The Business Value of the Blockchain


This post is by Jenny Scribani from Technology – Visual Capitalist


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The business value of blockchain

The Business Value of the Blockchain

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

Blockchain can be an elusive concept. Its abstract nature leaves many wondering if this emerging technology is the global catalyst evangelists claim it to be.

But blockchain is more of a tool than a catalyst – not a one-size-fits-all, but a new foundation underpinning our everyday tasks. It offers industries a techno-driven facelift with its ability to increase productivity, ensure transparency, and reduce wasted time and paperwork.

Today’s graphic is inspired by a study from McKinsey. Their research combines industry-by-industry analysis, expert interviews, and more than 90 distinct use cases to make informed estimates about the projected business value of the blockchain.

Blockchain Adoption

Blockchain’s core advantages revolve around its lack of central hub. The transparency of a distributed ledger combined with the cryptographic security of an immutable data chain makes

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All the World's Money and Markets in One Visualization
The War on Cash
Trump's Entire Financial History Video
Currency and the Collapse of the Roman Empire
Buying Power of the U.S. Dollar Over the Last Century

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Four short links: 30 November 2018


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Advents are Coming, Open Source, Restricted Exports, and Misinformation Operations

  1. QEMU Advent CalendarAn amazing QEMU disk image every day!. It’s that time of year again! See also Advent of Code.
  2. De Facto Closed SourceYou want to download thousands of lines of useful, but random, code from the internet, for free, run it in a production web server, or worse, your user’s machine, trust it with your paying users’ data and reap that sweet dough. We all do. But then you can’t be bothered to check the license, understand the software you are running, and still want to blame the people who make your business a possibility when mistakes happen, while giving them nothing for it? This is both incompetence and entitlement.
  3. U.S. Government Wonders What to Limit Exports OfThe representative general categories of technology for which Commerce currently seeks to determine whether there

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Four short links: 29 November 2018


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Security Sci-Fi, AWS Toys, Quantum Ledger, and Insecurity in Software in Hardware

  1. The Cliff Nest — sci-fi story with computer security challenges built in.
  2. Amazon Textract — OCR in the cloud, extracting not just text but also structured tables. Part of a big feature dump Amazon’s done today, including recommendations, AWS on-prem, and a fully managed time series database.
  3. Quantum Ledger Databasea fully managed ledger database that provides a transparent, immutable, and cryptographically verifiable transaction log owned by a central trusted authority. Amazon QLDB tracks each and every application data change and maintains a complete and verifiable history of changes over time. Many of the advantages of a blockchain ledger without the distributed pains. Quantum in the sense of “minimum chunk of something,” not “uses quantum computing.”
  4. Sennheiser Headset Software Enabled MITM AttacksWhen users have been installing Sennheiser’s HeadSetup software, little did they

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Four short links: 28 November 2018


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FaaS, Space as a Service, Bot Yourself, and Facebook’s RL Platform

  1. Firecracker — Amazon’s open source virtualization technology that is purpose-built for creating and managing secure, multitenant containers and functions-based services. Docker but for FaaS platforms. Best explanation is on lobste.rs: Firecracker is solving the problem of multitenant container density while maintaining the security boundary of a VM. If you’re entirely running first-party trusted workloads and are satisfied with them all sharing a single kernel and using Linux security features like cgroups, selinux, and seccomp, then Firecracker may not be the best answer. If you’re running workloads from customers similar to Lambda, desire stronger isolation than those technologies provide, or want defense in depth, then Firecracker makes a lot of sense. It can also make sense if you need to run a mix of different Linux kernel versions for your containers and don’t want to spend a whole

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Four short links: 27 November 2018


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Open Source, Interactive Fiction, Evolving Images, and Closed Worlds

  1. Open Source is Not About You (Rich Hickey) — As a user of something open source, you are not thereby entitled to anything at all. You are not entitled to contribute. You are not entitled to features. You are not entitled to the attention of others. You are not entitled to having value attached to your complaints. You are not entitled to this explanation. Tough love talk. See also this statement by the author of the event-stream NPM module, who passed maintenance onto someone who added malware to it. If it’s not fun anymore, you get literally nothing from maintaining a popular package.
  2. Ganbreeder — explore images created by generative adversarial networks.
  3. 2018 IFComp Winners — interactive fiction is nextgen chatbot tech. Worth keeping up with to see how they stretch parsers and defy expectations of the genre.
  4. The Architecture of

