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Incredibly Flawed Technology That Shouldn’t Still Be A Thing

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In what is clearly a transparent grab to get you to buy new stuff, companies are constantly rolling out fancy new gadgets and technology. But because of that push we’re surrounded by tech that have been retired by now, or never should have been invented in the first place. Even the most decent product now comes with features that add nothing to its usefulness, or, even more annoyingly, that actually make it worse.


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16 Famous Plot Twists That Make No Sense (Diagrammed)

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We all love a good plot twist — especially one that catches us truly off-guard. But unfortunately, more often than not, that fun, quirky surprise ending doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you stop to think about it for about a minute or two.

With the help of these handy charts made by readers, we can shave a minute or two off that time and show you instantly how famous movie plot twists make no sense whatsoever.


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27 Child Actors Who Grew Up And Are Totally Killing It Now

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Child actors who crash and burn are a gossip site staple. The thing is, there are also child stars who grew up, left show business (or stayed in it), and became incredibly successful and well-adjusted. Admit it, you’re surprised.


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Read more: http://www.cracked.com/pictofacts-983-27-child-actors-who-grew-up-are-totally-killing-it-now

Create A Jetson’s Future With This Machine Learning Bundle

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

If there’s one thing pop culture of the 20 century promised, it was that robots would eventually do all of our work for us. Unfortunately, our modern world still remains RoboCop-less. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t getting close. In fact, thanks to machine learning, we are now closer than ever.

What is machine learning?

Put simply, machine learning is the ability of computers to sift through massive amounts of data and discover things on their own without being programmed to do so. Put even more simply, it’s like hiring a temp who not only does everything that you tell him/her to do, but also invents a new filing system and orders you lunch because they noticed that you were getting hungry. Put simplest, the game-changing power of machine learning is the ability to go above and beyond without having to be taught.

Why is it suddenly trending?

Machine learning is not new. The term was first coined by Arthur Samuel in 1959. But the technology has advanced exponentially since Samuel first started using it to beat your grandpa at checkers. Machines can now do things that no human being ever could or should ever have to. For example, Pornhub (this link isn’t for porn, it’s for an article about Pornhub’s use of machine learning, sorry) uses machine learning to sort through images and properly tag them, doing the work in a fraction of the amount of time that it would normally take and saving some sorry intern potentially thousands of dollars in therapy bills.

How does machine learning impact me?

Machine learning is poised to be as revolutionary as the internet, and can be used in almost any field. Here are five examples of current/future uses:

Automated Cars

It seems like an ordinary commute. You’re picking up the kids from school and blasting McGruff The Magic Seahorse or whatever children listen to in the future. You’d usually have your foot on the gas, but in your new fancy self-driving car, you notice your child choking in the backseat and quickly react to save their life without careening into traffic.


Sifting through seemingly identical medical images without losing focus is hard. Even the most dedicated healthcare professionals are only human (and probably coming off a 14-hour shift), and humans make mistakes. But machines can sort through images without a problem. They can even teach themselves to identify cancerous tumors in mammograms.


Being a store greeter is a hard, thankless job. But for machines, it’s a piece of cake. They can teach themselves how to perceive human emotions and respond to everyone who enters the store with a personalized greeting based on their body language and appearance. We’d make a joke about that being a little creepy, but considering how your local Sephora greeter mugs you with questions the moment you walk in, we figure it can’t get any worse.

Content Distribution/Moderation

You’re watching Netflix, and the picture quality is good — so good that you’d rather Netflix and Nothing Else than Netflix and Chill. But suddenly, everyone in the house jumps online and the Upside Down starts looking indistinguishable from the Rightside Up. But thanks to machine learning, Netflix can now identify online traffic patterns and reroute content to other servers so that your 4k binge of Stranger Things continues uninterrupted.

Cybersecurity Protection

Hackers are growing more and more sophisticated, and it’s hard for overworked security engineers to keep up. But machines can now teach themselves how to recognize subtle variations in server patterns and identify data breaches before humans ever would. Take that, Mr. Robot!

Why you should become a machine learning engineer

Machine learning is obviously world-changing. But until the machines can learn how to asexually reproduce, we still have to make and operate them ourselves. Fortunately, machine learning jobs are in high demand and very lucrative. The average machine learning engineer makes an annual salary of over $100,000.

There are several ways to go about learning these skills, like with The 2018 Machine Learning Bundle. This online ten-course bundle will teach you the ins and outs of machine learning so you can create and manage projects like a pro. Whether you’re looking to join an existing company, apply your newfound machine learning skills to your own business, or just want to say cool things about robots at parties, this bundle will deliver the foundational skills you need. It may also result in people calling you “the machine whisperer.” (If they don’t, tell them to start. It’s a rad title.)

The 2018 Machine Learning Bundle normally costs $843.92, but you can get one of the courses for whatever price you want. Beat the average price (currently under $20), and you’ll take home lifetime access to ten in-depth courses.

The machines are working hard … so you don’t have to. Kick up your feet and enjoy the SelecTV By FreeCast One-Year Subscription with this Stainless Steel Double Walled Wine Glass With Lid, and let your robot butler do all the work.

