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Recent Society articles from Daily Dot

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    The days following the Boston Marathon bombing have brought out the bestof the Internet, through temporary housing, donations, and more. Now the son of two victims has been reunited with his parents thanks to an effort by Facebook and Reddit.

    Richard Whalley, a 25-year-old CEO, first discovered his parents were injured by the explosions after his older brother showed him a photograph of their father that had been circulating Reddit, the popular social news site.

    The two tried calling hospitals to find out what had happened to their parents, Eric and Ann Whalley, but the hospitals didn't have a record of them.

    Fearing the worst, Whalley went to Facebook for help.

    "This is my dad in the picture in this link," Whalley wrote.

    "I have no idea where my mum is. They were both bombed. I'm trying to find out what hospital they are at. can you help? Eric Whalley & Ann Whalley. They look pretty severely injured and I'm worried my Mum is dead."

    Whalley's friends started calling different hospitals around Boston and some suggested using Google's Person Finder. Just 10 minutes later, Whalley was able to find both of his parents located at two different hospitals; in the confusion and chaos following the explosions, Eric and Ann had been registered under the wrong names.

    He updated his Facebook friends that he located his parents a day later.

    Whalley told ABC News that his parents both have extensive injuries from the bombs. Eric may lose his sight after being hit in the skull and eye, while Ann has a mangled right foot and was hit in the legs. They were moved to the same ward so it would be easier for Whalley and his brother, Chris, to visit them.

    The Whalleys still have a long road ahead of them. Eric and Ann need more surgery, and it's estimated that between the hospital stay and extensive rehabilitation, the cost of treatment could go into the "millions."

    Even after they helped Whalley reunite with his parents, the Internet continued to lend a helping hand.

    Whalley's alma mater, MIT, set up a donation page on GiveForward to help pay for their medical expenses. Close to 1,000 people have already donated a total of over $48,000.

    Any extra funds they receive will go to helping other victims' families.

    "I mean it's been pretty surreal," Whalley told ABC News. "But we've had a lot of support from the community. One of the messages of this story is these online tools are available to people to go and aid others in the recovery process. Getting help can sometimes be overwhelming."

    H/T: Gawker | Photo via GiveForward


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    As the police manhunt for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev continues into the morning, at least 10 degenerates have flooded the Internet's airwaves, creating fake Twitter accounts in the name of the suspect in an effort to pick up followers or cause a rise or throw police off their trail or do something else that's just as senseless and stupid. 

    The most prominent account is the @Dzhokhar_A handle, which opened at 7:33am ET with a message to the Boston Police: "I will kill you all as you killed my brother." That message was retweeted 344 times and followed up by a series of likeminded tweets, one of which was written in Russian, Dzhokhar's native language.

    That account has racked up more than 3,800 followers since first opening this morning. 

    Less popular accounts like the @DzhokhaTsarnaev account (four tweets, ranging from "Hail Putin" to "The fight will not go away," 19 followers) and @Dzhokhartsarnae (two tweets, one about Egg McMuffins, 34 followers) have also sprung up, with certain individuals communicating quite regularly with people who might actually believe these accounts are legitimate. 

    There's also an account tweeting in Arabic under Dzhokhar's preferred spelling of Djohar, as detailed on his VK page, which is a Russian Facebook. That message, sent shortly after 9:23am ET, tells five followers: "I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah."

    One account has taken to using Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's name against him, tweeting that the bombing suspect "is the scum of the earth" and "deserves to die."

    That account also added that you should "follow [it] if you agree."

    Dzhokhar is not the only Tsarnaev to have Twitter accounts pop up in his name this morning. His brother Tamerlan, shot and killed last night, has also become the namesake of a few handles, the majority of which are purporting Tamerlan to still be alive. 

    None of those accounts has received the swell of followers that @Dzhokhar_A did this morning, but Tamerlan's dead, and that's a fact, so maybe those handles are harder to believe? 

    Either way, whoever's creating these things can go stick their head in a hornet's nest. The Boston PD has already been quite vocal about its wish for people to just chill out on Twitter for a minute so that it can get some work done. What these folks are doing ain't helping. 

    Photo via Fox19/Twitter


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    A YouTube channel allegedly belonging to Tamerlan Tsarnaev reveals that the the 26-year-old Boston Marathon bombing suspect—shot and killed during a police standoff—was at least partially invested in news regarding Al Qaeda, the terrorist organization best known for its attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.

    YouTube channel Muazseyfullah features no videos but does show a series of activities, including what Tsarnaev watched, liked, and talked about online.

    The most jarring component is a playlist titled "Islam," a seven-video series that focuses on the fundamentalist Muslim preacher Feiz Mohammad, a man who believes that Harry Potter is evil. As Mother Jones notes, there's also a video that details the Black Flags From Khorasan, a prophesy embraced by Islamic extremists. 

    The playlist is one of three available on Tsarnaev's channel. A fourth, called "Terrorists," is unplayable because the videos have been deleted by YouTube.

