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141  Other / Off-topic / We're almost certainly living in a simulation on: April 11, 2012, 09:36:14 PM
It is most rational to assume that we're all very likely not living in a real universe, but in a simulated universe. We're being simulated on the hard drives of computers of the future.

This is called the "Simulation argument" and is seriously discussed in academic circles. It was introduced in a paper by philosopher Nick Bostrom of Oxford University.

There is little to assume to make this argument robust. Consciousness is at last the result of information processing. Then you have to grant that humans of the future build and run simulations of the past in the way we run simulations today (Sims games, etc), and then there is just one short move: the simulated universes almost by definition will outnumber real universes, and therefore we're far more likely to be among the simulated ancestors than the real ancestors.

Found in this video debate about consciousness and afterlife (sequence starting at 18m 20s):

Bostrom's Paper:

[...] One thing that later generations might do with their super-powerful computers is run detailed simulations of their forebears or of people like their forebears. Because their computers would be so powerful, they could run a great many such simulations. Suppose that these simulated people are conscious (as they would be if the simulations were sufficiently fine-grained and if a certain quite widely accepted position in the philosophy of mind is correct). Then it could be the case that the vast majority of minds like ours do not belong to the original race but rather to people simulated by the advanced descendants of an original race. It is then possible to argue that, if this were the case, we would be rational to think that we are likely among the simulated minds rather than among the original biological ones. Therefore, if we don’t think that we are currently living in a computer simulation, we are not entitled to believe that we will have descendants who will run lots of such simulations of their forebears. [...]

So what does this mean for Bitcoin? It's an in-game currency for this simulated universe, will they trade with it in the next outer simulated universe? And the next? omg buy buy buy!  Shocked
142  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / p2pfoundation Bitcoin criticism on: March 10, 2012, 08:24:07 PM
p2pfoundation is a wiki site to "study the impact of Peer to Peer technology and thought on society". They're close to the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Their overview about Bitcoin:

Their criticisms:

Summary of a p2p-based critique by Michel Bauwens

[...] However, the Bitcoin design may also have some serious flaws. First of all, the way it is mined privileges the technical community itself as it can have access to networks of botnets to generate coins, in a way most people can't. Secondly it is a 'scarcity' based currency, subject to hoarding and wealth accumulation (only 21m bitcoins will be created, insuring a constant growth in value), that does not really change what is 'wrong' with the current currency system. As many so-called 'peer to peer' technologies (such as crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, etc..) it may increase wider participation and 'distribution' but without necessarily changing the dysfunctional neoliberal functioning of the market. Nevertheless, what it really shows is that socially sovereign currencies are viable, and could be created as a tool of the countereconomy, though this may require a different ruleset for its functioning. so that true 'social' peer to peer values can be integrated in the design of future 'post-Bitcoin' currencies. [...]

They like Ripple a lot more:

143  Other / Politics & Society / Libertarians... on: February 14, 2012, 04:17:40 PM

144  Economy / Trading Discussion / "but it is unclear to them how this currency is supported" on: February 13, 2012, 10:07:29 PM

Although Bitcoin is not illegal, Paxum’s partners consider the cryptocurrency “high risk,” Paxum explained. “We simply must cease all business with Bitcoin based on our banking partners/Mastercard etc. We don’t have a choice in the matter I’m afraid,” Ruth Blair, a representative for Paxum, told Betabeat via Skype.

“The main fears had to do with the fact that it’s a decentralized currency and as such there isn’t much control over it,” Paxum said in a statement to Betabeat. “In the end, it is converted to a legal tender (generally USD), but it is unclear to them how this currency is supported and who pours actual money into it, and more importantly, why.”

sometimes i don't understand that either  Tongue
145  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Death of Bitcoin? "Here Comes the National Internet" on: January 14, 2012, 12:06:15 AM
Here Comes the National Internet

It's happening in Iran and the U.S. is only a few steps behind.

I first heard about the concept of a national Internet over a decade ago while visiting the offices of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and discussing threats to the Internet. It was apparent then and it is apparent now that most countries, including the U.S., will eventually shut down the "World Wide" Web and instead use the technologies developed by the Internet community to cocoon itself. It solves endless political problems with the Web that plague almost every country.



They're getting desperate aren't they.  Cry

Notable comment:

This reminds me of a theory I bolted together around 20 years ago.

That for protocols like this to become endemic, it takes around 75 years to become completely pervasive in the mindset of the affected society.

