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London Bitcoin Forum 2016 Event Is A Confirmed Scam

Bitcoin feeds -

themerkle.com / JP Buntinx / March 9, 2016

There has been a lot of discussion regarding the upcoming London Bitcoin Forum 2016 event, which is scheduled to be held in London. However, as it turns out, there is reasonable doubt there will even be a conference to begin with. Various speakers have been announced [...]

The post London Bitcoin Forum 2016 Event Is A Confirmed Scam appeared first on The Bitcoin Channel.

Muslim Americans Grapple With Implications of Donald Trump Victories

The Intercept -

FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, Donald Trump’s three primary election victories last night represented new momentum for the party’s likely presidential nominee. For Muslims living in the United States today, particularly young people born and raised here, the wins reveal disturbing truths about the views of millions of their fellow citizens.

“Trump has managed to tap into and legitimize xenophobic sentiments towards Muslims that were already there for a lot of people,” says Maytha Alhassen, a PhD researcher in American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California. “We’re all scared of what could happen to Muslim Americans if he’s elected, but we should keep in mind that laws reflective of his beliefs are already being drafted and proposed today.”

In Michigan, which has a large Muslim population, exit polls last night showed that over 60 percent of GOP voters favored Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from the country. Figures like this show Trump’s views are by no means on the fringes of society. “Even if he doesn’t win the election,” Alhassen says, “the country is still going to have to deal with the unbridled xenophobia that his campaign has awoken.”

In recent months, Trump has proposed shutting down mosques and banning non-citizen Muslims from the country, and he endorsed creating a national database of Muslims (even if he later claimed, dubiously, that he was merely open to the idea). Exit polls conducted in the aftermath of his primary victories show that huge numbers of voters actually support these discriminatory and likely unconstitutional proposals.

Asad Dandia is an NYU student who took part in a class-action lawsuit against the NYPD over its spying on Muslim student groups on campus. In 2012, a charity that Dandia started along with several other students from his school was infiltrated by an NYPD informant, who recorded their conversations and personal details. Earlier this year, the city settled with him and other plaintiffs in the case, promising new policies that are supposed guard against the sort of discrimination that led to mass surveillance of Muslim communities in the city.

For Dandia, the broad public support for Trump is alarming.

“It’s scary when you read the statistics and the polls and you see the large number of people who support the kinds of fascist views that Trump is putting out,” Dandia said. “It has now become acceptable to verbalize such things at the national level, and these perspectives inevitably trickle down to the rest of society as well.”

Although Trump’s ideas might be more outlandish than those of his rivals, anti-Muslim policies have long been a feature of American political life.

In recent years, a number lawsuits and investigative reports have uncovered the existence of widespread, blanket surveillance of Muslim Americans and their communities. Muslims in the U.S. have been subjected to racial profiling, pressured to become informants, and subjected to routine humiliation and discrimination while traveling.

Such discrimination is increasingly legislated into policy as well. In December, Congress passed a bill that discriminated against dual citizens from several Muslim-majority countries, a move cited by advocacy groups as reflecting rising xenophobia in the country.

Many of the “establishment” candidates for the GOP nomination have also espoused views that are deeply prejudicial toward Muslims. If anything, Trump’s biggest sin may be failing to speak in code about his beliefs.

“Having been involved in the surveillance case and involved in Muslim student groups that were targeted by authorities, I would say that a lot of the policies that Trump is proposing are reflective of an Islamophobic consensus that preceded him,” Dandia says. “He is essentially the Frankenstein of the Republican Party. After all these years of incitement, warmongering, and racism, the widespread support for Trump’s candidacy we’re now seeing is the inevitable result.”

While Trump currently trails his likely Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in presidential polls, it’s by no means impossible to envision a Trump presidency. Trump has managed to create a significant political constituency over the past year that has proven it is willing to actually go to the polls and cast votes for him.

So what happens to Muslim Americans and others if he wins?

“Trump’s popularity should be seen in context: as a reaction to the movements for social and political justice that have grown in strength over the past few years,” says Mohammad Khan, secretary of the Muslim Democratic Club of New York. “Its not an abstraction to me, its very real that he could win.”

But despite the popularity of Trump’s candidacy and the significant popular support for his ideas, Khan says he is optimistic about the prospects for Muslim Americans in the long term. “I see the way that Muslims in America are organizing, developing political power, and finding common ground with other marginalized communities,” he says.

