Imagining a Bitcoin Alternative Built on Reputation Instead of Numbers

My latest for Wired:

Instead of using pure mathematics to prevent things like the same person spending the same money twice, Document Coin will rely on personal reputation to keep all transactions in order. And each unit of currency created using Document Coin could have different values in different situations. If you use a coin in one place, it might be worth more then if you use it in another. The goal, Anderson says, is to get people to completely rethink the entire idea of money. [...]

Unlike with bitcoin—which keeps its currency scarce by rewarding it only to those who participate in what amounts to a race to solve complex cryptographic puzzles—anyone will be able to create a new Document Coin anytime they want. The value of each coin will be completely subjective, depending on who creates the coin and why. “For example, the coin my disco singer friend created and gave me at my barbeque might be what gets me past the rope at the club,” Anderson says. A coin minted by tech pundit Tim O’Reilly might be highly prized in Silicon Valley circles, but of little interest to musicians. “It’s a bit like a combination of a social network with baseball trading.”

Ultimately, he hopes to get developers thinking about the social implications of crypto-currencies, and to get people to question the idea that everything needs to have a set, numeric value. “If bitcoin is the toy version of what we’ll all be using the future, then I want to build the crazy art project version of the future,” he says. Document Coin’s usefulness as a real currency is limited, but Anderson does hope people will eventually want to use it. “If you build something, you don’t want to be disappointed if it succeeds,” he says. “You need to build things that you would be happy to see take off.”

Full Story: Wired: A New Digital Currency Whose Value Is Based on Your Reputation

Previously: My interview with Anderson about CouchDB

Did Buckminster Fuller Predict Graphene Computers?

synergeticsfigure2201c1997

Above: Fuller’s diagrams. Below, a diagram of graphen molecules.

Graphen

My friend Trevor, who maintains the largest known archive of R. Buckminster Fuller’s work has uncovered an unpublished manuscript in which Fuller seems to predict graphene computers:

Fuller’s computer is a layered cuboctahedrons, each layer made of spheres. Fuller describes the spheres as glass coated with gold, silver, copper or
aluminum depending on their location in the array. But Fuller also speaks of individual atoms of these materials, predicting by decades the nanocomputers under development today.

These layers of cuboctahedrons would have arrays of hexagons on their equators, and the nanocomputers of today are made of layers of hexagons. The fifth layer of a layered cuboctahedron of spheres would have the potential for a new nucleus sphere.

Full Story: Syncrhonofile: R. Buckminster Fuller’s Ultra-Micro Computer

I can’t say that I fully understand the material at hand. Fuller’s work seems to be focused on memory and storage, while today’s graphene computation research is focusing on the creation of more efficient transistors for processing. But there does seem to be at least some overlap. The fact that he was even thinking about computing at all in 1968 puts him well ahead of the curve.

See also:

Buckminster Fuller

Graphene

The Art of CRXTO

The Temporary Autonomous Zone

CRXTO is an Argintine artist. Above is a piece inspired by Hakim Bey’s Temporary Autonomous Zone. Below is Technoccult’s long lost patron Tezcatlipoca. Below that is the Yagán spirit Curspi.

You can find more on his site and even more on his (sometimes NSFW) Flickr account.

(via Sorry Zorrito)

Tezcatlipoca by Crxto

Curspi by crxto

Atheletes may have trained their brains to create “time warps”

Shower head

BBC reports:

It started as a headache, but soon became much stranger. Simon Baker entered the bathroom to see if a warm shower could ease his pain. “I looked up at the shower head, and it was as if the water droplets had stopped in mid-air”, he says. “They came into hard focus rapidly, over the course of a few seconds”. Where you’d normally perceive the streams as more of a blur of movement, he could see each one hanging in front of him, distorted by the pressure of the air rushing past. The effect, he recalls, was very similar to the way the bullets travelled in the Matrix movies. “It was like a high-speed film, slowed down.” [...]

What’s more, Valtteri Arstila at University of Turku, Finland, points out that many of these subjects also report abnormally quick thinking. As one pilot, who’d faced a plane crash in the Vietnam War, put it: “when the nose-wheel strut collapsed I vividly recalled, in a matter of about three seconds, over a dozen actions necessary to successful recovery of flight attitude”. Reviewing the case studies and available scientific research on the matter, Arstila concludes that an automatic mechanism, triggered by stress hormones, might speed up the brain’s internal processing to help it handle the life or death situation. “Our thoughts and initiation of movements become faster – but because we are working faster, the external world appears to slow down,” he says. It is even possible that some athletes have deliberately trained themselves to create a time warp on demand: surfers, for instance, can often adjust their angle in the split second it takes to launch off steep waves, as the water rises overhead.