    The other two available channels are similarly eye opening. One, called "Favorite Videos," alternates between Islamic scripture reading and a video of a chameleon changing colors as it walks around multi-colored Wayfarer sunglasses. 

    A look through Tsarnaev's feed reveals a number of other Islamic fundamentalist videos, including one that specifically points to Feiz Mohammad's disdain for Harry Potter, as well as a February subscription to a channel called Allah is the One

    History has proven that a name attached an online account doesn't exactly mean that the purported person is behind it, but Tsarnaev's authenticity is a little more believable. For one, the account was started in August 2012, insinuating that it existed before anybody tried to take advantage of the name's newfound infamy. 

    Along those lines, the account hasn't shown any activity in two months. As Twitter's rash of parody accounts has shown, anybody operating under false identities here is prone to hamming it up for the cameras. 

    Photo via Jellebc/Twitter


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    Though it doesn't have one of those blue verified badges reserved for celebrities, public figures, and official organizations on Twitter, there are plenty of reasons to believe that the @J_tsar account belongs to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings who's currently at large.

    First is this tweet from May 5, 2012, in which the individual behind the account riffs on his name before explaining "its spelled Dzhokhar."

    There's also the evidence that Gawker's Adrian Chen pointed to on Twitter.

    Danielle Grubbs, a social media analyst for St. Louis' Avala Marketing, disputed the claims when they were brought up by @YourAnonNews, pointing to a screenshot from a Wildfire Social Media Monitor tool and writing that "whoever that is changed their user name [to @J_tsar] on April 19."

    Later, she told the Daily Dot that the Wildfire tool "won't pick up any data prior to the change of an account name." (Grubbs has since made her Twitter feed private.)

    That may be true, but it doesn't rule out the notion that Tsarnaev is behind @J_tsar. In fact, tweets sent in 2012 between Tsarnaev and a buddy suggest the Tsarnaev actually changed his name to something far less explicit than its original distinction. What's now @J_tsar was once @jahar_tsar, a direct allusion to the pronunciation, and family nickname, of his true first name. 

    The account's musings paint a frightening portrait of a 19-year-old college student whose interests were altogether much like yours or mine. 

    Tsarnaev quoted Eminem and retweeted The Most Interesting Man in the World. He clowned on his buddies and tweeted out daily musings. He revealed himself as an uncle and regularly posted about cars.

    But he also laid out a series of tweets that may have forecast the terror he'd bring to Boston. 

    Tsarnaev has accessed his Twitter account 12 different times since the bombs went off Monday, writing "stay safe people" just a few hours after the chaos broke out and telling his friend Jimm (@MelloChamp) that "those people are cooked" at 10:13pm that night. 

    Before he went to bed that night that night, Tsarnaev posted a chilling tweet.

    Photo via J_tsar/Twitter


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    National tragedies may highlight the worst of humanity, but it also often brings out the best. Since the Boston Marathon bombings Monday, the Internet has rallied to offer help to the individual victims and their families. Thanks to viral crowdfunding campaigns, over $1 million has been raised for victims of the bombings.

    Through websites like GiveForward.com and GoFundMe.com, people from around the world are donating money to support victims. Chief executive officer of GoFundMe, Brad Damphousse, told CNNMoney that crowdfunding is a great way to empower people and help them get involved.

    "People get angry. They want to get involved. They want to help," he said.

    Alyssa Carter started the“Celeste & Sydney Recovery Fund” Tuesday for cousins Celeste and Sydney Corcoran, who were both wounded in the legs by shrapnel from the bomb. Celeste lost both her legs below her knees according to the fund’s page.

    The money raised for the Corcorans surpassed a goal of $20,000 by Wednesday and has since raised over $381,500, causing Carter to increase her goal to $500,000.

    “Thank you ALL for your relentless support. You are each making a distinct difference in their lives and we can't thank you enough,” Carter wrote on the campaign site Thursday. “Sydney told me, ‘Tell everyone I love them!’”

    Each campaign supports victims who received severe injuries in the bombing and hope to offset the financial burden of the ensuing medical costs with the money donated. Medical bills are already rolling in for Jeff Bauman according to the “Bucks for Bauman!” campaign on GoFundMe, which has a goal of $300,000 and has raised over $166,000 as of Friday.

    The“Ann + Eric Whalley Recovery Fund” has so far raised over $79,000 for the Massachusetts couple who have received “a number of highly specialized surgeries and treatments which may not be covered by insurance or have very high deductibles” according to the campaign site.

    Money raised for the“Help for Patrick and Jess” campaign will cover recovery costs, including prosthetics and home modifications, according to their GiveForward page. In just two days they’ve raised over $412,000.

    The comments left by those donating money are also making an impression on the fund starters, reminding us all that there is plenty goodness in the world during these horrible events.

    “You are all an inspiration,” Carter wrote Thursday. “The feeling that so many amazing people exist is remarkably comforting and the family cannot thank you enough.”

