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  • 27.05.2019 | Anti-establishment parties scored big in EU elections since bloc became ‘problem & not solution’




    Nationalist parties sailed to victory in the European Union elections as the bloc increasingly became out-of-touch with ordinary people, analysts and politicians told RT, saying that the EU has now turned into “a problem.” Exit polls show that right-wing and Euroskeptic parties posted significant gains in the European Parliament elections, which ended on Sunday. In France, the UK and Austria, nationalist parties even surged past their pro-EU rivals. The Greens and the Liberals performed well too. As a result, the pro-European bloc EPP and the Social-Democratic alliance S&D have now lost their combined majority. The defeat of the bloc’s business-as-usual parties “is really not surprising when we look at the bigger picture,” Uli Brueckner, a professor of European studies at Stanford University in Berlin, told RT. According to Brueckner, the election results present a serious challenge to Brussels’ narrative of a united, integrated Europe. “In the past, we had one consensus on the general narrative that European integration as such is good, because it brings peace, stability, prosperity, and we only disagree on certain ideological differences – about whether it’s clean enough, is it fair enough, is it pro-business.” Euroskeptic parties have shattered this consensus, Brueckner noted, adding that political movements across the continent now see the bloc “not as the solution [for Europe], but the problem.” The momentum against Europe’s establishment parties was certainly felt in France, where Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party narrowly beat President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist En Marche. Dennis Franceskin, a National Rally representative based in Washington, said that the success of Euroskeptic parties reveals growing dissatisfaction within the bloc. “The structure of the European Union is a failure,” Franceskin told RT. Many countries have realized now that the EU is not a solution, it’s actually a problem. The political rivalry between the growing Euroskeptic movement and the pro-Brussels bloc can be described as “common sense” versus “globalism,” Maximilian Krah, a politician who belongs to the Alternative for Germany (AfD), argued. Speaking about the electoral gains made by his own party, Krah accused his country’s political establishment of being impervious to the needs of ordinary Germans. “We have our roots in rural areas with ordinary people, and they have mass media and the big corporations,” he said. Similar anti-establishment sentiment can be found in the UK, where Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party received 31.6 percent of the votes, defeating the Conservatives by more than 20 points. The party’s electoral success can be attributed to the “highly-polarized” nature of politics in the UK right now, Francesco Rizzuto, a professor of European law at Edge Hill University, told RT. The Brexit Party offered voters an alternative to the traditional status quo, Rizzuto noted. “I think many people were fed up with the mess of the last two or three years. And especially those who want to leave the European Union, they certainly were very disappointed with the conservatives, Labour floundering around in Never-Never Land, and quite clearly Mr. Farage offered a very simple and straightforward message.”     https://quantsalus.com/contacts/   ...

    Nationalist parties sailed to victory in the European Union elections as the bloc increasingly became out-of-touch with ordinary people, analysts and politicians told RT, saying that the EU has now turned into “a problem.”

    Exit polls show that right-wing and Euroskeptic parties posted significant gains in the European Parliament elections, which ended on Sunday. In France, the UK and Austria, nationalist parties even surged past their pro-EU rivals. The Greens and the Liberals performed well too.

    As a result, the pro-European bloc EPP and the Social-Democratic alliance S&D have now lost their combined majority.

    The defeat of the bloc’s business-as-usual parties “is really not surprising when we look at the bigger picture,” Uli Brueckner, a professor of European studies at Stanford University in Berlin, told RT.

    According to Brueckner, the election results present a serious challenge to Brussels’ narrative of a united, integrated Europe.

    “In the past, we had one consensus on the general narrative that European integration as such is good, because it brings peace, stability, prosperity, and we only disagree on certain ideological differences – about whether it’s clean enough, is it fair enough, is it pro-business.”

    Euroskeptic parties have shattered this consensus, Brueckner noted, adding that political movements across the continent now see the bloc “not as the solution [for Europe], but the problem.”

    The momentum against Europe’s establishment parties was certainly felt in France, where Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party narrowly beat President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist En Marche.

    Dennis Franceskin, a National Rally representative based in Washington, said that the success of Euroskeptic parties reveals growing dissatisfaction within the bloc. “The structure of the European Union is a failure,” Franceskin told RT.

    Many countries have realized now that the EU is not a solution, it’s actually a problem.

    The political rivalry between the growing Euroskeptic movement and the pro-Brussels bloc can be described as “common sense” versus “globalism,” Maximilian Krah, a politician who belongs to the Alternative for Germany (AfD), argued.

    Speaking about the electoral gains made by his own party, Krah accused his country’s political establishment of being impervious to the needs of ordinary Germans. “We have our roots in rural areas with ordinary people, and they have mass media and the big corporations,” he said.

    Similar anti-establishment sentiment can be found in the UK, where Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party received 31.6 percent of the votes, defeating the Conservatives by more than 20 points. The party’s electoral success can be attributed to the “highly-polarized” nature of politics in the UK right now, Francesco Rizzuto, a professor of European law at Edge Hill University, told RT. The Brexit Party offered voters an alternative to the traditional status quo, Rizzuto noted.

    “I think many people were fed up with the mess of the last two or three years. And especially those who want to leave the European Union, they certainly were very disappointed with the conservatives, Labour floundering around in Never-Never Land, and quite clearly Mr. Farage offered a very simple and straightforward message.”

