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Is bitcoin a scam? – podcast

In 2013 James Howells threw out a computer hard drive containing bitcoin. Last week he again asked his local council for permission to dig for it at his local dump as he believes it is now worth about £200m. The Guardian’s UK technology editor, Alex Hern, looks at the rise of bitcoin and whether it should be bannedThe Guardian’s UK technology editor, Alex Hern, talks to Rachel Humphreys about the cryptocurrency bitcoin, which allows people to bypass banks and traditional payment methods. It uses a blockchain – a shared public record of transactions – to create and track a new type of digital token, one that can only be made and shared according to the agreed-upon rules of the network. At its heart bitcoin is a big database of who owns what, and what transactions were made between those owners. But unlike a conventional bank, there is no central authority running that database. Bitcoin’s value has recently soared and the City regulator the FSA is concerned that crypto investment firms could be overstating potential payouts or understating the risks from investing in bitcoin and products related to the digital currency. As a newer and relatively lightly regulated market, consumers are unlikely to have access to state-backed compensation if something goes wrong. There has also been a boom in bitcoin scams. Continue reading…

The Guardian view of Trump's populism: weaponised and silenced by social media | Editorial

Democracy has been threatened by commercialising the swift spread of controversy and lies for political advantageDonald Trump’s incitement of a mob attack on the US Capitol was a watershed moment for free speech and the internet. Bans against both the US president and his prominent supporters have spread across social media as well as email and e-commerce services. Parler, a social network popular with neo-Nazis, was ditched from mobile phone app stores and then forced offline entirely. These events suggest that the most momentous year of modern democracy was not 1989 – when the Berlin wall fell – but 1991, when web servers first became publicly available.There are two related issues at stake here: the chilling power afforded to huge US corporations to limit free speech; and the vast sums they make from algorithmically privileging and amplifying deliberate disinformation. The doctrines, regulations and laws that govern the web were constructed to foster growth in an immature sector. But the industry has grown into a monster – one which threatens democracy by commercialising the swift spread of controversy and lies for political advantage. Continue reading…

Far-right website 8kun again loses internet service protection following Capitol attack

Shell company owned by two Russians cut ties with internet host of 8kun, which has been linked to other acts of violenceA far-right website that was among the platforms used to organize the deadly violence at the US Capitol has again been forced to find new internet service protection after a shell company owned by two Russians and registered in Scotland cut ties with the platform’s internet host. Continue reading…

Concept: The Apple TV remote solution was right in front of us

It’s no secret that the Apple TV Siri Remote is controversial. It’s a powerful remote that many believe is poorly designed. It’s not easy to use in the dark, and it has very few distinct buttons. Lots of folks turn to their iPhone or Apple Watch to use as an alternate remote. That’s in part because the user interface can change. So this had us wondering what a better stand-alone Apple TV remote could look like. Turns out, the solution was in front of us all along.
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The post Concept: The Apple TV remote solution was right in front of us appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Innovations through hair-thin optical fibers

Scientists at the University of Bonn have built hair-thin optical fiber filters in a very simple way. They are not only extremely compact and stable, but also color-tunable. This means they can be used in quantum technology and as sensors for temperature or for detecting atmospheric gases. The results have been published in the journal Optics Express.

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