Cryptocurrency exchanges may not be as safe as we first thought. A report from the state of New York’s attorney general has revealed that most exchanges do not have basic consumer protections in place, leaving them vulnerable to manipulation.
“Many virtual currency platforms lack the necessary policies and procedures to ensure the fairness, integrity, and security of their exchanges,” state Attorney General Barbara Underwood said in a statement. “Most platforms seem to cater to professional, automated traders, with many venues offering special pricing and other features to such traders, leaving retail customers at a disadvantage.”
As pointed out by The Wall Street Journal, the attorney general’s report suggests “protections for consumer funds are often limited or illusory.”
It would seem that standardized methods for auditing virtual assets do not exist.
“That makes it difficult or impossible to confirm whether platforms are responsibly holding their customers’ assets.” states the attorney general.
Thirteen platforms were approached by the attorney general’s office to participate in the study and provide information on how their platforms are secured, nine complied. These included: Bitfinex, Bittrex, Coinbase, Gemini Trust Company, itBit, Poloniex, Tidex, and HBUS.
“Four platforms – Binance Limited, Gate.io (operated by Gate Technology Incorporated), Huobi Global Limited, and Kraken (operated by Payward, Inc.) – claimed they do not allow trading from New York and declined to participate,” states the report.
The attorney general concludes the report with a list of eight questions that exchanges should be able to confidently answer. These questions concern but are not limited to: security measures to prevent hacking, insurance policies in the event of theft, measures for removing abusive traders, and if the platform is registered under forms of banking regulations.
Don’t think about living forever. Just think about never getting sick, ever again.
At least that’s how Aubrey de Grey would like you to contextualize his work. The notoriously bearded biomedical gerontologist is the scientific spark that lights up so many all-caps “immortality” headlines. De Grey wants to increase human longevity so significantly that death could become a thing of the past, a condition people fell prey to before they developed the medical technology to stop it. It’s been the center of his work for approximately 20 years.
De Grey started as a software guy at the genetics department of Cambridge University in 1992, maintaining a database of genetic information on fruit flies. In 1999 he published a book called “The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging,” where he first laid out the key idea we know him for today: preventing damage to mitochondrial DNA ought to make people live much longer. The idea was so well-received that Cambridge awarded him a PhD the following year. De Grey condensed his thesis to a sound byte in a 2007 interview: “[Humans] are machines, and aging is the wearing out of a machine, the accumulation of damage to a machine, and hence potentially fixable.”
De Grey made unrelated headlines earlier this year, punching a big hole into a notoriously difficult math problem that’s been stumping mathematicians since 1950, but it’s the campaign to crush aging that steers his ship. As co-founder of anti-aging research team SENS Research Foundation, the 55-year-old scientist is commonly found traveling these days, presenting his ideas at conferences around the world. While the thrust of individual events may vary, de Grey’s message is unchanged: it’s time we got to the bottom of that thing called “death.”
THE NEXT WEB: When we talk about using science and technology to enhance human beings, “transhumanism” tends to come up. Why don’t you like this word?
AUBREY DE GREY: I think the word is counterproductive. If you’re doing work in these areas, pioneering these technologies, then you don’t want other people to be scared of what you’re doing. You want them to understand its potential value, and the best way to achieve that is to emphasize this technology’s continuity with things that already exist.
In my case, it’s absolutely vital to emphasize that this is just medicine. It’s no less desirable than the medicines we have today, and there’s no reason to be scared of it. “Transhumanism” is a scary word, and I think it’s better to use words that don’t scare people. We’re not creating a new type of human.
I like to ask people if they ever want to be sick, or in particular, if they ever plan to be sick in the future. The answer is never yes, and that’s all you need to know: people don’t want to get sick, and as long as they don’t get sick, they probably don’t want to die.
How do you feel about the word “immortality?”
