Friday, December 30, 2016

Slave Trade in the 21st Century. A new name to an ancient industry

Let’s get back to basics, motor oil is motor oil just different grades. 

Slave trading is slave trading hidden under the vail of human trafficking and sex slavery to minimize and condone the practice by those that promote the act, perform the act, and benefit from the act by men and women.

How intertwined culture, homelessness, being poor, uneducated, hungry, and wanting to sustain basic needs of shelter, water & food, financial stability, and human affection are factors in the slave trade industry worldwide.

Charles D. Sharp.  CEO  Black Emergency Managers Association International

Black Emergency Managers Association
1231  Good Hope Road  S.E.
Washington, D.C.  20020
Office:   202-618-9097 

Cooperation, Collaboration, Communication, Coordination, Community engagement, and  Partnering (C5&P)             A 501 (c) 3 organization.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

NIST Publishes Cyber Attack Recovery Guidebook

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published the Guide for Cybersecurity Event Recovery. The document describes the two phases of recovery: tactical and strategic. Tactical recovery is based on procedures established prior to a cyber attack; strategic recovery involves identifying lessons learned from the event and using those lessons to plan for recovery from future events. Recovery is one of five aspects of NIST's Cybersecurity Framework. The others are identification, protection, detection, and response. 

CYBERCamp 2017

CYBERCamp 2017 - can we count on your sponsorship?
We have GREAT news! Our first ever CYBERCamp in July 2016 was such a HUGE success we're already planning for summer 2017- AND we're going to do TWO one-week camps! We need your help to sponsor a variety of items for our students. We are offering five sponsorship packages and encourage you and your company to consider making this investment in the NCR's future cyber warriors. Since we are running two one-week camps, there are two of each of the sponsorship packages available (one for each week).  You can view (and purchase!) the sponsorship packages here. CYBERCamp 2017 will be held in July 2017 at Mantech University in Herndon, VA.  If you have sponsorship questions, please contact Sponsorship Lead Christian Galvan at  Registration and additional information will be available in spring 2017.  Interested in volunteering to help with the camp?  Sign up here.

2017 Summer Internship Programs

Internships / Mentoring
  • Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital: 2017 Four Directions Summer Research Program. This program is a summer research opportunity for undergraduate students with a commitment to the health of American Indian/Alaska Native communities. Deadline is February 6, 2017. Learn more

  • Georgia Tech/Urban Honey Bee Project: Bee-INSPIRED 2017 Summer Program. This is a paid summer STEM research program for undergraduates, and includes housing and travel allowance. Deadline is February 15, 2017. Learn more.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2016. Ebola Vaccine.

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Offers Full Protection
An Ebola vaccine trial tested in Guinea (NYT) last year saw no one develop the virus ten days or more after receiving the vaccine, according to newly published results. Some eleven thousand people died in the West Africa Ebola outbreak (Guardian) that began in December 2013. 

Haiti. 2016. UN OCHA Situation Report. Hurricane Matthew

OCHA Haïti | Préparation & réponse aux urgences
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26 December 2016
OCHA Haiti
Hurricane Matthew - Situation Report No. 30

Dear partners,

Kindly click here to view OCHA: Hurricane Matthew Situation Report No. 30 as of 26 December 2016.

Situation Report Main Points
  • The CERF approved two project proposals worth just over US$ 3.5 million for rapid restoration of safe education services, protection assistance to most vulnerable evicted from temporary shelters and support to an estimated 30,000 people in areas of return.
  • The three-month USD 139 million Flash Appeal to respond to the most urgent post Hurricane Matthew humanitarian needs remains underfunded by USD 52.5 million (or 37.8% of the funding requirements).
  • As of 22 December, WFP’s general food distributions reached 886,000 and 218,500 people in two phases. The collection of data for the new Emergency Food Security Assessment (EFSA) has been finalized and preliminary findings will be released next week.
  • According to IOM registration data, some 3 per cent of families living in temporary shelters have received offers from strangers to take care of their children, raising concerns of trafficking risks.
Best regards,

2017 Summer Program. The Yale Young Global Scholars Program (YYGS)

The Yale Young Global Scholars Program (YYGS) is offering six full-tuition plus travel scholarships for high school students from the African continent to attend 2017 YYGS at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. YYGS is committed to increasing education access for high achieving students of all backgrounds so these scholarships are entirely need-based. These need-based scholarships will cover tuition, airfare and travel expenses to the program. 
To be eligible for these full-tuition plus travel scholarships, applicants must:

