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Recent Society articles from Daily Dot

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    Warning: This article contains sexually explicit material.

    Jamie TT has blonde hair, blue eyes, and a devilish, porn star smile—the type that looks at you coyly and tells you, in the most seductive, smokey voice that she's yours if the price is right.

    "I'm a horny and very dirty little girl with an HD cam and a desire to get you off," she writes on her Adult Work profile page. "My pictures are just total filth."

    Jamie makes her money stripping naked for strangers online. She has an account on Adult Work, and she says that pays the bills.

    "I just converted my spare room into a studio for work," she told me. "It's great. I love it."

    Jamie stands 5'3", enjoys dinner dates and "anal play," and she regularly takes part in girl-on-girl scenes on camera. She's been an Adult Work cam girl since she first filled out her Wishlist in April 2011, but lately she's been cruising other corners—like Stream Mate, Cam Models, and Reddit’s r/GirlsGoneBitcoin.

    For the uninitiated, r/GirlsGoneBitcoin is the online iteration of Amsterdam's Red Light District, a "Mature Audiences Only" destination that users flock to in an effort to snoop pictures of female redditors in progressing states of undress. In exchange, the redditors tip the girls in Bitcoin, the online currency that's governmentally unregulated, untraceable, and altogether unwieldy.

    The subreddit locked in at 700 core subscribers when the Daily Dot first profiled it last May. Thirteen months later, the population of r/GirlsGoneBitcoin has swelled to more than 2,500 users.

    R/GirlsGoneBitcoin' has gone through with somewhat of a facelift, both in makeup and in models. What was once a bare-bones subreddit with the look of the social news site's front page now has its own thumbnail icon in the top left; a bigger, almost Cabaret Club-styled logo on the right; and a fancy new interface for the submissions each girl posts.

    It also has a new crop of girls—professionals like Jamie TT—who get naked for more than a hobby.

    Much of that change could be attributed to the runaway success that Bitcoin has experienced over the course of the past few months. Once relegated to drug traders and online gamblers in dark corners of the Web, the currency is now seeing the development of ATMs, banks, and government-appointed regulation positions, driven in part by Cyprus’s banking emergency and Spain’s economic crisis.

    The value of Bitcoin has increased tremendously over that same time span. Once traded at about $5 US, bitcoins are now converting at a rate of one for every $162, at last check. Online gambling has adopted the currency. So have some pizza shops. In March, venture capitalists invested more than $3 million into the development of Bitcoin-related startups.

    Bitcoin is legitimizing, leaving a trail of panties and used kleenex in its path.

    Jamie TT was "flicking through random webpages" when she came across r/GirlsGoneBitcoin.

    "It seemed like I could make bitcoin from the work that I already do," she said. It felt like the perfect fit. She logged on and got her account verified, writing to the subscribers that she can do Skype shows "and sell you items of used clothes if that's what you like."

    A few hours later, she'd posted a 60-image gallery that finds her in a wide array of compromising positions. She's licking her feet in some, spread eagle on a black bed in others. In one particularly graphic photo posted, Jamie is crouching down on her knees and elbows while she looks into the camera and sucks on a dildo.

    "I can see the other girls on r/GirlsGoneBitcoin," she wrote. "They tend not to show all, cover their faces, et cetera.

    "I guess I'm in a different standard. This is my work. I'll bear all!"

    Jamie's not alone. An entire flock of more professionally minded strippers have jumped over to r/GirlsGoneBitcoin.

    "I learned about r/GirlsGoneBitcoin through my husband," wrote Sierra, a 25-year-old from Oklahoma who one day hopes to start her own business. "We've both been interested in bitcoin for some time and he found out that there is a bitcoin version of the r/GirlsGoneWild subreddit.

    "The subreddit, as well as r/Decrypto and r/GuysGoneBitcoin, appear to be a fun and relatively safe place where we can enjoy our exhibitionist sides while being appreciated through tips as a bonus."

    Online exhibitionism is nothing new to Sierra or her husband Victor. The two regularly log on to online fap forum Chaturbate "as a way to pay rent and bills as well as have a little fun," but Sierra just started posting to r/GirlsGoneBitcoin after learning about the online currency's newfound value. She's received only one tip so far, for .01 bitcoin ($1.34), from a man who goes on Reddit by the name of SatOnMyNutsAgain.

    "Stripping in person does not have the same appeal due to its lack of freedom," Sierra wrote. "Bitcoin is flexible and easy to use once you understand the basics. We just don't have the audience yet, and it's hard to grow one."

    The same can't be said for Jamie TT, whose posts have started to move towards the top of the r/GirlsGoneBitcoin ranks. (Content on Reddit is democratized, with positioning determined by an internal voting system.) Her professionalism and penchant for posting high-definition, potentially Photoshopped images of herself could usher in a new era for the subreddit, one in which professional models and cam girls move in and start stealing tips from the community's amateurish models.

    Jamie suggests that's still a ways away, but she's ruling nothing out.

    "I doubt the pornstars in London and my old work colleagues will get involved" right now, she said. "The tips are too low for them, to be honest. They tend to want fees and wages for their work.

    "I'm just playing about on the site to see if I can earn, and so far it's working!"

    Photo via JamieTT/Reddit


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    It's hard to imagine what's more concerning: that a 17-year-old boy in Northern Ireland assumed the identity of his older brother so that he could have sex with a drunk and unsuspecting woman, or that he was so enamored with himself after the fact that he posted a story about the incident on Facebook—and the post received more than 1,200 likes.

    Either way, that's exactly the course of action that's transpired on the Holyland LAD Stories Facebook page, a page dedicated to publicizing wild and generally offbeat stories that emerge out of Belfast's popular student district. 

    According to the Belfast Telegraph, police are now investigating a since-deleted Facebook post that tells the tale of a 17-year-old who lied about his identity and told a girl that he was his brother so that the girl would have sex with him. 

    It wasn't until after they'd completed the act that he revealed his true likeness, a truth that's at once tasteless and potentially criminal. According to Section 10 of Northern Ireland's 2008 sexual offenses order, a sexual act can become an instance of rape if the perpetrator impersonates another individual without making that impersonation clear to the victim.

    It's called rape by deception, and Belfast Rape Crisis Centre employee Padraigin Drinan told the Telegraph "There is no grey area." 

    "If a woman has sex with her boyfriend's brother in darkness, when he has led her to believe he is actually his brother, then the crime of rape has been committed."

    Police are taking the issue seriously, but Holyland LAD Stories' 22,600 fans have taken a different stance on the subject. They're used to stories that trivialize slavery and poke fun at wayward masturbators. Rarely does a moral compass come into play. 

    Still, 1,200 showing their appreciation for what is verified as rape is a little disturbing, though perhaps not altogether surprising. It was just a few months ago that athletes in Steubenville, Ohio, mocked a 16-year-old rape victim on YouTube. And more recently, a social media campaign defending alleged rapists in Torrington, Conn., made national news.

    "It's sickening to think that someone boasts on Facebook of a horrific crime, real or imaginary, and so many educated young people then cheer him on," Drinan said. 

    Administrators for Holyland LAD Stories' Facebook page did not respond to the Daily Dot's request for comment. 

    Photo via Holyland LAD Stories/Facebook


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    It's never easy to realize your dream, especially when that dream is to become the first human disposable sanitary napkin.

    via DeviantArt

    "Pad Gardner," as he calls himself, works at a movie theater in Panama City, Florida. A former theater major, he's a huge Twilight fan and an ardent gay-rights supporter. He loves vampires and werewolves. Next month he's doing a walk across America to raise awareness for his favorite cause: teaching women to avoid Toxic Shock Syndrome from tampons.

    He sees a psychiatrist and a therapist regularly, perhaps to work through the sexual abuse he discusses on his YouTube channel, TheFemininePad. He's also active on Google+, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and DeviantArt, posting regular updates and talking with his followers.

    At the start of 2013, Gardner made four resolutions:

    1. To get my legal first name changed to Pad.
    2. To start preparing for life as a feminine pad.
    3. To set a world record for having the largest pad collection.
    4. To become a pink disposable feminine pad.

    Risking ridicule, alienation, and backlash, Gardner has been diligently reaching out across a myriad of social networks looking for friends to support him in his ultimate goal: to serve his purpose for eight hours as an overnight pad (preferably a Kotex).

    He says he can't talk to coworkers for fear of harassment, and he hasn't spoken to any members of his family since July, but nothing has dissuaded him from pursuing his dream of one night absorbing a woman's menstrual blood.

    For research, Gardner collects feminine pads and spends hours meticulously photographing them from every possible angle. He says he's working on setting a world record for the largest collection of pads. "Currently I own 1407 pads and 57 packs of pads. … I am planning to donate myself and all the pads in the collection to women in need of pads once I have become a pad finally," he writes on his YouTube About page and DeviantArt account, which houses a gallery full of his explorations into feminine hygiene. 

    As evidenced in the Q&A session on his YouTube channel, Gardner knows more details about the history and dynamics of feminine products than many women do. He also fully supports women who use tampons and menstrual cups—whatever makes them feel more comfortable.

    But for himself, Gardner seems to have made up his mind about his long-term goal: he wants to become an overnight pad, preferably Kotex because of their association with the color pink, his favorite. After that? He'll spend the rest of his existence as a disposed pad, contemplating the joy he experienced at having fulfilled his ultimate purpose.

