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About Thiarna

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  1. Been an interesting week for Bitcoin. First made the headlines on 12th March when a new release caused an issue leading to a temporary "fork in the blockchan". Basically this highlights the risks in a peer to peer monetary system based on what is still beta software - the error meant for a short time there were conflicting records on which transactions had been completed succesfully. This was resolved quickly and with minimal impact on normal users, but it was enough to make me seriously doubt the viability of the system. Less then a week later Europe made clear the reason for Bitcoin - by directly challenging the property rights of ordinary bank depositors in Cyprus. Only now has Bitcoin broken the psychological $50 barrier, making it by far the best return I've seen of late. I sort of expected it would take a while for the price to react - although BTC exchanges were open all weekend it would not have been easy to get funds into them, and there are almost no derivative markets to drive the price. http://bitcoincharts.com/charts/mtgoxUSD#rg360zczsg2012-03-24zeg2013-03-19ztgSzm1g10zm2g25zv
  2. Thiarna

    Organised Chaos

    The Arab Spring is the sort of thing I'm talking about alright - but what made me think most of this was the reaction to the 'Innocence of Muslims' film. Nobody should ever have heard of this film, and I'm sure there are a 100 more offensive videos targetting every imaginable sect (though I haven't seen it), yet this one spreads throughout the middle east in a matter of days sparking an extreme anti-american reaction. Add to this that the film producer is something of a phantom. The system described would be able to describe how to cause the strongest possible reaction, and where to spread word of the video to to get it widely viewed. It also explains why they might want to provoke such a reaction - groups motivated by hate are easier to predict and control - regardless of if the hate is for the west.
  3. Abiotic oil - I'm not convinced by it but even if it does provide a renewable source of oil it can only renew at a certain rate - there is still a limit to be hit, and since oil wells do become depleted it the rate of replacement appears to be less than the rate at which we currently consume. The worlds financial system is based on eternal exponential growth, and sooner or later it will hit a limit in terms of energy consumption - that's all peak-oil says. New energy sources will move this peak but it still exists.
  4. Thiarna

    Organised Chaos

    The western military complex has invested in research into intelligent agent simulation technologies which can simulate large groups of people and make predictions as to how they will react in different situations. In theory they can simulate complex interactions between religious, military, corporate and segments of the general public. Does this put a different light on the actions of the US and allies? I expect that in many ways small-medium groups are easier to predict and simulate than individuals, in particular if they are driven by base emotions such as fear or hate. Historically the tactic of colonial powers was to make use of existing power structures, keeping a small number of competing subject states, trying to avoid any one subject becoming strong enough to challenge them alone, much as described by Machiavelli. With the availablity of these types of simulations it would make more sense to try and disintegrate these structures. The US would then have knowledge and control over this chaos, and once this is in place it becomes very difficult for others to build up enough detail on individual groups to challenge them. The same could apply at home as well, collapsing traditional hierarchical control structures.So what appears as incompetence both in foreign and domestic policy may be quite intentional. Am I off target on this? Has anyone heard of these systems, or seen anything to support or go against this idea?
  5. My gut feel on shale oils and fracking is that they will turn out to be a short term fix, they seem to have decreased some of the pressure on supply but it is yet to be seen how quickly supplies are depleted. The most promising energy source I reckon is third generation algal based biofuels. They are a long way from industrial scale, but fracking may bridge the gap.
  6. There seem to be some interesting developments on this. ECB have released a policy paper on virtual currency schemes with a focus on Bitcoin. The general opinion seems to be that it is quite balanced considering the source, but sees bitcoin as a threat to central bank stability. The paper is generating some discussion both within and outside the Bitcoin community, and bitcoins seem to be taken a lot more seriously in recent months. Financial Sense have a subscriber only interview about Bitcoin in the last few days too. In contrast the GLBSE exchange I mentioned has died a death, apparently as part of an investigation from the SEC. This may also have been the cause of the earlier defaults, or alternatively the earlier defaults are the reason the SEC took an interest. This could be an attempt to discredit the currency, or else (less likely) part of cleaning it up in preparation for more widespread use. The key point of the ECB report as I take it is summarised in the paragraphs below. At the moment there is little to act as a point of reference against which to measure the loss in the spending power of normal currencies. Consumer price indexes can't be trusted, and the price of commodities can be manipulated through futures exchanges. The threat of virtual currencies is that they can act as a mroe stable unit of account.
  7. Have you seen the graphs on gapminder.org? They have comparitive stats for countries and regions of all sorts of economic stats, and they can be played to show trends as regions fall forward and back. If you search Ted talks for Hans Risking he has a few talks based on these.
  8. Thiarna

    Subliminal messages in our consumer world

    Our basic animal instincts certainly include eating and sex, but these take over the mind leaving little capacity for simple awareness and free-will. Sometimes I can remain conscious of the constant barrage of images trying to drive my actions, but it's often easier to just go along with it. I'm interested in the messages which seem to be repeated across most mainstream TV shows. The main themes I see are basic enough, to encourage desire and long working hours but I'm sure there are more interesting messages in plain view.
  9. Thiarna

    BullionVault / GoldMoney questions for a newbie

    Goldmoney deals directly with the wholesale market for bullion, presumably netting out some purchases each day. I understand bullion vaults market is primarily between customers but am not very familiar with it, but I guess it would be more at risk of going bidless in extreme circumstances. That said I think very large purchases on GM are priced based on the twice daily London fixing giving a similar risk.
  10. New Scientist has a good article about that tectonic plates splitting in the Indian Ocean.
  11. Has anyone looked at GLBSE? It's a securities market based on bitcoin, the idea being that as an unregulated market it can be used by smaller companies that would not be accepted on regular exchanges. From what I can see most of what's there are bitcoin miners & traders (in bitcoin currency and glbse shares) , and there have been a few ugly defaults lately. Still, its an interesting idea.
  12. Could we be seeing M.A.D. being demonstrated?
  13. And people have an instinct to discount or try to discredit anything that does not support their own point of view. No I don't work for any type of news source, I work in IT and have avoided any work which involves much writing. In fact when I saw Bolt with the funny alien mascot it made me think of this thread. I know you and others had already said you did not expect anything much to happen at the olympics, maybe these mascots were supposed to poke fun at the rumours?
  14. How much evidence do you need...