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Recent Society articles from Daily Dot

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    Last May, Reddit took to Wikipedia to ferret out some of the creepiest, grossest, and just plain wrong phenomena documented on the site.

    But if you want to find the best of the best (or the worst of the worst, depending on your perspective) now you need look no further than Pastebin.

    An anonymous guest has posted a list of over 100 “Creepy Wiki Articles” to the text-sharing site—everything from superstitions, urban legends, and paranormal activity to weird natural phenomena, unexplained events, and more.

    The posting likely originates from this 4chan thread from 2010, where members could post “creepydumps” of links to various freaky, weird, supernatural, spooky, or otherwise unusual links from around the Web.

    Here are some of our “favorites” from the list—the spine-tingling unexplained mysteries, the wild and wacky, and more:

    • The Tunguska Event: In a jaw-droppingly close call for humanity, an enormous fragment from a comet or meteoroid exploded above Siberia in 1908, flattening millions of trees and producing a shock wave as powerful as a 5.0 magnitude earthquake. Although the object exploded before it could impact, Wikipedia claims it is still considered the largest impact event in recorded history.

    • The New Motive Power: Just 35 years after Mary Shelley published Frankenstein, an American Spiritualist named John Murray Spear attempted to create an electronic Messianic figure out of makeshift copper wiring and a dining room table. Needless to say, the intended generator for all mankind didn’t pan out.

    • The Bloop: Recorded by an underwater listening station in the Pacific Ocean, the Bloop is one of several unexplained and mysterious aquatic sounds documented in the late ‘90s.

    • The Sedlec Ossuary: Nothing says ”nightmare fodder” like this Czech Republic cathedral built with bones—in this case, thousands of human bones dating from the Black Plague, structured to form elaborate structures, including a massive chandelier made from entire human skeletons. The architect of this grand guignol was, by legend, a local woodcarver

    • The Markovian Parallax Denigrate: The Wikipedia page for this topic was deleted due to complete lack of evidence. It’s apparently an elaborately constructed conspiracy theory which postulates that a series of gibberish Usenet messages from 1996 are actually details of elaborately constructed conspiracies. It’s a fascinating look at the logic conspiracy buffs use to build their theories.

    • Alien Hand Syndrome. When one hemisphere of the brain is damaged or separated from the other half, the opposite hand of the affected person can sometimes figuratively take on a mind of its own, acting directly counter to the individual’s consciously expressed actions. As they operate their other hand, the rogue hand can spontaneously thwart whatever movement they were trying to accomplish. It gets truly weird when the person thinks the hand belongs to someone else, which often happens in these cases.

    • Atuk. Could a bad movie script be the modern day equivalent of cursed Egyptian tombs? Those who document the deadly path this comedy has taken think so.

    • Spring-heeled Jack. With his clawed fingers, cheesy costume, and penchant for leaping dramatically in front of things, this Victorian urban legend seems more like the world’s first hammy supervillain than a ghost.

    • Aokigahara. In the shadow of Mt. Fuji lies a forest so desolate that hundreds of people travel there each year to take their own lives. Despite numerous signs throughout the forest advertising counseling services and begging visitors not to harm themselves, Aokigaraha is the most “popular” place for suicide attempts in the world after the Golden Gate Bridge. Volunteers sweep the woods for missing victims at least once a year.

    • The Green Man. So hideously disfigured from a childhood electrical accident that he could only leave his house at night, Raymond Robinson nonetheless lived to a ripe old age and cultivated many friendships despite being a frequent object of ridicule.

    Though most of the items on the list deal with odd phenomena, there are some incongruous mentions, like String Theory. Then again, when viewed alongside all of these extremes, string theory itself begins to seem like just another element of the bizarre.

    Photo via izarbeltza / Flickr


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    It started in Florida and ended in California, and along the way, a once-directionless electrician found himself and figured out how he can do his part to help the world.

    Nick Kleckner, a 25-year-old who ditched his job and home to trek across the continental United States in an effort to find his true calling, has completed his journey from Jacksonville, Fla., to the California coast. He tweeted his arrival at the ocean Saturday, posting a simple, unmistakable message: "Made it."

    After 180 days spent dumpster diving for food and sleeping in alleys, “Hobo Nick” Kleckner's now safe and sound in southern California and recuperating from his summer-long journey with friends and family. The beard is gone. The knees are on ice. He's kept a grueling pace since April. He's rightfully exhausted.

    "I haven't even taken two days off in a row," he told the Daily Dot. "Most people who work full-time jobs have the weekend off, at least."

    "I think I was really running off adrenaline during that last little stretch because I was so excited. Now that it's sunk in and I'm hanging here, I'm realizing how tired I am."

    Tired but hardly finished. Kleckner's plan right now is to take a few days to recover in southern California before hitting the northbound bricks towards the Bay Area.

    "There are a lot of people up there that I want to see, and I've got a lot of things on my mind right now," he said. "I'd like to get up there and do some writing, express my mind, and go through the last little part of the trip."

    Kleckner said that he'll remain homeless while in the Bay Area. He's "still carrying that trust that I had along the way" and doesn't want to lay out any plans for moving back into a house or apartment, though he did hint at a few potential projects aimed to "help homeless and help those in need."

    "There's some stuff in the works right now," he said. "I have some people who took to my story, thought it was really cool, and share a passion. We're discussing some things and are going to continue to go in the direction of trying to help others."

    It's a cloudy idea, but Kleckner's confident it'll come to fruition. Even if nothing does, it's safe to say that Kleckner's journey helped him accomplish what he needed.

    "I've developed this passion," he said. "And I'm excited now because I know which direction I want to go. I've never had that. I've never had anything that I've known I was super passionate about and knew what I wanted to do.

    "I was always trying to force things and force happiness, whereas now I'm trying to let that passion pave my way."