    So, uh, is this real?

    Yes. While it might be easy to assume that Pad Gardner is trolling, he's absolutely serious about both achieving his personal goal and using his many social platforms to raise awareness and benefit women. His walk across the U.S., to "promote pad usage, and to prevent [Toxic Shock Syndrome] related to tampon use," begins next month.

    While Gardner says he can't talk about his goal to any but the most open-minded of friends, he seems to have gotten an influx of bemused but supportive followers. "What are some things that I need to know about with being a feminine pad?" he recently asked Twitter

    "It could get messy (lolwtf)," was the sole reply.

    Illustration by AFemininePad/DeviantArt

    In addition to changing his name to "Pad" (because other pads don't have identities or names), Gardner says he wants to be treated like "any other normal pad, which probably means getting tossed into the trash," after which he expects to exist as any other sanitary napkin would: contemplating his existence and the joy of life.

    "Hopefully Soon I Will Be in the Pad Pack" is the title of one photo in his DeviantArt gallery. It shows an open package of pads, "a view of where I hope to be very soon."

    Photo via DeviantArt

    I've heard of something called Otherkin before. Does this count?

    Yes and no. Otherkin are an increasingly acknowledged, increasingly open community of people who believe that they are, and have always been, non-human in some way. Kin come in all varieties: animalkin (often known as "therian"), zombiekin, vampirekin, dragonkin, werekin, and elfkin, for examples. There are even offshoot variants of the Otherkin lifestyle called Fictionkin, comprising otakukin, fictives, and factives. These are people who believe that they are actually fictional characters from anime, fantasy, or other stories. 

    There are even Otherkin who, like Gardner, believe that they are really plants and inanimate objects, yet these are rarer.

    "I have met people who have identified as machines... and know some who identify as mollusks and anthropods, in particular species which are typically thought to lack the intelligence required to translate to human identity," writes the owner of Kinspeak on Tumblr. "However, these people still believe themselves to be internally these things, often because they know deep inside that it is right."

    Photo via DeviantArt

    There seems to be some key differences, however, between Otherkin and Pad Gardner. Most Otherkin realize that they identify as non-human, in a process of unearthing a true self; Gardner, however, seems to be actively working to become the object he has identified with. 

    Another difference involves physical transformation. While he has not specifically discussed how he'll transform physically, it seems to be a core part of his goal, which he calls "a huge transition in my life."  The concept of being otherkin has ties to the spirit and animal worship of religions across the world; but while such worship is often metaphysical in nature, most Otherkin don't believe in physical transformation. The Otherkin Alliance, for example, holds the belief that "physical shapeshifting isn't possible." 

    Many Otherkin view their identities as otherkin as something that happens in another dimension, a semi-real magical state that allows them to assume their true form. While they inhabit their human states, many Kin live as close to their non-human states as possible, often forming communities to do everything from dating to eating while remaining as close to their non-human states as they can. But Gardner seems to be fascinated with the actual physical nature of a pad. He seems to give little focus to the practice of living as if he is able to absorb blood and fit in a box with a dozen other Kotex. Metaphysics doesn't seem to be on the cards.

    Photo via DeviantArt

    What is the religion of a man who wants to become a pad?

    Recently, pip-says-hi on Tumblr wrote an eloquent description of Otherkin's connection to religion: 

    [T]he entire concept of Otherkin basically boils down to the belief that what makes us US, what shapes and defines who we are, is more than flesh and blood and bone. ... It’s the same foundation that practically every religion in existence has ever used. Christians and Hindus and Muslims and Buddhists and Wiccans and Satanists and… all of them. That’s the entire point of religion, isn’t it? It tells us that there’s something more to the universe that being born, fucking around for a few years, and then being tossed aside into the grave.

    Gardner's identity likewise has a strong religious component: He's a member of a branch of goddess worship known as Yoni Tantra ("yoni" means "vagina" in Sanskrit). It's likely that the religion grew out of his interest in pads; Tantra involves religious sexual rituals and Gardner says he's wanted to be a pad since he was 10.

    The Yoni Tantra teaches how to properly contemplate the womb of the goddess, and it's a stanza Gardner has taken to heart:

    "Meditate as being absorbed in the yoni [chakra],
    with yoni on the tongue,
    yoni in the mind,
    yoni in the ears
    and yoni in the eyes.
    All sadhana [life purpose] is vain unless with the yoni."

    Gardner imagines that when he's no longer useful, he'll spend his post-menstrual existence at the bottom of a dumpster. But the time will be ecstatic: He'll have lived out his purpose.


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    If you don’t know who Margaret Thatcher was, think of her as the British equivalent of Ronald Reagan. Both spent the 1980s leading a major English-speaking world power (she was prime minister of the United Kingdom, he the president of the United States), and both were considerably more conservative than their predecessors. That’s why, to this day, they’re both utterly loathed by the political left wings of their respective countries.

    Also: if it’s only the year 2013, and you’re a British or American citizen old enough to need two digits when you write your age, you really ought to know who these people were because, seriously: They were the ones running your country only one generation ago.

    Which is why history teachers across the English-speaking world engaged in mass facepalming on Monday, after the news media reported the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and a huge portion of the Internet responded: “Who?

    First came members of the Twitterati confusing Thatcher with hippie-musician-turned-movie-star Cher, by reading the hashtag #Nowthatchersdead as “now that Cher’s dead” rather than “now Thatcher’s dead.”

    Certain Twitter fans of the boyband One Direction achieved viral fame over their complete ignorance of Britain’s only female prime minister, or even of the fact that she was a “she.”  Perhaps the tweet “may he rest in peace” was merely a typo missing an “s,” but that excuse won’t work for the young man who saw the question “Who’s that” and responded “It’s market thatcher something to do with our queen.”

    Not that One Direction fans have any monopoly on Thatcher ignorance. A new Tumblr called“Wait, who is Margaret Thatcher anyway?” never actually answers that question, but instead collects examples of people asking it. Like this tweet, which asks “Am I the only one who doesn’t know who Margaret Thatcher is or what she’s done wrong?”

    No, you’re not. So far, the online response is turning out pretty much the way Martin Belam predicted it would last December, when he tweeted this pie chart showing “What Twitter will look like on the day that Thatcher dies.”

    Young people asking who Thatcher was get just under a quarter of the pie. We thought this article here fell under the purple category, “Journalists looking on Twitter for young people tweeting ‘Who is Thatcher’ to write stories about ‘the ignorant youth of today’,” but many of the confused tweets we saw seem to come from people older than we are.

    Photo via Joybot/Flickr


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    If you're not following Amanda Bynes on Twitter right now, you are missing out on some truly macabre cabaret.

    One year ago, in the wee hours of April 6, 2012 the former Nickelodeon star was driving her black BMW through West Hollywood when she attempted to pass a police cruiser. Instead of passing the car, she sideswiped it. An officer on the scene suspected Bynes had been drinking, and arrested her for driving under the influence.

    Since then, Bynes has weathered a derecho of legal storms (including two charges of hit-and-runs, which she later settled out of court). She's been dropped by her lawyer, publicist, and agent. She's moved from Los Angeles (her hometown) to New York City. She's inserted microdermal anchors into both her cheeks. She was possibly evicted from her condo, or maybe wasn't. She might be living in the W Hotel in Times Square or, at any rate, smoking pants-less in its gym.

    She's also started maintaining a berserk Twitter account.

    Sometimes the tweets that come from@AmandaBynes are funny in a crazy sort of way, like when she tweeted that she wanted rapper Drake to murder her vagina.

    Sometimes they're strange and sad, like when she announced on Thursday that she has an eating disorder.

    Sometimes they give specific instructions regarding use of the bizarre selfies she posts to Twitter. (Though she tweets several pictures of herself every week, it's hard to remember the last time we actually saw her face. In the images, her features are always half obscured by some combination giant sunglasses, her hand holding her phone, or the flash of the camera bouncing off a mirror.)

    Separately, each tweet feels like it's come out of left field. But what happens when all the tweets are out of left field? Left field seems to be the only position Amanda Bynes is playing.

    But what exactly is going on with Amanda Bynes? It's not clear. Here are the theories:

    The Double-Bynes Theory

    Adopted by: Amanda Bynes
    Monday, April 1:
    This past Monday, paparazzi snapped several shots of Amanda Bynes walking around New York City carrying a FedEx envelope. She appeared disheveled in the pictures, wearing sweats, tons of rings, and socks with sandals. Her hair was dyed a dark, reddish pink with what looked like washable dye (possibly Otter Pops). On Tuesday, Bynes was photographed again in virtually the same outfit, though she had lost the socks and added a Rolex. Her purple Otter Pop hair had faded to a light, brownish pink.

    That night, in a series of now-deleted Tweets, Bynes denied that it was her in the photographs ("I don't own those clothes and I'm blonde! Haha!") and suggested that there was an impostor-Bynes impersonating her ("My hair is blonde I've never been a redhead! Somebody keeps posing as me! Check my photos on twitter for up to date pictures!").

    If there is a purple-haired witch impersonating Bynes on the streets of New Amsterdam in the middle of the day for no clear reason, she'd very dedicated to her craft. They even have all the same jewelry (including cheek studs). But it's probably just Bynes.

