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7 Times Google Maps Straight Up Ruined People’s Lives

Have you ever gotten mad at Google Maps for underestimating how long a road trip would take, or telling you to turn left when it was really more of a light merge? How about for nearly leading you to an agonizing death in the desert, or nudging nations ever so slightly closer to nuclear war? People, companies, and even governments have blindly followed Google Maps to such disastrous destinations. You’d almost think the app is getting its revenge for all the times we’ve asked it to look at “Batman, Turkey.” Here are seven landmark cases in Google Maps v. Humanity.

7

An Error Got The Wrong House Demolished

You remember planning to have your house demolished. It takes scheduling and meeting contractors and signing documents and a whole lot of red tape. It’s not an impulse decision, to say the least. Which is why a Texan woman was a tad surprised to find that she had apparently OK’d a crew to tear down her home.


“I’m sorry, but I have the ‘destroying your house’ papers right here, and you don’t have the ‘not destroying your house’ form.”

Lindsay Diaz came home one day to find that her life was ruined by the kookiest of mishaps. Her house had been completely demolished by Billy L. Nabors Demolition, whose slogan is “We could wreck the world — Jesus saves,” which is the demolition man’s version of “Kill ’em all and let God sort them out.” When confronted, the company insisted that they had been contracted to tear down 7601 Cousteau Drive. The only problem was that Diaz’s address was 7601 Calypso Drive, which for Google Maps somehow counted as “close enough.”

A spokesperson for Google admitted, “Both addresses were shown as being in the same location on Google Maps,” adding that “the issue was fixed as soon as it was brought to our attention.” Thank goodness they corrected that glitch after the demolition. That solves everything! At least now the pizza delivery guy won’t get lost when he’s bringing an order to the pile of rubble.

Afterwards, the demolition company issued this heartfelt statement to a very angry Diaz: “It’s not a big deal.” Sure, who among us has not accidentally unleashed a brigade of steel machines to rip apart a woman’s life, then looked over, saw the street sign, and went “Whoopsie daisy”? Let he who is without sin cast the first stone at the glass house, Ms. Diaz. Well, she doesn’t have a house anymore, so she can throw all the stones she likes.

6

Google Maps Keeps Straight Up Losing Cities

The city of Sunrise, Florida is home to 90,000 people, the NHL’s Florida Panthers, and one of the biggest malls in the country. But for a full month, it didn’t exist, as Google Maps had essentially turned it into that “Here be dragons” spot on medieval maps.

Google Maps“In a quarter mile, turn left into a dark void.”

When people tried googling any place in Sunrise for 30 days in 2010, Google Maps instead directed them to Sarasota, a separate town 200 miles away, resulting in a lot of confusion and a lot of cold Deliveroo meals. And Sunrise isn’t the first city Google Maps has turned into Nowheresville, USA, either. Others that have taken the same trippy trips to nonexistence include La Jolla and Imperial Beach in California, Rogers in Minnesota, Wickliffe in Ohio, and Woodstock, Virginia. No, not that Woodstock, though that would have been a great prank to pull on all those aging stoners.

But Sunrise is still special because it seems Google Maps really wants to wipe it off itself. Mike Ryan, the mayor of the alleged city, claims that this has happened not once but three separate times, with catastrophic effects. Local businesses have watched orders fall off a cliff, and residents couldn’t locate emergency services like police or fire stations, medical care centers, Dunkin’ Donuts, etc. “It felt like a bizarre novel — that all of a sudden we disappeared. We woke up one morning and we didn’t exist in the ether world,” said one ethereal voice through the wind.

5

A Woman Almost Died In The Desert Because Google Made Up A Road

Picture, if you will, a woman driving to the Grand Canyon. Hard to miss, no? But that wasn’t the case for one Amber VanHecke, who, relying on her Google Maps, went to see the iconic landmark but instead took a turn for the doesn’t exist.

In 2017, 24-year-old VanHecke had embarked on a solo trip to the Grand Canyon. In the middle of the Arizona desert, she noticed that she only had 70 miles’ worth of gas left in the tank. Not an issue, as her Google Maps reassured her that she was only 35 miles away from a highway. Trusting Google, she obediently followed the app to bring her safely to civilization. Instead, Google told her to turn onto a completely nonexistent road, which led her to a nonexistent spot on the map. And then she ran out of gas.

Arizona Department of Public SafetyThe rusted-out car frame already there wasn’t ominous at all.

Fortunately for VanHecke, she was a former girl scout and well-prepared. With 18 days’ worth of water, dried fruit, and Goldfish (surely one of the main currencies in the coming post-apocalypse), VanHecke took it slow and steady. She made a giant “HELP” sign out of rocks and tried to get the attention of planes flying overhead with signal fires and a flashing headlamp, but had no luck. On the plus side, instead of encountering a family of cannibalistic mutants, she spent her desert days cooking ramen on her dash and befriending a family of prairie dogs who came right up to her and ate out of her hand. Imagine if Pixar made a Mad Max movie, and you’re close to understanding her harrowing experience.

Finally, after five days, with her supplies dwindling and cartoon buzzards probably circling overhead, she decided to hike 11 miles through the desert to get faint cell reception, then squeezed out a 40-second 911 call. Authorities eventually found her car, waited for her to come back, and were able to rescue her before any harm came to her — or before she started eating her new prairie dog family. Whatever came first.

4

Maps Sends Tourists Visiting Landmarks To The Middle Of Nowhere

Tourists need maps like they need sunscreen for their ever-burning red noses. That’s why you’d think Google would try very hard to have its maps be top-notch when it comes to directions to the most visited spots in the world. Well, much like the turns taken by many a confused tourist, you’d be wrong.

Looking for Mount Rushmore? If you use Google Maps to get you there, then you may wind up at some random snowy hill 13 miles away from the presidential bobbleheads. It has happened so often that they even had to put up a sign.

Looking to gaze at the beautiful vista of the Preikestolen cliff in Norway? Google Maps might send you a tiny unrelated fjord town called Fossmork instead. Fortunately, it’s only 19 miles away and they’ve grown totally used to redirecting jilted-by-Google tourists to the actual landmark.

Sdom/Wiki Commons

cookelma/iStockWe don’t know who should be more offended by the mistaken identities, the town or the rock.

But at least those misdirections still give you a bit of the majesty of nature to look at. Meanwhile, for years, tourists wanting to see Blue Mountains National Park in Australia would wind up getting lured into a random, nondescript cul-de-sac in a residential neighborhood 20 miles away. Cars and buses full of tourists kept showing up by the minute, with some of them sometimes even knocking on doors and asking for directions or to use peoples’ bathrooms, which is a dangerous thing to do in a random neighborhood unless you like getting murdered and/or laid by elderly swingers.

3

A Woman Sues Google For Letting Everyone Street-View Her Boobs

Who amongst us hasn’t spent the better part of an hour scanning Google Maps looking at our own home from every possible side? But when one Montreal woman checked out her house on Google Maps, she saw one side she hadn’t expected — that of her boob.

Google MapsSomewhere in there is a boob we can’t show you.

She had been sitting on her front steps, flipping through her phone as us life connoisseurs are wont to do, when that lovable scamp the Google Car drove by and picked her up on film. Noticing the car, she later checked out her home on Google Street View. That’s when she discovered a very unfortunate wardrobe malfunction: Her tank top was hanging down at just the right enough angle to expose her boob to the world’s largest public satellite mapping system. Not only that, but her home address and car license plate were also visible in the shot, meaning local internet creeps could ask Google Maps to give them the most efficient stalking directions to a scantily clad lady living in a house with massive windows.

