The Rise of Bitcoin

Bitcoin stands poised to change the future of the financial markets forever. Originally designed as an online, untraceable currency, it has now skyrocketed in value. What was valued at mere pennies per Bitcoin is now over $1100 at the time of this rising. This is causing investors to come and take notice and may impact how we relate to money in the future.

Bitcoin is an anomaly. It’s a currency with no backer. An investment on nothing. A hedge against the real world. Compared to every other currency and investment opportunity there is, Bitcoin stands unique. While every other currency since the dawn of man has either been backed by its own weight in gold or the full faith of a government, Bitcoin is based on numbers. Huge blocks of numbers are decrypted by computers, and once you have decrypted that block, you have a Bitcoin. The strength of this encryption makes Bitcoin both impossible to counterfeit and impossible to track.

This impossibility and anonymity have made Bitcoin prominent in illegal activities for the past several years. The Silk Road, a major drug/arms/hit website on the Deep Web, operated entirely in Bitcoin. You may have heard in the news several months ago about the site finally being shut down. The fact that a site so flagrantly illegal operating for so long and only one person being caught using it shows the strength of the anonymity of Bitcoin.

While it is interesting thinking about the potential nefarious uses of Bitcoin, the real interesting aspect of Bitcoin is its impact on real financial markets. This currency, backed by no one and supported only on its intrinsic value, has already made and lost fortunes. Back earlier in the year, the value of gold dropped off 20%. This was entirely because of a crash in Bitcoin pricing. Now international organizations are looking into Bitcoin. With the huge variance in pricing from day to day, a market is now emerging for the major investors to make money. This will ultimately squeeze out the people who Bitcoin was originally designed for: you and me. So where will Bitcoin go? No one really knows, but it will be a wild ride wherever it do go

Submitted By: Nick Mahan

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb
- Madiba

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Biotech

In the last couple years, people around the world have seen advancements that we would have never even imagined. From snail mail to email and face-to-face talks to face time from across the globe, the world today has evolved into a technological hub that is constantly advancing. From a biological standpoint many of the laboratory processes and experiments would not be able to go on had it not been for the advancement in biotechnology.

First off, the study of miniscule molecular structures would not be able to happen without the invention of the Electron Microscope in the early 1930’s. While that may be an old feat the contemporary electron microscopes can magnify up to 2,000,000 times their ancestral counterparts. Next, the invention of controlled apparatuses allows for experimenting with and manufacturing of items, solutions, and medicines alike that aren’t very simple to make. Many organic chemical solutions and compounds are difficult to create due to their unstable intermediates or necessity for a controlled environment. Certain apparatuses and machines have been built and installed with a programmed control that will make sure the process occurs efficiently and as quickly as possible. Another instance of advancement helping society occurs with biotech dealing with agrarian culture. While some see that genetically modified fruits and vegetables as a dangerous thing what many don’t realize is these fruits and vegetables are modified in order to gain the best out of them. These genetic modifications allow the plants to be planted in different climates and environments which allow us to help alleviate the international problems of both hunger and poverty. In the end, the biotechnological advancements that occur are vast and various. However without these biotech advancements the field of biology and the extent of our study of humanity as well as the animal kingdom would not be as far or as advanced as it is.

Submitted By: Hamza El-Natour

My life is every moment of my life. It is not a culmination of the past -Hugh Leonard

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Evolution of Science

23andMe

When you look at your family what do you see? What I see is a collection of people and my grandparents are the most diverse ad they’re from all over the world. I see my parents, who if not for my brother and myself, would not have any connection. I look at my brother and me. I can see how similar but how different we are. He has green eyes while I have brown. We both are tall. We look alike but there are pieces of us that we can pick out of our parents that are not in ourselves. This all comes from traits, but this information is not what we all care about.

23 and Me is a way to get your genetic information for as low as 100 dollars with a saliva test kit. Less than a decade ago we’re still sequencing the human genome. Now we can sequence our genome and find out what is in our genome, our origination and why we are prone to getting illness and disease.

Accessing my genetic information is on my bucket list of things to do before I die. I have always speculated what I could be based on my ancestry and where I may have originated. The best thing about 23 and Me is how they not only look at your mother’s side of your history but also your father’s side. The amount of information you can gain is immense.  Prior to the government providing the company with grant money the service cost $1,000 rather than $100. Additionally, with this new development came other one.

The FDA has now made 23 and Me suspend health-related genetic tests. By limiting our information on what we can get will ultimately limit our ways of knowing about ourselves. We will not know if we have certain genetic information leading to disease and death. When you go to the doctor you are able to get genetic tests which show health-related genetic information. If you have this test done once and the results come back you are not able to do it again. With 23 and Me you are able to get tested repeatedly. Your genetic information gets mutated and it can change the likelihood of getting a particular disease. Information is powerful and with the information you can live your life to the best.

With all this in mind, I’d say getting genetically tested is something I want to get done. I am worried if I wait any longer the FDA will shut it down. In my case I will get my genetic test done and I will do it again when I am able to get my health related information.

