Snopes spots another story about dead people's cell phones making calls. In this instance a man died in a train crash. But then...
Peck's body was recovered from the wreckage 12 hours after the accident. Yet for the first eleven of those hours, his cell phone placed call after call to his loved ones, calling his son, his brother, his stepmother, his sister, and his fianceé. In all, his various family members received 35 calls from his cell phone through that long night. When they answered, all they heard was static ...
The old online jihad/"e-caliphate" story took an entertaining twist this week, as the Daily Beast accused ISIS/ISIL of pursuing Western women.
The piece begins with clickbaitfodder titles:
The ISIS Online Campaign Luring Western Girls to Jihad
Some of the European women already in the ranks of the Islamic State are trying to lure their ‘sisters’ to the marriage beds of the caliphate’s holy warriors.
It's like Westerners seeking developing world brides, but in reverse.
“By creating content specifically targeting female jihadi supporters, the Islamic State is able to establish a pipeline to assist Western women in traveling to Syria to marry jihadi fighters and contribute to the formation of their new society...”
Note the utopian (actually dystopian) drive that source detects.
And enjoy this nightmarish image, a combination of tank, wedding ring, terrorists, and Middle Eastern locale:
This kind of story draws on old anxieties about white slavery and the control of women. Then it remixes them through contemporary cyber-fears, specifically the notion that the online world exerts terrible seductions upon otherwise innocent people.
Here's a passage from a murder mystery offers a very nice take on uncanny media.
It begins with a police officer listening to another one over a wire:
Her voice was low and even, expressionless. The speakers hollowed it out, underlaid it with a whispery echo, and in the background there was a rushing sound like some faraway high wind.
I thought of those ghost stories where the voices of the dead come to their loved ones from crackly radios or down telephone lines, borne on some lost wavelength across the laws of nature and the wild spaces of the universe.
Ars Technica critiques the new HBO documentary about the South Korean gaming addiction/baby death case. Sam Machkovech takes Love Child to task for presenting a one-sided story with a nightmarish view of technology.
Amazon is piloting a tv show called Hysteria, which is all about scary stuff happening online, according to The Verge. It focuses on
a town where a strange "psycho-physiological illness" causing violent fits and spasms appears to be spreading through social media. How is that possible? It's entirely unclear for now, but perhaps it's something like a really bad meme.
Fearsome digital media is well established by now after a generation's worth of scary stories and popular immersion in cyberspace. Let's see how this show trades upon that familiarity.
Well, when i was 4, my dad bought a trusty XBox. you know, the first, ruggedy, blocky one from 2001. we had tons and tons and tons of fun playing all kinds of games together - until he died, when i was just 6.
i couldnt touch that console for 10 years.
but once i did, i noticed something.
we used to play a racing game, Rally Sports Challenge. actually pretty awesome for the time it came.
and once i started meddling around... i found a GHOST.
you know, when a time race happens, that the fastest lap so far gets recorded as a ghost driver? yep, you guessed it - his ghost still rolls around the track today...
and so i played and played, and played, untill i was almost able to beat the ghost. until one day i got ahead of it, i surpassed it, and...
i stopped right in front of the finish line, just to ensure i wouldnt delete it.
The FBI has generated some useful ways that Google's self-driving car could be scary.
First, you might have a car bomb*, if "autonomous cars may be used as 'lethal weapons.'" The Googlemobile would thereby become "be more of a potential lethal weapon that it is today.” As one source observes, "There could soon be self-driving car bombs." Or:
a driverless car could become a fantastic weapon. A terrorist could load one up with a bomb and send the model on its way with on one inside.
Second, more impressive car chases would result:
“bad actors will be able to conduct tasks that require use of both hands or taking one’s eyes off the road which would be impossible today.”
One nightmare scenario could be suspects shooting at pursuers from getaway cars that are driving themselves.
Here's a list of previous Infocult posts on the many ways we fear the GOOG.