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Recent Society articles from Daily Dot

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    Leonardo DiCaprio may not yet be king of the Academy, but he's still king of the world; and if Tumblr has anything to say about it, the Hollywood legend may soon be bombarded with handmade imitations of the Oscar statue he has yet to win.

    Sure, he may be one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood, but on Tumblr, DiCaprio is a man spurned, a figure whose eternal fruitless pursuit of an Academy Award has evolved into one of fandom's mostaffectionaterunningjokes.

    The origins of the meme, in which Leo is forever thwarted in his pursuit of an Oscar, aren't known, but the hilarious Tumblr whereismyoscar, which documents his futile plight, has been around since 2011. And so has the joke, which grows funnier and angstier by turns each year Leo endures the dreaded Oscar snub.

    Screengrab via y0-s0 / Tumblr

    With the three-time Oscar nominee just declaring he's "taking a long break" from acting, the amusedoutcries of injustice from Tumblr have grown to fever pitch, inspiring the creation of leonardoshiatus and leonardososcar, a wealth of new"where is my Oscar" jokes, and even a crop of petitions.

    They've also accidentally inspired a submeme: sending homemade Oscars to the man himself. Tumblr user Annie, who created leonardoshiatus, screencapped"a rough draft of the letter I’m gonna send to Leo with a homemade Oscar" earlier this week. "Dear Mr. DiCaprio," it reads:

    I am writing to you today because I did a dumb thing. I promised the Internet that... I would give you an Academy Award. Here's the thing though, I am not affiliated with the Academy in any way, shape, or form. So I had to construct a mock Oscar myself. I built this in a cave. Out of scraps.
    The Internet really wants you to win, Leo. All the awards. Best Actor. Best Actress. Best Animated Motion Picture. We accept the Oscar we think we deserve.

    You've done, it Leonardo DiCaprio. [sic]
    You've won.

    Annie & The Internet.

    Annie's post has collected nearly 80,000 notes on Tumblr. She tells the Dot that she's already built the mock Oscar.

    "The day after I made the post I explained to my family that Leonardo DiCaprio is alone and award-less and that I needed to go out right away and buy Academy Award making supplies," she explained. "Naturally, my family supported me fully."

    As for the handmade Oscar, "it is literally the most horrifying thing I've ever seen," Annie insisted.

    Oh, come on, surely it's not so...

    Photo via


    Despite Annie's insistence that her Oscar is "the most hideous thing anyone has ever laid eyes on," she tells the Dot that "tons" of her followers are urging her to mail it to DiCaprio. She's also inspired other people to go out and make their own handmade Oscars, constructed of everything from Play-doh to crochet.

    "LET’S ALL DO IT," urged peabodysfedora. "EVERYONE SEND LEO AN OSCAR... We’ll give him love in the form of awful fake Oscars."

    Photo via

    Tumblr may or may not have adopted Leo, but the sense that we're all laughing/crying with him, not at him, has made him a perennial uniting theme during awards season.

    "I think Tumblr is so invested in Leo’s quest for an Oscar because we recognize that he has true talent, yet he has received very few big-name awards for it," Tumblr user Shannon, creator of leonardososcar, told the Dot. "I think that resonates with a lot of people on Tumblr because many feel the same way in their own lives, like they have talent that is not always recognized."

    As for Annie, in an ironic twist, she's not sure her Oscar's performance is Leo-worthy. "I might follow through on this," she says, "but if I do I'm gonna include tons of pictures of Oscars with it and a second letter about how I made an attempt and therefore should not be criticized. I might also take a second go and try to make a less scary Oscar, because I don't want to give poor Leonardo PTSD."

    Meanwhile, DiCaprio seems to be enjoying his vacation away from the promotional tour for his recent, critically acclaimed (but sadly snubbed) villainous turn in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained.  As his fans await the release of his next starring role as The Great Gatsby, some are looking forward to the day when he receives all the (homemade) Oscars from his fans.

    But even if the fan campaign fizzles faster than the Oscar campaigns for Leo’s performances, there's one universal truth that every Tumblr user knows, articulated by mastertomlinson:

    "i’ll cry a river of happiness when leo di caprio wins an oscar," they wrote earlier today, "and so will you."

    Photo via

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    You can buy anything you want on—even an experienced Web product manager. 

    That's at least the logic applied by Parisian Philippe Dubost to his latest professional résumé, a four-part rundown of his skills and services that's been drafted onto an Amazon product template.

    Dubost has gone about looking for a new job by employing the standard page design of the Internet's most popular marketplace: product details cover Dubost's height, weight, and education; customer reviews offer testimonials from individuals Dubost has worked with along the way. 

    Dubost said he made the page earlier this week "for the sole purpose of a playful and creative job search" but has been wowed by the attention its received. 

    "I created a (happy) monster …" he tweeted Friday morning after spending the night sifting through emails and notifications. 

    Odds are it won't take too long for Dubost to land himself another job. On top of the fact that damn near every publication on the Internet will likely have a writeup on the résumé by the time the weekend hits, the man is awfully qualified.

    Since graduation from business school at the University of Dayton, Dubost has held down tech jobs in Mexico City, San Diego, and Paris. He's also responsible for launching a website of his own, a French housing reviews site called Appartinfo.

