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Recent Society articles from Daily Dot
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    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.

    The woman shared a number of tweets and photos on Saturday evening as she was targeted on the busy S-Bahn train, according to The Local. Her account, @totalreflexion, has since been set to private.

    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

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    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

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    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.

    H/T RSF | Photo by naq24h/Flickr

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    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.

    Not to mention the debate over capitalizing the I in Star Trek Into Darkness, which accumulated about 40,000 words and screwed up Google results for weeks.

    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

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    Two weeks ago, the webmaster of a news website in Djibouti was arrested for posting photos on his Facebook page of police brutality at an opposition rally.

    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.

    H/T RSF | Photo by Andy Scott Chang/Flickr

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    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 "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.

    Brown, set to graduate June 21, clearly didn't have much regret. He posted a screengrab of a 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

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    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.

    Expect us.

    #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

    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

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    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.

    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).

    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.

    H/T Yahoo | Photo via NBA/YouTube

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    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

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    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.

    "Congratulations /r/atheism, this is one of the first good steps I've seen for this subreddit in a while!" redditor twentyone_21 said.

    "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

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    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.

    "After thanking him I asked him 'Besides acting, what are you most proud of that you have done in your life (that you are willing to share with us)?'" Skye recounted on Tumblr.

    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.'"

    H/T: HyperVocal | Photo via Eugene Lee/Facebook

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    Actor Samuel L. Jackson's first experience on Reddit is one he'll never forget. And he has the notorious trolls of 4chan's /b/ to thank for that.

    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

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    We get it, Twitter. You see a lot of activity. Hundreds of millions of tweets per day, we're told.

    Those tweets have to come from somewhere, though, and many of them are geotagged with specific locations.

    There are, of course, certain patterns one might derive from those geotagged tweets. Miguel Rios, Twitter's visual insights manager, has put mapped out every one of the billions of geotagged tweets since 2009.

    The images are stunning. Here's Europe, for instance.

    Each dot, Rios wrote, represents a tweet, and the color represents the number of tweets. (He did not elaborate on which colors represent more tweets, but it seems the brighter the hue, the more tweets were sent from that location.)

    Rios put together a number of visualizations for particular cities. Here are a few of our favorites. You can check out high-resolution versions and other cities at Twitter's Flickr page.



    New York City

    Sao Paulo


    Photos via Twitter Visualizations/Flickr

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    Are you gay but want to "be cured?" There's an app for that.

    Setting Captives Free, a non-denominational ministry led by Mike Cleveland that helps individuals "find freedom from habitual sins and learn to grow in grace." They're able to do this via their online courses, which offer 60-day cures for gambling, drug addiction, and, yes, homosexuality. These courses are also available in the form of a phone app, which were made available earlier this week on iTunes and on Google Play.

    “Despite what you may have heard elsewhere, you do not have a ‘homosexual gene,’ nor were you born this way with no hope of freedom," the app's description for the iTunes store read.  

    "You can be set free from the bondage of homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ and the cross!”

    Unsurprisingly, the existence of such an app has not gone over well in the gay community. On Wednesday, launched a petition demanding that both Apple and Google pull it from their stores.

    "Practices that try to change people's sexual orientation have been denounced by the American Psychiatric Association, Pan-American Health Organization and many governments," the petition, which has as of this writing collected 65,153 signatures, reads.

    "Make sure your stores aren't promoting this kind of dangerous hate."

    Apple heard the tens of thousands of signatures and took down the app within the first 24 hours of the AllOut campaign. Google has yet to take action.

    In the interim, many have taken to the app's review page to either lambast it or ridicule it (it currently has a 1.5 star rating, with 321 total reviews).

    "This is the best app ever!" mocked user Gary Ryan.

    "Here I was, all totally gay and stuff. Then I installed the app, and God came out of my Galaxy Nexus, flew right into my penis, and my gay was gone! I ran right out the door and banged three real live chicks in the first hour! It was awesome!"

