Everything You Need To Know About Etherum

What is Ethereum?

Steven Heap/123RF

By Will Nicol — Posted on July 4, 2017 6:30 am

If you follow tech or financial news, you’ve probably seen the name “Ethereum” popping up over the last couple years, often in connection with bitcoin. Ethereum is a rising star in the world of cryptocurrencies, entirely digital forms of currency that grew in popularity after the creation of bitcoin by a person or group calling themselves Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. Demand for Ethereum is so high that it may even be driving up the price of graphics cards, as miners try to generate as much currency as they can. What is Ethereum exactly, and what does it mean for the future of cryptocurrency (and maybe society)? Here’s the rundown.

To start — what is a cryptocurrency?

People often refer to Ethereum as a cryptocurrency, but that isn’t precisely true. It is a platform that allows individuals to conduct transactions and draw up contracts, using a currency called “ether.” To understand what distinguishes Ethereum from a cryptocurrency like bitcoin, it helps to understand what a cryptocurrency is, as well as the concept of a blockchain.

A cryptocurrency is a form of digital currency created through encryption. A cryptocurrency has no physical form — like a banknote or coin — and it is not issued by a central bank or governmental authority. Units of cryptocurrency exist as data on the internet, and are created and managed through something called a blockchain.

A blockchain is essentially a digital ledger, shared amongst any number of computers. When transactions occur, they are recorded in blocks; in order for these blocks to go into the ledger, they must be validated by a certain number of computers on the blockchain network. Crucially, the ledger exists, in the same form, for everyone on the network. Anyone can can look at to see a complete history of every transaction that has occurred, and any changes would be visible to everyone.

The individuals who validate the transactions — which they do by having their computers solve complex computational problems — are called miners. Mining is a surprisingly intense activity, as our guide explains, that requires powerful hardware and a lot of planning. As a reward for their help in validating blocks, miners are given rewards. This is typically a specific cryptocurrency; Bitcoin miners receive bitcoin, while Ethereum miners receive ether.

When you send someone an amount of cryptocurrency, a digital signature is created to authenticate the transaction. Your public key is essentially your “address.” When someone sends you funds, they send it to your public key. When you send funds, you use your private key, which is essentially the password that grants you access to your funds, and a transaction message to create a digital signature. Miners use this signature to verify the transaction, and a new signature will be generated for every individual transaction, so the transaction can’t be repeated.

Why is this important?

Digital transactions have, historically, required third parties, such as banks, to authorize or validate the transaction. This is because money, when digital, is essentially a file, which could be copied and reused. But these more traditional intermediaries typically don’t work for free. Banks and other authorities require individuals to play in their sandbox, and pay whatever fees they demand.

Cryptocurrencies are all about skirting around financial institutions and authorities, but they still need some way to track when and how currency moves through transactions, so as to avoid problems like double spending. The currency would be useless if anyone could just create copies of their units.

Blockchains allow for peer-to-peer transactions, with no need for a third party to participate. They are inherently secure; if any data in the block were changed, computers on the network would need to revalidate it, discouraging tampering. In theory, cryptocurrencies are safe from seizure by authorities. Because they are stored nowhere in particular, and can only be accessed by a person with the private key, it would be incredibly difficult for even a government to seize them.

The broad strokes of a blockchain apply to Ethereum just as they do to bitcoin, but the two products have different goals. As mentioned, bitcoin is strictly a digital currency, designed to function as a means of payment. Ethereum takes a grander approach; it functions as a platform through which people can use ether tokens to create and run applications and, more importantly, smart contracts.

Ethereum focuses on “smart contracts”

What is a smart contract? It is a contract written in code, which the creator(s) upload to the blockchain. Any time one of these contracts is executed, every node on the network runs it, uploaded to the blockchain; thus, it is stored in the public ledger, theoretically tamper-proof.

Smart contracts are essentially structured as If-then statements; when certain conditions are met, the program carries out the terms of the contract.

