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Citizen Science Project Develops Nanotube Filtration Systems For Clean Water

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Researchers at Tsinghua University and Tel Aviv University developed a framework for a new nanotechnology-based strategy to improve water filtration.

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The project, called Computing for Clean Water, was led by Prof. Quanshui Zheng of the Tsinghua Center for Nano and Micro Mechanics and Prof. Michael Urbakh of the Tel Aviv University School of Chemistry, in collaboration with Prof. Francois Grey of the University of Geneva.

More Efficient and Less Expensive Water Filters

ibm-nanotubesThe results of the project, published in Nature Nanotechnology with the title “Water transport inside carbon nanotubes mediated by phonon-induced oscillating friction,” show that carbon nanotubes can be used to make water filters that are more efficient and less expensive. Carbon nanotubes are made of single-atom-thick sheets of carbon atoms rolled up into tiny tubes, with diameters of just a few nanometers – one ten-thousandth the diameter of a human hair. The size of the tubes allows water molecules to pass through, but blocks larger pathogens and contaminants, purifying the water.

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The scientists demonstrated that, under suitable conditions, water can pass through nanotubes much more easily than previously predicted. The research result could permit developing techniques to improve access to clean water through more efficient water filtration and desalination, which is very important because billions of people in the developing world don’t have access to clean water for drinking and hygiene. There are possible applications in clean energy and medicine as well.

The researchers carried out extensive computer simulation of the flow of water through nanotubes to demonstrate that water transport can be enhanced, and sanitation and desalination improved, by appropriately exploiting phonon oscillations – vibrations of water-carrying nanotubes. Under the right conditions, such vibrations produce a 300 percent improvement in the rate of water diffusion.

Prof. Urbakh said:

With these oscillations, we witnessed three times the efficiency of water transport, and, of course, a great deal of energy saved.

Citizen Scientists Play an Important role in Scientific Breakthroughs

Since the required simulations are very computing intensive, the researchers enlisted the help of over 150,000 volunteer citizen scientists, who contributed their own computing power to the research via the World Community Grid, an IBM initiative that enables participants to donate their unused computing power to advance cutting-edge scientific research on topics related to health, poverty and sustainability.

“We could never have managed with just four students in the lab,” said Prof. Urbakh. “We would have required the equivalent of nearly 40,000 years of processing power on a single computer. Instead we had the benefit of some 150,000 computing volunteers from all around the world, who downloaded and ran the project on their laptops and desktop computers.”

Prof. Grey, who also manages the Citizen Cyberscience Centre established by CERN, the UN Institute for Training and Research and the University of Geneva, commented on the broader significance of this result:

Computing for Clean Water and similar volunteer computing initiatives are playing an increasingly important role in major scientific computing breakthroughs, ranging from drug discovery and climate modeling to epidemiology and particle physics research.

He added that the range of research questions that can benefit from public participation is growing all the time, in step with the power of personal computing.

Images from IBM and Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Giulio Prisco is a freelance writer specialized in science, technology, business and future studies.




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  1. dinoo

    July 7, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Would be interesting to hear what exactly is the new finding now. Nature wrote in 2004 about nanotubes for water filters and recently I got phone calls from the first vendors of ready for market water filters based on nanotube technology.

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Blockchain

Justin Sun Plans To Buy BitTorrent

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Justin Sun, the CEO of TRON, is finalizing an agreement to buy BitTorrent, inc. Most people know BitTorrent as the creator of the popular torrenting client, uTorrent, which at its peak had over 100 million users.

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According to Torrentfreak.com, BitTorrent has been in a steady decline to some poor decisions and potentially illegal missteps by their management.

In an interview with BitTorrent founder Bram Cohen, the management was painted by Cohen as incompetent narcissists who had no business plan and no idea what they were doing besides chasing some nebulous idea of celebrity endorsement.

This can be seen in Cohen’s statement, “They were just incompetent fuckups. I mean they’re losers. Basically, Accel took their share in BitTorrent and pretty much just gave it away to these total strangers who they didn’t know. And not only gave away their stock but gave away control of the company.

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Human beings are a bunch of starfuckers, right? The United States has become this celebrity-obsessed culture, and everyone’s all about, oh, we’ll gain access. That’ll be great, and we’ll make money off of it, everybody thinks this.”

It is against this backdrop that Sun’s alleged acquisition is taking place. The TRON projects alleged goal is to “decentralize the web.” Owning one of the most recognizable brands aligned with these goals would be a major coup for the ambitious CEO.

This is due to the fact that the most likely use case of uTorrent by TRON would be to simply parlay its user base into usage of the TRON blockchain.

Since a huge part of TRON’s model relies on advanced content search for media files, simply making use of the uTorrent brand but integrating it with Tron’s decentralized search would instantly transform TRON into one of the most actively utilized blockchains on earth.

