protest Georgia's new law, a move that will result in an estimated economic impact loss of $100 million, according to Cobb County Travel & Tourism.
Faith leaders have backed away from previous calls to boycott Georgia-based companies that didn't speak out against the bill, SB 202, before it was signed into law. Jackson at one point called for boycotts of Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines, but has since relented. In his statement Tuesday, Jackson commended those corporations for changing their stances and said the coalition was "glad to have them as partners in the struggle for a just and enduring democracy."
Rev. Lee May, the lead pastor of Transforming Faith Church, said the coalition is "fluid in this boycott" but has four specific requests of Home Depot: To speak out publicly and specifically against SB 202; to speak out against any other restrictive voting provisions under consideration in other states; to support federal legislation that expands voter access and "also restricts the ability to suppress the vote;" and to support any efforts, including investing in litigation, to stop SB 202 and other bills like it.
"Home Depot, we're calling on you. I'm speaking to you right now. ... We're ready to have a conversation with you. You haven't been ready up to now, but our arms are wide open. We are people of faith. People of grace, and we're ready to have this conversation, but we're very clear those four things that we want to see accomplished," May said.
The Rev. Timothy McDonald III, senior pastor of the First Iconium Baptist Church, warned this was just the beginning.
"It's up to you whether or not, Home Depot, this boycott escalates to phase two, phase three, phase four," McDonald said. "We're not on your property -- today. We're not blocking your driveways -- today. We're not inside your store protesting -- today. This is just phase one."
A Home Depot spokesperson responded to an inquiry from ABC News about the call for a boycott.
"We’ve decided that the most appropriate approach for us to take is to continue to underscore our statement that all elections should be accessible, fair and secure and support broad voter participation, and to continue to work to ensure our associates in Georgia and across the country have the information and resources to vote," the spokesperson said.
The faith leaders blamed Kemp for the boycott and preempted a claim that it will hurt Georgians, saying it's not a "job-killing boycott." But the governor responded swiftly, blasting the boycott and saying he stands with Home Depot and its employees.
"They did not ask to be in this political fight. It's unfair to them and their families, and their livelihoods to be targeted," Kemp said. "Instead of boycotting people in great companies like Home Depot, we should be supporting them, and I know that's what I'm going to do."
Home Depot has 90 facilities, 15 distribution centers and accounts for 30,000 jobs in Georgia, according to Kemp.
(CUPERTINO, Calif.) -- Apple's first event of the year took place on Tuesday afternoon and featured a slew of new announcements from the tech giant, including the unveiling of AirTags, the launch of its most advanced iPad Pro yet, a new purple hue for the iPhone and more.
The cryptically named "Spring Loaded" event kicked off at 1 p.m. ET from Apple's Cupertino, California, headquarters and the all-digital show was broadcast on the company's website.
As expected, the keynote announcement was the unveiling of the company's most advanced iPad Pro, featuring Apple's in-house M1 chip.
The new iPad Pro model features a "Liquid Retina XDR" display and cellular models with 5G capabilities. One feature of the new iPad Pro is an ultra-wide camera with "Center Stage," a capability that automatically keeps users in the center of a frame during video calls even as they move about.
The new iPad Pro is available for preorder on April 30 and will be available in the second half of May. It starts at $799.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook himself unveiled the "new, gorgeous purple" iPhone near the top of the event, calling the new hue "perfect for spring." Cook said the new purple iPhone 12 will be available for preorder starting on Friday and available on April 30.
The company also launched its highly anticipated AirTags on Tuesday, a device inspired by the "Find My iPhone" feature. The small iPhone accessory device can be attached to keychains, luggage and more and lets users track down lost items with their phones.
"The next time the couch eats your keys, AirTag will help find them," Apple's engineering program manager Carolyn Wolfman-Estrada said.
She added that they were designed with privacy in mind, emphasizing, "AirTag is designed to track items, not people."
Safety features to discourage unwanted tracking includes unwanted tag detection and audible alerts from unknown tags, according to Wolfman-Estrada. The new device starts at $29, or a four pack for $99, with preorders starting Friday and availability on April 30.
