This Week's Show

October 24, 2014

  • Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Infectious Disease Edition

  • Grabbing the Gavel

  • A Modest Election Finance Reform Proposal (That Might Actually Work)

  • Remembering Legendary Editor Ben Bradlee

  • Condemning #GamerGate

  • Ask Leah

Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Infectious Disease Edition

Comments [8]

Grabbing the Gavel

Comments [3]

A Modest Election Finance Reform Proposal (That Might Actually Work)

Comments [2]

Remembering Legendary Editor Ben Bradlee

Comments [2]

Condemning #GamerGate

Comments [4]

Ask Leah

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Edit Bucket

The Mystery of Childish Gambino

Monday, September 15, 2014

Rapper Childish Gambino (a.k.a. actor Donald Glover) claims his rap pseudonym came from a Wu-Tang name generator. But investigating whether that's true led us on an odyssey of discovery.

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Don't Blame the Naked Celebrities

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

It's easy to blame Jennifer Lawrence for having nude photos of herself on the Internet to begin with. But what about those hackers?

Comments [7]

The Accidental Outing of Rwanda's Most Powerful Troll

Monday, August 18, 2014

Steve Terrill is a journalist who works in Rwanda until he accidentally got the office of Rwanda's president to implicate itself in a long-running online harassment campaign.

Facebook Attempts to Teach Its Users To Recognize Satire - With A "Satire" Tag

Monday, August 18, 2014

The old "The-Onion-being-mistaken-as-real-news" rubric is now so common at this point as to be mundane. In fact, the website "literally unbelievable" exists solely catalog unsuspecting Facebookers falling for The Onion's headlines. And The Onion is no longer the only site that traffics in parody that gets passed off as real ...

Comments [9]

OK Cupid Founder Has No Problem Secretly Experimenting On Its Users

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Some users of dating site OkCupid are upset at revelations that it was deliberately experimenting on its users by taking people who were bad matches and telling they were actually good for one another.

Comments [33]

A Novel About Working On My Novel

Monday, July 28, 2014

Cory Arcangel is an artist whose work often deals with the way we interact with technology. His latest project is a book comprised entirely of people tweeting about how they're working on their novels. You will be not at all surprised to learn that it is called Working On My ...

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Trying to Solve the Murder of a Man Who Had No Online Life

Thursday, June 05, 2014

The murder of Philip Welsh remains unsolved, largely because he didn't use the internet, and left no digital trail. 

Comments [10]

TLDR #26 - A GOLD BOTTLE OF CHAMPAGNE THE SIZE OF AN ADULT HUMAN MAN

Friday, May 23, 2014

Most people use social networks to present themselves as happier than they really are - it's hard to get an honest read on anyone. But writer Charlie Warzel believes there's a secret method you can use to find out how someone is actually feeling online. On TLDR this week, we ...

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Being a Feminist On Reddit

Monday, May 19, 2014

reddit just changed its defaults so that feminist subforum /r/TwoXChromosomes will now reach millions more people every month. TLDR talks to the creator of that subforum about being a feminist on reddit and on the internet.

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TLDR #22 - What Happens When You Tell The Whole Internet Your Password

Friday, April 18, 2014

Last week, a commenter named Y. Woodman Brown posted his online passwords in the Washington Post comments section to show just how little his online security mattered to him. It was quickly picked up by the press as an example of online security hubris. Naturally, we had to find him.

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Sgt Star - An Update

Friday, April 18, 2014

An update to March's TLDR story about a chatbot that wants to recruit you to the US Army.

Comments [2]

A Silent Spotify to Fund a Tour

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Update: Vulfpeck received an email from Spotify asking the band to remove "Sleepify" from Spotify. See our update here.

A band called Vulfpeck has asked fans to stream an entire album of silence on Spotify while they sleep, so the band can use the ...

Comments [1]

The Problem With "Doxxing"

Monday, March 10, 2014

For years an internet term of art for revealing personal information online, "dox" suddenly entered the popular lexicon last week when Newsweek claimed it had discovered the founder of Bitcoin. But is this the right application of the term? What does doxxing actually mean?

