The right to repair

By: Antonio Juan Benítez Rojas.

Traducción al español disponible.

The right to repair could be defined as the set of regulations that allow consumers to repair their products at their sole convenience, even contravening the provisions on the matter by such products’ manufacturers. This right derives from others which are well-known in the free world: the right to property and free enterprise.

The first of these rights, involves the possibility of using, enjoying and disposing of one’s own property. The second establishes the faculty that any person has to engage in any economic activity of their choice, without further restrictions than those established by the Law itself.

Impression products v. lexmark case brief

Now, some companies intend to oppose certain legal provisions that safeguard intellectual property, by virtue of which the interests of those who create products of various kinds are protected. Moreover, there is consumer protection, which is made up of laws and organizations that have the purpose of ensuring compliance with consumer rights, as well as seeking a fair commercial exchange, and the existence of healthy competition and exact information of every product available in the market.

impression products v. lexmark case brief
Lexmark Headquarters in Lexington, KY

However, the Supreme Court on May 30, 2017 issued an unanimous decision in which the right to repair was validated by establishing that Lexmark, the giant American producer of imaging devices, could not use patent rules to impose contractual conditions, because once the owner of a patent sells an item they can not control it based on the mentioned rules.

In the case that was the subject of the aforementioned decision, the plaintiff was Lexmark International, and the defendant was a modest company from West Virginia called Impression Products. The controversial point was that the latter re-inked cartridges produced by the former, and that, in principle, these cartridges had to be used only once, for which Lexmark provided them with a chip that prevented such cartridges from being recharged.

For its part, Impression products managed to deactivate the aforementioned chips, and made it possible to recharge and sell them at prices that were significantly lower than those of the cartridges produced by the Lexmark, which allegedly infringed the latter’s patents.

This decision by the Supreme Court of the United States also gave a victory to consumers, who now not only have suppliers that have a legal basis to reload their cartridges despite the provisions of any patent, thus prolonging the useful life thereof; but also, because of this precedent should see cease practices of companies such as HP, a company that even modifies the internal software of their printers so that they block the use of cartridges produced by third parties.

This example is one of many scenarios in which the right to repair devices is discussed. In some cases, such as in the automobile field, after a long legal battle of more than ten years, there was a legal recognition of the right to repair. In effect, in 2012 a law was passed that allowed vehicle owners to repair their own cars. By virtue of this law a consensus was created between the different automobile companies to adopt this practice nationally, establishing therefore a legal alternative form of maintenance for automobiles.

John Deere and Copyright infringement

John Deere Copyright infringement
John Deere tractor

Additionally, other case precedent in automotives occurred through other cases such as John Deere, whose customers were not so fortunate, because although they have traditionally repaired these machines on their own, in order to do so nowadays they need the not-cheap-at-all technical service of the indicated company.

For that reason, the Repair Association promoted in the State of Nebraska a Fair Repair Bill (Nebraska’s “Fair Repair” bill), according to which companies must provide consumers and independent service establishments with technical manuals, diagnostic tools and OEM spare parts so that they are not limited to a particular provider. At present, this initiative is being promoted in seventeen of the fifty American states.

This, of course, is perceived by John Deere as an affront to their patrimonial interests, and they oppose such an initiative based on their copyright, arguing that if third parties are allowed to manipulate the software of their tractors, said third parties would take advantage of the creativity and genuine character of that development and that, in addition, it would open the doors to the farmers who own tractors to store pirate music in them… (!)

Apple and the right to repair

How Apple stands on repair rights
Apple and the right to repair

Everyone will judge whether these arguments have merit or not; however, large companies have joined John Deere to the point that they managed to stop the discussion of the aforementioned Bill in Nebraska. Apple is among such companies because it has its own technical service called AppleCare, which is carried out by the so-called Apple Premium Resellers, a program to which anyone can apply to, but in order for the company to grant such condition it is necessary to fulfill requirements that are onerous for many people, among which can be mentioned the acquisition of furniture, prioritization of Apple products and services over those of other brands and having to render accounts to such company’s head office in Coppertino.

And given that the Apple Premium Resellers are the ones that have both the original spare parts and the know-how to carry out the technical service of Apple devices, a black market was created for people who provide this service independently, using parts that in many cases are of poor quality, thus consumers are the most affected.

