4 Stupid Secrets Of Your Favorite Websites
It's easy to think of the internet as one giant blob of content, but there are weird stories going on behind the scenes at some of the websites you visit every day. And no, we're not talking about the fact that Cracked's servers are still powered by whale oil, but rather how ...
Amazon's HQ2 Would've Broken Long Island
(NOTE: Mere hours before this article was set to publish, Amazon cancelled their plans for Queens. They fear Cracked's invective and wrath, which is not unlike that of the Old Testament God. Here are the details of their machinations regardless.)
You may remember the real-life dystopian reality show that was Amazon making various cities beg for the presence of their new corporate headquarters, and the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City was one of two lucky winners. In exchange for enough tax breaks to fund most island nations, Amazon will bless the locality with 25,000 much-revered "jobs."
That's a good way to inject a bunch of people who will spend money and pretend to care about the Mets into New York City. But New York City, as dozens of sitcoms have told you, is an expensive place to live. Long Island City in particular is seeing a massive increase in both housing developments (people are pouring into the area faster than any other community in NYC) and income disparity. One apartment within five blocks of the new HQ has a median household income of $15,000. Go five blocks in a different direction and it's $133,000.
HQ2 is already wiping out earlier plans to build 1,500 units of affordable housing, and a sudden spike in local salaries could be devastating to lower- and middle-class families. What happens when rent inflates and grocery stores realize that they can quadruple the price of bread by telling tech bros it contains the "ancient grains" that fueled the programmers of old? There's a serious concern that the immigrants and people of color who made Queens hip will now be priced out of their own neighborhood.
There are also questions about schooling and transportation. Queens' high schools are at 117 percent capacity, and Long Island City's only elementary school is at 135 percent, but Amazon workers will have to cram their kids in somewhere. More schools are coming, but it's unclear whether they will provide anywhere close to enough seats. 25,000 new workers would also strain NYC's already oft-delayed and overcrowded subway system, and while we're sure that will inspire a new wave of hilarious open mic night observations, it will also keep people from getting where they need to be.
So in sum, a lot of people are going to show up and be given tons of money to make things more inconvenient. Amazon has talked about a vague commitment to sustainable development, job training programs, transit reform, and other long-term growth plans, and if those all work out, it could legitimately be great for Queens. But it's sort of like letting a dozen people come live with you rent-free because they've promised to help renovate your house one day. Maybe they eventually will, and that would be awesome, but will you even still be able to afford to live there when the time comes?
The First Iteration Of Gmail Was For Garfield Fans
When Gmail launched in 2004, it provided an invaluable service to countless Internet denizens looking to upgrade their addresses from email@example.com to something vaguely professional. But the service you route all of your Bed Bath & Beyond newsletters to holds a dark and terrible secret. In 1998, gmail.com was an email service for Garfield enthusiasts.
Sadly, this "email with catittude" program was never run by Google, despite our best attempts to prove otherwise. But the URL offered eight-year-olds and sassy grandmas alike a free @catsrule.garfield.com email address, at least a few of which we really hope ended up on job applications and business cards. You could find catsrule emails at early internet bastions like Tripod, Angelfire, GameFAQs, and Fanfiction.net, where Garfield demonstrated how deep his love for lasagna truly ran.
The service eventually migrated to the now-defunct e-garfield.com in 2001. (Modern fans should head straight to garfield.com for all their many Garfield needs.) While the opportunity to score firstname.lastname@example.org has sadly long passed us by, as of early 2018, the service appeared to still be active for whatever legacy users are clinging to it. Weirder still, an @catsrule.garfield.com email appeared in Wikileaks' 2010 Syrian government dump, as one of Bashar al-Assad's lackeys was apparently hit with an offer for cheap software from a Russian spammer using such an address.
Does this prove that the seemingly innocent Garfield has ties to the Kremlin? Does he hate Mondays and freedom? We're still investigating. But in the meantime, if anyone reading this is still telling the world that cats rule via email, please get in touch and let us know what it's like to be trapped in 1998.
LinkedIn Has A Thriving MAGA Scene
LinkedIn is mostly where people with MBAs use run-on sentences to tell one another that they're passionate about being experts in creating paradigm strategies, but it also allows its users to post articles. LinkedIn's blogging platform is formatted like a serial killer's taunting note, but hardcore Trump supporters have found a home there amidst marketing executives talking about how they're remortgaging their homes to buy Ethereum.
For all the crap we give Twitter and Facebook for letting trolls proliferate, they've done enough to crack down on hate and anger that the most vitriolic posters have felt the need to abandon ship and resurface at LinkedIn. We're talking hardcore "Obama was born in Kenya, CNN is run by communists, and oh by the way, if you disagree with me you should kill yourself" Trump supporters here. Throw in all the platform's hippies looking to sell their crystal oil running into these posts, and the comments get ugly in a hurry.
LinkedIn isn't exactly a fan of this development, because they don't want their platform to be viewed as political, beyond their implicit endorsement of the endless grind of capitalism's crushing gears. But they're also not doing much to combat the problem. They'll ban the nastiest users, but the rest are free to go on about how Muslims need to be exterminated before they reach the final stages of their nefarious climate change hoax. Again, all on a platform designed to let accountants tell each other how much #hustle they have.
Most people still use LinkedIn for its original purpose, if they're unfortunate enough to have the need to. But there's been a clear increase in extreme politics and toxicity, so don't be surprised if a bunch of people screaming about the need to Make America Great Again show up in the comments of your post about learning some new Excel tricks.
Vice Skewed Its Traffic Stats With Boobs And Dumb Scams
You know those ads for shitty video games that feature half-naked anime girls destined to develop back pain declaring, "Come save the kingdom from Orcs, My Lord, and maybe I'll show you my improbable bosoms"? Vice, the giant media conglomerate whose only rule is "Don't write sober," used the exact same strategy.
Vice's director of marketing, tasked with boosting traffic, said to hell with carefully promoting their unique brand of journalism and just slapped ads featuring "photos of some hot chick with big boobs bouncing up and down" on torrent sites and other sleazy corners of the web. Vice's traffic did see a significant spike -- from hundreds of thousands of hits a month to millions -- but no one told investors that most of that was coming from disappointed men looking to masturbate. Presumably, most of them did not stick around to read any articles while holding their dicks.
That was in 2008. By 2016, Vice had moved on to a new trick where over half of their supposed traffic came from sites like Ranker, Distractify, and OMGFacts -- your top sources for whatever the writers saw on Reddit this morning. Vice sold ads on their behalf, then claimed their traffic as their own, because nothing says stable, trendsetting publication like being forced to claim the clicks of a bunch of 14-year-olds getting into arguments about which Supernatural episode is the thirstiest.
Anyway, Vice recently fired 250 hardworking people, because you can only move shells around for so long before people realize that there's nothing under them. And now you know how the internet economy works!
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