    The Hacked Bynes Theory

    Adopted by: People who believe a celebrity checking in to rehab for "exhaustion" is really "exhausted"
    Because the @AmandaBynes twitter handle is unverified and tweets a lot of insane things, some have wondered whether it is the actress' real account. Bynes is currently without public representation (depriving us of even "a rep for Bynes had no comment"), which makes it even harder to contact her (unless you do it through her Twitter account, which may or may not be real).

    As a rule, media outlets are treating the account as Bynes' own. For one thing, she posts a ton of pictures herself that come from no other obvious source. And if she had, indeed, been hacked, it's hard to believe she would have let the incident proceed so long without somehow addressing it. (If she's ready to break her radio silence, she can always turn to her friends at tips@gawker.)

    The Total Meltdown Theory

    Adopted by: Most people
    Rumors of Bynes' alleged mental breakdown began swirling long before she started gaining attention for her erratic Twitter feed. Back in October, the Hollywood Reporter ran an in-depth article that suggested Bynes' increasingly unpredictable behavior stemmed from her frustration over being typecast in teen-queen roles. The story pointed to Bynes' abrupt resignation from production of the 2011 comedy Hall Pass (the actress maintains she left due to a scheduling conflict, however there were rumors she was fired for behaving unpredictably) as either "symptomatic of or the beginning of her precipitous decline."

    Initially, it was difficult to determine how much of the strong public reaction to her perceived "odd" behavior was justified. (During her infamous Cupcake Shop meltdown, a firefighter became concerned when Bynes locked herself in a public bathroom, while another witness commented that her demeanor seemed normal.) However, as more and more reports of strange interactions rolled in (Amanda Bynes replaced all the lightbulbs in her apartment with red bulbs; Amanda Bynes left a hair salon without paying), it became harder to deny that something was off.

    The Rising from the Ashes Like a Joaquin Phoenix Theory

    Adopted by: People whose perceptions of reality were forever altered by Joaquin Phoenix's stint as "Joaquin Phoenix: Crazy Version"
    This theory is grounded in the idea proposed in the Hollywood Reporter profile: that Bynes' breakdown was prompted by her frustrations at getting passed over for darker, more mature roles. This reading is generous to Bynes because it gives her agency for her crazy. It also suggests that she should be wrapping up her whirlwind tour of madness any day now.

    If Amanda Bynes' strange new persona is an attempt to launch a smear campaign against herself, it's been very successful, as evidenced by articles like the one you are reading wondering just what happened to her. Further, it does seem to have come out of nowhere; by all accounts, prior to her abrupt departure from the Hall Pass cast in 2010 (at which time she also announced, and then un-announced, her retirement from acting), Bynes was a dream to work with; grounded, normal, and very professional. If this is a calculated act, Bynes is a great actress.

    (We should note that Phoenix famously appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman to introduce his "character" to the world; Bynes, who was described by Forbes in 2005 as the fifth-highest paid kids star, has given no formal interview for years. The closest she's come was her infamous "25 Things You Didn't Know About Me" feature for Us Weekly this past February, in which she basically admitted to having an eating disorder.)

    Of course, even if we take Amanda Bynes' tweets at face value, we can't take them at face value. She's an unreliable narrator.

    On St. Patrick's Day, she tweeted that she "created the phrase [sic] Ily & lololol," which seems unlikely. On Tuesday April 2, she tweeted that she'd never had red hair, although her mugshotproves otherwise.

    On February 25, she tweeted that she had a new puppy named Jasmine, adding "I can't wait to show pix!" Jasmine was never mentioned again.

    There were never any pix.

    By Caity Weaver | Photos via @AmandaBynes/Twitter // Art by Jim Cooke


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    The Internet brings together many communities—anime fans, bronies, cosplayers, gamers, gaymers, hacktivists, slacktivists. So of course there's an online group devoted to gaping bodily wounds. 

    Wound care specialists Dr. Jeffrey A. Niezgoda and Sharon Baranoski are the minds behind Wound Wire and its monthly Web program, Wound Rounds Live. On the last Wednesday of each month, Niezgoda and Baranoski host a live broadcast of the series, presented as a typical morning news-magazine show—about wounds.

    "We're going to bring you everything that has anything to do with the world of wounds!" Niezgoda proclaims in the Wound Wire introductory video.

    According to its website, each episode of Wound Rounds Live details "new technologies, products and devices, clinical insight, new procedures, and robust literature reviews covering every aspect of wound care." While the average person cannot stomach the mere sight of a wound—let alone the associated pain—Niezgoda and Baranoski apparently could not be more thrilled with them.

    Almost every episode is over an hour long.

    Yes, these folks discuss festering, painful wounds—with very generous close-up photographs and video—for over 60 straight minutes.

    I couldn't help but gather some of the more memorable moments of Wound Rounds Live. You will probably lose your appetite. Sorry.

    In this promotional segment, Dr. Niezgoda asks the age-old question "Have you ever tried to see a wound from the inside out?" He explains what Wound Rounds Live will explore while participating in some of the worst green-screen technology since 1950s driving scenes. 

    One of the program's regular features is "Wheel of Wounds," a game show segment wherein the hosts randomly choose a wound to highlight. Bob Barker informing midwestern senior citizens that they won a new car has nothing on Dr. Niezgoda's excited utterance of the phrase "diabetic foot ulcer."

    Another segment of Wound Rounds Live involves detailed discussion of proper medical terminology for wounds and wound care. Such extensive vocabulary is apparently too much for Niezgoda and Baranoski to handle on their own, so they call upon the services of the "Lit Crit" (at roughly 3 minutes and 35 seconds into the video).

    Who is the Lit Crit? It's a 3-D animated character that appears to have been designed by a freshman in a community college's graphic design program. It sports a tail and ears but does not look like any animal that has ever existed. The Lit Crit also wears a suit and speaks with a thick British accent.

    What would an hour-long webseries dedicated exclusively to wounds be without political commentary? Prior to the 2012 presidential election, Dr. Niezgoda used Wound Rounds Live's "Talking Points" segment to discuss Barack Obama and Mitt Romney and how their platforms related to, of course, wound care.

    Finally, Wound Rounds Live closed 2012 with a special holiday-themed episode, complete with our hosts enjoying the comforts of two very fake chairs. They are joined by a noticeably underweight Santa (whose surname is spelled "Klaus"). Santa has a wound of his own to show off.

    Finally, don't you wish you could have such amazing wound-care footage without all the hassles of a computer? Your wait is over! The entire first season of Wound Rounds Live is available as a DVD box set.

    Sure, the video to market the box set features no ordering or pricing information, but don't let such minor details stop you. After all, it can apparently spin around on its own if you place it against a colorful background.

    And of course, there's a blooper reel. It's comedy gold. 

    Photo via YouTube


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    If Disney has, in fact, stolen the artwork of a popular fanartist, the floodgates could open on a whole new discussion about plagiarism, copyright, and protection for fanwork.

    Katie Woodger is an illustration student from England, currently studying in Japan. She’s well-known on DeviantART and Tumblr. And she has a breakout memetic hit: a portrait of a girl in an Alice-blue dress who’s standing on the other side of a mirror, painting roses white instead of red.

    Woodger’s artwork, which was posted in 2010, is very clearly fanart of Lewis Carroll’s childhood classic Alice in Wonderland. It’s so popular that several people have had it tattooed on their bodies, as Woodger showcased on her blog in 2012.

    But is it also fanart of the Disney movie of the same name? And if so, does Disney have the right to take Woodger’s image and use it on their own merchandise?

    In a post that’s garnered over 40,000 notes in 24 hours, Woodger alerted Tumblr to the fact that the House of Mouse apparently took her well-known artwork and put it on a canvas Alice bag that otherwise displays images clearly recognizable as belonging to the Disney film.

    Woodger notes that Disney also has a t-shirt with a very similar design model to the one on the bag; but while the t-shirt does have some distinct features and a different drawing style, the canvas bag is very clearly an exact copy of Woodger’s art, as if someone simply lifted it and screened it onto the canvas.

    Photo via katiewoodgerillustration/Blogspot

    Despite the fact that it's built its name largely on animated feature films that borrow from stories in the public domain, Disney has always been notoriously stringent about enforcing its own copyrights and trademarked images. The behemoth lobbied for the "Mickey Mouse Protection Act" that pushed the date of copyright expiration from 50 years after the creator’s death to 70 years after death. And it’s long been known for aggressively pursuing copyright claims—it’s only been a few months since Disney sent a cease-and-desist letter to the creators of a comic once published by Marvel, in an attempt to assert that it was Disney, not the creators, who owned it.

    Disney has come under fire for plagiarism before, such as when, a decade after its release, people began to talk about the marked similarities of characters and composition between The Lion King and famed animator Osama Tezuka’s Kimba the White Lion, which the company never acknowledged or credited.

    In this case, Disney seems to be banking on trademark, while Woodger has what is essentially a copyright case: Alice is in the public domain, so Woodger should own the copyright to her original art of the character,

    Ironically, it’s Disney who usually tries to make a clear distinction between copyright and trademark, as evidenced by this cheeky copyright tutorial using only Disney characters:

    But even if Woodger’s claim to the art seems fairly straightforward, calling out one of the biggest companies in Hollywood is far less so; and right now Woodger seems overwhelmed. In a post made earlier today, she stated that she had contacted Disney and was awaiting a response. In the meantime, she declared that she was turning off her inbox and asked that people stop contacting them on her behalf. Our request for comment went unreturned.

