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Taryn Ziegler

Taryn Ziegler is a graduate from the University of Washington Bothell with a degree in Culture, Literature, and the Arts. She currently works as an independent content writer and literature reviewer, and she adores being able to create valuable content with the English language for a living.

Amazon Prime Air Drones are coming

Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos is forging the path for futuristic shipping

The American public should take a brief moment to tip their hats to Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos for choosing a goal, pursuing it, and shaking off immense criticism. For his Amazon Prime Air drones. For decades shipping has relied on boats, planes, and cars to carry items from one end of the globe to another. With Amazon’s announced Octocopter, shipping takes an exhilarating new turn. Want your package within 30 minutes or less? Amazon is working on it, and Octocopter drones are shaping up to be the answer.

The Announcement

Perhaps the most exciting part about all of this is that the initial announcement for Octocopter is old news at this point. CBS wrote about Jeff Bezos’s unveiling on Charlie Rose’s 60 Minutes interview in December of 2013. During this interview Bezos unexpectedly showed off the then-secret drone project that Amazon was fueling, claiming that customers would be able to use this service within the next four-five years. The last we heard, “Prime Air” needed more FAA approvals and safety testing. That was three years ago. The clock is ticking, and it’s possible we’ll see these Amazon Prime Air drones in the airway sooner than we can conceive.

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The Dream

Amazon’s Prime Air plan for the drones is to have them pick up packages in small yellow buckets at Amazon’s fulfillment centers and then travel by air to the customer. The goal is to have products reaching customers 30 minutes after the purchase has been submitted. If that’s not premiere customer service, I don’t know what is. However, these Amazon Air Prime drones are only expected to carry packages up to five pounds. This makes sense for where drone technology is at the moment, although it might come as a disappointment for those looking to order heavier items.

The Technology

The Octocopters will fly under 400 feet and weigh less than 55 pounds. They will use a large degree of automation for safe operation up to distances of 10 miles or more. This is stated on Amazon’s own Amazon Prime Air website, and this fact hints at the drones being initially semi-remote-controlled. Amazon claims that these “Prime Air vehicles” will be the future of package traffic and that we will soon see theses Amazon Prime Air drones as often as anything else. Time will tell if Amazon will deliver on this promise.

The Expanding World of Technology

With the advent of SpaceX landing their Falcon 9 rocket and many other technological advances, it is clear that we are entering an age where innovation is the name of the game. The 2000’s are finally shaping up to be the futuristic years science-fiction novels lauded and predicted, and consumers and scientists alike have the excellent good fortune of living to see them through. These are exciting times and the Amazon Prime Air drones are arriving just in time.

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A Spoiler-Free Look at the Newest Star Wars: The Force Awakens

We look in depth at the phenomenon that took in $57 million its opening night

This is a spoiler-free look at the newest Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Innumerable masses of people swarmed to their nearest movie theaters last night to experience the awesome release of the newest story in the epic Star Wars saga: The Force Awakens. It’s hard to convey the excitement that this movie has been the source of across the country, but if you’re a Star Wars fan at all, you’ll understand. For those of you who did not rush to a theater for the midnight showing and are biding your time instead, it’s worth taking a look at the movie itself and evaluating its merits. For those of you who did, this’ll be a moment of reflection on the movie which so recently smashed records with its $57 million opening night.

A Quick Peek

Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes place 30 years after the Return of the Jedi. The plot opens with Luke Skywalker, the last Jedi, having disappeared (as promised, that’s all we’ll offer of the plot and of potential spoilers). The star-studded cast brilliantly fuses the new with the old, meshing original actors such as Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher with fresh faces such as Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, and John Boyega. Needless to say, relatively unknown talents such as Daisy Ridley have been catapulted into stardom due to The Force Awakens’ success.

Disney’s Acquisition

Being the first movie in the Star Wars epic under the tight reins of The Walt Disney Company rather than Lucasfilm, there was some initial concern from viewers about the direction that Disney would take. The ultimate result? A definitely-Disneyesque version of Star Wars that by no means offends the original aim. The villainy offered by the movie’s primary antagonist does, to a certain extent, feel watered down. The movie overall leans a little more child-friendly than the others, which may turn some diehard Star Wars fans off. That being said, The Force Awakens was blessed with the Disney budget this go around. This means that the movie itself was tightly and beautifully made, with spot-on actor selections and unbelievable sets. Thanks, Disney.