As an example, say you want to rent a car from a service that uses Ethereum. A smart contract is generated, stipulating that if you send the required amount of funds, then the service will send you a digital key to unlock the car. The process is is carried out on the blockchain, so when you send the ether tokens, everyone on the network can see that you did so. Likewise, when the rental service sends you the key to unlock the car, everyone will see it. In this scenario, the contract might state that if the service does not send you the key, the tokens are refunded.

Since every computer on the network is keeping track of this transaction through the digital ledger, there is no way to tamper with it; if someone altered the details of the contract, every copy of the digital ledger would note this.

Every program on Ethereum will use a distinct amount of processing power, and since the program must be run by the nodes, it is important to keep superfluous activity to a minimum. This is why every contract and program on Ethereum is given a cost in “gas.” Gas is a measurement of how much processing power the program will require, and the higher the gas requirement, the more ether tokens the user will need to spend.

One of the commonly cited advantages of smart contracts is that there is no need for “middlemen” like lawyers or notaries. In theory, this means that you can carry out transactions without the waiting times inherent to paper filings, and without paying fees to whomever would typically oversee such a transaction. This is particularly important for people living in countries where the legal system is corrupt, or woefully inefficient.

Of course, the automation means that, if something goes wrong — if, for example, there is a bug in the code of the smart contract — the blockchain will still carry out the terms of the contract, which could be problematic.

A scandal involving The DAO — a decentralized autonomous organization — serves as a case study in how smart contracts can go wrong. The DAO was essentially a leaderless investment fund; members invested ether, gaining tokens that allowed them to vote on how to invest the DAO’s funds. As CoinDesk explains, the DAO was built through a series of smart contracts.

However, a vulnerability in the DAO’s code allowed one user to funnel millions of dollars worth of ether into a child DAO. A writer for Forbes compares the process to embezzlement, but notes that, because the DAO’s contract allowed for it to happen, it was not illegal; the user was working within the confines of the code.

What does it mean for the future?

In its short time in the spotlight, Ethereum has cast an enormous shadow. It is trading at around $300 as of June 28, 2017, and has grown by around 3600 percent in 2017, according to Business Insider. The platform has already attracted massive corporations like JP Morgan Chase and Microsoft, who are among the more notable members of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, which aims to provide “Resources for businesses to learn about Ethereum and leverage this groundbreaking technology to address specific industry use cases.”

That bodes well for Ethereum’s usage in the business world, but true believers see the platform as something more than a tool for corporation; they see it as a way to decentralize the internet, and make it more democratic.

In an interview with Wired, Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin lays out his view of how Ethereum will disrupt the traditional power structures of the world:

“I think a large part of the consequence is necessarily going to be disempowering some of these centralized players to some extent. Because ultimately power is a zero sum game. And if you talk about empowering the little guy, as much as you want to couch it in flowery terminology that makes it sound fluffy and good, you are necessarily disempowering the big guy. And personally I say screw the big guy. They have enough money already.”

Smart contracts could free individuals from the constraints of the legal system and big business. However, technology enthusiasts often promise such utopian futures; in reality, just as social media has helped the spread of fake news, Ethereum and the automated, decentralized internet it seeks may have unintended consequences, as the DAO hacking indicates. Like other cryptocurrencies, ether is prone to wild fluctuations. While Ethereum has been riding high in 2017 for the most part, it suffered a flash crash in June, a drop which some think may have been exacerbated by false rumors of Buterin’s death. Whether Ethereum is sturdy enough to survive long term, or an ephemeral trend, remains up in the air.

Mike Prettyman Chief Information Officer Green Fire Engineered Reclamation Member GreenFire DAO Whatsapp only Phone: 1-602-315-1571 Skype: mike.prettyman Website: http://greenfirefunding.com email: greenfirereclamation@gmail.com

Life on the rubbish dumps of Paranaque: A photo Essay

How Filipino children and adults risk their lives to eke out a pathetic living recycling waste

Living among rotting rubbish, smoke-filled air and polluted water, these are the men, women and children who spend their lives scouring for recyclable treasures in a garbage-filled abyss – just so they can survive.

Each day, as hundreds of truckloads of bags of waste are chucked onto the rubbish site in Paranaque, south of Manilia, the Philippines, gangs of so-called 'scavengers' rummage frantically to try and retrieve items they can sell for cash.

