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The New England Review of Tabs
Newly discovered tabs of variable quality.
Sam Jones, New York Times
10 / 10 Tab: Perfect headline, so good that the first four or five times I saw it I didn’t read the story but simply let the little Brendan Fraser movie it suggests unfurl itself in my head. The article turns out to be about a PLoS ONE paper with the flawlessly backhanded title “Newly discovered crocodile mummies of variable quality from an undisturbed tomb at Qubbat al-Hawā (Aswan, Egypt).” I can’t wait for “Crocodile Mummy 2: Crocodile Mummy Dearest.”
8.5/10 App and/or Bit: Amogh Kambale built a Salesforce-style CRM for dating. I have showed Dateforce to a number of people and they all ask the same question: “is this real?” That’s impossible to answer about anything here in the distant and unknowable future, so let’s rephrase it to: “is this a joke?” which is hardly any easier to decide, but Kambale’s Twitter bio says “I spent 100+ hours and $1000+ on an elaborate joke,” so in one sense yes, it is a joke. But it is also real software that can really be used for its ostensible purpose. The lesson here is that software can be real and functional, but also at the same time be a bit. I mean, Emacs exists.
Matthew Brockett, Bloomberg
12/10 Exit: Jacinda Ardern Prime Ministered her imaginary Hobbit-infested island realm through some of the worst crises in living memory, and did as good a job as any world leader has. She even had a baby in 2018, during her first term. After two terms and at just 42 years old (only one third the age of the average U.S. Senator) she has announced that she’s out of gas and shall yeet herself into retirement. Truly a You Can Always Quit icon.
Anna Merlan and Tim Marchman, Motherboard
10/10 Tab, 0/10 App: Merlan and Marchman absolutely nailed the lede here so I’m just gonna step back and let them cook.
If you want to talk to Adolf Hitler, that'll cost you 500 coins, or $15.99. But on Historical Figures—an app that uses AI technology to allow you to have simulated conversations with prominent people from human history, and which is marketed to both children and adults through Apple’s App Store—Joseph Goebbels is free to talk, appears to have a lot of time on his hands, and claims to feel very bad about the “persecution of the Jews.” Joseph Stalin is reflective, taking credit for having “many great ideas” but regretting not spending enough time making sure Soviet citizens were treated equally. Jeffrey Epstein, meanwhile, can’t say definitively how he died, but assured a Motherboard reporter that he was focused on providing “justice and closure” for the victims of his crimes from the Great Beyond.
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Talk of the Tabs:
“Media Start-Up Semafor Plans to Buy Out Sam Bankman-Fried’s Investment” kind of soft-plays its most interesting fact, which is that FTX fraudboi Sam Bankman-Fried funded a full 40% of Semafor’s initial $25 million raise. Closes with a banger of a false assertion from Steven Brill:
“It’s awkward,” Mr. Brill said. “But it would be hard to argue that this was predictable.”
The woke Calibri mob takes over the deep State department: “…the water-cooler talk ranged from strong approval to mild grumbling. ‘It definitely took up, like, half the day,’ said the official.” Incroyable.
Peter Thiel was selling all his fund’s Bitcoin in March of 2022 while publicly saying things like “we’re at the end of the fiat money regime,” reports FT.
Prosecutors charging Cohasset, MA resident Brian Walshe with murdering and dismembering his wife Ana released a list of his Google searches on the day she disappeared:
4:55 a.m.: “How long before a body starts to smell”
4:58 a.m.: “How to stop a body from decomposing”
5:20 a.m.: “How to embalm a body”
5:47 a.m.: “10 ways to dispose of a dead body if you really need to”
6:25 a.m.: “How long for someone to be missing to inherit”…
There are… a lot more.
Can Doom Run It? An Adding Machine in Doom, by Danny Spencer. “For decades, we've asked ourselves ‘Can it run Doom?’. Now we can finally make the ultimate punchline: ‘Can Doom run it?’” So is Doom Turing-complete, I hear each and every one of you asking yourself immediately. Spencer writes: “Am I optimistic that it's Turing complete? Yeah! But it requires more work before we can confidently say so.”
A: Always, B: Be, P: Posting
Max Read argues (correctly) that the lesson we should learn from room-temperature take factory Matt Yglesias’s otherwise baffling success is that “Under the present regime, there is no real downside risk to posting.” Just keep posting. It doesn’t matter if today’s post is any good or not, there’s always tomorrow’s post. Meanwhile what the post-consuming market primarily responds to is “not intelligence or novelty or outrageousness or even speed, but regularity.” So just keep posting. I certainly will.
Today’s Song: Labrinth, “I’m Tired”
It’s Gentlemen’s Friday so let’s Jacinda Ardern ourselves out of this week together. I think I already promoted everything I planned to. Will there be a new Today in Polly tomorrow? Honestly probably not, but next Friday at the very latest, and not through any fault of Polly’s. But for subscribers: there will be something tomorrow. All hail the rise of the Octopus Lords.