Wednesday 19th April

BITCOIN

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1 Bitcoin = $1,200

 

Investing in Bitcoin

If you’re waiting till Bitcoin is no longer volatile, it’ll be too late by then. – Ace

 

Antifragile: You Can’t Kill an Idea

Every Bitcoin crisis is an opportunity to buy cheap BTC from the people who convince themselves that THIS time Bitcoin won’t be antifragile. – Jameson Lopp

 

Global Currency Reserves

At $10.8 trillion in global currency reserves, bitcoin only needs to take 0.15% share to double its market cap. – Chris Burniske

 

This is Why You Hodl

The Bitcoin pizza is worth $12,209,634 today. – Bitcoin Pizza

 

Media Frenzy in Japan as Bic Camera Starts Accepting Bitcoin

Image result for bic camera bitcoin

Within a few days of the official legalization of bitcoin in Japan, the country’s largest consumer electronics retailer chain Bic Camera and PoS development company Recruit Lifestyle announced their integration of Bitcoin payments.

In most Asian countries, especially Japan and South Korea, the vast majority of the population purchase electronics at large retail centers nationwide, instead of relying on online systems and e‐commerce platforms.

Electronics retail chain operators such as Bic Camera, as seen in the photograph above, have massive influence over their respective countries’ technology and distribution markets. Retail chains of Bic Camera and other retail giants in Japan are often located at the center of the city.

The announcement of Bic Camera’s decision to integrate and accept Bitcoin payments was a nationwide sensation and it took Japan by storm. Videos of consumers purchasing electronics at Bic Camera chains were trending on most social media platforms. – Joseph Young

 

 

MINING

Bitcoin hashrate is surging, hits 4 exahash for first time ever.

1 Exahash this time last year.

Lee Banfield

 

 

ALTCOINS

Altcoin Market Cap = $10 Billion

Total Digital Currency Market Cap = $29.6 Billion

Bitcoin Dominance Index = 67%

 

Total Market Cap Nears $30 Billion

Less than 1 year ago the total cryptocurrency market cap was < $8b.

Today, we’re over 3x that at.

Bitcoin first cracked a $1 billion market cap on March 30, 2013. And by the following month, it had reached $1.504 billion.

Meanwhile, the market for additional blockchain assets outside of bitcoin (“non-bitcoin blockchain assets”) was vastly smaller, totaling in at just $92 million on April 28, 2013.

Less than three years later —  on March 21, 2016 — while the bitcoin market cap had grown 300% to $6.318 billion, non-BTC blockchain assets had grown a whopping 1,600% to $1.602 billion. – Alex Sunnaborg

 

There Can Only Be One?

Ryan X. Charles: I’ve been betting on bitcoin’s network effect for six years. Would love to be proved wrong. Can there be many moneys after all?

Dan McArdle: Sure, but their marketcaps will probably follow a supra-linear distro of some sort (due, obviously, to non-linear nature of network effects). Looking at a plot of mcaps when ecosys is >$250B or so will probably let us compute the function that describes Metcalfe’s law for money. 🙂

 

Digital Asset Exchange ShapeShift Raises $10.4 Million

The company has grown an average of 48 percent per month since launching just under three years ago, it said in a statement.

“When we started ShapeShift, a future world of natively digital assets was very theoretical,” Erik Voorhees said.

“Yet this world is quickly arriving; one in which millions of forms of digital value, from access keys to tokenized derivative contracts to video game items, will trade between people and machines all over the world, every second of every day.”

The ShapeShift platform supports more than 40 digital currencies and assets. Any of these assets may be sold for any other, with more than 1,080 direct trading pairs. – Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

 

Maidsafe

I believe 100% in the goal of decentralized world money, but contrary to popular opinion, I am NOT a mindless Bitcoin pumper. As soon as Bitcoin starts becoming something I don’t believe in 100% or faces genuine existential threat imo, I will publicly state that.

