Correction appended (Oct. 24, 2014):
A front-page editorial published Oct. 17 calling for the abolition of the Greek system at Dartmouth stated that in the late 1980s, Alpha Delta fraternity pledges were forced to perform oral sex on an ejaculating dildo. The editorial should have stated that some pledges were required to simulate oral sex on an inanimate object, which the house's advisor now says may have been a banana.
Companies like Facebook and Twitter rely on an army of workers employed to soak up the worst of humanity in order to protect the rest of us. And there are legions of them -- a vast, invisible pool of human labor. Hemanshu Nigam, the former chief security officer of MySpace who now runs online safety consultancy SSP Blue, estimates that the number of content moderators scrubbing the world's social media sites, mobile apps, and cloud storage services runs to "well over 100,000" -- that is, about twice the total head count of Google and nearly 14 times that of Facebook.
This work is increasingly done in the Philippines. A former US colony, the Philippines has maintained close cultural ties to the United States, which content moderation companies say helps Filipinos determine what Americans find offensive. And moderators in the Philippines can be hired for a fraction of American wages. Ryan Cardeno, a former contractor for Microsoft in the Philippines, told me that he made $500 per month by the end of his three-and-a-half-year tenure with outsourcing firm Sykes. Last year, Cardeno was offered $312 per month by another firm to moderate content for Facebook, paltry even by industry standards. [...]
Eight years after the fact, Jake Swearingen can still recall the video that made him quit. [...] Three days in, a video of an apparent beheading came across his queue. "Oh fuck! I've got a beheading!" he blurted out. A slightly older colleague in a black hoodie casually turned around in his chair. "Oh," he said, "which one?" At that moment Swearingen decided he did not want to become a connoisseur of beheading videos. [...]
"Everybody hits the wall, generally between three and five months," says a former YouTube content moderator I'll call Rob. "You just think, 'Holy shit, what am I spending my day doing? This is awful.'" [...] "If someone was uploading animal abuse, a lot of the time it was the person who did it. He was proud of that," Rob says. "And seeing it from the eyes of someone who was proud to do the fucked-up thing, rather than news reporting on the fucked-up thing -- it just hurts you so much harder, for some reason. It just gives you a much darker view of humanity." [...]
"I get really affected by bestiality with children," she says. "I have to stop. I have to stop for a moment and loosen up, maybe go to Starbucks and have a coffee." She laughs at the absurd juxtaposition of a horrific sex crime and an overpriced latte.
Constant exposure to videos like this has turned some of Maria's coworkers intensely paranoid. Every day they see proof of the infinite variety of human depravity. They begin to suspect the worst of people they meet in real life, wondering what secrets their hard drives might hold. Two of Maria's female coworkers have become so suspicious that they no longer leave their children with babysitters. They sometimes miss work because they can't find someone they trust to take care of their kids.
He says he's pretty sure that the second ticket was actually mine, because his girlfriend didn't like the band.
When I showed this photo to some folks last night, their reactions ranged from "Who?" to "I was in high school" to "I wasn't born yet." Me, I was just about to start writing the web browser that your parents used to use.
It was a really good show. Anyway, photos!
And do you have your tickets for Halloween yet? It's selling fast. You should get advance tickets unless you like standing in line.
(In fact, I have an abundance of problems. But Django ain't one.)
"Post-Demuffin Patcher" (PDP for short) is a cracker's tool that can remove several forms of copy protection from Apple II disks. It is meant to be used in conjunction with Advanced Demuffin.
A Los Angeles International Airport flight bound for London was cancelled Sunday when a passenger's phone picked up the Wi-Fi signal "al-Quida Free Terror Nettwork" (sic) that was emanating from a fellow flier's hotspot minutes before the United Airlines flight was set to liftoff.
After a concerned passenger notified a flight attendant of the network at about 9:30pm, the plane taxied to a remote section of the Los Angeles airport and was held there for three hours. The plane was searched as passengers of Flight 136 were ordered to power off electronic devices, local media said.
"After an hour, (the captain) said there was a security threat and that we didn't have clearance to take off," passenger Elliot Del Pra told ABC7.com. The person responsible for the hotspot was not discovered, LaWeekly said.
"After further investigation, it was determined that no crime was committed and no further action will be taken,"LAX said in a statement. American Airlines said the flight was cancelled "out of an abundance of caution."
Maps to the Stars: It's Cronenberg, so it's creepy and well made, but again, every single character in this movie is a terrible person and I didn't care about any of them. Dear Hollywood celebrities: please stop writing about Hollywood celebrities.
Zero Theorem: An autistic guy sits in his underwear playing Minecraft on the set of 12 Monkeys while extras from The Fifth Element stop by to fuck with him. Nothing happens. Gilliam, what happened to you?
Mr. Peabody and Sherman: I needed to get the bad aftertaste of those last three out of my system, ok? This was actually a lot funnier than it had any right to be. And it took a weirdly dark turn at one point with talking-dog/human racial politics.
John Wick: This is fantastic! It's basically Red if it was directed by John Woo. The fight scenes are great, and people actually run out of bullets.
The Great Martian War: Apparently the Hitler Channel does low budget SF now. It's cute, some of the effects are good.
Appleseed Alpha: I barely remember the first Appleseed, but I guess this is a prequel? It blows up real good. The valley is getting less uncanny. They ordered up most of the characters by calling Central Casting and saying "send us the Luc Besson kit." (Which is fine.)
Life After Beth: Aubrey Plaza is a zombie. If you're not sold by that, I can't help you. It's pretty funny, using the Shawn of the Dead formula of putting a screwball comedy in the middle of a non-comedic zombie apocalypse.
Constantine, s01e01: I am utterly shocked to report that this didn't suck. It's very pilot-y, in that it's full of exposition and has too much tell-don't-show, but I think it's got potential. The effects are great. Much zalgo, wow.
Gotham, s01e01-05: I've watched the first few episodes of this even though, as a police procedural, it's Against Policy ("never watch shows about doctors, lawyers or cops") but it's mean-spirited enough that it has sucked me in. Gordon is a hat-rack that walks, but Oswald Cobblepot is fantastic.