More Tabs, Please #6: Fatal Flu, Hotel Hacks, and Viral Lists

By Joshua Boyd on January 12th 2018

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This week we look at avian flu, Black Mirror, and phantom brand capitalism. We've also got another featured illustrator, along with an incredible podcast you won't be able to stop listening to.

And we’re back. The dust is settling on 2018 and we’ve got the rest of our live ahead of us.

More Tabs, Please will continue to bring you great reads, watches, and listens each week and the first of 2018 is looking pretty good. We tried to keep it slightly optimistic, but I don’t think I really managed it.

To strike a more upbeat tone to contrast the content, this week’s music to read to is Snarky Puppy’s Culcha Vulcha. Enjoy.

New year, new apocalypse

Our first recommendation of 2018 is a horrific and depressing look at how ill-prepared we are for a pandemic.

Outbreak: Our Next Global Pandemic‘ takes us step-by-step through the world would react to fast-spreading deadly disease.

It’s also part of a wider series from How We Get To Next all about bird flu in general called Fowl Plague.

Highly recommend the whole thing if the one piece isn’t enough.

The power of a list

As last year has crumbled into this one, revelations of sexual assaults and abuse from powerful men in a number of industries have continued.

I Started the Media Men List‘ is a powerful article detailing the author’s attempts to create something to help and support women in her industry.

From her Google Doc going viral to her anonymity being threatened, Moira Donegan’s story is an essential read.

Phantom brands

You’ve probably seen those ads on Instagram and Facebook, saying you can get something for free with just a small bit of P&P.

So what happens if you fall down the rabbit hole of working out what these companies are, who runs them, and why they can sell products so cheap?

There’s No Such Thing as a Free Watch‘ tells the story of exactly that, step-by-step. It’s a fascinating insight into modern semi-scam.

 

Hire This Person: Xulia Vicente

We’re starting off 2018 with probably my favourite illustrator we’ve featured so far: Xulia Vicente. Based in Spain, Vicente’s work is endlessly beautiful and interesting.

From her comic work to standalone illustrations (like this incredible piece), she combines huge technical skill with a unique and imaginative style.

Vicente has already produced a number of comics and books, so please hire her so I can see more of her work.

You can find her on Tumblr, Behance, Twitter, Instagram, and About.me.

Someone save this man from his cryptocurrency hell

Bitcoin is still a thing and with its value skyrocketed people are looking to get in on the cryptocurrency game.

What better an introduction than a piece documenting a novice’s descent into incessant app-checking and nascent quasi-gambling addiction?

I made £1k on cryptocurrency in two weeks and I don’t even know what a bitcoin is‘ is exactly that.

 

 

Widening the reflection

Usually any discussion around Black Mirror is around its comments on technology and society’s association with it. This means other points it tries to make can be missed.

‘Black Museum’, an episode from the show’s fourth season, is still heavy on the tech, but there’s another message staring people in the face. If only they’re willing to see it.

Black Mirror: ‘Black Museum’ Reckons With America’s History of Commodifying Black Pain‘ takes us through that message, looking at how the episode has a lot to say beyond ‘technology can be scary’, and makes a wider point about the US and it’s treatment of black people historical and today.

A crowbar in a glasses case

We are surrounded by technology we assume is safe. When we stay at a fancy hotel we take it for granted that security isn’t a concern. The doors are locked and you’ve got a futuristic card for access. No dumb lock and keys here.

But, of course, modern tech can be dumb too. ‘The Hotel Hacker‘ is an excellent longform piece that tells the story of one thief’s $500k hotel crime spree, all achieved with $50 worth of equipment.

If you’re going on holiday anytime soon, this might not make reassuring reading.

Taken From The Timeline

Moving from dumb technology to incredibly impressive technology, we’re featuring Machine Pix in this weeks’ section. It’s essentially a full timeline of GIFs of cool technological machinery and inventions.

Watch and Listen: S-Town

Because I’m always behind, I only just discovered S-Town recently. From the same people who brought you Serial, this podcast begins with a murder investigation in a rural town, but soon changes focus and heads in an unexpected direction. Expect some fascinating people and unpredictable twists and turns.

Like most great podcasts, it’s hugely addictive, so prepare to waste a full afternoon and evening once you get started. You can find the website here. We’ve embedded the first episode below too:

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