Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Ethereum

Link

The Ethereum blockchain can be alternately described as a blockchain with a built-in programming language, or as a consensus-based globally executed virtual machine. The part of the protocol that actually handles internal state and computation is referred to as the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). From a practical standpoint, the EVM can be thought of as a large decentralized computer containing millions of objects, called "accounts", which have the ability to maintain an internal database, execute code and talk to each other.

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Niiccceee.. Ethereum is another cybercurrency similar to Bitcoin, with improvements. I was reading  The Book of Satoshi the other day, and noticed S$ has been somewhat shy in including a scripting language in Bitcoin. With Ephereum scripting is central, in fact, a key piece of its architecture. They imagine applications / code, financial or otherwise running on decentralized computers (everyone's machine whose incentive for allowing processing on their machine is that they get $ in return, through mining). Smart contracts are much easier to implement. There are other programmer-friendly features too. Very cool.

♪  Go to sleep then wake up with it, bed full of naked b-tches ♪♫
♬ Gotsa know I got bi'ness, get a sippin' ♬
♪   I be battin, they be pitchin, Barry Bonds the way I hit it ♪
♪   Listen, they get fly, I am fly ♪♪
♪   Aight yo bros know me, money flowin', no bitchin'

As Bad As Ninja

Link

[Ninja: No Income, No Job, No Assets. Term coined during subprime loan era]

Mirella Casares has what used to be considered the keystone of economic security: a job. But even a reliable paycheck no longer delivers a reliable income.

Like Ms. Casares, who works at a Victoria’s Secret store in Ocala, Fla., more and more employees across a growing range of industries find the number of hours they work is swinging giddily from week to week — bringing chaos not only to family scheduling, but also to family finances.

And a new wave of research shows that the main culprit is not the so-called gig economy, but shifting pay within the same job.

“Since the 1970s, steady work that pays a predictable and living wage has become increasingly difficult to find,” said Jonathan Morduch, a director of the U.S. Financial Diaries project, an in-depth study of 235 low- and moderate-income households. “This shift has left many more families vulnerable to income volatility.” [..]

Stability is worth a lot to workers. On average, employees are willing to give up a fifth of their weekly wage to avoid a schedule set by an employer on a week’s notice, according to a field experiment where workers were offered a range of alternative hours at different pay levels. [..]

In the course of a year, for example, the monthly income of a California family with one child that Mr. Morduch’s team tracked jumped to $5,279 from as low as $1,175. (Strict ethics protocols prohibit the release of participants’ names.) The husband supplemented his steady $400-a-week salaried construction job with extra remodeling work that could add from $323 to $1,588 a month to his total. His wife picked up from zero to $1,824 a month from babysitting, and from selling jewelry, clothing and flowers. [..]

Monthly expenses can pendulum as much as income, but the two do not necessarily move in tandem. An analysis of 250,000 bank accounts by the JPMorgan Chase Institute, a nonprofit research arm of the bank, found that roughly 80 percent of households had an insufficient cash buffer to manage the mismatch between income and expenses in a given month.

Few people can comfortably ride out the inevitable financial bronco ride. “Only households that earn $105,000 or more a year are secure against the volatility they are exposed to,” said Diana Farrell, the institute’s president and chief executive. “It’s not just about the unemployed or the poor.”

Middle-income households, for example, saw their monthly expenses deviate by nearly $1,300, the equivalent of a month’s rent or mortgage payment. And one uh-oh expense — usually in the form of a medical, tax or car repair bill — can wreck a family’s balance sheet for a year or more.

Even a single month’s volatility can have a cascading effect. One month, a family copes by using the money earmarked for, say, the utility bill to cover the cost of replacing a busted water heater. The next month, it’s the telephone company that goes unpaid as the family struggles to make up the missed utility bill plus late fees and interest — and so on. [..]

Ms. Waggoner’s work schedule depends on her ability to find care for her 15-year-old son, who has epilepsy. So sometimes she works a weekend at $17 an hour and sometimes three $15-an-hour weekdays. [..]

“Stable, predictable work schedules are essential to economic security,” said Susan J. Lambert, a professor at the University of Chicago who is studying new data supplied by the General Social Survey, a respected national survey that began asking in-depth questions about work schedules only last year.

The latest data shows that 41 percent of all hourly workers say they are not given more than a week’s notice of their schedule; nearly half have little or no say on their work hours. [..]

The ubiquity of the phenomenon has frequently been masked by annual measures of income and spending or one-time snapshots of savings and debt that fail to capture fluctuations week to week or month to month. [..]

The number of Americans living comfortably or doing all right financially has grown since the recession. Still, the new Fed report found that 30 percent — roughly 73 million adults — say they are finding it difficult to get by financially, or are just getting by.

To Mr. Morduch and his co-author, Rachel Schneider, the rise in income volatility is an indication of how businesses in an era of advancing technology and global competition have shifted risk onto employees.

Friday, June 23, 2017

War on People


A conservative politician in Canada wouldn't even think of undoing their HC system. Why? Because it is done right. What's the saying: "Do it right or you'll have to do it again". US politicians keep dropping the ball, so ppl are in constant fight to do, re-do, un-do healthcare. 

War on Drugs

Link

Today, the United States has the largest prison population in the world. Americans make up only 5 percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. And a huge number of American inmates are incarcerated for nothing other than drug offenses. Furthermore, a disproportionate number of those inmates are minorities, despite having similar rates of drug use.[..]

The War on Drugs has all but turned Mexico into a narco state. Drug cartels gain so much power from the profits the War on Drugs has enabled them that they have arguably become the most powerful institutions south of the Rio Grande.

Just as Prohibition gave rise to the Mafia, drug prohibition gave rise to the Latin American drug cartels. Al Capone and Pablo Escobar might as well have been the same person.

Or put more simply, the War of Drugs creates crime, it doesn’t solve it. [..]

As should be apparent, it is utopian nonsense to believe we can stop people from buying and using drugs that are so easily accessible. Instead, drug prohibition just creates a massive black market, which criminal gangs control and profit from.

Furthermore, the evidence strongly suggests that legalization works. The best example is Portugal. As a recent headline in Forbes  noted, “Ten Years After Decriminalization, Drug Abuse Down by Half in Portugal.” And, a report by the Brookings Institute finds that marijuana legalization in Colorado has been “largely successful.”