My week of Monday 4 to Sunday 10 September 2023 seems to have heralded my emergence from a winter flatness. Even though it’s been sunny and warmer that average, I’ve been tired and unmotivated. That seems to be changing. And here’s what the week held.
- Digital developments from Canberra 52. There’s more from the eSafety Commissioner this week. Also, a draft of our science and research priorities, cardboard drones, Big Things stamps and coins, and a cryptocurrency bill that looks set to be dumped.
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- 010 More Magpie Army. My local clan of Australian magpies (Gymnorhina tibicen) has been visiting me most mornings for the past few weeks. People owned by cats have been requesting more videos for their feline amusement value, so here’s Friday morning’s feeding session.
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- On Thursday I did ABC RN Drive’s “Big Tech” spot, Big Tech: Your car could be spying on you. We spoke about the EU’s new Digital Markets Act, EU unveils ‘revolutionary’ laws to curb big tech firms’ power, and Mozilla’s report, It’s Official: Cars Are the Worst Product Category We Have Ever Reviewed for Privacy.
Podcasts, Photos, Corporate Largesse
None of these.
A new biography of Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson will be released on Tuesday, and the publishers have made sure there’s plenty of snippets appearing in the news mastheads.
- Elon Musk ordered Starlink to be turned off during Ukraine offensive, book says. As the Guardian writes, “Biography alleges Musk told engineers to turn off communications network to hobble Ukraine drone attack on Russian warships.” Now a Ukrainian official says Elon Musk ‘committed evil’ with Starlink order. Meanwhile the biographer has moved to clarify some details.
- Grimes and Elon Musk Have a Third Child, New Biography Reveals, and they’re named Techno Mechanicus.
- Here’s more from the book in the New York Times.
- Musk is blaming The Jews™ for destroying his social network’s value, and he’s doubling down on the claim. Rolling Stone has one of the better summaries, Elon Musk Blames Anti-Defamation League for Destroying Website He Ruined Himself. “The billionaire spent the holiday weekend stepping up his rhetoric against the Jewish organization, to the delight of antisemites.”
- Elon Musk’s X sues California over new social media transparency laws.
- Elon Musk borrowed $1 billion from SpaceX in same month of Twitter deal, Wall Street Journal reports.
- “Elon Musk is a ‘jerk’ but was a ‘talent magnet’ for OpenAI early on, admits Sam Altman — who now faces direct competition from him.”
- Bots on X are worse than ever, according to an analysis of one million tweets during the first Republican primary debate.
- And finally an exclusive from Fortune: Elon Musk has just 40,000 paying subscribers on X, a fraction of his 155 million followers.
And there’s a lot more this week. These are just a few “highlights”.
In other news:
- With the arrival of El Niño, prepare for stronger marine heatwaves.
- The Technology Facebook and Google Didn’t Dare Release. “Engineers at the tech giants built tools years ago that could put a name to any face but, for once, Silicon Valley did not want to move fast and break things.”
- A very interesting paper from Canada. Unconditional cash transfers reduce homelessness. Turns out that if you just give homeless people money they’ll find somewhere to live and the long-term savings are greater than what it costs. Note, however, that they were not selected randomly.
- New koala relative fills a branch of Australia’s marsupial history. Or if you prefer the full paper, A probable koala from the Oligocene of central Australia provides insights into early diprotodontian evolution.
- I have learned that there’s a new film based on* the Great Emu War of 1932 but I am having doubts about its historical accuracy.
- What Is a Scab? Actors and Other Workers Who Cross the Picket Line. Yes, Teen Vogue has published a guide to industrial action etiquette, “Here are the dos and don’ts of the picket line”.
- The Bird Photographer of the Year contest winners have been revealed. Here are the best images.
- And from last week but worth a mention, Australians now distrust many more corporations, exposing corporate ‘moral blindness’.
The Week Ahead
On Monday I’ll be setting up some client bits and pieces. In the background I’ll try to catch some of the live-streamed sessions of Groundhog Day – A series of roundtables by IERLab.
There’s two other conferences of interest for me this week. There’s APNIC 56 online from Kyoto on Tuesday–Thursday, and from Sydney there’s CyberOZ 2023: Engineering The Future of Cybersecurity, IPv6 and AI on Friday, but I doubt I’ll get time to pay attention to either of them.
On Wednesday I’m heading to Sydney for a social day, and we’ll be going for a walk. Yes, this plan is being recycled from last week.
You see, back in 2010, Snarky Platypus and I would go wandering in Sydney suburbs we were unfamiliar with. Some of these walks were quite long, as this map shows.
If the map doesn’t show up, try here.
This week we’ll be meeting at Merrylands and walking to Bankstown, which is around 13 km. We’ll probably diverge from the most direct route, and take breaks at suitable watering holes along the way.
Update 14 September 2023: The weekend will be a semi-work zone, since Wednesday and Thursday will have been distinctly non-work days.
- NEW: Housesitting in Sydney, 7–31 October 2023. If you’re wanting to catch up with me, this would be a good time in which to extend invitations. Except for…
- The 9pm Hobart Expedition, 22–25 October 2023. Snarky Platypus and I have planned a voyage. I may well be recording a podcast there. We’re definitely going to MONA on the Monday, though, and I’m amused by this review in The Irish Times back in 2014: Mona, the world’s most expensive joke?.
[Photo: Three years ago in the Beforetimes, a street cat photographed while I was having breakfast in Phra Khanong, Bangkok, on 7 September 2019.]