Living in utter poverty, and employed for around $4 a day, these rubbish pickers are exposed every day to hazardous waste, such as used needles, as well as infectious diseases, including E coli, salmonella and pathogens that cause hepatitis and tetanus.

And this is a scene which is played out on dozens of landfill sites across the world, as those living in extreme poverty try and make ends meet. 

Now a set of eye-opening photos which convey the heat, stench and noise in which these pickers are forced to work have been released, to coincide with UN World Environment Day. 

Celebrated every year on 5 June, and run by the United National Environment Programme, the day is a call for global awareness on protecting the environment. This year's theme – Small Islands and Climate Change – is marked by the slogan: 'Raise Your Voice Not The Sea Level'.

According to the UN, people living in urban areas around the world generate 1.3 billion tonnes of waste per year and this will increase to 2.2 billion tonnes by 2025 – unless something is done to change it. 

 
An elderly woman looks for recyclables at a garbage dump during UN World Environment Day in, Paranaque, south of Manila, Philippines

An elderly woman looks for recyclable items at a garbage dump in Paranaque, south of Manila, Philippines – but this is a sight witness in landfills and rubbish tips across the world, as those living in poverty try desperately to earn a living

 
 
Two boys sit on top of a slope at a garbage dump

So-called trash pickers and their families live amid rotting garbage so they can spend their days fishing valuable pieces items from a vast garbage tip, to sell on the streets themselves, or to hand over to those who employ them – in return for a meagre salary

 
 
The photos have been released to mark UN World Environment Day

The eye-opening photos, which show the conditions in which these people work, have been released to mark UN World Environment Day, which takes place on June 5

 
 
 
The recycling pickers cover their mouths as dust from the truck spreads across the site

The recycling pickers breathe smoke-filled air, wash and cook in polluted water and constantly have to fight off the dust and pollution which is created when lorries dump the precious rubbish onto the site

 
 
A plane flies overhead as Filipinos look for recyclables at a garbage dump - a sight seen in many countries across the world

What is deemed as rubbish to most is seen a treasure to these Filipinos, who work to look through the items for as little as $4 a day

 
 
With thin gloves for protection, the so-called scavengers scrabble among the piles of rubbish to try and retrieve something for their day's work

With just thin gloves for protection the so-called scavengers scrabble among the piles of rubbish – which include used syringes – to try and retrieve something for their day's work

 
 
A young girl carries two bags as she looks through the rubbish dump

A young girl carries two bags as she looks through the rubbish dump. With many having no access to a school, there seems to be no limit as to when these children start work on the rubbish sites

 
 
The young girl clambers bare-footed over the piles of rubbish, which are rife with needles, shards of glass and other sharp objects

A young girl is seen walking with bare feet over the piles of rubbish, which are rife with needles, shards of glass and other sharp objects – which frequently cause the workers injury or disease

 
 
The man searches through a mountain of rubbish to find anything which might make him a buck

The workers might have to search through mountains of rubbish before they strike lucky to find one piece of recyclable 'gold'. The UN says the contribution of the world's small island nations, such as the Philippines, towards global emission of greenhouse gases is less than 1 per cent

 
 
Young children are brought up living in this environment

Young children are brought up living in this environment and are exposed daily to infectious diseases and hazardous waste

 
 
Children look for recyclables at a garbage dump

E coli, salmonella and pathogens that cause hepatitis and tetanus are common ailments in these communities. These are not places where rubbish is left to rot, but are instead a source of potential fortune

 
 
It might be hard work - but they can still find something to smile about. Children play along a slope at the garbage dump

But the children can still find something to smile about, as they push each other down the rubbish slopes as a break from their hard work

 
 
Children play along a slope at a garbage dump during World Environment Day

These families are among the poorest in their country and have limited education. It means they will have no skills to make a better life for themselves or their families

 
 
Filipinos look for recyclables at a garbage dump during World Environment Day

There is also the danger of unstable piles of rubbish collapsing on the workers as they scurry among the garbage, which has led to fatalities in other landfill sites

 
 
