Bitcoin Cash Just Mined its First Block, Making Blockchain Split Official

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A controversial bitcoin spinoff called Bitcoin Cash has officially broken off from the main network, forging ahead with its own blockchain.

Nodes running Bitcoin Cash diverged from the network earlier this morning, but hit a quick roadblock given the absence of a larger-than-1-megabyte block to actually trigger the split.

The block in question was mined by 478,559, according to a Bitcoin Cash block explorer hosted by data provider BlockDozer. This came nearly six hours after after block 478,558 – which started the separation – was struck.

Network data shows that the Bitcoin Cash block contained 6,985 transactions, with a block size of 1.915 MB – nearly double the block size cap on the original chain.

According to CoinMarketCap, the price of Bitcoin Cash is trading at roughly $219 on digital currency exchange Kraken. The exchange’s top marketplace, for the BTC/BCH trading pair, is reporting more than $3m in volume since launch.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Kraken. 

Toy train image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.

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9 dangerous diseases that could be prevented by vaccines within the next decade, from HIV to cancer

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Medical Sick Injection

One of the best defenses we have against viral infections is the vaccine. 

Vaccines prime the body’s immune system to fight an incoming infection; they’ve been credited with the widespread eradication of smallpox and the near-eradication of polio. 

There have been many major advances to vaccines since their inception in the 1700s, but there are still many diseases for which no vaccine exists.

At the same time, researchers are finding ways to use the immune-system-triggering effects of vaccines to tackle unexpected diseases, such as cancer and drug addiction.

To get approved, vaccines need to show that they’re both safe and effective at preventing diseases or — if they’re used therapeutically — at activating the immune system to go after existing diseases. That process can take years or even decades.

Here are nine vaccines currently in development that could dramatically change how humans live.

SEE ALSO: The 10 most popular prescription drugs in the US

DON’T MISS: 8 unexpected ways to decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted bacterial infection, is typically treated with antibiotics. But in the past few years, it’s become untreatable in some cases. 

In addition to new antibiotics that can combat the infection, the World Health Organization is calling for a vaccine. There is at least one in development

But in a surprising turn of events, researchers looking at data on a meningitis outbreak and subsequent vaccination effort in New Zealand found that the vaccine protected against gonorrhea as well. As it turns out, the bacteria that cause meningitis and gonorrhea are very closely related — like "cousins."

The vaccine used to target that specific meningitis outbreak was administered from 2004 to 2006, and is no longer in use. It remains to be seen whether someone will develop it as a vaccine for gonorrhea alone. 

Cancer

There are already some vaccines that prevent certain types of cancer. The vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV), for example, can prevent six different kinds of cancer. Another vaccine for hepatitis B prevents liver cancer as well. 

There’s also a push to use vaccines once a person has been diagnosed with cancer. One such treatment was approved for prostate cancer in 2010. The treatment reprograms the body’s immune system to go after a particular protein that helps the immune cells attack the cancer cells. Other vaccines on the horizon could take a more personalized approach, pinpointing cancer mutations and amplifying the body’s immune system to fight off certain types of cancer cells. 

Malaria

Malaria is a parasitic infection spread by mosquitoes that can lead to chills, fever, and nausea, among with other severe complications including organ failure. The disease is responsible for more than half of mosquito-related deaths, predominantly in sub-Saharan Africa. 

There is no widely available vaccine for malaria, though three countries are set to take part in a pilot program for a malaria vaccine starting in 2018, the WHO said in a news release.

The number of deaths caused by the disease are already dropping, however, due to prevention efforts like insecticides that are sprayed and used in netting. Between 2000 and 2015, malaria deaths fell 62%, translating to 6.8 million lives saved, according to the World Health Organization

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Signs of Alzheimer’s Detected in Brains of Chimps For First Time

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Image: AP

Humans are the only animals known to develop Alzheimer’s disease, an age-related brain disorder that causes impaired cognitive functioning and other behavioral problems. Or at least, that’s what we thought. For the first time ever, researchers are claiming to have found signs of the disease in the brains of elderly chimps—a discovery that could yield new insights into the dreaded disorder.

New research published in the science journal Neurobiology of Aging shows that the very earliest manifestations of Alzheimer’s disease can be detected in the brains of elderly chimps, and that our closest living primate relatives seem to have something going on in their brains that’s preventing the disease from getting any worse. The eventual discovery of this “something” could lead to the development of new therapeutic interventions to treat Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases in humans.