“Whatever happens, we’re going to keep fighting for social justice and civil rights in this country.”

Top photo: A protester holds a caricature of presidential candidate Donald Trump during a demonstration against racism and Trump’s remarks concerning Muslims, Dec. 10, 2015, in New York City.

The post Muslim Americans Grapple With Implications of Donald Trump Victories appeared first on The Intercept.

ING Bank Participates in R3's Comparative Test of Distributed Ledgers and Cloud Platforms

Bitcoin Magazine -

Last week Bitcoin Magazine reported that 11 member banks of the R3 consortium, a collaborative group of the world’s largest and most influential banks and financial institutions, participated in a pilot test of the Ethereum-based blockchain network. The banks connected on an R3-managed private peer-to-peer distributed ledger, powered by Ethereum technology and hosted on a virtual private network in the Microsoft Azure Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) cloud, to execute simulated financial transactions instantaneously.

R3 is expanding its comparative evaluation project to include other banks, distributed ledger technologies and cloud computing platforms. The latest R3 announcement reveals that the group experimented with five distinct blockchain technologies in parallel in the first test of its kind. The trial represented the trading of fixed income assets between 40 of the world’s largest banks across the blockchains, using five different distributed ledger technologies built by Chain, Eris Industries, Ethereum, IBM and Intel.

“[The banks] evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of each technology by running smart contracts that were programmed to facilitate issuance, secondary trading and redemption of commercial paper, a short-term fixed income security typically issued by corporations to raise funding,” notes the R3 press release, which includes informative statements from the companies whose technologies were assessed in the trial.

“This development further supports R3's belief that close collaboration among global financial institutions and technology providers will create significant momentum behind the adoption of distributed ledger solutions across the industry,” said R3 CEO David Rutter. “These technologies represent a new frontier of innovation and will dramatically improve the way the financial services industry operates, in much the same way as the advent of electronic trading decades ago delivered huge advancements in efficiency, transparency, scalability and security.”

Each of the distributed ledgers ran a smart contract based on identical business logic to enable the banks to accurately compare the difference in performance between them. Cloud computing resources were provided by Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix and Amazon AW, to host the distributed ledgers.

ING Bank, a Dutch multinational banking and financial services corporation headquartered in Amsterdam with more than 48 million individual and institutional clients in more than 40 countries, participated in the trial. ING Bank joined R3 in November, stating that joining R3 was the next step with blockchain technology to collaborate on research, design and engineering that will advance innovative solutions for clients that meet banking requirements for security, reliability, performance, scalability and auditing.

“The trial marked an unprecedented scale of institutional collaboration between the financial and technology communities exploring how distributed ledgers can be applied to global financial markets,” notes ING’s announcement of the latest R3 blockchain test.

“It is great to see that the trials are bringing all parties so much closer together,” said ING Global Head of Payments Jurgen Vroegh, who is leading the project for ING. “The engagement between the member banks at all levels and across all disciplines was very intense and full of enthusiasm. With constructive in-depth communication we really managed to create an expert community. The trials gave us a higher level of understanding of the various technology options and insight on how smart contracts can really work on a distributed ledger.”

"The successful trial of the five cloud-based emerging blockchain technologies in parallel gave us a lot of insights into how smart contracts work,” Vroegh told Bitcoin Magazine. “Very interesting to learn was that while they all started out with the same basic business assumptions, they all came up with different possible solutions. The insight this gave us is that there are many possible ways to implement smart contracts and that there is still much more for us to discover and many choices to be made."

While Vroegh’s diplomatic answer shows that it’s too early to expect a “winner” to emerge from R3’s comparative study, its open-endedness is informative. In fact, it seems likely that different distributed ledger technologies will coexist, each optimized for specific applications.

R3 will continue to work with the banks in its Global Collaborative Lab over the coming months to test and develop applications based on distributed ledger technology for the financial services industry. According to R3, the Lab has quickly become a center of gravity for collaborative applied blockchain efforts in the financial services and distributed ledger technology industries.


