Sunday, November 25, 2018

Documentary: Sword and the Crescent

Saturday, November 3, 2018

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Friday, October 26, 2018

Initiative Q



Initiative Q is an attempt by ex-PayPal guys to create a new payment system instead of credit cards that were designed in the 1950s. The system uses its own currency, the Q, and to get people to start using the system once it's ready they are allocating Qs for free to people that sign up now (the amount drops as more people join - so better to join early). Signing up is free and they only ask for your name and an email address. There's nothing to lose but if this payment system becomes a world leading payment method your Qs can be worth a lot. If you missed getting bitcoin seven years ago, you wouldn't want to miss this.

Here is my invite link: https://initiativeq.com/invite/BVx3D50jX

This link will stop working once I’m out of invites. Let me know after you registered, because I need to verify you on my end.



Frequently Asked Questions


Why should I join Initiative Q?

The earlier you join, the higher your reward. We believe that Initiative Q will overcome the main barrier to a better payment system, and has a good chance of becoming the global standard. But even if you give it just a 0.1% chance of success, think of it as a free lottery ticket.
Why not? It’s free and safe. All you need to do is provide your name and email.
By joining, you increase the chances of success, and accelerate the transformation of the payment industry — a change that will benefit everyone, eliminating the need to carry cash and/or plastic and leading to lower costs, less fraud, and fewer scams.
You will help reduce the enormous waste and pollution caused by Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, currently consuming as much energy as 6,000,000 households!
What are the risks in signing up? What will you do with the data I provide?

There are no risks. It’s safe and free to join; you just provide your name and email address. We store your personal data securely and we don’t share it with anyone else. We will only email you regarding the project and your account (read our privacy policy).
Why do I need to confirm my email? What happens if I don’t?

Email confirmation helps ensure that accounts are created by real people and not bots. If you don’t confirm your email, it will eventually be deleted from the system and your account will not be activated or eligible for rewards.
Why does an existing member need to verify me?

A secure payment network requires that accounts be associated with real people. This is especially important when potentially highly valuable rewards are at stake. Therefore, we require that all new members be verified by existing users who actually know them. There are incentives for verifying new members, as well as disincentives that discourage verification of contacts you don’t know well or trust.

In addition to preventing false registrations, this process builds a “trust network”, which can later be used to improve security. For example, if a buyer is purchasing a high-value item, it is important to verify that their account was not taken over. In that case, another member who has a trust relationship with the buyer can be asked to check that the buyer is aware of the transaction.
Is this a pyramid or MLM scheme?

Pyramid schemes collect money from new members and distribute it to earlier members. In contrast, joining initiative Q is completely free. So, clearly, there is no money to hand up the “pyramid” to earlier members.

Initiative Q does give Qs to members who join, and more Qs are given to early members and to those who invite their friends. However, the value of these Qs will come from them being gradually accepted as a better currency, in accordance with the “equation of exchange” in economics. Read more.

Initiative Q’s marketing approach is not different than that used by many companies, such as Dropbox, Uber, AirBNB, Zoho and others, that compensate users who invite their friends. In Initiative Q’s case new registrants may sometimes see more value in the reward, resulting in more invitations being sent.

The requirement that new members be invited by existing users has an additional benefit, detailed in the previous question.
How can I get invited? What if my invite link doesn’t work?

If you were invited by someone who has used up all their invites, you may ask them to connect you to a mutual friend who may still have open invites. Otherwise, the two easiest ways to get invited are:

Submit a post on social media asking your friends whether any of them have already registered and could invite you.
Go to the Initiative Q page on Facebook or Twitter and see which of your friends follow or like Initiative Q — they may already be registered.
What is an “Initiative Q Evangelist” and how do I become one?

Every new member can invite and verify a limited number of friends. This helps ensure a diverse community of Q members and avoids concentrating the rewards among a small clique. However, people who successfully complete all of their initial invites are upgraded to “Initiative Q Evangelists”. Evangelists get additional time and invites to invite others and reserve new Qs.
Can I register multiple times and get more Qs?

You may only open one Q account, using your true details. Providing fake details, details of another person, or opening multiple accounts will result in the removal of all accounts and their Q balances.

Note that this also applies to accounts of the same person using different signup methods, e.g. opening one Q account using Facebook, and another using Twitter.
Obtaining Qs

What do I receive for signing up?

When you register, a certain number of Qs are allocated for you. These reward Qs serve as incentive to join, and they will gradually be released to you after the Q payment network becomes active.
Why would you give away Qs for free?

