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Google, Facebook, and others are doubling down on crypto
With the interest of these tech giants, it looks like cryptocurrencies are here to stay.
- Cryptocurrencies have, until recently, seemed to be in a slump.
- Tech giants including Amazon, Google, Yahoo!, and Facebook are making moves, indicating that cryptocurrencies will soon become a bigger part of their platform.
- This renewed interest and could cause the price of cryptocurrencies to spike again in the near future.
A lot has changed since everyone we knew began panic-buying cryptocurrencies back in December 2017.
Some people are still holding onto their coins, waiting for the next big wave, but for many, there is no doubt that the initial enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies has long since worn off.
Up until recently, most big tech firms had relatively little involvement in the cryptocurrency industry. But now, it looks like many of them have merely been biding their time.
Over the past year, massive companies, including Facebook, Yahoo!, Google, and even Amazon, have showed increased interest in the potential uses and applications of cryptocurrency.
Facebook is launching its own coin
There have been rumors of Facebook getting involved in cryptocurrency since December 2017, when, at the height of the cryptocurrency wave, David Marcus, the former PayPal president and the head of the two biggest social media messaging platforms, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, joined Coinbase's board.
However, he then stepped down from the role in May 2018, reportedly in order to fully focus on merging cryptocurrencies with Facebook and to avoid a conflict of interest.
Most recently, Reuters reported that Facebook registered a new company called Libra Networks on the 2nd of May in Geneva, Switzerland.
There have been rumors that the project is focused on creating a cryptocurrency that will allow Facebook users to transfer money across borders as well as make online purchases.
Yahoo! recently announced a new exchange
Yahoo! owns 40% of the Japanese crypto exchange, Taotao, which it bought in April 2018 for an estimated 2 billion yen (approximately $19 million USD).
The platform seems to be re-entering the market just on time, following the reignited interest among Japanese cryptocurrency holders.
Reportedly, local Japanese digital asset exchanges have witnessed an increase in new accounts of up to 200%.
Initially, the platform will be open for trading Bitcoin and Ethereum, and it will also be open for margin trading for Litecoin, Ripple, and Bitcoin Cash.
Google launched new crypto-related search tools
With over 3.5 billion daily searches, Google is one of the most widely-used search engines around the world.
The platform is currently working on a way to display digital currencies in a more user-friendly manner by showing relevant information such as top stories and other similar suggested digital currencies when a user makes a search.
Right now, the interface only works for a small number of the most popular virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple. However, there are plans to include a much larger range of currencies in the future.
Google has also been combining big data and search algorithms to make information from large blockchains, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, publicly available to users.
Amazon snaps up domain names and begins to file patents
Last year, Amazon registered a number of new crypto-related domains, including AmazonEthereum.com, AmazonCryptocurrency.com, and AmazonCryptocurrencies.com.
While no official statement was released by Amazon regarding the purchase of these domain names, it has understandably raised speculation that Amazon could be preparing to move into the cryptocurrency market.
How will this affect the users of these platforms?
Many in the cryptocurrency community have expressed no surprise at the entry of tech giants into the field. Beni Hakak, CEO of LiquidApps has commented, saying:
Today, tech giants are in control of their user's data because their survival depends on it, it's their core product. They understand that decentralization and blockchain technology will transition ownership of this user data away from themselves and into the hands of the users. In other words, blockchain technology is a direct threat to the status quo.
Fearing for their future, these companies are making strides to harness and morph blockchain technology to fit their own purposes, to afford themselves control again except, this time, it's not possible. Blockchain is an open-source technology which can't be controlled by any single entity. Similarly to when the internet disrupted industries across the board, no one can stop the revolution as long as there are people willing to take up the banner of blockchain. Understandably, given the newness of cryptocurrencies, most major tech companies have held back from implementing it right away.
Since the value of cryptocurrencies has dropped, many users have shied away from them.
