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Articles on this Page
- 05/27/13--06:18: _This 3-D-printed tr...
- 05/27/13--07:32: _Racist opera butt-d...
- 05/27/13--08:27: _Gay couples get mar...
- 05/27/13--11:21: _Fashion by He: Unsu...
- 05/28/13--06:36: _Redditors hook up a...
- 05/28/13--07:56: _A blind puppy named...
- 05/28/13--08:22: _Human maxi pad is o...
- 05/28/13--10:52: _This easy loophope ...
- 05/28/13--12:07: _Woman on Berlin tra...
- 05/28/13--12:50: _Why did it take Ins...
- 05/29/13--05:11: _Vietnamese blogger'...
- 05/29/13--07:15: _Every Wikipedia fla...
- 05/29/13--07:53: _Webmaster in Djibou...
- 05/29/13--08:12: _Student suspended f...
- 05/30/13--06:18: _What is the English...
- 05/30/13--08:28: _NBA star scores dat...
- 05/30/13--11:56: _Facebook campaign c...
- 05/30/13--12:41: _How Reddit's atheis...
- 05/30/13--12:48: _Sir Patrick Stewart...
- 05/31/13--09:48: _How a 4chan raid ru...
- 05/27/13--06:18: This 3-D-printed tracheal splint saved an infant's life
- 05/27/13--07:32: Racist opera butt-dial voicemail gets Papa John's employee fired
- 05/27/13--08:27: Gay couples get married over Google Hangouts
- 05/27/13--11:21: Fashion by He: Unsuspecting models and overt body-shaming
- 05/28/13--06:36: Redditors hook up a cancer-stricken bro with Travis Barker
- An 88-year-old aerial photographer and World War II vet spends his Memorial Day hosting an AMA. (/r/IAMA)
- It's the timeless romantic story: boy meets girl at convention. Boy takes picture with girl. Boy and girl are reunited through Reddit. (/r/defaultgems)
- Redditors share what kinds of bots and apps they would like to see. (/r/TheoryOfReddit)
- 05/28/13--08:22: Human maxi pad is on his way to achieving his dream
- 05/28/13--10:52: This easy loophope shows your Snapchat photos aren't secure at all
- 05/28/13--12:07: Woman on Berlin train outs harassers on Twitter
- 05/29/13--05:11: Vietnamese blogger's site becomes weaponized after his arrest
- 05/29/13--07:15: Every Wikipedia flame war in 1 impressive map
- 05/29/13--08:12: Student suspended for starting hashtag that mocked school board
- 05/30/13--06:18: What is the English Defence League, and why is Anonymous after it?
- 05/30/13--08:28: NBA star scores date with beauty queen via Twitter
- 05/30/13--11:56: Facebook campaign calls out Saudi Arabia's culture of domestic abuse
- 05/30/13--12:41: How Reddit's atheists lost faith in their former top moderator
- A member of Anonymous hosts an AMA. (/r/InternetAMA)
- Samuel L. Jackson promises to speak 300 words for charity. (/r/movies)
- r/explainlikeimfive tackles the concept of filibusters. (/r/explainlikeimfive)
- 05/30/13--12:48: Sir Patrick Stewart to domestic abuse victim: "You're safe now"
- 05/31/13--09:48: How a 4chan raid ruined Samuel L. Jackson's Reddit debut
On Thursday, two University of Michigan doctors sent a letter to the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine detailing how they saved the life of infant Kaiba Gionfriddo using the still-emerging technology.
The child suffers from tracheobronchomalacia, a rare condition—just one in 2,200 newborns has it—in which the bronchus collapses and in turn prevents airflow into the lung. When Gionfriddo was 6 months old, he started turning blue while he and his family were out at a restaurant. He was hospitalized and a breathing tube was placed in his trachea.
Desperate to save their child's life, April and Bryan Gionfriddo turned to Glenn Green, associate professor of pediatric otolaryngology at the University of Michigan, and Scott Hollister, professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering and associate professor of surgery at the same university. The two were working on a customized tracheal splint, exactly the kind of medical implant that could save Kaiba's life.
On Feb. 9, 2012, after receiving clearance from the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Green and Dr. Hollister surgically inserted the splint, which was created and designed using a CT scan of the child's trachea and bronchus. The surgery was successful.
"It was amazing," Dr. Green said in a University of Michigan press release. "As soon as the splint was put in, the lungs started going up and down for the first time and we knew he was going to be OK."
Dr. Hollister noted that they chose to manufacture the splint from polycaprolactone for a specific purpose.
"The material we use is a nice choice for this. It takes about two to three years for the trachea to remodel and grow into a healthy state, and that's about how long this material will take to dissolve into the body."
Photo via UMHealthSystem/Flickr
At least one racist Papa John's employee in Sanford, Fla., the city where Trayvon Martin was shot and killed, is out of a job.
On Sunday night, a black Papa John’s customer checked his voicemail to find he’d been butt-dialed by the man who’d just delivered his pizza. He was stunned when he realized what the message contained: The phone caught the delivery driver mocking the man and his wife to his coworker, accusing them of being bad tippers, and, bizarrely, singing a made-up, racial-slur-filled opera song.
"That's the only requirement for being a n****r in Sanford," says the voice in the message. "Yeah, they gave me five bucks there. Fine, outstanding African-American gentleman of the community." Then he begins to sing.
The customer filmed the voicemail and posted it online.
The video landed on WorldStarHipHop and YouTube, garnering more than 271,000 views and 5,300 comments since Sunday night. Many said they’d called the Papa John’s location and the driver, whose numbers are clearly visible in the video.
The Papa John’s manager, Keith, confirmed the video is real. He said the team members involved have been fired.
