• 21Mar

    A reporter for Newsweek says she’s unmasked the mysterious Japanese-American man responsible for inventing Bitcoin, the world’s most widely used digital cryptocurrency.

    In an article published on the magazine’s website Thursday morning, Leah McGrath Goodman recalled the events of a two-month investigation she undertook recently in an attempt to unearth facts about Satoshi Nakamoto, the man who invented Bitcoin in 2008 but has avoided the media entirely ever since. Nakamoto, however, has denied being its inventor.

    Goodman says that Nakamoto is a 64-year-old resident of Temple City, California, but has not used his birth name for the better part of four decades. Instead, she wrote, he’s managed to keep an incredibly low profile under the pseudonym Dorian S. Nakamoto.

    At least up until her article went live early Thursday. Within hours Goodman’s scoop was being discussed across all corners of the internet, and before the morning ended there were reportedly journalists camped out in front of Nakamoto’s Southern California home anxious to learn more about one of the most mysterious men on the internet.

    This whole #nakamoto chase situation is really unfortunate. pic.twitter.com/HMIeWXN24r

    If Goodman’s attempt to do as much is any indication, however, then journalists will likely encounter anything but an easy time in trying to dig deeper. In her article, Goodman wrote that she was barely able to get any information from the man, and only managed to speak with him face-to-face after he called the cops on her.

    “He thinks if he talks to you he’s going to get into trouble,” one of the police officers allegedly told Goodman.

    “I don’t think he’s in any trouble,” she fired back. “I would like to ask him about Bitcoin.”

    Nakamoto wasn’t quite interested, though, and Goodman instead resorted on reaching out to multiple members of the man’s family instead to piece together a profile of the person she says invented the cryptocurrency in secret with an internationally-dispersed team of coders.

    The story took a surreal turn around noon on Thursday, when media began to chase Nakamoto around Los Angeles while riding in a vehicle with an AP reporter. Nakamoto denied being the cryptocurrency’s creator while being chased by reporters into an elevator after the two men emerged from the vehicle upon arriving at the AP’s local offices.

    The AP published a story of its interview Thursday evening, in which Mr. Nakamoto denied Newsweek’s assertion he is “the face behind Bitcoin.” In fact, Nakamoto said he had never even heard of the online currency until his son informed him he had been contacted by the press three weeks ago.

    OK so #nakamoto DENIES being the the creator of #bitcoin. Yes, DENIED.

    According to Goodman, Nakamoto is a model train enthusiast who graduated from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, CA, with a degree in physics, and worked briefly for the Federal Aviation Administration, as well as an aircraft company now owned by major government contractor Raytheon.

    “We were doing defensive electronics and communications for the military, government aircraft and warships, but it was classified and I can’t really talk about it,” David Micha, the president of the company now called L-3 Communications, recalled of the work his former employee did there.

    “Nakamoto’s family describe him as extremely intelligent, moody and obsessively private, a man of few words who screens his phone calls, anonymizes his emails and, for most of his life, has been preoccupied with the two things for which Bitcoin has now become known: money and secrecy,” Goodman reported.

    “He’s a brilliant man,” Nakamoto’s brother told her. “He’s very focused and eclectic in his way of thinking. Smart, intelligent, mathematics, engineering, computers. You name it, he can do it.”

    At the same time, however, Arthur Nakamoto cautioned the journalist: “My brother is an asshole.”

    “What you don’t know about him is that he’s worked on classified stuff. His life was a complete blank for a while. You’re not going to be able to get to him. He’ll deny everything. He’ll never admit to starting Bitcoin,” he told her.

    Indeed, the cryptocurrency’s alleged inventor offered Goodman little information if any about his rumored pet project.

    “I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it,” he told her. “It’s been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.”

    Nakamoto says that this key portion of his exchange with Goodman was misinterpreted. “I’m saying I’m no longer in engineering. That’s it,” he told the AP. “It sounded like I was involved before with Bitcoin and looked like I’m not involved now. That’s not what I meant. I want to clarify that.”

