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Worth Thinking About

The Adventures of Life

Month: January 2023 (page 1 of 6)

Get an extra 3 months for free with the best VPN for accessing HBO Max

Man with laptop on lap

SAVE 49%: Unblock HBO Max from anywhere in the world with ExpressVPN. A one-year subscription to ExpressVPN is on sale for £83.90 and includes an extra three months for free — 49% off for a limited time.

You might have heard that a little show called The Last of Us has launched on HBO Max. We joke. Of course you’ve heard about it. It’s all anyone is talking about, and we have absolutely no issue with that because the show is just as good as we all hoped it would be.

HBO Max has expanded its global network in recent years, but there are still plenty of countries that haven’t made the list. If you want to keep up with The Last of Us from a location not on this list, you’ll need to sign up to a streaming-friendly VPN to unblock and watch HBO Max.

Once you have signed up to a top service for streaming, you’ll need to download the app for your favourite operating system and then connect to a secure server located in a country that supports HBO Max. This process is quick and easy, and ensures that you won’t be blocked when you next sign in to your HBO Max account.

There are plenty of VPNs that can unblock and stream HBO Max from anywhere in the world, but ExpressVPN is probably the best. Users get strong connection speeds, powerful levels of encryption, and access to thousands of secure servers located all around the world. You can also connect up to five devices simultaneously with the same account, so everyone in your house can stream their favourite shows at the same time.

ExpressVPN is certainly not the cheapest service out there, but it is on sale for a limited time. A one-year subscription to ExpressVPN is on sale for £83.90 and includes an extra three months for free — 49% off for a limited time. This plan also includes a year of free unlimited cloud backup and a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can recover your investment if you’re not totally satisfied with the service.

Unblock HBO Max with the best deal on ExpressVPN.


‘I AM 100 OUT OF 100’: Meet Alabama’s new senator, Katie Britt

Alabama’s newest U.S. senator has spent more time at the southern border than on Capitol Hill during her brief time in office.

“The people of Alabama did not elect me to let grass grow under my feet,” Sen. Katie Britt said, standing in the shadow of a farmhouse outside Uvalde, Texas. “They elected me to get in here and to do something.”

Britt was in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 3 to get sworn in the U.S. Senate. The next week, the Republican joined a delegation of senators visiting the southern border, speaking with officials and others impacted by the migrant crisis.


“In Washington, we have a problem with people who do a lot of talking but don’t actually take action,” Britt said. “It’s day six on the job. It took Joe Biden 718 days to make it to the border, and here I am. Seeing it firsthand matters.”

Britt is considered a rising star in the GOP, handily winning a primary fight with former Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks. She went on to defeat her general election opponent, Democrat Will Boyd, by 36 points.


But the University of Alabama alumna is no stranger to Capitol Hill. She worked as chief of staff to Sen. Richard Shelby, who she succeeded this month.

Britt described herself as senator “100 out of 100” in terms of her place in the pecking order on Capitol Hill. She later clarified that she was actually 99th — though still last — since Ben Sasse vacated his Nebraska seat and hadn’t been replaced when she made the remark.

“When people say, ‘senator?’ I still kind of sort of look around and say, like, ‘who’s around me?’ So it has not quite sunk in,” Britt said.


“I am a wife. I am a momma of two school aged kids,” said Britt. “My husband [former NFL player Wesley Britt] and I wrestled with even getting in this race.”

“We believed that if our generation didn’t step up and fight for the next generation, we weren’t sure what was going to be left for our children,” she continued.

Britt said there was “no shortage” of issues to tackle when the Senate returns to Capitol Hill later this month.

“Obviously, reining in spending, making sure that we drive down inflation, becoming not only energy independent again, but energy dominant,” Britt told Fox News. “Unfortunately, right now in our country, whether we’re looking overseas at what’s going on there, here on our border or here at home, we have a lot in front of us.”

“But I believe in this nation,” she added. “I believe that it is my generation’s time to step up and to contribute, to make sure that the American dream is alive and well for the next generation.”