“We were made aware of the video and it’s under investigation,” he said. “We’re sorry that it happened.”
He said the Papa John’s has received about 300 calls since last night, not all of which have been media. Some have been angry citizens, some have been pranks.
That area of North Florida is demographically more similar to the south of the United States than it is to the rest of Florida. According to the 2010 United States Census, Sanford is 57 percent white, 30 percent black.
When I called the driver, his mailbox was full. “Hi, this is Jordan,” said the message. It sounded like the voice in the video. “If I don’t pick up the phone, just text me.” A text was not yet returned.
It's not the first time a Papa John's employee was canned over a racist message. In January 2012, a receipt calling a customer “lady chinky eyes” cost a waiter his job at a NYC location.
Update: Papa John's CEO John Schnatter wrote a personal apology on the company Facebook page:
Friends, I am extremely concerned to learn about the reprehensible language used by two former employees in one of our restaurants. Their thinking and actions defy both my personal and the company's values, and everything for which this company stands. The employees responsible for this absolutely unacceptable behavior were immediately terminated.
My heartfelt apology goes out to the customer involved, his family, and our community at large. I am very sorry that anyone would be exposed to these hurtful and painful words by any person involved in any way with our company.
Thank you for your important comments. I have personally reached out to our customer to share my own thoughts and offer my deepest apology.
He also signed a comment on this post:
I, too, am extremely appalled by these former employees' actions and sincerely appreciate it being brought to our attention. The thinking of these people is counter to mine and my company's values and we will not tolerate it. We immediately terminated those involved and will continue to educate all on our team. I personally have reached out to the customer to share my deepest apology.
We thank you for allowing us to correct this horrible situation.
Correction: An earlier version of the article misidentified the song as the overture to The Marriage of Figaro. It's actually Figaro's aria from Rossini's Barber of Seville.
Photo via powerplantop/Flickr
Weeks before France began allowing marriages of gay couples, several got married without even having to leave the country.
Or, at least, they tied the knot symbolically—using Google Hangouts.
Nonprofit Tous Unis Pour L’Egalité (which means "All States for Equality") hooked up three couples with a Belgian mayor through the Google+ videochat tool. The mayor married the couples with their families and friends in attendance both in person and in the Hangout itself.
The result of the endeavors? This heartwarming video.
It's purely a symbolic gesture, but it drew attention to the issue in France before same-sex marriage was made legal. It's a contentious topic in the country: A crowd of tens of thousands marched in Paris to protest the law this weekend. Last week, a man shot himself dead in Notre Dame Cathedral, also apparently in protest.
Tous Unis Pour L’Egalité seems ready to press on with its pledge to help others in countries where they cannot be married legally to at least take part in a symbolic ceremony. It urged gay couples in countries and states in which they cannot be married to get in touch if they wish to take part in a ceremony.
If those services are as anything as beautiful as these, here's hoping there are many more ahead.
Most fashion writing is about judging people, whether you’re analyzing the quality of the designs in a runway show or who wore them best on the red carpet. Even street style blogging—the Internet’s most successful contribution to the fashion world—involves determining who looks cool enough to be awarded a place on The Sartorialist or Street Peeper.
Fashion by He, however, takes it one step further. Billed as the “#1 fashion blog from a guy’s point of view,” the blog is written by an anonymous photographer named He with a biblical capital H. With impressive self-confidence, he proclaims himself:
The King of Fashion—He will be going through life commenting on fashion as He sees it. He comes here with no formal training in the matter, but He still does not think that makes him unqualified for the position.
A clueless straight guy writing about fashion is, potentially, an entertaining idea. Plenty of fashion trends are ripe for lampooning and could be hilarious when written about from an outsider's perspective. Sadly, Fashion by He doesn’t really do much fashion blogging at all. It's women's bodies, not their outfits, that are picked apart.
While Fashion by He markets itself as a street style blog, it's more like hotornot.com, subjecting women on the street to unwitting games of f**k/marry/kill. ("Not quite yet in tight body shape," He notes about Girl No. 1.) In a “Who Wore It Best” post, He compares the skirt length and shoe height of three women: "Goes for guys with money, loves the attention. … Goes for guys with money, also loves the attention, is the hot girl so gets a lot of it. … great ass, good legs.”
And then there are the women who aren't "He Approved." A number of posts are tagged with “bad bad bad,” where women in perfectly normal outfits like leggings and minidresses are criticized for leaving the pricetag on the sole of their shoe, or having a FUPA (“fat upper pubic area,” via urbandictionary.com), or wearing jeans that look like “vomit,” or getting a tuft of fabric stucking on their pants ("Something is growing between her legs... (puke)"), or not having perky breasts, or showing scrapes on their legs.
Fashion by He has more in common with Reddit’s “creepshots,” a forum devoted to candid sexualized photography. It was banned after underage images were uploaded without consent and reported. Soon after, the creepshots reboots came pouring in; one even disguised itself as a fashion police blog.
Unlike most street style sites, where the amateur models are posed casually but in obvious view of the photographer, most of the women on Fashion by He seem unaware that their photos are being posted online. “Girls who stop and wait for cabs really make He's life so much easier,” He writes in a recent post, adding, “P.S. He sees your big fine booty.”
Or this post, titled "Shorts Are Not Meant to Be Worn by Everyone":
I was surprised to find that Fashion by He seems to have quite a few female readers. In among posts mocking women for looking “chunky” or wearing flat shoes, He interviews “HottHes” and hosts giveaway contests on behalf of his advertisers. On top of that, his Facebook page has more than 4,500 likes, and He runs spinoff blogs with titles like “No Bra Revolution.” The revolution, of course, wants you only if you're young and thin, with a "nice rack."
