Author: John Biggs

Pure Bit, a South Korean exchange, pulls a $2.8 million exit scam

TECHCRUNCH Another day, another exit scam. This time it comes to us from South Korea where an exchange, Pure Bit, has completely shut down after raising $2.8 million in Ethereum from investors. The exchange, which promised to deliver something call Pure Coin, was live yesterday and today is completely shut down after posting “Sorry” and “Thanks” to their communications channels. According to a Reddit thread, the team was anonymous and that the process of building and pumping exchange tokens is a “popular trend in Korea.” “They have gotten rid of every evidence,” wrote one reader. “Website hosted by fake...

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Listen to the music of a Martian sunrise

TECHCRUNCH [embedded content] Two researchers, Dr. Domenico Vicinanza of Anglia Ruskin University and Dr. Genevieve Williams, have “sonified” a video of the 5,000th Martian sunrise captured by the Mars rover, Opportunity. The music is a representation of the experience of seeing the sun rise over the red dunes as light pierces the planet’s atmosphere. It’s beautiful. From the release: Researchers created the piece of music by scanning a picture from left to right, pixel by pixel, and looking at brightness and colour information and combining them with terrain elevation. They used algorithms to assign each element a specific pitch...

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Sony’s new noise-canceling headphones are great traveling companions

TECHCRUNCH I’ll admit that I’ve been caught up in the Bose hype. I’ve worn qBoseSony WH-1000XM3, a pair of wireless/wired cans that truly give everything else I’ve tried a bad name. These $349 headphones come with a USB cable, audio cable, international audio adapter, and a compact case that holds the whole thing in a tight package. The headphones also support Bluetooth and will automatically swap to wired mode when you insert the headphone cable. The WH-1000XM3s support full noise cancellation that turns even the noisiest situation into a blissful escape. An ambient audio feature lets you listen to external sounds at the touch of a button and there is even a “Quick Attention” feature that turns the headphones down instantly when you need to speak to someone. Sony touts 30 hours battery life on one charge, a claim that I won’t refute as I haven’t recharged these things after multiple flights and they’re still going strong. In short, these things are great. Sony likes to brand all of its features and these headphones are no exception. The cans contain a “HD Noise-Canceling Processor QN1″ that run two 1.57 ” drivers that can handle up to 40 kHz. Something called a SENSE ENGINE notices what you are doing – walking, sitting, talking – and automatically changes the audio and noise reduction. Finally, the headphones offer multiple styles including stages,...

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Guardian Circle upgrades with a decentralized alert network

TECHCRUNCH Chris Hays and Mark Jeffrey wanted to create a way for everyone to be able to tell their loved ones if they were in trouble. Their first product, GuardianCircle did just that, netting a mention in a few years ago. Now the same team is truly decentralizing alerts with a new token called, obviously, Guardium. The plan is to create an ad hoc network of helpers and first responders. “Guardium and Guardian Circle togther open the emergency response grid to vetted citizens, private response and compatible devices for the very first time,” write the founders. “Providing an economic...

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This tiny house grows with your family

TECHCRUNCH Tiny houses are all the rage but once you put more than a few people in one you have a problem: Where can you go from there? Nowhere. Exactly. What you do is, if you need that extra push over the cliff, you know what you do? Talk to Brian Gaudio. Gaudio is the founder of Module Housing, an incremental building startup from Pittsburgh. Gaudio, formerly of Walt Disney Imagineering, has an architecture background and saw firsthand the need for incremental housing in his work in Biloxi and Latin America. His idea is simple: create a little house...

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Jaquet Droz’s “Sports Watch” is a high-end, heavy-duty chrono

TECHCRUNCH Watchmaker Jaquet Droz makes luxury watches that cost more than some San Francisco apartments. Now, however, they’ve decided to go “downmarket” with their Sports Watch chronograph, a handmade watch that is designed for both work and play. The watch is a standard chronograph with big date, a complication that displays the date as two digits instead of on a rotating dial. The resulting piece looks like a haute couture Speedmaster and should cost around $15,000, an acceptable sum for a manufacture watch with Droz’s provenance given that other Droz watches can run into the $100,000s, a price that...

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This 3D printer squirts out wet paper pulp

TECHCRUNCH Like a kid shooting spitballs, designer Beer Holthuis has figured out that sopping wet paper is the best material for making mischief. His 3D printer, a primitive RepRap clone that literally squirts out huge lines of paper pulp, is designed to allow artists and designers to create more sustainable 3D objects. According to 3DPrint.com, Holthuis was searching for material that wouldn’t create waste or increase plastic pollution. He settled on ground up paper. By extruding the wet paper he is able to create a thick bead of pulp that he can then build up to create decorative objects. “The design of the printed objects are using the possibilities and beauty of this technique,” said Holthuis. “The tactile experience, bold lines and print speed results in distinctive shapes. The objects are also durable: Printed paper is surprisingly strong.” The interesting thing is that he uses natural binder to stick the layers together, ensuring that the entire system is recyclable. You could even feed paper into the machine and let it product the pulp automatically, thereby creating a self-feeding recycling system. Best of all, however, the objects look like something a super intelligent wasp colony would produce to trade with other cultures. Fascinating stuff. [embedded...

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Bloqboard lets you lend others your hard-earned crypto

TECHCRUNCH Vitaly Bahachuk wants you to share your crypto. His company lets you lend cryptocurrency peer-to-peer via smart contract, ensuring you can send your buds some red hot Ether and, in theory, they have to pay you back. Further, it allows for some other clever tricks to be played with ERC20 tokens including performing some of the techniques used by equity traders. Co-founded by Alex Bazhanau and Bahachuk, Bloqboard is live now and the lending system is powered by decentralized lending protocols. They’ve recently raised $1.2 million from Polychain Capital to set up shop after a summer of building...

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