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  • 21.05.2019 | President Trump Mulls a National Emergency Declaration to Fund his Wall




    Home News Finance President Trump Mulls a National Emergency Declaration to Fund his Wall President Trump Mulls a National Emergency Declaration to Fund his Wall JP Buntinx February 15, 2019 Finance, News The current financial situation in the United States continues to frown many eyebrows. President Trump has issued another plan to effectively build his wall on the border between the US and Mexico. After not receiving the necessary funding to do so, he now plans a “national emergency” to move this process along. A Bold Plan by President Trump On the surface, it is commendable to see people stick to their ideals and beliefs. If something is the best course of action, there is no reason to back down from that ideal. When it comes to President Trump’s wall on the Mexican border, the opinions regarding this project are scattered. It is also part of the reason why the United States went through a lengthy shutdown in recent months. Although no further progress has been made in this debacle, the President himself has come up with a new plan. Rather than wait for funding to be approved through normal channels, he will declare a national emergency which could commence later today. The goal is to use this national emergency to effectively build the proposed wall. This is in stark contrast to his earlier commitment not to finance this idea after all. This new development comes at a most peculiar time. The shutdown in the US was finally ended last night, yet it is a bit unclear if this national emergency may rekindle these debates next week. Declaring such an emergency to access billions of dollars will create a lot of backlash. The US government is already as divided as it can be right now, and this new plan will only make the situation worse for all parties involved. As part of this new plan, the goal is to use money for fencing along the border combined with other money from “unnamed programs”. It is a very bold and dangerous plan, but one that can give President Trump what he has desired for so long. However, there is still a long way to go before this national emergency is effectively declared, as the political repercussions would be quite severe. If this plan is to be put in motion. President Trump can spend up to $8bn on this wall. This is a lot higher compared to the initial $5.7bn required for this venture, which Congress aptly refused on every possible occasion. Some people see this as the President delivering on his initial promise, whereas others consider it the most ludicrous decision any US president has made to date. How all of this will pan out over the coming weeks, remains to be determined. There is a lot of backlash to deal with even for just proposing this bold idea, let alone executing it. It would certainly put a lot of strain on the US economy, which hasn’t been doing too well in recent years. Ending one fight to open up a whole new can of worms can only go well for so long, unfortunately. ...

    President Trump Mulls a National Emergency Declaration to Fund his Wall

    The current financial situation in the United States continues to frown many eyebrows. President Trump has issued another plan to effectively build his wall on the border between the US and Mexico. After not receiving the necessary funding to do so, he now plans a “national emergency” to move this process along.

    A Bold Plan by President Trump

    On the surface, it is commendable to see people stick to their ideals and beliefs. If something is the best course of action, there is no reason to back down from that ideal. When it comes to President Trump’s wall on the Mexican border, the opinions regarding this project are scattered. It is also part of the reason why the United States went through a lengthy shutdown in recent months.

    Although no further progress has been made in this debacle, the President himself has come up with a new plan. Rather than wait for funding to be approved through normal channels, he will declare a national emergency which could commence later today. The goal is to use this national emergency to effectively build the proposed wall. This is in stark contrast to his earlier commitment not to finance this idea after all.

    This new development comes at a most peculiar time. The shutdown in the US was finally ended last night, yet it is a bit unclear if this national emergency may rekindle these debates next week. Declaring such an emergency to access billions of dollars will create a lot of backlash. The US government is already as divided as it can be right now, and this new plan will only make the situation worse for all parties involved.

    As part of this new plan, the goal is to use money for fencing along the border combined with other money from “unnamed programs”. It is a very bold and dangerous plan, but one that can give President Trump what he has desired for so long. However, there is still a long way to go before this national emergency is effectively declared, as the political repercussions would be quite severe.

    If this plan is to be put in motion. President Trump can spend up to $8bn on this wall. This is a lot higher compared to the initial $5.7bn required for this venture, which Congress aptly refused on every possible occasion. Some people see this as the President delivering on his initial promise, whereas others consider it the most ludicrous decision any US president has made to date.

    How all of this will pan out over the coming weeks, remains to be determined. There is a lot of backlash to deal with even for just proposing this bold idea, let alone executing it. It would certainly put a lot of strain on the US economy, which hasn’t been doing too well in recent years. Ending one fight to open up a whole new can of worms can only go well for so long, unfortunately.


    21.05.2019 | Crypto Index Funds are Here (But Most Come with Eligibility Requirements)




    Day trading cryptocurrency isn’t for everyone. For that reason, as well as to reach a new group of investors, many exchanges are launching their own crypto index funds. Managing multiple cryptocurrencies is time-consuming, with so many options available and so much research necessary. Index funds are based on the overall performance of a group of assets, rather than one often volatile individual cryptocurrency. While it’s true that the crypto market as a whole remains volatile, index funds help spread this risk and remove some of the need to manage trading. While most have been restricted to US accredited investors with a large amount of capital available, new crypto indexes are coming. Here’s a look at what’s out there, who can invest, and what hurdles crypto index funds face moving forward. Notable Cryptocurrency Index Funds Coinbase Index Fund LP (CBI) – Coinbase is already a global leader as an exchange, and thus it’s no surprise they were one of the first to offer an index fund. The Coinbase Index Fund is a collection of the top assets available on GDAX. Assets are weighted based on market cap and include a 2% management fee and a 0% performance fee. Redemptions can be made quarterly with a 30-day notice period. Who’s eligible: For now, US accredited investors with a $250,000 minimum investment HOLD 10 – This index is run by Bitwise and is composed of the top 10 cryptocurrencies weighted by 5-year diluted market cap. Assets are rebalanced on a monthly basis. Who’s eligible: US accredited investors with a $25,000 minimum investment Crypto20 – A tokenized index fund which automatically tracks the top 20 crypto assets using smart contracts. Investors are free to sell or exchange their tokens at any time. This fund automatically trades, which allows it to keep fees much lower than managed funds. There are no exit, broker or advice fees. Who’s eligible: Everyone but US citizens, according to an SEC disclaimer in fine print at the bottom of its website. The Cryptocurrencies Index (CCi30) – This index tracks the top 30 cryptocurrencies ranked by market capitalization, reweighting assets on a quarterly basis. The CCi30 uses an exponentially weighted moving average of market cap and is available through the Cryptos Fund, boasting a 0.99% management fee. Who’s eligible: Worldwide investors and qualified US investors Blockchain Index (BLX) – Available through Iconomi, BLX adjusts its asset list based on fundamental analysis. Weighting is based on the market cap of each asset. Management fees are 3%, and there is a 0.5% exit fee. There are no entry fees for this index, which is tokenized and available to both US and non-US investors. Who’s eligible: All investors Crush Crypto Core (CCC) – The CCC is designed for those who are looking to invest in undervalued, high-quality assets as a core holding. The list is composed mostly of assets that are deemed to have large real-world adoption. There is a 2.5% management fee, a 0.5% exit fee, and a 0% entry fee. This index is also tokenized and available to all investors. Who’s eligible: All investors The Challenges Ahead While index funds are a useful tool, regulatory approval presents the biggest barrier to expansion and access. Other options like crypto ETFs have struggled to get regulatory approval from the SEC. Among US citizens, requiring that investors be accredited presents a huge hurdle for the majority of investors. One of the SEC’s main concerns about such funds is price manipulation. The total market cap of all cryptocurrencies is still orders of magnitude less than the estimated market cap of the S&P 500. This means that it is still relatively easy—at least compared to traditional stocks—for large investors to manipulate price movements, especially with smaller market cap cryptocurrencies. Another big concern is a lack of security. While the decentralized nature of cryptocurrency makes it theoretically highly secure, the SEC is still wary about potentially unforeseen issues with the technology behind it. This may be more a lack of understanding than anything else. The last notable issue with current cryptocurrency index funds relates to prospective investors. Management fees for crypto indexes tend to be in the 2-3% range, in contrast to traditional stock market fees which are often less than a percent. As index funds for cryptocurrencies gain more regulatory approval and official recognition, they are sure to inspire more confidence and trust from both investors and the general public. This will also make these funds available to smaller investors on bigger platforms, opening the crypto markets to more and more people worldwide.   ...

    Day trading cryptocurrency isn’t for everyone. For that reason, as well as to reach a new group of investors, many exchanges are launching their own crypto index funds. Managing multiple cryptocurrencies is time-consuming, with so many options available and so much research necessary.

    Index funds are based on the overall performance of a group of assets, rather than one often volatile individual cryptocurrency. While it’s true that the crypto market as a whole remains volatile, index funds help spread this risk and remove some of the need to manage trading. While most have been restricted to US accredited investors with a large amount of capital available, new crypto indexes are coming. Here’s a look at what’s out there, who can invest, and what hurdles crypto index funds face moving forward.

