Skimm'd while celebrating our ninth birthday

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Skimm'd while celebrating our ninth birthday

Get in on it

Quote of the Day

"We're living our dream life, having a blast" – A woman, who's road tripping with two others after they figured out they were all dating the same man. Hear that, John Tucker?

Making (Brain) Waves

The Story

Mind reading might be a thing.

This isn't another "Black Mirror" episode, is it?

Quite the opposite. You've likely heard of prosthetics – artificial devices that replace body parts lost in accidents or as a result of illness. They can be used for limbs and even parts of the face. Now, there could be one for speech. Earlier this week, researchers from UC San Francisco said they helped a paralyzed man in his late 30s talk for the first time in 15 years. But he didn't physically speak.

Mind blowing.

Really. For months, researchers attached a speech neuroprosthetic – an implant of electrodes – to his brain. And recorded senses the body uses to speak (think: speech-related signals in your brain and motor signals telling your mouth to form words). Then, a cable carried those signals to a computer. AI tech does the rest, translating the brain signals into auto-corrected words and sentences on the screen.

Auto-correct's finally good for something.

You're ducking right. But seriously, it's a scientific milestone. The system's able to 'translate' up to 18 words per minute. And it's pretty accurate too. Researchers said the algorithm correctly transcribed nearly half of what the patient tried to say. And worked even better when he tried to say full sentences. Some examples of these 'spoken' sentences: "I am very good" and "No, I am not thirsty."

What's next?

Researchers behind the implant would like to bring it closer to conversational speech (think: 150 words per minute). It could take years to develop. But it may help bring more natural communication to people with neurological diseases like ALS or cerebral palsy. And the thousands of others who are unable to talk after suffering things like stroke or injury. The man, who had been using a pointer attached to his hat to communicate, called the experiment a "life-changing experience."


As with every great tech breakthrough, there are questions about whether this could lead to privacy concerns. Like if it would be possible to hack into someone's private thoughts or if those could be shared against the person's will. But for now, it's a jolt of good news – and hope – to the thousands of people who could benefit from the tech advancement. Don't mind if we do.

And Also...This

Where people are getting whiplash…

Lebanon. Yesterday, Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri gave up on trying to form a new gov – adding to the country's political crisis. Last year, former PM Hassan Diab resigned after his gov was accused of negligence in the Beirut explosion that killed over 200 people and injured thousands. So the country's former ambassador to Germany Mustapha Adib was tapped for the job. But he resigned less than a month later, after failing to pull together a gov. Enter Hariri. He'd been Lebanon's PM twice before and thought 'third time's the charm.' Except he, too, failed his mission after nine months of trying to wrangle together a gov – citing disagreements with the president. Now, Diab – who's been serving as the caretaker PM – is sticking around. TBD when a new PM will be designated.

  • No easy task: Forming a gov in Lebanon's a tough job. Gov positions are divided among major religious groups: A Sunni Muslim must serve as PM, a Maronite Christian as president, and a Shiite as the speaker of Parliament.

  • Not just political: Lebanon's long been struggling with widespread gov corruption and an economic crisis – driving recent protests there. The country's seen high unemployment, inflation, and rising poverty rates. And the country has had to ration medicine and other goods.

What people are watching…

Europe. Yesterday, at least 90 people died in Germany and Belgium after heavy flooding. Unprecedented heavy rain caused rivers and reservoirs to burst their banks, leading to flash floods. The water swept away homes. And 1,300 people are reportedly missing. Some German politicians pointed the finger at climate change for the extreme weather. And Chancellor Angela Merkel gave her sympathies to the families, vowing to help those affected.

...Oh and speaking of extreme weather, the Western US and parts of Canada are bracing for another heat wave this weekend.

What's saying 'danger, danger'...

Federal safety regulators. Earlier this week, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sued Amazon, accusing it of selling third parties' hazardous products. On that list: carbon monoxide detectors that fail to ring the alarm, flammable kids' PJs, and hair dryers that could zap people. Yikes. Now, Amazon's saying 'wait, we got rid of those.' And that regulators didn't tell them they needed to do more.