Google defended itself by claiming they had properly blurred her face — which if anything only made it harder for everyone to keep looking at her at eye level. She sued Google for violating her privacy, and a small-claims court in Quebec agreed with her that a face blur did indeed fall a bit short of protecting her identity. The court awarded her a $2,250 settlement plus interest and $159 in court fees; she initially filed for $7,000, but clearly, that was asking a little much from a simple mom and pop shop like Google.

2

A Hacked Google Maps Destroyed Several Businesses

Knowing that most people never look past the first hit on Google, many small business owners rely on Google Maps to give customers information about their shops. But in 2010, several Buffalo-based jewelry stores noticed their business drying up out of nowhere. Why? Because someone had told Google to shut them down.

Google MapsYou can also relocate them to the middle of the ocean.

The jewelers found that their Google Maps info was telling customers they were “permanently closed,” which killed off everything but foot traffic coming to the stores. A web consultant pinned these sudden changes on a rival jewelry store in their area, which was also caught spamming rivals with bad ratings, raising their own ratings, and tampering with the underlying Google information in order to change their status. For targeting jewelry stores, that must the dumbest version of an Ocean’s 11 long con ever — no diamonds, just a better Yelp rating.

This hack isn’t an isolated incident, either. A restaurant called the Serbian Crown, one of the only places in the U.S. that serves lion meat, lost 75 percent of its business seemingly overnight, and it wasn’t because people were finally put off by eating lion meat. After months of bad business, a customer finally phoned asking why the restaurant was closed Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays. Without the owners’ knowledge, the Google Maps page had been displaying that they were closed three out of seven days a week, and because munching on exotic animals doesn’t exactly draw a lot of walk-ins, the loss of revenue caused the restaurant to shutter.

So why is it so easy for any schmo to hack the Google Maps business info section? Though it looks very fancy with its satellites, the app treated like any other Google page, which means it’s largely crowdsourced — i.e. super vulnerable to interference. In 2014, a hacker even tampered with the FBI and Secret Service Google pages to make a point about these flaws, and successfully managed to record all incoming phone calls to both locations. The Secret Service thanked him for exposing this weakness, presumably by hooking his genitals to an electric “thanking machine.”

Google Maps“The PATRIOT Act allows me to thank you indefinitely.”

1

Google Takes Sides On Contested Borders And Increases Geopolitical Tensions

We’ve all had that moment when we got raging mad at Google Maps for taking us to the wrong side of the street from where we know the McDonald’s ought to be. But did you know that countries have the exact same problem? Only their notions of which side should have what can quickly involve border war and missiles? We’ve talked before about that time Nicaragua accidentally invaded Costa Rica thanks to a Google Maps error, but it turns out that this sort of thing isn’t even a rare mishap for Google. It’s par for the course.

Google MapsYou try to make a free navigation app, and then next thing you know …

Like the cartographers of yore, when countries dispute borders, it’s Google Maps’ job to (literally) draw the line somewhere. But unlike in ye medieval times, Google has more than enough space and technology to make it so that all variants of contested borders are constantly shown on its map. But instead of doing that smart, sane thing, Google shows people world maps based on the political stances of whatever countries they’re accessing from. If your government doesn’t recognize a certain other government or border dispute, you don’t get to see that. In an attempt to stay out of politics, Google Maps agrees with whatever country your IP address is showing.

For example, the U.S. views Crimea as “occupied territory,” and accessing Google Maps in the U.S. will display Crimea with a dotted border, denoting its disputed status. But in Russia, Google Maps counts Crimea as part of Russia, with no border ambiguity. Similar disputes have cropped up throughout Google’s history, forcing the company into some pretty tricky political situations, like accidentally giving a German harbor to the Netherlands as if it’s trying to get World War III going.

Google MapsOur leading theory is that a Google employee wanted to be able to keep smoking weed on their boat.

But that’s not the only way Google is making governments pissed. India’s high court blasted Google Maps for publicly displaying the location of their (obviously not that secret) secret military bases, particularly ones that were close to their border with on-again / off-again enemy Pakistan. So the next time you’re mad at Google for forcing you into a blind left that clearly takes two minutes to complete instead of one, at least take some solace in the fact that it didn’t guide you into a nuclear war. And really, isn’t that a reasonable standard to hold map technology to?

Forget Google Maps, just grab a Rand McNally and hope for the best.

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For more, check out The 5 Weirdest Things I Saw Driving For Google Street View and The 24 Most Mind-Blowing Photos Accidentally Taken By Google.

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Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_25510_7-times-google-maps-straight-up-ruined-peoples-lives.html

Sentient Computers Will Bow To YOU With This Python Bundle

This piece was written by the people who run the Cracked Store to tell you about products that are being sold there.

Learning to program is essentially like having a debate with your computer. First you catch the computer in a mistake. Then you humiliate it and bend it to your will. OK, perhaps our debate club comparison was especially Machiavellian, but our point still stands: If you want a career in programming, you’re going to need to understand how to win arguments with your computer without resorting to suplexing your monitor.

And that’s where the Python Programming Bundle comes in. This is an extensive yet novice-friendly training regimen that’ll take you from Python beginner to Python master. The programs include …

Learn Python With 70+ Exercises

Start here if you’re completely new to programming. With 93 lectures and 5.5 hours of content, this course will teach you all the Python basics, like “variables” and “strings” and “lists.” And for anyone so new to tech that they type out “www” at the top of their search engine, there are no actual pythons in these training exercises. “Python” is the name of the programming language. Glad we got that out of the way.

The Complete Python Programming Boot Camp: Beginner To Advanced

These four hours of straightforward instructional content will teach you how to set up Python, learn the operators in Python, discover different types of statements in Python, and in general, master the Python fundamentals. We see you’re still looking for a snake. Please just accept that there ARE. NO. PYTHONS … or any reptiles at all for sale here today.

Python For Programmers

Now that you know the basics of Python, it’s time to step back and get programming. These six hours of lectures and tests will introduce you to “If Statements,” a key component to programming with Python, and not just a way to motivate you to go to the gym. (“If I do ten more push-ups, I’ll buy myself a whole pizza.”) You’ll understand user input, build multiple projects, and explore dictionaries and classes.

Advanced Machine Learning In Python With TensorFlow

TensorFlow is an open source software library that uses Python to design, build, and train deep learning modules. Confused? Then think of it this way. Remember in Rick And Morty, when Pickle Rick used his tongue to manipulate a network of rat brains? You’ll kind of be doing that, except instead of being a pickle, you’ll be a person at a computer, and instead of using your tongue, you’ll be using code, and instead of animating rats, you’ll be constructing graphs and models. There, that’s much clearer now.

Selenium WebDriver With Python 3.x: Novice To Ninja

This program will teach you to use Python with Selenium WebDriver. You’ll have 25 hours of lessons showing you how to use real-time hosted web applications, and how to automate different components. Think of it as the cherry on top of the Python sundae. (Which, now that we say it, is the most horrifying dessert we can think of.)

And, finally …

A Live Python

Kidding! No pythons. We just wanted to make sure you were paying attention. Don’t buy this kit if you want to own a snake. We’re not selling snakes. We’re selling a stable career. The Absolute Python Bundle is $559 worth of courses available now at a very special Pay What You Want offer — just beat the average price, and you can get all five apps.

You don’t need to be Nikola Tesla to put technology in its place. This bundle will have the Droids catering to your every whim in no time.

For more essential nerd skills, check out Become A Professional Code Monkey In 3 Easy Steps.

