Webtacular World Issue # 391, December 5, 2021

Greetings Webtaculators! Welcome to Webtacular World’s 8th Birthday Party. I started this thing when I was supposed to be doing a million other things, and that’s basically the reason why it is basically the longest continuous project I have ever worked on. To celebrate, here is my latke recipe, since Hanukkah is also eight days, or something! Enjoy.

Brian’s Totally Reasonable, No Fuss Some Muss Latke Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 Russet potatoes of reasonable size
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4 eggs
  • Canola Oil
  • Salt / Pepper
  • Apple Sauce / Sour Cream / Hot Sauce / Whatever You Want for toppings

TOOLS

  • Cooking range
  • frying pan
  • Baking sheet
  • Baking drying rack
  • Chef’s knife
  • Spatula
  • Cutting board
  • Two large bowls
  • clean kitchen towel / cheese cloth
  • Food processor with medium grater attachment and chopping blade
    • NOTE: if you want to be super traditional about it, a cheese grater and potato masher will work in place of the food processor. I DO NOT RECOMMEND DOING THIS.

STEP BY STEP INFALIBLE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Wash / scrub potatoes.
    • NOTE: no need to peel the potatoes, but you can if you want.
  • Peel onion.
  • Use chef’s knife to cut the potatoes and the onion into quarters.
  • Use medium grater attachment on the food processor to grate the potatoes and the onion
  • Move grated potatoes and onion (hereafter “mix”) to a bowl.
  • Switch the grater attachment to the chopping blade in the food processor.
  • Take ¼ of the mix, and put that back into the food processor.
  • Press “pulse” until nice and chopped. Should be a little thicker than smooth.
  • Add chopped mix back into the bowl with the grated mix, and stir with your hands until both integrated.
  • Take a handful of the mix place in the towel over a sink, bundle it up, and squeeze out as much liquid out of the as you can. Place drier mix in second bowl. Repeat until done (this is the hard part).
  • Once all mix is dry, add and mix in eggs until you have a slightly wet “batter” (3-4 eggs depending on size of the potatoes and onion you started with).
  • Mix in salt and pepper to taste.
    • NOTE: If you do not cook often, this will be more salt and pepper than you think is necessary.
  • Add oil to frying pan, about 1 inch.
  • Heat oil on medium-high (about a 7 or 8 if your range uses a number setting)
    • NOTE: Oil will be hot enough when you drop a bit of batter in the oil and it starts to bubble
  • Form a palm sized patty of the batter in your hands, packing the batter tight.
  • Place gently in the hot oil.
    • NOTE: Do NOT touch the oil, and try to not let the oil touch you. (the second is the hard part – oil likes being mean)
  • Fit a MAXIMUM of 4 latkes in the pan at once – you do not want to over crowd the pan.
  • Cook 3-4 minutes on one side, flip once (using the spatula, not your hand).
    • You can tell when they are ready to flip / take out of the pan when you can see the latkes turn a nice golden brown on the bottom edge that you can see from the side.
  • Place finished latkes on drying rack over baking sheet to cool.
  • Repeat until out of batter.
    • NOTE: you may have to top off / replace the oil every few batches so it doesn’t burn. You must wait until the oil reheats before adding the next batch.
  • Eat promptly. Share if feeling friendly.
    • NOTE: You can store cooked latkes in a plastic bag, and put them in the fridge for 2 days or a freezer for a 2 weeks. Reheat by placing on a baking sheet, and put baking sheet in a 375 degree (Fahrenheit for you metric lovers) oven until warm, 5ish minutes.
  • Get someone else to clean up.

On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: The Last Republican
Why: Because Bob Dole passed away today.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: On My Own
Why: Because living on your own in the United States remains an incredibly difficult thing to do.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: The Next Phase
Why: Because Jack Dorsey left Twitter as the web continues to morph into whatever is coming.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: STRIKE!
Why: Because actually it’s a baseball lockout, which is essentially the reverse of a strike, but whatever. SPORTS!

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK ()6 min. read)
What: Make Los Angeles The 70s Again
Why: Because Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest movie, Licorice Pizza, attempts to capture whatever it was that people want to seem to get back to so badly.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: If You Have To, It Might As Well Be One Of These
Why: Because I generally dislike Christmas music.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: Year In Review
Why: Because 2021 is almost over, but it really is just the extra long second half of 2020.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: The Bookstore Has Gone Bad
Why: Because having a single marketplace actually does super strange things to book sales.

