Carpet designer threatens cosplayers with legal action

Cosplayers dressed in fabric that matches carpet

By Gavia Baker-Whitelaw from dailydot.com:

Sometimes, dressing as your favorite superhero or cartoon character just isn’t enough. So at Internet culture convention DragonCon, cosplay often crosses the line into in-joke absurdity. Like dressing up as a rug.

One of this year’s highlights was a pair of intrepid cosplayers who dressed up as the memorably psychedelic carpet at DragonCon’s Atlanta Marriott hotel. It was a hit—for everyone but the carpet designer, who threatened legal action when photos landed on Facebook.

Photo via Facebook

In the world of cosplay, people don’t generally expect to get into trouble for dressing up as well-known characters like Superman or Spock, even though the legal teams at DC Comics or Paramount could probably crush them like a bug. Unfortunately, the designers of the Marriott’s patterned carpets didn’t get the memo about turning a blind eye to cosplay tributes.

Apparently the carpet costumes were so popular that one of the original cosplayers offered a version of the Marriott carpet pattern for the presumably vast number of people who also wanted to dress up in carpet-themed camo gear. Seeing this, carpet designers Couristan Inc. sent cosplay suppliers Volpin Props a Cease & Desist letter. As Volpin Props explained on their Facebook page today:

Of all the things to get a Cease and Desist over, of ALL the replicas I’ve made over the years, I’ve received one from Couristan Inc., designers of the Marriott Marquis Atlanta hotel carpet. Spoonflower has pulled the design, as is their right, so sorry everyone who wanted some fabric of their own!

The absurdity is palpable.

As one commenter pointed out, “If they were smart, they would contact you to do promotions FOR them.” After all, what other carpet manufacturer has its own fandom?

Mysterious paper sculptures carved from books

Book sculpture

From thisiscentralstation.com

Those of you who don’t keep up with Edinburgh’s literary world through Twitter may have missed the recent spate of mysterious paper sculptures appearing around the city. [Nicola’s note: This post is from 2011 but the story is still wonderful.]

One day in March, staff at the Scottish Poetry Library came across a wonderful creation, left anonymously on a table in the library. Carved from paper, mounted on a book and with a tag addressed to @byleaveswelive – the library’s Twitter account – reading:

It started with your name @byleaveswelive and became a tree.… … We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books… a book is so much more than pages full of words.… This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. a gesture (poetic maybe?)

Mysterious paper sculptures
Next to the ‘poetree’ sat a paper egg lined with gold and a scatter of words which, when put together, make “A Trace of Wings” by Edwin Morgan.

The mysterious paper tree
Nobody knew where it came from, nor was anyone forthcoming with information in person or online, despite a fair amount of local news coverage.

The mysterious paper tree
It looked like this was a one-off, a beautiful and delicate piece of art created by a fan of the Poetry Library. Until, in late June, the National Library of Scotland found themselves the recipient of a similar piece.

Mysterious paper sculptures
A gramophone and a coffin, sculpted from a copy of Ian Rankin’s Exit Music, and again deposited anonymously. The tag in this case read:

For @natlibscot – A gift in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. (& against their exit)

Mysterious paper sculptures
And soon afterwards, the Filmhouse had a pleasant surprise!

Guardian article, 30th June 2011.

Mysterious paper sculptures
This time the sculpture is a complex scene in a paper cinema; punters arrayed on seats watching men and horses coming alive from the screen and charging outwards.

Mysterious paper sculptures
The tag?

For @filmhouse – A gift in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. and all things *magic*

Amongst the audience is a figure with Ian Rankin’s face, clutching a Deuchar’s.

Mysterious paper sculptures
Finally (so far), in early July the Scottish Storytelling Centre found a dragon nesting in a window.

Scotsman article, 11th July 2011.

Mysterious paper sculptures
Once again carved from a Rankin novel, they don’t know how long it might have been sitting there unnoticed as it’s quite well hidden. Perhaps the loveliest tag so far:

For @scotstorycenter – A gift in support of libraries, books, works, ideas….. Once upon a time there was a book and in the book was a nest and in the nest was an egg and in the egg was a dragon and in the dragon was a story…..