However, its adoption by these major platforms could help ignite the already renewed interest in cryptocurrencies. Over the next few months, it is likely that we will witness the crypto market pick up again. This could even cause a spike in the value of cryptocurrencies, which is especially welcome news for those who have held on to their coins!
As Anthony Pomp from Morgan Creek recently posted on Twitter, "there's not a large company in the world who isn't going to join the revolution."
But what exactly does this mean for users? Well, the truth is, no one really knows just yet. However, the adoption of cryptocurrencies by such major platforms has made one thing perfectly clear — cryptocurrencies are here to stay.
- Google Is Working on Its Own Blockchain-Related Technology ... ›
- Facebook is launching a new team dedicated to the blockchain - Vox ›
- Yahoo Japan-Backed Crypto Exchange Taotao Launches This Week ›
- Amazon is moving into blockchain with a new partnership ›
- IBM vs Microsoft: Two Tech Giants, Two Blockchain Visions ... ›
- Why Tech Giants Are Betting Big on Blockchain? | Blockchain Council ›
The finding is remarkably similar to the Dunning-Kruger effect, which describes how incompetent people tend to overestimate their own competency.
- Recent studies asked participants to rate the attractiveness of themselves and other participants, who were strangers.
- The studies kept yielding the same finding: unattractive people overestimate their attractiveness, while attractive people underrate their looks.
- Why this happens is unclear, but it doesn't seem to be due to a general inability to judge attractiveness.
There's no shortage of disparities between attractive and unattractive people. Studies show that the best-looking among us tend to have an easier time making money, receiving help, avoiding punishment, and being perceived as competent. (Sure, research also suggests beautiful people have shorter relationships, but they also have more sexual partners, and more options for romantic relationships. So call it a wash.)
Now, new research reveals another disparity: Unattractive people seem less able to accurately judge their own attractiveness, and they tend to overestimate their looks. In contrast, beautiful people tend to rate themselves more accurately. If anything, they underestimate their attractiveness.
The research, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, involved six studies that asked participants to rate the attractiveness of themselves and other participants, who were strangers. The studies also asked participants to predict how others might rate them.
In the first study, lead author Tobias Greitemeyer found that the participants who were most likely to overestimate their attractiveness were among the least attractive people in the study, based on average ratings.
Ratings of subjective attractiveness as a function of the participant's objective attractiveness (Study 1)
"Overall, unattractive participants judged themselves to be of about average attractiveness and they showed very little awareness that strangers do not share this view. In contrast, attractive participants had more insights into how attractive they actually are. [...] It thus appears that unattractive people maintain illusory self‐perceptions of their attractiveness, whereas attractive people's self‐views are more grounded in reality."
Why do unattractive people overestimate their attractiveness? Could it be because they want to maintain a positive self-image, so they delude themselves? After all, previous research has shown that people tend to discredit or "forget" negative social feedback, which seems to help protect a sense of self-worth.
To find out, Greitemeyer conducted a study that aimed to put participants in a positive, non-defensive mindset before rating attractiveness. He did that by asking participants questions that affirmed parts of their personality that had nothing to do with physical appearance, such as: "Have you ever been generous and selfless to another person?" Yet, this didn't change how participants rated themselves, suggesting that unattractive people aren't overestimating their looks out of defensiveness.
The studies kept yielding the same finding: unattractive people overestimate their attractiveness. Does that bias sound familiar? If so, you might be thinking of the Dunning-Kruger effect, which describes how incompetent people tend to overestimate their own competency. Why? Because they lack the metacognitive skills needed to discern their own shortcomings.
Greitemeyer found that unattractive people were worse at differentiating between attractive and unattractive people. But the finding that unattractive people may have different beauty ideals (or, more plainly, weaker ability to judge attractiveness) did "not have an impact on how they perceive themselves."
