Moderator


View Profile

Random Darknet Shopper Robot Arrested for Randomly Shopping

posted by
Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

From Ed Coll:


Now that’s a cyber criminal! Robot is ARRESTED by police for buying ecstasy on the dark net
by Richard Gray
Daily Mail
April 20, 2015

A robot has been ‘arrested’ by Swiss police after it bought a supply of illegal drugs on a hidden region of the internet known as the ‘dark net’.

The automated computer program was designed as an online shopping system that would spend up to $100 each week by randomly purchasing an item offered for sale on the deep web.

The robot would then have its purchase mailed to a group of artists who then put the items in an exhibition in the town of St Gallen, in north east Switzerland.

The items it bought included a pair of Nike trainers, counterfeit designer jeans, the scan of a Hungarian passport and a set of UK Fire Brigade masterkeys.

Random Darknet Shopper

However, it seems the Random Darknet Shopper crossed the line when it purchased 10 Ecstasy tablets, which arrived in a vacuum packed bag hidden in a DVD case. (more…)

Unsanctioned Bust of Edward Snowden Erected (Briefly)

posted by
Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

From Deborah Thomas:


There’s a Massive, Illicit Bust of Edward Snowden Stuck to a War Monument in Brooklyn
by Bucky Turco
AnimalNewYork.com
April 6, 2015

Illicit statue of Edward Snowden erected in Brooklyn

While most people slept, a trio of artists and some helpers installed a bust of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in Brooklyn on Monday morning. The group, which allowed ANIMAL to exclusively document the installation on the condition that we hide their identities, hauled the 100-pound sculpture into Fort Greene Park and up its hilly terrain just before dawn. They fused it to part of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, a memorial to Revolutionary War soldiers. As of press time, the sculpture was still there.

Read the full story of the erection on AnimalNewYork.com and the very quick removal by City park officials on NYDailyNews.com.

Watch the video:

The 30th Annual April Fools’ Day Parade Marches On!!

posted by
Filed under: Prank News, Pranksters, Satire

To celebrate April Fools’ Day in New York City, SinoVision’s Cosmo Times, a lifestyle TV show available to over 10 million international viewers, featured an April Fools’ Day Parade planning committee meeting preparing for today’s festivities. Problem is, they were covering a planning meeting for a parade that doesn’t exist.

Huffington Post covered the story: Chinese News Agency SinoVision Falls For Joey Skaggs’ 30-Year-Old April Fools’ Day Prank

Happy April Fools’ Day!


April Fools’ Day 2015 Prank Round-up

posted by
Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief, Prank News

April Fools’ day is upon us and the Internet is awash with well-funded corporate pranks, with Google once again leading the pack. For example, check out Google reversed at http://com.google. And, the Google Japan Panda product launch here. Or, you can play Pac-Man on your very own street at http://maps.google.com.

And, oh… Google says Australia is moving north

Beyond the all-seeing, all-knowing world of Google, there’s much, much more funny stuff all of which will be updated throughout the day on The Telegraph’s Best Spoofs and Pranks in Pictures; LifeHacker’s April Fools’ Day 2015 Spoilers: All The Fake Stories And Pranks Revealed; and Gamespot’s Video Game Joke Roundup.


Celebrate New York’s 30th Annual April Fools’ Day Parade!

posted by
Filed under: Satire

NYC April Fools' Day Parade jesterWe’re 30 and proud of it! New York’s spectacular April Fools’ Day Parade kicks into its fourth decade of hilarious irreverence, poking fun at the past year’s public displays of hype, hypocrisy, deceit, bigotry, and downright foolishness. Nothing and no one is sacred. Our satire knows no bounds. In honor of our 30th year, we’ll be giving 30 lucky revelers free cartoon interpretations of their favorite taboo religious icons, picked at random at the end of the parade in Washington Square Park.


New York, New York — The 30th Annual April Fools’ Day Parade will begin at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street at 12 noon, Wednesday, April 1, 2015. Rain or shine, the parade will march down Fifth Avenue to Washington Square Park for the climactic selection of the King of Fools from the costumed marching look-alikes.

NYC Annual April Fools' Day ParadeThe theme for this year’s parade is “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot”. The Grand Marshall will be Mayor Bill de Blasio wearing an “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirt. He will lead the NYPD Marching Band playing Smokey Robinson’s “You Really Got a Hold on Me”, however, they will be marching backwards in a continuing show of disrespect for the Mayor. Special guests will include Ebola-infected volunteers recently returned from West Africa who have ignored their quarantines. Color commentary will be provided by NBC’s Brian Williams making it up as it happens.

