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Member since: Fri Jul 1, 2016, 03:42 PM
Number of posts: 746

Journal Archives

Kidnapped crypto executive was reportedly released after paying a $1 million bitcoin ransom

Source: Business Insider

Pavel Lerner, the CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange Exmo Finance, has been released from the custody of kidnappers after the payment of a $1 million bitcoin ransom, according to the Financial Times.

Local media reports said Lerner, 40, was dragged into a black Mercedes-Benz by men in balaclavas while leaving the Kiev, Ukraine, offices of his company on Tuesday. The FT reported Friday that Lerner was "released in a state of shock," according to Anton Gerashchenko, a Ukrainian adviser.

"We have operative information that he paid more than $1 million worth of bitcoins," Gerashchenko said. The exchange business Lerner runs is registered in the UK and also has a presence in Spain, Russia, India, and Thailand, according to The Telegraph. The anonymity of bitcoin and its eye-popping gain of more than 1,300% this year have made it a darling of criminals and the so-called dark web.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/kidnapped-crypto-exec-released-after-paying-1-million-bitcoin-ransom-2017-12

California housing crisis affecting middle class the most: It's 'a broken system'

For all of its claims of being an economic paradise, California is a failure when it comes to housing.

Not just low-income, affordable housing, but middle-income, working-class housing for teachers, firemen and long-time residents hoping to live anywhere near work.

"California has a housing crisis. We can't provide housing to our citizens," said Rita Brandin, with San Diego developer Newland Communities. "In Georgia, Texas and Florida, it can take a year and a half from concept to permits. In California, just the process from concept to approvals, is five years – that does not include the environmental lawsuits faced by 90 percent of projects."

Numbers tell the story of California's housing crisis.

* 75 percent of Southern Californians can't afford to buy a home, according to the state realtors association.

* 16 of the 25 least affordable communities in the US are in California, according to 24/7 Wall Street.

* Officials this year declared a homeless emergency in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange counties.

* 56 percent of state voters say they may have to move because of a lack of affordable housing. One in four say they will relocate out of state, according to University of California Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies.

* A median price home in the Golden State is $561,000, according to the realtors association. A household would need to earn $115,000 a year to reasonably afford a home at that price, assuming a 20 percent down payment. Yet, two thirds of Californians earns less $80,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

* The household income needed to afford a median-priced home in the Silicon Valley town of Palo Alto is $450,000.

* In San Francisco, a median priced home is $1.5 million, according to the Paragon Real Estate Group.

* Home prices in California are twice the national average, and 70 percent can't afford to buy a home, according to state figures.

* Median household income in L.A. is $64,000. That's half what is necessary to buy a home.

*1 in 10 residents are considering leaving because they can't afford a place to live, according to a state legislative study, while US Census figures show 2 million residents, 25 and older, have already left the state since 2010.

* In 2016, 30 percent of California tenants put more than 50 percent of their income toward rent and utilities, according to the California Budget & Policy Center. Economists consider 30 percent the limit.

* California needs to double the number of homes built each year to keep prices from rising faster than the national average, according to the Legislative Analyst's Office.

"The biggest tragedy of California is we have stopped building houses for the middle class," said Borre Winkle with the Building Industry Association of San Diego. "Think of California's housing market as a martini class. We're building some affordable housing at the low end. Absolutely nothing in the middle and the top end is high-income housing, which subsidizes low-income housing. So that is a broken system."


New Year's Eve party in Berlin to have 'safe zone' for women

Source: BBC

Organisers of Berlin's New Year's Eve celebrations are to set up a "safe zone" for women for the first time. The new security measures planned for the Brandenburg Gate party come amid concerns about sexual assaults. A large number of assaults and robberies targeting women at Cologne's New Year's Eve celebrations two years ago horrified Germany.

Hundreds of women reported being attacked by gangs of men with migrant backgrounds. The events in Cologne heightened tensions in the country over the large influx of refugees and migrants - 1.1m people arrived in Germany in 2015, some, but by no means all, fleeing violence in Syria and Iraq.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend the New Year's Eve party in Berlin on Sunday and security will be strict. Large bags, such as rucksacks, and alcoholic drinks will be banned at the Brandenburg Gate. Women who have been assaulted or feel harassed will be able to get support at a special "safety zone", staffed by the German Red Cross, on Ebertstrasse.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42502984

Another cop found not guilty for murdering an innocent man...again

This is particularly enraging, even moreso because there's barely any news coverage of it.

