Feed aggregator

When Women Wanted Sex Much More Than Men

Socialism OnLine! -

URL: http://www.alternet.org/when-women-wanted-sex-much-more-men?paging=off&current_page=1

When Women Wanted Sex Much More Than Men. And how the stereotype flipped. ...Yet today, the idea that men are more interested in sex than women is so pervasive that it seems almost unremarkable. Whether it’s because of hormone levels or “human nature,” men just need to have sex, masturbate, and look at porn in a way that simply isn’t necessary for women, according to popular assumptions (and if a women does find it so necessary, there’s probably something wrong with her). Women must be convinced, persuaded, even forced into “giving it up,” because the prospect of sex just isn’t that appealing on its own, say popular stereotypes...

Topic(s): Geography:  Vote Up/Down

The BlueCoin Phenomenon

Bitcoin Magazine -

BlueCoin is very serious about their chosen theme. Taking cue from the cultural antics of the Dogecoin community, the founders of BlueCoin have been trying to give it something of a personality. They announced an official BlueCoin afterparty to the North American Bitcoin Conference on BitcoinTalk with a blue-tinted model, and others dressed in BlueCoin superhero-esque outfits were there to amuse guests.

So what’s it all about? BlueCoin has nothing to do with colored coins, the Bitcoin 2.0 application. Like RedCoin, BlackCoin, WhiteCoin, YellowCoin and others, BlueCoin is another alternative cryptocurrency that backers claim is superior to Bitcoin, and hope will come to supplant it. A new block is generated every minute, yielding faster transaction confirmations, and the mining difficulty adjusts each time so that it increases more smoothly.

Of course, that doesn’t explain their focus on the color blue, and the catchphrase #BecauseBlue is almost deliberately uninformative.I asked Charlie Shrem about it, and he said it’s all about water:

“We have a joke in the BlueCoin community: ‘to the sea’ instead of ‘to the moon. The BlueCoin community sees water as the essence of life, and clean water can produce crops, give people the ability to drink and wash themselves, and provide jobs.”

3% of BLU are premined, and in keeping with BlueCoin’s theme, some of that has been given to core members of the community to spend on water-related charities (the rest go to paying bounties for helping to build the cryptocurrency). The most talked about charity so far is the Blue Wells Project, which aims to build wells across Africa and distribute straws containing water filters. The BlueCoin community hopes to provide clean water in places that need it, and is planning more such projects.

BlueCoin was also designed to support environmentalism in general. It uses X11 for its proof-of-work mining algorithm, which requires considerably less electricity than other scrypt algorithms. It’s actually a combined chain of 11 different hash functions, which has the side effect of decentralizing the mining network: each of the 11 different functions have different computational requirements, which requires versatile hardware like personal computers and makes specialized mining equipment more difficult to engineer.

At block 50,000, proof-of-stake block generation begins. For those not yet aware, proof-of-stake is an alternative method of securing the blockchain: the power to create blocks and decide when transactions are validated goes to those who hold onto their bluecoins. As a reward for doing this, they earn 5% interest per year on all of their “staked” coins. This shifts BlueCoin mining away from power-consuming processors entirely, requiring nothing more than the storage space for your BlueCoin client and private keys.

This also makes a 51% attack even more unlikely, since one would have to control both the majority of mining power (already made difficult by X11) and the majority of the BLU. The bluecoins they require to do so would have no utility whatsoever once the attack was accomplished, and the value of bluecoins would skyrocket in response. A proof-of-work miner can acquire more equipment on his or her own, but a proof-of-stake attacker needs to buy BLU from community members who might realize what’s going on.

Given the enthusiasm at their afterparty, it’s hard to imagine them parting with all those bluecoins willingly. The question is, can it really catch up to Bitcoin in adoption, or will BlueCoin turn out to be a passing crypto fad?

The post The BlueCoin Phenomenon appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin and Marx’s Theory of History

Bitcoin Magazine -

This article first appeared on page 26 of Issue 21.

