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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    Perhaps it was Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney who broke Justin Bieber's live stream?

    OK, maybe not, but we do know that the black-rimmed glasses wearer and hater of tween stars doesn't feel bad for Bieber's Grammys snub. Fresh off his band's four wins, TMZ cornered Carney asking him about that important topic.

    "He's rich, right?," asked Carney, adding "Grammys are for, like music, not for money...and he's making a lot of money. He should be happy."

    Bieber, who apparently had to call Comcast to get his Internet repaired, finally responded on Twitter early Tuesday.

    Carney’s comments also pissed off a lot of middle schoolers, and he felt the rage from the notoriously brutish Belieber army. The tweets prompted him to respond to Bieber with a sad emoticon and another tweet of the type of well-written criticism he was receiving.

    To be fair, Carney did seem regretful for his comment,  although he didn't directly reference Bieber in a tweet: "It's cool when you get cornered outside your hotel by a guy with a camera and they ask you a dumb question and then put it on TV. :("

    Bieber hasn't responded directly to Carney, but Carney did take the specify exactly how he wants to be slapped.

    We're sure Bieber has a few poses in mind.

    Photo by Robert Conrad Photography/Flickr

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    Gangnam who?

    We're just a couple months into 2013—and Psy's retirement of "Gangnam Style"—and we already have a new dance craze taking over YouTube.

    It's called the "Harlem Shake," and it's actually been around longer than you think.

    The Harlem Shake originated in 1981 in Harlem with a man who goes by the name "Al B," according to Uproxx. Al B explained in 2003 that the Harlem Shake was "a drunken state, it's an alcoholic shake, but it's fantastic, everybody loves it and everybody appreciates it."

    The early-era Harlem Shake involves pivoting one shoulder while simultaneously popping out the other, and it's been around on YouTube as early as 2006, when rapper Mase included the dance in his music video for "Welcome Back."

    But in the year 2013, it’s turned into something even simpler.

    The Harlem Shake that has captivated the Internet is set to the first 30 seconds of Bauuer's "Harlem Shake," a heavy bass instrumental track uploaded to YouTube on Aug. 23, 2012.

    The video starts out with one person, who is usually masked, dancing to "Harlem Shake," while the other participants go about their business as if nothing is happening. The bass drops about 15 seconds into the song, and then it's pandemonium. Everyone's dancing in outrageous costumes and masks. Some hump the air, while others perform the Bernie, the Twerk, or even the original Harlem Shake.

    There are really no set rules as to what moves you dance your heart out with.

    This craze in particular appeared online about two weeks ago in a video by Filthy Frank as part of "FILTHY COMPILATION #6 - SMELL MY FINGERS." Viewers were fascinated by the four costumed figures that appear in the first 30 seconds of the compilation, so Filthy Frank posted that video on its own a few days later.

    That video has since been viewed over 2.3 million times and spawned countless variations and parodies by everyone from the Norwegian military, to the Peanuts gang, to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and even firemen inside their trucks.

    It has yet to show any signs of stopping. Reddit’s r/harlemshake is over 11,000 redditors strong, and along with sharing the many different versions of the Harlem Shake, they, like many of us, try to figure out what it is about the craze that has resonated with the masses.

    Someone even created a White House petition which called for a Harlem Shake video from the Obama administration (including the president), which had about 150 signatures before it was removed for violating the site's Terms of Participation.

    But what is it about the Harlem Shake that makes it so ripe for parodies?

    Unlike "Gangnam Style"—or other viral darlings "Call Me Maybe" and "Somebody That I Used to Know"—the original Harlem Shake video doesn't have the feel of a professional music video. You don't need to have a professional setup (or even know how to dance), and since "Harlem Shake" is instrumental, you don't even have to lip sync. You can make your own version in your bedroom, at work, or underwater if you have a swim team on hand.

    And with the meme timed at only 30 seconds, you don't even have to devote a large amount of time to making the video.

    Even though the Harlem Shake only broke out a couple weeks ago, there's already more than enough to make up a compilation. What's Trending put out their compilation on Monday, and Ryan Sims stitched 49 different Harlem Shake video into one condensed video in the meme's version of "TL;DR."

    Now that you've had your overload of the Harlem Shake, it's time to set it down before it gets too popular (and gets on everyone else's nerves).

    Photo via DizastaMusic/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) Scott Bradlee, "Thrift Shop (Vintage 'Grandpa Style' Remake)"

    They might be wearing your grandpa's clothes, but they might also be dressing for the times. The Postmodern Jukebox Band takes Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" and turns it into a jazz tune your grandparents might have actually danced to.

    2) CinemaSins, "Everything Wrong With The Last Airbender In 4 Minutes Or Less"

    After multiple requests from viewers, CinemaSins finally tackles The Last Airbender, which is just glaring with sins from the choice in director, the child actors, and even the air karate bonus round. Save yourself the 100 years in an ice ball under the sea, or better yet, watch the TV show instead.

    3) Nitro Circus, "Motocross Casino Freestyle"

    Waking up, getting ready, and driving your motorcycle through a hotel is all in a day's work when you're with Nitro Circus. One biker invades the Eureka Casino and Hotel as he jumps onto card tables, swerves around the slots, and pulls one of his own before leaving.

