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™

Webtacular World Issue # 381 August 29, 2021

Greetings Webtaculators. One of the more … interesting things I have seen out in the wild regarding our withdrawal from Afghanistan is the claim that our current government is “abandoning our troops.” I am completely stumped with this one. Yes – the loss of 13 Marines who were working to evacuate people during the suicide bombing attack at the Kabul Airport was tragic. However, putting that blame squarely on Biden’s shoulders is wrong. The additional claim that our troops are being abandoned in an EFFORT TO REMOVE THEM ENTIRELY FROM BEING IN THIS SITUATION IN THE FIRST PLACE is maddeningly absurd. Here’s my personal list of people / groups to blame for the U.S. failure in Afghanistan:

  1. ISIS for being uncompromising religious fanatics who committed the horrendous act of terrorism against Afghan citizens trying to leave the country and the soldiers helping them
  2. The Taliban for being slightly less uncompromising religious fanatics
  3. Bush / Cheney / Rumsfeld (RIH) and co. for misleading the U.S. public about the war, and diverting focus from ensuring victory in Afghanistan and switching our focus needlessly to Iraq to settle personal vendettas and enrich themselves
  4. The Military Industrial Complex companies for misleading the U.S. public about the war and profiteering off of murder
  5. President Trump for unconditionally surrendering to the Taliban without participation from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
  6. The 2001 U.S. Congress minus Barbara Lee for not doing its due diligence and giving the executive branch a blank check to use its war powers without a proper declaration of war
  7. The U.S. Congress for the last 20 years for continuing to rubber stamp the same war
  8. The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for being routed by the Taliban
  9. The United States Military for failing its mission to adequately train the Republic of Afghanistan army over 20 years and 2 trillion dollars spent
  10. Biden and the U.S. Public at large for failing to understand the cost of what leaving Afghanistan would actually entail

At the end of the day, Afghanistan is its own country. If those of us who say things like “Don’t Tread On Me” and demand personal freedom at the cost of everything else, that also means that they should be the first in line to demand that we let Afghanistan determine its own destiny without our interference, and let the chips fall where they may. There were thousands of different things America could have done to actually develop democracy, protect women, and encourage a shift away from theocracy, but considering American can barely do that for itself, we are no place to be telling a foreign country how it should run itself.

On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: 16 Years Later To The Day
Why: Because Hurricane Ida made landfall today, a decade and a half after Katrina. So far, the entire city is without power for the foreseeable future. Hopefully the levees hold.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: Kill The Jobs
Why: Because all you have to do is look at how retirees spend their time to understand what a post-work world would look like. Work, projects, and tasks are still completed without forcing people to do them. It’s almost like humans enjoy being helpful when they can be.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: The Court Hates Poor People
Why: Because Conservative members of the court decided that the pandemic isn’t a good enough reason to not allow landlord to throw people out of their houses.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: Stay Naked On OnlyFans 
Why: Because one of the largest sites for sex workers recently reversed its decision to ban sexual content on its app, even though that’s essentially the only thing that people use it for.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Shuffle The Deck
Why: Because both Ronaldo and Messi, two of the best soccer players ever, are at new clubs. 

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Keep The Streak Going
Why: Because Marvel movies seem to keep creating fun and entertaining experiences.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: These Violent Delights Have Sick Beats
Why: Because CHVRCHES new album Screen Violence is one of my contenders for album of the year. In a world of mass produced pop, it is amazing to see a band do everything on their own and absolutely kill it. Also, check out Big Red Machine, and continue to support the year of Aaron Dessner and friends.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. look)
What: Watching The World Fall Apart Again
Why: Because even though it feels like we are constantly reminded about the fragility of everything we have built up, it is important to keep looking. Our problems are not going away. We must face them.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Gateway To Becoming A Book Lover
Why: Because picture books are awesome.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: Once More, With Empathy
Why: Because they just don’t make games like Psychonauts 2 anymore. I am so glad that Tim Schafer’s Double Fine absolutely nailed the sequel.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: How To Win The Internet; How To Lose The Internet; Three Two One Let’s Jam
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Just Another Reminder To Vote No On California’s Recall
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 380, August 22, 2021