    Amazing. Or should we say Amazon. And should the Seattle-based company get upset about the emulation, Dubost has an old adage that he'd like to employ: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

    Photo via

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    Twitter showed how much it collectively cares about marine mammals on Friday when a PETA-style army of users chastised a parody account set up in the wake of news breaking that there was a dolphin stuck in Brooklyn's filthy Gowanus Canal.

    @GowanusDolphin, a parody account made in the same vein as @bronxzoocowboy, @psychicoctopus, and @jfkturtles, became Internet public enemy number one this morning when its creator was ruled rather unofficially to have been unfunny and guilty of breaking the almighty parody rule: never start tweeting "too soon."

    The account was suspended within an hour after multiple individuals reported its activity. We're able to provide you with a brief sampling of tweets thanks to the wonders of social media analytics tool Topsy. Your call as to whether these tweets are funny or not—and if they're "too soon!"

    Distaste towards the account was perpetuated when well-dressed Brooklynite and Bloomberg L.P. director of social media Jared B. Keller announced unto the world that "you are the worst person on the planet and I hate you" "if you create a parody account within fifteen minutes of a news event" breaking. 

    The creator emerged shortly after the Internet wrapped up going hog-wild. In a blog post titled"I am the Jerk Behind @GowanusDolphin," professional poker player Shane Schleger explained that he was "partly goofing around to see if I could be the first person in the race to create the inevitable Twitter parody" when he created the account. 

    He added: "I think anyone who knows me knows I wouldn't create something in order to offend people, but despite trying to keep it light and funny, I crossed the lines of good taste according to several people."

    Schleger noted a number of people who chastised him before reiterating that it was all in good jest. He closed by bringing some reason into the picture. 

    "I suppose making a parody account about a suffering animal is more offensive to some than creating a casual reference point to an event in which millions of people … were tortured and murdered," he said, referring to a tweet writer Joel Johnson sent that considered @GowanusDolphin worse than the Holocaust. "I wonder how many of Joel Johnson's family had to flee Germany or hide out in bunkers in the Ukraine during the great Dolphin Holocaust of WWII."

    Okay, so maybe there is no reason to glean from this story. Everybody's messed. Let's pray for that dolphin.

    Photo via RC_Fotos/Flickr

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    Meet Giovanna Plowman. The 15-year-old Buffalo, N.Y. teenager recently became famous on the Internet for posting a YouTube video of her eating her own bloodied tampon.

    The video was originally posted on Facebook on Saturday and subsequently uploaded to YouTube that same day. Both clips were eventually taken down because they violated the site's Terms of Service, but video of Plowman’s exploits can easily be found elsewhere, like here, for example.

    According to Know Your Meme, the Encyclopedia Britannica of the Internet, the incident has earned her the very fitting nickname "Tampon Girl." It also brought her a lot of negative attention, enough for Plowman to respond to her haters via Facebook, in a message suggesting her quest for Internet fame is no worse than reality TV:

    "Have you ever watched jackass? Fear factor? Jersey shore? I know you all have. Its okay for them to get famous from eating and doing such stupid stuff or being sluts and partying hard. But i eat a tampon and get so much hate? It makes no sense. Just because im a girl and ate something gross and got famous you hate on me? Im a real nice girl. Dont start drama and i have only ever had one boyfriend? Please tell me how im a slut. Smh idgaf about you haters ill shine on with or with out you!"

    Among the initial haters was Dino Bruscia, another teen who became famous for a gross out video of his own. Only instead of eating a used feminine hygiene product, Bruscia ingested his own feces (along with some ice cream).

    Upset that Plowman had upstaged him, the temperamental Bruscia took to Twitter to vent:

    "Still trying to overcome the fact a bitch who sends all her nude parts eats a tampon with blood out famed me in 1 day. #fuckisthat #bringit."

    But hate soon turned to Internet love, which (as Manti Te'o knows) is as legitimate as the real thing. On the same day that Bruscia denounced Plowman, the two got married on Facebook.

    Some have accused Bruscia of doing it for the fame. It's a fair accusation to make, especially when you consider that Bruscia only has 17,860 followers on Facebook, while Plowman has 209,000 subscribers. Further evidence also lies in a Facebook update written by Plowman, asking fans to follow Bruscia on Twitter.

    But if two attention-starved teenagers can't fake-marry each other on Facebook for the sake of more publicity, then why have the institution of marriage on the social network at all? After all, they're not desecrating the real thing. We're pretty sure Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian already did that.

    The Daily Dot reached out to the Facebook-married couple, but we have not heard back from either one.

    Photo via Giovanna Plowman/Facebook

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    Remember that guy who turned his résumé into an product page and earned all sorts of attention and adoration and probably came out of the whole thing with a job—or will quite soon? It looks like he's fashioned some sort of a trend.

    Hot on the heels of Phillippe Dubost's hilariously clever Amazon-inspired résumé is this eBay auction page doubling as a résumé for a Lansing, Mich., woman named Sonya Williams. Williams, who fancies herself a laboratory technician, has opened up the bidding for her employment at a lofty 99 cents and wastes no time to tell potential suitors that they should "hurry I will go FAST."

    Williams plans to run the employment auction until just before noon on Monday, Feb. 4. She offers free one-day shipping, no returns or exchanges, and the option to bill her later through PayPal. Really, it's a steal of a deal. 99 cents for a lab technician!