    H/T Planet Ivy | Photo via Google Play

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    As thousands of protesters battled tear gas–wielding police for the sixth straight day in Turkey, CNN’s state-owned Turkish affiliate, CNN-Turk, aired a documentary about penguins in which 50 “spycams” were devoted to filming “the true character of these birds.” Meanwhile, a protester who spray-paintedDevrim televizyonlardan yayımlanmayacak!” on the side of a building in Istanbul made essentially the same point: “The revolution won’t be televised.” 

    Since protests began spreading on May 27—after police used tear gas on a few dozen environmentalists occupying Istanbul’s Gezi Park—Turkish media have remained largely silent. Instead, videos of police violence in Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Eskişehir, İzmit, and Bursa have circulated widely on Turkish social media. 

    On Facebook and YouTube, users have publishedvideos depicting police officers firing tear gas into unarmed crowds, assaulting women, and, in a particularly disturbing video, surrounding a prostrate protester and taking turns kicking him and clubbing him in the head. This video of police firing tear gas bombs into the crowd has gathered more than 130,000 shares on Facebook.

    We reuploaded the Facebook footage onto YouTube to embed below. It might not last long there: Other videos of police brutality in Taksim Square have been removed for violating YouTube's policy on "shocking and disgusting content." Without adequate media coverage of the riots, Facebook is the citizens' only reliable resource for disseminating information.

    "What the Turkish media doesn't show":

    The sounds you hear in this video are Turkish for "I'm dying," "My eyes," "Save me." 

    Police fire tear gas bombs into the crowd:

    Protestors block the streets:

    A woman on the street is cornered and beaten:

    Police tell protestors, "Get the f**k outta here," then beat them as they run:

    Blogs and Tumblrs such as Delilim Var (trans: “I have evidence”), Zombie and the Ghost Train, and #occupygezi have taken up the work traditionally done by media outlets, attempting to trace a cohesive narrative through much of these stray works of citizen journalism.

    Some extremely powerful images have emerged:

    The worker of a restaurant serving free food to protesters in Istanbul. Photo via Zombie and the Ghost Train

    Below: "Since the beginning of the events turkish government wanted to shape the public opinion through the media under its control and make people believe the protests were limited to some marginal groups. It’s not true, this is from friday night."

    Photo via Zombie and the Ghost Train

    And on social news site Redditgory albums of police brutality and protestors' injuries circulated:


    A blog called What Is Happening in Istanbul has been rolling out updates as often as once an hour.

    On Twitter, people used the hashtags #OccupyGezi, #direnankara (diren means "resist") #direngeziparki, #occupygeziparki, #direnankara, #direncarsi, #direnizmir, and #genelgrev (a call for labor unions to strike) to organize photos, videos, headlines, and updates.

    And here, via @matterouge, an extremely graphic image of a protester whose eye was gouged out.

    The "menace" of social media

    Connections begin to emerge between, for example, the Facebook photo of four police officers stacking about a dozen containers labeled “1.4 G”—the hazard class for certain tear-producing munitions—and the images of bloodied protesters reeling from tear gas. But without the participation of reputable, mainstream media outlets, many of these videos and images lack verification and historical context.

    A handful of explanations have been offered for the uprising: Some see it as a response to the state’s growing social conservatism, particularly its restrictions on alcohol sales and attempted birth control regulations. Others view it as part of a larger debate over the use of urban space (only 1.5 percent of Istanbul is green space, compared to 17 percent in New York and 10.5 percent in Jakarta).

    Then there’s the neo-Ottoman agenda of the country’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose vision for the park is to rebuild a historic military barracks from 1780. On Sunday, Erdoğan spoke out against social media, calling Twitter a "nuisance" or a "menace," depending on your translation.

    In forcing the uprising to the Wild West edges of social media, the prime minister has unwittingly gone the way of so many on Facebook and lost control of his narrative: “They claim Erdoğan is a dictator. I am not the lord of this nation. Dictatorship is not in my blood,” he said on Sunday. “I am not going to ask for permission. Neither from the Deputy Chairman of CHP nor from a few marauders. The public has already given us the permission in the polls.” 

