The bizarre world of Chatroulette.com, the hilarious Colbert, and a great Yoo protest

So apparently Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and the like just aren’t giving us enough interpersonal connections to people we know, or once knew.

Nope, now we have something truly bizarre called chatroulette.com, and the way it works is this: If you have a webcam, you sign on to their site, and within a few seconds another random stranger with a webcam pops up on your screen. Within five seconds, you can begin to talk to that person, and you or your new “friend” can decide to end the conversation by clicking “end.”

I read about it in New York magazine and in the Washington Post, and so I decided to try it last Sunday (Julie’s opinion: “I don’t want some stranger seeing me.”  I didn’t mention that strangers see her every day on the street. But I digress).

My verdict? Eh. I was on for about 10 minutes, and after an initial “Hi,” I was rejected by every person I connected with. I’m sure the guys on there are just looking for hot women, and vice versa for the women. It seems thrilling at first, “hey, let’s talk to a total stranger who could be on the other side of the world.” Then, it quickly turns into high school, when you’re not cool enough to talk to the other kids with webcams.

I guess chatroulette.com is harmless fun if you’re bored. When I discover sites like this, I’m still kind of amazed at how fast and how far the Internet has come. Just stop and think for a second: The fact that sitting in my living room, I can click a button and have conversations with people, and see them, from any continent in the world, would’ve been unimaginable to most of us 15 years ago.

**And now, for something completely different: When unconvicted war criminal John Yoo (he wrote the torture memos during the Cheney/Bush administration, and yes, that’s the order they should be listed in) showed up for a speech at Johns Hopkins, two students quietly protested. They held up a banner reading “Try Yoo for torture.” Security at the school and the professor of the class tried to silence them, but they stood firm.

As Andrew Sullivan pointed out today, this should be common practice everywhere Yoo goes. We cannot forget the horrors that this man helped perpetrate, and the incredible damage he did to our reputation, worldwide.

Bravo to these two students at Hopkins:

Finally, a big ole’ belly-laugh for your Friday. Stephen Colbert, with Bob Costas late Wednesday night. I nearly doubled over in laughter near the end.

Check it out here.

One response to “The bizarre world of Chatroulette.com, the hilarious Colbert, and a great Yoo protest

  1. Thanks for sharing that Hopkins video. Just got a few observations about it:

    1. Seeing that there was an attractive woman at one end of the banner, I would have bet any amount that it was a guy on the other side.

    2. She may be right, but that girl looks more self-satisfied with making her point and showing up THE AUTHORI-TAH than the point itself. One hopes the protest, not the protesters — or the cause, and not the crusaders — is always the point, but, well, John Edwards.

    3. Boy, wouldn’t it be nice if people who wrote memos authorizing torture or generally contributing to the suffering of other human beings didn’t retire to the lucrative lecture circuit? UF had Alberto Gonzalez speak a year or two ago, and paid him mid-five digits for the appearance. Guh.

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