     

     

    https://quantsalus.com/contacts/

     



    26.05.2019 | 5 Key Facets of BitOasis Delisting Monero and Zcash




    It is not uncommon for cryptocurrency exchanges to add or remove specific cryptocurrencies. It is their prerogative to do so whenever they see fit. In the case of BitOasis, the company is removed both ZCash and Monero from its platform. That in itself is not the biggest concern, as the company is asking some very odd questions. The bigger question is whether or not this will impact either altcoin. A Surprise Delisting and Withdrawal Scheme Not too many people expected BitOasis to delist not one but two anonymous or privacy-oriented cryptocurrencies in rather quick succession. The decision to remove both ZCash and Monero will undoubtedly spark some big debates. Both currencies are appreciated by their respective communities, yet seemingly struggle to gain major traction in this day and age. Even so, the currencies will be gone as of May 31st. Users will need to exchange their balances to either AED or Bitcoin. For some unknown reason, users cannot withdraw in either ZEC or XMR, which could have a nefast impact on those currencies’ respective prices. A very odd decision, albeit it seems the exchange wants to track where this money is going. The odd Questions are Bothersome As if the delisting of both currencies isn’t strange enough, the company is also asking some very personal questions. They want users to explain the source of their funds, as well as the purpose of the purchased XMR and ZEC. Additionally, the external withdrawals of either currency will need to be explained as well. For some reason. BitOasis expects users to tell who the beneficiary was or why they receive said funds. Last but not least, the company wants to know if anyone purchased either XMR or SEC on behalf of third parties. Even if that were to be the case, there is nothing wrong with doing so. Up until this week, both Monero and ZCash were seemingly fine assets for this cryptocurrency exchange. However, that situation has come to change all of a sudden, without much of an explanation. A Very Short Timeline to Act Whereas most delisted coins can be exchanged or withdrawn for multiple weeks, BitOasis seemingly maintains an entirely different schedule. The company forces users to convert their balances before or on May 31, which is just under a week from today. Interestingly enough, the company never explains to balances which are not converted to either Bitcoin or AED at that time. Regulatory Pressure Could be a Factor Roughly two weeks ago, it became apparent BitOasis was looking to obtain a special license in the United Arab Emirates. In April, the company received preliminary approval, which was widely considered to be a prominent sign. After all, any trading platform which remains unlicensed and unregulated will not be welcomed with open arms by the local or neighboring governments. Keeping that information in mind, it seems plausible the delisting of both XMR and ZEC is part of gaining this license. Anonymous forms of money are a risk to existing financial systems, thus removing them is not an unlikely requirement. It remains to be seen if this angle has any merit, however, As the exchange never explained why both currencies are removed from the platform, any and all explanations remain on the table. The Potential Impact of this Decision In terms of trading volume, it is difficult to determine what role BitOasis plays for both XMR and ZEC. The company does not offer any public information, nor is it listed on the major coin tracking platforms. This seems to confirm the decision will not impact either market all that much in the near future. Additionally, both altcoins are traded on many other platforms, thus this removal should not make a big impact. However, this does create an interesting situation. It is not the first time privacy- and anonymity-oriented cryptocurrencies are removed from exchanges. A similar incident affected ZCash, Dash, and Monero in 2018 when Japan’s Coincheck decided t get rid of all of these markets. This was the result of pressure initiated by Japanese regulators. Other exchanges were quick to follow suit in that part of the world. Disclaimer: This is not trading or investment advice. The above article is for entertainment and education purposes only. Please do your own research before purchasing or investing into any cryptocurrency or digital currency.     ...

    It is not uncommon for cryptocurrency exchanges to add or remove specific cryptocurrencies. It is their prerogative to do so whenever they see fit. In the case of BitOasis, the company is removed both ZCash and Monero from its platform. That in itself is not the biggest concern, as the company is asking some very odd questions. The bigger question is whether or not this will impact either altcoin.

    A Surprise Delisting and Withdrawal Scheme

    Not too many people expected BitOasis to delist not one but two anonymous or privacy-oriented cryptocurrencies in rather quick succession. The decision to remove both ZCash and Monero will undoubtedly spark some big debates. Both currencies are appreciated by their respective communities, yet seemingly struggle to gain major traction in this day and age.

    Even so, the currencies will be gone as of May 31st. Users will need to exchange their balances to either AED or Bitcoin. For some unknown reason, users cannot withdraw in either ZEC or XMR, which could have a nefast impact on those currencies’ respective prices. A very odd decision, albeit it seems the exchange wants to track where this money is going.

    The odd Questions are Bothersome

    As if the delisting of both currencies isn’t strange enough, the company is also asking some very personal questions. They want users to explain the source of their funds, as well as the purpose of the purchased XMR and ZEC. Additionally, the external withdrawals of either currency will need to be explained as well. For some reason. BitOasis expects users to tell who the beneficiary was or why they receive said funds.

    Last but not least, the company wants to know if anyone purchased either XMR or SEC on behalf of third parties. Even if that were to be the case, there is nothing wrong with doing so. Up until this week, both Monero and ZCash were seemingly fine assets for this cryptocurrency exchange. However, that situation has come to change all of a sudden, without much of an explanation.

    A Very Short Timeline to Act

    Whereas most delisted coins can be exchanged or withdrawn for multiple weeks, BitOasis seemingly maintains an entirely different schedule. The company forces users to convert their balances before or on May 31, which is just under a week from today. Interestingly enough, the company never explains to balances which are not converted to either Bitcoin or AED at that time.

    Regulatory Pressure Could be a Factor

    Roughly two weeks ago, it became apparent BitOasis was looking to obtain a special license in the United Arab Emirates. In April, the company received preliminary approval, which was widely considered to be a prominent sign. After all, any trading platform which remains unlicensed and unregulated will not be welcomed with open arms by the local or neighboring governments.