The first float will be a Mobile Carnival Shooting Gallery where police officers are firing at young minority targets. Then comes a Three-Story Glass Elevator float featuring President Obama on the 3rd floor with armed civilians; Beyoncé’s sister Solange ferociously assaulting Jay-Z on the 2nd floor; and NFL star Ray Rice dragging out his unconscious fiancée on the ground floor. Next are 2016 Presidential Hopeful Clowns riding in a hot-air balloon inflated by their own boasts and flatulence. They will be tethered to a voracious media circus. This will be followed by the Sarah Palin Bar Brawl float, packed with family members slugging it out with bar patrons. Next are several cattle trucks filled with the first wave of 11 million illegal immigrants en route to deportation, followed by a brigade of Russian soldiers en route to the Lower East Side’s Ukrainian neighborhood in order to annex it. Bringing up the rear will be an International Search and Rescue float looking for missing Malaysian flight 370. All floats will be powered by recalled GM vehicles. Parade organizers are not responsible for any injuries or deaths. (more…)

Truman Capote’s Last Write: A Fake Non-Fiction Masterpiece

posted by
Filed under: Literary Hoaxes

Reprinted from 1992 by Longform.org, here’s the fascinating unraveling of Truman Capote’s mysterious and clearly fake “non-fiction account of an American crime”.


Hoax: Secrets That Truman Capote Took to the Grave
by Peter and Leni Gillman
Sunday Times Magazine
June, 1992

Uncovering the real story behind a supposedly true account.

Truman Capote

Joe Fox was astounded. On his desk, this late autumn day in 1979, was a manuscript bearing the name of Truman Capote. Two months before, Capote had promised Fox a “surprise,” but Fox had been unimpressed: as Capote’s long-suffering editor at the New York publishing company, Random House, he had grown weary of his endless promises. Now Capote had delivered a manuscript to rank with his masterpiece, In Cold Blood.

Published 13 years before, Capote’s true-life account of the murder of a ranching family in Kansas had brought him literary acclaim, with status and royalties to march. Yet Capote had written nothing to match it since. He had supposedly been working on a novel, Answered Prayers, but for more than a decade Fox had watched deadlines come and go with nothing from Capote but a series of excuses.

The gossip-mongers of the literary world were proclaiming that Capote was burnt out, his sources of inspiration dissipated by alcohol and cocaine. Now Capote had confounded them all by delivering a sequel to In Cold Blood. He called it Hand-Carved Coffins, adding the potent subtitle: “A non-fiction account of an American crime.”

Read the whole story here.


The Amazing Story of Mingering Mike

posted by
Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Urban Legends

The mystery of Mingering Mike: the soul legend who never existed
by Jon Ronson
The Guardian
11 February 2015

When a ‘crate-digger’ found a massive vinyl collection at a flea market, he couldn’t understand how a soul star who’d released over 100 records could just disappear. But the truth turned out to be even stranger. Jon Ronson goes in search of Mingering Mike

Intensely shy ... Mingering Mike at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Photograph: Jocelyn Augustino for the Guardian

Intensely shy … Mingering Mike at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Photograph: Jocelyn Augustino for the Guardian


This story begins with a record collector unearthing something extraordinary at a flea market one dawn in 2003. His name is Dori Hadar. He worked as a criminal investigator for a law firm in Washington DC and he’d been up all night with a client at the jail next door.

“It’s a miserable place to be, the DC jail,” Hadar tells me. “It’s stuffy and muggy and everything’s old and decaying.”

“Do you remember what your client had been accused of?” I ask.

Hadar shakes his head. “It’s basically drugs, guns and murders. Mainly.”

Hadar finally left the jail at 5am, just as a nearby flea market was setting up. He was a regular there – a “crate-digger” – for ever rifling through boxes of secondhand soul and funk albums, hunting for rarities. “It’s very competitive, the crate-digger world,” Hadar says. “People guard their boxes, they don’t want you to see, they pull the records out really fast.”

But Hadar had never been at the flea market at 5am before, and was thrilled to find no other crate-digger in sight. “And suddenly this enormous collection turned up. There must have been 15 boxes of albums.”

