I accomplished very little during my week of Monday 5 to Sunday 11 February 2024, and even spent most of the weekend asleep. I’m hoping this goes me the energy for what is going to be a busy week ahead — including two or perhaps even three podcast recordings.
I think I was fighting a cold or something. These times are very weird. And the magpies are taking over my consciousness. Oh no!
- The Weekly Cybers #4. Wet-lettuce robodebt sanctions, more Digital ID special pleading, and the DTA almost does something. Yes, even though the political journalists were focused on the Stage 3 tax changes and industrial relations laws, a lot more was going on in Canberra
I suspect that the word “cybers” in the title may have led some people to think this newsletter is about cybersecurity and related topics, even though I’ve written quite a bit about that in recent years, but no. The tag line I’m currently using is “a personal look at what the Australian government has been saying and doing in the digital and cyber realms, on various adjacent topics, and whatever else interests me”.
You can read my previous writing at Authory, where you can also subscribe to an email compilation of any new stories each Sunday morning. That will include a link to The Weekly Cybers if you don’t mind clicking through.
Podcasts, Videos, Media Appearances, Photos, Corporate Largesse
None of these. You can subscribe to my YouTube channel to be notified when new videos appear and when livestreams are scheduled.
There will be three more special-guest episodes of The 9pm Edict before the end of February, plus a solo episode and one with Snarky Platypus. The first few of these are listed below.
Much like climate change is causing increasing erratic and extreme weather, Elon Musk’s increasingly erratic behaviour — whatever might be causing it — is causing some astounding extremes of news.
I suspect it’s probably unhealthy for me, but I feel compelled to watch Musk’s decline in detail every week. So here we are.
- Elon Musk has lost more money this year than most billionaires are worth, and it’s not just about the spray bottle of ketamine.
- Apparently Oracle cofounder and former Tesla board member Larry Ellison even asked Musk to come to his Hawaiian island to “dry out from the drugs” should mention that these stories originated from the Wall Street Journal but I don’t have a subscription so I’m linking to something I can get hold of easily.
- Elon Musk is funding a lawsuit against Disney and Lucasfilm, after Star Wars actor Gina Carano claimed unfair dismissal, reports Mumbrella. “Musk is offering to fund any lawsuits brought against the entertainment giants if they came as a result of comments made on social media platform, X.” Bear in mind that offering to pay is not the same as actually paying.
- Musk’s Neuralink switches location of incorporation to Nevada, which you’ll recall is because that Delaware court denied him his US$56 billion pay packet from X.
- Amanj Ali, owner of the Tesla Chicken & Pizza fast food shopping Bury, Greater Manchester has lost £12,000 in a trademark dispute. Guess who against.
- Elon Musk, who enables journalists to make entire nest stories out of a single tweet, reckons that in the next few months he’s “giving up his phone number” to reply purely on calls and texts via X. Not that it’s really possible right now.
- In further evidence that it’s not a cult, Yahoo! Finance reports: “Elon Musk had twins with his top Neuralink executive, but they never dated. She explains ‘He wants smart people to have kids, so he encouraged me to’ and he’s the person she ‘admires most in the world’.”
- “Australian journalists abandon X in wake of Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover, survey shows,” reports the Guardian. “X has dropped two spots in one year and is now the fourth-most used professional social media site by journalists, according to research.”
- And on a semi-related note, BBC News has an interview with Jack Sweeney, the guy who republishes the locations of private jets, thereby annoying the rich and famous like Elon Musk.
In other news, I’ve got quite a few random Interesting Links this week:
- The Clever Cockie Project is doing its annual sulphur-crested cockatoo bin-opening survey, tracking how this knowledge is spreading among jerkbird communities. Fascinating stuff. Check it out, especially if you local jerkbirds open bins.
- Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology published its Annual climate statement 2023. It isn’t happy reading. Obviously.
- Thailand was first in Asia to decriminalise marijuana, but ‘cannabis cowboys’ could see those laws change.
- Viruses living in human gut could help regulate stress, study suggests. I’ve long thought that if parasites can change the behaviour of snails and such, then they’re likely to make changes to humans too. I guess this is an example?
- Weirdly, Study leaves little doubt: Depression is linked to high body heat.
- Masturbation abstinence is popular online. Doctors and therapists are worried, at least for some value of “popular”.
- The surprisingly Australian history of Chinese dragon parades.
- And this week’s “You are getting older” moment: The British Film Institute has held a Peep Show 20th anniversary Q&A with writers Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, lead actors David Mitchell and Robert Webb, and some of the cast.
The Week Ahead
Monday through Wednesday will include a little client work, because I really do need to do some this month.
I’ll also produce a brief solo episode The 9pm Edict podcast in there somewhere, having abandoned my plan from last week to slot in a Sydney day. [Update 16 February 2024: No, that was a bit of an optimistic idea. I have been very, very tired this week.]
On Thursday morning I’m recording an episode with Justin Warren, “consultant, freedom of information tragic, hexagon enthusiast, and creator of the CyberRating™ labelling scheme”.
If you’re a supporter with TRIGGER WORDS or a CONVERSATION TOPIC for this episode with Justin Warren, please get them to me by 6pm AEDT this Wednesday 14 February.
On Saturday afternoon I’m recording another episode with Snarky Platypus. This time we’ll include a chat about the three Liberal party prime ministers who featured in the ABC TV series Nemesis, which in Australia you can watch on iView: Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull, and Scott Morrison — although we’ll doubtless talk about other things as well.
if you’re a supporter with TRIGGER WORDS or a CONVERSATION TOPIC for this episode with Snarky Platypus, please get them to me by 12 midday AEDT this Saturday 17 February. I’m also interested to know what you thought about Nemesis so feel free to send me your comments about the series, either in written words or as an audio file.
Saturday night I’m going to the Lunar Comedy Gala 2024 in Chatswood. It was fun last year so I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll be staying in Sydney overnight because…
I’ve been persuaded to go to Mardi Gras Fair Day on Sunday because I haven’t been since 2002. I am guessing that very little has changed. [Update 16 February 2024: Mardi Gras Fair Day has been cancelled due to asbestos contamination in Victoria Park.]
I’ve put out some feelers for podcast gusts for the second half of the month, but they haven’t been locked in yet. So this is the same as last week.
- Aaron Chen’s Funny Garden, Sydney, 27 April 2024. He’s now so mainstream that he’s doing four nights at the State Theatre. Good for him.
- He Huang Tiger Daughter versus the World, Chatswood NSW, 5 May 2024.
- Nina Oyama is Coming, Marrickville NSW, 12 May 2024.
[Photo: This particular juvenile Australian magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) has become so bold that it will even hop up onto my desk to demand food. I have named it Jason, even though I’m not sure of its sex. Photographed on 1 February 2024, which I know is last week but it will have to do.]