Issue 569

Monday, 5th Feburary 2018

In This Issue


Tesla & SA govt to create virtual power plant via 50,000 homes fitted with solar & batteries

On Sunday arvo, SA's premier came out and said Tesla is going to build a 250MW "virtual power plant" in his state. This virtual power plant is 50,000 homes, covered in 5kw of solar panels and with a Tesla Powerwall 2 battery. The first 1,100 homes to get this will be public housing, that will get the setup installed for free, then another 24,000 housos will get it once that first trial is complete. The rest of the 50,000 will be private homeowners given grants and subsidies to install the panels and batteries across SA. By having all these batteries installed and hooked up to the grid, any excess wind/solar can be fed into them, then sucked out into the grid when there's not enough. Tesla & the government reckon the 50,000 homes will be hooked up by 2022.

Rats bombarded with electromagnetic radiation were (mostly) fine, so keep using your iPhone

A new government funded study absolutely roasted some rats in electromagnetic radiation at a much higher concentration than humans get using mobile phones or wi-fi and saw that "male rats showed a small increase in a kind of heart tumor". It's ok though, the FCC and FDA (and I'm sure ACMA too) are both very confident that the current limits on mobile phone radiation are safe for humans and still don't have evidence that mobile phones cause cancer. Even the rats, that were subjected to intense electromagnetic radiation, only showed a small increase and the cancer rats actually lived longer than the other rats, even with the cancer. At least, that's what the Illuminati want you to believe...

Hoyts is gonna turn part of their cinemas in esports arenas

Hoyts is looking to get in on the esports (I still don't know if it's eSports, e-Sports, e-sports or esports) action, partnering up with Gfinity Esports to build a chain of "broadcast-ready esports arenas within existing Hoyts theatre locations". The first one will open in Q2 of 2018 in the Hoyts Entertainment Quarter in Sydney's Moore Park and will be where the inaugural Gfinity Elite Series competition will take place. Seems like a smart move for Hoyts - even though more people are visiting the cinema than ever before (it's not a dying market), it's a great way to hedge your bets if esports ends up as the new thing a generation does instead of going to the movies. (cheers to Raj at Reckoner for bringing this to my attention)

GM tells investors it'll sell robo-taxis in 2019

General Motors has told its investors (so it's on the record and they'll be held accountable if they fail), that they plan to launch commercial self-driving cars aimed at fleet/taxi use in 2019. That's next year, if you aren't paying attention. GM's investor document states that they see the future of their business as selling electric cars that drive themselves and aim to be a leader in that field due to their ability to get the price of expensive sensors (LIDAR) down faster than anyone else. GM reckons the "robo-taxi" business is "potentially bigger than our current core business, with better margins" - huge call for what is the 3rd largest car manufacturer in the world.

Banks ban buying crypto on credit while BTC tanks & India cracks down

A bunch of banks have banned people buying cryptocurrencies with their credit cards. J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup in the USA, along with the entire Lloyds group in the UK have decided it's far too risky for their customers to use someone else's money to buy crypto and are just straight up banning it. I would love to know what happened for this to be an issue. Careless people thinking they'll become rich, now can't afford to pay back their unsecured loans and have left the banks holding the bag for the debt? Awesome. Meanwhile, India is going to "get tough" on cryptocurrencies. Soon. One day. Maybe. And the price of Bitcoin has been in free-fall for over a week now.

Not News, But Still Cool

Cheap Bose QC35s, rechargeable AA batteries, free Xbox game pass & mobile phone plans

It's been a while since some bargains popped up, but here's some I think are half decent. Bose QC35 II noise canceling headphones for $371.20 (use the code PARCEL). If you're near IKEA, grab a couple of their LADDA rechargeable batteries (4x AA for $8), that are high quality & on sale for Family members. Xbox fans might like to know that if you sign up for Microsoft Rewards, you get 1 month of Xbox Game pass for free. Jeenee Mobile has what I think is the cheapest low data mobile plans around, when signing up via WhistleOut. 12 months for 1.2GB (12m contract) or 1GB (no contract) of data & unlimited calls/SMS for $8.91 is pretty damn low.

Dude from that King of Kong doco has been stripped of his record

I'm sure many of you have watched the documentary King of Kong, about the quest by a few dorks to get the highest score in Nintendo's Donkey Kong arcade machine. It centered around Billy Mitchell, who can only be described as a wanker that manages to get a high score so high, nobody can beat it. Old mate has had his record stripped on the weekend, over a decade later, as it was proven that he stitched together video from a mish-mash of attempts into a single video and tried to pass it off as a single world-record attempt. Suffer in yer jocks Billy.

Farmers are installing hacked firmware on tractors so they can do DIY repairs

This 10 min doco from Motherboard/Vice explains how farmers are "hacking" their tractors and farm equipment due to John Deere's restrictive DRM. The DRM on the machinery's software prevents you from accessing basic diagnostics, which also prevents you from doing your own basic repairs. Minor issues require hauling this gear off to John Deere and paying their exorbitant rates just to know what's wrong with the machine, let alone repair it. Oh, and the parts have DRM too, so you can't add new parts without John Deere's permission (if they even still "support" the machinery). Now the farmers are using "patched" versions of the software that remove the restrictions. Good on em.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!