Do You Want To Build A Robot? Three Totally Easy DIY Kits for creating your own lackey.

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/create-jetsons-future-with-this-machine-learning-bundle/

Sean Penn Wrote The Worst Novel In Human History, I Read It

Sean Penn recently released Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff. It is, ostensibly, a novel. Sarah Silverman compared Penn to Mark Twain and E.E. Cummings. A Kirkus reviewer equated him to Kurt Vonnegut and David Foster Wallace. Salman Rushdie declared it a book that Thomas Pynchon and Hunter S. Thompson would love, possibly because he longs for the good old days when people wanted him dead. It’s telling that all these figures of comparison are incapable of disagreeing because they’re either famously reclusive or dead. Having recently read Bob Honey, I am confident in declaring it the literary equivalent of renal failure.


To help you prepare yourselves, here are just a few of Penn’s many atrocities against the English language (he really likes alliteration):

Evading the viscount vogue of Viagratic assaults on virtual vaginas.

Criminal crumbs and corresponding celebrity crusts, bound together by dough.

This goat-backed lioness began to hoot like a bruxism bedevilled banshee.


The (Barely Existent) Plot Is Complete Nonsense

Perhaps the only thing you need to know about Penn’s book is that the brief first chapter, about three elderly people getting murdered in their retirement home, is called “Seeking Homeostasis in Inherent Hypocrisy.” Penn writes like he’s looked up every single word in his thesaurus except “dictionary.” He uses unnecessary terms, then provides 70 footnotes to explain the definition of the unnecessary terms, because he assumes that his readers aren’t at his level of intelligence. In a way, he isn’t wrong.

Here’s a typical sentence, in this case describing a woman: Effervescence lived in her every cellular expression, and she had spizzerinctum to spare. Penn thinks that if less is more, then more must be incredible. He writes novels like they’re a high school essay he’s desperate to pad.

So, about those murdered old people. We’re introduced to Bob Honey, a successful but disaffected middle-aged white man who is brave enough to be suspicious of some aspects of modern American life. Bob worked in waste management, and while selling his services in Iraq during the American occupation, he became convinced to kill elderly Americans for the government because … well, there’s no actual explanation, because Penn has taken the creative approach of not giving his hero any personality or traits. Penn then boldly satirizes the Iraq War by pointing out that it was sometimes violent, and holy shit you guys, some people may have profited from that violence. It’s an interesting observation if these are the first words you’ve read since 2003.

Now, you might be thinking, “OK, that doesn’t sound very profound, but it’s still reasonable to critique the Iraq War, right?” To which I’d respond that Penn refers to the Pentagon as “the five-sided puzzle palace,” then provides a footnote that clarifies he means “the Pentagon.”

From there, we learn that the American government feels threatened by old people who don’t buy enough branded products. The only real plot point is that the NSA, a covert section of the EPA, and a bunch of conservative foundations are working together on these old people murders because the removal of the flatulence they contribute to the environment allows businesses to pollute more. Way to tackle America’s problems head on, Sean Penn.

After agreeing to help the government kill old people for no good reason, Bob’s wanderings of America and the world eventually cause him to reach the incredible realization that killing people is bad and that, holy shit, America might be bad too. So Bob tries and fails to kill a Trump stand-in while rescuing his 20-something girlfriend who has all the character development of a calculator with “BOOBS” written on it. And that’s it. Penn wrote a series of incoherent angry tweets about America, then stretched them out to novel length with shit like this:

Behind decorative gabion walls, an elderly neighbor sits centurion on his porch watching Bob with surreptitious soupcon. Bob sees this. Feels fucked by his own face.


Sean Penn Never Learned What Satire Is

The idea that the government is killing old people doesn’t have a point; it’s just there, because it’s something bad people would do and grr, the government is bad. The whole book is full of that kind of vapid pseudo-criticism. Sean Penn is a man who looked at the world and its many issues in all of their incredible complexity and reached conclusions like maybe the media … might be influencing what we think about! Have you considered that marketing might be … trying to manipulate you? What if politicians … sometimes lie? And technology … could it have … downsides? It’s baby’s first hot take, written at the tender age of 57. Here, for example, is what Penn has to say about millennials:

Adderall and advertisers’ chickens had come home to roost. Bob felt from feline millennials the transmissions of Instagrams blitzingly blazing from all directions … No one spoke to anyone, and when they did, it was more about those anthropomorphic arrows than it was the natural air of organically human traverse … An age group so lost to letters and steeped in transactional sex, it seemed of them that they distinguished little between an active orgasm and an acted one.

Wow, sick burn. Penn careens from “selfies are dumb” to two paragraphs on gun control to a brief aside on why hunting is bad to long stretches during which nothing happens and no point is made. It’s as if Penn thought that slam poetry was the result of getting one’s penis slammed in a car door.