    Of course we should point out the differences between Dubost's and Williams' résumés here, since there are some, and they matter. For starters, Dubost created his site himself, coded it so that it mirrors Amazon's aesthetic, and came up with the idea himself.

    Williams, who's in all likelihood piggybacking on Dubost's media success, has simply put herself for auction on the eBay platform and, instead of finding interesting ways to fit her credentials into the template, attached screenshots of her long-winded résumé right there under the product's description.

    There's also the fact that she never really says where exactly she's worked.

    The Daily Dot would like to wish her luck, however. Unemployment may be down, but it's still a twisted sister. Here's hoping Williams finds herself somewhere nice.

    Photo via eBay

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    The Pope has called for Twitter users to spread the word of Catholicism.

    The pontiff used his World Communications Day 2013 message to ask devotees to think about how the likes of Twitter and Instagram can be used to urge others to join the faith.

    "The challenge facing social networks is how to be truly inclusive: thus they will benefit from the full participation of believers who desire to share the message of Jesus and the values of human dignity which his teaching promotes," said Pope Benedict XVI. "Believers are increasingly aware that, unless the Good News is made known also in the digital world, it may be absent in the experience of many people for whom this existential space is important."

    The Pope noted that the "digital environment" is part of the fabric of daily life for many people, particularly younger members of society. That makes it an important way for the Vatican to get the message out about Catholicism.

    He also noted the multimedia aspect of communities like Twitter, and pointed out the importance of using religious iconography in spreading the word: "In the digital environment the written word is often accompanied by images and sounds," he said. "Effective communication, as in the parables of Jesus, must involve the imagination and the affectivity of those we wish to invite to an encounter with the mystery of God’s love."

    While the Pope appreciates the power of the Web and its capacity to share and promote ideas, he does have a problem with pervasive celebrity culture.

    "Popularity, for its part, is often linked to celebrity or to strategies of persuasion rather than to the logic of argumentation," he pointed out. "At times the gentle voice of reason can be overwhelmed by the din of excessive information and it fails to attract attention which is given instead to those who express themselves in a more persuasive manner."

    The pontiff joined Twitter in December, and sent his first tweets later that month. He's somewhat a of a celebrity himself, with more than 1.4 million followers on his English-language Twitter account alone.

    Photo via @pontifex/Twitter

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    Tumblr's pin feature, which allowed users to literally pin content to the top of every follower’s dashboard for 24 hours, has been disabled.

    The microblog rolled out the feature in late June as a way for users to give their content more emphasis. It cost only $5 a post, a manageable amount that made it attractive to bloggers and major brands alike.  Tumblr's $2 highlight feature, which did not move a post to the top of the dashboard but rather let you choose attention-grabbing phrases as you scrolled by, has also disappeared from the Tumblr Dashboard.

    The changes come after Tumblr tweaked its Dashboard design Thursday to allow users to post content within the same browser window instead of being directed to another page.

    Over the past six months, response to the pin feature has been mostly negative, with people claiming to unfollow users who used the feature. Newsweek made light of the drama in a pinned post on Jan. 16, claiming "You pin, we unfollow." The post collected more than 900 notes and a handful of hilarious responses. Newsweek released the following statement following the troll-like post:

    "We don’t want our tumblr friends to lose out on any monies. With that in mind, we’re announcing a last-minute moratorium on all unfollows related to pins while the nwktumblr legislature has more time to review the policy."

    News of the missing pin and highlight feature has caught Tumblr users off guard.

    "Tumblr I have credits left over from when I decided to tag that drawing of Erthilo for NO REASON," not-reality blogged. "Let me use them or give me back my measly $8 that I should have left over."

    "Really puts a kink in for those of us who had a lot relying on dashboard visibility of pinned-posts," tweeted Ryan Wood.

    Tumblr did not respond to a request for comment at press time.

    Screenshot via amityafflictions

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    A couple of muscle-car maniacs are under investigation by California police and 4chan's auto community after stopping traffic on a busy highway to do some donuts.

    The antics on California's Interstate 880 were caught on tape by a stopped motorist Saturday afternoon. The short video shows about four different cars, including a Mustang and Nissan 240sx, driving in circles while a handful of people look on.

    The highway shenanigans inspired 4chan's auto forum, /o/, to become "Automotive White Knights" in search of the driver's identities. So far the community seems to have narrowed down the owner of a Nissan Silvia thanks to its bright rims, purple coloring, and stickering.

    "[H]onestly, if I was stuck in that jam because of them, I would have driven my old crown vic directly into the center of their bullshit at full speed," one anonymous 4chan user wrote. "[N]obody there would testify against me except the boy racers on trial, I have a spare car, and god willing i'd get out with minor injuries. but alas, i live on the east coast, and don't have to deal with this kind of retardation."

    The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is currently investigating the incident and studying the video for license plate numbers, the Oakland Tribunereported.

    "It was like something out of a video game," CHP spokeswoman Diana McDermott told the Tribune. "It is extremely reckless driving. In no way are our freeway systems designed for this."

    Photo via 4chan

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    People sure are going to a lot of effort to share Vines of themselves smoking pot.

