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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    We use Instagram to show ourselves in the best possible light (or fake it with filters). We put our beautiful faces front and center and put a blur on everything else. Then we refresh our feeds over and over to count the likes on our selfies. It’s pure narcissism. So a reality show based on the opulence of Instagram’s flashiest douchebags is the televised tripe we deserve. 

    E! is developing a series called Rich Kids of Beverly Hills, described by Deadline as "a new unscripted series that revolves around a group of 20-something friends living in a world of extreme wealth who caught notice on Instagram."

    It’s just what the world needed: another outlet for noxious young people to become famous for already being rich. It'll be lovely to see an in-depth look at a bunch of wealthy 20-somethings based on those showcased on the Rich Kids of InstagramTumblr that went viral last year

    Neither reality shows nor Instagram pics portray their subjects honestly. You never know—the two might be a great fit. A scripted docudrama about social networking could make for a better hate-watch than The Newsroom. But as soon as we spot a Kardashian guest star, we’re sawing off the state of California.

    H/T The Atlantic | Photo via alyssaramos44/Instagram


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    Cookie Monster’s treatment for cookie addiction has come a long way since 2010, when the adorable blue glutton first learned that “a cookie is a sometimes food.”

    In a parody of Icona Pop's "I Love It,"Sesame Street's biggest YouTube star is now proudly practicing self-control and self-regulation when it comes to his favorite vice. He's even started sharing with others, and forcing himself not to snatch a fresh cookie off the plate right away.

    Cookie Monster isn’t the only part of Sesame Street that’s changed with the times. “Me Want It” is just the latest culture-savvy parody video from the educational channel that's taken on Carly Rae Jepsen, Downton Abbey, Saturday Night Live, and Isaiah Mustafa's Old Spice commercials over the past few years.

    Photo via SesameStreet/YouTube


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    Ever since gamers could first go head-to-head in video games like 1962’s Spacewar and 1972’s Pong, gaming has been the stage for an endless competition. That competition began to attract attention—and money—in the United States during the 1980s. Across the globe, electronic contests grew in size and spectacle in the ‘90s, and then exploded in the new millenium.

    Many millions of players flocked to the most competitive games—Quake, Street Fighter, StarCraft, Counter-Strike, League of Legends and more—where competition is so organized, popular, and skill-intensive that it has earned the name “esports.” 

    Esports is global industry supported by sponsors, teams, leagues, fans and, of course, the professionals who compete at the highest levels and make a living from prize winnings and endorsement deals.

    Who are the most important players in esports history, and how can we evaluate them? How can the best Street Fighter player from 1992 be put up against the top Dota 2 team in 2013? 

    Though they made their marks on different games during different eras, these 10 players possess a combination of skill, star power, and influence on esports history that makes them the greatest of all time. They’ve pushed their teams, their games, and all of esports into new territory. In short, this is the first class of a true Esports Hall of Fame. 

    It would be impossible to put these people head to head—but that’s the fun of an all-time top 10 list. It’s meant to start a conversation. Comparing players across different times and games is an invitation to debate.

    10) Grubby

    For 10 years, Grubby has been a happy warrior.

    Manuel Schenkhuizen, now a 27 year old Dutch pro gamer, first made his name as one of the best and most famous Warcraft 3 players of all time. At age 17, he won his first tournament (for €200) in his home country. He became the smiling face of 4Kings, one of the iconic esports teams of the mid-2000s, claimed over 30 gold medals in major events—including six world championships—earned an all-time record seven nominations for eSports Awards and, perhaps most incredibly, stood out against the nearly invincible South Korean and Chinese hegemony in strategy games.

    Esports is so much a part of Grubby’s life that he proposed to his wife, Cassandra Ng (a talented Warcraft 3 player herself), at the BlizzCon gaming convention in 2009. The notoriously kind, camera-ready couple have been lovingly called the “Posh and Becks of the esports world.”

    Grubby, an Orc player, built a Warcraft 3 rivalry with South Korean Jang Jae Hoe (“Moon”) that remains one of the most hard-fought and popular battles in esports history. In the middle of the last decade, they were the undisputed top two players in the world. Any clash between the two became the main event of any tournament, almost without exception. 

    In 2006, Grubby and Moon met in the semifinals of the World eSports Games in China. Grubby upset Moon, ending Moon’s incredible 28 game win-streak against Orc players. Esports journalist Rod Breslau has called the match one of the greatest moments in pro gaming history. When Grubby finally won the series, diehard Chinese fans rushed the stage.

    Grubby’s other major rivalry, with Chinese great Xiaofeng Li (“Sky”), was so compelling and closely watched that it inspired Beyond the Game, a feature length documentary tracking the lives and games of the two giants.

    Schenkhuizen had an incredible Warcraft career, but he’s not the game’s best all-time player. To fully appreciate Grubby’s greatness and his position on this list, consider that he switched games to StarCraft 2 in 2011 and became one of Europe’s most successful players. He quit one of the richest StarCraft 2 teams ever, built his own brand, and attracted numerous sponsors, all the while remaining one of the most popular and beloved gamers of all time. 

    At 27, he’s considered positively old-school in esports, a wise, happy talent who still contends for titles today.

    Highlights:

    9) f0rest

    Counter-Strike is an iconic game in esports history. It was the most important game in the West for a decade starting in 1999, and boasted more than its fair share of legends. Names such as Heaton, SpawN, elemeNt and ksharp just scratch the surface of a list of enormous talents who helped change the public perception of pro gaming in America, Europe and beyond.

    Patrik Lindberg (f0rest), now 25, hails from Sweden, one of the most successful gaming nations of all time. F0rest’s greatest accomplishment is likely his monstrous 2009 run on team Fnatic, in which his perfect play pushed the team to become the highest-earning in Counter-Strike history at a time when many observers worried the game was on its deathbed. For a period, Lindberg was perhaps the most celebrated esports figure outside of Asia.

    Since breaking into high-level play in 2005, f0rest has always ranked among the most feared and respected players in his game. With over 50 gold medals to his, no one blinked an eye when former teammate Patrik Sattermon (cArn) recently called f0rest the game’s greatest player. Any survey of Counter-Strike players and fans finds countless agreement.

