The price of a bitcoin topped $900 last week, an enormous surge in value that arrived amidst Congressional hearings where top U.S. financial regulators took a surprisingly rosy view of digital currency. Just 10 months ago, a bitcoin sold for a measly $13.
The spike was big news across the globe, from Washington to Tokyo to China, and it left many asking themselves: “What the hell is a bitcoin?” It’s a good question — not only for those with little understanding of the modern financial system and how it intersects with modern technology, but also for those steeped in the new internet-driven economy that has so quickly remade our world over the last 20 years.
Bitcoin is a digital currency, meaning it’s money controlled and stored entirely by computers spread across the internet, and this money is finding its way to more and more people and businesses around the world. But it’s much more than that, and many people — including the sharpest of internet pioneers as well as seasoned economists — are still struggling to come to terms with its many identities.
With that in mind, we give you this: an idiot’s guide to bitcoin. And there’s no shame in reading. Nowadays, as bitcoin is just beginning to show what it’s capable of, we’re all neophytes.
Any currency that can jump to 69x previous value in 10 months while also having miniature economic bubbles burst twice within that time period is not a stable currency.
Bitcoins are functionally stocks for bourgeoisie nerds that want to feel good about ‘escaping the system’ and ‘avoiding the Fed’.
Governments have transformed the internet into a surveillance platform, but they are not omnipotent. They’re limited by material resources as much as the rest of us. We might not all be able to prevent the NSA and GCHQ from spying on us, but we can at least create more obstacles and make surveilling us more expensive. The more infrastructure you run, the safer the communication will be. Download installation software for these programs. You can read detailed installation and setup instructions here.
Includes all you’ll need to access the Tor Network.
Makes it more difficult to trace Internet activity: Web browsing, online posts, instant messages and other communication forms. Cannot prevent monitoring of traffic entering/exiting the network. While Tor protects against traffic analysis, it cannot prevent traffic confirmation (also called end-to-end correlation).
2. BLEACH BIT
Many features to help you easily clean your computer, free-up space and maintain privacy.
A live operating system. Start on almost any computer from DVD/USB stick. Preserves your privacy and anonymity.
Comes with several built-in applications pre-configured with security in mind: web browser, instant messaging client, email client, office suite and more.
Create virtual hard drives which encrypt any files you save onto them. Many types of encryption.
Chat software that allows use of existing instant messaging accounts. Supports Facebook, Google Chat, AIM, MSN + more.
A simple plugin for Pidgin. It encrypts all conversations held using the software.
Free email software. Add your existing mail account to it.
A security extension to Thunderbird. Write/receive emails signed and/or encrypted with the OpenPGP standard.
Free implementation of the OpenPGP standard. Encrypt and sign your emails.
Dialects of American English
If you live in the United States, there is a good chance that you are now living in poverty or near poverty. Nearly 50 million Americans, (49.7 Million), are living below the poverty line, with 80% of the entire U.S. population living near poverty or below it.
That near poverty statistic is perhaps more startling than the 50 million Americans below the poverty line, because it translates to a full 80% of the population struggling with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on government assistance to help make ends meet.
In September, the Associated Press pointed to survey data that told of an increasingly widening gap between rich and poor, as well as the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs that used to provide opportunities for the “Working Class” to explain an increasing trend towards poverty in the U.S.
But the numbers of those below the poverty line does not merely reflect the number of jobless Americans. Instead, according to a revised census measure released Wednesday, the number – 3 million higher than what the official government numbers imagine – are also due to out-of-pocket medical costs and work-related expenses.
The new measure is generally “considered more reliable by social scientists because it factors in living expenses as well as the effects of government aid, such as food stamps and tax credits,” according to Hope Yen reporting for the Associated Press.
Some other findings revealed that food stamps helped 5 million people barely reach above the poverty line. That means that the actual poverty rate is even higher, as without such aid, poverty rate would rise from 16 percent to 17.6 percent.
Latino and Asian Americans saw an increase in poverty, rising to 27.8 percent and 16.7 percent respectively, from 25.8 percent and 11.8 percent under official government numbers. African-Americans, however, saw a very small decrease, from 27.3 percent to 25.8 percent which the study documents is due to government assistance programs. Non-Hispanic whites too rose from 9.8 percent to 10.7 percent in poverty.
“The primary reason that poverty remains so high,” Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan economist said, “is that the benefits of a growing economy are no longer being shared by all workers as they were in the quarter-century following the end of World War II.”
“Given current economic conditions,” he continued, “poverty will not be substantially reduced unless government does more to help the working poor.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. government seems to think that the answer is cutting more of those services which are helping to keep 80% of the population just barely above the poverty line, cutting Food Stamps since the beginning of the month. Democrats and Republicans are negotiating about just how much more of these programs should be cut, but neither party is arguing that they should not be touched.
The black market 101
Mechanistic (top row) and empirical (bottom row) simulations compared recent, or “baseline,” maize production in South Africa (1979-99) to projected future production under climate change (2046-65). While both models showed a reduction in output, the third column shows that the empirical model estimated a widespread yield loss of around 10 percent (in yellow), while the mechanistic model showed several areas of increased production (in green). Image: Lyndon Estes
The damage scientists expect climate change to do to crop yields can differ greatly depending on which type of model was used to make those projections, according to research based at Princeton University. The problem is that the most dire scenarios can loom large in the minds of the public and policymakers, yet neither audience is usually aware of how the model itself influenced the outcome, the researchers said.
