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Articles on this Page
- 05/21/13--08:14: _Devastation in Okla...
- 05/21/13--08:37: _Oklahoma tornado su...
- 05/21/13--10:32: _Urban Dictionary in...
- 05/21/13--11:32: _Red Cross text-mess...
- 05/21/13--13:19: _A hacker on the run...
- 05/21/13--14:11: _Facebook tries to m...
- 05/21/13--14:32: _Teens really are ge...
- 05/21/13--16:05: _Lingerie football p...
- 05/22/13--04:31: _NASA gives grant to...
- 05/22/13--07:44: _Radio host posts ra...
- 05/23/13--05:45: _British driver lice...
- 05/23/13--06:51: _J.J. Watt surprises...
- 05/23/13--08:16: _Man who sent "disgu...
- 05/23/13--15:38: _Boy Scouts: You can...
- 05/23/13--16:53: _Reddit's WTF hub wo...
- 05/24/13--06:37: _Redditor who hid fr...
- 05/24/13--07:00: _The dark side of Re...
- 05/24/13--09:32: _Watch these Vines o...
- 05/24/13--13:32: _The key to a succes...
- 05/27/13--05:24: _Yummypets is the so...
- 05/21/13--08:14: Devastation in Oklahoma captured on Instagram and Vine
- 05/21/13--08:37: Oklahoma tornado survivor finds her lost dog during TV interview
- 05/21/13--10:32: Urban Dictionary increasingly cited by courts, yo
- 05/21/13--13:19: A hacker on the run from police might be obscenely rich in Bitcoin
- 05/21/13--14:11: Facebook tries to make angry nude protesters disappear
- 05/21/13--14:32: Teens really are getting sick of Facebook
- 05/22/13--04:31: NASA gives grant to fund 3-D printer for pizza
- 05/22/13--07:44: Radio host posts rape joke from L.A. Kings' Twitter account
- 05/23/13--05:45: British driver licensing agency fires man for Facebooking on the job
- 05/23/13--06:51: J.J. Watt surprises quadriplegic Facebook fan
- 05/23/13--15:38: Boy Scouts: You can be gay until you turn 18
- 05/23/13--16:53: Reddit's WTF hub won't take your gore—unless clowns are involved
- Are outside sources using Reddit to push hateful agendas? (r/TheoryOfReddit)
- Director Richard Linklater hosts an AMA. (r/IAMA)
- When a redditor cannot get an app from the Amazon app store, he is given assistance by the app developer. (r/bestof)
- Two redditors discover that they snapped photos of the exact same shark—one second apart from each other. (r/defaultgems)
- 05/24/13--06:37: Redditor who hid from Okla. tornado in a bank vault shares AMA
- Are G-rated subreddits the basis for successful websites? (/r/TheoryOfReddit)
- When one man inadvertently clogs his toilet, he does what any of us would do: turns to r/AskMen for help. (/r/bestof)
- r/explainlikeimfive subscribers discuss whether or not the subreddit is basically becoming r/answers. (/r/explainlikeimfive)
- 05/24/13--07:00: The dark side of Reddit's GoneWild
- 05/24/13--13:32: The key to a successful Oklahoma fundraiser: Atheism
- 05/27/13--05:24: Yummypets is the social network your cats and dogs deserve
At least 24 are dead after a mile-wide tornado ripped through Oklahoma Monday.
Oklahoma City suburb Moore saw winds of up to 200 mph as buildings were torn apart and schools destroyed.
While the official death toll had been 51, that figure was revised to 24 fatalities Tuesday morning. Relief efforts are ongoing, with hundreds of National Guardsmen assisting on the ground.
Survivors and witnesses captured their perspectives of the scene using Vine and Instagram, uploading often graphic images of the devastation to their social networks.
Photo by @swalddo/Instagram
Photo by @swalddo/Instagram
Photo by @jacobhoneycutt/Instagram
Photo by @jacobhoneycutt/Instagram
Though it is not quite clear who originally took this photo, or indeed if it is from the Moore area, many Instagram users have reposted it.
Photo via @aureliono/Instagram
Main photo by @swalddo/Instagram
During an interview with CBS News reporter Anna Werner, an elderly woman explains how she was sitting on a stool with her dog in the bathroom when the tornado hit. When it passed she was lying in the rubble.
“I hollered for my little dog and he didn’t answer, didn’t come, so I know he’s in here somewhere,” the woman told Werner.
Werner goes on to talk to the woman about what the tornado was like when all of a sudden someone spots a dog in the rubble. The reaction of the woman is emotional as they free the dog and its a heartwarming sight seeing the pair reunited. Watch the reunion in the video below and get your tissues ready:
The video has caused an emotional response online, as people cling to some hope among all the bad news from Oklahoma. YouTube commenters called the video “Fantastic,” “Amazing,” and a “Miracle!”
Twitter also filled with reactions to the touching video:
When that old woman was reunited with her dog from the rubble on CBS news <333— Amy Miller HB (@XxAmyMillerxX) May 21, 2013
Reaction on Facebook was just as strong. Jenny Huff, news director at Fox affiliate WFXL, posted “The video of the woman who finds her missing dog LIVE—is so sad. I'm bawling over here!” All Pets Veterinary Clinic shared the story with their followers, writing “In all of the awful devastation in Oklahoma right now, here's a segment to find a little hope and joy to hold on to.”
