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Ramadan

This week the Internet lost its mind for three reasons—two of which were legitimate and the other will have you go WTF?!?

The first legitimate reason was the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, which is a decision that is so controversial and such a hot flashpoint among the Israelis and Palestinians that the vast majority of other countries prefer to have their embassies stay put in Tel Aviv. A group of mostly unarmed Palestinians peacefully protested that embassy opening and it led to Israeli troops firing weapons on them, killing and injuring many Palestinians. Of course this brutal attack on unarmed protesters were rightfully condemned on social media and in real life. There were even a group of Jewish protesters who blocked a major thoroughfare in DC in protest against what happened to the Palestinians.

The second legitimate reason why the Internet blew up was over this video that had suddenly gone viral for the most insane reason. Basically a New York lawyer named Aaron Schlossberg was in a local fast food place where he heard some employees speaking Spanish amongst themselves and he literally exploded in this crazy rage that was caught on video, uploaded online, and suddenly went viral.

Then this photo surfaced of Schlossberg attending a rally in New York City in May, 2017 where he’s standing next to a man holding a sign that’s written in Hebrew. This guy goes off on a couple of fast food workers for speaking Spanish amongst themselves because he believes that everyone should be speaking English since they are in America yet he has no problem with standing next to a guy with a sign that’s also written in a foreign language (Hebrew).

An earlier video from 2016 have also surfaced on Twitter where Schlossberg called a white man from Massachusetts “an ugly fucking foreigner.”

Since that time Schlossberg has had to deal with trolls giving his law firm negative reviews on Yelp, someone starting a GoFundMe page that would raise enough money to hire a mariachi band and a taco truck that arrive outside of his office, being kicked out of his office space, and having to dodge reporters by cowering under his oversized umbrella.

I can understand why the Internet went in an uproar over those two stories. Having military troops firing heavy artillery at mostly peaceful unarmed protesters is wrong. Adam Schlossberg is a total asshole for thinking that he has the right to publicly bully anyone whom he thinks is a foreigner (with the exception of anyone who speaks Hebrew, which is a foreign language just like Spanish) even though his targets are basically law-abiding people who just want to go on with quietly living their lives.

But the third story this week is one that has also gotten as much attention as the other two and it has me totally annoyed: Does a certain sound clip sound like the word “Yanny” or the word “Laurel?” I first heard about this when one of my Facebook friends posted this sound clip on her wall asking what does it sound like. Half of us answered “Laurel” while the other half answered “Yanny.” Okay I thought it sounded innocuous.

But then this whole Laurel or Yanny sound bite exploded on the Internet to the point where people are actually spending time arguing over what is the actual word being spoken. It has gotten mainstream media attention. The U.S. military issued an apology over a tasteless joke conflating bombing the Taliban in Afghanistan with Laurel or Yanny.

It reminds me of a similar argument three years ago over the colors of a certain dress and I found that argument to be just as annoying as this current argument over a sound bite. I have no problem with people being passionate over the recent bloodshed in Gaza or Aaron Schlossberg because those are legitimate issues. But if you’re risking longtime close relationships over your stance on a stupid issue like Laurel or Yanny, you are a pretty pathetic person who needs to step away from the computer and go outside for a while (while leaving your mobile devices indoors).

Ironically I found this very interesting article on Snopes about the origins of the Laurel or Yanny debate and how it’s scientifically possible for two people listening to the same audio to hear different words. But this debate does NOT deserve to have as great importance as the killings in Gaza or the openly public racist rants of Aaron Schlossberg.

And, no, I have no intention of divulging whether I really heard Laurel or Yanny because I am really not in a mood for a drawn-out debate on something that’s totally frivolous like the Laurel or Yanny issue.

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Cinco de Mayo

The haunting photography of a serial killer.

Martin Luther King’s friend and photographer was also an informant for the FBI.

Amazon Key flaw lets couriers stay in your home unnoticed.

This clever new font, Braille Neue, combines braille with Latin and Japanese alphabets.

To solve America’s housing crisis, build public housing.

