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The Simpsons predicted Richard Branson’s trip to space

Once again, the Simpsons had accurately predicted a historic event.

On July 11, 2021, Richard Branson flew into space aboard the VSS Unity spacecraft, a dream for the one who founded Virgin Galactic almost 17 years ago for the purpose of space tourism. He thus became the first billionaire founder of such a company to travel himself beyond the limits of the Earth, before Jeff Bezos who is to fly next week with Blue Origin, and Elon Musk who would have booked a flight. at… Virgin Galactic.

This first excursion into space, the Simpsons had already imagined it… seven years ago, in 2014. That year, in an episode of season 25 called “The Art of War” , we could see a certain Richard Branson contemplating a painting from his spaceship. Seven years later, reality replicates this fictional image almost verbatim.

Well its been known Virgin Galactic has been trying to get Richard Branson into space for 17 of the 34 years The Simpsons have been on the air, so the show wasn’t exactly being Nostradamus here.

– D. Stamos/Helodriver (@SpacecoastPix) July 13, 2021

Even so, as this surfer points out above, the Simpsons’ prediction is not so surprising. “It’s well known that Virgin Galactic has been trying to send Richard Branson for 17 years. The Simpsons are not Nostradamus here, ”he explains.

Indeed, when the episode in question aired, Branson had already founded Virgin Galactic for a decade to serve this purpose. In the end, the Simpsons did nothing but anticipate a more than probable future… correctly, once again.

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The happiest country in the world is desperate for … foreigners

At the top of the « happiest countries in the world », Finland is struggling to attract foreign workers to alleviate its demographic crisis, and finds itself faced with one of the most important labor shortages in Europe.

« It is now widely recognized that we need an impressive number of people, » Saku Tihveräinen, recruiter at Talented Solutions, told AFP, « to help cover the costs of the aging generation. «  .

While most Western countries face faltering demographics, few feel the effects as much as Finland.

The Nordic country already has 4 seniors over 65 for every 10 people of working age, and this ratio is set to climb to one to two by 2030, placing it ahead of all countries in the world except Japan .

According to Helsinki, the Nordic country of 5.5 million people will need a positive net migration of 20,000 to 30,000 people each year – double today – to keep its public services and geriatric care at low prices. levels of excellence, while closing the looming pension deficit.

After years of inertia, business and government « are now at a tipping point and recognize the problem, » said Charles Mathies.

Researcher on education and migration at the Academy of Finland, he is one of the experts consulted by the government program « Talent Boost » which has aimed for four years to make the country more attractive in the world, in part through a series of local recruiting programs.

Among the targeted workers are Spanish healthcare professionals, Slovak metallurgists, IT experts and Russian, Indian or Filipino maritime experts.

« PROBLEM OF MENTALITY »

On paper, Finland, a pioneer of gender equality, is a dream with its efficient public services, low level of crime and inequality, all crowned with high confidence in the authorities.

But in addition to its complicated language and harsh climate, the Nordic country also paradoxically suffers from often difficult access to the labor market for foreigners, which results in a significant proportion of departures after a few months.

Despite several years of experience in the promising sector of digital product design when he arrived in Finland for family reasons, Ahmed (first name changed) says that his research was unsuccessful.

« There has never been a shortage of jobs, just a problem of mentality, » said the 42-year-old Briton, who, during his research in Finland, received offers in Norway, Qatar, the United Kingdom and in Germany.

He eventually decided to commute every week between Helsinki and Düsseldorf, where he found work.

As for the far-right Finns party, it has gained considerable influence over the past decade and now occupies one in five seats in Parliament, where it slows down as much as possible on immigration issues.

FACILITATE THE PROCESS

For Saku Tihveräinen, there are signs that openness is improving.

“When the understaffing becomes so bad, we see companies looking for other solutions,” he says, citing the case of a growing tech factory that managed to hire around 2,000 people in six months after changing its working language for English.

And yet, he adds, « a large number of Finnish companies and organizations are very keen on the use of Finnish, and very fluent Finnish . « 

Faced with the greatest shortage of skilled workers in OECD countries, some Finnish start-ups have decided to team up to recruit foreigners, says Shaun Rudden of the meal delivery company Wolt.

As for the mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori, he mobilized major communication firms to improve the attractiveness and notoriety of his city.

While bringing in singles is not too much of a problem, attracting couples and families is difficult because « spouses always have enormous problems finding suitable employment, » he explains.

