Friday links! Geniuses v. idiots edition


Here’s how the scale of human intelligence works: anyone dumber than me is an idiot. From your/you’re to minor driving mistakes to this guy, I can’t believe how stupid people are. Conversely, everyone even a little bit smarter than me must be some kind of genius. Can you imagine the sort of mind that knows something you don’t? Of course not. That’s the whole problem. Today is Friday, and the scope of ingenuity is less a spectrum than a binary. Won’t you fill in the ones and zeros with me?

Continue reading

Why does Bitcoin require arbitrary work?

Fluctuations in the US dollar value of Bitcoins over the last six months

Fluctuations in the US dollar value of Bitcoin over the last six months

Over the last few days it is possible I have become fixated on Bitcoin, a cryptographically controlled virtual currency that presently exchanges at around $800 per. By “presently” I mean this morning. If you are reading this in 2014, odds are the value of Bitcoin has done something surprising, as the chart above suggests it might. Bitcoin has been extremely susceptible to market fluctuations since its creation in 2009. Part of that volatility owes to Bitcoin’s gradual acceptance as currency; until 2011, Bitcoins traded for exactly zero dollars, because you couldn’t use them to buy anything. Now, though, several legitimate retailers accept Bitcoin, and so do a lot of illegal ones.

Continue reading