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Roller skating never stopped being cool, but this year the sport has picked up legions of new fans. And why not? It’s an outdoor activity in a time when socializing indoors is dangerous, it’s perfectly suited for making viral videos on Instagram or TikTok, and it makes you look really cool (when you’re not falling). If you have any friends or family members who’ve gotten big into skating this year, you probably already know that it’s not just a recreational activity—it’s a way of life. Here are some gifts to help your favorite skater cruise in comfort and style.

The great skate wrangler

Skating is fun as heck, and it can also be a great way to get around. But for a newbie, it’s best to save the wheels for spots where you know you can skate without fear of careening down steep hills or into traffic. Unless you live right next to a skate park, rink, or silky smooth slab of pavement (jealous), you’ll probably be commuting in street shoes and slipping your skates on once you’ve reached a prime location. Enter the skate leash: These simple lengths of fabric allow you to sling your skates over your shoulder, providing a convenient way to carry them without risking them getting all tangled up with the stuff in your backpack.

Something to soak in A super cool fanny pack

Roller skaters wear fanny packs—that’s just a fact. Why? Well, for starters, fanny packs are the best. They’re also a great place to store your wallet and phone while you skate; they’re less likely to impede your movement than most backpacks, tangle up your legs unlike a purse or tote, and get obliterated during a fall.

Something to keep you on your toes

Unless you’re picking up some super-smooth dance moves as a jam skater, you’re going to want toe stops. The rubberized little appendages give you extra control while turning, doing fast footwork, and sometimes even while stopping. If you’re playing roller derby, you might want to start out with extra-large stops to give yourself more stability when you’re on your toes. But if your skating activities are more in the realm of twirling around parks and sidewalks, you can indulge in something cuter.

Doughnuts for your feet

Speaking of something cuter: Why have plain-old solid wheels when you can spin around on doughnuts instead? If you’re trying to avoid carbs, maybe a set of light-up wheels are more your speed.

An investment for your noggin

Remember how we said that safety is sexy? Safety can also be adorable. Triple Eight’s helmets are a great buy to protect your beautiful brain, and they come in some awesome styles and color combos. The store’s bound to have an option that perfectly fits your signature style.

Statement-making stickers

If you give a roller skater a helmet, they’ll probably ask for some stickers to put on it. The extra swag doesn’t have to be about roller skating, but we think this option is pretty great. And as the above photo demonstrates, your gift recipient doesn’t have to limit their sticker placement to their helmet.

Tools to keep you cruising

Skate maintenance might not be as sexy as a rad new helmet, but it’s important for keeping a skater moving as safely and smoothly as possible. You might not know what bearings are yet, or why you might need a special tool (or three) for your skates, but we promise you’ll find out soon enough. Best to be prepared!

Little hats for your toes

Toe caps aren’t as necessary as a helmet or a pair of wrist-guards—your little piggies won’t gain any extra protection from them—but they’ll help protect your precious skates from scuffing and other wear. Plus, they provide yet another opportunity to customize your look.

A big skate upgrade The ultimate piece of safety gear

Whether you’re skating with friends or just looking to show off your favorite hobby while running errands, this retro skate mask will ensure you stay safe from COVID-19 while looking just as fearless.

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Best Father’s Day 2023 Gift Ideas: Cool Tech Gifts For Dad

We’re here to offer you some inspiration, whether you’re looking for something simple, cheap and cheerful, or premium – whether it’s from daughter or son, or if you’re buying for your husband.

Virtual assistants are a great gift option if your Dad loves using Google voice or Siri.

Amazon’s Echo Dot 3 (39.99/US$39.99) or the newer Echo Dot 4 (£49.99/$49.99) is an obvious choice if you want something that won’t break the bank. Though of course, there’s the Google equivalent, the Nest Mini (RRP £49/$49, though available for £27.99 from MyMemory).

If you have a higher budget, there’s the larger  Google Nest Hub smart display (£89.99/ $99) which allows hands-free access to videos, recipes and more.

See our reviews: Echo Dot 3, Echo Dot 4, Nest Mini and Nest Hub.

If your dad is constantly fighting for the TV remote, enjoys reading news online or maybe enjoys a spot of gaming, a tablet could be a really good idea for a Father’s Day present. It’s an extra special gift under lockdown, as it’ll open up the world of video calls via Skype or FaceTime. 

The gold standard of tablets is surely the iPad (£349/US$329), which gained Apple Pencil support in 2023. Right now you can get money off the iPad from Amazon. See the best iPad 10.2in deals here.

Yet for under £50/$50 you could opt for Amazon’s recently updated Fire tablet (US link here). It’s ridiculously good value and available in four colours.

That’s just two options, so why not take a look at our definitive guide to the best tablets available too?

DNA kits are becoming ever-popular gift items for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day alike, and thankfully DNA Kit services offer discounts around those events too.

23andMe is offering the largest discount at the moment with £40 or US$50 off its Health and Ancestry kit. The discounts are even greater if you buy two such kits.

You can also save up to £30/US$30 on Living DNA as well as £20/US$20 off the MyHeritage Ancestry and DNA kit.

