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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Will Obama …

Posted: January 14, 2017 at 7:42 am

Last week, as the mainstream media continued to obsess over the CIAs evidence-free claim that the Russians hacked the presidential election, President Obama quietly sent 300 US Marines back into Afghanistans Helmand Province. This is the first time in three years that the US military has been sent into that conflict zone, and it represents a final failure of Obamas Afghanistan policy. The outgoing president promised that by the end of his second term, the US military would only be present in small numbers and only on embassy duty. But more than 8,000 US troops will remain in Afghanistan as he leaves office.

When President Obama was first elected he swore that he would end the US presence in Iraq (the bad war) and increase US presence in Afghanistan (the good war). He ended up increasing troops to both wars, while the situation in each country continued to deteriorate.

Why are the Marines needed in the Helmand Province? Because although the foolish and counterproductive 15-year US war in Afghanistan was long ago lost, Washington cannot face this fact. Last year the Taliban controlled 20 percent of the province. This year they control 85 percent of the province. So billions more must be spent and many more lives will be lost.

Will these 300 Marines somehow achieve what the 2011 peak of 100,000 US soldiers was not able to achieve? Will this last push win the war? Hardly! The more the president orders military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, the worse it gets. In 2016, for example, President Obama dropped 1,337 bombs on Afghanistan, a 40 percent increase from 2015. According to the United Nations, in 2016 there were 2,562 conflict-related civilian deaths and 5,835 injuries. And the Taliban continues to score victories over the Afghan puppet government.

The interventionists in Washington continue to run our foreign policy regardless of who is elected. They push for wars, they push for regime change, then they push for billions to reconstruct the bombed-out countries. When the liberated country ends up in worse shape, they claim it was because we just didnt do enough of what ruined the country in the first place. Its completely illogical, but the presidents who keep seeking the neocons advice dont seem to notice. Obama the peace candidate and president has proven himself no different than his predecessors.

What will a President Trump do about the 15 year failed nation-building experiment in Afghanistan? He has criticized the long-standing US policy of regime-change and nation-building while on the campaign trail, and I would like to think he would just bring the troops home. However, I would not be surprised if he accelerates US military action in Afghanistan to win the war once and for all. He will not succeed if he does so, as the war is not winnable no one even knows what winning looks like! We may well see even more US troops killing and being killed in Afghanistan a year from now if that is the case. That would be a terrible tragedy.

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Will Obama …

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600+ Atheism vs. Theism Debates – Common Sense Atheism

Posted: January 12, 2017 at 1:48 pm

matt: I just listened to the loftus-dsouza debate and as a consequence left the william lane craig should debate john loftus group at facebook. I dont know what others here think, but I have never heard such terrible debating (loftus). dinesh dsouza is the most overrated and small-minded debater in the english speaking universe, as far as im concerned. his arguments are like cardboard cutout versions of anything william craig has to say, for one thing because he makes no effort to hide his cultural and ideological bigotry. (he actually claims with a straight face that christians invented empathy as a moral good. what an asshole.) loftus comes across as a well-meaning college student trying to argue with his professor. i dont understand why theres a movement to see him embarrass himself and atheism generally by publically confronting the Terminator of christian apologetics himself. soooo disappointing!

As entirely disappointing as it is to say this, I am in complete agreement with Matt. I am unwilling, after listening to this, to cast my name in the vote for Loftus to debate Mr. Craig. Naively, I was hoping, especially after becoming aware of the fervent almost zealous nature of Loftus pursuit of Craig, that this would not only be the introduction of a worthy gun-slinging atheist debate protagonist but that if this epic showdown took place, it would have the added poetry of it being the student who is finally able to best the theistic Samurai. Like I said; Naive.

Typically, I dont criticize without visiting some of the reasons for my criticism.

1) There are several themes Loftus runs with in this debate, they continually come up ineffectively and provide nothing of real substance. He opens up with one; essentially telling everyone that Dinesh is just brainwashed. Which, although true, isnt something that couldnt be slung right back at him as we all know theists to do as they believe we dont believe because we dont want culpability moral or otherwise, so therefore, weve brainwashed ourselves into disbelief. Fortunately, Dinesh doesnt pick up this thread and engage Loftus in playing a sort of merry-go-round styled No, youre the brainwashed one.. No, you are.. No, YOU are…

2) Another theme is his constant return to Well all the sects of these religions critique each other and theyre all right, effectively eliminating religion in front of our very eyes. This is repeated quite frequently in this debate and Im sure Ill have more to say about it later.

3) I was inconceivably shocked with his statement History is all in the mind. He quickly tried to cover his tracks by following that up with something like well, thats what some philosophers of history say, anyway. His reasoning, as it could be inferred from what he said just prior to this utterance, was basically that history writers can only write from their perspective so given what may be of that perspective, they may have rationale for remaining skeptical of something that actually happened. Yikes.

4)Generally, about his opening remarks, he is just all over the place. There is no introduction of his arguments he just shifts left and talks about Quantum fluctuation rendering the singularity at the inception of our universe not likely therefore removing the beginning of the universe theory out of the Christians favor then all of a sudden he shifts right and now were talking about Jesus not delivering his scriptural message well and thereby is responsible for all the religious wars in his name then if there is God, hes to blame for the tsunamis. Loftus, the opening statement is the only time you have to not scramble about trying to address all of your antagonists remarks. You should have complete lucidity at this point in the game. Perhaps collecting your thoughts at the outset and introducing your arguments with more clarity of mind, e.g.

