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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    On Dec. 23, a YouTube video that I'd posted in 2008 had 473 views to its name. The video was an inside joke, a clip I shot myself of a friend talking about telegrams on a balcony. It was a parody of rapper Cam'ron's infamous callout of 50 Cent, and I believe I knew everybody who had ever watched it.

    When I woke up four days later, "It's Gonna Be a Hot Beach Week" had climbed to more than 60,000 views.

    Was it friends? Family? Coincidence? Did Cam'ron reenter the national limelight? None of the above.

    I bought the views. And it only cost a little more than $50.

    I purchased the views at a number of YouTube view-buying sites, all of which I'd learned about after publishing a story on a number of major music channels losing what amounted to billions of YouTube views right before Christmas.  

    A litany of emails flowed into my inbox in the days that followed its posting. All of them alluded to the size and scope of the YouTube view-buying industry. They said that view buying was rampant—that it happened in and around all corners of the site.

    "Every artist that I know of uses this service in some kind of way,” one individual with experience in the view-botting industry told me.

    “It's easy, and it's inexpensive. That's just the reality. Everybody cheats in some form or fashion. Sometimes you get caught."

    Knowing that it's better to show than tell, I set out to find out. Just how easy is it to buy YouTube views, and what exactly happens when you've done it?

    ***

    A guy named Jacob told me that I should buy my views from YTView, a site owned by someone known on Skype as KenzoTanaki. The site promises "real views," "higher retention" between 60 and 100 percent," and claims to have delivered more than 400 million views. A cartoon drawing of Psy doing his "Gangnam Style" dance features prominently on the site's homepage.

    "I've seen his potential on some videos," Jacob told me, adding that Kenzo was well respected in Black Hat World, a certifiably unethical Web forum where talk of fake views and automated Facebook likes often occurs.

    I sought Jacob out for direction because he was the one who gamed the song "Pickles" to the tune of 8 million views in eight days back in the beginning of December. The song was awful—a poorly produced electronic dance track played under a repetitious "Pickles, pickles, I love pickles" chorus—but Jacob had turned it into a weeklong hit. It was something he did just for fun, he told me when we chatted over Skype, something to show off like a portfolio or résumé.

    "I blast some tests sometimes," he said. "I try to prove [to] some ppl how its easy to get on top."

    I went to YTView with the intention of buying 50,000 views from Kenzo. The process was absurdly easy: Click on any of the homepage's eight YouTube options, reselect your "package" in a drop-down menu, then enter in the URL for the video that you'd like to boost. From there, you're whisked away to a PayPal page and told to enter in your username and password. Once you have one, the final step is as simple as pressing "Pay Now."

    Altogether, purchasing the views took 45 seconds. The waiting is the hardest part.

    ***

    I'd actually chatted with Kenzo a few times thanks to an introduction I'd received through Jacob. He told me that he was from Malaysia and had worked on view-buying campaigns for a number of artists in the music industry but that it wasn't worth it for him to give up their names.

    "Their manager" is generally the main contact in negotiations with the artists, he told me in a series of messages delivered in broken English, "but most don't publish their identity. They just ask to blast this vid and that—50 percent first. After I'd finish the job, they pay the 50 percent balance."

    Jacob said the main reason why people buy views is to "get to the top as soon as possible"—to rack up enough views to get into the conversation early. Nobody wants to watch a video that's only run up 1,300 views; 30,000 looks much better.

    "From there,” he said, “you get real views and don't need to bot."

    Though no substantiated history of selling YouTube views exists, it's believed that the practice began in 2005 and developed into a substantial business practice sometime around 2009 or 2010, when a former YouTube coding and system maintenance employee known these days as SpK started gaming the system and seeing big returns on rising view counts.

    Today, as Jacob and Kenzo both mentioned, view buying is a multi-million dollar industry, one that they say has helped make the careers of many notable music acts. The paper trail, however, is infuriatingly thin, and few involved want to implicate anybody else in the industry, for fear of their safety and their wallets.

    "[My clients] do it so that they can get some credibility for themselves and their brand," said Fletcher Batts, a social media marketer who works with a number of unsigned artists in the rap world. Batts owns a website called Hip Hop Encounter, which Google diagnosed as being ridden with malware on Dec. 30, and until quite recently, ViralShowPR, a website that offers YouTube views at a 1,000-for-$20 clip, among other things.  

    "That's the reason that I was selling it. It helps unsigned or less exposed artists get a leg up. Signed artists have millions of views. This way you can start with a couple hundred thousand and at least look credible. If you've already already got 10,000 views up there, people are going to click through, because it's all about the appeal and the marketing."

