In This Issue


Facebook looking at a US$5b fine from the FTC for mishandling personal info

The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post have "sources" saying that Facebook will be fined US$5b by the US Federal Trade Commission for mishandling its user's personal information. Dunno what the actual things Facebook's done that the FTC doesn't like (the FTC hasn't officially commented on these rumours), but it's not like you have to dig very deep to find something fucked at Facebook. Whilst US$5b sounds like a lot of money and it would be the largest fine ever handed out the by FTC, it's spare change for Facebook, who generated over US$15b of revenue last quarter. That'll teach em.

VW invests in Ford’s Argo robocar company & Ford invests in VW’s EV platform

Ford has thrown a pile of money at Volkswagen to use its new MEB platform to develop electric cars (here's a nice article about the MEB platform) and VW has thrown an even bigger pile of money at Argo (who Ford also invest in) to work on robocar stuff. Ford will eventually roll out over 600,000 cars in Europe using the MEB platform over six years, starting in 2023. The US$2.6.b VW threw into Argo is to "develop an SAE Level 4 virtual driver system" that Ford & VW plan to put in cars in 2021. A level 4 system is where the car drives itself without human supervision in certain environments (i.e: robocar in sunny, dry conditions - human driver in the snow).

FBI wants a big fat social media monitoring tool

The FBI has put up a request-for-proposals asking for an "early alerting tool" to look for signs of deviant activity. According to Engadget's reading of the RFP, "the tool would provide the FBI with access to the full social media profiles of persons-of-interest. That could include information like user IDs, emails, IP addresses and telephone numbers. The tool would also allow the FBI to track people based on location, enable persistent keyword monitoring and provide access to personal social media history". I assumed they were already doing this at an industrial scale, my tin foil hat needs adjusting.

Not News

A chat with the woman who led development of the Apollo flight software

The Guardian has an interview with Margaret Hamilton, Director of the MIT lab that developed on-board flight software for the Apollo space program. There's some great anecdotes in it, like her daughter coming into work, smashing a bunch of keys and discovering a bug that according to her bosses "would never happen with real astronauts" - but did happen in Apollo 8. Her bosses were also "worried the men working in the group might rebel" with a woman in charge (they didn't). Barack Obama gave a wonderful speech about Margaret when she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.


So much cheap stuff in Amazon's Prime sale today. Some stuff may be exclusive to Prime members only and some may be sold out by the time you read this. Also don’t forget to use Cashrewards or Shopback (I think Shopback is slightly better for electronics on Amazon) to save even more.

eBay also has a sale on for Plus members (4 month free trial available here):

Other eBay deals:

🎶 Lotus - R.E.M.

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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.​