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TLDR #17 - Hey, Guess What? I Found Truth For Us

Monday, March 03, 2014

Last fall, TLDR covered a bunch of hoaxes. Some we liked, most we didn't. On this episode, we talk to Paulo Ordoveza and Adrienne LaFrance, a couple of people who have devoted themselves to trying to debunk the innumerable falsehoods flying around the internet.

Comments [1]

The likely hoax app that requires you to be drunk before you can use it.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Livr is a new social networking app named for the organ you will be destroying while you use it. You see, you can only access Livr if your blood alcohol level is above a certain number.

Comments [5]

#16 - *Win a Million Dollar Mansion From Your HOME COMPUTER*

Thursday, February 20, 2014

"Sweepers" are people who spend their free time entering hundreds of online sweepstakes -- the contests most of us skip because we're sure they're all scams. It turns out, we're wrong. Some people win big. Reporter Laura Mayer takes us into the online sweepstakes universe.

Comments [21]

The Internet Has Brought Thousands of People Together to Play Pokemon

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

In its purest and most noble form, the internet is an experiment in community building. It allows people who would have no reason to interact in the real world to come together to work toward, or in some cases against, a common goal. In the case of Twitch ...

Comments [4]

Why the Hasidic Community Loves WhatsApp

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Since it is used expressly for peer-to-peer communication, it doesn't require users to browse the internet, thus potentially exposing them to material they might not want to see.

Comments [2]

Creepy New App Lets People Eavesdrop

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Why leave eavesdropping on phone calls to law enforcement? With the new app Crowdpilot, you can invite anyone to listen in.

Comments [3]

No, New York Will Not Get 30 Inches Of Snow This Weekend

Thursday, February 06, 2014

News outlets are reporting it and sourcing their claims to "social media speculation" (!!!). Good news: It's not true.

Comments [5]

OK, Maybe we jumped the gun on the whole Google Glass thing

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Last week, PJ wrote an excellent article comparing early aesthetic critiques of Google Glass to those of the Sony's Walkman. The point was that all technology looks ridiculous and impractical until it becomes useful, and then it's basically indespensible. But cartoonist and journalist Susie Cagle pointed ...

Comments [10]

TLDR #13 - Slender Man, The Internet's Monster

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Slender Man is the internet's monster - the subject of countless remixes, tributes, and parodies. He's so ubiquitous he feels like he's been around for ages, like folklore. But Slender Man has an owner and a point of origin. Host Alex Goldman talks to Eric Knudsen, the creator ...

Comments [6]

Prince's Troubled Relationship With the Internet

Monday, January 27, 2014

Prince is suing 22 fans, for $1 million a piece, for posting links to bootlegs of his concerts on filesharing sites. This is just the latest volley in Prince's long standing love/hate (well, mostly hate/hate) relationship with the internet.

Comments [4]

TLDR #12 - Hunting for Youtube's Saddest Comments

Friday, January 24, 2014

YouTube's infamous for having one of the worst comment sections on the internet. There's no reason to ever read them. Unless you’re writer & filmmaker Mark Slutsky. Mark spends hours scouring the comments section on YouTube, and occasionally, scattered in the dross, he finds small poignant stories for his ...

Comments [4]

Revenge Porn Pioneer Hunter Moore Indicted

Thursday, January 23, 2014

UPDATE: read indictment below.

Time Magazine is reporting that Hunter Moore has been indicted by a grand jury for conspiracy to “access a protected computer without authorization to obtain information for private financial gain.” There aren't many details available and I haven't seen a copy of the indictment ...

Comments [1]

Behold! The Internet's Beauty Catalogued

Thursday, January 23, 2014

If there is one idea that PJ and I drive towards both on the TLDR blog and on the podcast, it's that the internet can be a beautiful, magical place. It is the staging ground for so much cleverness and creativity and humanity. So, imagine my delight this ...

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Facebook is still not dying

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Another day, another hysterical report on the demise of Facebook.

