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News 26.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 26.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 26.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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Within the emerging and turbulent market for cryptocurrencies, where there are no fewer than 10,000 tokens, bitcoin, is the great granddaddy, the blue-chip, representing 40% of the $1 trillion in crypto assets outstanding. Bitcoin is crypto’s gateway drug. An estimated 46 million adult Americans already own it according to New York Digital Investment Group, and an increasing number of institutional investors and corporations are warming to the nascent alternative asset.

But can you trust what your crypto exchange or e-brokerage reports about trading in the most important digital currency?

One of the most common criticisms of bitcoin is pervasive wash trading (a form of fake volume) and poor surveillance across exchanges. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission defines wash trading as “entering into, or purporting to enter into, transactions to give the appearance that purchases and sales have been made, without incurring market risk or changing the trader’s market position.” The reason why some traders engage in wash trading is to inflate the trading volume of an asset to give the appearance of rising popularity. In some cases trading bots execute these wash trades in tokens, increasing volume, while at the same time insiders reinforce the activity with bullish remarks, driving up the price in what is effectively a pump and dump scheme. Wash trading also benefits exchanges because it allows them to appear to have more volume than they actually do, potentially encouraging more legitimate trading.

Read the rest of this article at: Forbes

News 26.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 26.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

When St. Joseph’s Home for the Aged, a brown-brick nursing home in Richmond, Virginia, was put up for sale, in October, 2019, the waiting list for a room was three years long. “People were literally dying to get in there,” Debbie Davidson, the nursing home’s administrator, said. The owners, the Little Sisters of the Poor, were the reason. For a hundred and forty-seven years, the nuns had lived at St. Joseph’s with their residents, embodying a philosophy that defined their service: treat older people as family, in facilities that feel like a home.

St. Joseph’s itself was pristine. The grounds were concealed behind a thicket of tall oaks and flowering magnolias; residents strolled in manicured gardens, past wooden archways and leafy vines. Inside the bright, two-story building, the common areas were graceful and warm—a china cabinet here, an upright piano there. An aviary held chirping brown finches; an aquarium housed shimmering fish. The gift shop, created in 2005, to fund-raise for tsunami relief in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean earthquake, sold residents’ handmade aprons and dish towels. People gathered everywhere: in line for the home’s hair salon, over soup in the dining rooms, against handrails in the hallway, where the floors were polished to a shine. “Take a deep breath,” a resident, Ross Girardi, told me, during a visit in May of 2021. He reclined in a plush armchair. “Deeper! What don’t you smell? A nursing home.”

The home fostered unexpected relationships. Girardi, a former U.S. Army combat medic, first discovered St. Joseph’s as a volunteer, in the early nineteen-eighties; thirty years later, he and his wife, Rae, decided to grow old there. Jennifer Schoening, a floor technician, was unhoused before she started at St. Joseph’s. A social worker from the nursing home had approached her on a street corner in Richmond, where Schoening was panhandling, and told her that the Little Sisters had an opening. She began working in the pantry, serving meals and brewing fresh coffee, and found an apartment nearby. Ramon Davila, the home’s maintenance technician at the time, worked in a shop next door to Schoening’s supply room. The two got married on the terrace in front of St. Joseph’s last year. “It got to be that the building wasn’t just my safe spot,” Schoening said. “He was my safe spot.”

The Little Sisters of the Poor was founded by Jeanne Jugan, who, in the winter of 1839, took in an elderly widow off the streets of Brittany. Jugan is said to have carried the woman, who was blind and partially paralyzed, up her home’s narrow spiral staircase—and given up her own bed. (Jugan herself slept in the attic.) From this first act of care, the Little Sisters grew. Jugan took in two more women, then rented a room to house a dozen. A year later, she acquired a former convent to support forty elderly people. Charles Dickens, after visiting one of Jugan’s homes in Paris, described the experience in the English magazine Household Words. “The whole sentiment,” Dickens wrote, “is that of a very large and very amiable family.”

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

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Flipping through an old photo album, I came across a picture of myself as a little girl posing in front of my television set. Standing in my red, white, and blue party dress, attempting to curtsy, I was the subject of a snapshot that curiously depicted TV not as a mass-entertainment medium, but as a backdrop for a social performance in an intimate family scene. Struck by the snapshot, I wondered if there were others like it. Searching at thrift stores and online sites, I’ve collected roughly 5,000 snapshots of people posing with TV sets in the 1950s through the 1970s. The snapshots depict a broad range of families across racial, class, and ethnic backgrounds. Like today’s selfies, TV snapshots were a popular photographic practice through which people pictured themselves in an increasingly mediatized culture.

Rather than watch TV, in TV snapshots, people use TV as a prop and backdrop for the presentation of self and family. Snapshots turn the home into a theater of everyday life where people use TV to showcase themselves as celebrities of their own making. In snapshots, the empty space around the television set essentially becomes a posing place in which people play roles and engage in acts of everyday pretend.

