Falling In Transgender Love

Growing up, I developed a clear idea through TV and movies how to think about trans people. I believed trans people were duplicitous; I believed they were pariahs; I believed they were worthy fodder for ridicule, but never—ever—worthy of love. But I also knew I was trans.

It took me until I was 30 to come out. When I did, I was terrified of how people would treat me. To one friend, I came out over text—my lede buried beneath apologies for even sharing this news. A week later, he took me out to gay bars to show me around. Over coffee with another friend, I muttered, “I think I might be trans,” after a half hour of blundering small talk; that afternoon, she gave me a tote bag full of makeup. “That makes sense,” my mom said, over the phone. Nearly everyone in my life was supportive, and, in hindsight, my trepidation seems a little excessive. Three years later, I can hardly remember the intensity of my fear.

This doesn’t mean my fears were unfounded. They were valid for all the predictable reasons that prevent trans people from living safely. The first time I ever went out femme in public, for instance, a car followed me around the block; the third time, my partner—one of the first people I dated after coming out—bragged about doing whatever she wanted to me without verbal consent. Both occurrences were scary, but they were, I believed, what I should have expected. Blatant and implicit transphobia is too often the air that we breathe. J.K. Rowling continues to attack trans people online, despite having everything better to do. The BBC recently ran a fear-mongering piece about cis women being “pressured” to date trans women. In 2019, Human Rights Campaign declared the killings of trans people a national epidemic—in particular, the killings of Black trans women. The murders of trans people have only increased since then.

My greatest fear, however, was a bit more mundane: I was terrified no one would ever love me. Worse, I believed I wasn’t deserving of love, or that the love I received would come with certain provisions and impediments.

trans love, valentine's day

I’m hardly the first trans person to have this concern. Jules Gill-Peterson, a professor based in Maryland, told me she was prepared to resign herself to a life of isolation after transitioning. “One of the many transphobic lies that we’re told in this culture is that trans people are isolated and not lovable,” she told me. These lies are largely made up of tragic tales of rejection and violence. I don’t want to give the impression that it’s not hard to be trans in America. Over the last year, dozens of states have introduced anti-trans discrimination bills, many of them targeting children. Trans people have a harder time accessing healthcare and housing. Nearly one in two trans people will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes.

But for Gill-Peterson, dating has “helped [her] get over that internalized messaging really fast.” Translation: People found her hot. Though I’m too shy to call myself hot on the record, my experience has been similar. Thanks to the popularity and critical acclaim of work like Detransition, Baby, Framing Agnes, Gender Reveal, and so much more, the stories of trans people are finally being rewritten. So for Valentine’s Day, I talked to some trans writers and artists about falling in love: The unique joys of loving while trans, the sexiness of it, the moments of self-reflection and growth. Cis people don’t know what they’re missing.

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A.E. Osworth, a novelist based in Portland, met their boyfriend, the writer Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, online a little over a year ago. Not on a dating app—but through a DM. “They very sweetly asked me a question about teaching. And I answered very earnestly, and did not understand that they were flirting,” Osworth recalled. They mostly dated cis people before meeting their boyfriend and naively assumed dating a trans person would mean reaching a magical state of pure understanding. “That is a very sweet way of being wrong,” they joked. Both Osworth and their boyfriend identify as non-binary, and their ability to “hold space for really different conceptions of each other’s gender” feels, to Osworth, “really fucking trans.”

“Freer” is the word Britni de la Cretaz, a sports writer living in Boston, used to describe how their relationship changed since they came out as trans. Freer in the sense that they can explore their identity without fear of rejection; freer as in hotter, and more exciting, and intimate. Their partner is transmasculine, and when the two started dating, de la Cretaz identified as a queer cis woman. When they came out, however, their partner wasn’t surprised. “I think he saw me for who I was before I saw myself,” they told me. “There’s something really beautiful about that.”

“When you share yourself with someone, you can’t help but grow closer and fall more in love.”

Portland novelist Emme Lund met her partner at a party in 2005; a decade into their relationship, her partner came out as genderqueer. A few years later, while walking her dog, Lund realized she wasn’t cis, either, and when she told her partner—after completing the walk, she assured me—they were nothing but loving and supportive. The first dresses Lund wore belonged to her partner. Coming out has made things a lot easier for them both. “We’re both able to be who we are,” she told me. “Which is a lesbian couple.” More importantly, their relationship—their marriage, as of last year—has only deepened since Lund transitioned. “When you share yourself with someone and you have a good relationship with that person, you can’t help but grow closer and fall more in love.”

I’ve felt the same way in my current relationship. Before we went on our first date a little over a year ago, my partner knew I was trans. Nonetheless, I was nervous to dress femme around her, worried being my true self might push her away, that it might result in the hermit life that Gill-Peterson also feared. When I think of being seen, of being supported, I think of the time we went to the movies, after only a couple months dating. Before leaving the house, I agonized over whether to wear a new dress, worried she might not be attracted to me if I did; in the end, I decided to wear it—I wanted to wear it—and, when she met me at the theater, her first instinct was to compliment my new dress. She offered the kind of support I’d never safely received in prior relationships, and our connection evolved in ways neither of us expected. With her, I had nothing to worry about.

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Dating, of course, is a separate animal from long-term relationships—and more prone to ghostings and dud dates and the occasional absolute sicko. In Alabama, Emrys Donaldson, a college professor, is only just getting back into the dating pool after medically transitioning during the pandemic. Before he transitioned, he “was very nervous that no one would want me anymore.” In reality, it’s been much easier for him to find people with whom he’s a lot more compatible. “Most of the assholes that wouldn’t work out anyway…swipe left and I swipe left on them.” Donaldson spends a lot of time in Atlanta, where he’s met more trans peers and elders. Expanding his community has meant seeing more models for trans love. “I’ve met trans guys who have been in good relationships for a really long time,” he told me, but acknowledged “there’s always a need, or a thirst, for more elders.”

trans love, valentine's day

Like Donaldson, Denne Michele Norris, an author and editor based in Harlem, is returning to dating as pandemic restrictions ease up. Though she identified as non-binary for years, she came out as a trans woman last year, and her experience dating has run eerily close to that of her cis girlfriends. “For the first time in my life [I’m going on] dates that feel like what I was taught a date was supposed to be when I was in high school.” Chairs are being pulled out. She has not paid for a thing. Crucially, she doesn’t feel fetishized by the people she’s seeing. Norris is excited to create her own model for romantic relationships. “One thing that queerness and transness, in particular, has shown me is that I don’t have to start with a specific expectation for what anything looks like in my life.”

