Fields of Watermelons Found On Mars, Police Say

Shop the Tabs, and a lot of animal tweets from the Intern

Yesterday the New York Times’s Joe Schmoe reported: “Fields of Watermelons Found On Mars, Police Say.” Futurism investigated, noting that “the article disappeared after about an hour, replaced by a message saying it had been ‘published in error.’” It was, of course, a CMS test gone wrong, but it did include this quintessential New York Times pull-quote:

In the wake of this fiasco, Joe Schmoe will be stepping down as head of the Mars desk and speculation is intense about who will replace him, with leading candidates rumored to include Head of Millennial Presumption Kevin Roose, comedy understander Charlie Warzel, and couch-surfing A-list grifter Yashar Ali. In other Times masthead news, it turns out New York Magazine actually traded The Cut editor Stella Bugbee to the Times for Choire Sicha and a draft pick to be named later. And it was another great day saving the `bees.

Our Regrettable Platform Substack took a look at Medium’s corporate trajectory and said “yes please!” so now it’s getting into comics and fiction according to Insider media reporter and Oscar winning film director Steven Perlberg. Like a super slow-motion Simone Biles video, you can see the pivot coming a long way off but there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

Today in Things You Could Buy: Stiletto Crocs (Crocs x Balenciaga, $???); Playdate (a cute handheld game device from Panic, with a crank, $179); A blue jacket that looks like a red hat to me (Kanye x Gap, $200); A new Lorde album soon maybe? (Lorde’s whole butt, $Spotify); A stun gun for parties ($assault charges); Kate McKean’s help with your book query, if you can prove you’re serious ($50/yr or $5/mo subscription to Agents & Books); An ad in Today in Tabs ($300) via:

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I don’t usually let Intern Linda embed this many tweets but am I supposed to cut cute pictures of animals? What kind of monster do you take me for? Please, step inside…

So I have to confess, I do have a twitter, but never linked it because all I do on it is retweet pictures of wildlife with the word “king.” Turns out you can train the algorithm to only show tweets of literal birds. Anyway recently I was scrolling and saw this:

It was kind of wild to see domestication syndrome in yaks. Basically, when we raise animals they often get physical features not found in the wild such as drooping ears, curly tails, depigmentation, etc. Which is why cows are, uh, cow print. (That link is maybe not a great one for the office, if any of you are back in offices, just fyi.)

Domestication effects were originally postulated by noted cousin-fancier Charles Darwin, and previous efforts to understand them have included a long running fox domestication program in Russia, but Adam S Wilkins, Richard W Wrangham, and W Tecumseh Fitch published a new genetics based hypothesis in 2014 (DOI: 10.1534/genetics.114.165423). Essentially, the paper finds that domestication features are closely linked to stem cells all vertebrates—including us—have during development called “neural crest cells.” When we select for the behavioural trait of tameness in animals, they argue, it causes these cells to become reduced in their spread during development, which unintentionally causes all the effects we see and cuddle in domesticated animals like our dogs. 

This is a very shaky layman's gloss, and I’m only ever 50/50 on what “morphology” means, so I highly recommend the entire paper. Here’s another related animal pic though:


After a surprisingly long wait, Intern Linda approved my Twitter follow request and I can confirm her description of her feed. Also she files her tabs in the form of Google docs I’m not allowed to edit. I have never been so owned by an intern and I’m not sure how to handle it, honestly.

But even if you’re a crumpled, dried-out relic of the pandemic, it’s hot divorcée summer out there, so give a thought to what horrific fictional space thing Jeff Bezos should experience, leave your Fastly configuration alone, and, like Anna Wintour’s neighbor, support your local labor movement.

Today’s Song: Lorde, “Liability”

~ Th-this is my hole! It was made for me! ~

Hey I’m at @fka_tabs and about to run out of room in your email here so