A ‘Security Robot’ for the Homeless Has Already Been Tried—It Didn’t Go Well

The 400lb machine that once patrolled outside the San Francisco SPCA prompted a backlash, as some argued its real mission was to drive people away.

To some who are homeless, San Francisco’s latest security robot was a rolling friend on five wheels that they called “R2-D2 Two”. To others living in tents within the droid’s radius, it was the “anti-homeless robot”.

For a month, the 400lb, bullet-shaped bot patrolled outside the not-for-profit San Francisco SPCA animal shelter, rolling around the organization’s parking lots and sidewalks, capturing security video and reading up to 300 license plates per minute. Homeless people who pitched their tents in an alleyway nearby complained they felt the beeping, whirring droid’s job was to run them off.

“We called it the anti-homeless robot,” said John Alvarado, who was one of numerous people camping next to the animal shelter when the robot arrived. He said he quickly decided to move his tent half a block away: “I guess that was the reason for the robot.”

Officials of both the SF SPCA and Knightscope, who rented the robot to the shelter, denied that the intention was to dislodge homeless encampments.

“The SPCA has the right to protect its property, employees and visitors, and Knightscope is dedicated to helping them achieve this goal,” Knightscope said in a statement.

SF SPCA staff members said the facility had been plagued with break-ins, staff members had been harassed as they went to the parking lot and sidewalks were littered with hypodermic needles. Jennifer Scarlett, the SF SPCA president, said in a release that her organization “was exploring the use of a robot to prevent additional burglaries at our facility and to deter other crimes that frequently occur on our campus – like car break-ins, harassment, vandalism, and graffiti – not to disrupt homeless people”.

But after complaints about the program were shared widely on social media, the organization quickly admitted it had made a mistake in its choice of security guards – and fired the robot.

“Since this story has gone viral, we’ve received hundreds of messages inciting violence and vandalism against our facility, and encouraging people to take retribution,” said Scarlett, noting that their campus had since been vandalized twice. “We are taking this opportunity to reflect on the ‘teachable moment’.”

Some of the homeless people who crossed paths with the white security robot, which bore images of dogs and cats, as it patrolled outside of San Francisco SPCA this month thought it was a cute and a positive addition to the area.

TJ Thornton, whose tent is still pitched across the street from the shelter’s parking lot, nicknamed the bot “R2-D2 Two”. He liked how the machine made little whistling sounds as it moved along the sidewalk and how it would even say “hello” if you walked past it.

Thornton said he thought the bot had a positive influence on the neighborhood and relieved the pressure on local homeless people to always keep an eye on cars parked nearby. “People living on the streets actually watch out for the cars. If anyone does anything stupid, like breaking into cars, it reflects on us.”

Others saw the robot as Big Brother, surveilling their every move with video cameras. “That SPCA robot was the bane of our existence,” said Lexi Evans, 26, who has been living on San Francisco’s streets for 13 years. “It was driving us crazy.”

She said her group of friends had a tent encampment behind the SPCA. When they first saw the robot looking at them, they found it creepy. Then they noticed its white light flashing and thought it was recording their every move on video. Later they observed police officers coming to interact with the robot and wondered whether it was feeding information to law enforcement.

“We started feeling like this thing was surveilling us for the police,” said Evans, whose whole tent encampment has now moved around the block outside another business. “That’s officially invasion of privacy. That’s uncool.”

Evans said that once, someone became so angry with the thing that they knocked it over. The robot made a “whee-ooh wah” sound.

In another instance, somebody “put a tarp over it, knocked it over and put barbecue sauce on all the sensors”, Scarlett, the SPCA president, told the San Francisco Business Times.

Trouble really started for the robot last week, when the city issued an order for it to stay off the public sidewalk or face a daily penalty of up to $1,000 for operating in the public right of way without a permit. Then the story hit the internet, with Scarlett telling the Business Times that “from a walking standpoint, I find the robot much easier to navigate than an encampment”.

But by Friday, SF SPCA was apologizing for having brought in the machine.

