Friday, June 30, 2017

TrueViralNews.com

Come on, TrueViralNews.com, who are you trying to fool?

Your article from June 29 is titled: "Tom Holland Was Born to Be Spider-Man. Playing Peter Parker Was Another Story."

A Time article from June 28 is titled: "Tom Holland Was Born to Be Spider-Man. Playing Peter Parker Was Another Story."

Your opening paragraph:
It takes a special superhero to merit a third film reboot in 15 years. Then again, Spider-Man has always been more sympathetic than his peers. Neither billionaire (Tony Stark in Iron Man) nor genius (Dr. Bruce Banner in Hulk) nor god (Thor in Thor), Peter Parker is just a stressed-out, nerdy teenager who happened to be bitten by a radioactive spider. “It’s not so easy to relate to Tony Stark,” says Tom Holland, the young British actor who plays Parker this time. “But everyone’s gotten tongue-tied around a crush.” 
 The opening paragraph from Time.com:
It takes a special superhero to merit a third film reboot in 15 years. Then again, Spider-Man has always been more sympathetic than his peers. Neither billionaire (Tony Stark in Iron Man) nor genius (Dr. Bruce Banner in Hulk) nor god (Thor in Thor), Peter Parker is just a stressed-out, nerdy teenager who happened to be bitten by a radioactive spider. “It’s not so easy to relate to Tony Stark,” says Tom Holland, the young British actor who plays Parker this time. “But everyone’s gotten tongue-tied around a crush.”
You're taking Time's content and slapping your own name on it.  And you've got a bunch of AdChoices links on your page?  That's just sketchy.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

TechiWire.com

Come on, TechiWire.com, who are you trying to fool?

Your article from June 27 is titled, "Arp 299: Galactic Goulash."

A Phys.org article from June 26 is titled, "Arp 299: Galactic Goulash."

Your first three paragraphs:
What would happen if you took two galaxies and mixed them together over millions of years? A new image including data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory reveals the cosmic culinary outcome. 
Arp 299 is a system located about 140 million light years from Earth. It contains two galaxies that are merging, creating a partially blended mix of stars from each galaxy in the process. 
However, this stellar mix is not the only ingredient. New data from Chandra reveals 25 bright X-ray sources sprinkled throughout the Arp 299 concoction. Fourteen of these sources are such strong emitters of X-rays that astronomers categorize them as “ultra-luminous X-ray sources,” or ULXs.
The first three paragraphs from Phys.org:
What would happen if you took two galaxies and mixed them together over millions of years? A new image including data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory reveals the cosmic culinary outcome. 
Arp 299 is a system located about 140 million light years from Earth. It contains two galaxies that are merging, creating a partially blended mix of stars from each galaxy in the process. 
However, this stellar mix is not the only ingredient. New data from Chandra reveals 25 bright X-ray sources sprinkled throughout the Arp 299 concoction. Fourteen of these sources are such strong emitters of X-rays that astronomers categorize them as "ultra-luminous X-ray sources," or ULXs.
You're just taking Phys.org's content and slapping your own name on it.  And you've got a bunch of AdChoices links on your page?  That's just sketchy.

Shadiness with Imgly.org links

A reddit user named Netherland-Haguee posted an Imgly.org link yesterday in the "DataIsBeautiful" subreddit.  He tagged the link as "OC" which means "original content."  The folks at DataIsBeautiful appreciate it when people share data visualizations that they designed themselves.

The problem is the chart form Imgly.org wasn't original.  It showed internet speeds around the world, and was titled:  "Average internet connection speed in Q3 2016 {in Mpbs}."

I'll paste it below:














But the exact same bar graph had been floating around the internet since last year.  I found a copy in a BusinessInsider article from December.

Why would you call something "OC" if it's not original content? Was the typo in the title supposed to distinguish it as something novel?

The curious case of Top-Floor

I noticed a Reddit user named Top-Floor had been submitting a whole bunch of links to that Screenhits.info domain.  And it turns out that a lot of Top-Floor's comments were copied-and-pasted from other Reddit threads.  Top-Floor's account is now suspended, but I wanted to document these anyway.

