Things That Matter

The Value Of Bitcoin Appears To Correlate To The Value Of Avocados And Economists Are Left To Figure Out Why

What if we told you that there’s a correlation between the value of the humble avocado and the ever-mysterious bitcoin? But wait, it’s not what you’re thinking – bitcoin hasn’t suddenly become as affordable as an avocado, nor are avocados now overwhelmingly expensive. Rather, there’s a relationship between the indexes used to track the value of bitcoin and our beloved avocados. And, if we’ve lost you there when we started using words like “indexes,” you’ve come to the right place: we’ll explain.

Let’s start with the correlation between avocados and bitcoin.

Basically, the tea is that one astute observer on Twitter realized that if you look at a graph showing the values of bitcoin and avocado for 2019 beside each other, you’d see that both seem to rise and fall around the same times. The implications of this freaked people out, because if you’ve got the ability to map avocado prices, then maybe, just maybe, you could predict bitcoin prices, too. And remember when bitcoin was worth a lot of money? It meant that people could potentially get richfrom predicting the value of bitcoin. And who doesn’t want to get rich?

You’ve probably guessed that this is where economics comes into it: don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you.

Firstly, it’s important to know what we’re talking about when we say “index price.” It’s basically like the average price of a product, globally. It’s this that shows, in mathematical terms, the ebb and flow of “supply” and “demand” – two processes that form the foundations of economic thinking. The idea is that the value of something is determined by how much of it there is, and also how much people want to buy it.

But it’s all about supply and demand…

Instagram / @fincasagrada

Probably the best way to think about supply and demand is in terms of when fruits, like avocados, are in season. Because when avocados are in season, and lots are growing, it means that supermarkets will have plenty to sell to their customers – they have a large supply. They’ll want to sell it quickly so that they can a) make a profit, and b) do so before the avocados go bad. So, they make them cheap, or less valuable, to encourage people to buy more avocados.

At the same time, though, this process also depends on how much people want to buy avocados.

Credit: avoseedo / Instagram

If there’s a sudden craze for avocado on toast, and all of the avocados are bought from the supermarket before they can satisfy every customer’s craving, this means that demand has outstripped the supply. This can drive the price up, as the supermarket knows that people really want the avocados, and so they’ll get away with charging higher prices for them.

Supply and demand isn’t always so straight forward – which is why people are looking for a correlation between Bitcoin and another tangible commodity to begin with.

Credit: 7pmfortune / Instagram

All of this is pretty much the basis for economic thinking. Of course, it’s a bit more complicated – a whole bunch of different things can affect supply and demand, such as local politics, the environment, international diplomacy and agreements, the media, and even speculation from experts. 

But what about Bitcoin?

Instagram / @criptoinvestimentosdd

The same process of supply and demand also works with bitcoin. Even though it’s an online currency, it’s protected by software called “blockchain.” The purpose of blockchain is to basically ensure that you’re buying and selling with safe, legitimate bitcoin – remember, at the end of the day, bitcoin is made from software, so it is theoretically vulnerable to issues like viruses and counterfeiting. Blockchain technology secures it so well that so far, no-one’s been able to infect it, or produce counterfeits.

Bitcoin’s always had an aura of mystery around it – and not just because it’s difficult to “mine” bitcoin, or predict its value.

Instagram / @lisabello441

The weird thing about bitcoin is that no-one knows who actually invented the whole thing. It just kinda popped up one day, ready for people to use with transactions. There’s a lot of theories out there about who created bitcoin, and why they released it the way they did. The technology for bitcoin is so clever and complex, whoever created it is basically the next Steve Jobs. It’s possible that they just didn’t want the chaos of everyone knowing that they invented bitcoin – and created a pseudonym to protect themselves. The other thing is that, by not telling anyone the inner workings of bitcoin, it means that bitcoin is more secure and legitimate: no-one knows how to make it from scratch, or corrupt it.

So now that you know all of this, you probably want to know how exactly avocados and bitcoin are connected. Well, while we’ve gone on this whole rollercoaster of an explainer, the moral of the story is that while there is a correlation between avocado and bitcoin prices, they don’t cause each other to change in value. The price of avocados and bitcoin just coincidentally rose and fell at the same time. Correlation does not equal causation. But you didn’t learn all of that for nothing: you now know enough about it  to understand this terrible joke …

50 Families In Mexico Living On $3 A Day Will Live In The World’s First 3D Printed Neighborhood

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50 Families In Mexico Living On $3 A Day Will Live In The World’s First 3D Printed Neighborhood

New Story Charity / Facebook

Silicon Valley has become the global epicenter for the development of new technologies, but for every great development when it comes to benefiting humanity, there are hundreds that just seem, no offense, just a bit silly and unnecessary. 3D printing has become the latest real revolution in the tech industry, as it allows objects that are originally designed digitally to become a real physical object.

Of course, people have mainly used 3D printing to make banal objects like toys and chocolate, but this technology has also been used for amazing purposes such as rebuilding old objects studied by archaeologists or printing body parts for disabled patients. So a new initiative in Mexico that caters for the most vulnerable. 

But what is 3D printing exactly? And how on Earth can you print a house?

The technology is not new. In fact, most of the basic knowledge around it was achieved in the 1980s, but it sort of faded away. The increased capacity of processors has triggered a 3D printing revolution. 3D printing is basically laying layer upon layer of any given material, which is generally some sort of plastic but has included substances such as chocolate (yes, really!) and in the case of 3D printed houses, cement.