“We regret that our words were ill-chosen. They did not properly convey the pilot program’s intent and they inaccurately reflected our values,” said Scarlett. “We are a nonprofit that is extremely sensitive to the issues of homelessness.”

Knightscope’s robots have gotten into trouble in other cities. Last year, a similar robot allegedly ran over a 16-month-old toddler at the Stanford Shopping Center in the town of Palo Alto, causing minor injuries. Another Knightscope security robot became famous on social media for drowning itself in the fountain of the Washington DC office complex it was policing.

“I already miss it,” said Danica Dito, who works in the SPCA administrative offices. “Just the fact that it rolled around discouraged crime.”

 

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John Kelly Reportedly Working Toward Bipartisan DREAMers Solution

He attended a meeting with senators from both parties.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was seen on Capitol Hill Tuesday as part of the Trump administration’s push to reach a bipartisan solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

As Politico reports, Kelly attended a meeting with close to a dozen senators from both sides of the aisle and assured them that the White House “will soon present a list of border security and other policy changes it wants as part of a broader deal” for DACA recipients, also known as DREAMers.

“We couldn’t finish this product, this bill, until we knew where the administration was,” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), one of the senators working on the compromise, told Politico. “And that’s why this meeting was so important.”

Though senators who left the meeting said Kelly insisted the president’s terms may be released in a matter of days, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the upper chamber would not vote on DACA before they break for the holidays this Friday.

“That’s a matter to be discussed next year,” McConnell said in an interview with Fox News earlier on Tuesday.

 

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The Chilling Trump Propaganda Airing Across Local News, Courtesy of Sinclair Broadcast Group

Americans are being told there was no collusion, and the president did a bang-up job in Puerto Rico.

As it closes in on a significant expansion into major cities and battleground states across the country, conservative local news behemoth Sinclair Broadcast Group has gone into overdrive with its pro-Trump and anti-media propaganda.

Sinclair is known for its history of injecting right-wing spin into local newscasts, most notably with its nationally produced “must-run” commentary segments. The segments, which all Sinclair-owned and operated news stations are required to air, have included (sometimes embarrassing) pro-Trump propaganda missivesfrom former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn since the spring.

Last week (one day after reportedly partying at Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C.), Epshteyn produced a new must-run segment essentially arguing that media are being too mean to the Trump administration:

Epshteyn’s latest video is yet another effort by Sinclair to adopt the Fox News model: By arguing that media at large is not to be trusted, it’s attempting to isolate local news audiences, suggesting to communities across the country that the only news they can trust is coming from Sinclair. (Not to be outdone, Sinclair’s other must-run personality Mark Hyman released a new segment the same day asserting full-blown anti-Trump “media collusion.”)

This segment is far from Epshteyn’s first defense of Trump from what he views as unfair attacks by the press, nor is it the first to suggest mainstream media are hopelessly biased and untrustworthy. It’s also not alone in looking like straight-up Trump propaganda.

In recent months, Epshteyn segments have also told viewers that:

All Americans should be more like actor Bryan Cranston, who remarked  during an interview that people ought to hope Trump succeeds for the good of the country. (Yes, this warranted an entire must-run segment.)

The FBI just might be targeting Trump because of his political leanings.

Deregulation under the Trump administration has led to a spectacularly growing economy.

The Colin Kaepernick-led NFL protests are really about how Trump gets genuinely upset when the flag is “disrespected,” as Epshteyn can personally attest.

The Trump administration’s response to devastation in Puerto Rico deserved a little criticism, but only polite criticism.

These are just (perhaps) the most egregiously propagandistic of Epshteyn’s must-run segments since Media Matters last documented his worst videos in August, and unfortunately there are plenty more to choose from. Epshteyn’s segments have also defended Trump and the GOP on the following: Jared Kushner’s Middle East diplomacy, ending the DACA program with a grace period, another revised Muslim travel ban, North Korea strategy, repealing the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, and moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

As it stands, Sinclair is broadcasting segments like these on stations across 34 states and the District of Columbia, particularly in local media markets for suburbs and mid-sized cities from Maine to California — and they could be coming to a station near you.

