This tortoise shows kids that robot abuse is bad

When humanity’s back is against the wall and the robots have us cornered I’d say I’m all for whanging a few with a baseball bat. However, until then, we must be kind to our mechanical brethren and this robotic tortoise will help our kids learn that robot abuse is a bad idea. Researchers at Naver Labs, KAIST, and Seoul National University created this robot to show kids the consequences of their actions when it comes to robots. Called Shelly, the robot reacts to touches and smacks. When it gets scared it changes color and retracts into its shell. Children learn that if they hit Shelly she will be upset and the only thing missing is a set of bitey jaws. “When Shelly stops its interaction due to a child’s abusive behavior, the others in the group who wanted to keep playing with Shelly often complained about it, eventually restraining
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Sierra Leone government denies the role of blockchain in its recent election

The National Electoral Commission Sierra Leone has come out with a clarification – and, to , an outright condemnation – of the news that their’s was one of the first elections recorded to the blockchain. While the blockchain voting company Agora claimed to have run the first blockchain-based election, it appears that the company did little more than observe the voting and store some of the results. “The NEC [National Electoral Commission] has not used and is not using blockchain technology in any part of the electoral process,” said NEC head Mohamed Conteh. Why he is adamant about this fact is unclear – questions I asked went unanswered – but he and his team have created a set of machine readable election results and posted the following clarification:

“Anonymized votes/ballots are being recorded on Agora’s blockchain,

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Facebook is using us. It is actively giving away our information. It is creating an echo chamber in the name of connection. It surfaces the divisive and destroys the real reason we began using social media in the first place – human connection. It is a cancer. I’ve begun the slow process of weaning myself off of the platform by methodically running a script that will delete my old content. And there’s a lot. There are likes and shares. There are long posts I wrote to impress my friends. There are thousands of WordPress notifications that tell the world what I’m doing. In fact, I would wager I use Facebook more to broadcast my ego than interact with real humans. And I suspect that most of us are in a similar situation.
There is a method to my madness. I like Facebook Messenger and I like that Facebook is now
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FTC shuts down crypto Ponzi schemers

The FTC has announced that they’ve issued temporary restraining orders and frozen the assets of a team of three defendants who pitched investment advice as the Bitcoin Funding Team and My7Network. The FTC claims that the defendants “promised big rewards for a small payment of bitcoin or Litecoin.” From the report:
According to the FTC, Bitcoin Funding Team and My7Network participants could only generate revenue by recruiting new participants and convincing them to also pay cryptocurrency. For example, Bitcoin Funding Team participants were required to make an initial bitcoin payment to an earlier participant and pay a fee to Bitcoin Funding Team. With these payments, participants were eligible to recruit new members and receive payments from them. Promoters claimed participants could earn bigger rewards if they paid additional bitcoins.
In short, this was a traditional Ponzi scheme wrapped in crypto clothing. It is important to note that the use
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The next frontier for robotics? Jazz marimba

Watch out all you well-paid, fat-and-sassy jazz marimba players: Shimon, the marimba playing robot, is after your jobs. Shimon is the brainchild of the Robotic Musicianship Group at Georgia Tech and I’ve been following his career for a few years now. In this video, taken at the Ferst Center Presents as part of Atlanta Science Festival, Shimon and a band led by Zachary Robert Kondak jam out to Kondak’s latest rock opera. That’s Richard Savery on the sax. Watch it. It’s wild. The truly amazing part of the show has to be drummer Jason Barnes’ mechanical arm that he uses to play beats live in time with Shimon’s tapping. It’s a melding of man and machine that is truly awe-inspiring. So you’ve had it good so far, all you jazz vibraphonists. Now that robots are gunning for your jobs the jig might be up.

Abra adds 20 cryptocurrencies to its wallet app

Abra, a global currency wallet that was the belle of the early Bitcoin ball, has just added 20 cryptocurrencies and 50 fiat currencies, a feature that allows you to top up and send cash and cryptocurrencies from inside the wallet. “Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic, Dash, Zcash, Bitcoin Gold, Stellar Lumens, DigiByte, Dogecoin, Golem, OmiseGO, Qtum, Augur, Status, Stratis, Vertcoin and 0x are the initial 20 cryptocurrencies,” the company wrote. “Abra developed a first-of-its kind smart contract investing platform that uses bitcoin technology to allow users to hold exposure to cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies on a smartphone much the same way Fidelity allows you to buy an ETF in the old world,” said founder Bill Barhydt. “With this model, we can enable exposure to any asset — Abra has only started with crypto and fiat.” The system allows you to convert between currencies with “no transaction
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Sierra Leone just ran the first blockchain-based election

The citizens of Sierra Leone went to the polls on March 7 but this time something was different: the country recorded votes at 70% of the polling to the blockchain using a technology that is the first of its kind in actual practice. The tech, created by Leonardo Gammar of Agora, anonymously stored votes in an immutable ledger, thereby offering instant access to the election results. “Anonymized votes/ballots are being recorded on Agora’s blockchain, which will be publicly available for any interested party to review, count and validate,” said Gammar. “This is the first time a government election is using blockchain technology.” “Sierra Leone wishes to create an environment of trust with the voters in a contentious election, especially looking at how the election will be publicly viewed post-election. By using blockchain as a means to immutably record ballots and results, the country hopes to create legitimacy around
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