Ok, our first batter up on the atheist lineup is going to be the evidential argument from evil, it goes like this: 1) If there is an omniscient, omnipotent, all-loving God..

Our next argument is a quick rejoinder to the First Cause argument, which is something like this: 1) Everything that begins to exist..

Instead of touching briefly on all of them, narrow your selection down to a few and expound on them in greater detail leaving Dinesh to either spend a huge chunk of his time rebutting you or, should he chose not to, being able in your first rebuttal to say Hey, remember that huge argument of the problem of evil looks like Dinesh agrees with me as he apparently has no reply.

5) Loftus, at a few points in the debate calls Dinesh something which must have been new to his huge ears: Charming. Dinesh Dsouza is not charming. He is an arrogant, unsophisticated, misleading to the point of purposefully deceiving bucket of fuck. He is good at appearing to have a legit reply to atheistic arguments which are so transparently fraught with specious reasoning and argumentative fallacies that they render him ineligible to be charming.

6) Ive actually taken the trouble to transcribe the next part because I didnt think people would believe me when I said I bet I could find the worst conceivable argument for the atheistic creation-scenario. This was in response to, and was in fact introduced as such by Loftus himself as, Now, Dinesh has asked me to give an account of the creation of the universe.

even though Im not a scientist, what I do know, is that scientists all agree that there was no cosmic singularity. Now I cant do the math. Uhh, I can not do Victor Stengers math. He has done the math. Uhh, ::clears throat:: But, he says, given the laws of nature, its a 60% chance that something should have happened, something should be there, something should exist. 60%. Given the laws of nature.

Yep. Word for word. You can hear this enlightening account of our origins at the 41:28 point. Prepare to be underwhelmed.

7) Loftus closing, opens with this gem: I guess things got heated a little bit.. but, uh, its you know, it doesnt have to be but it does. Illuminating. Loftus then spends more then his first minute of his five minute closing telling everyone that the real way to learn is from the books. I must say, I would feel a bit slapped in the face as someone who Ive paid to listen to tell me I should pay, instead, to read him. Im not saying hes wrong. You can certainly learn more from a 300 page dissection of theism then what collectively amounts to 35 or 40 minutes worth of lectures, but to use that time so inefficiently is irritating. How about using that time to effectively rebut one of Dineshs arguments? Or constructing one of your own against Christianity? A task youve been flown in and paid to do. He then spends the rest of his closing telling everyone they should just be agnostic because theyre agnostic/atheistic towards every other religion so basically, just be consistent. Have you read any other religions? No? Then you should just discard yours too. we deny scientology, we deny mormons, we deny muslims Im sorry, maybe Im being unfairly critical but who the hell has ever been converted after being told that line? Who, after being made to realize that they havent given fair intellectual treatment to greek mythology, has right then and there renounced Christ for good?

Loftus and Dsouza were very generous and permitted almost another hour of questioning following there closings.

Before I submit this rather harsh review of Loftus debating skills, I have to say, as I believe Ive stated before, Why I Became An Atheist was one of the best, most helpful books I read in the atheistic/agnostic/naturalist cannon of probably 20-30 books Ive read in the past 2 or 3 years. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Notes for future thoughts and arguments poured out of me while reading that book and I recommend and cite it in my own writing quite often. So maybe my resentment is as a result of placing so much FAITH in Mr Loftus as an author that I unfairly expected too much of him as a neophyte debater.

I do, with the utmost sincerity hope, that if you are reading this Mr Loftus (as I know you frequent this site) you take some note of how this looks to your fellow nonbelievers. Were relying on you, as one of the few out there headlining debates on our behalf. You know the crowd of people at your back are of an intellectual breed and as such, we demand the highest caliber arguments be offered in our defense. You clearly display a great deal of passion for these topics and Im hoping I can count on that to have you take better care to prepare your thoughts in the future. As well as to focus your arguments and speak with more clarity and precision. Look at your former mentor. He doesnt race through his speeches. He has a calm, very collected vibe and hardly repeats the same thing in a single debate whereas, a lot of what you said, you said in almost the same wording in multiple places (i.e. the religion cancels each other out argument).

Best, J.

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Home automation – Wikipedia

Posted: January 10, 2017 at 2:58 am

“Domotics/Domotica” redirects here. It is not to be confused with Demotic.

Home automation or smart home[1] (also known as domotics or domotica) is the residential extension of building automation and involves the control and automation of lighting, heating (such as smart thermostats), ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), and security, as well as home appliances such as washer/dryers, ovens or refrigerators/freezers that use WiFi for remote monitoring. Modern systems generally consist of switches and sensors connected to a central hub sometimes called a “gateway” from which the system is controlled with a user interface that is interacted either with a wall-mounted terminal, mobile phone software, tablet computer or a web interface, often but not always via internet cloud services.

