Thursday 18th August

BITCOIN

bitcoin_logo_flat_coin_star_bl_by_carbonism-d3h7bxh

1 Bitcoin = $575

 

World’s Best Performing Currency: Bitcoin up 32% So Far in 2016

Strongest Currencies in 2016 : Real-time FX Rates

  • Bitcoin was also the world’s strongest currency vs. the US Dollar in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015.
  • Gold is the world’s 2nd best performing currency up 27% year-to-date.
  • The best performing government currency is the Brazilian Real, up 22%.

Blocklink.info

 

Venture Capital in Bitcoin

There’s got to be a palpable sense of desperation in the Bitcoin VC & startup community.

Investors in Bitcoin startups must look at bitcoin’s gains over the last 2 years and wonder why they didn’t just invest in the currency.

Clearly, VCs still don’t fully grasp this idea in Daniel Krawisz’s article from 2+ years ago: The Correct Strategy of Bitcoin Entrepreneurship

Furthermore, the growth of any Bitcoin business is limited ultimately by the growth of Bitcoin itself. Since the number of coins is strictly capped, the currency must grow with its price.

This means that few businesses, if any, can be expected to earn a much better return than the coin itself over time.

Entrepreneurs should therefore invest in coins, not businesses, because coins are where the profit is. In addition, if Bitcoin fails, then the Bitcoin businesses fail—so Bitcoin is less risky than any Bitcoin business too. Thus, Bitcoin entrepreneurs should be less interested in making money than in making bitcoins into money.

An entrepreneur who follows that precept should generally be expected to be more successful than otherwise because the potential for Bitcoin itself is so much greater than any Bitcoin business he could invest in.

Russ Harben

 

Monetary Freedom: Responsibility is a Requisite for Agency in Bitcoin

Emin Gün Sirer: Remember when Bitcoin was supposed to save us from bank-imposed haircuts? Yeah, me neither.

Alex B: Bitcoin was never meant to save people from themselves or their inability to be accountable for their actions.


Big Brother isn’t here to protect you.

As much as people want to be protected from bad-actors, a monopolized authority figure is not the solution. This opens the door to regulating Bitcoin on the protocol level. Lawsky’s (L0lsky) Bitlicense should convince you that the state isn’t here for your best interest. You have to look out for yourself.

Bitcoin has subverted the current authority over capital giving ordinary individuals their financial freedom back. As such we have to respect and accept the fact we must operate with higher standards in this new world.

The best thing for Bitcoin would be if everyone involved gave 150% (as a coach would say), to each and every contract they agree to.

People ask, “Why would I ever want to use Bitcoin?”

Well one day, when people are ready, the world of Bitcoin will be more honest, and trustworthy than any government regulated economy. This can only happen if each person involved adheres to diligent and trustworthy principles. – The String Puller

 

The 1% Don’t Use Bitcoin Exchanges

  • Overlooked fact: The OTC market for Bitcoin is bigger than the exchange market.
  • Large BTC purchasers through OTC are high net worth individuals who are holding for long term.
  • Typically, this year has been largely 66% buyers — 33% sellers in the OTC market according to my sources.

The OTC market continues to grow, and there are an estimated 10–15 formal OTC brokers out there for Bitcoin with any real volume, and maybe 3–4 who are more well known and trusted, such as Harry Yeh of Binary Financial and a few more referenced by Wong Joon Ian in his Coindesk post, (which is well worth reading) on OTC Bitcoin trading.

Many of the very wealthy individuals that I know who are looking to get into Bitcoin are not going to the exchanges. The limits are not significant enough for them.

If a High Net-Worth Individual (HNI) has a net worth of $100m and wanted to place just $1m of that into Bitcoin as a hedge against market disruption, it would be imprudent of him to place that order on the open market.

That is a single trade of over 1,000 BTC and it would push his price up (called slippage) significantly.

Instead, he would call a broker, agree on a price (typically a few dollars above market spot price), and then perform the trade outside the market.

The broker would match buyers and sellers and the exchange volume would not reflect the buying or selling activity for that trade.

Now, imagine if a billionaire wanted to allocate 0.5% of his or her assets to Bitcoin. That is simply not possible on exchanges.

In doing some background research for this blog post, I spoke to a couple of OTC traders that I know and gathered the following data points:

The largest purchase I was able to uncover is around $50m on the OTC market and regular 8 figure purchases are now common.

Brokers typically fill and price orders like this in 6,000–8,000 BTC tranches.