The labor of bringing a baby into Appalachia.

How to spot a fake Instagram influencer.

Restricting abortion access is class warfare.

Here’s a reminder that Donald Trump is a sociopath.

Three-year-old scrawls on furniture cushions, mom embroiders them.

Soon you’ll be able to make anything. It’ll change politics forever.

Childfree is a legitimate choice.

Southern California has the resources to solve homelessness. It chooses not to.

A Superman super fan is “obsessed” with buying memorabilia.

Segregation’s constant gardeners: How white women kept Jim Crow alive.

Transgender World War II veteran comes out as a woman at age 90.

Gigs are no longer just for musicians: How the Gig Economy is creating a society of starving artists.

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Passover

Frida Kahlo, Amelia Earhart, Katherine Johnson and other historic women are being made into Barbie dolls.

We are isolating ourselves online and it’s making us politically dumb.

How a democracy dies.

One man’s story about the time that his father fought the CIA’s secret war in Laos.

10 things to know about artist Suzanne Valadon.

The religious right isn’t doing much for religion.

A white mother went to Alabama to fight for civil rights. The Klan killed her for it.

Palestinians stand up to Israel. Will the world follow suit?

Botcheck.me is a browser plugin that predicts whether a Twitter user is a bot.

1984 quotes that are horrifyingly relevant today.

Why it’s time to cut ties with the digital oligarchs and rewire the web by ordinary people instead of corporations.

Why this brown woman is breaking up with the Democratic Party.

You can reuse old resistors as jewelry charms.

The Koch brothers are the cities’ new obstacles to building broadband.

Why the lost kingdom of Patagonia is a live issue for Chile’s Mapuche people.

A conservative estimate on how many animals have died for the sake of Damian Hirst’s art.

E.T. stars in an adorable new picture book and he’s never looked cuter.

What both sides are missing about Net Neutrality.

19 YouTube comments you’ll see on every music video.

10+ translation fails that will have you rolling on the floor laughing.

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St. Patrick's Day

Twenty facts about the Amish you never knew before.

A look at the unwelcome revival of “race science.”

The Simple Life Manifesto and how it could save us.

These shirts are every thought people of color have refrained from saying to white people.

Eight cosplayers share their tips, tools, and ingenuity.

Geek Squad’s relationship with the FBI is cozier than we thought.

Five hacks for identifying legit (or not) news sources.

Margaret Thatcher sold off public housing to create “the dignity of ownership” and today 40% of that housing is owned by gouging landlords.

Nine at-home exercises that reduce knee pain.

Are you ready to consider that capitalism is the real problem?

A UN official reacts with shock when he toured Alabama’s destitute black communities.

Puerto Rico’s humanitarian crisis takes on new urgency with alarming death counts.

A list of the 11 best concert films of all time.

Redneck Revolt is recruiting working-class white people to destroy the very idea of white culture.

The socially deviant and provocative digital art of Waldemar Von Kozak.

Four warning signs you’re being gas-lighted.

Crowdtap provides the only job a robot couldn’t do.

Amazon workers ask “$100 billion man” Jeff Bezos: where’s my cut?

Sadly but frankly, Donald Trump is not going anywhere.

Fascism runs in one person’s American family.

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Women are calling to an end to sexual harassment in the animation industry. 

To save Net Neutrality, we must build our own Internet.

When blue chips fall like dominoes.

The deranged Twitter thread that proves that establishment liberals have lost their minds.

Why we need to appreciate the talents and abilities of the quiet introverted ones.

The mainstream media quietly erases the role NATO played in bringing slave markets to Libya.

Here’s the line-up of liars you can thank when the economy crashes.

Four WTF lessons the world teaches us about sexualizing teens.

An Internet entrepreneur makes a video expressing how shocked he is that he was sued for stealing a copyright owner’s work.

The myth that college graduates make the best employees.

Medicare for all is not socialized medicine.

Most of America’s terrorists are white and not Muslim.

Facebook’s security chief says that his company’s security is like a college campus but they face threats like a defense contractor.

