Life can be found on Enceladus without landing on its surface

Many researchers believe that the ocean inside Saturn’s icy moon has suitable conditions for life.

Earlier, the Cassini mission showed that under a thick layer of ice on Saturn’s moon there is a deep ocean with active hydrothermal vents. There is plenty of water and energy in abundance. That might not be enough to sustain life, but now researchers are proposing another mission to confirm if there really is life out there, even without having to “land” on Enceladus.

The thickness of the ice crust of the mysterious satellite is from 5 to 30 kilometers, so it will not be easy to get to the ocean. Scientists have proposed using special landing gear that will drill through the ice and slowly pass through the shell.

Enceladus is the sixth-largest moon of Saturn. It is about 500 kilometers (310 mi) in diameter, about a tenth of that of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.

Enceladus shoots water jets into space through cracks in its surface, so as an option, the engineers also suggested creating a robot that crawls along these cracks. This is yet another difficult approach, even without considering the challenges researchers will have to face to make sure the machine is completely sterile.

Last year, researchers suggested that methane in the plumes could be a sign of life. In a new research paper, they take it one step further. They estimate that even a small population of organisms on Enceladus would release enough organic material for an orbital mission to acquire it.

“We were surprised when we found that the hypothetical abundance of cells would be equal to the biomass of one whale in the global ocean of Enceladus,” said one of the authors of the article, UArizona researcher Antonina Affholder.

The main goal of the mission would not be to find life, but to disprove its existence. The paper estimates the maximum amount of organic material found by the spacecraft in the absence of life. Doing the opposite, gathering evidence for life, would be more of a challenge.

To take a sample of cellular material from the plume, an orbiting spacecraft would need about 0.1 milliliters of the material. This is relatively small, but given how scattered the plumes are over the surface, more than 100 spans would be required.

During the first four years of the mission, Cassini made 74 unique orbits around Saturn and 45 flybys of Titan, the planet’s largest moon. In total, Cassini spent 13 years in the system.

“Our team has shown that this approach will be sufficient to confidently determine whether there is life in the ocean of Enceladus, without having to explore the depths of the satellite,” said senior author Regis Ferrier of the University of Arizona.

It may be a long time before a mission to test this hypothesis is realized, but no less exciting is the fact that we can detect life on Enceladus without having to land on it.

The research was published in the journal Planetary Science

The post Life can be found on Enceladus without landing on its surface appeared first on


Another Giant Humanoid is filmed on a hill in Aguascalientes, Mexico

This footage of a giant “humanoid figure” on a hill in Aguascalientes, Mexico was taken by a trucker driving through the state of Aguascalientes, specifically the stretch of road between the capital and Lagos de Moreno, before reaching a toll booth known as “La Chona” .

Theories regarding the nature or origin of the creature began to arise among users and although it is unclear what exactly it could have been, the most popular theories have centered on the humanoid figure being a “giant”.

Science says that races of giant humans do not exist and never have, but we know that the real history of humanity is deliberately being hidden from us, so could this humanoid figure be a giant from the past but still present on earth?

In the video, the man who recorded the video is heard saying, “I see a giant up there. What could it be?” besides assuring that the supposed giant is moving on top of the hill. In the second part of the video, he is heard saying, “Either I’m stoned, or I see a giant up there.”

However, some claim that these giant people are nothing more than optical illusions. Although now that will depend on the beliefs of each person.

The video below shows what looks to be a giant human or humanoid figure walking along the summit of a hill in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

The post Another Giant Humanoid is filmed on a hill in Aguascalientes, Mexico appeared first on


If a Robot Is Conscious, Is It OK To Turn It Off?

In the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episode “The Measure of a Man,” Data, an android crew member of the Enterprise, is to be dismantled for research purposes unless Captain Picard can argue that Data deserves the same rights as a human being. Naturally the question arises: What is the basis upon which something has rights? What gives an entity moral standing?

The philosopher Peter Singer argues that creatures that can feel pain or suffer have a claim to moral standing. He argues that nonhuman animals have moral standing, since they can feel pain and suffer. Limiting it to people would be a form of speciesism, something akin to racism and sexism.

Without endorsing Singer’s line of reasoning, we might wonder if it can be extended further to an android robot like Data. It would require that Data can either feel pain or suffer. And how you answer that depends on how you understand consciousness and intelligence.

As real artificial intelligence technology advances toward Hollywood’s imagined versions, the question of moral standing grows more important. If AIs have moral standing, philosophers like me reason, it could follow that they have a right to life. That means you cannot simply dismantle them, and might also mean that people shouldn’t interfere with their pursuing their goals.

Two flavors of intelligence and a test

IBM’s Deep Blue chess machine was successfully trained to beat grandmaster Gary Kasparov. But it could not do anything else. This computer had what’s called domain-specific intelligence.

