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The Almighty Buck

IEEE Spectrum Digs Into the Future of Money 292

New submitter ArmageddonLord writes "Small, out-of-pocket cash exchanges are still the stuff of everyday life. In 2010, cash transactions in the United States totaled $1.2 trillion (not including extralegal ones, of course). There will come a day, however, when you'll be able to transfer funds just by holding your cellphone next to someone else's and hitting a few keys — and this is just one of the ways we'll wean ourselves off cash. In 'The Last Days of Cash,' a special report on the future of money, we describe the various ways that technology is transforming how we pay for stuff; how it's boosting security by linking our biometric selves with our accounts; and how it's helping us achieve, at least in theory, an ancient ideal — money that cannot be counterfeited."

Comment Re:failure path (Score 1) 246

It's called RSS. On android I have Newsrob, a RSS reader that syncs with my GReader feeds, filled with feeds ranging from geopolitical news aggregators to single-author travelblogs. I've got it configured to retrieve full html versions of the pages linked of which it caches locally the 1000 most recent. It has made me go through a massive paradigm shift about information retrieval, one which I would now have a hard time living without. I wouldn't know why iOS wouldn't have similar apps, except of course if apps are restricted in their use of local storage, which I think is true...

Comment Re:Here's what I'd do (Score 1) 396

Kiva is an evil machination in order to draw more and more poor people everywhere in the world into the gravitational pull of credit-based consumer economies. Plus, Kiva might not pay you back any interests on the money you so freely share, but the microfinance organisations they loan it to do charge loan-shark rates, which often go from 12.5% to 25%+. All it takes to draw more consumer-addicts in and suck them dry before the corruption of credit-based economies becomes obvious even to the most remote uneducated pigmy.
I'd use the 1000$ to buy silver and have 1250-1500$ in 6 months.

Comment Re:As apprehended.... (Score 1) 710

What about those users of LOIC who understand the technicals behind the system, yet chooses to use it anyway? Because a distributed network of people donating their own connection to obstruct a target is no different from a sit-in or protest, which are both legitimate forms of civil disobedience. "Hiding in the mob" per say, you are still "physically" present on the scene in order to pass a certain message, and could of course be prosecuted. But you rely on the fact that the police/courts/black helicopters would have to come down on tens/hundreds of thousands of people who feel the same way that you do to know it won't happen, in the opposite case of which the enormity of the overreaction would still reach your goal of waking people up to the truth of how far down the rabbit hole we are.

Comment Re:Canada always gets its way (Score 1) 383

Not to mention that the authorities that be have clearly laid bare their contempt for individual sovereignty and the Charter during this summer's G20 (That's the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for you, rest of the world). We may or may not have lived under a police state for a long time, but I think post-G20 is the first time where the affirmation that Canada isn't a police state cannot be defended at all.

The last 2 years, I've been trying to ring the alarm for my friends and relatives, to (what seems to be) no avail. But the lack of indignation about the G20 events have told me all I needed to know; we've been (apparently successfully) sheeple'd just like the Americans and the English. I'm out; my plane is leaving in a few days.

Comment Re:Opening it up will just prove Apples point (Score 1) 347

After the disaster that has been flash on Andoid so far

I like people that make absurd generalisations. Tells me they're probably too stupid to hold a more complex thoughts or that they might merely have crafted their opinions by briefly skimming a couple articles in the interblags.
Self-deprecating cynism aside, I'm a google N1 user. I've had flash on it ever since 2.2 was released (what, more than a month ago?) and since then, I've only had 2 crappy websites that had flash which wouldn't want to load. So I reloaded them without asking to activate flash (it's a whitelist a la noscript) and had to surf it flashless like any iOS user would. On the other 95% of sites with flash it worked flawlessly and I had all of the "value added".
Some pretentious blogging heads tried to make a huge story out of this, but reality is that it is not a disaster and works quite well, notwithstanding any flaws that you might expect Flash to have.

Comment Re:oh goody (Score 1) 202

Lol. Seems you're so deep into your case of fanboyitis that you wouldn't recognize reality if it hit you with a clue stick in the face. Android has been sustaining about a 100% growth PER QUARTER for the last year. While Apple were touching themselves for selling 1.4 million iphone 4 handsets a week after their launch event, android was silently sustaining 160k+ activations per day, the equivalent of a launch event every week!

