Best TruStories of the Week - #10


#22

Claim: WhatsApp is limiting users to forward only 5 texts at a time

Category: Regulation

Source: Reuters

My Stake: 20 credits challenge

My Argument/Evidence: The article quotes Facebook’s VP for policy and communication, Victoria Grand, “We’re imposing a limit of five messages all over the world as of today.” The article was posted on January 21, 2019. It is 8 days later and I pulled a little experiment by forwarding a message to more than 5 groups/people (thanks, Mom/Dad/Bro/Sis for letting me spam all our groups :family_man_woman_boy_boy: ). All the forwarded messages went through… Maybe I didn’t forward spam enough people to get blocked? :woman_shrugging:t4:


#23

Claim: 1 mid-size cruise ships emit enough particulates as 1 million cars

Category: Energy

Source: Joe Rogan’s Instagram

My Stake: 10 credits challenge

My Argument/Evidence:

  • Validation #1: Cruise ships use up to 150 metric tonnes of fuel in a day.

I calculated a simple conversion using this data. From this article, I estimated the average fuel burn rate for a midsize ship for 24 hours. I then converted it to metric tonnes with using the petroleum products conversion, not standard gasoline conversion. I did this because most cruise ships use a combination of heavy fuel oil or marine gas oil. Both are heavier than car gasoline making the conversion different. This conversion table is a good reference. My results estimated about 144 metric tonnes of fuel used in a day.

Data below:

  • Validation #2: Cruise ships emit enough particulates as 1 million cars

For this, I took the average mileage a car drives in a year (source) and converted it to a daily mileage. From there, I calculated how many gallons of gas used per car, assuming 24.7 mpg (source). Then it was applied to 1 million cars. Using this chart from the EPA for CO2 emissions, I calculated the pounds of CO2 emitted for 1 million cars to 1 cruise ships. One huge error factor, the 1 million cars didn’t account for electric cars which have almost emissions or extremely fuel efficient cars. My results estimated that a cruise ships emits less CO2 than 1 million cars.

Data below:

  • This was one simple calculation with many broad assumptions. Since I only calculated CO2 particulate emissions and not all the other ones that is emitted, who knows.

#24

Claim : The State Bank of India just leaked sensitive banking data on millions of customers.

Category : Hacks

Source : https://twitter.com/APompliano/status/1090692839112171522

My Stake : Back claim (50 Cred)

My Argument/Evidence :

I found 3 evidences : here ,here and here

Techdipper article and Indiatoday article cite Techcrunch article.

  • From Techcrunch article :

But the bank had not protected the server with a password, allowing anyone who knew where to look to access the data on millions of customers’ information.

It’s not known for how long the server was open, but long enough for it to be discovered by a security researcher, who told TechCrunch of the leak, but did not want to be named for the story.

The passwordless database allowed us to see all of the text messages going to customers in real time, including their phone numbers, bank balances and recent transactions.

We verified the data by asking India-based security researcher Karan Saini to send a text message to the system. Within seconds, we found his phone number in the database, including the text message he received back.

  • From Techdipper article :

SBI is yet to officially verify and comment on this critical oversight


#25

Claim: Google does not sell its users data because it is more valuable for them to keep it than sell it

Category: Hacks

Source: https://www.androidcentral.com/does-google-sell-your-data

My Stake: This claim might not qualify by TruStory standards since there might be no definite answer for this one but I would like to present arguments backing and challenging this claim and add back/challenge CREDs individually

So far my overall score is Challenge CRED 50. But I will still look for challenge/back claims on this!

Backing CRED #1 - 50 CRED
The primary argument backing the claim in this post is Google generates most of its revenue from custom Ad space which is generated using the user data collected from various devices and services owned by Google and hence it is going to create a huge loss for Google to sell that data to any third party.

Challenging CRED #1 - 50 CRED
The Ad revenue generation alone cannot be good reasoning to assume that companies won’t compromise user data for further gains. Facebook is a good example of this after the Cambridge Analytica Scandal.
Facebook generates over 30 billion US dollars on Advertisements.

If you look at Google revenue you find it is near 30 billion US dollars.