Fashion by He’s popularity makes sense. Many mainstream women’s magazines thrive on body-shaming and “Who Wore It Best” contests, but usually, it’s only celebrity bodies being judged by the general public. Blogs like Perez Hilton have normalized the practice of drawing MS Paint circles around Madonna’s cellulite or Ke$ha’s stray eyebrow hairs.
It's alarming when everyday women are subjected to the same treatment. But this may simply be the next step in fashion blogging: amateur paparazzi, unsuspecting models, and overt body-shaming, undiluted by positive headlines, bright colors, and glossy tabloid pages.
Photo via Fashion by He/Tumblr
A man dying of pancreatic cancer lived long enough to see one last wish granted, thanks to Reddit.
The story begins on the r/casualIAMA subreddit. Unlike its celebrity- and politician-filled default counterpart, r/casualIAMA invites anyone at all to host an AMA session. AMA hosts do not need to have particularly interesting lives or jobs. In fact, almost every day, multiple AMA sessions are held by redditors whose sole claim to fame is their current state of drunkenness or boredom.
Redditor Joseph Parker, using the throwaway account anon7715, accessed r/casualIAMA on May 26 and posted his story.
Within moments, fellow redditors were filling the thread with their sympathies and questions. One exchange in particular stood out and set into motion a chain of events that would once again showcase what happens when redditors unite together.
"If one miracle could happen before you passed, what would you want?" redditor MrIndianTeem asked.
Parker replied, "To have [Blink 182 members] Tom DeLonge or Mark Hoppus or Travis Barker speak to me, whether through twitter or whatever it may be."
Redditors scrambled to action.
"Just sent them all a tweet. Hopefully they'll see it!" MrIndianTeem said.
"My stepfather used to be friends with Mark. Let me see in the morning if he still has any contact with him and if he can get him to this thread. I really don't know, so I don't want to speak too soon, but I will try my best," redditor ryaneff offered.
Mere hours after the AMA session began, Travis Barker himself sent out a tweet.
@pancreaticstg4 Sending you love and prayers. If i can do anything for you please let me know— Travis Barker (@travisbarker) May 26, 2013
Parker replied to the tweet with a mixture of gratitude and skepticism.
@travisbarker Can't believe you tweeted me, bro.. No words.— Joseph Parker (@Pancreaticstg4) May 26, 2013
Barker assured the patient that he was indeed the one sending out the tweets.
@pancreaticstg4 Yes it's me. DM me anything i might be able to do to make your day. Be strong my brotha— Travis Barker (@travisbarker) May 26, 2013
Needless to say, Parker was overcome with emotion following the exchange.
"You guys did it... I'm tearing up right now, folks," he wrote.
Parker's story is far from the first time the Reddit community has helped a terminally ill redditor. In December 2012, subscribers to r/startrek helped a dying fan of the series by urging director J.J. Abrams to share an advance screening of Star Trek Into Darkness. In March 2012, redditors helped a newly hired admin fight leukemia.
Photo via Cassandrax/Flickr
The Daily Dot's subreddit, r/dailydot, highlights the most interesting and important discussions from around the social news site every day.
Read more here.
If the dog lovers in Boston get their way, and professional hockey opens its ears to the cries on the Internet, a blind dog named Ray Charles may one day drop a puck on center ice at a Boston Bruins home playoff game.
Ray Charles is an avid Bruins fan, an adorable golden retriever, and a little black-nosed pup who was born blind last December. He can't yet play the piano like his namesake, legendary singer Ray Charles, but he's become quite popular. On Facebook, where his owners set up a fan page, Ray Charles the dog has more than 11,700 fans, all of whom flock to the page every time a new picture goes up.
These days, Ray's owners have bigger plans for their dog than more likes. They want to put Ray Charles under the big, bright lights, and they want to do so during hockey season.
Recently, they launched an iPetition campaign geared towards getting Ray Charles down onto center ice so that he can drop the ceremonial first puck on center ice at a Boston Bruins playoff game.
"Ray Charles may not have his sight, but we can still show him how much he means to all of us!" the petition reads. "Help Ray Charles drop the puck at a Boston Bruins game and keep helping to enrich the wonderful dog's life!"
The petition opened Sunday and has since gained more than 720 signatures, with a target of 2,000 in sight. Considering iPetition's lack of any restrictive timeline, plus Ray Charles's growing Internet popularity (he's gained more than 1,000 Facebook fans in the time it's taken me to write this article), it's a safe bet that the little golden retriever will hit the 2,000 signature target by week's end.
Then the onus falls on the Boston Bruins brass.
The NHL's Stanley Cup semifinals start this week. At the very least, the Bruins will host two games in Boston.
Last month, we introduced you to Pad Gardner, the Florida man whose dream in life is to become a disposable feminine pad.
Pad’s goal is simple: He wants to serve his purpose—that is, spend a night doing what a maxi pad does—and then live out the remainder of his days as a used feminine product. In the meantime, he’s been busy. He recently embarked on a cross-country campaign to raise awareness about Toxic Shock Syndrome; and he’s been trying, unsuccessfully so far, to hold the official world record for the largest personal collection of feminine hygiene products.
But these are only stepping stones to his ultimate goal, and now it appears he may have reached it:
A pad company has offered to make me into a disposable pink pad. :)— Pad Gardner (@TheFemininePad) May 27, 2013
There’s no word from Pad on which company has offered to help Pad make the transition, or how exactly they intend to carry it off. “I'm scared to be worn for a period, but i still want to be forced to become a feminine pad,” wrote Pad on his Facebook, a few days before yesterday’s big announcement. Another status update from the same day suggests that he or the company might have in mind some kind of feminine product memorial in his honor.
