Reaction in Asia to the latest round of international sanctions imposed on North Korea has been positive, but many are still skeptical they will have any significant impact. The United Nations Security Council on Monday unanimously adopted a tough new…
Longtime Antiqua and Barbuda resident, Calvin Ayre, wants people to send immediate relief aid to the islands. Hurricane Irma recently plowed over the island system and caused tons of damage. Ayre has been involved in the bitcoin and gaming ecosystem for many years. He implores everyone in the community to bring much-needed disaster funding to the […]
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“There’s no such thing as a safe hard fork,” Electrum lead developer Thomas Voegtlin corrected an audience member at the Breaking Bitcoin conference in Paris last weekend. “I would recommend to have replay protection, of course,” he added.Community support for SegWit2x, the Bitcoin scaling proposal spearheaded by Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group, was virtually absent in Paris. Whenever the “2x” part of the New York Agreement was discussed in the French capital, speakers and visitors overwhelmingly considered it a risk to defend against — not a proposal to help succeed.Electrum users, for example, will not blindly follow hash power in case of a chain-split, Voegtlin explained throughout his talk; instead, they’ll be able to choose which side of such a split they want to be on. And importantly, the lightweight wallet will implement security measures to prevent users from accidentally spending funds on both chains: “replay protection” that seems unlikely to be implemented on a protocol level if SegWit2x does fork off.“We are ready,” Voegtlin said. “If [SegWit2x] doesn’t include replay protection, the fork detection we have in Electrum will be useful.”Breaking BitcoinInspired by the successful Scaling Bitcoin conference format, the French Bitcoin community hosted the first edition of Breaking Bitcoin two blocks from the Eiffel Tower last weekend. Bitcoin developers, academics and other technical-minded Bitcoiners gathered for a diverse program, but with the common denominator being Bitcoin’s security.“For the past two years, the Bitcoin community has been obsessing with scale and scalability,” Kevin Loaec, managing director at Chainsmiths and co-organizer of the event, told Bitcoin Magazine. “But I’m not so worried about scale, I’m worried about mining centralization, a lack of privacy and fungibility … these kinds of things. As an industry we need to recognize there are more challenges than just scalability; hopefully this conference reflects that.”Whereas the first Scaling Bitcoin conference two years ago was a very specific reaction to a looming block size limit increase hard fork — then put forth by Bitcoin XT — this wasn’t necessarily the motivation behind Breaking Bitcoin. Yet, once again, a controversial hard fork is looming on the horizon. This time imbedded in the BTC1 implementation developed by Bloq co-founder Jeff Garzik, the New York Agreement’s SegWit2x is scheduled to increase Bitcoin’s “base block size limit” to two megabytes by November — an incompatible protocol change that could split the Bitcoin network in two.And it did not take much to recognize how unpopular the proposal was in Paris. Perhaps most vividly, Italian Bitcoin startup ChainSide led a protest campaign by distributing NO2X stickers; the Twitter hashtag was proudly added as a piece of flair to the by now well-known Make Bitcoin Great Again and UASF hats. And voices critical of the project — like Voegtlin and his call for replay protection — could consistently count on rounds of applause. From a technical perspective, the proposal is often considered — quite frankly — to be reckless.“Unfortunately, SegWit2x […] was designed to effectively be as disruptive to the minority chain,” MyRig engineer and BIP91 author James Hilliard said on stage during the miner panel.SegWit2x: The ArgumentsArguments against the 2x hard fork are diverse.Perhaps its biggest problem, SegWit2x currently lacks basic safety measures to prevent unsuspecting users from losing funds. This includes, most importantly, the aforementioned replay protection, but a new address format would be similarly helpful.Additionally, the three-month lead time for this specific hard fork is considered extremely short — assuming the goal is to prevent a chain-split in the first place. “If you ask any of the developers, they will typically want to see 18 months or two years lead time, for something with as wide an impact on all the software and hardware out there as a hard fork,” Blockstream co-founder and Hashcash inventor Dr. Adam Back noted during a Q&A session.And if the chain does split into different networks and currencies — one following the current Bitcoin protocol and one adopting the hard fork — the question becomes which of the two gets to use the name “Bitcoin.” So far, proponents of the SegWit2x hard fork have shown no willingness to pick a new name.This branding issue, Bitcoin Core contributor and Ciphrex co-founder Eric Lombrozo pointed out, provides yet another point of controversy.