Today in Tabs: Good Times

2014 was a garbage year, as both Bloomberg graphics and The Nib show in pictures, Vox shows in video, and Google trends shows in, um, trends. But that was then! Now it is just today, and today is not too bad. The crap-hurricane might be raging around us, but join me here in the eye for a moment, where it’s quiet and peaceful.

Are you interested in movies? Terence Nance wrote an incontrovertible and passionate explanation of why Exodus: Gods and Kings” is a work of white supremacy, and Rembert Browne tied in the new D’Angelo album as well. It’s called “Black Messiah!” Not about movies but Brit Bennett‘s “I Don’t Know What To Do With Good White People” in Jezebel is another angle on what Nance is writing about. Also in Grantland, Mark Harris explains what is going on with all the comic book franchises in Hollywood right now, and possibly forever from now on. And the Terminator Genisys: Paradox Edition trailer is hilarious.

Hatt Monan has been clearing out his drafts, and today he’s got a long article for Wired on Circa, Buzzfeed, and First Look. I will basically read anything Mat ever cares to write, at this point. Nieman‘s Caroline O’Donovan has a Q&A with Mat’s future boss, Buzzfeed’s Shani O. Hilton, who is one of the smartest people in journalism. Here’s the print extract and here’s the full audio conversation. Email news digest The Skimm just raised a $6.25 million funding round, which I take to be reasonably good for newslettering in general. Mathew Ingram agrees. At current subscription rates, it’ll only be 124 years till it’s me with a million subscribers! If any of you want to purchase my “very personal voice” to shill for your soulless brand, do it now while I’m still underground and cool!

Darius Kazemi made a new toy called “Content Forever” that takes a random stroll around Wikipedia starting with a subject you select, and gives you a completely unique and pointless piece of content to read. Caitlin Dewey from Dragon-lair Daily and David Holmes in Pando were both quite taken with it.

Marc Maron‘s “WTF” podcast episode with Louis CK has just come out from behind the paywall for the first time since its 2010 release. Slate named it the best podcast episode ever. I personally would recommend skipping the first 30 minutes, but the rest is not bad. Welcome to Night Vale‘s Joseph Fink wrote a poem for The Toast (which is not trying to screw you out of your copyrights) about New York. Kyle Chayka on sexy, sexy art in Adult Mag. How will Serial end tomorrow? What Colour Is It?

There are terrible things going on still, of course. Fox is making a crappy wide-screen garbage version of Buffy for example. But just for today, let’s forget about those things. Bijan, what’s good?


The new meaning of the word “viral” suits it well: On our high-speed trainwreck of a ‘net, infections spread fast and multiply furiously, relentlessly. The sun never sets online.

Brian Feldman understands this intimately (as judged, perhaps unfairly, by his Twitter presence). Today he’s written an investigation titled “The Triumphant Rise of the Shitpic” for the Awl, which takes on—and coins the term—”shitpics.” You know, those terrible screencapped and reposted image macro memes that show up regularly on Instagram and Twitter.

But if you look at a Shitpic, you can instantly tell the level of virality by how worn it looks, how legible its text is, how many watermarks adorn it. You can count them much like you would rings on a tree. A pristine-looking meme engenders skepticism—”This can’t be that funny, it hasn’t been imperfectly replicated enough.” But when you see that blurry text, partially cut off by the top of the frame, and a heavily compressed picture of Kermit below… that’s when you know:

This is gonna be a good-ass meme.

Good tab. It’s a pleasure having you intern, Bijan. I don’t say that enough.

???: Punch a Monet

Today’s Song: Last night, Kendrick Lamar went on Colbert and did this new as-yet-untitled song which is at least three levels above anything else out there (including you Nicki, sorry). It is unbelievable.

~But for now we are young, Let us lay in the sun, And count every beautiful tab we can see~

I don’t know, I just feel really chill today and there was a lot of great C O N T E N T out there? Today in Tabs will surely have an extra helping of hot garb tomorrow. Until then, read us on FastCoLabs and subscribe by email. I tweet @rustyk5 and sometimes @TodayinTabs.


From 3-D Printed Fetuses To Vagina Kayaks: The Weirdest Design Of 2014

Innovation at its freakiest: presenting 12 of the most bizarre inventions of the year, from Kate Moss boob glasses to chairs resembling fat.

In 2014, it became possible to drink champagne out of a glass shaped like Kate Moss’s boob while sitting on a chair designed to resemble a fat person’s flesh in a restaurant decorated with hundreds of animal bones. If you wanted to, you could also paddle down a river in a kayak shaped like a vagina while biting into a pear shaped like a human baby and stroking a taxidermied pig encrusted with rhinestone Chanel logos. If that sounds too complicated, you could just 3-D print your unborn fetus and call it a day. These are designs that, as of this year, all actually exist in the world.

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The 10 Coolest Office Spaces Of 2014

From Yelp to Soundcloud, take a look at the most colorful, whimsical, and productivity-boosting office designs we saw this year.

Fluorescent-lit cubicles are so last century. The latest in corporate office design is about creating more than just a place for employees to sit and stare at their computers, and the Googles of the world aren’t the only companies investing in awesome office spaces (though Google continues to build zany offices all over the world). More and more, companies are hiring designers to outfit their headquarters with sleek interiors and productivity- and happiness-boosting amenities for workers like running tracks, cocktail bars, and more. Check out some of the quirky, cool, and colorful workplaces we coveted most this year.

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Stomach bug ‘forecast’ to keep swimmers safe

A new way to get timely updates on the health of public beaches could help you return home from a trip to the seashore with only a healthy glow—not the stomach flu.