Gill-Peterson has also given a lot of thought to creating models for trans love. She’s hesitant to idealize queer love—which runs the risk of concealing abuse—and has learned a lot about romance from friendship. Both require “good communication, good boundaries, and [are] open to building forms rather than presuming we know in advance what a good relationship is.” The freedom she is describing was echoed throughout my conversations—the freedom to be yourself, the freedom to create new expectations, the sexual freedom borne out of being in-tune with your body. For Gill-Peterson, this freedom is beautifully trans. “You have this real improvisational freedom that can allow you to figure out how you go together with other people in ways the straights and the cis could only ever dream of.”

At the risk of idealizing: trans love, at its best, is a dream. It’s sexy. Improvisational. Open. Honest. Hot. Tender. Loving. Imaginative. Caring. Did I say sexy? Sexy. This is the story that ought to be told, because this is the story that’s true.

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Ukraine crisis: Russian news agency deletes victory editorial

Piece which prematurely claimed “Ukraine has returned to Russia” is still visible to internet users.

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Cloud Software Cuts Through Biomedical Data Thickets

There are currently about
440 fission reactors operating worldwide, which together can generate about 400 gigawatts of power with zero carbon emissions. Yet these fission plants, for all their value, have considerable downsides. The enriched uranium fuel they use must be kept secure. Devastating accidents, like the one at Fukushima in Japan, can leave areas uninhabitable. Fission waste by-products need to be disposed of safely, and they remain radioactive for thousands of years. Consequently, governments, universities, and companies have long looked to fusion to remedy these ills.

Among those interested parties is NASA. The space agency has significant energy needs for deep-space travel, including probes and crewed missions to the moon and Mars. For more than 60 years,
photovoltaic cells, fuel cells, or radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) have provided power to spacecraft. RTGs, which rely on the heat produced when nonfissile plutonium-238 decays, have demonstrated excellent longevity—both Voyager probes use such generators and remain operational nearly 45 years after their launch, for example. But these generators convert heat to electricity at roughly 7.5 percent efficiency. And modern spacecraft need more power than an RTG of reasonable size can provide.

One promising alternative is
lattice confinement fusion (LCF), a type of fusion in which the nuclear fuel is bound in a metal lattice. The confinement encourages positively charged nuclei to fuse because the high electron density of the conductive metal reduces the likelihood that two nuclei will repel each other as they get closer together.

A row of clear vials with white plastic caps on a countertop. Each vial contains a pile of moist wipes on top of small metal chunks.
The deuterated erbium (chemical symbol ErD3) is placed into thumb-size vials, as shown in this set of samples from a 20 June 2018 experiment. Here, the vials are arrayed pre-experiment, with wipes on top of the metal to keep the metal in position during the experiment. The metal has begun to crack and break apart, indicating it is fully saturated.
NASA

A row of upside down vials on a metal rack. The vials are amber-colored and contain metal chunks on top of chemical wipes.
The vials are placed upside down to align the metal with the gamma ray beam. Gamma rays have turned the clear glass amber.NASA

We and other scientists and engineers at
NASA Glenn Research Center, in Cleveland, are investigating whether this approach could one day provide enough power to operate small robotic probes on the surface of Mars, for example. LCF would eliminate the need for fissile materials such as enriched uranium, which can be costly to obtain and difficult to handle safely. LCF promises to be less expensive, smaller, and safer than other strategies for harnessing nuclear fusion. And as the technology matures, it could also find uses here on Earth, such as for small power plants for individual buildings, which would reduce fossil-fuel dependency and increase grid resiliency.

Physicists have long thought that fusion should be able to provide clean nuclear power. After all, the sun generates power this way. But the sun has a tremendous size advantage. At nearly 1.4 million kilometers in diameter, with a plasma core 150 times as dense as liquid water and heated to 15 million °C, the sun uses heat and gravity to force particles together and keep its fusion furnace stoked.

On Earth, we lack the ability to produce energy this way. A fusion reactor needs to reach a critical level of fuel-particle density, confinement time, and plasma temperature (called the
Lawson Criteria after creator John Lawson) to achieve a net-positive energy output. And so far, nobody has done that.

Fusion reactors commonly utilize two different hydrogen isotopes: deuterium (one proton and one neutron) and tritium (one proton and two neutrons). These are fused into helium nuclei (two protons and two neutrons)—also called alpha particles—with an unbound neutron left over.

Existing fusion reactors rely on the resulting alpha particles—and the energy released in the process of their creation—to further heat the plasma. The plasma will then drive more nuclear reactions with the end goal of providing a net power gain.
But there are limits. Even in the hottest plasmas that reactors can create, alpha particles will mostly skip past additional deuterium nuclei without transferring much energy. For a fusion reactor to be successful, it needs to create as many direct hits between alpha particles and deuterium nuclei as possible.

In the 1950s, scientists created various magnetic-confinement fusion devices, the most well known of which were
Andrei Sakharov’s tokamak and Lyman Spitzer’s stellarator. Setting aside differences in design particulars, each attempts the near-impossible: Heat a gas enough for it to become a plasma and magnetically squeeze it enough to ignite fusion—all without letting the plasma escape.

Inertial-confinement fusion devices followed in the 1970s. They used lasers and ion beams either to compress the surface of a target in a direct-drive implosion or to energize an interior target container in an indirect-drive implosion. Unlike magnetically confined reactions, which can last for seconds or even minutes (and perhaps one day, indefinitely), inertial-confinement fusion reactions last less than a microsecond before the target disassembles, thus ending the reaction.

