June 17, 2015 Day 148 of the Seventh Year - History

June 17, 2015 Day 148 of the Seventh Year - History

President Barack Obama greets attendees during a picnic for Members of Congress on the South Lawn of the White House, June 17, 2015.


10:00AM THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
Oval Office

11:15AM THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks at an investiture ceremony for Attorney General Lynch
The Warner Theater, Washington, DC

3:45PM THE PRESIDENT meets with winners of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring
Oval Office

6:25PM THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks at a picnic for Members of Congress
South Lawn


Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) are adding tiny, Swiss-cheese-type holes to components to improve fusion energy generation processes. Above -PPPL physicist Andrei Khodak next to diagrams showing his concept for a porous fusion facility wall (Collage by Elle Starkman / PPPL Office of Communications) New computer simulations …

The US government UAPs task force’s unclassified assessment is not expected until June 25 but the New York Times provided a preview of its contents in an article on June 3. U.S. Finds No Evidence of Alien Technology in Flying Objects, but Can’t Rule It Out, Either… A new report concedes that much about the …


Standard Pitching

Standard Pitching
Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W Awards
201022NYM-minRk11.5005.1966000026.035151526122001115 1.57712.10.72.17.63.67KPT APPY
201224NYM-minA,A+93.7502.4319190000111.1913830420096215450 0.9977.40.31.67.84.80SAV,SCE SALL,FLOR
201325NYM-minAAA,AA,A+77.5004.5126260000147.2168837411463120417642 1.44910.20.72.87.32.61LVG,BNG,SCE PCL,EL,FLOR
201426NYM-minAAA401.0002.5877000038.1391311210029102161 1.2789.20.52.36.82.90LVG PCL
201426NYMNL96.6002.6922220000140.1117444274321441015651282.671.1407.50.42.89.23.35RoY-1
2015 27NYMNL148.6362.5430300000191.01495954163822052067511492.700.9797.00.81.89.75.39AS,CYA-7
201628NYMNL78.4673.0424240110148.01425350153601433046041323.321.2038.60.92.28.73.97
201729NYMNL1510.6003.5331310100201.11808779285952392078271173.501.1878.01.32.610.74.05CYA-8
2018 30NYMNL109.5261.7032320100217.01524841104632695028352181.980.9126.30.41.911.25.85AS,CYA-1,MVP-5
2019 31NYMNL118.5792.4332320000204.01545955194412557028041712.670.9716.80.81.911.35.80AS,CYA-1,MVP-10
202032NYMNL42.6672.381212000068.047211871801040042681822.260.9566.20.92.413.85.78CYA-3
202133NYM-minA00 0.001100003.0000000800010 0.0000.00.00.024.0 SCE LASE
202133NYMNL72.7780.501212011072.0277431001170002507770.870.5143.40.41.314.611.70
8 Yrs7753.5922.4919519504201241.29683783431052941314762002649041572.641.0167.00.82.110.75.02
162 Game Avg.139.5922.4934340100217 1696660185122573058551572.641.0167.00.82.110.75.02

What's New for 2021?

Hyundai gives the 2021 Sonata a new wheel-and-tire combo and additional features. The SEL Plus model now comes with Pirelli P Zero all-season tires mounted on 19-inch wheels. The SEL, SEL Plus, and the Limited have a clever, standard safe-exit warning that alerts passengers to oncoming traffic when the car is parallel parked. The fanciest Sonata model now comes standard with a six-way, power-adjustable front passenger seat. A racy N Line model with a 290-hp turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder also joins the lineup.


Summary of the 2014-2015 Influenza Season

Compared with the previous five influenza seasons, the 2014-2015 season was moderately severe, with overall high levels of outpatient illness, high levels of hospitalization and a relatively high percentage of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza. The season was a severe one for people 65 years and older. The season was a relatively early in terms of timing, with influenza activity increasing through November and December, and peaking in late December.

The frequency of outpatient visits to doctors for influenza like illness (ILI) went above the national baseline the week ending November 22, 2014 and remained elevated for 20 consecutive weeks, making the season longer than average and the longest in more than a decade. Over the previous 13 seasons, ILI was at or above baseline for 13 weeks on average, with a range of one week to 19 weeks. See 2014-2015 Flu Season Drawing to a Close for more information.

When did the 2014-2015 flu season peak?

While flu activity levels varied across the country, influenza activity began increasing nationally in November and peaked in late December, when 33% of respiratory specimens tested positive for influenza and 6.0% of outpatient visits to healthcare providers were for ILI. The timing of flu is unpredictable and can vary in different parts of the country and from season to season. However, flu activity most often peaks in February and can last into May.