The home-building process with giant printers becomes so much quicker and ultimately cheaper, as manual labor is kept to a minimum and materials are very basic. Another advantage is that errors are kept to a minimum so homes are safe particularly in regions that are prone to natural disasters such as flooding or earthquakes. Materials can be carefully chosen and issues such as leaks become minimal due to the tightness of the construction. 

A community in Mexico will get these 3D printed houses and that is just awesome.

Millions of Mexicans live in extreme poverty, and some of them survive in makeshift homes made out of wood, plastic, tin and basically scraps. This puts them in an even more vulnerable position as floods, fires or any other disaster can basically leave them with nothing at any point. Developers in the southern Mexican state of Tabasco have built the first two of the 50 printed houses they are aiming to complete by the end of 2020.

Brett Hagler, CEO and co-founder of New Story, the nonprofit building the community, told CNN: “These families are the most vulnerable, and in the lowest income … and they’re living on about an average of $3 a day.”

And he continued: “They’re living in literally a pieced-together shack that during the rainy season, it will rain and it will flood their shack. Some of the women even said that the water will go up to their knees when it rains, sometimes for month.”

Rains not only bring financial ruin, but also lead to epidemics of life-threatening conditions such as cholera or dengue, which is spread by the mosquitoes that thrive in stagnated water. We also love how the design keeps some traditional elements of houses in the area. Well done, everyone.

This might be the future of affordable housing, and it has been made possible by cooperation between great minds and hearts on both sides of the border.

Credit: CNN / YouTube

When great minds and generous hearts get together good things happen. These houses are the result of binational cooperation between US companies and Mexican nonprofits (yes, people from these two countries can and have done great things together).

As CNN reports: “New Story is a nonprofit that helps families in need of shelter. It has built more than 2,700 homes in South America and Mexico since it was founded in 2014. This is the first homebuilding project it’s done with 3D printing. The nonprofit paired up with ICON, a construction technology company that developed the 3D-printing robotics being used on the project. ÉCHALE, a nonprofit in Mexico, is helping find local families to live in the homes.”

See? Great things really do happen when political differences are set aside and we find our common humanity. The lives of families in this new 3D printed neighborhood will really improve and instead of merely surviving they will get on living. 

Want To Learn About The Indigenous History Of Your Neighborhood? This New App Will Help You

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Want To Learn About The Indigenous History Of Your Neighborhood? This New App Will Help You

Native Lands

For all the (let’s be absolutely honest here!) banal uses of social media out there, sometimes developers use the geolocative capabilities of smartphones to make the world a more inclusive place. This app looks at the history of a place and reveals how it was originally organized by the traditional owners of the land before processes of colonization and dispossession reshaped the maps of what is now known as the Americas. Digital media allows us to visualize things that are already there, so next time you step on indigenous land you can quietly acknowledge it. 

Through location, the Native Land app lets you unearth the indigenous heritage of a place.

Credit: Native Land

The app was developed in Canada, a country which was a complex network of indigenous groups before French and British colonial powers redrew the map. The app can be accessed both through mobile devices (it works on iOS and Android) and through a browser based map. It includes key information such as a group’s language, name and whether the land was ceded (most likely by force or through a deceptive deal) through a treaty. It is a work in progress, so bear with the developers please!

They state before you even start looking for the indigenous past of a territory based on your postcode: “This map does not represent or intend to represent official or legal boundaries of any Indigenous nations. To learn about definitive boundaries, contact the nations in question. Also, this map is not perfect — it is a work in progress with tons of contributions from the community. Please send us fixes if you find errors”. So if you have information that the developers could use to make the app more precise, they are more than open to new findings that could make this collaborative tool a more accurate representation of the indigenous imprint on a place. Ready to find out more about the place that you call home? Click here

Remember: maps are only political and not set on stone, so the map you know was drawn by colonial powers.

Credit: Native Land

Contrary to what we might believe, maps are hardly set on stone. In fact, how a territory is named and where boundaries sit is evidence of historical processes through which lands are taken. Just look at this map of North America and think about all the blood that has been shed by the original owners of the land just so we can identify just three countries today. There were hundreds of discreet ethnic groups in Canada, Mexico and the United States before the European superpowers of Britain, France and Spain landed and created havoc. 

But the past is past, right? So why should we care? Well, we should care, a lot, particularly in today’s political climate. Let’s take this map of the California area as an example.

Credit: Native Land

So why is becoming familiar with the indigenous past of place important? Because it tells us that the borders that exist today are practically a human invention rather than something set on stone, and that unless you have indigenous heritage we are all guests. California, for example, was populated by a wide variety of peoples who were conquered by the Spanish or assimilated into mestizo culture through religion and language. So when white supremacists get all “America for the Americans” on Brown folk, they should be reminded that the land is and has always been indigenous. 

And this map of Australia is just nuts! Can you believe that colonial settlers have tried to make this country fully white and monolingual in the past?

Credit: Native Land

Australia is a young country that nevertheless has faced racism due to the aires de grandeza of some colonial settlers. Even though there has been a formal apology from the government towards aboriginal Australians, and there are constant acknowledgements to the fact that the land was never ceded, there remain great challenges to make the country truly inclusive for those who owned and thrived in the land in the first place. Just looking at this map makes you think of the wide variety of languages and traditions that existed in the island before the Dutch and English arrived