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5 Great Chrome Add-Ons You Should Install Now

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No matter what you’re using your web browser for, there’s probably a browser extension that could improve the experience. Google Chrome’s add-ons can help you resist impulse buys, correct your grammar, and more. Here are five free add-ons for Chrome that will help you be your best self:

1. ICEBOX

A screenshot of Icebox
Finder

Icebox by Finder prevents you from immediately buying the first thing that catches your fancy online. The extension lets you put future purchases “on ice” for whatever amount of time you choose. Once that time period elapses, you can go buy the item—if you still want to, that is.

Get it for Chrome here.

2. UNPAYWALL

A Nature study online features a green box that says 'Click here, read for free.'
Unpaywall

If you need to use research studies during your day (or just read a lot of science news), you’ve probably been stymied by an academic journal’s paywalls before. Unpaywall lets you skip past those. The extension trolls the web for free PDF versions (often uploaded by the paper’s authors) of the study you’re looking for, letting you legally read paywalled articles without a subscription. The company estimates that it finds around 47 percent of the papers its customers search for available for free.

Get it for Chrome here.

3. GRAMMARLY

A screenshot of Grammarly reads 'Its not my fault Im a bad speller.'
Screenshot, Grammarly

Even the most diligent of email-drafters occasionally writes there instead of their. Grammarly’s browser extension catches your spelling and grammar mistakes no matter what you’re doing online, making sure you keep your its and it’s in line. (It’s also available for Safari and Firefox as well as desktops and smartphones.)

Get it for Chrome here.

4. NEWS FEED ERADICATOR FOR FACEBOOK

Spending too much time on Facebook? News Feed Eradicator takes away the temptation. When you go to Facebook, instead of seeing your feed, you’ll see an inspirational quote meant to keep you away from the site—like the Roman poet Horace’s “Rule your mind or it will rule you.”

Get it for Chrome here.

5. TAB FOR A CAUSE

A screenshot of the Tab for a Cause dashboard
Tab for a Cause

Tab for a Cause (also available for Firefox) gives you reason to feel good about all those browser tabs you have open. The extension helps raise money for charity with every tab opened. When you hit that “New Tab” button, the page will automatically redirect to the Tab for a Cause page, which hosts several small ads. The company gives the money it makes from that advertising to charities like Water.org and Conservation International. You get points for every tab you open, and then you can choose where to donate the advertising revenue you personally generated.

Get it for Chrome here.

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Interactive Chart Tells You How Long It Takes to Get Frostbite
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For many people, winter means dry skin and high heating bills. But if you find yourself outdoors in the right conditions, it can also mean frostbite. Frostbite occurs when the skin and the tissue beneath it freezes, causing pain, loss of sensation, or worse. It's easier to contract than you may think, even if you don't live in the Siberian tundra. To see if frostbite poses a threat where you live, check out this chart spotted by Digg.

The chart, developed by Pooja Gandhi and Adam Crahen using National Weather Service data, looks at three factors: wind speed, air temperature, and time spent outdoors. You can hover your cursor over data-points on the table to see how long you'd need to be exposed to certain wind chills for your skin tissue to freeze. If the wind chill is -22°F, for example (10°F air temperature with 5 mph winds), it would take 31 minutes of being outside before frostbite sets in. You can also look at the time scale above the chart to calculate it a different way. If you bring your cursor to the 40-minute mark, a window will tell that frostbite becomes a risk after exposure to -17°F wind chill for that amount of time. You can play with the interactive table at Tableau Public.

Chart of cold weather conditions.
Adam Crahen, Pooja Gandhi

If you can't avoid being outside in extreme wind and cold, there are a few steps you can take to keep your skin protected. Wear lots of layers, including multiple socks, and wrap your face with a scarf or face mask before venturing into the cold. Also, remember to stay hydrated. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, drinking at least one glass of water before going outside decreases your risk of contracting frostbite.

[h/t Digg]

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Flurry Road: 5 Tips for Safe Driving on Winter Roads
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For drivers in the Upper Midwest, traveling during the winter can range from slightly unsettling to deadly. Between 2011 and 2015, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Auto Insurance Center, an average of 800 fatalities occurred annually as a result of weather-related accidents. Icy roads, poor visibility, and other factors can make cold-weather commuting a dicey proposition.

While we can’t control the weather (yet), we can increase our odds of navigating slush-filled roadways successfully. Mental Floss spoke with American Automobile Association (AAA) driving education expert William Van Tassel, Ph.D., for some key tips on how to get your winter driving in gear.

1. GATHER SUPPLIES.

Before you even start your car up for a trip through inclement weather, Van Tassel recommends you pack a worst-case scenario trunk full of supplies. “In case of emergency, you want things on board like water, a blanket, a flashlight, gloves, and kitty litter,” he says. (That last one is for traction in case you get stuck in a snowbank.) You should also have road flares, a shovel, an ice scraper, and a fully-charged cell phone to call for assistance if needed.

2. SLOW DOWN.

Posted speed limit signs assume you’re driving on clear and clean roadways. If snow or ice has accumulated, you need to adjust your speed accordingly. “In slick conditions, tires lose a lot of traction,” Van Tassel says. “You should be cutting your speed down by half or more.” Unfortunately, a lot of people learn this the hard way. “After a snowstorm, we’ll see more crashes on day one than days two or three.”

Van Tassel also cautions to avoid becoming overconfident on snow tires. While they provide better traction in bad weather, it’s not license to speed up.

3. MAINTAIN A SAFE DISTANCE FROM OTHER CARS.

You should be doing this regardless, but bad weather makes it even more crucial. Keep your vehicle at a safe distance from cars behind, in front, and off to the sides, as well as away from pedestrians or cyclists. If you need to brake suddenly, you need time—and space—to avoid a collision. “You really want more space in front,” Van Tassel says. Try to stay between seven and 10 seconds behind the vehicle ahead. That means seeing a landmark and then counting down until you pass the same marker. If you’re only a few seconds behind, you’re too close.

4. DON’T STEER INTO SKIDS.

“That was an old rule of thumb,” Van Tassel says. “The problem is, by the time I remember to steer into a skid, I’m already in a ditch.” If you feel your vehicle sliding, it’s better to steer in the direction you want to go. “You’ll drive where you look, so don’t look at a telephone pole.”

To help maintain control of the car, you want to focus on doing one thing at a time. “If you’re going through a turn, brake, finish braking, then turn. Don’t brake and turn at the same time.”

5. KEEP YOUR HEADLIGHTS ON.

Yep, even in broad daylight. Bad weather limits visibility, and headlights allow both you and your fellow drivers to orient a vehicle. “You’re twice as visible to other drivers that way,” Van Tassel says. “When people can see you, they can avoid you.”

Van Tassel also recommends that drivers avoid relying on fancy car technology to keep them safe. While blind spot monitoring and lane changing sensors are useful, they’re not there so you can zone out. “The tech is there to back you up if you need it. Drive the car, but don’t rely on those things,” he says.

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