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30 Sep 16:22

Will the Blockchain Save the Internet? Introducing Blockstack.. the New Internet

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Will the Blockchain Save the Internet?

During the current election cycle, we are perhaps seeing more censorship of content than at any time during our history. Everyday we hear about Facebook banning pages or Twitter deleting post. Even Google is said to be manipulating search results in an effort to create or destroy public images.

Being dependent on any social media platform to gain traffic to your content is a scary place to be for any content creator. Voicing certain opinions may get your accounts banned or at least shadow banned and there goes all of your traffic.

A new startup called Blockstack may be the answer to decentralizing information and ripping the power away from the big guys like Facebook, Google and Twitter.

Blockstack is often referred to as your internet powered by Bitcoin and Blockchain. This is not some fly by night company and they are investing in a brand new way of distributing content. This internet would be similar to the Steemit model where monetization is in the form of cryptocurrency and you have a private key for login.

These features take the power from sites like paypal and Facebook who want to dictate their own terms or bias.

You can read more about how Blockchain works by reading
the Blockchain paper here. 

 The founders of Steemit also get a nice mention in this article which addresses the fight for a truly free internet.  

30 Sep 02:28

‘State of Fear’ by Michael Crichton Could Be the ‘1984’ of Climate Alarmism

by Guest Blogger
Remlaps

I should read this again.

Revived today the best novel on “global warming” could be explosive. Guest essay by Walter Donway I guess that if I discovered “State of Fear” by Michael Crichton eleven years after its publication in 2004–reading it last summer with indescribable surprise and joy–you can tolerate a year-old review. This book could be the 1984 of…
29 Sep 23:21

Signed as Law: California Reins in Asset Forfeiture, Takes on Federal Equitable Sharing Program

by Michael Boldin

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Sept. 29, 2016) – Today, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that not only bolsters restrictions on state officials from seizing property without due process, but also throws a wrench into federal efforts to do the same.

Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) introduced Senate Bill 443 (SB443) last year. With the Governor’s signature, the new law sets additional restrictions to prevent abuses from civil asset forfeiture, a controversial practice that observers such as the Institute for Justice (IJ) have called “legal plunder.”

CLOSING THE FEDERAL LOOPHOLE

California previously had some of the strongest state-level restrictions on civil asset forfeiture, but law enforcement would often bypass the state restrictions by partnering with a federal asset forfeiture program known as “equitable sharing.”

Under these arrangements, state officials would simply hand over forfeiture prosecutions to the federal government and then receive up to 80 percent of the proceeds—even when state law banned or limited the practice. According to a report by the Institute for Justice, Policing for Profit, California ranked dead last of all states in the country between 2000 and 2013 as the worst offender.

Through this loophole, U.S. DOJ paid local and state agencies in California more than $696 million in equitable-sharing proceeds.

The new law contains provisions to prevent prosecutors from bypassing the more stringent state asset forfeiture laws by passing cases off to the federal government under its Equitable Sharing forfeiture program. The following language shuts the loophole in most situations:

State or local law enforcement authorities shall not refer or otherwise transfer property seized under state law to a federal agency seeking the adoption by the federal agency of the seized property.

SB443 makes it clear that state and local law enforcement agencies won’t receive federal equitable sharing money related to the seizure of assets unless it is expressly permitted under state law or if the seizure is over $40,000:

A state or local law enforcement agency participating in a joint investigation with a federal agency shall not receive an equitable share from the federal agency of all or a portion of the forfeited property…unless a defendant is convicted in an underlying or related criminal action of an offense for which the property is subject to forfeiture…

Boats, vehicles, and homes will still require a conviction regardless of value.

These provisions cover a vast majority of forfeiture proceedings in the state and make this law a substantial step forward over the status quo.

BROAD SUPPORT

Supported by a politically diverse group of grassroots organizations, SB443 passed in the state Senate last summer by a resounding 38-1 vote. This year, the full Assembly passed it with a 69-7 vote.

“By approving SB 443, California is taking aim at an appalling loophole that has let state and local law enforcement pad their budgets,” said Lee McGrath, Legislative Counsel, Institute for Justice. “Requiring a criminal conviction in most forfeiture cases is a common-sense approach to protecting the rights of the innocent, without jeopardizing public safety.”

“It’s those private citizens who could not be convicted of a crime whose assets that we need to protect,” Mitchell said.

As an additional protection, under the law notices will be required giving specific instructions to forfeiture victims about their right to receive a fair hearing to reclaim their lost property. It also changes the burden of proof that a state or local law enforcement agency must meet to succeed in a forfeiture action with regards to cash or negotiable instruments of a value over $40,000, from a clear and convincing standard to beyond a reasonable doubt.

NEXT UP

The ACLU of California summarized the main changes in the law this way:

  • Federal Cases: State and local law enforcement may only receive a share of forfeited property if there is an underlying conviction, or if the forfeited property is $40,000 or more in cash. Cash under $40,000 will require a conviction, as will vehicles, boats, homes, and other types of personal property regardless of their value;
  • State Cases: Cash under $40,000 may only be forfeited if there is an underlying conviction, increasing the cash threshold from the current $25,000. Boats, vehicles, and homes will still require a conviction regardless of value.

The new law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. The state will join with Nebraska and New Mexico, which have also closed this equitable sharing loophole in most situations.

30 Sep 13:38

Synereo and NFX Guild Launch Strategic Partnership to Build a Decentralized Internet

by Jessie Willms

In a major step forward for collaboration in building decentralized apps on blockchain technology, NFX Guild, a Silicon Valley startup accelerator and Tel Aviv-based blockchain tech company Synereo have signed a partnership agreement to build an ecosystem of decentralized applications (dApps) on Synereo’s Blockchain 2.0 platform.

The proposed “decentralized internet” will use Synereo’s own blockchain technology to enable apps, websites and web-services to work without a central location or authority to verify the authenticity of the transactions between actors.

Synereo calls its “World Computer” “the perfect decentralized social network...a virtual machine, capable of running decentralized applications (dApps), designed for massive use at blazing speeds.”

The company claims that the full Synereo tech stack, which has been in development for 5 years, has matured into a generic decentralized computation and storage platform, suitable for billions of users.

Hackathon Will Select Three Teams to Start

NFX Guild wants to find the best three teams for its dApp development program by sponsoring a hackathon. Hackathon winners along with “laureates” from Synereo’s grant program will be invited to apply for the NFX Accelerator Program.

The winning three teams will receive $120,000 in investment funds from NFX and an AMP grant from Synereo to build dApps on the blockchain.

"With the help of the NFX Guild, these dev teams will get the type of boost only the veterans of Silicon Valley can provide, allowing them to launch their Synereo-powered applications into mainstream hands," Dor Konforty, CEO of Synereo, said to Bitcoin Magazine

"Beyond this," he added, "we’ve learned much from the Guild ourselves, and are baking tools for creating network effects within and between applications created on the Synereo platform into our social layer. Real people/entities on the network, connected through a social graph, are able to enter into long term relationships and projects, and with the tools for large-scale collaboration we’re providing, there’s a much greater potential for the network to develop and stay strong than one where interactions are brief, carried out between interchangeable nodes."

James Currier, Managing Partner at NFX, explained the Guild's decision to choose Synereo’s technology for the project, stating:

“We have been looking at digital currencies, Blockchain, and the decentralized economy for over a decade. We’ve been looking for a time and a group that was not just cryptonerds, but that was practical, who wanted to build applications, who wanted to make it about the users experience of something great — not just about the technology and the math.”

Gigi Levy-Weiss, NFX Founding Partner, added:

“We found the Synereo team to have a unique combination of cryptocurrency and modern digital finance understanding alongside a real understanding of developer requirements and the know-how of how to build strong developer tools.”