    Photo via Zombie and the Ghost Train.
    Yaprak Ünver contributed to this report.

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    Several Israeli soldiers have found themselves in trouble after posing photos of themselves in their underwear and combat equipment to Facebook.

    The women were apparently new recruits at a base in the south of Israel. One depicted women exposing their underwear and backsides, according to the Associated Press, while another showed five women wearing only helmets and minimal combat gear.

    The women's faces were blurred, though that did not stop the military from sanctioning them. 

    “The commanding officers disciplined the soldiers as they saw fitting” over the “unbecoming behavior,” the military said. No details about the women's identities or the disciplinary measures were forthcoming, though soldiers at the base were lectured against posting such images.

    It's the latest in a string of occasions in which soldiers have found themselves in trouble over their actions on the Internet.

    The man behind the @IDFspokesperson Twitter account, one of the military's main ways of communicating with the public, was apparently found wearing blackface and mocking President Barack Obama in a Facebook photo. 

    A number of soldiers also arranged their bodies to spell out a message attacking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for opting not to send ground troops into Palestinian territories during last November's conflict.

    After a male soldier was shown in a 2010 YouTube video "dancing suggestively around a blindfolded Palestinian woman," the military banned soldiers from using social networks while on base. The AP noted it was unclear if that ban is still in place. 

    Photo by Israel Defense Forces/Flickr

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    For those of you who believe in net neutrality, the practice of insulating the Internet against the influence of private corporations and making certain a user’s connection speed isn’t dependent on his or her tax bracket, we’ve got some bad news for you. 

    According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, large corporations including Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are paying major ISPs to get faster connections. 

    That could mean, quite simply, if you don’t use these companies, with their greased rails, your Internet connection might suck. Worse than usual, that is. But there are other implications as well. 

    Netflix, whose need for big tubes in that series of tubes is obvious, has been trying to get broadband companies to allow them to connect specialized equipment to reduce the stutter in Web video. The reaction from those companies? Pay us. 

    Already Comcast receives $25-30 million per year for expedited access—a fast lane, let’s say. Not a huge amount given the size of the company, in fact about 0.1 percent of its yearly revenues, but a clear precedent.

    But isn’t this the very thing the U.S. government’s “open Internet” rules guard against? Only in spirit. The letter of the law remains quite unravished. 

    Current Federal Communications Commission rules disallow the prioritizing of one company’s traffic over another on a given provider’s "last mile" of line into a consumer’s home. The rest of the route seems to resemble the Wild West, the rules for which are vague at best. 

    It isn’t just consumer choice that is limited when net neutrality is abandoned, say its proponents. It also raises the barriers to entry for new online companies. This issue is likely to grow more urgent as more and more companies compete to bring on-demand entertainment to consumers’ homes, with estimates of Internet video doubling by 2017. 

    H/T Motherboard | Photo by Kaleb Fulghan/Flickr 

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    If you can't handle the heat, don't take a nap on a pile of food.

    One Burger King employee in Japan seemed a little fed up with the glut of orders he had to speed through on a busy weekday.

    "How many Whopper Juniors do you think I've made?" wrote @inotayuta on his now-deleted Twitter account. "See if you can figure out it for yourself."

    He shared a photo of himself draped over a pile of buns, right next to a bucket containing something both unidentifiable and utterly disgusting.

    Sure enough, the image of a food industry employee relaxing on a mound of foodstuff infuriated members of Japan's prominent, influential 2ch forum, according to Kotaku.

    Forum users barraged Burger King with complaints, forcing the company to apologize, clarify that the food was never actually served to customers, and reprimand @inotayuta. 