    Batts wouldn't provide the Daily Dot with the names of any artists he'd worked with but asserted that too many of them failed to use the service the way that they should have.

    "There are some dumb artists around there who will use our numbers as their sole promotion," he added. "They're just buying our numbers so they can brag. Those are the dumb ones. That's probably the majority of the clients we do have, the ones who will keep buying and buying. We're not going to say, 'Look, stop doing this,' because they don't care. They just want to brag. It ain't about promo for the video. It's about saying that they got on World Star Hip-Hop."

    That's something that Jacob echoed when I told him that I wanted to buy some views.

    "Not everything that gets views will get popular," he wrote. "That is the thing I learned in view botting."

    My package of 60,000 showed up Dec. 26—a late Christmas present that I'd received from a stranger.

    ***

    YTView is hardly the only option when it comes to buying views on YouTube. Thanks to a variety of rank and files that resemble the pecking order of a drug ring on The Wire, people can turn to any number of sites that offer views for a wide variety of price points.

    Options abound at sites like YouTube-Boost; ViralShowPR, Batts' old site; and BulkYouTube, which lists a Skyper named Safal914 as its main contact. Batts wouldn't use him often, but he tapped into Safal's business from time to time. "Whenever I needed to do immediate views," he said. "Like if somebody needed views in 48-72 hours. I charged extra for those services."

    When I contacted Safal, he asked me in severely broken English if I came to him to talk about "video deletion" and then asked me for my username on Fiverr, a site where resellers offer ridiculously discounted deals on views—some of which occasionally come at a 50 percent clip from the rates people at the aforementioned sites can offer.

    It's there that Tapangoldy, whose involvement we covered in December, first made his mark. Jacob said he knew him from something he called "the famous gig," an offer Tapangoldy made that promised to deliver an excess of 20,000 views for the price of $10.

    "Those are crackhead prices," Batts responded when I brought the offer up to him. "That's the kind of offer that'll net orders on top of orders."

    ***


    Jacob and Batts both said that you can tell if a YouTube view is faked by the place in which YouTube says that the view was accrued. I found that to be true.

    Consider this: A 19-second YouTube video of a friend impersonating a rapper accrued more than 60,000 views in a span of four days, and only 4,000 views came from the United States. The countries making up the remaining 56,000: Russia, Ukraine, India, Poland, Romania, Thailand, and Indonesia.

    "We would do a Rent IP address," Batts explained.

    "You can rent a couple thousand IP addresses anywhere on the Internet. You get those IP addresses, and you put the video onto a website. It doesn't matter where that website is [Batts said that you could use Facebook, Instagram, or any standard website] as long as the video's been embedded onto the site. You grab the embed code and make the video auto play, so whenever somebody goes to that site, the video goes to autoplay. You cycle through these IP addresses, and you send the IPs to that website. Every time it goes through, you're getting a hit for your video.

    "These are low retention hits because you're getting two or three seconds on it before YouTube registers a hit as a view. That's one method, and that method hasn't been detected or deleted."

    View manipulators have to spread those IPs out or else the view demographics could get the video flagged. Batts said that the provider who allegedly got everybody in trouble the week before Christmas was using a different technique that generated views from only a few countries, all of which were located in Asia and parts of Eastern Europe.

    "They weren't even U.S. views, which is a telltale sign that they are fake views," Batts said. "At least spread them around or make them global. These were all targeted in one specific area. That was the red flag."

    ***

    Not every YouTube view purchase is as clean as cutting cheesecake. I also tried to purchase another 50,000 views for a Daily Dot video that found me trying to successfully complete the Cinnamon Challenge. The video went from 103 views to 22,821 before stalling out indefinitely.

    I told Kenzo the order was incomplete two days after making it and he told me to relax. "I know," he wrote. "That's why I didn't send you a message like 'Your views is delivered.'"

    I checked in again two nights later.

    "Wait 24 hours," he responded. “If still none increase, I will refund you $30."

    Was he on to me? Hard to tell, but there was a significant change in the man's tune this time around. I've resigned myself to the possibility that "The Daily Dot Cinnamon Challenge Anniversary Spectacular" may forever sit at 22,821 views or experience a slow ascent on the merit of this story. Still, the facts are facts: 7,401 of the 22,821 views come from Russia, 6,276 come from Ukraine, and 1,074 from Poland. Only 521 views originated in the United States.  

    Who was watching me huff cinnamon from the depths of Eastern Europe? Nobody. Nobody legitimate at all. But that's not what YouTube's analytics will have you believe. According to the video’s official stats, more than 15,000 people tuned in.

