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Recent Society articles from Daily Dot

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    Hey, Hasbro, 13-year-old McKenna Pope thinks your sexist stereotypes suck. Her little brother wants an Easy Bake Oven (and a dinosaur) for his birthday, but he feels embarrassed because “only girls play with it." Where would he get that idea? Well, possibly from every single Hasbro ad—they only show girls using it. 

    Baking is pretty awesome. Why can’t boys do it too? 

    Pope, of Garfield, N.J., has taken her fight against the toy-making giant to, where she’s launched a petition to create “gender equality, and help the children of today become what they're destined to be tomorrow.”

    "I feel that this sends a clear message: Women cook, men work,” Pope, sounding older and wiser than most 13-year-olds, says of the gender-targeted ad campaigns and packaging.

    I want my brother to know that it's not ‘wrong’ for him to want to be a chef, that it's okay to go against what society believes to be appropriate.”

    The petition has already reached nearly 25,000 signatures. 

    “I loved my easy-bake oven when I was a boy and I love cooking today,” wrote Kirk Childress of Houston, Texas, after signing the petition. “[A]ll boys should have access to the kitchen. and it's never too early to let them have that access.”

    Here’s a video Pope added to the petition, showing her 4-year-old brother talking about baking (and dinosaurs). This is the unbearably cute face of 21st-century gender equality. Watch it and weep, Hasbro.

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    Every day, the Daily Dot finds something that people on Facebook are sharing and, in turn, shares it with you—with a little explanation. Here's today's share.

    The true test of whether someone’s fat or not, apparently, lies in the latest picture to circulate around the Net.

    Mere days after a photo of New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter, sporting a noticeable potbelly, racked up huge shares, Facebook users are spreading a reportedly new photo of the shortstop. In this one, he's slim as a beanpole.

    That first photo, which ran on the New York Post’s front page Friday—headline: “DEREK EATER”—went viral. Even BuzzFeed poked fun at “Fat Jeter.” It clearly was captured at a less-than-ideal moment for the multimillionaire shortstop, currently rehabbing an ankle fracture.

    But a newer photo, posted by the MLB Network, shows a noticably slimmer Jeter standing with analyst Harold Reynolds. Snapped Sunday, it “sets the record straight on The Captain's weight,” according to its caption.

    Of course, this being Facebook, not everyone’s convinced.

    “Harold Reynolds is now just as fat as Jeter,” commented Jeff Murwin.

    Photo via MLB Network/Facebook

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    Don't believe everything you see on Facebook.

    A fake photo that went viral just might be the most-shared image on Facebook of all time, CNN reported.

    Nolan Daniels posted the image seen round the Internet, which featured himself smiling and holding a Powerball ticket with the winning numbers, on Nov. 29 with the caption, “Looks like I won’t be going to work EVER!!!! Share this photo and I will give a random person 1 million dollars!”

    At the time, the realwinners of the $587.5 million Powerball jackpot had not yet publicly come forward to claim their prize and the country still had Powerball fever, so the photograph spread faster than you could print out a Powerball ticket.

    It all sounded too good to be true. And as the Huffington Post reported, it was. The photograph is poorly photoshopped, and Gawker pointed out that the numbers on Daniels’s ticket weren’t in numerical order.

    Daniels duped millions of Facebook users, a move his brother Derek called “kind of sad.”

    “I think he craves the love from people,” Derek Daniels speculated. “He did this to make himself feel better.”

    As of press time the photo has 2,094,501 shares and over 57,000 likes, which knocked the most shared item of 2011, a New York Times photo gallery of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and the recent photograph of Barack and Michelle Obama that went viral on Election Night—and has since set three social media world records—out of the park.

    Although major media outlets debunked the photograph (especially as footage of the second winner became public), many were still oblivious to this fact with more than 32,000 comments and counting on the post. Some of those who found out about the hoax, however, weren’t so willing to laugh.

    “i would be glad to take that 1 mill for my family we need some money and congrates,” one user wrote.

    “What a cruel joke to play on folks Nolan Daniels. Shame on you,” another wrote.

    However, Facebook users have a history of sharing just about anything, even after it has been debunked. Just last week, Facebook had to debunk a status that promised to protect your intellectual property if posted that went viral.

    Photo via Nolan Daniels/Facebook

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    Not everybody likes the Internet trend of “milking” as much as the bros who are out doing it.

    According to Reuters, there's a group of Austrian farmers who have taken major offense to the online craze originating out of Newcastle, England, which involves nothing more than filming yourself while you take a carton of milk and pour it over your head. 

    The group, known as the AMA farm lobby, recently launched its own “true milking” campaign in an effort to chastise the souls who waste such a valuable commodity. 

    "At a time when too much food already lands in the trash, it is worth questioning dumping milk," AMA milk-marketing manager Peter Hamedinger told Reuters Wednesday. "This is a valuable product of nature that our farmers provide daily with lots of love and labor."

    To counter, the group released a YouTube on Wednesday called "True Milking (the new Planking … ;-)))," in which a YouTuber named Cayenne Wien lifts a carton of milk above his head and drinks the entire liter—without wasting a drop. 

