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™