Apple also introduced a redesigned iMac computer with a thinner design and its in-house M1 chip. The new iMac is 11.5 millimeters thin and features a 24-inch 4.5K Retina display. It is available in seven different colors.
In a work-from-home era, the new iMac features its most advanced FaceTime camera yet and revamped mics and sound systems for better video conferencing. Preorders for the new iMac start on April 30 and the devices are set to be available in the second half of May. Prices start at $1,299.
Another announcement from Apple on Tuesday is Apple Podcast Subscriptions, a revamped service for podcasts that lets users subscribe to programs to listen ad-free, access additional content and more.
Finally, the company also unveiled its next-generation Apple TV 4K and rolled out a new Apple Card Family program, which allows people to share an Apple Card and track spending and credit in a new platform.
"What a great day of announcements," Cook said at the event's close. "We can't wait to get these new products into your hands and see all of the amazing things you'll do with them."
(NEW YORK) -- Venmo announced Tuesday that it will let users buy, hold and sell cryptocurrency directly in its app as digital currency goes more mainstream.
The feature, rolling out starting Tuesday, will be available to the company's 70 million customers within the next few weeks. The cryptocurrency offerings include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash.
The company said users can start buying cryptocurrencies with as little as $1.
Darrell Esch, the company's senior vice president and general manager, said the feature "is a new way for the Venmo community to start exploring the world of crypto, within the Venmo environment they trust and rely on as a key component of their everyday financial lives."
"Our goal is to provide our customers with an easy-to-use platform that simplifies the process of buying and selling cryptocurrencies and demystifies some of the common questions and misconceptions that consumers may have," Esch added in a statement.
In addition to conducting business with digital currencies, the Venmo feature will also provide users with cryptocurrency trends as well as educational videos and other resources. Users can also choose to "share their crypto journey" with their friends on the Venmo feed, the company said.
Venmo said that within its 2020 customer research, it found that more than 30% of Venmo customers have already started purchasing crypto or equities. It also found that some 20% of those people started this during the pandemic.
Venmo's announcement comes just weeks after its parent company, PayPal, announced that it was allowing customers to check out online using cryptocurrencies.
It also comes a few weeks after Tesla CEO Elon Musk said his electric vehicle company was now accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment, providing a major boost to the cryptocurrency's push for widespread acceptance.
Meanwhile, some of the most popular cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Ethereum have skyrocketed in value over the past calendar year. On Tuesday, Bitcoin was trading at around $55,600 and Ethereum at approximately $2,260.
(NEW YORK) -- YouTube beauty vlogger James Charles has lost the ability to make money off videos on the platform after underage fans accused him of sending them inappropriate messages.
At least 15 underage fans have alleged Charles sent them nude pictures, demanded explicit photos in return or pressured them into sexual conversations since 2019, YouTube announced Monday, explaining why Charles' channel was demonetized.
The company confirmed to GMA that Charles violated its "creator responsibility policy" and has been removed from its YouTube Partner Program.
YouTube also shared a new video featuring Creator Liaison Matt Koval covering the creator responsibility policy and actions the company can take when it's violated.
A prominent sponsor of Charles, Morphe, also ended their lucrative collaboration on Friday. The cosmetics company had helped him launch the best-selling James Charles x Morphe palette.
"In light of the recent allegations against James Charles, Morphe and James have agreed to end our business relationship and wind down sales of the Morphe x James Charles product offering," the company said on Twitter.
(NEW YORK) -- Just in time for spring, Target's latest Designer Dress Collection has a lot of people ready to step out in full bloom.
The company announced that it's tapped rising fashion forces Christopher John Rogers, Alexis and Rixo to create over 70 original dresses featuring a rich mix of bright bold patterns and statement silhouettes.
With prices starting at $40, shoppers will get to indulge in high fashion designer-style dresses at Target prices.
Target's latest lineup also has a wide size range -- XXS to 4X -- making it the company's most size-inclusive collection.
Each item from the Spring 2021 Designer Dress collection will embody the spirit of each of the designers.
Rogers, the 2020 CFDA American Emerging Designer winner, has worked with everyone from Lady Gaga and Zendaya to former First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Kamala Harris.