The video has received over 100,000 Facebook recommendations and been tweeted over 8,000 times from the CBS website alone.
H/T HyperVocal | Screenshot via YouTube
The crowd-sourced dictionary of “urban”* language, that font to which we all repair when seeking the definitive definition of “badonkadonk,”** the Urban Dictionary, has been sworn in in a court of law.
The Urban Dictionary, cobbled together by a college freshman back in 1999, “was cited in a financial restitution case in Wisconsin,” in April, according to theNew York Times, “where an appeals court was reviewing the term ‘jack’ because a convicted robber and his companion had referred to themselves as the ‘jack boys.’”
Several weeks prior to the Wisconsin case, the dictionary was also consulted in a sexual harassment case in Tennessee.
It takes a while before a word is added to standard dictionaries. The Urban Dictionary was designed to bridge the gap between the street and the hallowed halls of the lexicographers.
It addresses the development of slang terms, which appear early and often, and few of which ever become permanent, standard parts of speech, thereby qualifying them for inclusion in the Oxford English Dictionary or Merriam-Webster.
The use of the Urban Dictionary in court cases is likely to increase, according to Rutgers law professor Greg Lastowka, who told the Times, “If it is Urban Dictionary or hire some linguistic expert to do a survey, it seems like a pretty cheap, pretty good alternative for the court.”
“In the last year alone, the Web site was used by courts to define iron (‘handgun’); catfishing (‘the phenomenon of Internet predators that fabricate online identities’); dap (‘the knocking of fists together as a greeting, or form of respect’); and grenade (‘the solitary ugly girl always found with a group of hotties’).”
If this sounds familiar, and silly, it might be one of several reasons. Crowdsourced reference resources can be very useful, but they have also been repeatedly decried as unreliable. Take Wikipedia’s high-profile incident in which writers on that crowdsourced encyclopedia called American journalist John Siegenthaler a suspect in the assassination of President John Kennedy.
The other problem is the New York Times itself. One of the most celebrated, and hilarious, incidents of a journalist getting pranked was when reporter John Marin, in his long 1992 style feature on grunge culture in the Northwest, published a glossary of grunge terms.
There was no such thing as grunge slang. But that didn’t stop a Sub Pop Records sales associate from furnishing Marin with a luxuriant list thereof, including such phrases as “harsh realm,” “wack slacks” and, most operatically of all, “swingin’ on the flippity-flop.”
So between the unreliability of crowdsourcing and the Times’ track record of pitching standard journalistic practice out the window when covering anything west of the Hudson, you might want to take this account with a grain of salt.
But the notion that its contributors are now going to take every opportunity to fill the dictionary with hangin’ with the flippity-flop style nonsense in the hope that they hear their preposterous contributions intoned by an attorney on Court TV with the same gravitas that Tipper Gore lent to the lyrics of Twisted Sister or Joe Lieberman did to Dove Shack?
The mere idea is, to borrow a term from the Urban Dictionary, “tang.”***
*This is newscaster code for black
**”Only used when describing bitchs”
***This is not a thing
As seems to always be the case with disasters, in the wake of the disastrous tornado that killed at least 24 in Oklahoma, the Internet scrambled to help.
But it wasn't really sure what to do.
A number of users have created impromptu online fundraisers. With the lack of a clear authority, though, none of those have raised much in the day since the storm passed. One coalition of local radio stations used Give Forward, promising that "any and all money raised will go to victims thru various charities." Though a handful of people have given $100 or more, it's still only raised $2,520.
Give Forward's only other foray into the disaster is for Brittnee "Subira" Cooks, founder of the Oklahoma State Sigma Lambda Gamma sorority. The fundraiser was created by Terri Pena, who, judging by her Facebook profile, is a current student at Oklahoma State and member of the sorority. It's gotten $2,550 so far.
GoFundMe.com isn't much different. At least seven different users have tried to get a fundraiser started for mission trips or individual victims. Despite lofty goals of up to half a million, only one of those has cracked the thousand-dollar mark.
That might have something to do with the fact that anybody can create an account, causing potential donors to question where their money would go.
"I certainly understand anyone who may be skeptical of someone asking for donations online," wrote Jordan Esco, who helps run the Oklahoma University athletics site Crimson and Cream Machine. "We're not going anywhere, so we're accountable I guess is what I'm saying." His fundraiser is up to $890.
It's not as if people are afraid of using technology to give. The Red Cross is taking donations by text messages, as they did with previous disasters. That service raised more than $32 million alone in the wake of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti; a Pew study later found that most people gave on impulse and had never donated via text message before.
Despite plenty of criticism of the Red Cross text-to-donate program after Haiti, it's still overwhelmingly more popular online than those user-created fundraisers for Oklahoma. More than 50,000 tweets posted since the tornados hit contain "90999," the number to text give the Red Cross $10. The Red Cross of Oklahoma's tweet to this effect, for example, has been retweeted nearly 15,000 times, more than all those user-created charities alone.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Remember LulzSec? British law enforcement does. They are still looking for a missing sixth leading member of the Anonymous-allied hacking group, whom they say retains over $180,000 worth of bitcoins donated to the group.
LulzSec launched a series of hacks in 2011, titled “the 50 Days of Lulz." Their targets included Sega, Fox, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, and the U.K.’s Serious Organized Crime Agency.
In March, American authorities arrested four of the now-disbanded group’s leading hackers.