These workers live amid rotting garbage, breathe smoke filled air, wash and cook in polluted water

The waste can be agricultural, industrial, medical or domestic, bringing with it a huge range of dangers for the rubbish pickers

 
 
A plane

These piles of rubbish, which arrive among a torrent of grey, smoke and dirt, are one person's rubbish and another person's treasure

Presented by: Mike Prettyman
CIO GreenFire Engineered Reclamtion
Member: GreenFire DAO

Join with me to save these "Children of the Landfill" http://markethive.com/mikeprettyman 

 

There Will Be No Bubble for Bitcoin and Ethereum, Here’s Why

By Joshua Althauser
https://cointelegraph.com/news/there-will-be-no-bubble-for-bitcoin-and-ethereum-heres-why

There Will Be No Bubble for Bitcoin and Ethereum, Here's Why

Tech entrepreneur Mark Cuban has recently stated that Bitcoin is facing a bubble. However, Daniel M. Harrison, the CEO of DMH&CO and managing partner of Monkey Capital, reveals that such a thing is impossible due to the market-influencing capabilities of Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Market bipolarity

The main factor that makes a digital bubble impossible is market bipolarity. For many people, market bipolarity is confusing but it can be distilled in a few important and understandable viewpoints. Apparently, market bipolarity is directly affected by George Soros’ “theory of reflexivity.”

According to George Soros, market conditions are not influenced by equilibrium. Rather, they are “reflexive” due to the synchronization of two functions: cognitive and manipulative function. The cognitive function is a neutral thinking base – this is where economic participants assess facts for what they are.

The manipulative function, on the other hand, turns one fact (or a couple of facts) in order to gain an advantage. Once the cognitive mind is affected by the manipulative mind, the neutrality will be “painted” in a different light it becomes a manipulated fact.

Therefore, markets reflect the view and perspective of participants, not the full scope of economics.

The situation can be represented in two ways:

  • Manipulative Cognitive = Reflexive
  • Manipulative + Cognitive = Equilibrium

The aforementioned equations show that a manipulative thinking pattern is the usual baseline and not a cognitive function. This shows the reflexive nature of all markets one of the clear indicators that Bitcoin and Ethereum are far from experiencing a digital bubble.

Artificial vs. Natural

More importantly, Ethereum and Bitcoin markets are influenced by two thinkers: artificial and natural. Artificial pertains to the Blockchain AI and natural is all about human intervention. Many experts think that Blockchain is adopting an "economic mindset."

If markets with manipulative and cognitive participants are suddenly annexed, it will always result in reflexivity or positive feedback loops. In this case, digital markets are bound by reflexivity or states of reflexivity. This is a self-perpetuating situation that can go on for many years.

It’s also important to know that artificial thinkers are the “igniters” of self-perpetuating reflexivity. With AI (Blockchain), digital markets will continue to thrive, leading to fluctuating values of Bitcoin and Ethereum. Market bipolarity will always be constant.

Through market bipolarity, any episode of a digital bubble is canceled out. The whole Blockchain system will never return to its “roots” but it will continue evolving. Price valuations, on the other hand, may remain grounded and directed by economic factors.

Innovation or its application in various sectors is also another important factor that shapes Blockchain technology’s tenacity and ability to survive a “bubble.”

Bancor initial coin offering raises over $200 million in three hours to become the largest crowdfunded project ever

Bancor initial coin offering raises over $200 million in three hours to become the largest crowdfunded project ever

DOMINIC POWELL / Friday, June 16, 2017

A demo of the Bancor protocol. Source: Bancor.network

A new blockchain startup built on the Ethereum platform has become one of the highest funded crowdfunding projects ever, raising approximately $US153 million ($201 million) through an initial coin offering (ICO) in just three hours earlier this week.

The startup is called Bancor, and it offers a platform aimed at making it easier for other startups and users to launch, manage, and trade their own forms of blockchain currency, known as “tokens”. These tokens are managed through the Ethereum network’s “smart contracts”, which enable self-executing contracts enforced and recorded on the blockchain.

