The Business Section

There's no such thing as a free launch.

What is the news? “The news is what they put in the newspaper. That's why they call it a newspaper,” says Tom Scocca in his morning podcast. So the news is that Royal Caribbean just launched its largest ever norovirus breeding facility. But if I write that every iceberg has the opportunity to do something so funny right now that’s not news, that’s Opinion.

A picture of what looks like a sidewalk in Disney world but is actually on the new Royal Caribbean ship somehow.

This is a picture of a boat. This kind of smart, walkable, mixed-use urbanism is illegal to build in most American cities. (image via Brittany Chang/Business Insider)

If you can’t afford a cruise but you still want to be what David Foster Wallace called “pampered to death,” you could visit southern New Hampshire’s new Diaper Spa, where:

Dr. Colleen Ann Murphy, the spa’s owner, offers a range of services that include virtual playdates at $200 an hour, as well as a $1,500 all-day “Diaper B&B” experience that promises rejuvenating pampering “for the little one inside of you.”

Wow, never mind, a whole week on the human lasagna barely costs more than one diap-day in bleak Rockingham County, NH. But if we’re talking prices we’re doing business, and like a diaper for news we do our business in the Business section. Also in the Business section today, a Delaware Chancery Court judge dumped Elon Musk’s fifty five billion dollar Tesla pay package. There hasn’t been this Matt Levine of a story since crypto died, and today’s Money Stuff answers all the questions you have about it.

Jessie posted: “elon musk announcing the successful neuralink implant” with a picture of Victorine from The Fall of the House of Usher (2023) smiling uncomfortably.

But the news is also the people who report the news. That’s why we call them ”newspeople.” Today the New York Times announced new “enhanced bios” for its newspeople which, like the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques,” will let us get deeper into the guts of Times journalists and really find out everything they know. The new bios are rolling out first to a select group of reporters who hold particularly stressed positions, such as tech reporter Mike Isaac, and they look like this:

Screenshot from the NYT with a little round b&w picture of Mike Isaac and his Gene Shalit mustache. The title says “Mike Isaac,” and the subtitle says “I’m a New York Times reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I spill things a lot.” Below this is a horizontal list of menu options: “SSN,” “Assassination Coordinates,” “Latest Spills,” and “Ham.” Then a title: “What I Spilled” followed by two paragraphs of text. “I largely spill food. I spilled carnitas on my Switch. I spilled candlewax on a book and it sealed the last 50 pages shut so now I cant read the ending. I spilled two and a half pounds of uncooked rice all over the kitchen floor, and I spilled an entire large iced americano on my rental car as I was returning it and a guy sitting across the street started laughing at me.” “I spilled at least three other Americanos. I spilled mustard on my shirt/chest. I accidentally spilled ham on the wall. I was just walking back to my desk for lunch with a handful of ham and”

I already feel like I understand the rigors of the journalistic process better.

That “business section” joke? Right? Let’s do some business here:

Elmo thought January 29th, 2024 was a good time to ask Twitter “How is everybody doing?” and regrettably he found out how everybody is doing. Hashtag EmotionalWellBeing. In other Elmo news: Elmo Keep went to Sphere “to see the Dads” and bring us new Sphere content worth reading.

It is a vertiginous audio and visual experience that envelopes you at every inch, which has caused some people to pass out within it. It is the purest distillation of “experiential design” by which we may all be entertained to death.

All of which is before you’ve even done any drugs.

Elmo is an unrepentant U2 sicko, and her mastery of the deep Bono lore distinguishes this from more superficial Sphere tourist reports.

There’s No Such Thing As A Free Launch

Mike Rugnetta launched a new podcast about the internet called “Never Post” and invited me to be on the zeroth episode as part of a round table about independent media in 2024 with Gita Jackson and Alex Sujong Laughlin, I think mainly because he liked the “Awl Inflection Point” post. There is also a oneth episode today, in the normal format. Flaming Hydra launched. Matt Webb launched a Kickstarter for the production version of his AI-generated poem-a-minute clock. I previously said “I‘ll allow it,” and I stand by that. Normally AI lying about facts is not a good thing, but a clock that lies about what time it is to make a poem work? I can support that.

And of course on Friday Apple will launch its PDF Goggles Pro, a heavy expensive face computer that replaces your normal real screen with many pretend screens while it replaces your real face with a pretend face. As I mentioned yesterday, Nilay reviewed it at punishing length. But does he even mention its included polishing cloth? No. Luckily we have Die Hard villain John Gruber for that. “…lightweight and fine, like the fabric from a silk blouse.” Ooh la la! Sherwood Snacks gadget blogger Casey Newton reviewed it as a device, and Bijan kind of reviewed it although he’s “less interested in the device as a device than… as a symbol of the times.” Same.

This is all a lot to read and gadget reviews are very boring so my summary is: the PDF Goggles aren’t a product but an expensive placeholder for a different future product that will hypothetically provide augmented reality in a way that people will want to use, which isn’t this way. If you want to spend four thousand dollars on this placeholder you definitely already know that, and you don’t need a review to find out.

Today’s Button: The Indiglo button.

Today’s Song: According to yesterday’s poll, a solid majority of you like (or do not hate) the bleep bloop bweeew music. With 672 total votes, the results were as follows:

Do you like this bleep bloop bweeew music?

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 Yes (340)

🟨🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️ No (212)

🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Indifferent (120)

So my opinion can get rocked I guess. Is this what you like? You like this kind of thing? You like Fabiana Palladino, “Stay With Me Through The Night?”

Music Intern Sam and I simply live to serve.

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