Synereo’s website shows a total of $3.4 m raised in their current fundraising campaign during which the company is offering its AMP cryptocurrency at a fixed price and equity to qualifying investors at BnkToTheFuture.

Synereo’s Full Stack Blockchain Technology

Synereo was one of the first companies to design its own blockchain “stack” rather than using Ethereum’s or any other blockchain designs because, according to a blog on their website:

“Contemporary Blockchain solutions are still slow, wasteful and impossible to scale, and are overall unsuited to support the types of applications we’re used to on the net or for operating at the scale of Facebook or Twitter + Visa or Mastercard.”

The blog talks about Synereo’s own “World Computer” with billions of personal devices connected without a server farm or central point of control.

“Such a world computer wouldn’t only make the Internet virtually untouchable and censorship-resistant, it would also level the playing field and allow the commons to compete against the highly centralized leviathans of the contemporary tech industry.”

The company maintains that all the major players in the decentralization space have gone with their own blockchain technology, mainly to control and “own” the technology at the base of their stack.

As described in a recent article here, the Synereo blockchain stack can be described as:

“A four-layer system consisting of (from bottom-up): new blockchain technology called "RChain" or "Blockchain 2.0"; a distributed storage and content delivery protocol called "SpecialK"; its programming language for smart contracts and distributed apps called Rholang; and then the applications themselves.”

RChain: The Core Element of Synereo’s World Computer

According to the company, RChain can solve well-known problems of classical blockchain technology and is able to make blockchain based systems faster, cheaper to maintain and “infinitely scalable.”

RChain’s consensus protocol is based on the Casper Proof of Stake design designed by developers including Vitalik Buterin and Vlad Zamfir of Ethereum, Synereo’s CTO Greg Meredith, Ethan Buchman of Tendermint, Rick Dudley of Eris Industries, and Aron Fisher of Colony. Casper provides a model where consensus is as cheap as possible for everyone, except for hackers conducting an attack.

Synereo's most prominent application to date is the Social Network, which launched as an alpha version in August.

Like Steemit, the Social Network offers content on the network and rewards participants with Synereo’s currency AMP.

"There’s a lot of wisdom with regards to how to build useful applications that people appreciate that exists out here in Silicon Valley," said Konforty. "I think that in the rush to build a new Internet, many of the other projects in the space threw away much of it, it being tainted in their mind through association with the existing centralized model. At Synereo, we’re all pragmatics: we take the good, implement it in the new paradigm, and leave the exploitative, old models behind."

The post Synereo and NFX Guild Launch Strategic Partnership to Build a Decentralized Internet appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

30 Sep 11:45

Sorry Accenture, Bitcoin's Un-Editable Blockchain is a Feature Not a Flaw

by Brian Kelly
Making blockchains editable opens up financial systems to the potential for fraud, says author and investor Brian Kelly

Source

30 Sep 02:21

Charlotte: Inconvenient Facts

by Mike McDaniel
Keith Scott credit: bet.com

Keith Scott
credit: bet.com

In Charlotte, A Tale Of Two Black Lives, I observed: 

Keith Scott was not just another average Joe, a citizen going about his business, intending harm to none. He was a convicted felon, a felon convicted of multiple crimes of violence, many involving deadly weapons, including guns. His criminal record—which as reported by The Observer is surely incomplete—stretches over 24 years. His adult record began no later than when he was 19. With this kind of adult record, it is a virtual certainty he had a substantial juvenile record of offenses, which if committed by an adult, would have been felonies.

At that point, still very early in the case of Charlotte Police Officer Brently Vinson’s shooting of Keith Scott, almost everything was unknown, or unconfirmed, not that the “protestors” that engaged in arson, destruction of property, looting and murder cared about that. My point was that Scott’s available record clearly indicated that he was anything but an innocent that suffered an unprovoked attack by rogue police.

Much more is known now, courtesy of WCCB in Charlotte:

New details show Keith Lamont Scott had a violent past.

A domestic violence protective order was filed against Scott by his wife, Rakeyia Scott, in 2004 in Mecklenburg County.  Rakeyia claims Scott stabbed her in the back, almost puncturing her lungs.  She also claims he “sliced me [sic] ear and bruised my body.”

Officials in Texas tell WCCB that Scott spent seven years in prison for shooting a man in San Antonio.

Officials say he shot and injured a known acquaintance in 2005.  Court records show Scott was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.  Scott fired more than 10 rounds from a 9mm pistol, according to court records.  He was released from prison in 2011.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-10-35-30

In 2015, Scott’s wife filed another domestic violence protective order against him in Gaston County.  She claims he hit their 8-year-old child three times with his fists and kicked her, according to court records.  She also says he threatened to kill them with a gun, claiming he said he is a ‘killer’ and that they should know that.

Remember, gentle readers, this is the woman who painted Scott as a loving and loveable family man, a dedicated father of seven children. Media accounts also suggest Rakeyia Scott also told police Keith Scott the gun with which he threatened his loving family was stolen. WCOCTV in Charlotte added: 

Police said that Keith Scott did have a loaded gun when Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Brentley Vinson shot and killed him last week, and on Monday, sources told Channel 9 that that gun was stolen.

Police sources said someone else stole the gun during a home break-in and later sold it to Scott.

But even if Scott had a loaded, stolen gun, that doesn’t give the police the power to kill him for no reason. In a very narrow sense, that’s correct. I addressed the issues and misconceptions around police use of deadly force in Charlotte: Video And The Reality Of Gunfights. 

Fortunately, now we have a definitive statement from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department on the death of Keith Scott. I have no reason to disbelieve any portion of it, and the known evidence solidly supports it. The fact the media have generally avoided it like the plague is also compelling evidence of its accuracy. From the CMPD Facebook Page: 

There have been numerous unconfirmed reports published in the media concerning this case. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has prepared the following case update to provide factual information about the officer-involved shooting.

Two plain clothes officers were sitting inside of their unmarked police vehicle preparing to serve an arrest warrant in the parking lot of The Village at College Downs, when a white SUV pulled in and parked beside of them.

The officers observed the driver, later identified as Mr. Keith Lamont Scott, rolling what they believed to be a marijuana “blunt.” Officers did not consider Mr. Scott’s drug activity to be a priority at the time and they resumed the warrant operation. A short time later, Officer Vinson observed Mr. Scott hold a gun up.

Because of that, the officers had probable cause to arrest him for the drug violation and to further investigate Mr. Scott being in possession of the gun.

Note that the officers did not seek out Scott. He was unlucky enough to park next to two plainclothes officers and fire up a blunt. This sort of thing happens more often that many might think possible, and it’s generally hilarious for the police, but that hilarity soon ended. The presence of the gun made the situation very serious and demanded the officers intervene. Had he not displayed the gun, it’s likely Scott would have gone on his way never knowing about his close call with the police.  Remember, as you continue, gentle readers: the officers knew Scott–they didn’t know his name or background then–was armed with a handgun, and was using drugs.

Due to the combination of illegal drugs and the gun Mr. Scott had in his possession, officers decided to take enforcement action for public safety concerns. Officers departed the immediate area to outfit themselves with marked duty vests and equipment that would clearly identify them as police officers.

Upon returning, the officers again witnessed Mr. Scott in possession of a gun. The officers immediately identified themselves as police officers and gave clear, loud and repeated verbal commands to drop the gun. Mr. Scott refused to follow the officers repeated verbal commands.

A uniformed officer in a marked patrol vehicle arrived to assist the officers. The uniformed officer utilized his baton to attempt to breach the front passenger window in an effort to arrest Mr. Scott.

By this time, the officers demonstrated considerable restraint. They did not simply shoot him as he sat in his vehicle, ignoring their commands. Even though he was holding the gun, they did not believe they had to shoot–then.