You probably don’t think about Marxism when you think about Bitcoin. To most people, Marx is known as the guy who didn’t like private property and capitalism in general. Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency with the ability to encourage markets by breaking down the worldwide barriers created by multiple national currencies, doesn’t seem like it has much to do with him. You would probably think that Marx wouldn’t like Bitcoin.

But I don’t think so. I believe if Marx were around today he would see Bitcoin as an excellent example of his Theory of History in action; a global system, with roots in the crisis’ of capitalism, that will bring the world closer to his utopian ideals.

What many people don’t know about Marx is that he admired capitalism as a creator of wealth. While he despised the way that it abused the labor of the proletariat (working class), he saw it as a necessary period on the way to socialism and, eventually, communism. He believed in historical materialism, the idea that society is shaped by physical conditions at certain points in history. These physical conditions create an environment for revolutionary changes in human society.

If this seems confusing, the best analogy I can draw is with Darwin’s theory of evolution. Much like The Origin of the Species sought to explain how biological creatures change over time as a result of their environment, Marx sought to explain the process behind humanity’s economic evolution. Marx admired the work of Darwin and thought that his (Darwin’s) work created a foundation that he could build on. From his letters:

Darwin’s work is most important and suits my purpose in that it provides a basis in natural science for the historical class struggle. One does, of course, have to put up with the clumsy English style of argument. Despite all shortcomings, it is here that, for the first time, ‘teleology’ in natural science is not only dealt a mortal blow but its rational meaning is empirically explained.

Marx’s history of class struggle outlines 6 stages of history, each one creating the foundation for the next. They are: primitive communism, slave society, feudalism, capitalism, socialism, and communism.

So how does all this tie into Bitcoin?

I think there is an interesting parallel between how Marx describes the transition from capitalism to socialism and what we are seeing today with the adoption of Bitcoin. As I said before, Marx believed that capitalism was a fantastic tool for increasing production and development. You can attack his beliefs as much as you want (and there is plenty to criticize in his writing) but there is no denying that Marx was brilliant when it came to forecasting the consequences of trade. From The Communist Manifesto:

Modern industry has established the world market, for which the discovery of America paved the way. This market has given an immense development to commerce, to navigation, to communication by land…as industry, commerce, navigation, railways extended, in the same proportion the bourgeoisie developed, (and) increased its capital.

Keep in mind that this man is writing in 1848, a time when the “world market” barely existed. Marx carries the consequences of the global spread of capitalism to what he believed to be their logical conclusion:

In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal inter-dependence of nations. And as in material, so also in intellectual production. The intellectual creations of individual nations become common property. National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible, and from the numerous national and local literatures there arises a world literature.

Marx never explicitly outlines how capitalism becomes socialism. Nor does he give a timeline for when it will happen (though he hoped it would happen during his lifetime). All that he leaves readers with is his certainty that this revolution will happen and that it will occur at a time when capitalism has spread across the entire globe threatening the clarity of national boundaries and ownership of intellectual creations.

A time much like today.

Viewed through this Marxist lense Bitcoin becomes a product of its time in world history. This helps to answer what I believe to be the most fascinating question surrounding the phenomenon: why is Bitcoin working at all?

While there are obvious real world uses for Bitcoin, only the most ardent supporters of the protocol will claim that the technology in its current state is the best option for conducting everyday transactions. Buying products with BTC can be clumsy and time consuming. Prices change by the minute. Conversion to fiat (which is needed to pay taxes or buy goods and services not offered in BTC) can be burdensome. Secure storage is a vexing process for those who are not computer savvy. Convenient storage is risky.

So why has there been a steadily increasing rate of adoption?

My hypothesis is that people around the world are excited about Bitcoin because of the promise that it holds as an alternative to the existing economic and political structure. To many users, Bitcoin isn’t just an alternative currency or money transferring system. It is a representation of their distaste with the world economy we are living in.