Read the rest of this article at: Slate

News 26.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 26.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On Jan. 18, 2013, as the sun went down, Jeff Lockhart Jr. got ready for work. He slipped a T-shirt over his burly frame and hung his white work badge over his broad chest. His wife, Di-Key, was in the bathroom fixing her hair in micro-braids and preparing for another evening alone with her three sons. Jeff had been putting in long hours lately, and so the couple planned a breakfast date at Shoney’s for when his shift ended around dawn. “You better have your hair done by then,” he teased her.

As he headed out the door, Jeff, who was 29, said goodbye to the boys. He told Jeffrey, the most rambunctious, not to give his mom a hard time; Kelton, the oldest, handed his father his iPod for the ride. Then Jeff climbed into his Chevy Suburban, cranked the bass on the stereo system he’d customized himself, and headed for the Amazon fulfillment center in nearby Chester, Virginia, just south of Richmond.

When the warehouse opened its doors in 2012, there were about 37,000 unemployed people living within a 30-minute drive; in nearby Richmond, more than a quarter of residents were living in poverty. The warehouse only provided positions for a fraction of the local jobless: It currently has around 3,000 full-time workers. But it also enlists hundreds, possibly thousands, of temporary workers to fill orders during the holiday shopping frenzy, known in Amazon parlance as “peak.” Since full-timers and temps perform the same duties, the only way to tell them apart is their badges. Full-time workers wear blue. Temps wear white.

That meant Jeff wore white. He’d started working at the warehouse in November 2012, not long after it opened. It was the first job he’d been able to find in months, ever since he’d been laid off from his last steady gig at a building supply store. By January, peak season had come and gone, and hundreds of Jeff’s fellow temps had been let go. But he was still there, two months after he’d started, wearing his white badge. What he wanted was to earn a blue one.

Jeff and Di-Key with their children, Jervontay, Jeffrey and Kelton (left to right). Family photos courtesy of Di-Key Lockhart.

At the warehouse, Jeff was a picker, fetching orders to be shipped to Amazon customers. A handheld scanner gun told him what he needed to pull and the exact aisle and shelf where he would find it. Since the Chester facility covers 1.1 million square feet, the equivalent of roughly 18 football fields, the right shelf might be just around the corner, or it might be 100 yards away. Once he pulled the item, his scanner would give him his next assignment, and off he’d go, wherever the gun took him next. He got a kick out of this peculiar window into the desires of the American consumer. Once, he stumbled on a small soccer set and made a note to buy it for Jeffrey when spring arrived. Another time, he filled an order for a mysterious item that turned out to be a butt plug kit. “I’m telling you,” he later told Di-Key, laughing as he showed her the listing online, “this thing was as big as my fist.”

Read the rest of this article at: Highline

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For months, Luke Bassett had been searching for a particular hard-to-find item, whose market value he estimated at a thousand dollars. He found a collector who was willing to sell him two, for a total of six hundred and fifty. That was a bargain, but there was a catch. Payment had to be made by bank transfer, and the seller wouldn’t ship. Bassett was living in Connecticut and studying computer engineering; the seller was in Ukraine. This was more than a year before the Russian invasion, but there were still logistical challenges. Luckily, Bassett had a wealthy friend, in Barcelona, whose sister-in-law knew someone in Kharkiv. The sister-in-law’s friend made the pickup, then sent the package to Spain on the wealthy friend’s private jet.

What Bassett bought were two sets of computer keycaps: the squarish buttons you press when you type, maybe half a pound of plastic altogether. I was looking at one of the sets, which he had installed on an OTD 360 Corsa, a keyboard that was produced in limited numbers in South Korea in 2013. “The keycaps were made back in the nineties by a German company called Cherry,” he said. On the face of each letter key was a Roman character, in black, and a Cyrillic character, in red. On eBay, for twenty or thirty dollars, you can buy a keycap set that (to me) looks the same, but to Bassett there’s no comparison. “These were made for a Russian company, and only a few sets still exist,” he said. The keyboard was unusual, too. “It’s one of a hundred made by one of the most influential designers in the world. The color of the case is called hyper gray, and what’s unique about it is that each one is a slightly different shade. The designer was trying to reproduce the gray of an earlier keyboard of his, but he never did get it right.” Bassett acquired the keyboard in a trade. Next to it, on a table, was another scarce model, a Kira 80, whose Escape key Bassett had replaced with a keycap from a series called Mummy II, made by a keyboard artisan known as PunksDead. “That keycap is rare,” he said. “Right after I got it, a guy offered me three grand for it. And I was, like, ‘Hmmm, tempting—but no.’ ”

I met Bassett in June, at the headquarters of Mode Designs, a small computer-keyboard company in Somerville, Massachusetts. The occasion was an afternoon meetup organized by the New England Keyboard Group. There were a hundred or so enthusiasts in attendance, virtually all of them young men. Several were identified on their nametags by their Discord or Reddit handles, or by their usernames on the online keyboard forums Deskthority and Geekhack. The ones I spoke with generally referred to what they do as “the hobby”—as in, “He was out of the hobby for a while, but a few months ago he came back.” Some of the keyboards on display were commercial models from as long ago as the nineteen-eighties, but most were recent creations, which their owners had built themselves, using components they’d bought from specialized manufacturers.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

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