For Target's upcoming dress collection, his statement-making styles and patterns will celebrate self-expression.
Alexis Barbara Isaias of Alexis' brand work has been spotted on Hilary Duff, Heidi Klum, Kate Beckinsale and more. Each of her pieces throughout the line has an effortless, feminine feel inspired by her world travels and passion for vintage.
Orlagh McCloskey and Henrietta Rix of RIXO were inspired by art, the designers' travels and vintage style to create dresses that have flattering silhouettes and eye-catching prints.
"For more than 20 years, Target has partnered with some of the biggest names in the industry and had the opportunity to introduce our guests to emerging designers who are shaping fashion and culture today," Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising officer Jill Sando said in a statement. "With this spring collection, we're celebrating three incredibly talented and diverse designers, all while creating our most size-inclusive collection of original, quality dresses that we know our guests will love."
Past collaborations have included Cushnie, Lisa Marie Fernandez and LoveShackFancy.
(NEW YORK) -- Many of us crush LaCroix cans, break down cardboard boxes and try really hard to get all that peanut butter out of the jar to put it in the recycling bin instead of the trash -- a small victory for the environment. Or is it?
We've been told recycling is a great, green solution for our planet, but according to experts, our recycling system as it currently stands is broken.
"A lot of what's happening in America right now with recycling plastic is that it's actually going directly to landfills," White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council member Jerome Foster II told ABC News' Good Morning America.
"And it's going to the places across the world we think will recycle it, but less than 10% of all plastic recycling actually gets recycled back to reuse," he added.
A study that appeared in Science Advances showed that only 9% of all plastic is actually recycled globally, while "12% was incinerated, and 79% was accumulated in landfills or the natural environment."
A big reason recycling is an imperfect system is that it is increasingly expensive.
"We aren't really making an impact through recycling at all. And the only way it's actually going to be fixed is if we demand that the federal government has to put subsidies on the production of recycled pallets, because right now, it's not commercially competitive because virgin plastic is still cheaper," Foster suggested.
Another reason is it takes a lot of energy to break down materials to repurpose them.
"I think for a very long time we've had this idea that trash can just go somewhere else, someone else deals with it. Why, yes we are certainly seeing that other people have to deal with our wastes," said Finn Arne Jørgensen, author of Recycling.
And it's getting more complicated, still. As of 2018, China pushed back on U.S. plastic exports, with the country now sending plastic waste to countries such as Bangladesh, Malaysia and the Philippines to process.
So, what can be done to make our recycling system better? Is there a world in which we wouldn't have to ship our recycling across oceans only for it to wind up in landfills? Here are some suggestions from climate researchers and experts:
1. Focus attention on industries
"I think recycling is the best example of why that's sort of a damaging way to frame things, it will have no impact, in my opinion, on stopping climate change at all," Peter Kalmus, a climate scientist at NASA shared with GMA.
"In fact, [focusing on individual recycling] might even have a negative effect on stopping climate change, because it's like a psychological pressure release valve that allows people to think that things are OK," Kalmus said.
The real issue, he stated, is that plastic producers and fossil fuel corporations are putting the blame on individuals and diverting attention from the scale of waste that their processes contribute to each year.
"They're making it seem like it's our fault, you know, [like] if we just recycle more ... we wouldn't have these problems," said Kalmus.
If we break down our assumptions about recycling being synonymous with being green, it begs the question: Where did we get the idea that it was so good for the planet in the first place?
A big push was made by corporations to emphasize consumer recycling through the Keep America Beautiful campaign in the 1960s and '70s, which coincided with the rise of environmentalism.
"The Keep America Beautiful organization is very much promoting this narrative that once we have produced our packaging and sent it out our products, it's no longer our responsibility. The responsibility is on the consumer. And they have been lobbying very hard. Corporations want to avoid any kind of environmental interventions in their activities," said Jørgensen.
2. As a consumer, emphasize the order in 'reduce, reuse, recycle'
The best recycling system is one where, well, you don't get to the point where you need to recycle at all," Jørgensen shared.