To watch the full interview with Britt, click here.


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‘Quordle’ today: Here are the answers and hints for January 16

A woman's hands holding a mobile phone playing 'Quordle'

If Quordle is a little too challenging today, you’ve come to the right place for hints. There aren’t just hints here, but the whole Quordle solution. Scroll to the bottom of this page, and there it is. But are you sure you need all four answers? Maybe you just need a strategy guide. Either way, scroll down, and you’ll get what you need.

What is Quordle?

Quordle is a five-letter word guessing game similar to Wordle, except each guess applies letters to four words at the same time. You get nine guesses instead of six to correctly guess all four words. It looks like playing four Wordle games at the same time, and that is essentially what it is. But it’s not nearly as intimidating as it sounds.

Is Quordle harder than Wordle?

Yes, though not diabolically so.

Where did Quordle come from?

Amid the Wordle boom of late 2021 and early 2022, when everyone was learning to love free, in-browser, once-a-day word guessing games, creator Freddie Meyer says he took inspiration from one of the first big Wordle variations, Dordle — the one where you essentially play two Wordles at once. He took things up a notch, and released Quordle on January 30. Meyer’s creation was covered in The Guardian six days later, and now, according to Meyer, it attracts millions of daily users. Today, Meyer earns modest revenue from Patreon, where dedicated Quordle fans can donate to keep their favorite puzzle game running. 

How is Quordle pronounced?

“Kwordle.” It should rhyme with “Wordle,” and definitely should not be pronounced exactly like “curdle.”

Is Quordle strategy different from Wordle?

Yes and no.

Your starting strategy should be the same as with Wordle. In fact, if you have a favorite Wordle opening word, there’s no reason to change that here. We suggest something rich in vowels, featuring common letters like C, R, and N. But you do you.

After your first guess, however, you’ll notice things getting out of control if you play Quordle exactly like Wordle.

What should I do in Quordle that I don’t do in Wordle?

Solving a Wordle puzzle can famously come down to a series of single letter-change variations. If you’ve narrowed it down to “-IGHT,” you could guess “MIGHT” “NIGHT” “LIGHT” and “SIGHT” and one of those will probably be the solution — though this is also a famous way to end up losing in Wordle, particularly if you play on “hard mode.” In Quordle, however, this sort of single-letter winnowing is a deadly trap, and it hints at the important strategic difference between Wordle and Quordle: In Quordle, you can’t afford to waste guesses unless you’re eliminating as many letters as possible at all times. 

Guessing a completely random word that you already know isn’t the solution, just to eliminate three or four possible letters you haven’t tried yet, is thought of as a desperate, latch-ditch move in Wordle. In Quordle, however, it’s a normal part of the player’s strategic toolset.

Is there a way to get the answer faster?

In my experience Quordle can be a slow game, sometimes dragging out longer than it would take to play Wordle four times. But a sort of blunt-force guessing approach can speed things up. The following strategy also works with Wordle if you only want the solution, and don’t care about having the fewest possible guesses:

Try starting with a series of words that puts all the vowels (including Y) on the board, along with some other common letters. We’ve had good luck with the three words: “NOTES,” “ACRID,” and “LUMPY.” YouTuber DougMansLand suggests four words: “CANOE,” “SKIRT,” “PLUMB,” and “FUDGY.”

Most of the alphabet is now eliminated, and you’ll only have the ability to make one or two wrong guesses if you use this strategy. But in most cases you’ll have all the information you need to guess the remaining words without any wrong guesses.

If strategy isn’t helping, and you’re still stumped, here are some hints:

Are there any double or triple letters in today’s Quordle words?

Two words have twice-occurring letters.

Are any rare letters being used in today’s Quordle like Q or Z?


What do today’s Quordle words start with?

C, J, L, and T.

What are the answers for today’s Quordle?

Are you sure you want to know?

There’s still time to turn back.