“My personal opinion is that whomever is proposing the change, the onus is on them to demonstrate widespread support,” Lombrozo said during his talk on protocol changes. “The people that want to keep status quo don’t need to show anything. It’s the people who want to change the stuff that actually need to demonstrate there is widespread support.”And for now, not everyone is convinced that SegWit2x does indeed have this level of support — or anything close to it. While several large mining pools, as well as a significant number of companies, have signed on to the New York Agreement, this agreement was itself drafted without any feedback from Bitcoin’s technical community nor — even more important — a reliable gauge of user sentiment. And while some Bitcoin companies claim to represent their customers, this is — once again — not taken for granted by everyone.“One debate I want to draw attention to,” venture capitalist Alyse Killeen pointed out, “is the debate whether businesses speak for their users. I think this is probably a debate you would only see now in this space because it’s pretty well established that businesses outside of this space do not speak for users, but it’s a debate we still have in our community. Of course they don’t.”NO2XIf Breaking Bitcoin in Paris can be considered at all representative of SegWit2x’s community support — which, it should be noted, is not necessarily the case — the proposal will face an uphill battle to be widely accepted in November.Indeed, some signatories of the agreement are not so sure about the hard fork anymore: Bitwala and F2Pool have publicly backed out of the agreement. And, during a mining panel in Paris, Bitfury CIO Alex Petrov ever so slightly opened the door to potentially withdrawing support as well, if both the original and the 2x chain manage to survive.In fact, it’s not just that contentious hard forks are considered a threat to be defended against by Bitcoin’s technical community. It goes beyond that.In the words of Bitcoin developer Jimmy Song, at the conclusion of his opening talk of the event:“What doesn’t kill Bitcoin makes it stronger. And conferences like this prove that we’re getting better at this. We’re getting immunized to all these hard forks, and it’s creating a better Bitcoin as a result, and that’s a very good thing. We’re securing against a lot of these attacks, and figuring out ways to mitigate these threats.”Image courtesy of Federico TengaThe post NO2X: Breaking Bitcoin Shows No Love for the SegWit2x Hard Fork in Paris appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
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The fires which began with the 9/11 attacks were never extinguished. They continue to burn fiercely from Afghanistan to Iraq to Syria to Yemen to North Africa, as the region and its regimes came unglued in the wake of George W. Bush’s ‘war on terror’.
The 16th anniversary of 9/11 was marked in America with the usual somber memorials and directives to ‘never forget’. But this definitive 9/11 slogan always takes me back to the overwhelming tide of pro-war fervor that swept the US and stifled any deeper reflection or debate in the years after September 11, 2001. Sadly, I was part of that fervor – and this too I will never forget.
The militarism of my youth
I joined the US Marine Corps as an idealistic 18-year-old in 2000, with a firm resolve – as I enthusiastically told my military recruiter shortly before leaving for boot camp – to “fight evil in the world”. This resolve was rooted more deeply in my veins after the 9/11 attacks. As a relatively new Marine, I had temporarily worked at the Pentagon while attached to a headquarters computer programming unit in the two months just prior to that tragic day, and was fortunate not to be there when it was attacked.
After the smoke cleared in New York, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon, I and many others wanted ‘justice’ at all costs against an enemy we were told was present in multiple Middle Eastern countries. Slogans such as ‘let’s roll!’ echoed in my ears, and my zeal for ‘the mission’ influenced others to follow my path of military service.
While stationed in Quantico, outside of Washington DC, I became close friends with a local civilian nearing his high school graduation, and I encouraged him to join the Marine Corps. This occurred just as the Bush administration was making the case for war in Iraq.
The author as an idealistic 18-year-old not long before 9/11. Attending ‘Marine Combat Training’ (MCT) near San Diego, California.