    Notable Cryptocurrency Index Funds

    • Coinbase Index Fund LP (CBI) – Coinbase is already a global leader as an exchange, and thus it’s no surprise they were one of the first to offer an index fund. The Coinbase Index Fund is a collection of the top assets available on GDAX. Assets are weighted based on market cap and include a 2% management fee and a 0% performance fee. Redemptions can be made quarterly with a 30-day notice period.
      • Who’s eligible: For now, US accredited investors with a $250,000 minimum investment
    • HOLD 10 – This index is run by Bitwise and is composed of the top 10 cryptocurrencies weighted by 5-year diluted market cap. Assets are rebalanced on a monthly basis.
      • Who’s eligible: US accredited investors with a $25,000 minimum investment
    • Crypto20 – A tokenized index fund which automatically tracks the top 20 crypto assets using smart contracts. Investors are free to sell or exchange their tokens at any time. This fund automatically trades, which allows it to keep fees much lower than managed funds. There are no exit, broker or advice fees.
      • Who’s eligible: Everyone but US citizens, according to an SEC disclaimer in fine print at the bottom of its website.
    • The Cryptocurrencies Index (CCi30) – This index tracks the top 30 cryptocurrencies ranked by market capitalization, reweighting assets on a quarterly basis. The CCi30 uses an exponentially weighted moving average of market cap and is available through the Cryptos Fund, boasting a 0.99% management fee.
      • Who’s eligible: Worldwide investors and qualified US investors
    • Blockchain Index (BLX) – Available through Iconomi, BLX adjusts its asset list based on fundamental analysis. Weighting is based on the market cap of each asset. Management fees are 3%, and there is a 0.5% exit fee. There are no entry fees for this index, which is tokenized and available to both US and non-US investors.
      • Who’s eligible: All investors
    • Crush Crypto Core (CCC) – The CCC is designed for those who are looking to invest in undervalued, high-quality assets as a core holding. The list is composed mostly of assets that are deemed to have large real-world adoption. There is a 2.5% management fee, a 0.5% exit fee, and a 0% entry fee. This index is also tokenized and available to all investors.
      • Who’s eligible: All investors

    The Challenges Ahead

    While index funds are a useful tool, regulatory approval presents the biggest barrier to expansion and access. Other options like crypto ETFs have struggled to get regulatory approval from the SEC. Among US citizens, requiring that investors be accredited presents a huge hurdle for the majority of investors.

    One of the SEC’s main concerns about such funds is price manipulation. The total market cap of all cryptocurrencies is still orders of magnitude less than the estimated market cap of the S&P 500. This means that it is still relatively easy—at least compared to traditional stocks—for large investors to manipulate price movements, especially with smaller market cap cryptocurrencies.

    Another big concern is a lack of security. While the decentralized nature of cryptocurrency makes it theoretically highly secure, the SEC is still wary about potentially unforeseen issues with the technology behind it. This may be more a lack of understanding than anything else.

    The last notable issue with current cryptocurrency index funds relates to prospective investors. Management fees for crypto indexes tend to be in the 2-3% range, in contrast to traditional stock market fees which are often less than a percent.

    As index funds for cryptocurrencies gain more regulatory approval and official recognition, they are sure to inspire more confidence and trust from both investors and the general public. This will also make these funds available to smaller investors on bigger platforms, opening the crypto markets to more and more people worldwide.

     


    21.05.2019 | Binance Coin Price Prediction and Technical Analysis for May 19




    Home News Crypto Binance Coin Price Prediction and Technical Analysis for May 19 Binance Coin Price Prediction and Technical Analysis for May 19 JP Buntinx May 19, 2019 Crypto It has been a remarkable day for all of the cryptocurrencies, tokens, and assets on the market. Bitcoin’s surprising sudden uptrend has caused a lot of shifts to take note of. Perhaps the biggest development is how the Binance Coin price successfully claimed a new all-time high for the second time in three days. One has to wonder how long this momentum can remain in place, though. A New Binance Coin All-time High Prior to 2019, the BNB all-time high sat well below $25. That record was reached during the 2017 bull run which triggered a lot of excitement, yet also subsequent losses shortly after. Now that 2019 seems to be the year of price recovery, the Binance Coin price has reached several new all-time highs. The most recent one comes in the form of a temporary push to $30.14, albeit that level could not be sustained as of yet. BNB/BTC Technical Analysis Unlike most of the alternative markets, Binance Coin successfully managed to gain some value over Bitcoin. A very steep uptrend materialized yesterday afternoon, resulting in a peak near 0.004 BTC per BNB. As was somewhat to be expected, Bitcoin’s sudden bullish momentum near the same time trigger an equally steep BNB/BTC retrace to more normal levels. Since that dip, there have been a few attempts at pushing the ratio higher again. Successful attempts saw a value of 0.0037 BTC, 00375 BTC, and 003725 BTC being reached without too many problems. Unfortunately for traders, every push upward has resulted in an equal retrace, for the most part. However, there are some positive developments to take note of as well, assuming this uptrend doesn’t collapse entirely. A new “buy zone” has been created between 0.0034698 BTC and 0.0035991 BTC. Any price between those levels would confirm the uptrend is potentially reversing, although it could also serve as a juicy entry point for future gains. Other key support levels can be found at 0.0034698 and 0.0033451 BTC. Even the 0.0032998 BTC level can play a key role moving forward. Any of the price levels below those values are up for grabs all the way down to 0.0030094 BTC. BNB/USD Technical Analysis For those traders who prefer a BNB/USD pair, things are looking virtually identical. This massive outbreak in value has allowed the Binance Coin price to reach a peak of $32.32, although this was triggered by a wick with very little trading volume behind it. The more realistic top is closer to $30.04, or even $29.07 depending on how one values the uptrend which is currently in place. Right now it would appear the $30.04 level will act as a strong resistance, as new attempts to break it have all been rejected so far. The price seems more keen to retest support at $28.01, although there is a chance the $29.01 level will become the new “bounce” over the next few hours. Further confirmation is needed to draw any real conclusions in this regard. If the $28.018 level would not hold, further support can be found near $26.79 and $26.31. If things were to really collapse, the $25.49 level can come into play fairly soon. As the Bollinger bands show signs of tightening, the market can easily break out in either direction. Traders need to keep in mind this current uptrend may look very different tomorrow when most of the “normal trading” resumes. Conflicting MACD Signals It is not entirely uncommon for the MACD to indicate how a trend will look in a few hours. For Binance Coin, the MACD for BNB/USD shows signs of reserving rather hard. This uptrend has yielded an overbought territory which sits well above the more normal values. However, that doesn’t mean a bearish period will commence. There may be a minor dip to one of the other support levels as identified above. Home News Crypto Binance Coin Price Prediction and Technical Analysis for May 19 Binance Coin Price Prediction and Technical Analysis for May 19 JP Buntinx May 19, 2019 Crypto It has been a remarkable day for all of the cryptocurrencies, tokens, and assets on the market. Bitcoin’s surprising sudden uptrend has caused a lot of shifts to take note of. Perhaps the biggest development is how the Binance Coin price successfully claimed a new all-time high for the second time in three days. One has to wonder how long this momentum can remain in place, though. A New Binance Coin All-time High Prior to 2019, the BNB all-time high sat well below $25. That record was reached during the 2017 bull run which triggered a lot of excitement, yet also subsequent losses shortly after. Now that 2019 seems to be the year of price recovery, the Binance Coin price has reached several new all-time highs. The most recent one comes in the form of a temporary push to $30.14, albeit that level could not be sustained as of yet. BNB/BTC Technical Analysis Unlike most of the alternative markets, Binance Coin successfully managed to gain some value over Bitcoin. A very steep uptrend materialized yesterday afternoon, resulting in a peak near 0.004 BTC per BNB. As was somewhat to be expected, Bitcoin’s sudden bullish momentum near the same time trigger an equally steep BNB/BTC retrace to more normal levels. Since that dip, there have been a few attempts at pushing the ratio higher again. Successful attempts saw a value of 0.0037 BTC, 00375 BTC, and 003725 BTC being reached without too many problems. Unfortunately for traders, every push upward has resulted in an equal retrace, for the most part. However, there are some positive developments to take note of as well, assuming this uptrend doesn’t collapse entirely. A new “buy zone” has been created between 0.0034698 BTC and 0.0035991 BTC. Any price between those levels would confirm the uptrend is potentially reversing, although it could also serve as a juicy entry point for future gains. Other key support levels can be found at 0.0034698 and 0.0033451 BTC. Even the 0.0032998 BTC level can play a key role moving forward. Any of the price levels below those values are up for grabs all the way down to 0.0030094 BTC. BNB/USD Technical Analysis For those traders who prefer a BNB/USD pair, things are looking virtually identical. This massive outbreak in value has allowed the Binance Coin price to reach a peak of $32.32, although this was triggered by a wick with very little trading volume behind it. The more realistic top is closer to $30.04, or even $29.07 depending on how one values the uptrend which is currently in place. Right now it would appear the $30.04 level will act as a strong resistance, as new attempts to break it have all been rejected so far. The price seems more keen to retest support at $28.01, although there is a chance the $29.01 level will become the new “bounce” over the next few hours. Further confirmation is needed to draw any real conclusions in this regard. If the $28.018 level would not hold, further support can be found near $26.79 and $26.31. If things were to really collapse, the $25.49 level can come into play fairly soon. As the Bollinger bands show signs of tightening, the market can easily break out in either direction. Traders need to keep in mind this current uptrend may look very different tomorrow when most of the “normal trading” resumes. Conflicting MACD Signals It is not entirely uncommon for the MACD to indicate how a trend will look in a few hours. For Binance Coin, the MACD for BNB/USD shows signs of reserving rather hard. This uptrend has yielded an overbought territory which sits well above the more normal values. However, that doesn’t mean a bearish period will commence. There may be a minor dip to one of the other support levels as identified above. Things are a bit different when it comes to the BNB/BTC ratio. It would appear the market shows signs of potentially retesting levels above 0.003794 Bitcoin in the coming hours. A healthy MACD bounce is often promising, albeit such trends can always be short-lived. For now, there are plenty of green candles on the daily chart, but one never knows what the remainder of today will bring. 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.     ...

