It’s the last Tabs week of the year, so I guess it’s time to take a look back at 2021.
Ahh, no, never mind! Let’s call a Lot’s wife on that whole situation back there. Looking forward isn’t much better, but we have to point our eyes somewhere, so:
A U.S. Senator who lives on a yacht and is literally named “mansion” saved poor families nationwide from the terrible prospect of having money to buy food, or time off to be sick (or… go hunting?) during our upcoming Winter of Death. In Wales, a “monkey offered cocaine and flushed down loo” is “recovering,” so maybe there’s still hope for the rest of us. Meanwhile, in Chile:
Have you ever wondered if we could launch things into space by spinning them up to “about 10,000 gravities of centripetal force” in a vacuum and then releasing them at just the right microsecond to shoot out of a chimney through a plastic sheet? Of course you have, everyone has. Michael Barnard wrote about October’s SpinLaunch trial for CleanTechnica, what kind of difficulties they face scaling up, and why the technology might only make sense on the moon or Mars.
You know what else might only make sense on Mars? “Non Fungibal Tokens, Snake! The new evolutionary step in the economy!” which had another banner weekend of theft, fraud, and bullshit. In the WSJ, Christopher Mims wrote one of the most credulous articles I’ve ever seen on crypto, which is a high bar. It manages to argue that “Big Tech and the attendant centralization” are a problem and that the solution will come from “unlikely revolutionaries” like… Jack Dorsey and Marc Andreesen, which is a little like curing alcoholism with vodka. For a reality check on the grandiose promises that early buyers are making to lure later buyers into the big crypto Ponzi pool, Nicholas Weaver analyzed the computational capacity of the Ethereum blockchain:
Put bluntly, the Ethereum “world computer” has roughly 1/5,000 of the compute power of a Raspberry Pi 4!… At the current price of roughly $4000 per Ether this means a second of Ethereum’s compute costs $250. So a mere second of Ethereum’s virtual machine costs 25 times more than a month of my far more capable EC2 instance. Or could buy me several Raspberry Pis.
That’s pretty bad. A Raspberry Pi is a single-board computer that costs $35 and is essentially a toy. Cool new global financial system you got there, though. Also: Radio Shack is tokens now, and H&R Block is suing Dorsey’s Block over the new name. At least the token economy is creating amazing new culture like “Delist your ape (2DaMoon).”
“Anti-5G necklaces found to be radioactive.” I’m just shocked they do anything. Britney Spears conservator is clearly a crook, as meticulously documented in this four-byline NYT article, but all you really need to know is that her lawyer is the Forrest Gump of counsel to villains, Charles Harder. More than twelve years after his most famous tweet, Kevin Smith still has the magic. Sexual assault allegations against Chris Noth suddenly derailed what looks increasingly like an intentional play to get Peloton back in the discourse. Business school marketing programs will use this as a case study, but not in a good way. And the latest harmful content rabbit hole on TikTok is “the Corpse Bride diet.”
What are my desperate late-night scans through Zillow but a search for wonder? What is flicking through TikTok’s endless scroll but a hunt for the tiniest nugget of surprise? I’m desperate to find awe in today’s monotony. I’m desperate to revisit the Playhouse.
Wendy Goodman offers a nugget of surprise in Curbed, with a tour of the restored Orient Point lighthouse.
And if all else fails, Alissa Wilkinson makes a convincing case in Vox that it’s worth hanging out with the Beatles for eight hours.
Today’s Song: Snake River Conspiracy, “Love Song”
~Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious tabs by this sun of York~
Scheduling note: I will be off from this Friday the 24th until Monday Jan. 3rd, languishing in the bunker for Christmas stay-cation. Find me on twitter @fka_tabs or @TodayinTabs, and in the “tim rogers Action Button” thread in the #tabs channel of the subscriber Discord.