Naturally, Apple (and the other companies that are against the rights to repair) wants to continue keeping the monopoly of its expensive technical service, even going so far as to maintain that they do so in order to preserve their quality standards and to protect consumers who suffer damage from possible explosions of mobile batteries and, even, that they cut their fingers when trying to replace an Iphone screen, as claimed by certain lobbyists in Minnesota.

Nonetheless, taking into consideration the precedent established by the Supreme Court in the case of the Lexmark, there is a high probability that similar judgments are issued in cases related to the products of each of these companies, so it is possible that we will soon see openings in this regard.

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Litigation

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Syndicated content from Hoganinjury.com.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are gaining more attention as days pass. Aside from the advantages that cryptocurrencies have like anonymity and easy international transactions, people are enticed by the fact that it can become a good investment. Apart from trading bitcoins for cash, you can also use bitcoins to buy gift cards, book flights, and hotels, buy furniture, or even buy real estate properties. Bitcoin purchases are not taxed at the moment since there is no way for third parties to identify, track, or intercept transactions that use bitcoins. Transaction fees are considerably lower as well compared to credit card transactions or services like Paypal.

Although there are many advantages in using bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, just like any other investments, you should always be careful with your transactions. Since cryptocurrency is not regulated, many unscrupulous people have taken advantage of this and incidents of fraudulent cryptocurrencies, and other types of scam related to cryptocurrency have happened. One example of this is Prodeum, a cryptocurrency start-up that scammed its investors in just one weekend.

Because of these scams, law firms have now been involved in helping the victims. Cryptocurrency litigation has now become something that some lawyers specialize in. There are a lot of factors to consider when a cryptocurrency dispute arises. Aside from fraudulent Initial Coin Offering (ICO), lawyers could get involved if the cryptocurrency was used to launder money or hide assets; they could also get involved when there is an issue with the company, commercial, or intellectual property laws being violated in relation to cryptocurrency.

Here are some things that you can do as a cryptocurrency user to avoid being scammed:

1. Research. – Just like with any other investments that you will make, research is essential. When investing in an ICO, make sure to read and dissect their white papers to ensure that you’re working with reliable people. Take time to research the people behind the ICO, their whole team, board members, and other investors. It’s vital for you to learn as much as you can about the company before investing so that there will be no unpleasant surprises.

2. Be vigilant. – Cryptocurrency is still primarily bought and sold at exchanges. Because cryptocurrency is something new and the fuss around it is its value, many people get scammed by the promise of unrealistic prices. If an exchange promises incredible discounts or offers that seem too good to be true, it probably is. Another thing that you can do to avoid bitcoin exchange scams is to check the exchange’s URL. If a website’s address starts with HTTPS instead of just HTTP, that means that the traffic is encrypted and therefore has more protection.

3. Only use trusted sources. – Hardware wallet is a physical device that stores your private keys. Hardware wallets offer more protection from hacking since there is no way for hackers to access them when you’re not online. However, hackers have now found a way around that. Some hackers sell hardware wallets that have a backdoor for them to access all your cryptocurrency and the best way to avoid this is only to accept hardware wallets from trusted sources.

In need of expert legal advice? Contact us at Hogan Injury.

None of the content on Hoganinjury.com is legal advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified lawyer. Please consult a legal professional for further information.

The Spanish Alaska

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It is widely known that Alaska was a Russian territory before its incorporation into the United States in the year 1867. However, did you know that almost a century before this happened the Spanish claimed sovereignty over the entire Pacific Northwest, based on rules of International Law and that this gave rise to a conflict for which they almost went to war against England and Russia? In this article, we’ll review Spain’s intends to colonize Alaska.

The legal basis of Spain’s sovereignty  over Alaska

On May 4, 1493, shortly after Columbus’s returned to Spain of his discovery voyages to America, Pope Alexander VI issued the Inter Caetera Papal Bull, a decree in which he fixed a meridian between the north and south poles, pointing out that all lands discovered to the west of said meridian belonged to the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon.

This was the legal instrument with which the Spaniards based the conquest of a large part of the American continent. The Portuguese joined them afterward by virtue of the Treaty of Tordesillas, signed in 1494 by the kinds of Spain and Portugal. Despite the existence of such legal instruments, in the sixteenth century the French, Dutch and Germans also went after the conquest of America, and so did the Swedes, Russians and British in the seventeenth century. Finally, in the eighteenth century, it was the Danes turn.