Here is a comment he made in /r/AskReddit in response to the question, "How did you meet your now-best friend?":
I met mine during a class concert. We weren't allowed to leave the practise zone until after the concert finished. I walked up to her and said "I really don't want to be here." She later said the reason we became friends is because I was the only person not to mention her British accent and ask her to say "Harry Potter"
But that exact same response was written back on June 3, 2016 by user Scatteredheroes, in response to the question "How did you meet your best friend?"

Another time, Top-Floor answered the question "How have you gotten out of a ticket?" by saying:
Fought it in court: Judge: The ticket says you were going 81 miles per hour in a 70. Me: That's what the ticket says, your honor. Judge: It also says you drive a Geo Metro? Me: Correct, your honor. Judge: There's no way you were doing 81 in that car. Case dismissed.
Yet that exact same response was written back on August 6, 2015, by user mopeygoff, in response to the question: "Reddit, how have you gotten out of getting a speeding ticket?"

Very strange.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Imgly.org

Here's another new image-hosting website: Imgly.org.  It was registered on June 22nd, and the homepage is mimicking the homepage of Ultraimg.com, as you can see here: http://archive.is/g6czc.

Screenhits.info

Come on, Screenhits.info, who are you trying to fool?

Your article from June 27 is titled, "Star Trek: Discovery show-runners share their influences and more character backstory."

An A.V. Club article from June 27 is titled, "Star Trek: Discovery showrunners share their influences and more character backstory."

Your first paragraph:
The newest addition to the Star Trek franchise, Discovery, has set a course for a September premiere, which means it’s really happening now. With the first voyage now in sight, CBS has stepped up the promotional push, releasing photos of Jason Isaacs as the rather stiff-looking captain of the Discovery, as well as info on what makes the lead character tick. As First Officer Michael Burnham, Sonequa Martin-Green will have what she calls the “Vulcan conflict,” i.e., she’ll be torn between her human ancestry and her Vulcan schooling.
The first paragraph from AVClub.com:
The newest addition to the Star Trek franchise, Discovery, has set a course for a September premiere, which means it’s really happening now. With the first voyage now in sight, CBS has stepped up the promotional push, releasing photos of Jason Isaacs as the rather stiff-looking captain of the Discovery, as well as info on what makes the lead character tick. As First Officer Michael Burnham, Sonequa Martin-Green will have what she calls the “Vulcan conflict,” i.e., she’ll be torn between her human ancestry and her Vulcan schooling.
You're taking somebody else's words and slapping your own name on them.  And you've got AdChoices links on your page?  That's just sketchy.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ktase.com

Come on, Ktase.com, who are you trying to fool?

Your article from June 19 is titled, "Senate alters sanctions to allow use of Russian rocket engines."

An Engadget article from June 18 is titled, "Senate alters sanctions to allow use of Russian rocket engines."

Your first paragraph:
Don’t look now, but American spaceflight just dodged a bullet. Senators have passed an amendment to an Iran-Russia sanctions bill that, if gone unchecked, would have barred both NASA and private outfits from using Russian rocket engines. The original measure was supposed to prevent purchases from organizations that work with Russian defense and intelligence, but it would have effectively banned imports of the common RD-180 engine (found in ULA’s Atlas 5) and RD-181 (used in Orbital ATK’sAntares).
The first paragraph from Engadget.com:
Don't look now, but American spaceflight just dodged a bullet. Senators have passed an amendment to an Iran-Russia sanctions bill that, if gone unchecked, would have barred both NASA and private outfits from using Russian rocket engines. The original measure was supposed to prevent purchases from organizations that work with Russian defense and intelligence, but it would have effectively banned imports of the common RD-180 engine (found in ULA's Atlas 5) and RD-181 (used in Orbital ATK's Antares).
You're taking Engadget's content and slapping your own name on it.  And you've got AdChoices boxes on your page, too?  That's just sketchy.

Waxra.com

Come on, Waxra.com, who are you trying to fool?

Your article from June 26 is titled: "Hero Reunites With Little Girl He Saved From Drowning On Her Birthday."