Backing CRED #2 - 50 CRED

Google’s business model for advertisements is completely different from Facebook. Google allows advertisers to connect with consumers through keyword searches while Facebook generates revenue primarily from targeted advertising and user data. Google has a huge ecosystem and innovative technology to harness user data to further benefit their business revenue. Google is helping other businesses find more customers through their ad model based on user searches. Facebook, on the other hand, does not have enough technology, ecosystem to harness the user data they collect to their own benefit. But they, in turn, has more deep user data on social behavior and which can be used to identify new businesses rather than more customers for themselves. So for Google it is higher business value to preserve user data than Facebook.

https://www.wordstream.com/facebook-vs-google

Challenging CRED #2 - 50 CRED

Google and Facebook are internet platform monopolists. They can exert tremendous influence through their control of how people use the internet. The degree of monopoly is so huge that consumers do not care much or do not have other alternatives even if these enterprises sell user data. This post says that very well when Facebook could recover their lost revenue after Cambridge Analytica in a short span of time.

Challenge CRED #3 - 50 CRED

Even though Google provides the option for users to opt-out of interest-based ads that does not mean they do not stop collecting user data. What they will do is they will stop associating the user data with a unique advertising ID generated for you. So there is no way of escaping Google collecting your personal data if you use Google services or products. As long as they are collecting user data nobody can assume what they are going to do with it!.


#26

Thank you @paulapivat for breaking down the arguments and providing us with the suggestions for analyzing the claim. Impressive.

I’m still trying to understand the debate but I found three other sources with interesting discussions which maybe helpful for others to ponder upon.

  1. Analysis of the medium post on youtube breaking down the entire post and specifically Zamfir’s views on Szabo’s law.

  2. Medium posts based debate between Vlad Zamfir, Vitalik Buterin and CleanApp

Here is Vlad’s take on Autonomous blockchains;

The blockchain’s security makes it a source of trust because it’s difficult for anyone to influence the blockchain. On the other hand, that same security makes it equally difficult for anyone to interfere with the blockchain to prevent harm.

Source : Blockchains Considered (Potentially) Harmful

^which he links to his article about Blockchain governance and Autonomous Blockchain

I’m certain that autonomous blockchains will be inevitably be weaponized , and I’m also sure that it is our responsibility to do what we can to prevent people from attacking innocent bystanders using our software as a weapon . At an absolute minimum.

The entire Medium debate is listed here.

Vitalik’s reply to Vlad Zamfir on anti-immutability

I replied why I disagree with your anti-immutability position (not the same as disagreeing with anti-immutability in general!)

  1. A reddit thread

I should go read and understand Szabo’s work on ‘social scalability’

Off the charts.
1.Nick Szabo seems to have blocked Vlad Zamfir on twitter after the medium post.

  1. It is interesting to see all these debates happening in public space for everyone to actively participate or understand unlike the traditional governance discussions happening behind closed doors.

#27

I’m going to Back this claim for 100 TruStake.

I generally agree with Vlad’s argument #1 (Continuing to follow Szabo’s law will make cryptocurrency illegal in many jurisdictions) and argument #2 (The consequences of “autonomous software” is impossible to predict the number of ways it could go wrong)

yes. I’d consider the controversy over the parity hack a great example of this. See here

yeah, Vlad’s description of autonomous software is accurate.

I don’t think Szabo directly said this, but there is an Szabo wrote in 1997 on smart contracts where he says, “I argue that the formalizations of our relationships—especially contracts—provide the blueprint for ideal security.”

yes, Vlad states the definition of Legal systems in the beginning of his article: “Legal systems are protocols for the management of disputes”.

I believe that disputes among different parties in any relationship/system can’t be fully predicted in advance, hence I agree that autonomous software makes us less flexible.

I agree. Immutability is a feature, not a goal. For immutability to mean something, it has to offer something valuable that you are willing to pay the cost for (e.g. traceability).

I agree for the same reason above. If humans are unable to make decisions when disputes happen due to autonomous software, then that means humans are not represented.

Lastly, the points below made by Vlad are something I strongly agree with:


#28

Update :

“Basis our initial probe, we hereby confirm that SBI’s data continue to remain secure and all profiles and financial records of our customers are safe,” a bank spokesperson said in a note. “The bank is continuing its investigation into all the components of the ecosystem to ascertain that there is no other impact.”