COMEDY THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: You’re Kidding…
Why: Because Spotify won’t pay more for comedians’ jokes.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Here Comes Santa Clauses; Bob Dole Bob Dole; Kenny G Is The Kenny G of Interviews
Why: Because Internet.

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

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

Webtacular World Issue # 390, November 28, 2021

Greetings / Happy Thanksgiving / Happy Hanukkah Webtaculators! Speaking of the holidays, it is sort of interesting how both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are celebrations of perseverance, kinship, when in reality the historical events concern religious fundamentalists doing not so great things! At least the food is good. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: OMICRON
Why: Because at least calling this variant “Omicron” might sound scary enough to dumb people to maybe get them to finally take COVID seriously?

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (2  min. read)
What: Very Dark Gray Friday
Why: Because online Black Friday sales decreased for the first time ever.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: Well, That’s One Way To Do It
Why: Because Elizabeth Holmes’ testimony in the case regarding Theranos’ failure to do… well, anything, aside from taking millions from investors, doesn’t seem to be going so great for her. (Important note – I am purposefully not talking about the Kyle Ritter or Ahmaud Arbery trials. In a small effort to be slightly kinder to myself, since I do not have the mental space to address them, I won’t be. If you have paid any attention to this blog / news site / rambling thing… whatever it is, you already should know that I have thought a lot these cases, and I assume you have too. if you want to know more about the cases, just google them. I have faith that you will find plenty of writing on these issues.)

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Get Your Booster
Why: Because you’re not a dumb person (see above).

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Ah Yes, It’s Our Fault
Why: Because although I like a lot of Ridley Scott’s movies, I don’t think him yelling at my generation for not seeing one of his recent ones in theaters during COVID really makes me like him all that much.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (long watch)
What: Or How To Write A Bunch Of Classic Songs In 1 Easy Step
Why: Because Peter Jackson’s “Get Back,” an 8 hour (!) documentary on the recording of The Beatles’ final album, shows just how seemingly effortless two of the greatest songwriters of the last 100 years made songwriting look.

THEATER THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: The Entirety Of American Musical Theater Embodied In A Single Person
Why: Because Stephen Sondheim was the voice of modern musicals.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: All About Mel
Why: Speaking of great artists of the last 100 years, Mel Brooks, potentially the funniest man in showbusiness, wrote an autobiography.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: A Generational Divide
Why: Because times have changed (thanks Fortnite!), and now people are more concerned with completing side tasks to unlock skins rather than the game’s goals itself. Back in my day, I didn’t need to dress up my space murder man in fancy costumes in order to enjoy blasting aliens in the face with purple needles! (grumble grumble).

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Go Inside Radiohead’s Mind; Grohlnukkah; Happy Thanksgiving!
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Food Gifts Are The Best Gifts
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 389, November 14, 2021

Greetings Webtaculators! So we’re almost at Thanksgiving now. Neat! Sorry I didn’t remind everyone to set their clocks last week – at this point though, it would be weird if you missed it, since everything (but your car or oven) does it for you automatically. (If you are using your car or your oven as the only means of time keeping, I don’t know how you’re reading this.) On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (8 min. read)
What: Environmentalized!
Why: Because that when two of the heads of two superpowers (China and Russia, one of which is the largest country in the world) don’t show up to a global climate conference, it might not be a global effort. Hey! At least the U.S. seems to be kinda sorta trying now!

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Governated!
Why: Because Democrats finally passed a pared-back but still monumental infrastructure bill, which is somewhat of a miracle considering half the country’s politicians want to accomplish nothing.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Contemptuous!
Why: Because Steve Bannon should be launched into the Sun.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Dystopia3.0!
Why: Because Web3 promises to be better than the current version of the Internet, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that the people who thrive in these “competition only” takes on humanity tend to not be the best of us. Just read Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story instead. Or hopefully you bought into crypto a few years ago.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Cowardice!
Why: Because Aaron “Jeopardy” Rodgers got caught lying about his COVID vaccination status, but since he is white, and the NFL’s fan base most likely hates COVID rules as much as he does, he will not be impacted at all. The NFL should be sent into the Sun along with Bannon.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Incessant!
Why: Because Eternals is the worst reviewed Marvel movie ever. Which, considering that there are… 26 (?!?!?) of them, is actually really impressive that they’ve all been pretty ok at worst!

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Re-Red!
Why: Because Taylor Swift somehow became one of my favorite artists, and I have no idea how we got here.