FluView interactive provides visualizations of influenza information collected by CDC&rsquos monitoring systems.

How is influenza disease severity characterized?

The overall health impact (e.g., outpatient illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths) of a flu season varies from year to year. Based on available data from U.S. influenza surveillance systems that are monitored and reported on by CDC, the severity of a flu season is judged according to a variety of criteria, including:

  • The number and proportion of respiratory specimens that are influenza-positive
  • The proportion of visits to healthcare providers that are due for ILI
  • The proportion of all deaths that are caused by pneumonia and influenza
  • The number of flu-associated deaths among children and
  • Flu-associated hospitalization rates.

CDC assesses the severity of a season by comparing the data from these measures with data from previous seasons.

How many people died from flu during the 2014-2015 season?

CDC does not count how many people die from flu each year. Unlike flu deaths in children, flu deaths in adults are not nationally reportable. However, CDC has two flu surveillance systems that are used to monitor relative levels of flu-associated deaths. One is the 122 Cities Mortality Reporting System and the other is mortality data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics. Both of these systems track the proportion of death certificates processed that list pneumonia or influenza as the underlying or contributing cause of death of the total deaths reported. These systems provide an overall indication of whether flu-associated deaths are elevated, but do not provide an exact number of how many people died from flu. For more information, see Overview of Influenza Surveillance in the United States.

CDC also uses modeling studies to estimate numbers of flu-related deaths, but these studies apply only to past seasons and are not done each year. For more information, see Estimating Seasonal Influenza-Associated Deaths in the United States: CDC Study Confirms Variability of Flu.

Why is it difficult to know how many people die from flu?

There are several factors that make it difficult to determine accurate numbers of flu-associated deaths. Some of the challenges in counting influenza-associated deaths include the following: the sheer volume of deaths to be counted the fact that not everyone that dies with an influenza-like illness is tested for influenza and the fact that influenza-associated deaths are often a result of complications secondary to influenza and underlying medical problems, and this may be difficult to sort out. For more information, see Estimating Seasonal Influenza-Associated Deaths in the United States: CDC Study Confirms Variability of Flu.

What flu viruses circulated during the 2014-2015 season?

Overall, influenza A (H3N2) viruses predominated nationally, followed by influenza B viruses influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 viruses were identified less frequently.

Influenza A viruses were more commonly detected until late February 2015, after which there was substantial influenza B activity. Influenza B viruses predominated from the week ending February 28, 2015 (week 8) through the week ending May 23, 2015 (week 20).

The relative proportion of each type and subtype varied by geographic region and by week.

Who was most severely impacted during the 2014-2015 season?

While influenza virus infection can be serious for anyone, hospitalization data indicate people 65 years and older were more severely impacted by the 2014-2015 flu season, relative to other age groups and relative to previous seasons.

Among people 65 years and older, there were an estimated 8.3 million illnesses, 4.7 million medical visits and 758,000 flu hospitalizations during the 2014-2015 season. CDC estimates that the overall burden of influenza disease estimated across all age groups was 40 million flu illnesses, 19 million flu-associated medical visits, and 970,000 flu-associated hospitalizations. See Estimated Influenza Illnesses and Hospitalizations Averted by Vaccination &ndash United States, 2014-15 Influenza Season for more information.

These data are consistent with observations of the burden of flu illness in the elderly from previous years: data from statistical modeling studies looking at flu seasons from 1979 to 2001 estimate that as many as 60% of flu-related hospitalizations occurred among people 65 years and older.

How many children died from the flu during the 2014-2015 season?

As of February 1, 2016, a total of 148 laboratory-confirmed, influenza-associated pediatric deaths occurring during the 2014-2015 flu season were reported to CDC from 41 states and New York City.

Since influenza-associated pediatric mortality became a nationally-notifiable condition during the 2004-2005 season, the total number of influenza-associated pediatric deaths has ranged from 34 to 171. (This excludes the 2009 pandemic, when 358 pediatric deaths were reported to CDC during April 15, 2009, through October 2, 2010.)

More information about reported pediatric deaths is available at FluView: Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality.

Were infections with novel (non-human) influenza viruses detected during 2014-2015?

Yes, three cases of human infection with novel influenza A viruses were reported during the 2014-2015 influenza reporting period. One infection with an influenza A (H3N2) variant virus (H3N2v) occurred during the week ending October 18, 2014 (week 42) in Wisconsin, and one infection with an influenza A (H1N1) variant (H1N1v) virus was reported to CDC during the week ending January 24, 2015 (week 3), from Minnesota. Both patients had illness onset in October 2014 and reported contact with swine in the week preceding illness. Both patients fully recovered, and no further cases were identified in contacts of either patient. The third case, a fatal infection with an influenza A (H1N1)v virus was reported from Ohio during the week ending May 2, 2015 (week 17). The patient worked at a livestock facility that housed swine, but no direct contact with swine in the week before illness onset was reported. The patient died from complications of the infection, and no ongoing human-to-human transmission was identified.

Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with swine influenza viruses have occurred. When this happens, these viruses are called &ldquovariant viruses.&rdquo They also can be denoted by adding the letter &ldquov&rdquo to the end of the virus subtype designation. Human infections with H1N1v, H3N2v and H1N2v viruses have been detected in the United States. See Information on Swine Influenza/Variant Influenza Viruses and Reported Infections with Variant Influenza Viruses in the United States since 2005 for more information.

What kind of vaccines were available in the United States during the 2014-2015 season?

A number of different manufacturers produced trivalent (three component) influenza vaccines for the U.S. market, including intramuscular (IM), intradermal, and nasal spray vaccines. Some seasonal flu vaccines were formulated to protect against four flu viruses (quadrivalent flu vaccines).

Were there new recommendations for the 2014-2015 influenza season?

Recommendations on the control and prevention of influenza are published annually, in late summer or early fall. Recommendations for the 2014-2015 season are available in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) &ndash United States, 2014-15 Influenza Season. During the 2014-2015 flu season, CDC recommended use of the nasal spray vaccine (LAIV) for healthy* children 2 through 8 years of age, when it was immediately available and if the child had no contraindications or precautions to that vaccine. For more information, see Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine in Children 2 through 8 Years Old or the 2014-2015 MMWR Influenza Vaccine Recommendations. However, on February 26, 2015, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) did not renew the preferential recommendation for LAIV for the 2015-2016 season. The ACIP recommendations must be approved by the CDC Director at which point they are published in the MMWR and become CDC policy. More information on this vote is available at the CDC Newsroom.

(*&ldquoHealthy&rdquo in this instance refers to children 2 years through 8 years old who do not have an underlying medical condition that predisposes them to influenza complications.)

Visit What&rsquos New on this Site to sign up and receive updates from the CDC Influenza site.

How much flu vaccine was produced and distributed during the 2014-2015 season?

Flu vaccine is produced by private manufacturers. Information about the number of seasonal flu vaccine doses distributed this season is available at Seasonal Flu Vaccine & Total Doses Distributed. In September, seven influenza vaccine manufacturers projected about 151 million to 156 million doses of influenza vaccines would be available for the U.S. market during the 2014-2015 season. Of those projected doses, manufacturers estimated that 76 million doses would be quadrivalent flu vaccine. As of February 2015, approximately 147.8 million doses of flu vaccine were distributed.

What flu viruses did the 2014-2015 flu vaccines protect against?

Flu vaccines are designed to protect against the main flu viruses that research suggests will be the most common during the upcoming season. Three kinds of flu viruses commonly circulate among people today: influenza A (H1N1) viruses, influenza A (H3N2) viruses, and influenza B viruses. Each year, reference viruses are used to produce seasonal influenza vaccine.

All of the 2014-2015 influenza vaccine was made to protect against:

  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • an A/Texas/50/2012 (H3N2)-like virus
  • a B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus.

Some of the 2014-2015 flu vaccine was quadrivalent vaccine. In addition to the above three, quadrivalent vaccines were made to protect against an B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

Vaccines that give protection against three viruses are called trivalent vaccines. Vaccines that give protection against four viruses are called quadrivalent vaccines.

More information about influenza vaccines is available at Preventing Seasonal Flu With Vaccination.

How effective was the 2014-2015 flu vaccine?

CDC&rsquos end-of-season influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) estimates for the 2014-2015 season were presented to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on June 24, 2015. CDC&rsquos adjusted overall VE estimate against influenza A and B viruses for all ages was 23%. The adjusted VE estimate against influenza A (H3N2) viruses for all ages was 13%.

Reduced protection against influenza A (H3N2) viruses for the 2014-2015 season was attributed to the fact that more than 80% of circulating influenza A (H3N2) viruses analyzed at CDC were different or &ldquodrifted&rdquo from the recommended influenza A (H3N2) vaccine virus.

These vaccine effectiveness estimates were derived from data collected from the U.S. Flu VE Network from November 10, 2014, through April 10, 2015.

Was this season&rsquos vaccine a good match for circulating viruses?

