1 Bitcoin = $227
Our children will laugh at the silly flag money of yore. – Erik Voorhees
Blockchain.info Hits 4 Million Wallets
August 2012: 15,000
January 2013: 100,000
August 2013: 400,000
January 2014: 1 million
August 2014: 2 million
March 2015: 3 million
August 2015: 4 million
Disrupting the Finance Industry
Twitter – 140 letter sensation is 10x value of NY Times. And why cant Bitcoin be 10x the value of JP Morgan ? 10x entire finance industry ?
I have nothing against Twitter but one would agree much more IQ power has gone into designing and implementing the Bitcoin protocol 🙂
And its on its way to disrupt the largest elephant out there – the finance industry.
The Complete and Utter Abandonment of Fiat Money
One great benefit Bitcoin has already bestowed on humanity is that people are now using the term “fiat,” whereas before it was just “money” – Erik Voorhees
While many think that the monetary experiment that is Bitcoin could crash and burn at any moment, others are waiting for the day that it becomes the new reserve currency of the world. Erik Voorhees won’t be satisfied with Bitcoin’s hold on the world’s financial system until the latter of the two scenarios plays out. He said:
“The end zone for me is the complete and utter abandonment of fiat currency around the world. I think that will be the sign that we truly — we won. I mean, we’ll know we [won] long before that — maybe we already are [winning].
Fiat currency is a money that people are forced to use and [it] gets its value from force. It is a pen into which people are corralled, and through which all sorts of terrible manipulations are carried out on people.
Many of the ills of the world stem from it. The ability to inflate money and pay for things beyond what you can tax from a population is a very sneaky and terrible way that organizations maintain power over people. Getting rid of people’s dependence on fiat solves that problem to a large degree.”
Bloomberg’s Commodity Index Just Hit a 21st Century Low
Peak Oilers Shut Up Please. It’s Debunked, OK?
Princeton University geologist Ken Deffeyes predicted that global oil production would peak on Thanksgiving Day, 2005. In 2005, daily global oil production averaged 85 million barrels per day. Daily petroleum liquids production in July was 96 million barrels per day.
For the past six months global oil prices have been falling steeply.
Today West Texas Intermediate was selling for $43.20 per barrel.
That means the price per barrel is just over $31 in inflation adjusted 2000 dollars.
CNBC cite analysts who project that the price will fall further into the $30s per barrel range soon. Should the price fall to $30 dollars, that would be about $22 per barrel in 2000 dollars. That would be nearly back to what the price was 15 years ago. – Ronald Bailey
COMPANIES / PROJECTS / PRODUCTS
Apple has grown revenue more than 33% compounded for the last 5 years.
They trade at less than 3 times revenue.
Sobering reminder for many startups.
LEARNING / EDUCATION
Against Intellectual Monopoly by Michele Boldrin & David K. Levine
Beautyon: Its the “go to” book to destroy any argument for Patents and Copyrights. I bought the hard back edition. Decades of LIES exposed.
Private Schools are Booming in Poor Countries. Governments Should Get Out of Their Way.
The failure of the state to provide children with a decent education is leading to a burgeoning of private places, which can cost as little as $1 a week
The parents who send their children to these schools in their millions welcome this. But governments, teachers’ unions and NGOs tend to take the view that private education should be discouraged or heavily regulated. That must change.
Education in most of the developing world is shocking.
- Half of children in South Asia and a third of those in Africa who complete four years of schooling cannot read properly.
- In India 60% of six- to 14-year-olds cannot read at the level of a child who has finished two years of schooling.
Most governments have promised to provide universal primary education and to promote secondary education. But even when public schools exist, they often fail.
- In a survey of rural Indian schools, a quarter of teachers were absent.
- In Africa the World Bank found teacher-absenteeism rates of 15-25%.
- Pakistan recently discovered that it had over 8,000 non-existent state schools, 17% of the total.
- Sierra Leone spotted 6,000 “ghost” teachers, nearly a fifth the number on the state payroll.
The failure of state education, combined with the shift in emerging economies from farming to jobs that need at least a modicum of education, has caused a private-school boom.
By and large, politicians and educationalists are unenthusiastic. Governments see education as the state’s job. Teachers’ unions dislike private schools because they pay less and are harder to organise in. NGOs tend to be ideologically opposed to the private sector. The UN special rapporteur on education, Kishore Singh, has said that “for-profit education should not be allowed in order to safeguard the noble cause of education”.
The growth of private schools is a manifestation of the healthiest of instincts: parents’ desire to do the best for their children. Governments that are too disorganised or corrupt to foster this trend should get out of the way. – The Economist
The 5 Whys Technique
Typically used in engineering for root cause analysis, but can be applied to root causes in life.