The First generation don't want or appreciate any overwhelming need for radical change and resist - even if only in a passive way.

Second generation it's all they've known as a lifestyle option, but remember their parents reminiscing about their past freedom or the 'good old days'.  Minor pockets of resistance easily averted to support the 'greater good'.

The Third generation are amost completely dissociated from the 'old' concepts - and as such, only know what the status-quo is. Sheeple and compliance. 75 years from hero to zero.

* herzmeister is angry  Angry

146  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Comparison of currencies and trading schemes on: January 13, 2012, 12:56:31 PM
When discussing Bitcoin, I noticed that we have been brainwashed into believing that there can be only one currency. In my view, Bitcoin can help to free currency and trading from the hands of governments (depoliticization, in the spirit of division of power). In that vein, I try to explain that in a free world, there will be different currencies we can use, each have their own advantages and weaknesses, and we would choose accordingly in each situation.

In order to illustrate that and because I don't want to shove Bitcoin down people's throats praising only its advantages, I started to make an overview that compares strengths and weaknesses of currencies and trading schemes:


                                          Gold/                                                                 Minutos/
                                          Silver/       Cash          PayPal                                    Local
                                          Shiny metals  (eg US$)      and similar   LETS          Ripple        DIY-IOUs      Bitcoin

Perceived precious "material" value       ++            --            --            --            --            --            --

"Tangible"                                ++            ++            --            O             --            ++            --

Stable value/fairness (no speculation)    O             O             O             ++            ++            ++            --

Not largely held by today's elites        --            --            --            ++            ++            ++            ++

No need for a social net of trust         ++            ++            ++            --            --            --            ++

No need to trust in governments           ++            --            --            ++            ++            ++            ++

Potentially pseudonymous/anonymous        ++            ++            --            --            O             --            ++

Decentralized issuance                    O             --            --            ++            ++            ++            ++

Environmentally friendly extraction       --            --            O             ++            ++            ++            -

Decentralized transactions management     ++            ++            --            O             ++            ++            ++

Instant world-wide (digital) transfer     --            --            +             --            ++            --            ++

Today's ubiquity                          ++            ++            ++            --            --            --            --

++ = very good
O  = neutral / does not apply / depends
-- = very poor

Any questions, suggestions, corrections, opinions, additions welcome.


  • Added: Not backed by "trusting government"
  • Added: Free from control of today's elite
  • Improved some wording
  • Added: Environmentally friendly extraction
147  Other / Politics & Society / The billion dollar crop on: December 31, 2011, 04:42:06 PM
Another problem that would be gone in a free society.

Governments ban the age-old cultivation of a plant that could for the most part set us free from fossil fuels and plastic, chemicals, and deforestation.

But we're all crackpots right.  Angry

148  Other / Politics & Society / We live in capitalism without capital on: December 25, 2011, 06:14:15 PM
Never saw it put that way. :·>

This week Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert, after revealing that the Lizard King is back, discuss the radical redistribution of gold and silver property in the US and the radical experiment in the UK to have capitalism without capital. In the second half of the show, Max talks to Professor Steve Keen about the UK's financial sector debt which is at least 4 times as large as US financial sector debt before the global financial crisis began.

Max Keiser's phrase combined with Slavoj ˇi˛ek's describes today's system even more concisely I guess:
Today we have socialism for the rich, and capitalism without capital for the rest.

The introduced book in the second part also looks good. "Debunking economics"  Shocked

This makes me think that it seems that throughout recent history, real capital, i.e. tangible goods and natural resources like land and property, has been transferred more and more to the bankers, while the populace is fobbed off with worthless papers and digital numbers.

I like how Bitcoin makes a virtue out of necessity. It's not tangible per se either, but it's an important counterbalance as a collective creation of capital out of nothing that can give the power back to people again.

149  Other / Politics & Society / Do We Need Government? on: November 19, 2011, 03:16:14 PM
Libertarian pr0n 4 u.  Tongue

Should government provide law enforcement? Most would argue that government is absolutely necessary for law enforcement. Prof. Edward Stringhman, however, argues that government may not even be necessary at all.

To come to this conclusion, Prof. Stringham asks a few important questions. First, if something is really important, does it logically follow that government should provide it? Second, are markets capable of providing law enforcement and security in the modern world? Third, how are disputes currently settled between people of different countries?

Looking at the first question, it doesn't seem to be the case that important things must be provided by a government. For instance, think about food. Food is necessary for life, and yet, markets do an excellent job of providing food to consumers.