OTC brokers are also heavily used in cases where individuals are trying to circumvent exchange controls and so this is going to become an even more common use case, as exchanges cannot operate in those markets effectively.

Another point worth noting is that large BTC buyers who are looking to diversify their portfolios are typically buy and hold buyers. They do not get panicked (they don’t care if they lose it as they are already wealthy) — so it’s a diversification strategy and when these transactions happen, the coins are permanently removed from the market (for a couple of years, at the very least).

There is a significant amount of money from the global financial elite that is still sitting on the sidelines and now looking to get in. – Vinny Lingham

 

 

MINING

Genesis Mining’s Bitcoin Mine in Iceland

 Here's another shot of Genesis' mining operations. More than 10,000 mining GPUs are in this one room.

A shot of Genesis’ mining operations. More than 10,000 mining GPUs are in this one room.

Genesis Mining is a cloud mining company. It lets customers mine using its “cloud,” without having to buy specialised hardware. Here’s its website.

The company had early mines in Bosnia and China, and most of its operations are now based in Iceland.

The country boasts three very important qualities for mining: cheap energy, good internet connections, and a cold climate.

Genesis’ electricity consumption is very significant. CEO Marco Streng says energy companies “offer us helicopter rides whenever we arrive” and speculates that the company may be one of the biggest single users of power in the country.

Assuming you’re getting a good deal on electricity — and ignoring all other costs — Streng says one bitcoin costs about $200 to mine.

But there are a lot of other costs, including hardware, production costs and staffing. “I think it is fair to assume that [mining] will probably balance out in the future at around plus or minus 20% compared to buying,” Streng says.

Streng says cloud mining “has a major trust issue.” Customers never actually see or own the mining hardware themselves — putting them at risk of fraud. – Rob Price

 

 

ALTCOINS

Altcoin Research

Researching altcoins & astonished at their idiocy. Ripple is even stupider than Ethereum, but Steem has got to be the stupidest of them all.

I challenge anyone to read the entire Steem whitepaper and not laugh out loud at the fantastic sophistry used to hide the scam behind it.

Ripple’s blockchain is worthless without proof-of-work since it’s maintained by a central party that can edit it or be hacked. Just adds one extra layer of intermediation & a single point of failure for no reason but to make money for the creators – Saifedean Ammous

 

Which Altcoins Might be Worth a Punt in the Long Term?

Litecoin’s best quality is that it doesn’t add features over Bitcoin.

Any extra feature is pointless for a currency & will kill it.

A big problem is attracting enough processing power to be secure. But it’s got a better chance than other coins. – Saifedean Ammous

 

The Origin of “Blockchain Technology”

The Bitcoin world is full of people who know nothing about economics or cryptography; they only know that they could have made millions if they had not sold at the bottom.

These people tell themselves that they are redeemable, that Bitcoin is just the MySpace of cryptocurrencies, that they will have another opportunity to get in early on some other revolution.

I think this may explain the origin of “blockchain technology”. It lets people talk as if clones of Bitcoin are important without having to remind themselves of Bitcoin.

When people say “blockchain technology” to you, you can often replace it with “mana”, or “chakras”, or “quantum” and it makes sense the same way. “

“Blockchain technology” has evolved into a sound Bitcoiners use to extract money from venture capitalists and one another, similar to the way that male birds use a song to attract females. It’s a phrase for people who know there is a lot of money around, but don’t exactly know where it’s coming from.

People are running around everywhere in the Bitcoin world screaming “blockchain blockchain blockchain” for all kinds of non-intuitive purposes until they’re buried under piles of money. I can’t believe how long it’s taking for people to get wise to this ruse, but I hope it won’t last too much longer. – Daniel Krawisz

 

 

PRIVACY / SECURITY / INTERNET

August 7th

Cryptic Edward Snowden “It’s Time” Tweet Then Bizarre Coded Message Sparks Fears He’s Been Captured or Killed

  • Snowden Gearing Up? “It’s Time” He Says In A Very Mysterious Tweet
  • Huge Edward Snowden leak incoming. He just posted this code and then deleted within minutes.
  • Speculation has been mounting around what the tweets by the 33-year-old whistle blower could mean.

A coded tweet by Edward Snowden has sparked conspiracy theories that the whistleblower may have been captured or killed.

On Wednesday he took to Twitter and posted a series of messages which some took to indicate he may have been about to reveal another batch of classified information.

He followed up with another post, which contained 64 seemingly random characters.

Both of the messages have since been deleted.