On the other hand, there’s the kind of intelligence that allows for the ability to do a variety of things well. It is called domain-general intelligence. It’s what lets people cook, ski and raise children – tasks that are related, but also very different.

Artificial general intelligence, AGI, is the term for machines that have domain-general intelligence. Arguably no machine has yet demonstrated that kind of intelligence.

This summer, a startup called OPENAI released a new version of its Generative Pre-Training language model. GPT-3 is a natural-language-processing system, trained to read and write so that it can be easily understood by people.

It drew immediate notice, not just because of its impressive ability to mimic stylistic flourishes and put together plausible content, but also because of how far it had come from a previous version. Despite this impressive performance, GPT-3 doesn’t actually know anything beyond how to string words together in various ways. AGI remains quite far off.

Named after pioneering AI researcher Alan Turing, the Turing test helps determine when an AI is intelligent. Can a person conversing with a hidden AI tell whether it’s an AI or a human being? If he can’t, then for all practical purposes, the AI is intelligent. But this test says nothing about whether the AI might be conscious.

Do Data’s qualities grant him moral standing? CBS

Two kinds of consciousness

There are two parts to consciousness. First, there’s the what-it’s-like-for-me aspect of an experience, the sensory part of consciousness. Philosophers call this phenomenal consciousness. It’s about how you experience a phenomenon, like smelling a rose or feeling pain.

In contrast, there’s also access consciousness. That’s the ability to report, reason, behave and act in a coordinated and responsive manner to stimuli based on goals.

For example, when I pass the soccer ball to my friend making a play on the goal, I am responding to visual stimuli, acting from prior training, and pursuing a goal determined by the rules of the game. I make the pass automatically, without conscious deliberation, in the flow of the game.

Blindsight nicely illustrates the difference between the two types of consciousness. Someone with this neurological condition might report, for example, that they cannot see anything in the left side of their visual field.

But if asked to pick up a pen from an array of objects in the left side of their visual field, they can reliably do so. They cannot see the pen, yet they can pick it up when prompted – an example of access consciousness without phenomenal consciousness.

Data is an android. How do these distinctions play out with respect to him?

The Data dilemma

The android Data demonstrates that he is self-aware in that he can monitor whether or not, for example, he is optimally charged or there is internal damage to his robotic arm.

Data is also intelligent in the general sense. He does a lot of distinct things at a high level of mastery. He can fly the Enterprise, take orders from Captain Picard and reason with him about the best path to take.

He can also play poker with his shipmates, cook, discuss topical issues with close friends, fight with enemies on alien planets and engage in various forms of physical labor. Data has access consciousness. He would clearly pass the Turing test.

However, Data most likely lacks phenomenal consciousness – he does not, for example, delight in the scent of roses or experience pain. He embodies a supersized version of blindsight. He’s self-aware and has access consciousness – can grab the pen – but across all his senses he lacks phenomenal consciousness.

Now, if Data doesn’t feel pain, at least one of the reasons Singer offers for giving a creature moral standing is not fulfilled. But Data might fulfill the other condition of being able to suffer, even without feeling pain. Suffering might not require phenomenal consciousness the way pain essentially does.

For example, what if suffering were also defined as the idea of being thwarted from pursuing a just cause without causing harm to others? Suppose Data’s goal is to save his crewmate, but he can’t reach her because of damage to one of his limbs.

Data’s reduction in functioning that keeps him from saving his crewmate is a kind of nonphenomenal suffering. He would have preferred to save the crewmate, and would be better off if he did.

In the episode, the question ends up resting not on whether Data is self-aware – that is not in doubt. Nor is it in question whether he is intelligent – he easily demonstrates that he is in the general sense. What is unclear is whether he is phenomenally conscious. Data is not dismantled because, in the end, his human judges cannot agree on the significance of consciousness for moral standing.

Should an AI get moral standing?

Data is kind – he acts to support the well-being of his crewmates and those he encounters on alien planets. He obeys orders from people and appears unlikely to harm them, and he seems to protect his own existence. For these reasons he appears peaceful and easier to accept into the realm of things that have moral standing.

But what about Skynet in the “Terminator” movies? Or the worries recently expressed by Elon Musk about AI being more dangerous than nukes, and by Stephen Hawking on AI ending humankind?

Human beings don’t lose their claim to moral standing just because they act against the interests of another person. In the same way, you can’t automatically say that just because an AI acts against the interests of humanity or another AI it doesn’t have moral standing.

You might be justified in fighting back against an AI like Skynet, but that does not take away its moral standing. If moral standing is given in virtue of the capacity to nonphenomenally suffer, then Skynet and Data both get it even if only Data wants to help human beings.