It subsequently turned out that the putative leader of LulzSec, Hector Monsegur, who went by “Sabu,” had been turned and acting as an informant for the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation for the previous nine months.
Those four were sentenced in a British court recently; two will be serving 15- and 16-month sentences in a prison, another will spend two years in a juvenile facility, and the fourth was sentenced to probation.
So that was five of the six accounted for. However, “Avunit” was not identified and has remained at large.
Avunit’s identity remains wholly unknown, though it is possible he is a man and a native English speaker.
Possibly the most interesting thing to follow Avunit offline and into anonymity was an amount of money, in the digital currency Bitcoin, which was donated by supporters around the world to the LulzSec group.
As its value has fluctuated drastically, Bitcoin has drawn increasing international attention by Cyprus’s banking emergency, its inclusion in the American financial regulatory framework, and by increasing mainstream press coverage.
“When active, the group asked supporters to donate Bitcoins to its address,” wrote Charles Arthur, technology editor of the British newspaper The Guardian. “At the time each Bitcoin was worth between $6 and $10, and (LulzSec member Jake) Davis estimated that the group had about $18,000 donated by its supporters.”
If none were spent, at today’s prices, the value of the donations would be approaching $200,000.
The bitcoins, originally spread across several wallets (programs to manage the currency), were later united in one, according to Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at the security company F-Secure. This could mean that one person has total control over the money. And that person could be the missing Avunit..
Because Bitcoin is a crypto-currency—independent of a central bank as issuing authority, not requiring any bank at all as long as the bitcoins are not exchanged for a fiat currency, so far impossible to duplicate or forge and storable anywhere from the cloud to a thumbdrive—it is not currently possible to trace the funds.
If the funds still exist, and if Avunit has them—as well as some nerves of steel and faith in the currency’s ability to rebound from its occasionalcrashes—he could wind up a millionaire. It could end up being the perfect crime.
Facebook has shuttered a protest that called out the social network's stringent censorship policies towards nudity, proving at last just how chillingly prudish the company really is.
Organized by a French photographer, "Day of Nude on Facebook," was supposed to point out the "the ridiculous censorship that flouts the basic rules of our freedom of expression" according to its (now deleted) Facebook page.
On Monday, members were invited to post a single nude photograph to Facebook. This could be anything: Half-naked selfies, movie stills. Most members opted to post works of art, however. Artistic nudes are supposedly A-OK, but over the past few years Facebook has pretty consistently misfired, removing real, bona fide works of art and then backtracking following media attention.
Earlier this year, Facebook temporarily shut down a French museum's page after it had the audacity to upload one such image. And just this month, the Daily Beast saw a popular post disappear because Facebook found the drooping breasts in Josh Currin's 1991 painting of actress Bea Arthur offensive. The company later apologized, claiming it was all a mistake.
It was not nearly as apologetic Monday. Shortly after the nude protests began, Facebook went on a deletion rampage, even temporarily shuttering the accounts of some protesters. A company rep told the AFP: "Facebook authorizes users to mobilize around common causes, included cultural ones, but it can’t authorize the cause itself to encourage users to disrespect their conditions of use."
If you protest censorship on the world's largest social network, Facebook will disappear you. What an absurd overreaction. They're just boobs, Mr. Zuckerberg.
H/T The Huffington Post | Photo via The Daily Beast
There have been rumblings about Facebook's teen crisis for months—some fairly reliable, others not so much. Thanks to an exhaustive study from the Pew Research Center, we've finally got pretty solid evidence that teens are getting sick of Facebook. And the reasons why are fascinating.
First off, the numbers. The study polled 156 teenagers between the ages of 11 and 19, and there's nothing in it to indicate some kind of mass exodus from Facebook. Instead, the stats have simply flatlined: 94 percent of teens with a social media account use Facebook, no change from the year before.
While teenage population on Facebook is stagnant, but it's ballooning elsewhere. Teens on twitter more than doubled since 2011, jumping from 12 to 26 percent. That's still a huge gulf between the two social media behemoths; and you could argue that Facebook has essentially already saturated the teen market. It simply can't grow that much bigger.
But there's more at play. The teens Pew spoke to make it clear they're actually pretty tired of Facebook. There's too much drama they claim. Facebook maps their real life social connections too accurately. From the Pew report:
In focus groups, many teens expressed waning enthusiasm for Facebook. They dislike the increasing number of adults on the site, get annoyed when their Facebook friends share inane details, and are drained by the “drama” that they described as happening frequently on the site. The stress of needing to manage their reputation on Facebook also contributes to the lack of enthusiasm. Nevertheless, the site is still where a large amount of socializing takes place, and teens feel they need to stay on Facebook in order to not miss out.
Accounts on rival sites like Twitter and Instagram (which Facebook acquired last year) are simpler to manage. Teens feel "freed from the social expectations and constraints of Facebook," according to Pew. There are fewer parents snooping in on their activities. Indeed, one take away from the many responses transcribed from the focus groups is that Facebook's ubiquity is actually starting to hurt it.
One teen told Pew:
I like Tumblr because I don't have to present a specific or false image of myself and I don't have to interact with people I don't necessarily want to talk to.
"That's why we go on Twitter and Instagram [instead of Facebook]. My mom doesn't have that."