    H/TCNNMoney | Photos via GoFundMe and GiveForward


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    Right now Kevin Russ is sleeping in his car somewhere in central New Mexico, but by dawn tomorrow he’ll have hiked to the top of a nearby mountain where he’ll take a photo with his iPhone 5. Assuming he’s able to find a signal somewhere, he’ll upload a version of that photo—also processed within his iPhone—to his almost 45,000 Instagram and Tumblr followers. By tomorrow evening there’s a good chance he’ll have sold a print of that same mountaintop photo. This is his job. Are you jealous yet?

    It’s been almost a year since the 30-year-old began leaving his home in Portland, Ore., to travel the country and take photos with his phone. At the moment he is on the first leg of a road trip that will take him through Arizona and up to Montana before entering Canada and eventually reaching Alaska sometime this fall. He has a vague idea of when he wants to be in each place, but there’s no timeline that he has to follow and no supervisor that he must check in with.

    Photography began as a hobby during college, but it wasn’t long before Russ was shooting portraits so often that it was wearing him out. “I was meeting someone new every day,” he told me over the phone. “They would book a shoot and I would say yes. That was always a stretch for me because it wasn’t natural for me to be outgoing.”

    To recharge, he traveled to the Portland coast to shoot landscapes without the hassle of models and contracts. Looking back, he remembers how that trip inspired him to consider a new life on the road. “It all started from wanting to see other places,” he said.

    After his visit to the Portland coast, Russ began taking longer and longer trips. He was still using a DSLR until one day last March when every shot he took didn’t look right. Frustrated, he pulled out his iPhone and snapped a photo through Instagram. It sold the next day. He now uses his iPhone almost exclusively because of its convenience and ability to process photos.

    Russ also thinks that people appreciate how he uses the same equipment that they have in their pocket. “I think people can connect to the photos a lot more because people have an iPhone or a smartphone with a camera,” he says. “If they were shot with a professional camera then I don’t think they would’ve caught the same attention.”

    Read the full story on Motherboard.

    By Matt Marquez | Photos by Kevin Russ


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    You may not know who David Henneberry is, but after Friday night's dramatic capture of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, you know his boat.

    Four days after Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan allegedly placed two bombs at the Boston Marathon finish line—killing three and injuring more than 150 others—the 19-year-old suspect was found by Henneberry in his boat that was stored in his backyard. After seeing the bloodied man, who was involved in the firefight that killed his brother early Friday morning, Henneberry ran inside and called the police. Soon hundreds of local, state, and federal officers surrounded the Watertown backyard.

    In the process of arresting Tsarnaev, the boat was damaged by bullets and flash bombs. The boat was valued at $50,000, and citizens across the U.S. have stepped up to make donations toward a new boat. For example, on Saturday morning, Craig Dunlap started a Crowdtilt campaign to restore or replace the craft. As of Monday morning, nearly $4,700 was raised with the number going up by the minute.

    “Yesterday, the Boston Police heroically found the missing suspect behind the tragic Marathon Bombing. Thank God we got him! But unfortunately he was hiding in Watertown resident David Henneberry's boat, which was riddled with bullet holes in the standoff,” the site read. “Let's pool some money for repairs! I'm putting in $500 myself to start this off. David's a modern American hero. The boat will probably be held up as evidence for some time, so if we're able to get up to $50,000 then he'll be able to get a brand new boat!”

    The effort was being supported with a Facebook page and Twitter account linking to the Crowdtilt campaign. There were efforts to get the #DavesNewBoat trending on Twitter.

    A similar campaign on GoFundMe has another dozen supporters pledging $415 so far. It's a similar deal over on Indiegogo, where another $590 has been pledged.

    The boat has also been the subject of a handful of image macros.

    As of Sunday night, Tsarnaev was in serious condition in a Boston hospital and was able to write but not speak; investigators had yet to question the suspect.

    Photo viaAll of New England/Facebook


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    A word of caution about the Cinnamon Challenge, kids: It might just kill you. 

    A new study to be published Monday suggests that attempts to complete the Cinnamon Challenge—a YouTube-originating stunt that calls for someone to record themselves trying to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon without any welcome supplements like water—can result in chronic choking, inflamed, and scarred esophageal tissue and, potentially, serious lung diseases like pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema. 

    The report, to be published in the May edition of the Pediatrics health journal, comes directed by University of Miami professor Dr. Steven Lipshultz and gathered its data based on systematic testing with lab rats. Lipschultz would give the rats a sniff of cinnamon powder and then follow them as they aged. 

    "The cinnamon would coat the airways and the lungs (of the animals) and it would lead to inflammation," he said. "It wouldn't stop there. The inflammation led to scarring in the lungs, something called pulmonary fibrosis."

    Pulmonary fibrosis, for those wondering about the rats, is the formation of excess fibrous connective tissue in the lungs. The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation describes the ailment as a "scarring of the lung." It's something you might have if you've experienced shortness of breath, a chronic dry hack, serious fatigue, or sustained chest discomfort. (Or if you've just inhaled a gallon of dry cinnamon.)