Given the lack of specificity involved, it’s no surprise that he’s having a bit of an existential crisis:
Do i still qualify as a guy, or am i a female product now?— Pad Gardner (@TheFemininePad) May 27, 2013
He’s also shown flashes of blood-related humor:
Pad has never presented his goal as a sexual fetish (he believes in a subset of Tantric religion that worships the vagina), but he did recently state a fondness for the body part he’s serving as a huge part of the appeal:
Cooters are so amazingly beautiful. Pads are so lucky.— Pad Gardner (@TheFemininePad) May 27, 2013
And he’s already gearing up for his new life, despite his understandable fears.
My only job in life now is to get bloody. At least its an easy job, and perfect for me.— Pad Gardner (@TheFemininePad) May 28, 2013
Ultimately, whether Pad is a Man or a Maxi, in the end he’s a dreamer, just like you and me.
You might say he’s more than just a pad—he’s a pad with wings.
The texting app was supposed to be a discreet way to share photos that were immediately deleted upon viewing. While users can take screenshots, the app allows the sender to see if the recipient has saved his or her photo.
However, as shown in the following YouTube video, a user can easily circumvent this by holding down the home button while taking a screenshot.
If a user does this, the sender is not alerted to the fact that the recipient saved the photo.
In fact, a new site, Snapchat Leaked, has been collecting photos such photos. Some are just embarrassing funny faces or weird outfits, but most are sexual in nature—featuring breasts, butts, and semen. On the site, the photos are categorized into sections like “Men,” “Women,” “Bathroom,” “Bedroom,” “Sexy,” and “Ugly.”
The saved photos are also being shared on Twitter at @Snapchatleakoff. They were being shared on Facebook until the social network banned the Snapchat Leaked page for violating their terms and conditions regarding bullying, according to the founders of Snapchat Leaked. The site then created a second Facebook page, called SnapChats Leaked Pics, which has not yet been pulled down. The page has more than 10,000 likes in less than two days.
The site could face legal action for posting peoples’ presumably private photos, or inspire Snapchat to fix this latest security loophole. In the meantime... yikes!
Photo via Snapchat
As four men reportedly sexually harassed a woman on a Berlin train, one charging her with his pants down and another threatening to put out a lit cigarette on her genitals, the victim documented the abuse on Twitter.
Now she's called in police after more violent threats came flooding in online.
She accused the men of using gendered insults; one man reportedly threatened to stub a lit cigarette on her genitals. She told that man she'd take a photo of him and publish it to Twitter.
She alleges that the man then exposed himself and approached her with his pants open. No one intervened. She exited the train at the next station and told four women who comforted her that there was no point in going to the police—"they can't do anything." She eventually did contact law enforcement.
Here's a segment of what she wrote, according to The Local:
I'm being called a whore and a c**t by four men. One of them lit a cigarette and said he'd put it on my p***y.
I told him that I would take a picture of him. He accepted that. I also said that I would publish it. He accepted that.
He's taken out his c**k. I scream at him. The S Bahn is full. Nobody intervenes.
He opened his pants and came up to me. His friends hold him back. I get out at the next stop and cry.
The woman locked down her Twitter account after receiving abuse from other users.
Detailing sexual harassment on Twitter and the Internet is not a new phenomenon. Sites like Hollaback urge victims of street harassment to document and share incidents to call out their harassers.
In fact, the woman who sent the tweets regarding Saturday's incident is a founding member of the "Aufschrei" (outcry) movement. Women are asked to share their experiences of everyday sexism using the #Aufschrei hashtag. In the first week of the campaign in January, there were reportedly more than 50,000 tweets bearing the tag.
There are echoes of the Adria Richards case in this situation.
Richards tweeted a photo of men she believed to be making inappropriate sexual jokes at a conference in March. One of those men lost his job, and Richards was besieged with rape and death threats by misogynists. She too lost her job over the incident.
@totalreflexion was also subjected to abuse after reporting the harassment and sharing the photo. One person suggested the men calling her a "whore" was her fault due to what she was wearing. Another urged her to "enjoy your SUICIDE!"
Many users leapt to the woman's defense, applauding her for sharing the photo of the men and offering their support.
The Local reports that sexism has been under the spotlight in Germany this year. In January, a female journalist accused Economy Minister Rainer Brüderle of making inappropriate advances
German President Joachim Gauck called for a "more active" debate on the issue, while 80 percent of German women don't think the country has achieved gender equality, according to a March survey.
Photo by gailo/Flickr
When a Melbourne woman found pictures of her 18-month-old on creepy Instagram pages filled with children's photos and sexualized comments, she was "confused," then horrified. The photos of her daughter had been snagged from her Instagram account without her permission.
It took two days, and the intervention of a cyber safety consultant, to have those accounts shut down, reported The Age.
The woman found her photos had been stolen when she checked the account of a new follower. This account had somehow found photos of her daughter on another, now-deleted account, @LITTLEOLIVIARP.
That account was one of several roleplaying profiles in which users take on the persona of someone depicted in a photo. It did not appear to include sexual comments. As she delved into the network, she found many accounts that sexualized young children. Fortunately, her baby daughter was spared.
"I felt really sick. I felt like I had exposed my daughter by putting her photos out there,'' she told The Age. "'I didn't think that people existed like this, that they were on Instagram, that they had so much rein, and that no one can really do anything about it.''
A spokesperson for the Australian Federal Police told news outlet SBS that such misuse of photos "can be devastating for victims, and encourages those whose images are taken to first report it to the social networking site.”
That runs contrary to the advice offered by cybersafety consultant Susan McLean, who contacted Instagram and helped the woman have the offending accounts shut down.
