Internet Curiosities

Flameouts of 7 promising startups

Boing Boing -

This 8-minute video gives the rise-and-fall stories of powerful or promising online startups that went bust: Friendster (social network), AltaVista (search engine), Napster (file sharing), The Torquing Group (drone maker), (fashion shopping), Secret (social network app), and KaloBios (douchebro's pharmaceutical firm).

Here's what the front pages for these startups look like now:

Friendster (above)



The Torquing Group website ( doesn't load for me.




Plane passenger snaps photo of giant humanoid walking on cloud

Boing Boing -

This incredible photo, shot from a plane at 30,000 feet, captures what looks like a silhouette of the Iron Giant strutting across a cloud. When passenger Nick O’Donoghue, who was on his way back to Ireland from Austria, first saw the image, he thought he was hallucinating. But his two colleagues, sitting next to him, saw it too, so he whipped out his camera and caught these cool images. Unfortunately, it wasn’t really the Iron Giant (damn!), but more likely an optical illusion known as Fata Morgana, or a mirage, according to weather experts. Thanks Daily Mail!

A Cup of Coffee (1980) Mormon anti-coffee short

Boing Boing -

If you haven't subscribed to the Hard-to-Find Mormon Videos YouTube channel, you don't know what you're missing. Watch this anti-coffee film from 1980. It's got edge of your seat action, engaging characters, humor, ethical dilemmas, and intrigue, plus an American Sign Language interpreter, and is presented in an experimental time-slice format that would make any film school student envious. [via]

Whores of Yore: a history of sex workers, told one tweet at a time

Boing Boing -

Postdoc researcher Kate Lister has fun, weird and often NSFW Twitter feed called Whores of Yore. She describes it as a "catalogue of jilts, cracks, prostitutes, night-walkers, whores, she-friends, kind women, and others of the linnen-lifting tribe."

Medieval FILTH

— Whores of Yore (@WhoresofYore) January 13, 2016

An ornate dildo!

— Whores of Yore (@WhoresofYore) January 13, 2016

Plate 1: Hogarth's 'A Harlot's Progress'. An innocent girl comes to London and is approached by a Brothel keeper

— Whores of Yore (@WhoresofYore) January 13, 2016

Minnie Bradley, arrested for larceny. She listed her occupation as “prostitute”. (Nebraska State Historical Society

— Whores of Yore (@WhoresofYore) January 6, 2016

Mugshot of working girl Goldie Williams, arrested for vagrancy in Nebraska,1898. (Nebraska State Historical Society)

— Whores of Yore (@WhoresofYore) January 6, 2016 [via]

Copyright troll Rightscorp must pay $450,000 over robocalls

Boing Boing -

Copyright shakedown company Rightscorp, which threatens suspected music sharers with lawsuits unless they give Rightscorp money, has agreed to pay $450,000 to settle claims it illegally targeted thousands of people with recorded messages.

Morgan Pietz, an attorney who played a key role in bringing down Prenda Law, sued Rightscorp in 2014, saying that the company's efforts to get settlements from alleged pirates went too far. Rightscorp's illegal "robocalls" violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), a 1991 law that limits how automated calling devices are used. The class-action lawsuit claimed that some Rightscorp targets were receiving one robocall on their cell phone per day. It's generally illegal to have automated devices call cell phones.

Earlier this week, Pietz and his co-counsel filed court papers outlining the settlement. Rightscorp will pay $450,000 into a settlement fund, which will be paid out to the 2,059 identified class members who received the allegedly illegal calls. Each class member who fills out an "affidavit of noninfringement" will receive up to $100. The rest of the fund will pay for costs of notice and claim administration (about $25,000) and attorneys' fees and costs, which cannot exceed $330,000. Rightscorp will also "release any and all alleged claims" against the class members. The company had accused the 2,059 class members of committing 126,409 acts of copyright infringement.