    Keeping that information in mind, it seems plausible the delisting of both XMR and ZEC is part of gaining this license. Anonymous forms of money are a risk to existing financial systems, thus removing them is not an unlikely requirement. It remains to be seen if this angle has any merit, however, As the exchange never explained why both currencies are removed from the platform, any and all explanations remain on the table.

    The Potential Impact of this Decision

    In terms of trading volume, it is difficult to determine what role BitOasis plays for both XMR and ZEC. The company does not offer any public information, nor is it listed on the major coin tracking platforms. This seems to confirm the decision will not impact either market all that much in the near future. Additionally, both altcoins are traded on many other platforms, thus this removal should not make a big impact.

    However, this does create an interesting situation. It is not the first time privacy- and anonymity-oriented cryptocurrencies are removed from exchanges. A similar incident affected ZCash, Dash, and Monero in 2018 when Japan’s Coincheck decided t get rid of all of these markets. This was the result of pressure initiated by Japanese regulators. Other exchanges were quick to follow suit in that part of the world.


    Disclaimer: This is not trading or investment advice. The above article is for entertainment and education purposes only. Please do your own research before purchasing or investing into any cryptocurrency or digital currency.

     

     


    26.05.2019 | Till Trump do they part: Top tech firms cut ties with Huawei following US trade blacklisting




    Last week, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at banning Chinese telecoms like Huawei from selling equipment to the US over an unacceptable risk to national security. Following the order, the US Department of Commerce announced the blacklisting of Huawei along with 70 of its affiliates. The step prevented US-based corporations from selling or transferring technology to Huawei without a license issued by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). READ MORE: Who’s afraid of Huawei? Why Google’s ‘fatal blow’ may actually be a sign of desperation The harsh step has forced both foreign and US technology giants to halt their business transactions with the Chinese corporation to comply with the president’s order. RT looks at the companies that have opted to break up with Huawei. Google The American multinational technology company was the first to suspend its licenses and product-sharing agreements with the blacklisted Chinese corporation. Google, focused on internet-related services and products, cut its business deals with Huawei that involve the transfer of hardware and software. Google’s steps unavoidably deprives Huawei of access to Android operating system updates with its upcoming smartphones to be shut out of some Google apps. Intel, Qualcomm, Xilinx & Broadcom The Silicon Valley chip makers froze their supplies to Huawei following the US government’s announcement. The companies reportedly have told their employees that no new shipments would be made “until further notice.” Lumentum Holdings, which sells components to Huawei, announced plans to halt the deals with the Chinese firm. The company said that it was lowering its quarterly outlook since sales to Huawei totaled 18 percent of overall revenue in the latest quarter. Panasonic Japan's Panasonic has joined US firms in stepping away from Huawei in the wake of the ban. The corporation said it would stop supplying some components to the Chinese firm. Later, the company said it was scrutinizing whether its products break US restrictions on trading with Huawei, causing some confusion, as the latest claims contradict the previous ones. Miñrosoft The US technology company removed Huawei’s products from its retail stores as well as Azure Stack, one of its websites offering cloud gear. Miñrosoft may also cut ties with the Chinese corporation in the sphere of consumer electronics and B2B decisions. Vodafone The UK telecom group Vodafone announced plans to suspend pre-orders of Huawei 5G handsets due to an alleged security controversy involving the Chinese company. The step came shortly after British mobile network operator and internet service provider EE said it had “paused” the launch of Huawei's 5G phones. SoftBank, KDDI and NTT Japanese major mobile carriers SoftBank and KDDI announced plans to postpone sales of new Huawei smartphones. Another telecommunications company, NTT, said it would stop taking orders for the new Huawei handsets, despite previous pledges to launch a new high-end Huawei model in the summer. Amazon Japan The Japanese unit of the US e-commerce titan Amazon suspended direct online sales of Huawei products. The company still allows third-party vendors to sell devices, including smartphones, tablets and PCs produced by the Chinese company. ARM British chip designer ARM ordered its staff to suspend “all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements” with the Chinese tech firm.     ...

    Last week, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at banning Chinese telecoms like Huawei from selling equipment to the US over an unacceptable risk to national security.

    Following the order, the US Department of Commerce announced the blacklisting of Huawei along with 70 of its affiliates. The step prevented US-based corporations from selling or transferring technology to Huawei without a license issued by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).

    READ MORE: Who’s afraid of Huawei? Why Google’s ‘fatal blow’ may actually be a sign of desperation

    The harsh step has forced both foreign and US technology giants to halt their business transactions with the Chinese corporation to comply with the president’s order. RT looks at the companies that have opted to break up with Huawei.

    Google

    The American multinational technology company was the first to suspend its licenses and product-sharing agreements with the blacklisted Chinese corporation. Google, focused on internet-related services and products, cut its business deals with Huawei that involve the transfer of hardware and software. Google’s steps unavoidably deprives Huawei of access to Android operating system updates with its upcoming smartphones to be shut out of some Google apps.

    Intel, Qualcomm, Xilinx & Broadcom

    The Silicon Valley chip makers froze their supplies to Huawei following the US government’s announcement. The companies reportedly have told their employees that no new shipments would be made “until further notice.”

    Lumentum Holdings, which sells components to Huawei, announced plans to halt the deals with the Chinese firm. The company said that it was lowering its quarterly outlook since sales to Huawei totaled 18 percent of overall revenue in the latest quarter.

    Panasonic

    Japan's Panasonic has joined US firms in stepping away from Huawei in the wake of the ban. The corporation said it would stop supplying some components to the Chinese firm. Later, the company said it was scrutinizing whether its products break US restrictions on trading with Huawei, causing some confusion, as the latest claims contradict the previous ones.

