Sunday, May 31, 2015

Enlarging Your Home the Dummy Way

Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater
Ever notice how the less certain freelancers at eHow.com know about a topic, the more they write? Not that it's only at eHow, of course, but pretty much anyone who believed s/he could "write to any topic" was usually guilty of more than one case of utter bullshit. Take, for instance eHowian Rebecca Mecomber, who visited her journalistic skills on the topic "How to Design and Build A Cantilever Home Addition"...

We should start here by defining cantilever, a task Rebecca neglected to do. Dictionary.com tells us that a cantilever is "any rigid construction extending horizontally well beyond its vertical support." By definition, a cantilevered addition doesn't have vertical support at the outside edge (see the image above, a cantilever balcony at Frank Lloyd Wright's iconic Fallingwater). So why, then, does Rebecca tell us, 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Carbon Dating, the Dummy Version

Sort of like Lord Stanley's Cup, the trophy for worst hotbed of dumbassery travels from one website to another as popularity waxes and wanes. For a while, Bubblews.com held down the top slot, mainly on the strength of its vast collection of semiliterate teenagers from the Phillipines. That doesn't mean adults from North America were not represented. Take, for instance, Mary Gindling (megindling), who wanted in the worst way to disprove evolution. She did so by attacking radiometric dating in a piece she called "Archaeology: How Accurate is Radiocarbon Dating?"

Mary opens her exposé of the uselessness of carbon dating by telling her readers, 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Product Reviews by Dummies

We've probably mentioned this before, but a few of the staff at the Antisocial Network used to hang out at Epinions.com, one of the first websites to capitalize on "real reviews by real consumers." Of course, since they paid (and sometimes handsomely) for those reviews, more than a few of them turned out to be fake. Whether fake or not, however, it was always interesting and sometimes downright hilarious to see the stupid reasons people had for ranting or raving about a product. Which brings us to today's dumbass, Jill Sanders

Unlike AN's usual dumbasses, Jill wasn't writing in a ceaseless search for extra money. No, Jill's a garden-variety dumbass: in reviewing a $250 Rubbermaid shelf kit, Jill told us,

Monday, May 25, 2015

Hydrogen Power the Dummy Way

Something for nothing: that's what we'd all love to find in our back yard tomorrow morning, eh? Well, according to one of the fine stable of freelancers over at HubPages, ngureco, that's precisely what's available for those who electrolyze hydrogen from plain old water for their power source. According to "Electrolysis of Water -Make Hydrogen from Water – and Hydrogen Cars," it's very simple:
  1. use solar energy to produce electricity
  2. run the current through plain old sea water, which - through electrolysis - will liberate hydrogen
  3. use the hydrogen to power cars and rid ourselves of those nasty fossil fuels
The idea always sounds great, but the problem is (as always) one of implementation, even after you get past the hash ngureco makes of all the "science-y bits"; misinformation such as 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Dangers of Electricity to Dummies

Electric power has made modern life easy compared to the lives of even our grandparents' generation. Considering how ubiquitous electrical devices are in our lives, it's puzzling to us that so many people are so completely ignorant of the subject. Wouldn't you know, however, that even though ignorant as babes about electricity and electronics, some freelancers are perfectly happy to expound if they think doing so will garner them a few pennies. Take, for instance, Joan Whetzel (again!), writing about "Home Circuit Breakers" at HubPages.com...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Yard Work, the Dummy Version

She's ba-a-ack! We mean the queen of eHow, Lacy Enderson. Today's she's parlayed that Master's Degree in Biblical Counseling into counseling her readers (if there are any readers) on "How to Use a Pole Pruner." It's a classic case of eHow blindness...