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Humans, as far as we know, are the only animals that develop severe dementia with age. Yes, other animals exhibit signs of aging—such as arthritis, tooth and bone wear, and even some mild cognitive decline—but there’s nothing as severe as Alzheimer’s outside of the human experience. We don’t know what it is about our brains, or the mechanisms that drive human aging, that make us vulnerable, which is why scientists are starting to look at other animals for clues—chimpanzees in particular.

This new study is unique in that the researchers had unprecedented access to a large collection of chimpanzee brain samples dating back to the mid-1990s. The brains were provided by the National Chimpanzee Brain Resource, which has been collecting brains of chimps who have died from natural causes at zoos and research centers.

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“Very few studies have investigated Alzheimer’s disease pathology in chimpanzees, the species…most genetically related to humans,” said Mary Ann Raghanti of Kent State University in a press release. “Brain samples from great apes, particularly aged individuals, are incredibly scarce, so a study of this size is rare.”

A tau-positive neuron (shown in black) near amyloid deposits within blood vessels (red) in an aged chimpanzee brain. (Image: Kent State University)

Raghanti and her colleagues studied 20 brains from older chimps ranging in age from 37 to 62, analyzing the neocortex and the hippocampus—regions of the brain most susceptible to Alzheimer’s in humans. The researchers were on the lookout for a pair of proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease, namely amyloid beta and tau. In healthy brains, amyloid beta breaks down and disappears, but for people with Alzheimer’s, this protein refuses to go away, resulting in the formation of plaques between neurons. The presence of these plaques sets another process in motion, whereby another protein, called tau, forms tangles that destabilize brain cells.

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Together, the neuronal disruptions caused by these plaques and tangles result in the onset of dementia.

As noted in the new study, this analysis revealed traces of amyloid beta plaques in all 20 chimpanzee brains, and as with humans, the volumes of these plaques increased with age.

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“The presence of amyloid and tau pathology in aged chimpanzees indicates these Alzheimer’s disease lesions are not specific to the human brain as generally believed,” explained study co-author Patrick R. Hof from the Icahn School of Medicine.

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Interestingly, traces of amyloid beta were higher in chimp blood vessels than in plaques—that’s not what typically happens in humans. A build-up of amyloid beta deposits in the brain’s blood vessels does occur in humans (a condition known as cerebral amyloid angiopathy), but the predominant effect of amyloid beta in our species is the production of excess plaque. “This suggests that amyloid buildup in the brain’s blood vessels precedes plaque formation in chimpanzees,” noted study co-author Melissa Edler.

Raghanti said it’s not clear if the plaques and tangles found in chimps are producing the same level of cognitive decline as seen in humans. “Our samples had been collected over decades, without any consistent or rigorous cognitive data accompanying them,” Raghanti told New Scientist. “So it wasn’t possible to say whether the chimps had devastating cognitive loss or not.” As a reminder, thus far, there’s no behavioral evidence to suggest that chimps suffer significant cognitive declines as they age.

The challenge now will be for scientists to figure out what’s happening in human brains that’s not happening in chimp brains. Speaking to Nature News, Emory University neurologist Lary Walker said that chimps may have some kind of protective effect going on, and that amyloid beta may folding differently in chimps than in humans. More research will be needed to suss this out.

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Which brings up a final point: This discovery, while important, means that chimpanzees have suddenly become more valuable as medical test subjects. Study co-author William D. Hopkins, a professor of neuroscience at Georgia State and an associate research scientist at Emory University’s Yerkes National Primate Research Center, said as much in the press release: “Findings like those reported in this paper provide significant evidence of the value and need for continued behavioral, cognitive and neurogenomic work with this important species.”

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That’s certainly one opinion, but Hopkin’s remarks run in opposition to current trends. Medical research on chimps and other great apes is on the way out, both in the United States and elsewhere. Thankfully, other options exist. But the inability to experiment on live chimpanzees and other animals doesn’t mean that science—and work on Alzheimer’s in particular—will suddenly stop.

[Neurobiology of Aging]

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10 ways we’re making Classroom and Forms easier for teachers this school year

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We’ve seen educators do incredible things with G Suite for Education tools: creatively teach classroom material, collaborate with students, and design innovative assignments to achieve meaningful outcomes. Classroom is a useful tool for teachers, and since it launched three years ago, students have submitted more than 1 billion assignments.

This year, we’re sending teachers back to school with updates designed to help them do what they do best—teach. Today, we’re announcing 10 updates to Google Classroom and Google Forms to help teachers save time and stay organized.

