Lokal Stops: Old News For Humans Who Are Bad News for Earth

Let’s start off easy with some old news: five days ago, Pornhub launched their own record label, Pornhub Records. More recently, Jeopardy! told women what they want, but women really don’t want those things. Really.

But you know when you know that things are bad, but you don’t really know how bad?

Louisiana doesn’t look like what you think it looks like. We like to imagine it as a boot – that state itself likes to imagine as a boot – but its coastline has been disappearing for quite a while. Expectations versus reality:

Louisiana before_after

Also, since 1970, humans have wiped out 52% of the earth’s wildlife. I don’t want to point any fingers here, but let’s just say that if the entire world lived its every day like Americans, we would need 3.9 planets.

Fuck it, conservation is hard. Let’s just make our animals out of bananas.

Or let’s move to Mars. Every species deserves a second chance, right?

Here’s some (less apocalyptic) new news to tack onto your old Hachette-Amazon dispute news: “All Hachette authors are equal, but some are more equal than others.” Such as Paul Ryan, who was sad his book (published by a Hachette imprint) was difficult to find on Amazon, so Amazon was like “okay we’ll take care of it” and now you can buy Paul Ryan’s book, no problem! So, what can you do about it? Don’t buy another book from Amazon ever again! Google “local bookstores” instead.

Now for some introspection. Is your smartphone too big? Did you buy it of your own volition after having played around with it in the store and are now complaining that it’s too big? Finally, a solution: a small phone that actually does phone stuff which comes with your big phone that does other stuff. When considering making a purchase, think about what kind of person you want to be. Then make your decision.

Okay, maybe not everything is terrible. Sometimes humans can redeem themselves. Like when they rewrite pop songs as Shakespearean sonnets, or sneak Bob Dylan into science reports.

Of course, then they go ahead and green-light a Tetris movie.

I just don’t know what to think about humanity anymore.


Lokal Stops: We Can’t Have Nice Things

Kids are dumb, but at least some of them grow up to realize how dumb they were and try to make sense of their past selves. Hey, kids, while you wait to grow up and gain some perspective, why don’t you put some effort into your education and play more video games?

Lena Dunham isn’t paying performers that she “hired” to follow her around on her book tour, because if she paid them, then they would have money, and then they wouldn’t be meandering broke twenty-something artists who know they could achieve something if only they could get a paying job! And besides, Lena’s pretty broke herself. She only got a $3.7 million advance on that book. Reminder: a book advance is money you get before you even write your stupid book. 

It’s National Coffee Day because we never appreciate what we love most unless we have a day designated to it. Go celebrate by doing exactly what you do every single day.

Lokal Stops: Death of the iPhones

A British journalist wrote about how the New York City subway is different from the London Underground and this made her very uncomfortable. So I guess she won’t be visiting the 1980s New York City themed haunted house. Back in the 80s, criminals rode the subway too, and there was so much graffiti it would be impossible to recognize a subway car even if one stopped right in front of you.

Yes, things that are different are scary.

Also today, the wait was finally over, and Apple finally released iOS 8.0.1. Everyone has been so anxious for this long-awaited update to iOS 8.0, which was released way back last Wednesday. Immediately after updating, iPhones everywhere began dying. Because for a cellular phone, I’m pretty sure death is when it can no longer connect to a cellular network. As thousands of shaking hands clutched onto the remains of their Loved One, Apple sank to its knees, folded its hands, and prayed, Please, please let’s everyone forget this by tomorrow. (For those of you waiting for Apple to resuscitate your phone, take your mind off your woes by reminding yourself of your phone’s superiority.)

Meanwhile, John Oliver continues to remind us of his superiority over the entire human race, and a startup is trying to replace real-life humans with code-based humans. I bet the world is going to be a much different place in ten years.

In conclusion, here is the only review of Destiny you’ll ever have to read.

Upset at something on the internet? You are unique!

Maybe you’re sick of the story, but so am I. Every time I hear people discussing the recent revelation by OKCupid that they’ve been experimenting on users (because people are still discussing it), the arguments annoy me. For example, this morning on the train to work, I was listening to TL;DR, an awesome podcast about the internet from WNYC’s On the Media. On their most recent episode, they interviewed Christian Rudder, founder and president of OKCupid (and also, core band member of Bishop Allen, who I listened to a lot in high school). The show’s hosts were upset that OKC didn’t notify users that they were going to be tested on, known as “informed consent.”

