Death By Tweeting Through It
Dear Academia, something weird is going on in space.
On Thursday space scientists at NASA reported that “something weird is going on” with the value of the Hubble constant, which expresses how fast everything in the universe is yeeting itself away from everything else. Why is the measured constant higher than theory predicts? I’m sure it’s something normal like:
[T]here exists a mirror universe very similar to ours but invisible to us except through gravitational impact on our world.
Huh. Also Vice’s Becky Ferreira reports: “Scientists Probe the Odds of Aliens in Double Star Systems.” Are scientists ok?
Everyone loves the new bionic reading font! *5 seconds later* We regret to inform you this accessibility breakthrough is patented and very expensive. *5 seconds after that* Hi all. Please understand that I am only excited about this font from an anti-capitalist perspective 🧵 1/15…
Over the weekend, Today in Tabs spent more than a year combing through rare and all but forgotten tweets that major historians told me they “totally didn’t ever read, almost” and “haven’t seen for, like, ages” in what unnamed other scholars (not the first ones) confirm is an unprecedented effort to learn:
On Friday, The New York Times published a big high-production package by Catherine Porter, Constant Méheut, Matt Apuzzo and Selam Gebrekidan on the debt imposed by the French on its former colony Haiti, and the enormous multi-generational wealth transfer it effected from formerly enslaved Haitians to their slavers under military threat. No one seems mad about the contents of the report itself, so go ahead and read it if you want, but if you’re short on time it basically says:
20 years after Haitians won their freedom, France came back with warships and demanded cash. Between 1825 and the present, the French and later the Americans would steal what amounts to $115 billion worth of present-day economic power from Haiti.
Also: lots of zoomy animations of sepia-toned documents, etc. Standard Times big feature production greebles everywhere, like if Ken Burns made a web page. Here’s the shorter, even more animated version.
Unfortunately the Times is still not quite confident enough to publish a feature without a news peg, so they included a couple paragraphs of Timesian puffery to convey that this is actually a big 19th century history scoop, because a scoop creates its own news peg by definition:
The New York Times spent months sifting through thousands of pages of original government documents, some of them centuries old and rarely, if ever, reviewed by historians. We scoured libraries and archives in Haiti, France and the United States to study the double debt and its effect on Haiti, financially and politically.
In what leading historians say is a first, we tabulated how much money Haitians paid to the families of their former masters and to the French banks and investors who held that first loan to Haiti, not just in official government payments on the double debt but also in interest and late fees, year after year, for decades.
There is also a long bibliography which managed to be simultaneously too much and too little attribution. Harvard history professor Mary Lewis was disappointed not to have been acknowledged:
For the Times morning newsletter yesterday, room temperature intellect German Lopez asked Catherine Porter directly: “Why tell Haiti’s story now?” but didn’t manage to get an answer. Another reporter from your own paper doing promotion can be a tough interview to nail down, I get it. “‘The Times reveals how Haiti became the poorest country in the Americas’ is something you write if your cultural and educational context is very different from mine,” responded stacy-marie ishmael dryly. Then Adam Davidson, who’s made a career of filing the serial numbers off other people’s research and adding the radio equivalent of zoomy animations of old sepia-toned documents posted that actually those boring academics are wrong for wanting attribution, launching the debate into a new and even dumber orbit:
Links, Davidson argued, are simply too expensive. Apropos of nothing: a paid subscription to Today in Tabs is just $35 for the first year, a bargain which looks better with every Adam Davidson tweet. “I’ve been at the Times for 8 years and I’ve never seen them publish a bibliography for a story,” posted Rukmini Callimachi, who ought to know. Finally, an unsigned note card fluttered down from the top of the eastern-most tower at Times Manor, with gilded intaglio type reading: “A debate is rekindled among historians.” Look at that subtle coloring. The tasteful thickness. Oh my God. It even has a watermark.
And that, as best I can tell, is why everyone’s mad.
Who Else is Mad? Vladimir Putin is mad at a whimsical list of about a thousand Americans who are now banned from Russia, including Game Theory Guy Eric Garland and Abu Ghraib torturer Lynndie England, but not Donald Trump. Everybody is still mad at Ellen DeGeneres. And the People’s Convoy is mad at the People’s Convoy.
I know we’re all tired of El*n M*sk but the general assumption that his meltdown last week was an effort to get ahead of some bad news proved correct with Insider’s report that SpaceX paid a flight attendant $250,000 to settle her claim that El*n pulled out his d*ck during a massage and offered to b*y her a h*rse, which is the most billionaire-ass thing I’ve ever heard. In response, Musk implied there are a lot of other women out there that he has also harassed:
After Insider contacted Musk for comment, he emailed to ask for more time to respond and said there is "a lot more to this story."
"If I were inclined to engage in sexual harassment, this is unlikely to be the first time in my entire 30-year career that it comes to light," he wrote, calling the story a "politically motivated hit piece."
M*sk also tweeted about it, unfortunately.
Finally: Brian Feldman figured out who Deuxmoi is. Right now you’re either going “oooh!” or “who?” and there is no in between.
Today’s Song: PLVTINUM (with POORSTACY), "TOXIC"
~ look at these baby woodcocks practicing their booty bop ~
Look at these baby woodcocks practicing their booty bop: