on Jun 30, 2022 08:36 am
Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States, is selling Immigrations and Customs Enforcement a suite of features used to track and identify cryptocurrency users, according to contract documents shared with The Intercept.
In August 2021, Coinbase sold a single analytics software license to ICE for $29,000, followed by a software purchase potentially worth $1.36 million the next month, but details of exactly what capabilities would be offered to the agency’s controversial Homeland Security Investigations division of were unclear. A new contract document obtained by Jack Poulson, director of the watchdog group Tech Inquiry, and shared with The Intercept, shows ICE now has access to a variety of forensic features provided through Coinbase Tracer, the company’s intelligence-gathering tool (formerly known as Coinbase Analytics).
on Jun 28, 2022 11:36 pm
Smartphones, superglue, electric cars, video chat. When does the wonder of a new technology wear off? When you get so used to its presence that you don’t think of it anymore? When something newer and better comes along? When you forget how things were before?
Whatever the answer, the gene-editing technology CRISPR has not reached that point yet. Ten years after Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier first introduced their discovery of CRISPR, it has remained at the center of ambitious scientific projects and complicated ethical discussions. It continues to create new avenues for exploration and reinvigorate old studies. Biochemists use it, and so do other scientists: entomologists, cardiologists, oncologists, zoologists, botanists.
on Jun 27, 2022 03:36 am
In fast fashion, there’s something known as the “impossible triangle.” It’s the perfect production scenario, where a company can 1) quickly onboard lots of new styles at 2) low prices, while 3) being hyper-efficient in managing massive volumes of inventory. Unlike Shein, those other upstarts didn’t quite crack the third edge of that triangle. And that’s what left them trailing — according to Crunchbase — the fourth most-valuable tech startup in the world, with an estimated $100 billion valuation.
on Jun 25, 2022 09:36 am
Twenty years ago – following the opening of Documenta 11 – artist Carsten Höller and curator Jens Hoffman are supposed to have had a conversation which led to Hoffman coming up with the slogan ‘The next Documenta should be curated by an artist’. It’s taken Documenta, the huge survey show that happens every five years in the German city of Kassel, those two decades to finally get round to hiring an artist, or, as it turned out, a group of artists (and curators) – the Jakarta-based collective ruangrupa – as artistic directors of its 15th edition..
on Jun 09, 2022 09:36 am
Food is the essence of geopolitics. There is no more basic human need than securing access to food and water, and, as a result, there is no more important geopolitical imperative for national governments than to ensure their people do not starve. A government that fails to provide food security will not stand long.
on May 31, 2022 10:36 pm
In this interview, Jonas Bendiksen tells the intricate story behind the creation of his most recent publication, The Book of Veles, a project whose unusual trajectory upon release was as bizarre as the subject matter that initially inspired it.
The photographer explains the many layers of intrigue that went into the creation of his book about misinformation in the contemporary media landscape
on May 29, 2022 10:36 am
Researchers can now design and mass-produce genetic material — a technique that helped build the mRNA vaccines.
Today Twist charges nine cents a base pair for DNA, a nearly tenfold decrease from the industry standard a decade ago. As a customer, you can visit the Twist website, upload a spreadsheet with the DNA sequence that you want, select a quantity and pay for it with a credit card. After a few days, the DNA is delivered to your laboratory door. At that point, you can insert the synthetic DNA into cells and get them to begin making — hopefully — the target molecules that the DNA is coded to produce.
on May 27, 2022 08:36 am
Format has long had an impact on the sound of recorded music. A 45 RPM 7″ single could hold about three to five minutes of music, so that became the normal length of a pop song in the 1950s, allowing for singles artists and novelty tracks. Music videos had to compete with boredom and the remote, which benefited artists with more extravagant looks in the ’80s. LPs and CDs lent themselves to medium-paced, dozen-song albums, which gave rise to “album-oriented rock.” MP3s were rough and free, so they encouraged lo-fi demos and eclectic tastes. With subscription streaming, every song is competing with 70 million other songs, so tracks with front-loaded hooks fare best—and since artists get paid a fraction of a penny for each song streamed, they have an incentive to crank out albums with a ton of songs. The frantic pace of TikTok has songwriters cutting still more precious seconds from their would-be hits.
on May 21, 2022 04:36 pm
Violence. Tragedy. Hunger. Underdevelopment. These bywords have clung to Haiti for more than a century. Kidnappings. Outbreaks. Earthquakes. The president assassinated — this time in his bedroom.
How is it possible, many ask, that Haiti shares an island with the Dominican Republic, with its underground subway system, health care coverage, public schools, teeming resorts and impressive stretches of economic growth?
