Webtacular World Issue # 160, December 25, 2016 CHRISTMAS / END OF THE YEAR EDITION

Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, and a happy New Year Webtaculators! This is officially the last Webtacular World of this calendar year, so I’ll be re-covering some of the biggest things that happened, point you to some top lists, and provide some of my own input on my favorite things of this ridiculous year. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Russian Ambassador To Turkey Assassinated
Why: Because it seems like the world is trying its damndest to throw itself into chaos.

STORY OF THE YEAR (3 min. read)
What: Donald Trump
Why: Because this schmuck will be President of the U.S. in less than a month. Good job America.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (1 min. read)
What: Christmas Spending Down
Why: Because sales during the holiday season have been steadily declining year over year in equivalent dollars, even with the general boost from online accessibility.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE YEAR(15 min. read)
What: Brexit
Why: Because the British showed the U.S. how to ruin a democracy long before Trump won the presidency.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: No New Lawyers In CA
Why: Because even though this is a few weeks old, I never got around to mentioning that fewer than half the people who took the CA bar this summer passed. Welcome, fellow failures!

LAW THING OF THE YEAR (3 min. read)
What: Justice Scalia Passed Away
Why: Because normally, the death of a Supreme Court Justice leads to a replacement. However, because Congress decided to not do its job, the court has been shorthanded ever since.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. read)
What: Honda, Meet Waymo
Why: Because Honda is partnering with the what was once called the Google Car to develop autonomous cars.

SCIENCE THING OF THE YEAR (2 min. watch)
What: Self Driving Cars
Why: Because this is the first year that people could (relatively) easily purchase a vehicle that can drive itself.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. read)
What: The Niners Won!
Why: Because the only team they can apparently beat are a the Rams.

SPORTS THING OF THE YEAR (3 min. read)
What: The Cubs Won!
Why: Because the Cubs had previously been the sports franchise with the honor of not having won its sports’ national title for the longest time period.

FOOD THING OF THE WEEK (15 min. read)
What: Chau’s Top 10 Meals
Why: Because Danny Chau quickly became my favorite food writer of this year. Not entirely related, but still entertaining, here’s Vanity Fair’s take on the Trump Tower Restaurant that pissed POTUS Elect off.

FOOD THING OF THE YEAR (20 min. read)
What: Hot Chicken
Why: Because this is what made me like Danny Chau’s writing in the first place.

BEST THINGS I ATE THIS YEAR
What: Italy. Yes, All Of It.
Why: Because there is only one time in your life when you can spend a week and a half with your new wife in one of the most proud food cultures in the world with the entire trip budgeted around making every meal include three courses and beverages. Some examples include Florentine steak, fresh seafood stew, crispy, yet chewy pizza, our own handmade potato ravioli, squid ink seafood pasta, and of course more cheese and cured meat than I could count. The worst meal we had would have ranked up near the top of the best Italian food you can get in the states. I swear I’ll work off the weight I gained starting in the new year.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. watch)
What: New Wes Anderson With All Of Your Favorites
Why: Because who doesn’t love West Anderson movies? Also, if you’re looking to watch something to get into the holiday spirit tonight, watch one of these.

MOVIE THING OF THE YEAR: (8 min. read)
What: List Of Good Movies
Why: Because I find myself watching fewer and fewer of these every year.

BEST NEW THINGS I WATCHED THIS YEAR
What: Rogue One, Arrival, Stranger Things, Westworld, American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, Atlanta
Why: Because most of these are T.V. shows, and they were on the whole way better than any movie I saw.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: R.I.P George Michael
Why: Because the singer of classics such as Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go and Faith died too early. At least we got a surprise release of the newest RTJ?

MUSIC THING OF THE YEAR (long read)
What: Pitchfork’s Annual List Of Them Telling You How Much Better They Are Listening To Music Than You
Why: Because they actually do have mostly good taste, and it’s a good way to discover things

BEST NEW THINGS I LISTENED TO THIS YEAR
What: Beyonce: Lemonade, Sorry; Chance the Rapper:Coloring Book, No Problem; Maggie Rogers, Alaska; Glass Animals: How To Be A Human Being, Agnes; Weezer: White Album, California Kids; Bon Iver: 22, A Million10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄; The Avalanches: Wildflower, Subways
Why: Because there really was some great music this year.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: The Assassination
Why: Because photographers often have to record difficult events that put them in danger.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE YEAR (long look)
What: The Time’s Best Photos
Why: Because cameras are everywhere, and the stories the pictures they take really tell more than words.