    Miñrosoft

    The US technology company removed Huawei’s products from its retail stores as well as Azure Stack, one of its websites offering cloud gear. Miñrosoft may also cut ties with the Chinese corporation in the sphere of consumer electronics and B2B decisions.

    Vodafone

    The UK telecom group Vodafone announced plans to suspend pre-orders of Huawei 5G handsets due to an alleged security controversy involving the Chinese company. The step came shortly after British mobile network operator and internet service provider EE said it had “paused” the launch of Huawei's 5G phones.

    SoftBank, KDDI and NTT

    Japanese major mobile carriers SoftBank and KDDI announced plans to postpone sales of new Huawei smartphones. Another telecommunications company, NTT, said it would stop taking orders for the new Huawei handsets, despite previous pledges to launch a new high-end Huawei model in the summer.

    Amazon Japan

    The Japanese unit of the US e-commerce titan Amazon suspended direct online sales of Huawei products. The company still allows third-party vendors to sell devices, including smartphones, tablets and PCs produced by the Chinese company.

    ARM

    British chip designer ARM ordered its staff to suspend “all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements” with the Chinese tech firm.

     

     


    26.05.2019 | This strange galaxy is defying the universe to travel towards the Milky Way (PHOTO)




    The universe is constantly expanding and stretching further afield, but the Hubble space telescope managed to catch one of the rare galaxies that’s defying the odds and actually moving closer to us. A stunning spiral galaxy called Messier 90, sitting about 60 million light-years away, is part of a huge cluster of around 1,200 star systems in the Virgo constellation. While the cluster in general is moving farther away from us, Messier 90 is heading in our direction, according to NASA. The incredible Hubble image was captured using a special camera on board the space telescope, comprised of four light detectors. Scientists were able to spot that it’s coming towards the Milky Way after studying the compressed wavelengths of light from the galaxy. Messier 90 was first spotted back in 1781 and contains about a trillion stars. The Messier 90 spiral galaxy © NASA, ESA, STScI, and V. Rubin (Carnegie Institution of Washington), D. Maoz (Tel Aviv University/Wise Observatory) and D. Fisher (University of Maryland)     ...

    The universe is constantly expanding and stretching further afield, but the Hubble space telescope managed to catch one of the rare galaxies that’s defying the odds and actually moving closer to us.

    A stunning spiral galaxy called Messier 90, sitting about 60 million light-years away, is part of a huge cluster of around 1,200 star systems in the Virgo constellation. While the cluster in general is moving farther away from us, Messier 90 is heading in our direction, according to NASA.

    The incredible Hubble image was captured using a special camera on board the space telescope, comprised of four light detectors. Scientists were able to spot that it’s coming towards the Milky Way after studying the compressed wavelengths of light from the galaxy.

    Messier 90 was first spotted back in 1781 and contains about a trillion stars.

    The Messier 90 spiral galaxy © NASA, ESA, STScI, and V. Rubin (Carnegie Institution of Washington), D. Maoz (Tel Aviv University/Wise Observatory) and D. Fisher (University of Maryland)

     

     


    26.05.2019 | Fasten your sickbags: Air taxis to fly passengers in many cities across the world by 2025




    Air taxis will offer services in a number of cities over the next six years, according to Oliver Walker-Jones, head of communications of German aviation startup Lilium. “We plan to start operations in several cities around the world by 2025, although in some locations the service will be launched earlier. There is a huge interest in our project from the city authorities, but we have not yet decided exactly where to begin providing our services,” he told RIA Novosti. Last week, the company revealed the design of its five-seat Lilium Jet electric aircraft. The vertical take-off and landing jet completed its maiden flight earlier this month. The price of "flights will be competitive compared to travel by means of other vehicles," according to Walker-Jones. “Our aircrafts are completely electric and do not produce CO2 emissions. When starting, there is noise, like from the engine start of a truck, but you will not hear it during flight,” he said. According to the representative, the air taxis are currently undergoing various certifications. Everything will be organized in such a way as to “not create obstacles for regular air traffic,” Walker-Jones said, noting that at first the jets will be controlled by pilots, but later switched to the unmanned mode. Lilium jets will practically become an alternative to long-distance trains and intercity buses. They are faster and more environmentally friendly than these types of transport and must be available 'on-demand,” said Walker-Jones. READ MORE: Top Russian automaker wants to build flying cars The Lilium Jet has no tail, no rudder, no propellers, no gearbox, and only a single moving part in the electric motors. The full-size prototype is powered by 36 all-electric jet engines. It is capable of traveling up to 300 kilometers per hour.     ...

    Air taxis will offer services in a number of cities over the next six years, according to Oliver Walker-Jones, head of communications of German aviation startup Lilium.

    “We plan to start operations in several cities around the world by 2025, although in some locations the service will be launched earlier. There is a huge interest in our project from the city authorities, but we have not yet decided exactly where to begin providing our services,” he told RIA Novosti.

    Last week, the company revealed the design of its five-seat Lilium Jet electric aircraft. The vertical take-off and landing jet completed its maiden flight earlier this month.

    The price of "flights will be competitive compared to travel by means of other vehicles," according to Walker-Jones.

    “Our aircrafts are completely electric and do not produce CO2 emissions. When starting, there is noise, like from the engine start of a truck, but you will not hear it during flight,” he said.

    According to the representative, the air taxis are currently undergoing various certifications. Everything will be organized in such a way as to “not create obstacles for regular air traffic,” Walker-Jones said, noting that at first the jets will be controlled by pilots, but later switched to the unmanned mode.

    Lilium jets will practically become an alternative to long-distance trains and intercity buses. They are faster and more environmentally friendly than these types of transport and must be available 'on-demand,” said Walker-Jones.