ART THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Walkened!
Why: Because Christopher Walken destroyed an original Banksy tag as part of a TV show. I wonder who gets to own that NFT?

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: Lawyered!
Why: Because my roommate from law school wrote a book about what to do if you don’t pass the Bar exam. Given, he never shared this information with me when it was still relevant to my life, but that’s OK.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: Bang!
Why: Because the Call Of Battlefield games (Call of Duty: Vanguard and Battlefield 2042, respectively) are out. You would a) already know this happened if you cared about this sort of thing, since both games have been releasing around this time almost annually for just under 20 years, and b) the most recent releases are being regarded as some of the worst in both series to date. However! That’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m here to talk about the issues with storytelling in war games. Does this sound like unnecessary over analysis of something that doesn’t really matter? Maybe! But I am someone who firmly believes that the stories we tell and how we tell them matter a GREAT DEAL, and that poorly telling stories that millions and millions of people around the world are passively taking in could do a lot to influence the way in which they think about either history or our likely future.

Call Of Duty is up first, because it is by far the worst offender. This year, Call of Duty decided to go back to its roots by covering World War II (again). However, instead of actually being a story about any of the literal millions of real people or events that occurred, the story’s creators decided to go and pretend that the Allies had a multi-racial / sex secret ops team of international super soldiers who are trying to stop the creation of the Fourth Reich by Nazis who thought that Hitler was too soft. I hope that none of you are surprised that this never really happened (yes, of course a war video game where the player character gets shot thousands of times and suffers at most a reset while having a kill count in the hundreds is not possible, but that’s not the point).

As a bit of background, the original Call of Duty made its name showing the devastation of real war by taken from the point of view of regular grunts from different theaters of the war, many of whom didn’t live through the game’s end. This was powerful and good story telling, especially for the time. Here, we instead get a whitewashing of the actual problematic history of Allied forces for something that is trying to be palatable for modern sensibilities, but fails catastrophically (again, ignoring the fact that the point is to shoot and kill virtual soldiers). The worst example in this case is the American pilot character who gets shot down in Japan, only to be rescued by the 93rd Division, a very real part of the U.S. Army comprised solely of African-Americans. Of course, their only role in the game gets whittled down to “magical negro” portions, and the (white) player character gets to escape while learning some valuable life lessons about friendship and sacrifice along the way. It’s not good! Another fun screw up is that the Australian character is actually based on a real New Zealand hero – the Kiwis were NOT ok with that.

I am not trying to say telling alternative history takes on recent events is never allowed or good (see Tarantino’s Inglorious Bastards for how to do this well, for example). What I am saying is that telling these particular stories AS history is problematic, especially when we are currently in the middle of a very real culture war about history and its very real affects on the modern world. Call of Duty Vanguard could have focused any of the real version of events and told a much more impactful story. Instead, we get a immensely forgettable and bland historical re-write pretending that World War II defeated racism once and for all.

On to Battlefield 2042. Battlefield is a multiplayer only game, so its story matters significantly less, if at all. It’s supposed to be fluffy window dressing to briefly explain why near future soldier wants to fight other near-future soldier, and that’s it. However, this game manages to have almost the complete opposite problem of Call of Duty – here since the future hasn’t happened, the setting could have been anything. Instead, we get a very plausible (and terrifying!) setting where the world essentially falls apart due to global warming, Russia and the US are the only remaining countries left, and everyone else becomes a soldier-of-fortune for those two countries as they battle for dwindling resources. Fighting in a soccer stadium in a near-future Qatar that is buried in sand is TOO REAL. Hell, it is so close to real socio-political problems that the game had to patch itself to get rid of an unintentional reference to a very current conflict. It is hard to find fun in the nihilism that could be just a simulation for where the world finds itself in a few short years.

In summary, just play Halo.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Digipets! Quack Attack! Rawr!
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Replace my knowledge of video games with information that pertains to the California Bar.
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 388, October 31, 2021