Twitter's character limit, one interviewee suggests, helps reduce the sense of being overwhelmed:
Facebook doesn't have a limit to characters on it. So in Twitter, there's only so much you can say. On Facebook, they say so many details of things that you don't want to know. You'd be like, are you serious? No one really cares that much
Another, on why he or she switched to Snapchat for image sharing:
"[On] Facebook, everyone sees what I'm doing. But Snapchat is just to one person."
There's a sense in these statements that teens find it suffocating when a social network maps their real world relationships too closely. The Internet is still a place of escape, a place for slightly bendable identities. Facebook doesn't allow that any more. Facebook makes the real world inescapable.
Photo by Hilco666/Flickr
The Legends Football League (née Lingerie Football League), in which bikini-clad women play tackle football for your confused enjoyment, has an interesting new promotion on YouTube.
It's a video of a coach, in an example of "intensity," proclaiming to one of his players "I'm gonna f**k you in the face!"
That's head coach Keith Hac, who leads the Chicago Bliss. The LFL has decided to highlight him in the latest clip uploaded to its YouTube channel, titled "Intensity of LFL coaches." Previous episodes highlight players' toughness or what they did when they went to Mexico.
But telling players of an impending sex crime is different. Hac swears multiple times in the clip, including four uses of the word "f**k."
"Goddammit! F**k! Goddammit!" he says in another clip.
The sole bleeped word, however, is that "f**k" from "I'm going to f**k you in the face!" Presumably, it was beeped because that one implies sexual assault.
According to a cached old bio from a former coaching gig, Hac has three children, all daughters.
H/T BuzzFeed | Screengrab via Legends Football League/YouTube
Forget deep dish. NASA wants deep space pizza.
Quartz is reporting that the government agency has given a $125,000 grant to System & Materials Research Corporation (SMRC), a company based out of Austin, Texas, that's building a 3-D printer for food.
The award was specifically given to SMRC mechanical engineer Anjan Contractor so that he can develop a system using his food synthesizer—modeled after the open-source RepRap "Mendel"—to print food for astronauts embarking on long missions.
"Long-distance space travel requires 15-plus years of shelf life [for food]," Contractor told Quartz. "The way we are working on it is, all the carbs, proteins, and macro and micro nutrients are in powder form. We take moisture out, and in that form, it will last maybe 30 years."
The first type of food to be printed on the device will be pizza due to its overall flatness. Contractor's machine will initially print a layer of dough, which will be simultaneously baked by a heated plate located below. Once the base is in place, the synthesizer exerts a tomato base made out of powder mixed with water and oil. To complete the process, the 3-D printer tops the pizza with a protein layer.
It's not exactly a Brooklyn pie, but something tells us it beats eating out of a toothpaste container.
An example of the device at work can be seen below, only instead of pizza, the food synthesizer is working with chocolate.
Besides feeding astronauts, Contractor hopes that his 3-D printer will one day fight food scarcity.
“I think, and many economists think, that current food systems can’t supply 12 billion people sufficiently,” the mechanical engineer stated. “So we eventually have to change our perception of what we see as food.”
Ideally, future humans could use still available substances to create new foods when the planet runs out of meat, fish, and produce. In fact, because Contractor's food synthesizer users powders to make its meals, it's not out of the realm of possibility that some nefarious character or organization could make Soylent Green a reality.
Photo via Mike Licht/Flickr
In the midst of a crucial game 4 of their Western Conference Finals, marketing geniuses with the Los Angeles Kings made the bold decision to hand the reins of their quarter-million-follower Twitter account to Kevin Ryder, a morning show disc jockey on L.A.'s KROQ.
The decision proved to be a dumb one: Ryder, whose own account maintains very little in the way of a contextual filter, thought it best to tweet out a rape joke after a member of the opposing San Jose Sharks committed a penalty.
The Kings quickly deleted the post, and apologized for it later. Ryder, who didn't do much tweeting from the Kings' account after shilling out the tasteless crack, turned to his personal Twitter account shortly after the game concluded to apologize for his quote—and shift the blame to Deadspin for reporting on it.
(1 of 2) My apology. I made a poor choice in the wording of my tweet. I wish I had used different words. If you were hurt by me, I'm sorry.— Kevin Ryder(@thekevinryder) May 22, 2013
(2 of 2) I get angry when groups like Deadspin see it as kindling to make a fire for themselves. That's worse than my choice of words.— Kevin Ryder(@thekevinryder) May 22, 2013
Britain's Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) fired a man from its Swansea headquarters for using Facebook on his mobile phone while at work.
The unidentified male employee was let go last year, according to a Freedom of Information request made yesterday.
"DVLA staff cannot access any social networking sites on DVLA computers," the representative said.
"Although instances of staff using social media inappropriately are extremely rare, any incidents of staff using social media at work on their personal phones are always investigated and could result in disciplinary action. All staff are aware of the current guidance in place and are reminded of the rules on a regular basis."
It's worth noting that the man in question was not using company equipment, nor did he make any inappropriate comments concerning his employer, his coworkers, or a customer—behavior that could lead to termination. In 2011, the DVLA fired three individuals and issued a warning to another because of statements they made on platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
The British organization pointed out that this infraction was only the latest in "a list of conduct issues," and wasn't the sole reason he lost his job.
To be fair, if the DVLA is anything like its American counterparts, the agency did taxpayers a favor. Going to the DMV is widely regarded as a nightmare, and the last thing anyone needs is for the person behind the window to make an already time-consuming experience even longer by pausing to update Facebook.
