Webtacular World Issue # 250, September 16, 2018

Greetings Webtaculators! Manafort flipped. He plead guilty to conspiring against the United States, which, while not legally “treason,” sure is about as close as you can get colloquially for someone who was in charge of heading Trump’s presidential campaign. Also, you now have read 250 (or so) of these. That’s kind of a lot. Thanks for sticking around. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: The World Is Drowning
Why: Because unprecedented flooding is occurring in the Carolinas, Hong Kong is being destroyed by wind and water after Typhoon Mangkhut decimated the Philippines. But don’t worry, rising water is not our problem. Also, Lindsey Graham voted against Hurricane Sandy relief for New York in 2013, and Hurricane Harvey relief last year. One bright light in all of this is that the world (and California) has not entirely given up on trying to fix itself.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. read)
What: School Is Expensive
Why: Because like other basic needs most other countries have figured out how to do well and affordably, American college costs are quickly running away from most peoples’ reach.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: No Means No, Kavanaugh
Why: Because this liar and probable attempted sexual assaulter should not be a Supreme Court Justice – one sexual harasser on the bench is already one too many.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: Power
Why: Because access to safe, reliable energy is something we take for granted. It is especially important to remember that the reason why we need to keep investing in our own infrastructure is because it can go horribly wrong.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Lighting
Why: Because a person just maintained a 4:38 mile pace for 26.2 miles, and beat the previous record by over a minute. That is insane.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: Movies You Should See (But Probably Won’t)
Why: Because there are just too many things to watch.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: Macca’s #1 Again
Why: Because Paul McCartney’s new album is his first number 1 album in decades.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. look)
What: Our Future
Why: Because storms like these are becoming more prevalent.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: OVER-RATED
Why: Because many books you were forced to read in high school really aren’t really all that great, aside from giving historical context to a particular point in time.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Serial Is Back; Derpy Animals; OK
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: NES Switch Controllers
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 # 249, September 9, 2018

Greetings Webtaculators! Well, now we get to see what happens when people are more interested in short term gains, and fail to realize what happens when a political party focuses its energy on a singular goal – in this case, rolling back Roe v. Wade. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: Kavanaugh
Why: Because there are many reasons Brett Kavanaugh should not be up for appointment to the Supreme Court at this point – Merrick Garland, a lack of recusal from Trump related cases, a lack of understanding of birth control, and, most importantly, probable perjury. Republicans, who don’t care about these things, will vote him in anyway. Although Democrats tried, finally, to do something, it will most likely be too little, too late. The repercussions will last throughout the remainder of my life.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: The Other Biggest Online Retailer
Why: Because the CEO of Alibaba, China’s largest company, is stepping down from his leadership role later this year.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: This Is Not Treason
Why: Because my Constitutional Law Professor says so. It is, however, one of the most ridiculous op-eds I have ever seen. The author should probably stop being a coward – if Trump is such a threat to our society, writing a nameless op-ed is hardly the way to go about protecting us.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: The EVs Are Coming
Why: Because Ford is investing $11 billion into electric vehicles.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Tone
Why: Because Naomi Osaka’s win at the US Open was overshadowed by the controversy of how she won – Serena Williams was docked a set when she argued with the umpire regarding a call. When men argue, it’s “passionate” or “righteous.” When women do, it’s “hysterical” or “bitchy.” This is true even outside of sports.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. reads)
What: The 80s Monsters Are Invading 2018
Why: Because a new Predator and Halloween are ready to cause violence again.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: RIP Mac Miller
Why: Because yet another very popular up and coming rapper who you probably never listened to died from a drug overdose.

COMEDY THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: Regretful Jokes
Why: Because jokes can go from being funny at one point to not quite that funny at another. Jokes are about context – and that context changes over time. Here are a bunch of comedians explaining why they no longer think certain jokes that may have gotten them the success that they currently have need to be repeated. More importantly, they are apologizing for them.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: FEAR
Why: Because Bob Woodward released one of the most scathing books on Trump so far.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. read)
What: Look Out, Here Comes The Spider-Man
Why: Because the new Spider-Man videogame makes swinging through New York a very fun activity.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Prince Is Rolling In His Grave; Toy Story IRL; Good Football
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: My Supreme Court Prediction To Be Wrong
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 248, September 3, 2018

Greetings Webtaculators! Sorry for the late delivery – I had to make sure my brother made it to his wedding on time. Congrats Chet and Steph! I hope you both enjoyed your wedding as much as your guests did. I love you both very much. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Labor Day
Why: Because as the President derides the very people that today is supposed to be celebrating, a number of workers are deciding that the economy owes them something – in this case, Los Angeles and Washington State teachers voted to go on strike. In case you forgot what a union is and why they are essential to a functioning society, here is an easy to read digest from Teen Vogue to explain it to you.