    "With good milk you do it in a different way!" a message under the YouTube video reads. "This is how milking works, if the milk is just perfect."

    No word yet on whether Tom Morris and his fellow milk-bath connoisseurs in Newcastle plan to file a counter-argument. Maybe they'll just switch over to soy milk. 

    Photo via MilkingNewcastle/YouTube

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    Happy Prohibition Repeal Day!

    The 18th amendment to the constitution banned the sale and manufacture of alcohol, but the 21st amendment, ratified on Dec. 5, 1933, overturned it, which is why beer, wine and stronger drinks are legal in America today (at least if you’re over 21). The traditional way to celebrate Repeal Day is via the purchase and consumption of legal alcoholic beverages.

    Some people just straightforwardly drink, but we prefer our intoxication to come from drinking games. We wanted to tell you about our own personal favorites, but we’re too drunk to remember any of them, so here’s some cool ones we found on the Internet.


    Because winter has arrived. Endorsed (and posted on Facebook) by none other than George Takei himself.

    Photo via George Takei/Facebook


    Cracked offered rules for one Facebook drinking game over five years ago, and it is, arguably, the only thing that hasn’t changed about Facebook since then: when you get drunk on Facebook, the single most important rule to remember is, “Try not to send rambling, incoherent messages to every [person] you had a crush on in high school.”

    Urban Dictionary offers another Facebook game option: make a post promising to take a drink for every “like” that post gets. The problem with that game is, the less friends you have the less you get to drink, which kind of defeats the purpose of drinking when you don’t have many friends.



    Photo via

    You can play it with friends like a traditional board game—land on spaces and follow the instructions. Or you can go online, read a thread on some heated debate, and drink whenever someone posts any of the angry troll faces in the game. 


    Rage Face or other online games are, by definition, played online. So your friends can’t actually see you; they only see what you type. If you want them to think you’re drinking when you’re actually not, just run your comments through the Drunk Post Translator before you post them.

    WRONG: OMG I am so drunk right now.

    RIGHT: omg i eam so drunk girht nosw.


    Too bad Repeal Day isn’t in September or October, because then it would fall during presidential election season, when ordinary Americans desperately need a drink. If you’re a serious political junkie, you could try watching repeats of last January’s state of the union broadcast, whose rules are still online.

    These rules work equally well for watching last season’s presidential debate footage, next month’s State of the Union address, anything a politician currently says about the president, or anything the president says in response. One suggestion, though: to avoid alcohol poisoning, alter the rules so that, whenever it says “drink one shot,” you actually drink one drop. Otherwise you’ll consume more than your body weight in alcohol, which is extremely dangerous.

    Remember: Drink responsibly.


    Technically, this isn’t a drinking “game” so much as a drinking “rationalization,” but: there are whiskey advent calendars which let you drink and celebrate the countdown to Christmas at the same time.

    Photo via

    Technically, it’s too late to start an advent calendar now, since those begin on the first of the month. But if you buy one anyway, and catch up by drinking five day’s worth of advent whiskey all at once, that would certainly be in keeping with the spirit of repeal day.  

    Photo via libraryrachel/Flickr


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    While the media portrays them as predators and picnic basket thieves, bears are actually one of nature’s most beautiful creatures. The next time you are near a bear, stop for a moment to appreciate the creature. Its majestic fur. Its massive stature. Its glistening beak.

    That’s right. Beak.

    Drinking in the beauty of bears outfitted with standard mouths is easy. It takes a special caliber of netizen to admire those mammals that nature (meaning Photoshop) has decided to outfit with a sharp—yet distinguished—beak.

    That’s where r/bearswithbeaks comes in.

    Photo via uptoke/Imgur

    The subreddit, which was created in July 2012, collects submissions of all varieties of bears sporting new beaks. Have you ever wondered what a “polargull” would look like? Perhaps you feel that a black bear with the face of a flamingo is pretty good idea. Maybe you have an entirely different understanding of the term“bear.”

    Unsurprisingly, r/bearswithbeaks has its origins in another Photoshop-heavy subreddit.

    “The original idea for the subreddit sprouted when somebody posted a bear with a beak on the popular subreddit, /r/birdswitharms and it was suggested by fellow mod deezp1 that somebody make it a subreddit of its own,” moderator SylarFox told the Daily Dot. “After several hours with nobody taking action I decided that these gorgeous, majestic creatures needed to be seen and have a haven for their photographs to be flaunted.”

    Initially home to only a handful of subscribers, BearsWithBeaks shot to prominence in October 2012, thanks to a post on r/wtf. Today, over 3,000 redditors are subscribed.

    “The main reason for its growth was a post that was made that mentioned r/bearswithbeaks in the title,” moderator MattTrobinson explained. “It made front page and brought thousands of visitors to bears with beaks. The amount of subscribers increased by 180,000 percent overnight and it stayed No. 1 in subscriber growth on for the remainder of that week.”

    The regular submissions and overall popularity of the subreddit has been consistently amusing for its moderators.

    “I laugh just about daily thinking that 3000+ redditors subscribe to this subreddit because of a comment I made,” moderator deezp1 said.

