All posts in “Watercooler”

This guy missed his high school so much he recreated it on Minecraft

Image: Shutterstock / Iuskiv

Now this is dedication. 

A Mincecraft player in Taiwan decided to recreate their entire school on the sandbox video game because they missed it so much. 

The gamer, along with a few friends who attended the Banqiao Senior High School in Taipei, started working on recreating their school during their first year of university.

It took them two years to recreate the entire campus:

The amount of detail is incredible. From the athletics field:

Image: @MINECRAFTPCSH/FACEBOOK

To the swimming pool:

Image: @MINECRAFTPCSH/FACEBOOK

And just the general facade — there’s nothing this Minecraft player has missed out on.

Image: @minecraftpcsh/facebook

“I started this [project] in my freshman year because of homesickness,” said the gamer in an online blogpost.

The gamer, along with three other high school classmates, then started on the project in 2014.

But the project is far from over. 

“There are still many parts of the school that are not completed, because we are very busy,” they said. “Only 87% is complete.”

The group have set up a Facebook page, to keep people updated about the project that they hope to complete soon.  

Given it already looks amazing, we can’t wait to see how it turns out. 

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There’s a new kind of snowflake in town: the ‘Broflake’

Of all the moronic alt-right internet slang, of which there are truly endless examples, the word “snowflake” should be at the top of everyone’s list.

If you’ve been fortunate enough not to hear this word before, let me ruin it for you: snowflake is a derogatory term used against progressives deemed to be too soft on issues of national importance, including immigration and all female Wonder Woman screenings. Following Trump’s election, the word spiked in popularity, so some liberals have started to fight back the best way they knew how: by popularizing the term “broflake” instead.

In American political internet discourse, you’re either a snowflake or a broflake. Or you’re a smart person who’s deleted their Twitter account. 

Broflakes share a little bit in common with their despised cousin, snowflake. Like snowflakes, broflakes are especially sensitive to issues of race, class and gender. They are, however, the inverse of the snowflake community demographically and are disproportionately likely to be white, male, and making prank videos on YouTube.

Instead of challenging traditional power hierarchies, they defend them. For all the oppressed straight white male egg avatars in the world, they want you to know — they’re here for you.

Broflakes belong to a very dangerous subset of bro: more narcissistic than the typical bro and more sensitive to slights, but only in an ego-centric President Trump kind of way. They may even be smarter than the average bro and they don’t mind letting everyone know it, by tweeting approximately 12 times a minute on Twitter.

There’s no easy way to spot a broflake or separate it from a traditional bro, but broflakes do have several common identifying characteristics I would nonetheless like to group into an actual taxonomic subset, thanks.

1. They’re soldiers in the war — civil rights leaders, really — against feminazi Ghostbusters and misandrist Wonder Women screenings.

2. Broflakes hate Colin Kaepernick. The player’s bended knee is very clearly a threat to national security/Western Civilization/their Sunday afternoon sports schedule.

Also, they’re better at football than him.

3. They’re defends of the voiceless, including Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, and this really brave YouTube artist they know who made a groundbreaking Loretta Lynch mashup.

4. They, too, are panicked about the slow erosion of democracy — at the Wesleyan College campus newspaper. 

Ideological diversity is facing a #genocide.. Can democracy survive 17-year-old drama majors from Westchester? 

5. Broflakes consider safe spaces absurd and fascistic. 

That being said, they do support Trump’s effort to jail meanie journalists from The Washington Post who pubbed “fake news” about the president’s bathrobe. 

6. Half of their tweets start with the question, “Can you believe if the same thing was said about [men/white people/straight people]?”

7. They’re leaders in the fight to keep Tim Allen on ABC.

8. They’re not racists they’re “race realists” committed to the truth.

9. They often appear in the form of the “devil’s advocate.”

10. Though they live on the alt right, some do take up residence on the left. They are terrified of Congresswoman Maxine Waters and the potential boo-boos she can inflict. 

9. To locate a broflake, you need to look no further than the wannabe screenplay writer industry. It’s their spiritual home.

Image: screenshot/vanityfair

To be fair, the term broflake is an invention of the internet and is therefore, by its very etymology, annoying. The speed at which its travelled in no way matches the evolution of its far dumber relative, the :snowflake.”

Perhaps progressives have been more resistant to using the term because they have a much more eclectic and accurate vocabulary to choose from: including Nazis, fascists, MRAs and white nationalists. Why call someone a broflake when you can legitimately draw a connection between them and actual Nazis?

More than anything, the left may may not be using “broflake” as much the right uses “snowflake” because frankly, they DGAF. Even though battles between Trump and Clinton supporters dominated the internet in the weeks following the election, liberals and the left have largely refocused their attention elsewhere in recent months. 

