Today in Tabs: A Message from the Old Internet

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Happy Goth Day Nigel Roddis/Reuters

Happy World Goth Day! This is the first time since World Goth Day's 2009 inception that it has fallen on a #throwbackthursday, a fortuitous coincidence that has not gone uncelebrated. Your social media forecast is for continued flash-lit teenage party kitchen pictures through evening, followed by a light drizzle of MySpace angle selfies until dawn.

The forecast for Metafilter is no longer quite so dark blue. Members and fans have offered to fund the site themselves, as anyone but site founder Matt Haughey could have predicted, to the tune of several thousand dollars a month in recurring donations so far. Matt wrote at greater length about the state of MeFi and the online ad business in Medium, and (still, unfortunately) outgoing moderator Jessamyn West announced she is going to work for the late Aaron Swartz's Open Library project at the Internet Archive, which is a job so hyper-evolved to fit Jessamyn perfectly that seems like an argument against natural selection. If you miss what Michelle Dean called the Old Internet (and since Today in Tabs is a weird time-shifted extrusion of the Old Internet, then you do) please consider supporting Metafilter, or at least visiting it if you haven't already.

If you're reading this on a computer, you should be aware that no one knows how computers work, that it's a miracle they ever work at all, and that when they do work, what they mostly do is disgorge your personal data to surveillance agencies and help criminals do crime. Quinn Norton might seem alarmist in this article titled "Everything Is Broken" but the truth is she is not alarmist enough. eBay was just hacked, so everybody should go change the password you just changed when they discovered Heartbleed, and have already forgotten. But since the information stolen included "birthdays and other identity information," you'll also need to change the pin numbers on all the fraudulent credit cards that have already been created in your name. James Comey suggested that we might better combat computer crime if we put the "high" in FBI and hire dope-smoking hop fiends, but if programmers are getting baked it's only because we spend our professional lives trying to "make a bookshelf out of mashed potatoes" in Jamie Zawinski's memorable phrase. Lol but nah they're not actually going to change the FBI hiring policies because they hate a harmless plant a hell of a lot more than they care about our privacy or safety. The truth is that everyone is totally just winging it all the time, making everything up as we go, and that fact that I can write this on a computer and send it to you and more often than not you actually receive it and are able to read it is amazing. Sure, Russian hackers are buying high-end electronics using all of our Social Security numbers right now, but you know what? We'll sort that out later.

NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program graduate showcase featured 100 student projects but frankly the only one I care about is the penis wall, by Peiqi Su. This wall of 81 3D-printed "erectable" penises can model stock market data or just dance captivatingly, like a garden of undersea fronds, except instead of fronds they're segmented plastic penises. The construction of the penis wall is documented in great detail, including CAD designs and the details of the custom penis-control electronic assemblies. Footnote here: "custom penis-control electronic assemblies" is probably the most cyberpunk phrase I've ever written.

Powerhouse investigative journalist Sarah Lacey discovers that rich people eat lunch at the Four Seasons. Professional animal abusers insufficiently injured at work. Powdered alcohol is as bad an idea as you suspected it must be. Today in Dads. White person hits 40, starts "finally understanding racism better." Also today in racism. Assumptions about privilege prove awkward, again. Rap Shirts for white people.

Today's Drone: Is walking the dog [via Mashable]

Today's Media-Pun Based Tumblr: Catpital in the 21st Century

Today's Song: The Killers, "Don't Fence Me In"

~Oh, give me tabs, lots of tabs under starry skies above, don't fence me in~

I was informed that Laura June beat me to Tuesday's clever Serenity Prayer for Tabs by almost a year, so let the record reflect. Today in Tabs is "affiliated in some way I don't totally understand" with Newsweek, and may also be subscribed to by email in the unlikely event email works or computers work or anything in this teetering overcomplex world fails to simply topple over and lie on the ground twitching, in a metaphorical sense. Welcome Slate podcast listeners, and for the nearly 200 of you for whom yesterday was your first Today in Tabs, I'm so sorry.

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