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Published March 29th 2018

More Tabs, Please #17: Rabbit Holes, Conspiracy Theories and Weird Social Experiments

This week's More Tabs, Please covers rabbit holes on Avril Lavigne, kooky social experiments by internet millionaires and a game-turned short film that's full of moral dilemmas

Happy not Friday. We’re about to start the la,la,la,la,la,la,la,la long weekend (you have to sing it each time) and, with great expanses of hangover time ahead, you need things to keep you entertained. That’s what More Tabs, Please is for.

The very very observant of you may have deduced by the lack of mention of a “bag of cans” so far that I am not Joshua Boyd. Nope, I’m Gemma and I’m guest-more-tabsing for this week only. I’m here to share the rabbit holes and cool things that have left impressions on me and that might make your weekend more interesting.

For this week’s playlist I’m sharing Jamie T’s ‘Carry on The Grudge’ because 1. Jamie T is brill and 2. it contains a song called Rabbit Hole and you’re about to read all about those.

Now let’s kick this off with a our first hole to jump down.


This is a kooky story if you’ve not heard it before, and one that drifted back into my mind after I found out that the original documentary that got me interested is going to be turned into a feature film.

‘We Live in Public’ is a 2009 documentary that follows the life of Josh Harris, a multimillionaire of the dot-com era who founded a webcasting website called in 1993 and went on to develop a taste for obscure experiments involving technology and human subjects. Here’s the trailer – things get weird very quickly.

His various exploits include him and his girlfriend hooking up cameras around their apartment and “living in public”, ending in disaster. He also set up a warehouse full of artists living in capsules at the turn of the millennium in which everything was free but everything was also on tape, and Harris owned the footage. It’s very Black Mirror.

Harris has been keeping a low profile since all this kicked off, but a movie starring Jonah Hill about his crazier years may bring him back into the spotlight. Here’s one of the most recent accounts of what the man who tried to merge video and chat about 10 years before most people had broadband is up to now: “Josh Harris, the internet entrepreneur who lost $50m.”

Men will be men; women will be girls

I tell stories with data for a living so I’m always on the lookout for cool things people are doing with different datasets. One site that’s doing wonderful things is The Pudding. I’m in love with The Pudding.

The Pudding is a rabbit hole in itself – you can lose hours examining and playing with their massive range of cool visualizations.

One of my favorites is “Analyzing the Gender Representation of 34,476 Comic Book Characters” by Amanda Shendruk. It analyzes patterns in the powers and names of our favorite superheroes and highlights points of inequality.

Taken From The Timeline: Is Avril Lavigne dead?

The theory that Avril Lavigne is dead and was replaced years ago by someone that looks like her is one of my favorite internet theories that just won’t die. Every year it seems to have a little renaissance, and then it disappears off again into the depths before re-emerging with new ‘evidence’ months later.

I’ve yet to see the theory re-surface this year (even though my post looking at the growth of the theory on social continues to bring in a steady stream of traffic), but this tweet caught the imagination of thousands in 2017. Despite my skepticism around the whole thing, I love the way it tells the story and presents the various pieces of ‘proof’ that people have ascribed to the fact that Avril is dead over the years.

Avril Esta Morta is a Portugese-language blog dating back to 2011 that documents the theory and I consider it a fascinating cultural artefact.

Hire This Person

Sinna One is a Brighton based artist and muralist. His work focuses on cartoon characters and styles and is influenced heavily by music, comics, sci-fi and graffiti culture.

The thing that led me to look him up is a massive wall of dogs painted on the side of a building just down the road from our Brighton office, and it turns out he’s had a hand in a whole lot of my favorite street art in the city.

You can get in contact with him on his website, and here are his Twitter,  Facebook and Instagram pages.

A trip down memory lane

This is an… interesting story. It takes us back to 1982, when the author spent a few mind altering weeks with the young, apparently musical and sensitive, Vladimir Putin.

Now there are rules about acid, particularly about being with someone on their first trip. You don’t have to have the whole “safe space” with Indian rugs, incense and favorite music and all that crap, but there are certain things you should probably avoid. So when we just started coming on and Vladimir said, “Oh man dude look, we gotta go see that!” My first thought was, “No, we probably shouldn’t…” But he was insistent, so I went along with him into the theater thinking, “What’s the worst that could happen?”

You can debate the truth or falsity of details in this crazy account of the weeks one man spent with Vladimir Putin in his younger years as much as you want, but “Back in 1982 I was dealing acid at Jim Morrison’s grave and that’s when I first met Vladimir Putin” is a great read. It’s stuck with me for four months since I first saw it shared in Brandwatch’s #random Slack channel, and that’s why I want to share it here.

Watch And Listen: Papers (not more tabs), Please

Papers, Please is a video game that came out in 2013, although it’s not your typical video game and it looks like it came out about 15 years earlier than 2013.

The player takes on the role of a border crossing immigration officer who must exam papers as people come to request entrance to fictional country Arstotzka. If they don’t have the correct papers, they can’t come in. You get paid for the number of people you process correctly and you send the money to your family. Things get interesting when you are faced with spouses of those who have already crossed who don’t have the correct paperwork, or when people start attempting to bribe you, or the rules change.

The game was adapted into a short film that came out this year and I’d recommend a watch, but definitely check out the game – it’s fun to play on your own or with friends so you an discuss all the moral dilemmas you face.

Want more internet treats? We have a lot:

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Crimson Hexagon has merged with Brandwatch. You’re in the right place!

From May 8th, all Crimson Hexagon products are now on the Brandwatch website. You’ll find them under ‘Products’ in the navigation. If you’re an existing customer and you want to know more, your account manager will be happy to help.