The post ING Bank Participates in R3's Comparative Test of Distributed Ledgers and Cloud Platforms appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

How to live a spreadsheet approved life

Boing Boing -

Today we travel to a future full of spreadsheet approved lives. A future where everything we do is tracked and quantified: calories, air quality, sleep, heart rate, microbes, brain waves, finances, happiness, sadness, menstrual cycles, poops, hopes and dreams. Everything.

Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon

This episode is longer than our usual 20 minute jaunts to the future, because the future of quantified self is so huge. We cover everything from biased algorithms, to microbiomes (again), to the future of the calorie, and more.

▹▹Full show notes

Check out all the great podcasts that Boing Boing has to offer!

Hacking Internet-Connected Trucks and Buses

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader writes: Among the things one can find with Shodan, the search engine for the Internet of Things, are trucks, buses and delivery vans that have been equipped with the Telematics Gateway Unit device and a modem to connect to the Internet. What's more, security researcher Jose Carlos Norte says that this setup can be misused by malicious individuals to monitor and control these vehicles: discover their position, their speed, and so on, as well as to change some of those parameters, e.g. change the vehicle's route, or put up a geo-fence for it (he says he does not now what such a change would cause).

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

ZeroBorg: teeny tiny robotics from PiBorg

Raspberry Pi -

Raspberry Pi robotics aces PiBorg are known for quality robots and add-ons, from the tiny PicoBorg board to the somewhat terrifying DoodleBorg. Now they’re bringing their magic to the Raspberry Pi Zero with ZeroBorg, a small but powerful motor controller and sensor board. We weren’t surprised to see their Kickstarter campaign hit its target quickly; there’s still time to jump on board.

ZeroBorg costs from £15 and is barely larger than a Raspberry Pi Zero, and a Zero + ZeroBorg + 9V battery weigh as little as 65g, but it doesn’t pull its punches. You can control four motors independently, or more if you stack multiple ZeroBorgs over I2C (ideal for animatronics projects or CNC machine servos); I2C communication also means you can connect it to other add-on boards to pile on extra functionality, and there are two analogue inputs so you can connect any sensors that your project demands. It’s available with an infrared module, so you can control it via a TV remote, and a DCDC regulator for powering the Pi Zero. And, as with PiBorg’s other boards, they will provide open source software for controlling the board, so you can set up your robot exactly the way you choose.

PiBorg told us,

We love making boards and kits for the Raspberry Pi, mainly because the Pi community is like one big growing family. The support we’ve received so far with this Kickstarter has been phenomenal and we can’t thank the community and the Raspberry Pi Foundation enough.

Many people are learning about programming, electronics and robotics with the Pi. Every day a new Pi project appears, and the community jumps in and helps develop ideas and solve problems.

Already there are really awesome projects such as a Zero that makes tea in the morning, and a robot that feeds your cat while you are away. We can’t wait to see what people build with the ZeroBorg!

Neither can we. Take a look!

The post ZeroBorg: teeny tiny robotics from PiBorg appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Asus introduces VivoMini VM65 mini PCs with optional NVIDIA graphics

Liliputing -

Asus is adding two new computers to its VivoMini line of small desktop PCs. The new VivoMini VM65 and VivoMini VM65N are both compact computers with Intel Skylake processors, support for up to 16GB of RAM, and support for 2.5 inch or 3.5 inch storage devices. There are a few features that help set the […]

Asus introduces VivoMini VM65 mini PCs with optional NVIDIA graphics is a post from: Liliputing

Android N to support split-screen apps, notification changes, and more (Leaks)

Liliputing -

Google had been expected to unveil the next major version of android at the Google I/O developer conference in May. But it looks like developers might get early access a little sooner than that. An article published at Ars Technica (and then quickly removed) suggests that a developer preview may be coming early… and then spills […]

Android N to support split-screen apps, notification changes, and more (Leaks) is a post from: Liliputing

ANX CEO Ken Lo: Hong Kong's New Budget Initiatives a "Step in the Right Direction"

Bitcoin Magazine -

It’s a good time to be involved in digital assets in Hong Kong. In the territory’s 2016-17 budget, Financial Secretary John Tsang laid out a plan for the government to support blockchain technology development by encouraging its application in financial services, including reducing suspicious transactions and bringing down transaction costs.

The 2016-17 budget aims to support 150 fintech startups over the next five years in Hong Kong Island’s Cyberport, and arrange for 300 students to train in fintech overseas. It will also provide training for the financial services industry in blockchain matters and promote relevant technologies to develop products and services.