So far, since I joined Twitter in 2013, Bitcoin has not faced a challenge even close to lethal. It may some day, but nothing close yet. And if I believe another project has a chance at achieving a functional, ethical decentralized money system, I will declare so right away

To reiterate, I believe maidsafe may turn out to be such a project. Safecoin would be complementary to Bitcoin as it has no blockchain.

To be clear, the type of federated consensus they’re proposing, as sensible to me and well-researched as it is, may fail. Decentralized encrypted Internet layer is needed so badly like NOW. I wish them luck – no guarantees.- Gabriel D Vine

 

 

PRIVACY / SECURITY / INTERNET

Bitcoin Anonymity

Those who say that Bitcoin anonymity doesn’t exist: who controls the coins that were stolen from MtGox, Bitfinex, Sheep Market, … ? – Tuur Demeester

 

 

MARKETS

US Shale Production Costs are Incredibly Low

  • Production expenses in the Permian Basin have dropped to as low as $2.25 per barrel

For years Saudi Arabia had been the undisputed world leader in the oil market. However, thanks to advances in shale drilling technology, oil production in the U.S. recovered from years of declines, and at one point America overtook Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest producer.

In fact, shale drillers pumped out so much oil that the world became vastly oversupplied, which caused prices to crash.

Last year oil production from leading shale producer EOG Resources declined less than 1% despite a remarkable 42% reduction in capital spending versus 2015.

Fueling that capital efficiency was a significant decrease in EOG’s completed well costs after drilling expenses. EOG used several techniques to reduce costs, including using data to drive well placement decisions, drilling longer wells and using more sand, and other innovations.

Production expenses, likewise, have come down sharply. In EOG Resources’ case, its cost per barrel of oil equivalent has fallen 22% since 2014.

Shale is still in the early innings and has come a long way over the past decade, which suggests that companies could continue to innovate their way to even lower costs. – Matthew DiLallo

 

Tesla Briefly Surpasses GM To Become America’s Most Valuable Car Company

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For the first time in the era of the modern automobile, the most valuable U.S. car maker was not based in Detroit.

Silicon Valley’s Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) briefly overtook General Motors (GM.N) on Monday 10th April to become the U.S. car maker with the largest market capitalization as the century-old automobile industry increases its reliance on software and cutting-edge energy technology.

Helped by an analyst’s recommendation, Tesla rose 3.26% to a record high of $312.

Its market value of $50.9 billion exceeded GM’s by about $1 million (Tesla’s shares have since fallen to $304 with a market value of $49.2 billion).

Over the past month, the luxury electric car maker has surged 35 percent as investors bet that Musk will revolutionize the automobile and energy industries. Its market capitalization remains smaller than Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), at $173 billion.

Tesla’s rich valuation has made it a target of short sellers, who so far in 2017 have suffered over $2 billion in paper losses as the stock rallied. – Noel Randewich

 

 

COMPANIES / PROJECTS / PRODUCTS

SpaceX Makes History with Reused Rocket Launch

Incredibly proud of the SpaceX team for achieving this milestone in space! Next goal is reflight within 24 hours.

Elon Musk

The launch was not only a historic first, but the culmination of 15 years of work and $1 billion of investment in rocket reusability in an effort to get rockets, today largely disposable, to work more like planes by flying 10 and eventually 100 times apiece.

“Reusable rockets are real!” tweeted Bobby Braun, a former NASA official who is now dean of the engineering school at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He compared the rocket to the first successful commercial airliner, the Boeing 707, which ushered in the jet age.

“At this point I’m highly confident that it’s possible to achieve at least 100-fold reduction in the cost of space access,” Musk said after the demonstration.

Reusability has been at the center of SpaceX’s work ever since Musk set out to reduce the cost of space travel. “Rapid and complete reusability of rockets is really the key to opening up space and becoming a space-faring civilization.”

And he means rapid: SpaceX’s new goal is to begin reusing rockets within 24 hours of landing, with just an inspection and a re-fuel. – Tim Fernholz

 

More Reflights This Year, Aspirations of Zero Hardware Changes and 24hr Reflight.

