Category Archives: Miscellaneous

The Price of Recycling Old Laptops: Toxic Fumes in Thailand’s Lungs

The e-waste industry is booming in Southeast Asia, frightening residents worried for their health. Despite a ban on imports, Thailand is a center of the business.

Crouched on the ground in a dimly lit factory, the women picked through the discarded innards of the modern world: batteries, circuit boards and bundles of wires.

They broke down the scrap — known as e-waste — with hammers and raw hands. Men, some with faces wrapped in rags to repel the fumes, shoveled the refuse into a clanking machine that salvages usable metal.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/08/world/asia/e-waste-thailand-southeast-asia.html

How Google’s Founders Slowly Stepped Away From Their Company

Larry Page and Sergey Brin became billionaires thanks to the success of Google. But toward the end, they appeared happy to let someone else run it.

About a month after Donald J. Trump was elected president in 2016, Larry Page, the Google co-founder, was summoned along with other prominent tech executives to a meeting at Trump Tower.

It was a rare public appearance for Mr. Page. He sported a tan suit and shifted in his seat as he introduced himself and noted (incorrectly) that his company was probably the youngest in the room. “Really glad to be here,” said Mr. Page, who did not look glad to be there.

By the time he was again summoned in 2018 — this time to testify to Congress on tech’s various problems — Mr. Page had all but abandoned the roles typically associated with leading one of the world’s richest and most powerful companies. He didn’t show, and senators placed an empty chair and his placard alongside the other speakers.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/04/technology/google-larry-page-sergey-br.html

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Google co-founders cede control of parent company Alphabet to Sundar Pichai
Pichai, the current CEO of Google, is being elevated to the top job at the Alphabet, the holding firm overseeing the search giant and other well-known brands like YouTube, marking a major shift for one of the world's most valuable companies.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/12/03/google-co-founder-larry-page-cedes-control-parent-company-alphabet-sundar-pichai/

Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin step down from parent firm
Larry Page and Sergey Brin, co-founders of Google, have announced they are stepping down from running the online giant's parent company.
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-50653345

Era Ends for Google as Founders Step Aside From a Pillar of Tech
Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the Stanford graduate students who founded Google over two decades ago, are stepping down from executive roles at Google’s parent company, Alphabet, they announced on Tuesday.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/03/technology/google-alphabet-ceo-larry-page-sundar-pichai.html

SpaceX plans to launch thousands of satellites: Is this the end of dark skies?

The night sky may feel vast, but it's about to get very crowded up there for scientists peering into distant galaxies.

Elon Musk's SpaceX is one of several companies that intend to launch vast constellations of small satellites into low-Earth orbit.

This boom in space objects means more light and more noise in the sky, when optical and radio astronomers prefer darkness and quiet for their instruments to work without interference.

Mr Musk's Starlink project, which aims to offer broadband internet in the United States and Canada in 2020, has already launched 120 low-Earth-orbit satellites — with plans for tens of thousands more.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2019-12-05/spacex-satellites-australia-impact-on-optical-radio-astronomy/11761484

Heficed Launches IPv4 Address Lease and Monetisation Platform

Heficed last week launched what the network infrastructure solutions provider is describing as a game-changing platform within the field of IPv4 addresses – the IP Address Market. The platform lets businesses and organisations to monetise their IPv4 address resources by merely listing them, while lessees can easily choose the needed IPv4 addresses and lease them in a simplified and secure way.

The new platform replaces what was Heficed’s main product, Switch, aims at increasing transparency of the IPv4 market space, and it starts with transparent pricing.

“Our new platform will offer a transparent way of monetising and leasing IP addresses,” said Vincentas Grinius, CEO of Heficed. “IP registrants do get charged a commission fee, but it is always visible what percentage goes to them, and what part of the price is the commission. Those listing their resources are only charged when a transaction is successful.”

Currently, the Internet is experiencing IPv4 address shortages. Most of the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), the entities governing IP address allocation processes in different continents, have exhausted their pools of IPv4s to allocate.

IPv4 addresses, originally a free resource, have become a commodity and a strategic asset for businesses because a single IPv4 address in the second-hand market now costs around twenty dollars. However, the market is hardly regulated and scattered throughout countless IP address brokers, leading to murky practices and pricing.

Users of Heficed’s IP address market are able to set their listing price, but the platform will suggest a likely price range, too, which is based on the current market situation. This way, Heficed hopes to level the playing field for everyone having IPv4 resources to lease, empowering organisations that have pools of unused IP addresses but lack the know-how or time to monetise them.

Only organisations can do business on the IP Address Market, and this is one of the anti-abuse safeguards present within the platform. Additionally, entities joining the platform will go through the verification process. Before being approved for listing on the platform, the ownership of each IP address is also verified – either with RPKI (Resource Public Key Infrastructure) or LoA (Letter of Authorisation). A dedicated Abuse Management team works to ensure no IPv4s are being misused for spam or over illicit activities, while Halon and Abusix are used as anti-spam filters. If a user wishes to use the IPs on their own infrastructure, they will only be able to do so with pre-approved IP transit providers who support RADb.com.