    “It really goes to show you that ANYTHING can be made into a subreddit. I can't really explain the appeal, but learned with reddit, you never try to explain the appeal with any particular subreddit, you learn to kick back and enjoy its individuality and glory.”

    “I think the best part of this subreddit is the diversity in the beaked bears,” added SylarFox. “We get a lot of different types of the rare species that make themselves known, although a few less informed redditors seem to think that the marsupial koala bear counts.”

    As far as submissions that stand out in some way, deezp1 points to an Oct. 17 submission that grouped together several bears with beaks.

    “A user wanted to make a BearsWithBeaks collage for their Facebook profile,” he explained. “It just makes me think how silly yet awesome this subreddit is and the fact that other users/subscribers have grown so attached to it they would add it to their Facebook is beyond me. It's absolutely great!”

    Photo via CarrionCrawler/Imgur

    With this kind of attention now being drawn to beaked bears, hard questions were certain to arise, like what noise a bear with a weak would make.

    “I often imagine that it would have a low pitched roar-like sound that you hear in a bear but it would have the patterns and songs that you hear in birds,” MattTrobinson responded. “If I had to be more specific, I would say that it would sound similar to [the sound produced] if Godzilla tried to yodel.”

    Now that we’d like to see.

    Photo via petcson/imgur


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    The man at the center of a case in which prosecutors fought Twitter to hand over incriminating tweets intends to plead guilty Friday.

    Malcolm Harris was arrested in October 2011 as Occupy Wall Street protesters marched on the Brooklyn Bridge. His lawyer said he plans to plead guilty to a disorderly conduct charge.

    New York prosecutors attempted to obtain months’ worth of since-deleted tweets, which they claimed would disprove Harris’s statement that police led hundreds of protesters onto the bridge, where many were arrested for obstructing traffic. 

    Both Harris, 23, and Twitter challengeda subpoena filed by the prosecutors, but Judge Matthew Sciarrino ruled against both. In September, Twitter handed over the data, which remained sealed, after Sciarrino threatened the company with fines and civil contempt. Harris's lawyer, Martin Stolar, told Reuters that Harris will have the right to challenge the subpoena once his criminal case is resolved.

    The attorney claimed Harris was concerned that the tweets might implicate other protesters, and by pleading guilty it is likely that the tweets would remain private—rather than become public evidence in trial.

    "This is a way to preserve his right to appeal (the Twitter issue), which is more significant than going to trial on disorderly conduct," Stolar said.

    That said, Sciarrino, who previously warned that those who post public messages online could have no reasonable expectation of privacy, claimed that only Twitter can challenge the order. He ruled that it, and not its users, owns tweets, despite Twitter’s assertion that tweeters retain the rights to their 140 characters.

    After speaking with Sciarrino, Stolar believes that Harris will be sentenced to time served. The disorderly conduct charge carries a 15-day jail term as the maximum penalty.

    It remains to be seen how the fallout of the case will affect Twitter’s responsibility to its users. Some privacy advocates are worried that the case sets a precedent for Twitter and other social networks to be tasked with protecting users in criminal cases. That said, the company claims it is “committed to fighting for our users.” 

    Photo by PaulSteinJC/Flickr

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    In the 12 days before an election in Japan, candidates are very limited as to how they can campaign. A 1950 law intended to level the playing field and ensure fairness among candidates rules out campaigning online under a modern interpretation.

    Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto took to Twitter this week to fight against the law, sending more than 100 tweets in less than two days, the Wall Street Journal reported. Hashimoto, who is also deputy head of the Japan Restoration Party, claimed the law is archaic.

    He wrote, “What is this campaign exercise we are doing now–these stupid and formal rules based on ceremony, these meaningless and preposterously outdated activities like saying our names over and over again, and handing out a certain number of stamped fliers? Everything about it is absurd.”

    The law restricts candidates to old-school methods like letters and flyers, although there’s a limit on the number of leaflets that can be dished out. That means candidates can’t send emails, post to Facebook, update their websites, or post anything on Twitter about the election.

    Though his party urged members to lay off Twitter for the time being, Hashimoto has continued to post tweets, saying the law doesn’t apply to him as he isn’t running in the Dec. 16 national election and the WSJ noted that as long as he steers away from asking for votes or promoting individual candidates, he should be in the clear.

    After the ban took effect Tuesday, Hashimoto continued tweeting, questioning why he was banned from tweeting about the election specifically when “the established parties spent ¥35 billion [$425.2 million] on advertisement during the last election.”

    While Japan’s officials have tried to relax the law, which Hashimoto claimed would make the election more interesting, they’ve instead had to deal with more urgent matters such as taxation.

    The Japan Restoration Party had not received any complaints about Hashimoto’s tweets as of Wednesday.

    Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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    A website associated with the Dalai Lama’s YouTube account has been hacked using malware, a member of the security firm F-Secure’s Threat Research team discovered on Monday.

    The Dalai Lama, a position filled since 1939 by Tenzin Gyatso, is the highest religious figure in Tibetan Buddhism, who serves as the leader of the Tibetan government in exile. The existence of an independent Tibetan polity, based in India since 1959, has been a continuing thorn in the side of Chinese government. Recently, Tibetan nationalists and Buddhists have again taken to self-immolation, setting themselves on fire to gain attention for their cause and point to Chinese malfeasance in Tibet.