Progressives are far more concerned about whether they’ll have healthcare in the morning or a planet in the afternoon than whether that egg avatar who told them they’re an MS-13 defender on Twitter is scientifically a broflake or not. 

Even with all this, let’s hope #broflake doesn’t go any more viral than it already has. If there’s one thing progressives don’t have space for anymore it’s battling unemployed ding dongs on the internet who will never, ever vote for their candidate. Anyone who’s called Milo Yiannopoulos a “victim of political correctness” isn’t about to knock on doors for Elizabeth Warren in 2020. There’s no point in engaging — and, as I’ve recently learned, so much joy in dropping out.  

Calling trolls “broflakes” isn’t any more effective than labelling folks “snowflakes” although I do believe, in my heart of hearts, that it’s one million percent funnier.

So let’s give it a rest, block the broflakes as soon as we see them and use real adjectives to describe the horrible people in our lives. Perhaps one day we’ll mature into an era where no one is snowflakes or broflakes or even hashtags, they’re all just regular annoying people, shouting about nothing on the internet.  

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Snapchat maps can figure out what you’re doing and it’s either cool or creepy

Image: rachel thompson /mashable

Snap Maps don’t just tell your friends where you are; they also disclose a few of your activities. And it’s freaking people out big time. 

Anyone who’s found themselves lurking on Snap Maps since it launched last week might have spotted a few quirky details that occasionally pop up on people’s Bitmojis. Some Bitmojis are appearing in yellow cars, planes, and even on big armchairs. And, some people’s Bitmojis are disappearing from the maps completely without them switching on Ghost Mode. 

So, what exactly is going on? 

According to Snapchat, these Bitomojis are actually called “Actionmojis” and they appear when Snapchat pulls in things like your location, the time of day ,or your speed of travel. These Actionmojis are supposed to contextualise your friends’ placement on the maps. The feature doesn’t track any of those things while you’re off the app, only when you’re active in the app. 

Here are just a few of the quirky things that have been appearing on people’s Snap Maps. 

People sleeping 

Snapchat knows when you’ve been sleeping. Seemingly Snapchat can tell you’re asleep based on the duration of your inactivity and the time of day. When you’re asleep, your Actionmoji will appear is a very sleepy state on an armchair. 

Image: Rachel thompson / mashable

But, that’s not the only way people are appearing on the map while they’re snoozing. Some people seem to be sleeping while standing up, which looks pretty uncomfortable. 

Image: kerry flynn / mashable 

People flying 

Snapchat also looks at your altitude, which is why a lot of people are noticing planes appearing on their Snap Maps when they’re flying. 

People listening to music

The map also picks up when you’re headphones are plugged into the jack. When you’re listening to music, your Actionmoji will don a tiny pair of headphones. Kind of cool, if we’re honest. 

Image: rachel thompson / mashable

People on the beach

People chilling at the beach will also notice that a towel appears over one shoulder. 

People driving

Because the map looks at the speed at which you’re travelling, it can also tell when you’re in a car. When you’re snapping in the backseat, your Actionmoji will appear in a yellow car. 

Creepy or just plain cool? You decide. 

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‘Snap Maps’ are prime territory for FOMO and lurking

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It’s a curious thing being able to see the location of many of your friends, colleagues, lovers and even family members on a virtual map. But, that’s precisely what Snapchat’s new feature Snap Maps is offering up. And, honestly, this new feature — released just a day ago — has already turned me into a creepy lurker. 

Your Snap Map is essentially a virtual map populated by your friends who are represented in Bitmoji. The map, accessible by pinching your fingers in the app’s camera, updates users’ locations whenever the app is in use. While the feature doesn’t track your location while you’re off the app, if you’re a heavy Snapchat user, the map can give a reliable idea to friends as to your whereabouts. 

Snap Map is off by default and users have to opt in if they want to make themselves visible on the map. And, you can also choose who sees that location — be all your friends, a select group of friends, or just you. 

Image: snap 

From the moment I started using the feature I felt privy to the kind of information I knew I shouldn’t have access to. Like, where one of my esteemed colleagues was sleeping? In fact, the Snap Map’s level of accuracy gave me the actual cross street of her address. When I asked her if that was her address, she confirmed that she lives on that very street. This level of accuracy when it comes to location data is no accident. The map intends to make it easy for friends in crowded parks and festivals. 

Once I’d established the reliability of the map, that’s when I really began to explore. I saw what my teenage cousin was getting up to throughout the day. I could see she was at home; her Bitmoji hovering on her lane in a rural village in Devon, UK. Naturally, as a protective older cousin, I don’t exactly relish the idea of anyone — let alone myself — being able to track a young person’s location throughout a day. 

