Salad Fingers high school reunion, brick your kicks, and disrespecting God’s favorite fungi

It’s been twenty years since the advent of Salad Fingers, and a new episode doesn’t feel the same. It’s not bad or anything. (YouTube) It just got me reflecting on how the different experience of the twenty-years-ago internet changed how it felt to experience Salad Fingers.

Back then, we didn’t have high-speed internet. It still went “wheeee bzzzz badongy dongy dong grrrr” when you got online. If you wanted to watch a Flash video — which Salad Fingers was, back then — you had to be terribly patient. I seem to recall download rates at 5mb/minute, which is boggling nowadays.

Often we’d wait for some mb to download, then watch a few seconds or a minute of the video before it stuck again. That meant having loads of time to ruminate on what strangeness we were seeing. It drew out the experience in an excruciating way. This was also before internet horror took off as it is now (influenced in large part by Salad Fingers!), so the liminal spaces and chaotic Millennial randomness of it was still unfamiliar territory, and you didn’t really know what was going to happen next.

You still don’t know what’s going to happen, but it happens quickly, and you don’t have to devote your attention to it for any length of time. You don’t get immersed in those empty planes and hungry groans.

The episode didn’t do much to me except make me reflective and nostalgic, which is eerie in its way.


Having all our belongings dependent on apps means that we have a lot of real life objects rendered useless because their ephemeral software on our phones is abandoned by companies. You really, really can’t just use a thing you got until it breaks anymore.

Two recent examples from Ars Technica: Amazon’s bricking its weird expensive security robot. And also, those self-lacing Nike sneakers? Bricked.


On NPR, a former astronaut insists that the astronauts stranded by Starliner are not abandoned, which is indeed what I’ve been hearing. More detail somehow makes it sound more suspect. They want to be able to certify Starliner for regular use despite its malfunctions, is what they say. They won’t go home until they’re certified. I don’t really understand why they’re eligible for certification *at all* if it’s to the point that they’re stuck on the ISS for a while because the vessel malfunctioned. It really feels like they’re stuck because they want to make sure it’s safe to bring the astronauts home. But my feelings really don’t mean anything, I guess.


I think we’re all well past The Avengers movie at this point (and MCU at large), but it’s cool to hear that they’ve done a Lakota dub with the original cast. (Reactor Mag) The actors worked with Lakota-speaking coaches to get it right.

Keeping languages alive with popular media is cool no matter how ya slice it. Sixty two Lakota-Dakota speakers got some of that Disney money for the project.


I’ve heard people saying “plants are the new pets, pets are the new kids,” so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that 1/3 of Millennials would take a pay cut to spend more time with their pets. (Quartz) I bet a good chunk of the other 2/3 just can’t afford a pay cut.

As I amble through my thirties, I understand the drive. Our pets are ephemeral, beautiful things. When you’re young, knowing you’ll have a dog for 8-12 years sounds good, but then 8-12 years pass and it was never enough. Cats can live to be 20, but they usually don’t. Who wants to be at work, making capital for other people, when you’ve got something so lovely at home? Plus, our kitty- and doggy-friends are just happier when we’re home, period.

When you understand pets are family, it really doesn’t sound weird to say that people want more time with their families.


Record-breaking heat in the United States is taking lives. Four folks in Oregon have died (The Guardian) and a motorcyclist died in Death Valley (also the Guardian). These two articles popped out at me, but I doubt these are the only losses we’re experiencing from the heat.

It’s sad news. I’ve been thinking a lot about how climate change news has changed a lot over the last couple decades, and how they used to make it sound like we’d just hit a wall and the planet would turn into cinder or whatever. Nowadays it’s like, “Yep, the climate is more extreme, and we’re in the process of watching it take lives.”


Someone died, and many more have been sickened, after eating magic mushroom candy bars. (Ars Technica) The mushrooms themselves are about as safe as any. But it was earlier this year that people got extremely sick (with two deaths) from eating another safe mushroom, morels. To quote myself:

Some of the symptoms sound like what happens when you just eat raw mushrooms. The chitin isn’t digestible by humans. Simply eating raw mushies in volume can cause diarrhea and vomiting like that. But that doesn’t sound like the only factor at hand here. They’re having a hard time figuring out exactly what happened.

Obviously psilocybin and morels aren’t the same thing, but I’m struck by the way that we’re eating these things en masse and the consequences that follow. I feel like humans aren’t taking fungus as seriously as we should? I don’t know the doses involved, but generally speaking, neither of these mushrooms are meant to be bountiful all year round and easily consumed whenever you want. Hallucinogenic mushrooms aren’t candy. Morels are seasonal. I don’t think anyone can safely eat loads of uncooked mushrooms, and even cooked mushrooms should mostly be a small-quantity thing, no matter how delicious.

Consuming with respect won’t necessarily spare you unpleasant side effects, but…you really gotta consume with respect. I feel like that’s missing from the dialogue here.


Tom Cruise and Doug Liman still discuss making an Edge of Tomorrow sequel. (Variety) It’s a really good movie. I don’t feel a need for a sequel, personally, but I’d absolutely watch the heck out of it. For all his faults and horribleness, Cruise has good taste in sci-fi projects.


Ozempic et al have been previously linked to severe gastric problems. It has also recently been linked to sudden blindness. (Quartz) The condition is nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION).

The study’s researchers analyzed medical recorders over the past six years from over 16,000 patients in the Boston area.

Of those patients, 710 where diagnosed with type 2 diabetes with 194 being prescribed semaglutide. Of the patients in this cohort that were given semaglutide 17 ended up developing NAION. For comparison, there were only six cases of NAION among the patients who were not prescribed semaglutide. This translated to a slightly over 4% higher risk of diabetic patients taking semaglutide developing NAION.

The risk was even higher for obese patients. In separate cohort of 979 patients with obesity, 361 were prescribed semaglutide. There were 20 patients in this cohort that were given semaglutide and developed NAION. And only 3 patients who were not prescribed semaglutide developed NAION. This indicated a 7.6% higher risk for semaglutide patients.

They haven’t determined causality yet.

This magic drug has spread quickly. They’re projecting that 9% of the population may be taking it by 2035. (Quartz) I worry about how it’s going to impact a population that is taking it so much. Democrats want prices cut so more people can have it. (Quartz) Novo Nordisk is investing $4bn into meeting American demand. (The Guardian) It’s not going anywhere, but are we really sure it’s safe?

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