Mr. Scott then exited the vehicle with the gun and backed away from the vehicle while continuing to ignore officers’ repeated loud verbal commands to drop the gun. Officer Vinson perceived Mr. Scott’s actions and movements as an imminent physical threat to himself and the other officers. Officer Vinson fired his issued service weapon, striking Mr. Scott. Officers immediately rendered first aid and requested Medic to respond to the scene.

Some have suggested that because Scott was moving slowly backwards, Officer Vinson was unjustified in shooting. This is nonsense, and demonstrates ignorance of the guidelines for the use of deadly force. If the elements allowing the use of deadly force are present, it doesn’t matter if Scott was standing still, moving sideways, or jumping up and down on one foot.

Homicide Unit Detectives interviewed multiple independent civilian witnesses at the scene and at police headquarters. Those witnesses confirmed that officers gave numerous loud verbal commands for Mr. Scott to drop the weapon and also confirmed that at no time did Mr. Scott comply with their commands.

A lab analysis conducted of the gun crime scene investigators recovered at the scene revealed the presence of Mr. Scott’s DNA and his fingerprints on the gun. It was also determined that the gun Mr. Scott possessed was loaded at the time of the encounter with the officers. The investigation also revealed that Mr. Scott was wearing an ankle holster at the time of the event.

In the previous post are photos of the gun, ankle holster and marijuana “blunt” in Mr. Scott’s possession at the time of the incident. Links to the portion of the digital mobile video recorder (dash-cam) and body worn camera footage that capture the time of the shooting are below.

The body worn camera illustrates the footage from the moment it was turned on until officers began rendering first aid to Mr. Scott

The dash-cam footage is from the time in which the officer operating the car with the dash-cam video arrives on the scene until officers began rendering first aid to Mr. Scott.

Keith Scott gave the officers not reasonable suspicion, but probable cause to arrest him when he parked beside them and started smoking pot. Holding a handgun and refusing to disarm himself, as the officers lawfully and entirely reasonably and repeatedly demanded, fulfilled every element for the use of deadly force. Take the link to Charlotte: Video And The Reality Of Gunfights, for that specific information. When Officer Vinson fired, he was entirely within the law and within the boundaries of the reasonable exercise of professional discretion.

But Vinson shot Scott four times!

Irrelevant. Vinson was lawfully justified in shooting. At that point, his reason for shooting was to stop Scott. To that end, the law allowed Vinson to shoot as many rounds as necessary from as big a gun as necessary to stop Scott, to stop him from doing what caused Vinson to have to shoot him.

But Scott had Traumatic Brain Injury!

Irrelevant. Police officers–actually everyone–must act based on what they observed and knew at the moment they were forced to fire. There was no way they could have known that, and they were forced to respond to Scott’s actions, not to what they might have been able to imagine as his motivations.

This is just another police attempt to discredit and smear the victim!

No. Explaining and publicizing Scott’s past history of felony crimes, particularly his violent crimes and his most recent violent attacks on his wife and children, are important for the public to understand Scott’s motivation. They are equally important that the public understand Scott was not the relative saint of the social justice narrative. They are not insinuating anything. They are not lying about his past. They are not misleading the public. On the contrary, they are responding to the public’s demands for information, though it is likely not the information some elements of the public want to hear.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-10-34-28

Note in this photograph the black ankle holster around Scott’s right ankle. The strap is undone, which indicates Scott removed the stolen Colt Mustang .380 from the holster, and was holding it in his right hand, just as the police account explained.

All of the known evidence indicates the officers were entirely innocent and professional in their actions, and entirely justified by law and common sense.

Keith Scott was not a peaceful, non-violent citizen set upon by evil rogue cops. If he had not had the bad luck to park beside two police officers, fire up a blunt and, for no apparent reason, display a handgun that turned out to be stolen, he would likely be alive today. If he had simply followed the officer’s orders, he would likely be alive today. At the very least, the police would not have shot him.

Brently Vinson credit: libertyuniversity

Brently Vinson
credit: libertyuniversity

It appears, at this point, the only remaining questions are whether Brently Vinson’s life is ruined, how much more in cash, tax revenue and the rule of law the lies about this case will cost Charlotte, and how quickly the Obama/Lynch Department of Justice will take to hold Charlotte and its police department and citizenry hostage.


Filed under: Courts and Cops
29 Sep 16:32

Congress's Aversion to Power Undercuts Constitutional Safegaurds

by Richard Morrison

A foundational principle behind the structure of the U.S. government, as provided by the Constitution, is that human beings are power hungry. In separating the powers inherent to government and also empowering each branch with checks over the other, the Founding Fathers’ idea was to counteract ambition with ambition, and thereby keep any one of the three branches from gaining ascendancy over the others.

It’s a great idea. And heretofore, it’s worked pretty well. Congress, the Presidency, and the Judiciary historically have sought to protect their respective turfs … until recently. In particular, Congress has abandoned institutional pride.

29 Sep 13:54

ROLI is the London startup that's building a totally new kind of musical instrument

by James Cook

ROLI CEO Roland Lamb

ROLI CEO Roland Lamb was walking home from his office in East London three years ago when his phone rang. "Hans Zimmer just called the office line and he was asking for you," said one of his employees who was still in the office.

Zimmer is the respected German composer who has scored over 150 movies including "The Lion King," "Gladiator," and "Inception."

A few minutes later, Lamb's phone rang again. "Hi, this is Hans Zimmer," the voice said. "I heard about your Seaboard, I’m in London, I want to see it."

The Seaboard is ROLI's only product. It's a futuristic version of the piano that lets you press down parts of the keys to change how they sound. The surface isn't hard like a keyboard, it's made of a springy, foam-like material that can be touched or pressed to make different noises. It's curved, too, so you can run your fingers over it.

ROLI Seaboard RISE 25 Series B Low Res keyboard music roland lamb

Business Insider met with Lamb at ROLI's office in East London, where he talked about his product, as well as his aspirations for it. He doesn't see the Seaboard as a new type of piano, instead, he describes it as "a bona fide new musical instrument."

Lamb is sitting in a small, sound-proof room in the middle of ROLI's office space. It's filled with Seaboards of various sizes, as well as musician Marco Parisi who demonstrated the product to us. Lamb describes meeting Parisi as "one of the most important landmarks for me in the history of this whole project."

Business Insider points out that most people think of a startup as building a software product like an app or website, not a hardware manufacturer that builds musical instruments. Lamb, however, sees ROLI "as an experiences company. We’re trying to deliver new experiences to people."

That's rather different from your run of the mill software startup (although ROLI has acquired two software companies along the way.) "We see ourselves in parallel to other companies that are creating new kinds of connected devices," Lamb says. "Whether it’s wearables or connected home or connected music."

Ask Lamb a question and he'll often sit back, pause, and carefully plan what he's about to say. There's no room for off the cuff answers. Lamb moved to Japan after leaving high school to study Zen Buddhism, and went on to study Classical Chinese and Sanskrit Philosophy at Harvard University.

Lamb says he came up for the idea for the Seaboard while sitting at a piano at the Royal College of Art in London and "thinking about music and design." He closed his eyes, he said, and played a handful of notes. It didn't quite make the sound he wanted, though. Instead of playing three notes together, he wanted to be able to press the key once and change the note instead.

ROLI has gone on to attract attention from some big names in the music industry. Lamb says that when he started the business he created a list of famous people who he wanted to get Seaboards in front of. He says that "eight out of 10" of them now have the device.

One person who Lamb was initially unsuccessful in reaching was musician Stevie Wonder. He tried to get in touch with him to give him a Seaboard but wasn't able to. However, years later, people representing Wonder actually contacted ROLI inquiring about the Seaboard.

