Crypto AG was a Swiss company specialising in communications and information security. It was secretly jointly owned by the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and West German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) from 1970 until about 1993, with the CIA continuing as sole owner until about 2018. With headquarters in Steinhausen, the company was a long-established manufacturer of encryption machines and a wide variety of cipher devices.
The company had about 230 employees, had offices in Abidjan, Abu Dhabi, Buenos Aires, Kuala Lumpur, Muscat, Selsdon and Steinhausen, and did business throughout the world. The owners of Crypto AG were unknown, supposedly even to the managers of the firm, and they held their ownership through bearer shares.
The company has been criticised for selling backdoored products to benefit the American, British and German national signals intelligence agencies, the National Security Agency (NSA), the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), and the BND, respectively. On 11 February 2020, The Washington Post, ZDF and SRF revealed that Crypto AG was secretly owned by the CIA in a highly classified partnership with West German intelligence, and the spy agencies could easily break the codes used to send encrypted messages. The operation was known first by the code name "Thesaurus" and later "Rubicon".
- "Crypto AG" | 2020-02-12 | 101 Upvotes 68 Comments
- "Apple has not made any significant donations to charity since 1997" | 2011-03-05 | 7 Upvotes 54 Comments
In mathematics and physics, many topics are named in honor of Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler (1707–1783), who made many important discoveries and innovations. Many of these items named after Euler include their own unique function, equation, formula, identity, number (single or sequence), or other mathematical entity. Many of these entities have been given simple and ambiguous names such as Euler's function, Euler's equation, and Euler's formula.
Euler's work touched upon so many fields that he is often the earliest written reference on a given matter. In an effort to avoid naming everything after Euler, some discoveries and theorems are attributed to the first person to have proved them after Euler.
- "List of things named after Leonhard Euler" | 2019-03-09 | 69 Upvotes 24 Comments
Swatch Internet Time (or .beat time) is a decimal time concept introduced in 1998 by the Swatch corporation as part of their marketing campaign for their line of "Beat" watches.
Instead of hours and minutes, the mean solar day is divided into 1000 parts called ".beats". Each .beat is equal to one decimal minute in the French Revolutionary decimal time system and lasts 1 minute and 26.4 seconds (86.4 seconds) in standard time. Times are notated as a 3-digit number out of 1000 after midnight. So, for example @248 would indicate a time 248 .beats after midnight representing 248⁄1000 of a day, just over 5 hours and 57 minutes.
There are no time zones in Swatch Internet Time; instead, the new time scale of Biel Meantime (BMT) is used, based on Swatch's headquarters in Biel, Switzerland and equivalent to Central European Time, West Africa Time, and UTC+01. Unlike civil time in Switzerland and many other countries, Swatch Internet Time does not observe daylight saving time.
- "Swatch Internet Time (1998)" | 2018-02-05 | 86 Upvotes 78 Comments
- "Swatch Internet Time" | 2014-01-12 | 103 Upvotes 96 Comments
- "Ask HN: Why did this idea of Internet Time not work?" | 2009-03-17 | 7 Upvotes 28 Comments
Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in the confluence of Western, Central, and Southern Europe. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities seated in Bern. Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It is geographically divided among the Swiss Plateau, the Alps, and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi), and land area of 39,997 km2 (15,443 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are located, among them the two global cities and economic centres of Zürich and Geneva.
The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the late medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The Federal Charter of 1291 is considered the founding document of Switzerland which is celebrated on Swiss National Day. Since the Reformation of the 16th century, Switzerland has maintained a strong policy of armed neutrality; it has not fought an international war since 1815 and did not join the United Nations until 2002. Nevertheless, it pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. Switzerland is the birthplace of the Red Cross, one of the world's oldest and best known humanitarian organisations, and is home to numerous international organisations, including the second largest UN office. It is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably not part of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Eurozone. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties.
Switzerland occupies the crossroads of Germanic and Romance Europe, as reflected in its four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Although the majority of the population are German-speaking, Swiss national identity is rooted in a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, and Alpine symbolism. Due to its linguistic diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names: Schweiz [ˈʃvaɪts] (German); Suisse [sɥis(ə)] (French); Svizzera [ˈzvittsera] (Italian); and Svizra [ˈʒviːtsrɐ, ˈʒviːtsʁɐ] (Romansh). On coins and stamps, the Latin name, Confoederatio Helvetica – frequently shortened to "Helvetia" – is used instead of the four national languages.