Moreover, that you think it is not designed as a device shows you have no clue what you are talking about. Android is just as much an appliance as iOS is. With over 100k apps in Android's market and growing faster than iOS's, the app count e-peen wars are just as obsolete as the p&s megapixel wars. Many thousands of great apps, and many more shitty, on both sides.

Show the average consumer what they have to do to get there music onto a galaxy s phone and they'll look at you dumbfounded and just use their iPod.

Yeah right. Plug your generic usb cable in and drag'n'drop as if onto a usb stick. Or use any media manager you might be using to sync playlists and the songs within. On the iPod? Locked into crappy iTunes, and god forbid you'd want to add that one song from a friend's computer you haven't synced from? Yeah, it'll wipe your iOS's whole app and music library, which you'll have to go through the hassle of re-syncing when you get back to your home pc. Pure win, right?

Comment Re:some daguerretypes have gigapixel resolution (Score 1) 289

pinhole cameras (from maybe f54 and going even higher than f1000) have essentially infinite depth of field, leading to perfect focus anywhere.
Diffraction got really bad over f200 though, but larger "film sizes" tend to counter this. Daguerrotypes are essentially the glass pane on which the image is projected, so they had a lot of magnification potential.

Comment Re:Sorry, still somewhat lame (Score 1) 289

Yes, a 120 megapixel, 35mm (24x36) chip. That is, by the way, about 14 000 lines per inch. 59.7 of those sensors would be needed to fill a 8"x10" frame. So at this pixel density, what you thought was a "mere 120 megapixel" actually becomes a 7.168 gigapixel image.

That is an absurdly high number; printing at 300 dpi, (assuming square image for lazyness), that would make a print 24 feet across.

But who looks at a billboard with a magnifier?

Only use I can conceive (though there are, of course, probably more) is using a surveillance camera with, say, a 106 degree FOV (16 mm lens) and crop 440x into it for a 500 mm FOV (5 degrees) with an end result close to a modern camera - 16 mp. But this would require lenses far above and beyond current top of the line, professional lenses: current pixel densities in DX cameras (that are much more dense than 35mm) are already able to resolve more than even the center (which is the part with the best resolution) of modern lenses can show. Measurements go around 2000-2500 lines per inch for golden-ring Nikon and Canon L series, a number which, by the way, fits perfectly well with current pixel densities (Canon is already pushing it a little at 24 mp, and next-gen 40mp will already need a refresh of the L series to perform optimally). Referring back to the 14k lines per inch for the sensor above, you can see how much would be wasted without any currently existing lens that can resolve that much.

For the record, I shoot with a 12mp D700. Not as good low-light as a D3s (which is about 2 stops better) yet I am still amazed that I can shoot handheld after sundown without any noise or even by moonlight in the dead of night if I'm ready to compromise a little bit on noise (6400-12800 iso). I can't understand people who want more pixels than that; reducing noise in low-light situations is my main priority and more pixels are directly counter to that.

Comment Re:Look for astronomic size artifacts, not just ra (Score 1) 452

Many such interesting scenarii have been explored in different SF books in the last couple of dozen years.
Artifacts that we could look for include Dyson Spheres (or its computational equivalent, Matrioshka Brains), which would present themselves as orbiting rings/clouds of satellites designed to harvest as much electromagnetic energy from their star as possible. Their presence can be inferred from massive shifts into the infrared from all the harvested energy that is then re-emmitted as waste heat. This is a major thread in the excellent (and creative-commons licensed!) exploration of the Singularity concept, Accelerando by Charles Stross. Accelerando also introduces such head asploding concepts as timing channel attacks on the quantum structure of the universe in order to determine whether the universe is a simulation or not.
For possible galactic-scale civilisations, we'd have to look for even weirder phenomena, that we can barely conceive as plausible. Stephen Baxter explores a far-future in the Xeelee Sequence (best hard science fiction series that I have ever read) in which humanity is fighting against extinction by an exponentially more advanced race. They didn't even consider humans flies until they tried to appropriate Xeelee technology, but they don't really have time to wipe us out as they are busy manipulating galactic clusters (i.e. the Grand Attractor) to try and reverse-engineer the spacetime structure by creating naked singularities. We could eventually notice this once/if we get better at detecting gravitational waves/pulses.

A much more scifi-noob friendly novel in the same veins is Larry Niven's Ringworld. Sadly, while being very interesting, the world that he created is actually physically impossible. Too bad.

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