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Microsoft Paint avoids brush with death.

Tutorials—some free—on how to make doll clothes for any size or shape of your doll.

Why the death of malls is about more than shopping.

How to get your Instagram marketing off the ground.

After a century of dispute, the German alphabet just got a new character.

In her first act as a Disney Legend, Whoopi Goldberg tells Disney to stop hiding its history.

Artist Leticia Santos finds geometric inspiration in D.C.’s row houses.

Black Southern Baptist minister renounces church over its Trump support in a scathing open letter.

An open letter to Rev. Franklin Graham from a “small church” pastor.

Download 200+ Belle Époque art posters from 1880-1918 for free.

A new low: “Photo community” asks for (and gets) free commercial license to photos.

Growing paper clothes in rural Japan.

The extraordinary reason exceptional people avoid mediocre friends. (They rewire your brain.)

Colorizing an early 1900s photo of New York brings it to life.

12 tips to being a better photo blogger.

A history of why the U.S. is the only rich country without universal health care.

The best worst reactions to the news that the next Doctor Who will be a woman.

Honda debuts a one-of-a-kind “Minnie Van.”

This untouched 70s home is the grooviest thing you’ll see all year.

An attempt at a world record for the most Frida Kahlo lookalikes in one place.

Ramadan

A look at the Silicon Valley billionaires remaking America’s schools.

Five CEOs who value humanity over profits.

Here are the details about Apertus AXIOM Beta, an open source camera.

Here’s a look at the oldest color photographs that vividly show what the world looked like 100 years ago.

The necessity of the Millennial side-hustle.

Google Drive will soon back up your entire computer.

A recent report shows that knitting can slow the onset of dementia.

A photo essay looks back on a groundbreaking interracial marriage on the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court Loving v. Virginia decision.

Alice Seeley Harris’ photos exposed the horrors of colonialism in Africa.

Open source TurtleBot 3 Robot Kit runs Ubuntu and ROS on Raspberry Pi.

Meet the Aussie man crocheting his way to Instagram stardom.

Iowa IT firm caught posting “No Americans” job listing, which raised the continuing controversial issue of hiring foreign-born H-1B workers.

Millennials are obsessed with side hustles because it’s all they’ve got.

The inventor of the Roomba has just launched a weed-killing robot named Tertill.

How photography shapes our view of Native Americans.

Konami reportedly blacklisting ex-employees across Japanese video game industry.

Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com (which currently houses this blog that you are currently reading), is closing its San Francisco office because most of its employees prefer to telecommute instead of showing up to work in person.

New York Public Library turns subway cars into mobile ebook libraries.

How the recently-deceased Batman actor Adam West played a prank on anyone who tried to look him up in the local phone book.

A free tutorial on how to make wind-up paper butterflies.

Over a decade later the first YouTube stars reflect on their fame and changes that happened to the YouTube platform over the years.

Ever since I started this blog back in 2010 I’ve been using both this blog and my social media accounts to promote myself as a creative person. I have to say that each social media platform is a completely different animal and it can be a chore at times to tailor a message to the audience on that platform. Based on my own personal experience, if I ever had to do a succinct definition of what each social media platform does, it would go like this:

Facebook: This is where you see your friends and family write about their children’s latest accomplishments or post photos from their recent awesome vacations to such really cool places like Cancun or Walt Disney World or London or Rio de Janeiro or Austin or Niagara Falls, etc. You’d better watch what you write about your parents or other family members and friends because they are on Facebook and they won’t hesitate to scold you online if you write anything that they perceived as being too critical of them—even if it’s something that’s relatively benign. (As a silver lining, if you’re lucky enough your scolding friend/relative might end up having his/her words re-posted on Lamebook for everyone to read and mock.)

Twitter: LOOK AT ME! I’M AN ATTENTION WHORE WHO’S WRITING OUTRAGEOUS THINGS IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS!!! PLEASE RT THIS!

