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Announcing our million-pound education charity fund

Raspberry Pi -

It’s been a busy month for us here at Pi towers, and after the recent announcement of Picademy and the launch of the new website with an increased focus on educational resources, you may be wondering what’s next for our educational mission.

Without disappearing too far down the rabbit-hole of superlatives, I can say we are all super-excited to announce the launch of the Raspberry Pi Foundation Education Fund. Thanks to the support of the community over the past two years through buying Raspberry Pis and building inspiring, innovative projects, we’ve been able to build up a bag of funds to spend on our education mission. So today we are announcing a £1 million education fund.

Emma has been busy getting artistic with the folding stuff this morning.

This fund is in support of our core chartable mission, so we are looking to fund innovative and exciting projects that enhance understanding of and education in computing for children aged between 5 and 18.  The fund does not exclusively target Computing as a subject; we are also interested in supporting projects that demonstrate and promote the use of computing technology in other subjects, particularly STEM and the creative arts.

Our aim is to support a range of projects: from those that increase participation, to those that target excellence. Given our charitable status, priority will be given to organisations that have a not-for-profit ethos. The fund will operate through match funding, so not only are we wanting to hear from people with potential projects ideas; we are also wanting to hear from industry and third-sector partners who’d be interested in co-funding some of the projects.

If you’d like to know more about the fund, how it will operate and how to make an application, you can find out more on our Education Fund page.

 

Millions of Vulnerable Routers aiding Massive DNS Amplification DDoS Attacks

The Hacker News -

The Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is becoming more sophisticated and complex with the increase in the skills of attackers and so, has become one of favorite weapon for the cyber criminals to temporarily suspend or crash the services of a host connected to the Internet and till now nearly every big site had been a victim of this attack. Since 2013, Hackers have adopted new

Democracy Now! 2014-04-03 Thursday

Democracy Now! Videos -

Democracy Now! 2014-04-03 Thursday
  • Headlines for April 03, 2014
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders: Supreme Court Undermines Democracy by Allowing Billionaires to "Buy Elections"
  • "The Next Citizens United": McCutcheon Opens Floodgates for 1 Percent to Spend Millions on Campaigns
  • Ex-Auto Safety Head & Parent of Dead Victim: GM CEOs Should Face Prison for Covering Up Safety Flaws

Download this show

Re: Business for sale!

Bitcoin feeds -

Hmm, I spoke to a couple of people I trust to be good security experts.

I asked them what I should do so nothing like that happens again.

One of them gave the same advice as you, so it sounds like the very thing I am going to do.

Thanks a lot!

Saving a Soldier: No Thanks For Your Service (NSFW)

Bitcoin feeds -

from stefbot

Stefan Molyneux talks to a former soldier with two young children about his self-destructive habits and almost drinking himself to death.

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The Great South African Bubble

Bitcoin Magazine -

A recent article in Forbes caused a stir. The piece was entitle “A Guide to South Africa’s Economic Bubble and Coming Crisis”. The article lays out the economic case that current South African economic growth is illusory: fuelled by ‘hot money’ and a resulting credit bubble that is ready to pop.

It is argued that a global economic environment of low interest rates has resulted in the necessary economic distortions to drive this massive credit bubble.

Interest rates should represent the price of savings in an economy. People either save or spend their earnings. What isn’t spent is saved. Those savings are held in a bank or savings institution. The bank then offers those savings to borrowers who need capital to build businesses and fuel real economic growth.

When savings are low, interest rates are high: as borrowers compete for the limited savings. If savings are plentiful, interest rates are low: as borrowers compete for a relatively large pool of funds. So interest rates are a function of the amount of savings in the economy and the demand for them. This is the usual case in an economy with a sound monetary unit of account.

When there is a central bank this can become very distorted, very quickly. By printing money the central bank can fool the economy into believing more savings are available than actually exist. This sends all kinds of incorrect signals to the marketplace. Interest rates go unnaturally low as the market judges there to be plenty of savings available for investment.

However, these are not real savings, just printed money. So the end result is simply inflation. Prices rise as the fake savings flow through the economy. This money can cause asset inflation in unpredictable sectors of the economy, as the economy receives false signals about savings.

According to Forbes this is where the South African economy finds itself.

Forbes argues that major global players like the US printed too much of their own currencies, in a quest to keep interest rates lower than they otherwise would be. The economy received the false signal of excess savings. The price of savings (interest rates) dipped to unnatural lows: all very predictable according to theory.

Investors all over the world have borrowed this ‘cheap money’. In search of high returns they have sent it into emerging markets like South Africa.

South African Government bonds in particular have been the recipients, providing plenty of cheap borrowing for the S. African Government. They have spent this borrowed money on infrastructure projects. Government never spends money efficiently, as it has no profit motive.

The South African Government has gone into debt. Yet the output from this debt spending has provided no real economic growth. This should always be expected of government spending.

In the years following 2008 interest rates across the South African economy decreased substantially, in a cascading effect. The banks now had an excess of ‘cheap money’ for everyone. They started predatory lending practices, similar to the subprime mortgage lending practices of the US, pre-economic crisis.

The predatory lending unique to South Africa has its own flavour. It has been uniquely aggressive. The borrowed funds found their way into the housing market, as is so often the case. Real estate prices rise and there is a wealth effect that has everyone feeling high for a while. Of course, it is only inflation fuelled asset appreciation and there is no increase in the real underlying value of the assets themselves.

