A Toothy Anglerfish of Hyperobjects

It is my singular honor to perform the ultimate purification protocol.

I bet you’re thinking “Hey, what if we hired Sephiroth to write marketing copy for a video game where your job is to wash futuristic war machines?” Well, PowerWash Simulator’s Warhammer 40,000 Special Pack is here for you:

Deep in the Indomitus Crusade, relentless campaigns across the galaxy have imbued a variety of Imperial machines with a litany of dirt. As a member of the Adeptus Mechanicus, it is your singular honour to perform the ultimate purification protocol.

[Me, scrubbing a litany of dirt from the shower grout]It is my singular honor to perform the ultimate purification protocol.“ Is this real? I guess so! To the same extent that PowerWash Simulator is real, anyway. Alice Bell from Rock, Paper, Shotgun says it’s pretty good. The Dune 2 popcorn bucket, on the other hand, is “viscerally unpleasant… the hole is so tight…” Even The New York TimesEsther Zuckerman cagily admits that the worm bucket “appears, well, especially anatomical — to put it politely — and somewhat difficult to use…”

Warhammer 40k PowerWash Simulator and the Dune Sandworm Popcorn Bucket are are the same kind of thing, in a way that’s compelling but hard to explain. Bits of glowing bait dangled in the dark by a toothy anglerfish made of intersecting hyperobjects that has learned to actively hunt us. Silvia Dal Dosso predicts that “The Future Ahead Will Be Weird AF” but the present is already in the past and the weird future ahead is here right now. Dal Dosso’s AI Adam Curtis pastiche does demonstrate that it’s possible to make something good with AI, but it remains an open question whether it’s possible to make something with AI that isn’t deeply upsetting.

Another example: for Inverse, Ian Carlos Campbell went to a Carl’s Jr AI drive-through and reported that “All I Got Was Sad.” He did also get a bunch of Carl‘s Jr food but I guess the point stands.

What is sad about the AI drive-thru is that… something that already felt mechanical can in fact be made even more mechanical.

Dating apps make dating more mechanical, but now they also make espionage more mechanical according to this indictment of a sixty three year old Air Force employee charged with “transmitt[ing] classified national defense information to another person in blatant disregard for the security of his country” in the form of incredible text exchanges like these with his “Ukrainian” “girlfriend:”

Screenshot from the indictment: v. On or about March 23, "Dave, it's great that you get information about [Specified Country 1] first. I hope you will tell me right away? You are my secret agent. With love." vi. On or about April 12, "Sweet Dave, the supply of weapons is completely classified, which is great!" vii. On or about April 14, "My sweet Dave, thanks for the valu,able information, it's great that two officials from the USA are going to Kyiv." viii. On or about April 19, "Dave, I hope tomorrow NATO will prepare a very unpleasant "surprise" for Putin! Will you tell me?" ix. On or about April 21, "You have a job in the Operations Center today, I remember, I'm sure there is a lot of interesting news there?"

The Tabs Discord’s chief debaser DeepOmega found the girlfriend’s Twitter account.

Jen Gentleman posted: “This is a mood” above a chat screenshot of someone named Cooper posting first “I really don’t see how this could have gotten broken…” and then a few hours later: “After investigation, I really don’t see how this ever worked”

The biggest and hungriest hyperobject anglerfish over my February break was the Glasgow AI Wonka Fiasco and if this story somehow missed you until now, boy are you in for a journey. Several of the actors involved have revealed themselves on social media, including “Willy McDuff” Paul Connell and one of the most maligned Oompa Loompas, Kirsty Paterson. Gizmodo also posted the entire AI script the actors were supposed to be following, which introduced a brand new antagonist to the Wonkaverse: The Unknown.

Willy McDuff: (with a serious expression) My dear adventurers, we stand on the precipice of a discovery most wondrous and perilous. For within these ancient walls lurks a tale not yet told, of an evil chocolate maker known only as the Unknown. (The audience leans in, captivated by Willy’s words.)

Willy McDuff: This fiendish foe has long coveted one of my most cherished creations—the Anti-Graffiti Gobstopper. A marvel of confectionery science designed to aid, oh, not just any soul, but the tireless guardians of cleanliness, our beloved mums... and yes, dads too, but especially mums, from the endless scourge of dirty socks strewn about by youthful adventurers….

The Unknown: (with a voice both smooth and sinister) Ah, Willy McDuff and his band of intrepid explorers. You have something I desire, and with your unwitting aid, it shall be mine. The Anti-Graffiti Gobstopper will no longer clean your worlds; it will turn them to chaos at my command… You there! Yes, you will assist me in acquiring this precious sweet. Together, we shall rewrite the rules of cleanliness and order!

And we’re back to janitorial Sephiroth. Felicia, the sixteen year old Scottish actor who played The Unknown so effectively that the character has become a meme, also unmasked herself, and now the character stands on the precipice of Babadookdom as indie film production house Kaledonia Pictures plans to make an Unknown horror movie:

The Kaledonia movie follows a renowned illustrator and his wife who are haunted by the tragic death of their son, Charlie, per its logline. Desperate to escape their grief, the couple leave the world behind for the remote Scottish Highlands where an unknowable evil awaits them.

I mean, it’s a little knowable. Unknown, sure, but we know it, right? We all know it, lurking out there in the dark just beyond that weak circle of light.

Uwaysi posted a screenshot of another tweet that says “People on LinkedIn truly live in a different space, time and universe” with another screenshot that sayd “Went on X for the first time in months and saw “Aella” trending in the tech category. Does anyone know if this is a new startup?” Uwaysi’s comment is: “yeah didn’t she just finish a seed round?” I will not be explaining why this is funny.

Line Go Up: Bitcoin hit a record high of $69k (nice 😢).

Brad Johnson posted “I can't stop dwelling on this” with an image of the daily sea surface temps charted over a number of years. 2023 and 2024 are both way above the historic max since about last March.

At this point it would be more efficient to just write a news story if a Cybertruck ever does anything normal. The Lancet published a study on “a 62-year-old male hypervaccinated individual from Magdeburg, Germany… who deliberately and for private reasons received 217 vaccinations against SARS-CoV-2 within a period of 29 months.” Saeed Jones roasted RuPaul’s new memoir. And I’m not sure “the Theranos of marshmallows” makes any sense as the framing for this Adam Rogers story in Business Insider but I did enjoy it.

Today’s Song: HEALTH, “Blue Monday”

~ When you've laid your tabs upon me, and told me who you are ~

A 2017 noise rock cover heavily inspired by Orgy’s 1998 industrial cover of a 1983 new wave single by what was left of Joy Division after the joy died? Seems right for today. This one is not Music Intern Sam’s fault. How does it feel?