Webtacular World Issue # 108, December 27, 2015

Greetings Webtaculators! Guess what? You basically made it another year! Hooray! Hopefully, this one was enjoyable for you all, and the next one will be just as good. Or better! And, if it happened to be not such a good one, remember, it couldn’t be that much worse than 6th grade. 6th grade was awful. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Not A Bad Year
Why: Because even though all we seem to get is bad news, it turns out that humanity, on the whole, is on the up and up. That’s a good thing.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: … But It Still Isn’t Great Being A Woman
Why: Because even though this knowledge isn’t necessarily new, the study by the New York City Group of Consumer Affairs really highlights how disparate the pricing of the basically same item is.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Bad Bail
Why: Because bail can be expensive, and through the use of bail bonds, can be even more expensive if you can’t afford it in the first place.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Sticking The Landing
Why: Because SpaceX successfully landed their first stage rocket, potentially making future space flight up to 75% cheaper.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: The Greatest (Of 2015)
Why: Because watching Steph take the Warriors to such great success is what sports is all about.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: One Of My Favorite Christmas Related Things
Why: Because they’re muppets. Also, Star Wars broke more records, but that’s no surprise.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (35 sec. watch)
What: The Beatles Finally Join Modern Music
Why: Because the entire Beatles catalogue is now available on your favorite streaming websites.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (10 min. look/read)
What: More Of The Best Of The Year
Why: Because even pictures of awful things can be beautiful.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (longer read)
What: A Small, Personal Confession
Why: So. As many of you know, I read. A lot. I mean, that’s partially why I compile Webtacular every week. Usually, this reading also includes books. The reason why I said “usually,” is because this year, I didn’t read one. “What?” you’re probably asking yourself. “Why on earth would you do that? That puts you in the 28%!” Reading books to me is basically a drug (I got in trouble in 4th grade since I was reading multiple books at once; and would often stay up way past my bedtime reading them). However, more recently, I realized that I was no longer enjoying reading books. Even books that I should love, like Super Sad True Love Story, Jim Henson’s Biography, or even A Game of Thrones, just weren’t doing it.

The true turning point was The Circle, which came out to still unbelievable rave reviews. It is the worst well-regarded book I have read in my life (Atlas Shrugged is the worst book I have ever attempted to read, but was so bad I never finished, so it doesn’t count). The characters are awful caricatures of what real people might be, the message is flat and obvious, and the words inside some of the heaviest handed metaphors I have read. Basically, David Eggers is the reason I haven’t read for a year. If you’re reading this, Dave, shame on you for writing that awful book.

But it wasn’t a terrible outcome! First, I found more ways to enjoy something that I love. I have a few Murakami novels lined up that I know I will enjoy, because I recently experienced Kafka On The Shore, and images and ideas presented in the book were interesting and unique. The wonderful thing about modern technology is that more books than ever are available in audio formats, which is both a really interesting way to take in a novel and a great way to ignore fellow bus passengers. Second, I am actually excited to read again, which isn’t something I have been able to say for a while. Sometimes, taking a break from something really lets you appreciate it on a basic level. Just ask any Jew about their thoughts on food on Yom Kippur.

In retrospect, a year hiatus is a little on the extreme side, now that I’m actually acknowledging how long it has been in words. However, I don’t think the experiment nonsensical as it sounds. I put aside my previous, unjustified audiobook prejudice, and gained more appreciation of what makes reading a novel a “novel” experience. (Sorry). Of course, if you haven’t read a book recently – go read one. It’s good for you.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (10 min. read)
What: More Games You Should Play
Why: Because this is another good eclectic list.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Dive, Dive, Dive!; Good Ads; Terrifying Robot Future
Why: Because Internet.

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

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

Webtacular World Issue # 107, December 20, 2015 BIRTHTACULAR / STARTACULAR EDITION

Greetings Webtaculators! Well, this is a doozy of an edition. Not only is it my birthday, but it also is the day I get to see the new Star Wars. If you couldn’t tell from previous editions, I like Star Wars. A lot. And since it’s my birthday, and this is my newsletter, I get to dedicate this edition to Star Wars. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Its About The Data
Why: Because as elections become more data driven, these types of accusations will become more commonplace.
Star Wars: Why The Rebellion Failed (Click the first link to get past FP’s paywall)
Why: Because this will set up your understanding for why there are at least 10 more years of Star Wars movies.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Oil For Everyone!
Why: Because for the first time in years, the U.S. oil reserves are back on the market.
Star Wars: You’re So Money
Why: Because Star Wars made over $230 Million in one weekend, and I contributed to about $300 of that.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: CISA Returns
Why: Because all this surveillance does not make us safer, and it explicitly goes against the 4th Amendment.
Star Wars: Lando Law
Why: Because I’d hire Lando to be my lawyer any day.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (15 min. read)
What: Sportsperson Of The Year
Why: Because people were mad that it wasn’t a horse.
Star Wars: Star Sports!
Why: Because it’s crazy that a fictional universe has this many activities.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. watch)
What: Star… Trek?
Why: Because you can be thankful that the new Star Wars didn’t turn out like this…
Star Wars: A New Hope, Reviewed
Why: Because NPR spoiled the end in it’s original review. For shame.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. play)
What: Celebrating Beethoven
Why: Because this Google doodle really does a good job of teaching people how music works in a simple manner
Star Wars: You Know How It Goes; Here Are The Words; Updated
Why: Because this song is still incredible.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (10 min. browse)
What: A British Take On Books
Why: Because as the inventors of the English Language, I guess the Guardian has a decent grasp of what a good book is.
Star Wars: How To Forget About Jedi In 60 years
Why: Because it’s interesting to think about how quickly society can forget things that are true if they aren’t properly recorded.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: Best Of The Year
Why: Because for a non-industry focused periodical, the New Yorker’s list is actually really good. Check some of these games out.
Star Wars: Revisiting Tie Fighter
Why: Because even though it’s 20 years old, it still is a really fun game.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Forever Alone; Waves; Bad Star Wars
Why: Because Internet.