    Binance Coin Price Prediction and Technical Analysis for May 19

    It has been a remarkable day for all of the cryptocurrencies, tokens, and assets on the market. Bitcoin’s surprising sudden uptrend has caused a lot of shifts to take note of. Perhaps the biggest development is how the Binance Coin price successfully claimed a new all-time high for the second time in three days. One has to wonder how long this momentum can remain in place, though.

    A New Binance Coin All-time High

    Prior to 2019, the BNB all-time high sat well below $25. That record was reached during the 2017 bull run which triggered a lot of excitement, yet also subsequent losses shortly after. Now that 2019 seems to be the year of price recovery, the Binance Coin price has reached several new all-time highs. The most recent one comes in the form of a temporary push to $30.14, albeit that level could not be sustained as of yet.

    BNB/BTC Technical Analysis

    Unlike most of the alternative markets, Binance Coin successfully managed to gain some value over Bitcoin. A very steep uptrend materialized yesterday afternoon, resulting in a peak near 0.004 BTC per BNB. As was somewhat to be expected, Bitcoin’s sudden bullish momentum near the same time trigger an equally steep BNB/BTC retrace to more normal levels.

    Since that dip, there have been a few attempts at pushing the ratio higher again. Successful attempts saw a value of 0.0037 BTC, 00375 BTC, and 003725 BTC being reached without too many problems. Unfortunately for traders, every push upward has resulted in an equal retrace, for the most part. However, there are some positive developments to take note of as well, assuming this uptrend doesn’t collapse entirely.

    A new “buy zone” has been created between 0.0034698 BTC and 0.0035991 BTC. Any price between those levels would confirm the uptrend is potentially reversing, although it could also serve as a juicy entry point for future gains. Other key support levels can be found at 0.0034698 and 0.0033451 BTC. Even the 0.0032998 BTC level can play a key role moving forward. Any of the price levels below those values are up for grabs all the way down to 0.0030094 BTC.

    BNB/USD Technical Analysis

    For those traders who prefer a BNB/USD pair, things are looking virtually identical. This massive outbreak in value has allowed the Binance Coin price to reach a peak of $32.32, although this was triggered by a wick with very little trading volume behind it. The more realistic top is closer to $30.04, or even $29.07 depending on how one values the uptrend which is currently in place.

    Right now it would appear the $30.04 level will act as a strong resistance, as new attempts to break it have all been rejected so far. The price seems more keen to retest support at $28.01, although there is a chance the $29.01 level will become the new “bounce” over the next few hours. Further confirmation is needed to draw any real conclusions in this regard.

    If the $28.018 level would not hold, further support can be found near $26.79 and $26.31. If things were to really collapse, the $25.49 level can come into play fairly soon. As the Bollinger bands show signs of tightening, the market can easily break out in either direction. Traders need to keep in mind this current uptrend may look very different tomorrow when most of the “normal trading” resumes.

    Conflicting MACD Signals

    It is not entirely uncommon for the MACD to indicate how a trend will look in a few hours. For Binance Coin, the MACD for BNB/USD shows signs of reserving rather hard. This uptrend has yielded an overbought territory which sits well above the more normal values. However, that doesn’t mean a bearish period will commence. There may be a minor dip to one of the other support levels as identified above.

    Binance Coin Price Prediction and Technical Analysis for May 19

    It has been a remarkable day for all of the cryptocurrencies, tokens, and assets on the market. Bitcoin’s surprising sudden uptrend has caused a lot of shifts to take note of. Perhaps the biggest development is how the Binance Coin price successfully claimed a new all-time high for the second time in three days. One has to wonder how long this momentum can remain in place, though.

    A New Binance Coin All-time High

    Prior to 2019, the BNB all-time high sat well below $25. That record was reached during the 2017 bull run which triggered a lot of excitement, yet also subsequent losses shortly after. Now that 2019 seems to be the year of price recovery, the Binance Coin price has reached several new all-time highs. The most recent one comes in the form of a temporary push to $30.14, albeit that level could not be sustained as of yet.

    BNB/BTC Technical Analysis

    Unlike most of the alternative markets, Binance Coin successfully managed to gain some value over Bitcoin. A very steep uptrend materialized yesterday afternoon, resulting in a peak near 0.004 BTC per BNB. As was somewhat to be expected, Bitcoin’s sudden bullish momentum near the same time trigger an equally steep BNB/BTC retrace to more normal levels.

    Since that dip, there have been a few attempts at pushing the ratio higher again. Successful attempts saw a value of 0.0037 BTC, 00375 BTC, and 003725 BTC being reached without too many problems. Unfortunately for traders, every push upward has resulted in an equal retrace, for the most part. However, there are some positive developments to take note of as well, assuming this uptrend doesn’t collapse entirely.

    A new “buy zone” has been created between 0.0034698 BTC and 0.0035991 BTC. Any price between those levels would confirm the uptrend is potentially reversing, although it could also serve as a juicy entry point for future gains. Other key support levels can be found at 0.0034698 and 0.0033451 BTC. Even the 0.0032998 BTC level can play a key role moving forward. Any of the price levels below those values are up for grabs all the way down to 0.0030094 BTC.

    BNB/USD Technical Analysis

    For those traders who prefer a BNB/USD pair, things are looking virtually identical. This massive outbreak in value has allowed the Binance Coin price to reach a peak of $32.32, although this was triggered by a wick with very little trading volume behind it. The more realistic top is closer to $30.04, or even $29.07 depending on how one values the uptrend which is currently in place.

    Right now it would appear the $30.04 level will act as a strong resistance, as new attempts to break it have all been rejected so far. The price seems more keen to retest support at $28.01, although there is a chance the $29.01 level will become the new “bounce” over the next few hours. Further confirmation is needed to draw any real conclusions in this regard.

    If the $28.018 level would not hold, further support can be found near $26.79 and $26.31. If things were to really collapse, the $25.49 level can come into play fairly soon. As the Bollinger bands show signs of tightening, the market can easily break out in either direction. Traders need to keep in mind this current uptrend may look very different tomorrow when most of the “normal trading” resumes.

    Conflicting MACD Signals

    It is not entirely uncommon for the MACD to indicate how a trend will look in a few hours. For Binance Coin, the MACD for BNB/USD shows signs of reserving rather hard. This uptrend has yielded an overbought territory which sits well above the more normal values. However, that doesn’t mean a bearish period will commence. There may be a minor dip to one of the other support levels as identified above.

    Things are a bit different when it comes to the BNB/BTC ratio. It would appear the market shows signs of potentially retesting levels above 0.003794 Bitcoin in the coming hours. A healthy MACD bounce is often promising, albeit such trends can always be short-lived. For now, there are plenty of green candles on the daily chart, but one never knows what the remainder of today will bring.

    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.

     

     




    21.05.2019 | Someone is Trying to Create BitConnect 2.0 Once Again




    It is an interesting period for cryptocurrency enthusiasts. With most markets showing a massive rebound after a few rough days, there is a general sense of excitement among community members. The bigger news this week is how BitConnect is – once again – making an alleged return in a few weeks. It is not the first time such claims are issued, although this project is better off dead and buried. Another Attempt at Reviving BitConnect Most cryptocurrency enthusiasts are all too familiar with the concept of BitConnect. It is a well-known Ponzi Scheme which came to an abrupt end quite some time ago. Although its business model clearly indicated this platform would not remain operational for too long, many people decided to take a gamble on BitConnect regardless. As a result, the scam thrived for several months on end, and a lot of people lost good money in the end. To date, most of the stolen funds have not been recovered by the rightful owners. Despite there being numerous lawsuits against BitConnect and its promoters – especially the YouTube promoters – there is some hope for the future. Even so, most people readily agree the money will not be recovered whatsoever, unless law enforcement officials successfully manage to arrest those truly responsible for running this elaborate scam. Late last year, the cryptocurrency community was taken aback when BitConnect 2.0 was announced for the first time. Albeit the associated website claimed this nefarious Ponzi Scheme would return shortly, it is evident that hasn’t been the case so far. For most people, this is a good thing, primarily because this industry needs fewer scams. Getting rid of any references to BitConnect is not a viable course of action, but fewer mentions of this scheme would certainly be beneficial to the industry as a whole. For some unknown reasons, it would appear an email is making the rounds which claims the BitConnect website will return. On the project’s web page itself, a countdown timer is visible, which explains the project “will be back soon”. At the time of writing, this “launch” is still nearly 6 weeks away. Rest assured very few people genuinely expected this scam to return, let alone hope for it. Given the current investigations into this notorious scam, one has to wonder who is responsible for putting this message on the website. According to a very basic WHOIS search, it appears this particular domain name – registered through Namecheap – will expire in a month from today. That would mean the domain will be taken offline prior to BitConnect 2.0 even launching. Since no one knows who is in control of the domain or its web hosting package, the future looks rather interesting, for many different reasons. Rest assured some people will get in contact with NameCheap to have this domain kicked offline sooner rather than later. For those who truly hope to see BitConnect 2.0 make a worthwhile impact, it seems unlikely anything of the sort will happen. Considering how there is a mail form looking to collect information, it may be a “trap” to lure in promoters willing to shill this project in exchange for financial compensation. It is a very odd situation which needs some clarification sooner rather than later. Despite this being a clear scam, there will always those willing to put in some money just to see how things play out. The morbid fascination of humans never ceases to amaze in this regard. 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.     ...

