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Rebecca Hiscott
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Entries by Rebecca Hiscott

8 Ways Technology Makes You Stupid

(51) Comments | Posted July 25, 2014 | 1:06 PM

People assume that iPhones, laptops and Netflix are evidence of progress. In some ways, that's true. A moderate amount of Googling, for instance, can be good for your brain, and there are apps that can boost brain function and activity.

Yet tech advancements also come with...

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Cómo llenar cien globos de agua en un minuto (VÍDEO, GIFS)

(0) Comments | Posted July 25, 2014 | 10:11 AM

Kickstarter está plagado de absurdas propuestas de crowdfunding, como la campaña para financiar una ensalada de patata o la fabricación de un mango para el iPhone. Pero a la vez que ocurre esto, se encuentran otras propuestas más útiles como este invento que intenta resolver uno...

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Instagram Leaks What Looks A Lot Like A Snapchat Clone

(1) Comments | Posted July 24, 2014 | 2:34 PM

Instagram may be following in the footsteps of its parent company, Facebook, by developing a Snapchat clone -- and prematurely leaking it, too.

Last night, some Android users reported seeing a notification in their Instagram feed announcing Bolt, a “one tap photo messaging app," The Verge...

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Dieser grandiose Vater kann 37 Wasserballons in 20 Sekunden füllen

(0) Comments | Posted July 24, 2014 | 11:33 AM

Diese Kickstarter-Kampagne könnte ein Problem heißer Sommertage lösen - nämlich, dass es einfach verdammt lange dauert, bis Wasserballons gefüllt sind.

Wahrscheinlich müssen wir Sie nicht daran erinnern, wie nervig es ist, geduldig am Schlauch zu warten, bis 20 Wasserballons für eine altmodische Wasserschlacht gefüllt sind?


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Un père de famille a trouvé comment remplir 37 ballons d'anniversaire en 20 secondes (PHOTOS, VIDÉOS)

(0) Comments | Posted July 24, 2014 | 11:22 AM

Depuis le début de l'été, le site de financement Kickstarter a vu des tonnes de campagnes stupides. Il y a d"abord eu la salade de pommes de terre à 60000$. Puis cet homme qui demandait 22000$ pour fabriquer une poignée d'iPhone.

Et voilà qu'une campagne tente...

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Genius Dad Figures Out Way To Fill 37 Water Balloons In 20 Seconds

(355) Comments | Posted July 23, 2014 | 1:53 PM

We’ve seen our share of dumb Kickstarter campaigns this summer. There was the $60,000 potato salad that set the Internet on fire. Then there was that guy who wanted $22,000 to make a handle for your iPhone for some reason.

But finally, there’s a Kickstarter campaign...

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This Could Be The Back Panel For The ‘iPhone 6'

(9) Comments | Posted July 21, 2014 | 1:25 PM

Two photos surfaced on Monday that purportedly show the new, all-aluminum "iPhone 6" back panel. They fueled speculation that the Apple logo on the back of the new iPhone might light up.

iphone 6 back panel

Maybe the exterior of the "iPhone 6" back...

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Why You Feel Terrible After Spending Too Much Time On Facebook

(8) Comments | Posted July 17, 2014 | 5:12 PM

Next time you’re in a bad mood, resist the urge to try and cheer yourself up by checking Facebook. It likely won’t work, according to a recent study.

Two behavioral researchers have confirmed what anyone who has ever Facebook-stalked someone at 1 a.m. already knows: The longer you're...

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LOL, WTF? The Origin Stories Of Your Favorite Internet Acronyms

(8) Comments | Posted July 17, 2014 | 10:27 AM

Have you ever thought about where now-ubiquitous semi-words like "OMG" and "LOL" come from? Sure, they've been sanctified by the Oxford English Dictionary as totally legitimate, but it's often difficult to figure out how, exactly, they began. Even web historians -- some of whom get paid to study this stuff, people -- occasionally dispute these well-known words' origins.