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Four short links: 26 November 2018


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Graphics Engine, Graph Library, Docker Tool, and Probabilistic Cognition

  1. Heapsa mature cross-platform graphics engine designed for high-performance games. It is designed to leverage modern GPUs that are commonly available on both desktop and mobile devices. 2D and 3D game framework, built on the Haxe language and toolkit.
  2. VivaGraphJS — JavaScript graph manipulation and rendering in JavaScript, designed to be extensible and to support different rendering engines and layout algorithms.
  3. divetool for exploring each layer in a docker image.
  4. Probabilistic Models of CognitionThis book explores the probabilistic approach to cognitive science, which models learning and reasoning as inference in complex probabilistic models. We examine how a broad range of empirical phenomena, including intuitive physics, concept learning, causal reasoning, social cognition, and language understanding, can be modeled using probabilistic programs (using the WebPPL language).

Continue reading Four short links: 26 November 2018.

Charts: Visualizing the Bear Market in FAANG Stocks


This post is by Jeff Desjardins from Technology – Visual Capitalist


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Visualizing the Bear Market in FAANG Stocks

Visualizing the Bear Market in FAANG Stocks

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

What goes up, must come down.

Over recent years, there hasn’t been a safer bet than big tech – specifically the FAANG stocks, which include Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google’s parent company Alphabet.

But in the financial world, this feeling of euphoria can be turned upside-down very quickly.

Since the summer, the five tech giants combined have lost close to $1 trillion in market capitalization from their peaks. Now the FAANG stocks have officially slipped into a bear market, with investors blaming rising interest rates, slumping sales forecasts, possible government intervention, and bubble-like valuations as reasons for the reversal in fortune.

The Damage Done

The generally accepted definition of a bear market is a 20% or greater decline from recent market highs.

Facebook and Netflix have been in bear

5 year composite index
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Four short links: 23 November 2018


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Chinese iPhone Users, Sci-Fi UI, MITM Framework, and HTTP/3

  1. Chinese iPhone Users are PoorThe Shanghai-based firm also found that most iPhone users are unmarried females aged between 18 and 34, who graduated with just a high school certificate and earn a monthly income of below 3,000 yuan (HK$3,800). They are perceived to be part of a group known as the “invisible poor”—those who do not look as poor as their financial circumstances.
  2. eDEX-UIa fullscreen desktop application resembling a sci-fi computer interface, heavily inspired from DEX-UI and the TRON Legacy movie effects. It runs the shell of your choice in a real terminal and displays live information about your system. It was made to be used on large touchscreens but will work nicely on a regular desktop computer or perhaps a tablet PC or one of those funky 360° laptops with touchscreens.
  3. evilginx2a man-in-the-middle attack

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Four short links: 22 November 2018


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XOXO Talks, Git Illustrated, Post-REST Services, and Learning Projects

  1. XOXO 2018 Videos — playlist of talks from XOXO 2018. (via BoingBoing)
  2. Learn Git Branching — visual!
  3. Post-REST (Tim Bray) — musings on what might replace REST in different parts of the current world of web services.
  4. Projectslist of practical projects that anyone can solve in any programming language, divided into categories according to what the project will exercise your knowledge of—e.g., Files, Data Structures, Threading, etc. Good for teachers looking for ideas.

Continue reading Four short links: 22 November 2018.

Building tools for enterprise data science


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The O’Reilly Data Show Podcast: Vitaly Gordon on the rise of automation tools in data science.

In this episode of the Data Show, I spoke with Vitaly Gordon, VP of data science and engineering at Salesforce. As the use of machine learning becomes more widespread, we need tools that will allow data scientists to scale so they can tackle many more problems and help many more people. We need automation tools for the many stages involved in data science, including data preparation, feature engineering, model selection and hyperparameter tuning, as well as monitoring.