ROLI announced in May that it had raised $27 million (£20.7 million) in a funding round led by Foundry Group, with participation from BGF Ventures, and Founders Fund, as well as existing investors Balderton Capital, Index Ventures, and Universal Music Group.

What's it like raising money from Universal Music Group? Surprisingly, Lamb says it's not too different from normal tech venture capital funds. "In the big picture it’s quite similar," he said. "Maybe slightly different points of emphasis so their domain knowledge about some aspects of investments might not be quite as strong as leading global VC firms but it’s not far off."

Lamb says that ROLI will continue to develop its keyboard product, but hints that it has explored alternative ideas for new musical instruments. "We’re ... totally open to considering other form factors and other applications of the technology a little bit down the road," he says. "There’s all kinds of exciting ideas that have been germinating."

Right now those ideas continue to come from ROLI's London office. It's a busy place, with musicians and developers wandering around. Sky News visited the day before to livestream Parisi playing a Seaboard, and Lamb has to dash off to another interview. Days after we visit, the office hosts a group performance with lots of customers playing their Seaboards together.

Many of ROLI's famous customers are based in Los Angeles. Would it be easier for ROLI to move its team to the US? Well, no, Lamb is committed to staying in London: "The reason was that I fell in love with a woman and she was in London and I had to be near her so I moved over here. Fortunately, she’s now my wife so Britain is not just great for business, it’s also great for love."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This incredibly simple trick fixes your iPhone if it's acting slow — and it takes less than 30 seconds

29 Sep 13:00

Bastiat for the Ages

by Jeff Riggenbach

Two hundred-odd years old he may be, but his ideas are forever young.

29 Sep 14:30

Why Was Coffee Drinking Once Scandalous?

by Jeffrey Tucker

The commercial availability of coffee actually contributed to the advance of women’s rights!

28 Sep 14:05

The Liberal and Conservative Experience Across Academic Disciplines: An Extension of Inbar and Lammers

by Sean Stevens

Are progressive academics openly hostile and discriminatory towards their conservative colleagues?  Could such hostility help explain the well-known discrepancy between progressive* and conservative faculty members on college campuses?

Initial research published by Yoel Inbar and Joris Lammers in 2012 suggested that the answer to these questions is yes – at least among social and personality psychologists.  Specifically, a sample of social and personality psychologists reported a greater willingness to actively discriminate against conservative colleagues.  The small number of conservative social and personality psychologists sampled also reported experiencing a more hostile climate within their department.

Yet, there are a number of plausible hypotheses that can explain the ideological discrepancy between progressives and conservatives within academia. These hypotheses include:

  • The self-selection hypothesis: Conservatives may self-select out of academia (see Gross, 2013) because for a variety of reasons that include being less interested in new ideas or possessing a greater desire for higher levels of income.
  • The “birds of a feather flock together” hypothesis: People in general may be more attracted to “birds of a feather” and more likely to join organizations made up of “people like them” (see Schneider, Goldstein, & Smith, 1995).
  • The ideological-conflict hypothesis: People in general are prejudiced towards and intolerant of ideologically dissimilar others (see Brandt, Reyna, Chambers, Crawford, & Wetherell, 2014).

Additionally, one important methodological criticism of Inbar and Lammers is that their survey assessed responses to conservatives and conservatively motivated research without assessing responses to progressives and progressively motivated research (see Skitka, 2012).  New research by Nathan Honeycutt and Laura Freberg addressed this criticism in a sample not limited to social and personality psychologists. This research also allowed for an investigation of two of the hypotheses outlined above: The “birds of a feather flock together” hypothesis and the ideological-conflict hypothesis.

Briefly, the main findings reported by Honeycutt and Freberg were:

  • Conservatives reported experiencing a more hostile climate than progressives or moderates.
  • Both conservatives and progressives reported perceiving a more hostile climate for their colleagues who shared their political orientation.
  • Progressive respondents reported greater willingness to discriminate against conservatives or conservatively motivated research when: reviewing papers for publication, reviewing grants for funding, considering who to invite for a symposium, and in hiring decisions.  The willingness to discriminate against conservatives was strongest for hiring decisions.
  • Conservative respondents reported greater willingness to discriminate against progressives or progressively motivated research when: reviewing papers for publication, reviewing grants for funding, considering who to invite for a symposium, and in hiring decisions.  The willingness to discriminate against liberals was strongest for hiring decisions.

These findings replicate and extend those reported by Inbar and Lammers: Conservatives within academia reported experiencing a more hostile climate then their progressive and moderate counterparts. While progressives within academia may think conservative academics suffer from a “persecution complex” (see Honeycutt & Freberg, p. 7), the results of Honeycutt and Freberg suggest that a good number of progressive academics are willing to be discriminatory towards their more conservative colleagues. However, it is important to note that the results also indicate that conservatives within academia appear just as willing to be discriminatory towards their progressive colleagues, if given the opportunity:

“Both liberals and conservatives expressed a similar explicit willingness to discriminate against each other. These results support the ideological symmetry claims for prejudice and political bias and are inconsistent with social psychological research arguing that conservatives are more prejudiced and intolerant of others than are liberals (e.g., Amodio et al., 2007; Sibley & Duckitt, 2008)” (Honeycutt & Freberg, 2016, p. 6).

In other words, while progressives held prejudices towards conservatives, conservatives also held prejudices towards progressives.  These findings support the ideological-conflict hypothesis (see Brandt et al., 2014).  Within academia however, the ideological imbalance between progressives and conservatives makes it likely that progressive prejudice is more widespread within the academy than conservative prejudice.

Exposure to different viewpoints often results in increased tolerance (see Mutz, 2006).  On the other hand, isolation from different viewpoints can lead to intolerance, group polarization and extremism (see Keating, Van Boven, & Judd, 2016; Sunstein, 2006; Sunstein, 2009).  Although the academy may never achieve an equal balance of progressives and conservatives, the scholarship it produces will likely benefit from a greater diversity of viewpoints.


Suggested Readings:

*Honeycutt and Freberg refer to those on the political left as liberals. This post refers to those on the political left as progressives.

 

Opinions expressed are those of the author(s). Publication does not imply endorsement by Heterodox Academy or any of its members. We welcome your comments below. Feel free to challenge and disagree, but please try to model the sort of respectful and constructive criticism that makes viewpoint diversity most valuable. Comments that include obscenity or aggression are likely to be deleted.

29 Sep 12:23

2015 Paper Finds New Zealand Warmer In 1860s, ‘Contaminated Data’ Falsely Warms Last Century By 325%

by Kenneth Richard

According to scientists de Freitas, Dedekind, and Brill (2015), removing “contaminated data” from New Zealand’s  nation-wide temperature record — and using updated measurement techniques rather than error-ridden outdated ones — reduces the long-term (1909 to 2009) New Zealand warming trend from today’s +0.91°C to +0.28°C, a 325% change.

de Freitas et al., 2015

New Zealand’s national record for the period 1909 to 2009 is analysed and the data homogenized. Current New Zealand century-long climatology based on 1981 methods produces a trend of 0.91 °C per century. Our analysis, which uses updated measurement techniques and corrects for shelter-contaminated data, produces a trend of 0.28 °C per century.

