The morning after Hurricane Matthew roared through St. Simons Island, Georgia, golfer Davis Love III drove over to his neighbor's house with a chainsaw.

"We’re on the marsh, and he rode [the storm] out and kept an eye on both houses, and I had to take the chainsaw just to get him out of his drive," Love said. "It’s just been nonstop."

Love, a PGA Championship winner and captain of the United States Ryder Cup Team, was one of hundreds of local volunteers and professional emergency service personnel assisting in the clean-up effort on St. Simons. The island was spared the worst of the storm — no injuries or deaths were reported — but the high winds played havoc with the sleepy beach community's trees, uprooting giant oaks and launching limbs onto the canopied streets and into power lines.

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When I found out I was pregnant in October 2018, I had planned to keep the news a secret from family for a little while — but my phone seemed to have other ideas.

Within just a few hours of finding out the news, I was being bombarded with ads for baby gear, baby clothes and diapers on Facebook, Instagram and pretty much any other site I visited — be it my phone or on my computer.

Good thing my family wasn't looking over my shoulder while I was on my phone or my secret would have been ruined.

I'm certainly not alone in feeling like online ads can read your mind.

When I started asking around, it seemed like everyone had their own similar story: Brian Kelleher told me that when he and his wife met, they started getting ads for wedding rings and bridal shops within just a few weeks. Tech blogger Snezhina Piskov told me that she started getting ads for pocket projectors after discussing them in Messenger with her colleagues. Meanwhile Lauren Foley, a writer, told me she started getting ads for Happy Socks after seeing one of their shops when she got off the bus one day.

When online advertising seems to know us this well, it begs the question: are our phones listening to us?

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