OK, you asked for it. The answers are:

  1. CRANK

  2. JOKER

  3. LASSO

  4. TOOTH


Husband of fallen officer says wife died in unsuccessful attempt to rescue daughter in house fire

A New Jersey law enforcement officer died in an attempt to rescue her young daughter from their burning house in the town of Hazlet, according to her husband.

Jacqueline Montanaro and her six-year-old daughter Madelyn died in the house fire early Saturday morning, reported NJ.com. Her husband William Montanaro and their eight-year-old daughter Elena survived.

The family was woken by fire alarms at around midnight Saturday morning, and Mr. Montanaro rushed to find his wife, two daughters and dog to help bring them outside to safety.

He, Jacqueline and their 8-year-old made their way through the house engulfed in smoke, making it difficult to see, before they eventually made it outside. But Madelyn was still in the home, so Mr. and Mrs. Montanaro ran back inside to retrieve their daughter.


“When I rushed back into the house for Madelyn, I became enveloped in a massive amount of thick, hot black smoke,” Mr. Montanaro said in a statement issued by his brother.

“Without hesitation, Jackie then charged in with a mother’s love and the courage of a police officer fueling her attempt to save our daughter,” he continued. 

Mr. Montanaro said his wife worked as a supervisory U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer at Newark Liberty International Airport.

As smoke continued to fill the home, Mr. Montanaro managed to make his way back outside. However, his wife and youngest daughter failed to make it out.

“I am heartbroken. I have lost the love of my life – my beautiful wife, Jackie – and my sweet, loving, spunky little girl, Madelyn,” Mr. Montanaro said, adding that “Jackie was a hero.”


Mrs. Montanaro and Madelyn were transported to the hospital for treatment in critical condition before they both died from their injuries.

It is unclear what started the fire, and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office told local media that the incident is under investigation.

Mr. Montanaro said in his statement that he is now focused on helping his surviving daughter receive the “support and help she’s going to need, so we can rebuild our lives together.”

He also said the family’s dog remains missing. Mr. Montanaro was searching Sunday with an organization called Hound Hunters for the Goldendoodle.

“A search continues for our beloved dog, Duchess,” he said. “Thank you to our neighbors and the scores of people, the Hazlet Police Department and surrounding communities’ law enforcement who have been, and continue to, press to find her.”

A GoFundMe page for the family started by Customs United Service Alliance, Mrs. Montanaro’ Customs’ union, raised more than $200,000 as of Monday morning.

“We cannot express in words how tragic the loss of this amazing Supervisor, Colleague, Friend, Mom and Hero is to our community,” the fundraiser read. “Jackie’s ability to get any job done at work was only second to her love and devotion to her family at home.”

The Monmouth County Council of the Boy Scouts Mr. Montanaro works for is also collecting donations for their Alumni Disaster Fund to support the family’s needs. 


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The best VPNs for unblocking and watching ITVX

Couple watching laptop on bed

Streaming and VPNs are a match made in heaven.

You can be subscribed to every streaming platform in existence and still find yourself without anything to watch. It’s at this point of desperation that VPNs enter the picture to save the day. With a VPN by your side, you can significantly increase your content options, and the process of accessing these extra shows and movies is actually really straightforward.

You just need to know how.

What is a VPN?

VPNs are security tools that provide protection for your information by creating a private network that hides your real IP address. All of your activity is untraceable and secure, because all of your online traffic passes through an encrypted tunnel. Nobody can see into the tunnel, and everything inside the tunnel is protected against online threats like hackers, viruses, and malware.

The act of hiding your real IP address is what can trick leading streaming sites into thinking you are based in another country, thereby providing access to all the content that is normally locked to that location.

Do you need a VPN?

VPNs are primarily designed to provide protection for your sensitive information, which is obviously super important. These tools can also be used to watch content that is normally blocked in your location, which is fast becoming the main reason that people subscribe to VPNs.