    A peek through tags like #420, #weed, and #pot reveals dozens of people who cut together six-second videos of themselves rolling joints, lighting bongs, and showing off stashes

    Given the other major vice that's already pervasive on Twitter's video-sharing app (hint: porn), it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that there are plenty of stoners unafraid to show their faces as they spark up.

    via Slick Rick/Vine

    via Koncentrate King/Vine

    There's a lot of work put into some of these videos as well. A few time-lapse Vines are moderately impressive—far better than the ones posted by people with barely enough energy to point a phone camera at their face and hold their finger on the screen for six seconds. 

    via cBert311/Vine

    via Stoner Cast/Vine

    via WeedPornDaily/Vine

    We've heard of police going after those who Instagram their weed, but maybe, just maybe, Viners are next on the radar of the law. Maybe Vine will hide these tags, as with the porn ones.

    Either way, at least we know what we can expect if Rihanna joins Vine.

    Photo by nerdy girl/Flickr

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    So who's this mom out there in Utah who's out there going hog wild on YouTube and Twitter trying to tell everybody to stop smoking weed? Is she a joke or what? How much can her kids not stand her? And if she's real, why won't she respond to my calls?

    @ConcernedMom420 is the most identifiable identifier available for this surprisingly social-media-savvy 45-year-old Christian mother who's "trying to spread awareness!!" about all the dangers that come with "taking pot!!"

    Her Twitter feed is littered with images like this one that suggest that smoking marijuana leads to homosexuality or has the strength to turn a good looking blonde man into a rather sickly McCauley Culkin. She's racist, a religious elitist, and she's not a fan of Justin Bieber.

    She is decidedly bonkers, but she's already managed to rack up quite the following. After 343 tweets, she's already accrued more than 110,000 followers, though not all would bill themselves as fans. (Westboro Baptist Church, by contrast, has less than 5,000 Twitter followers.)

    @ConcernedMom420 has even gone so far as to make a YouTube video. Called "The Dangerous Truths of Marijuana," the clip is 40 days old, has been seen more than 40,000 times, and explores entirely false statements about marijuana—like how it crippled the rapper Drake or turned "promising tennis star" Lindsay Lohan into an "unpopular" "weed user." (She posted a followup two weeks later that features a rendition of "This Little Light of Mine" and is about as strange as its predecessor.)

    She's pissed off about marijuana. She thinks that it's "a gateway drug that claims hundreds of thousands of lives world wide each year." And she's made it her mission "to get it BANNED."

    What's that mean? Hard to tell. Marijuana's already banned throughout 48 American states, but this woman seems serious—so long as she's legit.

    So is she? In a word, no.

    The individual behind the account is apparently a woman named Michele Dennison—or at least it appears that way. Dennison tweets under the handle @MicheleDenniso2, and she's only racked up 30 followers after 5,661 tweets. (Dennison hasn't tweeted from this account since Nov. 1.)

    We were able to track Dennison down thanks to a response to @ConcernedMom420's first tweet—a message that reads"this deserves endless retweets!!!! I am a mom of 3!!! This hits close to home!!!"—that comes from a guy in Jackson, Miss., named Chuck Baggett. In response to @ConcernedMom420's tweet, Baggett wrote two days later that the account was a parody.

    "My next question is who's (sic) picture is being used?" he wrote. "@MicheleDenniso2 Is that a real pic?"

    Dennison never got back to Baggett, but her picture tells the whole story. That's Dennison on the left and @ConcernedMom420 on the right. Check out the glasses, the hair color.

    Now check out this profile picture belonging to a woman named Michelle who posts tweets as @ConcernedPoetry. Michelle's biography explains that she's a 45-year-old Christian mom from Utah.

    That's the same woman, right? A 45-year-old mother from Utah who's into poetry and not at all into marijuana—whatsoever. It's gotta be. It's just got to be. (Unless the whole thing's a lie. Considering some recent events, I guess that's not that unlikely.)

    So in the words of Double Rainbow Guy, what's it all meannnnnn?

    To be honest, we're not quite sure. We've reached out to Dennison via both Twitter and email and have yet to hear back. We're interested in knowing why exactly she's choosing to perpetuate this myth, and what her legions of followers think of the work that she's done.

    We'd also like to know why she's so directly opposed to Bieber.

    Dennison's personal Twitter handle, it should be noted, doesn't do much to offer any information. Most of the 5,000-some-odd tweets are just one word responses to other people's messages, though she does purport to being a Dallas Cowboys fan.

    And that, my friends, is worse than any drug.

    Photo via ConcernedMom420/Twitter

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    It’s not every day that Internet trolls are countered by a barrage of Latin poetry, but that’s what happens when you try to start something with Mary Beard. And now, the trolls' message board has been shut down.

    As the presenter of several successful British TV documentaries including Meet the Romans, Mary Beard is a far more public figure than most Cambridge professors. But after a recent appearance on BBC debate show Question Time, she’s been receiving attention for reasons unrelated to her work as a Classicist or political pundit.

    Rather than providing a counterargument for Beard’s Question Time comments on immigration, many detractors took to the popular anonymous message board site Don’t Start Me Off—a kind of 4chan for disgruntled commentary on British celebrities and politicians. She was quickly named “Twat of the Week,” and Photoshopped vagina pics, insults to her middle-aged appearance, and even rape threats soon spread to Twitter—at which point Beard decided to go public on her blog, A Don’s Life.

    She posted a few choice quotes from the message board, continuing:

    “All the same, you may say ... why pay it any attention, still less give it publicity?

    "Several reasons. First, the misogyny here is truly gobsmacking. The whole site is pretty hateful … but the whole "c**t" talk … is more than a few steps into sadism.  It would be quite enough to put many women off appearing in public, contributing to political debate, especially as all of this comes up on google.”

