‘Official’ Blockchain Standards for 2019

The succinct statement details the government’s pending official definitions of blockchain regulations. Publicly advertised rationales may appear comparatively innocuous or indeed prudent yet such official justifications are an obvious attempt at the curtailing rather than development of decentralized technologies. Even rudimentary, preliminary investigation of the statements highlight what may generously be labelled as contentious logic.

“China is set to publish official standards on blockchain technology next year, with one official telling Xinhua they will “give the industry some guidance” on the technology.

Li Ming, a director of the Blockchain Research Office under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), told Xinhua’s Economic Information Daily that work had already begun on forming the standards. Li, however, made clear that while standards would provide some guidance to blockchain developers, authorities did not expect official guidelines to “quickly advance the development” of the industry. Despite efforts to clamp down on the financial risks associated with cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings, the Chinese government has looked to show its support for blockchain development. China was the world’s biggest source of blockchain patents in 2017, while last September saw a blockchain research center opened by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a research institution under the MIIT.

The new standards being drawn up by the Blockchain Research Office will include guidelines for the application of blockchain in terms of business, information security and reliability, Li told Xinhua. Despite the exciting potential surrounding blockchain, the technology remains in a stage of infancy. Without clear regulations in place, security problems have caused nearly 2.9 billion US dollars’ worth of losses worldwide between 2011 and 2018, according to Baimaohui Security Research Center, a specialist in online security that has worked with Alibaba and Huawei.

The last two years alone have seen 1.9 billion US dollars lost because of blockchain security issues, according to Baimaohui. Not only are China’s leading tech firms and banks applying for blockchain patents and researching how the technology can improve services and boost public trust in supply chains, China’s Ministry of Public Security is also studying how to implement the technology in terms of data storage. Earlier this week, data from China’s Intellectual Property Office showed that a patent application had been filed by the Ministry of Public Security for a blockchain system that would securely and transparently save unalterable data to the cloud. Such a system could be used and shared by police across the country, allowing data to be shared rapidly between various agencies. ( CGTN )”

To begin let’s not forget the differentiation of decentralized capacities versus centralized services. A regionally authorized service naturally adheres to geographically specific governing legislation. For example an international fast food chain may, in some European countries, sell alcoholic beverages over the counter while the same operator is typically not permitted to do so in North America. This variation is possible because of service use being localized. To have ‘official’ guidelines of decentralized capabilities would be to imagine access and or use of decentralized services being regional, or under the same legislation. It may not. It is decentralized.

Secondly it has been calculated by the American Government Accountability Office ( GAO ), that the 2008 financial crises cost $12.8 trillion dollars. This further omits subsequent bailouts, unemployment and broad reaching detrimental consequences suffered by millions.

The causes of the 2008 financial crises have been largely attributed to deregulation, securitization (double dipping and bundling), sales of subprime mortgages and the Federal Reserve’s raising rates on subprime borrowers. In short, actions conducted by government, banking and financial industries.

By contrast for one set of activities to lose under $3 billion over seven years is minuscule. Regardless of political stance, decentralized technologies offer the capacity for individual’s independently enacting personal choice. Personal loss resulting from bad decision making, such as ICO investment, is contained. Moreover it is a conscious participation where any individual may only invest or access a set amount, that which is in their immediate control. Compare this ceiling to unilateral extents achievable by governments and corporations.

To incorporate decentralized technology into one regional government’s operational guidelines may prove nothing more than redundant methods of double accounting. Used by individuals whom may collectively be under no single government’s purview, concurrently decentralized technological capacity must itself be equally discovered.

5 Tips for Typography Best Practices

This was my first year at Typographics 2018. Typographics 2018 is a conference for typography enthusiasts around the world, that’s held at Cooper Union. There were panelists from San Francisco, Berlin, Buenos Aires, and Japan; it really felt like a truly international experience.

I had the chance to sit in on both the conference and TypeLab parts of Typographics. Here are a few highlights from the panels/breakout sessions that I really enjoyed:

1. Emojis = Pictures + Character (Jennifer Daniel, Google Emoji)
Emojis are images that may translate into different meanings across different devices. Jennifer gave an example about how the “dumpling” emoji looks different across different chat platforms -every culture has a dumpling!
I found an interesting tension in this statement -emojis should have a consistent user experience (across platforms), yet still be personalized to their users.