    In the eyes of my mother, that makes me almost as big as Bieber.

    YouTube did not respond to the Daily Dot's request for comment.

    Note:  I made the Cam'ron parody video private before publishing this story in an effort to respect the privacy of the video's subject, who does not wish to enter into the public conversation.

    Illustration by Jason Reed


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    Reddit and 4chan have discovered the most difficult children's game ever created.

    In Winnie the Pooh Home Run Derby, you play as Pooh himself. The objective of the Disney-produced game is to get as many home runs as you can by using the mouse to move the bear around home plate and the clicker to swing the bat against pitchers like Eeyore and Tigger. Sounds pretty simple, right?

    You're dead wrong.

    "I can't even tell where the fuck I'm supposedly swinging the bat," vark675 commented on the front-page Reddit post about the game. "Apparently the ball is going under it, but there's like no depth perception in this, so fuck I if I can figure it out."

    About 500 other redditors also tried their hand at the Adobe Flash game, which has been played more than 86,000 times on Flashrelax. The results are hilarious.

    "Rage quit in minutes," blackfunk commented. "That mother fucking Eeyore."

    Other redditors called the game the "2013 QWOP," a reference to the difficult Internet game where users use four keys to control a runner to the end of finish line.

    You be the judge (if the game doesn't load at first, keep refreshing the page).


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    Throughout December, Seinfeld fans on Twitter have been tickled to the tune of Modern Seinfeld, a Twitter account run by two New Yorkers that puts the cast of comedian Jerry Seinfeld's iconic 1990s sitcom show under the lights of the modern world.

    But the popular parody account isn't the only Twitter feed to fit Seinfeld's exploits into a different era. Shortly after Jack Moore and Josh Gondelman's Modern Seinfeld popped up, a new account opened in its same image.

    The account is called Ancient Seinfeld, and it's bringing many of the same laughs in a nearly prehistoric manner.

    "My feed is anti-pop," Matt Grasso, the screenwriter in New York who created Ancient Seinfeld, told the Daily Dot. "There's nothing hip or trendy about it. Riddled with historical references, it's a little more difficult for people to grasp. However, only on Ancient Seinfeld would Kramer and Newman drink pheasant blood in hope of becoming immortal. That's the Seinfeld world I want to live in."

    And so Grasso will. Since creating the account Dec. 12, Grasso has posted 152 different historical plot lines in the Seinfeld mold, with references Jerry's impossibly high dating standards, Kramer's wacky conspiracy theories, and Elaine's horrendous dance moves.

    Which is all basically to say that the settings may change, but the sequences will forever remain the same.

    "George could barely cope in 1996! He's not equipped to handle any era, but it's a lot of fun watching him try. In Ancient Seinfeld, he's been auctioned off as a slave but no one bids on him; he's gone blind from eating strange berries; he's become King of the Moops only to discover that there are no Moops."

    That's something we've seen with Modern Seinfeld, as well: among other traits that foil the fab four, George can never quite handle his business. Grasso said the big difference between the two feeds is the fact that Ancient Seinfeld doesn't have the wonders of pop culture on his side.

    "I'm limited in the guest stars that I use," he said. "While Modern Seinfeld gets the Malin Akermans and Rachel Bilsons of the world, I'm stuck with folks like Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Attila the Hun.

    "I also can't get the 'Kramer uses FaceTime?! So do I!' response from my audience. We can take a standard Seinfeld plot and include words like Pinterest and Instagram and voila, we have Modern Seinfeld. I think it's a comment on society today that technology has become more important than relationships.

    "George is going to mess things up with his girlfriend no matter whether he can program his DVR or not."

    That applies to all eras of women, even the ones George and Jerry used to compare rather apathetically to Helen of Troy.

    Photo via Ancient Seinfeld/Twitter


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    Angela Trimbur is a one-woman flash mob—and she's showing up everywhere you'd most expect her.

    Trimbur is the leading lady behind "Dance Like Nobody's Watching: Airport," the second installment to a Hello Giggles series that finds the Los Angeles-based actress setting up a camera and going hog-wild on a makeshift dance floor while innocent bystanders and onlookers smirk and go jaws-to-the-floor in amazement.

    Performed to the tune of The Black Angels' "Telephone," "Dance Like Nobody's Watching: Airport" is a 2-minute psychedelic sock hop, one that's already been seen more than 190,000 times in two days.

    The way Trimbur describes it, the performance was necessary self-therapy after a bad case of the holiday blues.