Let's consider a f'rinstance: you ask us a general question, like how to install a doorknob. We launch into a detailed discussion of how to install a Shlage BE365 Bluetooth-enabled Deadbolt (yes, there are "smart" deadbolts now), essentially reworded from the owner's manual. Is that useful to you? Probably not - unless you intended to install a Schlage BE365 Bluletooth-enabled Deadbolt. You just wanted general instructions about doors, doorjambs, tools, and such - not instructions about how to pair a specific deadbolt with your smartphone. Those instructions we gave you, as a result, turn out to be pretty useless.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Radiometric Dating, the Dummy Version

Scientific illiteracy is a plague on American society. Some argue that this decline in basic scientific knowledge results from a sinister plot by religious fundamentalists, anti-science corporate lobbyists and their minions in the government; here at the Antisocial Network, we figure that it's instead a natural outgrowth of laziness and obsession with celebrities instead of knowledge. If only more people were obsessed with Bill Nye or Neil deGrasse Tyson...

It's a safe bet that the stupidification of the internet by dumbass freelancers at sites like eHow and HubPages hasn't helped matters much. Take for instance, this question posed on a HubPages discussion forum by Peter X Dunn. Pete wants to know if a nifty Hubble image proves that there's no God and the Biblical creation story is a myth. He's entitled, but where Pete tripped the Antisocial Network's dumbass-detection algorithm is this statement:

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Drop Handlebars, the Dummy Version (Bike Week)

The smaller lever, Harry?
We've thoroughly enjoyed Bike Week here at the Antisocial Network, although some of the stupider bicycle-related content the research department unearthed hurt our collective head. Here to close out the week is yet another of eHow's infamous stable of money-grubbing, ignorant freelancers, Harry Havemeyer. Harry picked up fifteen bucks to explain to someone "How to Change Gears With Drop Handlebars." We're not sure who's dumber in this case: someone who had to ask, or Havemeyer for -- as usual at eHow -- getting it wrong. We'll stick with Harry for now.

Now Harry's little description is somewhat limited, since he starts out by telling his multitude of readers,

Friday, May 15, 2015

Derailleurs: the Dummy Version (Bike Week)

May is National Bike Month, which we at your friendly neighborhood Antisocial Network have been celebrating this week by pointing out dumbass freelancers pretending to give advice about bicycles. Perhaps the richest vein of dumbassery on any topic can be found at eHow.com, especially the early content submitted anonymously. In those days, the How (Not) To articles bore only the byline "eHow Sports and Fitness Editor," such as today's article, "How to Fix a Poorly Shifting Bicycle."

According to the anonymous contributor, "There are only two factors that affect [a] derailleur's function: cable tension and derailleur alignment." We won't argue with that statement because it's a simplistic version of true (omitting for now, the possibility of worn cogs and chainrings). What we will argue about is Anon's instructions on how to adjust cable tension:

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bicycle Gears for Dummies (Bike Week)

May is National Bike Month, which is why we've featured the articles some dumbass freelancers have written about bicycles this week at the Antisocial Network. And who better to consult on the topic than a HubPages.com member who calls himself "David Bicycle"? Apparently, lots of people would have been better... Let's see just how big a dummy David proves himself to be. As always, on the assumption that David's native language isn't English, we'll cut him slack for grammatical mistakes. When it comes to facts, however, we're merciless... and there are some factual problems with "Everything About The Gear Shifting In Bicycles." Let's see what he says:
"Mountain bikes are very much faster than the normal bikes and help in riding very rough terrains
We'll grant his point on the "rough terrains," but "very much faster"? Nahhhhh...

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bicycle Basics, Dummy Style (Bike Week)

In case you hadn't noticed, we at the Antisocial Network are often unimpressed by eHow's content. So for Bike Week (our homage to May's status as National Bicycle Month) it stands to reason that we'd point out some of the site's bullshit content on the topic. Make no mistake about it, eHow's stable of freelancers is perfectly capable of screwing up even basic facts, such as in the article "How Does a Bicycle Work?" by long-time contributor Laurie Reeves, now known as Laurie Brenner.