As far as Alaska is concerned, history tells that the first Europeans who set foot on their lands (and on the North-American west coast in general) were the Russians, after two official expeditions commanded by Vito Bering (after whom the Bering Strait was named). This took place in the year 1742 in the Alexander Archipelago.

The fur trade in the Pacific Northwest

Bering died during his last expedition, but his crew returned to Russia carrying otter skins, which were considered the finest in the world, so this country decided to trade said skins. With this purpose, they settled the first of many Russian settlements in Alaska. Over time, this led to the constitution of the Russian America (1733-1867), which included Alaska’s territory and some Californian settlements as well, and the creation of the Russian-American Company (1799-1867) which monopolized Alaska’s fur trade.

However, the French were already selling fur in North America two centuries before the Russians did. Their commerce took place in the territory of the Viceroyalty of New France (1534-1763), since the 1580s. It was not until 1604 when the Gauls were able to settle on American soil by virtue of the commercial monopoly that was granted to them by Henry IV of France to Pierre Dugua, and which later passed into the hands of this companies: Compagnie des Marchands (1613-1620), Compagnie de Montmorency (1621-1627) and the Compagnie de la Nouvelle-France (1627- 1662).

During the exercise of the fur trade monopoly by the Compagnie de la Nouvelle-France, Pierre-Esprit Radisson and Médard des Groseilliers, who were New France nationals, requested permission from, Marquis D’Argenson, New France’s current Governor,  to explore Lake Superior’s North and West, because natives informed them that there was a frozen lake where the finest skins could be obtained. This permission was denied considering that this exploration could put at risk the fur trade that took place in the San Lorenzo River.

Radisson and Groseilliers obviated such refusal and went to explore the Hudson Bay, where they verified the truth of the said rumors and returned to their homes with skins of the highest quality. However, they were fined and imprisoned, also their skins were confiscated for contravening D’Argenson’s orders. Not satisfied with this, they sought support from the British to finance their idea of establishing a fur trade in Hudson Bay. Finally, they got support by Charles II of England and the Hudson Bay Company was created by a royal charter which also granted this company a monopoly over the region drained by rivers and streams that flow into Hudson Bay in northern Canada.

Spanish expeditions, sovereignty acts and toponyms (place names) in Alaska

Given the rumors about Russians and English trading fur in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska’s coast, Spain ordered the completion of a series of expeditions in order to establish their sovereignty over these lands, being the first of them the expedition of Juan José Pérez Hernández (1774). Although this expedition’s final destination was Alaska at 60º North Latitude (where Cordova, Alaska is currently located), because of the lack of provisions and his crew’s poor health, Pérez only reached the Langara Island, located at about 49.6º North Latitude, where he did not disembark due to bad weather, but interacted with the Haida natives.

From there, he turned south and arrived at Nootka Sound on August 7, 1774, and engaged in commercial trade with the natives, although he did not leave there immediately. On this trip, the first Spanish toponym was created in the Pacific Northwest: the area that today is designated as Mount Olympus in Washington, United States, was then named by Pérez the “Cerro Nevado de Santa Rosalía”.

Later, there was a second expedition, this time by Bruno de Hezeta, Juan Manuel de Ayala and Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra (1775). It’s said that during such expedition, European entered the Bay of San Francisco for the first time. Once there, the following Spanish toponyms were designated: Punta de los Mártires (now called Point Grenville), Puerto de Bucareli (Bucareli Bay), Puerto de los Remedios (Remedies Port) and Cerro San Jacinto (San Jacinto Mountain). The latter was three years later renamed as Mount Edgecumbe by the British explorer James Cook. Finally, on this trip expedition the Spaniards reached Sitka, Alaska.

Then a third expedition took place, also commanded by Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra (1779), this time accompanied by Ignacio Arteaga. The purpose of this expedition was to investigate the extent of the Russian occupation in Alaska, find the Northwest Passage (the sea route that joins the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific, bordering North America) and capture James Cook in case they encountered him in Spanish waters. In spite of the many diseases suffered by the crew of this expedition, it got to a latitude of 61º, being this the northernmost point that the Spaniards reached in Alaska. The expeditions to Alaska resumed five years after the Treaty of Paris (1783) was signed. This treaty ended the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), a conflict in which Spain was an ally of the Thirteen Colonies.