Corruption is the usual explanation, and not without reason: Haiti’s leaders have historically ransacked the country for their own gain, legislators have spoken openly on the radio about accepting bribes and oligarchs sit atop lucrative monopolies, paying few taxes. Transparency International ranks it among the most corrupt nations in the world.
But another story is rarely taught or acknowledged: The first people in the modern world to free themselves from slavery and create their own nation were forced to pay for their freedom yet again — in cash.
on May 08, 2022 11:36 am
Kim Stanley Robinson, the legendary science-fiction novelist, has a private utopian hope: “to dodge a mass extinction event.” He joins Azeem Azhar to explore his recent novel, The Ministry For the Future, and what it would take for institutions, individuals, and emerging technologies to save millions of lives.
They also discuss:
- When civil disobedience and direct climate action may become a moral necessity.
- Why central banks and a radical shift of economic incentives are vital to drive decarbonization.
- What climate restoration is and why it offers better prospects than climate engineering.
on Apr 30, 2022 12:37 pm
Commercial Registry documents seen by Bloomberg provide the first evidence that the compound is owned by Meroe Gold, a company the U.S. Treasury says has ties to the Wagner Group, which it describes as a mercenary company connected to the Russian Ministry of Defense. In addition to access to lucrative mineral deposits, Meroe has licenses to operate in Sudanese industries ranging from transport and agriculture to plastics, the documents show.
The permits obtained by Meroe illustrate the links that the U.S. Treasury describes as “an interplay between Russia’s paramilitary operations, support for preserving authoritarian regimes and exploitation of natural resources.” Meroe, one of dozens of operators in the gold industry, has been investing in Sudan since 2017 — the same year the Treasury says Wagner developed plans for then-dictator Omar al-Bashir to suppress pro-democracy protests.
on Mar 27, 2022 08:36 am
If a single line endures from the psychedelic carnival of the 1960s, it’s probably Harvard psychologist and psychedelic cheerleader Timothy Leary’s catchphrase “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” A call to wake up, reject the norms, defy authority, protest the war.
oday, there is a new psychedelic fervor, best captured in a very different sort of pithy quip: “I finally understood Bitcoin.”
That was German billionaire Christian Angermayer, expounding last year on the ability of magic mushrooms to not only light up his world with colorful hallucinations but also facilitate a deeper understanding of cryptocurrencies, which are ideally suited to tax avoidance and money laundering.
Welcome to the strange new world of “psychedelic capitalism,” where dozens of start-ups have already raised millions (and in some cases billions) of dollars to commercialize psilocybin (the psychedelic ingredient in magic mushrooms), DMT (found in the Amazonian brew ayahuasca), mescaline (peyote’s active component), and LSD—despite the fact that all of these “classic psychedelics” are still ranked as Schedule I drugs under the federal Controlled Substances Act. Manufacturing any of these drugs without a license can still land you a long prison sentence. But marketing one, even though they all remain illegal and none have passed all the clinical trials required for approval? That can make you a millionaire.
on Feb 13, 2022 09:36 pm
“Rare is the person who could expertly comment – in a single interview! – on the rise of NFTs and their origins in the virtual worlds of gaming, the logic of the emerging regime of techno-feudalism, and the folly of El Salvador’s Bitcoin-heavy negotiating tactics with the IMF.”
“Within our present oligarchic, exploitative, irrational, and inhuman world system, the rise of crypto applications will only make our society more oligarchic, more exploitative, more irrational, and more inhuman.”
on Feb 13, 2022 09:36 am
Not long after my family settled into a new home, near Hampstead Heath, I went south to the Tate Britain museum, on the bank of the Thames, to see an ambitious project undertaken by the British artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen. He had made a collective portrait of London by photographing its Year Three students—second grade, in the British system. All the city’s elementary schools—public, private, faith-based, special-needs—were invited to participate, and more than fifteen hundred of them agreed to have photographers deputized by McQueen take a class picture. The result, called “Year 3,” is an assemblage of more than three thousand images, featuring seventy-six thousand children.
on Oct 05, 2021 03:36 pm
For 31 years, the designer has led the menswear “universe” with discreet, luxurious designs. Her astonishing success is in her honesty.
Véronique Nichanian, the artistic director of Hermès’ grandly titled “men’s universe”, sighs with quiet exasperation when it is brought up. “For many years, I hate this word of luxury, because it does not mean anything,” she says. Her accent, like the one in her name, is both acute and French, so hate becomes ’ate, suggesting she somehow devours luxury, consuming it like fast food – another category that has co-opted the phrase. “Everybody does luxury. Small leather [goods], it’s luxury. They put a logo, it’s luxury. This word is too much. We are doing quality things and beautiful things. What is luxury today? It is just to be deeply honest in what you’re doing.”