Molly Crabapple is an American artist, known for her work for The New York Times, The Paris Review, CNN, The Guardian, The Daily Beast, Der Spiegel, Marvel Comics, DC Comics, and as a regular columnist for Vice. (W)

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OpPornPixie: Molly Crabapple’s self-portrait

Molly Crabapple’s self-portrait, defaced with the hateful things people say about her on the Internet.

100 new emoji by Avery Monsen

100 new emoji - Avery Monsen

These seem to have been first released as a Vine. (via Boing Boing)

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100 new emoji

Avery Monsen’s favourites are ‘A Box Which Must Never Be Opened’, ‘Three Worms Pretending To Be One Long Worm’ and ‘A Spectre Rises From A Seven Layer Fiesta Dip’, according to BuzzFeed.


Meet the seven people who hold the keys to worldwide internet security

It sounds like the stuff of science fiction: seven keys, held by individuals from all over the world, that together control security at the core of the web. James Ball joins a private ceremony, and finds the reality is rather closer to The Office than The Matrix.
James Ball, The Guardian

The keyholders have been meeting four times a year, twice on the east coast of the US and twice here on the west, since 2010. All have long backgrounds in internet security and work for various international institutions. They were chosen for their geographical spread as well as their experience – no one country is allowed to have too many keyholders. They travel to the ceremony at their own, or their employer’s, expense.

What these men and women control is the system at the heart of the web: the domain name system, or DNS. This is the internet’s version of a telephone directory. Without these addresses, you would need to know a long sequence of numbers for every site you wanted to visit.

Small Empires: finding love with 1s, 0s, and OkCupid

This week, we check out OkCupid, the dating site with a propensity for data research. Alexis sits with Christian Rudder about how he and the SparkNotes founders went from study guides to an online dating network — and from there, how the startup functions after being purchased by owners IAC.

This is probably Thoreau’s most famous quote: “Simplify, Simplify, Simplify.” I like to paraphrase it as: “Simplify”.

Maciej Cegłowski’s XOXO 2013 talk:

First, though, a word of warning. Thoreau is a wonderful writer and often extremely quotable. But when people are very quotable, it can make it harder to listen to what they actually have to say.

Walden is a layered work. You can’t just go in and strip-mine it for a bunch of Tim Ferriss-style life hacks, or inspirational quotes, without missing the entire point of the book.

Since we have limited time, though, I’ve gone and picked out some Tim Ferriss-style lifehacks and inspirational quotes, which I will present as a set of bullet points.
Thoreau 2.0

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The 10 Immutable Laws of Computer Security

Scott Culp’s “10 Immutable Laws of Security” from Microsoft c.2000, but still highly relevant today.

  1. Law #1: If a bad guy can persuade you to run his program on your computer, it’s not your computer anymore.
  2. Law #2: If a bad guy can alter the operating system on your computer, it’s not your computer anymore.
  3. Law #3: If a bad guy has unrestricted physical access to your computer, it’s not your computer anymore.
  4. Law #4: If you allow a bad guy to upload programs to your website, it’s not your website any more.
  5. Law #5: Weak passwords trump strong security.
  6. Law #6: A computer is only as secure as the administrator is trustworthy.
  7. Law #7: Encrypted data is only as secure as the decryption key.
  8. Law #8: An out of date virus scanner is only marginally better than no virus scanner at all.
  9. Law #9: Absolute anonymity isn’t practical, in real life or on the Web.
  10. Law #10: Technology is not a panacea.

Further reading: Revisiting the 10 Immutable Laws of Security

A Girl Called Jack
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A Girl Called Jack: cooking on the breadline

A video feature from The Guardian:

Jack Monroe, who writes the blog A Girl Called Jack, discusses how she became a popular austerity cook and food blogger while living below the poverty line, and demonstrates how to cook one of her signature dishes: the carrot, cumin and kidney bean burger. A selection of recipes from A Girl Called Jack are to be published next year in a book of the same name.

There’s also an article from earlier this year: Jack Monroe: the face of modern poverty.

Cooking can be done cheaply, she says, but it is more complicated than that. She had been passionate about cooking ever since her food technology course at school (“a form of escapism from all the words and numbers”). Not only did she have the skills to experiment with her own dishes, she says, but, more importantly, she had the confidence.

“Food poverty comes in two strands. The first is not having enough money to buy food for yourself and your family. The second is poverty of education.”