There’s also 25% off the ever-popular Ancestry DNA service in the UK, and $40 off in the US.

See our full guide to DNA Kits to learn more about what sets these services apart and other promotions on now.

If your dad struggles with aches and pains, it’s definitely worth considering a massage gun. If you don’t already know what it is, a massage gun pummels your muscles hundreds of times within seconds for deep tissue relief. 

The Theragun is the brand that started the craze. Its products are on the pricey side, but you can pick up the portable Theragun Mini for £179/US$199.

See our review of the mid-range Theragun Elite if you want to upgrade.

Of course, if that’s out of your budget, there are plenty of other brands out there. The Sportneer K1 massage gun which costs £70/ US$99.99 and works better than you think, as Tech Advisor Editor Jim Martin said in his review.

If your dad is still toting around a creaky old feature phone or you just feel he deserves a swanky new handset, there’s always a smartphone – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. For instance, the Realme 7 boasts a 90Hz screen and only costs £179

If money isn’t an object, we have a list of all the  best smartphones here. Though if you prefer, we’ve rounded up the  best budget smartphones on the market too. 

A nice case can also add a special touch – we’ve rounded up all the best ones here. Many case makers will have discounts on now too, like Mujjo which make premium leather cases and has 15% off until 20 June with code #dad.

If your dad loves TV and movies, you might find that a media streaming device is a good way to give him access to services such as Netflix, HBO Max or BBC iPlayer without having to fork out for a smart TV.

Many also offer additional benefits such as the ability to stream content from a tablet or smartphone, for example. 

If you’re on a budget, our recommendation is the Roku Streaming Stick+ (£49.99) sits pretty at number 2 in our best TV media streamer list.

Another undisputedly great option for around the same low price is the Amazon Fire TV Stick (£39.99/ $49.99). Simply plug it into the USB port on your dad’s telly and he’ll have a wealth of shows and films at his fingertips.

As long as it’s not a cheeky ploy to get him to lose weight, an activity tracker is a cool, affordable present for your dad this Father’s Day.

There are so many on the market, so maybe a peek at our list of the best activity trackers and best fitness tracker deals is in order. 

We’d pick out the Fitbit Charge 4 (£129.99/$149.95) as the best all rounder, which you can now get for £99 (or $99 in the US).

We’ve also rounded up all the best Fitbit deals all in one place.

There’s always the option to go full-blown smartwatch, so long as your dad is a smartphone user – he’d need to pair the two over Bluetooth.

Smartwatches have more features and a screen, and the go-to example for most is the Apple Watch, which has a few models. If you don’t want to go for the top-end Apple Watch 6, you could opt for the Watch SE, which starts at £269/$279. If you want cellular connectivity, however, prices start at £319/$329.

Amazon UK and  Amazon US.

Additional smartwatch options that we’ve been loving can be found in our best smartwatches chart.

Even if he’s blasting Rod Stewart, it’s his day, so let him. Bluetooth speakers come in all shapes, sizes and prices. Here is our guide to the best. 

High on that list is the outstanding yet affordable Earfun UBoom for £59.99/ $79.99, which pretty much includes everything you’d want in a speaker: built-in mic, low latency, strong battery life, long Bluetooth range, USC-C charging, and IPX7 waterproofing. See our full 5-star review.

If you’d rather your dad kept his questionable audio tastes to himself, you’re in luck. Headphones are an affordable item that he can use with his phone, tablet, laptop or even TV.

A good pick is the Soundmagic E11BT headphones. For £69.99/$39.95 you get great audio quality and the option to connect over Bluetooth 5.0.

See our full run-down of the best budget headphones available, where the E11BT comes first! 

For the literary-inclined father in your life, there’s always an eReader. It’s impossible to not mention Kindle. The recently updated base Kindle is only £69.99/

For a Kindle-heavy rundown of the best eReaders, check out our guide

Why not pair the eReader with a subscription service?

A Readly subscription can get him a variety of great magazines with just one monthly subscription rate. Choose from titles like Men’s Health, Sport, Esquire, GQ – it’s like a gift that grants more gifts. It’s like the Netflix for magazines.

Readly comes with a 1 month free trial but you can get gift cards ranging from one month (£7.99/US$9.99) up to one year subscriptions (£95.88/US$119.88). See full prices  here (US prices here).

Here’s an option if you’re on a tighter budget. This is tech any practical-gift-loving man would appreciate, especially under lockdown.

With three stubble combs, the OneBlade covers clean shaves, stubbles, and general grooming.

In our review of the Philips OneBlade we said it is” as close to perfect as it gets” and at £40 or under, it snagged the top spot in our round-up of the best electric shavers of 2023. 

The Sub bundle

It may not be strictly tech but which dad wouldn’t want a beer tap for Father’s Day? The Sub is one of a few beer delivery systems which requires only a countertop and mains power.

Insert one of the special kegs, available from Beerwulf, and the Sub will cool it to 2°C so it’s ready to drink. Dad can perfect pulling the perfect pint, and the fresh beer will impress him, as well as everyone else who tries it.

The compact version doesn’t take up much space and there’s a bundle deal with eight kegs that’s currently 26% off.


