So here’s my one week review of this year’s April 1st.
YouTube rickrolled everyone who clicked on a featured video the entire day; Gmail announced a new feature allowing you to set the time at which an email appears to have been sent. One radio station announced that the space shuttle had been diverted from landing in Florida and was in fact going to be landing at their local airport; scores of people showed up with lawn chairs and everything.
(If you were entertained by that Rick Astley link, which you should definitely watch if you didn’t already, check out this one.)
4chan reported that five or six sites were running jokes based off of memes created on their site, and it’s true. I forget what the other sites were, but rickrolling came from the depths of 4chan and so did the mudkipz meme, which DeviantArt apparently used. (Also, click on the DeviantArt link, that’s RTIL, who I know personally and enjoy the work of.)
The saddest thing about April 1st is that in this litigious America, everyone who is fooled becomes angry and indignant, immediately laying angry blame for their misfortune (percieved or real) on those who set up the joke. Is America so sunken into their defensive posture that they can no longer take a joke? Has it really gotten that bad?
Regarding this unfortunate phenomenon, Gever Tulley gave a talk at TED (which is fascinating and awesome) about dangerous things you should let your children do. He’s right, too, and I agree with pretty much everything he says. Warning labels are on absolutely everything today, from round-edged plastic boxes to marshmallows to coffee cups. People make fortunes in the courts off of companies who don’t clearly label any object by which an ingenious idiot could contrive to injure themselves.
Litigious America needs an attitude adjustment. This can’t be done directly, however. You can’t just give these people a slap on the wrist and walk off with the knowledge of a job well done. There will always be a very small percentage which will do anything if it profits them so extremely, and these days the legal system places far too high a price on their embarrassment. Next thing you know, someone is going to try to sue the courts for causing them to publicly embarrass themselves about the stupid mistake that they made, further exacerbating the problem; in fact, I’d bet you it’s already been done. Now I’m no social expert, but my guess is the best bet to fix this is to lay a firm hand on the courts and change they way they handle these cases.
Okay, enough about that. Here’s a bunch more really awesome stuff on TED (all found by Connway, bless his soul). Several months ago I watched Larry Lessig’s talk on copyright laws, and it really got me thinking more seriously about the issue. There’s two separate worlds out there, and every action official powers seem to take in the matter only makes the rift between them greater. They should take heed of this man.
So yesterday, my computer crashed horrifically. I’m a bit scared of browsing TED now, because it happened when I closed a Firefox tab with one of their videos in it. First Firefox froze, then one by one every application that I touched ceased responding until I could no longer even access the task manager. When I finally forcibly reset the computer, not only did Firefox fail to restore tabs like it usually does, but Pidgin’s contact list was completely destroyed, Hamachi failed to start the first time, and even µTorrent forgot about the torrent it had been running. The thought of such a catastrophic failure unnerves me.
On a lighter note, here’s a few more really neat videos from Flixxy, if you haven’t already watched them: Hyundai’s frightening demonstration of driving skills (one guy changes the right rear tire while the other drives the car around on two wheels), an entertaining enactment of cell phone companies battling for one man’s patronage, and an actual jetpack. For reals. ‘Course, he has to jump out of a plane to use it, but it’s still awesome.
Back to the doom and gloom, this time with a humorous edge. Various lists of the most likely ways the earth will end, or could end, have surfaced from time to time, and I liked this one specifically since it seemed to cover all the bases. If you’re scared by number 5, read this, and if you’re scared by number 12, don’t be silly. Not only is Stephen Hawking quite sure that small black holes evaporate rapidly (by the time it gets down to the mass of a mountain, it explodes magnificently in a very very short amount of time), but even if he’s wrong, subatomic black holes are no real threat, as pointed out by this article.
And finally, for those of you who like to use tinyurl, you might be entertained by gianturl. And if you find that tinyurl links are just a TINY bit too long, try using http://www.gianturl.com?FoedYoThHCwV9xgD 2S1x9SrQ3,7BH,m9JK7pMB9C6,DzQ48x8g0mxb0J,X, 5tjKHvV,m9b5c9JKwG8Fz76wBFwg7FpN3dyzH,t0sR 8kPtd,7HT1,8V,TLnP4g7gN7DP,7dH,nFyn4,,,9jk Q,yCP,x,,Pvz5,4h,M,4Cw4,LPl6p,4sdZg,vQbm0k4JX 3,M,s7jv7B9CN5K,jlY5SFK,bFr5cH6kb,M2gzt,wzw hPG3,1Nwzw,8nm1n7ht1rGDKwr5yM2rk,1,CpJrss9t L3,5X6bR6Ng5ddq6,w,XXk,4pYD,qyZbbPHQrC,3 m8l8YFhL0Mp98gM,bl2V,Y6sssB,m1bY8,S,tP7,P7 ,0,RKJxB7x3z,6XQn1xKPr,,s2Hwm3xzGqmYJgwNjV, s3M0xpZS4Lg5xRWt3,l1z,LjlsYj,5q3WG1TM,y1sj 9N5ZH5YhtmJ5F,Fg,Yd0z,0r,qB3pghcbEbpAkz.
Credit to snark on #xkcd for the Rick Astley thing.