Mysterious paper sculptures
Nobody knows whether there are more to come and if so, where they might appear. Some say the newly opened National Museum, others suggest the Edinburgh International Book Festival. It’s all a bit exciting!

Having been on display in the Scottish Poetry Library for a few months, the poetree is now kept behind the counter for safety, but if you ask nicely I’m sure they would let you have a look.

The National Library’s gramophone is in a display case near the front door.

The Filmhouse’s cinematic diorama is currently not on display.

The Scottish Storytelling Centre’s dragon is probably going to estivate during the Festivals to avoid any possible manhandling by infant hordes but will surely make a return in the autumn.

UPDATE: The dragon has been moved out of harm’s way but is still visible to the public!

Paper dragon
UPDATE 24/08/11: Two more appeared today at the Edinburgh International Book Festival!

One, addressed to @edbookfest (the Book Festival), was left on one of the signing tables in the Bookshop.

Mysterious paper sculptures at the Book Festival
The tag on this reads:

To @edbookfest ‘A gift’ This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas…… & festivals xx

It includes a teabag filled with cut out letters, on the tag of which are the words “by leaves we live”. The cup on the top has a swirl of words which read ” Nothing beats a nice cup of tea (or coffee) and a really good BOOK”, and on the ‘tray’ next to the cupcake it says “except maybe a cake as well”.

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2011
Edinburgh International Book Festival 2011

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2011

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2011

The other, addressed to @edincityoflit (UNESCO Edinburgh City of Literature), was secreted about their stand in the entrance tent.

Mysterious paper sculptures at the Book Festival
The tag reads:

To @edincityoflit ‘A gift’ LOST (albeit in a good book) This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas…. “No infant has the power of deciding….. by what circumstances (they) shall be surrounded.. Robert Owen

Intriguingly, this is crafted from a copy of The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinnerby James Hogg.

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2011
This book is not only a favourite of the City of Literature team but is also known to have been an influence on Ian Rankin’s work. So far quite a few of these sculptures have overt links to Mr Rankin, suggesting this is no coincidence. As Ian was due on site later in the day and had not yet met any of these creations face to face, the @EdinCityofLit team introduced him to their new baby.

@EdinCityofLit paper sculpture, modelled by @beathhigh
Former local Guardian beatblogger Michael MacLeod and all round top journo was on the scene to file a swift report. The Book Festival’s blogger also shared with the world, and @edinCityofLit’s Anna has a mention of them…

Guardian article, 24th august 2011

Edinburgh International Book Festival blog post, 24th August 2011

Anna Not Karenina’s blog post

Once the latest additions to the family have found official homes I will update with further images and information…

UPDATE 30/08/11

Another has appeared in the Central Lending Library on George IV Bridge.

Paper sculpture: Central Library
Taking the form of a book with a magnifying glass mounted atop it (made of paper of course!) it was left on a shelf and was unreported for at least a couple of days.

Paper sculpture: Central Library

For Central Library ‘A Gift’ @Edinburgh_CC This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas…. LIBRARIES ARE EXPANSIVE

The word “expensive” has had the E crossed out and replaced with an A. No question of the creator’s views on library cuts… The tag then notes, “Words on book – Edwin Morgan”. No talk of Rankin this time!

Paper sculture: Central Library
Paper sculture: Central Library

In the news:

Scotsman article, 30 August 2011

Library blog post, 31 August 2011

A plastic cover has been placed on it and for the time being at least it is on display where it was left.

Paper sculture: Central Library
And here’s some coverage from STV.

UPDATE 16/09/11:

The ‘poetree’ is now on display in the reception area of the Scottish Poetry Library.

Poetree update
Which has clearly had the desired effect, as the comments book next to it shows:

Poetree update
UPDATE 20/09/11

The Edinburgh Evening News claims to have discovered the identity of the sculptor. The general view is that We Don’t Want To Know…

23/11/11

“It’s important that a story is not too long ……does not become tedious …….”
There was a flurry of excitement when someone at the Scottish Poetry Library spotted this note in their guest book:

Paper sculptures - the end!

“Hopefully next time I’ll be able to linger longer – I’ve left a
little something for you near Women’s Anthologies X. In support of
Libraries, Books, Words and Ideas….”

A quick dash into the library led to the discovery of another gift.