    The report is prevalent considering the Cinnamon Challenge's popularity on YouTube. More than 30 teenagers were sent to the hospital last year because of lasting effects from the Cinnamon Challenge. Many of those teens learned about the challenge online. 

    I tried the Cinnamon Challenge last August and failed miserably, so I can say with certain authority that the whole operation is terrible, from the smelling to the spooning to the excess cinnamoning. I gagged within milliseconds. I coughed up a wad of fruit smoothie.

    It basically ruined me from eating my grandmother's Polish kugel ever again, too, and for that, I'm particularly sorry. 

    Photo via Maxmoefoe/YouTube


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    Friends grieving the loss of Parwhine Lucia Mejia Kaur logged on to find that the girl's Facebook account had been accessed by someone claiming to be the girl's murderer.

    Kaur, who was 18 and lived in Malaysia, was found dead last week after having gone missing for days. Police found her lying face down in a storm drain near a soccer field in Bandar Puchong, a neighborhood in the southwestern corner of the East Asian country. 

    Police reported that a passerby came upon Kaur at 6:50pm that night. Her belongings were scattered around her body. "Initial investigations also revealed that there was a cut on the front side of her neck," reported Yahaya Ramli, assistant commissioner for the Subang Jaya police. 

    Dealing with the death was hard enough for Kaur's friends and family, but it was made that much worse when they logged onto Facebook to find that the girl's account had been updated with a cryptic message: "Hehe…no one cn.find me !!!! Parhwine kaur's murderer"

    The news came to light Wednesday when one of Kaur's friends, a photographer who goes on Facebook by the name MaanVision MV II, posted a screenshot of the post along with a message reading "Is this a joke?" More than 138 people commented on the post, many of whom hoped that the activity may help find the girl's murderer. 

    For now, he or she remains at large. Kaur's Facebook account has not been updated since Wednesday.

    H/T Lipstiq | Photo via Parwhine Kaur/Facebook


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    Just a week after Fox's lawyers took on fair use issues in copyright, they're learning the wisdom of not falsely issuing a takedown to one of the Internet’s most vocal and noted proponents of copyright reform.

    Hard on the heels of destroying a lively decade-long fan practice of knitting "Jayne hats," a well-known costume accessory from the cult-favorite sci-fi series Firefly, TorrentFreak has noticed that Fox is apparently constantly attempting to remove hundreds of torrent seeds of Homeland.

    The problem? The Homeland they're trying to remove is not only Homeland, the critically acclaimed Fox-produced TV drama, but Homeland, the totally unrelated book by writer, BoingBoing editor, and renowned Internet freedom activist Cory Doctorow.

    What makes this case doubly bizarre is not just that Fox can't, or won't, distinguish between files of Doctorow's Homeland and their own. Doctorow's Homeland, while a traditionally published bestseller, is also published under a Creative Commons "Share-Alike" license, which means that while the owner retains authorship of the work, it is available for all free online distribution.

    The distinction between Creative Commons and other typical copyright restrictions is one that has confused Doctorow's own publisher, Tor, which once sent wrongful DMCA takedowns for another of Doctorow's Creative Commons works. But according to Doctorow himself, Fox, at least, should know better. In a post on BoingBoing earlier today, Doctorow lambasted Fox for what he deemed its negligence and carelessness in abusing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's protection against infringement:

    It's clear that Fox is mistaking these files for episodes of the TV show "Homeland." What's not clear is why or how anyone sending a censorship request could be so sloppy, careless and indifferent to the rights of others that they could get it so utterly wrong.

    Doctorow stated that he was trying to address the error with Fox, but wasn't optimistic.  "The DMCA makes it easy to carelessly censor the Internet, and makes it hard to get redress for this kind of perjurious, depraved indifference."  

    You can download a copy of Homeland for free at Doctorow’s site, Craphound.  You can also explore more current issues around the DMCA and copyright issues faced by artists today with InterActs, a round table conversation sponsored by the Daily Dot and National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture.

    Photo via Cory Doctorow/Homeland


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    A YouTube video documenting a shooting in Denver has helped police identify the likely individual behind the attacks. 

    Shot by Denver local Brandon Morse, the video details the events surrounding Saturday afternoon's marijuana rally at the downtown Civic Center, one that ended with gunfire and three injuries. 

    Morse, who does not have a history of citizen reporting, started recording video and interviewing rally-goers shortly after the bullets were fired. 

    One of the first scenes he shot showed a man running from the scene before slowing down and walking nervously amidst a frantic crowd. Police believe that's the man who opened fire. 

    "We are seeking this individual as we believe he assisted the primary suspect after the shooting," Denver police department spokesman Sonny Jackson told the Denver Post on Sunday. "He is the black male with a brown-and-white checkered shirt between the male in the red shirt and the male wearing a white hat."

    Interviews with eyewitnesses support the DPD's suspicions. 