    It is an interesting period for cryptocurrency enthusiasts. With most markets showing a massive rebound after a few rough days, there is a general sense of excitement among community members. The bigger news this week is how BitConnect is – once again – making an alleged return in a few weeks. It is not the first time such claims are issued, although this project is better off dead and buried.

    Another Attempt at Reviving BitConnect

    Most cryptocurrency enthusiasts are all too familiar with the concept of BitConnect. It is a well-known Ponzi Scheme which came to an abrupt end quite some time ago. Although its business model clearly indicated this platform would not remain operational for too long, many people decided to take a gamble on BitConnect regardless. As a result, the scam thrived for several months on end, and a lot of people lost good money in the end.

    To date, most of the stolen funds have not been recovered by the rightful owners. Despite there being numerous lawsuits against BitConnect and its promoters – especially the YouTube promoters – there is some hope for the future. Even so, most people readily agree the money will not be recovered whatsoever, unless law enforcement officials successfully manage to arrest those truly responsible for running this elaborate scam.

    Late last year, the cryptocurrency community was taken aback when BitConnect 2.0 was announced for the first time. Albeit the associated website claimed this nefarious Ponzi Scheme would return shortly, it is evident that hasn’t been the case so far. For most people, this is a good thing, primarily because this industry needs fewer scams. Getting rid of any references to BitConnect is not a viable course of action, but fewer mentions of this scheme would certainly be beneficial to the industry as a whole.

    For some unknown reasons, it would appear an email is making the rounds which claims the BitConnect website will return. On the project’s web page itself, a countdown timer is visible, which explains the project “will be back soon”. At the time of writing, this “launch” is still nearly 6 weeks away. Rest assured very few people genuinely expected this scam to return, let alone hope for it. Given the current investigations into this notorious scam, one has to wonder who is responsible for putting this message on the website.

    According to a very basic WHOIS search, it appears this particular domain name – registered through Namecheap – will expire in a month from today. That would mean the domain will be taken offline prior to BitConnect 2.0 even launching. Since no one knows who is in control of the domain or its web hosting package, the future looks rather interesting, for many different reasons. Rest assured some people will get in contact with NameCheap to have this domain kicked offline sooner rather than later.

    For those who truly hope to see BitConnect 2.0 make a worthwhile impact, it seems unlikely anything of the sort will happen. Considering how there is a mail form looking to collect information, it may be a “trap” to lure in promoters willing to shill this project in exchange for financial compensation. It is a very odd situation which needs some clarification sooner rather than later. Despite this being a clear scam, there will always those willing to put in some money just to see how things play out. The morbid fascination of humans never ceases to amaze in this regard.

    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.

     

     


    21.05.2019 | Huawei's 5G 'will absolutely not be affected' by US blacklist, founder says




    Huawei isn't going away just because the US government has tried to ban it from its markets, company founder Ren Zhengfei has said, declaring that the Trump administration "underestimates our strength." "Huawei's 5G will absolutely not be affected" by the Commerce Department's ban on selling or transferring US technology to the company, Ren told Chinese state media. "In terms of 5G technologies, others won't be able to catch up with Huawei in two or three years." The 90-day grace period before Huawei is officially blacklisted from doing business with US companies does not have much impact on the company, Ren claimed, adding: "We are ready." A Huawei spokesperson assured reporters that nothing would change for US residents with Huawei devices, or even those planning to buy a device in the future – possibly because the Chinese firm is already in talks with Google on how to manage the ban. Huawei has bracing for such a ban after the company watched fellow Chinese telecom ZTE struggle with a similar blacklisting maneuver last year. Unable to do business with US firms and unable to fill the equipment void itself, ZTE closed its doors for four months, throwing itself on the mercy of the US government and reopening its business more than $1 billion poorer. Not so for Huawei: not only has it been developing its own mobile operating system since 2012 to break dependence on Google's Android, but it already makes half the chips used in its devices. "We cannot be isolated from the world," Ren boasted, adding that while Huawei was at odds with the US government, it was not the enemy of US companies. While Trump's emergency order last week did not mention China or Huawei by name, it clearly targets both, giving the Secretary of Commerce the right to block any activity posing an "unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons." The Commerce Department then moved to blacklist Huawei and 68 related companies from doing business with US firms. The US has tried to convince its allies that Huawei is an unconscionable security risk, feeding information directly to the Chinese government through backdoors in its equipment. For its part, Huawei has accused the US of discrimination, claiming American telecoms cannot handle competition and pointing out the US' own record of backdooring allies' communications. Washington’s efforts to convince the EU and its member nations to bar Huawei from their 5G networks have failed so far – although Australia has agreed to adopt such a ban. The battle over Huawei reflects the ongoing trade war between the US and China. Both countries have slapped additional tariffs onto the other's exports after trade talks fell apart earlier this month, and Trump has threatened to dramatically expand the categories of goods taxed this summer.     ...

    Huawei isn't going away just because the US government has tried to ban it from its markets, company founder Ren Zhengfei has said, declaring that the Trump administration "underestimates our strength."

    "Huawei's 5G will absolutely not be affected" by the Commerce Department's ban on selling or transferring US technology to the company, Ren told Chinese state media. "In terms of 5G technologies, others won't be able to catch up with Huawei in two or three years."

    The 90-day grace period before Huawei is officially blacklisted from doing business with US companies does not have much impact on the company, Ren claimed, adding: "We are ready."

    A Huawei spokesperson assured reporters that nothing would change for US residents with Huawei devices, or even those planning to buy a device in the future – possibly because the Chinese firm is already in talks with Google on how to manage the ban.

    Huawei has bracing for such a ban after the company watched fellow Chinese telecom ZTE struggle with a similar blacklisting maneuver last year. Unable to do business with US firms and unable to fill the equipment void itself, ZTE closed its doors for four months, throwing itself on the mercy of the US government and reopening its business more than $1 billion poorer. Not so for Huawei: not only has it been developing its own mobile operating system since 2012 to break dependence on Google's Android, but it already makes half the chips used in its devices.

    "We cannot be isolated from the world," Ren boasted, adding that while Huawei was at odds with the US government, it was not the enemy of US companies.

    While Trump's emergency order last week did not mention China or Huawei by name, it clearly targets both, giving the Secretary of Commerce the right to block any activity posing an "unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons." The Commerce Department then moved to blacklist Huawei and 68 related companies from doing business with US firms.

    The US has tried to convince its allies that Huawei is an unconscionable security risk, feeding information directly to the Chinese government through backdoors in its equipment. For its part, Huawei has accused the US of discrimination, claiming American telecoms cannot handle competition and pointing out the US' own record of backdooring allies' communications. Washington’s efforts to convince the EU and its member nations to bar Huawei from their 5G networks have failed so far – although Australia has agreed to adopt such a ban.

    The battle over Huawei reflects the ongoing trade war between the US and China. Both countries have slapped additional tariffs onto the other's exports after trade talks fell apart earlier this month, and Trump has threatened to dramatically expand the categories of goods taxed this summer.