    The website,, “is compromised and is pushing new Mac malware, called Dockster, using a Java-based exploit,” according to F-Secure. 

    The affected website is believed to be closely tied to the Dalai Lama because it shares a name with the religious leader’s YouTube channel and has similar Whois information, including listing the registrant as “Office of HH the Dalai Lama” and sharing the same address as the registrant of his official site. 

    As to the technical details of the hack, F-Secure writes:

    The Java-based exploit uses the same vulnerability as "Flashback", CVE-2012-0507. Current versions of Mac OS X and those with their browser's Java plugin disabled should be safe from the exploit. The malware dropped, Backdoor:OSX/Dockster.A, is a basic backdoor with file download and keylogger capabilities... There is also an exploit, CVE-2012-4681, with a Windows-based payload: Trojan.Agent.AXMO.

    If the hackers are Chinese, either official or unofficial, it will not be the first time Tibet-related organizations have been targeted. NGOs focusing on Tibet have had their computers targeted with malware.

    China is widely believed to use both official government computer experts and amateur hackers to target groups whose information it wishes to possess or whose activities it wishes to compromise. 

    Photo from

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    Meet Brett Straub. He’s a 25-year-old recent college graduate who describes himself as “a lazy bum like person who loves cars.” He doesn’t know very much at all about Britain, especially British newspapers. But that didn’t prevent Straub from making a guest appearance in one of the most important British judicial inquiries in years, a suite of recommendations for overhauling media culture and ethics called the Leveson Inquiry. 

    That’s because the report’s author, Lord Justice Brian Leveson, copied "facts" directly from Wikipedia. According to Leveson, Straub was cofounder of The Independent newspaper in 1986. That’s false and also quite impossible: Straub wasn’t even alive in 1986.

    Leveson—who, in his report, admonished people “to not assume that what they read on the internet is trustworthy or that it carries any particular assurance or accuracy”—was the victim of a silly online prank. 

    Straub claimed that a friend had pasted his name all over Wikipedia when they were both students at California Polytechnic State University. For a brief time, for instance, he was also credited with creating Coca-Cola (note: Straub is not the creator of Coca-Cola). 

    Leveson’s line, as it appeared in the report, was this: “The Independent was founded in 1986 by the journalists Andreas Whittam Smith, Stephen Glover and Brett Straub, and was published by Newspaper Publishing plc.”

    Straub, reached for comment by The Telegraph, claimed he had no idea any of this was happening.  

    "It's funny, I don't even read newspapers,” he said. “I graduated college eight months ago and the biggest thing we learned is don't trust Wikipedia for facts.”

    He continued: 

    "The fact someone, especially a judge, has believed something on Wikipedia is kind of shocking. My friend went on and edited a bunch of Wikipedia pages and put my name there. My friend did it as a joke. I thought they had all been corrected.”

    Leveson should take Straub’s warnings about Wikipedia to heart. Or at least his own. In the report, he claimed that “inaccuracy in newspapers was a serious concern.”

    British newspapers have largely backed Leveson’s main recommendation, the appointment of an independent regulator who would oversee the country’s press and could impose fines of up to £1 million for breaching codes of conduct. 

    How much could they fine for copying "facts" directly from Wikipedia?

    Photo via Brett Straub/Myspace

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    They'd been together for five years and 1,435 songs, but the sad news out of Camp Jonathan and Ivory is that the couple is breaking up. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the two songwriters announced their amicable split Wednesday afternoon in a bittersweet song, one matter of factly titled"We've Got to Break Up."

    The relationship between Jonathan Mann and Ivory King became a public affair in part because of King's presence on Mann's popular YouTube channel, which he's updated every day with a new song since he first debuted"The Rock Cookie Bottom Report #1" in September 2008. She's been the subject of some songs and a contributor to others. The two's 2011 cut of"Vegan Myths Debunked" remains one of the channel's best.

    But their journey together is over. As "We've Got to Break Up"'s lyrics insinuate, Mann and King are splitting up because there are "just some things no relationship can survive."

    Odds are that there are a few "things" within the two's dynamic that have become somewhat insurmountable, but the most pressing concern mentioned was children, and whether or not the two would have them. As the song's first verse explains, Mann was all in and King was all out.

    "It's really sad," Mann wrote in the video's comments. "I'm really sad. I think you may have been able to tell in some recent songs.

    "It's going to be a hard road ahead for me, but I know that this is the right decision and that eventually we'll both be happier in the end."

    Photo via Jonathan Mann/YouTube

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    So, how do families interact on Facebook, anyway? Conventional wisdom suggests the answer is either “dysfunctionally” or “as little as possible.” But according to Moira Burke and Lara Adamic, two data scientists at Facebook who released the study How Families Interact on Facebook, conventional wisdom is largely wrong.

