Saturday, December 31, 2016

Command Line Commands, the Dummy Version

DOS command line interface in terminal window
Perhaps because eHow became the internet laughingstock after Google's Panda update or perhaps for some SERPy, SEO-y reason; Demand Media (aka Leaf Group) began moving their content onto "niche sites" or selling it outright. We've noticed a problem with the move, though: the company ran a bulk reformatting that changed the meaning of some of the content, some of it laughably so. If the content was already wrong, however, it sometimes made it worse. That's what happened to "How to Copy & Paste Files Using Command Prompt" when Rhian Hibner's post was moved to Techwalla.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Science and Religion, the Dummy Version

Although our staffers put most of their time into searching the 'net for freelancer's factual errors, they do keep their eyes open for logical failings as well. Some months ago, an Antisocial Network researcher ran across some a self-appointed philosoph on HubPages and flagged his profile for future harvests. We already pointed out William J. Prest for his scientific illiteracy once, but heretofore ignored his many posts on conspiracy theories (the Lloyd Pye theory, cryptozoology, chemtrails, fluoridation, GMOs, and other pseudoscience). But we couldn't pass up this steaming pile of nonsense: "Faith in Science as an Objectivist Religion"; not after a copy of "The War on Science" circulated through the office...

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Measuring Amperage the Dummy Way

An appliance's wattage must be shown on the information sticker
Suppose you wanted to make money by answering questions on the internet. Of course, you could always just put up a page with a blank that says, "Ask Question Here" -- pretty much the Google model, in truth. Since that idea was already taken, the people at Demand Media (aka Leaf Group) created eHow, which hired random people to answer questions that had already been asked. Unfortunately, that meant that sometimes people who knew nothing would still try to answer questions that made no sense. After all, saying "You can't do that!" wouldn't make them any money! Instead, you end up with the kind of foolishness exhibited by Bob White (he's a bird!) when he attempted to explain "How to Calculate the Amperage of an Outlet Using a Multimeter" at HomeSteady.com. Ouch.

The big problem, of course, is that multimeters don't calculate anything, including amperage: they can, however, measure amperage in a bare circuit or the voltage at an outlet. White actually gets at that problem in his intro:

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Locking a Sliding Glass Door, the Dummy Version

Sliding glass door lock with key and mortise lock
The Antisocial Network mole who once wrote for Demand Media (owner of eHow, now reinvented as Leaf Group) says that it was common for a contributor to search for assignments with the same keyword once they'd established their "expertise." That must be how eHowian Alec Preble managed to write multiple articles about locks, a topic he probably didn't study on his way to that BA in English. Among them we found one of astounding dumbassery titled "How to Install a Key Lock On a Sliding Glass Door" (now living at Hunker.com).

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Emerald Formation, the Dummy Version

raw, uncut emeralds in crystal form
The Antisocial Network's founder recently read Shawn Otto's The War On Science, somewhat of a polemic on the treatment of science and scientists in the modern sociopolitical climate. One of the problems, according to Otto, is that journalists are taught that there is no such thing as objectivity, even though objectivity is the foundation of science. In other words, J-school graduates know jack about science. That's certainly true of "professional journalist" (turned organic farmer) Chris Sherwood, who demonstrated his scientific illiteracy for OurPastimes.com¹ when he attempted to explain "How Are Emeralds Made?

Monday, December 26, 2016

Towel Rack Repair the Dummy Way

hollow wall fasteners
As our crack research team putters around the internet in search of freelance bull, they often search for answers to questions that come up in their own lives. One of the guys had a loose towel rack not long ago and, although he fixed it without outside interventions, he searched on the topic anyway. As luck would have it, he found eHow's Jonra Springs (a hot tub salesman?) ready to "help" with the problem. Here's what Jonra had to say in "How to Repair a Loose Towel Rack On Wall."¹

As we always try to do, we went to the freelancer's original source, though we had to use the Wayback machine to find it; and -- to be frank -- it was only slightly better than what Springs wrote, suggesting that to tighten up a loose hollow wall fastener you simply "squirt a nice stream of glue into the hole" (small wonder the blogger who posted it took it down). But we're here to castigate Jonra, not Mark. Springs starts off with a bang, explaining that

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Rock Identification, the Dummy Version

igneous rock samples
After a week of overt techno-stupidity, it's time to move back into the wide world of the internet and see what's out there that isn't published at Techwalla.com. As luck would have it, one of our researchers ran across what may well be one of the worst guides to rock identification ever printed, compliments of Kelly Townsend at -- you guessed it -- eHow. Here's our response to the post Kelly did in response to the search phrase "How to Identify Stones," which now lives (for unknown reasons) at GoneOutdoors.com.