Full Story: BBC: The man who saw time stand still

(Thanks Bill!)

Genesis P-Orridge Kickstarts New Vodun Documentary

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge Bight of the Twins

The Quietus reports:

Last December, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and Los Angeles-based artist and film-maker Hazel Hill McCarthy III visited Ouidah in Benin to make a documentary exploring the origins of the religion Vodun. While there, P-Orridge was initiated into the Twin Fetish, a Vodun practice that celebrates twins – particularly resonant in Benin, which has the highest national average of twins per birth and where they carry a sacred meaning – honouring her relationship with h/er late wife and pandrogyne partner Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge. As McCarthy writes of the film: “In this story we begin to see the link between pandrogyny and the Twin Fetish, an activation of a complete state and in fact the true fundamentals of Vodun religion.”

Full Story: The Quietus: Genesis P-Orridge Vodun Film: Kickstarter

The Kickstarter is here

Mutation Vectors 7/5/2014

shrooms

Mutation Vectors is a weekly rundown of my media diet, and occasionally other other random thoughts.

Sorry I missed last week, but I was busy getting ready for my presentation on Tarot at the Weird Shift Store Front. And speaking of the storefront, I actually have an interactive noise-art installation piece there now until the end of the month. I’ll do another post with some more details once I have a photo.

Journalism

In no particular order, a few things I thought were worth reading:

I also really liked Joanne McNeil’s “Tiny Letters to the Web We Miss,” on the recent e-mail newsletter trend. I have a TechCrunch column in the works on the topic, so I won’t say anything more for now.

Of my own stuff, check out my article on why security software is so hard to use.

TV

Watching the new season of Louie.

Music

I was bummed to hear Death Grips, who I featured last time, have apparently broken up.

Also, as I just pointed out, my most recent Psychetect album is now a “pay what you will” album. Feel free to grab it for free from Bandcamp.

Last Psychectect Album Now Available as Free Download

In honor of X-Day, my most recent Psychetect album, Extremism is now free/”pay what you will.” You can get it at Bandcamp now.

You can still download my first album, Return to the Wasteland from Bandcamp on the same terms.

Generation Z Thinks Spatially and Lacks Situational Awareness

genz

genz2

No, not as in Zombie, apparently. The Awl asks “Could this be a joke, maybe a little? It must be, right?” But, apart from some of this stuff like “they think spatially and in 4D” being followed immediately by “They lack situational awareness,” I think this is pretty clearly serious. (And of course I’m helping this marketing firm “go viral” with this “meme” aren’t I?)

Full Story (such that it is): The Awl: The Looming Threat of “Generation Z”

Here’s the full deck:

Are Online Security and Convenience Fundamentally Incomptible?

Latest from me at Wired:

Staying secure online is a pain. If you really want to protect yourself, you have to create unique passwords for every web service you use, turn on two-factor authentication at every site that supports it, and then encrypt all your files, e-mails, and instant messages.

At the very least, these are tedious tasks. But sometimes they’re worse than tedious. In 1999, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that most users couldn’t figure out how to sign and encrypt messages with PGP, the gold standard in e-mail encryption. In fact, many accidentally sent unencrypted messages that they thought were secured. And follow-up research in 2006 found that the situation hadn’t improved all that much.

As many internet users seek to improve their security in the wake of ex-government contractor Edward Snowden exposing the NSA’s online surveillance programs, these difficulties remain a huge issue. And it’s hard to understand why. Do we really have to sacrifice convenience for security? Is it that security software designers don’t think hard enough about making things easy to use—or is security just inherently a pain? It’s a bit of both, says Lorrie Cranor, an expert in both security and usability and the director of Carnegie Mellon’s CyLab Usable Privacy and Security Laboratory, or CUPS for short. “There isn’t a magic bullet for how to make security usable,” she says. “It’s very much an open research project.”

Full Story: Wired: Online Security Is a Total Pain, But That May Soon Change

(I don’t care for that headline — there’s not really much evidence that this is necessarily going to change anytime soon)

Mindful Cyborgs: E-Waste Redux and the Early Days of Social Media

This week on Chris Dancy and I talk about my e-waste in the Internet of Things article, “organic reach” on Facebook and how today’s social web is different from the social software of the early days of the net, such as IRC and Usenet.

Download and Show Notes: Mindful Cyborgs: From IRC to E-Waste Rapid Communion begets Complexity

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