Note about 2 missing the reactions in the video- I was presented with information that caused me to doubt the veracity of 2 of the 5 reactions in the video. These were reactions that were captured during a two week period while the device was at house 2 hours away from where I live. I put a feeler out for people willing to put a package on their porch and this person (who is a friend of a friend) volunteered to help.
To compensate them for their time and willingness to risk putting a package on their porch I offered financial compensation for any successful recoveries of the package. It appears (and I've since confirmed) in these two cases, the “thieves" were actually acquaintances of the person helping me. From the footage I received from the phones which intentionally only record at specific times, this wasn’t clear to me. I have since removed those reactions from the original video (originally 6:26-7:59).
I’m really sorry about this. Ultimately, I am responsible for the content that goes on my channel and I should have done more here. I can vouch for that the reactions were genuine when the package was taken from my house. Having said that, I know my credibly is sort of shot but I encourage you to look at the types of videos I’ve been making for the past 7 years. This is my first ever video with some kind of “prank" and like I mentioned in the video it’s pretty removed from my comfort zone and I should have done more.
I’m especially gutted because so much thought, time, money and effort went into building the device and I hope this doesn’t just taint the entire effort as “fake". It genuinely works (like all the other things I’ve built on my channel) and we’ve made all the code and build info public. Again, I’m sorry for putting something up on my channel that was misleading. That is totally on me and I will take all necessary steps to make sure it won’t happen again.
(I added the paragraph breaks for better readability; click on "See More" of the description for the original)
"people helping him put packages on their porches"
as well as their friends who pretended to "steal" the package.
Because the original goal was to uncover dishonest people, and so now you've actually found even more dishonest people, who were taped on video
I remain worried that such games may one day get someone hurt. Not every thief will laugh it off. And they know where you live. Leave sting operations to the professionals. Dont make things personal. Dont escalate petty theft into a potentially violent confrontation by continuing things beyond your property.
I thought about that given all the violent crime in and around Memphis TN. The thugs out here are very unforgiving about stuff like this. Anyone trying to pull shit on them or any other area at that level should expect revenge that's worse than what they did in the first place. I strongly advise against doing this in any area that's high in violent crime, esp gangs or police forces with gang members.
That said, the evidence I've seen shows most violent crime happens in and around specific areas. Outside them, an action might not net a major, negative reaction. So, if productizing this, a modification that might help is making sure the thing doesn't fully go off if in a high crime or nearby area based on whatever data is available. It just records data for the police in those areas. In other cases, let it do its thing. Then, you have to worry about booby trap laws and damage to innocent folks (esp kids or anyone allergic to material). Assess the local, law scene to determine if it's still a go before doing that. I'm sure many jurisdictions would get a kick out of this entertaining themselves and the courtroom. Just gotta be careful about being in the right one.
There's a joke people from Memphis understand. If you go to St. Louis, you might get shot by a gang member for your shoes. If you go to Memphis, you might get shot by the cops for your shoes.
It goes up and down. The majority are gang-on-gang. We've also seen lots of muggings, rape, and murder of non-gang members. Sometimes part of initiations, but mostly for fun. They've expanded into the areas once thought safe. 10-20 on one attacks or entire lots/streets of cars robbed/vandalized happen periodically. At one point, some thugs were shooting people at red lights before robbing their cars. This week, some were trying to open doors in my neighboorhood at night with the families in them. Can't imagine they had something nice like a quick robbery in mind. No surprise police kicked out The First 48, too, to protect tourism revenue. ;)
"That said, the Mall of Memphis (Mall of Murder) had to shut down"
Mall of Murder! Been a few months since someone mentioned that. You had to have lived in Memphis or talked to some Memphians. Well, I don't know how far media spreads about such things.