In short, it remains a mystery exactly why unattractive people overestimate their looks. Greitemeyer concluded that, while most people are decent at judging the attractiveness of others, "it appears that those who are unattractive do not know that they are unattractive."
Unattractive people aren't completely unaware
The results of one study suggested that unattractive people aren't completely in the dark about their looks. In the study, unattractive people were shown a set of photos of highly attractive and unattractive people, and they were asked to select photos of people with comparable attractiveness. Most unattractive people chose to compare themselves with similarly unattractive people.
"The finding that unattractive participants selected unattractive stimulus persons with whom they would compare their attractiveness to suggests that they may have an inkling that they are less attractive than they want it to be," Greitemeyer wrote.
Every star we can see, including our sun, was born in one of these violent clouds.
This article was originally published on our sister site, Freethink.
An international team of astronomers has conducted the biggest survey of stellar nurseries to date, charting more than 100,000 star-birthing regions across our corner of the universe.
Stellar nurseries: Outer space is filled with clouds of dust and gas called nebulae. In some of these nebulae, gravity will pull the dust and gas into clumps that eventually get so big, they collapse on themselves — and a star is born.
These star-birthing nebulae are known as stellar nurseries.
The challenge: Stars are a key part of the universe — they lead to the formation of planets and produce the elements needed to create life as we know it. A better understanding of stars, then, means a better understanding of the universe — but there's still a lot we don't know about star formation.
This is partly because it's hard to see what's going on in stellar nurseries — the clouds of dust obscure optical telescopes' view — and also because there are just so many of them that it's hard to know what the average nursery is like.
The survey: The astronomers conducted their survey of stellar nurseries using the massive ALMA telescope array in Chile. Because ALMA is a radio telescope, it captures the radio waves emanating from celestial objects, rather than the light.
"The new thing ... is that we can use ALMA to take pictures of many galaxies, and these pictures are as sharp and detailed as those taken by optical telescopes," Jiayi Sun, an Ohio State University (OSU) researcher, said in a press release.
"This just hasn't been possible before."
Over the course of the five-year survey, the group was able to chart more than 100,000 stellar nurseries across more than 90 nearby galaxies, expanding the amount of available data on the celestial objects tenfold, according to OSU researcher Adam Leroy.
New insights: The survey is already yielding new insights into stellar nurseries, including the fact that they appear to be more diverse than previously thought.
"For a long time, conventional wisdom among astronomers was that all stellar nurseries looked more or less the same," Sun said. "But with this survey we can see that this is really not the case."
"While there are some similarities, the nature and appearance of these nurseries change within and among galaxies," he continued, "just like cities or trees may vary in important ways as you go from place to place across the world."
Astronomers have also learned from the survey that stellar nurseries aren't particularly efficient at producing stars and tend to live for only 10 to 30 million years, which isn't very long on a universal scale.
Looking ahead: Data from the survey is now publicly available, so expect to see other researchers using it to make their own observations about stellar nurseries in the future.
"We have an incredible dataset here that will continue to be useful," Leroy said. "This is really a new view of galaxies and we expect to be learning from it for years to come."
Tiny specks of space debris can move faster than bullets and cause way more damage. Cleaning it up is imperative.
- NASA estimates that more than 500,000 pieces of space trash larger than a marble are currently in orbit. Estimates exceed 128 million pieces when factoring in smaller pieces from collisions. At 17,500 MPH, even a paint chip can cause serious damage.
- To prevent this untrackable space debris from taking out satellites and putting astronauts in danger, scientists have been working on ways to retrieve large objects before they collide and create more problems.
- The team at Clearspace, in collaboration with the European Space Agency, is on a mission to capture one such object using an autonomous spacecraft with claw-like arms. It's an expensive and very tricky mission, but one that could have a major impact on the future of space exploration.
This is the first episode of Just Might Work, an original series by Freethink, focused on surprising solutions to our biggest problems.
Catch more Just Might Work episodes on their channel: https://www.freethink.com/shows/just-might-work