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News seen on the web and about the web. From Monday to Friday at 8.20 am Paris time.

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Latest update : 2013-08-13

British teen suicide refuels fight against online bullying

Today on the net, the suicide of a teenage girl in the UK revives debate on cyber bullying. "Unicorning" becomes the latest trend to hit the web. And a Tumblr blog replacing musical instruments… with dogs…

British teen suicide refuels fight against online bullying

14-year-old Hannah Smith visited the site Ask.fm looking for advice on treating her eczema. And in return the British teen was bombarded with insults and hate-filled messages, something her father David said pushed her to take her own life; she was found hanged at her home on August 2nd.

Ask.fm which allows users to post anonymous comments or questions has been directly involved in at least 3 other teen suicides in the UK and Ireland in the past year.

Tragedies that have revived debate on cyber-bullying, prompting the British authorities to address the problem: the Prime Minister David Cameron has called for a boycott of sites and social networks that do not do enough to tackle online abuse.

An appeal relayed by the "Beat Bullying" charity which is urging advertisers to withdraw their business from the site Ask.fm until its administrators take concrete measures to protect users.

And with a number of companies saying they will no longer be advertising on the platform, which is based in Latvia and has some 60 million members across the globe, its two founders Mark et Ilja Terebin have posted an open letter online, saying they are taking the cyber bullying problem very seriously and are currently helping the British police in its investigation into Hannah Smith’s suicide.

 

"Unicorning" is the latest trend to hit the web

"Planking" which saw web users lying face down in unusual locations and posting the photo online is now a thing of the past, it’s goodbye to “Vadering” where web users recreating the Star Wars scene where Darth Vader uses the force to grab an opposing character in a choke hold… A new trend has hit the web and it’s called “unicorning”.

The principle is simple; all you have to do is wear a unicorn mask in unlikely situations and post the photo on the net. It’s enjoying growing success as we can see from the countless shots uploaded to dedicated platforms like UnicornArmy and also to social networks under the hashtag #unicorning.

The fad actually emerged online last year but has enjoyed a major boost over the past few weeks after an American adult film actress was thrown out of a baseball game mid-July after performing a dance deemed too suggestive and sexy whilst wearing a unicorn mask. The incident was widely relayed on social networks in the US and gave “unicorning” a whole new lease of life.

And as we can see here, there are already variations of the latest viral sensation. Instead of buying a unicorn mask, some have found an alternative way of indulging in the latest craze; by buying an ice cream cone and sticking the cone on their head, so they look just like the mythological creature…

 

Place Pulse, mapping urban perception

"Which place looks livelier?” “Safer” or “more depressing”? The site “Place Pulse” was put together by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the MIT, and gets web users to answer these questions by choosing between two photos of streets, representing the way cities look from a car, in 56 cities across the globe. The project is exploring how people’s perception of a place, influenced perhaps by a broken window or graffiti on walls, actually measures up to reality.

 

A Tumblr turns dogs into bass guitars

The creator of the "Bass dogs" Tumblr blog came up with a very simple yet completely wacky idea of asking web users to submit photos of bass players replacing the instrument… with a dog. And the surreal photomontages will no doubt bring a smile to the faces of dog devotees and music lovers everywhere.

 

Video of the day

Carpentry tools which move on their own, as if by magic, to cut wood and gradually build a lawn chair; this astonishing stop motion was created by Franck Howarth, a DIY enthusiast and YouTube regular. In just a few minutes the clip will take you through all the stages of the chair’s construction, without ever seeing the face behind this painstaking creation.

By Electron Libre

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