Leaving kids in front of screens unsupervised for hours may have unpleasant consequences, parents learn

We all did so well keeping our kids away from obvious traps like 4chan, but it turns out that during those endless unsupervised hours watching Minecraft videos and Twitch streams, their hosts were muttering on about anime and black IQs and what to do about The Jews. And now our kids are hitting their teens, it's coming out of them like the first belches of sewage from a blocked toilet, and, well, here we all are in 2017!

...again this week with the news that YouTube video gaming personality JonTron had made several racist and anti-semitic statements. JonTron — real name Jon Jafari — started his week by tweeting support for Iowa representative Steve King on Sunday, after King made the troubling claim that “we can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies.” Jafari then doubled down on this stance in an interview with fellow streamer Steven “Destiny” Bonnell, complaining of the erosion of a “unifying culture” in the United States, portraying Black Lives Matter as violent terrorists, and repeatedly making portentous warnings that white people would become the minority in American society. ...

On YouTube, these fringe opinions are insidious, too. They’re not set to Leni Riefenstahl films or videos of the Nuremberg Rallies — they dribble out during video game streams, or in Twitch chat, or in YouTube’s never-ending “up next” queue. These are ostensibly benign spaces that have become politicized in recent years, but not so loudly that the average parent will be able to clock the association.

Read the rest

Martin Shkreli buying domain names of people who write about him

Former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli became famous for hitting AIDS patients with a price hike in a life-saving drug—and then for the fraud charges for which he awaits his day in court. But he's also a bit of an odd duck, eating shit on campus and getting kicked off Twitter for harassment. Now he's been noticed snapping up web domains that include critics' and enemies' names.

Maxwell Tani at Business Insider:

Over the past five months, Shkreli has purchased domains associated with writers from Vice, Vanity Fair, AOL, Bloomberg, Dealbreaker, and Gizmodo, along with others associated with other individuals critical of Shkreli on social media.

Shkreli didn't appear to be too happy when Noisey reporter Phil Witmer published a story ... "Can I buy philwitmer.com right now? Yes I can, and yes I will," he said to whoever was watching his livestream. ...

In the weeks after Shkreli's Twitter account was suspended in January for harassing Teen Vogue writer Lauren Duca, the former exec started buying up domain names for journalists, snagging "marrymelauren.com" on the day he was suspended.

Martin Shkreli keeps buying up the personal domain names of journalists who write about him [BI] Read the rest

Crashed UFO in Colombia actually belongs to Google

Farmers in Colombia's Tolima provence were freaked out by a UFO that crashed in a field on Sunday. "It was smoking and a strange liquid was leaking it," said one resident.

Police eventually identified the wreckage as an Internet balloon from X, Alphabet (Google)'s R&D company. X's Project Loon is "designed to extend Internet connectivity to people in rural and remote areas worldwide."

"We all thought it was a UFO or the remains of a space craft," locals were quoted as saying in El Tiempo newspaper.

(BBC)

Read the rest

Two examples of excellence from Japan

Exhibit A: Calculator operation

Exhibit B: Apologies

Read the rest

A trip to the domain name conference

Ingrid Burrington thought of domain names as "a very niche genre of experimental poetry, one in which radical constraints (availability, brevity, the cadence of an interrupting “dot”) produce small, densely packed pockets of internet magic." At a conference for domainers--the dot.whatever squatters and salesfolk and speculators--she learned that it's more a matter of alchemy.

...brevity is typically a good move, though memorable phrases are also effective. Some TLDs are hot right now (.io), and some single words are always a good investment (lotions.com, furs.com), but good TLDs and good words together don’t always work (as was explained to the owner of furs.io and lotions.io in one session). Long-time domainers also had oddly specific advice—”Hyphens make your domain less valuable—unless you’re in Germany” and “.info is a dead zone.”

Domainers are generally a short-sighted crowd. Lotions.io might be worthless by itself, but one person dedicating themselves day and night to the thorough and remorseless blogging of all the lotions that go in and out? By Christmas lotions.io could be worth thousands. Read the rest

How to become a superstar vlogger

Liam Williams was given money by the BBC to explain the success and culture of YouTube vloggers.

A search for the next megastar vlogger finds an unlikely victor in struggling comedian, Liam, who must undertake a series of challenges in order to win a £10,000 prize. Along the way, several successful YouTubers give him help and advice.

Both an explainer and a The Office-like mockumentary, there is a weird magic about this that seeps out with the skill and naturalism of its performers. Why, exactly, do young people stare for hours at people just like themselves, talking about themselves? And why is there a corresponding caste of tired, decade-older cynical people wishing they could be there with them? Read the rest

Seafood-related queries from own internet-connected vending machines brought college network to its knees

A university, mercifully left unnamed, blew off complaints from students about its slow network. When the problem became too bad to ignore, their IT team found the culprit thanks to a "sudden big interest in seafood-related domains."

The firewall analysis identified over 5,000 discrete systems making hundreds of DNS lookups every 15 minutes. Of these, nearly all systems were found to be living on the segment of the network dedicated to our IoT infrastructure. With a massive campus to monitor and manage, everything from light bulbs to vending machines had been connected to the network for ease of management and improved efficiencies. While these IoT systems were supposed to be isolated from the rest of the network, it was clear that they were all configured to use DNS servers in a different subnet. ... botnet spread from device to device by brute forcing default and weak passwords. Once the password was known, the malware had full control of the device and would check in with command infrastructure for updates and change the device’s password – locking us out of the 5,000 systems.

The Internet of Hacked Things strikes again! I'm sure some content filtering and updating passwords will do the trick. Read the rest

"Debate Me": parody of internet manliness gurus/dorks

Something Awful has a guest column from one of the manosphere types netizens cannot fail to be familiar with in 2017.

