Done to Depth

  1. Weird Twitter map header

    “Weird Twitter” explained

    This is a response to a recent blowup over a grad student discovering and examining a group of Twitter users.

    The mere existence of this post will piss someone off. I think. Maybe they’re just joking. Whatevs.

    What is Weird Twitter?

    “Weird Twitter” is, simply, a loose group of Twitter users who write in a less-accessible form, using sloppy punctuation/spelling/capitalization, poetic experimentation with sentence format, first-person throwaway characters, and other techniques little known to the vast majority of “serious” Twitter users.

    These users are sometimes hard to distinguish from “low-quality” users like teens with textspeak or actual bots. Several of them regularly retweet, quote, or riff on @horse_ebooks tweets.

    Their tweets lean toward comedy, but maybe I just think that because that’s the part I like most. There could be some big crossover with Homestuck fanfic and I wouldn’t know. What gets me is that these users are actually innovating in the form of Twitter, rather than squeezing earlier forms into it. Their jokes seem, in some way that’s embarrassing to define (more on that later), written-for-Twitter in a way that, say, a Paula Poundstone tweet does not — in a way even a Rob Delaney tweet does not, though Delaney is a fan of several Weird Twitter users.

    See examples of Weird Twitter, and how it exploded this week. »

  2. Obama on a unicorn in Google Images 2

    The Politics of Obama and Unicorns #2: Republicans Hate Unicorns

    Last week, Academic Coach Taylor explored some of the early manifestations of the Obama+Unicorn meme. The unicorn marks Obama’s pre-presidential relationship to hope, paradise, and collective political fantasies, but there’s an inverse to these gleeful images now that Obama hasn’t been able to shower us all with free health care and 0% unemployment rates: so what’s it mean when Obama’s political opponents take jabs at the unicorn?

    Because of the unicorn’s fantasy-based set of cultural associations, the beast accompanies a specifically utopian politics — what is a unicorn if not the representative of a politics of Hope? In the past years and recent present, Republicans seem particularly testy about Obama’s unicorn-charming magic. In a 2010 April Fool’s vid, the National Republican Senatorial Committee [NRSC] precisely honed in on the failed promises of the Obama Dream Machine, the unicorn standing in for the audacity of liberal hope and broken faith of low-emission unicorns.

    Watch the ad, and read more about Republican unicorn-themed Obama criticism. »

  3. Obama on a Unicorn Google Images

    The Politics of the “Barack Obama and a Unicorn” Meme

    Long the staple of Lisa Frank folders and bad fantasy, the unicorn is associated with all we hold close to our hearts: sandy shores, moody waterfalls, misty woodlands and awesome rainbows. But we can’t ignore the newest historic function of the unicorn: Barack Obama’s noble mount-of-choice. When Obama publicly announced his support for gay marriage, it took the internet all of 10 seconds to photoshop him shooting rainbow lasers of love upon his liberal citizens while proudly riding a unicorn through a field that looks like a Windows 7 background.

    But Obama’s affiliation with unicorns has been going on since he “fantastically” nailed his nomination for President in 2008. It’s a phenomenon unique to the late aughts and early 21st-teens — Obama is the first President “of” the truly hatched internet generation. But why unicorns? Follow me on a three-part exploration touring Barack Obama’s greatest unicorn hits, in an attempt to get to the bottom of the mythic creature Obama gets atop, and rein in (just a bit) the wily politics of the unicorn.

    Read Part 1: A Genealogy of Unicorns: Extra Fantastical and Way Gay »

  4. avengers

    How to Tell What Happens in the Next Avengers Films

    Here’s the real reason The Avengers is breaking every box office record: It’s a single sequel to five movies, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America. The Avengers are built like the Wu-Tang Clan: Everyone collaborates, then releases solo albums. But beyond that, Marvel keeps overarching story lines threaded through each film.