Photo via Jo Alcock/Flickr
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt has to be the most social media savvy good samaritan in the history of American football.
The herculean defenseman, who last year registered 20.5 sacks for the AFC South champion Texans, once again showed his penchant for paying attention to his most adoring fans, taking time out of his training schedule to meet with a fan named Itzy Cagen—the longest surviving quadriplegic on a ventilator in the entire world—after the his nurse Eran Melnik posted a message onto Watt's Facebook page.
The post actually hit Watt's Facebook page in January, attracting a groundswell of attention. Even beloved comedian Jenny Johnson tweeted the nurse's request out to her followers. On May 13, Watt posted a long-awaited reply: "This will happen."
On Monday, Watt and Cagen found time to meet and hang out together, hitting up a Texans merchandise shop and taking a tour of Reliant Stadium, where Watt plays every Sunday. Melnik, who joined the two, posted a photo to Watt's Facebook page the next day, along with a message: "Thank you so much JJ Watt for taking the time out of your busy schedule to make Itzy extremely happy!!"
"It was my pleasure," Watt tweeted after Cagen's brother posted another thank you onto Twitter. "Hope he enjoyed it."
This is hardly the first time that J.J. Watt has come to the rescue of a fan soliciting his attention on social media. In January, he surprised a 6-year-old girl who, sobbing in a YouTube video, lamented the fact that she would never be able to marry Watt. The video went viral. Watt showed up to the hotel where she was staying and asked her to marry him.
Photo via Danny Cagen/Twitter
A man who barraged a 13-year-old autistic girl with hundreds of explicit Facebook messages managed to keep out of jail.
David Jamieson, of Leith, Scotland, met the victim, her twin sister, and her mother while on vacation in Cyprus and kept in touch with them through Facebook. His messages to the autistic girl became more sexual over time.
The 50-year-old's illicit spam campaign was unearthed after he messaged the girl's sister and asked her to expose her breasts. It was then discovered he had sent the girl's autistic sister more than 800 messages.
Jamieson previously admitted sending the girl explicit messages through Facebook and text between July 1 and Oct. 19, 2011.
Jamieson was sentenced to 240 hours of community service. Sheriff Corke, passing down the sentence, said even though the messages included “disgusting remarks,” he'd been convinced to hand down a non-custodial sentence.
John Lamont, chief whip of the Scottish Conservatives, slammed the sentence. “It sends out completely the wrong message and is a slap in the face for the victims and their family,” he said.
Photo by Alessandro Capotondi/Flickr
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. And gay?
One thousand four hundred voting members of the national council of the Boy Scouts of America met Thursday in Grapevine, Texas, and voted 61 percent in favor to put an end to a policy that excludes gay children and teens from participating in the organization.
Gay leaders, however, still have no place in Scouting.
It was only last July that the organization reaffirmed its stance on excluding gay youth. Attitudes about homosexuality are changing, and many young parents and teenagers have been vocal supporters of overturning the policy in the recent months.
Wayne Perry, president of the Boy Scouts of America, authored a piece in USA Today urging the members to allow gay youth the right to participate in Scouts.
“The change to the Boy Scouts of America's membership policy is not the result of pressure from outside; it is the result of extensive dialogue within the Scouting family,” Perry wrote. “No matter what your opinion is on this issue, America needs Scouting, and our policies must be based on what is in the best interest of our nation's children.”
The vote has shown that a lot can change in a year.
Across the Internet, people voiced their opinion on the ban and how the leadership should vote. As @hill_Charlotte noted on Twitter, more than 1.8 million people have signed petitions on Change.org relating to the organization's policy.
Many of those in favor of repealing the rule cited human rights and equality as the motivation for ending the policy.
If the #BoyscoutsofAmerica feel they'd lose membership if they supported gays, it would be a good thing! Like House Cleaning the Bad Eggs!!— Elizabeth Healey (@elaulhealey) May 23, 2013
#Boyscouts I hope the scouts make the right decision, the human rights decision and decide to take gender orientation out of the question.— Jo-Ann Alvarez Webb (@alvawebb) May 23, 2013
And while many of the messages were in favor of repealing the ban, some politicians and pundits, including Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Texas Governor Rick Perry, voiced their opposition to the vote.
Respect BSA right to decide as private org but personally hope they continue current policy—best for members, families & Boy Scout tradition— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 23, 2013
Allowing gays into the Boy Scouts isn't about gay rights, it's about the Left destroying the American values the Boy Scouts represent— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) May 23, 2013
Pray the Boy Scouts of America stay strong and true to their traditional values. #BSA— Rick Perry (@GovernorPerry) May 23, 2013
George Takei, Star Trek star turned Internet icon, took to Facebook to show his support for ending the 22-year-old ban on gay members. In the post, Takei urged the organization to repeal the policy that has barred many scouts and leaders from participating in Scouts.
Takei also changed his profile picture, adding a Scout badge and the words “It’s OK to be Takei in Scouting”—a nod to the YouTube video in which Takei told people to substitute his name for the word “gay” in protest of Tennessee’s “Don’t say gay” bill.
“I was a boy scout, and it was an important part of my identity. I hope that the organization does the right thing,” Takei wrote on Facebook.
Other celebrities on Twitter joined Takei in showing support. Snooki, Ross Mathews, Minka Kelly, and indie-pop band Tegan and Sara all tweeted a message saying “We support equality” and that the Scouts should “end the ban on gay scouts and leaders!”
