We Found the Moana Force

We may soon learn more about a possible fifth fundamental force. Also, SBF is headed to jail, the Sackler family is not out of the woods quite yet, record labels are suing the Internet Archive, and I found some real passionate Wikipedia drama for ya

We Found the Moana Force

A Reminder That Physics is Just Our Best Guess

Science People at FermiLab (a high energy particle physics lab in the US) have readings that may help us understand a fifth fundamental force of nature.

Our current understanding of, uh, reality includes four fundamental forces:

  • Gravity
  • Electromagnetic Force
  • Strong Nuclear Force
  • Weak Nuclear Force

While our current model of physics works pretty dang well to include these forces and calculate STUFF, there is always the chance that we're overlooking something. Now, we're not about to upend all of physics and throw foundational formulae out the window, but we may start getting a better understanding of some wacky forces that act on muons, which I'm told are a Real Thing and not to be confused with the hit Disney film, Moana. Muons are particles that are kinda like electrons but have a substantially different charge and a tiny lifespan. We can mostly predict how they act in our current model, but measurements from FermiLab may have seen unexplainable behavior, signaling that maaaaaaybe there's something else at play.

I wanna be clear that this is super early in discussion, and the vibe right now is that Science People's interests are piqued. Still, the notion that we might just learn something new that makes us have to rethink physics again is wild.

FTX Guy is Headed to Jail

Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the now disgraced crypto fraud ringleader of the FTX crypto exchange, is heading to jail after a judge revoked his bail for doing some mild witness tampering according to the state.

As a reminder, SBF was running a crypto exchange called FTX which was supposed to be this next generation "safe" crypto platform. Turns out it was based on a shitload of fraud (omg?!) and collapsed spectacularly—with parallels to Enron, but somehow worse.

SBF was arrested a while ago now and has been living under house arrest. Now he's heading to jail because he leaked his ex girlfriend's diary entries to the New York Times. His ex is also heavily involved in the scandal and has already plead guilty.

While the government has filed the motion to stop SBF from having further chances to tamper, some journalists (the Times included) are arguing that this is infringement on free speech.

Hitting Pause on the Sackler Opioid Settlement

The Sackler family is trying to weasel out of being held liable for their role in the opioid epidemic in the United States. If you've not heard the name before, perhaps you've heard of Purdue, the pharma company behind OxyContin. Behind Purdue is the Sackler family, a relatively secretive family of billionaires who have been profiting off of the death of thousands as they pushed to spread Oxycontin despite knowing of its deadly and addictive properties.

The latest attempt to avoid responsibility has been a settlement reached to restructure the business as a public benefit company and allot a payout to help fight the opioid epidemic, but would shield the Sackler family itself from liability. That deal was nearly ready to go through, but the fed stepped in and asked the Supreme Court to hit pause and hear further arguments.

Notably, the class action plaintiffs are not super thrilled with the current deal, and while pausing proceedings will further delay the payout, the possibility of holding these pieces of shit accountable makes it more appealing.

I'm really not gonna pretend to be objective about this one. The Sackler family is a bunch of billionaires whose wealth comes from pushing deadly addiction on people by way of doctors. Preying on those seeking relief by getting them addicted to their drug, all through "legal" channels.

Very much a situation where bringing back tarring and feathering in the public square seems valid.

Can't Be Preserving History, That's a Lawsuit

You may be familiar with the Internet Archive if you've ever used its Wayback Machine to look up a website as it appeared in the past. If not, then here's an excerpt from it's Wikipedia summary:

The Internet Archive is an American digital library founded on May 10, 1996, and chaired by free information advocate Brewster Kahle. It provides free access to collections of digitized materials like websites, software applications, music, audiovisual and print materials.

So that's pretty cool right? An organization trying to preserve media. Seems like a generally good thing. Unless, of course, you are a digital media publisher with an endless supply of money to throw lawsuits at people.

A group of record labels are suing the Internet Archive to the tune of over $400,000,000 due to an ongoing project at the Archive to digitize and preserve original 78rpm vinyl records of old songs from now-passed artists such as Frank Sinatra and Buddy Holly. Their goal is to collect (from donations) these old records, preserve them physically and digitize their sound to best preserve the original experience of listening to them.

Of course, the record labels have their own digitized copies, and are now claiming that the Internet Archive is maliciously and intentionally breaking copyright law with the intent to make music be free to everyone.

THE HORROR. The sheer terror of old-ass music being appreciated as it once was on its original printing for free as a preservation effort (which the labels are calling "a smokescreen").

On This day…

This day in 1901 marks the first claimed powered flight by Gustave Whitehead with his Whitehead No. 21 flying machine. Notably, his claims of powered flight are largely agreed upon by historians to be bogus, and while I could go into that further, I'd instead like to point out a wonderful title to an ongoing conversation about the Wikipedia article itself among Wikipedia editors.

A section of the discussion page about the article is entitled, "This article is a disgrace to Wikipedia" and the wiki editor comes out swinging with:

I am frankly astonished that an article so clearly and unambiguously written in a manner intended to facilitate the dubious claims of those promoting Whitehead's supposed 'flights' has been allowed to stand in the condition it is for so long.

I adore the fervor with which Wikipedia editors approach their work. Rock the hell on, tbh.

Here's the Weather

Extra swirly today. Source: VentuSky

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