There are no artificial general intelligence machines yet. But now is the time to consider what it would take to grant them moral standing. How humanity chooses to answer the question of moral standing for nonbiological creatures will have big implications for how we deal with future AIs – whether kind and helpful like Data, or set on destruction, like Skynet.

Anand Vaidya, Associate Professor of Philosophy, San José State University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The post If a Robot Is Conscious, Is It OK To Turn It Off? appeared first on


Erdstalls: Mysterious Tunnels Of Unknown Origin Across Europe

Erdstall is a type of tunnel found throughout Europe, mainly in the southeastern part of Germany, Bavaria and Austria. This underground network dates back to the Stone Age and is 12,000 years old. The archaeological evidence is so slim that even age determination is difficult.

Airstalls are believed to have been created during the Middle Ages, although some argue that these tunnels date back to the Stone Age.

At present, no one knows exactly why these structures were created at all. Proponents of the idea that erdstalls date back to the Stone Age believe that these structures are a network of underground passages stretching from Scotland to Turkey.

The word “erdstall” is borrowed from the German language and can be roughly translated as “earth stall” or “mine tunnel”. Although various types of underground tunnels are known around the world, erdstalls have certain features that distinguish them from other underground tunnel systems.

In general, the erdstall network consists of very low and narrow tunnels, which are usually oval in shape and arranged either vertically or horizontally. It has also been found that these tunnels typically extend between 20 and 50 meters.

Another unique feature of the erdstall is the “schlupf” (meaning “to slip out”). These are extremely narrow openings (usually only 40 cm in diameter) that serve as transition points between tunnels located at different heights.

Currently, about 2000 erdstalls are known in Europe. Most of these are located in the German state of Bavaria, where it is estimated that at least 700 such tunnel networks exist. In neighboring Austria, you can find about 500 more of them. Similar underground passages have also been found in countries such as Britain and France.

A typical tunnel is very low requiring an adult human to walk in a hunched position, but some are so small that explorers have to get down on all fours.

Some tunnels have more than one level with a tight passageway, known as “schlupfe” or “slip”, connecting the higher tunnel with the lower one.

But the passages are so tight that an average person needs to crawl under the slip hole, stand up thereby sliding the shoulders through the uncomfortably tight hole, and squeeze his way out and into the higher tunnel.

A schlupfe can also occur horizontally connecting two tunnels in the same level.

The purpose for which the erdstall were built is still a big mystery. For some locals, these underground tunnels are associated with legendary creatures such as elves or dwarves who are said to have built them or are believed to live in them. In some places, erdstalls have been given fanciful names reflecting their association with local folklore.

Among them are “Shrazelloch” (“goblin’s hole”) and “Alraunenhöle” (“mandrake cave”). Others suggest that erdstalls were associated with castles and served as secret escape routes, as mentioned in some sagas. However, the problem with this interpretation is that erdstalls are known to have only one entry and exit point, making them unsuitable for this purpose.

Others suggest that the tunnels were used as hiding places. However, the narrowness of these passages, combined with the fact that there is practically no air currents in them (due to the only entrance and exit), would make them a rather inconvenient and unpleasant shelter. Another suggestion is that they were used to store things.

Again, the narrowness of these tunnels makes them impractical for this purpose. In addition, many erdstalls are below the waterline and have been known to fill with water from time to time, especially during the winter. Therefore, it is unlikely that erdstalls were used for storage purposes.

Some speculates that these early Christian missionaries also brought along heathen ideas, the remnants of Druid scholarship or special Celtic concepts of the afterlife, which led to the construction of the subterranean galleries.

But it was possible that the tunnels were also prisons for demons, evil dwarves and the undead. But not everyone finds these spiritual interpretations convincing.

One of the strangest claims about them is that they are part of a vast, interconnected network of underground passages that stretch from Scotland in the west to Turkey in the south.

Moreover, this underground network is said to have originated as early as the Stone Age and is 12,000 years old, much older than the generally accepted estimate that they date back to the Middle Ages.

It has even been claimed that these tunnels functioned as a kind of “ancient underground highway” that allowed people to move safely from one place to another, regardless of what was happening above ground.

There are various problems associated with this theory. For example, even though there are thousands of erdstalls, they are not really related to each other. Another point is that although large underground cities have been discovered in Turkish Cappadocia, they are very different from European erdstalls.

The post Erdstalls: Mysterious Tunnels Of Unknown Origin Across Europe appeared first on


Can Paranormal Investigators & Psychic Mediums Work Together?

The relationship between a paranormal team and a sensitive (a.k.a. psychic or medium) is often difficult, and sometimes dangerous if not handled well. Some teams won’t even consider using sensitives, while those who opt to use them may place too much weight on their contributions or else none at all. But is there perhaps an ideal option where the two parties work hand in hand to serve the greater good?

I believe the answer to this is yes, and I would like to use my personal experience to shed a little light on this potential.