The local news giant is now awaiting approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Department of Justice of its acquisition of Tribune Media, which would allow Sinclair to further spread its propaganda in the country’s top media markets, reaching nearly three-quarters of U.S. households. If this week’s deeply unpopular move to repeal net neutrality rules is any indication of the five FCC commissioners’ adherence to party lines, the FCC seal of approval for this deal is pretty much a sure thing thanks to its current Republican majority.

Media Matters has mapped out more than 15 communities that will be hit hard by the Sinclair-Tribune merger. You can also find a full list of stations owned or operated by Sinclair on its website, and here is the full list of stations it is set to acquire with its purchase of Tribune Media.

 

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Hascon

Today Hascon 2017 starts, the convention of Hasbro, one of the world’s largest toy and board game makers. Obviously gamers have little interest in the latest news on My Little Pony or Monopoly, but as Hasbro bought Wizards of the Coast, who previously bought TSR, Hasbro controls two of the biggest names in tabletop gaming: Dungeons & Dragons and Magic the Gathering. But the one reason I am interested in Hascon is the promised reveal of “Magic Digital Next”, the next generation platform for playing Magic the Gathering electronically.

Right now Magic Digital Next doesn’t have a lot of goodwill from the community. Too much went wrong or was badly handled with the previous incarnations like Magic the Gathering Online or Magic Duels. Personally I am still quite angry that Hasbro dropped Magic Duels like a hot potato in June. They should have waited with that until Magic Digital Next is actually available, not 3 months before we get to see the first playable alpha version at a convention. I am also unhappy that they didn’t even make the slightest effort to bring Magic Duels in a state where it would still be viable to play until Magic Digital Next is released. Instead they left it as it was after they added the Amonkhet expansion, so the computer is only ever playing decks around that expansion instead of using decks from all previous expansions. And more than half of the daily quests are still for online multiplayer only, which is a problem when players leave an abandoned game and the remaining players can’t find matches any more.

Then there is of course the issue of “virtual property”. Previous versions of electronic Magic sold you virtual boosters of cards. If you are forced to switch to a new product, you lose your virtual card collection of the previous versions and have to start over. Legally of course you never really owned those electronic Magic cards. But players don’t feel like that, especially with platforms like MtGO where cards can be traded with other players for real money. I liked Magic Duels because it altered the rules of how many rare and legendary cards you can use, which made building up a full collection much more affordable. I doubt the next version will have that feature.

I am still on the fence about Magic Digital Next (I assume they’ll announce another name for it this weekend). I left MtGO long ago because it was too PvP-centric for me, which resulted in an environment full of card sharks, scams, and toxic players. I mostly used the PvE part of Magic Duels, which for me was probably the best incarnation of Magic on a tablet. So my appreciation of Magic Digital Next will mostly depend on whether it supports more than a token AI and PvE play. These days far too many game developers have become extremely lazy, and beyond a tutorial make their games mostly PvP, basically using their customers as content for other customers. As they never solved even the basic problems of that approach for virtual cardgames, like stalling or quitting at the first sign of trouble, I wouldn’t be interested in a PvP version of electronic Magic the Gathering.

[EDIT: The new name is Magic the Gathering Arena, more info here.]

Who Said It: A Republican Congressman or a Classic Christmas Villain? Take the Quiz

Can you tell the difference between Paul Ryan and Ebenezer Scrooge?

There’s something familiar about the way the GOP talks about the poor. If you’ve been paying close attention to Republicans in the House and Senate, they may strike you as being eerily reminiscent of other curmudgeons we normally hear from this time of year—infamous villains like Ebenezer Scrooge from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Between defenses of their ruthless attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and their ludicrous justifications for passing a bill that slashes taxes for the rich while hiking costs for the poor and middle classes, Republican politicians are sounding more and more like the grumpy, selfish antagonists from our favorite stories of the season.

Don’t believe it? Take this quiz to see if you can tell the difference between real people and fictional characters. Check your answers at the bottom.