Chipotle will close Feb. 8 for a companywide meeting on food safety

Boing Boing -

Business is bad for Chipotle as a result of a string of food poisoning outbreaks last year. According to the Chicago Tribune, the share price has dropped 40% and sales have dropped 30%. I believe it. On Saturday night, around 8:30, Carla and I went to the Chipotle on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, CA for some tacos. It was nearly empty inside. Only one customer was there when we walked in. He left and a party of two came in. No one else came. I felt sorry for the half dozen people working there. They had nothing to do. (I think they might have been eating peanut butter sandwiches in the back room because Carla and I could both smell it.) Last year at this time, it would have been hopping.

Chipotle has announced that it is closing every one of its 1,900 locations for a few hours on Monday, February 8 to "thank our teams for all of their hard work, to discuss some of the changes we are making to enhance food safety, to talk about the restaurants role in all of that and to answer questions from employees," said a Chipotle spokesman.

How Twitter "quietly banned" harassment and hate speech

Boing Boing -

Sarah Jeong reports on how Twitter has begun to take control of the hatred, harassment and general horseshit posted on its site. Twitter talked some big talk, but it has buckled under both lawsuits and media outrage, tweaking and changing the Rules around speech whenever something threatened its bottom line. For a business, free speech can only be a meaningful value if it doesn’t really cost anything. … The Twitter of today strikes an uneasy balance between its old self and the unapologetic, ideologically-unburdened censoriousness of Facebook and Instagram. It remains yet to be seen whether the company has the vision and creativity to live out its new identity.

The "free speech wing of the free speech party" couldn't have done this but two years ago. They had to wait until the issues at hand were understood (at least by and large) not as abstractions to be dealt with on principle, but as practical issues of everyday human suffering.

12-year-old girl suspended because she lent her inhaler to a gasping classmate

Boing Boing -

A 12-year-old honor student from Texas got suspended from school for giving her asthama inhaler to another girl who was wheezing and gasping in gym class. She could also be tranferred to an "alternative schoo for up to days." The girl told Fox 4 News she feels the punishment is not fair. “I was just trying to save her life. I didn't think I was trying to do anything bad,” she said.

The district says 30 days at alternative school is an initial automatic punishment for sharing a controlled substance including prescription drugs like inhalers - until there's a hearing to weigh all the facts. The final punishment could change and range from no days to the maximum of 30 days.

First, albuterol is not a controlled substance. Second where was the teacher or coach and why didn't they do anything to help the girl who was wheezing and gasping?


Bicycle Big Foot playing cards

Boing Boing -

I figured Pesco might enjoy my magic tricks more, if I was using Bicycle's Big Foot deck.

The backs on this deck are just lovely. An absolutely homage to the Bicycle Rider Back, but done with Big Foot. Each face card is an illustration of a specialized, geographical Big Foot, and you'll rapidly learn the names from Ucu to California Desert Sasquatch. The numbered cards each include some Big Foot trivia!

I'm trying to come up with a Yeti themed trick!

Bicycle Bigfoot Playing Cards via Amazon

Yosemite agrees to change the names of its significant locations to appease trademark troll

Boing Boing -

DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc (a division of one of the largest privately owned companies in the world) used to have the concessions to operate various businesses around Yosemite National Park. Now that they've been fired, they're using some decidedly dubious trademark to force the Park Service to change the names of buildings and locations that have stood for as much as a century, including some that have been designated national landmarks. (more…)

Creator of MegalodonHTTP DDoS Botnet Arrested

The Hacker News -

Last month, the Norway police arrested five hackers accused of running the MegalodonHTTP Remote Access Trojan (RAT). The arrests came as part of the joint operation between Norway’s Kripos National Criminal Investigation Service and Europol, codenamed "OP Falling sTAR." According to the United States security firm, all the five men, aged between 16 and 24 years and located in Romania,

Critical OpenSSH Flaw Leaks Private Crypto Keys to Hackers

The Hacker News -

A 'Serious' security vulnerability has been discovered and fixed in OpenSSH – one of the most widely used open-source implementations of the Secure Shell (SSH) Protocol. The critical vulnerability could be exploited by hackers to force clients to leak their secret private cryptographic keys, potentially exposing users to Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks. What Causes the Flaw to occur?

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Boing Boing -

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