Monday, January 29, 2018

The Bitcoin Psyop (Video)

The Bitcoin Psyop


Do bitcoin and blockchain represent the technological innovations that will forever alter the way we conduct financial transactions or are they merely a hype-fueled sham? Amidst the cacophony of ongoing arguments between the system's harshest skeptics and most boisterous cheerleaders, it can prove challenging for a layperson to decipher truth from propaganda. The Bitcoin Psyop, a documentary short produced by The Corbett Report, peeks behind the hyperbolic techno-babble to deliver a clear-eyed view of the cryptocurrency revolution.
The most common point of confusion lies in defining what bitcoin and the blockchain actually are. In simplest terms, Bitcoin is an innovative payment network that operates without a bank or intermediary. Each transaction is logged on a digital ledger known as the blockchain. This database of a transaction is accessible by anyone on the bitcoin network, yet its creators insist this information is secured by military-grade encryption technology.
The bitcoin network represents something entirely new, and consumers have every reason to feel disoriented. Certain power figures of finance want to perpetuate that sense of bewilderment. According to the film, they frequently employ interchangeable terms and confusing lingo to keep the system's more ominous potential in the shadows. Just like with most weapons, the blockchain can be used with nefarious intent or as a tool to defend the greater good.
The network can be used to take power from the traditional banking system and place it back in the hands of the people. It can allow for the transfer of valuables and property without having to deal with needlessly intrusive regulations or invisible global borders. But it can also be used to exert greater control over the people and increased oversight of their every purchase and leave individual users vulnerable to the whims of totalitarian governments.
At this moment in time, bitcoin and blockchain stand at a crucial precipice. If we reach an understanding of the network and all its capabilities, we can begin to combat its potential for misuse. The Bitcoin Psyop provides a terrific primer on a complex topic and outlines the important role we all can play in making it a beneficial force in the world economy.
Directed byJames Corbett

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Are there Other Earths? (Video)

Are there Other Earths?


The universe plays host to a surprising number of planets that appear quite similar to our own. Is it possible that humans could occupy any of these planets in the future? Remarkably, recent astronomical discoveries have pinpointed thousands of potential candidates. The engrossing documentary Are There Other Earths? examines the probable conditions on a handful of these planets and their parallels to the place we call home.
For a planet to be inhabitable by humans, it must rotate around a parent star much like our Sun, be temperate and shows signs of liquid water on its surface. Many possess a rocky landscape much like our own. Each of the planets profiled in the film meet this minimal criteria, but they still pose serious obstacles for human sustainability.
The film calls upon the efforts of several of the most revered observatories in the world, including NASA and the La Silla Observatory in Chile.
Their most recent discovery is the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system, a dwarf star around which seven planets rotate in close proximity to one another. Nearly 40 light years away, the star is significantly less luminous and massive than our own Sun, but at least three of its host exoplanets exist within a habitable zone. One of these planets - TRAPPIST-1f - is close to Earth's size and is thought to contain 20% liquid water content.
There's Ross 128b, a planet that orbits its red dwarf star once every 9.9 days as it inches ever closer to Earth. Almost 500 light years away lies Kepler 186f, a planet distinguished by a size, gravity and terrain much like Earth. In these instances and others, the conditions might exist that would allow biological processes to flourish. They may already harbor life forms of their own, which would finally resolve the question of whether we are alone in the universe.
The notion that humans can truly thrive on any of these exoplanets is more than a bit far-fetched at this stage. Each of them presents its own set of potential dangers and uncertainties. Regardless, Are there Other Earths? offers an intriguing glimpse into an alternate reality that might await humankind tens of thousands of years into the future.
Directed byDavid Sky Brody

Monday, January 8, 2018

Ethereum hits new record high as price surge continues

Ethereum hits new record high as price surge continues

LONDON — Ethereum's recent surge is continuing on Monday, with the cryptocurrency close to its all-time high.
Ethereum, the second biggest cryptocurrency after bitcoin, crossed $1,000 per coin for the first time on Friday. Gains continued over the weekend and ethereum cleared $1,200 per coin in the early hours of Monday morning. It hit an all-time high of $1,261.41 at 4.40 a.m. UTC/GMT (11.40 p.m. ET).
The digital currency, which was worth just $10 at the start of 2017, has since given up some of its gains but is still trading higher on the day.
Ethereum is up 6.8% against the dollar to $1,191.96 at the time of writing (7.55 a.m. GMT/2.55 a.m. ET):ethereumMarkets Insider
The immediate spur for the recent rally was a fourth quarter report on the performance of ethereum, which is a decentralized network for people to run contracts on. Transactions volume on its network doubled, according to a blog post, "surpassing 10 transactions per second for days at a time."
Ethereum's recent rally means the cryptocurrency now has a market capitalisation of $118 billion, according to data provider That equates to 15% of the entire cryptocurrency market.
Elsewhere in the cryptocurrency markets, bitcoin is down 1.8% against the dollar to $15,875.17 at the time of writing and litecoin is down 2.4% to $264.19.
The Bitcoin 101 Report by the BI Intelligence Research Team.
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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Children of Abraham (Video)