Laboratory analysis of circulating flu viruses indicated that most of the influenza A (H3N2) viruses were antigenically or genetically different than the influenza A (H3N2) vaccine virus. This is probably why there was reduced vaccine effectiveness against those drifted influenza A (H3N2) viruses. However, the vaccine worked well against about one-third of circulating influenza A (H3N2) viruses that were similar to the recommended vaccine virus and against influenza A (H1N1) and influenza B viruses.

Why didn&rsquot the 2014-2015 season vaccine contain the right H3N2 virus?

Experts must pick which viruses to include in the vaccine many months in advance of the flu season in order for vaccine to be produced and delivered on time. And flu viruses change constantly they can change from one season to the next or they can even change within the course of one flu season. Because of these factors, there is always the possibility of a less than optimal match between circulating viruses and the viruses in the vaccine.

When the vaccine viruses for 2014-2015 were selected, A/Texas/50/2012 was the most common circulating influenza A (H3N2) virus, so it was chosen to be included in the vaccine. The drifted influenza A (H3N2) viruses that circulated during the 2014-2015 season were first detected during routine surveillance testing in late March 2014, after World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations external icon for the vaccine composition for the Northern Hemisphere formulation of the 2014-2015 vaccine were made (in mid-February). At that time, only a very small number of these viruses had been found among the thousands of specimens that had been collected and tested and there was no way to predict that they would circulate widely.

What did CDC do to monitor vaccine effectiveness during the 2014-2015 season?

CDC collaborates with other partners each season to assess how well the seasonal vaccines are working. During the 2014-2015 season, CDC completed multiple studies on the effectiveness of both the flu shot and the nasal-spray flu vaccine. These studies measured vaccine effectiveness in preventing laboratory-confirmed influenza among persons 6 months of age and older. See Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness, 2005-2015 for CDC&rsquos vaccine effectiveness estimates for the 2014-15 season.

What did CDC do to monitor antiviral resistance in the United States during the 2014-2015 season?

CDC routinely collects and monitors flu viruses for changes through an established network of domestic and global surveillance systems. One of the things that CDC looks for are changes in viruses that would make antiviral drugs less effective in treating or preventing infection. Additionally, CDC works with the state public health departments and the World Health Organization to collect additional information on antiviral resistance in the United States and worldwide. The information collected will assist in making informed recommendations regarding use of antiviral drugs to treat influenza.


IV. “The Ills That Slavery Frees Us From”

A merica begins in black plunder and white democracy , two features that are not contradictory but complementary. “The men who came together to found the independent United States, dedicated to freedom and equality, either held slaves or were willing to join hands with those who did,” the historian Edmund S. Morgan wrote. “None of them felt entirely comfortable about the fact, but neither did they feel responsible for it. Most of them had inherited both their slaves and their attachment to freedom from an earlier generation, and they knew the two were not unconnected.”

Slaves in South Carolina prepare cotton for the gin in 1862. (Timothy H. O’sullivan/Library of Congress)

When enslaved Africans, plundered of their bodies, plundered of their families, and plundered of their labor, were brought to the colony of Virginia in 1619, they did not initially endure the naked racism that would engulf their progeny. Some of them were freed. Some of them intermarried. Still others escaped with the white indentured servants who had suffered as they had. Some even rebelled together, allying under Nathaniel Bacon to torch Jamestown in 1676.

One hundred years later, the idea of slaves and poor whites joining forces would shock the senses, but in the early days of the English colonies, the two groups had much in common. English visitors to Virginia found that its masters “abuse their servantes with intollerable oppression and hard usage.” White servants were flogged, tricked into serving beyond their contracts, and traded in much the same manner as slaves.

This “hard usage” originated in a simple fact of the New World—land was boundless but cheap labor was limited. As life spans increased in the colony, the Virginia planters found in the enslaved Africans an even more efficient source of cheap labor. Whereas indentured servants were still legal subjects of the English crown and thus entitled to certain protections, African slaves entered the colonies as aliens. Exempted from the protections of the crown, they became early America’s indispensable working class—fit for maximum exploitation, capable of only minimal resistance.

For the next 250 years, American law worked to reduce black people to a class of untouchables and raise all white men to the level of citizens. In 1650, Virginia mandated that “all persons except Negroes” were to carry arms. In 1664, Maryland mandated that any Englishwoman who married a slave must live as a slave of her husband’s master. In 1705, the Virginia assembly passed a law allowing for the dismemberment of unruly slaves—but forbidding masters from whipping “a Christian white servant naked, without an order from a justice of the peace.” In that same law, the colony mandated that “all horses, cattle, and hogs, now belonging, or that hereafter shall belong to any slave” be seized and sold off by the local church, the profits used to support “the poor of the said parish.” At that time, there would have still been people alive who could remember blacks and whites joining to burn down Jamestown only 29 years before. But at the beginning of the 18th century, two primary classes were enshrined in America.

