Tuesday, September 23, 2008

YouTube's Battle For Supremacy, But Youth Wins

So, there is a currently a huge battle underway on YouTube to be the #1 most subscribed channel. Smosh, who has been #1 since April 2007 -- an eternity in Internet time -- is currently just barely ahead of nigahiga and Fred. And checking the actual subscribers counts on the channels themselves (which are usually more up to date than the chart excerpted above), Smosh's lead is down to just over 700 subscribers.

(Smosh fans say: Oh noez!)

Now, it might be noted that this unholy threesome appeal to a lot of teens and kids who are more than able and willing to game subscriber numbers, at least when they are not hacking Sarah Palin's email. But, to their credit, these video creators also consistently get huge viewcounts on their vids, and I haven't seen any evidence of cheating.

When Smosh bypassed lonelygirl15 as the #1 most subscribed channel 17 months ago, it only took just over 91,000 subscribers to edge out Bree. Smosh now has well over five times more subscribers. Yet the lonelygirl15 channel stalled and never exceeded 115,000. YouTube is fickle like that, as its stars of yesteryear (anyone remember Geriatric1927?) are being replaced by more youth-oriented content, which itself is becoming semi-professional as these stars reel in some cash.

See also: YouTubeStars' Top 100 Chart

ETA 9/24/2008 11pm PT: Nigahiga just edged smosh sometime in the last 10 minutes, nigahiga has 531,009 to smosh's 531,006.

Official YouTube chart updated:

Kenny from YouTube stars comments: "Thanks for the links to our blog and the Top 100 Chart! My guess is that Nigahiga will pass Smosh in the next week and then Fred will move to #1 in the next few weeks. Will be interesting to watch and see!"

And over at Smosh.com, the fans brush away the tears:
... I have never seen a Smosh video that didn't make me at least snicker. SMOSH IS BETTER.

The problem is that everyone knows about NigaHiga at schools... And yet when I mention Smosh people are like "who now?" It's like "WTF how'd you find out about NigaHiga then...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

i ownz ensurantz compinny?

I feel very unknowledgeable about the true import of what is going on in the US economy this week ... wade in if you dare ...

So the news is telling me that the Fed finally decided to bail out AIG. I assume most people have not heard of AIG until recently, but it is one of the top 25 companies, in size, in the entire world, and the largest insurance company in the U.S. (not sure who is bigger worldwide, but AIG is one of the biggest).

And in return for a line of credit up to $85 billion, the Federal Reserve Bank now owns 79.9% of AIG. The press releases don't say it quite this way -- but we have nationalized this company. what the hell is going on?

Among the questions that occur to me is why Chapter 11 bankruptcy (a reorganization bankruptcy - you keep operating subject to bankruptcy law protections from creditors, like the airlines have done many times) was not acceptable for AIG?

Do we get to fire those in charge of AIG now, and take back their surely huge corporate bonuses, or cut their salaries?

according to one article, one analyst says this "not a nationalization because the Fed does not intend to run AIG. The Fed will get a profit on this, which it should." so, we own 80% of AIG, but don't intend to have any say in how it is run?

Is this like the (much smaller) 1979 bailout of Chrysler, which this conservative org. article from 1983 lambasted?

I am trying to figure out how these recent government decisions from people supposedly dedicated to the free market (including the retaking of Fannie and Freddie) are not socialism. (opinion piece here from unvetted source - "the New American?" - that seems to agree) McCain can say nationalized insurance for health care would be bad, but we just nationalized the largest insurance company we have!

ETA: Even that idiot Jonah Goldberg at The Corner doesn't seem enthused about the buyout.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Update: Andraluvs2sing Has Balls

we accidentally cut off our teachers nuts

In my last post, I laid out the evidence that andraluvs2sing (aka Andra Hoelsted) was fictional viral marketing for something. And it was.