    Photo via Nick Kleckner/Instagram


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  • 10/02/12--19:18: YOLO: What is a subtweet?
  • Have you heard dubstep? Read the #imagine tag on Twitter? Seen the Tumblr of a person under the age of 15? Each week in YOLO, Millennial Analyst Lindsey Weber picks a new teen trend she doesn’t quite understand and attempts to unpack it before your very eyes.

    You know that all-too-familiar feeling that someone’s talking about you behind your back? Your ears are burning, colloquially, but what if people are talking about you online? Does that mean your typing digits itch? You feel your trackpad giving you a ghostly shock?

    When I discovered what “subtweeting” was, that was my immediate reaction. That more people were talking about me, and in more places.

    Subtweeting, according to Urban Dictionary (sadly, it has not entered into our official vernacular just yet), is defined as “directly referring to a particular person without mentioning their name or directly mentioning them.”

    “Basically,” Urban Dictionary user SubUrbanBruh adds, “it's talking about someone behind their back but sort of in their face on Twitter!”

    It’s not as simple as that. I’ve done my research, and there are a plethora of possible subtweet failures. Here, blogger The Write Edition, brilliantly spells out the “subsequent twists and turns” of a subtweet:

    “He subtweets her, she sub retweets him, he sub sub retweets her *sigh* she has no clue the subtweeted subretweet was about her.”

    Wait, what does this even mean.

    “She subtweets him during twitter after dark assuming he’s gone to sleep, he sees it and mentions her. she mutes him, he blocks her.”

    Christ.

    “You say you hate subtweeters yet you are actually subtweeting about it. guess I’m also subtweeting?”

    OMG.

    “You send group subtweets and they tend to believe you are talking about them. You get yourself in trouble and in the process you confuse yourself with the multi subtweets.”

    MULTI SUBTWEETS?

    “Reading people’s tweets, a thought is inspired and he tweets about. She however insinuates that he’s subtweeting her.”

    HUH!

    “She has 6 and 1/2 followers, she follows 11 people and thinks it’s too hard for people to figure out who she is subtweeting.”

    HOW DO YOU HAVE 6.5 FOLLOWERS

    “You subtweet all day about how corny a certain someone is, yet everybody knows the person doesn’t exist!”

    I’VE DONE THIS PROBABLY

    “She subtweets someone but deletes it straight after. People see it but it’s gone. Do they really see it? why delete?”

    WHY DELETE?

    Sorry, I am still confused. I hope everyone realizes that this is literally the most upsetting technological future we could’ve imagined. Mean Girls (“You can’t sit with us!” etc.) is actualizing in our Twitter, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.

    There are people out there just talking about you, and all you can do is stand by, silently, and “favorite” their tweets. At least in high school you could throw strawberry milk in your subtweeter’s face.

    Photo via MemeGenerator


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    In YouTube Right Now, the Daily Dot looks at videos that catch our eyes, push our buttons, and move our dials—and that you’ve just got to watch. Right now!

    The relationship between Artie Goldstein and his daughter, Jill, has always been a “special” one, but when his daughter told him she was marrying a woman, it became difficult.

    In a new ad for online travel agency Expedia, Goldstein shares his emotional story of flying across the country to attend his daughter's wedding. The three-minute video shows his journey that tests his feelings, challenges his beliefs, and, in the end, changes him for good.

    Goldstein, a retired businessman, said he was surprised when his daughter’s fiance, Nicki, asked him to marry Jill. He had imagined his daughter growing old with a man in a traditional marriage.

    “I didn’t say yes, I didn’t say no,” confessed Goldstein. “Coming out to the wedding from back east, I had real apprehensions about it. What’s this going to look like? Two girls getting married.”

    Goldstein realized that he had to make a decision: to maintain a healthy and happy relationship with his daughter or lose her.

    “This was a situation I had to come to understand,” he said in the ad, which uses footage from the actual wedding. When he arrived and realized how happy his daughter looked, he accepted her new life.

    “All that trepidation just sank away,” he said. “That was a big turning point.”

    Watch the touching video, which commenters are describing as a tear-jerker, below.

    Photo via Expedia/YouTube


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    It may not be a recognized holiday, but to many Millennials, it’s Mean Girls Day.

    October 3rd has the unique significance of being the most notable date mentioned in quotable hit, Mean Girls. For one day out of the year, fans forget about Lindsay Lohan’s current, questionable state and remember her in the role of Cady Heron, excitedly letting her crush know what day it is.

    On Wednesday fans flooded Twitter and Tumblr with references to the 2004 film. Here are some of the ways the Internet celebrated Mean Girls Day.

    Photo via ~grouchomarx/Tumblr


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    Maybe space isn’t that exciting after all.

    Astronauts do the same things many of us do at weekends: clean their cribs. Except they’re doing it in space and tweeting about it.

    @Aki_Hoshide and @Astro_Suni are aboard the International Space Station right now, making them among a select group of people to tweet from space. Here’s a look at some of the other notable Twitter accounts providing insights and observations from the outer limits.

    Careful though, once you disappear down the wormhole, you might not surface for a long time.

    1) NASA // 2,954,345 followers

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has a Twitter feed for just about every occasion, providing a steady stream of entertaining, informative, and authoritative tweets about the universe. @NASA is the hub, of course, but there’s also @NASASocial (the agency’s social media team), @NASAJPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, responsible for many unmanned missions), and the dozens of other active NASA-related accounts.

    2) Mike Massimino // 1,254,571 followers

    Massimino shared a few of posts while in orbit in 2009, but he actually sent them via email for a NASA employee to tweet, meaning it often took several hours for this 140-character thoughts to be beamed down. Technically, he’s the first man to tweet while in space. He’s still active on Twitter, though his most recent tweets have been focused on personal appearances.

