The Atlantic: The Divine Origins of the Horny Chain Text. ” At this point in my life, I’m well aware of the unpleasant things that can happen to a person if she doesn’t forward a chain message: She can die, or she can miss out on a chance to make a fortune, or she can disappoint her Father in heaven, or she can have a totally sexless year. These consequences have been threatened for centuries in paper letters, emails—and, recently, smutty, emoji-studded text messages, typically timed to a holiday or major event. They are gross, they are phonetically challenging, and they are extremely compelling.” I guess there are some advantages to getting old; I have never seen one of these.
MEL Magazine: An Oral History of Rickrolling. “Rickrolling is a bait-and-switch prank where someone posts a link that seems relevant to whatever discussion they’re having, but then the link redirects to Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up.’ The prank of doing a bait-and-switch on 4chan is one of the oldest pastimes of the site.”
Slate: How Smartphone Cameras Changed the Way We Document Our Lives. “Having a camera always in your pocket has allowed us to take photos of pretty much anything—the number of photos we’ve collectively taken doubled between 2013 and 2017, from 6 billion to 1.2 trillion.”
BuzzFeed News: Twitter And Facebook’s Race To The Bottom. “Ultimately, Facebook and Twitter descended into chaos by their own doing. Over the course of 10 years, they made a series of misguided product decisions that transformed them from online amusement parks into hellscapes. Here’s how it happened.”
SC Magazine UK: EXCLUSIVE: Free resource launched to teach infosec researchers a thing or two from the past. “The Octopi Hacking Archive is a totally free to access online resource aimed at security researchers and members of the broader infosec community. This truly massive chunk of computer history is being put online to bring the collected works of some of the earliest hacking groups into one archive.”
The Verge: The 84 biggest flops, fails, and dead dreams of the decade in tech. “The world never changes quite the way you expect. But at The Verge, we’ve had a front-row seat while technology has permeated every aspect of our lives over the past decade. Some of the resulting moments — and gadgets — arguably defined the decade and the world we live in now. But others we ate up with popcorn in hand, marveling at just how incredibly hard they flopped.”
Ars Technica: Why the 2010s were the Facebook Decade. “Love it or hate it, then, Facebook is in arguably a major facet of life not just in the United States but worldwide as we head into the next roaring ’20s. But how on Earth did one social network, out of the many that launched and faded in the 2000s, end up taking over the world?”