A Maricopa County jury on Thursdayfound former Mesa police Officer Philip "Mitch" Brailsford not guilty of second-degree murder charges in the 2016 shooting of an unarmed Texas man who was on his knees begging for his life.

Jurors deliberated for less than six hours over two days, finishing Thursday afternoon. The eight-member jury also found Brailsford not guilty of the lesser charge of reckless manslaughter.


Even worse is the actual video showing the shooting. It's a fucking EXECUTION.

Bitcoin blows past $15,000, adding $2,000 in less than 12 hours

Source: New York Post

Bitcoin rocketed above $15,000 for the first time on Thursday, after adding more than $2,000 to its price in fewer than 12 hours. Bitcoin, the world’s biggest and best-known cryptocurrency, has seen a more than fifteenfold surge in its value since the start of the year.

It climbed to as high as $15,344 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange around 9:20 a.m. ET, leaving it up more than 12 percent on the day, having traded just above $13,000 12 hours earlier. Many market-watchers said the launch this weekend of bitcoin futures by CBOE, one of the world’s biggest derivatives exchanges, was helping drive up the price on expectations it would draw more investors to the market.

“Futures trading will mean more demand…and is a form of ratification of the underlying tech – bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. They are now on the main stage,” said Charles Hayter, founder of cryptocurrency data analysis firm Cryptocompare. But some are warning that the launch of bitcoin futures, which will allow investors to take speculative “short” positions on the cryptocurrency, as well as “long” positions, could cause even greater volatility.

“Aggressive traders, such as hedge funds and algorithm-driven funds, (will be able) to use this futures market to enter bitcoin trading with high levels of liquidity for aggressive short-selling and knock the prices really low,” said Think Markets analyst Naeem Aslam.

Read more: https://nypost.com/2017/12/07/bitcoin-blows-past-15000-adding-2000-in-less-than-12-hours/

Venezuela to launch cryptocurrency to combat US 'blockade', Maduro says

Source: The Guardian

President Nicolas Maduro has said Venezuela would launch a cryptocurrency to combat a US-led financial “blockade,” although he provided few clues about how the economically crippled Opec member would pull off the feat.

“Venezuela will create a cryptocurrency ... the ‘petro,’ to advance in issues of monetary sovereignty, to make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade,” leftist Maduro said during his weekly Sunday televised broadcast. The digital currency will be backed by Venezuelan reserves of gold, oil, gas, and diamonds, he said during the near five-hour show, which included traditional Christmas songs and dancing.

“The 21st century has arrived!” Maduro added to cheers, without providing specifics about the currency launch. Opposition leaders scorned the announcement, which they said needed congressional approval, and some cast doubt on whether the digital currency would ever see the light of day in tumultuous Venezuela.

Still, the announcement highlights how US sanctions this year are hurting Venezuela’s ability to move money through international banks. Sources say compliance departments are scrutinising transactions linked to Venezuela, which has slowed some bond payments and complicated certain oil exports. Maduro’s move away from the US dollar comes after the recent spectacular rise of bitcoin, which has been fuelled by signs that the digital currency is slowly gaining traction in the mainstream investment world.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/04/venezuela-to-launch-cryptocurrency-to-combat-us-blockade-maduro-says

My theory on why Trump gets away with harassment, while others don't

I'm going to get a bit of flak for this, but I think I figured out why Trump never got nailed the same way Matt Lauer and many other guys in the news right now have.

Trump is essentially an old fashioned chauvinist and he is up front about it. Women who'll meet him are already very well aware of this and most will avoid him.

Other celebrities are different because while they are just as horny and lecherous they spend all their time talking about how much they would never hurt a woman. This puts women into a false sense of security. They think they have found a guy who's not like the rest; then surprise he asks if he can jack off in front of you.

With Trump because he is so up front most women will avoid him entirely, so the ones that stick around are down to be objectified and dominated. These other celebrities keep their intentions hidden so many girls who do not want to be harassed hang around and are then surprised when these guys act like horny perverts.

Sex robots spark rise of men who will only sleep with dolls

The craze for sex robots will lead to a growing number of men whose only sexual and romantic relationships will be with dolls, academics say. So-called “digisexuals” will shun human partners in favour of the new kind of virtual reality porn and customizable robots able to speak and interact.