Greetings Webtaculators. FYI, it is near the end of August, and I finally stopped typing “2020” every time I type the date. Things are going swimmingly. Also, there are lots of numbers this week – my apologies to you sufferers of arithmophobia. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: War, HUH, What Is It Good For
Why: Because watching people and the media suddenly remember that the United States has maintained an armed presence half way around the world for 20 years only when a majority of Americans finally collectively agreed that being there was a bad idea and we should probably not be sure is… something.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. read)
What: X+X= $6,000 OR $12,000, Depending On The Weather, I Guess
Why: Because it turns out health insurers have no real basis for the prices they negotiate on our behalf for. Remember, the whole reason why health insurance companies exist in the first place, theoretically, is so that they can compete to get the lowest prices for their customers. That’s it. They are clearly failing at their purpose. Just remember the next time you have an emergency that it is entirely possible that it MIGHT BE CHEAPER FOR YOU TO PAY OUT OF POCKET, EVEN IF YOU PAY A HIGH MONTHLY INSURANCE RATE, which is exactly the sort of thing you have time to worry about when you might be dying.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. read [assuming you skip the order])
What: Uber Unenforceable
Why: Because Prop 22, where Californian’s decided that it was a good idea to limit worker protections for ride-share drivers, was ruled unconstitutional by a California Superior Court judge.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: We Are In Trouble
Why: Because the Boston Dynamics robots are now humanoids who can run and jump and do back flips. However, we are not in trouble if Tesla’s human-in-body-suit robots end up winning whatever military industrial complex bidding war goes on in our dystopian future.

TELEVISION THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: The Pen Is Mightier
Why: What is an extraordinary piece of investigative reporting by Ringer journalist Claire McNear lead to the swift removal of Mike Richards as the new host of Jeopardy one day after he started the gig? Remember, kids, don’t be repeatedly misogynistic, anti-Semitic, and fat-shaming, well, ever. But especially if you’re trying to place yourself at the helm of one of the most beloved American television institutions.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. read)
What: The Wrong Web
Why: Because someone leaked the new Spider Man trailer to the internet. It must be a very slow week for movies if this is such a big deal.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Summer Of Our Lorde
Why: Because releasing a mellow, kick-back album in the middle of the pandemic somehow manages to feel somewhat rebellious.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. read)
What: More Like Badreads…
Why: Because, much like any public review aggregator, Goodreads suffers from a swath of bad actors that actively harm writers’ ability to sell books.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: 12 Minutes Too Many
Why: Because an audacious attempt at creating a cinematic “point-and-click” adventure loses its full head of steam towards the end, and created one of the few times in gaming where, despite a terrific opening and acting from Daisy Ridley, James McAvoy, and Willem Dafoe, I did not want to see the end because both the gameplay and the story collapsed at the same instance.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Oh, We’re Still Doing This, Because This Pandemic Never Ends; More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Seals; Robots’ Funniest Home Videos
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: 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™

Webtacular World Issue # 379, August 15, 2021

Greetings Webtaculators. The United States finally lost a “war” that began when I was a Sophomore in high school. This was inevitable. You cannot force Democracy on people who do not necessarily want it (I mean, you can barely hold onto it in a place where people allegedly DO want it [see, e.g., USA]), who are represented by a government that does not even begin to meet the average Afghan’s needs, by an army that does pay it’s soldiers enough to care about a cause that isn’t theirs to begin with. What has been utterly apparent to anyone who paid any attention to Afghanistan’s history over the last hundred or so years is that a) it should not be a single country, and b) there is nothing that would work except for infinite occupation, which neither the US nor the rest of world has the appetite for. Of course we were going to lose a “war” that had no defined winning conditions, against an enemy that we trained ourselves to win a different war, whose people have been fighting invading forces for generations with God’s unending fury on their side. This event is the tragic conclusion to wasted lives, time, and funds that could have been put to infinite other more worthy causes.