Comments [1]

Twitter Tries to Cash in on Large Minority Userbase

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ther have been two wholly unrelated truths about Twitter almost since the service premiered. The first is that it has a black and Hispanic userbase that is much larger than the internet as a whole. The second is the service remains unprofitable. Twitter is hoping to ...

Comments [2]

Yesterday, The Internet Solved 20-Year-Old Mystery

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The internet helps a woman decipher the confounding, decades old notes of her dying grandmother.

Comments [11]

The Feds Have $25 Million In Bitcoin From the Silk Road. Now What?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Yesterday, the US District Attorney's Office for the Souther District of New York announced the forfeiture of 29,655 bitcoins from the servers it seized from Ross Ulbricht, the owner of defunct internet drug marketplace Silk Road. According to this bitcoin converter, that is about $24.5 million dollars worth ...

Comments [2]

A Weird, Gwen Ifill-Related Twitter Mystery is Happening Right Now (Update: Solved!)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

At 2:01 this afternoon, a bunch of journalism-related Twitter accounts suddenly started tweeting this cryptic message: "f gwenifill." If you search twitter for the phrase, you see that it's very widespread, and that no one really seems to know what's going on. 

Comments [5]

Businesses Might Suffer If They Google Prospective Employees

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Scientific American reports on a study that shows job applicants who know their prospective boss viewed their social media profiles are more likely to think that their hiring process was unfair. This is even true in cases where the applicant gets the job. 

 

Comments [1]

Leaving Negative Reviews Online is Not As Safe As It Used To Be

Thursday, January 09, 2014

There was a time when leaving negative reviews of a business on the internet was a no risk proposition. If a company burned you, or even if you were a competitor leaving a fake review, the business couldn't really do anything about it. That appears, however slowly, to be changing.

Comments [9]

Sometimes, Native Advertising is Actually Pretty Good

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

I am generally not a fan of advertising of any kind. Print, billboards, TV - no matter how creative you are, I find it an annoying distraction that I try to tune out. But there have been a couple of smart attempts at online advertising recently that were great not ...

Comments [4]

The Aptly Named New Technology That Tracks Everything You Do

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

With all the alerts and tracking your cell phone does, it can feel a bit like an overbearing mother. At this year's Consumer Electronic Expo, a company called Sense is exhibiting a product actually called Mother, designed to stick its virtual nose into just about everything you do.

Comments [1]

What did we learn from Cracked's "Worst online dating profile ever"? Not much.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

One of yesterday's big viral stories was by Cracked reporter Alli Reed, who used OkCupid to create the self-described "Worst Online Dating Profile Ever." Reed used pictures of a model friend of hers, and then loaded the profile with nods to the fictional woman being manipulative, ...

Comments [5]

Every Edit You've Ever Made to a Facebook Post Is Visible

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Anyone who can see your post can see a full history of its edits. All they have to do is click the gray text that reads "Edited" at the bottom of your comment, just to the left of the "Like" button.

Comments [15]

If you're using a picture you find on the internet, you might want to know where it came from

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

See the picture that leads this article? It's pretty intense, right? Techdirt shared a story this morning from a couple weeks ago about an anti-immigrant conservative Florida political group that posted this image on its Facebook. The only problem is that the image was lifted from the video game Bioshock Infinite, ...

Comments [3]

An Iron Maiden Hoax Too Boring To Check

Monday, December 30, 2013

If you weren’t on the internet last week (apparently there were holidays) you might’ve missed this small story about Iron Maiden. A blog called citeworld wrote that the band was using data about where their music was most pirated in order to plan their tours.

Comments [3]

No, Facebook is Not Dying.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

If 2014 is the year we read a never-ending parade of stories about the Death of Facebook, you can probably safely ignore them. The first sign that Facebook’s actually in trouble will be when it's no longer popular enough to earn clickbait pieces about its imminent death.

