Tuesday News: Bitcoin, Amazon in Japan, the Light Novel, and the Teachability of Writing

Tuesday News: Bitcoin, Amazon in Japan, the Light Novel, and the...

Part of the draw of opening up bitcoin payments internationally is the cost savings. Instead of dealing with the hassle of foreign currencies and high processing fees, bitcoin coming from Albania costs the same to process as a bitcoin from Alabama. It also helps minimize cases of fraud, which can be higher among international customers, thanks to the technology behind blockchain confirmations.

For Overstock, there was no “deep strategy” to roll it out to international consumers, said CEO Patrick Byrne. Instead, it was about the distribution of resources needed to implement it. Bitcoin payments currently account for one quarter of one percent of Overstock’s daily transactions, Byrne said, so the company was limited by how many resources it could dedicate to the project during its development cycle. –GigaOM

Additionally, eBooks from publishers ranked higher are given more prominence on the Amazon.co.jp website. Many publishers, including high-profile publishing houses, have protested the move, calling it a form of “blackmail” that exploits the company’s considerable dominance in the book retailing industry. –The Digital Reader

Light novels are Japanese prose works illustrated with manga-style drawings and are often adapted into manga and anime properties. While a few U.S. manga publishers dabbled in the books in the early 2000s, the category never quite took off. Now, Yen Press, Hachette Book Group’s graphic novel and manga line, has launched Yen On, a light novel imprint that will release at least 24 titles in 2015, and has plans to publish many more. Yen Press has already released several light novels, according to its publishing director Kurt Hassler, and, while its prose push is still young, he reported that results are promising.

Yet we know we can teach biology, we know we can teach chemistry. Or, at the very least, we teach those subjects every day, in every school system and at every level without finding ourselves in sinusoidal crisis about the subjects’ transmissibility. Somehow, with the sciences — with most every subject — we don’t think that the measure of teaching is its production of masters. I remember learning about RNA transcriptase and about the peppered moth that turned black in adapting to the soot of the Industrial Revolution, and although I never found in myself the inner calling or natural talent that would make me a professional biologist, I didn’t think, What’s the point and to hell with the whole project. And even as these were college-level courses, I didn’t get the sense that my teachers were agonized as to why they were teaching this not-a-prodigy-in-biology person. It was as if interest and pleasure were reason enough. –New York Times