The next expedition took place at the expense of Esteban José Martínez and Gonzálo López de Haro (1788), who arrived in Prince William Sound in May of that year, again after the track of the Russian fur trade. On this expedition the Spaniards visited Unalaska, the westernmost point they reached in all their expeditions to Alaska A month later, Haro arrived in Kodiak Island, where its natives informed him on the existence of a Russian position in Three Saints Bay. Spaniards then got in touch with the Russians, specifically with a contingent from this country led by Evstrat Delarov, who gave them a map that illustrated the location of seven Russian posts in the area, occupied by about 500 men. Also, Delarov informed the Spaniards about the Russian pretensions of occupying Nootka Sound during the following year, setting the stage for the Nootka Crisis.

Nootka Crisis

Indeed, given the threat of the Russian occupation in Nootka, the then Viceroy of New Spain, Manuel Antonio Flórez, ordered Martinez and Haro to build a settlement in that territory, with the aim of affirming Spain’s sovereignty over these lands. Once Martinez arrived in Nootka Sound on May 5, 1789, he took the “Iphigenia Nubiana”, a ship owned by British John Meares, and caught William Douglas, its captain, releasing him a few days later after warning that he should leave and not to return. During the summer, other ships, also belonging to Meares, arrived and were seized by violating Spanish maritime trade rules. Meares was in China when this occurred and upon learning of what happened he left for England, arriving in this country in 1790.

Once in England, he alleged that he had bought some land on the coast of Friendly Cove in Nootka Sound to Maquinna, chief of the Nuu-chah-nulth tribe (although this was later denied by Maquinna himself), and that he built an establishment in these lands before Martinez built his. Finally, he denounced the economic losses suffered by his company. The British, also maintained that they had previous rights to the Pacific Northwest by virtue of the explorations made in the area by their emissaries Francis Drake (1577-1580) and James Cook (1776-1779).

In May 1790, the House of Commons of the English Parliament discussed the matter and delivered an ultimatum to Spain, which considered going to war if France allied with them. The reason for this is that these nations had already supported each other in previous armed conflicts, by virtue of the Pacte de Familie subscribed by their monarchs in 1733, 1743 and 1761, respectively, with the purpose of allying themselves against the Kingdom of Great Britain.

However, Nootka Crisis’ events occurred during the French Restoration. For this reason, although Louis XVI would have supported Spain in a war caused by the conflict in question, the French National Constituent Assembly established that although initiating the war was the king’s prerogative, such declaration had to be ratified by the aforementioned Assembly, which never happened.

Spain and England celebrated the Nootka Conventions (1790, 1793 and 1794), under which not only Spain had to compensate Meares for legal damages, but also opened the doors for British colonization from Oregon to Alaska, thus putting an end to 300 years of exclusive sovereignty of the Spanish over this territory by virtue of international legal instruments.

The last Spanish expeditions in Alaska

Alejandro Malaspina and José de Bustamante (1789-1794) made an expedition of scientific nature around the world, in which they visited the Northwest Passage looking for precious stones, as well as to investigate the presence of British and Russian settlements in the area. They skirted the coast of William Sound and later made contact with the Tlingit in Yakutat Bay, whose culture they studied. In honor of Malaspina, another Spanish toponym was designated in Alaska: the Malaspina glacier, located between Icy Bay and Yakutat Bay.

In the expedition of Salvador Fidalgo (1790), Cordova Bay and Port Valdez (currently, Valdez) were named. There, sovereignty acts were executed by them, in addition to asserting the Spanish claim over a Russian settlement in Alexandrovsk, now called Nanwalek, Alaska.

Finally, Jacinto Camaño (1792) explored the south of the Prince of Wales islands, designating Spanish place names, some of which still exist: Revillagigedo Channel, Cordova Bay, Caamano Point and Boca de Quadra. Finally, by virtue of the Adams-Onís Treaty (1819), Spain withdrew from the Pacific Northwest and transferred its claims regarding the region to the United States.

Writing in English when it is not your native language and you have little money

Being in search of sufficient income to cover my basic needs in Venezuela, a country that has ridiculously high inflation rates and extremely low paying jobs, among other issues,  I learned that there were sites called content mills that paid in dollars for writing, so I signed up for Iwriter.com.

