"We received a letter from Poland containing a really weird CD. Written on the disc is what looks like a product key, however upon examining the contents of the CD it’s quite clear that this is a puzzle of some sort." More, from the Washington Post.
The First-Person Industrial Complex: The Internet prizes the harrowing personal essay. But sometimes telling your story comes with a price. (Slate)
A photo of deformed daisies taken near Fukushima has recently gone viral. As serious as the Fukushima disaster is (previously), these particular deformities were probably not caused by radiation, and similar mutations have been found in a variety of plant species all over the world. The condition is known as fasciation or cristation, it has a number of potential causes, and it can look pretty cool. In some plants it's even a desired trait: the cockscomb celosia, aka "brain flower", is deliberately cultivated for its fasciated blooms.
In what would turn out to be a watershed event in the history of viral videos and online multiplayer gaming, footage of the Leeroy Jenkins incident was uploaded to the internet ten years ago today (previously).
What happened to the Spanish artist behind ‘the worst restoration job in history’? Where is the woman who sent the Quentin Tarantino toe-sucking email now? And how does a victim of internet harassment recover? Survivors of online humiliation tell their stories. SLGrauniad
"Are you the default parent? If you have to think about it, you're not. You'd know. Trust me."
Each week, the ᴄᴏɴᴛᴇɴᴛ industry observes a sacred ritual: Together, but not quite in sync, dozens of websites embed and then post the longest segment from John Oliver's HBO show, Last Week Tonight. That John Oliver's weekly video(s) will go viral is, at this time, a given. Whether or not the posts that embed those videos will go viral is another matter altogether. Each time around there are winners, losers, and mere participants. Here's what happened this week: "The John Oliver Video Sweepstakes" [more inside]
Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs For Feminism (YouTube; NSFW), FCKH8's new video campaign, has gone viral - attracting both praise & criticism. FCKH8's campaigns have sparked similar mixed reactions before. [more inside]
‘Free 10 Day Autumn or Winter Break: You may not win a Nobel Prize, but you could help find a cure for the common cold.’
Why the Ice Bucket Challenge is bad for you: "The ALS campaign may be a great way to raise money – but it is a horrible reason to donate it" [more inside]
Producer Michael Shamberg Wants to 'Invent the Future' With BuzzFeed Motion Pictures - "I don't think there's ever been a Hollywood R&D model like we have here." (previously 1,2,3) [more inside]
The life and times of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
After seeing the light of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, it's hard to not notice it everywhere. Han Solo makes the gesture in Star Wars, as Reddit noticed in 2012. Daily Dot writer Miles Klee caught the Spider-Man super villain Mysterio doing it. In 2013, it appeared in a Reddit post that commanded users "lol idk just upvote." "Lol idk" seems like a fairly apt description of the shruggie's meaning, but it also doesn't begin to describe the nihilism that ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ embodies today.
A viral video series uses role reversal to humorously highlight casual insensitivities & stereotyping: If Asians Said The Stuff White People Say - If Black People Said The Stuff White People Say - If Latinos Said The Stuff White People Say (YouTube; each video ~2 min.) [more inside]
"Why don't you read your own book, and actually follow the teachings to the letter of GOD? And learn to support and love?" [SLYT] Drag queen Mama Tits spontaneously walks up to religious anti-gay demonstrators and confronts them at the recent 40th annual Seattle Pride Parade. Demonstrators were attempting to block the start of the parade.
"The ability to present women like [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg, [Hillary] Clinton and [Wendy] Davis as bone-crushingly robust yet simultaneously appealing, revered—practically adorable!—in their rugged severity, is a crucial expansion of the American imagination with regard to powerful women." (via librarina) [more inside]
The World's Most Dangerous Amusement Park Opens Its Gates Again: (Class) Action Park, perennial MetaFilter favorite, is back in business! [more inside]
"YouTube user Now 夠了沒 has broadcast a genius method of putting on pants. It is one that forgoes the often irritating and time-consuming use of hands. No doubt this is why the internet was invented." (Buzzfeed link - includes animated .gifs & embedded video; soundtrack: "The Final Countdown") [more inside]
Watching a curator crank out headlines is a bizarre experience, insofar as it’s almost indistinguishable from watching people toss out parodies of Upworthy headline styles—either way, the mind runs immediately to stock phrases like “you’ll never believe,” “you’d be wrong,” or “everything wrong with [topic] in one [piece of content].”Nitsuh Abebe visits the Upworthy offices.
Stan Alcorn on Digg attempts to answer why audio almost never goes viral. Alcorn outlines a rare exception in how an audio interview of two girls and the "Worst Haircut Ever" went from a coffee shop show called “The Ear Cave” in Hartford to a one line link on Metafilter made several months later by gauche, to ultimately landing on gawker where it ratcheted up 1.3 million views. [more inside]
Two very different commercials about mothers.
1. Old Spice "Momsong"
2. P&G "Pick Them Back Up"
Bring your tissues for that second one.
