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Recent Society articles from Daily Dot

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    A monkey in a winter coat got loose in an IKEA Sunday and scampered straight into the hearts of animal lovers around the Web.

    The monkey was spotted outside a Toronto IKEA after it let itself out of the owners car, CBC News reported. The money was eventually cornered inside the store until animal services arrived.

    “[Shopper Stephanie] Yim, along with other bystanders, began following the monkey as it skittered across the parking lot. She said that while the monkey didn't appear to be scared, it cried out at times.”

    Photos of the monkey in a shearling coat and diapers have been turned into a meme on Reddit, Craigslist, and Twitter.

    “Every fear I have in life can be seen in that sweet monkey's mournful eyes,” said redditor BrooklynNets on a post featuring the following image of the monkey.

    The monkey also inspired a self-aware parody Twitter account, @IKEAmonkey, which has collected more than 2,100 followers in the last day.

    “[S]orry to break the fourth wall but things get weirder: ikea monkey is a big topanga fan,” the account tweeted. “[U]pdate III: made friends with a schnoodle, planning a long con to get out of this joint.”

    The IKEA monkey follows in a line of famous animals on the loose. In March 2011, a cobra from the Bronx Zoo escaped for five days and inspired a popular Twitter parody account that has more than 199,000 followers. About three months later, a small platoon of turtles shut down the runway at Kennedy International Airport as they searched for place to lay their eggs.

    The following images have been posted on threedifferentReddit threads discussing the monkey.

    Images via Reddit


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    It’s rare that sports fandom meets Internet-based fandom. But right now, when the National Hockey League lockout is closing on 90 days after talks between players and owners broke down completely Thursday night, the Internet is not only bringing everyone together, but helping them cope, too.

    Though the NHL lockout is concerned with contracts, salary caps, and revenue shares, its bottom line is about fairness: how to divide the spoils while paying players fairly (both past and present), while still protecting the interests of smaller franchises, some of whom struggle to pay dividends while larger franchises rake in billions of dollars in revenue.

    But if there’s one thing decidedly unfair about the 95-year-old sports league’s lockout—its fourth lockout or strike since 1992—it’s the loss of an entire season of hockey fandom. Avid fans have watched favorite players migrate to European teams or minor leagues as they ride out increasingly tense negotiations between the player’s union and the league. Meanwhile, the league has already canceled over 400 scheduled games.

    “Some people I know in the biz, who really truly love this game, basically are at the point of tears now over this,” wrote a peevish Adrian Dater Friday morning for the Denver Post. “This lockout has torn some people up. People whose livelihoods depend on this game are literally in tears, their frustration just immense.”

    Fans’ resentment and anger at NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, and even at National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) director Donald Fehr, have grown more and more widespread as the lockout has stretched on. And inevitably, along with the frustration, the fans have grown more and more united, as they drown their sorrows—where else?—on the Web.

    Here are five Internet creations to help you survive the interminable dry season off the ice. While you’re at it, marvel at the sheer determination of Canadians to keep their unofficial national sport alive.

    1) #podiumwatch

    Among the few entities to benefit from the lockout is the NHL Podium, the eye-catchingly minimalist announcement stand from which announcements about the lockout have been made. As rumors of a final agreement between parties spread early last week, #podiumwatch began trending on Twitter. After talks unexpectedly broke down completely, parody account @nhlpodiumsnarked in the wake of collective astonishment, “I thought that went well.”

    2) hoodwinkedfilms

    Best lockout-related quote from this YouTube channel devoted to spoofing all things NHL: “I just miss talking about concussions.”

    3) Fake Canucks Fake Season

    No hockey to report on? That hasn’t stopped British Columbia media outlet The Province. Sports writer Wyatt Arndt began by reporting on his X-Box-created fantasy season in September; they’ve since added bi-weekly livestreams of games, fake news show clips segments, and even a stat board

    4) Street hockey

    The fantasy hockey season may be locked out along with the real thing, but won’t stop the players from having matches. Follow them on Twitter and maybe you, too, can get the surprise Vancouver hockey fans got last week when Ryan Kesler of the Canucks called an afternoon street game in the middle of downtown:

    Hundreds of fans and the media arrived en masse. “Everyone that showed up with a hockey stick had a chance to play a shift, with one dedicated to all the youngsters that showed up,” wrote Jenn Perutka. “This was the closest feeling to a hockey game in a very long time. Oh man I miss hockey, you guys …”

    5) Express your anger, Canadian-style—through delightful musical numbers!

    Once again, Canada is putting their lockout-induced anger to constructive use: the truly hilarious thing aboutall theseYouTubelockoutparodymusicalnumbers is that they’re all done by Canadians.

    Could it be time to take your outrage to the streets, Newsies-style, Canadian fans?

    Screengrab via Canucklepuck

     


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    Want to look like your favorite boxer and take part in the latest Internet craze at the same time? That's now possible, thanks to Manny Pacquiao and Saturday night's crushing blow that sent the legendary welterweight boxer face-first onto the canvas.

    Mannying is the new thing spreading around the Internet this morning, and it's nothing short of fall-down funny. The meme is inspired by Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao's lifeless pose moments after Mexican boxer Juan Manuel Márquez delivered his knockout punch during Saturday night's "Champion of the Decade" bout. 

    Mannying is the closest the Internet has gotten this year to planking, that legendary meme that basically involved taking a picture of someone lying horizontally, face-down, atop an object. 

    The difference between the two may be as simple as the addition of a slight bend at the elbow. Either way, you'll want to take note. It'd be awfully embarrassing to declare someone Planking when they're really actually Mannying at the company holiday party in the next two weeks (which is likely as long as this Mannying craze will last, anyway). 

    Photo viaglamkrissy/Instagram

    Photo viakoshak25/Twitter

    Photo viabcos12/Twitter

    Photo viasherpaco/Twitter

    Photo viapopsnyc/Instagram

    Photo viaKayani_90/Twitter

    Photo via1bad_ass_bantam/Instagram

    Photo viaBXPApparel/Twitter

    Photo viadennyd1719/Twitter

    Photo viamexicronicas/Twitter


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    Prepare your hexadecimal decoder rings. The greatest mystery Reddit has ever seen has returned. 

    No one knows who redditor A858DE45F56D9BC9 is. But about a year ago (he or she or it) began dropping random codes in an obscure, eponymous forum

    They looked like this:

    2CA423280CCCF4FA 7BCBE91B69AEDC67 53B0937E5D3A6E5C 62C98324336EBB56 4B83D93847223BE8 A4FB040BF09C4949 0D21639736009677 62573764CA7C62F4 41677FC4185580F6

    Redditors were stumped. Was it a spam bot? A hacker leaving codes, instructions for other computers? Some wondered—quite reasonably—if it was all just a practical joke on redditors themselves. Maybe A858DE45F56D9BC9 was sitting there at his computer, laughing at all the gullible redditors trying to solve his solution-less puzzle.

    The mystery created such a hoopla on Reddit it caught the attention of outside media. BoingBoing’s Cory Doctorow wrote about the phenomenon. So did the Daily Dot. And that proved a problem. 

    Whatever A858DE45F56D9BC9 was, it was skittish. It suddenly deleted all its old posts and disappeared. The mystery seemed like it would never be solved.

