An App Promises to Help You Write Like Hemingway

Friday, February 14, 2014

Hemingway is a new app that invites you to submit your writing into a text box where it'll be graded based on it's Hemingway-esqueness. 

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Study Says People Who Are Jerks Online are Likely to Be Jerks Offline, Too

Friday, February 14, 2014

People who troll online are likely to self-report as being sadists in real life.

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#15 - Internet Time

Thursday, February 13, 2014

In 1998 Swatch tried to completely reinvent our concept of time. Swatch Internet Time (or .beat time) would have been a new way to conceive of moments. There'd be no time zones, and also, no hours, minutes, or seconds. PJ talks to Gizmodo's Eric Limer and Swatch Creative Director Carlo Giordanetti about Swatch's plan to create time's version of Esperanto. 

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Meet The Hummus, A Fake News Site for Muslim-Americans

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

What’s so funny about being Muslim in America?  Depending on who you ask, quite a bit.  Inspired by the scope of Al-Jazeera and the irreverence of The Onion, three young Muslim-American men have launched their own culturally flavored fake news publication:  The Hummus.

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What's Powering Facebook’s Reality Distortion Field?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

There’s a culture of journalists who are Facebook truthers - they’ll believe anything about the company “as long as it’s totally outlandish.”

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A Map Of New York's Lost Mittens

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

There should be a name for this category of website. A word to describe a site which presents itself as a utility, but is probably more of a whimsical proof-of-concept.

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A Morbid Fight For @JamesDean

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Today in macabre Twitter handle fights - The Indianapolis Star has news about a feud between an anonymous fan and the actor's estate over who the @JamesDean Twitter handle should belong to.

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A Stranger Can Find Out Where You Are By Getting You To Open An Email

Monday, February 10, 2014

This afternoon, I stumbled across this free Gmail plug-in called Streak. If you send someone an email, Streak will tell you if they opened it, when they opened it, and, most creepily, where they were when they opened it. 

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Flappy Bird Is Dead. But Why?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Flappy Bird, the hugely popular, hugely addictive iPhone game, has been pulled from the Apple and Android apps stores. Developer Dong Nguyen withdrew it after warning fans over the weekend that the game would disappear.

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BitTorrent's Public Image Campaign

Friday, February 07, 2014

BitTorrent is one of those classic "technology is neutral" pieces of software. There are people who are using the protocol in totally benign ways to share public domain and creative commons material, academic research, and more. But it is more notorious for being the protocol that powers a large part of the illegal file-sharing on the internet. The BitTorrent company is aware of its software's less than stellar reputation, and according to Variety, it is waging a PR campaign to win the hearts and minds of Hollywood.

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Free Valentines Day Poems From PayPal

Friday, February 07, 2014

In what is surely the most incongruous piece of marketing this season, electronic payment service PayPal is employing poets to write Valentines Day poems on the spot for consumers. I suppose it makes sense, as I've always found online transactions very romantic.

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#14 - The Knowledge

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Every year, a small group of sports fans scattered across the US play a game called "Last Man." The goal is to be the last man in America to find out who won the Super Bowl. TLDR Sports reporter Lisa Pollak followed the game this year, and found out just how hard information was to avoid in the internet age.

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Aereo is so popular, it's running out of antennas in New York

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Aereo, the online broadcast TV service that has fought for its right to exist all the way to the US Supreme Court, is so popular in New York that it had to stop offering new subscriptions for a week because it didn't have the capacity to accept all the new subscribers.

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PJ Is On Freakonomics This Week!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Our intrepid host, PJ Vogt is on the Freakonomics Podcast this week, talking about - what else? - online dating. Listen to the episode below. PJ shows up around 10 minutes in, but it's best to start from the beginning.

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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.

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The British Government DDOS'd Anonymous, and I Don't Think It's a Big Deal (UPDATED)

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Update: Journalist Quinn Norton strongly disagreed with me on Twitter, so I asked her to write something about why she disagreed. I have attached her response to the bottom of the article.

One of the favorite tools of the internet hacker/troll collective Anonymous is the denial of service attack, or DDOS. Basically it works by flooding a site with so many queries that it becomes overwhelmed, and the rest of the internet can't access it. I've compared it in the past to the online equivalent of a sit-in - when deployed correctly, it disrupts business but causes no lasting damage.

According to the latest Snowden leaks, British authorities were using the same disruption methods against Anonymous that Anonymous was using against other parts of the internet.

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#13.5 - I'm Matthew Mills

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

A special mini-episode of TLDR to get your mouth watering for tomorrow's non-mini episode!

This week, a man named Matthew Mills interrupted the post-Super Bowl MVP press conference to let the world know that 9/11 was perpetrated by the US Government. News outlets pounced at the chance to interview him, flocking to the internet to locate his web presence. A few ended up contacting a different Matthew Mills, who gamely played along. PJ talks to the non-conspiracy minded Matthew Mills about his run-ins with the news media.

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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 out on her Twitter feed that early Glass adopters may not be finding them all that useful.

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Facebook Turns 10

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

To celebrate a decade in existence, Facebook released "Look Back," a page which creepily collects all of your posts into a short video narrating your time on Facebook. We found ourselves surprisingly misty-eyed at our own look back videos.

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Susan Orlean Has Made Me Not Hate the Horse_eBooks Guys So Much

Monday, February 03, 2014

If you've been following TLDR since the jump-off, then you probably know how we feel about the big reveal of both Pronunciation Book and Horse_ebooks as lead-ins the the bafflingly boring Bear Sterns Bravo. Pronunciation Book simply collapsed under the weight of the buzz and anticipation that it generated (including in our debut episode), while Horse_ebooks felt like another reminder of the internet's bottomless capacity for deception. Well Susan Orlean's New Yorker profile of Jacob Bakkila and Thomas Bender (paywalled), the guys behind the whole enterprise, came out today. And as much as I hate to admit it, it gave me a sort of grudging respect for their work, at least conceptually.

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