     

     


    21.05.2019 | Forbidden planets: Understanding alien worlds once thought impossible




    When astronomers discovered the first exoplanet around a normal star 2 decades ago, there was joy—and bewilderment. The planet, 51 Pegasi b, was half as massive as Jupiter, but its 4-day orbit was impossibly close to the star, far smaller than the 88-day orbit of Mercury. Theorists who study planet formation could see no way for a planet that big to grow in such tight confines around a newborn star. It could have been a freak, but soon, more “hot Jupiters” turned up in planet searches, and they were joined by other oddities: planets in elongated and highly tilted orbits, even planets orbiting their stars “backward”—counter to the star’s rotation.  The planet hunt accelerated with the launch of NASA’s Kepler spacecraft in 2009, and the 2500 worlds it has discovered added statistical heft to the study of exoplanets—and yet more confusion. Kepler found that the most common type of planet in the galaxy is something between the size of Earth and Neptune—a “super-Earth,” which has no parallel in our solar system and was thought to be almost impossible to make. Now, ground-based telescopes are gathering light directly from exoplanets, rather than detecting their presence indirectly as Kepler does, and they, too, are turning up anomalies. They have found giant planets several times the mass of Jupiter, orbiting their star at more than twice the distance Neptune is from the sun—another region where theorists thought it was impossible to grow large planets. Other planetary systems looked nothing like our orderly solar system, challenging the well-worn theories that had been developed to explain it.  Nature is smarter than our theories. Roman Rafikov, astrophysicist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey “It’s been really obvious things didn’t fit pretty much from day one,” says Bruce Macintosh, a physicist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. “There has never been a moment when theory has caught up with observations.”  Theorists are trying to catch up—coming up with scenarios for growing previously forbidden kinds of planets, in places once thought off-limits. They are envisioning how planets could form in much more mobile and chaotic environments than they ever pictured before, where nascent planets drift from wide to narrow orbits or get ricocheted into elongated or off-kilter paths by other planets or passing stars. But the ever-expanding zoo of exotic planets that observers are tallying means every new model is provisional. “You can discover something new every day,” says astrophysicist Thomas Henning of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany. “It’s a Gold Rush situation.” The traditional model of how stars and their planets form dates back to the 18th century, when scientists proposed that a slowly rotating cloud of dust and gas could collapse under its own gravity. Most of the material forms a ball that ignites into a star when its core gets dense and hot enough. Gravity and angular momentum herd the leftover material around the protostar into a flat disk. Dust is key to transforming this disk into a set of planets. The dust, which accounts for a small fraction of the disk’s mass, is made up of microscopic specks of iron and other solids. As they swirl in the roiling disk, the specks occasionally collide and stick together by electromagnetic forces. Over a few million years, the dust builds up into grains, pebbles, boulders, and, eventually, kilometer-wide planetesimals. At that point gravity takes over, pulling in other planetesimals and vacuuming up dust and gas until planet-sized bodies take shape. By the time that happens in the inner part of the disk, most of its gas has been stripped away, either gobbled up by the star or blown away by its stellar wind. The dearth of gas means inner planets remain largely rocky, with thin atmospheres. This growth process, known as core accretion, proceeds faster in the outer parts of the disk, where it is cold enough for water to freeze. The ice beyond this “snowline” supplements the dust, allowing protoplanets to consolidate more quickly. They build up a solid core five to 10 times the mass of Earth—quickly enough that the disk remains gas-rich and the core can pull in a thick atmosphere, producing a gas giant like Jupiter. (One of the goals of NASA’s Juno spacecraft, which arrived at Jupiter earlier this month, is to see whether the planet really does have a massive core.)  This scenario naturally produces a planetary system just like our own: small, rocky planets with thin atmospheres close to the star, a Jupiter-like gas giant just beyond the snowline, and the other giants getting progressively smaller at greater distances because they move more slowly through their orbits and take longer to hoover up material. All the planets remain roughly where they formed, in circular orbits in the same plane. Nice and tidy.  But the discovery of hot Jupiters suggested something was seriously amiss with the theory. A planet with an orbit measured in days travels an extremely short distance around the star, which limits the amount of material it can scoop up as it forms. It seemed inconceivable that a gas giant could have formed in such a location. The inevitable conclusion was that it must have formed farther out and moved in.  Theorists have come up with two possible mechanisms for shuffling the planetary deck. The first, known as migration, requires there to be plenty of material left in the disk after the giant planet has formed. The planet’s gravity distorts the disk, creating areas of higher density, which, in turn, exert a gravitational “drag” on the planet, causing it to gradually drift inward toward the star.  There is supporting evidence for the idea. Neighboring planets often end up in a stable, gravitational relationship known as orbital resonance. This happens when the lengths of their orbits are in a ratio of small whole numbers. Pluto, for example, orbits the sun two times for every three orbits of Neptune. It’s highly unlikely that they just happened to form that way, so they must have drifted into that position, where they were locked in by the extra stability. Migration early in our solar system’s history could account for other oddities, including the small size of Mars and the sparse, disrupted asteroid belt. To explain them, theorists have invoked a maneuver called the grand tack, in which Jupiter originally formed closer to the sun, drifted inward almost to the orbit of Earth, and then drifted out again to its current position.   Some modelers find such scenarios unnecessarily complex. “I do have faith in Occam’s razor,” says Greg Laughlin, an astronomer at the University of California (UC), Santa Cruz. Laughlin argues that planets are more likely to form in place and stay put. He says it’s possible for large planets to form close to their star if protoplanetary disks contain much more material there than previously believed. Some movement of planets may still occur—enough to explain resonances, for example—but “it’s a final subtle adjustment, not a major conveyor belt,” Laughlin says.  But others say that there simply could not be enough material to form close-in planets like 51 Pegasi b and others that are even closer. “They cannot have formed in situ,” physicist Joshua Winn of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge declares flatly. And the sizable fraction of exoplanets that appear to be in elongated, tilted, or even backward orbits also seems to imply some kind of planet shuffling. For these oddballs, theorists invoke a gravitational melee rather than a sedate migration. A mass-rich disk could produce many planets close together, where gravitational tussles would fling them into the star, into weird orbits, or out of the system. Another potential disruptor is a companion star in an elongated orbit. Most of the time it would be too far away to have an influence, but occasionally it could swing in and stir things up. Or, if the parent star is a member of a tight-knit stellar cluster, a neighboring star might drift too close and wreak havoc. “There are a lot of ways to break a system,” Winn says.  Kepler's surprising finding that 60% of sunlike stars are orbited by a super-Earth, however, requires a whole new class of theories. Most super-Earths, thought to be largely solid rock and metal with modest amounts of gas, follow tighter orbits than Earth, and often a star has several. The Kepler-80 system, for example, has four super-Earths, all with orbits of 9 days or less. The traditional theory holds that inside the snowline core accretion is too slow to produce something so large. And super-Earths are rarely found in resonant orbits, suggesting that they haven’t migrated, but formed where they sit.  Researchers are coming up with ways around the problem. One idea is to speed up accretion, through a process known as pebble accretion. The gas in a rich disk exerts a lot of drag on pebble-sized objects. This generally slows them down, causing them to drift in toward the star. If they pass a planetesimal along the way, their slow speed means they can be captured more easily, boosting accretion. But faster accretion and a gas-rich disk raise their own problem: The super-Earths ought to pull in a thick atmosphere once they exceed a certain size. “How do you keep them from becoming gas giants?” asks astrophysicist Roman Rafikov of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.  Eugene Chiang, an astronomer at UC Berkeley, says there is no need to speed up accretion, so long as the disk is solid-rich and gas-poor. He says that an inner disk 10 times denser than the one that formed the solar system could easily produce one or more super-Earths. Chiang has his super-Earths avoid collecting too much residual gas by forming in the dying days of the disk when most of the gas has dissipated.  Some early observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international facility nearing completion in northern Chile, support this proposal. ALMA can map radio emissions from the warm dust and gravel in disks. The few it has studied so far seem to be relatively massive. But the observations aren’t yet a smoking gun, because ALMA is not yet fully operational and it can only see the outer parts of disks, not the regions where super-Earths reside. “Getting close in, that’s the trick,” Chiang says—something that ALMA may perform when all 66 of its antennas are working.  Chiang also has an explanation for another discovery of Kepler’s: superpuffs, a rare and equally problematic set of planets that have a smaller mass than super-Earths but appear huge, with a puffed-up atmosphere making up 20% of their mass. Such planets are thought to form in a gas-rich disk. But in the inner disk, warm gas would fight against the planet’s weak gravity, so the cold and dense gas of the outer disk is the more likely womb. Chiang invokes migration to explain their close orbits—a notion supported by the fact that superpuffs are often found locked in resonant orbits.   Most of the attention in exoplanet research has so far focused on the inner parts of planetary systems, roughly within a distance equivalent to the orbit of Jupiter, for the simple reason that that’s all existing detection methods can see. The two main methods—measuring the wobble of stars caused by the gravitational tug of an orbiting planet and measuring the periodic dimming of a star as a planet passes in front—both favor big planets in close orbits. Imaging the planets themselves is extremely difficult, because their faint light is all but swamped by the glare from their star, which can be a billion times brighter.  But by stretching the limits of the world’s biggest telescopes, astronomers have seen a handful of planets directly. And over the past couple years, two new instruments designed specifically to image exoplanets have joined the hunt. Europe’s Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch (SPHERE) and the U.S.-backed Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) are attached to big telescopes in Chile and employ sophisticated masks, called coronagraphs, to block out the light of the star. Not surprisingly, planets far from their stars are the easiest targets.  One of the earliest and most astounding systems found by direct imaging is the one around the star HR 8799, where four planets range in orbits from beyond that of Saturn out to more than twice the distance of Neptune. What’s most surprising is that all four are huge, more than five times the mass of Jupiter. According to theory, planets in such distant orbits move so slowly that they should grow at a glacial rate and top out at masses well short of Jupiter’s before the disk disperses. Yet the planets’ nice circular orbits suggest they weren’t flung there from closer to their stars.  Such distant giants lend support to the most radical challenge to standard theory, in which some planets form not by core accretion, but by a process called gravitational instability. This process requires a gas-rich protoplanetary disk, which breaks up into clumps under its own gravity. These blobs of gas would collapse over time directly into giant planets without having to form a solid core first. Models suggest that the mechanism will only work in particular circumstances: The gas has to be cold, it mustn’t be spinning too fast, and the contracting gas must be able to shed heat efficiently. Can it explain the planets of HR 8799? Only the outer two are distant and cold enough, Rafikov says. “It’s still quite a puzzling system,” he says.  In the past, radio telescope observations of protoplanetary disks have provided some support for gravitational instability. Sensitive to cold gas, the telescopes saw disks spattered with messy, asymmetrical blobs. But recent images from ALMA paint a different picture. ALMA is sensitive to shorter wavelengths that come from dust grains in the midplane of the disk, and its images of the star HL Tauri in 2014 and TW Hydrae this year showed smooth, symmetrical disks with dark circular “gaps” extending far beyond Neptune-like orbits (see picture below). “It was a tremendous surprise. The disk was not a mess, but has a nice, regular, beautiful structure,” Rafikov says. These images, suggestive of planets sweeping their orbits clean as they grow by core accretion, were a blow to advocates of gravitational instability. Astronomers won’t have to wait long for better data. Next year, NASA will launch its Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), and the following year the European Space Agency (ESA) is expected to launch the Characterizing Exoplanets Satellite (CHEOPS). Unlike Kepler, which surveyed a large number of stars in sparse detail to compile an exoplanetary census, TESS and CHEOPS will focus on bright, sunlike stars close to Earth, enabling researchers to explore the midorbit terra incognita. And because the targeted stars are nearby, ground-based telescopes should be able to assess the mass of their planets, allowing researchers to calculate the planets’ density, indicating which are rocky or gassy.  The James Webb Space Telescope, due for launch in 2018, will go further, analyzing starlight that passes through an exoplanet’s atmosphere to determine its makeup. “Composition is an important clue to formation,” Macintosh says. For example, finding heavier elements in the atmospheres of super-Earths could suggest that a disk rich in such elements is needed to form planetary cores fast enough. And next decade, spacecraft such as NASA’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope and ESA’s Planetary Transits and Oscillations will join the hunt, alongside a new generation of enormous ground-based telescopes with mirrors 30 meters across or more.   If the past is anything to go by, modelers will have to keep on their toes. “Nature is smarter than our theories,” Rafikov says.     ...

