Boing Boing 

The adolescence of Reddit

Joel Johnson on what went wrong at Reddit, where moderators closed ranks around a particularly nasty member in the face of outside scrutiny: "outcast cultures ... must survive an awkward adolescence before integrating fully back into the culture from which they are spawned. And like most teenagers, there is a lot of whining, misfired blame, and crying about “never asking to be born” before those cultures realize that despite their memory of an idyllic second childhood, everyone must eventually grow up."

Reddit's creepiest character unmasked

Gawker's Adrian Chen unmasks Violentacrez, the man behind subreddits such as "Jailbait", "Creepshots" and "Chokeabitch".

A troll exploits social dynamics like computer hackers exploit security loopholes, and Violentacrez calmly exploited the Reddit hive mind's powerful outrage machine and free speech values at the same time. It was this pattern, repeated to various degrees dozens of times, that made Violentacrez an unlikely hero to many of the white male geeks who make up Reddit's hard core. They saw Violentacrez as a champion in the fight against the oppressive schoolmarms: "He upheld a certain amount of freedom for the worst of us to ensure freedom for all of us," wrote one user in a post mourning his departure. Fans followed him wherever he went on the site.

Reddit should take control of its reputation. Its "common carrier" aspirations—already proven to be unsustainable—seem to prevent it from exercising some much-needed quality control over what moderators do in top subreddits. And lest you think that its hands-off policy is about preventing censorship, remember that links to Gawker are currently banned on some top Reddit-promoted areas such as /r/politics.

Letting creeps and criminals speak for you is no defense of free speech: it's just an invitation to be measured by what they say and do in your name.

Monkey Jesus cosplayer


Here's a Monkey Jesus/restored icon cosplayer in full regalia. The identity of the person behind the mask is the source of controversy: it was posted to Reddit by OhioUPilot12, whose description implied that s/he was the creator of the costume. However, when Spinjump posted that this had been her/his Anime Weekend Atlanta costume, OhioUPilot12 backpedaled and claimed that the original description was an unfortunate misunderstanding.

Facebook God gave me a halloween costume idea... (imgur.com)

Princess Vader goes to Disneyland


This little girl reportedly visited Disneyland with her parents in her adorable princess Vader Hallowe'en costume, taking it for a test drive. Rsharich, the redditor who posted the pic, doesn't mention how the day went, but I assume it was, you know, epic.

Friends took their daughter dressed like this, all day, to Disneyland (i.imgur.com)

Steampunk Nintendo casemod


Redditor Andrew5785 refurbed an elderly Nintendo system for a covetous steampunk nephew, turning it into a sweet little contrafactual brass retrofuture contraption.

Steam-Punk Nintendo: Built this for my nephew that likes steam-punk and wanted my old Nintendo. (imgur.com)

PSY foam-art


Redditor DivineBaboon posted an unattributed photo of an espresso drink with a beautiful PSY (of Gangnam Style fame) portrait in the foam.

My friend ordered a cappuccino and this is what he got.. (i.imgur.com)

Reddit user creates lost scene from Community in a video game, brings staff writer and fans to tears

Dan Harmon recently conducted an AMA on Reddit, in which he revealed that in the emotionally charged season finale of Community, "Digital Estate Planning," Chevy Chase didn't show up to film a scene that was partially told via an original 8-bit video game. Since it was the last day of shooting, it was their last chance to do the scene, and they lost it. So one Reddit user, Derferman, of /r/hawkthorne, created the scene and made it downloadable for everyone to play out the scene for themselves. Community writer Megan Ganz was positively verklempt and showed it to the cast this morning.

It is a full-on Community-Harmontown lovefest, kids.

Read the rest

Canadian border guards stop looking for dope exporters, focus on stolen cars and fissiles

The Canadian Border Service Agency has been ordered to stop hunting for illegal drug exporters and worry instead about catching nuclear material and stolen car smugglers. Lee Berthiaume writes for Postmedia News:

The directive, contained in an internal memo to Canada Border Service Agency managers that was obtained by Postmedia News, is unlikely to make officials in the United States and other countries very happy.

But analysts say that in an age of finite resources, the agency has decided it makes more sense to target areas where it thinks it can make a difference.

The article goes on to quote Eugene Oscapella of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy, describing how hard it is to catch dope smuggling, versus big things like cars and radioactive things like uranium.

Border guards told to forget about illegal drug exports (via Reddit)

Cthulhu balloon


Redditor Frostbite795 asked a Bar Mitzvah balloon twister for a Cthulhu, and the twister delivered.

