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Brad Templeton, Who Started the World’s First Dotcom, on Why Bitcoin Matters

Bitcoin is just one example of how exponential technology is putting the reins of finance in the hands of individuals and small businesses.

Brad Templeton: So what Bitcoin creates is a ledger that needs no bank. And that's actually pretty important because if you think about what is a bank, at least as far as the money transfer and the checking and savings, not the loan part, but the financial, the moving money part of a bank, it's really — it's a secure ledger. The bank does not just have a little file that says your account has $3,000 in it. They insist that when you write something, they make a note in their ledger that $1,000 is transferred from your account into someone else's account and so on and that's important to make it secure. Well, what the designers of Bitcoin created was a way to make a ledger that's secure and that everyone can trust, but that no one owns or controls. And this allows people to have money that can be free of the influence of governments, which is both bad if you're a government and great if you don't like what governments do with their monetary policies. It lets the policy be set by consensus and software. So Bitcoin basically has found a way to always know what the majority thinks, and by always knowing what the majority thinks, you get something you hope you can trust.

While the only thing people use Bitcoin for today is effectively to write checks that transfer title in some Bitcoins to another person or another secret numbered account because it's designed to be public in what you do, but private in terms of who's doing it. It actually becomes possible to do things like write a contract and say "I transfer one Bitcoin to you if the following is true." And so now the contracts are enforced without courts, without any other third party. So the ability for people to just play with that and innovate with that that's really exciting and that's why you want to pay attention to Bitcoin.

 

Tech pioneer Brad Templeton calls Bitcoin just one example of how exponential technology is redefining finance. Understanding these changes in advance is a major advantage for individuals and businesses that want to stay a step (or 100 steps) ahead of their peers. And Singularity University’s 2015 Exponential Finance conference, happening June 2 and 3 in New York City, brings together some of the top future-focused entrepreneurs in every field: from finance, to law, to computing, to medicine, to share their discoveries and insights into what’s coming next, and how to turn it to your advantage. Tickets are going fast. Use the code BIGTHINK500 to lock in your seats now, at a $500 discount.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
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How Hemingway felt about fatherhood

Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.

Ernest Hemingway Holding His Son 1927 (Wikimedia Commons)
Culture & Religion

Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?

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The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

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  • Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
  • "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
  • In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.
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Masturbation boosts your immune system, helping you fight off infection and illness

Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?

Image by Yurchanka Siarhei on Shutterstock
Sex & Relationships
  • Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
  • The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
  • Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
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Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

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