Friday, April 4, 2014

Warning! E-cigarettes Liquid Nicotine can be Dangerous for your Kids


Experts say the highly concentrated with nicotine liquid, used to refill e-cigarettes can be harmful to adults and even deadly to children if consumed orally. It can also be harmful if absorbed through the skin. The most common adverse health effects are vomiting, nausea and eye irritation.

Liquid nicotine is sold to refill e-cigarettes, the battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals through a vaporizer. The nicotine is typically contained in a cartridge that users insert into the e-cigarette.

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E-cigarettes have been already criticized for being attractive to the small children, since many brands come in bright colors, and candy and fruit flavors. The e-liquid is often brightly colored, and comes in candy and fruit flavors such as strawberry, butterscotch, chocolate, apple, blueberry, gummy bear, cotton candy and bubble gum. That attracts young children, who may be unable to read warning labels and do not realize that the liquids could be dangerous.

Recently, researchers found a steady and rapid increase in the number of calls to poison control centers about e-cigarettes and the liquid nicotine used in them, according to the study, released April 3 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A total of 215 calls involving e-cigarettes were made to U.S. poison control centers in February 2014, up from one call in September 2010, said researchers who examined data from poison centers over that period.

More than half of these calls involved children age 5 and younger, and about 42 percent involved people age 20 and older who were poisoned by ingesting liquid nicotine, or absorbing it through the skin, according to the study.

"Use of these products is skyrocketing, and these poisonings will continue," said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden."E-cigarette liquids, as currently sold, are a threat to small children because they are not required to be childproof, and they come in candy and fruit flavors that are appealing to children."

For the study, researchers examined all calls to poison centers in which callers stated the reason for their call was exposure to conventional cigarettes, e-cigarettes or nicotine liquid used in e-cigarettes.

Poison centers received 2,405 calls related to e-cigarettes, and 16,248 calls about cigarettes, between September 2010 and February 2014, according to the report.

In September 2010, 0.3 percent of all calls about any cigarettes or liquid nicotine were due to e-cigarettes. By February 2014, the number had jumped, and 41.7 percent of all such calls were due to e-cigarettes, the researchers found.

Poisoning from conventional cigarettes most often involves young children who ate the cigarettes. Poisoning from liquid nicotine can occur not only by ingestion, but also inhalation or absorption through the skin or eyes.

In about 70 percent of cases, poisoning from liquid nicotine occurred because a person ingested the chemical. About 17 percent of the cases occurred from inhalation, and about 15 cases reported absorption through the skin or the eye.

The most common adverse health effects mentioned in e-cigarette calls were vomiting, nausea and eye irritation. One suicide death from nicotine liquid was reported to poison centers.

The number of calls per month involving conventional cigarettes did not show an increase during the same time period.

Recently, studies have found e-cigarette use is growing, and is becoming especially popular among teenagers.

Although the Food and Drug Administration has said it intends to regulate the e-cigarette industry, it has been slow to act. In the meantime, critics say, no regulations exist that would force liquid nicotine manufacturers to use child-resistant packaging or detailed warning labels.

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Do you plan to be an early adopter for electronic credit cards All-in-One service?


Promising breakthrough technology

In old good days, the credit card was a symbol of wealth and prosperity of its owner. Not anymore. Most people carry multiple cards for various purposes in their purses. Why not using a single one? Well, there may be multiple reasons:
* Multiple cards offer bigger borrowing potential as summary of credit lines.
* You can play smart by using promotions on one card for the balances transfers to pay for other card debts.
* Many cards use the selected promotions on the incentives, related to the particular categories of purchases.
* Some stores (like Costco) allow paying with particular credit card only.
* Using different credit cards to distinguish between personal and business purchases,
… and many more…

A new business proposal from Coin, a company based in San Francisco, is what you may really want – they offer you to replace every credit card in your wallet with a single all-in-one programmable credit card. Coin allows you to load up to eight cards onto a single plastic device.