    Like Grubby, f0rest has a big extra tack on his resume. Not only is he the greatest Counter-Strike player of all time, he’s also moved on to the game’s successor (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) where he has driven his team, Ninjas in Pyjamas, to become arguably the most dominant esports team of all time. Since Global Offensive’s release a year ago, NiP has posted a staggering record of 192 wins and 22 losses, according to HLTV.org. They didn’t lose a single LAN match until April, eight months after organized play began.

    Lindberg’s shyness and aversion to the media means that, at times, his star hasn’t shone quite as brightly as other players of his caliber. You won’t find his name on tabloid blogs, and you’ll rarely to see him involved in any drama whatsoever. He avoids the spotlight in favor of focusing on perfecting his game. That strategy seems to have worked out just fine so far.

    Highlights: 

    8) Vigoss

    Once upon a time, in a world long forgotten, Defense of the Ancients (Dota) was just a modification of Warcraft 3. It had a large and growing following, sure, but it hadn’t ascended to the level of StarCraft, Warcraft or any other major esport in 2005.

    More than any other single player, the Russian Ivan Shinkarev (Vigoss) helped change that. Vigoss’s competitive career began in 2005 with a number of local victories. In 2006, he made a global star turn with a team called Virtus Pro.

    Virtus Pro emerged from nowhere with a hyperaggressive style that cast Vigoss in the lead role. His teammates referred to him as the mastermind behind their strategies, and fans called him “King of Gankers” for his exceptional speed and “powers of prediction,” reported GosuGamers. Only Vigoss’s teammate, ARS-ART, ever rivaled him for this title.

    Vigoss was the best and most exciting player in the game when Dota exploded in China. He became the focus of hero worship in the country as the game spread through the most populous nation on earth. Vigoss inspired countless new players and fans to think of Dota as not just a distraction, but a deep discipline worth mastering. As Dota’s player count overtook Warcraft’sand nearly became the most played video game worldwide, Vigoss was the face of the game.

    Dota’s eventual evolution into the two most popular games on the planet (Dota 2 and League of Legends) owes an awful lot to its conquest of China. Although Vigoss can’t take all the credit for China’s adoption and love affair with Dota (you can thank the game’s designers and the multiplayer arena Battle.net for that), he undoubtedly led the way.

    Highlights: 

     

    7) Dendi

    Although many giants came before him, Ukraine’s Danil Ishutin (Dendi) is the biggest star in Dota 2 when it matters most: right now, at the astounding height of the game’s popularity and heading into The International 3 (TI3), an annual tournament called the Super Bowl of esports.

    In an interview with Team Liquid, Dendi said he considers his approach to Dota 2 somewhere between “idiotic and chaotic.” Fans and opponents say he’s innovative, individualistic, and, above all, successful beyond all compare.

    Since winning The Invitational in 2011, its inaugural year, Dendi and his Na’Vi teammates have performed remarkably well in almost every competition they entered. They’ve earned 22 gold medals in that time, and they enter this month’s TI3 as favorites to take first place and the $1.3 million dollar prize . If they split that check evenly (to a measly $272,114 per player), Dendi and his mates will become the highest-earning players in esports history in terms of prize money.

    Highlights: 

    6) Tomo Ohira

    Hectic, loud and now barely remembered, California arcades in the 1990s were the delivery rooms where pro gaming was born. While Japan and the east coast had major scenes of their own, California produced some of the most fierce, visible and mythologized competition anywhere.

    Tomo Ohira was its first king.

    Ohira has been called “the first legend” of Street Fighter, the Mozart of the game, a player whose historic tournament winning streaks are still revered today. From 1991 to 1994, Ohira held dominion on-screen and off as the king of Street Fighter in America. He wasn’t a pro gaming star in the way that we picture them today—with sponsorships, salaries, documentaries and streams to thousands of viewers—but that’s only because the technology had yet to be invented.

    Tomo was one of the first competitors to practice his game like it was a full time job, to passionately and dutifully attend tournaments, and to build a reputation so great that he personally helped inspire what would become the first generation of global competitors.

    The height of Tomo’s mainstream stardom came thanks to GamePro, a discontinued video game magazine, popular in the ‘90. They put Ohira’s face in print and made him the star of a commercial and a strategy guide.

    Ohira’s unparalleled physical reactions, mental agility and indefatigable dedication put him atop his game until he retired at the ripe old age of 17 to focus on chasing girls. Gaming held no possibility of a career—or even much money—at the time. There was no real choice to be made. College and real life were waiting.

    Legendary Street Fighter players like Mike Watson and Jeff Schaefer have talked at length about how Tomo reigned over the first ever esports scene in America.

    “If Tomo played, he’s going to win,” said Schaefer. “The kid was way better than me, way better than anyone else. He was the best.”

    In another moment, Schaefer took a stab at an obvious question which has come up again and again: was Tomo better than the person many consider to be the best Street Fighter player of all time, the man they call “the beast,” Daigo Umehara?

    “I’ve played Daigo,” said Schaefer, who famously beat Daigo with a perfect round. “Daigo is good. Daigo is no Tomo.”

    Highlights:

     

    5) Flash

    From 1998 to 2010, South Korean StarCraft was the most highly competitive gaming scene on the planet. StarCraft had the money and status to create and maintain a vibrant ecosystem for over a decade. Television broadcasts and net cafes wove the game into the fabric of South Korean life. While other games gingerly stepped into the spotlight, StarCraft hit the ground running and never stopped.

    The most dominant,  highest earning StarCraft player of all time is Lee Young Ho (Flash), with over $400,000 in tournament wins and hundreds of thousands in contracts and endorsements. In the most widely watched, closely scrutinized, high pressure game on the planet, Flash reigned above all.

    Flash owns an absurd 70 percent win rate against the world’s top competition, holds the record for highest rating of all time, shares the record for longest tenure as the #1 ranked player in the world, and is tied for most Starleague wins in a single year, reports Liquipedia. For many modern esports fans, Flash embodies both genius and dominance.

    Lee Young Ho once went by nicknames such as “Final Boss” and “The Ultimate Weapon,” but as his list of accomplishments grew, fans started calling him something more simple and to-the-point: God.

