North Korean propaganda machine improves its subtlety by approx. 1%

A rigorous study by North Korean government researchers has declared that the United States is the least happy nation on Earth. North Korea itself came in second behind China. (Thanks Aaron O.!)

Sad John Boehner and Sad Don Draper (Update: by popular demand, now with Sad Glenn Beck, Tiny Sad Keanu, Sad James Van Der Beek)

sadkeanudraperboehnerbeckvanderbeek.jpg

UPDATE: By popular demand, Sad James Van Der Beek, shocked cat and Sad Keanu are now in attendance (you're welcome, @brianstovall, @andrea_ball, and all else who chimed in).

Additional sad guys one might Photoshop in: Sad Julian Assange, Sad Adrian Brody, Sad Nic Cage, Sad Leave Britney Alone Guy, and Crying Double Rainbow Guy.

Below, earlier iterations with fewer Sad Guys.

(shoop: Xeni)

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Defenestration: The Movie

Video link. The fine folks at Everything Is Terrible! have released a smashing collection of one of my favorite movie cliché/SAT word combos: defenestration. Enjoy over 7 minutes of window-breaking excitement! (EiT via RobSchrab)

Eight Days a Week

A press release arrived in my inbox a couple days ago in which a CEO, facing a major change in his line of business, promised to continue to work for his customers 24x7x365. I was impressed. It's not every day that a company vows to accelerate its customers to a high fraction of the speed of light relative to the Earth to squeeze seven years into the space of one. What's more, many companies have the same capability. I worry about the fabric of reality, already stretched by firms impacting operations and effectuating paradigms. Our frame of reference will be stretched, snapped, and broken. For details on repair, consult How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe.

Emergency Unicorn Delivery

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Hilarious Navy SEAL Don Shipley busts fakes

Video link. It's election time, which means politicians are overstating or fabricating their qualifications. One of the most unfortunate forms is overstating one's military service, usually upgrading one's service to one of the elite groups like Green Berets, Rangers, SEALs, etc.

Although the Stolen Valor Act making such lies a crime was declared unconstitutional this summer, a few veterans have taken matters into their own hands.

By far the funniest is Don Shipley, a retired Navy SEAL who shames the shameless in the highly entertaining PHONY Navy SEAL of the week.

(Thanks, former SEAL / current actor Joel Lambert)

Science for Juggalos: Insane Clown Polytechnic

A group of people involved with the Bay Area hacker space Noisebridge organized an impromptu science fair to be held outside an Insane Clown Posse show, when the band and their juggalo fans recently passed through San Francisco. Doctor Popular at Laughing Squid has an extensive blog report up, with videos and links to photo sets. Snip:

SFSlim tweeted that the group was physically threatened by ICP’s crew and Violent J, one half of the Insane Clown Posse, even bragged about it on his twitterhole. A clown with no sense of humor… who’d a thunk it?
If you don't know what any of this means, start with this Boing Boing post, and then this one. (photos: y3rdua)

BP "reporter" flies over oil spill, "filled with wonderment"

Directly lifted from BP's blog, and first mocked on the Rachel Maddow Show:

• Planet BP reporter Tom Seslar flies with an oil-spotting crew over the Gulf of Mexico and sees a deeper appreciation of the relationship between coast and sea and energy and nature than can be had on the ground or in a boat.

• "It's strangely peaceful up here - just right for surrendering to some meditation.

• I'm filled with the wonderment of what's happening below our chopper only moments after it lifts off from an airport in Houma, La."

• "It's likely there will be no alternative to the Gulf as a key source of American energy for decades to come. That's why it is so essential to protect it. Even the most severe critics of the oil industry tend to accept that reality."

"Reporter" Tom Seslar, I have a message for you on behalf of America (and her reporters): go suck it.

Flying higher to get closer to the spill response - 15 June 2010. There's more where that came from. Oh, they have a YouTube channel for this crap, too, specimen above. (BP.com)

What Else Would It Be?

The pimple detector: Finally, science has invented a portable mean girl to tell you there's a zit on your face. Thanks, Chris Patil!