Anyway, my family mostly avoided it. I did go there as part of a school's "field trip" for their kids. Just getting them out of school a while to have some supervised fun. Toward the end, they decided to skip the food court since a different gang was on every side of it. You could barely see the food places. Woman at exit dressed like a dominatrix out of Sin City or something with a whip on her side. Sexy, but dangerous. I briefly admired the whip being an Indiana Jones fan. Got a smile slash watch-your-ass look out of her on way out. Only positive thing I remember in the Mall of Murder.
"If you go to Memphis, you might get shot by the cops for your shoes. "
Specially if they're the wrong color. Or shirt, jacket, pants, or bandana. ;) I don't know if you heard but they're waiving felonies for people willing to join the Memphis police. All those BLM protestors and such griping about how they act are too scurred to put on a uniform even with large salary policing those same neighborhoods. So hard to recruit cops that they're bringing in felons. I think they said "non-violent" but so many are gang members. Maybe the next, non-violent felony will be forging data on the felony part of police applications.
All that said, most folks there are OK. Same with cops. Our thugs are just more aggressive, willing to drive further from home, and so on. That combines with a media that only covers the negative stuff. We have parties, tons of businesses, church outreach/activities, artists, engineers, you name it. Barely covered on the news between the arsons and murders. I hate the media...
Another interesting part is that the history, esp racism around neighborhood lines, means you can go from the hood to middle-class just crossing a single street. It's so weird. I've had a hard time finding examples of that to show outsiders. I'll probably have to make one some time. I did find a video of someone driving around North Memphis below for anyone wondering what it looks like. Plus another showing all our hoods.
Two things to notice. First, many folks complain people don't pay attention to just stare at their phones. In first vid, notice everyone pays attention even some staring down people that come in. That's biggest indicator you need to watch your ass. The second illustrates how different they look with some having nice properties. Nicer than most I lived in! It's the thug culture and mental attitudes that drive it, though. Hence, always the same shit regardless of how much better the area is, who's the majority, and so on.
Isn't the message of BLM that the cops in many cases are basically another criminal gang? So the messenger is to blame when that becomes literally true?
Now, enter BLM. Those stories hit Facebok and Twitter. The black folks from Memphis to North Mississippi reading that stuff say a cop killing them is their biggest worry. That they're getting killed disproportionally everywhere with every stop maybe they're last. Some laid siege to I-40 and the airport to protest police killing black people. Police and protestors got through that without incident despite protestors aggressively marching at police to incite them.
Now for reality: almost all murders here are black civilians kiling other people, mostly black. We have latino gangs and cartels here, too. Mostly, but not entirely, gang members doing murders. Mostly in same hood neighborhoods. The police usually try to arrest, not shoot, them (see First 48 Memphis episodes). BLM might have prevented murders by blocking off those areas instead of the police and public (major Interstate on busy day) who were not killing innocent black people.
Although some cities need a protest, BLM and its supporters in Mid-South were totally full of crap scapegoating cops as main threat to black people when it's actually black and latino thugs. And cops stay trying to catch them, either for justice (good cops) or to eliminate competitors (bad cops). It's telling that the black guy talking about it most on local media always brings up number of black victims, but omits perps. They'll get further addressing real racism and police issues if they stop repeating lies in their media. Makes audience assume they crying wolf again.
I don't claim any particular knowledge of what's wrong with the police anywhere, but when cops or people who identify with them say reflexively "well, we'll just stop defending you from the thugs if you don't like us" my gut tells me that it means they already were deliberately enabling "thugs"; the declamation sounds like something that people have repeated to themselves for years, bottled up the justification for corruption and the protests just give permission to let it out.
This isn't a black problem so much as an asset turned liability in human nature. Bruce Schneier wrote about it before where people are more likely to believe anecdotes, especially scary ones (eg worst-case scenarios), from their peers than objective data collected from either peers or other side. The hypothesis at the time was that its a trait that helped early humans survive against threats that killed them (esp ate them). The people that listened to a story about what came before a death (eg animal attack) might survive more often than those who dispassionately collected and analyzed data before committing to something. Over time, the ones that were left were more likely to believe what the group was telling them focused on the same risks, esp extreme ones that rarely happen but result in death.