    4) Screen Junkies, "Honest Trailers - The Notebook"

    Many will be forced to watch The Notebook with their loved ones this Valentine's Day, but it's just the Olive Garden of love stories with its generic plot, Ryan Gosling, and unrealistic expectations for boyfriends everywhere.

    5) Fat Awesome Films, "How to Write the Perfect Valentine"

    If you're struggling how to woo your Valentine this year, just take a cue from Fat Awesome. Buy two cheap cards (because who would actually spend more than a dollar on a card?), write the longer message into the shorter card, and throw out the evidence.

    Photo via Scott Bradlee/YouTube

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    In late January, the Daily Dot reported that Google is preparing to unveil a paid subscription package for popular YouTube channels, rumored to cost $1 and $5 a month. Below, Lamarr Wilson, the “world’s funniest tech reporter” and a longstanding vlogger on the video-sharing network, weighs in on the potential ramifications of the deal.

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    In the sprawling red carpet that is Hollywood awards season, the Streamys fall directly between the Grammys and the Oscars—in both style and purpose.

    Founded in 2008, the event honors excellence in Internet media production, from the best music and original programming to choreography and individual achievements by actors and actresses. And given the rise of YouTube as an entertainment destination and transmedia platform, this year’s edition—hosted by Nerdist mastermind Chris Hardwick—should be the biggest and best gala yet.

    The Streamy Awards will be live-streamed from the sold-out Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles at 6pm ET on Feb. 17, 2013. But we’d like to take you one step closer than that.

    As a media sponsor, the Daily Dot has a pair of tickets to the Streamys to giveaway to one lucky reader. To enter, take our Web series challenge about this year's nominees and submit your answers in our comments section below (or just tell us why you deserve to go). One winner will be chosen at random.

    How well do you know your favorite Web series?

    1. The titular booth in acclaimed Best Drama nominee The Booth at the End is a:

    a) phone booth
    b) restaurant booth
    c) toll booth
    d) John Wilkes Booth

    2. Brad Bell, Best Male Performance in a Comedy nominee for Husbands, may be better known by his popular nickname. What is it?

    a) Jaws
    b) Glambert
    c) Jelly
    d) Cheeks

    3. Three of the nominees for Best Guest Appearance all have this popular, long-running WB show starring Sarah Michelle Gellar in common:

    a) Charmed
    b) Dawson's Creek
    c) Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    d) Supernatural

    4. How many Christmas songs did Elizabeth Chan write before hitting it big with the Streamy-nominated "A Christmas Song?"

    a) 200
    b) 40
    c) over a thousand
    d) none

    5. Which series has the most nominations (not counting the Audience Choice Awards)?

    a) Halo 4
    b) The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
    c) MyMusic
    d) H+ 

    Photo of Streamys presenters via Facebook

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    Kyle Marshall isn't simply a YouTube correspondent. He's a charter community member. The Alberta, Canada, resident has been making videos since 2008 and to this day will still make upwards of 15 videos in a single week.

    His trademark program is his weekly installment of YouTube News, which runs each Tuesday.

    This week, Marshall examines YouTube's pending relationship with the United Kingdom's Freesat service and looks into YouTube's most-subscribed landscape before offering a few insights about success and sustainability.

    Photo via Kyle Marshall/YouTube

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    "Rappin' for Jesus" is getting popular on YouTube for all the wrong reasons.

    The low-tech music video finds a pastor named Jim Colerick and his wife rapping about their relationship with Jesus Christ, calling him a life changer, miracle arranger, and "drink exchanger" who once turned water to wine.

    The track goes on to list a number of the other elementary conceptions concerning who Jesus was and what exactly he did, according to the stories of the Bible.

    The general sentiment of the track is silly and a little childish but not altogether too disrespectful, until you get to the chorus.

    It's at that point that Pastor Colerick reveals his line of thinking that "Jesus Christ is my n*****, a sort of eye-popping declaration that's both factually inaccurate and rooted in cultural hate. The line's repeated over and over again, by both the pastor and his wife, so much so that the video has been viewed more than 600,000 in the past week.

    It's uncalled for and it's awfully offensive. It's also probably fake.

    "Rappin' for Jesus" was uploaded on Feb. 5 by a man named Brian Spinney, an Iowan father who claims to have helped the pastor make the music video a few years ago while he was in high school.

    Sounds good, right? The story begins to unravel shortly after that.

    quick search on the Google reveals that there's no pastor preaching in Iowa under the name of Jim or James Colerick; there's no Jim or James Colerick to be identified, period. (For reference, my mother's pastor pops up as the first result when you search his name on Google.)

    Colerick's purported place of preaching in the video is a church in Dubuque, Iowa, called the West Dubuque 2nd Church of Christ. That's a real church—or at least it was. Its website's News section proclaims that it shut down in the summer of 2004.

    The site itself has a lot of standout peculiarities. For one, it still portends to represent an active church on every other page, with a contact page that directs to an "info" email and a leadership section"coming soon."