She urged those who come across such content to notify police before flagging them for Instagram's attention to make it more likely that pedophiles are caught. McLean told The Age that while Instagram had measures in place to handle such incidents, she believed the service is "struggling with the volume of stuff." That pace of handling issues, she believes, might afford pedophiles the chance to delete their account and switch to a new one before being tracked down.
Comments which sexualize photos of a child could be considered producing child pornography, The Age noted. An Instagram spokesperson told the paper it works with child protection organizations and law enforcement officials to improve how it handles child exploitation. It added that it "moved quickly to disable the accounts in question."
Photo by Windkoh/Flickr
There has been much made in the past couple of years of the death of the Internet and with it the blog. Like many such “futurist” pronouncements, it is based on a very narrow cross-section of the online world and—what do you know?— that cross-section is the U.S. and Western Europe.
In Vietnam, however, the open Internet is largely aspirational, and the activists for it are the bloggers. The Vietnamese government knows how important the blogger is as a pioneer and guide to that wide open land—which explains all the blogger arrests.
In the most recent case, security officers on Sunday arrested the man who is arguably Vietnam’s most popular blogger, Trong Duy Nhat, in the central Vietnamese city of Da Nang and spirited him off to Hanoi by plane, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
The report goes on to explain that Nhat “was arrested on a charge of ‘abusing democratic freedoms in order to infringe upon the interests of the state, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens’ under article 258 of the criminal code.”
But here's the kicker: Not only has Nhat’s blog been disabled, but anyone who visits it is infected with malware.
That’s right. Vietnamese authorities arrested several of their best and brightest, blocked the last arrestee’s blog, and are willfully ruining the computers of anyone who is even slightly curious about what has happened to him. (It goes without saying that we are not providing the URL here.)
Nhat was no ruffian hacker type. For almost a dozen years, he wrote for two state newspapers before quitting in 2010 to put all his time and effort into his blog, “Another Point of View.” In fact, some of his writing could hardly be considered comforting by most imperialist running dogs.
“I am neither a criminal nor a reactionary,” he wrote in a post last October. “There is nothing propagandistic or reactionary about the articles I post on ‘Another Point of View.’ The police investigations, summonses and interrogations should be targeting reactionaries, anti-patriots and the interest groups gathering in banks, these insects who devour the people.”
But apparently any criticism is enough to cost you your rights.
Vietnam currently holds 33 bloggers and and other social media users in custody and is ranked 172nd out of 179 countries in RSF’s 2013 press freedom index, edging out countries such as Syria, North Korea, and China. On 23 May, an appeals court upheld sentences of four to 13 years in prison for the five bloggers who preceded Nhat into the country’s jails.
The next time you're bored and find yourself falling deeper and deeper down a Wikipedia rabbit hole, here's a tip to get a little extra entertainment out of the world's largest online encyclopedia. Try clicking the "Talk" page tab at the top of whatever article you're reading.
On Wikipedia, this is your chance to see how the sausage gets made. Some of the most epic flame wars the internet has to offer can be found behind the scenes of the site's more than 37 million articles. The talk page for the main article on President Barack Obama is particularly lively, as every minor gaffe, such as Umbrellagate, usually warrants some kind of partisan dust-up. Similarly, articles on the Persian Gulf, President George W. Bush, and even Jennifer Aniston generate some amusingly passionate debate.
Looking at these talk pages, it becomes clear in a short amount of time that controversy is the backbone of Wikipedia.
That was the observation that sparked a mammoth undertaking by a quartet of researchers from Europe and the United States, who've cataloged Wikipedia's most controversial articles and mapped them. Their work has illuminated some underlying trends and made it clear that what we fight about remains largely the same despite technological advancement.
"We were very surprised seeing that, although Wikipedia is a very modern platform and it's truly a product of the digital age and internet-based life, the disputed and debated topics among its editors are the same as the very ancient controversial topics: 'Gods and Land,'" said Taha Yasseri, one of the Oxford University researchers behind the Wikipedia Conflict Map.
For two years, Yasseri and his colleagues have sifted through the entire history of edits from Wikipedia's first decade of existence. They looked for "reverts," instances in which one Wikipedia editor corrects another. They catalogued these occurrences and gave additional weight to instances of multiple reverts on the same topic. This is how they came up with their measure of controversy.
What they found was that conflict on Wikipedia centered around the same things that generate conflict in any other public or private forum: politics and religion. In English language Wikipedia for example, the most contentious articles were about Bush, Anarchism and Muhammad. In French, the leading sources of controversy were politician Ségolène Royal, UFOs, and Jehovah's Witness.
But Yasseri said that there was some variation between language editions of Wikipedia that became more clear when mapping the results. The researchers found the broadest geographic and topical distribution of controversy among the English, French and German editions of Wikipedia, a likely byproduct of how widely spoken those languages are across the world. Conversely, some versions of Wikipedia had a much narrower focus. On the Czech and Japanese versions of the site, the leading controversial topics were centered in the countries of origin. Similarly, the Portuguese Wikipedia found most of its controversies in Brazil, the world's largest Portuguese speaking nation, where four of the five most controversial topics had to do with soccer.
"Understanding the geography of conflict on different Wikipedia language editions gives us fascinating insights into what different groups of people feel is worth fighting about," said Mark Graham, another research fellow at Oxford University and one of the study's coauthors.
The Portuguese fixation on soccer was just one of the examples of how a particular version of Wikipedia can become obsessed with debating a topic that editors in other languages couldn't care about less. It's the same reason why you're much more likely to find serious debates about manga and anime in Japanese Wikipedia than on any other version of the site. That being said, some globally significant topics, like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, proved controversial across multiple languages.
