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Mysterious Corollary - 5123
Well, here it goes.
Welcome to the first actual newsletter. You’ve heard about how I believe the Internet is too big to grasp, and now you are expecting me to deliver on the promise to bring the good stuff.
Lucky for both of us, I’ve got it. Let’s jump in.
The Daily Rabbit Hole: Surplus Killing
“In mainland Australia, a single fox once killed around 74 penguins over several days, eating almost nothing.”
If you have ever wondered, “does the amount of ketchup I consume correlate with how many episodes of the Kardashians I have watched?” or “do SAT scores go up or down after an above average tornado season?” then I’ve got the place for you: Spurious Correlations. While I am sorry that those two particular data sets aren’t included here, what I can say from experience is that the correlations listed on the site are a fantastic counter when you get caught in a conversation where someone is trying to say correlation = causation.
That correlation leads one to believe there is a causal relationship is a trap we’ve all been caught in at one point or another. The most rational among us will immediately lose the faculties of their mind the second they realize their favorite sports team has won BOTH times they have worn that one hat while watching their team play.
We are all degenerates.
The ‘Wait, What?’ Vortex: South Pole Discovery
“Robert Falcon Scott and his party, achieved a different kind of fame: they arrived on January 17, 1912 to find they were second in the race to fame, and they perished on their way back north.”
I just love a good, “and then they died. Moving on …” as if I’m not going to go explore that further. You definitely aren’t either, right?
Is it a mystery?
There was a moment several months back, in a fit of trying to knock off into dream land for another big day of work, that I stumbled across a reddit post that kept me up for at least a couple of extra hours. I can’t recall the title of the post verbatim, but I believe it was in the “Today I Learned” subreddit. To paraphrase: TIL We don’t know how eels reproduce.
Suddenly, I had a choice to make.
A) Ignore and find some other boring thread that would induce sleep, or
B) prove that this was wrong.
There is no way we don’t know how an animal that is alive on earth reproduces in 2023.
It turns out, we really don’t. We have some highly educated guesses, but we’ve never actually observed it - and that’s the key. Since we can’t observe it, we can’t confirm it, and therefore we just don’t know. It’s as much of a mystery as how on earth I’m about to connect the dots on all four of the topics that have been mentioned so far.
The endlessly fascinating takeaway from Surplus Killing, Spurious Correlations, a missing exploration crew, and how eels reproduce is simply this: The Internet is Vast, but it is also finite. It contains an overwhelming amount of knowledge, and yet we still don’t have all of the answers.
Mystery, intrigue, and the unknown move the plot in any story - or correlation chart. Which is why we’re better off acknowledging our time here as a blip amongst the universe. We’re the story and we’re moving the tension forward, but human capacity isn’t built for the infinite. And that’s a-okay.
BUT SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND THE EEL THING.
While this triumphant first newsletter is as much about setting your expectations for the format, as it is to bring you the content you willfully signed up for, I hope you enjoyed it. However, by reading you have actually unwittingly agreed to share this with a friend who might find this interesting. Sorry, I don’t make the rules. The Internet does.