WASHINGTON: The Department of English at the University of Pennsylvania has launched a prestigious Ivy League university course on ‘wasting time on the Internet‘. The course, which is already heavily oversubscribed, consists of students staring at a screen for stretches of 8 hours at a time, ignoring calls at the door and interacting solely through chat rooms and social media.
According to the course description on the university’s website,
“We spend our lives in front of screens, mostly wasting time: checking social media, watching cat videos, chatting, and shopping. What if these activities - clicking, SMS-ing, status-updating, and random surfing - were used as raw material for creating compelling and emotional works of literature?” University of Pennsylvania prospectus.
Students are not required to attend any on-campus teaching, but are expected to respond with 20 characters or more, within 60 minutes, to any direct message.
Basket Weaving More Useful than Proust
The course has been written in response to recent analysis, which showed that the Return on Investment in an English Literature degree was similar to the ROI of Advanced Basket Weaving, a course provided by the BWA.
The students will also explore the relationship between boredom and time-wasting through critical texts by thinkers such as John Cage, Betty Friedan and Guy Debord.
Distraction, multi-tasking, and aimless drifting are mandatory, the course description added.
A report published today by Action Now American has highlighted the social crisis faced by children from deprived backgrounds who are now turning to a life of international cybercrime as their only escape from poverty.
The report, which follows an in depth study of geosociopolitical trends amongst 15-17 year old white males, finds over 47% have in the past or are now involved in cybercrime on the world stage. Of those, 65% are developing Advanced Persistent Threats along multiple attack vectors to multi-national and governmental secure networks, 37% are exploiting common psycho-social weaknesses to execute complex social engineering attacks and 15% claim to be probing publicly available source code as well as enterprise architecture test beds in order to uncover zero-day vulnerabilities.
“I just can’t see a route out,” admitted one gang 15 year old gang member. “I’m left with just a college degree in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, an innate understanding of the connected world, extensive knowledge of current and future consumer electronic and software products, and a neighbourhood that literally smells. There really is nothing else I can usefully use my skills on.”
Most of the cases the proceeds of the crimes went to buy street drugs, personal weapons and RAM upgrades.
Following on from the recent announcement of Tor support by Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), the Social Media giant has announced its intention to launch an entirely anonymous service.
“We’ve found that our users consistently worry about their personal data being available on the web,” explained Vince Claughlin, VP of Anonymity Services. “We hope that this will be an attractive alternative.”
The service, names NoFace.com, bears the same livery, design and feel of the original, but contains no personal information whatsoever. Users cannot upload photos, tag names, post information on their own wall or the wall of their friends or fill in a brief profile.
The famous “like” button has also been removed.
“Although Liking something is harmless enough, by triangulating likes and follows each user develops a unique fingerprint, Mr Claughlin went on to say. It’s the. child’s play to use this to identify the user. It just had to go.”
The terms and conditions for the new service are also greatly simplified, reflecting the constraints that an entirely anonymous user base would have on practical legal proceedings.
It was unclear as we went to press how the service will be monetised, but in guidance released to shareholders the board noted that they were ‘confident’ they’d find some way.
In a shock announcement that has left many White House staff confused and anxious, House Press Secretary Josh Earnest has revealed that they have only been working at security level UNCLASSIFIED for years.
The announcement came after it was revealed that a Advanced Persistent Threat attack, possibly from Russia, had successfully breached the White House Executive Network.
“In the course of assessing recent threats, we identified activity of concern on the unclassified Executive Office of the President network. We took immediate measures to evaluate and mitigate the activity.” Whitehouse Security Spokesperson
White House Staffers soon took to social media to voice their dismay.
“I always thought that the work we were doing was of strategic, national importance,” admitted one White House Staffer. “Now it seems that that was all just a delusion.”
“We’re no more special that the front page of Ebay,” said another staffer who asked not to be identified.
Despite early indications showing that the hack wasn’t carried out by Russia, the investigation continues.
[FLORIDA] In a major breakthrough in inter-generational understanding, reports are coming in from Seniors around the world that the youth of today finally ‘get it’.
In a press conference held in Boca Raton, Florida, a spokesperson for those aged 65 or more gave warm appreciation to the effort, guts and sheer hard work seen in the 20s and under.
“It’s really quite impressive”, the spokesperson admitted. “They’ve had to deal with a doubling in population, a planet heading for environmental meltdown and a world financial system in freefall, all at the same time. We just had a post-war economy and growing liberalisation to establish. That was just so much easier.”
“So hats off to them, they really do get it”, added the spokesperson, raising his felt-lined trilby hat.