Combining these two features, the Bancor protocol offers “smart tokens”, which enable “any party to instantly purchase or liquidate the smart token in exchange for any of its reserve tokens, directly through the smart token’s contract, at a continuously calculated price, according to a formula which balances buy and sell volumes”.

The ICO was intended to run for an hour, reports Coindesk, with a funding target of 250,000 ether (the main currency of the Ethereum blockchain), or around $US95 million. Due to alleged difficulties with the network, including supposed delayed transactions, the campaign was extended an additional two hours, resulting in a total of 396,720 ether or approximately $US153 million being raised.

Over 10,000 investors got on board with the ICO, with Coindesk reporting the largest single purchase was $US27 million, equalling 6.9 million BNT, the token used by the Bancor protocol to fuel its new platform.

This was enough to shoot Bancor into the number one spot of highest funded crowdfunds, and continues the recent initial coin offering craze, with blockchain startup Brave raising $US35 million in 30 seconds via a recent ICO.

However, due to the transitory value of cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, the true amount raised by these startups is ever-changing. With the value of ether increasing over 2800% this year alone, a $US153 million raise could be $50 million more, or less, in a matter of days.

The Ethereum protocol is proving to be a popular platform for successful crowdfunds, with seven of the top 10 crowdfunding projects having been based on the platform, including the crowdfund for the platform itself.

Inside GreenFire DAO Newsletter Resistance

Good Day Friends, There are now several thousands of subscribers to my newsletter, Inside GreenFire DAO. A news letter that follows the development of an Industrial blockchain application for landfill mining and landfill Commerce for the "Children of the Landfill", those that are forced by circumstances to "live to survive" on the world's dumps.

The security of my subscribers has been threatened, who would of thought that a newsletter about the world's waste would get such a reaction.
 
That said, I have moved my newsletter hosting to the secure cloud hosting of Markethive, a global inbound social marketing system equipped for serious client security and protection. Follow the link below, click on the facebook icon, say yes and become a member of "Inside GreenFire DAO" group and get a free inbound marketing account to use for your business. Take a quick look, see what is so disturbing and then follow along it does have its advantages. You will get a free cryptocurrency wallet as a member.

The page below has a short but informative video about the blockchain and the company we are working with, Infinity-economics. PLEASE JOIN Inside GreenFire DAO Newsletter Join and keep informed on this blockchain development, the pre-ICO and the ICO. If you know why the topic of waste and the reclamation of global waste is resisted so strongly, please advise me. Thank you

Children Living in Landfill

Last week dozens of people were killed and at least 49 homes destroyed after a mountain of rubbish collapsed at Ethiopia’s Koshe landfill site. Authorities aren’t yet sure what caused the deadly landslide – some blame the biogas plant being built nearby – but whatever the reason, it’s just another risk faced every day by so-called dump scavengers.

This is a status from one day ago. – M
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) – "The death toll from a collapse at a landfill outside Ethiopia's capital has risen sharply to 113, an Addis Ababa city official said Wednesday, as the country began three days of mourning for victims who were mostly women and children." By ELIAS MESERET Associated Press

Some 15 million people live and work within sprawling municipal rubbish tips around the globe, combing through trash every day for items of the slightest value to sell for a pittance. Their communities mirror those found anywhere else in the world – neighbours become friends, and there are shops and schools and places to go to unwind after a hard day’s work – but the difference is the inescapable, oppressive backdrop of filth, danger and disease.

Families – sometimes several at a time – live in shanties made from found wood and sheets of corrugated metal and plastic, with bricks and tyres placed carefully on roofs to stop them blowing away. Surrounding these homes, stretching for as far as the eye can see and sometimes two or three storeys high, are piles and piles of medical and electronic waste, used nappies and sanitary items, general household rubbish and broken glass, not to mention dead animals and human faeces.

Under the burning sun the smell of these dumps is sickening, exacerbated by dark plumes of thick smoke billowing from piles of trash that have spontaneously combusted because of unstoppable rising methane gases. It is hell on earth, but trapped in an inescapable cycle of poverty, these people have no choice but to call it home. 