Keeping Up With the Joneses

Following in a wake of Marvel movies that featured slap-bang action-packed scenes full of wild stunts and mind-melting explosions, The Force Awakens had a lot to compete with. And compete it did. Instead of turning from the current trend of shoving action sequences down viewers’ throats, this Star Wars flick does exactly the opposite. The epic scale that it takes in its plot and the extremely quick speed of its scenes makes the movie a bit hard to track with time-wise. The story moves at a lightning hustle, sometimes to the detriment of character development and a unique plotline, and sometimes in preference to aforementioned mind-melting explosions.

Paying Homage

We can complain all we want about a plot that doesn’t have enough development, but there’s no denying the charm that the movie carries and its careful implementation of original Star Wars humor and references. The movie takes you to the world of Star Wars that you remember, giving all of the right nods at the right times to original Star Wars scenes and jokes. The score itself even pays its respects, as John Williams once again crafts magnificent scores to make the movie soar and plummet as the plot dictates.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is undoubtedly a true Star Wars-ian movie. It offers all the right laughs and tears, all the right fights and flights, all the right scenes and sequences. There can be no complaint about Disney’s masterful meshing of new content with old cinematography. The Force Awakens lays all the appropriate groundwork for the next two movies (expected to be released in 2017 and 2019 respectively) and provides everything Star Wars aficionados have come to expect from the series. Does it blow you away? Maybe not. Does it satisfy your thirst for more of the original movie franchise that rocked audiences back in the 80’s? Yes. It’s a triumphant piece, if not a masterpiece. Go enjoy it, Star Wars fans. You deserve it.

San Bernardino Valley College finals interrupted due to bomb threat

The threat was received late in the day on Monday

Following in the wake of a perturbing number of threats and malicious notes throughout the United States, the San Bernardino Valley College was forced to close its doors on the 15th of December due to a supposed bomb threat.  The San Bernardino Valley College, a fully accredited community college, is located in California. It covers a sprawling 82 acres and currently holds around 12,500 students- students who were barred from entering the college on Tuesday because of a pending investigation of the threat.

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The Scoop

The original threat was received late in the day on Monday when the police initially evacuated campus. When the police finished their investigation at 6 pm, they declared that the threat had only been a hoax. However, the next day police returned to campus in order to continue to investigate. Given that finals started for San Bernardino Valley College on Saturday, the situation has students and professors alike anxious and stirred.  Following on the heels of the tragedy at the Inland Regional Center where 14 people were killed by 2 shooters, Californian students are shaken for good reason.

The Current Situation

The fact that the threat was a bomb threat has only recently been released through a Tweet by the athletics department. This means that there is a significant lack of information circulating from the police, and it is still uncertain whether or not the campus will be open for Wednesday classes and finals. The investigation is ongoing while police forces continue to scour the campus for evidence of a real threat, or evidence of a genuine hoax.

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Bernie Sanders gets interviewed by rapper Killer Mike

The democratic candidate gets candid with the Run the Jewels rapper

Bernie Sanders, the presidential candidate who has so recently captured many young Americans’ attention and held it, was freshly interviewed by Run the Jewel’s front man Killer Mike. Bernie Sanders has been the force behind an exciting maelstrom in American politics as thousands of people normally stagnant in political involvement have rushed to the forefront of the election efforts. Killer Mike’s interview not only highlights Sanders’ willingness to engage with a typically-reluctant public but also his mesmerizing ability to do so.

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Run the Jewels

Killer Mike is no mere rapper. He is a leading force behind Run the Jewels, an American hip hop supergroup which was formed by the Atlanta-based rapper in 2013. Their debut studio album was released as a free download the same year that they were formed, and their 2014 album has been praised by critics and audiences alike. In June of this year Killer Mike suggested himself that he might be looking at a future in politics, and it’s no surprise to see him venturing into the realm of the election this winter season.