Iwriter

Although that website produced little money, I was excited because I understood that as I got more into the writing world I could aspire to a better income, in a strong and stable currency, from the comfort of my home and doing something that I love, writing. There was just one issue: most of Iwriter’s projects are in English

As a child, I was interested in writing. While working in the Judiciary, I was very happy writing sentences, but in the case of Iwriter there was a limitation: this site’s projects were mostly in English. I read dozens of stories in which people who began with nothing eventually wrote articles for which they got paid thousands of dollars for these articles which were in English!

I am a Spanish speaker and a lawyer by profession, I learned that it is certainly possible to learn English every day, but in the best case, it would take me a long time to have fluency in that language at same level as my mother tongue, thus I made the decision to focus on writing articles in Spanish. However, sometimes I accepted projects in English, but when I did,what normally took me about an hour to write it in Spanish, in English it took four. Also, my English vocabulary was not as profuse as when I wrote in my native language.

The use of automated translation software to write

I started working as an English to Spanish translator. By the way, working as a translator can be an additional source of income for a writer who speaks another language. When I was working as a translator I learned about some free automated translation tools that were not perfect, but they made my work easier. I’m talking about Google Translate, Linguee.es and Grammarly. With Google Translate I could make a decent translation from English to Spanish and vice versa; then I would use Linguee’s website and app to check this translation looking for phrases and sentences that did not make sense. Finally, Grammarly would be a kind of last grammar resource.

The above was very useful for translating (Google Translate in special is remarkable), but one day I thought that maybe I could use these tools to write in English, so I started doing that.  First, I wrote an article for a real estate agent, then two more for an immigration lawyer, then two more for an Iwriter client and finally one for Travelista.club. It should be noted that of all these customers pay for my services a sum that is higher than the one that’s earned by anyone with the highest ranking in Iwriter: Elite Plus.

How to write in English properly when is not your native language in three steps

How to write in English properly- use google translate to write
How to write in English properly

I know that it is possible to write articles in English, even if you are not a native speaker, and getting paid to do so. For this, I suggest you follow these steps:

1. Write in your native language

When preparing to write an article in English, the first thing you should do is research for references and take notes on the desired subject, then make an article structure and write an original article in your native language (this is absolutely essential if you write for SEO positioning purposes). It is easier to think and write in your native language and then translate it into English, than to do it directly in the latter.

2. Translate the written article with an automated translation tool

Although there are several translation software, most of them were too expensive for me, so I opted for a free option: Google Translate. To my surprise, this Google service is quite accurate, except in the translation of pronouns and certain idioms, which takes us to the next step.

3.  Edit the automated translation tool’s resulting translation

As far as I am concerned, although I am not a certified translator, I have taken several English courses and I speak the language on a daily basis, I recommend you to do a first personal review of the translation made by the automated translation tool (in this case, Google Translate).

Such review should be as exhaustive as possible, as if Google Translate were your intern and you were checking the quality of their work. To do this, the recommendation is that you take more than one English course or generally, have a formal education in this language, in addition to practicing it daily (“Let the cobbler stick to his last”), even if you hired proofreading services, because an editor may obviate some error of your article and your client will not like it!

Now, when a word or phrase that is translated by the automated translation tool does not make sense to you – although, to be honest, this is increasingly rare in Google Translate – check it with Linguee: search for that word’s or phrase’s version in your native language on this website and it will throw you several English versions of it.

Next comes Grammarly’s turn (I recommend Google Chrome’s extension version), and it’s like having an extra pair of alert eyes. I have not purchased the paid version of this service (although I’d love to!).  The free version has saved me on more than one occasion from sending a client an article with a wrong capital letter, conjunction or punctuation mark.

Hire professional proofreading services

Finally, to be honest, when it comes to writing flawless articles in English as of today I have the support of an American lawyer, and this seems invaluable to me. I am aware that although English and Spanish have similarities, each language has its own grammatical norms and idioms, and who better to verify this in English than a person born and raised in the United States with a university degree in an area such as Social Communication, Letters or Law?

