Issue 675

Monday, 9th July 2018

In This Issue


Elon Musk tries to help Thai kids trapped in a cave

You're probably aware of the terrible plight of those Thai kids stuck in a cave. Elon Musk heard about them too and decided he can leverage the resources at his disposal with SpaceX to build a "a tiny, kid-size submarine using the liquid oxygen transfer tube of Falcon rocket as hull". He's been posting photos & video of this contraption on Twitter all weekend. Here's a diagram of the vessel which Elon said is pretty close to what his team has built. Since he started developing the rescue system some of the trapped kids have left the cave, but Elon is persisting as the system may be used as a plan B in Thailand or perhaps for some other unfortunate trapped souls. I've seen a lot of people be insanely cynical about this, but I'm having a hard time criticising Elon Musk on this occasion. Stick to bashing him about the working conditions in his Tesla sweatshop.

Chinese hackers dominate ANU's network

The Australian National University has been totally owned by Chinese hackers. Like, deep, total ownage, not just a few edge servers, but the hackers have admin rights on the domain controller type ownage. According to an unnamed intelligence official quoted by Nine News, "China probably knows more about the ANU's computer system than it does". ANU couldn't handle the hack on their own the Australian Cyber Security Centre has been involved for months in trying to get rid of the Chinese out of ANU's network - which makes it sound like there's a bunch of termites eating away at the frame of a house and the entire joint needs fumigation. It seems like typical Chinese harvesting of anything they can get their hands on and ANU is a particularly juicy target, with a lot of military and political research.

The three richest people in the world are tech moguls - Bezos, Gates & Zuck

The three richest people in the world have gathered their wealth primarily from technology - the first time ever. Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates have been #1 and #2 for a while now, but as Warren Buffet gives away his wealth to charity, it has allowed for Mark Zuckerberg to move into 3rd spot with his $81.6b of primarily Facebook shares. If anyone ever asks you why keeping an eye on the technology industry is so important, this is it. The three richest people in the world are tech moguls and 7 out of the 10 largest companies by market cap are tech businesses. The amount of power and influence technology businesses and the people that run them have on society has never been greater. It's also why a bunch of douchebags looking to do nothing except get rich have entered the tech industry over the past decade. If you wanna get rich, tech is the way to do it now, not so much finance or real estate like it used to be.

Twitter has deleted 70 million fraudulent accounts since May

Twitter is reportedly banning over 1 million accounts a day as it tries to clean the joint up. More than 70 million accounts have been deleted in May and June alone. According to the article, "some executives initially were reluctant to act aggressively against suspected fake accounts and raised questions about the legality of doing so" and the only reason this happened was because a "frustrated engineer sought to illustrate the severity of the problem by buying thousands of fake followers for a Twitter manager", hahaha. All this new account related activity is lead by the purchase of an AI company called Magic Pony. There's not much detail as to what marks an account as dodgy enough to get deleted, banned or shadow-banned though - which kinda makes sense as if Twitter did release that info it would be used by people to avoid the wrath of Twitter's automated systems.

UK wants to implement its own version of the USA's anti-sex worker FOSTA-SESTA internet law

UK politicians have seen the USA's FOSTA-SESTA laws and bizarrely want the same thing in Britain. The Brits are even using the same talking points as the USA did, saying they need this law to close down websites it thinks are facilitating sex trafficking. If they took a few minutes to read what's really happening now that FOSTA-SESTA is active in the USA, the UK would realise that the law has many unintended consequences for sex workers that are worse than the alleged crime FOSTA-SESTA was trying to solve in the first place (and doesn't even help with anyways). By all means it looks like the UK simply another way to undermine sex workers and their use of the internet to gain independence, rather than protect them. It wouldn't surprise me if Australia follows too.

Not News, But Still Cool

If you're into DIY arcades, Aussie Arcade is the place for you

My fondest memory of uni was hanging out in ratty old arcade down in the Russell Street part of Chinatown. I'd burn so many gold coins at that joint on random games with my mates and even though I was crap at the games, it was heaps of fun. Aussie Arcade is a huge forum for Australians wanting to relive some of the arcade magic that seems to be a dying experience these days. People there share their experiences building their own arcade machines with MAME, refurbishing old ones and chatting about where to get parts and stuff. Add building an upright MAME cabinet to one of those things I'd like to do when I retire.

Just Delete Me lists how to scrub your data from common online services

When you've stopped using an internet service, it would be nice if there was an easy way to delete your account from it. Just Delete Me has a list of common services and how you can go about deleting your account from them if that's something you want to do. There's even a Chrome Extension that puts a little dot in the omnibar and if you click it, will take you to that service's account deletion page. I reckon there should be a law that makes it mandatory for companies to offer a one-click way of deleting your account and purging every scrap of data about you the company owns. That would be nice.

Weird little AA-battery smartphone charger on AliExpress

What's your greatest nightmare? Home invasion by youth gangs? Your pants spontaneously dropping in front of a large audience of VIPs? Maybe it's the prospect of dying alone because you're such an awful person nobody wants to be around you? Nah, it has to be your smartphone running out of battery because the extreme emptiness you feel without its screen glowing in your face is worse than all those other scenarios combined. This little contraption is small enough to keep on you and lets you connect two AA batteries (which are available practically everywhere) and give your smartphone a boost to fend off the crushing sense of loneliness.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Green Day - Basket Case