Again, not tech, but perfect for Father’s Day. If you’re buying for a dad who won’t be happy with simply drinking beer, the Pinter is the simplest system out there for brewing it as well.

The Pinter may look a lot like the Sub, but it’s an all-in-one fermenter and dispenser. Brewing takes just a few days (a bit longer if you want even better-tasting beer) and is practically foolproof.

Two ‘Pinter packs’ come with the kit, which includes everything dad needs to brew 20 pints of the freshest possible beer at home. The packs are designed to fit through your letterbox, and there are currently 15 to choose between on the Pinter website.

The device itself is available in a range of different colours and there’s always a beer of the month. Right now that’s a Euro 2023 pack of three ales: Welsh Red, English Pale and Scottish Amber.

If you still can’t decide what to get Dad, you can always have him choose instead. The One4All gift card works with over 130 High Street stores in the UK, such as John Lewis, Argos, M&S, Argos, Curry’s, and many more.

So whether he prefers tech, fashion, fine dining or wants a bit of R&R on a Virgin Experience Days, the One4All card has it covered.

You can load the card with £10 to £120, and also personalise it for Father’s Day with a message, which is a neat touch. You can order the One4All gift card online or buy it at the Post Office.

7 Cool New Tricks In Ios 10

Apple has been rolling out Public (and Developer) Betas of iOS 10 for a while now, and with every new iteration, there are some changes. While most of these changes are bug fixes from previous betas, or design changes based on (what I think is) user feedback, some of the changes are great new features.

1. Emergency Bypass in Contacts

We all know that feeling when we pull out our phone after a long time of it being on “Do not Disturb”, only to find about a million missed calls from our parents, usually followed by a mini heart attack. Well, someone at Apple’s software department obviously didn’t want to let their kids use the “my phone was set to do not disturb” excuse, the next time they failed to answer a call, and the result in iOS 10, is an option to enable Emergency Bypass on a per-contact basis.

If you have enabled Emergency Bypass for a particular contact, your iPhone will ring for calls from that number, even if your iPhone was set to Do not Disturb. No more excuses, guys.

1. Go to the Contacts app, and select the contact that you want to enable Emergency Bypass for.

2. Tap on “Edit” on the top right.

3. Go to “Ringtone” options.

4. Enable “Emergency Bypass”.

2. Annotate Videos and Photos in iMessages

iMessage is getting some really cool features in iOS 10, making it a competitor against more popular (and cross-platform) apps such as WhatsApp and Snapchat, each of which have their own set of sweet tricks up their sleeves. We have covered WhatsApp and Snapchat tricks earlier.

Among the plethora of changes coming to iMessage, one that definitely stands out is the ability to annotate videos and photos. A feature that Snapchat has boasted of for a long time. Annotated videos and photos make it easier to draw attention to particular parts of a video/photo and are fun, either way.

1. Open “Messages” on your iPhone.

2. Open the conversation where you want to send an annotated Video/Photo.

3. Tap the gray arrow on the left of the text box.

5. This will open a small screen where you can tap and send digital touch messages from. Tap on the “disclosure” arrow on the bottom right.

6. Tap on the video icon on the bottom left, to enable camera.

8. You can now annotate the image using any of the colours available in the palette on the top.

Cool Fact: The annotation on the image animates when the receiver opens the message.

Annotating videos in iMessages is very similar, except that the annotation has to be done while you are recording the video. Read through the steps below to get an idea of how this works:

1. Open “Messages” on your iPhone.

2. Open the conversation where you want to send an annotated Video/Photo.

4. Select the Digital Touch Message button (it’s shaped like a heart).

5. This will open a small screen where you can tap and send digital touch messages from. Tap on the “disclosure” arrow on the bottom right.

6. Tap on the video icon on the bottom left, to enable camera.

7. Tap the record button to start recording a video.

I can’t attach a video clip here, and iMessages doesn’t save the video to Photos, so I can’t really convert it to a GIF either, but here are two successive screenshots that show how the video plays while the annotation animates on it.

3. Add Stickers to Messages Sent/Received Previously

Another really cool change to iMessage that many might not be aware of, is that you can overlay stickers to messages (text, photos etc) that have already been sent. You can also overlay stickers onto received messages. That’s definitely something!

While this might be seen as a novelty feature, it sure could be fun. Warning: in excessive amounts, this feature becomes addictive enough that you will keep doing this on every message, potentially annoying the recipient, while also throwing your productivity at work down a cliff.

Follow the steps below, to try this feature out for yourself:

2. Tap on the gray arrow on the left of the text box.

3. Select the “App Store” icon.

If you don’t already have a stickers pack downloaded on your iPhone, tap on the four ellipses on the bottom left, tap on the plus icon labelled “Store” and download one of the sticker packs.

4. Tap and hold on a sticker and simply drag and drop it on the message that you want to overlay it on.

Bonus: You can add as many stickers onto a single message as you want, until the space on the message bubble runs out.