    What's more, the site's information attests that the site was last updated Feb. 13, 2013, and that it's seen quite a bit of activity of late—activity that’s come nine years after the church’s doors closed for good.

    Other clues can be found in the ridiculousness of language. It's not altogether impossible for a Midwestern pastor to drop the N-word over and over again in a rap about a person he regularly refers to as his lord and savior, but it is rather peculiar, isn't it? You wouldn't exactly think that a guy so hellbent on communicating with God and his divine homies would take such a lax look at language. But hey, I'm not from Iowa.

    Use of any profanities aside, there's a perpetuated use of the slang word "swag"—a word that once referred to promotional items but now refers to style—towards the end of the track that seems out of place. Why? Because that change in the word's meaning didn't occur until sometime after 2010, when Tyler, the Creator and his rap group Odd Future started screaming it everywhere it went and it became "the most used word in the whole fucking universe." No chance a pastor in central Iowa would have known how to use that word correctly in 2004. It's impossible. It's downright impossible.

    Fake or for real, the joke's on us viewers either way. Whoever this Brian Spinney guy is has set up an AdSense account on his video and strung us along to the tune of about $600, according to AdSense earnings discussed on Warrior Forum. If he's lying, and he created the video in 2013 in an effort to drum up some wide-eyed reactions, he's certainly earned them.

    And if he's not, and the video's legitimate, well then, I just spent an hour and a half writing a story about a racist pastor who probably doesn't care one iota about what I think about the way he hails Jesus.

    Photo via Brian Spinney/YouTube, H/T Ramon Ramirez

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    Here's a concept for a game that would surely have been a big hit in the '80s.

    Mark Darin of Telltale Games helped write last year's hit adaptation of The Walking Dead. To celebrate the milestone 30th anniversary of the Commodore 64, Darin decided to reimagine zombie comic book as a game for that system.

    The C64 concept art, posted to DeviantArt, is magnificent. It perfectly encapsulates the style of art used in games like Secret of Monkey Island, with choose-your-destiny mechanics lopped in for good measure.

    While Darin posted the art some time ago, it resurfaced in a Kotaku post and, with the second half of season 3 now underway, we felt it too excellent not to share.

    Art via Mark Darin/DeviantArt

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    As everyone knows by now, Marco Rubio inhaled a can of bottled arid air from the Gobi desert last night before his rebuttal to the president's State of the Union address.

    The resulting drip drip drip of dry lip-smacking noises was pretty gross. The Internet reacted with nightmarishly bad parody accounts and horrible Twitter jokes. It was, however, thankfully redeemed by YouTuber totallyjk, whose supercut of all Rubio's desperate attempts to moisten his lips is a must watch.

    You'll marvel as Rubio's supernatural powers of desiccation spread to your own mouth. Oh god do you need a drink. You need a sip of water so, so bad right now, don't you?

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    Friendship is magic—not business.

    Last week Mane6 received a cease-and-desist letter from Hasbro over its much-anticipated game My Little Pony: Fighting is Magic, the company announced on its website.

    Based on the beloved animated series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Fighting is Magic underwent nearly two years of development. Though it was still in pre-release mode, it was already so popular it was a finalist for the 2013 EVO Fighting Tournament and had generated fanart, custom skins, and more. It featured popular ponies from the show like Rarity and Twilight Sparkle as selectable game characters whom players could pit against each other in virtual battle.

    The game's mass appeal and high level of design already had garnered widespread enthusiasm from bronies. There was just one problem: Despite Hasbro's clear trademark policy, Mane6 never received permission to license the My Little Pony products, logos, or images, all of which were freely used in the game.

    "We have received a C&D letter from Hasbro's Legal representatives, asking us to cease game development, remove any materials that might contain My Little Pony characters, names, locations or related elements from the sites we control (Our site, our youtube, our twitch), and 'cease any further use of [their] MY LITTLE PONY property',"  Mane6 stated Friday. "We have attempted negotiating with Hasbro for the continued use of the property in our non-profit, voluntary project, but so far we haven't received an answer."

    This isn't the first time Hasbro has issued successful takedown notices for clearly illegal uses of its product, or even the first time it's taken down an MLP-inspired game. Previous instances where Hasbro has stepped in include the illegal download website Ponyarchive and the popular, though short-lived,multiplayer game MLP Online. Hasbro also took down the abridged series Friendship is Witchcraft, which should have been protected under under the Fair Use copyright clause afforded to transformative works within the U.S.

    However, issues of copyright and trademark are separate concerns with separate legal justifications. While Hasbro has so far been tolerant of copyright-protected fanwork such as fanart and fanfiction, it seems to have a rigid policy forbidding reuse of its official images and trademarks. For example, its stance on customized Monopoly games is quite clear: Personalization of the game is relegated to one licensed game distributor and prohibited for all other vendors.

    Judging by a widely leaked game demo, Fighting is Magic clearly featured trademarked images and names, and the public game FAQ made no mention of Mane6, which declared the game not for profit.

