Sunday 18th January



If you think the price of bitcoin is bad today then you should view it on a log chart #math – Alex Millar


Strong Hands Unbothered

Hmm. Bitcoin days destroyed still as low as ever: Bitcoin Days Destroyed

Strong hands unbothered, watching a movie, reading a book.

Pete Dushenski


Daily Bitcoin Price Performance

“The price is collapsing 90% of the time. It’s only during rare moments of greed that the price makes any headway up. It’s essentially the opposite of the stock market in that regard” – Throwahoymatie 

I saw someone claim that BTC price has historically has been in decline vast majority of the time w/rare surges, so I ran some numbers.

According to historical Coindesk BPI data, BTC price has “closed” since 2010-07-18.:

* Higher: 861 days

* Lower: 754 days,

* No change: 25 days

Jameson Lopp


Bitcoin, Value, and Ponzi Schemes

It appears that Gary North has used the falling Bitcoin price as an opportunity to reacquaint us with his condemnation of Bitcoin as a Ponzi Scheme.

One can transfer any amount of it anywhere instantly without anyone else being able to stop it, at almost zero cost. Is the economic utility of such a feature so hard to grasp? Perhaps you have never tried transferring $10,000 of “your own money” to another person? If you had, whether it’s fiat or physical bullion or paper bullion, I promise you can’t get that money anywhere you want it to go in any reasonable amount of time without someone else’s permission.

How does that make you feel as a “free” human being? With fiat, it’s the banks’ and governments’ permission. With bullion, it’s the permission of the shipping company or the company in whose account you hold digital or paper certificates.

And all of these parties are tracking and reporting on you, by law. You are at the behest and mercy of others when it comes to your money, but it seems you’re so accustomed to this serfdom that a liberating technology like Bitcoin comes along and you squint from behind your Stockholm-syndrome shackles and yell, “Ponzi Scheme because volatility!”

Near the end of his accusations, Mr. North writes, “Any time you buy an investment, you had better have an exit strategy. There is no exit strategy for bitcoins.” Well, Mr. North, this may sound strange to you, but we’ve already exited. We exited the banking system. We exited fiat. We’re out here in a new world, a wild experiment, to see if a private, decentralized monetary system can actually work. It’s messy. Some of us have gotten hurt. We’ve all been insulted and ridiculed and some of us persecuted for rejecting monetary scripture. We suffer hacks, thefts, fraud, deceit, politicians, and the most frightening of all human endeavors – the great unknown.

But right now, if you care to look, a hundred thousand transactions a day are happening outside of the fiat banking system, so, Mr. North, maybe you should check your premises – Erik Voorhees




Long Block Discovery Times Coming?

“Interested to see how network responds to the predicted 25-30% reduction in hash rate. I think it’ll do well” – Ryan Walker

The most interesting chart in bitcoin right now, and for the next 2 weeks is the hashrate and difficulty chart. We have never seen a very large hashrate drop in bitcoin and the difficulty adjustment takes 2016 blocks to happen.

A large hashrate drop may result in long block discovery times, delaying the difficulty adjustment beyond the usual two weeks. I’m monitoring those two charts (hashrate, difficulty), to see if this scenario plays out because it is the first time this might happen. This is a very big test of the bitcoin difficulty adjustment algorithm and the mining industry and it is a preview of the upcoming (2016) reward-halving event. In essence we have just had a reward halving event (in fiat value terms) that was unanticipated and unplanned.

I think it will all work out well and prove the resilience of bitcoin’s dynamically adjusting algorithmic regulation, but it’s still the most interesting thing I am watching – Andreas Antonopoulos





Since bitcoin has lost a lot of value since the crowdsale does this not affect the project in any way?

We unfortunately tied out feet to the anchor to a large extent, though have been selling larger amounts lately. We got another $465k sold through private buyers just 30 minutes before the latest $30 drop (if there’s a causal relationship sorry guys!). We have enough fiat to get ethereum launched at the very least – Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum


Swiss Franc

Swiss Franc moving wildly: up 41% in few minutes. And they say Bitcoin is volatile…  – Fernando Ulrich

If bitcoin is too volatile to be a real currency, does this mean the Swiss Franc isn’t a real currency? – Lee Banfield


Russian Ruble

The Russian telecommunications regulator Roskomnadzor has blocked access to five bitcoin-related websites because the cryptocurrency “contributes to the growth of the shadow economy.”