Both types of devices can create fusion, but so far they are incapable of generating enough energy to offset what’s needed to initiate and maintain the nuclear reactions. In other words, more energy goes in than comes out. Hybrid approaches, collectively called magneto-inertial fusion, face the same issues.

Current fusion reactors also require copious amounts of tritium as one part of their fuel mixture. The most reliable source of tritium is a
fission reactor, which somewhat defeats the purpose of using fusion.

The fundamental problem of these techniques is that the atomic nuclei in the reactor need to be energetic enough—meaning hot enough—to overcome the Coulomb barrier, the natural tendency for the positively charged nuclei to repel one another. Because of the Coulomb barrier, fusing atomic nuclei have a very small fusion cross section, meaning the probability that two particles will fuse is low. You can increase the cross section by raising the plasma temperature to 100 million °C, but that requires increasingly heroic efforts to confine the plasma. As it stands, after billions of dollars of investment and decades of research, these approaches, which we’ll call “hot fusion,” still have a long way to go.

The barriers to hot fusion here on Earth are indeed tremendous. As you can imagine, they’d be even more overwhelming on a spacecraft, which can’t carry a tokamak or stellarator onboard. Fission reactors are being considered as an alternative—NASA successfully tested the Kilopower fission reactor at the Nevada National Security Site in 2018 using a uranium-235 core about the size of a paper towel roll. The Kilopower reactor could produce up to 10 kilowatts of electric power. The downside is that it required highly enriched uranium, which would have brought additional launch safety and security concerns. This fuel also costs a lot.

But fusion could still work, even if the conventional hot-fusion approaches are nonstarters. LCF technology could be compact enough, light enough, and simple enough to serve for spacecraft.

How does LCF work? Remember that we earlier mentioned deuterium, the isotope of hydrogen with one proton and one neutron in its nucleus. Deuterided metals—erbium and titanium, in our experiments—have been “saturated” with either deuterium or deuterium atoms stripped of their electrons (deuterons). This is possible because the metal naturally exists in a regularly spaced lattice structure, which creates equally regular slots in between the metal atoms for deuterons to nest.

In a tokamak or a stellarator, the hot plasma is limited to a density of 10
14 deuterons per cubic centimeter. Inertial-confinement fusion devices can momentarily reach densities of 1026 deuterons per cubic centimeter. It turns out that metals like erbium can indefinitely hold deuterons at a density of nearly 1023 per cubic centimeter—far higher than the density that can be attained in a magnetic-confinement device, and only three orders of magnitude below that attained in an inertial-confinement device. Crucially, these metals can hold that many ions at room temperature.

The deuteron-saturated metal forms a plasma with neutral charge. The metal lattice confines and electron-screens the deuterons, keeping each of them from “seeing” adjacent deuterons (which are all positively charged). This screening increases the chances of more direct hits, which further promotes the fusion reaction. Without the electron screening, two deuterons would be much more likely to repel each other.

Using a metal lattice that has screened a dense, cold plasma of deuterons, we can jump-start the fusion process using what is called a
Dynamitron electron-beam accelerator. The electron beam hits a tantalum target and produces gamma rays, which then irradiate thumb-size vials containing titanium deuteride or erbium deuteride.

When a gamma ray of sufficient energy—about 2.2 megaelectron volts (MeV)—strikes one of the deuterons in the metal lattice, the deuteron breaks apart into its constituent proton and neutron. The released neutron may collide with another deuteron, accelerating it much as a pool cue accelerates a ball when striking it. This second, energetic deuteron then goes through one of two processes: screened fusion or a stripping reaction.

In screened fusion, which we have observed in our experiments, the energetic deuteron fuses with another deuteron in the lattice. The fusion reaction will result in either a helium-3 nucleus and a leftover neutron or a hydrogen-3 nucleus and a leftover proton. These fusion products may fuse with other deuterons, creating an alpha particle, or with another helium-3 or hydrogen-3 nucleus. Each of these nuclear reactions releases energy, helping to drive more instances of fusion.

In a stripping reaction, an atom like the titanium or erbium in our experiments strips the proton or neutron from the deuteron and captures that proton or neutron. Erbium, titanium, and other heavier atoms preferentially absorb the neutron because the proton is repulsed by the positively charged nucleus (called an Oppenheimer-Phillips reaction). It is theoretically possible, although we haven’t observed it, that the electron screening might allow the proton to be captured, transforming erbium into thulium or titanium into vanadium. Both kinds of stripping reactions would produce useful energy.

As it stands, after billions of dollars of investment and decades of research, these approaches, which we’ll call “hot fusion,” still have a long way to go.

To be sure that we were actually producing fusion in our vials of erbium deuteride and titanium deuteride, we used neutron spectroscopy. This technique detects the neutrons that result from fusion reactions. When deuteron-deuteron fusion produces a helium-3 nucleus and a neutron, that neutron has an energy of 2.45 MeV. So when we detected 2.45 MeV neutrons, we knew fusion had occurred. That’s when we published our initial results in Physical Review C.

Electron screening makes it
seem as though the deuterons are fusing at a temperature of 11 million °C. In reality, the metal lattice remains much cooler than that, although it heats up somewhat from room temperature as the deuterons fuse.

Two men standing in a cluttered room and wearing blue latex gloves examine samples in small disk-shaped containers.
Rich Martin [left], a research engineer, and coauthor Bruce Steinetz, principal investigator for the LCF project’s precursor experiment, examine samples after a run. NASA

Overall, in LCF, most of the heating occurs in regions just tens of micrometers across. This is far more efficient than in magnetic- or inertial-confinement fusion reactors, which heat up the entire fuel amount to very high temperatures. LCF isn’t cold fusion—it still requires energetic deuterons and can use neutrons to heat them. However, LCF also removes many of the technologic and engineering barriers that have prevented other fusion schemes from being successful.