    In an editorial about the takedown, Equestria Daily, while incorrectly claiming that "every instance of fanwork... is illegal," accurately points out that the high-profile nature of the game made it a perceived threat to Hasbro's branding and the wholesome image of the product:

    "By creating such a high quality work with exceedingly strong ties to the trade dress of Hasbro and Friendship is Magic, Mane6 unfortunately found themselves in a situation where any lack of action on Hasbro's part would be implicitly granting Mane6 a license for their product. For all of the moving and shaking the brony community has done, it has never replaced the original target of My Little Pony - young girls. Although the action is cartoony and bloodless, Hasbro could never and would never allow a license to be granted for a game in which their children's entertainment media figures beat the stuffing out of each other."

    Most commenters on the article and bronies everywhere appeared to disagree: a petition to Hasbro requesting the reinstatement of the game currently has 14,000 signatories. Noted brony Purple Tinker, who founded BronyCon and was featured in a recently released brony documentary, argued on her Tumblr that Hasbro's reasoning was short-sighted:

    “Licencing Fighting Is Magic (a family-friendly game with G-rated fighting very much like the fight scenes Hasbro themselves have shown on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic) would be extremely unlikely to offend Hasbro’s shareholders, or the All-Powerful Target Audience of 6-12-year-old (or whatever) girls and their toy-buying parents, as it is— as [Equestria Daily] noted— ‘cartoony and bloodless’, just like the fight scenes in the show itself. This is not Mortal Kombat or even Street Fighter. It’s more like Super Smash Brothers— a “kiddy game”, a game appropriate for young and old.”

    In response to the controversy, Friendship is Magic creator and artist Lauren Faust tweeted an offer to Mane6 create new "original" characters without trademark issues, most likely cute little fawns, for use in a franchise-free reboot of the game concept. But it's not clear whether that will be enough to escape Hasbro's legal team or whether Mane6 will have the resources—much less the community support—to start all over again.

    Screengrab via YouTube

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    YouTuber Freddie Wong celebrated a new feat this week when his Kickstarter campaign for Rocket Jump Studios'"Video Game High School: Season Two" became the most funded film project ever to run through the site.

    The campaign closed out after raising $808,341 from 10,613 backers, nearly $200,000 more than it had originally set out to pool together. "Video Game High School: Season Two" now holds the top spot on the Film & Video chart by almost $400,000; Blur Studio's "The Goon" movie sits there as a distant second.

    "Thank you to everybody who pledged and supported our project!" Wong wrote in an update posted late last week. "You are changing the rules of how indy filmmakers can fund their projects. We can't do this without you, so thank you again for your generosity. Season Two is going to be incredible!"

    Rocket Jump's funding means that Wong and company will be able to put together a second season of the immensely popular series involving five best friends who grow up in an alternate reality where professional video gaming is the biggest spectator sport in the world.

    The series closed out last month after nine episodes, all of which Rocket Jump Studios was able to produce through $273,725 of Kickstarter funding, but Wong, Matt Arnold, and company decided to revive it last month.

    On Tuesday, Wong uploaded a blog post to the Rocket Jump sight saying that preliminary production had already begun on "Video Game High School: Season Two" and that the second season would revolve around the dynamics at the group's school its competition with other schools. He also stressed that they'd be getting into the good part of production soon.

    "As in the previous season, we're saving all our action sequences for the end of the shoot," Wong wrote. "We do this for a number of reasons, the primary of which is action scenes have a slight risk of injury to the actor, and we want to avoid the risk of having an actor sprain an ankle or something and need to halt production before dialogue sequences are shot."

    Photo via Freddiew/YouTube

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    More than 800 million YouTube users need their YouTube news. Andy Smith is determined to give it to them.

    Since 2007, the Ohio-based YouTuber has delivered the latest in community news, with stories ranging from the alarming to the heartwarming. Smith is on the topics that you want to know and the stories that you need to know, and he'll tell you how they'll both affect your time on site.

    This week, Smith looks at Freddie Wong's Kickstarter funding of Video Game High School: Season Two and wonders if the YouTubers are starting to sell out.

    Photo via The Lion's Den News/YouTube

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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.

    Ah, the good old days. When men were men, women were women, and cinema was classic. Or was it? Just when you're ready to write off contemporary film-making as the least subtle in the history of celluloid, you watch a great director's breakthrough movie from 1934, and you realize, "Holy hell, that really sucked."

    Most people have heard of Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much, but they're thinking of the 1956 version with Doris Day that's set in Morocco, as opposed to the 1934 version set in Switzerland with Edna Best. The former is reportedly the greater film; the latter is the subject of today's Morning GIF.

    Back then, movies were what you watched if you weren't classy enough to go to the theatuh, and they were often pitched a little low. Filmmakers often relied on over-emphasis that to modern eyes seems comical—indeed, see this particular GIF from a critical moment in the film. Someone has been shot! Where did the shot come from? The whirling dancers in the hotel ballroom? One of the lurking lounge lizards? Or is it perhaps possible that it came from outside?

    This GIF, posted to the Professional Cat Sitter Tumblr, has 1,232 notes of corroboration. Now sit back and see if you can figure out who did it, as the full-length version is on YouTube.