He compares people who buy stuff (nothing in particular, just stuff) to sheep, and then, in case you somehow weren’t getting it, declares: “BAHHH-BAHHH-BILDERBERG.” What do you have to say about marketing, Sean? “Branding is being! Branding is being! The algorithm of modern binary existentialism.” He even talks about ice cream trucks like he can’t get through a single conversation without bragging about his IQ: “The music of an ice cream truck sells sweetness, but its wares are cold and fattening.” But it’s Trump and his voters where Penn is at his least elegant:

Between the id and the superego, the sheep had traded a love of their own children for the chance to cry, “Look at me! I’m a pisser on a tree!” Ouch goes the human heart. Out comes the orator’s brain-fart, this Jesus of Jonestown, this blind man to Newtown, spits bile aplenty, to bitch us all down.

So many words haven’t been used to say so little since Ayn Rand was working. The greatest insight Penn can muster up is calling Trump “Mein Drumpf” and “Mr. Landlord,” before declaring “Sir, I challenge you to duel. Tweet me, bitch. I dare you.” My cat has stepped on my keyboard and accidentally sent tweets that are more politically insightful. And it gets worse, because …


Sean Penn Thinks It’s Deep To Use Racial Slurs

Bob Honey isn’t some brilliant subversion of conservative Americans. It’s a rambling polemic for how Penn sees America, mixed with the satirical equivalent of eating a child because you think that Swift guy was onto something. So it’s not super great that the only Mexican characters are drug dealers who love tacos and tequila. Or that Penn uses the term “Jew-speak.” Or that the main gang of Iraq War profiteers and senior murderers are cannibalistic Papua New Guineans who wear grass skirts and use blow guns.

Nothing says profound criticism of modern America like “What if a bunch of stereotypical immigrants are the cause of our problems? And then that’s it, there’s no insightful twist?” The Guinean leader says things like “Caught me a case of kuru! I crackin’ a grizz, my bruva,” because Sean Penn is systematically working to convince us that literacy was a mistake.

There’s a thin line between satirizing racial issues and just being racist, and Penn took a giant dump on that line when he wrote the following in the middle of his closing anti-Trump manifesto. I apologize in advance to like eight different groups of people for exposing you to this:

“You want to kill me because I don’t really believe we’re the ‘best’ country in the world? … You want to kill me, you boogeymen and women, you worshippers of tits, ass, and beefcake, you snivelling, vomitus, kike-, nigger-, towelhead-, and wetback-hating, faggot-fearing colostomy bags of humanity?”

Hey Sean, it’s actually possible to critique Trump and racial issues without dropping slurs like you got a bulk deal on them at Costco. And somehow, that’s not even the worst part.


Shockingly, Sean Penn Might Have Some Issues With Women

Penn has a long history of alleged domestic abuse, and while I’m not saying that he has issues with women, he seems to be saying that himself. Bob’s ex-wife is described as a “chubby fuckin’ redhead whose ghost still whorishly haunts his bed.” In reference to a black woman Bob had a crush on, Penn writes: “He thought of her beauty and the lure of her shaved and shapely cinnamon sticks standing at the trailer’s screen door.” Oh, and here’s what he has to say about women with the audacity to destroy America by using makeup: “Had she traded the mythology of her modesty for cosmetic self-awareness? Getting older in America is tough on a woman; seeing what she’ll do to avoid it is tough on a man.”

Then there’s Bob’s girlfriend, Annie, whose traits include being great at taking dick from Bob and really liking Bob. She has no personality, no desires, no opinions. What we do know is that “She may have even been too young. But Bob never bothered himself with those distinctions.” And when Annie writes Bob a note, she signs it: “My love and vagina (on your team).”

Other female characters include a bad young mother, a volunteer who gets drunk on the job, a waitress who is described as an “undernourished nymphomaniac,” and a “lesbo-leaning lunatic” who almost shits herself. There’s also an “awful chimera” who does shit herself while falling overboard and getting eaten by “fifty frenzied sharks (adios, amiga),” in one of several instances of Penn using violence against women for comedy. I think I’ve discovered Penn’s fetish, and it’s women getting hurt and shitting themselves. If you aren’t already turned off, allow me to forever ruin sex for you with Penn at his most sensual:

What a magical vagina, Bob thought, after exploring it for hours.

“Good vagina. Maybe more Vietnam.” (Note: “Vietnam” is what Penn calls pubic hair.)

Tedious trickling of cold cunt soup.

Now here’s a fun excerpt from the, ugh, five-and-a-half-page poem that ends the novel:

Where did all the laughs go?

Are you out there, Louis C.K.?

Once crucial conversations

Kept us on our toes;

Was it really in our interest

To trample Charlie Rose?

And what’s with this ‘Me Too’?

This infantizing term of the day …

Is this a toddler’s crusade?

Reducing rape, slut-shaming, and suffrage to reckless child’s play?

A platform for accusation impunity?

Due process has lost its sheen?