1. Old Spice "Momsong"
2. P&G "Pick Them Back Up"
Bring your tissues for that second one.
The hero responsible for the exploding whale video has died. The video is one of the first links I remember sending to people because of its awesomeness and still makes me laugh. Talk a little walk back through Internet history.
Mumsnet, the popular social network of (mainly UK) parents, suffered traffic load issues today due to a post-coital hygiene question. [more inside]
If you're one of the 9 million or so inhabitants of Planet Earth who watched this video last week and laughed out loud at the spectacle of a girl whose sexy "twerking" home video turns into an epic fiery disaster, then the joke's on you, courtesy of now undisputed prank-champion Jimmy Kimmel.
Mark Brown, costar of a viral video perhaps best known as "Hillbilly Dances with a Raccoon", is seeking a pardon from Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (R), after his pet raccoon Rebekah was placed into state custody. (Previously) [more inside]
Simmons, speaking from his Los Angeles residence, began to weep into the telephone and took several deep breaths to calm himself. "You can tell that what Joanna does comes from her soul, and that's what makes her stand out. She's precious. If she was here, I'd do her nails." A reporter from the New Times spent a month with the Prancercise lady and interviewed her friends and admirers. This amazing profile is the result. (Previously.)
Photoshopping monsters into your wedding photos is now a thing. It started not that long ago, when a wedding photo featuring a T. rex chasing the wedding party went very, very viral. Now it seems every couple getting married wants a shot of the wedding party fleeing a threat to be pasted in later. From the Maclean's article: "'We're still trying to figure out what goes in the background,' [photographer] Tony [Lombardo] says. 'The couple hasn’t figured out yet what they want to be chased by.'" AT-ATs and Sharktopus have already been done. It's already getting old. Has it already gone too far [via]?
How memes are orchestrated by companies for profit (Harlem Shake made it to mefi on Feb 7, eight days after its origin. Another related post.)
The Princess and the Trolls: The Heartrending Legend of Adalia Rose. A six year old with progeria, the internet, well-meaning adults, and a bunch of not so well-meaning ones, plus facebook and youtube, create the usual storm.
The video for "Gangnam Style" is the first to reach one billion views (short scale) on YouTube. [more inside]
Nick Clegg is so, so sorry. (YT) During the last British general election, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg was riding high on a wave of popularity (previously). [more inside]
By late May, more than ten million copies of E.L. James’s Fifty Shades trilogy, an erotic romance series about the sexual exploits of a domineering billionaire and an inexperienced coed, had been sold in the United States, all within six weeks of the books’ publication here. This apparently unprecedented achievement occurred without the benefit of a publicity campaign, formal reviews, or Oprah’s blessing, owing to a reputation established, as one industry analyst put it, “totally through word of mouth.” [Grey Area: How ‘Fifty Shades’ Dominated the Market]
When McSweeney's posted "Suggested Buzzfeed Articles," Buzzfeed replied, "Challenge Accepted." Behold: 84 Things That Aren't On An Everything Bagel. And many, many more. [more inside]
Yesterday, a New York Redditor was approached by a shaggy man and handed a $50 bill and a cryptic note. [more inside]
Summarized on Storify: "A shocking video of middle schoolers verbally abusing a poorly-paid, hearing-impaired grandmother of eight hired to keep them safe on the school bus went viral on Wednesday. " Sympathy and donations have come in from around the world, and Reddit users have complained to the school district and started a thread that's helped to raise $150,000+ so far.
4 (to 6) easy steps to viral fame through pop music: 1) write and record a catchy pop song, 2) get radio play for your song, and 3) get Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez to hear your song, so 4) they tweet about enjoying your song. Bonus steps to further fame: 5) make a video that has a twist ending, which 6) people (including Bieber and Gomez) cover and remake and share online for further fame and fortune. Thanks to all this, Carly Rae Jepsen's pop dance song has moved beyond Canada, and is charting all over the world. If that's not enough, NPR's Ann Powers has further thoughts on the pop hit and its video. [more inside]
Next Time, On Lonny [A reality webseries where nothing much really happens during the show] [more inside]
Global British Columbia Sports Anchor Barry Deley wins lotto home draw, live on his own TV channel. But it turns out he's got an even more personal connection to the lottery.
David Blaine is a Demon From Space Part 4 Since the first video in 2006 there have been a Part 2 and Part 3. [more inside]
After starring in a giant hit youtube video singing Nicki Minaj's Super Bass, 8 year old Sophia Grace Brownlee (and her somewhat less talented sidekick) came on Ellen Degeneres's show yesterday to perform, and meet/upstage their idol. [more inside]
I am NOT gettting out of this car because I am SCARED of that TURKEY!
MIT scientist Dr. Todd Rider has developed a viral infection treatment that works by triggering host cell suicide when it finds the cell has been producing double-stranded RNA. Since dsRNA is the mechanism by which all viral infections proceed, but is not part of normal cellular function, the treatment seems both universal and safe. [more inside]