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Submission + - New Chinese Regulations Require Real Name on Internet-> 1

mpicpp writes: As part of an effort to increase control over the Internet, China's government this week revealed new regulations that require Web users to register their real names.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the rules apply to users of blogs, microblogs, instant messaging services, online discussion forums, news comment sections, and other related services.

Beginning March 1, China will also ban Web accounts that impersonate people or organizations, Reuters said. That includes groups posing as government entities—the People's Daily state newspaper—and impersonations of foreign leaders, like President Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin.

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Submission + - Google Developing Uber Competitor->

An anonymous reader writes: Bloomberg breaks news that Uber has a major new competitor in ridesharing: Google. According to the report, Google has informed Uber's board of directors of this development, and shown screenshots of a ride-sharing app currently in testing by employees. Why did Google do this? Because they've heavily invested in Uber, and Google's David Drummond, chief legal officer and senior VP of corporate development, is on Uber's board. Of course, a Google ride-sharing service would fit perfectly with their project to build and develop autonomous vehicles. From the article: "Google has made no secret of its ambitions to revolutionize transportation with autonomous vehicles. CEO Larry Page is said to be personally fascinated by the challenge of making cities operate more efficiently. The company recently said the driverless car technology in development within its Google X research lab is between two and five years from being ready for widespread use." This could be very bad news for Uber (not to mention other ride-sharing services) because they rely heavily on Google's mapping data.
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Submission + - If a financial institution mishandles my data, what recourse do I have? 2

grahamsaa writes: My sister recently consolidated her student loans, and the bank e-mailed the paperwork, which included her name, address, date of birth, social security number, drivers license number and bank account information to the wrong e-mail address. The address (a gmail address) is associated with a real person (not her), so someone now has all of her personal details. My sister claims that she read her e-mail address to the bank representative over the phone twice, but that it was transcribed incorrectly.

The real issue is that the bank was willing to use unencrypted e-mail at all to send sensitive information, and I told my sister that at a minimum the bank should cover electronic credit monitoring for her for a minimum of a year, but I feel like that alone probably isn't enough. While my sister should have insisted that they use a more secure means of sending this information, I think it should be the bank's responsibility to ensure that this kind of thing doesn't happen. What kind of recourse does a person in my sister's position have? Did the bank violate any laws (she lives in Connecticut in the United States)? Is there a standard penalty for this kind of thing? I'm not a lawyer, but I know some of you are. What are her options in this case? Thanks!

Submission + - Physics and economics will ensure distributed bitcoin mining... I'm not worried->

ASDFnz writes: Every now and then I read something that I think is inspired. In this instance I came across a reddit post by someone going by the handle of foolish_austrian.

His expertise and unique look on where bitcoin mining may be in the long term really captured my imagination and I thought readers may enjoy his far off vision of where mining may lead is in the future. So, without any more from me, here is the [not so]foolish_austrian;-

As someone who comes from a physics and engineering background, over the long run I’m not concerned with mining centralization. Physics will ensure it is distributed.

To qualify, I think there will be strong ebbs and flows while we catch up to Moore’s law. During the next few years, hardware is simply going to depreciate too quickly.

Around the year 2024, we are expected to hit the quantum mechanical limit, which broadly speaking means we will have perfected the silicon transistor to the atomic level. If we make them any smaller, they become transparent to matter. (Incidentally, I work on replacements for transistors that use the angular momentum of electrons to store data).

As we approach this limit, mining hardware is going to depreciate over years, not months. When this happens, the dynamics of mining investment will substantially change. Mining in Greenland with cheap energy and cool climate will actually be more expensive than decentralization. Actually, the profit from mining will go negative, Greenland mining will become impossible in it’s current form.

What mining does is convert electricity to heat, but not just any heat specifically something between 90C to 120C, or heat around the boiling point of water. This heat density is too low for most industrial uses, except possibly things like water purification. It cannot be used for smelting, semiconductor processes, or anything that requires very high heat density without a heat pump.

As a result, what do you do with the enormous capacity to produce ~100C heat? For discussion sake, I’m going to address residential and industrial water heaters, although you could imagine other similar distributed use cases for small amounts of heat.

I just ran over to Sears website and checked the EnergyStar rating on water heaters, and found the average to be about $300/year. According to the US census there are approximately 115 million households in the United States. This means there is about a 34.5 Billion dollar market for electricity to heat conversion. Since 100C (semiconductor temperatures) is just about right to heat water to 55C, this is an absolutely natural market for bitcoin mining.

One could vaguely argue that with limited industrial uses and expanding worldwide, we could take the 34.5 Billion dollar market and multiply by about 5x to estimate the worldwide market. That puts the total market for heat conversion at just under 2 trillion.

Now for the economic argument. In a stable and predictable market (i.e. post superexponential growth), the profit from mining is going to be capped by the marginal cost of mining ALWAYS. This means that anybody who can ‘recycle’ heat can afford a negative marginal cost, and therefore mine at a loss. The profit from mining will be negative. Simply speaking, approximately 2 Trillion dollars worth of heat can be produced in the mining of bitcoin, and ‘sold’ to the homeowner to heat water.

There are many possible incarnations of this, but we could imagine a water heater with a heater ‘rebate’. Electric power companies could act like mining pools. Since the marginal cost of mining for anyone not recycling heat is negative, the total profit from mining goes negative It would require more than 2 Trillion dollars worth of electricity to be produced for free. (more than because of additional cooling costs required in a data center).

As a result, the mining centralization we see in Greenland and large data centers becomes enormously unprofitable. Any centralization of mining would REQUIRE heat recycling, which severely limits data centers and necessitates distribution unless you introduce heat pumps, which also increase cost.

So this leads to a new threat for centralization mining pools operated by Electric Power companies. However, electricity production and distribution is inherently a geographically localized industry (you cannot cheaply transmit electricity across long distances). Therefore the number of power companies are likely to remain much much higher than the number of mining pools today. In addition, since nation-states distrust each other, Most want their own power generation. This makes at least 196 natural divisions.

Thankfully small amounts of heat is something that is needed every season, in every country, in every household worldwide. Data center heat is useless

Also, 2 Trillion is a huge market for security :-) Just my musings.

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Over the shoulder supervision is more a need of the manager than the programming task.