Again, there’s no satire here. Other parts of the poem are serious complaints about issues like mass shootings. Penn just got to the end of a novel that he clearly took less time to write than most people spend crafting SpongeBob memes, and spent a half-second thinking, “Hey, what if it was actually bad that a 76-year-old millionaire was fired for repeatedly harassing women?” And then he zooms on, like a philosophical hit and run. He wants to offer half-assed commentary on everything he’s ever glimpsed in the news. And that, I think, is because …


Sean Penn Desperately Wants To Sound Smart

The New York Times called Penn’s book “a riddle wrapped in an enigma and cloaked in crazy.” I have a simpler explanation: It sucks. “Riddle” implies that there’s something clever to be gleaned from it. There isn’t. It’s public masturbation. Penn quotes and references Herodotus, Norman Mailer, Inmar Berman, Jack Kerouac, Phil Ochs, Albert Camus, and more, because like your most annoying Facebook friends, he thinks that knowing the names of smart people makes him smart by proxy.

This garbage has been declared to have “almost immeasurable charm” seemingly solely because it calls Donald Trump fat. The very fact that it was published at all is the ultimate example of grading on a curve. Sean Penn is a celebrity, so of course we have to put out his inanity. Penn took the bold political stance that ha ha, Trump has a small penis, so of course it’s provocative. Even some of the many people who slammed it still called it things like “brave” or a misfired statement. It’s not, and it isn’t. That Penn sees this book as some kind of bold statement against branding is the height of hypocrisy and arrogance. This book is on shelves only because Sean Penn is a “brand.”

I realize the irony here, that I’m contributing to the attention that Penn is getting. But this isn’t just a critique; it’s a warning. Don’t buy this book because Sarah Silverman called it a “masterpiece.” Don’t buy this book out of morbid curiosity. Taunting notes sent by serial killers have contributed more to American culture than this book ever will, and the only productive thing we can do is ignore it like it’s an attention-seeking child. If I still haven’t convinced you, here’s what Sean Penn has to say after a scene in which a helicopter crushes a woman:

“As for Helen Mayo, they did Sikh and find remains. Get it? Sikh! Get it???”

I know you’ll do the right thing.

Mark is on Twitter, and has a book with a better rating than Penn’s.

Guess we’d be remiss not to link you to where you could purchase the book, so here it is if you really want it.

Support Cracked’s journalism with a visit to our Contribution Page. Please and thank you.

For more bizarre celebrity literature, check out I Read Steven Seagal’s Insane Novel So You Don’t Have To and 6 Ugly Things You Learn About Donald Trump Reading His Books.

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Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/sean-penn-wrote-worst-novel-in-human-history-i-read-it/

The Crazy Message Of The Marvel Movies Everybody Missed

It’s been almost ten long years since Tony Stark first donned the Iron Mansuit to battle … Jeff Bridges? Wow, the first villain of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was a 60-year-old stoner? In any case, Iron Man paved the way for the Avengers to finally assemble on the big screen, first to fend off an invading alien army, then to take on a sassy robot that Tony invented in his spare time. Now, as a decade’s worth of storytelling culminates with Avengers: Infinity War, it sure is tempting to take a look back at all the movies that led here — although it’s less tempting to camp out in theaters for a 31-hour movie marathon capped off by Infinity War, presumably in a urine-soaked seat and with only the vaguest recollection of what daylight is.

AMC TheatersIncluding movies such as Thor: The Nap World and The Incredible Poop Break.

When you put these movies together, the overarching story is … pretty odd. As a whole, it feels as though the reality of the MCU is inadvertently one in which every crazy internet conspiracy theory you’ve read actually comes true — less like our world and more like an Alex Jones fever dream.

Back when the first Iron Man came out, it was clear Marvel was working through some post-9/11 anxieties. The inciting incident is an attack by Middle Eastern terrorists …

Marvel Studios

… which leads Tony to build the Iron Man suit and … violently intervene in the Middle East.

Marvel Studios“JARVIS, activate ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner.”

This was at the tail end of the Bush era, but by the 2010 sequel, uneasiness around the new Obama presidency seemed to percolate into the franchise. At the time, there was a paranoid theory that Ol’ Liberal Barry was going to confiscate all the guns. Similarly, Iron Man 2 opens with the government, headed by Senator Garry Shandling, trying to take Tony’s “weapon” away.

Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios

Marvel StudiosEvery person will get a five-minute ride in the suit on their birthday.

All of this led up to The Avengers, which gives the MCU its own 9/11-like incident, which comes to be known as “The Battle of New York.” The impact of that event is felt in almost every ensuing movie, from Tony’s PTSD to Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s villains scavenging the rubble for alien technology. The next phase of the MCU is all about the fallout from the attack.

Not unlike in real life, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s reaction is to over-militarize and infringe on people’s civil rights. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo specifically called out Obama’s “kill list” and use of “preemptive technology” as the inspiration behind S.H.I.E.L.D.’s problematic plan in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Marvel Studios

Marvel StudiosLike if Fox tries to make any new Fantastic Four movies.

Now, these are all fair criticisms to make, but then the movie takes a left turn into crazy-town. We soon find out that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been secretly controlled by Hydra for years! They had infiltrated the organization from the beginning! A secret cabal of Nazis is running the damn government!

