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One In Ten Americans Thinks HTML Is a Type of Sexually Transmitted Infection

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the this-is-what-you're-up-against dept.

Technology 255

sandbagger writes "It looks like technical writers won't be unemployed any time soon. According to a recent study reported on by the LA Times, 11% of Americans thought HTML was a sexually-transmitted disease. The study, by coupon site VoucherCloud, involved 2,392 men and women 18 years of age or older. 27% thought 'gigabyte' was a South American insect, and 23% thought MP3 was a Star Wars robot. The participants were not told that the study was specifically looking into their knowledge of tech terms. They were presented with both tech and non-tech terms and were asked to choose from three possible definitions. 18% identified 'Blu-ray' as a marine animal, and 15% thought 'software' was comfortable clothing."

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heh... (1)

MobSwatter (2884921) | about 9 months ago | (#46406355)

Penecillin=mozilla...

Re: heh... (5, Funny)

reovirus1 (722769) | about 9 months ago | (#46406387)

Talk about a useless survey, everyone knows you can get HTML from watching porn. And if you do it with IE 7 or lower, there's no known cure!

Re: heh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406499)

What a bunch of morons, the parent poster included! HTML is a Federal Gubmint Agency, charged with remotely reading the minds of all citizens who forget to put on their tin foil hats!

Re: heh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406953)

Did you know that government is Latin and literally means mind control (gubernatio & mens)?

Re: heh... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406983)

It's okay... 10% of geeks think STD is some kind of internet protocol...

Re: heh... (1)

angryfeet (2876521) | about 9 months ago | (#46406645)

Well don't you know IE stands for Infected Erection? Of course it's going to give you an STD.

Re:heh... (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 9 months ago | (#46406455)

They were probably thinking of HIV, not syphilis...

Could it be (5, Insightful)

deletedaccount (835797) | about 9 months ago | (#46406373)

That not everyone is taking this seriously?

Re:Could it be (1)

Threni (635302) | about 9 months ago | (#46406463)

It's like Chinese Whispers ("Telephone" in the US) where *everybody* deliberately messes up the message on purpose!

Re:Could it be (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406709)

That not everyone is taking this seriously?

I highly doubt it.

The fact that the Kardashians are celebrities speak volumes as to how intelligent the average mouth-breather is.

Re:Could it be (5, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 9 months ago | (#46406919)

Kardashians? Weren't they in Star Trek?

Re:Could it be (1)

armanox (826486) | about 9 months ago | (#46406961)

I always thought Garak was awesome. Never did find out exactly why he was exiled though.

Try the seafood platter! (5, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 9 months ago | (#46406967)

It's not that hard. One set are vaguely reptilian, have misshapen heads and an unjustified sense of superiority. The others invaded Bajor.

[drabadabaTISH!]

Re:Could it be (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406727)

TL;DR

People not working in a domain may not have the jargon down pat!

Re:Could it be (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 9 months ago | (#46406971)

Well, it might be asking a bit much to know SEO. But USB? Even my dad, a Luddite if there ever was one, knows what USB is. He will probably say "that flat plug at the side of my keyboard", meaning the USB connector of his laptop, but at the very least he'll identify it as "something that belongs to that infernal $expletive piece of crap".

People use USB. Daily. If they have some kind of computer, they will most likely have either some kind of dongle that connects them to their mobile internet, a mouse that uses it, a thumbdrive or other storage device. People use Blu-Ray players to play their videos.

Oddly, though, I bet if you ask them about VHS, they will probably identify it without fail as "that video recorder cassette". The older ones will also certainly know what an 8track is (at least if they're in the US, less so in Europe). Both of them also being technical terms. I think it would be interesting to research why earlier "tech terms" were far more widely known than modern ones.

Re:Could it be (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406973)

TL;DR

I presume that would be the other robot in Star Wars ? right ?

Re:Could it be (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46407027)

Not knowing Blu-Ray is akin to not knowing what a car is. They only people who shouldn't know what some of these terms are should be the Amish and people with Alzheimer.

Re:Could it be (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406815)

That this study is totally meaningless. Oh, but it is going to make the Sliconers in their cocooned buses feel sooo gooood and soooo supeeeeerioooor to the plebes.

Not so sure about technical writers jobs... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406377)

Those Americans who don't know IT terminology are surely not interested in learning it, so I see no job openings for technical writers just yet.