Although the neutron recoil technique we’ve been using is the most efficient means to transfer energy to cold deuterons, producing neutrons from a Dynamitron is energy intensive. There are other, lower energy methods of producing neutrons including using an isotopic neutron source, like americium-beryllium or californium-252, to initiate the reactions. We also need to make the reaction self-sustaining, which may be possible using neutron reflectors to bounce neutrons back into the lattice—carbon and beryllium are examples of common neutron reflectors. Another option is to couple a fusion neutron source with fission fuel to take advantage of the best of both worlds. Regardless, there’s more development of the process required to increase the efficiency of these lattice-confined nuclear reactions.

We’ve also triggered nuclear reactions by
pumping deuterium gas through a thin wall of a palladium-silver alloy tubing, and by electrolytically loading palladium with deuterium. In the latter experiment, we’ve detected fast neutrons. The electrolytic setup is now using the same neutron-spectroscopy detection method we mentioned above to measure the energy of those neutrons. The energy measurements we get will inform us about the kinds of nuclear reaction that produce them.

We’re not alone in these endeavors. Researchers at
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in California, with funding from Google Research, achieved favorable results with a similar electron-screened fusion setup. Researchers at the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division, in Maryland have likewise gotten promising initial results using an electrochemical approach to LCF. There are also upcoming conferences: the American Nuclear Society’s Nuclear and Emerging Technologies for Space conference in Cleveland in May and the International Conference on Cold Fusion 24, focused on solid-state energy, in Mountain View, Calif., in July.

Any practical application of LCF will require efficient, self-sustaining reactions. Our work represents just the first step toward realizing that goal. If the reaction rates can be significantly boosted, LCF may open an entirely new door for generating clean nuclear energy, both for space missions and for the many people who could use it here on Earth.

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FIFA and UEFA suspend all Russian international and club teams from competitions



CNN
—  

FIFA and UEFA have suspended all Russian international and club teams from their competitions “until further notice,” the governing bodies announced in a joint statement on Monday.

World football’s governing body, FIFA, and European football’s governing body, UEFA, said that both organizations’ presidents – Gianni Infantino and Aleksander Čeferin – “hope that the situation in Ukraine will improve significantly and rapidly so that football can again be a vector for unity and peace amongst people.”

UEFA’s club competitions include the men’s and women’s Champions League, the men’s Europa League and the men’s UEFA Conference League.

Spartak Moscow had been due to play RB Leipzig in the Europa League, with the first leg in Germany on March 10 and the second leg scheduled for March 17, but that game has now been called off.

“The UEFA Europa League matches between RB Leipzig and FC Spartak Moskva cannot take place, and, as a consequence, RB Leipzig are qualified to the quarter-finals of the competition,” UEFA said in a statement.

There are no Russian teams remaining in UEFA’s other club competitions this season.

On the international stage, FIFA’s jurisdiction over World Cup qualifiers means that, as it stands, Russia will not be able to play its World Cup playoff against Poland scheduled for March 24.

The match was originally set to be hosted in Russia until FIFA announced on Sunday that Russia must play all upcoming international fixtures on neutral sites without fans under the name “Football Union of Russia,” following the invasion of Ukraine.

“Following the initial decisions adopted by the FIFA Council and the UEFA Executive Committee, which envisaged the adoption of additional measures, FIFA and UEFA have today decided together that all Russian teams, whether national representative teams or club teams, shall be suspended from participation in both FIFA an UEFA competitions until further notice,” read Monday’s joint statement.

“These decisions were adopted today by the Bureau of the FIFA Council and the Executive Committee of UEFA, respectively the highest decision-making bodies of both institutions on such urgent matters.

“Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine.”

FIFA had faced criticism for its earlier decision to allow Russian international teams to continue playing their scheduled fixtures, with the president of the Polish Football Association describing it as “disgraceful.”

FIFA said on Sunday that “no flag or anthem of Russia will be used in matches where teams from the Football Union of Russia participate,” and added its measures were “in line with recommendations from the International Olympic Committee.”

Polish FA President Cezary Kulesza called the decision not to implement a total ban “unacceptable” and said that the Polish national team would not play Russia “no matter what the name of the team is.”

UEFA has also announced that is has ended its partnership with Gazprom, the Russian majority state-owned energy corporation.

Gazprom was one of UEFA’s main sponsors and its branding featured prominently on advertising hoardings during Champions League matches and in commercials during games.

“UEFA has today decided to end its partnership with Gazprom across all competitions,” the statement read.

“The decision is effective immediately and covers all existing agreements including the UEFA Champions League, UEFA national team competitions and UEFA EURO 2024.”

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West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Swansea City: Piroe and Christie strike for visitors

Joel Piroe of Swansea and Adam Reach of West Bromwich Albion
Joel Piroe’s goal was his 15th of the season as Swansea completed a first league double over West Brom since the 2011-12 campaign, when the sides were in the Premier League and the Swans were managed by Brendan Rodgers.

West Bromwich Albion’s miserable run continued as Swansea City further hit their fading promotion hopes with a deserved 2-0 win at The Hawthorns.

Joel Piroe struck through a crowded penalty area with 11 minutes remaining to break the deadlock for the visitors.

Cyrus Christie then fired home with a powerful effort with six minutes left.

Callum Robinson twice hit the post for West Brom, who are still looking for a first win after five games since Steve Bruce took charge.

The Baggies were a fixture in the play-off berths earlier this term, but continue to slide off the promotion pace and are now 13th, eight points off the play-off spots, while Swansea rise to 16th.

West Brom’s season has gone from bad to worse in recent weeks, but boss Bruce made just one change to the side which started Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat at Middlesbrough with Robinson replacing Karlan Grant.

Russell Martin made three alterations to the Swansea side beaten 4-0 at Sheffield United nine days ago with Kyle Naughton – returning after a month out with a thigh problem – and Hannes Wolf returning from injury, and Michael Obafemi recalled in attack.

This was a contest between two sides in wretched goalscoring form and that proved to be the decisive factor in a game lacking in incident, with both goalkeepers largely afforded a quiet evening, which should not have been a surprise.