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Following the herd: Online ‘likes’ multiply themselves

In ScienceNews:

When rating things online, people tend to follow the herd. A single random “like” can influence a comment’s score at a social news site, researchers report in the Aug. 9 issue of Science.

An unearned up vote packed a surprising punch. The first person to view a randomly liked comment was 32 percent more likely to rate it positively than to do the same with a comment that had received no vote. In the long run, boosted comments’ final scores were 25 percent higher than scores of untouched comments. Random negative votes did not affect a comment’s final rating because users compensated with extra up votes.
News in Brief: Online ‘likes’ multiply themselves – ScienceNews

Glow in the dark plant
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Is Kickstarter hostile to science?

Popular Science is worried that by discouraging a promising science project, Kickstarter could be encouraging corporate monopolies, enabling sloppy legislation, and keeping cool glow-in-the-dark plants out of our houses.

On July 31, Kickstarter updated its guidelines to include this sentence: “Projects cannot offer genetically modified organisms as a reward.” That seems like a small and specific ban, but there’s a lot more going on here than that suggests: this is about the future of science funding, the future of agriculture, of bedroom experimentation and synthetic biology and the impact of all of that on nature. And it’s about whether Kickstarter has a problem with science.
Is Kickstarter Hostile To Science?


A Facebook board game devised by design student Pat C. Klein.

Pat says:

As a young person living in the digital age, I feel as though the internet is affecting our ability to communicate with one another.

Research done by Stanford University has indicated that social networking sites like Facebook can increase loneliness, depression and insecurity.

Facebook: The Board Game was created as a response to this. The idea is that instead of engaging with Facebook on your computer or phone, you can arrange to meet up with friends, have a few drinks and play in real life.

Facebook board game

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Facebook board game

A Facebook board game devised by design student Pat C. Klein.


I’ve been enjoying LARP Trek, a fairly new webcomic by Josh Millard that has the crew of the Next Generation Enterprise (circa season 3) roleplaying a game set on Deep Space Nine – as dreamt up by Geordi.

The two most recent strips have been particularly good. There’s no roleplaying here as the characters take a time out and Worf chats to Data:

LARP Trek 081 - My Dinner With Android

When I read the dialogue I hear the character’s voices perfectly. Continue reading

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The crew of the Enterprise take on their greatest challenge yet — an out-of-service holodeck — by exploring an ancient Earth custom Geordi calls a “role-playing game”


PBS Off Book covers one of my favourite subjects – fan art.

The fan art community is one of the most creative and active online. Taking pop culture stories and icons as its starting point, the fan community extends those characters into new adventures, unexpected relationships, bizarre remixes, and even as the source material for beautiful art. Limited only by the imagination of the artist, the fan art world is full of surprises and brilliance.

If you haven’t seen Off Book, you should totally subscribe. Off Book is a PBS web series that explores cutting-edge art, internet culture, and the people that create it. Here are some recent episodes:

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Stop giving your money to rich people on Kickstarter

The Veronica Mars film is a watershed moment in alternative methods of film financing. Together with Zach Braff’s successfully funded Garden State sequel a terrible precedent has been set, according to Alan Jones writing for the Toronto Standard (and I agree).

Filmmaking is an art, but it’s also a business. It’s a profit-seeking venture done by people and businesses with enough money to risk millions of dollars on a product that people may or may not want to see. Those who have donated to Veronica Mars have given over $5 million to Time Warner for an unknown commodity. Those who have donated money to Zach Braff have given millions to a millionaire for another unknown commodity.

Collectively, fans have said that it’s OK for rich people to eliminate the factor of risk when they make films.

Stop Giving Your Money to Rich People on Kickstarter –


For 365 days, Paul Miller disconnected from the internet. We’d like to tell you it was an idyllic journey of self-discovery, but that isn’t quite the truth.

I didn’t have any interest in following Paul Miller’s story of life without the internet. It struck me as an intellectually weak exercise probably done more for publicity than anything else. I don’t know how true that is, but it seems that all Paul really learned was that the internet has a lot of crap and a lot of value and that he’s just a regular dude either way. Duh.

I’m still here: back online after a year without the internet –

Life on the Internet

‘The single most valuable document in the history of the World Wide Web’

CERN relinquishes all intellectual property to this code, both source and binary form and permission is granted for anyone to use, duplicate, modify and redistribute it.

It’s a dull sentence from a dull document. But that document marks the moment when the World Wide Web entered the public domain — a moment that was central to creating the Web as we know it today.