    READ MORE: Top Russian automaker wants to build flying cars

    The Lilium Jet has no tail, no rudder, no propellers, no gearbox, and only a single moving part in the electric motors. The full-size prototype is powered by 36 all-electric jet engines. It is capable of traveling up to 300 kilometers per hour.

     

     


    25.05.2019 | Amazon Files a Patent to Analyze Consumers’ Emotions




    There are always numerous developments in the technology sector to keep an eye on. Now that voice-powered personal assistants have become the new normal, some companies are already looking to the future. Amazon is currently in the process of building a device which will allegedly read human emotions. It also comes with its own mobile application, to make the technology more accessible. Amazon Cares About Your Emotions Even though a lot of people are uncomfortable with sharing personal information with major corporations, the rise in popularity of voice-powered personal assistants confirms the opposite is true. In fact, so many consumers have an Amazon Alexa or similar devices at home which they use on a regular basis. These devices offer tremendous convenience, even though they will also allow companies to harvest even more personal information from consumers. Amazon is now looking to take matters one step further. Their new device will be either great or a complete nightmare, depending on which camp one resides in. This new device is voice-powered and capable of recognizing human emotions. It is a wrist-worn device which will serve as a health and wellness product. Some may even claim it is a smarter “smart wristband” most people seem to own at this time. The bigger question is whether or not Amazon should even know how consumers feel at any given time. Based on the documents submitted to the US Patent Office, this device is a collaboration between Lab126 and the Alexa software team. Lab123 is responsible for building the hardware which powers the Amazon Fire phone and Echo smart speaker. It is expected this wrist-worn device will communicate with a mobile application. Within the wrist-worn device, there are multiple microphones which rely on proprietary software to analyze the user’s emotional state.  This analysis will be made depending on how the user sounds at the time of communicating with the device in question. While the exact purpose of this analysis remains unclear, Amazon clearly sees merit in exploring this angle. Despite the documents being submitted to the US Patent Office, there is no guarantee this device will ever come to market. It is not uncommon for companies to submit filings which will never result in tangible products. Additionally, Amazon allows its R&D teams to explore many different potential products, although there is never a guarantee they will be turned into tangible products. For quite some time now, there has been an interest in building machines which can understand human emotions. Albeit this concept is primarily popular in sci-fi novels, movies, and TV shows, it is not entirely impossible to realize such a feat. How efficient those machines end up being, is always difficult to predict. The first iterations of groundbreaking technology are usually far from perfect. It seems likely to assume this project – assuming it is ever created – will not necessarily impress too many people at first. Whenever an initiative like this comes to light, it is only normal people immediately think the worst. Amazon could certainly use the mental state of its customers for commercial purposes down the line. Whether it is to sell health products or improve targeted advertising, remains to be determined. In the end, it is up to individual consumers as to how much information they share with these mega-corporations. Potential products like these will undoubtedly spark some intriguing debates for the foreseeable future.     ...

    There are always numerous developments in the technology sector to keep an eye on. Now that voice-powered personal assistants have become the new normal, some companies are already looking to the future. Amazon is currently in the process of building a device which will allegedly read human emotions. It also comes with its own mobile application, to make the technology more accessible.

    Amazon Cares About Your Emotions

    Even though a lot of people are uncomfortable with sharing personal information with major corporations, the rise in popularity of voice-powered personal assistants confirms the opposite is true. In fact, so many consumers have an Amazon Alexa or similar devices at home which they use on a regular basis. These devices offer tremendous convenience, even though they will also allow companies to harvest even more personal information from consumers.

    Amazon is now looking to take matters one step further. Their new device will be either great or a complete nightmare, depending on which camp one resides in. This new device is voice-powered and capable of recognizing human emotions. It is a wrist-worn device which will serve as a health and wellness product. Some may even claim it is a smarter “smart wristband” most people seem to own at this time. The bigger question is whether or not Amazon should even know how consumers feel at any given time.

    Based on the documents submitted to the US Patent Office, this device is a collaboration between Lab126 and the Alexa software team. Lab123 is responsible for building the hardware which powers the Amazon Fire phone and Echo smart speaker. It is expected this wrist-worn device will communicate with a mobile application. Within the wrist-worn device, there are multiple microphones which rely on proprietary software to analyze the user’s emotional state.  This analysis will be made depending on how the user sounds at the time of communicating with the device in question.

    While the exact purpose of this analysis remains unclear, Amazon clearly sees merit in exploring this angle. Despite the documents being submitted to the US Patent Office, there is no guarantee this device will ever come to market. It is not uncommon for companies to submit filings which will never result in tangible products. Additionally, Amazon allows its R&D teams to explore many different potential products, although there is never a guarantee they will be turned into tangible products.

    For quite some time now, there has been an interest in building machines which can understand human emotions. Albeit this concept is primarily popular in sci-fi novels, movies, and TV shows, it is not entirely impossible to realize such a feat. How efficient those machines end up being, is always difficult to predict. The first iterations of groundbreaking technology are usually far from perfect. It seems likely to assume this project – assuming it is ever created – will not necessarily impress too many people at first.

    Whenever an initiative like this comes to light, it is only normal people immediately think the worst. Amazon could certainly use the mental state of its customers for commercial purposes down the line. Whether it is to sell health products or improve targeted advertising, remains to be determined. In the end, it is up to individual consumers as to how much information they share with these mega-corporations. Potential products like these will undoubtedly spark some intriguing debates for the foreseeable future.

