Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for August 2nd, 2017

In 1815 an American ship ran aground in northwestern Africa, and its crew were enslaved by merciless nomads. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll follow the desperate efforts of Captain James Riley to find a way to cross the Sahara and beg for help from Western officials in Morocco. We’ll also wade through more molasses and puzzle over a prospective guitar thief. Show notes Please support us on Patreon!

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Netflix reveals new slate of anime originals

Posted by kenmay on August - 2 - 2017

Netflix is taking the plunge into the world of Japanese animation. The streaming giant already licenses a number of animes, and now its sprucing up its library with a raft of originals. The new wave of shows includes exclusives from the studios behind Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell. By snapping up titles you can’t watch elsewhere, Netflix is hoping to one-up its rivals Funimation (and its parent company Sony) and Crunchyroll . The new anime line-up follows in the footsteps of the platform’s other originals, among them Castlevania and the upcoming Assassin’s Creed series. Several of the new shows will bow in 2018. They include Sword Gai , a modern-day fantasy about a boy who fuses with a demonic sword to battle hordes of monsters. Based on the manga, Baki is a 26-episode series about a mixed-martial arts fighter who dukes it out with death row inmates. From the studio behind Ghost in the Shell comes B: The Beginning , which follows an investigator on the case of a serial killer, who could be part of a wider criminal organization. The show reportedly mixes sci-fi and fantasy elements with an added dose of drama. Another high-profile anime, from the talent behind My Hero Academia, is A.I.C.O. Incarnation . Set in the near future, the show features a dangerous artificial life form secured behind a restricted zone. An unwitting young girl is drawn into the action after learning she may have ties to the synthetic organism. The gory chaos, as teased in the trailer, recalls the apocalyptic end-scenes from the iconic anime Akira . As it did with the classic US cartoon Voltron , Netflix is also reaching into the past to reboot an iconic Japanese anime. Knights of the Zodiac: Saint Seiya revives the 80s show starring a team of heroes who don magical armor that matches the designs of the constellations. Their mission: to defend the reincarnation of the Greek goddess Athena against the other Olympian Gods. Devilman Crybaby also plumbs the past, this time adapting a 1972 anime about a normal boy turned demon-human hybrid who devotes his life to saving the world from invading evil spirits — as you do. The bombastic bunch is rounded out by a gentler show in the guise of the musical fantasy Lost Song . Aside from the exclusives, Netflix will also drop a crop of licensed originals shortly after they air in Japan. The list includes Children of the Whales , Cannon Busters, Fate/Apocrypha , and a series about popular Japanese stuffed toy Rilakkuma. Via: CNET

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Bitcoin feud splits the currency in two

Posted by kenmay on August - 2 - 2017

This morning, bitcoin split into two currencies — the original and Bitcoin Cash. The hard forking, as it’s known, resulted from heated debate over the cryptocurrency’s future, since the aging tech behind blockchain has prevented easy scaling. While a new code upgrade called SegWit2x was introduced last week as a compromise, dissenters still decided to start backing Bitcoin Cash and fork off in their own direction. The community anxiously waited for financial fallout after the schism, but aside from a temporary 7 percent drop in bitcoin value this morning, the split seems to have avoided disaster. Whether Bitcoin Cash sticks around is another question. The spat is rooted in bitcoin’s success: A year ago, bitcoin’s value hovered around $500 and slowly climbed through the new year, but started shooting up in April to top out at $3, 000 in June. That led to a higher volume of transactions, which the blockchain technology — the cryptocurrency’s ledger that verifies and tracks transactions, recording the latest in unchangeable “blocks” — was struggling to keep up with. The bitcoin network can only support 1MB per minute or seven transactions per second, according to The Telegraph , which is paltry compared to the thousands per second run through financial webs supporting credit cards, for example. To keep bitcoin growing, this number would have to go up. But the cryptocurrency community was split on how to do it. Two competing strategies arose: Increase each block’s code limit, which would store more data per block but increase server loads processing transactions, or shift smaller transactions outside the blockchain. The SegWit2x tech includes a bit of both, pushing some data outside the main network and promising to double the block size to 2MB by November. It was enough of a compromise to avert a serious and widespread cleft in the community. That wasn’t enough for some, who started backing Bitcoin Cash, which chose the former route and increased its blocks to 8MB. Today’s hard fork, which essentially launched the cryptocurrency into being, boosted its value from $200 to $370. Some bitcoin exchanges, where users make transactions and store their coins, will recognize Bitcoin Cash, including Kraken and ViaBTC — but others like Coinbase and Poloniex said they wouldn’t as they’re uncertain it’ll stick around. If you’re still not sure what this means for your supply of cryptocurrency, there are plenty of resources online to help, including Coindesk’s guide for the transition. The future of the brand-new cryptocurrency depends on more users and investors supporting it, and it’s not clear whether it will survive into the future. For now, split from bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash must jockey with the other alternatives to the leading cryptocurrency like Ethereum and Litecoin. Source: The Telegraph

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