A February article in the MIT Technology Review spotlighted recent research by Brandeis University mathematician Jonathan Touboul on "the hipster effect," specifically how "the population of hipsters initially act randomly but then undergo a phase transition into a synchronized state." That's a fancy way of saying that hipsters, despite their efforts at nonconformity, eventually end up looking alike. The Washington Post reports what happened next: An irate reader emailed the magazine on Feb. 28 to complain not only about the "poorly written and insulting" article but also to file a grievance about the Getty Images stock photo of a hipster-resembling man that accompanied the story. The email writer's main beef: The bearded man in the photo was him, and the magazine was guilty of slander.
Gideon Lichfield, the publication's editor in chief, lays out the timeline on Twitter, explaining that once they received the complaint, his creative director checked with Getty to make sure the magazine wasn't using the photo in violation of its license. And that's when they discovered "the model's name wasn't the name of our angry hipster-hater." He laughs about it in his final tweet: "All of which just proves the story we ran: Hipsters look so much alike that they can’t even tell themselves apart from each other." The annoyed reader's sheepish response to this revelation, sent to the MIT magazine: "Wow, I stand corrected." (Read more hipsters stories.)