When it comes to the poor, Mitch McConnell’s views are virtually the same as Mr. Potter’s from “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Photo Credit: Liberty Films (Potter, left); Wikimedia Commons (McConnell, right)

1. “I am an old man and most people hate me. But I don’t like them either, so that makes it all even.”

a) Mitch McConnell

b) Orrin Hatch

c) Mr. Potter (It’s a Wonderful Life

2. “We don’t want to turn the safety net into a hammock that lulls able-bodied people into complacency and dependence.”

a) Paul Ryan

b) Ebenezer Scrooge

c) Mitch McConnell

3. “Are you running a business or a charity ward? Not with my money!”

a) Paul Ryan

b) Mr. Potter

c) Sen. Chuck Grassley

4. “I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”

a) Sen. Chuck Grassley

b) The Grinch

c) Mr. Potter

5. “Oh, bleeding hearts of the world, unite!”

a) The Grinch

b) Ebenezer Scrooge

c) Orrin Hatch

6. “Are there no prisons? And the union workhouses, are they still in operation? Those who are badly off must go there.”

a) Mitch McConnell

b) Ebenezer Scrooge

c) The Grinch

7. “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger, and expect the federal government to do everything.”

a) Mr. Potter

b) Paul Ryan

c) Orrin Hatch

8. “Those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy. And right now, those are the people who have done things the right way that are seeing their costs skyrocketing.”

a) Mr. Potter

b) Mo Brooks, Alabama congressman

c) Ebenezer Scrooge

9. “We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning to value the culture of work, so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.”

a) The Grinch

b) Ebenezer Scrooge

c) Paul Ryan 

10. “Uh-huh. You see, if you shoot pool with some employee here, you can come and borrow money. What does that get us? A discontented, lazy rabble instead of a thrifty working class.”

a) Chuck Grassley

b) Paul Ryan

c) Mr. Potter 

Key: 1:C, 2:A, 3:B, 4:A, 5:A, 6:B, 7:C, 8:B, 9:C, 10:C

Unsubscribed Humble Bundle Monthly

I recently subscribed to the Humble Bundle Monthly, because the $12 for the bundle included Civilization VI with two DLCs, which was way cheaper than any other way to pick up Civ VI. Now the rest of the bundle arrived, and I must say that I am disappointed. The idea of the Humble Bundle Monthly is that it is “curated”, giving you a bunch of good games. So I thought that in a curated bundle with Civilization VI I would find a few other nice strategy games. Unfortunately I was very wrong: The other games in the February bundle are all adventure games, and cheap ones at that.

To quote Steam when I open the page of one of those games: “Is this game relevant to you? This game doesn’t look like other things you’ve played in the past. As such we don’t have much information on whether or not you might be interested in it.”. Steam is right. Basically I haven’t played adventure games since way back when adventure games were still a thing, the days of Leisure Suit Larry or Monkey Island. I don’t really like the new generation of adventure games, which is often described as “walking simulators”. The only game in the Humble Bundle Monthly I might try is Snake Pass, because I’ve heard that it is somewhat unique with its controls, and not really an “adventure game”.

Another reason to unsubscribe was that the highlight of next month’s bundle is Dark Souls III plus one DLC. If you like the Dark Souls series, you might consider this, as $12 is an excellent price for something going for $75 on Steam. For me the unforgiving nature of the series has always turned me off. I don’t play games to get punished for my mistakes, I have a job for that!

What I did now is change my Humble Bundle e-mail settings to send me info on future Humble Bundle Monthly offers. (I had turned that off, which resulted in me not even getting informed that there was a bundle of games waiting for me.) Getting $60 games plus DLC for $12 is interesting. The rest of the bundles probably not so.

Scientists Have Just Beaten Down the Best Climate Denial Argument

Even the best contrarian arguments against climate change have not withstood scientific scrutiny.

Climate deniers have come up with a lot of arguments about why we shouldn’t worry about global warming—about 200 of them—but most are quite poor, contradictory and easily debunked by consulting the peer-reviewed scientific literature. The cleverest climate contrarians settle on the least implausible argument—that equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS, how much a doubling of the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will increase Earth’s surface temperature) is low, meaning that the planet will warm relatively slowly in response to human carbon pollution.