So, that's what the BLM folks were doing. The people they identify with were making these claims. They supported them using far-away examples like Ferguson and Baltimore. They believed them going with the flow. It's the same effect behind the many Trump voters out here worried everyone that's Middle Eastern might be a terrorist that might take lives. Although, they do hardly anything like better diets or extra vigilance behind the wheel to avoid the leading causes of death of Americans. They're also not looking at every right-wing, patriotic person despite such people committing acts of terrorism in the past or collecting lots of guns planning for... something. Jump on and defend anything from in-group while excluding, perverting, or reflexively dismissing out-group.
Human nature I'm afraid. Everyone doing this needs to learn to knock it off since it just makes us fight for nothing. More important, we miss opportunities to discuss what's really going on to improve our circumstances. The BLM people's BS is easily called out with the middle and right-leaning folks reacting as "You can't trust any of this stuff. People just bullshiting for attention to their causes." We can't stop racism creating reactions like that. Sadly and unfairly, we have to be better than most people in accuracy making sure we consistently build our interpretations on solid data with no misdirections or lies. Especially selective stuff. Consistently good use of data, civil interpretations, and pre-packaged solutions are the right combo to get more people onboard fixing things. Fortunately, there's quite a few of us down here trying to do that with many more just trying to get along despite our differences. The peaceful results of the I-40 protest in a often-racist, often-murderous area confirm how well we do this I think. We were all so worried shit would happen but it didn't. (slow, long sigh of relief)
At a very base legal level, such actions may require a PI license.
...were doing what they did in the light walking slowly and calmly between houses even though they knew they were being watched. Your logic assumes the attackers will be afraid of you, the police, or jail. Many down here aren't. They're also vindictive. They're also random where you don't know if you're getting the cowards or hardcore people before the stuff goes down.
So, you have to do strong prevention followed up by being an armed, watchful person with good lighting. And leave nothing of value in your car. They even sometimes steal the alarms. That's because some of our thugs are highly-educated folks that like to show off their brains to their homies during their activities as "self-employed entrepreneurs" as they described it to me. ;)
Every department store security guard knows to never continue the operation beyond the store. Their insurance companies know the potential troubles and wont cover such things.
There are a lot of people who don't understand the harm in a little white lie; or who just misunderstand what truth means. Just think of any misleading ad or marketing material that you've seen.
To be quite frank, when I watched the video, I never understood why one guy had a crucifix hanging from his rearview mirror, and why the faces were obscured.
Except the harm here is quite obvious - he offered money for the recovery, so they staged recoveries. If they did it because they thought it would help him they should have refused reimbursement. Instead, not only did they damage his reputation, they defrauded him out of money in doing so.
> To be quite frank, when I watched the video, I never understood why one guy had a crucifix hanging from his rearview mirror,
I'm not sure what this means. Are you implying that you think someone with a crucifix hanging from their mirror wouldn't commit this crime?
> and why the faces were obscured.
Because you're better safe than sorry. For example, if the friends of the acquaintance weren't told what was really going on, it could have been devastating to their reputation if their face was released nationally and linked to a crime. That can spur lawsuits. Meritorious or not, they cost to defend against.
So the people aren’t doxxed and witch-hunted?
Does YouTube allow video edits now?
You can at least trim content out of an existing video.
The device had GPS tracker and it was used just few times, so chances of him NOT reviewing theif's route after each incident are zero. So he surely knew that the thief lived across the street.
Also pretty impressed people have that much time on their hands (as I say posting some random comment into the ether).
He might well contract someone to edit together his videos.
Impressive amounts of desire to do something meaningful, anything, no matter what, as long as it feels meaningful, that drives people to even begin digging into stuff like this.
I guess that means the leisure society is a lot closer than I thought?