Fake "survey" is fake (5, Insightful)

gweilo8888 (921799) | about 9 months ago | (#46406379)

Just another sign of the demise of Slashdot. A clearly fake survey viral created solely to publicize a coupon website makes it to the front page of a site supposedly for people smart enough to know better than to fall for rubbish like this.

Could this any more obviously be a viral scam? No.

And nor could Slashdot any more obviously be a shadow of its former self.

Re:Fake "survey" is fake (5, Funny)

deletedaccount (835797) | about 9 months ago | (#46406385)

yes, but as this particular bit of clickbait confirms my prejudice towards americans and made me chuckle I'll let it slide.

Re:Fake "survey" is fake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406459)

The poll is obviously false as it contains gross underestimates of the number of Americans who believe stupid things. A mere 18% thought Blu-ray was a marine animal?

Some of us didn't even need to click this particular clickbait...

Re:Fake "survey" is fake (3, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 9 months ago | (#46406553)

The poll is obviously false as it contains gross underestimates of the number of Americans who believe stupid things.

Yeah, given that half of Americans believe that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, which sounds like a much more substantial educational deficit to me, I'd expect 10% of them to get HTML right and not wrong.

Re:Fake "survey" is fake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406631)

Html is a product of merkins, merkins are the symptoms of a subset of a sexually transmitted disease 'Life'.

Re:Fake "survey" is fake (2, Informative)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 9 months ago | (#46406635)

Well, given that 77% of Americans believe in the existence of angels, I don't know what anyone expected.

Re:Fake "survey" is fake (5, Funny)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 9 months ago | (#46407049)

Well, given that 77% of Americans believe in the existence of angels, I don't know what anyone expected.

I believe in Angels. They play baseball in Los Angeles.

Re:Fake "survey" is fake (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406501)

Next up: Lose Weight By Eating This One Piece Of Obsolete Hardware

Re:Fake "survey" is fake (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 9 months ago | (#46406505)

It's also a survey of Vouchercloud's own userbase, a group of people who are quite likely to insert random or spurious answers to a survey so that they can click through to their free coupon.

Re:Fake "survey" is fake (1)

gweilo8888 (921799) | about 9 months ago | (#46406549)

That assumes it's even results of an actual survey, which is pretty debatable. What evidence do we have that they didn't simply make the whole thing up and publish a press release?

Re:Fake "survey" is fake (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 9 months ago | (#46406577)

Looking at their social media sites, it looks like they run these surveys (on Surveymonkey) and put out the corresponding press releases constantly. Usually in exchange for being entered into a prize draw for a gift card or something.

Re:Fake "survey" is fake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406805)

Oh now , just because they surveyed resthomes, is no reason to discount their labor.
They could get them to sit still long enough and sort of get their attention unlike a saavy public who avoids mall snipers w/clipboards.

Re:Fake "survey" is fake (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 9 months ago | (#46406879)

And even if the survey is real it's obvious that quite a few people aren't willing to answer the survey seriously.

Slashdot Polls (5, Insightful)

spacecoyotefarva (2384168) | about 9 months ago | (#46406391)

...are more scientifically rigorous.

Demographics (1)

_Ludwig (86077) | about 9 months ago | (#46406393)

The article doesn't mention if/how the wrong answers correlate to age or poverty. If you're old enough that computers are still a strange new thing, or poor enough to never have had access to one outside the public library, it's not surprising you wouldn't know those terms.

Re:Demographics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406457)

The article doesn't mention if/how the wrong answers correlate to age or poverty. If you're old enough that computers are still a strange new thing, or poor enough to never have had access to one outside the public library, it's not surprising you wouldn't know those terms.

Computers have been commonplace for 30 years and ubiquotous for 15. It's not about being old or poor anymore, it's about being ignorant.

Re:Demographics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406773)

If it's an online survey well, they are using a computer!

Re:Demographics (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46407009)

The article doesn't mention if/how the wrong answers correlate to age or poverty.

Or being a nigger. Admit it, you were thinking that.

Those who have used it (5, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about 9 months ago | (#46406397)

One In Ten Americans Thinks HTML Is a Type of Sexually Transmitted Infection

Those who have used it know that it's much worse

Re:Those who have used it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406467)

But it's not as catching as PHP or the deadly MS.

Re:Those who have used it (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 9 months ago | (#46406531)

Those who have used it know that it's much worse

You mean the fact that (cue the single geek in a basement stereotype) it's a sexually prevented disease?

Re:Those who have used it (1)

Exitar (809068) | about 9 months ago | (#46406541)

And they even missed the sex part!

