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Lettris is a curious tetris-clone game where all the bricks have the same square shape but different content. Each square carries a letter. To make squares disappear and save space for other squares you have to assemble English words (left, right, up, down) from the falling squares.
Boggle gives you 3 minutes to find as many words (3 letters or more) as you can in a grid of 16 letters. You can also try the grid of 16 letters. Letters must be adjacent and longer words score better. See if you can get into the grid Hall of Fame !
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A flash mob (or flashmob) is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a place, perform an unusual and seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, and artistic expression. Flash mobs are organized via telecommunications, social media, or viral emails.
The term, coined in 2003, is generally not applied to events and performances organized for the purposes of politics (such as protests), commercial advertisement, publicity stunts that involve public relation firms, or paid professionals. In these cases of a planned purpose for the social activity in question, the term smart mobs is often applied instead.
The first flash mobs were created in Manhattan in 2003, by Bill Wasik, senior editor of Harper's Magazine. The first attempt was unsuccessful after the targeted retail store was tipped off about the plan for people to gather. Wasik avoided such problems during the first successful flash mob, which occurred on June 3, 2003, at Macy's department store, by sending participants to preliminary staging areas—in four Manhattan bars—where they received further instructions about the ultimate event and location just before the event began.
More than 130 people converged upon the ninth floor rug department of the store, gathering around an expensive rug. Anyone approached by a sales assistant was advised to say that the gatherers lived together in a warehouse on the outskirts of New York, that they were shopping for a "love rug", and that they made all their purchase decisions as a group. Subsequently, 200 people flooded the lobby and mezzanine of the Hyatt hotel in synchronized applause for about 15 seconds, and a shoe boutique in SoHo was invaded by participants pretending to be tourists on a bus trip.
Wasik claimed that he created flash mobs as a social experiment designed to poke fun at hipsters and to highlight the cultural atmosphere of conformity and of wanting to be an insider or part of "the next big thing". The Vancouver Sun wrote, "It may have backfired on him ... [Wasik] may instead have ended up giving conformity a vehicle that allowed it to appear nonconforming." In another interview he said "the mobs started as a kind of playful social experiment meant to encourage spontaneity and big gatherings to temporarily take over commercial and public areas simply to show that they could".
In 19th-century Tasmania, the term flash mob was used to describe a subculture consisting of female prisoners, based on the term flash language for the jargon that these women used. The 19th-century Australian term flash mob referred to a segment of society, not an event, and showed no other similarities to the modern term flash mob or the events it describes.
In 1973, the story "Flash Crowd" by Larry Niven described a concept similar to flash mobs. With the invention of popular and very inexpensive teleportation, an argument at a shopping mall—which happens to be covered by a news crew—quickly swells into a riot. In the story, broadcast coverage attracts the attention of other people, who use the widely available technology of the teleportation booth to swarm first that event—thus intensifying the riot—and then other events as they happen. Commenting on the social impact of such mobs, one character (articulating the police view) says, "We call them flash crowds, and we watch for them." In related short stories, they are named as a prime location for illegal activities (such as pickpocketing and looting) to take place.
Flash mobs began as a form of performance art. While they started as an apolitical act, flash mobs may share superficial similarities to political demonstrations. Flash mobs can be seen as a specialized form of smart mob, a term and concept proposed by author Howard Rheingold in his 2002 book Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution.
The first documented use of the term flash mob as it is understood today was in 2003 in a blog entry posted in the aftermath of Wasik's event. The term was inspired by the earlier term smart mob.
Flash mob was added to the 11th edition of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary on July 8, 2004 where it noted it as an "unusual and pointless act" separating it from other forms of smart mobs such as types of performance, protests, and other gatherings. Also recognized noun derivatives are flash mobber and flash mobbing. Webster's New Millennium Dictionary of English defines flash mob as "a group of people who organize on the Internet and then quickly assemble in a public place, do something bizarre, and disperse." This definition is consistent with the original use of the term; however, both news media and promoters have subsequently used the term to refer to any form of smart mob, including political protests; a collaborative Internet denial of service attack; a collaborative supercomputing demonstration; and promotional appearances by pop musicians. The press has also used the term flash mob to refer to a practice in China where groups of shoppers arrange online to meet at a store in order to drive a collective bargain.
Another example of a well known flash mob was the April 2006 silent disco in London. At various London Underground stations, people gathered with their portable music devices, and at a set time began dancing to their music. It was reported that more than 4,000 people participated at London Victoria station. This had an impact on the regular service of the system enough for the city's police to begin crowd control and slowly clear people. Since 2006, there have been several flash mobs in the London Underground, including subsequent silent discos comparable in size.
Worldwide Pillow Fight Day (or International Pillow Fight Day) was a pillow fight flash mob that took place on March 22, 2008. Over 25 cities around the globe participated in the first "international flash mob", which was the world's largest flash mob to date. According to The Wall Street Journal, more than 5,000 participated in New York City, overtaking London's 2006 Silent Disco gathering as the largest recorded flash mob. Word spread via social networking sites, including Facebook, Myspace, private blogs, public forums, personal websites, as well as by word of mouth, text messaging, and email. Participating cities included Atlanta, Beirut, Boston, Budapest, Chicago, Copenhagen, Dublin, Houston, Huntsville, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, New York City, Paris, Pécs, Shanghai, Stockholm, Sydney, Székesfehérvár, Szombathely, Vancouver, Washington, D.C., and Zurich.
Legal actions have been taken in some countries to stem flash mobs for reasons other than violence such as the disruption of business and service. The city of Braunschweig, Germany has stopped flash mobs by strictly enforcing the already existing law of requiring a permit to use any public space for an event.
In the United Kingdom, a number of flash mobs have been stopped over concerns for public health and safety. The British Transport Police have urged flash mob organizers to "refrain from holding such events [silent disco] at railway stations".
In the United States, in 2009 and 2010, the city of Philadelphia experienced a wave of crimes that either started with the intent or led to the destruction of private property, rioting, violence, and personal injury. As a result, police used pepper spray to disperse crowds and arrests were made. These events were often referred to as “flash robs,” “flash mob crimes,” or “flash mob violence.” Organizers of innocuous legal flash mobs consider “flash mob crime” and similar terms inaccurate and damaging to the reputation of flash mobs.
Lawmakers and lobbyists in Philadelphia are considering different tactics to counter these groups such as extending curfew hours, limiting the hours of school bus passes, and holding parents more legally accountable for the actions of their children. Bill Wasik has expressed "surprise by the new focus of some of the gatherings" and said it is "terrible that these Philly mobs have turned violent".
Similar incidents of violence occurred during the summer of 2011 in Philadelphia, Maryland, Cleveland, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Ottawa. In Philadelphia the new incidents drew harsh condemnation from mayor Michael Nutter and resulted in curfews being imposed in two local districts.
"The illegal and violent component is also not unlike ordinary crimes where a group of people do something illegal," said Mark Leary, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. "What social media adds is the ability to recruit such a large group of people, that individuals who would not rob a store or riot on their own feel freer to misbehave without being identified."
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