Grieving father asks Facebook for a unique Look Back video, they deliver

February 13, 2014 | No comments

John Berlin’s son Jesse died of natural causes on January 28, 2012 at the young age of 21. Obviously, a life cut short. A little over a week ago, John made a tearful plea to Facebook asking them to give him his son’s Look Back video, which he couldn’t see because he didn’t have access to Jesse’s account.

Reddit picked up the video and shared it hundreds of thousands of times and soon it had millions of views…

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Should you Google that person? Handy flowchart resolves the great moral dilemma of our time

February 6, 2014 | 1 comment

Whether it’s your future boss, your daughter’s new boyfriend, or the guy who just asked you out, we’ve all checked the internet to see what dirt information we can find about someone on Google or Facebook, right? It’s in the public domain, so it seems innocent enough. Besides, the more information we know about someone new, the safer we feel about them.

Yet when I randomly looked up a friend online in a moment of boredom once, I discovered that he was a convicted felon. Given the timing and impact of his offense, I immediately questioned how well I really knew my friend. More than that, I couldn’t help but wonder how ethical it was that I had “snooped around” in the first place and found that piece of incredibly sensitive information that he no doubt wanted kept private.

Thankfully, Caroline Paul and Wendy MacNaughton have created this useful flowchart to help us when we’re considering looking up someone online. The flowchart’s advice to me would have been, “Don’t Google; Pick up the darn phone and ask them directly.”…

Google Flowchart

(via Design TAXI)

Old Spice is uproariously pranking people who search for embarrassing products online [9 pictures]

January 23, 2014 | No comments

For their latest viral campaign, Old Spice has littered the internet with garish, spammy sites purporting to sell things that nobody would want others knowing they bought. Well, it turns out you can’t actually buy these hilariously embarrassing products.

After a visitor has been at any of these sites for a few seconds, Old Spice spokesman extraordinaire Isaiah Mustafa walks out and starts shaming you…until you buy deodorant, I guess.

Here are some of their prank sites. Click the pic if you want the full-on experience…

Bargain Tattoos

Old Spice Prank Sites - 7

Flavored Soul Patches

Old Spice Prank Sites - 8

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Can you tell actual clickbait “viral news” titles from fake titles made up to parody the viral web?

January 8, 2014 | 2 comments

There’s a relatively new genre of clickbait titles around the web these days mostly used by sites not entirely dissimilar to this one. They’re ambiguous, dramatic, hyperbolic, and full of promises that they don’t always fully deliver on. They’re often smarmy and emotionally manipulative, if you want to be really negative about it.

But they work. You click on them, I click on them, everybody clicks. That’s why they exist.

Human nature being what it is, however, we don’t just click on them — we also become inured to them. We used to be interested in things that were amazing or incredible, but now amazing isn’t good enough. We want mind-blowingly breathtaking at bare minimum, preferably with a side of brain explosion. So the clickbaiters’ titles adapt to keep up, and we keep clicking.

Just because they’re effective, though, doesn’t mean they aren’t utterly silly. The site Headlines Against Humanity takes advantage of this increasing absurdity and turns it into a game. They ask, “Which headline is real?” and then give you two options and you have to guess which one they made up and which one is an actual article that you can give your coveted click to.

Here are a few examples…

Headlines Against Humanity - 04

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From videoconferencing to our favorite word — Isaac Asimov’s *correct* 1964 predictions for 2014

January 2, 2014 | 3 comments

After visiting New York’s World Fair in 1964, Isaac Asimov wrote an article for the New York Times called, “Visit to the World’s Fair of 2014.” In the piece, he imagined the progress humankind would make over the next 50 years.

Isaac Asimov

Of course, many of his more specific predictions sound silly now — moon colonies, hovercrafts, and luminescent walls, for example — but in regard to a few technologies and then on a more general level he was remarkably prescient.

Here are several of his claims about 2014 that have come to fruition…

Videoconferencing and Internet Research

Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books.

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Google Maps’ glitches as abstract, other-worldly digital art [20 pictures]

December 30, 2013 | 1 comment

As Google continues to create the freedom to explore the globe from in front of your computer, there are of course small mistakes along the way. So there is a link at the bottom of every Google Maps page for users to report these errors. So it is a race against other vigilant users for artist Emilio Vavarella as he collects and shares these images of Google’s glitches in a series titled “Report a Problem.” He explains…

I traveled on Google Street View photographing all the “wrong landscapes” I encountered before others could report the problems and prompt the company to adjust the images.

The resulting collection is random and absurd, but also at times accidentally fascinating…

Google Map Glitches as Art by Emilio Vavarella - 14

Google Map Glitches as Art by Emilio Vavarella - 15

Google Map Glitches as Art by Emilio Vavarella - 16

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Magical machine attaches to guitar headstock, tunes the instrument automatically

December 23, 2013 | No comments

Whether you’re quietly strumming an acoustic guitar in your bedroom or performing screaming electric solos for thousands, you know you hate tuning your guitar. You only do it because you have to. But no more…

Tronical - 01

Tronical - 02

Imagining a train that could drop off and pick up passengers without stopping

December 21, 2013 | 1 comment

A 2010 concept for a train that wouldn’t need to stop at every station…

Obviously this wouldn’t work for busy stations where the entire length of the platform fills with people waiting to board the next train. But creating a way for trains to load and unload passengers at smaller stations without having to slow down would make a huge difference in travel times.

(via Reddit)