Big te Venezuela: Bitcoin Mining
Hyperinflation has driven thousands to seek out unorthodox currency.
When Evidence Says No, but Doctors Say Yes
- David Epstein and ProPublica
- Feb 22, 2017
Betraying the Faith of Christopher Hitchens
Are Straight People Born That Way?
Are Private Schools Immoral?
The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans
- Rene Chun
- September 2017 Punt
I n Venezuela, huis to some of the worst hyperinflation since the Weimar Republic, a Big Mac costs about half a month’s wages. Or rather, it did, until a bread shortage compelled the onderdaan off the spijskaart. The annual inflation rate is expected to succesnummer 1,600 procent. Life resembles an old newsreel: long lines, empty shelves, cashiers weighing stacks of bills.
To sustain, thousands of Venezuelans have taken to minería bitcoin—mining bitcoin, the cryptocurrency. Lend laptop processing power to the blockchain (the bitcoin network’s immense, decentralized ledger) and you will be rewarded with bitcoin. To contribute more data-crunching power, and earn more bitcoin, people operate racks of specialized computers known spil “miners.” Whether a mining operation is profitable hinges on two main factors: bitcoin’s market value—which has succesnummer record highs this year—and the price of tens unit, needed to run the powerful hardware.
Tens unit, it so happens, is one thing most Venezuelans can afford: Under the socialist staatsbestel of Voorzitter Nicolás Maduro, power is so intensely subsidized that it is practically free. A person running several bitcoin miners can clear $500 a month. That’s a puny fortune ter Venezuela today, enough to feed a family of four and purchase vital goods—baby diapers, say, or insulin—online. (Most web retailers don’t ship directly to Venezuela, but some Florida-based delivery services do.)
Under thesis circumstances, a miner starts to look a loterijlot like an ATM. Professors and collegium students have mined bitcoin, so, rumor has it, have politicians and police officers. It has become a common currency even among non-miners: Peer-to-peer online exchanges (think Venmo, but with cryptocurrency) permit everyone from shopkeepers to a former Miss Venezuela to buy and sell with bitcoin.
From Our September 2017 Punt
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But recently, Maduro has begun cracking down on mining operations, evidently finding te them a convenient political scapegoat—much spil he calls those who seek to profit off inflation “capitalist parasites.” Yet trading bitcoin is still condoned. It’s spil if Maduro realizes that cryptocurrency is one of the few things holding the country together.
Because Venezuela has no cryptocurrency laws, police have arrested mine operators on spurious charges. Their very first target, Joel Padrón, who possesses a courier service and began mining to supplement his income, wasgoed charged with energy theft and possession of contraband and detained for 14 weeks. Since then, other bitcoin equipments have bot seized—and, te many cases, rebooted by omkoopbaar police for private profit. Spil a result, Padrón told mij, many people have stopped mining. But Rodrigo Souza, the founder of BlinkTrade, which runs SurBitcoin, a Venezuelan bitcoin exchange based te Brooklyn, says that for others, the temptation is still too excellent to fight back. “People haven’t stopped mining,” he told mij. “They’ve just gone deeper underground.”
Venezuela’s most resourceful miners, ter fact, are moving on to a fresh inflation-buster: the cryptocurrency ether (ETH). The profit margins are higher and, more significant, the risk factor is much lower. “Mining ETH or bitcoin is pretty much the same principle: using free electric current to generate metselspecie,” one Venezuelan miner told mij. “But ETH mining is more affordable—all you need is free software and a PC with a movie card. Any police officer is lightly fooled into thinking your ETH miner is just a regular laptop.”
And so, spil the presses churn out worthless bolivares, the miners carry on, tapping into the power grid, turning electrons into dollars.
The ‘Eternality’ of Graffiti
A visual artist’s work revitalizes fighting neighborhoods te Fresh Orleans.
About the Author
- Axel Pfaender
When Evidence Says No, but Doctors Say Yes
Long after research contradicts common medical practices, patients proceed to request them and physicians proceed to produce. The result is an epidemic of unnecessary and unhelpful treatments.
Very first, listen to the story with the blessed ending: At 61, the executive wasgoed ter excellent health. His blood pressure wasgoed a bit high, but everything else looked good, and he exercised regularly. Then he had a scare. He went for a brisk post-lunch walk on a cool winter day, and his chest began to hurt. Back inwards his office, he sat down, and the ache disappeared spil quickly spil it had come.