Bernie Sanders

While Killer Mike might be talking about running for office, Bernie Sanders is actively doing it. Sanders is a Democratic presidential candidate for the 2016 election actively speaking out about what are considered by some to be radical changes he intends to make in America. The following are some of his goals loosely stated:

  • Fix income and wealth inequality
  • Make colleges tuition-free and debt-free
  • Take big money out of politics
  • Create decent paying jobs

Needless to say, he’s accrued a significant gathering of people behind him and against him with these sorts of campaigning ideas.

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The Interview

Killer Mike recently gave Bernie Sanders his full public support and solidified that by recently interviewing him in his own barber shop. The interview is an hour-long and, to the relief of audiences, has been released in six segments with titles for easier accessibility. These sections have been labelled: “Economic Freedom,” “Social Justice,” “Rigged Economy,” “Free Health Care: It Ain’t A Big Deal,” “This Country Was Started As An Act of Political Protest,” and “Democrats Will Win When People Vote.”

You almost don’t need to watch the video to understand the gist of each matter. However, the 2016 campaign marks a decided turn in American politics. Bernie Sanders represents a serious challenge to the status quo, and it’s important that, Bernie-enthusiast or not, you tune into what’s happening and why. Watch as Bernie Sanders gets interviewed by Killer Mike HERE.

University of Colorado student stabbed to death by fellow student

Sean Hudson of University of Colorado was murdered by a fellow student last week

In a tragic example of a shocking lack of self-control, Sean Hudson was murdered by fellow student Ian Scheuerman on December 12th. Both men had mutual acquaintances and were attending the University of Colorado Boulder, but there, evidently, the similarities ended. In what would escalate into a physical conflict, an argument would end one of their lives Saturday evening.

Hudson’s Story

Sean Hudson was 26 when he was stabbed multiple times by 22-year-old Sean Hudson and ultimately murdered. Hudson was a social psychology graduate student with a ripe social life and an infinite number of dreams ahead of him. Needless to say, his murder has left the campus shocked and quaking. Hudson was originally from Greenfield, Indiana and his absence is wholeheartedly felt on campus. University of Colorado Boulder Chancellor Phillip P. DiStefano expressed his condolences to Hudson’s family and friends for the incident.

Scheuerman Now

Scheuerman, a student in physics, was arrested without incident and has been thus far cooperating with police authorities. Somewhat surprisingly, the autopsy reports have yet to come back to confirm the cause of Hudson’s death. However, Scheuerman has been charged with second-degree murder, and there seems little confusion as to the who and the how of the crime.

A Lesson for Students Everywhere

The conflict occurred off of campus and supposedly started with merely a verbal argument. What could possibly have escalated these two men to the point where murder became inevitable? Mortified family and friends may never know. Time and time again college campuses declare their intolerance of senseless violence, but tragedies like this continue to happen around the nation. It will take more than merely a statement to end the outrageous crimes committed, human against human. It will take changing human lives worldwide.

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5 eternally re-watchable Christmas movies

These 5 Christmas movies never get old

Granted, we all have our favorites, but these are the 5 eternally watchable Christmas movies. However, there are at least five holiday season movies that most of us can agree upon as being classic to the point of eternal re-watchability (this is a made-up word). Whether you’ve got it on in the background while you set up Christmas lights, or whether you’re sitting on your couch glued to the screen and munching on peppermint bark, these movies are the best for replaying during the holidays.

#1 – A Christmas Story (1983)

This one needs very little explanation. If you’re not already aware, this is the Chrismas movie that popularized the iconic scene of a child having their tongue stuck on a frozen pole. And, if you’ve ever been confused by seeing a lamp in the shape of a woman’s leg with risqué stockings, you can thank A Christmas Story for that one too. A Christmas Story is an American Christmas comedy revolving around the nine-year-old protagonist Ralphie Parker. The movie is narrated through Ralphie’s perspective, although with an adult man’s voice. Directed by Bob Clark, A Christmas Story has dozens of laughs in store as you smile and cringe along with the Parker family’s often awkward and painful holiday season, making it one of the top classic movies.

