Today in Tabs: The Power of the Idea

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About that Medicare penis pump story, why Google is now evil, and the latest in NSA spying. Walter Bieri / EPA-Corbis

Glenn Beck's man inside Buzzfeed Benny Johnson picked up an HHS report about Medicare overpaying for penis pumps, ostensibly as an excuse to make a lot of bad erection puns. But while Reuters ran the same item with one source other than the report (Redstate founder and conservative Heartland Institute hack Ben Domenech) Benny, conveniently, didn't need to quote any right-wing hack aside from himself.

Speaking of evil, yeah let's just go ahead and say it. Google is evil now. It was a good run, fellas.

The NYT creates a digital highway for launching cyber-tabs with this muddled report on NSA snooping hardware. But if you're worried, PGP founder Phil Zimmerman and Silent Circle launched Blackphone, a supposedly secure mobile device. Quinn Norton points out that all mobile phones are location trackers so when you see the phrase "NSA Proof," don't believe the hype.

This story in Pacific Standard about artisanal toast should, by all that is right and holy, be a complete and utter tab. But somehow it is NOT, and that makes it almost magical. I mean 1-inch-thick toast is still nonsense, but it's a good story.

The five varieties of internet contrarians: skip down if you must, but read the last graf.

White-collar workers face "gamification" which is a new name for what we've been doing to blue-collar workers for 100 years.

Today in The Hall of Mirrors: sub-Upworthy Facebook linkbait factory Viral Nova is for sale by its owner and one actual employee. Also in viral garbage, Whisper is virality without even the pretense of truth in Kevin Roose's (accurate) analysis. Maureen O'Connor explains why unfollowing is a joy.

And finally today in journalism on journalism on journalism: Caroline O'Donovan profiles Heidi Moore's "Today in Tabs" newsletter for Nieman Lab and ties together email newsletters, hatereading, and ~t h e s t r e a m~, as well as documenting the history of Today in Tabs back to 1999.

Jedediah Purdy calls out the missing oversight that led to the WV chemical spill in the New Yorker. Religion in sci-fi on the Toast. Scientists torture robots, presumably in preparation for the coming war. That last tab is also nice set to music. "I'd rather kiss a Wookie!"

Rob Meyer explains the genesis of the best snap I ever got, for The Atlantic.

So um... also... Facebook is. Doing a thing maybe? I, uh. Oh our sponsor Newsweek launched its new new new site, which is... which is nice. Sorry, I'm kind of distracted? There's just... no wait a second.

Look I'm sorry for this but I'm going to have to wrap it up right there. Here, have some Kidz Bop "Royals" to take us out. I just can't with this right now.

~All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.~

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