    We were about 50 feet away from this group of black males," said one rally attendee, who wore a red hoodie. "They started yelling at each other and saying shit, and then one of the guys started taking off and running. It was crazy, just four or five shots. Everybody dropped to the ground and started running."

    Photo via Brandon Morse/YouTube


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    Even suspected terrorists have their own Twitter hashtags.

    Mere days after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev—one of two suspects in last Monday's Boston Marathon bombings—was apprehended by police, a new hashtag claiming his innocence and offering general support has popped up on Twitter.

    Since April 19, #freejahar has been mentioned more than 2,200 times on Twitter, according to social analytics site Topsy.

    Unsurprisingly, the majority of these mentions are coming from AlexJones-types, individuals who think that the attack was perpetrated by the United States government and that the Tsarnaev brothers are patsies.

    How do they know it's a false flag? Because of an amalgamation of evidence found on the Internet.

    That's the same evidence, by the way, that Reddit used to identify a series of suspects that ended up being innocent bystanders. Since then, Erik Martin, the site's general manager, has issued an apology over how poorly his online community handled the situation.

    And then there are those who just know it in their heart of hearts that Tsarnaev is innocent, evidence be damned!

    Not everyone using #freejahar on Twitter is in support of the detained suspect. Since Wired's Danger Room blog first wrote about it on Monday morning, the tone of the hashtag has shifted somewhat from questioning Tsarnaev's imprisonment to ridiculing those who think he's innocent.

    Meanwhile, over on Facebook, the apparent ban on pages that mention Tsarnaev has been lifted. Searching for the suspected terrorist's name yields multiple results, including this closed group that has more than 10,000 members.

    Photo via Dzhokhar Tsarnaev/Facebook


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    It may sound more like an episode of Girls than real life, but this novelist is advertising on Craigslist for a young female intern—specifically so he can have an affair with her.

    In 2011, Chad Leslie Peters published The Affair: A Thirty-Day Experiment in Love, an unreviewed e-book whose Amazon profile optimistically describes it as “one of the most graphic depictions of a relationship ever presented.” According to this recently-posted Craigslist ad, his next project is a nonfiction book in the same vein, and he’s looking for an “intern” to help him out. As he explains in the ad:  

    I plan on writing a non-fiction version of "The Affair." The book will detail every aspect of a mutually-agreed-to romantic affair between myself and a young FEMALE lover (perhaps you), experienced over 30 days, as in the novel.

    Titled, “Author needs female participant for affair (for a book project),” the ad is careful to specify that Peters is “a serious writer” and is looking for an equally serious participant, preferably an English major. The young FEMALE lover (perhaps you!) will keep a diary of her “thoughts, impressions and memories” of the affair, which Peters will then combine with his own writing to create an erotic story written from both perspectives.

     

    Image via Craigslist

     

    According to Amazon, Peters’s original novel is about a tenured professor who meets “a beautiful, young graduate student who is at a sexual crossroads.” Perhaps he’s looking for something along the same lines, with himself in the role of the middle-aged sexual mentor. Aside from that, his only requirements are that the “intern” be at least 20 years old, and practice safe sex.

    The concept is a little creepy at best. But the fact that the ad is clearly listed as an intern position is what tips it into truly skeezy territory. Unpaid internships fetching laundry and doing office gopher work are already heavily weighted towards female graduates, but at least you can put them on your résumé afterwards.

    Even if Peters is as serious about this book as he claims, he could at least have done the honest thing and labeled this as what it really is: a Craigslist hookup ad.

    Image via Amazon.com


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    A laptop thief and chronic masturbator with a penchant for "chubby" porn has "f**ked with the wrong nerd."

    The fap-man, a bald bloke with thick eyebrows and a shady grin, stole a laptop and set of credit cards from a video game designer in London last October. Police failed to do much about the theft, and so the fap-man got away.

    Little did he know that the designer, who did not provide his name, knew how to rig the device with a software program called Hidden, which allowed him to access the computer and receive a screenshot, webcam shot, and a briefing of network/location information every ten minutes.

    Simply put, the designer had figured out a way to keep track of everything the thief was checking out online.

    What he was checking out was porn—lots of it, and usually extracted from a website called Plumper Pass, which touts itself as "The Best in BBW, Plumper, Chubby & Fat Porn."

    In the months since the stealing, the designer has tracked the thief's online activity through a Tumblr page titled Plumpergeddon, "the sordid confessions of a stolen MacBook." (He's bestowed upon the thief the nickname "Plumpy.")

    Most of the images he's put on the Tumblr are NSFW, but one thing is clear: the man who stole his laptop really loves to beat off. He'll check out skeevy dating sites, grab a fap in lieu of lunch time, and keeps an abundance of cleaning materials on his bedside table. The laptop rarely leaves the area around his bed, and the thief, who hasn’t exactly brought any visitors back to his abode in a while, is generally making a face that looks a whole lot like this.