     

     


    25.05.2019 | Iran can sink US ships with ‘new secret weapons’, senior military official warns




    Iran is prepared to deploy ‘secret weapons’ against American warships, a military official in Tehran said, after the Pentagon sent three destroyers to the Persian Gulf amid a wave of increased tensions between the two states. Without mincing words, General Morteza Qorbani, an adviser to Iran’s military command, cautioned that should Washington “commit the slightest stupidity, we will send these ships to the bottom of the sea along with their crew and planes.” Iran, he promised, would do so “using two missiles or two new secret weapons.” He did not specify what type of “secret weapons” he was referring to. The US earlier deployed three guided-missile destroyers, the USS McFaul, USS Gonzalez, USS Mason, to the Persian Gulf, with the last warship crossing the Strait of Hormuz this week. They joined the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, which has been cruising off the coast of Oman, near the Gulf, since early May. The military buildup near Iranian waters coincided with the Pentagon announcing plans to send around 1,500 additional troops to Iraq, which borders Iran. Although General Qorbani did not provide details of the weapons he mentioned, in recent months the nation has been showcasing its newest ships and submarines, as well as its naval firepower. In February, Tehran unveiled and successfully tested its new Hoveizeh long-range cruise missile, which is said to have a range of over 1,350 kilometers. In the same month, Tehran launched the massive Velayat 97 naval drill, with maneuvers spanning from the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman to the northern Indian Ocean. During the drill, a midget Ghadir-class submarine fired an anti-ship cruise missile for the first time. Relations between the US and Iran deteriorated dramatically after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran. The move was condemned by a number of nations, including Washington’s allies in Europe. Meanwhile, in the US, dozens of retired top military brass and diplomats wrote an open letter to Trump, urging him to ditch the ‘stick’ approach and begin real talks with Iran. They warned that by failing to do so, the US risks not only making the situation in the Middle East worse, but also entering into “armed conflict at immense financial, human, and geopolitical cost.”     ...

    Iran is prepared to deploy ‘secret weapons’ against American warships, a military official in Tehran said, after the Pentagon sent three destroyers to the Persian Gulf amid a wave of increased tensions between the two states.

    Without mincing words, General Morteza Qorbani, an adviser to Iran’s military command, cautioned that should Washington “commit the slightest stupidity, we will send these ships to the bottom of the sea along with their crew and planes.”

    Iran, he promised, would do so “using two missiles or two new secret weapons.” He did not specify what type of “secret weapons” he was referring to.

    The US earlier deployed three guided-missile destroyers, the USS McFaul, USS Gonzalez, USS Mason, to the Persian Gulf, with the last warship crossing the Strait of Hormuz this week. They joined the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, which has been cruising off the coast of Oman, near the Gulf, since early May.

    The military buildup near Iranian waters coincided with the Pentagon announcing plans to send around 1,500 additional troops to Iraq, which borders Iran.

    Although General Qorbani did not provide details of the weapons he mentioned, in recent months the nation has been showcasing its newest ships and submarines, as well as its naval firepower. In February, Tehran unveiled and successfully tested its new Hoveizeh long-range cruise missile, which is said to have a range of over 1,350 kilometers.

    In the same month, Tehran launched the massive Velayat 97 naval drill, with maneuvers spanning from the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman to the northern Indian Ocean. During the drill, a midget Ghadir-class submarine fired an anti-ship cruise missile for the first time.

    Relations between the US and Iran deteriorated dramatically after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran. The move was condemned by a number of nations, including Washington’s allies in Europe.

    Meanwhile, in the US, dozens of retired top military brass and diplomats wrote an open letter to Trump, urging him to ditch the ‘stick’ approach and begin real talks with Iran. They warned that by failing to do so, the US risks not only making the situation in the Middle East worse, but also entering into “armed conflict at immense financial, human, and geopolitical cost.”

     

     


    25.05.2019 | Asteroid so large it has its own moon set to whizz by Earth this weekend




    A ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroid, so large it has its own moon, is hurtling towards Earth at some 48,000 kilometers per hour. The good news is that it’s expected to pass safely, at about 5 million kilometers of us. Asteroid 1999 KW4 was first discovered two decades ago. It orbits the Sun once every 188 days, passing between the orbits of Venus and Earth as it goes, and is due to make its closest approach to Earth at 23:05 UTC on Saturday. Classified as a Near Earth Object, the 1.5-kilometer wide asteroid is expected to zip by Earth without causing any harm, though the Minor Planet Center has labelled it ‘potentially hazardous.’ Its companion moon is about half a kilometer wide. Although not visible to the naked eye, keen astronomers equipped with a telescope should be able to clap eyes on the speeding space rock over the next few days. At its closest point to Earth, the asteroid will be about 13 times the distance between our planet and the Moon. This NASA video marks the asteroid’s path in yellow as it travels through our solar system. EarthSky notes that this is the biggest asteroid to come so close to Earth for another decade; the next such close encounter is not expected until June 2027.     ...

    A ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroid, so large it has its own moon, is hurtling towards Earth at some 48,000 kilometers per hour. The good news is that it’s expected to pass safely, at about 5 million kilometers of us.

    Asteroid 1999 KW4 was first discovered two decades ago. It orbits the Sun once every 188 days, passing between the orbits of Venus and Earth as it goes, and is due to make its closest approach to Earth at 23:05 UTC on Saturday.

    Classified as a Near Earth Object, the 1.5-kilometer wide asteroid is expected to zip by Earth without causing any harm, though the Minor Planet Center has labelled it ‘potentially hazardous.’ Its companion moon is about half a kilometer wide.

    Although not visible to the naked eye, keen astronomers equipped with a telescope should be able to clap eyes on the speeding space rock over the next few days. At its closest point to Earth, the asteroid will be about 13 times the distance between our planet and the Moon.

    This NASA video marks the asteroid’s path in yellow as it travels through our solar system.