A Today.com article from June 21 is titled: "Hero reunites with little girl he saved from drowning on her birthday"

Your opening:
Four-year-old Davie’onna shared a hug and a smile with the heroic bystander who, just hours before, helped save her life on her birthday. 
Off-duty sheriff’s deputy Jeff Haire, 44, was having fun with family at a local pool in Panama City Beach, Florida, when he found himself trying to save the life of a nearly drowned girl. 
The grim scene unfolded on May 28 during Memorial Day weekend at Frank Brown Park when Haire noticed a man carrying what looked like a “lifeless” child out of the water.
The opening from Today.com:
Four-year-old Davie'onna shared a hug and a smile with the heroic bystander who, just hours before, helped save her life on her birthday. 
Off-duty sheriff's deputy Jeff Haire, 44, was having fun with family at a local pool in Panama City Beach, Florida, when he found himself trying to save the life of a nearly drowned girl. 
The grim scene unfolded on May 28 during Memorial Day weekend at Frank Brown Park when Haire noticed a man carrying what looked like a "lifeless" child out of the water.
You're taking Today.com's content and slapping your own name on it.  And you've got AdChoices and Amazon Affiliate links on your page, too?  That's just sketchy.

Monday, June 26, 2017

An Open Letter to Rotten Tomatoes regarding "Kingsman: The Secret Service"

Dear Rotten Tomatoes,

It recently came to my attention that Kingsman: The Secret Service, does not have a "Certified Fresh" label, even though it has a Tomatometer rating of 75%.












This seems like an oversight.  According to your website:  "To receive a Certified Fresh rating a movie must have a steady Tomatometer rating of 75% or better. Movies opening in wide release need at least 80 reviews..."   The snub is even more glaring when you realize there are movies with much lower Tomatomater ratings that are considered “Certified Fresh,” like Alien: Covenant (71%).












Being "Certified Fresh" is what separate the good movies and the great movies. Kingsman: The Secret Service may have been a little underappreciated upon its release, but I suspect that as time goes on it will be recognized as a pivotal film that tackled important questions.  Questions like: How do we deal with climate change?  Is society overdependent on technology?  Do clothes make the man?  And is there a secret cabal plotting our destruction?

(Answers:  A virus.  Yes.  No.  Yes.)

The critics who reviewed Kingsman: The Secret Service have done their part.  Now the ball is in your court.  Do the right thing and please give this film the “Certified Fresh” label it deserves.

(Update: Holy snopes, it happened! As of June 28, Kingsman: The Secret Service is "certified fresh."  Mission accomplished!)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

IJR employees

The Independent Journal Review used to have a "Team" page where they listed all the employees. Now that same URL returns a 404 message: https://about.ijr.com/team/

Here's an archive of IJR's "Team" page back when it was robust:
https://web.archive.org/web/20170216064848/https://about.ijr.com/team/

So what happened there?  I can't help but think of Oliver Darcy's recent CNN article, where he noted all the departures from IJR, including the editor-in-chief, senior members of the video team, and two of the site's top reporters.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

gflipper and armchair5 hide their history

Remember that imgly.info domain I mentioned a few days ago? A few Reddit users posted links to imgfly.info, and then later DELETED those links.  Very suspicious.

Here is an archive of an imgly.info link from gflipper, before it was deleted: http://archive.is/gw2av. And here is an archive of an imgly.info link from armchair5, before it was deleted: http://archive.is/mqmWr.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Imgly.info

Here's another image-hosting site which was registered only yesterday:  Imgly.info.

Its homepage mimics the homepage of Imgsafe.org, as you can see here:  http://archive.is/3jEot.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Danny Collins

The image Netflix uses for its listing of "Danny Collins" has all the actors' names listed in a row:


It's the "big names on a poster" format, and I guess it's supposed to garner attention because we're impressed by all the big names in the movie!  But who would be impressed by Bobby Cannavale appearing in a movie?  Or Jennifer Garner, for that matter?  Don't get me wrong, they're decent actors... But are they really worthy of the "big names on a poster" treatment?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Imgfly.net

There's a new image-hosting site called Imgfly.net.  The domain was first registered last August. The odd thing is that Imgfly's homepage mimics the homepage for a totally different image-hosting site, called Ultraimg.

