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A celebration of the useless Web in this week’s Staff Picks

Digital Trends Staff Picks

andrew coutsAndrew Couts: Like … whoa … man …

The Internet has become a vital tool in nearly everything we do, from our work to keeping up with friends. And this will only become more true as connectivity spreads further, into all aspects of life. Despite its promises of better productivity, however, the Web’s greatest feature is still its ability to waste time in fantastic ways. Take his incredible whirling doohicky from Web developer Jack Rugile, for example. Or perhaps this mind-melting, mouse-controlled exploding pixel thing is more up your alley. Or the insane Whitney Music Box sound vortex manipulator (I’d turn your sound down before clicking that last one). The point is, once your’e finished updating that Google Doc, adding some to-do reminders to Evernote, and sending out birthday wishes on Facebook, make sure to take a bit of downtime to explore the utterly useless, but totally awesome, time-wasters the Web still has to offer. 

whirling-doohicky
natt garunNatt Garun: What are you, Japan World Cup 3?!

I don’t know how to describe the video, other than to ask: What is this game, where can I get it, and how can I replace my blood with it? Known simply as Japan World Cup 3, the bizarre horse simulation game makes the oddest Japanese thing you’ve ever seen seem like wholesome Americana. Just when you think you have a handle on what’s happening here, something pops up like a … actually, I won’t ruin it for you. Just know it will blow your damn mind.

I’m obsessed with finding more JWC3 videos on YouTube because they’re all so unexpected and provide the absolute lols. Watch, laugh, share, and be merry. It might be the last time you’ll smile before Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping duties take over your life.

molly-mchughMolly McHugh: The best movie opening this week is not Skyfall

I’m beginning to realize that my Staff Picks are generally Star Wars or sports related – and I refuse to branch out or apologize for it. This week, I have to give some love to the documentary The Other Dream Team. The film is about the 1992 Lithuanian Olympic basketball team, which represented a country recently freed by the fall of the Soviet Union and – like every other team in that Olympics – was overshadowed by The Dream Team. That would be the one we put together the first time we had active NBA players in the Olympics; the one with, oh, I don’t know, Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler, and Larry Bird. NBD.

Lithuanian athletes dealt with years of oppression and terrible treatment at the hands of their governments, and this basketball team became a symbol of democracy – plus, they got a sweet in with the Grateful Dead, who helped fund and outfit the team.

Of course, the fact the Portland’s beloved Sabonis is featured doesn’t hurt. He’s not your ‘Vydas, or my ‘Vydas – he’s Arvydas. The film opens this weekend in Portland and you best believe I’ve already got my ticket.

caleb denisonCaleb Denison: How to get fired right before the holidays

Whether it’s legit or not, this video is almost sure to become a PR nightmare for Walmart – and at the worst possible time. The clip shows what are meant to be three employees of a Walmart in Pikeville, Kentucky launching iPads across the stockroom and intentionally bashing them on the floor (warning: NSFW due to language). It’s difficult to tell whether or not the boxes actually contain iPads, but if they do, you can be sure they aren’t happy iPads anymore.

Walmart isn’t going to be happy either. The company would be insane not to respond in some way to the suggestion that this takes place in its stores. And since one of its hottest Black Friday deals is a 16GB Apple iPad2 with WiFi and a $75 Walmart gift card for $399, it’s going to need do some damage control. Brilliantly, the tablet-chucking geniuses included their faces in the video; if these guys actually did work at Walmart, they don’t anymore.

jeff van campJeff Van Camp: Super zombie stacker: The Movie

This weekend, a friend and I are huddled up to take on legions of the undead in Resident Evil 6. It’s a tough job, but the world needs us. How fitting that the coolest zombie trailer on record just hit the Web. Remember those slow Dawn of the Dead zombies? What about the running 28 Days Later zombies or the athletic CGI zombies in I Am Legend? Well, I’m here to tell you that you haven’t seen anything until you’ve witnessed the newest undead innovation: super stackable zombies! World War Z looks to do to zombies what the Megazord did to the Power Rangers: kick things up a notch. It’s zombies meets Jenga. Add in Brad Pitt and $125 million in computer generated rag-doll physics and you’re in for a ride. Check it out.

ryan flemingRyan Fleming: Michigan is a nice state that I will gladly see brought to its knees

Now that the sound and fury of the elections is firmly behind us we can get back to our more leisurely pursuits, and instead of hating a political party that encompasses half the nation, you can focus that hate on rival schools and fans, where it belongs. The NCAA basketball season has officially begun, and the race to March is underway.

Coming from the University of Kansas where basketball is religion, opening day is circled on the calendars of alumnus all over the world. Granted, the first game of the season for the bigger programs isn’t traditionally a nail-biter, and the poor, doomed fools that accept that match-up tend to leave with a story to tell their friends rather than a highlight. But on Tuesday my beloved #7 Jayhawks play Digital Trends’ Mobile Editor Jeff Van Camp’s Michigan State Spartans, who are ranked #14, likely after stealing money from orphans to bribe those voting.

I don’t actually have anything against MSU, but for one night they will embody all that is wrong with the world. They are the Kardashians of college basketball, the Donald Trumps of the Big 10. At practice they kick puppies and have parties where they burn the American flag. But it should be a good game.

The Jayhawks have several new players in the lineup following their historical and inspiring run to the championship game, and they want to show that they still are a national championship contender. The Spartans are enjoying their free rides through college after a humiliating, painful-to-watch upset to Louisville in the Big Dance, and hope to, I don’t know, look good for their moms.

Tip-off is 7pm EST Tuesday, and the win will help strengthen the Jayhawks as they pursue an incredible ninth straight Big 12 championship (or at least I hope it will, because otherwise I will deservedly never hear the end of it).

Staff Pick- NCAA-Kansas

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