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/sentient-computers-will-bow-to-you-with-this-python-bundle/

5 Insanely Important Jobs (We’re Running Out Of People For)

Supply and demand should ensure that we never run out of people to do the really key jobs. If there was a dire shortage of, say, potato chip flavor developers (don’t panic, this is strictly theoretical), chip companies would make the salary and perks of the job more attractive, colleges would hype up the benefits of majoring in flavor science, and new blood would enter the field, bringing with them the caramel-and-Worcestershire-sauce-flavored Pringles we truly deserve. But reality is nowhere near that efficient, and we are running out of people for some especially vital jobs. For example …

5

Old Programmers Are Dying Off … And Taking Their Computer Languages With Them

As far as we’re concerned, computers are magic. We don’t know the technical details of what goes down when we order a book from Amazon or stream truly shocking amounts of pornography, and frankly, we don’t want to. That’s why we have computer programmers. They do all the important behind-the-scenes work that lets us take complicated technology for granted, and they give us someone to complain about when that technology fails and we can’t stream Gilmore Girls on our toaster at three in the morning.

But there’s a problem: An enormous amount of our financial data is stored on systems still running ancient programming. Roughly three trillion dollars a day runs through computers still operating on COBOL, a language that was developed in 1959. Everything from ATMs to credit card networks to mortgage payments rely on a system that makes calculator watches look like absurd science fiction. And the majority of people who know how to fix the many problems with COBOL are getting ready to meet their programmers.

Via Fossbytes.comSo sleep tight knowing that your paycheck could depend on a program that looks like it should be threatening Matthew Broderick with nuclear annihilation.

It’s not as simple as moving everything onto a more modern infrastructure. At this point, the financial system is so intertwined with its COBOL roots that it would be like trying to simultaneously replace all of your veins with fiber optics. A switchover is theoretically possible, but if something goes wrong, the financial data for millions of people could vanish.

Since it would be impractical to make everyone temporarily withdraw all of their money until the problem is fixed, geriatric programmers are making good money running firms that specialize in COBOL. Meanwhile, the industry is rushing to train young programmers (and rehire the old guys they fired because they thought their skills were obsolete). Further compounding the problem is that programmers of the original COBOL systems rarely wrote handbooks, and deciphering someone else’s computer code 40 years later is like trying to communicate an elaborate sexual fantasy via slide whistles.

And it’s not only banking. NASA once desperately needed to find programmers who knew Fortran to communicate with their Voyager probes. These are by no means insurmountable problems, so don’t panic and put all of your money in Dogecoins tomorrow. But it’s kind of like suddenly discovering that we have to teach thousands of people Latin to prevent the English language book industry from collapsing.

4

The Demand For Oncologists Skyrockets While Supply Plummets

We’re living longer than ever, and while that’s mostly awesome, it does have some downsides. Now that we’re not frequently devoured by wolves, we have to deal with other, increasingly common causes of death, like heart disease or insisting that you could kick everyone’s ass in a hot dog eating contest. And then there’s cancer.

We need oncologists more than ever, and that’s a problem, since burnout is taking a serious toll on that profession. We’re estimated to be short 2,500 to 4,000 oncologists by 2020. The burnout can be physical — you’re constantly required to stay up to date on lab results, deal with sudden calls from patients at all hours of the day, and fight for settlements with insurance companies — but there’s also the emotional exhaustion of forming close bonds with suffering patients, having to break difficult news to them, and in some cases, watching them die.

Association of American Medical CollegesThe news isnt really great for other specialties, either.

We need to increase the number of America’s oncologists by an estimated 40 percent by 2025 merely to keep up with the need. Improving medical care is going to make us better at surviving other diseases, which means more people are going to be confronting nature’s final boss. To close the gap between the high retirement rates and new trainees entering the field, we’ll need hundreds more people to enter oncology programs each year. And we’re currently losing them hand over fist. So if you’re getting ready for med school and have no issues with emotionally crushing situations, we’ve found a promising career for you.

3

We’re Short On Farm Labor Because It’s Such A Terrible Job

85 percent of farm laborers are immigrants, and roughly 70 percent of those immigrants are undocumented. And between 2009 and 2016, that workforce decreased by three million people due to deportation. Those who do remain are growing older, and there might not be anyone to replace them.

OK, but isn’t that the whole point of deporting undocumented immigrants? To free up jobs for unemployed citizens? In theory, yes … but not enough Americans looking for work want to get into farming. It’s exhausting, physical labor with long hours in harsh weather. One farm started offering Americans $20 an hour, but still couldn’t retain workers. 401(k)s? Health insurance? Generous bonuses? None of it makes up for the fact that the work blows, despite what Stardew Valley told you about the appeal of quitting your office job to live in the country.

Norma FloresBut hey, free housing … assuming youre OK with living in dilapidated communal barracks.

With demand vastly exceeding supply, farmers have had to rethink what they can afford to grow and harvest. Nuts, for example, can be harvested by machines, but peaches require the delicate touch of a human. But replacing human labor with machines means that only a minuscule fraction of employees will be needed in the future. So an entire industry will up and vanish, and then we’ll have to think of some new problem to blame immigrants for.

2

Nobody Wants To Be A Skilled Manufacturer Anymore

While the United States undeniably has a shortage of skilled jobs that provide stability and security, there’s also a huge, undiscussed problem in the opposite direction. We don’t have enough people trained to do skilled manufacturing jobs.

MixabestShocking how no one wants a career that will obviously be done by humans forever.

That means factory work, machine maintenance, melting Terminators in giant vats of liquid metal, etc. Up to two million of those jobs will go unfilled over the next decade just because people aren’t trained for them. We’re literally running out of people who know how to make things that aren’t Minecraft videos and snarky Tweets. Do you remember Trump saying that he wanted to bring good jobs back from overseas? Factory CEOs turned around and told him that those jobs are already here, but vacant.

Why the shortage? Well, corporations cracked down on unions, which lowered wages and led to the perception that manufacturing jobs, even skilled ones, were boring, repetitive positions for lower-class bozos. So colleges started de-emphasizing manufacturing skill sets, and graduates in relevant fields, like mechanics and engineering, started dropping accordingly. The industry is turning to automation, but factories still need employees to install and maintain those machines, and even those employees are missing.

Mixabest*cough*

If you’re a cartoonish conservative stereotype loudly wondering why “America doesn’t build things anymore,” it’s not because of them lousy foreigners. It’s because corporations neglected those jobs, and now nobody wants to do them anymore.

1

We Don’t Have Nearly Enough Pilots To Meet Our Demand For Air Travel

Air travel is perhaps the modern luxury that we most take for granted. It is a damn wonder that we hurtle through the sky at will, but tell that to the tired, grumpy people in economy. Or wait, maybe you won’t have to, because we’re running out of people who know how to operate those magical flying machines, to the point where flights are getting cancelled due to a lack of pilots. Obviously there’s a lot of training required before you can be trusted with the controls of a jet-powered carrier of human lives. In fact, after the crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 (a disaster partly attributed to insufficient pilot training), the people in charge got together and said, “Hey, maybe we should re-examine how much experience pilots need before we let them take off in these soaring hunks of metal and fire that actively defy God.”

Bureau of Aircraft Accident Archives50 dead bodies do usually lead to some reevaluation.

The result was a whopping 500 percent increase in the amount of flight time required before you can pilot a passenger or cargo plane. That’s great from a safety standpoint. The more experienced the better, right? But the unfortunate side effect is that it’s turned people away from wanting to become pilots in the first place. Those new requirements, and the north of $100,000 price tag that comes along with all that education and training, make simply becoming an accountant and buying a flight simulator look a lot more appealing.

