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Sep 6, 2017

Spell it Out: What, exactly, backs Bitcoin?

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, economics

On August 1 2017, the value of a Bitcoin was at $2,750 US dollars. Today, just over one month later, it is poised to leap past $5,000 per unit. With this gain, many people are asking if Bitcoin has any genuine, inherent value. Is it a pyramid scheme? —Or is it simply a house of cards ready to collapse when the wind picks up?

In a past article, I explained that Bitcoin fundamentals ought to place its value in the vicinity of $10,000.* (At the time, it was less than $450, and had even fallen to $220 in the following year).

For many consumers viewing the rising interest in Bitcoin from the stands, there is great mystery surrounding the underlying value. What, if anything, stands behind it? This is a question with a clear and concise answer. In fact, it has a very definitive and believable answer—but it is easiest to understand with just a little bit of historical perspective.

At one time, G7 fiat currencies were backed by a reserve of physical Gold or the pooling or cross-ownership of other currencies that are backed by gold. That ended in 1971 when the Bretton Woods agreement was dissolved by president Richard Nixon in Ithaca NY.

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Sep 6, 2017

The AgeMeter campaign has now reached over 75% funded

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

A few more donations will put it in striking distance to be completed by a top-level pledge (of which there have already been 2), so please help put it over the top if you can. Thanks!

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Sep 6, 2017

Hackers attacking US and European energy firms could sabotage power grids

Posted by in category: cybercrime/malcode

Now, Symantec reports, the group has resumed operations, apparently working since late 2015 to investigate and penetrate energy facilities in at least three countries: the US, Turkey and Switzerland.

“The Dragonfly group appears to be interested in both learning how energy facilities operate and also gaining access to operational systems themselves, to the extent that the group now potentially has the ability to sabotage or gain control of these systems should it decide to do so,” the cybersecurity firm warns.

Dragonfly’s methods are varied, but all its attacks seem to be focused on researching the inner workings of energy firms. It has been seen sending malicious emails with attachments that leak internal network credentials, which are then used to install backdoors on the network allowing the hackers to take control of computers and systems. They’ve also been seen seeding fake flash updates to install the backdoors and carrying out “watering hole” attacks, hacking third-party websites that were likely to be visited by people working in the energy sector.

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Sep 6, 2017

Sun Unleashes Monster Solar Flare, Strongest in a Decade

Posted by in category: space

Early this morning (Sept. 6), the sun released two powerful solar flares — the second was the most powerful in more than a decade.

At 5:10 a.m. EDT (0910 GMT), an X-class solar flare — the most powerful sun-storm category — blasted from a large sunspot on the sun’s surface. That flare was the strongest since 2015, at X2.2, but it was dwarfed just 3 hours later, at 8:02 a.m. EDT (1202 GMT), by an X9.3 flare, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). The last X9 flare occurred in 2006 (coming in at X9.0).

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Sep 6, 2017

Top Silicon Valley tech exec on cash handouts: Let’s eliminate poverty for all Americans

Posted by in categories: economics, employment, ethics

It’s de rigeur for the many of the richest of the rich to tout the benefits of giving cash handouts to all American citizens, in part as a way to end poverty. The idea, called universal basic income (UBI), is for every individual to be paid a regular sum of money regardless of employment status.

One of the tech elite who has an interest in universal basic income is self-made multimillionaire and Y Combinator President Sam Altman. “Eliminating poverty is such a moral imperative and something that I believe in so strongly,” Altman tells CNBC Make It.

“There’s so much research about how bad poverty is. There’s so much research about the emotional and physical toll that it takes on people.

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Sep 6, 2017

Startup unveils futuristic exoskeletons to help disabled kids walk

Posted by in categories: cyborgs, robotics/AI

The ‘Iron Man’ exoskeleton that can let disabled children walk again.

  • Tréxō Robotics has created and exoskeleton that can help immobile kids walk
  • It attached to walkers and is battery-powered to help them propel themselves
  • It can help kids with Cerebral Palsy, Paraplegia, stroke, spine and brain injuries

By Sage Lazzaro For Dailymail.com

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Sep 6, 2017

Cellular ‘time machine’ could offer Parkinson’s treatment

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension, neuroscience

The secret to a long life? A protein that acts as a cellular ‘time machine’ is found to extend the lifespan of fruit flies by 20%.


Biologists have turned back the clock on ageing in the cells of fruit flies, by increasing levels of a protein called Drp1.

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Sep 6, 2017

Robots could soon fly using Iron Man-style jet packs

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Researchers from the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa outlined the initial phase of their scheme in a paper published on the online e-print repository Arxiv.org.

A similar design was successfully demonstrated by British inventor Richard Browning back in April.

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Sep 6, 2017

Car navigation tech brings new twists and turns to driving

Posted by in categories: mapping, robotics/AI, transportation

How dumb AI came to run the world

“People are becoming trained to just blindly follow their mapping apps. The concern is the apps aren’t making any distinction between what happens when cars travel on highways and when they travel on city streets by schools and through neighborhoods,” says Hans Larsen, public works director in Fremont, California, a San Francisco Bay area suburb on the fringes of Silicon Valley.”

“The traffic being diverted off clogged highways during the morning and evening commutes became so insufferable in Fremont that city leaders decided about a year ago to try to outwit the apps. The city of about 230,000 people started to ban turns at several key intersections at certain times along the shortcuts being touted by Waze and other mapping services.”

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Sep 6, 2017

Oxford scientists collaborate with A.I firm on ageing related diseases

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension, robotics/AI

Oxford scientists are collaborating with artificial Intelligence company Insilico Medicine to prevent unnecessary animal sacrifice and derive more data from experiments in age related research.

The MouseAge.org initiative is being managed by UK charity; Biogerontology Research Foundation and will also include researchers from Harvard and Youth Laboratories in the development of tools for cross-species analysis and novel biomarkers of ageing and various diseases in mice.

Insilico Medicine which provides advanced machine learning services to skin care companies, is using the field of ‘omics’ to introduce a broad range of deep-learned biomarkers of ageing and age-related diseases.

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