    But five months later, for no discernible reason, the weird postings began all over again. And this time redditors were ready. They began to figure out how to decode a few of the messages, including this one, an ASCII representation of stonehenge:

    All the messages were written in hexadecimal code, a system programmers use to represent binary data (i.e., ones and zeros) with text. If you know the format the hexadecimal message used, you can decode it pretty easily. As redditor fragglet, who solved the Stonehenge puzzle, told us last year

    “The stuff that is posted on there is hexadecimal-encoded data, so in theory it can contain any file you might have on your hard disk... For the post that drew attention, the file was Base64-encoded. So essentially it was two levels of encoding before you got to the real message.”

    After the Stonehenge puzzle was solved, the ever-skittish A858DE45F56D9BC9 disappeared once more. 

    And now, more than a year later, it’s finally back (again). 

    Six days ago A858DE45F56D9BC9 started posting more coded messages. Many of them don’t use a standard hexadecimal format, meaning they aren’t as easy to decipher. Fragglet explained, “it's like they're just random data (or encrypted data!)”

    Each new post is arriving in six-hour intervals, leading some to suspect they’re automated. Not one of them has been solved.

    Want to give it a try? Here’s a sample. But you might just want to keep the answer to yourself, unless you want to scare away our weird little friend again.

    7C94B292AE40D4AA EC267EB050299732 F471A974A568581C CCD095A641D235DE E2DE292B99908EF2 0F7C9CC740078D7C FA558AAE7EDB374A E631A79A47BB4073 816CEA7418261922 7CDB41D587DAD27F 9C7F9F0D39AE7931 1BBAD45C3C46C0A2 2E7D935F670F5452 222B70BEE68429AD B26BAE826A6BE59B BC3B04FC80901D6D FD13489B7578A395 B37F1CEB80C6D538 0FAAD94A573C8918 F149CCFAFB5F26BE 59E9F2BE11F80136 17E1930EC2EA0D1D 10D0D8D7BC2E0DC8 93CEA4A1A0A56586 5782B4464E41F58C BA691AD502775E01 AF7A49E6BFF2E8D4 34DDEFCAC494F1D3 65FD95BC40E3EDB0 01D39E462CFABC82 DE678DD1B9FC9034 37B6A3D35B4BC899 E40325EE530CE3B5 E336603FF09BDE72 E5166789CA42AA78 C92AF19B5D4D71A4 50C864383C3327EA 

    Have fun.

    Photo by Marianna Sask/Flickr


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    While cyberbullying continues to be a serious issues facing students nationwide, a network of Facebook profiles are take a unique approach to countering the issue on Facebook.

    Roughly 100 Facebook profiles associated with major universities have been established to compliment random users, NBC reported.

    One of the latest pages, Columbia Compliments, describes itself as “a social project that aims to spread joy and happiness to the Columbia Community.” The profile does so by literally complimenting random Columbia-related users. For example, on Monday afternoon, student Eduardo Santana received the following message:

    “You gave me alcohol, gingerbread cookies, and now bagels this morning! Glad you're giving me all the essentials before my final this morning. Oh, and thanks also for being mad chill!”

    According to NBC, the first school to start such a profile was Queens University in Ontario, Canada in September. Since then, schools like Swarthmore, Stanford, and Brown University have started their own pages. All four schools have more than 4,700 friends and 2,300 likes combined.

    "It's bringing back a lot of love into the school," Lucy Seprino told the Detroit Free Press regarding a compliment profile started for her high school.

    Photo via Columbia Compliments/Facebook


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    It's surprising that it's taken this long for "Snapchat Sluts" (totally NSFW) to exist. But we all knew it was coming — the minute you introduce a new way for teens to send each other nudes, the website collecting those nudes is only so far behind.

    Snapchat was supposed to be the consequence-free iPhone sexting app everyone had always hoped for: you take your nudie pic, you specify a time limit (10 seconds or less), and you send it to your sext buddy, secure in the knowledge that it would be deleted from his or her phone when the time limit ran out. Sure, Snapchat's CEO publicly claimed he didn't think the app, currently among the iPhone's most popular, would be used for sexting — "I just don't know people who do that. It doesn't seem that fun when you can have real sex," he told TechCrunch — but we all knew the score. What else would you use an photo app with a built-in Mission: Impossible self-destruct timer for?

    But as Buzzfeed's Katie Heaney has pointed out, Snapchat has one fatal flaw: the iPhone can take screenshots. "When a user attempts to take a screenshot of another's Snap, the photo's sender is notified," Heaney wrote two weeks ago, "but the screenshot still exists on the other user's phone, where it can be shared with the rest of the world." (This is far from Snapchat's only problem, but it's the biggest.)

    And Snapchat Sluts, created this afternoon by enterprisingly sleazy party photographer Kirill Bichutsky (the man behind "Champagne Facials"), should make it pretty clear how easy it is to screenshot those Snapchats. Especially when you consider that all of these photographs have pretty high numbers on the countdown timers: mostly it takes less than a second to grab a screenshot, so not even your one-second Snapchat flashes are safe.

    Happily, Snapchat Sluts isn't a vindictive "revenge porn" site à la Hunter Moore's IsAnyoneUp, and the women featured submitted their photos willingly (setting aside questions of the possibility of sexual agency under the patriarchy), directly to Kirill following a public call on his Twitter. "I was bored in a hotel room in Miami and decided to see how many girls would be willing to show me their tits," he told me when I asked what inspired him to start the Tumblr. The answer: a lot. "The response was crazy on Twitter so I figured I'd build the site." (Kirill asked that I share his Snapchat name, which is KirillWasHere. Go crazy, ladies and gentlemen.)

    But if Snapchat Sluts is populated with women who knew what they were doing, it doesn't take much imagination to see how easy it'd be to create a Snapchat-only edition of IsAnyoneUp.com. Which is why, even when Snapchatting, you should adhere to the time-honored rules of sexting: No identifiable clothing. No noticeable furniture. No face. And try to only send it to people who want to see it.

    By Max Read [Snapchat Sluts (NSFW), h/t Katie Notopoulos]


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    It’s impossible to overstate what an important year 2012 has been to fandom. We’ve seen the previously unheard-of phenomenon of published fanfics climbing up the bestseller lists. We’ve cheered on Community spinoff Inspector Spacetime as it became a real, fan-generated project. And we retracted everything we thought we knew about the fourth wall as Sony commissioned One Direction fanfiction on Wattpad and MTV deliberately catered to slash fans in its marketing for Teen Wolf.  

    From Fifty Shadesof Grey to bronies to Homestuck to One Direction, fandom has been a major revelation to both the mainstream media and the entertainment and publishing industries throughout the year. The fandom blog as_others_see_us, which has been quietly compiling a weekly list of mentions of fanfiction in the mainstream media since 2009, saw those lists explode in 2012; several times it had to leave out listings because each new week brought so many.

    The Daily Dot has compiled a series of top 10 fandom-related lists, because just one couldn’t possibly encompass all the milestones fandom experienced over the last 12 months. We hope the series will provide a small glimpse into why this was a watershed year for fandoms off- and online.

    To kick things off, we counted down the top 10 people who changed fandom irrevocably in 2012—for better and for worse.