    When astronomers discovered the first exoplanet around a normal star 2 decades ago, there was joy—and bewilderment. The planet, 51 Pegasi b, was half as massive as Jupiter, but its 4-day orbit was impossibly close to the star, far smaller than the 88-day orbit of Mercury. Theorists who study planet formation could see no way for a planet that big to grow in such tight confines around a newborn star. It could have been a freak, but soon, more “hot Jupiters” turned up in planet searches, and they were joined by other oddities: planets in elongated and highly tilted orbits, even planets orbiting their stars “backward”—counter to the star’s rotation. 

    The planet hunt accelerated with the launch of NASA’s Kepler spacecraft in 2009, and the 2500 worlds it has discovered added statistical heft to the study of exoplanets—and yet more confusion. Kepler found that the most common type of planet in the galaxy is something between the size of Earth and Neptune—a “super-Earth,” which has no parallel in our solar system and was thought to be almost impossible to make. Now, ground-based telescopes are gathering light directly from exoplanets, rather than detecting their presence indirectly as Kepler does, and they, too, are turning up anomalies. They have found giant planets several times the mass of Jupiter, orbiting their star at more than twice the distance Neptune is from the sun—another region where theorists thought it was impossible to grow large planets. Other planetary systems looked nothing like our orderly solar system, challenging the well-worn theories that had been developed to explain it. 

    Nature is smarter than our theories.

    Roman Rafikov, astrophysicist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey

    “It’s been really obvious things didn’t fit pretty much from day one,” says Bruce Macintosh, a physicist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. “There has never been a moment when theory has caught up with observations.” 

    Theorists are trying to catch up—coming up with scenarios for growing previously forbidden kinds of planets, in places once thought off-limits. They are envisioning how planets could form in much more mobile and chaotic environments than they ever pictured before, where nascent planets drift from wide to narrow orbits or get ricocheted into elongated or off-kilter paths by other planets or passing stars. But the ever-expanding zoo of exotic planets that observers are tallying means every new model is provisional. “You can discover something new every day,” says astrophysicist Thomas Henning of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany. “It’s a Gold Rush situation.”

    The traditional model of how stars and their planets form dates back to the 18th century, when scientists proposed that a slowly rotating cloud of dust and gas could collapse under its own gravity. Most of the material forms a ball that ignites into a star when its core gets dense and hot enough. Gravity and angular momentum herd the leftover material around the protostar into a flat disk. Dust is key to transforming this disk into a set of planets. The dust, which accounts for a small fraction of the disk’s mass, is made up of microscopic specks of iron and other solids. As they swirl in the roiling disk, the specks occasionally collide and stick together by electromagnetic forces. Over a few million years, the dust builds up into grains, pebbles, boulders, and, eventually, kilometer-wide planetesimals.

    At that point gravity takes over, pulling in other planetesimals and vacuuming up dust and gas until planet-sized bodies take shape. By the time that happens in the inner part of the disk, most of its gas has been stripped away, either gobbled up by the star or blown away by its stellar wind. The dearth of gas means inner planets remain largely rocky, with thin atmospheres.

    This growth process, known as core accretion, proceeds faster in the outer parts of the disk, where it is cold enough for water to freeze. The ice beyond this “snowline” supplements the dust, allowing protoplanets to consolidate more quickly. They build up a solid core five to 10 times the mass of Earth—quickly enough that the disk remains gas-rich and the core can pull in a thick atmosphere, producing a gas giant like Jupiter. (One of the goals of NASA’s Juno spacecraft, which arrived at Jupiter earlier this month, is to see whether the planet really does have a massive core.) 

    This scenario naturally produces a planetary system just like our own: small, rocky planets with thin atmospheres close to the star, a Jupiter-like gas giant just beyond the snowline, and the other giants getting progressively smaller at greater distances because they move more slowly through their orbits and take longer to hoover up material. All the planets remain roughly where they formed, in circular orbits in the same plane. Nice and tidy. 

    But the discovery of hot Jupiters suggested something was seriously amiss with the theory. A planet with an orbit measured in days travels an extremely short distance around the star, which limits the amount of material it can scoop up as it forms. It seemed inconceivable that a gas giant could have formed in such a location. The inevitable conclusion was that it must have formed farther out and moved in. 

    Theorists have come up with two possible mechanisms for shuffling the planetary deck. The first, known as migration, requires there to be plenty of material left in the disk after the giant planet has formed. The planet’s gravity distorts the disk, creating areas of higher density, which, in turn, exert a gravitational “drag” on the planet, causing it to gradually drift inward toward the star. 

    There is supporting evidence for the idea. Neighboring planets often end up in a stable, gravitational relationship known as orbital resonance. This happens when the lengths of their orbits are in a ratio of small whole numbers. Pluto, for example, orbits the sun two times for every three orbits of Neptune. It’s highly unlikely that they just happened to form that way, so they must have drifted into that position, where they were locked in by the extra stability. Migration early in our solar system’s history could account for other oddities, including the small size of Mars and the sparse, disrupted asteroid belt. To explain them, theorists have invoked a maneuver called the grand tack, in which Jupiter originally formed closer to the sun, drifted inward almost to the orbit of Earth, and then drifted out again to its current position.  

    Some modelers find such scenarios unnecessarily complex. “I do have faith in Occam’s razor,” says Greg Laughlin, an astronomer at the University of California (UC), Santa Cruz. Laughlin argues that planets are more likely to form in place and stay put. He says it’s possible for large planets to form close to their star if protoplanetary disks contain much more material there than previously believed. Some movement of planets may still occur—enough to explain resonances, for example—but “it’s a final subtle adjustment, not a major conveyor belt,” Laughlin says. 

    But others say that there simply could not be enough material to form close-in planets like 51 Pegasi b and others that are even closer. “They cannot have formed in situ,” physicist Joshua Winn of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge declares flatly. And the sizable fraction of exoplanets that appear to be in elongated, tilted, or even backward orbits also seems to imply some kind of planet shuffling.

    For these oddballs, theorists invoke a gravitational melee rather than a sedate migration. A mass-rich disk could produce many planets close together, where gravitational tussles would fling them into the star, into weird orbits, or out of the system. Another potential disruptor is a companion star in an elongated orbit. Most of the time it would be too far away to have an influence, but occasionally it could swing in and stir things up. Or, if the parent star is a member of a tight-knit stellar cluster, a neighboring star might drift too close and wreak havoc. “There are a lot of ways to break a system,” Winn says. 