By hiding your real IP address and connecting you to a server in another country, you can watch all your favourite content from that location. For example, you could watch all the films and shows on ITVX that are not usually accessible outside of the UK. There is so much content out there that can be accessed with the help of a VPN.

Everyone is in need of something that can bypass geo-restrictions to access all of this blocked entertainment, and that something is a VPN. These services are keys to the online world, granting you access to more of the shows and films you love.

What is ITVX?

ITVX is the new service that has replaced the ITV Hub as the place to find ITV content online, with a wide range of popular shows and movies available on-demand. You can also access live ITV content and news on the platform, making ITVX the one-stop hub for all your streaming needs.

How do you unblock and watch ITVX with a VPN?

The process of unblocking ITVX from abroad is actually really easy with a streaming-friendly VPN.

All you need to do is sign up to a top VPN, download the app for your favourite operating system, and then connect to a secure server in the UK. This quick and easy action makes ITVX think you’re in the UK when you’re actually abroad, so you can watch all that great content that is normally blocked.

Do you need to pay for a VPN?

The good news is that free versions and free trials of VPNs can be easily found. The bad news is that these free options often come with frustrating limitations that get in the way of everyday activities like streaming.

You can’t stream content from around the world if you are using a service with restrictions like limited data usage. These plans will work if you’re just an occasional user, but if you’re going to be streaming or downloading anything, you are going to end up looking elsewhere. Free trials tend to offer everything you get with a paid plan, but obviously, they don’t tend to last very long. Trials are great for testing out a service before committing, but this isn’t a long-term solution.

The best free VPN out there is probably ProtonVPN, but even this impressive free version has trouble unblocking streaming sites like Netflix and ITVX. The fact is if you want to gain access to advanced security features without limitations on usage, you will need to pay up.

What is the best VPN for ITVX?

There are plenty of VPNs out there that can access ITVX from anywhere in the world, but which is the best for you? To help you make this difficult decision, we have shortlisted a selection of streaming-friendly services that should suit just about everyone. You’ll find popular services like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and more right here.

These are the best VPNs for ITVX in 2023.


NFL exec claims Rams-Seahawks was year’s ‘worst officiated game’ as referees face heavy scrutiny: report

Referees are likely accustomed to enduring criticism from fans, but they now may face scrutiny from executives and coaches across the NFL.

After a series of controversial calls in last week’s pivotal regular-season finale between the Rams and the Seahawks, multiple executives and coaches are calling for wholesale changes to referee selection and training process, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The executives and coaches believe the officials missed several crucial calls during the game. 

Seattle ultimately won in overtime, 19-16, which put an end to the Detroit Lions playoff hopes.


Schefter also reported that the NFL’s competition committee is aware of what a source described to ESPN “as the worst officiated game of the year.”

It appeared the calls in question benefited the Seahawks, but did not do the Lions any favors. A Seattle loss would have given Detroit a chance to clinch the NFC’s final wild-card playoff spot.


The Lions still went on to defeat the Packers on Sunday night, despite the team already knowing they were eliminated from the postseason.

ESPN learned that some are calling for sweeping changes to how the league screens, hires, and ultimately trains officials in an effort to avoid a repeat of what happened in the Week 18 game.

“The Lions should be livid,” a source told ESPN. “It was an awful way for them to end their season.”

In the fourth quarter of the Seahawks-Rams game Los Angeles defensive end Jonah Williams was flagged from running into Seattle’s punter Michael Dickson.


NFL rules state that running into the kicker happens when a defensive player “contacts the kicking foot of the kicker, even if the kicker is airborne when the contact occurs,” or when a defensive player “slides under the kicker, preventing him from returning both feet to the ground.”

Video replays appeared to show Williams being pushed into Dickson which negates a running into the kicker penalty, but officials did call running into the kicker, giving the Seahawks better field position and a fresh set of downs. Seattle ended the drive with a game-tying field goal.

A league official told ESPN they assessed that the referee who threw the flag did not look at the appropriate angle and therefore did not see Williams being blocked into Dickson.