    The word is already out, however; and it looks like the Twilight Bark to hold Disney accountable for their questionable choices when it comes to dealing with copyright may not be silenced any time soon.

    Photo via katiewoodger/Tumblr


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    The transsexual porn star whose videos were recently spotted being pirated by an unidentified downloader in Vatican City was psyched to find out that someone in the Catholic Church’s holiest city was getting off to her work.

    "I was quite surprised," 2012 Nightmoves magazine transexual performer of the year Tiffany Starr told the Daily Dot. "I woke up in the morning, and someone told me right away that the news was in the New York Post. I think it's funny, and I think it's really cool. I really like that my work is reaching out so far that even people in the Vatican are enjoying my work."

    The adult performer—along with a harem of others—was recently discovered to be the apple of the Vatican City's collective eye after TorrentFreak took a look under the hood of the download histories belonging to a series of IP addresses that traced back to the Holy See.

    The Daily Dot wrote about the discovery on Monday. A few hours later, Tiffany reached out to us on Twitter through her publicist and agreed to a phone interview.

    Photo via TiffanyStarrXXX/Twitter

    Tiffany Starr lives in Dallas, Texas and seems like a pretty nice person. If transsexual porn's your thing, we highly recommend her work—based solely on the content of her character.

    We can't say anything about the quality of her porn.

    Daily Dot: The video in question is called "TSPH: Tiffany Starr and Sheena Shaw." (Transsexual Pussy Hunters.) Of all the videos you've made in the adult business, is this the one you're most excited to see get downloaded within the Vatican?

    That's a good clip to view. It's a great scene that's hot and sexy. It's off one of my favorite sites, and I would have been fine if it was any scene from TSPH.

    DD: Do you believe that the Catholic Church should amend their stance towards sex and pornography?

    I think it should. It just seems like some of the Christian values seem aggressive, but you look at others and it seems like they're taking two steps back. I feel like, if they were a little more open about it, that they'd find it's better and healthier to express their sexuality. I'm hoping that, as time passes, sexuality will become more and more accepted within the Christian community.

    DD: I love that your official statement included the phrase 'thou shalt not steal.'

     It's true. What they're doing is stealing. It's throwing it back in their face, but it's true. Practice what you preach.

    DD: What do you do to combat the piracy?

    On my personal site, I have a few people who help me look around online and eliminate pirated content. We have one guy who does nothing but look around for illegally hosted content. Personally, I try to provide my fans with free content that they can't illegally download, like free weekly shows for members and events that encourage people to join the site.

    DD: Have you turned to Vine? Porn stars are really getting into Vine lately.

    No, I'm not even sure what it is.

    DD: You might want to think about Vine.

    I will get on Vine.

    Photo via Tiffany Starr TS/Facebook


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    Did you know that only the first five tags you use in any given Tumblr post are searchable?  

    If not, don’t worry. While Tumblr has a Tips page, most don’t know it exists, and it only scratches the surface of potential shortcuts and tricks—features like the ability to display your tags in chronological order, to browse your dash using keystrokes instead of the scroll bar, and to view only the photos on your dash by appending the word "photos" to the tumblr.com url string. (Try it and be amazed.)

    Over the years, Tumblr users have have stumbled across these kinds of discoveries and passed them on to their friends, creating through countless reblogs a rough wiki of sorts.

    Below, we present some of the best and most basic navigational and communicative functions of Tumblr that you probably don’t know about.

    1) You can keep Tumblr from truncating long text posts.

    Tumblr's default behavior when reblogging long text posts is to reblog them as links instead. If you want your readers to have the full context of what you're reblogging in order for it to make sense, there’s actually an easy fix this.

    To make sure long posts get reblogged as text—or to truncate them if you only want to link to a shorter text post—go to the top right corner of the post and click the icon next to your settings.

    The drop-down menu will give you the option to change the format of the post. If you have a text post, clicking "Reblog as text" will retain the text of the post up until its original "read more" line.

    2) How to grab a permalink of a post on your dash.

    Frustrated that you can never access a direct permalink to any post on your Tumblr dash? You can. See that little flappy top right corner? Click on it.  

    3) You don't need to insert a blank .gif at the bottom of your photosets in order to show full-sized photos.

    By default on Tumblr, most photos appear in thumbnail form on your dashboard.

    To get around this, many Tumblr users have evolved a complicated workaround that involves creating a single-pixel, transparent GIF and uploading it along with the picture they want to display. Uploading the transparent GIF. will automatically stretch your photo to the fullest size when being displayed.

    Our tip: There's already a workaround for this. Just go to your settings, select the Dashboard, and click "show full-size photos."

    Save, and voila!

    4) Allow anyone to reply to any of your posts directly from the dash.

    For reasons no one can fathom, replying to people on Tumblr is a tricky thing. Sometimes you can't reply until you've had someone friended longer than two weeks. Sometimes you can't reply with photos. It's a strange world. But one thing is certain: sticking a “?” in your post will cause this happy little message to pop up for readers:

    Check the box and profit.

    5) Make sure you tag posts with people's Tumblr usernames

    Since personal messages and communication are often lost in the noise of a busy Tumblr dashboard, many people have evolved the method of tagging other Tumblr users' usernames to alert them when there's a post they want them to see. That way, a user can browse posts tagged with their name and catch up on any messages they might have missed.

    However, since Tumblr only makes the first five tags visible in a search, if you're not careful, you might tag them on a post they never see, simply because you didn't include them in the first five tags you used. Another factor to consider is that only the most recent 200 tags of a search show up, so if you've tagged someone with "Jane," their name might get lost in the crowd.

    Helpful hint: If you have a generic username, you might end up browsing a number of unrelated posts instead of the ones that are actually directed at you. In such cases, it's helpful to put a note on your Tumblr homepage alerting people that there's a different tag they can use to alert you to their posts.

    6) Use "/chrono" to browse your own tags in chronological order.

    On any given page of a Tumblr user, add "/chrono" to the end of a url string and browse to your hearts content from the beginning of their journal, or your own.

    Similar to the Tumblr /chrono function, you can also search through a Tumblr by date using “http://username.tumblr.com/day/YEAR/MONTH/DAY”.

    Note: These only work on individual Tumblrs, not on general tag browsing.

    7) Tumblr.com/photos lets you see a mosaic of photos on your dash.

    Just append /photos to tumblr.com and view only the photos on your dash in pretty tile form.

    8) Filter your dash by type by using "/show/[mediatype]".

    Appending “/show/text” to tumblr.com will let you see only the text posts on your dash.

    This also works for photos, links, quotes, audio, chats, and videos.

    9) Send asks to users directly from your dash.

    By mousing over a user's icon you can send them messages or unfollow them.

    10) Don't want to spam your dash with a bunch of asks at once?

    Go to your inbox and open a reply box to any message.  Now hold down your "alt" key and WATCH THE MAGIC HAPPEN. It will add the asak to a queue instead.

    11) Know your limits.

    Tumblr inserts arbitrary limits for what you can do on a daily basis. The most frequently encountered are:

    • The posting limit. You can post or reblog no more than 250 posts a day, and only 75 of them can be photos. The day ends at midnight EST.
    • The friending limit. As many people discovered during the Mishapocalypse, you can only friend between 250-300 people on Tumblr in a day.
    • The queue limit. The queue can only hold 300 posts at one time.
    • Tthe ask limit. You can only send 10 asks within a single hour, and only 5 of them can be anonymous.

    12) Recover your old custom themes.

    You can get many of your old customizations back by visiting this link. You might have to play around with the settings to get the ones you want, but this will let you revert back to a previous theme without having to browse through the many available themes trying to find the one you used to have.

    It's simply not possible to cover all the ins and outs of Tumblr in one tips post, but if we've left out your favorite tip for better tumblring, be sure to let us know in comments!

    H/T to apriki and tsunderecapricorn

    Photo by hudiokalemwa/deviantART


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    UPDATE: ComiXology has updated its website to clarify that they misinterpreted Apple's content policy and will be releasing the issue of Saga. This is the statement from ComiXology CEO David Steinberger:

    In the last 24 hours there has been a lot of chatter about Apple banning Saga #12 from our Comics App on the Apple App Store due to depictions of gay sex. This is simply not true, and we’d like to clarify.

    As a partner of Apple, we have an obligation to respect its policies for apps and the books offered in apps.  Based on our understanding of those policies, we believed that Saga #12 could not be made available in our app, and so we did not release it today.

    We did not interpret the content in question as involving any particular sexual orientation, and frankly that would have been a completely irrelevant consideration under any circumstance.

    Given this, it should be clear that Apple did not reject Saga #12.

    After hearing from Apple this morning, we can say that our interpretation of its policies was mistaken. You’ll be glad to know that Saga #12 will be available on our App Store app soon.

    We apologize to Saga creator Brian K. Vaughan and Image Comics for any confusion this may have caused.

    Our original story on the banned comic controvery is below.

    ---

    Warning: This story contains some potentially NSFW images.

