Baby, You Got a Dead Rat Stew Going

Grifters, pixels, and prosthetics

I linked to Peter Kiefer’s long LA Magazine Yashar Ali profile yesterday, but I hadn’t finished reading it yet. Now that I have, I can answer the only important question about it which is: should you read it? If you’ve never heard of Yashar Ali, probably not, but if you know him from Twitter already, you’ll enjoy it. It’s a good story, and as a hustler of lonely media A-listers Ali is more relatable than he was when we all thought he was a rich dilettante. If the story has one flaw, it’s that in several thousand words, Kiefer never manages to find out how many towels Kathy Griffin owns. In other grifter news: Gabriel Sherman investigated where Jeffery Epstein’s money came from, and it was Les Wexner, but no one really knows why.

Also Today in Couchsurfing: Dianne Morales may have fired whatever staff didn’t already quit, but the NY mayoral race will never quit generating chaos in the tabs. The latest is the question of where the current frontrunner, Brooklyn borough president and dead rat stew chef Eric Adams lives: Fort Lee New Jersey, where he co-owns a condo with his girlfriend, a Bed-Stuy basement apartment littered with his son’s possessions, or his office in Brooklyn Borough Hall? Yesterday Adams awkwardly toured reporters around “his” “home” in Bed-Stuy, and even The NY Post, which endorsed Adams, called the bedroom “musty.” The tour also spawned fridge-truthers and advanced sneaker analysis, along with the worst appliance parody account since good old Lorraine. It probably doesn’t matter where Adams lives in a legal sense, but for political optics purposes, having to prove that you actually live in the city where you’re running for mayor is objectively hilarious. As Ashley Feinberg said:

Intern Linda Yu is getting supernumerary today, with a study about real feelings in plastic hands:

I recently got my vaccination date, and the thought of going somewhat back to normal even made me look forward to inconveniences from the before-times like sprinting to an appointment while holding a coffee and trying to text. Well, almost. But in my imagination I can give myself a third arm for caffeinated texting convenience, and according to this 2011 neuroscience study by Arvid Guterstam, Valeria I. Petkova, and H. Henrik Ehrsson this ability to give my brain the illusion of having extra limbs extends much further than I realised. (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017208

Essentially, they created a setup to see if and how participants would react to stimulus on an additional prosthetic limb. Like so:

Turns out if you touch the real and fake hand at once, the brain can clone-stamp the sensation from your real flesh to the new flesh. Or as they wrote: “the central nervous system, under certain conditions, when faced with two equally probable locations of a seen limb, can ‘split’ the limb representation in two, making people experience a supernumerary limb as being part of their own body.” Our brains are weird electric meat that we don't understand and can't really control, and I try to remember this fact when I'm so depressed I feel physical pain.

Anyway, since I last read this particular paper, there has been some newer robotics research into third arms, and also—of course—a US military prototype of a third limb to help bear the load or improve the aim of heavy weapons for soldiers. Our robotic future is totally fine, first the robots will kill us all then they’ll write better novels than we could have written about it.


Scientists will really trick people into having actual physical sensations in completely artificial limbs rather than go to therapy smdh.

Spy Pixels 2, The Island of Lost Metrics: Casey Newton in Platformer: “On Monday at WWDC, Apple announced Mail Privacy Protection, which will limit the amount of data that people who send you emails can collect about you.” Nathan Berry says mail privacy protection “actively hurts creators” by making it difficult or impossible to keep email lists clean. Joshua Benton says that “Apple’s war against targeted advertising isn’t just about screwing Facebook — they’re also coming for your Substack.” Aram Zucker-Scharff disagrees: “The greatest trick ad tech's vast tracking apparatus ever pulled was convincing marketers they couldn't function w/out paying for vast invasive user tracking.” Ernie Smith points out that Apple and Google could both have solved the privacy problem with a data collection protocol, rather than just blunt-force wrecking the open rate as a metric. I am, admittedly, not very good at the “business” part of running a content business, but if the open rate was trashed, that would be one less thing to give me anxiety every day. I say: let it crash.

Louie Gohmert emphatically took the Dumbest Congressman title back from Mo Brooks yesterday, asking “whether the Forest Service or the BLM can alter the orbit of the moon or the Earth in order to fight climate change.”

Hot boys in their summer dresses. Fresh glamour shots of Ganymede. Horsegate combines “the jousting circuit,” “horse repo,” and “black market horse semen fraud.” (via Garbage Day). North American Field Herping Association bans “danger noodle,” “boop the snoot,” and “shell boi.” Jeffrey Toobin went back on CNN and it was real awkward. And finally, in Maine: time flies like an arrow, kelp flies like a mass die-off.

Today’s Song: Eric B. & Rakim, Paid In Full (Mini Madness - The Coldcut Remix)

~ I don’t like to dream about getting paid, so I dig into the books of the tabs that I’ve made ~

Hey, you look really well rested today. And have you been working out? Really good definition. I’ll see you in the subscriber open thread tomorrow, and on Twitter @fka_tabs and @TodayinTabs. The Intern is the elusive Linda Yu. Stay fresh, cheese bags.