    Highlights:

    4) Moon

    Jang Jae-Ho (Moon) is the greatest Warcraft 3 player of all time.

    While Grubby won events around the world, Moon won championships in South Korea, the Mecca of esports. From near the beginning of Warcraft 3’s competitive scene, Moon consistently won against the best competition available anywhere. No one else could make that claim. He became a global icon in the process. In a game that gives players control over four possible races, Moon became known as the 5th Race.

    Some Grubby and Sky fans may still challenge Moon’s claim as the most skilled player of all time, but he is certainly the most important Warcraft player ever, bar none. On top of his competitive success, Moon belongs in the history books because of the record-breaking contract he received in 2009. He had been the best player in the world for nearly seven years, and was rewarded with a $500,000 contract with the Korean team WeMade FOX. This salary reflected his global success and status and, most of all, his immense popularity in Asia.

    Moon’s salary only makes sense in the context of a series of enormous investments into esports during 2008 and 2009. Newer, more mainstream titles such as Guitar Hero 2, Fight Night 3,Counter-Strike: Source and World of Warcraft were pushing their way into major esports competitions, often with help from the bank accounts of major media corporations. When mountains of money did not equal high viewership and attendance, sponsors soured on the esports industry as a whole. 

    Entire teams and leagues collapsed. WarCraft 3 suffered a particularly gruesome fate thanks to the artificial inflation of player salaries, of which Moon’s was the highest by far. His salary and, moreover, the environment in which it grew, helped destroy much of the old world of esports and create the landscape in which pro gaming exists today.

    However, while misguided investments led to the downfall of Warcraft 3’s competitive scene, Moon himself carried on for several years by winning several major tournaments to shore up his title as Warcraft’s best of all time.

    Highlights:

     

    3) Daigo

    Tomo Ohira became the first king of Street Fighter by dominating the game during the birth of esports in California, but the biggest unanswered question of Tomo’s career has always concerned the player widely considered to be Street Fighter’s all-time greatest: Could Tomo beat Daigo?

    Japan’s Daigo Umehara was one of esports’ first global stars. His 1998 trip to America to defeat Alex Valle in Street Fighter Alpha 3 marked the beginning of a storied international rivalry that would define the most important fighting game franchise ever. 

    Known as The Beast, Umehara’s arcade obsession began in 1991 and continued through his teenage years as he began to pile up the wins. Daigo became Japan’s Street Fighter national champion in 1997.

    At this point, there was the Japanese and American fighting game scenes rarely interacted. As when Tomo Ohira reigned only a few years earlier, each scene was something of a question mark to the other. Major international tournaments had not been firmly established, and competition between the two continents was extremely limited.

    The 1998 world championship marked the beginning of a globally competitive era that had big implications beyond Street Fighter. Umehara’s victory in what was then the most highly anticipated match in fighting game history kicked off a long career of dominance.

    Daigo has competed at the highest levels in over a dozen games, from Vampire Hunter to Street Fighter 4. He moved from merely the greatest Street Fighter player in the world and catalyst for global esports competitions to a genuine international celebrity when a he won 2004 match against Justin Wong in thrilling style. 

    You’ve seen the video: With Daigo down to his last hit points, Wong is ready to win. But through a surreal series of blocks, Daigo claims victory from the jaws of defeat. Capcom’s Seth Killian told Rod Breslau that the video of Daigo’s comeback has been viewed well over 20 million times.

     

    The American publication GamePro has compared the 2004 Daigo/Wong moment to Willie Mays’ famous over-the-shoulder catch in the 1954 World Series, a spectacular act that has come to define not just a game, but an entire era in the sport.

    The preceding accomplishments alone would likely be enough to land Daigo on this list, but there’s so much more. He has continued his high level of play for more than 15 years, winning world championships as recently as his famed repeat performance at Evolution 2009 and 2010.

    Very few players can match Daigo’s résumé, and there is simply no one else with the inhuman longevity that The Beast possesses.

    Highlights:

    2) Fatal1ty

    Jonathan Wendel (Fatal1ty) is the most important player that the United States has ever produced. In terms of prize money, he’s the single highest earner in esports history. America’s first true celebrity gamer, the height of his fame in the early 2000s remains beyond the reach of any American to this day.

    Wendel’s competitive career began in 1999 with a $500 tournament win in Quake 3. The next few months saw him take home $4,000 in Dallas and then $15,000 in Sweden, where an 18-game winning streak made him the best-known Quake star at the time.

    Behind the passion and pleasure of play, Fatal1ty always saw gaming as a job. He practiced longer and smarter than any of his rivals, and the results bore that out as he won tournament after tournament—including five total world championships in 1999, 2000 (in which he won two), 2001 and 2005. Wendel actively sought out and secured major sponsorship deals for himself and built the Fatal1ty brand to heights that no esports individual team or league had reached before.

    Wendel appeared in the New York Times, Forbes, 60 Minutes, Time and, most memorably, MTV’s True Life series, which followed Wendel’s first place Unreal Tournament 2003 run at Winter CPL 2002 as part of an hour-long episode on gamers.

    Wendel was a catalyst for the first wave of truly professional esports in the West. As games like Quake and Counter-Strike and leagues such as CPL conquered Europe and America in the 2000s, even your parents might have recognized Fatal1ty’s face.

    Highlights:

    1) Boxer

    Lim Yo Hwan (SlayerS_BoxeR) is the greatest player in esports history.

    From its 1998 release through 2010, StarCraft was the greatest esport on the planet. While other games struggled to hold regular tournaments and had to beg for sponsors, South Koreans packed stadiums and held StarCraft competitions with over 100,000 screaming fans in the audience. No other game on earth could compare. Fans of Counter-Strike and Quake spoke about Korean StarCraft like the stuff of legend because, for them, it was. Much of what today’s most successful esports have accomplished was done first in South Korea.

    With the world’s fastest growing economy for much of the 1990s, South Korea’s tech-savvy youth embraced professional gaming and enabled its evolution into a major sport with legitimate superstars. Although many of the players became celebrities, Boxer stands out as the Michael Jordan of esports.