Various theories have started to surface about what the posts could mean.

There have been claims the code was the result of a “dead man’s switch” – a message set up to be automatically sent out if an account is inactive for a particular period of time.

Some said the code was a key to an encrypted file already given out to journalists who have worked with him before. – Ben Russell

 

August 15th

NSA’s Hacking Group Hacked! Bunch of Private Hacking Tools Leaked Online

It seems like the NSA has been HACKED!

An unknown hacker or a group of hackers just claimed to have hacked into “Equation Group” — a cyber-attack group allegedly associated with the United States intelligence organization NSA — and dumped a bunch of its hacking tools (malware, private exploits, and hacking tools) online. – Mohit Kumar

 

August 16th

This leak is likely a warning that someone can prove US responsibility for any attacks that originated from this malware server. – Edward Snowden

 

August 17th

Security Experts Agree: The NSA Was Hacked

A mysterious group of hackers calling themselves “The Shadow Brokers” claimed it hacked an NSA-linked group and released some NSA hacking tools with a promise to sell more private “cyber weapons” to the highest bidder.

The group dumped a bunch of private hacking tools from “Equation Group” – an elite cyber attack unit linked to the NSA – on GitHub and Tumblr.

The Shadow Brokers hacking group has published the leaked data in two parts; one includes many hacking tools designed to inject malware into various servers and another encrypted file containing the “best files” that they made available for sale for 1 Million Bitcoins.

Kaspersky Lab previously linked Equation Group to the NSA, describing it as “a threat actor that surpasses anything known in terms of complexity and sophistication of techniques, and that has been active for almost two decades.”

The security firm also claimed Equation Group to be behind a variety of malware types, including Stuxnet and Flame, which are associated with cyber attacks launched by the United States.

One former NSA employee who worked in its special hacking division, Tailored Access Operations (TAO), told the Washington Post that “without a doubt, they’re the keys to the kingdom.” – Swati Khandelwal

 

Hack Or An Inside Job?

  • Some believe the “Brokers” may be just a smokescreen for another possibility: An agency mole.

The NSA hack could be an insider’s job, as concluded by Matt Suiche, founder of UAE-based security startup after he discussed this incident with a former NSA TAO employee.

The repository containing the NSA TAO Toolkit is stored on a physically segregated network which does not touch the internet and has no reason to (remember it’s a toolkit repository).

There is no reason for those files to have ever been on a staging server in the first place unless someone did it on purpose. The file hierarchy and the unchanged file naming convention tends to say that the files were directly copied from its source.

Swati Khandelwal


One other interesting point is the files are a bit dated:

The most recent file is dated June 2013, though the hackers could have tampered with the dates. Dmitri Alperovitch, the co-founder of security firm CrowdStrike, theorized that “the leakers were probably sitting on this information for years, waiting for the most opportune time to release.”

Of course, June 2013 is interesting for another reason. That’s when Ed Snowden passed on his documents to a small group of reporters and the very first stories based on the Snowden leaks started. – Mike Masnick

 

 

MARKETS

Deflation

$13 trillion of negative yielding debt and Amazon is selling a tablet for $33.

I was promised a hyperinflationary apocalypse.

Morgan Housel

 

The Real Bubble

I laugh when people say tech is a bubble. The establishment is the bubble. Who’s around in 2025 – Google or the EU? – Balaji S. Srinivasan

 

The AI Gold Rush

Companies are lining up to supply shovels to participants in the AI gold rush.

The name that comes up most frequently is NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA), says Chris Dixon of Andreessen Horowitz; every AI startup seems to be using its GPU chips to train neural networks.

GPU capacity can also be rented in the cloud from Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT).

IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Google, meanwhile, are devising new chips specifically built to run AI software more quickly and efficiently.

And Google, Microsoft and IBM are making AI services such as speech recognition, sentence parsing and image analysis freely available online, allowing startups to combine such building blocks to form new AI products and services.

More than 300 companies from a range of industries have already built AI-powered apps using IBM’s Watson platform, says Guru Banavar of IBM, doing everything from filtering job candidates to picking wines. – The Economist

 

Most Active Investors in Artificial Intelligence

1 – Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

2 – Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL)

3 – GE (NYSE: GE)

4 – Samsung (005930.KS)

Artificial intelligence dealmaking has exploded recently, leaping to a new quarterly record of over 140 deals in Q1’16.

1 – Intel Capital is the most active corporate investor on our list, having backed  over a dozen separate unique AI-based companies, including healthcare startup Lumiata, machine-learning platform DataRobot, and imaging startup Perfant Technology.