Researchers say the relatively easy-to-use predictive modeling systems offer an improvement over current monitoring methods, and will give beachgoers a better chance at avoiding waterborne ailments such as gastroenteritis, respiratory illness, skin rashes, and ear, nose, and throat infections.

Getting gastroenteritis—the “stomach flu,” which often comes with diarrhea, vomiting, and fever—is one of several ailments that can affect people infected by water polluted with fecal bacteria from sewage.

“The current approach warns the public of the potential health risks of swimming at polluted beaches based on yesterday’s news,” says Alexandria Boehm, associate professor of structural engineering at Stanford University and coauthor of the research paper published in Environmental Science & Technology.

“We wanted to find a way to better protect the public health of the more than 150 million people who visit California beaches every year,” adds coauthor Amanda Griesbach, a beach water quality scientist with Heal the Bay.

Currently, for financial and logistical reasons, most beach managers analyze swimming waters only once a week. These tests, which involve analyzing water samples for fecal indicator bacteria, generally take 18 to 24 hours. The fastest sampling method available can take up to six hours. In the meantime, swimmers continue swimming and water conditions can change within a few hours, making lab results inaccurate.

“We know for sure that the method used now is not accurate,” says Boehm, a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

Beach testing in an hour

By contrast, predictive models based on a range of site-specific data can return highly accurate water characterizations within about an hour.

To develop these models, researchers worked with beach managers at 25 Southern California beaches to collect site-specific archival data such as rainfall amounts, tide levels, and pollution concentrations.

“Once we are familiar with the data availability and beach characteristics, we will know what types of input variables are probably useful in water quality prediction, and thus we can develop the predictive models quite efficiently,” says study lead author Anthony Thoe, a postdoctoral scholar in civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University.

Using publicly available software, the researchers developed and tested more than 700 models. They used five different types of statistical models for each beach, and determined which type of model could best predict beach advisories.

Beach quality apps

In the future, beach managers may be able to run models, specifically tailored to their beaches’ characteristics, by simply entering data into an Excel spreadsheet, says Thoe, who worked on a similar modeling project for beaches in Hong Kong. Dubbed Project WATERMAN, that resulted in a range of web tools and apps anyone can download to monitor water quality at any time.

“We believe with these apps and web pages, the public can feel more engaged and can easily access prediction results that may help them determine whether they want to swim at a particular beach on that day,” Thoe says.

Although Thoe has yet to create apps for the United States, the study’s second phase this summer will likely include a public notification component.

The researchers plan to work with managers at three Southern California beaches—Doheny State Beach, Santa Monica State Beach, and Arroyo Burro Beach—to better understand the nonscientific obstacles to implementation of predictive models for issuing beach advisories.

Along the way, the researchers will further refine their models by, for example, adding data on factors such as salinity and or water cloudiness.

Like a weather report

The US Environmental Protection Agency has recommended the use of predictive models to manage beaches, but states, which have jurisdiction over beach management, have not rushed to embrace the approach. In the United States, the approach is used only at a few beaches along the Great Lakes. This may be because until now there has been no large proof-of-concept-type study on predictive modeling.

It may also be because there is little federal or state legal guidance on using predictive models. California’s Assembly Bill 411, for example, exhaustively covers recreational water quality sampling, but says nothing about predictive models, Boehm says.

Researchers say they hope the study—the first systematic assessment of predictive modeling on a range of beaches with varying geographic and pollution characteristics—is an important step toward adoption.

“Soon, we’ll be able to use beach water quality models like the weather report,” says coauthor Mark Gold, acting director of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. “Swimmers and surfers will be able to know about water quality before they go to their favorite beach.”

The California State Water Resources Control Board funded the study.

Source: Stanford University

The post Stomach bug ‘forecast’ to keep swimmers safe appeared first on Futurity.

Wakati keeps fruit and veg fresh for longer without a fridge

The Wakati increases the length of time that fruit and veg can be stored without refrigera...

For farmers in developing countries without refrigerators, a great deal of produce – and therefore profit – can be lost through spoilage. A new device seeks to tackle this problem by increasing the short-term storage time for fruit and veg. The Wakati stores produce in a sterilized microclimate…
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MIT aims to simplify web development with new language

A new, MIT-developed language named Ur/Web has the potential to significantly streamline w...

Ur/Web is a new approach to coding for the Web set out in a white paper being presented by MIT researcher Adam Chlipala. Built on the foundations of the existing Haskell and ML code family, Ur/Web extends the Ur language to include a library of rules useful in a web development context. It has the potential to significantly streamline web development, taking the stack of technologies which make up a website and putting them all inside a single application that compiles all the required XML, JavaScript, SQL and CSS…
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L3P Architekten fits a lot of house into a little space

The home was completed in 2014 (Photo: Vito Stallone)

With prime building space dwindling in many areas, canny developers realize that apparently undesirable plots can be perfectly profitable with the right architect. L3P Architekten recently produced a good argument for building on such sites, with the House Vineyard Dieseldorf: an unusual glass-fronted concrete home located in a cramped plot in Dielsdorf, Switzerland.
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Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid can now power homes during an outage

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has been approved for vehicle-to-home power use in Japan

The ability to plug electric vehicles into the mains raises the potential for their connecting to and powering other devices as well. Mitsubishi has announced that its Outlander PHEV can now do just that. Japanese users will be able to power their homes in the event of a power outage.
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Samsung unveils new 360-degree speakers, Curved Soundbars ahead of CES

The WAM7500 and WAM6500 provide 360-degree audio through the company's proprietary 'Ring R...

Samsung has lifted the curtain on several new audio products that will be on show at CES 2015 next week in Las Vegas. The company will show off several new Curved Soundbars to compliment its various sizes of curved TVs, as well as a pair of new speakers that boast 360-degree audio…
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