    A casual online search yields plenty of examples in support of the theory that family and Facebook shouldn’t mix. BBC News listed many negative anecdotes in its 2010 article“Facebook: Should parents ‘friend’ their children?” Last year, a Ph.D. blogging for Psychology Today posted “Mom, I love you, but please don’t friend me on Facebook,” where she noted, “Even the closest and most loving of parent-child bonds can hit a stumbling block when Facebook is involved; you might consider your Mom your best friend, but that doesn't mean that you want her able to overanalyze your flirtatious wall posts or your Farmville habit.” Even Disney’s asked“Should you be Facebook friends with your teen?” and concluded “no.”

    And there’s plenty of blogs like STFU, Parents, highlighting parents with outrageous or self-centered Facebook behavior regarding their children; and another blog with the self-explanatory title “Oh Crap. My Parents Joined Facebook.”

    But what does the actual Facebook user data say? According to Burke (who is, granted, a Facebook employee with a vested interest in that company’s well-being), an investigation of anonymized, automatically generated English-language posts concluded that parents and children have a great time together on Facebook, although their “conversation patterns with each other might be a bit different from those with their other friends.”

    That said, Burke’s data only looks at those families who do interact on Facebook; there’s no mention of family members who don’t, or of how many Facebookers avoid interacting with their families. But for the parent-child interactions that do exist, clear trends and patterns emerge from the data.

    One graph breaks down child-parent Facebook friendships based on who initiated them: did the parent or child send the initial friend request? Teens aged 13 to 17 overwhelmingly sent friend requests to their parents rather than accept requests from them. After that, “the older the child is when the friendship is formed, the less likely the child is to be the one sending the friend request.” Friend-request rates bottom out when children are in their mid-20s, but once the children themselves become middle-aged, the ratio of parent-to-children and children-to-parent friend requests levels out.

    There’s an old saying“A son is a son until he takes a wife; a daughter’s a daughter all of her life.” In other words, grown women are more likely than grown men to maintain close relationships with their mothers. The data seem to support this theory: adult daughters usually make more posts on their parents’ timelines than parents make on their daughters’, but with adult sons it’s the opposite.

    And when parents do talk to their children, what do they say? A look at English-language posts shows that among parents, a partial listing of phrases moms say to adult sons include “Call your mother,” “my little boy” and “Mom loves you.” Dads’ top phrases include “dude,” “huh,” “shit” and “the game.” To grown daughters, Dads often say “my princess,” “my baby,” “picture” and “baby,” while Moms lean more toward “come home,” “all grown,” “angel” and “grandma.”
    There may still be some truth to the old conventional wisdom “Don’t friend your parents or kids on Facebook,” but for those who violate this and friend their family anyway, Burke says, “We are happy to see that our data surfaces the affection, care, and closeness of family ties. Happy Holidays!”

    Photo by stoneysteiner/Flickr

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    The elders of Sunderbari village in a Muslim-dominated state in northern India have banned the use of mobile phones by women. They just can’t be trusted not to run off with cads.

    "It always gives us a lot of embarrassment when someone asks who has eloped this time," Manuwar Alam told Reuters. Alam heads up the village committee responsible for enforcing the ban.

    So now, unmarried girls caught using a cell phone will receive a fine of 10,000 rupees, about $180. Married women using a mobile will receive a smaller fine of 2,000 Rupees, about $40.

    "Even married women were deserting their husbands to elope with lovers,” explained Alam. “That was shameful for us. So, we decided to tackle it firmly. Mobile phones are debasing the social atmosphere"

    In the event the reader is shocked at this turn of events, but calmed by the certain knowledge that it must be anomalous... It’s not anomalous.

    Several years ago, a town in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh did the same thing, in the same way, for the same reason.

    The National, a global newspaper published in Abu Dhabi, notes that the village councils, or “khap panchayats,” which pass such proclamations were found to be illegal last year by the Indian Supreme Court, which ordered an investigation into their practices, such as bans on fast food (a village’s women’s fondness for it was said to have caused their rape) and Western clothing and the issuance of “proclamations that lead to honour killings.”

    "These [councils] are tools of patriarchy,” Dr. Ranjana Kumari told the National. “They feel that women will connect with whoever they want and they fear they will get boyfriends, break the caste system and all that rubbish. These are unacceptable archaic ideas."

    Photo by Barbara Schnetzler/Flickr

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    It helps to stand out when applying for jobs, especially when applying for a creative gig.

    Rather than simply send a link to a portfolio on his website, graphic designer David Mas tried something a little different. He posted his work on Instagram as a virtual résumé.

    Mas set up a dedicated account, @esto_es_un_curriculum, to showcase some of his creativity. “I wanted to use [...] an environment that had never been used before for this purpose,” he told Instagramers. He enjoys Instagram for its immediacy, speed and creativity.

    Mas, who is based in Crevillente, Spain, has attempted to get the word out about his “Instagram Vitae” by using the hashtags #instagramvitae and #MycvonInstagram and encouraging others to share those tags on Twitter.

    His work ranges from logos and business cards to prints and stop motion, and he posted the images to Instagram in reverse order, so that they’d flow better when looking at the resumé from the newest to oldest Instagram.

    Mas, who is not a big fan of Comic Sans, also created a neat little video (in Spanish) showing how he came up with the idea and how he put the project together.

