Bitcoin suffers from its own power usage and from real power – 3 examples

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The price of bitcoin, the leading digital currency, is falling. While bitcoin is not alone, and Ripple is plunging at a faster pace, BTC remains the poster child of cryptocurrencies and it gets special attention.

Power usage by bitcoin miners has been an issue for a long time. While in Quebec, the province has spare capacity for electricity that is based on renewable energy, this isn’t the case in many other places. While the electricity consumption of bitcoin mining is huge, it isn’t making a lot of transactions.

1 – High power usage brings in real power

Already now, it takes a lot of time to confirm a transaction and fees are not that cheap. If bitcoin transactions reached the volume of major credit card companies like VISA, mining would consume the power output of the whole planet.

And power as in electricity isn’t the only power issue. The growing use of electricity by Chinese BTC miners, the authorities are showing their real power. China has reportedly ordered an “orderly exit” out of bitcoin mining. The country is showing its power in face of high power usage.

2 – Crackdown on crypto-exchanges

Authorities in South Korea are also muscling up: a ban on exchanges has been proposed as the Asian nation has got into a “crypto-craze”. A lot of people have jumped into trading digital coins and have become addicted. The government weighs in.

While some public outcry may delay the new measures, the direction is clear: the government in Seoul does not want this trade to get out of control.

3 – Abusing power and artificial prices

And bitcoin also suffers from an abuse of power or at least suffered from such back in 2013. According to a new report, the jump in BTC/USD back a few years ago on Mt. Gox was manipulated and was part of a scheme by the company to cover up a huge theft of coins. The company went bust but the artificial rise in the price was real and had a lasting impact.

Will bitcoin continue falling?

More:

Get the 5 most predictable currency pairs

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Stop Bringing Your Phone to the Bathroom

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Photo: Timothy Vollmer via Flickr

There are lots of reasons to keep your phone out of the bathroom, but protecting your phone from germs or potential falls into the toilet are secondary—though, yes, stop putting your phone in your back pocket, that’s dangerous But the real reason to leave your phone out of the bathroom is mindfulness.

For as long as there have been toilets, there have been the things we read while we sit on them—books, crossword puzzles, the backs of shampoo bottles. Distracting yourself while you’re on the toilet isn’t new to our hyper-connected digital age.

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But bringing your phone into the bathroom—to read, scroll Twitter, or play Two Dots or whatever—means something different when you’re bringing your phone with you everywhere else, too. It’s not news that it’s good for our brains to have some downtime. Just a few minutes here or there where we’re not taking in information or stimulation can give you an important break, a chance to see what’s happening in your own mind.

One way to cultivate mindfulness is through meditation, but another is to find time to just let your mind wander. My meditation teacher actually told me about another Buddhist monk he knew who made sure to have a few evenings a week with nothing to do—he’d just sip a cup of tea and look out the window and… let his mind do what it wanted to do. He saw it as an important counterbalance to the focusing practice of meditation.

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Even if you’re not into meditation, making space for quiet can be hugely valuable. It’s a chance to check in with yourself, see how you’re feeling when you’re not focused on work or reading or listening. It’s just you. Maybe you’ll notice for the first time all day that you feel anxious, or the quiet will be a chance to ruminate on a problem that’s been bugging you, leading you closer to a solution. It’s unstructured mental time, and that’s often a precious and rare thing.

And more generally, “look at my phone less” is a difficult change to implement on its own. Any goal so vague and lacking boundaries is easy to let slide. But the bathroom is the perfect contained aspect of your life to apply this practice incrementally. (Of course, if you have a digestive issue that has you in the bathroom for extended periods of time, I’m not going to deny you some distraction!) But try leaving your phone outside of the bathroom and just sitting with your own thoughts. See what they turn out to be.

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Americans say social media is destroying the news — but nobody knows what to do about it

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Social media truly is bringing Americans together… in our frustration over social media giants. 

