You're doing it wrong

Last Week in Weird

By fire be purged

There are just so many things we take for granted that we really should remember to thank the government for. After all, without the government, who would build the roads? Without the government, who would remove the snow from the government roads? Without the government, who would put out fires? Without the government, who would block the road when a government snowplow catches fire outside the fire station, and the fire department isn’t equipped to deal with it?

Wait, what?

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"How do you spell that? I dunno, 'Jeh?'"

Last Week in Weird

With thunderous applause

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the past few months, it’s that you just can’t trust them Russkies. I turned my back on them for one minute, and bam! They stole all of my elections. If you’re anything like me — and you know you are — you’re sick and tired of having your precious, hard-earned elections stolen by the Reds, but what can you do about it? Nothing, that’s what! Oh, if only someone from the government were here to help!

Citing increasingly sophisticated cyber bad actors and an election infrastructure that’s "vital to our national interests," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is designating U.S. election systems critical infrastructure, a move that provides more federal help for state and local governments to keep their election systems safe from tampering.

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Latest victim of the Hildebeast

Last Week in Weird

It can’t happen there

Let’s begin at the end, with the interesting tweet Wikileaks put out Sunday evening:

Julian Assange, the controversial editor of Wikileaks, has been unlawfully confined within the Ecuadorian embassy in London for almost six years now. Throughout all that time, he’s maintained his presence on the internet, continued operating Wikileaks, and assisted whistleblowers (such as Edward Snowden) in escaping the clutches of angry governments. Suddenly, six years into his internment, his internet connection has been "intentionally severed by a state actor." Why now? I’m sure I have no idea.

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Imagine the ourtrage if they'd put these filters on the red lights!

Last Week in Weird

Clearly outplayed

The saucy Brits writing for the Daily Mail think I can’t tell what they’re up to. Their plan, quite clearly, is that if they just publish the most comprehensively weird article of all time, Last Week in Weird will overload and break, and I’ll never be able to make fun of them again. Well, I’m pleased to report that their plan only almost worked; I did, against all odds, manage to survive the onslaught from the Mail’s masterpiece: "Pedestrians are baffled by gay traffic lights as little green man is still replaced by same-sex symbols three months after London Pride." I promise I’m not making any of this up.

Transport For London replaced the traditional ‘go’ sign in 50 traffic lights in June around the Trafalgar Square area as a nod to those taking part in London Pride, and they are still in place almost three months on.

However, because the gender symbols happen to look like arrows, some pedestrians are confused which direction they should be walking in and even whether only men or women are allowed to cross at one point, according to The Express.

I’ll be honest with you: I’m not even sure who to make fun of first here. I guess I should start with Transport For London; one would think that the purpose of traffic signals is to control the flow of traffic, no? While I’ll allow that there’s plenty of room to argue about whether or not that’s a viable goal, it’s clearly the reason. Yet somehow Transport For London — a government agency, of course — has decided that selling people the social justice war is so important that the whole entire traffic control system can be subjugated to it. If you’re the kind of person who believes in government traffic control, is this a good use of your money?

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PIkachu, I mug you!

Last Week in Weird

It’s super effective!

Though this is not explicitly a gaming publication, I have no concern about my readership’s familiarity with Pokémon Go — Nintendo’s augmented-reality monster-catching phenomenon is redefining what it means to be a hit mobile game, having long since drawn a larger user base than previous efforts such as Candy Crush Saga, Twitter, and Google Maps, while bringing in so much revenue that one has to suspect the Bernank himself is giving Nintendo advice on how to print money. Indeed, Pokémon Go has been such a runaway success that New York City assemblyman Felix Ortiz has decided that the game now requires his personal oversight:

"Like any new technology, it has its advantages and disadvantages, and like any new technology, it has to be looked at very, very carefully. Everything comes down to people’s responsibility as well as corporate responsibility," Ortiz said Tuesday. "Every single one of us who might want to play this game have to be very cautious. Who’s sending what, and what is the follow up? Everyone should be cautious to make sure that no intruders will be able to tap into this and have people think they’re going to the park when in reality they’re going to a be targeted by some rapist. People could think they’re going to the bank, but in reality, someone is waiting to take their money."

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Secession and the Political Elite

I’m sorry, but I just can’t bring myself to use the awful word-ish "Brexit." It’s not that I’m opposed to portmanteaux just in general, mind you; it’s just that "Brexit" is positively hideous. It’s neither clever nor funny, it certainly isn’t the least little bit mellifluous, and the two words don’t even join together properly. At least when everybody was saying "Grexit," ugly as it was, the two words actually did have a letter in common — "Brexit" is bits of two utterly dissimilar words artlessly smooshed into each other to no good effect whatsoever. The worst thing about it is that it’s completely soured me on "Texit," which on its own would be sort of clever and cute.

That’s not what I came to talk to you about today, though. I came to talk about prediction markets. Michael Rozeff had been watching the prediction markets on the British secession question for some time, and only a few days ago, they had "leave" at only 36 cents, to 64 cents for "stay" — in other words, the markets had stay nearly 2:1 over leave. This was directly in contrast to the opinion polls, which were reporting an expected leave victory.

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