Today in Tabs: What To Do If You Are Lost In The Woods

Various racist failure modes considered.

Today in Tabs: What To Do If You Are Lost In The Woods
[Photos: Flickr users USFS Region 5, CHARLES WILLIAM PELLETIER/C2 Montréal, Karunakar Rayker]

“Woman gives birth, fights off bees, starts wildfire in Northern California” is the best story today, and possibly the best story we will see in a long time. It has all of the necessary elements of compelling journalism: a wrong turn, a stalled car, the miracle of birth, bees attacking a placenta, and a dramatic rescue prompted by an intentionally set forest fire, which, as a Dad, is the one wilderness rescue strat I will never let my children or anyone else forget about. “If you’re ever lost in the woods,” I say, “set a forest fire! Someone will see it and come rescue you.” “Ok sir, your change is $6.17 and your cold brew will be right up,” replies the confused barista. But someday that minimum-wage employee will remember my wisdom and wish he had brought matches into the forest as the bees close in on him for the last time and the screaming starts.


David Segal profiled Arianna Huffington in the New York Times Magazine. The article makes The Huffington Post sound like a content mill out of a Fritz Lang film and Huffington herself look like a neurotic phony who doesn’t know how to use a web browser, but the whole thing still somehow comes off as too generous. The content industry takeaway was that if you can’t turn a profit with unpaid writers crapping out 1,200 garbage posts a day, how on earth will anyone else survive? This is built on the bedrock economic fact that a giant pile of trash is more valuable than a small pile of trash, which also explains New York.

What Time Is the Super Bowl?

Today in Being Angry, here’s Rachel Aviv in the New Yorker about Caddo Parish, Lousiana’s District Attorney Dale Cox, who views judicially murdering black men for revenge–whether or not they have plausibly committed a crime–to be a key part of his job. Cox is unusually open about it, but his desire for racist vengeance is the beating heart that powers all of America’s toil to justify the ongoing barbarity of capital punishment.

Christian Lorentzen considered the emerging cult of the “This is Water” caricature version of David Foster Wallace for Vulture. Elon Green dug up an odd Atlantic Monthly short story from 1863 that casts a kind of backlight on all the Confederate flag nonsense going on now. First Look Media, “Buzzfeed, Vox, CNN, AP and other media companies” petitioned the Florida courts to let them gawk at the impending Gawker/Hulk Hogan sex tape trial. California mandated vaccines for all children, eliminating nonsense religious and “personal belief” exemptions. (One idiot was mad.) Joshua Cohen’s “Book of Numbers” is about a guy named Joshua Cohen writing a book about a guy named Joshua Cohen, so it’s not a huge surprise that the book apparently reads like Thomas Pynchon jerking off to a thesaurus.

Today in Tech: The Google Photos feature that sorts your photos by automatically recognizing objects in them achieved its most obvious possible racist failure mode and labeled some pictures of black people “gorillas.” We may never figure out why computers have so much trouble with black faces. People discovered some new answers in Apple’s novelty gag-response app Siri. Meanwhile the first reviews of Apple Music are starting to come in, and so far we have learned that it knows exactly how basic your musical taste is (“Straight out, I was given a recommendation of a Taylor Swift love ballad playlist and albums from The Kinks, Sufjan Stevens, Elliot Smith, The Shins, Miguel and Drake.” AMAZING!) and also that it is not very metal. And the Greek Debt Crisis is a complex story about international finance with the fate of the European common currency in the balance, but does it have a tech angle? Heck yes it does! Some Greeks are losing access to their iCloud storage as their banking system shuts down and automatic payments begin to fail. Remember, “The Cloud” is a euphemism for “computers someone else owns.”

It’s Canada Day, which is the day the rest of the world is supposed to remember Canada exists. Intern Romy is technically past her internship month but she wanted to finish out the week, so here are her Canada Day thoughts.


Today is Canada Day, and like gay marriage and health care, our national day happens earlier than our neighbours to the South, but with much less fanfare. Having spent the bulk of my formative years in other countries, and all of my youth in a church that believed patriotism was a sin, I have little connection to the country I find myself stuck to. Truth is, I long to leave–not because of Canada, but because leaving is kind of my signature move.

I got the bug for taking off as a child, when decisions like “Should we become missionaries?” happened largely without my input. Once I was grown, I kept up the habit. If there was nowhere in the world that I considered home, then home was mine to find. Only this time, instead of leaving being a decision, it was a reaction. Leaving was running away from my mistakes or towards a future version of myself that I liked better. It took ten years, but I’ve realized that if I am to grow, putting down roots is a prerequisite.

So I’m staying put. I’ll marry my girl, if she’ll have me, and we’ll make each other our home. And we’ll do it in Canada. It’s not my country, but it’s pretty swell. Happy Canada Day.

I can’t think of a more fittingly tepid endorsement for Canada than “Canada! I guess it’s the country I ended up in.”


Today’s Videos: Rap’s prog-rock epic “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar

…and a bonkers new video for Modest Mouse’s “The Ground Walks, with Time in a Box

~I don’t know they say you never tab~

Today in Tabs is sorry for all the lecturing today. But carry a lighter when you go into the woods anyway, just in case. And when you find your way back out, read us on Fast Company and your email inbox, and follow me on Twitter @rustyk5 so I can scale my personal brand.


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