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The Handmaid’s Tale is the most horrific thing I have ever seen

Enlarge / The handmaid June (Elizabeth Moss) must wear regulation red, with a bonnet covering her face, to signify that role as a slave designated to bear children for a prominent man. (credit: The Handmaid's Tale / Hulu)

One of the most exciting new science fiction shows on the Web right now isn't exactly fun. The Handmaid's Tale, currently streaming its first three episodes on Hulu, may repulse you, incense you, or just make you cry. But like a good workout that makes your muscles burn, the hurt of watching this series eventually results in something great.

Based on the celebrated 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale is a half-dystopia, half-fairy tale about what happens to the United States after a far-right religious group seizes control of the government. There are a few notable changes from the novel, but, for the most part, the series follows the events of Atwood's book faithfully.

We aren't quite sure how the new nation of Gilead was formed, but we hear bits and pieces about a war that has left "the colonies" a radioactive wasteland. Food is scarce, and an infertility epidemic is sweeping the world.

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: Tips and Tricks to help you win every time!

Go fast. Drift hard. Keep riding. Don't let them hit you.

Where many racing games are all about understanding the track and appreciating your vehicle, Mario Kart has always included a lot of things that have nothing to do with traditional racing. Understanding these little things can frequently be the difference between struggling to complete a Cup in the top five and guaranteeing first place almost every time, especially in the new Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

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This guide is going to walk you through all of the little tips and tricks you need in order to maintain a competitive edge, especially when racing online. Ready? 3,2,1, GO!

The basics

There are a couple of things that are true for every Mario Kart experience, so if this is your first time behind a Kart, you may not be aware of how things work.

  • Tap the right trigger when you hit the top of a ramp to get an extra speed boost and a little flourish
  • You can hold shells and bananas behind your Kart to defend from Green and Red Shell attacks. Just hold down the left trigger, and don't let go until you want to fire.
  • Fire Flowers can fire forwards or backwards, depending on where you point with the left joystick
  • Triple Red Shells and Triple Bananas float around and protect you from Shell attacks and can strike nearby players.
  • Nothing but a Super Horn can stop a Blue Shell. Fire it once you see the Blue Shell hovering above you, and it will shatter.
  • Boost Pads and Mushrooms will get rid of ink in your eyes

How Item Boxes Work

Those pretty glowing boxes seem like they drop random items in your lap, but the randomness of those items is weighted. Depending on your current ranking in the race, the kinds of items you are likely to get will be very different.

  • The last three positions are significantly more likely to get Blue Shells, Bullet Bill, Stars, and Crazy Eights.
  • First place will get mostly Coins and Bananas but occasionally also Green Shells, Bob-ombs, and Super Horns.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe allows you to hold two items in your inventory during a race. The item in your larger circle is what you're going to use next when you press the left trigger, and the item in the smaller circle becomes available to you as soon as you activate the item in the larger circle.

You can gain two items by driving through two different item boxes or by driving through two item boxes stacked on top of one another. If you already have an item in your inventory and you drive through two item boxes, both boxes disappear but you only get one item. You also deprive whoever is behind you the chance to get two items to use against you, so remember to aim for those stacked item boxes as frequently as possible.

Disable Smart Steering if you want to win

Nintendo added a kid-friendly feature to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which adds a handicap to keep you from driving off the edge in most maps. It's a great feature for kids and new players trying to learn the controls, but if you want to access track secrets or perform any of the more advanced maneuvers in this game, you need to disable this feature. Once you leave 50cc races, you should really have this feature turned off.

The good news is you can quickly disable this feature if you haven't already. The bad news is Rainbow Road is about to get a lot harder again. Smart Steering can be disabled in two different ways:

  • Kart Selection: When choosing your Kart, press the + on your Switch controller. Tap the left trigger on your controller to disable Smart Steering. You'll see a red X to confirm.

  • Mid-Race Pause: Press + in the middle of a race to pause the game, and you'll see an option to disable Smart Steering. Tap on or press A over it, and as soon as you resume the race the feature will be disabled.

The easiest way to tell whether Smart Steering is being used is by looking at the Kart itself. Smart Steering adds a little antenna to the back of the Kart, which pulses a yellow light when the AI is controlling the Kart for the driver. If you don't see that antenna, Smart Steering isn't being used.

How to upgrade your Kart

The starting equipment in Mario Kart 8 is enough to get you through the first few races, but you're going to want to upgrade quickly and figure out which upgrades work for you. As you race, you'll unlock new Kart bodies, new Tires, and new Gliders to swap out.

Each of these new parts will offer unique advantages and disadvantages, so you need to mix and match until you find something that works well for you.

Here's how you unlock everything in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Track Secrets

Almost every track in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has a little shortcut built in. Some of them are very challenging to hit just right every time, but once you figure it out each track shortcut becomes second nature.

Be sure to learn at least a couple of the big shortcuts, because once you hit 150cc racing, you'll find many of the AI racers and all of the online multiplayer racers will be using these same tricks.

How to perform a super drift boost

You can now activate a third stage of drift boosting, and it makes a huge difference if you need to make up a lot of ground quickly. Perfect this technique, and you'll be sailing through finish lines in first place with ease.

Check out our guide on the perfect Super Drift Boost

Get a Pro Controller

If you really want to upgrade your Mario Kart experience, you need to set aside the Joy-Cons and pick up a Pro Controller. Nintendo's Switch Pro Controller is more substantial in your hand, has larger and more comfortable joysticks, and is more ergonomically designed to be used for extended periods of time.