    Kepler's surprising finding that 60% of sunlike stars are orbited by a super-Earth, however, requires a whole new class of theories. Most super-Earths, thought to be largely solid rock and metal with modest amounts of gas, follow tighter orbits than Earth, and often a star has several. The Kepler-80 system, for example, has four super-Earths, all with orbits of 9 days or less. The traditional theory holds that inside the snowline core accretion is too slow to produce something so large. And super-Earths are rarely found in resonant orbits, suggesting that they haven’t migrated, but formed where they sit. 

    Researchers are coming up with ways around the problem. One idea is to speed up accretion, through a process known as pebble accretion. The gas in a rich disk exerts a lot of drag on pebble-sized objects. This generally slows them down, causing them to drift in toward the star. If they pass a planetesimal along the way, their slow speed means they can be captured more easily, boosting accretion. But faster accretion and a gas-rich disk raise their own problem: The super-Earths ought to pull in a thick atmosphere once they exceed a certain size. “How do you keep them from becoming gas giants?” asks astrophysicist Roman Rafikov of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. 

    Eugene Chiang, an astronomer at UC Berkeley, says there is no need to speed up accretion, so long as the disk is solid-rich and gas-poor. He says that an inner disk 10 times denser than the one that formed the solar system could easily produce one or more super-Earths. Chiang has his super-Earths avoid collecting too much residual gas by forming in the dying days of the disk when most of the gas has dissipated. 

    Some early observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international facility nearing completion in northern Chile, support this proposal. ALMA can map radio emissions from the warm dust and gravel in disks. The few it has studied so far seem to be relatively massive. But the observations aren’t yet a smoking gun, because ALMA is not yet fully operational and it can only see the outer parts of disks, not the regions where super-Earths reside. “Getting close in, that’s the trick,” Chiang says—something that ALMA may perform when all 66 of its antennas are working. 

    Chiang also has an explanation for another discovery of Kepler’s: superpuffs, a rare and equally problematic set of planets that have a smaller mass than super-Earths but appear huge, with a puffed-up atmosphere making up 20% of their mass. Such planets are thought to form in a gas-rich disk. But in the inner disk, warm gas would fight against the planet’s weak gravity, so the cold and dense gas of the outer disk is the more likely womb. Chiang invokes migration to explain their close orbits—a notion supported by the fact that superpuffs are often found locked in resonant orbits.  

    Most of the attention in exoplanet research has so far focused on the inner parts of planetary systems, roughly within a distance equivalent to the orbit of Jupiter, for the simple reason that that’s all existing detection methods can see. The two main methods—measuring the wobble of stars caused by the gravitational tug of an orbiting planet and measuring the periodic dimming of a star as a planet passes in front—both favor big planets in close orbits. Imaging the planets themselves is extremely difficult, because their faint light is all but swamped by the glare from their star, which can be a billion times brighter. 

    But by stretching the limits of the world’s biggest telescopes, astronomers have seen a handful of planets directly. And over the past couple years, two new instruments designed specifically to image exoplanets have joined the hunt. Europe’s Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch (SPHERE) and the U.S.-backed Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) are attached to big telescopes in Chile and employ sophisticated masks, called coronagraphs, to block out the light of the star. Not surprisingly, planets far from their stars are the easiest targets. 

    One of the earliest and most astounding systems found by direct imaging is the one around the star HR 8799, where four planets range in orbits from beyond that of Saturn out to more than twice the distance of Neptune. What’s most surprising is that all four are huge, more than five times the mass of Jupiter. According to theory, planets in such distant orbits move so slowly that they should grow at a glacial rate and top out at masses well short of Jupiter’s before the disk disperses. Yet the planets’ nice circular orbits suggest they weren’t flung there from closer to their stars. 

    Such distant giants lend support to the most radical challenge to standard theory, in which some planets form not by core accretion, but by a process called gravitational instability. This process requires a gas-rich protoplanetary disk, which breaks up into clumps under its own gravity. These blobs of gas would collapse over time directly into giant planets without having to form a solid core first. Models suggest that the mechanism will only work in particular circumstances: The gas has to be cold, it mustn’t be spinning too fast, and the contracting gas must be able to shed heat efficiently. Can it explain the planets of HR 8799? Only the outer two are distant and cold enough, Rafikov says. “It’s still quite a puzzling system,” he says. 

    In the past, radio telescope observations of protoplanetary disks have provided some support for gravitational instability. Sensitive to cold gas, the telescopes saw disks spattered with messy, asymmetrical blobs. But recent images from ALMA paint a different picture. ALMA is sensitive to shorter wavelengths that come from dust grains in the midplane of the disk, and its images of the star HL Tauri in 2014 and TW Hydrae this year showed smooth, symmetrical disks with dark circular “gaps” extending far beyond Neptune-like orbits (see picture below). “It was a tremendous surprise. The disk was not a mess, but has a nice, regular, beautiful structure,” Rafikov says. These images, suggestive of planets sweeping their orbits clean as they grow by core accretion, were a blow to advocates of gravitational instability.

    Astronomers won’t have to wait long for better data. Next year, NASA will launch its Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), and the following year the European Space Agency (ESA) is expected to launch the Characterizing Exoplanets Satellite (CHEOPS). Unlike Kepler, which surveyed a large number of stars in sparse detail to compile an exoplanetary census, TESS and CHEOPS will focus on bright, sunlike stars close to Earth, enabling researchers to explore the midorbit terra incognita. And because the targeted stars are nearby, ground-based telescopes should be able to assess the mass of their planets, allowing researchers to calculate the planets’ density, indicating which are rocky or gassy. 

    The James Webb Space Telescope, due for launch in 2018, will go further, analyzing starlight that passes through an exoplanet’s atmosphere to determine its makeup. “Composition is an important clue to formation,” Macintosh says. For example, finding heavier elements in the atmospheres of super-Earths could suggest that a disk rich in such elements is needed to form planetary cores fast enough. And next decade, spacecraft such as NASA’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope and ESA’s Planetary Transits and Oscillations will join the hunt, alongside a new generation of enormous ground-based telescopes with mirrors 30 meters across or more.  

    If the past is anything to go by, modelers will have to keep on their toes. “Nature is smarter than our theories,” Rafikov says.

     

     


    21.05.2019 | Forbidden planets: Understanding alien worlds once thought impossible




    https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/07/forbidden-planets-understanding-alien-worlds-once-thought-impossible...

    https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/07/forbidden-planets-understanding-alien-worlds-once-thought-impossible


    19.05.2019 | German Startup Seeks to Commercialize its Flying Taxi by 2025




    Global opinions on electric flying cars and taxis are still divided. That is only normal, as this business concept raises a lot of questions which can’t be answered all that easily. Lillium, a German startup has demonstrated its electric flying taxi prototype this week. A remarkable development, as the product will enter public service by 2025. The Flying Taxi is Coming Most consumers on this planet struggle with the idea of having a car that flies. Even if it were just a one-seater vehicle, there are may risks and drawbacks involved. German startup Lillium is already looking well beyond that option. More specifically, they recently unveiled an electric five-seater aircraft. If everything goes according to plan, these units will go “live” in just over five years from the time of writing. The term flying taxi might not necessarily make much sense to people at first. It is expected Lillium’s prototype will act as the foundation of an on-demand air service. As such, it will be used to deliver products and goods to designated destinations. It will not be an autonomous vehicle by any means, albeit one never knows how this technology will evolve. Under the hood, this flying taxi packs an electric jet-powered engine. It can reach a theoretical speed of up to 300 km/hour, or roughly 200 miles per hour. As such, its maximum travel distance would be 300 km. A more than respectable distance, especially when considering how this is still a prototype which needs to be put through rigorous testing. It is not the first time Lillium puts a flying taxi prototype together. A much smaller version of the same craft completed several successful test flights throughout 2017. This new unit only had a very brief remote-controlled test flight. While deemed a big success by the team, there is still plenty of work to be done over the coming months and years. All of this is part of Lillium’s plan to launch an app-based air taxi service in multiple German cities by 2025. It is expected this five-seater will house one pilot and a maximum of four passengers. A standard cross-city flight would cost roughly $70, which is a fair bit lower than initially expected. It will still be a somewhat exclusive form of air travel, but one that can create a very interesting precedent on a global scale. Urban air mobility is the focus of many startups, albeit achieving this goal will be a different matter altogether. Over the coming months, Lillium will put its unit through flight testing and obtaining certification for the new plane. Assuming that latter part won’t pose too much of a problem, the future of air travel may look very different from society had in mind originally. These units also produce just 20% of the noise of a helicopter, which would make it suitable for travel in most cities.     ...

    Global opinions on electric flying cars and taxis are still divided. That is only normal, as this business concept raises a lot of questions which can’t be answered all that easily. Lillium, a German startup has demonstrated its electric flying taxi prototype this week. A remarkable development, as the product will enter public service by 2025.