“The two great divisions of society are not the rich and poor, but white and black,” John C. Calhoun, South Carolina’s senior senator, declared on the Senate floor in 1848. “And all the former, the poor as well as the rich, belong to the upper class, and are respected and treated as equals.”

In 1860, the majority of people living in South Carolina and Mississippi, almost half of those living in Georgia, and about one-third of all Southerners were on the wrong side of Calhoun’s line. The state with the largest number of enslaved Americans was Virginia, where in certain counties some 70 percent of all people labored in chains. Nearly one-fourth of all white Southerners owned slaves, and upon their backs the economic basis of America—and much of the Atlantic world—was erected. In the seven cotton states, one-third of all white income was derived from slavery. By 1840, cotton produced by slave labor constituted 59 percent of the country’s exports. The web of this slave society extended north to the looms of New England, and across the Atlantic to Great Britain, where it powered a great economic transformation and altered the trajectory of world history. “Whoever says Industrial Revolution,” wrote the historian Eric J. Hobsbawm, “says cotton.”

In this artistic rendering by Henry Louis Stephens, a well-known illustrator of the era, a family is in the process of being separated at a slave auction. (Library of Congress)

The wealth accorded America by slavery was not just in what the slaves pulled from the land but in the slaves themselves. “In 1860, slaves as an asset were worth more than all of America’s manufacturing, all of the railroads, all of the productive capacity of the United States put together,” the Yale historian David W. Blight has noted. “Slaves were the single largest, by far, financial asset of property in the entire American economy.” The sale of these slaves—“in whose bodies that money congealed,” writes Walter Johnson, a Harvard historian—generated even more ancillary wealth. Loans were taken out for purchase, to be repaid with interest. Insurance policies were drafted against the untimely death of a slave and the loss of potential profits. Slave sales were taxed and notarized. The vending of the black body and the sundering of the black family became an economy unto themselves, estimated to have brought in tens of millions of dollars to antebellum America. In 1860 there were more millionaires per capita in the Mississippi Valley than anywhere else in the country.

Beneath the cold numbers lay lives divided. “I had a constant dread that Mrs. Moore, her mistress, would be in want of money and sell my dear wife,” a freedman wrote, reflecting on his time in slavery. “We constantly dreaded a final separation. Our affection for each was very strong, and this made us always apprehensive of a cruel parting.”

Forced partings were common in the antebellum South. A slave in some parts of the region stood a 30 percent chance of being sold in his or her lifetime. Twenty-five percent of interstate trades destroyed a first marriage and half of them destroyed a nuclear family.

When the wife and children of Henry Brown, a slave in Richmond, Virginia, were to be sold away, Brown searched for a white master who might buy his wife and children to keep the family together. He failed:

In a time when telecommunications were primitive and blacks lacked freedom of movement, the parting of black families was a kind of murder. Here we find the roots of American wealth and democracy—in the for-profit destruction of the most important asset available to any people, the family. The destruction was not incidental to America’s rise it facilitated that rise. By erecting a slave society, America created the economic foundation for its great experiment in democracy. The labor strife that seeded Bacon’s rebellion was suppressed. America’s indispensable working class existed as property beyond the realm of politics, leaving white Americans free to trumpet their love of freedom and democratic values. Assessing antebellum democracy in Virginia, a visitor from England observed that the state’s natives “can profess an unbounded love of liberty and of democracy in consequence of the mass of the people, who in other countries might become mobs, being there nearly altogether composed of their own Negro slaves.”


Bitcoin Timeline

Bitcoin itself did not exist until the late 2000s. Its origins, however, trace back to a few decades ago.

1982-1997

Specifically, we can trace it back as far as 1982. That is when computer scientist David Chaum first proposed the concept of e-Cash. Already concerned with privacy in the digital realm back in the early 80s, Chaum published a paper entitled "Blind signatures for untraceable payments" that detailed a new form of cryptography which he claimed could allow for an automated payment system where third parties could not see information on the payment.

Chaum tried to put this idea, which would create a blind signature system, to practical use in 1990 by creating DigiCash. DigiCash was a company founded in Amsterdam designed, as Bitcoin would be, to create a safe, secure online currency. Chaum&aposs reputation as a brilliant mind attracted both employees and venture capital alike, but the product itself never caught on and by the late 90s DigiCash was bankrupt.

Still, Chaum opened the floodgates for other cypherpunks with similar ambitions. In 1997, Adam Back invented hashcash, a proof-of-work system that would prove very similar to what Bitcoin uses.