Ghost Society For Paranormal Investigators

In 2010, I was invited to join the Washington State Ghost Society, a rather active group consisting of local individuals interested in exploring the paranormal. I was a newly emerging psychic medium and wanted to join a group to help expand my skills. Although my initial role was to serve in an investigative capacity, after a bit of experience I quickly expanded into the role of a team sensitive. What I quickly realized, however, was just how much further I needed to hone my abilities.

You see, mediums and psychicsYou see, psychics and mediums usually work with sitters – people who reach out for private sessions to connect with departed loved ones or to get personal guidance. But what happens when you thrust a sensitive into a situation where they now must assess situations, locations, buildings, land, spirits (if present), residual energies/imprints, time bands, as well as the energies and issues of the living?

Historical Places

For example, until I had access to historical places, I had no opportunity or need to learn how to use the energy in these spaces differently. Two particular locations had 100-year-old histories that left different imprints from different time bands. Patrons of one of these locations often heard music playing while dining. This particular imprint occurred during a specific time in the location’s past, while other experiences occurred as a result of different time frames.

According to parapsychologist Loyd Auerbach, these types of residual energies are also referred to as place memory, psychic imprints, residual haunts, or hauntings. This occurs when the location ‘records’ the activity of the events, memories, emotions, and people who once or currently occupy them. For those who are sensitive, these recordings can be discerned via psi. However, place memory or hauntings do NOT involve consciousness, even though they can be perceived by consciousness. See the following PDN article for more on why Your Reality Is In Fact A Conscious Universe.

Paranormal Investigators and Residual Energy Discernment

While understanding these various imprints may offer an investigative team little more than small details to assist in location research, the team may not be able to find what they are looking for if a sensitive is not careful to properly discern these variations. Paranormal Investigators must understand these variables and also provide opportunities to help promote sensitive development with these variations.

The impact of sensitive discernment becomes even more crucial when dealing with residential cases: Those that involve real people having real issues.

One example is when our group was called in by a family we had previously assisted. They had recently moved into a new home and were concerned that activity had followed them to the new location. While I was not involved in the first investigation, I was the sensitive in the second investigation with other paranormal investigators.

Upon walking into the home and working with the energy of the space, it became clear that one room was full of unique energy patterns. I worked my way through the home, but I kept being pulled back to one particular space. Taking my time, I sat in the room working my way through what I was feeling until I realized that it was coming from the person who occupied it. To understand what was then creating the energy, I sat with it further until I could begin to discern the cause.

Supporting Evidential Data

With a possible cause and source in hand, we sat down with the family and I started to provide evidence to support my research. I first described the person who occupied the room and then described the emotional and physical concerns that I felt this person might be having. Finding that these assessments were correct, I began to suggest that the living child who occupied the space caused the energy in the space. There were clear medical and emotional concerns about the child. Because of this, we explained that the potential events may be based on the child’s personality rather than the actual spirit.

Rarely are psychics and mediums given access to these types of scenarios. Certainly, some well-trained energy workers may have quickly been able to discern this issue. Then again, many energy workers are also not mediums. How do we know what will be encountered when working on these types of more intimate cases? It can be a real mixed bag.

As you can see, all of these variables, along with others, can cause an investigative team to simply avoid working with sensitives altogether. Sometimes it just seems easier, but by doing so, we are missing out on what may be going on in many of these cases: psi-based events.

Psi Events

If psi is the foundation for much of what is explored in an investigation, then at the very least, shouldn’t we use psi detectors? Sadly, this will not come in the form of technology. No device we currently have will detect spirits, consciousness, or subtle human energy patterns related to consciousness. This leaves only those tools that do – sensitives!

For those teams that want to use these human detectors, then a set of good standards must be set up, and a process should be followed to make sure the system works well. But this alone may not be enough. Sensitives also need exposure to various environments and scenarios in order to hone their skills. Simply working with sitters in the traditional way just doesn’t compare to the environment surrounding investigations. I am not saying that a well-trained psychic or medium will not be of value, but the more a sensitive is exposed to these things, the more they can learn from them.


I highly encourage psychics and mediums to work with the right investigative team. Doing so was one of the biggest skill-developing experiences of my life. However, be selective about the group and ask questions. They should have standards for how you will work and yet still be open to your needs. They should not discount everything you say, but neither should they worship the ground upon which you walk. Their role is to be objective, not to take your word as gospel.

Sensitives also need to be willing to admit that these scenarios may be new and foreign. Be open to learning and remain humble. The investigation is a collaborative effort for the good of the clients and the advancement of knowledge. It’s not a showcase. Know your limitations, work to discern more, learn some basic parapsychology, and be dedicated to the task for the right reasons.