    "I had a pretty lonely holiday," she wrote on Hello Giggles, where the video was first posted. "I didn't get to go home to see my fam this year & was really bummed, so I went to dance around people who got to do so on their way back from holiday vacay."

    "Dance Like Nobody's Watching: Airport" is hardly the first time that Trimbur's taken her oversized dance moves into the public facility. In April, 1 million people watched her move around a mall to the beat of Chromeo's"Fancy Footwork." Five months before that, a blonde Trimbur delighted 1.7 million viewers who tuned in to see her dance around a laundromat to Lykke Li's"I'm Good, I'm Gone."

    Photo via Hello Giggles/YouTube


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    With more than 72 hours of footage uploaded every minute, it’s physically impossible to keep track of the content on YouTube. But in YouTube Guide, the Daily Dot will curate its five favorite finds for each workday.

    1) James Farr, "Blink To The Future"

    What would the Doctor do if the TARDIS transformed into an '80s-era DeLorean? Along with Amy and Rory, they travel to the future to save their kids with a plethora of Doctor Who and Back to the Future nods.

    2) Pleated Jeans, "Misheard Song Lyrics: 2012 Edition"

    We may not always get the lyrics right on the first listen, but sometimes the results are better than the original words, as Pleated Jeans puts some of the most popular songs from 2012 in one video. Maybe just one more listen and we can shelve these songs for good.

    3) Ryan Greene, "100 Most Viewed YouTube Videos of 2012"

    If you're already feeling nostalgic for 2012 (and have about 20 minutes to spare), Ryan Greene put together the ultimate video of the top 100 videos of the past year, full of amateur and professional videos alike.

    4) RossCreations, "I Trust You"

    Perhaps putting trust in a bunch of strangers isn't the best idea. One person pulls the "trust fall" exercise on random people around town, but not many go out and catch him—or maybe they were just confused.

    5) Paula Papen, "eBay booboo and a fistful of snot"

    One mother decided to pull a prank (and have a laugh at the expense of her son) after he almost bought a $50,000 Mustang on eBay. He understandably freaks out before she tells him otherwise.

    Photo via James Farr/YouTube


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    Once “the proverbial family table” is set, everyone comes to “feast,” and the meal in question is the music of Leonard Cohen. So says Cohen’s road manager Joseph Carenza III, who has presided over Notes from the Road since July 2010, chronicling the travels of Cohen and company with photograph after photograph.

    In the new year, Carenza wants to take that Tumblr to another level. He says that while actually on tour, there was “no way I could honor people’s time and attention,” given all the things he had to do. Now that he has a bit more free time and a slightly more fleshed-out crew, he’s trying to think of ways to reach “outward.”

    I had wanted to interview Carenza and he had wanted to hear from me about different ways to use the Tumblr, so our conversation tilted back and forth between interviewee and subject. 

One model I brought up was the comparison between Barack Obama and the New York Times; I noted that the Times has taken a very cautious approach, setting up their slim main Tumblr, something for SXSWT magazine, and the modest but delightful Lively Morgue. Obama, by contrast, went all in.

    Other than Obama, Carenza can’t think of a Tumblr set up to represent one person with a cross-cultural appeal in any way similar to Leonard. “They don’t need Tumblr,” he says. “It gives you freedom because of that.”

    Carenza comes from a family of soccer players. His father was a member of the US Olympic Team, playing and scoring repeatedly in Munich in 1972. His grandfather is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Carenza played soccer in college, but he dropped out in his junior year to tour with punk and ska bands. A career followed.

    “The idea of the Old Ideas Tour was—originally—to follow the sun,” Carenza says. Cohen and company would go through the southern hemisphere when it was winter in the northern, returning to the northern hemisphere when things turned cold down south. But the tour turned out “the complete opposite,” including playing in Europe in the late fall and freezing accordingly.

    Carenza is trying to think of ways to empower local creatives on Tumblr in cities they’re already set to see—Paris, London, Oberhausen, Lucca, Manheim, Hamburg, Berlin, Odense—but he hasn’t settled on anything yet, though the idea of offering up a pair of tickets “and the chance to hang out backstage and eat chips” was floated. He mentioned the idea of everyone in the audience taking a photograph at the same point during a certain point in “Hallelujah” and posting the results. He thought of posting a podcast and talking with crew members and people from the band as they milled about, readying the figurative silverware for the literal show.

    If people hold up their phones or flipcams and record this song or that, Carenza doesn’t mind. Not only does refusing to confiscate phones decrease the annoyance factor of a concert a thousandfold, and not only does it serve as a form of advertising in its own regard, but “the show is better than the video, which is normally not the case. Come see the show. It’ll make that look like styrofoam.” Leonard “still wants to play four hours a night,” he says, “but there’s nothing we can do about that.”

