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Trolling Neighbors or Astronauts Will Get You in Big Trouble

A primer on this week’s news to prepare you for cocktail conversations tonight.
February 13, 2016, 8:00pm
Image: Paul Hudson/Flickr

There's actually good news this week, which can feel almost magical if you spend most of your time reading headlines about political mudslinging, the wholly idiotic encryption debate, and missing elderly people. But this weekend is different. The sun is shining! The news is good! Fix yourself a margarita and catch up on the stories you missed this week:

Scientists just proved another of Einstein's theories, almost 60 years after his death. He theorized that gravitational waves existed at the beginning of the 20th century and scientists were able to confirm this week that his theory was correct. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (known as LIGO for short) teased its discovery early this week, and then upped the ante by gifting us with the sound of gravitational waves. It's nerdy and esoteric, but kind of romantic too. "This is the first time the universe has spoken to us in gravitational waves," one of the scientists, David Rietze, said as he explained the discovery. "Up until now we've been deaf […] That's just amazing to me." Doesn't that melt your heart a bit?

Mobile ads can be used to collect new data on voters. A company called Dstillery tracks voters by monitoring ads served to them on their mobile devices, and came up with some interesting demographic information about Iowa caucus voters: for instance, Trump supporters are interested in grilling and yard work, while Clinton supporters enjoy NASCAR. Dstillery calls it exit polling for the smartphone age.

You really don't want to harass astronauts online. A British woman became the subject of an international investigation after tweeting mean things about an astronaut's girlfriend and ended up on a Department of Homeland Security watchlist. But if you're an ordinary person dealing with Twitter harassment, good fucking luck.

You can use Airbnb to ruin your neighbors' lives. A great way to absolutely drive your neighbor crazy is to make up a fake name, use it to rent their apartment on Airbnb, move in, and then claim squatter's rights and refuse to leave—which is what one man in San Francisco did.

Apparently, people still care about voicemail. We wondered why voicemail still exists despite the fact that most people seem to hate it. Maybe voicemail is just more professional than a text, or maybe we keep it around because it's cute when moms do it and it's useful for creating interludes between '90s rap songs. Do your part to keep this dinosaur technology alive—leave a voicemail for someone you love this weekend. It is almost Valentine's Day, after all.