ADG: “Immortality” has an established meaning: zero risk of death from any cause. People understand that that is tautologically impossible, so if you use that word to describe what I’m trying to do, then you are kind of implying that result. The word dominates the conversation when I speak to the media because they have to sell papers. Some journalists are responsible, but some use sensationalist language.
You coined the term “pro-aging trance.” Can you unpack that for someone who’s never heard it before?
ADG: I went to a stage hypnotist show as an undergraduate at Cambridge. The performer got someone on stage, put them into a deep trance, and convinced them of some preposterous truth, making them believe that their right hand was their left hand. Without going into the implications, the hypnotist asked them to touch their left elbow with their “right hand,” and there was a lot of wriggling, and of course they can’t do it.
When you ask the hypnotized person why they can’t do this straightforward thing, their explanation is perfectly grammatical but utterly absurd. “Pro-aging trance” is the term I made up when I started to talk to people about ending aging, only to find out how completely fucked up they were about it. I thought, “How can otherwise very intelligent people think this way?”
What form will your research take when it becomes practical medicine? Are we talking about injections, surgery, something else?
ADG: It won’t be all that different from genetic medicine. Maybe there will be surgery early on, but that will be supplanted by stem cell therapy and the like. Therapies will be improved to be less invasive. Mainly it’s going to be done with injections. Of course, what is injected will be really complicated stuff, but from the point of view of the patient, it’s a shot.
In The Age Of Spiritual Machines, Ray Kurzweil writes, “Death gives meaning to our lives. It gives importance and value to time. Time would become meaningless if there were too much of it.”What does that stir up for you?
ADG: It’s complete bullshit. It’s so obviously an excuse for putting aging out of your mind and making peace with it “because you’ve got to.” If humans gain no understanding of how to deal with aging, then it makes sense to presume that you’re going to get old and die — as long as you don’t get hit by a truck. So you’ll either spend your life being preoccupied with this terrible thing that’s going to happen to you, or you can try to put it out of your mind, get on with your miserably short life, and hope for the best. That was all fine until I came along.
Kurzweil doesn’t have enough biology expertise to have good sense about the specifics, but he doesn’t pretend to. In any event, he talks about the endgame very much in the way I do. He’s definitely interested in living forever. We’re on the same page in terms of overall drive.
Who hates you? Do you have religious opponents?
ADG: I make a few people angry within the biology of aging. They think I’m making their jobs harder, that I am bringing the field into disrepute by making exaggerated claims about what we will be able to achieve and how soon. But most people don’t think that anymore. They realize I’m bringing new money into the field, and that’s a good thing.
As for religious groups, no. I may not be on the extremist radar yet, and I think largely it’s due to the fact that people quickly understand that this is about health. Keeping people healthy is God’s work. It’s the alleviation of suffering. It would be a sin not to work on it.
What can people do today to be ready for the longevity treatments of the future?
ADG: They can write me a large check. It’s been a question of money for a long time. When I started 20-odd years ago, I had three problems to solve. I needed a plan for defeating aging (which somehow didn’t exist yet), I needed to convince scientists around the world to implement that plan, and I had to find the money to make it happen. That last one’s been a problem for over a decade.
The great news is that it’s the only problem. The science has not been any bad news, and there’s still no reason that the approach to fixing the damage we were thinking about back then would not work now. New technologies like CRISPR are providing shortcuts to get us there faster. The only thing I got wrong was the money.
What are you willing to share about your own health regime? Do you take any interesting vitamins?
ADG: I am genetically very lucky. I had the good fortune to be tested five times over the past 15 years for everything you can imagine. I always come out with the results of a ridiculously young, healthy person. I have to be very conservative and say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I’m just one of those lucky people who can eat and drink exactly what he likes and nothing happens. I’m not a role model in this department.
What are the implications of people living much longer? How do we address overpopulation?