Forbes argues that the entire economy is now dependent on ‘cheap money’: a vicious addiction. Like heroin, it takes ever-increasing dosages to have the same effect and the need is eternal. Of course, interest rates cannot stay low forever. The ‘cheap money’ will become expensive again.

As printed money flows globally, seeking increasing returns, it distorts economies. This is exactly how the Iceland story played out. Forbes argues the same is happening in emerging markets like South Africa at the moment. It is all playing out in a perverse Déjà Vu.

The laws of economics, like the laws of physics, are immutable. Savings cannot be faked. They are the denominated evidence of human sacrifice. When we save we are forgoing present consumption so that future generations can live better.

Savings are the ultimate representation of what it means to be human: they separate us from all other mammals. The idea that you can print human sacrifice at no cost is ludicrous. That is only inflation, and you should only expect the social ills that come with debasement.

The post The Great South African Bubble appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin Breaks the Fourth Wall of Liberty

Bitcoin Magazine -

The most pressing problem evangelical bitcoiners and libertarians face is one of communication. Occasionally on purpose, but more often by accident, they erect four walls and create a barrier between their world and the rest of the world. They struggle to project their glorious message beyond a four-sided prison. In order to engage the audience, they must learn to communicate directly via a medium the audience can relate to and understand. In short, they must learn how to break the fourth wall.

The idea of the fourth wall traces its roots back to Ancient Greece, the birthplace of dramatic theatre. A formal construction of the concept didn’t exist until 1758, however, when Denis Diderot, a French Enlightenment philosopher most famous for his role as co-editor of the Encyclopédie alongside Jean le Rond d’Alembert, published his Discourse on Dramatic Poetry. In the ensuing nineteenth century, “breaking” the fourth wall became a trope in realist theatre.

Shakespeare shattered the fourth wall time and time again, most notably in Richard III. In the 1995 film adaptation of the same name, Ian McKellan stars as the eponymous power-hungry king and breaks the fourth wall with panache. As Ferris Bueller, Matthew Broderick playfully talks directly to the audience. In the cultural phenomenon that is House of Cards, the fourth wall gets repeatedly upended by Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood.

As a palpable manifestation of liberty, Bitcoin is the sledgehammer that can break through liberty’s fourth wall and tear it down—in two revolutionary ways.

First, Bitcoin is not a monologue, a soliloquy, or an aside. Instead, it’s a direct communication with the audience. It’s money—something everyone uses, interacts with, and relates to. Despite being an exclusively digital technology, there’s a certain tangible quality about it. Perhaps that’s because, in addition to reading about it or thinking about it, you can actually use it and do stuff with it. Philosophical treatises on rights theory are no longer needed to explain the greatness of liberty. All you need to do is send someone bitcoin.

There’s a universal law that, upon using bitcoin for the first time, you exude effervescence and joy. It’s just the way the world works. Suddenly, you’re all agog to see it in action again and again. In an instant, doubters of decentralization, free exchange, and liberal ideas in general are immediately swayed.

Second, Bitcoin breaks barriers by virtue of its appeal to broader audiences. As a digital currency aware of no political boundaries, bitcoin unites the globe. The unbanked and semi-banked of the world will finally be initiated into the world economy, unleashing the full power of exchange, trade, and the division of labor. By reducing reliance on credit (scores), the impending application of smart property will empower the poor, the youth, and even third-world farmers caught in a quagmire of ineffectual policy and Western self-righteousness.

Recently, detractors of Bitcoin have seethed about problems of privilege that afflict the nascent crypto-currency. It’s true that Bitcoin’s neutral protocol can help quell considerations of race, gender, sexuality, class, and wealth. It erases the problems of traditional banking and financing by eliminating the need for trust. It doesn’t care who you are or where you came from.

But only if you know about it.

That’s where the privilege problem comes in. Right now, Bitcoin’s audience is narrow and small, made up mostly of well-off males who are (highly) computer-literate. While there’s no privilege-perpetuating flaw in the protocol itself, there is an awareness gap that divides the “knows” from the “don’t-knows.” And it’s the “don’t knows”—women, the poor, the unbanked, the third-world—who have the most to gain from Bitcoin. Because of the nature of the network effect, however, the current privileged Bitcoin class has no incentive to keep its secret.

Libertarians and non-libertarian Bitcoin enthusiasts must be careful not to subsume themselves within a dramatic box. They have access to the greatest tool ever to break the fourth wall and connect with the public on a visceral level. Yet Bitcoin merely equips us with the ability to break the fourth wall. We have to make it happen through dedicated vigilance and conscious effort. Outreach will shrink and ultimately abolish the awareness gap, guaranteeing that everyone can enjoy the magnanimity of Bitcoin. From there, Bitcoin can demonstrate and explain to people across the world the true beneficence of human liberty.

At its core, the fourth wall encloses the drama, preventing it from seeping out and spilling onto the audience. The tidy delineation permits the audience to observe the action without becoming a part of it. As such, it also prevents any direct, potentially beneficial interaction between the actors and the audience from taking place.

In the theatre of life, libertarians often find themselves reading from a stilted script. Bitcoin invigorates the narrative with a refreshingly real and accessible element. Money is something everybody can relate to. If spread with care and attention, Bitcoin can break liberty’s self-imposed fourth wall, demonstrating to the world that freedom is much more than a quaint matinée. It’s the main event, one in which everyone can participate.

The post Bitcoin Breaks the Fourth Wall of Liberty appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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