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#2 – Home Alone (1990) & Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

Instead of filling two slots with the Home Alones that have Macaulay Culkin in them, we’ll go ahead and let them only take up one space (sorry Home Alone 3, it just wasn’t the same Christmas movie without him). If you’re a young child, these may be fodder for nightmares about break-ins. Simultaneously, however, they’re heroic tales of one sassy young man who chooses to fight back against evil rather than just succumbing to it. In Home Alone Macaulay plays Kevin, a young boy who is accidentally left behind while his family flies to Paris. Meanwhile, a pair of knuckleheaded thieves prepare to break into his house, and Kevin uses his quick wits to turn his house into a series of traps and tricks in order to catch the thieves in the act. The plot is similar enough in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York to not need rehashing, and the charm is the same.

#3 – Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Ah, The Grinch. A classic Christmas tale invented by the infallible and ineffable Dr. Seuss. What happens when you combine the comic genius and idiocy of Jim Carrey with the beloved work of Dr. Seuss? You get Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, a splendid adventure featuring the very talented young Taylor Momsen as Cindy Lou Who and Jim Carrey as the hilariously grumpy Grinch. Jim Carrey may not be your cup of tea, but there’s no denying his excellent performance as the Grinch in this Christmas classic.

#4 – Elf (2003)

Similarly, the oftentimes lewd and stupidly funny comedian Will Ferrell takes a jab at the Christmas genre and wins with Elf. The newest of our movie countdown list, Elf took its place on holiday screens in the early 2000s and has stayed there ever since. Will Ferrell plays Buddy, a human who was adopted by one of Santa’s elves when he was an infant. When Buddy finds out his true parentage he sets out on a quest to meet and reconnect with his biological father, a cold and successful businessman in New York City. Will Ferrell may be a little over the top for your personal tastes, but Elf‘s director Jon Favreau does an excellent job of meshing the absurd with the sentimental in this Christmas favorite.

#5 – Those Random Christmas Stop-Motion Films

Don’t be fooled. That wasn’t actually a movie title. In all seriousness, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone whose childhood wasn’t brimming over with memories of those half-hated, half-loved stop-motion films rolling during Christmastime.

·       Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (1970)

·       Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

·       The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)

Did we ever, as children, really understand what was going on these movies? Probably not. But we definitely remember the clay stop-motion style and maybe even some of the more critical plot points. These movies are full of nostalgia for most and rightfully claim, as a set, a place on this countdown.

Time to Turn the TV On

If you don’t own any of these movies, don’t worry. They’re all prepped to play on popular TV channels, and may in fact be now all playing simultaneously. The good news is, these movies are Christmastime films that have reached a point of never getting too old. Keep them set aside for brightening your holidays and you’ll find, over the years, that they’re infinitely re-watchable.

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Comparing the Giants of the web Marketplace

Amazon, Etsy and eBay are the biggest internet marketplaces during the holiday season

Comparing the giants of the web marketplace can be a hard task. Holiday season has rushed over and engulfed us, there’s no denying it. With holiday season comes holiday buying, and many people have already hungrily been searching the Internet for that perfect gift. Whether or not it’s holiday season, oftentimes we find ourselves browsing webpages in the web marketplace before we ever browse store shelves. Today, the online bazaar is where people want to be, and Amazon, Etsy, and eBay find themselves as crowning champions of this virtual marketplace. While each of these web entrepreneurs has their undeniable plus sides, they also have some less appealing characteristics. Let’s see what happens when we toss Amazon, Etsy, and eBay into the proverbial wrestling ring for Internet marketplaces.


Amazon.com, Inc. was founded in 1994 and today has surpassed Walmart as “the most valuable retailer in the United States by market capitalization.” A serious online contender for best web marketplace indeed. Amazon is considered an electronic commerce cloud computing company and it has its headquarters in cloudy Seattle, Washington. Amazon is the largest Internet-based retailer in the U.S., a shocking achievement considering its humble beginnings as an online bookstore.