I would gladly show evidence to anyone who thinks they’re affected.


#29

Claim: One of Germany’s largest stock exchanges launches cryptocurrency trading app

Category: Markets

Source:

https://www.boerse-stuttgart.de/en/investing/get-started-with-cryptocurrencies/bison-app/

https://cointelegraph.com/news/germanys-2nd-largest-stock-exchange-boerse-stuttgart-launches-crypto-trading-app

My Stake: Back Claim (100 CRED)

Argument/Evidence:

Video Commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAWbiI6N29g&feature=youtu.be

Status: Confirmed


#30

Claim: Only Two of the Top 50 Most Popular DApps Run on Ethereum.

Category: Ethereum

Source: https://www.longhash.com/news/only-two-of-the-top-50-most-popular-dapps-run-on-ethereum

My Stake: Challenge claim (50 Cred)

My Argument/Evidence: The article refers to DappRadar as its only evidence, while there’re other ranking platforms like Dapp and State of the DApps that says otherwise!

Also, DappRadar’s rank is based on (last 24h) active users as its main metric, while it’s not the only metric on the other platforms.


#31

Claim : Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis

Category : Old Wives’ Tales

Source : My mother, grandmother, random people everywhere

My Stake : Challenge (100 cred)

My Argument/Evidence : I always believed this was true. My mom always told me not to crack my knuckles. My gramma, everyone… so when my son started doing it, I told him it would give him arthritis. He said that he didn’t believe that and told me to “ask Siri if it was true.” So we did… and I found all these articles and studies that disproved it. Some say it could potentially lead to reduced hand strength over time but that doesn’t seem to be proven either.

There is a lot of evidence against this, but I’ll reference this Harvard Health article.

Once we start accepting kids as enthusiasts, I’ll have him apply to be a Junior Trustorian… because apparently he’s a natural!


What types of information is there the most misinformation about?
#32

Claim: Electric cars create more air pollution than ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles. The pollution is just further up the supply chain than out of the exhaust pipe. AKA ‘the long tailpipe theory.’

Category: Electric vehicles

Source:


Many others including Bitcoin programmer Jimmy Song on a podcast with Tone Vays mentioned this same ‘long tailpipe argument.’

My Stake: Challenge with 100 TruStake

My Argument/Evidence: The common claim is that the coal and other fossil fuels burned to generate electricity end up creating more pollution than that emitted from the tailpipe of a traditional ICE vehicle. This claim has been debunked many times but it’s surprising how often it resurfaces.

A study by the Union of Concerned Scientists shows that (based on EPA data up to 2014) an electric vehicle in the US produces the equivalent of 73 MPG of emissions on average. The average ICE powered car achieves only 24.7 MPG.


The UCS also has a nifty calculator where you can enter your zip code and car model number and if will tell you how much CO2 you emit while driving.

Just as an example, here’s a screenshot of with my hometown’s zip code and my current EV compared to a gasoline-only vehicle. The Tesla Model 3 in 06516 creates only 83 grams of CO2e per mile compared to the gasoline-powered car at 381.

The zip code takes into account the source of energy that powers the electric grid used to charge the vehicle.

A European study has similar conclusions when comparing diesel vehicles with electric stating that “Electric vehicles emit less greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than diesel engine cars – even when powered by the most carbon-intensive electricity.”



The study shows that even when charged with an electric grid completely powered by coal --the dirtiest source of fuel, an EV is still cleaner.


#33

Love this one @jtierney! 100% backing your evidence


#34

A few more points:

  • The electric grid in the US (and many other countries) is getting cleaner every year with more renewable sources being added.

Here’s a map of the US comparing the MPG equivalent difference from 2009 to 2014

.