Paranormal teams and field investigators who are willing to work with psychics and mediums may want to consider a sensitive who meets the right requirements. While this may not be the team’s main goal, what can be achieved through this partnership can offer long-term benefits to everyone involved. It can offer opportunity and expansion for the sensitive. It can offer better insights and awareness to the investigators as well as clients. It can also continue to shed light and understanding of the use and applications of psi. After all, we’re all searching for answers. So wouldn’t it make sense to start working together to create better results and opportunities for everyone?

For more on working with psychics and mediums, you can read Loyd Auerbach’s book Ghost Hunting, How To Investigate The Paranormal. You can also take Parapsychological classes with Loyd and other qualified instructors through the Rhine Research Center.


What is Swan Bitcoin and how does it work?

Swan Bitcoin has simplified Bitcoin saving with automatic recurring buys and one-time buys. Find how Swan Bitcoin works.

When someone wants to buy Bitcoin (BTC), they usually take the route of a cryptocurrency exchange. Newbies may buy BTC on just any exchange they come across, while those with some sort of experience may opt for a reputable one. The exercise though bears little fruit as most exchanges function almost identically as centralized entities, often working as custodians of the crypto assets of the buyers.

The security factor is generally limited to passwords and 2-factor authentication (for the buyers who have opted for it). Customer support, wallet support and ease of use are other factors that buyers might consider when zeroing in on an exchange to buy Bitcoin.

Exchanges have a drawback when it comes to supporting customers who want to buy Bitcoin. With an array of digital coins on their platforms, it is simply not possible for them to focus exclusively on Bitcoin buyers. They lack Bitcoin experts who could analyze how Bitcoin should optimally feature in the portfolio of the buyer, factoring in macro factors in crypto and mainstream economy along with buyers’ own financial status.

The scenario pronounces the need for a Bitcoin-specific platform that would not only enable anyone to buy the first decentralized cryptocurrency but also provide them with expert advice and hand-holding. This is where Swan Bitcoin rolls in. As a Bitcoin-only accumulation platform, it caters to regular customers as well as high-net-worth individuals and businesses. This article will help potential investors understand what Swan Bitcoin is and how it works.

What is Swan Bitcoin

Swan Bitcoin helps one save value in Bitcoin, using the method of dollar-cost averaging to incentivize saving over spending. In return for a fee, it allows buyers to sign up for both one-time and recurring Bitcoin purchases. It doesn’t take a spread on the purchase, as well. A spread refers to the difference between the buy (offer) and sell (bid) prices of an asset.

To buy Bitcoin, all users need to do is connect their bank accounts with Prime Trust, an institutional-grade custodian working with Swan Bitcoin. The platform enables users to automate the withdrawal of funds from their bank accounts to Swan accounts and assign a Bitcoin address as well to set up a withdrawal schedule. The users may also select any amount and time period. 

Using dollar-cost averaging in buying Bitcoin 

Dollar-cost averaging is a strategy of investing a fixed dollar amount at predetermined regular intervals to spread out purchases and bring down the average cost of each share. The approach helps in developing a disciplined investing habit and brings down the costs.

An example will help an investor understand dollar-cost averaging better. Suppose one invests $500 every month. In a buoyant market, $500 will get fewer cryptocurrency, but when the market goes down, an investor can buy more cryptocurrency with the same amount. The strategy could pare down the average cost per coin, compared with what one would have ended up paying if they had bought all the cryptocurrency in one go when they were more expensive.

For purchasing Bitcoin, one could think of waiting for an opportune moment when the price is low. However, to time the market is practically not possible for anyone. Rather, investors could opt for daily, weekly or monthly savings to steadily transform their dollars into savings in Bitcoin. 

How Swan Bitcoin works

Swan puts customers at liberty to auto-withdraw Bitcoin to its own self-custody address or places it with the platform’s institutional-grade custodian set up in their own name. They can access Bitcoin at will.

Along with the consumer-focused face, the platform also offers Swan Private for high-net-worth businesses and individuals. One could seek expert advice regarding keeping Bitcoin in custody, buy a large amount of BTC or add Bitcoin to a company balance sheet. Swan Private helps enterprises and high-net-worth individuals build generational wealth with BTC.

Swan has on-board experts with extensive experience in the Bitcoin ecosystem to assist private clients in making a customized plan for saving in BTC. Investors get to talk to a knowledgeable resource rather than a clueless customer service, where one is more likely to exchange emails with a less experienced professional.

Adviser services of Swan facilitate the integration of Bitcoin into client portfolios, including reporting and rebalancing. Reporting provides users with a detailed overview of their accounts. Portfolio rebalancing refers to the realignment of the asset components within an investment portfolio to adjust the associated risks. Rebalancing involves buying or selling Bitcoin to reach the target level of asset allocation.

Swan also brings along an open-source product suite for Bitcoin custody and usage, along with multisignature software. The members can give Bitcoin to colleagues, friends and family as well.