Similar statements made at retirement capitals around the world re-emphasised the general appreciation from the older generation.
“Mind you,” added Lily Ollie, the spokesperson for the United Kingdom speaking from Cornwall, “that middle-aged bunch - they’re completely useless. They just need to pull their socks up, stop complaining and get on with it.”
[TAMPA] In a move that has left a number of his friends concerned and confused, Tampa area teenager Geoff Munro has turned down the offer of webcam-Sex from Spanish lingerie model Soraia Costa.
The offer, sent by email with a link to a photograph of Ms Costa, came with an offer of mutual webcam sex.
“I’m really disappointed,” Ms Costa admitted. “I put myself out there posting up those images on Dropbox then emailing them out to a spam list. What I was really trying to do was find a way - any way - to catch Geoff’s attention. Seems stupid now. God I’m so embarrassed.”
Although declining to go on record, when pressed for comment Mr Munro shrugged and agreed we that he “didn’t know” why he just deleted the email invitation.
According to close friend Ya Jin the whole thing was “just weird.” He went on, “we were just hanging about checking stuff out, when this email came from this totally hot Spanish girl. All he had to do was email back. I mean, it doesn’t get easier than that. No way I’ll ever understand that, dude.”
In a surprise move, former Vice-President Al Gore has claimed that he invented NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. In a on-the-record interview for Russia media, Mr Gore claimed that:
“During my service as Vice President of the United States, I took the initiative in creating Edward Snowden. It was an audiacious move that I think has paid off. Of course it was part of a whole range of initiatives I took that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth and environmental protection, and improvements in our educational system.”
Some of the other initiatives Mr Gore has claimed in past include the internet, the color green and snow.
Mr Gore’s tour of the world, now in its 22nd year, continues.
In what is being seen as a major coup for the Bitcoin, a poll of online retail users showed that over 87% would be prepared to use the cryptocurrency to make online purchases “if it made them rich as well”.
The findings come after concerns that liquidity in the Bitcoin network was drying up as Bitcoin early-adopters held on to the coins waiting for another bubble.
“What we really need,” admitted Cryptonomist Huge Teller in an interview with Ownileaks, “is for people to use bitcoins in everyday transactions. That’s the economic activity which will add value to the market, add liquidity and help Bitcoin achieve its full potential as a revolutionary store of value.”
The poll showed evidence that public concerns around the cryptocurrency were being address. However, a significant majority felt that as well as providing a convenient transaction mechanism, bitcoins should also provide a lucrative route to early retirement.
“I really wouldn’t mind using them,” admitted Jill Powt, a staunch user of online retail websites. “Before doing that though I’d need to be sure that it was secure, dependable and would give me at least 5000% appreciation overnight. If they can crack that, then I’m in.”
In a mournful, slightly depressed press conference, a collective of anonymous hackers bemoaned the general loss of public innocence earlier today.
“The happy hunting grounds are closed,” accounced the spokesperson to a packed media corp. “It’s just not going to be like it used to be.”
The press conference was arranged following evidence that over 98% of the online public are now following sound password security advice.
“There was a time when we could get using ‘123456’, ‘letmein’, ‘qwerty’ and ‘iloveyou’. We had a list of about 10 passwords that never failed. Even if you had to hack someone’s account, you could do it once and reuse the password for any account they owned. Now all that’s gone.”
The collective blaims the hack of online auction site eBay earlier in May, which saw the compromise of 128 million passwords. This followed a similar breach of 38 million passwords from software firm Adobe in November.
“You see it all the time,” admitted another in the group. “People are choosing new 10 character passwords, using unique ones for each site and changing them all every 4-6 weeks. It’s just a reflection of the damage done to public confidence following Snowden, and the terrible cost of high-profile hacks.”
LANGLEY, VA. Following revelations by Senate Intelligence Committee chairperson Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that the CIA have been secretly monitoring computers used by the committee’s members, a spokesperson for the CIA has promised to co-operate fully and transparently with the inquiry into the reasons the CIA broke his promise to co-operate fully and transparently with the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“We’re offering an absolute hand-on-heart promise to hand over all information withheld from the Senate Intelligence Committee following our previous absolute hand-on-heart promise that nothing would be withheld, ” said the spokesperson. “Moreover, we will cooperate fully into the investigation into why we did not co-operate fully, on this occasion.”
“We are also prepared to co-operate fully and transparently into any subsequent inquiry into why the promise that we’ve just made to co-operate fully and transparently was not upheld, should for whatever reason we choose not to uphold it.”
“We can’t say fairer than that now, can we.”