While there are many competing vendors, there are very few world-wide accepted industry standards and the smart home space is heavily fragmented.[2] Popular communications protocol for products include X10, Ethernet, RS-485, 6LoWPAN, Bluetooth LE (BLE), ZigBee and Z-Wave, or other proprietary protocols all of which are incompatible with each other.[3] Manufacturers often prevent independent implementations by withholding documentation and by suing people.[4]

The home automation market was worth US$5.77 billion in 2015, predicted to have a market value over US$10 billion by the year 2020.[5]

The word “domotics” (and “domotica” when used as a verb) is a contraction of the Latin word for a home “domus” and the words/fields informatics, telematics and robotics.[citation needed]

Early home automation began with labor-saving machines. Self-contained electric or gas powered home appliances became viable in the 1900s with the introduction of electric power distribution[6] and led to the introduction of washing machines (1904), water heaters (1889), refrigerators, sewing machines, dishwashers, and clothes dryers.

In 1975, the first general purpose home automation network technology, X10, was developed. It is a communication protocol for electronic devices. It primarily uses electric power transmission wiring for signalling and control, where the signals involve brief radio frequency bursts of digital data, and remains the most widely available.[7] By 1978, X10 products included a 16 channel command console, a lamp module, and an appliance module. Soon after came the wall switch module and the first X10 timer.

By 2012, in the United States, according to ABI Research, 1.5 million home automation systems were installed.[8]

According to Li et. al. (2016) there are three generations of home automation:[9]

In a review of home automation devices, Consumer Reports found two main concerns for consumers:[16]

Microsoft Research found in 2011, that home automation could involve high cost of ownership, inflexibility of interconnected devices, and poor manageability.[18]

Historically systems have been sold as complete systems where the consumer relies on one vendor for the entire system including the hardware, the communications protocol, the central hub, and the user interface. However, there are now open source software systems which can be used with proprietary hardware.[18]

There are a wide variety of technology platforms, or protocols, on which a smart home can be built. Each one is, essentially, its own language. Each language speaks to the various connected devices and instructs them to perform a function.

The automation protocol transport has involved direct wire connectivity, powerline (UPB) and wireless hybrid and wireless.

Most of the protocols below are not open. All have an API.

Acronym explanation:

Home automation suffers from platform fragmentation and lack of technical standards[21][22][23][24][25][26] a situation where the variety of home automation devices, in terms of both hardware variations and differences in the software running on them, makes the task of developing applications that work consistently between different inconsistent technology ecosystems hard.[27] Customers may be hesitant to bet their IoT future on proprietary software or hardware devices that use proprietary protocols that may fade or become difficult to customize and interconnect.[28]

Home automation devices amorphous computing nature is also a problem for security, since patches to bugs found in the core operating system often do not reach users of older and lower-price devices.[29][30] One set of researchers say that the failure of vendors to support older devices with patches and updates leaves more than 87% of active devices vulnerable.[31][32]

Domestic patch panel, unstructured.

Laptop controller for automated sprinkler system

Well and booster pump automation

An ad for the Kitchen Computer in 1969.

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Offshore drilling – Wikipedia

Posted: January 8, 2017 at 8:10 pm

Offshore drilling is a mechanical process where a wellbore is drilled below the seabed. It is typically carried out in order to explore for and subsequently extract petroleum which lies in rock formations beneath the seabed. Most commonly, the term is used to describe drilling activities on the continental shelf, though the term can also be applied to drilling in lakes, inshore waters and inland seas.

Offshore drilling presents environmental challenges, both from the produced hydrocarbons and the materials used during the drilling operation. Controversies include the ongoing US offshore drilling debate.

There are many different types of facilities from which offshore drilling operations take place. These include bottom founded drilling rigs (jackup barges and swamp barges), combined drilling and production facilities either bottom founded or floating platforms, and deepwater mobile offshore drilling units (MODU) including semi-submersibles and drillships. These are capable of operating in water depths up to 3,000 metres (9,800ft). In shallower waters the mobile units are anchored to the seabed, however in deeper water (more than 1,500 metres (4,900ft) the semisubmersibles or drillships are maintained at the required drilling location using dynamic positioning.

Around 1891, the first submerged oil wells were drilled from platforms built on piles in the fresh waters of the Grand Lake St. Marys (a.k.a. Mercer County Reservoir) in Ohio. The wells were developed by small local companies such as Bryson, Riley Oil, German-American and Banker’s Oil.

Around 1896, the first submerged oil wells in salt water were drilled in the portion of the Summerland field extending under the Santa Barbara Channel in California. The wells were drilled from piers extending from land out into the channel.[1][2]

Other notable early submerged drilling activities occurred on the Canadian side of Lake Erie in the 1900s and Caddo Lake in Louisiana in the 1910s. Shortly thereafter wells were drilled in tidal zones along the Texas and Louisiana gulf coast. The Goose Creek Oil Field near Baytown, Texas is one such example. In the 1920s drilling activities occurred from concrete platforms in Venezuela’s Lake Maracaibo.

One of the oldest subsea wells is the Bibi Eibat well, which came on stream in 1923 in Azerbaijan.[3][dubious discuss] The well was located on an artificial island in a shallow portion of the Caspian Sea. In the early 1930s, the Texas Co., later Texaco (now Chevron) developed the first mobile steel barges for drilling in the brackish coastal areas of the Gulf of Mexico.

In 1937, Pure Oil (now Chevron) and its partner Superior Oil (now ExxonMobil) used a fixed platform to develop a field 1 mile (1.6km) offshore of Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana in 14 feet (4.3m) of water.