Here's Ultraimg.com's homepage: http://www.ultraimg.com/

And here's what the Imgfly.net homepage looks like: http://archive.is/nNdmx

Monday, June 19, 2017

Pepsi and Belvita

I said I was going to do it, and I did it!  I went out and bought a bunch of Pepsi and Belvita bars.

Viva capitalism!

#MorningWin


Hyped for ninjas

I want to feel as hyped about life as Matt Iseman feels when he watches a dude complete an obstacle course:

AAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Kendall Jenner gets woke

I like how in the Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial, you can identify the exact moment when Kendall gets woke.

Right here:

WOKE!!!














It's a very true-to-life commercial. I mean, all the actors are getting paid, and they're not really protesting anything specific, you know?

I support these commercials, and so tomorrow I'm going to buy a bunch of Pepsi!  And I'm also going to buy some Belvita bars because that jingle is still stuck in my head.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

"1984 levels of deception"

Do you ever see a post on social media and think, "If I could just understand this, I could understand the entire political scene?"

No?  You don't?

Well, whatever.  The post I have in mind is from Reddit--specifically, the /r/conspiracy subreddit.  It's titled, "We're reaching 1984 levels of deception in the media," and it was posted back in August.  It consists of two tweets, presented side-by-side.

The first tweet, from Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip), says "Big, boisterous crowd here in Omaha for Hillary Clinton and Warren Buffett," and it shows the crowd from an Omaha rally held inside a gymnasium.

The second tweet, from #TPPisTreason (@Z3pp3in), says "@CNNPolitics Are you reporting on the 50 people who showed up to Hillary rally in Omaha today?" and it shows the crowd from the same Omaha rally.

Abby D. Phillip's photo gives the impression of a normal-sized crowd.  Z3pp3in's photo gives the impression of an undersized crowd.  And the weird thing is that NEITHER photo really gives an accurate impression of what the crowd looked like.  They were both taken from the middle of the gymnasium.

A view from the back of the gymnasium provides a better gauge of the crowd size.




What was going through @Z3pp3in's mind when she wrote her tweet?  And, for that matter, what was going through the mind of Redditor (/u/moonsprite) when he or she submitted that post?

I'm not looking for the simple explanation which would be: "Derp, it's propaganda!"  I want to figure out to what extent each person believes the thing they wrote.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Imgcert.com

The homepage of imgcert.com is mimicking the homepage of imgsafe.org.  That's sketchy as heck.

Here's what's the imgcert.com homepage looks like: http://archive.is/SLdrW
And here's the imgsafe.org homepage: http://imgsafe.org/

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Willem Dafoe question

You know how magazines will have a lot of profile pieces in anticipation of any new blockbuster movie?  For example, the Boston Herald had an article on May 28 titled "Chris Pine revels in role as Amazon warrior’s sidekick."

Just run-of-the-mill stuff, you know?

Well...back in 2002, prior to the release of Spiderman, were there profile pieces of Willem Dafoe and were a bunch of them titled: "Da Foe of Spiderman"?  You know, because he was the Green Goblin and he was the foe of Spiderman?  There MUST have been, right?

If I were a magazine writer, there is a 100% chance I would use that title!

Dafoe!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Warriors win!

LeBron James and his superteam were no match for Golden State, and the Warriors are your 2017 NBA champions!

Check out the scoring highlights, courtesy of the YouTube channel G4NBAVideosHD:


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Kenny Omega is Jesus?

Photos don't lie:


Manic Food Review: Davey's Ice Cream

I was in the East Village, and since we're in the middle of a heat wave (heat waaaave), I decided to get some ice cream.  I googled something like 'best ice cream in east village,' and the hacks at Thrillist.com had recommended Davey's Ice Cream as the best in the neighborhood.  So I went in and got a cone of cookies 'n cream, which was like $5, and it was....okay.  Pretty average, really.

Verdict:  Pinkberry or Cold Stone would've been a lot better.

You can get your over-priced ice cream from Davey's at 137 1st Avenue. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Show Me The Mummy!

What does the Red Letter Media crew think of The Mummy? Find out by watching this video!