Check out these awesome stories you might have missed over Labor Day weekend.
Mr. Beast Giving Away 1 Million Subscribers
For the first bit of awesome, YouTuber Mr. Beast ‘giving’ away 1 million subscribers to a smaller creator. He invited four small YouTubers o keep their hand on a box with his diamond play button inside, with the last one standing being declared the winner.
He then proceeded to torture the creators by adding other challenges to try and get someone to remove their hand. It took nearly 33 hours before a winner was announced. One creator failed on accident after swinging a bat at a car for a challenge, another left after a $10,000 bribe, and the second to last did a challenge to win $10,000… but then accidentally disqualified himself.
During the entire challenge, Mr. Beast censored any mention of the creators’ channels, until the final winner was announced. That winner, who has a channel called Zealous, went from just over 50,000 subscribers on Saturday, before the video was posted, to gaining 970,000 by the end of the day.
As of Tuesday morning, he currently is sitting at 1.76 million subscribers, meaning Mr. Beast’s fans kept his promise and subscribed en masse to Zealous.
Broxh Gets a Visit From Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
In other online awesome, arguably the most wholesome streamer on Twitch, Broxh, got a visit from New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Broxh is known as a shy woodcarver, specializing in whakairo, who blew up after clips of him refusing donations from viewers went viral. On Sunday, his fans were met with a big surprise when Prime Minister Ardern decided to visit him in the middle of a stream while visiting in the Maori city of Rotorua.
The heartwarming moment consisted of Arden just interacting with Twitch Chat while also talking to Broxh about his work. At one point, she joined Twitch Chat’s demand that he do a hair flip – something that he was extremely embarrassed to do.
Minecraft Fans Find Sought-After Map Seed
Mankind has done some amazing feats in its history. From exploring the entirety of the globe, going to the moon, managing to not destroy itself (yet) with nuclear weapons, the list goes on and on.
This weekend another accolade was added to that list by SalC1 and thousands of other Minecraft players: finding the lost seed of pack.png. Pack.png holds a nostalgic spot in players’ hearts as the default thumbnail to world servers, but the image is just 128×128 pixels and is so degraded that it was hard to tell what world it came from.
In Minecraft, each world is generated according to a seed. There are trillions of possible seeds that dictate everything about a world, so SalC1 and other players were hoping to figure out exactly which seed this image came from to be able to visit it. It took months of calculations to render the image with enough detail to even start the project, then many more months to narrow down the list of possible seeds from over 2^48 possible seeds to one.
This weekend that feat was finally achieved, securing SalC1’s place among humanities greatest minds like DaVinci or Einstein. If you play Minecraft and want to check out the spot for yourself, here are the coordinates and the world seed.
Coordinates: x=49, z=0
Jokes aside, this work did take months and involved thousands of players offering their GPUs to help crunch the trillions of possibilities. For Minecraft players, this is actually just the latest in a series of efforts to find where and in what world certain historical landscapes have been. Before pack.png was found, players also managed to find where the long-time main-menu screen for Minecraft was, allowing players to visit that as well.
Xbox Series… S?
The last bit of awesome comes from Microsoft. On Monday, there were a ton of leaks and rumors surrounding the new Xbox.
Initial reports indicated that Microsoft was not only planning on releasing the Xbox Series X by the end of the year but also a cheaper Series S. Microsoft decided the cat was out of the bag and officially announced the device, saying the rumors were true and it’d be cheap for a next-gen console.
👀 Let’s make it official!— Xbox (@Xbox) September 8, 2020
Xbox Series S | Next-gen performance in the ˢᵐᵃˡˡᵉˢᵗ Xbox ever. $299 (ERP).
Looking forward to sharing more! Soon. Promise. pic.twitter.com/8wIEpLPVEq
Next-Gen consoles are expected to be well over $500, but the Series S – which is a smaller version of the Series X that lacks an optical drive, is just going to be $299. After accounting for inflation, that means the Series S will be cheaper than what previous Xbox’s were on their debut.