Marvel Studios

Marvel StudiosHey Carl, really killer work on that Capitol Building / Skull Squid logo. — Hydra graphics department meeting

Even Garry Shandling turns out to be a friggin’ Nazi.

Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios“Uh, you want some gum?”

This isn’t merely a fun plot device for a comic book movie. The idea of a shadow government secretly running the country (be it the Illuminati, the New World Order, or the dreaded Deep State) is one of the most pervasive conspiracy theories of modern times. The movie is conflating a crazy conspiracy theory with a legitimately relevant political allegory, which is just confusing.

Iron Man 3 gets even more convolutedly paranoid about a conspiratorial plan to take over the U.S. By the end, we find out that the villain is essentially staging a military coup, using superpowered army vets and the vice president to kidnap and murder the president.

Marvel StudiosHarrison Ford would never put up with this shit.

If all that wasn’t enough, the movie also rewrites the racist-as-all-hell comic book supervillain the Mandarin as a bin-Laden-like terrorist …

Marvel Studios

… only to reveal that he’s just an actor. I mean, every movie character is just an actor, but in the story, he turns out to be an actor.

Marvel Studios“Eh, it’s a paycheck.” — Ben Kingsley, both in and out of character

This seems inspired not only by the suggestion that 9/11 was an inside job, but also by the theory that the raid and killing of bin Laden was staged, which was propagated by Infowars two years before Iron Man 3 came out.


Then there are the survivalists, the people who believe you should live off the grid in preparation for an apocalyptic event. That philosophy is oddly validated in Avengers: Age Of Ultron, wherein the only way for the Avengers to stay safe from a technological monster is to hole up in an isolated house surrounded by woods.

Marvel StudiosEven Hawkeye’s house is boring.

In Captain America: Civil War, Cap essentially becomes a conspiracy theorist. He doesn’t want to sign the Sokovia Accords because he has a bad hunch about government interference.

Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios“AM I BEING DETAINED?!”

In the end, Steve’s not-at-all-fact-based fears are vindicated by the fact that Tony, the government, and every law enforcement agency have all been manipulated by Zemo and his dastardly plan to … wait, what was his plan again?

Marvel Studios“Honestly, I just really wanted to get Spider-Man to appear in one of these.”

This isn’t to say anyone at Marvel intentionally built their fictional universe to vindicate every tinfoil-hat-wearing YouTuber going on about chemtrails and the extraterrestrial origins of Col. Sanders’ secret recipe. These types of themes certainly aren’t uncommon in comics. But by importing them into a live-action realm, they’ve created a world no one would want to live in.

Think about it. Sure, it would be cool to see Iron Man flying around, Bruce Banner Hulking out, and Hawkeye … hanging out with Iron Man and Hulk. But who would want to live in a world in which so much crazy crap happens on a regular basis that no one even talks about the time the vice president tried to overthrow the government so his daughter wouldn’t need a wheelchair anymore?

Packaging familiarly preposterous conspiracy theories with real-world social commentary unintentionally muddies that message, at best. At least there are no scenes in which one of the Avengers runs a pizza business as a cover.

Marvel StudiosCrap.

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter, or check out the podcast Rewatchability.

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For more, check out 6 Disturbing Messages You Never Noticed In Marvel Movies and 5 Deeply Troubling Questions The Marvel Movies Don’t Address.

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Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_25546_the-crazy-message-marvel-movies-everybody-missed.html

4 Creepy Ways Everyday Life Is Turning Into Sci-Fi

The goal of any good dystopian story is to warn us about the future that we could end up with if we’re not careful. But they’re usually inspired by something that’s happening right now. Which means that while most of us are watching some cool new show in which future people live in pods and are haunted by cyber ghosts, a few unlucky SOBs are out there already living it.


Japanese People Are Having To Live In Internet Cafes

Much like America, Japan’s middle class is shrinking thanks to the upsurge in contract-only and temporary work. That makes paying rent all but impossible, so as many as 4,000 people in Tokyo alone are now living out of internet cafes — those places you thought became outdated shortly after we all moved on from 56k modems. They’re called saiba homuresu, or cyber homeless, which is a cool name for a sign of the crushingly bleak economic times.

Japans Disposable Workers, via YouTubeThe “tiny house” thing is a little less cute when taken to its logical conclusion.

And this isn’t a trendy way for young people to keep their lives simple before they get their feet on the ground. Nearly 40 percent of the cyber homeless are in their 30s, and 29 percent are in their 50s. There’s an imbalance in Japan’s economy whereby many people can’t get jobs, but those with jobs feel like they have to work themselves to death (and sometimes do) to stay in the game. And if you can’t afford a home, and have no free time to spend in one anyway, why not downgrade? Many cafes, which charge around 15 dollars a night, offer showers, laundry, and other amenities to their long-term residents. It’s kind of like living out of your car, except with much easier access to pornography. Plus you get to look like someone out of a William Gibson novel.