But the councilor displays his optimism, bringing his hopes towards Asian immigration and the new post-coronavirus professional priorities.

« To be safe, functional, reliable, predictable » : the forces of Helsinki are « values ​​which have gained in importance » with the pandemic, he judges.

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Billionaire Jeff Bezos to participate in Blue Origin’s 1st space tourism trip

The wealthy businessman, boss of Amazon, announced on Monday that he would participate in the 1st space tourism trip organized by his own company, Blue Origin

It’s official ! The American Jeff Bezos, wealthy boss of Amazon, revealed on Monday that he would participate in the first space tourist trip organized by his company Blue Origin, created with the aim of lowering the costs of access to space in 2000 Accompanied by his brother Mark and the winner of an auction, he will set off in the space aboard the New Shepard capsule.

“Since I was five years old, I have dreamed of traveling in space. On July 20, I will be making this trip with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend, ”wrote the billionaire in a post on his Instagram account.

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Bill Gates and wife Melinda divorce after 27 years together

Billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates announced his divorce from Melinda Gates on Twitter on Monday.

Bill and Melinda Gates, September 26, 2018. AFP / Ludovic Marin
Bill and Melinda Gates, September 26, 2018. AFP / Ludovic Marin .

Bill and Melinda Gates , it’s over. After 27 years of marriage, Microsoft founder and Melinda Gates announced their divorce on Twitter on Monday. « After careful consideration and a lot of work on our relationship, we made the decision to end our marriage, » wrote the couple in a statement relayed by the account of the big boss.https://d-4299929262000587094.ampproject.net/2104170104001/frame.html

The Gates, who have three children, announced that they would continue to « work together in their foundation », the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which fights against poverty and disease, but that they did not believe « could any more evolve. together as a couple ”. They met in the late 1980s when Melinda joined Microsoft.null

In the famous press release, the spouses do not say anything about the reasons that push them to separate.

Bill Gates is, according to the latest Forbes ranking, the fourth richest man in the world, with a fortune estimated at $ 124 billion. It places him behind two other Americans, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk and Frenchman Bernard Arnault, and ahead of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

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China: The fall of Jack Ma

 After Xi Jinping, he is the most famous Chinese in the world. The founder of Alibaba has fallen from grace, his empire could be dismantled

Where did Jack Ma go? For six months, the question has not only concerned financial circles but has also fueled speculation about a takeover of the digital economy by the Chinese state. Jack Ma is the richest man in China, the founder of Alibaba, the world’s largest e-commerce company. In the space of two decades, thanks to its online shopping, payment and loan platforms, it has become both a commercial and banking player more powerful than a Bezos or a Zuckerberg. Today, Beijing is dismantling its empire.

With one exception, Jack Ma has not appeared in public since last October. He then criticized the Chinese banking regulatory system, considered outdated. At the time, the flamboyant entrepreneur was preparing the IPO of his bank lending subsidiary, Ant Group, which promised to set a new stock market valuation record. The operation was stopped at the end of the year by the Chinese regulator. Since then, signals have multiplied in China of a takeover of digital companies, mostly private, so that they conform to the same mold as the public sector. In early April, Alibaba was to pay a fine of 2.4 billion francs for “abuse of a dominant position”. This movement should be completed, according to information from the Financial Times, by transferring all the data of Ant Group’s 700 million customers to a subsidiary of the Central Bank of China. Which amounts to a form of nationalization.

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SL: Florentino Pérez announces the end of the Champions League

First official speech by the president of the SuperLeague, and things are clear. The new competition is there to replace the Champions League, and bring more money to the big clubs. This is the bombshell of this week, and probably of this year 2021. 12 of the most prestigious clubs in Europe have decided to come […]

SL: Florentino Pérez announces the end of the Champions League
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SUPER LEAGUE: JP MORGAN ANNOUNCES FUNDING FOR THE PROJECT

A few hours after the announcement of the creation of a Super League by twelve dissident clubs, the American bank JP Morgan officially announced that it would finance this project for a new competition. An investment of between 4 and 6 billion euros is expected.

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Why Signal’s latest idea might backfire

MobileCoin

Is the Signal instant messaging app putting its finger in a gear that may overtake it? This is the opinion of some observers, specialists in computer security, after having read the latest initiative of the service , which is still at an experimental stage. Indeed, in the United Kingdom alone, Signal is exploring a payment service called Signal Payments.

