These dessert fans scour Japan to showcase the best convenience store treats

@parlor_sweets is a delectable Instagram account that curates pre-packaged desserts from konbini, or convenience stores, across Japan. American 7-Elevens aren’t known for their assortment of sweet treats, save for a Slurpee on a hot summer day, which is why this enticing convenience store content lured us in.

A gooey soufflé pancake melts onto crumbs waiting to collect the overflow.

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A post shared by BAKE (@parlor_sweets) on Jul 14, 2020 at 3:24am PDT

A cartoon cow rests on the froth of a creamy milk pudding that bounces as it’s scooped.

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A post shared by BAKE (@parlor_sweets) on Jul 10, 2020 at 4:08am PDT

The thick middle of a glazed cookie cream puff feels glutinous to watch as it oozes from the rupture.

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A post shared by BAKE (@parlor_sweets) on Jun 30, 2020 at 2:06am PDT

The members of @parlor_sweets’s curators -- who call their group BAKE -- are just as delightful as the desserts they share. Intrigued by the dizzying varieties of delectable treats, they document them through photos and videos on their Instagram account. We asked them to tell us more about their group, why they came together, and how their account “introduces the beauty of Japan overseas.”

Why convenience store desserts?

In konbini, there are wide varieties of desserts at decent prices. Among other things, these desserts catch the most attention from foreign travelers. The packaging is well-designed to appeal to customers and some are co-directed by famous patissiers or brands. Read the rest

After Larry David's spite goes up in flames, along comes the Ember smart mug

Have you ever been let down by a business you frequent? Have you ever patronized an establishment and thought, “Man, who’s running this place? A pack of teacup chihuahua’s in a person suit?” That feeling of betrayal inspired Curb Your Enthusiasm's character Larry David to open up his very first spite store, Latte Larry’s.

The spite began when Mocha Joe, the owner of Mocha Joe’s, served Mr. David a cup of coffee that became too cool, too fast. The disagreement over proper beverage temperature motivated Mr. David to invent his shop’s signature self-heating mug. Located right next to Mocha Joe’s, Latte Larry’s goal was to ensure that not a single customer’s cup of joe goes cold.

However, Mr. David was unable to revel in the contemptuous victory, for where he goes fiasco follows. His invention ended up in flames, reducing both Mocha Joe’s and Latte Larry’s to ashes. Mr. David blames the accident on an employee’s rogue appendage.

While Mr. David is under investigation, a real-life version of the mugs, ironically called the Ember, has topped Science Focus Magazine’s list of the coolest gadgets for 2020. This iteration of the self-heating mug connects to your smartphone and will keep your beverage at the temperature of your choice for 1.5 hours. If you can stomach the scorching $99.95 price, check out Ember, along with 46 other new pieces of tech, here.

If you plan to avenge your enemies, please be cautious not to take yourself down with them.

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2020 is seeing an "epidemic" in transgender and gender non-conforming murders

This year, the Human Rights Campaign has recorded at least 21 violent deaths of transgender or gender non-conforming people. In 2019, they tracked at least 27. In what is being called an “epidemic,” 2020 is likely to see more fatal attacks than in 2019.

The Human Rights Campaign says “at least” because “too often these stories go unreported -- or misreported.”

The month of June brought celebrations of LGBTQ+ Pride that often intersected with the Black Lives Matter protests.

Tori Cooper, Director of Community Engagement for HRC’s Trans Justice Initiative, said, “In just four days, we have seen the deaths of at least three transgender and gender non-conforming people […] This horrific spike in violence against our community must be an urgent call to action for every single person in this nation,” in response to the July 1 killing of 32-year-old Shaki Peters.

On July 3, 27-year-old Bree Black was killed in Pompano Beach, Florida, making her the fourth Black transgender woman to be murdered in eight days.

Transgender women of color, particularly Black transgender women, are disproportionately victimized. Eight out of the 21 reported murders this year have been Black transgender women.

Another alarming trend on the Human Rights Campaign’s list of lives lost is that at least five of the killings occurred in Puerto Rico. No other states appear on the list more than once, with the exceptions of Texas and Florida, which both appear twice.

This is not only a murder epidemic.

In May, Kristian Rouse, an 18-year-old Black transgender male, was found by his mother and sister severely beaten in their apartment. Read the rest

Drive-In Raves bring back large-scale live music events

With the cancelation of live events for the foreseeable future, the rave community has been facing serious withdrawals. No hypnotizing light shows to get lost in, no desert playground to run around in, and no trading kandi with strangers.

In an attempt to comfort the EDM community, famous event organizer Insomniac, whose festivals include the Electric Daisy Carnival, has been hosting virtual raves.

But, it may have done little to soothe a raver's EDM heart.

Ravers aching to get back into the scene pulled up to Insomniac and Restless Beats' “Park ‘N Rave” event at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports in Chandler, Arizona on June 26 and 27.

In a way, this socially distanced version of raving seems more luxurious than it is traditionally. One guest described her experience on saying,

“Our personal dance floor was ample space for us to set up our viewing station. We were allowed to bring our own lawn chairs, blow up couches, air beds, and beer pong tables. As a grandma raver, being able to chill from time to time between sets without leaving my group or having to walk away from the stage was awesome. Guests were also encouraged to bring decorations, so many personalized their space with tapestries, flowers, Christmas lights, totems, and flags that made it feel like a camping festival. There was so much space for flow arts! I saw so many hoopers, levi wanders, glovers, and staffers doing their thing without being afraid to run into people!

Being able to bring our own food and alcohol was a real game changer!

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Why Native Americans are protesting Trump's celebration at Mount Rushmore

In another controversial decision, President Trump is celebrating the fourth of July with a fiery display atop South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore. The decision may seem troublesome to anyone worried about things such as the uncontained coronavirus or shooting explosives off the top of a forest. But it is most certainly troublesome for the native Lakota people, who’s sacred Black Hills were desecrated for the purpose of the monument.

On a cross country road trip, I recently drove through South Dakota and spent a day exploring the Black Hills. The drive from Mount Rushmore to the Lakota’s Crazy Horse memorial was a discouraging perpetuation of the white supremacy this country was built off of. During the 17-mile ride, I saw Trump 2020 lawn signs spread throughout the hills. At the base of the road that leads to the Crazy Horse memorial is a wild west themed tourist stop for food and souvenirs. On a street corner nearby, a man dedicated his makeshift booth to selling Trump 2020 t-shirts in every color.

From a non-native perspective, it struck me as an unsettling display of ignorance towards true American history. I can only imagine how upsetting it might be for an Oglala Lakota Native living in a place that does not seem to acknowledge you or your history.

The Oglala speakers I heard from at the memorial said nothing about the president and his impact. However, they did speak about the bloody history of the Black Hills and how it affects them to this day. Read the rest