·        Meet general eligibility requirements to apply to YYGS;
·        Be a citizen of an African country and currently reside on the continent;
·        Have attended school in an African country for most of the applicant’s education;
·        Complete the Yale Young Global Scholars online application, including the need-based scholarships portion

In order to be eligible for these scholarships,
applicants must meet ALL of the requirements listed above. The online application, including the need-based scholarships portion and all supplemental materials, must be submitted by January 31, 2017. No additional steps are required to be considered for this scholarship.
The Yale Young Global Scholars Program is a summer academic enrichment and leadership program that brings together outstanding high school students from around the world for intensive two-week sessions on the Yale campus. Applications are available online at http://globalscholars.yale.eduThe application deadline is January 31, 2017. Please share this opportunity with anyone who may be interested!


The YYGS Team

P.S. Please note that six students from the African continent will receive these full tuition plus travel scholarships, however every admitted student that completes the need-based scholarship portion of the application will be considered for a tuition discount. Last year, approximately one third of program participants received full or partial scholarships based on financial need. Unfortunately, YYGS cannot guarantee tuition discounts to all those who apply for it.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Happy Holidays! Give the Gift of Preparedness

Have a safe and happy holiday season from all the members of BEMA.  

To ensure your loved ones are prepared give the gift of preparedness that can be used throughout the year for those emergencies when the arise.

Peace be unto you and your loved ones.

Charles D. Sharp
Black Emergency Managers Association International  

Give the gift of preparedness this holiday season

With the holidays fast approaching, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages everyone to consider giving gifts that will help protect their family members and friends during a future emergency.

Supplies for an emergency preparedness kit can make unique-and potentially life-saving-holiday gifts, such as:
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert.
  • A flashlight with extra batteries.
  • Solar-powered cell phone charger.
  • Smoke detector and/or carbon monoxide detectors.
  • First aid kit.
  • Fire extinguisher and fire escape ladder.
  • Enrollment in a CPR or first aid class.
  • Books, coloring books, crayons and board games for the kids, in case the power goes out.
  • Personal hygiene comfort kit, including shampoo, body wash, wash cloth, hairbrush, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant.
  • A waterproof pouch or backpack containing any of the above items, or with such things as a rain poncho, moist towelettes, work gloves, batteries, duct tape, whistle, food bars, etc.

Consider giving a winter car kit, equipped with a shovel, ice scraper, emergency flares, fluorescent distress flags and jumper cables.

For animal lovers, a pet disaster kit with emergency food, bottled water, toys and a leash is also a good gift.

The gift of preparedness might just save the life of a friend or family member. 

For more information, preparedness tips or other gift ideas, visit

Water Security. 21st Century Solutions to 21st Century Problems

Veola, thank you for the reminder.

We are coming together, and BEMA still needs all members input.

This photo could be anywhere in the world, but is more prevalent in our communities within the diaspora.  From the U.S., to the Caribbean, the Middle East, and the nations of Africa.  We all need to imagine walking in someone else’s shoes.

You, and I as members of BEMA will continue to stress the systems approach, innovative, effective, and efficient method to address our basic needs of shelter, water, and food security for normal uses and specifically to address those needs during times of disaster.  Not a piecemeal approach of just digging a well, but an approach of how well water distribution and uses for not only basic needs but needs to address public health security and sustainability for the future of the individual, the family, and community.

As an veteran of the U.S. military in emergency management we can bring 21st Century solutions to resolve 21st Century problems, and no more standard or ‘business as usual’ methodology of 20th Century solutions to solve 21st Century problems.

Assisting communities in free training & education to take charge of their communities.

No one knows the needs of a community more than the community itself.  Assisting communities to utilize its’ most vital resource the ‘whole community’ every member of the community.  From the homeless, gang members (with their extended family), ex-offenders to our next generation leaders to be at the table.

Thanks again.


Charles D. Sharp
Chief Executive Officer
Black Emergency Managers Association 
1231  Good Hope Road  S.E.
Washington, D.C.  20020
Office:   202-618-9097 

Heights by great men reached and kept were not obtained by sudden flight but, while their companions slept, they were toiling upward in the night.                                            Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Cooperation, Collaboration, Communication, Coordination, Community engagement, and  Partnering (C5&P)    A 501 (c) 3 organization.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

2016 to 2017 Homelessness. A national and international emergency event.