    Marvel’s comic books have been doing this for years. Each Marvel character has their own linear comic book franchise, and occasionally those franchises will all crossover into one epic “event”, similar to what we saw in The Avengers. So by looking into the comic book analogs, we can guess the future of the Avengers films.

    (This article contains spoilers for both The Avengers and some Marvel comics.)


    The Multiverse: Where are Spider-Man and the X-Men?

    The Marvel comics and the Marvel movies are not set in the same world. But they are set in the same multiverse — a series of distinctive universes that rarely interact. The Marvel comics actually feature more than one universe; there’s the Marvel Universe (Earth-616) and the Marvel Ultimate Universe (Earth-1610), which contain different versions of the same characters. For example, Peter Parker is Spider-Man on Earth-616, but in Earth-1610, Parker is dead and the new Spider-Man is blatino teenager Miles Morales.

    The specifics of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Earth-199999) are defined only by the details given in each movie. And so far there’s been no indication of the mutant phenomenon integral to the X-Men storyline. Marvel sold the film rights to X-Men and Spider-Man to Fox and Sony respectively, so it’s possible they’ve written them out completely. But there are other lesser-known characters who may still appear in upcoming Marvel Studios films.

    A film based on the blacksploitation superhero Luke Cage is in development with John Singleton directing. No one has been cast to play the titular character yet, but Old Spice guy Isaiah Mustafa has expressed interest in the role — so fingers crossed for that. Edgar Wright is also currently working on a film based on Ant Man / Giant Man, a size-shifting biochemist and founding member of the comic-book Avengers.

    Next up: The Avengers 2: Thanos and Infinity Gems. Read on »

  5. Pinterest his and hers pillows

    What Pinterest Taught Me About Marriage as a Capitalist Prison

    The editor of Academic Coach Taylor, a blog of encouragement and ass-kicking for academics based on the main character of Friday Night Lights, is a Ph.D. candidate working in gender studies and media studies. ACT has smart opinions. Here’s one:

    Wednesday, May 9, BuzzFeed posted a screenshot aggregation article titled “39 Ways Men Use Pinterest”. What followed was an all-too-obvious collection of boards like “Food I want My wife to Cook” (white chocolate cupcakes with truffle filling!) and “Things I’d like my wife to wear” (Xena-style mini skirt and bra separates!) and one particularly gay-tastic board of drag-queen-worthy pumps, “Shoes I Wish My Wife Would Wear” (srsly, bro?).

    Was there ever a clearer indication, the Internet howled, of the piggishness of men?

    But the implications were worse than that. Read on… »

  6. Doesn't happen on LinkedIn

    House of Business Cards: Why LinkedIn Will Never Be Your Favorite Social Network

    In terms of variety alone, social media as it is probably already has all the places you might need. You’ve got Facebook and Twitter, maybe Google+, Myspace or Tumblr, which all offer something unique and personal for all of their users. Sure, Myspace has become a laughingstock among all of those other outlets, but it just might have greater name-brand recognition than LinkedIn. This is because LinkedIn is technically neither a social media platform nor the pinnacle of what social media could be.

    Let’s talk about why LinkedIn sucks. »

  7. Bitcoin symbol

    Bitcoin Mining for Fun and Net Loss

    Bitcoin, the newly buzzy digital currency, can be a bit confusing to the uninitiated. It’s money that…grows out of your computer? As an asset, is it best compared to gold, or Beanie Babies and POGs without the carrying cases?

    It’s a total wormhole, but you will: 1) dismiss it, 2) follow it for a laugh, 3) think “This isn’t supposed to work, but maybe it’ll work for me” and 4) become a bitcoiner.

    Bitcoins exist as computer files. Analagous to cash, if the file is destroyed, so is the money. Transactions are pseudo-anonymous.

    You can store coins in a virtual wallet on your computer or entrust them to an online service. Some expert users advise to never store locally (you’ll get hacked or lose them); others advise never to use an online wallet (they’ll get hacked or lose them).

    Follow me down the hole. Call it a rabbit hole if that makes you feel better. »

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