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HOWTO host your very own Windows 7 torrenting party

"Celebrate the launch of Windows 7 by illegally downloading your very own copy!" Video link. (Funny or Die, thanks, @serafinowicz)

Yes Men pwn Chamber of Commerce over climate change legislation

The Yes Men strike again. Posing as members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, they held a press conference today to announce that the chamber would abandon its opposition to climate-change legislation now in Congress. Well, that would explain the sneaky spam press release I received this morning which pointed to "chamber-of-commerce.us" instead of the actual website for the US Chamber of Commerce, at "uschamber.com." Wonder if any bloggers or reporters were done in by the emailed version of the Yes Men prank?

Here's a snip from Washington Post article about the meatspace hijinks today:

yesmen.jpg The event, complete with fake handouts on chamber letterhead, at least a couple of fake reporters, and a podium adorned with the chamber logo, broke up when a spokesman from the real chamber burst in. What followed was a spectacle not usually seen in the John Peter Zenger Room at the National Press Club: two men in business suits shouting at one another, each calling the other an impostor and demanding to see business cards.

"This guy is a fake! He's lying! This is a stunt that I've never seen before," said Eric Wohlschlegel, an official at the actual Chamber of Commerce, who said he'd heard about the hoax event from a reporter who'd mistakenly shown up at the chamber's headquarters.

The fake Chamber of Commerce official, who called himself "Hingo Sembra," did not give his real name to reporters, saying only that he represented a coalition of climate activists.

Pranksters stage Chamber of Commerce climate change event (Washington Post, via @tomzellerjr). Related coverage: GOOD, Roll Call, Talking Points Memo.

Searching for the skinny on Ralph Lauren ad (UPDATE: "We are responsible," says Ralph Lauren)

Ralph Lauren: We are responsible

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Roman Polanski on To Catch a Predator

Noted teledouchebag Chris Hanson interrogates unrepentant pedocreep Roman Polanski in this long-lost episode of To Catch a Predator. (Remixed by TNOYF.com, via instapundit)

De-touching the lollipop-headed Ralph Lauren image that prompted a legal threat

You remember that Ralph Lauren marketing image featuring an implausible thin model whose head is bigger than her pelvis? The one that prompted Ralph Lauren's marketing arm to send us a legal threat because we made fun of it?

Yeah, that one.

Well, Natasja Capelle, a freelance designer, has detouched the image to restore the model to something like a healthy, well-proportioned stature. Want to play along? Make your own detouched image, post a link in the comments. The best images will receive (possibly) a legal threat from Ralph Lauren and an entirely virtual but nevertheless highly valuable appreciative ovation from all over the world.

The criticism that Ralph Lauren doesn't want you to see! (Thanks, Natasja!)

The criticism that Ralph Lauren doesn't want you to see!

Last month, Xeni blogged about the photoshop disaster that is this Ralph Lauren advertisement, in which a model's proportions appear to have been altered to give her an impossibly skinny body ("Dude, her head's bigger than her pelvis"). Naturally, Xeni reproduced the ad in question. This is classic fair use: a reproduction "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting," etc.

However, Ralph Lauren's marketing arm and its law firm don't see it that way. According to them, this is an "infringing image," and they thoughtfully took the time to send a DMCA takedown notice to our awesome ISP, Canada's Priority Colo. One of the things that makes Priority Colo so awesome is that they don't automatically act on DMCA takedowns. Instead, they pass them on to us and we talk about whether they pass the giggle-test.

This one doesn't.

So, instead of responding to their legal threat by suppressing our criticism of their marketing images, we're gonna mock them. Hence this post.

As Wendy Seltzer from the Chilling Effects project said, "Sounds like a pretty solid fair use case to me. If criticism diminishes its effectiveness, that's different from the market substitution copyright protects against. And I've rarely seen a thinner DMCA form-letter."

So, to Ralph Lauren, GreenbergTraurig, and PRL Holdings, Inc: sue and be damned. Copyright law doesn't give you the right to threaten your critics for pointing out the problems with your offerings. You should know better. And every time you threaten to sue us over stuff like this, we will:

a) Reproduce the original criticism, making damned sure that all our readers get a good, long look at it, and;

b) Publish your spurious legal threat along with copious mockery, so that it becomes highly ranked in search engines where other people you threaten can find it and take heart; and

c) Offer nourishing soup and sandwiches to your models.

Update: Looks like Photoshop Disaster's ISP caved to a similar notice.

DMCA Infringement Notification

Update:: Ralph Lauren accepts responsibility for the dodgy 'shop, but no word on its DMCA takedown.