    The Flying Taxi is Coming

    Most consumers on this planet struggle with the idea of having a car that flies. Even if it were just a one-seater vehicle, there are may risks and drawbacks involved. German startup Lillium is already looking well beyond that option. More specifically, they recently unveiled an electric five-seater aircraft. If everything goes according to plan, these units will go “live” in just over five years from the time of writing.

    The term flying taxi might not necessarily make much sense to people at first. It is expected Lillium’s prototype will act as the foundation of an on-demand air service. As such, it will be used to deliver products and goods to designated destinations. It will not be an autonomous vehicle by any means, albeit one never knows how this technology will evolve.

    Under the hood, this flying taxi packs an electric jet-powered engine. It can reach a theoretical speed of up to 300 km/hour, or roughly 200 miles per hour. As such, its maximum travel distance would be 300 km. A more than respectable distance, especially when considering how this is still a prototype which needs to be put through rigorous testing.

    It is not the first time Lillium puts a flying taxi prototype together. A much smaller version of the same craft completed several successful test flights throughout 2017. This new unit only had a very brief remote-controlled test flight. While deemed a big success by the team, there is still plenty of work to be done over the coming months and years. All of this is part of Lillium’s plan to launch an app-based air taxi service in multiple German cities by 2025.

    It is expected this five-seater will house one pilot and a maximum of four passengers. A standard cross-city flight would cost roughly $70, which is a fair bit lower than initially expected. It will still be a somewhat exclusive form of air travel, but one that can create a very interesting precedent on a global scale. Urban air mobility is the focus of many startups, albeit achieving this goal will be a different matter altogether.

    Over the coming months, Lillium will put its unit through flight testing and obtaining certification for the new plane. Assuming that latter part won’t pose too much of a problem, the future of air travel may look very different from society had in mind originally. These units also produce just 20% of the noise of a helicopter, which would make it suitable for travel in most cities.

     

     


    19.05.2019 | Daenerys lost it in the end, I saw it coming from a while back GoT star Iwan Rheon to RT




    As Game of Thrones fans brace for the much-awaited finale, actor Iwan Rheon recalled his time in the show on RT, and suggested that Daenerys, a central character of the epic, had “lost it in the end.” “Daenerys, she lost it in the end,” Iwan Rheon recalled during a sit-down with RT. “I kind of saw that coming from a while back,” he added. Going further, the Welsh actor stated that his vile character, Ramsay Bolton, was doomed to go to add more intrigue to the epic.  “I think he went in the right way, at the right time,” Rheon said in a sit-down interview with RT. “Because, what else was he going to do?” “They had to get rid of him, and they did it in a great way. And I was happy with my death, it was a pretty epic death,” he said.Ramsay Bolton, one of the most murderous characters in the show, died at the end of season 6 after being eaten alive by his hungry dogs. Rheon said the show’s narrative didn’t allow for Ramsay to last any longer. I think he needed to be sort of gotten rid of in order... to create that drama and intrigue between Sansa and Daenerys and Jon Snow obviously. He needed to go, characters like Ramsay, they needed to go at some point. However, Rheon didn’t know that season 6 would be his last. “It was a bit of a shock” to learn that, and “a bit disappointing,” he said. The show, which premiered on HBO in 2011, was shot in Northern Ireland and other locations such as Canada, Croatia, Iceland, Malta, Scotland, and the US. Earlier this year, it was reported that those who made it to season 8 had to spend a few weeks shooting in difficult weather conditions. READ MORE: Absence is coming: Game of Thrones finale could kill workplace productivity on Monday Apart from that, the actors also had to find ways to cope with the disturbing scenes they played in. “We [would] just get out and play pool, have dinner and a couple of beers, and talk about football,” Rheon said. At any rate, making the show was an experience to remember. What’s wonderful about it, it’s that the show is bigger than the cast, everyone is working to create something that they know is brilliant and it’s really nice to be part of something like that. All in all, playing ruthless Ramsay was something that fit into Rheon’s artistic nature. “I’ve never been a Romeo, you know what I mean? I really enjoyed playing more complex roles.” Before joining Game of Thrones, Rheon featured in British sci-fi comedy drama Misfits, playing social outcast Simon Bellamy. “In order to make [these characters] not be face value… and be three-dimensional and to have complexities... you need a specific kind of actor, a weird person,” he said.   ...

    As Game of Thrones fans brace for the much-awaited finale, actor Iwan Rheon recalled his time in the show on RT, and suggested that Daenerys, a central character of the epic, had “lost it in the end.”

    “Daenerys, she lost it in the end,” Iwan Rheon recalled during a sit-down with RT. “I kind of saw that coming from a while back,” he added. Going further, the Welsh actor stated that his vile character, Ramsay Bolton, was doomed to go to add more intrigue to the epic.

     “I think he went in the right way, at the right time,” Rheon said in a sit-down interview with RT. “Because, what else was he going to do?”

    “They had to get rid of him, and they did it in a great way. And I was happy with my death, it was a pretty epic death,” he said.
    Ramsay Bolton, one of the most murderous characters in the show, died at the end of season 6 after being eaten alive by his hungry dogs. Rheon said the show’s narrative didn’t allow for Ramsay to last any longer.

    I think he needed to be sort of gotten rid of in order... to create that drama and intrigue between Sansa and Daenerys and Jon Snow obviously. He needed to go, characters like Ramsay, they needed to go at some point.

    However, Rheon didn’t know that season 6 would be his last. “It was a bit of a shock” to learn that, and “a bit disappointing,” he said.

    The show, which premiered on HBO in 2011, was shot in Northern Ireland and other locations such as Canada, Croatia, Iceland, Malta, Scotland, and the US. Earlier this year, it was reported that those who made it to season 8 had to spend a few weeks shooting in difficult weather conditions.

    READ MORE: Absence is coming: Game of Thrones finale could kill workplace productivity on Monday

    Apart from that, the actors also had to find ways to cope with the disturbing scenes they played in. “We [would] just get out and play pool, have dinner and a couple of beers, and talk about football,” Rheon said.

    At any rate, making the show was an experience to remember.

    What’s wonderful about it, it’s that the show is bigger than the cast, everyone is working to create something that they know is brilliant and it’s really nice to be part of something like that.

    All in all, playing ruthless Ramsay was something that fit into Rheon’s artistic nature. “I’ve never been a Romeo, you know what I mean? I really enjoyed playing more complex roles.”

    Before joining Game of Thrones, Rheon featured in British sci-fi comedy drama Misfits, playing social outcast Simon Bellamy. “In order to make [these characters] not be face value… and be three-dimensional and to have complexities... you need a specific kind of actor, a weird person,” he said.

     


    19.05.2019 | Countdown to zero: Russia continues dumping US debt




    Foreign investors have accelerated the reduction of US debt securities, selling $21.7 billion of their holdings in March, according to data released on Wednesday by the US Treasury Department. Russia, which is no longer a leading creditor of the US, after an unprecedented dumping of the US Treasury bonds in April and May, has slashed its stockpile by almost $800 million in March to $13.716 billion. Russia has cut nearly 85 percent of its US Treasury holdings from $96.9 billion in January 2018. The drop is even more significant from 2012, when Russia held over $170 billion in US debt bonds. The largest US creditor China sold $20.45 billion in Treasuries in March, the most since October 2016, following $1.08 billion in purchases the month before. READ MORE: Phasing out the dollar: Russia significantly increases ruble share in export settlements with BRICS “The decline this month brings China essentially flat to where they were in February, erasing the increases from December through February,” Jefferies LLC’s senior money market economist Tom Simons told Reuters. Japan, the second largest US debt holder, raised its Treasuries holdings to $1.078 trillion, the highest since November 2017, from $1.072 trillion in February. However, another set of Treasury data shows Japan sold $11.07 billion in US government debt in March, the most since February 2018. The US national debt has climbed above $22 trillion this year and is projected to continue rising by a trillion each year over the next decade.     ...

    Foreign investors have accelerated the reduction of US debt securities, selling $21.7 billion of their holdings in March, according to data released on Wednesday by the US Treasury Department.

    Russia, which is no longer a leading creditor of the US, after an unprecedented dumping of the US Treasury bonds in April and May, has slashed its stockpile by almost $800 million in March to $13.716 billion.

    Russia has cut nearly 85 percent of its US Treasury holdings from $96.9 billion in January 2018. The drop is even more significant from 2012, when Russia held over $170 billion in US debt bonds.

    The largest US creditor China sold $20.45 billion in Treasuries in March, the most since October 2016, following $1.08 billion in purchases the month before.

    READ MORE: Phasing out the dollar: Russia significantly increases ruble share in export settlements with BRICS

    “The decline this month brings China essentially flat to where they were in February, erasing the increases from December through February,” Jefferies LLC’s senior money market economist Tom Simons told Reuters.

    Japan, the second largest US debt holder, raised its Treasuries holdings to $1.078 trillion, the highest since November 2017, from $1.072 trillion in February.

    However, another set of Treasury data shows Japan sold $11.07 billion in US government debt in March, the most since February 2018.

    The US national debt has climbed above $22 trillion this year and is projected to continue rising by a trillion each year over the next decade.

     

     


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