    Boxer won his first major tournament in 1999. He turned the game on its head, pushing the underpowered Terran race to its biggest successes ever. His first nickname was “The Hope of Terran.” 

    South Korea’s Starleague, the most difficult and important esports tournament of its time, was Boxer’s stomping ground. He beat his greatest rival, “The Storm Zerg” Yellow, to earn the first of two Starleague titles in a row, a feat that wasn’t matched until Jaedong did it in 2009. He conquered the World Cyber Games in 2001 and 2002, cementing his international fame. He continued to win and contend for championships until 2004. Boxer’s rivalries with players such as Nada and iloveoov rank among the most memorable in esports history. He went on to sign a $180,000 contract— a record at the time —and had a global fan club of 500,000 members. 

    Beyond his considerable genius for StarCraft, Boxer was a symbol. Imagination, artistry, charisma, and skill allowed him to comfortably slip out of the simple box of “gamer” and into the expansive idea of greatness. His success and, even more important, the flair with which he succeeded, were proof to millions that some games possessed a depth, richness and future that could not be denied.

    "In the NBA, Michael Jordan was but one athlete, but had the influencing power beyond that of a mere basketball player,” wrote PGR21.com’s Seiji. “It is safe to say that because of his presence, the NBA grew rapidly and basketball was no longer the American game, but an international sport. Would it be an overstatement if one were to say that Lim Yohwan has a value like Michael Jordan? The greatest significance Lim Yohwan has towards e-sports is that he has transformed it from a festival of mere maniacs to a mainstream culture that is now broadcasted by the media. His value can be seen as he raised the understanding of what was once considered as a mere childish game to the dignified acceptance by all as part of the mainstream culture."

    More than Tomo, Fatal1ty, Daigo, Moon or anyone else in history, Boxer made the leap from player to genuine cultural icon, and drove the global success of esports.

    Illustration by Max Fleischman


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    Grace Helbig was the queen of this year’s VidCon.

    Wherever the Daily Grace host went at Anaheim Convention Center, where the biggest stars of YouTube gathered for the fourth annual summit, hysteria followed. And as the rest of the industry grappled with bridging the gap between YouTube and TV, Helbig used the spotlight to announce her own possible solution.

    Helbig and real-life BFFs Hannah Hart and Mamrie Hart (no relation) are working on Camp Takota, a full-length feature film that will be released this winter by video-hosting site Chill. It’s a natural extension of the trio’s on-camera and on-stage collaborations over the last couple of years, capping off a successful year that included a crowdfunded tour.

    The movie is about three friends who go back to their childhood summer camp as counselors. Mamrie said it was inspired by the four summers of college she spent working at an all-girls camp.

    “The fourth year, I wasn’t going to go, but then my boyfriend dumped me and I didn’t want to see any dudes so I went back,” Mamrie told the Daily Dot.

    With the production, Chill plans to cater to the intimate fanbases the trio have amassed—the crowds who lined around the convention center for their meet-and-greet session and panel. By signing up for Chill, fans will receive behind-the-scenes photos, exclusive videos, blog posts, updates on production, and potential access to the stars. Already thousands have signed up.

    Marc Hustvedt, Chill’s head of entertainment, said Mamrie’s concept for a camp movie fit perfectly with a script that was going around with producer Michael Goldfein, who just worked on comedian Kevin Hart’s film, Let Me Explain.

    “It all just came together,” he said. “I’ve been watching their careers flourish. They all have a natural community that they take care of and support so well, and I admired their talent as actual performers, so taking that to the big screen and doing a full feature narrative, with full characters and lines, feels like a nice natural step for them.”

    Chill releases movies online direct to consumers, which Hustvedt said is the perfect platform for YouTube’s big three. “Their fans want to instantly buy it instead of being like,

    "I hope it comes to Switzerland’ or ‘Why is the movie not in Japan?’” he said.

    For a time after its release, Camp Takota will only be available on Chill’s site, but Hustvedt said after that, the company wants to take it to TV or do a theatrical run.

    “If you’re taking any business angle on this it’s that the talent is incredibly empowered here,” he said. “The artists make the bulk of every dollar, because they’re bringing their community with them. We had to start marketing the second it launched because there’s so much gold coming out of pre-production, production, and of course, all kinds of goofing around videos on set.”

    And if these three are good at anything, it’s goofing around and creating gold.

    Photo via Chill/Tumblr


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    Cover songs have proven to be a reliable revenue generator for top multi-channel networks. Creators who cover popular songs, such as Fullscreen partners Tyler Ward, Megan Nicole, and Alex Goot, draw in millions of views thanks in large part to the fame of the artists they are covering. Understandably, the people who produce the original songs want a piece of this massive ad revenue. For that reason, the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) has filed a lawsuit against Fullscreen, in which it seeks to establish “proper licensing agreements” between music publishers and MCNs.

    The NMPA claims that Fullscreen’s revenue sharing agreements circumvent the normal rules through which music publishers get paid. This allows Fullscreen and its creators to rake in ad revenue without compensating the musicians and producers who are responsible for a large portion of the views. “The problem of copyright infringement and unlicensed use of music is endemic to the MCN industry,” said David Israelite, NMPA president and CEO. “Fullscreen’s success and growth as a digital business is attributable in large part to the prevalence and popularity of its unlicensed music videos. We must stop the trend of ignoring the law, profiting from someone else’s work, then asking forgiveness when caught.  It is not only unfair, it is unacceptable.”

    NMPA also filed a suit against Maker Studios, with Maker agreeing to settle the dispute out of court.

    Jon Baltz, the co-founder and VP of fellow MCN INDMUSIC, stressed the importance of networks properly compensating all parties involved in the creation and performance of a hit song:

    “The YouTube community has always been wildly supportive of artists by covering their favorite songs, but as the YouTube platform develops it is important that a balance is struck between passionate musicians who want to share their craft with the world and the songwriters who brings songs into the world in the first place.  Today’s NMPA lawsuit is the first step in forcing entertainment MCN’s like Fullscreen and Maker Studios to focus on proper accounting to the music rights holders who generate millions of monthly views for the networks.  The outcome will lead to more cooperation between MCN’s and music publishers while making YouTube a mutually beneficial platform for young artists and songwriters.”