The sovereign state is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product. It ranks at or near the top in several international metrics, including economic competitiveness and human development. Zürich, Geneva and Basel have been ranked among the top ten cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with Zürich ranked second globally. In 2019, IMD placed Switzerland first in the world in attracting skilled workers. World Economic Forum ranks it the 5th most competitive country globally.
- "Direct Democracy in Switzerland" | 2018-12-01 | 84 Upvotes 104 Comments
The 2000-watt society is an environmental vision, first introduced in 1998 by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (ETH Zurich), which pictures the average First World citizen reducing their overall average primary energy usage rate to no more than 2,000 watts (i.e. 2 kWh per hour or 48 kWh per day) by the year 2050, without lowering their standard of living.
The concept addresses not only personal or household energy use, but the total for the whole society, including embodied energy, divided by the population.
Two thousand watts is approximately the current world average rate of total primary energy use. This compared, in 2008, to averages of around 6,000 watts in western Europe, 12,000 watts in the United States, 1,500 watts in China, 1,000 watts in India, 500 watts in South Africa and only 300 watts in Bangladesh. Switzerland itself, then using an average of around 5,000 watts, was last a 2000-watt society in the 1960s.
It is further envisaged that the use of carbon-based fuels would be ultimately cut to no more than 500 watts per person within 50 to 100 years.
The vision was developed in response to concerns about climate change, energy security, and the future availability of energy supplies. It is supported by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, the Association of Swiss Architects and Engineers, and other bodies.
- "2000-Watt Society" | 2022-09-19 | 194 Upvotes 296 Comments
The Swiss railway clock was designed in 1944 by Hans Hilfiker, a Swiss engineer and Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) employee, together with Moser-Baer, a Swiss clock manufacturer, for use by the SBB as a station clock. In 1953, Hilfiker added a red second hand in the shape of the baton used by train dispatch staff., giving the clock its current appearance.
- "Swiss Railway Clock" | 2023-01-16 | 10 Upvotes 4 Comments
Credit Suisse Group AG is a global investment bank and financial services firm founded and based in Switzerland. Headquartered in Zürich, it maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world and is one of the nine global "bulge bracket" banks providing services in investment banking, private banking, asset management, and shared services. It is known for strict bank–client confidentiality and banking secrecy. The Financial Stability Board considers it to be a global systemically important bank. Credit Suisse is also a primary dealer and Forex counterparty of the Federal Reserve in the United States.
Credit Suisse was founded in 1856 to fund the development of Switzerland's rail system. It issued loans that helped create Switzerland's electrical grid and the European rail system. In the 1900s, it began shifting to retail banking in response to the elevation of the middle class and competition from fellow Swiss banks UBS and Julius Bär. Credit Suisse partnered with First Boston in 1978 before buying a controlling share of the bank in 1988. From 1990 to 2000, the company purchased institutions such as Winterthur Group, Swiss Volksbank, Swiss American Securities Inc. (SASI), and Bank Leu. The biggest institutional shareholders of Credit Suisse include the Saudi National Bank (9.88%), the Qatar Investment Authority and BlackRock (about 5% each), Dodge & Cox, Norges Bank and the Saudi Olayan Group.
The company was one of the least affected banks during the global financial crisis, but afterwards began shrinking its investment business, executing layoffs and cutting costs. The bank was at the center of multiple international investigations for tax avoidance which culminated in a guilty plea and the forfeiture of US$2.6 billion in fines from 2008 to 2012. In 2021, Credit Suisse had assets under management (AuM) of over CHF 1.6 trillion.
UBS announced its intent to acquire Credit Suisse for $2 billion on March 19, 2023.
- "Credit Suisse Controversies" | 2023-03-19 | 28 Upvotes 3 Comments
The Bernoulli family (German pronunciation: [bɛʁˈnʊli]) of Basel was a patrician family, notable for having produced eight mathematically gifted academics who, among them, contributed substantially to the development of mathematics and physics during the early modern period.
- "Bernoulli Family" | 2023-06-17 | 22 Upvotes 5 Comments