When it comes to getting people barking up the wrong tree, nothing on the internet does it quite like 4chan. On Friday, the Twitter hashtag #EndFathersDay was trending worldwide, with its feminist proponents earnestly calling for the end of a day which, in their view, serves no purpose other than the celebration of patriarchal dominance.
There’s been an extraordinary twist in the story of capital punishment in America, one which seemingly goes against the very grain of the nation’s founding: the state of Tennessee has approved the use of the electric chair in the event that the drugs for lethal injection are unavailable.
This is a remarkable development – it means there is now a US state in which electrocution forms a default method of execution, something not seen since 2008 when Nebraska outlawed it and where it was the sole method.
I have a confession to make: until recently, I’d never played a massively multiplayer online role-playing game. I’ve dabbled in Call of Duty on the Xbox, but that’s as far as it got. I have no doubt that I would have enjoyed games like World of Warcraft tremendously – it’s just that I never really got round to playing them.
With the benefit of hindsight, that’s probably a good thing, because for the first time, I signed up to a web-based MMORPG, and I was horrified by what I saw.
Look between the Instagram-filtered photos of other people’s lunches, and there’s something pretty funny to be found on social media at the moment, if you’re my age. Ukip’s unprecedented success at the local and European elections is baffling younger people and telling them one of the most powerful things a democracy can say: that a huge number of their fellow countrymen don’t actually agree with them.
I’ve just been reading an article about a woman in the north of England whose breast implants were paid for by strangers. In just three months, 23-year-old Gemini Smith from Northumbria raised the £4,450 needed to transform her from a 34A to a 34DD, and it’s all thanks to MyFreeImplants.com – or rather, the men who use it. This is a website for women who feel unhappy in the chest department but lack the funds to change it. They create a profile explaining why they would like breast implants and why they can’t afford them, and are given a dollar for each message they receive; men are invited to buy chat credits in order to send them messages, and are offered “… direct access to thousands of women seeking friendship and your help in obtaining the body they’ve always dreamed of”.
“Women seeking friendship” – oh, please. It’s obviously not friendship which motivates women to sign up.
Homeopathy is useless. That’s according to Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council, which has produced a 300-page draft report that reviewed the evidence for homeopathy as a treatment for 68 clinical conditions. The report’s overall assessment of the evidence is that homeopathy is “not effective for treating the range of health conditions considered”.
As The Telegraph reports, rail fares will increase by up to 9.1 per cent in January, constituting the 11th year in a row that commuters have faced above-inflation rises.
I live in Germany, a country whose reputation for running trains needs no introduction. Its fares may not be the highest in Europe, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t expensive, especially in comparison to the cost of living. Fortunately, however, travellers have another option, which means that checking Deutsche Bahn’s website is frequently the last resort.
No Wikipedia edit has recently come under more scrutiny than this one to Edward Snowden’s entry, which amended the description of him from “American dissident” to “American traitor” – and crucially, originates from a US Senate IP address. Was it the work of a disgruntled senator? It’s impossible to say, because without some form of online/offline corroboration, there is no way of knowing whose fingers were on the keyboard.
It’s always been only a matter of time before terms previously confined to the internet join the mainstream. “Troll” is one such term, and while former Apprentice contestant Katie Hopkins may be described as a number of things, a troll is definitely not one of them. The fact that she clearly believes that children with supposedly working-class names are more likely to cause disruption in the classroom means that she’s not a troll, because trolling is about saying things purely to derive a reaction. When Hopkins expresses disdain for names such as Brooklyn because they have a geographical connection she actually means it. (True, her daughter is called India, but presumably she’s forgotten that India is also a place.)
How refreshing it is to see a corporate juggernaut failing to get its own way on the internet by gaming the system. On Saturday, at least two dozen Nascar spectators were injured when a crash sent debris into the stands at Daytona International Speedway. One fan captured his perspective from the same stands on video, and uploaded the distressing footage to YouTube – footage which shows a slightly mangled tyre ominously resting on a seat, and adjacent spectators calling for help.