Roskomnadzor has the power to order ISPs to restrict access to certain sites. Tuesday’s blockages stem from a court order dating back to September 30th last year, although they were only enforced today.

The blockages are not comprehensive – for example, the Bulgarian site BTC-E, which does a fair amount of trade in ruble-bitcoin transactions, is not blocked in Russia. However, the targeting of the community resource sites in particular suggest that the authorities are trying to at least send a message – David Meyer




State Governments Losing Battle Against Uber’s Deep Pockets

Emails obtained by the 7.30 program reveal illegal ride-sharing application UberX is undermining transport inspectors by blocking their mobile phones from accessing the service.

UberX drivers use private vehicles as unlicensed taxis to collect passengers who have requested a car using Uber’s smart phone application. It is effectively banned in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia, and drivers caught accepting passengers risk fines of up to $1,700.

Driver Debra Walsh said she had been instructed to ignore the ban.

The fines are usually issued on the spot during undercover investigations in which transport inspectors download the Uber app using government-issued mobile phones, and book a ride. However, emails obtained under Queensland’s Right To Information laws show Uber is tracking those mobile phones and suspending all corresponding Uber accounts.

“Due to blocking by Uber, only two covert rides were undertaken [today],” said Nick Marsden from the Department of Transport and Main Roads in an email to colleagues last August.

“Time was spent purchasing new credit cards, activating gmail accounts, and setting up two more phones.

“These phones are the last ones, [we] will be ordering additional units.”

When a transport inspector contacted Uber to ask why their account had been suspended, a customer service representative cited suspicious activity. The Queensland Government says it has issued more than $260,000 worth of fines to 95 UberX drivers since the business began operating in Brisbane early last year. The fines, however, appear to be having little impact on Uber, as the company has deep pockets and is paying the penalties on behalf of its drivers.

The emails obtained by 7.30 reveal tension among staff at Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads who do not believe the undercover investigations are working – David Lewis


Going Supersonic with a 3D-Printed Rocket

Embedded image permalink

0 to 1,363 MPH (Mach 1.8) in 2.6 seconds, pulling 74g’s! Topped out at 9,454 ft

Space and rocketry enthusiast Steve Jurvetson shares wonderful images of a recent project: “Supersonic 3D-printed rocket on a I280 Metalstorm, and wild recovery at sea.” – Xeni Jardin


For more, here’s my talk on rocketry from Maker Faire which I just discovered online (the 3D-printing rocketry adventures start at minute 9:30).

Here are the 3D-print files, free on Thingaverse, for 38mm and 29mm minimum-diameter airframes. Total rocket cost is under $10, and total assembly time is about 10 minutes (after an overnight 3D print) – Steve Jurvetson, Draper Fisher Jurvetson Venture Capital




“We’re not asking for back doors,” Cameron says standing next to Obama. “We believe in very clear front doors.” – Danny Yadron


“They hate the West because of our freedom!”


*5 seconds pass*

“Yeah, so, we need to ban encryption on the Internet.”

Matt May


Wow, Cameron wants to make sure no one in the UK can talk without being spied on. Completely Orwellian – Quinn Norton

“Terrorists must never be allowed to change our way of life”: every politician, usually less than 72 hours before trying to change the law – James Ball 

Here we go: terrorism, as always, is used to increase control over taxpayers – Oleg Andreev


IRS Says You Have No Right to Email Privacy

“The Fourth Amendment does not protect communications held in electronic storage, such as email messages stored on a server, because internet users do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications.”

That’s a direct quote from an internal IRS handbook obtained by the Americans Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act.

IRS officials can legally read any of your emails that are over 180 days – Julie Borowski




Pattaya, Thailand

We accept bitcoin in payment for all services. We do NOT accept credit cards – Pattaya Beer Garden



To leave America, you generally must prove 5 years of U.S. tax compliance.

If you have a net worth greater than $2 million or average annual net income tax for the 5 previous years of $157,000 or more for 2014 (that’s tax, not income), you pay an exit tax. It is a capital gain tax as if you sold your property when you left.

The State Department raised the fee for renunciation of U.S. citizenship from $450 to $2,350. That is more than twenty times the average level in other high-income countries.