    Fullscreen is open to negotiation with the music industry, as evidenced by the independent deal it struck with Universal to license the label’s songs for its partners’ covers. Given that precedent, we can expect Fullscreen to eventually join Maker by settling the dispute out of court and avoiding any unnecessary hairiness.


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    The autobiography is so 20th century. The autobiogif is the future.

    Just ask 26-year-old animator Mark Estrada, a recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin who has been transforming life's good, bad, and weird moments into hand-drawn GIFs on his six-month-old Tumblr blog, AUTOBIOGIFICAL.

    "'Mustering' pretty accurately captures my trouble with approaching women," Estrada, who uses Photoshop, Flash, and AfterEffect for his animations, told the Daily Dot.

    "'Meanwhile, in first grade' did actually happen to me and looking back on it, I can't help but laugh that six-year-old me inadvertently flustered that bully."



    "'Vision and Talent' is not based on a specific event, but rather a general mood about how I feel time to time about my own work. Because of that, I think it is a bit more poignant that a lot of the others."

    Estrada has also drawn inspiration for his blog from illustrator Austin Kleon and cartoonist Hugh MacLeod, the former teaching him to find a routine, while the latter has encouraged him to push his limits.  

    "If I can make a person laugh when I intended them to laugh, or make them feel a little sad when I was going through a tough spot, I'll be satisfied," he said. "I have no idea what will resonate with people. At the same time, I can't be too precious about these pieces and what others think.

    “This blog also functions as a means of therapy and a way for me to get a better understanding about my life. I welcome positive and negative critiques, but at the moment, I kind of just want to put on blinders and push forward."

    GIFs via AUTOBIOGIFICAL/GIF


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    The Netflix recommendation engine can be baffling. “Why is it suggesting that religious children’s cartoon?” we often ask, or, “Why didn’t it tell me I would like this gritty documentary about cocaine smugglers in the 1980s?” Strangest of all is when the site encourages you to watch a film that it thinks you’ll give a two-star rating.

    There’s a science to all these automated decisions, of course, however little we believe it. At one point Netflix was even sponsoring a contest to improve the recommendation system, though some winning fixes were never implemented because the company’s model had changed: Users were streaming more content instantly and getting fewer DVDs in the mail.

    In a post for Underwire, Tom Vanderbilt grilled Carlos Gomez-Uribe, vice president of product innovation and personalization algorithms, and Xavier Amatriain, engineering director, about how the engine works in an era when viewers are streaming about 4 billion hours of Netflix per quarter.

    The first surprise was that a user’s contributive data went far beyond ratings and that little survey about your taste preferences—Netflix is clocking your activity as closely as possible. According to Amatriain:

    "We know what you played, searched for, or rated, as well as the time, date, and device. We even track user interactions such as browsing or scrolling behavior. All that data is fed into several algorithms, each optimized for a different purpose. In a broad sense, most of our algorithms are based on the assumption that similar viewing patterns represent similar user tastes. We can use the behavior of similar users to infer your preferences."

    They even know which device is being used? Maybe I shouldn’t have given my brother my password. Yes, the upshot to this conversation is that you cannot lie to Netflix. You can’t “accidentally” watch the first five minutes of Maid in Manhattan without beaming that info straight to 800 engineers at their corporate HQ.

    Because of data like this, Gomez-Uribe couldn’t help but note that we are not the cultured sophisticates we pretend to be: “A lot of people tell us they often watch foreign movies or documentaries. But in practice, that doesn’t happen very much,” he said.

    As for those pesky two-star recommendations? “People rate movies like Schindler’s List high,” Gomez Uribe explained, “as opposed to one of the silly comedies I watch, like Hot Tub Time Machine. If you give users recommendations that are all four- or five-star videos, that doesn’t mean they’ll actually want to watch that video on a Wednesday night after a long day at work. Viewing behavior is the most important data we have.”

    In other words, Netflix caters to your secret terrible tastes and is even working on getting the algorithm to spit out movies based on what time of the day or week it is. Just imagine the drunk-loner-targeted trash they’ll tell you to watch at 2am on Friday night!

    Illustration by Jason Reed


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    X-Men: Days of Future Past may not be coming to theaters until May 2014. But in today’s digital age, it’s never too early to start a viral marketing campaign. 

    A new website for the highly anticipated film centers on Trask Industries, the company that creates the mutant-hunting Sentinel robots in the X-Men universe. Marvel and 20th Century Fox did a great job of creating an elaborate website for the fictional company run by Bolivar Trask (played by Peter Dinklage in the film). It includes a full-length commercial celebrating Trask Industries’ 50th anniversary.

    According to the site, Trask founded the company in 1967 with the goal of “advancing human progress through technology and genetics”—which of course includes defending humanity from the mutant threat by preemptively neutralizing them. The explanations of the X-Gene and the Sentinels’ creation are interesting and thorough. The team put a lot of effort into this fake site.


     

    If the intricate pages aren’t enough to get your attention, then the amazing photos of Peter Dinklage as Trask with a ’70s-style haircut and mustache definitely will. In addition to pictures there’s fake footage on the site of Trask busy in his laboratory, the perfect picture of the studious scientist working for humanity. I, for one, can’t wait to see the Game of Thrones star in action.


     

    Of course the looming imagery of the Sentinels throughout the website exude a foreboding feeling that is sure to be repeated in the film. X-Men fans, if you’re familiar with the robots, get excited.

    It’s an extremely early marketing move for X-Men, but the Dinklage sneak peeks should silence all cynics. 

    Images via Trask Industries


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    The unimaginative pranksters from 4chan’s random imageboard /b/ have failed once again at helping a skeevy old dude score some alone time with Taylor Swift. And in the process they've ruined it for the rest of Swift's real fans.

    The contest by San Diego's Star 94.1 FM to meet Swift and attend her concert was modified Tuesday after /b/ unsuccessfully tried to get 39-year-old Charles Z. to the top. 

    The radio station, which is owned by Clear Channel, shut down the public voting system because of fraud and tampering. Charles made it as high as 10th place before Star 94.1 caught on to /b/'s scheme. In place of the contest, the station posted the following message:

    "Once again the white man isn't allowed to win," Reddit user dick_bag said in a thread discussing the operation. "No justice? No peace."