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

May the Force be with you,
Brian
Managing Editor, Webtacular World
The Internet You Didn’t Know You Needed™

Webtacular World Issue # 106, December 13, 2015

Greetings Webtaculators! I spent a decent amount of this weekend reliving parts of my younger self by getting to see Weezer at NSSN, frying yet another Turkey for Thanksmus in my homemade ugly sweater, IMG_2647
and finally re-watching the entirety of Star Wars in preparation for next weekend. Holidays are about spending good time with good people doing things that you like, so I hope you have been able to do something that you enjoy, or will soon. Because you deserve it. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (15 min. watch)
What: How Not To News
Why: Because sometimes news people get things wrong. And it is hilarious.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: Climate Changes
Why: Because the world is finally doing something about climate change, even if a bunch of Americans still don’t believe it’s a real thing.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Battle Of The Blue Book
Why: Because Yale just threw down a gauntlet over the lawyers style guide. It’s ok, though, because I already burned mine.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. watch)
What: Hot Mics
Why: Because watching sports is way better when you can hear players swear at each other.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (10 min. read)
What: Machete Order
Why: Because after sitting through Episode One again after all these years, I can officially say that Jar Jar is still one of the worst characters ever created in a movie- nothing he does is relevant, except for actually granting (then) Chancellor Palpatine access to a clone army. Worthless. However, also upon re-watching, the often hated Haden Christensen actually turned in a decent performance in Episode III, so at least that was better than I remembered it.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (long listen)
What: The Best Pretentious Music List
Why: Because NPR actually has a good pulse on good music, even if you’ve never heard any of it.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (long look)
What: Looking Back At 2015
Why: Because these are the images that shaped this year. (Trigger Warning for violence, sadness, and bad memories).

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (long browse)
What: The Best Pretentious Books List
Why: Because NPR did the same thing to books as it did to music.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Who Buys These Things?; I Wish This Wasn’t True; Independence Day 2 – Independencier
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: None Of These
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World Issue #105, December 6, 2015

Greetings Webtaculators. Well, this week was awful. This was the first time a mass shooting has happened where I didn’t respond with surprise. Just, “oh.” Apparently all of my other exclamations were used up in Paris and Colorado Springs and Roseburg (bet you forgot about that one already) and Charleston and etc.. If 14 people being killed at a holiday work party, only elicits an “oh,” as a response, then something is severely wrong. I can’t tell if the fault lies with me, or if its a a symptom of a a society that won’t perform any sort of inward reflection to figure out why things like this happen, and the possibility that our past and current policies and actions might in any  way contribute to these horrific acts becoming commonplace. So, in order to prove that humanity is still doing OK, I’ll mostly focus on the good things that happened this week, with the big important news mostly as a side note. After all, if Jews are starting to celebrate the rather silly miracle of oil lasting longer than it should have, then humans can celebrate the other small, silly things that happen, too.  On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Fuck Brian
Why: Because fuck that guy.
Sidenote: San Bernardino and Guns.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: GiveItAway,GiveItAway, GiveItAway, GiveItAway Now
Why: Because not all business owners are assholes.
Sidenote: Some are.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. watch)
What: The Importance Of Pro Bono
Why: Because it’s about someone is calling out firms for not providing services to those who can’t afford it.
Sidenote: Jury Duty.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (15 min. explore)
What: Volcano Goes Boom!
Why: Because non-life threatening volcano explosions are awesome, and there is a website called volcanodiscovery.com, and that makes me happy.
Sidenote: Climate change is to Exxon Mobile as Phillip Morris was to smoking.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. watch)
What: Messi Has Always Been Very Good At Soccer
Why: Because the way the kid on the orange team “gave” the ball to the tall dude on the white team to throw in at the 4:40 mark is fierce.
Sidenote: Sepp Blatter.

TV THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: A Very Murray Christmas
Why: Because George Clooney mostly hides behind a tree, and it is glorious.
Sidenote: San Bernardino coverage.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: New Coldplay Isn’t Bad!
Why: Because the Pitchfork review includes the sentence, “And with his many wide-eyed ruminations on stars and moons and hearts and diamonds, it can sound like [Chris Martin] gets his lyrical inspiration from a spoonful of Lucky Charms.” I wish I wrote that.
Sidenote: RIP Scott Weiland. Listen to this.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (long reads)
What: Really Good Longreads
Why: Because reading good articles will fight against bullshit.
Sidenote: Stupid people believe in bullshit.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (30 min. watch)
What: Revisiting Good Old Games
Why: Because playing old games can remind you why they were great in the first place, and give you more appreciation regarding how far the industry has come.
Sidenote: Being resold FFVII for the hundredth time.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Bread Face; Elmo Is The Worst; Best Current Drummers; Best Past Drummers
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: A week free from mass murders.
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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