    EarthSky notes that this is the biggest asteroid to come so close to Earth for another decade; the next such close encounter is not expected until June 2027.

     

     


    25.05.2019 | Google Finally Removes 2 Fake Cryptocurrency Wallets From the Play Store




    The recent cryptocurrency market surge has attracted a lot of attention. Not just because people are making good money, but also because criminals smell new opportunities to scam users. A new report by ESET confirms at least two fake cryptocurrency wallets were available for download on the Google Play Store. Both options are now removed, albeit they were available for far too long. Fake Cryptocurrency Wallets Remain a Problem As more and more people rely on mobile devices for their everyday activities, the financial aspect is also shifting to smartphones and tablets. This also means the demand for mobile apps is on the rise, with users not always conducting the necessary research to vet applications. As long as the app in question has a lot of stars or decent user reviews, consumers will be more than eager to give the app the benefit of the doubt. In most cases, that behavior would not cause any real problems. As far as cryptocurrency wallets are concerned, however, things are very different. Fake offerings often steal users’ funds, with no option of filing a chargeback or recovering the money. This creates a very unusual and worrisome situation when a malicious mobile wallet is discovered. Researchers at ESET have not found just one but two malicious cryptocurrency wallets in recent months. Both Coin Wallet and Trezor Mobile Wallet were available for download for multiple weeks. In the case of Coin Wallet, it supported 13 different currencies, tokens, and assets. However, all users received the exact same wallet address for the currency of their choice. A very sloppy approach by the scammers, albeit a successful one. Trezor Mobile Wallet tried to ride the coattails of the popular hardware cryptocurrency wallet Trezor. The company offering these units has no plans to introduce a mobile application. It would appear no funds were stolen through this particular application, as Trezor’s team has built in multiple layers of security to avoid account abuse. Even so, some of the victims’ personal information such as email addresses can be used for further phishing attacks. It is not the first time fake cryptocurrency wallets make their way to the Google Play Store. In most cases, these apps are reported on the same day as when they become available. These two fake offerings, however, were not removed for several weeks. No one really knows why it took so long, or why users still trust random crypto wallets on a mobile app store. It is safe to say these scam attempts coincide with the recent market surge of all major cryptocurrencies. Since so many new people enter the crypto space when prices move up, they will look for mobile wallets more often than not. This allows criminals to take advantage of this situation. It seems unlikely this will be the last time fake crypto wallets show up on Android. Disclaimer: This is not trading or investment advice. The above article is for entertainment and education purposes only. Please do your own research before purchasing or investing into any cryptocurrency or digital currency.     ...

    The recent cryptocurrency market surge has attracted a lot of attention. Not just because people are making good money, but also because criminals smell new opportunities to scam users. A new report by ESET confirms at least two fake cryptocurrency wallets were available for download on the Google Play Store. Both options are now removed, albeit they were available for far too long.

    Fake Cryptocurrency Wallets Remain a Problem

    As more and more people rely on mobile devices for their everyday activities, the financial aspect is also shifting to smartphones and tablets. This also means the demand for mobile apps is on the rise, with users not always conducting the necessary research to vet applications. As long as the app in question has a lot of stars or decent user reviews, consumers will be more than eager to give the app the benefit of the doubt.

    In most cases, that behavior would not cause any real problems. As far as cryptocurrency wallets are concerned, however, things are very different. Fake offerings often steal users’ funds, with no option of filing a chargeback or recovering the money. This creates a very unusual and worrisome situation when a malicious mobile wallet is discovered.

    Researchers at ESET have not found just one but two malicious cryptocurrency wallets in recent months. Both Coin Wallet and Trezor Mobile Wallet were available for download for multiple weeks. In the case of Coin Wallet, it supported 13 different currencies, tokens, and assets. However, all users received the exact same wallet address for the currency of their choice. A very sloppy approach by the scammers, albeit a successful one.

    Trezor Mobile Wallet tried to ride the coattails of the popular hardware cryptocurrency wallet Trezor. The company offering these units has no plans to introduce a mobile application. It would appear no funds were stolen through this particular application, as Trezor’s team has built in multiple layers of security to avoid account abuse. Even so, some of the victims’ personal information such as email addresses can be used for further phishing attacks.

    It is not the first time fake cryptocurrency wallets make their way to the Google Play Store. In most cases, these apps are reported on the same day as when they become available. These two fake offerings, however, were not removed for several weeks. No one really knows why it took so long, or why users still trust random crypto wallets on a mobile app store.

    It is safe to say these scam attempts coincide with the recent market surge of all major cryptocurrencies. Since so many new people enter the crypto space when prices move up, they will look for mobile wallets more often than not. This allows criminals to take advantage of this situation. It seems unlikely this will be the last time fake crypto wallets show up on Android.

    Disclaimer: This is not trading or investment advice. The above article is for entertainment and education purposes only. Please do your own research before purchasing or investing into any cryptocurrency or digital currency.

