The Dangers of Parody in Peoria

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Filed under: Parody, Political Pranks

The Police Raided My Friend’s House Over a Parody Twitter Account
by Justin Glawe
Vice
April 18 2014

Jon Daniel

Jon Daniel woke up on Thursday morning to a news crew in his living room, which was a welcome change from the company he had on Tuesday night, when the Peoria, Illinois, police came crashing through the door. The officers tore the 28-year-old’s home apart, seizing electronics and taking several of his roommates in for questioning; one woman who lived there spent three hours in an interrogation room. All for a parody Twitter account.

Yes, the cops raided Daniel’s home because they wanted to find out who was behind @peoriamayor, an account that had been shut down weeks ago by Twitter. When it was active, Daniel used it to portray Jim Ardis, the mayor of Peoria, as a weed-smoking, stripper-loving, Midwestern answer to Rob Ford. The account never had more than 50 followers, and Twitter had killed it because it wasn’t clearly marked as a parody. It was a joke, a lark—but it brought the police to Daniel’s door. The cops even took Daniel and one of his housemates in for in-depth questioning—they showed up at their jobs, cuffed them, and confiscated their phones—because of a bunch of Twitter jokes.

Now Daniel’s panicking. Read the rest of this article here.


via: Peoria Mayor and Police Violate The 1st Amendment Over Twitter Parody; Twitter image: TheStoopKids


2014 Ig Nobel Awards!

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Filed under: Parody, Satire

The venerated Ig Nobel Prizes for 2014 were announced today…


Ig Nobel winner: Using pork to stop nosebleeds
by Mark Pratt
AP
September 18, 2014

2014 IG Nobels, Harvard

BOSTON (AP) – There’s some truth to the effectiveness of folk remedies and old wives’ tales when it comes to serious medical issues, according to findings by a team from Detroit Medical Center.

Dr. Sonal Saraiya and her colleagues in Michigan found that packing strips of cured pork in the nose of a child who suffers from uncontrollable, life-threatening nosebleeds can stop the hemorrhaging, a discovery that won them a 2014 Ig Nobel prize, the annual award for sometimes inane, yet often surprisingly practical, scientific discoveries.

This year’s winners honored Thursday at Harvard University by the Annals of Improbable Research magazine included a team of researchers who wondered if owning a cat was bad for your mental health; Japanese scientists who tested whether banana peels are really as slippery as cartoons would have us believe; and Norwegian biologists who tested whether reindeer on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard were frightened by humans dressed to resemble polar bears. ” target=”_blank”>Read the rest of this article here.

Flappybird Photo Hijack

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Hoax Etiquette, Legal Issues

In case you think the risque photos on your Android phone are secure…


Hackers plotted fake Flappy Bird app to steal girls’ photos from Android phones
by Graham Cluley
September 6, 2014

Next time you install an app on your phone, you’d best think twice if it asks permission to access your photos.

As The Guardian reports, following a tweet from security researcher Nik Cubrilovic, the very same hackers who merrily collected naked photos of more than 100 female celebrities, including Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, had plotted a variety of dirty tricks to increase their haul.

At least one hacker openly posted on the AnonIB image board, proposing what he called a “genious” idea: Read more…

Online Video Game Shooter Gets Swatted “Live on Camera”

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Live Stream Captures SWAT Team Charging Into Gamer’s Office
by Cate Matthews
The Huffington Post
August 28, 2014

When YouTuber Jordan Mathewson began his live stream Wednesday, playing a first person-shooter video game, he wasn’t expecting to end his session on the floor with real guns trained on him.

Watch the video from local Denver news:

Mathewson and the rest of his gaming collective apparently fell victim to a prank known as “swatting,” where hoaxers force an armed police response by calling in a false report on rival gamers.