That night, he thought more about it: middle-aged man, high blood pressure, strained job, chest discomfort. The next day, he went to a local emergency department. Doctors determined that the man had not suffered a heart attack and that the electrical activity of his heart wasgoed downright normal. All signs suggested that the executive had stable angina—chest anguish that occurs when the heart muscle is getting less blood-borne oxygen than it needs, often because an artery is partially blocked.
Betraying the Faith of Christopher Hitchens
Larry Taunton’s fresh book says more about its author than about the man he claims spil a friend.
Even Christopher Hitchens’s detractors would concede him two superb qualities: honesty and bravery. Hitchens spoke the truth spil he understood the truth, without regard to whom he might please and whom he might offend. What Hitchens wrote of his intellectual hero, George Orwell, wasgoed the epitaph he would have wished for himself:
By his determination to seek elusive but verifiable truth, he demonstrated how much can be accomplished by an individual who unites the qualities of intellectual honesty and moral courage.
Yet this is the epitaph that a fresh book about Hitchens seeks to deny him. Larry Taunton is an evangelical publicist and promoter who became friendly with Hitchens during the writer’s final three years of life. Earlier this spring, Taunton published a fresh book that alleged that Hitchens wasgoed not spil committed to his atheism spil Hitchens publicly insisted—that, indeed, Hitchens had approached the edge of a Christian conversion.
Are Straight People Born That Way?
The best scientific argument wij have for the innateness of straightness is that evolution would favor it. But a poll of sexologists raises some interesting questions about arousal.
Time for a thought proefneming: Are straight people born that way? When I waterput the question to a number of sexology colleagues, they thought it a good question — indeed, a hard question.
To reaction it, wij have to begin with a more fundamental question: What do wij mean when wij say someone is “straight”? At the most basic level, wij seem to be imagining female figures that are specifically sexually excited by masculine bods, and vice versa.
Laboratory studies such spil those conducted by Michael Bailey of Northwestern University and Meredith Chivers of Queens University suggest that, while such people very likely do exist — at least te North America, where many sexologists have focused their attentions — it’s not uncommon for straight-identified people to be at least a little thrilled by the idea of same-sex relations.
Are Private Schools Immoral?
A conversation with Nikole Hannah-Jones about wedstrijd, education, and hypocrisy.
Public schools ter gentrifying neighborhoods seem on the cusp of becoming truly diverse, spil historically underserved neighborhoods pack up with junior, whiter families. But the schools remain stubbornly segregated. Nikole Hannah-Jones has chronicled this phenomenon around the country, and seen it firsthand ter hier neighborhood ter Brooklyn.
“White communities want neighborhood schools if their neighborhood schoolgebouw is white,” she says. “If their neighborhood schoolgebouw is black, they want choice.” Chartervliegtuig schools and magnet schools spring up te place of neighborhood schools, where white students can be ter the majority.
“We have a system where white people control the outcomes, and the outcome that most white Americans want is segregation,” she says.
The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans
Almost half of Americans would have trouble finding $400 to pay for an emergency. I&rsquo,m one of them.
S ince 2013, the Federal Reserve Houtvezelplaat has conducted a survey to “monitor the financial and economic status of American consumers.” Most of the gegevens ter the latest survey, frankly, are less than earth-shattering: 49 procent of part-time workers would choose to work more hours at their current wage, 29 procent of Americans expect to earn a higher income te the coming year, 43 procent of homeowners who have wielded their huis for at least a year believe its value has enhanced. But the reaction to one question wasgoed astonishing. The Fed asked respondents how they would pay for a $400 emergency. The response: 47 procent of respondents said that either they would voorkant the expense by borrowing or selling something, or they would not be able to come up with the $400 at all. Four hundred dollars! Who knew?
Sonia Gandhi Leaves the Stage
With Hindu nationalism ascendant, what does the future hold for India’s very first family and its pluralist legacy?
Ter 1994, Sonia Gandhi published a book of photographs from hier private life with hier late spouse, Rajiv Gandhi. It included a dozen pictures from their trips to Italy, where she had grown up te the suburbs of Turin. Here she wasgoed ter a speedboat te 1980, wearing crimson-framed sunglasses and a matched paisley shawl. Here wasgoed their son Rahul, just seven or eight years old, on a beach pushing goggles off his face into his hair.