2. Ubiquitous type is can cause user confusion (Mr. Keedy)
Mr. Keedy created Keedy Sans, a popular font in the 90’s. The font was considered “uncool” 10 years later and used everywhere. Keedy sans is used on teenage girl makeup packaging, as well as winebars. This could create a bad user experience for people because of lack of branding. Last year, Mr. Keedy refreshed his font -to create greater customization and allow Keedy fans to layer the font for interesting visual effects.

3. Braille is a form of typography (Ellen Lupton, Cooper Hewitt)
Ellen talked about how blind individuals read Braille in a unique way -holding it across their body. She also demonstrated a blind person’s experience watching music videos by showing the accessibility voiceover.

4. Brand holds content together with design (Gale Bichler, NYTimes)
Gale foused on how the New York Times(NYT) has branded itself as a publication that experiments with many types of fonts. NYT can play around with different types and massive fonts as illustration. If someone picks up a page from the floor, they can usually tell that it’s from the New York Times because of branding.

5. Picking fonts is like eating ice cream. (Veronika Burian and Jose Scaglione, Type Together)
When combining fonts, look at mechanic and organic feels. Veronika and Jose talked about how people like humanist fonts, with a hint of a calligrapher’s hand. Ideally, you should find a balance typefaces share a common language.

The overarching theme is that typography is wide-ranging and crosses various mediums. Visual languages include symbols, braille, and audio caption. The challenge now lies in how to design the best experiences for these new forms of language.

Pigments, Dyes & Inks

Pigments are items that are insoluble and need to be blended in binders so that they hold on to the substrate.

Dyes are used for artistic, decorative and aesthetic reasons but besides these applications did you know that they play a vital role in medical and biological imaging. Some fluorescent and contrast dyes highlight specific organs or cells during medical testing to indicate presence of certain diseases. They assume great importance during election times in some countries by acting as identifiers, for example purple dye is used to mark the fingers of voters. Sheep herders use wool dyes for marking sheep in the flock. Lasers that are dye-based emit laser light over varied wavelengths resulting in laser beams that are ‘tunable’ and these in turn perform important functions in astronomical research, medical applications, manufacturing and spectroscopy.

Pigments occupy a place of great importance in the world of plastics, paints, inks, cosmetics, textiles, food and many more. Car finishes, artist’s paints and light reflecting signs get their glow from the pigments which can be either organic or inorganic. They are superior to dyes in the context of retaining their color for many years and being able to withstand powerful light, intense heat or extreme chemical agent or weather conditions.

Inks are a liquid medium containing pigments or dyes and they are utilized in printing, pens and tattoos. There are some inks which can cause a permanent change in colour and they include anti-counterfeiting inks, a few fountain pen inks, some gel inks and the paper currency inks. Reaction with the cellulose in the paper results in the permanency of colour. Though they do not fall under the conventional inks, liquids that go into the inkjet technologies also are benefited from the research conducted to further develop the conventional inks.

Professionals engaged in the field of pigments, dyes and inks are focused on developing novel formulations that require less expensive materials, are steadfast in their colour, have good flow properties, more stability or interact more efficiently with substances they come into contact with. Pigments and dyes used in ancient pieces of art and historical artifacts are being analyzed by the relevant professionals to find out new substances that will be compatible with the ancient pigments and dyes for deciding the ways and methods of restoration and preservation.

Owners of varied dyes and pigments production facilities like organic pigments manufacturers, vat dyes manufacturers, pigment blue manufacturers and napthol manufacturers in India strive to supply sustainable colorants that are of top quality and cause minimal harm to human and environmental life. All of them have well equipped technical facilities that test the stock mixes, incoming materials and outgoing orders of the customer. Each one of them is committed to provide products of highest standards to the customers and ensure their maximum satisfaction.

Breakdancing: The Roots of The Street Dance

Breakdancing is the street dancing which began around 1969. Most people will agree that the superstar James Brown began the whole thing with a dance called the “Good Foot”. James Brown was a real innovator and his dancing was something to behold. He did things with his feet that would give most of us a couple of broken legs!

Simultaneously in the ghetto, what is known as the “dance battle” became very popular and in many cases replaced gangster warfare as a method to end disputes. Breakdancing lent itself very well to the dance battle and the Good Foot was a perfect base for breakdancing.

Street dancers adopted the Good Foot which, for a short period, became known as the B-Boy and then breakdancing. Back then the dance moves were a lot different to the kind of breaking we see today. There were no popular, documented moves such as the headspin or the windmill. The dancers simply used their feet and nothing else. Some would argue that this “old style breaking” is more complicated than the kind of dancing we see these days.

