The Most Amusing Images from the SOPA Strike

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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iStock
Don’t Fall For This Trick Used by Hotel Booking Sites
iStock
iStock

Hotel booking sites can be useful tools when comparing prices, locations, and amenities, but some services use deceptive tactics to get you to click “book.”

A new report spotted by Travel + Leisure determined that those “one room left” alerts you sometimes see while perusing hotels can’t always be trusted. Led by the UK-based Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the eight-month investigation concluded that many sites use “pressure selling” to create a false sense of urgency in hopes that customers will book a room more quickly than usual. Similar notices about how many people are looking at a particular room or how long a deal will last are some of the other tactics travel booking websites employed.

The CMA also found that some discount claims had either expired or weren’t relevant to the customer’s search criteria, and hidden fees—like the much-maligned "resort fees"—are sometimes tacked on at the end of the booking process. (To be fair, many hotels are also guilty of this practice.)

The report didn’t drop any company names, but the consumer agency said it warned the sites that legal action would be taken if their concerns weren't addressed. The companies could be breaking consumer protection law, the CMA notes.

“Booking sites can make it so much easier to choose your holiday, but only if people are able to trust them,” Andrea Coscelli, the CMA's chief executive, said in a statement. “Holidaymakers must feel sure they’re getting the deal they expected … It’s also important that no one feels pressured by misleading statements into making a booking.”

Still, booking sites remain a convenient option, so if you decide to use one, just take your time and be cognizant that some of the claims you're seeing may not be entirely truthful.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

The Internet Archive's Billions of Web Pages Inspired a New Art Exhibition

The Internet Archive, a digital library based out of San Francisco, contains books, movies, music, and roughly 332 billion web pages saved from internet history. The nonprofit's collection is an invaluable tool for researchers, but for the past two years, it has also provided some inspiration to artists. As Fast Company reports, the Internet Archive’s 2018 artist in residence exhibition opens in San Francisco on Saturday, July 14.

For its second annual visual arts residency, the Internet Archive invited artists Chris Sollars, Taravat Talepasand, and Mieke Marple to refer to its web archive (a.k.a. the Wayback Machine) as well as its media archive while building a body of work over the course of a year.

Marple, an artist from Palo Alto, California, created a series of illustrations based on a Facebook quiz titled “What Abomination from the Garden of Earthly Delights Are You?” She found images that inspired the project's visual style from books in the archive's library.

San Francisco artist Chris Sollars built a multimedia exhibition meant to evoke the Bay Area in the 1960s. It includes retro screen savers, literature on psychedelic drugs, and live recordings of the Grateful Dead.

The third artist, Taravat Talepasand, the daughter of Iranian immigrants, was born in the U.S. during the Iranian Revolution. She used the archive to build a mini archive containing magazines, propaganda, and posters from pre-revolutionary Iran. From that, she drew inspiration to make an accompanying series of paintings and drawings.

After launching July 14, the exhibition will be available to view at 1275 Minnesota Street, Suite 105, in San Francisco through August 11. If you're looking for inspiration of your own, artists and non-artists alike can search the Internet Archive for rare materials anytime for free.

[h/t Fast Company]

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