Because of all the energy, money and pollution involved with recycling, Jørgensen suggests that people aim to recycle less by consuming less.
"Basically, if you have to recycle something, you have already failed to some extent, because you should intervene before then," Jørgensen said. "You should reduce first, reuse second, and then recycle. I mean that's the mantra."
3. Become more aware of the waste you produce
"There's a lot of waste that's just being shipped around the planet, looking for a home for someone to deal with it," Jørgensen said.
Looking to other countries as an example, Jørgensen writes in his book Recycling about parts of Japan where consumers sort their recycling into categories. And not just paper, cardboard, plastic and metal, but 34 different categories of materials.
"This is, of course, massively annoying … but what it does is that it keeps waste in the mind, it makes people think about the waste they produce. And that is one of the things that I think not enough people do," Jørgensen said.
Many toss trash and recycling, and don't look back. And many of us don't pay mind to how many times a week we are filling up our bins.
"We're not mindful of the ways that we produce because it is so convenient to generate waste. I think it's almost as bad to have too-convenient-to-invisible recycling systems [as it is] to not have any at all, because again, you're never really confronted with the consequences of what you do," he added.
Experts are not saying you should stop recycling, but they are suggesting that you call up your representative to advocate for a change in policy that would spread out the responsibility for taking care of our planet.
(NEW YORK) -- Restaurants and bars are another step closer to getting much-needed financial assistance after experiencing detrimental loss during the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Small Business Administration announced its application details and program guide on Saturday for eligible businesses who can benefit from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF).
President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan, which established the $28.6 billion fund, was created to help bring jobs back and revive the hard-hit industry.
"Help is here," SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said of the organization's message to bar and restaurant owners. "We’re prioritizing funding to the hardest-hit small businesses -- irreplaceable gathering places in our neighborhoods and communities that need a lifeline now to get back on their feet."
The program was designed to help businesses "meet payroll, purchase supplies and get what they need in place to transition to today’s COVID-restricted marketplace," she explained.
Erika Polmar, executive director of the Independent Restaurant Coalition, hailed the SBA for quickly coming up with guidelines for the relief program.
"It is clear the SBA and the Biden Administration care deeply about ensuring businesses struggling the most can quickly and effectively use this relief program, and we look forward to continued conversations and collaboration to ensure this fund works as intended for the independent restaurant and bar community," she said.
What Restaurant and Bar Owners Need to Know
Before the streamlined RRF application portal officially launches, the SBA will establish a seven-day pilot period to work on outreach and training and address any technical issues before the public launch.
"Participants in this pilot will be randomly selected from existing PPP borrowers in priority groups for RRF and will not receive funds until the application portal is open to the public," the SBA said.
In the first 21 days of the program launching, the SBA will prioritize applications from small businesses owned by women, veterans and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. After that time, all eligible applicants are encouraged to submit applications.
Click here for full details on application requirements, eligibility and program guide.
Eligible entities include restaurants, food stands, trucks and carts, caterers, bars, lounges and taverns, snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars, bakeries, brewpubs, tasting and taprooms, breweries and/or microbreweries, wineries and distilleries, inns and licensed alcohol production facilities that serve samples or product for purchase.
The SBA also worked with leading advocacy groups for underserved business communities as well as national and state trade associations and other small business stakeholders like craft breweries to understand any concerns about the program.
The RRF will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location.
Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023, according to the SBA.
(WASHINGTON) — The union that sought to represent Amazon workers in Alabama has accused the e-commerce giant of interfering in the vote that resulted in warehouse employees not forming a labor union.
The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) said Monday that it filed objections with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over the conduct of Amazon during the union election.
The union filed a total of 23 objections and is seeking an NLRB hearing to determine if the election results are legitimate.
Workers at the Bessemer, Alabama, facility voted by a large margin not to form a labor union, according to the NLRB's tally. Some 1,798 votes were cast against unionization, compared to 738 in favor of it. Voter turnout was around 55%.
The union alleges in the objection filings that Amazon illegally installed a mail-in ballot collection box in the parking lot without authorization, causing confusion and making workers think Amazon had control over the election. The union claims Amazon also created the impression that the box was being surveilled.