LITERATURE THING OF THE YEAR (3 min. read)
What: The Best Books Of 2016
Why: Because even though I read more than last year, I still didn’t get around to that many new ones. Apparently we all should read The Underground Railroad.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (30 min. watch)
What: Doom Resurrected
Why: Because Doom was one of the best video games of the year, and this is how it was made.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE YEAR (3 min. read)
What: The New Yorker’s Best Video Games Of The Year List
Why: Because I still can’t get over the fact that the New Yorker covers video games.

BEST NEW THINGS I PLAYED THIS YEAR
What: Titanfall 2Hitman; Battlefield 1; Dishonored 2; Inside; Forza Horizon 3; Doom; Dark Souls III
Why: Because this really is the year that First Person Shooters came back in a big way.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Santa v. Penguin; Elephants In Christmas; Better Christmas Songs
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: 2016 Mulligan. Except for whole getting married thing. That was amazing.
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 159, December 18, 2016

Greetings Webtaculators! This week, I in the spirit of Christmas and those other holidays that no one cares about, I am only going to focus on the good stuff. Well, mostly. First, let’s talk about moving. In one of those life events that only happens to future you until, you know, you’re actually in the middle of doing it, Meagan and I are in the process of relocating to the suburbs in order to make her commute reasonable. Specifically, we’re moving to Pleasant Hill, which I’m sure for those of you who are not familiar with Bay Area geography can readily picture just from its name – 45 minutes or so (without traffic [HAHAHAHA!!!]) from a major city, with plenty of mid-scale “fancy” restaurants, wide boulevards to make sure you can get to the mall quickly, and  mid-priced homes to make sure that you can still feel like anyone can afford some version of the American Dream.

The place we are moving to is great on paper: 1,000 sq. ft., 2 bed 2bath with detached garage and updated appliances, and most importantly, an in unit washer and dryer for less money than we’re currently paying for way less amenities. Great, right? However, thanks to the brilliance of large managed living associations, our “new home” done fucked up, and made our lives much more difficult than a simple “I paid you money for a place to live” agreement should have been.

We showed up early Saturday afternoon to start moving into our apartment that we started paying for over a week ago. Surprisingly, they were not prepared for us to actually move in, as the apartment was lacking things like carpet or finished outlets. Since this is a managed property, meaning that you trade a bit of anonymity to get access to things like a 24/7 repair service and automatic payment options, the management team promised that it would be an “easy switch” to a different apartment that was exactly the same as the one we had signed for, but actually complete. The switch would be easy, you see, because everything is done via software, so, theoretically, our information that was already stored could be magically swapped over to the other location. An easy switch apparently means a 3 hour process of re-filling out new applications, confusing their computer system to show that we owe thousands of dollars more than we should, and forcing a poor maintenance guy to grind new keys and swap out locks at 6:30 PM on a Saturday night way after his shift should have been over. Needless to say, our move has gone wonderfully so far, and I cannot wait until the robots take over everything. On to the good news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (25 min. read)
What: Our Black President
Why: Because Ta-Nehisi Coates is a goddamn national treasure, and the amount of emotion and complexity that this piece delivers is staggering.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: America Is Great Again
Why: Because our country was already on the right path long before Trump decided to ruin everything.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Watching The Watchmen
Why: Because the Orange County DA has already been reprimanded for failing to turn over information required for fair trials.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: GRUVER DO YOUR DAMN JOB
Why: Because Uber released its driver-less cars in San Francisco with a few hiccups.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Hopping On The Raider’s Bandwagon
Why: Because at least one team in the Bay Area can play football.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (7 min. read)
What: Saving Rogue One
Why: Because the new Star Wars movie was really good.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. watch)
What: All I Want For Christmas
Why: Because even though it is entirely contrived, James Corden has truly made pop music fun again this year.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. watch)
What: A Child’s Imagination
Why: Because Stephen King explains why we should continue to think more like children to connect with ourselves and our fears more.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. read)
What: Mario #1!
Why: Because Nintendo just released its first game on another system. It’s rather addicting. You should play it.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: It’s The End Of The Year; I’m A Mac; Real Americans; Duck Tales-ier
Why: Because Internet.