Several reflights scheduled. Might fly as many as 6 reflights this year. Maybe 12 reflights next year.

Design intent is that rocket can be reflown with ZERO hybrid changes 10 times. Then with moderate refurb, 100 times.

We can make it 1,000, but there’s no point in that. ITS will be 1,000 reflights.

Elon Musk

 

Mars Looms in the Background at SpaceX’s Latest Achievement

Tentative schedule, if everything goes perfectly to plan:

October 2020: Send a Dragon spacecraft (the Falcon 9’s SUV-size spacecraft) to Mars with cargo

December 2022: Send multiple Dragons with more cargo

January 2025: Maiden Interplanetary Transport System voyage to Mars. Carrying only cargo.

February 2027: First people-carrying ITS voyage to Mars.

Image result for mars

Although the world’s first reflight for a flight-proven rocket is now behind it, SpaceX’s work is far from over.

“The goal of SpaceX is to provide transportation to allow people to move to other planets,” said company president Gwynne Shotwell before the attempt. “We’re not one-way-trip to Mars people. We want people to be able to come back.”

“From that perspective,” she said, “you need to have a reusable system,” similar to modern-day commercial aircraft.

Employees at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California are reminded of Mars daily, with wall-sized photos reminding them of the company’s mission: Get there.

Kate Tice, a certification engineer at SpaceX, explained during the webcast that reusability is fundamental to establishing not just outposts, but “sustaining cities on other planets” like Mars.

Reusing a rocket is just the first step towards that goal — but it’s a big one. “This will be written up,” said Shotwell. “This is a historic event.” – Neel V. Patel

 

 

KNOWLEDGE / LEARNING

Disconfirming Even Your Strongest Beliefs

You should never let anybody trap you with anything you’ve said in the past.

Life is complicated; the world is complicated. Sometimes you get new data, and when you get new data, you have to change your mind.

But sometimes you also don’t get new data and you just re-analyze the situation, and you realize it was more complicated than you initially thought it was, and you change your mind.

Anybody who doesn’t change their mind a lot is dramatically underestimating the complexity of the world we live in. – Jeff Bezos

 

 

PLACES

Mars

Google Maps lets you explore Mars

We know more about the weather on Mars now than we did about the weather on Earth 80 years ago. – stunt_penguin

 

 

THE SINGULARITY

Image result for kernel weeklyglobalresearch

Brain Extenders

When a person wants to learn the capital of some far off country – they type it into google and out spits the answer. The internet now is very much personal memory of a sort.

As Einstein quipped “My pen and I are more intelligent than I”.

He meant that extra hardware helps him (i.e: a pen) and these days we have trillions of times more assistance than Einstein did…if only we put in the effort when we want to solve certain problems.

Brett Hall

My scenario for how we’re going to use AI is we’re going to merge with it. We’re already doing that. Who could do their work today without the brain extenders we already have?

These AI futurist movies have the AI vs. the humans, and they battle for control of the world. That’s not realistic. We don’t have 1 or 2 AIs in the world today, we have billions of them, and they are brain extenders. What’s actually happening is they are empowering all of us. They’re making us smarter.

They may not yet be inside our brains and bodies yet, but we’ll connect our neocortex, the part of our brain where we do our thinking, to the cloud. That will happen by the 2030s.

My smartphone in my pocket makes itself smarter by connecting to millions of computers in the cloud, so a girl in Africa with their smartphone can have intelligent access to more information than the president of the US did 20 years ago. We’ll directly connect to the cloud, and not just access services like search and translation, but to actually make ourselves smarter. That’s the primary application of artificial intelligence.

The technology going from an external thing to internal won’t be a difficult transition in the 2030s.

It doesn’t make a difference where it is. It will be useful to put it in our brains, we won’t lose it that way. I consider my smartphone a part of my brain already. It’s absolutely a part of my thinking and it’s made me smarter.

