Stepping Down

Fun question!

(Creeeeak… clunk, clunk, clunk, thump, boiiiiing) Today (today? yeah, just t—) the long time (this is Rrrrr—) “Radiolab” producer and host (can you say your name for us, Jad) Jad Abumrad (did I say tha—yeah that was perfect) announced he is stepping down from the show at WNY (see?) C (SEE!), writes Nicholas Quah in Vulture. Quah quotes Abumrad telling “Fresh Air” in 2020 that “I realized not only can the team work really, really well without me, but that I needed to walk out of the room more so that they can take it in new directions.” He will be replaced by ten hours of underwater whale song.

Also stepping down at the end of this term is Supreme Court Justice and ice cream mogul Stephen Breyer, who will be replaced by dozens of new state laws banning abortion.

Dana Bell wrote a short story about what it will be like when Elon Musk and Instagram finally team up to put a computer chip in your crappy boyfriend’s head. No big deal, just a simple procedure. It's made from pure merino wool from Peru and it's unisex.

Two of the dumbest people ever granted access to a mass audience, Joe Rogan and Jordan Peterson, recorded a four hour conversation for Rogan’s Spotify-exclusive podcast “The Greased Chute to Fascism starring That Guy From Fighting.” Molly Taftlistened to the whole thing and it made me want to self-immolate.” After the brief clips of this conversation that I survived you will never convince me that either of these men can read.

Someone who can read and also knows a lot about climate change is our greatest living socialist author Kim Stanley Robinson, who was profiled in The New Yorker by Joshua Rothman. It is long and good and there is so much hiking in it, as if someone knew I was gonna need exactly this story to get through the week.

Hours passed. I stopped to finish my water and looked ahead to see our destination, a lake glittering in the far distance. Almost all Robinson’s novels involve an experience of this kind—a long, difficult, rocky journey through a mountain landscape, on Earth or elsewhere, accomplished through sustained concentration that lifts one out of time. The main thing is to start, then to keep going, finding your way one step at a time. It never occurs to you to stop. Even if the path isn’t set, the job before you is clear: you have to get down the mountain before dark.

Axios is writing a book about “smart brevity.” More of a brochure, really. “What’s the deal with the UAE financiers behind Grid?” ask Max Tani and Daniel Lippman in Politico, which has never itself had any shady funding. Facebook’s curséd cryptocurrency project Libra or Diem or whatever is “for sale,” which means dead, making Mark Zuckerberg the only person in tech unable to pull off a crypto scam. Also unable to pull off a crypto scam: Melania Trump, but I really don’t care, do u? What is Insider EIC Nicholas Carlson’s salary? “Fun question!” And hey, what was the deal with those Union Pacific train robberies in L.A.? Fun question! Jalopnik’s Erin Marquis discovered that “Union Pacific laid off an unspecified amount of workers, including railroad police, in September 2020. Two months later, the thefts began.”

Claire Evans tracked down Susan Thunder, “the great lost female hacker of the 1980s,” in an impeccably structured profile for The Verge.

Susan and I talk weekly for three hours at a time. It’s been so long since I’ve had a relationship with anyone over the phone. I’m no longer accustomed to feeling so close and so far away at once. I listen carefully, scribbling notes. She takes her time; she seems to have plenty of it. She tells me long, meandering stories in sotto voce murmurs. It feels as though she has not spoken to anyone about these things in a long, long time. I give up on asking questions and settle into listening, my iPhone burning my cheek. Without even recognizing it, I’ve made the mistake that so many others have before me: I picked up the phone and entered her domain.

Destroy All Values: “in a fever dream over two days,” Aria Beingessner wrote what is almost certainly more than you ever wanted to know about “designing deinitialization in programming languages.”

Liz Spiers talks about being 45 in Sari Botton’s Oldster Magazine and I am now a heap of dust, an ancient pile of crumbling bones a thousand feet below the surface of the earth. Marshall Project product team lead Elan Kiderman-Ullendorff is teaching a free, remote, donations-optional collaborative course in Deep Sea Diving on the Web: “Each session we’ll pick a platform, discuss what its algorithms might be hiding, and then divide up into teams—divers, researchers, excavators, and cartographers—and plunge the platform’s depths for signs of life.” If you’re reading Tabs (and you are) this seems like it might be of interest.

Today’s Song: Whales, “10 Hours of Song”

~ Give me a tab, Vassily. One tab only please. ~

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