Boeing predicts that over 600,000 pilots are going to be needed over the next 20 years to fill a demand that’s already forced one regional airline into bankruptcy. The aviation industry is trying to respond by offering increased pay and sign-on bonuses, but that’s mucking things up for another industry that needs pilots: the military. In 2017, the Air Force announced a “national aircrew crisis” which left them 1,555 pilots short of what they need, and the best thing you can say about that is that Top Gun 2 might actually be topical.

Check out Dwayne’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, where you can see the famous musicians he interviews for Revue Magazine. T.W. would like you to consider checking out the International Committee of the Red Cross. They do pretty cool stuff. Nathan Kamal lives in Oregon and writes there. He co-founded Asymmetry Fiction for all your fiction needs.

It’s not, NOT worth your time to learn COBOL, here’s a beginner’s book.

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Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_25132_5-insanely-important-jobs-were-running-out-people-for.html

6 Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas For Him Based On How Long You’ve Been Dating

A very popular practice among old people and conservative brown-nosers is to feign concern over the way we celebrate holidays. In their warped, parasite-addled minds, everything has a deeply serious purpose: Christmas is for reflecting on the birth of Christ (who wasn’t even born in December). Thanksgiving is for earnestly thinking about all the things in life we’re thankful for. Independence day is for being grateful for our “freedom” and what that means to us. The Jewish holidays are for, uh… Jewish things (I apologize for my gentile ignorance)? And it’s BULLSHIT. Against all odds, our ancestors knew better—the proper response to the inevitable oncoming death and loss during winter, a bountiful harvest, or winning a major war isn’t solemn reflection. It’s to fucking PARTY HARDY. If Thomas Jefferson saw your Instagram story of you going around ambushing military dudes on July 4 by saying  “sir, SIR! Thank you for your service,” he’d slap you silly. Then he’d probably see to increasing the national debt to purchase French butt wine and inquire about the nearest slave sex quarters, but that’s neither here nor there.

Similarly, Valentine’s day gets a lot of shit for being a “fake” or “commercial” holiday, which is just as dumb (what’s Arbor Day done for you lately, anyway?). Oh no, a “holiday” where we celebrate by expressing our love for each other and exchanging tokens of affection, however will we survive? The point is, if you have a man in your life (whether a steady boyfriend or as the result of “cuffing season,” which I maintain is not real), it’s ok if you want to buy each other presents. Valentine’s day is tough because no one wants to attach  much meaning to it, so the endless sea of generic gifts can be a lot to sort through. I’ve pulled out a few suggestions, and helpfully broke them out by how long you’ve been dating (and therefore, price). As usual when I do one of these, I offer one nice thing you can do for him, plus a couple of actual gifts. You’re welcome.

Zero-Three Months

Stop Being Suspicious Of His Ex

Look, he’s dating you and not her, ok? He chose you. As long as he’s stopped starting every other sentence with “Well, Madysynn and I used to…,” it’s time to give it a rest. She’s not gonna stop following him on Insta until she’s good and ready, and him blocking her would be insane. Let him bitch about her when he’s drunk if he needs to; it’s part of the healing process. Just don’t pile on yourself. Remind him of why he’s better off with you, not worse.

Mophie Powerstation Boost Mini External Battery

We all carry a bunch of shit that needs electricity nowadays, but Congress has repeatedly ignored my motions for a public infrastructure initiative that would install wireless charging modules under every American street and sidewalk (I see no flaw in this plan). Until they come to their senses, it’s nice to have a little insurance policy in the form of a portable charger. I’d rather eat my own big toe than watch my phone switch into low power mode.

The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science

Everyone’s a fucking foodie now, aren’t they? I feel like that’s just how it is—either cooking is as foreign and unknowble to you as an uncontacted Amazonian tribe, or you spend your free time rage-commenting over how to properly make your own lump charcoal in your back yard. But if your man is One Of The Good Ones (i.e., into cooking but not an asshole about it), this book is a perfect gift. It’s less a collection of recipes, and more a nerdy scientific explanation of why shit tastes better in restaurants than it does at home—and how to bridge the gap. The Food Lab website has been my go-to when I want to be a snobby, know-it-all food jerk for a while now, and the book is even more in-depth. Plus, he can use it to make you nice things, so that’s a win-win.

Three-Nine Months

Give Him A Goddamn Drawer

Assuming you’re not a couple of lunatics who’ve already shacked up/gotten married by now, odds are you’re not living together, but you  spending most of your time at each others’ abodes. That’s fine, but do you know how annoying it is to have to pack up a bag every time you want to spend a night Netflixing (chilling optional)? It sucks! Most likely, you’re spending most of your time at your place because you probably have your shit a little more together, whereas he might still live in a house with like six other bros that should have been condemned during the Clinton administration. Clear out maybe a dozen of your old sorority philanthropy t-shirts, and make space for him to keep some pajamas, a work outfit, a weekend outfit, and some basic toiletries. I’d say he should do the same for you, but you know damn well you planted a flag in your drawer after like the second week you were dating.

Norlan Whisky Glass (Set of 2)

For the forseeable future, it looks like men are going to have to pretend that whiskey is something we enjoy drinking. It’s not that I can’t appreciate a decent scotch or whatever, but like, have you ever even had a gin and tonic? Much more refreshing. Anyhow, for as long as we have to keep up this charade, these glasses greatly improve the whiskey drinking experience by keeping his grubby paws from warming it up. Ice won’t melt as fast if he uses it, and if not, the room temperature hooch will remain… room temperature. It’s pretty weird when that’s the nicest thing you can say about something that’s twice the price of gasoline but tastes basically the same.

Amazon Echo Dot

Broke: Fucking so loud your neighbors can hear you. Woke: Fucking so loud can hear you. Of all the creepy, always-listening Echo products, the Dot presents the best value. It does all the things the more expensive ones can do, and provided he has another, nicer Bluetooth speaker, its relatively weak sound quality shouldn’t be a problem. By simply speaking out into the ether like a crazy person, he can use it to check the weather, stream music, look up sports scores and even order shit like Ubers and takeout food. I use mine maybe once per month, but the technology is a little cooler and more advanced than I give it credit for. Signing your entire life over to one of a handful of mega corporations is somehow one of the  dystopian futures facing us (given current events), so you might as well embrace it.

Nine Months +

Buy Yourself Some Lingerie

Couples who’ve reached this stage are really annoying, because they want so desperately to be taken seriously as a couple despite not being married, or even engaged. Things like moving in together or getting married may indeed be on the horizon, however, which means you’re involved in Very Adult Things like planning your career tracks, looking at houses/apartments and like, talking about your retirement accounts or whatever. The point is, with stability and familiarity comes routine. And while that’s necessary and not a bad thing in and of itself, it’s not exactly fun. Think back to when you started dating—you were probably doing shit in bed that would get you arrested in most NATO countries. You don’t have to turn into a porn star, but throwing on something a little flirtier and sexier than your go-to baggy t-shirts and sweats could deliver a big ROI. Just don’t let him pick it out. All the underwear will be crotchless and putting it all on will require more time and assistance than a medieval knight’s armor.

Herschel Supply Co. Novel Duffle Bag

One mark of getting older and wiser is accumulating nicer versions of all the shit you never even considered important when you were younger. If he’s been carrying to the gym the same ugly, smelly company-issued bag he got at orientation five years ago, he’ll really appreciate an upgrade. It’s plenty roomy, but it’s still structured so it doesn’t flop around the way your boyfriend does when he’s playing pickup basketball. Plus, it looks nice enough to use as carry-on luggage without looking like a hobo. I don’t have this, but I have some other stuff from Herschel and can testify that it seems nice enough to justify paying these prices for a canvas sack.

Bellroy Slim Leather Wallet

I can personally attest that getting rid of my bulky, obnoxious wallet was one of the best things I ever did. There’s just no reason for it, because probably 90% of the shit we carry in there is shit we don’t need. But men are creatures of habit, so most of us will continue to give ourselves sciatica and develop that white-collar skoal ring in the rear pockets of all our pants. This Bellroy wallet still holds everything he needs (if not more): Up to 12 cards and a little bit of cash folded in the middle. I mean, how many cards does one man need to carry? I’m thinking a debit card, credit card, subway pass, ID badge, insurance card, and (maybe) a corporate credit card. That’s six. If your boyfriend carries more than that, I have some bad news about your financial future. Similarly, if he carries around more than a few bills in cash, he’s either a drug dealer or he thinks the government is tracking his purchases, neither of which are optimal. Either way, this will hold all his shit while staying slim enough to not ruin the line of his suit. Jk, we both know you’re not dating the kind of guy who wears a suit often (or ever).


Read more: http://www.betches.com/valentines-gifts-for-him

5 Awesome Sci-Fi Movie Technologies That’d Suck In Real Life

Why are we still driving non-flying cars to our non-space workplaces while fantasizing about our merely two-boobed prostitutes? Where are all the snazzy gadgets and awesome technologies movies promised us? In many cases, they’re right here. We just don’t use them because, well, they kinda suck. Like how …

5

Controlling Computers With Hand Gestures Is Awful

In Minority Report, Tom Cruise plays a future cop who tries to warn everyone that Max von Sydow is evil, but no one will believe him, even though he’s clearly Max von Sydow. But what most people remember best are the scenes wherein Cruise controls his futuristic crime lab computer by waving his arms around.

How cool is that? Instead of having to say “enhance” and then clicking a boring old mouse, Cruise picks up files and videos from the air itself, and explores them using simple gestures. Soon, other movies were jumping in on this hot futuristic action. From Iron Man 2

Marvel Studios

… to Prometheus

20th Century FoxSpoilers: This movie will show up a lot in this article.

… to Star Trek: Discovery.

CBS Television StudiosThank you in advance for the 100 comments about how this one’s not a movie.

Why We’re Not Using This Today:

As everyone who has ever owned a Kinect knows, this crap gets old fast. The biggest issue is that your arms get tired very quickly if you hold them up for even a short period of time. If you make that a long time, the feeling gets absolutely excruciating. Engineers actually identified this problem in the ’80s, and even gave it a name: the “gorilla arm” effect. You know, because your arms get “sore, cramped, and oversized,” and you end up looking and feeling like a gorilla. Not even a cool sci-fi cyborg gorilla like in Congo.

Take another look at that Minority Report scene. When Cruise goes to shake Colin Farrell’s hand, he accidentally moves a bunch of files he’s working on. That would happen all the time. Imagine you’re holding 350 slides that took you five hours to organize and you suddenly get an itch on your butt:

20th Century FoxOr any other activity where you might be shaking your hand while staring at your screen …

Any interface that lies flat and gives you a wide range of control — even if you only move your hands a few inches — would beat this thing … hands down. If only we had something like that!

4

Sci-Fi Holograms Are Inferior To 2D Images In Almost Every Way

If somebody in a sci-fi movie needs to look at something important, a paltry two dimensions simply will not do. They need holograms for absolutely everything, even when audio alone would do the job. Like in Star Wars, when R2-D2 shows Leia’s holographic recording to a horned up Luke:

LucasfilmWhile Obi-Wan silently screams on the inside.

Here it is again in The Last Starfighter:

Universal Pictures

And here’s a dude’s head popping out of a monitor on Star Trek: Discovery:

CBS Television Studios

Hell, even the highly advanced race of spacefaring giants who created mankind love holograms! From Prometheus:

20th Century FoxYou need to adjust the tracking on your Space Voldemort.

Why We’re Not Using This Today:

You may have noticed something about the holograms above: They A) look like crap, B) are completely pointless, or C) both. That pretty much sums up holograms in the real world, too. Remember that time Tupac’s blue ghost crashed a Snoop Dogg performance? And remember how the company responsible went bankrupt soon thereafter? Turns out there isn’t much real use for blurry, semi-transparent 3D projections that cause eye strain if you look at them for too long.

Even the nicest example is so fuzzy and transparent that it’s not clear why you would bother with it over a 2D video feed. In the 2017 Ghost In The Shell, a hologram is used to reconstruct a murder scene, but it’s so imprecise (red tint, kinda blurry, semi-transparent) that it’s hard to think of a use for it other than making up for the investigator’s chronic lack of imagination.

Paramount Pictures“Ohhh, that’s what tables look like. OK, I’m good.”

In Prometheus (again!), the Weyland Corporation’s holograms don’t have a tint, but they’re so transparent that everyone on the crew probably ended up with a migraine anyway.

20th Century Fox“Oh, I thought it was the script causing that.”

If you absolutely need to communicate visual information over a vast distance, why would you choose this technology? Think of the bandwidth charges! We already know the future doesn’t have Net Neutrality.

3

Nobody Likes Video Calls (Except In The Movies)

With the possible exception of flying cars and sex-bots, no technology shows up in sci-fi movies as often as video calls. Whether they’re discussing something of galaxy-shattering importance or reminding their spouse to buy eggs, everybody in the future does everything via video calls. We see it in …

Marvel StudioGuardians Of The Galaxy

Warner Bros. PicturesDemolition Man

TriStar PicturesTotal Recall (the good one)

Columbia PicturesTotal Recall (the Colin Farrell one)

Paramount PicturesStar Trek Into Darkness

… and like a million other movies. We’ll stop now, or we’ll be here all day.

Why We’re Not Using This Today:

We are! Video calling is finally a reality! And it sucks. Seriously, unless it’s for Twitch streaming, nobody uses it. And it’s easy to see why.

You can take voice calls in almost any situation where you can talk, but if you take a video call, you have to look like a decently dressed, reasonably groomed human being. Plus, you have to make sure you didn’t leave something like, say, a giant pink dildo visible in the background. Which has happened. On the BBC.

And yet sci-fi characters love this technology so much that they’ll literally risk their lives to use it. In 2017’s Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets, right as the characters are leaving a planet’s orbit, the face of their boss pops up smack dab in the middle of their ship’s front viewport. That could kill you while you’re driving a car, let alone piloting a spaceship.

EuropaCorp“Just called to remind you that driving and Skyping is illegal. Also, you’re fired.”

2

Super Advanced Robots Always Have Needlessly Terrible Vision

One of the coolest types of shots is when we go inside a robot’s head to see the way they look at the world. Like in the Terminator movies, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger sees everything through a badass red filter, with a bunch of important-looking numbers and text readouts:

TriStar PicturesWhy isn’t the text in Austrian, though?

Or the recent RoboCop remake, where the Robo-Vision (that’s the official name, look it up) shows everything in an old-timey reddish sepia tone, with, again, added text and data prompts:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer“08 threats and 15 cliches detected.”

Why We’re Not Using This Today:

Look at any decent first-person shooting game. The status bars and prompts are always minimal and in the corners of the screen. If they took up 30 percent of your monitor, like in the examples above, the developers would have angry nerds with actual guns outside their houses. All those big letters and numbers are covering up important visual information, allowing AmishTeabaggz42069 to sneak up and shoot you in the head. And what are they even there for? Terminators have computers for brains. Why do they need to see the data they themselves are processing?

On top of that, the obligatory red tint makes these killer robots effectively colorblind, and prevents them from easily distinguishing between, say, blood and other liquids, which you’d think would be important in their line of work. At the other end of the spectrum, we have medical robots like Baymax from Big Hero 6, whose internal HUD looks like this:

Walt Disney Pictures“Slack-jawed and dumb-looking … perfectly healthy for a teen boy.”

All those widgets are probably helpful for a robot that patches up humans, but that blue tint … isn’t. Baymax needs to see his patients as accurately as possible, not just to identify any physical symptoms, but also to make treatment easier. It’s been demonstrated that blue light hinders injections, since it’s harder to find a vein under the patient’s skin.

Meanwhile, in Chappie, the law-enforcing robots that patrol the streets are all apparently equipped with crappy late ’90s webcams. Imagine trying to shoot the correct criminal if this was what you saw:

Columbia PicturesCan robots get motion sickness?

To be fair, all these examples are still an improvement over 1973’s Westworld, wherein the highly advanced Yul Brynner robot, whose sole purpose is to shoot people in gunfights, can’t even tell a fork from a spoon.

Metro-Goldwyn-MayerSporks make their heads explode.

1

Computer Screens In Science Fiction Movies Are Worse Than The Ones We Have Today

In sci-fi movies, computer screens are elaborate displays of carefully matched colors and captivating animations (even when no one’s using them). They’re all packed with graphs and numbers and all sorts of doubtlessly essential information. Marvel at the snazzy monitors in 2009’s Star Trek

Paramount Pictures

… and Avatar

20th Century Fox

… and naturally, good ol’ Prometheus:

20th Century Fox

Why We’re Not Using This Today:

We lose ten minutes of work time every time a pigeon lands outside our window. If you had to do your job next to a bunch of huge screens that kept looping through colorful graphics, you’d probably get quite distracted. And if your own screen insisted on performing a lovely animation every time you updated some data or asked for an analysis, you’d probably start daydreaming about Microsoft Excel for the first time in your life.

In almost every sense, these sci-fi screens are a huge step backwards compared to what we have now. Nearly all of them have low contrast (making it harder to read things at a glance) and a grand total of four colors, all of which are usually variations of blue and green. The Avengers:

Marvel StudiosThis would look better if they were all playing Galaga.

Mars (a National Geographic miniseries):

National Geographic

Prometheus:

20th Century PicturesLast time, we promise!

Not only does this mean that you run out of ways to highlight important stuff quickly, but the preponderance of blue and lack of red tones can even be dangerous. See, when your eyes have adapted to a dark environment, light of any color except red will disrupt that adaptation. This is called the Purkinje effect. That’s why interfaces for things like submarines and airplanes use a lot of red, which allows, for example, pilots flying at night to clearly see both the screen and the view outside their cockpit. But on the other hand, blue looks neater, so that’s a fair tradeoff.

These sci-fi screens fail at the most basic function of a user interface: conveying information quickly and easily. Everything important is hidden in dense blocks of tiny text and numbers scattered around the screen. The only way the following screenshots make sense is if the characters have superhuman vision or magnifying glasses:

Marvel StudiosThe Avengers

Paramount PicturesStar Trek Beyond

20th Century PicturesAvatar

For comparison, here is a real-life NASA mission control room:

NASA

Note the lack of flashy animated visualizations. The multiple high-contrast colors. The text that is readable when you’re at the intended distance. And Earth has yet to be attacked by alien invaders. Coincidence? We don’t think so.

Prometheus isn’t a bad movie, but please make sure you’ve seen Alien before watching Prometheus. We talk about that movie a lot on this site too.

If you loved this article and want more content like this, support our site with a visit to our Contribution Page. Please and thank you.

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_25385_5-awesome-sci-fi-movie-technologies-thatd-suck-in-real-life.html

The Democratic Party Tried To Make A ‘Mean Girls’ Reference And It Was Embarrassing Af

Ugh, we’re so sorry to have to tell you this, but the Democratic Party attempted to make a  and they didn’t even ask for our help. Rude.

I think we can all agree that quotes in reference to the bomb cyclone that is our current government are only okay when say it.

The Democrats took a shot at Photoshop, and it turned out just like every time your mom tries to use emojis — literally nothing made sense and you were reminded anyone over the age of 30 should not be allowed near technology.

The Democratic Party tweeted out an edited copy of the Mean Girls DVD cover starring Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell on their present meeting at Camp David. Sorry in advance for what you are about to see.

Dems, we get that you’re trying to get on our level, but next time maybe consult with us before embarrassing yourselves and bringing dishonor to the dynasty. Dishonor on your whole family, dishonor on you, dishonor on your cow (peppered in a  quote to showcase our range).

Casual reminder to the Democratic Party that we are avail for taking down the GOP one Mean Girls reference at a time — it’s literally what we are here for.

Heads up, you need to keep up with the news. It’s not cute anymore. That’s why we’ve created a 5x weekly newsletter called The ‘Sup that will explain all the news of the week in a hilarious af way. Because if we weren’t laughing, we’d be crying. Sign up for The ‘Sup now!
 

Read more: http://www.betches.com/democrats-tweet-mean-girls

3 Extremely Advanced Fuckboy Moves You Need To Be Aware Of

Since it’s still 2017 and everything is trash (especially the new tax bill), it’s highly likely that the guy you’re seeing/currently chatting with on whatever fucking dating app is hot right now (I can’t keep up) is a complete and total fuckboy. If you need a refresher on the telltale signs of fuckboy-ery please read here, and if you remember what dating was like in a pre-fuckboy world, please hit me up with your stories of a better time. The horrors of dating over the past few years have wiped all my memories and forced me into a state of being that’s kind of like having a never-ending cold: like, I know there was once a time where I could breathe through my nose find a nice guy, but now I can’t remember what it felt like and damn was I an asshole for not appreciating the times when I could take a deep breath without coughing had options. 

By now, we should all know better than to spend time on a guy that texts only after 9pm, has never introduced you to his friends, or is “morally opposed” to being in photographs (that’s some class-A bullshit). But just as technology has advanced, so has the fuckboy. So it’s time my friends, that we look beyond the obvious Dean Unglert-like moves, and watch out for these three more advanced fuckboy tactics: because if they’re getting smarter, we’d better start getting more suspicious.

1. Following Up On Old Leads

If he slow-faded you months ago but resurfaced on a random Wednesday night because he was “thinking about you” and was “wondering how you’ve been,” it’s not because he missed you. It’s because he just finished watching , is tired of swiping, and decided to browse through his contacts hoping to bring an old lead back to life (for like two dates, max). Hopefully you read his text while lying in bed with your fabulous new bf and you can respond with a quick couples selfie and say “‘I’ve been great, thanks for asking!”, but if not, just block his number and find your own new lead.

2. The String Along

Avoiding making actual hangout plans is classic fuckyboy, but the true artistry is when they catch you just as you are about to give up—and give you just enough slack to real you back in. Maybe it’s been a week, or maybe you’re a true sucker and have been holding out for like a month, but it’s in our nature to get excited when a guy we thought had lost interest pops back up. It’s always the day after you stopped hoping it was him, and it’s always, ALWAYS the sign of an advanced fuckboy. Don’t give in to the string along: if he doesn’t straight-up make plans, call his ass out and block his damn number.