We asked our staff geologist what the keys are to identifying "stones." He said that you classify rocks based on two criteria, texture and mineralogy. By texture, he says, he means the shape of the mineral grains that make up the rock and their relationship to each other. Once you have that nailed, he says, you look at the mineral or minerals present in the rock. You can be either extremely general or outrageously nit-picky, but you can't be as dumb as Townsend, who said things like

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Numerical Analysis, Error, and Dummies (Techwalla Week 7)

numerical analysis
Wow: a week of Techwalla silliness and we've only barely scratched the surface... maybe we should have made it Techwalla month? Whatever the case, number seven in the series is courtesy of seven-time awardee Tom Lutzenberger, now appearing in his sixth category! This time, it's mathematics, a topic we rather suspect the PolySci-slash-English major with the MBA avoided like the plague after finishing high school... and that lack of knowledge was pretty obvious when he posted "Types of Errors in Numerical Analysis" at Techwalla.com.

Lutzenberger gets right to the point in his introduction, explaining that

Friday, December 23, 2016

Router Confusion, the Dummy Version (Techwalla Week 6)

lettering template and base for a plunge router
Apparently desperate to fill out their latest niche site with content, the Techwallas over at  Leaf Group (the people formerly known as Demand Media) bulk-imported a lot of techy-seeming material from the mother site, eHow. We could have told them that's a mistake, but they know everything... except perhaps that the word "router" doesn't always refer to an electronic device. It's also a power tool, but hey -- the leafies expected techspertise regardless. That's apparently how Lacy Enderson ended up as one of their wallas, and "How to Make Letters With a Router" is why she's picking up her thirteenth DotD award. We mean, really: can you make letters with your Linksys? Sheesh...

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Copying Software the Dummy Way (Techwalla Week 5)

data backup (but not software) utility
This is the week when we're featuring some of the stupid things Leaf Group kept when they started migrating (allegedly) technical stuff over from eHow to their newly-christened niche site Techwalla.com. Just because someone thinks they're "wallas" (whatever those are) doesn't mean they have the slightest idea what they're talking about. Whatever the case, today's the second time in a week we've found useless advice about backing up your software; this time from Nina Nixon attempting to explain "How to Make a Backup Copy of Software." Well, no, Nina, that's not how you do it...

Nina explained, as Demand Media demanded, that

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Deleting Files the Dummy Way (Techwalla Week 4)

Properties from Acrobat File Menu
One of our staffers was reminiscing not long ago about his first programming class. The instructor asked the class members to write out an algorithm for some simple task, and he -- perhaps because he was working as a bartender at night -- submitted the algorithm for making a Singapore Sling. Ahhh, simpler times. Well, Techwalla (née eHow) likes the algorithm approach, but sometimes their hardwired format gets just a little stupid; a feature that is often exacerbated by contributors like Elizabeth Knoll when called on to answer simple questions such as "How to Delete a PDF File."

Knoll, as is required of any contributor in the Demand Media / Leaf stable, opened by "introducing" her topic:

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Function Keys, the Dummy Version (Techwalla Week 3)

function key usage (Fn)
Day three of Techwalla Week actually addresses a question one of our staff might have: we use Dell computers in the office (our founder used to live in Austin), so it's conceivable that someone might have, at one time or another, wondered "How to Turn Off the Fn Key on a Dell Laptop." Well, actually, our staff are smart enough to know that's not a valid question -- one might some day wonder how to unlock a Fn key, but not how to "turn it off." But that's because they're reasonable tech-savvy, unlike Techwalla.com's Nichole Liandi.

