Many of you are probably familiar with Patreon, the site where you can give YouTubers, artists, podcasters, streamers or whatever a few bucks a month to sustain their work. They've rejigged the fees are taken out of a donators payment and the users of Patreon are not happy. Despite Patreon spinning it as a positive for creators on the platform, most creators are realising that smaller payments, i.e: the bulk of their payments, will be decreased as the fees hit those smaller payments the hardest. It's all pretty messy - I don't know why they simply don't just keep a flat 5% or 10% of each donation or whatever and absorb the payment fees as part of doing business.
Remember how Google's AlphaGo totally owned everyone in the game of Go over the course of a a few months? AlphaZero, based on the same DeepMind AI as AlphaGo, has now done the same in chess, but with a twist. It was simply told the rules of chess and a few hours later, thrashed the best chess playing software available that took years to develop. If you're after a more detailed explanation of what's going on here, this post on the chess section of StackExchange is a good read.
The 2017 Game Awards, an awards ceremony that has the bosses of all the big game companies (Activision, Nintendo, Microsoft, Valve, Ubisoft, Rockstar, Sony, etc.) judging the best things in the industry, just concluded over in the USA. The winner of best game was Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Here's a list of all the award winning games. Also announced at the awards was that Campo Santo, the creators of the wonderful Firewatch, have a new game coming in 2019 called In the Valley of Gods and a trailer for Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro's upcoming game, Death Standing. The Verge has a list of all the new game announcements.
Optus has decided to market its NBN plans based on real world expected speeds, in line with the recommendations the ACCC put out to stop customers whinging when their 100mbit connection only gets 70mbit. MyRepublic reckons NBN's new CVC pricing reduction will result in the 50mbit speed tier becoming more popular as it will become cheaper to offer. AussieBroadband plans to release full stats on the amount of CVC they purchase for each POI around Australia - full transparency is great.
Japan is keen to get more people operating startups on its soil, so to help with that, their notoriously strict immigration system is opening up a little. Foreigners will be allowed to live and work in Japan for 12-months if they submit a business plan that shows they're going to open an office in the country and can secure funding to grow their business. Right now there's a similar visa, but it's only for 6-months and only 30 visas were issued over the 2-years its been available, probably because 6-months just isn't long enough to get anything going. I don't know if 12-months is enough time either to be honest.
On one side of Bitcoin, you've got Coinbase - an exchange based in San Francisco that is going gangbusters, surpassing companies like E-Trade in the number of customers and becoming the top downloaded iOS app in the US. Selling shovels in a gold rush is never a bad idea and everyone likes making money. On the other, you've got Bitcoin's dirty little secret - it munches through electricity like no tomorrow. Currently the Bitcoin mining network consumes ~32TWh, which is apparently around the same as what all of Serbia uses to power their homes and industry. Arstechnica argues it's not that bad in the long term (but still not good) and Grist and New Republic argues that all the extra demand for electricity thanks to Bitcoin is generated predominately by mainly fossil fuels and that is an environmental disaster.
Evan Beaver has put up a coherent blog post about the issue of baseload electricity. The main argument against rewnewable energy is that you need a constant supply of electricity, aka baseload. The sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't always blow, so coal, nuclear and gas plants are required to pick up the slack. Problem is, these big turbines are not easy to spin up and spin down on demand, so as more renewables come online, the times when renewables do work (i.e: sunlight hours), that gas/coal/nuclear turbine generated power becomes super expensive as the market price for electricity plummets but the cost to generate it from the "legacy" power plants stays the same. The blog post is a great read and worth it if you're mildly interested in this topic.
Season 4 of Black Mirror is coming very soon! Netflix announced it'll go live on December 29th. Perfect to binge watch during that Christmas to New Year's break, even more so if it's a stinking hot week and you've *gasp* never seen Black Mirror before. Here's a link to all the trailers Netflix has put out for the new season - there's one for each episode. I reckon the one I'm looking forward to seeing most is Hang the DJ or maybe Arkangel. I'm looking forward to watching new messed up stories from the brain of Charlie Brooker more than I'm looking forward to Christmas Day.
That's it, see ya tomorrow!