The union also accuses Amazon representatives of threatening to close the warehouse if a union was formed. In addition, the RWDSU says the company threatened the loss of benefits and pay if a union was formed.
Ultimately, the union says Amazon's conduct prevented employees from being able to make a "free and uncoerced" choice when voting.
RWDSU president Stuart Appelbaum said in a statement last week that Amazon "required all their employees to attend lecture after lecture, filled with mistruths and lies, where workers had to listen to the company demand they oppose the union."
"We demand a comprehensive investigation over Amazon's behavior in corrupting this election," Appelbaum added. "Working people deserve better than the way Amazon has conducted itself during this campaign."
Amazon accused the union of "misrepresenting the facts" in a statement to ABC News on Monday.
“The fact is that less than 16% of employees at BHM1 voted to join a union," the company said. "Rather than accepting these employees’ choice, the union seems determined to continue misrepresenting the facts in order to drive its own agenda. We look forward to the next steps in the legal process.”
In a separate blog post published by Amazon last Friday, shortly after the vote results were announced, the company said that it's "easy to predict the union will say that Amazon won this election because we intimidated employees, but that’s not true."
"Our employees heard far more anti-Amazon messages from the union, policymakers, and media outlets than they heard from us," the post read. "And Amazon didn’t win -- our employees made the choice to vote against joining a union."
The NLRB declined ABC News' request for comment Monday.
The closely-watched unionizing efforts in Alabama garnered support from President Joe Biden and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
If the organizing bid had been successful, it would have marked the first time Amazon workers in the U.S. formed a labor union.
Eligible products include shoes that are in perfect or near-perfect condition, have been gently worn or are cosmetically flawed with no signs of wear with the exception of slight imperfections such as a stain or discoloration.
To participate in Nike's refurbished program, customers simply return shoes to a Nike store and experts inspect and grade the footwear. From there, each eligible shoe is carefully cleaned and sanitized. Then, the refurbished shoes are returned to stores at a reduced price.
Once refurbished shoes land back on store shelves, there's also messaging on the boxes to let customers know the exact condition of the shoe. There's also a QR code available for shoppers who want to learn even more about Nike's sustainability efforts.
Shoppers still have the option to return their refurbished purchase after 60 days.
The athletic apparel brand's return program is currently in 15 U.S. Nike stores with plans to expand throughout the year.
In case your returned shoes aren't a fit for Nike's refurbished program, you can still donate them, as the brand works closely with a community partner to give away gently worn footwear.
If the shoes are truly at the end of their life cycle, there's also an option to have the shoes recycled through Nike Grind, which is the company's global sustainability program that helps transform manufacturing scrap and end-of-life shoes into recycled materials.
Nike said in a statement," It’s all part of our vision for a circular future — one where the concept of waste no longer exists."
(NEW YORK) -- GameStop shares surged Monday after new support from legendary individual investor Keith Gill in a rally that comes on the same day the video game retailer announced its chief executive officer was stepping down.
GameStop stock opened on Monday at $171.62 per share, up some 11% from its closing price on Friday. The rise comes after Gill, who also goes by the online monikers "Roaring Kitty" and "DeepF***ingValue," posted screenshots on the Reddit forum r/WallStreetBets of his portfolio on Friday.
The screenshots from the retail investor who many say started the initial GameStop craze indicate that he exercised his stockpile of call options that were set to expire on Friday, essentially trading them in for 50,000 more shares of the so-called "meme stock." Gill's post also indicates that he purchased another 50,000 shares of GameStop in addition to those he obtained with his call options.
Gill's new show of confidence in GameStop sent shares climbing during premarket trading over the weekend. Gill was among the key players in the GameStop saga who were called to testify before lawmakers in February.
Meanwhile on Monday morning, the video game retailer announced in a statement that its CEO, George Sherman, will be stepping down from his role on July 31 or "earlier upon the appointment of a successor."
The leadership shakeup comes just a few months after the company said its chief financial officer was resigning as well.