Japans Disposable Workers, via YouTube

Japans Disposable Workers, via YouTubeThe Depression Engine

The cyber homeless try to see the bright side of downsizing, but take a look at the ancient computers they’re stuck with and try to tell us that that’s not suffering. If you’re going to have your life destroyed by a brutal economic recession, at least you shouldn’t also have to use Windows XP.

Japans Disposable Workers, via YouTubeUpside: hardwood floors. Downside: Theyre also his bed.


Iran Has A Legal Organs-For-Cash Program

Sci-fi dystopias frequently revolve around the stark contrast between the wasteful opulence of the wealthy and the brutal desperation of the poor. One of the most popular ways to illustrate this is organ replacement for hire. Whether a poor person needs to rent an organ on a monthly payment plan in Repo Men or a wealthy person simply has their own clone murdered for spare parts like in The Island, the idea of cashing in on organ donation immediately signifies that we’re in a nightmarish dystopia.

Well, unless you live in modern Iran. Then it’s a fact of life. Iran has a legal marketplace for kidney sales, and while “kidney sale” immediately conjures images of spiked drinks and a bathtub full of ice and regret, it’s all above-board. Poor Iranians are so eager to “donate” that the streets leading to some hospitals are plastered with homemade advertisements proclaiming how healthy their signmakers are …

Shashank Bengali / Los Angeles TimesNo better way to advertise lifesaving surgery than with Sharpie on the side of a tree.

Before you write off Iran as a backwards country with inferior healthcare, it’s been argued that their system is in some regards actually better than that of the United States. For all we may squirm at the concept, Iranians in need of kidneys, well, get kidneys. Meanwhile, as obesity and diabetes rates continue to rise, America’s demand for healthy kidneys is only increasing. As of 2015, 100,000 Americans were waiting for a new kidney, and in 2014, 7,600 Americans either got too sick (or too dead) to receive one.

Shashank Bengali / Los Angeles TimesLuckily, the transplant specialists dont have to advertise like someone trying to sell a pee-stained couch … we hope.

Iran’s healthcare system saves money overall, because patients get new kidneys quickly instead of spending a long time on dialysis, and the legal framework prevents the donor from getting screwed on payment. Plus, both donor and receiver must be Iranian nationals, so you don’t see “kidney tourism.” Iran has largely managed to address their organ shortage, although information on the long-term health of the sellers is unavailable, because the future is a morally complicated quagmire of nightmares.

The system has its flaws, of course, with prospective patients making some seriously sketchy side deals to get around waiting periods. Oh, and also the whole vampiric overtone of the rich buying body parts from the poor. That’s pretty weird too.


Apple’s iPhone Factories Have Suicide Nets Lining The Buildings

Our iPhones are made in Chinese factories, of which Longhua is the largest and most ominous. About 450,000 workers live and work in the highly regulated quasi-city-state. Nobody else gets in. Delivery truck drivers must first have their fingerprints scanned, and unauthorized visitors have been beaten in the past. Why all the secrecy? Well, if you were running a secret mini-dystopia, you’d be less keen on visitors too. Longhua workers alternate 12-hour shifts and live in grey dorms a few feet from the high-pressure environment where they work. Perhaps understandably, this situation has led to mass suicides. It turns out that forcing workers to pay for running water and getting mad at them for wanting bathroom breaks is bad for morale, even if you do throw the odd potluck.

Tyrone Siu/ReutersHaving a workplace that could pass for a scene from 1984 isnt super encouraging.

Now, to be fair, Steve Jobs did highlight how the suicide rate in China was about the same as at the factory, which is only a couple steps removed from telling someone that it’s statistically unlikely to be murdered while you’re stabbing them. Nevertheless, Apple and Foxconn, the factory’s parent company, did take measures to prevent suicides. If you think that sounds nice, think more literally. No steps were taken to improve the working and living conditions, which are infamous for their relentless pace, cruel management, and blatant recruiting lies. Instead, workers had to sign pledges stating they would not attempt to kill themselves. Quickly realizing that a pinky promise didn’t mean much to someone standing on a ledge, they took one more measure: adding netting to all the tall buildings in the complex.

Thomas Lee/WiredAlternately, a quick way down from the upper floors for people trying to preserve their four minutes a day of personal time.

Shockingly, these measures haven’t really helped, as threats of mass suicide have become the workers’ only negotiating chip. In 2012, 150 of them gathered on a roof and threatened to jump if working conditions didn’t improve. It happened again in 2016 over withheld wages, which suggests that the 2012 protest didn’t go as well as it could have. Guardian journalists interviewed workers in 2017 to see if any improvements had been made, and one worker summed things up thusly: “It’s not a good place for human beings.”

The iPhone X looks neat though, huh?


The Japanese Corpse Warehouses That Deliver The Dead Via Conveyor Belt

Japan is running out of space to bury their dead, and a booming elderly population means that they’re going to have a whole lot of dead to bury. Further compounding the issue, people who have moved away from their hometowns are finding it troublesome to return to their family graves to care for them. The solution? Conveyor belts for the dead!

Alexander Martin/Nikkei Asian Review

.Tokyo GobyoObviously.