    4chan's obsession with Charles started on the night of July 15. The objective was to help Charles, a "fat old creep," crush the dreams of teens everywhere by manipulating a contest run by Boston’s Kiss 108 FM to meet Swift. In about 24 hours, Charles had captured the top spot, but 4chan's success was only temporary. By the weekend, the station had caught on to /b/'s scheme and shut down the contest. 

    But /b/ wasn't done.

    The imageboard launched a Facebookcampaign,Twitter hashtag #justice4charles, and a Change.org petition for Kiss 108 to reverse its decision.

    On July 22 /b/ took up Charles's cause once again. This time it was to help him win a chance to meet singer Selena Gomez as part of a contest hosted by Kiss's sister station Z100. A few hours after publishing our story that morning, Z100 closed the contest early—with Charles sitting in sixth place.

    Since then /b/ has unsuccessfully tried have Charles win contests to meet the Jonas Brothers and One Direction

    Charles hasn't taken the defeats very well.

    There are 11 dates left on Swift's Red Tour. If /b/ heeds the advice of redditor FaroutIGE, there may still be a chance of uniting Charles and Swift after all. 

    "Charles very easily could have won a lot of these contests if overzealous anons wouldn't give the administrators exactly what they want in saying he's a creep that wants to sniff her hair," FaroutIGE commented. "He just as easily could be some adult with a child's mind. Why aren't we hitting that front instead?"

    Photo by jazills/Flickr


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    The geeks shall inherit the earth someday. But for now, they'll have to settle for YouTube.

    YouTube's array of celebrity nerds came out in full force for the company's first annual Geek Week, a week-long celebration of geeks and the various things that make them flail their arms in excitement.

    Each day, YouTube’s official channel highlighted a few YouTubers to watch, and even threw in some awesome Easter eggs. You can defend a video from missiles, turn the comments section into leetspeak, or make your search results appear in a golden Fibonacci spiral. 

    And that’s not to mention the videos! From science to science fiction, video games to superheroes, the channel focused on a different aspect of geek culture each day. If you skipped the first few days’ worth, don’t worry, you can catch up with a highlights playlist or the daily recap.

    In honor of Geek Week, we've gathered some of our favorite videos and tributes to the things we're still geeking over. Here are 13 things you don’t want to miss this week:

    1) Thor: The Dark World trailer

    Marvel icon Stan Lee is famous for making cameos, and he didn't disappoint during Geek Week. On Wednesday, he gave us what we've been waiting for: the new Thor: The Dark World trailer. With a glimpse at the plot and the many characters we loved in the first film, it looks promising. But if you take it from Tumblr, one character overshadows just about everything else we've seen.

    2) Knightmare TV Show Remake

    Knightmare was a British children's adventure game show that aired from 1987 to 1994. Almost 20 years after it went off the air, it was revived for a one-off episode that's just as campy as the original.

     

    3) Breaking Bad: The Middle School Musical!

    With just three days until the return of Breaking Bad, the wait is becoming unbearable. The most recent batch of episodes is now on Netflix, but if you don't have the time to rewatch Walter White's descent, take just five minutes to watch the entire series thus far recapped and performed by a bunch of middle schoolers.

    4) CM Punk's Grammar Slam

    Professional wrestler CM Punk is used to delivering smackdowns in the ring, but this time around, he’s slamming fans and trolls alike for their atrocious grammar. The entire series is worth a watch, but we recommend you start with one of the most commonly seen grammar mistakes: 

    5) Introducing CarTube

    You can watch YouTube from almost anywhere these days—except your car. Well, that’s all about to change. The windshield and windows serve as a screen, and you'll be able to record vlogs while you drive. What could go wrong? 

    If this was an actual product, plenty.

    6) STAR WARS FILIBUSTER: Patton Oswalt's Rant Animated

    Remember Patton Oswalt's epic Star Wars filibuster during an episode of Parks and Recreation? Nerdist animated it and made Oswalt's Sparkly Reality-Jumping Thanos and Chewbacca's head on a metal spider body, among many other creative ideas, a reality. However, it's not the first time the filibuster has been animated; Izac Less made a similar video two months ago.

    7) Making a Real Life-Size Wall-E Robot

    One of Pixar's beloved characters is brought to life, but this time he isn't alone on Earth. Built by Mike McMasters, this Wall-E resides on an orange farm alongside an R2-D2 droid and other pets. There's no sign of EVE yet, but if you suddenly see Buy-N-Large ads on TV, you might want to get worried.

    8) Naruto The Movie! (Official Fake Trailer)

    Ryan Higa has refused to make a Naruto movie for years because "it's too good of a show," but he finally caved in with a parody trailer. Shot in Japan, Higa plays most of the characters (with a cameo from another anime favorite) and throws in a variety of nods to the show and general pop culture.

    9) Star Wars vs Star Trek Street Fight!

    One of the longest-running rivalries in geekdom is brought to a head as fans of Star Wars and Star Trek are brought to an abandoned lot to duke it out with all of the lasers, lightsabers, and suckerpunches they can muster. Live long, and may the force be with you.

    10) What if Batman Drove a Nissan?

    Since Batman doesn't have super powers like his superhero counterparts, it's all about gadgets. But what if the Batmobile was actually a normal-looking car... like a Nissan? Fast, Furious & Funny makes this a reality, and while the Nissan Micra works with what it's equipped, it probably wouldn't live up to Bruce Wayne's high standards.

    11) How to Make a Viral Video

    We've been trying to figure out how videos go viral for years, and with a multitude of YouTube celebrities and memes locked up, Dave Days settles on a Smash Mouth musical parody. Because where else will someone get strangled by a Potter Puppet Pal?

    12) Doctor Puppet Episode 4 - Smoke and Mirrors

    The latest installment in Alisa Stern's Doctor Puppet saga features appearances from the original Master and one of the more overlooked Doctors as he tries to solve the mystery unraveling before him. There's no new information about the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special or Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor, but it will certainly hold you over while we wait for any information on the show.