How Swan helps “save” in Bitcoin

Thanks to their approach to give altcoins at bay, Swan enables customers to “save” in Bitcoin rather than “trade” the cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is among the few digital assets that are regarded not to be a security but a property in United States jurisdiction for the reason that it raises no capital and has no centralized marketing organization.

The decentralized character of Bitcoin became evident in 2017, when several BTC mining companies, manufacturers of mining equipment, large exchanges and a bunch of key Bitcoin developers collaborated to alter block size of blockchain, but a globally distributed node network thwarted their plans. Bitcoin proved itself to be sufficiently decentralized and immutable in a real-world test.

With  Swan, one can set up a recurring daily, weekly, or monthly purchase plan for Bitcoin. Most regulatory jurisdictions regard such a plan as saving. After purchases are made, investors can withdraw BTC manually or set up an automated withdrawal plan that transfers Bitcoin to their own wallet. They can also pause or cancel Swan plans anytime they want.

Quite contrary to the prevalent approach to cryptocurrency investments, Swan takes into account bear markets as well. Most investors buy Bitcoin in the hope that its price will be on the upswing continuously, which is simply not possible as bear markets will always be there. Taking into account the bear markets helps flatten the possible shocks when the coin is on a downward spiral.

How Swan Bitcoin reduces expenses

Acting as a sort of savings account, Swan Bitcoin automates purchasing BTC and offers users an easily accessible and frictionless way to acquire Bitcoin. For competitive fees, users can sign up for recurring Bitcoin purchases. Focusing exclusively on BTC, Swan is able to make purchasing Bitcoin effortless and bring down the costs substantially.

Swan has deployed the method of dollar-cost averaging to incentivize preventing Bitcoin overspending or selling. What Swan brings to the table is completely different from the run-of-the-mill exchanges that have to deal with an array of altcoins as well, making the process much more complex and upping the associated costs. Swan, as a Bitcoin-specific platform, is inherently designed to resolve these issues.

As a Bitcoin-only platform, Swan doesn’t have to run a node to verify altcoins, unlike an exchange, enabling it to eliminate steep hardware, bandwidth and human resource expenses and pass on the benefits to users. It is designed for long-term savings plans and users can save money on fees they would typically incur when making a string of small Bitcoin purchases.

Multi-coin platforms also have to run a huge compliance department. The presence of so many coins on a single platform complicates the security situation, which is something none of the stakeholders can afford. All these factors translate into higher trading fees. When one buys Bitcoin on an exchange, they are simply subsidizing these expenses for the exchange. 

Is Swan Bitcoin safe

Bitcoin one buys via Swan lies with Prime Trust, reputed for holding billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency. This is unlike an exchange-based purchase where Bitcoin lies directly in control of the exchange and not the user. 

Moreover, Bitcoin is stored with Prime Trust under the user’s name, making the user the sole legal owner. The cryptocurrency lies in offline cold-storage wallets. For better security of the accounts, Swan uses one-time passcodes that are emailed to the user in place of username and password logins.

Even in an extreme case of Swan winding up, users will have legal control of funds stored within Prime Trust. Swan keeps minimal data of users to be compliant with regulations. It encrypts all such data with military-grade AES-256 and traffic with industry-standard TLSv1.2 encryption. Transfer of Bitcoin and fiat cannot happen without the authorization of users.


HAARP hit an asteroid with radio waves: Preparation against Apophis?

Scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and NASA want to examine the 2010 XC15 space rock to test their preparation against Apophis. This dangerous asteroid might hit our planet in 2029. It is believed that on April 13, 2029, Apophis will be 10 times closer to Earth than the moon, reports

The researchers will use the HAARP (High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program) array to shoot 9.6 megahertz radio waves at the 500-foot-wide 2010 XC15 asteroid.

HAARP is a government-funded research program that generally studies the ionosphere (part of Earth’s atmosphere at 50 to 400 miles above the surface). However, this will be the first time it will be employed to examine an asteroid.

Astronomers have been shooting radio waves in space to spot asteroids; figure out their shape, trajectory, structure of their surface, and many other characteristics. For this purpose, they use radio waves having frequency ranges either in the S-band (2,000 to 4,000 MHz) or X-band (8,000 to 12,000 MHz).

Interestingly, for probing 2010 XC15, the researchers are using waves of much lower frequency (9.6 MHz) and longer wavelengths because, this time, they don’t just want to explore the surface of the asteroid. They want to know what’s inside.

Information about the interiors could reveal important details about the damage that an asteroid could cause and help scientists figure out an effective counter-strategy.

Flashback: On December 27, the distance between 2010 XC15 and Earth will be around twice the distance between Earth and the moon. HAARP will be shooting 9.6 million chirping radio waves every second to this distance, and this process will be repeated every two seconds.