Some of the floor work improvised back then was fantastically complex. If you go to a modern breakdancing competition you won’t see many of the old school moves but you will see a lot of gymnastics. Impressive though this is, there are those that think breakdancing has lost its roots a little. On the other side of the coin you have people saying that it’s just an evolution.

As a way to solve street battles and gang violence it was inspired. You were finding that amazingly, the gangs were using breakdancing instead of fighting. The breakdancing “battle” took on a world of its own. Of course there were still fights and inevitably sometimes a sore loser in a breaking battle would resort to violence.

Out of all this, breakdancing crews were formed. The members of a crew would practice and dance together. This is when the first very basic breakdancing choreography came about. One crew would invent a move which would inspire an opposing crew to go one better. For some of these guys breakdancing was literally the difference between life and death. They were very dedicated to what they were doing.

Just as all these new breakdancing crews were bursting onto the scene a guy called Afrika Bambaataa embraced the genre. Afrika Bambaataa is a legendary figure in the hip hop world. He was largely responsible for bringing breakdancing into the general public’s consciousness. He got to know all the crews and encouraged them to develop what they were doing. Bambaataa’s “Zulu Kings” breakdancing crew became a force to be reckoned with, winning many battles.

Since then breakdancing has continually progressed and more and more very talented dancers were bringing their skills into the arena. There were new moves being invented by the week and it wasn’t long before we had headspins, windmills, backspins and all the other high energy, acrobatic moves we see these days.

The “Rock Steady Crew” were one of the groups to pioneer this new school breaking. These guys along with Charles Ahearn who made the seminal hip hop movie “Wild Style” were to bring breakdancing fully up to date and the dancing phenomenon became much more popular. There was no stopping the onward march of the break dance.

Nowadays breakdancing influences a lot of the choreographed dance routines which are an integral part of a modern pop record release. You have young kids coming up who are really into it and the genre is experiencing something of a renaissance. There’s no doubt about it, breakdancing is here to stay and if you want more info a quick search on the Internet will turn up thousands of references to this modern art form.

Shedding A Light on Green Bonds

The Government is aiming for a greener economy. Businesses and organizations are trying to support their production through green resources. Green economy, green bonds, green business and going green has become the current anthem worldwide! We know what green economy and green business mean but as I wasn’t aware of ‘green bonds’ initially, same will be the case with many of you. So, today with the help of this article, let’s gain an understanding of the term.

Green bonds: In simple language, these are the bonds issued by the Government and are tax-free. These bonds are used for underdeveloped localities mostly by municipalities or federally qualified organizations. The purpose of these bonds is to finance projects which are aimed at achieving energy efficiency, protection of aquatic and terrestrial species, curbing pollution, managing water quality and quantity and clean transportation, to name a few. Due to the tax-free status, purchasing this bond accounts for a lucrative investment when compared to a taxable bond. This tax-exempt status acts as a financial incentive to handle social issues such as preserving energy sources and climate change.

Qualifying for a green bond requires:

1. The building is at least 20 acres in the size
2. The project will receive a minimum of $5 million from the state or the municipality
3. A minimum of 75% of the building is registered for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED, a rating system developed to measure the environmental impact of the building) certification.

Certain benefits of green bonds are:

Reducing the cost of the project: These bonds are an excellent system of saving a large amount of capital to support environmental investment. Ideally suited for large-scale green projects such as solar and wind development which require capital investments prior to revenues and which generate modest revenue over a long time-period.

Investor demands: Due to the increasing awareness for a green financial market, there is a constant demand of socially responsible investment projects. Owing to this scenario, investors are expressing strong interest in purchasing of green bonds. While retail investors seek investment through their brokers and fund managers, institutional investors use these bonds to handle social, economic and Government mandates. Before green bonds came into the picture, it was a struggle to address these mandates with fixed income tools. This is the reason why these bonds have been successful in attracting new investors thereby providing a new platform for future issuances.

Building brand value: As the major provider of these bonds are the Government, they strike the chance and brand themselves as innovative and dedicated to keeping pace with the green projects.

Leadership: Talking about the future, green bond issuers are the leaders of the world. With their active participation, they can encourage municipalities to participate and create a reputation for monetary innovation. This will make way for upcoming projects in financing environmental projects.

Sharing the time when efforts are put-in to preserve the environment, green bonds are an altogether new opportunity for investors and issuers. Apart from the above-mentioned benefits, green bonds are known for several other advantages over other financing options, some of which are:

Providing a medium to access sustainable investments in a fixed income market in familiar and low-risk surroundings.

Allowing the municipalities to develop a public-private partnership to speed-up the process of energy efficiency and technological advancement.