ADG: Let’s be clear — we’re not going to have any thousand-year-old people for at least another 900 years. That’s an important point to remember, because a lot can happen in 900 years. In particular, all sorts of technology will be developed in that time, and that is the answer to most of the concern. It all comes down to things like renewable energy, artificial meat, and desalinization solving problems before they begin. They will reduce pollution and increase the carrying capacity of our planet.
What are the remaining checkboxes on your to-do list for beating aging?
ADG: Each type of damage has its own approach to being fixed. For each of these, we can identify where we want to get it working within a cell culture, then get it working in mice, then go to clinical trial. There will be milestones involving combinations of therapies, and we’re working on these things in parallel.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author’s own and not necessarily shared by TNW.
Following the trend of bringing retro consoles back to delight nostalgic gamers, Sony has launched the PlayStation Classic – a smaller, modern take on the original PlayStation from 23 years ago.
The Classic is nearly half the size of the first PlayStation, which read CD-ROMs and sold 100 million units worldwide. It’ll come with 20 well-loved titles including Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms.
You’ll get an HDMI cable to plug the console into your TV, as well as two controllers with a matching color scheme. There’s also a ‘virtual memory card’ to save your progress across games.
The PlayStation Classic will go on sale for $100 on December 3. Sony will soon announce the other games in its line-up, as well as global availability; we’ll update this post when we have more details.
You now have a bunch of retro consoles to choose from: Nintendo’s got the NES Classic, Sega launched its Mega Drive Mini back in April, and Atari is accepting pre-orders for its VCS, which will ship next July. Sure, you can fire up emulators on your PC and mobile devices too, but it’s nice to be able to push a big fat Power button to launch your favorite games from back in the day.
A project by the USA’sCornell Universityhas been using Artificial Intelligence to help with protecting elephants in Afrika against poaching.
Named theElephant Listening Project(ELP), the initiative tracks elephant herds across the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo. The tracking of elephants is done through 50 sensors placed in various locations in the park.
A major focus has been to monitor elephant activity at numerous forest clearings throughout Central Afrika, but ELP has also used acoustic methods to estimate elephant density in Northern Congo as well as in Kakum, Ghana. The effects of increasing human activity on a population of forest elephants in a remoteGabon rainforestwas studied using multiple ARUs. In Loango National Park, oil exploration emerged in 2007 as a possible threat to elephants as well as to gorillas, chimpanzees, and other forest animals. The study explored the response of forest elephants to the development of an extracting activity in their habitat and gathered the first detailed data on daily patterns of elephant activity and the (previously unknown) activity of hunters.
It is definitely encouraging to see these initiatives looking to combat poaching but the question is do these technology driven initiatives help combat poaching or do they rather help catch poachers?
This is because, despite the use of AI, many don’t seem to be proactive and preemptive in trying to “predict” where poaching might happen but rather reactive in nature. This is probably just semantics as every and any effort aimed at combatting wildlife poaching makes a difference.
The sensors used by ELP are provided by Conservation Metrics, a startup that specializes in developing automated sensors. These sensors track patterns of elephant calls and gunshots and in turn, report all this back to a park’s rangers who then go on to determine where the herds are gathered and where the poachers could be operating from.
No small task considering that the sensors are reported to generate approximately 7 terabytes worth of audio recordings over a period of 90 days.
This post was originally published byiAfrikan. Check out their excellent coverage and follow them down here:
Mozilla has launched Firefox Reality, a web browser custom built for use with VR headsets. Version 1.0 is now available for free in Viveport, Oculus, and Daydream app stores.
The goal with this project, which the organization has been working on for years, is to make it easy to enjoy 2D and immersive content on the web as easily as possible. To that end, it supports web search using the mic on your headset so as to negate the need for typing; it also showcases VR games and experiences available online, right on the home screen for easy access.
Mozilla’s been bullish on the immersive web for a while now: It previously created the WebVR standard back in 2014 to help developers craft virtual reality experiences on the web. Following that, it’s drafted a proposal for WebXR, which will support augmented reality content in browsers.