Comments [5]

Rap Genius Learns Wrath of Google is Still Very, Very Real

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Following Google’s decision to knock Rap Genius way down in its search results, traffic at the site has plummeted. We go inside Google with the guys who set the search rules—and can make or break your company.

Comments [1]

Support On the Media!

Chip in to support On The Media! go to onthemedia.org/give and choose an amount that's right for you, or text 'otm' to 25383 and a $10 donation will appear on your phone bill (standard message rates apply). Thanks for listening and thanks for your support.

...

Please Support TLDR!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hello everyone! 

 

Comments [1]

Why It's Silly to Make Rules About What Your Employees Can Say Online

Friday, December 20, 2013

In September, after the Navy Yard shooting, a journalism professor at Kansas University posted the following tweet:

Comments [3]

Would You Like A Canadian Politician To Say Hi To You?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Yesterday, the Ottawa Citizen posted a link to a website that featured a scandal-tainted Canadian Senator named Mike Duffy doing a fundraising pitch. Given ongoing accusations that Duffy was misappropriating government funds, it was an interesting piece of web-arcana that the conservative party certainly wouldn't want to draw attention to. But what made ...

Comments [1]

The Apple Ad Everyone's Crying About

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Apple has a new iPhone ad that's really an ad for the idea of smartphones. 

Comments [3]

That Bomb-Hoaxing Harvard Student Was Using Tor, But They Caught Him Anyway

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Kim sent the threatening emails using a Tor browser, which anonymizes your web browsing, paired with an anonymous email program called Guerilla Mail. That actually could have been enough to protect his identity, except that he did all of this on Harvard's wireless internet

Comments [11]

The Weird Allure of Stories about Hypothetical Twitter and Facebook Changes

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Yesterday, blogger Matthew Keys published the kind of nerdy exclusive that excites a small percentage of geeks (present company included). Twitter, Keys wrote, was going to add an “edit” button in the near future.

Comments [2]

No One Outside the NSA Seems Particularly Happy with the 60 Minutes NSA Story

Monday, December 16, 2013

The piece doesn't include any on camera interviews with critics of the NSA, and interviews with NSA employees were overseen by a team of minders.

Comments [9]

An Online White House Petition Actually Worked!?

Friday, December 13, 2013

NPR reported yesterday on a deal between the FCC and cell phone companies that will continue to allow consumers to legally unlock their cellphones. Unlocking had been legal, then briefly illegal, and now it's ok again. 

Comments [3]

Could Copyright Law Be the Best Solution to Revenge Porn?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Yesterday, I wrote a post about how the trend in revenge porn prosecutions (there's been more of them) seems like a good sign in the overall war on revenge porn. 

Comments [1]

About Twitter's Block Changes and Harassment

Friday, December 13, 2013

Last night, Twitter abruptly changed the way its block function works. 

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TLDR #9 - The Second Life of Marion Stokes

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Marion Stokes was a hoarder. When she died last year, her family had to figure out what to do with 9 separate residences and 3 storage locations full of stuff. This is the story of how they found a home for the strangest artifact in her collection — 140,000 videocassettes ...

Comments [5]

President Obama Took a Funeral Selfie.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

If you still think funeral selfies need defending, at the very least this is no longer something you can blame on millennials. Also, someone needs to track down this actual selfie.

Comments [23]

A Fake Captcha Generator

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Someone went and created a fake Captcha generator

Comments [1]

Today's Hoax: The Screaming Google Employee

Monday, December 09, 2013

Last week, we threw up our hands in the face of the endless deluge of viral hoaxes. Then, we tried to make peace with living in a fake world and even found a lie that we liked. Well, it's Monday, and just like you and I, viral internet hoaxes are ...

Comments [1]

The NSA Spies on Gamers, too

Monday, December 09, 2013

The Guardian reported this morning that the NSA and their UK sister agency, the GCHQ, are spying on gamers.

Comments [1]

TLDR #8 - THE PACE PICANTE SALSA ROBOT HAS GONE HAYWIRE

Thursday, December 05, 2013

This has been a crazy season for internet hoaxes. This week, we investigate one we actually deeply enjoyed being fooled by -- about a social media bot for Pace Picante Salsa going insane and inadvertently revealing an entire world of corporate conspiracy.