Additionally, COVID is back in full force. After a weekend wedding, I was informed that one of the other guests present had tested positive for COVID following the event, EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE VACCINATED. On my way home, I began to feel sick as well. As soon as I got home, I self quarantined for four days, until I got my second test results saying that I was negative, and that whatever I had was only a common cold or flu. Being sick with anything during this time is terrifying. I was scared that I had unwittingly exposed my friends I traveled with and immediate family to something that I have been taking extreme caution to avoid. Getting back from a trip only to lock myself in my office without being able to say goodnight to my son in person was devastating. I do not know where we go from here. States are unwilling to lock back down, due to the fact that there are a large enough contingent of Americans who are more than happy to let their fellow countrymen die instead of them wearing a mask, and are even willing to subvert Democracy to make sure they don’t have to. I guess we’re just going to live with COVID forever.

On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (8 min. read)
What: Kabul Has Fallen
Why: Because the Taliban have retaken Afghanistan’s capitol 20 years after they originally lost it.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Get It Done
Why: Because Democrats are trying to use what minor majority they have to actually do something useful for US citizens for once.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Cuomo Has Fallen
Why: Because New York Governor Cuomo is resigning following his multiple sexual harassment and assault allegations. 

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Oh Hey, Climate Change Is Worse Than We Thought
Why: Because it is becoming increasingly clear that humanity is at a tipping point across many different fronts all at once.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. read)
What: The Olympics Closes With A Whimper
Why: Because it didn’t really seem like people were too invested in watching amazing athletes do amazing things. Maybe the Olympics should try their own version of Field of Dreams?

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Ryan Reynolds Cannot Lose
Why: Because somehow he starred in an actually enjoyable “video game” movie, which is essentially a cinematic death sentence.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Summer Of Antonoff
Why: Because many of the top charting recent albums that don’t have rap production behind them were produced by the Bleacher’s lead singer, Jack Antonoff. Since many of the artists he is working with are women, however, he probably is getting more credit than he’s due.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (long look)
What: As It Falls
Why: Because it remains an unbelievable human tragedy that the United States failed at doing anything long-term.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Not Cormac McCarthy
Why: Because last week, Twitter blue-checkmarked a parody account, all hell broke loose, and then the account was banned. Some additional info – I have known Daniel, the person behind the parody account, since 2009, when I became friends with him in law school. It has been hilarious seeing this develop from his perspective, since he really had nothing to do with the fact that people are dumb enough to think that the real Cormac McCarthy, an 88 year old recluse, would have a Twitter account that talked about things like Pokémon. Yes, Daniel really is running for Governor of California, just like he really ran in the 2003 clown show while he was a college student. No, he is not qualified to be the governor, even though he is a smart, decent person – however, due to the potential that less qualified people could be elected instead, I will most likely be voting for him after voting no on the recall in general. If you live in California, I suggest you do something similar.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (13 min. watch)
What: Return Of The Boomer Shooter
Why: Because “Boomer Shooters” are what the cool kids like to call games that play and look like OG First Person Shooters like Doom, Quake, and Unreal. Recently, indie developers have taken the basics and the art styles and have applied modern game development knowledge to them, creating some really neat, cheap, and fun games. Some good recent ones are Dread Templar, ULTRAKILL, and CULTIC, and yes, the names are super ridiculous.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Send Me To Star Wars
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Harmonic; No Time To Cyber; Snope Snoped
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 378, August 1, 2021

Greetings Webtaculators! How is it already August again? I swear… On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: Some Sort Of Reckoning
Why: Because what happened in Washington on January 6 remains one of the worst things I have ever witnessed. I can only imagine what the officers who attempted to protect our elected leaders so they could do their jobs feel. At least now they’ve been given a chance to speak – I can only hope America will listen.

HEALTH THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: How To Fight Against Vaccine Hesitancy
Why: Because inoculating a population against disease is not a new thing – we have the tools to do it.

