"The period was always the humblest of punctuation marks. Recently, however, it’s started getting angry. I’ve noticed it in my text messages and online chats, where people use the period not simply to conclude a sentence, but to announce “I am not happy about the sentence I just concluded.”
Say you find yourself limping to the finish of a wearing workday. You text your girlfriend: “I know we made a reservation for your bday tonight but wouldn’t it be more romantic if we ate in instead?” If she replies,
we could do that
Then you can ring up Papa John’s and order something special. But if she replies,
we could do that.
Then you should probably drink a cup of coffee: You’re either going out or you’re eating Papa John’s alone.”
"How and why did the period get so pissed off? It might be feeling rejected. On text and instant message, punctuation marks have largely been replaced by the line break."
“’In the world of texting and IMing … the default is to end just by stopping, with no punctuation mark at all…In that situation, choosing to add a period also adds meaning because the reader(s) need to figure out why you did it. And what they infer, plausibly enough, is something like ‘This is final, this is the end of the discussion or at least the end of what I have to contribute to it.’ …
"It’s not just the period. Nearly everyone has struggled to figure out whether or not a received message is sarcastic. So people began using exclamation points almost as sincerity markers: “I really mean the sentence I just concluded!” (This is especially true of exclamation points used in sequence: “Are you being sarcastic?” “No!!!!!”) And as new problems of tone arose on text and instant message, people turned to other familiar punctuation marks on their keyboards rather than inventing new ones. The question mark has similarly outgrown its traditional purpose. I notice it more and more as a way to temper straightforward statements that might otherwise seem cocky, as in ‘I’m pretty sure he likes me?’"
“On Lulu, women can rate men in categories — ex-boyfriend, crush, together, hooked-up, friend or relative — with a multiple-choice quiz. Women, their gender verified by their Facebook logins, add pink hashtags to a man’s profile ranging from the good (#KinkyInTheRightWays) to the bad (#NeverSleepsOver) to the ugly (#PornEducated). The hashtags are used to calculate a score generated by Lulu, ranging from 1 to 10, that appears under the man’s profile picture. (The company’s spokeswoman declined to explain the ratings algorithm.) Men can add hashtags, which appear in blue, but these are not factored into their overall score.”
“The thing that drew me to Lulu was that dating without a reference is the scariest thing you can do… Meeting someone out in the world when you’re not in school or don’t work with each other or have mutual friends — you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into.”
“Sewell Robinson, 24, who lives in the East Village and works for an advertising agency, estimated that 70 percent of her female friends use Lulu.”
What’s He Really Like? | NYT
"If you’ve logged into your Facebook or Twitter accounts in the past two weeks, you have probably seen at least one – or more likely, six or seven – posts from an app called What Would I Say?. Simply put, it’s a little mechanism that, when you give it permission, processes every status, photo caption, and comment you’ve ever posted to your own Facebook timeline and spits out a randomly generated status that resembles something “you would say.” … [I]n the two weeks since its inception, over 2.2 million of the bot’s faux-statuses have been posted on Facebook.
'Bots like this show you that you exist,' says social media theorist and sociologist Nathan Jurgenson, who studies the interactions between our digital and IRL selves. … 'You’ve posted all these status updates, they really did matter, they haven’t gone away, they were recorded, and they say something about you. It’s the same thing people said when Friendster came around: We want proof that we exist.'”
"PROOF" | Wired
Seattle’s Big Bertha
"The drill—specially designed to dig a tunnel underneath downtown Seattle, building new car capacity to replace an aging, earthquake-damaged viaduct that has dominated Seattle’s waterfront since the 1950s—has a name (Bertha, in honor of Seattle’s first female mayor), a wisecracking Twitter account, and a smiling, shovel-wielding cartoon likeness. …
The largest-diameter drill in the world (its boring face is five stories tall), it was shipped from Japan to Seattle in 41 separate pieces back in April; its cutterhead alone weighs almost 800 tons. The whole thing is over 300 feet long—and that’s not counting the two miles of conveyer belt that will stretch out behind it, carrying hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of sand, dirt and rock out of the tunnel and onto waiting barges.”