This week, the internet is all about the possibility of great harm. Maybe it’s a hangover from the “just do whatever, who even cares anymore?” vibe of the past four years, but for whatever reason, all I see are blinking red danger signs, from financial Goliaths being owned by internet Davids, to bad game night guests, to the myriad kinds of trouble you can get into by repeating what you see on TikTok.
This week in internet warnings
There’s never a shortage of “Don’t do the thing you saw on the internet” stories, but this week, the scolding is reaching a fever pitch, so I’ve prepared a list of online things that could hurt you, your children, and Western civilisation.
- Do not lie down in the middle of the road covered in a sheet and hope cars don’t hit you.
- Do not spread erection cream on your lips to increase their fullness.
- Do not use a dating app while you are on a date.
- Do not bully a grandma.
- Do not take a nap while you are driving, even if you’re driving a Tesla.
- Do not throw a cake at your bride.
- Do not have sex with virtual Keanu Reeves.
Now that you’ve gotten a handle on the GameStop stock madness, it’s time to learn about Dogecoin. Why is the retail investor hivemind pumping up the obscure cryptocurrency with a Shiba Inu dog for a mascot? Why, for the Lolz. With the help of Reddit and Elon Musk, Dogecoin increased in...Read more
This week in high finance: GameStop stonks
It’s rare that young people care about the stock market, but this week, the internet nearly meme’d a billion-dollar stock fund into bankruptcy. Here’s a quick-run down of the situation, (from a guy whose entire understanding of the stock market comes from having seen Trading Places in 1996): Recently, the day-trading dregs at Reddit’s Wallstreetbets forum noticed that a hedge fund was short-selling GameStop’s stock. This might have been a good bet for the fund, given the financial trouble GameStop has been in, but when Redditors noticed, they started buying GameStop stock at the low, low shorted price. This drove the price up. With each tick toward the sky, the hedge fund lost money.
You might have seen headlines this week about the sudden surge in stock prices for moribund companies like GameStop (up 400%) and AMC (up 375%). But what about Blockbuster? Yes, they still exist as a penny stock — and they’re up over 2000% from earlier this week, too. What’s going...Read more
Then big investors noticed and bought into the bubble. With a tweet, Elon sent the share price flying from $US147.98 ($194) to $US230 ($302), and further buying saw a jump up to nearly $US350 ($459) a share, then a drop to “only” $US200 ($263) per share. It had been trading at around $US4 ($5) a few months ago, marking an eight thousand per cent increase from the lowest to highest point. With the price in the stratosphere, the hedge fund was as pwned as the Dukes at the end of Trading Places, and things will (presumably) be even worse when they are forced to buy back the shares they shorted.
Day-trading apps like Robinhood prevented its users from buying GameStop stock, which politicians from AOC to Ted Cruz agreed was bad. Poorer people made money and richer people lost (for now, anyway), and how it all ends is anyone’s guess — maybe the rules will change for short-selling, maybe Reddit will crash the international economy and send us into a Mad Max-style post-economy hellscape where we’ll buy stocks in guzzolene and metal spikes for shoulder pads.
Celebrities you’ve never heard of: Riyaz Aly
Before the internet, there’s little chance anyone in the U.S. would have heard of Riyaz Aly. The seventeen-year-old lives in India with his family and enjoys lip-syncing to other people’s music and wearing nice clothing and dreams of one day being a Bollywood movie star. He has also amassed nearly 48 million followers on TikTok. That’s about the population of South Korea… all for a random kid in India who lip-syncs.
He’s a charismatic young man, for sure, but the fact that your kids, and me, and now you, know his name must mean something, but I’m not sure what. Modern fame is so damn weird.
Viral video of the week: Game Night Stereotypes
It’s been nearly 38 years since anyone has had a game night that didn’t involve Zoom or Discord, so you can blame nostalgia for pushing “Game Night Stereotypes” to the top of YouTube’s trending chart. The comedy video from Dude Perfect was viewed 11 million times in a couple of days, and it details all the annoying types of people who would come over to play Boggle, if coming over to play Boggle was still a thing. So if you miss the Forever Dice Roller, the Poker Poseur, and “I’m Always Red” guy, this is the video for you. Make sure you stick around to the end of the video for a room-destruction sequence to remember. (By the way: you’re all invited over to my place for Settlers of Catan as soon as you can show some vaccine paperwork. I miss game night.)