    Leonard Cohen and friends return to the stage in Paris on June 18.

    By Evan Fleischer // Photos via Notes from the Road


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    Here at the Daily Dot, we swap GIF images with each other every morning. Now we’re looping you in. In the Morning GIF, we feature a popular—or just plain cool—GIF we found on Reddit, Canvas, or elsewhere on the Internet.

    Good vs. evil. Logic vs. emotion. Loved vs. loathed.

    Data vs. Wesley Crusher.

    Ours is a spiral galaxy, and this may be the most perfect representation of a geek's view of our  cosmos: opposites attracting and repulsing one another, on and on into infinity. Wesley Crusher, one of the least popular characters in science-fiction history, a whiny teacher's pet masquerading as a teen heart-throb; Data, a seemingly emotionless android with a hidden heart of gold. Partners and antagonists forever, locked in a fractal embrace vanishing into infinity.

    GIF via NotSafeForMork/Tumblr


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    Kaylee the kitten called in sick to work on Thursday morning, telling her boss she had suffered a home injury and was confined to bed rest. As proof of her mishap, she sent along a picture of herself in a “body cast.”

    “At first, I thought — a full body cast? This is really serious,” her employer Chad Mickelson tells The Fluffington Post. “Then I looked a little closer at the photo. I’m no doctor, but it kinda looks like a tube sock to me.”

    Via PseudoLiamNeeson.


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    By SAM WARLICK

    By all accounts, the past month's breakout hit on Twitter has been the viciously funny Modern Seinfeld, a re-imagining of the classic show as it might have dealt with life in 2013. Now, as a number of spinoff accounts are beginning to flesh out the concept in different directions, we present our attempt to head them off at the pass.

    It's Seinfeld Twitters for every niche: the Daily Dot's nine new versions of a show about nothing, about everything.


    Sam Warlick is a writer and comedian from Nashville, Tenn. He's bad at swimming and good at cooking.

    Photo by Thomas Hawk


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    2013 will be the year of the Fox.

    After rumors swirled that Megan Fox died, the personified wet dream joined Twitter to announce that she's actually alive. Adorned with a blue verified checkmark, @MeganFox first tweeted late Thursday.

    "I'm incredibly late to the party but I'm here nonetheless, so what now?," tweeted Fox to her 40,000 and growing followers. The apparent comedic powerhouse describes herself as a "Lover. Healer. Mother" in her Twitter biography. However, the Transfomers star currently follows zero people.

    Proving her social media prowess, Fox told her 31 million fans on Facebook that it is indeed her on Twitter. She originally started tweeting under @MeganFox516 (her birthday is May 16) because all variations of her name were taken. Her handle has since been changed to reflect her real name.

    Fox faced the usual Twitter orientation of crying and shaking fans asking for a follow back, people professing their love, and another person properly summing up what must be all celebrities’ feelings about joining Twitter.

    "Let the regret begin," tweeted Nate Erickson.

    Uh, welcome?

    Photo via Megan Fox/Twitter


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    It's not exactly Nas' "Ether," but it may be the best diss track that a New York City rapper has ever produced in response to a beef that originated on Twitter.

    21-year-old rapper Azealia Banks took her 140-character fight with like-minded wordsmith Angel Haze to the recording studio Friday, responding to Haze's vitriol and Thursday's"On the Edge" with a hard-bodied, cold-weathered track of her own, the Machinedrum-produced"No Problems."

    The track comes a full day after Banks and Haze engaged in some form of Twitter rap warfare that found the two young rappers disagreeing quite vocally about who in this world can properly claim they're "from New York."

    Banks, who's from Harlem, was apparently not too content to see Haze, a Detroit native, pen a song called "New York," one that features a chorus of "I run this town" on repeat. To combat, she shot the subtweet of the short year to 269,000 followers, writing "Seriously, if you were not born and raised in NY… DON'T CLAIM NY. YOU ARE NOT A NEW YORKER."

    Haze has since deleted most of her tweets from the kerfuffle but did note Friday afternoon that "bitch sounds like holiday heart rapping."

    "Strong ass Vingh Rhames [sic] faced bitch," she added.

    Actually, that's a pretty good jab.

    Photo via Azealia Banks/Facebook


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    With more than 72 hours of footage uploaded every minute, it’s physically impossible to keep track of the content on YouTube. But in YouTube Guide, the Daily Dot will curate its five favorite finds for each workday.