The greatest challenge in creating a new payment system is how to convince everyone—buyers and sellers—to join when the network is still small. Reserving high Q rewards for those signing up early overcomes this concern, and will allow us to build a payment network that is decades ahead of anything available today.
How much Q do I get for joining?

The maximum amount of Q you can receive depends on when you sign up. At each stage of engagement with Q (initial signup, verification, using the system once it’s ready, etc.) you can claim more Q. It’s important to complete each stage as soon as it’s available, as some tasks have a deadline.
Why is the signup reward constantly decreasing?

Joining after the Q payment network has been widely adopted requires little external motivation, since once the adoption challenge is solved people will value the better technology, convenience and cost. Signing up after millions have joined is also an easy decision, since you already know there's a good chance the project will succeed, and the reward will become valuable.

But joining at the very early stages requires real vision and foresight. We want to compensate our members accordingly.
Why am I required to complete tasks to reserve my full Q reward?

Initiative Q’s unique rewards model is what allows it to overcome the adoption barrier that has impeded previous payment technologies. It encourages fast adoption of advanced payment technologies, while others struggle to attract new users.

Initiative Q will be giving free currency to incentivize actions that help the system grow. That includes tasks such as: registration and verification of friends, installing the Q application, adding information, making purchases, etc. These tasks are in everyone’s interests, as they will help Initiative Q grow, and reach the target of releasing all Qs to members at a value of around one USD per Q.
I want more Qs. Can I buy them?

Qs are not currently for sale. We plan to allow buying and selling Qs against other currencies once the payment network is live.
The Q Payment Network

What advantages does the Q payment network offer?

Over the last few decades many advances in payment systems have been devised, but they have not been made available, since they are only valuable once they are widely adopted — a chicken and egg problem.

Initiative Q’s distribution incentives solve the adoption problem, thereby offering one global network that integrates many of these breakthroughs, such as:

Low transaction costs: A streamlined, digital process with better fraud protection means fewer costs.
A universal currency and one global system: one address for all financial needs.
Cutting edge measures to ensure secure transactions: fingerprint, voice and face recognition; multi-factor authentication; and advanced artificial intelligence models.
Simplicity and user-friendliness: 1-click payments; no need to carry cash or cards.
Customer protection: Using internal regulations and buyer feedback to prevent sellers from misrepresenting their products and pricing.
Reversibility and efficient dispute resolution: easy online claims process to ensure user confidence.
Optimal credit allocation: Using richer information and more advanced models to correctly assign credit to lenders.
Parental control: Sub-accounts that allow parents to control children’s expenses.
Helping the unbanked: Connecting to the world economy the billions who don’t have access to financial services.
See a more complete description in our Vision paper.
Why will Initiative Q succeed where others haven’t?

Since payment systems involve a network of buyers and sellers, a new technology only brings value once it is widely adopted — buyers first want to see many sellers offering it, and vice versa. There have been many great payment technologies developed over the years, but they failed to gain universal acceptance due to this barrier. Initiative Q’s innovation is in leveraging the future value of Q itself to incentivize its widespread adoption. Our unique reward system encourages users to become early adopters, and opens the door to adoption of major breakthroughs in the payment industry.
What can I do with my reward Qs?

Once the system is functional, the Qs reserved for you will be released gradually, and you will then be able to use them for any kind of payment or exchange: purchases, sales, rentals, investments, etc.
When will I be able to use my reward Qs?

The reward Qs reserved for you will be released gradually. Distributing all the Qs at the same time would flood the market and devalue the currency. Therefore, once the system goes live and begins to grow, only a set proportion of one’s reserved Qs will be available for spending. The rate at which Qs are released will be regulated to maintain a stable exchange rate of around one Q per one US Dollar, while also incentivizing economic growth. Qs may be granted sooner to members in some locations to accelerate the creation of local Q-based economies.

Economic models show that if Initiative Q succeeds and the Q payment network becomes a leading payment method, then eventually all of the Qs reserved for members will be released while still maintaining this 1:1 exchange with USD.

See Initiative Q's Timeline.
Are my Q transactions private? Can anyone see them?

Initiative Q is designed to succeed as a mainstream payment network, which means fully complying with all laws and regulations. Transaction information on the Q payment network will be handled similarly to how current payment and banking networks operate, wherein the bank maintains all transaction records, but must safeguard the data and cannot share it with outside parties unless required to do so by law.
How much is one Q worth in USD?