We decided to take a stab at figuring out the stories behind the "WTFs" and "YOLOs" of the Internet world. TL;DR? Follow us as we dive into the fascinating stories behind the acronyms you use every day.

1. LOL

Meaning: "laughing out loud"
Variations: lul, lulz, lolz, lollerskates
Example: You have to see this video of a corgi puppy trying to get down a flight of stairs. I LOLed so hard!

Before it existed online, "LOL" was common in letter-writing. The pre-Internet version of the acronym meant “lots of love” or “lots of luck."

The online use of LOL might date back as far as the early '80s in Calgary, Canada, when then-student Wayne Pearson coined the term with friends on Viewline, a bulletin board system that was a sort of rudimentary chatroom. Or so he claims.

“I always emphasized (and still do) that it was meant to be used *only* if you truly Laughed Out Loud,” Pearson wrote in a post crowning himself the inventor of LOL.

Lexicographer and netspeak historian Ben Zimmer told PCWorld that the first documented mention of LOL comes from a May 1989 newsletter called FidoNews -- still distributed by the computer network FidoNet today -- which listed it as a commonly used Web acronym.

The newsletter is archived in full at, but you can see an excerpt below:

fidonews newsletter


Meaning: "laughing my ass off"
Variations: LMFAO, ROFLMAO
Example: Justin Bieber is wearing drop-crotch leather harem pants. LMAO!

By 1989, the acronym "LMTO," or “laughing my tush off," was already around, according to FidoNews. A year later, its more crass counterpart was supposedly coined, appropriately enough, during an online "Dungeons & Dragons" game, Slate podcaster Mike Vuolo reported.

According to Vuolo, “Torquin (an elven male Ranger) typed ‘LMAO!’ after Sayaka (a human female Monk) suggested that Daldin (a dwarf male Fighter) might want some hijiki for lunch. (I guess you had to be there.)” Sounds about right.

Even before the Internet, misanthropic youth liked to talk about "laughing their asses off." In J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, the novel's main character, Holden Caulfield, described a movie he saw like this: “It ends up with everybody at this long dinner table laughing their asses off because the great Dane comes in with a bunch of puppies."



Meaning: "rolling on the floor laughing"
Example: Justin Bieber is wearing leather harem pants again, ROFL. What is it with this guy?

ROFL and its variants, including ROTFL (the “T" is for “the”) and ROTF (which does away with “laughing” altogether), date back to at least 1989, when it was apparently first used in a post on Usenet, an early Internet message board, in a group discussing amateur radio. Someone nicknamed “Chuq” apparently ROFL'd when another person didn't know what "RTFM," or "read the fucking manual," meant.

ROTFLOL, which combines “rolling on the floor” with “laughing out loud,” is probably nearly as old, archived here in a 1992 post to the alternative rock forum on Usenet. (There’s also an amusing debate over whether Axl Rose’s name is a deliberate anagram for “oral sex” or just a happy accident.)

4. WTF

Meaning: "what the fuck?"
Variations: WTH, WTF BOOM!
Example: WTF, why does Justin Bieber keep wearing leather harem pants?!

In a post on the blog Language Log, language historian Ben Zimmer says he found the earliest instance of "WTF" in a 1985 Usenet post titled “Ramblings.”

“Upon booting I received a message saying "PLEASE INSERT WORD MASTER,” a user named Jay Fields wrote. “I asked myself, ‘W.T.F.?’”

Other variations on "WTF," in which the "W" stands for “who,” “where,” “when,” “why” and “whatever,” appear in Usenet posts from the mid-'80s onward, according to Zimmer.


Meaning: "you only live once"
Variations: #YOLO
Example: I downed 15 shots last night and then had to go to the hospital but whatever, YOLO.

Sorry, but you can’t pin the existence of "YOLO" on Drake. The Canadian rapper may have popularized the acronym in his song “The Motto,” but the phrase has been in use since at least the 18th century, when Johann Wolfgang von Goethe used an expression translating to “one lives but once in the world” in the play "Clavigo." Johann Strauss II also titled a waltz “Man lebt nur einmal!” (“You only live once!”) in 1855.