Greetings Webtaculators! I hope everyone is having a fantastic All Hallows Eve. We certainly did (Hobbit to scale).6F430A9E-9B04-44C1-B6F6-3E2C9E9ABAC7
On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (8 min. read)
What: A Closing Window
Why: Because this is likely the United States’ only chance save its future – if we continue to collectively act like nothing can be done, nothing will be, and it truly will be too late.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Tax The Rich
Why: Because billionaires have too much money, especially when they think the best thing to do with it is to flee Earth.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: The Last Thing We Need Right Now Is Access To More Guns
Why: Because I cannot think of an Originalist argument that assumes everyone has the right to carry a weapon.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: Say Hi To Meta
Why: Because Facebook renamed itself to Meta. Which is extremely silly.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. reads)
What: Sports Are On Hiatus
Why: Between the recent “shenanigans” happening all over (NHL, NFL, and MLB most specifically), it’s probably best to pay attention to anything else.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: Marvel Is Not Eternal
Why: Because the new Eternals film is a rare miss from the Disney comic juggernaut.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: A Good Kind Of War On Drugs
Why: Because The War On Drugs’ new album is terrific.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (hopefully infinite look)
What: Please Send Me Your Halloween Pics
Why: Because nothing makes me happier than seeing people having fun while looking ridiculous.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Always More Books
Why: What is interesting about this batch is the number of memoirs that are coming out.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Extreme To The Max
Why: Because Riders Republic comes close to capturing the heyday of “Xtreme” sports from the turn of the millennium.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: META; David S. Pumpkins Says Hi; Proto David S. Pumpkins
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Seriously, Your Halloween Pictures.
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 387, October 25, 2021

Greetings Webtaculators! I promise I’m not trying to make this a late Monday / early Tuesday thing, it’s just how things are going. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: It’s Like RAAAAAAIIIN, On A Rainy Day
Why: Because Northern California just had its wettest single day in October in recorded history. This barely put a dent in the state’s water shortage issues, but definitely is better than nothing.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: One TRILLION Dollars
Why: Because that’s how much Tesla is worth now after a hundred thousand vehicle order from somehow un-bankrupt Hertz

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: It’s Like They’re Not Even Trying
Why: Because the Supreme Court continues to do its job poorly.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: Bring Mammoths Back!
Why: Because no one learned anything from Jurassic Park.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: Yay! Basketball Is Here!
Why: Because there has already been enough preseason drama to host multiple Bravo TV shows.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (1.5 hour watch)
What: The King Of North Sudan
Why: Because my friends Danny Abel and Ben McIntire wrote, directed, and shot this film about a misguided man trying to claim his own country. It is much better than what is going on in the rest of the film industry and real Sudan.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. read)
What: Musicians On Musicians
Why: Because Rolling Stone Magazine is doing a neat thing by having artists do long-ish interviews with each other.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: The Printer People
Why: Because who knew you could create a funny and poignant book about people who kept our printers in order during the 1990s?

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. reads)
What: Single Player Is Back, Baby
Why: Because two releases this week, Marvel’s Guardians of The Galaxy and Age of Empires 4 hit players with the sweet, sweet goodness of not needing to hear teenagers (or their parents) scream or type racial slurs while playing a game.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Bike Tricks, Renewable Energy, AND Joy Formidable??? Count Me In; Mr. Blue Muppet; Mr. Science
Why: Because Internet.

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

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

Webtacular World Issue # 386, October 18, 2021

Greetings Webtaculators! Sorry for the delay – turns out it’s hard to make one of these during a power outage. It would generally help if people remembered that driving during new rain is especially dangerous due to extra slick roads, but humans have proven again and again that they learn nothing from well known previous experiences <<shrug emoji>>. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: At What Cost
Why: Because Colin Powell passed away due to complications from a combination of COVID and blood cancer (remember, this is why it’s important for healthy people to get vaccinated in general). The New York Times article noting Mr. Powell’s death is too kind by far, and does not go far enough in describing just how much his lies to the UN regarding non-existent weapons of mass destruction helped sway America’s decision to go to war in the Middle East, or even his role in washing the military’s hands of My Lai in Vietnam. Yes, he broke color barriers, was relatively apolitical, and even denounced Trump at the end, but always seemed to do too little, too late, especially when it mattered.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: We Quit
Why: Because people are over working too hard for too little.

HEATH THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: The Other, Other Epidemic
Why: Because crystal meth’s evolution from a super soldier serum to Semi Charmed Song to a brain-rotting horror drug can largely be traced to a combination of draconian drug laws combined with little will to help root causes of why communities seek out drugs in the first place. People aren’t killing themselves with meth and Fenatyl because they’re generally doing ok.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: How Not To Run A Prison
Why: Because Rikers is the definition of a broken system.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Notches On Everything
Why: Because Apple is coming out with its new line of computers, which not only have insanely fast processors, but also stuck a notch ON A 16 INCH DEVICE, WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY ABSURD. People do not hate bezels that much.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (too many reads)
What: Oh Man, Where To Start
Why: Because Urban Meyer, Kyrie Irving, Jon Gruden, Evander Kane, Ed Orgeron, Nick Rolovich and the Dodgers beat the Giants