    1) AsapSCIENCE, "Amazing Facts to Blow Your Mind Pt. 2"

    With the help of props and a whiteboard presentation, AsapSCIENCE is back with their collection of amazing facts ranging from a health benefit of alcohol, how much of the world we walk in a lifetime and even that the brain named itself.

    2) The Onion, "Apple Promises To Fix Glitches In Map Software By Rearranging Earth's Geography"

    Instead of actually fixing the app, Apple went ahead to rearrange different streets, buildings and natural features so that they match the maps in the app in this Onion news piece.

    3) The Fine Brothers, "YouTubers React to Viral Videos, Ep. #2"

    The YouTubers are back to watch and answer questions on viral YouTube hits, and this time the Fine Brothers can ask Tay Zonday and other YouTubers about the video that made him a household name.

    4) Vsauce, "This Is Only Red"

    In honor of 2013, Vsauce discusses 13 different things including the concept of color constancy, which is when you think that you're viewing a larger variety of colors than you actually are.

    5) RocketChristmasTree, "Christmas Rocketree Part 2: The XMS Missiletoe"

    Now the the holidays have passed, what do you do with your Christmas tree? You could just throw it away or take a leaf from these guys, who attached rockets to their yearly tradition and shot it in the air.

    Photo via AsapSCIENCE/YouTube


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    Arnold Schwarzenegger still knows how to wow a crowd.

    While apparently doing press for his new movie The Last Stand Friday, the 65-year-old action star drove film critics around in a real-live tank.

    The former Governator, a tank driver in his Austrian army days, still evidently knows how to navigate the metal behemoth, as he was able to terminate a car.

    Photo by @JimmytotheO/Twitter


    Photo by @mrbeaks/Twitter


    Photo via @baddevin/Instagram


    The aftermath:

    Photo via @baddevin/Instagram


    Here's the view from inside the tank as Arnie drove it.

     

    Photo via @karawarner/Twitter

     


    Photo via @mrbeaks/Twitter

    And here's how he looked while piloting it.

    Photo via @baddevin/Instagram

    Two words: Bad. Ass.

    Photo by @germainlussier/Instagram


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    Every evening, the Daily Dot delivers a selection of links worth clicking from around the Web, along with the day's must-see image or video. We call it Dotted Lines.

    Above: Hank Green tells his (vlog)brother, John, 53 terrible jokes in 4 minutes.


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    An area cat named Twiskers is facing the ire of his social media followers this evening after it was discovered that he was artificially inflating the like counts on his Instagram photos by liking them from various accounts he’d set up.  

    “It’s shameful,” said Tom Detlund, a former-follower of the cat. “I was a huge Twiskers fan — he takes gorgeous landscapes — but when I found out he was boosting his like counts in fraudulent ways, I unfollowed immediately.”

    Twiskers has lost at least 12 followers since last night, according to social media tracking web sites.

    Via zulumeow.


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    With its two main actors landing lead roles in the Hobbit and Star Trek franchises, it’s not surprising that it’s taking a while for the third season of Sherlock to arrive. Unfortunately for the viewers of the BBC’s cult Sherlock Holmes adaptation, this hiatus could not have come at a worse time. 

    The third and final episode of season 2 (spoiler alert!) saw Sherlock fake his own death, leaving Watson behind to mourn him in ignorance—a storyline directly inspired by the demise of the original Sherlock Holmes, who stayed dead for a good 10 years before his fans convinced Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to revive him. 

    The fandom is "waiting on edge for the 3rd series," writes fandom-forecast. "Their sanity has yet to return, and it is unlikely it will ever completely heal even after the solution is provided."

    To say that Sherlock fandom is still going strong would be an understatement. One year on from the death of their beloved protagonist, Sherlock fans are just as active as they were the day after the episode aired. In fact, they’ve been out in full force this week, celebrating (or perhaps commiserating) the anniversary of Sherlock’s supposedly fatal fall. 

    Of course, they’d already developed various ways of coping with the pain. Here's what's been keeping the fandom busy for the past year.

     

    1) Getting Weird

    “When I first watched Sherlock I didn’t understand how people could get so obsessed with a show with only six episodes with such long hiatuses
    What did they do in between airings, I had asked myself
    Get weird
    Get weird is what they do”boredsociopath

    The Science of Johnlock/Tumblr

    We don’t mean weird in the derogatory sense here. But once the original mourning period had run its course, most Sherlock fans (particularly on Tumblr) had to find another outlet for their feels. In contrast to the many posts from people who were still experiencing regular Sherlock-based crying jags, a variety of 4chan-style GIF memes began to emerge. 