DEBATE ME.

That's right. I've been powering up these logical brain lasers for hours now just to tear through your fallacies like so much tissue paper. Let me set the stage: my house, seven hours, a webcam, and you and me, duking it out with truth-fists. A jury of my choosing, made up of my peers. The loser gives $10,000 to whatever charity deals with the most tragic of cancers.

Read the rest

The theme song to Duck Tales but with Alex Jones ranting about Chemtrails

@hateshaliek: "i started singing 'chemtrails' in the tune to the ducktales theme a half hour ago so i just had to make this real quick:"

Read the rest

All of IT development summed up in one image

This picture grid brilliantly sums up the attitudes in nearly every IT office I've ever worked in. This is the oldest reference to it I can find.

Read the rest

Mark Zuckerberg says he's not an atheist anymore

Checkmate, atheists! The king of the Internet has found religion.

Zuckerberg, whose Facebook profile once identified him as an atheist, revealed his change of heart on his social media network after he wished everyone on Dec. 25 a “Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah” from “Priscilla, Max, Beast and me,” referring to his wife, daughter and dog. When a commenter asked him, “Aren’t you an atheist?” he responded: “No. I was raised Jewish and then I went through a period where I questioned things, but now I believe religion is very important.”

Zuckerberg aside, Silicon Valley's values will evolve in the immediate future. Monospace-L libertarianism is nothing if not adaptable to circumstances. Read the rest

Homestuck was the "internet's first masterpiece"

Andrew Hussie's Homestuck was a vast, sprawling, impenetrable, hostile webcomic, and it only become harder to define as its popularity grew and its volume stretched toward a million words...

If you ask a fan, you get a flood of enthusiastic nonsense: It’s… well, it’s a webcomic, but sometimes it’s more like an old-school text-based roleplaying game. It’s about a group of kids who are playing that game, and also cause the end of the world…. It’s about growing up, but there’s also time travel, and of course we can’t forget about the alien trolls! and there’s like, complex four-dimensional romance! and really touching moments, and surreal humor, and so many callbacks, self-references, and running jokes I don’t know what it’s even about except for itself, I mean, the author appears as a character, and then gets killed, and the fourth wall isn’t just broken: fourth walls are a tool used by the characters to travel from the… well, see there are lots of universes, and dream universes-

What it was, writes Ben Tolkin, was the first true work of internet art. Participation in the vast, sprawling, impenetrable, hostile subculture around it was an integral part of the storytelling experience.

Homestuck is the first media directed at people for whom the Internet is a way of life, the constantly connected, information-rich community, rather than the individual viewer. Homestuck may not have been written by all of us, but it was written for all of us; since its beginnings as a forum game, Hussie’s writing can only be read by a team constantly supplying each other with knowledge.
Read the rest

Trump fans melting down online for some reason

Trump's fans are having a tough time so far today. First, the realization struck many that one must be registered before election day to vote in all but 14 states. Second, the Trumpernet seems to be context-collapsing: they might yet win the night, but backstabbing and chaos is already upon it. A subreddit, r/the_meltdown, is collecting the most spectacular ragequits. Most are from /pol/, though, which is as much a performance venue as anything else. Read the rest

Academic paper about 4chan's /pol/ forum

"A Longitudinal Measurement Study of 4chan’s Politically Incorrect Forum and its Effect on the Web" [PDF] is the first UN-sponsored study of one of the internet's worst places: /pol/. Read the rest

Comic about the creation of Twitter

In a brand new series for the Webby Awards where I'm editor-at-large, I commissioned the talented comic artist Andy Warner to illustrate the wild history of the Web, from inspiring eureka moments to crackpot ideas that changed the world to fantastic failures.

The first comic in the series is: "Twitter's First Chirps"!

And for more of Andy's work, I highly recommend his absolutely wonderful book just out this week, Brief Histories of Everyday Objects, the illustrated stories behind life’s most common and underappreciated items. Read the rest

Google: we're not involved in Adblock Plus's ad network

Adblock Plus, an adblocking plugin recently unveiled as a trojan horse for a new ad network, claimed Google and AppNexus were among its partners. This is not so, according to Google and AppNexus. Read the rest

If adblocking is dead, the future is brandblocking--and less appetizing things, too

Facebook is at war with users who block ads, and battle proceeds apace. Just two days after boasting that it could serve ads that were undetectable by adblockers, Facebook got a rude awakening in the form of updates to AdBlock that detected them just fine. But it isn't giving up, and has already adjusted its code to once again circumvent the blocks.

A source close to Facebook tells me that today, possibly within hours, the company will push an update to its site’s code that will nullify Adblock Plus’ workaround. Apparently it took two days for Adblock Plus to come up with the workaround, and only a fraction of that time for Facebook to disable it.

Update: A source says Facebook is now rolling out the code update that will disable Adblock Plus’ workaround. It should reach all users soon.]

Still, the cat-and-mouse game is sure to rage on.

AdBlock is at a disadvantage due to Facebook's engineering resources and ability to update its site on-the-fly. That said, Facebook loses more money from each lost ad than AdBlock pays to remove it, which creates an asymmetrical fight. AdBlock is, of course, not a noble venture—it dominates the ad blocking market and whitelists ads from publishers that pay it protection money.

Adblockers generally distinguish ads from content by looking at how web pages are structured and where they come from. To those unfamiliar with HTML, web pages are a nest of boxes, each tagged as a <paragraph or a <division or an <articleor what-have-you, with each identified or classified so that other code can decide what it looks like, where it goes, or what content gets pasted into it as the page renders. Read the rest

More posts