Tag Archives | Memes

Fictional Characters Influence Real Life Decisions

AtlasShruggedHave you ever had the experience of stepping away from a novel and finding yourself thinking a little bit like the main character would? I’ve often described the feeling as being a little “book-drunk”, but I usually only experience it with really great novels. It seems to be worse when I read all or most of a book in one session.

According to a story over at GalleyCat, scientists have completed a study that verifies that this experience is a common one, and that the actions of fictional characters can actually influence the decisions we make – whether we consciously realize it or not. They call the phenomena “experience-taking”, and it’s very real.

Researchers exposed students to stories about students voting told in third-person and first-person tense, both written to encourage voting, and followed up later to see which group had the highest number of students who went to the poll.… Read the rest

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Ugandans’ Reaction To Kony 2012

Nearly 70 million people have watched Kony 2012, but almost none of them have been Ugandans, since internet access in their country is spotty. Thus a charity held a public screening so that actual victims of the civil strife could see the video. The reaction? Extremely negative, as the viewing began with eager anticipation and culminated with people hurling rocks at the screen in disgust over the video’s self-congratulatory nature, its focus on a white American and his young son, and its perceived use of Ugandans as props in a promotional campaign for Invisible Children:

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86-Year-Old Veteran Chronicles His Life in Rage Comic

RageNot something you would expect from an 86-year-old. Andy Khouri writes on Comics Alliance:

“Rage comics” are a memetic phenomenon by which crude digital drawings of different facial expressions and physical gestures are remixed infinitely by countless individuals to convey the elation, despair, love and hatred of the Internet hive mind. We usually talk about these comics in ironically grandiose terms (like when a rage comic face appeared in a man’s testicular sonogram) but the truth is that many of them are genuinely hilarious reads (like the Rage Comics All Stars’ “performance” of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”), and some are even quite touching.

Because rage comics typically express primal responses to utterly mundane but often “scene”-specific experiences, it would seem unlikely that an 86-year-old man would be the author of what many Reddit users are calling the greatest rage comic ever made. Published earlier this week on the man’s birthday, the comic details in deeply personal terms the events of his life, beginning with his earlier memories from childhood and including his service in World War II, estrangement from his children and discovery of true love.

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Philippines To Outlaw Planking

plankingmanilaIs this the first case of government repression to stamp out a meme? First they came for the plankers, then the owl-ers and cone-ers. From the Washington Post:

There’s some serious weight being thrown against planking, and it’s happening in the Philippines, where Quezon City representative Winston Castelo has filed a bill called the “Anti-Planking Act of 2011.”

Castelo proposed the act following a nationwide transport strike Monday over high oil prices. During the strike, a small group of people went planking at a busy roundabout in Manila to halt traffic.

In a statement, Castelo said that “unbelieving bus drivers and law enforcement authorities might just ram through these warm and living bodies rolled out on highways.”

The Manila Police District backed up Castelo, saying they planned to “break up” any future planking sessions and detain those involved.

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The 404 Attacks – Meme or Scheme?

Nothing Is True

Photo: Mr.Bigg23 (CC)

[UPDATE: the Wikipedia page has been deleted.]

A Wikipedia article that’s been the subject of some internal argument there (based on the fact that much associated with this meme is by its nature unverifiable) was brought to my attention by one of the readers of my books. I can’t say I’m entirely enthusiastic about the possible uses that this thing might be put to in the hands of a group like Anon — though it seems to already be “their” M.O. anyway, and the dis-organization is structured along the same lines as the fictitious (?) “Mother Hive Brain” in a way that’s always amused me more than a little. In a world teetering on the brink, and in the midst of issues such as “NymWars,” this topic at the least seems finally ripe for discussion as well as action. From Wikipedia:

In practice, the 404 Attacks are a technique for disseminating disinformation through various networks.

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Is Ron Paul The New Chuck Norris?

Paul NorrisInternational Business Times reports:

Move aside, Chuck Norris, Ron Paul Facts is now in.

Ron Paul, a Texas Congressman and 2012 presidential hopeful, has inspired a fiercely loyal following around the country with his straight-talking Libertarian approach.

The Federal Reserve? End it! … Income taxes? Don’t need it! … Troops abroad? Send them home! … The UN and NATO? Pull out of them!

On the Internet, Ron Paul is king. Back in the 2008 Republican presidential primaries, he became known for winning virtually every single internet and text message poll. This ardent online support in has spawned the “Ron Paul Facts” in 2011.

Below are some “facts” about Ron Paul, taken from the Ron Paul Facts website.

Ron Paul has no alarm clock, but instead wakes every morning to the call of freedom.

Ron Paul doesn’t go the gym. He stays fit by exercising his civil rights.

Ron Paul delivers babies without his hands.

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“Liberals” Take Over The Media

zine diagram-DAs far as memes go, “liberals control the media” seems pretty prevalent. People who long for the days of school spankings shriek it at the top of their lungs – actual liberals believe it if only so they can believe they control something. But as we slowly descend back to Earth we realize The Media is a business.

And the point has been made that you could look long and hard through the board of directors of any of the media giant(s) before you find an honest-to-God Liberal. Liberals are tolerated in the media to the extent that they can make their bosses money.

All these points became clear to me in light of a new propaganda film (made by Citizens Against Government Waste) making the rounds where we see a group of Chinese circa 2030 cackling over America’s demise. Maybe you’ve seen it too – where some communists attribute America’s immanent doom to our use of socialism.… Read the rest

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University to Track Disinformation Campaigns on Twitter

A Truthy diffusion network. (C) University of Indiana

A Truthy diffusion network. (C) Indiana University

From ScienceDaily:

Astroturfers, Twitter-bombers and smear campaigners need beware this election season as a group of leading Indiana University information and computer scientists have unleashed Truthy.indiana.edu, a sophisticated new Twitter-based research tool that combines data mining, social network analysis and crowdsourcing to uncover deceptive tactics and misinformation leading up to the Nov. 2 elections.

Combing through thousands of tweets per hour in search of political keywords, the team based out of IU’s School of Informatics and Computing will isolate patterns of interest and then insert those memes (ideas or patterns passed by imitation) into Twitter’s application programming interface (API) to obtain more information about the meme’s history.

“When we identify a trend we go back and examine how it was started, where the main injection points were, and any associated memes,” said Filippo Menczer, an associate professor of computer science and informatics.

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