    3) Buzz Aldrin // 783,093 followers

    If it’s at all true that the late Neil Armstrong would tell bad jokes about the Moon before claiming “Ah, I guess you had to be there,” Aldrin’s one of the few who’d really understand. Aldrin, of course, followed Armstrong’s small step to become the second man on the Moon. Forty-some years on, he’s making appearances on 30 Rock, telling followers to vote for his “buddy” Jay Leno for an award, and hanging out with his friend Jack White:

    4) Mars Curiosity Rover // 1,169,369 followers

    If Aldrin conquered one new frontier, the Mars Curiosity Rover is paving the way for humanity’s next. The marauding robot touched down on the Red Planet in August in search of signs of life, and has since found evidence of a dried stream. The tweets from the Rover’s Twitter account are frequently hilarious and include a recent check-in on Foursquare.

    “I'm safely on the surface of Mars. GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!!!”

    Aug. 6, 2012

    “@britneyspears Hey Brit Brit. Mars is still looking good. Maybe someday an astronaut will bring me a gift, too. Drill bits crossed ;)”

    Aug. 15, 2012

    5) Bobak Ferdowsi // 54,316 followers

    There are many wonderful people responsible for landing the Mars Curiosity Rover, but few got the kind of attention Bobak Ferdowsi received. As the Internet watched a livestream of the JPL control room with bated breath during descent, the “Mohawk Guy” set hearts aflutter and picked up thousands of new Twitter followers. Now, judging from this photo, it seems Ferdowsi’s ready to appear in the Nerdist’s excellent All-Star Bowling YouTube series.

    6) Ron Garan // 90,037 followers

    Garan’s part of an exclusive club: He’s one of a very select few people to have been in space and tackle a live interview on Reddit. The 50-year-old’s been on two missions, in 2008 and 2011, spending over six months in space in total. He’s a founder of the Fragile Oasis project, which seeks to “inspire people to improve life on our planet” and highlight scientific achievements “accomplished on the International Space Station.”

    7) Neil deGrasse Tyson // 719,537 followers

    Tyson is edging close to Stephen Hawking in the “world-famous astrophysicist” stakes. The humble Tyson is a popular figure: He occasionally delves into Reddit and even has an oft-used meme to his name. He has the rare ability of making even mundane observations seem incredible.

    “If you're from NewJersey you can also say you're from ‘Jersey’. But if you are from NewYork, nobody says you're from ‘York’.”

    Sept. 18, 2012

    “McDonalds triple-cheeseburger has only two cheese slices. Should be a double-cheese-triple-burger. (Slow day in the universe)”

    Sept. 18, 2012


    8) Elon Musk // 91,132 followers

    Musk has been compared to Tony Stark (Iron Man) as he helps build a better tomorrow. His company, SpaceX, is taking supplies to the ISS under a deal with NASA, with the first delivery set for Oct. 7. The PayPal and Tesla cofounder tweeted excitedly as the Dragon ship became the first commercial spacecraft to dock with the ISS in May. Here’s hoping for more of the same this time around.

    9) Miles O’Brien // 24,837 followers

    O’Brien is one of the world’s foremost space journalists. He was set to become the first reporter to visit the ISS before the Columbia shuttle disaster nixed those plans. His Twitter feed’s full of links to fascinating articles, photos, and videos, and he’s not above makes jokes about Marvin the Martian popping in front of the Mars Rover’s cameras.

    10) Tweets in Space // 160 followers

    Nathaniel Stern and Scott Kildall recently captured all tweets (around one per second) sent using the #tweetsinspace hashtag over a half-hour period. Within the next few weeks, they’ll be beaming those messages to a distant planet capable of supporting life. With GJ667Cc sitting some 22 light years away, it may be some time before extraterrestrials get those messages and call us back, but in the meantime, the account should provide project updates.

    Photo of Bobak Ferdowsi via @tweetsoutloud/Twitter


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    Gay couples from four battleground states are front-and-center in a new video series promoting marriage equality laws.

    In November, residents of Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington will vote on whether to support same-sex marriage. Marriage for All Families, a video series that debuted Tuesday on YouTube, hopes to persuade people to support the issue.

    Created by The Four 2012 and New Left Media, the four-video series will focus on gay couples in each of the four states with marriage laws on the ballot. The series aim is to highlight that gay couples’ problems, challenges and responsibilities don’t differ from those of heterosexual couples, yet the government views them differently.

    “That’s why marriage equality is so important: it aligns personality reality with legal reality, as simple matter of fairness and equality,” explained a blog post on the Four 2012’s Tumblr.

    The first ad focuses on the stories of two gay couples and a straight volunteer in Maine. The first pair we’re introduced to is Annie and Meredith, a pizza-loving, personable lesbian couple who have been together for more than a third of their lives.

    We also meet Mick, a straight volunteer who reminds us he has a girlfriend and spends a lot of his day walking aimlessly down a trail looking for support. Then there is Jim and Steve, everyone’s favorite bickering gay couple who claim they’ve lived in the woods for 30 years (in Maine, that’s not out of the realm of possibility).

    The second video debuts Oct. 9.

    Photo via NewLeftMedia/YouTube


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    Oakland Athletics pitcher Pat Neshek spent Monday night thinking of his long days playing minor league baseball.

    Neshek thought about his Tommy John surgery, the inventive elbow ligament reconstruction procedure that sent his 2009 season into a tailspin. And he thought about the failures—the times he "thought it was over." He was 32 and had only pitched in 174 major league innings. He knew about failure. He knew about despair. Four rounds through the minor leagues and a year off for the injury. He'd been there before.

    Neshek tweeted those thoughts Tuesday morning at 1:46am.

    "Makes this the sweetest playoff birth of my career!" he wrote.

    His tweet came with good cause. The Athletics, a team that trailed the vaunted Texas Rangers by 13 games as recently as June 30, had just clinched a wild card playoff berth and sat one game behind first with two games to play. Both of those games were against the Rangers, who had led the Athletics' division for most of the year. The Athletics could steal the pennant from Texas. They just had to beat them.

    Making matters more grandiose was the fact that Neshek's wife Stephanee was nine months pregnant with the couple's first child.

    "It's a good day when you're 39.5 weeks pregnant and you get a text from your mother-in-law saying she's bringing a giant veggie burrito over," Stephanee tweeted in late September.