As Hong Kong’s government takes positive steps to foster blockchain technology and wider fintech incubation, Bitcoin Magazinespoke to ANX International’s CEO Ken Lo to get his perspective on the benefits to adopting blockchain technology and recent developments in Hong Kong.

ANX International is at the center of the innovation in Hong Kong’s digital assets ecosystem, offering a one-stop shop for blockchain development. As well as carrying out coin development, building white label trading platforms in primary and secondary markets, and integrating digital currencies into debit cards, ANX is pioneering the use of the blockchain in compliance.

While the regulators are proactively encouraging blockchain technology, do you feel that banks and financial services firms are sufficiently aware of the cost savings available from adopting this technology?

Blockchain is still very new and perceived as risky by many banks and financial services firms. In the past year, these institutions have done their research and are now aware of the benefits of blockchain technology.

This is really where ANX excels, as we have been helping companies realize and implement the benefits of blockchain technology for over two years now. We are the only one-stop shop for institutions and businesses to be able to get advisory, systems integration and managed services in blockchain technology today. We provide our software as a service (SaaS) platform globally, so businesses can get on board with blockchain technology in less than 10 days. We provide the digital assets, exchange platform and managed services so the businesses don't have to invest any capex [capital expenditures] to integrate our services.

Businesses integrating such services will benefit, but what are the practical benefits of wider adoption and integration of digital assets into exchanges for the industry as a whole?

Exchanges can help with the liquidity and integration of blockchain digital assets into traditional networks. The more points of presence the easier it is for the adoption and realization of benefits such as convenience for users.

Hong Kong’s government has recognised the importance of blockchain in financial services, including in reducing suspicious transactions and transaction costs. How could blockchain influence the way financial institutions comply with anti-money laundering (AML), know your customer (KYC) and other regulations?

Blockchain is an excellent platform that can support AML and KYC with its built-in encryption of transactions that is tamper-proof. Applications built on top of the blockchain can be assured of its integrity. With such a secure and transparent platform, all transactions can be traced and matched with identifiable origins.

The 2016-17 budget aims to step up blockchain innovation, fintech and startup incubation. Given Hong Kong’s historically low research and development spending, do you feel this goes far enough?

There is always room for improvement. Hong Kong is taking the steps in the right direction on what it needs to do in order to stay competitive and retain the financial capital status. John Tsang's initiatives mentioned in the 2016-17 budget speech will surely be a boost for Hong Kong.


The post ANX CEO Ken Lo: Hong Kong's New Budget Initiatives a "Step in the Right Direction" appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Hillary Clinton Wants to Regulate Fracking, But Still Accepts a Lot of Fracking Money

The Intercept -

Hillary Clinton continues to fundraise with fracking investors, despite her assertion Sunday that she would largely curtail fracking inside the U.S.

Fracking is a controversial mining technique used to extract natural gas from shale rock. It releases vast quantities of methane into the atmosphere and groundwater, frequently poisoning the water supply of nearby communities.

On Wednesday, Clinton will appear at a $575-a-head fundraising lunch at a Ritz-Carlton Hotel on the Northern California coast hosted by Alisa Wood, a partner at the international private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR).

In 2009, KKR began heavily investing in fracking, purchasing large shares of three North American oil and gas companies, and selling two of them for billions in profits. The third was hit hard by plummeting gas prices, and declared bankruptcy last year. But KKR was not deterred, and still owns a large portfolio of small fossil fuel companies, at least two of which – Cinco Industries and Comstock Resources – use fracking.

During the Democratic debate Sunday night, a student at the University of Michigan asked both candidates whether they supported fracking.

Clinton said she did, but with three big caveats:

“You know, I don’t support it when any locality or any state is against it, number one. I don’t support it when the release of methane or contamination of water is present. I don’t support it — number three — unless we can require that anybody who fracks has to tell us exactly what chemicals they are using. So by the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place.”

When asked the same question, Sanders said “My answer — my answer is a lot shorter. No, I do not support fracking.”

In July, Bernie Sanders and former presidential candidate Martin O’Malley pledged not to accept donations from fossil fuel companies. Clinton did not sign the pledge.