For gamers, 2020 is shaping up to be a major year for gaming tech, with new video cards from Nvidia, possibly new ones from AMD, along with the new Xbox and PS5 releases.
Netflix Reinstates Employee Who Crashed Director-Level Meeting After Criticizing Dave Chapelle
Terra Field had publicly accused Chappelle of making transphobic remarks in his new stand-up special “The Closer” just days before she was suspended.
Netflix Reinstates Terra Field
Netflix reinstated a transgender employee who was critical of Dave Chappelle’s new stand-up special after suspending her for attending a director-level meeting without an invitation.
Terra Field tweeted on Tuesday that she was reinstated once the company determined “there was no ill-intent in” her decision to attend the meeting.
“I’m going to take a few days off to decompress and try to figure out where I’m at,” she added. “At the very least, I feel vindicated.”
Field also shared an email Netflix sent her regarding her suspension being lifted.
“Our investigation did not find that you joined the QBR meeting with any ill intent and that you genuinely didn’t think there was anything wrong with seeking access to this meeting,” the email said. “Additionally, when a Director shared the link it further supported that this was a meeting you could attend.”
Field’s suspension came just days after she tweeted a viral thread criticizing Chappelle’s latest program on Netflix, “The Closer.” She was one of many activists who claimed Chappelle’s set was transphobic and encouraged Netflix to take action. Field wrote that his comments attacked “the very validity of transness.” Netflix insisted those tweets had nothing to do with her suspension.
Field reportedly attended the director-level meeting with two other employees who were also suspended. A spokesperson for Netflix told Deadline that those two staffers have likewise been reinstated and the company “will be distributing broader guidance about meetings and clarifying which are for which people.”
Netflix’s Response to Dave Chappelle Controversy
Netflix, for its part, has defended Chappelle and rejected calls to remove “The Closer” from the streaming service.
“It never feels good when people are hurting, especially our colleagues,” Netflix co-CEO Ted Srandos wrote in an internal memo. “You should also be aware that some talent may join third parties in asking us to remove the show in the coming days, which we are not going to do.”
“We don’t allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line,” he added. “I recognize, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries. Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean spirited but our members enjoy it, and it’s an important part of our content offering.”
Among other things, Chappelle took time in his special to defend author J.K. Rowling, who previously faced backlash over a series of transphobic remarks she made. Chappelle said he agreed with Rowling.
“I’m team TERF,” he added. “I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact.”
Chappelle went on to make jokes about Caitlyn Jenner before comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.
Many employees at Netflix are still frustrated with the way the platform has handled the controversy surrounding “The Closer.” According to The Verge, a trans employee resource group is planning a walkout on Oct. 20.
“Trans Lives Matter. Trans Rights Matter,” the group said in a memo. “And as an organization, Netflix has continually failed to show deep care in our mission to Entertain the World by repeatedly releasing content that harms the Trans community and continually failing to create content that represents and uplifts Trans content. We can and must do better!”
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Deadline) (The New York Times)
Lil Nas X and Bella Poarch May Have Abandoned Plans To Participate In TikTok NFT Program
Lil Nas X’s TikTok NFT was scheduled to debut a week ago and is still not available to the public.
Creators Allegedly Leave TikTok’s NFT Program
Musicians Lil Nas X and Bella Poarch may have quietly exited TikTok’s new NFT collection, according to a report from Rolling Stone.
TikTok first announced the line, which is called “TikTok Top Moments,” at the end of September. It involves a series of creator-led NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, which are unique and tradeable digital assets. TikTok’s NFTs can be purchased with the cryptocurrency Ethereum. According to a press release, the money will “largely go directly to the creators and NFT artists involved.”
TikTok said that creators like Poarch, Lil Nas X, Grimes, Curtis Roach, Brittany Broski, and more would be participating in the program. The company called NFTs an “empowerment tool” that will allow these creators to “be recognized and rewarded for their content.” It planned to debut the collection on Oct. 6 with Lil Nas X’s NFT, but that token has still not been made available. A source told Rolling Stone that it may never be released.