The warning comes in a study of the growing use of sex dolls, including at the world’s first brothel staffed entirely by robots. Hi-tech sex dolls with realistic silicone skin and the ability to flirt and even simulate orgasms have become increasingly available. Psychotherapists should be prepared for more clients “participating in digisexualities,” a report by ethics researchers Neil McArthur and Markie Twist of the University of Manitoba says.

They write: “There is no question that sex robots are coming. Our view is that they will represent a different sort of sexual experience from what existing technologies offer. People will form an intense connection with their robot companions. These robots will be tailor-made to meet people’s desires and will do things that human partners cannot or will not do. For this reason, significant numbers of people will likely come to use robots as their primary mode of sexual experience. Many people will find that their experiences with this technology become integral to their sexual identity and some will prefer them to direct sexual interactions with humans.”

Sex doll technology has advanced in recent years as companies produce lifelike robots costing up to $26,000. Buyers can hand pick features such as face, hair and breast size. And the dolls are programmed to remember the owner’s birthday and favourite films and music. Some can be made to feel warm like real flesh and simulate an orgasm during sex.


Bitcoin mining consuming vast amounts of energy and could be environmental issue

The astronomical power draw is a facet of how the bitcoin network protects itself against fraud. With no centralised authority confirming transactions, bitcoin is instead backed by “miners”, who put specialised computers to work churning through extremely power-intensive computing problems.

Bitcoin mining is being powered by solar in Arizona, and hydroelectricity in Iceland, but mostly it's running on coal right now, and is becoming an environmental issue of some scale. According to Alex Hern, it is now consuming as much electricity as all of Ireland.

The estimated power use of the bitcoin network, which is responsible for verifying transactions made with the cryptocurrency, is 30.14TWh a year, which exceeds that of 19 other European countries. At a continual power drain of 3.4GW, it means the network consumes five times more electricity than is produced by the largest wind farm in Europe, the London Array in the outer Thames Estuary, at 630MW. At those levels of electricity consumption, each individual bitcoin transaction uses almost 300KWh of electricity – enough to boil around 36,000 kettles full of water.

That problem is carbon emissions. [Digiconomist's Alex] De Vries has come up with some estimates by diving into data made available on a coal-powered Bitcoin mine in Mongolia. He concluded that this single mine is responsible for 8,000 to 13,000 kg CO2 emissions per Bitcoin it mines, and 24,000 - 40,000 kg of CO2 per hour.

As Twitter user Matthias Bartosik noted in some similar estimates, the average European car emits 0.1181 kg of CO2 per kilometer driven. So for every hour the Mongolian Bitcoin mine operates, it's responsible for (at least) the CO2 equivalent of over 203,000 car kilometers travelled.

And now bitcoin is such a bandwagon that the power consumption is increasing dramatically. One site claims that, "in the past month alone, Bitcoin mining electricity consumption is estimated to have increased by 29.98 percent," and more dramatically, "if it keeps increasing at this rate,Bitcoin mining will consume all the world’s electricity by February 2020."


Man Committed Suicide In McHenry Jail Cell over Child Support Payments

WOODSTOCK, IL — The Cary man who was found unresponsive in his McHenry County Jail cell Friday, Nov. 17, committed suicide amid overwhelming financial stress caused by court-ordered child support payments, according to a source close to the family. Thomas Doheny, 51, of Cary, was found by jail staff in his single-occupancy cell at about 8:10 p.m. Friday. A press release from the McHenry County Sheriff's Office said the staff "immediately began life-saving measures" upon finding him. He was then transferred to Centrega Woodstock Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 8:53 p.m.

The coroner's office press release said Doheny's autopsy revealed "no suspicious injuries or significant natural disease." Doheny had been held at the jail since Nov. 1, when he was taken into custody in contempt of court. He was in court dealing with a divorce filed against him in 2014, according to the source who was close to Doheny but wishes to remain anonymous.

"The judge just got upset and incarcerated him," the person said. Formerly quite wealthy, Doheny was working to reduce the $20,000 monthly child support payments to his ex-wife, which he could not afford, according to the source.

"He doesn't make that kind of money. He did five years ago, but his situation has changed," the source said in a Nov. 14 email to a local newspaper as part of an inquiry about the legality of child support payments from incarcerated parents.

The source claims that Judge Michael Coppedge, who presided over the case, failed to consider the information provided by Doheny and made it impossible for him to afford child support payments. Doheny was fired from his job as the result of having to make 260 court appearances in the last two years in attempts to lower the payments. The source said his company hired an attorney to keep up with all of the subpoenas his ex-wife sent.

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