Cryptocurrencies 101

Cryptocurrencies are a social movement based on the belief that markings in a ledger on the internet have intrinsic value. The organizers of these ledgers call these markings Bitcoin, or Dogecoin, or offer other names based on the specific ledger. That’s really all a cryptocurrency is. There’s no magic. It’s not money, though it has money-like properties. It’s not anything except a set of markings. Sure, the technology behind the ledgers and how to create more of these markings is kind of neat. But crypto is a movement based on energetic storytellers who spin fables about the utopian future to come. In a lot of ways, cryptocurrencies are like Florida land that no one ever intends to use. It has value in the moment it is traded, but only because there’s a collective belief that it has some intrinsic worth.

Matt Stoller BIG newsletter 12.07.21 — https://mattstoller.substack.com/

TBH I never really understood crypto until I read Stoller’s descriptive paragraph.

Now I understand this is something I will never “invest” my money in. Not that I ever intended to do that before today.

New Source For Jet Fuel



Researchers have developed an innovative way to convert plastics to ingredients for jet fuel and other valuable products, making it easier and more cost effective to reuse plastics. The researchers in their reaction were able to convert 90% of plastic to jet fuel and other valuable hydrocarbon products within an hour at moderate temperatures and to easily fine-tune the process to create the products that they want.

Washington State University. “New technology converts waste plastics to jet fuel in an hour.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/05/210517124937.htm (accessed May 18, 2021).

Yeah I know this has absolutely nothing to do with mortality risk but it was SO COOL I had to post it.

Third Places and Spaces

The term “third place” was first dubbed by Ray Oldenburg, a world-renowned sociologist who wrote The Great Good Place in 1989. In his book, which was a direct response to the privatization of home life that came with the increase in suburb growth, he claimed that if our homes were the “first” place, and our offices the “second” place, then the “third” place was most everything in between- or the more informal places where community gatherings would occur. These spaces are easily accessible by all and serve as anchors to modern society.

The Future Workspace That Isn’t the Workplace — https://www.archdaily.com/960896/the-future-workspace-that-isnt-the-workplace?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=webfeeds&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ArchDaily+%28ArchDaily%29

A nice look at the future of work from Kaley Overstreet. Kaley has a B.S. in Architecture and Master of Architecture from Ohio State Knowlton School and is a Senior Contributor at ArchDaily. Third spaces and places have been happening for some time. The pandemic merely accelerates the trend.

How will your workforce work?

How the Lives of Older Citizens Changed in 2020

We all know that Baby Boomers and seniors have had an incredibly challenging time during this pandemic. Older generations have shown particular resilience through this time, with many not being able to see friends and family for months. All in the name of rightly protecting their health. With Government and media messaging telling seniors they are the most vulnerable group, their determination to power through this challenge has been apparent across the world.

A representative group of 1,409 Baby Boomers and seniors from the USA and Canada were polled on behalf of Amica Senior Lifestyles, using Amazon’s online survey platform, Mechanical Turk. Survey responses were fielded in September and October 2020. They were asked a variety of questions relating to their lifestyle changes during and after the global pandemic. The age breakdown of our survey sample was as follows: 
55-64 (24.6%)
65-74 (70.8%)
75-84 (3.8%)
85+ (0.9%)
https://www.amica.ca/conversations/baby-boomers-seniors-coronavirus-statistics#lockdown

The source article is fairly long so I’ve provided the Table of Contents clickable links. I hope they work. Technology adaptation is tougher for the older ones. Did you know my smartphone has a CAMERA?

Bank by Phone? You Better Check Your Account

Researchers from IBM Trusteer say they’ve uncovered a massive fraud operation that used a network of mobile device emulators to drain millions of dollars from online bank accounts in a matter of days.

The scale of the operation was unlike anything the researchers have seen before. In one case, crooks used about 20 emulators to mimic more than 16,000 phones belonging to customers whose mobile bank accounts had been compromised.

The thieves then entered usernames and passwords into banking apps running on the emulators and initiated fraudulent money orders that siphoned funds out of the compromised accounts. Emulators are used by legitimate developers and researchers to test how apps run on a variety of different mobile devices.

To bypass protections banks use to block such attacks, the crooks used device identifiers corresponding to each compromised account holder and spoofed GPS locations the device was known to use. The device IDs were likely obtained from the holders’ hacked devices, although in some cases, the fraudsters gave the appearance that they were customers who were accessing their accounts from new phones. The attackers were also able to bypass multi-factor authentication by accessing SMS messages.

“Evil mobile emulator farms” used to steal millions from US and EU banks — https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/12/evil-mobile-emulator-farms-used-to-steal-millions-from-us-and-eu-banks/

I bank online but never use my phone. I check my accounts on a regular basis to see if anything looks odd (besides some of the websites you know who shops at).

Check your accounts. Now.

I Thought I Told You To Put That Phone Down!

Compared with participants who used less than 120 minutes per day of social media, for example, young adults who used more than 300 minutes per day were 2.8 times as likely to become depressed within six months.The study, which will be published online Dec. 10 and is scheduled for the February 2021 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, is the first large, national study to show a link between social media use and depression over time.

University of Arkansas. “Increased social media use linked to developing depression.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/12/201210074722.htm (accessed December 13, 2020).

Journal Reference

  1. Brian A. Primack, Ariel Shensa, Jaime E. Sidani, César G. Escobar-Viera, Michael J. Fine. Temporal Associations Between Social Media Use and Depression. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2020.09.014

A few more posts for your reading pleasure.