As Liandi says in her introduction,

Monday, December 19, 2016

Excel Formulas, the Dummy Version (Techwalla Week 2)

The more complex a software program, the more hidden features -- or, should we say, undocumented features. Sure, even the most technologically unsavvy person knows how to type terms into a Google's search box, but do such people know about the "inurl:" and "site:" operators? No -- and that's why there are hundreds of "hacks," "missing manual" and "for Dummies" books on the market for every complex software product. Yet some people still search for help on the internet -- and the unlucky ones run across old rubbish ported from eHow to Techwalla, rubbish like Athena Hessong attempting to explain "How to Delete Data in Excel & Not Formulas."

Hessong's been here before, though usually in science and math -- this is her first appearance as a computer "guru." We quickly figured out she'd bitten off more than she could chew, though, just by looking at her first paragraph:

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Initializing a GPS the Dummy Way (Techwalla Week 1)

GPS initialization is more than just turning it on
Congratulations to Demand Media on their recent name change to Leaf Group (9 November, 2016), though we admit it makes us sad to see the DMS¹ brand go away -- but it is gone, although a lot of their crappy content remains. Their latest trick is to start separating all the eHow junk into "niche" sites; this week we'll feature legacy content they've moved to Techwalla.com². Without further ado, let's get to one of those -- a little piece of content by Techwallan (née eHowian) Kallie Johnson entitled, "Magellan GPS Won't Initialize." Presumably, the article should have been a how-to for troubleshooting a Magellan GPS, but Johnson had a problem.

Kallie's BA in English apparently didn't include instruction in how to use a GPS, and, for that matter, probably didn't include anything more technical than how to turn on your Mac in the morning. That, we suspect, is why Kallie's concept of "initialization" of a GPS is "the screen lights up," as one might infer from her introduction:

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Wiring and Plugs, the Dummy Version

the hot and neutral wires in wiring a Two-wire plug
If there's one thing that the Antisocial Network research team has learned over the course of this project, it's that know-nothing freelancers can often be identified not because they give the wrong answer (although they often do), but because they answer the wrong question. You know, ask someone who is the greatest home-run hitter of all time and they start lecturing you on why Pete Rose belongs in Cooperstown. Today's another example, self-proclaimed diplomate in home inspection (they give diplomas? we think "certification" is more likely) Bob White, pretending to explain "How to Know Which Is the Hot Wire in a Two-Wire Plug" at Hunker.com.

That's a valid question: after all, replacing a damaged plug or shortening a frayed power cord is an economical way to extend the life of small electrical items like clocks and lamps. For the sake of safety and sometimes proper operation, though, you must wire a new polarized plug correctly. White seems to get that point, telling his readers to

Friday, December 16, 2016

Copying Programs the Dummy Way

The likely consequences of following Tiesha's guide
Our founder's late mother-in-law, bless her cotton-pickin' heart, was one of those people who somehow got the idea that she was computer-literate because she could use an electric typewriter. One time he caught her editing basic system files on a Windows computer, deleting lines because she didn't think they were necessary. Needless to say, she needed more help than he could give her. Thank goodness this was before eHow and people like Tiesha Whatley got into the "advice" business, since Whatley is no more computer-literate than she was. Want proof? Just read her post titled "How to Copy Programs to a Memory Stick" (now brought to you by ItStillWorks, even if it never did)...

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Sonar and Parking Assist, the Dummy Version

active park assist
You may have noticed that we here at the Antisocial Network hold in great disdain the liberal arts types who try (and fail) to interpret science and mathematics. There are worse freelancers, however: the ones who claim to have a technical background and yet still make a mess of a topic in the name of making cash. That's our complaint with today's DotD, a first-timer from DailyTwoCents.com by the name of Sharifa Sanderson, who claims a "Bsc.-Electronics and Mathematics" (really?) but demonstrates a grasp of neither in the post she called "How Car Sonar Helps Drivers in Parking."

If you can fight your way past the overwhelming number of ads and popups on the site, you'll see that Sanderson opens her little piece with the introduction, "Car Sonar Sensors- How Do They Work?" and then goes on to... well, not tell us how they work any more than

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Installing a Sink, the Dummy Version

Lavatory sink basin installation
It's been a while since our research staffers peeked from the muck that is eHow.com, but today they decided to remind our readers that freelancers whose only qualification was greed managed to infest other corners of the net as well. Today's nominee for DotD is a returning visitor from Catalogs.com (formerly known as WhoWhatWhenWhereHowWhy, etc.) who wrote there under the pseudonym M. Dee Dubroff (and elsewhere as Marcy Dubroff and Marjorie Dorfman). Today, Dubroff is going to tell us "How to Install a Sink." Or maybe not...