Paper sculptures - the end!
The tag on this read:

“To @ByLeavesWeLive…….
THE GIFTS “Gloves of bee’s ful,
cap of the Wren’s Wings…….”
Norman McCaig
…. maybe sometimes impossible things…
In support of LIbraries, Books, Words
Ideas….”

And with the suspicious addition in the corner reading 10/10.

Paper sculptures - the end!
So here we have a cap made of a wing.

Paper sculptures - the end!
A wing, of course, made of exquisitely crafted paper feathers.

Paper sculptures - the end!
And with it a pair of paper gloves…

Paper sculptures - the end!
… made in the texture of a bee.

Paper sculptures - the end!
And an explanation!

Paper sculptures - the end!

“It’s important that a story is not too long ……does not become tedious …….

‘You need to know when to end a story,’ she thought.

Often a good story ends where it begins. This would mean a return to the
Poetry Library. The very place where she had left the first of the ten.

Back to those who had loved that little tree, and so encouraged her to try
again …….and again.

Some had wondered who it was, leaving these small strange objects. Some
even thought it was a ‘he’! ……. As if!

Others looked among Book Artists, rather good ones actually…….

But they would never find her there. For though she does make things, this
was the first time she had dissected books and had used them simply be-
cause they seemed fitting….

Most however chose not to know….. which was the point really.

The gift, the place to sit, to look, to wonder, to dream….. of the impossible
maybe…….

A tiny gesture in support of the special places…..

So, here, she will end this story, in a special place … A Poetry Library …..
where they are well used to ‘anon.’

 

But before exiting …a few mentions. There could be more, because we
have all colluded to make this work……. Just a few though.

– the twitter community who in some strange way gave rise to the idea in
the first place

@chrisdonia who gave the story a place, a shape and some great pictures

– and not least @Beathhigh whose books and reputation have been shame-
lessly utilised in the making of a mystery ……..

…… But hold on. Someone’s left behind a pair of gloves and a cap……….?

Cheers Edinburgh It’s been fun!
X

A wonderful end to a wonderful story and a lovely mention for a humble photographer! But talk of ten sculptures had everyone a-flutter. There were only eight we knew of, what of the remaining two? Could they have been lost? stolen? or worse, thrown away by someone who didn’t realise what they had found?

Mercifully the answer was forthcoming the next day. The National Museum of Scotland had received a gift, found on the plinth under a skeletal stag. A consciencious member of staff had found it and passed it to his supervisor, thinking it might be something more than average lost property. It soon made its way up the chain of command until it came to rest in the Director’s office for safety.

Meanwhile the museum staff were abuzz with the imminent arrival of their millionth visitor since reopening (which was a surprise as that wasn’t really expected until about August 2012) so they didn’t have time to tell the world about it until that had died down.

And so another is unveiled!

Paper sculptures - 9 of 10
A Tyrannosaurus Rex, bursting from the tattered leaves of a book. And what book could it be other than Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World?

Paper sculptures - 9 of 10
The tag here reads:

“For @NtlMuseumsScot A Gift
Your friends at @edbookfest
suggested you might like this.
…. In support of libraries,
books, words, ideas and those
places that house our treasures……”

And in the corner, 9/10.

Hidden amidst the tattered leaves of the book are tiny men with weapons that probably wouldn’t do much damage to the beast, as its bloodstained jaw seems to prove.

Paper sculptures - 9 of 10
Paper sculptures - 9 of 10

Paper sculptures - 9 of 10

The museum hope to exhibit this as part of the 26 Treasures series.

And what of the last?

Yesterday afternoon staff at the Writer’s Museum found something atop the donations box in the Robert Louis Stevenson room.

Paper sculptures - 8 of 10
A wonderfully atmospheric street scene with what appears to be a silvery moon with wisps of cloud hanging from it. This tag reads:

@CuratorEMG A Gift
“The stories are in the
stones” Ian Rankin
In support of Libraries, Books,
Words, Ideas …… and
Writers.”

And the 8/10 in the corner, confirming that we’ve found them all!

Paper sculptures - 8 of 10
The cover says, “the stories are in the stones / Ian Rankin” …

Paper sculptures - 8 of 10
…which is fitting as it has been sculpted from a copy of Ian Rankin’s Hide and Seek.