In 1938, Humble Oil built a mile-long wooden trestle with railway tracks into the sea at McFadden Beach on the Gulf of Mexico, placing a derrick at its end – this was later destroyed by a hurricane.[4]

In 1945, concern for American control of its offshore oil reserves caused President Harry Truman to issue an Executive Order unilaterally extending American territory to the edge of its continental shelf, an act that effectively ended the 3-mile limit “freedom of the seas” regime.

In 1946, Magnolia Petroleum (now ExxonMobil) drilled at a site 18 miles (29km) off the coast, erecting a platform in 18 feet (5.5m) of water off St. Mary Parish, Louisiana.

In early 1947, Superior Oil erected a drilling and production platform in 20 feet (6.1m) of water some 18 miles (29km) off Vermilion Parish, La. But it was Kerr-McGee Oil Industries (now Anadarko Petroleum), as operator for partners Phillips Petroleum (ConocoPhillips) and Stanolind Oil & Gas (BP) that completed its historic Ship Shoal Block 32 well in October 1947, months before Superior actually drilled a discovery from their Vermilion platform farther offshore. In any case, that made Kerr-McGee’s well the first oil discovery drilled out of sight of land.[5]

When offshore drilling moved into deeper waters of up to 30 metres (98ft), fixed platform rigs were built, until demands for drilling equipment was needed in the 100 feet (30m) to 120 metres (390ft) depth of the Gulf of Mexico, the first jack-up rigs began appearing from specialized offshore drilling contractors such as forerunners of ENSCO International.

The first semi-submersible resulted from an unexpected observation in 1961. Blue Water Drilling Company owned and operated the four-column submersible Blue Water Rig No.1 in the Gulf of Mexico for Shell Oil Company. As the pontoons were not sufficiently buoyant to support the weight of the rig and its consumables, it was towed between locations at a draught midway between the top of the pontoons and the underside of the deck. It was noticed that the motions at this draught were very small, and Blue Water Drilling and Shell jointly decided to try operating the rig in the floating mode. The concept of an anchored, stable floating deep-sea platform had been designed and tested back in the 1920s by Edward Robert Armstrong for the purpose of operating aircraft with an invention known as the ‘seadrome’. The first purpose-built drilling semi-submersible Ocean Driller was launched in 1963. Since then, many semi-submersibles have been purpose-designed for the drilling industry mobile offshore fleet.

The first offshore drillship was the CUSS 1 developed for the Mohole project to drill into the Earth’s crust.

As of June, 2010, there were over 620 mobile offshore drilling rigs (Jackups, semisubs, drillships, barges) available for service in the competitive rig fleet.[6]

One of the world’s deepest hubs is currently the Perdido in the Gulf of Mexico, floating in 2,438 meters of water. It is operated by Royal Dutch Shell and was built at a cost of $3 billion.[7] The deepest operational platform is the Petrobras America Cascade FPSO in the Walker Ridge 249 field in 2,600 meters of water.

Notable offshore fields include:

Offshore oil and gas production is more challenging than land-based installations due to the remote and harsher environment. Much of the innovation in the offshore petroleum sector concerns overcoming these challenges, including the need to provide very large production facilities. Production and drilling facilities may be very large and a large investment, such as the Troll A platform standing on a depth of 300 meters.

Another type of offshore platform may float with a mooring system to maintain it on location. While a floating system may be lower cost in deeper waters than a fixed platform, the dynamic nature of the platforms introduces many challenges for the drilling and production facilities.

The ocean can add several billion meters or more to the fluid column. The addition increases the equivalent circulating density and downhole pressures in drilling wells, as well as the energy needed to lift produced fluids for separation on the platform.

The trend today is to conduct more of the production operations subsea, by separating water from oil and re-injecting it rather than pumping it up to a platform, or by flowing to onshore, with no installations visible above the sea. Subsea installations help to exploit resources at progressively deeper waterslocations which had been inaccessibleand overcome challenges posed by sea ice such as in the Barents Sea. One such challenge in shallower environments is seabed gouging by drifting ice features (means of protecting offshore installations against ice action includes burial in the seabed).

Offshore manned facilities also present logistics and human resources challenges. An offshore oil platform is a small community in itself with cafeteria, sleeping quarters, management and other support functions. In the North Sea, staff members are transported by helicopter for a two-week shift. They usually receive higher salary than onshore workers do. Supplies and waste are transported by ship, and the supply deliveries need to be carefully planned because storage space on the platform is limited. Today, much effort goes into relocating as many of the personnel as possible onshore, where management and technical experts are in touch with the platform by video conferencing. An onshore job is also more attractive for the aging workforce in the petroleum industry, at least in the western world. These efforts among others are contained in the established term integrated operations. The increased use of subsea facilities helps achieve the objective of keeping more workers onshore. Subsea facilities are also easier to expand, with new separators or different modules for different oil types, and are not limited by the fixed floor space of an above-water installation.

Offshore oil production involves environmental risks, most notably oil spills from oil tankers or pipelines transporting oil from the platform to onshore facilities, and from leaks and accidents on the platform.[9]Produced water is also generated, which is water brought to the surface along with the oil and gas; it is usually highly saline and may include dissolved or unseparated hydrocarbons.