    Four days ago, the laptop's original owner responded to a not-to-accurate story about him that ran in England's The Register by explaining the reasoning behind the Tumblr.

    He said that the whole operation was a way of publicly shaming old Plumpy, who'd stolen a laptop so that he could keep better track of his porn intake. He also added that the page doubled as a form of exposing the lack of effort the London police made to help him get his laptop back.

    "It makes me feel better about the huge negative effect this experience has had on me," he told The Register."Such as getting the fear of hearing my bank's hold music and getting nervous in central London where it happened, particularly with valuables in my bag."

    Photo via Plumpergeddon/Tumblr


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    A star football player from the most successful college program in the country just made a huge confession on Twitter.

    "Yea I took $ n college so wat," former Alabama offensive lineman D.J. Fluker tweeted Monday evening. "Cast da 1st stone."

    Flunker, projected to be a first-round pick in this month's NFL draft, was a key starter for the Crimson Tide, which has won an unprecedented three of the past four most recent BCS National Championships. College rules rather strictly prohibit players from making money, but stories of agents fronting cash to future pros are common.

    "I did wat i had to do. Agents was tryin to pimp me so I pimped them," Fluker added in his tweet.

    The tweet, unsurprisingly, has been deleted. Fluker's current agent, Deryk Gilmore—whether it's the same one referenced in his tweet is unknown—quickly moved to damage control mode. 

    "To all followers of @DjFluker76 his account has been hacked," Gilmore tweeted about half an hour later, a totally reasonable claim that our readers should readily believe. "We will re-activate his account soon. Thank you for your support."

    Fluker's account hasn't been shut down as of this writing. Currently, the most recent tweet on Fluker's timeline is from around the same time as the "Yea I took $ n college" one: He responded, "say what dude," to a user who posted, "Is there something wrong with DJ Fluker because looks retarded."

    Photo via @DjFluker76/Twitter


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    The Daily Dot would like to extend a hearty happy 8th birthday to the first YouTube video of all time, a 20-second video of site cofounder Jawed Karim standing outside of some elephants at the zoo talking about the length of their trunks.

    "The cool thing about these guys is that they have really, really really long trunks, and that's cool," Karim said quite nobly on that blustery April day. "That's pretty much all there is to say."

    Hardly. YouTube has had all sorts of things to say in its eight year history, with sermons and opinions ranging from "Charlie bit my finger" to "Hide yo kids, hide yo wife" to the deliriously popular "Gangnam Style." It's so popular and influential that more than 800 million people use Karim and company's baby every single day.

    Today's iteration of YouTube hardly functions the way that Karim's original utilization of the site worked in any way. Sure, there are people talking about elephants at the zoo, but the site, now owned by Google, also offers news broadcasts, music videos, and high-cost original web programming. People who use YouTube as a hobby can go on to lofty heights and sometimes make up to six-figures a year. It's a beast with eight backs. It's the largest Web community we know.

    That said, there's a whole bunch of shady stuff that goes on—so be careful. YouTube prides itself on being a safe community, but the site's brass has no way of monitoring the excess of 72 hours of video uploaded onto its servers every 60 seconds. It's literally unmanageable—there is nothing YouTube can do about. And so, because of that, they don't answertheir telephones

    Who knows what the next generation of YouTube may hold, but one thing's for certain: there will always be elephants. 

    Photo via Jawed/YouTube


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    To your average Wikipedia sleuth, it sure looks like staffers at the encyclopedia's parent organization, Wikimedia, have been caught vandalizing articles on their own website. Anonymous editors working with an address that points to a Wikimedia server have been caught inserting sophomoric and potentially libelous edits to articles ranging from Bakersfield High School to Dom Deluise.

    But a Wikimedia spokesperson claims it's all a misunderstanding—little more than a bug related to how Wikipedia handles anonymous edits.

    The accusations surfaced Monday on Wikipediocracy, a site known for digging up dirt on Wikipedia's top brass. Wikipedia allows anyone to edit the encyclopedia anonymously, but when you do so it will record your IP address—a unique number that points to the server a computer is using to access the Internet. In one case, someone form the IP 208.80.152.185--which tracks back to the Wikimedia Foundation's offices in San Francisco, according to a Who.is seachchanged the name of Calfiornia's East Bakersfield High School sports team from the "Blades" to the "Masturbaters."

    Another editor with a Wikimedia foundation IP seemed to bear a serious vendetta against former ESPN host Rob Parker, adding this piece to his biography on Jan. 6, 2012:

     "In his free time, he enjoys blowing Oriental Sausage and shoving uncooked eggs up his anus."

    Actor Dom DeLuise, meanwhile, became the victim of an editor with a creative understanding of the physics of asses:

    He used to be a chef on T.V., but now he just sits at home with his ass up his ass!

    It all looks very damning. Vandalism is forbidden on Wikipedia. It's a serious problem that undermines the encyclopedia's authority and sucks away valuable time from the site's volunteer editors. But Jay Walsh, the Wikimedia Foundation's communications head, told the Daily Dot that, despite how things appear, those edits actually came from outside the Wikimedia offices.