In the closing seconds of regulation, star defensive back Jalen Ramsey was flagged for unnecessary roughness for a hit on quarterback Geno Smith. Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf proceeded to put his finger inside Ramsey’s facemask.

Metcalf was not penalized by the referees for his actions 

In overtime, Smith threw an incomplete pass which arguably could have been ruled as intentionally grounding. Smith’s pass landed several yards short of the closest eligible pass-catcher in the area, tight end Noah Fant.

Also, during the overtime period, Quandre Diggs intercepted a pass from quarterback Baker Mayfield. Some believed Diggs engaged in taunting after the interception.

The seventh-seeded Seahawks lost to the 49ers on Saturday in the wild-card round of the playoffs.


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The best Kindles for every type of reader

Kindle on white table

This content originally appeared on Mashable for a US audience and has been adapted for the UK audience.

If you haven’t yet been converted to the wonderful world of Amazon Kindle readers, we really do need to ask: What on earth are you waiting for?

We know nothing compares to the feel of a book in your hands as you thumb through page after enticing page. And there’s currently no true substitute for that delicious bibliosmia, aka that distinct “book smell” that results from the chemical breakdown of paper in a well-loved tome (though maybe some aromatherapists can get on that, stat). But since the Amazon Kindle’s release in 2007, it’s hard to imagine what things were like before these convenient devices made themselves a staple for millions around the world.

Honestly, imagine having to pick just one book to read at a time?! Or, perhaps even worse, imagine having to carry multiple books around with you wherever you go because you can’t be sure which one of your current reads will suit your mood when you have a few spare moments throughout your day. Nightmare fuel.

But we get it; there are a lot of Kindles out there to consider. Whether you’re new to e-readers or simply can’t decide which Amazon Kindle reader you should upgrade to next, we’re breaking down all the details and key differences of every latest-model Kindle currently available to help you make the best decision for yourself. 

Why is a Kindle better for reading than a tablet or your phone?

Though they may be similarly sized, these handheld reading devices are not to be confused with a tablet or even a smartphone. Rather, Kindle e-readers are designed specifically for reading — and for doing so comfortably for hours at a time. This is made possible by the Kindle’s distinctive black-and-white-only, glare-free display that reads like paper, even when you’re sitting under a bright, sunny sky. 

Amazon Fire tablets were once referred to as “Kindle Fire tablets,” but they sit squarely in the traditional tablet category these days (i.e. they’re far better for browsing the internet, streaming content like Netflix or Spotify, and playing games than they are for reading text). You technically can use the Kindle app on a Fire tablet — just as you can on any WiFi-connected tablet or smartphone — but the fact that all of these devices have a glossy screen makes for a really subpar reading experience when compared to any true e-reader in today’s Kindle lineup. 

Tablets and smartphones also don’t offer the same battery life of a Kindle; whereas a tablet or smartphone can stay charged for hours or maybe even a few days, a Kindle has enough juice to last for several weeks between charges.

What should you consider before buying a Kindle?

When shopping for the best Kindles to fit your lifestyle, consider the following factors that are most likely to vary between models:

  • Display Size — The smallest Kindle has a 6-inch display while the largest has a 10.2-inch display.

  • Storage Capacity — Depending on the model, Kindles can have anywhere from 8GB to 64GB of storage capacity to stash many thousands of your favourite reads at a time.

  • Battery Life — Kindles generally have outstanding battery life (depending on your usage), but some models are even more impressive. On the low end, they last up to six weeks per charge, while others last up to 12 weeks.

  • Waterproof Protection — Not all Kindles are waterproof, but those that are provide peace of mind in case of accidental immersion in water without incurring damage.

Beyond those variable factors, all the latest Kindles boast a 300 ppi, high-resolution display with zero glare so you can enjoy sharp text and images at any viewing angle. All Kindles are also equipped with WiFi connectivity to allow you to access and download all the reading material you could ever want. All Kindles offer parental control options as well, whether or not you’ve purchased a Kindle device specifically made for kids. Plus, you can listen to audiobooks on Audible via any Kindle’s built-in Bluetooth connection.