After Andra resolved in the last week to do something about this alleged teacher taking advantage of her friend, she dropped the bomb yesterday captured above: "We accidentially cut off our teachers nuts."

Whoa! You gotta laugh at that. Also up is Andra's latest youtube video, a trailer for the movie "On The Doll", which deals with amazing things such as detached nuts, apparently.

In fact, the deballing clip is online, if you dare to learn that testicles can indeed be removed "accidentally":

The movie has a YouTube Channel, with trailers posted. (Some have inflated view counts using the same techniques that Andra used.) According to the wikipedia page for the movie, a surely unbiased article written by the director, On the Doll is:
a very dark and intense dramatic feature film directed and written by acclaimed music video director Thomas Mignone [who has directed a huge ass number of heavy metal type band's videos.] .... The film's title comes from the phrase "Show me on the doll where you were touched" often asked of young children who have been the victims of sexual abuse. "On The Doll" has a limited theatrical release in the United States, as well as a continuously growing popularity upon its DVD and online release due to several unexpected and highly graphic scenes.
Oh, and it was released on DVD yesterday. (Handy link to amazon, only $26.99). What a coincidence!

Presumably facebook, kari sweets, and illumistream were recruited to help promote the movie. Maybe the gal who plays andra is in the movie? I don't know.

So, some kudos are due to Thomas Mignone and his crew for a well-planned hoax. Uh ... I mean viral marketing campaign. It didn't go super-viral like the Wii Fit Girl (which wasn't planned viral marketing anyway), but most of these attempts to go viral don't spread that far anyway, or at least its hard to measure their effect.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Andraluvs2hoax: Another fake viral video thingie

andra hoelsted is that really your name? haha kthxbye

So, I stumbled across Andraluvs2sing today, aka Andra Hoelsted, aka the latest youtube fictional / fake / hoax floating around the internet. Not that I really get riled up about these faux 'next big things.' In fact, I find them fascinating. But I wonder what the purpose of this one is.

Andraluvs2sing started her youtube channel on April 23, 2008. She posted, that same day, a video of her purportedly singing as a youngster. It has 23,000 views and 1 comment, and the functionality to see where external links to youtube are coming from is disabled. Hmmm ....

Andra's next three vids show that she's a very poor guitar player, but a very attractive young woman. Practicing A New Song has already racked up an impressive 292,743 views, but only 26 comments (and again, any external links data is disabled.) But one commenter explains the high view count: "this video is showing automatically on facebook, that's why!"

Although Andra is hawtt, surely this video wasn't featured by facebook on its merit.

Then, a la lonelygirl15, Andra starts some drama. On May 16, she posted a 21 second clip "does your teacher act like this with students?!!". This purports to show some questionable behavior of one of her teachers in a car with a fellow female student. Of course, she wants youtubers advice on what to do. This vid currently has 695,814 views & 121 comments, a suspicious ratio. In the comments, a few people do smell a fake, though most of the others are trying to give Andra advice.

Um, tell the principal? Have a threesome? Which one will get more youtube views?

So, about a week later, Andra posted a vid of advice she received from another young beauty, a Kari Sweets. "Kari Sweets Advice LEAVE COMMENT!". Whaaa? apparently Sweets is a "minor internet porn starlet" of the Maxim type (i.e., not 100% nude). And while its not only odd that some Internet-famous chick would post a video response to this girl's car stalking video, its also very odd that Andra posted it on her own channel, instead of this appearing on some channel claiming to be Kari Sweets' youtube channel (if she has one). (There's also another video of Kari talking about the situation on some other youtube channel.)

Then, yesterday (june 5), youtube channel illumistream, which is a commercially done production that has been having great youtube success lately by posting short videos of "sex advice" with hawtt thumbnails, also posted the same kari sweets video that Andra did, calling it "Not Your Average Sex Celebrity Tape" (except with a lurid thumbnail added).

andra hoelsted will definitely click on this booty!