    It’s easy enough to question giving publicity to the trolls, except at 100,000 page views per day, Don’t Start Me Off is (or was) hardly the little guy. In the end, DSMO turned out to be something of a Goliath, finally shutting down for good on Wednesday of last week.

    Screenshot via Don’t Start Me Off


    If you visit the site now, nothing appears except an error message, but owner Richard White assured The Guardian that the hasty disappearance of the message board had more to do with the site having become "impossible to moderate." The "Beard controversy was just the straw that broke the camel's back."

    In the same interview, White accused Beard’s supporters of trolling DSMO with Latin poetry, adding: “My suspicion is that she used our site to deflect the debate because she was so roundly thrashed after her appearance on Question Time last week. We do not go out to be offensive.”

    Although if screencaps from his own site are anything to go by, Richard White is no stranger to misogynist hate-speech. Just last year, he allegedly wrote of one left-wing female journalist: “There’s nothing wrong with Laurie Penny that a few hours of c**t kicking, garrotting and burying in a shallow grave wouldn't sort out.”

    At the moment it seems like we can barely get to the end of a month without there being another case of a high-profile woman receiving vicious (and usually undeserved) hate mail. But at least we can be sure that for every Laci Green who is forced offline by death threats and sexist mockery, there will be an Anita Sarkeesian or a Mary Beard who gets enough positive publicity to fight back.

    Photo via Sam Vandekerckhove/Flickr


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    Facebook is designed to capture the story of our lives. Our friends, important life announcements, our interests, reading habits, and shared viral videos: It’s all there—a digital thumbprint of how we spend our time online.

    Researchers at the University of Missouri believe that activity “Reveals Clues to Mental Illness.” According to a recent psychological study published in the journal Psychiatry Research, researchers found high levels of correlation between peoples' questionnaire results and Facebook activity, leading them to conclude that Facebook postings can reveal a variety of symptoms.

    “Some study participants showed signs of the schizotypy condition known as social anhedonia, or the inability to experience pleasure from usually enjoyable activities, such as communicating and interacting with others. In the study, people with social anhedonia tended to have fewer friends on Facebook, communicated with friends less frequently and shared fewer photos.”

    Elizabeth A. Martin, a doctoral student at the University of Missouri and lead researcher on the study, said that she and her fellow researchers gave a questionnaire to 212 college freshmen, all psychology students. They were then asked to show their Facebook pages to the researchers; all but two of the students did so. Martin found a strong correlation between symptoms of schizotypy (a sort of spectrum straddling the line between normal and schizophrenic) as indicated on the questionnaire and particular types of Facebook postings.

    Martin said she’s interested in how Facebook could help therapists help their patients. People’s memories are often faulty; Facebook posts, by contrast, can provide a diary-like record into people’s thoughts, connections, and emotions. The posts could also give a therapist a window into how a patient casually acts, outside of their appointment.

    But how useful is a Facebook-only study for measuring things like social withdrawal? If, for example, people start posting less, couldn’t that simply suggest they're too busy socializing in real life to hang out on Facebook?

    Martin specified that the study was not simply measuring amounts of Facebook activity. “They’re not necessarily using Facebook less, they use it differently,” she said. “Odd beliefs, delusional beliefs.”

    Lots of popular conspiracy theories sound pretty delusional, though. The late, unlamented Mayan apocalypse, various right-wing or left-wing political conspiracies—are those the sort of beliefs the study’s talking about?

    “No,” Martin said. “People who are very right-wing, very left-wing, that’s half the country.” A given conspiracy theory might have thousands, even millions, of believers; it’s a belief shared by many people, not a unique viewpoint one person invented on his own.

    So what sort of delusional beliefs were Martin and her fellow researchers looking for? "Seeing connections other people don’t," she said. "Believing your body is fundamentally different from everyone else’s, you’re not feeling the same sensations other people feel.”

    Seeing connections? Like what?

    “Like, two of your friends posted about the same thing, they must be talking about you,” offered Martin by way of example.

    This is hardly the first study to tackle Facebook activity. Previous efforts have concluded that the social network is making us more self-indulgent and better connected with our families but also potentially damaging our self-esteem.  

    Illustration by Fernando Alfonso 

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    With the Super Bowl less than a week away, Facebook's Data Science Team has released a slew of fascinating information about football fans on the world's largest social network.

    The report is largely made possible by the fact that more than 35 million Facebook users have liked the Facebook pages of NFL teams, giving the Data Science Team a large sample size. Or as the company puts it, "more than 1 in 10 Americans have declared their support for an NFL team on Facebook." Not a surprising statistic when you consider that the sport is the most popular in America.

    So, what did we learn?

    For starters, teams get more Facebook likes when they win games than when they lose. This is especially true for playoff wins.

    Photo via Facebook

    Geography also plays a large part in who fans root for. Teams like the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks dominate large geographic regions, whereas teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Miami Dolphins each get a smaller slice of the regional pie. Unsurprisingly, the most popular NFL team in the country (based on largest share of the map) is the Dallas Cowboys, likely a testament to owner Jerry Jones' penchant for Donald Trump-like levels of shameless self promotion.

    Photo via Facebook

    In fact, the Dallas Cowboys are so popular that most football watchers are more likely to have a friend who's a fan of America's team than any other NFL team.

