The Taliban requires that all mannequins’ heads be covered or cut off. Interviews with locals and eerie photos of storefronts offer a glimpse of Afghanistan’s new reality.

A mannequin’s head is covered in a dress shop in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Dec. 26, 2022.

Veiled and headless mannequins are a ubiquitous sight in fashion shops across Afghanistan. 
A shop owner says the Taliban’s restriction has affected the psyche of female shoppers.
Afghans say life is difficult under the Taliban, with no signs of things improving. 

Since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, women have been forced to cover up. Now, the faces on mannequins of all genders must be hidden, too.A mannequin’s head is covered in a dress shop in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Dec. 26, 2022.

For the past two years, the Taliban has gradually erased women from public spaces. Being a woman in Afghanistan means being invisible. Women are not allowed to work, go to school, and are forced to wear the veil in public. 

The Taliban’s move to restrict women’s rights in Afghanistan began with vandalizing storefronts displaying images of women. Today, the Taliban have ramped up these efforts by trying to ban a seemingly inconspicuous object: mannequins. 

Insider spoke to several locals from Kabul, including a shop owner, a female athlete, and an Afghan-born scholar, to find out why the Taliban wants to destroy mannequins and how this affects the lives of both men and women in Afghanistan. 

In Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, mannequins were once a symbol of fashion and culture. But in the past year, shop owners have resorted to displaying them headless or covered in cloth, just to keep their stores open.Black plastic bags cover the heads of mannequins displayed in evening gowns in Afghanistan, Monday, Dec. 26, 2022.

In August 2021, the Taliban announced that shop owners must remove the heads of their mannequins, or do away with them all together.

But several shop owners pleaded with the Taliban to let them keep their mannequins intact. The Taliban agreed, but on one condition — all mannequins must have faces covered. 

One such shop owner is Faisal Azizi. Before coming to the US to study political science and government at Dartmouth College in March, he operated a family business selling traditional Afghan clothing.

Azizi told Insider that the Taliban forced locals to deface banners displaying photos of fashion models before trying to totally ban the use of mannequins. 

The Taliban believe statues and images of the human form are forbidden, according to their strict interpretation of Islamic law.

But experts …read more

Source:: Business Insider


Utah football: Did Utes get stronger or weaker via the transfer portal?

Stanford linebacker Levani Damuni (3) follows a play during game against Washington State, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Pullman, Wash. Damuni is one of four players the Utes snagged out of the transfer portal in the offseason.

Young Kwak, Associated Press

The chaos in college football that is the NCAA transfer portal has subsided — at least until May 1, when players can enter the portal again. 

Now that the dust has settled from this latest round of portaling, let’s look at how the transfer portal has impacted Utah’s program. 

The Utes didn’t have as much activity in the transfer portal compared to a lot of other programs, but there have been some interesting developments.

Utah lost nine players from the transfer portal, while gaining four.

Those numbers don’t include running back Micah Bernard, who spent less than one month in the transfer portal. It appears Bernard will be returning to the Utes, according to reports. 

Of those who are leaving Utah, the biggest loss is center Paul Maile, who transferred to BYU. Besides Maile, the Utes didn’t lose much in terms of on-field production and experience. 

The Utes did say goodbye to a few players, however, that seem to have potential — four-star recruits Ricky Parks, a running back; and linebackers Mason Tufaga and Ethan Calvert. 

As far as the additions, linebacker Levani Damuni (Stanford), edge rusher Logan Fano (BYU), cornerback Miles Battle (Ole Miss) and placekicker Cole Becker (Colorado) all joined the program. But each of them could make a big impact for Utah in 2023.   

Overall, the transfer portal was a net positive for the Utes as the the back-to-back Pac-12 champs have made themselves a little better, particularly on defense and special teams.

In a recent interview with The Athletic, coach Kyle Whittingham was asked what kind of players he and his staff are looking for from the transfer portal.

“With guys in the portal, we really take the exact same approach as we do with high school guys. We want guys with work …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News


How became the world’s most popular chess website

Alex Cochran, Deseret News

When Erik Allebest and Jay Severson met on the third floor of Merrill Hall at Brigham Young University they had no premonition they would later spend several years together huddled over a computer writing code while overseeing the creation of an online empire now worth over $500 million. 

Though they didn’t know it then, their professional relationship would be built on their shared love for the game of chess, a common interest they discovered when Severson — BYU’s chess club president (and only member) decided to “destroy” Allebest in a round of the game as revenge for Allebest’s abrasive first impression. 

Following this stinging defeat at the hand of his recently acquainted floormate, Allebest offered to pay Severson $7 an hour to give him chess lessons. 

Since their fortuitous meeting in 1995 as college freshman, the pair’s business venture — — has become the world’s most popular chess website, attracting a whole new audience to the game.

After years of slow, steady success, experienced massive growth coinciding with pandemic-era lockdowns and the popularity of Netflix’s chess-drama “The Queen’s Gambit” in 2020. This growth has accelerated in the years since, with the website reaching 100 million members in December 2022, and record levels of traffic in January 2023. 

“I never would’ve guessed in a million years that would be as big as it is today,” Severson said. Both Allebest and Severson spoke to Deseret News about how got started, and where they think it’s going.

As the company has grown to dominate the chess world — consistently hosting the top chess players and the game’s most prestigious events — Allebest, CEO of, said he feels responsibility to steward the game into the future, even as recent cheating scandals threaten to undermine the website’s credibility in its newfound role. 

Entrepreneurial beginnings

Allebest had already started multiple neighborhood side hustles by the time he graduated from his Orange County high school. But it was at BYU where his entrepreneurialism and his passion for chess began to intersect.

Between taking chess notes on 3×5 index cards and trying to get through his English undergrad as quickly as possible, Allebest would build two chess-related companies while at BYU. He …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


Gen Z doesn’t think anyone can keep them safe online, and one of their biggest concerns is photos getting leaked

Gen Z is skeptical that any entity can protect their data from cyber threats.

Gen Z has little faith that anyone can keep them safe online, according to a Dell Technologies study.
18% of respondents said they trust the government to protect their data, while 17% trust private sector companies.
Gen Z’s main cyber threat concern relates to having their personal data or photos shared.

Gen Z doesn’t think anyone can keep them safe online.

That’s according to a Dell Technologies study released in December. The company surveyed 15,105 people between the ages of 18 and 26 years from 15 countries about how investments in technology can be used to support the economy. The findings indicate that Gen Z doesn’t trust any entity, public or private, to keep their data safe online.

The survey found that:

18% of respondents said they trust government bodies, ministries, and departments to protect their data
17% said they trust private sector companies
25% of respondents said they trust both equally

As for Gen Z’s top cyber security concern? Having their personal data or photos shared without permission.

In addition, more than half of the surveyed individuals said they have low or neutral confidence that their personal data is being stored properly by healthcare providers.

The survey’s findings follow a spate of high-profile cyber attacks targeting major companies.

Earlier this month, hackers leaked details of over 200 million Twitter accounts onto an online forum, including email addresses and phone numbers.

In August 2021, T-Mobile announced that the personal information of 47.8 million people was stolen in a data breach. The stolen data includes customers’ first and last names, social security numbers, and driver’s license information.

Companies face serious repercussions for their failure to protect their clients: The average cost of recovering from a ransomware attack is $1.85 million, per a 2021 survey by the cybersecurity firm Sophos.

Read the original article on Business Insider

…read more

Source:: Business Insider