There’s still a barrier, a distance, between us and our phones… but it’s only a few inches. They are starting to go inside our bodies and brains. There are people with computers in their brains today, Parkinson’s patients. The first ones were very primitive, now they’re sophisticated, they connect to multiple places in the brain, and the latest generation allows you to download new software wirelessly to the computer inside your brain.

I swallowed a computer a few weeks ago that did a diagnostic test. That’s how these things start. In the 2030s it will be something you can take that goes in your brain and makes you remember things better.

Smartphones did very little even 5 years ago. These technologies creep up on us. They get more and more powerful. It’s not like one day we wake up and suddenly we’re connected to the cloud, it will happen in many steps, each of which seems benign, but then we look back and can see how different the situation has become. – Ray Kurzweil

 

Neuroevolution: Evolutionary Algorithms for Neural Nets

  • Neuroevolution is a form of machine learning that uses evolutionary algorithms to train artificial neural networks.

Image result for nasa antenna

NASA’s best performing antenna, an odd shape no human would think to directly design, was produced by an evolutionary algorithm.

Computer scientists are revisiting an old field of study (genetic algorithms) that suggests putting AI through evolutionary processes could help us develop smarter, more efficient algorithms.

In the past month, Google Brain and non-profit organization OpenAI each published unreviewed papers on the subject, Google’s on the application of neuroevolution principles to image recognition and OpenAI’s on using “worker” algorithms to teach a master algorithm the best way to accomplish a task.

For its research, the Google team generated 1,000 image-recognition algorithms that were trained using modern deep neural networks to recognize a specific set of images.

Then 250 computers each chose two algorithms and tested their accuracy by making them identify an image.

The algorithm with higher accuracy lived, while the one that performed poorly was “killed.”

The survivor was then copied, and its clone (or “child”) was changed slightly—just like human DNA randomly changes during reproduction. But instead of blue eyes or a widow’s peak, this mutation slightly altered how the new algorithm interprets training data.

The clone was then trained using the same data as its parent, and put back into the batch of 1,000 algorithms to start the process over again.

Google researchers found that neuroevolution could cultivate an algorithm with 94.6% accuracy, and recorded similar (though not identical) results during each of four repeats of the experiment. Mutations that improved the algorithm’s image-recognition skills were rewarded (i.e. those algorithms survived) while mutations that decreased performance were killed off. Just like in nature.

Image result for open ai

To conduct their research, the OpenAI team set 1,440 worker algorithms to the task of playing Atari. The workers played until they reached Game Over, at which point they reported their scores to the master.

The algorithms that garnered the best scores were copied, as in the Google research, and the copies were randomly mutated. The mutated workers then went back into rotation and the process repeated itself, with advantageous mutations being rewarded and bad ones killed.

Both attempts had very clear goals—recognize an image, or get a high score in a game. How the algorithms got there was up to nature. – David Gershgorn

 

Life Extension: Removing Senescent Cells Beneficial in Yet Another Experiment

Groundbreaking publication in the scientific journal “Cell” shows how a modified FOXO4 peptide has reversed many aspects of aging in old mice.

The result is important, and the “DRI” technology used to do it is potentially even more important because it is so broadly applicable.

We’ve known for a while that the elimination of senescent cells is a major plank of rejuvenation, and this is a further confirmation, with the advantage that it is underpinned by good scientific understanding of the mechanism.

Aubrey de Grey, SENS Research Foundation

A drug that can reverse aspects of aging has been successfully trialled in animals, say scientists. They have rejuvenated old mice to restore their stamina, coat of fur and even some organ function.

The team at Erasmus University Medical Center, in the Netherlands, are planning human trials for what they hope is a treatment for old age.

The approach works by flushing out retired or “senescent” cells in the body that have stopped dividing. They accumulate naturally with age and have a role in wound healing and stopping tumours.

But while they appear to just sit there, senescent cells release chemicals that cause inflammation and have been implicated in ageing.