    Here's what Walsh said:

    The alleged addresses are not WMF office IP addresses (in other words they didn't take place from within the Foundation). They're WMF server (the servers that host all of the Wikimedia projects) IP addresses that were assigned to some edits due to a misconfiguration. Under some circumstances, the user's IP would not be recorded and a server IP address through which they're accessing the Wikimedia network would be recorded.

    In other words, according to Walsh, wires crossed within Wikipedia, so that when someone tried to make an anonymous change, the encyclopedia recorded the IP address of the secure server they were using to make the edit.

    "That instance of the issue has since been fixed," Walsh added. "But there may still be rare circumstances under which this does occur."

    UPDATE: I was curious: What would an anonymous edit look like if it really did come from the Wikimedia offices? Surely there should be some difference, otherwise it would be too easy to dismiss Wikimedia's explanation as a convenient excuse. I reached out to Walsh for a follow-up. He decided to make an anonymous edit to his own Talk page ("in the interest of transparency"), which showed his IP as 216.38.130.163. That's different from each of the suspect edits and also tracks back to the Wikimedia foundation, according to Who.is.

    Photo by mikeeperez/Flickr


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    This is the snake eating itself.

    Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a fan of conspiracy theory website InfoWars, according to an Associated Press story that looked into the suspected Boston Marathon bomber's motives for carrying out the attack.

    The AP claims that Tsarnaev's interest in the site—owned and operated by Texas radio host Alex Jones—began after meeting a mysterious man named Misha. According to family, it was Misha's influence that led to the now deceased 26-year-old become an Islamic extremist.

    It was also because of Misha that Tsarnaev began to believe that the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were actually perpetrated by the United States government. Because Alex Jones has been the biggest peddler of this conspiracy theory, Tsarnaev turned to InfoWars.

    That Tsarnaev was a fan of Jones is ironic to say the least. On the day of the bombings, April 15, Jones took to Twitter to state that the tragic events were a false flag. The following day, he made the claim that the animated series Family Guy had predicted the explosions. He and his cohorts also contend that YouTube and Google were trying to censor him when a clip was pulled down from the video sharing site.

    For his part, Jones acknowledges that Tsarnaev may have been a listener, but that the link between the two is nothing more than a ploy by the government.

    "I've seen this before," Jones told BuzzFeed's Rosie Gray. "The federal government trying to connect me to tragedies. That's the media and the government's own conspiracy theories."

    Jones asserted that he and his show are decidedly anti-terrorist. He also doubled down on the theory that the bombings were executed by the FBI, which necessarily suggests that the Tsarnaev brothers were innocent.

    Of course, the radio host never actually proclaims that the two men are blameless. That would be crazy, and Jones is anything but.

    Photo via satanoid/Flickr


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    When game company Deep Silver apologized in January for including a bloody, bikini-clad statue with the special “Zombie Bait Edition” of Dead Island sequel Dead Island: Riptide, it was assumed that the statue would no longer be sold.

    However, it looks like Deep Silver just taught us all a lesson in making assumptions.

    The dismembered female torso is still being sold with the European and Australian special editions of the game, and is currently still pictured in the product listing on Amazon.co.uk. Maybe Deep Silver is hoping that gamers will focus more on the weapons DLC or the collectors’ artwork that is sold with the “Zombie Bait Edition.” After all, they received such a backlash when the statue was first revealed that they issued an apology on Twitter stating:

    “We deeply apologize for any offense caused by the Dead Island Riptide “Zombie Bait Edition”, the collector’s edition announced for Europe and Australia. Like many gaming companies, Deep Silver has many offices in different countries, which is why sometimes different versions of Collector’s Editions come into being for North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

    For the limited run of the Zombie Bait Edition for Europe and Australia, a decision was made to include a gruesome statue of a zombie torso, which was cut up like many of our fans had done to the undead enemies in the original Dead Island.

    We sincerely regret this choice. We are collecting feedback continuously from the Dead Island community, as well as the international gaming community at large, for ongoing internal meetings with Deep Silver’s entire international team today. For now, we want to reiterate to the community, fans and industry how deeply sorry we are, and that we are committed to making sure this will never happen again.”

    According to The Mary Sue, Deep Silver claimed the statue is a “grotesque take on an iconic Roman marble torso sculpture.” However people were, and still are, disturbed by the sexualization of the Dead Island torso. After all, the dead woman’s chest was left untouched, but her head and limbs weren’t so lucky.

    If there’s any doubt that the statue is still being included, you only have to look to Twitter for proof that the statue is being mailed out with the game:

    According to writer Owen Good, CNET’s Austrailian edition received a media statement from Deep Silver which states: “The Australian and New Zealand special editions of Dead Island Riptide are the Survivor Edition available through EB Games, and the Pre-Order Edition available through JB Hi-Fi. An extremely limited quantity of the Zombie Bait edition has been made available to some retailers for those customers who wish to purchase it.”