Literally doxxing people is very scary.
Why do you think privacy is such a big issue? It's not just about companies tracking you and serving you ads, it's about shit like this. If you're not careful/aware about what you put online, don't be surprised when it comes back to bite you in the ass.
Taking away someone's civil rights through a trial by social media is even worse than any legacy "trial by media."
Obviously it's not pleasant to have your public information shared like this, and I'm not saying that it should have happened, I just don't understand what you're trying to say.
That imgur album was shared by a reporter, Matt Novak from Gizmodo. It is private and was not widely shared until he decided to post it in his reporting.
If you want to be mad at anyone for doxing, look to Mark Rober for being sloppy in his editing and Matt Novak for posting a link to that private gallery.
Rober is going to have to do three times as much to recovery any credibility.
Btw absolutely amazing project. Thanks for posting the link
He offered to pay people who kept the package on their porch if the package was taken. They then asked their friends to take it so they would get paid.
And then there's the other thing about him blurring out the 'thieves' faces, a lot of folks wondered why he would take extra time to do that? Package thieves deserve to be arrested, but the police won't do anything, so instead I'll annoy them with glitter and safeguard their anonymity? Fishy. Not fishy when its people that haven't done anything wrong that are helping you make a video and you don't want them being doxxed/witchhunted.
No, it wouldn't make sense for at least two reasons: After engineering something for 6 months you really really really want to see if it works in the wild. Rober doesn't have much to gain from youtube stardom compared to other things he could possibly do.
Edit: Also, a very careful engineer, as most are, would engineer a careful hoax. Also, involving money and human interest without considering the possibilities is sometimes a stereotypical engineering mistake.
At the same time, this fake glitter dude makes a lot of money from his fake video. Nice.
Rober takes the "I'm an engineer, so I know what I'm talking about" shtick too far; there's probably 10,000 more-talented engineers in Boeing's SPEEA local alone.
We all speak to ourselves from time to time, it is as if we have a clutch going on between our brain and our mouths, in childhood we learn to use this clutch to think before we speak. But there will be occasions when we let this go, I could have an accident, e.g. stubbing my toe, in which case I might speak to myself with expletives without an audience for my words needing to be present.
If I had been tricked by this glitter package I might not disengage the 'clutch' due to being surprised and shocked. But I don't think I would have spoke to myself as the people in the video did.
So I was wondering if people were that stupid, but now I am thinking the entire video was fake.
The other aspect that concerned me in the video was the manner that he went off chasing the parcel in his car to the car park and what not. I would be quite apprehensive of confronting people regarding theft and yet I have had plenty of opportunities from working in retail to be able to do that. NASA engineer types generally don't have that street skill and I expected him to show the fear that is natural when confronting people for theft.
I don't think that we have heard the end of how well this video was stage managed and faked, I do not believe a single thief was legit. Why fake some of it and not all of it? Although YouTube this had a sponsor and was a full on TV production, and, in TV you don't have a soap opera where 'some of it is real', everything is scripted and staged or else it isn't. There was no evidence of multiple packages being made, so to create the monetizing ten minutes why risk it going wrong after one genuine thief takes the device and destroys it?
The get a friend of a friend to do it approach means the friends of friends know they have been pranked and aren't going to have law enforcement coming down on them. In America a real thief could pull a gun on our NASA engineer chap out of a fear of being sent back to jail for some parole violation. The reaction and blase way our NASA engineer chap went down hunting the perps didn't fit with how it all works.
I now wonder how he must feel about future Amazon orders, if I was him I would wonder how many of those will get routinely stolen from now on due to the unscientific rules of 'karma'.
I mean, he had a 180-360 degree view of the package not being near a car; and the ability to drive past it first in an area where it would be perfectly inconspicuous to drive past to see if it were abandoned.
Imho its all fake, and it does kinda matter.
i like youtube because its real. Peoples info isnt perfect and the quality could be better but it is real! Cody really refines things, applied science really built an elecron microscope.