Submitted By: Shannon McGuire

It always seems impossible until its done – Nelson Mandela

 

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Panopto @ Loyola

Have you wondered how to help students access your training materials from anywhere in the world? Have you considered using a lecture capture technology tool? There are several on the market but @ Loyola we’re piloting Panopto.  The lecture capture software allows the instructor to either record video or audio only along with PowerPoint and/or screen capture. Click here to learn more.

“Never forget happiness is a smile away” – Anonymous

 

 

Panopto is a new lecture capture platform that Loyola is piloting in 2013. Panopto software provides an all-in-one interface to record screen content and video of the instructor simultaneously and can be used in classrooms on campus that are equipped with a built-in video recording system or from any PC or laptop.  The presenter has the option to record video or audio only along with PowerPoint and/or screen capture.

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CryptoLocker Virus

Over the past few weeks the CryptoLocker Virus has been wreaking havoc on hard drives throughout the world. Essentially, the virus encrypts data on a hard drive and one has to monetarily pay to recover their data. The fine must be paid within a certain deadline or the damage is done and the data is irrecoverable. Remember, never click on items within email you are not familiar with or from senders you do not know.

Click here to learn more info about the CryptoLocker Virus.

Submitted By: Ariana Lewis

‘Lifelong learning provides an eternal breath of freshness’ – Anonymous

 

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Nature vs Computing

When people ask me what my major is and I tell them I am a Bioinformatics student most people look at me with questionable looks and some just stare blankly at me. Then I pause and give them my statement on how Bioinformatics is biology, chemistry, computer science and statistics combined into one major. But normally people just respond with “wow you must love science” and continue the conversation in a different direction. What frustrates me is how there is so much more to Bioinformatics that people just don’t want to know about. My biggest example has been referenced since the late 1980s is DNA sequencing and the human genome project. I wouldn’t say it is something that people talk about but when going to museums or watching documentaries about biological sciences you see the well known double helix. Now with Bioinformatics, it is about learning what is in that sequence of DNA and since the 80′s we have huge databases worth of information on sequences of animals all around the world.

How does this relate to technology? Since the development of the computer, science and technology have slowly been brought together. Computers were programmed at the beginning to just read DNA sequences giving a stand of A’s, T’s, G’s and C’s. This is how the Human Genome Project was completed. But after a while, we wanted to know what each DNA sequence meant. So once again the computer ran the programs to show the strand of DNA and constructed its databases around proteins to analyze the proteins being transcribed in a sequence. The computer had to run its program in 6 steps to understand what proteins are being transcribed and if it makes sense to the specimen.

For example, if you give a computer DNA of a flower and it starts reading the DNA and it gets a few proteins for the plant but proteins from animals and reptiles as well, it wouldn’t make sense. The computer must shift its reading frame, just move over 1 nucleotide and start transcribing again to find the correct sequence. When it has shifted over 3 times and then transcribes the DNA backwards, as well as shifting 3 times over going backwards, we have a collection of 6 reading frames. The one that makes the most sense to the specimen is the DNA sequence.

This is a lot of computing and analyzing that the computer must do. It prints out the information and the biologist will analyze the data that was given by the computer. This has been going on for years and this is where the Bioinformatics major comes in. Remember this is only for DNA sequencing. The real technology is in research labs all around the world using computers and biology in order to make the world a better place and possibly finding a cure for all illnesses. But for now, if you enjoy glowing fish and broc-liflower just remember it was the understanding of DNA that brought these items to us today.

Submitted By: Shannon McGuire

Science is a exploratory mystery just waiting to be learned. Embrace knowledge – Anonymous

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Up and Coming

I still remember when I had a bar phone thirteen years ago. You know that phone where the smartest thing it had was its own dedicated voice command button that no one ever used. You could always tell because that was the only button on the phone without an oily fingerprint on it. Seven years later the history of cell phones have changed forever.

Now, there’s a touch screen in addition to the traditional time and date along with the daily news, weather, stocks and email. To top it all off you were able to download applications that made your life a little easier from navigation maps (for your daily drive) to a game to play when you are standing in line. Did I mention it was all in color? Since then, Apple’s made a million different, yet ironically same ,versions of the iPhone with the iOS.

The competition became drastic. Every other cell phone company tried to come out with their own versions of smart phones. Some made it big, like Samsung with Google’s Android OS, which has killed the iPhone in the cell phone industry relatively quick after its initial release. Others didn’t do so well such as Palm’s Palm Pre phone inclusive of its best feature,  multitasking, and being able to have multiple applications running simultaneously. Though everyone multitasks, the rest of the competition made their phones faster to compensate, which took Palm right out of the market.

With Microsoft leading as the largest operating system company in the world they decided to jump into the market with their vision of a Windows 8 phone. They jumped and they fell with only about 3.7% of the market in their hands. Since the actual Windows 8 OS failed miserably the phone fell right with it. Today’s phones just keep getting smarter and bigger. The screen size on a flip phone used to be a small 1in screen. Today the touch screen may be as large as 5.2in. Who knows what tomorrow may bring. Will we continue to use cell phones or will we start using the up and coming Google Glasses as our new voice as we use our voice and eyes to give commands. Only time will tell.