    Fast food employees doing dirty deeds with food and bragging online has become a fad lately. Subway fired two workers last month after photos of one slapping his genitals on a foot-long spread online. In Augsut, 2012, Taco Bell dumped an employee worker who filmed himself urinating on food. KFC, meanwhile, gave one guy his marching orders after he made out with mashed potatoes shaped like a breast.

    There's no word from Burger King PR on whether @inotaya awaits a similar fate.

    Photo by @inotayuta/Twitter via Kotaku

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    According to researchers, “liking” something on Facebook or another social network encourages others to follow your example—and may even trigger an avalanche of approval.

    In a report for the journal Science titled “Social Influence Bias: A Randomized Experiment,” Lev Muchnik, Sinan Aral and Sean J. Taylor set out to chart the fluid dynamics of digital popularity. What they discovered was something we’ve all intuitively felt: hype breeds hype.

    In the abstract of their findings, they wrote:

    We ... designed and analyzed a large-scale randomized experiment on a social news aggregation Web site to investigate whether knowledge of such aggregates distorts decision-making. Prior ratings created significant bias in individual rating behavior, and positive and negative social influences created asymmetric herding effects. Whereas negative social influence inspired users to correct manipulated ratings, positive social influence increased the likelihood of positive ratings by 32% and created accumulating positive herding that increased final ratings by 25% on average.  

    In other words, “likes” follow “likes,” but misery doesn’t love company—disapproval did not prompt other users to express a similar opinion. It’s only the feel-good thumbs-up that gets people on the social bandwagon. But even positive herding “was topic-dependent and affected by whether individuals were viewing the opinions of friends or enemies.”

    The aggregation website used in the experiment remains unnamed, at their request, so who knows? You may have been one of the guinea pigs! Attaching fake upvotes and downvotes to various articles—while leaving some alone for a control group—the researchers were able to influence the behavior of readers when it came to rating the articles. Positivity tended to snowball, and, perhaps more interestingly, arose in direct opposition to negative reactions. According to the New York Times:

    The Web site allows users to say whether they like or dislike other users, and the researchers found that a commenter’s friends were likely to correct the negative score while enemies did not find it worth their time to knock down a fake up vote.

    That certainly runs counter to the conventional wisdom that anything popular will inevitably attract harsh critics, and suggests that we also like to “like” for reasons other than social contagion: in effect, we may just take a certain pride in promoting and defending quality content. Either that or we find it fun.

    Which reminds me—you’ll probably want to tweet this article, right? We only need a few of you, then everyone else should follow suit. Come on, I know you “like”-liked it.

    Photo by Owen W Brown/Flickr

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    Miami police have released new footage of Derek Medina, the "Facebook killer" who allegedly murdered his wife before posting a confession and photo of her body to the site.

    Medina, 31, left a long trail online, including e-books about hunting ghosts and a weird YouTube channel. In a video posted two days before he told police he'd gunned down his wife, he roundhouse-kicks a bag while wearing a suit:

    But in what might be the final footage of him as a free man, the Miami-Dade Police Department released one more video Friday. Pulled from a station surveillance camera, Medina, accompanied by another man, strolls into the police station, walks up to the counter, then sits down. Police excised five seconds of footage.

    His casual manner reflects the remorseless tone in his Facebook confession, posted just hours before:

    Im going to prison or death sentence for killing my wife love you guys miss you guys takecare Facebook people you will see me in the news

    Police say Medina's wife, Jennifer Alfonso, 26, was found deceased from gunshot wounds. Their daughter, who's 10, was unharmed.

    Photo via YouTube

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    In the future, we’ll be able to rate people directly, attaching insults and negative feedback to, say, an offending individual’s Facebook page. For now, though, we’re stuck attacking each other via Yelp and Amazon—provided we’ve got something up on one of those sites to review.

    That was the form of mutually assured destruction invoked in a Brooklyn brawl between a debut novelist and a bespoke tailor. D. Foy, whose book Made to Break is scheduled for release mid-March, had hoped to secure a wedding suit from the hands-on Park Slope boutique Bindle & Keep. But after repeatedly trying and failing to get in touch with them, he did what no one with a smattering of common sense would do: He bothered to write a Yelp review.

