Webtacular World Issue # 228, April 15, 2018

Greetings Webtaculators! Welcome again to another edition where all the news that happened over the last week is delivered in a succinct and digestible manner. According to The Guardian, I’m protecting your mental health. You’re welcome. Also, do your taxes, for real this time (final warning). On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: The Problem With Bombing Syria
Why: Because it’s really hard to understand what exactly is happening in Syria when a President who won partially because of his claim of being against intervention bombs Syria for chemical weapons usage… again. For those of you paying attention to dates, yes, this is an article from 2017, and yes, the U.S. lead a bombing campaign against Syria for using chemical weapons less than a year ago (I don’t blame you for not remembering – it’s been a year of too much news, and I don’t really recall any news source bringing up kinda important point, but I guess they don’t remember either). It obviously worked wonders the first time.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Zuck Goes To Washington
Why: Because Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, a giant company with access to a lot of our information, had to spend two days in Washington assuring a bunch of elderly people that everything is going to be fine. To be perfectly clear, everyone who uses Facebook should understand that the misappropriation of data in this case isn’t their fault – it’s Cambridge Analytica’s, regardless of Mark Zuckerberg taking the blame for it. Yes, Facebook has plenty of problems, and their business as it exists is invasive, but you probably should have known that. Facebook’s terms of service and Data primer spell out what they sell, and were things that you acknowledged that you read when you signed up (you read them, didn’t you?). I know, legalese and terms are boring, but it might pay to actually start reading these things.

Finally, it’s great that Congress is finally looking like it cares about privacy and data leaks, because it sure as shit didn’t when Equifax, a giant company with access to a lot of our information that actually matters for things like personal loan rates or the ability to qualify to buy a house, had to spend way less time explaining essentially that they are too big to fail for completely failing to protect our information even though that is one of the core parts of their job. While you can still be mad at Facebook, take a good long think about why you’re more upset about the company that lets you post pictures of you on vacation versus the one that determines your financial future without your knowledge.

POLITICAL THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Bye Bye Ry Guy
Why: Because Paul Ryan is a coward who failed to do what he said he was going to, and left the government broke(n).

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Playoffs!
Why: Because baseball doesn’t officially exist for another few months or so.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Rock Rampage
Why: Because the Dwayne Johnson finally figured out how to sell fun dumb movies again. This one happens to be based on a video game where the entire premise is a monkey, a lizard, and a wolf punch a bunch of buildings, and that’s about it. There must be a reason why Hollywood can’t make a good video game movie.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. listen)
What: Sky Full Of Songs
Why: Because Florence + The Machine still kills it. Also, Bey slayed Coachella.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: This Is What Propaganda Looks Like
Why: Because Mike Pence was not in Washington when the Trump decided to drop bombs on Syria.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Shots Fired
Why: Because Former FBI Director James Comey’s book is finally coming out. Read the transcript regarding the his George Stephanopoulos interview – you’ll hopefully never have to hear a former head of FBI call a sitting President “morally unfit” again.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. read)
What: Mad Dads
Why: Because God of War’s Kratos, previously seen being an angry ashen man who killed every single Greek god in some truly brutal ways, somehow managed to find a little bit of heart, and now is rampaging through Norse Mythology. Good times. As for real people, Billy Mitchell, best known for his role in The King of Kong, just was stripped of all of his video game high score records.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Raccoons Are Funnier In French; West Rolled; A Legacy Of Trauma
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Airstream, Because Houses Are Expensive
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

Webtacularly yours,
Brian
Managing Editor, Webtacular World
The Internet You Didn’t Know You Needed™

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Webtacular World Issue # 227, April 8, 2018

Greetings Webtaculators! Remember to do your taxes. On to the news.

P.S. Errol, read Rachel’s emails.