NFT Rollout Described as “A Mess”
The outlet also reported that Poarch is “actively contemplating pulling out of the program due to worries about its execution.” According to Rolling Stone, three sources familiar with the rollout of the program have described it as “a challenge,” “a mess,” and “a complete joke.”
Those sources claimed that in order to secure Poarch’s initial participation, TikTok offered her marketing support worth potentially $4 million for her next release. The company also allegedly promised to use one of her songs in an end-of-year campaign. A spokesperson for TikTok, however, described these claims as “not accurate.”
Neither Poarch nor Lil Nas X has commented on their participation yet. Meanwhile, TikTok declined to answer Rolling Stone’s questions about the status of their NFTs.
Some of TikTok’s announced NFTs have gone public, though. Throughout Tuesday, Roach’s “Bored in the House” video was up for auction on the platform Immutable.
NFTs took the internet by storm in early 2021, but their popularity peaked in May and declined throughout the summer. Celebrities, tech moguls, and everyday people featured in viral memes have hopped on the trend and made millions doing so.
According to Rolling Stone, TikTok has valued some of its own NFTs at $1 million. Now, it’s unclear if those tokens will ever hit the market.
See what others are saying: (Rolling Stone) (Dexerto)
Ariana Grande, Bella Hadid, and Others Honor World Mental Health Day
A slew of stars acknowledged the day by sharing personal stories and making hefty donations to organizations that offer mental health resources.
Celebrities Donate to Mental Health Organizations
Major celebrities honored World Mental Health Day on Sunday by speaking candidly about their mental health struggles and donating to nonprofits.
Singer Ariana Grande announced that she is donating $5 million worth of free therapy through the online counseling platform Better Help. The star previously partnered with the company over the summer to give $1 million in therapy to fans and opted to throw more money at the program following its success.
“I acknowledge that there are very real barriers when it comes to accessing mental health resources, and while this is only one small gesture (and a much larger systemic problem remains) I wanted to do this again with @betterhelp in hopes of bringing access to a few more people and perhaps inspiring a few of you to try something new and prioritize your own healing,” Grande wrote on Instagram.
Those interested can sign up for a free first month of Better Help and get an additional 15% off the second month.
Model Bella Hadid also pledged to donate to mental health resources. She teamed up with the beverage company Kin Euphorics, which will donate 10% of its October sales to Gurls Talk, a nonprofit that gives adolescent girls a space to talk about mental health, along with various educational tools to aid those discussions. Hadid will match those donations.
“Dealing with mental illness for most of my life, bringing awareness to the education of mental health through my platform is something that I will continue to do until our mental is just as respected as our physical,” Hadid wrote. “I want everyone who struggles daily to know that you are not alone.”
Stars Share Resources and Personal Stories
Meanwhile, actress and singer Selena Gomez used her new makeup brand Rare Beauty to share statistics about the prevalence of mental illness and the efforts to combat it. The company, which has previously focused on several mental health initiatives, shared that just 1.3% of philanthropic investments go towards supporting mental health.
The company additionally cited information from an American Psychological Association report, which revealed that young people are particularly vulnerable to mental health struggles. It found that seven out of 10 Gen Z adults are more likely to report experiencing depression symptoms compared to other generations.
Gomez shared Rare Beauty’s post to her own story as well.
Singer Olivia Rodrigo similarly opened up about mental health and therapy during an interview with CBS that aired Sunday. In it, she said she has been in therapy since she was 16, which she believes has helped her both personally and professionally.
“That was a really big, life-changing moment,” she said. “I’ve learned so much about myself.”
“I think there’s sometimes a stigma around it, too, like I was saying,” the singer continued. “Sometimes people are like, ‘Oh, you don’t need that. You have so much. Your life is so great. What are your problems?’ I think that’s definitely a thing that sometimes older people can do to younger people to kind of trivialize what they’re going through.”