Americans are fed up with the role that big tech companies now play in the news media, according to a new study from the Knight Foundation and Gallup. 

Maybe worse — we’re enormously conflicted on what to do about that.

On Tuesday, the Knight Foundation and Gallup published a sweeping study about the public’s perception of the media — including tech companies — and its role in politics and society. 

Entitled “American Views: Trust, Media and Democracy,” the study surveyed 19,196 Americans over the age of 18 about their news consumption habits, the extent that they believe the media is important to a democracy, whether they believe the media is succeeding in informing the public, how the proliferation of online news sources is contributing to their consumption of current events, the extent of the problem of fake news, and more. 

Many of the study’s statistical findings basically support what we’re all experiencing: a massive amount of vitriol and suspicion directed towards the press, the breakdown of faith in objective facts and reporting, the proliferation of partisanship across the board.

There’s one thing Americans agree on: everyone’s got to do better.

For all of these factors, the study compares differing opinions and behaviors across demographics like race, age, political views, party affiliation, and education. 

“I think it’s particularly sobering not just for media organizations, but for all of the organizations that are helping people become informed, including the major technology gatekeepers like Facebook and Twitter and Google,” said Brandon Busteed, a partner in Gallup’s government division.

The 2017 Gallup-Knight Foundation report on Trust, Media and Democracy was co-funded by the Knight Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Open Society Foundation. It was completed as part of the Knight Foundation’s Trust, Media and Democracy initiative.

Image: Gallup/knight foundation

Things get interesting when the study’s authors dig into the role social media and tech companies are playing in the public’s perception of the news. The study looked at how people use and feel about social media, and how people think social media should function as part of the news ecosystem. 

The picture their findings paint is one of conflicted ambivalence. But there’s finally one thing Americans agree on: everyone’s got to do better.

The echo chamber

Within social sharing sites, the study found that people share news knowing that most people they’re sharing a piece of news with will agree with it. People are aware that social media can and does further entrench partisan beliefs; however, they do see that as a problem: 57 percent of people say associating only with people who hold similar beliefs to yours is a “major problem.”

Image: GALLUP/KNIGHT FOUNDATION

Image: GALLUP/KNIGHT FOUNDATION

Delete ur account

Americans have an overall negative opinion of how Facebook and other social media sites are affecting the trustworthiness of the news. 

Furthermore, social media use itself has a corrosive effect: the more a demographic engages with social media, the less faith they have in the media as a whole. The largest group that has an unfavorable view of the news media is 18-29 year olds, who, surprise surprise, get their news the most from social feeds.

Image: GALLUP/KNIGHT FOUNDATION

Americans also believe that, thanks to technological developments, the proliferation of available news sources  is confusing them more than informing them. That finding skews conservative, but is consistent in terms of age.

Image: GALLUP/KNIGHT FOUNDATION

Sam Gill, Knight’s vice president for communities and impact, said that this was one of the study’s most surprising findings for him.

“An implicit core tenet of our democracy is that the more information we have access to, the more likely we are to get to the truth, to make better decisions,” Gill said. “At a time when we have as much information as we’ve ever had, we find it’s harder today to be informed than in the past. And I think that’s something that should give us pause.”

Where do we go from here? America says: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Facebook, Google, and Twitter have been in political hot water for how Russian hackers were able to manipulate their sites in order to influence the election. And while some members of Congress have expressed strong opinions about the need to regulate social media’s role in the news because of these controversies, American citizens aren’t so sure. 

Not only are Americans split on whether these companies should or shouldn’t be regulated — 49 percent for, 47 percent against — extreme splits are consistent within the demographics themselves.

Image: GALLUP/KNIGHT FOUNDATION

Survey respondents are also unsure about whether institutions or individuals are responsible for media objectivity, trust, and accountability. Half think it’s up to us to parse fact from opinion, to ensure “people have an accurate and politically balanced understanding of the news.” The other half want to put their faith in news organizations.