    On Monday she was well on her way through 40. That little veggie burrito in her belly was about to burst.

    Stephanee went into labor at the same time that Neshek stayed up thinking about his career. He received word a few minutes after tweeting about his walk down memory lane. It was 1:48am. #playoffbaby

    Neshek flew from Oakland to Florida to be by his wife's side during labor. A few hours later, Stephanee posted a message to Twitter.

    "It's a boy Gehrig John Neshek," she wrote. They'd named their son Gehrig, a nod to the great New York Yankee who contracted a debilitating muscle weakening disease and died at 37.

    "Pat flew from Oakland to FL just in time for birth!"

    Meanwhile, Neshek's Athletics were hot and getting hotter. They came from behind to beat the Rangers 3-1 on the day that Gehrig was born, bringing the two teams to a tie on the last day of the season.

    Neshek stayed in Florida to watch that game with his wife and newborn son. The Athletics took the pennant nine innings later.

    A jovial Stephanee corresponded with fellow Athletics' wives throughout the day, telling Amanda McCarthy and Kaycee Sogard that she was "so bummed I missed this."

    "Such an exciting couple days wow!" she tweeted to Sogard.

    The Neshek family was at an all-time high. That's when the unthinkable happened.

    No explanation. Gehrig died in his mother's arms, and the doctors could offer no explanation.

    Condolences began to flow in—from players and their wives, fans and press members. Stephanee took to Twitter to address each individual Thursday morning.

    "I am still in complete shock over the loss of our son, after he was on this earth for less than 24 hrs," she wrote. "He was perfect in every way and I loved him so much!

    "I am at a loss for words right now… he died peacefully sleeping in my arms unexpectedly without any explanation.

    "There was no cause of death and I am having trouble understanding why God can let such a thing happen [to] an innocent being. Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers. Every kind word helps.

    "It makes my heart feel better to know how many people cared about Gehrig and are thinking of us during this difficult time."

    Neshek's Athletics open their American League Divisional Series Saturday evening in Detroit. Thousands of fans across the Bay Area will tune in to see what their upstart squad can do against Miguel Cabrera and that powerful Tigers team.

    Back in Florida, the Nesheks may watch, or they may not. The two know that it's a wonderful game, but in the end, it's only a game.

    Photo via Stephanee Neshek/Twitter


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    Since the conventions, President Barack Obama has won the Internet—without even trying to. But the first presidential debate last night ushered in a new chapter of the election story, and things may be changing for his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney.

    Obama's been winning so effortlessly because Romney has been losing so actively.

    For more than the last month, Romney has been fodder for Internet GIFs, jokes, and memes.

    Most recently, Mother Jones leaked footage of Romney at a $50,000-per-plate fundraiser explaining that 47 percent of the population does not pay income tax and would never vote for him, dependent as they are on government handouts. (That is a gross misrepresentation of the facts, of course.) And that played right into a running joke online about Romney—that he’s a out-of-touch, rich, secretive fat-cat who doesn’t care about the 99 percent.

    Romney has been GIFed more times than you can count (lending him more animation than you’ll ever get out of him directly). For me the most memorable is this one, portraying him as a kind of cackling James Cagney gleefully firing his handgun in front of a frenetic wad of Benjamins and behind bursts of flames. All it’s missing is the caption: “Top of the World, Ma!!!”

    Thieves, claiming to have stolen Romney’s tax return, have held it hostage. Whether it’s true or not, it doesn’t really matter. It just fuels the story that Romney is an untrustworthy oligarch, whose gains were probably ill-gotten. (For the record, it was a hoax, and it didn’t work. The hackers made just $50.)

    Romney has been portrayed as Lucille Bluth, cult-classic TV show Arrested Development’s version of Cruella Deville. Meanwhile, Slacktory’s editor, Nick Douglas, created Texts from Mitt Romney, a parody site echoing popular Tumblr blogs Text from Dog, Texts from Bennett, and Texts from Hillary. “It feels good to imagine Mitt as this frat-boy asshole, because I think a lot of us feel he really is, despite the clean living and the robotic persona.”

    And that, right there, sums up Romney if all you knew about him was how he is portrayed online. He is somehow both boring and unfeeling, and vicious and douchey, all at once. Who would vote for that?

    Not a lot of people, apparently. Romney’s been stalling on social media.

    Perhaps the final word was this: A simple line of text, “Mitt Romney sucks pass it on” became one of the most popular Tumblr posts of all time, collecting 8 million notes in 24 hours.

    ***

    By contrast, the president has been accused of partying. Nathan J. Barnatt, famous as YouTube’s Lord of the Dance, produced a four-minute tribute to the president: It’s him dancing in an Obama mask. Not exactly damning critique (but pretty entertaining).

    The president also generated a lot of controversy online by being bear-hugged by a pizza joint proprietor. Sure, the restaurant’s Yelp reviews were first overwhelmed by anti-Obama commentary, but then his supporters came to the aid of the pizza parlor. But the headline was still ultimately about a guy bear-hugging the president.

    Mostly, the criticism of Obama has just made his opponents look like insane, murderous racists. A Republican congressional candidate sent a picture of his gun to the president on Facebook when Obama was visiting Tennessee. Likewise, the Republican Party ordered a local chapter to remove images from its Facebook page depicting the nation’s first black president as a deadbeat and a witch-doctor.

    And that’s pretty much it. Remarkably, 2008’s social media candidate—the man who made YouTube the best way to get out the vote since direct mail—has caused relatively little splash online in the 2012 election.

    ***

    In a class once, prominent librarian and scholar Betty Sue Flowers asked us to do an exercise illustrating the power of narrative. She asked us to tell a true story three times, each time with a different underlying narrative thrust. First, we told the story as a victim story, then as a hero story, and then as a life-lesson story.

    It was amazing how much the story would change each time you told it. As you went through the same period of your life, because of the type of narrative you were constructing, you’d remember different facts, each no less true than the others, but they changed everything. Flowers described it thus: The narrative is like a big magnet moving over the junkyard of your life. Each time it passed, it attracted different things.