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Metric Conversions: the Dummy Version

Let's just suppose for a minute that you have blind date with a German guy arranged through Match.com (or some other internet dating site -- it makes no difference.) Being a red-blooded American, your profile states your height in feet and inches: say, 5'-8" for example. Your potential date's profile, however, is metric -- and it says he's 171 cm tall. Like many of your fellow Yanks, you're a little hazy on how tall that might be, so you look it up. Lo and behold, eHow.com's Greyson Ferguson has already told everyone "How to Convert 171 Centimeters to Feet and Inches"¹! O frabjous day!

Unfortunately, Ferguson's answer is a little weak. You see, after informing us that

Monday, December 12, 2016

Two-Stroke Engine Maintenance, the Dummy Version

two-stroke engine diagram
The research team member who uncovered today's example of utter bull asked around and, perhaps oddly enough, no one on the staff at the Antisocial Network owns a motorcycle. Heck, none of them were even aware that such a thing as a two-stroke motorcycle existed, though most are well aware of what a two-stroke gasoline engine is and how it differs from a four-stroke. That, however, does not apply to eHow's Mark O'Brien, as he made quite clear in the post "How to Change Oil on a 2 Stroke Motorcycle" (the missing hyphen is eHow's, not ours). Oh, and the post has been moved to ItStillRuns.com, but ItStillSucks.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Changing Circular Saw Blades the Dummy Way

Craftsman Circular Saw
A decade or so ago even a semiliterate fool could make money writing for content farms (and more than one of them did). All you needed, they pretended, was a laptop and an internet connection, and you could pull in a few bucks writing about any topic on earth. Well, sure you could -- but the reason that model doesn't work any more is at least  in part because so much of what people posted was utter bull; posts about stuff they'd never even thought of before. Take Andrew Stickel, writing under the nom de plume Andrew Todd at eHow.com, who posted "How to Change the Blade on a Craftsman Circular Saw" (since moved to Hunker.com by Leaf Group).

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Horsepower: the Dummy Version

definition of horsepower
If you're even slightly interested in cars, chances are pretty good you're familiar with the BBC show "Top Gear." Well, the principals of that show all got shown the door last year, and all three of them -- Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May -- are now doing pretty much the same show for Amazon: "The Grand Tour." Our car guy was watching the pilot episode not long ago and noticed that the visuals displayed a car's power as BHP, which got him wondering what those drones at eHow (now Leaf Group) think of that abbreviation. Sure enough, it was dumbass: specifically eHowian Cheryl Ess (fake name, for obvious reasons) and her post titled "How to Convert BHP to HP" over at Sciencing.com.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Low Pressure Systems, the Dummy Version

diagram of low pressure system
When it comes to freelancing on the internet, many a money-grubber quickly realized the need for a pseudonym -- perhaps so the boss wouldn't figure out that they were bullshitting on company time, or so prospective employers wouldn't google them and find out that they were dumber than dirt. A favorite technique was to use one's first name and phonetically spell the initial of the last name (see Annette Vee or Cheryl Ess). The researcher who turned up today's DotD says he'd use fake name, too, if he were as stupid as Vee Enne turned out to be in "What Happens When the Barometric Pressure Falls?" which you can find at Sciencing.com.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Time and Tide, the Dummy Way

Electricity generation by tidal power
Many Antisocial Network staffers are voracious readers of fiction, which suggests that they respect the art of creative writing. When it comes to non-fiction, however, we believe it takes special talent to use training in creative writing; special talent like that of author Mary Roach. Most of the creative writing grads we find contributing to eHow, however, are sadly deficient in that talent. Take, for instance, Oregon State's Eric Bagai, whom we caught mangling the non-fiction aspects of "Why Is Tidal Power a Renewable Energy Resource?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Ice Packs, the Dummy Version

resuable gel hot and cold ice pack
Not only are most of the daily dumbasses featured here at the Antisocial Network simply unqualified to address their topics, many of them did so anyway at a website that performed as an enabler. Because of the site's stringent word-count and format demands combined with their clueless content editors, many articles posted at eHow didn't merely fail to inform they readers, sometimes hey did so spectacularly. Today's DotD is a possible example: English BA Susan Diranian trying to tell her readers about "Gel Ice Pack Ingredients."¹