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  1. Single view of student work: To help teachers track individual student progress, we’ve created a dedicated page for each student in Classroom that shows all of their work in a class. With this new view, teachers and students can see the status of every assignment, and can use filters to see assigned work, missing work, or returned and graded work. Teachers and students can use this information to make personalized learning decisions that help students set goals and build skills that will serve them in the future.
  2. Reorder classes: Teachers can now order their classes to organize them based on daily schedule, workload priorities or however will help them keep organized throughout the school year. And students can use this feature too. "For teachers and students, organization is important, and being able to reorder class cards allows us to keep our classes organized in a simple and personalized way," notes Ross Berman, a 7th and 8th grade math teacher. "Students can move classes around so that the first thing they see is the class they know they have work for coming up."
  3. Decimal grading: As teachers know, grading is often more complicated than a simple point value. To be as accurate with feedback as possible, educators can now use decimal points when grading assignments in Google Classroom.
  4. Transfer class ownership: Things can change a lot over the summer, including who’s teaching which class. Now, admins and teachers can transfer ownership of Google Classroom classes to other teachers, without the need to recreate the class. The new class owner can get up to speed quickly with a complete view of past student work and resources in Drive.
  5. Add profile picture on mobile: Today’s users log a lot of hours on their phones. Soon, teachers and students will be able to make changes to their Classroom mobile profiles directly from their mobile devices too, including changing their profile picture from the Google Classroom mobile app. Ready the selfies!
  6. Provision classes with School Directory Sync: Google School Directory Sync now supports syncing Google Classroom classes from your student or management information system using IMS OneRoster CSV files. Admins can save teachers and students time by handling class setup before the opening bell.
  7. New Classroom integrations: Apps that integrate with Classroom offer educators a seamless experience, and allow them to easily share information between Classroom and other tools they love. Please welcome the newest A+ apps to the #withClassroom family: Quizizz, Edcite, Kami and coming soon, Code.org.
  8. Display class code: Joining Google Classroom classes is easier than ever thanks to this new update. Teachers can now display their class code in full screen so students can quickly join new classes.
  9. Sneak Peak! Import Google Forms Quiz scores into Classroom: Using Quizzes in Google Forms allows educators to take real-time assessments of students’ understanding of a topic. Soon, teachers will be able to import grades from Quizzes directly into Google Classroom.
  10. Add feedback in question-by-question grading in Quizzes: More than test grades, meaningful feedback can improve learning. At ISTE this year, we launched question-by-question grading in Quizzes in Google Forms to help teachers save time by batch grading assessments. We’re taking it one step further and now, teachers will have the option to add feedback as well.

As educators head back to school, we want our newest Classroom teachers to get the most out of their experience. In the coming weeks, we’ll be launching a new resource hub to help teachers get set up on their first day of Classroom. If you’re already a Classroom pro, help your fellow teachers by sharing your favorite Classroom tips, tricks, resources and tutorials on social media using the hashtag #FirstDayofClassroom. Stay tuned on Twitter this Back to School season for more.

From all of us here at Google, we wish you a successful start to the school year! We hope these Google Classroom and Forms updates help you save time, stay organized and most importantly, teach effectively during back to school and beyond.

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Inside the $600-a-head Silicon Valley restaurant where Google and Apple executives eat gold-flecked steaks

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hiroshi silicon valley restaurant 03991

Hiroshi is an unusual restaurant for an unusual clientele.

Located in Los Altos, California, the newly-opened Japanese restaurant accommodates only eight people per night and has no menus, no windows, and one table. Dinner costs at minimum $395 a head, but averages between $500 and $600 including beverages and tax.

Chef-owner Hiroshi Kimura left his last restaurant in Hawaii and moved to Silicon Valley in 2016 to launch a concept that would appeal to the deep-pocketed tech elite. Hiroshi hosts three to five dinners a week and is booked solid when a convention comes to town.

We took a tour of the restaurant to see why it’s becoming a favorite in Silicon Valley.

SEE ALSO: Starbucks is opening premium stores where you can buy coffee flights and cold-brew floats — take a look inside

Located in a plaza in Los Altos — home of notable residents past and present including Sergey Brin, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg — Hiroshi looked plain from the outside.

Source: Wikipedia

There were no hours posted on the door. A sign read, "Open by appointment only."

The general manager, Kevin Biggerstaff, ushered me inside. Dim lighting cast a yellowish hue on the dining area, which was nearly swallowed whole by a single wooden table.