Paper sculptures - 8 of 10
Inside the book are an array of people with birds on wires and a streetlight…

Paper sculptures - 8 of 10
Paper sculptures - 8 of 10
There are even goings-on visible behind some of the windows, as well as a pentagram scrawled on a wall in red with the signs of the zodiac around it.

Paper Sculptures - 8 of 10
Along the front of the scene have been placed the words, “commingled out of Good and evil;” Misha Hoekstra pointed out that this is a line from Jekyll & Hyde, “I have observed that when I wore the semblance of Edward Hyde, none could come near to me at first without a visible misgiving of the flesh. This, as I take it, was because all human beings, as we meet them, are commingled out of good and evil: and Edward Hyde, alone in the ranks of mankind, was pure evil,” and that Ian Rankin has said of Hide & Seek that he was hoping to create an updated, Edinbugh-based version of Stevenson’s story.

Paper sculptures - 8 of 10
The curators are looking into ways to display this piece although it’s possible that it will have to live in a different venue due to considerations of space – the Writer’s Museum is absolutely packed with stuff! They’re terribly happy with it though; apparently they had been hoping to receive one and now feel very lucky to have had one of the last three.

So this seems to be the end of the story. There is talk of organising some sort of exhibition but so far it’s just an idea. Some of the ‘gifts’ are viewable anyway – those in the Scottish Poetry Library, the Scottish Storytelling Centre and Central Library (the gramophone in the National Library seems to have been temporarily displaced). The rest will hopefully find a place in the public eye and I’ll keep an eye on them as I have grown rather attached.

Many thanks to whoever has been crafting and distributing these magical objects, and thanks on behalf of the creator to those who have followed their discovery with such infectious delight.

Saturday 17th December

A mysterious new Twitter account called “a book for xmas” has appeared and is tweeting @ various recipients of sculptures and others involved.

The tweets read “In support of libraries, books, words, ideas and wishing you a magical xmas” and link to a video on Vimeo:

So far those mentioned are: @byleaveswelive, @CuratorEMG, @NatLibScot, @MichaelMacLeod1 (journalist who wrote up the story extensively on the Guardian), @TalesOfOneCity, @NtlMuseumsScot, @EdinBookshop, @HughesPeg (formerly of @byleaveswelive), @Edinburgh_CC, @ScotStoryCentre, @EdBookFest, @EdinCityofLit, @AnnaNotKarenina (formerly of @EdinCityofLit), @Filmhouse, and apparently @chrisdonia would have if I hadn’t noticed and remarked upon it already…

One of the best things about the paper sculptures is that everyone who sees them, even online, gets excited and wants to share the joy.

And so last week the BBC were in town for a day, visiting the Scottish Storytelling Centre, National Museum of Scotland and Writers’ Museum to make a short piece on them. Since they didn’t have time to get around every venue the rest are represented by some of the pictures seen here.

You can see it here.

This quickly took up residence in their Most Popular section, in the top 5 for ‘Shared’ and ‘Video/Audio’. Because everyone loves them!

Small note though, I’m not sure who the journalist featured has been talking to but since we’re fairly certain the anonymous artist is a woman I suspect they’ve got it wrong…

We were all so excited about the final sculptures that the bonus one rather slipped by…

On 25 November 2011 Ian Rankin got in touch with the Edinburgh Bookshop and said that he was expecting a parcel to be delivered and asked if they could let him know when it arrived.

When the parcel arrived the writing on it seemed familiar. A quick text later and Ian arrived to open it. Sure enough, there was another fabulous papery delight, marked 11/10!

The tag reads:

For @Beathhigh A Gift
“…. something in us never dies” (R. Burns 1790)
In support of those who turn ideas
into words, words into books ……
& of course books into libraries.”

Paper sculpture  11 of 10
A pair of skeletons perched on a coffin lid, clearly having a good time drinking, smoking and listening to music. By their feet is a crate of bottles and next to them is a turntable and a record sleeve reading “THE IMPOSSIBLE DEAD / IAN RANKIN / SOME SECRETS NEVER DIE”

Paper sculpture  11 of 10
The coffin lid reads “R.I.P. 13/10/11″ which is the publishing date of The Impossible Dead.

Paper sculpture  11 of 10
In other news, the planned exhibition of the sculptures is on track, to be held in the Scottish Poetry Library….