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Covering a Popcorn Ceiling the Dummy Way

removing a popcorn ceiling
Anyone who's lived in a house built or remodeled sometime between about 1960 and 1985 is probably familiar with the so-called "popcorn" ceiling. The rather hideous decorative effect was intended to disguise seams, sags and other defects in drywall ceilings; more recently the heavy texture has been supplanted by swirl and orange-peel effects that do pretty much the same thing. Given its dated appearance, it's no wonder that DIY remodelers asked "How to Camouflage Popcorn Ceilings"; but only unlucky ones took the advice Naima Manal (15-time daily dumbass) posted to eHow.

Monday, December 5, 2016

French Drains, the Dummy Version

french drain construction
Although no one at the Antisocial Network subscribes to the belief that a yard should look like a putting green, there are some problems that our staffers will address. One of those is poor drainage that leads to muddy dogs, a situation that found our general handyman digging a trench along the back of the headquarters building and installing a french drain. Fortunately, he didn't get tips for installing the drain from eHow's Sharon Sweeny, who displayed the wealth of knowledge she got in her "general studies degree" while penning "How to Use Weeping Tile for Backyard Drainage." (in the interests of full disclosure, he used this site, among other references).

Like most eHow contributors ignorant of a topic, Sweeny probably googled the question and just reworded the first article in her results. We checked it out, and the site she references proved fairly useful, though not particularly well-written. What Sharon did to it, however, was worse...

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Average Speed the Dummy Way

You may have heard that "If you ask a stupid question, you'll get a stupid answer." We don't think that you deserve a stupid answer, which is one reason we like nailing fools for being the DotD. Every once in a while, though, we run across a question and answer that certainly deserve each other -- for instance, a gibberish question like "How to Calculate How Many Drive Hours Per Mileage"¹ and the gibberish answer Greyson Ferguson posted at eHow.com.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Wiring a New Plug, the Dummy Version

replacement 3-prong plug with color-coded prongs
Of all the online pleas for DIY help our research staff encounters in a normal day, simple electrical repairs seem to be among the most common -- and among the most frequently "answered" by dumbasses who have no business doing so. Just take a look at "electrical" or "electricity" in our list of DotD awardees by topic if you'd like to see the wall of shame. Well, today we add a new dumbass to the list: three-time winner Kurt Schanaman, who already won once for electrical stupidity, and his post "How to Wire an Electrical Three Prong Plug" at Hunker.com.

Schanaman, as always, displays his ignorance almost immediately. First, he never bothers to explain why a power cord might have a three-prong plug (electrical ground... duh!), then he lies:

Friday, December 2, 2016

Typewriters, the Dummy Version

Back in olden days, when the latest boy band members were just a gleam in their daddies' eyes, people wrote business letters, essays, and even personal correspondence on devices called "typewriters." We suspect that if you wanted information on how to use these devices, along with 8-track players and rotary-dial telephones, you'd be wise to ask someone who has actually used one a time or two -- not the likes of Richard Kalinowski (aka James Gapinski), who we rather suspect has only seen a typewriter in a classic movie or perhaps an antique store. Regardless of the lack of any experience doing so, however, we found Richard attempting to explain "How to Set Margins on a Typewriter" at eHow... of course.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Measuring Elevation, the Dummy Version

surveyors without a GPS
When it comes to lousy answers to simple questions, we here at the Antisocial Network always turn to our friends at the mother lode of misinformation, eHow.com. You can almost always find an answer that's wrong for one reason or another by visiting a Demand Media niche site, and today's no exception. Returning DotD Nicole Schmoll is here to both under- and over-explain an interesting topic, "How Is Land Elevation Measured?" for CareerTrend.com.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Echoes: the Dummy Version

human echolocation
Whether you're a student doing homework or a curious grown-up, the internet has long since replaced the shelf of encyclopedias in the library as the go-to source of information. We think the obvious problem is that the people who wrote those encyclopedias either knew what they were talking about or ran their words past someone who did. Content-farm freelancers on the internet? Not so much... that's why there's so much ignorant prose at places like eHow.com. That's where we found Sophia Sola (sometimes known as Sophie Strosberg) attempting to explain "How Are Echoes Made?"¹