At this stage, Qs are only being reserved, and cannot be used. If Initiative Q becomes a leading payment network, Qs are expected to be worth approximately 1 US dollar per Q. This estimate is detailed in our economic model.
What is your estimate of the Q value based on?

The reasoning behind the estimated future value of the Q payment network can be summarized as follows:

The payment world is stuck with decades old technologies, since it is very difficult to get buyers to adopt a new technology that sellers don’t yet support and vice versa.
Initiative Q solves this problem by compensating early adopters with future currency.
This enables the building of a payment network that is far superior to current ones.
A payment network that is both superior technologically, and widely adopted, would be preferred by both buyers and sellers.
It is realistic to expect that such a network would eventually overtake credit cards, which account for $20 trillion in annual transactions.
The total amount of money in the world is roughly half the world’s annual economic activity. The value of all Q currency could thus reach half of Q’s annual volume (i.e. $10 trillion).
An alternative data point is the value of cryptocurrencies which peaked at nearly $1 trillion, despite hardly being used for real payments (nearly all activity is speculation).
Therefore, the total future value of Qs could reach a few trillion dollars. Since there are currently 2 trillion Qs, the goal of one US dollar per Q is achievable.
For more details see Q’s economic model.
What happens if not enough people sign up?

Initiative Q needs many committed users to ensure a meaningful network of buyers and sellers. If a critical mass is not reached, the project may not go forward. Because the rewards are only valuable once the system is functional, it is in everyone’s interest to get others to join.
Behind Initiative Q

Who is behind Initiative Q?

Initiative Q was founded by Saar Wilf, a serial entrepreneur who started his first payments start-up in 1997, and later founded Fraud Sciences, which redefined the payment security space and was acquired by PayPal in 2008.

The Initiative Q team comprises top experts in payment systems, macroeconomics, and Internet technologies. The idea behind Initiative Q is to first create a critical mass of users, which can then be harnessed to create the world’s best payment network. Therefore, currently our primary focus is to get millions of Q members registered, after which we will recruit the world’s top professionals in the space.
What is the monetary committee?

A global currency should not be controlled by one private company. Therefore an independent monetary committee will be appointed via voting by all members and stakeholders in the Q payment network. The committee will only issue new coins for the purpose of maintaining stability, and increasing adoption — similar to how the world’s largest currencies are managed.

The alternative—having a fixed supply of Qs (like Bitcoin) or a similarly simplistic monetary policy—will not work in the real world. Stability of purchasing power is crucial to success, and it can only happen through intelligent analysis of economic activity and customer behavior.

Read more about our monetary policy.
Who are Q agents?

Initiative Q will focus on the technology, standards and regulation of the payment system, while delegating the financial operation to hundreds of local agents. These local agents will be responsible for customer service, safeguarding members’ funds, connecting local stores, legal compliance, and settling with other agents. Agents compete with each other to manage member accounts (buyers or sellers), and receive a small fee for transactions they process. Together they enable the Q payment network to be a truly global system, with local branches providing individualized support and access.
How many Qs are there? Who holds them?

Two trillion Qs will be issued, to be distributed as follows:

80% are expected to be distributed as incentives — to encourage user activity and promote network growth. Around half of the incentives are reserved for buyers, and the rest for sellers, agents, contributors, and to incentivize growth-supporting activities within the Q network.
10% are assigned to the Initiative Q payment company, for the purpose of funding development of the world’s most advanced payment network.
10% are assigned to the Q monetary committee monetary reserves. These will be gradually converted to other currencies and financial assets, allowing any Q member to easily convert to other currencies if needed. Monetary committee members will be compensated according to industry standards.
Once the initial 2 trillion Q are fully distributed, the monetary committee may create and distribute new Qs in order to keep the money supply in line with economic activity and to maintain stability, as outlined in the economic model.
Now that this concept is out, what prevents a hundred new Initiative Q-like networks from popping up?

For a new payment network to succeed, it must reach wide scale adoption. Buyers should see many sellers supporting this payment option, and sellers should see many buyers requesting it.

If the market fragments into many networks, this is much less likely to happen, and everyone loses — the competing networks, the buyers and the sellers. It is therefore a high priority for Initiative Q to deter copycats, at least during the initial growth phase. This includes:

Exclusivity incentives — Initiative Q will provide incentives for sellers who commit to using the Q payment network exclusively.
Legal — Core components of the Initiative Q model are patent pending.
Trade secrets — Initiative Q has several tools to accelerate growth, which will be rolled out in the future. To keep the competitive advantage these will be exposed only when necessary.
Rapid growth — Most importantly, the faster the Q payment network grows, the harder it will be for a newcomer to catch up. Here you can help: get more of your friends on board, and increase both your rewards and the likelihood of the Q payment network’s success.
To be clear: while a unified network is required for success, competition is important to drive progress and innovation. The Q payment network is therefore designed as an open network of independent operators who compete on connecting buyers and sellers to the network.