    In this election season, that’s what’s happening online. The narrative got set at the conventions when Obama gave a good speech—and former president Bill Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama gave even better ones—while Romney got upstaged by a doddering old man and an empty chair.

    Much as the Internet is a tool that gives voice to everyone independently, it can also be a thing that melds all those voices into a single voice—all those perspectives into a single narrative. And for the last month, the story has been that Romney is a frat-boy pretending to be a robot, and everyone criticizing the president is an absurdity.

    And once the narrative emerges and the millions of voices merge into one, the sheer inertia of it makes it almost impossible to redirect. It takes a big, pivotal moment.

    Last night’s debate may have been that very moment: “Romney won” was tweeted 3.7 times as often as “Obama won.”

    Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Beast may have named the new narrative: Obama came off as “meandering, weak, professorial ... effete [and] wonkish.” For his part, Romney did incite a new gleeful round of parody Twitter accounts by threatening to fire Big Bird, but I think the next 24 hours will be pivotal.

    For the next day or so, every voice matters. After that, it will congeal again into one voice—a single vote. Perhaps the last before the election.

    Screengrab via YouTube 


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    Beth Cook is a dating coach who throws private dating events for San Francisco’s most awesome and unattached. She also writes and draws about her own dating experiences and would love to hear from you. Want advice? Have advice? Send her an email.

    When you’re updating your phone, don’t forget to update your life.

    I just got my beautiful, thin, lightweight, white iPhone 5 in the mail yesterday—woo hoo!—and today began the arduous process of switching cell carriers and getting my new phone up and running. So far I've spent more than two hours on the phone, talked to four different decidedly un-technical “tech specialists,” and have finally been assured of a working phone in just a few more hours. Fingers crossed.

    Before these trying conversations even began, though, I thought I'd better be sure to transfer all my contacts from my old phone onto my computer. Because like many of us now so used to dialing by name, I don't know the numbers of my best friend or boyfriend by heart.

    I opened up my contacts file to take a look. Do I want to send all of these folks over to my brand new, clean, speedy little darling? The answer was a resounding "no."

    Without even realizing it, I've been a carrying around a walking archive of the numbers of every guy I've dated over the past 10 years.

    I've got the number of a guy I made out with in Las Vegas (Kris Canada), first dates gone wrong (Adam OkCupid, Justin OkCupid, and Ben New Orleans), short-lived dating experiences (Andrew Dance Party), and of course, guys who've turned into something a little more special and earned a real full name—the majority of whom I still never want to be in contact with again, real name or no.

    As our busy, over-connected lives pass us by, we don't realize all of the useless—and dangerous—data we're collecting in our social networks, websites, and devices. The thought of accidentally butt or purse-dialing Andrew Dance Party gives me the shivers.

    A friend once told me that you should only invite guests to your wedding that you want in your married life, going forward—that is, not the ones you feel you should invite because of who they were in your past. What if we made a similar rule for virtual updates? When we regularly update our hardware and software, we should also regularly update our contacts—the people who make our lives meaningful today. Call it a little Contact Cleaning, a way to remind yourself of who you want in your life, who matters to you, and who you can delete.

    There's no need to carry around the past in your pocket. No need to accidentally dial someone you once kissed in Las Vegas, or worse, drunk dial someone you definitely shouldn't. Let’s all do a little life clean up as we move on, technologically and emotionally.

    Happy upgrading!

    Photo by Yutaka Tsutano


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    A recent tweet has led many of Michael Vick’s followers to believe the convicted animal abuser has gotten a dog.

    Either that, or he’s got some terrible taste in snack food.

    On Oct. 4, the quarterback and convicted dog abuser tweeted a photo of himself and his daughter titled, “We workin.” Eagle-eyed fans noted what appears to be a box of Milk-Bone dog treats sitting on the kitchen table.

    The photo was quickly deleted and replaced with a similar photo that frames the biscuit box out of the picture. But followers weren’t fooled.

     

    “Anyone else curious when @mikevick is going to explain the Milk-Bones on his kitchen table,” @jeromie tweeted.

    Vick pleaded guilty and was incarcerated for 19 months for running an illegal dogfighting ring. He was personally involved in killing at least six animals—dogs that were drowned, electrocuted, and beaten to death. Vick has said he’s always wanted to own another dog.

    "I think just to have a pet in my household and to show people that I genuinely care, and my love and my passion for animals; I think it would be outstanding," Vick told NBC News in 2010. "If I ever have the opportunity again I will never take it for granted.

    The terms of Vick’s probation stated that the athlete could not own a dog for a three-year period. That period expired in July.

    Photo via @mikevick/Twitter


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    It’s another of Reddit’s odd little tics: Thousands of redditors who have subscribed to a subreddit called r/TheStopGirl deliberately look at the same GIF, over and over again, day after day.

    Admittedly, it’s not a bad GIF. Also referred to as the “Stop Girl,” the GIF is a common one, taken from ESPN footage at a University of Arizona football game on Sept. 18, 2010. The game’s tied in the fourth quarter when a camera zooms in on a pretty young woman whose concentration is elsewhere. She’s either stressed or zoned out—until she notices a camera, at which point she breaks into a grin and says “Stop!” (There is ample discussion, it should be noted, of whether she actually says “No!”)

    No one seems to know the Stop Girl’s identity, but that doesn’t halt the devotion of the subreddit’s 2,826 subscribers. It’s not uncommon for them to post four or five links to the section a day—and all anyone ever posts there is the same image.

    To be fair, they mix it up: One user recently posted a link he titled *POTS!*: the GIF, running backwards. Redditor i_am_sad added a loving caption of “please don’t stop” to the familiar image. But otherwise, it’s just repost after repost of the same GIF, though they get creative with titles: since you guys liked my last .GIF so much i decided to post another, What I do at intersections, Every time I consider unsubscribing, When I'm at a televised sports game and the camera man is zooming in on me, and My reaction to discovering a subreddit whose entire purpose is to repost the same exact GIF.