    Mischief Managed/Tumblr

    And along with the GIFs came the in-jokes. It’s normal for any subculture to develop a certain amount of references that are near-incomprehensible to outsiders, but Sherlock fandom seems to be especially expert in this regard.

    From the Sherlock character tea blends to Red Pants Monday to otters that look like Benedict Cumberbatch, the intense nature of Sherlock fandom has led to any number of fanworks and mini-communities that go much, much further than merely writing fanfic or rewatching old episodes.

    After all, this is just the latest development in the 120-year history of Sherlock Holmes fans—a group that still sees some of its members travel out on pilgrimages to see where Holmes first plunged over the Reichenbach Falls in 1891. 

     

    2) Cosplay

    Cosplayers have found their niche among many successful TV and movie fan bases, but Sherlock fandom’s particular area of expertise is ... corpse cosplay:

    iCosplay/Tumblr

    A brief glance at the Sherlock-cosplay Tumblr tag will tell you all you need to know about the sheer popularity of dressing up as Holmes and Watson (made easier by the fact that the only costuming requirements are, in a pinch, short hair and either a dark greatcoat or a grey knit sweater), but for some reason the idea of cosplaying Dead Sherlock has really caught on. 

     

    3) Fanart

    While Sherlock fans do like to embrace the ridiculous (case in point: this recording of someone playing the Sherlock theme music—very badly—on a recorder, currently with over 64,000 notes on Tumblr), there are some brilliantly serious and seriously brilliant fanartists out there as well.

    Marika Art/Tumblr

    Not to mention useful infographics like the Reichenbach Survival Guide, as well as the aforementioned Red Pants Monday.

     

    4) Conspiracy theories

    Since it’s a foregone conclusion that Sherlock will be resurrected at some point next season, the main thing people have to speculate about is how. The show is popular enough in the U.K. that several mainstream newspapers published their Sherlock Holmes survival theories the day after last episode aired on TV, but one year on the theories are still flying thick and fast online.

    And after 12 months of rewatching the six available episodes, the theories aren’t just restricted to how Sherlock faked his own death; Tumblr users like holey-fred-geddit have begun to use their deduction skills to figure out such details as the hidden meaning behind John Watson’s PIN code. There’s even a Sherlock conspiracy theory generator

     

    5) Graffiti

    Thanks to a fictional viral campaign in The Reichenbach Fall itself, real-world Sherlock enthusiast have been printing out “Moriarty was real” posters and scrawling “I believe in Sherlock Holmes” on bathroom walls and college desktops the world over: 

    Via Believers Are Everywhere/Tumblr


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    In Spotify Essentials, the Daily Dot curates custom playlists created by some of our favorite artists, staff writers, and Web community leaders. This week, Nick Divers of Tumblr’s Best Roof Talk Ever spins an uncanny love story using rare soul singles.

    In the early 1970's, American R&B was extremely popular in Britain. While Southern England followed the American charts into newer genres like funk and disco, Northerners still pined after rare records from soul music's earlier roots. As all-night dance clubs started popping up in cities like Manchester, Tunstall, and Blackpool, a subgenre was born. They called it Northern Soul.

    These clubs spun rare records—lost singles from the decade past—ignored by America's predominantly “white” radio. And because the parties lasted all night, the music consisted almost entirely of uptempo stompers, meant to be worn out until the sun came up.

    Soul music is my favorite American musical genre because it gives voice to the genuine human spirit. When compared to some of the music made today, it seems almost cheesy by comparison—but the honesty contained within the lyrics is only foreign because of how often we resist straightforwardness within our own selves. Northern soul conquers that with an overpowering amount of optimism.

    This playlist, A Northern Soul Love Story, is just that. It's a soul opera of sorts, telling the story of two people falling in love, conquering second thoughts, distance, and then confronting infidelity, breaking up, struggling to move on, and finally, finding reconciliation and a way back to each other. Though the lyrics will take you through the ups and downs of falling in love, the tempo will pave a road straight through your heart, block off the sidewalks, and throw an hour-long soul parade. 

    We have all found that it's often our best times that turn into our worst ones. Northern soul taught me that I was still allowed to dance through all of it.


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    With more than 72 hours of footage uploaded every minute, it's physically impossible to keep track of the content on YouTube. But in YouTube Guide, the Daily Dot will curate its five favorite finds for each workday.

    1) Ze Frank, "True Facts About The Seahorse"

    The seahorse is an aggressive floater based on a land horse (but minus the legs since they ran out of clay), looks weirder up close, and has to eat constantly in Ze Frank's latest look at different animal facts.