Jane Walker has been working with a trash-picking community in the Philippines for more than 20 years. She happened upon the capital’s Tondo dump while on holiday, and now runs the Purple Community Fund, a charity dedicated to helping those on the fringes of society, including the thousands of people living among Manilla’s most prolific garbage site.

 

landfill-landslide.jpg

 

 

Rescue workers watch as excavators dig into a pile of garbage in search of missing people following a landslide when a mound of trash collapsed on an informal settlement at the Koshe garbage dump in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa (Getty)

 

“The average life expectancy for someone born and raised in these environments is just 35 years old,” she says. “We were on a dumpsite with 15,000 people and from them we recorded just under 100 people who had made it to 60. Pneumonia and tuberculosis is rife.”

Indeed, pneumonia – commonly spread through a lack of hygiene – is the number one killer of children under five, accounting for more than 1,000 deaths a day worldwide according to UN statistics. A single gram of faeces can contain ten million viruses, and so as Jane notes, the dump community’s favoured method of human waste disposal, the ‘wrap and throw’, means children are exposed to life-threatening disease even before they’ve started working on the site.

Amish Das has lived inside the Boragaon landfill site in Guwahati, India, for all of his 26 years, rising early every day to scour the site to earn just enough to feed his family breakfast – a meal which, like every other, is never guaranteed. He lives with his three children, his wife and the family of his wife’s sister (her husband and two children) in a one-room shanty in the centre of the dump. He lost his youngest daughter to illness when she was two years old. “She was so sick and there was nothing I could do,” he says. “Everywhere is dirty. I wish she hadn’t died but sometimes I am thankful she won’t have to know this life.”

Women, of course, are particularly vulnerable in these environments. “When a girl is born poor her life chances are severely reduced,” says Girish Menon, CEO of charity ActionAid. “Young women have fewer rights, less access to education, sexual health services, networks, decision making, safety and control over their bodies. They are stuck – trapped in a cycle of poverty, violence and inequality.” It is no surprise, then, that of the few children that are able to go to school (many are needed to work alongside their families), most are boys, although charities such as ActionAid are working to address this. Local women’s networks, such as the one in the Mwakirunge dumpsite just outside Mombasa, Kenya, provides education and protection facilities for girls and women who work at the dump.

Margaret wants to be a teacher when she leaves school, but even with an education under her belt it’s certain that she’ll struggle to escape from the dumpsite. “There’s a huge stigma surrounding people from these communities,” says Jane. “I’ve seen the most immaculately-turned out people from the dumpsite, wearing clean clothes and looking smart, but that’s the exception rather than the rule. Waste pickers don’t have access to hot water, or even running water, so there is always a smell, which makes it difficult for children to go to school or to then get jobs. And if they do get jobs – where they could earn up to 10 times as much as they do as a waste picker – it’s still very difficult for them to make a break from the dump.”

scavangers.jpg

 

A young scavenger boy grabs plastic between tons of trash in the Anlong Pi landfill on June 11, 2014 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Dozens of children scavenge every day in the Anlong Pi landfill, which is situated only few kilometres away from the world famous Angkor temples, visited by more than 3 million tourists every year. (Getty)

 

 

In 2013, researchers from various non-profit organisations including the International Solid Waste Association and the University of Leeds came together to create the first Waste Atlas, an interactive map that visualises the issue and impact of global waste. Their findings were shocking. The 50 biggest active dumpsites in the world affect the daily lives of 64 million people, a figure almost equal to the population of France, and the average dumpsite covers an area equal to around 29 international football fields. Nearly 40% of the world’s trash ends up in these sites.

These figures are at odds with the fact that environmental concerns are increasingly under the global spotlight, but with the value of the global waste management market projected to reach $562bn by 2020, it’s not hard to see the catalyst for the issue. While waste management legislation is largely tight in the western world, it’s less of a priority in developing nations and as Jane says, there’s money to be made.

“Waste pickers will make around just £2.50 a day selling the items they find to ‘agents’ and scrap dealers who then sell it on,” she explains. “It’s these middlemen who often earn large profits.” And it’s often these middlemen who are embroiled in levels of corruption that make the systemic poverty of waste pickers near-impossible to untangle.