    1) Stephenie Meyer

    Why is author Stephenie Meyer topping our list? Purely and solely for her monumental decision not to sue E.L. James, author of Twilight fanfic-turned-bestselling phenomenon Fifty Shades of Grey. Had she wished to, Meyer could have sent all precedents for dealing with online fanfiction spiraling backwards 20 years, to the days when authors lived in fear of having their copyright claims stolen by mercenary fans or even being sued by fans for plagiarizing fan stories.

    Perhaps Meyer discussed it with her lawyers. Perhaps they came to the conclusion that trying to claim copyright against a work of fanfiction that’s clearly an Alternate Universe scenario was a losing battle. We’ll never know. But one thing is certain: Even an attempt at litigation would have significantly damaged fandom’s ongoing attempts to promote fanfiction as a transformative use of copyrighted material. Instead, her tacit acquiescence to the phenomenon that is Fifty Shades of Grey opened the floodgates on “pulled to publish” fanfiction and has indelibly changed the publishing industry and its relationship to fanfiction.

    2) Anita Sarkeesian

    When masters student Anita Sarkeesian wrote her thesis on “Strong Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy Television,” she had no idea that one day she would be widely touted—and demonized—as one of those strong women herself. But the creator of Feminist Frequency, a website and YouTube channel devoted to critiquing pop culture, found out from personal experience that her mantra was all too true: The way we portray fictional characters can and does have a huge impact on the world around us.

    When Sarkeesian turned her incisive commentary and critical eye toward video games, misogynists and video game fans descended, pelting her with vicious online harassment, defacing her Wikipedia entry, and leaving threatening phone calls. Sarkeesian handled the whole thing calmly, reposting many of the worst insults and documenting the phenomenon as it was happening. Meanwhile, the Kickstarter for her critical series on “Tropes vs Women in Video Games” became internationally famous as fans poured funds into the project, boosting her from her original $6,000 goal to nearly $160,000.

    What happened to Sarkeesian was the climax of a tumultuous year for women in the comics and gaming industries, as a long list of incidents accrued wherein women were harassed or shamed for speaking out against the culture of sexism. But after the world watched what happened to Anita Sarkeesian, it was no longer possible for the gaming industry to pretend sexism wasn’t a serious problem. Sarkeesian emboldened countless female fans and creators to speak of their own experiences, exacerbated a willingness within the industry to self-reflect and change, and remained generally badass through the latter half of 2012.

    “I hope that by telling my story in the media it will spark wider awareness of this critical issue and ultimately be a small part of moving in the direction of systemic change in the community and in the industry,” she wrote on her website. In the process, she’s not only given voice to silenced female gamers, but given all fans a stellar example for how to critique and challenge the things we love to be better.

    3) Larry Stylinson

    Inception tried to tell us about the power of a single little idea, but we still were not prepared for Larry. Larry Stylinson is not a person, but he might as well be: In 2012, he inspired literal millions of Twitter trends, Tumblr tags, and heartbreakingly, even self-mutilation in some rare instances—all in his name. What is Larry Stylinson? It’s the belief countless numbers of One Direction fans share that band members Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson are in love.

    Larry is an idyllic myth that has grown far larger than the two real-life people behind it. The term, a hybridization of Styles' and Tomlinson’s names, well and truly took on its own life in 2012, against all odds, or maybe even because of all the odds. Ultimately, whether Harry and Louis really are in love matters less than the powerhouse of devotion that Directioners have built around Larry. It’s paved the way for a totally new kind of celebrity worship—and a totally new way of doing fandom.


    Photomanip by DreamyLittleLoser/DeviantArt

    4) Amandla Stenberg

    2012 saw lots of positive interactions between fandoms and the actors involved with them, from Clark Gregg’s tweets to The Avengers fans to Misha Collins’ ongoing enthusiasm for Supernatural fandom. But sometimes a fandom is less kind to one of its actors, and sometimes the hardest thing for fans to realize is when their actions are overtly harmful. Of all the interactions we saw between actors and fans this year, only one simultaneously broke our heart and made us hopeful.


    Photo by juliajm15/deviantart

    When 13-year-old Amandla Stenberg was cast as Rue, a pivotal and beloved character from The Hunger Games, most fans were enthusiastic and vocal in their support. But a surprising number of fans were outraged by the casting decision; even though Rue is described in Suzanne Collins’ novel as having “dark brown skin and eyes,” some fans hadn’t gotten the memo, and they couldn’t understand why an African-American was playing one of their favorite characters.

    The blatant racism sparked widespread mediaattention and spawned a Tumblr dedicated to calling out racist Hunger Games tweets. It then branched out into calling out racist backlash against diverse casting, while Hunger Games fans spoke out in support of Stenberg and other members of the franchise’s racially diverse cast. As for Stenberg, she issued a short press release amid the controversy that simply thanked all the fans that had sent her support. Perhaps more prominently even than the “racebending” controversy over The Last Airbender casting, Stenberg called attention to the need for more diversity in Hollywood. Later on this year, when a similar controversy broke out over the casting of Geoffrey Gao as Magnus Bane in The Mortal Instruments film series, it was quickly drowned out by the overwhelming support of fans decrying the racist response and declaring their enthusiasm for the Southeast Asian actor.

    Just like her character, in 2012, Stenberg became a symbol of a larger social problem within fandom—and, ultimately, a symbol of unity and hope.

    5) Hank Green

    At every turn this year when you looked to homegrown fan movements and fandoms for online media, you saw Hank Green. He was on tour with Harry and the Potters, on the fringe of wizard-wrock culture that breathed new life into HP fandom. He was there behind the scenes of the popular Lizzie Bennet Diaries as its creator and co-producer; the webseries retelling of Pride and Prejudice racked up a quarter of a million views in a week for a single episode.

    And, of course, the massive Nerdfighter fanbase continued to grow for him and his brother, acclaimed Young Adult novelist John Green—together known as the Vlogbrothers. In the 2012 Olympics, British gymnast Jennifer Pinches flashed the Nerdfighter sign; in November, President Barack Obama’s Tumblr posted a simple “DFTBA,” illustrating that the Nerdfighter mantra, “Don’t Forget to Be Awesome,” had become much more than just a catchphrase. Whether it’s teaming up with the Harry Potter Alliance to get out the vote, creating the industry-changing and undeniably awesome VidCon, or promoting the vlogging charity project Project For Awesome, Hank Green continues to align three principles: industry innovation, fan participation, and progress. He’s left an indelible mark on fandom, and helped fandom, in turn, to leave an indelible mark on the world.

    6) Jeff Davis

    When the creator of Teen Wolf set out to make a fun, hip reboot of the ‘80s Michael Fox comedy, he probably didn’t envision that he’d also be entering into uncharted marketing waters for not only MTV but all of Hollywood. But when millions of Teen Wolf fans sunk their fangs into the juggernaut pairing of Sterek—the potential romantic relationship of male characters Stiles and Derek—Davis, himself a queer writer and producer, decided to roll with it. For the Teen Choice Awards, MTV put actors Dylan O'Brien and Tyler Hoechlin on a boat to pay homage to all of the people “shipping” their characters together—sending all of fandom into a sustained elation that has yet to die down months later and setting an entirely new precedent for how producers, creators, and the industry at large, can embrace fandom.


