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Daily Archives: August 14, 2014

Consumer advisory: Virtual currencies and what you should know about them

CFPB: “You may have heard about virtual currencies like Bitcoin, XRP, and Dogecoin. But what are virtual currencies? What’s this “to the moon!” business on the internet about? And, as a consumer, what risks should you be aware of? While virtual currencies offer the potential for innovation, a lot of big issues have yet to be resolved – some of which are critical, including:

  • Virtual currencies are targets for hackers who have been able to breach sophisticated security systems in order to steal funds
  • Virtual currencies can cost consumers more to use than credit cards or even regular cash once you take exchange rate issues into consideration
  • Fraudsters are taking advantage of the hype surrounding virtual currencies to cheat people with fake opportunities
  • If you trust a company to hold your virtual currencies and something goes wrong, that company may not offer you the kind of help you expect from your bank or debit or credit card provider

Check out our consumer advisory for more things that you should think about if you’re considering using virtual currencies and links to other useful resources.”

After the Boom–Commodity Prices and Economic Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean

IMF, Bertand Gruss, August 14, 2014. Working Paper No. 14/154. “After skyrocketing over the past decade, commodity prices have remained stable or eased somewhat since mid-2011—and most projections suggest they are not likely to resume the upward trend observed in the last decade. This paper analyzes what this turn in the commodity price cycle may imply forContinue Reading

Flood Vulnerability Assessment

“Flood hazard information from FEMA has been combined with EIA’s energy infrastructure layers as a tool to help state, county, city, and private sector planners assess which key energy infrastructure assets are vulnerable to rising sea levels, storm surges, and flash flooding. Note that flood hazard layers must be zoomed-in to street level before theyContinue Reading

First Steps for Managing Born-Digital Content Received on Physical Media

You’ve Got to Walk Before You Can Run: First Steps for Managing Born-Digital Content Received on Physical Media, by Ricky Erway, OCLC Research “This report is intended for anyone who doesn’t know where to begin in managing born-digital materials. It errs on the side of simplicity and describes what is truly necessary to start managing born-digital contentContinue Reading

Looking under the Hood of the Subprime Auto Lending Market

“Today, the New York Fed released the Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit for the second quarter of 2014. Aggregate debt was relatively flat in the second quarter as housing-related debt shrank, held down by sluggish mortgage originations. But non-housing debt balances increased across the board, with especially strong gains in auto loans. Auto loan balances,Continue Reading

Senator Schumer Calls On Regulators to Make Fitness Data Private

EPIC – Senator Charles Schumer has denounced the data collection practices of “activity trackers” such as FitBit. “Activity trackers” are mobile devices that record highly personal information about the wearer and constantly analyze the wearer’s activities, including their diet, exercise, sleep, and even sexual habits. However, it is not clear whether federal privacy law protects this personal data fromContinue Reading

Where We Came From, State by State – Graphics

New York Times: “The movement of people among the states can have a bigger influence than immigration on society. We charted how Americans have moved since 1900.” See also via Scout: New Upshot Tool Provides Historical Look at Migration Migration Study Shows Illinois Residents Bolt State For Warm Climates American Migration [Interactive Map] A State-by-StateContinue Reading