In most instances, you’ll also have the choice to select either an ad-supported or an ad-free experience for your Kindle, with the latter option typically costing about £20 more. If you don’t want to go for the mini splurge of nixing the advertisements, you’ll be “treated” to ads on your lockscreen every time you open the cover of your Kindle. That’s fine if you don’t mind swiping them out of the way every time you sit down to read. But if that sounds like a tedious dealbreaker, you’ll definitely want to just cough up a little extra. It’ll be well worth it, if only for the fact that opening the cover of your Kindle will feel more like opening up a real book (except even better, because it’ll bring you right to the last page where you left off).

What features do Kindles offer?

Beyond the aforementioned standard features that are found across most (if not all) of the latest Kindle models, there are also specialised features that you’ll find on the higher-end models. To narrow down the best Kindles for your lifestyle, you’ll want to consider your particular needs and preferences as you shop. 

Perhaps you like to read outside often; you’ll want a Kindle with an auto-adjusting light so you don’t have to worry about constantly fixing the brightness for optimal viewing in your current environment. Or, perhaps you tend to read during your daily commute and can’t rely on more than one hand being free to hold your reading material; you’ll want a Kindle with easy page-turn buttons so you can get to the next page one-handed, and automatic rotating page orientation so you can seamlessly switch from one hand to the other. Or, maybe you like to read before bed and want to cut out blue light that tends to keep us awake and alert; you’ll need a Kindle that has an adjustable warm light feature so you can shift the display colour from white to amber. There’s even a Kindle that will allow you jot down notes on your texts for later reference.

What is the Kindle Paperwhite and is it different from other Kindles?

All Kindles are designed to be easy to read — just like the pages of a book — but the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite simply does it even better than the standard Kindle model. The Paperwhite boasts more than quadruple the LEDs on its front light than the baseline Kindle, so it’s even easier to read in bright environments. It also has a larger display, waterproof properties, and an adjustable warm light for less eye strain (i.e. less blue light), especially when reading before bed. 

The only potential downside is that the standard Paperwhite only has 8GB of storage compared to the original Kindle’s 16GB. However, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition boasts a whopping 32GB of storage as well as an auto-adjusting light and wireless charging.

Is there a monthly fee for Kindles?

All Kindle devices allow for instant access to the Amazon Kindle eBooks store where you can buy individual titles with no monthly subscription fee required. That said, Amazon Prime members can access free books via the Prime Reading service which would be subject to the current Prime membership rate. 

Beyond that, you can get a Kindle Unlimited subscription for £7.99 per month to gain unlimited access to more than three million titles and thousands of audiobooks, and borrow up to 20 eligible Kindle Unlimited titles at a time at no extra cost. You can typically opt into a few free months of Kindle Unlimited with your Kindle purchase to give it a spin, and you can cancel the subscription at any time.

When is the best time to buy a Kindle?

Because Kindles are one of Amazon’s cornerstone products, you’ll see their prices plummet during annual Amazon Prime Day events, which usually take place around July. However, if you can’t wait for the next Prime Day to roll around, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Back-to-School season, and other events throughout the year will often find the price of Kindles slashed down to as much as 40% off — sometimes even more. 

Prime Day and Black Friday are also great times to save on a Kindle Unlimited subscription as a few months are typically offered to Prime members for a super-low price.

Outside of those big discounts, you can still find a Kindle at a lower price for a limited time every few weeks as the price fluctuates. So if you’re really looking for a bargain, keep an eye out and then take the plunge whenever you see the price drop.

What is the best Kindle?

There is no universally best Kindle for everyone, because everyone will have a different set of priorities. To help you pinpoint the best model for you, we have lined up a selection of devices to suit everyone. We recommend checking out everything listed here, and carefully considering your options.

These are the best Kindles in 2023.

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