tl;dr Bitcoin works, at least for fast transactions
Time will tell whether the gold bugs or the skeptics are right, but what’s being overlooked is that it doesn’t matter whether Bitcoin makes it as a store of value or a unit of account for it to work as a medium of exchange. Even if the Bitcoin market remains volatile and never pans out as a good store of value or unit of account, one can imagine users converting their dollars or euros to bitcoins for just long enough to make a transaction; perhaps just minutes. And as long as it works as a medium of exchange, it is the true digital cash that was missing from the cypherpunks’ predictions.
With a little bit of effort, today you can purchase bitcoins anonymously with physical cash. You could then do all sorts of things the government doesn’t want you to do. You could buy illegal drugs on the notorious Silk Road, an encrypted website that has been operating with impunity for the past two years facilitating annual sales estimated at almost $15 million. You could gamble at various casinos or prediction markets, buy contraband Cuban cigars, or even give money to WikiLeaks. Dissidents in Iran or China can use Bitcoin to buy premium blogging services from WordPress, which now accepts payment in the currency. Perhaps more importantly, Bitcoin makes the cypherpunks predictions of markets for stolen secret information and even assassinations feasible.
Last month, the Treasury Department issued guidance on how it plans to regulate Bitcoin exchanges. This is good news for the currency since it implies the government is looking to regulate its use rather than prohibit it. Confronted with Bitcoin’s potential, it’s not reasonable to expect that Treasury’s money laundering cops would simply let it be. So it’s a sensible approach for them to take because Bitcoin, much like BitTorrent, can be used for both licit and illicit purposes and would in any event be difficult to shut down.
Prior to the fictional events in “Breaking Bad” ricin was used several times as both a tool of assassination as well as a weapon of terrorism. It’s cheap and easy to make and no known antitoxins existed until just a couple of years ago.
The beans themselves can kill an adult if injested, and the amount of pure ricin extract that’s lethal is less than the amount of venom a bee stings you with.
Unibrow discrimination is a very real, very measurable problem. While I don’t condone unibrow discrimination, if you’re blessed with a single follicular faceband, you may consider a browectomy, if just to avoid being some rando a Facebook post.
Amid rising tensions over speculations of North Korea conducting missile tests, Japan has rolled out its ballistic missile defence system on Monday. Aerial footage shot by Japanese public broadcaster NHK showed launchers equipped with Patriot surface-to-air missiles deployed at three bases on the Japanese mainland, one – on the outskirts of Tokyo.
Meanwhile, Japan has refused to comment on the deployments, saying it does not want to reveal operational details to North Korea or alarm the public. Japan has taken similar measures before previous North Korean launches. It has never actually tried to shoot down a North Korean missile and was not expected to try to do so unless there was a clear threat to Japanese territory.
North Korea is believed to have moved ballistic missiles to its east coast, possibly in preparation for a test launch. That has further raised tensions on the Korean Peninsula amid threats by North Korea and large-scale war games involving US and South Korean troops.
Bruce Schneier’s a security specialist with his own Internet meme. And while most people believe that technology elevates, improves things, Schneier holds that technology magnifies, makes things bigger, good and…