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

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

Webtacular World Issue # 158, December 11, 2016

Greetings Webtaculators! It’s finally almost the end of this awful year. Just because it hasn’t made us miserable enough so far, this year also decided to take John Glenn, the first American to circle the Earth and well regarded politician who actually put the country before himself. Good riddance 2016. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Oh Good, Actually Russia Helped Trump
Why: Because I hope the people who actually voted for Trump’s heads should be exploding due to their inability to marry the fact that “those commie bastards” in Russia influenced our elections in favor of their “all-American” candidate. However, I doubt anyone who voted for him believes this actually happened, since their impeccably well-spoken says it’s ridiculous.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. watch)
What: Amazon Shopping
Why: Because I really want to see what happens if you try to steal from it. I bet drones drop a net on the person, and then drags them to be a warehouse worker for a set number of time until they work off the debt.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: The Great Gerrymander
Why: Because the word Gerrymander is a portmanteau of the words last name Gerry and salamander, due to Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry becoming famous for carving districts in a shape that resembled, well, a salamander.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Life, Finds A Wing
Why: Because we now have definitive proof that dinosaurs had feathers. Spielberg now needs to do an E.T. re-edit and make all the dinos in the original Jurassic Park look like giant chickens.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Someone Won The Heisman!
Why: Because just to let you know how different football is now, the story for Lamar Jackson (who?), who won this prestigious award YESTERDAY, shows up way at the bottom of ESPN’s home page beyond the scroll line.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (medium-ish watch)
What: A Bunch Of Trailers!
Why: Because the only one that really matters is Rogue One, but I’ve talked about Star Wars stuff enough on this. Also, fuck The Circle.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (15 min. read)
What: Re-Endtroduction
Why: Because DJ Shadow is largely credited with making the use of sampling an actual art form. Also, his new album is pretty good.

NEW SOCIETY THING OF THE WEEK (20 min. read)
What: Liberlandia
Why: Because these people are clowns and deserved to be laughed at for their terrible ideas.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (VERY LONG READ)
What: NPR’s End Of The Year List Is Too Big
Why: Because there are 309 books.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (10 min. watch)
What: Jimmy Fallon Loves Zelda
Why: Because even though he gets mocked for his over-eagerness about most things, he legitimately seemed like a kid in a toy store with this one.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: YouTube 2016; Williams-Sonoma Hates You; Fireball Connoisseur
Why: Because Internet.

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

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

Webtacular World Issue # 157, December 4, 2016

Greetings Webtaculators! Another week, another Webtacular World. I definitely had no idea that this dumb idea for a weekly news update would last this long, but three years later, and here we are. Thanks for reading. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Protesting Pipes
Why: Because this directly shows that the proper form of civil disobedience still works a valid way to force companies to think about the human cost, at least for the time being.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Bringing The Venti To The Masses
Why: Because Starbucks invariably changed the way most Americans drink coffee, and its leader is leaving his post.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. read)
What: People Are The Worst
Why: Because there is no way that shooting someone who is running away in the back can be construed as anything but murder.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Net Neutrality, Again
Why: Because like many things that are happening in the waning days of the Obama administration, this ruling may not stick, even though it is completely right.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: BCS Is Broken, Again
Why: Because choosing who gets to play in the “Championships” becomes more and more meaningless in seasons like these.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. watch)
What: Vol. 2
Why: Because more baby Groot.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (10 min. read)
What: Childish Genius
Why: Because Donald Glover’s newest album is a success – just like basically everything else he touches.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. look)
What: Mummies Need Love, Too
Why: Because my friend Ezra, one of the people who was very much part of the reason why Webtacular World exists in the first place and who’s work on the great podcast Read It And Weep has been featured on here before, co-wrote a novel.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (long look)
What: The Game Awards / PlayStation Experience
Why: Because it’s both the game of the year award season and game of next year announcement season. And there were / will be some good ones.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: These Songs Will Ruin Your Day; Trevor Vs. Tomi; The State Of Music
Why: Because Internet.

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

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