Comments [6]

Should The Internet Track Down One Man's Manic Pixie Dream Girl? (Probably Not.)

Friday, December 06, 2013

At Slate, Amanda Hess argues the internet ought to halt its quest to track down one guy's manic pixie dream girl. The guy in question is a New Zealander who met an American woman in Hong Kong on New Year's Eve last year:

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Everyone Struggles to Define "Quality" after Facebook Changes Algorithm

Friday, December 06, 2013

Facebook announced plans this week to tweak their news feed algorithm to serve users more high quality content and less of what Facebook called “the latest meme.”

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Another Thought On Viral Hoaxes

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Over at his tumblr Just North Of Something Important, writer Michael Barthel has a smart response to my post from yesterday where I said I don't feel very outraged about living in a world of peak hoax. 

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The Internet Is Monetizing Lies and I Am Mostly Out of Outrage

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

So that Diane story, about a guy proudly live tweeting his bullying of an upset airline passenger, has turned out to be a fraud. 

Comments [3]

Musings of A Salinger Thief

Monday, December 02, 2013

Like a lot of people, I’ve loved JD Salinger since junior high. I grew up hanging out on a street corner in Wayne, Pennsylvania, down the street from Salinger’s old high school, Valley Forge Military Academy, which he seems to have based Catcher in the Rye’s Pencey Prep ...

Comments [2]

Why Facebook Messenger Wants Access To Your Phone's Microphone

Friday, November 29, 2013

There's an Infowars story that's beginning to circulate widely about a seemingly very Orwellian move by Facebook. 

Comments [47]

Goldieblox Took That "Girls" Ad Down

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Today, Goldieblox wrote an open letter response to the Beastie Boys open letter (relatedly, everyone knows you can privately mail a letter too, right?) saying that they have taken that "Girls" parody ad down.

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The gay waitress who says she was discriminated against may have lied. Now what?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Perhaps you saw this incredibly viral story. A gay waitress in New Jersey is stiffed on a tip. On the receipt, the customer explains that they can't pay her because they "do not agree with her lifestyle." 

Comments [6]

The NSA Spies on People's Porn Habits

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Glenn Greenwald pops up in The Huffington Post today, with a new Snowden leak story. This one is about how the NSA has spied on the porn viewing habits of six unidentified Muslim targets

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Goldieblox v. Beastie Boys: Let's Ask An Actual Expert

Monday, November 25, 2013

You’ve probably seen this by now. Goldieblox, a company that makes toys designed to get young girls excited about engineering , is suing the Beastie Boys for the right to use a parody of the song “Girls” in a YouTube ad for their toys. 

Comments [24]

Winamp Might Survive, Actually

Friday, November 22, 2013

On Wednesday, AOL announced plans to shut down Winamp, which was the first decent MP3 player for many early adopters of online music. 

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How JFK’s Death Helped Inspire the Kitty Genovese Myth

Friday, November 22, 2013

One of my favorite OTM interviews is one from a few years ago between Brooke and a Queens historian named Joseph De May

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Creeping Through Ross Ulbricht's Bookmarks

Friday, November 22, 2013

Ross Ulbricht, the alleged creator of the Silk Road, was denied bail yesterday. Prosecutors also released additional evidence against Ulbricht. The big headline was the allegation that Ulbricht has ordered as many as 6 murders, up from the previously alleged 2.

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You Should Follow JFK on Twitter today

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The JFK library has been running a project this year where they tweet Kennedy's last year alive, 1963. 

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Why This Google Books Ruling is Important

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Producer Alex Goldman on why last week's ruling on the Google Books project is important.

Comments [3]

About That #Roofbreakup Story

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Over the weekend, New York comedian Kyle Ayers livetweeted the conversation of a couple as they broke up on the roof next to him. 

Comments [4]

A Spam Filter You Use On Your Friends

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Rather is a new Chrome extension that promises to filter your Facebook and Twitter streams for you, replacing content you hate with content you like.