Re:Those who have used it (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 9 months ago | (#46406859)

And they even missed the sex part!

That's why its worse. It's mot pleasure followed by pain - it's just pain!

Re:Those who have used it (2)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 9 months ago | (#46407145)

Sorry, but you're clearly thinking of CSS here.

In other news (4, Funny)

symes (835608) | about 9 months ago | (#46406399)

20% of Americans have a sense of humor.

Please note (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406403)

It seems that they didn't specifically write these answers, but when in doubt, were forced to pick one of the predetermined choices. For example the "sexually transmitted infection" was one of those. So do not necessarily make the conclusion that when Americans think "HTML", they think an STD.

Or in other words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406411)

10% of Americans with Internet access are hillbilly's and/or retarded.

Re:Or in other words (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406479)

Heh. 13% of Americans are black, which might explain something.

Re: Or in other words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406575)

Your point being...

Re:Or in other words (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 9 months ago | (#46407017)

You left out the thing that the hillbilly own's.

Aargh, look what I did, it's catching!

This just in (2)

korbulon (2792438) | about 9 months ago | (#46406413)

Study confirms that half of all people have below-average intelligence.

Re:This just in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406431)

The study also confirms 9/10 slashdotters would most likely fail high-school mathematics, especially when it comes to working out percentages.

Re:This just in (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 9 months ago | (#46406993)

And 4/3 of all people don't understand fractions.

Re:This just in (5, Funny)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 9 months ago | (#46406449)

... and the other half don't know the difference between average and median.

Re:This just in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406493)

It could happen, depending on the intelligence of the other half...

Re:This just in (2)

korbulon (2792438) | about 9 months ago | (#46406497)

... and the other half don't know the difference between average and median.

And the other other half are tiresome pedants, but this is Slashdot, so that figure becomes all but the upper vigintile.

Re:This just in (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 9 months ago | (#46407113)

So long as the two halves do not become collectively exhaustive, eh?

Re:This just in (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406587)

... and the other half don't know the difference between average and median.

And there are a bunch of pretentious assholes online that don't realize that the word "average" without qualifiers is mathematically ambiguous.

Re:This just in (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 9 months ago | (#46406725)

... and some can't spot a joke when its virtually signposted for them,

Re:This just in (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 9 months ago | (#46406491)

...actually, most of those surveys use a baseline distribution from before the period they want to study as their definition for "average", "first quintile", whatever, so even for a symmetric distribution you can have more or less than 50% on a given side of the average.

When cars were less sophisticated... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406417)

...people knew more about cars than they do today. How many here could fix something under the hood of a modern car without looking it up first? Computers and networks have become so commonplace that their inner workings no longer interest most people. They don't have to know what HTML or MP3 is. They look at web pages and buy music online. Why should they care about the technical details?

Re:When cars were less sophisticated... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406537)

Why should they care about the technical details?

Because those details matter to whether they are actually buying something, or whether they are just being allowed to use something that can be taken away from them at any time for any reason?

Because, at a deeper level, those details determine whether they have the right to read what they want, write what they want, run the software they want, or whether they are technological slaves to a master who can dictate what is acceptable for everyone else?

Because modern life is so dominated by technology that not understanding it is akin to not being able to read or do basic mathematics?

USB (4, Informative)

jones_supa (887896) | about 9 months ago | (#46406427)

FTA:

12% said "USB" is the acronym for a European country. In fact, USB is a type of connector.

USB is actually a serial data interface. The connector is just one part of the spec.

Re:USB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406519)

Not knowing what USB is is excusable, considering the thing isn't even named right. It's not a bus.

Re:USB (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406607)

It is too a bus. The host and the device share a transmission medium (D+/D-) and there is a method to ensure they don't collide. That's a bus.

Re:USB (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 9 months ago | (#46407041)

If I accidentally connect pin 1 to 4 would it be a short bus?

Re:USB (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 9 months ago | (#46406647)

How could people be confused by that?

I mean... It's clearly waaay too small to carry people!

Unless it's the bus for the orphanage.

Re:USB (1)

angryfeet (2876521) | about 9 months ago | (#46406649)

Unsurpassed 'Spergy Behaviour?

Re:USB (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 9 months ago | (#46406679)

I'm just saying that if someone points out mistakes made by other people, he better have his own facts straight.

Re:USB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406795)

That's SDI, you insensitive clod!

