In This Issue


The .org registry has been sold off to a private equity firm

The Internet Commerce Association has asked ICANN ("a nonprofit organization responsible for coordinating the maintenance and procedures of several databases related to the namespaces and numerical spaces of the Internet") to block the sale of the .org registry (Public Interest Registry, aka PIR, run it on behalf of ICANN) to private equity firm Ethos Capital. The .org domain is supposed to be for non-profits, which are generally strapped for cash. Now that a for-profit company owns it, the price cap set on .org domains is likely to be lifted so Ethos can recoup its investment, which in turn increases costs for the non-profits using the .org domains. Pretty shitty to see such an important part of the internet raided by a private equity firm.

US Supreme Court to hear Google’s appeal against decision it copied Oracle’s Java APIs in Android

All the way back in 2010, Oracle sued Google about its use of Java APIs in Android. Oracle lost in 2012, with the court saying what Google did with Java APIs is "fair use". Oracle appealed that decision in 2016 and in 2018 it won, meaning Google did inappropriately use Oracle's Java APIs. Google cracked the shits and appealed it all the way to the Supreme Court. Over the weekend, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal, siding with legal experts that it's still confusing for lower courts about how to decide in cases regarding the copyright status of APIs. Microsoft made a submission to the Supreme Court, saying the ruling against Google "threatens the viability of the interconnected software ecosystem". We should hear what the Supreme Court has to say about it before the end of June 2020.

Wikipedia’s co-founder has started a new social network that costs $12/m to access

WT:Social is a new social media network by Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales. It had a quiet launch back on November 6 and now has over 150,000 users. The key differentiator between WT:Social and others like Facebook or Twitter, there's no ads on WT:Social and users have to pay A$12/m to access it. Jimmy reckons people will pay for "meaningful content", using Netflix and Spotify as examples. The other weird thing about WT:Social is that there's no moderators, with the expectation being that it'll operate like Wikipedia where the community decides what goes, as "all content on the platform can be edited or deleted by other users". For shits and giggles, I paid the $20 for access. The joint feels a bit like an abandoned Reddit mashed with a wiki. Can't see myself spending much time here debating bullshit with randos.

Not News

Study approximates robocar use with chauffeurs and finds that people absolutely love robocars

A PhD candidate at the University of California Berkeley called Mustapha Harb has come up with a novel way to investigate the impacts of self-driving cars on society - give people chauffeurs, tell them they can be driven anywhere they like or even just send the chauffeur out to run errands for them and see what happens. Harb's study found that vehicle miles traveled increased by 50%-80% when people could use a car but didn't have to drive it themselves. It's not a perfect experiment (sample sizes, budget constraints, etc.) but it's a decent approximation of how utterly fucked traffic will be when robocars are a thing. Harb's study also discovered that people got very used to their self-driving car, very quickly. Good luck to any governments regulating robocars after the public uses begins using them.


🎶 Redneck Door - The Meanies

😁 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.​