Traditional media has much set up and fakery, people dont really know whats real and their expectations are waaaay out of whack. We see these bull shit stories -whether about real people or not- that are not true, one person didnt do that, it wasnt that successful, it didnt happen overnight, the world is not that black and white etc.
Youtube etc. Are refreshing as the dramatisations are missing or done at the hamfisted skill level of your friend after a drink.. they are easy to spot and taken for what they are intended to be - lubrication/snacks for your attention and patience. But also these filler peices etc. Will struggle to outshine the actual content - you are here to see what they managed in their eveneing etc. Or whatever, did it work, was it fun.. not how well they can use aftereffects.
As production budgets and stakes increase we see a shift to the polish, drama and entertainment quality aspects. Much of this is appreciated, its great when a youtuber figures out microphones, or close shots, and all their videos are better for it. But all our built in defaults for filler and how to ham it up are based lying and not respecting your audience due to the history of media and who created it.
These "dramatisations" are a natural part of personal communications but are inappropriate for mass media. They are at the core of celebrity culture, fake news, sound bite reporting politics.
But it takes a moral stand against succumbing to base urges and distractions to rise above it and give the clarity to call it out when it happens. And its definately not short term financial rewarding (tho may add stability)
I dont have the answers but to me the rise of people like this and cody etc. Is great, but its a learning experince, we dont know where its going. But i understand a strong desire to have less mark rober polished showoffery and more grab these thing do this stuff and get these results.
Rober is not the worst tho.. life hacks ffs.
However, in this desperation for likes everything is totally real, it is almost as if the guy would not be able to imagine faking it and would not be able to conceive of it. There may be click bait titles, the begging for likes and the desire for fame and fortune but it is entirely real, nothing staged. You mention doing things in post production, the idea of faking it in post is also an unimaginable idea to the YouTubers we get strangely fascinated by.
At the same time though, Instagram is fake, every face on it is fake, every scene is a setup, the people on it project a lifestyle they don't live up to. Clearly people wear make-up on YouTube too, but there is something real about that.
We laugh at millennials tuning out the TV in the corner to be obsessed with 'social media' but old media is no longer getting the attention that it once had. It survives on the momentum built up over decades with an audience that is getting older.
There was a time when I would eagerly watch soap operas, as written by vast teams of skilled writers and featuring a cast of very well paid actors. But nowadays I am not watching any of that stuff, the lone guy talking about what he is tinkering with in the garage demands my attention instead. Often this lone guy really is doing it all, the camera work, the editing, the whole shebang, to create compelling content that would have required a huge team in previous times. At other times there is a small group of friends with one of them able to do super slick editing and create content that is definitely 'broadcast quality'.
The ability to like, comment, share and subscribe is also part of it. Why watch something with 'comments disabled'? With regular TV you can shout at the TV but it won't hear you. With Youtube you might get one of those heart things and a comment back from the YouTuber/presenter which is sweet. With broadcast media there is none of this interaction.
I don't see any YouTubers wanting to get a 'proper TV series', it is always the other way, with TV types wanting to do their next project on YouTube and turning their back on the legacy media.
Some things are lost though, not having that vast team with experience is not a bad thing though as long as that reality aspect is there. It is the honesty the viewer likes.
I'm not sure if he intended this to be the case, but I'll still be a subscriber.
I hope some of our fellow HN users who were so adamant will reflect on their comments, and it would be nice if they would comment on how they were thinking and feeling now.
'I doubt Mark would be staging things. He works for Nasa and worked on some big projects there and is a pretty smart guy. I can't see him being the kind of person looking to just make some viral fake video. But up to you to make that call if you want to think that. This is one case where I doubt it's staged.'
'Given who made the video, I'd give it about a 0% probably of being staged. That's not Mark's gig.'
