Issue 1297 - Thursday 4th February, 2021

In Today's Issue

The News

Greens want government to make an Aussie search engine

The Greens have many solid policies but their latest brainfart "for the government to investigate setting up a publicly owned search engine that could be the gateway to the internet for Australians", is not one of them. Microsoft and Google are slices in a shit sandwich Australia has to eat because there's no real alternatives, but, like, have you seen the DTA's track record lately? MyGov, My Health Record and COVIDSafe all stink. We don't have the institutional fortitude to make something half-way worthwhile. Maybe regulate search engines properly, so there's a fair playing field and maybe (a strong maybe), an Australian startup might create something good. Meanwhile, the PM met with Google's CEO to discuss the media bargaining code. Dunno what was said, but there was a meeting.

Like the rest of us, IBM is bored of blockchain

As soon as the financial shit hit IBM's fan due to COVID, the first thing they cut was their blockchain team. According to sources at Coindesk, there's only 4 people working on IBM's various blockchain initiatives, apparently a cut of 90%, totally gutted. Anyone involved with anything remotely adjacent to enterprise IT probably saw IBM's hype machine talk up blockchain technologies over the years as the next big thing and how it would revolutionise business by tracking almonds across the ocean and verify they're not fake almonds or some nonsense like that. IBM has since decided that hybrid cloud is the latest fad, leveraging their purchase of Red Hat last year to convince companies to hand over money to mix cloud and on-premises services - also known as common sense.

SpaceX's 9th Starship prototype explodes on landing

SpaceX has had another Starship (one of the potential crafts that'll take Americans to the moon as part of the Artemis program) prototype explode unexpectedly at its Boca Chica launchpad. SN9 was supposed to go up 7.7 miles into the sky, then turn off its engines and free-fall back to Earth, then fire up the engines again to do ao "belly flop" maneuver that'll have it landing vertically. Instead it got to about 6 miles up, turned the engines off and slammed into the ground at a 45-degree angle. Here's the 13 min video of it launching then going kaboom. Rockets blow up all the time, particularly at the early stage this big bastard Starip is at right now. According to SpaceX engineer John Insprucker, "we've just got to work on that landing a little bit".

Something I Saw On The Internet

Poland's IoC - an internet of clams?

I did not expect to read a story about clams hooked up to computers that monitor water quality in Poland today, but I did and I liked it. Instead of fancy sensors and chemical analysis, the city of Warsaw, along with 50 other Polish waterworks, have clams in their water supply tanks and "attach a coil and a magnet to their shells. Computers register whether their shells are open or closed by detecting changes in the magnetic field". The clams are super sensitive to changes in water quality that can be harmful, so they're an excellent early warning system for "the case of a terrorist attack, an ecological disaster or another contamination of the water supply". The photo in the article is kinda creepy, I wonder if the clams are sentient enough to know the Polish turned them into slaves?


The End

📻 The Diamond Sea - Sonic Youth

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