The Breakdown – Amazon is a virtual literal giant. You need it? Amazon’s got it, and they probably have it for excellent prices, as well. With the addition of Amazon Prime you can also get what you want extremely fast. However, Amazon’s once-trustworthy reviewing system has become a bedraggled mess. While reviews were intended to be written by real buyers of real items, many reviews are now written by people paid to write them in order to give the item a higher ranking. This means that, for the most part, you can’t trust Amazon reviews of items. Since you don’t ever get to see these items in person before you buy them, this creates a serious problem. Most sellers are honest and legitimate, but with the advent of Amazon allowing literally anyone to sell on their website, more and more shysters are creeping in.

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Fancy magnificently handcrafted one-of-a-kind items? Step away from Amazon.com and reap the plentiful rewards of shopping through the web marketplace known as Etsy. Etsy is a peer-to-peer e-commerce website following the tradition of open craft fairs. Etsy allows sellers- any sellers- to create their own storefront where they can list their vintage or handmade items at a cost of 20 cents each. Etsy was launched in 1998 by iospace. Today, the website has 54 million registered users with 1.4 million active sellers.

The Breakdown – Where you might not trust Amazon reviews you can be sure that Etsy reviewers are telling it like it is. With a website like Etsy, every single seller needs to be extra certain that they stand out, whether that’s through amazing customer service, amazing products, or amazing prices. The best stores naturally combine all three. Etsy proffers items that you can’t even imagine, ranging from homemade wedding dresses to handmade Damascus steel hatchets. Can’t think of what to get your loved one for Christmas? Pick a category and a theme and jump on Etsy. Your spouse likes octopus and coffee? Bam. Octopus design coffee mugs. However, because items are generally either handmade or vintage, you can sometimes get a mixed bag concerning quality. Be sure to check reviews and ask questions of sellers before investing in an item that might turn out to be a piece shoddy craftsmanship. Handmade things also tend to be overpriced because of their novel nature.


Only a year younger than Amazon, eBay Inc. is a peer-to-peer multinational corporation and e-commerce company in America. Its headquarters are in California and its founder is Pierre Omidyarin. Today eBay Inc. is a multibillion-dollar business managing the iconic eBay.com. eBay is an online auction and shopping website which is free for buyers to use, although sellers are charged fees for item listings as well as when listings are sold. As a fun side-note, PayPal was originally a wholly-owned subsidiary of eBay in 2002, but only this year became its own independent company.

The Breakdown – eBay offers something that neither Etsy nor Amazon really have any grasp on: haggling. eBay is a thriving marketplace full of both new and used items. If you need a specific car, you’re not going to find it on either of the two previous sites- but you just might find it on eBay. The auction system allows you the chance to score an expensive item for a ridiculously cheap price, but it does require constant observation and some serious timing skills that other web marketplaces won’t need. There are other options that allow you to buy items without having to go through an auction, but for the most part eBay’s best and worst attribute is its auctioning system. eBay has a wildly different selection of items, ranging from autographed prints to enormous used sets of Magic the Gathering cards. However, try not to fall in love with anything too hard… it might just be gone before you know it.

Where To?

Where you ultimately end up shopping ends up having a great deal to do with your personal preferences. If you like convenience, quick shipping, and good prices across the board, you’ll probably be hunting through Amazon for your goods. If you like handcrafted and unique items you won’t ever find in stores, you’ll definitely be an Etsy fan. If you like haggling, auctions, and a bizarre selection of goods, you’ll be on eBay most of your time. Whatever your cup of tea, drink it. These online giants are only getting bigger and better all the time and becoming titans of the web marketplace options.

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Alex the Parrot can ask a self-aware question

Alex the Parrot is the first animal to be able to ask a self-aware question

Did you know Alex the Parrot can ask a self-aware question?  Scientists have known for years that great apes and dolphins possess an intelligence far beyond what mankind normally understands animals to have. But for most of those years scientists had never successfully recorded an animal asking a philosophical question relating to what the animals were themselves. This is where Alex the parrot comes in. Alex, after learning what colors were and how to identify them, would one day come to ask what color he was. Alex the parrot is the first animal to ever be recorded as having asked what is understood to be an existential question. If that doesn’t give you chills, let’s take a look at this unforgettable bird’s story.