Although messages of support were heard loudly on social media, the vote only affects Scouts. A ban on gay leaders will continue.
Scout officials who spoke on condition of anonymity told The New York Times that a proposal to allow gay leaders in the organization would have no chance at passing and may drive away a large number of members and sponsors.
But one question still remains:
Photo by sfbaywalk/Flickr
Reddit's premier forum for bugs, bullet holes, and eyeball stitches just banned blood and guts.
If you're a fan of gore for gore's sake, one subreddit doesn't want you: r/WTF.
"Our main reasoning for removing gore from r/WTF is that in most cases it is just not WTF," wtf_mod wrote in the post. "We are trying to move away from this subreddit making you think 'Eww, WTF, that's disgusting' and instead make you think 'What the actual fuck.'"
wtf_mod suggested such subreddits as r/gore and r/MorbidReality as alternatives for gore aficionados. It was stated that gory content would still be accepted only if there was a WTF element to it.
"For example, if you fall and break your leg, it would be expected that your leg would be broken. A picture of this broken leg (no matter how much bone you may be able to see) is entirely expected of the situation and is not 'WTF' in nature. If a clown showed up and started humping your leg afterwards and you managed to snap a picture, then please feel free to post that. That's pretty 'WTF,'" wtf_mod explained.
Reaction to the newest stipulation has been mixed.
"This is a great change. Most if not all gore posts are not unique in any way, and not WTF. They just clutter the subreddit and take away time for posts that are truly WTF and interesting, which this subreddit receives quite a lot of. Glad to see the change," redditor NotaMethAddict commented.
"Sorry, but this subreddit just lost all my respect," redditor kevinmaximus said.
Other redditors offered unique compromises.
"If anybody is willing to break their leg, I am willing to dress up like a clown and hump it," redditor Nero_A offered.
So take that photo of your pus-oozing open wound elsewhere. Unless, of course, there is a clown, robot, or washed-up 1980s sitcom star humping it.
The Daily Dot's subreddit, r/dailydot, highlights the most interesting or important discussions from around the social news site every day.
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She survived the devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma. And now she's telling Reddit her story.
On May 23, Dena Clark, a resident of Moore, Oklahoma, revealed to the social news site that she hid from the deadly storms in a bank vault with 22 others. As proof, she provided a photo she snapped of her fellow survivors being led to freedom through the remnants of the bank.
Photo via Dena Clark/Facebook
Redditors flooded the AMA with well-wishes and questions.
What did it sound like? (AintNoFortunateSon)
There was lots of popping in the beginning. I remember hearing the glass shatter and the debris even began to squeeze through the cracks of the door. It was very loud. My husband describes it as sounding like a freight train when he recalls the tornado he went through in 1999. I guess I would agree with that, but also the word I can come up with to describe it is "swirling", loud swirling. By the sounds, I knew things were rotating above us.
At any time did it feel like the vault would break open? Thank you for doing this AMA, I hope you, your family, and people you know are safe. (An0nymauz)
I honestly was very calm, considering the situation. The bank manager, a police officer, and a bank employee had to hold the door closed the entire time because it would not shut completely from the inside...so in my mind (it did not actually happen), I could picture it ripping away. Thank the Lord, it never did.
My family and everyone I know personally are safe. The only thing we lost was my car... I should post a picture of it. People I know through connections have lost their homes and all of their belongings.
Is this your first encounter with a tornado? Did you have any family or friends greatly impacted by the tornado? (Belongings destroyed, lives lost.) How do you feel about all of the national attention your story has received? (diffikolt)
This is my first PERSONAL encounter with a tornado. My husband lost his home 14 years ago, and of course I've seen news coverage of tornadoes that have affected others I know over the years.
No CLOSE, personal friends who were greatly impacted by the tornadoes, but we definitely know families in our high school's community and church community who have lost their homes and everything inside of them.
It's very strange all the attention our story has received. Very surreal. At times I don't feel like we deserve any of it at all. Of course our story means something to us because it is OUR story, but there are so many others who experienced much, much worst. However, it has been nice in a way in that it has given me a platform to share my faith in Jesus Christ.
I will probably keep my rear end at home next time... or seek shelter in an UNDERGROUND shelter. Above ground wasn't my favorite...
Other redditors had some fun with the AMA, likening it to another safe-related dilemma on Reddit that had nothing to do with natural disasters.
What was in the vault??!!! (whosthedoginthisscen)
It was the safety deposit vault so it was hundreds of secure boxes along the walls."
"Makes reddit account, does an AMA, and actually tells us what's in the vault (and didn't even need to make their own subreddit!), all in the past three hours. Today, OP was pretty damn cool," responded NYR99.
The Daily Dot's subreddit, r/dailydot, highlights the most interesting and important discussions from around the social news site every day.
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Warning: This story might not be safe for some workplaces.
Reddit’s GoneWild is supposed to be a supportive, sex-positive community. The amateur porn subreddit prides itself as a mutual admiration society, where people, mostly young women, can post revealing photos for a quick thrill and complimentary comments in the hundreds.
But that’s not always the case.
Seven months ago, a Reddit user called “IamTheFapMaster” recognized the bathroom of a girl who posted to r/gonewild as being in a University of Central Florida (UCF) dorm. Without her permission, redditors reposted her photos to a subreddit for UCF students (r/UCF), where she was identified by her peers. The girl deleted her photos, but they were still available for viewing on image-hosting site Imgur until she deleted her entire account.