EDUCATION THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: What Happens After Affirmative Action
Why: Because the one policy that was supposed to make up for humanities’ blatant biases is disappearing. The policy did not achieve its goal.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: TIME CRYSTALS
Why: Because the scientists involved with essentially creating an object in perpetual motion without the use of energy (which blows up the second law of physics) haven’t watched enough sci-fi or comic moves. All hail Xaxos, or whatever the galactic being that’s going to wreak havoc over our major metropolitan areas is called.  

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: Breaking Barriers Not Bones
Why: Because Simone Biles once again showed how strong she is, this time by understanding that it is more than OK to take care of yourself, even if that means not doing something you’ve been training your entire life for. I hope those of you who read this, and potentially think that Simone somehow made the wrong decision about her own mental state, spend more time understanding why your opinion is absolutely wrong.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Jolly Green Giants
Why: Because people really seem to like the latest interpretation of one of the most famous Arthurian legends. 

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: An Actual Sophomore Effort
Why: Because when I was 19, I was a sophomore in college, while Billie Eilish is successfully following her multi-platinum, award-winning debut. 

ART THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Van Go
Why: Because multiple cities are hosting projected versions of some of Van Gogh’s most famous works. Neat.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: Old English
Why: Because the poem that the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight came from is worth reading

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (long reads)
What: Bad News / Good News
Why: Because the bad news is that employees at Blizzard, makers of some of the biggest series in gaming history like World of Warcraft, staged a walkout due to the horrendous handling of the company’s handling of the multiple sexual harassment charges against it. The good news is that the Playdate seems like a really cool gadget.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Gawker’s Back Again; Why Does Fred Durst Have More Hair Than I Do; Too Many Super Mario Games
Why: Because Internet.

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

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

Webtacular World Issue # 377, July 25, 2021

Greetings Webtaculators! I guess I owe you all an update for how the first week back in the office went – and the answer is about as good as could be expected moving into a new building in the undefined period of a pandemic. Everyone in my office is self reported as vaccinated, so that was a huge weight off, even amidst the rising number of cases. The other good thing was that since we were simultaneously moving into a new building, that meant that I wasn’t the only person who had no idea how to function in that space. What was most interesting is how exhausting the whole endeavor is; getting out of bed early, putting on office appropriate attire and looking presentable, commuting, and putting on a positive face and being around real live humans who are not my immediate family for 8 hours at a time (even if I genuinely LIKE my co-workers, which I am lucky enough to actually do), day after day, is EXHAUSTING. I came home each day and was in bed by 10pm, which, if you know me, is entirely against my nature. Again, the arguable only good thing about COVID is that it showed everyone that working from home full time is a real possibility, and not some unobtainable goal. Sure, I highly doubt that I would have ever learned that I have another colleague who also really likes hot sauce, but how important is that to actually getting our jobs done? On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: Pomp And Circumstance In Front Of No One
Why: Because the Olympics are happening even though it seems entirely clear that they should not be. It doesn’t help that there are multiple other failings of these games that are highlighting the fact that it doesn’t seem like the world really wants to come together at this moment, at all. The weather gods also seem angry about it.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. read)
What: The Metaverse Is Your New Home
Why: Because it seems like tech companies keep learning the wrong lessons from dystopian fiction, or just (probably correctly) assume not enough of us read any of it to understand why this is an absolutely trash idea.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Mississippi Tries To Make The US Worse, Yet Again
Why: Because it is 2021 and whether a woman has the sole right to her body should no longer be a discussion.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: EVs Are OK
Why: Because one of the common arguments against electric vehicles is that they end up either causing more pollution or are no cleaner than traditional internal combustion engines. This is not true. This is not saying that there aren’t issues with mining rare earth minerals, or choosing to develop personal transportation over community based solutions like rail or busses, but as far as a better replacement for our current car culture is concerned, EVs win hands down.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (long reads)
What: America At A Crossroads
Why: Because early on in the games, Team U.S.A. seems to be facing stiffer competition than it is used to. Particularly, basketball, soccer, and gymnastics are not dominating the way that they were expected to. However, this has allowed more stories of other countries’ successes to break through – Ahmed Hafnaoui of Tunisia won in the pool, while Kimia Alizadeh came within inches of winning the first medal ever for the Refugee Olympic Team.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. watch)
What: Walking Without Rhythm
Why: Because the new Dune trailer is excellent.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: The Rising Failure Of Kanye West
Why: Because Kanye’s public implosion keeps happening, and no one seems to want to stop him.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (long look)
What: Let’s Look At Some Amazing People
Why: Because Olympic athletes represent the the peak physical state of the human condition, and it is amazing to see what the best of us can do.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: Go Read Snow Crash
Why: Because, as stated above, not enough people have probably read the book to understand why trying to build a metaverse is a terrible idea. I realize I used an Amazon link, which is very problematic in its own way, so preferably go pick up a copy from your local book store instead.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Empathy In Game Form
Why: Because the cult classic Psychonauts is getting a sequel that has been years in the making. Tim Schafer, the game’s creator, is well known in the industry for pushing stories that are generally rooted in positivity, and seems to continue here.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: The Google Games; Our Fun Future; Be More Like Ted
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: NOTHING BUT GOLD, BABY
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 376, July 18, 2021