    Photo via Facebook

    The Facebook Data Science Team also created various maps that looked at the most-liked teams during each round of the playoffs. The most popular team in the country during the Wild Card round was the Denver Broncos, particularly surprising because the team had a first round bye.

    Photo via Facebook

    That trend changed slightly during the divisional round, when the Green Bay Packers had the most likes. They even overtook the entire state of Alaska. We chalk it up to states with freezing temperatures supporting one another.

    Photo via Facebook

    The New England Patriots took over the map. Maybe the world doesn't hate Tom Brady as much as we thought.

    Photo via Facebook

    With two teams left vying for the Vince Lombardi Trophy, America has decided by clicking the like button to root for the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday. Sorry, Ray Lewis. America cares more about the 49ers capturing their sixth Super Victory than about your swan song.

    Photo via Facebook

    Photo via Parker Anderson/Flickr

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    Not even Canadians are immune to catfishing.

    A woman in Saskatoon is banned from the Internet for six months after admitting she created a fake Facebook profile using pictures of a pageant contestant. She flirted with young men by promising to go on dates with them, but instead conned them into giving her money.

    Melissa Brandon, 26, pleaded guilty Tuesday to impersonating Brittany Bjerland, a former Miss Saskatchewan contestant. Between June 2011 and January 2012, Brandon befriended several man, telling them various tales to extort money from them. She even told one man that a family member was dying of cancer.

    Brandon said some men "ponied up quite a significant amount of money" to score a date with what they thought was a former beauty queen. 

    Similar to a case in Britain, it was a friend of Bjerland's who alerted her of the impersonation. She took the case to police and told Facebook to pull Brandon's page. 

    "She feels violated that her face and name were used to con young men out of money," said prosecutor Val Adamko. Brandon was charged with impersonated Bjerland.

    The men who fell for the scam did not want to press charges due to embarrassment, said Adamko. Brandon has paid the money back to the men with the assistance of her parents.

    Brandon's defense lawyer said she is suffering from serious mental health issues and that she's currently in counseling. She claimed that it started as a "stupid joke" but escalated quickly. The judge initially agreed to grant her a 14-month conditional discharge but decided the punishment should also involve prohibiting the use of social media.

    So, Brandon is only allowed on the Internet for educational or employment purposes for the first six months. 

    "We are taking bullying to new heights and I label [Brandon] as an absolute bully because that's what the ultimate result of her behavior was. She emotionally destroyed another young female," said Judge Albert Lavoie. 

    "I can't solve that here today, but it is one of the challenges the courts are going to have to face, how we are going to deal with this."

    Photo via melissamoody/Hashgram

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    When it comes to world class pedantry, few groups can challenge the prowess of Wikipedians and Star Trek fans. So when the two come together it's little surprise they create a swirling maelstrom of anal retention from which no common sense can escape.

    Case in point: The Wikipedia talk page for the new movie Star Trek Into Darkness. There, Wikipedians and Wikipedia Star Trek fans have engaged in a heated conflict that's raged for nearly two months. More than 40,000 words have been lobbed from either side. Earlier today, the debate was even the subject of a mocking cartoon at the popular Web comic XKCD.

    The point of contention? Whether "Into" should be capitalized in the movie's name.

    The new film is the second installment in the series to be directed by J.J. Abrams, the guy behind hit shows Lost and Fringe, among others, and a master of both suspense and the art of cleverly hiding secret messages. For hardcore Lost fans, half of the show's fun was delving into the easter eggs and hidden plot points the producers scattered throughout every episode. So perhaps Abrams knew what he was getting into when he gave his film such a grammatically bizarre title.  

    Note two key things about the name: First, the "I" in "into" is capitalized. (According to Wikipedia's own style guide, prepositions of four letters or less are never capitalized.) Second, there's no colon that would indicate "Into Darkness" is a subtitle, i.e., a secondary title to "Star Trek." In every preceding Star Trek movie, the subtitle was indicated with a colon. So, for instance, you had Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan instead of Star Trek II Wrath of Khan.

    We won't force you to experience excruciating detail the main arguments from both sides. They are exhaustive and pedantic to such an extent that "pedantic" no longer seems a suitable adjective. Thankfully, for those who don't want to spend the next three years reading through each twist and turn in the debate, Wikipedian Frungi has compiled a helpful summary of the main thrust of each side's arguments.

    Here they are:

    Arguments for the lowercase I

    • “Into Darkness” may not be a subtitle, and “Star Trek into Darkness” may have been intended to be read as a sentence.
    • Assuming it’s not a subtitle, the [manual of style] dictates a lowercase preposition.
    • Treating “into Darkness” as a subtitle without punctuation would be original research.
    • Allowing it to be interpreted as a subtitle would play into the studio's marketing.
    • The creator said that the title would not have a subtitle with a colon

    Arguments for the uppercase I

    • “Into Darkness” may be a subtitle, in line with the precedence of every Star Trek movie title longer than two words.
    • Assuming it is a subtitle, the [manual of style] dictates the first word be capitalized.
    • Treating “Into Darkness” as part of a sentence would be original research.
    • Capitalizing the possible subtitle would allow it to be interpreted either way.
    • Every official, and the vast majority of secondary, sources capitalize it, and Wikipedia should follow this real-world use.
    • The sentence “Star trek into darkness” makes no grammatical sense.
    • The creator said that the title would have a subtitle rather than a number, and that the subtitle would not have a colon.