Five iterations of asking why is generally sufficient to get to a root cause.
The vehicle will not start. (the problem)
1)Why? – The battery is dead. (first why)
2) Why? – The alternator is not functioning. (second why)
3) Why? – The alternator belt has broken. (third why)
4) Why? – The alternator belt was well beyond its useful service life and not replaced. (fourth why)
5) Why? – The vehicle was not maintained according to the recommended service schedule. (fifth why, a root cause)
The real root cause should point toward a process that is not working well or does not exist.
Untrained facilitators will often observe that answers seem to point towards classical answers such as not enough time, not enough investments, or not enough manpower. These answers may be true, but they are out of our control. Therefore, instead of asking the question why?, ask why did the process fail?
A key phrase to keep in mind in any 5 Why exercise is “people do not fail, processes do”.
The technique was originally developed by Sakichi Toyoda and was used within the Toyota Motor Corporation during the evolution of its manufacturing methodologies.
It is a critical component of problem-solving training, delivered as part of the induction into the Toyota Production System.
The architect of the Toyota Production System, Taiichi Ohno, described the 5 Whys method as “the basis of Toyota’s scientific approach. The tool has seen widespread use beyond Toyota, and is now used within Kaizen, lean manufacturing, and Six Sigma.
Computer Language Trends
Coding isn’t just for the supergeeks anymore–getting a little code under your belt is an incredibly valuable skill for marketers and any other members of a business team. – Larry Kim
9 Places You can Learn How to Code for Free:
1) MIT Open Courseware: Introduction to Computer Science and Programming
2) Coursera: Programming Languages
3) Coursera: Programming for Everybody (Python)
4) Code Academy
5) Khan Academy
6) HTML5 Rocks
An Asymptote Toward Zero
The 3D Printer means third world labor won’t be as important.
Imagine a world where the cost of producing most essential goods (including food) is close to zero. We’re almost there.
Are we Living in a Simulation?
“What am I?
Ray Kurzweil is not the atoms and molecules that make me up.
I’m really an information structure, I’m a pattern of information.
We know that the cells turn over in 5 days to 2 weeks. The neurons persist as cells but the parts of the neurons change over very quickly.
I’m completely different stuff (particles, molecules) than I was just a short time ago.
But I’m not completely different information. Yes, I’ve changed somewhat but there’s a real continuity. Most of the patterns are the same.
So fundamentally what Ray Kurzweil is, is information. It’s a pattern of information. So I’m a patternist. I think patterns (which means information) is the fundamental reality.
Radical Life Extension
The general public don’t want to think about it. Quite a lot of scientists don’t want to think about it.
They don’t want to get their hopes up. They really don’t want to reengage a psychological battle that they have already lost, that they have already submitted to.
They have already made their peace with ageing and the inevitability of declining health, old-age and eventual death; getting into a mode of thinking where maybe science will come along and prevent that from happening or maybe it wont, that’s a mindset that disturbs a lot of people; that’s a mindset a lot of people would prefer not to even engage in, if the alternative is to continue to believe that the whole thing is science-fiction. It’s fatalistic but it’s calming.
It’s quite depressing to me. All of the stupid things that people say, like, “Where would we put all the people?” or, “How would we pay the pensions?” or, “Is it only for the rich?” or, “Wont dictators live forever?” and so on, all of these things… it’s just painful.
It’s extraordinarily frustrating that people are so wedded to the process of putting this out of their minds, by however embarrassing their means; coming up with the most pathetic arguments, immediately switching their brains off before realising their arguments might indeed be pathetic. – Aubrey de Grey
In Ten Years How Will Technological Advancements Enable Radical Life Extension?
I think that in the next 10 years we’re likely to hit a tipping point that I have historically called “robust mouse-rejuvenation”. I think it’s more like 6-8 years at this point, to be honest.
I believe that we’re going to reach a point where we have mice in the laboratory and we extend their lives by a sufficient magnitude and by appropriate means, so the scientific community will begin to believe strongly that we’ve cracked this; that it’s only a matter of time before we bring ageing under comprehensive medical control for human beings as well.
Once the scientific community, the acknowledged, expert, credentialed scientific community, has a consensus, that’s when my job will be done, because literally the following day Oprah Winfrey will be saying, “Well, if it’s possible and it’s only a matter of time then let’s make it as little time as possible”. Then, the day after that, it will be impossible to get elected unless you have a manifesto commitment to actually have a war on ageing, right now. – Aubrey de Grey
How SpaceX Will Colonize Mars
Today, no one is talking about Mars, and very few people think of Mars as a relevant part of the near future. But unless I’ve missed something big or something unexpected happens, in about 10–20 years,people will start going to Mars. You could go to Mars in your lifetime. Crazy things are on the horizon.