The Wikipedia Conflict Map is not the first of its kind. In recent years, more and more researchers have been developing maps and live feeds aimed at using Wikipedia's larger metadata trends to reveal information about the site and the community of editors that maintain it. Wikipedia, suffering from a drop-off in editors recently, has commissioned a number of self-examinations to help better understand Wikipedian culture and how to foster the best information for general users.
In that vein, the makers of the conflict map hope their research can also be used as a diagnostic tool for the site.
"Wikipedia and similar platform(s) could take this as a lesson and reconsider their structure and workflow towards a more connected community of editors," Yasseri said. "Although diversity is one of the useful features of Wikipedia, sometimes a small community of editors of some language editions spend a huge amount of time and effort to deal with very local issues and therefore more general topics with higher priorities will be overlooked and paid less attention."
Photo via Mark Graham/Oxford University
Maydaneh Abdallah Okieh, who works for La Voix de Djibouti, uploaded the pictures to his personal Facebook page, not his publication's. His arrest didn't seem to occur while he was doing his job, but when appearing before the judge on May 21, he identified himself as a journalist and opposition activist.
Djibouti ranks 167th out of a list of 179 countries in RSF’s 2012 press freedom index.
The alleged crime seems off-kilter as well. He’s facing a court date to defend himself against charges of “insulting a police officer.”
The police officer in question is Elmi Daher Miguil, also known as Elmi Gess, who supervises the Balbala, a suburb of the capital. It is unclear what role Miguil played, though presumably he was involved in the actions at the rally.
Maydaneh was held in Djibouti police custody for four days before being transferred to Gabode prison.
After his transfer to Gabode, his publication posted a story on his treatment by the authorities (translation by RSF).
We have learned that Maydaneh Abdallah Okieh was the victim of violence during his detention at the police criminal brigade. Maydaneh was subject to inhuman and degrading treatment of an extreme and savage nature for 48 hours.
No talking in class, no chewing gum, and most importantly: no starting hashtags that poke fun at your school board's failings.
Pat Brown, a senior at Cicero–North Syracuse High School, was reportedly suspended for starting the hashtag #ShitCnsSouldCut—a reference to the fact that the school board can't seem to pass a budget. Though Brown has since deleted his those tweets, they clearly reflected a cynical high schooler.
"#ShitCnsShouldCut the bathroom and pluming, school smells like shit anyway," read his first one, according to a Topsy search.
"#ShitCnsShouldCut a/c oh shit wait, dat been gone," read another.
Then came the tweet that Brown said got him called to the principal's office: "#ShitCnsShouldCut Mrs.Julian." That's a reference to Melissa Julian, Cicero–North Syracuse's executive principal.
"I said we should cut her, because I don't think she does a good job. But that's just my opinion I was sharing on Twitter," Brown told CNN.
Cicero–North Syracuse didn't immediately respond to the Daily Dot's request for comment, and Superintendent Kim Dyce Faucette said she wouldn't comment on disciplinary actions against individual students.
"I was called down to the office and told I was being suspended for harassment of teachers, which no harassment was ever committed," Brown told Syracuse.com. "I proved them wrong and instead they suspended me for cellphone use in class and disrupting the education process."
In response to the debacle, students started a #freePatBrown hashtag. Used by more than 1,000 people, it's far more popular than #ShitCnsShouldCut ever was. But it didn't work. On Tuesday he tweeted that he was still suspended, and would stay that way until Thursday.
Just got the official word...Pat Brown was not freed. I am still suspended until Thursday.— Pat Brown (@PatBroski) May 28, 2013
Brown, set to graduate June 21, clearly didn't have much regret. He posted a screengrab of a Syracuse.com news story about him, headlined "Cicero–North Syracuse student suspended after speaking out against failed budget," to Instagram.
"Best thing I've ever accomplished. Made my parents proud," he captioned the photo.
Photo via patbroski/Instagram
The English Defence League is a far-right, underclass, whiter-than-cave-dwelling-mayonnaise-on-mashed-potatoes supremacist group and a
registered political party powerful political force in the U.K. Its members are what the English themselves call "yobs." In the past week it has held marches in different U.K. cities to protest the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby one week ago, laying the blame for the murder squarely on Islam and immigrants rather than the two British residents who took responsibility for the crime.d
The Guardian reports that there have been 200 Islamophobic incidents reported to police since the killing, and that 13 arrests were made at the EDL demonstration in London. That, then, is the English Defence League.
Screengrab via EDLNewsXtra/Twitpic
Now it has to defend itself from Anonymous.
With 98,843 views in two days, that video is the rallying cry of Anonymous' #OpEDL.
Our people are desperate for hope, in a hopeless society where our own government neglects us, where society has failed us, it is only natural to seek a relatable change maker. This sort of desperation, this quest for feeling of worth, is what you have taken advantage of.
In this operation, we will begin the systematic and comprehensive desiccation of your cult. We will further expose your falsities and your attempts to censor, to your members, to the British public, and to the world as a whole. You will fall, we can say this with complete confidence. We are everywhere, you cannot hide, you cannot win We are the voices of all and the voice of one. It will not happen over night, but we WILL be victorious.
We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
#OpEDL aims to give to the EDL the reputation Anonymous thinks it deserves, by bringing that reputation into the homes, workplaces, schools, cellphones, and Twitter and Facebook accounts of the members and donors. Many people find the idea of being held to account for Nazi salutes at U.K. war memorials, requesting sexual favors from 15-year-old girls, and yelling "send the black c**ts home" at rallies somewhat disconcerting when suddenly the public can call you up and tell you what it thinks about that.
In retaliation, EDL supporters have been posting anti-Islamic comments on the video and have managed to get the main Twitter account of the operation suspended.
