The Deadly Waterfall in the Instagram Age

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The soaring popularity of this oasis in the Catskill Mountains, lifted by internet fame, has accelerated the problem.

In response, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has been implementing new safety features over the past four years.

Forest rangers have struggled to keep the growing crowds safe. They estimate the falls see 100,000 visitors a year, a tenfold increase from a quarter century ago.

Mr. Dawson said he believed social media was responsible. “Just talking to people who come up here, they say, ‘Yeah, we saw this on the internet — we’re trying to find it,’” Mr. Dawson said. “The unfortunate thing is, with those pictures, there’s nothing informing people that you could get seriously hurt here, too.”

Cell phones thrown in the trash are exploding in garbage trucks and dumps

Cell phones exploding

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Replacing smartphones has become a yearly or bi-yearly activity for many of us. We upgrade from old and busted to the new hotness with regularity, but we don’t always know what to our old devices. I stash most of mine in a drawer in case of emergency, but whatever you do with your old phone, do not throw it away.

National recycling program Call2Recycle tells USA Today that the lithium-ion batteries in discarded cell phones were responsible for 65% of waste facility fires in California in 2017. Even worse, one exploded battery can set off a chain reaction, which can lead to massive, devastating fires that can do real damage and put people at risk.

On Social Media’s Fringes, Growing Extremism Targets Women

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Two of modern society’s most disruptive forces — anger among many men over social changes they see as a threat, and the rise of social media upending how ideas spread and communities form — are colliding. The result is that movements like the incels are becoming at once more accessible and more extreme.

Although attacks like the one in Toronto that killed 10 people are rare, the hate being spread online is leading increasingly to threats and calls for violence. More often than not, the threats target women.

Top 10 books about the dangers of the web

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I’ve read a lot on shaming, revenge and involuntary pornography and the darknet… So here are my top 10 books on the dangers of the web:

1. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson…

2. The Dark Net by Jamie Bartlett: After reading this absorbing, fantastic book, I understand more about what the darknet is, and am therefore a little less terrified of it…

3. Cybersexism by Laurie Penny…

4. The Intrusions by Stav Sharez: It surprises me that Sharez is one of few current crime writers to give the online world a significant role in his story…

5. Follow Me by Angela Clarke… It features a baddie, dubbed the Hashtag Murderer, who taunts police by posting clues on Twitter…

6. In the Shadows of the Net: Breaking free of Compulsive Online Sexual Behaviour by Patrick J Carnes, David L Demonico, Elizabeth Griffin and Joseph M Moriarty…

7. Cyberphobia: Identity, Trust, Security and the Internet by Edward Lucas…

8. Butter, by Erin Lange: Dark, sad, but also funny, Lange tells the story of 400lb “Butter” who decides to go out with a bang. On New Year’s Eve, he will select a menu and eat himself to death live online. Disturbing, outstanding.

9. Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy, by David Leigh and Luke Harding…

10. Life: Love, Lies & Identity in the Digital Age, by Nev Schulman: Nev Schulman of Catfish fame takes his expertise and concerns about online relationships to the page, offering advice and warnings to his fans.


The dangerous art of the ultimate selfie

Justine with a camel

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If 2014 was the year of the selfie, then 2015 took the art of self-photography to a new and dangerous level. People are, quite literally, dying to take a picture of themselves…

“We’ve actually seen people using selfie sticks to try and get as close to the bears as possible, sometimes within 10 feet [3 metres],” said recreation manager Brandon Ransom in a blog.

…So why are some people willing to risk their life to take the ultimate selfie? It may come down to pure bravado, thinks Lee Thompson – whose snap of himself on top of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro went viral in June 2014.

“People see pictures like mine and see how they spread across the world and see a way to make themselves famous for 15 minutes,” he told the BBC.

…For many, a dangerous selfie is worth it for the number of likes and comments it will generate.

“Likes are a quantifiable way of measuring popularity and these days it isn’t enough to just post a picture of yourself, because everyone is doing that. The more extreme it is, the more likely you are to stand out and get lots of likes and comments.”

‘A selfie with a weapon kills’: Russia launches campaign urging photo safety

Mock road signs created by the Russian interior ministry.

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Russian police have launched a campaign urging people to take safer selfies after accidents caused by high-risk poses have resulted in about 100 injuries and dozens of deaths this year.

In May, a 21-year-old woman accidentally shot herself in the head in Moscow while taking a selfie holding a pistol. She suffered injuries but survived.

In January, two young men died in the Urals while taking a selfie holding a hand grenade with the pin pulled out. The mobile phone with the selfie survived as a record.

In May, a teenager in the Ryazan region died while attempting to photograph himself as he climbed on a railway bridge and accidentally came into contact with live electrical wires.

“Before taking a selfie, everyone should think about the fact that racing after a high number of ’likes’ could lead someone on a journey to death and his last extreme photo could turn out to be posthumous,” Alexeyeva warned.