With global tax reporting and FATCA, the list of the individuals who renounce keeps going up, and many claim that many aren’t counted. Of those on the official list, 2013 saw a 221% increase, with record numbers renouncing. The Treasury Department is required to publish a quarterly list, but these numbers are under-stated.

After Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin departed for Singapore, Senators Chuck Schumer and Bob Casey introduced a bill to double the exit tax to 30% for anyone leaving the U.S. for tax reasons.

Dual citizens in Canada who are trying to shed their U.S. citizenship have created a backlog at the U.S. consulate in Toronto – Robert W. Wood


Last week Roger Ver revealed that the United States Embassy in Barbados has denied his requests for a visa to attend some Bitcoin related conferences in the United States.

As reported by Ver his requests for a visa are denied because in the Embassy’s determination he lacks sufficient connections to his new homeland of St Kitts and Nevis to prevent him from overstaying his visa and essentially immigrating back into the United States illegally. This incident highlights a number of ways in which the United States acts on the international stage not as a peer state with others, but as a rogue state.

The large deviance, the one that earns the United States a reputation as the gravity well, an astronomical feature more safely observed at a distance than visited is in its regressive approach to expatriation.

* One of the substantial motivations and results of the 1812 war between the United States and Britain being the right of citizens, in this case of Britain to expatriate and renounce their citizenship and its obligations. This fact being commonly recognized at the turn of the 20th century in the United States as a fundamental right of persons.

* In 1868 the United States explicitly in law rejected the English legal tradition of perpetual allegiance – Bingo Boingo


The Annual World Economic Forum – Davos, Switzerland

Prostitutes at the World Economic Forum in Davos are going to be very expensive this year – Stalingrad & Poorski

The forum, bringing together presidents, prime ministers, monarchs, corporate tycoons, boffins and Hollywood actors, is also drawing a class of professionals to service, ahem, the needs of the elite.

Call girls, escorts, courtesans, hookers, prostitutes, call them what you will, look to be back in business for the event in the Swiss mountain resort town this year.

Escort agencies from outside the mountain town from centres such as Zurich say they can dispatch women there in a couple of hours. Diederich told Blick WEF groups sometimes want three or four models, preferring “young party girls”.

The escort business adds another element to a shindig as well known for its networking and partying as its speeches and workshops. The demand for escorts may be driven by the fact that that 85 percent of the 2,500 people attending the forum gathering are male – Malcolm Curtis




“If your business and social world is oriented around the premise of “disruptive technologies”, what could be more disruptive than slowing down or “defeating” ageing?” – Patrick McCray

“The first person who will live to 1,000 years is probably already alive.” – Aubrey de Grey

“There is an increasing number of people realising that the concept of anti-ageing medicine that actually works is going to be the biggest industry that ever existed by some huge margin and that it just might be foreseeable.” – Aubrey de Grey


The world is in a “pro-ageing trance”

Peter Thiel, 47, PayPal co-founder and Facebook’s first investor, recently told Bloomberg Television he took human growth hormone (HGH) as part of his regime to reach 120. He also follows a Paleo diet, doesn’t eat sugar, drinks red wine and runs regularly. He has given more than $6m to Aubrey de Grey’s Sens Foundation, dedicated to extending the human lifespan. In a recent interview he identified three main ways to approach death. “You can accept it, you can deny it or you can fight it. I think our society is dominated by people who are into denial or acceptance, and I prefer to fight it.”

In an office not far from Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, with a beard reaching almost to his navel, Aubrey de Grey is enjoying the new buzz about defeating ageing. For more than a decade, he has been on a crusade to inspire the world to embark on a scientific quest to eliminate ageing and extend healthy lifespan indefinitely (he is on the Palo Alto Longevity Prize board).

It is a difficult job because he considers the world to be in a “pro-ageing trance”, happy to accept that ageing is unavoidable, when the reality is that it’s simply a “medical problem” that science can solve. Just as a vintage car can be kept in good condition indefinitely with periodic preventative maintenance, so there is no reason why, in principle, the same can’t be true of the human body, thinks de Grey. We are, after all, biological machines, he says – Zoe Corbyn


Scientists Say They’ll Soon Extend Lifespan Past 120

Fixing the ‘problem’ of ageing is the mission of Silicon Valley, where billions is pouring into biotech firms working to ‘hack the code’ of life

Scientists have already successfully intervened in ageing in a variety of animal species and researchers say there is reason to believe it could be achieved in people. “We have really turned a corner,” says Brian Kennedy, director of the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing, adding that five years ago the scientific consensus was that ageing research was interesting but unlikely to lead to anything practical. “We’re now at the point where it’s easy to extend the lifespan of a mouse. That’s not the question any more, it’s can we do this in humans? And I don’t see any reason why we can’t,” says David Sinclair, a researcher based at Harvard.