Recently there have been arguments that the Bitcoin community is a “rich, white, male disaster”. While there is truth to this statement, it is also an editorialized simplification. A more measured analysis of the data reveals a different conclusion. From the blog Simulacrum (which the HuffPo article used as the source for its data):

The results so far from the 2014 community survey suggest the community is now only about one quarter libertarian, matched by a quarter liberal, and a quarter more left-wing, with a few smaller groups of other political identities.  When asked to choose a political label, we get responses from all four quadrants of the political compass.

And when discussing the idea that Bitcoiners are wealthy:

On the contrary, during my ethnographic research a far more common background story is one of precarious living arrangements, economic uncertainty, and limited opportunities. Bitcoiners rarely talk about how many bitcoins they have, instead focusing on when they first heard about it, when they first got involved, and how they feel about the project. They do not talk about their stash as an asset, but rather as a shared interest. When the cruder financial implications are discussed, they are usually framed in terms of empowerment and escape, the plans for buying a house, raising a family, or gaining the economic freedom to focus on some other project.

Far from the elites suggested in the Huffington Post article, Simulacrum paints a picture of the average Bitcoin user as an everyman frustrated by what Marx would describe as the (again from the Manifesto) “uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation” that distinguishes our modern “bourgeois epoch”. These people are not attracted to Bitcoin because they want to buy drugs or get rich quick. They are human beings frustrated with the instability of our modern society captivated by a system that just might offer hope for a better way.

This mentality can be traced back to the very inception of Bitcoin. While Satoshi never actually outlines his mission for this technology in the White Paper, there are clues to what he wanted to accomplish with his/her/their creation. Consider the note embedded in the Genesis Block:

Jan. 3, 2009: The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.

The 2008 worldwide collapse was a monumental failure by the financial sector and the governments that oversee them that ended up having global consequences, consequences that hurt the financially vulnerable people of the world more than anyone else. Economists decided the best course of action to fix this situation was a bailout for banks, the same institutions that helped cause the crisis. Judging by the Genesis Block note, Satoshi took issue with this solution and he viewed the cryptographic reliability of Bitcoin as a tool to stop this reliance on flawed human agency.

Satoshi had political motives as well. While he did not see Bitcoin as a necessary and sufficient tool for creating a better world, he believed it was a start. From the Cryptography Mailing List:

Yes, (we will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography), but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years. Governments are good at cutting off the heads of centrally controlled networks like Napster, but pure P2P networks like Gnutella and Tor seem to be holding their own.

And here, again, we come back to Marx. If Bitcoin does end up becoming part of a larger global revolution, its decentralized nature is exactly what Marx predicted. He did not believe in the proletariat’s ability to organize themselves effectively. From Phillip Gasper’s The Communist Manifesto: A Road Map To History’s Most Important Political Document:

Marx and Engels (his co-writer) never speculated on the detailed organization of a future socialist or communist society. The key task for them was building a movement to overthrow capitalism. If and when that movement was successful, it would be up to the members of the new society to decide democratically how it was to be organized, in the concrete historical circumstances in which they found themselves.

And so the Bitcoin economy finds itself five years into this social experiment, with no central authority or backing, but nonetheless a growing global community guided by nothing but the collective belief that there is a better way for the world to go about the ordinary business of life. Should it succeed in changing the way we all interact, historians and economists could be forced to reevaluate their criticisms of a man that long ago predicted the evolution of human trade.

The post Bitcoin and Marx’s Theory of History appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Chicago gun violence may cost ‘Rahmbo’ his job

RT -

Polls out this month show “Rahmbo,” the famously audacious former congressman and chief of staff for President Obama, significantly lagging behind potential challengers to his seat in November 2015.

The poll showing the worst deficit for Emanuel, where he trailed Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis by 9 points - was released shortly after a particularly gruesome Fourth of July weekend, when more than 80 people were reportedly shot, 16 of them fatally.