In the mid-80s, Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart named his California ranch YOLO, also after the motto “you only live once," Hart told Vanity Fair.

Even the acronym's modern exposure dates back further than Drake to at least 2004, when Adam Mesh, a former contestant on the reality show "Average Joe," printed the phrase on a line of T-shirts.

In November 2012, for reasons we can’t fathom, the Oxford American Dictionaries included YOLO its shortlist for the 2012 English Word of the Year. It lost out to another acronym, GIF (Graphics Interchange Format).

6. OMG

Meaning: "oh my God"
Variations: OMFG, omgz, zomg
Example: OMG did you see Ben down 15 shots last night? Dude is crazy.

This acronym goes way, way back to 1917, when 75-year-old John Arbuthnot Fisher, First Baron Fisher of Kilverstone, sent a letter to Winston Churchill that concluded, “I hear that a new order of Knighthood is on the tapis -- O.M.G. (Oh! My! God!) -- Shower it on the Admiralty!” (Meaning: “Knight me, please!”)

In other words, even a century ago, OMG was used to say things like, “OMG I WANT!”


OMG’s online use dates back to at least 1994. The Oxford English Dictionary traced it back to a post on a Usenet forum about TV soap operas that reads, “OMG! What did I say?”

7. FML

Meaning: "fuck my life"
Variations: FMFL
Example: Today I was finally going to redeem my free frozen yogurt voucher at my favorite FroYo place. Then I found out it was shut down because of a rat infestation. FML.

According to Know Your Meme, "FML" has had an Urban Dictionary entry since 2005. But the expression entered the mainstream with the success of Judd Apatow’s 2007 comedy "Superbad."

In this throwaway scene, "McLovin" (played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse) spoke with a morose cashier who utters the famous words:

Interest in the acronym spiked with the 2009 blog FMyLife, where people could submit their own “my life sucks” stories, typically beginning “Today I…” and concluding, “FML.” Like these ones:


The creators of FMyLife are also responsible for the French version of the site, called “Vie de merde” (VDM), which literally translates to “Life of sh*t." That means the same thing, more or less.

8. FTW

Meaning: "for the win"
Variations: FTW (where the acronym stands for "fuck the world")
Example: Found a frozen yogurt place a block away, and this one’s rat-free. FTW!

You can thank the long-running game show "Hollywood Squares" for the phrase "for the win." Contestants on the show would have to say the expression when selecting the winning “square” in the tic-tac-toe-inspired show.

But it was in the early 2000s when the acronym "FTW" popped up in the online role-playing game "Dark Age of Camelot," according to a post on StackExchange, an online forum for linguists and etymologists. Someone using the online handle “Hugo” traced the expression back to a 2003 "Dark Age of Camelot" forum, where a user wrote, “Norway FTW!”


Meaning: "read the fucking manual"
Variations: RTBM ("read the bloody manual"), RTFA ("read the fucking article"), WTFV ("watch the fucking video"), STFW ("search the fucking web")
Example: "How do I change guns in Halo?" "RTFM, dude."

This angry little acronym is said to have originated among soldiers in World War II, used in response to redundant questions from a new recruit, according to Know Your Meme. But its earliest confirmed usage as a tech term came in 1979, when it was used in -- you guessed it -- a manual for computer programmers.

10. TL;DR

Meaning: "too long; didn’t read"
Variations: TLDR
Example: Can someone give me all of 20th century U.S. history in TL;DR format? I have an exam in an hour.

There’s no better sign of our times than Internet shorthand that demands writing be as short as possible. "TL;DR" likely originated on the comedy forum Something Awful around 2002, and spread to other online forums like 4chan, Slashdot and Reddit. The first Urban Dictionary definition for TL;DR appeared in 2003, and it earned its own Wikipedia page in 2007....

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Amazon Looks Like It's Creating A Netflix For Books

(37) Comments | Posted July 16, 2014 | 2:31 PM

Amazon is about to make it even harder for book-lovers to quit Amazon by unveiling a new service that the company clearly hopes will become the Netflix of books.