Corollary

Working as a writer and translator has allowed me to connect with my true passion which is to find the right words to convey the desired message in each case, be it for personal or third party’s purposes. I still have a lot to learn to be a great writer (and writing a book is among my plans), but the fact that there is so much information and free translation-related software on the Internet that allows anyone whose native language is not English to learn this job in a sustainable way, which is particularly useful in countries like mine, in which, while I’m writing these lines, the minimum monthly salary is about $4 (after over 160 hours of work).

Finally, if all this seems too much effort, we offer you our writing, proofreading and English to Spanish translation services, provided by a multidisciplinary team of professionals. Please contact us if you require more information.

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Blockchain: what it is and some of its uses

By: Antonio Juan Benítez Rojas

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In this article we will explain what the blockchain technology is, which is the one that supports cryptocurrencies, and you will know how it is applied by companies from different sectors to increase their production.

Blockchain and cryptocurrency

Blockchain and cryptocurrency
Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum

The issue of cryptocurrencies has been very much in vogue in recent years in various social media. We have witnessed how Bitcoin, the main reference for cryptocurrencies, went from being an ethereal concept managed by a group of enthusiasts to the last gold rush.

Like everything in life, cryptocurrencies have their defenders and detractors. The former argue that these are the inevitable evolution of money since its maximum exponents, Bitcoin and Ethereum, are safe, do not require banks or intermediaries in general, but the most important thing is that there is a limited number of them (21 million in the Bitcoin case) and no government worldwide has any interference in that sense, which is a guarantee that these currencies will not lose their value over time as it’s been the case of many currencies, including the american dollar, each time a central bank decides to print more of them.

Now, Bitcoin initially worth cents when it hit the market reached $ 20,000 in 2017, and although while this article is being written said cryptocurrency costs are about a third of that sum, some experts predict it could reach $ 100,000.

The detractors of the cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, estimate that it is a bubble and that it is only a matter of time before it explodes, as Warren Buffet pointed out , in addition to the fact that after the Bitcoin phenomenon, thousands of cryptocurrencies were created that did not have a good performance, or were mere scams created to enrich its creators.

However, the broad consensus is that these digital currencies have attracted a lot of attention and the blockchain technology , their heart and guts, has innumerable uses today. But, what exactly is it really about?

What is blockchain ?

What is Blockchain?
Blockchain

Blockchain means “chain of blocks” and is a technology that was created by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 in order to encode and support its cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.

This technology allows the transmission of digital data in a totally secure manner and works as a kind of accounting book in which all the income and expenses of money are settled, but in this case what they record are digital transactions, with the peculiarity that it has not one but multiple independent nodes that together certify that the information is true, after which this information can not be deleted, it is only possible to add new records.

In addition, having multiple nodes, if any of them fell (i.e., if it were hacked), with only one of them working, the service would continue.

Blockchain technology cases of use

Although this technology is precisely what allows cryptocurrencies to have all the features and functionalities that have given them their fame, Blockchain is used in the most diverse contexts. These are just some of the many examples that exist:

Blockchain in the food industry. Blockchain in the cold chain
Blockchain in the cold chain

It has a spout, wings and now also a blockchain !

The European company Carrefour will use the technology to sell the chickens of their line “Quality Line of Auvergne” and plans to include it in the sale of other food products by the end of 2018, all with the purpose of leaving a record of each of the processes and stages that go through their products before reaching the final consumer, who can access this information by scanning a QR code that will be included in these foods.

Rough Blockchain

Blockchain in the diamond industry
Blockchain in the diamond industry

The sale of diamonds is often plagued by fraud and therefore the verification as to the authenticity of these precious stones used to be extremely slow. At present, De Beer and Everledger, incorporated the blockchain technology to list and track their diamonds, with the guarantee that if anyone tried to alter the records of one of their diamonds, the community would notice it immediately, so it would be impossible to commit any fraud.

Miles and miles of blockchain

Blockchain and frequent traveller programs, Blockchain and loyalty programs
Blockchain and frequent traveller programs

The wonderful frequent flyer programs have a limitation: you have to “get married” to the airline that offers them. If only there was a way to combine them to be able to use them at convenience. Wait, there is! The company Sandblock produced a platform based on blockchain that allows the creation of loyalty tokens, which can be exchanged not only for specific rewards of a brand but also for money and even cars.

