Bitcoin and blockchain 101: Why the future will be decentralized

A crash course in the history of money, the birth of Bitcoin, and blockchain technology.

  • We've all heard terms like Bitcoin, blockchain, and cryptocurrency being thrown around in the past few years, but what do they mean? Consider this your crash course.
  • Experts from across the spectrum of money and tech provide a history of commerce dating back tens of thousands of years, explain what blockchain and Bitcoin are and how they work, and offer insights into the differences between centralized and decentralized systems.
  • Because blockchain is incredibly difficult to hack, it has massive implications for elections, banking, shipping, land ownership—any domain where corruption is rampant. While the technology may feel abstract now, programmer Brian Behlendorf compares it to explaining the concept of email to people in 1993. One day, blockchain will be a seamless part of our lives.
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Why moral people tolerate immoral behavior

As morally sturdy as we may feel, it turns out that humans are natural hypocrites when it comes to passing moral judgment.

  • The problem with having a compass as the symbolic representation of morality is that due north is not a fixed point. Liane Young, Boston College associate professor and director of the Morality Lab, explains how context, bias, and tribal affiliation influence us enormously when we pass moral judgments.
  • Moral instinct is tainted by cognitive bias. Humans evolved to be more lenient to their in-groups—for example excusing a beloved politician who lines their pockets while lambasting a colleague for the exact same transgression—and to care more about harm done close to them than harm done farther away, for example, to people in another country.
  • The challenge for humans in a globalized and polarized world is to become aware of our moral biases and learn to apply morality more objectively. How can we be more rational and less hypocritical about our morals? "I think that clarifying the value that you are consulting for a particular problem is really critical," says Young.
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Here's why narcissists become leaders, according to two psychologists

Psychologists W. Keith Campbell, (Ph.D.) and Carolyn Crist explain why narcissists rise to power and how to make sure your support is going to someone making effective, positive change.

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  • Pathological narcissism is rare. It impacts an estimated 1 percent of the population.
  • Narcissism is tied closely to leadership emergence, as narcissists tend to initially be confident, charismatic, and charming. Leadership is a natural goal for narcissists because it feeds their motivational goals of status, power, and attention.
  • Psychologists W. Keith Campbell, (Ph.D.) and Carolyn Crist explain why narcissists rise to power.
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Study: Private prisons result in more inmates, longer sentences

The Labour Economics study suggests two potential reasons for the increase: corruption and increased capacity.

  • After adopting strict sentencing laws in the '80s and '90s, many states have turned to for-profit prisons to handle growing prison populations.
  • A new study in Labour Economics found that privately-run prisons correlate with a rise in incarceration rates and sentence lengths.
  • While evidence is mixed, private prisons do not appear to improve recidivism or cost less than state-run facilities.
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    You want to stop child abuse? Here's how you can actually help.

    Sharing QAnon disinformation is harming the children devotees purport to help.

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    • The conspiracy theory, QAnon, is doing more harm than good in the battle to end child trafficking.
    • Foster youth expert, Regan Williams, says there are 25-29k missing children every year, not 800k, as marketed by QAnon.
    • Real ways to help abused children include donating to nonprofits, taking educational workshops, and becoming a foster parent.
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