Science Gentleman's Friday

A lot of statistically improbable phrases today.

America can, should, must, and will blow up the Koons:

Private lunar exploration company Intuitive Machines got its lander onto the moon, but a combination of rushed preflight checks and Jeff Koons left it lying on its side in the lunar dust, mostly unable to recharge. The lander did send home some pictures, but unfortunately they appear to have been shot with the Fisher Price video camera that Michael Almereyda used for the “vamp-cam” segments of his 1994 slacker vampire epic NADJA.

According to Reuters: “Intuitive Machines' Odysseus lunar lander shows an image from its Malapert A landing site on the surface of the moon, in this low resolution handout picture released February 26, 2024.“ If you say so, man.

Nights… nights without sleep… long nights in which the brain lights up like a big city.

Gimme the beef boys and free my soul, I wanna get cancer in my meatball, and drift away:

Researchers at Tufts figured out how to grow “bovine (beef) muscle cells that produce their own growth factors,” potentially reducing the cost of lab grown meat by up to ninety percent, and all they had to do was give it cancer, according to cracker disrespecter PZ Myers.

You could just make a Doodle?

The microplastics in our bloodstream are going to kill us, but until they do a team from Liverpool has made a breakthrough in “Finding schedules for pairwise meetings between the members of a complex social group without creating interpersonal conflict,” aka Polyamorous Scheduling. “We show that the problem is NP-hard and that there is no efficient approximation algorithm with a better ratio than 13/12 unless P = NP.” Oh, it’s NP-hard all right, heh heh heh. (I don’t know what that means.)

Subcommission on Quaternary Skullduggery

A panel of expert scientists voted that “The Anthropocene” is a hoax, reported Raymond Zhong in The New York Times. But according to Hill Heat’s Brad Johnson the vote was a coup by a bunch of climate-change deniers ineligible to vote on what any geological era should be named.

The chair and second vice-chair of the panel in question, the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy (SQS) of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) within the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), have now forcefully announced the vote was a sham and should be considered “null and void”.

Everything is forum drama now.

Not science:

Our ongoing A.I. Kessler event continues to gain momentum with a zombie A.I. sludge mill calling itself the Washington Independent hosting all the work Spencer Ackerman published in the real Washington Independent under fake bylines, and teachers now reportedly using ChatGPT to grade the essays that their students had ChatGPT write. Also here’s The New Yorker’s Charles Bethea on a phone scam that uses A.I. generated voice clones of your loved ones to extort money and The Washington Post’s Evan Halper on how A.I.’s voracious demand for new data centers is pushing the U.S. electrical grid to the edge of collapse. I know A.I. makes it somewhat easier to write programming boilerplate and make images of Gandalf with large breasts, but I’m not sure the pros are worth the cons here? After all, humanity has always had the power to create big naturals Gandalf.

Speaking of big naturals, here’s Amy Hamm in the National Post with a genuinely deranged column that starts off “Are Sydney Sweeney’s breasts double-D harbingers of the death of woke?” and only gets less tethered and/or hinged from there. Don’t miss Hamm’s speculation that a Dave Chappelle with bodacious ta-tas could have ended woke years ago. The Jordan Peterson/Libs of Tiktok fandom is truly in a dark place.

Today in bad media news:

Is that good?

Today in good media news:

Many of the stories spoke to the struggles explorers faced. Captain Scott wrote facetiously of the trials of camping on the ice. He described paraffin fuel getting into all the food, the struggle of leaving their sleeping bags when it was 40 degrees below freezing, and the hour it took to put on leather boots that froze solid overnight, along with the copious sailor cursing produced by this inconvenience…

Another story similarly makes light of one of the most dangerous incidents of [Scott’s final Terra Nova] expedition. A poem called “The House That Cherry Built,” is an overly cheerful account of three men who took shelter after their tent blew away. In actuality, the story references the time a blizzard carried off the three men’s tent during a trip to Cape Crozier, and they nearly died in temperatures of minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

I would definitely be the one roasting the Captain in my Antarctic newsletter and getting thrown out onto the ice to die.

Today in politics:

Point: Kyrsten Sinema Was The Perfect Senator For A Moment Without A Purpose, By David Roth

Counterpoint: Kyrsten Sinema Is A Vicious Day-Glo Demon And The World Is Demonstrably Worse Because She Was Born, By Albert Burneko

Either way, Sinema perfectly captures why Gen X will never hold any real political power, nor should we.


XOXO is back, August 22-24, 2024! Don’t miss the minigame on the website.

Today’s Song: Machinedrum, ZOOM (feat. Tinashe)

Reader Response:

Yesterday I wrote the line “Does a single sparrow fall to the ground at the New Yorker without David Remnick being aware of it,” in the belief that the sparrow thing was such a commonly understood reference to Matthew chapter 10, verse 29 that I wouldn’t have to link it to anything. Based on early reader feedback I appear to have been mistaken! So out of curiosity, a poll:

Did you recognize the Bible verse?

Please be honest, no one will dox your vote.

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We survived the first week of Season X! It’s all uphill from here.

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