    Screengrab via YouTube

    Davis went one step further, promising that if the fans made enough noise, Sterek “could happen” on the show. MTV went on to promote a fanfic contest that received over 10,000 entries—most of them Sterek-related.  At New York ComicCon in October, reports were that the Sterek fanbase overshadowed nearly everything else. Just last week, Hypable asked, “Is Sterek a ship that’s sailing too hard?” Has Davis created a monster through his indulgence? It’s too soon to tell, but at the close of 2012, it’s clear that he may have created something even more lasting: a marketing ploy turned potential storyline—a phenomenon that could impact the way fans interact with creators for years to come.

    7) Andrew Hussie

    If embracing fan culture is a skill you can acquire with practice, then in 2012, Andrew Hussie leveled all the way up to the top. Or, as Homestuck fans might say, he reached the god tier.

    For fans of the epic online webcomic and phenomenon, Homestuck's creator has always been fandom’s person of the year. But two things happened this year that raised Homestuck to the level of a major internet phenomenon. First, MS Paint Adventures, where Homestuck is housed, hit 1 million unique visitors a day, with pageviews sometimes higher than 5 million; Second, the Homestuck fanbase boosted Hussie’s Kickstarter for a Homestuck adventure game to $2.5 million dollars, making it the eighth-most successful campaign on the site to date and by far the most successful campaign to be fueled by a fandom.

    Hussie has known all along that the key to fan investment was fan interaction. From the beginning, MS Paint Adventures was designed as a series of interactive storylines, with fans contributing ideas for what came next. When Homestuck segued into being written solely by Hussie, he still continued to integrate interactivity into the comic, which is itself about a fictional interactive adventure game that can divide reality into separate timelines with more layers than a card deck and more characters than a typewriter. Think Jumanji meets Back to the Future meets 4chan meets... nevermind. There’s nothing like Homestuck except Homestuck.

    Hussie’s ability to cultivate a massive fanbase for one of the most complex, impenetrable, and epic stories ever written is something that may prove to be a single case rather than a template for future homegrown fanbases. But his widespread incorporation of the music, art, and ideas of fan artists, musicians, and writers into his website and the comic itself is a definite lesson for other creators to follow.


    Photo via Homestuck/MSPAA

    8) Amanda Palmer

    Apart from the controversy, Palmer’s invitation to hold a musical jamboree with fans at every stop on her Grand Theft Orchestra was flat-out awesome. Perhaps inspired by countless moments when jazz legends and other musicians have joined one another onstage for spontaneous (unpaid) jam sessions, Palmer invited fans to “COME JOIN THE FUCKING ORCHESTRA,” as part of every stop on her tour.

    It was just one of several moments this year when Palmer wholeheartedly embraced fan culture and the fans embraced her—like when her Kickstarter to crowdfund her new album became the most successful musical drive on the site’s history, raising $1 million over its original goal of $100,000 from thousands of grateful fans.

    The Kickstarter came back to haunt her when she made the offer to fans to play for free. Though she originally offered in good faith to “feed you beer, hug/high-five you up and down (pick your poison), give you merch, and thank you mightily for adding to the big noise we are planning to make,” she touched a nerve with musician unions outraged that after having raised so much money from fans, she wanted them to play for free at what could have been an all-too-rare paying gig for pro musicians. Inadvertently, Palmer jumpstarted a widespread, important conversation about fan culture and the “the eco-system of playing for reasons other than cash money.”

    Although Palmer eventually decided to pay her musicians, she added that she was “sad to realize that our creative intentions of crowd-sourcing... are getting lost in the noise of this controversy.” But at the end of the year, what remains is that Palmer upheld the idea that the fannish culture of free exchange is a valid one, and she encouraged more musicians to find new ways of letting fan participation boost their overall success.

    9) Azealia Banks

    It’s been a monumental year for Azealia Banks, especially after the build-up and hype around her much-loved Fantasea—a summer mixtape that she debuted online as a free download. “Fantasea is almost kind of a first album of sorts….but it happened by mistake…. It’s weird,” she tweeted. “This is a test run… I tried a lot of cool things… Sounds I thought were progressive, beats made by close friends, different flowsss.” The acclaim she got from her choice to launch online first was widespread, but critical acclaim for the album was even higher.

    With her feet planted firmly between DIY online music culture and mainstream hip-hop, Banks has run into controversy several times this year, first by clashing with Lil Kim and Jim Jones, then fighting with esteemed DJ Munchi over her use of his remix. And while she’s been rocking the mermaid vibe for a while, she still couldn’t avoid scandal when she went full-throttle seapunk on last month’s “Atlantis” release.

    Despite the drama, Banks’s fanbase has grown from the start, and she’s remained constantly in touch with them. Licquorice Bitch wrote on an Azealia fanboard: “she re-blogged my home-made Fantasea CD, replied to my tweets a few times, followed me and answered one of my ustream questions. I seriously listened to her 24/7 around late July/early August. It was an amazing two-and-a-half months.” It’s a sign that Banks is as committed to grassroots fan culture now as she was three years ago, when she first began uploading songs to Myspace.

    “What the old heads don’t understand is that my generation grew up on AOL, so we had access to all of this shit,” Banks told Vibe in August. “How the fuck you think I know about all these indie bands and every single music scene in the world? It’s called the Internet.”

    10) Kelly Sue DeConnick

    If you’re not a Marvel fan, you may be thinking: Who? But for a while now this female comic book writer has been quietly pressing for more and more agency from female characters within Marvel comics, and this year, things came to fruition in a big way. While much attention in 2012 went to the ridiculous poses and costumes in which comic artists draw female characters, DeConnick managed to take the reigns of a female superhero; ensure that her uniform involved sensible pants and full protective body armor, without a single skin-revealing design; and secure her a superhero promotion.

    Carol Danvers, known to Marvel fans as Ms. Marvel, was briefly promoted to Captain Marvel in an eight-issue 2005 series called House of M, written by Brian Bendis. However, that was just an Alternate Universe setting, so once that issue was done, she continued on in the popular reboot of ‘70s series Ms. Marvel. All that changed this year when DeConnick started a new series for Marvel.


    Image by Aja Romano

    This is not the first time Captain Marvel has been played by a woman, but it is the first time since last year that a female Marvel superhero has headlined her own series; the previous attempt was cancelled. Before launch, fans spread a preordercampaign to send Marvel a message that they wanted this series to live.

    “By no means is this book a no-brainer,” DeConnick told the Los Angles Times in August. “I have said from the beginning if we get 12 issues, I will consider this a huge win.”

    Seven issues later, DeConnick seems on track to get her win and then some: In addition to Captain Marvel, she is now writing issues of Avengers Assemble, a movie-compatible spinoff that promises to take the franchise in interesting new directions.

    On Tumblr, DeConnick interacts with and embraces Carol’s fanbase, reblogging fanart and praising what she’s dubbed the “Carol corps.” “There’s nothing inherently masculine about power fantasies,” she told the Times.

    “There’s nothing inherently masculine about superhero comics. There’s nothing inherently masculine about mythology. About science fiction. There is no reason that a woman who is interested in this field as a reader or creator should feel that she is peculiar in any way.”

    In a year where geek culture has fixated on the “fake geek girl,” DeConnick has consistently shown the comics industry that female fans—and female heroes who aren’t objectified—can fit right in.

    Correction: The original version of this story made reference to a lawsuit involving sci-fi author Marion Zimmer Bradley. Since the details of the case are not clear, it has been removed for clarity. 

    Illustration of The Hunger Games’ Rue by lilinuuh/Deviantart


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    Some tweets are like tornados, devastating the landscape. But most are like breezes, quickly forgotten.

    A new tool from Twitter and Vizify helps tweeters reflect on their last year in the community, visualizing exactly what they’ve been talking about over the last 12 months. The Year on Twitter tool was released as Twitter revealed some of the hottest tweets, topics, trends, new users, and stories of the year.

    After linking your Twitter account and providing an email address, Year on Twitter gives a neat overview of what you’ve tweeted about over the last 12 months. If you’ve tweeted more than 3,200 times this year, Vizify will only look at those tweets (apps using Twitter’s API can only access the last 3,200 tweets from your timeline).

    The result is something rather cool. Your personal page highlights your “Golden Tweet” (your one with the most retweets), your follower who’s replied to your tweets most often, and a chart of your most talked-about topics.

    My results only go as far back as August, since I’ve tweeted 3,200 times since then. My most popular topics were “Twitter” and “story” (which, uh, don’t have anything to do with my job, of course). 

    In December, a month of reflection, looking back to see what we tweeted about—when many of our tweets have a very short lifespan—helps give a little more permanence to Twitter’s real-time, ever-changing nature.

    To look back at more from Twitter’s last year, check out the lovely minisite it’s set up.

    Photo by photojenni/Flickr


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    The British music industry’s official lobbying group is set to sue the U.K. Pirate Party.

    Though pro-copyright industry groups—in this case the British Phonographic Industry (BPI)—have long clashed with iterations of the Pirate Party around the world, it’s believed to be the first time such a group has sued one of those parties.

    The suit centers on access to the Pirate Bay (not directly related to the party), the Swedish torrent hub that’s so well-trafficked, it’s the 76th most visited in the world. In April, the U.K. banned Internet service providers from allowing users to visit the Pirate Bay. The U.K. Pirate Party quickly found a way around that, though, by creating a proxy—or a signal rerouting—that let Brits visit the site anyway.

    Loosely related “pirate parties” exist in countries around the world, and some in Europe hold high political offices. But in the U.K., as in most countries, the party mostly exists as an activist organization.

    Though the BPI hasn’t filed the suit yet, it threatened in a letter to the party that it would if the proxy wasn’t taken down soon. And in a YouTube announcement, U.K. Pirate Party leader Loz Kaye declared that wasn’t an option.

    “This is a legitimate service for a legitimate political end,” Kaye said.

    The BPI, like its U.S. counterpart, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), represents the collective interests of British record labels. Also like the RIAA, the BPI has a bad reputation among Internet rights activists: It has a history of, in the interest of shutting down sites that facilitate copyright infringement, blocking legitimate sites, too.

    Buoyed at least in part by the BPI’s reputation, supporters have already offered financial support to the party, though it’s had to turn down offers of bitcoin donations because they’re unsure if that would violate donation laws. Instead, the Party has directed users to a donation page.

    The BPI doesn’t have a corresponding page soliciting funds, but it did confirm that it intends to sue to ensure Brits can’t access the Pirate Bay.

    Legal actions "are going to be necessary," a BPI representative told the BBC. “It is clear that the Pirate Party are determined to continue providing access to the illegal Pirate Bay site.”

    Screengrab of Kaye via YouTube


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    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but not when it draws the ire of police.

    Lily Thomas, a 20-year-old bartender from Wales, discovered that her Facebook photos were stolen by an unknown Internet troll named “Hayley McKay.” The fraudster used Thomas's likeness to enter a beauty contest and pose as English football players’ girlfriends. She—or he—also claimed to be the niece of famed Scottish football manager Ally McCoist.

    “I want to know, ‘Why me?’” said Thomas to WalesOnline. “Out of anyone she could have done it to … and I would like to tell her to stop doing it.” 

    The impostor caught Thomas’s attention when friends pointed out photos that looked suspiciously like her in a ballot for a Scottish Sun–sponsored Miss Scotland beauty contest. (Thomas says she’s never been to Scotland.)

    After digging deeper into McKay’s identity, she found out the hoaxer was romantically linking herself to popular footballer players—all of whom were in relationships.

    “This is so disturbing to me because the real wives and girlfriends of these players were all seeing my photograph being used to make these ridiculous claims,” exclaimed a single Thomas. “I've never dated a footballer and I certainly don't want other women to hate me like this.”

    The fake Twitter account has since been deleted.

    “McKay” also posted pictures of herself to a blog, writing that she had her ovaries removed and thanking readers for their prayers. The fake identity became so widespread that the real Thomas received accusations that she herself was a fake user. (She’s since deactivated her Twitter, too.)

    “This is really sick stuff,” opined Thomas. “She hasn't stolen my identity for financial gain, but this is just as sinister.”

    A South Wales Police spokesperson said the matter is under investigation. 

    Photo via Twicsy


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    Hayyyy layyydeeeees! Raise 'em up if you're a single lady out there looking for a man to keep you warm in the wintertime.

    Fret not, dear dames. Thanks to the Internet, there's a hot new destination for all your manliest men. It's called Russian Cupid, and it's the only site out there that's bold enough to declare itself "a leading Russian dating site connecting singles looking for love and Russian relationships."

    For absolutely no upfront cost, you can get acquainted with more than 20 million customers across the Cupid Media network, a consortium that includes such esteemed meet-up sites as Asian Dating, Colombian Cupid, and Singapore Love Links.

    Can you feel it? Love is literally in the air and international.

    Russian Cupid actually lays claim to "over 450,000 Russian Beauties," but there's simply no sense in scouring the site to see how many of them carry as much cunning as the seven Soviet sensations you see on RC's homepage.

    Instead, let's just throw a tip of the hat to Redditor SombreroQueen, who signed his friend up for Russian Cupid and did some investigating into the, um, types of people who may sign up for this site.

    "What I found WTF about this album and these submissions is what the people are wearing and or doing to find dates," he wrote in a submission to Reddit’s r/WTF. "What people do is very interesting, but I'm looking at it from a dating perspective.

    "It was either funny or WTF and because there were hairy naked russians, a guitar boat, OJ Simpson, etc., I decided to put it on WTF."

    WTF, indeed. Some of these guys look like they couldn't get themselves a date if they were the last snowmen in Siberia.

    Check out this guy hiding in the brush

    Or Vladimir, with those Wentworth Miller eyes

    Vladimir will skin a bear for you if it means a dinner at Ruth's Chris

    "Por moi? Por vou!"

    "How's the cake? The cake's okay, thanks."

    Look, I wouldn't want to go into this guy's bedroom either

    "Impressed? No? "

    "Well then, what if I throw on some hair and loosen some buttons?"

    "This is what I look like right now! Right now, right now!"

    It's always Christmastime when Petr's around

    "Uhhhm, actually, I'm from the states."

    Let's just move on to the next one

    Actually, eureka! We've found it. This is the man you should be dating

    All photos via openbarrel/imgur


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    A Facebook campaign is looking to drop the gloves and end the NHL lockout.

    Avid hockey fans created Just Drop It, an assertively titled Facebook group that is frustrated with the NHL’s labor disagreement. Since the lockout started in September, the league has cancelled 40 percent of scheduled games for the 2012-13 season.