    2) HISHE, "How The Hobbit Should Have Ended"

    Gandalf is looking for someone to join him in a 48 frames per second adventure, and while it may have saved the characters in the Lord of the Rings trilogy a lot of trouble, it doesn't end so well for the Dwarves after he makes Bilbo destroy the Ring.

    3) AsapSCIENCE, "The Scientific Power of Thought"

    If you imagine it, it will be so, according to AsapSCIENCE as they explain how mentally preparing for something can make it happen just as quickly as someone who physically prepares for it.

    4) College Humor, "Batman vs. Cat Lady"

    Batman can thwart Catwoman just fine, but getting past the Cat Lady is a different story. He can't handle the overabundance of cats or the fleas, but manages pull a trick or two out of his sleeve.

    5) Soul Pancake, "Kid President Josh Groban Showdown!"

    After getting dissed by Josh Groban on Twitter, the Kid President sics his fans on the musician until Groban finally stops by for an interview, where Robbie teaches him a few of his classic dance moves.

    Photo via Ze Frank/YouTube


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    Fox’s hit show Glee is facing backlash from fans after an Internet musician accused them of ripping off his version of a song he covered.

    Jonathan Coulton covered Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back" on Oct. 15, 2005 as part of his "Thing a Week" project podcast, in which he challenged himself to make a new song every week for a year. The project catapulted Coulton to Internet stardom and some mainstream success.

    For his “Baby Got Back” cover, Coulton wrote a new melody and changed a few lyrics:

    Now Glee appears to be including a cover of Coulton's version of "Baby Got Back" in its next episode, set to air on Jan. 24, except there's only one problem: This is the first time Coulton heard anything about it.

    "Hey look, @GLEEonFOX ripped off my cover of Baby Got Back  ...  Never even contacted me. Classy," Coulton tweeted in a message that has since been retweeted nearly 3,500 times.

    The two versions of "Baby Got Back" are eerily similar when played simultaneously, as demonstrated by YouTube Doubler. Tumblr user deathtiel combined the two songs in an audio post, and when played, you can hardly tell the difference between Coulton's version and Glee's.

    Coulton first found the Glee cover through the Glee Wiki, which lists the song as appearing in the episode "Sadie Hawkins Dance," performed by Adam, a new character on the show.

    Upon a listen, Coulton suspected that Glee may have even included some of the same audio from his song—including a duck quack and the words "Jonny C”—although he doesn't know for sure whether it's the same audio or even the official Glee cover.

    "It’s a cover of a Sir Mix-a-Lot song obviously, but I wrote a new melody for it, which this recording uses," Coulton wrote on his website. "Back when I released it, I bought the statutory license to distribute my version of this song through Harry Fox. Creative Commons doesn’t come into play because it’s a cover song, and anyway my CC license specifies Non-Commercial."

    Coulton refused to comment further until he found out more information about his legal options.

    Kotaku reported that the Glee track may have been in the U.S. iTunes store earlier Friday but is no longer available. However, you can still buy the Glee Cast's version of "Baby Got Back" through the Swedish iTunes.

    This isn't the first time that Glee has been accused of ripping off other artists. Musician Greg Laswell called out the showrunners for stealing his version of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" in November 2011, while Pop Culture Brain's Alex Rabinowitz found that Glee used University of Oregon a cappella group Divisi's cover of  Usher’s"Yeah" without their full cooperation.

    Photo via Vivan Jayant/Flickr


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    Here at the Daily Dot, we swap GIF images with each other every morning. Now we’re looping you in. In the Morning GIF, we feature a popular—or just plain cool—GIF we found on Reddit, Canvas, or elsewhere on the Internet.

    Ia! Hail Cthulhu! Nothing starts the week off right like a little mindless gibbering, a madness-making glimpse of the black voids between the stars. H.P. Lovecraft's fictional Elder God has been driving innocent New Englanders insane since 1926 with his non-Euclidean geometry and his loathsomely tentactular appearance, to say nothing about his extraterrestrial intelligence, his ability to feed on your dreams, and his propensity for eating human souls.

    None of this has prevented him from becoming one of the most popular characters in American fiction. He's also inspired not a few artists, from Henry Anthony Wilcox, a "youth of known genius," to MiRon, of Tumblr and the Ukraine. This GIF captures Cthulhu's throbbing, slime-clad proteanism and hints at his cyclopean nature, although the GIF is only 722 pixels high.

    Say it with me now, the ancient chant. "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn," which (as all geeks know) translates to, "In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming." He must have slept through the alarm.

    GIF via MiRonArt/Tumblr


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