While VR hardware is constantly improving, it’s yet to go mainstream. But it’s good to see that ecosystem is maturing, and the expansion of your choice of browsers is a step in that direction.
Mozilla says that it has a long list of features that it intends to add to Firefox Reality soon, including support for bookmarks, 360-degree videos, and multiple user accounts. If you’ve got the necessary hardware, you can try it now by grabbing the app for Oculus and Daydream; it’s also available in the Viveport store, where you’ll need to search for ‘Firefox Reality’ to download it.
It seems that Samsung is set to push the limits in photography with mid-range phones. According to a leak from SamsungMobile.News, Samsung will be launching its first phone with four rear cameras – Galaxy A9 Star Pro (2018) – on October 11.
The cameras will be placed vertically on the left with LED flash underneath them on the back of the phone. Samsung earlier teased a possible quad-camera phone with an invite which said ‘4X Fun’.
The phone will supposedly launch with black, blue gradient and pink gradient colorways, and a $580 price tag.
Rumorssuggest that the company will launch another phone named Galaxy A7 (2018) with three cameras and a side-mounted fingerprint sensor at the same event. The phone will likely get a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 or Snapdragon 710 processor with 4GB RAM, which means this will be a mid-range affair.
There have been reports of Samsung killing off the budget J-series and merging it into the A-series as well. If all the leaks are correct, this will mark the first time when a mid-range phone will sport more than two cameras – setting the bar high for upcoming phones.
Smartphone companies are trying to put more and more camera sensors in a phone to compete with DSLR cameras. With Huawei’s three-camera P20 pro wowing the customers in recent months. and rumors of a five camera Nokia phone floating around, these are exciting times for mobile photography enthusiasts.
Dissect a random pair of headphones and there’s a good chance you’ll see something like this: a cone-shaped diaphragm speaker placed in front of a metal coil magnet. This basic design has been the foundation for most speakers and headphones for roughly a century; you’ll find it in everything from everything to the cheapest earbuds to the most expensive hi-fi setup.
But headphone companies have branched out in the past decade or so. In particular, headphones using something called planar magnetic drivers – particularly those from Audeze and Hifiman – are darlings among audiophiles thanks to promises of deeper, tighter bass and improved soundstage. Once exclusive to thousand-dollar headphones, planar magnetic headphones have come down to much more accessible prices over the past few years.
Which brings us to the subject of this post. At $200 ($170 at the time of writing), Monoprice’s M565 are a high quality, relatively affordable gateway into the world of planar magnetic headphones.
What makes planar magnetic headphones special?
It’s in the name: unlike the aforementioned cone-shaped drivers, planar magnetic drivers are flat as a pancake. Hence the ‘plane’ part of ‘planar.’
While planars are still powered by magnets and coils, the flat diaphragm purportedly has a variety of benefits, including, deeper and tighter bass, a more realistic soundstage, and less distortion at high volumes. You can read up morehereandhere. Of course this all depends on the individual implementation, but in my experience planars tend to consistently have a recognizable sound to them.
The caveats are largely practical: Planar magnetic headphones tend to be larger, heavier, and more expensive – in part because the tech is much younger.
The M565’s address these three points. They’re large, but not bigger than your average stay-at-home headphone. They’re not uncomfortably heavy, and the headband distrubutes the weight well. The headphones come in both open-back and closed back models, though I was only able to test the former. The wood and metal frame feels well-built – I’ve been using the regularly M565s for a few months now and there’s no sign of them letting up. Naturally they leak noise and let outside noise in, although a bit less than some other open headphones
Most importantly, the $200 price makes it among the most affordable planar magnetic headphones out there.
Planar magnetic headphones tend to share some acoustic qualities, but the design doesn’t guarantee good sound quality. Thankfully like many of Monoprice’s other products, the M565 punch above their price category.
How do they sound?