“I can only comment on the site that I worked at,” Jane says, “but at one point we tried to sell the materials directly to recycling factories. Eliminating the middlemen would mean more money for the waste pickers. But not long after we started trying to do this I got a visit from these agents and they made it clear – by showing me a gun on the dashboard of their car – that selling to them first was the only acceptable way of doing things.”

There’s ample anecdotal evidence of these waste hierarchies being overseen by notorious crime lords – “Gang warfare was pretty normal at our site. It wasn’t unusual to see a dead body on the ground” – but local governments have repeatedly turned a blind eye to the issue. “At one point they were going to start importing Japanese waste to our site,” says Jane. “The area produced more than enough of its own waste, so why would they do that if not for monetary gain?” 

landfill-landslide-1.jpg

 

A young student waits for classes to begin at a free school in one of the poorest neighbourhoods which surrounds Metro Manila's largest landfill in Payatas, Philippines (Getty)

 

 

Scavengers are undoubtedly trapped firmly at the bottom of the waste pyramid, and as such many would argue that it’s no surprise the Ethiopian community scoffed with indignation when – following the tragedy at the Koshe site – Addis Ababa Mayor Diriba Kuma made such a vague promise: “In the long run, we will conduct a resettling programme to relocate people who live in and around the landfill.”

Nonetheless, in the face of almost immeasurable adversity, the people of these communities are, says Jane, happy and principled. “They choose waste picking as the most honourable way of earning a living, as opposed to begging, thieving or turning to the sex industry. They’re not bound by material possessions and their community spirit is almost unbreakable – if the government comes in to relocate them their main source of concern is being broken up as a group.

“It’s an awful thing to say ‘if you don’t know any better’ because that implies ignorance. Most of these people do know better and know there’s a better life to be had. They really are without hope because without external help or meaningful government intervention their lives aren’t going to change, but still they get up every day and exist in the most horrendous conditions. I have the greatest of respect for them.”

Source: Living in Landfill | The Independent

Dying in silence Suffering of Syrian children at its worst millions under attack says UNICEF

There are now nearly 6 million Syrian children suffering from the perils of war, including hundreds who were killed, maimed or recruited to fight in 2016, the worst year on record for Syrian children, a UN watchdog has said.

“The depth of suffering is unprecedented. Millions of children in Syria come under attack on a daily basis, their lives turned upside down,”said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, speaking from Homs, Syria. “Each and every child is scarred for life with horrific consequences on their health, well-being and future.” 

'Growing up with war': Children of Syria share heartbreaking stories of death, fear & survival

 

 

 

At least 652 children died last year, and 255 of them were killed in or near their schools, the UNICEF report said. That signals a 20 percent increase on the number killed during 2015. 

“A father in Aleppo lives with the trauma of letting his daughters go to school,” Cappelaere said, retelling one of the many heart-breaking stories from the conflict. “They left their makeshift home one morning with their schoolbags on their backs. Only their lifeless bodies returned after a shell slammed into their classroom.”

UNICEF also believes more than 850 children were recruited to take part in hostilities – double the number in 2015 – and were used as executioners, suicide bombers or prison guards.

While horrifying, the number pales in comparison to the 5.8 million Syrian children who are dependent on humanitarian assistance – a twelvefold increase from 2012, the organization said.

“Beyond the bombs, bullets and explosions, children are dying in silence often from diseases that can otherwise be easily prevented. Access to medical care, lifesaving supplies and other basic services remains difficult,” the report added.

Almost half of those in need were displaced, many of them up to seven times, and over 2.3 million children are now living as refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq.

Child refugees living in relative safety in neighboring countries are still deprived of some basic needs, unable to go to school and forced to beg or do low-paying jobs to make the ends meet, the UNICEF report said.

Unsurprisingly, many children took life-threatening journeys on the so called ‘death boats’ crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe.

Inside Syria, 2.8 million children are living in hard-to-reach areas, including 280,000 living literally on the battlefield, almost completely cut off from humanitarian aid.

As the country’s welfare system shrinks, families “are taking extreme measures just to survive, often pushing children into early marriage and child labor,” the report said. “In more than two thirds of households, children are working to support their families, some in extremely harsh conditions unfit even for adults.”