Click here to learn more about the competition between Android and iPhone.

Submitted By: Vivek Wadhwa

An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching. -Mahatma Gandhi

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Dual Authentication on Facebook and Google

More security is never a bad thing when it comes to the internet. Computers can be hacked, passwords can be discovered, and viruses can compromise online accounts. Here’s a quick tip for putting a little more security for two places many of us have accounts on: Facebook and Google(Gmail).

Dual authentication can provide you with a fail safe if someone discovers your password in some shape or form. What dual authentication does is after you enter in your password and login to Facebook or Google, it will then require a second authentication which is sent to your phone via text. This way, the only way to access these accounts is by entering in both authenticators. In addition, it is possible to set it so you only need to enter in the second authenticator once, as after that your machine will be recognized as a trusted computer.

For Facebook, dual authentication is set up in the following manner: When logged into Facebook, select the gear on the top right corner, to the left of the lock. Then select account settings. From here, click on “security,” which is on the top left corner right beneath “General.” Then click on “Edit” for “Login Approvals.” Check mark the box asking to require a security code to access your account, and then put in your phone number.

For Google, login to your gmail account. Click on where your email is listed on the top right corner. This should populate a drop down menu. Select “Account.” Then select the “Security” tab on the left. Under “2-step verification,” select “Settings.” You will then be asked to login again. Once you login, turn on 2-step verification and enter in your phone number. In both cases, what this does is if someone finds a way to get your password, they still cannot access your accounts because they will not be able to pass the second verifier.

Submitted By: James Siap

Nature is in austere mood, even terrifying, withal majestically beautiful -Frederick Soddy

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Online Interactions and Relationships

I vividly remember the AOL dial-up connection tone when turning on my computer back in the 90’s. The screeching and whirring before the connection was established became so obnoxious that at one point I found myself closing my ears every time my father used the internet. Only after this incessant torture was over did I find refuge in instant messaging my friends from the neighborhood.

Arriving to America, I discovered an interesting, dynamic web of relationships that differed greatly from Korea’s online community. Individuals were more prone to share their opinions openly and at the same time, disagree with each other to such an extent that an argument would break out. I was hooked. Such interactions piqued my interest whereas opposed to Korea; I found that people lived within a strict, confined society based upon mutual respect for older individuals. This standard rendered discussions almost impossible. Actively engaging with another individual of older age meant that standard was to be held in the highest degree.

However, free interaction at the same time allowed others to abuse one another through text. I have to admit it was amusing to see many individuals get into these intellectual arguments, but at the same time knew first-hand how frustrating this activity was. The further one elaborated, the more the argument grew in depth. As the argument grew in depth, others would join in taking their respective sides. This continuous cycle would only cease until the other party would simply abstain or make a deliberate attempt to end the discussion.

If anything at all, I learned that even the most recluse, introverted people in society can offer the most intriguing opinions. The many interactions that take place online bridges what we see in modern day society. It is a means to communicate, express one’s true feelings, and provides an opportunity to deconstruct some of the existing barriers when talking to others. In essence, it would be interesting to further observe the sociological impacts of the internet itself and how it continues to serve our interests.

Submitted By: Justin Kim

Just as the sky’s shade changes color so does your thoughts. Embrace the beauty – Anonymous

 

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Ubuntu Edge Likely to Fail to Meet Crowd-funding goals

As of today, 18days after initially seeking crowd-funding, the much anticipated Ubuntu Edge has raised just over $9.1 million. With only 13 days left to raise funds on Indiegogo, the Edge is over $22 million short of the $32 million required to actually produce and sell the phone.  If they don’t reach this goal, the Edge will not be produced and project supports will be refunded their money. This phone has a lot of ‘firsts’ especially as funded by individual consumers among them – and the Edge’s failure to generate enough interest is a big disappointment to many.

The Ubuntu Edge is a fascinating piece of hardware. Dual-booting Android and Ubuntu Mobile, the phone could also replace a Desktop PC when paired with a monitor and peripherals. The hardware outclasses the current competition significantly, though it is worth noting that it would have taken some time before this phone actually reached the market. It sports 4GB of RAM to the iPhone 5’s 1GB and the Samsung GS4’s 2 GB, and would have undoubtedly had a better processor upon release. The screen sits nicely in between the fantastic 1080p 5” Samsung GS4’s screen and the less impressive iPhone 5’s screen with the Edge sporting 1280 x 720 at 4.5”. Paired with a fully functioning Ubuntu OS and a classy metal body, this phone would have looked and ran very nicely. That’s not even counting the 128 GB of internal storage.

That being said, it doesn’t look like the phone will reach the necessary funding to be produced unless it finds some major backers quickly. The allure of dual-booting an Ubuntu OS appeals to only a handful of people and the idea of putting down $695 for a phone not schedule to arrive until May 2014 is a difficult sell for many.

Click here for more information.

Submitted By: Michael Burdi

Living a life of joy is sweet! Take time to slow down and rest – Anonymous

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