West Brom had failed to score in their previous two Championship games at The Hawthorns and had only found the net once in the previous six games.

The stats on the road for Swansea were equally poor, scoring only once in six away games in 2022, so it was somewhat predictable that neither side created a clear chance in a sluggish opening 20 minutes.

The hosts thought they had taken the lead on 21 minutes with the first clear chance of the contest, but Robinson’s header hit the post after Dara O’Shea’s cross. It was as close as Albion would come to scoring.

A flat atmosphere and a lack of chances meant a lack of intensity in a first half in which it took Swansea a full 40 minutes to create an effort.

Matt Grimes curled just wide of goal from 25 yards before Sam Johnstone saved Christie’s header – the Swans’ first attempt on target – and easily stopped Jamie Paterson’s weak effort.

The hosts did not manage a single shot on target as the game moved past the hour mark, but Swansea could not take advantage with Piroe’s fierce shot hitting the outside of the post.

However, it was Swansea who were beginning to apply serious pressure in search the win.

Obafemi missed a great chance to break the deadlock when he headed Ryan Manning’s fantastic cross over the crossbar with 20 minutes remaining.

Shortly after he prodded wide from Wolf’s cross as Swansea looked every bit like a side who had failed to find the net in over seven hours on the road.

The hosts finally managed a first shot on target on 74 minutes, but substitute Quevin Castro’s shot lacked power, before Robinson’s clever curling effort from 20 yards struck the outside of the post as the forward struck the woodwork for the second time.

The miss proved decisive as Swansea finally found a moment of quality with substitute Olivier Ntcham’s run and cross teeing up Piroe, who slammed the ball home from 12 yards.

It was a deserved goal for the Swans and they made the points safe when Christie controlled and powered the ball into the net after West Brom failed to cut out Wolf’s cross from the left.

West Brom registered just one shot on target in the match and boos rang out from the Baggies fans as the final whistle sounded.

Line-ups

West Brom

Formation 4-3-2-1

  • 1Johnstone
  • 4O’SheaSubstituted forFurlongat 45′minutes
  • 6Ajayi
  • 5Bartley
  • 3Townsend
  • 14MolumbySubstituted forGrantat 77′minutes
  • 27Mowatt
  • 20ReachSubstituted forDe Castroat 65′minutes
  • 11Diangana
  • 7Robinson
  • 15Carroll

Substitutes

  • 2Furlong
  • 16Clarke
  • 18Grant
  • 21Kipré
  • 25Button
  • 29Gardner-Hickman
  • 32De Castro

Swansea

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 33Fisher
  • 5CabangoBooked at 64mins
  • 26Naughton
  • 3Manning
  • 13Wolf
  • 4DownesBooked at 33mins
  • 8Grimes
  • 23Christie
  • 17PiroeSubstituted forJosephat 90+4′minutes
  • 12PatersonSubstituted forNtchamat 77′minutes
  • 9ObafemiSubstituted forSmithat 83′minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Fulton
  • 7Smith
  • 10Ntcham
  • 14Joseph
  • 18Hamer
  • 22Latibeaudiere
  • 30Burns

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Best Channels to Sell Auto Parts Online


Editor’s note: In the article, we explain how to set up your own e-store and remind of popular marketplaces you can join to sell auto parts online. And if you need expert guidance on launching an e-business, feel free to leverage the knowledge we share in our ecommerce startup guide and engage our team of professional ecommerce consultants.

The automotive ecommerce market is predicted to grow to $28.4 billion by 2026. One of the major factors attributing to the market rise is surely new patterns in consumer behavior catalyzed by the COVID. Consumers tend to avoid crowds and no longer want to visit brick-and-mortar stores as they did in the pre-pandemic times. Being present online is already a must for businesses to stay resilient. This is also true for auto sellers.

How to sell auto parts online

Which auto parts to sell

The preferences of consumers vary from month to month. However, there are certain car parts and accessories that are in demand all year round. For instance, selling tires is one of the safest options as they always make it to the top 10 of popular items. Among others, car chargers, driving recorders, GPS trackers, and smart keys sell well too.

When researching the market and developing your business strategy, you should decide if you want to cover consumer demands widely and sell a vast range of products or take a niche position and focus on a specific group of car parts, like externals (bumpers, wind deflectors etc.), internals (cylinders, chargers, etc.), tools or other categories.

How to sell car parts online

  • Joining popular and high-traffic marketplaces is best for sellers who don’t want to invest in their own online store. All you need is to follow the registration procedure, submit all the required information to confirm that your business complies with legal requirements, upload product information and pay marketplace fees.
  • The option of launching your own e-store comes with its benefits: you have full control over the branding of your business and pay no sales fees to a third party. With your own online store, you can also elaborate a strong customer experience strategy and successfully nurture the loyalty of your customers.
  • To maximize the customer outreach, you can sell via both channels – a branded webstore and a marketplace.

Want to Set Up an Automotive Webstore?

ScienceSoft can help you translate your business needs into a converting ecommerce solution.

How to launch an automotive online store

Despite the relative immaturity of the online automotive industry, it is promised to thrive. If you want to join the market, you need to identify your niche, research the market and analyze competitors. This will give you an understanding of a business model most suitable for your needs. The next step is to start creating an actual e-store. You’ll need to select a platform to build your store on and draw up a customization approach, finding the balance between the desired functionality and cost-effectiveness. The solution should fully support your business processes and ensure converting customer journeys.

With a properly designed strategy for gaining online presence and an e-commerce solution that fits your product line and supports your business processes, you can successfully meet your customers’ demands. You are very welcome to engage our ecommerce team if you need any assistance with selling car parts online.

Are you planning to expand your business online? We will translate your ideas into intelligent and powerful ecommerce solutions.



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Zoom gives weak Q1 outlook but sets sights on bigger customers


Zoom on Monday published better-than-expected fourth quarter financial results, but its weak Q1 2023 outlook sent shares down in after-hours trading. The communications company’s quarterly results pale in comparison to the astronomical growth it experienced at the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, even as it matures and sets its sights on larger, enterprise customers. 