Read more about the Q payment network’s architecture.
Qs vs Crypto

How is this different from Bitcoin and cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a brilliant solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

Cryptocurrency is digital money that is hard to counterfeit. While the mathematical foundation is ingenious, an “immutable money ledger” is far from being a major need today. Our money is already digital, in the form of bank computer records, and no one is worried that these records will suddenly disappear. This is due to a robust system of trust and governance that protects individuals from such risks.

While many dislike this complex system, it works reasonably well and there is still no better alternative. In fact, the anti-counterfeiting measures that cryptocurrencies offer create an array of much worse problems:

Transferring security risk to the currency owners: Removing banks from the system also removes the protection that banks provide in security, fraud prevention, and dispute resolution, leaving individuals vulnerable to theft, scams, and human errors.

To protect themselves, cryptocurrency users are expected to undertake complicated security procedures such as generating cryptographic keys using dice, entering them into an unused laptop that is later destroyed, storing the keys using special hardware from multiple manufacturers, and keeping paper backups in bank safes.

Comparing that to credit cards, which allow consumers to make payments using just a few unencrypted numbers while being fully protected from losses, underlines how far cryptocurrencies are from becoming the currency of the future.
Unstable value: A basic requirement for a currency is stability and predictability in purchasing power. This requires a carefully managed monetary policy that matches the money supply to current economic activity. Cryptocurrencies have either no monetary policy or an overly simplistic one. As a result their value fluctuates rapidly, rendering them unhelpful for purchases and trade, with all activity driven instead by speculation.
Legal controls: Whether we like it or not, governments still hold ultimate power and they insist on regulating currency transfers, financial transactions, investments, and their underlying mechanisms. Any currency that attempts to circumvent such regulations, including most cryptocurrencies, will face an uphill battle to wide scale adoption.
Reversibility: No matter how good a system is, if humans are involved there will be mistakes and misunderstandings. Allowing transactions to be reversed benefits both buyers and sellers in the long-term, as customers can engage in the market more confidently. Of course, reversing a transaction should be allowed only for certain reasons — something that can only be determined by human beings following procedures. This goes against the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies, making wide-scale adoption difficult.
Waste: Bitcoin’s energy consumption is equivalent to that of 6,000,000 households and emits 90,000,000 kg of CO2 (200,000,000 lb) every day. Worse, all that energy is spent to support just 2 transactions per second—a far cry from the thousands of transactions per second on the credit card network.
Initiative Q’s main goal is to achieve global adoption, and Initiative Q therefore prioritizes ease of use, stability, security, efficiency, and legality, over abstract goals like decentralization. This is a real world solution for real world problems. It is based on a network of Q agents, who employ thousands of people, conform to local regulations, and ensure that members receive quality customer service and are fully protected from thefts and scams, without requiring them to become security experts.

However, some of the concepts behind cryptocurrency are valuable, and may be deployed in Initiative Q’s backend, for settlement between Q agents — where these disadvantages become negligible.

Read our full payment vision here.
Is this an ICO?

No. ICO, Initial Coin Offering, is a term used in the cryptocurrency world to describe the public sale of newly issued coins. Initiative Q’s goal is to become the standard in payments and to create a global currency. That requires adoption by hundreds of millions of members, which will not happen if they are required to pay. Qs will therefore be distributed for free.
How is this different from an “air drop”?

“Air drop” is a term used in the cryptocurrency world to describe free distribution of coins. While Initiative Q will distribute free currency, that by itself is not enough to revolutionize payments. It can only succeed in synergy with two other actions:

Requiring members to undertake simple tasks to qualify for the rewards. These are tasks that promote wide scale adoption of Q, for the benefit of all members (read more about the reasoning behind these tasks above).
Development of a state of the art payment system. The eventual success of Q is based on it being the safest, easiest and cheapest way to trade. The free distribution of coins is only interesting insomuch as it promotes the adoption of advanced payment technologies (See our payment system vision).
Additionally, Initiative Q is not a cryptocurrency, which allows it to avoid the many shortcomings of cryptocurrencies (see above).

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