Even if you're convinced that markets can provide important things, you may think law enforcement and security are a special case that markets are incapable of providing in a modern world. However, markets already enforce private rules and provide security. Disney World, Las Vegas, and malls all have private rules that are enforced by private security.

Accepting the arguments above, you may still be skeptical about market's abilities to settle disputes between different systems of rules or law. This, in fact, was Ayn Rand's primary reason for advocating a minimal state. Current interactions in the real world provide examples as to how markets resolve these disputes. Think about an international soccer game or international trade. In both instances, individuals are interacting across state boundaries, and are only subject to the jurisdiction of their own territory. In these situations, these individuals contract with the arbiters such as a soccer league or a private court to resolve disputes.

Credits: This lecture was delivered in 2009 at the Metropolitan State College of Denver School of Business, as part of the Exploring Economic Freedom Lecture Series, directed by Prof. Alexandre Padilla. This video was produced and directed by Scott Houck, and edited by Adrienne Christy. Video production provided by the Educational Technology Center at Metropolitan State College of Denver. Video used by with permission.
150  Local / Deutsch (German) / Microsoft Research gibt Verbesserungsvorschläge für Bitcoin on: November 13, 2011, 03:55:43 PM
Akademiker der Microsoft Research-Abteilung schlagen in einem Papier eine Methode vor, um den Anreiz zur Weitergabe von Transaktionen zu verbessern.

Freie Übersetzung eines einführenden Abschnitts meinerseits (ohne Gewähr):

Bitcoin hat viel öffentliche Aufmerksamkeit während des letzten Jahres bekommen. Es stellt einen radikal neuen Ansatz von monetären Systemen dar, der auch in Politik und öffentlicher Presse zum Vorschein kam. Die kryptographischen Grundlagen haben sich im Großen und Ganzen bewährt, auch als die Verwendung sich zunehmend verbreitete. Wir stellen jedoch fest, dass es ein grundsätzliches Problem anderer Natur aufweist, das darauf basiert, wie Anreize strukturiert sind. Wir schlagen eine Änderung des Protokolls vor, die dieses Problem beheben kann.
151  Other / Politics & Society / The One Percent on: October 30, 2011, 12:56:37 PM

North americans make up around 5% of the worlds population, and control 35% of the worlds net worth.

Infant mortality in Uganda is 1 in 5.

But this documentary isnt about any of that. Its just about maldistribution of wealth within an already opulent and overprivileged society.

Have a nice day.
"The film's title refers to the top one percent of Americans in terms of wealth, who controlled 38% of the nation's wealth in 2001."

Some random thoughts:

  • Milton Friedman came across like an asshole and cold reptile, as someone with a dark agenda and secrets he has to hide. Fair enough, he might have been confronted with left-ish hippies throughout his life and may be quite fed up with them and the common misconceptions about the free market. He's right of course that it's quite naive to demand higher taxes from the rich, as they will find ways to escape taxes. But still, in an old age shortly before his death he should have developed a more relaxed manner and benevolence towards a young idealistic man trying to find ways to make a change.
  • Speaking about the ever-upcoming, never-ending discourse of individualism vs socialism, providing incentive vs distributing equally, free markets vs planned economies: Proponents of both directions will claim that their ideas are often misunderstood and that there has never been a "true" form of their ideas implemented in reality. Both directions seem to look fine in theory, but are utopian. Governments, how ever "big" or "small", seem to continue to fail to find the balance. They fail to balance rules vs freedom, order vs chaos, because they are corrupt as they are only human in the end, and humans are weak. Thus all forms of society are utopian at last and will finally fail in practice. Some sooner, some later. Another reason is simply because the only thing that is constant in this universe is change.
  • Howsoever, the solution for all of this is kind of hidden in plain sight in this documentation. It's the protagonist himself, not so much by his economic knowledge, but by what's in his heart. Earth and nature has "enough for everybody's need (and much more), but not enough for anybody's greed" (Gandhi). We must overcome the fear of scarcity and greed, we all must grow from within and develop empathy and a sense for the greater good, then the currently implemented form of economy becomes a meaningless label. Economics is the science of managing scarcity. It's now time to transcend into the age of abundance.

152  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Would you get an implanted RFID chip with your Bitcoin wallet? on: October 22, 2011, 07:52:53 PM
Would you get an implanted RFID chip with your Bitcoin wallet?