Around 76 people were shot in the following two weekends, with eight of those victims dying, including 11-year-old Shamiya Adams, who was killed by a stray bullet on July 18 while making s’mores at a friend’s slumber party. Police say the bullet that hit Adams was errantly fired by a teenager looking to avenge a friend’s beating in a fistfight.

Before the bloody July, Emanuel’s office maintained that overall violent crime in the city is down after a nationwide high of more than 500 homicides in 2012 and 415 in 2013. And though the rates of homicide and violent crime are down from last year, the number of shootings in the city has increased.

"The buck stops with him because he's the mayor," said Jackson Potter, staff coordinator for the Chicago Teachers Union, according to The Huffington Post. "He's done a poor job and not reduced violence in a way that will make our neighborhoods safer in any credible fashion. We've had leadership by press release instead of substantive ideas that address the heartbreaking violence that permeates the streets in the city."

A rash of public-school closings on the city’s south and west sides - areas with the most poverty and violent crime in Chicago - have not endeared Emanuel to the majority black and Latino communities most affected by the shutdowns.

Lewis, who has said she is "seriously considering" a run for mayor, organized a massive teacher strike in 2012 as a result of the mass school closings. Her relationship with Emanuel is publicly bitter, as she has labeled him the "murder mayor" while it was reported that Emanuel blew up at her - yelling "F*ck you, Lewis!" - during a private meeting in 2011.

Overall, the Emanuel administration has "the general problem of the perceived arrogance and unwillingness to have citizens involved in making decisions about the city," said Dick Simpson, a University of Illinois-Chicago political science professor and former city alderman.

The Chicago Sun-Times poll that showed Lewis leading Emanuel in a potential race also had another potential challenger, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, leading him by 24 points. The poll results showed Emanuel losing the backing of the city’s black population, which supported Lewis and Preckwinkle over the mayor by about 18 and 30 percentage points, respectively.

Preckwinkle, who has not ruled out a mayoral run as of yet, led Emanuel by eight points in a poll conducted this month by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research. Lewis was not included in the Anzalone survey.

The mayor’s office called the Sun-Times poll results “laughable” at the time, but experts believe he should heed the warnings.

"The polls show Rahm is not invincible," Simpson said, adding that voters aren’t likely to forget the violent summer of 2014 even as crime will inevitably dip over the winter, when the mayoral election will occur in February of next year.

Emanuel has taken some steps to address the ongoing violence. On Monday, he hosted a private summit with community leaders and law enforcement to discuss steps that can be taken to make the city safer. He also recently announced that federal funding to the tune of $10 million will be provided for two youth initiatives including a school dropout and violence-prevention program.

Adam Collins, spokesman for the mayor, told Huffington Post that "there’s still too much gun violence and much more work remains for everyone involved," yet progress has been made through, for example, partnerships with local leaders and ministers in crime-ridden neighborhoods.

"Mayor Emanuel has said there will be a time for politics, but what’s important today is continuing to make progress so every child has the opportunity for a bright future and everyone in every neighborhood can enjoy the same sense of safety," Collins said in the statement.

But Rev. Corey Brooks, pastor at New Beginnings Church in the Woodlawn area, agreed that violence had to be a major issue in the campaign, and that if Emanuel wants to be more serious about curbing the danger many citizens face everyday, he must take into account the advice of those in affected communities.

"I think if it's not birthed in the mayor's office or City Hall, they don't take it into consideration," Brooks told Huffington Post. "What has to happen is for them to go outside of their office and consider other possibilities and solutions before anything else can be done.”

“If not, we're going to continue to see what we see every day: More violence,” he added.