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    Australian hurdler Michelle Jenneke was the biggest winner at the IAAF World Junior Championships held in Barcelona on July 15, 2012. Not because of what she did on the track but what she did on the starting line.

    That day, an Al Jazeera cameraman caught the bubbly 19-year-old warming up prior to her heat race. Jenneke was hopping and dancing, flashing a smile for the camera. Oh yeah, and then she smoked her competition. 

    Jenneke ended up not placing at the WJC—she finished fifth in the 100-meter hurdles—but she became an immediate viral sensation thanks entirely to a portion of the aforementioned video, set to Sabrina's "Boys (Summertime Love)," was uploaded to YouTube by user Pr0nfessor on July 19.

    In the seven months since it's been online, that video has amassed more than 21 million views. It also gave birth to the Jenneke meme, which manifested itself on Reddit and imageboard Canvas.

    But that wasn't the end of the road for Jenneke's internet fame. Whereas most memes usually die within weeks (sometimes within days if we're lucky), this one reared its cheery, dancing head once again in December 2012, when men's site The Chive released a video that merged the "forever alone" meme with the charming Australian hurdler. 

    As of this writing, that clip has been viewed close to 9 million times. The Internet wasn't going to forget Jenneke.

    Which brings us up to date. Earlier this week, Sports Illustrated released its annual swimsuit issue, an edition put out by the publication since 1964 to offer their readers something to look forward to during a lull in the sports calendar (after the Super Bowl and right before baseball's spring training). 

    This year, you guessed it: Michelle Jenneke is  in it.

    The Australian native joined the likes of Kate Upton and Irina Shayk after editor M.J. Day came across the original video. Day selected Jenneke for a pictorial called "The Viral Athlete."

    Michelle Jenneke may have started off as just another Olympic hopeful. Now, thanks to the Internet, she's found a second career as a bona fide international sex symbol.

    CORRECTION: A previous version of this story claimed Jenneke was on the cover of the swimsuit issue. In fact, the cover went to American supermodel Kate Upton for the second year in a row. Jenneke does, however, have her own swimsuit pictorial in the issue.

    Photo via Singapore2010/Flickr

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    The saga of Chris Dorner, a former LAPD officer turned murderer and fugitive, has been compared to video games like Call of Duty.

    Now one 4chan user has turned the comparison into a reality.

    The free Doom–inspired game"Chris Dorner Last Stand" allows users to play as Dorner as he is holed up in a cabin in the woods.

    While the song "N***a N***a N***a" by Gangsta Rap plays in the background, you must protect the cabin from police officers trying to get in. At one point in the game a photo of actor Charlie Sheen appears on a wall to lend some advice to the fugitive.

    "Christopher Dorner, this is Charlie Sheen. You mention me in your manifesto so thank you for your kind words," Sheen says. "Let's figure out together how to end this thing. Call me. I look forward to talking to you."

    As the game progresses, more and more cops swarm the cabin before it is set on fire somehow. Near the very end of the video demo, a person resembling the Terminator appears outside the cabin and kills Dorner. 

    The game and YouTube video were created by Tenentr00Anderson. The video has collected 104,000 views in the past 24 hours.

    "PS: Yes, you can win this game. The boss is hard, takes around 100 shots to kill, but you can if you have a good enough strategy," Tenentr00Anderson wrote in the video description. "4chan can make better games in 10 hours than EA can make in a year."

    The game is based off the events that transpired Tuesday in a cabin near Big Bear Lake, Calif., where police eventually traced and exchanged gunfire with the fugitive ex-cop. One officer was killed and one was wounded. The cabin caught fire, and Dorner never emerged.

    Dorner had been on the run from police since Feb. 3 after he killed four people, including one police officer.

    The game has been a hit on Reddit, where it has collected more than 200 comments. 

    "I've been playing this all night. After you beat the first level, it goes on to the rest of the levels in FreeDoom, keeping the skins and modifications," w00tmang commented. "The game quickly became about how the LAPD enslaved humanity with the help of aliens, and Dorner is the only hope humanity has in defeating the evil LAPD."

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    Sex positive podcaster Sandra Daugherty has some Valentine’s Day advice that Parks and Recreation’s Tom Haverford would approve of: “Treat yourself!”

    “At Valentine's Day, it's your love life on the line too,” she told Podspotting recently. “So buy yourself a vibrator! Get yourself something! The holiday’s not just about somebody else’s pleasure, which is something that’s cool about it.”

    Out of the entire stable of podcasters distributed by Nerdist Industries, Daugherty is almost certainly the one who most recalls the style of equally jocular and enthusiastic Nerdist host and mastermind Chris Hardwick.

    Every week Daugherty hosts Nerdist Industries’ Sex Nerd Sandra, a geeky, boundlessly excitable podcast on human sexuality and relationships. Alongside regular cohost Dave Ross, and guests ranging from porn star Nina Hartley to comedian T.J. Miller, Daugherty tackles everything from sex toys and polyamory to 50 Shades of Gray and sexually transmitted diseases. Like Hardwick, Daugherty has a true nerd’s zeal for her material and is an endlessly effusive, and often self-deprecating, host.