4. Edit Numbers Before Dialling

One of the most annoying quirks of the phone app on the iPhone, was that while dialling a number, if you made a mistake, you had to delete all the numbers that succeeded it, in order to get to, and replace it. iOS 10 finally fixes this. You can now edit numbers in the dialler in the same way that you can edit text in any text box.

Simply tap and hold on the number, and you will get the familiar lens view, magnifying the text immediately under your finger. Slide your finger left or right to adjust the cursor and edit the phone number, the way you should always have been able to. Finally, thanks Apple.

5. Color Filters in Accessibility

The accessibility tab inside settings finally has Display Accommodations settings that can make it easier for colour blind people to use their iPhones. The colour filters also have a greyscale setting, that I think might save some battery on your iPhone, if you can live with the tradeoff of an absolutely black and white screen on your iPhone.

6. Close all Tabs in Safari

Closing tabs in Safari has always been a pain. Especially if you tend to open an extremely large number of tabs. Swiping them all out can get quickly tedious and boring. However, iOS 10 finally implements a method to close all Safari tabs in just two taps.

2. The context menu that comes up, now has an option to “Close all Tabs“.

7. Export Safari Pages to PDFs

Safari also has a new feature that allows you to quickly export webpages opened in Safari to PDF files, that you can share using any valid sharing method.

1. Open the webpage in Safari.

2. Tap on the Share button.

3. From the options, select “Print”.

4. In the Printer Options page, perform the zoom in gesture using two fingers on the preview of the webpage.

5. Tap on the Share icon in the bottom left.

6. You can now share the PDF directly using any of the available options, or you can save the PDF to iCloud Drive.

SEE ALSO: iOS 10 Vs. iOS 9: What Has Changed?

Here is our video on 7 cool iOS 10 Tricks and hidden features:-

Plenty of Welcome Changes in iOS 10

All in all, I found more than a hundred new features and changes in iOS 10. Needless to say, iOS 10 might just be the biggest (and quite possibly the best) update to iOS in the last few years, when it comes out, this fall. Yes, there are a few design changes that I personally don’t like, but that’s true for any major update to basically any major operating system.

More Dot Holders Can Become Stakers With These New Developments

With the most recent proposal, Polkadot has shown that it is committed to preserving the value of all DOTs on the network. Referendum 78 is a proposal that was put forth by Polkadot that would allow for the establishment of nomination pools on Polkadot. 

Here’s AMBCrypto’s Price Prediction for Polkadot(DOT) for 2023-2023

Stakers of various amounts would be able to take part in the network’s development with the help of this nomination pool. If this proposal is approved, the Polkadot network will gain functionality that is already accessible on Kusama. But what is currently obtainable on Polkadot for stakers?

The current situation of DOT staking

To avoid runtime unbounded processing, the maximum number of users was set to 22,500. This was done by employing a complex yet ingenious algorithm to settle on the collection of active validators and ensure that stake is fairly distributed among them. 

While the threshold for being a nominator was merely 10 DOT, only the top 256 nominators per validator were counted toward the rewards computation (based on their stake).

Because of this, the required minimum stake to get rewards was not a fixed value (like 10 DOT as stipulated by the protocol) and could be far greater than the present minimum investment of 171 DOT.

What nomination pools could bring

By utilizing Nomination Pools, the time required to determine prizes would remain consistent regardless of the total number of nominators. 

Nomination pools would be regarded as a single nominator, and the stake would be calculated separately from the stake of each individual in the pool.

In addition, the minimum stake to join a pool would be reduced to just one DOT, making staking considerably more accessible to DOT holders. Also, 200 DOTs would be the requirement to form a pool with this new proposal.

The passage of Referendum 78 would have far-reaching consequences, allowing holders of DOTs of any size to stake and collect rewards on their DOTs.

More holders would be encouraged to stake their tokens in order to help safeguard the network. Since buyers would expect to earn a better return on their DOT token investments, this might also lead to increased buying pressure on DOT.

DOT sees an uptick

Looking at the DOT chart in a 12-hour time frame, it could be observed that the price increased. The asset ended the prior trading session up by more than 8%. As of this writing, it had risen over 1% in the current trading session and was trading at roughly $6.5.

The zone between $6.0 and $5.6 was clearly identified as support, and it was also evident that this level had been tried but held. The short Moving Average (yellow line) that had been acting as resistance was now turning into support and will continue to do so if the current uptrend holds.

If the present price trend holds, the resistance level between $6.5 and $6.8 might be tested shortly. Overlooking the market movements and acting as a resistance level was the long Moving Average (blue line).

If DOT can overcome the current resistance, as the yellow line has been broken, the blue line may also flip to support around $7.

How A Victorian Heart Medicine Became A Gay Sex Drug

The first time I encountered poppers, I watched a nun do them. I was in fifth grade.

It was the final scene of Act 1 of “Nunsense,” a riotous Off-Broadway musical detailing the fundraising antics of an ill-fated but endearing group of convent sisters. One nun had found a suspicious-looking bag in a high school bathroom and presented it to Mother Superior Mary Regina. Once alone, Reverend Mother rummaged around in the bag and pulled out a small, brightly-colored glass bottle. She gave it the once-over, quizzically reading its name aloud: “Rush.”