Celebrating sysadmins in the cloudy future

LXer -

System administration can be a thankless job. To all of the tireless administrators out there who keep the systems we reply upon up and running, today is the day that we say thank you!read more

Wikipedia Blocks 'Disruptive' Edits From US Congress

Slashdot -

alphatel writes: Wikipedia has blocked anonymous edits from a congressional IP address for 10 days because of "disruptive" behavior. These otherwise anonymous edits were brought to light recently by @Congressedits, a bot that automatically tweets Wikipedia changes that come from Congressional IP addresses. The biography of former U.S. defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld was edited to say that he was an "alien lizard who eats Mexican babies." Mediaite's Wikipedia page was modified to label the site as a "sexist transphobic" publication.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








#OffTheCouch: Award-winning Film Could Bring Bitcoin to 1,000 High Schools

Bitcoin Magazine -

The Corporation Film’s Crypto Challenge from Hello Cool World on Vimeo.

For its 10th year anniversary, “The Corporation” is raising money for a re-release shown to 1,000 schools across North America. Their original fiat campaign closed at $30,000, and they’re hoping for a match from the cryptocurrency community.

Campaign creator Kat Dodds is making this a race to the top for a special thanks section of the film that will feature the logos of the contributing cryptocurrencies. Students across 1,000 schools will receive a free lesson in corporate literacy and be exposed to Bitcoin for the first time. The updated version of the film will feature Bitcoin’s logo and explain to the audience how the film was able to get a re-release. This is an act that will inspire the minds of future generations about cryptocurrency for years to come.

#OffTheCouch is also Dana.io’s first crypto-only crowdfunding campaign. Dana.io is a startup based out of Vancouver that supports both fiat and crypto-donations, and uses a pay-what-you-want fee model. It is a platform geared towards artists, authors, and activists. Co-founder and CTO Scott Nelson has actively supported the Bitcoin community from the very beginning.

Dodds first heard about Bitcoin through Nelson and working on creating #OffTheCouch. It became obvious to her that both film and Bitcoin share a similar message in exposing financial models that are unstable, unjust, and unfair. As an advocate of alternative solutions for society, Bitcoin seemed like a natural next step to Dodds.

The film’s provocative revelations should resonate with the non-conformist attitudes of many cryptocurrency supporters. Issues covered in the film includes the likes of the privatization of rainwater in Bolivia, to the manufacturing of consent in our consumerist society, and the ramifications of legally protecting a business as a “person”. The cryptocurrency community can now help spread greater awareness of such issues through this campaign.

The Corporation is available on its official YouTube channel:

The campaign can be found here: https://dana.io/cryptochallenge

More information about The Corporation can be found below:
http://www.thecorporation.com
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0379225

The post #OffTheCouch: Award-winning Film Could Bring Bitcoin to 1,000 High Schools appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Remembering 'the Barnaby Jack few knew' on anniversary of hacker's death

Boing Boing -

Bloomberg has a profile of legendary hacker Barnaby Jack, who died a year ago. "Recent interviews with Jack's family and longtime friends portray a much different person" than the one publicly portrayed, "one who was uncomfortable with being in the spotlight at the annual Black Hat and DefCon conventions, events that will miss his showmanship when they begin next week in Las Vegas."

Building a Bitcoin Economy: How to Close the Loop

Bitcoin Magazine -

This guide is a continuation of a previous article at http://bitcoinmagazine.com/13104/building-bitcoin-economy-stimulate-adoption/

If you or someone in the area has been preaching crypto for a while, you probably have a few nearby businesses accepting Bitcoin by now. This is an important first step, and worthy of celebration over a few Bitcoin beers. Bitcoin evangelism never sleeps, however, so it’s time to grow the seeds you’ve sown into a sustainable Bitcoin economy. But before you get started, heed what I’ve learned from my latest efforts.

When you first bring cryptocurrency adoption to a community, it’s necessary to rely on promises of publicity, delivered in the form of organized events and media attention. The novelty will soon wear off, however, and you can’t volunteer to promote them forever. The Bitcoin economy needs to learn how to operate without the training wheels you’ve provided, and become stable on its own.