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Snapchat's Snaps are Beating Facebook Photos (Corrected!)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Business Insider reports that, as of this month, Snapchat users are sharing more Snaps than Facebook users are sharing photos. 

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Rap Genius Will Probably Survive

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Over at ATD, Peter Kafka reports that Rap Genius, the website that applies Talmudic analysis to hip hop lyrics, has made a licensing deal with Sony/ATV, the world's biggest music publisher.

Comments [3]

Should We Pay Attention To Assassination Markets?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Forbes' Andy Greenberg has a piece today profiling someone who calls themself Kuwabatake Sanjuro, the founder of the website Assassination Market. 

Comments [1]

Leave Work Early With A Fake Computer Virus

Thursday, November 14, 2013

This is cute. Happy Hour Virus is a website that'll let you choose a fake virus for your computer to be afflicted with, so that you can sigh exasperatedly and leave work early. 

Comments [8]

There are no invisible bike helmets. There are no invisibility cloaks.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

If your Facebook feed is anything like my Facebook feed, the most ubiquitous story right now is about an invisible bike helmet invented by Swedish university students.

Comments [13]

Replace Your Online Self With A Bot!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

One of the things that people who loved the Twitter account horse_ebooks loved about it was that it took the language of internet spam and created something that sometimes felt like a poetic artifact.

Comments [2]

The War On Lyrics Sites

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Daily Dot reports that the National Music Publishers Association is going after lyrics websites for copyright infringement.

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A New Kind of Kickstarter Scam (From A Backer!) (UPDATED)

Friday, November 08, 2013

Kickstarter's based on trust. You give someone money, and you hope that they'll build the thing they said they would, and not just steal your money. Stories about scams are rarer than you'd think.

Comments [4]

Here's One of the Guys Silk Road's Founder Allegedly Tried to Murder

Friday, November 08, 2013

His name is Curtis Clark Green and he's a 47-year-old grandfather from Spanish Fork, Utah. 

Comments [1]

TLDR Episode #6 - Ghost Town

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Before the Internet as we know it today, there were text-based bulletin board systems all over the country that people could dial into. Producer Alex Goldman revisits the BBS he used to log into more than 20 years ago and finds out it's still up and running.

Comments [27]

Silk Road 2.0 Is Here

Thursday, November 07, 2013

AllThingsVice reports today that an anonymous group has started the Silk Road 2.0. They've even adopted the Dread Pirate Roberts moniker. 

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Amazon Would Like Independent Bookstores To Sell Kindles

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Amazon announced a new program this week for independent booksellers. The deal: bookstores sell Kindles, and Amazon gives them a small cut of the sale plus commission on the buyers' first two years of eBook purchases.

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Goodbye, Blockbuster

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

You know you’re old, or at least a little old, when you start to love obsolete things for their uselessness.

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Rand Paul's Rampant Plagiarism Is Pretty Much A Non-Story

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

“At least I saw the movie Gattaca.”

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How Canadian Niceness (And Terrible Accountability Laws) Helped A Crack-Smoking Mayor Get Away With It For Six Months

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has finally admitted that he has smoked crack. Back in May, Gawker broke the story of a video that allegedly (can we stop saying allegedly yet?) showed the mayor smoking crack, but those reports had done little to damage his credibility.

 

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Redditors Unban Mother Jones

Monday, November 04, 2013

Welcome back to /r/ politics, Mother Jones. 

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Anonymous Plans a Million Mask March

Monday, November 04, 2013

Tomorrow is Anonymous’s Million Mask March. It’s designed as a global series of multi-city demonstrations, although it’s not clear what’s being demonstrated.

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TLDR #5 - Goodbye, Secret, Invisible Internet

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Up until this fall, there was a secret internet. You probably heard about one part of it, the Silk Road, but that was just one secret website among many. On the latest episode of TLDR, we talk to Gawker's Adrian Chen about the rest of the dark part of the ...

Comments [5]