Image: Gallup/knight foundation

“People are mixed, or ambivalent, about who should play a role, who’s most responsible,” Busteed said. “This may be an issue that’s so important that we all feel responsibility, or we feel everybody has a responsibility, so that becomes the collective commons issue of, if we all feel responsible, how do we each act individually?”

So what?

Reading through the Gallup/Knight study, the numbers seem to confirm the sorry state of affairs the media is in, that we can feel in our guts, and our newsfeeds.

But Sam Gill is optimistic.

“People recognize the profound role that this technology plays in their lives, but are unclear, again, about what the rules and the norms ought to be,” Gill said “That’s a fantastic opportunity, hopefully, for a conversation about solutions that can cross sectors, or cross many of the divides that make other issues intractable.”

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Honda launches the 2018 Super Cub with a K-Speed custom

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Custom 2018 Honda Super Cub by K-Speed
The Honda Super Cub truly is super. It’s been in production for six decades, and in that time 100 million units have rolled off the line. What’s more, it was the ad for the Super Cub that originally launched the iconic slogan, ‘You meet the nicest people on a Honda.’

The Super Cub’s design has gradually modernized over the years, but the new 2018 model takes cues from the original, for a more retro look. In stock form the 109cc, fuel-injected scoot mixes old school charm with modern tech, being equipped with drum brakes and LED lighting.

Custom 2018 Honda Super Cub by K-Speed
The 2018 Super Cub goes on sale in Thailand today—and into production in a Thai factory. (Honda builds the Super Cub in numerous factories around the globe).

To mark the occasion, Honda Thailand handed the crew at K-Speed a new Super Cub last month, and gave them just 30 days to build something special.

Custom 2018 Honda Super Cub by K-Speed
“We call this bike ‘Super Power Cub’,” our contact at K-Speed tells us. “The concept for this bike is modern retro—so we combined new style, like the LED turn signals, with vintage style; wing-shaped handlebars, ‘sawtooth’ tires and finished in classic matt black and white. And still keeping the iconic part—the lower fairing.”

Custom 2018 Honda Super Cub by K-Speed
The new Super Cub looks so good out the box that we wouldn’t know what to do with it, but K-Speed have knocked this one out the park. It reminds us of a French Bulldog; it looks like it wants to brawl, but it’s actually quite cute.

The biggest visual change is up front, where K-Speed tore apart the stock steering cluster. The OEM headlight now sits further down, housed in a custom-made nacelle. Up top are a new set of custom-made handlebars, adorned with a new throttle, Biltwell Inc. grips and a bell borrowed from the shop bicycle.

Custom 2018 Honda Super Cub by K-Speed
Custom switches mounted below the steering stem control the starter and turn signals, with a simple analog speedo mounted just behind them. And all the wires that used to be housed inside the plastic cluster have been re-routed.

The Super Cub’s stance has been dramatically reworked too, thanks to a pair of 17×2.50 wheels wrapped in vintage-style Vee Rubber tires. K-Speed also fabricated metal fork covers, giving the whole front end a far beefier feel.

Custom 2018 Honda Super Cub by K-Speed
There’s some crafty fabrication out back too. The guys lopped off the end of the frame, then capped it off with a neat little hand-made fender. The swingarm’s been upgraded to a bolt-on aluminum unit, and the rear shocks to adjustable items. (And yes, that’s a leather tool roll attached to the swing arm.)

K-Speed’s core business is actually aftermarket parts supply, so it’s not surprising that they have their own brand of custom accessories; Diablo. They raided the Diablo catalog for a new tail light and LED turn signals.

Custom 2018 Honda Super Cub by K-Speed
The tail light’s mounted low down on the right, with a license plate bracket on the opposite side. The turn signals are actually designed as bar-end numbers, but K-Speed have adapted them to mount in the fender at the back, and on the sides of the new fork covers out in front. (TL;DR: this thing’s still road legal.)