This test is crucial because if the researchers can successfully examine 2010 XC15 using low-frequency radio waves at such a long distance. Then they could easily employ the same method to analyze Apophis.

Although the 2029 asteroid is most likely to miss Earth, in case it doesn’t, the consequences could be catastrophic.

For instance, in response to an FAQ that explores the possibility of Apophis hitting Earth, The Planetary Society wrote on its website, “Apophis would cause widespread destruction up to several hundred kilometers from its impact site. The energy released would be equal to more than 1,000 megatons of TNT, or tens to hundreds of nuclear weapons.”

Moreover, Apophis is just one asteroid. There will be many asteroids that will pass by, or might even hit, Earth in the future. Low-frequency radio waves could play a key role in understanding the composition of these mysterious space objects and, at the same time, help us strengthen our planetary defense mechanism.

However, before all this happens, HAARP and its low-frequency radio waves will have to pass their first test, which indeed has been carried out on December 27.

If the experiment worked, the pulses also reached asteroid 2010 XC15, which passed by Earth on Dec. 27th at a distance of 770,000 km. Researchers from NASA and the University of Alaska pinged 2010 XC15 with shortwave radio signals to probe the asteroid’s interior–a first if it worked. They are still waiting for confirmation that the reflections were received, as expected, by antenna arrays in California and New Mexico.

They say that the 2029 Asteroid Apophis is most likely to miss Earth, but the fact that they perform this first test indicates that they are not 100 percent sure whether it will hit the Earth or not.

Also interesting is that they want to know what’s inside asteroids, such as Apophis, but what will happen if they discover that the inside of an asteroid is made up of advanced technology, a hollow spacecraft built by aliens and disguised as an asteroid, like the infamous space rock ‘Oumuamua’.

The post HAARP hit an asteroid with radio waves: Preparation against Apophis? appeared first on


Blockchain analytics unable to prevent FTX-level illicit schemes

Blockchain tracker Whale Alert has attempted to scan FTX’s historical balance checks to find out whether it was possible to spot the collapse sooner.

Data transparency has been a focal point for the crypto industry, but the FTX fiasco has shown that centralized exchanges (CEX) are not transparent enough. So far, crypto analytics firms are apparently not capable of tracking transactions to prevent collapses like FTX.

All Bitcoin (BTC) transactions are available publicly on-chain, which enables tracking such transactions when sending crypto from one address to another. However, this is not the case when it comes to interacting with a centralized crypto exchange.

Cointelegraph spoke with executives at blockchain intelligence firms, including Chainalysis, Nansen and Whale Alert, to learn more insights about tracking illicit CEX transactions on-chain.

According to Chainalysis, a major blockchain data platform that cooperates with many governments across the world, there is currently no on-chain tracking tool that could trace funds through a CEX.

“Chainalysis — or any other blockchain analysis tool — can’t trace funds through a centralized service, because the way that these services store and manage funds deposited by users inherently makes further tracing inaccurate,” a spokesperson for Chainalysis told Cointelegraph.

“Even if you could trace through a centralized exchange, on-chain analysis alone cannot reveal fraudulent intent behind transactions,” Chainalysis’ representative noted. The spokesperson stressed that Alameda’s leaked off-chain balance sheet was the first thing to reveal that something was wrong.

While blockchain analysis can track deposits on CEXs, there is no chance to access their liabilities, according to Nansen analyst Andrew Thurman. “FTX halted withdrawals when they still had in excess of a billion in various digital assets; we now know they had a far greater sum in liabilities,” he said.

Thurman also argued that a proof-of-reserves (PoR) model — the increasingly popular effort of CEXs to prove transparency — is “only a half measure, but it’s a good one.”

Despite blockchain analysis having limited opportunities in tracking illicit transactions by CEXs so far, some monitoring services still try to prove that the industry has chances to prevent issues like FTX crash one day.

“We are currently doing historical balance checks on our known FTX addresses — deposit and other related addresses — to determine if this could have been spotted sooner,” Whale Alert co-founder and CEO Frank van Weert told Cointelegraph in November.

Whale Alert has since had to abandon the project because the platform did not have enough resources to properly do the scan of about two years of data. “It takes quite a bit of computing power which we did not have available,” the CEO said.

Weert also noted that “it is possible to track exchanges,” but platforms like Coinbase and FTX make it a bit more complex to track incoming coins as they don’t use hot wallets. He added that exchanges are “extremely reluctant to cooperate,” with many of them declining to comment on Whale Alert’s findings for “security” reasons.

Related: What blockchain analysis can and can’t do to find FTX’s missing funds: CEO

Whale Alert CEO emphasized that the entire crypto industry is responsible for the collapse of FTX, stating:

“So far the industry’s focus has been on profit rather than proper infrastructure. The only way to recover from the mess is to gain the public’s trust again on the basis of proper transparency, which does not come from Merkle Tree audits.”