STORY OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Weapons Of Mass Destruction
Why: Because actual chemical attacks are being committed in whatever version of a proxy war Syria is currently in. Weird how our current President wants to withdraw troops (I could have sworn the U.S. was all about running guns blazing into Middle Eastern countries that were a threat…) The fact that the U.S. and Russia’s relationship is deteriorating at a rapid rate is not any help to the situation either.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Toys Were Us
Why: Because essentially Bain & Co. saw this commercial and took it literally. Then they broke it.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (long legalese read)
What: The Cost Of Silence
Why: Because that’s how much Bill Reilly paid Rebecca Diamond to drop her sexual harassment claim. Yup. Nothing there.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (10 min. read)
What: How To Redesign The Web
Why: Because Reddit underwent its first large redesign in over 10 years, which is forever in internet time.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (long reads)
What: Racism Is Bad
Why: Because Deadspin did two particularly well done deep dives into racism and sports – one dealing with Lacrosse and the other with Basketball. Both are worth your time.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: Revisiting The 80s
Why: Because Molly Ringwald discusses some of the problems with some of her breakout movies, like Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club in light of the #MeToo movement.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Rainbow Kitten Surprise… Surprises
Why: Because their new album, How To: Friend, Love, Freefall is excellent, and their video for Hide is extremely powerful. Definitely looking forward to seeing these guys at Outside Lands.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (short look)
What: Trump Tower Fire
Why: Because symbolism.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: The Forever Game That Wasn’t
Why: Because the original was supposed to last 10 years. It didn’t. The sequel’s player-base seems to have disappeared even faster.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Star Wars; Sorta Star Wars; Definitely Not Star Wars
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Sakeru
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

Webtacularly yours,
Brian
Managing Editor, Webtacular World
The Internet You Didn’t Know You Needed™

Webtacular World Issue # 226, April 1, 2018. TRIFECTA EDITION

Greetings Webtaculators! Regardless of our differences, we can all agree that this weekend had too many holidays featuring dead sons (some who stay dead, some who came back from the dead, and some who never were dead [see second story]). I hope everyone enjoyed drinking too much wine, collecting too many rabbit eggs, playing too many practical jokes, doing some combination of the three, or doing something completely unrelated to any of them. Finally, this is the time of year where I usually find a bunch of fun Peeps related material, but since this is the worst timeline, the only thing that I could find was this. Fun is dead. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: That’s The Spirit!
Why: Because nothing says “I’m a Christian” like threatening immigrants (again). This capped off another stunning week where Trump fired even more of his super capable Executive Branch. At least he finally acted on the Russian spy poisoning. And, because we no longer care what happens in the Middle East, apparently 15 (or more?) Palestinians were killed while protesting at the Israel – Gaza boarder (Ed. note – the lack of actual facts I have been able to find on this one is very troubling. I do not know how in this day and age it is impossible for a 30,000+  person demonstration to go uncovered as a live event. The stories seem to hyperbolize that it was completely the Israelis’ fault or it was completely the Gazans’ fault – in most cases, if there’s anything we know about the history between the two, nothing is ever this simple. In this case, however, the burden falls on Israel, regardless of the importance of boarder security: 1,500 people can not get injured due to a live fire situation without justification, and Israel has done a terrible job so far of providing anything better than a “Sacramento Cop” explanation. Moreover, if maintaining security was Israel’s main goal, Israel has already lost control of that narrative, which is why it’s probably the best option to just not shoot at non-soldiers in the first place. But don’t worry, because Jared Kushner is going to fix this right up.)

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: More Strikes For More Pay
Why: Because it’s almost like unions are helping teachers organize in a way that gets them results.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: All About The Census
Why: Because the problem with just counting “citizens” is that it vastly under-represents the number of people actually living in a particular state. This has major implications for everything from allocated Congressional seats to district sizes to available funding.

NEWS THING OF THE WEEK (1 min. 30 sec. watch)
What: The Present Is Terrifying
Why: Because normally I’d throw in all the fun April Fools day stuff in here, but since it appears everything is lying to us anyway, it doesn’t seem so fun anymore.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: BEISBOL IS BACK!
Why: Because at least for now the Giants are tied with the Dodgers. And, even with rule changes, it’s not quite over yet. Also, the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship game was great.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Are You Ready?
Why: Because Steven Spielberg turned a very mediocre book into box office gold.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Music In The Park
Why: Because Outside Lands is coming back this August with Janet Jackson in tow.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: God Damn It Sean Penn
Why: Because you should definitely not read his book.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: A Far Cry From Meaning
Why: Because setting an open-world, first person shooter in a version of rural Montana taken over by a Christian fundamentalist doomsday prepper cult, but then turning the rest of the game around that into a non-serious slapstick comedy kind of misses the mark.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: 23 And Your Car; Net Rogan; Sidekicks
Why: Because Internet (this is seriously depressing).