Johnson & Johnson. Earlier this week, it recalled five of its spray-on sunscreens (Neutrogena and Aveeno brands). The reason? They had traces of benzene – a carcinogen that can cause leukemia if exposed at high levels. J&J said it doesn't know how benzene got into its products. But is looking into it. And telling customers to throw those cans out. Time to upgrade your beach bag.

While women are making a home run...

The "Space Jam" sequel is hoping for a slam dunk.

Birthday Bash Sale

It's the last day of our Birthday Week Bash. So before we blow out our candles, we've got two more sales left to kick off your weekend. And they're a treat.

For today only (don't forget: the sales end tonight), you can save 15% on Food52's Five Two kitchenware line, and 20% off all things colorful and kitschy at Yellow Owl Workshop. Find 'em both here. Your home? It's about to get real happy.

We've had a blast celebrating with you all week — and hope you did too. But the party doesn't stop here. For more stuff you won't wanna miss, check out the Skimm'r-approved kitchen products you've purchased over and over, plus our fave ready-in-minutes snacks and meals (that are also delicious).

Skimm Reads

"While We Were Dating" by Jasmine Guillory

The queen of romance is back. And her latest mixes business with pleasure after Ben, an ad exec, and Anna, a budding Hollywood actress, serve up some sizzling chemistry after meeting on set for a project. Guillory puts their banter to the test — they'll have to deal with a family emergency, their pasts, and some other rom-com-esque shenanigans. It's a love story, baby, just say 'yes' (Jasmine's version).


Here are today's recs to help you live a smarter life…

1. Edible cookie dough that'll satisfy a late-night craving. Ever get the desire to eat directly from the jar? Well now you can. This vegan and gluten-free brownie batter can be eaten straight or rolled into balls and baked in less than 10 minutes. 100% delish.

2. A padded eyeglass holder to avoid scratches. Every time you put yours down, you somehow wind up with teensy-tiny scratches on the lens or arms. Now you'll have a designated spot that'll keep 'em safe. Phew.

3. A set of bands that'll hold your fitted bed sheets in place. Seriously. You've lived too many days with your sheets riding up and enough is enough. These bands will clip onto the corners, holding them tight while you sleep. Sweet dreams.

4. Our fave handmade finds on Etsy. From adorable home goods to eco-friendly swaps to chic jewelry. Check out all our recs you'll immediately want to add to cart.


We like to celebrate the wins, big and small. Let us know how your friends, neighbors, coworkers (and yes, even you) are making career moves, checking off goals, or making an impact in the community.

Ain't no mountain high enough...Sydney G (FL). Because of COVID-19, she's had to attend her fifth semester of medical school remotely. But she's crushing it. And Kathleen couldn't be more proud.

Time to applaud...Erin B (PA). She was recognized by her community for over 14 years of service to the Phoenixville Borough Policy Committee. And has dedicated her life to public service.

(Some) Birthdays...Tracey DiBuonno (IL), Jennifer Mason (OH), John Simpson (IL), Sam Palumbo (IL), Sarah Rothman (NY), Naomi Goldin (NY), Paul Berger, Nicole Jeffery (TN), Isabelle Wohlin (MA), Kailyn Jensen (MD), Sara Schad (NY), Caroline Glaser (PA), Meg Valz (GA), Carmen Aviles (FL), Maudette Olukotun (GA)

*Paging all members of theSkimm. Reach out here for a chance to be featured.

Skimm More

The Cannes Film Festival is taking over the French Riviera. We spoke to film correspondent Anicée Gohar on this week's ep of "Skimm This" about what it's been like on the red carpet in a COVID world. Plus, which films are getting the most buzz.

And if you're looking for other smart ways to spend your time…

  • Listen to our news podcast "Skimm This" for clarity on the biggest stories of the week.

  • Tune in to our podcast "9 to 5ish with theSkimm" for tips to navigate your career.

  • Subscribe to our "Skimm Money" newsletter to keep up to date with your wallet.

  • Sign up for our "Skimm Your Life" newsletter for curated shopping, reads, and entertainment recs.

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Skimm’d by Rashaan Ayesh, Maria del Carmen Corpus, Mariza Smajlaj, Clem Robineau, and Julie Shain