The need for more insight into the present

Om Malik makes an excellent point on the need to contemplate the present as it’s happening. So much of our collective present is chunked up into tweet-sized analysis that we may be losing the essence of the times we live in.  Anyway, his post is worth reading:

As an avid reader, I am often amazed how much of our written materials are about the past (or the near past) and the future (and the near future) but never about the present.. Is present too boring?. Or is too real?. Or is it too incomplete to merit a careful and long deliberation..

Source: We need more books about the present

Website bloat is a real issue

Websites have gotten increasingly bloated. So much of this bloat is hidden to the user, and is tied to surveillance technology. This post does a great job of explaining the problem:

Let’s preserve the web as the hypertext medium it is, the only thing of its kind in the world, and not turn it into another medium for consumption, like we have so many examples of already.Let’s commit to the idea that as computers get faster, and as networks get faster, the web should also get faster.Let’s not allow the panicked dinosaurs of online publishing to trample us as they stampede away from the meteor. Instead, let’s hide in our holes and watch nature take its beautiful course.Most importantly, let’s break the back of the online surveillance establishment that threatens not just our livelihood, but our liberty. Not only here in Australia, but in America, Europe, the UK—in every free country where the idea of permanent, total surveillance sounded like bad science fiction even ten years ago.

Source: The Website Obesity Crisis

As usual, read the whole thing.

Satoshi Nakamoto and the invention of a new currency

Satoshi Nakamoto drew from the history of cryptocurrencies since David Chaum’s seminal blinding formula in the 1980s.  He postulated that the flaw with existing approaches to cryptocurrencies was that a single powerful attacker could undermine and destroy the system.  In order to to defeat the powerful attacker, Satoshi decentralised the control of the cryptocurrency over an open set of participants, designed a consensus algorithm to align the interests of the majority to find agreement, and thus overcome byzantine actions by minority parties.

Source: What Satoshi Did | Coinscrum


These series of blog posts are worth reading in their entirety.

Link: The Math Wizards Who Rule Murky World of Programmatic Buying | Digital – Advertising Age

The future of advertising — one where terms like “automation” and “big data” are more than jargon sprinkled into PowerPoints — may be in the hands of 20-somethings like Mr. Banilevi. Just 23 years old, the Northwestern economics graduate uses eight software programs to buy millions of digital ads each week, plucking them from a pool of trillions without ever speaking to an actual person. If harnessed effectively, that kind of power can deliver smarter, more efficient media buys. If not, it can lead to million-dollar screwups.

Imagine the efficiencies to be gained if the ‘targets’ of those ads (individuals) were active participants in this marketplace.

Source: The Math Wizards Who Rule Murky World of Programmatic Buying | Digital – Advertising Age

H/T: Found in my tweet stream, but I can’t remember who tweeted it.

Link: The Ultimate Interface: Your Brain | Ramez Naam

The final frontier of digital technology is integrating into your own brain. DARPA wants to go there. Scientists want to go there. Entrepreneurs want to go there. And increasingly, it looks like it’s possible.
You’ve probably read bits and pieces about brain implants and prostheses. Let me give you the big picture.
Neural implants could accomplish things no external interface could: Virtual and augmented reality with all 5 senses (or more); augmentation of human memory, attention, and learning speed; even multi-sense telepathy — sharing what we see, hear, touch, and even perhaps what we think and feel with others.

Source: The Ultimate Interface: Your Brain | Ramez Naam

The Icy Mountains of Pluto | NASA

Congratulations to NASA on the success of the New Horizons’ Mission!


New close-up images of a region near Pluto’s equator reveal a giant surprise: a range of youthful mountains rising as high as 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) above the surface of the icy body. The mountains likely formed no more than 100 million years ago — mere youngsters relative to the 4.56-billion-year age of the solar system — and may still be in the process of building, says Jeff Moore of New Horizons’ Geology, Geophysics and Imaging Team (GGI).

That suggests the close-up region, which covers less than one percent of Pluto’s surface, may still be geologically active today.

Moore and his colleagues base the youthful age estimate on the lack of craters in this scene. Like the rest of Pluto, this region would presumably have been pummeled by space debris for billions of years and would have once been heavily cratered — unless recent activity had given the region a facelift, erasing those pockmarks.

“This is one of the youngest surfaces we’ve ever seen in the solar system,” says Moore.

Source: The Icy Mountains of Pluto | NASA