Homeless Migration

This holiday season focus on family, and friends.  We have to support each other. 

Homelessness is still an emergency event in many jurisdictions throughout the U.S., and internationally. 

Anything that occurs in Maryland, and Northern Virginia inadvertently affects Washington, D.C.  Homelessness in these jurisdictions are practically a revolving door with movement from one jurisdiction to the other.  From Maryland-to-DC, from DC-to-Maryland or even Virginia.

The nursing-home operation discharged patients without their consent once their Medicare coverage ran out, the lawsuit says. In many cases, residents were dropped off at homeless shelters or inadequate living facilities, according to the lawsuit.

Of the 35 who died this year, 17 had coveted housing vouchers but had not been able to find homes, underscoring the obstacles the homeless face even when bureaucracy is on their side.

Black Emergency Managers Association
1231  Good Hope Road  S.E.
Washington, D.C.  20020
Office:   202-618-9097 

Cooperation, Collaboration, Communication, Coordination, Community engagement, and  Partnering (C5&P)             A 501 (c) 3 organization.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Are we at the table? No. 2017: The Second Era of Bitcoin Begins

Current BITCOIN PRICING:    USD: 792.29 / bitcoin

Has the African Diaspora taken advantage of this technology to sustain its' organizations from local to national nonprofits?

Too many questions regarding how does it work, what does it entail?

How many average individuals understand how the cell phone, text messaging, or even the basic principles of WIFI works or functions, or even the pricing.  We just use it as a tool for our personal or business purposes.

At BEMA we shall continue to press on using bitcoin mining as a means to fulfill our administrative and operations financial obligations, and use 100% of donations for the purpose intended.

Only as a collective moving away from our individual 'silos' as a community can we take advantage of and use electronic currency and bitcoin mining for our communities worldwide.

So many forums, summits, symposium on the mention of coming together as a collective, as a Pan-African collective to address our issues.  Electronic currency with bitcoin mining is the means that we have been searching for to bring us together to address issues in our communities, but creating OUR CURRENCY.

Simplistically, if you have a cell phone you are at step one.  Do your due diligence.  Join BEMA International for the next phase of our development as a collective.

Charles D. Sharp.  CEO  Black Emergency Managers International

Akin Fernandez, also known as Beautyon, is the owner of London-based bitcoin voucher service Azteco. He is also a writer who has extensively covered bitcoin and related services, and a software developer with 15 years of experience.
In this CoinDesk 2016 in Review special feature, Fernandez gives a passionate and personal overview of the cryptocurrency industry's year – 12 months that he says prove "there can be only one bitcoin".
2016 has been a fascinating year, where cellular mitosis has been bitcoin's guiding model.
The different camps previously in one group or cell have split. There are those who understand bitcoin and remain in its cell, and those that do not, and who are now in their own offshoot cells, “experimenting” on branches that are essentially non-viable.
The market participants who know how everything works, those in bitcoin, understand that there can only be one bitcoin.
There has been some excellent analysis making this crystal clear, and the fundamentally transformative work being done to extend bitcoin is categorical proof that this is true.
Bitcoin is the market winner because it is the first mover and definitive transaction layer. It is immutable not only in terms of the software rules, but the single minded, rational ethos of its protectors, who will not allow any corruption, hysteria or short-term thinking to spoil or endanger the project.

Radical change

Segregated Witness solves the transaction malleability problem, but more important than that, it makes all arguments about bitcoin’s transaction capacity limits a thing of the past. When SegWit activates, transactions using it will show up as spendable instantly – and there will be vastly more of them per second – killing another frequent and frankly, silly objection to bitcoin’s utility.
You can get a glimpse of what this will look and feel like with this beautiful colored coins demonstration of Lighting.
How bitcoin is used is about to change radically, and for the better. The final perceived limitations to it have been destroyed with SegWit. Now all that is left is building the software and businesses that will take advantage of this new, high-capacity bitcoin.
Spectators learned again this year that bitcoin is the only solution, and the roll out of SegWit is further proof of this, and it will cement bitcoin’s premier position. A small group of malcontents will always be attached to any software project, and if the history of software is anything to go by, these miscreants will eventually fade away because they have no software or solutions to offer.
If they don’t fade away and manage to scupper progress, then bitcoin was always doomed, and they deserve to win.