“As a crate-digger, that must be …”

“It’s the dream.”

All artworks courtesy the artist/Smithsonian American Art Museum

All artworks courtesy the artist/Smithsonian American Art Museum


Hadar was a true soul aficionado, with an encyclopaedic knowledge and 10,000 records at home. Which is why he was so amazed to discover 38 albums by a soul singer he had never heard of. His name was Mingering Mike. Hadar stared at the record covers. He read the liner notes. There was Mingering Mike’s 1968’s debut, Sit’tin by the Window. The cover art was a painting of a young man in a green T-shirt, good-looking, serious. The comedian Jack Benny had written the liner notes, calling him “a bright and intelligent young man with a great, exciting future awaiting him”.

So it transpired. There were greatest hits collections and a Bruce Lee concept album and movie soundtracks – including one for an action film called Stake Out. And there were live albums, like 1972’s Live from Paris, The Mingering Mike Review: ‘Their biggest show ever,’ read the liner notes. ‘What a night that was.’

Most of the song titles were upbeat and optimistic, like There’s Nothing Wrong With You Baby and Play It Cool, Don’t Be No Fool, Get Your Thing Together and Go Back to School. But other records had darker themes, like The Drug Store and Mama Takes Dope. Some were still wrapped in their original cellophane, price tags intact.

Hadar pulled out a few discs to see what condition they were in. Which was when he discovered to his enormous surprise that they weren’t vinyl. They were black-painted cardboard, with fake labels and hand-drawn grooves.

What had begun to dawn on Hadar was now totally apparent: Mingering Mike did not exist. He was somebody’s hugely detailed fantasy.

Read the whole story here.


Mingering Mike’s prodigious album collection is on exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2nd floor South, 8th and F Streets, N.W., February 27, 2015 – August 2, 2015


Afgan Artist Angers Her Harassers

posted by
Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Afghan artist dons armour to counter men’s street harassment
by Emma Graham-Harrison
The Guardian
12 March 2015

Kubra Khademi’s eight-minute walk in Kabul wearing steel armour that emphasised her body shape inspires anger and death threats

 Kubra Khademi was surrounded by a mainly male crowd, which threw insults and stones during her walk. Photograph: Twitter

Kubra Khademi was surrounded by a mainly male crowd, which threw insults and stones during her walk. Photograph: Twitter


It took a month for Kubra Khademi to get the armour made exactly to her design; hours spent with a quiet, patient metalworker who usually made stoves.

The performance artist was an unusual customer on a street of dusty workshops in Kabul, where she chose her craftsman for his lack of curiosity about the outrageous steel plates she sketched out.

In a deeply conservative country where women are expected to shroud their figure and almost every inch of bare skin beyond hands, face and feet, she wanted steel armour that slipped over and emphasised her breasts, belly, crotch and bottom.

“He was a quiet man,” she recalls. “He didn’t question me at first, maybe because of my attitude. Then he asked: ‘What the hell is it?’, because other people were asking him.”

It was in fact part of a vanishing occurrence in the Afghan capital: a piece of performance art, planned by 27-year-old Khademi. The armour would be both protection and a defiant rebuke to the men whose groping hands and leering remarks make Kabul’s streets uncomfortable for almost any woman who walks them unchaperoned.

Photograph: Massoud Hossaini

Photograph: Massoud Hossaini

It was also an almost unimaginable provocation in a city where pornography may be avidly consumed in private, but women’s appearance is fiercely policed in public. Her performance lasted less than 10 minutes, but pictures soon ricocheted around social media, drawing anger and death threats – genuine worries in a country where women have been murdered for working as news anchors, actors and singers.

Read the rest of this article here.


John Law Reminisces with Broke-Ass Stuart

posted by
Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, The History of Pranks, The Prank as Art

An Interview With John Law on ‘The Kinda Late Show with Broke-Ass Stuart’
by E.D.W. Lynch
Laughing Squid
March 9, 2015

Broke-Ass Stuart interviews Laughing Squid partner John Law about his adventures in the San Francisco underground including The San Francisco Suicide Club, Cacophony Society and Burning Man on a live episode of The Kinda Late Show with Broke-Ass Stuart.

Watch the video:

College Rejection with a Sense of Humor

posted by
Filed under: High School Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief

Somebody Give This High Schooler An Award For Her (Fake) Harvard Rejection Letter
by Ryan Grenoble
Huffington Post
March 6, 2015

The “Harvard rejection letter” that went viral earlier this week? Yeah, it’s fake. But you should still read it.