    With no compromise in sight between team owners and the players’ association, Just Drop It members are threatening them where it hurts the most: their well-padded pocket books.

    For every game the NHL cancels beyond Dec. 21, fans are pledging on Facebook to boycott the same number of games when (or if) play resumes. The NHL has shelved games from through Dec. 30, resulting in a total of 526 games lost.

    “As an example, if we lose ten games, then they’ll lose the first ten games when they return—we’ll refrain from watching it on TV, from going to a game, and from buying any merchandise for the duration of the ban,” Just Drop It  explained on its Facebook page.

    Just Drop It hopes this grabs the NHL’s and the players’ attention to illustrate how both parties are screwing over the fan’s devotion to the struggling sport, especially given that this is the league’s third work stoppage in 18 years.

    “This is an effective way for the loyal fans—who make the sport possible in the first place—to be heard,” the page’s moderators claim. “If enough of us do this, we will get some measure of respect from the league and the union.”

    So far, the page has attracted 8,600 fans who are vowing to boycott the NHL. Just Drop It has produced a slick-looking YouTube video that showcases fans clad in hockey jerseys explaining how much they miss hockey.

    “I’m pissed,” reasoned an unnamed fan in the video. Another fan said the league won’t “see another dime” from him.

    Facebook fans appear to throwing their weight behind Just Do It, turning the page into a loud and proud digital picket line.

    “This league needs a reality check,” wrote Daniel Dery. “Empty arenas would help get that message across. Boycott the NHL until Gary Bettman is replaced as Commissioner.”

    Until the puck drops, hockey fans can always console themselves with fandom.

    Photo via JustDropIt2012/YouTube


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    Jón Gnarr, the mayor of Reykjavík, Iceland, is not a normal politician. Most mayors of capital cities, for instance, don’t identify as anarchists, haven’t spent years acting on television comedies, and don’t have spouses with Björk singles named after them.

    On Tuesday, the day after redditors requested his presence, Gnarr appeared on the site, and unlike other politicians—like members of the U.S. Congress or President Barack Obama, for example—Gnarr was actually kind of funny.

    Here are seven hilarious answers (and two somewhat sobering ones) he shared with redditors.

    is it true that a mad man once ran after you with a hammer in a grocery store and everyone thought you were joking? (aronatom)

    Yes, that's true. It really was a sledgehammer.

    Why do you think you have been accepted as an atypicial statesman while other politicians (especially American) are so afraid of stepping out of the social norm? (BrowningHighPower)

    Probably because of the smallness of this country I live in. We are only 320.000 and practically everyone is friends on facebook.

    Do you want Iceland to join the European Union? Why? (krattr)

    I have no opinion and I think the importance of it is hugely overrated.

    My Secret santa just sent me a bottle of Ópal. How would you recommend drinking it? (telecastah)

    I wouldn't.

    what are your concerns on global warming? Islands are generally more at risk to rising water levels (Ginger_breadman)

    Global warming is a fact. But I think the effects on Iceland are mainly positive. The weather is improving every year.

    Do you agree that you can still philosophically be an anarchist while working inside the system to try and improve things now? (black-sun-rising)

    I am not an anarchist because it's the perfect political theory. I am an anarchist because there is no such thing as the perfect political theory. What has affected my anarchistic ideas most is the internet.

    What's the weirdest thing you've ever done in office? Like actually in your office. (FueledByTesla)

    Undressed after being in drag on Gay Pride. Taking a shower only to find out the shower didn't work. And sometimes I like to go out on the balcony when the pond is frozen and some children are playing on the ice and yell: "This is private property! Go away or I'm calling the police!"

    How many hot dogs have you eaten in one sitting at that amazing hot dog stand in Reykjavik Center? (nobodysdiary)

    I sometimes have two hotdogs in one bun. My record is four hotdogs, two buns.

    favourite place in Iceland that doesn't start with a "Rey" and end with "kjavik"? (SoHoNoVo)

    Then I would have to say Reykjavík.

    Many folks in the US think fondly of an 'outside' public figure (Jon Stewart, Colbert) seriously running for office. Some have run and won, like Al Franken, but their work in office is perceived as 'business as usual.' What advice would you have for these sorts of candidates/politicians to maintain their independence? (vince_clortho1)

    I don't know. Your system is much more brutal than ours. There is just so much a man can take.

    Is Bjork considered to be normal in your country? (Cannibalzz)

    Yes.

    Photo via @Jon_Gnarr


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    Imagine you’re a reasonably intelligent space alien studying humanity from a distance, and your only information about the female of our species comes from the cover art of sci-fi, fantasy, and comic books. What do you conclude?

    Fantasy author Jim Hines has long been bemused by the implausibly sexy women in his books’ cover art, and to underscore just how ludicrous those poses were, last January he reproduced those poses for his blog. He wrote at the time:

    “[P]osing like these characters drives home exactly what’s being emphasized and what’s not. My sense is that most of these covers are supposed to convey strong, sexy heroines, but these are not poses that suggest strength. You can’t fight from these stances. I could barely even walk.”

    The “sexy” photos of Hines became his most-viewed blog post ever. Fans sent suggestions of other ridiculous sexy poses he could imitate, and a friend on Twitter offered him five dollars to re-create a certain one.

    That gave Hines an idea. A friend’s daughter had recently died of Aicardi syndrome, a rare and little-understood genetic brain disorder usually leading to severe intellectual and visual disabilities. So Hines decided to model for money, and he held the inaugural Cover Pose Fundraiser for the Aicardi Syndrome Foundation.

    When Hines’ friend and fellow writer John Scalzi joined in, the fundraiser became a “Pose-Off with John Scalzi.”

    Scalzi, meanwhile, announced the contest to his own blog readers by promising, “My dear friends: you will not be able to unsee the unspeakable terror that is the Jim C Hines/John Scalzi Cover Pose-Off.”

    Scalzi and Hines decided to first re-create the sultry pose found on the cover of The Taste of Night by Vicki Patterson. True to Hines’ earlier complaint about fantasy art poses—“you can’t fight from these stances”—it shows a sexy woman aiming a crossbow she can’t possibly shoot and wearing a clingy black spaghetti-strap evening gown that, according to military historians, would have been worn by exactly NO crossbow warriors ever.

    Hines worries that Scalzi might actually win the posing competition: “I don’t know what master he trained with, but whoever that wise and sadistic sensei might be, they turned Mister Scalzi into a posing opponent to be feared. John went all out in his own, special way,” he noted.

    If you’d like to donate to the Aicardi Syndrome Foundation without subjecting yourself to pictures of hairy-legged, bearded men in skimpy clothes and provocative poses, you can do so here. But if you want to see Hines and Scalzi in all their scantily clad sexy-babe glory, Hines says, simply donate to the foundation and “In exchange, I will give you what the internet has deemed my most important contribution to society: ridiculous cover poses. All you have to do is email me at ASF@jimchines.com letting me know how much you donated. If you give more than $25, please include a copy of your receipt from the foundation.”

    He’s picking random contributors to suggest poses for the pose-off, and he’s keeping it running through the end of the year. With $6,500 raised so far, 13 poses are on the slate, and they're getting close to their next goal.

    Photo of John Scalzi via Jim Hines


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    They say a picture's worth a thousand words. In some cases, a picture can be worth another shot.