    Despite the r/TheStopGirl’s seemingly niche appeal, it’s actually the 229th-fastest growing subreddit on the social news site site, according to statit. In other words, don’t expect r/TheStopGirl’s popularity to halt, slow down, or discontinue anytime soon.

    Screengrab via Imgur


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    The creator of an Australian anti-sexism Facebook group has been the target of three death threats.

    Jenna Price, the woman behind the group “Destroy the Joint," which aims at fighting sexism in public and political positions, has taken screenshots of the threats and will be reporting them to the police.

    "They've said they hope I die,"  Price told The Age. "I feel incredibly sorry for a person who can only express themselves through abuse.”

    The Facebook group was started on Sept. 1 after popular Australian radio host Alan Jones accused women in politics of “destroying the joint.” The comment was said live on the air during a segment about a new $320 million program from Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard aimed at encouraging more female participation in politics, the Guardian reported.

    "She [the prime minister] said that we know societies only reach their full potential if women are politically participating," Jones said live. "Women are destroying the joint - Christine Nixon [chief commissioner of Victoria Police] in Melbourne, Clover Moore [Lord Mayor of Sydney] here. Honestly."

    Price started the page shortly after Jones’ comment went viral. The page collected more than 1,000 likes in less than a day and quickly became a place for women to stand up against sexism. It currently has more than 15,300 likes.

    “It has been really good to come on this site and see all the united voices. I have been feeling for quite some time that I don't really identify anymore with so much of what goes on,” Tracy Nelson commented on a post made Saturday. “However, seeing all these comments makes me feel that people do still genuinely value decency, fairness and have respect and empathy for others.”

    Jones, 71, has been a lightning rod for controversy over his long radio career. He has been involved in six defamation suits brought by a police officer, politician, and rugby referee. After the death of Gillard’s father in late September, Jones was secretly recorded saying the man “had died of ‘shame’ because of Ms. Gillard's ‘lies,’” the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

    Price alerted members of the Facebook page to the death threats in a post that has collected more than 800 comments.

    “We have to stand against the ugly, polarised, tribal form of politics that AJ[Alan Jones] seeks to use against those worse views he opposes, yet can't handle popular revulsion and protest against his abusive approach,” Andy Hardy commented. “Pathetic little man, now seeking to turn his (smaller, misguided) mob against those of us who are vocal in our opposition to not only his worldview but to his abusive style.”

    Photo by Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer/Flickr


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    There are so many negative stereotypes about what feminism is that half the battle for equality is comprised of reasonable women trying to explain, “Actually, we don’t want to kill men.”

    The tired Straw Feminist trope made a reappearance Monday when Deborah Needleman, the new editor of T: The New York Times Style Magazine, tweeted “sorry feminists” for the crime of calling another woman “sexy.” Feminists hate when women are called attractive, right?

    In a subsequent hashtag, #SorryFeminists, actual feminists apologize for liking things "real feminists" aren’t supposed to like. The Daily Dot has collected some of these gems below.

    Photo by @Queen_DionneX/Twitter


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    Activism is a pretty well-understood term. Inherent in the term itself is the notion and promise of action. If something is not right, you act to change it. You sit-in, block traffic, and write letters to legislators.

    Slacktivism is a different matter.

    Inherent to that term is the idea of slacking, hanging out, doing nothing, and going nowhere. And according to its critics, slacktivism is just that: a whole lot of nothing.

    Slacktivism is the use of low-barrier digital actions to effect change. These actions are somewhat less energetic than traditional activists are used to, to put it mildly: clicking on a button to upvote a statement encouraging change, adding your name to an online petition, and in its most persistent (or pernicious) forms, adding a hashtag to a tweet, changing your online avatar and altering your status.

    These slacktions are usually neither as useless as their critics claim, nor as useful as their proponents believe. And smart activists never rely on them as an end in themselves. Usually these online alterations, if promoted by a group, are part of an integrated approach, or they have a specific end in mind—usually raising the profile of the issue in the public eye or attracting the attention of influential media organizations.

    We’ve put together a timeline of important moments in the history of online slacktivism.

    It seems clear that when hashtags and other tools were used to good effect, it was to inform interested parties about events and developments un- or under-reported by traditional media, and to organize events in real space. Examples include Egypt’s Tahrir Square protests and gatherings of the Occupy movement. Those gestures that have no real action to them, which are feel-good tautologies, such as the bra color status change and the greening of one’s avatar, are of marginal utility at best and completely worthless at worst.

    As Egyptian activist Hossam El-Hamalawy said, “The Internet is only a medium and a tool by which we can support our ‘offline’ activities. Our strength will always stem from the fact that we’ll have one foot in the cyberspace, and, more importantly, the other foot will be on the ground.”

    Image via Wikipedia


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  • 10/09/12--08:04: Watch porn, save the world
  • Come for a good time, stay for the altruism.

    That’s the plan for a free porn site called Come4.org, which is filled with user-generated content and would donate money to various charities based on the videos you watch. The Milan-based not-for-profit, which is still looking for funding, bills itself as “porn with a heart.”

    In a video pitch, founders Marco Annoni and Riccardo Zilli, call the idea “revolutionary.”

    “We are aware that around the world many suffer because they lack the resources necessary from food, water, medicine, and housing,” reasoned Zilli in the video. “At the same time, we have noted the exponential growth of online pornography.”

    They said the purpose of Come4 is to “rethink pornography with ethics” and to launch a “new sexual revolution.”

    At the proposed site, users would create profiles, join groups depending on their sexual interests, then upload, watch, and share user-produced videos for free. That might sound a lot like other sites you frequent, but as the founders note, users must link their videos to not-for-profit causes.

    To garner money to donate, Come4 will contain advertisements and will ask for donations from users. That funding will then be re-invested into the ethical causes.

    But Come4 isn’t close to completion just yet; it’s still looking for donations on a Kickstarter-like site, called Ulue. It hit about 45 percent of of its $13,000 goal with 22 days left in its fundraising period. The money will be used to pay developers, create a site, and purchase servers to handle “multiple” video streams.