3. The Casual Party Invite

It can be v exciting when a new boy invites you to a party. Obviously your mind will go somewhere like, “his friends are going to be there, omg he wants me to meet his friends,” or “he wants to be seen with me in public, he must be marriage material!” But since it’s 2017 (where all dreams go to die), I’m about to ruin that one for you as well: Beware of the party invite, because if he’s a class-A fuckboy (which, let’s be honest, he probably is) he definitely sent that exact same text to his last five Tinder matches.

Tbh, if you have to ask if he’s a fuckboy, he probably is. Unless you’re like me and you just assume all men are fuckboys until they prove to you otherwise. Anyway, hope this helped.

Read more: http://www.betches.com/advanced-fuckboy-moves-you-should-know-about

Your Biggest Conspiracy Theory About The iPhone Is Totally True

No you aren’t crazy. (And savor that because, let’s be real, we usually are crazy.) Apple is actually slowing down older iPhone’s as their batteries age like a real shady bitch. And the people, like a true democracy, have joined together to sue them because it’s an inalienable right that our phones should never die and take selfies forever. Duh.

Instead of letting us put our Girl Scout technology badges to good use and replace the batteries in these phones, Apple is practically forcing us to get off our asses, go to the mall, and buy entirely new phones. It goes without saying, but iPhones are expensive AF and the whole thing feels like a scam preying on our deep fear of one day being a green text.

Of the eight lawsuits being filed against Apple, one is for $999 billion. If the petty betches who filed that suit win, they are obligated to buy us all new iPhones and kira kira apps. They probs won’t win because Apple is like an unbeatable Goliath but we’re pouring one out for the little David’s out there fighting the good fight. 

Heads up, you need to keep up with the news. It’s not cute anymore. That’s why we’ve created a 5x weekly newsletter called The ‘Sup that will explain all the news of the week in a hilarious af way. Because if we weren’t laughing, we’d be crying. Sign up for The ‘Sup now!

Read more: http://www.betches.com/apple-being-sued-for-slowing-down-old-iphones

Why Conservative Comedy Is Almost Impossible In Trump Times

Thought experiment: if you made a list of the biggest 10 comedy institutions in your life, what would be on it? Probably stuff like Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, John Oliver, network late night shows? Well if you look back over that list, you probably won’t find anybody who’s not openly lefty liberal (hi Stephen Colbert!) or wonky liberal (hey Seth Meyers!) or dead-center apolitical (hello Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader!). Why is that? How is there a total lack of high-profile comedy platforms that cater to the Mitt Romney supporters of the world, let alone the Trump zombies?

On this week’s podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Jason Pargin (Cracked) and Zack Bornstein (SNL, Jimmy Kimmel Live!) for a look at how comedy works, who’s allowed to be our leading joke-tellers, where today’s comedy comes from historically, and why Jimmy Fallon lost a third of his audience by treating Donald Trump like a regular guy one time.

Footnotes:

Girl At A Bar (SNL)

A Sketch For The Women (SNL)

If the Earth Treated Us the Way We Treat the Earth (Garlic Jackson)

Help! My Girlfriend Is Literally Dying (Garlic Jackson)

Jimmy Fallon Was on Top of the World. Then Came Trump. (New York Times)

Can Conservative Political Humor Be Funny? An Examination of ‘The 1/2 Hour News Hour’ and ‘An American Carol’ (Splitsider)

Protest Against Fox Correspondent Accused of Racism for Chinatown Interviews (New York Times)

Margaret Dumont: Performances With The Marx Brothers (Wikipedia)

George Soros and the Demonization of Philanthropy (The Atlantic)

Chris Christie And Pulling The Red Handle (NPR Monkey See)

Stop mocking how Kim Davis looks: Criticize her actions, not her weight, hair or clothes (Salon)

White Nationalist Uniform of Polo Shirts Takes Center Stage in Charlottesville (Hollywood Reporter)

A Brewing Problem (The Atlantic)

Sam Hyde Speaks: Meet the Man Behind Adult Swim’s Canceled “Alt-Right” Comedy Show (Hollywood Reporter)

Nostalgia Fact-Check: How Do Eddie Murphy’s Delirious and Raw Hold Up? (Vulture)

The Comedians of Comedy (Wikipedia)

Another woman accuses George H.W. Bush of groping and making a ‘David Cop-a-feel’ joke (Washington Post)

Jimmy Kimmel to Trump Voters: “Deep Down Inside, You Know You Made a Mistake.” (Slate)

If you’re looking to rep The Cracked Podcast with a nifty t-shirt, check out the awesome Cracked Podcast merch we’ve got at PodSwag.com

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/why-conservative-comedy-almost-impossible-in-trump-times

5 Embarrassing Habits Everyone Develops When Living Alone

I was an only child to a single parent who worked late. I’ve been working from home for nearly ten years. Combined, that’s the kind of alone time that can make neighbors rehearse their “He was a quiet fella, always kept to himself” news report answers in preparation for my inevitable crime spree. I’m by no means a loner or another descriptor that makes me sound like I ride a Harley from town to town righting wrongs with my kicks of justice. I just know how to be fine by myself for long stretches without going completely bonkers.

The word “completely” is key there. I’ve spent enough time alone to have accidentally developed embarrassing habits born from living with nary a soul around to tell me to knock that shit off because it’s scaring them. And if you ever find yourself having to live alone for long stretches of time, you too will find yourself doing some truly weird shit. For example …

5

You Develop Strange Reflexes

Spend enough time alone, and you start developing a whole new set of reflexes in response to your isolation. With no one around, you’re living in a world that gives the illusion of being consequence-free. The freedom is at first an incredible weight lifted, which opens the doors to so many possibilities. You can do nothing for hours! You can be high and do nothing for hours! Those first two things, plus naked! That’s all fine, but it all soon becomes a corrupting influence which devolves a person into a rude pig-person who does weird stuff with the ease and grace of second nature.

I think the most common form of this is trying to amplify or modify farts and burps, at first to amuse yourself. But it soon becomes just the way you live your life, constantly ripping the loudest, angriest farts you can muster. Bitter farts that are clearly compensating for something. Burps that can crack a window pane and make neighbors come around to find out if you’re OK, since they thought they heard a large bookshelf filled with encyclopedias collapse to the floor.

When you’re doing it in an empty house, it’s fine. Weird, but fine. But over time, it starts to develop into habit — reflexes so ingrained that you will confuse them for normal. And trust me, after enough time, those burps and farts will be busted out when other people around, which only magnifies their inappropriateness.

But those weird reflexes manifest in other weird ways. For instance, in an effort to save time, no matter where I was in my apartment, as soon as I acknowledged that I needed to pee, my dick came out. If I realized I needed to pee while I was in the kitchen eating ham in front of an open refrigerator, instinct would whip my penis out like I was flashing the orange juice. Was it efficient? Yes, absolutely. It shaved precious seconds off of my pee time. But that’s not the point.

It’s the kind of thing you get used to when you’ve got no one around to remind you that you must abide by the tough but fair semantics of bathroom law. Yes, it’s all just rooms, but dignified humans wait until they crossed the threshold of the bathroom door before exposing themselves. Only creeps do it while holding ham in the kitchen. I did it so often alone that on a couple of occasions, I had to stop myself as I was starting to unzip 20 feet away from the bathroom while I had guests over. One of those times was as I stood up from the table during Thanksgiving dinner with my family. I was a few zipper teeth away from flashing my mom and my delicious turkey. Thanks, lonely reflexes!