NPR asks: Could the Web have been patented? And how would the world have been different if it had?

Humans and other animals, Life on the Internet

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response and whispering videos

This Slate article on ASMR videos is fascinating.

The video I have just described is called “~♥~ Let me take care of you ~♥~,” and it has well over 50,000 views on YouTube. It is what is known as an ASMR role-play. ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, which refers to a particular combination of pleasurable physical and psychological affects experienced by a surprisingly large number of people when they hear things like soft whispering, quiet tapping, and gentle crinkling noises. If you search for “ASMR” on YouTube, you will find countless videos like this one.

I notice from a cursory glance at related YouTube videos that many seem to be binaural recordings, which makes perfect sense. And as per Rule 34(b), if it exists, there is a subreddit of it.

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Indie devs release cracked version of their own game to lecture pirates

When indie developers Greenheart Games released their first title — Game Dev Tycoon (similar to Kairosoft’s Game Dev Story) — they also seeded a special version to ‘the number one torrent sharing site’ that was nearly identical to the real game, except for one detail:

“Initially we thought about telling them their copy is an illegal copy, but instead we didn’t want to pass up the unique opportunity of holding a mirror in front of them and showing them what piracy can do to game developers. So, as players spend a few hours playing and growing their own game dev company, they will start to see the following message, styled like any other in-game message:”

Boss, it seems that while many players play our new game, they steal it by downloading a cracked version rather than buying it legally. If players don’t buy the games they like, we will sooner or later go bankrupt.

“Slowly their in-game funds dwindle, and new games they create have a high chance to be pirated until their virtual game development company goes bankrupt.”

Unsurprisingly, at the end of day one Greenheart Games had sold 214 copies of their game while over 3,100 users had played the cracked version. That’s 93.6% of players running the honeypot copy.

Makes me wonder what would have happened if they had released a special version that had a gentle up-sell and an option to buy the game from within the game? Can you convert more pirates with honey than with vinegar?


Co.Create interviews Nick Douglas about his supercuts videos.

My friend Andy Baio, who coined the term and runs, told me that most editors use TV Tropes (my favorite site on the whole Internet). When New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum tweeted that she wanted a supercut of TV characters saying “this isn’t a TV show, this is reality,” Bryan started with the TV Tropes page for that very phenomenon.

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Technopanic: The Movie

Disconnect claims to be a film that “explores the consequences of modern technology and how it affects and defines our daily relationships”, but Jeff Jarvis says it’s the Reefer Madness of our time.

Disconnect begins by throwing us every uh-oh signal it can: online porn; people listening to their headphones instead of the world around them; people paying attention to their phones (and the people on the other end) instead of the boring world in front of them; skateboards; people ruining office productivity watching silly videos; kids wearing Hooters T-shirts; sad people chatting with strangers online; people gambling online; people getting phished into bankruptcy; and worst of all, kids using Facebook. Oh, no!

Trailer afte the jump →

Sam Harris
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The mechanics of defamation

Sam Harris on “Islamophobia” and other libels:

A general point about the mechanics of defamation: It is impossible to effectively defend oneself against unethical critics. If nothing else, the law of entropy is on their side, because it will always be easier to make a mess than to clean it up. It is, for instance, easier to call a person a “racist,” a “bigot,” a “misogynist,” etc. than it is for one’s target to prove that he isn’t any of these things. In fact, the very act of defending himself against such accusations quickly becomes debasing. Whether or not the original charges can be made to stick, the victim immediately seems thin-skinned and overly concerned about his reputation. And, rebutted or not, the original charges will be repeated in blogs and comment threads, and many readers will assume that where there’s smoke, there must be fire.
Sam Harris — Response to Controversy

Thoughtful Humanist
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What your profile picture says about you

Warning: this post contains graphic imagery of pricks, cunts and assholes.

Profile pictures of douchebags

These are actual profile pictures intentionally uploaded by actual humans.

The above were retrieved from a single individual’s Facebook friends, which is totally unsurprising. Profile photo douchebags — not unlike regular douchebags because they are regular douchebags — stick together.

(Note: groups of dbags can be described using a few commonly accepted terms: “flock of cocks,” “kindling of fucksticks,” or “those stupid cunts who think their online game/to-do list/social-media-monitoring tool is changing the world.”)
Jesus Christ, Silicon Valley

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Jay Rosen’s social media tips

‘Social media wiz shares wizdom’ by Jay Rosen, a professor of journalism at NYU.