Jess Zimmerman

Apple, Your Anti-Choice Tendencies Are Showing in Your App Store

Lady Parts Justice, a self-described “cabal” of pro-choice comedians, released a satirical app called “Hinder” that lets you left-swipe through a whole three-ring circus of conservative politicians bent on curtailing reproductive freedom. Each pol’s profile has more information on his (or her, but probably his) bad opinions on abortion, sex education and women in general. You can play with it on the Lady Parts Justice site, if you want to (or not! They support your choice). But you can’t find it on Apple’s App Store. Apple rejected Hinder this month, even though its guidelines explicitly allow political satire.

Keep reading... Show less

What If the Mega-Rich Just Want Rocket Ships to Escape the Earth They Destroy?

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is the latest tech billionaire to invest his money in spaceships: on Tuesday, he debuted his space travel company Blue Origin’s newest rocket. Now, those who want to cruise the galaxy can choose between the sleek new rocket and the stubbier model Bezos announced in April – or they can opt to ride with Tesla founder Elon Musk on a SpaceX ship, or hop on Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.

Keep reading... Show less

Can the Internet Actually Be an Empathy Boot Camp?

You may think you know who you’re talking to when you post on Facebook, Twitter or your blog. But the global reach of the internet means that your audience may be larger than you ever imagined.

Keep reading... Show less

Right-Wingers Think Capitalism's Great -  If You're Selling Something They Like

Part of the reason crowdfunding draws so much ire is that it necessarily happens before the product is a reality. It’s the old-as-the-hills technique of the “presale” – small manufacturers take money to reserve a product before it’s made, so they know what demand is and avoid overproducing (It’s also related to the even more venerable Proper Capitalist approach that you might know as “looking for investors”.) There’s nothing new or weird about it, presuming that your belief in the free market economy is sincere. The atheist shoes, the inflatable Lionel Richie head, the TARDIS launch – these pass without comment, or at least without outrage. It’s their money, right? One born every minute.

Keep reading... Show less

Facebook's Timehop Nostalgia Is Just a Way To Exploit Emotions For Data

hat were you doing a year ago on this date? How about three years ago? Five? Not long ago, you’d have to run for your diary to answer that – and if you didn’t keep one, you’d be out of luck. Now, multiple sites and apps are willing to remind you, for the low price of all your personal information.

Keep reading... Show less

No, We Don't Literally Want to Ban Men - But 2014 Was the Year Women Got Even

This was a big year for man-hating harpies. We drove an innocent young man to kill through the deliberate denial of sex! We ruined the entire videogame industry, forcing developers to replace all current and future titles about sexy women with games about lip gloss and menstruation! We rose up in a frothing bloodrage simply because we didn’t like a man’s clothing choices, which were entirely without wider resonance! We totally invented rape, which only happens in our minds! We even destroyed ethics in journalism.

Keep reading... Show less

Overnight Teen Idol 'Alex from Target' Was a Fake Corporate Meme - That's Not Viral, It's Offensive

I get annoyed when people scoff at stuff that’s meant “for teenage girls” – young adult novels, for instance, are great, and “teenage girl” culture is surely no dumber than a lot of the stuff that’s marketed to grown men. But I confess I am totally uninterested in mop-topped, Bieber-esque teen dreamboats. So the “Alex from Target” meme was entirely off my radar until Tuesday afternoon, when a marketer tried to take credit for instigating yet another viral phenomenon. This upset a lot of people. It appears we don’t like it when companies try to approximate the self-replicating, emergent energy of the internet from the top-down, instead of the bottom-up.

Keep reading... Show less

The 1% Has Bought Its Own Internet - What's Next, Richipedia?

In one of the best moments of the genius webcomic Achewood, occasional protagonist Ray – a Scottish Fold cat who is also a wealthy playboy – goes on eBay while high and impulsively types, in the search bar, WHAT’S THE BEST THING YOU GOT? The screen blinks, then lights up with the message “Welcome to eBay Platinum Reserve.”

Keep reading... Show less

Happy Holidays!