“It went worse than had been expected, and expectations were already low,” writes Moira Donegan, describing all of 2021 but specifically the Supreme Court arguments yesterday. Also worse than expected was the headline on Claire Cain Miller’s New York Times analysis: “Mississippi Asks: If Women Can Have It All, Is Roe Necessary?” That’s right ladies, you can have it all, if by “it” you mean “not an abortion.” Mary Ziegler in The Atlantic agreed with Mary Ziegler in The New York Times that Brett Kavanaugh, a blackout-drinking frat boy accused of a sexual assault that was never even investigated before his rushed election-year confirmation, will probably create the new law of the land with his “neutral, apolitical” compromise where each state decides whether women get to have human rights or not. And in The Cut Bridget Read picked up on the same line that struck me yesterday when the soon-to-be author of a historically significant dissent Sonia Sotomayor asked “Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception, that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?” Read answers the question herself:
What’s at stake are the futures of millions more people who cannot overcome these hurdles — poor women, poor people, people of color, the undocumented — many of whom already live in places where these barriers effectively keep them from terminating pregnancies. The forces behind the anti-choice movement want these groups to remain marginalized under the law, full stop. And yet we were just submitted to two hours of Latin-inflected intellectual debate pretending that isn’t what’s happening.
Reported: Racist Algorithms
Gizmodo and The Markup got their hands on an archive of “more than 7 million PredPol crime predictions for dozens of American cities and some overseas locations between 2018 and 2021” that was “exposed on the open web” (lol). PredPol is a company that uses advanced machine learning algorithms to tell police departments where Black people live.
They found that PredPol predicts more crime in poor, Black, and Latino neighborhoods and even in the poorer, Blacker and more Latino 500-foot squares inside overall Whiter neighborhoods. None of which is surprising given the racist input data, but it’s worthwhile to have it systematically documented in the public record.
About a year ago I said “I wish I had a job where I could read stuff online and then write one email about it every day…” and on a dusty shelf in a shadowy corner of my office, the monkey’s paw twitched, so here we are talking about Jack Dorsey again. No sooner had he blocked Twitter from his work life than CNBC’s Kate Rooney reported his other company Square will now be called “Block,” complete with a new logo that looks like the 1/1 Global Elite Founder Level NFT for a vaporwave tungsten cube DAO and will make your laptop fan scream in (possibly aesthetic) pain. I don’t know who designed it but they definitely have Kai’s Power Tools. “Not to get all meta on you” tweeted Square in a grim corporate reference joke that sucked a measurable amount of joy out of the universe.
Twitter user @tarngerine made a Glitch app to create your own unsettling cube avatar, just like TBD54566975 Lead Mike Block or Director and former Treasury Secretary Squarey Summers. I’m sure we’ll have more on my personal curse, the adventures of Jack Dorsey, much too soon.
Reported: How Much Energy Does Ethereum Waste?
Kyle McDonald did a “bottom-up” analysis of the energy use and emissions of the ethereum blockchain, and the way he arrived at all his numbers is fascinating if you’re a giant nerd, but what he found “is that the previous attempts at answering this question seem to have been basically correct in their conclusions.”
If these numbers are right, Ethereum is using around 2.6 gigawatts (GW) right now, which would annually come to around 23 terawatt hours per year (TWh/year)… Our most familiar references in the digital world are centralized products like Facebook, which serves billions of people on 7.2TWh/year. Ethereum, by comparison, can only handle around 15 transactions per second.
Emily Baker-White in Buzzfeed: “‘This Is Blackface’: White Actors Are Playing Black Characters In Virtual Reality Diversity Training.”
Toilets in the metaverse, according to Hunter Walk.
900 former employees of the ironically named Better.com, within about three minutes.
Omicron confirmed for weeb variant. (Also probably already in NYC).
Today’s Song: Len, “Steal My Sunshine”
~ In recognizing the tabs of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute. ~
I’ve got a fun musical Open Thread planned for tomorrow so if you want to get in on that, you’re gonna have to subscribe, there just isn’t any other way. Speaking of music, the whole Season 5 playlist is right here, and we’ve got Season 4 too. That’s more than 11 hours of absolute bangers. Does he like butter tarts?