But they have to explain how that can be the case, because there are a lot of factors that amplify global warming. For example, a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor, which is itself a greenhouse gas, adding further warming. Warming also melts ice, leaving Earth’s surface less reflective, absorbing more sunlight. There are a number of these amplifying ‘feedbacks,’ but few that would act to significantly slow global warming.

Clouds are one possible exception because they both act to amplify global warming (being made of water vapor) and dampen it (being white and reflective). Which effect wins out depends on the type of cloud, and so whether clouds act to accelerate or slow global warming depends on exactly how the formation of different types of clouds changes in a hotter world. That’s hard to predict, so many contrarians have wishfully argued that clouds will essentially act as a thermostat to control global warming.

Research suggests if anything, clouds amplify global warming

A new study published in Nature by Stanford scientists Patrick Brown and Ken Caldeira found that so far, the global climate models that best simulate the Earth’s global energy imbalance tend to predict the most future global warming. These results suggest the ECS is around 3.7°C. This is higher than the previous best estimate of 3.1°C, and if correct, would shrink our carbon budget by about 15 percent.

The study found that the biggest contributor to the difference between the accurate and inaccurate models was in how well they simulated cloud changes. And while it’s just one study, several prior papers arrived at similar conclusions.

For example, a 2010 study published in the Journal of Climate found that climate models that most accurately simulate recent cloud cover changes in the east Pacific point to an amplifying effect on global warming and thus a more sensitive climate. Another 2010 study by Andrew Dessler using satellite observations showed that in the short-term, clouds likely amplify global warming, though the long-term effect may be different.

In 2012, a paper published in Science by John Fasullo and Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research found that similar to the new Nature study, climate models that most accurately simulated observed cloud changes are also the ones that are most sensitive to the increased greenhouse effect. 

Similarly, a 2014 paper published in Nature found that the least sensitive climate models incorrectly simulate water vapor being drawn up into the atmosphere to form clouds in a warmer world. In reality, as lead author Steve Sherwood explains in the video below, scientists observe water vapor being pulled away from those higher cloud-forming levels of the atmosphere.

Contrarian arguments have not withstood scientific scrutiny

Former MIT scientist Richard Lindzen (one of the most often cited, and most often wrong contrarian climate scientists) was among the first to argue that clouds act as a climate thermostat. He developed a hypothesis in 2001 that as the atmosphere warms, the area covered by cirrus clouds will contract like the iris of an eye to allow more heat to escape into space, thus slowing global warming. His ‘iris hypothesis’ was quickly disproved by subsequent research, but that hasn’t stopped climate contrarians from continuing to make the argument.

More recently, other contrarian scientists have used a combination of climate models and recent observational data to similarly argue that Earth’s climate is relatively insensitive to the increased greenhouse effect (they call these “observational estimates” of ECS). This group often likes to refer to themselves as ‘lukewarmers,’ but really they just cherry pick this one way to estimate ECS because it seemed to yield a relatively low result, while ignoring the other methods that point toward a significantly more sensitive climate.

Over the past two years, climate scientists have identified several flaws in the method that yielded lower estimates of ECS. At this year’s American Geophysical Union conference – the largest gathering of climate and Earth scientists every December – there was a session devoted to this very topic. As one of the presenting climate scientists Andrew Dessler put it:

There’s still significant uncertainty about how clouds will respond to global warming, but the evidence points to an amplifying effect, or at least not a significant dampening. The new Nature study adds to the mountain of evidence ruling out the contrarian argument for an insensitive climate. Clouds aren’t going to save us; only rapid cuts in carbon pollution can do that.

 

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Better pop-up blocking and video autoplay mute coming to Chrome

  • The Chrome browser version 64 beta has been released for desktop with features targetting illicit web ads
  • These features include a better pop-up blocker and a mute function for auto-playing video
  • The beta can be downloaded now but the features should arrive to the regular version of Chrome in the coming weeks

Ad banners, pop-ups and auto-playing videos might be a necessary part of the online world, but when they’re misused, they can be especially frustrating for users. Google says these are one of the most common user complaints about Chrome for desktop relates to unwanted ad content, and it looks like it’s taking aim at this in the next iteration.