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. watch)
What: THE GRIMMEST BATMAN
Why: Because the Dark Night wasn’t dark enough.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: The Best
Why: Because Pitchfork is old at this point, so why not look at the last 25 years of music.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Sure, Write A Bestseller While You’re At It
Why: Because Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighter fame is now a bestselling author to boot.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Full Of Dread
Why: Because the Metroid Dread is a gorgeous, difficult game that falls a bit too far on the “less fun” side of the difficulty curve – instead of overcoming a challenge feeling like a breakthrough, it feels like a slog. It just barely misses, though, and your milage may vary.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Don’t Go Down The Hole; Halloween Is Near; The Future Of Music
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: $1K Storm Trooper Costume
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 385, October 3, 2021

Greetings Webtaculators! Happy October (somehow)! Sometimes I wonder what I would do with a billion dollars, but then I remember that it takes only a few million dollars to live an extremely affluent existence without ever touching the initial amount. Remember, a billion is an extremely large number. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: Cash Rules Everything Around Us
Why: Because the Washington Post got access to a swath of documents that tells us all once again that the rich play by different rules than the rest of us.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Gotta Keep ‘Em Vaccinated
Why: Because California is continuing to do what has been done throughout modernity by requiring students to be vaccinated against many types of illnesses, including COVID. I have talked to people who went through the California public school system who are unhappy with this. The main claims against are that there hasn’t been enough studying done (there has), COVID doesn’t kill enough kids to make them get vaccinated for it (a. yikes! and b. neither does chickenpox, yet there still are required vaccines for that), and that parents should be able to choose for their kids whether or not they can be vaccinated (no, and it’s not like they had the choice before, either). Roughly 3 billion people have gotten the vaccine (remember how big of a number a billion is?). The time for well meaning skepticism has long since passed.Get the vaccine. When it’s available for your children, take them to get it.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: A Whole New Window
Why: Because Windows 11 is here on October 5. Since we’re talking about a Microsoft product, your computer may or may not be ready for it. If you want to find out, go here, scroll to the bottom, and click “download PC health check up app”. Might be a good thing to do anyway, just to learn something! Mac users, as always, feel free to ignore and mock.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: 107 = #1
Why: Because the SF Giants are the NL West Champs! The Giants (once again) beat the Padres to beat the Dodgers in the race the playoffs by a single game in an extremely exciting close to the regular season. Keep the torture coming.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Going Back To Theaters
Why: Because Venom, a mediocre if fun spinoff superhero movie sequel, somehow had the biggest opening weekend since the Pandemic started. Go figure.

TELEVISION THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Another Moment Of Zen
Why: Because Jon Stewart and his sardonic take on news is back in the form of The Problem With Jon Stewart. It is serious, because it turns out people think that because something is encased in comedy, it isn’t serious. Maybe this time he can kill Tucker Carlson’s career for good.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (11 min. listen)
What: Who Needs Albums When You Have Video Games?
Why: Because a number of artists are increasingly finding out that they can reach more listeners by being featured artists in games.

ART THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Art Is What You Take From It
Why: Because Jens Haaning was supposed to use $84k to recreate an art piece that he had previously made, showing the total annual pay of an Austrian and Danish person, respectively. Instead, he titled the recreation Take The Money And Run, and delivered two blank canvases. Amazing.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Feel Feelings, And Buy A Book!
Why: Because modern book covers don’t really convey much.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: <<Insert Obvious Joke Here>>
Why: Because Amazon released its new MMO (or “Massively Multiplayer Game”), New World, to a global player base ready to spend lots of time holding down “W” to walk forward forever and click on beautiful, digitally crafted rocks and trees to mine resources. It’s ridiculous to me how MMOs absolutely fail at gameplay compared to non-MMO games (basically – reactions are stifled, player actions are limited, story is often non-existent, and the gameplay itself is incredibly rote and repetitive), and yet solely because you can do these things with thousands of other people simultaneously is enough to make it all actually fun.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Medieval Tennis; That’s One Way To Find Yourself; Billionaires In Space
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD NOT GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: A Billion Dollars
Why: Because Brian doesn’t deserve it, and neither do the people who currently do.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 384, September 26, 2021

Greetings Webtaculators! I’m actually getting this one done at a reasonable hour, which is basically unheard of. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: The Twilight Of Merkel
Why: Because Angela Merkel was the head of the German government for 16 years (?!?!). It will be interesting to see how the current election pans out, especially since the last recent elections of other major democratic societies have been particularly … contentious is the word I’ll use for now (it’s currently looking like it is going for the Social Democratic Party, as opposed to Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party).