According to some industry executives, blockchain analysis platforms are not interested in catching illicit players on-chain in the first place.

“First, blockchain analysis doesn’t really do anything, and second, they are not focused on fraud and suspicious transactions at the exchange level. Their customers are the exchanges and you don’t bite the hand that feeds you,” Bitcoin proponent Samson Mow told Cointelegraph.


Robinhood shares claimed by BlockFi and FTX may move to a neutral broker

Bankruptcy judge Michael Kaplan said that on Jan. 9, he will review if the shares should be transferred to a neutral broker.

The largely disputed Robinhood shares might be transferred to a neutral broker or an escrow account while the courts determine the rightful owner. 

Digital asset lender BlockFi recently sued former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried to claim the shares that were supposedly pledged as collateral for the more than $600 million that BlockFi loaned to Alameda Research.

The 56 million Robinhood Markets shares, which are currently frozen, are worth around $450 million. These are owned by Sam Bankman-Fried’s holding company called Emergent Fidelity Technologies which was formed in Antigua and Barbuda and held by a brokerage company called Marex Capital Markets. According to a lawyer from the brokerage firm, the company would continue to hold the shares until a court order is issued.

In a new update to the dispute, bankruptcy Judge Michael Kaplan has reportedly stated that on Jan. 9, he would review whether the shares should be transferred to a neutral broker, which is under the jurisdiction of the United States, following a request from BlockFi. Kaplan noted that he would be considering questions on who owns the shares after the lawyers have more time to analyze competing claims.

Related: Bankruptcy court told FTX and Alameda they owe BlockFi $1B, but it’s complicated

On Dec. 23, FTX asked the court to stop BlockFi from claiming the Robinhood shares. The company argued that by keeping the shares where they are, the claimants which include BlockFi, Bankman-Fried and FTX creditor Yonathan Ben Shimon can “participate in an orderly claims process.” If not approved, FTX requested an extension of the assets’ “stay” on their side of the fence.

Meanwhile, an affidavit filed by the former FTX CEO revealed that he borrowed $546M from Alameda to purchase the highly sought-after Robinhood shares. The funds were lent by Alameda Research to both Bankman-Fried and FTX co-founder Gary Wang to make the purchase.


BMW taps Coinweb and BNB chain for blockchain loyalty program

BMW will integrate decentralized tech in two phases- first in its daily operations to eliminate complex paperwork, and the second phase would see the development of a customer loyalty program.

German car manufacturer BMW plans to integrate blockchain technology into its daily operations and create a blockchain loyalty program for its customers in Thailand. The popular carmaker has onboarded blockchain infrastructure firm Coinweb as its decentralized architecture provider and BNB Chain for settling transactions.

The integration of blockchain technology into BMW’s workflow will take place in two phases. First, the decentralized tech will be integrated into BMW’s daily operations with the goal of automating time-consuming manual processes and streamlining the company’s automobile financing services.

The second phase of the project would see Coinweb develop a customized Web3 application for BMW’s customer loyalty program. The program will use a blockchain-based rewards scheme to incentivize BMW Group customers. A customer’s tier and status in the ecosystem will be determined by the loyalty rewards they have acquired via various actions.

Related: F1 Monaco GP: Bybit’s Red Bull Racing NFTs, crypto-F1 partnerships and more

Owners will be able to use their rewards to purchase goods and services from BMW as well as from a linked ecosystem in the future. Binance’s native BNB chain will be used to settle transactions.

Talking about how customers will be rewarded under the upcoming loyalty program, Coinweb CEO Toby Gilbert, told Cointelegraph that customers will be rewarded every time they have touchpoints with the BMW ecosystem, be it “buying a new car or they go for a service,” he explained further:

“Customers will be rewarded with loyalty points and they will be able to spend within the ecosystem. Our hope is that there will be a future global rollout but currently our partnership is for Thailand.”

BMW Thailand’s leasing head Bjorn Antonsson said that the firm has been actively monitoring the progress of decentralized tech and its various use cases over the years. Antonsson hoped that the integration of blockchain tech in their daily operations would eliminate the manual paperwork and contribute toward the company’s efficiency and transparency.

The interest of automobile manufacturers in decentralized tech is nothing new, and BMW has been involved with the tech since 2018. BMW first used blockchain technology to track its cobalt supply and ensure its products are being supplied using ethical practices. Apart from BMW, another popular German carmaker Mercedes has actively used nonfungible tokens and crypto coins as promotional tools.

Italian carmaker Alfa Romeo used blockchain tech to track car records, while Ferrari’s new deal has hinted at NFT integration as well.

Generated by Feedzy