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Dash (cryptocurrency) – Wikipedia

Posted: at 7:46 pm

Dash

Official Dash logo

Dash (formerly known as Darkcoin and XCoin) is an open source peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that offers instant transactions (InstantSend),[1] private transactions (PrivateSend)[2] and token fungibility. It was rebranded from “Darkcoin” to “Dash” on March 25, 2015, a portmanteau of “Digital Cash”.[3]

Dash operates a decentralized governance and budgeting system, making it the first decentralized autonomous organization.[4]

Dash uses a chained hashing algorithm called X11 for the proof-of-work. Instead of using the SHA-256 (from well-known Secure Hash Algorithm family) or scrypt it uses 11 rounds of different hashing functions.[5]

As of 2016, Dash is among the top-7 most popular cryptocurrencies.[6]

Main website is http://www.dash.org

PrivateSend is a coin-mixing service originally based on CoinJoin. Later iterations used a more advanced method of pre-mixing denominations built into the user’s wallet. The implementation of PrivateSend also allows masternodes to submit the transactions using special network code called DSTX,[7] this provides additional privacy to users due to the deadchange issue present in other CoinJoin based implementations such as DarkWallet and CoinShuffle.[8]

DarkSend rebranded to PrivateSend June 2016.

In its current implementation it adds privacy to transactions by combining identical inputs from multiple users into a single transaction with several outputs. Due to the identical inputs, transactions usually cannot be directly traced, obfuscating the flow of funds. PrivateSend makes Dash “Fungible”[9] by mixing the coins in the same denomination with other wallets, ensuring that all coins are of the same value.

PrivateSend’s mixing is performed by Masternodes, servers operating on a decentralized network which have the responsibility of signing the transactions. For each round of PrivateSend, the user selects two to eight (or even more) rounds of mixing which vary the degree of anonymity achieved. Random Masternodes are then elected to perform the coin mixing. Masternodes are trust-less cryptographic technology, in the sense that they cannot steal user coins, and the combination of multiple Masternodes ensures that no single node has full knowledge of both inputs and outputs in the transaction process.

To avoid the possibility of sybil attack, a process where a peer-to-peer network is overtaken by “bad actors”, collateral requirements have been added to the process of joining the Masternode network second tier. These are presently 1000 DASH [10] and allow secure network communication in via signed messages. As an incentive for operating a Masternode, chosen nodes currently earn 45% of the mining rewards.[11]

InstantSend is a service that allows for near-instant transactions. Through this system, inputs can be locked to only specific transactions and verified by consensus of the Masternode network. Conflicting transactions and blocks are rejected. If a consensus cannot be reached, validation of the transaction occurs through standard block confirmation. InstantSend purportedly solves the double-spending problem without the longer confirmation times of other cryptocurriencies such as Bitcoin.[12]

InstantX rebranded to InstantSend June 2016.

X11 is a hashing algorithm created by Dash core developer Evan Duffield. X11’s chained hashing algorithm approach utilizes a sequence of eleven cryptographic hashing algorithms for the proof-of-work. This is so that the processing distribution is fair and coins will be distributed in much the same way Bitcoin’s were originally.[citation needed]

With chained hashing, high end CPUs give an average return similar to that of GPUs. Another side effect of the algorithm is that GPUs run at about 30% less electrical power than scrypt and 30% to 50% cooler, putting less stress on the computing setup and ensuring lower energy bills for miners.[13]

Dark Gravity Wave (DGW) is a mining difficulty adjustment algorithm created by Dash core developer Evan Duffield to address flaws in Kimoto’s Gravity Well. It uses multiple exponential moving averages and a simple moving average to smoothly adjust the difficulty, which is re-targeted every block. The block reward is not adjusted strictly by block number, but instead uses a formula controlled by Moore’s law: 2222222/((Difficulty+2600)/9)2.[14][15]

Dash is the first decentralized autonomous organization powered by a Sybil proof decentralized governance and funding system.[16] DGBB or Decentralized Governance By Blockchain as it’s called is a decentralized process by which the network determines where money is spent. Each Masternode operator is given the ability to use 1 vote on each governance proposal, which is a completely open and decentralized process.[17] Community interaction with proposal submitters is done usually through community driven websites, like DashWhale.[18] These websites allow proposal submitters to provide multiple drafts, then lobby for community support before finally submitting their project to the network for a vote. After the submitter has enough support, the network will automatically pay out the required funds in the next super block, which happen monthly.

Although, only in use a few months, the funding system has seen growth of its month revenue, from originally ~$14 thousands in September 2015, to nearly $30 thousands in March 2016.[19] Eventually the budget system can theoretically scale to $9M per month at a market cap of $500M.[20]

Since its inception, the project has used the system for important assets like acquiring dash.org,[21] adoption into the Lamassu ATM[22][23] and the Dash N’ Drink instant soda machine,[24] along with funding many public events.[25][26][27][28]

Masternodes utilize a cryptographic bond model, which results a supply and demand market between the interest rate Masternodes are paid and the risk of holding the underlying asset. Early on in the history of the asset, the high return caused a massive uptake of Masternodes, starting from about 500 in Oct 2014 and increasing to 3650 in March 2016.[29]

Dash was originally released as XCoin (XCO) on January 18, 2014. On February 28, the name was changed to “Darkcoin”. On March 25, 2015, Darkcoin was rebranded as “Dash”.[3]

I discovered Bitcoin in mid 2010 and was obsessed ever since. After a couple of years in 2012 I started really thinking about how to add anonymity to Bitcoin. I came up with maybe 10 ways of doing this, but I soon realized that Bitcoin would never add my code. The developers really want the core protocol to stay the same for the most part and everything else to be implemented on the top of it. This was the birth of the concept of Darkcoin. I implemented X11 in a weekend and found it worked pretty well and it would give a completely fair start to the currency. What I really was aiming for with X11 is a similar development curve where miners would fight to create small advantages much like the early start of Bitcoin. I think this a requirement to create a healthy ecosystem.

