November 16, 2022

Fatberg

Marine Conservation Society

A fatberg is a rock-like mass of waste matter in a sewer system formed by the combination of flushed non-biodegradable solids, such as wet wipes, and fat, oil and grease (FOG) deposits. The handling of FOG waste and the buildup of its deposits are a long-standing problem in waste management, with ‘fatberg’ a more recent neologism.

Giant fatbergs have blocked sewers in London, New York, Denver, Valencia, and Melbourne and are becoming more prevalent with the rise in usage of disposable (so-called ‘flushable’) cloths. Several prominent examples were discovered in the 2010s in Great Britain, their formation accelerated by aging Victorian sewers. Fatbergs are costly to remove, and have given rise to public awareness campaigns about flushable waste. Continue reading

November 13, 2022

Tafheet

Tafheet

Tafheet (also known as hajwalah or Saudi drifting) is an Arab street racing subculture that involves repeatedly sliding around on a straight road at high speed, drifting sideways, and recovering with opposite lock, often with little or no concern for safety. It began in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates in the 1970s. The cars are generally non-modifiedand are sometimes stolen or rented cars.

The technique does not involve recognized motorsport skills such as high-speed cornering using power slides. Many videos and compilations of the minor and horrific accidents that result are posted online. Continue reading

Tags:
November 6, 2022

Fediverse

Mastodon

The fediverse (a portmanteau of ‘federation’ and ‘universe’) is an ensemble of federated (i.e. interconnected) servers that are used for web publishing (i.e. social networking, microblogging, blogging, or websites) and file hosting, but which, while independently hosted, can communicate with each other.

Their are federated alternatives to many mainstream websites: PeerTube (YouTube); Funkwhale (SoundCloud); Mastodon, Hubzilla, and pump.io (Twitter); Frendica (Facebook); Drupal (WordPress); Pixelfed (Instagram); and Lemmy (Reddit). Continue reading

October 19, 2022

Let’s Go Brandon

Brandon Brown

Let’s Go Brandon is a political slogan and Internet meme, used as a substitute for the phrase ‘Fuck Joe Biden’ in reference to Joe Biden, the 46th president of the United States.

Chants of ‘Fuck Joe Biden’ began during sporting events in early September 2021. On October 2, 2021, during a televised interview of the Sparks 300 race winner Brandon Brown at Talladega Superspeedway, NBC Sports reporter Kelli Stavast incorrectly described the chant in the background as ‘Let’s Go Brandon,’ which sparked the meme. The slogan has become well known through use by Republican politicians and critics of Biden. The phrase quickly spread to popular culture. Continue reading

Tags: ,
October 17, 2022

Obama Tan Suit Controversy

Obama

The Obama tan suit controversy refers to a live, televised press conference on August 28, 2014 where U.S. President Barack Obama announced he was increasing the military response against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria while wearing a tan suit. His suit choice sparked significant attention and led to media and social media criticism. The issue remained prominent in the media for several days with the issue being particularly widely discussed on talk shows.

A light-colored suit is considered casual summer wear and such attire was seen by conservative media outlet Fox News as inappropriate due to the gravitas of the subject matter. The controversy was seen in the context of the slow news season before the run-up to the 2014 election campaign. The suit received mixed reviews from a fashion perspective. Continue reading

Tags:
October 16, 2022

Deflategate

Deflategate

Deflategate was a National Football League (NFL) controversy involving the allegation that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady ordered the deliberate deflation of footballs used in the Patriots’ victory against the Indianapolis Colts during the 2014 AFC Championship Game on January 18, 2015. The controversy resulted in Brady being suspended for four games, while the team was fined $1 million and forfeited two draft selections in 2016.

