Skimm'd after getting our tax season calendar

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JANUARY 31, 2019


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Skimm'd after getting our tax season calendar


"Small charcoal grill" – What Ariana Grande's new tattoo in Japanese translates to. Yes, it's a mistake.


The Story

Tens of millions of Americans are experiencing a polar vortex.

I'm not a meteorologist. What's a polar vortex?

Freezing cold air that usually sits on top of the North Pole. Except sometimes it migrates south. Which is what happened earlier this week, causing temps across the Midwest to fall far below freezing.

Yep, sounds horrible.

It is. Some places are colder than Antarctica or Siberia (psst: that Mars comparison that made headlines yesterday might be a bit of a stretch). Cities like Chicago and Indianapolis have reached record low temperatures. At least eight people have died. Homeless people are especially vulnerable. Here's what to do if you see someone in danger.

Got it. What else?

Some schools, businesses, and gov offices are closed. The US Postal Service isn't delivering mail in some states. Thousands of flights have been canceled. Chicago has set some train tracks on fire to keep them warm enough to operate. You also might have been hearing the words "frost quakes" and "snow squall" yesterday.

What are they? Asking for a friend.

A frost quake is when water in the ground quickly freezes and expands. It causes the soil and rocks near it to crack, sometimes causing loud noises. A snow squall – which hit parts of the Northeast yesterday – is a sudden fall of snow that makes it hard to see and potentially dangerous to drive.

So what's the deal here? Is climate change involved at all?

The jury's out. Arctic winds can be disturbed when hit by warm air, messing up the winds' flow and sending the winds south. Which is why some scientists think it might be related. But a variety of things can disturb these winds and scientists aren't in agreement that climate change is to blame for this one.


At least 75% of the continental US is experiencing freezing temps because of the polar vortex. The especially cold temps are expected to let up by the weekend. But things like business closures and higher heating bills could still take a hit on the economy – the last polar vortex cost the US an estimated $5 billion. Meanwhile, many are facing life-threatening low temps. Stay safe.


What to say when someone tries to gaslight you...

Not happening. Yesterday, special counsel Robert Mueller said that Russians are working to discredit the findings from his investigation. He says a pro-Russian Twitter account apparently released confidential documents from his investigation alongside edited files. That Twitter account has been suspended. And Mueller is calling it out.

What you're still hearing about…

Venezuela. Yesterday, Nicolás Maduro said he's ready to talk...with the help of international mediators. Maduro's been in a little bit of a situation since opposition leader and head of the country's parliament Juan Guaidó invoked the constitution to act as interim president. And has gotten support from countries like the US, UK, Canada, Argentina, and Brazil. This week, the country's Supreme Court (which is pro-Maduro) barred Guaidó from leaving the country and froze his bank accounts while the AG investigates him for anti-gov activities. Maduro has resisted calls to hold new elections. Then yesterday, he said he could talk it out. But threatened that if the US intervenes, the situation would be worse than Vietnam. Not a comparison anyone is looking for. Maduro also says the US is just going after his country's oil. This comes as thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets again yesterday to demand Maduro step down.

What to say when a conversation with your co-worker gets heated…

Well that took a turn. Yesterday, the Federal Reserve signaled that it wasn't going to raise interest rates for the time being. Good news for the stock market – which spiked after the announcement. Maybe not so much for the economy as a whole. The Fed has been raising rates recently because the economy's been "strong." Now, it says the economy is just "solid" and that things are cooling down thanks to the government shutdown, trade tensions, and Brexit. Get it together, world. In other news of things that need to get it together, Facebook. Apple shut down the Book's ability to share beta versions of its apps among employees. That was after a report said the Book was paying people to let it track their phone activity as part of a research app. Meanwhile, Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn is rethinking parts of its plan to build a $10 billion factory in Wisconsin. The company is saying it will focus on hiring engineers and researchers instead of manufacturing workers, and that it's focusing on making a "technology hub" rather than a factory.

What to say when you forgot what you were fighting about…

Ready to talk. Yesterday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell finally addressed the controversial non-call in the NFC championship game earlier this month – which helped the Los Angeles Rams secure a trip to Super Bowl LIII while the season ended for the New Orleans Saints. 10 days after the game, Goodell said he understands the frustration but that "officials are human." This came on the same day that Saints coach Sean Payton gave his end-of-season press conference…and might have thrown some subtle shade at Goodell by his choice of shirt. But don't worry about Payton, he has ice cream and Netflix. Here's who isn't having a press conference: Maroon 5. The Super Bowl LIII headliners won't be taking questions from reporters today during the traditional pre-halftime show press conference. Some musicians have protested the halftime show out of solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. So people think the band might be skipping the Q&A portion of the event so they don't have to face the music.

Skimm More: Super Bowl LIII is this weekend. We Skimm'd it all for you, including what players you should keep your eyes on.

What to say when you hear your fruit juice might have arsenic and lead

In other gross news, you might want to avoid chicken nuggets.

What to say when you hear Batman's getting a makeover...

Meet, Zara.


Tax season is hereeeee. No wait, don't go. You know you gotta do 'em. So over the next few months, we'll be giving you everything you need to file those taxes like a boss. Starting with a checklist of all the forms and info you'll need to have on hand when you file. *Downloads checklist. Plays "Be Prepared" on repeat.*


For when you're getting weekly manicures...

So you think you're getting engaged? This website, James Allen, lets you design the engagement ring dreams are made of online. Bonus: they're having a major V-day sale. Not a drill.*

For when the new year brings new deadlines…

Breathe. We Skimm'd the habits and products that'll make you and your workspace more zen. Get them here.

For when you have big wedding goals but a small budget...

Split the tab with Macy's. They want to give you a lot (repeat: a lot) of cash to take some of the SOS out of planning. Register with them and then enter for a chance to win $10K. Go go go.*

*PS This is a sponsored section


Cheers to...Dianne T (TN), whose art will be exhibited in Square Market cafe, a local restaurant in Columbia, TN. And to Samantha G (WA), the first in her family to graduate from college. She just got her first interview for a neuroscience PhD program.

Spotlight on…Krista E (NY), who's been working to help turn an abandoned house in Niagara Falls into a community center. The goal: for the center to host free classes and workshops, a laundry space, fitness classes, and more.

(Some) Birthdays...Jenna Elson (NY), Lauren Capra (IL), Anna Kane (Scotland), Dayna Less (IN), Mona Liddell (NC), Casey Martin (GA), Sara Pedraz Matía (Spain), Luke Miles (NC), Tabata Gallina (Brazil), Jamie Gentile (AL), Cuesta Kline (NJ), Joey Kuhn (NY), Yael Navon (VA), Keni Poirier (PA), Kristina Redd (AL)

*Welcome to a new section we're testing with members of theSkimm. Want to take it to the next level? Reach out here for a chance to be featured.