Instagram: Selfies, selfies, and more selfies. If you don’t pay enough attention to my selfies, I’ll risk my life taking my selfies in dangerous locations without a safety net.

YouTube: I’ll become a YouTube star simply by making video reviews of toys and video games or making videos about some expensive upscale fashion items that I have just purchased during my recent trip to the upscale shopping mall. I’ll emulate PewDiePie’s method of continuing my YouTube stardom by making regular appeals for money while claiming that I’m a destitute poor person and threatening to delete my YouTube channel once I get a certain number of subscribers.

Flickr: I’ll post photos from my awesome trips to really cool places like Cancun or Walt Disney World or Rio de Janeiro or Austin or Niagara Falls, etc. along with my very arty photos of sunsets.

Tumblr: I’ll post my fan art of comic book superheroes (especially ones from DC and Marvel), My Little Pony, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Doctor Who then watch everyone reblog my work.

DeviantArt: I’ll post my fan art of Japanese anime characters that will get a lot of attention.

Google+: Hello? Is there anybody in there? Just hit the “Like” button or reply if you are reading my Google+ post. Is there anyone at home?

MySpace: Wait, this social media site still exists?!? Well, hot damn, it’s still around! I’m amazed that Rupert Murdoch didn’t totally run this site into the ground when he made that ill-advised purchase years ago. I wonder if Tila Tequila is still the Queen of MySpace despite her fascination with Adolf Hitler and the White Power movement?

LinkedIn: I’ll focus exclusively on my current job and my previous work experience. I’ll make it as plan vanilla and boring as possible with no drama whatsoever. I won’t even attempt to add any flair, creativity, or anything else that expresses my individuality because then I’ll get pegged as being “unprofessional” and it’ll be such a turn-off to potential employers that I’ll never be able to find another paying job ever again. Boring is good but try to be as unique as you possibly can without standing out from the rest of the LinkedIn crowd so much that you’ll get denounced as being “unprofessional” and you’ll become so unemployable that you’ll be forced into early retirement.**

Pinterest: I’ll pin whatever arts and crafts sites I find. If I happened to pin an arts and crafts site that shows how to make a certain Disney character, I’ll see that pin get re-pinned by others so many times that my e-mailbox gets clogged with notifications of all these re-pins.***

Minds.com: Here’s where I’ll find the latest conspiracy theories, dispatches from Anonymous, and alternative health remedies that may or may not actually work.

**Here’s a message for those of you who are staunch LinkedIn users: This post is satire. I know that, in a perfect world, I shouldn’t have to write this disclaimer but I’ve encountered enough stuffy humor-challenged professional people in various jobs over the years that I know that some stuffy humor-challenged businessperson who’s a heavy LinkedIn user would take this post 100% seriously if I didn’t include this footnote.

***This actually happened to me nearly two years ago when I pinned a site that provided a free pattern on how to crochet an amigurumi Stitch from the Disney movie Lilo & Stitch. That one pin is the most re-pinned pin on my Pinterest account. People are still re-pinning that Stitch crochet pattern to this very day. I had to disable all e-mail notifications because I grew tired of my inbox getting clogged with so many notices of people re-pinning that one pin. Especially since I didn’t create the original pattern nor do I hold any legal rights to the Stitch character whatsoever.

As a photographer I feel that I really need to speak out on the issue of whether it’s proper to risk your life for a selfie. I’ll admit that there are times when even I take the occasional selfie, such as these.

photo1

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Million Mask March, Washington, DC, November 5, 2013

Trunk or Treat, October 30, 2016

A rare selfie taken at the #marylandfaeriefestival

photo2

At least I’m standing on solid ground when I take selfies. Some people take their selfies a bit further than I ever would. These people, such as Kirill Vselensky and Angela Nikolau, have received a huge following on Instagram because of their penchant for taking selfies from really high places (like the beam of a skyscraper or the edge of a tall mountain).

