Sunday, January 10, 2016

Bitcoin and the Digital Finance Revolution

These days the digital currency bitcoin is everywhere. It's all over the news, even heavy-hitting economists like Alan Greenspan have given their two cents, governments are recognizing it as a legitimate concept and homeless people are buying chicken wings with it! The digital currency bitcoin has become increasingly recognized and accepted by governments and businesses alike, as bitcoin becomes internationally accepted it increases it chances at becoming the worlds de facto international currency. This could lead to an international currency exchange trade not seen since Nixon abandoned the Bretton Woods model the allies adopted after World War I. There are several key differences between Bretton Woods and Bitcoin, as well as the numerous other cryptocurrencies popping up but the implications these new technologies have for the global economy, geopolitics and international business is astounding.

One of the most revolutionary aspects of Bitcoin lies not in the bitcoins themselves, these digital fiat currencies, but the Bitcoin network itself which allows for simple fee free trading around the globe independent of a centralized monetary authority. This is not only huge for businesses and governments but for  immigrants around the world working in foreign countries but still supporting their families abroad. Bitcoin essentially allows them to bypass middlemen like banks and wire transfer companies to get that money directly into the hands of their families.

Digital transactions like credit and debit cards already have a foothold replacing cash as the cost of using paper currency continues to grow and more and more people around the globe continue to favor digital and electronic payments. The growing use of the internet around the globe has also helped to accelerate this process.

During Bretton Woods the world used gold as the internationally accepted standard for converting their currencies, Bitcoin has many qualities similar to gold and many have taken to referring to Litecoin as the silver to Bitcoins gold.

There are still flaws however to Bitcoin and a new cryptocurrency or multiple will have to make up for its failings and as dozens of currencies battle for supremacy Bitcoin could very well be the myspace of digital currency but the reign of the digital currency has far from hit its peak and will likely lead to an international currency in at least an alternative to those currencies offered by central banks around the world. The international acceptance will lead the way to a new Brtetton Woods type model.

The acceptance of an international currency could also work to undermine the dominance of the $US which is currently the recognized backing currency for  the IMF, OPEC and other groups. In recent years countries like Iran and Venezuela have worked to abandon the $ as the currency oil is tied to. The acceptance of an international currency could also lead countries to further diversify away from US Treasuries further tainting the greenbacks appeal. 

We'd love to hear what you think. Please leave your comments below and share this article if you liked it.  
The digital currency bitcoin has become increasingly recognized and accepted by governments and businesses alike, as bitcoin becomes internationally accepted it increases it chances at becoming the worlds de facto international currency.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chinese Scientists Create Stem Cells From Urine

Biologists at China's Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health have discovered a method of successfully reprogramming cells found in urine into stem cells. This is a huge scientific breakthrough that will help to qualm ethical fears over using embryonic stem cells, with a laundry list of other added benefits. In a published study the team outlined how they transformed common cells found in urine into stem cells. As well as the breakthrough using such cells, the team also outlined their revolutionary procedure which reduces the risks of mutation commonly found in other stem cell procedures and speeds up the process of growing those cells.

The team had originally reported its findings in 2011 with reprogramming cells found in urine. However,  the traditional technique entailed the use of a retrovirus, however, the presence of such a virus led to the destabilization of genes and left the cells susceptible to mutations, tumors and genetic defects. So the team sought out for a safer technique. Their new procedure would prove to not only be safer but faster. The used vector cells, cells already present in the body that are used to transport information from one cell to another, to grow these new cells. The cells took a mere 12 days to grow in a petri dish, a rate twice as fast as traditional methods. The team has not definitively proven these cells would have less mutations in the long run but their work does look promising. In a 2007 study, when embryonic cells were used to treat Parkinson's in rats the cells divided too quickly and the result led to the development of tumors in those rats. When the new procedure was used the cells showed no sign of abnormal cell division.

The  new procedure makes use of ones own cells found within the body both vector and cells found in urine which eliminates the risk of the body viewing the new cells as intruders  and thus trying to fight them off. The findings will also help to fight the stigma associated with using embryonic cells. Not only does it address ethical questions regarding embryonic stem cells, it addresses safety and health concerns associated with embryonic cells. An additional benefit is the ease at which one could obtain the cells, it would be far easier to obtain a urine sample from someone as opposed to blood or bone marrow especially children.

All and all we here at Geeked Out Electronics think this sounds like a promising advance in Biomedicine and applaud the researchers at Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health. We will keep you updated with any further developments by the team or any other exciting developments in Biomedical technology.
Chinese Scientists Create Stem Cells From Urine

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Water and Organic Matter Found On Mercury

It has been confirmed NASA's Messenger Spacecraft has discovered over 1 billions tons of ice on the Northern Pole of Mercury. This is  a monumental discovery due to the fact Mercury is the Solar System's closest planet to the Sun. It had been suspected since as early as 1992 that the planet may contain traces of water. NASA was surprised to learn the abundance of ice and organic material similar to the building blocks of life on Earth. This discovery has been a major shock to the scientific community and may change our understanding of the development of life.