My worries didn’t end there, though. What if one evening, when perusing the map, I learn that all my friends are hanging out without me? Instagram and Snapchat Stories already give me heaps of FOMO. I’m not sure I can handle anymore. I’m not the only one who feels this way. In fact, lots of people have taken to social media to say the map is yet another FOMO-inducing feature:

What if the map informs me that an ex-boyfriend starts occasionally sleeping in a location different to his own address? Social media is already ripe with opportunities for lurking on exes, crushes and even current partners. And, sometimes that lurking leads to unpleasant discoveries.

The app’s Ghost Mode also makes it possible to lurk in a clandestine fashion. You can be entirely invisible on the map while still seeing where your pals are. When you activate Ghost Mode your previously-broadcast location clears in seconds, much like donning an invisibility cloak. Creepy much? 

The actual idea behind the new feature is to encourage Snapchatters to use the app to facilitate their social life. And, the revelation of intimate location data is symptomatic of that. 

The feature is, of course, great when you’re actively using it to socialise with people, but heavy users will need to take the data with a pinch of salt lest they fall into dangerous and unhealthy habits. Don’t get sucked in by the map’s revelatory nature, and don’t read too much into people’s locations. After all, it only updates when people are actually using the app. So, while you’re panicking about your boyfriend’s sleeping location, he could very well be tucked up in his own bed with a hot water bottle. 

Proceed with caution, friends. 

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I can’t be basic on Instagram anymore and it’s all because of Stories

Our Instagram Stories are awash with snapshots of our everyday lives. But, now that there’s a hidden trove reserved for our most private — and dare-I-say basic — snaps. Instagram’s already-very-high bar for posts has crept to a scary new height. 

Recently, somewhere between posting photos of chilled glasses of rosé and intricate latte art on my Story, I noticed a drastic shift in the way I was using the app. So drastic that I’m frozen by self-doubt when I go to post anything on my main grid. 

A few weeks ago, I did something I’ve been doing for years: I uploaded a photo to Instagram. That sunny evening, I casually posted a snap of my garden on my Story complete with a “lit” sticker. But, when I went to share a similar photo on my main feed, I hesitated for a moment. “Is this really Insta-worthy?” I asked myself. My finger hovered nervously over the “Share” button. I hit the button and instantly regretted it. I worried that the photo wasn’t good enough, that it was too basic. I opened and closed the app five times before eventually opting to delete the photo entirely. 

Way back when Stories didn’t exist, I had no qualms about posting shots of my food, cocktails or photos of me and my friends on a night out. But, fast forward to the present day, those photos wouldn’t be allowed anywhere near my Instagram grid. 

In that moment, it dawned on me just how much Stories has changed the way I use the app. I now feel an added pressure to post only unusual, entertaining and *importantly* high quality photos and video. There’s definitely no room for basic selfies or latte art. 

I am not the only one who feels this way. Blogger Vicky Charles says that before Stories first came out she “wasn’t really bothered” about what she posted on her Instagram. But now she’s “paying more attention” to her Instagram after realising she’d been posting too much, and at the wrong times.

“I started putting the general “this is my day” stuff on Stories, and started using my profile for the better shots, which I started posting at a more specific time of day,” says Charles. “I think the bar is definitely higher,” she continued, as people now post “much more staged shots”.

Travel blogger Fabio Virgi says he’s now a lot more selective these days as the standard for quality on Insta is significantly higher. “Stories definitely made a big impact because as a travel blogger, people want to see a lot of your behind the scenes stuff. If you’re sharing that live via your Story, then there’s less need for a dedicated post,” he says. 

Virgi says Stories are a useful alternative when the lighting on a photo isn’t quite right, or you haven’t managed to get that “ideal” shot. He says posting it on your Story means you can avoid the “worry of quality and judgement”. 

Fitness trainer Julia Buckley says that she’s also felt a noticeable shift on Instagram, but she’s found it “quite liberating”. 

“Because stories will only be around for 24 hours, I’m more relaxed about what I post there,” says Buckley. “But, yeah, I probably have started to feel like the images on my main Instagram need to be higher quality now.”

“In the photos and videos I post in Stories I’m not usually wearing any make-up, if it’s first thing in the morning I probably won’t have even brushed my hair,” says Buckley. She says she likes showing her authentic self on Stories so people can see the difference between the kind of images fitness Instagrammers post and how they look in real life.

Basic story vs Insta quality

Basic story vs Insta quality

Image: rachel thompson / instagram / mashable composite 

But, by only sharing our authentic selves on Instagram Stories and not on our grids, are we widening the divide between the authentic and fake on Instagram? Since noticing the shift in my Insta-habits, I’m making a more conscious effort to ease off the pressure on posts. I don’t want to censor my posts for fear of being too basic or mundane. After all, what’s wrong with being basic?

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