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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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History
Marshall McLuhan, the Man Who Predicted the Internet in 1962

Futurists of the 20th century were prone to some highly optimistic predictions. Theorists thought we might be extending our life spans to 150, working fewer hours, and operating private aircrafts from our homes. No one seemed to imagine we’d be communicating with smiley faces and poop emojis in place of words.

Marshall McLuhan didn’t call that either, but he did come closer than most to imagining our current technology-led environment. In 1962, the author and media theorist (who is the subject of today's Google Doodle) predicted we’d have an internet.

That was the year McLuhan, a professor of English born in Edmonton, Canada on this day in 1911, wrote a book called The Gutenberg Galaxy. In it, he observed that human history could be partitioned into four distinct chapters: The acoustic age, the literary age, the print age, and the then-emerging electronic age. McLuhan believed this new frontier would be home to what he dubbed a “global village”—a space where technology spread information to anyone and everyone.

Computers, McLuhan said, “could enhance retrieval, obsolesce mass library organization,” and offer “speedily tailored data.”

McLuhan elaborated on the idea in his 1962 book, Understanding Media, writing:

"Since the inception of the telegraph and radio, the globe has contracted, spatially, into a single large village. Tribalism is our only resource since the electro-magnetic discovery. Moving from print to electronic media we have given up an eye for an ear."

But McLuhan didn’t concern himself solely with the advantages of a network. He cautioned that a surrender to “private manipulation” would limit the scope of our information based on what advertisers and others choose for users to see.

Marshall McLuhan died on December 31, 1980, several years before he was able to witness first-hand how his predictions were coming to fruition.

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Apple
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technology
Apple Unveils Zombie, Yoga, and Breastfeeding Emojis
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Apple

We’ve been so very patient, and now the wait is almost over. That’s right: the sandwich emoji is coming soon. Apple announced the long-overdue addition, plus others, in celebration of World Emoji Day.

This latest suite of pictograms and smileys has been in the works since autumn of 2016, when the folks at Emojipedia proposed 51 new icons, many created in response to user requests. Apple took those ideas and applied their own graphic twist, as they're wont to do.

Illustration of four smiley emojis: one with starry eyes, one with an exploding head, one vomiting, and one with rolling eyes and a lolling tongue.
Apple

An Apple press release described the T. rex, zebra, zombie, and elf emojis as “a fun way to describe situations.” We’re not sure exactly what those situations could be; clearly, we’ve been living our lives the wrong way.

In addition to the long-awaited sandwich, we’ll also be getting a pretzel, a slice of pie, and a coconut; a person wearing a headscarf; a woman breastfeeding; a guy with a hipster beard; and a dude doing yoga.

Apple has not provided a release date, although some have speculated that the new emoji will be included in iOS updates in autumn of 2017.

[h/t The Verge]

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