The beta version of Chrome 64 for desktop landed only a few days ago, discussed over on the Chromium Blog. and it introduces some significant changes, with possibly the biggest of these coming in the form of an improved pop-up blocker.

With this, Google wants to quash annoying features like redirects disguised as “play buttons” and “close” buttons that open additional windows. Google says that Chrome will prevent these “abusive experiences” with version 64, but its effectiveness remains to be seen: I suspect it could be mighty difficult to stop this unwanted behavior happening in all cases.

Editor’s Pick

It’s something worth pursuing all the same, and another feature of Chrome 64 sure to please users is an auto-mute option for auto-playing video.

In the site settings menu of Chrome 64 — where you can also disable or enable things like Javascript and Flash (it’s accessed in the green lock area next to the URL in Chrome) — you will find an option to mute videos on websites by default. You will be required to block this on a per website basis, however, you can’t just apply it to all websites, which I think makes less sense than having it automatic for all websites and letting users decide the exceptions.

But I shan’t complain, because, rather than just being an annoyance, I sometimes find those videos absolutely terrifying; usually, if I’ve been sitting in silence with headphones on for a while and then a car ad screeches into my ears. Having such a mute option at all is a blessing.

Meanwhile, other additions coming in the update include HDR support for those in HDR mode on Windows 10 and Split View multitasking features in tablet mode.

The Chrome 64 beta is available now (though not for Android just yet, which is still at beta 63) and you can install it here. The features mentioned above should be hitting regular version of Chrome in the coming weeks.

What is Dash? — a short guide

CoinJournal

What is Dash? It’s a cryptocurrency. At it’s simplest, Dash is a form digital cash you can send over the internet to a friend or retailer without a middleman like a bank.

Read: What is cryptocurrency?

Dash began its journey in 2014 and is currently the sixth largest cryptocurrency in the world by market cap — behind Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, IOTA, and Ripple. But how is it different from Bitcoin, what are its advantages, and how much does it cost? You’ll find answers to these questions and more below.

Dash vs Bitcoin

The Merkle

Dash is similar to Bitcoin in many ways. You can use it to make purchases online or hold on to it as an investment. It also runs on a publicly disclosed blockchain that records each transaction.

Read: What is a blockchain? – Gary Explains

But Bitcoin has its share of problems Dash is trying to solve. Speed is one of them. Dash transactions are confirmed in four seconds, while sending Bitcoins to someone can take 10 minutes or more.

Then there are the fees. The average Bitcoin transaction fee is around $6, compared to only $0.4 you have to pay to send someone Dash. But the fee will increase when more people start using the cryptocurrency.

A big problem with Bitcoin is also that it doesn’t have a governance structure. This means important changes can’t be made without a hard fork that brings a new cryptocurrency to the market, which is how Bitcoin Cash was born. Dash is different. It has a voting system in place so that important changes can be implemented quickly.

Unlike Bitcoin, Dash is self-funding. 45 percent of newly created Dash goes to the miners, and 45 percent to masternodes. The rest — 10 percent — goes to a treasury for funding the development team, marketing, customer support centers, and so forth.

There are a few other differences between the two cryptocurrencies, but these are the major ones.

What are the advantages of Dash?

What is Dash? BitcoinCloudMining

Two of the biggest advantages of Dash are the speed and low fees already mentioned above. You can send money to anyone in the world for less than $0.4 in four seconds — try doing that through a bank.

Editor’s Pick

Banks charge higher fees, especially if you’re sending money abroad. A transaction can also take up to a few days to complete, although most banks can speed up the process, if you’re willing to pay extra.

Another benefit is anonymity. Although all transactions are public, you don’t have to share personal info like your name and address. However, this can also be a drawback. Dash, Bitcoins, and other cryptocurrencies that provide anonymity have been used by criminal organizations because the money can’t be traced back to them. Some claim their popularity among bad guys is one of the main reasons we’ve seen such a large increase in their value so far.

How to buy, store, and spend Dash?

What is Dash? Dash

Buying Dash is easy. You can get it the same way as many other cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin. Make an account on an exchange like BitPanda or Kraken and buy Dash with your local currency.