There are two main obstacles to accomplishing this. One is that a Bitcoin enthusiast drawn to a Bitcoin venue or store might not want to spend his or her bitcoins, due to the hoarding instinct. To an extent, this can be remedied by providing discounts: if people save enough money by using Bitcoin, it counteracts the cost of repurchasing their spent bitcoins. Unless the customers are lazy, apathetic to profit, and unconcerned with legitimizing cryptocurrency, this should alleviate the symptoms.

The bigger obstacle, however, is that many Bitcoin businesses are converting their bitcoins to cash. In contrast to commodities, a currency needs to have “velocity,” which is the rate at which it changes hands within the system. We need to “close the loop,” the point where you can pay a bitcoin to someone, who pays it to someone, who pays it to someone (and so on) until you eventually accept that bitcoin for your own good or service–just as with dollars, except now they can’t be arbitrarily printed by the government.

That’s what money is, and if you’re reading this guide, you’d probably rather it be created in a decentralized manner. Even if you think Bitcoin’s not a viable transactional currency due to deflation, slow block generation, etc, Bitcoin is what the public knows; so long as it’s leading the charge, we have to promote it as a currency. Once we’ve used Bitcoin to prove the viability of non-state currency, we can resume debates about whether to improve or change the system.

Many argue that the ideal way to go about this is by convincing employers to pay employees in Bitcoin. For example, the Co-op directors who run QuadrigaCX offer free conversion to the employees of merchants who do so. This is certainly a good idea, but neglects the root of the problem–it’s impossible (and illegal) to force this upon them. We could give bonus bitcoins to employees who accept, but most won’t accept a full salary in Bitcoin until it’s a more useful and stable currency, which brings us back full-circle. Even if employees do accept, they’re selling their bitcoins, which is a good exposure method, but not effectively closing the loop.

Before mass adoption, the other intermediary step we’re missing is the suppliers. Mainstream consumer demand for a new currency is still lacking due to ignorance, but business-to-business marketing and advertising (B2B) is a huge industry. I’ve spoken with many existing alternative currency gurus, like Steve Dale and Scott Berg here in Canada, and the majority of their business occurs in such a fashion. In addition to getting the coins flowing, this will continue to spread Bitcoin adoption throughout the business world, which is what the public is going to wait for.

If we’re to get as many businesses trading bitcoins as already trade things like Barter or Seedstock, we need to frame it the same way. Bitcoin needs to be a way for them to find leads, connecting producers to consumers. That’s the stage of the game we’re at in Bitcoin-friendly cities like Vancouver and others, and if you have enough merchants, it shouldn’t be too hard: since it’s still relatively novel, businesses engaging in such a practice will be subject to some publicity and fans for doing so. Once you get them started, they’re unlikely to stop so long as marketing companies continue charging huge finders fees for the same service.

That’s all good in theory, but how will it work in practice? In the process of writing this article, I reached out to Rollingdale Winery, which accepts Bitcoin for their organic wines. I explained to them that Bitcoiners would love to know that if they order Rollingdale at a pub in Vancouver, their bitcoins aren’t just going to an exchange to be sold. Local pubs are more than happy to carry an authentic Bitcoin beverage and advertise the fact, and several carry Rollingdale, already.

The results? We’re having Canada’s first real Bitcoin wine tasting this month, with Bitcoin wine at a Bitcoin establishment. Seating is limited; if you want to learn more or reserve a space, check it out at http://www.meetup.com/BitcoinCoop/events/192281872/

This how-to guide is part of a series written by director Andrew Wagner on behalf of the Bitcoin Co-op. The author is not compensated by any businesses mentioned in this article, except with the joy he gets from undermining the traditional financial system. If you want more information, or to join our non-profit advocacy movement, reach out at a.j.wagner.89@gmail.com. Stay tuned for part 3: How to Make the Transition.

The post Building a Bitcoin Economy: How to Close the Loop appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Pages

Subscribe to debianHELP aggregator