Internet Self-Diagnosis

  1. Powerful electronic method of turning caffeine headaches into terminal brain cancer
  2. Powerful electronic magic trick, turning anything into cancer
  3. A terrible, backwards lottery that consistently awards the worst result, in spite of terrible odds

Usage Example: “Through the standard process of internet self-diagnosis, I am certain that this skin problem is leprosy.”

Background: In the minds of web surfers, the internet has been successfully turning IBS into colon cancer since 1996. Large amounts of good medical information exists on the internet. However, this medical information is often used in strange ways.

When questions arise about an unexplained medical symptom, many people seek answers from Google. This initial internet search inevitably leads the patient to a list of symptoms for a terminal illness. After realizing that the patient is exhibiting two of the ten symptoms listed for a particular cancer, the patient becomes concerned. The patient then embarks in additional searches which lead to more websites and discussion boards. The patient’s anxiety begins to grow as he/she reads accounts of people with symptoms just like them, who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. After more searches, the patient has completed the diagnosis. In spite of staggering odds and few symptoms, the patient is terminally ill.

This diagnosis is reached after reading hundreds of accounts from anonymous hypochondriacs who have untold minutes of experience in diagnosing medical conditions.

In many ways, the internet is the greatest lawyer of all time. Using only the slightest of circumstantial evidence, the internet can easily convince normally reasonable people that they are dying of smallpox.

GPS Device

  1. A device or mobile application designed to ensure that people will never be able to read maps ever again
  2. A device offering turn-by-turn navigation to strip away free will

Usage Example: “The restaurant should be right here, on the left… ‘Recalculating’… What? Did I pass it? I couldn’t have passed it… I must have passed it… Now it’s going to take five minutes to get back there? Why? That makes no sense. The GPS is taking me on the highway? This can’t be right. Maybe I should just make a U-turn. Do you think I should? No, I’ll just follow the GPS. It’ll get me there.”

Background: Americans are too good at geography. GPS manufacturers understand this, and are doing their best to take us down a few notches.

Twenty years ago, people were driving around using maps. They were calculating distances and reading paper maps like they were navigating the Oregon Trail. Thankfully, we now have a digital voice to tell us to turn right in 2 miles… turn right in .5 miles… turn right ahead… turn right… recalculating… complete a legal U-turn in .5 miles…

Likewise, twenty years ago, people remembered multiple phone numbers. Cellular phones were invented to ensure that people would barely be able to remember their own phone numbers, let alone anyone else’s. This frees up mental real estate to be used for more important things, like remembering 895 usernames and passwords.

GPS voice commands are powerful, and should not be underestimated. They fully control their users, and compel them to go along with irrational decisions. Drivers may know a better way to get to the other side of town, but the GPS is king. Anyone daring to defy GPS directions instantly feels like a criminal. While the GPS scolds the driver by constantly announcing that it is “recalculating”, drivers will often look around, making sure that the police didn’t see them disobey the device.

Bumper Sticker

  1. Analog tool for broadcasting a driver’s thoughts and opinions to a small group of followers
  2. Old-school Twitter for drivers

Usage Example: “I think I’ll vote for that political candidate. The bumper sticker on the car in front of me is displaying his name.”

Background:  Bumper stickers primarily exist for the following reasons:

  1. To display “Grateful Dead” logos
  2. To tell people to coexist
  3. To display the names of political candidates
  4. To communicate the possibility that a driver has allegedly completed a marathon
  5. To display three letters in an oval

Bumper stickers tend to travel in packs. They are rarely spotted alone. It also appears that the adhesive material on the back of bumper stickers clings best to the following vehicles: the Toyota Prius, any Volkswagen, Volvo station wagons, hatchbacks and fifteen passenger vans.

The concept behind the bumper sticker formed the foundation for the social media service “Twitter”. Twitter successfully created (and maintains) a digital bumper sticker service. Bumper stickers and Twitter both allow users communicate brief opinions to groups of followers.

It is also important to note, that while Twitter opinions are often absurd and completely ignored; bumper sticker messages are often absurd and completely ignored.

Android Applications

  1. Mobile software applications requiring access to all of a user’s data, possessions, hopes and dreams
  2. High-maintenance mobile software applications requiring updates and fixes approximately every eight seconds

Usage Example: “This Android app just asked for permission to search through my closets.”

Background: Using an Android phone is like having a terrible family road-trip in your pocket. All of your apps are constantly whining about something, and they simply will not stop.

Approximately every eight seconds, an Android app asks its owner a question. Here are some examples:

  • Calculator: “I have bugs, can I update myself?”
  • Facebook: “I noticed that you have some data on your phone that I can’t access yet… Please update me and give me access to it.”
  • Angry Birds: “Update me! I found a new way for your kids to spend your money by mistake!”
  • Google: “I have some cryptic problem that you wouldn’t understand… But it’s really important, so update me now!”
  • Facebook: “Hey – I see that you have some DMV records on your phone…Time to give ‘em up, pal!”
  • Android System: “Hey! I have an update. Time to take your phone offline and watch a spinning tesseract in the belly of a green robot for an hour and a half.”
  • Google Hindi Input: “I bet you didn’t even know I was here! Well, I need an update. You never know when you might make that trip to India.”
  • Facebook: “About your medical records…”


  1. Bossy, electronic enabler for bad spellers
  2. Prank software that inexplicably found its way into every smartphone and word processing application

Usage Example: “I just spent two hours in Human Resources because autocorrect messed up a text to my boss.”

Background: When autocorrection functionality was first created by Microsoft, the concept was simple: enable bad spellers to continue to be bad spellers without even realizing it. Commonly misspelled words would be automatically changed to the correct spelling – thus guaranteeing that no one would ever know how to properly spell the words acceptable, conscientious, immediate or supersede, again. This goal was in fact achieved.

A secondary goal of the development team was to create software that would forcibly change the correct spellings of proper names and technical terms to words that would render messages funny and completely inappropriate. That goal was also achieved. Now, entire websites are dedicated to these “autocorrect fails”. To this day, developers are amazed that the “prankware” that they created is still so widely used.

In light of those facts, having autocorrect functionality on our phones is like having a bossy, older sibling with us at all times – constantly correcting us and always seeking opportunities to make fools of us.