Unlike some eHowians, Reeves' content isn't marked by a single gigantic boner; but a careful reader will still find several misstatements and more than a little of the sort of simple-minded misinformation that's made Demand Media and its flagship site, eHow.com, the laughingstock of thinking people. Here's a small sample:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Twin Sons of Different Mothers (Bike Week)

At the Antisocial Network we find spun content to be bad enough, but the concept of spinning an article from crap that's already been spun is a recipe for linguistic disaster! yet that is exactly what a couple of the denizens of Bubblews appear to have done. One day in 2014, member Muhammed Ayoub cobbled together some bullshit about how to fix a flat tire on a bicycle, which he called "How to Fix Your Bike’s Flat Inner Tube." It was bad enough... that one day later, Hini Kahn (Saifo) graced the pages of that bullshit site with "how to fix bike inner tube."

Now let us be perfectly frank: we can't really tell if Hini copied and spun Muhammed's version or if they used spinning algorithms on the same original source, but whatever the case, they're both dumbasses - especially the dumbass who published the same content a single day later.
If you wondered why we suspect spinnage, check out this paragraph from Muhammed's version

Monday, May 11, 2015

Bike Chains for Dummies (Bike Week)

May is Bicycle Month, and the Antisocial Network is all in favorite of bikes. You should know, however, that two-wheelers are no different from any other topic when it comes to the stupidification of the internet. Today, some bad bicycle advice comes to us courtesy of the mother of all dumbassery, eHow, in the person of Kaye Lynne Booth. Kaye Lynne's topic? "How to Put a Chain Back on a Huffy 10 Speed Bicycle."

Never mind that no manufacturer has sold a "10 speed" in years (Huffy apparently uses only six-gear cogsets, so theirs are 6-, 12- and 18-speed models). The point for today is how Kaye Lynne provides eHow's readers a set of useless instructions that are also nearly impossible to complete, a sure sign that she's never actually performed the task she got paid to write about. But here, read Kaye Lynn's instructions for yourself:

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Bike Safety for Dummies (Bike Week)

May is Bicycle Month, so we here at the Antisocial Network thought now would be a good time to demonstrate that pedal-power brings out the dumbass in freelance writers as much as any other topic. Even though a bicycle is a surprisingly simple machine (that may incorporate some pretty sophisticated technology), people get just as stupid about two-wheelers as they do about cars, kitchens, and basic science. Let's start out with a dumbass of the Seekyt variety, one who hides behind the pen name duckletshut (real name apparently Karen Whiteduck). Ducklet's contribution to Bike Week: "How to avoid accidents with animals while bicycling." Ummm, yeah...

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Dryer Repair for Dummies

Whether or not they're white, household appliances are mysterious black boxes to the average homeowner. So we can easily picture Mr. or Ms. Homeowner googling the symptoms of misbehaving labor-saving devices like dishwashers, washers and dryers. eHow understands that, too, which is why their stable of crack freelancers had many, many appliance-related questions to answer (at fifteen bucks a pop). The problem, of course, is that the people answering the question often had no more idea what was wrong with the appliance than the person asking it. Such a case is repeat dumbass Nicole Papagiorgio, who collected her stipend for "telling" everyone what to do if your "Kenmore Dryer Buzzes And Won't Start When the Start Button Is Pressed" - sort of...

Friday, May 8, 2015

Remodeling for Dummies

Most content fa... err, write-for-pay sites require their contributors to establish some form of credibility through an author biography or profile. Read a few of them and you would think that the sites get the cream of the crop. Take, for instance, Seekyt.com's Kea Jones, who claims to be a "New York based columnist who likes to write about various buzz and current affairs in the business world" [we see the grammatical error, do you?]. All of which makes us wonder, first, why Kea is writing about Colorado Springs and second, why she's writing about remodeling in today's example of the stupidification of the internet, "Top 5 Home Remodeling Ideas."

Heck, you can pull up a list of the top N remodeling ideas on darned near every realtor's and construction company's site on the web, So what makes Kea's so special? Let's look at her list of ways...