When thinking of how to describe the M565’s, the word ‘weight’ comes to mind. The headphones have a thick, dark sound, that might be a bit surprising for those used to the dryer analytical sound of most audiophile-oriented headphones, but they do so without sacrifice detail. It’s an engaging, easy-to-enjoy sound while presenting plenty of nuance if you’re looking for it.
Bass is the heart of the M565’s sound. Not that it’s overbearing, but it’s clear Monoprice’s tuning meant to emphasize the low end. It has an enveloping impact, but remains tight enough to not get lost during busier tracks, and extends well into sub-bass despite their open nature. For those of you that like to be able to hear bass guitars as clearly as the rest of the band – or say, the cellos and double basses in classical – these are the headphones for you.
The midrange is smooth and velvety, well textured. The thick sound might make them sound a little veiled at first – I’m used to brighter headphones – but it didn’t take long to get to used to it.
Treble is slightly rolled off, but unlike many dark-sounding headphones, it never gets really gets lost behind other frequencies. Hi-hats have a well-defined sparkle, but aren’t going to make you flinch after a loud crash. That means the M565 never get sibilant or fatiguing for long sessions, and theyre forgiving of lower quality recordings too.
The soundstage is good. It’s not the widest I’ve heard for an open back headphone due to their thicker sound and rolled off treble, but the M565 still do a good job of instrument separation and depth, and will outperform most closed back headphones anyway. They don’t trap sound inside your head, but think more intimate music venue than grand concert hall.
For some context, let’s compare the $200 M565 to the $349 Sony 1000XM3, one of the best consumer-oriented headphones right now. Despite very different tunings – the Sony is much brighter by comparison – the M565 sounds more transparent, with less splashy treble and tighter bass. This isn’t a knock against the Sony, mind you; it’s packed with features and I actually prefer its overall tuning. It’s just an illustration of the better value on pure sound quality offered with the M565. Even among audiophile headphones, I found the M565 to be atleast ‘sidegrade’ level with the popular Sennheiser HD6XX series. Nowadays those are considered ‘mid-fi,’ but it was just a few years ago they were Sennheiser’s best headphones.
One practical note: Though they can get loud enough with most smartphones and PC, they probably won’t sound their best. Like many planars, they have a relatively low impedance, but really benefit from an amp or otherwise powerful source. Vocals can sound a little congested and the soundstage smaller. LG’s G7 is the only smartphone that really did them justice, but they still scaled well through my desktop’s more powerful output.
If this is your first foray into audiophile gear – that is, headphones that prioritize critical listening over convenience – the M565s are a great gateway drug.
They’re at once smooth and easy to listen to, but have more detail than similarly priced headphones, especially those aimed at consumer. Their particular frequency response might be too dark for audiophiles who prefer an analytical sound, but they’re a strong recommendation for someone looking for a fancy set of headphones to leave at home.
Though everyone is focusing on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, Google likely has more devices planned for its October 9 event. Following rumors of two new Chromebooks, a leak of Google’s Home Hub smart display is making the rounds today courtesy of MySmartPrice.
Unless these are some classy fakes, the images show off a device conceptually similar to other Google Assistant devices with a screen, which are in turn similar to Amazon’s Echo Show. You have a 7-inch touchscreen with a base that doubles as a speaker, and of course, there are microphones on board. The main screen shows us the weather and upcoming commute, with room to view more cards. You know, typical Google Assistant stuff.
Curiously, there doesn’t appear to be a webcam onboard; there’s no mention of one in the leaked spec sheet, and the markings on the top appear to be for the ambient light and color sensor that are mentioned. That should assuage privacy concerns, but it still seems like an odd omission given it’s a feature available on the Echo Show, as well as the Googe-powered devices from Lenovo and JBL. A simple camera cover would’ve sufficed, but what do I know?
There’s no word on price, but similar devices retail for around $200. Expect official deets once October 9 arrives.