[30]

Within the first hour of launch, approximately 500,000 coins were mined, followed by another 1,000,000 coins in the next 7 hours and finally another 400,000 in 36 hours. All told 1.9 million coins were mined in 48 hours, or approximately 32% of the current supply (as of October 2015) of approximately 5.9 million,[31][32] generating controversy regarding the initial distribution of coins. According to Duffield, this was the result of an error in the code “which incorrectly converted the difficulty, then tried using a corrupt value to calculate the subsidy, causing the instamine”.[33] At the time, Duffield was working a full-time job and coding for Dash on the side, so its not surprising that there were errors in the initial code.[33] Duffield claims in the official bitcointalk.org thread (mirrored) that “Dash has no premine and was fairly and transparently launched”.[34]

At the time Dash (then called Xcoin) was launched, the cryptocurrency space was riddled with scams. People were creating new currencies, hyping their value, then dumping them and abandoning the project. Many likely feared the same for Dash. However, since Dash’s launch, there has been over two years of development, leading to a cryptocurrency that has over 50 volunteers and has solved such vexing issues as slow confirmation times, block size increases, decentralized governance, and a self-funding development budget.

According to CoinMarketCap, in August 2016 the daily trade volume of Dash was ~1% of the total trade of all cryptocurrencies,[35] and the market capitalization of Dash was ~80 millions of US dollars.[36] Since then, Dash has become the most active community on BitcoinTalk reaching more than 6000 pages, 122k replies, 6.6M reads.

Zerocoin, Cloakcoin and DarkNet also have built in the mixing services as a part of their blockchain network.[37]

The Dark Wallet client software for bitcoin was built to natively mix transactions between users.[38]

Monero_(cryptocurrency) is a cryptocurrency based on the CryptoNote protocol. It has gained attention recently for being adopted by dark net market AlphaBay.[39]

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Donald Trump pledges to sign anti-LGBTQ First Amendment …

Posted: January 6, 2017 at 10:47 pm

Donald Trump AP Photo/Cheryl Senter

Donald Trump has been courting the LGBTQ vote throughout this presidential election, claiming he would be the better choice for the community than opponent Hillary Clinton and promising to protect us from terrorismin his Republican National Convention speech.

That argumentgets harder to believe by the week, as he gives speeches at anti-LGBTQ events, sticks up for homophobic and transphobic legislation and surrounds himself with bigoted politicians and advisers. Now we have a new offense to add to the list.

Related:Cher: I shudder to think what President Trump will do to trans Americans

Trump has pledged to sign the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), if passed by congress. It was first introduced in the House on June 17, 2015 and would effectively legalize anti-LGBTQ discrimination across the board, includingamong employers, businesses, landlords and healthcare providers,as long as they claim to be motivated by a firmly held religious beliefs.

It would act to overturn the executive order signed in 2014 by President Obama prohibiting anti-LGBTQ discrimination among federal contractors.

Related:Mike Pences top seven most homophobic moments (out of many)

The statement, added to Trumps website on Thursday under the title Issues Of Importance To Catholics and the subtitle Religious Liberty,reads:

Religious liberty is enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution. It is our first liberty and provides the most important protection in that it protects our right of conscience. Activist judges and executive orders issued by Presidents who have no regard for the Constitution have put these protections in jeopardy. If I am elected president and Congress passes the First Amendment Defense Act, I will sign it to protect the deeply held religious beliefs of Catholics and the beliefs of Americans of all faiths. The Little Sisters of the Poor, or any religious order for that matter, will always have their religious liberty protected on my watch and will not have to face bullying from the government because of their religious beliefs.

FADAs text reads:

Prohibits the federal government from taking discriminatory action against a person on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.

Defines discriminatory action as any federal government action to discriminate against a person with such beliefs or convictions, including a federal government action to:

Requires the federal government to consider to be accredited, licensed, or certified for purposes of federal law any person who would be accredited, licensed, or certified for such purposes but for a determination that the person believes or acts in accordance with such a religious belief or moral conviction.

Permits a person to assert an actual or threatened violation of this Act as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding and to obtain compensatory damages or other appropriate relief against the federal government.

Authorizes the Attorney General to bring an action to enforce this Act against the Government Accountability Office or an establishment in the executive branch, other than the U.S. Postal Service or the Postal Regulatory Commission, that is not an executive department, military department, or government corporation.

Defines person as any person regardless of religious affiliation, including corporations and other entities regardless of for-profit or nonprofit status.

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First Amendment works and will if we still have it

Posted: December 26, 2016 at 2:54 pm

Gene Policinski, Inside the First Amendment 9:30 a.m. MST December 25, 2016

Gene Policinski writes the First Amendment column distributed by Gannett News Service. (Gannett News Service, Sam Kittner/First Amendment Center/File)(Photo: GNS)

Our First Amendment freedoms will work if we still have them around to use.

