In This Issue


Covers come off Libra, Facebook’s cryptocurrency

Facebook has officially announced Libra, which as Zuck explains has a "mission is to create a simple global financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people around the world. It's powered by blockchain technology and the plan is to launch it in 2020". The white paper for Libra is out if reading white papers is your thing. It smells a lot to me like emulating the extremely popular WeChat payment experience in China or Apple Pay Cash (which we don't have in Australia) but with blockchain magic dust blown in to make Libra appear sexier than it really is.

Urgent update for Firefox to avoid a JavaScript exploit getting used in the wild

Mozilla has issued an urgent update for Firefox to fix "a type confusion vulnerability can occur when manipulating JavaScript objects due to issues in Array.pop. This can allow for an exploitable crash. We are aware of targeted attacks in the wild abusing this flaw". Apparently it's being used to steal cryptocurrency, so yeah, if it's been a few days since you've restarted Firefox (I think I've had Firefox open for a week), restart it and check you're running 67.0.3.

Ireland wants to ban sales of ICE cars by 2030

Ireland has joined a growing list of countries contemplating the banning the sale of internal combustion engine cars in the near future. As part of their Climate Action Plan, Ireland wants to end the sale of ICE cars by 2030 and stop issuing National Car Test certificates (regular roadworthies for cars older than 4 years) for ICE cars in 2045. Shit thing is that Ireland's electricity generation is worse than Australia's, so without a subsequent increase in low CO2 electricity generation trying to reduce CO2 from transport with EVs is gonna be a waste of time.

PowerPoint to get AI to detect if you suck at giving presentations

Microsoft's adding a feature to PowerPoint called "Presenter Coach" that will use artificial intelligence to tell if you suck at giving a presentation. It can be turned on during "rehearsal mode" in PowerPoint and listens to you giving your presentation and give advice, e.g: "If you swear during a presentation it will suggest that you don’t use profanity, and it will even highlight culturally insensitive phrases or alert you if you're just lazily reading off the slides. PowerPoint will then generate a report with metrics about how well you’ve done in your rehearsal."

Government to review how it should regulate drone noise levels

I don't know if you've ever had the pleasure of hanging around a drone that can carry a ~1kg payload but goddamn they're noisy bastards with really annoying high pitched buzzing, so I'm glad that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Department of Infrastructure are going to do a formal review of drone noise levels. The review will "examine state and territory regulations that commonly cover noise from equipment operating in urban environments" and "look at developments overseas and industry innovation to reduce noise impacts through better drone design and operations including varying flight path".

Not News, But Still Cool

Check your CD-Rs, they’re probably rotting away

Have you got data sitting on CD-Rs you burned a decade ago, that you'd be upset if it went away? Go check those discs now and move the data elsewhere! Many of those CD-Rs are experiencing literal data rot, as the chemical layers inside the disc dissolve. What prompted me to issue this reminder is the story of an emergency worker who was present at "Ground Zero" of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, who took thousands of photos documenting the rescue and cleanup and kept them on CD-Rs. Those CD-Rs are now rotting away and many photos of this important piece of world history are now unable to be viewed.

A chart of all the spacecraft exploring the galaxy

The Planetary Society has a neat chart of all the pieces of metal and silicon humanity has thrown up into space as of July 2019. There's not much more to it than that really. Go look at the chart and gaze upon the scientific wonders our evolved monkey brains and opposable thumbs have developed. There's just 4 outside the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Voyager 1 & 2 (fucken legends), New Horizons (the first craft to explore Pluto) and Juno (studying Jupiter).

Cheap Apple Watch, iPad Mini, iPhone XR, Ring 2 video doorbell, Optus & Aldi mobile plans, Logitech MX Master 2S mouse, LG 42.5” 4K monitor, Google Home Mini

🎶 Beastie Boys - An Open Letter to NYC

😁 The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Join us on Slack and chat with other Sizzle subscribers.

The Sizzle is created on Wathaurong land and acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, recognising their continuing connection to land, water and community. I pay my respect to them and their cultures and to elders both past and present.​