It was made from an 800-year-old Japanese keyaki tree. Biggerstaff told me that the table took 10 men and a small crane to lift into the restaurant. New walls were constructed around it.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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‘The bad guys can get in’: Hackers at a cybersecurity conference breached dozens of voting machines within minutes

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Hackers were able to break into US voting machines in less than two hours

  • Hackers at a cybersecurity conference breached 30 voting machines in less than two hours.
  • The episode demonstrates the US’ continued vulnerability to electoral tampering by state actors.
  • Some believe that going back to paper ballots is the only way to guard against future cyberattacks from Russia or other foreign powers. 

Professional hackers were invited to break into dozens of voting machines and election software at this year’s annual DEFCON cybersecurity conference. And they successfully hacked every single one of the 30 machines acquired by the conference. 

The challenge was held at DEF CON’s "Voting Village," where hackers took turns breaching ten sample voting machines and voter registration systems, Politico reported

Carten Schurman, a professor of computer science at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, was able to break into one voting machine in minutes. 

"I could have done this in 2004, or 2008, or 2012," Schurman told Politico. With access to the voting machine, Schurman had the the power not only to see all the votes cast on the machine, but also to manipulate the results.

DEF CON’s hacking exercise came as the US grapples with the fallout from Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, which included attempts to tamper with voting systems. 

Bloomberg reported in June that election systems in as many as 39 states could have been attacked by Russian state actors, though voting tallies are not believed to have been altered or manipulated in any way.

"In Illinois, investigators found evidence that cyber intruders tried to delete or alter voter data," Bloomberg said. "The hackers accessed software designed to be used by poll workers on Election Day, and in at least one state accessed a campaign finance database."

The report was bolstered by a leaked NSA document published by The Intercept in June detailing how hackers connected to Russian military intelligence had attempted to breach US voting systems days before the election.

At DEFCON, an intern named Anne-Marie Hwang was able to gain administrative access to a voting machine by simply using a generic key like the ones poll workers are given, plugging in a keyboard to the machine, and hitting control-alt-delete, Politico reported. 

voting machine

Participants were also able to uncover voter data from 2002 in a machine still being used in certain parts of seven states and across the state of Nevada.

Hackers obtained the data despite the fact that the machine had been wiped when it was auctioned off by the government. 

The ease with which hackers were able to break into voting machines should serve as an important warning signal to US authorities. 

"’Unhackable’ is absurd on its face," panel moderator and former Department of Homeland Security adviser Jack Braun told Politico. "If the Russians and Chinese and whoever else can get into NSA and Lockheed Martin and JP Morgan, they absolutely can get into Kalamazoo County or the state of Ohio or the [voting machine] vendor."

The results at DEF CON show that "the bad guys can get in," Braun added. 

‘If Russia wants you badly enough…they will find a way’

Some argue that it’s very unlikely hackers would be able to manipulate vote tallies in a national election. 

Eric Hodge, the director of consulting at CyberScout and a consultant for Kentucky’s Board of Elections, told The Hill that because voting machines are distributed county-to-county, it makes it hard for intruders to swing national results. 

To be sure, a US official told Bloomberg in June that the decentralized nature of voting systems may have prevented hackers from being able to use a uniform approach to access and manipulate voter data. 

But in national elections that are closely contested, the numbers could come down to just a few critical swing districts, which could be targeted by nefarious actors. 

optical voting machine

And national elections are not the only ones that could prove vulnerable to a cyberattack. Virginia and New Jersey will hold gubernatorial elections later this year, and all 435 seats in the House and 33 of the 100 seats in the Senate will be contested in the 2018 midterm elections.

"Follow the money," Harri Hursti, the cofounder of Nordic Innovation Labs, which helped organize DEF CON, told The Hill. "On the other end of the ballot, that’s where the money is — banks and roads."

Hodge said that if officials take care to "store machines, set them up, [and] always have someone keeping an eye on machines," that could go a long way in ensuring the safety of the electoral process.

But others are not so sure.

"Going back to a scantron machine is probably the best bet" to guard against cyberattacks, Alex McGeorge, the head of threat intelligence at cybersecurity firm Immunity Inc, told Business Insider. "It’s unlikely that one could create software that would withstand the attention of a nation-state, especially if you had physical access to the machines."

That assessment was echoed by Barbara Simons, the Board Chair of Verified Voting, a nonprofit that studies US election equipment. 

Simons told Politico that DEFCON exercise sheds light on the need for the US to go back to using verifiable paper ballots and mandatory audits. Still, her concerns extended to states that have begun moving in that direction.