Gigaom reported Wednesday that the online retailer appears to be testing a new e-book and audiobook subscription...

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NSA Scares Germany So Much It's Considering Going Back To Typewriters

(20) Comments | Posted July 15, 2014 | 3:19 PM

German politicians are so concerned about U.S. surveillance that they’re considering turning to typewriters to keep sensitive documents away from prying eyes.

In an interview with the German TV program “Morgenmagazin,” Patrick Sensburg, who heads up the German parliamentary inquiry into U.S. National Security Agency activity, said...

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Ginormous iPhone Almost Definitely Getting Delayed: Analyst

(21) Comments | Posted July 14, 2014 | 11:17 AM

An analyst with knowledge of Apple’s production schedule said Sunday that a rumored 5.5-inch “iPhone 6” probably won’t debut this fall.

The analyst, KGI Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo, wrote in a research note on Sunday that manufacturing problems could keep a 5.5-inch “iPhone 6” from being released this fall, while...

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Apple Patent Hints The 'iPhone 6' Will Be Made Of Indestructible Glass

(76) Comments | Posted July 11, 2014 | 11:21 AM

A new Apple patent gives more weight to rumors that the next iPhone will be made of a nearly indestructible type of glass.

Apple won a patent this week for “fused glass device housings," a new method of fusing together pieces of glass, which could be used to make casings...

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Bill Gates Backs Birth Control With Wireless On-Off Switch

(106) Comments | Posted July 10, 2014 | 9:57 AM

First Bill Gates brought us a better condom. Now, the billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft founder is taking birth control to an even more amazing level.

Gates is backing a long-lasting implantable birth control device that can be turned on and off with a remote control. With this device -- a...

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Novedades iPhone 6: la prueba de que su pantalla será indestructible (VÍDEOS, GIFS)

(0) Comments | Posted July 9, 2014 | 7:26 AM

Fans de Apple, aquí tenéis una nueva razón para emocionaos: la pantalla del próximo iPhone 6 parece mucho menos propensa a romperse en un millón de pedazos.

Marques Brownlee, un conocido usuario de YouTube, que en una ocasión fue descrito como "el mejor crítico de tecnología...

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Inventor Of Email: People Tell Me 'I Want To Kill You'

(13) Comments | Posted July 8, 2014 | 7:15 PM

"When I tell people I invented email, the first thing they say is, 'I want to kill you,'" V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, Chairman and CEO of CytoSolve, Inc., a former lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the disputed inventor of email, told the Wall Street...

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This 'iPhone 6' Screen Looks Nearly Indestructible

(58) Comments | Posted July 8, 2014 | 1:45 PM

Apple fans, here’s a new reason to get excited: The screen on the next iPhone appears to be much less likely to shatter into a million pieces.

Marques Brownlee, a popular YouTube host who was once called "the best technology reviewer on the planet" by a...

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YouTube Wants You To Know Why Your Videos Won't Load

(12) Comments | Posted July 7, 2014 | 2:41 PM

Wondering why that YouTube video isn't loading? Blame your Internet service provider.

At least that's what YouTube is saying in a relatively new feature that ranks ISPs based on how easily they stream videos on the site.

Some YouTube users are seeing a blue bar reading “Experiencing interruptions? Find out...

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Sheryl Sandberg Stops Short Of Apology For Facebook Mood Study

(88) Comments | Posted July 2, 2014 | 3:15 PM

Facebook’s chief operating officer said Wednesday she was sorry a controversial study that manipulated nearly 700,000 people's Facebook accounts was “poorly communicated."

But she stopped short of actually apologizing for the study itself.

“This was part of ongoing research companies do to test different products, and that was...

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10 Simple Ways To Get More Instagram Followers And Likes

(37) Comments | Posted July 2, 2014 | 9:05 AM

Getting more likes on social media makes you happier. Science says so. And since we want you to feel happy, dear reader, we decided to figure out exactly how one goes about obtaining likes and followers on that most enigmatic of apps -- Instagram.

Instagram itself has been...

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