Unscrewing the bottle, Mary Regina immediately revulsed at the harsh chemical smell contained within, but not before taking an unintentional whiff of the potent fumes. Soon the straight-edge sister experienced a sensual head rush of biblical proportions. The rest of the nuns found her writhing on the floor, higher than a church steeple, moaning and shouting, “FREE WILLY! FREE WILLY!”

As a 10 year-old audience member, I found the Reverend Mother’s silliness amusing, but it would be another decade before I fully understood what had transpired on that stage—when I came across a neon yellow bottle of Rush myself. Only, this one was about as far as you could get from a convent.

There are countless brands of similar-sized bottles just like RUSH. Others have names like “Jungle Juice,” “Quicksilver,” “Ram,” and “Blue Boy.” All give off a heavy industrial stench and bear a similar chemical footprint. And though they may be labeled for uses like “video head cleaner” or “room odorizer,” you mainly find them in sex shops. It’s safe to say nobody’s buying them for home improvement purposes.

“Poppers” is the common name for this suite of compounds called alkyl nitrites. Though they may seem like the latest solvent for rebellious teenagers to huff, they’ve been around for decades. And they represent much more than a drug fad—they’re a cultural phenomenon whose journey has helped shape queer life as we know it.

Men who were part of the gay nightlife scene in the 70s, 80s, and 90s say you could walk into a club and immediately smell poppers. The scent was a backdrop for the triumphs and trials of queer men in the latter half of the 20th century. Now, it conjures collective memories of the gay bars of yesteryear: tight pants, dark spaces, and speakers blaring Donna Summer and The Village People.

The Stonewall uprising of 1969 set a cautiously optimistic tone for the 70s, one that suggested to queer people that their rights to be with each other unapologetically were on the horizon. Following the broader sexual liberation movement of the decade, more queer men became eager to explore themselves as sexual beings. And decreased police raids on gay bars, clubs, and discos (like the one that triggered Stonewall) popularized spaces allowing that chúng tôi that didn’t come without baggage. For many, using drugs in these clubs was a way to combat the still-pervasive stigma of not being straight.

David Wohlsifer, a psychotherapist and sex therapist, says drugs and sex are often inextricably linked. Drugs reduce sexual inhibitions, which are often caused by feelings of shame, trauma, or body dysmorphia. He says queer men especially deal with a lot of shame related to their identities both in and out of the bedroom. Fifty years ago, when society was even less accepting of homosexuality than it is today, that shame could feel overwhelming.

“You walk into this club hating yourself for who you are, hating yourself for what you want to do. And then there’s this magic pill that makes you, for a few minutes, feel euphoric; it makes you feel self-worth instead of shame,” Wohlsifer says. “People go for it.”

Enter poppers: They aren’t a pill, but they certainly make you feel euphoric. A few seconds after inhaling deeply from the amber glass bottle, you can feel your face warming as blood rushes to your head—and everywhere else in your body. A minute or two later, the sensation subsides, and you can do it all over again. In “The Poop on Poppers,” which appeared in a 1977 issue of the Bay Area Reporter, a queer weekly publication, Louis Parrish writes, “Fans claim that poppers serve the dual purpose of putting them more out of it and at the same time putting them more into it.”

It’s a kind of high that makes you feel open mentally, physically, and, for queer men in particular, sexually. In a 1982 study of poppers and their use, psychiatrist Thomas Lowry called them “the nearest thing to a true aphrodisiac.”

Poppers have added physical benefits for penetrative sex: The human reproductive tract is built by smooth muscle, and the anal sphincter, while voluntarily controlled, is surrounded by smooth muscle that can make penetration easier when it’s relaxed. For many men who have sex with men, poppers have obvious practical applications. It’s no surprise they’ve gained a reputation akin to sex in a bottle.

The journey from hospital to club to bedside table. DepositPhotos

But the story of poppers started long before gay bars and glass bottles—when French chemist Antoine Balard first synthesized amyl nitrite in 1844. Even then, Balard noted that smelling the chemical’s vapor made him lightheaded, which we now know is a consequence of your blood pressure dropping. Fifteen years later, British chemist Frederick Guthrie described other physical effects: throbbing arteries, flushing of the face, and increased heart rate.

British physiologist Benjamin Ward Richardson believed no other known substance at the time produced such a profound effect on the heart, and even passed around samples of amyl nitrite at a medical conference so his audience could try it for themselves. In 1864, he was the first to theorize that the chemical caused vasodilation.

Three years later, Scottish physician Sir Thomas Lauder Brunton brought together all prior research on amyl nitrite and outlined the compound’s medical applications. At the start of his career as a physician, while making his rounds at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on a cold December night, he noticed a patient whose bouts of angina pectoris were concerningly severe, frequent, and long-lasting. One of the most common symptoms of cardiac disease, angina pectoris is chest pain that occurs when the heart muscle is starved of blood. From bloodletting to brandy, agents typically used to ease that anguish weren’t helping. Exhausted of all options, and suspecting that an overly-tense artery caused the angina, Brunton put several drops of amyl nitrite onto a cloth and had the patient inhale it.

