Shardcore, who gave us the programatically generated Hipsterbait tees, had advanced the art of autonomous, self-perpetuating Internet memes, with @factbot1, a bot that creates true-sounding, viral-ish lies ("Indonesians always turn left when exiting a cave", "In just one drop of Sesame seeds, 50 million bacteria can be present", "Morels were used as a Sesame seeds substitute during the Norwegian Civil War"). Here's an essay that explains the project:
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Bitelabs wants you to tweet your favorite celeb and ask them to submit to a biopsy so that they can culture salami from their muscle tissue, allowing you to experience celebs in a way you never have before. "The Franco salami must be smoky, sexy, and smooth... The Franco salami’s taste will be arrogant, distinctive, and completely undeniable." Nutritional information: "coming soon."
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A Utah judge fined an attorney $3,000 after he zapped a witness with a trick shock pen during a trial. The case is about about whether emissions from a power plant are harming nearby dairy cows.
From the Salt Lake Tribune:
Attorney fined for zapping witness with trick pen at dairy cow trial
In an order released this week, 4th District Judge James Brady wrote that electricity expert Athanasios Meliopoulos was testifying against dairy farmers who claim that "stray" currents from Intermountain Power Plant in Delta were harming cattle.
As part of his testimony, Meliopoulos claimed that 1.5 volts, the equivalent of a AAA battery, could not be felt by a person. Los Angeles-based attorney Don Howarth, who represented the dairy farmers, gave a child’s gag pen to Meliopoulos. According to the package label, the retractable pen zaps the user with "a harmless powerful shock," Brady wrote.
Howarth told Meliopoulos that the pen contained a 1.5-volt AAA battery and challenged Meliopoulos to "go ahead and push the back of the pen and tell the jury whether you feel it or not," Brady wrote.
Meliopoulos, a Georgia Tech professor, pushed the pen and "received a strong electric shock, which caused his body to jerk and to drop the pen," Brady wrote.
Every year, Cards Against Humanity gives away a limited edition "PAX Pack" to attendees at PAX East, making the giveaway as surprisingly awesome as they can. This year, they outdid themselves with an epic prank that involved created an elaborate, fake "extreme oatmeal" brand called "PWNMEAL" (complete with a long-running, perfectly obnoxious marketing campaign), producing three tons' worth of FDA-approved instant oatmeal packs, and hiding the PAX Packs inside these packets and waiting for the attendees to discover the truth.
Max Temkin's lavishly illustrated, gleeful recounting of the prank might just be the most triumphant story of a business doing what is most awesome because doing awesome things is awesome that you will read all year.
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[Ed: I'm a huge fan of Kembrew McLeod, a writer, nerdfighter, media theorist and hoopy frood. From epic pranks like Freedom of Expression (R) to genius analysis like Creative License, Kembrew always amazes. Here's an excerpt from his latest: Pranksters: Making Mischief in the Modern World, with an introduction just for us -Cory]
Since I was a kid, I have been fixated on trickery, which played a role in why I grew up to be an occasional prankster (my dad recalls that, as an adolescent, I would surprise him by placing my Sesame Street Ernie doll in grim situations, such leaving him in a noose hanging from a shower head or pinned to the kitchen wall with a knife). Now that I am an adult, I spend most of my time as a teacher and professor being a bit more serious -- enough to take the subject of pranking seriously, which is why I wrote Pranksters: Making Mischief in the Modern World, published by NYU Press on April 1 this year. The word prank is more often used today to describe stunts that make people look foolish and little more. I'm not interested in celebrating cruelty -- especially the sorts of mean-spirited practical jokes, hazing rituals, and reality television deceits that are all too common in today's popular culture. Although "good" pranks sometimes do ridicule their targets, they serve a higher purpose by sowing skepticism and speaking truth to power (or at least cracking jokes that expose fissures in power's facade). A prank a day keeps The Man away, I always say. Nevertheless, I should stress that this book is not solely about pranking. Many of the characters who populate its pages aren't driven by noble impulses, and even those who are more pure of heart can muddy the ethical waters with dubious tactics. With this in mind, Pranksters examines everything from political pranks, silly hoaxes, and con games to the sort of self-deception that fuels outlandish belief systems. The following is an excerpt from Chapter Nine of Pranksters, about the exploits of a married couple named Jeanne and Alan Abel who began as professional pranksters in the late 1950s, and are still at it today.
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By photoshopping a pair of mirror-flipped profile-shots of your face onto either side of a full-on shot, you can make a gimmicked photo that, when curled and placed in a jar of water, creates a convincing illusion of your head in a jar. Mikeasaurus's Instructable has easy-to-follow instructions for making your own.
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Prankster Jack Vale reads the nametags of passersby at 2014 NAMM, then says their name on a fake phonecall so they can hear him.
See also: Zombie Phone Prank and Wife on a Leash Prank. (Via Laughing Squid)
You know that awkward moment when you think you're getting your photo taken but the shooter accidentally has their camera set on video? From the Nottingham Trent Students Union, "here's a super awkward montage of lots of students mistaking our video camera for a stills camera."
Prankster street artist Banksy continued his New York City residency this weekend near Central Park by setting up an art stall, manned by someone else. Banksy sold six original paintings, netting $420. Clearly, context is everything.
Did you know that one inspiration for Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Fight Club was the author's time in the Cacophony Society? You can hear about that this evening (9/23) at 7:30pm PT during "Chuck Palahniuk and the SF Cacophony Society: Creating Culture from Mayhem," a live event at San Francisco Castro Theatre that will also be streamed live here. What the hell is the Cacophony Society, you ask? Don't fret, you may already be a member. Launched in 1986, the Cacophony Society is a highly-influential, "randomly gathered network of free spirits united in the pursuit of experiences beyond the pale of mainstream society." This underground collective of pranksters, culture jammers, and thrill-seekers birthed Burning Man, pioneered urban exploration, and freaked out the squares with their proto-flash mobs of SantaCon. BB pal John Law, Carrie Galbraith, and Kevin Evans have finally revealed the hidden history of this (semi-)secret society in a beautiful new book, "Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society."
Tonight, join Palahniuk, Law, and Galbraith for a panel moderated by my old friend Brad Wieners, and plenty of other shenanigans.
Event details here at the Commonwealth Club site
Livestream will be here
Buy the book here
Jeremy sez, "Flagger is a browser add-on that automatically puts red flag keywords (like bomb, Taliban and anthrax) into the web addresses you visit. Install Flagger and help us send a message: government surveillance has gone too far."
This is one of those ideas that sits on the threshhold between clever and dumb. You decide which for yourself.
It's time to make some noise.
James Broughton (1913-1999) was an icon of San Francisco counterculture and the Bay Area's Beat scene. A poet, filmmaker, and prankster, Broughton was one of the original Radical Faeries and a member of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. His gravestone reads: "Adventure – not predicament." I can't wait to see this new film about Broughton, titled Big Joy, that's currently on the film festival circuit! "Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton"
Here's some fodder for concern trolls! (Via Uproxx)
This horrifying clown mannekin was reportedly placed on a hiking trail deep in the Oleta River in Aventura, Florida by a park employee who got it from the Enchanted Forest Elaine Gordon Park in North Miami.
If you went hiking through Oleta River in Aventura Florida last year, you probably shit your pants a couple miles in. (imgur.com)
Ry4an sez, "Today's maker project was a pair of bedside lamps that switch one another. The effect is really jarring because the switches are so near the bulbs they'd normally control." I love this -- it's just annoying enough that you can imagine it appearing unintentionally in, say, a hotel room (the most notorious source of terrible lighting controls in the developed world), and yet perversely pleasing.