2 – Google Ventures, which backed over 10 unique companies, ranked second as an active investor in AI. Google is also a major acquirer of AI startups.

CB Insights

 

 

COMPANIES / PROJECTS / PRODUCTS

Foxconn to Use 1 Million Robots Within 3 Years

  • Foxconn has just 10,000 robots currently in use

Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group, known for assembling Apple’s iPhones and iPads in China, plans to use more robots.

Chairman Terry Gou said the company planned to use 1 million robots within three years, up from about 10,000 robots in use now and an expected 300,000 next year.

Gou told staff at its campus in Shenzhen, China, that he planned to move its more than 1 million employees up the value chain beyond basic manufacturing work.

“The use of automation is driven by Foxconn’s desire to move workers from more routine tasks to more value-added positions in manufacturing such as R&D, innovation and other areas that are equally important to the success of our operations,” Foxconn said. – Lee Chyen Yee and Clare Jim

 

Elon Musk Dreaming of Solar Roofs, Not Just Panels

  • 5 million roofs are added or replaced per year in the US

To be clear, we’re not talking about a conventional roof with a bunch of solar panels layered all over it. We’re talking about ditch the shingles, ditch the tile, the slate … whatever. The roof itself, would be a solar power generator.

Musk suggests that at some point, folks are going to have to replace their roof anyway, why not make it a solar roof? – Digital Trends

Image result for elon musk solar roof

Tesla Motors and SolarCity confirmed earlier this month that the electric-vehicle maker will acquire the solar-panel service for $2.6 billion.

With 5 million roofs being added or replaced per year in the US, Musk is eying a large opportunity for SolarCity to jump into the roof-replacement market, as opposed to simply providing panels to go on existing roofs.

“If your roof is nearing end-of-life, you definitely don’t want to put solar panels on it, because you’re going to have to replace the roof,” Musk said.

“So, there is a huge market segment that is currently inaccessible to SolarCity, because people know they’re going to have to replace their roof. You don’t want to put solar panels on top of a roof you’re going to replace.”

Ultimately Musk envisions a scenario where Tesla drivers can power their cars off the grid by recharging at homes with SolarCity’s panels. Or, as Musk hopes, roofs. – Danny King

 

SpaceX’s Mars Ambitions

Someone who knows Elon Musk well once told me that to understand Musk you really have to understand how badly he wants to go to Mars.

They said they have seen him turn down chances to earn more profit since he believed he could get to Mars faster by doing so.

This person said to me: “If you want to predict what Musk will do, ask yourself: Will this help him get to Mars faster?”

Existing providers of launch did not think they would encounter anyone who thinks this way. To illustrate this “0 to n” approach to investing and life, it is useful to look at something that Musk recently said:

Essentially what we’re saying is we’re establishing a cargo route to Mars. It’s a regular cargo route. You can count on it. It’s going happen every 26 months. Like a train leaving the station.

And if scientists around the world know that they can count on that, and it’s going to be inexpensive, relatively speaking compared to anything in the past, then they will plan accordingly and come up with a lot of great experiments.

An anecdote about Musk that was recently in a Bloomberg article further illustrates the point:

Europe’s contemptuous inability to take Musk seriously dates back years.

Jean-Yves Le Gall remembers a conference in Vietnam about a decade ago where the billionaire “showed up in torn jeans and with a plastic bag.

He told us — the chiefs of the three biggest rocket launchers worldwide – ‘I am here and you are dead.’

One of us replied: ‘you talk, we launch.’ Had we known…

Tren Griffin

 

 

LEARNING / EDUCATION

Deep Learning

Silicon Valley’s financiers and entrepreneurs are digging into artificial intelligence with remarkable exuberance.

The new A.I. era has spurred a rush for talent in A.I. that has become intense.

“The number of people trying to get the students to drop out of the class halfway through because now they know a little bit of this stuff is crazy” said Richard Socher who teaches a course on a machine intelligence technique known as deep learning. – John Markoff

 

Google to Train 2 Million Developers for Android

The scale of Google’s new Android training program?

– 2,000+ schools

– 4,000+ faculty

– 250,000+ students per year

Photo published for Google to Train 2 Million Indian Developers on Android

Google launched a program to train 2 million developers in India for its Android platform as its fires up a race with Apple Inc. for the country’s developers to create innovative mobile apps.