Then there is this photograph of three teenaged girls, which has made the rounds of Facebook a few times for the past month or so. The girls were standing on a train track when a train whizzed past them on the opposite track. They decided to take a selfie as the train went past while blowing their hair. At the same time another train that was on the same track was approaching the three girls from behind while they were busy taking their selfie. Technically the photograph is well-composed, complete with the light from the oncoming train in the background producing a halo effect around the girls’ heads. It’s the kind of photo that the girls would’ve been proud of.

Unfortunately they didn’t live to enjoy the result of making such a well-composed selfie. The engineers on that oncoming train tried tooting the horn to warn the girls to get off the track but, for some reason that will never be fully known, the girls failed to listen to that train horn. The engineers tried to stop the train but the train hit the girls before it was able to make a full and complete stop. All three girls died as a result.

Sadly this tragedy is not an isolated incident. An Instagram user known as drewsssik had also gained a huge following for his death defying selfies. In 2015 he attempted to make a selfie where it looked like he was falling to his death from a rooftop. He was supposed to be suspended by a rope but the rope snapped and he really fell to his death. He was only 17.

There are plenty of other examples where people have literally died while taking a selfie. Yes, it’s true that there are times throughout history when photographers have literally risked their lives in order to take certain shots. Some of these have become well known, such as this photograph showing the 1968 execution of a Vietcong officer during the Vietnam War. In this case these photographers are trying to reveal the truth about a certain issue or story to as wide an audience as possible. The world would’ve been worse off had these brave photographers not revealed what was going on in a certain situation.

In contrast, dying for a selfie is far more unnecessary than dying to reveal a truth because selfies tend to be more self-indulgent. The people who take these selfies are basically thrill-seekers who want to impress people with their abilities to take selfies while standing from a tall ledge or mountain top. They exhibit a devil-may-care attitude while thinking that they will wow people online with their latest thrilling stunt selfie only to make a fatal error in judgement and they end up having their families bury them.

In short, these thrill-seeking selfie takers are needlessly throwing their lives away for no good reason other than to take a shot that may go viral on Instagram and other social media sites for a very brief time until a different photo or video replaces that shot as the most viral thing on social media.

There are legitimate reasons for risking your life. One is to defend the homeland against a foreign invader. Another is to fight a repressive regime. A third is to try saving someone else’s life in a dangerous situation. Taking a selfie in a dangerous place is NOT a legitimate reason for risking your life.

Think about the three teenaged girls whom I wrote about at the beginning of this post who died needlessly for taking a selfie on a railroad track. Two of them were 15 while the third was 13. They had their lives cut off at a very early age. They will never get to experience such things as getting a driver’s license, falling in love for the first time, going to the senior prom, graduating from high school, going to college or trade school, getting their first job, getting married, having children, traveling to a different location they had never been before, or meeting all kinds of interesting people throughout their lives. They will never get to experience all that life has to offer because of a selfie.

On top of it, their parents had to bear the tragic burden of burying their own children and they will have to live with the sad knowledge that they have outlived their own children for the rest of their lives. Add to the fact that the engineers on that train who tried tooting the horn and stopping the train only to fail to stop that train before it hit the girls will have to live with that nightmare for the rest of their lives. They will continuously ponder what else they could have done to make those girls get off the track while living with such horrible guilt. All this will happen because of a selfie.

If, for some reason, you feel tempted into taking such death-defying selfie, please read and re-read this post before you start risking your life foolishly.

A selfie is not worth dying for.

Every now and then I lurk on a doll forum but I never post because, for a variety of reasons, I’m not much on fandoms in general. It was through one of those forums that I came across this American Girl fan account on Instagram that belongs to a 14-year-old girl and I personally found it alarming for reasons that had zero to do with dolls.

She has posted personal information such as this letter from her doctor regarding her medical diagnosis of mono and her treatment for depression and anxiety disorders.

And this one where she wrote about how her dealings with her Instagram account regarding trolls and haters have led her to cut herself and consider suicide yet said that this account is the only reason why she’s still alive and if she loses it she would die.