Greetings Webtaculators! I have to return to working in person this week. I am apprehensive at best. One of the few things about COVID that has been OK is working from home. My job is one of those where I spend a lot of time thinking, researching, and writing – none of which are quite conductive to an office setting even during normal times. Sure, meetings haven’t been as engaging, and spontaneously sharing thoughts with co-workers is more difficult, but I am pretty certain that my actual work product has improved immensely since doing all my work from the same room that I have my drums and bobble-head collection in. I spent most of my life doing homework for nothing, and working from home means that I essentially have been getting paid to do homework for the last year and a half. It’s been great.

It is also going to be interesting because I have no clue what the actual office culture of my job is since I got a new one during the pandemic. I sort of know some of the people I have been working with, but at most I interface with four people two hours a day at most. I don’t know if Alex over in Accounting is a loud mouth breather who likes telling sexist jokes, or if Linda in HR thrives off of weaponizing gossip, and I am not super jazzed to find out. All of this to say that the thought of returning gave me enough anxiety to make me stress-clean the laundry closet (I disconnected the washer and dryer, shoved them into the living room, and furiously got rid of every piece of lint that I could find [the family was NOT happy with this]). Maybe all this worrying is for naught, and everything will be just fine – but I still feel unsettled heading back into the workplace as the Delta variant continues on its warpath of destruction. Oh well, so it goes. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: In Putin’s Pocket
Why: Because again, even if Trump isn’t wasn’t a direct Russian asset, it is clear that the Russians understood how easily manipulatable he would be as president.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: Bad Deal
Why: Because it turns out Trump was awful at the economy, too.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: What Is Wrong With Texas
Why: Because a federal Texan judge decided that a broken Congress is the only way for DACA to exist, so all current applications to remain legally in the US are on hold. Also, Texas recently decided to try to ban teaching history, sorry, I mean stop teaching civil rights in its classrooms.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (long look)
What: Well This Is Fun
Why: Because by “fun” I mean horrifying. Take Miami, for example. In 1980, there were about 90 days a year over 90 degrees. Today, there are roughly 135 days a year over 90 degrees. for those of you bad at math, that’s over an entire additional month of days over 90 degrees. The models are only trending upwards. No wonder why that city is screwed.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: Athletics Vs. Aesthetics
Why: Because as women continue to push the boundaries of gymnastics, the scoring system, organizers, and sport itself largely remain stuck in the past.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: The Movies You Didn’t See
Why: Because there were a whole lot of good movies that people largely ignored. Or go watch Space Jam, I guess…

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Just A Friend To Us All
Why: Because Biz Markie passed away. 