    A graduate of California State University’s broadcast journalism program, Daugherty has worked as a sex educator and taught workshops at Los Angeles’s Pleasure Chest and San Francisco’s Good Vibrations. She began her association with the Nerdist as a contributing writer before launching the podcast in 2011.

    “When I first started, my mission statement was really to reduce shame and normalize sexuality,” Daughetry said. “Because sex positivity isn't necessarily 'Yay, everybody go have all the sex right now!' It's that you should accept yourself for how you are and how you feel. If that means you don't want to do it, don't do it. That's what sex positivity is. It's a matter of accepting yourself.”

    To commemorate Valentine’s Day, Podspotting grabbed some time with Daugherty to talk about the holiday—its merits, its problems, and her own personal favorite V-Day.

    The Daily Dot: Valentine’s Day is an oft-maligned holiday. It’s regularly criticized as a “Hallmark holiday,” an overly commercialized excuse to sell cards, candy, and other assorted tchotchkes. As someone who tackles love, sex and relationships week in and week out, do you see something more to Valentine’s Day?

    Absolutely yes! I mean, ask yourself: Why do we have winter holidays? Because it’s the darkest part of the year. We want something to light our winters up with. Valentine’s Day is a wonderful holiday. It’s not just commercial.

    The problem is that there’s so much pressure on it and so many expectations. If you thought of Christmas solely as the day that all of your friends and family expect gifts from you, it would be very stressful. I choose to think of it as a time for lots of eating and hugs and cool, weird music. Really, Valentine’s Day is just society’s way of saying “Love is important to us. Let’s celebrate it.” That’s it.

    For people in relationships, it’s a nice excuse to renew the romance with a surprise, with something new, with a flirtation, with a giggle, something. And even for single people… I mean, I’m not in a relationship right now. I don’t have a Valentine. And yeah, there’s a bit of a funny feeling about that, but at the same time, it’s a nice time to reflect. What do I want? Do I even want something? What specifically do I want out of love? It’s a nice time to process.

    DD: As a sex educator you’ve taught workshops at and worked in sex-positive adult boutiques, like Los Angeles’ Pleasure Chest. What’s Valentine’s Day like in those environments? Is it like the retail Christmas rush?

    Oh, people get crazy. When it comes to the retail and the consumer goods aspect of the sex industry, it's like the second Christmas. I don't know if it's more popular than Christmas, but it's definitely up there. You get a lot of people who are like, “Oh crap, Valentine's Day is coming! I need to buy some massage oil!” or “We need to spice it up—where are your games?” or “Where are the vibrating panties?” It's a fun time.

    DD: Do you ever feel like the commercial aspects of Valentine’s Day undermine the actual point of the holiday—the romance and the sexuality?

    There can definitely be a problem with that. I’ve seen it first-hand. I’ll, for instance, do a class for a group of married women in someone’s home, and I’ll bring toys for sale. And they may all have all sorts of marital problems, yet when I give them any sort of recommendation outside of purchasing something, they’re not having it. They want to know what to buy to fix a marital sex issue. And that’s a problem. The idea that buying something will fix an issue that you have with your relationship or yourself is pretty sad. Toys are just tools. They’re not going to build the house for you.

    I think Valentine’s Day is best when it’s a conversation starter, when it gets you and your partner to say “What does love mean to me? What is it supposed to mean? Do we feel loved?” It’s a good time to take your relationship’s pulse. … The best sex, honestly, is not about expanding behavior to the point that you’re getting super-kinky or whatever. The kinkiest sex alive is still lame if you’re not present and going after what really lights you up.

    Great sex is about connecting with your partner and going after who you are and what you really want in bed. All of the whips and crops and chains and games and books aren’t going to help you if you can’t be your authentic self.

    DD: As the host of a sex-focused podcast who takes a lot of listener questions, and as a sex educator, are there certain questions that you feel like you get every Valentine’s Day?

    The interesting thing about the winter holidays, including Valentine’s Day, is that it often brings people out of the woodwork who wouldn’t ask questions otherwise. It does kind of inspire them to go beyond themselves and expand. I like that about it. I do get a lot of “What’s the best thing”-type questions, like the best vibrator or the best oil. Which, honestly, is the most annoying question, because everybody’s different. I can tell you what’s popular, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. What’s popular is not necessarily best for you. I’ve seen plenty of popular things that are very dumb. I can get annoyed by the popular.

    DD: Do you have a particular favorite Valentine’s Day experience?

    My favorite? I was madly in love. Like, the kind of love where you think you’ve been in love before, and then you really fall in love. And it’s almost unhealthy and obsessive, because you like this person so much. So I spent all day creating a scavenger hunt to do at his house when I came over that night, because he was planning to cook me dinner. I created these little scrolls of rolled-up paper that I burned the edges of so that they looked like old pirate manuscripts. While he was cooking I hid them all over, under the bed, in the couch cushions, in the freezer. They had these little trivia questions—about how we’d met, things we talked about early on, and even a math problem that he had to solve, because he was a smart guy, so naturally I figured a math problem would be good. There was a prize of some sort. So we had this amazing candlelit dinner, and both of us were really bringing our A-game, trying to make it a special, but still casual, night. It was magical. And then his roommate came home and offered us both ecstasy. We had not planned for that part at all, but we figured “What the heck? We’re adults.” We decided to take a half-dose. That kicked us into absolute, well, ecstasy. We were giggling and happy and ridiculous doing that scavenger hunt. It was the best time I could possibly imagine having with someone. We were just laughing these fits of joy. And I’m sure we had wonderful intimate time after the hunt was over. It was delightful.