“My hopes were completely fulfilled,” he wrote in British medical journal The Lancet. Within a minute, the patient’s face flushed and the pain completely disappeared. Over the next several decades, physicians around the world caught wind of Brunton’s discovery but hesitated to make amyl nitrate a standard treatment, perhaps because of its signature rush. In 1881, an editor of the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal called amyl nitrite “a neglected drug,” scolding doctors for not using it to relieve clearly suffering patients.

Physicians eventually caught on, and amyl nitrite became one of several vasodilators used to treat angina pectoris. By the early 20th century patients were receiving tin boxes containing glass ampules of the chemical wrapped in cloth, like pieces of saltwater taffy. During angina spells, they’d crush the capsules, allowing the amyl nitrite to soak through the cloth to be inhaled. The sound of the breaking glass gave this drug the name “poppers.”

Doctors used poppers as a standard treatment for angina for decades before replacing them with modern vasodilators like nitroglycerin, but how they transitioned to the clubs of The Castro and Greenwich Village is still somewhat of a mystery. In Pursuit of Oblivion: A Global History of Narcotics, Richard Davenport-Hines assumes patients prescribed amyl nitrite must have noticed some pleasant effects happening outside their chests.

“It was surely as early as the 1870s that amyl nitrite users discovered that the rush of blood caused by inhaling increased the sexual excitement of men,” Davenport-Hines writes.

Toby Lea, a social scientist at the German Institute for Addiction and Prevention Research who studies the intersection of substance use and queer communties, says it’s plausible that people presecribed poppers quickly caught on to their other uses.

“With any drug that starts as a prescription medication, if it does have any kind of psychoactive effects, people discover it pretty quickly,” Lea says. “And a lot of drugs have their genesis in the gay scene before bleeding out to other cultures.”

In 1960, after nearly a hundred years of documented medical use of amyl nitrite with no associated fatalities, the FDA approved poppers as an over-the-counter drug. But shortly after reports of high recreational use, they reinstated the prescription requirement. By the time of Stonewall at the end of the decade, the first commercial brand of poppers, “Locker Room,” was on sale in Los Angeles. It was a different form of alkyl nitrite (with similar effects) called isobutyl nitrite, a way to get around the prescription requirement. Soon, practically everyone in the club scene had gotten a whiff.

Denton Callander is deputy director of New York University’s Spatial Epidemiology Lab, and much of his research focuses on sex and queer communities. He thinks the disco scene was a key element in the journey of poppers from the medicine cabinet to the nightstand.

“Disco is many people, not just gay men,” he says. A staple of mid-20th century counterculture, disco was originally where marginalized folks went for a pleasurable rebellion—they were kaleidoscopes of identity and experience. Dance floors were a nightly hotbed of interactions between people from all walks of life. Introducing poppers to this volatile, promiscuous mix created nothing short of an explosion.

While queer men weren’t the only people using poppers during the disco era, Callander says they in particular took to the amber bottles because of their practical applications for gay sex. They soon became popular in gay bathhouses, where queer men would gather to relax and engage in sexual activity.

“Even if you don’t use them or you think they’re stupid, they are in some ways part of our history, of what it means to be gay men,” Callander says.

There were deeper motivations, too, says Jason Orne, a sociologist at Drexel University. He brings up the concept of minority stress, wherein stigmatized groups experience psychological pain through harassment, discrimination, and related experiences that puts them at high risk for physical and mental health issues. “That creates situations where we drink more, we do drugs more, we have sex more,” he says. “We sort of are in these spaces that allow us to seize some forms of pleasure and take some power from that.”

Orne brings up cultural anthropologist and sex theorist Gayle Rubin’s idea of “the charmed circle,” or what society considers “good” or “moral” sex: heterosexuality, monogamy, sober sex, etc. Queer sex is placed outside that circle, along with all the other types of sex society deems “bad.” “If you’re already on the outside in one way—you’re queer—then you start to also question the rest of those issues of morality,” Orne says. “We have other forms of morality that emphasize being different.”

There’s also social bonding that results from communal spaces like dance floors. Orne calls this phenomenon “naked intimacy,” when people in sexually-charged spaces like discos feel more connected to each other, especially when having drug-fueled out-of-body experiences.

A vintage ad for poppers. Public domain via PoppersPlace

“Poppers, in a way, mimics physiologically this social experience that people have. So I think they pair together really well,” he says. These bottles helped disco-goers achieve a type of “collective effervescence,” a sociological term for when a group of people come out of themselves together. It happens during religious experiences, concerts, sporting events, and, yes, at gay bars—and Orne says it helps create bonds between complete strangers.

“People routinely talk about telling very intimate details of their lives and having very deep conversations with people they barely know, because they did drugs together or had sex in the same space,” Orne says.

The tide started to turn on poppers in the early 80s, when the AIDS crisis began to take hold of queer communities across the globe. Starting as early as the late 70s, rare and mysterious infections afflicted large numbers of people—mostly queer men—in cities across America. Doctors scrambled to figure out what was causing these young, previously healthy patients’ immune systems to collapse. In 1982, the CDC called the disease “acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)” for the first time, but how it spread or where it came from remained a mystery. It would take another year for scientists to identify HIV as the cause, and more than a decade to trace the virus back to its animal origins.