Molly McGaan, the letter’s author and a student at Francis W. Parker School in Chicago, wrote the cheeky piece of satire for her school’s humor publication, “Citizen Poke,” and it viral — for obvious, hilarious reasons:

Fake Harvard Rejection Letter

Read more about this here.


Banksy Does Gaza

posted by
Filed under: Creative Activism, Parody

Banksy has posted a new tourism video welcoming world travelers to the wonders of Gaza:

Some of the images:

gz_nc_02

gz_03aatwt-2

gz_nc_04-2iwwoh

Watch the video:

More about this piece here.

More about Banksy here.


Wankband: Power to the People

posted by
Filed under: Satire

The ‘Wankband’ Will Offer Users The Ability To Charge Their Phones And Mobile Devices By Masturbating
by Curtis M. Wong
The Huffington Post
February 27, 2015

Watch the video:

Adult video website Pornhub has developed an environmentally friendly way to charge your phone and other mobile devices… while you masturbate.

Dubbed the “Wankband,” the new, wearable device generates electricity via a valve that generates and stores energy with an up-and-down motion such as a back-and-forth motion of the wrist. The energy is stored with an internal kinetic charger. (more…)

“Measles Parties” Hoax Infects the Media

posted by
Filed under: Media Pranks

Measles Parties, Moral Panics and Folk Devils… Oh My!
by Edward Coll
February 10, 2015

In the market for eyeballs, mass media seldom misses an opportunity to misinform the public and create controversy by ginning up a climate of fear by fabricating folk devils and a moral panic amidst a crisis.

The Disneyland measles outbreak provides the most recent example.

partyMedia outlets from Fox to NPR spread a rumor that the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a bulletin advising parents not to take children to “measles parties” to intentionally infect their children. Supposedly, these parties are being thrown by anti-vaxers to give their children “natural immunity.”

No such bulletin was ever issued by the CDPH and according to the respected debunking site Snopes.com here is what really happened:

“… a California health official explained to us that before the rumor circulated, a news outlet called to inquire whether the department had received any reports about measles parties. When a representative stated no such reports had been received, the reporter asked about the agency’s position on measles parties and was (predictably) told public health officials advised against them.”

This CPDH response to these nonexistent measles parties was morphed into a “bulletin” giving credibility to a false rumor created and spread by the media outlets themselves. Time, Salon, ABC News, LA Times, and Washington Post, to name just some, are all still actively spreading the rumor. None have retracted the story yet.

Perhaps the broadcast outlets intentional spreading of this false rumor shows the scant regard they hold for their public interest obligations.

image: Salon (Yuganov Konstantin via Shutterstock)


Announcing New York’s 30th Annual April Fools’ Day Parade!

posted by
Filed under: Satire, The History of Pranks

New York April Fools' Day Parade jesterNew York’s spectacular April Fools’ Day Parade kicks into its fourth decade of hilarious irreverence, poking fun at the past year’s public displays of hype, hypocrisy, deceit, bigotry, and downright foolishness.

In honor of this 30th anniversary, 30 lucky revelers, picked at random from the crowd at the end of the parade in Washington Square Park, will receive free cartoon interpretations of their favorite taboo religious icons.
 
 
Details of this year’s planned floats and celebrity look-alikes are here or here.

See 30 years of annual press releases here.

Join the fun! Check back for updates.


“Children Aren’t Playthings” Campaign

posted by
Filed under: Creative Activism

Shared Hope International, whose mission is to eradicate sex trafficking, unveils their “Children Aren’t Playthings” doll box campaign to warn the public of the potential for and dangers of sex trafficking of minors at “mega” sporting events like the upcoming Super Bowl. Young women take turns standing in the box for hours on end to bring attention to this cause.

Anti-sex trafficking stunt at the Super Bowl

From Huffington Post, January 28, 2015:

The 7-foot exhibit debuted on Monday at Arizona State University, which is a hosting a weeklong anti-trafficking campaign, Offenbacher added.

It will also be stationed at Grand Canyon University, Glendale Community College and downtown Phoenix throughout the week leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, according to a statement released by SHI. Saturday’s event will be held in conjunction with StreetLightUSA, a local Arizona group that rehabilitates sex trafficking survivors between the ages of 11 and 17.

Read more about it here.