    Photo via @esto_es_un_curriculum/Instagram

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    A Virginia woman who’s being sued for $750,000 for authoring a damning Yelp review has been ordered by a judge to reword her post, at least for now.

    It’s a case that illustrates just how liable users are for their online reviews. Jane Perez, of Fairfax, wrote on both Yelp and Angie’s List that not only was she extremely dissatisfied with Dietz Development’s work, she “found my jewelry missing and Dietz was the only one with a key.” 

    Though police found no connection between Dietz and the jewelry, Perez kept the review up, which Dietz said in its suit has cost the company at least "at least $300,000" in work opportunities "and an estimated $500,000 harm to and loss of business reputation, insult, and anxiety."

    Though the actual case is still ongoing, a judge Wednesday filed a temporary injunction, ordering her to reword the review to no longer imply Dietz stole anything.

    According to the Washington Post, Virginia law says opinions are protected by the First Amendment, but speech becomes defamation when a person “states or implies a false factual statement about a person or business that causes harm to the subject’s reputation.”

    Regardless of how the case will resolve, Dietz already seems to have invoke the Streisand Effect, meaning that an attempt to block information, regardless of whether it’s true, only serves to make more people aware of it.

    It’s unclear if Perez or Yelp removed her review entirely, but it’s no longer there. However, as often is the case when a business fights with a customer over a Yelp review, a number of users who don’t claim to have ever patronized the business have flocked to its page to give one-star reviews. 

    “Standing in solidarity with Jane Perez,” wrote reviewer Hydd L. “I would never do business with a ‘man’ (more like boy) who can't handle criticism in a calm, professional manner.”

    “The owner is a real bitch made pussy for suing over a goddam complaint,” wrote fellow one-star-reviewer Rodney P, who, as a Texan, likely wouldn’t have hired Dietz anyway. “I hope his ass go broke and never own another business. Fuck the owner and that fuck ass company he runs.”

    Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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    Remember Rudy? A similarly inspiring football story is playing out right now Twitter.

    Blake Dudley, 14, is a diehard University of Notre Dame football fan who really wants to see the Fighting Irish play against defending national champion Alabama in the BCS Championship Game Jan. 7 in Miami, MLive reported.

    Initially, the young fan from Dowagiac, Mich., wanted to sell valuable items around the house to buy a ticket, but he ultimately wrote a letter professing his love for Notre Dame football head coach Brian Kelly and and asked if there was a way for him and his family to get tickets to the big game.

    “I came home from work last Wednesday—I’m a bartender at the Hartford casino—and he had sat down with his pencil and paper (to write the letter),” Celeste Dudley, Blake’s mom, told

    Blake has been bound to a wheelchair for three years due to Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder that is characterized by muscle weakness, but he explained in the letter that he has not let the disease prevent him from being active at his school.

    Since Celeste wasn’t sure how to reach Kelly, she posted it to talk show host Ellen DeGeneres’s Facebook page in hopes that DeGeneres or someone would see the letter. People took notice, and thanks to a friend, the letter soon made its way to Twitter.

    Local high schools and colleges started using the hashtag #GetBlakeToSouthBeach to pass on the letter detailing Blake’s dreams, which has been tweeted 1,342 times in the past two days, according to Topsy, a social media analysis site.

    Celeste didn’t have a huge understanding of Twitter before Blake’s letter went viral, but she’s been touched by the outpour of support and appreciates people spreading Blake’s message.

    “It’s so nice to see something positive spreading like that about somebody locally, instead of kids fighting with each other (online).”

    Celeste plans on setting up an account where people can donate to get Blake to see Notre Dame play in January.

    Photos via @celestedd/Twitter

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    Think that clicking “delete” will actually delete your email? Think again.

    When a user “deletes” an email in the normal fashion, it becomes invisible to that user and is immediately a candidate to be overwritten. But until it is in fact overwritten, it exists. And it may persist longer on company servers. So, even if it is taken off your computer, it may still be available on the host’s server.

    Given that email-hosting companies are legally obliged to turn over user information to law enforcement and intelligence authorities with warrants—and these days even without them—the impossibility of being certain of a deletion means you must presume that any email you compose will be available remain accessible forever.

    “I think the most important thing for people to understand that you can't really ever delete anything,” Electronic Frontier Foundation staff attorney Hanni Fakhoury told the Daily Dot.

    “And when it comes to email, the provider may have a backup even if you delete it... (T)hat's why EFF is generally opposed to data retention policies, i.e., a government mandate for ISPs to keep digital records for specified periods of time.”

    You do have some options to make your email harder to access, but doing so also makes it harder to use.

    In EFF’s guide, “Don’t be a Petraeus: A Tutorial on Anonymous Email Accounts,” the organization notes: “The current state of anonymous communication tools is not perfect, but there here are some steps that, if followed rigorously, might have protected the Director of the CIA, the Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan, and their friends against such effortless intrusion into their private affairs.”

    The key words there are “rigorously” and “might.”

    By combining encryption, an anonymous Web-based email account set up through a Tor browser or Circumventor tool that makes your personal IP address impossible to clock, you may remain out of reach of the increasingly overzealous authorities. It is important to note, however, that whichever email service you use may retain copies of any emails you send. That, combined with contextual information (personal information on your age, profession, location, etc.) might be enough for an investigator to identify you.