But during the days when AIDS was still a terrifying and fast-killing mystery without any real treatment, one potentail link stuck out: Nearly all queer men dying from the disease had used poppers at some point.

In 1985, a study linked poppers to Kaposi’s sarcoma, one of the most common infections in AIDS patients. However, the study didn’t look at the physiological pathways that would may have connected them—its results were based on correlations found within a survey of patients. About a year later, most AIDS researchers had discounted this theory.

Still, a poppers hysteria rippled throughout the U.S., and some prominent AIDS activists fervently supported a ban on alkyl nitrites. Hank Wilson and John Lauritsen co-authored “Death Rush,” a book detailing what they believed to be unequivocal evidence of the link between poppers and AIDS, and supposedly damning information about their manufacturers. In 1978, the poppers industry was worth an estimated $50 million, a figure that Wilson and Lauritsen teased may have “doubled or tripled” by the time they published in 1986. Citing “misinformation” campaigns and studies about the drugs’ safety, the authors built the case that Big Popper, as it were, was powerful and corrupt enough to fuel a deadly epidemic.

But more than 30 years after doctors first identified AIDS, there remains no convincing evidence of its link to poppers. Callander says poppers could actually reduce the risk of HIV transmission in some people: Relaxing the sphincter muscle can prevent skin from tearing during sex, lessening the likelihood of the infection spread through contact with blood (which is why HIV is so much more common in men who have sex with men in the first place).

Still, Wohlsifer points out that while the chemical signature of alkyl nitrites doesn’t lend itself to HIV transmission, poppers do decrease inhibitions during sex. “When you’ve decreased inhibitions, you’re more likely to be unsafe,” he says.

Poppers may cause a brief period of euphoric wooziness, but they affect the body differently than other volatile chemical inhalants (i.e. sniffing glue or paint). The former interact with smooth muscle, while the latter directly target the brain and nervous system. Vincent Cornelisse, a sexual health specialist at Kirketon Road Centre in Sydney, Australia, says inhalants affecting neurons are associated with brain and peripheral nerve damage, but alkyl nitrites aren’t.

Poppers may not kill your brain cells, but Cornelisse acknowledges they’re not quite the elixir of life. Rapidly altering your blood pressure can cause some uncomfortable, if mild, side effects: headache, dizziness, nausea, and a racing heart.

There have also been rare cases of more serious conditions associated with poppers use. Using an excessive amount at once (usually by drinking them, which is a terrible idea) can cause potentially fatal methemoglobinemia, which is when the blood’s hemoglobin fails to properly carry oxygen. Then there’s “poppers maculopathy,” referring to eye damage caused by the use of a specific type of alkyl nitrite—isopropyl nitrite—which became popular in Europe after the European Union banned the more common form of the drug.

The vaguely yellow liquid can also cause irritation and burning upon contact with skin. Regular users may exhibit what some call “poppers nose,” when scaly, irritated skin forms around the nostrils after too many close calls with the bottle’s surface. Alkyl nitrites are also highly flammable: A massive 1981 fire in San Francisco may have started at a warehouse full of poppers.

For the most part, though, the scariest claims about poppers aren’t supported by data. They’re not addictive (though users can build up a tolerance), they don’t cause AIDS, and their effects don’t last more than a minute or so. They’re not totally harmless—most things you inhale aren’t, after all—but Orne calls them a “low-commitment drug.”

That hasn’t stopped people from preaching about the dangers of poppers. “I think the reason why people think it is [killing their brain cells] is because it has that sort of chemical smell, so people equate that with something that’s not natural and dangerous,” Lea says.

It also hasn’t stopped countries from regulating them. Canada outlawed their sale in 2013, and a Volkswagen executive in Japan was arrested in 2023 with an illegal bottle of “Rush.”

In the United Kingdom, the Psychoactive Substances Act of 2024 included poppers on a list of drugs to be banned. Several months before its enactment, a proposed amendment to exempt poppers from the legislation failed, prompting conservative member of parliament Crispin Blunt to out himself as a poppers user in a speech. The government eventually stated that the ban would in fact not include poppers, citing that, unlike other psychoactive chemicals, they don’t directly affect the nervous system.

Australia’s regulatory drug agency, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, proposed rescheduling alkyl nitrites to the same category as heroin and cocaine last summer. The change was met with severe backlash from LGBTQ health professionals like Cornelisse, prompting the government to hold a community dialogue to better inform the legislation. The TGA is expected to reintroduce the revised version of the legislation this summer.

In the U.S., poppers occupy a gray legal space. State governments began banning them during the AIDS crisis, worried about their proposed link to the disease. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, a legislative staple of the War on Drugs, included language to classify alkyl nitrites as a drug unless they were produced and marketed for some purpose other than human consumption. That’s why they now have labels that say “room odorizer” or “leather cleaner.”

Through it all, Orne says governments have never been driven merely by health concerns. “Because they’re associated for a lot of people so closely with sex and gay sex in particular, I think they do have a more illicit reputation,” he says.