The report in the journal Global Change Biology is one of the first to compare the agricultural projections generated by empirical models — which rely largely on field observations — to those by mechanistic models, which draw on an understanding of how crop growth and development are affected by the environment. Building on similar studies from ecology, the researchers found yet more evidence that empirical models may show greater losses as a result of climate change, while mechanistic models may be overly optimistic.
The researchers ran an empirical and a mechanistic model to see how maize and wheat crops in South Africa — the world’s ninth largest maize producer, and sub-Saharan Africa’s second largest source of wheat — would fare under climate change in the years 2046 to 2065. Under the hotter, wetter conditions projected by the climate scenarios they used, the empirical model estimated that maize production could drop by 3.6 percent, while wheat output could increase by 6.2 percent. Meanwhile, the mechanistic model calculated that maize and wheat yields might go up by 6.5 and 15.2 percent, respectively.
In addition, the empirical model estimated that suitable land for growing wheat would drop by 10 percent, while the mechanistic model found that it would expand by 9 percent. The empirical model projected a 48 percent expansion in wheat-growing areas, but the mechanistic reported only 20 percent growth. In regions where the two models overlapped, the empirical model showed declining yields while the mechanistic model showed increases. These wheat models were less accurate, but still indicative of the vastly different estimates empirical and mechanistic can produce, the researchers wrote.
Disparities such as these aren’t just a concern for climate-change researchers, said first author Lyndon Estes, an associate research scholar in the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy in Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Impact projections are crucial as people and governments work to understand and address climate change, but it also is important that people understand how they are generated and the biases inherent in them, Estes said. The researchers cite previous studies that suggest climate change will reduce South African maize and wheat yields by 28 to 30 percent — according to empirical studies. Mechanistic models project a more modest 10 to 19 percent loss. What’s a farmer or government minister to believe?
"A yield projection based only on empirical models is likely to show larger yield losses than one made only with mechanistic models. Neither should be considered more right or wrong, but people should be aware of these differences," Estes said. "People who are interested in climate-change science should be aware of all the sources of uncertainty inherent in projections, and should be aware that scenarios based on a single model — or single class of models — are not accounting for one of the major sources of uncertainty."
- The Next Green Revolution (This Time Without Fossil Fuels)
- Food and capitalism: a crisis of waste and destruction
- When agriculture stops working: A guide to growing food in the age of climate destabilization and civilization collapse
- Elevated Carbon Dioxide Making Arid Regions Greener
- Satellite Data Reveal How Tropical Ecosystems May Respond to Climate Extremes
HOW TO MAKE IT IN THE JUNGLE
With the coming of summer we can once again look forward to the honest reactions of people against the conditions that oppress them. We can also look forward to the armed tools of the state using their oppressive power to breakup these actions.
As a public service RAT wishes to show our readers some of the maneuvers that the police will be using against us. We are printing these diagrams in the hope that people may be able to familiarize themselves with the patterns and develop actions around them.
A good chart to show hold long your vegetables, fruit and… other stuff would stay fresh for. Brought to you by visual.ly, a place with a TON of infographics, maybe the biggest on the web.
Good to know!!
reblogged so I can find it again
Despite Record Poverty, the US Has Made Most Gains in Global Wealth
The United States is the wealthiest country in the world, in terms of GDP. But which country is the richest in terms of median wealth per person? Australia. The median wealth of adults there is $219,505, according to the Credit Suisse 2013 Global Wealth Report, which was released on Wednesday. In the US, the median wealth is only $45,000, compared to an average wealth per person of more than $250,000. Here are some other chart-tastic findings from the report.
Global wealth reached an all-time high of $241 trillion, up about five percent since last year. If all the money in the world were spread out evenly, it would amount to $51,600 per person. And here is a map of what it would look like if countries’ GDP were spread out evenly among their populations.
big life foundation, started by photographer nick brandt in 2010, is the culmination of a vision which began for him in 1995 when he was asked by michael jackson to direct the video for “earth song.” “[jackson] really cared hugely about the environment so we naturally bonded over that,” he said.
the shoot would take him to kenya and tanzania. “i completely fell in love with the place. i became a photographer because of africa,” he said. “i never found a way to express my feelings about the environment through film [but] after seeing everything there in africa, i suddenly realized there was a way to express my feeling through photographs.”
"even though i am a natural pessimist, i hadn’t anticipated that the rate of destruction would escalate so fast,” he said. “i thought it was very self aggrandizing to start my own foundation, but what i had was a pool of incredibly wealthy collectors who buy my photographs. with the initial investment of half a million dollars from one art collector, big life was born.”
recognizing that sustainable conservation can only be achieved through a community based collaborative approach, big life uses innovative conservation strategies to reduce the loss of wildlife to poaching, defeat the ivory trade, mitigate human-wildlife conflict, protect the great predators, and manage scarce and fragile natural resources.