Asked for a Cthulhu. Balloon guy at bar mitzvah delivers. (imgur.com)

Mom makes painted Batman Converse


A redditor called zacch asked his mom to paint him a pair of Batman Converse. She came through with flying (and suitably gloomy) colors.

I couldn't afford a pair of Batman Converse that I wanted so my talented mom said she would paint on some existing shoes. She did not disappoint. (x-post r/batman) (imgur.com)

Marilyn Manson reportedly goes through airports with obscenities written on his face to stop paps

Redditor j_patrick_12 says he ran into Marilyn Manson in an airport security line, and that Manson was apologizing profusely for the word FUCK written in eyeliner on his face, explaining that it was there to stop paparazzi from taking saleable pictures, and not because Manson wanted to be mean to people in the airport.

I just went through the LAX security line with Marilyn Manson. He had "FUCK" scrawled in large letters across the bottom half of his face, with what appeared to be a grease pencil. As we each removed our boots in the security line, he kindly explained that it was not directed at me or anyone else in the airport, but rather at the paparazzi, so that they couldn't sell any photos of him that they took. He was really apologetic about it, and covered his mouth around young children while apologizing to their parents for exposing their child to profanity.

Marilyn Manson just explained to me, in the security line at LAX, that the profanities written on his face in grease pencil were directed at the paparazzi, not at me. Reddit, what bizarre celebrity encounters have you had? (self.AskReddit)

Student disciplined for improving campus course-selection system


Timothy Arnold, a student at the University of Central Florida, produced a app called U Could Finish that automated the process of hunting for vacancies in popular courses. After the app was the subject of a popular Reddit post, the administration at UCF punished Arnold for doing this, on the grounds that it had overloaded their servers. As a persuasive presentation from Arnold and friends documents, this claim is not very plausible. Nevertheless, the project has been terminated and Arnold faces three semesters of academic probation, a paper in which Arnold must explain why what he did was naughty and why the system's administrators are good people, and a coaching session on making good life sessions.

The Reddit post on the shutdown is full of good examples of universities that rewarded students who improved their systems rather than reacting with immediate and thorough reactionary discipline.

UCF student penalized for writing program to simplify searching for open university classes (ucouldfinish.com)

Pubic hair stuck to a urinal forms a treble clef


A redditor called Frankie842 snapped a photo of a public hair stuck to a urinal in a near-perfect treble clef. I once experienced something like this, back when I was roomming with Possum Man. We'd cooked a pot of spaghetti and we tried the technique of tossing a strand against the wall to see if it would stick. It landed in just this configuration and we left it up on that wall for years after.

1 in a million chance musical pubic hair (imgur.com)

Where was God?

God here. I thought I would take the time to personally explain my absence in the Aurora shootings. While I was at it, I thought I would also explain my absence during every murder, massacre and crime that has ever taken place in World history, and in every war, in every famine, drought and flood.

You see, I do not exist. I never have. Did it really make sense to you that I would create an entire Universe with billions of billions of planets and wait about 13,700,000,000 years just so I could focus on a few Jews from Palestine about 2,000 years ago while ignoring the rest of the 200,000,000 people on the planet at the time?

- Comment on a CNN Belief Blog editorial explaining "Where God was" during the recent shooting at a Dark Knight screening in Colorado.

Nested vehicles: A pickup on a dumptruck on a flatbed on a massive truck


Redditor Amiziras posted this photo of several nested trucks, taken last year in West Street, Bedminster, Bristol.

Pickup on a truck on a truck on a truck (imgur.com) (Thank, Sam!)

Radio that "sneezes" to clear out its dust

Here's a video of the 1972 Gesundheit Radio "sneezing," a function it was programmed to perform twice annually in order to clear the dust from its sensitive components.

TIL that in 1972 a radio was designed that 'sneezed' every 6 months in order to protect the microprocessors from dust (vimeo.com)

Mitt Romney promises a chicken in every pot and a porn filter on every PC (except for the chicken)

Here's Mr Romney on the campaign trail in 2007, in Radar O'Reilly's hometown of Ottumwa, Iowa, demonstrating his mastery of First Amendment jurisprudence and the nature of the technology industry -- as well as the technical feasibility of pornography filters -- promising mandatory game-rating systems (with a prohibition on their sales to kids) and a technology mandate requiring all PC vendors to place a pornography filter on new computers, on the grounds that this will "make sure their kids don't see [pornography]." I think Mr Romney uses "make sure" in a different, more nuanced way than the rest of us do, meaning, "not be sure at all."