She was outed in real life, her pictures downloaded and saved without her consent, likely to reemerge at inopportune times and even worse places on the Internet.
And she’s not alone. The women of GW, as redditors call it, are an unfair punching bag for the rest of the site, like strippers or sex workers in real-life society. The users mock them for having low self-esteem, for being desperate, for being too concerned with their looks. They sneer at the men who comment, claiming they do so because they could never get a girlfriend or because they’re hopeless idiots. The humor subreddit r/funny often includes posts like “gonewild in a nutshell” and an unflattering animated GIF.
On the rest of Reddit, GoneWild is fair game for parody, mockery, slut-shaming, and even the breaking of the site’s own rules.
Reddit has long been known for its struggles with misogyny. Because the site prioritizes free speech, there’s a dark line often crossed into hate speech and sexism. Memes like Good Girl Gina and Good Girl College Liberal feature women getting naked and shutting up. A subreddit called r/creepshots, which included covert photos of young women, was only shuttered after it achieved national notoriety. TwoXChromosomes, a subreddit devoted to women and women’s issues, is routinely raided by men’s rights activists. The women there recently talked in a thread about how it benefits them to have a gender-neutral username on Reddit, because a female name is “like a target on your back.”
The act of outing a user’s real identity, or “doxxing,” is forbidden on Reddit, but users are selective about when and how it’s enforced.
When Gawker’s Adrian Chen revealed the identity of violentacrez, one of the site’s most well-known trolls and a moderators for shady subreddits like r/jailbait, it was seen as a massive attack on the freedom and anonymity that Reddit promises. Chen was labeled a villain, and Gawker was banned from Reddit.
But the aforementioned IamTheFapMaster and other redditors routinely “punish” women posting to GW by revealing their real names and sending their nude photos to teachers and family members. It’s easy to track via the watchdog subreddit, r/ShitRedditSays, which lists out every instance of misogyny, slut-shaming, and general douchebaggery the rest of Reddit dumps onto GW.
A redditor called sirloafalot summed it up best:
Reddit on the violentacrez doxxing: "I can't believe a journalist took words that VA said in a public place for a number of years and put them together to find out who he was then interviewed him!!" Reddit anytime a woman posts their own nudes and then deletes their account because of creeping and doxxing: "Well, what did she expect?"
Doxxing the women of GW is also, more alarmingly, based in the fetishization of nonconsent. There are plenty of willing women on r/gonewild, but the fixation for outsiders is on getting the photos of a girl who clearly doesn’t want them seen anymore. The redditors involved want the photos of the girl who said “no.” And despite rules against such a thing, the moderators did not take action against those who chased off the UCF student.
Stephen Bruckert, who has been researching misogyny on Reddit for the past year as part of a lecture he gives at universities about Internet culture, has found that outside r/gonewild, the Reddit community is steeped in “slut-shaming,” which is defined on Wikipedia as “making a woman feel guilty or inferior for engaging in certain sexual behaviors that deviate from traditional, or orthodox, gender expectations.”
More frighteningly, slut-shaming has been linked to victim-blaming in cases of sexual assault and rape—saying women who dress or act in a certain manner are “asking for it,” the same way the girls of GW are blamed or told they “should have known better” when their photos are used without their consent. The blame is shifted to the victim, rather than the jerk who harassed her.
“The dark side of GoneWild's supportive atmosphere is that it's one of the few places on Reddit where women can participate as women without being sexually harassed, accused of being crazy or stupid, or worse,” Bruckert wrote to the Daily Dot. “Reddit is host to a huge amount of slut shaming, which is ironic considering whenever a woman posts a non-nude picture of herself on the rest of the site, ‘checking for gonewild’ is practically a Reddit tradition—there was even a novelty account called ’ChecksForGonewild.’”
He’s referring to times when a girl posts a non-nude photo of herself in another subreddit—maybe she wants to discuss comic books or share a funny sign at her school—and is immediately dismissed in favor of attempts to find her GW posts. When a woman posted a cosplay photo, for instance, redditors found her Facebook and spammed the thread with her private pictures. There was even a Google Chrome plugin created to turn whoever has posted to GW’s every post green so they could be easily identified. (It appears to have been deleted recently.)
This rush to connect nude photos to usernames stems from the false—but catchy—idea that “there are no girls on the Internet,” explained here by a 4chan user (click to expand):
Popular GoneWild girl Nina1987, a 26-year-old medical student, said the rest of Reddit’s attitude about GW is based in fear and anger of breaking the mainstream code or professionalism. If these redditors abstain from what they want to do because of “how the world works,” why should the GoneWild women get to have fun without consequences?
They’ve bought into a “professionalism code,” she said. GoneWild girls getting away with posting, to them, would be like if a Christian arrived at Heaven’s gate having done everything right, and then St. Peter let a bunch of porn stars in, too.
“There’s a lot of condescending concern,” she said. “They don’t just believe everyone should have consequences. They believe everyone will. But they’re the ones punishing you.
“When I first posted on GoneWild and my world didn’t come crumbling down, it was freeing. They don’t have that and I’m pretty sure they’re convinced that these girls’ lives are tumbling down like a stack of cards, just, like, boom—but it’s not like that. They’re scared. They’re mad at women because they don’t get what they want.”