     

    13) Slow-Mo Non-Newtonian Fluid on a Speaker

    You've seen it on The Big Bang Theory, but now Veritasium has brought everyone's favorite experiment of dancing fluid on a speaker to life, except this time we can see every bump and jiggle through the power of slow-motion.

    Photo via nigahiga/YouTube


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    Breaking Bad’s final season premieres Sunday on AMC, and the show’s dedicated fans have been fortifying themselves in various ways, bracing for the end. Vulture’s Julie Klausner asked Bob Odenkirk, who plays loophole-loving Albuquerque lawyer Saul Goodman, to comment on a few especially bad, very real local lawyer ads, including one in which a lawyer may literally be the devil.

    Odenkirk, whose character stars in the show’s “Better call Saul” ads, also gives a few important tips for those looking to get the most out of their TV spots, like “don’t look right in the lens.”

    These ads are cringe-worthy, but let’s not forget Odenkirk’s first foray into cringe-worthy territory: This sketch from Mr. Show, in which Odenkirk plays the polyester-suited Don Pratt, a lawyer who will come to your house and hang out but knows when to leave if things “get weird.” If Goodman’s character gets his own spinoff after the season finale, which is rumored to be true, we’re hoping Don makes an appearance too.

    Screengrab via amctv.com


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    During YouTube’s Geek Week, you’re in for an Easter egg hunt of a different kind.

    Easter eggs have long been a staple in video games, TV shows, and even movies. They’re hidden nods to the audience by the designers, inserted to reward the super-fans who take the time to look for them.

    On YouTube, it's almost like a competition. You don't win for "being first" (or commenting that you were first). You earn a series of badges (think Pokémon) for every Easter egg you unlock, for taking the Geek IQ test, and for watching as many Geek Week videos as possible.

    Each Easter Egg is a nod to a different aspects of geek culture, and you can unlock many of them with a simple search or even while watching one of the many videos made this week.

    YouTube has given out hints throughout the week on its official Twitter account, but we've got the lowdown on all of the Easter eggs in one place so that you can collect them all.

    1) YouTube, ASCII-style

    Type  "/ geek week" into the search bar (that space is vital) and discover the ASCII version of YouTube: old-school graphics with a black background and a serif typeface.

    2) "Beam me up, Scotty"

    Although nobody in the Star Trek TV show and films ever actually uttered the phrase "beam me up, Scotty" to chief engineer Montgomery Scott, typing the iconic catchphrase into the search engine will transport the search results right to you.

    3) Use the Force, Luke

    You no longer need Midi-chlorians in your body to use the Force. Just typing Obi-Wan Kenobi's advice to Luke Skywalker into the search field will give you access to those powers (although only on that particular page).

    4) Fibonacci Sequence

    The Fibonacci Sequence might come in handy in mathematics, but you don't actually need to know the sequence of numbers to unlock this Easter egg. Just type in "Fibonacci" and you can see the resulting videos pop up in a corresponding spiral.

    5) Leetspeak

    Type in "1337" (leetspeak for "leet") anywhere that isn't the search bar or comment box while watching any video and see the comments section turn into a jumble of 13375P34K, which just might improve them.

    6) POW!

    A feature only for Geek Week videos published on Aug. 6. On the same tab where you can adjust volume, quality, and queue the video to watch later, you’ll see  a "POW!" button. Click that and your video is transformed into a grainy-looking video comic book.

    7) Missile Command

    Type "1980" while watching any video and you'll be thrust into a game of Missile Command, the classic 1980 Atari game. You'll have to protect your video from the missiles raining down on it, and if you let too many pass by, your video will break.

     

    8) My Little Pony

    An Easter egg just for the Bronies. Type in the name of any character from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic into the search bar, and your bar will change colors.

    Photo via worldofheroes/YouTube


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    Nobody makes and crafts inspired by murderous meth lords quite like Reddit does.

    As Breaking Bad's final season loomed on Sunday, scores of redditors shared their own cute, quirky, and cuddly handmade items inspired by the show.

    Ten different users showed r/RedditLaqueristas their meth-and-death inspired fingernails. Starkid120 captured Hank's hilariously bad caricature of Heisenberg on her index finger.

    Not to be outdone, user panduuhh put season 2's burned purple teddy bear on her pinkie, and Walt's sad 52nd birthday omelette on her thumb.

    Strong Son of the Year candidate Oracle343gspark handmade his mom a birthday card, complete with Jesse conspicuously saying "bitch!"

    Finitefilms's friend made some blue, suspiciously crystallized rock candy for a viewing party. "Apparently it tastes like raspberry," he said.

    By that same token, WeaponXDeadpool's girlfriend, a baker, make a happy little meth cake.

    For more a substantial meal, you could try u/jack_bunny's brother's pizza.

    Finally, milbo's re-imagining of American Gothic was so popular, she's started selling prints on Etsy for $10 a pop.

    Photo via WeaponXDeadpool/Reddit


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    Of all the questions raised during last night's Breaking Bad the one most people can't seem to find the answer to is, who is Kevin Cordasco?

    Following the final scene of Sunday's episode, Cordasco's name appeared briefly in the credits:

    Now thanks to one Reddit user, Cordasco's story has been revealed.

    Cordasco was a 16-year-old Breaking Bad fan who died a few months ago from neuroblastoma, a form of cancer. He had been fighting the disease since he was 9-years-old. Redditor MissyDeanna has known the Cordasco family for years, specifically Kevin's mom who used to cut her hair growing up. MissyDeanna's mother also suffered from cancer and got to know Kevin very well during their treatments.

    "It was painful to watch for all parties involved,"  MissyDeanna wrote.

    Unfortunately my mom died in 2009 and Kevin's passing was another loss to the human race as far as I am concerned. They were both beautiful people with amazing hearts that loved and gave so much of themselves to the world. They are both missed everyday. I am so so happy that Kevin's family got to see his name tonight connected to one of his favorite shows."

    MissyDeanna also posted the following photo of a letter Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan sent to Cordasco thanking him for being a fan and telling him about the dedication.

    While going through treatment, Cordasco spoke about his illness in November to spread awareness.

    "Everytime I get knocked down, there's always someone there to pick me up," Cordasco said. "I just want to thank everyone out there who has stuck with me the whole way."