"I am very proud of what we have accomplished at GameStop over the past two years, including during the difficult COVID-19 pandemic," Sherman said in a statement. "It has been a privilege to lead so many dedicated, talented individuals, who collectively possess tremendous passion for the gaming industry."
Sherman had helmed the business since April 2019. A reason for his departure was not given.
Ryan Cohen, the incoming chairman of the board, thanked Sherman for his "valuable leadership" in a statement, adding, "the company is much stronger today than when he joined."
Cohen, the co-founder and former chief executive of the e-commerce platform Chewy, is one of the largest shareholders in GameStop through his private firm RC Ventures. Cohen's push to digitally transform GameStop is cited as having helped fuel the stock's retail investor-driven rise in late January.
Shares for GameStop are up some 800% since the beginning of the year. As of Monday, however, shares are trading at about half the price they were during January's peak.
(NEW YORK) -- Get your final questions ready, because Tuesday marks the last day users can post on Yahoo Answers.
First created in 2005, Yahoo Answers is a message board for people to post questions which can then be answered by anyone on the internet willing to help. Questions posted to the site range from asking the pros and cons of Ready Mix Concrete, to how to replace a car battery, to whether the Chicago Bears will ever win another Super Bowl.
Unlike posting questions to a Facebook group, Yahoo Answers is almost completely unregulated, which means anyone can anonymously post whatever's on their mind- and some people who posted to Yahoo Answers have had some big questions. Some examples from the site's more than fifteen year history include:
-- Did dragons live before, during, or after dinosaurs?
-- Should spaghetti be way shorter?
-- Ladies, I bring my guitar almost everywhere to impress women- does this work?
-- If I eat myself, would I become twice as big? Or disappear completely?
-- HOW DO I TURN OFF CAPS LOCK?
-- I don't think I've ever seen a toucan?
Comical Q&As were so common on Yahoo Answers that they gave rise to a cottage industry of podcasts and YouTube series that celebrated the most outlandish posts.
"It has spawned some of my favorite dramatic readings on YouTube," says Ryan Broderick, who writes the internet culture newsletter "Garbage Day."
"My Brother, My Brother, and Me" is a comedy advice podcast hosted by brothers Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy. Every episode, they spotlight some of the strangest Yahoo Answers they can find.
"Maybe three or four Yahoo Answers per [episode.] So we've done quite a few," says Travis McElroy.
He says in the more than 10 years they've been reading questions on the platform, they've noticed some trends.
"Lots of questions about vaping. A lot of questions about horses. A lot of questions about ghosts -- a lot of questions about ghosts."
McElroy says one of the things that keeps them coming back to Yahoo Answers is that the questioners, in many cases, genuinely want an answer. He says his podcast makes an effort to respond in way that matches that sentiment.
"Our favorite kind of Yahoo Answers questions are the ones where -- no matter how wild the subject matter is -- there is clearly a, like, deep sense of sincerity. Like, the person really wants to know the answer to that," says McElroy. "And I think one of the things that kind of clicked for us very early on is like, well, it's really easy to just sit there and make fun of this. But I think it's even more fun to try to think of an answer that might help them."
Earlier this month, in a decision that several Twitter users compared to the burning of the Library of Alexandria, Yahoo announced it would be shutting down Yahoo Answers -- thus deleting the platform's entire backlog of posts. The last day to post questions and answers is Tuesday, April 20, before it's taken down altogether on May 4. In a statement announcing the shutdown, Yahoo cited flagging interest in the platform, writing, "while Yahoo Answers was once a key part of Yahoo’s products and services, it has become less popular over the years."
"Yahoo has sort of made a habit of doing this. You know, inventing these things that become part of the way we think about the internet, and then when they don't make money they disappear them," says Broderick.
Yahoo Answers' disappearance also leaves a void for all the people who've made a living off the content posted there, according to McElroy.
"There are, of course, other websites where you go to ask questions, but, like, Yahoo Answers has like formed into such a unique thing that I don't know that we could one-for-one replace it," he says.
But he adds the real loss will be all those curious Yahoo Answers users who will now have to go unanswered.
"Yeah, there's a part of me that is sad for what it means for our show, but more than that I'm sad for the Yahoo Answers community. And sad for what they will be missing."
