Which I guess is the major strategy of Al Qa'e'da - asymmetrical attacks
http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WO... Per Osama Bin Laden, their goal is to bankrupt the USA. They seem to have achieved a pretty good ROI if the returns are counted as dollars spend by the US fighting Al Qaeda. They don't even need to do anything these days, just having their name mentioned can cause costly countermeasures to kick in.
say, you're actively committing fraud, by claiming that you're a doctor of alien sciences or some bullshit like that. should you be able to remove all criticism about your "alien artifact healing technology" or not?
should some random dude be able to remove _my_ information that I _want_ to be available?
To the first, I don't believe that is the kind of information Google is required to remove. To the second, Google requires verification of ID as part of the removal process.
Don't get me wrong, I think asking search engines to forget publically available data is censorship, and it seems like it must cost Google quite a bit to comply with such requirements. Still, let's at least criticize this development for what it is, not for what it might be in bizarro-world.
What is going to prevent these plates from getting scratched and rendered useless shortly by studded tires, gravel, snow plows, etc.
Flying cars, of course.
Bitcoin is not designed to work in an environment where trust is important. It's designed to make it unnecessary to trust banks such as flexcoin to a large extent. That part needs some fleshing out, still, but the protocol offers a lot of opportunity for it.
In short, either all this business about a continuous, individual consciousness is largely illusory or we just don't understand the phenomenon very well at all yet.
What do they do with seized gold? I'm pretty sure they don't go to the nearest pawn shop to sell it. In fact, I'm pretty sure they auction it.
There are a number of benefits to litecoin, particularly the faster transaction time."
Transaction times are the same as for Bitcoin - practically instant. The confirmations are faster, but I don't see why that's a benefit. Bitcoin could have a faster confirmation time, too. If you cut confirmation time in, say, half each confirmation would only provide half the security of the longer time since a confirmation would be twice as easy to get into the blockchain, all other things being equal.
Now, you do get that first confirmation faster if the confirmation time target is lower, but if you're accepting Litecoins with only a few confirmations, you're probably dealing with small amounts and might as well accept 0-confirmation Bitcoin transactions.
I'd be happy to hear why a shorter confirmation time is a real benefit, but AFAIK it's not.
Basically, though, the block reward gets halved every 210,000 blocks. That's happened once so far, and no-one pulled any switch to do it. Everyone running a Bitcoin node or miner simply runs code that has the same requirements to accept a block as valid. Some miner could have modified their software to produce 50-coin blocks even after block 210,000, but that would be pointless if other peers in the network weren't running software with the same modification.
You also stated block creation must be faster than one per 10 minutes on average now. It's possible that's temporarily true, but the network retargets the difficulty of finding a block to maintain the balance at 10 minutes per block. This is done by comparing the time it took to calculate the previous 2016 blocks, starting from the previous difficulty retarget, to the expected time of two weeks. If it's less, or more, the difficulty required for a block to be valid is adjusted to compensate, making it harder or easier to find a block. All the information needed to do this retargeting is publicly available.
You may want to have a look at: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Difficulty
In brief, there are no mystery hands behind the curtains pulling strings to make things happen. You're right that many of the basic choices were arbitrary - the maximum of just short of 21,000,000 BTC and the block creation time being obvious examples. The rules are, however, transparent, and in order to change any of them you'd have to modify the core software and convince people to start using your modified version. That wouldn't be very easy, since it would create a competing currency forking off the Bitcoin blockchain. Anyone holding Bitcoins would likely be pretty wary of such modifications, because the effects on the value of BTC could be deleterious.
Look at it this way, computers get better all the time. If you wait a while, you can get better value for your money. Somehow, people still buy computers all the time.