The Android Skilling program will be introduced for free across hundreds of public and private universities and training schools through a specially designed, in-person program this year. – Saritha Rai

 

 

PLACES

Shenzhen

  • “In Europe and the US you’re about 9 months behind us when it comes to technology and that’s just a fact.”
  • 90 percent of the world’s electronics are made in this south China city.”
  • “Try doing something in the UK, it will take you about a month. Here you can do it in a couple of days.”
  • “Even if the US had the manufacturing capacity, key parts of the knowledge ecosystem currently exist only in Shenzhen. Shenzhen, like Silicon Valley, has become a “complete” ecosystem.”

There are plenty of tech towns around the world, but Shenzhen stands out above them all.

Here in the town the iPhone is made by Foxconn (it’s also home to Dell laptops, Microsoft PCs and Sony headphones, among millions of other products), just north of the crossing of Shennon Middle Road and Huaqiang Road in the southern China city of Shenzhen is the epicentre of global electronics.

It’s where trends begin, ideas become real, and products get pumped out by the billions.

You want a shop dedicated to 3D printers? Have three.

A glimpse of the latest virtual reality glasses? Just look in every other store in the vast, labyrinthine floors of the SEG (pronounced ‘sage’) Electronics Plaza, which is dedicated to gadgetry of all kinds.

With dozens of component markets and electronics stores in this area, it’s tempting to make comparisons with Akihabara in Tokyo, but Shenzhen’s market is probably twenty times bigger says Benjamin Joffe, General Partner at startup incubator HAX. – Jamie Carter

Virtual reality headsets are everywhere in Shenzhen

Originally a quiet agrarian province in southern China, Shenzhen’s population exploded in the 80s and 90s as migrant workers came to work in the city’s industrial factories.

Now a mega-metropolis with a population of up to 20 million, Shenzhen has become famous for creating consumer electronics – often imitations of premium brands – at a phenomenal pace.

Shenzhen has become the factory of the world where, if you can think of an idea, you can find someone – or lots of people – to make it. Want 5,000 iPhones branded with your company logo? Easy.

Alongside countless smartphone repair shops, Huaqiangbei is crammed with retailers selling copycat versions of iPhones, Samsung Galaxies and countless other high-end smartphones. But the Chinese have their own word for the act of making copycat products – they call it ‘shanzhai’.

Shanzhai encapsulates a way of working that’s fast, open and based on the sharing of resources and knowledge. The concept of intellectual property doesn’t have the same implications in China as we think of it in the west.

Bunnie Huang said: “I do find the core tenets of sharing intellectual property they have is very enabling”, hinting at a potential emerging paradigm shift when the fundamentals of tech innovation in the West clash with the Chinese models of business. – Matthew Reynolds

 

Japan

Mike Kayamori, the CEO of Asian bitcoin exchange Quoine, said the region will dominate the bitcoin landscape over the coming years, after his company completed a funding deal worth $20 million USD.

Quoine was, until recently headquartered in Singapore, but is now in the process of moving to Tokyo. Its Singapore office will remain as a subsidiary.

He said the new, more favorable regulatory atmosphere in Japan is behind the decision to move.

Online currency trading, store loyalty point cards, mobile game tokens, even pachinko — are all popular forms of speculative investment in Japan, Kayamori said.

Thanks to deflation and a cultural aversion to investing in stocks and funds, coupled with an unusual interest in money itself, the Japanese public is active in the FX trading market.

That makes it a natural fit for bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading, Kayamori said.

“From a liquidity and volume perspective, I think Japan is going to be larger than China. When you look at retail FX, you don’t need any explanation. Japan’s retail FX liquidity already dwarfs any other country in the world.” – Jon Southurst

 

Indonesia

Mike Kayamori, who recently took over as Quoine CEO, told Bitcoin.com his company would continue to focus mainly on Asian business, describing the level of trading activity there as beyond expectations.

“Our Indonesian volume is on fire. On any given day, sometimes the Indonesian volume exceeds that of Japan. There’s a lot of demand.”

Indonesia is home to a surprising amount of bitcoin mining activity, with operators looking to liquidate their new coins immediately. Across the region, there are also promising signs for bitcoin in remittances, money transfers, and in ties to existing (fiat currency) online brokerages.

The company has also noticed some big “whales” from Asia coming on board in recent months. – Jon Southurst

 

 

THE SINGULARITY

Artificial Intelligence: BabyX

  • “I was not expecting this for another 10 years” – Nathanael Ries

BabyX is a project for the creation of a virtual animated baby that learns and reacts like a human baby.