I wanted the perspective of someone who is already faced with having to support many models in production. The proliferation of models is still a theoretical consideration for many data science teams, but Gordon and his colleagues at Salesforce already support hundreds of thousands of customers who need custom models built on custom data. They

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Four short links: 21 November 2018


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Black Mirror, Innovation Toolkits, Code-Generator for APIs, and Hardware Effects

  1. Black Mirror Brainstorms (Aaron Lewis) — In light of the latest FB scandal, here’s my proposal for replacing Design Sprints: “Black Mirror Brainstorms.” A workshop in which you create a Black Mirror episode. The plot must revolve around misuse of your team’s product. See Casey Fiesler’s Black Mirror, Light Mirror, which I’ve linked to before on 4SL.
  2. Toolkit NavigatorA compendium of toolkits for public sector innovation and transformation, curated by OPSI and our partners around the world.
  3. Conjure — Palantir’s open source simple but opinionated toolchain for defining APIs once and generating client/server interfaces in multiple languages. For more, read the blog post.
  4. Hardware Effectsthis repository demonstrates various hardware effects that can degrade application performance in surprising ways and that may be very hard to explain without knowledge of the low-level CPU and OS

    Continue reading “Four short links: 21 November 2018”

Four short links: 20 November 2018


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East African ML Needs, Autonomy Corrections, Information Security, and UIs from Doodles

  1. Some Requests for Machine Learning Research from the East African Tech SceneBased on 46 in–depth interviews […] a list of concrete machine learning research problems, progress on which would directly benefit tech ventures in East Africa. Example: Priors for autocorrect and low-literacy SMS use—SMS text contains many language misuses due to a combination of autocorrection and low literacy. E.g., “poultry farmer” becoming “poetry farmer.” Such mistakes are bound to occur in any written language corpus, but engineers working with rural populations in East Africa report that this is a prevalent issue for them, confounding the use of pretrained language models. This problem also exists to some degree in voice data with respect to English spoken in different accents. Priors over autocorrect substitution rules, or custom, per–dialect confusion matrices between phonetically similar words

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Here’s What the Big Tech Companies Know About You


This post is by Jeff Desjardins from Technology – Visual Capitalist


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The novelty of the internet platform boom has mostly worn off.

Now that companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Alphabet are among the world’s most valued companies, people are starting to hold them more accountable for the impact of their actions on the real world.

From the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the transparency of Apple’s supply chain, it’s clear that big tech companies are under higher scrutiny. Unsurprisingly, much of this concern stems around one key currency that tech companies leverage for their own profitability: personal data.

What Big Tech Knows

Today’s infographic comes to us from Security Baron, and it compares and contrasts the data that big tech companies admit to collecting in their privacy policies.

Here's What the Big Tech Companies Know About You

While the list of data collected by big tech is extensive in both length and breadth, it does take two to tango.

For many of these categories, users have to willingly supply

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Four short links: 19 November 2018


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Partial Time, Black Mirror, Implant Usability, and Open Source Game

  1. Time is PartialEven though time naturally feels like a total order, studying distributed systems or weak memory exposes you, head on, to how it isn’t. And that’s precisely because these are both cases where our standard over-approximation of time being total limits performance—which we obviously can’t have.
  2. Black Mirror, Light Mirror: Teaching Technology Ethics Through Speculation (Casey Fiesler) — This is not a new idea, and I’m certainly not the only one to do a lot of thinking about it (e.g., see “How to Teach Computer Ethics Through Science Fiction”), but I wanted to share two specific exercises that I use and that I think are easily adaptable.
  3. How I Lost and Regained Control of My Microchip Implant (Vice) — After a year of living with a totally useless NFC implant, I kind of started to

    Continue reading “Four short links: 19 November 2018”

10 top Java resources on O’Reilly’s online learning platform


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Our most-used Java resources will help you stay on track in your journey to learn and apply Java.

We dove into the data on our online learning platform to identify the most-used Java resources. These are the items our platform subscribers regularly turn to as they apply Java in their projects and organizations.

