Atlas Weekly Digest (3/23-3/30)

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This Week around the World

 

Cryptocurrencies

Prices Fall, but not for the Reason Reported

Prices of Ethereum have fell to around $400 as chipmaker and mining hardware producer Bitmain announced a an integrated chip for GPU mining, which could increase efficiency (and effectively earnings) 100x. For Nvidia and AMD, this breakthrough will mean massive cuts to demand for graphics cards, however much of the price volatility can also be attributed to a EOS dumping 83,000 ETH, flooding the market with sell orders thus decreasing the market price.  

What’s the deal with Decentralized Exchanges?

While there has been a lot of hype around decentralized cryptocurrencies exchanges, executing has proved difficult. After Binance announced its own decentralized exchange project, it also announced a $1M prize for the team that can build it, inadvertently admitting its own inability to do so. Cryptobridge, which is already live, went down on Thursday, highlighting the growing pains of the emerging technology that could increase reliability and transparency of transactions.

Big Tech

Identity for Sale

In response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook cut ties with Experian and Transunion. Yes, the same Experian that lost the social security numbers of 143M Americans, also had all their Facebook data on hand. In other news, some users finally began downloading their user history, a document (tens of thousands of pages and gigabites in size) that records every post, messenger conversation, document upload, like, and poke they’ve ever made.  

Amazon on Alert

Shares in Amazon fell (from $1555 to $1377) after an Axios source said that POTUS has "wondered aloud if there may be any way to go after Amazon with antitrust or competition law.” Of course the President later tweeted some interesting supporting arguments stating, "unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!"

For years, Amazon used the taxpayer subsidized USPS to cheaply deliver products, even using “hostile takeover” tactics to force the service into weekend deliveries. Amazon easily undercuts local retailers by a 4-9% margin due to sales tax loopholes exempting online businesses. The strategic purchase of the Washington Post is said to keep eyes off Amazon’s business practices.

Politics

Adult film star Stormy Daniels fails to faze the President.

After appearing on nearly every mainstream network from CBS to NBC, Stormy Daniels appeared to spark hope in the Democratic Party that President Trump could finally be felled with allegations that he attempted to silence her to prevent news of their affair from leaking to the public during the campaign. The film star, who signed an NDA about the alleged affair and is in violation of such agreement by speaking out, was invited to share her explosive evidence on 60 Minutes with Anderson Cooper. During the interview, the actress’ answers and lack of overall credibility seemed to annoy Mr. Cooper, and the following day, the punditry and opposition realized that this story was just another nothing-burger. The public continues to seek evidence from Stormy and her attorney in vain.

International

China Creates Skynet

Even compared to Facebook, China is on a role when it comes to reducing domestic privacy. China recently announced its new Social Credit Score will be mandatory for all citizens by 2020. The system will track everything from credit to petty crimes in a system that can deny offenders the right to use public buses or even planes. Of course, the system needs big brother to keep tabs, which led to the development of a nationwide facial detection system which  “is able to identify 40 facial features, regardless of angles and lighting, at an accuracy rate of 99.8 percent," reports People's Daily. "It can also scan faces and compare them with its database of criminal suspects at large at a speed of 3 billion times a second, indicating that all Chinese people can be compared in the system within only one second."

 

Misc

Does anyone know a Dungeon Contractor?

Two sex cults were exposed this week, one implicating a cult called Nxivm, and the other spotlighting rapper R. Kelly.

Nxivm’s  founder, Keith Raniere was arrested in Mexico this week. The leader is accused of branding his “slaves” and keeping them on an 800 calorie diet. He used former Smallville actress Catherine Oxenber for recruitment while embezzling money from his slaves, it was reported that “$150 million was taken out of the Bronfmans’ trusts and bank accounts, including $66 million allegedly used to cover Raniere’s failed bets in the commodities market, $30 million to buy real estate in Los Angeles and around Albany, $11 million for a 22-seat, two-engine Canadair CL-600 jet, and millions more to support a barrage of lawsuits across the country against nxivm’s enemies.”

R. Kelly also faced accusations this week of coercing young women and girls into his dungeon, with his ex-girlfriend stating, ““I was introduced to one of the girls that he told me he ‘trained’ since she was 14” According to Jones, Kelly “physically, mentally, verbally, and sexually” abused her. “I would go without eating for a couple days as punishment,” she told reporter Ben Zand, adding that disobeying him would result in her being “slapped, beaten, and kicked.”

Leak of the Week
After predicting the recent Facebook scandal, Q Anon, an anonymous 4chan member (who claims to be tied to the Trump campaign and Q-level security clearance) stated that Twitter, Amazon, Mircrosoft, and 12 others will be next. As craigslist removes their adult ads to avoid being held liable for a law passed by congress that seeks "to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully", social media and big tech companies may be next.

Mark kilaghbian