  • Will help to secure your wallet.
  • Allows new application scenarios for meatspace transactions.
  • ...
153  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / FYI - OWS Currency on: October 09, 2011, 03:10:01 PM
For your information:

Decentralization anyone  Huh
154  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / #occupywallstreet on: September 17, 2011, 07:51:28 PM
And so it begins...

The revolution will not be televised ofc.

Oh, correction: It _is_ being televised:

Although Max Keiser is probably right that they better should be surrounding the FED instead.

Oh yeah, I forgot: BUY BUY BUY !!!!!1!!!11  Grin

155  Other / Meta / Some posts still read "Cosbycoin" on: September 11, 2011, 09:31:23 AM
Some posts still read "Cosbycoin" like the first one in this thread:
156  Local / Deutsch (German) / Bitcoin beim Elektrischen Reporter on: August 24, 2011, 02:44:36 PM
Anscheinend hat der Sixtus eine seiner früheren Meinungen geändert.

Na das sind ja mal Zukunftsaussichten.  Cheesy

157  Other / Politics & Society / Internet billionaire donates $1.25 million to create libertarian islands on: August 18, 2011, 08:01:17 AM


Internet billionaire donates $1.25 million to create libertarian islands

Peter Thiel has made his fortune by being part of the next big thing: He was a co-founder of Paypal and one of the early investors of Facebook.

But a new Details profile sums up his new plans: “Forget startup companies. The next frontier is startup countries.”

Thiel has donated $1.25 million to the Seasteading Institute, the brainchild of Patri Friedman, a former Google engineer and grandson of economist Milton Friedman. Here’s the gist: creation of libertarian, sovereign nations built on oil-rig-type platforms anchored in international waters and free from the laws and moral codes of any other country.

Plans for the prototype include a movable, diesel-powered 12,000-ton structure that could house 270 residents. The goal would be to eventually link hundreds of the structures together.

Friedman’s timeline is to launch offices off San Francisco next year, get a full-time settlement within seven years and eventually diplomatic recognition from the UN.

“The ultimate goal is to open a frontier for experimenting with new ideas for government,” Friedman told Details. Some of the changes: no welfare or minimum wage, looser building codes and few restrictions on weapons.

Friedman thinks what could set this apart from an Ayn Rand novel – or even a remake of “Waterworld” – is the idea of entrepreneurship. He calls one idea Appletopia. A corporation, such as Apple, “starts a country as a business. The more desirable the country, the more valuable the real estate.”

Criticism of the idea hasn’t been kind. Slate’s Jacob Weisberg called it “the most elaborate effort ever devised by a group of computer nerds to get invited to an orgy.”

Yahoo News points out that Thiel made news this year for putting a portion of his $1.5 billion fortune into an initiative to encourage entrepreneurs to skip college.
158  Economy / Speculation / Bitcoin price is overvalued... on: August 16, 2011, 11:19:56 PM
...and that's a good thing. It's in its nature. And it will always be.

Let's face it, the currently available goods, services and other infrastructure around Bitcoin alone cannot explain an exchange value of currently $11. It also has proven to be so ridiculously volatile because of the low market size in relation. But that doesn't mean it's all just hot air or a bubble or anything like that. Because of Bitcoin's quite unique deflationary concept, conventional approaches of market analysis and prognosis might not work here.

The quite novel additional aspect is that Bitcoin's value at a given time is already largely comprised of people's future expectations, much more so than anything else we've ever seen in traditional markets.

The value now already reflects what people believe Bitcoin and its infrastructure will be worth in about 3-4 years. But the value in 3-4 years then in turn will reflect what people believe it will be worth in around 7-8 years, and so on.

159  Other / Meta / No respect for Mr Andresen on: August 12, 2011, 10:42:27 PM

Shame on you all.  Angry

160  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / The Duality of Bitcoin on: July 17, 2011, 02:25:20 PM
I find it interesting that there is an inherent duality within the Bitcoin concept.

On the one hand, Bitcoin seems to appeal to hardcore libertarians because of its decentralized nature. Let's do away with the state and any centralized control because it's only in the way of the free market.

On the other hand, Bitcoin is open source software and community-driven, and we all know that open source is communismCheesy Also learning from the discussions going on, Resource Based Economy advocates surely do embrace a global collaborative approach in further developing technology.

So are there any Zen Buddhists around that can further elaborate on this duality and what it means for the future of Bitcoin?  Huh

PS: I believe we need a Philosophy subforum.  Wink

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