Kootra Gets Swatted News Report YouTubeMathewson was about two hours into a game of “Counter-Strike” at the collective’s office in Littleton, Colorado, when he heard a commotion outside his door. A SWAT team was searching the place, and they were about to charge into his office. As seen in the video, he quickly picked up on what was happening. Read more…

Beware of Excessive Prank Consequences… What Would Jesus Say?

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Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief, The Big One

Teen May Get 2 Years For Pic Of Fake Oral Sex With Jesus
by Hilary Hanson
The Huffington Post
September 11, 2014

Will this boy get punished for coming to Jesus?

A Pennsylvania teen may face up to two years behind bars for allegedly taking a photo of himself simulating oral sex with a statue of Jesus, Kron 4 reports.

jesus-prank

The photo was taken in front of Love in the Name of Christ, a Christian organization in Everett, Pennsylvania, and posted on Facebook back in July. Read the full story here.

Murder By Bay Breezes, by John Elvin

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Filed under: Satire

Murder-By-Bay-Breezes-187x300John Elvin, aka W.J. Elvin III, whose columns and other contributions have often graced these pages (see Literateye and Ask the Fiddler for starters), is the author of Murder By Bay Breezes, a newly published mystery novel.

From Amazon.com:

Who killed Sammy Sanchez? Andy Holliday, recently signed on as feature writer for a travel magazine, is off to the Lower Eastern Shore, an off-the-beaten track region beside the Chesapeake Bay. But a piece-of-cake assignment takes a murderous twist. With sardonic wit and investigative skills forged in his clouded past, Holliday digs for secrets concealed by quirky, stubborn cranks, bumbling crooks and other peculiar characters.

Review from reader, Richard Lapidus:

This is one of the best mysteries I’ve read in several years. The main character is a hoot! He is witty, sarcastic, a newspaper man forced by circumstances to take a job he really doesn’t want. He’s not a detective, but the investigator inside him can’t leave the murder of a teenage boy unsolved. It’s a fun read, with much local color from the east coast. I can’t wait for the next in the series. Andy Holliday rocks!

Check it out at GunBoss Books and on FaceBook.


Anti-Koch Light Activists Arrested for “Illegal Advertising”

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Filed under: Creative Activism

From Naomi Pitcairn: Another hypocritical farce. Did the NYPD arrest the right “illegal advertisers”?


NYPD Detains Activists for Anti-Koch Light Graffiti at the Met
by Ben Davis
Artnet News
September 11, 2014

On Tuesday, three activists were detained by NYPD officers outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art after disrupting a gala honoring David H. Koch. The controversial billionaire was being fêted for his $65 million contribution to the newly reopened museum plaza, which prominently bears his name (see “Protesters Crash Koch Plaza Opening at the Met“). The three activists, Kyle Depew, Grayson Earle, and Yates McKee, were caught projecting images from a customized art truck onto the museum’s façade that read “The Met: Brought to you by the Tea Party” and “Koch = Climate Chaos”—references to Koch’s well-known role in funding right-wing and climate change denying groups.

Light Brigade at the MET

The incident followed a protest earlier in the day by the tenacious Occupy Wall Street spin-off Occupy Museums, which by all accounts brought a good-spirited group of art activists to the newly opened David H. Koch Plaza to stage anti-Koch performances. Early in the evening, the activists unexpectedly had a chance to confront Koch himself on the steps of the museum, chanting “Shame on climate change denier” as he passed by on the way to his car. Read more…

Is Nessie an Expat?

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Filed under: Urban Legends

From W.J. Elvin III: With Scotland about to vote on independence, the Loch Ness monster has fled to a more monster-friendly environment


Scots Referendum: Has the Loch Ness monster just left Scotland?
by Dave Snelling
DailyStar.co.uk
11th September 2014

Hi-tech camera spots sea creature in English lake, and it looks a lot like Nessie

Nessie in England? Photo by Ellie Williams

Scotland will decide on independence next week, but it seems one of the country’s most famous animals might have already made up its mind.

A creature, looking similar to the Loch Ness monster, has been spotted taking a dip in the Lake District.