The empathetic folks at Toyota are trying to save people from the tedious job of keeping their family graves clean by providing a low-maintenance alternative, meaning that a night on the town can now feature both sushi and your father’s ashes being brought to you by the same technology. When you arrive at the urn warehouse, you scan an ID card and are directed to a private prayer booth. In under a minute, a conveyor system transfers the relevant ashes into your booth from a behind-the-scenes storage area.

Kazuhiro Kobayashi/The Japan TimesAll while enjoying a quiet Buddhist ceremony hosted by a vacant-eyed robot.

A typical conveyor-fed urn warehouse holds 5,500 remains in just over 20,000 square feet, and a slot is roughly half as cheap as a traditional grave site. The only major downside is that it looks like Ghost In The Shell meets Beetlejuice.

Chunichi Shimbun/The Japan TimesHonor your loved ones memory with the gift of high-volume automated storage.

Oh, and that you couldn’t be sure — truly sure — that grandpa’s ghost likes hanging out in a robotic corpse warehouse for all eternity. You know old people and technology.

Tiagosvn would love to hear about the most dystopian elements of your life on his Twitter. Nick is an attorney who hopes his writing career will continue to keep him out of the courtroom.

Michael Gibson’s work is intense stuff. Check out his first graphic novel, Archangel, today!

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5 Reasons Cryptocurrency Is Way Dumber Than You Thought

Hey, remember how you never invested in Bitcoin in 2009 because you’d never heard of Bitcoin and didn’t really care about magic internet money? Same. And remember how in 2017, everyone and their uncles started talking about how Bitcoin was now worth a shitillion dollars and you totally should’ve gotten on the train in 2009? Same. So now “cryptocurrency” is everywhere, and barely anyone understands it. (“So it’s basically new types of digital money that any jackass can invent, and then other people start treating it as valuable? And tons of assholes are getting rich just by trading it? Really?”) Here’s what we do know: Almost everything about it is utterly ridiculous.


Bizarre Celebrity Endorsements

The problem: There are hundreds of these cryptocurrencies now, so how does a new one gain credibility in a skeptical marketplace? The solution: celebrity endorsements, baby. Just ask the people behind Bitcoiin, and note the extra “i,” which stands for “I can’t believe Steven Seagal is the spokesman for this goddamned thing.”


Meanwhile, Ghostface Killah, the Wu Tang Clan’s financial advisor, is giving the world CREAM, except this time, the acronym stands for “Crypto Rules Everything Around Me.” But that’s kind of what you get when a man whose first name is “Ghostface” is working PR for you. Paris Hilton tweeted support for LydianCoin, and then had to backpedal when the CEO was convicted of domestic battery and assault. Also, their launch video looks like it was made by The Onion on an especially cynical day.

And because no one can outdo Floyd Mayweather when it comes to obnoxious bluster about money, he endorsed Centra, a company that made up its CEO. The image on the website was a Canadian professor who had no idea what the company was. A good tip regarding any financial opportunity: If your company made up its CEO, you might want to not go in for more than a double-digit investment.


There Is A Wave Of Stupid Currencies

You presumably know about Bitcoin, possibly from an evangelist who hopped onboard a few years ago, made a questionable amount of possibly fake money, and can’t wait to spread the good word about how out of luck you are. But did you know that there are also about a thousand other cryptos out there, ranging from the more normal ones like Ripple to the bizarre Dogecoin, based on the unkillable meme and somehow now worth over a billion dollars? And there are even more preposterous currencies out there too, all vying for their slice of the “we just pretended we’re millionaires and it came true!” pie.

BunnyToken is trying to position itself as the official currency of the $100 billion adult industry, selling its growth with a Playboy-esque rabbit theme. So are our profits going to be multiplying like bunnies? I just ask because it’s weird to base your business model on the question “People know that rabbits screw a lot, right?” And for those less interested in virtual currency to spend on porn, maybe because you need a root canal and your masturbation schedule has been disrupted due to tooth pain, there’s Dentacoin. It’s for paying your dentist, because why not? You probably have money, and your dentist accepts that shit, but why not use this currency that’s not good for anything else instead?

Prodeum was a recent currency that managed to raise $11 during its initial coin offering and then vanished, replacing its website with the word “penis,” which is exactly what I would have done had I thought of it first. And in the same throbbing vein is Useless Ethereum, a cryptocurrency that repeatedly tells you on its own site that it’s not worth anything and all you’re doing is giving your money to a stranger so he can buy a TV. In fact, the site has a running tally of how much money people have sunk into Useless Ethereum (about $175,000), and in turn, how many TVs can be bought with that money

While many of these currencies seem to have no real purpose, Russian Burger King gave us Whoppercoin, which you could use to buy Russian Whoppers. Get 1,700 Whoppercoins (which works out to spending about $30), and you get a Whopper. For $30, you can get 7.15 American Whopper meals, but that’s beside the point. The point is that it’s crypto, guys! Whatever that means.