The difference between a Pro Controller and a Joy-Con isn't going to seem like much at first, but the difference once you've started playing the more aggressive AI and online players in the faster races will quickly become evident. You're going to want one of these if you plan to play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for a while.

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Public defender lambastes judicial ruling to not fix flawed court software

Enlarge / The René C. Davidson Courthouse, at 1225 Fallon Street, in Oakland, hosts the Alameda County Superior Court. (credit: Wally Gobetz / Flickr)

The public defender’s office in Alameda County, California, has recently appealed a local judge’s recent rejection of its demands to fix an upgraded court software. That software led to the unconstitutional and erroneous jailing of some of its clients.

“These delays and errors violate Government Code § 69844’s express requirement that Superior Court clerks enter judicial orders ‘forthwith,’ as well as the constitutional right to a complete and accurate record on appeal and the Fourth Amendment prohibition upon unlawful arrests and illegal searches,” Charles Denton, an assistant public defender, wrote in his April 10 brief.

Denton largely reprised many of the same arguments that his office made when he appeared before the Superior Court.

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How to set up multiplayer races in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

You know you're better than your buddies, so why not prove it in a multiplayer race!

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is now available on Nintendo Switch, and while much of the content is the same as it is on Wii U, there are a few changes, like most (but not all) of the characters, karts, tires, and gliders are already unlocked.

If you're setting up a multiplayer race to compete against your buddies for the first time, here are a few things to help you make the best race of your life.

How to select your controllers

Afer you've selected the type of multiplayer race — Grand Prix, Vs Race, or Battle — you'll have to pick the controllers you'll use to play the game.

Luckily, your Switch will automatically check for the type of controllers you are using to play a multiplayer game. Whether you have two, three, or four players, you'll be asked to register each controller by pressing the R and L buttons simultaneously. If you are using Pro controllers, or Joy-Con Grips, press the shoulder L and R buttons at the same time.

If you are using a split Joy-Con — one person is using the left controller and another is using the right — press the side L and R buttons (which will be orientated to the top when holding a Joy-Con in landscape position).

Have each player confirm their controller before continuing to choose your characters, karts, and the course.

How to set up a multiplayer race

You can pick from three different types of races in multiplayer mode: Grand Prix, Vs. Race, and Battle. Each one offers a different type of game play, and each type has options for what type of race you run.

  • Grand Prix - Choose from 50cc, 100cc, 150cc, 200cc, or Mirror. The "cc" means how fast your kart can go. If you're new to the game, pick 50cc until you're experienced enough to move on. In Mirror races, everything is backwards and upside-down, which is very disorienting, but tons of fun, especially if you're getting too familiar with a particular course.
  • Vs Race - In Vs Race, you get to customize the rules. You have the same cc speed options, plus the Mirror track, but you can also select whether you and the others are playing on teams or free-for-all. You can also choose the type of items that can be collected in the game: No items, no items or coins, frantic items, normal items, shells only, bananas only, mushrooms only, or Bob-ombs only. You can choose which level of COM the karts can be from no COM, or easy, medium, or hard. You can also restrict the type of COM vehicles to karts only or bikes only. When it comes to selecting courses for the full Vs. race, you can choose them yourself, have them randomly generated, or play in order. Lastly, you can play four, six, eight, 12, 16, 24, 32, or 48 races. If you plan on having a very long racing session with your buddies, you'll be needing a pitstop before you're done with all 48 races.
  • Battle - In Battle mode, you can select the style of battle, from Shine Thief, Random Battle, Balloon Battle, Renegade Roundup, Bob-omb Blast, or Coin Runners. You can also select the same customizable options as in the Vs Race, with the addition of round times for all but the Shine Thief battle.

Once you've selected a race type and customized your options, hit OK and you're ready to play.

How to join an online multiplayer race with friends

One of the joys of playing Mario Kart 8 is that you don't have to invite your friends over in order to race against them. You can do so while sitting in your pajamas by racing against them online.

  1. Select Online play from the game menu.
  2. Select one or two players, depending on how many of you are in the same room playing on the same Switch (you can have up to two).
  3. Select Friends from the Online Play menu.

  4. Select a friend that is currently playing.
  5. Select Join to join in a race with that friend.

If your friend is in the middle of a tournament, you'll enter Spectator Mode until that race is over. You can then join in on the next race.

How to set up an online tournament your friends can join

You can create a tournament that your friends can join by entering a special code.

  1. Select Online play from the game menu.
  2. Select one or two players, depending on how many of you are in the same room playing on the same Switch (you can have up to two).
  3. Select Tournament from the Online Play menu.

  4. Select Create Tournament.
  5. Select Yes to confirm that you want to create a tournament.
  6. Select an icon for your tournament, which will be on display for the public.
  7. Select OK.

  8. Enter a Name for your tournament. This information will be public, so don't use anything personal (or offensive).
  9. Select OK when you're done naming the tournament.

  10. Set the tournament rules, and choose when it will be active.

    You can set up your tournament to take place weekly, daily, or on a specific date. You can choose a start and end time, and select the number of races for the entire tournament.

Once your tournament has been created, make a note of the code. This is how you will share your tournament with others. They will be able to enter the code to join.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions about how to set up a multiplayer race on Super Mario Kart 8? Put them in the comments or head over to our Nintendo Switch forum.

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