    According to Goodman, though, the exhaustive researching involved in crafting her Newsweek piece has left her certain that the Southern California man she outed is the one who invented Bitcoin.

    “I don’t have any doubt in my mind, but I am open to new information,” she told Business Insider after her article went live. “For example, if he had helpers whom other people might find. I just don’t think you can ever say the information is complete.”

    “I really wanted to do something in depth, but I have to say I’m kind of looking forward to somebody being able to get something more in depth,” she said.

    Despite Nakamoto’s assertions to the AP, Goodman stands by her story. “There was no confusion whatsoever about the context of our conversation–and his acknowledgment of his involvement in Bitcoin.”

  • 21Mar

    Commercial drone use in the United States is poised to remain legal, at least for the foreseeable future, after a judge dismissed a suit against a regular citizen, ruling that there are simply no laws against it.

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) filed suit against Raphael Pirker, a 29-year-old who used a remote aircraft to film a commercial on the campus of the University of Virginia – for $10,000. Pirker, who is a hobbyist and photographer, is the first and only person the FAA has tried to sue. Pirker’s attorney argued that there is simply no regulation about commercial drone use, and that an obscure 2007 police filing did not constitute a legally binding precedent.

    “What they’ve alleged is that he was flying his five pound Styrofoam model aircraft near buildings and cars and sidewalks and trees and that application was careless or reckless,” attorney Brandon Schulman told Vice. “They have nothing that specifically addresses model aircraft or commercial drones. We think that having the same safety regulations on a five pound model airplane as you have with a large jetliner is inappropriate.”

    Judge Patrick Geraghty of the National Transportation Safety Board dismissed the $10,000 fine, agreeing that the FAA “has not issued an enforceable Federal Acquisition Regulation regulatory rule governing model aircraft operation; has historically exempted model aircraft from the statutory FAR definitions of ‘aircraft’ by relegating model aircraft operations to voluntary compliance with the guidance expressed in [the 2007 policy notice], Respondent’s model aircraft operation was not subject to FAR regulation and enforcement.”

    The FAA’s current guidelines permit private operators to fly their small aircraft recreationally. However, police departments, universities, and other organized groups are required to seek permission before liftoff. Beer companies have announced they hope to deliver alcohol via drones, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently created a media firestorm by saying the company aims to subvert traditional postage and transport Amazon products with the new technology.

    Ryan Calo, a law professor at the University of Washington, told NBC News that the FAA will either file an appeal or work quickly to update its regulations.

    “It does mean that if you have this kind of aircraft [the FAA] is not going to be aim a position to fine you,” he said. “I don’t think it’s time to let a thousand drones fly, it’s time to watch and see how the FAA reacts.”

    Schulman did not disagree, but said that this ruling will grant some peace of mind to the countless drone hobbyists working on their own technology at home.

    “I think this decision will be of great interest to other commercial drone operators who have been wondering for many years about the legality of their operations,” he said.

    The FAA did, in fact, file an appeal on Friday.

    “The FAA is appealing the decision of an NTSB Administrative Law Judge to the full National Transportation Safety Board, which has the effect of staying the decision until the Board rules. The agency is concerned that this decision could impact the safe operation of the national airspace system and the safety of people and property on the ground.”

  • 21Mar

    An advertisement for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project, awaiting approval by the US president, appeared briefly on the White House’s official webpage on Thursday.

    The ad from the oil and gas lobby, the American Petroleum Institute (API), was seen by some internet users, who tuned in to the US president’s virtual town hall on Latino health care enrolment, AP reports.

    The live stream, which featured the meeting, was embedded on the White House site from the Fusion network, which has its live streams preceded by so-called “pre-rolls’ advertisements.

    One of those shown on Thursday was an ad, urging viewers to tell Obama to approve the controversial pipeline. The API, which is running a media campaign for Keystone approval, explained that the commercial appeared on the White House site by coincidence.