Click here to learn more about proof-of-work.

This year saw the sudden emergence of two cryptocurrency ideas. In late 1998, Wei Dai released an essay detailing his idea for "b-money," a cryptocurrency whose exchange reads similarly to what the blockchain in Bitcoin would eventually become. The proof-of-work system creates the currency by solving a mathematical computation, and the transfer of money is broadcast to the network.

That same year, Nick Szabo put out a similar proposal for "Bit Gold." Szabo&aposs reasoning for alternative currency was to create something that did not require a third party, like a central bank, to create or manage it. Solving the proof-of-work gets you bits and the last bit of the string is used to create the string of the next transaction, similar to Bitcoin&aposs blockchain.

Neither of these proposals, however, came to fruition.

Those predecessors had tried and failed for two decades prior. Then, in 2008, came Bitcoin. In August of that year, Bitcoin.org was registered. Two months later, a whitepaper was published: "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System." The whitepaper&aposs idea had similar ambitions to the previously mentioned papers: secure digital signatures, not requiring the use of a third party, proof-of-work, and hashing the transactions together to form a chain.

Satoshi Nakamoto, an unknown person or group of people, wrote the Bitcoin paper.

Click here to learn more about the elusive Bitcoin founder.

Just a few days into 2009, the first-ever block of Bitcoins, known as the Genesis Block, was mined. By Jan. 9, the first iteration of Bitcoin software was released, and on Jan. 12, the first-ever bitcoin transaction occurred as Nakamoto sent 10 Bitcoins ( (BTC) ) to noted computer programmer and developer Hal Finney.

Toward the end of the year, in October, the New Liberty Standard publishes the first Bitcoin exchange rate in the young cryptocurrency&aposs history, deeming $1 to be worth 1,309.03 BTC. Nakamoto released the second version of the software in December.

With an exchange rate established, it was only a matter of time until someone attempted to make an actual purchase with Bitcoins. In May of 2010, it happened. Florida-based programmer Laszlo Hanyecz sent 10,000 BTC to a London man in exchange for two pizzas, valued at a total of $25. This still valued a single Bitcoin as a fraction of a penny, but with a purchase made, intrigued parties saw potential in the product. A couple of months later, Bitcoin&aposs value finally broke the penny threshold

A pivotal year for the exchange of Bitcoin, fittingly the first Bitcoin exchanges popped up in 2010 as well - Bitcoin Market in February, and Mt. Gox in July. Slush, the first mining pool, also mined Bitcoin successfully for the first time that year. Mining pools are where several miners combine resources to get Bitcoin. By November, the market cap for Bitcoin surpassed $1 million for the first time.

Not that it was all ups for Bitcoin. Someone spotted a vulnerability in Bitcoin&aposs protocol in October that allowed for transactions without proper verification and exploited it, generating 184 billion BTC. The transaction was soon erased and the vulnerability fixed.

Steadily making gains in value after finally passingਁ cent threshold, in February 2011 a major milestone occurred: 1 Bitcoin was worth $1 for the first time.

Bitcoin began receiving press - both good and bad. TIME Magazine published an article on Bitcoin for the first time, but the same year there was also an article on Gawker detailing Silk Road, the dark web drug market where Bitcoin was frequently used as payment. The publicity got people talking, and by June, Bitcoin was worth over $30. Soon after, it crashed back down to about $10.

Also in June, Mt. Gox dealt with a serious security breach that compromised tens of thousands of accounts and their Bitcoins. It would not be the first security issue Mt. Gox would deal with.

Click here to learn more about Mt. Gox&aposs history of hacks.

Still, Bitcoin was becoming an entity that more and more of the public knew about and interest in the cryptocurrency grew. This led to a rise in altcoins, other forms of cryptocurrency whose developers were either trying to improve upon Bitcoin or had created the digital coin for a different purpose. In 2011, Litecoin -- now the seventh-largest cryptocurrency by market cap -- debuted.

Click here for an overview of altcoins.

If 2011 was a਌hoppy year for Bitcoin, 2012 was smoother sailing. Among notable moments for਋itcoin on its way to becoming the world&aposs top digital coin was its crossing the $100 threshold in April.

Bitcoin&aposs price saw its share of ups and downs in 2013, but it passed a value of $1,000 for the first time and was becoming the most recognizable and successful wallet and exchange available.

2014-16

And then. it stalled for a while. Quickly in January 2014 it fell below $1,000 and struggled below the key level for a few years. A few things of note happened, like Crypto exchange Mt. Gox going bankrupt and shutting down, but this period mostly saw Bitcoin rising and falling somewhat while failing to reach its high.

