Assassination Markets for Trump and Others Are On the Blockchain

NewImage‘Earlier this month, the non-profit Forecast Foundation launched its Augur protocol on the Ethereum network in a bid to create the first blockchain-based betting platform. Now, Augur is hosting several wagers where users bet on when a public figure will die, with a pot of digital money going to whoever makes the correct guess. This type of betting is referred to as an “assassination market” because it arguably incentivizes someone to guarantee a win by offing the person themselves.

On the Augur marketplace, Motherboard found open bets on the deaths of a number of public figures, including Betty White, Donald Trump, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett. Other events were also bet on as well, such as whether SpaceX will complete a crewed flight beyond Earth orbit this year. Most of these betting pools had few or no bets on the books at the time of writing, but some betting pools, including one predicting Donald Trump’s death this year, had dozens of trades.

These prediction pools are called assassination markets because they arguably incentivize bettors to make their predictions come true by taking matters into their own hands. Cryptoanarchist Jim Bell introduced the concept in a paper called “Assassination Politics” in the mid-1990s. Bell imagined that the anonymity afforded by modern encryption techniques and the advent of digital money would allow for political assassinations to be incentivized and carried out anonymously.

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have arguably created a perfect environment for Bell’s assassination politics to take shape….’

Via Motherboard

Report: Trump’s Dumb Tweets Could Finally Add Up to Big Trouble

NewImage‘It feels like it was only a matter of time before Robert Mueller started investigating Donald Trump’s tweets. And it seems that time has come. The New York Times reports that the special counsel “is scrutinizing tweets and negative statements” from the president about James Comey and Jeff Sessions. Specifically, Mueller reportedly wants to know if Trump’s behavior adds up to obstruction of justice. Boy, there sure are a lot of tweets, too.

The Times report cites three anonymous sources who claim that Mueller is turning to Trump’s relentless remarks about Comey and Sessions, specifically those that relate to the investigation into Russian meddling into the 2016 election. Some of these statements could represent a pattern of intimidating witnesses and pressuring high level officials to stop investigating….’

Via Gizmodo

Will Climate Change Increase Suicide Rates?

NewImage‘Climate change is a public health crisis from its impacts on air quality to wiping out the healthcare systems we need to stave off sickness. Even the air conditioning we’ll need to beat the heat is likely to make things worse.

A new study published Monday in Nature Climate Change adds to the growing list of climate-related health threats, concluding that rising temperatures are likely to cause more suicides. The study showed that the increased heat could lead to as many as 40,000 additional suicides in the U.S. and Mexico by 2050 if global carbon emissions continue on their current trajectory….’

Via Earther

This May Be the Most Dangerous U.S. Volcano

‘Supervolcanoes sound terrifying, but the risks they pose don’t usually match their fearsome reputations. Yellowstone in particular often makes its way into headlines, as every earthquake swarm or change in geyser activity spawns unfounded rumors of an apocalyptic eruption.

However, ask a volcanologist where the real risk in the U.S. lurks, and there’s a good chance that they will turn their gaze to the Pacific Northwest.

Nestled among the Cascade mountain range sits Mount Rainier, a postcard-perfect natural wonder—and a volcano that causes scientists genuine concern. It’s unclear when it will stir from its long slumber, and there’s no sign that anything is imminent. Nevertheless, a future eruption could cause one of the worst natural disasters in the U.S. …’

Source: National Geographic

What happened the last time a President chose America’s enemies over its friends

Manisha Sinha, Draper Chair in American History at the University of Connecticut, writes:

‘ Donald Trump likes to compare himself to Andrew Jackson, but the Andrew he really resembles is Andrew Johnson. What they have in common are delusions of personal grandeur and a tainted ascent to the presidency. Trump was elected by a minority of the American electorate, with help from the vagaries of the Electoral College system and from considerable Russian interference.

Johnson became president thanks to an assassin’s bullet. While Johnson immodestly compared himself to Jesus and Moses, Trump claims he is the best at everything, even boasting recently on Twitter that his popularity among Republicans exceeds that of Abraham Lincoln.

Indeed, pundits have likened today’s partisan divisions to those of the Civil War era. But they more closely resemble the politics of Reconstruction, the period after the war when for the first time in history, an American president, Johnson, was impeached by the House of Representatives…’

Source: CNN