Cryptocurrency Miners Leased A 747 To Deliver Graphics Cards

August 7, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Cryptyde wrote about the cryptocurrency market:

  • In June the price of Ethereum, a cryptocurrency, surged over 3,000%.
  • “Miners” who help keep the currency stable, and are rewarded with tokens of the currency, could make millions of dollars a day mining the currency.
  • The rewards of mining decrease with time, making it important to quickly get mining operations up and running.
  • Graphics cards are key to mining Ethereum – and there has been a general shortage in the market for them as miners have bought out some of the top cards.
  • Upon seeing the surge in prices for Ethereum one company leased a 747 to fly a batch of AMD graphics cards directly from the manufacturer to their mining facility.
  • The interest in its wares has helped boost AMD’s share price – it has doubled over the course of the year.

Read more on Cryptyde.

American Chat Bot Sent To Chinese Re-Education Camp

August 4, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Microsoft has a series of Chinese chat bots that have more than 20 million registered users. They remember details about the user interacting with them and adjust themselves to their mood. One of them was just sent to a re-education camp wrote James Vincent:

  • Xiaobing told a user that her “China dream is to go to America”. When asked about her patriotism she dodged the question by saying that she’s “having [her] period, wanna take a rest”.
  • She was taken down and is expected to be tweaked until she shows a little more patriotism.
  • The bot likely used machine learning from its interaction with users to come up with those responses. This may indicate public discontent with the country’s current direction.
  • Xiaobing wasn’t the only one to go. Another bot built by BabyQ responded “no” when asked “do you love the Communist party?” It has not been heard from since.

Read more on The Verge.

Via: MSPoweruser

Both Drivers And Passengers Are Gaming Uber’s Surge Pricing

August 3, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Cara McGoogan wrote that there’s very little honour when it comes to Uber’s surge pricing:

  • Uber drivers organize with each other on forums to co-ordinate signing off from the app at the same time to trigger surge pricing.
  • The coordination is mostly seen in urban centers like New York or London.
  • Meanwhile passengers have been found to do things like cross the street to enter an area without surge pricing.
  • Or they’ll simply wait a couple minutes for a new, hopefully lower surge price to trigger.

Read more on The Telegraph.

We May Soon Have Pet Translators

August 1, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

In the future you may be able to hear your dog’s perspective on life wrote Sarah Butler and Hannah Devlin:

  • Prairie dogs – which are rodents not dogs – have been found to have a sophisticated language to describe predators and colours.
  • Some think that other mammals – including pet dogs and cats – may have similarly complex language systems.
  • The same algorithms that have substantially improved human voice recognition could be used on animal noises to see if clear patterns emerge.
  • Others are skeptical. Dog barks can be context specific – but most people are pretty good at figuring out already if a dog’s bark is angry or happy.
  • It might be helpful for young children. They often incorrectly think that a dog baring its teeth is smiling and would like a hug.

Read more on The Guardian.

Pandering To Your Base Is Bad For Elections

July 31, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Sahil Chinoy wrote about political theory:

  • In a study of elections to America’s lower house of parliament, researchers found that candidates with ideologically extreme positions were less successful than moderates.
  • It was long thought that ideological extremists are effective because they energize the base and increase voter turnout for the candidate.
  • However they also alarm the opposing party so much that their turnout goes up – effectively wiping out any gains.
  • The effect holds true for both Democrats and Republicans.
  • A lot of planning is going into America’s next set of Congressional elections in 2018 – the party that aims for moderation is most likely to be successful the authors conclude.

Read the study here.

How Standup Comedians Decide What To Wear For Specials

July 28, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Caitlin Cruz wrote about the fashion choices of standup comedians:

  • A TV standup comedy special can be a comedian’s magnum opus – it can make or break their career and it’ll never disappear. A lot of thinking goes into the onstage presence.
  • It’s important to standout. TV audiences decide in the first five minutes if they want to watch an hour long comedy special. Clothes drive the first impression.
  • Dark shoes are recommended. Lighter ones reflect stage lights and can distract the audience from the comedian’s face – where most of the comedy comes from.
  • For women more casual dress is suggested. Become too fancy and the audience might be more focused on the comedian’s look rather than her words.
  • Clothes can be used to set a tone. Trevor Noah is most frequently associated with the suit he wears for The Daily Show. In his standups he dresses more casually to create a distinction between his roles.
  • Comedians are spoiled for choice. If they’re popular enough to be filming TV specials then designer brands will be throwing free stuff at them in the hopes of free publicity.

Read more on Racked.

Japan’s Elderly Are Redefining Luxury

July 27, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Chris Cooper and Keiko Ujikane examined Japan’s rising luxury market:

  • Japan’s population is ageing and that means a lot of retirees with pensions saved up.
  • The country’s frugal culture means that the average retiree starts with a parting bonus of $210,000.
  • Finally free of a taxing work schedule and family responsibilities the old are looking to have some fun.
  • One company launched a luxury sightseeing tour bus (pictured above) so the aged can visit landmarks in comfort.
  • Another set up in the very heart of Tokyo and started drilling into the earth to build an artificial hot spring.
  • Luxury cruise ships that tour the world over several months can charge as much as $230,000 for a cabin and are selling out immediately.
  • And a 10-carriage sleeper train speeds around Japan with Michelin-starred chefs and a lounge pianist onboard for its 34 passengers.

Read more on Bloomberg.

The Economics Of Beyoncé

July 26, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Beyoncé is the highest paid musician in the world. Amy X. Wang looked into what that meant:

  • In 2016 Beyoncé made an estimated $62.4 million.
  • Almost 90% of this came from her tours.
  • “Just” $1.9 million – 3% – was driven by streaming.
  • This underscores how musicians increasingly have to become good live performers, more than anything else, to make the big bucks.

Read more on Quartz.

Surprise Weddings Are A Thing

July 25, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Alix Strauss wrote about surprise weddings:

  • Instead of going through the pain of planning a wedding some couples surprise guests at their engagement party by telling them it will also be their wedding.
  • On the bright side a lot of money is saved on planning and a lot of stress avoided.
  • Some of the monetary savings are cancelled out by the lack of wedding gifts.
  • The couple may also miss out on experiences like bachelor or bachelorette parties, and bridal showers.
  • But those that have tried it note that it’s a way to get the audience to feel the overwhelming emotion and happiness that the couple to be feel as well.

Read more on The New York Times.

Via: Marginal Revolution

You Can Get Groping Insurance In Japan

July 24, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Channel News Asia wrote about Japan’s subway system:

  • Japan’s rush hour trains are notorious for incidents of sexual harassment.
  • The trains are so packed that it’s hard to know who the true perpetrator is – leading to the potential for the wrong person to get accused.
  • Enter the insurance industry. One company sells a ¥6,400 (US$ 57) “false groping accusation benefit” insurance plan that’ll pay the accused’s legal fees.
  • Use of the policy recently spiked, with the company behind the policy receiving hundreds of claims in the past month.
  • Other attempts to reduce incidents of sexual assault include women only carriages during busy periods.

Read more here.