The Sizzle

Issue 402 - Monday, 29th May 2017


Google reckons it'd cost too much to dig up employee pay history
Google is in a fight with the US Department of Labor (DoL) over allegedly paying women less than men to do the same work. This has been going on since January, but late last week, DoL asked for extra information such as pay records for previous years and contact information of employees to verify those pay records. Google however, are refusing to co-operate because to do so, "it would have to spend up to 500 hours of work and $100,000". As we know, Google suck at collecting data and also are short a buck these days. Google is also trying the excuse that complying would "violate the privacy of employees and fourth amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure". Gotta love those lawyers.

The G7, lead by the UK, wants internet companies to do more against terrorism
Besides Trump being a dickhead at this year's G7 discussions, Britain has taken it upon themselves to raise the issue of the internet being a festering cesspool of Islamic radicalisation and terrorist planning. In a statement given at G7, The UK PM, Theresa May, said that the UK wants companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook to build ways to "automatically identify and remove extremist materials, block the users who post it and report such activity to the authorities". Good luck with that Theresa, they can't even serve me relevant ads, and that's their core reason to exist!

British Airways taken offline for almost a full weekend due to "IT troubles"
Look up the definition of "shit the bed, vernacular: IT" and you'll see a picture of the 2016 Australian Census. But I think in the next edition of the totally fake and made up dictionary that has pictures in it, the British Airways logo will appear. Over the weekend BA had to ground all its flights in and out of Heathrow and Gatwick (so really, their entire fleet) for a solid 24 hours due to what the BA CEO is saying was a "power supply issue" - which smells highly of extreme bullshit. Hopefully BA go into more detail as to what went wrong.

AlphaGo retiring from professional Go playing after thrashing the world's best again
Google's AlphaGo is tired of pwning n00bs and has retired from professional Go competition. After wiping the floor with the world's top Go player, Ke Jie, in a three match series last week, there's really nothing left for it to prove in the field of Go. But AlphaGo won't be joining Deep Blue in the computers that beat humans in board games retirement home. AlphaGo's team will focus on using this big computer brain to "find elusive cures for diseases, conjure up a way to dramatically reduce energy consumption and invent new revolutionary materials".
Discuss got $30m in funding and I don't know why, that site full of petitions that seemingly go nowhere, received $30m in funding from Bill Gates, Sam Altman and Reid Hoffman (aka Mr. LinkedIn). I don't know what needs $20m in funding for, but I did learn that they're a business, who makes $20m in revenue per year by charging companies and non-profits to sponsor petitions. They also do crowdfunding stuff which generates "millions of dollars of revenue".'s CEO wrote in a blog post that the investment will be used to scale up those money making parts of the business. Apparently has a monthly membership thing you can subscribe to that has "exclusive content, to invitations to events, to merchandise" - well there you go. I thought was just ineffective petitions, but it's way more than that.


What the hell is Kim Dotcom on about now?
If you're like me and follow Kim Dotcom on Twitter, you probably noticed he's gone off the rails lately, ranting on and on about some Seth Rich guy and how he was murdered by the Democratic party and that Kim Dotcom 100% totally isn't involved in anything to do with a murder. Also, if like me, you have no idea what the fuck he is on about, The Verge has an explainer. I have now unfollowed Kim Dotcom - who needs that conspiracy theory bullshit in their life? The bloke is unhinged.

Sergey Brin building a 200m long blimp for humanitarian food drops & air yachting
Sergey Brin is really into airships. This guy saw the Hindenburg and thought "I want some of that, but without the explosion". He's apparently dropped over $150m of his own cash on building the world's biggest aircraft (200m long), that'll be used to "deliver supplies and food on humanitarian missions to remote locations" as well as be a "luxurious intercontinental "air yacht" for Brin’s friends and family". The airship is being built at NASA's Moffett Field, utilising the huge aircraft hangars there in return for restoring the joint. After a successful 1/10th scale model trial going well, the full 200m behemoth is under construction as we speak. I reckon Sergey will get Ice Cube to change the lyrics to It Was A Good Day to replace "the Goodyear blimp" with "the Google blimp" - like Microsoft paying the Rolling Stones to use Start Me Up to launch Windows 95.

Google Maps is constantly changing whilst Apple Maps is stagnant
Despite the shit I heap on Google (this issue is full of it), Google Maps is the best fucking thing ever to exist. I use it every day and rely on it to get around. I never want to go back to using a stupid paper map to navigate. Justin O'Beirne has released an update to his fascinating essay on how Google and Apple's maps have evolved over time. The original essay is great reading, highlighting all the details that go into Google's Map and what they decide to label and how the look of the map can have a big impact on how we interpret the data on it. The update compares Apple's mapping efforts to Google's and finds that Apple hasn't really done anything to their maps the past year, despite saying they're doing an "all-new design" of Apple Maps at last year's WWDC. Maybe we'll see big map updates at this year's WWDC in a few days?

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Join us on Slack and chat with other Sizzle subscribers. Know someone who could use a bit of Sizzle in their life? Buy them a gift subscription!