There are also a few locations in the US where you can buy Dash from an ATM. It’s the easiest way to get the cryptocurrency, although the fees are high. If you live in Austria, you can buy it at over 400 Post branches and about 1,300 Post partners.

How can you store Dash? You keep the cryptocurrency in a digital wallet, one of which you can download from the company’s website. The alternative is to keep it in a hardware wallet such as the Ledger, which is a much safer method due to the reduced risk of getting hacked.

Businesses that accept Dash include hosting providers, online casinos, and even advertising agencies.

Where can you spend it? Dash isn’t as acceptable as standard currencies like dollars and euros, but there are many businesses that have embraced it. These include hosting providers, online casinos, and even advertising agencies — see full list here. You can also use it as an investment, which we’ll talk more about in the next section.

How is it created and how much does it cost?

What is Dash? Waffal

Dash is created through a process called mining, same as Bitcoins. Mining requires specialized computers that search for solutions to difficult math problems. If the solution is correct, a new block is added to the blockchain and the miner is rewarded with some of the Dash created.

How much does a Dash cost? Its price goes up and down all the time as a result of supply and demand. At the time of writing, you can get one for around $690 — though the exact value of Dash can be seen in the updated widget below. This makes it far less valuable than Bitcoin, which currently costs around $15,800 per piece.

Dash has proven to be an excellent investment so far, as its value has been increasing ever since its introduction. For example, if you had invested $1,000 at the beginning of 2014 when one Dash was worth $0.3, you would have $2.3 million today. Cryptocurrencies have made people into millionaires in a short period of time, which is why everyone is talking about them these days.

If you bought $1,000 worth of Dash at $0.3 per coin in 2014, you would have $2.3 million today.

But before you get too excited and go online to buy Dash, keep in mind that investing in cryptocurrencies is risky. Sure, most of them have increased in value in recent years, but that doesn’t mean the trend will continue. The price can go down as fast as it went up, so make sure to never invest more than you can afford to lose.

What is Dash?


There you have it. These are some of the basic things about Dash. Will it become an important part of our daily lives in the future? No one can be sure, especially because there are many cryptocurrencies on the market — over 1,000. Not all of them will be able to survive, although it looks like Dash is on the right path for now.

Have you ever used Dash or any other cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments.

3D printing larger objects

Since I bought my 3D printer I have printed hundreds of miniatures for my Dungeons & Dragons game. The miniatures are in a classic 1 inch = 5 feet that is 1:60 scale. So a typical medium sized miniature has a 25 mm base and is around 28 mm tall. As I have written earlier, the main problem of printing objects that size is that printing anything less than 1 mm thick tends to fail, so I had to “fatten” some miniatures or give them oversized weapons to work. Now that I have a good selection of miniatures, I am more often printing larger objects, and the challenges are different.

Now “larger objects” on my 3D printer are limited to 150 mm in any dimension due to the size of the printer itself. Over the last month I printed several objects that were at or close to that limit: Two dice towers, a hinged box, a card tray and two card holders for the 7th Continent, and JoyCon holders for the Nintendo Switch. Apart from the box, which was more of a tech demo to show that you can print a hinged object in one piece, the other objects would be either hard to get anywhere, or be much more expensive. Thus there is some utility to printing these larger objects yourself. The 3D printer also automatically makes items hollow, filled with some honeycomb structure, so a bulky 3D printed object is quite lightweight.

While with larger objects there are no more problems with too thin parts, the main downside of these objects is that the uneven surface is far more prominent. If you are used to holding plastic items in your hand which have a smooth and shiny surface, the 3D printed objects are notably different. Along the Z-axis the layer structure is very visible. And on inner surfaces where the printer had to move across empty space to get to the other side of the object there are irregular imperfections. To some extent you can clean the object up using a sanding sponge. But unless you want to spend hours sanding the object will never be totally smooth and shiny like a commercial injection-molded item.

I still don’t believe in a future where we all just 3D print everything we need instead of buying mass-produced items. However there are a few niche applications where a 3D printer can produce a larger object of some use.