Children of Abraham


Global acts of terror in our post-9/11 world have catapulted the issue of religious intolerance to the forefront. Can we ever achieve reconciliation between each religious sect, and avoid the bloodshed that arises from the most radicalized interpretations of their beliefs? Even among the most modest believers, the clashes between religious affiliations too often inspire division, conflict, and incivility. The riveting three-part documentary series Children of Abraham travels the globe to speak to various figures in the Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities and attempts to find common ground within the gospels they live by.
The film's host, a devout Catholic named Mark Dowd, attempts to construct this reconciliation by calling upon the lessons of a religious icon shared by all three faiths: the prophet Abraham. Deemed by Dowd as an "inter-faith superstar", Abraham was anointed by God as the uniting leader of all nations of the world for his unfailing faith. Conversely, Abraham's story may also point to the current scourge of violent extremism. For these terrorists, violence represents the ultimate act of devotion. From their perverted mindset, the justification for the carnage they inflict can be found in God's command that Abraham sacrifices his only son.
These concepts and many others are explored in this wide-ranging documentary. The first section traces the origins of Abraham and the ambiguous passages of religious text that allow for such discrepancies in belief. Part two opens in Jerusalem, and tours the sacred sites where all three religions often converge and fight for access. This final part of the film is perhaps it's most compelling as we're placed inside the confined walls of a state prison. There, a convicted killer outlines his reasons for targeting a Mosque.
The filmmakers do not focus solely on the differences that continue to divide persons of various faiths. It also offers inspiring portraits of those who work to foster welcoming environments of harmony and integration.
Travelling from Egypt to Bosnia to the deeply polarized Palestinian city of Hebron, Children of Abraham is a hugely ambitious exploration of age-old questions that continue to perplex and fracture large segments of our global society.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Elon Musk pitched Trump on SpaceX's mission to colonize other planets

Elon Musk pitched Trump on SpaceX's mission to colonize other planets

falcon heavy rocket hangar cape canaveral 03 spacex elon musk twitterSpaceX's three-booster Falcon Heavy rocket in a hangar at Cape Canaveral in December 2017.Elon Musk/SpaceX via Twitter
  • SpaceX CEO Elon Musk sought to pique Donald Trump's interest in space colonization shortly after he was elected.
  • Musk has previously asserted that mortals need to leave Earth in order to preserve humanity.
  • He was one of several tech titans who courted Trump early on, according to an excerpt from the revealing book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," by journalist Michael Wolff.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was interested in getting a newly elected President Donald Trump on board with his company's mission to explore other planets, according to an excerpt from a new book on the Trump administration that has dominated headlines this week.
Among the many claims made in Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," one passage described a scene at Trump Tower where then-president-elect Trump was taking meetings with tech titans like the Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
According to the excerpt, Musk had sought to get Trump interested in SpaceX's "race to Mars," ostensibly an effort to keep his company front-of-mind in the broad scope of national space exploration.
In response to the excerpt, a SpaceX spokesperson emphasized to Business Insider on Thursday night that Musk is focused on "making humans multi-planetary," a goal that Musk has been vocal about in the past. Last month he said it was "high time that humanity went beyond Earth."
"Should have a moon base by now and sent astronauts to Mars," Musk wrote in a December 13 tweet. "The future needs to inspire."
Trump has previously expressed interest in jump-starting the national space program. He signed the NASA Transition Authorization Act in March last year, a law calling for a $19.5 billion yearly budget for NASA.
The law also requests that the space agency put together a plan to get humans to Mars by 2033.

Friday, December 29, 2017

China central bank frees up cash for banks ahead of Lunar New Year

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s central bank said it will let some commercial banks temporarily keep fewer required reserves to help them cope with the heavy demand for cash ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, a step that analysts say does not signal any policy shift.

FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past the headquarters of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, in Beijing, June 21, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo
In recent years, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has provided some form of liquidity support for banks to deal with greater demand for cash from households and firms before the big holiday that starts between mid-January and mid-February.
In 2018, the first day of Lunar New Year is Feb. 16.
The mechanism the PBOC announced on Friday is the first that lets some national commercial banks trim the amount of reserves they need to keep with the PBOC.
The move will help “promote smooth money market operations and support financial institutions’ financial services before and after the Spring Festival”, the central bank said.
According to the PBOC statement, some banks will be allowed to lower their reserve requirement ratios (RRR) by up to 200 basis points, for 30 days.
For major banks, the current RRR rate is 17 percent of their deposits.
The PBOC statement did not specify when the arrangement to make more cash available will begin.


Li Qilin, an analyst at Lianxun Securities, said the arrangement would be more effective in smoothing out liquidity volatility, and he expects it to release up to 1.8 trillion yuan ($276.65 billion) of liquidity.
“But the basic tone of monetary policy to fend off risks has not changed,” Li said. “And before any changes made to the monetary policy, the central bank’s determination to keep (liquidity) with a tightening bias and control leverage would be unchanged.”
In early 2017, the central bank unveiled a “Temporary Liquidity Facility”, with a tenor of 28 days, to help some major banks.
Wen Bin, economist at Minsheng Bank in Beijing, said this year’s use of official required reserves “will lower the qualified banks’ funding cost and increase their willingness to finance the market.”
“It will also create positive effect to keep the current liquidity level steady and prevent the market rates from rising too fast.”
Analysts expect the PBOC to keep policy slightly tight next year under the banner of a “prudent and neutral” stance, as part of a broader deleveraging drive to contain risks in the economy, even as that has sent market rates to multiple-year highs.
The volume-weighted average rate of the benchmark seven-day repo CN7DRP=CFXS traded in the interbank market, considered the best indicator of general liquidity in China, was trading on Friday afternoon at 3.0566 percent, around 46 basis points higher than the previous year’s closing average rate of 2.5948 percent. 
Reporting by Winni Zhou and Kevin Yao; Editing by Richard Borsuk

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