'Well one, he's not a prank channel. He's a serious professional that even showed video of people stealing his package that started the whole idea. He then went as far as to machine parts, have a custom pcb manufactured etc. Then he contaminated cars and residences with glitter, yeah good luck talking random friends to let you bomb their cars and houses with glitter.
I mean, the dude worked for JPL for almost a decade and has his work on Mars, he already gets tons of views and has a history of deep-diving projects. He's also a tv host. He's also a former TED speaker.
Guy has better things to do than stage videos for YouTube.'
If I'm not mistaken, this would be a good example of the halo effect.
The whole thing stinks.
Why have your next door neighbor do it? You know the guy is tracking the GPS. Was it because your neighbor was black and you thought it would be more convincing than your white friend across town?
It's not clear if his friends paid the actors, but presumably they did (or else, they just enjoy spraying glitter all over their car/bed for fun).
At the end of the day, the result was that he paid money in exchange for videos of black people pretending to be thieves.
Some are less overt: Was he fooled by the actors because of his own preconceptions about what a thief looks and sounds like? He had the full GPS tracking and footage, after all. Did he ignore evidence that might have clued him in that it wasn't real, because of those biases?
By setting it up so they get paid if an only if it gets stolen, did he unintentionally incentivise his friends to fake the footage that matched his own preconceptions of what a real thief looks like?
After all, we know he was stolen from multiple times. We know he has footage, and knows what they look like. Was he convinced because of his preconceptions?
That's what we are talking about here. Once it's revealed it's fake, we suddenly are approached by a whole tangle of messy racial bias in how this made it from conception to production to consumption.
fake af, also racist for getting black people to be the thief.
Instead of pot smoking convictions, I'd rather see more prison time for porch bandits caught by dye pack-like bait packages.
I can't exactly put down Home Alone style traps in my house; I'm not sure why this is any different.
Maybe the smell and the shame might make the thief stressed and make bad decisions in traffic.
Both scenarios might seem silly, but I think they are in quite a different legal light when there is intent to disrupt.
Booby traps are generally illegal because they are indiscriminate. It may be justified self-defense to hurt somebody, even to a crippling or lethal level, if you knew it was necessary to save your life or prevent some other serious violent felony. Booby traps could harm anyone, regardless of their intent. If you were to set up a shotgun trap to fire on anybody who opens your door wrong, for example, it might kill a burglar or rapist. Or it might kill a fireman, cop, paramedic, pushy salesman, handyman, etc. Even if you don't want some of the previous in your home, you can't shoot them to keep them out, at least not without requesting them to leave and going through a chain of escalation first. Even booby traps that aren't that harmful could cause a lot more damage than expected if somebody very old, very young, disabled, or otherwise more physically vulnerable happens into them.
So you can (at least in the US) defend your home yourself with an appropriate amount of force, including lethal force if the situation calls for it. But only because it's you making a reasonable judgement about the appropriateness of the force involved. You can't set a booby trap to harm anyone who goes to the wrong place, regardless of who they are or what their intent is.
Guess I was wrong...?
So even if Rober was paying people for recovery, I'd expect he'd have to pay them quite a bit more to voluntarily undergo the treatment of his boobytrap.
wait, what? you can edit YT videos without changing video ID? When did that happen?
We have an ongoing biggest European journalism scandal in decades at Der Spiegel, and you barely hear about this in the media. Where are our priorities?
This is the level of cynicism our society has sunk to? I grew up in a time and place where everybody tried their hardest to tell the truth, always. Years later, I mentioned this idea to my girlfriend at the time's mom, and she laughed out loud. She grew up in a community where everyone lied all the time.
This is the difference between a society that works, and a society that's pathological.
I'm more shocked by such cynical reactions than by the circumstance reported.
Make more stuff NASA dude!!
> It’s still an impressive invention, and if you believe Rober, most of the video is still legit. But Rober understands why people may not trust him anymore.
He understands incorrectly then. The point of the video was engineering, and not social science.