Blockchain for president 2018

Blockchain during Election Day, Blockchain for voting
Blockchain during Election Day

No more paper or theft of ballot papers, because with the Polys system, which is also based on blockchain , it will be impossible to alter the results in a voting process, which will still be anonymous. Also, this system allows to perform an easy recount of the votes.

 

For everything else there is blockchain

Blockchain in the credit cards sector, Blockchain Mastercard
Blockchain in the credit cards sector

Although to this date Mastercard still does not accept cryptocurrencies as a valid payment method for its cards, it is certainly working with blockchain technology . In fact, according to a published article , it is hiring 175 people with IT experience (among them blockchain specialists ) to carry out innovations, and has already filed a patent application for an identity verification system based on this technology.

Did you like this article? Leave us your comments and share it on social networks. In our next post you will learn how blockchain technology could be the final solution to the fake news problem.

References

https://www.imnovation-hub.com/es/transformacion-digital/que-es-blockchain-y-como-funciona-esta-tecnologia/

https://elpais.com/economia/2018/03/09/actualidad/1520621514_926443.html

https://www.investopedia.com/news/6-companies-using-blockchain-change-travel-0/

 

Stephen Hawking’s funny phrases

By: Antonio Juan Benítez Rojas

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Not long ago, my knowledge of Stephen Hawking was limited to the fact that he was an exceptional scientist with a physical condition that prevented him from moving. Then, after the series The Big Bang Theory , I knew that he communicated with a voice synthesizer, which was jokingly emulated by the character Howard Wolowitz (played by actor Simon Helberg ), in the first chapter of the series, Hawking appeared in several episodes of this sitcom and after he died, was honored by the actors of it.

Funny phrases by Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking with Simon Helberg

Later, I had the opportunity to watch on Netflix The Theory of Everything, a film about Hawking’s biography. Two things struck me about this film: 1. The performance of the protagonists; it was simply impeccable (especially Felicity Jones’); and 2. The moral. Stephen Hawking was an example in which the intention to reach a goal is above any consideration, even in the case of suffering a health condition as serious as the one suffered by the now deceased physicist: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

After Hawking’s death – as often happens with the departure of celebrities in general, I had that feeling that “one of the great ones” was gone, even though I did not know much about him. So I decided to investigate a little about his theories and then decided to write in his honor a different type of article, to reduce sadness and give this genius a farewell the proper way: with joy. Therefore, below you’ll be able to read some of the phrases that reveal this physicist’s funny side.

Nine funny phrases by Stephen Hawking

“There may be an infinite number of universes, but none in which John Oliver dates Charlize Theron.”

“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.”

“If I had to choose a superhero to be, I would pick Superman. He’s everything that I’m not.”

“God not only plays dice, he throws them in the corner where you can’t see them.”

“If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans. We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet.”

(On the “Eureka Moment” of a scientific discovery) “I wouldn’t compare it to sex, but it lasts longer.”

“I have noticed that even people who claim everything is predetermined and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.”

(On his I.Q.) “I have no idea. People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.”

(On women) “They are a complete mystery.”

             References

          https://www.reuters.com/article/us-people-hawking-voice/stephen-hawkings-voice-was-his-tool-and-his-trademark-idUSKCN1GQ2XC

         https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/nation-now/2018/03/14/stephen-hawking-had-als-motor-neuron-disease/423257002/

         www.milenio.com/hey/television/stephen-hawking-the-big-bang-theory_0_1138086665.html

         http://www.abc.es/ciencia/abci-enfermedad-padecia-stephen-hawking-201803140830_noticia.html

         www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-43399340

         https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/stephen_hawking

          http://mentalfloss.com/article/32149/11-incredible-stephen-hawking-quotes

Dreamers’legal status

By: Antonio Juan Benítez Rojas

Léalo en español

What is DACA?

One of Donald Trump’s promises from his candidacy to the Presidency of the United States has been the hardening of immigration policies of that nation. A major promise that was fulfilled was the elimination of the Deferred Action Program for Children Arrivals (DACA), which was created by President Barack Obama in 2012. This program was created to prevent the deportation of approximately 800,000 immigrants, who entered illegally into the country when they were underage. They are today known as dreamers.