The hosts discuss that informed consent could have been something like an email sent out to users: “We are interested in running an experiment. We can’t tell you what that experiment will be.”

Sure, the consent would then be very informed. How does letting users know they’re going to be experimented on help them? They still have no idea what the experiment is, and upon finding out what the experiment was, they could all the same be retroactively upset or offended by it, but have already legally okay-ed it by using the site after “being informed.” And it definitely doesn’t help the validity of the experiment, since when people know they’re being experimented on, they act differently, in ways that the subjects themselves might not realize.

And if a website isn’t informing their users of the experiment beforehand (as long as they reveal the process, intentions, and results afterwards), there is still an unwritten code of conduct. (Yes, I know it’s hard to fathom in today’s world, but some codes and rules can still be unwritten.) The website knows if they do something damaging or harmful, if they run experiments that end up ruining lives, they will be liable, especially since the subjects had no choice in what they were getting into. These experiments, then, are rarely ever actually detrimental to anyone. People just like to get upset at things. (I admit: like me, right now.) Welcome to the internet.

Lokal Stops: Very American

America, the beautiful. In this country, boner jokes will always be funny. We believe in the sanctity of wasting time. Here, we debate openly and at length on the most pertinent of issues, like whether hot dogs are sandwiches. (Yes they are.)

And as of Monday, we have finally made progress in the fight for equality: corporations will finally be seen as people in the eyes of the law.

Here, amongst the amber waves of grain, you can even find people who consider Fox News a legitimate news source. After all, Fox News knows how to have fun these days: they played a video game, missed the point, and then ripped off the logo. Very American.


Plus, we are literally the only people in the world who care about American football.

On the bright side, the Google street view cam is taking endearing selfies inside museums.


(And sometimes, the Google street view camera wears a silver dress.)


Lokal Stops: We Good

Good news: near-death experiences are overwhelmingly peaceful. Also, the asshole who comes in the office every morning touting all he’s already accomplished that day is less ethical at night than you, who woke up at a normal time.

Bad news: I’m drowning in soccer.

Although there may possibly be 10 quadrillion civilizations out in the universe – how come we haven’t heard from any of them yet? For god’s sake, where is everybody? Whatever the reasons for Fermi’s Paradox, us humans are doing the best we can to reach out to the abyss. If there’s anything you’ve been burning to tell distant, alien lifeforms, now’s your chance. After stopping at Pluto, a NASA probe will leave the comforts of our solar system, carrying digital messages from the people of Earth. How do we want to be remembered? What kind of a species do we want to be known as?

I, for one, propose we send out this Game of Thrones intro from the ’80s-that-could’ve-been:

I suppose the aliens would need context, so we might as well just send out all of Game of Thrones. I want to be remembered as the species that produced good television. Please dear god no one tell the aliens about Uber weddings.

And let it never be said that we are not a species that is constantly evolving.

Now, let’s take a step back from the vast cosmos and peer into the vast human brain instead. Despite the fact that everything we know, feel, and do is a direct result of our brains, we know little about how it works. And what do we do when we don’t know something? We examine it. We learn about it. We revise. We send probes into deep space, we study human creativity. We are a curious species.

Sometimes, we even solve some of nature’s mysteries.

We have our problems, but we’re okay.

We good, we good.

Lokal Stops: War and (Lego) Piece(s)

Kids these days can prepare for their wedding and baby registries by beta testing Target’s college registry. Would I love to go back to college? Yes. Would I love to go back to the summer before college and add a bunch of shit to a college registry? Absolutely.

Would I love to go back to high school? Nope. But there are some people out there who probably would love to go back: there is now science proving that cool kids end up being shitty at life. If you’re a loser since high school and have had a real hard time and are looking to make some cash, a scientist is offering $10,000 to anyone who can prove that climate change is a hoax. Or you can do something with your life and do great literature via Lego, “as Homer originally intended.”

