With the recent talk of reddit being cannibalized by bitcoin technology, I thought it a good time to post something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Could a completely decentralized startup one day rival the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon?
Within the bitcoin world there’s a common understanding that the most valuable thing about bitcoin is not the monetary currency but the underlying “blockchain” technology that the bitcoin currency runs on. For those unfamiliar, you can check out three heavily-funded ventures creating infrastructure that would enable anyone to program applications on the blockchain that go way beyond monetary currencies: Ethereum,Swarm and Blockstream.
One such application is what’s known as a “Distributed Autonomous Organization,” which is an organization like a corporation, government or NGO, but which has no central leadership and uses internet technologies to organize and function. Examples of DAOs that you are familiar with include open-source software systems like Linux; terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda; communities like Anonymous; and …
To get the theory of relativity Einstein held the speed of light constant and let time and space vary.
These days cosmologists are holding the infinity of the universe as constant and letting its density and expansion/contraction rate vary.
In some sense quantum mechanics is about holding the observer constant and letting the physical interpretation vary (particle or wave; position or momentum; exist or not).
What would we get if we held consciousness constant and let the universe vary?…
There’s a scientific paradox in the world of nutrition about what the optimal diet is. A new theory may resolve the paradox. Oh, and help you live forever too.
The majority consensus is the “post-agricultural revolution diet” is best, which says that a majority of your intake should be vegetables and fruits, and that you should severely limit your animal product intake, especially red meats. Some proponents (like T. Colin Cambell of China Study fame) go as far as claiming that a strictly vegan diet is best.
The other camp argues for the “paleo” or “caveman” diet, which says we need to eat what our paleolithic ancestors ate: lots of foods high in animal fat and animal protein, and avoid industrialized grains altogether (some fermented natural grains are fine). Fermented foods in general are encouraged, honoring the fact that before preservation, refrigeration and pasteurization we evolved a symbiosis with bacterias that are critical for our digestion and processing of nutrients.
Both sides agree that processed …
The following story is true, I’ve just changed the names and told it in parable form. The material numbers and circumstances are roughly accurate, and Alice is a friend of mine who may tell the story herself on video here soon…
A True Story
Alice was feeling particularly poor at a certain time in her life and because of this she was under a lot of stress. Her friend, Bob, was a billionaire many times over and he disliked seeing his friend in pain and so he wrote her a blank check and said, “Alice, whatever amount you cash this for, it will relieve me of the burden of figuring out what to do with it. Will you do me the favor of accepting this gift?” Alice was stunned because she knew she could have cashed the check for $30 Million and Bob would not have missed it at all. And she knew Bob was sincere in what he was saying.
Alice was overwhelmed with …
In his eloquent article, Breaking the Galilean Spell (worth reading in its entirety), Stuart Kauffman has given me the words to finally be able to articulate the uneasiness I feel about statistical reasoning in an increasingly interconnected world:
…[Can] we make probability statements about the evolution of the biosphere? No. Consider flipping a coin 10,000 times. It will come up heads about 5,000 times with a binomial distribution. But, critically, note that we knew beforehand all the possible outcomes, all heads, all tails, all 2 to the 10,000 possibilities. Thus we knew what statisticians call “the sample space” of the process, so could construct a probability measure.
Can we construct a probability measure for the evolution of the biosphere into its Adjacent Possible? No. We do not know the sample space!