Sola / Strosberg opened by telling her readers what sound is:

Monday, November 28, 2016

Derivatives, the Dummy Version

dy/dx is the instantaneous slope of f(x) at a given point
Popular culture likes to depict mathematically-inclined folks as being weird -- Sylvester in "Scorpion," Charlie in "Numb3rs," John Nash in "A Beautiful Mind" -- which we think only goes to show that the people who "control" popular culture are scared of mathematics. Well, except perhaps Natalie Portman or Danica McKellar, who both have math degrees... Whatever the case, many people avoid math classes like the plague while getting a higher degree. Take Michael O. Smathers of eHow, a college history major when he wrote for the site. For Smathers, "How much is 2016-1776?" was about the extent of his mathematical needs; which is why we found it curious that he attempted to explain "How to Calculate Dy/Dx"¹ (please note: the capitalization of "dy/dx" is eHow's).

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Antidepressants, the Dummy Version

prescription trazodone, generic of Desryel, Oleptra and Effexor
After almost two years of looking at the abject dumbassery posted to pay-for-writing sites, we thought we'd reached a level of jadedness such that we could no longer be surprised by someone's stupidity. We were wrong... while poking through that mother lode of misinformation, eHow.com, we ran across a graphic designer (with a BFA, cum laude!) using the name of Leonor Crossley. Although not a medical professional -- not even a medical amateur, as far as the Antisocial Network staffers can tell -- Crossley decided to answer the question, "What is Trazodone?" Her answer does not paint a pretty picture...

According to Crossley,

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Getting Location from GPS, the Dummy Version

How GPS receivers use triangulation
Ask a kid a difficult question sometime -- we mean a real kid, maybe six or seven instead of an eye-rolling adolescent -- and you'll either get a hilariously unreal answer or a simple "I don't know." Ask some of eHow's freelancers the same question and, even if the real answer should be "I don't know," you just might get that hilariously unreal answer. Take, for instance, the question "How Is a Person's Precise Location Determined by GPS?"¹ eHowian accountant Aaron Charles took that one on, but instead of admitting he didn't know, he published a typical DotD answer.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Salinity and Salt Solution, the Dummy Version

Salt Dissolved in Water
One of our researchers claims that the quickest way to find an eHow freelancer spreading dumbassery is simply to google variations on the words "communications major" for the site. She might well be right, although substituting the word "journalism" for "communications" may be just as effective. Whatever the case, the example she provided is a Texan named Natalie Andrews, who unwisely left her travel and decorating safe zones while attempting to explain to the world "How Much Water Is Needed to Dissolve Salt," currently decorating Leaf Group's niche site Sciencing.com...

As is typical of eHow drones trapped by the site's minimum word count, Andrews answered the question... sort of... in the first hundred words or so, then got herself in trouble with some of the factoids she used for padding. Natalie's original answer?

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Router Tables the Dummy Way

A router table you can make in your own shopOne of our researcher staff here at the Antisocial Network claims that his greatest joy is finding posts by someone about whom one can say, to quote Bob Dylan, "...It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe."¹ One repeat DotD that he thinks fits that lyric perfectly is eHow's favorite Christian therapist, Lacy Enderson. Lacy's contributions to the stupidification of the internet are manifest, particularly in the realms of woodworking and construction where she's picked up seven awards. Here for her fourth visit in the Power Tools category are Lacy's instructions on "How to Build a Router Table."

Enderson, as usual, demonstrates total ignorance of her topic in the DMS-required² introduction, when she claims that

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Fossil Types, the Dummy Version

We were noticing at the staff meeting not long ago that we haven't visited some of the more "interesting" denizens of HubPages for a while. Unfortunately, the output of drones like Naima Manal seems to be slowly disappearing as people who actually know something vote it down (rather than "friends" voting it up). While it's still there, we thought we'd take a look at some of the rubbish created by our friend Hassam, he of the half-copied and half-spun misinformation. Today's overly broad (and underly-researched) topic is something the guy dashed off five years ago: "Types of Fossils."

