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You Can Now Check Facebook for the Latest Weather Forecasts

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Facebook is more than just a place for finding cat videos and political rants. Starting this week, the social network is expanding its “weather greetings” updates into fully developed forecasts.

According to TechCrunch, the new feature is now accessible through News Feed on the desktop site and through the “More” menu on the Facebook app. Users will see a typical forecast powered by Weather.com. It includes highs and lows, current conditions, hourly forecasts, and forecasts for the week. Situated above that information is a playful header that varies based on the weather. Rain might bring up a cartoon deer ducked under a tree, while overcast weather displays a bird poking out from a bush beneath a partly cloudy sky. The forecast defaults to the user’s current location while giving them the option to add more places to follow (though it doesn’t let users swipe through them like some other apps do).

Facebook started experimenting with placing casual weather updates at the top of News Feed last year, but this is their first serious attempt to compete with established weather apps. The launch is one of several recent moves from the website to branch outside the social media bubble. In September, Facebook announced plans to make it easier for customers to purchase products from businesses within Messenger. Not long after that, the site rolled out job-recruiting features that put them in direct competition with services like Monster and LinkedIn.

[h/t TechCrunch]

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Henrik Djärv, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
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Weather Watch
It's So Cold In One Part of Russia That People's Eyelashes Are Freezing
Henrik Djärv, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
Henrik Djärv, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Oymyakon, a rural village in the eastern Russian region of Yakutia, is one of the coldest inhabited spots in the world. While some schools in the U.S. cancel classes as temperatures approach zero, schools in Oymyakon remain open in -40°F weather. But recently temperatures in the region have dropped too low even for seasoned locals to handle. As AP reports, the chill, which hit -88.6°F on January 16, is cold enough to break thermometers and freeze eyelashes.

Photos shared by residents on social media show the mercury in thermometers hovering at -70°F, the lowest temperature some are built to measure. When thermometers fail, people in Oymyakon have other ways of gauging the cold. Their uncovered eyelashes can freeze upon stepping outside. Hot water tossed in the air will also turn to snow before hitting the ground.

To Oymyakon's 500-odd citizens, the most recent cold snap is nothing out of the ordinary. Temperatures are perpetually below freezing there from late October to mid-May, and average temperatures for the winter months frequently reach −58 °F. On Tuesday, residents were advised to stay inside and stay as warm as possible. Of course, that directive wasn't enough to stop some adventurous locals from sneaking outside for selfies.

[h/t AP]

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Amazon
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Weather Watch
Heated Mats Keep Steps Ice-Free in the Winter
Amazon
Amazon

The first snow of the season is always exciting, but the magic can quickly run out when you remember all the hazards that come with icy conditions. Along with heating bills, frosted cars, and other pains, the ground develops a coat of ice that can be dangerous for pedestrians and drivers alike. Outdoor steps become particularly treacherous and many people find themselves clutching their railings for fear of making it to the bottom headfirst. Instead of putting salt down the next time it snows, consider a less messy approach: heated mats that quickly melt the ice away.

The handy devices are made with a thermoplastic material and can melt two inches of snow per hour. They're designed to be left outside, so you can keep them ready to go for the whole winter. The 10-by-30-inch mats fit on most standard steps and come with grips to help prevent slipping. A waterproof connector cable connects to additional mats so up to 15 steps can be covered.

Unfortunately, this convenience comes at a price: You need to buy a 120-volt power unit for them to work, and each mat is sold separately. Running at $60 a mat, the price can add up pretty quickly. Still, if you live in a colder place where it's pretty much always snowing, it might be worth it.

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