What made the book, titled Rajiv’s World, so unusual then wasgoed the photographer: Rajiv Gandhi, the former prime minister of India killed ter a suicide bombing. What makes the book unusual today is how much it shares of the interior life of Sonia herself—before she transcended hier origins to become India’s most powerful politician.
The Weaponization of Awkwardness
Don’t make a toneel. Look the other way. Social discomfort has long bot used to maintain the status quo.
“Y oung women say yes to hook-up they don’t actually want to have all of the time. Why? Because wij condition youthful women to feel guilty if they switch their mind.”
That wasgoed the writer Ella Dawson, ter hier werkstuk reacting to “Cat Person,” the Fresh Yorker brief story that went viral, and indeed that is still going viral, this week. Kristen Roupenian’s work of fiction resonated among denizens of the nonfictional world te part because of its lovemaking toneel: one that probes, ter rich and wincing detail, the complications of consent. Margot, a 20-year-old collegium student, goes on a date with Robert, a man several years hier senior, alternately enchanted by him and repulsed by him, hopeful about him and disappointed, she ultimately sleeps with him. Not because she fully wants to, ter the end, but because, te the abate fever of the uur, acquiescing is easier—less dramatic, less disruptive, less awkward—than telling no.
‘The Basic Grossness of Humans’
Content moderators review the the dark side of the internet. They don’t escape unscathed.
Stashing inwards every webstek or app that relies on “user-generated content”—so, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, among others—there is a hidden kleintje of labor, without which thesis sites would not be viable businesses. Content moderation wasgoed once generally a volunteer activity, something people took on because they were embedded te communities that they desired to maintain.
But spil social media grew up, so did moderation. It became what the University of California, Los Angeles, scholar Sarah T. Roberts calls, “commercial content moderation,” a form of paid labor that requires people to review posts—pictures, movies, text—very quickly and at scale.
Roberts has bot studying the labor of content moderation for most of a decade, everzwijn since she witnessed a newspaper clipping about a puny company ter the Midwest that took on outsourced moderation work.
Everybody Should Be Very Afraid of the Disney Death Strak
The very first gig of the Streaming Wars is overheen. The rebels won. Now the empire strikes back.
Disney announced on Thursday that it would acquire most of the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox for about $60 billion ter stock and debt, te what would be the largest-ever merger of two showbiz companies. Already the most storied entertainment empire te the U.S., Disney would become a global colossus through this overeenkomst, gaining large stakes ter the thickest entertainment companies ter both Europe and India. The overeenkomst will almost certainly receive regulatory scrutiny, spil the Justice Department has bot lately dubious of mega media mergers.
The yuletide haul includes some of the most famous properties ter television and filmrolletje. Ter the transfer of power, Disney would receive the 20th Century Fox speelfilm studio, including the independent filmrolletje maestros at Fox Searchlight (Best Picture Oscar–winners include: Slumdog Millionaire, 12 Years a Gimp, and Birdman), the X-Men franchise, Fox’s television production company (worldwide hits include: The Simpsons, Modern Family, and Homeland), the FX and National Geographic cable channels, and regional sports networks, including the YES Network that broadcasts Fresh York Yankees games. Disney also acquires a majority stake te the TV product Hulu, which it may use to kickstart its entry into the streaming wars.
Nipt Neutrality Wasgoed Never Enough
The internet is spil much the enemy spil it is the hero of contemporary life.
Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, opens a bag of Cheetos with his teeth, dumps them onto a hipster food-court lunch cup, and slathers it ter Sriracha sauce. He snaps a pic for social media.
It’s a toneel from a movie, “Seven Things You Can Still Do on the Internet After Televisiekanaal Neutrality,” slok by the conservative outlet The Daily Caller and published Wednesday, the day before the Federal Communications Commission voted to gut rules to treat internet traffic identically. Besides “’gramming your food,” Pai also assures The Daily Caller’s readers they will still be able to take selfies, binge see Spel of Thrones, cosplay spil a Jedi, and do the Harlem jiggle.
Net-neutrality proponents have lambasted the movie, and with good reason. A federal appointee charged for stewardship of public communications infrastructure comes off spil insolent.
Volmaakt Grades Don’t Always Matter
Achieving a Four.0 doesn’t necessarily translate into success te real life.
A Stunning Cinematic Tour to the Pui Lines of California’s Wildfires
A squad of firefighters risks their lives to neutralize an unprecedented blaze.
A Hypnotic Descent Into Dehumanization
A brief speelfilm harnesses powerful visuals to tell a harrowing story.
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