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+ - Duverger's law in political science predicts exactly two Bitcoin mining giants->

Submitted by purnima
purnima (243606) writes "It's not every day that the old area of Political Science can help us think in a new way about technology. The linked article tells us that Bitcoin is different sort of technology: it has a democratic system built into the protocol. So when recently, the mining pool GHASH.IO achieved 54% of computational power amongst all Bitcoin miner there was a great deal of `weeping and gnashing of teeth’ in the Bitcoin community. You see, anyone controlling more than 50% of mining power exercises complete control over the recording of Bitcoin transactions. But all is not lost, “Duverger’s law” in political science predicts that the eventual stable market structure for Bitcoin mining will be two large mining pools of equal size. Equal size means two mining consortiums that will each frequently cross the 50% computational power line and have temporary control of the recording of Bitcoin transactions. And that, unlike a persistent monopoly, need not be a bad thing for the longevity of the currency."
Link to Original Source

+ - 1958 Integrated Circuit Prototypes from Jack Kilby's TI Lab Up For Sale->

Submitted by Dharma's Dad
Dharma's Dad (668471) writes "Christie's New York is auctioning them off this Thursday. They were gifted to one of the lab employees by Jack Kilby (who won the Nobel prize in 2000 for his part in the work). The family has finally decided to sell them — they are expected to go for over one million dollars. How cool would it be to have these in your man (or lady) cave =)"
Link to Original Source

+ - Shadow Network 100 Times Faster than Google Fiber Already Exists

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "When the Department of Defense's ARPAnet evolved into the present-day internet, the scientific community didn't actually stop experimenting with networks. Even as the commercial internet grew, scientists were building other nets connected first via land lines, then satellite links, and now via fiber optic cables. Various shadow networks in the U.S. were eventually combined into ESnet (Energy Science Network) that was able in November 2013 to transfer data in 'real world' settings at 91 gigabits per second. ('Real world' settings refer to non-direct connections.) Google Fiber is currently aiming to provide data transfer speeds of 10 gigabits per second to American consumers, much higher than all other U.S. internet providers. ESnet utilizes 'the excess network capacity built-up by commercial internet providers during the late 1990s internet bubble' — i.e., 'dark fiber'. Its data transfer capabilities foreshadow the future for average consumers, but some today may see the disparity between this shadow net and the commercial one and wonder just why exactly such a large disparity exists."

Comment: It's hard but not that hard (Score 2) 278

by purnima (#46876439) Attached to: The Ways Programming Is Hard

Thinking is hard, but there is a kind of thinking that is harder.
Rough order of thing (easiest to hardest).

1) lounging around doing nothing (easiest)
2) doing what you are told to do without physical exertion (menial white-collar work)
3) doing what you are told to do with physical exertion (menial blue-collar work)
4) independent thinking about things not involving organising other humans (programming, painting, composing music, solving systems of equations)
5) independent thinking about things involving organising other humans (managing programers)
6) independent thinking about things involving organising other humans who are in turn doing independent thinking involving organising other humans (hardest)

Comment: Sharing (Score 2) 331

by purnima (#46852057) Attached to: Why the Sharing Economy Is About Desperation, Not Trust

has been the domain of the rich. This is because sharing was moderated by expensive middle men. If you own a castle in Britain, you are likely to regularly share some of the rooms (short-term renting them out through an expensive agency). But it wasn't easy to rent out that extra room or your basement in your three bedroom suburban house, because there was no affordable way to efficiently access that market (the market structure was very thin for short term renting).

Now the rest of us can partake in the sharing economy, agency costs have dropped dramatically for the stuff that the rest of us own.

Comment: This is an Australian innovation (Score 5, Informative) 597

by purnima (#46244489) Attached to: Financing College With a Tax On All Graduates

called HECS.

It began in the 1990's and was developed by the economist Bruce Chapman.

It is a great success in Australia. I graduated under the system. It was perfect for me, because I had no money to study but made some after and payed the loans through my taxes.

Comment: You are kidding me (Score 2) 259

by purnima (#45622143) Attached to: Elsevier Going After Authors Sharing Their Own Papers

I work in an area where most of the top journals are owned by Elsevier. Also most of my publications are with Elsevier and I'm on several editorial boards for Elsevier journals.. I've been thinking of resigning from editorial boards on Elsevier journals and starting new arxiv based journals because of the cost of journals. This breaks the camel's back. Elsevier can bite me.

Comment: I understand how to value (Score 1) 276

by purnima (#45616225) Attached to: This Whole Bitcoin Thing Could Be Big, Says Bank of America

shares in a remittance company that is likely to take Western Union to Blockbuster territory. But valuing these assumes you are buying shares that will eventually pay dividends, and when not paying dividends will appreciate because profit was is reinvested.

But Bitcoins are not shares. When you buy a Bitcoin you are not buying equity in the Bitcoin environment. Wonder what model BoA valuers have in mind for this. It weirds me out.

Comment: With all due respect to (Score 1) 287

by purnima (#45572825) Attached to: RMS Calls For "Truly Anonymous" Payment Alternative To Bitcoin

RMS, I watched the interview on youtube, and I don't think that he understood the anonymity issues of Bitcoin. He's not on top of the issues or the technology.

He has in mind markets with one-sided-anonymity in which the seller is known (a big cooperation) to the buyer while the buyer is anonymous to the seller. Basically he's thinking about online shopping with Walmart on one side and an anonymous buyer on the buyers side. Bitcoin provides anonymity in both directions seller-buyer, which he did not seem to appreciate. Bitcoin allows for anonymous markets and not simply anonymous buying. Bitcoin has the potential to change how we conduct commerce and not simply to facilitate privacy in exiting market structures.

Also, I simply could not understand his statement that "we have had the anonymity technology (his kind of anonymity) for decades". I really don't think that he was thinking of zerocoin.

Comment: They are around (Score 1) 178

by purnima (#45256447) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Are the Complete Hosting Providers?

and "complete" solutions have been around for more than a decade.

The question that may be interesting, is why have people not adopted niche complete hosting providers. I don't know, but to tell the truth I need to wake up each morning knowing that my information is reliably accessible _me_, my credit card numbers haven't been sold, and that if my provider goes down I can read about it in the NYTIMES, that's all slightly more important to me than my worry that the US/German/French governments can read my crap.


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