Dark Fish

Go Deeper ↓ (1 min. read)

“To lose one’s keys may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose 85% of the matter in the universe looks like carelessness,” Oscar Wilde famously wrote of physicists’ slapdash approach to keeping track of everything that exists. After all, asks Andrew Barnas:

But ocean scientist Andrew Thaler says that there is actually “a globe-spanning layer of mesopelagic fish that… contains 65% of all fish biomass.” That’s right, the world’s oceans are full of “Dark Fish.”

And the darkest fish in the media world this weekend was Felix Salmon1, the Wonka-esque formerly post-text blogger and apartment renovator, whose Axios deep dive into unemployment fraud” struck many readers as insufficiently benthic. Discourse Blog’s Paul Blest called it “astonishingly lazy and credulous” and critiqued Salmon’s heavy reliance on one corporate source with a stake in promoting the idea that fraud is rampant and that also, according to Vice, has a record of technical failures which prevent people from accessing unemployment benefits they’re legitimately owed. Blest points out that another of Salmon’s sources is a letter from Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, which cites as its own source an article by… Felix Salmon. The post is a slideshow of thirteen shallow dives, which somehow adds up to a deep dive in Axios math. “Go deeper,” you beg at the bottom of each page, but like a disappointing one night stand, you only get an additional minute. Salmon was famously paid $400,000 at Fusion and the only memorable thing he did there was a three minute video about anal sex, but he was a blogger in the early 2000s so he will remain comfortably employed for life.

Choire got his opinions back from the Times, slightly dusty but still serviceable (the opinions, I mean). He also revealed that he quit his job editing Styles because “I did not wish to do it any more.” I can relate! If we all quit our jobs, what can they do to us? Let’s find out. Insider now limits “most stories to under 600 words,” or, as Felix Salmon calls it, “a deep dive.” “How much is a podcast worth?” asks Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw. I was on Saturday’s episode of Lovett or Leave It (circa 32:50), which might be worth quite a lot if you need help thinking of crimes you can do with Bitcoin (just don’t fall asleep while you’re listening and swallow an Airpod). It seems like Chinese regulators were listening, anyway, with virtually all Bitcoin mining in Sichuan province shut down on Sunday.

Intern Linda Yu has finally updated her website, so now I know that she was born in 1994, and it brings me no pleasure to report that according to math it’s illegal for her to be this smart. Regrettably she will be arrested upon return to U.S. soil. But until then, let’s stay in China and take a look at the history of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in…

At the start of my first week of Tabs Internship, I wrote about the Chinese practice of looking to the past to meme the present, and for the start of my fourth I have picked an entirely uncontroversial historical topic that has no bearing on any modern events and does not reflect any political opinions anyone may or may not hold. 

Reading some histories on the Qing Dynasty conquest of the place now known as Xinjiang, I was surprised by how recent it was. First is this paper from Onuma Takahiro, where he pulls from archival records to examine this historical relationship. In 1759, the Qianlong Emperor announced the military conquest of the territory that is now known as the "New Dominion" or 新疆. For context, our boy George Washington got married that year. The Qing administered these new territories from afar in entirely non-Han languages, including their own Manchu. Historian Nicola Di Cosmo writes that there was a long held "banner system" that allowed the practice of local custom within outlying territories and groups. Xinjiang was a colony, but a loosely held one. 

In 1862, the Dungan Revolt pushed back the majority of Qing control in the region, and the adventurer Ya‘qūb Beg would establish his own dynasty for a bit until Chinese reconquest of the region in 1877 (the year Rutherford B. Hayes was sworn in as US President). It was only after all this that Xinjiang would be incorporated as a province of China, in 1884 (same year the Dow Jones and the Lady Liberty were inaugurated). I recommend both papers for a more thorough examination of the relationship between the Qing and Central Asia.

What I love about history is that it's totally in the past and finished, even if it seems very recent. 

Ah, the past. A different country, as they say, that has no relevance to the present. Delightful!

Google is in permanent pantry mode. Lee Sanderlin went to the Waffle House. Doreen St. Félix is perhaps the only person who can write a completely honest review of Ziwe. Ben Smith revealed that when Tucker Carlson isn’t busy organizing mob harassment of journalists, he’s texting the hot fash-goss to their colleagues. What a charming industry! Cyberpunk 2077 is back on Playstation, for no apparent reason. Tulare County, California Sheriff finds deez nuts. “Haunted, free, priceless antique.” You and me both, street piano. After getting in trouble for not owning a home in NYC, Eric Adams is now somehow also in trouble for owning a home in NYC.

Today’s Song: is from Intern Linda, who continues to gradually take over the whole newsletter, and tells me the title of this banger by the Uyghur rapper Nawukere means something like “Don’t come to the streets.”

~ I can resist everything except tabs ~

Find me on Twitter, or just vibing for hundreds of thousands of years. Intern Linda Yu is online. Tomorrow is Tuesday. Just trying to psych myself up for it early.

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