POLITICAL THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Lose Biglier
Why: Because the rabid idiots attempting to dismantle democracy in the U.S. found that Trump lost by a bigger margin in Arizona than previously assumed (not that this sham recount matters, since it has been plagued with problems from the get go). Of course, this isn’t stopping anyone from trying to do the same thing in other states, or even stop Trump from saying that the opposite happened.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: LuLaRong
Why: Because the allure of MLMs is understandable – be your own boss, make additional income for your family, feel good looking awesome in leggings! But the shortcomings of the business model show again and again that once a person runs out of friends to sell to, they are left with all of the risk. The religious crossover with MLMs is extremely interesting.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Another Iteration
Why: Because there’s a new iPhone. You probably already know this, and also already know whether or not you’re going to get one. Although it no longer is a red letter event like the release of these things once was, it still is neat to see how far technology in a specific sector has come in not that much time.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (1 min. watch)
What: 66 Yard Doink
Why: Because this is the longest field goal in NFL history.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (1 min. read)
What: Chris Pratt Is Super Mario
Why: Because I have no idea.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (long read / listen)
What: The 500 Best Songs EVER
Why: Because while the ordering at the high end raises a BUNCH of questions, at least Rolling Stone is finally recognizing music other than rock.

ART THING OF THE WEEK (as long as you’d like)
What: Go To Art Festivals
Why: Because you should. Last weekend, I had a chance to go to one which takes place outside in a redwood grove. I even got to buy art made by an old friend. It was excellent.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (1 min. watch)
What: Kids Lit Done Right
Why: Because Youtube, aside from filling our heads with junk videos like this, occasionally makes good content. This is one of the good ones.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (long reads)
What: Back To The 2000s!
Why: Because Nintendo 64 games are going to show up on the Switch, Diablo II got a remaster, and Amazon is trying its hand at releasing an MMO, even though the world clearly moved on to battle royales.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: The Longest Dog; Norm’s Best Joke; Get Vaccinated
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Maybe Some Decorative Gourds?
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 383, September 13, 2021

Greetings Webtaculators. Vote no on the recall. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: 20 Years Of Never Forgetting
Why: Because this past Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of one of the most influential single events of modern history, that we are collectively asked to Never Forget! I do not know how it would be possible to forget 9/11, considering how much the world changed on that day. I would not be who I am today without having been a Sophomore in high school who woke up one morning to watch one of the most recognizable buildings in the U.S. smolder and then crumble as its other tower already lay in ruins. It led me to understand the power of political voices, drove me towards studying Political Science with an emphasis on Middle Eastern studies, and ultimately led me to my career in renewable energy to ensure that the United States would never have to rely on Middle Eastern oil to drive its ever thirsty machine again. If I ever forgot what happened on November 11, 2001, that would only mean that I have lost all cognitive ability.

The rallying cry of Never Forget! has always felt inappropriate to me – not because it ever would be possible for someone who was alive at the time to not be aware of 9/11, or because isn’t worth commemorating (it very much is), but because it doesn’t ask for anything else but imagining 3,000 people being killed in a horrendous way. It doesn’t demand that we think about why a group of people would be angry enough at America to think that crashing planes into buildings was a good idea, it doesn’t demand that we reflect what the United States’, the world’s, and our personal reactions, it doesn’t ask us to be better in the future. It only asks us to be performatively sad and angry, forever (with the unspoken understanding that not being performatively sad or angry enough means that you are an unpatriotic American).