In an ongoing series of doxes on Pastebin and AnonPaste, Anonymous members have listed the contact details for approximately 300 EDL supporters and donors. Gathering the information was not as hard as it might have been, because the EDL donor list is publicly available at the Electoral Commission website (Update: It's been removed).
Additionally, the EDL were previously doxed and attacked by the Pakistani ZCompany Hacking Crew and their offshoot TeaMp0isoN in 2011 and 2012, and the current doxes build upon those old contact details of over a thousand EDL supporters, allegedly obtained by hacking the official EDL forum and website. ZHC had exploited a weakness in Facebook to interfere with EDL pages and profiles, but that wasn't necessary this time, as the EDL themselves have taken their pages offline in response to the doxing. Many names recur in the old TeaMp0isoN dox and the new; guess there's not much turnover in white supremacist groups.
Screengrab via Anony.ws
Poster Subsplot on the AnonUK forums has this to say: "Truth is the content posted so far is all data-mined info from the public domain. Part of it is Team Poisons hacks, the rest is info that's been collated by some very careful watching of the EDL over the last couple of years. So far they seem to have got nearly every member who has earnt themselves a bit of a rep for being a general douche and bigot."
If true, that means that all the information in the doxes can legally be published, an assertion Anonymous itself makes more and more regularly as it comes to realize most media organizations will not link to doxes.
Various supporters of #OpEDL have also been bird-dogging individuals in the group, tweeting allegations, making mocking screenshots of Facebook events that include the warning to members to "Keep it off Facebook," and other similar behavior. On Friday night, Shmoop, member of the notorious troll organization Rustle League and former member of UGNazi, claimed to have seized control of a number of EDL Twitter feeds, although that, predictably, turned out to be a troll.
The U.K.-based Register reports a store selling EDL clothing had its site hacked and taken offline as well. But God (whichever one you believe in) have mercy: Nobody but nobody wants to see those guys naked.
Photo via Andy/Flickr
Picture the scene: You're an NBA player. Your season is over. You're single. What else would you do but try to land a date with your state's beauty queen?
That's exactly what Memphis Grizzlies small forward Quincy Pondexter did. Using Twitter. And he succeeded.
Let's wind back a bit. Pondexter's season ended this week after his team was swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. On Wednesday afternoon, Pondexter, 25, asked a simple question.
Who won Miss Tennessee this year?— Quincy Pondexter (@QuincyPondexter) May 29, 2013
He made it clear that he was looking for a girlfriend with the Grizzlies' season at a close. A few hours later, Chandler Lawson, the reigning Miss Tennessee and an apparent Grizzlies fan, replied to his plea.
Her handle's @MissTN2012, so she's clearly legit. Pondexter wasted little time in making his move (discounting his inability to Google Lawson's identity).
Oh totally single? Ditto ... Date? Lol @misstn2012— Quincy Pondexter (@QuincyPondexter) May 29, 2013
@quincypondexter you got it! We've got an audience waiting apparently!— Chandler Lawson (@MissTN2012) May 29, 2013
I guess "Single? Lol" and "Date? Lol" is enough to win a beauty queen's interest when you're one of the top offensive performers on an NBA playoff team and have a $2.2 million salary lined up.
A campaign against domestic violence has taken off in Saudi Arabia.
Libra Productions, a music management agency and audio production company, has shared a number of photos on Facebook and Twitter over the past week or so, daring men to hit women and discover the consequences of their actions.
Men, women and children hold signs adorning messages such as “Just because you are male doesn't necessarily mean you are a man” and "I'd kill myself if I ever thought of hitting you." Many of the tweeted photos have dozens of retweets.
Al Jazeera claimed the campaign has received a large response, particularly from men. An official from the national family protection program said three in 10 women in Saudi Arabia are victims of domestic violence.
While there are currently no laws prohibiting domestic violence, Tech President noted, one advocacy group is currently attempting to push through legislation that would see men punished for abusing their wives.
The patriarchy of Saudi culture also came under the spotlight this week when a writer advocated for sexual harassment of women cashiers in order to force them out of the workplace and back to their homes. His comments ignited a fiery debate on Twitter.
Yet it seems there are those who seek to develop Saudi Arabia into a progressive nation where there is true gender equality.
Photos via Libra Productions/Twitter
Subscribers to r/atheism rally around the idea that God does not exist and should thus be removed from people's lives. So, when the default subreddit's top mod himself appeared to no longer be in existence, he too was removed.
u/skeen, a redditor since 2006, was the creator and top moderator of r/atheism. As Reddit's popularity grew, r/atheism's numbers also increased. Today, the community is one of the site's default subreddits, boasting over 2 million subscribers, and is a constant source of drama and controversy. His removal came after an extended period of inactivity on Reddit; his last post on the site was on August 10, 2012.
With the news comes the revelation that skeen was not well-liked within the r/atheism community. He took a "hands off" approach to moderatorship and took moderating duties very lightly. But, according to tuber, who is now r/atheism's top mod, skeen would remove any mods who did not run the subreddit in accordance with this light approach.
"For what it's worth, mods who didn't toe the line were removed by u/skeen. Both u/juliebeen and u/MercurialMadnessMan, once mods of r/atheism, were axed in that way," tuber explained. "It's reasonable to expect some changes to be introduced soon. Not necessarily huge changes."
Redditors' own reactions to the new hierarchy were mixed.
"On one hand this can be good for /r/atheism because maybe the purge of theists will finally start to happen and reverse the downward decline of /r/atheism's population. On the other hand, this is essentially a coup and borderline fascist. Who knows if criticism of religions will be allowed anymore. Will this new top mod back down on letting us atheists participate in draw Mohammed day? These are all very important things to think about," redditor Carl_Jones commented.