Illumistream's Video Description: The Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian sex tapes became Internet sensations -- but this isn't THAT kind of sex tape. Kari Sweets takes a break from her on-line modeling career to give some advice to Andra Hoelsted on her unfortunate situation.
The whole story broke when Andra told everything on her blog, http://andraluvs2sing.wordpress.com. Watch the video to get Kari's perspective - and support Andra's friend by visiting the blog:

Surely that's enough for anyone to realize its a hoax.

But, like any good fictive viral story, Andra's faux existence is not confined to youtube. She also has a wordpress blog, which is telling the story of her attempt to become a successful musician. This involves her realizing she can't play guitar for shit, but luckily she has met up with some guitarist ... do i smell a band forming?

And, of course she has a facebook, and a myspace, and even a digg account, where her only submission has been to digg this Amazing New Female Artist ... well, golly gee, its digging herself!

The backstory among these sites gives her full name as Andra Hoelsted, of Charlotte, North Carolina. The pictures you can find on her myspace / blog / digg are all very professional looking (and never have anyone else in them other then her).

So, its another another fictional viral thingie. But why? And who's the girl?

UPDATE - June 18, 2008: See new post, its marketing for a movie called "On the Doll."

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ten Lonely Songs About Chocolate And Girls

Behold the musical video presentation above of "Ten Lonely Words" by Julie Ocean. This song kicks ass. Play it at the beach, in the car, in your prison cell (HI MOM!), or whereever you are.

I had a dream that I heard this on the radio after that 'shawty got low' drivel.

Buy their debut album "Long Gone And Nearly There"! (Julie Ocean's that is, not Flo-Rida's). It's on emusic, among the other usual places.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Star Jones and Tsunamis

Big news today.

Star Jones is getting divorced. OMG! (if people even know who she is). (Defamer.com: No Reason Yet Given In Star Jones's Divorce From Gay Husband.)

Star Jones reminds me very much of the internet pre-YouTube.

On December 26, 2004, you may recall that a large earthquake rocked the Indian Ocean, causing a tsunami responsible for many deaths from flooding in Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, etc. It was a terrible tragedy, one for which Indian Ocean countries (as opposed to Pacific Ocean countries) were ill-prepared.

Places struck by the tsunami included Phuket, Thailand, a resort area frequented by many Europeans. A number of vacationers took videos of the event as it happened, and they started to appear online soon in the days following the disaster.

I found watching these riveting for some reason. I knew it was kind of "wrong", but I also wanted to understand in some small way how it happened and the fear people must have felt. People a world away from me in many ways, but still, as John Green would say, there is no them, there are only facets of us.

But there was no YouTube.

It was difficult to locate and stream these videos, and some sites crashed from the traffic. While we take it for granted today that video of any disaster or mishap will be on YouTube, this is the first time I recall such widespread distribution (though straining the internet) of tragedy footage.

Some of those videos I recall now appear on youtube:

Another One. A Third One.

So, back to Star Jones. Star Jones reminds me of all this because a few days after the tragedy, she talked on the View (the morning U.S. talk show) about how she had just been in the area -- like a month before -- for her honeymoon. The wedding had been highly publicized by her, and she was milking that wedding for all it was worth. (Apparently 3 years.)

As The Daily Show reported at the time: "Star Jones is eternally grateful that God chose to spare her life in exchange for those of 160,000 others in Sri Lanka and Indonesia."

And whaddya know. The first video ever posted on youtube arrived on April 23, 2005. Three years ago today. Star Jones probably arranged for it.

Friday, April 18, 2008

That's Impossible!, or, I Can't Believe It Was A Hoax!