A close friend dies in Anbar Province
While I remained at my headquarters unit in Virginia, my friend embarked on multiple tours of duty within a short two years as a Marine infantryman. I remember even then being surprised and unsettled by how rapidly his overseas deployments came. He was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq on his third deployment overseas prior to his twenty-first birthday. He had selflessly tried to stop a car laden with explosives as it sped into his checkpoint, possibly preventing more deaths among the nearby group of Marines wounded in the attack.
Paul Wolfowitz, considered one of the chief architects of the Iraq War, attended my friend’s funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. More recently, Wolfowitz spent last year’s anniversary of the 9/11 attack on NBC’s Meet the Press shamelessly arguing that he and the Bush administration had done nothing wrong in selling the war and were honest with the American people.
Neither my friend nor I had ever really understood much about the place of his eventual death or the politics of the war. This had been clear during our brief visits together as we reconnected prior to what we didn’t know would be his final deployment to the Middle East. We were never encouraged to learn about the history of Iraq or the Arab world, or to ask too many questions for that matter.
“You’re either with us or against us” was enough for us to want to go out and “win hearts and minds” – a constant refrain in the post-9/11 atmosphere.
At 2:40 pm on 9/11, exactly 16 years ago, Donald Rumsfeld was pushing to invade Iraq:
Hit SH [Saddam Hussein] @ same time—
Not only UBL pic.twitter.com/H3gYIWCgLd
— Jon Schwarz (@tinyrevolution) September 11, 2017
Uncovering a disturbing history
As the power of such simple platitudes faded, I began to investigate for myself the history of US involvement in the region. My search began in the library of the Marine Corps University at MCB Quantico, and would later lead to my travelling to Syria after completion of active service.
Few Americans know of the absurd contradictions of our foreign policy in Iraq and other places over the past few decades, yet I soon found that many Iraqis and Syrians know the history well.
The United States, through covert support of the Iraqi Ba’ath Party in the 1960s and 1970s, sponsored Saddam Hussein’s rise to power as a way to combat perceived communist influence and populist national movements in the Middle East. Throughout that time, the CIA-supported Ba’ath engaged in ‘cleansing campaigns‘ which involved door-to-door death squads offing Washington’s enemies, based on questionable lists provided through covert liaisons.
Absurd contradictions of endless militarism
Upon Hussein’s rise to the Iraqi presidency in 1979, and the increasing boldness of the Iranian Revolution, the United States encouraged Hussein to invade Iran, kick-starting the most devastating war in the region’s history. Most Americans still haven’t seen the easily accessible archive footage of Reagan’s then special envoy to the Middle East, Donald Rumsfeld (another architect of the 2003 Iraq regime change), shaking hands with Hussein in 1983, in what was clearly a warm and cordial visit.
CNN coverage of the first 9/11 anniversary, Sept. 12, 2002 interview: a visibly upset Rumsfeld asks “Where did you get this video?” when confronted with footage of his prior chummy relations with Saddam Hussein.
Saddam would go on, during the course of the Iran-Iraq war that took over a million lives (1980-1988), to frequently employ chemical nerve agents against Iranian troop movements. Later into the war, this occurred with the assistance of the CIA and DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency). By the time of the 1988 gas attack against Kurdish citizens in Halabja, US covert assistance to Iraq’s military was established and routine.
And yet, Hussein soon became the new super-villain of the 1990s and the post-9/11 world. The very image of evil incarnate in the world. Even though his brutal dictatorial rule and regional aggression had undergone little change from when he was the CIA’s man in Baghdad. It was only American perceptions of him that changed.
The United States had helped to create the very monster it was telling young men and women to travel across the world to destroy in 2003. Ironically, one of the main justifications for going after the ‘evil tyrant’ offered by Bush was Hussein’s gassing of Halabja.
Resisting a ‘forever war’ culture
By the final year of my military contract, I was learning too many uncomfortable truths. But ultimately, it was meeting families with roots in Iraq and Syria during social functions outside of military work that finally transformed my thinking. Military culture and the general pro-war atmosphere in America had warped me into thinking of Iraqis as ‘savage’ and ‘tribal’, according to the usual simplistic stereotypes.