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Driving for Dummies

The vast majority of the time the bad advice and misinformation provided by greed-sucking internet freelancers merely wastes your time and, occasionally, your money. Sometimes, however, in the process of rewording good advice from a valid source the freelancer manages to either change the meaning of the words or omit critical information, and you end up with advice that is dangerous. Such is the case of InfoBarrel's Alex Gopson, who hacked away at an article from Edmunds to "write" (we use the term loosely) "Car Emergency Tips Every Young Driver Should Know."

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Charitable Receiving for Dummies

Wanna free Yugo? Probably not...
If you've spent much time online, you've probably realized by this point that the internet is mainly devoted to two things: money and pornography. As far as we can tell, though, many of the people who realized they had no hope of making boatloads of money from the porn industry decided to become freelance writers at websites like Seekyt, Bubblews, AssociatedContent or the late, but unlamented, EliteVisitors.com. Take for instance one such dumbass who calls herself (himself?) ThePen, a miscreant who's been featured here at the Antisocial Network in the past. This time, instead of spun content, ThePen's contribution to the stupidification of the internet is inanity - an article entitled "How to Get A Car From Charity."

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

1099 Tax Forms for Dummies

The sometimes stupid, sometimes hilarious, and sometimes hilariously stupid website eHow.com is famous for the moronic answers to inane question its contributors have provided over the years. We at the Antisocial Network are well aware that the Panda update to Google's algorithm was created precisely to reduce the page rank of content like that found at eHow. If you've ever wondered why, all you need to do is wander around the site for an hour or two. Today, for instance, we began with a search for the word "logarithm" and, in just four random jumps, ended up at a piece by Larry Parr entitled "How to Print a 1099 Tax Form off the Computer" (it now lives at Leaf niche Sapling.com).

Monday, May 4, 2015

When Dummies Give Instructions

Everyone has heard the old saying, "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." Those grubbing for pennies at content farms such as eHow and HubPages take the saying a step farther: "Those who can't teach, freelance." In our search for dumbasses, we at the Antisocial Network run across plenty of content that is completely incomprehensible, but in reality that crap is probably less dangerous than content that on the surface seems useful, helpful even, but in reality has structural problems. By that, we mean "embedded stupidity." Take, for example, eHow's Henri Bauholz, writing on "How to Build Gates for Wood Fences." For the most part, Henri is on track - it's just that following his instructions to the letter would... cause problems.

Let's take a look at some of those problems:

Sunday, May 3, 2015

No Reason to Write? No Problem

Freelance writers at content farms, especially the bottom-feeders of the bunch, are not particularly concerned about writer's block. Some of them never met a block they couldn't write their way around. For these dumbasses, not having a topic isn't a problem because they're not interested in sharing information: they're just interested in the hits that translate into pennies. That's why you find some of the most inane content, chock full of "information" that the entire world already knows, on sites like Seekyt or WritEdge. A prime example is Candice Hubbard's submission to WritEdge, "Top Most Guidelines for Driving Your Car on Highways."

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Plywood for Dummies

Here at the Antisocial Network, we are pretty sure we're not sexist -- we're perfectly happy to skewer dumbass freelancers regardless of gender. On the other hand, we can't help noticing that women who tackle some of the "traditional" male topics such as home repair or auto mechanics tend to botch the topics. Don't blame us, we're only the messenger. 

On that note, the Dumbass of the Day award today goes to a woman writing about carpentry. She's Tonya Yirka, another member of eHow's enormous stable of dumbass freelancers. Tonya's topic is "Plywood Cutting Tools," a topic about which she exposes her ignorance in the very first sentence of her introduction:

Friday, May 1, 2015

Electricity for Dummies

Some freelance writers are simply dumbasses and some are borderline dangerous. Today's DOTD is an example of the latter, an eHow contributor (you're not surprised, are you) who, for forty years, has specialized in "back-to-basics instructional articles on... electrical equipment." You'd expect someone with that resume to be both an accomplished wordsmith and to have a firm grasp of electrical theory. G. K. Bayne fails the sniff test on both counts, as you can see in her article "How to Calculate Electrical Current Resistance."¹