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Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly
Keepin it gendy nooch, whom tryna slouch.
“The most powerful rocket ever built got off the launchpad in South Texas but did not achieve its most ambitious goals,” reported The New York Times, but who among us has achieved their most ambitious goals today, or any day? Certainly not Elon Musk, whose spaceflight company succeeded in flying its newest rocket for four minutes before it underwent a “rapid unscheduled disassembly” but whose shitposting company is still struggling to remove the blue checks from everyone who ran a website’s social media account in 2015 (requiescat to The Pope’s verified badge though). Frank Ocean gave up on his most ambitious goal of performing two live shows in six years, canceling his second Coachella gig this weekend due to a retroactive ankle injury that he certainly hopes will count as an act of God in someone’s insurance policy. We miss you, Frank. According to Mark O’Connell, all of humanity has failed to achieve our most ambitious goal of not being partly made of garbage. And The Washington Post reports that Pudding Fingers Ron DeSantis is struggling with his most ambitious goal of not being an offputting dweeb that no one likes.
No living person has any idea what Jonah Peretti’s goals might be, so it’s hard to say whether today’s rapid unscheduled disassembly of BuzzFeed News is an achievement for him or not. Peretti euthanized the last remainders of his Pulitzer Prize-winning news division on 4/20,1 barely a month after Scaachi Koul accidentally reminded him it still exists, and about a week before the pub date of Ben Smith’s book about it. In his memo announcing the cuts Peretti took full responsibility, writing “I also want to be clear: I could have managed these changes better as the CEO of this company and our leadership team could have performed better…” which is why 180 other people will be getting fired instead of him. He’s learned so much, and going forward he’ll bring a new spirit of collaboration and humility to the AI garbage he replaces them with. Former audience engagement editor Brandon Hardin at least managed to make the sign-off memorable.
Kids’ Fun Time Earnest Commentary Corner: I spent a fair amount of pixels in this newsletter making fun of BuzzFeed News over the years, particularly in the peak BuzzFeed Derangement Syndrome era, but the reason it was worth making fun of is that it was an organization that was always worth paying attention to. At its peak, BuzzFeed News hired a ton of great journalists and gave them the space and freedom to report stories that other news organizations wouldn’t, or couldn’t. Maybe dumping millions of dollars into a digital newsroom and then putting absolute sickos like Ben Smith and Katie Notopoulos in charge was always doomed to be a zero interest-rate phenomenon, but I’m glad it existed, and the internet will be a lot dumber and worse without it.
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Also today in bad CEOs: “CEO Celebrates Worker Who Sold Family Dog After He Demanded They Return to Office” reports Maxwell Strachan.
Also today in zero interest-rate phenomena: Imgur plans to start removing content on May 15th. Get ready for a new wave of broken forum threads. Before BuzzFeed starts purging news posts,2 don’t miss Jessica Lucas’s story about an abusive erotic hypnosis bimbofication cult.
Also today in AI garbage: “More than 300 new AI products were launched this week [pointless line break] Here are the most trending AI tools.” The A.I. business influencer guys must be stopped, demands Read Max. In case you thought the companies pushing this stuff don’t know how bad it is, here’s Davey Alba and Julia Love in Bloomberg:
Shortly before Google introduced Bard, its AI chatbot, to the public in March, it asked employees to test the tool.
One worker’s conclusion: Bard was “a pathological liar,” according to screenshots of the internal discussion. Another called it “cringe-worthy.” One employee wrote that when they asked Bard suggestions for how to land a plane, it regularly gave advice that would lead to a crash; another said it gave answers on scuba diving “which would likely result in serious injury or death.”
Google launched Bard anyway.
Atlassian is partnering with OpenAI in an attempt to murder GPT-4 by exposing it to Jira, and Elon Musk’s first hire for his “truth-seeking AI” company was recently arrested for domestic violence, reports The Information. The chatbots aren’t allowed to sext anymore, but they’re still very horny: “*Calmness intensifies*.”
Today’s New Word:
The giant vehicle’s explosion just four minutes after launch showed how far there still is to go before the company’s biggest ambitions — transporting people to the moon and beyond — might be reality…
For crewed flights, SpaceX will need to demonstrate that Starship can return to Earth intact and land. The company still needs to develop a life-support system capable of providing oxygen, water and everything else a person needs to survive. Perhaps the biggest challenge is figuring out how to refuel Starship in outer space, a feat that will involve launching the cosmic equivalent of a gas station into orbit, sending up a fleet of tankers to shuttle the chemical propellants, and then perfecting a method that will work in microgravity to transfer the fuel into the passenger vehicle.
Is that all?
Today’s Song: Luke Black, “Samo mi se spava”
Joan waster chai mommy Ural Freddy the boys açai my yet. Read it out loud. It’s been a couple weeks since we did an open thread (I miss you, miss you) so subscribers, look for one of those tomorrow. Music selection by Today’s Song Intern Sam Gavin (*no chill intensifies*). Happy Gentleman’s Friday, stop trying to achieve your most ambitious goals this week, you’ve done enough. We slidin.
Blaze it, comrades.
They claim they won’t do this, but they definitely will sooner or later. They all do eventually.