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Comment Re:"everyone from PayPal merchants to Rand Paul" (Score 1) 67

Bitcoin in of itself has no real-world value

Some economists such as Carl Menger make a compelling argument that there is no such thing as "intrinsic value":

Principles of Economics by Menger, 1871
"Value is thus nothing inherent in goods, no property of them, nor an independent thing existing only by itself. It is a judgement economizing men make about the importance of goods at their disposal for the maintenance of their lives and well-being. Hence value does not exist outside the consciousness of men."

A crude way of interpreting this is coming to the realization that if all humans were dead, nothing would have any value left. Value thus exists because humans assign value to goods, but value is not an intrinsic property of any good itself.

it has no worth of its own

That is false - the market value of a bitcoin is USD 236 currently. This value is established through supply and demand. The demand is created because value is assigned to bitcoin for various reasons:

- Speculative: people are buying and holding on to bitcoin because they believe its price will rise in the future;
- International money transfers: bitcoin can be used to do cheaper cross border money transfers. This is currently mainly useful in remittance markets where Bitcoin based remittance startups offer lower prices than for instance Western Union and MoneyGram;
- Trading: people who like to trade currencies and currency derivatives can do so very easily using bitcoin. This happens a lot in China;
- Payment processing: companies such as Coinbase and BitPay let merchants accept bitcoin at significantly lower costs than accepting credit cards or PayPal. These benefits are sometimes handed back to the buyers in the form of discounts, which in turn increases the demand for bitcoin.

it doesn't have any strong central backer with an authority to reinforce it like national currencies do

This is the entire point of Bitcoin - it can not be manipulated by a central authority. This is exactly where bitcoin derives its speculative value from - the believe that a currency that cannot be manipulated (by means of unpredictable inflation or by manipulating interest rates) is a better form of currency than existing fiat currencies.

Right now it has some vigorous supporters, but those are truly very, very few in number

Citation needed. Hundreds of millions of venture capital and hundreds of bitcoin companies say otherwise.

Comment Re:Privacy implications (Score 1) 37

Data about an individuals health must be private. Automatically analyzing sewer samples is fine as long as the data is aggregated and no individual can be singled out.

Bit worried about this combined with DNA fingerprinting. It seems a trivial next step to analyse a sewer sample, and after establishing drug use, get a DNA fingerprint and run it against a database. Do we want to allow such intrusive surveillance? Or is there a line to be drawn, even in case of drug use?

Comment On racism (Score 1) 593

I believe all humans are equally valuable and respectable regardless of race and sex. I do not, however, believe that humans are all created equal in terms of predisposition of physical skills and intelligence.

Differences in physical skills between race and gender is not much of a taboo. It is generally accepted that men are stronger than women, and in sports we don't let men compete with women because that would be unfair and pointless. The 100m sprint is dominated by blacks. Should we think of women as less than men because of this? Or whites to be inferior to blacks? Obviously not.

Differences in "intelligence" between race and gender is a huge taboo. It is not accepted that men are generally predisposed to be more able to abstract and plan ahead than women, and that whites and asians are predisposed to have better abilities to abstract and plan ahead than blacks. Perhaps the difference may be caused by poverty, less opportunity, cultural differences or racism. Or perhaps its the other way around: less ability to plan and abstract causes poverty and cultural differences.

This would be a racist and highly controversial, politically incorrect position to take. In my view, this is exactly where the problem starts. Apparently, intelligence is the one measure by which we must judge a human being. It seems that against all evidence we want to continue to pretend we are predisposed to be all equally smart, implying that people that would be predisposed to be less smart are somehow inferior. This is infuriating and obviously not the case. Intelligence is an arbitrary measure just as physical skills or beauty is. There are many traits to a human being, and it would be better if we'd accept that there are differences in terms of predisposition between gender and race. It would mean conceding that some races are predisposed to be physically superior and others to be predisposed in terms of ability to plan ahead and abstract. Then we can accept that, yes, no surprise, we see a lot of white men in doing things that demand math-like skills such as finance, programming and research. A great many of these jobs that require abstraction and planning are the higher paying ones.

Comment devolution (Score 1) 558

The human species is evoluting degeneratively, let's say devoluting. The brain and our health are the first victims of this.

We're devoluting because the widespread use of contraception prevents successful males from spreading there genes in the amounts required to sustain the quality of the human race. Not too long ago, alpha males would spread their genes 50 to 100 times, or even 1000 times if very succesful. Today, perhaps average 3 or four kids for them. That's not sustainable, humans were not designed that way.

And nature doesn't give a fuck about your political correct counter-opinion.

Comment Re:don't think this really works on phones yet (Score 1) 151

Not only that, but the car is on a road and the nav system knows where the roads are. If the nav system has an approximation of the location of the car, and the car makes a right turn, then it can know and sync the position of he car to be on that road.

Comment Re:The responsible consumer is a myth (Score 1) 1146

Let's face it: people don't want to think about every bit they do.

You're right. People are plain stupid! Why do we even give them the right to vote? Surely, if people are too dumb to switch of the lights or TV or heating when they don't need it, how can they be given the responsibility of choosing their own government?

Hope you start to see a problem when dismissing people from their responsibility to judge for themselves because they are 'too stupid'.

Comment Re:Regulations a bit premature (Score 1) 1146

the price of leds is made up by the extreme long life they have.

That's what they said with the first generation power-saving lamps as well. Supposed to last 25 years, but that turned out to be about a year. Yes, I had to replace these lamps yearly. A lightbulb costed 90 eurocents, these power-saving lamps were at least 5 euro a piece. As for the environment - worse than lightbulbs because the power saving lamps have electronics in them which take much more water and energy to manufacture and generate more and much nastier waste than an ordinary light bulb.

Now we're supposed to believe that leds are the answer. Sure, leds last long but what about the circuits that drive it? People have dimmers in their houses which may not play nice with the electronics on the lamp, breaking it in no-time.

And as for efficiency - the heat a bulb generates is not wasted at all in houses with the heating turned on.

And... I just can't believe banning the bulb is even possible without any protests in the USA, "land of the free". The only ones who benefits are the producers of lamps, Philips, Siemens, etc. You can bet that they did some lobbying here and there for these regulations to pass. The losers are you (less choice, higher cost), the environment (because I'm pretty sure these lamps will break plenty quick too) but worse, choice and even liberty in general.

Because this won't stop here, obviously. In the name of the environment, what's next?

Comment Re:genesis of life (Score 1) 74

Mars had an atmosphere
Yes, and it was totally gone within 500 million years after Mars was formed, and had likely become prohibitively thin for any life to form way before it was gone. Any life that existed must have evolved during the first couple of hundred million years. But on earth, it took 1 billion years. And earth is bigger, closer to the sun, has more water, a less toxic surface than Mars.

Comment Re:genesis of life (Score 0) 74

I'm sorry, but this is just common sense. Life does not spontaneously appear if you stir in a bowl of water. The chances of a self-copying molecule (because that's all the first "life" can have been) to spontaneously appear is so small, that it took a billion years on earth to happen. Mars, being an environment orders of magnitude less favorable, there's just zero chance.

Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes, work never begun.