Broderick says even if the platform doesn't make financial sense to the company anymore, the mark it leaves on internet culture is unquestionable.
"We need these weird memes and quirky things because that's what makes the internet a fun place and it's going to be sad when it disappears, I think."
Hear ABC Audio's Mike Dobuski report on the end of Yahoo Answers:
(NEW YORK) -- Global pop group BTS is adding its name to a new marquee, the golden arches of McDonald's.
The fast-food chain announced Monday that the boy band will become the latest celebrity partners to have a signature order featured on the menu.
The new BTS Meal includes a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets, medium french fries, medium Coke and for the first-time ever in the U.S.: Sweet chili and cajun dipping sauces, which was inspired by popular recipes available at McDonald’s South Korea.
"The band has great memories with McDonald’s. We’re excited about this collaboration and can’t wait to share the BTS Meal with the world," the band's label, BIGHIT MUSIC, said in a press release.
Starting May 26, fans can order the latest lineup from the McDonald's Famous Orders program at participating U.S. restaurants.
"BTS truly lights up the world stage, uniting people across the globe through their music. We’re excited to bring customers even closer to their beloved band in a way only McDonald’s can, through our delicious food," McDonald’s USA Chief Marketing Officer Morgan Flatley said in a statement.
Following successful limited partnerships with musicians Travis Scott and J Balvin last year, McDonald’s has expanded its reach with this launch, which will be available in nearly 50 countries across six continents.
(NEW YORK) -- As we continue to celebrate Earth Month, it's important to spotlight the "slow fashion" movement aiming to make fashion more sustainable for people and the planet.
While we've been living in a "more is more" cycle of clothing production for years, this toxic cycle is negatively impacting the environment at an alarming rate.
Landfills received 11.3 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) textiles alone in 2018, which equates to 7.7% of all MSW that was landfilled, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
A portion of this ongoing waste can be attributed to "fast fashion" brands that essentially pump out trendy designs from the runway to stores at an accelerated pace. These items are usually created with poor quality but sell quickly because of lower costs.
Many of these products don't last and end up in the trash.
"The phenomenon of fast fashion -- started from the beginning of the millennium -- has had the objective of feeding this fast-paced ultra-consumerism world that all people want is a huge selection of clothes at affordable pricing with new items popping up every other week," Lucia Scarampi, co-founder of slow fashion brand Marta Scarampi, told ABC News' Good Morning America.
What is slow fashion?
Countering fast fashion, slow fashion is a business model where clothing is made more mindfully and with more eco-conscious materials. While the production process is longer, it also allows for an opportunity to produce well-designed pieces that are built to last, can be easily repurposed and, in turn, create less waste.
"The slow fashion movement asks all of us, consumers, to change our mindset by quitting mindless shopping and think before acting," Scarampi said. "It also asks us to shift toward shopping habits that are beneficial for the planet."
Scarampi's company has kept slow fashion at its core by creating items from scratch after they have been ordered, she said. Garments are carefully crafted and sustainably designed for up to two weeks.
The brand also has a Re-Waste Project that aims to continually source eco-conscious fabric, which will eventually lead to the company becoming 100% zero-waste.
Legendary designer fashion companies such as Eileen Fisher have also found ways to incorporate sustainable slow fashion within its unique designs.
"I think slow fashion starts from a place of intuition and intention -- not producing more and more just to put something out in the world," founder and CEO Eileen Fisher told GMA.
"Taking time to review each step of the design and manufacturing process, understanding how each piece is designed with a certain purpose and relationship to the rest of the line," Fisher said. 'This idea of radical simplicity really resonates with me right now -- paring down, finding what you love and focusing on what matters most."
Fisher's clothing brand made its earliest sustainable decision to start with quality fibers and materials over 25 years ago after hiring its director of social consciousness, she said. This is when the label began to realize the world of sustainability was vast and touched every part of the business including human rights, water usage, carbon, recycling and more.
In 2009, the Certified B Corporation also created its "Renew" program, which allows shoppers to take back clothing to stores, where it can be resold, donated or remade into a new design.