    You may have noticed we've stuck to consistent capitalization throughout this story. That's because we agree with the sentiment of an anonymous Wikipedian who created this passionate piece of vandalism at the top of the talk page earlier today:


    Paramount consistently titles the film with a capital "I". It's Star Trek Into Darkness. It's not a marketing ploy. Marketers have much better ways to promote a movie than to play around with naming conventions. And besides, Star Trek into Darkness simply does not make grammatical sense. Star Trek is a noun—a thing, not an action. You cannot "Star trek into" anything.

    So Star Trek Into Darkness is the movie's official name. That's it. End of story.

    But not at Wikipedia. No, there users have reached a compromise. A way to please everyone and no one—and at the same time make the encyclopedia look rather ridiculous.

    The first line of the entry now reads:

    Star Trek into Darkness (usually written as Star Trek Into Darkness)

    A shining moment in the history of crowdsourcing, if there ever was one.

    Image via Paramount

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    Zombie lawn gnomes are so 2012. Full-sized lawn dinosaurs are the future.

    Just ask Reddit user sarcasticonomist, whose gigantic Tyrannosaurus rex is Redwood City, California’s, most famous attraction.

    The giant dinosaur’s name is Dug, and over the past two years arcasticonomist and his wife have dressed him up in holiday costumes, including a tie for Father's Day and a bunny suit onesie for Easter.

    "[I[t was purchased at a landscaping supply sort of place (plants, fountains, etc) on Hwy 92 near Half Moon Bay (california)," sarcasticonomist commented on Reddit. "We made all the costumes though!"

    Sarcasticonomist posted photos of the stylish dinosaur on Reddit where they've collected more than 1,200 comments and 42,000 views on Imgur, a photo hosting service.

    "We live right down the street!" misscourtney commented. "When I pick up my nieces from school, we have to say 'Hi, Dinosaur!' every time we pass. You make their commute magic every day, thank you!"

    Thanks to all the attention Dug has received, sarcasticonomist is thinking of hosting a Reddit meetup at his home in the near future.

    "You all rock," he added. "Also, beyond this being my first ever post to reddit, it's also my birthday, so making #1 on the front page is now perhaps one of the coolest birthday presents I've ever received. thanks!!"

    Photos via sarcasticonomist/Reddit

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    Even Academy Award-winning directors are not immune to the charms of Twitter's weirdness.

    Untilrecently, Steven Soderbergh's Twitter account was largely unknown, despite his work on Traffic and the Ocean’s Eleven trilogy. (He has only 1,557 followers, a far cry from his contemporaries Ben Affleck, Jon Favreau, and David Lynch.) His first tweet was in October, and since then he's offered up more than a hundred bites of melancholy, oddness, and wit as he prepares to step away from directing films.

    Photo via @Bitchuation/Twitter

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    Just last month, in touting "the hip geeks" who socially engineered the election in President Obama's favor, Slate proclaimed, "The Socially Awkward Do It Better."  But while progressive politics are all well and good for geeks on a national level, racism, homophobia, and sexism are an ongoing plague in geek culture, judging from a stroll through GitHub, the open source code-sharing site that lets geeks bare their code—and their prejudices—to all.

    Progressive geek blogger Tom Morris pointed out earlier this week that simply by inputting certaincontroversialkeywords (including racialslurs) into GitHub's search, you can see all kinds of not-so-progressive results.

    Here's an example of what snippets of Java code look like when they're shared on Github—except usually, casual slurs aren't used in programming:

    GitHub is a platform geeks and techies love because it not only lets you manage projects but allows you to share your code and your projects with the outside world. This kind of transparency obviously has its perks as well as its downsides—among the biggest is the fact that now we can see who's coding what. And we can see exactly how mundane racism, misogyny, homophobia, and other kinds of prejudice are in the coding world on a granular level.

    GitHub sits in the center of an Open Source community that has been dealing with heated ongoing controversy over its lack of diversity. In November, BritRuby, a Manchester conference of Ruby on Rails coders, was canceled after outrage broke out online at its all-male lineup of panelists. Ruby coder Sean Handley took to GitHub to criticize the online community for bringing down the well-intentioned conference with "careless words."

    "Turns out, a lot of the prominent Rubyists are white guys and all of the ones who said they'd like to come were, indeed, white guys," he stated. "Making an issue out of that is, frankly, misguided."

    Is it an overreaction to make an issue, likewise, out of the words being used by GitHub coders? Perhaps. But if anything, Morris argues that the issue strikes at the heart of nerd culture itself:

    The reason we’re seeing such vicious anti-equality bullshit in the geek community over the BritRuby situation and other conference type stuff is because the very existence of societal inequalities (against women, racial minorities, gender/sexual minorities) threatens the whole idea that hackers got where they are because they are super-fucking-smart.… A lot of what we call luck boils down to us being in groups that don’t face discrimination and other problems.

    From last year's all-out onslaught against the "fake geek girl" to the habitual association of the "nerd" with all things white, male, and non-working class, it's this erasure of minorities within geek culture that prompted one blog to ask in 2010, "Is Nerd culture the embodiment of racist, sexist attitudes?" It's also the reason the Ada Initiative exists to help support women in tech industries, as well as critiques of oblivious nerds like the Tumblr Programmers Being Dicks.

