The Sizzle - Issue 884

Friday 24th May, 2019

In This Issue

  • US DoJ piles on 17 additional charges against Julian Assange

  • Boring Company to build tunnels under the Las Vegas Convention Center

  • SpaceX successfully put 60 Starlink satellites into orbit

  • ACCC accuses Kogan of price jacking, again

  • Some Snapchat employees like to snoop on user data

  • Guess what the oldest registered domain name is, go on, guess

  • YouTuber voice is a thing

  • Cheap Telstra 60GB/m plans, Pixel 3a, Anker cables & chargers, 200-games-in-1 console, 2014 Mac Mini


News

US DoJ piles on 17 additional charges against Julian Assange

The US Department of Justice has slapped 17 additional charges against Julian Assange. It appears that not only is the US salty about Assange and Manning teaming up to leak the diplomatic cables, but they're making a point that he was seeking this stuff out. It wasn't as if one day someone came to him with this info and he just happened to leak it, but Assange had a "Most Wanted Leaks" list and solicited US military secrets. That really pissed the US government off. You can read the full indictment here if you're keen.

Boring Company to build tunnels under the Las Vegas Convention Center

Elon Musk’s Boring Company managed to suck almost US$50m out of the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority to build a new transport loop as part of larger renovations of the Las Vegas Convention Center. There will be two tunnels and three stations to move people around the 200 acre area in an assortment of Tesla Model 3 and Model X vehicles, with some high occupancy rolling stock based on a modified Model X to hold up to 16 people. What is a 15 minute walk is now a 1 minute trip. The Boring Company website has more detail on this potential boondoggle.

SpaceX successfully put 60 Starlink satellites into orbit

In less boondoggle-ish Elon Musk related endeavours, SpaceX successfully launched 60 of its Starlink satellites today, after 2 weeks of weather related delays. Musk said "this was one of the hardest engineering projects I’ve ever seen done, and it’s been executed really well" - if you go to around 1:21:30 in this video, you can see the cluster of satellites designed to blanket the globe in internet access let loose and slowly "fan out like a deck of cards into outer space". Pretty cool shit. Of all the things going on in tech these days, this kinda thing excites me.

ACCC accuses Kogan of price jacking, again

Kogan has been taken to court by the ACCC for price jacking. The ACCC is alleging that Kogan raised the prices of around 600 items by 10% a few days before a 10% off sale in late June last year. Kogan has been in trouble for this kinda thing in the past, but reckons this time the ACCC are ignoring "critical facts" (but don't say what those facts are). Price jacking before a sale happens all the time on eBay, so I really hope the ACCC win this case and eBay and their sellers reconsider this stupid and annoying tactic.

Some Snapchat employees like to snoop on user data

Motherboard talked to some former Snapchat employees that allege people working there sometimes go poking into private user data when they're not supposed to. They've got a tool called SnapLion that was primarily designed to assist law enforcement, but some employees couldn't help themselves and used it to go looking up the saved snaps and other metadata related to Snapchat users. No details on what info was access, when, or how often - just it happened "a few times" some time in the past. Cool, thanks for the info.

Not News, But Still Cool

Guess what the oldest registered domain name is, go on, guess

Ever laid awake at night wondering what the oldest registered .com domain is? Wonder no more thanks to Frederic Cambus and his whois querying shell script - it's symbolics.com, registered on the 15th of March, 1985. All it has on it today is a piece of text saying "World's first and oldest registered .com domain name on the Internet". Boring. The 2nd oldest, bbn.com redirects to the murderous thugs Raytheon and the 3rd oldest, think.com resolves to an IP, but no webpage loads. I hope you can now sleep easier knowing this vital piece of information.

YouTuber voice is a thing

According to Naomi Baron, a professor of linguistics at American University who studies electronically mediated communication (I couldn't think of a more perfect person to assess this phenomenon), YouTubers tend to use a lot of "overstressed vowels, sneaky extra vowels between consonants, long vowels, long consonants and many aspirations" which are ways of trying to grab a listener's attention but stand out on YouTube because it's used so often there but not in day to day communication. So yeah, it's not just me noticing this weird YouTuber voice, it's a thing!

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😁 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.​