You can go to wikipedia or to just about any reasonably complete educational website (such as the one from Oxford University) and find the information in question. Those sites, however, are not going to give you such remarkable insights as this, on something Hassam thinks are chemo fossils:

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Two-Cycle Carburetors, the Dummy Version

two-cycle Walbro carburetor (two-stroke)
Two-stroke carburetor
If you, like our founder, got your first driver's license sometime before about 1980, you have almost certainly driven a car with a carburetor. If you car was really "hot," you might have had a two- or even four-barrel "carb." Nowadays, fuel injection rules for motor vehicles, and most carburetors now are found on gasoline-powered tools like lawn equipment, generators or compressors. Lawn equipment tends to have two-stroke (aka two-cycle) engines; engines that mix lubricating oil with gasoline instead of having a separate oil reservoir. Sadly, eHowian Alibaster Smith (there's that fake name again!) seems to be completely unaware of the difference between two- and four-cycle engines, which is made obvious in his post "How a 2-Stroke Carburetor Works" at ItStillRuns.com. But, then, we already knew that...

Monday, November 21, 2016

Coaxial Cable Installation, the Dummy Version

coaxial cable bushing for through the wall installation
We may be biased, but we're pretty much convinced that the stupidest "celebrity" ever on American television is Larry the Cable Guy -- then again, none of us watches reality TV, so what do we know? All that's by way of introduction for today's DotD nominee, an eHowian type who makes Larry look... well, average or so. This time our honoree's one Sue Stepp, a self-proclaimed "artist, teacher, writer and farmer." After reading through her instructions for "How to Run a Coax Cable Through a Wall,"¹ we knew pretty well why this freelancer never claimed to be a cable guy (or gal)...

Saturday, November 19, 2016

All about Routers, the Dummy Version

Shaping edges with a fixed-base wood router
Pundits often call Millennials the "first fully digital generation." If that's so, then more's the pity -- because so many of them seem to know nothing about anything that isn't digital; not to mention that a lot of them don't seem to know much about what "digital" is... but enough of that. Today's DotD attempted to answer what appears to be a millennial-type question, "What Does a Wood Router Do?" at OurPastimes.com (that's as, apparently, opposed to the routers made by Cisco). Philosophy student turned freelancer Evan Kubitschek bravely accepted the assignment, even though he had clearly never seen one of these things... and it shows.

Says Kubitschek of the weird tool-thingies he's assigned to write about,

Friday, November 18, 2016

Propane and Natural Gas, the Dummy Version

chemical formula of propane
It seems like forever... was it just a week ago that we caught some scientifically ignorant type lecturing us about the difference between methane and natural gas? Yes, it was! Well, the internet is apparently infested with scientific illiterates prepared to mis- and under-inform the public about every topic under the sun. That includes philosopher-turned-freelancer Eric Dontigney, who leveraged his  psychology minor (not really) to tell eHow readers just "What Is the Difference Between Propane and Natural Gas?" Do we see a trend developing here?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Walbro Carburetors, the Dummy Version

A typical Walbro 2-cycle engine carburetor, thumbnail for scale
When it comes to freelancing on the internet, we figure people use pen names for one of two reasons: 1) so their employers don't know they're writing for a website instead of working, and 2) to protect the guilty. The eHow contributor who chose the nom de plume Alibaster Smith ("Alibaster"? really?) may have used a fake name for reason number one, but we think he definitely needed to hide from the fact police when it came to some of the bullshit and dumbassery he published. If you need proof, you need look no further than his post "How to Troubleshoot Walbro Carburetors" at ItStillRuns.com

Smith opens by explaining what a carburetor is and where you might find it:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Speed Limits: the Dummy Version

Changing Speed Limit Signs in the 1970s
Although our researchers spend most of their time combing the mother lode of misinformation (aka eHow) for dumbassery, a few of them do rummage around at other sites from time to time. Take, for instance, Hubages.com -- that's the second most prolific source of stupidity in our files. The problem with it (and most other remaining content farms) is that the indexing is crap. You gotta hand it to Demand Media / Leaf Group for making it easy to find bullshit. Whatever the case, today we're going to visit a repeat offender from HubPages, one Melvin Porter. This time Melvin's facts are (mostly) correct, it's his presentation and the conclusions he draws from those facts that out staff found lacking. Feast your eyes on "Speeding on the Road Does Not Save that Much Time: A Mathematical Analysis."