While popular fast fashion brands haven't announced plans around increased sustainability within its business model, there are buzzy direct-to-consumer labels, such as Everlane, that are committed to continually finding ways to take a slower, more sustainable approach.
"As the company has grown, our impact on the environment has become bigger, and it is clear that our planet is in an environmental crisis," Everlane vice president of design Sonia Martin told GMA. "We decided to take responsibility to push for an honest and lower impact supply chain. We believe it is our responsibility to educate consumers and create products with a lower environmental impact so they have a choice and can make better decisions."
Most recently, the company debuted its first swimwear collection consisting of seven styles made from premium Italian fabric derived from 13,768 pounds of recycled plastic.
"Clothing that is better for the planet doesn't have to look boring or without a style perspective, fashion can be a force for good," Martin said. "Our team is obsessed with designing high-quality clothing that can last in your wardrobe for years and still be trend-relevant."
"It's about perfecting the small details that elevate -- from the color palette to the finishes," she said.
Other seasoned and emerging fashion brands that have been following the slow fashion blueprint without skimping out on style or quality include Stella McCartney, Reformation, Amour Vert, ThredUP, Levis and more.
(NEW YORK) -- Sustainable snacking has never been easier this Earth Day with new inventive and delicious upcycled products that fight food waste.
Whether it's pulp, peels or stems from various produce, check out the companies that have created crave-worthy bites out of upcycled ingredients that not only taste good, but do good for the environment:
The family owned upcycled company takes would-be food waste from the craft brewing industry and transforms it into a cracker worthy of any fine charcuterie board or a simple snack.
The spent grains, like barley, that are steeped in water during the beer-making process still hold incredible flavor and nutrients that Brewer's recycles and combines with flour to create a healthy and sustainable product.
"By making upcycled products like chips and crackers with the leftover barley and wheat from craft breweries, it allows ingredients to reach their full potential and value," Kyle Fiasconario, one of the two brothers and founders of the brand, told ABC News' Good Morning America.
"When farmers grow food they do so with the best intentions and care; this takes time, energy, water and space," he explained. "People can help positively affect the environment through fighting food waste. By supporting the movement to make every piece of food go further and do more, you help farmers, your family and the environment."
Seconds Carrot Crackers
"Upcycling takes something that would otherwise be wasted to create something new that is even more valuable than what you started with," the gluten-free and non-GMO carrot snack company says on its website. "Upcycling is the perfect process to convert carrot peels and pulp into something tastier."
The female-led brand partners with juice and produce companies to upcycle nutritious pulps and peels, dehydrate them and mill them into a flour that's mixed with nutritious seeds and baked into a crisp cracker. The bite-size snacks are an easy way to boost daily vegetable intake, plus each serving has 5 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.
Rind Dried Fruit Blends
This company believes in "the power of the peel" and is shaking up the dried fruit industry with products that keep the rind intact in dried fruit to deliver more vitamins, fiber and antioxidants.
"Edible peels account for 15% of food waste annually," the company said. "By keeping the skin on their delicious dried fruits, RIND has diverted over 100,000 pounds of food waste in 2020."
Rind uses non-GMO Project Verified fruit that is sourced mainly from small family farms in California with minimal to no processing and zero added sugars, plus each serving contains 4 to 6 grams of fiber.
What's better than one sustainable product? How about an entire online marketplace rooted in sustainability and dedicated to connecting consumers to brands that create groceries and household goods to make a positive impact.
Co-founder and CCO Katie Tyson along with Jamie Leidelmeyer, Hive’s head of sustainability, created a values-based grocery shopping experience with actionable ways to make conscientious shopping easier and more delicious for consumers.
Plus, every carbon-neutral shipment is made in an appropriately sized box with 100% recyclable materials and nontoxic ink.
Each brand listed on Hive is evaluated against five standards: ingredient integrity with sound environmental practices and sourcing; recyclable packaging to ensure as close to a zero-waste model as possible; low carbon footprint that practices efficient operations and practice offsets; commitment to social good through their products in a community to support social causes; and lastly, is the product from the brand "rave-worthy," meaning it tastes great and does the job.