Previously, in 1992, NASA had received images that could point to the existence of ice on Mercury. Finally, their hypothesis was confirmed but NASA had not fathomed the magnitude of water found or the existence of organic material. Armed with a Neuron Spectrometer the Messenger was able to detect water ice on the dark side of the planet. The discovery was made public in the Nov. 29 edition of Science Magazine. NASA plans to send an additional craft out to investigate further.

The implications this discovery has on the origins of life on Earth are phenomenal due to the discovery of a layer organic material found around the ice. This material would be similar to the building blocks found on Earth which led to the creation of life. Furthermore, the fact that such ice could be preserved on a planet as hot and as close to our Sun as Mercury is also astounding. The angle of the planet is what has kept the ice fields intact due to the planets north pole never being exposed to the Sun's heat and radiation. Likely the organic matter is non-living due to the lack of an atmosphere on the planet but a mere few days ago the concept of ice on Mercury would have seemed far-fetched so I will defer my judgement.

We here at Geeked Out find this discovery to be absolutely amazing and look forward to learning more about those organic materials housed on the planet. We also welcome any thoughts or comments about this news. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section bellow.

Water and Organic Matter Found On Mercury

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The New American Dream: #Startup

What do think of when you think of the American dream? White Pickett fences or some antiquated take from the '50s? Well, throw that out the window because this is the new millennium. Everyone these days wants to be the next startup, that internet, social media, technology company that blows up and makes millions or billions over night. Now, not all of us can truly do that but with internet making millionaires everyday and small companies popping up seemingly over night technology has truly leveled the playing field. We here at Geeked Out have worked through and experienced this first hand, but let me tell you it's not all roses. Whether or not you buy into the notion of the American dream truly existing, the startup is that dream and it's here to stay...until, you know, we come up with something else.

In 2008 the housing market crash destroyed the lives of many. The economy itself has yet to fully recover but a slow, feeble recovery seems to be taking shape, even as 7.8% of Americans struggle to find work and many more have altogether dropped out of the work force. The optimism of America endures, however, and many of us look to the future. I myself started Geeked Out for one reason, I was tired of being an educated individual with a wealth of skills and working menial jobs because, well, that's who was hiring. One thing that makes this country great is even through adversity Americans have a resilient optimism and an entrepreneurial spirit.

So, what is a startup? And how do I jump on board? Well, you can do what I did. Geeked Out Electronics actually started as a Consumer Electronics company that half failed miserably and half never really got off the ground, but I kept at it and let it evolve to what it is now. We here are still evolving , still defining who we are and expanding what we offer. The ultimate goal in developing a startup into a successful business is offering a quality product or service which people truly find valuable and get paid for it. Here at Geeked Out we offer content. It's fun and we enjoy ourselves.

My recommendations if you want to launch your own startup is do some research and learn as much as you can. Udacity has a great course on How To Build A Startup. Your local Small Business Association can offer you all the information you need. Your city may even have a Startup Weekend and you could be in business in 54 hours. Business Incubators are another way to go allowing you to meet with other entrepreneurs. Eric Ries' book Lean Startup is also one of the greatest teaching tools you could utilize. All in all with the wealth of resources we have to achieve the next American dream I think America has a bright future.
The New American Dream: #Startup

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Why Mark Zuckerberg Should Step Aside As CEO

 Facebook has had a bad year with plummeting stocks, angry advertisers and slowing growth Facebook has a serious problem and it may be Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook is the largest social media site in the world with 800 million active users, so why is it that it's stock continues to drop and advertisers are fleeing in droves and its rate of new users seems to be slowing? Much of it can be blamed on massive corporate missteps. Facebook continues to focus on advertising as its sole source of revenue but with recent big named advertisers taking their business elsewhere it does not bode well for the social media giant. Mark Zuckerberg created what is currently one of the most revolutionary companies that the modern world had ever seen but his inexperience with running a company much less a fortune 500 company may be doing irreparable harm to its future.

Facebook's IPO went public in May and was one of the largest IPOs ever released but after several months on the market the stock value has decreased nearly 50%. One of the major issues of the Facebook stock drop was the fact that Facebook has no real value. Facebook has a huge market with 800 million people but doesn't sell anything and is forced to rely on advertising dollars which it is increasingly chasing away. It all began with General Motors pulling ads on the site. GM saw no return on investment by advertising through the site so they pulled their ads this caused many other companies to make similar decisions. Instead of wooing these companies back Mark Zuckerberg and company made the decision in September to begin a paywall a program that essentially blocked advertisers from the audience that had already built on their fan pages unless they began paying higher fees. Many jumped ship, especially outspoken entrepreneur Mark Cuban. Cuban has pulled his Dallas Mavericks team and some other 70 companies he is invested in off of Facebook.

