This week, on What I’ve Been Reading, we’re talking about something called “shade balls.” They’re not as dirty as they sound.

  • Citing the popularity of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story, Joshua Alston of the A.V. Club writes about the revival of the anthology model on television. I’ve largely avoided anthology television up until now, but perhaps I should sample some of these shows, just to keep myself in the loop.
  • In case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard, California is in the midst of a drought. As Bryan Lufkin of Gizmodo reports, to stop water from evaporating from the Los Angeles Reservoir, millions of black plastic balls called “shade balls” were dropped onto its surface. Think of them as an infinitely customizable tarp. Who makes these shade balls? As Eric Roston of Bloomberg Business reports, they’re made by a company called XavierC that employs disabled veterans who have had trouble finding work elsewhere. Neato!
  • What do you think the most-viewed gaming video on YouTube is? A GTA V trailer? Some Dota 2 footage? A Super Mario Bros. 3 world-record speedrun? Nope, it’s actually “Cars 2 HD Video Gameplay Compilation,” uploaded to YouTube by software programmer Dominic Sheard. Wesley-Yin Poole of Eurogamer has the unlikely story.
  • In a blog post that is sure to get people’s dander up, Fredrik de Boer laments the tendency of online activism to devolve into cruelty. It makes me sad that the state of online discourse in 2015 has necessitated such a blog post, but let me just say this: I don’t care how reputable your activist credentials are; if you go around calling people “sad virgin neckbeards,” then you’re a fucking asshole.
  • A small indie studio called Arcane Kids has released an unlicenced collection of Sonic games called the Sonic Dreams Collection, and it’s one of the most bizarre things ever. I didn’t realize how bizarre it was until I saw this video of “My Roommate Sonic,” one of the games in the collection. In any case, if you’re interested in filming a Sonic orgy – which you can do in another of the collection’s games – you can download the collection here.
  • Finally, there’s good satire, and there’s stupid satire. Zack Parsons of Something Awful has written an example of the latter.

My eyeballs haven’t yet recovered from that Sonic video, so I’m going to peace out.