    Photo by gageskidmore/Flickr


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    In an unusual twist for young music fans, Lady Gaga's “little monsters” are rushing to file copyright complaints against leaked snippets of her first single in two years.

    Gaga was upset when a 21-second soundbite of "Applause," due to be released next Monday, surfaced over the weekend.

    She retweeted a link to Universal Music Group's Piracy Referral Form along with a fan's plea to report all the links to the clips.

    Thousands of Twitter users and forum members raced to flag the audio, according to TorrentFreak. Some claimed they reported hundreds of links, with targets including Soundcloud and Perez Hilton. The campaign looks like it's working.

    Music sites suddenly found their embedded Soundcloud audio no longer worked. Links to YouTube videos apparently containing the snippets are gone, nixed by copyright claims. Dig a little on the video-sharing site and you might find the audio, but it'll surely be taken down quickly.

    Fans tend to gleefully share leaked material from their favorite artists. One Direction's latest single spread like wildfire after a Twitter user leaked it last month. Gaga's fans are showing a remarkable level of restraint. Either that, or they're actually listening first, then filing complaints.

    Some are wondering if Gaga's management might have intentionally pushed out a teaser, a way to drum up publicity with faux-controversy.

    Regardless, as long as there's at least one person in possession of the snippet, it can never truly be removed from the Internet.

    Photo via neeteshg/Flickr


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    Last year, YouTube's Walk Off The Earth dropped one of the best covers of Gotye's"Somebody That I Used to Know." Now they've done it again, albeit with a slightly less-ubiquitous pop single.

    This time, their target is "Royals," the new hit from 16-year-old New Zealander Lorde, which they somehow manage to reinterpret with four ukuleles and one didgeridoo. They toss instruments out of the frame, clap hands, and pat out rhythms on a band mate’s ukulele.

    Of course, this video could signal the beginning of the end for "Royals": It doesn't take long for YouTube covers to reach a critical tipping point of overexposure, from which there is no return. Just ask Gotye. And Psy.

    Photo via Walk off the Earth/YouTube


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    Four years ago, Yvonne Luong couldn't sew to save her life. Today, thanks to the support of the Reddit community, she is an aspiring designer who has made more than seven dresses and has won Elle Magazine's Fashion Next People's Choice Award. Her latest step on the path to worldwide fame: a starring role in an American Express commercial.

    Yvonne first got noticed on Reddit 10 months ago when she posted a photo on r/pics of a dress she made for her younger sisters prom.

    "The reason I even attempted the dress was because just the week before when I literally felt like I was at my lowest point, she did something really selfless for me so I decided the least I could do was just try," Luong wrote

    The post collected more than 200 comments from people praising Luong's talent.

    Luong's post ended up catching American Express's attention, which contacted her to be part of its Passion Project campaign. The result was the following commercial which has been viewed 107,000 times on YouTube since July 25. 

    Screengrab via AmericanExpress/YouTube


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    The latest cover artist on Reddit is taking requests, but you won't hear him sing. You'll have to watch it happen.

    Harrison is deaf, and he regularly makes covers of hit songs in American Sign Language (ASL) for fun. With the help of hearing aids and the bassline vibrations emanating from his computer, he listens to the karaoke version of a song until he figures out where in the songs the words hit. Then it's all about the rhythm.

    He revealed his hobby in a thread featuring a video of rapper Kendrick Lamar's sign language interpreter. Taking requests, he "cashed in on the Karma cow" and posted a video of the different songs he had been working on, ranging from Eminem’s  "Lose Yourself" to Ke$ha’s "Tik Tok," and even included in some of the biggest songs of the summer.

    You don't need to have the sound on to be able to tell the tone of the song. Harrison's facial expressions and enthusiasm signing, depending on the song, are enough to convey the tone to viewers.

    It's completely over-the-top, but according to Harrison, that's entirely on purpose.

    "Affect is really critical in ASL because it conveys all the things hearing people do with their tones and inflections," Harrison wrote. "You almost have to over-do it in a song to really capture what the artist is trying to put forth. That's part of why I really enjoy signing Ke$ha songs."

    Harrison’s Reddit audience was impressed, and they requested even more songs for him to cover. Soon enough, he delivered.

    With signs and a little rhythm, you can get almost any song's point across.

    H/T Reddit | Photo via Mr. T in DC/Flickr


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    If you're a Doctor Who fan living in the U.K., you’re probably used to seeing TARDISes all over the place. Or as they’re known in real life, Police Telephone Boxes. 

    However, there’s one particular Police Telephone Box that stands out from the rest—at least, according to Google Street View. If you happen to be wandering around outside Earl’s Court Underground station in London, you’ll come across that familiar old blue box, sandwiched between an ad for Billy Elliot and a few blurred-out pedestrians. But if you click on it, instead of just scrolling through to another section of street, you end up inside the TARDIS.

    Now, you can’t do a great deal of exploring, probably because even Google doesn’t have the capacity to map the near-infinite insides of the TARDIS. But you can take a stroll around the main console room, which looks something like this:

    A far more appealing prospect than the TARDIS we see in Earl’s Court Road, which is very obviously smaller (and drearier) on the outside. 

    For their next trick, we’re hoping Google will go for Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station.

    Photos via Google Street View


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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 RedditTumblr, or elsewhere on the Internet.

    While driving down the streets of Victoria, Canada, in May, vlogger Kim Faganello saw a woman across the street who had gotten her wheelchair stuck in some brush off the sidewalk. Instead of driving right past her, Faganello, 45, turned around, parked his bike, and helped the woman on her way.


     

    The GIF was made using a video Faganello created as part of Ride Victoria, a year-long project in which he wears a camera strapped to his motorcycle helmet.

    "[The video] has been sitting in a folder on my computer labeled 'unused video,'" Faganello told the Daily Dot. "On August 9 I did not have a motovlog ready to upload, so I went through the unused video folder and found this short clip. It was an easy clip to use because it required very little editing and a little text."

    The video was a success on YouTube, collected more than 300,000 views and reaching Reddit's r/videos community, where it collected 2,216 comments Monday.

    "I had no idea that it would go so big," Faganello said. "I am quite astonished."

    Reddit


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