Zoom’s Q4 non-GAAP net income per share was $1.29. Fourth quarter total revenue was $1.071.4 billion, up 21% year-over-year. 

Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.05 per share on revenue of $1.05 billion. 

Zoom also said its board of directors has authorized a stock repurchase program of up to $1 billion of Zoom’s outstanding Class A common stock.

For the full fiscal year, Zoom’s non-GAAP net income per share was $5.07.  Total revenue in FY 2022 was $4.099.9 billion, up 55% year-over-year.

“In fiscal year 2022, we delivered strong results with total revenue of more than $4 billion growing 55% year over year along with increased profitability and operating cash flow growth as our global customer base continued to grow and find new use cases for our broadening communications platform,” CEO Eric S. Yuan said in a statement. “Looking forward, we are addressing a large opportunity as we expect customers will continue to transform how they work and engage with their customers. It is apparent that businesses want a full communications platform that is integrated, secure, and easy to use. We are proud to lead the charge of the digital transformation for communications. To sustain and enhance our leadership position, in fiscal year 2023 we plan to build out our platform to further enrich the customer experience with new cloud-based technologies and expand our go-to-market motions, which we believe will enable us to drive future growth.”

In Q4, Zoom’s sales grew thanks to both new customers and expanding business with existing customers. At the end of the quarter, it had 2,725 customers contributing more than $100,000 in trailing 12 months revenue, up approximately 66% from the same quarter last fiscal year.

Going forward, Zoom also plans to report on its progress with enterprise customers. Zoom defines Enterprise customers as distinct business units who have been engaged by either Zoom’s direct sales team, channel partners or independent software vendor partners. At the end of Q4, Zoom had approximately 191,000 Enterprise customers, up 35% year-over-year. The company had a trailing 12-month net dollar expansion rate for Enterprise customers of 130%

For Q1 2023, Zoom expects total revenue between $1.07 billion and $1.075 billion. First quarter non-GAAP diluted EPS is expected to be between 86 cents and 88 cents.

Analysts are expecting an EPS of $1.05 on revenue of $1.1 billion.



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Japan Should Consider Sharing American Nuclear Weapons – Former PM Abe

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for his country’s armed forces to consider a nuclear sharing agreement with the United States, stressing that fielding nuclear weapons should no longer be a taboo subject for Tokyo. This would mirror the NATO nuclear sharing program, which not only allows the United States to deploy nuclear weapons to the territory of European states, but also allows these states to decide how they can be used, train to employ them, and acquire weapons systems for nuclear delivery that could be armed with American nuclear warheads in their countries should war break out. This has long been slammed as a bending if not direct violation of non-proliferation agreements. Japan’s three non-nuclear principles laid out in 1967 call for it not to possess, produce or allow nuclear weapons on its territory, although the spirit of the latter has been secretly violated in the past. The United States notably previously deployed extensive nuclear assets to Okinawa until the 1970s, as the territory was under direct American military rule. As prime minister, Abe was a leading proponent of militarising Japan and restoring offensive capabilities within the context of providing further support to allied Western powers in East Asia and beyond. 

Abe’s statement comes as Japan moves towards development of long range cruise missiles capable of offensive strikes, and just days after it was announced that options for preemptive strikes would be considered under Japanese military doctrine – a step wholly unprecedented since the imperial era of the 1940s. This could pave the way for an eventual preemptive nuclear strike doctrine, which would be by far the most assertive in the region as China, North Korea and India all have no first use doctrines for their nuclear arsenals. The statement also follows a deep shift in Japan’s Air Self Defence Force away from a focus on air superiority and air defence and towards a greater focus of strike missions and penetration of enemy airspace. This is perhaps best exemplified by retirement of F-15 fighters in favour of F-35s, the former which is well optimised for air to air combat while the latter was designed primarily for strike missions with advanced stealth capabilities to facilitate it. The F-35 is notably capable of delivering nuclear bombs, and Japan’s fleet of over 100 which is currently on order could thus play a central role in a nuclear sharing agreement. 

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Cathy Serif’s Ab-Wheel Workout – Oxygen Mag

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The ab wheel does what not many ab exercises can do — it works the entire core. When you perform movements on the wheel correctly, you activate your abs, glutes, lower back muscles and obliques as one unit.

The truth is, however, it’s difficult to master the ab wheel. Oxygen Ambassador Cathy Serif knows this all too well, and breaks down what you need to do to get strong enough for the ab wheel.

The most important aspects of this exercise progression are:

1.  Gain core foundational strength first with broad planks, stability-ball plank and stability-ball roll outs before attempting the ab wheel.

2.  After you build foundational core strength, progress to using a band or tubing for assistance before attempting the ab wheel with no assistance at full range of motion.

Ab Wheel Basics:

The Setup: Round your spine, engage your abdominals.

Execution: Roll out into extension with a focus on engaging your abdominals and keeping your spine slightly curved.

Return: Return to the starting position by using the abdominals, not the hips.

For more on getting the most out of your ab wheel and fine-tuning your form, check out The ‘Wheel’ Deal on Ab Wheels.

5 Exercises to Help You Master the Ab Wheel

1. Broad Plank

2. Stability-Ball Plank

3. Stability-Ball Roll Out

4. Ab-Wheel Rollout With Tubing/Band

5. Ab-Wheel Rollout

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Serena Kerrigan Do It For the Plot Live Show

The sun is just beginning to set on another Valentine’s Day when Serena Kerrigan, a 27-year-old confidence coach-cum-entrepreneur-cum-certified internet personality, bestows upon me an unusual gift: the diary she began keeping after her first kiss in the fifth grade. In a little over an hour, the lights will go up on her third live show—a two-hour-long storytelling experience where a stilettoed Kerrigan sashays to and fro, spinning yarns about an adolescence punctuated by mean girls and slightly traumatic summer camps and an adulthood punctuated by…well, she’d likely use a less polite term, but I’ll call it a healthy dose of discovery. Sexual, for certain, but of herself in general.

