Friday roundup: A week in tech

Snapchat

Wacky racists managed to hack some mapping software this week and renamed New York as ‘Jewtropolis’, in a move that no doubt had Steve Bannon-esque types across the land splitting their sides in mirth.

‘Get-your-clothes-off’ enterprise Snapchat, one of several social media networks that use the software, is, understandably, appalled at the act of cyber vandalism, labelling it ‘deeply offensive’.

Speaking to the BBC, Snap said: ‘Snap Map, similar to other apps, relies on third-party mapping data from OpenStreetMap, which has been subject to vandalism. This defacement is deeply offensive and entirely contrary to our values. And we want to apologise to any members of our community who saw it.’

In unrelated but similarly ugly news, photo dumping ground Tumblr has decided to ban content that consists of ‘unwanted sexualisation or sexual harassment of others’ – which is very reasonable of it, don’t you think?

As we’re in late 2018, the social media firm is convinced that enough is enough, and so-called ‘creepshots’, ‘deepfake’ pornography, and ‘content that encourages or incites violence, or glorifies acts of violence’ will no longer be tolerated.

So, if you enjoy the sexual harassment, objectification and humiliation of others, and/or inciting hatred and violence, Tumblr may not be the place for you from now on. Why not try Twitter instead?

Oh internet, internet, internet – what is thou doing to us?

***

The increasingly unusual billionaire Elon Musk has reignited his strange ‘pedo’ feud with a British explorer.

After becoming entangled in, and, subsequently, somewhat humiliated by the summer’s Thai schoolboys trapped in a cave media sensation, Mr Musk decided to refer to diver Vernon Unsworth as a ‘pedo guy’ (over Twitter, naturally), after a submarine he’d offered to help with the rescue was declined.

Lacking any kind of evidence, and with Mr Unsworth threatening to sue, the Tesla boss deleted the tweets and apologised.

Yet it seems the rejection of his little submarine and Mr Unsworth’s mild rebukes still rankle, as Mr Musk has inexplicably reignited the daft mess by tweeting that ‘You don’t think it’s strange [Unsworth] hasn’t sued me? He was offered free legal services’ – clearly implying that he stands by his original unsubstantiated gibberish.

As a consequence of the last tedious Twitter exchange, Tesla’s shares nosedived – and now the firm’s boss is wilfully reopening the ridiculous wound.

Let’s look a little closer at this: Mr Musk owns and runs, amongst other things, a massive luxury electric car firm, a flippin’ space exploration division no less, and various energy producing outfits – and he still finds the time to go on Twitter, of all places, and childishly throw completely unfounded and horrific accusations around.

You always assume that people like Mr Musk are incredibly intelligent, wandering about with powerful minds, transcending into fields of thought far beyond the meagre mental zones the majority of us subsist in. And yet, having said all that, he kind of reminds me of Trigger from Only Fools and Horses.

***

Somebody’s had a great lightbulb moment – involving lightbulbs.

From tomorrow (1 September) halogen bulbs will be banned across Europe, as they’re phased out and replaced with infinitely more sensible LEDs.

A real no-brainer, halogens use five times the power of LEDs and have a fraction of the life expectancy (two years on average for halogen, 15-20 years for LED).

However, smart as the move is, it is being imposed by the HATED AND EVIL EU, which has stirred the ire of respected and prestigious political outfits such as UKIP, whose energy spokesman, Jonathan Bullock, frothed: ‘The EU’s attempt to ban halogen bulbs is wrong because consumers will suffer financially and it’s always the poorest who suffer most from these kinds of policies.’

Crazy as it might be to question the wisdom of UKIP, let’s have a look at the figures. Truly, LEDs are often more expensive than halogens, but the massively greater lifespan coupled with the much lower energy consumption means that customers will pretty quickly see large savings. (Plus, LEDs don’t heat up to the temperature of the sun like halogens.)

Furthermore, it’s not like you have to replace all of your halogens on 1 September – rather, you’ll slowly replace them one by one with LEDs as they burn out. (In fact, suppliers will be allowed to sell off the stocks they still have, so if you’re a big halogen fan you can snap up enough supplies to last perhaps decades.)

Anyhow, research (by the EU, I think) shows that a staggering 15 million tonnes of carbon emissions will be cut if and when a Europe-wide LED-halogen switch is completed – which is equivalent to Portugal’s entire yearly electricity usage.

I am now awaiting the Daily Mail’s certain ‘LEDs LINKED TO SOCIALISM AND HOMOSEXUALITY’ or similar headline.

Friday roundup: A week in tech

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