    Here's what Apple thinks is acceptable content from Saga, Brian K. Vaughan's acclaimed comic about a forbidden love between two aliens of different races: illustrated scenes of graphic violence, ample nudity, gore, child prostitution, and a close-up on the horrifying private parts of an alien giant.

    Here's what caused Apple to ban issue #12 of Saga, the long-awaited end of its second arc, from its download center: a tiny background image of gay sex.

    Saga is hugely popular with hardcore comic fans, science-fiction fans, and critics alike. It was on numerousbest-of lists at the end of last year. Vaughan is an acclaimed comics writer perhaps best known for creating Y: The Last Man, while artist Fiona Staples has drawn rave reviews for her work in Saga and other series like Gods and Monsters. This issue is the comics equivalent of a season finale: as Word of the Nerd put it in their review, "[I]t wouldn’t be right if [Vaughan] didn’t give us an arc ending that makes you want to cry out in frustration because the book won’t be back on the shelves for a few months."

    So you can guess that readers were shocked, annoyed, and then mad when Vaughan and Staples announced that Apple had banned the comic from its iOS app store—including the very popular Comixology digital comics app—due to inappropriate content.

    "As has hopefully been clear from the first page of our first issue, SAGA is a series for the proverbial “mature reader,”" Vaughan stated in a note issued through Staples' Tumblr.

    Unfortunately, because of two postage stamp-sized images of gay sex, Apple is banning tomorrow’s SAGA #12 from being sold through any iOS apps. This is a drag, especially because our book has featured what I would consider much more graphic imagery in the past, but there you go. Fiona and I could always edit the images in question, but everything we put into the book is there to advance our story, not (just) to shock or titillate, so we’re not changing shit.

    In response to the subsequent uproar from fans, Comic Book Resources released a preview copy of the issue online. In the issue, we see one character attempt to drug another, and one character graphically blow someone’s head off; but the image that caused Apple to ban the comic is a blowjob shown on a tiny display, so small you could easily miss it:

    Illustration by Fiona Staples via Comic Book Resources

    On the website of Image Comics, Saga's publisher, Vaughan urged readers to download Saga #12 directly from Image's own comics store, to buy a copy from their local comic store, and to support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, which works to fight against censorship.

    It's no secret that corporate retailers like Apple and Amazon have been stringent about the contents of their virtual bookshelves in the past. There was that time a "glitch" kept X-rated and queer content from displaying properly on Amazon's search engines, and the numerous times that both Apple and Amazon have said no to manga and other graphic novels because of content deemed too explicit.  

    Apparently independently, comics download provider ComiXology put a "Graphic Content" warning on Saga for both its Apple and Android apps. ComiXology said it was unable to comment to comics news site BleedingCool on its decision.

    Image is familiar with this brouhaha: in 2009 Apple banned issue #1 of Sex by Joe Casey and Peter Kowalski, also published through Image. The issue sold out anyway. And it looks like Saga, already tremendously popular, may actually benefit from the commotion.

    "The best part about all this censorship nonsense regarding #Saga," said Twitter user DoctorFrenchie, "is that even more people are going to read it now." 

    Images via Saga/Comic Book Resources


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    If you find it hard to believe that the head of one of the largest game development companies in the world would come out and label his critics as "a bunch of nerds angry about the ending of Mass Effect 3," there's a reason: He didn't actually say it.

    But that is what Andrew Bridgman, editor of the gaming humor site Dorkly, wishes Electronic Arts COO Peter Moore would have said yesterday, after EA was named "Worst Company in America" for a second year in row by the Consumerist blog.

    "It would have been funny to just see a company come out and drop the pleasant, professional demeanor and just call the bullsh*t," Bridgman said.

    So that's exactly what Bridgman decided to do for EA. After it was announced Tuesday that EA once again "won" Consumerist's March Madness-style poll to determine the least popular brand in the country, beating out Bank of America by a whopping 78 percent in the final vote, Bridgman decided to deliver his own response. Written as an EA press release, the Dorkly editor’s missive took gamers to task for having massively misplaced priorities.

    "I'm not a fan of EA and I'm not defending them, but it's pretty ridiculous to say that they're the worst company," Bridgman told The Daily Dot. "There's a pretty huge gap between EA and Bank of America. EA isn't being sued for billions of dollars over foreclosures."

    EA's actual, much more restrained response was posted on the company’s website Tuesday.

    Bridgman's fully aware of EA's shortcomings (he tried to play SimCity 5 at launch just like the rest of us). But when stacked up against banks that tanked the U.S. economy , a cruise line that left passengers stranded in their own feces and an oil company that's currently cleaning up a major spill in Arkansas, it's hard to justify calling EA the worst of the worst.

    "Releasing a bad SimCity game with iffy support is far more horrible than poisoning entire communities' groundwater or spilling 300,000 gallons of crude oil," the Dorkly statement sarcastically reads.

    But not everyone is getting the joke. Despite appearing as a clearly photoshopped JPEG in Typewriter font, many are still reacting to the post as if it were real.

    "I still don't like EA, but damn that was a sick burn," writes one anonymous poster on a Tumblr reblogging of the statement.

    Another user on 4Chan, which helped lead the effort to make EA the Worst Company in America by encouraging disgruntled gamers to swamp the poll, tore the statement to shreds, seeming to think it was legitimate.

    "No wonder everyone hates you," the user writes. "This is the way you treat the customers who buy your sh*tty games."

    A quick scan of responses to the piece on Twitter shows these commenters aren’t alone. Most of the tweets about the piece praise EA for its bold response.

    Obviously this isn't the first time the Internet has missed the boat on a piece of satire. But Bridgman said he was honestly surprised that people didn’t get it.

    "I just can't believe anyone on the internet still trusts anything," he said. "I think a lot of people just wanted it to be real. Maybe if I had used more cursing more people would have realized it was a joke."

    Photo by Pewt/Flickr


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    It's Judgment Day for the hacker cognoscenti known as LulzSec. First, the "teen queen" of Anonymous pleaded guilty to one count of computer crime—outing herself as a 26-year-old man in the process. Then Jake Davis, known as topiary, a 20-year-old from Scotland, had his guilty plea on multiple DDoS attacks accepted. Ditto London-based tflow, a.k.a. 18-year-old Mustafa Al-Bassam. At 3:30pm ET, accused Stratfor master hacker and longtime anarchist Jeremy Hammond will once again go before Judge Loretta Preska. A noisemaker rally was held outside the courtroom in a show of solidarity.

    We'll call it LulzDay. And who best to give us the Anonymous perspective but Gabriel Baleasa, better known as LulzCart, the Romanian member of LulzSec, surely the highest-profile hacker to have come out of the country since the end of the Cold War?

    When not causing individuals, governments and corporations to erupt with frustration (I know a man whose credit card, hacked by LulzSec, was used to purchase him a horse, just for the lulz), LulzCart is an enthusiastic member of the car-racing community and a Web designer. His latest project is the Free Anons store, where supporters can buy merchandise from tees and flags to posters and albums, and all the profits go to support incarcerated Anons and those fighting for their liberty. He himself has, through a lengthy battle with the court system and with financial support from Free Anons, escaped incarceration, and is now free under certain conditions, effectively on parole for the next six years.

    This is him now: 

    We took the occasion of the launch of the Free Anons store to ask him about the project, his work, and what would happen if Sabu requested help from the Free Anons organization. LulzCart lived up to his name, bringing a shopping cart full of lulz and attitude to our Facebook message exchange ([sic]s all around). It was abruptly truncated when he was suspended from using certain Facebook features; he explained it was because he had been spamming the link to the Free Anon store too freely for Facebook's liking. His Facebook timeline, incidentally, lists his former occupation as "Terrorist" for Anonymous Romania from 2009 to 2011. Must be hella tricky when new employers ask for references.

    Daily Dot: Just recently, Free Anons merchandise became available from its own store on the FreeAnons.org site; before that, it was widely distributed by Blasted Rat, an online shop for alternative wares. How is Blasted Rat different from the Free Anons store?

    Blasted Rat is an independent vendor that has existed, in some form or another, for several years. This website and those persons affiliated with it have very graciously cooperated with the Anonymous collective and have donated money to aid Anons facing prosecution in the past years. Blasted Rat was mainly about Anonymous-related products and some other random products, and we decided to make an online shop dedicated to Anonymous-related products only and to donate most of the money to help the persecuted Anons in their time of need, and that’s how MyAnonStore was born. MyAnonStore is based in the U.S. State of Florida and is a honest vendor providing high quality products. The sincerity of this vendor can be measured by its contributions to the Anonymous collective and the authenticity of fund raising efforts can be verified at freeAnons.org, Anongroup.org and freehammond.org.

     

    Image via MyAnonStore.com

    DD: Did you build the original Blasted Rat site?

    The original blastedrat.com wasn’t built by me, but at an earlier point, we made a new website blastedrat.net which was built by me, and then we took it down and decided to make myAnonstore.com, an online shop with Anonymous products only, dedicated to help arrested Anons.

    DD: What's the official goal of the Free Anons store?

