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Mar 3, 2017

What Fraction of Bitcoin Value is Driven by Speculators?

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, economics, internet

At Quora, I occasionally play, “Ask the expert”. Several hundred of my Quora answers are linked here. Today, I was asked “How much of Bitcoin’s value is driven by speculation”. This is my answer…

This is a great question! While the value of any commodity is determined by supply and demand, speculation is one component of demand. Another is the unique utility value inherent in a product or process. This is sometimes called ‘intrinsic value’.

It’s ironic that when a high fraction of value is driven by speculation, short-term value becomes volatile and long-term value becomes less certain—and less likely to produce returns for those same speculators.

Editor’s Note: In the past few weeks, a significant spike in Bitcoin’s value and trading volume relates to a pending regulatory decision expected at the end of next week. This activity is certainly driven by speculation. But for this article, I am considering periods in which the demands of individual events are less clear.

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Mar 3, 2017

Researchers create new form of matter—supersolid is crystalline and superfluid at the same time

Posted by in categories: energy, quantum physics

MIT physicists have created a new form of matter, a supersolid, which combines the properties of solids with those of superfluids.

By using lasers to manipulate a superfluid gas known as a Bose-Einstein condensate, the team was able to coax the condensate into a quantum phase of matter that has a rigid structure—like a solid—and can flow without viscosity—a key characteristic of a superfluid. Studies into this apparently contradictory phase of matter could yield deeper insights into superfluids and superconductors, which are important for improvements in technologies such as superconducting magnets and sensors, as well as efficient energy transport. The researchers report their results this week in the journal Nature.

“It is counterintuitive to have a material which combines superfluidity and solidity,” says team leader Wolfgang Ketterle, the John D. MacArthur Professor of Physics at MIT. “If your coffee was superfluid and you stirred it, it would continue to spin around forever.”

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Mar 3, 2017

Will Democracy Survive Big Data and Artificial Intelligence?

Posted by in categories: economics, information science, robotics/AI, transportation

One thing is clear: the way in which we organize the economy and society will change fundamentally. We are experiencing the largest transformation since the end of the Second World War; after the automation of production and the creation of self-driving cars the automation of society is next. With this, society is at a crossroads, which promises great opportunities, but also considerable risks. If we take the wrong decisions it could threaten our greatest historical achievements.

We are in the middle of a technological upheaval that will transform the way society is organized. We must make the right decisions now.

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Mar 3, 2017

Poker-playing AI beats pros using ‘intuition,’ study finds

Posted by in categories: entertainment, robotics/AI

Computer researchers are betting they can take on the house after designing a new artificial intelligence program that has beat professional poker players.

Researchers from University of Alberta, Czech Technical University and Charles University in Prague developed the “DeepStack” program as a way to build artificial intelligence capable of playing a complex kind of poker. Creating an AI program that can win against a human player in a no-limit poker game has long been a goal of researchers due to the complexity of the game.

Michael Bowling, a professor in the Department of Computing Science in the University of Alberta, explained that computers have been able to win at “perfect” games such as chess or Go, in which all the information is available to both players, but that “imperfect” games like poker have been much harder to program for.

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Mar 3, 2017

America Needs a Space Corps

Posted by in categories: government, security, space

American space power stagnated under U.S. Air Force stewardship a long time ago. [1] Congress observed this situation nearly 25 years ago, as the epigraphs above indicate. However, nothing substantive was done to fix the problem.

This article recommends the creation of a U.S. Space Corps in the Department of the Air Force as an initial step to set American space power on a path to reach its full potential.

Ultimately, America’s national security interests in space will best be served when Congress creates an independent Space Corps, just as it created independent services for land, sea and air, uniting them under the Department of Defense.

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Mar 3, 2017

Our free interstellar magazine “Principium” N°16 is out now!

Posted by in categories: entertainment, robotics/AI, space

The cover features an AI interstellar probe, beautifully illustrated by concept artist Efflam Mercier. Here is the download link:

This issue covers the following topics:

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Mar 3, 2017

An exclusive look at Jeff Bezos’s plan to set up Amazon-like delivery for ‘future human settlement’ of the moon

Posted by in categories: space, transportation

In a paper prepared for NASA, Bezos says his Blue Origin space company could land a delivery vehicle on the moon by 2020.

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Mar 3, 2017

Richard Branson starting a new venture dedicated to launching small satellites into space

Posted by in category: satellites

Once focused primarily on flying tourists into space, Virgin senses an opportunity as the size and cost of satellites have been greatly reduced.

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Mar 2, 2017

A cartoon of the Immortality Bus and some reader responses to The New York Times Magazine story on my work in mid-Feb came out last weekend on the NYT site and in print

Posted by in categories: life extension, transhumanism

The responses are quite deathist and not favorable, but such is pushing #transhumanism and anti-aging science forward:

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Mar 2, 2017

Scientists Have Grown the World’s First Artificial Embryo, and It’s Nuts

Posted by in category: bioengineering

Em uma primeira experiência mundial, os cientistas conseguiram desenvolver um embrião artificial funcional, a partir do zero, usando dois tipos de células-tronco para construir a vida em uma placa de Petri.

As células-tronco foram cultivadas fora do corpo em uma bolha de gel, e foram capazes de se transformar em vários estágio inicial órgãos internos — assim como em um embrião regular. Os pesquisadores agora estão esperando a técnica vai resolver alguns grandes mistérios sobre os primórdios da vida.

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