The Sizzle

Issue 68 - Wednesday, 20th Janurary 2016 - You Know? My Long Blonde Locks


Apple, Sony, Samsung and others are using cobalt mined by kids in shitty conditions from the Congo
Cobalt is used in the manufacture of the lithium battery packs practically all our gadgets use. Unfortunately it has been revealed by an Amnesty International investigation that most of this cobalt comes from mines in the Congo where they use kids to do filthy backbreaking work, beaten by security guards and both children and adult workers are subject to appalling conditions. Samsung and Sony have said they didn't know where the cobalt in their product comes from. Apple said they're working towards 100% verification.

Apple still lacks diversity within its management ranks
An EEO-1 report is something big companies in America have to do in order to demonstrate how badly they are at hiring people outside their own image. Apple filed theirs recently and pretty much nothing has changed since their 2014 report - 1% increase in women, 0.6% increase in black people and .2% increase in Latinos. Meanwhile, a shareholder proposal to adopt an "accelerated recruitment policy" within Apple was denounced by Apple's board.

YouTube is back on in Pakistan
Pakistanis rejoice! YouTube is back for you and your compatriots. After a three year absence which began due to that awful "Innocence of Muslims" video, Google and the Pakistan government have come to an agreement where Google will consider requests to remove content at the request of the Pakistani government and give Pakistan its own YouTube homepage with content tailored for Pakistani tastes.

GM snaps up Sidecar, a failed Uber competitor
General Motors seems pretty aware that the future of transportation probably isn't everyone buying their own car and driving it sparingly. To hedge their bets, GM invested $500m in Lyft a few weeks ago and today announced they've purchased Sidecar and the co-founder/CEO of Sidecar will join GM. Who knows if all this investment in ridesharing companies will pay off, but at least GM has some awareness of the situation.

Microsoft giving away US$1b of cloud services to non-profits and researchers
Satya Nadella will stand up at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week and proudly proclaim that his Microsoft is gonna give away free Azure access to a bunch of non-profits and researchers over the next three years, worth around US$1b. He will feel good, the room will feel good and the researcher and non-profits might use it to do stuff they otherwise would have had to pay for. Cool.


Australian Tesla Club meetup and I wasn't there as I don't own a Tesla
Mashable did a little writeup with a bunch of photos of a Tesla Australia WhatsApp group drive from Sydney to Melbourne. There's nothing really that interesting in this story other than the fact I want a Tesla and this is the sort of thing I would do if I had a Tesla and I am incredibly jealous of the people who own a Tesla even though it's just a physical object and my desire for one is rooted in marketing and materialistic consumption, not need or rationality.

That Dragon, Cancer - the videogame equivalent of chopping onions
My wife likes to play video games and particularly games with a good story and characters, unlike me who likes video games with as much violence and gore as possible. If you're like my wife and want a game that'll make you feel something besides bloodlust, maybe check out That Dragon, Cancer. It's more of a story than a game really and is about a family who's little kid gets cancer. It's apparently a tear jerker, so prepare yourself before diving in.

Google paying US congressmen and senators to lobby the EU to Google alone
This is a bit of old news, but Google is pulling out all the stops to reduce the impacts of an EU investigation into Google's monopoly over online search. Google has been giving out large donations to Republican and Democratic congressmen and senators in order to lobby on Google's behalf and have the US government lean on the EU to ease up on Google. If you've ever thought that tech companies are different, or good guys, compared to more industrial age companies, this Guardian investigation shows that big multi-national companies act the same, regardless of their industry.

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Like The Sizzle? Tell your friends!