“I don’t know how to read or write. I only know how to draw the sky, the sea and the sun. I’ve waited tables, I served beans, corn, hummus, water pipe, potatoes, seeds. I’ve cleaned the shop and served ice cream to children,” said Fares, a six-year-old Syrian boy now living in Lebanon.

READ MORE: ‘They don’t want to be refugees’: RT sees Syria’s children surviving through war

With the Syrian war about to enter its sixth year, more and more people have become food-insecure. Inadequate food as a result of the protracted violence leads to poor nutrition among children and is weakening their immune system, UNICEF said, stressing that even ordinary diseases are now fatal.

“The situation for Syrian children has hit rock bottom,” said Juliette Touma, UNICEF’s regional spokesperson.

“The past year has been the worst since the crisis began, with children pushed right to the brink – being recruited at an ever younger age, being used to man checkpoints, being trained to use weapons, serving as prison guards. We also have reports of sexual abuse of girls by underage children, so it’s very grim.”

 

Source: ‘Dying in silence’: Suffering of Syrian children at its worst, millions under attack, says UNICEF — RT News

3D printing heart of Tanzanian project reduce plastic waste

A small technology and innovation company based in Tanzania is working to create a healthier environment and produce more medical tools by re-using plastic waste as 3D printer filament.

Using this recycled material, STICLab hopes to enhance the area’s health ecosystem by providing a range of medical tools and applications. And since Dar es Salaam, the city in which the company operates from, generates an estimated 400 tonnes of plastic waste in one day, STICLab is hoping to help the region’s environment, as well as its medical sector.

In a project, named ReFabDar, similar to ALT LLC’s last year, STICLab is passionate about ‘fixing the mess we have created for ourselves.’ The company says the first step to doing that, is changing the perception of trash and finding a way to make value out of waste. Currently in Tanzania, the cost of 1kg of filament can rise above forty dollars.

Focusing particularly on recycling plastic bottles, the aim for the company’s engineers has been to create new machines that turn this plastic waste into 3D filament, and then use that filament to innovate new products for the Tanzanian market.

“Today, the plastic waste that is collected by waste pickers is then shipped freight to China,” said Adella Salum, Engineer, STICLab. “We need more local enterprises to recycle this waste. If we could just have ten percent of Dar’s plastic waste, we could make about a million medical tools a day.”

Using its RETR3D 3D printer and Thunderhead filament extruder, the company’s vision is becoming a reality. Through the ReFabDar project, five feasible product markets have been established. While education items, spare parts, jewellery and consumer goods are all viable end-parts, STICLab sees healthcare as the field in which it can have the greatest impact.

Tanzania is one of Africa’s worst affected areas for the spread of malaria – practically the entire country carries a high risk of infection. To properly diagnose malaria, doctors often use microscopes, which in poorer parts of the country are not always easy to come by. Having already 3D-printed a medical microscope, STICLab is hopeful the ReFabDar project can help to sufficiently detect and treat killer diseases, such as malaria, while cracking down on plastic waste.

“We have laboratories where we conduct our research activities,” said Calista Emeda, Senior Research Scientist, National Institute for Medical Research. “We use microscopes in several activities while testing. Malaria is among the top ten diseases, it could be a number one killer. Sometimes we don’t have microscopes in these villages where we have dispensaries, so we really need to have these new technologies, which are cheaper and easier to use.”

With STICLab envisioning a similar impact on the other four of its five indentified target markets, the company is growing in confidence. Suggesting drip hydroponic agriculture systems to produce more food with less water on smaller pieces of land for farmers, and low cost microscopes to help students better understand microbiology, STICLab promise there’s still more innovation to come.

“We have only just begun,” finished Salum. “With filament, a laptop, a printer and a solar panel, you have a portable factory to print solutions on-demand anywhere in the world.” Nominations and bookings for the inaugural TCT Awards can now be made on the TCT Awards website

Source: 3D printing at the heart of Tanzanian project to reduce plastic waste and save lives – TCT Magazine

Mike Prettyman
Member GreenFire DAO
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