    It’s not only the FreeAnons Store, but a big part of the whole income from any of the website product is being monthly donated to FreeAnons Solidarity Network to help arrested Anons with their legal defence, care packages and other things they need and that requires money. Another amount of money will be donated to AnonOps network monthly to help with server costs and etc, and the rest (which is a very small amount of money) goes to Larry, the guy who makes all the products and ships them in U.S and worldwide. I can tell you from the start that no one is seeking to make a fortune from this online shop and no-one will not drive any Lamborghini in the future. This online shop is dedicated to help FreeAnons, AnonOps and our prosecuted brothers!

     

    Image via MyAnonStore.com

    DD: Are there Anons that FreeAnons won't help?

    FreeAnons will help any Anon in trouble with the law, but the only exceptions are the snitches, I think. FreeAnons is an collective and we all take decisions, so I can`t talk in their names or take decisions by myself or even represent FreeAnons by myself, but as far as I know, we won`t help snitches. And why would snitches need our help? Since they choose to help the government and the feds, I think they got all the support they needed from the other side (for example, see Sabu’s case, and how is he still free, with help from government).

    DD: What would happen if Sabu asked for help from Free Anons?

    First of all, from my point of view, he will first have to suck my middle finger, and some more middle fingers I think, and even more things than a finger. And second, www.rezoAnonymous.eu made some really nice posters with him and judge Preska, and I think we will ship them all to him right away!

    DD: What was the goal of the redesign of the site? How long has the site been running?

    As I said, the goal of the redesign of the site was to make an online shop related to Anonymous collective only, in first hand. People should consider this site (myAnonstore.com) as a part of FreeAnons project to raise funds for our prosecuted brothers. There have been many people who donated money to help the arrested ones, and this site is like a ‘Thank you!’ for those people, and aiming to give something back for their donation, like a T-shirt, a sticker, flag, etc. So at least people who want to make a donation now can enjoy getting some cool Anonymous related stuffs too, for the amount of money they are willing to donate. Of course, they can also directly donate to FreeAnons without buying anything from myAnonstore (see Donations & Disclosure section from www.freeAnons.org ) MyAnonStore.com website is running since last week, but Blasted Rat has been out there for some years.

    Image via MyAnonStore.com

    DD: Where are things manufactured, because the prices are very low?

    All the products are manufactured in United States and I can guarantee that all of them are high quality products. We only have to thank Larry for being able to get so cheap all the materials he need to make the products, so the final price for any of them is a decent price that most people can afford to spend on getting something cool and help the cause.

    DD: What's your bio? In other words, tell me about yourself. Your real name is out there in the media, but I know you mostly as LulzCart.

    Well yes, sadly my real name got all over the media (especially the Romanian mass-media), but it’s not such a big problem for me at all, because I have nothing to hide. Before I was getting involved in Anonymous operations and things related to Anonymous, I was part of the first and biggest racing club here in Romania, called NoSpeedLimit Romania Club, organizing meetings and racing events in the city where I live to promote our passion and mostly to have fun, and as you can see, this was documented in the mass-media too, when I got arrested. And beside this, I think most of people know what LulzCart did and did not when it comes to Anonymous related activities, so there is no need to talk about that anymore.

    DD: Do you have any conditions that the court imposed that mean you can't do some things online?

    I’m glad you asked. First of all, I am happy that I live in a country that it’s not so retarded as United States when it comes to laws, even if it’s a small and poor country. Second, let’s make this clear for people that are not updated with the news:

    Last year I was arrested alongside with 11 other Romanians for hacking some stuff around and for giving president a new haircut on government website (see the t-shirt in freeAnons store section)... ahh yes and for leaking the Nuclear Department financial situation (no nukes this time ). After a long night of interrogations, out of 11 persons, only 2 of us got jailed for 2 months while the investigation was still on-going. I told the Feds I would plead guilty on all the accusations and that they should let the others free, but that was not possible because they are retarded and considered us a ‘group’, and that I was the ‘leader’, and according to Romanian laws, when Feds assign you to a group, there must be at least 3 persons accused, and this is why 2 of us were arrested (me and Silus) and the 3rd one was free during the investigation. After they did the IT expertise and other Fed related shit while we were arrested, they had almost no evidence because everything was encrypted and my hdd drive was wiped the night before they came. [A process laid out on a Pastebin called Lulzcart & the fedz in which he explains how he protected himself online and speculates on how the police were able to learn all they did; of course, at the time nobody knew Sabu was in the employ of the FBI] All they got was some irc conversations they tapped, but those could be easily interpreted in many ways and thanks to my lawyer (one of the top lawyers of the country that offered to help me) we managed to squash those at trial. So after 2 months, with almost no evidence at all, they set us free until the trial, and thanks to FreeAnons and to everyone that helped me, I was able to get in time to all my court appearances to Bucharest (the capital city) and to pay my legal defence.

    [OpLulzCart assisted him with the costs of getting to and from court, a 10-hour drive away, and the cost of the hotel and meals, for each of several court appearances. Money was raised not only by donation, but also through sales and special offers from the Blasted Rat store.]

    At the trial, even with Feds having almost no evidence at all, I plead guilty on all the accusations and this way 8 out of 11 got all the charges dropped, and the last 3 of us, the mighty ‘group’ of terrorists, with "Bin Laden Junior" as a ‘leader’ (me) got a 3 years of suspended jail sentence and another 6 years of probation, probation period that only implies visiting the probation officer once a month to sign a stupid paper and to announce them if you leave the city for more than 8 days and where are you going, and to prove that if you earn any amount of money monthly, you do it in a legal way. There is no restriction at all for using the internet.

    The final court sentence, alongside with what I am allowed and not during the probation period can also be found on the official Romanian Justice portal: www.portal.just.ro (Bucharest – Judecatoria Sectorului 5 – Glossaries – search it by my name Balaeasa Gabriel where it says “Parte” on the middle table). I am very glad that this info can be found online too, and this way people can see that I am not a snitch like others used to be around (most of Romanians have dignity, something that I’m quite sure many people are lacking of). And at least, people now know who I am and can be sure that there is no stupid Fed getting involved in all the projects aiming to help arrested Anons.

    DD: What did you like about this project? Did YAN etc support you?

    This project is vital for our arrested brothers because I was in the same situation and I know how important is to receive help exactly when you need it. For me, if FreeAnons hadn’t existed, alongside with other people that helped, probably I was going back to jail after I was set free because my financial situation was bad and I wouldn’t be able to get in time to all court appearances and pay my legal defence.

    I personally consider this one of the best Anonymous-related projects (though I wish this wouldn't exist and nobody get arrested), a project that needs a special attention and as much help as it can get from anyone willing to help.

    Also, I want to make something else clear: there is another so called FreeAnons network trying to help, but in fact they are trying nothing and they do nothing else than trying to impersonate us and cause disruption. I am talking here about this website: www.freeAnons.info, which has nothing to do with us and obviously is a fake. The one and only FreeAnons Solidarity Network is www.freeAnons.org, a LEGAL corporation founded by Nancy Norelli (nix) who is a lawyer in Florida, and a great person dedicated to the cause as well. She is the one dealing with the donations, contacting imprisoned Anons and talking to their defence, getting updates and so on.

    Back to MyAnonStore.com, I will take the responsibility for keeping the website up and running, and Larry will deal with making and delivering the products. I know the purpose of this website will piss off the Feds as well (and mostly the US Feds), but we are doing everything ‘legal’...we don`t steal any money and we don`t post any hacking related stuff on it, and if they will try to stop us, me and my lawyer are ready to encounter them again, because last time, when I got arrested, U.S Embassy came and requested $43,000 as tech damages and stuff for Lake County Sheriff’s hack, and all they got was a middle finger. So if they will try to stop this, they are welcome to come and get more middle fingers. I wish to remind them that U.S laws doesn’t apply in Romania and if they will try to do the shit they did to Barret Brown for sharing Anonymous-related links (because it’s the only thing they can try about this), they will fail hard ;)

    About the support, yes, I think everyone is supporting us, and I expect even more support from YAN and anyone else fighting for the cause and especially for our brothers that are being jailed now. And with your help, I hope we will get our voice heard and spread the word far away, as Jeremy Hammond alongside with other Anons are having hard time in a f*****g jail cell and they need all the help they can receive by sending care packages, money to get their medicine and etc. So I encourage everyone that wants to help us to spread the word and together I hope we will be able to rise all the needed funds for all our incarcerated brothers and sisters.

    Photos via LulzCart, myanonstore.com


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    Twitter has changed the physical world in many ways as community members made their voices heard. It's been used to light up harbors, feed dogs, and choose the color of the London Eye at last year's Olympic Games.

    Now it’s being used to change the rules of dodgeball, at least at a charity event.

    Students at Mohawk College, in Hamilton, Ontario, are holding a Twitter Dodgeball Championship this Saturday to raise money for Special Olympics Hamilton. The local Special Olympics does not get funding since it's a municipal organization, one of the dodgeball organizers told CBC. Special Olympics Canada exists to"enrich the lives of individuals with an intellectual disability through their involvement in sport."

    It’s fitting then that Mohawk students turned to a physical activity to raise cash. Only the audience will have a say in the battle through tweeting from their phones.

    “Any spectators who come to watch it, they’ll be able to upload tweets and hashtag them,” said advertising student Lindsay Celeste, one of three event organizers. “And if they decide that they want to throw a few extra balls in the court, they can do that. Or if they want another team to join the game, they can join the game. So basically the audience has a say in what goes on in the actual game.”