Those five freedoms religion, speech, press, assembly and petition have been challenged at various times in our nations history, as many would say they are today.

But the very freedoms themselves provide the means and mechanisms for our society to self-correct those challenges, perhaps a main reason why the First Amendment has endured, unchanged, since Dec. 15, 1791.

Case in point: The tragic mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, on June 12 was followed by a burst of anti-Islamic rhetoric across the country after the killer declared allegiance to ISIS. The speech, however hateful, generally was protected by the First Amendment.

But in turn, those attacks were followed by pushback in the other direction. Muslim leaders decried the use of their faith to justify hatred of the United States or homophobic terrorism. Opposition was ramped up to the idea of increased surveillance of Muslims in America and now-President-elect Donald Trumps suggestion for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States.

In two rounds of national polling in the Newseum Institutes annual State of the First Amendment survey, support for First Amendment protection for fringe or extreme faiths actually increased after the Orlando attack, compared with sampling done in May.

The number of people who said First Amendment protection does not extend to such faiths dropped from 29 to 22 percent. In both surveys, just over 1,000 adults were sampled by telephone, and the margin of error in the surveys was plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

The First Amendment is predicated on the notion that citizens who are able to freely debate without government censorship or direction will exchange views, sometimes strongly and on controversial subjects, but eventually find common ground.

Of course, that kind of vigorous and robust exchange in the marketplace only can happen if there is a marketplace freedom for all to speak and a willingness to join with others in serious discussion, debate and discourse that has a goal of improving life for us all.

Heres where the survey results turn ominous: Nearly four in 10 of those questioned in the 2016 State of the First Amendment survey, which was released July 4, could not name unaided a single freedom in the First Amendment.

Perhaps not identifying by name even one of the five freedoms is not the same as not knowing you have those core freedoms. But neither does the result build confidence that, as a nation, we have a deep understanding of what distinguishes our nation among all others and is so fundamental to the unique American experience of self-governance.

We have thrived as a nation with a social order and a government structure in which the exchange of views is a key to solving problems. The nations architects had a confidence and optimism that such exchanges in the so-called marketplace of ideas would ultimately work for the public good.

What would those founders think of a society in which so many seem to favor the electronic versions of divided marketplaces that permit only that speech of which you already approve or that confirms your existing views?

Or worse yet, a society in which the five freedoms are used as weapons from cyberbullying to mass Twitter attacks to deliberate distribution of fake news to figuratively set ablaze or tear down an opponents stand?

As a nation, we cannot abandon the values of our First Amendment freedoms that protect religious liberty, that defend free expression at its widest definition and that provide a right to unpopular dissent, without fundamentally changing the character of our nation.

As a people, we must stand in defense of the values set out in the First Amendment and Bill of Rights some 225 years ago, even as we face one of the deepest public divides on a range of issues in our history.

And we must revisit and renew our faith in a concept expressed in 1664 by English poet and scholar John Milton and later woven deep into the institutional fabric of America: that in a battle between truth and falsehood, who ever knew truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?

Gene Policinski is chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute and senior vice president of the Institutes First Amendment Center. He can be reached at gpolicinski@newseum.org. Follow him on Twitter: @genefac.

Read or Share this story: http://www.thespectrum.com/story/opinion/2016/12/25/first-amendment-works-and-if-we-still-have/95705830/

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : War on …

Posted: December 15, 2016 at 6:43 pm

A major threat to liberty is the assault on the right to discuss political issues, seek out alternative information sources, and promote dissenting ideas and causes such as non-interventionism in foreign and domestic affairs. If this ongoing assault on free speech succeeds, then all of our liberties are endangered.

One of the most common assaults on the First Amendment is the attempt to force public policy organizations to disclose their donors. Regardless of the intent of these laws, the effect is to subject supporters of controversial causes to harassment, or worse. This harassment makes other potential donors afraid to support organizations opposing a popular war or defending the rights of an unpopular group.

Many free speech opponents support laws and regulations forbidding activist or educational organizations from distributing factual information regarding a candidates positions for several months before an election. The ban would apply to communications that do not endorse or oppose any candidate. These laws would result in the only sources of information on the candidates views being the campaigns and the media.

Recently the Federal Election Commission (FEC) rejected a proposal to add language exempting books, movies, and streaming videos from its regulations. The majority of FEC commissioners apparently believe they should have the power, for example, to ban Oliver Stones biography of Edward Snowden, since it was released two months before the election and features clips of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump discussing Snowden.

The latest, and potentially most dangerous, threat to the First Amendment is the war on fake news. Those leading the war are using a few viral Internet hoaxes to justify increased government regulation and even outright censorship of Internet news sites. Some popular websites, such as Facebook, are not waiting for the government to force them to crack down on fake news.

Those calling for bans on fake news are not just trying to censor easily-disproved Internet hoaxes. They are working to create a government-sanctioned “gatekeeper” (to use Hillary Clintons infamous phrase) with the power to censor any news or opinion displeasing to the political establishment. None of those wringing their hands over fake news have expressed any concern over the fake news stories that helped lead to the Iraq War. Those fake news stories led to the destabilizing of the Middle East, the rise of ISIS, and the deaths of millions.