There Is Rampant (And Ridiculous) Thievery

TRIVIA TIME: Is a currency that doesn’t physically exist harder or easier to steal than the sock full of quarters that I definitely don’t keep under my bed? ANSWER: Waaaay easier, because that sock of quarters that isn’t under my bed can only be stolen from not under my bed, while something like $500 million in a cryptocurrency can be stolen from anywhere on Earth, and was indeed stolen from Coincheck in Japan in early 2018. It was literally the biggest heist in the history of stealing shit ever. But who cares, right? Cryptocurrency is super secure, because [citation needed].

That Coincheck heist was beyond any bank robbery in real life, and while Coincheck is refunding the stolen money, they didn’t get the actual stolen funds back. No one knows who took it, and the security measures that monitored where the money went have since been removed, because crime-solving is hard. The money is never coming back, and seems to have mostly been funneled into the deep, dark, dirty web.

In fact, over $9 million per day gets scammed in the world of cryptocurrency. Which is a lot, right? Like, I don’t have anywhere near that much money, so it seems like a lot to me. But it’s par for the course in this realm, until someone figures out a way to make it harder to steal. But even that probably won’t stop hackers from just using your WiFi to hijack your device when you’re sitting in Starbucks, forcing your machine to mine cryptocurrency for them using a process not even your computer fully understands.


Companies Are Rebranding To Jump On The Bandwagon

Imagine if you sucked super hard at life and decided you needed to shake shit up to not suck, so you let everyone know that you were putting suck on the back burner and changing your name to Artemis Bitcoin FinTech Blockpunch. Would that make you a better person? The question is rhetorical, because of course it would. And businesses know this, which is why so many of them did almost exactly the awesome thing I just mentioned.

Consider the Long Island Iced Tea Company, a boring if not fairly straightforward name attached to a business that made the titular beverages. And then they changed their name to Long Blockchain Corp, causing their stock value to increase sixfold. They literally did nothing else. They didn’t implement any changes or discover a bunch of enchanted rubies in the cellar. They announced they were going to become a cryptocurrency business — something any small beverage company is of course set up to do at a moment’s notice — and that they would buy 1,000 Bitcoin mining machines, or what the layman might call “computers.”

Here’s the kicker: They never bought those machines, because you can’t float them in vats of iced tea, and even if you could, who cares? The stock already went up! Now to keep that sweet interest flowing, they say they’re going to partner in the future with a blockchain company and something something profit.

SkyPeople Juice International Holding recently shook their shit up by becoming Future FinTech. The company, most famous for making juice — because as I already established, beverages and Bitcoin go together like beverages and Bitcoin — switched gears and saw a triple increase in stock prices! But unlike Long Blockchain, Future FinTech didn’t promise to mine Bitcoin, or work with anyone who does, or actually anything of the sort. They want to get into e-commerce and commodities, which is kind of what they already do, but now with a new, hip name. But their stock still increased because it sounded to others like they were going to do something. What they do say is that they’re “a financial technology company and integrated producer of fruit-related products,” which maybe is how Fruit Roll-Ups were invented. That’s the power of rebranding in the world of cryptocurrency.

Kodak announced plans to start their own cryptocurrency (which they’ve since pushed back) that would somehow protect the works of photographers, and their stock shot up like a rocket. There was even a company that used to make sports bras which decided one day to become a cryptocurrency consulting firm called the Crypto Company, and they saw their stock explode 57 times over. And then the SEC shut down trading for the business, because as it turns out, people get oddly suspicious when a bra company becomes a multi-billion-dollar cryptocurrency firm out of nowhere.


It Wastes A Ton Of Energy

I mentioned earlier that cryptocurrencies are “mined.” Basically, imagine an invisible resource that can only be extracted using lots of complicated math that requires thousands and thousands of computers. Well, because of all of those machines running around the clock, a single Bitcoin transaction has been estimated to use as much energy as your house will use in a week.

Now, the metrics on Bitcoin waste are hard to pin down. Most come from one Digiconomist article that makes a lot of assumptions, but it’s also not outright making stuff up. Whether it’s the entire amount of energy used by Greece or Iraq in a year, it’s still taking a shit-ton of power to create nothing whatsoever. And a lot of that is being used and generated in China with fossil fuels, for that extra, secret layer of “fuck you” to everyone else.

In theory, with software improvements, Bitcoin could become more energy efficient and maybe stop burning buildings down, which is literally a thing that has happened more than once. But for now, one estimate had Bitcoin using power equivalent to what 30 1.2-gigawatt nuclear plants generate, all day every day. Do you know how many times that could send Marty McFly back to 1985? Fuckin’ several.

Some are trying to mitigate the waste. People are setting up mining operations in the Arctic so that the overheating is less of an issue. One dude is using the excess heat from his mining PCs to grow tomatoes, while others have just decided to use it to heat their homes — and those are just recovering small amounts of the energy that gets wasted as heat radiating from the processors.

We may go around talking about how badly baby boomers screwed over the planet with their SUVs and heated pools, but at least they didn’t burn up several coal mines’ worth of energy on what may turn out to be an ephemeral get rich quick scheme.

You’re honestly just better off putting your money into a literal piggy bank. It’s probably more secure.

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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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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.

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