    “This is not ‘24-7 white glove service,’” Foy wrote. “This is not ‘unparalleled service,’ nor anything close. Contract this ‘business’ at your own risk, ladies and gentlemen.”

    Someone at Bindle & Keep named Daniel replied rather swiftly to this affront, writing in an email, “I was just made aware of your Yelp review. We wanted to answer your questions but felt you were more interested in a fray. When your book comes out on Amazon, I will personally make sure our entire staff reviews in kind.”

    Daniel had done his research, it seems, and although there was a bit more back-and-forth sniping between he and Foy, the author eventually relented and took down his Yelp review in order to keep his book from being review-bombed next year (he also got a free shirt in the bargain). If only all dissatisfied customers were so easy to extort!

    We’re guessing Daniel had some more trouble influencing the angry Yelp posters who said he didn’t live up to a refund guarantee for poor work and was the “MOST UNPROFESSIONAL person I have ever dealt with.” Maybe in lieu of the "deluge of awful reviews” he promised Foy, he could just do the old-fashioned thing and send dozens of pizzas to their homes. Or call in a SWAT strike. Anything, so long as he doesn’t have to take stock of his business practices.

    Or wait—was this all just a ruse between friends to virally advertise each other’s goods and services? That tears it: I’m never reading a book or wearing clothes again.     

    H/T The Washington Post | Photo by Johnathan Behr/Flickr

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    Santa Barbara’s Edythe Kirchmaier, who at the age of 105 is California’s oldest driver, volunteers for the non-profit organization Direct Relief, devoted to bettering the lives of those affected by poverty, natural disaster, and civil unrest. She’s also the oldest registered user on Facebook, and on her 105th birthday gathered 105,000 likes for the charity’s Facebook page.

    Yes, Kirchmaier certainly seems to have life figured out after more than a century of it. But a nagging problem threatened to prevent her from continuing to work for Direct Relief: her 15-year-old minivan, not so hardy as she, had begun to experience mechanical problems. Without a reliable car, volunteering could have become impossible.

    In what can only be taken as a confirmation of the existence of karma, one of Kirchmaier’s fans stepped in to address her vehicular needs. Having gotten wind of the frequent breakdowns and repairs online, this mystery benefactor bought her a brand-new 2013 Honda Civic. Who knew the Internet was so nice?

    “I'm touched by the generosity of an anonymous person who surprised me with a new car yesterday,” Kirchmaier posted on Facebook. “My friends at Direct Relief gave me a special parking spot for it. My new car fits in just right!”

    It’s worth noting that Kirchmaier is not merely the state’s oldest driver, she’s also one of the best, boasting a spotless 86-year traffic record, without even a parking ticket to her name. She renewed her license this past January, acing the DMV’s tests. It just goes to show that not very much has changed about cars since the Ford Model T, which is what she learned to drive on. Really.

    At any rate, this couldn’t have happened to a nicer or more deserving person. Happy driving, Edythe—we’ll see you on the freeway.

    Photo via Direct Relief/Facebook

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    In China, the Shuangliu police department, from Chengdu in Sichuan Province, have hit it big on social network Weibo. When they’re not helping small children cross the street, they’re declaring their love for Breaking Bad.  

    But when three rats broke bad in their town, the Shuangliu police let vigilante justice take over. Now an amusing but controversial picture they shared of the three live rats tied to a tree in their district has gone viral on Weibo, creating a debate in many Chinese communities about the best way to deal with the “rats” in the Chinese government.

    The rats’ captor, according to Hao Hao Report and Sichuan Online, is an advertising employee named Liu Junjiang, who captured the rats with coworkers on Friday after they habitually ransacked the firm’s new office. The ad execs tied the rats to a tree in order to humorously shame them for their crimes.

    “I was wrong, I repent!” reads the banner attached to the rat in the middle.