But I saw very quickly that Arab people and others from the region tended to have a much more nuanced understanding of the world, reflecting its true complexities, than the average American. Looking back, it was these Arab-American friends (who gave predictions and warnings about what was to come of the US invasion of Iraq) who were proven exactly right. At the time, they were sneered at and ridiculed by most for daring to offer a contrary viewpoint, even though they knew the history of America’s prior destructive meddling in the Middle East quite well.
I remember that my friend who had died so young in Iraq said, during one our last conversations, that his heart had been warmed by his brief encounters with the Iraqi civilians he spoke to during his first tour. He saw hope in their faces. He soon redeployed to Iraq, still trusting that our leaders had it right.
My friend, like thousands of others among the US war dead, loved his country. But the architects and promoters of the war were playing the same cynical and deceitful game they’ve played for decades in the Middle East. The men that led us into war lost no friends, grieved no loved ones, and suffered no lasting consequences. They left government and went on book tours, headed up powerful global institutions, retired to comfortable jobs at think tanks, and continued to make millions – as war profiteers have always done.
Leaving the Marines
During my last work day as an active duty member, I sat in an administrative room in Quantico with about 30 other marines about to receive ‘honorable discharge‘. Our final debriefing included having to sit through multiple presentations from representatives of major private military contractor firms (mercenary groups like Blackwater/Academi). As active military personnel we were forced to hear the mercenary companies’ recruitment pitches before being able to access our official discharge papers. I later learned that it was never widely known among the public that this happened on bases that were especially located around D.C. during the years just after 9/11.
They boasted of huge payouts to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq in a private capacity, at a time when both countries were engulfed in chaos and ruin. There was a smug grin on each mercenary recruiter’s face.
It seems that almost every Marine in the room flocked to the contractors’ tables after receiving official discharge papers. I walked past these mercenary recruitment tables in disgust, jumped in my packed-up car, and drove back to Texas as a civilian.
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Actors tied to the isolated nation have been involved in attacks on crypto exchanges in South Korea, a prominent U.S.cybersecurity firm said.
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Jim Cramer takes to the charts to discover that major oil refiners Andeavor, Valero and HollyFrontier could benefit from refinery shutdowns in Texas.
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Long dormant, the ether-bitcoin pair may offer up new opportunities to crypto traders in the coming month, technical analysis suggests. The post Bear Call? Ether-Bitcoin Trading Pair Positions for Weak September appeared first on bitcoinmining.shop.
MILAN: Three family members visiting a steamy volcanic field near Naples died Tuesday after an 11-year-old boy entered an off-limits area and his parents followed to try to rescue him, police said.
Police said the boy apparently slipped after he breached a fence surrounding the prohibited area at the Solfatara Crater in Pozzuoli. A 7-year-old boy who was a member of the same Italian family was nearby but remained outside the fenced-off area.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the 11-year-old and his parents were overcome by gases or were killed as the result of an explosion of super-heated mud. Heavy rains in recent days may have played a role by creating more openings in the volcanic field’s surface.
The crater is located in the Phlegraean Fields, a sprawling constellation of ancient volcanic craters frequented by Italian school children and tourists from around the world. The fields are scorching hot only a few inches below the surface.
Signs around the crater in multiple languages warn of the danger of burning from high soil temperatures and steam up to 160 degrees Celsius (320 degrees Fahrenheit.) Visitors are told to stay clear of fumaroles, openings in the Earth’s crust that emit steam and gases, and not to climb the slopes or breach the fences.
While the Phlegraean Fields are privately run, geologists monitor the area round the clock, checking temperatures and chemically analyzing gases. They have determined that the fields rose by about 30 centimeters (12 inches) over a decade.
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BTCUSD is heading towards key support levels on North Korean and Chinese Volatility. How low can Bitcoin go? Could BTCUSD survive the blows? Here is an overview weighing the good, and the bad, in the cryptocurrency world. The bad. 1- Crypto-currencies have become a tool for money laundering and criminal activities. As the most popular cryptocurrency, … Continue reading How Low Could Bitcoin Go on Negative Coverage?
Jim Cramer takes to the charts to discover that major oil refiners Andeavor, Valero and HollyFrontier could benefit from refinery shutdowns in Texas.
crude oilThe post Charts: 3 refiners that could surge in Harvey, Irma recovery appeared first on crud…
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