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Even Year?
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

Webtacularly yours,
Brian
Managing Editor, Webtacular World
The Internet You Didn’t Know You Needed™

Webtacular World Issue # 225, March 25, 2018

Greetings Webtaculators. Another week, another White House story (or 5). This time, on “how could things possibly get any more dumb:” a porn star gets a 60 Minutes interview to describe how the current President threatened her to cover up an affair; the President fired his national security advisor and replaced him with potentially the most dangerous man possible for that position; the President lost one of his main attorneys in his quest to stop the DOJ from doing its job, even though he apparently got plenty of help from the House Intelligence Committee in their “investigation“; and the President is going to try to ban transgender soldiers from serving, again.  I’m only assuming it can get worse, although I won’t be happy to find out exactly how! On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (7 min. read)
What: The Kids Are Alright
Why: Because this weekend’s student led protest against gun violence drew hundreds of thousands (if not more) from around the world. It was truly inspiring to see, and I can’t wait to see what else these kids do. This is assuming of course that Bolton and Co. don’t destroy the world before they get a chance to lead.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Rise Interest Rates, RISE!
Why: Because this is the perfect time to try to buy a house. /s

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: Let Freedom Speak
Why: Because “Free Speech” is only as free as John Roberts wants it to be.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (long reads)
What: Technology and the Very Bad, No Good Week
Why: An automated car killed a pedestrian, people finally are realizing that Facebook makes money from selling their information, and Guccifer goofed.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: A Sticky Wicket
Why: Because this is the biggest scandal to rock the world’s version of baseball.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Day Of The Dogs
Why: Because Wes Anderson made another good Wes Anderson movie.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: Sea Shanties And Synths
Why: Because The Decemberists released a new album that is both familiar yet new.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (10 min. read)
What: Fiction By Women
Why: Because I still don’t read enough women authors. I’m trying.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (long reads)
What: Games And Guns
Why: Because guns are a huge part of how a player interacts with digital worlds, and even if games do not cause gun violence, it is still a good time to rethink why they are such a large part of digital media.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: A Wes Anderson Movie; How To Turn Down; What To Eat
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: A Lollipop Of My Face
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

Webtacularly yours,
Brian
Managing Editor, Webtacular World
The Internet You Didn’t Know You Needed™

Webtacular World Issue # 224, March 18, 2018

Greetings Webtaculators! Well, it looks like our President is in open war with the FBI. The last time this happened, things worked out real well for the President. Across the Atlantic, the Cold War is heating up because Russia keeps killing people in Great Britain.  Perhaps most importantly, a group of future voters found its voice. I guess they don’t call it March Madness for nothing. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Вернём Россия былое величие!
Why: Because Putin won the Russian “election.” 6 more years!

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: To Health
Why: Because Theranos’ CEO and President were charged with fraud regarding their unicorn blood works start up.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (long reads)
What: Tillerson fired / McCabe fired
Why: Because Trump and his cohorts (the ones that still are around) do not seem to be able to do anything besides fire people.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK ( 5 min. read)
What: A Brilliant Mind
Why: Because Stephan Hawking, one of the most preeminent astrophysicists of our time, passed away.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (10 min. read)
What: Your Information For Sale
Why:  Because this man had a direct influence on how we ended up with Brexit and Trump.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Fun Madness
Why: Because the NCAA basketball playoffs have been a lot of fun so far.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: The Only “Good” Video Game Movie Franchise
Why: Because it seems like Laura Croft is the only video game studios understand how to make into a movie.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (long listen)
What: SXSW 2018
Why: Because South By Southwest is a showpiece for a bunch of great new music. Too bad music cant escape chaos.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (7 min. read)
What: Time To Get Reading!
Why: Because the world doesn’t seem to want to wait too much longer for us all to no longer be part of it.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: The Rise Of Fortnite
Why: Because when Rosanne Barr tweets about her record in a video game and the dances make it into sports celebrations, you know it’s reached some sort of wider audience.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: A Good Memory; The Rise Of Anime; Isle Of Dogs
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Desk / Chair
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

