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About Philder

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  1. Interesting discussion about Bitcoin :- Finextra interview with IBM architect Richard G Brown about Bitcoin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gERNbqUNMm4 Think there are some interesting ideas in there, and it's nice to see a discussion that isn't planting a flag for a cause. In the meantime, I'm up and running with the Litecoin and Feathercoin clients. Nothing in them as yet, but going to use them as an experiment.
  2. There's a certain irony in me posting conspiracy ideas, but hey, I'll do it anyway. For me, Bitcoin just looks too convenient. Created out of nowhere by an anonymous entity, part of me still thinks it's a gigantic honey trap, or at the very least part of a move to a wider end game. We know from the Snowden leaks the NSA and GCHQ actively worked to undermine encryption and piggy backed assorted bits of critical web infrastructure, so for all the appeal of a decentralised money system, I'd hold off the "revolution!" ideas for now. The whole thing could be an enormous double bluff. Creating what seems to be a revolution, then keeping a very close eye on who shouts about it the loudest would seem like a reasonable intelligence approach to me. Likewise monitoring purchases of ASICs and the related kit required to build a commercial scale mining rig. Far less anonymous that some would have it. Let's also not forget where Tor originated. There's also still major weak links that I seldom hear mentioned, and that's the reliance on power grids, ISPs and the hardware manufacturers. Bitcoins won't be much use when someone pulls the plug and things go dark. If Iranian nuclear scientists can get assassinated, Bitcoin developers and crypto-coders would seem to be fair game also. The ideas are fascinating, but I just have a gut feeling that those calling them the future of money are being spun a yarn. Even if none of the above is true, if crypto-currencies are indeed the future (or part of it), you can bet the likes of Amazon, Apple, Facebook et al will want in on the action, not to mention the investment banks. We're constantly told JPM and Goldman are manipulating [insert market here], so why wouldn't they also seek to manipulate Bitcoin, especially when it's so loosely regulated and hugely volatile? Would seem like fertile ground for manipulation if you ask me. Set up an exchange or a new Silk Road, ramp up the hype through false "free thinking" podcasts and YouTube clips, let the coins roll in and then take everything down and trouser the Bitcoins. Exchange the stolen Bitcoins for the next big thing (Litecoin or whatever) whilst simultaneously repeating the process to ramp that up as the next big thing because it overcomes the shortcomings of the first one. Who are the wallet holders going to complain to, given there's no central authority? ETA - could also just be a beautiful confidence trick. Nobody knows who or what Satoshi Nakamoto is, so it follows nobody knows how many Bitcoins he/they hold. Given it appeared in the middle of the financial crisis, it could be a beautiful way of riding the distrust created by said crisis. Introduce what appears to be an amazing new alternative money right in the midst of a global financial storm, having mined an unknown number for yourself first whilst the resource cost was low. Sit back and watch the distrust of governments and financial institutions build interest in your product, which in turn gets adopted by the alternative media. Wait until interest spikes and the perceived value rockets, then cash out and leave people to it. Couple that with the increasing difficulty (cost) of mining now as compared to the "then" of your first batch, and your initial Bitcoins have a locked in lower fixed cost, meaning nobody can exploit the value increase as much as you can.
  3. Philder

    Autumn Budget Statement

    Must admit I hadn't heard this rumour, but I'd have thought any limit would relate to cumulative subscriptions rather than investment value at any given moment? Presumably the idea of a lifetime limit is you still have an annual subscription (e.g the current £5760), but up to a given ceiling. You're not losing your subscription if your investment goes down, as your book value is unchanged.
  4. Sounded like I was having a dig at you, but wasn't the intention. My point was more that there's plenty of decent information readily available to very quickly confirm or deny such incidents, the Transport for London Twitter feeds for each tube line being a case in point. Anyone posting these sorts of rumours without first checking those (which takes what, thirty seconds?) is being either dishonest or sensationalist. Anyone propagating their claims without first double checking is being lazy, which is possibly the (constructive) criticism I'd level at you in this instance. Similarly, I'd have thought the conflict between the Mail article talking about rush hour disruption and the alleged incident happening on a Sunday (when there is no rush hour) ought to have jumped out immediately, especially to anyone deeming themselves a critical thinker. Granted, that doesn't mean there wasn't an incident, as there may have been local issues, it just means the linked news piece is referring to a different one (I think from 2011), but given the information provided by the train operators themselves, I'm not sure a tabloid newspaper would be my first port of call in such a situation?
  5. When he talks about wealth redistribution, is he including his own? Railing against the 1% seems like odd behaviour for somene so wedded to the vacuous celebrity lifestyle, and dropping "paradigm" into every other sentence isn't going to make me think he's doing it for anything other than self publicity. Perhaps he's all out of funny material? I think I'll stick with Bill Hicks and Stewart Lee, maybe even Doug Stanhope when he's on proper form. Biggest thing I take from that Hicks interview is how ill he knew he was at that point and how relaxed he seems within himself. I'm not one of these "Hicks is the Messiah" types, but he did have an impact on how I view the world, both through making me think about new things and offering hope that I wasn't alone in thinking about certain things the way I did. Brand uses a lot of words to say very little.
  6. A quick scroll back through the Northern and Victoria line Twitter feeds shows no notice of any unplanned major disruptions last night, so I'd have to say it was either a local issue that's been blown out of all proportion, or just trolling. One fairly glaring problem is per my view of the thread, DrBubb posted at 3:22am this morning with reference to a Mail piece talking about a 6:15pm event that impacted evening rush hour. Today is Monday...
  7. I use the Slick RSS extension in Chromium. Never really been one for the bells and whistles of other readers. I dislike the sharing options of a lot of readers, not for any Alex Jones sort of reason, more just that it gives marketeers a free ride on my data, which I wish to remain in control of. The ability to link my reader with Facebook and Twitter means lots of dots get joined across realms I like to keep separate, for any number of reasons.
  8. I honestly don't think this is a case of "preparing" anything, I think it's just a result of a greater scientific interest in finding exoplanets coupled with ever better technology and detection methods. We've been able to find the gas giants for a good few years, and that's helped develop the techniques and models. If anything, I think applying the a "Disclosure" type agenda does those performing the work something of a disservice, as it implies they have motives beyond the pursuit of the subject for the pure joy of gathering knowledge. Anyone with an interest has been able to find this stuff online for quite a while now, it's not remotely hidden. The Zooniverse "Planet Hunters" citizen science project (using data from the Kepler Mission) even lets you take part in identifying candidates! http://www.planethunters.org/candidates# http://www.nbcnews.com/id/45894586/ns/technology_and_science/t/planet-hunters-kick-four-new-worlds/#.UcsPmDufjCY https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/~gbakos/HAT/ Public attitudes are certainly shifting, but I think that can be ascribed to things like a decline in religious belief and the internet allowing for ever greater access to scientific knowledge. It can certainly be encouraged along, but I don't think there's any sinister agenda at work. All boils down to this :-
  9. Philder