All of these women of color are badder than Taylor Swift.

Punks and metalheads are infiltrating the system by winning political office.

Walt Disney World is anything but magical for its employees.

Here’s an online trove of historic sewing patterns and costumes.

An essay on being biracial without identity issues.

The 11 most unintentionally hilarious religious paintings.

“Protest Matters” museum shows what resistance looks like.

DIY rebels are working to become the decentralized online alternatives to the Internet tech giants.

Why engagement rings should be banned.

Cornel West on the sad legacy of Barack Obama.

The 10 most socialistic countries in the world.

The Boston Public Library will digitize and put online 200,000 vintage records.

Africans are being sold at Libyan slave markets. Thanks, Hilliary Clinton.

Here are some facts and questions about that Nazi the New York Times failed to note.

A dog called Odin survived the California wildfires after refusing to abandon his goats.

White newspaper journalists exploited racial divisions to help build the GOP’s southern firewall in the 1960s.

The plutocrats are pursuing Internet censorship and they are barely even hiding it.

Revisiting the Greenbelt towns, a forgotten 1930s attempt at American Utopia.

Why the fall of the House of Clinton may trigger domino effect worldwide.

The military is burning art from Guantanamo that the world should see.

The driverless revolution may exact a political price.

This normal-looking house is actually a modern hobbit hole in disguise.

Reaganomics killed America’s middle class.

The retaliatory state: How Trump is turning government into a weapon of revenge.

MLK Jr. quotes about capitalism that Dodge didn’t include in their Super Bowl truck ad.

How the Right is mainstreaming the Holocaust-denying fringe.

Believe it or not there was a time when the National Rifle Association actually supported gun control.

A series of photographs show the effects of nuclear bomb testing has had on a remote area of Kazakhstan.

A free tutorial on how to turn dollar store tea lights into the cutest snowman Christmas ornaments.

How the deranged took over America and why they may be here to stay.

There’s a cop who calls himself the “Riot King” of St. Louis and his behavior is scarier than his name.

Serialized television has become a disease.

A Tumblr user shares how naughty her great-great-grandmother was back in 1890.

Here is how you can create a professional camera rig for $200.

The history of Russian involvement in America’s race wars.

Study by MIT economist says that the U.S. has regressed to a Third World nation for most of its citizens.

A stock analyst downgraded Chipotle for paying its workers too much. That tells you everything wrong with the economy right now.

The anti-Trump resistance forgets that George W. Bush is a war criminal.

Paper cutouts turn landmarks across the globe into scenes of temporary amusement.

TrumpsHair is the site that lets you add Trump’s hair to anything.

Photos show the North Korea that neither Donald Trump nor the Western media wants the world to see.

How a narcissistic brand of nationalism is taking over the United States.

The deadly consequences of militarizing the local police force.

This Arab illustrator is empowering women through art.

Harvey Weinstein and the economics of consent.

Decline and fall: how American society unravelled.

How millions of white Americans bought into a racist myth.

The reason why Harvey Weinstein is the beginning of a new backlash against sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape.

Brad Pitt talks about his side venture as an artist.

Banning terrorists won’t stop terrorism.

10 stories about Donald Trump you won’t believe are true.

6 ways to break the hypnotic spell of the mainstream media.

This is what it looks like when the president asks people to snitch on their neighbors.

Make these spooky masking tape mummy hands.

Chinese textile firms are increasingly using North Korean factories to take advantage of cheaper labor across the border while the resulting clothes still sport the “Made in China” label.

Why do so many super rich despise the poor?

Disabled and scraping by in the underground economy.

Seven weird side effects of President Trump that nobody saw coming.

“Magic yarn” wigs delight thousands of kids with cancer.

Straight people don’t exist, new research says.

The 50 best protest songs of all time.

How the Nazis used Jim Crow Laws as the model for their race laws.

The lie that poverty is a moral failing was buried a century ago. Now it’s back.

How to turn your passions into retirement income.