The Bird

Alex was an African grey parrot born in 1976 who was adopted by animal psychologist Irene Pepperberg at the age of one. For 30 years Alex engaged in both a scientific and a personal relationship with Pepperberg, serving as a test subject for avian learning experiments. Alex died in 2007 suddenly, having lived only half of the years that African greys typically have to live. After so many years of study, Pepperberg wrote that Alex’s intelligence was on par with that of great apes, dolphins, and five-year-old humans. She also suggested that Alex had the emotional level of a human two-year-old, and that his untimely death cut short the immense intellectual progress he could potentially have made throughout the rest of his years.

The Tests and the Scores

Pepperberg used tests to build Alex the Parrot’s vocabulary and understanding. She would bring him objects in order to educate him on concepts such as size, differences, numbers, and colors. At the end of his life Alex had a vocabulary of over 100 words. What was really incredible, however, was his intuitive understanding of those words. He could correctly identify materials, shapes, and colors, and often reacted sassily in situations where he was either being teased or not given what he wanted. He would say “I wanna go back [to a location]” when he was tired of being tested, and if he wasn’t taken to that particular location he would express frustration.

If he was taken to the right location, he would sit quietly and calmly. This is exceptional in that Alex had not been taught to say a location of where he wanted to go, but had picked them up by himself through researchers asking him about where he’d like to go. Alex the parrot was also known to attempt to assuage a researcher’s physical irritation by saying, “I’m sorry.” He could differentiate between personal pronouns, referring correctly to himself and others with “I” and “You.” Alex was further aware of the concept of zero. Impressed yet?  Alex also called an apple a “Banerry” after having been really only ever exposed to bananas and cherries.

The Question

And yet none of those accomplishments quite matched what he would do next. One day Alex was brought in front of a mirror. Alex looked himself up and down curiously, and then verbalized perhaps the first human-witnessed existential question an animal has ever posed: “What color?” After being told “grey” several times, Alex learned that his own color was grey. To put this in perspective, while apes have been trained to use sign language, they have never asked a question. Alex not only asks a question, but asks a question about himself.

It is possible that Alex was only parroting the researchers’ questions from his tests, but this was an entirely different situation with an entirely new context. Alex saw himself in the mirror, identified himself as a self, and asked a question about that self. Alex’s early death marks a terrible tragedy in the pursuit of understanding the intelligence that fellow Earthlings really do possess. If Alex asked a question about himself before his life was half over, what would he have been asking when he was at a ripe old age?

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The Question for Us

It’s easy to pretend that we don’t know what we know about the intelligence of other animals. It’s far more comfortable to shut one eye and continue to dominate the planet in a selfish race for complete human independence. Humans may possess language, culture, and learning, but how much longer will we be the only ones with these three distinctive traits?

How much longer before we discover that dolphins have been creating their own underwater civilizations for years? We may never find these things out, but if they weren’t true of the past, they will undoubtedly be of the future. It’s also time that humans started being honest with their own questions about themselves. Humans, in particular, ought to be considering their treatment of fellow Earthlings who might just be asking profound philosophical questions we ourselves cannot answer.

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How to stay sane during holiday traffic

Learn how to survive the perils of traffic during the holidays

Ever tried to figure out how you can stay sane during holiday traffic? Don’t pretend like you’re immune. Holiday traffic (or indeed, any traffic) is perfectly designed, somehow, to take the human psyche to its deepest darkest depths. Perhaps it’s the slow creep of the gas pedal, promising forward movement but delivering nothing. Perhaps it’s the continual demolition of hope as traffic picks up suddenly and then quickly drops to a standstill.

Perhaps it’s having to deal with a city’s-worth of fellow drivers packed together in the same few lanes like so many cattle in a stall. Whatever it is, holiday traffic is the worst. For your sake, and the sake of other drivers, here are a few tricks for keeping yourself sane while locked onto the roads this holiday season.

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Listen to Christmas Music

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Christmas music has the blessed ability to lift anyone’s mood, no matter the circumstance or situation, including the perils of holiday traffic. Christmas music abounds with good cheer and joviality, and features playful topics and well-crafted tunes. It’s hard to maintain a bad mood while listening to someone belting about the beauty of Christ’s birth, the falling snow, or kissing under the mistletoe.

