Adam Mosseri's Minion Era

For every scientist you see, there are ten you don't see.

Science: Is it good? More research is needed. And how will we do that research? With science. Scientists are weird little freaks who are always scurrying around finding things out, whether anyone wants them to or not. No one knows what they look like—you could be sitting next to one right now and never suspect that it spends most of its time molesting “sea grapes [which] look more like cysts that have grown bunny ears,” because as Ed Yong reports:

Inside each sea grape is a large organ called a renal sac, so named because scientists originally thought it was a kidney. But as the biologist Mary Beth Saffo once told The New York Times, “If it was a kidney, it was a pretty odd one.” For a start, it has no opening. It accumulates the chemicals you’d expect in a kidney—uric and oxalic acids, crystallized into what are essentially kidney stones—but instead of excreting these as a normal kidney would, it stores them for the sea grape’s entire life. As a result, the sac is extremely acidic. Despite that, it’s teeming with life. Cut into one, and “cells just pour out,” Saffo told me.

So the sea grape has a sac full of these cells called nephromyces, and the cells are all infected with bacteria, and it’s a whole complex multi-organism life cycle taking place inside this useless little undersea blob, and why??? No one even knows! They’ve been at it since the literal 1870s and “We’re not even close to getting to the bottom of this,” a scientist gleefully told Yong. Great! Spend another thousand years staring at the wet blob. Why not.

Another thing scientists just found out is that Covid-19 definitely came from the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, not the virology lab in the same city. If you don’t have time to read the whole peer-reviewed paper in Science, here’s a Twitter thread by one of the investigators, Dr. Angela Rasmussen, going through the key points, and another by Dr. Michael Worobey reviewing some more of their findings. One of their sources was a study by Chinese CDC Director George Gao, who stepped down today. Is that suspicious? I don’t know! Do you think I have time to keep up with these scientists and their constant drama? Condolences to Nicholson Baker, who knows how to write a good story but, as everyone pointed out last year, is definitely not a scientist. Any scientist born after 1993 doesn’t know how to string together a series of selected facts and assumptions to make a compelling but incorrect narrative. All scientist know is cut open sea grape, charge they phone, find source of novel coronavirus, eat hot chip, and truth.

Today in Crabs: All please rise and salute the flag of the United States of Americrab.

Instagram’s Adam Mosseri is deep in his Minion era, posting an obsequious video to explain that the social media network he runs is “not good,” but nevertheless won’t be changing its pivot to video that no one wants. He was mocked very gently by Taylor Lorenz, less gently by Ryan Broderick, who wrote “not since I lived in London during Brexit have I seen such an overwhelming display of confident self-annihilation,” and quite savagely by the master of the devastating close-read Tom Scocca, who mostly just describes the video accurately, concluding:

Facebook originally bought Instagram to eliminate it as a potential competitor, to recapture users who were more interested in sharing photos than in doing whatever they were supposed to be doing on Facebook. Now Meta is trying to sacrifice Instagram's original function to capture people who would rather be on TikTok than on Facebook.

Mosseri got where he is in life by serving the most despicable master he could find, so as he himself says in his video:

Politico’s Playbook claims “A review of emails sent between Remnick and Overbey backs up Overbey’s case…” so Archivistgate ain’t over yet. Rich people do be buying houses by accident and the Times is On It. Damien Hirst made 10,000 sheets of Happy Birthday wrapping paper and will now destroy more than half of them, which is a good start. Parker Molloy made 1,000 Sponges Bob, just to feel like anything is ok. Working on a Marvel film sucks.

Today’s Song: Petey x Miya Folick, “Haircut”

~ hello papageéna, tú le bélla cón la tabaja ~

For no particular reason this morning I was thinking about how Cameron is the actual protagonist of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” and Waldo Jaquith pointed me to this excellent 2006 VQR story by Steve Almond about just that, so now I’m showing it to you. Banana.

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