    Photo of Sex Nerd Sandra via Facebook

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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.

    And finally, a valentine everyone can agree on: Sriracha.

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    This weekend YouTube’s attention turns entirely to Streamy Awards, the magnificent and rather regal awards show that celebrates all of the past year's happenings on YouTube.

    For some, it's the biggest weekend of the year. For others, it's an event that they'd rather ignore. For everyone else, it's time to get acquainted. Here's everything you need to know about what's going down at the Streamys, from the synopsis to the scandals, all in one handy cheat sheet.

    What exactly are the Streamys?

    The Streamys Awards are an annual awards show dedicated to celebrating the awesomeness that is online video—everything from acting and directing to editing and production.

    How many years has this been going on?


    And where's it go down?

    Right there in Los Angeles at the epic and wonderful Hollywood Palladium.

    So they're basically like the Oscars for YouTube, right?

    More like the Emmys. (Remember how YouTube is really the new TV?) But yes, it's the medium's foremost awards show. Everybody wears really expensive dresses, and it's more than likely that you'll see Kathy Griffin.

    Who's hosting?

    This year's host is Nerdist's Chris Hardwick, who had a pretty big year in creating a YouTube network (Nerdist) and reeling in such heavy hitters as Neil Tyson Degrasse and Larry King.

    Where can I watch? And when?

    Sunday's event will air at 6pm EST on the Streamys' YouTube channel. You can check that out here. (The Daily Dot is also giving away a pair of tickets to the sold-out event.)

    Are there mainstream faces that we should expect to see?

    Yep, a bunch! This year's nominees include Tom Green, Larry King, Joss Whedon, Eliza Dushku, and basketball star Blake Griffin.

    Blake Griffin? How'd he end up on YouTube?

    Griffin, who's up for Best Guest Appearance, had a cameo in an October episode of Justin Lin's "The Book Club," an action comedy series about the literary adventures of four guys who really like reading.

    Wasn't Joss Whedon in the news for something else he did on YouTube recently?

    That's correct. The Buffy The Vampire Slayer director, up for Best Guest Appearance for his role on Husbands, got a big round of laughs back in October for his "Whedon on Romney" public service announcement that foretold a bleak future should Romney have won the presidency.

    Were you at the Jay-Z Live from Barclays Center show that's up for Best Live Event this year?

    Thanks for bringing it up. I wasn't. But I had a few friends who went and said that it was quite the show.

    That's the one where he rode the subway and…

    Yep, that's the one where Jay-Z rode the subway from Tribeca to Brooklyn and conversed rather adorably with the artist Ellen Grossman.

    HuffPost Live, that sounds familiar. Why's that name ringing a bell right now?

    That's because the Daily Dot's Jordan Valinsky recently went onto the show to talk about Vanderpump Rules, that show about "Real Housewives" star Lisa Vanderpump.

    There's a guy named Ducksworth on the Best Editing ballot. He's not the defense attorney who sponsors the kids' hockey team in The Mighty Ducks, is he?

    No, Cody Ducksworth is an editor nominated for the job he did this year onRed vs. Blue, a gaming show on the Rooster Teeth Network.

    Who's the big star this year?

    The big star this year is Grace Helbig, My Damn Channel's hilarious daily vlogger, who's been just about everywhere since uprooting her Daily Grace show out to Los Angeles. Just last month Helbig won two Academy of Web Television Awards: one for Best Host of a Taped Show and another for Best Host of a Taped Series.

    Who else are we really high on?

    Aside from Grace, the Daily Dot has written extensively about several nominees in the past year alone, including DeStorm Power, Mark MalkoffLindsey Stirling, Phillip DeFranco  Felicia Day, and iJustine, and we've got a bunch more favorites, like the Fine Brothers, Beth Hoyt (My Damn Channel LIVE), Toby Turner, and Hannah Hart.

    Hannah Hart's gonna show up a little drunk, right?

    Probably. Yes, probably.

    SMOSH is only on the list twice, and they're the most subscribed personality on the site. What's up with that?

    I don't know, man, but what I do know is that the dynamic duo of Ian and Anthony are up for Best Comedy Series and the Audience Choice Award for Personality of the Year.

    What about scandals? Are there any juicy scandals?

    Yep! The big one of late is that CuteWinFail recently axed show host Toby Turner from its program—despite the fact that Turner actually created the show himself. It's totally twisted but not a derailment. This year Turner's up for Best Host for the work he's done on his show Tobuscus.

    Anything else we need to know?

    That should be it. Start filling out your office pools now.

    Photo via Streamy Awards/Facebook

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    The Fine Brothers are making a time capsule of the Internet, one video at a time.

