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The Most Amusing Images from the SOPA Strike

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On January 18th, websites across the internet went on strike to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the related Protect IP Act (PIPA). Some sites were completely blocked; others added censorship graphics to their banners, and some posted about the strike. The point was to make all internet users aware of the bills before Congress and to encourage reader participation. A few sites went above and beyond the call of duty and made the strike itself entertaining. If you didn't see them, I saved a few of the best.

Cheezburger Network

Ben Huh runs a large network of sites ranging from I Can Has Cheezburger to The Daily What. All of them were blocked. The splash page that ran instead featured this song that struck all LOLcats fans right where they live.

The Oatmeal

Cartoonist Matthew Inman at The Oatmeal has been a victim of copyright infringement a few times, but he is opposed to SOPA because it goes way too far in curbing the freedom of the internet. For the occasion, he created a wonderful animation to show instead of his site. I would have posted the whole thing here, but some parts may be considered NSFW.

The Joy of Tech

The geeks at The Joy of Tech could think of nothing to do when so many sites were down. Or maybe they could!

Kids on Facebook

Those of us who work on the internet have been well aware of these bills -and the strike- for some time now. However, my three teenage daughters had no clue until they saw the black banner of the Google logo this morning. The thought of not being able to access Wikipedia horrified them -but also made them a little more politically aware. Jimmy Wales warned them to do their homework early, but how many high school students follow the Wikipedia founder on Twitter? The anguish of the blackout was expressed by many teenagers all across Facebook.

Fark

Fark had a splash page that explained why you should support SOPA/PIPA:

Produced by Farker Joe the Peacock. Fark knew ahead of time that content would be thin on the 18th, so head Farker Drew Curtis said something that was translated to mean anything within reason would be approved and posted. The site ended up with a lot of discussion threads that didn't even have a linked story.

NewsHounds

The word SOPA itself lends itself to puns. Dee, PbD created this graphic for NewsHounds.

xkcd

On any other given day, Randall Munroe at xkcd has the funniest stuff on the internet. However, during the blackout, he became quite serious. This is one internet business we would hate to lose.

BizweekGraphics

Some people felt the loss of even one day of Wikipedia. I don't think I've even seen an Encarta CD since the mid-'90s! It didn't take long for Encarta to respond.

reddit

No list of amusing SOPA graphics would be complete without the little guy who led the charge. Known as so brave, he's the reddit alien dressed as William Wallace as portrayed by Mel Gibson in the movie Braveheart.

From Internet Users

And then there are the images that get passed around, telling a story in one picture. This one was featured on a string of Tumblr blogs. We get the message!

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Animals
Australia Zoo Is Taking Name Suggestions for Its Newborn White Koala
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A koala with striking white fur was recently born at the Australia Zoo in Queensland, and she already has an adoring fan base. Now all she needs is a name. As Mashable reports, the zoo is calling on the public for suggestions on what to call the exceptional joey.

The baby, who is one of several newborn koalas living at the zoo, climbed out of her mother’s pouch for the first time not too long ago. When she made her public debut, she revealed a coat of white fur rarely seen in her species. According to the zoo, the koala isn’t albino. Rather, she got her pale shade from a recessive gene inherited from her mother known as a “silvering gene.” Though the light coloration is currently the koala’s defining feature, there’s a good chance she’ll eventually grow out of it and take on the gray-and-white look that’s typical for her species.

For now, the Australia Zoo is celebrating the birth of its first-ever white koala joey by getting the public involved in the naming process. On the post announcing the zoo’s new arrival, commenters have so far suggested Pearl, Snowy, Luna, and Kao (from the Thai word for “white”) as names to match the baby’s immaculate appearance. There are also a few pop culture-related proposals, including Olaf after the character in Frozen and Daenerys in honor of Game of Thrones.

Instead of deciding the koala’s name by popular vote, the zoo will select the winner from their favorite submissions. And with nearly 5000 comments on the original Facebook post to choose from, the joey will hopefully have better luck than the animals named by the public before her. (The Koalay McKoala Face does have a certain ring to it.)

[h/t Mashable]

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Live Smarter
Computer Users, Rejoice: You're Finally Allowed to Create Easy-to-Remember Passwords
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To keep your personal data secure, it’s important to craft a strong password—and for nearly 15 years, savvy computer users have heeded the counsel of Bill Burr, the man who quite literally wrote the book on password management. Now, The Wall Street Journal reports that Burr has admitted that some of his advice was flawed. While working as a manager at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2003, Burr wrote a primer—officially known as “NIST Special Publication 800-63. Appendix A”—that instructed federal workers to create codes using obscure characters, a mix of lowercase and capital letters, and numbers. For security purposes, he also recommended changing passwords on a regular basis. At the time, however, Burr didn’t have a ton of data to rely on, so he ended up using a paper published in the mid-1980s as a primary source for the manual. Burr’s primer eventually became widely used among federal workers, corporate companies, websites, and tech companies alike. But in hindsight, experts say that Burr’s directives didn’t actually improve cybersecurity: The NIST recently gave his primer received a full overhaul, and they opted to eliminate the now-famous rules about using special characters and switching up codes. These rules “actually had a negative impact on usability,” Paul Grassi, the NIST standards-and-technology adviser who led Special Publication 800-63’s rewrite, told The Wall Street Journal. They make it harder to remember and type in codes, plus those parties who did change their passwords every 90 days typically only made minor, easy-to-guess alterations. Plus, research now shows that longer passwords—a series of around four words—are ultimately harder to crack than shorter combinations of letters, characters, or numbers. (And at the end of the day, computer users ended up paradoxically choosing the same “random” passwords used by millions of others.) The NIST now recommends long, easy-to-remember passwords (not the “#!%”-filled ones of yesteryear) and for people to switch codes only if they suspect that their existing one has been stolen. In short, it's probably time to change your password—and this time around, you might even have an easier time remembering it.

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