The collective inability of the internet to engage in critical thinking was proven true again for the 453,342nd time, with a story that Yale student Aliza Shvarts was all set to debut her "art project" consisting of serially inseminating herself and then inducing abortions over a nine month period. And it only gets worse and more bizarre from there. The untold angle is that the Yale Daily News was completely duped by this young woman, and deserves its fair share of the blame/credit.

its not about poop, but its still a story with lots of bullshit

Its all over the internet, of course, and I made a long forum post on the controversy at Anchor Cove.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Let's Kill Cats

if i put sex with cats here i will get more people viewing my Important Blogpost

Since blogs are often the offhand personal observations of their authors, its not surprising to see that any mildly interesting article that shows up in the New York Times on a given day is certain to spawn a few short sentences with a link on random blogs. What you might blurt out while sipping your morning coffee ("hmm, oil is more expensive now than velveeta, volume wise") becomes Blogposts that NEED to be shared with the world.

Just goes to show how many Important Blogger Types read the NY Times. That's really sad, though. I mean, the NY Times is just one of many hundreds of fine world newspapers.

Why don't people go all crazy for today's article in the Rapid City Journal (South Dakota, USA), "Legislator, lion advocate disagree on value of killing cats". Just the title alone should cause snarky and witty commentary across the blogosphere. NY Times-centric bloggers be damned!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Don't Forget Diet Coke

Diet Coke and Porn are surely coming soon.

Via Virginia Heffernan's NY Times' Medium Blog, I was led to the amazing research being done at Stuff White People Like.

According to NPR, which is SOOO on the list, the blog (created by white Toronto-to-LA transplant Christian Lander) has created some controversy. Not sure what the controversy is, but some white people are probably dicussing it down at the local Whole Foods while looking over the wine selection.

Self-important white people and many others comment on the story:
Grits&Eggs Blog (Feb.3) (comment says: "I was in an anti-racism training the other day and the white people got really upset when we started talking about "white culture".); Only Baggage You Can Bring Blog (Feb. 13) (sporting the very white titled: "So hilarious you'll wee in your pants"); Wired (Feb. 16) (first major press); Outside The Beltway Blog (Feb. 18) ("Unbearable Whiteness of Blogging"); LAIst (Feb. 19) ("Amazingly, even though the first post went up on January 18th, they're already up to 1,376,177 hits."); Utne Reader (Feb. 20); Kayne West Blog (Feb. 22) ("I am 1 of 2 blacks of the hundred's of white folks in my department. AND THIS SHIT IS SOOOO TRUE."); San Francisco Chronicle (Feb. 23); LA Times (Feb. 25) ("By last week, he was averaging 300,000 daily hits."); The Assimilated Negro (Feb. 25, interview).

the white author in his natural habitat
Oh, and Mr. Lander's Amazon Reviews page reveals that, apparently, white people like the movie "Pootie Tang."

Monday, February 18, 2008

Just The McFacts

McFacts To Ingest

The above picture comes from the bag which comes with a McDonald's Happy Meal. Apparently these bags contains McFacts, without the pesky need for a McFact Checker.

The bag, as you can see, says "Up & Up: You can jump 6 times higher in space!"

WTF? Obviously this refers to the MOON, not space. In space, you could jump forever, and there is no "UP"! How do screwups like this happen? Someone, presumably thought, "oh, space sounds cooler than the moon, let's put that in there! Who cares if that's right!"

Others have noted this problem in the past. ( June 2006 blogpost, Jan 2007 blogpost 1, Jan 2007 blogpost 2 - the comments on this last one say don't make a big deal over a typo! Oh, yeah, I'm sure that's a valid excuse on the AP Physics exam as well.)

OK, so this error has been publicly noticed on the internet for over 18 months. But apparently McDonald's sees no reason to correct blatant errors being presented to children as scientific fact. And don't think kids don't absorb this stuff either. Sometime in the future, they will spout out this McFact, not knowing where it came from, and be very confused to be wrong. They will then question their entire knowledge base. In a few years, some will no longer think they are "college material." But, hey, McDonald's will be hiring!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Proving Scientology Wrong

Protesters in Adelaide, Australia.  Courtesy random flickr and photobuckets everywhere.