The call for Mark Zuckerberg to step down began initially in an LA Times Post. The Los Angeles Times proposed that Zuckerberg should stay on as a creative force but cede his role as CEO to more seasoned corporate veteran. I for one agree, however, I do not foresee Mark Zuckerberg making that decision. Mark Zuckerberg's ego is well noted and he seems to go out of the way to insult the companies and customers in which he relies. On regular intervals Facebook has released updates to the public and advertisers which have largely been introduced to great outrage and Facebook's business model is still yet undefined. This absolutely no way to run a company let alone a Fortune 500 company at that. A CEOs key job is in handling and over seeing operations and speaking with investors something Zuckerberg has little desire to do. Stepping aside and into a role as creative director with a large voting share would still allow him to retain a certain amount of control over his company but would also put him in a position better suited for his temperament and talents. It is in my humble opinion that Mark Zuckerberg should step aside the future of Facebook may depend upon it.

Why Mark Zuckerberg Should Step Aside As CEO

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The College Of The Future

So, if you're like me you went to college, drank too much and then got expelled. What did I have to show for all my hard work? A mountain of debt (about $30,000). Now, I was a decent student don't get me wrong. However, dry campus plus kegger in the dorm equals academic probation. A little known equation I learned the hard way. Ever since that fateful day I have been committed to earning an education on my own accord for free. I'm not alone though roughly one out of five Americans are in debt due to student loans and the costs associated with earning a college education are rising. Hope is not all lost, however, thanks to a number of online sites like Khan Academy, Coursera, Udacity, and EDx who offer free online classes taught by some of the world's leading professors from top universities.

The style of all of these vary greatly and each has their own strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, none of these have a complete course schedules or offer accreditation but many are working towards this. The Khan Academy, which has traditionally focused on Math, is expanding into Art, History and the Humanities. EDx, which started as MITx, joined with Harvard and most recently added UC Berkley and The University of Texas to its roster of Universities and offers classes from these schools. The scope of all of these sites are expanding greatly. In addition to offering video lectures EDx and Udacity offer course material and problem sets.

Khan Academy may have been the first to implement free online education but most certainly won't be the last. Recently Coursera and EDx has been of some particular note. I myself have just enrolled myself into three classes: CS550x: Introduction To Computers from EDx, Valuation & Investing from Khan Academy, and EP245: How To Build A Startup from Udacity. Throughout my next semester I will me giving you guys some updates into my progress. So far, I like the EDx setup the best; it offers course materials, syllabus, lectures, problem sets, tests, a final and I feel like it offers a more complete class offering than say Khan which mostly just provides videos and some tutorials with math. I will reserve my judgement until I finish my classes and will offer a brief overview as I go along.

I think this is just what our education system needs. Not just collegiate education but primary and secondary education as well. With the advances in technology I hope to see this integrated into more classrooms. Some teachers are actually using some of the Khan lectures in classrooms and their have been a lot of talks about 21st century education especially in developing countries. I hope my studeis go well and I hope that in the future these new free offerings from top educators can set the standard for education to come. As always, I would love to hear your opinion especially if you are an educator. What do you think the future holds for education?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

YouTube Going Viral In Europe

In a bid to expand their user base and capitalize on the success of original content in the US, YouTube is expanding into Europe with 60 new channels. The channels will largely be celebrity and personality driven with a couple large exceptions. The BBC and a few other large European Media Conglomerates will get their own channels to help push their own original content. Last year YouTube launched some 100 channels in the US in a successful bid to push their appeal past viral hits which have made the site popular.

YouTube has seen huge gains since the launch of their new channels in the US and advertise something for everyone from parenting and cooking to music, sports and comedy. The push has been a key development for YouTube in attracting greater ad revenue. With the success of the current channels and the likely success of those in Europe, YouTube could continue to deal a larger blow to cable and satellite providers as networks and viewers continue to embrace the digital revolution without them. It is reported that YouTube viewers watched 4 billion hours of original content a month. YouTube has also stated that it wishes to fund content creators in the over 49 nations where YouTube is present.

The company states it wants to move away from low quality user generated viral videos and into more professional content that can build sustained audiences. This is already opening huge doorways for networks like the BBC, FOX, CBS and others. This blog itself has its own YouTube channel! As of writing this we are in the process of developing our first video which will be released this weekend on YouTube and on Geeked Out Future as well so look forward to that. As always, what do you think about this? Feel free to comment, I’m always interested in hearing what my viewers think.YouTube Going Viral In Europe