    Fans will also have the option to return an eliminated player to the court. Celeste and her teammates are hoping the event takes off and future students will continue the idea in later years.

    Perhaps other sporting events could open up their rulebooks to the Twitter masses. Maybe fans can give coaches advice straight to a tablet rather than screaming it from the bleachers. Perhaps they can alter the height of the hoops during a basketball game. The possibilities for true fan interaction might eventually be only limited by physics, budget, and imagination.

    Twitter voting can certainly make games more exciting, breaking rules and creating new ones on the fly. It'll probably be a lot more fun for fans than athletes however.

    Photo via ishane/Flickr


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    Facebook is once again tinkering with its "pay to message" feature.

    In addition to partially rolling out the service in the United Kingdom— roughly 10 percent of all U.K. users will have it— the company confirmed to the Daily Dot that they had changed how much they are charging users to message someone who's not connected to them via a mutual friend.

    Dubbed the "Inbox delivery test," the service was first introduced in December 2012. Initially, Facebook imposed a $1 fee to deliver a message to a person's inbox instead of their "other" pile, the company's version of a spam filter.

    But now, Facebook has increased that figure to as much as $15.

    "This is the price you will see for people who have a certain number of followers or more," a company representative told us via email.

    How does Facebook determine which individuals get that $15 price tag? It's hard to say. We reached out to the social network asking that very question, but a company representative has yet to reply.

    That left us with one alternative: trial and error. We looked up multiple famous people on Facebook in search of someone we'd have to pay $15 to message. Buti finding a celeb coveed by the new fee was harder than we expected.

    The first name on our list was Vin Diesel. Despite Diesel's  40 million fans on the social network, Facebook didn't charge us anything to send him a message.

    That was also the case with his Fast Five co-star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Having 8.9 million followers isn't enough to merit the $15 fee, apparently.

    Also not making the cut is Neil deGrasse Tyson (230,778 likes), the Internet's favorite astronomer.

    What about politicians? Would Facebook charge you to message Newark, N.J., mayor Cory Booker (140,096 likes)? Nope.

    Finally, after looking up multiple famous people, we came across three names that Facebook was charging $15 to message: British novelist Salman Rushdie, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, and frat-bro comedian Dane Cook:

    Curiously, Facebook wouldn't disclose how many people were in Rushdie's network of friends, most likely because we had stumbled upon his personal account instead of his public page.

    But Facebook doesn't appear to make a distinction between private and public profiles when it comes to imposing the $15 fee. Hastings and Cook’s public accounts were both in the pay-to-message club.

    Another interesting discovery we made was that Facebook may allow some users, and not others, to pay up and message someone famous. In his piece on this very topic, Buzzfeed's Justin Sharrock reported that it would have cost him $15 to message Calvin Broadus, better known as Snoop Lion (né Dogg). We weren't afforded that opportunity when we tried to do the same thing. Instead, the Facebook window instructed us that our message would go directly to Snoop's "other" folder.

    So, what did we learn? That there appears to be no rhyme or reason to the way Facebook determines which celebrity inbox you can buy your way into.

    Photo via Jason Persse/Flickr


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    If there's any truth to rappers' Instagram feeds, Riff Raff is set to appear on the cover of GQ magazine next month. Should that happen, it will be a fedora-brimmed cap on a wet and wild month, one that saw the Houston-based rapper go from cult rap act to full-blown celebrity, a figure so colorful that he became the full-on inspiration for a major motion picture character. 

    James Franco's to thank for that. His Alien from Spring Breakers took more than a few cues from the Mad Decent artist, and the man born Jody Christian has celebrated appropriately.

    Following yesterday's fabled GQ shoot, Riff Raff fired off one of the greatest Vine tirades in the history of modern Internets. 

    Still in suit, Riff Raff took to the bathroom to demonstrate how to properly say "Alright, now" and "Hold on, playa" to people you'd like to maintain a cordial relationship with. 

    Then Raff gave us a behind the scenes look at his green room—and robin's egg blue shoes.

    He followed that up by showing us how good of an actor he'd be if Harmony Korine ever wanted to cast him in a crime drama.

    From there, Raff retreated to his hotel, where he let us in on a few personal details about his hopes and aspirations.

    The highlight of the sequence was when he came up with this hook about taking a girl out for a glass of tequila. 

    We're assuming Riff Raff got sufficiently stoned a few minutes before making this particular vine.

    Evidence stands via this vine, a rap in which Raff admits he "did a lot of drugs but I'm not a dope fiend. Fuck it, maybe I am. I'm flipping candied yams."

    Here's six seconds of Riff Raff calling cashews "squirrel boners."

    Your move, Franco.

    Photo via JodyHighRoller/Twitter


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    If you can't beat them, make fun of them.

    On Feb. 4, 2013, a burglar broke into animator Dom Deltorto's London home, stealing his iPad and MacBook Pro. Deltorto called the police, who came by his place and dusted for fingerprints, but that yielded nothing.

    Fortunately for Deltorto, he had the foresight to install "Hidden App" on his laptop, which, according to the company's product page, is "the most advanced theft tracking software for your Mac." Hidden App uses GPS location to tell you where your computer is, and it secretly takes real time photos of robber, which it then sends back to you.

    A month passed before Dom’s stolen computer was finally connected to the Internet again. Finally, on March 23—his birthday—he received a notification from Hidden App. He knew where his laptop was.

    It was more than 3,300 miles away, in Tehran, Iran.

    Once again, he contacted the police and relayed his discoveries.

    "The software gives you a latitude and longitude and it's supposed to be accurate up to two metres," Deltorto told the Telegraph. "I phoned them when it got the email and told them it was in Iran and they thought it was funny."

    "I thought it'd be more local than that."

    Instead of lamenting the loss of his expensive computing devices, Deltorto took a much more proactive approach. He set up "Dom's laptop is in Iran," a single-serving Tumblr where he posts the images he receives from Hidden App in hopes that it will lead to him getting his laptop back.

    Despite being on Tumblr for less than a day, Deltorto is bringing the funny, providing hilarious captions to the images.

    So, what does the new owner look like?

    Like this.

    She also apparently likes to wear bibs on her head.

    And the mystery woman also likes to listen to the stylings of Iranian musicians Dayan and Naser Zeynali.

    But most importantly, she loves to stare at pictures of herself looking out through a telescope.

    Of course, there’s no evidence that the woman using Deltorto’s laptop is the original thief—she may not even know it was stolen—and it’s highly unlikely that Deltorto will ever get his computer back, but at least he got a hilarious viral Tumblr out of the deal.

    Photo via Dom Deltorto/Dom's laptop is in Iran


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    Do you need help with anything? No, really, anything? If so, a new Tumblr blog might be your best resource.

    "For the next six months I'm going to make your life better," boasts the tagline of the Free Help Guy. The blog, created by an anonymous man living in the United Kingdom, is determined to help anyone who contacts him with small or large life issues.

    "Perhaps there was a bit of curiosity and a chunk of boredom (it's been a long winter over here in the U.K.) behind the idea, but it basically started on nothing more than a whim," the Free Help Guy explained to the Daily Dot.

    The blog does not seek any sort of payment or donations; its intent is to genuinely, earnestly aid people. 

    "I didn't expect much of a response, yet got a huge one," the Free Help Guy admitted. "I've probably had about 200 emails, tweets, and Facebook messages from people all around the globe." The most common request? Help finding a job.

    So far, the Free Help Guy has walked someone's dog, helped a man find a date, and even acted as a London tour guide

    There have been two wishes he'll never forget.

    "The email was from a couple in Plymouth, U.K., who had taken in, housed, fed, and got a job for a homeless man the year before. Having had this support, the now formally homeless man left to rent his own house a few months ago. 'I guess then, what we're asking is, can you find someone else who is in need of the shelter, support, and love we can offer?'"

    The other project was far less positive.

    "I was asked by a student if I could help her earn the money she needed for her tuition fees by finding trustworthy men who'd be willing to pay for her 'company,'" TFHG said. "Whilst I knew these kind of men are rarely blessed with the honesty attribute, it wasn't that I felt I couldn't help, it was, obviously, that it was illegal to do so and that morally this was absolutely not in my remit."

    He turned down the request and documented the case on the blog, in a hopeful effort to dissuade other readers from turning to prostitution.

    Such requests represent a potential challenge for TFHG: how does he respond to the fact that he simply will not be able to help everyone who contacts him?

    For starters, he has considered fighting the massive number of requests by sharing the project with other "Free Help Guys" or "Free Help Girls" on the Internet who would be willing to work alongside him. He would also be interested in "connecting brands and corporate social responsibility strategies to certain requests ... [to] create some support structure which is greater than the sum of its parts."

    Unfortunately, such measures only solve part of the "can't help everyone" problem.

    "The bit that hurts is that many have needs that are simply outside my responsibility on a professional level," he admitted. "I've had a multitude of teenagers suffering from self-harming, anorexia, and depression, who reach out with an deeply saddening sense of helplessness. Some of these stories have left me on my sofa in tears whilst my girlfriend sits the other side of the room assuming I'm watching Forrest Gump again."