What is DACA
Dreamers

As consequence of this decision, the DACA program would end on the March 5, 2018 deadline in which Congress should have enacted an legislation to regulate the legal status of people who are beneficiaries of the program. This legislative agreement has not happened due to disagreements between the two political parties. Moreover, DACA beneficiaries whose permission expired before that date, were able to request a two-year extension of it before October 5, 2017.

DACA’s current state of affairs

Naturally, this decision caused unrest in the legal sphere of DACA’s beneficiaries, many of which filed lawsuits throughout the United States. Some of these lawsuits were resolved recently, bringing new encouragement to the “dreamers”. San Francisco federal courts and New York revived the program, declaring the illegality and unconstitutionality of President’s Trump decision to finish end the program. Thus, DACA is currently active, despite the fact that a judge in Maryland ruled in opposition.

Now, in the judgment made by Judge William Alsup of the Federal Court in San Francisco on 9 January 2018, it was ruled that DACA program could not finish because there were still other pending for resolution cases related to it. Against that decision, the Department of Justice of the United States appealed to the Supreme Court, but the appeal was rejected by the United States Supreme Court.

As a result, the DACA program remains an issue for the courts to decide.  Currently it continues to be active despite President’s Trump threats, even for those 22,000 beneficiaries of this program who failed to make the application deadline before October 5, 2017, and for whom it was ordered the processing of renewal applications.

Benefits of technology in education

By: Antonio Juan Benítez Rojas.

Léalo en español.

It often happens that when hearing in the same sentence the words “technology” and “education”, many parents raise an eyebrow. It is not necessarily a resounding no to the idea, but an alarm that is lit to question the true use given to technological tools in this area.

This state of alert is natural, the use of smart devices opens the door to a sea of information and connectivity that, without proper supervision, can put a child’s integrity at risk, but that does not always have to be the case. Indeed, the use of technological tools in the classrooms, under the proper control of responsible schools, has proven to have numerous benefits throughout the world. Here are some of them:

Benefits of technology in education

Benefits of technology in education
Smart classroom

Benefits for students

On the one hand, students increase in their efficiency and effectiveness in the studies, due to the fact that they are able to obtain information quickly on any subject, and can do team work using tools of collaboration in real time, as is the case of Google Docs.

While it is true that these tools may be used to facilitate plagiarism, when students limit themselves to a copy & paste of the researched information, this can be countered with the use of anti-plagiarism tools such as Copyscape, compares in a matter of seconds the originality of a text with billions of others that are on the web. In addition, regardless of the use of technology, teachers – and parents at home – will always have the task of verifying that, in fact, learning has taken place, through the different types of evaluations carried out by students.

Benefits for teachers

The importance of technology in education
Student using a VR device

Teachers can be more instructive by using tools such as virtual or augmented reality, including devices of this type in their classes. For example, in a Universal History class, they could show three-dimensional images of the pyramids – which is a difference from traditional classes that have only chalk and blackboard!  In addition, there are programs that allow teachers to adjust the exigency in the instruction of each student, in a personalized way; such is the case of Dreambox , a software that is used for the teaching of mathematics and has been very well received .

Likewise, according to an article published by Forbes magazine, use of artificial intelligence makes it possible for professors to delegate to machines the performance of burdensome activities such as the correction of exams, thus significantly reducing their workload.

General benefits

technology and education
Access to education

Probably, the greatest benefit that technology in the educational area is greater access to education. It is no longer necessary to be physically present in a certain place to study a discipline, because of the existence of the Internet, there are countless distance education programs, endorsed by renowned institutions, that allow anyone to educate themselves in the area or discipline of their choice.

In this same sense, the current technology has allowed the less fortunate to receive equal education. Because of the implementation of programs such as  Samsung Smart Schools, which are provided with a digital board, tablets, a server, Internet connectivity and solar panels, these individuals are able to have access to the same tools. These smart schools, of which there are already more than three thousand worldwide, provide a real-time learning platform in rural areas that do not have electric service.

References

http://www.dreambox.com/

http://www.ozarksfirst.com/news/dreambox-technology-helps-students-learn-math/869351752

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-technology-is-shaping-the-future-of-education-2017-12#artificial-intelligence-is-poised-to-play-an-integral-role-as-well-4

https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2017/12/27/how-ai-impacts-education/

https://news.samsung.com/global/more-than-3000-samsung-smart-schools-nurture-the-talent-of-tomorrow-through-digital-education