Here is what 0.28°C of warming over the course of 100 years looks like:

ntz-new-zealand-temps-freitas15

 

From the internals of the paper, however, we find that the national average temperature for New Zealand was 13.1 °C in the late 1860s (10-year average), but by 2010, New Zealand’s average temperature had declined to 12.74 °C (30-year average).  The overall temperature average for the 1860s to present (150 years) remained stable at 12.6°C.  In other words, there has effectively been no change in New Zealand average surface temperatures in the last 150 years.

de Freitas et al., 2015

New Zealand was one of the first countries in the Southern Hemisphere to establish an official nationwide system of weather records. These records provide a rare long time series for temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, informing the data sparse interpolations required for early temperature series. Extant 1868 archives record the national normal mean surface temperature at 13.1 °C (when converted from degrees Fahrenheit) being the average of 10+ years read at six representative weather stations. Another major compilation, covering 35 years and based on nine stations, was published by the Dominion Meteorologist in 1920, which showed that the country’s average temperature has remained remarkably stable since records began. In 2010, the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) assessed the current national normal at 12.74 °C being the average of 30 years read at seven stations.

On the face of it, New Zealand’s long-term mean temperature has remained relatively stable at 12.6 °C over the past 150 years.

Here’s what the 1860s mean temperatures look like compared to the 1909-2009 period, with the latter trend line removed:

ntz-new-zealand-temps-freitas-15-copy

Getting back to the contamination that has artificially amplified temperatures by 325%, the authors continue their analysis by pointing out that the non-climatic +0.91°C per century trend in use today (and obviously preferred by those who wish to portray modern warming as dangerous and unprecedented) was obtained by using temperature-measuring techniques from a 1980 paper (Salinger, 1980, herein dubbed “S81”) that conducted no checks for sheltering (which has been found to artificially warm daily maximum temperatures by 1°C over a 6-year period) or the Urban Heat Island effect (which demonstrably and artificially warms up temperatures in cities and on airport sites relative to rural stations).  The authors replace S81 with a superior statistical method for more accurate climatic temperature measurement gleaned from a 1993 paper authored by Rhoades and Salinger (hereafter, “RS93”).  RS93 was concerned with “the detection and elimination of temperature data movements that are of non-meteorological origin,” advising that “for studies of climate change, it is best to choose stations that are unlikely to be affected by gradual changes in shading or urbanisation.”   By utilizing these checks on artificial or non-climatic warming, de Freitas et al. (2015) conclude that “no ‘important’ change in mean temperature occurred over the period 1909–2009 once the known contamination is corrected.”

de Freitas et al., 2014, continued:

(a) We will hereafter use the term “S81” to refer to the published 1980 paper [Salinas, 1980] in conjunction with the unpublished thesis elaborations.  Notably, S81 had conducted no tests for “creeping” inhomogeneities such as sheltering or UHI and consequently made no attempt to correct the 7SS [New Zealand temperature record “Seven Station Series”] for site effects*

(b) McAneney et al. [1990] found that sheltering by nearby trees can increase daily maximum temperatures by 1 °C per 10 m of shelter growth over a 6-year period. After examining a range of New Zealand stations, [Hessell, 1980] determined that two of the stations used in the 7SS were climatically unrepresentative and assessed them “to increased sheltering from trees … and/or significant urbanisation and/or screen changes”. The sites are Albert Park in Auckland and Kelburn in Wellington. These sites, within the central business districts of two of New Zealand’s largest form the major portion of the Auckland and Wellington temperature series.   

(c) Hessell [1980] also finds a strong temperature trend bias in the data “unlikely to be due to a broad scale climatic effect”.   A 12-year comparison suggested that Albert Park had warmed 0.6 °C more than a rural counterpart 10 km distant.

(d) The two rural stations (Hokitika and Lincoln) show average warming of 0.2 °C/century in contrast to the 0.32 °C/century of the five city stations. A concern … is that all seven datasets have not yet been thoroughly screened for possible UHI effects or other undocumented changes.

(e) From 1976, Auckland data are drawn from the Mangere treatment plant, sited amongst newly commissioned settling ponds (Fig. 2). In 1998, the site moved a short distance to Auckland Aero, the country’s principal international/domestic airport. Apparent warming trends in the dataset for Auckland Aero (southwest of Auckland) were de-trended by reference to two other less urban airports on the metropolitan fringes, namely, Whenuapai (27 km to the northwest) and Ardmore (17 km to the southeast). The station histories for these two stations reveal no significant site changes during1976–2009, and screening disclosed no abrupt shifts. For the period 1962–1993, Auckland Aero [urban, airport] warmed 0.96 °C/century faster than Whenuapai [rural], and over 1969–2011 it warmed 0.97 °C/century faster than [rural] Ardmore (Table 2). The Mangere station was compared with the same two airports and showed a similar relative warming, implying that the overall Mangere region was greatly affected by UHI, as the population grew by 1,200 % from 15,700 in 1957 to 190,000 in 1981.

(f) In 1993, in collaboration with a statistician D. A. Rhoades, Salinger published “Adjustment of Temperature and Rainfall Records for Site Changes”  or RS93.  This paper was accepted locally as a seminal authority for the statistical techniques to be used in measuring differences between the temperatures of compared stations. … [I]n every case the S81 station adjustments greatly increased the individual trends, while the RS93 method resulted in equal numbers of increases and decreases.  As noted previously, S81 did not account for gradual effects such as sheltering or UHI.

(g) By making adjustments which are not statistically significant, S81 may have allowed too many “false positives” to occur. In addition, using long comparison time periods may have allowed creeping inhomogeneities and undocumented shifts at reference sites to skew the individual adjustments.

(h) Hessell [1980] examined apparent continuous warming over New Zealand since 1930 but concluded: “… no important change in annual mean temperature since 1930 has been found in stations where these factors [changes in shelter, screenage, and/or urbanization] are negligible.”  

(i) Our study similarly concludes that no “important” change in mean temperature occurred over the period 1909–2009 once the known contamination is corrected.

A few days ago, a compilation of over 50 temperature graphs from peer-reviewed scientific papers  revealed that large regions of the Earth have not been warming in recent decades, and that modern temperatures are still some of the coldest of the last 10,000 years.  Apparently the nation of New Zealand can now be added to this list as a region where no significant changes in temperature have taken place within the last 150 years.

29 Sep 05:00

Senate Dem's report criticizing EPA critics written by green pressure group

When inquiries were made, the report was scrubbed.
28 Sep 16:38

Here is a complete list of all the top-level execs who have bailed out of Twitter (TWTR)

by Jim Edwards

twitter bird warning sign

Twitter might be acquired by Disney. Or Salesforce. Maybe Google.

At least, those are the rumours. But as the alleged talks continue, analysts are examining the issues that have to be overcome in various potential matchups. Jason Bazinet and his team at Citi Research published a note to clients yesterday suggesting that one of the more "troubling" issues for any company that wants to own Twitter is the dwindling number of people in top management who regard Twitter as their life's mission.

Current CEO Jack Dorsey is a founder of the company, of course, but he only works there part-time (his other job is running Square). And he has left the company before, in 2008.

In its lifetime, "Twitter has gone through four CEO’s in nine years," the Citi crew says. "While the CEO turnover is troubling, press reports suggest a high level of departures are taking place deeper into the organization structure. This includes senior roles, product development roles and engineering roles."

Twenty-seven senior executives have left Twitter since 2007. First,here are the reigns of the various CEOs:

Twitter

And here are the various top managers:

twitter

On the latter list, the most serious sections are the product chiefs and the engineering chiefs, near the bottom. Those are the people who can actually build and ship new features, functions and apps. Twitter has lost 13 of those in the last two years alone.