BUSINESS THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: The Just Did It
Why: Because Nike made Colin Kaepernick the face of the 30th anniversary of their “Just Do It” tagline. By making this political (even though it is already entirely ridiculous that Kaepernick’s stance should be considered a problem), Nike probably saved a whole bunch of money by essentially letting news orgs advertise for them.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: An End To Bail
Why: Because forcing people to pay money to not be jailed has continuously made it harder for poor to avoid jail before a trial. Although California’s new system is not perfect, it is definitely a step in the right direction.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Oh Boy, Football…
Why: Because football is finally back. Yay.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min.read)
What: Trash
Why: Because now Gibson gets to “pretend” to be a racist. What a piece of garbage.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Shady’s Back, Back Again
Why: Because Eminem dropped a surprise new album on Friday. Apparently Em needs to be really pissed at someone to make decent music. Too bad some of his vocab hasn’t evolved.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (long look)
What: Burning Man
Why: Because the first result for me typing “burning man photos” into Google links to a Business Insider story. That should tell you all you need to know about the festival’s commercialization.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: American Muggles Turn 20
Why: Because the American edition of Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone came out 20 years ago, and the young adult literature was never the same.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: The Most JRPG
Why: Because Japanese Role Playing Games, AKA JRPGs, are a specific genre of video game that has been undergoing somewhat of a renaissance, especially in the United States. The Dragon Quest series is the quintessential JRPG series, and has maintained a steadfast reliance to well worn mechanics as series like Final Fantasy have tried to evolve with time. It seems like both strategies to reach new audiences has worked, especially in PC gaming.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: How?; Essential News; LEGO Bugatti
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: LEGO Bugatti
Why: Because Brian deserves it. Note – the one linked to here is a 1:8 scale of the one in the video. It has 3599 pieces. It costs $350.  The one in the video had over a million pieces, and apparently took over 10,000 hours to build. If we can assume the same ~10 cent per LEGO piece ratio for the model kit, that means the full size one from the video would cost over $100,000 in pieces alone, never mind the engineering required to build a full size working engine. I am pretty sure people would still buy it.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 247, August 26, 2018

Greetings Webtaculators. This past week consisted of two of the biggest political stories since Al Gore conceded the Presidency to George W. Bush. It is amazing that coverage of the established guilt of a campaign manager and the plea deal reach of a President’s personal lawyer barely survives the a week, but I guess that’s the time we live in. This is only the beginning. Also, there was another mass shooting, but this one involved the wrong kind of video game (Madden, an American Football simulation), so no one has any idea how to characterize this random act of mass violence. It is definitely too early to discuss the role real guns had, though. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: Manafort And Cohen
Why: Because it is inconceivable that corruption would reach these two men without Trump being explicitly involved as well. All of Trump’s allies are either turning or falling – it is only a matter of time before he does to. I am terrified of what happens when the gavel falls, since roughly 40% of the country seems to be indifferent, or worse, think this inevitable outcome is a direct assault on them. For many, this is just a game, and all that matters is that their team wins.

POLITICAL THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: Fallen Soldier
Why: Because John McCain passed away due to complications from his brain tumor. I would still like to think of him as the type of Republican that more Republicans should be like, regardless of his shortcomings. At least he mostly stood by his principles and respected his political opponents, even when it was not necessarily politically advantageous to do so. However, it is still worth remembering that he brought Sarah Palin into our lives, and was one of the champions of the Iraq War.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: It Pays To Not Be A Woman
Why: Because a paper out of the Becker Friedman Institute of the University of Chicago, the namesake that championed why pure capitalism without regulation is the best way to run an economy, released a paper identifying the impact gender discrimination has had on women’s ability to equally participate in our economy. Sure looks like unfettered capitalism has worked great for more than half of the population!

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Hunger Strike
Why: Because prisoners all across the U.S. organized a hunger strike against the number of deaths in custody, and overall prison conditions.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: A Year Without Power
Why: Because Puerto Rico JUST restored power to most of its citizens, a whole year after Hurricane Maria.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. read)
What: Pure Sports
Why: Because Hawaii won the Little League World Series. Next week, tune in to find out that all the kids are on ‘roids and the kids are actually 45 year old ex pros, because nothing in sports is sacred anymore.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Muppets Acting Badly
Why: Because the Happytime Murders doesn’t sound like it’s making people particularly happy.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (17 min. listen)
What: ~80 Years Of Hits
Why: Because it is actually amazing that popular music with Spanish lyrics has been a thing since the 40s, that “joke” songs have such chart topping power, and that Kevin Costner movies provided so much iconic music.

