Today in Tabs: Magis Amica Tabula

Paul Krugman
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman's fight with 538's Nate Silver Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Turgid man-baby Nate Silver is not having a good day. Yesterday, responding to a number of sharp criticisms of his new blog by former NYT colleague Paul Krugman, Silver posted a pseudo-data driven attempt at a rebuttal, which may have seemed funny in his head but on the page is just embarrassing. Normally, there is nothing better for a media newcomer than to be attacked by a scion of the establishment; punching up is always a good look. But Silver pulled defeat from the jaws of victory by clumsily satirizing the stuffed-shirt tone of the NYT, which Krugman isn't in any way responsible for, nor is he a notable practitioner of, by cherry-picking the data that he pretends to be reporting from, and finally by ignoring the explicit content of Krugman's critique ("For all the big talk about data-driven analysis, what [FiveThirtyEight] actually delivers is sloppy and casual opining...") only to blithely remark that "the difference in Mr. Krugman’s views could reflect a decline in quality for FiveThirtyEight." Yes, Nate, that is what he is literally using his words to say. Martin Belam says it's too early to decide whether FiveThirtyEight will become "a lasting part of the media landscape," and that's true. But it's not too early to say that what Silver is doing so far is junk, and he's fast making a punchline of the "data journalism" that he's built his reputation on.

Malcolm Harris brings us an excellent critique of the FiveThirtyEight / Vox "Newsplaining" movement that covers food and animal metaphors, Neil deGrasse Tyson, objectivity vs. postmodern relativism, The Big Lebowski, unacknowledged bias, and rape apologism, and coins the term "Actually Journalism." If you open no other tabs today, open this one.

The still-unlaunched Vox, meanwhile, posted a sample explainer on the US national debt (or something) that has drawn predictable ire from the right wing garbage pile. What's galling is not the inevitable criticism, but that the substance of it was so avoidable. It's a sloppy video that makes a perfectly valid point but is handwavey about the details, and largely fails to explain anything.

Reuters... this is just adorable. You do you. The Verge may be in the middle of an existential crisis. Let's all join Felix Salmon in his world, where the biggest problem is that journalism is too beautiful. I want to go to there.

Joel Johnson explained why the Oculus sale is so galling for Kickstarter backers. Also maybe because barely three weeks ago Palmer Luckey was still saying "We don't want to be assimilated into someone who's going to have us working on their own product or their own vision of VR," which sure looks like a lie now. This still doesn't make Facebook more terrifying than Google, though. Oh yeah, also Klout is being acquired by Lithium Technologies, whoever that is, for $200 million. I guess in theory this is outrageous but I can't bring myself to care. And they're crapping up Twitter with more Facebook-ey junk, a process that won't end until Twitter is Facebook and Facebook is a teledildonic virtual-reality wank machine.*

All Crime: I kept seeing references to someone called Shrimp Boy in my timeline, and I knew that it would be explained eventually. The Knockout Game is still a hoax. NFL crackdown on racially charged hate-speech awkwardly prohibits saying the name of the Washington DC team. Peeing in the pool is harmless, come on, this Gawker article is nonsense. Wu-Tang Clan to produce exactly one copy of their new album in dumbest new music release concept ever. Tyler Cowen pepper sprayed while teaching class for no obvious reason. I mean he was pepper sprayed for no obvious reason. He was teaching class because it's his job. Headline of the year, probably.

Lightning Round: Idiot! (lol). Chap-hop? Tumblr. Velveteen. Muskrat. Gross. Biden!

Today's Post-Tabs Soother: The Firefly Time-Lapse (via Colossal)

Today's Song: Pharrell, "Happy," Woodkid Sad Remix

~Amicus Plato — amicus Aristoteles — magis amica tabula~

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