    EFF points out that Hushmail allows users to set up email accounts while using Tor. Others discourage or forbid it. However, Hushmail, which guarantees that not even Hushmail employees are capable of compromising your anonymity, has forked over user information with alacrity in the past.

    Regardless of what kind of email setup you use, you are also encouraged to use “secure deletion” software, such as Eraser, or to take a number of steps that truly delete the file in question.

    The problem is that even when an email is actually deleted, and even if no copy of it has been retained on a company server, there are still elements that indicate the prior presence of the email. “[E]ven if a file has been securely deleted,” EFF warns, “its name will probably continue to exist for some time on your computer.” For instance, in Microsoft Word, the title of a document will persist in the Recent Documents menu, even if the email itself has been deleted.

    The logins themselves are typically retained as well.

    “Webmail providers like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft retain login records (typically for more than a year) that reveal the particular IP addresses a consumer has logged in from,” wrote the American Civil Liberties Union's Chris Soghoian.

    Additionally, if there is any contact with that email by a computer whose IP address is visible, such as sharing an account with a recipient, that IP address can be the trail that unravels the whole conversation.

    If you “give the account password to someone else who can then log in and view the message, obviously it doesn't matter if you disguised your IP address while visiting the site,” Bennett Haselton of Peacefire told the Daily Dot. “The message is still sitting there and you've told someone else how to get it, so whoever they pass that info along to, will be able to access the message as well.”

    “The thing is, email security in and of itself is a myth,” said Ian Lyons in a comment on the New School of Information Security blog. Unless every single best practice is followed to a T—and with large companies with less-than-tech savvy employees, that’s nigh impossible—there will be breaches.”

    That’s certainly something to consider the next time you pull up Gmail.

    Photo by Rob Stinnet/Flickr

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    Voting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year was just the beginning. Now a group of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) users have manipulated the public poll to spell a message with the first letter of each candidate's name.

    The hackers spelled “KJU GAS CHAMBERS” by voting candidates such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and New Jersey governor Chris Christie to the top of Time’s poll, using a Java script created by IRC user _js5.

    While the phrase indirectly references the barbaric conditions at North Korea’s prisons, “KJU GAS CHAMBERS” was just supposed to be funny and not related to the penal labor colonies, _js5 told the Daily Dot.

    “There really is nothing too exciting about the meaning, sorry to say. We chose it because it was clever, had semi-subtle offensive overtones, and wasn't as childish as our second choice of KFCBUTTSEX,” one anonymous IRC user wrote in an email to the Daily Dot and other media organizations. “Furthermore, if there was any overt justification for why we chose gas chambers, it’s because we wanted to reference Hitler, who’s [sic] gas chamber antics are always offensive to people. His name was mentioned a lot when we were discussing what to spell.”

    Time Magazine launched its prestigious poll on Nov. 26. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi quickly rose to the top—with Kim in a close second—thanks to a Java script that automated the voting process on Polldaddy, the survey site powering Time’s poll.

    “At the time, it was all about trying to get above Morsi,” _js5 said. 

    About two days later, the task was complete. Kim had collected 2.9 million votes, at a rate of 6,000 every 10 minutes, due to the efforts of 100 people who all ran the script simultaneously.

    “With Polldaddy, it wasn’t any hacking, specifically,” _js5 added. “Polldaddy allowed for 100 vote bursts every 10 minutes. And then it switched to 50 vote bursts when we started overloading their server, which was unintentional.” 

    The gaming of the poll also attracted attention on 4chan, where users dubbed Kim their “glorious leader.”

    Kim is currently ahead in the poll, with 5.2 million votes. Comedian Jon Stewart is a distant second, with 1.9 million.

    Yet while Kim has a dominant lead, he will likely not win Time’s coveted cover.

    “As always, TIME's editors will choose the Person of the Year (issue date December 31, 2012, on sale December 21),” says the magazine on its public poll. 

    In 2009, 4chan pulled off a similar feat when users voted the site’s creator, Christopher “moot” Poole, as Time’s Person of the Year. The 4chan users also spelled out “marblecake also the game," a reference to "the name of the IRC channel used during Project Chanology raids [on Scientologist websites], by arranging the first 21 nominees’ names in a particular order,” KnowYourMeme reported

    Since then, 4chan has gamed public votes for a new Mountain Dew flavor (one popular entry: “Hitler did nothing wrong”) and a competition to have Taylor Swift perform at a school for free

    The school 4chan decided to back was Boston’s Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, one of the oldest public schools of its kind in the county. The school was ultimately disqualified due to the way it received votes, but still received some pretty sweet prizes.

    Swift herself made a personal donation to the school of $10,000, which was matched by the sponsors, as well as American Greetings and Cover Girl. VH1’s Save the Music program donated a fifth $10,000 gift in order to buy musical instruments for Horace Mann students.

    The people’s choice for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year will be announced on Dec. 14. If Kim does indeed win, it would be a surprise to _js5. 