Probably deceptively worded (4, Funny)

MikeRT (947531) | about 9 months ago | (#46406433)

MP3 is a robot from star wars? Even my older relatives know what a MP3 is. My grandmother, who doesn't have a computer, wouldn't even come to the conclusion that it's star wars related unless someone asked her "is MP3 the name of an audio format or a robot from star wars." I'm going to guess that this is similar to what happened when someone recorded himself walking around a campus asking "Is Obama a Keynesian (yes, he is)" and people were smugly saying that no the President was born in Hawaii.

Re:Probably deceptively worded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406515)

I thought you meant to say "Is Obama a KENYAN"...

But then, that would be too close to the truth...

Re:Probably deceptively worded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406557)

Oh, great. Another trolling fool trying to push his anti-Obama agenda onto Slashdot, then replying to himself as an AC. Turn off your computer and find a life.

Re:Probably deceptively worded (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 9 months ago | (#46406893)

I don't think you get the joke, or rather you are the punchline. There's a video of someone going around asking "Is Obama a Keynesian?", Keynesian economics being the type of economics Obama favours. People assume the speaker means "Kenyan", per the Birther stupidity, and assert "No, he's an American from Hawaii". The fact is he is an American who is also a Keynesian.

Re:Probably deceptively worded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406903)

I'm sure it was a multiple-choice question and they just took their best guess. People don't really think MP3 is a robot from Star Wars; they just don't know what it is and they had to pick something.

Science/tech press releases: PR gold (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 9 months ago | (#46406443)

Sci/tech press releases are like the autocue in Anchorman, you can put any old bollocks up there and the mainstream media will uncritically print it as news because it's a lot cheaper than having an actual science/tech department big enough to fill that section of the paper/website.

Software vs Hardware (1)

ketomax (2859503) | about 9 months ago | (#46406461)

'software' was comfortable clothing

So corsets are hardware?

Re:Software vs Hardware (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406495)

Useful when you need to simulate a thin client.

Shenanigans! (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 9 months ago | (#46406471)

That number's way too low.

Unreliable research (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406543)

Those people where given three options, how many of those just filled in something randomly? If they all filled it in randomly because they could not be bothered to think about it 1/3 would have answered STD. So in my opion this research shows 1/3 of americans are to lazy to think about questionaires so they filled in something random.

If it had been an open question and people wrote STD on their own, then maybe it meant something.

We get it. People are stupid (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 9 months ago | (#46406621)

I guess it's okay and even amusing to do polls which demonstrate specific knowledge weakness among the people of the US. What's not funny, however, is to show people are actually becoming more stupid than ever before. The cause or the fault, I'm sure has many sources, but people are increasingly ignorant.

Saying this much is already enough for some people to become angry. But when people start throwing around suggested causes such as "no child left behind" or other "lowering the bar" measures, people start to become even more furious. I think one of our most basic areas of training is really missing which people rarely speak of -- it's how to tell the difference between emotion and fact. But in case people haven't noticed, the measures taken have more to do with feelings than ability, achievement or knowledge. Why? Because we think ignorance leads to crime? We want to believe that don't we... after all, we're smart people and we're not criminals. And "smart" is a matter of training isn't it? That's a tremendous presumption.

Nothing I say will make any difference. But maybe if enough people start saying it, it can be heard. The first thing that has to go is anything "feel good" law or policy.

How much of the population is over 60? (3, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | about 9 months ago | (#46406683)

I know significant numbers of the over 60 population who avoid and ignore all things digital save for their satellite TV receivers. And the only reason they have those is because cable wasn't available in their area.

Yeah, sure, I could laugh and point at the "dumb Americans", but it's not dumb Americans -- it's dumb people, and we've no shortage of them around the world. After all, as George Carlin pointed out: Think about how stupid the average person is, and remember that half the population is dumber than that.

Besides, as many have already pointed out, this whole article is clearly a slashvertisement to give eyeballs to a piece of shit coupon site.

Re:How much of the population is over 60? (2)

msobkow (48369) | about 9 months ago | (#46406695)

Wait a minute! Where's this "coupon site" people were talking about? This one is an LA Times article. They may be ad supported, but they're hardly one of the shady coupon distribution sites. Did the article get re-linked to a more reputable source?

Re:How much of the population is over 60? (2)

msobkow (48369) | about 9 months ago | (#46406701)

Ah. I get it. The coupon site sponsored the "research."