While poppers have been inextricably linked to queer men since they first burst onto the disco scene, they haven’t been exclusively so. When actress Lucille Ball died in 1989, an autopsy found traces of amyl nitrite in her system—though the fact that she suffered from cardiovascular disease later in life meant she was likely using them for their intended medical purpose.

In a 2012 memoir detailing her alleged racy affair with John F. Kennedy, former White House intern Mimi Alford described a scene at an L.A. party in which the young president broke a capsule of poppers and forced her to inhale. Ted Kennedy was also smitten with the aphrodisiac, according to former aide Richard E. Burke’s accounts of his former boss’s antics in “The Senator: My Ten Years With Ted Kennedy.” Burke recalled the senator’s motorcade driving past a head shop in L.A. during his 1980 presidential campaign, when Kennedy asked him if they could stop and buy some poppers. When Burke explained how bad that would look in the press, Kennedy pounded his fists against his thighs like a petulant child, singing, “I want poppers! I want poppers!”

The Kennedys weren’t the only straight people who enjoyed a good sniff of alkyl nitrite. A 1977 front page of the Wall Street Journal contained an extensive story about poppers and their use, and quoted an L.A. businesswoman with a penchant for the substance.

“I could really use a popper now,” she said.

Today, young straight folks are catching onto the alkyl nitrite craze. It may be because people, regardless of sexual orientation, are having more anal sex than ever before, or perhaps because relaxing smooth muscles can make vaginal and oral sex easier, too. Or it could be because they provide a fun, low-commitment high at clubs and parties, which may have increased appeal in an age of widespread awareness of other drugs’ dangers.

Alkyl nitrites weren’t borne out of a miraculous moment of queer alchemy, but it was queer people who made poppers into what they are today. “Straight people doing the same thing just doesn’t have that same cultural connection,” Orne says. In turn, the chemical compound helped us explore our sexualities and form communities, working toward a future where we’d be less afraid to seek pleasure. Queer liberation has always centered around the radical decision to exist outside restrictive norms that deny us that. Bricks, marches, and Supreme Court decisions have been invaluable in the fight, but you can’t ignore the power of a little glass bottle.

Create A Gmail Desktop App With These 3 Email Clients

In spite of the massive boom that is social media, whether for work or leisure, email is still an often used way of keeping in touch with others and managing your busy day. None more so than those who plant themselves in front of a computer all day, be it at work or home. 

Even though, when it comes to reading emails, you’re more likely to have your eyes glued to a mobile device, the computer still holds an important role. This is especially true when dealing with multiple email accounts.

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A PC is actually more convenient for email multitasking than a mobile phone. The issue with a PC that makes email reliance less desirable is having to deal with the varying interfaces of each email service. 

The built-in Google web interface of Gmail is definitely one such service that could use some improvements. Luckily for you, Windows 10 provides plenty of viable alternatives for a Gmail desktop app.

Create a Gmail Desktop App With These 3 Email Clients

The three email clients below are some of the best you can find for a Windows 10 Gmail desktop app. We’ve decided not to add the Windows 10 Mail app to the list as we much prefer these other options. Each one has been designed primarily for Gmail in mind even though they will still work for other email services as well.

There are two options when it comes to an account: Mailbird Personal which costs $14.50 per year or a one time payment of $59 and Mailbird Business valued at $24.50 annually. It is also available for free, known as Mailbird Lite, with less of the additional features. This is automatically chosen for you after the free trial period has ended without selecting one of the other two payment tiers.

Once downloaded, launch the installer and proceed through the installation process.

The initial window will ask for an email account to add where you’ll need to enter the name and email address of the account.

Once Mailbird locates the account, you’ll receive a similar window:

Here you can select your preferred layout and color theme.

Next, a window to connect your favorite apps:

Then one that asks if you’d like to add more any more accounts:

Once finished, you can then either activate your free trial of Mailbird Business, or if already purchased, input the received activation code.

Another feature-rich addition to the list would have to be eM Client. It is a well-established email client which has been around for more than a decade. The UI is clean and very familiar to those who have used Microsoft Outlook. 

eM Client comes with a unique sidebar that will help you save a lot of time. The features include communication history, attachment history, agenda list, and chat. Gmail desktop integration is relatively quick and simple and the setup takes very little time at all.

Home use is available for free but is capped at two email accounts max. The free version is rather limited so if you need additional features, they offer a premium version at a one-time cost of $50. 

You’ll then need to login through the Gmail web app after which it will prompt you to open eM Client.

Depending on how much information is in need of being moved over, the synchronization process could take some time. You can still use eM Client while waiting for the syncing process to complete.

Multitasking and managing multiple Gmail accounts is incredibly simple with Thunderbird. It supports many add-ons and extensions to help with these tasks. If you’re looking for an email client that continues to evolve and would make a great Gmail desktop app, Thunderbird should be a name to remember.

A configuration should be found for the email address you entered.

Next, you’ll need to choose what information to integrate into Thunderbird from your Gmail account. You can choose to have it sync everything each time you login. Afterwards, you can begin enjoying Thunderbird.

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