    Photo via riccardo zilli/YouTube


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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.

    A British man’s comedic rant on a sanitary napkin company’s Facebook page went wildly viral Tuesday, gathering almost 40,000 likes in 20 hours.

    Apparently, Richard Neill watched a number of Bodyform Maxi Pads commercials as a boy, noticing they often depicted active women having the time of their lives during their period, and was disappointed when he found out the truth:

    As a child I watched your advertisements with interest as to how at this wonderful time of the month that the female gets to enjoy so many things ,I felt a little jealous. I mean bike riding , rollercoasters, dancing, parachuting, why couldn't I get to enjoy this time of joy and 'blue water' and wings !! Dam my penis!! Then I got a girlfriend, was so happy and couldn't wait for this joyous adventurous time of the month to happen .....you lied !! There was no joy , no extreme sports , no blue water spilling over wings and no rocking soundtrack oh no no no. Instead I had to fight against every male urge I had to resist screaming wooaaahhhhh bodddyyyyyyfooorrrmmm bodyformed for youuuuuuu as my lady changed from the loving , gentle, normal skin coloured lady to the little girl from the exorcist with added venom and extra 360 degree head spin. Thanks for setting me up for a fall bodyform

    The post’s popularity dwarfs that of Bodyform’s own Facebook page, which has a comparatively paltry 4,000 likes. Since Neill’s post, several other men have copied and pasted the same comment onto the product’s page for some reason.

    “No response as yet but I'm waiting on royalties for all this free advertising,” Neill commented in response to his post’s popularity. He might have gathered some free advertising himself, though: he’s been plugging his own novella, Someone To Share My Beans With, in the comments.

    Photo via Bodyform/Facebook


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    Modern day advice columnists beware, there’s a new Dear Abby in town. Well, more like @DearAbby and she’s more like “virtually in town” and there’s like 500 of her—all chomping at the virtual bit to dissect your text messages. Same idea, though!

    Text messages: officially the world’s worst form of communication (Morse Code was more direct!) that have taken over our day-to-day interactions. Even Twitter can afford you more privacy, so arguably, texts have become the phone call’s cooler, more sexy younger sister. This isn’t a good thing.

    Now, a new website that goes by the name HeTexted (Wait, don’t women also send confusing text messages, or are we just more “likely” to read into them?) has popped up, crowdsourcing the vaguest of communications into three distilled answers: “He’s Into You”, “He’s Not Into You”, and “The Verdict Is Still Out”.

    HeTexted.com

    “Verdict Is Still Out” is apparently the “Maybe?” of the bunch—making it as useless as the texter himself.

    Despite the power of the hivemind, sometimes the simplest texts are still the hardest to decipher:

    HeTexted Heyyyy

    Why don’t you call him and ask? Or show up at his house.


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    Eleanor Day may well hear sound on her own for the first time in five years today, and you can watch her amazing experience right here, live.

    Day had surgery to have cochlear implants placed in her ears last week, which the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle shared live on Twitter.

    The surgery went smoothly, and Day is scheduled to have the implants switched on at an 8:30am PT appointment today. Day, 79, consented to have the implant switch-on shared with the entire world via livestreaming video.

    The hospital will provide commentary on Twitter and a centralized page for the facility’s hearing loss campaign. At 10am and 6pm PT, Day, surgeon Dr. Douglas Backous, audiologist Stacey Watson, and Karen Utter (president of the Wash. State Chapter of the National Hearing Association) will hold live chats to discuss the procedure and answer questions. The first of these chats will be viewable in the embedded widget below.

    In the meantime, watch as Day hopes to hear her husband’s voice, without the need for hearing aids, for the first time in half a decade:

     

     

    Photo of Eleanor Day via @instadroo/Instagram


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    Much of my weird childhood and teenage years was spent using AOL Instant Messenger.

    Aside from picking up the gross home telephone, AIM was the only way to stay in contact with my three friends after school. Hearing the alert sounds of my door opening (and others’ subsequently slamming) and “warning” my friends into oblivion were nightly diversions from my homework.

    I religiously used AIM for six years, until I turned 15 and got my first cell phone. Then, I had a more of a covert way to talk about how much my parents were annoying me without them peering over my shoulder. Then came GChat, Facebook, Twitter, and other oversharing services that officially sealed AIM’s fate. There was no need for it anymore.

    I actually forgot about it—until recently.

    Last month, Caroline Moss created @YourAwayMessage. It’s a painfully accurate parody of what many of our AIM away messages probably said. The mock tweets are filled with emo song lyrics, life updates, and distress messages about the multiple ways our parents are ruining our lives (like picking up the landline phone, thus knocking AIM offline).

    Clearly, I’m not the only waxing nostalgic. More than 160,000 people follow the often-hilarious account. Moss told the Daily Dot that she channels her self-described “awful” personality when thinking of the tweets. Like me, she spent hours using AIM every night, much to her parent’s disapproval, so her afflicted tweets come easy.

    Yearning to relive some of my AIM memories, I caught up with Moss, 24, to discuss our favorite moments enabled by the downloadable program. She channeled her 15-year-old, high-school sophomore self—her alter-ego behind the account—and it only seemed fair for me to do the same thing, using my most embarrassing first screen name: LisaKudrowRulez35. (Friends got me through a lot of hard times, OK?)

    Come relive the stupid ways you probably used AIM to impress your crushes, the poor grammar it enabled, and how the anxiety-riddled away messages came about. And, don’t be embarrassed or ashamed that you probably did these things. We’ve all been there.