Effective Java, 3rd Edition — Joshua Bloch covers language and library features added in Java 7, 8, and 9, including the functional programming constructs that were added to its object-oriented roots. Many new items have been added, including a chapter devoted to lambdas and streams.

Java 8 and 9 Fundamentals: Modern Java Development with Lambdas, Streams, and Introducing Java 9’s JShell and the Java Platform Module System (JPMS) — Paul Deitel applies the Deitel signature live-code approach to teaching programming and explores the Java language and Java APIs in depth.

Java 8 in Action: Lambdas, streams, and

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Technology Designed to Help You Breathe More Easily


This post is by from louisgray.com


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Silicon Valley has been the leader in many things for decades, but rarely has the region’s first place position been for something as undesirable as air quality. Following the record-setting disaster that has wiped out my one-time hometown of Paradise, Bay Area residents are choking on the resulting downwind smoke, seeking answers as to how unsafe it is, and how they can gain relief. And while I know that a week-plus of uncomfortable air is hardly the worst outcome of these climate change fueled infernos, it’s something that needs to be addressed.
After last year’s record-breaking California fire season that saw unthinkable damage burn through Napa county, I expected we would have bad air days this summer. Planning ahead, I bought two sleeves of N95 air filter masks from Amazon and stowed them in my garage for a not so rainy day. After a summer that saw fires rack

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SparkLabs Taipei closes initial $4.25M for its first fund, adds Jeremy Lin as an advisor


This post is by Catherine Shu from TechCrunch


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SparkLabs Taipei, part of SparkLabs Group, the global network of accelerator programs and funds that works with emerging startup ecosystems, has raised $4.25 million in an initial close led by CTBC Group, along with individual investors, for its first venture capital fund. SparkLabs Taipei also announced today that it has added Atlanta Hawks player Jeremy Lin, who sparked “Linsanity” as the first player of Chinese- or Taiwanese-descent in the NBA, to its board of advisors.

The funding was first disclosed in a Form D filed with the SEC this week that says SparkLabs Taipei’s ultimate goal for the fund is to raise $10 million.

In a prepared statement, Lin said “SparkLabs Taipei is an innovative fund offering support and guidance for entrepreneurs in Taiwan. Being a trailblazer is challenging and having a strong support is critical to your success. I’m excited to join a strong team of

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How Facebook’s crisis PR firm triggered a PR crisis


This post is by Casey Newton from The Verge - All Posts


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<img alt="" src="https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/zWF9XjQd-P_WiX9Tm9DfahQ1yb4=/0x0:2040x1360/1310x873/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/62346378/acastro_180828_1777_facebook_0001.0.jpg" />

Pretend for a moment that you run a large and successful company. After years of outsized success, the company is confronted with a crisis. Public perception has begun to turn — against your company in general, and against you specifically — and your leadership team is now presented with the question of what to do.

Your head of communications is charged with managing the public response. In time it will come out that this response including hiring a public relations agency whose work includes what is euphemistically referred to as “opposition research” and is more commonly understood to involve smear campaigns. These campaigns target you critics with attacks that are tinged with anti-Semitism and employ the services of a partisan “news”…

<a href="https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/17/18099065/facebook-definers-nyt-pr-crisis">Continue reading&hellip;</a>

YouTube quietly added free, ad-supported movies to its site


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YouTube quietly added around 100 ad-supported Hollywood movies to its site, beginning last month, according to a new report from AdAge. The titles include a mix of classics like “Rocky” and “The Terminator,” as well as other family fare like “Zookeeper,” “Agent Cody Banks,” and “Legally Blonde,” among others.

Before, YouTube had only offered consumers the ability to purchase movies and TV shows, similar to how you can rent or buy content from Apple’s iTunes or Amazon Video.

Currently, YouTube is serving ads on these free movies, but the report said the company is open to working out other deals with advertisers – like sponsorships or exclusive screenings.

YouTube’s advantage in this space, compared with some others, is its sizable user base of 1.9 million monthly active users and its ability to target ads using data from Google .

The addition of a an ad-supported movies marketplace on YouTube follows

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