Mar 252018

A gigantic crack in Earth’s crust appeared in Kenya, in the area of the Great African Rift. It stretches over several kilometers and continues to widen and deepen.

Giant crak ripping Kenya apart along East Africa Rift Valley

Several families had to be evacuated and a portion of an intensely circulated highway collapsed.

Kenyan geologists who rushed to the spot say the phenomenon is caused by volcanic activity and amplified by the rain while other geologists say it is caused by earth crust displacements.

The split in the ground emerged in Rift Valley, a region of rifts and tectonic faults stretching over 6000 km in length, from Syria to Mozambique.

Video: Kenya splitting along Rift Valley as massive earth crack stretches

Mar 252018

Former President of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, was arrested in Germany on Sunday, Puigdemont’s lawyer announced. Just a day before, Finnish police revealed that they had received an international arrest warrant on the name of the former Catalan leader who was on a short visit to the Scandinavian country and subsequently reported that Puigdemont had returned to Belgium where he was in exile since last autumn after a referendum on Catalonia’s autonomy.

Carles Puigdemont

Carles Puigdemont (pic: wikimedia commons)

Puigdemont risks a 25-year prison term in Spain for revolt due to the illegal referendum held last October in Catalonia.

The tensions in Catalonia are high after the Supreme Court has decided to sue 25 separatist leaders for rebellion, embezzlement and disregard of the state and its constitution. Those accused could face up to 30 years in jail if found guilty.

Five of the accused were detained, including Jordi Turull, who was due to attend a vote in Parliament on Saturday to be named the new regional president.

Mar 242018

Jelena Ostapenko proved to be once again the source of delightful moments on the tennis court. The Roland Garros champion revealed deft piece of footwork at Miami Open during the match against Timea Babos whom she defeated 6-4, 6-4.

jelena ostapenko

Jelena Ostapeno (pic: wikimedia commons)

When her opponent served, Ostapenko moved like she was following some dance rhythms, fact which was also noticed by her new coach, David Taylor, who tried to make some suggestions during an on-court coaching.

Taylor: “When returning stay calm”
Ostapenko: “But I wanna do this (“making dancing moves”)

In the end the coach had to get used to the idea that she likes to dance and there’s nothing he can do about.

Photo credit: By Carine06 from UK (Jelena Ostapenko) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Feb 132018

The Governor of the Bank of Japan, Haruhiko Kuroda, said in front of the parliament members last Tuesday that cryptocurrencies are not a threat to the Yen and won’t pose a danger to existing standard payments in the near future.

Haruhiko Kuroda

BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda (pic: wikimedia commons)

“For the time being, the digital coins are generally used for speculative trading rather than making payments”, said the governor adding that the Bank of Japan keeps an eye on the cryptocurrency market to ensure they do not “erode public trust” on existing settlement systems the bank currently oversees.

“Cryptocurrencies aren’t legal tenders and don’t have assets to back up their value… Some people say they should be described as crypto-assets, not cryptocurrencies,” said Kuroda.

A survey conducted by John McAfee revealed that 58% of over 45,000 poll participants see cryptocurrencies more as an investment than a means of payment. However, this figure is expected to change once the virtualcoin market has matured and then increasingly more financial transactions will be done in Bitcoin, Ethereum and their alternatives.

So far, Japan is known to be one of the most crypto friendly nations in the world as cryptocurrencies have been regulated by the government and increasing number of shops and businesses in the country accept Bitcoin and other altcoins as a means of payment.

Feb 122018

The Historic Museum of the Palatinate in Speyer, Germany, is home to the oldest unopened bottle of wine in the world. The content of the Speyer wine bottle remained remarcably untouched for 1,693 years.

oldest wine bottle

Römerwein von Speyer – world’s oldest wine bottle (pic: CAROLE RADDATO)

The one-and-a-half-liter sealed vessel, which is also called Römerwein aus Speyer, was appareently buried in the tomb of a Roman noble dicovered near Speyer in 1867. Researchers estimate it dates back to 325 AD.

The wine was most likely made from local grapes that were planted during the Roman times. There are other plants whose identity has not been revealed, probably used for taste or preservation. The liquid inside can not really be called wine as it looks more like a mixture of a solid, dark mass and a whitish liquid, according to the photograph. However, even the survival of this residue is unprecedented.

It is a bottle that was hermetically closed with a hot wax seal and a thick layer of olive oil that prevented evaporation of the contents.

But can you drink what’s left? At a microbiological level, yes. Researchers are pretty sure the content will not kill you, though the wine will not taste good. Of course, this is a hypothetical answer, as the museum does not want to open the bottle, not even for research purposes.
Photo credit: CAROLE RADDATO/(CC BY-SA 2.0)

Feb 122018

South Korean officials have confirmed that a cyber attack occurred during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympic Games. The hack attempt hit a number of systems, but fortunately no critical element became inoperable.