    The episode comes just days after several hundred people were arrested during a peaceful protest in Washington DC against the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

    More than a thousand activists, mostly university students, marched from Georgetown University towards the White House, where they lay down on a black plastic sheet, imitating an oil spill.

    The $7 billion oil pipeline has raised much controversy in the US, where the project has been criticized for its potential negative environmental impact.

    The Keystone XL pipeline is designed to carry tar sands oil from Alberta’s oil sands in Canada to refineries on the US Gulf Coast. Upto 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day will move along the pipeline.

    The US State Department released quite a favorable report on Keystone XL in January. The survey raised few objections regarding the environmental impact of the project.

    Although the report did not directly recommend the building of the pipeline, it’s believed to be enough to give Obama political cover to endorse the project in a matter of months.

    Alternative reports still say the risks are high. A study by the University of Toronto-Scarborough, published in February, warned of harmful carcinogen emissions that are a by-product of tar sands oil production.

  • 21Mar

    The Polish government said it will offer 6-year tax breaks for shale gas companies in an effort to fast track investment and exploration. The announcement comes as energy tension with Russia run high over Ukraine.

    The new tax break is aimed at helping Poland attract foreign companies to explore and invest in the country’s shale oil reserves, believed to be the largest in Europe, according to data by the US Energy Information Administration. essay writing help

    The tax break will be “a huge incentive” to get investors interested and on the ground, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Tuesday, adding that by 2020 taxes “shouldn’t exceed 40 percent of extraction income.”

    Between 2020-2029, the new incentives will contribute up to $5 billion in revenue, according to Tusk.

    The proposal will be sent to parliament within two weeks, and the prime minister hopes it will pass without any hiccups.

    Earlier in February, Poland ditched plans to use a state company to explore for shale gas, instead deciding to auction off licenses to foreign companies. Exxon Mobil and Marathon Oil are both interested in the country’s shale industry. Some state-controlled companies have also won licenses for exploration.

    Maciej Grabowski, Poland’s environment minister, expects the country’s first commercial shale gas well to be drilled this year, and hopes to have over 200 wells in the next few years. The country wants to become an exporter, and not an importer of natural gas.

    No more ‘gas blackmail’?
    Poland’s reserves are estimated between 800 to 2,000 billion cubic meters, and proper development could help the country of 38 million people become less dependent on neighboring Russia for energy. Annual domestic demand for gas is 15 million cubic meters, and about 60 percent is currently imported from Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas major. Most of the deliveries pass through Ukraine, as it is sandwiched between Poland and Russia.

    “Today gas security is a fundamental prerequisite of sovereignty of every European country, including Poland,” as the WSJ quotes the PM. Warsaw’s new tax scheme will help it escape the “gas blackmail” in dealing with Russia, Tusk added.

    Payment disputes between Gazprom and Ukraine threaten supplies in Europe, according to Prime Minister Tusk. Gazprom has turned off deliveries through Ukraine twice, once in 2006 and again in 2009, both over pricing rows with Kiev.

    To date, Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller claims Naftogaz, Ukraine’s national oil and gas company, has an outstanding debt of nearly $2 billion. The CEO has also offered to give Naftogaz a loan of up to $2-3 billion.

    Prime Minister Tusk has expressed solidarity with Ukraine’s move towards the EU and away from Russia, and has been involved in the country’s ascension into the EU Eastern Partnership- which includes Poland, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, all ex-Soviet states.

    Tusk meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel today to discuss the Crimean crisis as well as the “threat” Russian gas poses to “Europe’s security and sovereignty”.

    Poland, UK, and Europe’s ‘shale revolution’
    Poland, the UK, and other EU countries continue to develop shale extraction at home to reduce energy dependence from abroad, taking a leaf from the success of the US shale boom. sbobet

    Poland, along with other pro-fracking EU countries has been able to win over EU regulators so as to not impose more restrictive safety measures.

    Extraction by fracking involves pumping millions of gallons of water and chemicals into the ground, which creates excess hydro waste, which over time residents worry will result in contamination of the water table.