ART THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. look)
What: Infinite
Why: Because these pieces are gorgeous.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: Odd Job Is Cheating
Why: Because “Stacks, pistols only,” and “Complex, proximity mines” in GoldenEye for the Nintendo 64 are clearly the two best multiplayer scenarios ever created.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Not All British People Are Good At Soccer; Cheating Is Fun; Color In The Lines
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: A Republican Candidate Who Is Willing To Tell A Potential Voter They Are Wrong
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 246, August 19, 2018

Greetings Webtaculators! As the story of Trump’s presidency slips further and further into a real life that is beyond satire’s reach, I really do worry about the end game for all of this. Many Republicans, who as far as I can tell hate all government except for the parts of it with the guns, seem to be perfectly fine with a president who freely uses the N-word, removes security clearance from the  previous CIA director, and who’s legal representative actually says “truth isn’t truth” out loud. I don’t really want to find out how this ends, because I doubt it will be good.  On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (10 min. read)
What: Crisis In Catholicism
Why: Because it is really not good when religion becomes implicitly tied to child rape. It is really not good that people dismiss the jokes about pedophilic priests when it constantly proves to be a widespread truth. I don’t know how you fix a religion, but there is a massive problem, regardless of how well liked Pope Francis is.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (10 min. read)
What: Corporate Accountability
Why: Because what is best for shareholders is often not what is best for the rest of the America.  Senator Warren wants to change that. Related, it’s the ten year anniversary of the housing market crash.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. interactive, 8 min. read)
What: Go To Jail
Why: Because the LA Times created a very interesting interactive “choose your own adventure” in the pursuit of showing just how difficult it is to remove a cop who has a history of false arrests. The article attached to it is worth a read, too.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: BREAM (Batteries Rule Everything Around Me)
Why: Because most of our energy future is dependent upon how well we can store energy. The Verge did a deep dive on all of the things batteries do.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Flipping Fantastic
Why: Because Simone Biles just won her fifth U.S. National title, becoming only the second woman in history to do so. Or, if you are a Neanderthal who doesn’t think women’s gymnastics is a sport, here’s this stupid baseball thing, which is the last non-football related content that will be available until baseball becomes relevant again in October.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Crazy Good
Why: Because Crazy Rich Asians won the weekend, and also is yet another example of how under-represented minority cultures are in media.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (15 min. read)
What: Soul Of A Queen
Why: Because Aretha Franklin passed away this week. Here’s what made her the best.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. look)
What: Aretha
Why: Because she is an icon.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (long look)
What: The Horror
Why: Because horror stories are good too.

BOARD GAME THING OF THE WEEK (long look)
What: 50 Best New Board Games
Why: Because board games have come a very long way from Monopoly, and are a great way to spend an afternoon with friends or family.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Creativity Through Constraint; Hail Satan (Baphomet); King Of Cat Island
Why: Because Internet.

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

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

Webtacular World Issue # 245, August 12, 2018

Greetings Webtaculators. I personally had a good week, but it’s always important to put it in context of what is happening in around our country and our world. I think it is very important to tamper the feelings of good fortune and happiness a little, lest we forget that everything is not OK. It is far too easy to say “everything is fine” in your situation while the world literally burns around you. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: One Year Later
Why: Because little has changed. White supremacy is and will continue to be a loud voice as long as our leaders continue to find it politically useful to support them. I said it last time, and I will say it again – fuck Nazis, and fuck Nazi enablers.

In other news regarding our leadership, apparently its just fine and dandy if un-elected people with no specific skill, knowledge, experience, or oversight shape our national policies. This is what actual corruption is, and I still can’t believe 40% of the public is still OK with this.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. read)
What: The Swamp Keeps Floating Up
Why: Because the Secretary of Commerce is being sued for stealing money from his business partners. If Ross is not the epitome of what the Trump appointee for being in charge of “promot[ing] job creation and economic growth by ensuring fair and reciprocal trade, providing the data necessary to support commerce and constitutional democracy, and fostering innovation by setting standards and conducting foundational research and development” in the U.S. would be, I do not know who is.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: How To Regulate Uber
Why: Because, weirdly enough, it turns out transportation services can be regulated like transportation services.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: “Leaping” Into A Home Maybe Near You
Why: Because the Magic Leap is supposed to bring augmented reality into our lives. It seems to not quite hit the mark, but still be impressive nonetheless.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Co-Ed
Why: Because I know women who could (and did) kick my ass on Wednesday night soccer. I also know a bunch of women (and men!) who were intimidated, mostly unintentionally, by Friday softball.