“Organisations using our platform can rest assured their IPs will remain clean while they are on our network,” added Grinius. “Preventing the abuse of IPs is our priority, and we have taken extensive measures to protect the resources of our clients. The abuse report system is present and straightforward to use, while we are transparent about our reaction time when reacting to abuse or spam reports.”

The new platform is open for IP address brokers to list their resources, too. While the brokers are selling the IPs via their own channels, they can also list the same resources on the market and lease it for a specific time to make extra commissions.

For more information on the Heficed IP-Address Market, click here.

Microsoft tops list of the most ‘just’ US corporations

With capitalism widely under fire in the United States for its contributions to widening wealth inequality and a deepening climate crisis, many Americans have called for major structural change.

But one nonprofit group, JUST Capital, is saying that capitalism itself is not the problem, as long as corporations are made answerable to all stakeholders, and not only to shareholders seeking to maximise financial gain.

To that end, the organisation – billed as “the leading platform for measuring and improving corporate performance in the stakeholder economy” – on Tuesday released new rankings putting Microsoft Corp, NVIDIA Corp and Apple Inc at the top.
https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/microsoft-tops-list-corporations-191112212124833.html

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Announcing the 2020 Rankings of America’s Most JUST Companies
The imperative of the 21st century is to make capitalism work for more people.

Over the last five years, JUST Capital has surveyed close to 100,000 Americans to find out what they want from corporate America today. What do they value? What issues would they like companies to prioritize? The response has been clear and consistent. Americans want corporations to stop prioritizing shareholders and instead put workers, customers, communities, and the environment at the heart of just business practices.

The good news? 181 of the most influential CEOs agree that it’s time. In August, the Business Roundtable released a new Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation rejecting 40 years of shareholder primacy to adopt a new framework that creates value for all stakeholders – including workers, customers, communities, the environment, and shareholders – “for the future success of our companies, our communities, and our country.”
https://justcapital.com/reports/americas-most-just-companies-2020/

Introducing Equiano, a subsea cable from Portugal to South Africa

Today we are introducing Equiano, our new private subsea cable that will connect Africa with Europe. Once complete, Equiano will start in western Europe and run along the West Coast of Africa, between Portugal and South Africa, with branching units along the way that can be used to extend connectivity to additional African countries. The first branch is expected to land in Nigeria. This new cable is fully funded by Google, making it our third private international cable after Dunant and Curie, and our 14th subsea cable investment globally.

Google’s private subsea cables all carry the names of historical luminaries, and Equiano is no different. Named for Olaudah Equiano, a Nigerian-born writer and abolitionist who was enslaved as a boy, the Equiano cable is state-of-the-art infrastructure based on space-division multiplexing (SDM) technology, with approximately 20 times more network capacity than the last cable built to serve this region.
https://cloud.google.com/blog/products/infrastructure/introducing-equiano-a-subsea-cable-from-portugal-to-south-africa

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Google's third subsea cable will pump data from Portugal to South Africa
Google's third undersea network cable will shuttle high-speed data from Portugal to South Africa and countries in between starting in 2021, a fiber-optic line called Equiano. The fiber-optic line is part of Google's massive investment in computing infrastructure — an investment that reached $47 billion over the last three years, Google said in a blog post Friday.
https://www.cnet.com/news/google-third-subsea-cable-equiano-connect-portugal-south-africa-nigeria/

Apple and China’s problems show that today’s titans may not rule the world tomorrow by Will Hutton

Our mental geography is bounded by what has gone before. What has happened in the recently remembered past is most likely to continue. Inflection points, when trends decisively change, are more infrequent than the many instances when things go on as they have done.

Two of today’s trends seem unstoppable. China’s astounding growth will continue, so the story runs, underwriting its arrival as the second economic superpower. To get a share in that China action, underpinning the entire growth of Asia, is one of the prime economic arguments for Brexit. Abandon sclerotic Europe, embrace the prosperity of Asia – even if it is a world of semi-democracy at best, authoritarian government at worst. It can be guaranteed to grow.

Second, the west coast big tech companies, from Facebook to Apple, are the new wonders of the universe. They are the bewilderingly successful face of the informational, data-driven economy whose value continues to soar. Apple, then Amazon, became the first trillion-dollar corporations last year, both exemplars of how first movers in innovation with their transformative technologies have become 21st-century titans, driving stock market growth and changing society alike.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/06/apple-china-problems-show-todays-titans-may-not-rule-world-tomorrow

The internet is going to hell and its creators want your help fixing it

If ever there was doubt that 2018 is the year of fear, it was confirmed by a panel discussion involving the two men that are credited with inventing the internet and the world wide web.

Inventor of the internet protocols TCP/IP Vint Cerf and inventor of the web Tim Berners-Lee have spent the past 20 years talking in pragmatic but highly optimistic tones about the global networks they helped give birth to.
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/12/11/tinternet_needs_work/