So far, theistic redditors have not come forward to boast, "Where is your skeen now?"
The Daily Dot's subreddit, r/dailydot, highlights the most interesting and important discussions from around the social news site every day.
Read more here.
Image via r/Atheism/Reddit
Years after sitting in the captain's chair, Sir Patrick Stewart still has the ability to lead and inspire.
The Star Trek: Next Generation star was the guest of honor at Houston's Comicpalooza, and he floored attendees with his honesty and one memorable interaction with a fan.
During a Q&A at the convention, Heather Skye first thanked him for a speech he gave at Amnesty International about domestic violence towards women, which had helped her deal with her own personal experience.
Stewart explained that his work with an organization called Refuge, which provides safe houses for women and children to escape from abusive households, stemmed from his childhood. Stewart's father suffered from what is now known as posttraumatic stress disorder following combat in World War II.
He and his older brother were powerless to help their mother back then, but now he's able to try to stop violence towards women in his mother's name. Stewart also works with Combat Stress, which helps soldiers with PTSD for his father.
After answering the question, Stewart looked towards Skye and asked, "Are you okay?" She explained that she was finally able to move on from that part of her life and accepting that she wasn't at fault, which prompted a passionate call from Stewart, who recalled the men who told his mother that it was her fault that domestic violence happened to her.
"My mother did nothing to provoke that, and even if she had, violence is never ever a choice that a man should make," Stewart shouted, leading to a standing ovation.
The moderator then asked Skye if she wanted a hug.
"Sir Patrick didn't even hesitate, he smiled, hopped off the stage and came over to embrace me in a hug," she wrote. "Which he held me there for a long while. He told me 'You never have to go through that again, you're safe now.'"
It all started on Wednesday when the 64-year-old Pulp Fiction star joined Reddit to help raise money for the Alzheimer's Association by doing what he does best: delivering a badass monologue peppered with the word “motherf*cker.”
"It's simple, write 300 words and the most upvoted post I'll read out loud in monologue form," Jackson wrote in a post on r/movies. "As a BONUS, I'm offering you all the chance to be flown to the UK for lunch with ME in return for just a tiny donation to this amazing cause. I'll also sign a beloved Kangol hat and mail it to anyone that donates $200 or more!"
What happened over the next day or so proved to be the polar opposite of simple. Due to the Internet's love affair with Jackson and his foul-mouthed antics, the Reddit thread was bombarded with thousands of monologue suggestions. Woven between original suggestions, like redditor teaguechrystie’s informational message, called the "new alarm clock," were countless comments containing a story about a macho Navy Seal "involved in numerous secret raids on Al-Qaeda." Most of these duplicate comments were deleted by the moderators but at least two (by cockrageson and slubice) ended up collecting more than 2,000 points combined.
What Jackson probably didn't realize was that these threads were posted by 4chan users in an attempt to rig the contest using what's known as the Navy Seal copypasta, a three-year-old "facetious message containing a series of ridiculous claims and grandiose threats that portray the poster as an Internet tough guy stereotype," Know Your Meme reported.
"Within a few minutes of the posting of this [Jackson] thread, the Internet forum 4Chan got wind of it and began a campaign to hijack this thread with the NavySeals copypasta, encouraging people to get accounts, upvote one comment and downvote the others," r/movies moderator girafa wrote in a lengthy comment Thursday. "They even dox'd (found out the real identity of) the poster of the alarm clock monologue and have been harassing him all day."
The details of 4chan's raid were archived on chanarchive. In the original 4chan post, an anonymous user singles out comments to downvote, including the “alarm clock monologue,” which had become hugely popular and blocked the Navy Seal copypasta from the top spot.
"[N]o matter what [Jackson is] still gonna read the alarm clock bullshit and teaguechrystie will still use it to jumpstart his writing career," one anonymous 4chan user wrote.
Also buried within the original 4chan thread were a handful of comments complaining over the current state of the imageboard and its renewed obsession with vote rigging.
In November, Time magazine's coveted Person of the Year poll was gamed by 4chan's notorious /b/ community—known for its obscene language, pornographic tendencies, and penchant for all things illegal—to have North Korean leader Kim Jong-un win the top spot. Kim collected 5.9 million votes thanks to a Java script created by Internet Relay Chat (IRC) user _js5. That same script also helped _js5 and a group of IRC users manipulate the public poll to spell “KJU GAS CHAMBERS” using the first letter of each candidate's name.
On January 7, 4chan launched the sinister #cutforbieber hoax to encourage young Justin Bieber fans to tweet photos of their bloodied arms in response to a leaked picture of Bieber smoking marijuana. The mission: "see if we can get some little girls to cut themselves." About a week later, 4chan gamed a public Facebook contest to have rapper Lil B perform at the 55th annual Grammy Awards. This prank, as well as one to try and vote only lighter-skinned players as starters in the 2013 NBA All-Star Game, proved to be a failure.
From the looks of it, the Jackson raid will also be a bust.
Jackson has yet to officially announce the winner of the contest, although 4chan believes the alarm clock monologue came out on top, despite /b/’s efforts.
"It went back and forth the entire time," one anonymous 4chan user wrote. "No fucking way to tell who won because of their shit voting system. It's really up [to Jackson] and I think he's going to read the alarm clock shit."
Update: Here's the winning monologue.
Jackson says he's "breaking the rules" of his own contest and releasing his own speech… in which he announces he's quitting acting to hide underground like Batman, lurking in the shadows and fighting crime with his intimidating voice.
Clever, Reddit. You fooled us.
Photo by mikedish/Flickr | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III