“  We want payments in Signal to be fast, private and work well on mobile devices,  ” IM said in an April 6 blog post. And to begin with, the application continues, it is on MobileCoin that it bets. It is a cryptocurrency which, as the name suggests, is thought to be used like digital money on the smartphone.

According to the presentation, MobileCoin includes near instant transactions, in less than ten seconds. It also offers features to easily restore its currencies (MobileCoin currency is called MOB), including in the event of loss of the mobile. Finally, it claims to be eco-responsible: it claims to be much more economical in electricity than other cryptocurrencies, which require energy to operate .

But the specificity that concerns today is its level of confidentiality.

MobileCoin is pleased that  »  the whole ledger [which allows to keep a trace and to follow the transactions with MOB, note] is opaque, the individual transactions are protected by cryptography and the network uses the persistent confidentiality  « . This process prevents the confidentiality of past exchanges from being questioned, even if its cryptography would be compromised.

However, it is precisely the high degree of anonymity that alarms, because in the eyes of some commentators, this could backfire not only against Signal, but also against end-to-end encryption in general. This is what Bruce Schneier, a specialist in computer security and cryptography, argues, in a blog post that was published on April 7. He especially fears the reaction of the authorities.

An unfavorable development for encryption?

“  I think that’s a terribly bad idea. […] The addition of a cryptocurrency to an end-to-end encrypted application blurs the morality of the product, and invites all kinds of government investigations and regulatory interference  , ”anticipates Bruce Schneier. He cites haphazardly the FBI, the tax services, the stock market regulator or even anti-money laundering agencies.null

“  I don’t see any good reason to do this. Secure communications and transactions can be separate applications, or even separate applications within the same organization. End-to-end encryption is already at risk. Signal is the best app we have. Combining it with a cryptocurrency means that the whole system dies if one part dies  ”.

Bruce Schneier’s fears over end-to-end encryption are not a figment of the imagination. As recalled in early March the Electronic Frontier Foundation , a key organization for the defense of digital freedoms, the boss of the FBI again demanded before American parliamentarians a backdoor on end-to-end encryption services, in the name of the fight against crime and terrorism.Leading cryptographers are concerned about the measure’s effects on end-to-end encryption. // Source: Facebook

The request from the current FBI boss is not new: Similar calls were made in 2017 , 2018 and 2020 , to take just a few examples. And this is not a debate specific to the United States: it also exists in France, as evidenced by the regular comments of the former public prosecutor François Molins, certain parliamentary initiatives and the reflections at the level of the government , or in Europe. .

Supporters of end-to-end encryption are already struggling to resist the assaults of those who wish to reduce it, to legitimately fight against crime, child pornography, terrorism and trafficking of all kinds. The arrival of payments will give another pretext to regulate these messaging services, in the name of the fight against mafia financing and money laundering.

In summary, this is Bruce Schneier’s analysis. And he’s not the only one to think so. In Wired , Matthew Green cryptography professor said equally concerned  »  signal as encrypted messaging product is really valuable. […] It terrifies me to see them mix up their history with the legislative and regulatory hell of cryptocurrencies and the vulnerabilities that go with it.  « 

Chance of the calendar, a decree appeared in the French Official Journal on April 4 on a similar theme. It focuses on the fight against the anonymity of virtual assets and anonymous electronic currencies. It provides for a tightening up of the national system for combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism. This decree updates a number of legislative provisions.

Thus, the text “  clarifies the ban on the use of anonymous electronic money for the purchase of digital assets. It also imposes on providers of digital asset services an obligation to identify their customers prior to any occasional transaction  ”. In addition, “  it determines the procedures for verifying the identity of customers […] when entering into a business relationship.  « 

A risk for the moment limited?

Obviously, these issues did not deter Signal from moving in this direction. In any case, the announcement note does not mention it. The mobile app just welcomes explaining that it does not have access to the balance, full transaction history or funds, and that these funds can be transferred at any time to another service or app. .

One thing is certain: the choice of MobileCoin probably owes nothing to chance. Beyond its technical peculiarities, it turns out that the American behind Signal , Moxie Marlinspike – a pseudonym – has served as a technical advisor since the creation of MobileCoin in 2017, and that he was paid for it. He contributed to the technical design of cryptocurrency. However, he assures that he does not have any.Moxie Marlinspike, creator of Signal. // Source: John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

MobileCoin is based on Stellar blockchain technology. This is not based on proof of work – that is, computer calculations to be made – but on a particular type of consensus . This orientation explains why transactions are carried out more quickly, without a heavy energy footprint, by avoiding calling on all the nodes of the network to validate the exchanges, but only a part, some of whom are trusted.

