Caveat Nukor

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Memo to Wave victims: COME ON.

Yesterday brought news of another Internet hoax apparently claiming some victims. I say "apparently" because I have critical reading skills, and none of the examples given in news stories of actual victims convinced me that they weren't either part of the hoax or people playing along. But.

We will assume, for the moment, that people did in fact fall for the "iOS 8 Wave" hoax perpetrated by 4chan, and did in fact believe that updating to iOS8 made it possible to fast-charge their phones by putting them in a microwave for 90 seconds, leading to exactly what you would expect if you put a phone in a microwave for 90 seconds.

I've talked about this before, but there's an inherent moral dilemma that comes from taking advantage of stupid people. Because it's wrong to take advantage of people and it's also wrong to be stupid. And while two wrongs don't make a right, they certainly can do wonders for mitigating sympathy.

The people affected by this, assuming they exist, have access to the Internet. That's how they got the news, via a picture of a fake ad, that iOS8 includes new "drivers" that allow the phone's "radio baseband" to "synchronize with microwave frequencies".

You don't have to understand necessarily the ludicrous physics of this to know it's bullshit. All you need to know is that Apple would never use the word "drivers" in something like this. Apple doesn't use the word "drivers". Drivers are under-the-hood software technology, and Apple's entire business model is predicated on you not wanting or needing to know or care what a goddamned driver is.

But maybe you don't have a hobbyist's casual knowledge off the last decade of Apple marketing style. Fine. The Internet still tells you lies because it thinks that's funny. Knowing things became less important in the early part of the Information Age, supplanted by the ability to find things. Now that the ability to find things is so easy Google will manage it no matter how bad your spelling is, it's the ability to evaluate what you find that'll keep you from nuking your phone.

And in this case, evaluating what you find is as simple as nine characters. Nine characters typed into a browser that would take you to a source that, if this feature were real, would mention it somewhere. "apple.com".

Beyond that, it's 2014. Nothing in 2014 gets talked about like new technology. If this new technology were a thing, it would be out there. Being talked about. In news articles. Come on, people. This was not a particularly complicated hoax.

If anyone actually fell for it, well, there are much worse ways to learn about the fundamental untrustworthiness of information than losing a phone that I'd be shocked if Apple didn't replace anyway. I mean, you could just go ahead and accept, without skepticism, the idea that a previously unknown terrorist group was about to strike the U.S. or Europe before we stopped them with our freedombombs even though they apparently hadn't decided whether they were going to hit the U.S. or Europe yet. Just saying.

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