Mitt Romney in 2007:Porn Filter on Computers (via Reddit)

Kick-ass They Live cosplayers


Here are a couple of amazing They Live cosplayers from this year's San Diego Comic-Con -- the shirts and bags really make the outfits.

r/movies wouldn't allow it, so here it is. My favorite cosplay from Comic-con! (imgur.com) (via Super Punch)

Trees stained by a toxic spill, with the high-tide line aligned to the horizon


This image comes from The Line, a book of photos by Palíndromo Mészaros, "a Spanish photographer and architecture student whose life jumps between Madrid and Budapest." It shows the high-tide line of an aluminum spill from a chemical factory in Hungary, which flooded out a forest in Ajka. Mészaros lines up the red residue with the horizon, producing an effect that is beautiful and terrible and delightfully disorienting. The book, which is produced on demand through Blurb is €127.92, and is printed on Proline Pearl photo paper - 32'4 x 27'6 cm.

"The Line photobook" (via Reddit)

Stop motion music video uses hundreds of strangers holding up a tablet on the streets of Sydney

Australian band Abe & Tell's video for their song "This Man's Brighter Days" uses a neat animation gimmick: most of the video is displayed, frame-by-frame, on a tablet held up by various strangers the band approached on the streets of Sydney, with some nice cutaway shots to the video being edited, all pieced together to seem like one continuous shot. It's quite an effect, one that really commands all of your visual attention.

abe&tell - one shot stop motion with 500+ girls! (via Reddit)

My stupidest moment as a customer, ever

Reading this Reddit thread on stupid customer stories reminded me of the stupidest thing I've ever done as a customer. I had flown all night and gotten into my hotel near San Francisco International very late. Blearily, I unpacked my toilet case and brushed my teeth, had a pee, flushed and climbed into bed. The toilet's plumbing made a moderate amount of noise as the cistern refilled, but just as it got to the point where the stopcock kicked it, it began to make a horrible, loud, nerve-jangling BRRRRRRRRRRRR noise.

I waited a couple of minutes for it to stop, but it wouldn't stop. I got out bed and looked under the toilet. I jiggled the handle. I flushed. BRRRRRRRRRRRR

I called the front desk. "Hi. There's something really wrong with my toilet. I flushed it and now it's going BRRRRRRRRRRRR. Can you find a maintenance person, please?"

It was about 1AM. There weren't a lot of maintenance people around. Ten minutes went by. BRRRRRRRRRRRR. Fifteen minutes. BRRRRRRRRRRRR.

I called the front desk again. "Hi, I don't mean to be impatient, but I've got a meeting early tomorrow morning and I really need to get some sleep. If you can't get a maintenance staffer in the next couple minutes, I think I'll need another room, OK?"

The maintenance guy came. I told him what had happened. We stood in the bathroom together, blearily, confronting the incredible, loud, nonstop BRRRRRRRRRRRR that seemed to come from all around us as the pipes shivered in the very walls. "I've never heard a toilet make that noise before," the maintenance guy said. "Me neither. I'll just wait in the room."

I went and sat on the bed, half-fuming, half-dozing. Suddenly, the BRRRRRRRRRRRR noise became much quieter: brrrrrrrrrrrr. Then, quieter still: brrrrrrrrrrrr.

Read the rest

Young man performs "Trololo"

Tom Greto, a Redditor's young cousin, performs a quite wonderful rendition of the Trololo song. What a treat!

So I was browsing my cousin's YouTube videos when suddenly... (youtube.com)

One squillion gimme pens from Big Pharma


From Reddit, hxstr's photo of "10 years worth of Pharma Rep's free pens, very few duplicates." The comments on the photo contain a blazing fight over its provenance, though it may be the personal collection of a Cedars-Sinai cardiologist.

Reddit, I present to you: 10 years worth of Pharma Rep's free pens, very few duplicates [OC] (imgur.com)

Spiral-cut your wieners for good topology, excellent condiment retention, and extra caramelization

The Chow Video folks make a VERY good case for spiral-cutting one's wieners.

Why You Should Spiral-Cut Your Wiener - CHOW Tip (via Reddit)

Q&A with a former member of the Westboro Baptist family

Nate Phelps, the 6th of 13 of Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps's kids, took to Reddit for an Ask Me Anything Q&A. Nate escaped his father's notorious, hateful "church" when he was 18. As you'll see from the interview, the Phelps household was a microcosm of Fred's hateful, loony doctrine -- a place of grotesque violence and lunatic belief.