    On depressing song lyrics as away messages

    LisaKudrowRulez35: I noticed some emo lyrics. Were you dating someone? WHAT HAPPENED?
    YourAwayMessage: UGH YEAH OKAY well, itz like a long story but like okay
    YourAwayMessage: so i met this guy on a cruise last summer and we hooked up, like 2nd base, but it was really intense and we definitely had this connection, there was one night on the cruise where we stayed up all nite talking and he was like telling me all about his family and like his relationship with his parents and i just felt like idk, a spark
    YourAwayMessage: u no?
    LisaKudrowRulez35: yeah I totally get it
    YourAwayMessage:  so neway he told me he luved me and he would do this thing where he would you know like, look at me
    YourAwayMessage: and i felt ALIVE
    LisaKudrowRulez35: does he live near you??
    YourAwayMessage: so obviously now itz oct and he lives in michigan, no so we only can IM
    LisaKudrowRulez35: oh thats so sad
    YourAwayMessage: ya i know
    YourAwayMessage: and his parents are really weird and they have parental limits on his AOL, so he only gets a half hour every night and with the time difference it just .. it just doesnt make sense right now
    YourAwayMessage: idk haha sry long story but that song just like brings me back to those moments

    On Myspace, AIM chatrooms, and instant messaging with random strangers

    LisaKudrowRulez35: yeah, no, I totally get it, have you tried meeting any one in AIM chatrooms? that might help you get your mind off him
    YourAwayMessage: so, do u do myspace?, bc me and my friends used to do chat rooms when we were younger but its just guyz looking for $ex, which is not what i want
    YourAwayMessage: but i just did a myspace profile, and im not like...idk i think its weird to meet a guy on the internet he could be a killer..but its nice to know there r more fish
    YourAwayMessage: even if the fish are murderers
    LisaKudrowRulez35: you have to be safe about that, do you get a lot of i/ms from weirdos?
    YourAwayMessage: yes but, u can just block them, or warn them, i only talk to my friends or like guys from school that are older that i know that probably dont know me, but i know who they so ill say hey
    YourAwayMessage: if i feel like it
    LisaKudrowRulez35: whats the weirdest person youve met in the chatrooms?
    YourAwayMessage: there was a guy who kept asking, if ne ladies were horn, and i was like
    YourAwayMessage: GIRLS CANT GET HORNY, they're girls, n every1 in chat rooms are always asking 4 pics
    YourAwayMessage: but i havent gotten my yearbook ones back so, i just dont go in their anymore, can't contribute much.
    LisaKudrowRulez35: yeah, it can be scary in there. you dont ACTUALLY know who you're talking to
    YourAwayMessage: right, murderer or girls who say they are girls but are guys—so weird

    On getting a separate phone line to use AIM

    LisaKudrowRulez35: your mom and dad recently got a separate phone line for your aol, right?
    YourAwayMessage: yah itz amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!
    YourAwayMessage: i only get kicked off a few x a night now, instead of all the time
    LisaKudrowRulez35: HOW ANNOYING IS IT when you leave for the day, then someone moves your mouse and it screws up your "idle" time?
    YourAwayMessage: very bc, then i dont know who is talking 2 me or, if nething important happened, or, if i need 2 know something and now maybe i wont know it, bc of the aol line
    YourAwayMessage: but i try to think of like, the oregon trail, they had to like...walk their letters across the country and it took forever so, we're lucky.

    On crafting away messages

    LisaKudrowRulez35: how do you decide what youre going to post as a status?
    YourAwayMessage: depends on my mood, like, im listening to so much music at once its hard to pick lyrics
    YourAwayMessage: i have a saved list of potential ones, but then sometimes im inspired to do new ones
    YourAwayMessage: sometimes you can say less but use a cool font, it really depeneds, i am really into dave matthews band lately so I am trying to find their best lyrics to put up

    On the imporatance of font and color

    LisaKudrowRulez35: do you find colors and fonts distracting or do you change your "theme" often? my favorite was blue background and a silverish-grey font
    LisaKudrowRulez35: but some fonts dont show up on my other friends computer so i had to keep it simple, like Tahoma
    YourAwayMessage: gr8 question, i tend to go for small sized cute fonts like futura. because small and cute are gr8 things to be associated with.
    YourAwayMessage: your font is your first impression, so guys who are white comic sans MS on a navy blue background, yeah, we get it, you love the yankees. show me something else, you know?

    On her profile

    LisaKudrowRulez35: what about your profile? whats in it now?
    YourAwayMessage: right now itz a shout out to my best friends and then a fave quote which is a dmb song "eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die"
    YourAwayMessage: and then at the bottom in smaller font it says
    YourAwayMessage: IMYSMAYDECBILYF
    YourAwayMessage: which means: i miss you so much and you don't even care but i'll love you forever and that's to the guy from the cruise
    LisaKudrowRulez35: did you make that up yourself?
    YourAwayMessage: ya
    LisaKudrowRulez35: thats really clever
    YourAwayMessage: thx

    On acting cool when your crush signs on

    LisaKudrowRulez35: do you get nervous when crushes sign on? sometimes i set alerts, so i know right away
    YourAwayMessage: yeah i have three crushes and three alerts
    YourAwayMessage: moo = michigan [cruise crush], cash register = this senior guy that is hot, and doorbell = junior guy that i just started to like this morning
    YourAwayMessage: its def hard to act cool but i try to stay idle until they IM me OR ill like
    YourAwayMessage: ok dont tell ne1 this
    YourAwayMessage: ill like block them and unblock them really fast so that their door keeps opening and shutting and then they have to see whos doing that and it MEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    YourAwayMessage: and then they will IM me first, works everytime, its a good trick u should try it
    LisaKudrowRulez35: OH THATS A SUCH A GOOD TRICK YES
    LisaKudrowRulez35: like when I try i/m my crushes I get really nervous, whats a good thing to say to break the ice?
    YourAwayMessage: do u have classes w ne of them cause u can say
    YourAwayMessage: omg i hate that class (after u say hey and stuff), or u can ask if they did the hw yet, or u can ask if they like anyone serious
    YourAwayMessage: theres a lot of stuff ucan say but remember if they give one word answers like
    YourAwayMessage: k, yeah, sure
    YourAwayMessage: it just meanz they r shy

    Photo via Wackyb


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