  • There are some reports that the environmental impact of manufacturing an electric car is the same or slightly greater than that of a traditional vehicle. But the lower emissions rate quickly makes up for this. And as economies of scale are reached the manufacturing process will get more efficient and cleaner. For example, Tesla’s Gigafactory is scheduled to run on 100% wind and solar by the end of 2019. https://cleantechnica.com/2018/08/27/tesla-gigafactory-to-be-powered-100-by-tesla-solar-by-end-of-2019/

  • Even if electric cars created a net environmental impact equal to ICE vehicles, which they don’t, there are numerous other environmental benefits. You don’t need as many charging stations as gas stations because most people charge at home. Fewer trips to a from gas stations means less overall traffic. Many EV owners install solar power to charge their cars and homes. Even if they are charged from a dirty source of electricity EVs don’t spread that pollution around cities while driving like ICE cars do. They are actually cheaper to run than a gas car in every US state, and have far fewer moving parts to maintain.


#35

Thank you, Rena :smile:


#36

A good claim and post! I will also Challenge this (100 Cred).


#37

Claim : The European Union’s antitrust authority has charged eight unnamed banks with operating a cartel in trading euro zone government bonds between 2007 and 2012, years when the financial crisis dragged down banks and countries.

Category : Banking

Source : https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-antitrust-banks/eu-charges-eight-banks-over-euro-government-bond-trading-cartel-idUSKCN1PP1UA

My Stake : Backing this with 100 Cred.

My Argument/Evidence : This is all over the news, and here’s the press release by European Commission: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-804_en.htm

“The Commission has concerns that, at different periods between 2007 and 2012, the eight banks participated in a collusive scheme that aimed at distorting competition when acquiring and trading European government bonds (“EGBs”). Traders employed by the banks exchanged commercially sensitive information and coordinated on trading strategies. These contacts would have taken place mainly - but not exclusively - through online chatrooms.”

Random note: interesting discussions on this @ Hacker News forum: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19052587


#38

Backing this claim for 100 TruStake. Amazing evidence and argument. You convinced me @jtierney


#39

Claim: "There’s no such thing as being 1% towards solving a block. You don’t make progress towards solving it. After working on it for 24 hours, your chances of solving it are equal to what your chances were at the start or at any moment." - Satoshi

Category: Mining

Source: https://twitter.com/NakamotoQuotes/status/1089986117888364545

My Stake: Back (50 Cred)

My Argument/Evidence: Putting this out there as it was confusing to me at first. I had believed essentially this before:

That you’d start at some number X and continually exhaust possibilities until you find the correct solution. Apparently, mining is more like Roulette or a Coin Flip than a Race (see Gambler’s Fallacy for more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambler’s_fallacy).

This was a good response:

So basically Jurgen above is saying that may have an exhaustible number of nonces, but you can always change the transactions included to restart. I think the following chart gives a good overview (credit: Berkley CS198.1x - https://courses.edx.org/courses/course-v1:BerkeleyX+CS198.1x+2T2018/course/)

Step 2:

Create the block with the given transactions and necessary metadata, such as time, version, and target.

  • Construct the block data from our list of valid transactions.
  • Construct the Merkle Root by hashing the hashes of each pair of transactions
  • Construct the Previous Block Hash by hashing the previous block’s header

Additional resource: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Block_hashing_algorithm


#40

Claim: Alan Turing came out to Joan Clarke months after their engagement.

*Category : History Facts

Source: Movie : The Imitation game

My Stake: Challenge claim (100 cred)

My Argument/Evidence: I found a video interview of Joan Clarke refuting the claim.

Above video is a part of a documentary named The Strange Life and Death of Dr Turing

This is not to point a finger towards a very well made movie (historical drama based on true story) and of course the movie does not make an explicit claim as such.


#41

Claim : Etymology of the word “Serendipity” is unique. It doesn’t come from the Greek or Latin. Horace Walpole coined the term because he felt it was a quality possessed by the protagonists of the story “The Three Princes of Serendip”.

Category: Word Origins

Source: https://www.quora.com/What-is-serendipity/answer/Dushka-Zapata

My Stake: Back claim (100 cred)

My Argument/Evidence : I found multiple evidences confirming the origin of the word : here, here and here on wikipedia which I pasted below.

The first noted use of “serendipity” in the English language was by Horace Walpole in 1754. In a letter he wrote to his friend Horace Mann, Walpole explained an unexpected discovery he had made about a lost painting of Bianca Cappello by Giorgio Vasari by reference to a Persian fairy tale, The Three Princes of Serendip .