    In March, the great soul singer Lester Chambers posted a photo to Facebook that showed him holding up a gold record and a personal note that spoke to his plight. Chambers had been worked over by Columbia Records during his heyday, a 10-year era that included the making of such hits as "Time Has Come Today," "Love, Peace and Happiness," and a remake of Otis Redding's "I Can't Turn You Loose."  He never saw a penny in royalties from 10 of the 17 albums that the Chambers Brothers released.

    For the past few years, he'd spent his time moving around and sleeping on friends floors. He watched "Time Has Come Today," his biggest song, celebrate a second life and only made $62.50 in return. Every day, he hoped and prayed and maintained the faith that he'd one day get the opportunity to record another album.

    And then, in March 2012, Chambers' wife and son decided to use the family's online presence to cast light on Lester's struggle.

    "It was during the Occupy Movement, and we had both worked on an album that was about all the 99 percent," Chambers' son Dylan told the Daily Dot. "My mom and I wanted to put something out and let people see a few of the things that happened throughout his career.

    The three posted the note to Chambers' Facebook page on March 5.

    "Help me make this post viral," Chambers, 72, wrote at the bottom of the note. "Time has come to tell the truth."

    Chambers was right.

    The public responded, sharing the photo more than 4,000 times and helping it migrate over to the social news site Reddit, where it appeared on the massive community's homepage. Within 24 hours, Rob Max of the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund had taken notice and sent Lester Chambers a $10,000 donation. Chambers could get himself back into a home. He could get finally get himself much needed medical attention for some longstanding ailments.

    The photo's placement also meant that it came before the eyes of Reddit cofounder and patron saint of goodwillAlexis Ohanian, who was moved so much that he picked up his phone and decided to help.

    "The phone call that I got from Alexis, that was such a great thing," Lester Chambers said from his home in California. "I did not expect to happen, and yet there he was, expressing his opinions about how he wanted to do all that he could to make things better for me.

    "The fact that anybody cared… I was in that mode of thinking that nobody cared. That was the feeling that I had."

    That day, Ohanian told Chambers that he wanted to help him record an album on his own label, one that would allow him to keep the profits he'd make on its release. He called again a few hours later to request permission to visit the family in California.

    "I come from a very spiritual background," Chambers said of the offer to help. "I met God years and years ago.

    "You can see it in the eyes of a person, what they mean, what they intend to say, and what they want. Alexis has an aura that I could see. I could feel it. I'm getting goosebumps just now thinking about how earnest he was when he came to me with his intentions. It didn't sink in for quite a few hours."

    The two put together plans for a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign that would help raise $39,000 to help fund the recording of Lester's Time Has Come Today, the long-awaited followup to the Chambers Brothers' celebrated recordings. In the pitch, Ohanian included a tl;dr that summed up the full extent of the effort:

    "Record companies screwed over Lester Chambers of The Chambers Brothers for decades and as a result, today he's poor. My social enterprise, bread pig, is working with Lester and his son Dylan to organize this Kickstarter to back a new album by (and entirely owned by) Lester Chambers himself so the man can finally get his due. The open internet can make right what the music industry has done so wrong."

    The album couldn’t be coming at a better time. As Dylan Chambers noted, there's a serious resurgence of folk, blues, and soul taking place across the American music landscape. Brooklyn's Daptone Records has brought retro soul back into the forefront of young, social culture. Austin's Heavy Light Records helped unearth lost 1970s gems by The Relatives and Kool & Together. In 2012, an Alabama howler named Ralph "Soul" Jackson reintroduced the world to The Ides of March's"Vehicle."

    "You can see it coming back," Dylan said. "What better thing to have one of the pioneers of soul and someone who's in the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame be a part of that resurgence?”

    Here's hoping he'll get there. Less than two days into its campaign, "Lester's Time Has Come Today" has already raised more than $2,000, with 29 days left to go. Ohanian's hope to right what the music industry has done so wrong might just work.

    He's got a believer in his friend Lester Chambers.

    "I think sites like Kickstarter and Reddit provide the opportunity that every independent musician is waiting to have," he said. "I see those sites as a great source of energy for people like me that are in need of things like medical attention. You can see what it's done for me. It's the greatest blessing."

    Photo via Lester Chambers/Facebook


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    Facebook has worked with the FBI to take down 10 hackers responsible for stealing $850 million over the last two years.

    The hackers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, New Zealand, Peru, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. were responsible for “more than 11 million compromised computer systems and over $850 million in losses via the Butterfly Botnet, which steals computer users’ credit card, bank account, and other personal identifiable information,” the FBI said in a statement.

    A Facebook worm also used by the hackers was able to capture more than 45,000 Facebook usernames and passwords, Reuters reported

    The extensive investigation involved Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and FBI field offices in 24 different U.S. cities.

    “The FBI did not elaborate on how it arrived at its $850 million theft figure, but that haul easily dwarfs the Eurograbber, which was revealed last week to have stolen about $47 million from European banking customers in the past year,” CNET reported. “The Yahos spoils also surpass the take by the Zeus botnet crime ring, which infected an estimated 13 million computers with malware to steal more than $100 million.”

    On Oct. 6, an Anonymous hacker allegedly responsible for causing $5.6 million in damages to eBay-owned online payment service PayPal was convicted in London's Southwark Crown Court. Christopher Weatherhead, 22, was convicted on one count of conspiracy to impair the operation of computers. The ruling is in connection to a 10-day hack on PayPal “after the backlash against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks following their release of classified data in December 2010,” the Guardianreported.

    Photo by Johan Larsson/Flickr


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  • 12/12/12--08:10: What we searched for in 2012
  • Google has finally told us what was truly important in 2012.

    The search giant’s annual Zeitgeist list shows the things what we searched for the most for over the past year. It’s accompanied by a quite enjoyable and downright motivational video, which displays the year’s most important events through a Google lense. Thanks, Google, for briefly helping us forget about all those terrible end-of-the-world jokes on Twitter.

    Here are the top 10 worldwide search terms (if you’re not sure what any of these are, we suggest Googling them):

    1. Whitney Houston
    2. Gangnam Style
    3. Hurricane Sandy
    4. iPad 3
    5. Diablo 3
    6. Kate Middleton
    7. Olympics 2012
    8. Amanda Todd
    9. Michael Clarke Duncan
    10. BBB12

    If you’re interested in other search categories, like sports, celebrities, and Google+ hashtags (huh?), check out the full set here.

    Photo via Google/YouTube


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    If you're just waking up from a 30 year nap, The Daily Dot would like to inform you that today's date is Dec. 12, 2012—12/12/12—and it's a big day for people who like making something out of nothing in an effort to get themselves through the week.

    Across the Internet, people are talking about 12/12/12, writing 12/12/12, and otherwise noting how a day like this won't come up again for another 90 years, when Jan. 1, 2101 rolls around and we can all revel in the wonders of 1/1/1—if the Mayans don't get to us first!

    On YouTube, one organization is using the unique date to make some pretty high-concept art. The group’s called One Day on Earth, and its mission is to document snippets of individuals’ lives as they traverse through the wonders of 12/12/12. The group did the same thing last year on Nov. 11, and again before that on Oct. 10, 2010.

    Here's One Day's explanation of the project:

    "On December 12th, 12.12.12, across the planet, documentary filmmakers, students, and other inspired citizenswil record the human experience over a 24-hour period and contribute their voice to the third annual global day of media creation called One Day on Earth. Together, we will create a shared archive and a film."