Webtacularly yours,
Brian
Managing Editor, Webtacular World
The Internet You Didn’t Know You Needed™

Webtacular World Issue # 223, March 11, 2018

Greetings Webtaculators! Daylight Savings really threw me for a loop this time around, so this is going to be a short one. You all remembered to change your clocks forward, right? On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Whatever
Why: Because nothing Trump says is true, so why start believing him now? Also, remember, he’s suing a porn star right now. And he employs people who are proud racists. And he continuously lowers the bar for what the term “Presidential” means. But sure, he’ll solve the problem of North Korea.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (10 min. read)
What: Rethinking City Living
Why: Because sometimes your wife’s and close friends’ startup gets a full spread in the NY Times. Congrats Starcity!

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Shkrelinfreude
Why: Because the “Pharma Bro” gets to go to jail for seven years.

TOY THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Still Will Hurt To Step On
Why: Because Lego is working on a more planet friendly version of its bricks.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. read [∞ to fill out 100% wrong])
What: Bracket Time
Why: Because college basketball playoffs.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. listen)
What: New Sade
Why: Because sometimes great music is attached to underperforming movies.

LITERATURE  / MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: A Wrinkle
Why: Because A Wrinkle In Time came out in theaters, and was not warmly received by critics. After having just re-read the book, I get it – the characters are one dimensional, no one has much agency, and the pacing is all over the place. However, I think that it probably is due to the fact that it is not written for adults – the emotion, descriptions (or lack thereof), whimsy, and discovery are great for children.

What: Video Games ≠ Violence
Why: Because, for the last time, video games are not the reason why people shoot people.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Overlooked Obituaries; Apple Still Makes Good Commercials; Sorry To Bother You
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: My Hour Of Sleep Back
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

Webtacularly yours,
Brian
Managing Editor, Webtacular World
The Internet You Didn’t Know You Needed™

Webtacular World Issue # 222, March 4, 2018

Greetings Webtaculators! The Oscars didn’t screw up too much this time! Good job for them! The same definitely can’t be said about the U.S. Executive branch, which somehow managed to have a week that was most likely worse than most of the other disastrous ones before it. I don’t know how the bar keeps on getting lower, but it does. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Losing All Hope
Why: Because Trump lost his communications director (I still find it impossible that someone actually held this job), is probably going to have to kick his son-in-law out, and is still openly feuding with most of his remaining staff. Trump also basically said that he doesn’t care about gun rights, specifically relating to due process. What a great leader!

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: The Phantom Menace
Why: Because trade wars are bad, and Trump apparently is Emperor Palpatine. George Lucas was trying to warn us all along.

EDUCATION THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Striking For The Future
Why: Because West Virginia teachers have been on strike for over a week. Maybe having taxes to pay for a decent public sector wages is a good thing?

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. read)
What: No More Drivers
Why: Because CA just allowed driverless cars to actually be driverless. This will be fun.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (15 min. read)
What: What Is A Baseball Anyway?
Why: Because baseball is coming back soon, and you might as well know why people are knocking more out of the park,

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. look)
What: The Oscars
Why: Because this year went fine! Del Toro and Peele won! Here are a bunch of times the Oscars were wrong.

ENTERTAINER THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: The Donald
Why: Because Donald Glover’s Atlanta is back for another season, and he continues to prove to be one of the the most interesting multifaceted artists of this era.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Captain
Why: Because one of America’s best writers is now in charge of one of America’s best super heroes.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Learning From Failure
Why: Because Into The Breach makes you think about what you would sacrifice to save the world.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Hating The Oscars; Muppets Minus Muppets; Polkaton
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Senna
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

Webtacularly yours,
Brian
Managing Editor, Webtacular World
The Internet You Didn’t Know You Needed™