DOCUMENTARY THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: What Did You Say
Why: Because it turns out making someone speak words they never spoke is something that is now a reality, and doesn’t look like it will stop.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: The Ol’ Switcheroo
Why: Because I was going to write about the new Nintendo Switch OLED, which basically an old Switch with a nicer screen, but then Valve came out swinging with the thing that everyone wanted the new Switch to be.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Meta Adverts; Lego About Nothing; Treat Yourself
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: $100,000 TV
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 375, July 11, 2021

Greetings Webtaculators! This week, my son turned one. It is absolutely astounding to me how much a person can change in a year, and how much this past year has changed along with him. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (long reads)
What: The Biggest Stories I Missed Last Week
Why: Because Rumsfeld is dead, the Trump Organization was unsurprisingly charged with not paying taxes, and the U.S. withdrew forces from Afghanistan.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Space Out
Why: Because I guess it’s neat and all that the world’s billionaires are racing each other to launch themselves into the stratosphere, but there are kind of a lot of things that we could have been spending that money on instead. Science fiction has done plenty of thinking on what happens when corporations control space, and none of them end up well for most people.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: What The Federalists Have Wrought
Why: Because the Court is beginning to re-mold the United States following a broken theory of law.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Once Again, Climate Change Is Real
Why: Because Portland isn’t supposed to be over 100 degrees for multiple days in a row.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. reads)
What: Viva Italia! Viva Argentina!
Why: Because Italy won the Euro Cup, and Messi finally got his international trophy with Argentina.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Marvel Keeps Marveling
Why: Because Black Widow just might be the film that drags people back to movie theaters.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. read)
What: Aging Man Continues To Have An Excellent Taste In Music
Why: Because Obama’s choice for his annual summer playlist remains on fleek, which is something the kids definitely stopped saying a long time ago.

VIDEOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (10ish min. watch [for the most important parts])
What: The Virgin Flight
Why: Because space is neat.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. read)
What: Aging Man Continues To Have A Great Reading List, Too
Why: Because Obama also released his summer reading list.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Hideously Wonderful
Why: Because some games, like Cruelty Squad, are purposefully designed to be as off-putting as possible, which somehow works.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Oh No…; Vax That Thing Up; Give Jack And Kyle Your Money
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: My Own Rocket Ship, I Guess
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 374, June 27, 2021

Greetings Webtaculators! We somehow flew by the half-way point of this year. That’s nuts. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Justice (?)
Why: Because Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years for murdering George Floyd. It remains unclear how people can be stuck in jail longer for selling drugs than for being found guilty of murdering someone. It also remains unclear how this actually helps correct crime in generaljail as a penalty has been around for millennia, and yet here we are, still having people criming away. At least our flawed version of justice is actually being applied fairly this time.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: America’s Infrastructure
Why: Because the tragedy of the Miami condo collapse is probably indicative of the state of numerous structures throughout the US. There is no profit in maintenance.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Pay For Play
Why: Because the Supreme Court is busy doing its thing both for good and for ill, the Justices decided the NCAA could not force athletes to not make money on the side from their own skill and fame. Also, now we have former attorney Giuliani, because New York stripped his law license from him.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. look)
What: A New Window(s)
Why: Because Microsoft is updating the OS you know and love later this year. THE START MENU IS IN THE MIDDLE!!!!

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. read)
What: The Tour Is Off To An Explosive Start
Why: Because it is becoming clearer that fans should never be allowed to watch sports in person again. Also, get to know a few guys!

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Made With Soul
Why: Because this movie looks amazing. Sometimes a movie review is written with such passion and skill that it a great piece of art unto itself.

TELEVISION THING OF THE WEEK (14 min. watch)
What: Conan Signs Off
Why: Because Conan O’Brien ended his 28 year-long, nonsensical stint as a late night host this week.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Massive Metallica
Why: Because along with a reissue of arguably its most popular album, Metallica is also releasing a version of the Black Album with covers from over 50 artists. It might be hard to remember a time when Metallica was the biggest music act in the world, but considering the artists they got to do this shows how big the band’s influence actually is.

ART THING OF THE WEEK (long watch)
What: All Of Monet
Why: Because there are a lot of paintings there.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Too Soon
Why: Because we are still reeling from the effects of the last administration’s inability to govern.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Itsa Golf Time!
Why: Because Mario sports are fun, and Nintendo’s spin on golf is insane in a great way.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Shmorby Is The Worst; Dave Chappelle And Foo Fighters; Without Boarders
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Make An Elephant Crash Through My Wall
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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