Issue 1261 - Tuesday 1st December, 2020

In Today's Issue

The News

DeepMind develops AI platform to rapidly simulate protein folding, exciting scientists

DeepMind is Alphabet's machine learning division, probably most popularly known for embarrassing humans in the ancient game of Go with software called AlphaGo. They've now come up with AlphaFold, which can "predict how proteins fold into 3D shapes, a fiendishly complex process that is fundamental to understanding the biological machinery of life". I don't know much about folding proteins, but apparently it's a big deal to most biological functions. Figure out how a protein folds and you unlock the secrets of why our bodies do the things they do. Being able to simulate how a protein reacts to various treatments means you can cure heaps of ailments. Scientists quoted in the article never thought they'd see this happen in their lifetimes, but here we are. Arstechnica reckon that "the computational challenge of figuring out a protein's structure has been solved". A peer-reviewed paper on AlphaFold is coming, but in the meantime you can check out their blog post.

WA to get $21m worth of fast EV chargers up and down the massive state & VIC to fine ICEholes

The WA government announced they will spend $21m to create "Australia's longest, and one of the world's longest, electric vehicle charging infrastructure networks - from Perth to Kununurra in the North, Esperance in the South and Kalgoorlie in the East". EV charging stations will also be installed in government buildings and they're setting a 25% EV target for the government's passenger and small commercial vehicle fleet. Good work WA. In Victoria, they're thinking about fining people parked in an EV charging spot that are not plugged in. $99 on the spot fine for being a dickhead. I've been ICE'd (a term for when a petrol car is parked in an EV charging spot, blocking you from using it) a few times and it is infuriating to the point of wanting to slash their tyres, so I really hope the VIC government does this and enforces it heavily as a slight form of redemption for their stupid EV tax.

Apparently Netflix and YouTube are freeloaders on Optus' precious network and Optus wants the government to fix it

Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin had a bit of a whinge during a business outlook briefing yesterday, complaining that a combination of the NBN, MVNOs and OTTs are "stripping profitability out of the sector" and wanting the government to "re-assess our current policy settings" (i.e: make new laws so Optus makes fat stacks). It's fair about the NBN lowering margins, but that is nothing new. Complaining about MVNOs is a bit rich from Optus, considering how many MVNOs use the Optus network, but the biggest insult is bitching and moaning about OTTs (over-the-top services) like Netflix and YouTube that "contribute little if anything to the infrastructure they rely on". She said that the bandwidth reducing measures seen during the COVID peak "meant the sector could act to aid telcos and could be asked to do so on an ongoing basis". Australians already pay gold plated prices for very average internet, now you want to gimp it further? Get absolutely fucked.

Something I Saw On The Internet

Apple one of many companies trying to weaken anti-forced labor laws

The USA is forming a law called the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, with the aim of banning "imported goods made with forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region". I think we can all agree that forced labor is very bad and nobody wants to buy stuff made at gunpoint - it's an uncontroversial view. It's extremely sad to see then, a company like Apple exposed has having used suppliers (O-Film Technology & Foxconn) that had used Uighur workers in a "re-education camp". Apple is also paying lobbyists to try tweak the proposed law so information about their supply chain is kept out of public view. Apple stuff already costs a fortune, you'd think some of those juicy profits would mean they could avoid using goddamned slaves to make their gear.


The End

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