Gamer rage is one thing, but a 45-year-old New York man took things way beyond the legal limits when he allegedly threatened to murder an 11-year-old child who beat him in an online game yesterday.
According to local law enforcement, suspect Michael Aliperti has been charged with second-degree aggravated harassment and acting in a manner to injure a child. He was arrested at approximately 1 AM local time this morning after police received reports he’d sent threatening voice and text messages to a boy who won a battle royale match of Fortnite.
A local NBC affilliate reports that, according to court records, Aliperti sent the juvenile gamer a message stating:
I am going to find you with a gun. You dead. I will come to your house tonight and fuck your world up.
Local police chief Stuart Cameron told reporters that further threats indicated Aliperti threatened to carry out the killing at the child’s school as well, saying they were treating it as a school shooting threat. According to Long Island News 12, Stuart said “Mr. Aliperti did not directly threaten the school, but he did threaten the 11-year-old stating he knew where he went to school, so that was good enough for us.”
Aliperti is currently being held on $2,500 bond and faces fines for both charges, which are misdemeanors, with the potential to spend time in a county jail. His lawyer told News 12 that Aliperti is a father of three with no criminal record who is currently going through a divorce.
The gaming world has far more than its fair share of lunatics and assholes, but it’s not common for an adult to threaten to murder a young child over losing a video game. Here’s hoping Aliperti gets the help he obviously needs.
Google today announced it’s shuttering YouTube Gaming, replacing it with a page on the main site. The company is hoping that the Gaming page, while not very dissimilar to the Gaming site, will help bring more viewers and content creators together now that they aren’t being forced to shuffle between two sites.
With YouTube Gaming on the YouTube homepage, you can browse the games and creators you love and discover new ones as well. Who have you been watching lately? https://t.co/e6jS7fpD95
The new Gaming experience looks fairly similar to the previous site. The landing page shows you recommended streams and videos, along with the most-streamed live games. In my case, it’s all Fortnite, all the time. It also shows you videos from subscribed gaming channels, and allows you to set reminders for upcoming livestreams on your Google Calendar. If you wish, you can also subscribe to individual games in order to see more content on that game in particular — though again, in the case of Fortnite on my page, that might be a bit redundant.
The differences between the two aren’t that noticeable. There’s a section for “On the Rise” creators, which will show both in Gaming and on the Trending page. If I were to be really picky when it comes to the design, I’d say it’s less Twitch-lite and more YouTube, but it’s otherwise not that noticeable of a difference.
In an astounding display of frankness, YouTube has admitted its separate Gaming experiment hasn’t yielded any benefits for either the content creators or the viewers for whom it was intended: “We have a strong and vibrant audience on the YouTube Gaming app, but the amount of gamers we are able to reach is far bigger on YouTube.”
Ryan Wyatt, head of YouTube Gaming, told Polygon the app just wasn’t pulling in the audience it was intended to, mostly because users would default to basic YouTube:
So many of these users are just using YouTube and the regular YouTube experience. You’d have some people that funneled through into the gaming app, or the gaming destination, but we were finding we still weren’t touching many people daily.
YouTube launched Gaming as its own site in 2015, as a rather obvious counter-measure to the meteoric rise of Twitch. It spruced the site up with things such as special chat monetization features and channel memberships to encourage users to make money from their content. It’s bringing those features over to the main site along with the rest of Gaming.
But other than those meager features, there was never any reason, as a viewer, to not just use the main site or app. You can watch all the same content, and if you get bored with the fifty millionth Fortnite video, you can click over to your recommended daily dose of cute kitten videos from the same location and refresh yourself. As it was, YouTube Gaming was just another rather useless attempt to grab Twitch’s glory. Ironically, Twitch is now returning the favor by trying to poach YouTube stars with special contracts.
The Gaming portal today launched in the US, and it’s rolling out to other countries in the coming weeks. To find it, check the left side bar and scroll all the way down to the bottom. The YouTube Gaming app will officially disappear off the market in March 2019.