     

     


    24.05.2019 | Lesson to learn from GoT: Stories are powerful, be careful which ones you believe




    Hidden under all the outrage and the drama about the final season of ‘Game of Thrones’ is a hard lesson about power and how it is shaped by perceptions and stories, but only for those who are willing to learn. HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ has come a long way since its premiere in 2011, in what now seems like a different era. In its recently-aired final installment, we not only find out what happens to the Iron Throne and the Seven Kingdoms, but also circle back to one of the running themes of the show, and George R.R. Martin’s books it was based on: power and its sources. Daenerys Targaryen laying waste to cities with dragonfire came as a plot twist only to people who did not pay attention, blindsided by worship of their beloved “khaleesi.” Martin’s readers, and even seasoned HBO watchers, have always known that unlike most fantasy, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ was not about heroes and dragons and magic, but about human nature. This is spelled out quite early on, in both the books and the show, when spymaster Varys tells a riddle about power, asking who would prevail in a power struggle between a king, a priest and a wealthy man – and shooting down the obvious answers as wrong, because “power lies where we think it lies.” Years later, showing that he paid attention, Tyrion Lannister proposes a bold solution to the fate of the Seven Kingdoms, arguing that power comes from narratives: There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. There is something ironic in a television show, often attacked for its narrative choices, lampshading the power of storytelling like this – and again later, when Tyrion finds himself written out of the in-universe history of events in which he undeniably played a major part. Yet, as ‘Game of Thrones’ became a cultural phenomenon and people around the world read into it their own beliefs, preferences and prejudices, it is worth keeping in mind its meta-message about the power of narratives. If you doubt this power, consider George Orwell’s ‘1984’, in which the totalitarian state controls the present by constantly rewriting the past, and manipulates thought itself by engineering a severely-limited language. Orwell’s dystopia takes to its logical extreme the old adage that “history is written by the victors,” but it’s not too far off. Much of Western history about WWII, for example, came from the pen of Winston Churchill, who naturally made sure he was the hero by scrubbing out inconvenient facts like the 1943 Bengal famine or the betrayal of Yugoslavia, for instance. These narratives were then taken up and amplified by Hollywood, which has from its very beginning manufactured institutional memory for most Americans. As a result of blockbusters like ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ and ‘Band of Brothers’ (another HBO show), the US contribution to defeating Hitler has become grossly inflated in the public mind, not just at home, but abroad as well. Meanwhile, the massive Soviet role in the war has been minimized or erased entirely. This narrative violation of history made it possible for US President Donald Trump to argue that America single-handedly defeated Nazism and Communism, without a peep from his critics and legions of fact-checkers normally eager to seize every opportunity. To paraphrase Varys, power is all about perception management. Which brings to mind another saying: “History is made by the victors, but written by the loudest.” And while that may have always been the case to some extent, it is upon those who have lived the facts to stop the “loudest” from writing us out of our own story; to challenge those who tell us every day that a banana is an apple, or seek to somehow change the territory by redrawing the map. “They don’t get to choose,” the Dragon Queen argues in her moment of absolute power. Moments later, she finds out she was mistaken, because yes, they do. We do – every time we choose not to believe what we’re told, but read, watch and listen for ourselves; every time we question more.     ...

    Hidden under all the outrage and the drama about the final season of ‘Game of Thrones’ is a hard lesson about power and how it is shaped by perceptions and stories, but only for those who are willing to learn.

    HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ has come a long way since its premiere in 2011, in what now seems like a different era. In its recently-aired final installment, we not only find out what happens to the Iron Throne and the Seven Kingdoms, but also circle back to one of the running themes of the show, and George R.R. Martin’s books it was based on: power and its sources.

    Daenerys Targaryen laying waste to cities with dragonfire came as a plot twist only to people who did not pay attention, blindsided by worship of their beloved “khaleesi.” Martin’s readers, and even seasoned HBO watchers, have always known that unlike most fantasy, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ was not about heroes and dragons and magic, but about human nature.

    This is spelled out quite early on, in both the books and the show, when spymaster Varys tells a riddle about power, asking who would prevail in a power struggle between a king, a priest and a wealthy man – and shooting down the obvious answers as wrong, because “power lies where we think it lies.”

    Years later, showing that he paid attention, Tyrion Lannister proposes a bold solution to the fate of the Seven Kingdoms, arguing that power comes from narratives:

    There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story.

    There is something ironic in a television show, often attacked for its narrative choices, lampshading the power of storytelling like this – and again later, when Tyrion finds himself written out of the in-universe history of events in which he undeniably played a major part.

    Yet, as ‘Game of Thrones’ became a cultural phenomenon and people around the world read into it their own beliefs, preferences and prejudices, it is worth keeping in mind its meta-message about the power of narratives.

    If you doubt this power, consider George Orwell’s ‘1984’, in which the totalitarian state controls the present by constantly rewriting the past, and manipulates thought itself by engineering a severely-limited language.

    Orwell’s dystopia takes to its logical extreme the old adage that “history is written by the victors,” but it’s not too far off. Much of Western history about WWII, for example, came from the pen of Winston Churchill, who naturally made sure he was the hero by scrubbing out inconvenient facts like the 1943 Bengal famine or the betrayal of Yugoslavia, for instance.

    These narratives were then taken up and amplified by Hollywood, which has from its very beginning manufactured institutional memory for most Americans. As a result of blockbusters like ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ and ‘Band of Brothers’ (another HBO show), the US contribution to defeating Hitler has become grossly inflated in the public mind, not just at home, but abroad as well. Meanwhile, the massive Soviet role in the war has been minimized or erased entirely.

    This narrative violation of history made it possible for US President Donald Trump to argue that America single-handedly defeated Nazism and Communism, without a peep from his critics and legions of fact-checkers normally eager to seize every opportunity.

    To paraphrase Varys, power is all about perception management.

    Which brings to mind another saying: “History is made by the victors, but written by the loudest.” And while that may have always been the case to some extent, it is upon those who have lived the facts to stop the “loudest” from writing us out of our own story; to challenge those who tell us every day that a banana is an apple, or seek to somehow change the territory by redrawing the map.

    They don’t get to choose,” the Dragon Queen argues in her moment of absolute power. Moments later, she finds out she was mistaken, because yes, they do. We do – every time we choose not to believe what we’re told, but read, watch and listen for ourselves; every time we question more.

     

     


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