The information stems from the fact that BitTorrent changed their company name recently to Rainberry according to their chief product officer. “Rainberry Inc is the official name of the company; it was changed right around the start of 2017.” He stressed that it was a purely corporate decision and that none of the existing product brands would change.

Despite this blanket denial, it seems like the acquisition was proceeding swiftly, and was even overcoming some initial hurdles. BitTorrent had already tried to find a better acquisition offer during the first round of negotiations, to the point that Justin Sun took them to court in an attempt to stop them from negotiating with other buyers.

However, it seems that these initial roadblocks have been overcome, as a new company called Rainberry Acquisition, (BitTorrent recently changed their official company name to Rainberry) was formed and registered directly to Justin Sun. How Sun plans to integrate the platform with Tron is an open question, but it is likely to result in some interesting synergies.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Decentralization

JP Morgan’s Surprise Cryptocurrency Fees are a Reminder of Why Decentralization Is Sorely Needed

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JP Morgan Chase & Co has been hit with a class-action lawsuit by cryptocurrency traders over allegations of unannounced fees and higher interest rates on purchases of digital currencies. Though the allegations have not been proven, extra fees are a tactic routinely employed by traditional banking institutions. In the case of JP Morgan, this has karma written all over it given the way its chief executive has ridiculed digital assets by associating them with fraud.

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Class Action Lawsuit

Traders from across the United States are seeking statutory damages of $1 million for unannounced interest charges and fees on cryptocurrency transactions between January and February of this year. The named plaintiff in the lawsuit is Brady Tucker, an Idaho resident who paid a total of $163.91 in fees and surprise interest charges over a six-day stretch.

According to information obtained by Reuters, the lawsuit accuses the bank of violating the U.S. Truth in Lending Act, a piece of legislation that requires credit card issuers to inform customers in writing of any notable change in fees.

The lawsuit asserts that Tucker tried to resolve the dispute by calling Chase’s customer support service directly. His request was turned down, prompting him to seek legal help. According to Bloomberg, the case in question is Tucker v. Chase Bank USA NA, 18-cv-3155, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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The Growing Case for Decentralization

Depending on who you ask, the allegations against JP Morgan are akin to cryptocurrency fraud not unlike the kind Jamie Dimon talked about while ridiculing bitcoin. But the irony in Dimon’s comments extend far beyond Chase’s latest dealings.

As the actions of Chase bank and other financial institutions have clearly demonstrated over the years, those who control the size and growth rate of fiat money cannot be trusted to do the right thing. As Nassim Taleb argues in The Black Swan, banks have a tendency of losing as much money as they make in the long run due to shady business practices and high-risk ventures. Decisions like these are easy when you are Too Big to Fail.

Decentralization, like the kind advocated by blockchain startups and cryptocurrencies, allows users to trade directly with each other without having to go through a (predatory) middleman. Decentralized systems not only help participants avoid unnecessary fees, red tape and other forms of unwanted intervention, they are virtually impossible to shut down. In this vein, decentralized currencies give people a fighting chance in their battle against never-ending inflation. As we’ve argued before, this is not only a prudent fight, but a noble one as well.

Cryptocurrencies that rely on decentralization offer society a unique value proposition unlike anything we’ve seen in recent history. What’s more, their adoption is not contingent upon us leaving the realm of traditional finance – at least, not yet. That’s because cryptocurrency started off as an obscure and esoteric asset class but has since become a value store for investors. Tomorrow, it will become a viable medium of exchange accepted worldwide.

That said, we are still in the very early days of the crypto revolution and it may be a while still before we can conclusively prove people like Dimon wrong. But crypto backers and investors should take comfort in knowing that big banks rarely lead in disruption these days. They have the resources to play catch-up, which they are clearly doing with blockchain.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 417 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Bitcoin

Valuing Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Applications

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Arguably the most interesting financial trend of 2017 is the spreading of cryptocurrencies, especially in the Ethereum ecosystem. With the ICO boom of this year, a lot of different business models have been connected to tokens or blockchains of their own. This brings up several questions in the mind value-conscious investors, as given the special properties of these coins, and especially considering the various distribution and usage schemes of the tokens, valuing them is tricky, to say the least.

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Whether or not we are in a bubble currently is a layered question, as we are definitely in a huge speculative wave that will end badly for several coins, but the segment is in the early phase of adoption, and the market as a whole will likely multiply in the coming years.

As I concluded in my comparison with the Dot-Com bubble, selective investing in the ICO-boom is vital for long-term investors. To make things more complicated, traditional valuation models generally fail with cryptocurrencies, because of the hybrid stock-commodity properties of them and the novelty of the technology, coupled with the questions regarding the future usage patterns.

Is it possible to set up a framework to analyze all the different business models and value the connected coins? Or is it possible to, at least, determine hard guidelines to follow when selecting the coins to hold or forget? I will answer that question below and in the coming second part of the article.

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Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 257 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




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