Custom 2018 Honda Super Cub by K-Speed
Other Diablo parts include the exhaust and ribbed side panels, though both were designed specifically for this bike. We’re hoping that means that K-Speed intends to put them into production for other Super Cub owners.

As we’ve come to expect from the Thai shop, there are a number of nifty little touches sprinkled throughout—including ‘hand grenade’ valve caps on the wheels and CNC-machined foot pegs.

Custom 2018 Honda Super Cub by K-Speed
The black and white paint is on point too, with a blacked-out engine and wheels keeping things muted. The seat’s been re-shaped, and re-upholstered with contrast stitching in a vertical tuck-and-roll pattern.

For the final trim, K-Speed removed the scooter’s tiny front grille and Honda logo, but kept its side badges and added new decals to the front and back.

Custom 2018 Honda Super Cub by K-Speed
We love that the Super Cub is still going strong, and we’re downright smitten with K-Speed’s spin on it.

In a perfect world, Honda would produce a limited edition K-Speed Super Cub, and we’d buy one for those Saturday morning coffee runs.

K-Speed website | Instagram | Images by OverRide Photo | Honda Thailand Super Cub product page

Custom 2018 Honda Super Cub by K-Speed

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Amazon, Dell, and 23 more companies that will let you work from anywhere

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woman map hiking thinking traveler

• In 2016, about 43% percent of Americans worked from home at least once and a while, according to Gallup.

FlexJobs recently released a list of the best companies when it comes to telecommuting.

• The companies are from a range of industries and include some big names like Amazon and Hilton.


Being able to work from anywhere certainly sounds like a great perk.

And about 43% percent of Americans said they worked from home at least once in a while in 2016, according to Gallup.

But not all companies will let you telecommute. So if flexible work is important to you, you’ve got to do your research.

To help out with your search, FlexJobs released a list of 100 companies that allow you to work from just about anywhere.

Out of a total of over 49,000 companies, these organizations listed the highest numbers of telecommuting job openings on FlexJobs in 2018.

Here are the top 25 organizations on the list:

SEE ALSO: The perks and perils of working from home, according to people who actually do it

DON’T MISS: 11 high-paying jobs you can do from home

25. K12

The Herndon, Virginia-based company was founded in 1999 and focuses on establishing digital learning platforms.

Available remote positions include: Latin high school teacher, full-time teacher, special education teacher

24. Robert Half International

Founded in 1948, Robert Half is a personnel services company based in Menlo Park, California.

Available remote positions include: Photo retoucher, bookkeeper, proofreader

23. Leidos

Leidos is an aerospace and defense company based in Reston, Virginia, that was founded in 1969.

Available remote positions include: Communications editor, systems administrator, cyber security engineer

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Even with Barack Obama as a first guest, David Letterman is getting lukewarm reviews for his ‘halfhearted’ new Netflix talk show

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letterman

  • Critics are lukewarm on the first episode of David Letterman’s new Netflix talk show, which features Barack Obama. 
  • The show currently sits at an early rating of 60% on Rotten Tomatoes. 

 

Critics are responding to the premiere episode of David Letterman’s new monthly Netflix talk show with generally lukewarm reviews. 

"My Next Guest With Needs No Introduction with David Letterman" currently sits at an early rating of 60% on the reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, after its debut, Barack Obama-featuring episode premiered Friday on the streaming service.

Around 40 minutes of the 56-minute-long episode are dedicated to an intimate and meandering conversation with the former president in a stripped-down, studio audience setting.

The Boston Globe’s Matthew Gilbert described Letterman’s talk with Obama as "a frustrating exercise in talking a lot but, ultimately, saying very little." Other critics had praise for the more personal anecdotes Obama shared, including a bit about helping his daughter move into Harvard. 

The remainder of the show consists of a solemn field segment with Letterman and Congressman John Lewis in Selma, Alabama. The two walk and converse on the bridge where Lewis endured a police beating in 1965, during a legendary Civil Rights march. 