And this one, where she’s asking her followers to write a paragraph describing why they follow her account because, in her words, “Anything, really. I just want my account to mean something again.”

If that was my daughter posting this stuff online and I stumbled upon her Instagram account, the first thing I would do is immediately confiscate her cellphone and lock it up somewhere in a secure place. The second thing I would do is take her to a mental health professional. The third thing I would do is severely limit her online time to using a computer only under direct adult supervision and even then it would be solely to do her homework. It’s so obvious that this girl should not be left alone online because she’s posting stuff that could possibly come back to haunt her months—if not years—later, especially when it comes time to apply for college or even jobs. (It’s common knowledge that potential college administrators and employers will search a person’s online social media accounts for anything that they think is off-putting.)

Then there is the issue of the possibility that she’s opening herself to pedophiles and stalkers, especially since she frequently posts selfies on her account. There are so many stories of kids who go online before they are fully mature and they end up hooking up with some creepy pedophile (both online and in real life) with all kinds of predictable tragic results.

I’ve met some 14-year-olds who are mature and can generally be trusted to be responsible, especially when it comes to the Internet. Sadly this girl is not one of them. I think she’s one of those kids who needs to be closely monitored because she’s too immature to handle a social media platform like Instagram. There is also her mental health issue and it looks like her dealings with the trolls are worsening the depression and anxiety that she already suffers from. Her parents really need to confiscate her phone for a few years and return it to her once she reaches 17 or 18 because it’s so obvious that she simply can’t handle it.

http://www.nablopomo.com

Normally I would save links like this for my weekly Link-O-Rama page but I’m writing a separate rant just this once because I feel this asshole deserves special attention. Here are the details, as taken from the DIY Photography site.

If you were to take a screen shot of someone’s Instagram account and try selling it, two things would happen. The first is that you’d be told you’re violating the copyright of the photographer whose photo you’re selling, and secondly you’d be laughed at. Extensively.

It turns out, though, that if you’re famous enough you can take such a screen shot and not only bypass copyright but also make a fortune doing so.

The secret: slap some text on it.

Richard Prince has been using this method and some of his “artwork” is said to have been sold for $100,000.

This form of lazy “art” becomes even more infuriating when you realize that in addition to selling (if you’d say stealing, I’m not sure I’d disagree) photos that do not belong to him and without the knowledge or consent of the owners, Prince also removed the accompanying captions.

You can find the rest of the story here, along with one of the victims of this guy’s antics. Of course she’s not seeing a single dime in profit from her Instagram post being used like this without her prior knowledge or consent, even though that canvas based on her Instagram post has already been sold to an art collector for thousands of dollars.

I also found Richard Prince’s official website, which has no contact information posted anywhere on it. (He probably doesn’t want to get any hostile e-mails from the people whose Instagram photos he ripped off.) According to articles like the one in the Gothamist, this exhibition of so-called “original art” is currently on display at the Frieze Art Fair in New York City. And here is the Frieze Art Fair’s Contact page in case you want to let them know how you feel about them exhibiting Richard Prince’s work.

UPDATE (May 23, 2015): Richard Prince is trending on Facebook as of this writing. One artist named Lynn Cartia has announced that she has appropriated one of Prince’s own paintings, did some digital alterations of it, and she plans to put it on sale both online and in her gallery as well. There has been no response from Richard Prince yet on the appropriation of his art for someone else’s financial gain (which is what he’s doing to a few Instagram users).

UPDATE (May 30, 2015): Among Richard Prince’s victims is Missy Suicide, whose Instagram photo was appropriated with new captions added then printed out and put on sale for $90,000. Missy Suicide has announced that she’s selling the same print as Prince (which was based on her photo), in the same size (67 x 55 inches), with the same materials (inkjet on canvas). The difference is that she’s charging only $90 instead of Prince’s $90,000 asking price. She is also donating the proceeds to the Electronic Freedom Foundation. You can purchase the $90 print right here.

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