Here's the state of U.S. politics, starring the runaway airport cart as the Trump administration.
— Zara Rahim (@ZaraRahim) October 1, 2019
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Life360 is an app that lets you track a mobile phone user in fine-grained, realtime detail, with options to set alert for things like "is this person exceeding the speed limit?" It's widely used by parents to track their teens, and this seems to be the summer where it comes into its own, with millions of families around the world relying on it to act as a kind of remote leash for their kids. Read the rest
Writer Nicole Tersigni posted this amazing meme thread on Twitter where she juxtaposed well-known classic art images with the sort of common and clichéd sexism that modern women are all too familiar with.
"There probably just weren't any qualified women for the job."
"Thanks, I'm gay now" by Norman Rockwell.
"Let me explain your lived experience to you."
Tardar Sauce, a cat known to many as Grumpy Cat due to her distinctive facial expression and 2012 viral video success, died Tuesday due to complications of an infection. The BBC:
Her image quickly spread as a meme. According to owner Tabitha Bundesen, her facial expression was caused by feline dwarfism and an underbite. Grumpy Cat travelled the world making television appearances and in 2014 even starred in her own Christmas film.
Some days are grumpier than others... pic.twitter.com/ws209VWl97
— Grumpy Cat (@RealGrumpyCat) May 17, 2019
The metric is dubious — traffic to Know Your Meme entries normalized by Google Trends — but what a journey it's been.
Jessi Slaughter (previously) — then a child reportedly victimized by notorious scene creep Dahvie Vanity, bullied by his fans and made famous by her late father's 2010 webcam rant ("you done goofed") — is conspiciously the first to break a million views at KYM. (Dahvie was inoculated from consequences as a result of media amusement at the situation; he got to freely enjoy the 2010s and is still at large.) Read the rest
According to reports from gullible parents' organizations, police departments, and media outlets, Kids on the Internet are spreading memes featuring an image of "Momo" (actually a sculpture called "Mother Bird" created by Keisuke Aisawa for the Japanese SFX studio Link Factory) that includes explicit self-harm and suicide instructions (the "challenge" in "Momo challenge" is allegedly to get kids to hurt or kill themselves). Read the rest
Back in 2007, Adam "Apelad" Koford created a marvellous, funny, weird alternate history for the then-viral phenomenon of LOLcats, running-gag memes of cats whose superimposed dialog had many odd grammatical quirks: the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats," a pair of comic-strip hobo cats straight out of the 1930s, who found obscure and clever ways to riff on our contemporary LOLcats. Read the rest
Iain Heath writes, "I recreated the 'distracted boyfriend' meme using LEGO bricks." You certainly did, Iain, and very well, too! Read the rest
Over at Mondo 2000, our old pal RU Sirius interviewed Douglas Rushkoff, Jake Dunagan, and I about the "The Biology of Disinformation," a new research paper we wrote for Institute for the Future about how media viruses, bots and computational propaganda have redefined how information is weaponized for propaganda campaigns. While technological solutions may seem like the most practical and effective remedy, fortifying social relationships that define human communication may be the best way to combat “ideological warfare” that is designed to push us toward isolation. From Mondo 2000:
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R.U. Sirius: In a sense, you’re offering a different model than the one most of us usually think in, as regards memetics. Instead of fighting bad memes with good, or their memes with ours, are you suggesting that we look at memes themselves as viruses attacking us? Is that right?
Douglas Rushkoff: Yeah, that’s the simplest way of looking at it. That’s why I called memes in media “media viruses.” Even if they end up forcing important ideas into the cultural conversation, and even if they ultimately lead to good things, they do infect us from the outside. They attack our weak code, and continue to replicate until we repair it, or until we come to recognize the “shell” of the virus itself. I think what makes our analysis unique, compared with a lot of what’s out there, is that we’re not proposing yet another technosolutionist fix. Mark Zuckerberg wants to fight fake news with artificial intelligence. Great.
Pianist Lord Vinheteiro's latest tracks selections of meme music from the year 1500 AD to now. You'll hear "Greensleeves," Beethoven's "Symphony No. 9," The Village People's "YMCA," Rick Astley's rickroll hit "Never Gonna Give You Up," and lots more.
It's a fun playlist. Still, why must he stare into our souls?
My Institute for the Future colleagues Douglas Rushkoff, Jake Dunagan, and I wrote a research paper on the "Biology of Disinformation" and how media viruses, bots and computational propaganda have redefined how information is weaponized for propaganda campaigns. While technological solutions may seem like the most practical and effective remedy, fortifying social relationships that define human communication may be the best way to combat “ideological warfare” that is designed to push us toward isolation. As Rushkoff says, "adding more AI's and algorithms to protect users from bad social media is counterproductive: how about increasing our cultural immune response to destructively virulent memes, instead?" From The Biology of Disinformation:
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The specter of widespread computational propaganda that leverages memetics through persuasive technologies looms large. Already, artificially intelligent software can evolve false political and social constructs highly targeted to sway specific audiences. Users find themselves in highly individualized, algorithmically determined news and information feeds, intentionally designed to: isolate them from conflicting evidence or opinions, create self-reinforcing feedback loops of confirmation, and untether them from fact-based reality. And these are just early days. If memes and disinformation have been weaponized on social media, it is still in the musket stage. Sam Woolley, director of the Institute for the Future’s (IFTF) Digital Intelligence Lab, has concluded that defenders of anything approaching “objective” truth are woefully behind in dealing with computational propaganda. This is the case in both technological responses and neuro-cultural defenses. Moreover, the 2018 and 2020 US election cycles are going to see this kind of cognitive warfare on an unprecedented scale and reach.
You've probably seen the Youtube Face; it's that extreme facial expression (disgust, ecstasy, hilarity, etc) depicted in the thumbnails of Youtubers' would-be-viral videos, especially reaction videos. Read the rest
If you want to express a uniquely compelling mix of superficial happiness and deep melancholy, there is nowhere better to go than Manchester, England. "Hide the Pain" Harold (AKA Hungarian model András Arató), internet-famous as the star of the meme by that name, seemed to have a nice time traipsing around the city, enjoying its legendary footballing culture: "I think the red side needs some help to hide the pain."
Also, wait, is that square video? Hell for every orientation. Read the rest
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