Currently, MobileCoin has been trading on the FTX marketplace since December 2020. The peculiarity of FTX is that it does not allow transactions from US users, which can keep US regulators at bay. But Signal suggests a possible deployment in other marketplaces. And at Wired, a project member suggests arriving in the United States. But it might, in the meantime, frown some eyebrows in others. For example, in the UK, where testing is starting.

Numerama

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Why is this bitcoin billionaire accumulating so many ethers (ETH)?

Ethereum, the ideal monetary candidate – For Mark Cuban, it is neither cryptography nor Bitcoin, nor even the blockchain that will revolutionize our lives, but smart contracts. During his visit to “The Delphi Podcast”, the successful investor made a comparison between the emergence of smart contracts and that of the internet.

Ethereum: the most similar to a currency

Mark Cuban has long been seen as a Bitcoin detractor . He had said in September 2019 that he preferred to use bananas rather than bitcoins as currency. However, it in no way denies its usefulness as a store of value . The billionaire even considers it much more efficient than gold in this role. But anyway, in his eyes, the technical characteristics of Bitcoin do not allow it to fulfill the office of a currency.

If he asserts that ether (ETH) is the closest digital asset to a currency , it is because he considers that a currency must retain some form of flexibility , allowing it to adapt. in a changing environment. To support this thesis, Cuban relies on the upcoming implementation of EIP-1559 , which should improve the scalability of the Ethereum network, where Bitcoin is still extremely rigid .

Still according to Cuban, if we put the history of digital assets and that of the Internet into perspective, we are only at the proof of concept stage. In fact, there are a tiny number of projects that present real consumer use cases . As in the early days of the internet, it was necessary to perform multiple operations across multiple platforms and applications before achieving the desired result . The typical example is DeFi , which has enormous potential , but which is particularly difficult to access for the general public.

However, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks is firmly convinced that the situation will improve over time . With the advent of the internet, the price of bandwidth gradually fell, which allowed new use cases, including the arrival of high definition video. But these developments did not happen overnight. It took ten years or so before the internet became a truly mainstream tool.

Despite his love for Ethereum, Mark Cuban only has 30% ethers in his wallet, which additionally contains 60% bitcoin and 10% assets devoted to other projects. The businessman specifies that he no longer practices trading and that he considers his ethers and bitcoins as long-term investments

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Elon Musk pockets $ 25 billion in one day

It is good to be a billionaire in new technologies. Tuesday, Jeff Bezos potentially won $ 6 billion and Mark Zuckerberg 3.8 billion … But the prize goes to the boss of Tesla and SpaceX, who touched a jackpot of $ 25 billion.

Billionaires are profiting from the infatuation of investors on the New York Stock Exchange for technology stocks.  

The billionaires in new technologies lived, Tuesday, a rather enriching day … The vaccinations in the United States, the recovery plan in the country or the prospects of an economic recovery have indeed put them back in the saddle. technology stocks on Wall Street.

The Nasdaq, which brings together the main new technology companies in the United States, recovered in the space of a day more than 3.6%, while the trend was rather trending downwards since the beginning of the year . As a result, the potential fortune of the main billionaires has grown considerably.

Jeff Bezos, the boss of Amazon, won 6 billion dollars, Mark Zuckerberg 3.8 billion … But the big winner is Elon Musk . In one day, it touched almost the equivalent of the annual GDP of Iceland or Estonia – a trifle of $ 25.1 billion. According to Bloomberg, his wealth was valued at $ 149 billion at the start of the week, now to $ 174 billion.

A boost from Bitcoin

The boss of SpaceX has mainly benefited from a positive note from an analyst for his brand of electric cars Tesla. Unlike the others, the analyst estimated that the group can achieve earnings per share of $ 12 by 2023, nearly double the current consensus of industry experts.

This note woke up investors. Tesla shares climbed 20% during the day … Elon Musk also took advantage of the craze for the virtual currency Bitcoin, which exceeded the mark of 46,600 euros, and in which he invested nearly 1, $ 5 billion.

Elon Musk is also getting closer to Jeff Bezos to become the richest man on the planet again, a place he had occupied at the beginning of the year . According to Bloomberg, he is now only $ 6 billion from the founder of Amazon.