In other news, James Franco might cause a nuclear war. This means it’s prime time for us to apply math that can prove that something exists without visual evidence. Prove the nukes exist, get rid of the nukes, and we can all go back to tolerating each other.

Journalists continue to bring us the news that matters: 35% of people in a survey admitted to binge-watching Breaking Bad. Technology will soon be able to know exactly how you feel while watching TV by reading your goosebumps.

If that last one feels a bit like science fiction, there’s plenty more where that came from. We are now living in a time when scientists have found a mysterious galactic glow that might explain dark matter, and the paralyzed can move with their thoughts.

Finally, let’s wind down with an exercise in meditation.

Lokal Stops: It’s a Wonderful Life

If you’ve ever wondered whether everything you know is just an intricately fabricated story shaped largely by your own experiences and thoughts, the answer is yes. If you’ve ever wondered whether life on Earth is just a fluke, the answer is maybe? If you’d rather ignore the complexities of existence and the human mind and just briefly wonder at some of the details that go into a TV show, here’s that, too.

If you’re wondering about anything at all, then Neil deGrasse Tyson is proud of you.

Let’s take a break from all of this wondering–which, let’s face it, is hard work–and just get annoyed about wine forgery. But, then, doesn’t it make you wonder whether any of it matters? If you can’t detect that a fancy bottle of wine is less fancy than what you paid for, you’re probably not actually in it for the wine, in which case I have nothing more to say to you.

People who read more Faulkner also bruise more easily. Artists really are more sensitive, if you’ve been wondering. (Disclaimer: correlation does not imply causation.)

Finally, if you have an owl in your house/apartment and you’re wondering how to get it back outside, take note:

Lokal Stops: Fire Spreads

It begins. This summer is set to be awful and “oppressive” as the Farmer’s Almanac puts it. And it begins. Actually, it began in May, the hottest May on Earth since humans started keeping track. Still, no amount of summer heat can match the awfulness of  poisoning your son for social media attention.

Meanwhile, the French have been calling pie charts “diagrammes de fromage” this entire time. Cheese versus pies. I choose cheese pies. Mmm, just imagine warming a nice cheese pie over a fire… oh right, fire no longer means “the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products.” Now it’s… a phone thingie. All things eventually become phone thingies. Speaking of phone thingies, although the White House refuses to comment on whether Obama uses emoji when he’s sending globally important texts, you laypeople can now “yo your mates.” And soon, you’ll maybe even be able to yo Jupiter’s Europa: to the tiny mothership!

And while we pettily yo around, important things are happening on the television:

And while important things are happening on the television, even more important things are happening at the FBI.

By the way, has anyone else noticed how great Internet Explorer is these days?

Lokal Stops: Just Trynna to Be Optimistic Here

It turns out that our school librarians were right: books are the greatest weapons. Too bad the novel keeps dying on us. Because of Twitter and stuff.

Whether or not a civilization without novels still needs grammar, FiveThirtyEight found that people who think they’re smart use Oxford Commas. I can’t help but remember how the average American thinks he’s smarter than the average American.


The average American is also generally optimistic, according to a Gallup survey. And the most optimistic of all is Texas. What does this say about Texas? What does this say about optimism?

Well, it’s surely also alive and well in Canada, where next month, a robot will attempt to hitchhike across the country, from Nova Scotia to British Columbia. HitchBOT can talk, but he can’t move on his own. It’s unclear whether he eventually intends to turn this adventure into a memoir, but he will be tweeting and instagramming, so that’s memoir-ish.


We can’t all roll through Canada, fueled by the kindness of strangers’ cigarette lighters, but most of us can properly marvel at the beauty of our planet thanks to the kindness of Google. And we can all confirm that reality is a lie thanks to OK Go. Also a lie: soccer. If you’re new to the whole sports thing and that comes as a shock to you, take comfort in the fact that at least some of these guys are being punished.

Though soccer season abstinence might seem unduly cruel, no one had to tell Voldemort not to have sex. Someone probably should tell video game developers that women do more than sex. Or maybe just quietly think about it, since when you constructively talk about gender politics, you get death threats.

But let’s end today’s post remembering that good things and good people still exist in the world. All is not lost.