    This bit of code assigns "slut" ratings to words and phrases based on Google's SafeSearch algorithms.

    Of course, as always, context is important, and some of the examples of word usage (like the one below) are clearly being done with a purpose, such as with the creation of a file of "bad words":

    But if the problematic language associated with programming language itself has suddenly become starkly visible, GitHub's open-source model of geekdom might ultimately have an unexpected benefit.

    It might just make it easier to open source equality.

    All screengrabs via GitHub

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    We've all been there.

    You're super excited after getting the go ahead from your fiancée Cynthia to invite her best friend Zoey over for a threeway, so you hastily record a video introducing yourself to Zoey and letting her know that you're totally open to having a threeway this week, next week, the week after that, whenever, anytime, today, or maybe tomorrow, whenever possible, and you're just really excited to show her things that she's never seen and do things that were never done before in a threeway.

    Then you hastily upload the video to your public YouTube account that 300 people are subscribed to, and await your threeway.

    And then it hits you: You forgot to mention that you're also available for a threeway in a fortnight.

    Dammit. Threeway's off.

    By Neetzan Zimmerman [H/T: Betabeatvideo via Reddit]

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    This Super Bowl Sunday, one particular group of redditors will be rallying the Baltimore Ravens with their unique battle cry: "Ca-Caw! Ca-Caw!"

    For that, the Ravens can thank the 1,500-plus subscribers to r/birdteams, a subreddit devoted to the five NFL teams that use birds as their mascots. Since the community's October 2012 debut, the Ravens, Falcons, Cardinals, Seahawks, and Eagles haven't had to exclusively rely on support from, respectively, Baltimore, Atlanta, Arizona, Seattle, and Philadelphia.

    Moderator albinobluesheep, a self-proclaimed Seattle Seahawks fan who created the subreddit, drew inspiration from fans of "bird teams" who were making their presence known elsewhere on the site.

    "About halfway through the season, I started seeing fans with 'Bird team' flairs in the game threads of other bird teams jokingly throwing out, 'Go Bird team!' because they didn't have a team in the game but were watching it anyway," albinobluesheep explained to the Daily Dot.

    "I decided to see if anyone had started a r/birdteams, and when no one had, I snatched it up, and decided to try my hand at making a community."

    Attention to the subreddit skyrocketed when it was mentioned by fans of a similar community that was created a month later.

    "It wasn't REALLY popular until r/CatTeamBrotherhood was created a little under a month later, and declared themselves our rivals, as birds and cats are in real life," albinobluesheep revealed.

    r/CatTeamBrotherhood, a subreddit devoted to the NFL's cat mascots, enjoyed instant popularity upon creation. It didn't take long, however, for r/birdteams to match, and eventually outnumber, its subscribers.

    Other mascot-based communities that were created in r/birdteams' image include r/ungulateteams, r/theplunderhood, and r/EvilLeagueofEvil. The latter community will be supporting the Ravens' Super Bowl XLVII opponents, the San Francisco 49ers.

    Photo via Splanky222/imgur

    While community members love all the bird teams, most appear to flock to the Seahawks in particular. An online poll conducted by albinobluesheep revealed that roughly 35% of members identified with the Seattle team, 18% favored the Eagles, Falcons, or Ravens, 7% simply favored "Other," and only 3% showed support for the Cardinals.

    "The Cardinals fans stand out, because there are so few of them, so when they comment, it's a 'rare' sighting," albinobluesheep said.

    Like any football community, r/birdteams diligently followed the 2012 NFL season. Weekly predictions and stats were shared, losses and dreadful records were mourned, and, of course, victories were celebrated. The subreddit even took a page from fantasy football's playbook and assembled "bird dream teams." However, one moment stands out from the rest as far as r/birdteams is concerned: Each time the mighty New England Patriots squared off against a bird team, they were handed a defeat.

    "The fact that the common denominator in those 5 Patriot losses was the other team having a bird for a mascot would have been ignored any other year, but it's a point of pride instead," albinobluesheep said. "Even over in the Patriots community there was a post titled 'WHAT IS IT WITH BIRD TEAMS?!' or something like that."

    Fellow moderator CoCo26 agreed.

    "Pretty crazy that the Cardinals and Eagles managed to beat one of the top teams in the league, even if it was preseason," CoCo26 stated.

    Photo via aquaknox/imgur

    Obviously, anyone in r/birdteams will tell you that the Ravens will best the 49ers during the big Sunday showdown. But are there any official predictions from the community? Certainly not from albinobluesheep:

    "Seeing as Nate Silver managed to mis-predict BOTH teams in the Super Bowl, I don't have a chance at getting the score right. Not even going to try and touch that."

    Regardless of which team leaves Super Bowl XLVII toting the Vince Lombardi Trophy, r/birdteams already scored a touchdown by giving football fans something new and unique to cheer.

    "I personally have really enjoyed having 4 new teams to root for this season, and I think that is what makes these 'Mascot based' communities fun; it gives (for me at least) you an excuse to enjoy watching more football," albinobluesheep said.

    Finally, with the teams of the NFL expanding almost every year, what would r/birdteams like to see as the latest addition? Albinobluesheep's suggestion would place the new team right in the city hosting Super Bowl XLVII: New Orleans.

    The NBA already took the name: the New Orleans Pelicans.

    Photo via Keith Allison/Flickr

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