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'This is designed for the lifestyle of today with the technology of tomorrow,” says Kanishk Parashar, founder of Coin. 'You don’t need eight cards every day, so your phone is kind of like your drawer, and your Coin is kind of like your wallet.'

Users then take photos of their cards, swipe them through the dongle and upload them to the Coin mobile app, which stores the info onto your Coin card. When you want to pay, you browse through stored cards on your Coin, select one, and swipe it anywhere credit, debit or gift cards are accepted.
Information is loaded onto the card through a mobile app. The process of adding card information to the mobile app is very simple and is done by taking a picture or two and swiping credit cards through a dongle attached to your phone.

In order to make a payment with this card, users tap a button on the Coin card and pick which account they want to pay with, whether it's a business credit card or a personal debit card. To differentiate between cards, Coin displays the last four digits of each card, its expiration date, and the security code. After picking an account, the Coin card is swiped through, no different than any other card.

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The Coin card uses a Bluetooth emitter which means if the card is left behind for any reason the card will no longer function. The battery in Coin, said to last up to two years, powers a small display screen that shows which saved card will be charged, along with its expiration date.

Cards are entered into Coin after being swiped on a Square-like dongle plugged into a smartphone.
There are also few worries about leaving the card behind somewhere or losing it altogether.
The coin card only operates if your smartphone is nearby by using the Bluetooth signals. If the card is disconnected for more than ten minutes, the phone will alert the customer that they have left their card behind. If the owner drifts too far from Coin, his or her smartphone will alert them. If the card is disconnected for more than 10 minutes, it automatically disables itself, which could potentially be an issue if a phone runs out of juice.

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Coin can be preordered for $55, with an expected delivery time of summer 2014. Later, it plans on selling the cards for $100 each.

You can pre-order your device through the following link: https://onlycoin.com/

Video presentation:


Substantial skepticism

Will Oreumus, a blogger with FutureTense, isn't convinced the technology has a chance for successful takeoff. “To me, the only real problem with Coin is that it feels like a stopgap technology, like those CD-changer cartridges that were popular for a little while before everyone switched to mp3s.  Replacing eight cards with one may lighten your load by an ounce or two, but is that enough to convince people to take the leap of faith involved in adopting a new payment system?
Even early adopters could be forgiven for holding out for a more comprehensive digital wallet—the kind that will let you pay for everything just by tapping your phone, or perhaps some other, even more seamless gesture.”

Here are more warning notes which may let you think twice before preordering this new device:

* “Putting all your eggs in one basket” would allow thieves to skim not just one card at a time, but all of them, or grab all your credit card info by simply hacking your smartphone. Along the same lines, if the card stops or malfunctions or your phone runs out of batteries (and drops contact with Coin) you won’t have access to back-up cards.

* This device will not be useful in many countries, since Canada, Mexico and most of Europe use Chip and PIN (EMV protocol). In fact, Coin’s cards might not be usable for long because the similar protocol might become a standard in the USA by 2015.

* Cloning your own credit card might be in violation of some terms with your credit company. The Coin card reader and its card-duplicating system are essentially "cloning" credit cards and may violate industry standards, and possibly laws against forgery.

* Before the card will be adopted to the general public and businesses, you may see that some stores and other points of sale might not accept the Coin card as unfamiliar and not trusted device.

Competition

While the Coin products are not delivered to the users, the business is lucky to have a direct competitor.

Boston-based startup Loop has just released its own mobile payments device for iPhone -- one that works at most traditional U.S. retail outlets. The Loop Fob is a small device that allows users to store credit card information on the iPhone, and then wirelessly pay at any traditional magnetic stripe reader.

The cost is $39, and it can be purchased at the following link: http://www.looppay.com/product/fob/

The Loop Fob can be used while attached to the iPhone, or it can store a single card and be used separately at restaurants and bars. The company says payment data is encrypted and stored on the Loop Fob device, and no credit card info is ever stored on the iPhone.