The group of scientists created a drug that selectively killed senescent cells by disrupting the chemical balance within them. The findings, published in the journal Cell, showed liver function was easily restored and the animals doubled the distance they would run in a wheel.

Dr de Keizer said: “We weren’t planning to look at their hair, but it was too obvious to miss.” – James Gallagher

 

Japanese Man is First to Receive ‘Reprogrammed’ Stem Cells From Another Person

  • World-first transplant to treat macular degeneration could augur rise of iPS (Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells) cell banks
  • A cell bank is necessary for a timely treatment to be administered as opposed to waiting for the growth of enough of the patient’s reprogrammed cells.

We take living, non-stem cells from a person and change them into stem cells in vitro (in a lab).

Then we can “reprogram” them to differentiate into other cells, in this case macular cells from an eye, and transplant them into a damaged eye to help prevent further degredation.

This is special because the iPS cells are from a different person than the cells are being used to treat.

Normally, transplanting cells like this leads to an immune response (look at Major Histocompatibility Complex for further reading), but the MHC was able to be matched to the donor, leading to a safe transplant (the MHC system is in and​ of itself a magnificent Piece of evolutionary marvel).

They could generate iPS cells from the patient themselves, but they are interested in the prospect of generating a “cell bank” and needed to test the possibility of using another patients cells. The process of inducing cells to pluripotency is long and not very efficient, so we’d prefer to have cells already made and stored that we could use. – TheGreatDanton95

 

Rejuvenating Blood Cells With Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

While we are still young, blood stem cells, specifically, hematopoietic stem cells (HSC), produce a well-balanced number of red and white blood cells in accordance with our body’s needs.

But as we age, the capacity of our HSCs deteriorate. This unbalanced production is precisely what leads to certain diseases. For instance, underproduction of white blood cells lead to lower immunity while its overproduction can lead to blood cancers like leukemia.

This is what the research team from Sweden’s University of Lunds attempted to work on. They provided mice with induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells — stem cells that can produce any kind of cell not just blood cells — and the result was nothing short of amazing.

The iPS cells seemed to rejuvenate the blood stem cells of the old mice, resetting and reprogramming the HSCs which in turn started to produce blood cells with the same capacity as HSCs in younger mice.

Essentially, it’s as if the HSCs were brand new cells with the full capacity to generate blood cells. – Wall Street Pit

 

The Singularity (If We Really Really Try)

Image result for google weeklyglobalresearch

My Ten Years to the Singularity talk began with a story, about a guy named George Dantzig. Back in 1939, Dantzig was studying for his PhD in statistics at the University of California, Berkeley. He arrived late for class one day and found two problems written on the board.

He thought they were the homework assignment, so he wrote them down, then went home and solved them.

He thought they were particularly hard, and it took him a while. But he solved them, and delivered the solutions to the teacher’s office the next day.

Turns out, the teacher had put those problems on the board as examples of “unsolvable” statistics problems — two of the greatest unsolved problems of mathematical statistics in the world, in fact.

Six weeks later, Dantzig’s professor told him that he’d prepared one of his two “homework” proofs for publication. Eventually, Dantzig would use his solutions to those problems for his PhD thesis.

Here’s what Dantzig said about the situation: “If I had known that the problems were not homework, but were in fact two famous unsolved problems in statistics, I probably would not have thought positively, would have become discouraged, and would never have solved them.”

Dantzig solved these problems because he thought they were solvable. He thought that other people had already solved them. He was just doing them as “homework,” thinking everyone else in his class was going to solve them too.

Maybe the Singularity is like that. Maybe superhuman AI is like that.

If we don’t think about these problems as impossibly hard – quite possibly they’ll turn out to be solvable.

This is the attitude I’ve taken with my work on OpenCog. It’s the attitude Aubrey de Grey has taken with his work on life extension.

The more people adopt this sort of attitude, the faster the progress we’ll make. – Ben Goertzel

 

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Follow me on Twitter @leebanfield1

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