Reason for optimism comes after several different approaches have yielded promising results. Some existing drugs, such as the diabetes drug metformin, have serendipitously turned out to display age-defying effects, for example. Several drugs are in development that mimic the mechanisms that cause lab animals fed carefully calorie-restricted diets to live longer. Others copy the effects of genes that occur in long-lived people. One drug already in clinical trials is rapamycin, which is normally used to aid organ transplants and treat rare cancers. It has been shown to extend the life of mice by 25%, the greatest achieved so far with a drug, and protect them against diseases of ageing including cancer and neurodegeneration.

Other drugs set to be tested in humans are compounds inspired by resveratrol, a compound found in red wine. Some scientists believe it is behind the “French paradox” that French people have a low incidence of heart disease despite eating comparatively rich diets.

In 2003, Sinclair published evidence that high doses of resveratrol extend the healthy lives of yeast cells. After Sirtris, a company co-founded by Sinclair, showed that resveratrol-inspired compounds had favourable effects in mice, it was bought by drug giant GlaxoSmithKline for $720m in 2008. Although development has proved more complicated than first thought, GSK is planning a large clinical trial this year, says Sinclair. He is now working on another drug that has a different way of activating the same pathway – Zoe Corbyn


The World Is Extremely Close To Eradicating A Human Disease For The 2nd Time In History

Humanity is close to eradicating a human disease from the face of the earth for the second time in history. (The first eradicated human disease was smallpox, which last infected someone in 1977.)

On Monday, former US President Jimmy Carter announced at the opening of “Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease,” a new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History, that there were just 126 cases of Guinea worm disease left in the world.

In 1986, when the Carter Center began leading the effort to eradicate Guinea worm, there were approximately 3.5 million cases in 20 countries, including India, Pakistan, and Yemen, with the rest in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Other diseases are on the list as well — the Natural History exhibition, which runs until July 12, also takes a look at the prospects for eliminating or controlling polio, malaria, lymphatic filariasis (which causes elephantiasis), and river blindness.

Eliminating or controlling all of those diseases is possible — and doing so would be an incredible achievement – Kevin Loria


Artificial Intelligence

In the past five years, advances in artificial intelligence—in particular, within a branch of AI algorithms called deep neural networks—are putting AI-driven products front-and-center in our lives. Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Baidu, to name a few, are hiring artificial intelligence researchers at an unprecedented rate, and putting hundreds of millions of dollars into the race for better algorithms and smarter computers.

AI problems that seemed nearly unassailable just a few years ago are now being solved. Deep learning has boosted Android’s speech recognition, and given Skype Star Trek-like instant translation capabilities. Google is building self-driving cars, and computer systems that can teach themselves to identify cat videos. Robot dogs can now walk very much like their living counterparts.

“Things like computer vision are starting to work; speech recognition is starting to work. There’s quite a bit of acceleration in the development of AI systems,” says Bart Selman, a Cornell professor and AI ethicist – Robert Mcmillan


Tribulation Conquered

Today, Opportunity stands proudly on the top of Cape Tribulation, taking a well-deserved breather after her hard climb.

She did it. Opportunity did it. She reached the top of Cape Tribulation, and is now looking down from the summit, with gorgeous views of the rim of Endeavour on the farside of the crater and of her tracks leading back down the hill to the great Merdiani Plain far below.


Now she is there, standing on that summit. And I make no apology for repeating the statistics because they are jaw dropping. Opportunity would, it was hoped, survive for 90 days on the surface of Mars before the hostile environment killed her.

It was hoped that in that time she might, possibly, perhaps, drive as far as a kilometre from her original landing site. Eleven years later… eleven YEARS… as you read this, on your phone, laptop, tablet or PC, this truly incredible rover is not only still working, but she has travelled almost 42 km across the Red Planet and is now standing on a rocky ledge high above the surface of Mars.

If you don’t think that’s an amazing achievement, if that doesn’t leave you shaking your head on wonder, then you’re made of stone, I swear – The Road to Endeavour


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