Redditors, she said, feel posting to r/gonewild is the mark of a weak woman or a woman who is not worth their time because she wants attention. But Nina argues that no one posts on Reddit to be ignored. To the people telling her to be satisfied with attention in real life, she wants to know, “Why are you online then?”
“The men of Reddit want the Internet to be for boys, like, ‘Why are girls coming into my Internet?’” she said.
There’s also, she's observed, a financial aspect. People can’t imagine someone sane would post to r/gonewild because the move is a gamble with his or her future. But if they believe only a damaged, desperate, insane person would post nude photos online, then why is the next move not to have sympathy but instead to deliberately hurt the person?
“Isn’t that a worse quality in a person?” Nina1987 said. “I’m so horrible for posting naked pictures online but you’re trying to destroy my life. You need a wake up call because that kind of destruction of someone else’s life is such a harsh treatment for nothing, an offense that you created in your mind, because you don’t have to look.”
As a site, Reddit wants to have its cake and eat it too. It wants to exist simultaneously as a liberal haven for good, while also having a deeply rooted and celebrated sexist undercurrent.
In the case of the woman from UCF, Nina1987 said the danger is in the idea that a woman and her body is more “valuable” because she doesn’t want the attention. In other words, the photos she doesn’t want displayed and the lack of consent are what’s exciting.
It’s a can’t win situation: The pervasive idea is that as a female redditor you should only contribute to a conversation if you show your boobs, but once you do, you’re a pathetic attention whore. The only appropriate place for women on Reddit is where they’re naked and quiet, not trying to draw too much attention to themselves.
As Bruckert put it: “Redditors see GoneWild as women in their place.”
All photos via Reddit/GoneWild | Illustration by Jason Reed
Science is awesome, isn't it?
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Health Service used all three to chronicle a man being fitted with a brain pacemaker to counter the effects of Parkinson's disease. It was the 500th time the procedure was carried out at UCLA, the L.A. Times reported.
We've been to the surgery livetweeting and live-Instagramming dance before. In October, one hospital shared tweets and photos from the operating room as a woman had ear implant surgery. Last month, an English hospital Vined a hip surgery.
None really compare to these remarkable clips from UCLA Thursday. The patient was kept awake during surgery and was allowed to sing and play guitar.
He's not half bad.
It took a few days, but the Internet has finally found an Oklahoma cause worth donating to: its favorite religion, atheism.
Using the banner and hashtag #AtheistsUnite, an Indiegogo campaign is raising money to help Rebecca Vitsmun, whose house was destroyed in the massive tornadoes around Moore, Oklahoma. It was started by comedian Doug Stanhope, who watched awkward comedy unfold when CNN correspondent Wolf Blitzer interviewed Vitsmun, an atheist.
In a long clip, Blitzer stiltedly asked her "Do you thank the Lord?" for deciding to leave her house before it collapsed. Vitsmun smiled and politely responded, "I'm actually an atheist."
More than 1,600 people have donated. As of this writing, Stanhope's goal of $50,000 has almost been met, and money keeps pouring in. Stanhope's page is riddled with jokes mocking religion, promising those who give $50 a "get-out-of-hell-free card" and $5,000 for "full access to God's planbook."
That's not quite the tone Vitsmun took, who also told Blitzer, "I don't blame anybody for thanking the Lord." But there's no denying the fundraiser's effectiveness. Indiegogo is absolutely riddled with generic, well-meaning fundraisers for Oklahoma victims that have raised little to no money.
That stands in stark contrast to the Red Cross's highly effective text-messaging campaign, which still dwarfs most online fundraisers.
"It's important that our community shows that we have your back when you come out publicly as an atheist," Stanhope wrote.
Remarkably, his fundraiser isn't the only pro-atheism fundraiser to invoke Vitsmun's name and promise to give her the proceeds. The Oklahoma Freethought Convention is selling T-shirts that say "I'm actually an atheist." The site shows an illustrated model wearing the T-shirt, shrugging.
Screengrab via TheSublimeDegree/YouTube
Launched in the U.S. in January 2012, Yummypets was already a hit in France. It now has more than 150,000 members with 500 new pets joining daily as the site expands to the U.K. and beyond. MySocialPetwork, which started in the U.K., has a similar premise.
"I thought that the great pets of Great Britain should have the chance to join the social media world and interact as part of a community that knows them best," Leo the cat, the "founder" of Yummypets, said in a press release.
The site is a mix of Facebook, Craigslist, and Reddit. You can add pictures, videos, and statuses from your pet, post classified ads for donations and pet products, and discuss different topics with instant messaging and forums.
You can also make a memorial page to pay tribute to lost pets.
My cat was now the guinea pig. She already had a Facebook profile set up by a family member, but here was something a little more feline-friendly. When you sign up for an account, you have to provide information for both the owner and the pet; the latter gives you more interesting writing prompts.
With a few simple clicks, we were in.
From there, you can add a cover photo and add your own photos and video. I added a couple of recent photos and video I had on my phone to the site to test out the functions, and although I selected English as my language, errors will still appear in French.
Instead of likes, you give out "yummies" to photos and videos you like, which I found out upon refreshing my page.
With this, the owners still get the gratification that comes with someone liking your post without the backlash from non–pet owners, but I doubt my cat, the new owner of a Yummypets page, will notice. She's too busy sleeping.