The war on fake news has taken a chilling turn with efforts to label news and opinion sites of alternative news sources as peddlers of Russian propaganda. The main targets are critics of US interventionist foreign policy, proponents of a gold standard, critics of the US governments skyrocketing debt, and even those working to end police militarization. All have been smeared as anti-American agents of Russia.

Just last week, Congress passed legislation creating a special committee, composed of key federal agencies, to counter foreign interference in US elections. There have also been calls for congressional investigations into Russian influence on the elections. Can anyone doubt that the goal of this is to discredit and silence those who question the mainstream medias pro-welfare/warfare state propaganda?

The attempts to ban fake news; smear antiwar, anti-Federal Reserve, and other pro-liberty movements as Russian agents; and stop independent organizations from discussing a politicians record before an election are all parts of an ongoing war on the First Amendment. All Americans, no matter their political persuasion, have a stake in defeating these efforts to limit free speech.

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Sealand national football team – Wikipedia

Posted: December 7, 2016 at 8:08 am

The SEALS national football team is the team that represents the Principality of Sealand. It is not a member of FIFA or UEFA, but is an associate member of the N.F.-Board, an organisation for teams who are not members of FIFA. They were admitted to the N.F.-Board as a provisional member in 2005 and as an associate member in 2006.

The Sealand National Football Association (SNFA) was founded in 2003. In 2004, they played their first game against land drawing 22.[1] All the players on the Sealand team were members of Vestbjerg Vintage Idrtsforening, a veterans side from Aalborg. However, the Danish-based SNFA ended their activities in 2006 and Sealand football took a break.

On 23 December 2009, Scottish author Neil Forsyth was appointed head of the revived SNFA.[2] He stated a goal of participation in the 2010 VIVA World Cup, a dream ultimately ended by a lack of finance. On 5 May 2012, Sealand took to the field against fellow N.F.-Board members the Chagos Islands at Weycourt in Godalming, Surrey. The Chagossians won 31, with Ryan Moore scoring for Sealand. The team was captained by former Bolton Wanderers defender Simon Charlton and also included actor Ralf Little.[2][3][4]

Sealand played an away game against Alderney on August 25, 2012.[5] After drawing the match by a scoreline of 11, Sealand won 54 on penalties. On March 9, 2013 Sealand won their first ever international when they beat Alderney 21 in Godalming.

Sealand competed in the Tynwald Hill Tournament on the Isle of Man in July 2013. The tournament was held at Mullen-e-Cloie, St John’s. Following a late 53 defeat to Tamil Eelam and an 80 demolition at the hands of eventual winners Occitania, Sealand finished bottom of their group and went on to the 5th place playoff where they beat Alderney 21.

In February 2014 Sealand recorded their record win as they beat the Chagos Islands 42 in Godalming.[6]

In May 2014 Sealand drew 11 with the Chagos Islands at Crawley Town a fortnight before another draw, 22 with Somaliland (who were making their non-FIFA debut) in London.

Sealand underwent a European tour for the first time in August 2014 which proved to be hugely successful. In Chur a record 61 win over Raetia saw Dan Hughes become the record-scorer with 4 goals, before a 32 win over Seborga in Ospedaletti, Italy. Hughes added to his tally in that game and the Seals extended their unbeaten international run to 6 games.[7]

Sealand’s kit has the same colors as the flag of Sealand. Their original kit consisted of a red shirt with white trim, black shorts and white socks, and was provided by JJB with sponsorship from UK investment firm Property Secrets.[8]

For the Tynwald Tournament, Sealand introduced a new Nike home kit, in red, with a white stripe down the right-hand side. In the 80 defeat to Occitania, Sealand debuted their Stanno away kit of a white shirt with pale red shorts.

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Jeff Bewkes: ‘Real threat’ to First Amendment from Democrats …

Posted: at 7:58 am

Jeff Bewkes. Screenshot/Business Insider

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes told Business Insider’s Henry Blodget on Tuesday that the “real threat” to the First Amendment did not come from President-elect Donald Trump during the campaign, but rather from the Democratic Party.

Bewkes was speaking at Business Insider’s annual IGNITION conference, during which he was asked about Trump’s frequent campaign threats to open up libel laws.

Trump has also set his sights on Bewkes’ own media property, CNN, which he consistently ridiculed along the campaign trail and even after Election Day.

“Do you worry about that at all?” Blodget asked.

Bewkes said he didn’t “think that’s a serious thing,” adding that “we should all worry” if someone were seeking to change the First Amendment. He suggested that came from the Democratic Party, which “had a campaign plank to change the First Amendment, and they were doing it in the guise of campaign finance reform.”

“And that was worrying me more,” Bewkes said. “The press tends to miss that because they tend to lean that way, and therefore they were supporting what they were viewing I think overly charitably as something in cleaning up money in politics when in fact what it would do is restrain multiple voices.”

Democrats, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, vowed to engage in campaign finance reform following the election a cause that has been bolstered in recent years by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. The 2010 ruling deemed that corporations and labor unions were people who could flex First Amendment rights in contributing to campaigns, and it led to the advent of so-called super PACs.

“So I thought the real threat to the First Amendment came from the Democrats’ side more,” Bewkes said. “There’s not going to be a serious effort on the Republican side.”

Watch the whole Bewkes interview right here, scroll to 1:05:45.

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