News Roundup: All I want for Christmas is e-waste

News Roundup: All I want for Christmas is e-waste

A roundup of the week’s technology news including Net Neutrality, wet string, and Machine Learning for chickens.


E-waste problem only getting worse

Despite there being all kinds of rare and valuable materials in our electronics, the world is getting even worse at recycling them.

According to UN-backed Global E-waste Monitor 2017, 44.7 million metric tonnes of e-waste is being created annually, with just 20% of that being recycled through appropriate channels. The report predicts that by 2021, global e-waste will reach 52.2 million metric tonnes per year. Asia accounted for the greatest amount of waste, Africa the least, and Europe is the best at recycling. 2016’s wasted materials are estimated to have been worth €55 billion.

“Although 66% of the world’s population is covered by e-waste legislation,” said the report, “more efforts must be made to enforce, implement, and encourage more countries to develop e-waste policies.”


FCC and Net Neutrality

Despite the best efforts of technology’s best and brightest, Net Neutrality is been killed off in the US.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week voted to repeal the rules which say all internet traffic should be treated the same.

Internet companies lamented, Comcast immediately promised not to change its services, and Anonymous threatened retaliatory attacks. FCC chair Ajit Pai has claimed throughout this process that Net Neutrality rules hinder innovation (and promised everything would be just fine in a terrible video), while critics say it could create internet toll lanes.


Security news



Amazon Web Services continues its endless march. The Cloud giant has announced it is opening a second region in China. The company is reportedly considering opening a region in South Africa as well.


New stuff

Google released three new experimental photo apps, Mozilla has launched an Augmented Reality app, and Cisco & Apple has announced a new security app.

Microsoft has announced a new mobile group communication app for Africa called Kaizala, launched a preview of its quantum computing application development kit, and Cortana is linking with Gmail.



Not even Facebook employees are a fan of Facebook any more. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works,” said former FB VP Chamath Palihapitiya during a speech this week. “No civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth.”

The social network is reportedly bringing back the Poke button for some reason, and is experimenting with private comments on posts.



Apple has acquired Shazam, Iron Mountain has bought IO Data Center’s US business, Telstra now own managed services provider VMtech, Accenture has got its hands on Rothco, and eBay has snapped up Terapeak.

Atos wants to buy Gemalto, while Microsoft and Google are reportedly unhappy with Broadcomm’s attempts to acquire Qualcomm. Sony has set up a new subsidiary based software development called Rocro.


Open Source

Apple has Open Sourced Turi Create for creating machine learning models. Avast has released its analytical tool, RetDec.


Wet string

Researchers do cool stuff. This week saw one engineer swap out copper for wet string to see if ADSL broadband would still work. Lo and behold, it does! Two metres of wet string can reach a downlink speed of 3.5Mbps, not great but better than a lot of people might be getting post-Net Neutrality.

Meanwhile, researchers at Purdue University have developed a method for using the human body as a communication medium in lieu of wireless networks.

Clucking AI

Are chickens a hotbed for technology innovation? Not only is there Chicken VR, but now Machine Learning has been used to decode their language. According to the researchers, you can glean all kinds of information about the health of a chicken from its vocalizations.


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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect. Writes about all manner of tech from driverless cars, AI, and Green IT to Cloudy stuff, security, and IoT. Dislikes autoplay ads/videos and garbage written about 'milliennials'.  

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