Download Educational Podcasts

If Christmas music isn’t your thing, try out some scholarly podcasts for teasing and engaging your mind. Bring yourself up to speed on new technology, ideas, and innovations while stuck in miserable holiday traffic. NPR’s Ted Radio Hour is particularly good for this sort of distraction. Podcasts designed to inform and educate are perfect for keeping you distracted from the car jam at hand.

“Read” Your Favorite Book

Did you know that it’s easier than ever to listen to your favorite book? Forget traditional reading. Download an audio version of a book that you love and let it play freely while moving at a glacial pace through the roads. Separate yourself from the dull world outside your windows with the vibrant one that you love, whether that’s the universe of Harry Potter or The Great Gatsby. You can also download something you’ve never read before and really forget about the misery of holiday traffic before you.

Test Your Car Recognition

If you’re a car enthusiast (or a wanna-be car enthusiast) be sure to try this one out. As you drive, keep an eye on the cars surrounding you. Identify car logos and try to guess what model they are without looking at the secondary label. If you are unfamiliar enough with the brands to know what logos go with what, make yourself a cheat sheet and consult it when you’re really fully stopped. You’d be amazed at how much car knowledge you’ll quickly gather while frozen on the road in holiday traffic.

Keep Road Rage at a Minimum

Holiday traffic may be designed to drive you crazy, but you have the option to fight back and preserve your sanity. Try out one of these tricks to keep yourself less maddened while on the road. It may be frustrating to be crawling at the speed of smell along a 60-mph freeway, but always remember: you’re not in it alone. Literally.

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The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth For PS4

Here is what we know so far about the Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth for PS4

The birthing pains of waiting for The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth‘s release for PS4 have become almost too cruel to bear. There’s no doubt that every gamer in the know has the same question on their mind: where is it?! To alleviate some of these pains, we’ve gathered all the tidbits of evidence that we could to help keep our fellow impatient gamers fully updated.

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Has It Been Announced?

Yes. There is definitely going to be a version of The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth for PS4. The precursor, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, is currently available on the PS4 network (if you don’t have it yet, drop everything and go buy it). The DLC Afterbirth was released on October 30th on Steam only, while in September Edmund McMillen announced that the DLC would be available on both PS4 and Vita by the end of the 2015 year. You can find the tantalizingly ambiguous Tweet here, but you’ll probably be as dissatisfied by its lack of details as we are.

Has Anyone Even SEEN It?

Yes. The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth was demoed at PAX 2015 on the PS4 by one of its developers. While Edmund McMillen has remained strangely quiet about the PS4 version on the Binding of Isaac blog, instead focusing on the PC version, there’s no doubt that a PS4 Afterbirth is in the future.

The Freshest News?

McMillen’s blog had this to say on the 14th of November-

“until now i don’t think i fully realized how much of a monster this game has become, and this launch in particular had some of the weirdest bugs that caused the most interesting and conspiracy inducing paranoia ive ever experienced in my life (but more on that in a later post).”

Hm. Sounds like Afterbirth was more of a handful than McMillen expected, and it’s currently riddled with game-ruining (albeit fun) bugs. The post goes on to describe the updates that will be put into place to fix what was originally wrong with Afterbirth on PC.

So What’s Going On?

Here we delve into speculation. Given the unexpected problems that The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth has encountered on the PC, it is highly likely that the Isaac team has not been able to get to working on the PS4 version as they originally expected. It seems as though a great deal of effort is being put into Afterbirth for the PC, which would explain why it’s taking so long for the more polished version to come out on PS4. It’s probably not a bad thing to have to wait for a smoother and bug-free version of The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth, even if it’s painful. And tormenting.

And in the Meantime?

Fortunately, there are plenty of other games in the market to be checking out, and plenty more in the makes for drooling over. For instance, take a look at Super Meat Boy, another McMillen creation, or start deciding now whether you want Star Wars Battlefront or Fallout 4. If you’re more interested in seeing what’s coming, find out about the amazing No Man’s Sky and start dreaming of next-gen entertainment. It’s definitely been a long wait for The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth on PS4, and there may be a long wait coming, but at least there’s plenty to go around to keep gamers busy this holiday season.

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