    UK House prices: News & Views

    Might be a bit of a tangent, but there's a very interesting documentary series on BBC2 at the moment, covering how TfL keep London running. They've done a series about the Tube, but they're now covering the less obvious world of surface transport. Last night was all about night buses. Interesting stat for me was that the night bus network has trebled in the last ten years as the population has increased and the 24/7 city effect has radiated outwards and ever more people are working at night (cleaners, bar staff, clubs, restaurants and whatnot). People tend to focus on property prices being impacted by rail network enhancements (Overground, Thameslink, Crossrail etc), but the bus network strikes me as another useful indicator, just perhaps more subtle. Either way, fascinating programme. There was one guy who had lost his job and house in the credit crunch, who now worked during the day and more or less lived on the night bus. His tactic was to ride the longest route that heads deep into the suburbs and ultimately Heathrow T5. He'd then use the washroom facilities at the airport, try and grab some rest somewhere quiet and then ride the bus back. That sort of existence had simply never occurred to me. Depressing situation, for sure, but a remarkably innovative strategy for adapting to it.
  10. Philder

    UK House prices: News & Views

    Is it me, or do all the cars in that mock-up appear to be Audis? Nicely subliminal! I'm a touch south of Hemel (in Watford), and we have the same sort of stuff popping up here. More to come, as a big station redevelopment is planned, although that's been on hold for a few years now. There's an empty office block immediately opposite our mainline station that I'm certain will end up as "heart of urban living only 20 minutes from London" luxury appartments. Not sure if it's to capture people moving out of London, or trying to create a halo effect for people moving in. Possibly sits in the intersection of the Venn Diagram? I'm at the point in my life where I'm seriously thinking about selling my little flat here and heading about 40 minutes further out along the mainline. Two bed house for more or less what my flat would go for, smaller town with more open countryside. Longer commute being the trade off. Buy on my own or rent with partner is the next question. Pass the crystal ball!
  11. The issue for me is not so much what people believe, more that the likes of KWN seldom challenges people when predictions turn out to be incorrect. I understand that the likes of KWN, Al Korelin and suchlike are coming from a very pro-PM school of thought, so a degree of bias is inevitable, it's just the asymmetry of response that bugs me. Let's say we'd seen today's move in reverse, you can bet the usual suspects would be heralding it as the beginning of the end for paper money and a vindication of their stance, yet when the move happens against them, it's simply shrugged off by a subtle moving of the goalposts such as redefining a time horizon or playing the manipulation card, none of which is ever challenged. The received wisdom is very much "move down equals cartel intervention, fundamentals are unchanged, good time to buy", "move up equals collapse of paper money, this is it, to the moon!". You see it on here. I've never heard anyone ask any of the players what I think is the most relevant question, being "if you think the market is manipulated, why would you tell people to invest in it?". It's like telling people a horse race is fixed and then encouraging them to place a bet! I'm all for holding physical metal, and indeed I do, but I just think the PM circuit is slowly going the way of things like ufology. Paranoia and conspiracy are taking over as the dominant position, which makes having a sensible debate really difficult, as it increasingly seems to be a faith based position.
  12. I used to listen to KWN, but it got to the point where it was just a cycle of the same people saying the same things over and over again. The minute you see the interviewee, you know exactly what the conversation is going to be, based on their previous interviews. Felt more and more like a small circle of friends trying to convince themselves their outlook was right rather than a genuine discussion. Given the plunge in gold today, may well have to listen in and see what excuses are made.
  13. As if by magic... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22026961 Recent Keiser Report had Max claiming BTC wasn't able to be manipulated, but to me it would seem pretty easy. Simply ramp up sentiment (and Max doesn't exactly help in that regard) by buying / mining / podcasting to create a spike, sell at the top, then DDoS the main exchanges and buy back on the drop. Rinse and repeat. Can't see this being the usual DDoS suspects like Anonymous, as Bitcoin is very much their domain, so it's either organised crime or a deliberate attempt to make it look volatile in an effort to drive people away. Is the Bitcoin hack linked to the drop in PMs today, or is that a reaction to the Japanese stimulus news? Seems rather coincidental.
  14. How long before we see peer-to-peer lending in Bitcoins I wonder? Lending completely outside the banking system in a currency completely outside the banking system. Would be an interesting development.