This is one of those topics that’s tough to absorb, because as you think about it, your mind will keep drifting back to, “Nahhhh.”
Learning about what SpaceX is doing and why they’re doing it can take you from a place where thinking the prospect of humans moving to Mars is totally ludicrous to a place where you accept the logic that it’s actually an important thing to do and something that’s possible and even likely to happen. But that’s different than really believing it’ll happen. Deep down, your brain hasn’t really accepted it. And that’s fair—your brain bases things on experience, and experience tells it that moving to Mars is not something that people ever do.
But I’m pretty sure your brain’s in for some big surprises over the next few decades. Colonizing Mars might actually—really—be based in reality.
Step 1: Send an automated spaceship to Mars just to make sure you can send something there and back”—this should happen before 2020.
Step 2: A handful of unmanned cargo missions to bring equipment, habitats, and supplies, so that when the first people start arriving, they’ll be able to not die—they’ll need access to water, a place to live, the tools to convert compounds on Mars to oxygen, fertilizer to grow crops, etc
Step 3: Something big will happen. Someone—probably SpaceX, probably in about ten years—will send the first crew of people to Mars. For anyone under the age of 50 who’s annoyed they weren’t alive and sentient in 1969 to get caught up in the excitement of the moon landing—you’re finally going to have your day. Somewhere out there, right now on this Earth, is the Neil Armstrong of Mars. No one knows who they are—they might not even know who they are—but everyone on Earth will know their name soon.
This is gonna be a big deal.
The next time Earth laps Mars and they’re side by side is 2016—too soon to do anything. But when it happens again in the summer of 2018, don’t be surprised if a vehicle with a SpaceX logo on it touches down on Mars. Musk has thrown out a rough prediction of 2025 or 2027 for the Neil Armstrong of Mars to take that famous first step onto the planet.
But like Neil Armstrong’s famous first step, this will be a great achievement for mankind—not a giant leap. The giant leap comes next.
Step 4: With the price of a ticket plummeting downwards and the first crewed Mars mission having opened the floodgates, we’ll be ready to start colonizing. In the year 1605 the people who settled in Jamestown and Plymouth were very extreme to do so—the first groups to go to Mars will be as well.
The earliest settlers will have a hard job, like early settlers always do—they’ll have to build themselves a livable situation, and eventually, get working on the first Martian city. For this reason, Musk guesses that early on, for every spacecraft that goes to Mars carrying people, ten will need to go carrying cargo and supplies.
Step 5: Over time, more people will make the migration, the city will be increasingly developed, and the settlers will be able to start building things that make for a decent lifestyle: restaurants, bars, movie theaters, sports facilities, etc.
And then, something will start to happen.
The hardest part will be over, and more people will want to go.
The first return ships will come back with people, and it’ll remind everyone on Earth that it doesn’t have to be a one-way ticket—and more people will want to go.
The people who come back to Earth will be commended for their courage, some of the people on Mars will write best-selling books about their experience, and others will film a little TV show about the early settlement and become household names on Earth—and more people will want to go.
People on Earth will see gorgeous photos of Martians hiking around on Olympus Mons and in Valles Marinaris, a mountain and canyon far bigger than any on Earth—and more people will want to go.
People will hear about being able to jump off a 20-foot cliff without hurting yourself and watch viral YouTube clips of new kinds of extreme sports that can only be played with Mars’ 38% gravity situation—and more people will want to go.
And in case you were wondering if this is going to be a vacation jaunt, Musk explains, “It’s not going to be a vacation jaunt. It’s going to be saving up all your money and selling all your stuff, like when people moved to the early American colonies.”
But he also points to the excitement and novelty of getting to found a new land—an experience that stopped being possible on Earth centuries ago: “There will be lots of interesting opportunities for anyone who wants to create anything new—from the first pizza joint to the first iron ore refinery to the first of everything. This is going to be a real exciting thing for people who want to be part of creating a civilization.”
What this all adds up to is that once the first crew lands on Mars, it seems likely that with every Earth-Mars synchronization thereafter, the number of people choosing to migrate will grow—perhaps exponentially. By 2040, Musk thinks there will be a thriving colonial Martian city.
And one day after that, sometime in the future, an incoming fleet will arrive on Mars, and for the first time, the planet’s population will top 1 million. He thinks it’ll take at least 40 or 50 years of fleet migrations to happen, which, if things start in the mid-2020s, brings us to around 2070.
The Real Giant Leap for Mankind
Neil Armstrong calling the moon landing “a giant leap for mankind” is not the correct wording.
