Austin area magician reveals own trick


Outspoken Genii forum member Brad Henderson has this fascinating public video calling card. Brad reveals, via an "Explaination," the optical illusion behind his business card.

I find this curious as Brad apparently does not like it when others share interesting magical effects with the intent of driving interest in the art. I guess it is ok when it helps you book a gig?

If you are in the Austin area, we encourage you to see Brad perform! If his routine is half as passionate as his trolling, you are in for a great time!

Previously: The Genii Forums, where magicians keep magic secret in public Read the rest

Ex-mayor of Bismark, ND trademarks alternatives to "Fighting Sioux" in bid to prevent UND team from switching to non-racist name


Marlan "Hawk" Haakenson used the state registry to claim Fighting Hawks, Nodaks, and North Stars in the mistaken belief that this would give him leverage to prevent the University of North Dakota from abandoning its racist "Fighting Sioux" team name. The NCAA has threated UND with sanctions if it doesn't change the team's name. Read the rest

Everyday Misanthrope, the game about making people miserable

Every interaction with another human being is just another opportunity to make the people around you feel more like you do: absolutely miserable.

Ellen Pao: “The trolls are winning.”


“I have just endured one of the largest trolling attacks in history,” writes Reddit's recently-departed interim CEO Ellen Pao in a Washington Post op-ed today. “And I have just been blessed with the most astonishing human responses to that attack.” Read the rest

NZ's anti-troll law: gift to trolls, bad for free speech

If you set out to create the platonic ideal of a badly considered anti-trolling bill that made a bunch of ineffectual gestures at ending harassment without regard to the collateral damage on everything else on the Internet, well, you'd be New Zealand's Parliament, apparently. Read the rest

Trolls, tracked down, explain themselves

Brad Merrill recounts the stories of three people who hunted down and confronted internet tormenters. The resulting conversations vary, but all are as pathetic as you might expect.

What can we conclude from all this? A few things:

• Generally, trolling comments are nothing personal. Trolls project their insecurities onto others as a coping mechanism of sorts. They’re hurting, and they deal with it by making others hurt too.

• In the heat of the moment, as trolls are blowing off steam in comment sections around the Web, they forget that a real human being is on the other side reading what they’ve written. The Internet creates a feeling of distance — if you’re not standing in front of someone, it doesn’t feel like what you’re saying will actually hurt them.

• Sometimes, ignoring trolls and cyberbullies isn’t the best policy. A well-written response might just open the troll’s eyes and change their ways.

Read the rest

Twitter adds the most awkward version of blocklist sharing you could imagine

It's the equivalent of coming to a dessert party with stale celery sticks.

I drive a car with license plates that read “DRUNK.” Weird things happen as a result.

Shoreline Hwy
Boing Boing's publisher has a set of vanity plates that provoke interesting responses from adults and kids alike.

Google Maps promises to stop racist trolls messing with maps—but how?


Struck by a succession of abusive scrawlings going live on its popular maps service, Google has apologized and promised to retool the service to prevent it from happening in future.

"This week, we had some problems with Google Maps, which was displaying results for certain offensive search queries," wrote Jen Fitzpatrick, a Vice President of Engineering and Product Development, explaining how Google's system slurped up the offensive terms because of how it incorporates "online discussions" of particular places. "… This surfaced inappropriate results that users likely weren’t looking for."

Earlier this week, it was found that when given offensive search terms, Google would return inappropriate locations. Queried with "nigga house," for example, Google would offer the White House.

Howard University, reported one internet user, "shows up as ‘N***er University’ on Google Maps."

The benefits of algorithmic changes will be seen soon, Fitzpatrick promised, and Google will continue to refine its software over time: "Simply put, you shouldn’t see these kinds of results in Google Maps, and we’re taking steps to make sure you don't."

Maps, like much in the Googleverse, is comprised significantly of information added by users or algorithmically incorporated into its dataset—unvetted and often dependent on community reporting when something goes awry.

Google recently shuttered another crowdsourced component of Google Maps due to repeated addition of naughty and offensive landscape features that were not, in fact, there. Read the rest

Rightscorp loses big on extortion racket

Rightcorp, the notorious, publicly traded copyright trolls, have warned investors that they're losing money despite a successful claim of mass extortion against alleged copyright infringers. Read the rest

Trolls abuse Canadian copyright law with fraudulent mass-scale extortion notices

Michael Geist writes, "The launch of the Canadian copyright notice system earlier this year raised serious concerns as Rightscorp, a U.S.-based anti-piracy company, sent notices that misstated Canadian law and demanded that users pay to settle claims." Read the rest

Proposal to fight Twitter abuse with volunteer juries

Now that Twitter has admitted it has a troll problem, it has to figure out how to scale up its human review of abuse complaints. Read the rest

Make yourself doxx-resistant by opting out of data-brokers

It's an incredibly arduous, tedious, and deliberately unfriendly process, but you can, in fact, opt out of the data-brokers that are most commonly used to doxx people, uncovering their home addresses, work details, and so on (but beware, you have to do this on a more-or-less monthly basis to stay out of their databases). Read the rest

Twitter jerks, the webcomic

Gerard Way -- former frontman for My Chemical Romance and creator of Dark Horse's brilliant comic Umbrella Academy -- sent me this funny and somewhat uncomfortable comic about the sociopathy of jerks on Twitter. Read the rest

Podcasting patent trolls seek to intimidate EFF supporters, EFF fights back

Personal Audio is a patent troll that claims to own the process of sending audio around because they bought a patent from a guy who read Scientific American articles onto cassette tapes and sent them through the mail (seriously!). The Electronic Frontier Foundation is seeking to invalidate this patent -- which Personal Audio is using to shake down all kinds of indie podcasters for protection money -- using a new, cheaper, streamlined process.

Personal Audio is fighting dirty. They've filed an expensive lawsuit outside of the patent proceeding, and subpoenaed the names and personal details of everyone who donated to the campaign against their patent, purely to raise the price of adjudicating their patent and to intimidate podcasters who gave to the litigation fund rather than paying off Personal Audio.

EFF is fighting back. At stake is the process that is supposed to fix one tiny corner of the patent quagmire -- if Personal Audio's tactic succeeds, it will kill Congress's patent-fix dead.

The Juelsgaard Intellectual Property and Innovation Clinic at Stanford Law School has offered free counsel to anyone who's worried about the subpoena. Read the rest

Been threatened by Lodsys patent trolls? Take this survey and help fight back

The Application Developers Alliance is trying to nail Lodsys, the notorious troll that uses a bogus patent from Intellectual Ventures to extort money from app developers. Lodsys is shrouded in mystery, uses global banks to avoid tax, and uses its patent claims to try to bankrupt companies that publicly call it out for trolling. The ADA is asking for developers who've been threatened by Lodsys to fill in a survey that will establish the evidentiary basis for fighting back against the Lodsys racket and maybe put an end to it. (via Techdirt) Read the rest

Fed judge rules that a downloader's IP address is not proof of identity

In a surprisingly sane ruling Washington District Judge Robert Lasnik found that an IP address is not sufficient evidence of the identity of a copyright infringer. The case involved the B-movie Elf-Man, whose production company have gained notoriety through trollish attacks on people alleged to have downloaded the movie over bittorrent. Read the rest

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