It uses the computer’s cameras for “seeing” and microphones to “listen” as the inputs.

The computer uses Artificial intelligence algorithms for BabyX’s “learning” and interpretation of the inputs (voice and image) to understand the situation.

The result is a virtual toddler that can learn to read, recognize objects and “understand.”

The output is the baby’s face that can “speak” and express its mood by facial expressions (such as smile and show embarrassment). – Wikipedia

 

The Singularity is Coming

Masayoshi Son (the 2nd richest person in Japan) cashed in on his investments this year, resulting in the sale of $18.6bn worth of shares in Alibaba and Supercell. In addition to those proceeds, SoftBank has $25bn in cash.

The asset sales have intensified the guessing game around the likely target of any new gamble by the mercurial chief executive.

“The next big investment could be in artificial intelligence and robotics,” Shigeyuki Kishida, a consultant at InfoCom Research, says. “AI is expected to penetrate various industries and Mr Son wants to create an underlying platform to support those industries.”

“I still have unfinished business regarding the Singularity,” Son told the Nikkei.

“There will come a time when the human race and super intelligence will coexist to create a richer and happier life.”

“That is what I want to devote my life to. I believe information revolution in the true sense has just begun. My work is not done yet.” – Leo Lewis, Kana Inagaki and Simon Mundy

 

Watson AI Reduces IBM’s Digital Ad Costs by 35%

  • Watson reduced IBM’s cost per click on average by 35%.
  • At its best, using Watson reduced the cost per click for IBM by 71% when compared to its previous buying methods.
  • About $27 billion will be spent on programmatic display ads in 2017, a 24% increase from the previous year

For almost a year now the company has been trying out Watson, its cognitive computer that learns and makes snap decisions on the fly, on making programmatic ad buys for a portion of its online ad campaigns.

The results proved so effective that IBM now says it will use Watson for all of its programmatic campaigns by the end of the year, a big commitment for a company that spent nearly $53 million on digital display advertising in 2014.

“Because of the volume and the dollars involved, trying to save those fractions of a dollar, or fractions of a cent, really matters to us,” said Ari Sheinkin, VP of marketing analytics at IBM. “What makes this really exciting is the system learns. That’s the essence of cognitive.”

IBM is working on making the technology available for agencies and exchanges so they, too, can eventually maximize ROI through what IBM calls “cognitive bid optimization.”

“It’s almost as if the system we’ve created right now is like a child prodigy who is already beating you at chess,” Mr. Sheinkin said. “But it’s actually only starting to learn. It’s only had so many campaigns to learn from, so it’s going to get better and better because every time it runs it learns from the last thing it did. And that is the most important, distinguishing feature.” – George Slefo

 

Major Diseases Are in Decline

Major diseases, like colon cancer, dementia and heart disease, are waning.

Of course, these diseases are far from gone. They still cause enormous suffering and kill millions each year. But it looks as if people in the United States and some other wealthy countries are, unexpectedly, starting to beat back the diseases of aging.

The leading killers are still the leading killers — cancer, heart disease, stroke — but they are occurring later in life, and people in general are living longer in good health.

The colon cancer death rate has fallen by nearly 50 percent since its peak in the 1980s.

Dementia rates, too, have been plunging. It took a few reports and more than a decade before many people believed it, but data from the United States and Europe are becoming hard to wave off. The latest report finds a 20 percent decline in dementia incidence per decade, starting in 1977.

A recent American study, for example, reports that the incidence among people over age 60 was 3.6 per 100 in the years 1986-1991, but in the years 2004-2008 it had fallen to 2.0 per 100 over age 60. With more older people in the population every year, there may be more cases in total, but an individual’s chance of getting dementia has gotten lower and lower.

The exemplar for declining rates is heart disease.

By 1960, a third of all American deaths were from heart disease. Now, cardiologists are predicting it will soon fall from its perch as the No. 1 killer of Americans, replaced by cancer, which itself has a falling death rate.

The heart disease death rate has been falling for so long — more than half a century — that it’s no longer news. The news now is that the rate of decline seems to have slowed recently, although it is still falling. While heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the United States, killing more than 600,000 people a year, deaths have fallen 70 percent from their peak.

Until the late 1930s, stomach cancer was the No. 1 cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Now just 1.8 percent of American cancer deaths are the result of it. – Gina Kolata

 

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Follow me on Twitter @leebanfield1

Bitcoin: 1Jwh6nZiASJf4d3hNytjxqiimWBmEJvJ4S

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