545: If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, SAY IT IN ALL CAPS

545: If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, SAY IT IN ALL CAPS

Jan 23, 2015
It’s safe to say whatever you want on the Internet; nobody will know it’s you. But that same anonymity makes it possible for people to say all the awful things that make the Internet such an annoying and sometimes frightening place. This week: what happens when the Internet turns on you? (If you prefer, here's a bleeped version.)
The Internet version of this episode contains unbleeped curse words. If you prefer, here is a bleeped version.
  • Ira finds a ridiculous comment thread on the Internet about an optical illusion. (3 minutes)

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  • Writer Lindy West has been harassed by hundreds of trolls online. But only one ever apologized for his remarks. Lindy began to wonder, could he explain why trolls choose to be so cruel? (21 minutes)

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  • Recently, This American Life has been getting a lot of hate mail about the young women on our staff — listeners complain about their "vocal fry." Ira investigates the phenomenon. (8 1/2 minutes)

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  • Jeffrey Brodeur worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and was put in charge of an Osprey Cam — a live web feed of an osprey nest near his office. Which he thought was just charming — until the mother osprey in the nest began acting strangely. (14 minutes)

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  • This story, produced by the podcast Reply All (website, iTunes), asks the question — can internet bile ever be helpful? PJ Vogt interviews Paul Ford, a man who programmed a website to deal with his anxiety. The website sends him abusive comments all day long. (6 1/2 minutes)
    Song:
    • "Give a Hater a Hug", Watsky ft. Wax

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