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™