Fark is the best place to find random and weird news stories on the net; it is where a lot of items from Salient’s Dub Dub Dub columns have come from this year.
Founded in 1997 by Drew Curtis, this website started off with only an image of a squirrel with large testicles.
There was a reason for this, Curtis had become known for using the word Fark online since the early ‘90s. He can’t remember whether it was to replace that other f word, or whether he was just pissed and mistyped the word when he first used it. Back in ‘97 it was fashionable to snap up four letter domain names. If you were lucky enough to have snapped up the domain name that was needed by a large multi-national you will have cashed in big time.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, business.com was resold in 1999 for a staggering US$7.5m! But Curtis wasn’t going to sell his moniker Fark; instead he kept drinking his beer, left the squirrel with the big nuts to do its thing and forgot all about it for two years.
There was no way he was going to set up yet another vanity site as Fark explains, “At the time the only thing you could do with a website was put up what was then called a vanity site. This was almost all the Internet consisted of back in 1997. Think of vanity sites as poorly coded MySpace pages. Yes, MySpace pages look pretty bad, but these were worse…”
A couple of years later Curtis was thinking long and hard while swigging away on his beers and bit the bullet. He reasoned that if he was going to use the domain name he was going to have to use it every day. An avid news reader he started posting interesting news stories with his friends instead of sending them via e-mails.
So what exactly is Fark, and how does it work?
Well, users are able to submit news stories which are then approved for posting on the main Fark page by the site’s administrators. These range from the most popular section ‘Not News’ which are actually true news stories that would make any news mole blush, to the usual fare like ‘Sports’, ‘Business’, ‘Geek’, ‘Showbiz’, ‘Politics’ and ‘Music’. Even the more so called serious stories are quirky and interesting because Fark place witty and often sarky headers next to each link.
For example under ‘Politics’ there are headers like “Before Hillary breaks her arm patting herself on the back for her health-care plan, she might want to see how a similar plan is working in California. The phrase ‘not even a little bit’ leaps to mind” and “Making sure he endears himself to open minded and loving New Yorkers, Iran’s Ahmadinedumbass begins his trip to the US by demanding death to America and Israel”.
But it’s not just about the usual linked news stories that makes Fark a good site to bookmark along other staples like The Onion and Digg; there are a couple of other fun features. For starters there is an excellent updated list of videos, from the usual places like YouTube which is handy if you can’t be bothered scouring YouTube yourself for something to watch as you can get a good laugh from using this list to guide you. And there is of course their most popular feature for bored digital design geeks which puts the icing on the Fark cake and that is the Photoshop competition. Often there will be a Photoshop icon linking to a random image that can be played around with using Photoshop.
Even Flight of Concords have gotten the Fark treatment with a hip hop hippo.
An interesting new media snap shot of the biggest issues in the world, 10×10 scans news feeds every hour and conducts a process of what it calls “weighted linguistic analysis” of the text contained in the top news stories. The top 100 words are chosen along with 100 corresponding images actually from the news stories. At the end of every day, month and year, 10×10 looks back through its archives to “conclude the top 100 words for the given time period. In this way, a constantly evolving record of our world is formed, based on prominent world events, without any human input.”
10×10 is amazing in that you can literally using the ‘history’ button to see an archive of the biggest issues facing humanity at every hour of every day from 3am, November 4 2004. And one word tops the list almost everyday and it’s no surprise that it is ‘Iraq’…
YouTube Video of the Week: Battle at Kruger
An battle between lions, buffolo and crocodiles at a watering hole in South Africa…