The resolution of the R3 experiment

All of the companies working from versions of the bitcoin software that is now two years old have forked off onto a path that doesn't have the incredible genius of Bitcoin Core underpinning their software. This year, they've struggled to find a use case for their software forks, have failed to attract developers to their GitHub repos and are still trumpeting secret “trials” with corporate sponsors which are nothing more than PR fluff.
These sponsors will eventually tire of funding insurgents who don’t have the skill to add fundamental game changing features to the bitcoin software they downloaded, and the first market participant working with SegWit-enabled bitcoin, clearly demonstrating what it does, will cause the hapless sponsor firms to pivot away from these worthless trials and the Snake Oil companies in them.
After claiming that bitcoin was "dead", R3 has managed to produce literally nothing. Incredibly, they asked their members what they want to see in a new platform, rather than innovating to provide one.
Part of their plan (which is now under way with their Corda repo) is to tap the mystical “Open Source Energy” where software magically comes from. None of these people, the bitcoin forkers or R3CEV, understand what they are dealing with both in terms of what bitcoin is and what it is for; why regulation can’t be built in to any software project whose aim is to replace bitcoin; or software development in general and how that process works. They have all been “Trumped”.
During the writing of this round up, there have been several interesting announcements. Goldman Sachs has left the R3 Blockchain Consortium, indicating once again that they have literally nothing of value to offer. I have no doubt that they are the first of many to abandon that ship without an engine, and you can be sure that this Emperor’s New Clothes affair is doomed to end up in Davy Jones’ repository.
Circle has dropped support for bitcoin payments. The grown ups are tired of bitcoin. But wait, the ex-CEO of Barclays has joined the board of Blockchain! One wallet maker drops bitcoin, and the ex-head of one of the world’s biggest banks joins the biggest bitcoin wallet.
Is bitcoin dying, or is it the next big thing? These people can’t decide!

Men without conviction

Coinbase, the company desperately trying to find out what it wants to be, adopted ethereum just before it was mortally wounded by the DAO disaster.
More on that below, but more importantly, they have just been served by the US government with a “John Doe” request for their users' information. This is an absolute disaster for them. Defending this attack will cost them millions of dollars in legal fees and may take years to resolve.
During this time of uncertainty, no one in bitcoin will trust them, drying up their already slow user adoption. The one good thing to come out of this is that the case against giving your details over to companies like Coinbase and Circle is now set in stone. Handing over your identity to a bitcoin company is not only worthless to you as a consumer, but it's very dangerous, and should always be avoided without exception.
Here’s why: even if their users have done nothing wrong, Coinbase is now set to be compelled to reveal their names, addresses, bank details and their bitcoin addresses and transaction records, and you can be sure these users will be brutally audited by the IRS.
So, regardless of whether they have done anything wrong and have paid all “their taxes”, they will now – at their own cost – have to prove their innocence (guilty before proven innocent; a complete violation of the US Constitution and Anglo-Saxon legal principles).
This attack on Coinbase demonstrates why ethical bitcoin companies have railed against KYC/AML.
It also shows by inference that bitcoin is anonymous enough to thwart the State, and they can only go after users if those users voluntarily attach their identities to bitcoin addresses controlled by companies in toxic jurisdictions. They can’t be easily identified in absentia of that voluntary self incrimination.
If this were not the case, the IRS would go directly to the users without referring to Coinbase at all. The fact that they can’t shows bitcoin is anonymous enough.
I expect more consumers and businesses will realize this in 2017. Perhaps President-elect Trump can stop all of this with his new America-centric administration. It’s abundantly clear to any capitalist that this John Doe action is 100% pure anti-American, and exponentially increases the risk of pushing bitcoin businesses to foreign jurisdictions.
I wrote about this before, in a consultation response to the British Government on how bitcoin should be handled.