//////

“Sharknado” saves the summer!

Flying shark and Tara Reid

By from Salon.com:

When a summer’s this terrible, it takes something truly, gloriously terrible to redeem it.

We are in the midst of a long, hot summer that has already strained the limits of our threshold for awfulness. We’ve been subjected to the racist hat trick of Paula Deen, “Big Brother” and the George Zimmerman trial. We have been forced to exhaust ourselves fighting for basic reproductive rights. And we have been unable to escape the ubiquitous, creepy strains of Robin Thicke and John Mayer songs. I don’t know about your social circle, but in mine, the phrase “Let’s get day drunk” has become a mantra. And yet, in the midst of it all, there have been a few shimmering bright spots. Marriage equality. Sharknado.

Thank you, munificent gods of SyFy. Because in an ill-ventilated, locked room somewhere, your writers are standing in front of a whiteboard generating ridiculous portmanteaus – “Sharktopus!” “Piranhaconda!” “Arachnoquake!” — and creating jobs for ’90s-era actors struggling to claw their way back to the C-list. But with “Sharknado,” which arrived Thursday evening like a Kardashian baby and a royal baby rolled into one beautiful, social-media bundle of toothy joy, you’ve really outdone yourself.

A sharknado, for those of you unfamiliar with SCIENCE, is what happens when a tornado sweeps up a bunch of ocean predators and, Christ, why am I even bothering to explain this? Just … flying sharks and Tara Reid, OK? As the movie’s tag line explains, “Enough said.” Its IMDB page doesn’t even have a synopsis. If you want a goddamn synopsis, you can leave your nice air-conditioned house and go to some fancy movie theater and pay $15 to see something with subtitles, Communist. But if you’re really that curious, in an io9 interview, “Sharknado’s” writer, Thunder Levin – yes, a human wrote it – did explain some of “the larger philosophical issues of the film,” as well as the logical ones, noting, “If you were a shark and you found yourself flying through the air, wouldn’t you keep biting?”

We could examine the symbolism and timely resonance of “Sharknado” – and for someone who went to film school, exploring the symbolism and resonance of “Sharknado” is actually the one thing my college degree and 10 years of paying off student loans qualifies me to do in life. I could say something about global warming anxiety and natural disaster post-traumatic stress, but I think we can just leave it at this: Ian Ziering chainsaws his way out of a shark. And you know who doesn’t want to see Ian Ziering chainsaw his way out of a shark? Nobody, that’s who.

If you were on Twitter last night, there was nothing else happening in the whole wide world. Nothing. Oh, did Edward Snowden do something? Who cares? Talk to us about it Friday. “Sharknado” was, as more than one person pointed out, bigger than election night and the Super Bowl, a magical night in which Mia Farrow declared, “Tomorrow I’ll pick up a chainsaw.” And then Patton Oswalt dropped the microphone, saying, “Call time canceled tomorrow. ALL movies canceled. It’s done.” As a colleague pointed out Friday (and others noted on Twitter), whoever is doing SyFy’s social media is probably the only person in America assured of getting a generous raise today.

It all comes down to a few simple truths. Flying sharks will always be cool. But flying sharks, right now, this summer of real and true crapstorms? Oh, we need this. We need this like we needed that Jaeger at lunch. As National Review writer Charles C. W. Cooke explains, “Sharknado is the most politically uniting thing to happen to America for a decade.” Whatever your race, politics, religion or romantic history with Woody Allen, for one night, we were all just Americans, doing what Americans have always done best – sitting on our butts and watching TV. God bless you, “Sharknado.” And know that when the Tigerpocalypse comes, we will be there, and we will love you.

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of “Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream.” Follow her on Twitter: @embeedub. More Mary Elizabeth Williams.

[Original article]

Social Networking in the 1600s

1600s men at coffeehouse

By Tom Standage from the New York Times Sunday Review:


Men enjoying a drink and a chat in a 17th-century coffeehouse. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

LONDON — SOCIAL networks stand accused of being enemies of productivity. According to one popular (if questionable) infographic circulating online, the use of Facebook, Twitter and other such sites at work costs the American economy $650 billion each year. Our attention spans are atrophying, our test scores declining, all because of these “weapons of mass distraction.”