Loop also has a dedicated $99 iPhone case in the works which will be released later this year. It will allow Loop owners to make touch less credit card payments without needing a separate hardware device. All the necessary technology will be built into the iPhone case. The fob will still be used to read credit cards for storage, however.

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Sources and Additional Information

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

How much $500,000 XRP Donation to Artificial Intelligence Research will cost tomorrow?


Donation to MIRI

The creator of Ripple and original founder of Mt. Gox, Jed McCaleb, recently made a donation worth roughly $500,000 in XRP to artificial intelligence researchers the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI).

Going on the XRP-USD exchange rate at the time of the donation, McCaleb’s became the largest single contribution in the Institute’s history. Though values have fluctuated and MIRI will not convert the donation into half a million US dollars straight away, it is still a startling amount and could be worth even more if the XRP value rises in future.

Currently, 1 XRP, the currency of the Ripple Network, is worth around $0.02. However, there are experts’ predictions that it will go up in the nearest future. It is not expected to jump as sharp as its twin-brother Bitcoin, since Ripple intends to support steady and well-founded growth of its assets.

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MIRI

The Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI) is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization focusing on safety issues related to the development of ‘Strong AI’, or smarter-than-human artificial intelligence. Known as the Singularity Institute until January 2013, MIRI has a mission to ensure the creation of such intelligence has a positive impact on humanity.

Among its advisory board are names often associated with future studies, Transhumanism and the technological Singularity: Nick Bostrom, Aubrey de Grey, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and Foresight Nanotech Institute co-founder Christine Peterson. Ray Kurzweil was also a director from 2007-10.

Jed McCaleb

Jed McCaleb left his main role at Ripple Labs in July last year, but is still a director there. He is known to have an interest in AI research and development, and the technological Singularity.

He founded the current Mt. Gox in 2009, converting an old exchange for Magic: The Gathering Online trading cards into the world’s first bitcoin-USD exchange in Tokyo. He sold the site to its current owners, Tibanne Ltd., in 2011. McCaleb was also the creator of the eDonkey2000 P2P filesharing network.

Thanks to this history he is sometimes mentioned as possibly one of the real identities behind bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto.

From Bitcoin to Ripple

First it was Bitcoin. Who could predict that virtual game currency could turn into real investment? There were few early believers, there were few early adopters.

According to Norwegian news outlet NRK, Kristoffer Koch decided -- on a whim -- to invest 150 kroner (about $26) in 5,000 bitcoins in 2009, soon after the Bitcoin network first came into existence. Koch is said to have discovered the virtual currency while writing a thesis on encryption and decided to put down a small investment out of sheer curiosity.

Unaware of just how successful bitcoins would soon become, Koch says he promptly forgot about his digital stash; that is, until a flurry of media coverage about bitcoins caught his attention earlier this year.

Koch reportedly had to scour his memory for the password to the encrypted wallet that held his investment. When he finally figured it out in April, he says he was stunned by what he found. "It said I had 5,000 bitcoins in there. Measuring that in today's rates it's about five million kroner," Koch told NRK, according to a Guardian translation. That's about $850,000.

That’s was in April 2013, and the same investment as of today costs is more than $4 million. In June 2012, Bitcoins were worth $5. By April 2013, they were up to $266. Then they dropped to $70 in April, steadily raised by December 2013 to $1,200, and now above $820.

Virtual money turned real! But we all a bit too late to jump in the carriage. But maybe that is not the case with the new trendy start-up Ripple.

Ripple, a platform that just received funding from Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and others, has created both an alternative to Bitcoin and a distributed currency exchange for Bitcoiners (and others) who aren’t comfortable using only Ripple’s currency, known as XRP.
The Ripple network is a protocol. It’s like HTTP for money. Users, merchants anyone can use it for free without a license.

The Ripple platform serves two purposes: it’s a distributed open-source payment network, and it’s the home of the newly minted XRP currency. As a payment network, Ripple provides free global payments without chargebacks (minus a $0.0001 per transaction network charge, implemented as a security precaution against hackers), the ability to pay in any currency using a distributed currency exchange, and an open protocol that any developer can use.