Out of the ether

One of the most interesting events in 2016 was the “Ethereum Event”, where everything Bitcoin Core and others have been saying about the inherent difficulty and risk involved in writing complex cryptographic software came true, thanks to a single bearded man on a laptop running FreeBSD.
Since it was launched in Switzerland, cryptocurrency and bitcoin competitor ethereum has sought to radically extend bitcoin’s capabilities to a new separate database, one that was seen for a short time as the inevitable market winner over bitcoin. This is why Coinbase recklessly took the risk of offering ethereum's native token, "Ethers", to their customers.
One of the capabilities ethereum enables is the ability to create smart contracts, or agreements based entirely in software that execute rules – loosely speaking it's clauses – entirely in code. Smart contracts are an extra-legal way of parties agreeing on how business is conducted and matters settled.
It’s radical, extremely exiting, and the biggest smart contract ever, The DAO, the first “Decentralized Autonomous Organization”, attracted over $140m in investment from people around the globe – and then it was hacked.
But it wasn’t really hacked. An attacker found a fundamental flaw in The DAO’s software contract clauses, and contractually drained $59m worth of ether from it, into another contract beneath it. “Ethers” are the equivalent of bitcoin in the ethereum public database and software ecosystem.
In response to this attack, ethereum, which is the skeleton that the DAO was built on, had its permanent record reversed by the developers who control it, to reimburse investors who lost ether in the DAO.
This is anathema to people in the cryptocurrency space, and caused a group to “fork” ethereum at the point in the transaction record at which the DAO contract hack took place. Forking means the new developers made a complete copy of the ethereum transaction record, and started recording their own, separate record of transactions on to the end of it.
There are now two diverging ethereae – one called “ethereum” and the other, “ethereum classic”.
Both of the database records of these systems are identical up to the DAO event, their native tokens float freely on exchanges, and as of this writing, the prices of both have essentially collapsed.
By any metric, it is a fiasco, and it is an object lesson of why there can only be one bitcoin, and why bitcoin should not fork lightly.

The big lesson for 2017

Rather than seeing the DAO event as a perfect example of why what are now called cryptocurrencies require regulation, the DAO is in fact a vivid illustration of why bitcoin and software should not be regulated.
This DAO event cost a statistically insignificant amount of money to teach a powerful lesson to all market participants, including companies like Coinbase. Without an expensive lesson like this, markets would be less efficient in finding the best models and, as a result, more vulnerable due to the speed of iteration being slower.
Those advocating for regulation should bear in mind that these experiments would be taking place in free jurisdictions, and some of them are guaranteed to succeed, like the SegWit extension to bitcoin. If the additions like Segregated Witness were subject to regulation, the pace of bitcoin improvement would slow to a crawl.
An example of this innovation stifling in the medical industry are the over 4,000 medicines awaiting FDA approval in the US. This backlog is directly analogous to new bitcoin business models – software – being blocked from release to the public.
This is exactly why no bitcoin regulation or legislation must be passed, or even considered openly, as it will signal to entrepreneurs that they are better off in another jurisdiction, just as people travel to free countries to try experimental drug treatments when all FDA approved medicines have failed to cure their disease.
The risk of bitcoin is spread evenly to the people who voluntarily choose to work with it. Trying to control bitcoin pushes a far greater risk of a generational national loss on all citizens, one that can never be recovered from once the centre of bitcoin is captured and rooted in another place.
In order to foster innovation and to allay any fears of a possible explosion of legislation that will make turning a profit in bitcoin impossible, the jurisdiction that wants to win the battle for bitcoin businesses should enact a single law – a 150-year moratorium on any legislation that touches bitcoin.

Up for grabs

2017 is going to be very interesting, and the most welcome change on many fronts is the coming Trump administration, that will hopefully eschew computer illiteracy and embrace The American Constitution and bitcoin, which is synonymous with the frontier mentality of risk taking and American entrepreneurialism.
America can still win the bitcoin prize, just as it won with Silicon Valley. The title of “World Center of Bitcoin” is still up for grabs in 2017.
And in this piece, I haven't mentioned the looming prospect of the inevitable Venezuelan hyperinflation event, or the appalling fallout of the first shots in the war on cash in India, which triggered a 30% premium on bitcoin in that extraordinary country.
If there ever was a time for a service like Azteco, 2017 is it – a frictionless means of buying bitcoin, that reduces complexity to almost nothing and is perfect for the consumer. Combined with the welcome international expansion of, the sublime and revolutionary OpenDime and the other products and services that are sure to follow, 2017 is going to exhilarate, entertain, enrich and enrage like never before!
Follow the author on Twitter and check out his Medium blog here.
Have an opinion on blockchain in 2016? A prediction for the year ahead? to learn how you can contribute to our series.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, CoinDesk.

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