For a random few, posts about their coronavirus experiences on social media have taken on a viral life of their own

A photo illustration of a Twitter bird getting its temperature checked by a thermometer (held by a human hand).
A photo illustration of a Twitter bird getting its temperature checked by a thermometer (held by a human hand).
Photo illustration; Image source: Michael H/Getty Images

Justin Wilhite always wanted to be famous, and after his second trip to the ER on March 16 he got his wish. “I have it. Don’t sleep on this thing people,” he tweeted. “I’m a very healthy Type 1 Diabetic. My body is fighting it very well but it’s kicking my ass. Don’t be a moron. Stay home!”

Attached to the tweet is a hospital bed selfie, the kind that have become so distressingly familiar during the coronavirus pandemic. …

Cracked PayPal accounts and stolen debit card numbers are sold in the open

Illustration: Glenn Harvey

A user by the name of Victoria sends me her menu through a Discord direct message.

“Selling PayPal, credit cards and Amazon gift cards,” it reads. “Price list below. Please don’t contact me if you are not serious, can provide evidence and vouches. Refunds always.”

She offers every piece of contraband at a huge discount on its face value. A gift card supposedly worth $200 costs $25; a $1,000 gift card costs $80. Stolen credit cards come with “full info on how to use them, including security numbers and CVV,” and they “can be used in EU, U.S., …

The Elemental Guide to Water

Is there any benefit to drinking alkaline water, electrolyte-infused water, or ionized water?

This story is part of The Elemental Guide to Water, a five-part special report on the health benefits of water, the science behind seltzer, the truth about fancy H2O, the safety of tap water, and how much water you really need to drink.

Everyone has a favorite water these days.

There’s alkaline water like Bai Antioxidant Water, which claims to have a pH balance of 7.5 to help neutralize the acid in your body and ensure you don’t “throw your body out of its delicate balance.”

Hydrogen water like HFactor infuses hydrogen molecules into plain drinking water, with the promise…

Why some Communist foods are seeing a comeback

Photo via Cockta’s Instagram.

I spent most of my time in Slovenia drinking blue cans of Cockta. The taste is a little like an ersatz Coca-Cola; caramel-brown and richly carbonated, but with a slightly floral undercurrent — like a brewery in a rose garden. You can find them packed tightly into the nation’s vending machines, soda fountains, and döner restaurants, and today, it is one of the few Yugoslav holdovers in the Slovenian market.

According to Rosana Turk, brand manager for Cockta’s parent company Droga Kolinska, the drink was introduced in the 1950s — a period of burbling optimism for the country — as…

Cluttered phone, cluttered mind

Credit: Rob Hampson/Unsplash

We’re living in a post-Kondo world. Minimalism is no longer a novelty; it’s a way of life — or, more specifically, a way to live better. Don’t we owe it to our brains to apply the same care to our mobile screens that we give our carefully rolled-up socks?

Of course, there’s no one right way to organize a phone. Different people require different philosophies and have different needs. …

Faced with lax moderation, teens are building ad hoc tools to protect their own dating servers

Illustration: Kelsey Niziolek

Originally pitched as a sort of “Slack for gamers,” over the last four years Discord has attracted more than 250 million users and evolved into a catch-all chat platform that lets people debate politics, share music, and watch movies. In recent years, critics and journalists have accused the platform of lax moderation. Now, Discord has become a hub for potentially dangerous underage dating.

Discord “servers” can be created by anyone in a region where the service is available, and function as small communities made up of both text and voice chat rooms. …

Copyright claiming allows the Vine stars of yesteryear to pay rent from their social media fame

Image: Chris Stokel-Walker

Chloe Woodard has been thriving in syndication for three years now. The Chicago actor and artist first made their name as one of the many amateur comedians uploading short, eccentric sketches to Vine during the social media platform’s brief millennial golden age.

Their most famous addition to the canon was a flip of A-Ha’s “Take On Me,” which featured a bracefaced, tie-dye shirt donned band geek as the central character. Unlike other video apps, Vine offered no methods for creators to monetize their creations, so Woodard never made a cent on any of her seven-second videos when they initially uploaded…

The case for alligators, birds, or horses as therapeutic companions

An illustration of a man hugging an alligator in a supermarket aisle.
An illustration of a man hugging an alligator in a supermarket aisle.
Illustration: George Wylesol

Joie Henney’s alligator likes to be hugged. He snuggles up to Henney on the couch, and the duo sits together quietly and watches Animal Planet. Sometimes they take naps together, and when Henney falls asleep, the alligator — named Wally — will crawl up next to him and rest his snout on his head.

Henney, 66, is a former bull rider and has rescued alligators for 18 years in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Wally was handed off to him by a friend in Orlando, and Henney kept him around for his unnaturally gentle demeanor — he seemed to welcome human touch…

From titanium necklaces to recovery water, superstition and pseudoscience in athletics runs rampant

Photo: Matt_Brown / Getty Images

During his first Major League Baseball spring training in 2008, Matt Antonelli, a former second baseman for the San Diego Padres, found a pile of Phiten necklaces waiting in his locker. The blue-and-white nylon-coated chokers were infused with a dye-like substance called “aqua-titanium.” According to Phiten, a Japan-based athletic company, the necklaces can stabilize the bioelectric current running through the wearer’s body. “Phiten necklaces could help provide relief if you suffer from migraine headaches, lack of sleep, or have tension or pain in the neck, shoulders, or back,” reads the company’s pitch on its website. …

‘If you want to get more women in the door, offer them $100,000 instead of $50,000’

Illustration: Lauryn Siegel

Earlier this year, Emmalee “EMUHLEET” Garrido and her Dignitas Female teammates took first place playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive at the Intel Challenge Katowice, one of the most prestigious women’s esports tournaments in the world. They earned a $25,000 sum, divided between the team’s four players and one coach.

Though $25,000 is a sizable prize, it’s not enough for the team to live on. So Garrido holds down a job as a nurse in California during the day, leaving her house at 4 a.m. every day for her two-hour commute. After work, she dedicates at least five hours to practicing Counter-Strike

Luke Winkie

writer and reporter - Red Bull, Sports Illustrated, PC Gamer, Vice, Rolling Stone, Daily Dot, Gawker Media, Buzzfeed, Verge etc - winkluke at gmail

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