On Monday, the New York Timesreported that Gawker Media CEO Nick Denton had come to believe that a wealthy individual has been funding a steady stream of lawsuits, including three differentones filed by Hulk Hogan alone, against his company. Two journalists at Forbes magazine, Ryan Mac and Matt Drange, are lending credence to Denton’s theory. On Tuesday evening, the pair revealed that the powerful Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel has been secretly underwriting Hulk Hogan’s litigation against Gawker:
by Angela Chen on Gizmodo, shared by Melissa Cronin to Gawker
Every week, a quarter of Americans take a painkiller that could be dampening our collective feelings of empathy. In a paper published online this week, scientists claim that acetaminophen, Tylenol’s main ingredient, makes people more likely to think that other people’s pain isn’t a big deal.
Some levity, for a change, from law enforcement—a tiny dog running across a major San Francisco bridge with the highway patrol in hot pursuit. An incredible experience for everyone involved, except all the people stuck in traffic behind them.
by A dog on Dog, shared by Hamilton Nolan to Gawker
It flummoxes me why this flummoxes a lot of people. I guess you could call it a double flummox, like some sort of gymnastics move. If I were to imagine such a move it would involve me, my paws taped to a swinging trapeze bar, cutting myself loose at the highest point of its swinging arc and flipping once, twice, end over end, before splashing down safely in a landing pool full of butterscotch pudding. As I lick myself clean, the sports announcers wait patiently to interview me about my successful gym-mazement. Even if it takes a while, they’ll wait. That’s part of the job.
I never did learn the alphabet. Now that I think about it I never learned the alphabet, the coloring books, the regular books, the pages of books, the numbers, the math, the calculators, the computers, the wall posters, the yard signs, the billboards, the graffiti writing, or the cursive. I never learned to type. My one attempt ended ignominiously when it became clear that my unwieldy paws were ill-equipped for the precision needed to accurately strike the desired letters in the proper sequence. The letters themselves were Greek to me, too. So even if I had the dexterity for typing I still wouldn’t have been able to produce a sentence. Needless to say my challenges were myriad!
None of this means that I want your pity. “Here, take the pity,” people are always saying. “Did you say patty, as in hamburger patty, or Jamaican beef patty?” I’ll ask, just to clarify. They always say no. But I’d hate to miss the day when someone was actually offering me a patty and I mistook it for an offer of pity. Up until now, though, everyone has in fact been offering pity.
Keep it! Put it right back in your pocket and amble on to your work job. I’ll stay here, in the grass. My life is beautiful. Illiteracy has never held me back from my goals. My goal is to eat all of the food in my bowl, down to the last kibble, and when that one last kibble is left, to lap it up with my tongue, flip it up into the air, and let it bonk me on the head. Then it falls to the ground and I eat it. It’s a gorgeous kind of acrobatic performance, I promise you. A work in progress—but one I believe I can achieve. Words play no part. What does play a part? Kibble, tongue. And soul.
Me, my soul. My rump in the grass.
Symbols—what are they good for? “Absolutely nothing!” I cry, “headbanging” to the extent possible, my ears wildly flopping like the proverbial hair rocker’s hair, sending a message. Many people are defensive on my behalf. They want to defend me from the written word. “How dare you write that about the good boy?” they cry to the newspaper man. “How dare you publish the thing about the good boy being overweight?” they cavortle to the magazine lady. “Don’t you believe what the mean man wrote about you!” they cry to me, falling on their knees before me, overcome with emotion. It’s unsportsmanlike and frankly makes them appear deranged. Do I give a flying hey about a string of inscrutable symbols? I don’t care a whit! Meanwhile I sit in the grass. Rumpus planted. Kibble flipping. Flying on airways, mentally barking.
Don’t feel bad for me, baby. I’m happening right here on solid land.
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by Katharine Trendacosta on io9, shared by Melissa Cronin to Gawker
All this week, J.K. Rowling has been publishing History of Magic in North America, one part a day for four days. When it’s been at its best, it’s been sloppy; when its not at its best—which is most of the time—it’s uninformed and under-researched. At its worst, it is downright offensive, and here’s why.
by Charlie Jane Anders on io9, shared by Alex Pareene to Gawker
Go ahead, commit cannibalism! Slaughter your neighbors and feast on their still-warm flesh. Nobody can judge you, because the mere existence of the film Gods of Egypt has dissolved all social contracts, and eliminated forever all concepts of good and evil.
The brands were out in full force during Sunday’s Superbowl, reaching the eyeballs of millions of consumers with millions of dollars. Mountain Dew took a novel tact, attempting to create the most grotesque, unsettling, and plain awful character of all (worse, even, than Norm MacDonald’s Colonel Sanders): PuppyMonkeyBaby.
by Anna Merlan on The Slot, shared by Alex Pareene to Gawker
Writing about Donald Trump is a thankless task, made only faintly bearable by coming up with new ways to describe him. Below, an exhaustive list of every phrase this website came up with to talk about Trump in 2015.
As you can see, these descriptors got both funnier and depressingly numerous as the year went on. You’ll also notice a very distinct drop between February and May, and there’s a reason for that: Trump announced his candidacy in June, and for the preceding few months, he wisely didn’t make a ton of news. For a time there, after he did announce, it was funny enough all by itself to just write “presidential candidate Donald Trump.” Those times are over, and here we stand: bruised, exhausted, and with hundreds of new adjectives. Enjoy!