4

You Get Audibly Weird Just To Break The Silence

Talking to yourself is a staple of the quirky activities you develop when you’re alone for long enough. One of the big ones I’ve discovered a lot of us have in common is hosting our own cooking show when in the kitchen, assembling our lonely meals of one chicken breast and like four servings of rice. Because portioning rice for one is the saddest way humans express depression via food.

You pretend you’re a TV chef as you make a bouffe brugonone so labor-intensive that you start to wonder if you’re even worth the effort. It’s a fun way to imagine there is someone around who would actually listen to you tell them how to chop beef. So you reevaluate your value as a human, toss out the brugonone, and decide you’re worth a late-night drive-thru visit in your PJs at best.

Another tactic is carrying on two-way conversations with yourself. A lot of us do it to work through thoughts and daily aggravations, maybe to try to find the best thing we could’ve said in a moment that’s passed or to figure out the perfect thing to say in the future, in case the person we’re arguing with is wrong in the specific way we imagined them to be, since we’re only setting the bar as high as we can jump. It’s like playing Street Fighter alone and thinking you’re awesome, then playing against your idiot little brother and realizing you’re the worst player in the world.

It’s all a coping mechanism for dealing with the lack of human interactivity. But the more time spent doing it, the more it evolves into something greater than pretending. It starts to evolve into a weirdness specific to each person.

My conversations turned into interviews wherein I’d interview myself on the subject of why I’m so rad. This interviewer (me) will ask me to explain the thought process behind some of my best works, both real and imagined, like the secret of my guacamole recipe (use avocados) or telling the riveting tale of how I came up with the idea for the NC-17 buddy cop movie that won me an Oscar and a Nobel Prize in physics. For the latter, the movie changes almost every time. It was once an Ernest movie called Ernest Stops Fracking, starring a CGI Jim Varney long before we ever saw a CGI Tarkin in Rogue One.

Those homeless people you see ranting on street corners aren’t crazy; they’re just hoping an angel investor walking by overhears him and agrees that only his patented piss jar technology can defeat the lizard people who run the earth.

3

With No One Else To Be Responsible For, Your Scheduling Goes Nuts

Before my wife became a steady and dependable presence that gave me a reason to structure my life, I started making dinner whenever I stopped working for the day. I stopped working whenever my face had slammed onto the keyboard out of exhaustion for the fourth time that night. And even that depended on what time I got started that day. When I got started was dependent on when I went to sleep, which happened only after dinner, which I forgot to eat again. Alone, I was living the life of someone who can’t sleep until they find their child’s killer. In a relationship, dinner was at 7:30 or this whole marriage was liable to come crashing down in a rage of low blood sugar.

All of this is because living alone takes a herculean effort of will to not abuse the freedom and schedule flexibility five times an hour. Bad habits of overwork, erratic bedtimes, and terrible eating are easy to slip into when you don’t have someone to keep you in check. It sounds counterintuitive to our childhood dreams of freedom, but it’s nice having someone to tell you to stop dicking around and go to bed. I don’t think people realize how much of their schedule is dictated only by the presence of someone else living in their home. Add that person and everything will fall in line soon, if for no other reason than to not be a slovenly loser with an increasingly judgy audience of one.

But that schedule correction isn’t just about avoiding judgement. It’s about common courtesy for other people in your house. Being left to your own devices means your daily to-do list is dictated by your most chaotic moment-to-moment whims. Staying up late because you just didn’t feel like sleeping can disturb your partner, who has a normal working person’s sleep schedule. So over time, you start to adopt their bedtime. Eating whenever you feel like it screws the other person, because they might not be hungry right at that second … so they’re stuck eating cold food or cooking another meal for themselves entirely. It’s just more efficient to eat together, so you stop basing your meals around your stomach’s signals of “Oh, by the way, you’re about to go into shock. Humans need food.”

2

Being Very Specific About Where Everything Goes

There are two schools of thought on the placement of objects in a home when living alone. The first is the belief that everything has its place. French chefs call it mise en place, the idea that workstations should be arranged in the same way every day to maximize efficiency. It ensures that any item can be reliably found in its specific spot every time. Which could be hilarious if someone’s operating on pure muscle memory and you decide to replace the flour with a feral cat.

The second school of thought suggests the first school can fuck itself. Shit will be dropped or thrown in random spots as soon as it’s no longer useful. Or even if it is. It’s up to the user to remember where it landed or be doomed to accidentally stepping on it during a late night stumble to the toilet for a piss. This is the “I live like an infuriating pig” philosophy, and it’s a staple of college dorm life.

I am a proud graduate of the school of mise en place. I developed my persnickety senses in the thousands of hours I spent by myself at home as a kid. Doing chores unprompted just to kill time, I began to see my bedroom as a kingdom under my rule. If my kingdom looks like it’s been trampled in a stampede of peasants on PCP, it reflects poorly on my reign. But if everything stays in line during every waking moment of my tyrannical rule, then I must be pretty good at running shit, and nobody needs to be beheaded.

I married a woman who graduated magna cum laude from the school of infuriating messes, then went back to get her master’s degree. She believes objects should be placed in the one spot both of us will be least likely to look when we need it again. I have to go on a scavenger hunt for the brush if I want to use it. There’s a constant tug of war between our mismatched instincts which results in our home falling somewhere between “We survived a trailer park tornado but lost everything” and “If you move the salt shaker an inch to the left, I will have a panic attack.” This can make entertaining guests an anxiety-fueled nightmare when their grubby little hands hover around my stuff with no regard for my mise en place. How do they expect me to remain so efficient? The bastards are lucky I don’t take my dick out 20 feet too soon to show them a thing or two about saving time.

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Pretending To Be Active

Being alone for long stretches doesn’t lead to an active lifestyle. It’s mostly a lot of sitting and staring at things — TVs, phones, books. You can work out and attempt to be physically active, but when you come back, you immediately pick up where you left off. The passivity starts to weigh on you after a while, and since you can’t work out ten hours a day, it leads to making nothing feel like something. I’ll give you an example.

After realizing I had functioning legs, I decided one day to stand while doing activities that are normally associated with sitting. I’d just stand there watching TV or reading for an hour, like my ass was on the fritz and sitting would only cause permanent ass damage. The more I did it, the more my body got used to it … and before I knew it, I was binge-watching entire seasons of shows while standing. Standing then turned into pacing, and now I can’t really do much of anything in my house when I’m not pacing.

It’s a way to trick my brain into thinking I’m doing something that isn’t lulling me into a state of complacency. I’m no longer sitting around watching four hours of Arrested Development. I’m walking while watching four hours of Arrested Development. In the previous scenario, I am a lazy, shiftless asshole with nothing going on in my life. In the second, I’m walking. See? Huge difference. I might be the only person on Earth who has ever pulled a hamstring while watching Jessica Jones.

After a while, I started to notice this technique cropping up when I was around other people. We’d all be huddled around a TV watching something together, and I’d start off the night sitting in a chair like everybody else. I’d eventually find reason to stand, only to come back and continue watching while standing, sometimes pacing softly in my friend’s periphery. This is a solid way to freak people out. I think hovering around just out of view but close enough that they can feel you looming over them gives them anxiety that you’re about to tell them something bad. Or they think you’re about to cut across the screen but you’re afraid to interrupt. The anxiousness of thinking that you’re about to interject never pays off and they realize this is Hell. I’m a demon, and me not sitting down is their eternal torment.

It’s a blast.

Other than a few feet behind you as you read this, you can find Luis on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.

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