    Sounds great. What's even better is that it's easy to get involved. Just film something before midnight—no porn or violence, basically follow YouTube's Community Guidelines—and upload it to One Day on Earth. The full guidelines are here: Remember to state your name and state at the beginning of the video.

    Film for five seconds or 15 minutes, or however long you'd like. In a month, One Day will emerge from the cutting room with a video that looks a lot like this.

    It's already nearing 9am PT as of the time of this story's filing, so you've only got about 13 hours left. People! Grab your cameras and go!

    Photo via One Day on Earth/YouTube


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    On Thanksgiving Day, an anonymous user on Q&A site Ask.fm anonymously asked 16-year-old Jessica Laney what she thought about suicide.

    “If you ever feel this low i just wanna [say it’s] not your fault. People are mean. I know you feel useless broken not wanted and alone. i was there. But i promise you it will get better,” Laney, who lived in Hudson, Fla., responded. “Nothing is worth it; it will all get better<3”

    For Laney, things on Ask.fm got much worse. Laney answered each question and sometimes did so through video. But for almost every compliment she received, other posts pried into her personal life. Users also asked about her virginity and called her a “fuckin ugly ass hoe.” 

    "Can you kill yourself already?" asked a commenter. Another wrote, "Nobody even cares about you."

    Laney committed suicide Sunday.

    “Officials say Laney hung herself. She was pronounced dead at 11:26pm,” NBC affiliate WPTV reported. “While friends speculate that cruel treatment is what pushed 16-year-old Jessica Laney over the edge, an official from the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office says neither Laney’s parents nor Laney’s boyfriend were aware of any bullying in her life.”

    Aside from Ask.fm, Laney was also active on Facebook and Tumblr, where she maintained a handful of blogs. On Monday friends of Laney started a Facebook remembrance page where dozens of people shared personal stories about the teen and spoke out against cyberbullying.

    “it breaks my heart to know that such a beautiful girl has been taken way too soon possibly because of total ignorance. In regards for deleting people's freedom of speech … Seriously?!” Janet Kosik commented on a post made Monday. “Freedom of speech is an honor in this country and should never be used to bash, bully or dehumanize another human being! My deepest thoughts and prayers go out to Jessica's family and friends.”

    News of Laney’s death comes just two months after 15-year-old Amanda Todd committed suicide.

    In October a YouTube video Todd made went viral. In it she described how she visited the teen videochat hub BlogTV and was talked into flashing the camera.

    Unbeknownst to Todd, someone had recorded her. A year later, he contacted her on Facebook, threatening to distribute the images to her friends and family unless she performed more explicit acts on camera. When she refused, the blackmailer made good on his threats.

    Todd committed suicide on Oct. 10. 

    The Pasco County Sheriff’s Department is investigating Laney’s death and the events that led up to it.

    Photo via RIP Jessica Laney/Facebook


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    It’s hardly The War of the Roses, but to a Michigan woman named Jordan Miller, her ex-husband’s revenge is just as bitter: He just cost her a career and outed her for lying on her resume—to the tune of $100,000 a year.

    Until yesterday, the 32-year-old Miller handled the online and social media presence for the University of Michigan (U-M), a position created in February. Miller, a former advertising copywriter who reportedly had nine jobs in three years before settling at the university, won the job amid fierce competition that included a viral marketing campaign by a 22-year-old

    The university paid Miller $100,000 a year to do things like develop its various Tumblr, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts. The goal was to create “a unique ‘voice and personality’ for the Michigan brand on social media.” 

    But it seems the persona Miller created was at least partially her own. Last Friday, a Reddit user, citizenthrowawayx, posted documents to the U-M subforum in a thread entitled, “UM Social Media Director Jordan Miller lies on resume about bachelors degree, keeps job.” The documents implied that Miller never actually graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a Bachelors in Journalism, despite what she put on her resume when applying for the position at U-M. The poster stated that since he had reported the information to the university HR and gotten no results, he decided to take the info to Reddit. 

    This time, it worked: On Tuesday, Miller voluntarily resigned her position with the university. “My intention was never to deceive the university, but I acknowledge that I made a mistake, and I'm very sorry,” she told AnnArbor.com.

    Though at first citizenthrowawayx said his motivation was purely one of public interest—”I don't like seeing my tax and your tuition money going toward paying someone ~ $100k/yr in earnings obtained through fraud”—he later revealed himself to have a much more personal vendetta: he is Miller’s ex-husband, seeking custody of his son.

    “My real problem,” he told Reddit, "is that she lied about me in court and coached our son's testimony to get my custody terminated":

    In case you don't know how the family court system works, what happens is when a woman wants to go in and lie about you and accuse you of abuse, they will just admit all her hearsay statements as evidence without any physical evidence of abuse, and terminate your custody without granting you a jury trial.

    So basically, I now have to prove to a prejudiced court that she lied about me, which can be very difficult, so I'm having to compile all documented instances of this occurring. This is one of those instances. It's not entirely related but still speaks to the overall problem of her willingness to lie to achieve her goals.

    While his primary concern may have been to boost his court case, rather than get her fired, public humiliation was another one of his goals as well: 

    She's nearly bankrupted me with legal expenses, and frankly i've shot myself in the foot by doing this because my child support payments will increase since she's lost her job. But ultimately my duty is to get custody of my son back who I only see now whenever Jordan deems it appropriate.

    So Jordan, if you're reading this, you know there is plenty more where this came from and I'm telling you this is just the beginning. I told you I was going to publicly humiliate you for lying about me and I meant it.

    While some Redditors were supportive—“r/MensRights is with you, brother,” wrote one—others were flabbergasted.

    “I'm sure you've got plenty of reasons to hate your ex,” responded UB_Illin, “but what you did was in no way good for anyone. Not for you, not for UofM, not for her, and not for your kid.”

    Citizenthrowawayx insisted, “This isn't motivated by revenge. When you've been lied about like I have and quietly working within the court system fails, the logical course of action is to expose it publicly.”

    But outside Reddit, sympathies were with Miller. “I practiced divorce/custody law for almost seven years,” wrote Patti Smith on Damn Arbor, “and anytime someone starts accusing someone else of lying in court, filing false police reports and uses the term "pathological liar", my red flags go up.... This sort of retribution scares me.”

    “I may have spent too much time in divorce court, but all I'm seeing is a controlling personality here,” added Erika Jost. “Public threats? Inability to work within proper channels?The judge should send everyone involved for psych evaluations.” 

    Professional support for Miller came from Twitter. “You revolutionized the University's take on PR/media, providing it with personality and a more human face,” a user named Kyle Summers told her

    “[W[hy does anyone actually require degrees anymore?” queried @hypomodern. “Was she doing a bad job? Didn't seem like it.”

    Certainly, U-M itself had no complaints. “Her work has been stellar,” its Vice President for Global Communications Lisa Rudgers told AnnArbor.com.

    Despite the support—university officials had not yet decided how to address the issue—Miller resigned voluntarily. Perhaps this was due to a wish to avoid creating further hassle for her son, as her ex-husband is still trying to obtain custody.

    Miller declined to comment to the Daily Dot.

     

    Photo via Jordan Miller/Instagram


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