The image was snapped on a hi-tech Autographer life camera, which automatically takes snaps throughout the day. Read the rest of this article here.

Mel Brooks’ Pinky Prank

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Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief, Satire

Mel Brooks celebrated the 40th anniversary of his comedy classic “Young Frankenstein” by imprinting his fingers into the sidewalk at Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. All eleven of them. Read the full story here.

mel-brooks-11-fingers

Pessimistic Weather Forecast is a Little Too Pessimistic

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Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief

Here’s a brief look at how the typical hoax-news-story sausage is made, from Emerson Dameron:

As an aspiring humor writer, I always keep one eye open for new sites that might be interested in running my stuff. A few years ago – neatly coinciding with the explosion of Twitter, reddit, Facebook, and other mass social-sharing sites – I began to notice more and more sites soliciting “satirical” news stories that were just slightly off. Not funny like The Onion, but close enough to the news to be somewhat believable yet false enough to make the people who spread them look like idiots.

When these sites get scads of clicks from a “hoax” story, they can have it both ways. They’ve significantly widened their audience, but can still explain that they were clearly just joshing.

That’s worth keeping very much in mind.


Meteorologists-Predict-Record-Shattering-Snowfalls-Coming-Soon-Bread-Milk-Prices-Expected-To-Soar-

via EmpireNews.net

Popular map suggesting ‘record-shattering snowfall’ is a hoax
by Scott Dance
The Baltimore Sun
September 9, 2014

A winter forecast map that is going viral and suggests above-normal snowfall for most of the country – and “well above-normal” snow for the mid-Atlantic and New England – comes from a satire website.

The story has been shared widely across social media, carrying the headline “Meteorologists Predict Record-Shattering Snowfall Coming Soon.” The accompanying map forecasts an unusually snowy winter for about two-thirds of the country, and a corridor of even heavier snow from Virginia to Maine. Read more…


Blame It On The Devil

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Filed under: Satire, The Big One

Naked Satan Statue Has Vancouver Locals Asking, ‘What The Devil?’
by David Moye
The Huffington Post
September 9, 2014

Naked-saluting-Satan-statue

What the hell?

That’s the question some Vancouver locals were asking after a naked, anatomically correct statue of Satan was mysteriously erected in a local park.

The 9-foot-tall statue was a representation of the devil, complete with red skin, a pointed tail and horns atop his head. The statue also holds one hand up in a devil-horn salute familiar to heavy metal fans the world over.

But what has aroused controversy is the statue’s prominent, erect phallus, CTV News reports. Read the whole story here.

Watch the video




4Chan v. Tumblr: Young Idealists at War

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Filed under: All About Pranks, Media Literacy, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Pranksters

Over the last two decades, kids in the U.S. have grown up never not having had the internet. Plumbing the culture they’re maturing in and exploring the places they hone their ideas and social skills can lead to some interesting clues about the future. This is the second in a series of reports on contemporary American pranksters from Emerson Dameron, a writer, storyteller, and humorist searching for signs of life in a world plastered with ads.


4Chan v. Tumblr: Young Idealists at War
by Emerson Dameron
September 6, 2014

This summer, some of the most extreme personae on the internet celebrated their constitutional freedom of association by going to war.

Various self-contained hives of the internet give its users thousands of targeted factions to join. Over time, these sub-communities foster their own in-jokes, jargon, and culture that defies penetration by outsiders. They can be maddeningly complex. Asking their denizens the most basic of questions pegs one as impossibly square, an easy mark for mockery that strengthens the group.

These subcultures sometimes compete with each other. It can look silly from the outside, but the stakes can be quite high for those involved.