Sports are one of those things that I was always innately OK to good at. I was always faster than average, have very good hand-eye coordination (aside from my eyesight being atrocious), played competitive sports through college, etc. Because of this, I always found sports and sport-adjacent activities like PE or recess wall ball very fun, in a way that I came to understand that can be attributed directly to my finding them relatively easy.

MOST people do not find these things easy. MANY people find our found these same activities to be terrifying – between a combination of lack of confidence, whether real or internalized, immediate performance analysis by your peers, body image issues, and pecking order determinations, that is a completely normal and rational conclusion to come to. I am still amazed that athletic performance and ability drives so much of our society when most of us spend all day sitting at a computer. No comments on someone’s typing speed or Excel skills in quite the same way that they are awed by a colleague’s drive off the 10th tee at a charity event, or someone’s finish time for friendly bike / run race up a mountain. I am continuing to try to be more thoughtful about these types of interactions. I suggest you give it some thought as well.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Popularity Contest
Why: Because this is the category that Black Panther will win, and it sucks.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (long watch)
What: Play
Why: Because this is why Dave Grohl remains one of my favorite artists – he truly loves what he does, and spends time and money making sure that others have the opportunity to love music themselves.

Also, my favorite festival, Outside Lands, is happening this weekend, which is why you’re getting an earlier version of Webtacular than normal.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Bad Thinking
Why: Because this is the same problem I have with Jordan Peterson – it’s essentially a middle / high school level of argument that falls on its face in any sort of real world application, but because it is so simple to understand, it is very easy for people to find appealing. It is a problem that I believe a “marketplace of ideas” cannot solve – there is no metric for determining a “good” or “bad” idea. You can see the outcome now from Alex Jones’ banishment from certain platforms, but not Twitter, or Trump’s continued attack on the press. I have no solution, but it remains a growing problem.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Good Idea, Bad Execution
Why: Because We Happy Few comes close to achieving its goal, but not quite.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Zuck Review; How To De-Smoke Your House; Found Him
Why: Because Internet.

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

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

Webtacular World Issue # 244, August 5, 2018

Greetings Webtaculators! Continuing from my story of the week from last week, California really is on fire. I was up in Tahoe this weekend, and the entire drive up Interstate 80 from the Bay Area to Tahoe is blanketed in smoke. It is not good. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: “No Collusion”
Why: Because there was collusion, and Trump just admitted it while throwing his son under the bus. He had a hell of a bad week – from having no idea how his tariffs actually work, to wrongly attributing CA wildfires to a lack of water resources, to freezing car gas millage goals,  calling LeBron James stupid after he opened up a public school for children in Arkon.
In the rest of the world, Maduro claims he survived a drone assassination attempt, and Bangladeshi students are being attacked by the government for protesting over safer transportation infrastructure.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: One TRILLION Dollars… Muhahahaha
Why: Because Apple became the first company with a market cap of over $1 trillion.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: How Voter Suppression Works
Why: Because this is an especially big deal this year where Beto O’Rorke is trailing incumbent Senator Ted Cruz by a few percentage points.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: 3D Printed Murder Tools
Why: Because there is no other practical use for a building something that breaks after firing a few rounds.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: The Other Ohio School Story
Why: Because it sure seems like Urban Meyer had knowledge of and ignored the fact that one of his coaches was abusing his wife.

TELEVISION THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: The One Hundred Best Episodes Of This Century
Why: Because The Ringer made a ridiculous list that somehow has Lost as their number one even though we all know how dumb that show turned out to be.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: The Hot 100 Turns 60
Why: Because it’s hard to say whether the Hot 100 is even particularly relevant to the way people listen to music anymore. When a Chainsmokers’ song beats out the Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” in rankings, you know something is wrong.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. look)
What: Pretty
Why: Because that’s what these photographs are.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Keeping Up With The Kids
Why: Because I can only assume the quality of children’s literature in recent years has gotten better. Maybe I should check one of these out.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: The NFL Can Do No Right
Why: Because the yearly edition of Madden is coming out soon, and it is already embroiled in controversy due to the fact that the game bleeps out “Colin Kaepernick” in an included song.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: SPACE FORCE!; How Not To Cook Steak; Hash Pipe
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Randy Moss’ Tie
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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