So, I have been a bit intrigued, to say the least, about the recent protests by the group "Anonymous" against the Church of Scientology. It all got stirred up after the recent crazed video of Tom Cruise promoting Scientology started spreading across the internet, with Scientologists making copyright infringment claims to stall its viral spread on YouTube. "Anonymous" then posted some heavily viewed videos on YouTube promising retribution on February 10. News stories from mainstream media, including The Economist (Jan. 31), National Public Radio (Feb. 7), Newsweek (Feb. 8), and elsewhere, stirred an increasing frenzy.

Then, yesterday (Feb. 10, 2008), starting in New Zealand and Australia and continuing around the world, protesters turned out at Scientology church locations. Often whimsical, but sprinkled with serious foot soliders and serious messages, Anonymous simply proved what everyone pretty much already knows: Scientology is a joke.

That's why signs that said "Honk if you hate Scientology" or similar at protests were quite popular around the world. For example, in Boston:
The curtains of the Scientology building at 448 Beacon St. were drawn during most of yesterday's protest, but a video camera sticking out of a top floor window filmed the protesters as they begged motorists to "honk if you hate Scientology." Many drivers responded to the signs, creating a deafening roar with cars, taxi and fire trucks horns.
And Los Angeles:
The protests were peaceful and colorful, with music and chanting (often: "Religion is free -- No Pay Per View" -- a reference to an alleged tiered system whereby the religion's adherents must pay money to gain spiritual clarity). A near constant stream of horn honks provided the background noise as cars passed the Scientology center on Sunset Boulevard and continued as the mob moved to the so-called Celebrity Center on Hollywood Boulevard. At least one ambulance and several fire department vehicles honked as they passed.
In most every city, Scientology tried to retaliate by having their lackeys photograph and video protesters, most of whom were wearing disguises. But that kind of heavy handedness doesn't impress young internet-generation types. They are jaded to all that, and now all these scientologists snapping pictures are themselves now in pictures all over the internet.

Personally, I enjoyed some of the very creative signs that folks came up with:

free jedi mind tricks inside:  Protesters in Sydney.

Orlando, Florida

Melbourne, Australia

Washington, DC

Los Angeles

Charlotte, NC


San Francisco

Boise, Idaho

LA again

See also: WikiNews Photo Gallery and Site by Site Summary

There are also videos all over youtube from the protests. Here's an amusing early one from Sydney where the crowd cheers "Hubbard's a Wanker":

More ridiculous is the fact that Scientology was "rick rolled" at many of the protests. Like in Washington, D.C.:

See also London Rick Roll; Seattle Rick Roll. (This is beyond crazy. Mocking Scientology with Rick Astley. There is an even less known version of this tactic featuring Will Smith's Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Craziness!)

So what does all this mean for Scientology, if anything? In many ways, this Anonymous protest was simply just a worldwide flash mob. A big in-joke. But, on the other hand, I would think that future potential Scientology members are going to hear about this protest. They will see the videos of people protesting around the world and endless cars honking their support -- these honkers are the normal people in this world. The people who won't get off the couch to do much of anything, and are just busy living their own lives, but they know bullshit when they see it. Maybe some of the future recruits will decide to stay away when Tom Cruise beckons.

Tom Cruise Can't Fly

Will Scientology lose its tax exempt status? Will it be destroyed? Doubtful. But will the CoS be unable to prove to anyone that its even remotely cool to think Scientology is legit? Very possibly.

As a larger matter, the ability of thousands of people to quickly organize without any recognizable leadership and pull off a worldwide protest like this is truly amazing. Think of what good could be done in the world if the everyday folks of the internet generation spent a few hours a month on such causes. Amnesty International's main weapon to fight human rights abuses is simply letter writing -- letting governments know that people notice what they are doing and don't like it. And sometimes, it works. Imagine what Anonymous can accomplish with their drive, snark, and the occassional Rick Roll.

Not sure who created this.  But they deserve credit!