Tumblr

In the last few years, the blogging platform Tumblr, with its emphasis on sharing and community rather than high-effort original content, has become a hub for young outsiders looking for very specific places to belong. It may be eroding Facebook’s dominance among teenagers and college students, quite a few of whom seem to be in the early stages of embracing feminist theory, questioning their sexuality, and performing fraught public experiments with personal identity, gender, and politics. Because they feel so ostracized in “real life,” these Tumblr users can be intensely protective of each other and hostile toward anyone who may be antagonizing them in their safe spaces. Read more…

Eavesdropping via Fake Cell Towers

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Filed under: First Amendment Issues, Fraud and Deception

Can you hear me now? In case you still thought you had personal privacy…


Fake Cell Towers Allow the NSA and Police to Keep Track of You
By Lauren Walker
Newsweek
September 5, 2014

phony-towers-425

The Internet is abuzz with reports of mysterious devices sprinkled across America—many of them on military bases—that connect to your phone by mimicking cell phone towers and sucking up your data. There is little public information about these devices, but they are the new favorite toy of government agencies of all stripes; everyone from the National Security Agency to local police forces are using them.

These fake towers, known as “interceptors,” were discovered in July by users of the CryptoPhone500, one of the ultra-secure cell phones released after Edward Snowden’s leaks about NSA snooping. The phone is essentially a Samsung Galaxy S3 customized with high-level encryption that costs around $3,500. While driving around the country, CryptoPhone users plotted on a map every time they connected to a nameless tower (standard towers run by wireless service providers like Verizon usually have names) and received an alert that the device had turned off their phone’s encryption (allowing their messages to be read). Read the rest of this article here.

Performance Artist Explores the Weight of Personal Violation

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Filed under: Creative Activism

Emma Sulkowicz says her senior thesis is more performance art than an act of protest. Perhaps it is both.


Columbia Student Will Carry a Mattress Everywhere Until Her Alleged Rapist Is Expelled
By Jessica Roy
New York Magazine
September 2, 2014

columbia-performance-art-rape-student.200Emma Sulkowicz says she was raped in her own dorm bed by a classmate on the first day of her sophomore year of college. Since then, a substantial amount of her time at Columbia University has been spent trying to convince college administrators, police, and even friends that what happened to her really happened, that it was rape, and that her rapist deserves to be punished for what he did.


[Read The Cut's September 4 interview with Sulkowicz here.]

Sulkowicz is one of 23 students who are part of a federal Title IX complaint filed against Columbia in April for mishandling sexual-assault cases. Though she and two other students reported that the same student had assaulted them, all of their claims were swept under the rug, and the male student was not expelled from campus.

…Now a senior majoring in visual arts, Sulkowicz has devised a senior thesis rooted in performance art that will allow her to protest the fact that her rapist continues to study on campus. She has committed to carrying around a twin-size dorm mattress everywhere she goes on campus, to classes and appointments, “for as long as I attend the same school as my rapist.” Read the rest of this article here.

Watch video of Sulkowicz explaining her thesis project:

The Art of Human Hacking

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Fraud and Deception

Patrick Howell O’Neill reports from Def Con 2014 in Las Vegas, where he witnesses an odd sort of game: Social Engineering Capture the Flag.


Inside the Super Bowl of Lying
by Patrick Howell O’Neill
The Daily Dot
September 2, 2014

Nobody can find a seat, the room is so packed. The boisterous audience, undeterred, crowds against the walls and lies down on the floor at every edge of the room to catch the action. A line of people stretches out the front door.

Social engineering capture the flag

via social-engineer.org

This is the 2014 Def Con hacker conference at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas. The people are in one of the tiniest rooms in the casino to see the Super Bowl of lying.

The Social Engineering Capture The Flag contest was launched by Christopher Hadnagy in 2009. This year, nine teams of two players each are given a long list of goals that can only be accomplished through skillful lying and manipulation. The contest has been going on for five years, but most of the crowd, listening in rapt attention, is experiencing it for the very first time.

Hadnagy has another name for social engineering: “The art of human hacking.” While almost all of Def Con is dedicated to the art of computer hacking, this event targeted the mind. Read more…