There is nothing gained from only never forgetting – there must be more so we can stop making the same mistakes we have made over the last twenty years when we think about America’s role in the world over the next two decades.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Tax The Rich
Why: Because the wealthy have forgotten that their wealth is not created by them alone.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Oh, The Only Differences Are PHILOSOPHICAL!
Why: Because I guess Amy Barrett forgot that her job was to ignore her personal beliefs when she decided to uphold Texas’ abortion law by saying nothing.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Return Of The Recordings
Why: Because Facebook + Ray Ban finally designed tech for your face that don’t look dorky. This is not good.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. read)
What: A New Hope
Why: Because the tennis world was rocked by two teenagers who made it to the Women’s finals.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. watch)
What: Down The Rabbit Hole Again
Why: Because the new Matrix trailer is out. Also, Wes Anderson finally filmed a movie specifically for me.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. watch)
What: More Metal
Why: Because Iron Maiden still shreds.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Look At The Pretty People Being Pretty
Why: Because the Met Gala happened in person, so people dressed up.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: May As Well Read Dune Again
Why: Because it would probably help to re-read the book before the movie comes out so you might have a chance of understanding what is going on.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (10 min. watch or 6 min. read)
What: Out Of The Loop
Why: Because DEATHLOOP (all caps baby) appears to be a genre defining game in genre that already looked like it was full. Arkane Studios already created modern classics like Prey and Dishonored, but this one looks special.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Ducks Can Now Insult You Verbally; Steve From Blue’s Clues Destroys Younger Millennials; Puddles The Clown Is Back And Will Make You Feel Sad As Well
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: VOTE.
Why: Because Brian deserves it, and Tuesday, September 14th is the final day to do so.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 382, September 6, 2021

Greetings Webtaculators. The events that transpired across the United States this past week were horrific. Cities were abandoned because of historically unprecedented weather events, both due to too much and not enough water. COVID continues to kill over 1,500 people per day, even though we are starting to collectively give up fighting it. Perhaps most worryingly, the Supreme Court failed to uphold its constitutional duty as any lawyer knows it to be, and failed to strike down a blatantly unconstitutional Texas law that all but will ban abortions in its state. I completely understand that I have sounded like Chicken Little over the last while, but considering my worst fears seemed to all come to pass at once (the awful effects of climate change, the refusal by Americans to take other people’s safety into consideration, and the take over of our court system by right wing Christian fanatics), I find it hard to believe I’ve been over reacting – if anything, I haven’t been doing enough. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: America Is No Longer Governed By Its Constitution
Why: Although there are many stories to choose from as “story of the week,” I am going to focus on Texas’ abortion ban. A few things come to mind –

  1. Out of all the stories this week, this is the one that is purely a human story; yes, climate change is very much caused by humans, and communicable disease also largely affects humans, but banning abortion is the only major event that we chose to inflict on ourselves.
  2. There are not enough men speaking in support of women (I understand that this language is simplistic in terms of sexual identity, but you get my point). I am acknowledging that a woman’s body is a woman’s choice, and any choice she may make is not my decision to make for her. Yes, this is an entirely valid argument to maintain even while demanding people get vaccinated for COVID – if you don’t immediately understand why, feel free to contact me so I can explain why they are different.
  3. Never mind that a woman’s right to abortion is supported by at least 60% of Americans, or that rules that attempt to limit women’s access to abortions have constantly been found to be unconstitutional for the last 50 years, or that a human embryo is not even a fetus at 6 weeks of gestation, or that no other personhood based laws apply to embryos.
  4. What the Supreme Court’s explicit silence does here is it destroys the Court’s own ability to determine the outcome of any law. I am disinclined to believe that the Judicial branch did this out of stupidity – the Justices and their law clerks are too smart by half to have invented this legal loophole on accident. Instead, like many recent events in our political system, these decisions were made by a vicious, malicious form of “Conservativism” that desires nothing more than power and control at all costs. One of the underlying issues with Conservative thought in the last 50 years is understanding just how few people are guiding it. If you look at right-wing think tanks, college groups, or legal institutions, you will find the same small subset of players. Take the Federalist society, for example. They are the single entity through which all Conservative leaning legal theory is filtered through in American law schools. If you take a look at a law school’s student group list, say, UC Davis, for example, every other entity (save for the American Constitution Society, which doesn’t really work as an analogue) is a specific interest group. In practice, The Federalist Society is the de facto voice against LAMBDA, ACLU, Legal Aid, Humanitarian law, etc., which makes its small collection of scholars, proponents, and members a single loud voice in all contexts. Want to talk about protecting gay rights? Federalist Society will debate it isn’t protected due to originalist context. Want to discuss over extension of religion in the public sphere? Federalist Society will argue first amendment rights. Want to talk about environmental regulation? Federalist Society will argue state rights. It is not an equal participant in any of these discussions, but it is the only other one. Think about it this way – right now, the Supreme Court consists of nine people, five of whom were or are members of the Federalist Society. I cannot overstate how small of a slice of the entire breadth of legal thought this group encapsulates. Wikipedia lists under 300 public figures who are members. The fact that this ultra-minority school of thought has essentially disemboweled the Constitution in front of our eyes should be absolutely horrifying.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Happy Labor Day! Oh.
Why: Because COVID is still here, but, like I said above, we’re pretending it’s not. Like most other things, America is going to become more and more divided by the way that states have attempted to curtail this disaster and help their citizens.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: An Appeal To Actual Authority
Why: Because one of the things I have noticed with much of the discourse surrounding questions of proper COVID protocol shows that many people are falling victim to the logical fallacy called “appeal to authority.” In these cases, a person will incorrectly use their credentials to argue that their opinion on a matter is valid. One of the most egregious articles I came across was an Atlantic article written by a UCSF Associate Professor, questioning the validity of masking children in school. I am not going to link to the article, because it is worthless, but you can find it if you Google. What I wrote below is a modified version of something I sent a friend who posted the article on social media.