Brady appealed but eventually agreed to sit out the first four games of the 2016 season, which concluded with the Patriots winning Super Bowl LI and Brady being named MVP. The season also saw the NFL change the procedure for monitoring football pressure. Continue reading

October 4, 2022

Everesting

George Mallory

Everesting is an activity in which cyclists or runners ascend and descend a given hill multiple times, in order to have cumulatively climbed 8,848 meters (29,029 ft) (the elevation of Mount Everest).

The first event described as ‘Everesting’ was by George Mallory, grandson of George Mallory, who disappeared on Everest in 1924. The younger Mallory ascended Mount Donna Buang in 1994, having ridden eight ‘laps’ of the 1,069-meter hill. The format and rules were cemented by cyclist Andy van Bergen, inspired by the story of Mallory’s effort. In the first official group effort, van Bergen organized 65 riders, 40 of whom finished the Everesting attempt. Continue reading

Tags:
September 29, 2022

Pepsi Number Fever

Pepsi Number Fever

Pepsi Number Fever, also known as the 349 incident, was a promotion held by PepsiCo in the Philippines in 1992, which led to riots and the deaths of at least five people.

In February 1992, Pepsi Philippines (PCPPI) announced that they would print numbers, ranging from 001 to 999, inside the caps (crowns) of Pepsi, 7-Up, Mountain Dew, and Mirinda bottles. Certain numbers could be redeemed for prizes, which ranged from 100 pesos (about US$4) to 1 million pesos for a grand prize (roughly US$40,000 in 1992), equivalent to 611 times the average monthly salary in the Philippines at the time. Pepsi allocated a total of US$2 million for prizes. Marketing specialist Pedro Vergara based Pepsi Number Fever on similar, moderately successful promotions that had been held previously in Vergara’s geographic area of expertise, Latin America. Continue reading

Tags:
September 15, 2022

Pretendian

Playing Indian

pretendian (portmanteau of pretend and Indian) is a person who has falsely claimed Indigenous identity by claiming to be a citizen of a Native American or Indigenous Canadian tribal nation, or to be descended from Native ancestors. The term is a pejorative colloquialism, and if used without evidence could be considered defamatory.

As a practice, being a pretendian is considered an extreme form of cultural appropriation, especially if that individual then asserts that they can represent, and speak for, communities they do not belong to. It is sometimes also referred to as a form of ethnic fraud or race shifting. Continue reading

September 12, 2022

Mr. Big

Rafay

Mr. Big (sometimes known as the ‘Canadian technique’) is a covert investigation procedure used by undercover police to elicit confessions from suspects in cold cases (usually murder).

Police officers create a fictitious grey area or criminal organization and then seduce the suspect into joining it. They build a relationship with the suspect, gain their confidence, and then enlist their help in a succession of criminal acts (e.g., delivering goods, credit card scams, selling guns) for which they are paid. Once the suspect has become enmeshed in the criminal gang they are persuaded to divulge information about their criminal history, usually as a prerequisite for being accepted as a member of the organization. Continue reading

September 6, 2022

Reply Allpocalypse

Email storm

A reply allpocalypse, also called an email storm, is a sudden spike of “reply all” messages on an email list. When members respond, often pleading for the cessation of messages, a chain reaction is triggered, generating traffic that can render the email servers inoperative.

Some email viruses also have the capacity to create email storms by sending copies of themselves to an infected user’s contacts, including distribution lists, infecting the contacts in turn. Continue reading

September 1, 2022

Stroad

Share the Road

stroad is a pejorative portmanteau of street and road that was coined by urban planner Charles Marohn in 2011 to describe paved traffic structures in the U.S. that are a bad combination of two types of vehicular pathways.

According to Marohn, a stroad is part street—which he describes as a ‘complex environment where life in the city happens,’ with pedestrians, cars, buildings close to the sidewalk for easy accessibility, with many (property) entrances / exits to and from the street, and with spaces for temporary parking and delivery vehicles—and part road, which he describes as a ‘high-speed connection between two places’ with wide lanes, limited entrances and exits, and which are generally straight or have gentle curves. Continue reading