    Debate about the statue even took place on the Amazon.co.uk listing page itself, in a customer discussion asking “Would anyone know the scale of this sexy Figurine?” While the original commenter got his answer, the discussion quickly turned to whether or not the statue was sexy. Comments in the discussion range from “Sexy figurine...Isn't that necrophilia? I just think it's wrong to present a sexualised image of a body that has been dismembered, battered etc.” to “I hope you can get this awesome statue with the PC version.” The last comment to be shared was posted on Tuesday and simply states “God that statue is hideous.”

    Even with another backlash on the horizon, apparently Deep Silver just couldn’t ignore the select few who want to showcase a woman’s bloody torso in their homes—or maybe they hope the controversy will boost sales.

    H/T The Mary Sue | Photo via Amazon.co.uk


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    There's high drama today in the world of populist science Facebooking. A Scientific American blogger has accused a rising star of building her Facebook empire on stolen images, then profiting from the results. It is, in many respects, a story as old as the Internet—but one that's only recently arrived on Facebook, the social network that's supposed to be about meaningful connections among friends and loved ones, but that is quickly becoming one of the world's premier platform for content theft and spam.

    If you have a Facebook account, chances are you've seen a an "I Fucking Love Science" photograph pop across your newsfeed. Curated by the Canada-based self-made social media celebrity Elise Andrew, the page's popular pro-science posts propagate across Facebook faster than a Neil DeGrasse Tyson quote on Reddit.

    Andrew's populist message and her bite-sized chunks of scientific factoids appeal to the dormant science nerd in everyone: More than 5 million followers have flocked to her page since she founded it less than a year and a half ago. A single I Fucking Love Science image often receives more than 20,000 likes and countless shares.

    One of those recent photos belonged to Alex Wild, a Scientific American blogger and entomologist who takes stunning photographs of insects—the kind of image your average Facebook science fan loves to click "like" on.

    Wild didn't take kindly to his photo's guest appearance on I Fucking Love Science. Andrew didn't ask him permission, nor did she give him credit. For her millions of fans, "I Fucking Love Science" was the only name associated with the photograph. So Wild decided to do a little study: Just how much of that page's content is uncredited?  A lot—59 percent of the page's most recent 100 photographs had no credit at all. Only 26 percent of the posts gave credit to the author.

    Andrew isn't just an innocent Facebook user, stumbling into a copyright pitfall.

    She's making a budding business out of her impressive influence—she sells "I Fucking Love Science" T-shirts, and makes television appearances.You get the feeling that Andrew is poised for a breakthrough, and she deserves a lot of credit. She doesn't own any of the images she posts, which means they're out there on the Internet for anyone to find and post to their own Facebook accounts.

    But Andrew is the only one sitting at the top of the Facebook heap. She's smart, witty, and tireless. She's talented at what she does—and, honestly anyone working to pierce the world's apathy for science deserves a good bit of praise.

    It's the money part that really rubbed Wild the wrong way:

    "The people who actually made the content that drives Andrew’s ascendant business- the professional scientific illustrators, the photographers, the cartoonists, the graphic designers- aren’t given anything in return. They aren’t paid. They aren’t acknowledged. They aren’t even asked."

    Andrew hasn't made a public statement about the allegations, but she has started adding credit to photographs. That still doesn't make them legal (she still doesn't own rights to the photographs), but it is certainly a step in the right direction.

    Wild suggests that's best for everyone: "The creative community and IFLS are perched very near the brink of a mutually beneficial relationship," he wrote, suggesting that a tighter relationship could scientists with exposure and Andrew's with even better content.

    We're rooting for a happy resolution to this conflict. But in the meantime, there are dozens of other massively popular Facebook pages that operate on a similar model of image theft. We chronicled one of these spam empires, Stylish Eve, earlier this year, showing how the group's network of Facebook pages used stolen images to direct millions of followers to content-free Web pages loaded with advertisements. It's the same story at many other pages across Facebook. The problem will only get worse when Zuckerberg et al. launch their much-hyped news feed redesign, which will give further primacy to visual content.

    It's against Facebook's rules to post an image you don't own or have permission to use. It's easy to imagine that on a site as big as Facebook, image theft simply goes unnoticed, lost in the endless noise of one billion chatty users. But hidden in this story is an anecdote that suggests Facebook isn't just well aware of the problem, it's also not interested in taking meaningful action to end it.

    In January, Facebook deleted every infographic that Andrew had stolen from Hashem Al-Gahili, a Yemeni scientist who makes the images in his spare time. Al-Gahili recounted that, at the time, a Facebook staffer told him the company had received "over 6,000 reports on copyright infringement against IFLS in 2013 alone."

    If Andrew's page receives so many complaints, why hasn't it been banned outright? Earlier this month Facebook banned one mom for posting a single breastfeeding photo. But 6,000 complaints bring little less than a slap on the wrist.

    Perhaps those 5 million fans have something to do with it.

    Photo via Sundog Shirts


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