    The Shuangliu police saw the mice and shared their photo on Friday in mock outrage:

    Who did this? They even dared to establish a court in front of the police station and executed the thieves in broad daylight!

    Their post promptly went viral, collecting thousands of shares and comments. Many Chinese netizens reacted with amusement, comparing the rats to corrupt government officials who should be publicly shamed in similar ways:

    NetEase user  花開o : There are rat thieves all over the country. These rats are fat and big, running amuck across the country and they disguise themselves as civil servants, but our police pretend to be not aware of the situation.

    But many also reacted with horror due to the apparent animal cruelty of leaving the rats tied and helpless.

    Weibo user @自然新观察 :【Being beaten is the fate of mouses by birth, but please do not abuse them】 This picture taken by police showing what the perpetrators regard as a proud work but actually reflects the morbid mentality  deep in their hearts. The Supreme People’s Court has stipulated that testimonies gained through freezing, starving, scorching, beating the suspects are illegal and should be excluded from the court. We should show the animals that we are a highly civilized society. Violence will bring insecure emotion to humans, and if the abuse out of freakish mentality affects others, it is crime.

    Contrary to rumor, the rats were not dead and have reportedly since been freed and released in the countryside.

    “Cat police will handle them” now, joked Sichuan Online.

    Photo via Hao Hao Report

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    As record-breaking winter freezes put schools across America on ice, teachers and administrative staff are having to get creative with ways to keep students engaged outside the classroom.

    Yesterday, one New Jersey principal used the Internet to deliver storytime to 51 lucky kids from his school.

    Slackwood Elementary principal Jay Billy summoned kids in his Lawrenceville, N.J., town to a private online conference Thursday, as the area got burried 10 inches of snowfall. Billy sent out a mass email to parents at his school inviting them and their children to join him online for a special story session.

    Billy read three stories to the kids who signed on. Delighted parent Regina Smith contacted the Times of Trenton about the event.

    “He’s constantly talking about how important it is to read,” she said of the principal, “but for him to take time away from his family on his own snow day, and show us how important it is, was really amazing.”

    Participating students had an assignment based on the three stories they read that will earn them a special treat once they're back in the classroom—if the snow ever lets up.

    It’s not the first time this snowy winter season that educators used the Internet to help them overcome the icy odds. After the calamitous blizzard that sent most of Georgia and Alabama into an apocalyptic state, musician Roger Day used Skype to perform a concert for hundreds of children who were stranded overnight at their elementary schools. And in North Carolina, two creative school administrators used YouTube to let students know their school was shutting down in the most hilarious way possible—with a modified rendition of “Ice, Ice, Baby.”

    It’s not just the school staff who are using the Internet during the winter storms, however: in New York, students used Twitter to lambaste the public school system for refusing to close during one of the city’s heaviest snowfalls. And with at least a few more weeks of winter on the way, students are undoubtedly feeling stir-crazy, whether they’re stuck in school or out of it.

    Let’s just hope the spring thaw arrives soon,before students’ creativity on the Internet outstrips those of their teachers.

    Photo via wfryer/Flickr; CC BY-SA 2.0

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    Anybody who turned to Twitter after John Brooks’s 86th-minute goal against Ghana yesterday found out quite quickly that Americans absolutely love tweeting about sports when their teams are busy being awesome. This data visualization of the way North America was tweeting at the exact minute that Brooks’ goal went in tells the tale for those who missed it.

    That’s a boom reminiscent of the December evening Beyoncé’s eponymous album dropped, carrying through the coastal United States and a few midwestern cities, but it turns out that Brooks’ goal didn’t even incite the most conversation. That actually occurred in the first minute, immediately following Clint Dempsey’s opening goal,when 173,738 tweets per minute were posted, according to Twitter.

    All in all, Twitter Data reports, more than 4.9 million tweets were posted about Monday’s match between the USA and Ghana. But none of them count more than this brainfart tweet from @Delta.

    Photo via Regina Keenan/Twitter