2017, though, was the biggest and busiest year for Bitcoin. After spending 2016 desperately trying to claw its way back up, 2017 was when it finally reached and passed the $1,000 mark. It kept ascending. By June, Bitcoin was worth over $3,000.

Still, some Bitcoin users were frustrated with the network around this time as well. The rising number of Bitcoin miners meant higher fees and more time spent processing transactions, leading some to want an increase in block size. In August, this led to Bitcoin Cash (BCH) being created via a fork in the network. Bitcoin Cash is now the fifth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap.

Click here to learn more about blockchain forks.

Still, for the remainder of 2017 Bitcoin was on an upswing. By October, it was topping $6,000. It ended November at nearly $10,000, and by the end of December Bitcoin hit a peak of $19,783. More and more people and companies began chasing the trend as the price just kept rising. Unsurprisingly, it wouldn&apost continue that heady growth.

2018 has been a rough year for Bitcoin users, especially ones who held on assuming the price would keep ascending. Many sold their Bitcoins while they could, and the price has steadily dropped all year. As of this writing, Bitcoin&aposs price isਊt $6,542.78, a decline of 67%.


Jacob deGrom Stats

Jacob deGrom was born on Sunday, June 19, 1988, in DeLand, Florida. deGrom was 25 years old when he broke into the big leagues on May 15, 2014, with the New York Mets. His biographical data, year-by-year hitting stats, fielding stats, pitching stats (where applicable), career totals, uniform numbers, salary data and miscellaneous items-of-interest are presented by Baseball Almanac on this comprehensive Jacob deGrom baseball stats page.

"That's about as dominating a start of a game [box] as I've probably ever seen, and I've seen some pretty good pitching. The location was just outstanding. You look some of those called strikes and they were right -- I mean, right -- on the corners. Unbelievable. He threw any pitch he wanted to, whenever he wanted to." - New York Mets manager Terry Collins (Anthony DiComo, 09/16/2014, 'deGrom opens game with eight K's to tie MLB record', Source)


The Pro-Slavery History of the Southern Baptists

Last week, the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention was thrown into chaos by a proposal to condemn racism and the alt-right. This CNN article has a good timeline of how it played out:

The debate began when Rev. Dwight McKissic, a black pastor from Arlington, Texas, called on Southern Baptists to formally condemn the movement&rsquos &ldquoretrograde ideologies, xenophobic biases, and racial bigotries&rdquo and re-affirm its opposition to racism in the aftermath of a presidential election that saw the rise of a small movement of nationalist and white supremacists&hellip

This motion was rejected by the convention&rsquos Resolutions Committee. In response, McKissic asked for a floor vote calling on the committee to reconsider, but it failed to gain the required supermajority. A second floor vote urged by supporters of the motion failed as well.

Only after social media had kicked up a firestorm, and unfriendly stories were beginning to appear in the traditional media, did the SBC reconsider:

The Resolutions Committee, he said, recognized that they had made a mistake and unanimously voted to request something of a parliamentary do-over. Even though they had already formally closed their annual report, they requested permission from the convention to use open time the next day to hold a vote on a newly worded resolution that would condemn the philosophy of the alt-right.

This new resolution finally passed. So, I&rsquoll give the Southern Baptists some credit: they did the right thing by taking an official stand against racism. It&rsquos a positive step, albeit small, grudging, and belated, and I hope more comes of it.

Besides, us atheists shouldn&rsquot feel too superior. As PZ points out, the secular community hasn&rsquot issued any comparable statement opposing racism and white supremacy. On this issue, it&rsquos fair to say that the Southern Baptists are more progressive than us!

On the other hand, it could be argued that the SBC is starting from much further behind. As I&rsquove mentioned in the past, the denomination came into being for the express purpose of defending slavery. That&rsquos an ugly stain that they haven&rsquot done nearly enough to cleanse, this new resolution notwithstanding. Today, I want to provide some evidence for this.

The Southern Baptist denomination was formed in 1845 when Baptists split over a question of slaveholders as missionaries. Freed from the sensibilities of their Northern brethren, the Southern Baptists became strong and vocal advocates for slavery as a Biblical institution. As one leader, Dr. Richard Furman, wrote to the governor of South Carolina, &ldquothe right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example.&rdquo [see the whole text of this speech here]

Over the years, Southern Baptist deacons and pastors moved in and out of Ku Klux Klan leadership positions. In 1956 the minister of the largest Southern Baptist church in the nation testified before the South Carolina legislature, voicing his support for segregation.