Kerrigan’s brand, otherwise known as SFK—or Serena Fucking Kerrigan, coined after a long-standing joke that she changed her middle name during her freshman year at Duke University because the f-word simply added more panache—is revered by some hundreds of thousands of Gen Z and Millennial women on Instagram and TikTok for its simple approach to improving one’s life, self-esteem, and relationships. Her wisdom isn’t groundbreaking (“you write, produce, direct and star in your life) nor does it leave room for much nuance (“if it’s not a fuck yes, it’s a fuck no”) but evidence that her message resonates isn’t difficult to find among the throngs of devotees—all leather-clad and claw-clipped—who’ve arrived just as the doors open. I don’t overhear a single person lodging their displeasure over the holiday, only squealing in anticipation and complimenting each other’s takes on Euphoria makeup.

I’m backstage just long enough for the native New York to greet me like an old friend, offering a “You look cute,” before she grabs the diary and starts flipping through its pages.

“My dad bid for this on eBay,” she tells me, lifting it for me to get a better look. It’s made by Juicy Couture and exactly no part of me is shocked, though I’m amused by the thought of how many other moms and dads would’ve bid on a designer diary for their child to doodle about hating their parents. She adjusts her cropped sweatsuit, tucks her legs under herself on the couch, and begins to read a passage.

“I hooked up with Jesse. We both went to second. I didn’t think it was a big deal but just to be safe, I told him not to tell anyone. But those things turned around completely. Everyone knew, the teachers called our parents, and now apparently, I’m a slut? I don’t understand. When a guy hooks up with many girls, he’s called a pimp in a good way. When a girl hooks up with many guys, she’s called a slut in a bad way. Huh? Before I thought hooking up was cool. Now it’s slutty. How did we get here?”

While many of us have likely pondered the same question, posed it to an elder or a friend in frustration, and probably sparred with someone of the opposite sex in a futile attempt to regain control of the narrative, perhaps it’s simpler to instead discuss how Kerrigan got here: curled up in this green room, trying to make sense of a memento saved from a not-so-simpler time, as 200 women who consider her the best friend they’ve never met wait for her to take the stage.

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In February 2020, just before the world was plunged into a pandemic, Kerrigan quit her job as a video producer and content creator for Refinery29 to begin building her brand. Her mother, an executive vice president at MTV, and her father, a director and screenwriter, had always advised Kerrigan to maintain agency in her career. After three years at Refinery29, this was the first step, but just one month later, agency became hard to come by: As the pandemic began, thousands across the country were laid off and millions were confined to their homes under the constant threat of illness. Even those who ordinarily don’t crave the social trappings of real life—like going on first dates—found themselves longing for even one forced conversation in a crowded bar.

But Kerrigan, who was quarantining alone in her apartment in the East Village, saw the social stillness as an opportunity, and began going on blind dates and livestreaming them on Instagram. The show “Let’s Fucking Date” was born and became an overnight sensation, due in large part to Kerrigan’s take-no-prisoners wit and off-the-chart levels of self-confidence. The Today Show dubbed the show “Quarantine’s New Must-Watch,” it was honored by the Webby Awards, and drew 1.1 million views by the end of its “first season” alone.

Let’s Fucking Play Card Game

letsfuckingdate.com

$25.00

After an influx of DMs from inspired viewers, Kerrigan decided to put her teachings into fans’ hands, creating a card game, also named Let’s Fucking Date, to guide them through everything from resuscitating stale first or second dates to spicing up a long term relationship that’s losing its luster. On each card is a question like “What’s your biggest pet peeve on dates?” or “What’s the last text you sent about me?” And because seemingly everything Kerrigan touches somehow turns to gold, that too was a hit, and spawned two more X-rated iterations of the game, Let’s Fucking Fuck and Let’s Fucking Play, just months after the first release.

The latter deck, designed for self-exploration, was announced via OnlyFans, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP), a grassroots social justice network dedicated to protecting the rights of sex workers.

“With the launch, we really wanted to have a conversation about people owning their body and feeling free to do what they want with it,” Kerrigan told ELLE.com. “If it’s a means to make money, then that’s absolutely their prerogative. When I launched the OnlyFans, it was always just to launch the game and get my audience using the platform. We don’t want to take away from the creators who are actually on it to make a living.”

Though she won’t offer specifics, she teases there’s more to come from the partnership with SWOP in the near future. When I press her about backlash to the publicity push, she said the majority of the more mean reactions came from women.

“There were women like, ‘I thought you wanted to be the face of Chanel and go to the MET Gala,’” she recalls with an eye roll. “If I’m receiving this kind of hate, I can’t imagine the magnitude for, you know, minorities, and people of color that are using this platform as sex workers.”

I wondered aloud if she can truly understands the full ramifications of joining OnlyFans compared with those who can’t, say, quit a stable day job to build their brands. One of Kerrigan’s frequent mantras is, “Do it for the plot,”—her take on YOLO. But at what risk? And with what means?

“When I tell people to ‘Do it for the plot,’ I don’t mean, ‘Jump off a bridge and hope for the best.’ I’m saying that everything is a part of your story and the worst thing that can happen is dying without trying at all.”

“I realize that so much of my identity, being known as this queen of confidence and holding this position of power is intrinsically tied to my privilege. I’m fully aware that so much of my success has come from that,” she tells me. “I get messages from all kinds of people across the world all the time telling me they’re afraid—of changing jobs, of moving, of dating, everything. I guess, when I tell people to ‘Do it for the plot,’ I don’t mean, ‘Jump off a bridge and hope for the best.’ I’m saying that everything is a part of your story and the worst thing that can happen is dying without trying at all.”