Landing on the moon is in the same category as putting the first man in space or the first person climbing Mt. Everest—it’s a great achievement for mankind. But if the first ocean animal to touch dry land simply lay there for a minute before being washed back into the ocean, it would not qualify as a giant leap for life, and the moon landing shouldn’t either.
It’s only when certain mutated fish began to live on land in a sustainable way that life as a whole made a giant leap.
Previous Giant Leaps:
* Simple cells ——> complex cells ———> multicellular life.
* Life explodes into diversity
* Life emerges from the ocean onto land
* An increasing diversification of the great apes leading to the human-chimpanzee tribe split
* The progression of the homo genus that eventually led to humans.
* Major Migrations
* The development of language, farming and writing
* The birth of the industrialized world
Colonizing Mars permanently will be a giant leap for mankind.
But shouldn’t we pause for a minute and note that it’s a little weird that after 3.8 billion years—38,000,000 centuries—that I’m claiming that this century, we may witness a giant leap on par with the six or seven greatest leaps in history? How could that possibly be?
And wait, this reminds me of something. When we dove into artificial intelligence, it certainly seemed like A) something that might explode into superintelligence in the next century, and B) something that might permanently and dramatically affect all life on the planet (for better or worse). Would that also qualify as a potential giant leap?
And—as our understanding of the human genome advances and the science of genetic engineering races forward, isn’t it conceivable that in 100 years, science may have figured out how to keep humans alive for much longer than a normal biological lifespan and put people through legitimate reverse-aging procedures? If that happened and we conquered aging, wouldn’t that also make the big, big list of significant events in life history?
What the hell is going on??
Either I’m being hopelessly naive or this is a very intense time to be alive.
When a species becomes so powerful that they can achieve giant grand-scale life leaps in under a century, they can essentially play god, in many different ways. Let’s call that reaching the God Point.
If progress is indeed accelerating, it makes sense that an advanced species would eventually hit the God Point, and there seems to be plenty of evidence that humans are either already there or very close—advancements in fields like space travel, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, particle physics, nanotechnology, and weaponry open the door to a long list of unthinkably-dramatic impacts on the future.
The reality is that we’re living in a time when we could witness multiple events in our lifetimes as impactful as life going from the ocean to land. Not only might we be on the cusp of the great leap of life becoming multi-planetary, we may be on the cusp of a bunch of other great leaps as well.
There are other signs pointing to this being an extraordinarily unusual time to be alive:
- For 99.8% of human history, the world population was under 1 billion people. In the last .2% of that history, it has crossed the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 billion marks.
- Up until 25 years ago, there had never been such a thing as a global brain of godlike information access and connectivity on this planet. Today we have the internet.
- Humans walked around or rode horses for 999 of the last 1,000 centuries. In this century, we drive cars, fly planes, and land on the moon.
- If extra-terrestrial life were looking for other life in the universe, it would be dramatically easier to find us this century than in any century before, as we project millions of signals out into space.
If we take a step back and just look at the situation, it should be clear that nothing that’s happening right now is normal.
Current humans have FAR more power than any life on Earth ever has, and it seems very likely that if in a billion years, an alien history major writes a term paper on the history of life on Earth, the time we’re living in right now—however it turns out—will be a major part of that paper.
When a planet’s life reaches high intelligence, it usually means they’re a couple hundred thousand years away from their do-or-die moment. Their progress will accelerate faster and faster until finally they hit the God Point, when they simultaneously gain the power to forever end species vulnerability or drive themselves accidentally extinct—and it’s all about which comes first.
Those species who hit the God Point, then enter the chaos that inevitably ensues, and somehow come out alive on the other side have “made it through,” and they can officially join the universe’s community of grown-up, immortal, intelligent species.
More than any particular Mars population goal, Elon Musk wants to die knowing we’re on our way to what he describes as “the threshold at which even if the spaceships from Earth stop coming, the colony doesn’t slowly die out.” That, he says, “is the critical threshold for us as a civilization to not join the potentially large number of one-planet dead civilizations out there.” A million people is his rough estimate for where that threshold lies, but no one knows for sure.
When—if—we do one day get to that point, only then will we have made the giant leap for mankind Neil Armstrong referred to. Humanity’s future will be much more secure and much more likely to survive deep into the future.
My gut says that we’re probably much closer to the beginning of The Story of Humans and Space than the middle or the end. It seems like we’re right around the end of “Chapter 1: Confined to Earth”—maybe on the very last page. And as the story moves forward, it may begin to take place on a much wider stage than the Earth, making The Story of Humans and Space ultimately indistinguishable from The Story of Humans.
It’s no more possible to predict what will happen in those chapters than it would have been for a farmer in 2500 BC Mesopotamia to envision our world today. – Tim Urban
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