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Topography and Elevation, the Dummy Version

GPS showing elevation on screen
One of the hallmarks of the self-appointed freelance journalists on the internet is an inability to see the direct route from question to answer; an inability that pretty much permeates eHow.com (yes, them again). The reason may be that in the DMS¹ world, the writer must pad simple answers out to meet the minimum word count. It may also be that the writer him- or her-self simply has no idea what the answer should be. We think the latter is the case for Kurt Schanaman in his post "How to Find Land Elevation" (now moved to the website ItStillWorks, even though it never did) though the minimum word count thing probably didn't help.

Why someone might want to know elevation is unknowable, but Schanaman gives it a go:

Monday, November 14, 2016

Meandering Rivers, the Dummy Version

Meandering river covered with ice and snow
Ever heard of starving artists? Sure you have: some company rents a hotel meeting room, where a rep sells hundreds of large paintings (some on black velvet, we think) that were supposedly pained by "starving artists." In reality, they're poor-quality reproductions of the work of mildly-talented amateurs churned out in a factory setting somewhere. We guarantee you will not find something by the next Wyeth or Picasso in the room. That's just like we (almost) guarantee that freelance rubbish written for eHow by "starving college students" will be poor-quality reproductions. Take, for example, Michael O. Smathers: the history student already demonstrated incompetence in electrical work, now he's back to suggest that he failed Rocks for Jocks with his version of  "Features of a Floodplain" at Sciencing.com.

We're picking on Smathers today for two reasons: first, his obvious unfamiliarity with the topic and second, his lousy writing. We don't normally single out poor writing, but what the heck: we're in a bad mood today. Here's what Mike had to say in his introduction:

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Lag Screws for The Complete Dummy

Lag screw used to repair bone fracture
It may seem sexist and ageist, but there are some times when the adage "Never send a boy to do a man's job" seems particularly apt. We here at the Antisocial Network, however, believe that the internet equivalent of that adage is along the line of "Never send a dumbass freelancer to do a knowledgeable person's job." Yeah, it's clumsy... we need to work on it. In the meantime, though, here's a classic case of a dumbass freelancer, a guy named Tyler Lacoma (of eHow), expounding on a topic that he had to look up himself: "Lag Screw Information."

We know he had to look it up because, based on his introduction, he clearly knew nothing about lag screws or their use (most of his information is reworded from the rather weird Lag Screws: What They Are and How to Use Them):

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Citizenship Tests the Dummy Way

obtaining U S citizenship through naturalization
If there's any place on the Internet where dumbassery is more common than in the Demand Media family, it will almost certainly be somewhere in that cesspool commonly known as "social media." With that in mind, a couple of our peeps dipped their collective toe in the murky water post-election to see what some of the more... erudite? among their acquaintances and their friends had to say. We found plenty... but decided to share this one with you. Someone from the Indianapolis, Indiana, area told his friends that,

Friday, November 11, 2016

Learning Houston the Dummy Way

Houston Area Map
Brandenberg's "Houston" in black box
Among some of the most hilarious -- some might call them "annoying" freelance articles our research staff uncover are travel articles written by people who've never even visited the destination. Some freelancers specialize in this content, spreading the same second- or third-hand information across multiple websites (see an example). We don't know where today's DotD candidate lives, since it's not in her profile, but one of our staffers knows the city of Houston, Texas, quite well -- and he's not all that convinced that Denise Brandenberg did a good job with "Ideas for a Scavenger Hunt in Houston."

As Brandenberg relates in her introduction,

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Methane and Natural Gas, the Dummy Way

The typical composition natural gas is mostly methane
There's a saying about greatness: Some people are born great and others have greatness thrust upon them." Yay, them! At the other end of the spectrum, however, is dumbassery: some people are dumbasses, while others chose to have dumbassery thrust upon them; usually for money. One such person is two-time DotD Frederick S. Blackmon, who for unknown reasons insisted on displaying his ignorance of the oil business for eHow.com multiple times. Take number three for Blackmon? "Methane Gas Vs. Natural Gas"...

Like many of the "questions" posed by unknown internet searches and glommed by eHow, this topic makes little or no sense: that's because methane is natural gas, and the natural gas that heats yoru house and cooks your food is largely methane. If Freddy wanted his fifteen bucks, though, he had to differentiate them... and so he started by explaining that