"Even where there are paper ballots, most ballots haven’t been checked to see if there was any hacking or intrusion, so even if security people didn’t see any outside hacking occurring on Election Day, things could have been attacked earlier," Simons told Politico. 

McGeorge underscored the fact that the US will continue to be vulnerable if it relies on election software with lax security. 

"If Russia wants you badly enough, they will out-spend you to find a way," he said. "Voting is important enough to be extremely cautious about how we use computers." 

SEE ALSO: Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer sheds new light on the extent of Russia’s election interference

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Researchers created fake footage of Obama speaking — and the results are scary

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Everything You Need to Know About Using Video in Social Marketing [Infographic]

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The use of video in social media has exploded over the past few years, and marketers are getting their bearings on how to handle this medium on social channels.

A study by Animoto asked 1,000 consumers what they want to see with regard to social video. It also surveyed 500 marketers to determine whether they are fulfilling those expectations.

Highlights from the study were compiled into an infographic, which includes the following findings:

• 39% of consumers are more likely to finish videos that have subtitles. (The infographic reports that, according to Digiday, 85% of Facebook video is watched without sound.)

• Preference between pre-recorded video and Facebook Live was split nearly down the middle, with pre-recorded video having just a slight edge (52% vs. 48%).

• 81% of marketers optimize their social videos for mobile.

To see more about how consumers and marketers are using video in social media, check out the infographic. Just tap or click to see a larger version.

Laura Forer is the manager of MarketingProfs: Made to Order, Original Content Services, which helps clients generate leads, drive site traffic, and build their brands through useful, well-designed content.

LinkedIn: Laura Forer

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Here’s The Brutal Workout Routine And Diet Plan Brad Pitt Used To Get Ripped For ‘Fight Club’

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20th Century Fox

Want to be as shredded as Brad Pitt was when he played wackjob Tyler Durden in Fight Club? Who wouldn’t? Follow this workout routine and diet plan and you’ve got a shot.

Oh, and unlike the club, there is no rule about not talking about the Fight Club workout routine and diet plan so feel free to share. Or not, up to you.

Back in 1999 when the film hit theaters, not only were people taken aback by the amazing story, they were also very impressed with just how ripped Brad Pitt was in the movie.

Reportedly, Pitt, who stands 5-foot-11, got down to around five or six percent body fat, putting him somewhere in the 155 pound range – almost all of it muscle.

So not only was Pitt acting like he was in a fight club, he damn well looked like he could have been in one as well.

According to Fitness B&W here’s how he did it…

Monday – Chest
Push-ups – 3 sets of 25 reps
Bench press – 25, 15 & 8 reps @ 165, 195, 225 lbs
Nautilus press – 15 reps @ 80, 100, 130 lbs
Incline press – 15 reps @ 80, 100, 130 lbs
Pec deck – 15 reps @ 60, 70, 80 lbs

Tuesday – Back
25 pull ups – 3 sets to fatigue
Seated rows – 3 sets @ 75, 80, 85 lbs
Lat pull downs – 3 sets @ 135, 150, 165 lbs
T-bar rows – 3 sets @ 80, 95, 110 lbs

Wednesday – Shoulders
Arnold press – 3 sets @ 55 lbs
Laterals – 3 sets @ 30 lbs
Front raises – 3 sets @ 25 lbs

Thursday – Biceps & Triceps
Preacher curls – 3 sets @ 60, 80, 95 lbs
EZ curls cable – 3 sets @ 50, 65, 80 lbs
Hammer curls – 3 sets @ 30, 45, 55 lbs
Push downs – 3 sets @ 70, 85, 100 lbs

Friday & Saturday – Cardio
Treadmill – 1 hour at 80-90% MHR

Sunday – Rest (finally!)

brad pitt workout routine diet plan fight club

20th Century Fox

And, according to HighSnobiety, this is what he ate…

Breakfast: Eggs (six whites, seven yolks) and 75g of oatmeal with raisins

Mid-Morning Snack: Tinned tuna in whole wheat pita breads

Lunch: Two chicken breasts, 75-100g brown rice or pasta and green veggies

Pre-Workout Snack: A protein bar or whey protein shake and a banana

Post Workout: Whey protein shake and a banana

Dinner: Grilled fish or chicken, brown rice or pasta, vegetables and salad.

Evening Snack: Casein protein shake or low fat cottage cheese (slow release protein).

Piece of cake, right?

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