    Fortunately, he is not letting such obstacles keep him from his six-month-long goal of helping as many people as he can. Aside from the benefits to his clientele, the project has also provided unexpected personal insights to the Free Help Guy himself.

    "It's developing into a fascinating personal journey," he admitted. "Being exposed like this to so many empathetic scenarios has already changed me. … This human emotion of empathy is one that properly inspires and drives me, like it does for so most of us deep-down."

    In addition to the blog itself, TFHG has maintained a presence on both Twitter and Facebook to reach even more people.

    Photo via The Free Help Guy


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    According to a U.K. government contractor, a woman with an estimated mental age of 3 is “fit to work.”

    In conjunction with recent cuts to U.K. welfare benefits, French consulting firm Atos was hired to assess disability-related welfare claims. Atos has already received a great deal of criticism for their Work Capability Assessment, which graded many people with serious long-term disabilities as “fit to work,” and thus ineligible for benefits.

    According to government figures revealed by MP Michael Meacher earlier this year, 1,300 people died after receiving this “fit to work” declaration from Atos representatives. Characterising the Work Capability Assessment process as a bureaucratic nightmare, many unfair “fit to work” cases have already made headlines across the country.

    The latest victim of the Work Capability Assessment is Fahmeena Rahman, a 30-year-old woman with Cerebral Palsy. She’s nonverbal, unable to walk, and likes to be called Princess Meena—but according to Atos, she’s fit to work, and therefore can’t receive disability benefits.

    On Thursday,  Meena’s sister Farzana (@bananarahmana) turned to Twitter to share her experiences, explaining the difficulties she’d encountered with Atos.


    Political blogger Tom Pride publicised Meena’s story, writing, “If you have any ideas for jobs that Meena can do, you can post your ideas under the hashtag #JobsforMeena on Twitter.”

    The #JobsforMeena hashtag may seem like a recipe for “don’t read the comments” disaster, but it was quick to catch on. Along with the obvious tweets suggesting that Meena take over as Prime Minister or work for Atos herself, hundreds of Twitter users were quick to share Tom Pride’s blog post with their local MPs or post the contact details of the Atos PR team..

    For many, Meena’s case is proof that Atos is living up to it’s reputation as a Dickensian villain for modern times. After seeing the #JobsforMeena hashtag, one well-meaning Twitter user even set up an Indiegogo campaign—without the knowledge of Meena’s family. Meena’s sister, who plans to take the official route of applying for a reassessment with Atos, has already asked for the fundraiser to be taken down.

    The nature of viral social media campaigns is such that it’s almost expected for an Indiegogo account or petition to show up, regardless of the campaign’s original intentions. But this type of kneejerk reaction doesn’t always pan out. While many people were eager to help someone who had been screwed over by the ever-unpopular Atos, Farzana just wanted to share her sister’s story and hear from people in similar situations.

    Rather than donating money, Meena’s family would prefer that people stay up to date via Princess Meena’s blog, and allow the #JobsforMeena tag to die out on its own.

    Image via Indiegogo / Princess Meena


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    According to Jezebel, one redditor's guide on stealing your first kiss from a girl starts out on a good note before it turns creeptastic.

    Considering it starts out suggesting you target the girl by getting her alone and making sure she has plenty of alcohol in her system before moving in for the kill—er, the kiss—we're not sure there's anywhere to go but downhill from there.

    The redditor who posted under a throwaway account name to r/dating_advice earlier this week claimed he had "never dated/been in a relationship... I [m,21] want to know to take things further with her [f,21]."

    Enter another redditor using an impermanent account, sillythrowaway0, whose 1800 words of detailed advice on the subject garnered him Reddit gold and a Best-of mention. Here's the abridged version, in his own words:

    TL;DR: Alcohol is your friend for helping you initiate. Kissing is a simple operation, don't overdo it. Keep your technique relaxed, calm and gentle. Mind the spit when tongues get involved. Involve your hands and body, but don't make a B-Line for her lady parts. Teasing is a tool, use it. Make her WANT you to touch her, don't just work for approval. Most importantly, go with the flow. Things will happen naturally, how else do people learn? :D

    Good luck brother!

    On the surface this may seem pretty banal as far as advice goes, but the devil and the second-hand embarrassment are in the details:

    Don't pucker up. Don't do any kind of weird sucking stuff. Don't open your mouth. Don't open your teeth. You are literally just going to touch lips. After a couple of seconds, very slowly and gently pull her chin a little bit closer, and very slightly open and close your lips. Do this a couple of times and you're golden.

    So... pull her chin towards you and make like a goldfish on her face. Sounds awkward. But apparently most Reddit readers thought it was a good idea. And as kissing advice goes, it probably isn't the worst—at least until you get to the mind games:

    When you go back in, instead of immediately kissing her, get in real close. She'll be expecting you to make contact, but don't. Pull back slightly. Make her come to you. Then pull back again. And again. She'll hopefully laugh or lean real hard into it so you can't tease her anymore. Don't over use this though.

    And then it takes (another) turn for the worse:

    She may react negatively and push you back or say something like "What was that?" or "What are you doing"? Pay less attention to the words and more attention to the body language. If she doesn't want you to do anything like that, she'll stop you quickly and firmly.

    Be playful. This is not the time for seriousness. This is time for FUN. Enjoy it.

    Except that if the redditor is choosing to ignore what women are saying to him, there's a chance that what may be "fun" for him may be threatening to his date. The thread in response garnered numerous examples of people talking about activities that may heighten sexual excitement for the participant but could be seen as menacing in other contexts. "When a girl [bites my ear during makeouts,] I tell her to be careful, I won't be responsible for what comes next," wrote JeepnAdd1ct.

    "I like [to] threaten rape during makeouts too," came the snide, widely upvoted retort from newguy001.

    After Jezebel found Sillythrowaway0's thread, he edited his post to clarify his remark about ignoring body language:

    Don't be rapey. The bit up there about her saying "What was that?" was making a point about paying attention to her tone and body language. I was trying to make the point that she could be saying that playfully or seriously. You need to always pay attention to the other person's body language and tone. Being inexperienced, you might not realize which direction she is coming from. This does not mean you have warrant to be aggressive simply because she hasn't said no. You just need to pay attention to her, and hopefully you're able to pickup on the cues she's trying to send you.

    If you're at all unsure of her intentions if she makes a comment like that, assume it's serious. Safety first kids. But hopefully you can recognize signs of desire vs. signs of repulsion :)

    Positive words. But given Reddit's abysmal track record when it comes to the subject of objectifyingwomen, creepy behavior, rampantmisogyny, and rape, it seems many Redditors may be as unused to listening as they are to kissing.

    Photo via adamcomerford/Flickr


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    British animator Dom Deltorto has issued an apology a day after his single-serving Tumblr—”Dom’s Laptop is in Iran”—went viral.

    On Feb. 4, Deltorto's London home was burglarized. The thief made out with his iPad and Macbook Pro. What the criminal didn't know was that Deltorto had installed "Hidden App" on his laptop, a piece of software that uses a GPS tracker to tell the owner where his or her stolen device is located.

    Hidden App also secretly takes real time photographs of the robber and sends them back to the original owner.

    That's exactly what happened in Deltorto's situation, except that there was a catch. His Macbook Pro ended up in Terhan, Iran, more than 3,300 miles away from London.

    With no real hope of ever retrieving his laptop, Deltorto launched a single-serving Tumblr where he uploaded photographs Hidden App took of the alleged thief. Deltorto hoped that the blog would eventually lead to him getting his Macbook Pro back, but mostly he did it to amuse himself and his friends at the expense of the computer's new owner.

    But then, in a span of a day, the Tumblr got big. The story was picked up by multiplemedia outlets. It eventually got the attention of one of Deltorto's unwitting subjects, who was apparently mortified to find out she was using a stolen computer.

    As a result, the British animator felt a pang of regret and took the images down, replacing them with two apologetic posts.

    In the first one, Deltorto indicates that he initially started the Tumblr as a joke for him and his friends, but then it got too big for its own good. He also admitted that he didn't take the Iranians' privacy into account.

    "As the story circulated, I started to receive messages from concerned individuals warning of privacy issues and the possible harm and distress the blog may cause the people in the photos," he admitted. "I hadn’t really considered any of this, as I hadn’t expected the story to get so much attention."

    "Then one of the people in the photos contacted me and asked me to remove the pictures. They were very upset. I could understand why."

    Deltorto also stressed that the people in the photographs were not thieves and that, although he still misses his Macbook Pro, "[the] safety and well being of private individuals is more important than any possession."

    In his second note, the animator pointed out that the Iranians, upset by the attention, insisted on returning the laptop. Though Deltorto appreciates the gesture, he didn't take them up on their offer.

    "Given the huge error of judgement on my part in sharing the story and failing to respect their privacy I have asked them to keep it by means of an apology," he concluded.

    In the end, the story of the missing laptop has a somewhat happy ending—Deltorto is still sans his expensive Apple devices— but how did the Macbook Pro end up more than 3,300 miles away?

    The most likely possibility is that the actual burglar who broke into Deltorto's home fenced the device by selling it to someone who then sent it to Iran to be resold.

    That would explain why Hidden App, which requires an Internet connection to work, didn't start sending Deltorto any information until the computer was used again, nearly a month after the theft.

    Photo via Rob Nguyen/Flickr


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