A brief dictionary to help you understand the terminology that the US far right uses.

Brexit, Trump, and sexual harassment are all united by the same chauvinism.

Inside Russia’s alliance with white nationalists across the globe.

How to spot and stop fake news.

A free tutorial on how to make your own gnomes from champagne or wine corks.

There’s a word for the state of American Democracy: Kakistocracy.

It’s time to stop sympathizing with Ivanka Trump.

Nikita Khrushchev’s granddaughter says that Trump uses the term “fake news” in the same way that Stalin once used the term “enemies of the people.”

Black Friday is about to become a victim of the retail apocalypse.

Meet 15 unique animals that you’ll have a hard time believing are real.

6 Civil War myths everyone believes that are really total bullshit.

10 examples of Donald Trump unraveling before the unraveling began.

American Flag

Let’s take a moment to remember the sacrifices our armed troops have made for this country on this Veterans Day holiday.

Now let’s go on to the links for this week.

A U.S. military veteran speaks out on the issue of whether NFL players should be allowed to take a knee or be required to stand during the playing of the national anthem.

NFL players never used to stand for the national anthem before 2009, when the NFL switched it as a marketing strategy to make the athletes look more patriotic.

Here are some ways people disrespect the flag daily based on flag code.

Niger is the perfect example of the US state of perma-war.

How Twitter killed the First Amendment.

Sorry, but Haribo gummies are reportedly made with slave labor.

Interesting and colorful paintings made with controlled pours.

Artist shows how people in other professions react when asked for free stuff.

How to be an artist, according to Bauhaus master Josef Albers.

Artists who caught companies and fake artists shamelessly copyright their work and selling it.

White people commit the most heinous crimes, so why is America terrified of black men?

11th-century herbal remedy guide now digitized and online.

Wall Street got a bailout, why not Puerto Rico?

One man’s hobby is to Photoshop himself into various celebrity photos in a hilarious way.

Facing poverty, adjunct professors in America turn to sex work and sleeping in cars.

How to master color theory.

Trumpism run amok: How Alabama’s GOP runoff explains the brave new world.

Profile of an American city where the government barely exists.

Is this the end of the job as we know it?

Ta-Nehisi Coates explains why America should have seen Trump coming.

Leonardo da Vinci’s bizarre caricatures and monster drawings.

Hurricane Maria started in 1898: how America spent more than a century brutalizing Puerto Rico.

The United Nations says that robots could destabilize the world through war and unemployment.

How many Palm Beach mansions does a Wall Street tycoon need? As many as destroying America’s hometown newspapers can buy him.

Smithsonian digitizes and lets you download 40,000 works of Asian and American art for free.

Neoliberalism: the idea that swallowed the world.

How Women’s Suffrage leaders left out black women.

Arnold Schwarzenegger to Neo-Nazis: Your heroes are losers.

As young galleries seek alternatives to art fairs, a promising solution has emerged.

Why can’t white supremacists confront the fact that the source of their economic problems are white economic elites?

It’s time to stop coddling the Confederacy.

Fort Morgan J.C. Penney closing means the end of a woman’s 65-year career at the store.

A look at the oldest photos ever taken in the United States.

The case for naming and shaming white supremacists.

A new book makes the provocative proclamation that there is no such thing as a gifted child and adults can help almost any child become gifted.

Not only was Sylvia Plath a talented poet but she was a talented visual artist as well.

The best free PDF editor for Mac, Windows, and Linux when you’re in a bind.

How did we treat our monuments to white supremacists when they weren’t our white supremacists.

Vibrant mushroom arrangements photographed by Jill Bliss.

Take a tour of Riyadh’s women-only makerspace.

An open letter to fellow white Americans.

A humorous look at the worst fashion trend of every decade starting with the 1900s.

Years after Syd Barrett’s death, there are two attempts to make retro-style animated music videos to Barrett’s song “Effervescing Elephant.”

DC’s legendary punk label Dischord Records makes its entire catalogue free to stream.

A look at Gay Monopoly, a vintage boardgame from 1983.

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