Disclosure: This author owns Twitter stock.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Facebook has a feature that stalks you all over the internet — here’s how to turn it off

28 Sep 13:51

A Far-Fetched Prediction

### My Outrageous Prediction If (big IF) steemit survives as a company, in 5 years or maybe 10, steemit's ecosystem will have better AI than Google or Facebook or any other closed company. ### Why? It's [The Cathedral and The Bazaar](http://manybooks.net/titles/raymondericother05cathedralandbazaar.html) again. Facebook and Google used to be bazaars, but now they're cathedrals. New bazaars must arise. Why will steemit be one of them? - Selective pressure from flagging . - Constantly growing and freely available training data on the block chain, and in live posts and comments. (Note: this blockchain is also available for harvesting by advertisers.) - Large incentives from author and curation rewards. - A planet-full of steemit bot developers will be more productive than the staffs that Google, facebook, or anyone else can afford to hire. - Unexpected and surprisingly useful emergent behaviors will arise from complex bot interactions. Taking away flagging to reduce the selective pressure might slow things down, but I don't think it would change the overall direction. ### What does it mean? 1.) Bots are creating a future that will make people happy. Many people don't like the idea of autonomous agents creating and curating content, but in the end, they're pursuing money that comes from people. Just like Google's Page Rank algorithm, they are going to tailor steemit for human tastes. The ones that don't will be flagged and starved into extinction by the ones that do. 2.) Hold on to your steem power. As @williambanks noted in [a recent comment](https://steemit.com/blog/@remlaps/a-question-for-biologists#@williambanks/re-remlaps-a-question-for-biologists-20160913t231054248z), bots are force multipliers for people. The better the bot, the more productive the people, the higher the value of STEEM. Historically, automation has always made communities wealthier - in aggregate. It will be the same here. 3.) Like it or not, if you want to profit as a steemit user in half a decade, you're going to need to make use of bots. Trying to compete with bot-augmented humans on steemit is going to be like trying to race a horse against an automobile in 1940. Maybe some hobbyists will still do it manually, like some artisans today, but to really profit, you'll need automation. 4.) A new market is going to develop for creation and distribution of bots. This was [anticipated](https://steemit.com/introduceyourself/@williambanks/announce-steembots-com-your-source-for-everything-bot-related-now-hiring) months ago by @williambanks, and implemented with [SteemVoter](http://steemvoter.com) from @marcgodard. 5.) There will be a perpetual bot arms race, including alliances and adversarial relationships. The award distribution will continue to follow something like the Pareto principle (80/20 rule). Suprisingly, then, the blockchain hasn't really created decentralization. It is just changing the chokepoints from the database to the analytics.
27 Sep 16:32

Inconvenient: Record Arctic Sea Ice Growth In September

by Anthony Watts
History Keeps Proving Prophets Of Eco-Apocalypse Wrong Source data: ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02135/north/daily/data/ Since hitting its earliest minimum extent since 1997, Arctic sea ice has been expanding at a phenomenal rate. Already it is greater than at the same date in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015. Put another way, it is the fourth highest extent in the…
27 Sep 16:45

How Private Arbitration Could Nullify the State

by Bryan Caplan

The state's power ultimately derives from its monopoly on the final adjudication of disputes. Unsurprisingly, the state goes to great lengths to preserve this monopoly.

27 Sep 22:01

Elon Musk: I'm gonna turn Mars into a $10bn death-dealing interplanetary gas station

by Shaun Nichols

Red Planet to be Elon-gated community-slash-graveyard

SpaceX founder Elon Musk has laid out an audacious multibillion-dollar plan to send colonists to probably die on Mars.…

27 Sep 14:55

The world’s first flat-pack truck can be assembled like Ikea furniture in just 12 hours

by Claudia Romeo

The Ox is a prototype vehicle which consists of 60 pieces and can be shipped anywhere in the world.

It's designed by Gordon Murray, who also developed Formula One cars. It has an ultra-light weight design and can tackle most types of terrain.

Produced by Claudia Romeo. Original reporting by Leanna Garfield

Join the conversation about this story »

26 Sep 23:32

Introduction to Bitcoin

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1si5ZWLgy0 Andreas Antonopoulos has a new Intro to bitcoin video - check it out & share with your friends to help them understand bitcoin and the blockchain
26 Sep 16:45

Our Doom and Gloom Media Is Animal Farm in Reverse

by Bryan Caplan

In the Soviet Union, The Party used its media monopoly to brainwash its citizens into accepting their wretched existence. It's tempting to tell a mirror image story for the West: Hostile journalists seek to undermine a glorious world they hate.

26 Sep 14:08

SpaceX plans to establish a colony on Mars with a population of at least 80,000 people

SpaceX is a privately-owned space company who have been delivering cargo to the International Space Station and landing reusable rocket stages in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. But SpaceX has bigger plans – its stated goal is to establish a colony on Mars with a population of at least 80,000 people, lowering the cost of a journey to Mars to $500,000 https://ipfs.pics/ipfs/QmZ5Yv6SNGbnvSqPhhR8HBY3ftcobGf3tZGxHMiiuQoSny But before that happens, SpaceX has some significant milestones to overcome. Fortunately, SpaceX is an innovative, flexible, and disruptive newcomer to a space industry that has been pretty stagnant for the last few decades. A twenty-first century, forward thinking approach might have the potential to revolutionize spaceflight, and enable humanity to become an interplanetary civilization. Elon Musk is expected to unveil key information about SpaceX’s Mars plans at the International Astronautical Congress, between the 26th and the 30th of September, 2016, but concrete details on SpaceX’s actual Mars architecture are currently difficult to come by. One thing that is known for sure is that Musk has described plans for a system called the Mars Colonial Transporter (or MCT). https://ipfs.pics//ipfs/QmQ73guh9vZ5FzLd2C2V8V8YB1rmFHRKKMY6YE2RRhKWZN The MCT is intended to take 100 people or 100 tons of cargo to Mars at a time. This is much, much more mass than has ever been sent to Mars before. Details are still unknown, but it’s most likely that the MCT will be launched in a single part on top of a colossal rocket – what Elon Musk refers to as the “BFR” or “Big Falcon Rocket”. https://ipfs.pics/ipfs/QmVS1u4A9x14EYATj1uMuEZ28taxHy3uj8e57dseZMrvJz This rocket will need to be largest rocket ever constructed, and will most likely be designed for maximum re-usability. https://ipfs.pics/ipfs/QmTPWj1478DXakP9ypZiwNq5WzqfQw6cZ5iYyN15h4vJ5s As more rockets are built and routinely fly between Earth and Mars, payloads will eventually become cheaper, enabling more people and more equipment to be sent over. Considering that a society on Mars would need to be populated by tens or even hundreds of thousands of people to be self-sufficient, it’s a logical question to ask what would actually do on Mars? Currently, Mars is a lifeless rock populated entirely by robots – it has no industry, culture or economy. Any natural resources on Mars would take an enormous amount of energy to send back to Earth. But what Mars does have is an untapped wealth of information. While robots do a good enough job of teaching us new things about our place in the universe, humans are much more versatile – and they don’t need to be remote controlled with a 14-minute time delay. A Mars colony would essentially be the biggest and baddest university in the entire solar system, or like Antarctica’s research stations on a planetary scale. At this planet-sized university, the key fields of study would most probably be pretty similar to we’ve already been using robots to study on Mars– Astronomy, Planetary Science, Life Science and Engineering. https://ipfs.pics/ipfs/QmQp4ja1d1Sr3WYaWAHu3HWCTU2UQ31c4WTDjfy9fH5aH3 Then, there would be scholars studying the colony itself – sociologists, historians, psychologists and philosophers might all find fruitful academic niches on Mars. Of course, this “university” would need a lot of support staff to run – administrators, cooks, maintenance staff… And all of these people would need food to eat, and buildings to live in, and transportation. All of these things can be sourced from Mars itself – Mars is the only place in the solar system other than Earth that has all the ingredients we need to be self-sufficient. Water, air and fuel can be extracted from Mars’ atmosphere, and after a couple of cargo missions, it would theoretically be possible for the community to be self-sustaining. But It’s very likely that a colony would still be very dependent on resources from Earth. It’s also natural to ask who or what will pay for all of this? Space Programs are expensive, so it’s unintuitive and difficult to see how a whole colonization program could possibly be economically feasible. This whole endeavor will probably start out on a pretty small scale, and become much larger and cheaper over time as the necessary frameworks are put into place. SpaceX’s first customer might be NASA, who already pay SpaceX to resupply the International Space Station – SpaceX is really an infrastructure company, not a research agency. NASA or the American Government might decide that research could be done for much cheaper using SpaceX than developing its own launch Capability. Universities and research institutions would be next: Besides being a huge opportunity for research, sending scientists to Mars would be a great subject for a university ad campaign – the ability to slap their name on a Mars mission would be very attractive to a university with a lot of money to spend. Next comes investment by companies looking to advertise their products and services as “Mars approved” Over time, these industries might start losing out to home-grown Martian companies, manufacturing products for Martian industries on Mars itself. From Mars, launching rockets is much easier, so Mars might become a much more convenient Launchpad for asteroid mining, and missions further out into the solar system. A space elevator, which is much easier to construct on Mars, would make it much more possible to export goods from Mars to Earth, as well as other potential human colonies around the Solar System. If Earth is the birthplace of humanity, Mars might very well become the cradle of interplanetary Civilization. https://ipfs.pics/ipfs/QmQb2izVC3XJSri1o3J1PF24PQovUL65gi68Ujqx5UNk9E On top of that, a colony on Mars might provide a lot of entertainment from people back on Earth. TV deals could provide another stream of revenue, beaming back documentaries, news, reality TV, and maybe even sports – anyone interested in low-gravity football? As human presence on Mars becomes more developed, we will probably start to transformer the planet in order to make it more Earth-like, but this process will likely last over 1000 years. This might be the most important undertaking in human history, providing us with a home away from home, and redefining our place in the universe. No human has ever set foot on Mars. But if Elon Musk succeeds in lowering the cost of spaceflight, and creating a reliable, reusable infrastructure, Mars becomes a significantly more accessible destination. What might sound even more ridiculous, however, is that Musk wants to get the ball rolling on this in 2024 – 8 years from now. If all goes to plan, we might be seeing a presentation as significant as Kennedy’s “We choose to go to the Moon” speech. And in 1962, the idea of two men walking around on the surface of the Moon just under 7 years later was just as unthinkable.
26 Sep 04:22

