Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Whack those little links

Hark, oh neophyte Tweeters! Is that link to another video of a cat on a Roomba just a few letters over the 140-character limit? There is hope, young Twits: a website called TinyURL will shorten your horrifically long, Lovecraftian string of letters, symbols and numerics to a fraction of its former girth.

Essentially, it redirects that short link on its directory to the original long link's destination. Other link-shortening sites, like bit.ly (not to be confused with mitt.ly), have increased in use, but TinyURL has been around since January 2002. After eight years, there's a deluge of TinyURLs, and like all Internet innovations, somebody got bored.

Thus was TinyURL Whacking born.

All TinyURL short links start with the service's website - http://tinyurl.com/ - followed by random letters and numbers assigned when the long link is shortened. Since the database is solvent, if someone tries to make a new short link to a site someone had submitted before, the short link will be identical to when it was first made.


Keeping the Internet neutral a big concern for ethnic groups


Henry Waxman unable to get a consensus on Net Neutrality before the congressional break at the end of September. (Photo: Center for American Progress/Flickr CC)

Network neutrality (also known as “net neutrality”) has risen from slumbering bogeyman to hot-button issue since last April’s decision by a federal appeals court favored service provider Comcast over the Federal Communications Commission, effectively allowing Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) the ability to block or slow specific sites.

Proponents of net neutrality fear this decision will allow ISP’s to offer tiers of access to the Internet, artificially creating financial demand for performance.

But this article by California Crusader News, featured on hyperlocal ethnic news collective LA Beez, notes the potential effects failing to establish net neutrality will have on artistic, lower-income and immigrant communities:


The next Batman movie: 'The Dark Knight Rises'

The next Batman movie's title has been announced: "The Dark Knight Rises." Geoff Boucher at the L.A. Times' Hero Complex did an interview with director Christopher Nolan (recently known for the mind-bending hit "Inception") on the third leg in his Batman trilogy.

Nolan also revealed that the villain won't be the Riddler, much to the chagrin of fanboys who've been speculating that the Riddler would be the villain since shortly after "The Dark Knight" came out. This fan poster was burning up the Internet after the last movie, with casting rumors pointing to Johnny Depp, but it's not to be:

Nolan is also fighting the 3-D trend and said he won't be filming "The Dark Knight Rises" in 3-D; however, he will be using IMAX as he did for certain sections of "The Dark Knight."

I like Hero Complex's suggestion of Dr. Hugo Strange as a villain in the next film, as I think Nolan could do some interesting things with the way his storytelling explores psychological issues. I'd also love to see the trilogy brought full circle, perhaps bringing back Ra's al Ghul from "Batman Begins" and Two-Face from "The Dark Knight." It's difficult to see a logical way to explain their returns after they both seemingly met untimely ends, particularly in the grim and gritty world of the recent Batman films, but it would make a fitting cap to the series and Nolan's talent keeps it within the realm of possibility.


The Internet is Coming to Brooklyn

Poster for Know Your Meme's second annual HallowMEME.

If you’re reading this article, you will undoubtedly fall into one of two categories: either you will look at the poster for the second annual HallowMEME party (photos from the inaugural HallowMEME here) in Brooklyn and laugh hysterically, or you will sit there with a quizzical expression and wonder aloud what links all those strange featured figures together.

If you fall in to the second, we’ve got some ‘splainin to do.

A meme is a single image or concept – essentially a visual joke – that spreads across the internet, evolving as it gets posted and reposted. There is no real characteristic to accurately predict which memes will be successful; the Internet chooses according to whim and then carries said joke into the stratosphere.

It may be amusing to think of the Internet as a shadow entity of devious machinations, but that description more or less describes the real breeding ground for these memes: the dark corner of the Internet known as 4chan.


Nintendo turns 25

As a child who grew up with the Nintendo being the first item I remember desperately wanting as a tyke, I got a little sentimental upon reading that today is the 25th anniversary of the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System).

Nintendo created an empire with hit systems including the Nintendo, the Game Boy, the Super Nintendo, the Nintendo 64, the GameCube, the Nintendo DS, the Wii and the Virtual Boy (maybe not so much that last one).

They defeated long time rivals Sega and, when faced with new competition from Microsoft and Sony, decided to play an entirely different game with the Wii. It's a system that doesn't try to have the best graphics or play to hardcore gamers, but changed the way people interact with games; Microsoft and Sony are doing their best to imitate the Wii with various peripherals, but these have yet to catch on.