You might be wondering: Where did that alleged fraudster Martin Shkreli get the grey hoodie he was sporting on his perp walk in New York City this morning? A forensic analysis of various photos taken this morning (some of which captured the word “CARGO” pressed into the hoodie’s metal zipper fob) pointed us to the following hoodie sold by the New York-based sports retailer Modell’s: The Cargo Mens Full Zip Hoodie in Light Grey.* It is also available in a “big mens” version, for the big mens in your life.
A group of nearly 2,000 professional physicists and astrophysicists have signed a letter, drafted by members of the Equity & Inclusion in Physics & Astronomy Facebook group and addressed to the Supreme Court justices, repudiating the lines of questioning put forward by Justices Antonin Scalia and John Roberts which implied that affirmative action disadvantages black students by putting them in situations they are not equipped to handle, and that furthermore diversity has no role to play in the ostensibly objective world of science.
So my roommate and I got these Rudolph Christmas coloring books a couple of weeks back. Since it’s finals week, I wanted to ease my mind into studying by coloring. First time opening the book and I saw this picture..
And I thought to myself
Oh my god do I try.
I swear to god if I get tumblr famous over this stinkin Heman the meme nose reindeer.
some food blogger: My childhood home was full of wind and light. On a brisk Autumn evening, it often felt as if the outside was in. My younger sister, my mother, our favourite cousin, our dog, our other dog, our dog’s sister, and I would sit on the floor in the living room for hours, lit only by the moon and candlelight
me: *scrolls for several minutes*
some food blogger: It was at that moment, with my tiny hands clasped tightly around a mason jar filled with fireflies, that I realised the true value of family. My dog and my dog’s sister came and sat quietly at my feet. We stared up at the sky together, and I felt truly connected to both the Earth at my feet and the ancestors who shared the blood that ran through them, for the first time realising that
me: *scrolls for several minutes*
some food blogger: and when we finally made it home, our cheeks flushed with laughter and cold, there were warm mashed potatoes waiting for us. I will always remember their fluffiness, perfectly mirroring the light feeling I carried with me for the entire next week. This is my favourite cousin’s recipe from that very day, modified slightly to not be fucking awful. Boil an potato and smush it up with fork and botter. NOT A RAW, Salt, pepepr. In it
“I think Mr Trump’s somewhat knee-jerk reaction to this, saying that all Muslims should be banned from coming into America was perhaps for him a political mistake too far.” — Nigel Farage, leader of Great Britain’s far-right populist anti-immigration party UKIP, to the BBC.
The people having the most success destroying the Wall Street elite these days are not bomb-throwing anarchists. They are buttoned-up investment types who are just less greedy.
Traditionally, the Wall Street investment industry has grown rich by skimming off a portion of the astronomical amount of money that passes through its hands. In exchange for moving money here and there and everywhere for investors, Wall Street would take a little fee. And even a fee that sounds subjectively small—one percent? Less?—adds up to many billions of dollars when it’s applied to a pool of investments in the trillions.
Over the years, though, research made it increasingly clear that the people you paid to tell you where to invest your money really had no idea if their advice was good or not. No idea! The advice was actually, in fact, worthless! And so people who paid high fees on their investments inevitably, over time, make less money than people who pay low fees. It also became clear that very few people can successfully pick winning stocks, so it is better for most people to just invest in everything and leave their money alone. These were the founding ideas of Vanguard, an investment group which provides very low-cost index funds, and is owned by its investors, meaning it lacks the insatiable profit motive of the big banks.
Today, Vanguard has grown so huge that with every passing year it sucks more and more away from higher-priced traditional Wall Street funds, as more and more people sit down and do the math on how much they are paying for a service that amounts to nothing. Bloomberg tallies up what Vanguard is actually costing the rest of Wall Street:
Vanguard’s assets now stand at $3.1 trillion, which effectively means that this year alone it will have removed more than $16 billion from the financial industry just through fees. That figure is based on the average asset-weighted fee of a Vanguard fund of 0.13 percent, compared with the 0.66 percent average asset-weighted fee of an active mutual fund...
Until now, the asset numbers probably weren’t big enough to trouble Wall Street, but as Vanguard is now on pace to add a cool $1 trillion in assets every few years, it is effectively becoming a massive wealth transfer machine funneling money out of the financial industry and into individual investors’ accounts.
To add a bit of perspective, Goldman Sachs’ investment management business brought in $6 billion in profits last year; JPMorgan Chase earned a total net income last year of close to $22 billion. Vanguard, simply by offering less greedy prices for its services, is in effect accomplishing the same thing that a tax on Wall Street that was then refunded to investors as a tax credit would accomplish.
It is kind of neat that the biggest existential threat to a fundamentally corrupt business model is just another business that decided to rip people off less. Who would have thought?
Waving signs outside of Goldman Sachs headquarters while playing a drum with a black bandanna tied around your face is still good. We all have a part to play. Just remember, Occupy Wall Street soldiers, that your most effective ally is a bunch of paper pushers in Malvern, PA.
The House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday that would require the director of the FBI, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and the director of national intelligence to personally sign off on each Syrian refugee entering the United States.
by Ashley Feinberg on Weird Internet, shared by Ashley Feinberg to Gawker
Back in the wild west days of file sharing, and for a moment all too brief, Kazaa reigned king. And thanks to a recently reinvigorated Twitter account, we’re reminded of the complete and utter mess that was our Kazaa-fueled Winamp queue. So for the sake of nostalgia, we ask you: What are some of your best (which is to say, worst) Kazaa memories?