Bitcoin is an internet currency that was started in 2009 by a Japanese software developer. In contrast to normal money, which is distributed and controlled by government, there is no central organization behind Bitcoin. You can send and receive Bitcoin money without giving your name or address and without paying fees to a bank.
Bitcoins are not physical. However,they can be bought at exchanges all across the Internet, where you can trade them for normal money.
Bitcoins are created by a process called mining. They can be produced by anyone around the world. People compete to solve puzzles using mathematical software . If they succeed they get a certain number of bitcoins as a reward.
Customers can save their bitcoins in an internet wallet, a kind of software that manages your virtual money. From there you can buy products from merchants who accept bitcoins. You can also sell items and get bitcoins in return. Only your special ID is transferred across the Internet, never your real identity. Bitcoin is a way of sending and receiving money anonymously. Not all governments are happy about this new internet currency. Some see it as a way of transferring money. from drugs or other illegal activities, from one place to another.
The value of bitcoins is determined by their popularity in the world and how they are trusted. If many businesses accept the currency and more and more people use it to make transactions, its value goes up. Recent scandals around Bitcoin exchanges, however, has made the value of the digital currency go down. Towards the end of 2013 the value of the world’s bitcoins was about $1.5 billion.
Many economic experts see Bitcoin as the currency of the future. However, it is not ready for mass use. The network may suffer from hacking attacks and the value of the money is not very stable . Bitcoin is also seen as a playground for money speculators.
One of many Bitcoin logos
- anonymous = unknown; without giving your real name
- compete = to try to be better than others and win against them
- currency = the money that a country uses
- developer = person who creates things
- distribute = hand out
- exchange = place where you can buy and sell things
- fee = money you have to pay for a service you get
- illegal = against the law
- in contrast to = as opposed to
- mass use = for everyone to use
- merchant = person who buys and sells things
- process = action
- reward = prize, in the form of money
- towards = near
- trust = to believe in something
- value = what something is worth
- virtual = not real
- wallet= place where you keep banknotes and coins when you go shopping
Samsung, the world’s leading producer of smartphones, has started a music streaming service called Milk Music. At present, the service is only available for Samsung Galaxy smartphones in the USA. The service offers over 200 radio stations and a total of 13 million songs. The company does not want to bother their users with ads in the near future. In addition, users do not have to log in to use the service.
Although there are many other streaming services that can be used on any smart phone Samsung states that restricting Milk Music to its own devices will attract users who want a better service with more quality. Recently Apple launched iTunes Radio with a variety of over 300 different music tastes.
Milk can also download music tracks for offline use , in case you do not have any connection. You can also customize the service, so that it will offer the music or artists you want to listen to. At the moment Samsung does not let you buy the music, but this may be added in the future.
- available = can be used
- bother = to do something that users do not want
- customize = modify, change so that it looks or feels better for you
- device = here: smart phone
- in addition = also
- restrict = limit
- state = to say officially
- streaming = when you can play a sound or video on your computer while it is still being broadcast over the Internet
- variety = many different kinds of
Every year in spring clocks in many countries around the world are set forward in order to get more daylight when people come home in the evening. On the other side it is generally darker in the morning. Daylight savings time, or summer time as it is called in many European countries, dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. In modern times more countries started applying it in the 1970s , when governments wanted to save money during the energy crisis.
Since then daylight savings time has been , more or less, used in almost all European countries and in North America. There have been discussions going on since then. Those in favor of the time adjustment say that they can get more things done after work in the evening. They can spend more of their free time outdoors – exercising, enjoying hobbies or merely sitting outside on a warm summer evening. On the other side, those who oppose summer time say that it does not save energy at all. It can also lead to a change of living patterns, for example, in agriculture, where farmers cannot feed their animals in the usual way. Some doctors say that people have trouble getting used to a time change. It interferes with their sleeping patterns and sometimes even affects their health.
In the northern hemisphere, where it is used most, daylight savings time begins in March or April. In September or October the clocks are set back to the normal time. In Africa and most parts of Asia time changes during the year do not exist.
Daylight Savings Time around the world
- adjustment = change
- affect = influence, change
- agriculture = farming
- apply = use
- century = a hundred years
- date back = start
- in favor of = to be for something
- interfere = to get involved in a way that you do not want
- oppose = to be against
Saudi Arabia officially declared the Muslim brotherhood a terrorist group and threatened those who take sides with them. According to a Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry spokesman an official document, which punishes those who support terrorist organizations, has been signed by King Abdullah.
The Muslim Brotherhood has been pursued by a number of Middle Eastern states. Saudi Arabia has called back its ambassador from Qatar, a state which supports the Brotherhood. While the Brotherhood rejected the new document, the new Egyptian government applauded the decision made by the Saudi Arabian king.
Saudi Arabia has also named other terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, in the document. It stated that anyone who challenged the Saudi leader would have to face the consequences. The new law bans terrorist groups from meeting in private and in public or speaking to the media.
Saudi Arabian officials are afraid of the possibility that many young Saudis might become an enemy of the monarchy once they have come back from fighting on the side of the rebels in Syria. Saudi clergymen have encouraged young citizens to support Syrian opposition group and the government has also financed some rebel groups in Syria.
The kingdom is thought to be under pressure by the US, which wants the Syrian government overthrown, but does not want the country to fall into the hands of terrorists or conservative Muslims.
- ambassador = a person who represents their country abroad
- challenge = to be against
- clergymen = religious people who have a function in Islam
- encourage = to say that you should do something
- face the consequences = to be punished
- overthrow = remove from power
- pursue = to treat badly
- sign = to put your name on a document
- spokesman = a person who officially speaks for a country or government
- take sides = to support or help someone