    “People think it’s a huge coalition of people running this. It’s only a few people, honestly. And I don’t know why Time keeps running the damn poll where there’s no captcha [a computer program that creates tests that humans can pass but computer programs cannot] and it makes it easy for this thing to happen,” _js5 said. “Maybe it’s just for the press, I don’t know.”

    Time Magazine cover remix by Fernando Alfonso III

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    This holiday season, one redditor certainly has a lot to be thankful for.

    On Dec. 6, ProZacDose wrote a post on r/offmychest, a subreddit that encourages users to rant, vent, and commiserate over life’s frustrations. Titled “As a father of 4, I have failed,” the story detailed a myriad of setbacks that had plagued his family throughout the year.

    “I was promised a promotion at work which would bring in MUCH more money and we could live comfortably, however that did not happen. My brother was murdered in a Rite-Aid a few months ago, I suffered a broken leg and missed work for a month, and our bills fell behind and I fell into a deep depression,” he wrote.

    “I just wanted to vent, and perhaps cry a little, for the pain I feel for my kids. I hate myself that I could of not done better, or I could have a better job with more income. I am supposed to be a father and a provider and I can't even do that. I am dreading Christmas morning, and wish I can just escape all of this.”

    The post won over 5,200 upvotes, and sympathizers immediately sprang into action. Some offered advice, well-wishes, and reassurance that he was not a failure as a father at all. Others decided mere words weren’t enough.

    A user in Australia bought ProZacDose's kids an Xbox:

    And another bought the family a tree:

    Advised by redditors, ProZacDose set up an Indiegogo account for donations and also created an online wishlist. He has since closed both avenues due to the overwhelming response. According to a post by redditor enoughyo, more than $8,000 had been donated.

    As the assistance poured in, ProZacDose had to constantly update his original post to detail the generosity he witnessed. In one edit, he showed a picture of his bills, now paid in full. In another, he explained that he actually managed to accumulate a surplus of toys and cash thanks to the power of Reddit.

    “Honestly everyone, this is beyond amazing. PLEASE PLEASE help others who are on here needing assistance with bills and toys. AGAIN - ALL extra money and toys will be going to others so I can spread your love. PLEASE PLEASE help others out here who need it now, let's make this a night amazing for others as well. Thank You for everything,” he wrote.

    While the thread overflowed with donation offers and kind words, not all redditors were touched by ProZacDose’s story.

    “you couldnt pay your fucking bills or save some money but youre buying motherfucking mixers and stereo receivers and shit? what the fuck?! and all you reddit fucking assholes believe this guy and give him almost 10 grand in a few hours? i want to burn the fuckin world down because of people like you and your enablers,” elohizzle commented upon seeing extra items added to the wishlist.

    “This is why I love Reddit. You can sob-story Reddit out of money so easy it's beyond ridiculous. Great site for easy and quick cash,” Ikinhaszkarmakplx2 wrote.

    ProZacDose dismissed the haters by claiming all superfluous gifts and money would be donated to other needy families and individuals.

    “For those sending negative hate, threatening e-mails and messages, and even death threats, please put that negative energy into helping others,” he wrote in the post’s most recent update.

    Overall, many redditors were amazed. User Quo_Usque was inspired to describe the evolution of the thread in a poem parodying “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Another user, Baron_Rogue, was simply taken aback by how the site attracts both extremes of people:

    Merely hours ago I was throwing up in my mouth at how rude certain redditors were being to a legitimate astronaut, and now I have tears in my eyes from other redditors going above and beyond for a complete stranger. Great analogy for life in the end... amazing people jumbled in with garbage, and a wild ride throughout.

    ProZacDose has promised an update on his family’s reaction after Christmas.

    Photo via Casey Serin/Flickr

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    A British girl is finding out you only live once—until your house gets utterly trashed.

    Sarah Hine, 14, invited her friends on Facebook to a party that quickly turned into a boozy brouhaha after the guestlist swelled to hundreds of teenagers and caused thousands of dollars in damage to her family’s house.

    Word of the party spread when Hine left the invite open on a school computer for an early celebration for her 15th birthday. She posted, along with her address, “can everyone stop telling me how f***** my house is gunna get after this party .. worth it YOLO”

    On Friday, classmates flocked to the Billericay, Essex, home, where absolute pandemonium occurred. Vandals ruined rooms, broke furniture, and even dragged the family’s piano into the front yard and smashed it. It’s estimated that up to $50,000 worth of damage was caused.

    Essex police and school officials warned the mother to cancel the party after rumors spread that revelers were going to ruin it, but the mother insisted she would keep an eye out for trouble. 

    “Police were called following calls from residents regarding nuisance behavior in the street,” an Essex police spokesperson said according to the Telegraph. “Officers found a large number of teenagers had visited the area to attend a party advertised on social media.”

    When police got to the house, they described people were “packed like sardines” in the house and empty alcohol containers scattered across the grounds.

    Sarah’s mother, Esther, told The Sun insurance won’t cover the damages and that she’s bewildered by revelers’ actions.

    “I am stunned—why would they do this?” said the mother. “There must be £20,000 to £30,000 damage but insurance won’t pay out because we invited them in.”

    Photo via Leo Oliveira/YouTube

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