Well, if they did their research by calling their own customers, no wonder we got the low end of the IQ scale responding. :P

Re:How much of the population is over 60? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46407031)

I know significant numbers of the over 60 population who avoid and ignore all things digital save for their satellite TV receivers. And the only reason they have those is because cable wasn't available in their area.

Yeah, sure, I could laugh and point at the "dumb Americans", but it's not dumb Americans -- it's dumb people, and we've no shortage of them around the world. After all, as George Carlin pointed out: Think about how stupid the average person is, and remember that half the population is dumber than that.

Besides, as many have already pointed out, this whole article is clearly a slashvertisement to give eyeballs to a piece of shit coupon site.

Slashvertisement aside for a moment, I'm not sure your argument here holds much water. Take that same group of people aged 60+ who are masters of their own domain (i.e. their cable box) and ask them what a "hard drive" is. Or a "DVR". They probably wouldn't have a clue (even though they own both and don't even know it), and yet they can operate the cable box better than most geeks I know. People don't pay attention to little shit that doesn't concern them. Do you think the average person knows or cares what kind of oil goes into their car if they never change it? I highly doubt it, and that's something they rely on every single day.

Ignorance is bliss. And we have a lot of ignorantly happy people.

Lower age limit is not enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406769)

You really need an upper age limit on these surveys, very few elderly people in any country would know any of these acronyms. In fact very few people at all could spell out the acronyms, let alone explain what they actually mean.

HTML as STD Prevention (1)

bonvoyage (844410) | about 9 months ago | (#46406829)

Ironically, spending lots of time with HTML is nearly as effective at preventing STDs as is abstinence.

To be fair... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406837)

A lot of rather sexual stuff is transmitted by HTML.

HTML (2)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 9 months ago | (#46406851)

One in Ten Americans Thinks HTML is a Type of Sexually Transmitted Infection

To be fair, from an IT geeks perspective that is kind of true. To be precise, web pages written in HTML can be, and frequently are, carriers for a multitude of electronically transmitted infections.

LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406861)

LOL

HTML causes autism (1)

AndyKron (937105) | about 9 months ago | (#46406949)

It causes autism too. Don't use it!

sure im buying it (1)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 9 months ago | (#46406955)

i've seen plenty of legacy markup code that i wouldn't want touch without protection.

This is nothing compared to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46406979)

...how many people believe in imaginary beings, like a god. More than 90% of the population of the US believe in imaginary higher beings, the president included.

Good news (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46407003)

89% percent knows what HTML is. Pretty good.

Alternate Headline: (1)

lq_x_pl (822011) | about 9 months ago | (#46407011)

Coupon-seekers Troll Tech Community.

Either most of the participants lived in nursing homes, or they didn't respond seriously. I'm leaning towards the latter since, "27% thought 'gigabyte' was a South American insect." Apple's marketing department has made sure that even the most vapid of us crave "more gigabytes on our phones."

Not my problem. (1)

westlake (615356) | about 9 months ago | (#46407053)

Sherlock Holmes had no room in his head for information that was not relevant to his work.

Why should a geek expect a layman to remember the meaning of acronyms that he almost never encounters in everyday use?

Web forums like Slashdot are notoriously informal and inconsistent in the mark-ups they will accept. AOL and other IMs simply presented the user with a toolbar of options. Bold, Italic, Insert URL and so on.

My recent trip ... (1)

RaccoonBandit (2597025) | about 9 months ago | (#46407057)

I went on a wonderful cruise recently to USB. I spent a lot of time on the motherboard, watching the schools of blu-rays frolicking in the sea. I spent all day wearing my software, it was fantastic! Sadly though I got stung by gigabyte -- I though they only existed in South America? And now to make things worse, I think the captain might have given me HTML ... ... all that aside. The respondents were asked to pick from three possible definitions and 77% got SEO wrong. There must have been some impressive alternatives.

proving that... (3, Insightful)

gemtech (645045) | about 9 months ago | (#46407081)

acronyms, abbreviations, and initializations out of context are confusing.

Is society really that stupid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46407087)

I don't want to live on this planet anymore...

So now the question is (1)

hibiki_r (649814) | about 9 months ago | (#46407099)

How are we going to inform the other 90% of the dangers of HTML? I am sure they also don't understand how dangerous PHP can be, and don't want to vaccinate their daughters against it.

Blu Ray? (2)

coofercat (719737) | about 9 months ago | (#46407121)

I always thought Blu Ray was a pr0nstar - whether he has HTML or not is unclear, but with his skillz he needn't worry about being replaced by MP3 any time soon.

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