Guardian 1974 : Global Cooling Most Serious Threat Humans Have Ever Faced

by tonyheller

The Guardian says global warming is the most serious threat man has ever faced.

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-10-21-13-pm

In 1974 the Guardian said global cooling is the biggest threat man has ever faced.

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, Page 16 – The Cincinnati Enquirer at Newspapers.com

The Guardian also says now that the ice age scare (which they were pimping in 1974) never happened.

26 Sep 14:15

Trump Picks Top Climate Skeptic to Lead EPA Transition

by Robin Bravender
Choosing Myron Ebell means Trump plans to drastically reshape climate policies 

-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
25 Sep 20:05

If the Word Liberal Is Up for Grabs, Can We Have It Back?

by Jeffrey Tucker

The literary habit that built civilization, the musical tactic that brought us the Nutcracker and Carmen, the technological tendency that built modernity from the Middle Ages to the present, the political rhetoric that ended slavery and emancipated women, the artistic strategy that has brought the world together in mutual understanding and in unprecedented ways, now stands condemned as the micro-aggression of cultural appropriation.

25 Sep 22:30

Bitcoin's Baby Brother, STEEM, is Growing Up -- The Early Signs

![Imgur](http://i.imgur.com/OqFffKb.png) ## Sibling Rivalry Bitcoin came into existence in 2009 as the first crypto-currency to use a distributed [Block Chain](http://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/blockchain.asp/). It was quickly adopted by many while enjoying its advantage as a "single child" for several years. Bitcoin was the only "digital cash" or "computer money" that truly solved issues that could not be overcome by prior attempts at virtual currency. Bitcoin is considered the first to solve [The Byzantine Generals' Problem](https://bitcointalk.org/oldSiteFiles/byzantine.html) as a result of its ability to provide [proof of work](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proof-of-work_system) as well as prevent counterfeiting and [double-spending](https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Double-spending). The World, like happy young parents, quickly gave birth to its second crypto-currency and named it [Litecoin](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Litecoin) in 2011. It is just like Bitcoin but improved. Litecoin uses a different ["Hashing"](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hash_function) algorithm than Bitcoin and has a faster transaction processing speed. Soon thereafter the World spawned [Namecoin](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namecoin) followed by [Peercoin](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peercoin) in 2012 and the World has never been the same since. ## Crypto 2.0 https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5319/5914558006_56e0af3592_b.jpg
[source:](https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5319/5914558006_56e0af3592_b.jpg) Since the launch of Bitcion in 2009, there have been somewhere between 700 and 800 cryptocurrencies created throughout the World today. Some have already failed and there are others that have ["Hard-Forked"](https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Hardfork) or split in two separate crypto-coins. Most if not all have attempted to improve upon Bitcoin until the launch of [Ethereum](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethereum) in 2015. Ethereum (more like a step-brother/sister to Bitcoin) is more like a cloesd loop payment system, where smart contracts are created, executed and payment finalized in Ethereum. This allows Developers to launch or create their own Apps and receive payment in Ether from within their own App, essentially bypassing traditional payment processors such as Banks or Credit Card Processors like Visa or American Express. Then, in March of 2016, STEEM (and shall we say its fraternal twins STEEM Dollars & STEEM Power) came into Crypto-Existence. Michael Grose titled his book **"Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It,"** in regards to family dynamics, which perfectly describes the Bitcoin/ STEEM relationship. STEEM took Bitcoin and Ethereum one step further and initiated a whole new Social Media Paradigm. It took everything that is good from both as well as other crypto-currencies and added its own enhancements. Steemit.com is a social media website much like Facebook or Reddit.com, except that on Steemit.com its users and the content creators are incentivized in STEEM similar to how Bitcoin miners are rewarded in Bitcoin for securing the Bitcoin network through "mining." ## Growing Pains In family life, having older siblings is always a benefit to the younger ones (or so we like to think), and so too in the crypto-currency World. The newer Alt-coins such as STEEM have learned from the trials and tribulations of the earlier crypto-coins, and have been able to implement and adopt solutions into their "DNA" from the very beginning in order to avoid the pitfalls that the early pioneering crypto-coins experienced. Two examples of this are Steemit.com's three Token system (STEEM, STEEM Dollar & STEEM Power) as well as Steemit's Govenrance model including the Witness Program. Volatility and long term commitment are two issues that are addressed by having 3 tokens within the Steemit system. By having Steem Dollars trade for the price of one U.S. Dollar, or at least attempt to stay pegged it to, the days of Bitcoin's $100 or more daily price swings are removed from the Steem system. STEEM Power are simply STEEM tokens that have been committed or "locked up" to the STEEM system for a longer period of time, similar to a Certificate of Deposit in a U.S. Bank. STEEMIT'S governance includes 19 Witnesses, who run nodes/servers, for the STEEMIT network. When changes are proposed for STEEMIT, it is these Witnesses who must elect the change. When in majority, they create a hard fork in the STEEMIT Blockchain, thus creating a new STEEMIT Blockchain, but More Importantly, and as @dan stated, "they kill the old fork so we don't end up with Ethereum/Ethereum Classic situations," while @ned smiled widely. Despite STEEMIT's many great features it has had some growing pains. It is believed that growing pains are caused when a child's physical growth is taking place in a relatively short amount of time. STEEMIT, is less than a year old, with the signs that it is growing, and fast. STEEM is traded in several different exchanges. Then, STEEMIT's robustness was immediately tested in July when the first payouts took place and the price spiked rather than crashed causing a huge amount of traffic and user sign-ups. Also, not long after that, in a sign that STEEM was a valuable crypto-currency, Hackers attacked STEEMIT user accounts but were immediately thwarted by STEEM's built in defenses against such occurrences. ## Terrible Twos http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/pictures/30000/velka/baby-with-a-laptop.jpg
[source](http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/pictures/30000/velka/baby-with-a-laptop.jpg) There have been many studies that show that a child's position in a family can have a great impact on his or her success in life. Having older sibling seems to benefit the younger siblings, especially the youngest siblings. Older brothers and sisters make the younger ones tougher while also providing advice as well as being Role models. The older siblings also pave the way for the younger ones, usually softening up the parents so that by the time the final child is born, they are usually the "spoiled one." So too in the Crypto-currency family. Bitcoin is the pioneer paving the way to the masses, navigating the laws of World Governments, opening the doors to finance and commerce and creating a Role Model in success for other Alt-coins. STEEM is currently the "baby" in the crypto-currency family at less than a year old. Yet it already has a market capitalization of about $90 Million. It is currently traded on several exchanges, has many users with new users signing up daily, has been hacked and recovered, has had its first price spike and crash now followed up by a bottom and gain. These are all signs that STEEM, as the youngest member to the crypto-currencies is following in the successful footsteps of the earlier coins while attempting to avoid their missteps. STEEM has proven this early on, and now projects such as PeerHub and others are continuing to enhance and validate the entire World changing Steem Ecosystem as we approach year two in the Life of STEEM. ![Imgur](http://i.imgur.com/ILJIy0e.jpg) 09/25/16
Full $teem Ahead!
@streetstyle
**My Top Blogs**
- [So Inhumane](https://steemit.com/life/@streetstyle/why-are-humans-so-inhumane-to-others-and-to-animals-the-murdering-of-humans-and-dolphins)
- [Steem Will survive](https://steemit.com/steemit/@streetstyle/why-steemit-com-will-survive-even-if-steem-goes-to-01-cents-per-gabriel-marcel-french-philospopher) sources: [Investopedia](http://www.investopedia.com/) [Bitcointalk](https://bitcointalk.org)
25 Sep 21:39