Please do not cite to this article as an authority for why kids should not wear masks in school. To start, Dr. Prasad is a blood cancer doctor (that’s what “hematologist oncologist,” the specialty Dr. Prasad practices, means, which is a far cry from a Dr. who specializes in infectious diseases or pediatrics). You wouldn’t hire a family law specialist for a tax law question, much like you wouldn’t talk to a podiatrist about my toothache.

Second, Dr. Prasad frames his question wrong. Dr. Prasad questions if masks benefit kids. Instead, the question he should be asking is if kids should wear masks to benefit society at large. If a kid gets COVID, that puts their parents, teachers, and everyone else they come into contact with at risk, even if the risk is low for kids themselves. The amount of people who have been exposed to COVID due to their kids being in school or daycare is ridiculously high, specifically because of this type of thinking. Lowering the amount of potential vectors to spread to everyone, not just children, is the entire point.

Third, as for the author’s actual bona fides, Dr. Prasad apparently “avoided research at all costs” while in med school , and apparently is famous primarily for being a contrarian in general, so I would not be inclined not listen to him regarding the efficacy of policy surrounding infectious diseases.

As for his recommendation, all Dr. Prasad conclusion does is raise a question, “is the difference enough to justify the imposition on kids,” to which he supplies no answer, other than “we don’t know.” According to him, not knowing if masks protect children (THEY DO) is enough to recommend against masking children, even though he has not provided any statistical evidence in favor of that position, which goes against his entire argument of not having enough data to recommend masks in the first place. Essentially, we know not masking definitely does not help, but masking most likely does help prevent the spread of COVID with possible, but unquantified drawbacks. Saying that this situation therefore means kids should go mask-less is an unreasonable conclusion.

Finally, Dr. Prasad commits another logical fallacy, called false equivalence, by stating that kids wearing a mask to prevent COVID is equivalent to recommending that a person who is trying to lose weight go on a diet of only eating two carrots a day. This is one of the worst false equivalence I have ever read. Wearing a mask will not kill you (in fact, it is highly likely that it will prevent you from dying in this instance!) – not getting enough nutrients will.

Basically, dude is a hack who is terrible at making a reasonable argument, and is likely endangering people by sounding like he knows what he’s talking about. Please do not listen to him or people like him.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Football Is Back. Woooo…
Why: Because let the children play.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Making Movies Like They Used To
Why: Because we haven’t had a slow burn space opera since the first Star Wars (seriously – go watch it again and see how long it takes for anything to happen). I am here for it.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. look)
What: A Festival For The Rest Of All?
Why: Because I went to a music festival this weekend. I know that based on everything else I’ve said and done for the past year and half, that probably comes across as both reckless and hypocritical. It might be! All I know is that the venue required a valid negative test or proof of vaccination, I was outdoors, I was able to stay socially distanced by parking myself much further back from the stage than I other wise would, I wore a mask any time I wasn’t comfortably spaced (basically, entering and leaving the venue), and seeing the results of other similar concerts. I had a blast. Personal highlights were Run The Jewels, Foo Fighters, following around a group of influencers to see what exactly they do, and some lady seriously asking me if I was Zach Galifianakis, and congratulating me/him on the weight loss.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (long look)
What: What Ida Wrought
Why: Because the amount of destruction Ida caused across the South and East coast is almost unbelievable.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: America’s Bedrock
Why: Because this will be as good as anything else to commemorate what Labor Day actually means.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Looking Back
Why: Because for many reasons, old games are new again. All the links at the bottom of the article are also worth reading, if you have time.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Rick And Morty IRL; RIP Omar; Hanukkah In September
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: More Music. Vote No On The Recall.
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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