    The brothers, Benny and Rafi, are reponsible for the Emmy Award-winning React series, a set of nonfiction Web shows in which they show a particular group of people several trending videos and film their immediate reaction. Quizzing kids, teens, elders, and fellow YouTubers, the two capture a rare glimpse into viral videos through the eyes of others. It’s candid, enlightening, and often not what you would expect.

    Just don’t expect the Fine Brothers to the cameras on themselves.

    "We've always had a passion for championing people's individuality and giving them a voice, so we wanted to make a show that could give people an outlet to share their opinions that could have an audience learn, laugh, and even cry along with them barring the topic," the Fine Brothers told the Daily Dot via email. "This comes from our religious upbringing that hindered our ability to be who we wanted to become and a lot of our content scripted and unscripted reflect the idea of embracing who you are."

    Making content online since 2004, the Fine Brothers initially debuted Kids React on Oct. 16, 2010, featuring a cast of kids ranging from ages 5-13. It instantly caught on with viewers. Each week, the Fine Brothers introduce the kids to a new trend or national news story and discuss it with them, and almost all of the topics—Nyan Cat and Double Rainbow Guy to the 2012 presidential debates—typically coming straight from the YouTube comments .

    It's often been compared toKids Say the Darndest Things, but Benny and Rafi don’t feel that the shows are similar. They've said that the React series are about conversation and not just laughing due to the kids not understanding a particular topic. You can also learn from them and realize that there’s a lot that other age groups might not know are occurring.

    Kids React isn’t just entertainment. Whether it tackles a controversial topic or something lighter, it gets a conversation started.

    Its popularity led the Fine Brothers to branch the show out to other groups. They started a new series with teens in November 2011, which included some of the cast who outgrew Kids. With an older cast, the two were able to cover more serious topics, such as the tragic suicide of teen bullying victim Amanda Todd.

    “All of the serious topics always have hit us hard, especially when these amazing people we have been so lucky to cast onto our series allow themselves to open up and talk plainly about issues most people keep to themselves,” the brothers said. “The major issue of our time for young people is the Internet's effect on bullying, social dynamics and more. The media, parents, and schools truly do not understand what is going on, how bad it is, and a lot more education is needed.”

    After a few months, the popularity of Teens React led to Elders React and YouTubers React, the latter of which includes some of the most popular YouTubers, such as Smosh, Shay Butler, Shane Dawson, and Justine Ezarik.

    With over 2.6 million subscribers, the Fine Brothers have steadily grown its following on YouTube. In October 2011, they became one of the original 100 channels that received a total of $100 million in funding from Google. They created MyMusic, which followed the antics of a transmedia production company. It received over 100,000 subscribers within the first day and received a record nine Streamy Awards nominations.

    Yet, while the brothers won the 2012 Daytime Emmy for Best Viral Video Series for Kids React, they believe that successful wWeb filmmakers and companies still struggle for legitimacy from mainstream entertainment.

    "Not a lot has changed [after winning the Emmy] other than realizing that there are shows on YouTube like React that can get similar if not better viewership than mainstream entertainment can," they said.

    They want to see more transparency in the future, no matter if it's a partnership with a larger company or a YouTube network. They have spoken out against YouTube networks in the past, and while they joined Revision3 in September, they advise other YouTubers looking into that option not to join a network until they have enough of an audience to give them leverage for negotiation.

    "We wish it wasn't so old media big business, but it is," they said. "You don't need them, they need you, and you can become a partner through YouTube without them anyway."

    The Fine Brothers received four nominations for this Sunday’s Streamy Awards for their work on Kids React and MyMusic (including two Audience Choice Awards). In fact, given that the Streamys announced the winners in 19 categories on its website Wednesday, they’re  already winners; Kids React claimed the award for Best Non-Fiction or Reality Series.

    For the Fine Brothers, the success of their operation boils down to honesty.

    "Even when you look beyond the ultra serious subject matter, you can find elements of deep discussion in almost every episode of the series which is part of what these shows are all about and is what has made them successful—which is shedding light on tough issues and getting a conversation started, something we don't do nearly enough," they noted.

    "We handle the topics with objectivity and care in hopes to connect with the viewers and have it leave a lasting resonance."

    • The Streamy Awards air Sunday at 6pm EST. You can stream the event here.

    Photo via The Bui Brothers/Flickr

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    Chicken Little must be freaking out right now.

    The sky isn't exactly falling, but meteors are, directly into the lap of Mother Russia. Quick-thinking Russians captured footage of a meteor streaking across the sky in the Urals region Friday, while Twitter's wits racked their brains to determine the cause of the event.

    Was George W. Bush to blame? Probably not. That didn't stop tweeters from claiming the ex-president was behind the dastardly attack natural phenomenon.

    Here are a bunch of people who think there's a tangible reason (beyond science and chance) for the meteor bursting into Russia:


    And that's not to mention all the things that are apparently the meteor's fault:

    Betcha can't guess what Twitter thinks should be the official anthem of the meteor:

    Lastly, here's how Russian President/superhero Vladimir Putin apparently got involved:

    Photo via zyalt/LiveJournal


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