Many of Kerrigan’s followers often remark how relatable she is, but there’s a strong case to be made that she’s quite the opposite. Her West Village apartment, a pristine sanctuary of varying shades of white—from egg shell to pearl—isn’t exactly representative of how many 20-somethings are living in New York. Nor is her social calendar (she was seated next to Candace Bushnell at a NYFW event), enviable wardrobe, and cadre of conventionally hot and financially comfortable friends. Last fall, paparazzi photos of her palling around with Sports Illustrated models like Nina Agdal and Brooks Nader made the rounds, as did quotes to Us Weekly about Scott Disick and Amelia Hamlin’s breakup.

No, Kerrigan is not relatable; she’s aspirational. And while it would be easy to reduce her to just another product of nepotism with too much time, money, and ego on her hands, I find myself stopping short on multiple occasions. Later in the evening, her publicist shares how deeply upset she was by a recent article that implied she doesn’t pay her staff. That reaction isn’t hard to imagine. She’s surprisingly self-aware, earnest to the point of endearing, and over-the-top eager to please those who’ve shown up tonight. Now that I found relatable.

serena kerrigan

Courtesy of Serena Kerrigan, Collins Nai

“Am I doing okay?” she asks no less than three times throughout our time together. Even Serena Fucking Kerrigan has her moments. I ask if she feels nervous as a staffer enters the room and makes adjustments to the temperature in the room where the show will be held.

“I’m sorry I just like, need a minute,” she says, visibly distracted. It’s clear that whatever she’s about to say, she wants to get absolutely right. Her publicist opens a bottle of champagne and when the staffer leaves the room, Kerrigan regains her concentration.

“I feel like if I weren’t nervous then the stakes wouldn’t be high enough. The fact that I am means that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. But I do feel a responsibility to perform. People paid money, they took time out of their day. I want to make them laugh.”

Before I take my seat, I pose a few quick questions taken directly from all three of her card games. The first: “What’s better than an orgasm?”

“The people who tell me I’ve changed their life or the way they view themselves,” she replies. But at the risk of sounding too sentimental, she adds, “Although, I love cumming.”

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“There’s nothing better than falling in love on Valentine’s Day. Is anyone falling in love right now?” Kerrigan asks the audience, who hoot and holler in enthusiastic response.

“Really? Because y’all are fucking here…” she deadpans. To no one’s surprise, the room is populated entirely by gaggles of women and their friends, gleefully being overcharged for cocktails with names like “The Lily Collins,” and giggling with their friends. Seated at a table next to me are two recent alums from the Bachelor universe, as is Kerrigan’s mother, Lily Neumeyer, who receives several dedications throughout the show and uproarious applause whenever she’s name-checked. She bashfully hides her face in her hands on each occasion, but especially after her daughter forgets a line and she blurts it from her seat.

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The live show felt like Kerrigan’s social media presence come alive, with her recounting dishy sexploits and reflecting on puberty, partying, and schemes gone awry. Kerrigan changed outfits four times during the show—five if you count her meet-and-greet dress—and around the halfway mark, she dons a black lace veil like an old Italian widow for a mock funeral to lay to rest the names of past hookups and relationships. The audience howls mostly male names into the drunken ether as Kerrigan tosses roses into the crowd.

But it’s not all debauchery and dates.

“We are indoctrinated to believe if we’re not soft launching a dude’s elbow, we’re lonely,” she waxes poetic at one point, encouraging her devotees to raise a glass and toast to friendship and the relationship we have with ourselves. I sneak a peek at the women nearest me and note a few collecting stray tears as they clink half-empty glasses and beam at their friends—a display that makes a part of me feel lonely for my own.

Near the end of the show, a full-length mirror is brought onstage, and flashes of recognition register on the faces of those around me. Though the internet is still largely devoid of spoilers, Kerrigan’s fans know what’s next. Talking to herself in a mirror and “hyping herself up” is a cornerstone of her burgeoning brand; she believes it’s a crucial practice for cultivating bulletproof self-esteem. She frequently uses the ritual on social media and even brought it on screen for her stint on the last season of MTV’s “Siesta Key” as she coached cast members through crises.

She asks for volunteers and within seconds, a girl teeters to the stage. Kerrigan, positioned behind her and now wearing an entirely see-through dress, asks her to look at herself in the mirror and tell her reflection what she loves most about herself.

“You’re such a good friend and you do so much for people,” she begins, before Kerrigan interjects. “No, I don’t want to hear what you do for people. I want to hear what you like about yourself,” she chides.

“Well, I like my eyes,” the girl shyly admits. The audience erupts as if she’s just announced she’s just eradicated the coronavirus. A few more lucky participants get their moment and each one is punctuated by the same reaction.

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When the show ends, I watch from the side of the stage as the meet-and-greets begin. Kerrigan spends no less than at least five minutes with each person, speaking to them as if she’s catching up with long lost friends. A woman and her best friend flew from Boston that morning to be there for the show, one of which left her boyfriend, confused about why they weren’t spending Valentine’s together, at home. Another young woman, who looks no more than 22, tells Kerrigan she’s changed her life. It’s a sentiment she’s heard a hundred times now—via DM and IRL—but it seems to move Kerrigan so much that she actually begins stroking the woman’s hair before bringing her in for a long hug and parting with a full-throated, “I love you!”

I find myself laughing as a particularly raucous group of six or seven women approach and pose for photos in at least three different formations, all flanking Kerrigan. She’s built a real community here, one that clearly backs her with the same ferocity that she encourages them to feel for themselves.

She notices me watching and reaches out.

“Come on, we’re taking a picture together!” she declares.

I humbly request that the magic mirror be brought on stage and we take at least 50 mirror pics, gazing at our own reflections. As per usual, she smolders as I try to hold my own. I appraise myself, noticing that my hair has fallen and my makeup is less than fresh. We swipe through the pictures together and she remarks that we’re “so hot.” I suddenly realize she’s giving me the same treatment as the others, though I never volunteered.

Just as I return home, I receive a text from Kerrigan. Earlier that night I’d asked if any male celebrities were in her DMs and she told me she’d think about it and get back to me. Hours later, she lands on an all-too-on-brand response:

‘None so far but I have a feeling that is going to change very soon ;) LOL”

After all, she doesn’t call herself the “Queen of Confidence” for nothing.

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