That's Lowell

Local news, rumors from Brexitania, Elder Goths, and what's that behind you?

“Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts,” wrote Arthur C. Clarke in 1968, “for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living.” The human population has doubled since then, so the ghost to pre-ghost ratio these days is more like fifteen to one. By one estimate, however, there are at least 131 spiders per square meter of land, globally. Which means that behind every person now alive stand more than 2.7 million living spiders. Possibly quite a lot more. That’s just something for you to think about.

The squirrels have HAD it: Possibly after communicating with its revolutionary comrades in Queens, this knife-wielding Toronto squirrel was caught impersonating an Englishman. Thanks again to the New York Post’s world-class squirrel-hazard desk for the report.

Speaking of the little known and isolated North Sea island of Brexitania, word reaches us via the salt-caked lips of sailors too long deprived of human company that the raven queen Merlina has absconded, and fears stalk the land of a recently invented ancient prophesy coming true at last: “when the ravens leave the Tower of London, the kingdom will fall.” Gosh, imagine if that happened. Also Today in Goths: David Walter attends “D.C.’s Virtual Cryfest” to report on Elder Goths.

Local News:


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Social Media Followups: Since Thursday, plenty of better writers than me have asked how do you solve a problem like social media? First of all, the numbers indicate that banning Trump worked. Researchers at Zignal Labs report that online election misinformation dropped 73% last week. Zephyr Teachout focusses on the business model and anti-trust options. In the New Yorker Dot Com Andrew Marantz writes:

The suppression of speech we despise can lead down a slippery slope toward the suppression of speech we cherish; indeed, it almost always does. We should worry about this, but we should also worry about another slippery slope: the one we are already on.

Facebook and Twitter are already scrabbling to hold on to the top of this new slippery slope, facing international questions about all the malignant actors and violent content they didn’t ban. In The Guardian, Julia Carrie Wong rounds up 10 different experts with “ideas to rebuild our broken internet” ranging from “hire 10,000 librarians” to fine CEOs and executives for “harms that stem directly from their platform that reasonably could have been predicted and addressed.”

Issie Lapowsky on how to practice safe doxxing. Viral shag-carpet house sold. C++ Shanty (ugh, Josh). Propublica is hiring a voting and platforms reporter. E. Alex Jung’s Awkwafina profile in Harper’s Bazaar is great. Shock Mediaite column outs Don Lemon as “openly black.” Lemon confirmed it to Chris Cuomo. More like American Stinker. An all-Nepali and Sherpa mountaineering team just made the first winter ascent of K2. Never Been Seen: The UK Science Museum Group built a tool to show you an object from their collection with zero web views. And tragically, science journalist and by all accounts truly excellent person Sharon Begley passed away on Saturday, far too early.

Today’s Song: PJ Harvey, “Down By the Water” in honor of these robotic fish.

~I lost my tabs… under the bridge…~

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