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 …

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11 Free Classes To Help You Walkout Of Quarantine As A Better Version Of Yourself

Things That Matter

11 Free Classes To Help You Walkout Of Quarantine As A Better Version Of Yourself

asisebaila/ Instagram

OK…so most of us have now been under stay-at-home quarantine orders for a few weeks now. And although I’ve alternated mostly between getting some work done and then eating (not well, I might add) and sleeping – I’ve been interested in trying to do something different during all of this.

Sure I could binge watch all the new series on Netflix or endlessly scroll through my Facebook and Instagram feeds, but I’m already bored with that. So what’s one to do?

Here is a roundup of some of the top free, fun, and cool classes that you can take online right now to help keep yourself busy:

Brush Up On Your Latin American History With A University Professor

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We all know that we’re taught very little – if anything at all – about Latinx culture in the United States. Thankfully, we have access to great online resources, our families, and Latino literature to help keep us informed. Well now you can also sign up for the University of Houston’s Latin American History Through the Novel course.

Channel That Inner Creativity Into Art

Brit + Co is offering all of their classes for free during the pandemic. All you have to do to take advantage of their top-selling courses is use the code SELFCARE at checkout and you’ll quickly be learning how to decorate cakes, take wedding photos, improve your Instagram skills, and so much more.

Become A Tech Genius And Learn How To Code

Credit: Pixabay

If HTML, JavaScript and JPEG are foreign concepts, then a coding class is the way to get computer literate. This free coding class can teach you coding basics and so much more with over 120 hours of training. It’s a great starting point for anyone, from those looking for web development basics all the way to pros looking to brush up their skills.

Get Yourself Dance Floor Ready For Once We Can Finally Go Out Again

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Everyone can dance, all it takes is some music — and tunes aren’t even needed for some forms of dance. Whether looking to learn ballet or just how to groove at a party, there’s a dance lesson for you. 305 Fitness has a plethora of free classes on YouTube.

Get Yourself An Ivy League Education

Credit: @classcentral / Twitter

The eight Ivy League schools are offering hundreds of online courses to the public for free.

Dhawal Shah, founder of the online course aggregator Class Central, compiled a list of more than 400 classes that are available in subjects as varied as Machine Learning for Data Science and Analytics from Columbia University; HOPE: Human Odyssey to Political Existentialism from Princeton University; The Science of Well-Being from Yale; and Gamification from the University of Pennsylvania.

Work On Your Fitness

Credit: Aly Song / Flickr

Not interested in stimulating your brain? How about your body? Many gym chains across the country have shuttered but are offering online classes for free.

Peloton is offering new users a 90-day trial on its app. This news comes as the company announced the closing of its showrooms until at least March 29. It added that this week it began producing content from its new studios in New York, “but it will be entirely closed to the public until further notice.”

Golds Gym is offering free access to its app, Goldsamp, until the end of May, where more than 600 audio and video workouts along with DJ mixes get you ready to work up a sweat. Planet Fitness is offering “Home Work-Ins” streamed live at 7 p.m. ET daily on its Facebook page.

Get Into Those Yoga Poses

Credit: Yoga With Adriene

When it comes to online yoga classes, over 6 million people trust Adriene. I’ve personally ditched the couch and went through a few videos. And they are great. In the playlists, you’ll find 30-day challenges for regular yoga practice, which work equally well for complete beginners and people who love sweating at gyms. Plus, Adriene and her doggie are super cute — so you’ll definitely enjoy their company. 

Take Ana Lilia’s 5-Minute Breathwork Meditation

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Right now we are being constantly bombarded with distressing newscasts and never-ending social media updates, so it’s especially important that we know how to de stress and unplug. This super helpful guided mediation class will help you start your day off on the right foot.

Take That Brilliant Idea And Become The Entrepreneur You Always Wanted To Be

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Perhaps because we all have so little to do right now, we’re full of extra ideas. Feel like one of those ideas could be worth launching into your own business? Then Coursera’s course titled Innovation for Entrepreneurs: From Idea To Marketplace is the online course for you – and it’s free.

Gain Some New Professional Insight Into Your Career

Recently launched School16 is offering live, remote classes every week for free, starting April 1st, for anyone who wants to learn about careers in tech like product management, sales, operations and more.

Every session is taught by leaders in companies ranging from fast growing startups to large tech firms like Slack and Google, where students hear directly from people hiring and managing these teams about what skills candidates need to have to be attractive hires, and what jobs will be available in the months and years to come. 

Get Some Cooking Tips From Michelin-Starred Chefs

Credit: MassimoBottura / Instagram

Even if you hate cooking, when else will you have the chance to learn from a Michelin chef? Massimo Bottura, whose name is associated with one of Italy’s finest restaurants, Osteria Francescana, recently announced the launch of his Instagram cooking course. It’s called Kitchen Quarantine and it’s a fun video guide to cooking basic stuff at home.

Or maybe you don’t want to do anything at all…and that’s OK too.

All of these are great options to keep yourself active and motivated during these certain times. But keep this in mind: it’s OK to not be superhuman during this crisis. One-hundred percent totally OK. It’s OK to somehow feel both productive and lazy, both stir-crazy and introverted. It’s OK to feel this crazy need to make the most of these days while nothing is regular and no rhythms are intact.

You can take this unprecedented pause in normality to learn nothing new, do nothing new, acquire nothing new — not a new skill, not a six pack, not even a new outlook on life.

It’s important to remember that there is no shame in being unproductive and uncreative, especially during a global outbreak. If you’re only resolution at present is to emerge at the end of this, with your family, alive and well, that’s OK.

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

Things That Matter

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. 

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