I Consider Midterms Loud
I get crippling anxiety off half a hit of that voting shit.
It’s midterms day in America and closing time for American democracy, an event so world-historical Gwen Snyder reports that Brits and Australians are apparently here on an organized “End of Democracy In America” tour right now (just £3950.00). There isn’t any more to say about that other than if you can vote you should vote. If you don’t want to vote, in 2020 Kyle "Guante" Tran Myhre wrote five good and very Tabs-ian metaphors for why you should vote anyway:
When the haunted house catches fire: a moment of indecision. The house was, after all, built on bones, and blood, and bad intentions. Everyone who enters the house feels that overwhelming dread, the evil that perhaps only fire can purge. It’s tempting to just let it burn. And then I remember that there are children inside.
As the wise man once said, every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end. And speaking of ends, it looks like Sam Bankman-Fried suddenly doesn’t have any.1 Yesterday the bare-legged FTX founder who once memorably admitted that yield farming was a pure Ponzi tweeted the crypto formula for soft-announcing that your Ponzi is fucked:
Yesterday Matt Levine described it as a spat between SBF and Binance CEO Zhao “CZ” Changpeng and compared it to the 2008 financial crisis, which may prove to be more accurate than he intended because precisely on schedule, one day later, FTX stopped processing withdrawals and Bankman-Fried started a new thread with “Hey all: I have a few announcements to make,” which is the crypto formula for hard-announcing that your Ponzi is fucked.
Semafor’s Bradley Saacks and Louise Matsakis report that Bankman-Fried (“who is an investor in Semafor”)2 begged for “a bailout of more than $1 billion from Silicon Valley and Wall Street billionaires” who apparently told him to toddle his stupid ratty sneakers out of their nice offices, forcing him to turn his empty cargo-shorts pockets inside out to rival CZ, who tentatively agreed to buy FTX, which he’d arguably just assassinated with a couple tweets. The Guardian’s Alex Hern summarized:
Liz Lopatto reports that “The letter of intent is nonbinding, and Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao said the firm will conduct due diligence before the acquisition,” so FTX could still simply collapse and die. Lol. Semafor reported that FTX was “$5 billion to $6 billion” short, and at press time, FTX’s FTT token was down 80% on the day and still falling. As Alex Hern continued: “It is extremely funny.”
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Today in Sletters:
If my colleagues do newsletter beautifully, I will enjoy it and be thankful and proud that I live in fellowship with them. And my colleagues have been doing newsletter beautifully.
Casey Newton should be named Breakey Newston for all the news he’s breaking. Yesterday Casey covered the botched firings at Twitter, the botched management of the remaining staff at Twitter, and the botched non-rollout of the new Blue subscription program at Twitter. Platformer has been one of the best-sourced outlets on this story from the start, and I would say “Casey is killing it” but the truth is Elon is killing it, Casey is just writing about it really well.
Ed Zitron did some good Twitter analysis in “Musk's Kobayashi Maru”:
Musk has bought every billboard in Time Square, but has somehow broadcast his entire ass for several arduous days.
😚🤌. Ed also took a victory lap today for recognizing SBF’s impending liquidity crisis way back in August, which fair enough and no shade to Ed but like, all of crypto is due for a liquidity crisis eventually, that’s just the inevitable result of trading expensive numbers with no connection to any material economic reality as if they have value.
…uncovered over 20 new roles by major companies that failed to comply with [New York’s] new [pay transparency] law.
The list includes household names backed by prominent investors, including Casper, DoorDash, Stripe, Calendly, Asana, Wayfair, and BarkBox.
Big tech companies? Breaking our laws? It’s more likely than you think.
Rugs, luxury candles, homeware, fast furniture filling our landfills… a general disregard for the spiritual purpose of a home. I know this isn’t true, but my dystopian brain gets nervous that people are spending a lot of their income on one perfect photo of their home. It really fucking freaks me out when I go into ten apartments that look exactly the same. If you want to acquire status, do it by being interesting, not by buying things.
Chris Stokel-Walker (who should probably just start a newsletter instead of spreading his excellent freelance work randomly all over the web?): “Here’s how a Twitter engineer says it will break in the coming weeks.”
Twitter’s collapse into an unusable wreck is some time off, the engineer says, but the telltale signs of process rot are already there. It starts with the small things: “Bugs in whatever part of whatever client they’re using; whatever service in the back end they’re trying to use. They’ll be small annoyances to start, but as the back-end fixes are being delayed, things will accumulate until people will eventually just give up.”
Liz Lopatto reported that from last night until some time this afternoon, verified users were unable to change their display names. We were so close to permanent Chillian J. Yikes.
Today in Science:
“Egg whites can be transformed into a material capable of filtering microplastics from seawater.” If this scales it seems like a legit big deal?
If this [scaling] challenge can be solved, the material has significant benefits because it is inexpensive to produce, energy-efficient to use and highly effective. "Activated carbon is one of the cheapest materials used for water purification. We compared our results with activated carbon, and it's much better," said Ozden. Compared with reverse osmosis, which requires significant energy input and excess water for operation, this filtration process requires only gravity to operate and wastes no water.
Today’s Song: Wet Leg, “Chaise Longue (sung in French)”
Segues are back, baby.