Pyeongchang 2018

Winter Olympics venue in Pyeongchang (pic: Pyeongchang2018)

The organizers did not want to clearly say who carried out the attack, but there are two primary suspects: North Korea -the historic enemy-, and Russia -the country excluded from the 2018 Winter Olympics because of its intense doping program.

Internet and TV-related systems were reportedly affected by the attack, but organizers say critical infrastructure wasn’t compromised.

The 2018 Winter Olympic Games are held in Pyeongchang, just 80 km from the North Korean border, and everyone has initially turned eyes on the northern neighbour famous for its long streak of IT attacks.

Another suspect possibly linked to the hack is Russia, the country that did not get the permission to take part in the Games with its standard team due to a doping program involving many athletes.

However, Russian athletes who could prove they were not part of the state-run doping plan were allowed to compete in Pyeongchang.

Feb 112018

Harunustaspor, a sports club competing in the regional amateur football league Sakarya First Division Group B in Turkey, acquired a player using cryptocurrency Bitcoin, a football’s first.

football bitcoin payment

Celebration after football’s first official bitcoin payment (pic:

According to local media outlets, 22-year-old Omer Faruk Kiroglu has accepted an offer of 0.0524 Bitcoin (about 431 euros) and 2,500 Turkish Lira (534 euros).

“We did so to be known to the world. This transfer has become the first of this kind in Turkey and even in the whole world. If such a trade was made by professionals, it would have been widely advertised on television. However, as amateurs, we were the first to do it and we are proud of that,” said club’s president, Haldun Sehit.

Omar Faruk Kiroglu was delighted with this experience. “I’m a man open to new things. For me it is a historic moment, as it is for the whole soccer world,” he added.

Feb 112018

Central banks need to be prepared to intervene and counteract the risks created by digital currencies, such as bitcoin, which have become a “combination of speculative bubble, pyramid scheme and ecological disaster,” said Agustin Carstens, general manager of the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), according to The Wall Street Journal.

Agustin Carstens

Agustin Carstens (public domain photo)

“There are strong arguments for an intervention by the authorities. These assets can give rise to concerns about the protection of consumers and investors. Relevant authorities have a duty to educate and protect investors and consumers and must be prepared to act,” Agustin Carstens said at an event held at the Goethe University in Frankfurt. “Private digital symbols claiming to be coins should not undermine confidence in central banks,” added Carstens without telling which concrete measures should be taken.

Agustin Carstens, a former governor of the Central Bank of Mexico, is the latest in a series of decision-makers who have ruled against digital currencies after Bitcoin, the best known cryptocoin, has seen a spectacular rise of over 1,000% in 2017.

Feb 112018

The crypto market will grow stronger only when all alternative coins having “no substance” and now competing with Bitcoin, will fail. This is the opinion of Charles Hoskinson, the co-founder of one of the most successful virtual coins, Ethereum.

Charles Hoskinson

Charles Hoskinson (pic:

In a recent interview with CNBC, Hoskinson said that, from his point of view, a “consolidation” of the cryptocurrency would be triggered by a “crash” of the altcoin market segment.

Charles Hoskinson now runs blockchain research firm IOHK, but was previously in charge of Ethereum, which develops the underlying technology for the cryptocurrency ether (also known as ethereum).

“What’s going to occur is a lot of these ventures that don’t have strong fundamentals, don’t have good tech, or just unrealistic projects, they will eventually run into some major wall they can’t quite overcome. They will fracture up and you will see a lot of them are certain to fail,” Ethereum co-founder explained.

After hitting an unprecedented $20,000 threshold last December, Bitcoin started to decline slowly, negatively influencing other virtual currencies such as ether (Ethereum) and Litecoin, because of investors’ fears that regulators will tighten the market control.

Regulatory authorities in China, South Korea and India strengthen the oversight of bitcoin and mining transactions, while the US Stock Exchange and Securities Commission began controlling its tradings as of the end of last year.

Video: CryptoMarket to crash and then consolidate, Ethereum creator says

Feb 112018

A Russian passenger plane carrying 71 people on board crashed near Moscow shortly after taking off from Domodedovo airport, informs Russian news agencies.

Saratov Airlines crash

Saratov Airlines passenger plane crashed after takeoff from Moscow (pic: Twitter/Flightradar24)

The Antonov An-148, a 7 year old aircraft with registration number RA-61704, was owned by the Russian company Saratov Airlines and operating flight #6W703 bound to Orsk, an city in the Urals. According to RIA agency, there were 65 passengers and 6 crew members aboard.

The airplane plunged to the ground somewhere in the Ramenskoye district of Moscow, with all people on board likely losing their lives, writes Interfax citing an emergency services source.

“The crew and passengers had “no chance” of survival”, said the same source.

According to local media, numerous witnesses claimed that they saw the aircraft in flames before crashing in the locality of Argunovo, southeast of Moscow.

Rescue workers were unable to reach the crash site by road and had to approach on foot.

The debries from the plane were found scattered over a wide area around the site of impact.

Video: Wreckage of Saratov Airlines plane after Moscow crash