And it&rsquos not as if this was a belief that had been handed down from antiquity, so old and well-established that few thought to question it. On the contrary, the Baptists of the South had previously held abolitionist sympathies. They became more pro-slavery in the years leading up to the Civil War:

Prior to the 1820s, many Baptists North and South were anti-slavery, reflective of larger views in the South at that time, a legacy of a pre-cotton economy. But by the mid-1840s Baptist sentiment in the South &mdash at least as expressed in denominational leadership &mdash largely perceived the enslavement of blacks as ordained of God.

&hellipLargely comprised of slaveholders, the gathering at the First Baptist Church of Augusta, Georgia, in May 1845 publicly endorsed the peculiar institution. Slavery was biblical, abolition sinful. Baptists of the North were wrong to oppose slavery. Abolitionists bore responsibility for the Baptist division. Baptists of the South had been patient with the agitators, but enough was enough.

They weren&rsquot shy about deploying religious justifications, insisting that slavery was a blessing straight from God:

In Alabama, one Baptist news editor in 1850 said of slavery, &ldquoAs a question of morals, it is between us and God &hellip as a question of political economy, it is with us alone, as free and independent states.&rdquo The same year, Alabama&rsquos Bethel Baptist Association, reflecting Calvinistic theology, insisted the master-slave relationship was the product of God&rsquos providence. In 1856 an Alabama Baptist labeled slavery &ldquoas much an institution of Heaven as marriage.&ldquo

An 1861 Baptist sermon, &ldquoThe Scriptural Vindication of Slavery&ldquo, highlighted the many passages throughout the Bible that endorse slavery and treat it as natural and unobjectionable:

Slavery forms a vital element of the Divine Revelation to man. Its institution, regulation, and perpetuity, constitute a part of many of the books of the Bible&hellip

Both Christianity and Slavery are from Heaven both are blessings to humanity both are to be perpetuated to the end of time and therefore both have been protected and defended by God&rsquos omnipotent arm from the assaults, oppositions and persecutions through which they have passed.

And when the smoldering conflict over slavery erupted in the Civil War, Southern Christians of all stripes leapt to battle with the certainty that God was on their side. I can&rsquot resist quoting this piece from the Atlantic:

Southern preachers and theologians chimed in with fully as much fervor, in claiming that God was on their side. A writer for the Southern quarterly, DeBow&rsquos Review, insisted that since &ldquothe institution of slavery accords with the injunctions and morality of the Bible,&rdquo the Confederate nation could therefore expect a divine blessing &ldquoin this great struggle.&rdquo

For the slaveholders, their loss wasn&rsquot just a military defeat, but a theological catastrophe that they struggled to explain:

&ldquoCan we believe in the justice of Providence,&rdquo lamented Josiah Gorgas, the Confederacy&rsquos chief of ordnance, &ldquoor must we conclude we are after all wrong?&rdquo Or even worse, wailed one despairing Louisianan, &ldquoI fear the subjugation of the South will make an infidel of me. I cannot see how a just God can allow people who have battled so heroically for their rights to be overthrown.&rdquo

The Southern Baptist Convention has scarcely begun to reckon with this history, and it&rsquoll take more than one denominational resolution in 2017 to complete the task.

More to the point, while they&rsquove managed to condemn one evil, they&rsquore fervently endorsing others. They&rsquore still anti-LGBT-rights, anti-choice, and anti-women&rsquos-equality, among other things. Like the Mormons, they&rsquove learned nothing from the errors of history, and haven&rsquot let their past failures sway them from believing that their current prejudices are any more rational.

Image: An anti-slavery woodcut, originally created by the Society for the Abolition of Slavery in England, adapted by the American Anti-Slavery Society for John Greenleaf Whittier&rsquos 1837 poem &ldquoOur Countrymen in Chains&ldquo image via Library of Congress


Arms & Accessories Day Firearms Auction #2046

The newest of RIAC's auction formats, the A&A Day Auctions have skyrocketed in popularity since their introduction and are being scheduled with increasing frequency. Different from typical timed “online auctions,” these events utilize a live stream of our licensed auctioneers to conduct the auction. With the exception of a live audience and physical catalog, it is exactly like our other auctions.

Lot 148 : Winchester Model 94 Lever Action Rifle Lot 254 : Lake City 7.62 Nato Match Ammunition Lot 271 : Pre-Ban Colt AR-15 SP1 Semi-Automatic Rifle Lot 743 : Belgian Browning .22 Semi-Automatic Rifle with Box Lot 607 : Walther Model 4 Semi-Automatic Pistol Lot 799 : Colt Black Powder Series Model 1861 Rifle-Musket

Watch the video: ANNI - SEVEN YEARS