In contrast to Letterman’s previous 22 years of hosting comedy-centric, late-night shows (NBC’s "Late Night" and CBS’s "The Late Show"), the first episode of his Netflix series features a more thoughtful and laid-back approach to the talk-show genre.

Netflix made a previous run at a talk-show series with Chelsea Handler’s "Chelsea," which it canceled in October after two seasons that failed to move the needle in a crowded landscape. In contrast to Letterman’s monthly series, "Chelsea" initially aired three times a week before scaling back to weekly episodes in its second season.

While USA Today’s Kelly Lawler called Letterman’s premiere "a bit lackluster" and "halfhearted," others saw potential in the show’s structure. Vulture’s Matt Zoller Seitz wrote, "The looser and more structurally inventive things get here, the more fascinating the results could be."

The remaining guests on the show’s first season include Jay-Z, Malala Yousafzai, Tina Fey, George Clooney, and Howard Stern. 

SEE ALSO: 19 Netflix original shows that both critics and audiences agree are amazing

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Meet Scott Rogowsky — the host of the hot new mobile game show HQ Trivia

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Visa will make signatures optional for chipped credit cards

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It’s been about a month since American Express and Mastercard decided to stop requiring signatures for EMV chip credit cards. Now Visa is joining their ranks, making signatures optional for chipped transactions in North America.

"Visa is committed to delivering secure, fast and convenient payments at the point of sale," said VIsa’s Dan Sanford in a statement. "Our focus is on continually evolving the market towards dynamic authentication methods such as EMV chip, as well as investing in emerging capabilities that leverage advanced analytics and biometrics. We believe making the signature requirement optional for EMV chip-enabled merchants is the responsible next step to enhance security and convenience at the point of sale."

Contact and contactless chip-enabled points of sale are taking over, of course, for their enhanced security and convenience for retail transactions. Visa notes that it has deployed more than 460 million EMV chip cards and readers at over 2.5 million locations.

Source: Visa

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As David Letterman’s first Netflix guest, Barack Obama warns against the ‘bubble’ of social media

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David Letterman seems to be taking the title of his new Netflix show very seriously: On the very first episode of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman, he’s joined by former U.S. President Barack Obama.

The episode has plenty of funny moments, like Obama ribbing Letterman about his nearly Biblical beard. But they cover substantive political topics, too — not just during the onstage interview, but also in Letterman’s walk across Selma’s famous Edmund Pettus Bridge with Congressman John Lewis.

In fact, Letterman seems to be treating the new show as an opportunity to move a little bit away from his usual sardonic style and offer more depth and seriousness. He ended the interview by telling Obama, “Without a question of a doubt, you are the first president I really and truly respect.”

On the tech front, Obama repeated some of the points he made in a recent BBC interview with the U.K.’s Prince Harry. After being asked about threats to our democracy, Obama warned against “getting all your information off algorithms being sent through a phone.”

He noted that he owes much of his own political success to social media, which helped him build “what ended up being the most effective political campaign, probably in modern political history.” So he initially had “a very optimistic feeling” about the technology, but he said, “I think that what we missed was the degree to which people who are in power … special interests, foreign governments, etc., can in fact manipulate that and propagandize.”

Obama then recounted a science experiment (“not a big scientific experiment, but just an experiment that somebody did during the revolution that was taking place in Egypt”) where a liberal, a conservative and a “quote-unquote moderate” were asked to search for “Egypt,” and Google presented each of them with very different results.

“Whatever your biases were, that’s where you were being sent, and that gets more reinforced over time,” he said. “That’s what’s happening with these Facebook pages where more and more people are getting their news from. At a certain point you just live in a bubble, and that’s part of why our politics is so polarized right now.”

Appropriately for a politician who was so closely associated with hope, Obama also offered some optimism: “I think it is a solvable problem, but I think it’s one that we have to spend a lot of time thinking about.”

It seems that Facebook and the other big platforms are at least trying to address the issue. Yesterday, for example, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social network will be prioritizing “meaningful social interactions” over news and publisher content.

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