Yet such worries have arisen before. In England in the late 1600s, very similar concerns were expressed about another new media-sharing environment, the allure of which seemed to be undermining young people’s ability to concentrate on their studies or their work: the coffeehouse. It was the social-networking site of its day.

Like coffee itself, coffeehouses were an import from the Arab world. England’s first coffeehouse opened in Oxford in the early 1650s, and hundreds of similar establishments sprang up in London and other cities in the following years. People went to coffeehouses not just to drink coffee, but to read and discuss the latest pamphlets and news-sheets and to catch up on rumor and gossip.

Coffeehouses were also used as post offices. Patrons would visit their favorite coffeehouses several times a day to check for new mail, catch up on the news and talk to other coffee drinkers, both friends and strangers. Some coffeehouses specialized in discussion of particular topics, like science, politics, literature or shipping. As customers moved from one to the other, information circulated with them.

The diary of Samuel Pepys, a government official, is punctuated by variations of the phrase “thence to the coffeehouse.” His entries give a sense of the wide-ranging conversations he found there. The ones for November 1663 alone include references to “a long and most passionate discourse between two doctors,” discussions of Roman history, how to store beer, a new type of nautical weapon and an approaching legal trial.

One reason these conversations were so lively was that social distinctions were not recognized within the coffeehouse walls. Patrons were not merely permitted but encouraged to strike up conversations with strangers from entirely different walks of life. As the poet Samuel Butler put it, “gentleman, mechanic, lord, and scoundrel mix, and are all of a piece.”

Not everyone approved. As well as complaining that Christians had abandoned their traditional beer in favor of a foreign drink, critics worried that coffeehouses were keeping people from productive work. Among the first to sound the alarm, in 1677, was Anthony Wood, an Oxford academic. “Why doth solid and serious learning decline, and few or none follow it now in the University?” he asked. “Answer: Because of Coffea Houses, where they spend all their time.”

Meanwhile, Roger North, a lawyer, bemoaned, in Cambridge, the “vast Loss of Time grown out of a pure Novelty. For who can apply close to a Subject with his Head full of the Din of a Coffee-house?” These places were “the ruin of many serious and hopeful young gentlemen and tradesmen,” according to a pamphlet, “The Grand Concern of England Explained,” published in 1673.

All of which brings to mind the dire warnings issued by many modern commentators. A common cause for concern, both then and now, is that new media-sharing platforms pose a particular danger to the young.

But what was the actual impact of coffeehouses on productivity, education and innovation? Rather than enemies of industry, coffeehouses were in fact crucibles of creativity, because of the way in which they facilitated the mixing of both people and ideas. Members of the Royal Society, England’s pioneering scientific society, frequently retired to coffeehouses to extend their discussions. Scientists often conducted experiments and gave lectures in coffeehouses, and because admission cost just a penny (the price of a single cup), coffeehouses were sometimes referred to as “penny universities.” It was a coffeehouse argument among several fellow scientists that spurred Isaac Newton to write his “Principia Mathematica,” one of the foundational works of modern science.

[Full article]

Why Social Media Is the Front Line of Disaster Response

Social media statistics in disasters

An infographic from Hurricane Sandy, but equally relevant in the aftermath of the Oklahoma tornado yesterday.

By Zoe Fox from Mashable.com:

Nearly one million people are affected by natural disasters each year. In the U.S. alone, some 400 people die from disasters that cost the economy $17.6 billion. Helping respond to these cataclysmic events, social media is now a go-to tool for those effected by disasters.

One in five Americans has used an emergency app. Of those Americans effected by natural disasters, 76% used social media to contact friends and family; 37% of used social media to help find shelter and supplies; and 24% used social media to let loved ones know they’re safe.

SEE ALSO: 13 Gadgets to Prepare You for a Natural Disaster

This infographic, created by our friends at USF’s Online MPA, details how social media has revolutionized communications during natural disasters.

At the bottom of the infographic, you’ll find a FEMA tweet sent during Hurrcane Sandy, which exemplifies why social media is becoming the best way to spread information during dangerous events: Phone lines can get congested, so updating social networks can be the ideal way to let loved ones know you’re okay.

Homepage image courtesy of iStockphoto, Krakozawr