Hot “Hot” Summer 2022

Garbareeno until garbareeno dayo comes.

Looks like I’ve returned from my vacation to Area X1 just in time for Hot “Hot” Summer 2022. There’s a slight risk of Ninja Turtles in the Ozarks and Texans are worried their power grid, unable to function in the cold last year, may also not work in the heat. Still unknown are the effects of other extremes such as “too wet,” “too dry,” “too sunny,” “not sunny enough,” “too mid,” and “bugs.” Good luck, Lone Star State. But right now the English may be suffering the worst, with temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius2 making the knives too hot for crime, melting an RAF runway in Oxfordshire (where they grow a majority of the world’s button-up shirts), and making Boris Johnson’s excuses go all runny. Besides skipping heat wave emergency meetings to party at Chequers, Boris has failed to “get climate Brexit done,” as Europe is also suffering deadly heat. Upholding the finest traditions of British engineering: “At the Guardian’s headquarters in Kings Cross, the landlord shut down the air conditioning because it cannot operate in the heat.” Even Merve Emre’s famously precocious children are “hot and bothered.” But I’m sure it’ll be fine, after all Europe hasn’t seen a once-in-a-lifetime heat wave like this since… last summer.

Also Hot: Emily Sundberg eating spaghetti, and The Times is On It. In case you’ve just woken up from a coma that started in 1199 A.D., The Times helpfully explains that the word “hot:”

…drifted away from merely denoting physical temperature around 1200 A.D., according to Kelly E. Wright, a sociolinguist and doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan. “Over time, the ways of being hot included passion, fury, frenzy, lust or deep interest in something,” Ms. Wright wrote in an email.

The word became a synonym for “popular” or “in demand” around 1909, she added, noting that Paris Hilton hit upon that meaning with her early-2000s catchphrase, “That’s hot.” In the 1920s, the word’s meaning was further extended to include sexual desirability.

I also have some bad news for you about the Byzantine Empire, and the Doobie Brothers broke up. I’m not sure which is funnier, that The Times published this or that some people online got extremely mad about it. Meanwhile in The Wall St. Journal, Rory Satran reports that celebrity underarms have a “passion, fury, frenzy, lust or deep interest” in hairiness, and for Dirt, Casey Lewis excavated the Teen Vogue roots of today’s hottest celebrity type, the nepo baby. I thought Billie Eilish was supposed to be an “industry plant” though, not a nepo baby per se? More research is needed. Meryl Streep is always hot, because, argues Amanda Hess, she’s extremely good at playing with glasses. And here in Maine what’s hot is building your own coffin. Look, we’re not much good at subtext.

Not Hot: The political temperature, now that it has been successfully turned down by repealing Roe v Wade. Nevertheless, our newest area of legal chaos and cruelty has had a few effects that were unexpected if only in their speed and viciousness, reports Laura Bassett in Jezebel. Jessica Valenti also collected the fallout so far in her newsletter.

Today in Majestic Equality: new Missouri law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges.

All the plankton is dead, reports The Sunday Post. Reddit says not so fast. The gimlet-eyed Today in Tabs fact-checking team took one look at the study author’s claim that he “surveyed the Caribbean from St Lucia to Grenada. Now the only fish available in restaurants there is imported farmed Atlantic salmon,” and just solemnly shook their heads. But it is true that microplastics are everywhere now, including most recently the Colorado snowpack:

Indeed, microplastics have been found almost everywhere on Earth, from the deepest depths of the ocean to the highest mountain peaks. In the past few years, microplastics have even been discovered in human blood and lungs. 

So I guess in a way, we’re all building our own coffins.

Today in Web Stuff: @gd3kr built a natural language to regex app using GPT-3, which had no trouble with the input “any valid email address,” so AI has now made perl programmers even more obsolete. More Trolley Problems. And the time a Markov chain IRC bot almost destroyed Etsy.

Today’s Song: PUP, “Robot Writes a Love Song”

~ And you know the tab’s been softened, since the world is our coffin. ~

I had a lovely week off but it’s great to be back!⁽ᶜᶦᵗᵃᵗᶦᵒⁿ ⁿᵉᵉᵈᵉᵈ⁾ If you recently signed up for this newsletter and forgot what it’s about: I’m Matthew Yglesias and I analyze the pressing economic and political issues of the day at excruciating length. I tweet @fka_tabs (only bangers, one week deletion clock) and @TodayinTabs (brand-safe, immortal). Cash me inside (it’s too hot out).

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