The Sizzle

Issue 460 - Friday, 18th August 2017


Hopefully next week I don't have to talk about Nazis for a while
Gab, a social network for racists who have been kicked off Twitter, has had their Android app removed from the Google Play Store for an unknown reason. I'd like to think Gab was removed because it's full of racists, but so is Twitter and that isn't going anywhere. Uber is banning the accounts of Nazis. Dunno how they can tell someone is a Nazi, I guess if enough people tell Uber someone is a Nazi they'll delete their account? OK Cupid deleted the account of a mega Nazi so he can't get laid, which is probably the reason he is a Nazi. The Daily Stormer has lost its Russian domain name (after losing its US domain and then DDoS'd off the dark web) and is currently offline. The EFF is not a fan of all these internet companies kicking Nazis off their services, which the EFF sees as a knee-jerk reaction to headlines with no due process. Cloudflare's CEO reckons we need some sort of framework on how to handle the removal of gross content fairly.

Cop mode coming to iOS 11
Lots of buzz going around about "cop mode" being a feature in iOS 11. This feature, which is actually designed to call emergency services if you're totally fucked and can't manage to unlock your iPhone, lets you quickly press the power button on your iPhone fives times in a row to dial 000. A side effect of that quick pressing of the power button is the disablement of Touch ID. That way, if some pig copper decides to smush your fingers on the sensor so they can peek into your iPhone, it won't work - they'll just have to beat a passcode out of you like the good old days. Though this hacker's managed to decrypt the firmware of Apple's secure enclave, so one day the police may be just buy some kit off an Israeli infosec company to dig into your phone without having to bash anyone.

Foxtel and Village succeed in getting more sites blocked
Foxtel and Village Roadshow have managed to convince a judge to make Aussie ISPs block a further 58 websites harbouring highly illegal and extremely profit harming, pirated copies of digital media. Foxtel has another 120 sites it wants blocked in addition to those 58, which the court said it'll look at soon. Going by history, it's pretty likely Foxtel will get those sites blocked too. I'd love to see how effective these blocks are beyond virtue signalling from Foxtel and Village. They're a piece of cake to work around (change your DNS server), are regular people really not getting the sweet pirated TV shows and movies they want because of these blocks or are the winners just a bunch of lawyers paid to file and argue this bullshit with the court?

A third version of Bitcoin coming soon
You know how Bitcoin forked a few weeks ago because a splinter group got fed up with everyone pissfarting about on the issue of Bitcoin transactions taking way too long to validate? Well don't get too comfortable with a two Bitcoin existence, as there's gonna be a third fork of everyone's favourite cryptocurrency. This new variant of Bitcoin is called Segwit2x (catchy) and takes the "oi let's make the blocks bigger" (OG Bitcoin) and "carn, just use segregated witness" (aka Bitcoin Cash) approaches of both camps within the Bitcoin community and merges them into one, hopefully superior Bitcoin that'll rule the world - making everyone rich in the process.

Blacktown getting fancy EV charging wi-fi light poles
Blacktown, a Sydney suburb adjacent to the infamous Rooty Hill, will be installing 10 new light poles with EV chargers in 'em, as well as free wi-fi. These futuristic luminaires will be installed by ENE-HUB, cost $30,000 (via a licensing deal? licensing a light pole? it has a EULA?) and be ready for all those Blacktown residents chomping at the bit to charge their electric cars in six months. There's no real justification for Blacktown installing these chargers except for the mayor's penchant for it and wanting to be the "ice-breaker" for other councils to do the same. It's a bit of a chicken and egg scenario - no chargers, people will be reluctant to get an EV when they eventually go on sale here in Australia at a price people without six figure salaries can afford.


Renewable energy in the US has saved between 3,000 and 12,000 lives
All the hot air around the cost of renewable energy and the subsidies thrown at them being abhorrent to a certain section of society has often made me think, "well fuck, even if the green power costs more, at least we won't have pollution, isn't that worth a few extra dollars?!" - my hunch has been vindicated by a paper in Nature that details how current efforts to move the USA's electricity supply to renewable energy has prevented between 3,000 to 12,000 deaths and saved $30b to $113b in public health expenses. As renewable energy gains more ground, those benefits will only go up as our air gets cleaner and our lungs less full of shit.

Good info from the SEC about ICOs
America's SEC has put out a very useful 101 about Initial Coin Offerings. ICOs are, to me, notoriously shady and basically a pyramid scheme akin to Amway, but there's a new story every day about some people raising tens or hundreds of millions of dollars via an ICO. The SEC's very helpful document outlines what an ICO is and how to avoid getting ripped off. A very, very brief explanation: you give a business money, they give you some cryptocurrency that acts really, like a share in a company. The hope is that the coins go up in value as the business grows and you can flog your coins off to someone else for a profit. The ICO is simply a change to get in on the ground floor. The business itself could be ratshit, so do your homework if you plan on investing, don't get caught up in the hype - of which there is absolutely loads of in this space.

The shitlord industry fuelled by hating a woman simply pointing out things in videogames
I only just got around to reading this astounding story about the abuse Anita Sarkeesian cops for her Tropes vs Women in Video Games documentary vids. This particular tale centres around the trolls that constantly hound and harass Anita, who seem to be part of an industry built around constantly shitting on her. Literally, there are men who make thousands of dollars a month, spinning their bullshit full-time on YouTube, funded by other losers who donate money via Patreon. The only reason they seem to give a shit about Anita is because people are paying them to do it. If Patreon shut these aresholes down, there'd be less money, so they'd have to go get real jobs and even though they'd still probably dislike her due to their broken brains, they'd at least not be spreading their shit as far and wide as they do.

Here endeth the sizzle (until Monday!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Join us on Slack and chat with other Sizzle subscribers. Know someone who could use a bit of Sizzle in their life? Buy them a gift subscription!