Thanks! The first three nights after I ran away, I slept in the bathroom of a gas station near the high school I attended (Topeka West). From there, my brother's (Mark) mother-in-law offered me a room at her home. Very little I miss. It was so destructive and took years to undue. I have talked about the sense of security and belonging I can recall feeling from time to time when we were having church services on Sunday evenings. Something about being tucked in that building that's half buried and feeling like we're the only one's that god loves...it's hard to articulate...

My father believes homosexuality is a special sin you can't recover from. He get's this from some obscure passage in Romans. Yes, there is a tremendous amount of selective quoting. But this is lost on them because they never really were taught to examine the Bible and decide for themselves. They were taught to believe what he believes. This leaves them wholly unable to truly debate anyone. They recognize certain sounds and respond to those sounds with the sounds they learned. They don't critically analyze the incoming sounds at all.

One of those sounds they recognize is "why do you preach if you don't think people can be saved" to which they respond with the sound "it's not our job to save, only to preach". It's what I call the divine Nuremberg defense...

I remember one of the Shawnee Mission (I think East) schools doing a killer counter protest. My personal favorite is the Jewish Center down in Texas that raised enough money at one of their protests to buy a new ice making machine for the center. They put a plaque on it that said something like: "The Fred Phelps Memorial 'Hell Froze Over' Ice Machine".

IAmAn Ex-Member of the Westboro Baptist Church (via MeFi)

Portraits made from thread passed around nail-heads


Kumi Yamashita's "Constellation" series are portraits made from a continuous piece of black thread, strung around and around a dense mesh of nails hammered into a white-painted wooden board. Shown here: "Erik".

Constellation

Ask Neal Stephenson anything

Neal Stephenson's doing an AMA on Reddit right now. (Thanks, Steve!)

Tor anonymity developers tell all

Runa from the Tor anonymity project sez, "Karen and I will be answering questions on Reddit today. Feel free to ask us anything you'd like relating to Tor and the Tor Project!"

Fanfic inspired by the apocalyptic state of a ten-year-old Civilization II game


Lycerius's post on Reddit last week by caused enormous, worldwide interest as he revealed that he had been playing a single game of Civilization II for a decade, and that in that time, thousands of years had gone by, and the world had been nearly destroyed by centuries of war and rampant climate change ("a hellish nightmare of suffering and devastation"). It was a detailed, apocalyptic vision of a world where war and unlimited resource exploitation leads to a long, possibly eternal dark ages for the unlucky survivors.

Redditors were so captivated by this nightmare world that they have begun to write short stories set in Lycerius's wasteland, little first-person narratives from the miserable simulated people caught in the meat-grinder.

IO9's George Dvorsky has rounded up some of the choicest morsels, but, as he points out, you really owe it to yourself to have a look at the whole thread.

It seemed like just another day in this never-ending war. The last few historians left (who needs history now, really) agree that it has been going on for at least 1500 years, but their estimates vary. Why does it matter, anyway. The leaders of the remaining superpowers are locked in this pointless struggle, with no breakthrough. I have no idea how the Vikings keep being so consistent over such a long time, but the Communists have had the same family (and principles) in power ever since the war began and over here in America we've hooked up our president to a computer so he could rule forever. What a brilliant plan that was... Each nation is powerful just enough so neither can fall. Every time a city is captured, it is taken the next day. When roads are build in order to help dry up the swamps, they are immediately destroyed. The only way to rebuild our Earth is for someone to win, but that won't happen. At least, that's what I thought until now.

Our forces took another city by dawn. Nothing was special about it, apart from the fact that it was the first time it has been under American control since the war began. It's not that it was heavily guarded, only it was never deemed important enough for capture. As a part of our new military "strategy", we had to capture it for the slight chance that an inhabitant over there could have any sort of solution to the famines. We didn't find a man, but we got the solution alright.

I've been playing the same game of Civilization II for almost 10 years. This is the result. (self.gaming)

Tarantula with strange, antler-like fungal appendages


This unhappy fellow is a tarantula that has been colonized by cordyceps, a fungus that "invades and eventually replaces the host tissue." Paging Mr Mieville, your subconscious mind is manifesting again.

Tarantula infected with Cordyceps (i.imgur.com) (via Super Punch)