Curating the Internet: Science and technology digest for March 25, 2020

in STEMGeekslast year (edited)

Storj Labs launches decentralized cloud storage service, Tardigrade; Brave browser teams up with Binance to offer in-browser cryptocurrency trading; Recent evidence suggests that Schizophrenia may be an autoimmune condition; Lawyers advise to switch off smart-devices when working from home and discussing confidential information; and a Steem essay informs us that home tests for coronavirus can now be purchased online (when they're not sold out)


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First posted on my Steem blog: StemGeeks, SteemIt, SteemPeak*, SteemSTEM.


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  1. Decentralized storage provider Storj Labs says its blockchain-based cloud service is now available for businesses and individuals to securely store files and documents. - The open source network, Storj has launched its decentralized cloud storage product, Tardigrade - which is named after a microorganism that is capable of surviving in many difficult, even hostile environments. The network currently has about 3,000 users accessing 19 petabytes (19 million gigabytes) of storage scattered across thousands of machines. In order to store a file, it is encrypted, sliced into 80 sections, and distributed to different machines on the network. In order to deal with network node dropouts, just 29 file fragments are needed to recreate the file. This strategy is reminiscent of the RAID-96 architecture that was employed by Symmform during its short lifetime.

  2. Your Favorite Privacy-Minded Browser Is Teaming Up With Binance - Brave and Binance are partnering to bring in-browser cryptocurrency trading to 13 million users of the Brave Browser. The Binance widget will appear in the new tab of the Nightly development edition, and later in the production browser version. In order to protect privacy, the binance widget is built into the browser and not a loaded iframe. Widget activity will be sent to Binance only if the user authenticates with their existing Binance accounts using the OAuth protocol. In addition to protecting privacy, it means that Brave can leave the Know Your Customer compliance to Binance. The article has this to say about CEO, Brendan Eich's, future plans:
    The future is interesting here. Eich confirmed that Brave has looked into the possibility of extending Brave into other areas, like messaging and operating systems for smartphones and computers. However, for now, Brave is completely focused on the browser.

    Eich does not believe that we will see the fully decentralized internet anytime soon either, noting that blockchain-based VPNs like Brave’s VPN0 are more realistic.

  3. Schizophrenia May Be an Autoimmune Condition - This video tells us that there may be 20-100 million people who are affected by schizophrenia. Although some treatments can reduce symptoms, it says that there are no known cures. When a person suffers from schizophrenia, they seem to have a different interpretation of reality than most of the rest of us, causing them to experience hallucinations, delusions, and disruptions in typical thought processes. Although there is no medical test to diagnose the disease, people who suffer from the disease tend to have structural differences in the brain. In particular, several regions of the brain tend to be larger than expected. Early researchers thought that this resulted from childhood brain development, but more evidence now points to the idea that this difference may be due to inflammation and a loss of brain tissue. As a result of these and other observations, a recent hypothesis that has been gaining traction is that the immune system - in the form of overactivity - plays a role in causing the symptoms. Eventually, this evidence may lead to breakthroughs in both treatment and diagnostics of schizzophrenia.

    Here is the video:

    -h/t RealClear Science

  4. Working from home? Switch off Amazon's Alexa (say lawyers) - Subtitle: One of the byproducts of doing all your work from home is that you might be discussing confidential matters. And who might overhear them? Well, there's your smart speakers.... Bloomberg reports that the Mishcon de Raya law firm is advising people who work from home to make sure that speakers on smart devices are muted, or better - turned off, during confidential work conversations. Otherwise, Employees and contractors of the smart-device manufacturers could have access to a firm's confidential competitive information. Left unexplained is whether firms' should have similar concerns about text messages going through Android or Apple smart-phones and a whole host of add-on applications.

  5. Steem @doitvoluntarily: At Home COVID-19 Test Kits Sold Out In Minutes - As the coronavirus pandemic continues, this post tells us about a development in the American marketplace for testing for the disease. Along with others, the company, Everlywell, has developed a test kit that can be used with a swab in the home and then sent in for analysis within about 48 hours. At the moment, the kits cost about $150 to $200, and can be ordered online, but some have already sold out. (A 10% beneficiary setting has been applied to this post for @doitvoluntarily.)

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