In This Issue


Silicon Valley bigwigs recorded ranting about how unfair journalists are to them

There's this app called Clubhouse and it's pretty much a giant conference call with randos. It's invite only at the moment, yet received US$12m of investment and is valued at US$100m. Clubhouse is popular with wanker startup types and they got busted using it to rant about how journalists aren't nice to them, write too many negative stories about their companies, that it should be easier to sue them, that all newsrooms are motivated by clicks and journalists are trying to get rich by tearing things down. That then turned into harassing journalist Taylor Lorenz (who in my opinion does an excellent job) for perceived attacks on their crappy businesses. Fascinating little insight into the sad clique of Silicon Valley venture capitalists.

EncroChat secure phone service for criminals backdoors by cops, 746 people arrested

European cops managed to bust into EncroChat, "a company that sold encrypted Android smartphones with messaging software that officials say was predominantly used for coordinating organized crime operations" and as a result were able to arrested 746 crims using it to collaborate on crimes like assassinations, gun running and drug trafficking. EncroChat charged US$1,700 every 6 months for access to their service, which was basically a second "secure" partition on a normal Android phone. UK, French and Dutch police managed to place a "technical device" on EncroChat's French servers, giving them the ability to watch all the messages flowing between the criminals for months. They should have just used Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger, according to Five Eyes that shit is impenetrable!

Another year, another record amount of e-waste dumped and burned

Congratulations everyone, 2019 was a record year for the amount of worldwide e-waste according to the latest Global E-waste Monitor report! In a single year over 53 million metric tons of electronics crap was thrown away, with only 17% recycled/accounted for. Every year since 2014 the rate of e-waste has been going up, most of it ending up in landfill or incinerated where it adds toxic chemicals to the air or leeches into water supplies. That really sucks as a decent chunk of e-waste can be refurbished and sent to middle/low income countries for use there, or at least have the precious metals sucked out and used again in new products. According to the report there's about US$10b of raw materials salvageable from stuff that's otherwise thrown out.

Not News

Choo choo trains from the 19th century are to thank for locations of US data centers in the 21st

Unless you're an extreme geography nerd, you probably didn't notice that there's massive Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, NSA and research lab data centres sprinkled in US cities like Des Moines, Omaha, Salt Lake City and Cheyenne that run along the 41st parallel. They're there because of the huge amounts of fibre optic cable running east to west, but why is there so much fibre optic cable along the 41st parallel? A law from 1862 set out that whoever owns train tracks also owns the land 200-ft around the tracks and in 1869 the 3,000km transcontinental railroad going from Iowa to California was built,mostly following the 41st parallel. It just so happens that the railroad is owned by a single entity - Union Pacific - making it easy for telcos to install fibre cable along the same route as the train line instead of hundreds of different property owners. Who knew that the driver of wealth in the 19th century would dictate the locations of the USA's 21st century drivers of wealth?


🎶 Days Before You Came - Placebo

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