The Climate Of Intimidation And Harassment

by tonyheller

chgemmgu4aaalbs

My good friend Dr. Bill Gray passed away five months ago. He was one of the top tropical meteorologists in the world, and the person who invented modern hurricane forecasting. Fifty-eight years ago today he took his first flight into a hurricane.

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-3-05-42-pm

Dr. Gray received money every year from NOAA for decades, until 1993 – when Al Gore became vice-president. Gore invited Dr. Gray to a global warming meeting in Washington DC. Bill politely told Gore he would be happy to attend, but did not subscribe to Gore’s beliefs about climate.

NOAA immediately cut Dr. Gray’s funding off. His forecasts were world renown for their accuracy, but because he refused to go along with Al Gore’s big money climate scam, Dr. Gray could not obtain government funding.

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-2-42-46-pm-down

24 Nov 1999, Page 14 – Asheville Citizen-Times at Newspapers.com

Dr. Gray predicted the large spike in hurricane activity around 2004/2005, but nearly had to quit his forecasting because he refused to be part of the big money climate science corruption.

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14 Jun 2003, Page 15 – Florida Today at Newspapers.com

Consensus is maintained in climate science by purging dissent. And Obama has taken it further by threatening to prosecute scientists who won’t play along with his signature scam. On the other hand, scientists who do play along with the Democrats’ climate scam get rich and famous, no matter how corrupt or incompetent they are.

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The Argus-Press – Google News Archive Search

Screenshot 2016-03-23 at 05.22.04 AM-down

The Milwaukee Sentinel – Google News Archive Search

Democrats also use Hillary Clinton style speaking fee scams as payola for academics who are are willing to push their climate fraud.

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-3-28-13-pm

Climate Alarmist Michael Mann Charges $10,000 Speaker Fee – Media Trackers

Consensus building in climate science is accomplished by purging dissenters and rewarding crooks. It has nothing to do with science.

Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.

  • Michael Crichton
25 Sep 18:56

Surprising Agreement!

by Don Boudreaux
(Don Boudreaux)

Tweet

Here’s a letter to a new correspondent:

Dr. Harlan Quarles:

Dr. Quarles:

You write that you find “hysterically laughable” all attempts by “free marketeering nut jobs,” including me, “to defend WalMart free-riding on taxpayers” – by which, you explain, Walmart’s ability (as you mistakenly see it) to pay to its workers excessively low wages because these workers receive welfare handouts from the state.  I’ll not bother repeating here the arguments that send you into such stitches (although – in case you’re in the mood for more side-splitting amusement – I provide convenient links to some of these arguments below*).

I here rest content to ask you a serious question – and, in doing so, I grant for the sake of argument the truth of your false belief that taxpayers do indeed subsidize Walmart’s employment of low-wage workers: If, as you apparently agree, forcing taxpayers to subsidize the activities of private parties is objectionable, why don’t you turn your ire away from Walmart and concentrate it instead on those people who are directly responsible for arranging for such subsidies in the first place – namely, politicians and pundits who continue to support the welfare state?  I agree with you that institutional arrangements that allow Jones to free-ride on Smith are undesirable.  Yet such free-riding is at the very core of the welfare state; free-riding is inseparable from this institutional arrangement.  Therefore, given your apparent, deep concern for the well-being of taxpayers, and your anger that third parties now have indefensible access to taxpayers’ funds, I should expect that you will join me and other classical liberals and libertarians in calling for the welfare state to be completely abolished.

Can we count on you?!

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
and
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

* See here, here, and here.

25 Sep 12:49

Coinkite CEO Heavily Criticizes Editable Blockchain by Accenture

by CoinTelegraph
Remlaps

aka "blockchain with a back door", or "hackable blockchain"

Coinkite co-founder and CEO Rodolfo Novak heavily criticized the multi-billion dollar research firm Accenture's newly designed Blockchain concept “Editable Blockchain.”

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25 Sep 16:32

Git Steem - Decentralized Github using STEEM

![](https://i.imgur.com/t2GatQW.png) Last night [during the talk with @ned](https://steemit.com/ned/@proctologic/ned-scott-co-founder-of-steemit-inc-ama-interview-on-stakepool-radio), someone mentioned "what about github via STEEM?". I took that what-if and made it into a reality! Using a similar principal to [SteemDNS](https://steemit.com/steemit/@someguy123/steem-dns-your-username-dot-steem-dns-on-the-blockchain), I build a Web UI to allow you to quickly add Git projects to your account's metadata. By storing the links in the blockchain, you can easily switch from something like Github to your own repo, and git-steem will still be able to locate it. You can use the Web UI for adding repositories at ## [git.steem.network](https://git.steem.network) Both the CLI tool and Web UI are available under an open source licence (GPLv3 and AGPL respectively): **Web UI:** https://github.com/Someguy123/git-steem-web.git **CLI Tool:** https://github.com/Someguy123/git-steem-cli.git Let's see it in action! ======= The schema is useless without a real client right? Introducing `git-steem-cli`. A tool written in Python using Steem-Piston, which currently supports both cloning and adding remotes to existing projects. ![](https://i.imgur.com/nhHMUgN.gif) Both of the projects are also available on my git-steem profile :) git-steem clone someguy123/git-steem-web git-steem clone someguy123/git-steem-cli I hope to see some more fun uses of the STEEM blockchain like this. The metadata on both posts and your account can be used for amazing things, like Steem DNS, and now a decentralized git repo hub. --- Do you like what I'm doing for STEEM/Steemit? ---- [Vote for me to be a witness](https://steemit.com/~witnesses) - every vote counts. ---- Don't forget to follow me for more like this. ---- ----