Participants can exchange dollars, yen, Euros, and even completely made-up currencies, all of which are entered into the system via "gateways." Larsen says: "A UI designer and myself can be a gateway to each other. A gateway can be a friend, neighborhood, a group. Most gateways will be larger. It’s like the way Paypal works--you give them $100, they create a $100 balance."

The only currency that doesn’t need to be entered into the Ripple platform from a gateway is XRP. This is an advantage over Bitcoin: Ripple is its own currency exchange.

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What make me think this scheme has a serious future:
* The Ripple protocol is an open standard that can federate existing payment networks, similar to how Simple Mail Transfer Protocol federated messaging systems in the 1980s.
* Currency exchanges in Ripple are automatically processed at the best available rate with no fees or added margins. 
* Ripple allows users or businesses to transact in different currencies without exposing themselves to undesired foreign currency exchange risk. It allows instant cross-currency payments: you can send one currency (dollars, euros, pounds, etc.) and the recipient receives another (yen, yuan, rupees, etc.).
* Ripple can provide fast transactions (transactions can typically be settled in only a few seconds).
* Ripple's was designed to be counterfeit-proof.
* Ripple makes micropayments cost-effective – even payments less than a penny — opening the Internet to business models that would previously have been impossible. 
* No fear of inflation, since the total amount of Ripple currency XRP remains constant.
* Ripple was developed by the people who gained their experience on virtual currencies and translated their knowledge to the new scheme.
* Ripple got support and funding by several very serious entities.

Here are some disadvantages as well:
* While opening Ripple account is easy and very fast, you will not be able to perform any transactions before your Ripple wallet becomes funded.
* You need a very small amount of at least 20 XRP (at the moment 1 XRP costs a bit more than 2 cents), but getting it may be challenging at first. You may purchase it easy, if you have Bitcoins, or with dollars, but the process is very manual. The getaways for such transactions are very crowded, and it may take significant time and efforts to do so.

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How to start with Ripple:
1. Open your account: https://ripple.com/client/#/login
2. When you first create a Ripple wallet, it will need to be activated before it can be used.  This prevents accounts from being created automatically by computers and used in fraudulent ways. Activating an account involves transferring a minimal number of XRP into the account (this number is currently 20 XRP, though it can change from time to time – see https://ripple.com/wiki/Reserves for details).  Until the account is activated, you will not be able to use it for funding your account with other currencies, sending and receiving, and trading.
3. If you know someone who already has a Ripple account, you can ask your friend to give or lend you the required number of XRP. As said, you can purchase bitcoins and convert them into XRP, which can be used to activate your account. You can participate in one of the Ripple Labs giveaways to get XRP for free.
4. Current giveaway you can get XRP for free is sponsored by ComputingforGood.org. While you donate your idle computing power to scientific research, you will get XRP from Ripple Labs. Anybody with an internet-connected computer or Android device can participate, and unlike mining Bitcoins, does not require super-duper hardware.  Follow the instructions on the site: https://www.computingforgood.org/
5. Install the software, leave it run by itself, and make some Ripples, while giving your unused resources to the just cause, like Cancer Research, Environment, and others.

Other useful links:
1. XRP Talk is holding several giveaways, which will help to start and fund your account. Website: https://xrptalk.org/forum/28-giveaways/
2. SnapSwap.us is giving away 2,000 XRPs when you open up an account and link it to Dwolla! Also, receive 500 XRP with your first deposit of $10.00 or more from your bank account to your Ripple Wallet, and 3 XRP with every subsequent $1.00 deposited, up to 300 XRP per transaction and up to 2,000 XRP total.
3. The OpenCoin.in forum is giving away 1 XRP for every forum post and awarding 100 XRP every week to the member who posts the most that week!
4. Ripple Faucet. Come once a day and enter your Ripple address to get 0.1 to 1 XRP. Not much, but fast and easy. Website: http://ripplegiveaway.com/. Website should be already funded to get into the raffle.

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