Many of Clinton’s largest fundraisers are lobbyists for oil and gas corporations. Some of her largest contribution bundlers are lobbyists representing Chevron, Cheniere Energy, and TransCanada – all companies that use fracking.

Prior to announcing her candidacy, Clinton also received $990,000 for speeches she made to the Imperial Canadian Bank of Commerce –a heavy investor in TransCanada and the Keystone XL Pipeline.

After a rally in Iowa last December, Clinton claimed to be unaware she ever received donations from fossil fuel companies. “Well, I don’t know that I ever have. I’m not exactly one of their favorites,” she said. “Have I? OK, well, I’ll check on that. They certainly haven’t made that much of an impression on me if I don’t even know it.”

An investigation by Mother Jones found that Hillary Clinton personally lobbied for U.S. fracking rights overseas as secretary of state. Speaking at a 2010 conference of foreign ministers, Clinton said “I know that in some places [it] is controversial, but [shale] gas is the cleanest fossil fuel available for power today.”

Hillary Clinton speaks during Sunday night’s debate.

The post Hillary Clinton Wants to Regulate Fracking, But Still Accepts a Lot of Fracking Money appeared first on The Intercept.

Bank Securely in 130 Countries With Wirex Banking App

Bitcoin Magazine -

Wirex Limited, the company behindE-Coin, announced on Feb. 25 that it is set to debut a new hybrid banking solution this month.

A waiting list has been created for Wirex, which uses blockchain technology to allow the secure exchange of virtual and traditional currencies.

“Wirex was developed with the input of customer feedback,” said Dmitry Lazarichev, co-founder ofWirex. “For example, we received feedback that our customers were looking for two-way Bitcoin [debit] cards with the ability to switch between Bitcoin and fiat currencies. Now, that is one of Wirex card’s main features.”

There are three key features of Wirex, one of which Lazarichev described. The two-way debit cards will allow customers to convert Bitcoin into traditional currencies (U.S. dollars, British pounds, euros) and “lock in” rates in advance.

Instant remittance service is another feature of Wirex, which was designed using blockchain technology. Money transfers will be able to be conducted quickly and securely via Wirex.

Finally, Wirex will be accessible with an app, which is set to debut on both iOS and Android. It includes the security features of BitGo, and all funds are protected under XL Group, an insurance service provider.

Users will be able to integrate their individual Wirex accounts with PayPal, Amazon and Skrill. Future partnerships may arise, but it’s not a primary objective for Wirex Limited at the moment.

“Our main focus now is to ensure the Wirex platform works flawlessly with PayPal, Amazon and Skrill,” Lazarichev continued. “We believe that quantity is not important if the quality is sacrificed. As we work with more companies, we will make the announcement through our Twitter@wirexapp andblog.”

When Wirex debuts, it will be available in 130 countries around the world. The debit card will be usable at millions of shops and ATMs. Lazarichev believes that much of its initial success may be seen in developing nations.

“We are growing the fastest in developing countries,” he said. “Wirex is appealing to this market because we offer financial solutions combining both digital and traditional currencies that are very easy to use. From feedback, our customers in these countries are very keen to try mobile banking, want remittance services with instant features, and benefit from Bitcoin debit card.”

Wirex Limited’s first big venture, E-Coin, gained 100,000 users within its first year and processed more than $2 million in monthly transactions.

This is a guest post by Krystle Vermes and the views are those of the author.


The post Bank Securely in 130 Countries With Wirex Banking App appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

An introduction to video editing in Openshot 2.0

HowtoForge - Linux Howtos and Tutorials -

Openshot is one of the most important and widely-used open source video editing software tools out there. Being very simple to use, powerful enough, and free of charge, this video editor has managed to build a large community of enthusiastic users around it who waited for the release of the second major version of their favorite software with anticipation for years. Now that the release was made available.

Democracy Now! 2016-03-09 Wednesday

Democracy Now! BitTorrents -

Headlines for March 09, 2016; Bernie or Hillary? Cornel West & Dolores Huerta Debate After Sanders' Upset Win in Michigan; "We Are Pushing Real Revolution": Black Lives Matter on Why They Don't Have Faith in Any Candidate; Bernie, Hillary or Revolution in the Streets? Cornel West, Dolores Huerta & Black Lives Matter Debate; Tech CEOs & Republican Leaders Met Last Weekend to Plot to Stop Donald Trump


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